Fight My Way: Episode 14
When our characters have spent their entire adult lives dealing with the disappointment of their unrealized dreams, there’s no way to predict how they’ll react when those dreams suddenly become possible. And there’s no guarantee that realizing their dreams will lead to happiness and fulfillment, as Dong-man and Ae-ra are about to discover — in fact, sometimes chasing your dream can become downright dangerous.
Round 14: “The calm before the storm”
It’s a night in the near future, and someone whose face we don’t see is taken away by ambulance. Ae-ra and Coach Hwang look on in shock as Dong-man’s voice narrates, “Every storm in life comes when you have your guard down.”
Back in the present, Dong-man prepares to defend Landlady Hwang’s apartment from intruders. He slowly approaches the closet where they’ve heard suspicious noises, and he reaches out to open the door…
Ae-ra suddenly yells Dong-man’s name, scaring the stuffing out of him. She tells him that there’s nobody there and yanks him out of the apartment. He protests all the way down the stairs, but Ae-ra had noticed that Landlady Hwang was wearing lipstick and figured that she just had a boyfriend over.
Dong-man gasps with maidenly horror, marveling at Ae-ra’s women’s intuition. Ae-ra suddenly asks if he’s seen Hye-ran since she moved in, but Dong-man doesn’t know why she should care.
He objects when Ae-ra starts to follow him home, telling her that she can’t come over anymore because it’s too difficult for him. He asks if she’s conducting some sort of self-control test on him before hurrying inside, but Ae-ra just lets herself in, hee.
After they’re gone, their dads tumble out of Landlady Hwang’s closet, surprising Nam-il. He seems to guess what’s happening and asks Landlady Hwang, “Which one is it?” The dads catch onto the fact that Nam-il calls Landlady Hwang “Mom,” and he says with a slightly sarcastic tone that he’s her one and only son, Kim Nam-il.
On their way out, Landlady Hwang tells the dads that she knows why they’re here, but she won’t hide anymore. Dong-man’s father asks why she came when she was doing fine, but she says that she was never fine, and that she’s never stopped being a mom. Ae-ra’s dad asks why she’d speak up now, but Landlady Hwang asks if it’s still a bad thing to be Hwang Bok-hee’s child.
Inside, Nam-il finds the box containing Landlady Hwang’s photographs and looks through it curiously. He finds an old flip-phone with a teddy bear charm still attached.
As they watch TV, Ae-ra asks Dong-man if he’s still going to the weigh-in tomorrow for his fight with Tak-soo. Trying to distract her, Dong-man mentions her overlapping interviews tomorrow. Not to be outwitted, Ae-ra just says that she’s not objecting to him fighting, just to him fighting Tak-soo.
A strange noise from upstairs draws their attention, and Ae-ra whispers that Hye-ran is home. Again, Dong-man asks why she cares.
Hye-ran is home, looking pale and depressed. She looks over her alimony agreement, in which it’s explicitly stated that she’s not allowed to talk about her ex-husband’s family.
As the dads leave the villa, Dong-man’s father wonders when Landlady Hwang got such a grown-up son. Ae-ra’s dad asks if they should visit the kids, but Dong-man’s dad nixes that idea, since they have no good excuse for being here.
Landlady Hwang goes back inside, looking shaken by the exciting evening. She picks up a photo of a beautiful young woman and stares at her wistfully.
The next morning, Dong-man sends Ae-ra to her interview, armed with antacids and chocolates. He says that maybe KBC called her back because her sassing impressed them.
He’s disappointed that the interview overlapped with the one for MMA announcer, since Ae-ra can only go to one. But Ae-ra says that she’s going to the KBC interview because that’s been her dream her whole life.
Dong-man says gently that as her friend of twenty-three years and now her boyfriend, he doesn’t think she’s announcer material. He thinks her skills would be wasted sitting in a chair, adding, “A moron should fly freely.” That’s… actually kinda sweet.
Ae-ra argues weakly that being an announcer feels like the major leagues. But Dong-man asserts that anywhere she likes being will be the major leagues for her. He sends her off with one final thought: “Do what makes your heart pound.”
The weigh-in is filled with reporters, and the whole room gasps when John Karellas takes off his hood, revealing his face. He’s bombarded with questions about why he’s in Korea, but John tells them to focus on Dong-man, because he’s the one who will be in the ring.
Dong-man and Tak-soo pose for photos in their fighting gear, as requested by the reporters. As they face off, challenge and determination shine in their eyes.
Ae-ra takes the bus to Cheongju, where the KBC interview will be held. When her name is called by the KBC representative, she’s not in the room — but then her voice calls out, “Yes, I’m here!”
