Suspicious Housekeeper: Episodes 11-12

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I get that this series is unconventional, and a bit wacky, since it’s adapting a Japanese drama. And Japanese dramas tend to be all sorts of wacky. I applaud this drama for being different from other dramas in terms of tone and execution. But I really can’t get behind the crazy characters. I wish that instead of playing their characters so straight, the actors would be a little more tongue-in-cheek with them.

Episode 11

 

Well great – Do Hyung just admitted that he’s Seo Ji Hoon. Guess what that means! Bok Nyeo unsheathes her knife from her jacket and raises it above Ji Hoon’s head.

We get a glimpse of the children searching around the neighborhood for Bok Nyeo, worried that she might go after Do Hyung. Then we see Manager Hong closing up the office for the night, only to be startled by unexpected guests.

 

The following morning, Do Hyung is alive! In his office! Sang Chul storms in demanding to know where Bok Nyeo is, but Do Hyung instead invites Sang Chul and Song Hwa to his home for dinner. Meanwhile Manager Hong visits the children at home with a special request.

Sang Chul and Song Hwa are surprised to learn that Do Hyung’s new housekeeper is none other than Bok Nyeo. What on earth is going on? Turns out Do Hyung really did hire Bok Nyeo, but because they made another (far more important) deal. Before Bok Nyeo had a chance to stab Do Hyung that night, he stopped her and quickly backtracked his admission. He’s not really Ji Hoon, but just said he was to see what she’d do next. However, he’ll give her a chance to verify who he really is. If she works for him, she’ll be able to see if he really is Ji Hoon or not. They then visited Manager Hong after hours, and were the ones who startled her.

 

Sang Chul makes it clear to Do Hyung that Bok Nyeo sees him as a murderer and an arsonist, so whatever may be fun and games for him is not for her. Song Hwa also accuses Bok Nyeo of skillyfully seducing both Sang Chul and Do Hyung; Bok Nyeo replies, “I’m not that good compared to you.” Burn!

Back at home, Manager Hong begs the children to convince Bok Nyeo to stop working for Do Hyung. Though she’s not sure if Do Hyung is Ji Hoon, Manager Hong does believe that Bok Nyeo is putting herself in a dangerous situation. The children quickly head to Do Hyung’s neighborhood in search of their housekeeper.

 

Sang Chul can’t stand watching Bok Nyeo working in the house and gets up to leave… which forces Do Hyung to announce his true intention for the dinner earlier than he intended. He wants Sang Chul and Song Hwa to get back together. He thinks that if they do, it will resolve tensions at work and they’ll perform better on their Chinatown project. He is so meddlesome.

Once Sang Chul and Song Hwa leave Do Hyung’s house, he explains to his former lover why Bok Nyeo hates Do Hyung so much. Song Hwa has the grace to be aghast; now that she understands Bok Nyeo’s past, she feels guilty for accusing her of seducing Do Hyung. She also wonders if they should take their boss’ advice and get back together. At that point, the children arrive just in time to hear their father’s response: “I want to keep the promise I made with the children.”

 

Despite that, he does feel torn between Song Hwa (for whom he still has feelings) and his children. Thankfully, the children don’t confront him about the conversation they overheard. Instead, Han Gyul goes to Na Young for some advice. Na Young isn’t too pleased to hear that Song Hwa is aggressively pursuing her brother-in-law, so she catches the mistress at the gym and tells her to back off. First the daughter, then the housekeeper, then the grandpa, and now the sister-in-law – this family really doesn’t know how to back off! Song Hwa points out that even if she wants to get back together with Sang Chul, he’s not interested. Bok Nyeo is all that fills up his mind now. That leaves Na Young very puzzled indeed.

