Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 12
It has now gotten to the point where I need a packet of throat lozenges next to me when I watch this show, as I’m about to lose my voice from either happy squeals or terrified shrieks. As usual, Strong Woman has us waffling from one end of the spectrum to the other, with no breaks for a little grey area downtime. Between our swoon-worthy main couple and the psychotic kidnapper, I never know what this show is going to throw at us. All I can say is: Hang on to your emotions, kids, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…
Episode 12: “Help Me”
Backtracking a bit, we pick up earlier that night when Bong-soon and Min-hyuk are having dinner together. Min-hyuk adorably switches noodle bowls with Bong-soon, giving her his untouched food and taking her nearly empty bowl. Bong-soon immediately switches it back though, wondering just how many women he’s switched bowls with before. This of course leads to bickering over the existence of any previous girlfriends. Oh, you two.
Min-hyuk changes the subject, grumping about how she still calls him CEO Ahn. He cutely says that they should call one another something else when they’re alone together, but Bong-soon casually asks, “Why do we need a name for each other? Are we in some special relationship or something?”
Hahaha, Min-hyuk’s face immediately falls and he starts ranting (loudly) that they’ve already “done” everything together and there isn’t much left to do. “If this isn’t dating, then what is?” The mortified Bong-soon tries to shush him, but Min-hyuk scandalously gasps at her wicked views on dating and modestly crosses his arms over his chest like he’s afraid she’ll jump him at any moment.
Bong-soon’s dad closes up shop while Mom counts her precious money. She still feels uneasy even though the police (claim to) have caught the culprit, so Dad suggests she call Bong-soon to make sure she’s alright. Mom dismisses the idea that they have to worry about for their daughter, and Dad immediately takes issue, calling Bong-soon his precious girl. Awww, such a great dad.
Oh no. Kyung-shim gets off a bus with her red suitcase and starts wheeling her way, unaware that the kidnapper, Jang-hyun, is right across the street. She continues to walk through the alleys, oblivious to the danger until Jang-hyun pops out in front of her. He gives her a chilling smirk before grabbing her.
With Kyung-shim’s screams echoing in our ears, we return to Gook-doo and his men as they close in on Hee-ji. At the last minute, the hooded man following her takes a different turn — just an innocent bystander after all. Hee-ji instead turns a corner and screams… but it’s just Gook-doo rushing to an unnecessary rescue. The rest of his team converge, and they yell in frustration to realize that the kidnapper isn’t here.
Bong-soon and Min-hyuk walk home, and Bong-soon pauses when a police car races by with its siren wailing. At the same time, the kidnapper drops Kyung-shim’s tracking bracelet on the ground and stalks off with Bong-soon’s unconscious bestie over his shoulder.
Min-hyuk stops Bong-soon outside her house, worried about hearing police sirens in her neighborhood. Taking her hands, he tells her, “No matter how strong and unique you are, you are still someone I want to protect.” Bong-soon smiles and counters that it’s her job to protect him, then the two engage in a cute round of, “You go in first,” “No, you go first.”
In the alley where Kyung-shim was taken, a homeless man happens across her belongings. He grabs both her suitcase and police tracker, sneaking off with the evidence and conveniently cleaning the scene for our villain.
Gook-doo’s team returns, agitated over missing the bad guy. They make the connection that Jang-hyun was targeting Hee-ji due to her relation to Gook-doo, and the team captain instructs his men to quickly wrap up any other cases that they’re working on so they can focus on catching this guy. Heh, Cap gives Gook-doo an assignment as well: “Calm down.”
Gook-doo overhears his sunbaes saying that it feels like they’re being watched, since the culprit is always one step ahead. He remembers seeing the bugging tech in Jang-hyun’s office and looks around the station house, suddenly suspicious. Finally!
Cap and another detective stake out the junkyard. Jang-hyun’s single employee is hard at work, and Cap wonders if the man really has nothing to do with his boss’ crimes. He asks the detective about a tracker they put on Jang-hyun’s phone, but it looks like he’s either turned off his phone or is using one they don’t know about.