But the room she runs into isn’t at KBC, it’s at the octagon. Hooray, she went to the MMA interview! We see that she’d gotten off the Cheongju bus at the last moment, thinking about Dong-man telling her to do what makes her heart pound.
She nails her speech, which is about how a female announcer would bring the interest of more women to MMA fighting. She figures she can afford to be aggressive and threatens to get a job announcing for their competitor, which would cost them the chance to hire Korea’s first female ring announcer.
One of the officials casually tells Ae-ra, “You’re hired.” She’s so surprised that she asks why, and he says that it’s because she’s spunky. Further, she’s informed that she’ll be announcing the upcoming match between Dong-man and Tak-soo.
Another official reminds the others that they already hired someone to announce that match, and they look over nervously as Hye-ran walks into the room. Grrrr, this again?
After the weigh-in, Tak-soo is furious and demands to know why John Karellas is coaching Dong-man. He yells for Tae-hee to bribe John to leave Dong-man, throwing a tantrum like a spoiled child. Coach Choi says disgustedly that this isn’t about money, because John wouldn’t work with him even if offered a fortune. He mutters that Tak-soo has already lost, then gets out of the van.
Tak-soo follows him, so Coach Choi reveals that Dong-man came to him first fifteen years ago. He says that he recognized Dong-man’s incredible talent but ended up falling for Tak-soo’s family money.
Now, he says that Coach Choi “took a steel ax and became a general,” while he ended up with a brat for a pupil. He apologizes to Tak-soo for not raising him properly, then walks away.
Back at Ae-ra’s interview, the official who likes Ae-ra asks why they have to use Hye-ran. The other official says that people are more interested when a celebrity is involved, but the first official asks what being a celebrity has to do with anything.
He asks Hye-ran to show them what she can do, but she’s offended that she’s expected to audition. She sneers that she was asked to donate her time and talent. The official snaps back that for ten times the pay, he expects to see something ten times better. When Hye-ran hesitates, he asks if she lacks confidence, but she says haughtily that it’s about self-esteem and walks out.
That leaves Ae-ra with the job, and she does a little happy dance of joy in the hallway. The official who was pushing to hire Hye-ran joins Ae-ra and tells her that he didn’t mean what he said.
He reveals that he didn’t expect Hye-ran to show up, but that he heard that her ex-in-laws don’t want her on television, which means she’s banned from the networks and must be desperate for work. Ae-ra ends up waiting with Hye-ran at the bus stop and figures it must be true if she’s not driving.
When Hye-ran struggles to find bus fare in her purse, Ae-ra pays the fare for both of them. On the ride home, Ae-ra checks the online comments and discovers that netizens are posting negative comments about how Hye-ran dumped her boyfriend (Dong-man) to marry a chaebol, and that they don’t support her anymore.
That evening, Dong-man pouts at Ae-ra to stay at his place since he’s fighting tomorrow. She’s worried about what to tell Seol-hee, though Dong-man is all for telling the truth. They jump up guiltily when Seol-hee arrives home, and Ae-ra waves sadly as she follows Seol-hee inside.
But Dong-man suddenly grabs Ae-ra’s hand and asks Seol-hee if he can borrow her tonight, since his match is tomorrow. Ae-ra looks guilty, but Seol-hee smiles and pushes her gently to Dong-man, telling him to take her.
Landlady Hwang takes a bottle of liquor to Coach Hwang, and when she calls him “Soondae” as usual, he corrects her that his name is Jang-ho (adorably acting out the words “general” and “tiger” that make up his name). They share a drink, and Landlady Hwang asks if Coach Hwang will do her a favor and keep a secret.
She hands him the flip-phone with the teddy bear charm, asking him to keep it hidden for her. When Coach Hwang opens the phone, Landlady Hwang snaps it shut, telling him to keep it, and then… but we don’t hear the rest.
Back at the villa, Joo-man leaves a bag of fruit and another teddy bear on Seol-hee’s doorstep. He rings the doorbell then runs up to his door, tripping on the way up, lol.
Dong-man is proud of Ae-ra landing the MMA announcer job, and he asks if she’ll interview him if he wins tomorrow. She snarls that he’d better win, because she refuses to interview Tak-soo.
Ae-ra asks if he’s scared, and when Dong-man starts to say yes, she snaps at him to stop being so honest and say that he’s not scared, hee. He tells her that he’s waited for ten years for these fifteen minutes, so he won’t lose.
Ae-ra promises to watch the entire fifteen minutes and protect him from anything bad happening. Dong-man says affectionately that she’s so tiny, yet she’s always talking about protecting him. He says that even if she does close her eyes, it will be over soon, and when she opens them, he’ll be right there. Okay, they’re making me very nervous.
