This episode was good, if not uncomfortable. I have to give it kudos for not being afraid of making Kang Chul a douchebag, and while he is a funny character, he makes me feel uneasy just enough to really hate him. Hilariously though, the episode is titled ‘Let’s Use Condoms.’ That’s just too awesome.
Ho Goo is such a sweetheart. He comes out of the OR crying just as another husband sends his wife into the room to give birth. The husband wonders if something wrong happened during surgery, but Ho Goo is just emotional after cutting the umbilical cord. He never knew babies came out of the mother’s body with a cord attached!
Meanwhile Kang Chul can’t sleep, still perplexed over the text message he got from the mysterious ‘X’.
After the birth, Do Hee returns to her room to sleep and Ho Goo helps clean up her stuff. He finds a post-it with an address in Yeosoo – little does he realize at that moment that it’s the address to the abortion clinic. Do Hee wakes and asks for some red bean taiyaki, a.k.a bungeoppang. Happy to help, Ho Goo plans to get her some the following morning and walks home to get some shut-eye.
He realizes a lot about his family thanks to Do Hee’s birth: that his sister and he came out of his mother’s womb, and that it must have been so much more difficult for her to give birth to two kids. Ho Goo goes to his parents’ room (where the mother is big spoon to the father, hilariously) and starts crying while touching his mother’s belly. His mother initially thinks that a thief is in the house and starts attacking him with a pillow, only to stop once Ho Kyung turns on the lights.
The following morning, Ho Goo’s family contorts their faces and taps out messages with chopsticks to quietly figure out what’s wrong with him. Is it a girl? Is it his job? Why is he so dismal? Amusingly, Ho Goo knows exactly what they’re saying to each other and nixes all of their assumptions. He doesn’t mean to be sad, but is just extremely grateful to have a family.
Ho Kyung reaches for the calendar: “Did Parents’ Day end up in winter this year?” HAH!
Ho Kyung later gets the truth from Chung Jae: apparently their webtoon was on the brink of being discontinued, but Chung Jae and Tae Hee managed to ask their manager for one more chance to improve their performance. Ok Ryung isn’t so sure though, as she feels that Ho Goo’s reaction last night mimicked that of a man who had just had a child born. But the two women start laughing: Ho Goo, with a kid? No wayyyyyyyy.
As Ho Goo leaves the house he notices his father fixing the sign ‘Ok Ryung’s House’. He wonders why his father does everything in his mother’s name, as if the father isn’t the head of the household. Yong Moo reveals a secret: women are actually better than men. They’ll always look better than men, are superior to men, and can give birth. He can’t help but marvel how women can withstand the pain to give birth. Ho Goo finds himself agreeing, especially on the point of how magical the moment of cutting an umbilical cord can be.
Yong Moo: “How do you know what it feels like to cut an umbilical cord?”
Womp womp. In any case, the father doesn’t press for more details, and just gives his son 50,000 won to buy some good food for once. Ho Goo happily spends 30,000 of it on bungeoppang and heads off to the hospital. He hands one to every doctor and nurse he sees, thanking them for their hard work, and then goes off to see Do Hee.
Do Hee is touched he bought her what she wanted, but she doesn’t want him helping her anymore. She especially doesn’t want him seeing her baby, since he has no connection to it whatsoever. She sincerely thanks him for everything, and promises to pay him back, but doesn’t want him to help her anymore.
Ho Goo takes it as a sign to leave, but before he can leave the hospital completely he goes to see the baby boy. That’s when Ho Goo realizes that the address Do Hee had belonged to an abortion clinic, and he returns to her room.
Do Hee had taken a bite of the steaming hot bungeoppang but had burned her tongue, and in the process of grabbing her water bottle she had knocked the whole bag into the trash accidentally. So when Ho Goo returns to see this, he’s quite hurt. He asks why she went to Yeosoo in the first place, and she admits to wanting to abort the baby because she didn’t want it, and the father and the baby were both mistakes in her life. Now having all the answers, Ho Goo picks up the bag of bungeoppang from the trash. He had bought it with his parents’ hard-earned money, so she has no right to throw away food like that just because she didn’t want it or want to see it.
