Perfect Wife: Episode 16
No matter how confident Jung-hee is in his ability to control Eun-hee, he’s about to find out that she’s much sicker than he realized. It shouldn’t be a surprise considering their history, and yet the more Jung-hee tries to keep Eun-hee happy, the worse things get. It’s going to be up to Jae-bok to stop Eun-hee from taking everything she loves – that is, if it’s not already too late.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Eun-hee grows so angry at Jung-hee for calling her psycho that she slaps him, then they realize that Jae-bok is filming their argument. Jae-bok says she’s going to use the video as evidence that they aren’t suitable to have custody of her children, so Eun-hee tries to take the phone from her by force.
Jung-hee holds Eun-hee so that she can’t hurt Jae-bok, attempting to pull the two women apart. Eun-hee elbows him in the chest and grabs the phone out of Jae-bok’s hand, then makes a run for it. Jae-bok goes after Eun-hee despite Jung-hee’s cries that it’s too dangerous.
Jae-bok chases Eun-hee down, and they grapple over the phone, Jae-bok finally wrenching it from Eun-hee’s grasp. Eun-hee says haughtily that one video won’t help her case, but Jae-bok counters that she’s gathering other evidence and sarcastically requests that Eun-hee continue cooperating.
When Eun-hee makes her way back to Jung-hee, he’s angry that her behavior tonight could hurt his custody case. He snaps that jealousy is no excuse for violence, asking if she’s going back to being Moon Eun-kyung. Eun-hee wilts, murmuring that that’s not the case, but Jung-hee expresses concerns about living with someone this unstable.
Jae-bok shows the video of Eun-hee slapping Jung-hee to her friends, who worry that Eun-hee will only get worse now that she’s resorted to violence.
Eun-hee makes her own way home, but she’s still furious when she arrives. Hyung-sun stops her from going after Jung-hee, asking if she’s prepared to ruin everything after she’s worked so hard to get here. Eun-hee calms herself before taking tea up to the music room, where Jung-hee is soothing his rattled nerves with angry music.
He opens the door to Eun-hee’s now-familiar meek apologies, but he just takes the tea and tries to shut the door again. Eun-hee grabs at him desperately, tearfully apologizing for hitting him and promising never to lose her temper again. Jung-hee tells her seriously that she can never go back to being Eun-kyung, and she anxiously agrees.
Jung-hee calls Jae-bok later that night to ask after Hae-wook, and she asks him if anything happened after he and Eun-hee left. He says that he’s fine, but she tells him to be careful anyway. After they hang up, Jung-hee starts to drink the tea Eun-hee brought, but something stops him. He pours the tea out onto the plant on his desk instead.
The next morning, Eun-hee waits for Jung-hee’s mother to leave her apartment. Jung-hee’s mother is still scared of Eun-hee, but when Eun-hee says she wants to put that fancy apartment in Mom’s name today, she caves.
Brian approaches Jung-hee after a proposal presentation to tell him that the praises he’s getting aren’t earned — the directors are only praising him because they have to. Jung-hee tells Brian to be respectful since he’ll be marrying his older sister soon, but Brian just laughs. He says that Jung-hee is lucky that he pities his sister and warns him to be good to Eun-hee.
Jung-hee finds Na-mi waiting in his office with a document for him to sign, but when he opens it, there’s a note inside asking him to dinner. He tells Na-mi not to do this, that he won’t be shaken by her anymore, while Eun-hee secretly listens in from her cloned phone and smiles with satisfaction.
Jae-bok rushes to Hae-wook’s school when she gets a call that her daughter wet herself in class. Hae-wook is sobbing when she arrives, bereft because she lost her favorite stuffed rabbit on the playground.
Jung-hee also got a call (from Won-jae), and he shows up with a new rabbit. Jae-bok calls her friend to ask why she called Jung-hee, and Won-jae tells her that Hae-wook is having these issues because she needs her father around more.
Knowing that Won-jae has a point, Jae-bok allows Jung-hee to stay with Hae-wook at Won-jae’s place until the nanny arrives. She asks what he’ll do if Eun-hee shows up again, and he says that he’ll stop her if she does.