As the two swear at the kidnapper’s cleverness, Jang-hyun drives in through a secret entrance and carries Kyung-shim down into the Dungeon of Doom. He unties her legs and she immediately tries to crawl away, but stops when he yells, “Do. Bong. Soon!”
Jang-hyun slowly backs Kyung-shim into a corner, asking if she thinks her friend will protect her now. He finishes untying her hands and she scrambles away, but he snaps that he didn’t untie her so she could escape, shouting, “Kneel down. Kneel down and beg for forgiveness!”
The terrified Kyung-shim sobs heartbreakingly as she kneels before him. She raises her hands and whimpers through her gag, begging desperately. Jang-hyun just grabs her hair and yells at her to beg harder. You sick, evil bastard.
In stark contrast to that horror, Bong-soon happily gets ready for bed. She eagerly texts Kyung-shim to tell her about Min-hyuk’s confession, and oh crap, Jang-hyun texts back using Kyung-shim’s phone, pretending to be the very girl he just traumatized.
Fishing for info on the super strong heroine, Jang-hyun uses Kyung-shim’s “voice” to text that “she’s” always been jealous of her strength. Bong-soon buys it hook, line, and sinker, and completely reveals her weakness to the psycho, reminding “Kyung-shim” that she loses her strength if she hurts an innocent person. (Argh!)
Jang-hyun smiles ever so slightly to find a weakness. Thankfully, his response to Bong-soon’s text doesn’t sound very Kyung-shim-ish, and Bong-soon notes that something is off. In a nearby subway tunnel, the homeless guy rifles through Kyung-shim’s suitcase and puts her tracking bracelet on his own wrist.
Gook-doo finally puts on his smarty pants and asks his teammates why Jang-hyun would have come into the station to report himself. Answer: to place a hidden camera. The whole team scrambles to search the office while Gook-doo slowly walks over to the TV monitor, realizing it’s the most likely place. In his lair, Jang-hyun smiles as he watches Gook-doo find his hidden camera, smirking, “You just found it? Idiot cops.”
Oh double crap. Jang-hyun’s employee comes into the secret lair, and the kidnapper hands him an envelope of money for the man’s mother’s hospital bills as well as a handful of loaded syringes. He is in on it.
Jang-hyun instructs his minion to start starving the women tomorrow: “Since they aren’t exercising, their bodies are becoming uglier.” He gives special instruction to starve “the new girl” for a week, as she’s too fat. (That is just sick.) Minion is apparently a junkie and starts shooting up with one of the syringes while his monstrous master grins at the monitors, “The police know I’m the criminal. Now the game begins.”
Min-hyuk is hard at work designing an upgraded character for Bong-soon’s game. Heading to bed, he sends Bong-soon an adorable snapshot video of himself (complete with pink hearts) saying, “Good night, Bong Bong.” Bong-soon scoffs a bit, but she does send one back, “Good night, Min Min.”
“Min Min” loses his mind at her cuteness and ends up rolling around on his bed and giggling into his pillow. Heh, he replays the video over and over, then tries to smack himself out of it since he has to go to sleep, “So that I can dream about my Bong Bong.” He lasts about five seconds before pulling out his phone to play it again, beaming.
Sadly, when Min-hyuk does fall asleep, he has a nightmare of Bong-soon getting attacked in her bed. He calls out to her to use her strength, but Bong-soon can only choke, “My strength has disappeared!” Please don’t be a premonition of things to come.
At work the next morning, Bong-soon is thrilled at the new character design for her video game mini-me. She delicately suggests that the character’s eyes are slightly too big, but Min-hyuk doesn’t see it, “Your eyes are big. They are bigger and prettier than this anyway.” Secretary Gong rolls his own eyes at the pair of them.
Bong-soon grins that the character does look just like her, but suggests they shorten the legs a little bit. Heh, Secretary Gong mutters that they’d need to erase more than just a little bit, then Bong-soon glares daggers at the guy and he literally slaps himself in penance.
