Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha: Episode 8
There’s anger and danger in the air this week in Gongjin. As our dentist and the town gossip butt heads over bad behavior they find themselves at what may be an unsolvable impasse. A new face in the village turns out to be an unexpected competitor for our jack of all trades and he may be a threat both professionally and personally. All the while, a darker danger lurks in the shadows, leaving the townspeople afraid to go out alone at night.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
As Doo-shik reviews the rental contract for Gam-ri’s house, Sung-hyun asks if Hye-jin is dating anyone. Doo-shik hesitates briefly and replies he doesn’t think so, but wonders why Sung-hyun is asking him and not Hye-jin directly. Doo-shik returns to the business at hand but he seems bothered by the question. He leaves in a grumpy mood with Sung-hyun wondering what’s gotten into him.
Yoon-kyung, Geum-chul, and Nam-sook hang out at Chun-jae’s cafe and chat. Talk turns to missing belongings as both Nam-sook and Yoon-kyung have lost clothes recently (Yoon-kyung a dress, Nam-sook a red bra). The men figure the items have been misplaced, not stolen and Chun-jae guarantees that no one would want to steal Nam-sook’s bra (which earns him an arm punch from Nam-sook).
Nam-sook changes the subject to Hye-jin’s relationship with Sung-hyun; she’s sure that Hye-jin’s kicked Doo-shik to the curb in favor of Sung-hyun. Mi-sun arrives just in time to hear Nam-sook declare that both men could do better than Hye-jin. Mi-sun confronts Nam-sook and tells her not to spread false rumors about Hye-jin, but Nam-sook is unruffled despite getting the stink eye from Mi-sun.
Hye-jin is entertaining three visitors at home, Joo-ri, Yi-joon, and Bora. Joo-ri is there for the giant TV (all the better to watch June) while Yi-joon and Bora are visiting their hedgehog, Seumseum. When Hye-jin asks the youngest two about taking Seumseum home, they strategically sip their drinks instead of answering.
Mi-sun returns and is surprised to see the children and Hye-jin laments letting them all in, ha. Mi-sun is still annoyed about Nam-sook’s gossiping ways and away from young, impressionable ears present, Mi-sun gives Hye-jin the rundown of the conversation from the cafe.
Surprisingly, Hye-jin takes everything in stride, she’s already accepted the behavior as part of Nam-sook’s personality. But that doesn’t stop her from getting irritated to hear that everyone agreed that Doo-shik and Sung-hyun were out of her league.
Out on the beach, Sung-hyun is getting a surfing lesson from Doo-shik. Sung-hyun asks why they’re not in the water but Doo-shik assures him that there is a process. Doo-shik leads his student through the basics, but even on land, Sung-hyun struggles to keep his balance. Two of Sung-hyun’s staffers, Ji-won and Do-ha watch the surfing lesson and Ji-won wonders why it feels like more like Doo-shik is hazing Sung-hyun rather than teaching him.
Sung-hyun’s ability to balance on a surfboard doesn’t improve once he and Doo-shik move into the ocean. He’s no quitter though, every time he falls off his board, he gets back up to try again.
Hwa-jung spots Young-guk, now sporting a back brace, as he passes by her restaurant and asks about his injury. Young-guk says he’s fine thanks to his strong bones then asks to speak to her. He dithers a bit, but he finally gets to the point: though they’re divorced, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re old friends. So he wants her to be the first to know that he plans to pursue Cho-hee romantically. Hwa-jung shuts him down and declares Cho-hee off limits. Totally irate, he protests that he married and divorced her because that’s what she’d wanted, so why is she objecting and trying to ruin his life? Ouch. She leaves without another word.
Sung-hyun is still high on the excitement of his first surf but Doo-shik doesn’t share the enthusiasm. He declares that he’s done with surfing and anything beginning with the letter S. That sets Sung-hyun off and he starts listing food starting with the offending letter.
Sung-hyun announces that he wants mul-naengmyeon but Doo-shik is a hard pass. Doo-shik walks off but stops in his tracks when he hears Hye-jin and Mi-sun saying hello to Sung-hyun. He backtracks in time to hear the women thank Sung-hyun for brunch and he manages in record time to start a squabble with Hye-jin over brunch menus and healthiness. Coincidentally, Hye-jin and Mi-sun were on their way to get naengmyeon, and Sung-hyun excitedly asks if he can join them. The mention of naengmyeon has Doo-shik looking perturbed.