He’s unaware that Eun-hee is listening in again, and his words make her furious. She texts him to say that she’s reserved a table at a romantic restaurant for tonight, and he responds that he’ll be there.
When her spy hands over the stuffed rabbit he stole from Hae-wook’s school playground, Eun-hee asks him to find out why Jae-bok still works at Sam-kyu’s office. She tells her mother that if Jae-bok is unemployed, they’ll have an easier time getting custody of the kids.
Hyung-sun is incredulous that Eun-hee thinks she can raise two kids, but Eun-hee decides to worry about that later. She says breezily that they can always send them to boarding school, or just get rid of them.
When Jung-hee tells Hae-wook that he has to go, she latches onto him and begs him not to leave. No match for her big sad eyes, he calls Eun-hee to say that he can’t make it to dinner. Eun-hee ignores his attempts to reschedule their date, instead saying that she’ll wait until he shows up.
Jung-hee calls Jae-bok, who tells him to leave, worried that Eun-hee will show up at the house again. He just says he’ll take care of her if she does. Seeing that Jae-bok is upset, Bong-gu suggests they take their work to Won-jae’s.
Jung-hee immediately bristles when he sees Bong-gu with Jae-bok, and Bong-gu can hardly hide his satisfied smirk. Jae-bok tells Jung-hee they’re just here to work, but Bong-gu gets right in his face and reminds him that he asked if Bong-gu likes Jae-bok. He grabs Jae-bok’s hand in his and says that he does like her, and it’s hard to say who looks more shocked: Jung-hee or Jae-bok.
Jae-bok yanks her hand back and slinks away while Bong-gu tells Jung-hee that he really means it. He reminds Jung-hee that he’s already engaged again, leaving Jung-hee hilariously stymied. Jae-bok shoots Bong-gu a look, but he just grins back like a happy little boy.
Eun-hee resolutely waits at the restaurant that she reserved for the night, intent on staying until Jung-hee shows up, no matter how late. When he calls her after leaving Won-jae’s and tries to reschedule, she says that he’ll just have to eat dinner again, because she’s expecting him.
Jae-bok shoves Bong-gu out of the house before he’s ready to leave, so he asks if she feels awkward. He says that he meant every word he said to Jung-hee about liking her, then he leaves her with a cheeky wink. As she watches him go, Jae-bok can’t help but indulge in a tiny grin.
She heads inside and tries to get some more work done, but she can’t stop thinking about Bong-gu’s shameless confession, and she grumbles that he’s confusing her. She remembers how he holds her when she cries, worries when she’s upset, and takes care of her when she doesn’t even know she needs it, and catches herself smiling again. She admonishes herself that Bong-gu is just like a nephew, and she’s like his aunt.
Jung-hee is surprised when he reaches the restaurant to find Eun-hee smiling and asking after Hae-wook. During dinner she gushes about how much she’s looking forward to Hae-wook living with them, which lulls Jung-hee into lowering his guard.
He thanks Eun-hee for being understanding, and she smiles demurely, but then he notices the way she slowly and deliberately slices into her steak, as if she’s holding something back. He mentions that he saw Na-mi today, and he watches the flash of anger that crosses her face before she plasters on a smile.
Eun-hee asks if Na-mi needed to have something approved, and Jung-hee guardedly asks how she knew that was the reason Na-mi came to his office. He reminds her that Na-mi would have no reason to get an approval from him, since as he said, they work in different departments. He backs off when Eun-hee has no response for that, and tells her that he’s just letting her know so she doesn’t hear about it elsewhere and misunderstand.
Sam-kyu and Won-jae take one of Hye-ran’s aerobic classes, and when Sam-kyu addresses her formally, Won-jae tells him to call her by her given name. He helps her with a pose while Hye-ran glares daggers at their close contact. She comes over to roughly yank Won-jae’s arms behind her back, then drops her to the mat and sneers that she’s acting weak to get Sam-kyu’s attention.
Sam-kyu attempts to soothe their anger by buying beer for them after class. Hye-ran gripes that he’s a cheapskate for getting the beer at a convenience store, but Won-jae simpers that she thinks it’s romantic. The two ladies gulp their beers down like it’s a contest, and soon all three of them are roaring drunk.