Boss Tak continues on his poop-inspired journey of self-discovery. He gets a message from his subordinate, Jaws, warning about Bong-soon’s kiddos who are out for revenge in honor of their noonim. Apparently Jaws gave the kids his Boss’s phone number, and they choose that moment to call him to yell with all their adolescent fury.
Boss Tak hangs up on the teenagers as his bus comes to a stop, but — as luck would have it — all the other passengers disembark to reveal that the irate youngsters are on that same bus with him. Thankfully, the kids don’t immediately recognize the white-robed Boss Tak, but when they call him back, his ringing phone raises suspicions. He quickly calls out for the driver to stop and makes a getaway before the kiddos can connect the dots.
The office doppelgänger, Dong-pyung, gets a bit of revenge on Bong-soon by jumping out from behind her desk to startle her. He picks on her “lame” game, saying that no one would ever play it, then he starts muttering that he can’t understand why Min-hyuk chose her over him.
Dong-pyung orders her to get him coffee, but Bong-soon sweetly threatens, “If you really need me to make your coffee again, shall we have the same talk from back then, that day, in the conference room?” He rages ineffectively at her nerve, but Secretary Gong comes in just then and he leaves in a huff, but not before slapping the secretary’s butt on the way out.
Gook-doo’s police chief fumes over the hidden video camera, but the team has no proof that it was placed there by Jang-hyun. Cap tries to reason that they have the wrong criminal locked up, but Chief orders him to just let this go.
Boss Tak’s journey ends at a backwoods temple. He respectfully bows to a tree, and we pan up to see a monk perched waaaay up in the branches. The Boss’ loyal underlings have followed their leader to the temple and try to convince him to come back, but to no avail. He’s decided to start a new life under the teachings of his new master, the tree monk: Nizamutiniz. He reverently states that the man is an immigrant from India, but Jaws and his buddy stare at the very Korean-looking monk, “Indian?”
Just then, the kiddos – who have also tracked Boss Tak to the temple – arrive, spouting swears and toting the near empty jug of poop alcohol.
The kiddos and injured gangsters face off in the temple yard as Wild West music plays in the background. The two sides posture dramatically, until Boss Tak instructs Jaws to use his “dangerous” martial arts.
The boys back up nervously, and the two men unleash their… skills? Pffft. In their condition it’s more like Crouching Crutches, Hidden Bandages. The kids jump in to fight back, and it is one big mess of flailing high schoolers and limping gangsters.
Before anyone can get (more) injured, Monk Nizamutiniz comes running out, yelling at them to Shtawp it and banging his mystical gourd for emphasis
Bong-soon goes hunting around the office for Min-hyuk. He pops out from an auditorium and tugs her back inside with him. Bong-soon looks around at the empty room, and Min-hyuk slyly points out, “Nobody will come in here today.” She laughs, asking what he’s going to do if they’re alone, but he teases right back that it looks like she’s expecting something.
Min-hyuk slowly walks towards her, and Bong-soon backpedals up against a wall. The two are still joking with one another until Min-hyuk puts his hands on either side of her, bringing their faces close together. Hubba, hubba.
His arms caged around her, Min-hyuk softly promises to protect her, just like this, so the rest of the world can’t hurt her.
Min-hyuk reminds her that she said she needed time to sort out her feelings, then hesitantly asks her to answer him now. Bong-soon replies, “Ah, about that…” then she smiles happily up at him, her answer clear. Min-hyuk’s nerves melt away, and he gives this beautiful smile as he says, “No, you don’t have to say it. I can see everything.”
So happy he that can’t contain himself, Min-hyuk jumps away, all jittery and giddy as he alternates between clutching his heart and making grabby motions towards her. He eventually settles on petting her head. You cutie. Bong-soon chuckles at him and Min-hyuk bursts out, “Don’t laugh like that! I’m getting flustered!” Rawr!
Bong-soon tries to tug him out of the room, but he pulls her back, suddenly serious. Min-hyuk starts to slowly lean down as though to kiss her, and Bong-soon timidly closes her eyes, but he seems to sense her hesitation and pulls back at the last moment, kissing her forehead instead. They both smile adorably and head out together.
