These are the craziest episodes ever. I thought last week was insane – nope, this is far crazier than I imagined. I think part of the reason I felt that way was because Bok Nyeo is changing. Before she was a cold distant robot, but now she’s getting involved in the children’s affairs and with the family. She’s still a bit cold, but we know that will change soon enough. I’m not ready for her to change. I think I never wanted her to change. But all characters must eventually change. I wish Song Hwa could sooner than later.
(I really do apologize for the lateness of this particular recap.)
Han Gyul requests Bok Nyeo be their mother. In true Bok Nyeo fashion, she rejects her offer. If that is the case, then Han Gyul hopes Bok Nyeo could ignore her mother-in-law’s “request” that she die. In fact, it’s an order.
The following morning, the elder children worry that Bok Nyeo hasn’t returned to work for them. But thankfully they hear her voice as she helps Hye Gyul get ready for school. She followed their order and forgot about what her mother-in-law said. Do Hyung is going to be disappointed…
At work, Song Hwa gives a presentation on the set up for the kitchens in their housing project in Chinatown. It’s unsatisfactory to Do Hyung’s tastes, as he believes she doesn’t have the “true” insight because she’s not a housewife. He even goes a step further and accuses her – in front of her coworkers I might add – of killing Sang Chul’s wife, and therefore having no right to being a stepmother. It’s the first time Sang Chul hears of Song Hwa offering to be his kids’ mother, and he follows her out of the meeting to find out how that offer went. (Of course, not so well.) Song Hwa is still smarting over Han Gyul’s suggestion that she ask their dead mother for permission.
It doesn’t help that at that moment, Bok Nyeo stops by the office to drop off Sang Chul’s seal. It ends up being the perfect storm for Song Hwa as Do Hyung orders her to work with Bok Nyeo and gain insight on how a kitchen should be set up for housewives. Awkward.
Sang Chul confronts his daughter about her meeting with Song Hwa, and she resolutely says that she does not like Song Hwa. She does wonder if her father could perhaps like Bok Nyeo and make her their mother; if he likes her, then she’d agree to the kids’ requests. (Uh, love doesn’t work that way. And I think Han Gyul of all people should have known that.)
He ends up drinking in a pojangmacha with his coworker, who hopes that he could get his relationship with Song Hwa sorted out so everyone could feel less awkward. By the time Song Hwa stops by, Sang Chul is sufficiently drunk and tells her to stop making him feel so guilty. Instead of begging his children to be their stepmother, she should have dumped him and left him for dead in her heart. He then mentions that the kids asked Bok Nyeo to be their mother, which is practically a hit to her pride.
Sang Chul ends up so drunk that Song Hwa takes him to her home and calls Bok Nyeo to pick him up. When Bok Nyeo arrives, Song Hwa taunts her by saying that even if she’s won over the kids she hasn’t won over the father. Only she has control over Sang Chul’s heart. Bok Nyeo knows that Song Hwa has the Daddy stone, even though the mistress denies it and doesn’t hand it over.
The following morning, Bok Nyeo is particularly harsh on Sang Chul. She gives him hangover soup and insinuates to the children that she and their father did something last night. Then, she says, “There’s something I have to tell you all. If you still want, I will be your mother.” The children rejoice. Sang Chul is flabbergasted. What could have prompted her to say something like that?! When she walks him out the door, he asks if he looks so pathetic in her eyes that he’d marry another woman now in his situation. “Yes, you look pathetic,” she replies. She then brushes off a stray hair, which is freaky for both Sang Chul and I. Acting like a wife? Please don’t.
Since Sang Chul blacked out he asks Song Hwa what happened. After learning that Song Hwa warned Bok Nyeo not to get ahead of herself in thinking that winning the children’s hearts was all she needed to be a wife. Sang Chul understands why Bok Nyeo accepted Han Gyul’s offer. Song Hwa is shocked that Bok Nyeo did the very thing she feared, and even more annoyed that Sang Chul’s reasons for you need some formatting here: not marrying Bok Nyeo are practical ones: He considers his situation at work and the fact that he lost his wife so recently. It’s not because he doesn’t like Bok Nyeo. He trusts Bok Nyeo a lot, even if many seem to not.