Won-jae orders Hye-ran to stay away from Sam-kyu from now on, but Hye-ran scoffs that she can go wherever she wants. As Sam-kyu’s current girlfriend, Won-jae slurs that if Hye-ran shows up on one of their dates again, she’s kicking her out of her house.
Hye-ran says she’ll move out, declaring that she’s not ready to give up on Sam-kyu, and that she didn’t realize what she’d thrown away when she broke up with him. Won-jae chases Hye-ran away from Sam-kyu, leaving him drunkenly praising his mother for giving birth to such an awesome son. HA.
Sam-kyu dances his way home, elated to have two beautiful women fighting over him. He sobers up quick when he hears footsteps, and he seems to relish the idea of a good fight while he makes a show of putting his gloves on.
But one punch from the other guy knocks him flat — it’s Eun-hee’s spy, who kicks Sam-kyu onto his back. He stands on Sam-kyu’s knee, which crunches painfully as the spy growls at him for not firing Jae-bok as he was told.
When they arrive home after dinner, Jung-hee apologizes to Eun-hee for making her wait, and she tells him that she tried hard today to keep her temper. He thanks her for trying and heads up to bed, and after he’s gone, Eun-hee’s expression goes cold.
Jung-hee also drops the loving fiance act once he’s alone, wondering how Eun-hee knew why Na-mi came to his office today. He calls someone from the land line in his room to ask how he can check if there’s a bug on his phone.
In her room, Eun-hee fixates on Jung-hee’s thanks to her for trying, annoyed by his words. She takes out a bag containing the shreds of one of his shirts, finding Hae-wook’s beloved stuffed rabbit in the bottom. With a pair of sharp scissors, she calmly and methodically slices the rabbit to ribbons, asking it how long she has to wait before Jung-hee loves her.
Jung-hee runs a program which finds the bug Eun-hee installed on his phone. He storms down to her room, where she hides the rabbit shreds in the closet before letting him in. Jung-hee lies that he just came down because he missed her, all the while scanning her room for any clues, and he spots some stuffing on the floor by her bed.
He takes hold of Eun-hee’s wrists, noticing a cut on her hand, which she claims she got while opening something. Jung-hee lets go of her wrists and moves his hands to her shoulders, then slowly moves them to circle her throat. But he stops himself and instead cups the back of her head, pulling her in to kiss her forehead.
Hye-ran comes to visit Jae-bok as she’s getting ready for work in the morning, and she sees the bag Bong-gu bought for Jae-bok. She leers and says that a man who buys a bag for a woman wants something, laughing when Jae-bok vehemently denies it.
Eun-hee decides to dress Jung-hee for the day, though he asks where his favorite striped shirt went. Eun-hee pretends not to know, but Jung-hee doesn’t seem to believe her.
Sam-kyu is beaten so badly by Eun-hee’s spy that he ends up hospitalized. Jae-bok thinks it’s because of her, though Sam-kyu swears it’s not. They know he’s lying, so Bong-gu orders him to admit what he refused to do for Eun-hee that led to this. Instead of answering, Sam-kyu asks if Na-mi is okay — Eun-hee’s spy had told him to warn Bong-gu to keep Na-mi under control, because she’s also on his list.
Bong-gu and Jae-bok call Na-mi to meet them immediately, but Jae-bok asks to talk to Na-mi alone first. She finds Na-mi waiting in a cafe and quips that this feels familiar, and they both remember their first tense meeting.
Jae-bok gently tells Na-mi that she still hasn’t repaid her debt for seducing her husband and breaking up their family. She asks that Na-mi repay that debt now by giving up on getting revenge on Eun-hee and by moving on with her life. She holds out her hand and they pinky-swear.
They find Bong-gu waiting outside the restaurant, and Na-mi gasps adorably as she asks if they’re dating. Jae-bok leaves them to speak privately, and Bong-gu is uncharacteristically serious as he promises to be a real brother to Na-mi from now on.
He asks Na-mi to stop working at SJ Construction and come to work for him, worried that something could happen to her. He admits that he was devastated when he thought she was dead, telling her not to do anything dangerous again. Na-mi realizes that he means it when he says he’ll be a real brother, and she goes straight into annoying-little-sister mode, hee.
