Reunited Worlds: Episodes 9-10
It must be indescribable to find out that you’ve died and been brought back to the world over a decade later. To not to know how it all works or why you’ve been given a second chance must be a lonely and frightening experience, which Hae-sung brings home for us this hour. But for our resurrected hero, his first priority is always his family, and he plans to reunite his scattered siblings, even if it means putting the mystery of his own death aside.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Hae-sung and Jung-won start for home after meeting Hae-chul’s daughter, Gong-ju. Suddenly, Hae-sung gasps and clutches his chest in pain. Jung-won is shocked and confused as he collapses to the ground, writhing in agony.
Nearby, Min-joon meets with a man who turns out to be his father, who’s annoyed to have been bothered by something so trivial as his own brother’s funeral. Min-joon is angry that his father didn’t come to the funeral after employing him as his driver for twenty years, but he just gets a lecture about respect. Min-joon tells his father to set an example if he wants respect.
He leaves, and as he moves further from Hae-sung’s location, Hae-sung suddenly starts to recover. How strange. He and Jung-won resume their walk home, and Hae-sung reassures her that he feels perfectly fine now, though he looks worried.
They near Jung-won’s apartment as her shrill landlord kicks out a couple for not paying rent. They quickly escape and head to Min-joon’s restaurant, where Jung-won says they can stay until everyone shows up for work tomorrow.
Hae-sung is impressed that Jung-won works in such a fancy place. She heads to the kitchen to make some pasta, enlisting Hae-sung’s help as a vegetable chopper and grinning that it’s nice to have an assistant chef.
She grabs an apron and ties it around his waist, practically hugging him, and catches sight of her reflection in a stainless steel fridge. She asks Hae-sung how she looks, thinking that she looks old around him. But Hae-sung says, completely sincerely, that she looks exactly the same to him.
As Jung-won cooks, she explains that in order to be promoted to chef, she has to pass a surprise test that can happen at any time. She says that as an assistant chef, she’s not even allowed to use the frying pan, and that if anyone saw her right now, she’d be fired on the spot.
Hae-sung turns to get plates, and Jung-won suddenly gasps, “Chef-nim!” Hae-sung freezes, then turns to see… that she’s just punking him. HA.
As they sit to eat, Hae-sung asks Jung-won why she stopped drawing and became a cook. She says that after he died, she blamed herself so much that she lost focus, so she quit art school and worked part-time jobs.
Then, five years ago, she wondered what Hae-sung would be doing if he were alive. She’d imagined he’d be a chef, so she’d entered cooking school. She tells Hae-sung that she wanted to fulfill his dream of becoming a chef and that it makes her happy, and he looks touched.
As they finish eating, the sound of a car engine alarms Jung-won. Hae-sung huffs that she can’t fool him again, but this time it really is Min-joon pulling up to the restaurant. They hide the evidence of their meal and crouch beneath a table.
Min-joon comes inside and opens a bottle of wine. He starts to text Jung-won to ask her to join him, but he chickens out and erases the message, as well as the next one saying that he misses her.
When a pepper grinder rolls out from where Jung-won and Hae-sung are hiding, Min-joon stands to retrieve it. Thinking fast, Jung-won pops out from under the table behind Min-joon and says that she came to practice making pasta, surreptitiously motioning for Hae-sung to stay put.
Min-joon is glad to see Jung-won and he invites her to have some wine. He pours her a glass then goes to the kitchen for a snack, which is when Hae-sung remembers that Min-joon’s three-year crush started when he met Jung-won while she was drunk. He comes out from under the table and says he doesn’t want her getting drunk, then drinks her glass of wine in one gulp.
He makes it back to his hiding place just as Min-joon comes back with a plate of cheese. He gapes at Jung-won’s empty wine glass and refills it, and she asks about his pasta recipe, saying that hers didn’t taste right.
Min-joon offers to explain, then he goes back to the kitchen. Hae-sung quickly leaps up, drains Jung-won’s wine glass again, then shoots Jung-won an “I’m warning you!” glare before sliding back under the table. HAHA, he’s going to be so drunk.
Min-joon is perplexed when he finds Jung-won’s glass empty again, and she laughs nervously and says she just really likes wine. When he goes to the kitchen again, Hae-sung staggers over to order Jung-won to make an excuse to leave. She says she has to stay until the wine is gone, so Hae-sung kills the remainder of the bottle. OMG. You’re still a minor!
Min-joon probably thinks Jung-won has a drinking problem by now (well, she did admit it once), but he just gives her a disapproving look. Hae-sung decides to come out and show himself, teetering unsteadily as Jung-won babbles an excuse for why they can’t stay at her place.
