Fox Bride Star: Episodes 27-28
Armed with more knowledge about Soo-yeon’s condition, our heroine sets out to help him in the only way she knows how – brute force. But she finds that he’s even more stubborn than she is, so it’s going to take finesse to help him overcome his fears. Unfortunately, finesse isn’t something Yeo-reum has much of, but she’s going to have to learn quickly or risk losing him, one way or another.
EPISODE 27: “Woman, man, and adult”
After Yeo-reum suggests they go on a trip together for Christmas, Soo-yeon goes home and rubs his arm as if it’s bothering him. “She talks about our future,” he thinks. But Yeo-reum has noticed that Soo-yeon only talks about the present.
Bartender Jang visits Yeo-reum that night. He tells her that Soo-yeon spent eleven years in a wheelchair after his accident, and that it’s only been a year since he got his prosthetics and became capable of moving normally and having an average work life. He says that Soo-yeon has a pure heart and longs for affection, and that he likes Yeo-reum very much, which is why he’s being reckless with his health.
He explains that Soo-yeon is very sick, with a lot of inflammation and internal infection. He asks Yeo-reum, if she cares for Soo-yeon, to please stop him from doing more damage to himself. He seems reluctant to say how that can be done, but Yeo-reum assures him that she’s willing to do anything.
Young-joo arrives home to find Yeo-reum looking despondent. She asks if Yeo-reum is okay, but Yeo-reum just lowers her face into her arms and cries.
Soo-yeon removes his prosthetic and finds his arm and chest covered in large, purple bruises. He takes his temperature and finds it scarily high. He shuffles around his apartment, icing his arm as his voice narrates, “That night, like the flooding fog, our future was uncertain, and even our today was unclear.”
The fog is so thick in the morning that a low visibility warning is issued, and many flights are delayed or canceled. All of the departments rush to make arrangements to accommodate delayed passengers, but they stop to stare out the windows in awe — they can’t see even a few inches past the glass.
It looks like Young-joo and Yeo-reum had a bit of a drinking/venting session last night, judging by the empty bottles all over the living room. The doorbell rings, and Young-joo drags herself off the couch to answer it. It’s Soo-yeon, looking for Yeo-reum, who’s fast asleep on the living room floor, ha.
She whines when Young-joo tries to wake her, but she comes to instantly when she hears Soo-yeon’s voice. She looks around at the empty soju bottles in confusion as Young-joo says with a smile that they created a friendship over drinks. Yeo-reum belatedly recalls alternately venting, laughing, and crying, and eventually they’d gotten so drunk that Young-joo suggested they drop to banmal and be friends.
Young-joo tells Soo-yeon that this is his fault — that Yeo-reum talked about him the entire time they were drinking, and even when the conversation would drift, she’d swing it back around to Soo-yeon. He tells Yeo-reum that she should talk to him if there’s something she needs to say, but she defends that it was only because she was drunk.
The girls consider going for hangover soup before work, but Soo-yeon brings their attention to an emergency text from the airport regarding the dangerous fog. They rush to get ready, leaving Soo-yeon to sigh at the evidence of Yeo-reum being upset over him.
In her room, Yeo-reum holds the compass her father gave her, and she asks him to guide her so that she doesn’t lose her way this time. Before rejoining Soo-yeon, she forces herself to smile.
As expected, most flights in and out of the airport are delayed, and Soo-yeon, Yeo-reum, and Young-joo arrive at the airport to find it full of confused and upset passengers. Dae-ki joins them, and Yeo-reum asks if this will be like last Christmas, when there was a similar dense fog for two days.
Seo-koon directs her team to take the delayed passengers to a prepared waiting area. Young-ran panics when she learns that the gas isn’t working at the restaurants, so Team Leader Lee calls the gas company while Soo-yeon and Yeo-reum are sent to the grocery store for cup ramyun and other emergency foods.