Do Hyung passes by Bok Nyeo on the road and finds her holding an envelope. At first he assumes that Bok Nyeo picked up a marriage registration form for Sang Chul and Song Hwa. Nope – it’s actually for Bok Nyeo and Sang Chul. Do Hyung is absolutely shocked. This is all going against his plan.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Oh visits Producer Kwan to talk about her husband’s cheating issue. Just exactly with whom is he cheating? Producer Kwan: “Me.” It’s a bold statement, and to Mrs. Oh’s credit she does not flip out. She’s mostly devastated to hear that her husband has been cheating with dozens of other women. Producer Kwan doesn’t just have a grudge against him for sleeping with other women; she entered the affair knowing that Mr. Oh was using her to help cover for his mistakes on his show and she was tired of it. She didn’t want to expose the affair because it would seem distasteful, so that is why she told Mrs. Oh first.
Next side story: Soo Hyuk. Woo Jae and Han Gyul call Soo Hyuk for an errand as a way to get to see him, but Soo Hyuk gets caught by a couple of gangsters/nightclub owners who want him to work for them because of his pretty face. As a male escort, Soo Hyuk could earn enough money to pay off his father’s debt rather than work as a measly errand boy. Woo Jae comes to Soo Hyuk’s defense and the two of them start fighting two grown men. Guess who wins?
Woo Jae and Soo Hyuk are left to nurse their wounds while Han Gyul calls them out as idiots. They make Soo Hyuk promise that he won’t work for those gangsters, but Soo Hyuk’s got a different idea. He visits those goons’ nightclub and offers his services in a different way… as long as they’ve got a guitar.
As for Sang Chul, his project is finally in tip-top shape but needs a contractor to seal the deal and present a winning proposal for Chinatown. He goes to his father-in-law to ask for help. Grandpa is lukewarm to the idea; though he likes Sang Chul’s project idea and is willing to work with Do Hyung’s company, his bigger issue is Song Hwa. He takes his son-in-law and her aside and makes them promise that they’ll never marry each other as he’d rather Bok Nyeo be his new daughter-in-law than Song Hwa. Ouch. It’s not finalized yet though. Sang Chul has yet to put his seal on the marriage registration document and agree to marry Bok Nyeo. I think it’s safe to say he’s weirded out by the whole idea at the moment.
Do Hyung is also not happy by the whole situation and frankly asks if Bok Nyeo is being the kids’ mother out of spite against him. Yep, Bok Nyeo confirms, that’s exactly why. Her motives are now clear: It’s not just because she loves the kids that she wants to be their mother but because she wants to protect them from Song Hwa and push Do Hyung to his breaking point to see if he really is Ji Hoon or not. It’s working too because Do Hyung is really pissed that Song Hwa isn’t “delivering Bok Nyeo to him.”
Someone else is not happy to hear of Bok Nyeo’s impending “marriage”: Mr. Shin. When Hye Gyul happily announces it, his wife gladly offers free meat on the house… and Bok Nyeo takes it! She’s disappointing Mr. Shin so much! Haha – I find it adorable that his puppy love dreams are crumbling away before his very eyes.
Back at home Bok Nyeo pressures Sang Chul to stamp his seal because the kids are pestering her. It’s really weird how pushy she’s being, even though we understand her motivations. But at the same time it’s amusing how Sang Chul finds the need to run away from her. Song Hwa calls up Bok Nyeo and wants to meet at Sugar Café, which is near her home. Bok Nyeo recognizes the name because she saw a stamp card in the kitchen drawer. There was only one stamp back in May, around the time Sun Young passed away.
