Perfect Wife: Episode 18
Bong-gu is on the rampage, determined to find Jae-bok and exact painful revenge on the people who hurt her. He’ll go to the ends of the earth to bring her home safe, though it may not be necessary — after all, this is Jae-bok we’re talking about. If ever a damsel was capable of rescuing her own damn self, it’s Jae-bok, and she’ll even take a moment to snag herself a prince while she’s doing it.
EPISODE 18 RECAP
Jae-bok and her family ride a carousel at an amusement park, smiling and happy together. But the next time the carousel turns, Jae-bok is alone and the park is empty. Suddenly, she wakes up in a strange bed with a rubber ducky squeaking in her face.
The carousel was a dream but the ducky is real. A wild-haired girl looms over Jae-bok (third cameo’s the charm for Lee Yu-ri, ha), shushing her and warning Jae-bok that she has a microphone in her ear. Ooookay then.
Slowly, Jae-bok remembers the staged car accident, her abduction, and being drugged by the evil-looking nurse. She realizes that she’s in a locked room and begins screaming to be let out. In a brief moment of lucidity, the wild-haired girl tells Jae-bok that they’re in a mental hospital before retreating back into her madness.
Bong-gu rushes to the police station when Jae-bok’s abandoned car is found. He and the detective realize that she must have been abducted, as all the CCTV cameras in the area were broken. Bong-gu is told that they have Eun-hee’s spy in custody, and he bursts into the interrogation room to grab the man.
He yanks the spy up by the lapels, screaming at him to tell what he did with Jae-bok, but he only smirks at Bong-gu. They call Eun-hee, who innocently claims to know nothing, but Bong-gu grabs the phone and accuses her of having Jae-bok kidnapped, threatening that this is the end for her.
He calls Sam-kyu to update him on the situation and to ask for any help he can give. As he drives home, Bong-gu imagines Jae-bok smiling next to him, but he’s all alone.
Jae-bok huddles in bed while her roommate dances around the room. She reminds herself to keep it together for her children, and tries to think of a way out of this. Eventually, she introduces herself to her roommate, who says her name is Lee Yu-ri. She stage-whispers that she used the name Yeon Mi-jung when stalking her oppa, and Jae-bok is suddenly afraid that this loony girl is just like Eun-hee.
Jung-hee calls Eun-hee from his U.S. business trip, asking repeatedly if everything is okay. He seems to be waiting for her to mention something, but she cheerfully pretends that things are normal.
Jung-hee hangs up and calls Bong-gu, who’s been keeping him informed during his search for Jae-bok. Jung-hee reports that Eun-hee didn’t mention Jae-bok, but Bong-gu says that he’s meeting someone who can influence her: Brian.
After hearing of the situation, Brian asks Bong-gu for evidence that his sister kidnapped Jae-bok, though he says he wouldn’t report her anyway. Incredulous, Bong-gu asks if Brian wants to see Eun-hee go to prison for Jae-bok’s murder like his mother, who is currently in prison for Na-mi’s murder.
He shows Brian a picture of Jae-bok with her kids, asking what he thinks the children should do with their mother gone. He’s screaming at Brian, who still says there’s nothing he can do to help. Bong-gu snaps that he expected as much and vows that he’ll beat the truth out of Eun-hee himself if he has to.
As it turns out, Brian has already tried to convince Eun-hee to stop all this before she ends up in big trouble like their mother. But Eun-hee had only said that that’s why she needs his help, and she’d begged him to use his power to get rid of Jae-bok.
Brian had said that if she keeps up this behavior, he’ll have to have her committed again. But his plea had fallen on deaf ears as his words gave Eun-hee a horrible idea. Now, Brian realizes that Eun-hee must have somehow had Jae-bok committed.
He runs after Bong-gu to tell him his theory. Bong-gu knows that a person can’t be committed without their family’s agreement, which means that Jae-bok mustn’t be in a legal hospital. He has Sam-kyu look into unlicensed facilities while he goes to visit two hospitals Brian suggested.
In her locked room, Jae-bok lies in bed listening to the growls and screams of the other patients. She overhears a pair of guards in the hallway, the experienced one telling the new one that Lee Yu-ri is the one with glasses. He says that Lee Eun-hee (really Jae-bok) isn’t actually mentally ill, but stops himself before he says more.
Up in her craft room, Eun-hee replaces the pictures that were removed from her stalker wall with new photos of Jung-hee. She happily chirps that Jae-bok is in a psychiatric ward, the kids are gone, and Jung-hee is all hers.
The kids are still staying with Won-jae, and soon Jin-wook loses his patience and demands to know where his mother is. Won-jae tries to stall him, but Che-ri comes in and takes over, asking her mother for the truth.
