Memorials: Episode 13
A new discovery brings with it more questions as our couple searches for answers to both the past and present. A mysterious source provides much needed help in battling a foe, but who is that source and at what cost does their “help” come?
EPISODE 13 RECAP
After sneaking onto the Smart One City Area 6 site, Se-ra and Gong-myung discover a memorial tablet from the Sarang Resort fire amongst a pile of garbage. When Gong-myung sees a flashlight beam bouncing nearby, he holds Se-ra protectively but before Jeong Min-hwan (the shady representative for Q Construction) rounds the corner, the site manager yells at a granny to stop trespassing.
Jeong walks off, assuming she’s the figure he’d seen and Gong-myung and Se-ra sigh in relief. Seeing Gong-myung’s tortured expression, Se-ra takes his hand and suggests they rescue the memorial from the rubbish. They don their masks once more and slip out with a wheelbarrow… but are caught on the site security footage.
Walking home, Se-ra assures Gong-myung no one will find their hiding spot. Gong-myung mumbles he had no idea there was a memorial and Se-ra comforts him by saying she didn’t know either. They part ways but Se-ra continues to glance back at Gong-myung’s slumped shoulders.
A discarded banana milk jug gives Gong-myung pause and he flashes back to March 31, 2002 (the night before the fire). Young Gong-myung asks Jong-dae if he’s excited for the trip tomorrow and Jong-dae beams it’s his first time sleeping away from his family. Jong-dae yawns and sleepily pouts he wanted to see Chairman Jo before bed, but Gong-myung just yawns and suggests they sleep.
Returning home, Se-ra asks Mom if she remembers 2002 but Mom sighs she barely remembers what she ate yesterday. She tuts Dad only remembers the World Cup and on cue his door slides open and Dad barks at them to stop talking about the World Cup and sleep. Mom shuffles off to bed, leaving Se-ra holding her rice puffs.
Gong-myung answers the doorbell to find Se-ra waving cheerfully. Inside, she admires his fish as he makes her tea. Gong-myung asks about the puffs and Se-ra says she jumped in a cab without thinking so they came with her. She greets his fish and though Gong-myung says its name is Shrimp, Se-ra addresses her as Cecilia and introduces her to Sebastian (the scooter).
Se-ra starts wandering around the apartment as Gong-myung anxiously shadows her, checking his watch. When she nears the bed, Gong-myung blocks her, suggesting she go home now. Se-ra flatly refuses and says her schedule requires her to be here until morning: “I wanted to see you tonight, so I came here tonight.”
Cut to Se-ra bouncing around in Gong-myung’s bed as he eyes her from his position on the floor. He tells her to stop making the room dusty with her bouncing and Se-ra giggles as she bounces again. She finally settles and tells him to turn out the light. Doing so, Gong-myung tells her to go to sleep.
Se-ra remains awake, however, watching Gong-myung sleep. Thinking of his distraught expression earlier, she reaches out to touch him… and promptly falls off the bed. Gong-myung’s eyes snap open and Se-ra giggles. He tucks his pillow under her head and pulls the blanket around both of them. Sighing, Gong-myung suggests they take things slowly but thinks Se-ra was right to move the memorial.
Smiling, Se-ra praises her quick thinking and assures him no one will find it. Tears well up in Gong-myung’s eyes and Se-ra gently pets his hair. When he turns to look at her, Se-ra snuggles close and Gong-myung holds her tightly. She pats his back and they finally fall asleep.
A few hours later, Mom frantically calls Se-ra and when it once again goes to voicemail, she wonders if she should call Gong-myung… and then snickers she shouldn’t disturb them. She worries Dad will wake up soon, though, but luckily Se-ra bustles inside just then. She scampers to her room and comes out with an armful of clothing and dumps it into a bag. Mom chases her to the fridge, asking who she was with as Se-ra loads up food.