Jung-hee’s mom calls him while he’s at work to gloat about the fancy new apartment that Eun-hee bought her. Despite his shock, he keeps his comments flattering to Eun-hee, knowing that she’s listening in. After they hang up, he tries to open the report his employee brought him regarding Eun-hee’s assets, accidentally cutting his thumb in the process. The wound looks exactly like the one he saw on Eun-hee’s hand.
While out jogging, Eun-hee’s phone alerts her that Jung-hee is heading for home. He gets there first and enters her bedroom, sure that she was hiding something from him last night. He hits the jackpot in Eun-hee’s closet, where he finds the bag containing the leftover scraps of his favorite shirt, and Hae-wook’s mutilated stuffed rabbit.
Eun-hee rushes home and catches Jung-hee in her room, holding the remains of his daughter’s beloved toy and shaking with fury. He orders her to explain this, and Eun-hee stammers that she was jealous of Hae-wook. Jung-hee says it’s ridiculous for a grown woman to be jealous of a child and asks if Eun-hee’s forgotten why he left her when she was Eun-kyung.
He screams at her to shut up, saying that she knew the rabbit was Hae-wook’s most precious thing, and that Hae-wook is his most precious thing. He shrilly asks how she could do something this horrific, then walks way.
Eun-hee grabs his arm, begging him not to leave. But Jung-hee says that he can’t live with Eun-kyung again, trying to shake her off. Eun-hee refuses to let go, insisting that she’s not Eun-kyung anymore, but Jung-hee growls in her face, “You are Eun-kyung. You haven’t changed at all.”
He drives until he has to stop and throw up, sickened by Eun-hee’s behavior. Left behind, Eun-hee pours out a handful of pills, deciding that if she can’t have Jung-hee, then she doesn’t want to live. But she stops when her phone alerts her that Na-mi is calling Jung-hee.
Jung-hee answers, and Na-mi says this is the last time she’ll call him. She’s leaving, but she wanted to say that she genuinely loved him. Even though he knows Eun-hee is listening, Jung-hee asks Na-mi if they should just run away together.
Jung-hee ends the call and takes everything out of his pockets, including his phone, and leaves it all in the seat of his car. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he walks away.
Na-mi gets dressed up and leaves a meal for Bong-gu, then goes out. She lies to Bong-gu that she’s at home when he calls, cheerfully turning down his dinner invitation. Before he hangs up, she thanks him for being a real brother to her.
Jung-hee finds her, and they sit inside a restaurant, where Na-mi tells Jung-hee that he looks tired. She takes his hand, sincerely wishing that he could be happy, not like he seems now. Tipped off by her spy, Eun-hee watches them from outside, where it looks as though they’re having a lover’s reunion.
She intercepts Na-mi as she leaves the restaurant, and a few minutes later, Na-mi calls Jae-bok. She says this is a good chance to get more evidence that Eun-hee is crazy, ignoring Jae-bok’s pleas to get herself somewhere safe.
When Eun-hee finally decides to talk, she asks Na-mi what Jung-hee said to her. Na-mi takes great pleasure in telling Eun-hee that Jung-hee thinks she smothers him, and that he’s willing to leave Eun-hee and her money to run away with her.
Intent on making Eun-hee lose her temper, Na-mi lies that she agreed to go with him. She’s surprised when Eun-hee remains deadly calm and just wishes her well. She turns to go, which is when Eun-hee attacks.
Eun-hee viciously beats Na-mi over the head with her purse, but the most frightening part is that her face never betrays an ounce of emotion. Na-mi grabs Eun-hee’s arms, and they wrestle until Eun-hee gives Na-mi a huge shove, pushing her over a railing and down a rocky hill.
Jae-bok calls Bong-gu in a panic to tell him that Na-mi is confronting Eun-hee. They both rush to the spot Bong-gu thinks she may be, and Jae-bok gets there first. Na-mi doesn’t answer her phone, so Jae-bok runs around calling her name.
Eun-hee is horrified to see Na-mi lying at the bottom of the hill, having hit her head on a large rock. Still conscious but fading fast, Na-mi tries to answer her phone when it rings, but she passes out. Eun-hee makes her way to Na-mi’s side, but Na-mi doesn’t move when she touches her, so Eun-hee takes her still-ringing phone and runs.
