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Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Things are fast spiraling out of control for our heroines. With one sister facing the nasty aftermath of her company director’s death, and a second trying to usher the youngest away from the proverbial deal with a wealthy devil, it’s hard to say whether any of them will emerge unscathed.

 

EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

In the first of many sibling spats about money and morality, In-kyung confronts In-hye with her less-than-legitimate extracurriculars. In-kyung can’t decide what incenses her more about In-hye letting PARK HYO-RIN (Jeon Chae-eun) take the credit for her painting — the dishonesty, or the fact that In-hye is excited to sell her soul for cold, hard cash.

To add insult to injury, In-hye has made herself at home schmoozing amongst the moneyed elite — at a party presided over by In-kyung’s mortal enemy, Jae-sang. It’s under this provocation that In-kyung snaps, subjecting In-hye to the teenage equivalent of a fate worse than death. Buoyed up by soju and sadness, she shimmies up a nearby post and, in full view of everyone, wails for her sister to come home.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Guests murmur. In-hye is in quiet agony. And In-kyung’s po-faced colleague, JANG MA-RI (Gong Min-jung) plays her signature move, phone ever on-hand to film another drunken catastrophe. As police flock the area, In-kyung issues Jae-sang a bleary yet heartfelt ultimatum. In-hye is the person she loves most in the world. If he hurts her, he’ll suffer.

Elsewhere, In-joo deals with the quite literal fallout of Director Shin’s messy descent. In between abortive bouts of CPR, she scrambles to answer his ringing phone: Do-il. He meets her at the hospital, where he takes her sternly by the shoulders and coaches her on how to mislead the police. Panicked, In-joo puts two and two together, coming up with malice aforethought. This guy knew Director Shin was not long for this world — and, as witness, she may be next on the hit list.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Still, Do-il’s surprisingly forthright for someone who may or may not be part of a murderous conspiracy. For all that In-joo plays clueless, it’s clear he’s onto her possession of the two billion won. But, with an utterly straight face, he proposes a neat cover-up for her ill-gotten cash: pin the blame on the dead man, Director Shin.

In-joo had been bent on solving Hwa-young’s murder — but when you’re scrubbing blood out of your dress shirt in the early hours of the morning while contemplating which of your colleagues want to kill you, justice is your last priority. She’s inclined to take Do-il’s advice and leave murderous stones unturned.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Nonetheless, circumstances (and, apparently, horticulture) have a way of intervening. Whilst tending to Hwa-young’s rooftop orchid garden — the fussiest of which, “Princess,” has burst into glorious bloom — In-joo discovers a postcard. It’s addressed to Hwa-young from CEO WON SANG-WOO (Lee Min-woo). In-joo pays him a visit, orchid pot in tow.

Turns out, Sang-woo is resident of a very comfortable, spacious set of rooms… in a psychiatric hospital. He too, according to Hwa-young, is a fellow outcast. Emboldened by this vote of confidence — and by Sang-woo’s air of gentle rationality — In-joo spills all. The murder. The money. The fact that she’s too afraid to make a move.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Sang-woo is frank. When he became CEO, he attempted to bring his father to justice for wide-scale embezzlement. All he got was a sham trial and a psychiatric referral. He fears the same for In-joo. His advice? Spend the cash. She deserves a nice winter coat far more than homicidal plutocrats deserve pocket change. Besides, he has a means of protecting her interests: slush fund ledgers documenting decades of illegal activity. Anything for the woman Hwa-young compared to an orchid on the verge of bloom.

Things are complicated by a sudden rap on the door — it’s Do-il. Handily, Sang-woo’s has prepared for this eventuality. As Sang-woo peers at Do-il over his copy of The Count of Monte Cristo (suitable!), In-joo abseils out the window on a makeshift harness — money, ledgers, orchid plant and all.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

It’s not long before Do-il catches up; the local bus isn’t exactly a prompt getaway vehicle. But, surprisingly, it’s to propose an alliance. The ledgers are a dangerous weapon. Together, they can leverage them for money, and split it 50/50.

In-joo is loath to trust the man she still half suspects of murder, but when Do-il confesses his regret for not saving Hwa-young, she softens. Besides, it’s hard to remain unmoved when he calls her a game-changer — a small storm. In-joo’s not so flustered that she neglects to haggle, though: 60/40, or no deal! (The 60 goes to her. Just to be clear.)

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Meanwhile, In-kyung is hovering around rock bottom. In-hye has blocked her number. She’s a single drop of soju away from getting fired. However, sheer determination has her still chasing leads — whilst Jong-ho, ever faithful, provides moral support and consolatory gardening videos. Through stubborn investigation, she sources CCTV footage of the seeming suicide of KIM DAL-SU (Lee Il-sub), one of the Bobae Savings defendants. Prior to his death, he appears to be smelling a small blue flower.

Jong-ho is quietly considerate throughout. There’s minimal time to cozy up over homemade kimchi — a love language he unfortunately shares with In-kyung’s mother — but he makes it clear to her that, other than his ailing grandfather, she’s the only one he has to protect. This tenderness is curtailed, however, as In-kyung spots the orchid Jong-ho collected from last episode’s crime scene, and her reporter neurons spark. It’s the same flower Dal-su was smelling!

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

In-joo, meanwhile, learns about In-hye’s intention to study in Boston — on the Won family’s dime. Appalled doesn’t begin to cover it. By putting herself at the mercy of a stranger, In-hye will be racking up debt that can’t be quantified in coin. But, as In-hye points out — what will she owe her sisters if they break their backs for her?