Hye-jin says yes, but Mi-sun suddenly bows out claiming that she’s just remembered she’s on a diet. Unwilling to leave Hye-jin and Sung-hyun alone, Doo-shik decides to join them, claiming that bibim-naengmyeon is the way to go.
Doo-shik leads them to a restaurant, and the men sit across from each other. When Hye-jin arrives a moment later, Sung-hyun pulls out the chair beside him, but she sits next to Doo-shik without hesitating. Doo-shik bites his lip to stop from smirking and Sung-hyun awkwardly pushes the chair back under the table.
The waitress brings them menus and Doo-shik volunteers to share one with Hye-jin so that Sung-hyun can have one to himself. They look rather cozy as they discuss what to order and Sung-hyun is uncharacteristically quiet as he watches them.
After their food arrives, Hye-jin worries that they’ve ordered too much, but Doo-shik dismissively says that Sung-hyun will end up eating everything so it’ll be fine. Sung-hyun perks up when Hye-jin gives him some of her dumplings and she smiles as she says it’s satisfying enough just watching him eat. When she goes to share one last dumpling, Doo-shik intercepts it in mid-air and shoves the whole thing in his mouth. Sung-hyun is pretty disgruntled but Doo-shik looks pleased with himself, heh.
Nam-sook stops by Hwa-jung’s restaurant to ask about her recent dinner with Cho-hee and to find out if she beat up Young-guk’s first love. Hwa-jung threatens to beat Nam-sook instead and escorts Nam-sook out of her restaurant, whacking her with a dried fish for emphasis. Cho-hee arrives as Nam-sook is on her way out and she asks for a moment to talk.
Cho-hee has a gift, some anti-wrinkle products, which doesn’t go over well. Cho-hee assures Hwa-jung that she just thought it would be nice if they used the same products.
But Hwa-jung doesn’t want to use the same cosmetics as Cho-hee. She doesn’t want to spend time with her either. Hwa-jung explains that the three of them can’t hang out the same way that they once did. Things have changed and Young-guk is her ex-husband now. Hwa-jung addresses Cho-hee formally and makes it clear that she wants their relationship to be that of a parent and a teacher, not friends. Stunned and hurt by the rejection, Cho-hee apologizes and leaves, but leaves the gift.
Back at the restaurant, Hye-jin says she’s surprised that Sung-hyun got into variety — she’d always thought he become a reporter. She reminisces about their college days and Sung-hyun’s popularity on campus. Sung-hyun is quick to share his memories of how busy she was all the time, even when they first met, which prompts Doo-shik to ask for details.
In a flashback, Sung-hyun approaches Hye-jin at the end of class. They’ve been assigned to work on a project together, and he asks if she’s available to discuss the assignment over dinner. She’s on her way to a tutoring job though, so she writes down her contact info and tells him to let her know what she needs to submit.
Sung-hyun is worried about her skipping a meal for work, but Hye-jin says she’s covered and shows him her dinner: a sausage snack. Looking concerned, Sung-hyun pulls out sandwiches and snacks from his backpack and says it’s a trade for her sausage. He walks away before she can protest.
Back in the present day, Hye-jin comments that Sung-hyun took meals seriously even back then. The chummy trip down memory lane is interrupted when Doo-shik accidentally-on-purpose spills water on Sung-hyun. Sung-hyun picks up the dinner bill, but Doo-shik still insists on paying for his portion of the meal. Sung-hyun tries to reject the money, but he accepts when Hye-jin tells him to respect Doo-shik’s ways. Doo-shik leaves, mumbling that Sung-hyun has weird taste in women. (Denial much?)
Nam-sook is in the middle of a dental appointment when she abruptly refuses the last step of her procedure. Hye-jin tries to explain the importance of finishing and worries that Nam-sook will be in a lot of pain but she insists she’s fine. As she leaves the clinic, she exchanges a knowing look with some women in the waiting room. Mi-sun tells Hye-jin that it looks like Nam-sook found someone less expensive to finish her dental work. Together they commiserate over their patient’s cheapskate ways, which includes helping herself to the complimentary mix coffee they keep in the waiting room.
Nam-sook stops by the bank and interestingly, she’s a VIP client there. She’s there for some free coffee and asks an employee to give her a heads up if they ever offer a high interest savings plan.
Doo-shik sees Yoon-kyung struggling with some boxes and offers to help her…but Sung-hyun is already providing the needed muscle. Yoon-kyung shoos Doo-shik away, saying it’s fine and Sung-hyun had already been helping anyway.