Se-ra easily replies, “Gong-myung,” and when Mom asks if she’s packing to elope, Se-ra retorts she wouldn’t need Mom’s food for that. She says to tell Dad she left early for work and kissing Mom on the cheeks, says she loves her and scurries away just as Dad shuffles into the kitchen asking about the noise. Mom replies Se-ra left for work and copies Se-ra’s “I love you” and cheek kisses.
Back at Gong-myung’s, Se-ra brightly presents breakfast. He says he doesn’t eat breakfast, but Se-ra says he does from now on and holds out a spoonful of rice. He tries to decline but Se-ra’s expression hardens and he obeys. She says tomorrow is his turn and Gong-myung’s eyes bulge: “You won’t go home today?” Se-ra quips, “Not until your fridge is empty.”
Since Chief Won employed Min-jae, Chairman Jo hired her previous secretary as his own. He tells the Idiot Trio that Chief won plans to abandon them and take all the credit for Smart One City. Shim reports Chief Won offered Se-ra an olive branch, but Chairman Jo is sure Se-ra won’t accept. Instead, he says they must continue feeding the fire for Se-ra and Chief Won to destroy each other.
At work, Se-ra finds the article about Chief Won’s father-in-law owning the Sarang Resort and realizes Chief Won redeveloping Sarang is more than a bid for the National Assembly. Gong-myung tells her to calm down until they know the facts, more concerned with why such articles are surfacing now – if they were protesting Smart One City, they should’ve released before the groundbreaking ceremony and if they were to damage her reputation, they would be published right before the general election.
Since they don’t have answers, Gong-myung suggests they focus on the complaints – a protester messaged to say a Labor Administration check happened today and they’re still onsite. Se-ra declares they’ll investigate… and return the wheelbarrow. As they’re sneaking back onsite, Se-ra sees a notice posted with pictures of them from the CCTV footage.
Afterwards, they sit in the car to stakeout the entrance. Se-ra falls asleep, but fibs she was just thinking (about smooching) and Gong-myung wonders if the Labor Administration supervisor left through a different gate. Se-ra sighs high-ranking civil servants don’t leave through side or back doors – they’re walked out, and the workers bow goodbyes. Furthermore, they don’t just leave, but go out for drinks or dinner.
When everything happens just as Se-ra says, Gong-myung wonders if she left some things out of her resume. The pair follow the men to a restaurant and snap a few pics in the entryway but are unable to follow since the workers will recognize Gong-myung. Se-ra calls in backup and soon Han-bi and Woo-young are sitting with them across from the restaurant owner to plan a strategy.
Han-bi and Woo-young pose as waitstaff and eavesdrop on the men, overhearing the Labor Administration supervisor warn the site manager they’re safety measures are poor, and they can’t afford more accidents. The manager says the injuries are hard on his men as well. When they’re done, the manager pays with the Best Industries credit card and drops his business card in a box Woo-young presents for a raffle.
The next day, a Mawon Credit Cooperatives rep assures Chief Won they’ll agree to any loan amount if they become Mawon district’s official partner. Chief Won gives him the list of judges who will decide, and his smile drops when he sees Assemblyman Heo among them. Heo assures him he doesn’t need much… and launches into a list, tutting he should’ve written it all down. He suggests Min-jae ask for something as well and Chief Won kicks him out to discuss something else.
The Idiot Trio grumble there’s a leak in their chamber, forcing them to move and rent rival, Hanul district’s hall. They start to blame Chief Won’s spending only to quickly trail off when she arrives with her entourage. Inside, Se-ra announces today is an opportunity for representatives to ask Chief Won questions about her administration and starts by presenting evidence of Q Construction’s illegal subcontracting of Best Industrial Development, leading to 5 accidents to date.
“I’m sorry, but that has nothing to do with me,” Chief Won responds. Se-ra points out she’s in charge of the Smart One City project, and “sorry” means feeling remorseful: “Do you really feel remorseful?” Chief Won demands if she needs to shed tears to be believed. Clenching her fists, Se-ra addresses the rumors Chief Won’s father-in-law owns the land of the Sarang Resort.
