Memorials: Episode 7
When it comes to making a splash, no one does better than our heroine. She may not be the district rep anyone expected, but she just may be shaping up to be the one they need.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
The chaos caused by Se-ra’s arrival at Chief Won’s event for the elderly heightens when she announces her next hit will be aimed for Chief Won and places a ball from her pocket. Everyone screams as she swings… and it bounces harmlessly across the floor. Grinning widely, Se-ra assures everyone this was only a demonstration and hopes Chief Won will do the right thing. She pulls a second ping pong ball from her pocket and blows it cheekily towards the crowd.
Afterwards, Chief Won fumes in her office, furious Assemblyman Heo hadn’t reported seeing Se-ra at the driving range. Her secretary announces Se-ra’s arrival. Strutting into the office, Se-ra smiles cheerfully at Chief Won. Meanwhile, Gong-myung is dragged off by Dae-cheol. Suspicious of Gong-myung’s involvement, he nervously recalls Gong-myung asking his advice yesterday for someone struggling with a complaint.
Dae-cheol had said rather than one person filing a hundred complaints, a hundred people filing the same compliant is more effective and suggested a petition. Now, he worries Gong-myung shared this insight with Se-ra. To his horror, Gong-myung (correctly) muses Se-ra’s probably discussing it with Chief Won as they speak.
We flashback 18 hours to Gong-myung searching the numerous complaints filed against the driving range. Han-bi and Woo-young help Se-ra collect stray golf balls when Gong-myung texts Se-ra that he’d linked the petition to the community page so they could proceed “lawfully and impartially.” She’d smiled as she responded she’d still see him at the arranged time before Chief Won’s event.
In the present, Se-ra explains how schools, institutions, and even apartment complexes had been upset with the driving ranges late hours with searchlights and noise. Presented with the petition, Chief Won asks what Se-ra wants. Se-ra asks for financial compensation and aid for the injured, a meeting to discuss light and noise pollution guidelines, and finally “a serious and sincere apology from Chief Won.
Gong-myung paces anxiously in the Secretariat kitchen until Se-ra appears and makes a beeline for him. She tells him Chief Won will make an announcement tomorrow and her composure finally dissolves as she admits it’d felt like stepping into a slaughterhouse. Gong-myung questions whether she remembered everything she had to say. Se-ra proudly presents a neatly penned script on her hand and he can’t help but smile before catching himself.
That evening Chief Won asks Chairman Jo if they can boot Se-ra yet. He calmly points out doing so now will only backfire: “Don’t burn the house down to get rid of a bedbug.” Chief Won spits she wants to kill the bedbug enough to burn down the house. Chairman Jo asks Min-jae’s opinion and he suggests Chief Won cancel the driving range’s permit.
She immediately objects that wasn’t even one of Se-ra’s demands but Min-jae continues she could first cut a deal with the driving range’s owner. He says if she promised to designate the space as a commercial area through urban planning the owner will be satisfied, and she can appeal to voters by making good on her campaign pledge. His logic appeals to Chief Won and Chairman Jo nods in approval as Min-jae smiles with satisfaction.
The next day, Chief Won announces the cancellation of the driving range permit as well as compensation to victims, as per Se-ra’s first demand. She visits Golf Ball Granny as she’s discharged from the hospital and Granny gushes over Chief Won’s (insincere) concern while Se-ra grimaces nearby. Chief Won takes her leave after some photos for the press and Granny gruffly orders Se-ra to grab her helmet and fruit basket.
Se-ra can’t hide her disappointment as they drop Granny off at home, offering a curt goodbye as Granny heads inside with the nurse. Granny pushes the fruit basket towards Se-ra with an equally curt “take it.” She throws out a thanks and heads inside without another look and Se-ra swallows the hurt as tears sting her eyes.