Starting to cry, Ae-ra admits that she wants to anesthetize him so that he won’t wake up tomorrow. Dong-man hugs her tightly, but Ae-ra can’t be consoled. She says that it would be easy if he were just a regular guy, but she really really likes him, so of course she can’t give her blessing.
Dong-man sighs at Ae-ra’s tearful confession and kisses her, but before it gets too serious, he pulls back. He apologizes, saying that he likes her so much that he can’t do it. Ae-ra asks if he means that he’s protecting her from himself because he loves her.
Instead of answering, Dong-man shifts Ae-ra until she’s lying down, then leans over her. He says that he likes her so much that tonight, he can’t stop himself. Ae-ra puts up no resistance as he proceeds to do exactly that.
In the morning, a very contented Dong-man complains weakly that she really must have anesthetized him because he doesn’t want to get up. He says that he only thought he liked her a lot, but that was nothing compared to how he feels about her now. Ae-ra fusses at him for being so honest that it makes her heart pound, and he wonders how he resisted her for twenty years.
When they finally make it out of bed, Dong-man chickens out on facing Seol-hee. He leaves Ae-ra to do the Walk of Shame alone, and though she tries to pretend that nothing is different, Seol-hee gives her a wide grin and notes that she finally gave in after resisting for twenty years. HA.
Dong-man heads upstairs to find Joo-man sleeping off a solo bender on his apartment floor. He says that he’s known Seol-hee twice as long as Joo-man, so of course he’s on her side, adding that she’s way too good for Joo-man.
But he also says that he doesn’t trust any other guy with Seol-hee, so he tells Joo-man to go downstairs and beg. Joo-man pouts that Ae-ra is there too, but he lets Dong-man drag him downstairs for breakfast. Ae-ra shoots Joo-man some pretty nasty stink-eye and refuses to make an egg for him, hee.
Seol-hee is on the computer, and she calls Ae-ra over to see a couple of messages asking if her homemade plum and mulberry wines are for sale. Dong-man and Joo-man also wander over as a third request comes in, but her friends sigh and walk away in disgust when Seol-hee wildly undervalues her wine.
When it’s time for the fight, Kyung-ku is there offering to film it despite Dong-man’s refusal to go on his show. Dong-man talks to Ae-ra privately, and when he complains about her heavy sighs, she bops him on the head angrily.
She takes back telling him to win and gives him permission to lose, practically ordering him to tap out if he gets the slightest bit hurt. He promises to do that if he feels like he’s dying, but he says that if not, then he’ll win fair and square.
Ye-jin calls Seol-hee out to talk again, telling her that she went out drinking late with Joo-man recently. Seol-hee doesn’t want to hear it, but Ye-jin continues that he turned her down, then talked about Seol-hee for three solid hours.
We see in flashback that by the end of the night, Joo-man had been so drunk he could barely stand, but he was still saying that no matter who approached him, he’d always choose Seol-hee. Now Ye-jin tells Seol-hee that she understands that Joo-man was rejecting her from the start, and that it was her who wouldn’t listen.
She hands Seol-hee a gift bag which contains a cute framed drawing of herself and Joo-man that Ye-jin made. Ye-jin explains that she doesn’t want to be punished for making such a kind person as Seol-hee cry, and that she wanted to sincerely apologize before she goes to England to study.
That night, the office goes out to dinner together, with Seol-hee and intern Chan-ho sitting directly across from Joo-man. This time, when Seol-hee starts to cut up the meat for the grill, Joo-man wordlessly takes the utensils from her to do it himself.
He’s forced to watch as Chan-ho flirts with Seol-hee, asking her if she wants to “go there” (the nail salon) together next time. HAHA, Joo-man gives Chan-ho a piece of meat and orders him to eat it, even though it’s still mostly raw. Chan-ho asks Seol-hee if she has a boyfriend, and she tells him that she did, but they broke up.
It’s time for Dong-man’s fight to begin, so Ae-ra takes the stage nervously. Her voice gains confidence as she introduces the fight, and she finishes her speech perfectly. Nam-il and Landlady Hwang are in the audience, and Landlady Hwang looks particularly proud.
Dong-man’s theme song starts up, and he enters the arena, his game face on. Coach Hwang reminds him to avoid an injury at all cost and to not let Tak-soo get him on the ground, because he’s not ready for that. Dong-man says that it took him ten years to get here, so he’ll fight with no regrets.
As Dong-man enters the ring, Nam-il asks Landlady Hwang almost tauntingly which one it is: Dong-man or Ae-ra. So he doesn’t know who her long-lost child is, either.
