Memorials: Episode 8
Our heroine is crushed by the betrayal everyone else saw coming and while she struggles to come to terms with the repercussions, more attacks seem to overwhelm her from all sides. They say it’s darkest before the dawn so hopefully this low point for our heroine indicates a powerful comeback on the horizon.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Against their agreement, Se-ra finds the Idiot Trio protesting the reinstatement of the welfare budget. The scene reminds Se-ra of watching news coverage of a fistfight breaking out at the National Assembly as a child. In the present, Se-ra looks at the memo they’d signed and screeches this wasn’t the deal.
The Idiot Trio look at her in terror as she advances towards them. Gong-myung manages to hold her back, but as Se-ra struggles against him, one of the trio snatches the memo from her and shreds it. Se-ra stops fighting but Gong-myung continues to hold her as a brawl breaks out amongst the protestors and other attendees, effectively ending the meeting.
Afterwards, the Trio cowers on the roof as Se-ra carefully ties up her hair, telling herself to respect her elders. Smiling at the men, Se-ra smiles and says this wasn’t their agreement. Shim (the member who’d looked guiltily at Se-ra after they won) confesses that the assemblyman who’d shown up at the sports festival is the Aeguk Conservative Party’s leader and he’d ordered the party against supporting the reallocation of funds.
Flashing back to the celebratory dinner after the sports festival, the Trio had proudly announced their plans to revise a supplementary budget for their employment stability support fund. Assemblyman Choi had been impressed… until Chairman Jo happened to mention the ordinance overlaps with the Progressive Party’s assemblyman’s pledge. Enraged, Assemblyman Choi accused the Trio of acting against him and they’d immediately backed down.
Back on the roof, the men almost look apologetic but argue they need to make nice with high ranking politicians in order to secure their careers. Se-ra can only scream in frustration. Afterwards, she quietly accepts Hee-soo’s wrath as the latter brutally accuses Se-ra of ruining everything. Assemblyman Bong joins them and Se-ra eeks out an apology to him, barely holding back tears. She runs out, ignoring Hee-soo’s demands for an apology as well.
Cleaning up the meeting room, Gong-myung finds the memo pieces and thinks of how Se-ra had gripped him tightly, fighting tears as she glared daggers at the treasonous Trio. He tries calling her, but Se-ra rejects the call and walks into the security office to deliver the bad news to Guard Ajusshi. He and his partner are already packing their things and the partner snaps that because of Se-ra’s meddling, Ajusshi was fired along with the rest of the older guards. Se-ra can only apologize weakly.
That evening, Dong-chan presents gifts to Chairman Jo and treats Min-jae like a servant by ordering him to put them away. Talk turns to appointing a new chairman and Chairman Jo denies reclaiming his seat. He sights it’s the Progressive Party’s turn to hold the seat and Dong-chan leaves furious, telling his father they’d wasted money trying to appease Chairman Jo and vowing to get the position without his help.
Noticing Min-jae had walked him out, Dong-chan questions if it’s true he’d flipped his support of the former chief to Chairman Jo, even exposing the former chief during the election. Min-jae doesn’t answer and Dong-chan warns him not to trust Chairman Jo, urging him to use merits and effort to get the job instead. He tuts pityingly and walks out, leaving Min-jae to let out a frustrated sigh.
Se-ra shuffles home, depressed over getting an extra person fired. Mom catches her outside, anxiously demanding why Se-ra didn’t answer her phone. Se-ra starts to say she’s had the worst day and Mom agrees… Dad knows. Inside, Mom tries to surreptitiously kick the pillows away as Dad rages at Se-ra for giving up her salary. Se-ra argues Chairman Jo made the motion but Dad won’t listen so Se-ra deflects by revealing Mom’s secret job as a cleaning lady.
It backfires when Dad asks how her paychecks are being spent and neither woman responds. He dives for a pillow and Se-ra blurts out Dad’s working as a designated driver. Standing, she adds she’s seriously reconsidering her career: “Today was the first day I regretted not listening to you, Dad.” She walks out and Dad screams at her to leave as he storms off to his room.