Min-joon generously offers to let Hae-sung sleep it off on his couch while Jung-won spends the night with Jin-ju. Jung-won is worried Hae-sung might let something slip while he’s drunk, but she doesn’t have a choice.
Jin-ju asks Jung-won how things are going with the boss, and Jung-won insists that he’s her boss and nothing else. As Jin-ju covers Jung-won’s face in cucumber slices, she asks if Jung-won loved Hae-sung back in high school. Jung-won vehemently denies it and Jin-ju drops it, though she notes that Jung-won sure is going through a lot for a boy who was just a friend.
She heads to the laundromat, leaving Jung-won alone with a face full of cucumber. Ho-bang shows up and lets himself in, bringing a watermelon as a peace offering. Mistaking Jung-won for Jin-ju, he apologizes for seeing Jin-ju naked and admits that no amount of alcohol can erase the image from his mind.
He asks what’s so wrong about getting a Brazilian wax, and Jung-won sits bolt upright, clutching her ears. Traumatized, she says that she’ll pretend she didn’t hear a thing, but it’s too late — Jin-ju has returned, and she’s freaking out.
She attacks Ho-bang, and Jung-won has to pry her off of him. Ho-bang runs out sobbing apologies as Jin-ju collapses dramatically.
In the morning, Hae-sung wakes at Min-joon’s place, and he notices a small jar containing a blue hair ribbon. He thinks that it looks exactly like the ribbon he bought for Jung-won on the night he died, that he never got to give to her.
At the mall where Hae-sung’s friend Tae-hoon works, a young woman waits nervously for Hae-sung, wondering if he’ll remember her. She seems adorably mischievous and she hopes he doesn’t recognize her, then her whole face lights up when she sees Hae-sung approaching.
He walks right past her and she calls out to him. He turns, and she looks at him sternly and asks, “How could you do this to me?” Then she quickly plants a kiss on his cheek, but Hae-sung reacts like she just slapped him.
She accuses Hae-sung of being entirely too handsome, then walks off with a saucy little wave. Poor guy, he’s utterly terrorized by what just happened.
He’s here to see his other sister Young-in, whom he must have already spoken to because she’s not shocked to see him. She tells him to meet her upstairs, and when she shows up, the girl who just attack-kissed Hae-sung is with her.
He belatedly realizes that this is SOO-JI, his youngest sister that used to always kiss him on the cheek. Awww. Hae-sung playfully puts on his disapproving oppa face, but Soo-ji quips that they’re the same age now and attack-kisses him again. Cute.
Tae-hoon joins them, and Hae-sung thanks him for paying Young-in’s hospital bills. Tae-hoon asks if he’s reunited with all of his siblings, and Hae-sung admits that he hasn’t spoken to Young-joon yet.
Tae-hoon’s mother calls him to his father’s office, and it’s no surprise to see that he’s the man we met as Min-joon’s father. Tae-hoon’s mother takes him to the hospital where Young-joon works, to see Director Sohn and her daughter. It’s a marriage meeting, which is news to both Tae-hoon and the young lady, who happens to be Seo-won, Young-joon’s fiancee.
Young-joon is summoned to Director Sohn’s office, clearly a ploy by Director Sohn to let him know that she disapproves of his engagement to Seo-won. Tae-hoon recognizes him, but Young-joon introduces himself formally, and Tae-hoon takes the hint and doesn’t mention that they grew up together.
After that snub, Young-joon is in a terrible mood when Hae-sung arrives and asks to talk to him. It angers him when Hae-sung asks where he was the night he died, but Hae-sung swears that he’s not trying to clear his name, he just wants to reconnect with his siblings.
He says that he wants them all to sit together and work out whatever’s kept them apart, but Young-joon says that he didn’t kill Jung-chul and he doesn’t want to see Hae-sung again. Hae-sung repeats that he doesn’t care about that, he just wants to know why Young-joon abandoned their siblings.
Young-joon sneers at Hae-sung not to act like his hyung, especially when they aren’t even real brothers. Shocked, Hae-sung just stares at Young-joon, then he punches him in the mouth.
Meanwhile, Ho-bang meets up with Tae-hoon and Moon-shik to tell them that Hae-sung remembers everything from the day he died, and that he’s convinced Hae-sung didn’t kill Jung-chul. Moon-shik worries that it will be difficult to find the real killer after twelve years, but Ho-bang tells him that he’s joining the Violent Crimes unit, vowing to find the killer and clear Hae-sung’s name.
Then he falls off his chair when he sees Jin-ju standing only inches away. HA. She asks if Ho-bang means what he just said, and he repeats that he’s determined to prove Hae-sung’s innocence. She hold up a bag of stinky garbage that she ways was for Ho-bang, waving it in his face, but she decides to hang onto it and see if he can really help Hae-sung.
