Human Disqualification: Episode 10
It’s time for some angst as our lead is forced to make a decision that results in the loss of something important to him. While he glumly accepts his fate and tries to move on, our house cleaner makes a couple of worrying discoveries both in her home and work life.
EPISODE 10: “Back where I started”
Kang-jae eats silently and ignores another call from Jong-hoon as he listens to Chang-kyu and Mi-sun bicker about the exact price of their house. Chang-kyu laments that they missed out on a better house because Mi-sun didn’t want to move out of Seoul. Kang-jae chokes on his dinner when Chang-kyu says that place is now worth almost 400 million.
At the internet café, Ddak-yi is surprised to get a call from Jong-hoon – who is desperately trying to reach Kang-jae – but he doesn’t pick up. Min-jung gasps to hear that the supposedly innocent Ddak-yi once filled in for Jung-woo at Akira, which is why Jong-hoon has his number.
After reading the text from Jong-hoon, Min-jung encourages Ddak-yi to call him back. She frames her interest as professional. As Kang-jae’s business partner, she should know what he’s up to, naturally.
Ddak-yi calls Jong-hoon and assures him Kang-jae isn’t avoiding him. He’s doing a job for him, so why would he avoid him? When Jong-hoon tersely asks if Kang-jae told him about the job, Ddak-yi stammers that he just happened to find out. Kang-jae definitely didn’t say anything.
Jong-hoon claims it’s fine either way. They’ll probably scrap the job anyway since Jung-woo drug it out for so long. He tries to fish for info on Kang-jae, but Ddak-yi is tight-lipped. Min-jung overhears Ddak-yi say he’ll stop by Akira sometime and grumbles like a jealous girlfriend.
Ah-ran calls Jong-hoon to ask if he’s gotten any dirt on Bu-jung yet, which he hasn’t. Now that Bu-jung has stopped posting about her, Ah-ran plans to dial it back. She instructs him to keep an eye on Bu-jung because she’d like to dig up something she can use against Bu-jung later if need be.
While Chang-sook sleeps, Bu-jung reads articles on Alzheimer’s. He wakes up from a coughing fit and wonders what Bu-jung is still doing up. When she says she was reading, he reminisces about how she’s always loved to read, unlike him.
Chang-sook worries that his earlier episode startled Jung-soo, but Bu-jung argues she was the one he startled. Chang-sook says aging is natural and tells her not to be alarmed if something happens to him. Bu-jung avoids answering by doing the dishes.
Meanwhile, Mi-sun smiles fondly as she looks over at Kang-jae lying next to her on the floor. Facing away from her, he comments on the annoying flickering light, but she’s unbothered. It’s been like that for a while. Kang-jae says he checked three stores for a replacement but couldn’t find the right bulb.
Mi-sun smiles to realize that’s what took him so long when he was out earlier. She was worried something was wrong; his mood seemed off earlier. Kang-jae grumbles that her sudden mothering is awkward and says nothing is wrong.
She remarks that he reminds her of his father. His eyes too were always distant, and she could never tell what he was thinking. When Kang-jae starts texting Ddak-yi, Mi-sun asks if he’s dating and keeps trying to peek over his shoulder.
Mi-sun is disappointed when Kang-jae gets up to leave and tries to get him to stay. When that doesn’t work, she tries to at least get him to commit to coming home again soon, but he says he’ll come when he comes. As he walks out the door, Mi-sun reminds him that next month is his father’s death anniversary.
When he’s outside, Kang-jae calls Ddak-yi to figure out what he told Jong-hoon. Ddak-yi worries he messed up by mentioning the job. He made sure to say Kang-jae didn’t tell him about it, but he doesn’t think Jong-hoon believed him.
Ddak-yi grins as he says he heard that Kang-jae called him his soulmate to Jong-hoon. Kang-jae gets all gruff about it, but Ddak-yi says there’s nothing to be embarrassed about – he thinks they’re soulmates too.
Kang-jae stops by Akira where a drunk Jong-hoon greets him enthusiastically. He scolds him for only taking Ddak-yi’s calls and pulls him aside to text him the photos Manager Ahn sent. There’s even a photo of Kang-jae coming out of Jung-woo’s place.
Jong-hoon knows a lot about Jung-woo, including that he met some woman in a “suicide café” (internet group) who had a sick kid, and that’s why Jung-woo came frequently to borrow money. He argues he did his best to help Jung-woo and gave him jobs.
Jong-hoon assumes there must be a misunderstanding because there’s no other way Kang-jae would betray him. He casually explains that, with those photos, Kang-jae has already given him enough to ruin Bu-jung. But Jong-hoon has decided to pull the plug on the job.
If they stop now, everyone wins. Jong-hoon doesn’t have to deal with this headache anymore, Ah-ran won’t dirty her hands, Jung-woo already made his money, and Kang-jae won’t have to do this job he’d rather die than do. The catch? First, he wants to know why Kang-jae is obsessing over Jung-woo. Second, Kang-jae has to stop meeting Bu-jung.