 

When Grandpa hears that Sang Chul might like Bok Nyeo, he barges into Happy Company looking for answers. Na Young had the same idea as well, and when she trips and falls through the front door, Grandpa hides under Manager Hong’s desk – just like his grandchildren. It’s only when he’s hiding that he notices the pearl brooch that Manager Hong wears every time he visits. When Manager Hong outs his presence in her office to his daughter, he pushes Na Young out so he could have a private chat with the manager. Why is she wearing the brooch he bought her? It turns out that back in the day, his uncle had said that Manager Hong had “removed her apron” in front of him (a.k.a slept with him) and used the pearl brooch as evidence for the little dalliance. Haha – it’s so cute that Grandpa actually had a huge crush on Manager Hong back in the day!

 

Producer Kwan calls up Mrs. Oh once again to see if she’s looked into Oh Nam Jae’s cheating. Mrs. Oh surprisingly did not poke her nose into the business. Rather she turns it on Producer Kwan and wonders if she has something against her husband. Oh Nam Jae is a public figure, so she can’t just go digging up his dirty secrets and risk tarnishing his reputation. It’s interesting to see that Mrs. Oh has no problem nosing into other people’s business, but can’t turn her curiosity on to herself and her family. And, Producer Kwan does seem to have a bit of a grudge against Oh Nam Jae; she caught him with another woman, so she’s acting out of spite.

 

Meanwhile, Doo Gyul, Sae Gyul, and Hye Gyul are trying to find a way to get Bok Nyeo fired so that she can come back and work for them. They ask the expert herself, Mrs. Oh, for tips and she suggests stealing. The kids then head to Do Hyung’s house to visit Bok Nyeo. She doesn’t seem too happy to see them, and won’t let them walk around the house. But Do Hyung is a little nicer than that. He brings them to his office and opens his safe, then hands them some “allowance” money. Having bought them off, he then leaves the apartment.

Sae Gyul remembered the password that Do Hyung entered (“Gatsby”) and enters it himself. They find Do Hyung’s treasured wooden box inside and decide that stealing it might get Bok Nyeo fired. The boys notice that there’s another hidden drawer inside the box and when they take it apart, Bok Nyeo catches them. They drop the box out of surprise, and photos of a mysterious girl spill out.

 

Bok Nyeo sends the kids away and then collects the photos, studying them. Do Hyung returns home to catch her laying out the photos on his desk. He’s furious she went through his safe, but I gotta say, what else did you expect? Especially when you dared her to prove you’re not Ji Hoon. He’s displeased that she caught a glimpse into his private life and saw the woman from his past whom he loved dearly but died.

Back at the Eun house, Doo Gyul has ordered in food through a messenger service so that Han Gyul wouldn’t have to cook. It’s been difficult on them because there are no housekeepers willing to take care of a household with four children. The messenger arrives… and it’s Soo Hyuk. Han Gyul is shocked to see him working and tells him to go back to school. The band even bought back his guitar so he can play with them again! Soo Hyuk declines. In fact, he’s planning to quit school.

Woo Jae calls at that moment to say that he and his father saw Bok Nyeo pass by their shop with a gasoline canister. They’re worried that Bok Nyeo may do something dangerous. Han Gyul then tells her father, who then runs off to find Bok Nyeo at Do Hyung’s place.

 

It turns out she did use the gasoline canister – but under Do Hyung’s orders. He wanted to burn all the pictures of his former girl. She had left him because he was too poor, so he hoped to become Jay Gatsby to her “Daisy.” He wanted to come back rich and give her everything she wanted, except it turns out she was already dead. Do Hyung points out that he and Bok Nyeo are actually very similar: both want dead people to come back alive. He understands her need for closure and wishes that he could be Ji Hoon for her. Better yet, he wishes that she would pretend he is Ji Hoon and kill him. What!? This guy’s insane!

Sang Chul bursts into the house just in time and manages to defuse any tension in the air. Just then, Detective Lee also arrives to check out Do Hyung, and is shocked to see that Seo Ji Hoon is alive. Yay! Another person recognizes him! Guess Do Hyung really is Ji Hoon!