Mr. Mystery is also at the hospital, listening in as the doctors discuss his son’s cancer. Young-joon is the primary physician, and he says they can’t perform a surgery that the patient needs in order to breathe more comfortably without a guardian. One doctor argues that they can if Young-joon signs off on it, but he refuses to consent.
Mr. Mystery finds Hae-sung sitting outside feeling guilty about punching Young-joon. He tells Hae-sung that his son may die, because he has no family to sign the consent form and the doctor is unwilling to take the risk. He cries, feeling helpless to save his son.
Because the restaurant is gaining popularity, Min-joon decides to promote one of his assistant chefs. His kitchen manager tells him that Jung-won isn’t ready, but Min-joon still considers giving her a chance.
He pulls her aside to warn her not to bring non-employees into his kitchen again, and she hangs her head in apology. He asks how long she plans to just take out the trash, giving her a disappointed look as he walks away.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Hae-sung goes back to ask Young-joon to perform the surgery on Mr. Mystery’s son, but he continues to refuse without a guardian. Hae-sung tells him that Mr. Mystery came back from the dead like him, and that he’s the patient’s father. Young-joon spits that none of this is normal, and warns Hae-sung never to come back here.
Desperate, Hae-sung offers to stay away and pretend to be strangers if Young-joon performs the surgery. Awww, his voice breaks just from the pain of saying the words. He says that he’s not asking Young-joon to save the man’s life, he just wants his friend not to blame himself for being unable to help his son. But Young-joon isn’t moved, and asks if Hae-sung wants to ruin his life.
At the restaurant, Min-joon seems grouchy, forbidding any more orders of a clam pasta dish because the clams aren’t fresh. He orders Jung-won to stay after work, but Jung-won smells the clams and thinks they’re fine.
After closing, she apologizes to Min-joon for bringing Hae-sung to the kitchen, but she protests that she did nothing wrong today. She shows him the clams, insisting they’re fresh, and he smiles at her tenacity.
Min-joon tells Jung-won to make the same clam pasta dish she made for Hae-sung, gently correcting her mistakes as she goes. He takes over at the end, showing her how to put on the finishing touches and having her taste the difference. Min-joon tells her to do it again until she can make it taste like this by herself.
Jung-won still isn’t home when Hae-sung drops by, so he waits for her at the bus stop. But she doesn’t show, and she doesn’t answer her phone when he calls, so he heads to the restaurant to look for her.
Finally Min-joon calls it a night and offers Jung-won a ride home. She politely declines and he walks her out, and she sees Hae-sung after Min-joon walks away. She’s happy to see him, but he’s grouchy because she didn’t answer her phone.
Min-joon pulls around the corner and stops to offer them both a ride, which Hae-sung refuses. He mutters in banmal that Min-joon shouldn’t have kept Jung-won so late, and Jung-won says a bit too brightly that they can just take the bus.
After Min-joon leaves, Jung-won snaps at Hae-sung for being rude, and he asks angrily why they were working so late and alone. She explains that Min-joon was giving her a special lesson and asks what Hae-sung’s problem is lately, but he pretends not to know what she means.
They sit in separate seats on the bus, both pouting childishly, then continue bickering all the way to Jung-won’s door. Jung-won yells for Hae-sung to go, and he yells for her to lock the door.
Young-joon performs the surgery on Mr. Mystery’s son after all, though he ignores Mr. Mystery’s gratitude. The patient suddenly opens his eyes for the first time in months, and Mr. Mystery calls his name and tells him that his father is here. He cries and apologizes for not being there for his son’s life.
His son closes his eyes again, and Mr. Mystery allows the nurses to pull him away. But then his son’s lips move, and with his powerful hearing, Mr. Mystery hears him say the word, “Father.” He beams happily, telling his son that he’ll be back. Awww.
He runs outside and grabs Hae-sung in a bear hug, thanking him for making this possible. He tells Hae-sung not to be angry with his brother, so Hae-sung goes inside to convey his friend’s thanks. But Young-joon walks past him as if they’re strangers, holding Hae-sung to his awful promise.
At the midday break, the kitchen manager decides to administer Jung-won’s surprise test in order to get it out of the way so that Min-joon will agree to hire an experienced chef. She gets to work as Min-joon retreats to his office, pretending indifference but practically biting his nails as he watches her on the security camera.
Jung-won prepares several plates of the clam pasta dish and serves them to Min-joon and the other employees. They all taste the pasta, and Jung-won frowns when Min-joon gives no indication of whether it’s good or not.
Min-joon instructs the employees to vote fairly, reminding them that promoting someone to chef when they aren’t ready could mean failure for the restaurant. They vote by placing a mushroom in a frying pan for “yes” or in a plate for “no.”