At the restaurant, Joo-man calls for more coals for the grill, which the owner carries out with tongs. When he leans over to set them down, he startles Joo-man’s boss, who flails and knocks the coals out of his hand.
They fly across the table towards Seol-hee, but Joo-man manages to fling himself across her so that the coal hits his back instead of Seol-hee. Even though the coal scorched through his shirt and badly burned his back, Joo-man’s first thought is to ask whether Seol-hee is okay.
Tak-soo makes his entrance, and the fight starts. Dong-man and Tak-soo wildly throw punches and kicks, and Dong-man easily manages to throw him off whenever Tak-soo tries to grapple him to the ground.
Soon, Dong-man sees an opening, and he jumps and spins in his famous roundhouse kick. He lands a solid blow to Tak-soo’s head, causing the referee to call a quick time out. Tak-soo got his bell rung pretty good, so Tae-hee tells him to make Dong-man lose his temper and drag him to the floor, where Tak-soo is strongest.
The fight resumes, and at first, Tak-soo takes a couple of punches and another kick, but then Dong-man swings again and Tak-soo throws himself to the ground. He gestures for Dong-man to come at him, but Dong-man refuses.
The referee makes Tak-soo get up and starts the fight again, but again, Tak-soo falls to his back. Coach Hwang yells to Dong-man to stay up, so now it looks like they’re avoiding each other.
Tak-soo tries a new tactic — when Dong-man kicks out, he grabs his leg and swings him into the cage wall, trying to force him to fall. Dong-man struggles but eventually gets both feet solidly back on the ground. Tak-soo taunts him, asking if he’s scared to get on the floor with him.
Then he says the one thing that could make Dong-man lose his temper, that Dong-man prefers to fight on his feet because his sister can only sit. Dong-man heaves them both away from the cage wall, so Tak-soo jumps up and wraps his legs around Dong-man’s middle.
Coach Hwang screams a warning, but Dong-man is too furious to hear it. He lets out a roar and throws Tak-soo to the floor, landing on top of him. As they go down, their heads knock together hard.
Intentional head-butting is against the rules, but Tae-hee had told Tak-soo that he could make it look accidental and cause a “no decision” ruling. The plan apparently worked perfectly, and Tak-soo lies on the ground, clutching his own head in pain. But it’s Dong-man who’s injured, his eye gushing blood from a bad cut.
Ae-ra looks on in horror, remembering the previous night when she’d kissed any part of Dong-man that might get hurt, calling it a spell to ward off injury. She’d kissed his eye, then he’d pointed to his cheek, his forehead, and even his lips, conning her into more kisses.
After the company dinner, Joo-man and Seol-hee wait for the bus, and he reflexively starts to pay both of their fares before remembering to only pay his own. On the ride home, he hisses in pain when the bumpy road causes him to hit his burned back on the seat. Seol-hee sees him hurting, but she doesn’t react.
Dong-man is patched up by the doctor, but his injury is declared serious. He insists that he’s fine and tells them not to stop the fight, but the doctor signals to the referee that it’s over. Dong-man screams at Coach Hwang, begging and pleading for him not to let this happen, desperate to be allowed to finish the fight. But although it breaks Coach Hwang’s heart, the fight ends with a no-decision ruling.
Landlady Hwang leaves the arena with Nam-il on her heels. Nam-il asks if she’s sad, then he says that he knows that she doesn’t like hearing her call him “Mom” anymore. Suddenly very cold, he says that there are a lot of reasons why dogs are abandoned, but there’s one reason that’s the most beautiful and dirty: “When a baby comes along, the loving parent abandons the dog they raised.”
Landlady Hwang asks what Nam-il is trying to say. With a nasty glint in his eye, Nam-il says that it’s only natural for him to bite when someone takes what belongs to him. Landlady Hwang reminds him that she told him not to touch the kids, but he just asks what she did with that flip-phone.
Joo-man’s back still pains him as he gets ready for bed, but he’s distracted by the doorbell. He answers the door to find Seol-hee standing on the step, and he braces himself for what she’s here to say.
Tak-soo faces the reporters and brags that he was leading the fight, smirking as he says that Dong-man’s injury proves that he was lacking. Coach Choi rushes over to fuss over Tak-soo’s bruised head, then he sees a trickle of blood coming from Tak-soo’s nose.
The entire arena watches, stunned, as Tak-soo’s eyes roll back and he slumps to the ground.
It’s Tak-soo who’s rushed into the ambulance with Coach Choi beside him. Dong-man comes outside after getting cleaned up, and he turns to Ae-ra, who glares at him before walking away. He swings her back to face him, hugging her and apologizing for scaring her.