Doo-shik is annoyed when he finds Gam-ri and her friends munching on some French pastries that Sung-hyun dropped off earlier. Doo-shik gripes that Sung-hyun has been busy around town, and asks if he thinks he’s Hong Gildong (a Robin Hood-esque Korean folk hero) — because he’s the Hong in town. The grannies stare at him in comedic pause.
When Doo-shik asks Gam-ri about the satchel next to her, and she explains that she’ll be leaving her house for the month that they’re filming. Doo-shik offers up his house, but Gam-ri rejects his offer. She has plenty of people offering to share a room with her, and she’d rather not impose on a young man.
Gam-ri asks Doo-shik to help her grab a suitcase from another room. When they’re out of sight, Gam-ri’s friends begin playing hot potato with her satchel as they argue over who gets stuck with her. When Gam-ri and Doo-shik return, the grannies change their tune, and both pretend that they were fighting over who gets the glorious honor of hosting Gam-ri.
Doo-shik finds their loyalty to Gam-ri endearing and offers to help them settle the disagreement though a game. The player with the highest card gets the pleasure of hosting Gam-ri. The grannies fight over the same card, and the “winning” granny, Mat-yi, is barely able to hide her disappointment.
In between patients, Hye-jin pops by the supermarket for snacks, still wearing her scrubs and a neck brace. Doo-shik’s working the register and he removes some of the less healthy items from the pile, reminding her that eating junk will shatter her dreams of longevity.
Doo-shik asks about the brace, and Hye-jin explains it’s for her herniated neck disc. She forgot she had it on and removes it, and through Doo-shik eyes, we see her shake out her hair and tie it back in sun-lit slow motion. Oblivious to his adoring gaze, she explains that constantly looking down into patients’ mouths has caused her to have a sore neck. She bets that he thought she had a cushy job, but explains that the reality isn’t so glorious. After she leaves, Doo-shik wonders what’s wrong with him.
Cho-hee drowns her sorrows at a restaurant alone. Hwa-jung sees her and, though she pauses, she doesn’t go inside.
Later that night, Doo-shik examines his shelves of home brews and herbs, the memory of Hye-jin’s neck condition fresh in his mind. He scolds himself for being nosy, but we see him cutting up small pieces of wood when Geum-chul drops by unannounced.
Geum-chul admits that he’s hiding from Yoon-kyung because her current pregnancy craving is the durian that they had during their Thailand honeymoon. He hates the smell of it and fears that the craving is a sign his unborn child will be worse than Bora. Doo-shik defends Bora, but gets put out for the fiftieth time that day to hear that when their cash register broke, Sung-hyun fixed it for them.
Cho-hee stumbles home, completely intoxicated. She’s so out of it that she doesn’t protest when a stranger in black grabs her arm and begins leading her away. He doesn’t get far before an angry shout gets his attention. Hwa-jung races towards them, telling him to step away from her dongsaeng. The unidentified man shoves Cho-hee to the ground and runs off into the night. The stranger returns home, and there are empty soju bottles scattered next to a familiar-looking dress and a red bra, as well as some other women’s clothing.
The next day Hye-jin and Mi-sun learn of Cho-hee’s almost-abduction from their neighbors. When Cho-hee comes to in the hospital, Hwa-jung is by her side. Cho-hee has no recollection of the night before, and Hwa-jung scolds her for drinking so much. A distraught Young-guk arrives and initially he doesn’t even register Hwa-jung’s presence. Hwa-jung lets them both know that the doctor will be by soon, and that Cho-hee only has a mild concussion. Cho-hee thanks Hwa-jung. As Hwa-jung walks away, Young-guk’s anxious voice follows her down the hospital hallway.
Yet another one of Hye-jin’s patients refuses to get her dental crown from Hye-jin. After some coaxing, the patient seems on the verge of revealing her true reasons for skipping the procedure.
Nam-sook is out and about when she sees Joo-ri looking upset. There’s new DOS merchandise she wants, but her dad won’t give her any money. Nam-sook doesn’t hesitate to give Joo-ri some cash for the merch and asks only that Joo-ri promise her something: Don’t ever wander around alone at night. If she needs an escort, Nam-sook’s just a call away.
Hye-jin interrupts and confronts Nam-sook for introducing her patients to a shady dental technician. Nam-sook thinks Hye-jin is overreacting and doesn’t understand why the dental technician can’t install the crown. Hye-jin defends her training and the skill needed to ensure a proper fit, but Nam-sook claims everyone in the neighborhood knows dentists are frauds.