Jung-won waits nervously in Min-joon’s office until she’s called downstairs, where she learns that the vote was seven to five — for her not to be promoted. Damn. Everyone goes back to work, and the kitchen manager tells Jung-won to quit because she’s standing in the way of her more talented juniors. Wow, what an ass.
Min-joon simply gives her an encouraging smile and tells her she did well. He goes back to his office, where he finds a cartoon she’d doodled of a nervous dog being comforted by another little dog.
Devastated by Young-joon’s rejection, Hae-sung tries to find Jung-won, but again she’s not home or picking up her phone. He leaves a message saying that he wants to see her, which she only hears once work is over.
He’d said he’d wait at her apartment, so she’s surprised to see him standing outside the restaurant looking terribly sad. She calls his name, and he looks up at her as if the sound of her voice is his lifeline. Jung-won asks if something happened, and Hae-sung says that he just needed to see her.
He notices that she seems upset, so she tells him that she failed her promotion test. She apologizes for not being able to fulfill his dream of being a chef on his behalf, tears welling up in her eyes. With a heavy sigh, Jung-won steps forward and lays her head on his shoulder, and Hae-sung wraps his arms around her tightly.
He says that she doesn’t have to live his life for him anymore, because he’s back now. He tells her to live her own life and that he’ll be there rooting for her.
As they stand in each other’s arms, giving and receiving comfort, Min-joon steps outside and sees them. Hae-sung looks up, and the two men lock gazes.
This episode was difficult to watch, for Hae-sung and for Jung-won, as they both experienced crushing disappointments and didn’t even have each other to lean on. Poor Hae-sung doesn’t ask for much, and after seeing him rage when Young-joon was hurt as a kid, it felt terrible to see Young-joon demanding that he pretend they’re strangers. But I felt particularly bad for Jung-won, who was pushed into a ridiculous test that everyone knew she wasn’t ready for (how can anyone pass a test to become a chef when they’ve been forbidden to even use a frying pan?). She was purposely set up to fail by the kitchen manager, and I blame Min-joon for letting it happen. He knows better than anyone that she only knows how to make one dish, and that she can barely even manage that.
And yet I’m inclined to like Min-joon, because he really seems to be exactly what you see — a sweet, thoughtful, kind man who has honest feelings for Jung-won yet respects the fact that she doesn’t feel the same way. I like how he is around Jung-won in the kitchen, guiding her from the sidelines but never stepping in to solve her problems for her. Still, there’s definitely something going on with him, although I’m not sure he’s even aware of it. The biggie is his father, who also turns out to be Tae-hoon’s father, making them half-brothers. Then there’s the fact that just being near Min-joon’s father made Hae-sung collapse in excruciating pain, which makes me wonder if Min-joon’s father had something to do with Hae-sung’s death.
Then there’s Min-joon’s past connections to Jung-won, as evidenced by the keepsakes he’s held onto without her knowledge. It seems pretty innocent for him to have one of her cartoons, and his story that she gave it to him accidentally seems plausible. But his possession of the hair ribbon Hae-sung bought for Jung-won points to their connection possibly going further back, maybe even to high school. It’s one more clue that makes me wonder if Min-joon’s father was somehow involved with Hae-sung’s death, because Hae-sung never got a chance to give the ribbon to Jung-won — he was killed before he saw her that night, so the ribbon would have still been on him when he died. So how did it end up in Min-joon’s possession? And why he would keep it in a place of honor, when Hae-sung never even had a chance to give it to Jung-won? Min-joon would have had to somehow know that the ribbon was meant for her.
I can accept that not telling Jung-won that he met her a day earlier than she thinks, when she was drunk, can be chalked up to Min-joon just wanting to be chivalrous. But if they knew each other when they were younger and she just doesn’t remember, and he’s keeping that information from her, then that feels a lot more deliberately dishonest. I don’t think they went to school together because Min-joon told Jung-won that he’s only met his brother once when they were very young, so they couldn’t have attended the same high school. But there’s definitely more to the story that Min-joon isn’t telling, for whatever reason.
Hae-sung is just killing me — he’s such a sweet, bright, loving kid, and he didn’t deserve to die, or to come back only to feel displaced and alone. There are a lot of people who love him and are overjoyed that he’s back, but the sad truth is that they’ve all moved on with their lives. As much as they care about him, a teenage boy can’t be re- integrated into their lives in the same place he occupied when he was alive. In a society so bound by age conventions, Hae-sung is no longer their friend and big brother. Not to mention the added complication of his having been branded a murderer after he died, and the mystery surrounding his death. I’m beginning to worry that there’s no way for Hae-sung to stay in the world of the living and remain with his friends and family, not without sacrificing a lot of what made his life worth living in the first place.
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