She shoves him away, yelling that he didn’t tap out like she said or avoid the ground like Coach told him to do. Dong-man can only apologize again, admitting that he messed up, and he insists that his injury isn’t bad.
But there’s a sudden loud ringing in his ears, and he cringes at the noise as Ae-ra continues berating him. He listens as Ae-ra’s voice fades until it disappears, leaving only the loud ringing behind.
An expression of pure terror comes over Dong-man’s face, and he screams Ae-ra’s name. He starts slapping his ears with his hands, until Ae-ra stops him and asks what’s wrong. Still yelling, Dong-man asks why Ae-ra is talking that way, demanding to know why he can’t hear her voice.
In voiceover, Dong-man says that the storm passed, and the world grew dark. Overcome by fear, Dong-man screams, “Why is it so quiet? Why? WHY?!”
The night before the fight, we hear Dong-man softly asking Ae-ra if he should turn off the lights. His television lights up with a content warning: “Fight My Way must abide by the Age 15 rating…….”
Okay, this is very bad, much worse than anything I expected to happen when Dong-man and Tak-soo finally faced off. All this time I’ve been so concerned with whether or not Dong-man could be hurt if he fought Tak-soo, it never occurred to me to think about whether Tak-soo might get seriously hurt. Now, not only is Dong-man going to have to deal with his own devastating hearing loss, he’ll have to deal with the guilt of having severely injured someone else. But for me, the most upsetting moment was when Dong-man was begging and screaming for Coach Hwang not to end the fight.
He’s waited so long for this chance, and it broke my heart to see him losing his opportunity to fight Tak-soo in a fair fight yet again. The first fight broke Dong-man in a way that was difficult to watch, but seeing him go through that all over again was nearly more than I could take. I don’t even think it’s about fighting Tak-soo at this point, so much as it is about finally getting the chance to redeem himself in his own heart for throwing the fight ten years ago. But plot-wise, I do find it much more interesting that now Dong-man is going to have to ease his heartbreak over the two fights with Tak-soo in a way that doesn’t involve beating someone up, or getting beat up himself. If he can do that, he’ll come out much healthier emotionally in the end.
But I loved seeing Hye-ran lose out to Ae-ra because of her own over-inflated ego sooo much. It was so satisfying to see her show up to steal Ae-ra’s thunder yet again, only to have that official say that her name means nothing if she can’t deliver. I’m positive that Hye-ran’s refusal to audition wasn’t so much about her feeling offended at being asked to prove her talent, but because she knows she’s not as good as Ae-ra and would fail that test.
I know the show is trying to make us feel bad for Hye-ran by showing us how her carefully polished veneer is chipping, but I don’t feel sorry for her one tiny bit. The way she’s jerked around Dong-man for years (and no, I don’t care if she was jealous of Ae-ra, since she still treated both Dong-man and Ae-ra terribly) makes me feel sure that her marriage failed because she’s an insufferable harpy. And someone who treats others the way she does doesn’t deserve fame and riches and a comfortable life, not if it comes at the expense of others. All I can feel for Hye-ran is a sense of satisfaction that her karma has finally caught up with her, and perfectly timed so that she can watch while Ae-ra finally gets her big shot. I hope that at least a tiny part of Hye-ran realizes that Ae-ra deserves it more than she ever did.
With only two episodes left, there’s a lot of things that are really worrying me, like the threats to Dong-man and Ae-ra that I’m concerned we won’t have enough time to properly address. There’s Kyung-ku, who seems to be growing more unstable, Nam-il who has suddenly gone from the cute landlord’s son to someone bent on finding out who his (adoptive?) mother’s real child is and getting rid of them, and Hye-ran, who I’m guessing will be using pity to try to snag Dong-man next. Not to mention Tak-soo’s apparent brain injury, and Dong-man’s hearing loss and unfinished business regarding the fight he threw ten years ago. But so far, the writer has given me no reason to doubt their ability to wrap things up well, so I’m going to look forward to the resolutions and trust that they will be handled in a balanced and unpredictable way.
- Fight My Way: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: Circle, Fight My Way, Lookout
- Life is rosy for the youths of Fight My Way
- Oh Snap! A friend to lean on when things go sideways
- Suffocating best friends in Fight My Way’s new teaser
- The cute and the petty in Fight My Way’s second teaser
- KBS schedules drama shorts, delays Fight My Way’s premiere
- Finger hearts in new stills for Fight My Way
- Bickering besties Park Seo-joon and Kim Ji-won for Fight My Way
- Kimbap and charged looks on the set of Third-Rate My Way