That night, Han-bi and Woo-young sit awkwardly with Gong-myung as an already drunk Se-ra downs her beer and squeals in forced cheerfulness over her long-awaited team dinner. Turning to Gong-myung, her vision clears enough for her to go moony over his face. She grabs his head and his eyes widen as she leans in… until Han-bi and Woo-young drag them apart.
Flustered, Gong-myung snaps Min-jae would misunderstand if he’d seen. Se-ra blinks back and suggests they call him, snatching up Gong-myung’s phone to dial before anyone can stop her. There’s no answer and Se-ra grumbles he didn’t answer even when they were dating, of course he wouldn’t now that they’ve broken up.
This is news to Gong-myung but she ignores him and promptly passes out. Walking home, Gong-myung feels a pang of guilt for accusing Se-ra of running for district rep under Min-jae’s direction. He tells himself he’s not at fault because Se-ra didn’t tell him… but wonders why they broke up.
Se-ra defends her hangover at breakfast and Mom and Dad bicker over who she takes after. Mom asks Dad about his exercise and when Se-ra quips it’s triathlon training, Mom chides him for risking his health… only to ask if there’s any prize money. Oy vey. Dad suddenly asks about Se-ra’s payday and she calls them loan sharks.
As she and Dad leave for work, Dad awkwardly says one of his old colleagues mentioned having a complaint and gruffly suggests Se-ra meet with him. Se-ra brightly agrees, declaring herself Garden Tiger Moth. We cut to lunch as she flips through Assemblyman Yang’s notebook, putting it away before reaching a note on Gong-myung when he walks into the restaurant. She smiles and he returns a small wave.
Gong-myung is suspicious Se-ra hasn’t heard from Chief Won again but Se-ra considers everything settled. He suddenly asks if Min-jae called Se-ra again after they broke up and she answers “no” before realizing she spilled the beans last night. Speak of the devil, his phone lights up with Min-jae’s call and Se-ra hits answer before Gong-myung can stop her. Glaring at Se-ra, he apologizes to Min-jae for the buttdial.
Se-ra meets with Dad’s colleague and learns the man is a contract employee and a week before the annual renewal, he’d received a dismissal notice. 9 of the 15 guards, all age 63, had received the notice. Se-ra assures him he’s in good hands, declaring herself an expert at protecting jobs and unemployment issues. The man gratefully leaves and Han-bi whips her glasses off Se-ra’s face as Woo-young demands how she qualifies as an expert.
Hugging her friends, Se-ra says, “Myself. And… of course you guys.” Cut to the three women and Ja-ryong looking up at an apartment complex (where the guards are employed). Se-ra waits outside as the other three take an open house tour and something causes Ja-ryong’s eyes to bulge.
After investigating four apartment complexes, the only difference found was Guard Ahjussi’s complex mentioned an “employment stability support fund” in its maintenance statement. Se-ra seeks out Guard Ajusshi’s boss and asks why he’s letting workers go when they receive funding for them. He snaps she and the council are the ones who cut budgets and Se-ra fires back she’ll get the budget reallocated.
At work, Gong-myung looks at Se-ra’s name haphazardly added to the council snack chart and reprints it. Hanging the new one, he smiles with satisfaction before sobering and telling himself he’s just doing his job. Dae-cheol visits Gong-myung and Yong-kyu’s desks, noting the entire office seems bummed. Yong-kyu explains everyone’s depressed over pay cuts, grumbling the council has other income.
Dae-cheol agrees the council’s generosity springs from their wealth but muses Se-ra is probably even poorer than Yong-kyu. They both lament being unable to afford her juice now as Gong-myung stares at his phone background (of Se-ra’s secret spot), snapping back when Dae-cheol asks if he’ll be okay. Gong-myung nods he’s financially stable for now. Seeing Gong-myung has a new email, Dae-cheol leaves as Gong-myung reads the message from Se-ra asking him for research.