Jae-bok finds Na-mi’s purse on the sidewalk and looks down to see her lying unconscious. She runs to Na-mi’s side, reeling when she sees the blood surrounding Na-mi’s head.
I’d like to hope that Na-mi is just badly injured, but something tells me that she’s not lucky enough to survive a serious head wound a second time. I’ll be sad if she’s really dead this time, but also angry that she didn’t listen to Jae-bok and Bong-gu, or keep her promise to stay away from Eun-hee. Na-mi doesn’t know what Eun-hee is capable of, since her interactions were mostly with Hyung-sun, so she doesn’t know that Eun-hee is much more dangerous than her mother. Na-mi is just young and stupid, and she should have listened to those who knew better.
I started out this drama thinking that Jae-bok was a very strong character, if abrasive and somewhat unlikable, but over the course of the show she’s slowly won me over. I’ve learned that she’s fearless and smart, that she’ll do anything for her family, and that she loves her friends deeply. She’s outspoken and sometimes a bit too blunt, but she always tells the truth as she sees it and she never speaks out of cruelty. She doesn’t tolerate misbehavior (like from Jung-hee) or being manipulated (as Eun-hee tries to do), but she never considers retaliation or revenge on those who have hurt her. She just holds her head up, takes the high road, and moves on. So it’s really no surprise, despite Na-mi’s role in the dissolution of Jae-bok’s family, that Jae-bok still tried to protect her from Eun-hee. She’s seen how Na-mi is just a lonely little girl without much in the way of family or friends, and she wanted to keep her from being seriously hurt by Eun-hee. Even though it didn’t work, I love Jae-bok for trying.
On the other hand, I feel very little sympathy for Jung-hee. Whatever happened between him and Eun-kyung in the past (I know we haven’t seen the whole truth yet) wasn’t his fault, but the situation he’s in now is entirely of his own making. He went into this relationship with Eun-hee knowing exactly who she was and how dangerous she can be, yet he chose to take advantage of a mentally ill woman for her money, not to mention putting his ex-wife and children in danger at the same time. So I find it unforgivable for him to want to just walk away from the mess he’s created now that Eun-hee has spiraled out of control. There were so many other, more reasonable ways to handle Eun-hee that didn’t involve prodding her to lose what little sanity she has left.
I’m going to gush about Bong-gu again now — sorry if it’s getting old. What I love about him today is how perceptive he is, and how he works hard to help solve Jae-bok’s problems without ever being overbearing about it. Like the way he decided they should work from home when he saw that she was worried that Eun-hee might show up at Won-jae’s house, or how he just happens to show up whenever he worries that Jae-bok might need support. Bong-gu knows that Jae-bok is too strong-willed to let a man make decisions for her, so he does his best to either make it look like his being there is her idea, or to give her an alternate excuse for accepting his help that doesn’t make it look like he thinks she can’t handle things on her own. I do think that often, or maybe even usually, Jae-bok knows what Bong-gu is up to when he goes to great lengths to hide his true intentions. But he’s so good at respecting her need not to acknowledge it that she feels safe accepting his help so that she can still feel like she’s in control of her life.
Until this episode I was happy just to see Jae-bok and Bong-gu become friends, and to watch the positive effects Jae-bok is having on Bong-gu. And I still am, because their friendship is just so honest and open. But now that we’ve seen Jae-bok reacting to Bong-gu’s confession and how she seems to like the idea, I can’t help but hope that they end up together. I know better than to pin my hopes on a second lead character getting the girl, I really really do. But at this point I just love Bong-gu so much, and I think Jae-bok is so amazing that I really want to see them build a future together. Even an open ending where they discuss giving it a shot would make me happy. I don’t think that a woman needs a man to be happy and fulfilled, and I think that Jae-bok could take on the world all by herself and kick its ass without breaking a sweat. But after all the changes he’s made in himself, Bong-gu would be so much more than a consolation prize for Jae-bok. He’s already proven that he’s an excellent business partner and a loyal, supportive friend — it’s not that much of a leap to something more heartfelt and lasting.
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