Over at Han-bi’s shop, Woo-young can’t reach Se-ra and Gong-myung says her phone’s been off since 2:32pm and she left home around 8pm. The women guess Se-ra went to her “charging station,” explaining it’s Se-ra’s secret place that even they don’t know about. Ja-ryong asks why Gong-myung is being nosy about Se-ra when he isn’t close with her and Gong-myung sputters he is. Ja-ryong argues he doesn’t know her secret place and Gong-myung points out neither do Se-ra’s friends… but he suddenly remembers the photo she’d texted.
Sure enough, he finds Se-ra at Sunset Land and swipes the beer from her hand. She’s stunned to see him, and he says it didn’t take him long to find her… only 2 or 3 hours. Hee. Gong-myung hands her a bag and when Se-ra opens it to find dumplings, he explains she’d asked for them during the campaign. He calls it a gift for returning to work and Se-ra’s smile falls as she asks what’s the point when everyone’s a backstabbing jerk.
Se-re demands why no one is on her side and Gong-myung confesses he doesn’t have anyone either – but he goes to work to do the job only he can do. Se-ra assumes he’s reprimanding her but Gong-myung gently corrects: “I mean you’ve done enough, so stop blaming yourself.” He thinks there’s something only she can do with her nosiness and endless energy so someone will surely side with her, like him.
Moved, Se-ra asks Gong-myung to come to her, promising to stay with him from now on. She waits anxiously as Gong-myung stands and holds a hand to his heart… and turns her down. He says he was just giving advice as a concerned friend and colleague. Confused, Se-ra questions why he’d come, then: “Why did you search for me for three hours? Why did you bring me dumplings? At the sports festival, why did you run beside me?”
He waves it all off as nothing and stung, Se-ra angrily guesses he’s implying she misunderstood. Gong-myung doesn’t answer and her expression hardening, Se-ra orders him to leave. He’s surprised so Se-ra throws a can and repeats herself. Gong-myung breaks into a smile and furious, Se-ra chases him with another can. She warns him to stay 5 meters away from her, retracting her previous proposals and vowing not to offer a third. Amused, Gong-myung leaves grinning as Se-ra screeches at him to stop laughing.
Returning to work, Se-ra grumbles at the suspension notice, reminding herself she’s here to earn money. Dong-chan joins her and Se-ra scoffs at his greeting. He bristles at her casual speech but Se-ra points out they’re both on the suspension board. Dong-chan snaps their punishments were completely different levels. Se-ra insists everyone still saw his name up there for the month she was gone and Dong-chan is unable to argue.
Gong-myung walks up and smiles at Se-ra, but she ignores him and saunters off. Dong-chan complains they should’ve crossed off his name but Gong-myung quips it’s an official document and hangs up a second notice, declaring the meeting to select a new chairman. Afterwards, Gong-myung watches Se-ra pointedly ignore him as he sets up the meeting room. When he walks to her desk, she even turns away. Smirking, Gong-myung leans over to say something but awkwardly aborts when the door opens and people arrive.
Later, Dae-cheol and Yong-kyu discuss the change of chairman and Gong-myung wonders what the big deal is. They quickly explain that in addition to the prestige, a salary increase, driver, and private secretary, the chairman also gets a private office. Furthermore, chairmen are selected by a vote of district reps, each of whom are candidates.
Chairman Jo broaches the topic with his party and the Idiot Trio deflate when he says it’s the Progressive Party’s turn. They wonder if there’s a favored candidate and that evening, Chairman Jo muses Assemblyman Bong will likely push for someone other than Dong-chan. Min-jae reasons the Progressive Party votes will be split, so the Conservatives will decide who wins. He thinks it would be better to pick someone regardless of party.
In his office, Dong-chan proposes he and Hee-soo join forces as a Chairman-Vice Chairman duo. He naturally assumes the chairman position for himself, but Hee-soo prefers the reverse and cheerfully sweeps out of the office. Meanwhile, Ja-ryong wants to run for class president but Se-ra advises elections aren’t worth the effort, vowing she’ll never do it again. They’re interrupted by the arrival of Hee-soo and she tells Se-ra to ignore Assemblyman Bong if he asks her to run for chairman.
Se-ra is dumbfounded, insisting she has no interest in the position. Hee-soo reiterates this is a warning, pointing out Se-ra couldn’t have won if her candidate hadn’t conceded. She adds Se-ra used the misunderstanding of the voided vote to write an ordinance and then ruined the supplementary budget vote. She orders Se-ra to stop shamelessly hiding behind Assemblyman Bong when she’s not even in their party and leaves in a huff.