In-joo is determined to square away all debts. Stuffing a tuition’s fee worth of cash into her bag, she heads to meet Hyo-rin’s mother, WON SANG-AH (Eom Ji-won). Sang-ah, who maintains an extraordinary poker face regarding the several million won on her table, assures In-joo this isn’t some backroom deal: In-hye won a legitimate scholarship from her husband’s foundation. Then, playing her trump card, she shows In-joo her sister’s portfolio. The pieces are masterful — and miserable. One depicts a sprawled figure in a forest: a girl In-hye described as her dying sister.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

As Sang-ah smilingly tells her not to kill herself paying for In-hye, In-joo’s suspicions run dark. Later, she is plagued by flashbacks of being eight years old — of leaning down, and realizing a baby isn’t breathing. Of her mother trudging into the night. After all, it’s Little Women… naturally, there’s a Beth.

At home, In-kyung discovers the hidden money. She’s horrified. When In-joo returns, she hardly needs to confirm its provenance; In-kyung has already guessed who left it to her, and she won’t stand for theft.

Numbly, In-joo relates what she has held back for years, and what she only now realizes In-kyung doesn’t remember. Back when they were out on the streets, they had a three-year-old sister whose illness they were too poor to treat. When she died, their parents fell apart. In-kyung was sent to their Great Aunt, and the silence persisted ever since. People die when they are poor. In light of that — what’s theft? But, In-kyung is determined that she’d rather die than become what she hates.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Each sister grieves in her own way. In-joo, determined to seize life with both fists, leaves to buy her winter coat. In-kyung, finally understanding the hidden trauma that brings her to tears when she hears stories of broken families, stares across the balcony and broods.

Meanwhile, In-hye wanders around a mansion that wouldn’t look out of place in a Gothic novel. She enters a room full of toys. There’s a mantelpiece of tin soldiers. A doll’s house reflecting glorious luxury in miniature. A golden-haired doll with a godlike profile, which In-hye takes. And, watching her — Jae-sang.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

The soldiers were for Hyo-rin’s uncle, Sang-woo. As a poor driver’s son, yearning for the wealth that was Sang-woo’s by birth, Jae-sang once stole one, only to throw it away. As he grew older, he strove to prove he belonged in the house — more than the General’s own son.

Why did In-hye submit her painting as Hyo-rin’s? Because, says In-hye, she was Hyo-rin when she painted it. She used her style, her preferences — rendering them perfect. If In-hye wants that doll, says Jae-sang, then she must earn it. Can she betray the one who loves her most in the world? He did. He betrayed his own father.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

With her new coat as armor, In-joo goes toe to toe with her Great Aunt. She wants a new apartment for her family, and she needs help making it legally watertight. What’s more, despite Aunt Oh’s witty dismissals, she knows she won’t deny her. Not with the guilt of her dead sister — whose hospital bill Aunt Oh could have paid — hanging over them both.

It’s a good play. Aunt Oh agrees to sell her an apartment. It’s here that this show’s affinity with objects really shines. In-joo falling in love with a series of beautiful, empty rooms is interwoven with Hyo-rin visiting the cluttered Oh residence.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Despite the sticky window, the stoop-inducing shower and the family of ants inhabiting the kitchen, Hyo-rin can sense the love suffusing the space. It’s a love she covets — but that In-hye finds suffocating.

In-joo, for her part, knows that her loved ones need a home where they can weather the ravages of the world. It’s not easy when her sister is blocking her calls. In-kyung is proud of their strength and independence — she won’t wager it all on stolen cash. In-joo’s behavior scares her: it’s all too reminiscent of when she met her deadbeat husband.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

In-kyung drowns her sorrows in research. She learns that Jae-sang visited Dal-su in the hospital, uttering a mantra with eerie calm befitting a surgeon: The war isn’t over. The general is waiting. She and Jong-ho revert to their childhood detective games (by tacit agreement, Jong-ho was always the assistant), researching the blue orchid. Turns out, the Orchid of Death is a rare breed, producing strange sedative effects when inhaled — allegedly containing the power to contact the spirits of the deceased.

In-hye is about to gain firsthand experience. With a confiding smile that cements her position as this show’s greatest harbinger of the sinister since Director Shin, Sang-ah promises to show In-hye something just between them.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Beneath the house is a sprawling chamber that glows emerald with coiled vines. At its center sits an ancient tree, housing a veritable glut of bright blue orchids. Sang-ah gifts one to In-hye — who takes a deep breath of its scent.

Sang-ah offers to let In-hye draw her portrait. It’ll be another secret they share. As In-hye sketches the face whose features she so envies, she begins to lose her grip on reality, hearing a voice bidding her to run. Sang-ah smirks. But, to her shock, In-hye collapses entirely.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Luigi’s disease. That’s the doctor’s diagnosis. It’s a hereditary heart condition, lethal if left untreated. In-joo decides she doesn’t care if In-kyung turns her in, or even if they never speak again — she must use the money for In-hye’s treatment. Knowing this is life or death, In-kyung gives her reluctant blessing.