Team Leader Choi watches In-woo working and thinks of the questions his acquaintance, who’s been surreptitiously following In-woo, asked of him last night. Team Leader Choi had told him that In-woo is very smart and works well, but that he has no sense of compassion for others, and is annoying and condescending. He’d learned that In-woo is a Geosan scholarship student and one of Chairman Shin’s “kids,” and that he and Manager Kwon were meeting with Chairman Shin that very moment.
When Seo-koon finds Team Leader Choi looking thoughtful, he fibs that he’s just worried about the fog. He wanders off, but Seo-koon notices that he was staring at Manager Kwon’s office, where Manager Kwon is talking with In-woo.
On the way to the store, Yeo-reum asks Soo-yeon if he’s sick, and she checks his forehead and finds him burning hot. She thinks he should see a doctor, but he jokes that it’s just because he’s alone with her. He insists that he’s fine, but Yeo-reum can’t help remembering that Bartender Jang said he’s actually very ill.
As one plane waits for permission to land in the thick fog, a passenger starts to gasp and clutch at his chest. He suddenly stops breathing, so a flight attendant starts CPR and sends another attendant to find a doctor. The pilot requests permission to land due to a medical emergency, but there aren’t any free gates.
MP puts Eun-seob in charge of the situation, instructing him to find a gate that can be cleared quickly and determine the fastest route for the ambulance to get there. Eun-seob looks nervous, and everyone watches as he works frantically at his computer, but he finds a suitable gate and calls to tell them to move the plane that’s about to be boarded away from the gate.
The gate employee refuses, saying that they need to get the passengers onto their plane. Eun-seob argues that even if the plane is boarded, it won’t be taking off for a while, but the gate employee continues to insist that it’s their turn. With everyone watching him, Eun-seob says firmly that this is about saving a person’s life, and the gate employee backs down.
While doing rounds, Dae-ki notices that Young-joo doesn’t seem to be feeling well. She says she was drinking last night, and he looks a little jealous, wondering who she drank with. But she bristles at his questions and refuses to say, and she declines his suggestion that she rest.
Growing serious, Dae-ki asks if it’s bothersome to Young-joo that he keeps worrying about her. Aw, he looks so scared she’ll say yes, but before she can answer, they get an alert that someone has collapsed.
At the grocery store, Yeo-reum stubbornly loads up the crates of cup ramyun herself, telling Soo-yeon to rest since he’s got a fever. He smiles like she’s the cutest thing ever and picks up a box, but she startles him by smacking his hand and taking it from him, threatening to get angry if he doesn’t obey her. Soo-yeon is left to hover nervously as Yeo-reum does all the work, hee.
Oh no, the person who collapsed at the airport is Ajusshi. Young-joo calls for an emergency medical team, belatedly recognizing the man on the floor.
EPISODE 28 RECAP
Every time Soo-yeon tries to help Yeo-reum with the food, she snaps at him. Finally he grabs the cart and starts to say something, but Manager Gong calls for them to bring the crates and interrupts him, so he’s forced to watch Yeo-reum struggling from a distance.
As Yeo-reum passes out the cup ramyun later, one woman asks about food for her baby, who only eats organic food — and is also a dog. Another passenger tries to start an uprising over the delayed flights, while Manager Gong has to ask some men to stop drinking or they won’t be allowed on their flight.
Yeo-reum continues to forbid Soo-yeon to do anything, and later, he finds her in an empty room, exhausted. He gently doctors her ankle, which she twisted earlier, saying that he can do this even if she won’t let him do anything else.
He asks her what happened last night after they said goodnight, why she drank so much, and why she’s acting weird today. She says she’s just worried about his health, and asks him to go to the hospital since he’s still running a fever. But Yeo-reum gets a call from Young-joo, who says that a man collapsed, and that she thinks it’s the same man who stole Dae-ki’s radio.
