Memorials: Episode 3
Our heroine’s path to district representative was never going to be an easy one, and there are those who are determined to make it even harder. Unfortunately for them, she hasn’t gotten to this point by taking crap quietly. As the election day draws near, the candidates pull out all the stops to ensure their victory.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
After dramatically tearing up Se-ra’s resignation, Gong-myung barely dodges Se-ra’s enraged high kick. Squaring crazy eyes at him, Se-ra demands why he’s insisting she stay after repeatedly telling her she’ll fail. Embarrassed, Gong-myung agrees it’s none of his business and turns to go, but Se-ra drags him back, ordering him to pick up the shredded paper. Awkwardly picking up the pieces, Gong-myung grumbles she’ll never make it if her reaction to false rumors is quitting. To his surprise, Se-ra says she did receive a favor.
Sitting in a coffee shop, Se-ra explains the letter was for her apology video to show her sincerity. She admits she went to an interview knowing she’d gotten it through connections and Gong-myung chides at her to be suspicious of people who’re nice without reason. Se-ra agrees she should’ve been suspicious of someone hiring her at an interview. With a cough, Gong-myung asks who got her the infamous interview but Se-ra ignores him and waves a woman toward their table.
It’s the woman Se-ra witnessed getting fired and she explains after Se-ra refused the job (having not realized it was already filled), the company went on to hire a temporary worker to compete with the woman for the permanent position – so she quit too. Cursing the company, Se-ra apologizes but the woman wants an apology from the company and Se-ra smiles at Gong-myung. The next morning, the women post a video threatening legal action against slanderous false accusations.
Office maknae Yong-gyu adds he’d found another article slamming Se-ra’s parents (Dad for using connections and Mom for working under a different candidate) and labeling them a shameless family. Even Dae-cheol admits it’s harsh and both men jump when Gong-myung appears behind them, glaring at the monitor. Se-ra also sees the article and curses loudly, while Mom is fired from Oh Byung-min’s campaign team.
A quick internet search tells Se-ra and co the latest nasty netizen is selling a phone. Se-ra calls to set up a meeting for a “peaceful conversation” and then catches up to Gong-myung leaving work. He tells her he’s off the clock but Se-ra insists there’s more to do. Ignoring Se-ra’s cheeky order to follow “noona,” Gong-myung starts walking in the opposite direction… only for Se-ra to drag him kicking and screaming by his bag strap. Heehee!
The poster turns out to be a teen and Se-ra accuses the boy of posting hateful comments. She asks whether he prefer she sue him or handle it tonight. The boy leads them to an oriental clinic and Se-ra confiscates his phone while they head inside. Gong-myung tuts at her for threatening a kid and Se-ra snaps they’re on the same side. She stalks towards the building and sighing, Gong-myung follows while the anxious teen memorizes the number on the sign.
Sneaking up the stairs, Se-ra ties her hood around her face as Gong-myung straps on a face mask. She holds out a hand for one and he slaps her hand away. “Don’t you know the phrase ‘lady first’?” Se-ra balks and Gong-myung looks around before replying there’s no lady present. They bicker until they hear a door slam up ahead and, in a panic, Se-ra pins Gong-myung to the wall. They freeze at their sudden proximity until Se-ra breaks away, shakily wondering why he’s looking at her like that while Gong-myung goes to take a step and trips when his legs give out. Heh.
Se-ra figures there’s 4 people from the takeout dishes in the hall. She starts mussing up Gong-myung’s hair to disguise them and as they stare at each other she suddenly stops, musing over how Gong-myung has grown up. He finally gets fed up and slaps her away just as an older gentleman calls out to them. Se-ra claims they’re from the Chinese restaurant and mischarged for the dinner. The man assumes they’re married and Se-ra wraps around Gong-min’s arm as he leads the “couple” inside.
The room appears empty but Gong-myung nods to a picture of Oh Byung-min. From the warm tea, Se-ra figures they’re close and Gong-myung deadpans this is the third floor with only one exit. Se-ra whips out the teen’s phone and calls “Grandpa,” finding three elderly men huddled in the back. Gong-myung stops her from attacking and when Se-ra asks whose side he’s on, Gong-myung points out he’s just doing his job.
Since it was conducted by a family member and not sanctioned by the campaign camp, Chairman Jo settles it with a warning. He urges the men to issue an apology to Se-ra’s family and not act without approval again. Se-ra fumes over the simple notice posted and after getting no sympathy from Gong-myung, she rips it in half. Back at HQ, she vows to beat Byung-min but Woo-young grumbles she doesn’t stand a chance.