When In-hye wakes, she and In-kyung share an uneasy reconciliation. In-kyung loves her madly, unconditionally, in a manner that encompasses all her flaws. In-hye knows this. But sometimes, she despises that kind of love. She wants to be loved for her talents, too.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

As In-joo hurries to collect the money, she receives a warning call from Do-il, who has a front-row seat to Jae-sang’s strategy meetings. Jae-sang is sending his most brutal attack dog to run a background check on In-joo: GO SU-IM (Park Bo-kyung). She must lie low. Heedless of her accomplice’s warnings, In-joo returns to the yoga center.

She’s caught red-handed by Su-im. Stripped of her money, kneeling terrified, In-joo begs for a scrap of compassion: all she needs is 100 million to cover her sister’s treatment. Lazily amused, Su-im proposes a deal. She’ll lend In-joo the money — provided she can live through ten blows from her. Broken and desperate, In-joo agrees.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

The first is a punch to the stomach. Su-im, alive with sadistic glee, warns In-joo that she could die — then aims for the face. The third hit sends her sprawling. The fourth is with a weapon. The fifth, she crows, will be a blow to the head. Before she can level it, Do-il comes up from behind, wrenching the weapon from her hand. But, In-joo insists that they continue. At this moment, an unlikely savior arrives in the form of Sang-ah — before whose immaculate rebuke Su-im cowers.

Sang-ah drives In-joo to the restaurant she once visited with Hwa-young. Like Hwa-young, she wraps her blazer around In-joo’s shoulders. Like Hwa-young, she wears a jeweled pair of Bruno Zuminos. The truth hits In-joo like a freight train: it wasn’t some affair with Director Shin that got Hwa-young the shoes, the clothes, and the perfect alter-ego — it was Sang-ah. And Sang-ah is in the market for a new bestie.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

In-joo holds no illusions. There can be no friendship between a working class woman and the overprivileged socialite who pays for her meals — Hwa-young knew that too. But, as for being her assistant? That, she can do. At the cost of In-hye’s medical bill, of course. Little does she know, Sang-ah has already seen the situation for the press opportunity it is.

In-hye has another attack. In-joo and In-kyung tearfully offer comfort as she is wheeled into surgery. In-joo assures In-kyung that the money has been sorted — but she might not like what happens next. Meanwhile, during surgery, In-hye is plagued by visions of pursuit and escape.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

When she wakes, In-hye insists they call their mother, who is predictably blithe about the whole experience. She can’t come visit — it’s mango season! In-hye cuts straight to the chase: why was she once called In-seon? It’s the name of their dead sister.

When In-hye was a baby, Hee-yeon told her about carrying the child on her back to hospital. Ripping the phone away from In-hye, In-joo confronts her weeping mother: how dare she tell In-hye half-truths? If she cares for her, she’ll come back and explain. In-kyung makes a shrewd guess — her mother has no money left. Their father is gambling again. In what is shaping up to be something of an Oh family ritual, the sisters block Hee-yeon’s number.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Next comes the bit that In-kyung’s not going to like. Namely: a tooth-achingly saccharine interview in which Jae-sang and Sang-ah parade their philanthropy before the press. The older sisters bristle, but In-hye agrees to go on camera, thanking her benefactors.

But, then comes In-kyung’s coup de grâce. As the smarmy husband-wife duo whip out their seemingly bottomless bank card, they are interrupted by Aunt Oh. She approaches Jae-sang. New money stares down old. The latter wins the bout: with a pointed remark about Jae-sang’s father, Aunt Oh steps up to pay the hospital bill.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

They’ve won the battle, but the war for In-hye’s soul continues apace. She announces she’ll be staying with Hyo-rin in future. When her sisters protest, she silences them with a startling admission — that she keeps hearing In-seon’s voice. She has two options: escape this family, or wind up dead.

In-joo resolves to follow Hwa-young’s example and learn to be another person. She warns In-kyung that she’s taking the job with Sang-ah. Maybe then, she can use the ledgers to shield their family from this mayhem. In-kyung, meanwhile, sticks to her guns and pursues her lead: a video meet with an orchid expert earns her an address — the same one her dead contact gave her.

The last surprise comes from Do-il. He’s been investigating records in Singapore, discovering an apartment, a business school entry, and seven different bank accounts — all under the name Oh In-joo. Hwa-young was using her friend’s identity to construct a third secret life. The conclusion is clear: In-joo must visit Singapore.

Little Women: Episodes 3-4 Little Women: Episodes 3-4

Holy Gothic horror, folks. Among others, this week’s theme has been space, and the places our characters find themselves. The Oh family flat is bursting at the worn-out seams with love — but is it nourishing, or suffocating? For In-hye, the answer is clear. And for all that In-joo and In-kyung cling onto one another fiercely, they’re all too often found arguing in narrow doorways, or making themselves small as the walls dominate the camera shot.

If you’re wealthy like the Won family, you may find yourself in airy, spacious rooms that subtly echo the aesthetic of a Louisa May Alcott film adaptation. But, perhaps you’ll be more comfortable free on an open balcony, like Hyo-rin. Perhaps a dark, aseptic sprawl of a room, like Aunt Oh, where luxury touches everything — and love, very little. Or, alternatively, you’ll find yourself in a semi-enchanted secret chamber, like Sang-ah, screened from the eyes of the world. Money buys privacy, after all. Money, in fact, determines the very world you inhabit.

Shout-out to Eom Ji-won for bringing the creepy with effortless mastery — Sang-ah is easily becoming one of my favorite villains. Her lyrical voice and immaculate poise make her the sort of sweet that you only realize belatedly is poison. In fact, our whole cast are acting their hearts out! It’s a thrill to see. Here’s hoping next week will shed a little more light on the In-seon mystery… but for now, we can but speculate!