Kang-jae wants to know why it matters whether he sees Bu-jung or not. Apparently, Jong-hoon just finds it perplexing and it bothers him. Wow. Jong-hoon looks like he’s enjoying making Kang-jae miserable and smiles when Kang-jae says he has no choice but to agree.
Jong-hoon begs him to work a room since they’re crowded tonight and gets Kang-jae to agree when he offers triple the rate. Before he leaves, Jong-hoon asks why Kang-jae is so interested in Jung-woo. Kang-jae says he just wanted to know how he lived, although he didn’t find the answers he was looking for.
Once he’s alone, Kang-jae takes out Jung-woo’s phone and erases the text he wrote but never sent to Bu-jung. His finger hovers over the button to leave (and delete) the chat. He presses it. And then he deletes Bu-jung as a contact.
As Kang-jae heads to the room, he again talks to his father. He asks how he’s doing. “As you can see, I’m still a complete mess.” He smiles and drinks as he works the room with everyone cheering him on.
He steps into the hall for a breather and pulls out his phone, navigating to his chat with Bu-jung. Kang-jae tells his father that, for the first time in a while, “I followed something other than money.”
Kang-jae thinks of seeing Bu-jung at that wedding venue and meeting her at the motel. “I followed a small and strange fluttering in my heart and stepped into a new world.”
He stares at the button to delete his chat history with Bu-jung. What was he hoping to become? What did he expect? A montage of his encounters with Bu-jung plays, ending on when he asked her if she’d like to die with him. Kang-jae clicks “delete.”
Where did he go wrong? “I followed my heart and walked a different path, but I ended up back where I started.” He’s called back in the room where he parties with a fake smile. Kang-jae doesn’t get to leave until 5 A.M. After checking his payment, he turns off his phone.
In the early hours, Bu-jung gets ready to leave her father’s. She sees Chang-sook’s shoes at the door and finds the folded piece of paper with the door code inside. In the elevator, Kang-jae notes that his steps got him no closer or farther.
The doors open, and he sees Bu-jung standing there. But it’s only his imagination. He stares until the doors close again. Kang-jae heads back downstairs and takes note of an ad for a hair salon in the elevator. Oh, we’re in for the obligatory hair change after a breakup, aren’t we?
Bu-jung arrives home and stands uncertainly outside the bedroom door. As Kang-jae says he returned to where he started, Bu-jung goes inside and closes the door.
After Kang-jae gets a haircut (noooo), Min-jung can’t stop staring. “Now I see your hair had been doing all the work.” HA. She guesses the reason he stayed home for weeks wasn’t that he was sick but that he was waiting for his hair to grow back.
Kang-jae retorts that he’s been getting a lot of clients in Cheongdam-dong since his “retro-modernism” haircut. Min-jung sighs at his outdated knowledge – apparently, Cheongdam-dong isn’t in anymore.
They’re currently working a job babysitting two Pomeranians who only understand English. Part of their job is giving affirmations after the dogs get groomed. Pfft.
Min-jung checks that he’s helping her move later, which is news to him. She sighs that she’s been telling him for a week she’s moving. Ddak-yi is coming too and even helped her look for a place.
Meanwhile, Jong-hoon is still keeping tabs on Kang-jae and Bu-jung. He gets an update that Kang-jae has ventured out for the first time in a month, and Bu-jung has been working as a house cleaner for Jin-seop’s mistress for six months.
Bu-jung arrives at Ji-na’s and hears a commotion inside. She hears what sounds like a slap and then Ji-na crying out. A man screams at her and continues hitting her. Bu-jung starts frantically ringing the doorbell.
Ji-na tells her through the door to come back another day, but Bu-jung threatens to call the police if she doesn’t let her in. Ji-na promises to open the door if Bu-jung waits at the end of the hall first. Bu-jung hears Jin-seob come stomping out of the apartment and keeps her head down as he walks past.
Ji-na peeks her head out – her face is bruised and bleeding – and sighs in relief to hear Bu-jung didn’t file a report. When Bu-jung asks if she’s okay, Ji-na’s face crumples but she regains composure. No bones are broken, so she’s fine.
Bu-jung tells Ji-na to call her personal cell if she ever needs anything. Ji-na confuses her by suddenly recalling that Bu-jung is friends with the previous house cleaner and says she was just thinking about how Bu-jung got the job. She then cries as she asks Bu-jung not to tell anyone about what she saw.
On the bus, Bu-jung sees a young man with long hair that reminds her of Kang-jae. She thinks back to the last time she saw him and opens their chat. Kang-jae’s ID is now listed as “unknown.”
Bu-jung gets a call from her manager. Ji-na called the office and wanted to know how Bu-jung came to work there. She tells Bu-jung not to worry – it’s common for the VIP Team to get vetted. Now that she’s free for the day, Bu-jung agrees to help with a VVIP job.
While Kang-jae grumpily babysits the Pomeranians with Min-jung, Bu-jung fills in as staff at a rich kid’s birthday event. At work, Jung-soo ignores a call from Kyung-eun. He then gets a text from a friend: Kyung-eun’s husband passed away.