Angered, Se-ra chases after Hee-soo, demanding when she’d hidden behind Assemblyman Bong and pointing out Hee-soo’s rudeness in coming here. Hee-soo snaps she’ll see worse if Se-ra ruins things again, thinking Se-ra lacks the ability and qualifications. Se-ra asks why Hee-soo bothered to warn her, then, instead of ignoring her: “You great people can fight amongst yourselves. I’ll work like a dog for money.”
The next morning, Se-ra throws herself into selling her juice, forcing a cheerful pitch to potential customers. That night, she happily counts a hefty tip from her designated driving job but stops when she sees Guard Ajusshi working as a parking attendant. They make eye contact as he apologizes profusely to the belligerent man screeching about a scratch.
Se-ra stares at her hands as Guard Ajusshi explains he’d decided to work as a parking attendant instead of taking another security position, but it’s been challenging between drivers blaming him for scratched cars and constantly fearing seeing someone he knows. Se-ra tentatively asks about the others, but they’ve had even less luck since many can’t even use the internet. He assures her things are okay, though, and they’ll hold their farewell party next week. Se-ra can only apologize, but he sincerely thanks her for trying.
Reporting for her next customer, Se-ra is appalled to see it’s Dong-chan and quickly throws up her hood and assumes a high pitch when she speaks. In the car, Dong-chan complains to his dad over the other reps openly demanding money in exchange for their votes. He hangs up when he meets Se-ra’s eyes in the mirror and panics at the realization it’s her. Dong-chan starts to scream for her to pull over but stops as he remembers she also has a vote.
Se-ra drops him off and Dong-chan hands her well over her fee as his “appreciation.” He adds it would be nice to get something in return and Se-ra scoffs that her vote counts as much as everyone else’s – and therefore should cost the same. She gives Dong-chan his full change, telling him not to discriminate, and walks off.
The next day, Chairman Jo sits with Assemblyman Bong and confirms Dong-chan and Hee-soo are both vying for chairman. He admits he’s surprised Bong isn’t advocating for Se-ra and Assemblyman Bong says most of his party seems supportive of Dong-chan… but he plans to vote for Se-ra. Gong-myung enters with tea as Chairman Jo laughs at the absurdity of throwing Se-ra a random vote.
He calls it pointless, but Bong chuckles that having at least one person on their side makes it easier for people to stick to their beliefs. Gong-myung bristles when Chairman Jo suggests Se-ra doesn’t have beliefs, wondering if she’d turn down everything she could gain.
At the Bar, Se-ra sits uncomfortably with Min-jae as Woo-young and Han-bi titter encouragingly nearby. He says no one will know if they meet here and admits he came to discuss the chairman by-election. Min-jae says despite being a member of the Progressive Party, Dong-chan holds conservative views and half his party dislikes him. Passing her a folder with information to help her persuade those assemblymen, Min-jae says he hates Dong-chan and would be less annoyed to see Se-ra as chairman.
Se-ra sighs she’s tired of elections and says she won’t survive another failure. Min-jae argues aside from the tangible perks, the chairman has power and with that power, Se-ra won’t suffer another loss. He says he wanted to tell her in advance this time. Gong-myung walks up to the bar just as Min-jae leaves and Se-ra reminds him to stay 5 meters away. Gong-myung warns her not to run for chairman because of the money as she did for district rep. Se-ra scoffs she didn’t know the amount, but it’s tempting.
Gong-myung starts to tell her to ignore if Chairman Jo sends Min-jae again or approaches her himself but Se-ra cuts him off, asking if he also thinks she’s unqualified and incompetent (like Hee-soo). Gong-myung is taken aback, but rather than explain, Se-ra just tells him to stop addressing Min-jae like a subordinate when he’s older than them and stomps inside.
Se-ra’s mind is still on the chairman debacle as she’s awarded Sales’ Queen of the month at the juice company. Ja-ryong tells her about his opponents for class president and the archetypes line up with the chairman candidates with Hee-soo as the one with good grades but lacks popularity and Dong-chan as the kid who bought everyone burgers (while we see Dong-chan gift the Conservative Party with gold bars).