Offended on behalf of all dentists, Hye-jin demands an apology. Doo-shik, who overheard the conversation, takes Hye-jin’s side. He tells Nam-sook that she crossed the line and needs to apologize. Feeling as though Hye-jin and Doo-shik are ganging up on her, Nam-sook walks away without apologizing.
Sung-hyun is lost in thought and Ji-won notes that the whole town is unsettled. Do-ha figures that the women living alone must be feeling terrified. Ji-won suggests that they have an early dinner, and Sung-kyung abruptly springs to his feet. He agrees with Ji-won but instead of joining them, he sprints off.
Doo-shik seeks out Eun-chul, already knowing that Eun-chul would want to patrol the area even in his off-duty hours. Doo-shik offers his assistance, claiming it’s part of his duties as chief.
Hye-jin tells Mi-sun that she’s going to call the police on both the dental technician and Nam-sook. Mi-sun thinks that’s too much of an escalation, but Hye-jin calls Nam-sook a villain. Mi-sun argues the true villain is whoever tried to abduct Cho-hee, and Hye-jin agrees. They talk about how even small towns aren’t safe, and Mi-sun mourns the impending pause of her relationship with Eun-chul since he’ll be busy trying to catch the bad guy.
Hye-jin teases Mi-sun and asks if that’s the only reason their relationship is on hold. Mi-sun smiles and says she’s had a “rotisserie chicken moment” with Eun-chul, which a dating rookie like Hye-jin wouldn’t understand. After all, Hye-jin can’t even pick up the signals Sung-hyun is dropping.
Hye-jin says Sung-hyun is just nice to everyone, but Mi-sun disagrees and encourages Hye-jin to think about a relationship with Sung-hyun, especially now that she’s ruled Doo-shik just a friend. Hye-jin reacts to that remark, and Mi-sun says now that it’s in the past she can ask: Is he a good kisser? Hye-jin says she doesn’t remember a thing, but her blush indicates otherwise.
Just then, Sung-hyun comes racing around the corner calling out for Hye-jin. Mi-sun quickly and astutely pretends to have plans elsewhere so they can be alone. Sung-hyun hands Hye-jin a baton and personal alarm. He admits the selection was inspired by recent events and he’s worried about her safety.
He then gives her the stuffed llama keychain from his backpack, telling the story of how it’s a good luck talisman he brought back from Peru. Hye-jin is hesitant to accept it, but Sung-hyun says he’s only loaning it — and his luck — to her.
Doo-shik and Eun-chul’s patrol stretches into the night. It begins to rain, so they agree to split off to cover more ground. Doo-shik’s path takes him past a broken street light and Hye-jin’s house. He worries that she’s not home yet.
As he removes a gift bag from his satchel, Hye-jin and Sung-hun arrive sharing an umbrella. Doo-shik hands Hye-jin the gift bag, explaining that it contains extra acanthopanax he had lying around. She thanks him, but is more worried he’s in the rain with no umbrella. She offers to run inside to grab one for him, but he refuses. Doo-shik is soaking wet and sniffling when he arrives home.
Hye-jin attaches the stuffed llama to her keys and opens the acanthopanax (the wood Doo-shik had cut up earlier). Unfamiliar with the plant, she looks online and discovers that it’s good for alleviating herniated discs. She brews herself a cup, and as she sips the bitter herbal remedy, she calls Doo-shik to thank him, but he doesn’t pick up.
The next day, Doo-shik is visibly under the weather as he and Sung-hyun meet at Gam-ri’s house. Sung-hyun and Ji-won try to encourage Doo-shik to go home and rest, but Doo-shik claims he’s perfectly fine.
Nam-sook receives a phone call from the bank with news about a new offer for a high interest savings account. Nam-sook briefly questions why the bank would be open on a Sunday, but the woman explains she’s giving her a special advance notice and to take advantage before all the slots fill up. Hye-jin is out for a run when she spots Nam-sook walking by clutching an envelope full of money.
Nam-sook meets up with a supposed bank employee at a deserted location in the village. She’s about to hand him her savings when Hye-jin appears and stops her. She asks the man a few questions and easily identifies the situation as a phishing scam. Caught in the act, the man grabs the money and bolts down the street.