Do Hee doesn’t even bother correcting him at this point, as Ho Goo’s too hurt.
Ho Goo tells her he doesn’t want her to pay him back, because he never wants to see her again.
Meanwhile Kang Chul is in court representing a company that allegedly wrongfully fired a woman for being a single mother. The plaintiff’s lawyer points out that it is discrimination and unlawful to terminate a woman over being a single mother. However when Kang Chul makes his statement for the defendant, he points out that the mother could have clarified her marital status with HR if the multiple choice options did not cover her status as a single mother.
It’s really a messed up system, considering how so much personal information has to go on the resume. But in any case, through some intimidation that could be likened to bullying, Kang Chul makes his point that the plaintiff is also morally wrong for having a baby out of wedlock. As in, “Who does that?”
What a despicable guy.
Kang Chul wins the case, presumably, and then goes on to tell his assistant Gong Mi to lose some weight. She gained a few pounds since she gave him her resume, and he doesn’t like that. Gong Mi is so offended that he’s practically sexually harassing her, but no – it’s worse than that. He reveals that he hired her because she was pretty. He is so smart and capable he didn’t need a competent assistant. Instead he needed a pretty-enough assistant to keep the clients happy and lighten the atmosphere at any time. If she gains weight, she would not be able to perform the things he needs her to do competently. So, she needs to diet.
Wow I want to punch this dude.
Gong Mi takes out her frustrations on an expensive high heel, and complains to Ho Kyung about how vile he is. Ho Kyung won’t let her try to get revenge on Kang Chul though, as that will be her job when she seduces him. Turns out Ho Kyung also has a grudge against him since she went to the same high school as Kang Chul and her brother.
All we get to see is that back in high school Kang Chul would get picked up by a chauffeur every day. Because he was so great (ranking tenth in the nation for his smarts), no one gave him grief about it. But one afternoon the car nearly hits Ho Kyung as she jams to some rap tunes and dances across the school yard. The chauffeur yells at her for not paying attention, but mistakes her to be a boy. Ho Kyung throws a fit, but Ho Goo manages to calm her down. There has to be more to the story though, since I can’t imagine this one incident to make her really hate Kang Chul and want to destroy him herself.
Kang Chul’s mother remains blissfully unaware that she just set her son up with his worst enemy. As she writes up her thesis on people’s perceptions on condoms, Kang Chul’s father arrives demanding that he wants food. He got home a little too early though, so Professor Mok has nothing prepared for him. Mr. Byun is a petulant child though, and keeps asking for food. He does wonder why she has a bunch of condoms on her desk, and she offers it to him to use. Is she, by chance, somehow hoping or wondering that he’s having an affair?!
In any case, she is certainly offering condoms to the wrong Mr. Byun.
Kang Chul’s father does wonder when his son will get married and start giving him grandchildren. (Snerk.) He’s feeling a bit competitive nowadays when his colleagues are all boasting about their own grandchildren. His wife is a little more patient about the whole thing, but he ends up distastefully saying, “He should go out and impregnate some woman during those long nights at work.” Ugh! Like father, like son!
At least Kang Chul himself is now willing to seek out Do Hee, and he also tasks Gong Mi to find out who could have sent him the message on Christmas day.
Ho Goo mopes in a playground nearby with all the bungeoppang, feeling a little bummed out that he will no longer be seeing Do Hee again. But fate won’t let that happen! A nurse calls up Ho Goo, since he’s listed as Do Hee’s guardian, asking when he’ll be back in the hospital. Do Hee’s been having a tough time post-pregnancy with lots of cramps, and it would help if she had her friend with her to massage her stomach.
It’s not exactly an emergency, so Ho Goo doesn’t rush back to the hospital. But he does feel some guilt over not being there for Do Hee. Sadly, Do Hee only thinks of him and her half-eaten bangeoppang at her time of pain and need. She clearly misses him, but her pride won’t let her call him.