Jin-wook is overcome with guilt for the way he treated his mother. He sobs to Che-ri that he feels terrible that he always took Eun-hee’s side. Che-ri says he can apologize when Jae-bok gets home and be good to his mom from now on. She says that the best way to make amends is never to do the hurtful thing again.
Che-ri tells Jin-wook not to worry, that Jae-bok is strong and smart, and that she believes in her. He cries even harder, which sets off Che-ri, and she pats him on the back as they cry together. Awww, we see that Won-jae left them alone some time ago, knowing that Jin-wook was in good hands.
In the mental hospital, the guard’s comments give Jae-bok an idea, and in the morning she asks Yu-ri for help by promising to take a message to her oppa in return. Later, the newer guard comes to get Yu-ri for her treatment, and she follows him out. But it’s actually Jae-bok wearing Yu-ri’s glasses, counting on the fact that the new guard can’t tell them apart.
At the exact moment when her guard’s attention is elsewhere, a nurse opens a nearby door, and Jae-bok is off like a shot. She hides in a closet until her pursuers pass, then slips out of the building and hides in the back of a truck. The driver pulls away from the hospital, just as Bong-gu arrives to search the premises.
The man at the desk seems to recognize the picture Bong-gu shows him, but he insists they have no patient named Shim Jae-bok. The nurse who drugged Jae-bok when she was brought in runs up to report that it was “Lee Eun-hee” who escaped, and Bong-gu realizes that it must be Jae-bok under the wrong name.
Jae-bok jumps out of the truck when the driver stops for a call of nature, but she accidentally steps on a twig and alerts him to her presence. He chases her into the trees as she runs as best she can, even after badly twisting her ankle. She finally shakes him by hiding behind a large rock and waiting until he gives up.
She limps through the forest, gasping her children’s names in a desperate attempt to give herself strength. She nearly loses all hope when she discovers she’s been walking in circles, but she forces herself to keep going. She hears footsteps behind her and begins to run, but soon a hand grabs her.
Jae-bok fights and screams, and it takes a minute for her terrified mind to realize that the person who’s caught her is Bong-gu. Ohthankgoodness. When she finally sees him, she throws herself into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably.
Later, she video chats her friends from a rented cabin to let them know that she’s safe, though she won’t be home until tomorrow since she’s feeling too sick for the long drive back to the city. Seeing her kids on the phone makes her cry again, especially when Jin-wook desperately apologizes for his behavior and says that he loves her.
Hye-ran wants to call the police on Eun-hee right away, but after talking to Bong-gu, Won-jae decides they need to gather more evidence to make certain Eun-hee won’t be released once she’s arrested. Jung-hee calls Hye-ran then, so she goes out to meet with him.
Hye-ran angrily informs Jung-hee that Jae-bok has been in a mental institution, put there by the woman he plans to marry. She says that he’s not allowed to see his kids from now on, because he can’t be trusted to act in their best interest. She yells that this is all his fault, asking how much worse it has to get before he wakes up.
Bong-gu brings Jae-bok ice for her ankle and something to eat, though she’s not hungry. He insists on doctoring her ankle himself, pulling her foot into his lap and grumbling at her for making him worry.
Jae-bok notices that Bong-gu is crying, which he hotly denies even while wiping away his tears. Awww, you sweet thing. She softly tells him that he’s okay, and he admits that he was scared she would leave like Na-mi did. Jae-bok scoots closer, saying again that she’s okay as she tells him not to cry anymore.
Jae-bok realizes that it’s usually Bong-gu who’s comforting her, happy that she finally gets to return the favor. Bong-gu looks into her face and they share a charged moment, each exquisitely aware of how close they are. Jae-bok eventually pulls away slightly, and Bong-gu finds his voice again.
He says that this situation has made him realize that she’s a very important person to him. With no trace of his usual joking manner, he asks Jae-bok to stay by his side, and in return, he promises to protect her. She doesn’t answer, but Bong-gu can read her expression clearly. He gives her the sweetest smile and pulls her into his arms, holding her tight while she cries happy tears.
An informant inside SJ Construction calls Eun-hee to tell her that Jae-bok escaped. She yells at him to earn the money she pays him, then realizes that Jung-hee is standing close by, listening to her every word. She goes back into sweet mode, but he’s not fooled.
He yanks the phone from her hand and dials the last number she’d called, surprised when he finds himself speaking to his own secretary, Mr. Oh. He asks Mr. Oh if he was sent to the U.S. so they could lock up Jae-bok, but he doesn’t wait for an answer.
Eun-hee drops the act and says that she thought he went to the States knowing that she was planning something. She taunts him for checking up on her behind his back, then uses his concern for Jae-bok as proof that she has every right to try to get rid of her rival.