Han-bi is more hopeful, suggesting a savior could appear… just as Mom bursts inside, declaring she’ll join their camp. She says she already posted to the mom cafes (that were insulting Se-ra) and offers a discount on her usual fee. Se-ra rolls with it and Mom ushers her back out to campaign. Woo-young asks for Mom’s bank info but Mom waves her off – she’d just said that to put Se-ra at ease. Awww.
We see a hilarious montage of Mom campaigning as her voiceover reads her post: compared to personal insults, being a “foolish mom that hindered my daughter” bothered Mom more, and she vows to support Se-ra. Mom even throws off Oh Byung-min’s campaign by dancing along but singing out Se-ra’s name instead. Meanwhile, Gong-myung busts candidate 3 for bribery and candidate 4 withdraws to support Oh Byung-min.
Hee-soo of the Progressive Party toasts candidate, Sohn Eun-shil, and asks their dinner guests to advise her. Eun-shil is unenthused by their suggestions to slander her runningmates and Hee-soo proposes they simply say voting for Se-ra is the same as handing the election to Byung-min. At HQ, Han-bi tuts over the slogan while Woo-young shows them the unofficial poll done by Byung-min’s camp: 30% Byung-min, 20% Eun-shil, 9% Se-ra, and the remaining 41% undecided.
Rolling her eyes, Woo-young tuts Se-ra doesn’t stand a chance against candidates with organizational support and better backgrounds. Han-bi growls at her to shut up and Se-ra brightly adds at least she showed up. She heads out again and Woo-young laments not stopping her sooner. Han-bi likens Se-ra’s campaign to Woo-young bringing her work home, saying it’s not just about the money, but wanting to be good at your job: “Se-ra probably believes she’ll do a good job, and wants to do a good job. That’s why she’s running for office.”
Outside, Se-ra wonders who her 9% is. She’s approached by Eun-shil, who invites her to her office for tea. Ein-sil empathizes campaigning without a party, recalling she’d done the same in the last election and been beaten by Chairman Jo. Se-ra confesses she saw her and we flashback 3 years. Se-ra was leaving another failed interview when she came across Eun-shil passionately cheering on the youth for trying so hard in a tough world. She shouts that they’re doing well and congratulates them for their hard work and her words comforted Se-ra.
In the present, Eun-shil admits this will likely be her last campaign and asks Se-ra to help. Heading home, Se-ra frowns and tries to convince herself she did well. Her complaint diary sits on Eun-shil’s table and she’d explained she makes one every year. Eun-shil reviews Se-ra’s carefully documented record of the district in awe.
Gong-myung arrives at a pojangmacha to find Se-ra passed out drunk. The owner says Se-ra’s most recent call was to “Jerk” and Gong-myung smirks that’s him. He picks Se-ra’s hair out of her noodles with chopsticks, nearly suffering a heart attack when she springs up. He asks if she quit the election and Se-ra nods Eun-shil will take over. Gong-myung asks if she’s okay with that and Se-ra whines about her $2,000 registration fee and burst into sobs. She runs out screaming and collecting her things, Gong-myung runs after her.
The next morning, Se-ra chugs water and confesses to Han-bi and Woo-young she handed her journal over to Eun-shil and promised to send over her old ones too. Woo-young tuts Se-ra handed over everything and slapping on a smile, Se-ra vows to get a job and buy them Korean beef. Her phone buzzes with a text from Eun-shil to work together.
4 days until the election, Eun-shil is holding a press conference to announce a joint-campaign. Hee-soo congratulates her for resolving things and Chairman Jo walks up, commenting Se-ra hasn’t joined them yet. He says female candidates joining forces would seem like collusion, anyway, and Eun-shil calls out the sexism as men joining hands is just considered politics. Chairman Jo insists he doesn’t think that – the voters do.
Recalling Chairman Jo said he considered her a daughter in the last election, Eun-shil says Oh Byung-min and Se-ra could be her children… making Chairman Jo their grandfather: “Make way for the youth. It’s time to let go of your outdated greed.” Eun-shil takes to the podium and announces today is a special event. She launches into a speech, imploring voters to look beyond parties, towards a candidate that understands and cares deeply for the community. Hee-soo frowns when Eun-shil announces she wishes to introduce such a person.
Presenting Se-ra’s complaint journal, Eun-shil shouts the wishes in the journal will be come the drams and future of Mawon. Thanking her supporters and party, Eun-shil shocks the crowd by announcing she’s stepping down as candidate… and supporting Se-ra. Eun-shil walks over to Se-ra and says if she’s elected, more opportunities will open up for ordinary people like herself: “I’ll cast my precious vote for you. Let’s win this.” She returns the journal and Se-ra takes the stage.