Sung-hyun tries again to get Doo-shik to go home and rest, but Doo-shik insists he’s fine and asks Sung-hyun why he is getting involved with the villagers. Sung-hyun is in the middle of defending his kind deeds, when the scam artist runs between him and Doo-shik at breakneck speed. Hye-jin is right behind him and shouts for Doo-shik and Sung-hyun to chase after the scammer. They immediately give pursuit, no questions asked.
Doo-shik splits off from Sung-hyun and his shortcut allows him to get the jump on the conman. Nam-sook’s money flies into the air as Doo-shik keeps the conman pinned down and asks what the man’s crime is. The criminal is shocked that Doo-shik would give chase without knowing why, and Doo-shik says it was because Hye-jin told him to.
Nam-sook is distraught over the theft, but just then, Doo-shik and Sung-hyun walk over with the captured baddie. Nam-sook dissolves into tears, grateful for Sung-hyun and Doo-shik getting her money back. One of the police officers chides Nam-sook for being so gullible, but Hye-jin sticks up for her saying it’s the criminal who’s at fault.
Hye-jin thanks Sung-hyun and Doo-shik for their assistance, then notices that Doo-shik has a cut on his elbow and appears a little sick. He dismisses her concerns, but decides to home and rests. Sung-hyun marvels that Hye-jin is now someone who chases down scammers, and tells her she’s cool. She laughs at his compliment, but her eyes are on Doo-shik.
Doo-shik is coughing and sweating in bed when Hye-jin arrives on his doorstep. Once again he claims he’s fine, but she whips out a thermometer and tells him he talks a lot of crap for someone with a fever. He tries unsuccessfully to get her to leave, but she tells him to listen to his doctor. “Didn’t you say you were only a dentist?” he asks.
She treats his arm first. He flinches as she applies the ointment, but his face grows hot when she blows on the wound to lessen the sting. When she comments on his flushed face, he blames it on his fever.
She’s concerned when she finds out that he hasn’t eaten and asks if he’s craving anything. He says tangerines, because he doesn’t have an appetite and something tangy came to mind. She insists he should have porridge, and tells him to rest on the sofa, ominously adding not to worry if he hears plates breaking or screaming coming from the kitchen. He groans on the couch as the destructive sounds of Hurricane Hye-jin echo out.
Hye-jin places a tray of porridge on the coffee table next to a sleeping Doo-shik. Not wanting to wake him, so she leaves him a note instead. She’s reluctant to leave, and she remembers Mi-sun’s question about Doo-shik being a good kisser. Her eyes remain fixated on his face as she gradually moves closer. She kneels next to him, dipping her head lower until her lips are a whisper away from recreating their previous kiss. Her eyes flutter and close… and then she jerks them open.
Hye-jin smacks herself in the head repeatedly for her foolishness, and heads out. She’s still berating herself when she passes by Yoon-kyung’s supermarket. Yoon-kyung stops her, concerned that Hye-jin has made her cheeks red from slapping her own face. “I did something to deserve it,” she explains cryptically before spotting the tangerines for sale.
Doo-shik wakes up and finds the porridge. The note she left behind instructs him to eat every last bite. He tries a spoonful and his smile evolves into laughter — over how bad it tastes. He has many complaints about the weird tasting porridge, but he nearly finishes the bowl. He loses a little bit of his humor, however, when he sees the mess Hye-jin left behind in his kitchen. He’s about to pour the last bit of the porridge down the sink, but he decides to eat the rest, per Hye-jin’s instructions.
After some more sleep, Doo-shik wakes up feeling refreshed and discovers that Hye-jin left him some tangerines outside. He immediately sits down to peel one as he enjoys the fresh air.
Hwa-jung stops Hye-jin outside the cafe and asks if they could have coffee together at her restaurant; it’s clear she has something to say. Hwa-jung thanks Hye-jin for helping Nam-sook and explains that everyone in the neighborhood is fully aware of Nam-sook’s shortcomings. When Hye-jin points out that they let a lot of her bad behaviors slide, Hwa-jung reveals Nam-sook’s sad history.
Flashback to Nam-sook taking care of her sick daughter, Ah-ram. They play with Ah-ram’s toy magic wand, and Ah-ram says she is going to use it to cast a spell that makes her illness go away. Nam-sook holds her daughter close, telling her she loves her.
Next we see Nam-sook, she’s alone in the hospital bed. Hwa-jung tells Hye-jin Nam-sook only found peace after she started making donations to the children’s hospital in Ah-ram’s name.