Detective Lee brings everyone in for questioning. First he apologizes to Bok Nyeo for suspecting her the entire time and tells her that she should have contacted him right away when she saw Do Hyung. Looks like things are okay between the both of them, though I don’t really like how Detective Lee changed his attitude towards Bok Nyeo so quickly.

 

The detective then goes to question Do Hyung with Bok Nyeo and Sang Chul watching behind the one-sided window. He demands that Do Hyung give his real name and date if birth, believing that he’s really Seo Ji Hoon. However, the background check returns and shows that Jang Do Hyung really is Jang Do Hyung! He’s a Chinese national who flew into Korea. His name and identity all checks out. Detective Lee is completely floored by the news and has no choice but to let Do Hyung go.

Bok Nyeo refuses to believe what’s happening and bursts in to look at the papers herself. She breaks down, sobbing, “Why?! Why are you not him?!” It’s heartbreaking because it seems like she’ll never get the closure she craves so much.

 

Outside the station, Detective Lee apologizes to Bok Nyeo and promises to clear her record. He always suspected her because he was biased. Her husband had once given his sister a free operation because they couldn’t afford it, and since then he felt like he needed to find justice for this great man. He pursued Bok Nyeo out of a dogged belief that she was an adulterer.

Do Hyung also “fires” Bok Nyeo and gives her back to Sang Chul to “handle.” Sang Chul understands that Bok Nyeo’s past will continue to haunt her, just as his affair with Song Hwa will continue to haunt him. However he hopes she can still move on with her life and come back to his family. Maybe they can try a fresh new start together.

 

Then, we cut to Detective Lee talking to… Do Hyung. In his apartment. Detective Lee is impressed Do Hyung managed to “kill” Ji Hoon completely.

Wait… what?!

Do Hyung is Ji Hoon! In fact, Detective Lee was actually working for him! All those times when we thought that Detective Lee was reporting to the mother-in-law, he was actually reporting to Do Hyung! And Do Hyung is not happy that Bok Nyeo is acting like a mother for the Eun children.

Episode 12

 

Bok Nyeo doesn’t give Sang Chul an answer right away to his offer of working with his family, which is understandable. She still needs time. Unfortunately Hye Gyul is the impatient kind and she visits the amusement park every day in the hopes of begging Bok Nyeo to return. As much as Bok Nyeo adores Hye Gyul, she doesn’t promise that she’ll come back.

One morning, the family settles down for dinner when they hear a door bell. Hye Gyul jumps up thinking it’s Bok Nyeo… but it’s not. It’s one of their former housekeepers who quit but left her scarf behind. But the housekeeper did see someone outside waiting for them.

 

The family rushes outside – it’s Bok Nyeo! She’s come back to work for them! However she has a few rules: (1) she is only their housekeeper, not a family member; (2) she will not eat with them or spend time with them; (3) she will not smile even if they ask her to.

It’s a deal! The kids stare as she systematically takes off her jacket and puts on her apron. Clearly they’ve missed watching her do her routines. But while everything seems like it’s gone back to normal, it hasn’t really. Bok Nyeo is now haunted by visions of her son and husband, back when they were happy and would go to the amusement park often.

 

Meanwhile, Do Hyung and Detective Lee keep an eye on Bok Nyeo. They’re not too pleased that she’s being regarded as a mother for the Eun children, but it’s easier to watch her if she stays in one household. Do Hyung now just has to alter his plan and convince Sang Chul to let go of Bok Nyeo on his own.

 

Bok Nyeo makes dumplings for dinner, which the kids want to join in and make as well. It’s a fun family activity for all of them, and Na Young happens to see the heartwarming scene when she visits. But seeing the children reminds Bok Nyeo of her son, and for the first time she makes a mistake, cutting her finger with the knife. The kids quickly spring to action to help and Han Gyul applies a band-aid over her cut. They refuse to let Bok Nyeo do any more work because she got hurt, which is a really touching scene. It leaves an impression on Na Young, who’s amazed to see the kids treat Bok Nyeo as if she were their mother.