At the funeral, Kyung-eun hides out for a minute alone and sees a text from Jung-soo asking if she’s okay. She doesn’t even have time to respond before someone comes looking for her.
On the drive back that night, Bu-jung sees a lake out of her window and asks the taxi driver to stop. It’s Yuwon Fishing Site, which looks like the same spot from the picture Jung-woo (and later Ddak-yi) pulled up when he visited café hallelujah’s webpage.
Alone in the dark, Bu-jung walks toward the lake. There’s a mound of rocks with a bouquet of flowers beside the water. Ah, is this where Jung-woo and Hee-sun died?
At the pharmacy, Woo-nam watches through the doors as Soon-kyu disinfects a cut for a kid. Woo-nam smiles as she chats with the boy and his friends. Min-ja catches him staring and asks about his ex. The rumor that Ji-yeon came to see him has spread through the neighborhood.
Once the kids leave, Soon-kyu comes out and greets Min-ja. She gets awkward when she sees Woo-nam who bought her tteokbokki on the way.
At Kang-jae’s, Min-jung scopes out the storage area and says she should just live here. She pointedly asks Ddak-yi if it’s a good idea. He, of course, politely objects. Kang-jae scoffs and scolds Ddak-yi for taking the bait. When Kang-jae starts badmouthing Min-jung, she and Ddak-yi gang up on him. They even pressure him into going out to buy them ramyeon.
Bu-jung is still standing at the edge of the reservoir when a police car pulls up. Someone called her in for loitering, so they take her into the station. They need to call someone – a family member or friend – to vouch for her.
If she has no one to call, they’ll have to call a women’s shelter. The officer tells her to sit for a bit and try to think of someone. Bu-jung fiddles with her phone and finally pulls up her and Kang-jae’s chat.
On his way back from the convenience store, Kang-jae stops cold when he gets a text from Bu-jung with an official job request. She needs a friend to confirm her identity at the police station.
First, a moment of silence for Kang-jae’s luxurious locks.
I’m not usually that attached to someone’s hairstyle, but I have to say, that long hair really worked for Kang-jae. Alas. I love the serious shade Min-jung threw his way about his new hair, though. Usually, it’s the female lead who gets the heartbreak-induced haircut, so I like the switch up. Kang-jae took the separation hard, although I do wonder if holing himself up for a month afterward was also related to his dad’s death anniversary. It’s interesting that at the start of their relationship, Bu-jung was the one who seemed to need it more. But over time, Kang-jae clearly came to depend on it just as much.
Is Jong-hoon really that vindictive, or is there a real reason he needed to separate Kang-jae and Bu-jung? At first, I thought he just liked having power over Kang-jae, which I do think he enjoys, but it’s strange that he’d continue keeping tabs on them for a month to make sure they don’t meet. Even though he agreed to stop the Bu-jung project, I’m worried now that he knows she’s working for Jin-seob’s girlfriend. I hope he doesn’t try to get her fired or worse. Then again, Ji-na herself might try to get rid of Bu-jung now that she knows about Jin-seob and his abusive behavior.
It’s just one thing after another for Bu-jung, isn’t it? Now she’s even being brought into the police station for standing next to a reservoir. As far as we know, Bu-jung isn’t aware Jung-woo died at that reservoir, but she seemed to recognize the place. If she and Jung-woo really did talk about dying together, did they talk about that spot? Jong-hoon called café hallelujah a “suicide group,” so I’m guessing that’s where Jung-woo and Bu-jung met. They planned to die together but didn’t go through with it for some reason. Maybe because Bu-jung got pregnant? Then, Jung-woo met Hee-sun and Min-soo who Bu-jung happened to meet later at the hospital.
Poor Kang-jae is having a rough go of it lately. He finally stepped out of his comfort zone only to have it backfire. He holds so much in, and just when he was starting to be a little more honest about what he wants, the door slams shut. And now he’s stuck in that cycle, thinking this is the only life he deserves or can have.
Even if he’s worried about Jong-hoon finding out, I can’t imagine Kang-jae is going to leave Bu-jung at the station alone. I doubt Jong-hoon can afford to have someone tailing them 24/7, so he likely won’t find out if they meet at some police station off the beaten path anyway. I wish Kang-jae would just come clean to Bu-jung about the whole situation. This directly involves her, so she should at least be aware of what’s going on. Of course, Kang-jae isn’t exactly a great communicator which, according to his mom, is a family trait.
While some of Kang-jae’s emotional distance with his mom is no doubt due to his personality mixed with his father’s death, I have wondered if there’s more to it. She clearly wants to be there for him now, but maybe she wasn’t so involved in the past. If Mi-sun did wrong him, he doesn’t strike me as the forgive-and-forget type. Kang-jae is the type you have to coax out of his shell and who is always in danger of retreating, convincing himself that it’s better to hide in the shadows than risk putting himself out there and getting hurt. Let’s hope this most recent setback can be rectified before he fully retreats back into his shell.
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