Back at the temple, Boss Tak and the kiddos line up and kneel before Monk Nizamutiniz as Boss Tak gets, uh, baptized? Nizamutiniz gives him the most passive aggressive baptism ever, splashing water at the man while instructing him let all the trash flow out of his heart and let go of his awful deeds, previous convictions, and rude behavior.
Heh, the leader of the kiddos wags his finger at Boss Tak as all his misdeeds are listed, until Nizamutiniz moves down the line and starts throwing water and
insults blessings at the rest of them. He “cleanses” them all, admonishing Jaws for his previous jail time and yelling at the kiddos for cussing, ditching class, and disappointing their parents.
Boss Tak rises up to give a dramatic speech about being reborn, but Nizamutiniz offhandedly interrupts to tell them that it’s lunchtime. Oh, the reverence.
As Boss Tak, his men, and the kiddos are introduced to Naan bread (a traditional Indian food), Min-hyuk steals Bong-soon away for a team building workshop. He gives a complicated spiel about how a change in location is great for idea generation, but clearly the boy is hankering for some alone time with his lady love.
When they arrive, Min-hyuk opens the curtains for Bong-soon (with some Michael Jackson flair), and smiles when she squeals at the ocean view, but the smirk quickly falls when Bong-soon wants to get right to work on her game presentation.
The “workshop” commences, and as Bong-soon moons over her character, Min-hyuk moons over her. He has to be snapped back to reality (twice!) and gets adorably flustered, asking if it’s hot in the room as he flaps his jacket to cool off. Hee!
Claiming that it’s too warm, Min-hyuk wants to go outside. Bong-soon points out that they’re supposed to be working, and he stares disbelievingly at her. He asks if she’s really thinking about work right now, but she completely misses his point and reminds him that he brought them there to get new ideas. The frustrated CEO saccharinely orders her to come out with him, then walks away muttering “’Ideas,’ my butt.”
The two go exploring in the small seaside town, and soon they’re laughing and joking as they wander around. They take a few super-cute selfies together and end up on the beach, playing in the waves.
After splishing and splashing, Min-hyuk grows serious. He picks up a stick, and Bong-soon watches as he draws half of a giant heart in the sand. Standing at the base of the heart, he calls out:
“Bong-soon-ah! I’m going to stand here. Will you come to me?”
(Oh. My. Gawd. This is it. Shush! Everyone be quiet!)
With his heart in his eyes, Min-hyuk stares almost pleadingly at Bong-soon, waiting for her answer. She waits barely a moment before smiling slightly and grabbing another stick. She walks over to the top of the giant heart and draws in the other half, completing the heart and meeting Min-hyuk at its base.
The two gaze at one another and simultaneously take one tiny step towards the other. Min-hyuk finally bridges the gap, reaching out to gently cradle Bong-soon’s face before slowly leaning down. Bong-soon’s eyes flutter closed, and the two kiss. It’s a sweet and perfect moment, and as the waves crash, they kiss again, standing where their two hearts meet.
As Min-hyuk and Bong-soon share their lovely smooches, Mom crows to her ladies-in-waiting that she believes her daughter and son-in-law are officially dating. She’s decided to start one hundred days of prayer, since she still thinks the best route is for the two of them to sleep together immediately. (Ugh).
Min-hyuk drives Bong-soon home after their “workshop,” opening the car door with some more MJ flair. They engage in another round of who will leave first, when he suddenly calls her back. Bending down, he stares into her eyes and tells her that he always misses her when she leaves. He asks to just look at her for a moment so he can remember this when she’s away.
Bong-soon smiles back at him, and he softly adds, “Thank you for coming into my life.” Then he gently cups her face before sending her inside. Once she’s out of sight, Min-hyuk sighs that he misses her already. Oh my heart.
Bong-soon can barely hold in her smiles as she boots up her computer. Bong-ki comes into her room, and she mildly freaks him out with her lovey-dovey good mood. He asks if his sister has heard form Kyung-shim about when she’s coming to visit again, and Bong-soon remembers that she hasn’t spoken to her friend in a while.