Chief Won confirms it and Se-ra asks if her decision to include it in the project was really unbiased. Rather than answer, Chief Won storms out of the room as Chairman Jo receives a text from the restaurant owner, confirming he’d done as instructed and cooperated with Se-ra’s investigation.
It’s been a week since Se-ra left home and Mom bustles into Han-bi’s shop bearing necessities for Se-ra. Confused, Han-bi says she hasn’t seen Se-ra in days and Mom explodes, cursing Se-ra for lying. Han-bi defends Se-ra, explaining she’s too busy fighting Chief Won come home or to the shop. Following the meeting, Se-ra’s opening speech was cut from an event and the people she’d known at the service center are shunning her to avoid being ostracized. Taking it all in, Mom wonders where Se-ra has been sleeping.
Mom flutters around Se-ra’s office until Se-ra and Gong-myung return and she glares daggers. Mom declares she won’t allow Se-ra to remain at Gong-myung’s and orders her to come home. Se-ra scoffs this dynamic doesn’t suit them and Mom snaps it doesn’t look good for next year’s election, demanding why Gong-myung is allowing it.
Se-ra wonders why she’s mentioning elections and Mom asks if she really plans to give everything up after a year. She warns Dad will disown Se-ra when he finds out but Se-ra is more curious about the Sarang Resort fire. Mom eyes Gong-myung worriedly and when Se-ra asks about the memorial, she becomes cagey. She says many people were against making memorials – Gong-myung’s mother included.
When asked about Chairman Jo and Mom stutters he had a different opinion and abruptly takes her leave, shoving a letter into Se-ra’s hands on her way out. It’s a written complaint from Chief Won, accusing Se-ra of defamation. Se-ra asks Hee-soo to represent her in court and Hee-soo asks why Se-ra is trying so hard when even the injured workers have returned to the site.
Se-ra replies she promised the victims’ coworkers and begs Hee-soo to defend her. When asked why, Se-ra admits Hee-soo is the only attorney she knows. Hee-soo suggests she just give in to Chief Won. Gong-myung watches the women return to their offices in a huff and looks back at the internet comments supporting Chief Won – and slamming Se-ra – and finds one of the IDs familiar.
Later, while taking a break with Dae-cheol and Yong-kyu, Dae-cheol asks how long he and Yong-kyu are going to be at odds. Instead of answering, Yong-kyu thanks Dae-cheol for pitching in money for his father. Sighing loudly, Gong-myung announces he’s been looking into suing those who left severe hate comments against Se-ra. Dae-cheol blanches and Gong-myung laments they’ll probably only receive a fine, tutting Se-ra already received a complaint from Chief won.
That evening, Se-ra excitedly shows Gong-myung all the complaints she’s received against Chief Won, adding someone even sent her info on Mawon Credit Cooperative’s corruption. There’s a knock on the door and Se-ra is stunned when Gong-myung tells Dae-cheol to come in.
We flashback to see Dae-cheol in the Integrity Task Force office, numbly writing and re-posting supportive comments about Chief Won. He sighs when he reads today’s guidelines are to slander Se-ra and types: “Gu Se-ra, you’re the worst! This isn’t what you promised us.” In the present, Dae-cheol sobs he’d rather return to the service center than work on the task force and is too ashamed to face his children.
To make up for it, he gives them one of the guideline sheets which dictates how to respond to suspicions over the Smart One City Area 6 contractor selection. Se-ra points out this was issued before the hearing where she called out Chief Won meaning there was already evidence of foul play in the selection process. Dae-cheol tentatively asks if they’ll reconsider suing and the couple glares at him.
Woo-young delivers lunch boxes to the Mawon Credit Cooperative’s Mawon Office task force. One of the men asks her to make copies and when Woo-young does so, she spies a stack of documents on Q Construction.
At the shop, Se-ra presents the key points of Chief Won’s corruption. She starts with the owner of Sarang Resort and Gong-myung reminds her she’s being sued over that. Moving on, Se-ra lists the complaints she’d received against Mawon Credit Cooperatives. Gong-myung finds it odd that normally people send in complaints to uncover the truth, but someone sent Se-ra evidence of corruption rather than using it to press charges.