Eating ice cream on her scooter, Ja-ryong argues they should just draw straws, thinking whether they have bad grades or no parents, everyone deserves a fair shot at class president. He pouts that he wants to run for class president and Se-ra quips he should’ve registered as she looks longingly at a passing couple. Ja-ryong asks if she wants to, too, and Se-ra insists she has no interest in being chairman – but he was referring to dating. Hee. Se-ra says she plans to focus on working and stocking the comic book store’s freezer with ice cream and Ja-ryong cheers her on.
The next day, Se-ra answers a call from Dong-chan and he presents her with a package, reminding her she’d insisted on receiving the same payment for her vote. Opening the bag, Se-ra’s eyes bulge at the gold bar. Meanwhile, Gong-myung heads to Se-ra’s secret spot. He thinks of her declaration no one is on her side and then asking if he also finds her unqualified an incompetent. Pulling out his phone, he hovers over Se-ra’s contact… and then calls.
That evening, Guard Ajusshi finds a bag Se-ra left for him. It’s filled with carefully-compiled job finding information packets for him to distribute at the farewell party to anyone still struggling. Meanwhile, Hee-soo sits impatiently in the comic bookstore and is about to leave when Se-ra bursts inside, promising the wait was worth it. She declares she’ll vote for Hee-soo in the election and hands her the packet she’d received from Min-jae on the reps that dislike Dong-chan.
Hee-soo asks where she got it, but Se-ra then presents the gold bar she’d received as a bribe. Suspicious, Hee-soo asks why Se-ra is helping and Se-ra admits a part of her wanted to be chairman… however, nothing works out when she gets involved. Instead, she tells Hee-soo to become chairman and beat up everyone who bribes and sells positions.
Bringing the bar to Dong-chan, Hee-soo says she won’t make a fuss over his bribery if he’ll renounce his candidacy and back her instead. He nods solemnly, but that night he pleads with Chairman Jo to help him. First then the following morning, Dong-chan and the Conservative Party lock themselves in the meeting room and conduct the vote for chairman. Gong-myung and Yong-kyu arrive to set up but as they’re locked out, they wait outside until the men file out.
Min-jae walks over to Gong-myung and orders him to clean the chamber and post the result so everything is ready for the next chairman. Se-ra hurries to the meeting room, cursing herself for running late. She’s confused when everyone passes in the opposite direction. Dong-chan sits shellshocked in his seat as Gong-myung confirms Se-ra received a unanimous vote from the Conservative Party.
She bursts into the room and Dong-chan angrily charges her and then leaves the room screaming. Assemblyman Bong sighs and won’t even look at Se-ra as he follows and Hee-soo snidely commends Se-ra for betraying her. Se-ra looks to Gong-myung and then her phone buzzes.
Dong-chan catches up with the Conservative Party, demanding why they voted against him after accepting his bribes. Se-ra finds Chairman Jo waiting for her in his former office as Gong-myung notices the peculiar placement of Se-ra’s name on the ballots. Meanwhile, Assemblyman Heo says Chairman Jo ordered it and a flashback reveals he’d assigned each assemblyman a position on their ballot (in order to identify anyone voting independently) and declared Se-ra their candidate.
Chairman Jo takes credit for Se-ra’s election, musing he’d lost his position because of her and now he’s leaving her the title. Se-ra sputters it’ll look like collusion and Chairman Jo agrees, suggesting they work together now. He promises to help and warns her not to waste an opportunity because of her suspicion.
When Chairman Jo informs Chief Won, she’s appalled, but he explains tying Se-ra down with a title will prevent her causing trouble. Chief Won worries she’ll use this power against them, but Chairman Jo laughs the Conservative Party is uncomfortable with her and the Progressive Party feels betrayed – she’s alone. Furthermore, they’ll assign the wild Se-ra a trainer who knows what they want: Min-jae. A flashback reveals Min-jae had actually suggested Se-ra, promising to make sure she’s of use to Chairman Jo. Gross.
Gong-myung’s calls to Se-ra go unanswered and he’s dragged from his thoughts by the head of the secretariat ordering him to take down the posting for the chairman’s secretary – the ex-chairman already appointed one. Recalling Min-jae’s orders to get ready for the new chairman, Gong-myung curses and stalks purposefully out of the office.
