Human Disqualification: Episode 8
We get more insight into our shady actress who struggles under the burden of her secrets and insecurities. While working on her behalf behind the scenes, her right-hand man begins questioning our escort’s dedication to his assigned job. No relationship in this drama is simple, and with competing priorities and agendas, someone is bound to get hurt.
EPISODE 8: “David and Bathsheba”
While Soon-kyu stares at Woo-nam’s text disappointedly, Min-ja calls Chang-sook. She drunkenly complains about how terribly her son treats her. Chang-sook asks if she’s drinking alone. “Yes, I’m drinking alone. I drink alone and eat alone.”
Min-ja shares through tears that she was against Jung-soo marrying Bu-jung at first but changed her mind after seeing how sweet Bu-jung is with Chang-sook. If Bu-jung was that loving, Jung-soo wouldn’t be lonely if he married her. Min-ja always felt jealous of Chang-sook and Bu-jung’s relationship.
Jung-soo watches from across the hospital room as Kyung-eun tearfully signs a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. He waits for her in the hall and then takes her for a bowl of noodles. Kyung-eun ignores a call from her mom and tells Jung-soo that her mom was the first person she called tonight.
Her mom’s response was to ask, “How could my son-in-law do this to me on a day like this?” Today is her mom’s birthday. Kyung-eun is disgusted by her mom’s response, even more so when she told her she’d better steel herself this time.
Kyung-eun explains this is the third time she’s had to sign a DNR. It’s one thing to say not to resuscitate from afar, but of course you want them to save him when you’re watching it happen. Others might see her husband only as a man confined to his bed, but she sees his sad tears and happy smiles. He smiled a lot the past few days, “so I asked them to save him.”
She asks Jung-soo what she should say to her mom, but he has no answer. Kyung-eun is now the one handing him a tissue when he breaks down crying.
At Akira, Ah-ran wakes up when Jong-hoon brings in some snacks for her. She explains she couldn’t sleep at home, so she came here. Ah-ran asks if he’s seeing someone – something about him feels different. He chuckles at the idea and says he’s not.
Ah-ran mentions that the account that posted about her secret child disappeared. Jong-hoon confirms he got rid of it, but he’s not sure who was behind it. She sighs that she can’t even report it because the story is true.
“It wasn’t you, was it?” Ah-ran asks. Only four people know that story: her, him, Jin-seob, and Bu-jung. Regardless of his faults, Jin-seob is the father, so it can’t be him. When Jong-hoon stiffly says it wasn’t him, Ah-ran concludes it must be Bu-jung, then.
She wonders what will be posted next. Maybe it’ll be a story of how she hasn’t seen her kid in Canada for 20 years. Ah-ran is scared to look herself up now, but she’s too curious about how people perceive her to stop.
When she sees a hate comment, she digs into the person’s social media, even checking out their friends, to see if they’re better than her. But they’re all just like her. Maybe they hate her because of the similarity.
Jong-hoon wonders what she’ll do if there’s another post. Will she publicly acknowledge her son? “I’ll use you to kill Writer Lee,” she says calmly. Ah-ran smiles like she’s joking, but I’d wager she’s pretty serious.
We now go back to the rooftop where Bu-jung and Kang-jae run into each other yet again. He surreptitiously slips Jung-woo’s phone into his pocket as she walks over. When he mentions their motel meeting earlier, Bu-jung says she doesn’t want to talk about that here.
Kang-jae isn’t sure where “here” is – the roof? Or the building? He sees her looking uncomfortable and doesn’t press. Setting boundaries is good, he reasons. Kang-jae sets a milk from his convenience store stash on the railing for her.
They were supposed to die together the next time they met coincidentally, but he didn’t think it’d be so soon. “We can’t die while drinking milk.” Ha.
Bu-jung wonders if he always says rash things like “let’s die together.” He doesn’t and isn’t sure what made him say that. Bu-jung looks upset but moves on. She amazes him by correctly guessing what type of ramyun he bought and just lets him think she’s that good of a guesser.
She thinks it’s nice to have a favorite – everything has felt the same to her for a while. She’s apathetic towards it all. Bu-jung shares that she was pregnant last year but lost the baby before she even had time to feel happy. Kang-jae recalls overhearing Bu-jung blaming Ah-ran for the loss of her job, her baby, and herself.
At the time, Bu-jung was exhausted and always crying, but inside she felt strangely the same. “There was nothing of mine inside me, and I didn’t know why I was sad or angry. I was just embarrassed.”
Everything disappears when you don’t have a favorite. She asks Kang-jae to play that song again and asks if he likes it. Kang-jae never really did before but thinks it sounds good listening to it like this. They stare out at the city and eat together – Bu-jung is even smiling a little – as they listen to “Hallelujah.”
At a restaurant, Ddak-yi also listens to “Hallelujah” and reads a translation of the lyrics. He gives an earbud to Min-jung when she arrives, and they listen to it together. She worries that he should be home since he’s been unwell, but Ddak-yi says he feels better now. I bet.