Team Leader Choi casually asks In-woo about last night when he left with Manager Kwon, and when In-woo asks if he’s checking up on him, Team Leader Choi says that that depends on who they met with. In-woo claims they just went out for a drink, but he looks up sharply when Team Leader Choi mentions that he heard In-woo is a “Geosan scholarship student” (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds bad).
Team Leader Choi mentions that he knew someone else who was a Geosan student, and that his life didn’t end up well. He offers to help In-woo if he needs it, because regardless of the fact that he doesn’t like In-woo, this is a matter of life and death.
In-woo calls Director Jo as soon as he can, upset that Team Leader Choi knows about the meeting between Manager Kwon and the chairman. He’s scared that Manager Kwon will find out and back out of the deal, infuriating the chairman, and making things difficult for both In-woo and Director Jo. He tells a disgruntled Director Jo to make sure Team Leader Choi can’t approach them. In-woo adds that he’ll be issuing the orders until things are under control and Director Jo scoffs at In-woo’s gall.
He hangs up to find Soo-yeon behind him, wanting to know what it is that Manager Kwon can’t find out. In-woo tells him to mind his own business, but Soo-yeon really came to tell him that Ajusshi passed out from pneumonia and malnutrition, and that he’s been taken to the hospital. He says pointedly that whatever is going on with In-woo, he should visit his father.
By evening, the fog is clearing and the airport begins to go back to normal activity. Just when everyone feels safe to relax, Eun-seob’s pregnant deskmate, Je-in, starts to have contractions.
Although the cause of the delays has passed, there are still a lot of passengers waiting for their flights. Seo-koon volunteers to stay overnight to keep things organized, and Manager Gong agrees to stay to help her.
While she waits for Soo-yeon to finish his work for the day, Yeo-reum thinks about Bartender Jang’s talk with her last night, when he’d asked her to make sure Soo-yeon doesn’t continue to exhaust himself. She offers to finish Soo-yeon’s project so that he can go on home and rest, but he takes her hands and asks her to tell him why she’s acting strange today.
She says she’s just worried about him, but when she asks if he has some kind of infection, he realizes that she must have spoken to Bartender Jang. She swears that she didn’t, but Soo-yeon tells her that she talks too much when she’s trying to hide something, which she’s doing now.
Busted, she confesses that she did see Bartender Jang, and that he told her that Soo-yeon is very sick. He also said that an infection is very dangerous for Soo-yeon, so they need to get him to stop wearing his prosthetics for the foreseeable future.
Yeo-reum asks Soo-yeon if he would stop wearing his prosthetics so that he can get better. Soo-yeon’s reaction is… not good — he yells at Yeo-reum to stop talking, then walks away from her angrily. He goes to the Fox Bride Star restaurant and confronts Bartender Jang, who says that he told Yeo-reum everything she needs to know since Soo-yeon won’t listen to him.
Bartender Jang says that Soo-yeon’s infection is spreading to his kidneys, causing muscle deterioration, and that he needs to take off his prosthetics immediately or he’ll lose something even worse. Soo-yeon snarls that there’s nothing left for him to lose, but Bartender Jang tells him haltingly that he could die.
Soo-yeon says that it’s his choice if he dies, making Bartender Jang blink in confusion and argue that he made the prosthetics to keep Soo-yeon alive. Soo-yeon says that he wants to live more than anyone right now, but not like that, helpless and in a wheelchair. Bartender Jang promises to do his best to fix the prosthetics, but Soo-yeon cries it’s his body that’s breaking down, which Bartender Jang can’t fix.
When Young-joo is ready to leave work, Dae-ki asks her again if she’s bothered by the fact that he worries about her. She says it does bother her, but that’s all, she’s just bothered. She says that she needs this job and the stable income it provides, and that she doesn’t want to be swayed by what might be a momentary feeling.