 

At work, Do Hyung takes out his anger and frustration over Bok Nyeo on Song Hwa and Sang Chul, accusing them of doing careless work on their project proposal. Song Hwa can tell right away what Do Hyung is feeling and makes a deal: she’ll make sure he can have Bok Nyeo, and he will have to approve Sang Chul’s project proposal. Since Song Hwa feels that she knows Sang Chul very well, she’s positive that she can force him to give Bok Nyeo up.

 

The following day, Do Hyung calls out sick. Song Hwa suggests that Do Hyung could use some homemade rice porridge. *cough*Made by Bok Nyeo.*cough* Sang Chul isn’t too pleased by her suggestion and pulls her aside. Song Hwa gets right to the point: does he have feelings for Bok Nyeo? Is that why he doesn’t like her suggestion? She refuses to forgive him if he falls in love with another woman.

Um, HELLO?! You were the other woman; what gives you the right to dictate whether he can fall in love with someone else or not? On top of that, what makes you so special that he can’t fall in love with Bok Nyeo, who’s far less spiteful and vile than you!?

Sang Chul doesn’t like Bok Nyeo, but he does worry about her welfare. She’s a mother to the children, but that doesn’t make her his wife. After all, he’s not ready to fall in love with someone else after ending the relationship with Song Hwa. Song Hwa clearly views him as an animal when he’s really a human being who needs time after a breakup to heal and re-prioritize his life. Despite Sang Chul’s denial, Song Hwa needs proof that he sees Bok Nyeo as a housekeeper. So he has no choice but to order Bok Nyeo to make porridge for Do Hyung. Even though both don’t seem too pleased with the task, Bok Nyeo obeys every order.

Han Gyul questions Sang Chul’s request to send Do Hyung porridge. Is he trying to set up Do Hyung and Bok Nyeo by sending her to his house? It does seem like Do Hyung likes her, and the misunderstanding about Seo Ji Hoon is all in the past. (“No it’s not!!!” I scream, shaking my fist at the computer.) I hope Sang Chul doesn’t let himself get manipulated, as this is all part of Do Hyung and Song Hwa’s plan.

 

Soo Hyuk returns to school to hand in his dropout forms. Woo Jae and Han Gyul walk him out, disappointed that he’s chosen a harder life for himself. He tells Woo Jae to take care of Han Gyul, which actually makes Woo Jae angrier. Woo Jae wanted to fight Soo Hyuk over Han Gyul’s affections fairly; Soo Hyuk dropping out would mean Woo Jae wins by default, and that would be meaningless. Aw – these high school boys are trying so hard to be the noble one. Soo Hyuk replies, “Who said I was giving up? Just take care of her while I’m gone.”

 

Meanwhile, Hye Gyul becomes Bok Nyeo’s little baking assistant as they make sugar cookies together. Bok Nyeo has the little girl cut out star-shaped cookies with the cutter, and then turns her back to work on other ingredients. The oven timer rings, and Hye Gyul quickly opens the door and reaches in. Of course, she burns herself.

Bok Nyeo freaks out – as much as her expressionless face can convey – and quickly ices Hye Gyul’s hands. She runs out of the house in such a panic with Hye Gyul in her arms that she even forgets to put on her shoes. Han Gyul and Sae Gyul are just coming home when they see Bok Nyeo running, but they can barely catch up to her. It’s good timing that Do Hyung happens to be driving up to their house (most likely to see Bok Nyeo) and catches them. He drives the two of them to the hospital, and bitterly remarks that Bok Nyeo looks like Hye Gyul’s mother.

 

Because of Bok Nyeo’s excellent first aid, the doctor at the hospital assures that Hye Gyul will be fine. He even mistakes her for being the mother, and Bok Nyeo does not correct him. Sang Chul rushes in to the ER, which then allows for Do Hyung to go back home to rage. And rage he does: Do Hyung sweeps all his glasses and plates on the floor, shouting furiously at Bok Nyeo for becoming a “mother” again. He’s seriously loco.