Later, Se-ra excitedly answers Gong-myung’s call… only to deflate when he reports he’d sent the research. Gong-myung muses seeing her email reminded him of the service center, adding her situation is much worse now. Se-ra threatens to hang up and Gong-myung blurts he was disappointed she didn’t sign off ‘Garden Tiger Moth.’ Embarrassed, he hangs up, leaving Se-ra confused. She checks his message and groans to see the funding was an Idiot Trio ordinance.
Gong-myung angrily cuts construction paper as Yong-kyu grumbles the Idiot Trio makes them slave away for the sports festival despite losing every year. It’s their only job, so they take it seriously and when Gong-myung pouts, Yong-kyu points to some boxes and warns the worst is yet to come. He suddenly perks up when Se-ra zips past but when Yong-kyu asks if he saw, Gong-myung denies it and goes back to work.
The Idiot Trio freeze mid-cheer when Se-ra bursts into their office. Hee-soo comes in on her heels and the women glare before Se-ra approaches the men to ask about their ordinance. The Idiot Trio declares their job over after it’s made and when Se-ra scoffs, she’s met with a cacophony of offended shouts.
Sitting across from Assemblyman Bong, Se-ra apologizes for voting against him, even when he’d appealed to her. He explains he’d wanted to see her and Hee-soo to ask for help in reinstating some of the social welfare budget (which includes the employment stability support fund). He asks the women to convince three members of the Conservative party while he persuades the three members against it in the Progressive party. Unfortunately, as the women look over the list of Conservatives, they realize their only option is the Idiot Trio.
Se-ra finds Gong-myung waiting outside her house and he asks if she’d met with the Idiot Trio over the research she’d asked for. Se-ra replies vaguely and he hands her a bag, saying she should get something for her parents with her first paycheck. Embarrassed, he walks away and Se-ra calls out a thank you.
That night, Se-ra bites back a smile, telling herself the presents weren’t for her. Mom and Dad pop in to proudly show off their pajamas… although they mutter about the size and style. Se-ra ducks under her covers and Mom and Dad bicker at each other for making her feel bad as they leave. Se-ra agrees Gong-myung’s taste is terrible and pulls out Assemblyman Yang’s journal. She finds a note that the Idiot Trio live for the sport’s festival and grins.
The council deboards the bus while Gong-myung and Yong-kyu unload. Yong-kyu balks people buy their parents food or give money – not thermal underwear! Looking towards the ominous boxes, both men kick them in annoyance. Chief Won announces the opening of the sports festival and as the council parades around the track, Se-ra cheers loudly from the stands. Turns out the boxes contained mascot costumes and Gong-myung takes off his donkey head to look up at Se-ra.
Se-ra pulls the Idiot Trio aside to propose they cut a deal: she’ll ensure they win the festival if they vote in favor of reinstating the welfare budget. Seeing this would mark their tenth loss against Hanul district, they men agree. One of the trio reports the situation to Chairman Jo and he agrees to vote if they win as well, wondering if Se-ra is digging herself a new hole.
Hanul wins the first event and the Trio bargain for Se-ra to also give them credit just as Chief Won took credit for solving the last issue. Se-ra easily agrees but when she fills Hee-soo in, Hee-soo is appalled. She doesn’t believe the Trio will honor such a silly agreement, insisting on setting up a meeting to persuade them instead. Se-ra sniffs they already made an agreement and runs off before Hee-soo can say more.
During dodgeball, Hee-soo lets her frustration out by launching the ball at Se-ra. Forgetting the game, the women whip it back and forth until Se-ra finally gets someone out. She shouts they need to win and when she returns the ball to Hee-soo, she follows Se-ra’s direction and gets out another player. Finally, Gong-myung gets the ball and both women shout for it. After a brief pause, Gong-myung gives it to Hee-soo and she smiles smugly at Se-ra.