Next is Q Construction’s illicit relationship with Best Industrials. Woo-young joins them and passes the documents she’d swiped to Gong-myung. He finds Q Constructions finances are a mess and questions how they won the bid for Smart One City and secured a loan. Ja-ryong pipes up the person who lost is likely upset.
Min-jae reports to Chief Won that the company that lost the Smart One City bid sent an official complaint, demanding she reveal the whole selection process. Chief Won grumbles she just cleaned up the Best Industrial/Q Construction mess. She curses Se-ra, saying she’s inspiring other people to make a fuss. Heo wonders how Se-ra even found out and we see a flashdrive and Se-ra’s business card sitting on Assemblyman Bong’s desk.
At Gong-myung’s apartment, Se-ra organizes her stuff and seeing it’s midnight, Gong-myung urges her to go home. Se-ra says she has no home, pointing out the other apartment belongs to her parents. Se-ra excitedly recounts the second place construction company getting involved and suggests they respond to Chief Won’s lawsuit with a lawsuit of their own. Gong-myung sighs they’re trying to resolve a complaint, not fight in court.
They’re interrupted by the doorbell and when Se-ra runs over to check, she gasps to see Dad fuming into the camera. Se-ra tries to stop Gong-myung from answering, but he assures her it’ll be fine… only to scurry behind her when Dad storms into the apartment. The couple kneels before Mom and Dad and Se-ra groans what he’s imagining never happened. Everyone turns to Gong-myung and he assures them he’s perfectly healthy. Ha!
Dad orders Se-ra home and when she refuses, he attempts to drag her out. Se-ra shrieks and grips Gong-myung’s arm. As the pair grapple, Mom watches Gong-myung’s distressed expression and when she sees tears in his eyes, she screeches at everyone to knock it off. Cut to all four sleeping in Mom and Dad’s room, with Dad growling at them to stay 2 meters apart at all times.
Eventually he falls asleep, jolting awake when he finds Gong-myung’s space empty. Mom pins him and says it’s time he accepts Se-ra and Gong-myung are leaving the nest. Dad struggles but Mom doesn’t budge, and we pan out to see Se-ra making ramyun for Gong-myung. He sighs they’re eating ramyun at 3am but Se-ra thinks it’s special: “Ramyun tastes better when shared with someone else.” Taking a bite, he agrees and they promise to do more things that are better together.
The next day, Yong-kyu runs up to them and announces Chief Won has been sued by Assemblyman Bong. Se-ra races off and we see Chief Won speaking to a throng of reporters, vowing to discredit false accusations. Se-ra pops up above them, shouting for Chief Won to go to court and reveal the truth and Chief Won curses her angrily.
Chief Won is arrested for bribery and abuse of authority, allegedly receiving massive bribes from both Mawon Credit Cooperatives and Q Construction. That evening, Se-ra and Gong-myung chat with Assemblyman Bong and he thanks her for leaving the necessary materials on his desk to take down Chief Won. Se-ra blinks she didn’t.
The next day, Gong-myung receives notice he’s been reappointed to Planning and Budgeting. He calls Chairman Jo and asks if he was the one who gave Assemblyman Bong the files. Chairman Jo feigns ignorance and congratulates Gong-myung on returning to his position. He hangs up and greets the Vice Chief (who will stand in for Chief Won until the next election) and says now that it’s checkmate, it’s time to start a new game in their favor.
Meanwhile, Se-ra stands at a hearing where she’s accused of involvement in the Mawon Credit Cooperative scandal as Woo-young was both Se-ra’s campaign director and a member of the Mawon Office task force at the Credit Cooperatives. The Idiot Trio jump on her and when Assemblyman Bong tries to let Se-ra explain, Chairman Jo reminds him of Assemblyman Yang’s corruption, saying they can’t afford another scandal.