Little Women: Episodes 3-4
 
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this drama is just so stylish. I'm amazed that I had high expectations but it is still surprising me with its cinematography.

wish I could say the same about the story though. from the teaser, I knew it would be about money, but I still thought that we would get some breathing moments here and there, with fun/light-hearted scenes, but no... it's all about the money indeed. the drama just feels really cold, just like its cinematography. and while I like this for visuals, I couldn't care less about any of these characters. I get them, but they're just void of charisma to me. there are a lot of things in this story that annoys me but I will only say that the fact that these 3 women are really poor, but still manages to have connections with rich people to help them in the specific needs they encounter takes the cake. when their grand-aunt offered to sell an apartment so injoo could use her dirty money I was ready to throw my computer away lol tbh seeing injoo use her poor understanding of accounting to find ways to spend that money was one of the only things I was interested in watching, and that's just.... over?

not sure if I will keep watching. maybe I will check the recaps and if it looks like it picked up, I might give it a chance. I'm still intrigued to see goeun and hajoon together.

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I still thought that we would get some breathing moments here and there, with fun/light-hearted scenes, but no... it's all about the money

😂 Even with rom-com labels, Kdrama tends add thrilling elements and this drama specifically has the "mystery" label attached to it, so I do think it will add comic/light moments.

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A pleasure to read your recaps again @alathe even if laughs and mischiefs are sorely non-existent here.
Just being a naysayer despite liking this drama overall. My brain wouldn’t let go of the following so to any fellow beanies who might read my comment, don’t get mad if I have left out the good and picked on the bad.
To this end, I have several bones to pick with these eps. For a drama that has tried to invoke a measure of verisimilitude KD style, I cannot get over these: How did it make any modicum of sense for Injoo to carry the heavy packpack full of money on her visit to the Psych. Hospital? And then, abseiling down? My eyes are sore from rolling. Aigoo.
And then again, wearing expensive clothes and presenting some of the cash to give to that hideous woman? How was that a sane move under the circumstances? Injoo seems to be portrayed as quite dim at times and that is dangerous for someone who is also immensely stressed and in dire straits.
And, why don’t I trust Jongho? There is something not quite right there. I hope I’m wrong.

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My question is did she keep some money at home and some at the locker? Because if she had the money at home, why did she go to the locker?
Did the middle sister nag her into taking the money back to yoga place so not to have the "stolen" money in the house?

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@britney: Ahhh. Your points too!

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I agree with this... when she packed the money into Mom's kimchi containers, I thought, "poetic justice of a sort." But then when she's caught with it in her gym locker... I thought, "wait, what?" Then with the whole uber-nasty scene where she agrees to take 10 hits to keep part of the money... that scene *had* to happen in an artificially-lit place with clean, sharp lines, it would not have worked in their tiny, cluttery apartment. But still...

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I felt like I was watching Squid Game for a second. There are other ways to show her desperation (and naiveté).

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Intially she stored the entire money in the containers (Kimchi tubs), but moved it out because of In Kyung's disapproval. Also, Do-Il said she can't lock it away in the bank during their car ride, so she carried it back to that yoga center.

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Had a deep sigh every time she moved the money. Like...girl...stop! At the same time, she's obviously in over her dead and very desperate, so I also understood it.

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How did it make any modicum of sense for Injoo to carry the heavy packpack full of money on her visit to the Psych. Hospital? And then, abseiling down?

In Joo realized CEO Sang Woo and Hwa Young must be close acquaintances after seeing the cards, so I assume under the pretext of showing him the plant, she decided to check on his credibility and hand over the money as she was afraid to hold onto it.

Yes, she could have first thrown out the money bag through the window and then climbed out, but I associated this with her general naivety.

I feel the show tried to be realistic because anyone who comes across a huge amount of illegal cash would be dumb and not as intelligent as shown in TVs/movies.

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Good questions. I'll see if I can try to make sense of In-joo's behavior.

When In-jo (as she is portrayed by Kim Go-eun) is on screen, I see someone who, although the oldest sibling and the one society might expect to be the most mentally strong under the current circumstances, has a lot of vulnerability and fragility. She also remembers and bears the weight of that earlier family trauma (her sister's death). While not stupid, she is somewhat naïve. Even though she has known poverty, death, and the consequences of addiction (e.g. her father's drinking and gambling), she is still so unprepared for the circumstances in which she now finds herself. She has been thrust into a whole new world with its own type of horrors; horrors which lie under the surface unlike the concrete, "simpler" horrors she has known. That said, I do think she is learning little by little; she will continue to wise up. So I agree that it was a dumb move to walk into a psych ward/center/hospital--however posh looking--with that huge bag, but I'll try to interpret her actions in light of what I addressed in my comment.

And please don't feel bad about sharing your comment; whether you like a show or not, or whether your thoughts are in the middle, you should be able to express yourself.

LOL regarding Jong-ho. I also said I didn't trust him in my comment for the first two episodes.

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@peridot: i like your comment so much because of how you contextualised it. It made me think further and I appreciate that greatly.