They manage to win and when the teams break for lunch, Se-ra plops next to Gong-myung. He asks why she wants to win so badly and Se-ra breezily explains the deal. Gong-myung sighs that she’s taken on another complaint and Se-ra says they make a good team. Gong-myung grumbles she should try harder to persuade him, but she just tells him to follow his heart and puts the food she doesn’t like in his tray. Hee.
On the sidelines, Chairman Jo muses Se-ra is doing well in Assemblyman Bong’s stead. Bong says she’s not a stand-in, they’re simply on the same side with similar minds. Chairman Jo chuckles the mind changes with time and position and pointedly warns high expectations are met with heavy disappointments. He leaves with Min-jae and Assemblyman Bong frowns after him.
Next is tug-of-war and Se-ra winds up as the anchor. They’re doing well until Chairman Jo walks by with an important politician and the Idiot Trio rush over to greet him. The other team easily wins and Hee-soo tells Se-ra this is why making connections is important. Se-ra waves her off and Hee-soo walks away in a huff.
The final competition is the relay and Se-ra selects the youngest members to participate with her. Unfortunately, Yong-kyu and Hee-soo quickly admit they’re not athletic and Se-ra pulls Gong-myung aside, urging him to do his best. Gong-myung points out she made a reckless deal and shouldn’t ask him to handle her mess.
Yong-kyu really can’t run and Hee-soo isn’t much better, but when she passes the baton to Gong-myung, he not only regains the lost ground, he passes his opponent. Handing the baton to Se-ra, however, he fumbles and she falls behind picking it up. Racing to catch up, Se-ra looks off to the side and with a battle cry, bursts through the finish line ahead of the other team.
Mawon is presented with the trophy and while two of the Idiot Trio cheer, the third (Shim) looks uncomfortable. Gong-myung smiles at Se-ra and she tearfully gives him a thumbs up. At the feast, Gong-myung smiles when Se-ra snags the seat across from him. Yong-kyu innocently invites Min-jae to sit with them and the mood quickly tenses.
Se-ra reaches out to grill the meat and both men automatically grab her tongs. They stare at each other until Yong-kyu shoos them off, tittering it’s a rare honor to be served by a council member. He and Se-ra laugh together as the other men sit in uncomfortable silence. Se-ra smiles at Shim across the room but he only stares back miserably.
Vising Guard Ahjussi, Se-ra tells him the issue should be resolved soon. Meanwhile, the Idiot Trio jump when their phones buzz and they show Chairman Jo photos of them holding up a handwritten memo. Cut to Se-ra presenting that memo proudly to her friends and explaining she trusts the Trio as far as she can throw them. She’d had them sign an agreement and has been texting it to them three times a day.
Woo-young points out she could get in trouble for such a method and Se-ra scoffs, “Who would scold me when even my parents ignore me?” Her phone rings and Se-ra is appalled to see Min-jae is still saved as “Oppa” in her phone. Turns out he’d called for Chairman Jo, who scolds her for teasing the assemblyman with the memo. He adds the council reputation would suffer if it were known members traded votes over a sports festival.
Se-ra argues she just did her job to solve a complaint. Chairman Jo asks why she works so hard for no pay and wonders if she’ll run in next year’s election. Se-ra quickly denies it and Chairman Jo says he’s passing his seat to Min-jae. Se-ra says he should be telling Min-jae – not her – but only when he’s sure he’ll actually keep the promise (referring to the by-election). Chairman Jo says every event comes with variables.
He says 5 years ago when he’d gone to Min-jae’s father’s funeral and seen Se-ra serving food as if she were family, saying he’d never imagined meeting her again as a district rep. Se-ra leaves and Min-jae offers to take her home. For the first time, she asks if he regrets giving up his career as a civil servant to be Chairman Jo’s lackey.
Outside Se-ra’s apartment, Mom gives Gong-myung a bag of food and he points out he buys from the same place. Heh. Mom pokes him in the cheek and says it tastes different depending on who bought it. Jokes aside, she thanks him for the thermal underwear, explaining she knows Se-ra doesn’t have money and no one else would look after her so well. He leaves smiling only for his face to fall when he sees Se-ra talking with Min-jae.