Se-ra simply replies the accusations aren’t true. Dong-chan retorts everyone says that and it looks bad for her to fight for a position she got through luck. They conduct a vote of no confidence: Se-ra refuses to vote, eight voted yes, one voted no, and four votes were void, passing the motion. Se-ra is stripped of her chairman seat.
Across town, Woo-young is fired over the scandal and her connection to Se-ra. She stops the men as they leave and screams all she did on the task force was buy lunch and make photocopies. The men stare in shock and when they wave a hand in front of Woo-young’s face… she doesn’t snap out of it. She slaps the hand away and storms out.
Drinking beer after work, Gong-myung asks why Se-ra didn’t fight back like usual and Se-ra says hearing she was chairman by luck was so true it stunned her speechless. Se-ra says even the things she works for disappear and so when she suddenly became chairman for no reason, she knew it could end at any time. Gong-myung points out there was a reason – Chairman Jo put her there.
“It was a punishment straight from the sky,” Se-ra agrees, adding, “But then you fell from the sky too.” She tells Gong-myung he did well and he returns the sentiment. Gong-myung worries about the future, but Se-ra is worried about Woo-young. She congratulates Gong-myung on his reappointment and asks him to help clean out her office tomorrow.
The next day, Chairman Jo visits Area 6 and sees the posted security photos and recognizes Se-ra and Gong-myung from the distorted images. He asks if they stole anything, but nothing was missing. The manager says the granny he’d caught had mentioned something about a Sarang Resort memorial, though.
Se-ra is packing up her office when Chairman Jo storms inside, demanding where the memorial is. Se-ra corrects she didn’t steal it – she rescued it from a trash heap. She adds Chairman Jo had forgotten about it as well and he seethes he still has a right to know where it is. Gong-myung joins them and Se-ra points up, saying it’s above their heads.
Flashing back to that night, Se-ra and Gong-myung place the memorial on the roof and drape Gong-myung’s jacket over it. Se-ra takes his hand and they walk home.
Is Chairman Jo upset because he wanted the memorial preserved or destroyed? Has he thrown himself into politics as a way to give himself purpose after Jong-dae’s death? Is his agreement in the renaming and redevelopment of Sarang an attempt to erase that painful memory, or to cover it up? Mom’s reaction to Se-ra and Gong-myung’s questions about the fire and memorial was so bizarre. And why was Gong-myung’s mother against the memorial and Chairman Jo for it? Assemblyman Yang had insinuated Chairman Jo made some shady choices in the aftermath so I’m curious what went down back in 2002… and was the fire an accident at all?
In other news, Se-ra has been removed as chairman, and yet it doesn’t really feel like a loss. As she’d said, after being suddenly appointed via Chairman Jo’s schemes, Se-ra had always been at risk of losing the position as easily as it had come. It’s a bummer she was kicked out unfairly, but I don’t see it as much of a setback – in part because even with the title, she faced so much pushback it was difficult to do much with it. I’d like to see Hee-soo take over because she’s the most levelheaded option and I still have hope Se-ra will rub off on her. I imagine Assemblyman Bong was the only vote in Se-ra’s favor at the hearing, but I’d like to think Hee-soo was among the voters who abstained.
We had a little less fun this hour hammering out a lot of political mayhem, but our couple continues to be adorable and endearing. I love how Se-ra pushed her way into Gong-myung’s home the same way she’s pushed her way into his life, because despite his protestations, he really needs her around. Dad’s interference wasn’t as funny as I’d anticipated and that’s likely because how jarred I was by Gong-myung’s sudden tears. I’m not sure if it was a traumatic reaction to perhaps some domestic fights in the past or just the terror of seeing Se-ra ripped away from him. It’s hard to tell, but hopefully we’ll delve into that a bit in the upcoming episodes. I was a little confused as to why Mom was shocked Se-ra was still at Gong-myung’s but I’ll chalk that up to Se-ra fibbing and knowing Dad would flip his lid. Either way, despite the hiccups, nothing keeps our couple apart for long and I’m glad because as we uncover more truths about the Sarang Fire, I think they’ll need each other more than ever.