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@dncingemma
Thank you for your kind words. :)

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I originally though Go-eun was wildly miscast because she has this annoying deer-in-the-headlights ingenue aspect to her when she's supposed to be smart. Now I realise it's deliberate, that for all her adult older sister pretensions, she's a lost little girl who doesn't know what to do. She keeps lugging the money around town because she's secretly hoping someone else will come from nowhere and tell her what to do with it - even if it's to give her back.

Having said that, this show is taking its metaphors slightly too seriously and so the image of her with the giant weight on her back was considered more important than realism.

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@dncingemma Aww, thank you -- glad to have you on board! :)

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@alathe: Thank you for being kind enough to respond. I know you have limited wording for your weecaps so not everything can be mentioned but ep 6 raised the issue of how fighting a foreign war (here Korea in Vietnam) could be subject to historical revisionism. I recently read that the Korean military was credibly accused of committing war crimes in Vietnam and these facts are hardly discussed in SK. I wonder if the drama is going to, at the very least, mention these allegations as if not, those scenes in that school will be in the service of militaristic propaganda even if unwittingly.
Looking forward to reading your next weecap!

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@dncingemma Mm, it's certainly worth thinking about whether this show is going far enough in criticising militarism, and I'll be interested to hear people's thoughts on this week's episodes. (Let's avoid any specific mention of stuff from later episodes here, though!)

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@alathe: Sorry! And will remember that from now on.

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I'm too lazy and busy at the same time to rewatch but I remember seeing the blue orchid in the first couple of episodes in Jongho's kitchen/dining room way before they got involved with the murders. I think this is for the same reason I don't trust him. Like Inhye said don't trust anyone not even the handsome Mr. Choi. This is one of the first dramas that I like but dislike the protagonists at varying degrees. The plot is compelling enough and the cinematography is so lush but I wish I cared more about what happens to the characters. They are realistic maybe but overall an unlikeable bunch.

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I don't even know where to start. I have no idea to trust haha
It makes me so anxious.
A part of me was yelling at In Joo not to trust these people or tell them things but then again she's in a crazy situation and it makes total sense that she needs advice or to vent or just something!

I don't know how they are planning on blackmailing anyone when it's proven that can be a fatal decision

I 100% agreed with In Hye on not forgiving her sister because that was so needlessly humiliating. And the first time she caused a scene, while sober, was bad enough but then she drinks and makes an even bigger spectacle. Seriously?

And then we have moments when In Hye just makes me go "ugh teenagers😒🙄"
I get where she is coming from but also the way she is being used is gross. Like legitimately need to take a shower with how grimy they are under that philantrophic veneer.

My favorite moment was when the aunt showed up to pay the hospital bill. I also liked her conversations with In Joo (though the part where she said she hated her for being a smiley child hurt)

I know nothing about Little Women, whether it's the book or the adaptations but I thought the sisters were like "united we stand" types but I suppose this is more realistic; some times you can't stand or agree with your relatives. Sometimes you can be resentful for your own reasons and it's hard to counter that.

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"I know nothing about Little Women, whether it's the book or the adaptations but I thought the sisters were like "united we stand" types but I suppose this is more realistic; some times you can't stand or agree with your relatives. Sometimes you can be resentful for your own reasons and it's hard to counter that."

Generally speaking, the sisters in the book go about their own lives with little concern for how their choices will affect the others - it is a home filled with love and a sense of family, but it isn't exactly a "kumbayah" kind of atmosphere. Kind of like here, where each has her own agenda and her own idea of happiness, but they do have a concrete bond with each other as sisters.

I think they're doing a good job with the sisters and their individual personalities, as well as the group/family dynamic. These ladies are in a very strange and dangerous situation, so the tension and the angst is well placed. That it causes them to fight with each other is only natural; stressed people fight. The added layer of desperation and righteousness just makes it more detailed and interesting for us.

That is not to say that I am a big fan. This series is visually stunning, yes - even the shots of things like cars plunging to the street several stories below and potentially poisonous flowers living symbiotically on a giant old tree are beautiful. But there is almost too much perfection in the brewing of the atmosphere - I don't necessarily enjoy sitting through two and a half hours of someone else's anxiety each weekend.

I suppose having a character who could be relied on for a moment of humor would be inappropriate for the tone of the show - you can't simply force brevity into broodiness without causing a jarring non sequitur.

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I don't necessarily enjoy sitting through two and a half hours of someone else's anxiety each weekend.

I like this show, but it is tedious to sit and watch 1.5 hrs of an episode and if we calculate both episodes it equals to 3 hours of time on weekend. This has always been a problem with TVN shows. They mention the drama is 12 episodes, but with the extra runtime they might as well say it is 14 episodes or 16 episodes. TVN really needs to understand consumer time.

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I binge watch, so I don't even have to sit through the whole 1.5 in one sitting, I can pause and resume whenever at my own pace, but it can STILL get very tedious watching tvn shows if they are not really exciting or have enough balance between light and dark.

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I don't watch the intro or the end credits/preview - so I get to run through one in about an hour and ten minutes, but even so I agree that it is a big time investment that they ask for... and I don't like being dragged down for that long lol

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The message of Little Women was about family and endurance but the characters themselves struggled throughout it with temptation and desire for money.

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Ep3&4 can be titled Little Women: Dumb & Dumber. I spent most of the time facepalming myself out of frustration at the sisters.

The oldest sister is a dim lightbulb. Who carries around $2B in cash in a backpack all over the city? Why did she wear those expensive shoes to meet the rich family's mom? The girl has zero brains or street smarts. I have no clue how she's going to win against the rich family because she's completely out of her depth and can't get up to speed quickly enough. I'm getting tired of her shocked Pikachu face.