Bok Nyeo goes to the café and purchases a cake, then waits for Song Hwa. Turns out Song Hwa heard of the “engagement” and wants to gift Bok Nyeo a new jacket. After all she needs to start treating her boss’ wife a little better. Bok Nyeo turns it down because she doesn’t want to accept bribes for her “husband’s sake.” That pisses Song Hwa off. She already told the housekeeper that she alone controls the father! She thinks Bok Nyeo doesn’t truly care about the family but just wants to replace her dead. In Song Hwa’s eyes, Bok Nyeo is just an “obstacle” to the children.
Those words hit close to home, even though they’re not quite true. Bok Nyeo ends up looking troubled for the rest of the night, which worries Han Gyul. They bond over hanging up laundry, and Han Gyul asks that Bok Nyeo show Song Hwa that she could never be the kids’ mom. Song Hwa doesn’t deserve it. Bok Nyeo then remembers that Sun Young’s suicide note included the word ‘obstacle,’ that if Sang Chul saw her as an obstacle she’d kill herself.
Bok Nyeo returns to the café the following day to buy another cake and request for CCTV footage from that day in May when Sun Young bought a cake. Pretending that she lost something, she then receives the footage from the camera that’s aimed directly at where Sun Young and Song Hwa sat that fateful day. Bok Nyeo calls Song Hwa up again to meet because she now has evidence that Song Hwa was the last person to see Sun Young alive.
At the café, Bok Nyeo shows her the video. It’s only a momentary relief that the CCTV does not record sound, because Bok Nyeo can read lips. As the video plays, Bok Nyeo recites word for word what Song Hwa had said to Sun Young that evening.
Bok Nyeo: (speaking for Song Hwa) You’re just an obstacle. When you left the country with the kids to the Philippines, did you not give up your husband’s purity? Call Manager Eun at 12 midnight. I won’t hang up the phone and leave it somewhere. Which candles will be lit tonight?
Sufficiently scared, Song Hwa gives up. Fine – Bok Nyeo can have Sang Chul and the kids! She can reveal the video for all she cares! It won’t bring Sun Young back anyways. Okay then.
Bok Nyeo gets up to leave and suddenly Song Hwa regrets her words. She begs Bok Nyeo to keep it a secret, stating that she did what she did to Sun Young “because she loved him.” Whoops – that phrase actually made Bok Nyeo angrier. “Because you loved him” is a phrase she hates the most.
Bok Nyeo has no sympathy for Song Hwa and her “amazing” love. Song Hwa’s love for Sang Chul drove another person to her death, and just because that person was a mother did not mean she was a woman without her own desires and feelings. Song Hwa promises to give Bok Nyeo anything, but Bok Nyeo has nothing that she wants from her. Oooh. Burn. Song Hwa goes to the river side and imagines Sun Young killing herself. Goodness. If she tries to kill herself I’m going to strangle this drama.
Good thing she doesn’t.
The following morning Bok Nyeo announces at breakfast that she would like everyone to forget she promised to be their mother. Her excuse is that Sang Chul keeps putting off signing the marriage registration form, so they might as well not go through with it. The kids beg her to be more patient with their father since he’s busy over the Chinatown project.
At work, Song Hwa is about to go crazy out of fear. She asks Sang Chul right away if Bok Nyeo said anything to him, but Bok Nyeo has not. Song Hwa calls the housekeeper right away and insists that Bok Nyeo name her price. She even throws back the Daddy’s stone so that she doesn’t have anything Bok Nyeo could hold against her. Because she doesn’t trust that Bok Nyeo will just not tell anyone the secret without a favor, Bok Nyeo finally makes a request: Can Song Hwa investigate Jang Do Hyung?
That evening, Bok Nyeo uses a simple magic trick to return the Daddy’s stone to Hye Gyul, much to the family’s delight. Instead of honestly revealing where she found it as she usually would have done, she keeps it a secret. Another change in Bok Nyeo!