She texts Kyung-shim a “What’s up?” and “Kyung-shim” (aka creepy, evil bastard Jang-hyun) texts back, “Hi Bong-soon-ah.” Something about that reply triggers Bong-soon’s spidey senses, so she calls Kyung-shim. Of course, no one picks up.
Bong-soon starts to panic and calls Gook-doo to ask if he can locate Kyung-shim’s tracking bracelet. She worries that something seems off since she had left for Busan a while ago, but she’s not sure if she made it there. Gook-doo immediately calls in for the location of Kyung-shim’s tracker.
Jang-hyun reads through Kyung-shim’s previous texts and we see that Kyung-shim had always responded to Bong-soon with “Hey yo, Bong Bong!” Bong-soon texts her friends to please call, but “Kyung-shim” answers she’s busy right now. Bong-soon sends a final message, asking if “Dol Kong” is doing alright. She nervously waits, barely breathing, until the response comes that Dol Kong is doing fine. Bong-soon gasps and runs out the door.
Meanwhile, Gook-doo traces Kyung-shims tracker, finding it adorning the wrist of our evidence snatching homeless man. He brings the guy in for questioning, but all he can give them is a rough estimate of when he found the suitcase. Cap has had enough and yells that they’ll go catch the bastard themselves.
At that moment, the police chief comes in and warns everybody to leave this case alone, or they’re fired. Gook-doo doesn’t even hesitate for a moment, charging out with Cap and his entire team following right past the sputtering police chief.
Min-hyuk gazes up at the game room’s starry ceiling, missing his Bong-soon. His calls and texts go unanswered, and he wonders if she’s still working on her game presentation for tomorrow.
Cap and the guys go to the junkyard and comb through the place. Bong-soon also runs to the junkyard, and Gook-doo rushes forward to stop her. Bong-soon frantically yells that she sent a message to Kyung-shim’s phone asking about her dog, Dol Kong. Apparently her dog died last year – she and Bong-soon had even held a funeral for him – but Kyung-shim’s message had responded that he was just fine.
Bong-soon swears that if the bastard has touched one hair on Kyung-shim’s head, she won’t stay still, then she races past Gook-doo into the junkyard.
The cops question evil minion, showing him Kyung-shim’s picture, but the man plays dumb. Running out of options, the cops figure that Jang-hyun probably wouldn’t have hidden the women here at the junkyard since it’s too obvious.
Bong-soon dashes past them, but pauses when she catches a whiff of the odor she smelled on Jang-hyun. She peers into the corner and sees a storage container (the one we know contains the secret entrance to the Dungeon of Doom). Before she can investigate further, Gook-doo manages to drag her away. No! Go check it out! Argh!
Bong-soon returns home a shaking, nervous wreck. She gets Min-hyuk’s texts, but she’s too worried to respond.
Min-hyuk gets pouty about his unanswered messages and worries that she might have gone out on her own again. He takes out a special key necklace (presumably for Bong-soon) and replaces the center jewel with what looks like a tracking device. Normally, I’d say that’s creepy, but this is Min-hyuk, so let’s call it endearing.
Oh god, no. Bong-soon gets another message from Kyung-shim, but this time it’s a prerecorded video, and Bong-soon’s hands shake so badly she can barely hit play. Immediately on the screen is a crying and terrified Kyung-shim in the Dungeon of Doom.
Bong-soon screams, and Kyung-shim desperately calls out through the camera that she’s fine as she begs Bong-soon not to come here. In response, a masked Jang-hyun kicks Kyung-shim in the face, knocking her down, then settles himself in front of the camera.
Jang-hyun taunts Bong-soon, “You want to save your friend, right? Then don’t report it to the police.” He warns that the moment she reports this, he’ll kill Kyung-shim. Kyung-shim continues to whimper out for Bong-soon not to come here, so Jang-hyun jerks her up and slings an arm around her. Smiling at Bong-soon, he goads her, “Try and come here. Or else your friend will die.”
Jang-hyun pulls up his shirt to reveal the bruise that Bong-soon gave him, then he leans into the camera, “You have to come here and apologize to me.” He laughs like the psychotic freak he is as Bong-soon sobs in terror for her friend.