Something Eun-hee says makes Jung-hee realize that she overheard him telling Jin-wook that he wants to reunite their family. Eun-hee snarls that she saved him from a wretched life, but for once Jung-hee speaks up and says that may be true, but he’s decided that he can’t live with Eun-kyung.
Eun-hee warns him not to call her by that name, but he leans close to say that she’s still just Moon Eun-kyung, the crazy psycho. He leaves the room but she follows him to say that he provided her alibi when Na-mi died, which makes him an accomplice.
She asks in a silky voice who will be seen as worse — a woman with a mental illness, or the perfectly sane man who ignored the death of his mistress then had his ex-wife committed? Jung-hee says that he didn’t know about Jae-bok, but Eun-hee wonders out loud what Mr. Oh will say when the police ask him about it.
She purrs that Jung-hee is in the same boat as she is, and that she’ll never set him free until the day he dies. Scared out of his wits, Jung-hee runs upstairs to his room and locks the door, gasping that Eun-hee is crazy.
In the morning, Eun-hee knocks on Jung-hee’s door to have him choose his tie like nothing ever happened. After a long moment, Jung-hee decides to pretend everything is fine, and he apologizes for last night. This time, Eun-hee doesn’t seem convinced by his act.
Bong-gu and Jae-bok discuss their plans on the drive back to town. Bong-gu thinks they should concentrate on having Eun-hee locked up, but Jae-bok says she’ll just use her money to free herself. She thinks that they need to use the thing Eun-hee loves most to punish her: Jung-hee leaving her and going back to Jae-bok.
Bong-gu hates this plan, so much so that he pulls over so they can discuss it face to face. He asks if Jae-bok really plans to get back together with Jung-hee, and when she asks why not, he squeaks, “You can’t! We’re finally… we… You can’t!!”
Jae-bok calms his fears, saying that she can never go back to Jung-hee. She adds that she’s held a lot back because of Eun-hee’s mental illness, and because Jung-hee was so pitiful. But they don’t appreciate how much she’s overlooked, so now she’s ready to punish them.
She doesn’t seem happy that this is necessary, but as they continue their drive, it seems as though a heavy weight has lifted from Jae-bok’s shoulders. Bong-gu notices it too, and he smiles at her, earning a relaxed smile in return.
Jae-bok’s homecoming is noisy and tearful, with Hye-ran, Won-jae, and all the kids going in for a huge group hug. Bong-gu watches as Jae-bok is surrounded by everyone she loves, looking a little bit jealous.
Later, Won-jae decides it’s time to take care of something, so she visits Sam-kyu at his office. She withdraws her request for them to date, explaining that it’s not worth losing her best friend over. They’re hilariously dramatic as Sam-kyu tries to change Won-jae’s mind, even wrapping her in a backhug. Although she’s tempted, the memories of all the years she and Hye-ran have been friends overwhelm her, and she runs away.
Jae-bok meets with Jung-hee, and after establishing that they aren’t being watched, she asks if he plans to continue living with the woman who sent the mother of his children to an insane asylum. Jung-hee swears that he wants to reunite their family, but Jae-bok isn’t so sure.
She touches his cheek gently, then wishes him luck ending things with Eun-hee. Before she goes, she mentions that their anniversary is only a few days away and that she can’t seem to forget it, even though they’re divorced.
Of course they were being watched, and Eun-hee’s spy sends her photos of Jung-hee and Jae-bok together. Eun-hee goes to visit Hyung-sun, though she says she was just here on other business and heard that Hyung-sun was being transferred. Hyung-sun starts to tell Eun-hee not to visit her again, but Eun-hee cuts her off and says she’s not planning to.
As she walks away from the station, Eun-hee thinks that after tormenting her and Brian, her mother deserves to be locked up. She laughs crazily as she weaves back and forth, looking not-quite-sane to other pedestrians.
Bong-gu gets the news that Eun-hee’s main spy was released due to lack of evidence. Jung-hee calls Jae-bok to tell her he has a new (not bugged) phone, and to ask her to dinner since it’s their anniversary. She agrees, suggesting they go for a drive first.
Bong-gu whoops happily to see Jae-bok all prettied up, joking that he’s paying for her to look gorgeous for her ex-husband. He says a bit more seriously that he’s only letting her go for today, and she agrees that it’s just for today.
Jung-hee and Jae-bok head out for their drive as Eun-hee follows close behind them, looking furious to be betrayed this way. Jung-hee compliments Jae-bok on how beautiful she looks, and she agrees that for many years, she was too busy to make much of an effort. She says sadly that he cheated on her then, and Jung-hee looks sheepish.
They drive for a while, ending up at a small, remote park. Jae-bok suggests they get out to dance, and though Jung-hee is confused, he complies. He tells Jae-bok that he regrets his actions and asks her for another chance.