 

Hye Gyul is released from the hospital, and Bok Nyeo tucks her into bed at home. She reads a book to the little girl as the whole family watches. A closeup on Bok Nyeo’s bandaged finger and Hye Gyul’s bandaged hand underlines how connected these two are.

Just then Do Hyung calls Sang Chul to come over. He’s calmer now, and has managed to find two unbroken mugs for them. Of course the subject is Bok Nyeo. Do Hyung confesses that he wants to see her smile. It must be so beautiful that she can’t even reveal it. Sang Chul realizes he never thought of making Bok Nyeo smile, but because Do Hyung did think of it, he must truly like her. So Do Hyung asks for his help so that he can make Bok Nyeo smile again.

After Sang Chul leaves, Do Hyung calls Detective Lee in. It’s time to send her in now. Her… meaning the mother-in-law.

 

Bok Nyeo makes pizza for dinner one day, which ends up being another fun family activity as the kids help put on the toppings. Hye Gyul invites her to eat with them, but Bok Nyeo chooses to do the recycling instead.

And outside, she bumps into her mother-in-law.

Mother-in-law isn’t too happy to see her working for another family and also exonerated of all guilt from her son and grandson’s murder. She wants nothing more than to see Bok Nyeo die, and has prayed in a temple and a church, and had a shaman curse her a sudden death. So spiteful. The Eun family comes out to see Bok Nyeo kneel down in front of her mother-in-law and ask, “How should I live?”

 

Sang Chul yells for the mother-in-law to stop acting so cruelly. His defense only enrages the old woman more because now she sees that Bok Nyeo has moved on. She grabs Bok Nyeo by the collar and starts shaking her out of anger, and out of unresolved grief.

Finally the mother-in-law leaves, and Bok Nyeo also decides to quit again. She doesn’t want to cause any more trouble for the family. Sang Chul likewise apologizes for being unable to protect her. Had she been truly a part of their family (or even allowed herself to be treated as such) he would have protected her from her mother-in-law.

 

When the kids hear that Bok Nyeo is leaving again, they turn against their father. How could he let Bok Nyeo leave again just like that? Instead they have a different proposition: “Miss Bok Nyeo, please be our mom.”

Thoughts and Comments

Whoa. This drama is progressing quite quickly. (Please tell me it’ll only be 16 episodes. Please tell me it’ll only be 16 episodes. Please tell me it’ll only be 16 episodes…) I am not surprised that the kids have grown so close to Bok Nyeo that they don’t want her to leave, but I didn’t think that they would ask her to be their mother. That’s a bit extreme. It also puts Sang Chul in a very tight spot between his family and his coworkers. With such a sudden request, there’s probably going to be a quick resolution. And I’m betting that Bok Nyeo will agree to stay with the family by the end of episode 13.

These two episodes were all sorts of crazy though. Do Hyung/Ji Hoon clearly devolved into a madman, and I still don’t fully understand him. Why is he creating this elaborate scheme to ruin Bok Nyeo? Does he not realize that breaking her heart will not convince her to look his way? Why is the mother-in-law allowing herself to be used as a pawn in Do Hyung and Detective Lee’s games? What are Detective Lee’s own motives for helping Do Hyung? Was his whole apology about wanting justice for a good doctor just a fake speech? Is he even a real detective? It doesn’t help that Song Jong Ho doesn’t play the madness quite convincingly. Yes he yells and breaks dishes, but he doesn’t seem mad. I guess he’s having difficulty conveying his true anger and madness through that kind-looking face of his.

Because of the craziness, I was pretty annoyed with these last two episodes. I felt that everyone – from Song Hwa to Do Hyung to Detective Lee to the mother-in-law – was overreacting. It seems like everyone just wants to turn against and blame the stoic housekeeper because it’s easier than looking inwards and see what vile people they are. They’re all overreacting irrationally by thinking that Bok Nyeo is this amazing flirt whose smile can make any man go weak. If that is true, she better reveal her effing smile by the end of this series, and it better be effing dazzling.

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