Hee-soo, Min-jae, and Chairman Jo’s words swirl around Se-ra’s head and she jumps when Gong-myung bursts into the room. He tells her to call Chief Won to postpone the appointment of her secretary just as the office phone rings. It’s about the secretary and Gong-myung hangs up, repeating for Se-ra to call Chief Won and say that due to budget cuts, she’ll opt to choose a secretary from the staff.
Se-ra doesn’t understand why it matters, but Gong-myung insists it’s important and promises to recommend the perfect person. She asks who and Gong-myung takes a step closer (breaching her 5 meters) and says, “Me.”
Epilogue When Gong-myung called Se-ra from Sunset Land, he’d started to ask where she was when Se-ra cut him off by saying she got 10 people fired instead of 9 with her interference. Taking Gong-myung’s advice, she’d decided to stay where she was and do the job only she can – she’d stop 9 from becoming 10. Gong-myung knowingly adds she’ll look after those 9 as well and when they hang up, Se-ra looks at the bag of packets she’d made for the 9 and smiles.
It was hard watching Se-ra so downtrodden this hour, but I have to say I’m actually glad her agreement with the Idiot Trio flopped because that’s not how politics should work. Honestly, I was glad to see the men had fully planned to follow through and it was only after Chairman Jo’s careful meddling that the deal turned sour. In that sense, Hee-soo had been right but I’m still upset with her for crossing the line with her criticisms against Se-ra. Yes, Se-ra messed up, but it doesn’t help to attack her when she’s already feeling terrible. Even so, I’d be willing to let Hee-soo’s outburst slide because while I think she took it further than necessary, she had a right to feel angry at Se-ra for acting alone and burning them both, in the end. However, Hee-soo’s visit to the Bar (which confusingly seems to be the name of Han-bi’s comic bookstore) was completely out of bounds and I was proud of Se-ra for rediscovering her backbone and calling Hee-soo out on it. Instead of cruelly condemning Se-ra for her flaws and starting petty catfights, it would be nice if Hee-soo would make the effort to offer guidance and teach Se-ra to be a better politician. I was so excited when Se-ra chose to support Hee-soo and felt it was a sign of her personal growth to listen to her conscience and not be swayed by her need for money or Min-jae’s shady “advice.”
I was already firmly outside of Min-jae’s camp when he was just a crappy boyfriend, but this was next level skeeviness. I’m dying to learn what changed since Dong-chan mentioned Min-jae suddenly flipped from supporting the former chief to Chairman Jo and presumably he’d been a good boyfriend before he started ignoring Se-ra to serve Jo. Still, to not only use Se-ra for Chairman Jo’s benefit, but to even frame it as if he’s doing this for her makes me hope he gets hit by a karma bus. It reminds me of Gong-myung asking if Min-jae had put her up to running for district rep and how Se-ra had insisted he wasn’t awful… only for recent events to prove he doesn’t respect Se-ra or their relationship as much as she’d beleived. Min-jae’s smile over becoming her personal secretary in order to groom her for Chairman Jo was bone chilling, but this almost comical villainy was apparently just the thing we needed to spur Gong-myung into action! He’s been the one constant member of Se-ra’s camp at the office and now that Chairman Jo has severed whatever tentative relationship she’d been forming with Hee-soo and Assemblyman Bong, Gong-myung is the only one left. (And is anyone else dumbstruck over how they cheated to hold that vote without the rest of the assemblymen? They not only seemed to be holding it early and without notifying anyone, but even locking the door? Of all the crazy stuff this show has to offer, that’s the thing I find most insane…)
I have to admit, I was pretty upset with Gong-myung for hurting Se-ra, on her worst day, in her special secret place. I’m unsure whether he simply (miraculously) hasn’t pieced his crush together himself, is still trying (and failing miserably) to keep his distance, or (from that smile) is teasing Se-ra. He’s gone above and beyond for someone who claims to just be a “concerned colleague” and Se-ra is hardly to blame for melting over all his sweet gestures. Regardless, he certainly hadn’t realized he was shooting himself in the foot by rejecting her at her most vulnerable… and then laughing because he finds he so darn cute. On the upside, it was hilarious watching him equally amused and baffled by Se-ra giving him the cold shoulder. Surely, he knows he likes her? Or does Gong-myung really not realize how smiley he gets when Se-ra is around?