That evening, the office processes Eun-shil’s resignation and Dae-cheol sobs over all the extra work. Yong-gyu doubts Se-ra will win and Gong-myung surprises even himself when he demands why not. Backpedaling, he says this election has been unorthodox from the start, anything could happen. Dae-cheol whines that it hardly matters anymore and when Gong-myung picks up Se-ra’s poster, her image smirks and cutely asks if he’s going to vote for her. He drops it in alarm and Dae-cheol tuts even he’s lost his energy.
Regardless, someone has to verify Eun-shil’s election camp has closed shop so Gong-myung heads over to find Hee-soo lounging dejectedly on the couch. After he introduces himself, Hee-soo waves him off, telling Gong-myung to come back tomorrow. When he doesn’t move, Hee-soo argues her candidate suddenly quit without even consulting her and asks if Gong-myung will take pity on her. Gong-myung remains firm and when Hee-soo says she has a massage appointment in 20 minutes, he assures her this will only take 10 – he wants to go home too.
Setting out the paperwork, Gong-myung starts to walk her through it as Hee-soo watches him with increasing interest. She asks for his name and Gong-myung gives it, asking her to focus. Over at the bar, Se-ra reads a note from Eun-shil, urging her not to fight within the frame created by the opposition – but to create her own. Woo-young takes a picture of Se-ra’s journals and posts it to social media, promising to reveal the contents if she wins the election.
Woo-young suggests they dig up dirt on Byung-min and Han-bi agrees that rumors about his lovelife will appeal to their target audience, but Se-ra vetos them. Woo-young notices a lot of Se-ra’s candidate cards are missing and Han-bi says she handed them out earlier… but we see she really snuck them to Dad, who made her promise not to say anything. Currently, Dad stands out in the rain by the bus stop, attempting to hand them out to people getting off work and carefully retrieving the ones tossed aside. Awwwwwww.
At Byung-min’s camp, Chairman Jo tells Min-jae to focus on the Minju and Jeongeui neighborhoods for the final leg of the campaign. Min-jae asks about the Haengbok neighborhood, but Chairman Jo tells him it’s a waste of time when less than 20% of residents vote in even general elections. Woo-young says the same as the trio plan out Se-ra’s remaining campaign. She adds that only elderly folks and young people in need of cheap housing live there.
While her friends want to target the larger neighborhoods, Se-ra insists on Haengbok which Byung-min gave up on. Woo-young argues no one lives there long enough to care about district reps and the streets are empty during the day. Se-ra counters that’s because they’re working and vows to visit when she can meet people, ignoring her friends’ protests. When the campaign schedules are posted at the Mawon District Office, Byeong-min’s schedule is packed while Se-ra’s only shows she’ll be in Haengbok for the last 2 days.
Someone needs to monitor Se-ra’s campaign and everyone averts their eyes. Staring at Gong-myung Dae-cheol calls for a raise of hands for anyone single. Yong-kyu gleefully lowers his hand when asked if they live alone. And finally Dae-cheol asks for a deputy director (only Gong-myung) and the rest scatter before he can argue. Hee. Cut to Gong-myung eating at a vendor cart as Se-ra cheerfully greets everyone on the overpass.
He tuts that they’re not even in the right district but the vendor explains Se-ra picked the perfect spot because everyone from Haengbok gets off at this station and must cross the overpass. Later, Se-ra quietly slips her card to everyone at a public library. While Byung-min takes pictures with food workers (and spits out the kimchi), Se-ra helps a vendor package food at his stall, including her card in the wrapping.
Byung-min poses for more pics with the military as Se-ra hands out her card to residents waiting in line to get lunch. That evening Byung-min poses with a security team as Se-ra takes a break to suck on a candy. Gong-myung comments this is her third chocolate and Se-ra is stunned that he’s been following her around all day. She calls him a stalker and Gong-myung snaps he’s verifying she isn’t doing anything illegal.
He wonders why she’s campaigning nonstop and Se-ra says some companies even host overnight interviews. Gong-myung tuts she should’ve lived properly from the start and Se-ra twists his ear. He screams uncle and she lets go, but suddenly realizes he watched her eat nothing but chocolate all day and didn’t bring her food: “I can’t buy you anything, but it’s okay for you to buy me food!”
She twists his ears angrily and runs off as Gong-myung looks after her in shock. As the clock runs down on their campaigns, Byung-min delivers a tearful speech while Se-ra hands out more cards at the bus stop. Her phone goes off, signaling the end of campaigning and Gong-myung joins her, explaining her restrictions now that it’s over. Se-ra holds out her hand and he takes it. They stay that way for a long moment before Gong-myung congratulates her and they part ways. As she walks home, young girls call out encouragingly from a passing bus and Se-ra finally starts to cry.