The middle sister is sanctimonious and idealistic, which is a terrible combo. She grew up more privileged than her other two sisters so she doesn't relate to their desperation as much, so she chastises the older sister for her "greed".

The younger sister is an ungrateful brat who is willing to sell out her sisters for opportunity, fame, and money. Despite her unlikeability, she's the only one I sympathize with because of her young age, and because I understand she's so desperate to get away from her family.

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Besides the cinematography, the best thing about this drama is the incisive commentary about socioeconomic class differences, and wealth. There were two that stuck with me in these episodes:

1) Wealth and theft
The middle sister was opposed to taking the $2B because she felt that growing up, everyone suspected her of being a thief because she was poor, and taking the money would validate those suspicions. That comment was jarring in the context of the show, where viewers see that it's actually the rich family committing theft on a scale the poor can only dream of: funneling billions of won into offshore accounts through slush funds. The comment was also particularly ironic if you think about real life, where poor people are jailed for minor thefts while rich people get away freely with money laundering and tax evasion.

2) Wealth and risk tolerance
The great Aunt said that the difference between the wealthy and the poor is that the wealthy can overcome a sense of loss. They're more risk-tolerant, because they can afford to lose money. That risk tolerance is also what helps the wealthy maintain and grow their wealth. The majority of entrepreneurs come from wealthy backgrounds, which is what affords them the network, initial funding, and risk tolerance to pursue entrepreneurship. Then these entrepreneurs hit the IPO jackpot and become even more rich, so the rich become richer while the poor stay poor. That risk-tolerance psychology is one of the things preserving or widening the wealth inequality gap.

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@songxrising: If I could, I would feature your comment as a permanent exhibit. So incisively put. I thoroughly agree. The desperations and degradations of global poverty are maintained by the machinery of class-based exploitation and the reality of what inter-generational wealth creates for those who are the lucky beneficiaries of such opportunities. For the unlucky majority, the law and order apparatus, wherever it maybe, protects the property of the rich at all cost. Ours is an abysmal world any which way one looks at it.

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Really like this comment. Just reading the first sentence made me reach for the highlight button, which I don't know to what purpose. But yes, this drama is an expanded 'Parasite'. Heavy but yes, a really creative way to put those juxtapositions you mentioned. Keep on these brilliant observations. Thank you, recapper (is it alathe?). I did several LoLs at your comments which are spot on. What a whole-of-drama experience we're having, beanies.

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Ep3&4 can be titled Little Women: Dumb & Dumber.

This!!!!!!! And every other thing in your comment.

I have honestly postponed watching the 4th episode because I reached peak annoyance while watching episode 3. I wish I can pick it again when they eventually decide to become just a little bit smart. Ughhh

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Honestly, Dumb & Dumber started as early as the opening of episode 1. These two deciding to whip out an envelope filled with 2.5 million won in cash as a birthday gift for their sister's field trip to Europe right in front of their problematic mother had my eyes rolling at top speed. All they had to do was go to their sister's school and pay for her trip. Then after dealing with their mother's sense of entitlement to the money, they didn't even have the sense to hide the envelope later that night. The envelope was left in full view in the bedroom for their mother to steal. To actually wake up the next day and have the nerve to be shocked. Even though the little sister is a brat who's willing to sell her soul for money, I totally get her frustration these two.

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I’m impressed at how realistic In-joo’s struggles feel as she tries to keep their family of three sisters together in the way she thinks she should. It hits her hard when In-kyung disagrees, because for In-joo, there isn’t an alternative to staying together as a unit. Not to mention In-hye’s more youthful aspirations that she is certain she cannot achieve in her present circumstances. The three sisters are mereLy trying to survive for today - not even desiring to get ahead- in a harsh world where parents should have been parents but were not, and the long tentacles of misfortune have a relentless grasp on the Oh family. But ah, Aunt March, as it were, holds, well - a lot. And I don’t mean just money and drive; she knew Park Jae-sang’s father (a connection that In-kyung picked up on). She will take care of her niece’s hospital bill, please step aside. I am waiting for In-kyung to appreciate her aunt and let her resentment go. This story is so intriguing! And the episode endings skillfully present a twist to the story that Excites me! At first, I wished the title Little Women hadn’t been used because it made me look for something more traditional, but now I love the adaptation of the themes in Little Women to a modern version in a completely different culture than the original . (On a side note: I watch both the Elizabeth Taylor and the Winona Judd versions every single year without fail. They are classics!)

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cant wait for them to overly exaggerate Singapore lol

Unpopular opinion: In-hye is royally pissing me off. For an 18yo she sure is acting like a 12yo (minusing the fact that shes selling her soul for money cuz props to her for hustling to survive in this world) cuz damn my patience wears thin when she comes on screen (props to the actress tho, stellar acting on her end!!)

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I haven't watched 3&4 but as I read in the recaps more and more of her annoying tirades, my teeth seethes and I get more pissed it drives me bananas.

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I remember watching episode 1&2 and saying that I'll form an opinion of In-Hye when I see how she handles the theft of her work (it looked like there was more than meets the eye and I thought she may be the smartest of all sisters tbh) but my disappointment has never been so great.
All the sisters annoyed me but I was hissing and rolling my eyes more EVERY time she was on screen and I'm yet to watch ep 4. I just can't do with that bratty attitude... Yes, she's young but that justification doesn't cut it for me.