Instead of melting like he expects, Jae-bok says that just because she came with him on their anniversary doesn’t mean she forgives him. She asks if he thinks he even deserves forgiveness after everything he’s done. Jung-hee agrees that he doesn’t, but he was confused because she’s been so nice to him lately. Jae-bok tells Jung-hee that this is his problem — he’s too soft.
Suddenly, Eun-hee’s car races up and guns straight for them, and Jung-hee tries to shield Jae-bok with his body. Eun-hee slams on the brakes at the last second, then gets out to laugh at them. She grows serious in a flash and asks Jung-hee how he could do this to her, then threatens to have Jae-bok locked up in the asylum again.
Instead of backing down in fear as Eun-hee expects, Jae-bok advances on her and says that she needs to come to her senses. She says that it’s Eun-hee’s turn now, and suddenly Eun-hee is surrounded by suited men. She kicks and screams as they take her away.
Jung-hee belatedly realizes that Jae-bok asked him here to lure Eun-hee and accuses her of treating him like bait. Jae-bok retorts that she was used as bait by Eun-hee to lure Jung-hee into her clutches.
She smiles when Bong-gu arrives, and Jung-hee asks if they planned this whole thing. Bong-gu cheerily tells him that Brian also helped by giving consent to have Eun-hee committed.
Jae-bok makes it clear that she hasn’t forgiven Jung-hee, and that it could be a very long time before she does. He’s so pathetic that he tries one last time to talk her into reconciling, shamelessly using the kids in an attempt to convince her, but Jae-bok stops him mid-sentence. She says they should go their separate ways and just be the best parents they can.
She asks if it made Jung-hee happy to gain the whole world in an instant, and his frustrated sigh proves that it didn’t. Jae-bok says that he’ll lose everything again, then wishes him luck starting over. She goes to Bong-gu, and they leave together.
At the same filthy hospital where Jae-bok was wrongly locked up, Eun-hee sits alone in a tiny room. At first she laughs incredulously, but then she stops laughing and clutches the bars on her door, screaming for someone to let her out.
Have I mentioned how much I love Jae-bok? I don’t think I’ve said it this week yet. I should have known that she would just go ahead and rescue herself from the insane asylum instead of waiting for a knight in shining armor (no matter how handsome and heroic Bong-gu may be) to do it for her. I was lulled into thinking that she was weakening in the previous episode, but looking back, Jae-bok was about due for a meltdown. I don’t think that her collapse makes her any less strong, it just shows once again that her children are everything to Jae-bok. Seeing them threatened, even temporarily, broke her, especially when she hadn’t even had time to recover from being arrested on suspicion of murder. But it’s very like Jae-bok to shake off her fear and just get going with what needs to be done.
But I also adore that, as strong as she is, Jae-bok is also someone who always thinks of others and offers the benefit of the doubt, even when those people are out to hurt her. I thought her little speech about why she’s ready to punish Jung-hee and Eun-hee was a very interesting turning point for Jae-bok’s character. It’s true that she let things slide for so long and gave Jung-hee and Eun-hee so many chances to stop their bad behavior towards her only to be repeatedly disappointed. But they’ve crossed a line by actively attempting to harm her and take away her children, and Jae-bok can no longer look past it or forgive. She’s realized that it’s time to make them pay for what they’ve done, though I thought I was very true to Jae-bok’s nature to seem unhappy about it. She’ll do what must be done to make their torment stop, but that doesn’t mean she has to take joy in it.
Even though Eun-hee is locked away now, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her, not by a very long shot. She has too many people in her pocket and too much influence to stay locked up for long, and when she gets free she’s going to be out for blood. I don’t believe that Eun-hee was ever fully recovered, she only got better at hiding her crazy, especially when she was channeling all of her energy into stalking Jung-hee and planning to steal him back. Now that she sees Jae-bok as a current threat to her claim on Jung-hee’s heart and not just a past one, I’m scared that Eun-hee won’t be satisfied with any resolution that leaves Jae-bok still alive. I have a strong feeling that this is going to end with the death of one of them.
If there was any lingering doubt in my mind about the growing feelings between Bong-gu and Jae-bok being of a romantic flavor, those doubts were blown away by their moment together in the cabin. Bong-gu may as well have shouted his love from the rooftops when he asked Jae-bok to stay by his side, and I found my heart pounding during that scene as much as it ever does for an actual kiss scene. I love how their bond has grown so naturally, forged by their traumatic circumstances and yet allowed to take its time progressing. The show still would have been good without a loveline, but I think that Bong-gu and Jae-bok’s quiet romance has given us something really special to watch in the background, and I’m glad it’s been used as sparingly as it has. The rarity makes these moments between them that much more special. Whether or not they’re together by the end, I still think their romance will end up as one of my favorites in dramaland.
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