Sang Chul turns down his father-in-law’s company as the contractor for their project because he wants to try to win the project without any help from the man whose daughter he ruined. It’s an honorable thing to do and he finally earns his father-in-law’s respect. Grandpa’s own romance with Manager Hong inches along as well. He buys her a new toilet, and Manager Hong realizes he’s actually not penniless. Now she’s sad because she thought she ended up more successful than him and liked him because he was poor. So dramatic!
Under the pretense of consulting Bok Nyeo about the kitchens, Song Hwa gives the housekeeper some information on Do Hyung. She hasn’t found anything suspicious so far, but asks for some information on Ji Hoon that might help her dig better for information. Unfortunately it brings up a lot of bad memories for Bok Nyeo, and Song Hwa finally learns why she hates and fears Ji Hoon/Do Hyung so much. It’s not just that he murdered her family, but that he relentlessly stalked and ruined her life. Song Hwa remembers that the only thing that might be suspicious is the gramophone in his office and home, where she saw him hide something underneath it. She asks if Bok Nyeo would be free at around 3p.m. the following day since no one will be in the office at that time as they’re all at the bidding. Bok Nyeo says she can’t because the kids will be home then.
While Bok Nyeo does the laundry, she bumps into Mrs. Oh, who’s a lot more amiable now that she thinks Bok Nyeo will marry Sang Chul. She needs to treat a new fellow housewife with some more respect! But what she really wants is someone to talk to. While folding laundry, Mrs. Oh spills about all her troubles with Kwan and her husband’s affairs. She asks Bok Nyeo what she should do, but in true Bok Nyeo-fashion, the housekeeper says, “That’s for you to decide.”
Meanwhile, a bunch of gossipy high school girls see Soo Hyuk going into the nightclub owned by his father’s creditors. Scandalized, they hurry to tell Woo Jae and Han Gyul. The two students can’t go in the club as they’re underage though, so Han Gyul calls up Aunt Na Young for help. Is it possible for Na Young to see what Soo Hyuk is doing there and convince him to come out?
Na Young nervously approaches Soo Hyuk and tries to convince him to come out without introducing herself. Because he doesn’t know who she is, he shoos her off to go drink. And this is why you should introduce yourself…! But then he grabs a guitar from a waiter and asks which room he needs to go in. Na Young realizes that he isn’t working as an escort or a bartender, but is actually a performer. She reports back to Woo Jae and Na Young that things may not actually be as bad for Soo Hyuk as they think.
At that moment, Bok Nyeo catches them outside the bar. She questions why Han Gyul is out there and threatens to call Sang Chul. I don’t understand why she’s acting so much like the mother when she said she wouldn’t be their mother. Turns out Bok Nyeo saw a crumpled up application for a K-pop star audition in Han Gyul’s room. Did Han Gyul join the band because she loved music or because she loved Soo Hyuk? If it was for music, then why did she throw away the application? It gives Han Gyul something to think about, but she still doesn’t feel confident enough that she could audition successfully. So Bok Nyeo throws the application away.
It’s the day of the bidding and Song Hwa reminds Bok Nyeo again that this is her chance to check out Do Hyung’s office. Sang Chul’s former company is also bidding for the project, which makes the competition even more heated. As Song Hwa drives into the parking lot, she is blocked by Do Hyung’s car. She gets out to see why he’s blocking the path and then sees Do Hyung in a great deal of pain. She quickly takes him to the hospital instead.
Sang Chul wins the bid handily, earning the respect of his former boss. At the hospital, Song Hwa learns that Do Hyung is actually dying from a fatal disease. No one knows what it is exactly, and no one knows how to cure it. All Do Hyung knows is that he’s slowly dying, and Song Hwa caught him at his weakest moment.
But that’s not all. Do Hyung also admits that he really is Seo Ji Hoon. DUN DUN DUN. He shows Song Hwa the one piece of evidence that proves he’s Ji Hoon: a photo of a smiling Bok Nyeo in her younger days, hidden in one of his books. He had hidden it under his gramophone earlier, but took it with him before he left the office.