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For me, InHye's desire to be independent and successful and the effects orchid(in combination with her mother's voice) seems acceptable. Plus she is discovering her valies through the series. Maybe we can see her grow here...I hope

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I can't help but feel that the girl acting as Hyo Rin is so much better than the actor playing In Hye because I adore the former from another Kdrama. Maybe, In Hye soulless eyes and deadpan face must be intended to show us that she is so tired of her sisters pouring her love, but I find her to be the weakest among other actors.

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I'm enjoying reading the critiques of the plot here. As many have mentioned, the cinematography is delicious and the motifs are both eerie and delightful, which is what makes it an enjoyable rather than frustrating watch for me. Unlike other dramas, I find myself immersed throughout the entire episode and any frustrations come after while reflecting. They could probably throw in Penthouse-level makjang and as long as they maintain the tone and presentation I would feel the same, lol. A testament to the artistry.

Ok, back to the complaints/frustrations/responses to other complaints I am seeing:

Injoo and Inkyung are both quite annoying thus far. Inkyung's behavior in front of the party was terrible, and her morals are... certainly not airtight, to say the least. Also, for the supposed smart one... lol

Am I the only one who doesn't really like the startled-deer-in-headlights look Kim Goeun seems to favor so much?

Is Doil actually a "consultant"? He is way too well-acquainted with the family and company for that to be the case.

Is Injoo jobless or working for the orchid foundation (which I presume is also closely related to our lovely Woo family)? The show seems to favor tight editing - perhaps too much; the viewers have to fill in the blanks for many plot points and scenes. Even more important ones like the money in the locker in Episode 4.

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*Won family

Other viewers seem to be frustrated about Injoo wearing the heels and bringing the $$ to Sanga, but I found it to be in line with her character thus far. She can't stand looking like a "beggar" in front of the rich, and certainly wouldn't be able to stand the fact that Sanga is keenly aware of how poor Inhye's family is. Money provides power and honor; she is dressing up to look strong and salvage her pride. I'm also not sure whether she was aware Sanga was related to her company at all at that point.

There's many scenes that seem unrealistic or even absurd, i.e. Injoo lugging around millions of dollars in cash (and climbing down from Won Sangwoo's window with it all lol, as well as the orchid tree, the orchid itself... etc). I don't think the show is meant to be very realistic; it consistently puts artistic direction and the construction of symbolic scenes above all.

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I just don't understand why poor equals dumb, idealistic or ungrateful brat (loved doppelganger's description of the girls. It's perfect).
Am I supposed to wait for a twist? Why? Why can't we have three smart/strong sisters since episode one?

The older sister going around with all that money for no real reason (she didn't even changed the bag even when I she knew it was recorded on the CCTV).
The middle sis that talks about a politics and murder with anyone (she's lucky she's alive) and goes around getting drunk at fancy dinner parties to ruin her credibility as a reporter.
And the little sister... Meh. I guess I shouldn't blame the kid.

I thought these girls were going to be badass like Honey Lee in One the Woman. Or at least have a cute sisterhood like in the films. But Idk what's happening here. 😂

I think I'll just come for the final recap to see if I've guessed the plot right. I hope not, otherwise I'm gonna start losing faith in my dramas.

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Note to self 📝: watch badass Honey Lee in One the woman

I may at some point desperately need that to clear my head from the 3 sisters' stupidity so far

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Honey Lee is awesome in One the Woman.
I would also recommend The Fiery Priest, not only her but all the women in that show are cool.

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Although Jang Ma-ri certainly doesn't have as many skeletons in her closet as, say, Park Jae-sang, she was the one I was most upset about. I hope she gets a nice punishment for her disgusting behaviour.

Won Sang-a seems so suspiciously harmless to me that I suspect she might actually be a total psycho and the mastermind behind her husband.

The secret garden with the huge blue orchid was simply fabulous. In general, I sometimes had the feeling of seeing scenes from a fairy tale, for example when Park Jae-sang talks to In-hye about what one has to sacrifice to get one's wish fulfilled. I could almost see the evil fairy haggling over an unborn child.

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"The secret garden with the huge blue orchid was simply fabulous. In general, I sometimes had the feeling of seeing scenes from a fairy tale, for example when Park Jae-sang talks to In-hye about what one has to sacrifice to get one's wish fulfilled. I could almost see the evil fairy haggling over an unborn child."

Am I the only one having Hotel del Luna flashbacks on the scene with the tree full of orchids? And the K-2 matriarch psycho for Sang-Ah? I know there is nothing new under the sun, especially in dramaland, but these two flashbacks are particularly forceful.

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I'm not even watching, just saw the screencap of the tree and immediately got flashback to HDL.

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I feel so conflicted about In-hye's character. I find it really annoying that she's not showing even an ounce of gratefulness for the sacrifices her sisters do for her but on the other hand I understand where she's coming from and her desperation to get out of their poor situation (which isn't really that bad btw. There are people out there who are under worse living conditions but w/e). She feels that she only needs to rely on herself to get out of it because her own parents are so useless. This is also compounded by the feeling that she's being a burden to her sisters who are also young and should be out there chasing their dreams but are obligated to provide for her.

Whatever in-hye's choices may be and whether she ends up studying abroad as she wanted, I believe she's will be disillusioned once she reaches that goal, true to the character Amy.