She adds that she doesn’t want to be uncomfortable around him, either, and that right now she prefers to be alone. Dae-ki goes to the locker room to change, and we see that he’s wearing the cutesy socks Young-joo gave him for his birthday as he wonders sadly if he just got rejected before he ever even started anything. At home, Young-joo slides her feet out of her shoes to look at the matching socks she’s wearing. Awww.
Eun-seob finds Yeo-reum face-down at her desk, and he proudly tells her about how he handled the emergency earlier. He asks her what’s wrong, then realizes that she’s crying. But Yeo-reum sniffles that she’s not even the one that’s sick and congratulates Eun-seob on his success, saying that she’s proud of him before she leaves for home.
But Eun-seob grabs her arm, stopping her. He asks her not to go because he needs her, just for today.
As Soo-yeon sits on a bench with his phone, probably debating whether to call Yeo-reum, a couple of cars pull up and Director Jo and his lackeys get out. Director Jo calls In-woo to tell him who he’s “found,” then he hangs up. Looking scared, In-woo tries to call back, but there’s no answer.
Director Jo tells Soo-yeon that he almost didn’t recognize him looking so normal, since he was so broken the last time he saw him (standing over Soo-yeon after his accident). He mentions that he heard about Soo-yeon beating up his friend, the stalker who cut Yeo-reum, and he wonders how that’s even possible.
He gives his men a signal, then heads back to his car. His henchmen circle Soo-yeon, brandishing clubs and baseball bats, while Director Jo settles in to watch the show.
Ask me how relived I was when Bartender Jang didn’t ask Yeo-reum to break up with Soo-yeon! K-dramas have me so conditioned to expect an unnecessary breakup that I was bracing myself for that to be his request, because I can see how it makes convoluted sense that if Soo-yeon doesn’t have Yeo-reum to impress anymore, he might be willing to take off his prosthetics and stop literally killing himself. How nice that all Bartender Jang asked was for Yeo-reum’s help to keep Soo-yeon from overexerting himself physically and to consider not wearing his prosthetics for a while. Of course, we knew that would never work because Soo-yeon’s issues run deeper than just what Yeo-reum thinks of him — he’s too prideful to go back to the shame-filled life he had before he got the prosthetics.
Speaking of which, it explains so much to know that Soo-yeon has only been using the prosthetics for a year! I’ve been assuming that he’s had them for years and wondering why he’s suddenly being so irresponsible with them, but if he’s truly had them for such a short amount of time, then it makes sense why he doesn’t understand their limits and is so determined not to go back to his wheelchair. He spend over a decade being unable to work or appear “normal” to others, and after his prosthetics enabled him to live like everyone else, I honestly don’t blame him for being unwilling to go back. But now it’s serious, and the prosthetics are literally killing him.
The big problem is that Soo-yeon has a choice to make, and neither of the options are good. He can keep wearing his prosthetics and continue to seem normal… until he dies from the infection they’re causing. Or he can stop wearing them and go back to his wheelchair, which will render him a shut-in again. And you know that if that happens, he’ll break up with Yeo-reum out of shame and insecurity, because he won’t be able to believe that she loves him regardless of whether he’s physically whole or not. I suppose there might be a third option, that Bartender Jang can alter the prosthetics so that they’re not so dangerous, but all he has said for now is that he’ll try to repair them so I’m guessing that he doesn’t have the technology to completely fix the problem.
Soo-yeon even said it out loud, that he would rather die than go back to being wheelchair-bound, because he can’t stand the way people pity him. So the obvious answer — go back to his wheelchair, stay with Yeo-reum, and find a way to be okay with the reality of his situation — isn’t even going to occur to Soo-yeon as a possibility. It’s going to be up to Yeo-reum to convince Soo-yeon that she doesn’t care if he’s in a wheelchair or not, that she loves him for the person he is on the inside, and that he can still live a happy life without the fantasy of normalcy that his prosthetics provide. That’s not going to be easy after Soo-yeon spent eleven years hating himself for his disability, but for now, it’s the best hope he’s got.