At this moment Bok Nyeo and Hye Gyul go to the butcher shop to pick up meat. Mr. Shin eagerly expects her, but is no longer lovesick over Bok Nyeo because he thinks she’s getting married. He even tells his wife that the reason he likes Bok Nyeo so much is because she reminds him of his wife in her younger days. Awwww… that was so sweet! Now that they’ve shared a moment, the wife is visibly warmer towards Bok Nyeo.
Bok Nyeo wonders if perhaps the couple could watch Hye Gyul for a few minutes while she runs an errand (read: go to Do Hyung’s office). However, Hye Gyul complains that she needs to watch Pororo, and so Bok Nyeo has no choice but to bring her back home. But when Sae Gyul comes home she gets him to babysit Hye Gyul for a few hours while she goes to Do Hyung’s office.
Do Hyung’s office has nothing suspicious (anymore, at least), except for the ‘Great Gatsby’ record that she remembers him liking so much, and identifying with so much. And then, Bok Nyeo gets a call from home: Hye Gyul is missing.
Do Hyung gets out of bed and tells Song Hwa that it’s imperative Bok Nyeo does not know about his sickness. He told Song Hwa about his true identity because he wants to make make sure she doesn’t reveal he’s dying.
The family goes on search for Hye Gyul, whom Bok Nyeo finally finds by the river, looking for a stone that will match Bok Nyeo. How the hell did this little girl make it out of the house unnoticed?! Anyways, Bok Nyeo clutches Hye Gyul tearfully, relieved that she’s found her. Bok Nyeo the robot is clearly cracking.
Bok Nyeo then calls up Song Hwa, who puts her on speakerphone because she’s not sure of what to do under Do Hyung’s watchful gaze. Bok Nyeo just called to say that she’s giving up on finding out whether Do Hyung is Ji Hoon or not. Do Hyung is happier when he realizes she’s no longer going to suspect him, but Song Hwa lacks the courage to tell Bok Nyeo the truth.
That evening, Sang Chul returns home triumphantly after winning the bid for the Chinatown project. He seeks approval from Bok Nyeo, who won’t give him any because she’s not his wife. HA! She finds out that Song Hwa and Do Hyung were together and couldn’t make it to the bidding event, which arouses her suspicions.
Bok Nyeo offers to make some porridge and bring it to Song Hwa. But when she gets to Song Hwa’s apartment, no one is inside, even though Song Hwa claims to be resting inside. Bok Nyeo then sees Song Hwa drive up in Do Hyung’s car, which makes her feel uneasy. Why would Song Hwa lie? Is she actually on Do Hyung’s side and never told Bok Nyeo anything?
She makes a decision. Instead of working overtime, Bok Nyeo insists she must leave early because she has somewhere to be that evening. She’s going on a date – with Do Hyung.
Thoughts and Comments:
These two episodes were more Song Hwa-centric, which is annoying for me because I don’t like Song Hwa. I don’t like her characterization, and I don’t like how Wang Ji Hye portrays her. Even though we are given a chance to sympathize with her position by the end of episode 13 and she tries to redeem herself in episode 14, I have no inclination to like her. She’s just so selfish and spiteful. In some ways, she’s perfect to be Han Gyul’s mother, although Han Gyul really needs someone who is more nurturing. Like Bok Nyeo.
Speaking of whom, I’m not really used to her being so different. I get that she has to change, and that she has changed because of the family. However, there’s something so unsettling about it because she doesn’t seem to be doing it for honest reasons just yet. She’s doing it because she is trying to get over her past and Ji Hoon. I guess I expected her to be a little more magnanimous in her intentions.
This drama is certainly going topsy turvy over what she wants and what she doesn’t want, though I trust everything will be revealed eventually. I hope the explanation is solid as well, because I feel like every reason is half-assed so far. People say they’re in love, or say they want to keep a secret, or say they’re not someone, but the way they say it sounds incredibly superficial. So am I supposed to believe them or not? And that’s the question that frustrates me to no end.