Polling Day Mom and Dad hit the polls as Han-bi tells Woo-young Se-ra voted as soon as the polling station opened… and has been passed out ever since. The friends place Ja-ryong in charge of Se-ra while they go observe the tally and we see both an election and a loss speech sitting nearby. At the tally, Byung-min is comfortably in the lead and Dae-cheol and Yong-kyu sigh that a sizeable chunk of votes are invalid (as they voted for Eun-shil).
Byung-min holds a substantial lead from the first two neighborhoods, but when counting begins for Haengbok, Han-bi and Woo-young’s eyes widen to see Se-ra’s campaigning has paid off. Woo-young frantically tries to call Se-ra, but after learning she’d all but lost from the first two neighborhoods, Se-ra has gone out to deliver envelopes to each resident of Mawon. By the time she returns to her bike, Se-ra sees she’s missed 29 calls and rushes to the tally.
Turns out, the results are dead even and Gong-myung announces he’s found the rules for ties – and the eldest candidate takes the win. Whipping out their ID’s, Se-ra wins by a week. Se-ra wonders about the bogus rule and Byung-min wails Korea is ridiculous. Just then, Chairman Jo arrives to demand a recount. Ironically, once it’s over, Se-ra still comes out on top, this time with a legitimate win of 3 more votes!
Returning home at dawn, Gong-myung finds the envelope Se-ra had been distributing. Inside is a letter she’d written, having believed she’d loose. She admits she’d felt she was rained on from the start, but what she wanted wasn’t an umbrella, but someone to get rained on with her. She thanks the 9% that supported her (in the unofficial poll) and hopes everyone has a better tomorrow as we see Mom boasting about Se-ra’s win as Dad secretly sobs outside. Se-ra wakes up and shuffles outside, stretching with a satisfied smile.
Epilogue After Se-ra escaped the pojangmacha, Gong-myung finds her at the bus stop. She drunkenly wonders who the 9% that said they’d vote for her are and he replies people like her. Se-ra passes out on his shoulder, and Gong-myung adds, “People like me.”
I love this show! I hope it doesn’t do me dirty. I was briefly worried when Eun-shil approached Se-ra, and shared Se-ra’s mixed feelings about stepping aside. Sure, Eun-shil was a front-runner and seemed equally passionate about Mawon. But as Han-bi told Woo-young, Se-ra was giving the campaign her all because she really believed she could do well. Handing over her journal to Eun-shil only proved that she was in the election for the right reasons. Although it wasn’t done maliciously, Eun-shil using that against her felt unfair and more upsetting than Se-ra being attacked by Byung-min’s camp. As society reinforces sexist principles, it often pits women against one another when they should support each other. So, it was wonderful to see Eun-shil reinforcing positive female relationships, instead, and calling Chairman Jo on his garbage while she was at it. It would make me so happy to see her take Se-ra under her wing because while our heroine has the passion, she lacks the politics.
But really, that’s what our hero is for. Sure, he’s still resisting, but now that Se-ra is in office, Gong-myung can hardly avoid her. Not that I think he really wants to. Their shenanigans this hour put them in the running for my favorite ship this year and I can’t wait to see more adorable bickering. Now that Se-ra knows Gong-myung’s identity, she’s not holding back and I love watching her drag Gong-myung around. Their dynamic is so entertaining and while I suspect Gong-myung has liked Se-ra since they were kids, I think Se-ra will be the one doing the chasing. She was certainly affected by him this episode and although I think Gong-myung feels that same pull, something is making him push her away… and I don’t think it’s because she’s embarrassing as he claims. I’m still curious if there’s more to the strain on their relationship than Gong-myung trying to distance himself from his past identity and being exasperated by the chaos Se-ra leaves in her wake. Only time will tell and if the pacing continues to be as on point as it has been thus far, I’m not anxious about when that will be.
There were a lot of great character moments this hour, but MVP goes to Dad for actually making me cry with his gruff-dad secret affection and support for Se-ra. Even Mom came through, which makes me glad because her selfishness has caused a fair share of Se-ra’s problems. I love Se-ra’s support system and that while they don’t always agree with Se-ra’s choices and aren’t afraid to tell her… they do love her dearly and are there when she needs them. Despite his best efforts to the contrary, Gong-myung has been pulled into their ranks and I can’t wait to see him integrate more with the other people who care for Se-ra. So far, the only thing I’m not looking forward to is Hee-soo’s budding interest in Gong-myung. We’ve seen so little of her; I don’t have a good grasp on her character yet. Seeing how nicely the show has handled the other female relationships, I’m willing to place my trust in the drama and hopefully it pays off.