Btw, it did tick me off when In joo grabbed the phone when In-hye asked their mom about In seol. Like why would you interrupt such an important conversation between a mother and the kid? Withholding such important information never ends up well especially since In hye is already a "grown up", she may still be a minor but she can already process crucial information like this. And in joo's being overprotective of her isn't helping.

It's also kinda sus that In Kyung doesn't remember the dead sibling. She was 6 y/o at the time. Even I have alot of memories when I was 6 and I don't think I'd ever forget if I had a sibling who comes and goes and eventually dies at a young age.

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I think it is meant to show that Inkyung forgot due to trauma.

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SIGH, someone above me said it well already. Dumb & Dumber. Lol

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Love this drama and the cast.

Just a little botanical side note about orchids (botany is close to my heart). There is no true blue orchid, although two species come very close. One is a light bluish colour, the other is the more famous purple-blue Vanda.

Orchid flowers are not poisonous, even the lady's slipper orchid is only very mildly toxic. We consume vanilla, which is obtained from the Mexican orchid Vanilla planifolia, almost daily. Many orchids are intensely fragrant and some produce a glue (to trap insects) which is more effective and strong than most synthetically produced glues.

I am certainly glued to this drama.

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Orchids CAN be dyed though, and we get lots of phalaenopses dyed blue around the 4th of July here. Thanks for your orchid knowledge. I’m looking forward to hearing more!

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I think it's fascinating they chose orchids as one of the motifs, ties in very nicely with the whole Singapore thing because the national flower is the vanda miss joaquim LOL

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I don't get the meaning behind high-heels shoes named "Velvet Irchid"(great ne by the way. Everything here point to the ghost orchid and the foundation):The black one with Artificial diamond decorations. Does the fact that Sang-ha owns them show sth? Is she lying about her relationship with dead CEO ? or Sang Ah simply gave them to Hwa Young to celebrate their wierd friendship?

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I'm enjoying this drama so much I rather wish I hadn't read all the 'critiques'. Yes indeed, all of the sisters do behave in manners which vary between unusual, unpleasant and unintelligent. But I'm being carried along on a comfortable wave of enjoyment - the cinematography is brilliant and it's all very gripping. And when you are watching a drama set in a country to which you have never been, and with a culture extremely different from your own, then there are a lot of things that happen which are so amazing anyway (sitting on the floor around a table, for example, with crossed legs) it is hard to be that objective. And it is a story, for entertainment, intended to interest and amuse. So I will continue to suspend disbelief, wonder what I would do with 2 billion won in small notes* if I found it in my golf locker at my club, and wait with anticipation for Episodes 5 and 6.

*I agree. I would not carry it around in the equivalent of an army kit-bag. But if looks as if it would fit into a large Louis Vuitton suitcase, so I'd probably go with that. :-)

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I'll tell you what. I never liked Kim Go Eun even a little bit until Yumi's Cells. I love her in that. But Kim Go Eun in this drama...... That is serious next level! She is so good in this I cannot even believe it. Wow!!!!! She was made for this role.

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I liked the fact that In-Joo doesn't know what to do. She's a normal person, not a genius, and she's in a really weird and dangerous situation. She's lost and doesn't take the best decisions. It kinda reminds me Liar Game, she found herself a sexy and mysterious guy to help her!

In-Hye is stupid. If, after all Jae-sang said to her, she doesn't understand she should run away, everything will happen to her will be deserved (not the health part of course).

In-Kyung was in the better environment but she still suffered to be the poorest. But it gave her a different point of view to live with it. I like how she can count on her friend and how honest she is about her alcoholism.

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This is me interpreting the voice telling In-hye to run:

In-hye, she is not telling you to run away from your family and their suffocating love. She is telling you to run away from the monster's lair. From that witch's house made of colorful, sweet candy.

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I felt so proud of myself for predicting the reveal that Hwa-Young had faked her death, yet I was still crushed to realize that she had exploited her supposed friend. I also anticipated that there would be a story about a sister who died. It's a very intellectually satisfying show, with the ways it maps onto Alcott's novel and the multiple mysteries and the intense use of symbols. Emotionally, though, I'm with all the other viewers who are really frustrated. Why are these characters so easily fooled and abused? They do not seem stupid but they do make bad choices every time they make any choices. Their naivety drives the entire plot. Yes, the bad guys are bad, but their scheming is opaque. The sisters are the only characters whose motivations we know, so only they appear to have agency. The agency to commit many blunders...

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Oh, except now I see that she didn't fake her death? I still predict that she faked her own death. Otherwise, she knew she was going to die and she gave all her stuff to In-Joo.

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Can a show be too clever? I've said before that it can and I think this is a good example of it.

Because show is clever, so unbelievably clever. A masterpiece really that shows an impressive grasp of the underlining themes of the source text, modern Korean late-capitalist dystopias and truly amazing visual metaphors and lush cinematography.

But it's so clever that all I'm doing while I'm watching is appreciating how clever it is. I have little emotional connection to what's happening. And while I appreciate that our three female characters have believable flaws, the only one I really care about is In-kyung because she at least understands and grapples with her own flaws.

It is probably the best thing I've seen this year by far but that is again an intellectual statement. I'm not sure I'd care if I forgot to watch the rest.

And, you know, I think this is where these stories need to be films rather than serials. Because what we can handle, existentially speaking, in two hours is much greater than what we can handle in 12. And this goes for the brutal Golden Spoon as well.

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