Hye-jin runs into Nam-sook and she almost keeps walking, but turns back and asks Nam-sook to open her mouth so she can see her inlay. Nam-sook protests, so Hye-jin tells her to come to the clinic because she needs to make sure the quack technician placed it correctly. Hye-jin continues that she’ll only let it slide once. Nam-sook thanks Hye-jin and showers her with finger hearts.
June and another member of DOS, In-woo, arrive with their suitcases at Gam-ri’s house. Several members of Sung-hyun’s crew film their entrance, and Sung-hyun instructs them to be at ease and look stylish.
Filming continues past sunset, and the townspeople gather to watch with Joo-ri right in front so see can see June. Mi-sun calls out to Doo-shik and he invites her over to watch. He glances around, looking for Hye-jin, but she’s at the clinic.
It’s past 10 o’clock when she heads home. She nervously looks around as she walks the dark streets. A street light has gone out, and the area is darker than usual. She hears a noise and stops to listen. Her pace is faster when she resumes walking, but she’s on edge and drops her phone. She bends to pick it up, but when she spies a shadow behind her she takes off running.
Suddenly there’s a light: Doo-shik in the distance with a giant flashlight. Hye-jin runs to him and wraps her arms around him. Doo-shik stands stiffly as she clings to him, but he slowly brings his arm around her.
We rewind to the almost-kiss between Hye-jin and Doo-shik. This time, though, we see Doo-shik immediately opens his eyes after she leaves and his deep exhales suggests he was holding his breath, anticipating whether or not she would kiss him.
I’ve got to say, I find Doo-shik to be very perplexing — and a bit frustrating. Throughout this episode (and others) I found myself trying to figure out why he acts the way he does towards Hye-jin. He’s wise beyond his years in some ways, yet incredibly immature in lots of others. Dooshik’s been slow to face his own feelings but been very sensitive to all the signals Sung-hyun has been sending out to Hye-jin. Interestingly, he wasn’t just bothered by the prospect of Sung-hyun and Hye-jin together, he was very visibly jealous when Sung-hyun kept volunteering around Gongjin. It must feel strange to go from being the only boy wonder to having a hotshot celebrity PD who keeps insisting on getting involved with the villagers. I think part of my frustration with Doo-shik is that he’s in a bit of a rut, characterization-wise. We’re halfway through the drama and there’s still so much we don’t know about him and we see so little of his inner mind. What makes him tick? If it weren’t for Kim Sun-ho, Doo-shik would be a less likeable, more one-dimensional character. At least with Hye-jin we’ve seen and learned about her, and we’ve see her adjust to Gongjin life. She’s making compromises (like changing up her running gear out of consideration of the older generation in Gongjin) but we never see Doo-shik making any compromises or changes.
Mi-sun made a very valid point this episode when she told Hye-jin that even nice guys like Sung-hyun still have hoops that they’d only jump through for women that they are romantically interested in. Doo-shik also fits into that category. He is a nice person, and he is willing to help people, but he goes above and beyond for Hye-jin. It’s funny, she picked up on Doo-shik’s signals quickly but can’t seem to see them when it concerns Sung-hyun. It’s as though she can’t fathom that the man she looked up to as her cool sunbae would actually want to date her. I’m sure there will be some reason to explain why Doo-shik is so hesitant to admit Hye-jin is special to him, but until then, I find Sung-hyun’s open pursuit of Hye-jin more endearing, especially when he gave her the baton and stuffed llama because he was concerned for her safety.
Speaking of the attempted abduction, let’s talk about the failed kidnapper in town. I’m not happy with how the drama is using — yet another — predator to add suspense and give Doo-shik a reason to feel protective of Hye-jin. I might be more forgiving if it was executed better, but the severity of the situation feels glossed over in order to cater to the overall comedic nature of the drama. Two crimes occurred in this episode, and more screen time went towards the recovery of Nam-sook’s stolen money than towards the investigation of Cho-hee’s attempted abduction. Intentional or not, it also felt like a social commentary on how society tends to value money over the safety of women.
Rather than force another villain on us, I wish the story continued to create meaningful conflict between the existing characters. Hye-jin was understandably upset with Nam-sook in this episode, but their disagreement led to new revelations about both their personalities. Hye-jin values her professional reputation over her personal one and stands up for victims, even when that victim has done her wrong. Nam-sook’s penny-pinching is for a good cause, and now that we know she has a deceased daughter, Nam-sook’s interactions (and generosity) with Joo-ri are more poignant. Nam-sook still annoys the crap out of me, though, but like the townspeople, I’m now more forgiving.
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