Gong-myung can’t hear when Min-jae says he doesn’t regret working for Chairman Jo – only leaving Se-ra. She laughs at how odd it is that he says that as if it’s nothing… and she feels nothing hearing it. He opens his mouth, but Se-ra just orders him to leave. She turns and jumps to see Gong-myung standing there.
She quickly explains they’d just run into each other, but Gong-myung is irked she keeps referring to Min-jae as “oppa.” He leaves and Se-ra can only watch him go. At home, Gong-myung is still bothered as in his own apartment, Min-jae looks at a photo of him and Se-ra.
The next day, Se-ra bounces up to Gong-myung to get a pass for the council meeting. He barely looks at her as he hands her the badge and Se-ra leaves hurt and confused. She pouts she can’t explain she was at Chairman Jo’s but smiles when the Idiot Trio text confirmations for their votes.
She meets Assemblyman Bong on the way, but they’re stopped by a distressed Hee-soo outside the meeting room. Inside, they find the Idiot Trio and Assemblyman Heo causing a ruckus by protesting and demanding the Progressive party repent.
Epilogue As Se-ra struggled to catch up to her opponent during the relay, we know see she’d turned to find Gong-myung running beside her. Filled with a renewed energy, Se-ra had let out a battle cry and won the race.
Aww… Gong-myung is so jealous! It sucked seeing him give Se-ra the cold shoulder… but if history tells us anything, he never stays mad at her long. Min-jae interfering continues to feel weird. It was good for him to finally recognize that he failed Se-ra, but it’s a classic case of “too little, too late.” I love that we don’t linger on the breakup and Se-ra has already moved past it but Min-jae doesn’t seem ready to let go… despite not holding on to her when he should’ve. All he’s doing now is making waves with Gong-myung, who had some real whiplash this episode between learning they’d broken up only to see Min-jae still hanging around and Se-ra still referring to him with familiar terms. It’s an honest mistake to make after a 9 year relationship but it didn’t help how cagey Se-ra’s explanation for being with Min-jae was. Her reluctance towards mentioning Chairman Jo to Gong-myung makes sense, but it’s something they’ll have to address eventually.
Something I really appreciate with this show is the way it’s been handling conflict resolutions. While you don’t have much of a story if the hero is always winning, I find it very difficult to watch shows that completely abuse their protagonists at every turn. So, it’s extremely refreshing that Se-ra does resolve all her complaints… but other people swoop in to take the credit and warp that narrative. It sucks, it’s unfair, but it’s not a total loss. Chairman Jo stole Se-ra’s thunder, but the distribution center backed down. Chief Won didn’t take responsibility for ignoring residents’ concerns and safety, but she did provide compensation and the driving range won’t cause further problems. It’s not exactly what we wanted, but it’s steps in the right direction. Se-ra is being met with resistance, but not an insurmountable wall. They play dirty and while I don’t want Se-ra to sink to their level, I do want her to learn their game… and how to beat it.
It wasn’t surprising the Idiot Trio went back on their word, and while normally I would cheer for Se-ra getting proof of their agreement… as Chairman Jo pointed out, her method easily backfires in the world of politics. I don’t think Hee-soo’s attempts to simply persuade them would’ve worked either, but had the women worked together they might’ve found a solution that did. They have a lot of rivalry to work out – both professionally and romantically – but once they do, I imagine they’ll make a pretty fierce team. Not as good as our dynamic duo, mind you. I could gush all day over Se-ra and Gong-myung. I love how he’s becoming more expressive with her and keeps stopping to snap himself back to robot-mode. His effect on Se-ra is less noticeable and that makes sense because Se-ra is wild but Gong-myung is a calmer force. I could watch this pair dance circles around each other all day, but hopefully they don’t keep us on the hook too long – the chasing is fun, but so are the smooches.