They go to order, and Ddak-yi is shocked when Min-jung says she doesn’t eat meat. “I don’t eat anything that can recognize its baby.” Out of solidarity, he politely decides to order something vegetarian too. His face falls a little when she asks if he ever got ahold of Kang-jae, but he masks his disappointment.
Min-jung recognizes the chorus of “Hallelujah” and recalls it’s about the story of David and Bathsheba. David saw her bathing on her roof and wanted her, so he sent her husband – who was his best friend – off to war. Min-jung sighs that nothing ever changes.
Woo-nam gets back to the pharmacy late that night and finds Min-ja asleep on the couch and Soon-kyu asleep at her desk. She wakes soon after and asks if his “pretty ex-wife Ji-yeon” is okay. What was ailing her? “Her heart,” he responds.
As Kang-jae and Bu-jung ride the elevator down, Kang-jae asks if her husband is the type to hang her coat up for her and such. He delicately says there’s a button undone on the back of her blouse, so he wanted to let her know in case it causes an issue.
A woman gets on the elevator with her cute, babbling baby. Kang-jae notices how Bu-jung avoids looking in their direction. When they exit, Kang-jae spots Chang-sook in the lobby and walks a little ahead so it doesn’t look like they came down together. Bu-jung goes back upstairs with her father.
After Jong-hoon gets Ah-ran to bed, he gets a text from someone called Manager Ahn. Jong-hoon chuckles at the photos of Bu-jung and Kang-jae separately going into a motel. He calls Kang-jae to ask how far he got with Bu-jung. He laughs like Kang-jae is being coy when he asks what Jong-hoon is talking about.
Jong-hoon is surprised when Kang-jae lies that he hasn’t met with Bu-jung yet. He’s texted her, but she hasn’t replied yet. Kang-jae promises to let him know when Bu-jung contacts him. Jong-hoon goes with it and doesn’t let on that he knows something is up.
That night, Bu-jung and her father sleep on the floor beside each other. He notes how late she was out tonight. Was she at the office all this time? Bu-jung answers honestly that she wasn’t.
When she says she was out meeting people, Chang-sook says it must’ve been tiring since meeting with people is the hardest thing. Bu-jung says tonight was okay, though. She asks Chang-sook if he’s ever experienced his heart beating so strongly that it moves his clothes.
Bu-jung knows it doesn’t make sense, but it really happened. (I’m assuming she’s referring to the undone button on her blouse.) The person wasn’t startled or running or even that happy. Chang-sook agrees it’s fascinating but thinks the person must be ill, which makes Bu-jung laugh.
Chang-sook asks if she’s doing okay and says everything is fine so long as she’s not ill. “If you’re not ill, you’ll find a way to survive.”
Bu-jung leaves later that night after her father falls asleep. She finds the bag Kang-jae left hanging on the door with bandaids and a few other items. (He glanced at her heel earlier and saw a run in her stocking where it met her high heels.)
After cleaning out Jung-woo’s room, Kang-jae sends Bu-jung a text from café hallelujah. He’s glad she seems well and muses that even if the peace is temporary, he believes everyone encounters good days where you get to rest. We see Kyung-eun by her husband’s side in the hospital as Bu-jung rides the bus.
Bu-jung puts her hand out of the window to feel the snow while Kang-jae continues narrating the text, “Like walking after resting, like running again after walking, like rain turning into snow and piling up.” Kang-jae (as café hallelujah) says he didn’t write that post, and the account isn’t his – can’t be his anymore.
Jung-soo and Bu-jung arrive outside their apartment building at the same time. He takes in her nice outfit and heels but doesn’t say anything. He just covers her with his winter coat and asks if she’s coming from Chang-sook’s.
The following day, Kang-jae takes a stand-in job as chief mourner. A woman hired him to pretend to be her fiancé at her father’s funeral. How brazen. Min-jung and Ddak-yi come to pay their respects, playing acquaintances of the deceased. Kang-jae leads an enthusiastically in-character Min-jung and an awkward Ddak-yi toward the dining room.
Afterward, Min-jung and Ddak-yi fill him in on the whole David and Bathsheba saga. Min-jung thinks the main point is that David and the husband were best friends, but Ddak-yi argues that’s a stretch; the husband was David’s subordinate. Kang-jae muses that it’s similar to his mom’s story.
On the bus ride back, Min-jung tells Ddak-yi that she and Kang-jae have known each other for five or six years. They met on the street and became closer after he let her crash at his place when she was kicked out of her trainee dorm.
Kang-jae takes issue with her statement that she slept at his place “a lot” – it was only twice when he wasn’t even home. Min-jung grumpily argues it’s still meaningful. She notices Kang-jae take out his phone only for another phone in his pocket to light up with a message.
Meanwhile, Jong-hoon looks for Ah-ran at her filming site. He sees her confronting the director over the abuse he keeps putting her character through. She’s done being a punching bag. After being severely beaten, how is it realistic for her character to go about life normally?