As the video ends, Bong-soon grips her phone, calming her trembling hands. Slowly, her fearful expression grows angry and determined. She runs out of her room, and the next thing we see is her standing in front of Min-hyuk with tears streaming down her face as she pleads, “Help me.”
Oh man, I need a hug. Gah! What more can this show do to me!? So many times during this episode I felt my heart drop as we repeatedly see-sawed from cute and cuddly to oh-god-I-want-my-mommy, and it seems like it’s intentional. I can’t deny that there’s a definite sucker punch aspect that comes from the rapidly switching extremes. However, my emotions are nearly shot, and if the show is doing this on purpose, then I honestly can’t tell if it’s genius, or sadistic. I didn’t sign up to be a guinea pig!
Ok, let’s back away from the terrifying and rewind to what was possibly the best romantic moment I’ve ever seen. I simply cannot say how much I loved that beach kiss, and how relieved I am not to be disappointed by it. I never doubted the chemistry between these two, so I knew the eventual kiss itself would be great (which, ermahgawd, it was!), but I was concerned that the story wouldn’t give the moment justice by forcing it on us instead of letting it flow naturally. It seems I worried for nothing.
This was such a great scene in so many ways. Min-hyuk stayed true to his nature in pushing Bong-soon just slightly into the next level, but then respectfully waiting for her answer. Bong-soon was also true to character, making her decision and standing by it, never wavering as she walked to his side. And then the heart in the sand, such a simple yet perfect way to show how they’re treating one another as equals in this relationship. Each is one half of the heart, neither compromising to complete the other. Finally, there was the simultaneous single step that they took toward each other. It was a lovely callback to Min-hyuk’s comment about how it takes just one step to change from friends to lovers, and they took that one step together. It was beautiful, and touching, and I’m so happy to be able to recap it — if for no other reason than it provided a convenient excuse to re-watch that scene over and over. (But I HAVE to watch him kiss her again, you know, for recap integrity, and all that…)
Unfortunately, the other side of the coin is that I then have to watch the creepy kidnapper parts over and over as well. There are definitely a few nightmares in my future after this. I’m now terrified about Jang-hyun learning Bong-soon’s secret — is there a way he could trick her into harming an innocent? I had assumed that Bong-soon would lose her powers at some point, since the show was heavily hinting at it from the beginning, but I thought it would happen earlier so she’d have time to then gain them back at a crucial moment (ala Disney’s Hercules). But with only four episodes left, that’s a lot of plot to try and cover, and I’m worried that she’ll lose her powers without time to earn them back. Then she’ll have to accept her life without them — like her Mom. I’m not saying that she has to have her gifts to be special, but so much of this show has been about her accepting and learning to love her own strength that it’d be tragic for her to lose her power forever.
I used to be really curious about Jang-hyun and his backstory, but after this episode, I straight-up just don’t care. There is no redemption, no “Mommy didn’t love me” or “Daddy beat me” story that can justify what he’s done to these women. And now he’s forced our wonderful and spunky Kyung-shim onto her knees, terrorizing her into begging him. Nope, that’s it. I don’t need the psychoanalysis. Just give Bong-soon a real life version of that giant walnut hammer and let her have at him.
The one thing I’m still interested in learning is who his seventh bride will be. In the scene where Jang-hyun pays off Minion, the seven bride picture frames are in the background, and he’s pinned Bong-soon’s picture into the sixth frame. If she is number six, then who the heck is seven? Did he have a final, special girl in mind all along? Also, Hee-ji’s picture is still up there, so will he try for her again? So many questions, and the only thing I know for sure is we still have a long way to go. The one comforting factor is our main couple. It’s almost like dealing with the criminally insane Jang-hyun is payment for getting the insanely lovable duo of Bong-soon and Min-hyuk. I suppose that as long as they make it through to the end, then I can hyperventilate my way through the darker scenes. Though I really could still use a hug…
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 11
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 10
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 9
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 8
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 7
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 6
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 5
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 4
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 3
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 2
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 1