That evening at home, he even chooses to turn in early instead of playing go-stop with his family. Ho Kyung is so excited to play that she ends up tripping over the stairs and dropping her bag. All the condoms from her research with Professor Mok spill out, and Ho Goo is shocked that she would carry such things around. Shouldn’t she value her body more than just be willing to have easy sex?! Ho Kyung fires back that she’s being prepared, since there are a lot of irresponsible guys out there who wouldn’t even use a condom. The parents, adorably, try their best to not really side with either child. I’m sure it’s because it’s more dangerous to side against Ho Kyung based on her personality.
At least Ho Kyung offers her brother some condoms, in the miraculous event he happens to ‘get some’ one night. He grudgingly grabs one, and then heads out to his room in the basement.
But instead of turning in for the night, Ho Goo heads to the hospital. The nurse is surprised to see him and tells him that Do Hee has a visitor. The talk seems intense, so he ought to wait a few minutes before going in.
He waits outside for a few minutes, but curiosity finally gets the better of him. Slowly, quietly entering the room, he overhears a guy (Kang Chul) talking to Do Hee. Kang Chul wanted her to abort the baby, but Do Hee doesn’t want to listen to him anymore. The son is hers, and she’s not asking Kang Chul to be responsible for it at all. He’s glad, since she came to him that night, so none of this was his fault. Do Hee: “I asked you to use condoms, but you refused!” Kang Chul: “So that’s my fault? I don’t use condoms! Never have, never will!”
Good God, someone smack this dude for me.
Kang Chul finally leaves and Ho Goo hides himself before he’s seen. Instead of seeing Do Hee, he exits the room and starts following the father of the baby. The whole time he doesn’t see Kang Chul’s face, but he watches the jerk call for an elevator. Ho Goo starts imagining how that fateful night must have played out by using Red Riding Hood as a sort of metaphor for sex. When Red Riding Hood (Do Hee) tries to put on a hair cap on the grandmother (a disguised wolf, Kang Chul) it’s the same as the Kang Chul refusing to put on a condom on his head.
They both get on the elevator, and Ho Goo overhears Kang Chul on the phone saying, “Why would I use condoms? It’s bothersome and annoying.” That’s enough to set Ho Goo off, and he grabs Kang Chul’s collar and punches him square in the nose.
Seriously, Kang Chul is incredibly despicable, and kudos to Im Seulong for portraying him as such. I don’t even recognize Seulong at times in this role. I hate men who are pricks, who think they’re so high and mighty and don’t even need to use a condom. That it’s the victim’s fault, and never his own fault for anything. It’s insufferable. Granted, Kang Chul is also a comedic character to the extent that he’s so extreme, it’s uncomfortably funny. Nevertheless, he’s such. a. jerk.
I do wish we got a little further with the story, perhaps even see Do Hee get out of the hospital and maybe skip ahead a few days. But this episode was also necessary in building a foundation for Kang Chul as a character. We rarely got to see him in the past four episodes, and this time we really get to learn more about what a loathsome character he is. It will hopefully make the payoff even better down the line, when he gets his karmic retribution for being such an asshole to women.
I can’t say much on whether the idea of “having a child out of wedlock is irresponsible” is still a prevalent thought among Koreans. It certainly is a conservative thought everywhere in the world. But it’s a bit unsettling for me to watch a character who is not an older generation have this thought and be such a stickler about ‘order.’ Clearly he believes in “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” Thankfully the show also gives you the antithesis to that character: Ho Goo is a man who celebrates and admires the woman. Just because the woman must bear the brunt of the pregnancy does not mean she is always at fault. She is also someone to be seen as a hero who has to bear through the pain and the burden more than the man. I’m glad Ho Goo has such a loving and understanding father; it’s not just because the father praises women all the time, but that the father is teaching his son to be a decent man without thinking that men must always be superior.
It’s certainly better than a man who is like another kid to his wife, insisting that he be fed all the time and can’t even get the food himself.
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- Fool’s Love: Episode 1 Recap