Ah-ran supposes he’s never been beaten before and details for him exactly what these kinds of wounds feel like. His idea of character is that she should boil some tea even while feeling like she’s dying? He argues it’s for product placement.
She sighs and says she’s fine with getting hit – this is pretend, after all. But she’s done getting beaten to a pulp and then going about life and smiling like everything is fine. The director looks over in surprise when Ah-ran puts a hand over her face and starts crying.
Once the director leaves, Jin-seob’s pleasant mask drops and he asks what Ah-ran thinks she’s doing. He accuses her of being on a power trip and angrily tosses the instant coffee pack at her before walking away.
Jong-hoon approaches her as she quietly sobs. He wants to take her home, but she insists on finishing her scenes. Jong-hoon stays by her side as she sobs some more.
While Jung-soo buys Min-ja a pair of shoes at his department store, she feels him out to see if Chang-sook said anything about her drunken phone call. Jung-soo assumes she caused trouble and gets more suspicious when she asks how things are at Bu-jung’s work. When he asks accusingly if she met with Chang-sook about Bu-jung, Min-ja scampers off.
Once Kang-jae gets home, he checks the message from Bu-jung that came to Jung-woo’s phone. She passed by the hospital earlier and thought of Min-soo. Is he doing well?
In the hospital waiting room, Bu-jung gets a text from Jung-soo asking if she can meet him out for dinner tonight. She lies that she has a late meeting. Jung-soo stares at the text with sad eyes.
As she gets settled in the exam room, Bu-jung receives a reply from café hallelujah: “Min-soo went to heaven recently.” Bu-jung stares in shock and flashes back to when she miscarried. She sinks to the ground, wrapping her arms around herself and burying her face in her knees. At home, Kang-jae hangs his head.
Let’s hope Bu-jung is just at the hospital for a checkup but given that she probably wouldn’t tell anyone even if there were a problem, I’m a little concerned. Did she lie about working late because of the appointment, or did she just want to get out of dinner? Jung-soo looked so sad when she said no to dinner that I felt bad for him. He seems to be trying to reach her, but she’s not at all receptive. Bu-jung is so withdrawn and obviously still struggling with her depression, so why isn’t she currently being treated? I was surprised she opened up to Kang-jae about her miscarriage and talked about how she felt, but I’m glad she’s talking about it to someone.
Bu-jung always has her guard up around everyone except her father, but she still keeps a lot to herself to avoid worrying or disappointing him. Not that he’d actually be disappointed – Chang-sook’s reaction to hearing that she left her job proves that. I love the relationship between Bu-jung and Chang-sook not just because it’s sweet but because it shows a different side to Bu-jung. It’s like a glimpse into who she’d be without the weight of the world. She’s freer and shares her thoughts without hesitation. She smiles and laughs frequently. Maybe one day, she can be that person all the time.
Now that she and Kang-jae have gotten closer, it seems like he’s given up on the job. Is he trying to give Jong-hoon the runaround by lying to him about his contact with Bu-jung? I’m worried about what Jong-hoon will do now since he knows Kang-jae is lying. Kang-jae isn’t going to be able to hold him off for long, and Jong-hoon will likely just hire someone else if Kang-jae won’t do it. Ah-ran is going to expect results sooner or later. Even more concerning is Ah-ran’s comment about killing Bu-jung if another post about her secret son pops up on social media. I’m hoping she won’t actually go that far, but I have no doubt she’d at the very least try to completely destroy Bu-jung’s life.
I appreciate that every character, no matter their flaws, is treated with empathy and nuance. Even characters I dislike have moments that leave me sympathetic. I can’t stand Min-ja, but her crying over her loneliness made me feel for her a smidge. It’s a sad truth that elderly people are often isolated and forgotten by society. I’ve disliked Kyung-eun from the start, but her storyline is impactful. Caring for a dying spouse must be incredibly emotionally draining and stressful. Although I don’t agree with her method, I understand her need for companionship as she struggles to stay afloat. Then, there’s Ah-ran who vacillates between awful and pitiable. The way she spoke about what it feels like to be beaten sounded like it was from personal experience. Is Jin-seob abusive? A few episodes ago, Bu-jung’s housecleaning colleague suspected that Jin-seob might be hitting Ji-na (the young actress), so it seems like a distinct possibility. And I’m really curious about the situation with Ah-ran’s son in Canada.
I didn’t expect the song “Hallelujah” to take such a prominent role at the start, but I like its use as the drama’s theme song of sorts. Not only does it have the perfect vibe, both haunting and beautiful, but its ambiguity fits so well. Each cover of Cohen’s classic song interprets the meaning differently, the verses and performance style reflecting various aspects of the human experience. Depending on your perspective, the song might either be desolate or celebratory; that’s part of its enduring appeal. It’s interesting that this episode focused on the line about David and Bathsheba, highlighting the element of betrayal. Is it meant to emphasize past betrayals or to foreshadow future ones? I’d like to think our protagonists have been through the worst of it, but I expect there’ll be more pain to come as we enter the second half of the drama.
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