An adorable, heart-warming, satisfying episode all around. Let’s keep this up, por favor!
Woo-jae takes Seo-young to what was once their favorite seol-leong-tang (ox bone soup) restaurant, and memories flood Seo-young’s mind. It was the very first place Woo-jae had taken Seo-young to eat all those years ago, and it was where Seo-young had loved to eat every Sunday during their marriage (or at least the pre-madness days). Before they can eat, though, President Kang calls Seo-young and asks her to come to the police station. She tells Woo-jae something came up and leaves without a backward glance.
Mama Kang is at the station with Creepers Magician and Evil Lady, and when President Kang arrives, he immediately takes his wife aside and asks if she revealed that she is the ‘lady’ of Winners Group (wife of the president). *face palm* Mister, you really need to get your priorities straight. Mama Kang is pretty speechless as well that Winners Group and his image – not his wife – are his top priority. As if to add insult to injury, Seo-young rushes in, to Mama Kang’s disbelief. Woo-jae, who got the call from Mama Kang, races in on Seo-young’s heels. Family reunion!
Woo-jae and Seo-young are both surprised to see each other again, but before I can jump in and point out the obvious – you two are meant to be together foreeever – Seo-young goes to meet with the case officer and the Conniving Couple. The case officer explains that there is no evidence incriminating Mama Kang, and the only reason they even brought her in for questioning was because Creepers Magician had ‘admitted’ to adultery. Our sharp Seo-young quickly sniffs out the scam and explains to President Kang, but he says it doesn’t matter: Mama Kang put herself in the situation, so just pay off the Conniving Couple as they request. Seo-young can’t believe her ears, but President Kang merely reminds her to keep things quiet at all costs. “Settle everything quietly, Attorney Lee. I will pay handsomely for your services.” Wow. President Kang, you sure are special.
Back at home, Mama Kang rails at her husband for calling Seo-young. “How could you use Seo-young like that?! No matter that she committed wrongs, Seo-young is a person, too. After all that happened, you think she would have wanted to come?” Gah, my heart is breaking at Mama Kang’s defense of Seo-young. President Kang can’t believe his wife is yelling when she is the one who had an affair, and Mama Kang is left speechless at her husband’s refusal to believe in her innocence.
The next morning, Mama Kang calls all of the family to the living room for an announcement: She, Cha Ji-sun, is divorcing Kang Ki-bum. Everyone is shocked, and Mama Kang explains that she can’t live this way anymore. She was deceived by Yoon So-mi, by Seo-young, and now by Creepers Magician. “I was deceived, deceived again, and deceived yet again – there is obviously a problem with me. I believe the reason I became this way is because of my life with your father. … As you know, your father and I had an arranged marriage. I was always lonely, and I constantly searched for someone to love. If I continue to live with this man, I have to continue to live that way. I don’t want to live like this anymore. So don’t try to stop me. Don’t try to convince me otherwise, and don’t even try to give advice.” That pretty much silences everyone, and Mama Kang brings out the taped-together divorce papers. (I’m assuming she originally drew it up when the Sung-jae incident happened?) She tells President Kang to sign it and figure out the alimony and property division settlement within the week – or else, she is taking it to the courts. (The latter option is taken when it is not an uncontested divorce.)
Mama Kang leaves with her suitcase, and Sung-jae follows her out, begging to take him with her. She says she needs to go alone to prove that she is serious, and Sung-jae worriedly asks where she will stay. When Mama Kang says she’ll probably stay at a hotel, Sung-jae suggests she stay with Mama Choi instead since his mom is scared of being alone. Hahaha awww. Mama Kang shies away from the idea because of Papa Choi, but Sung-jae just says, “Min-suk Ahjusshi (Papa Choi) isn’t at home.” LOL. When Sung-jae returns inside, he tells the family that Mama Kang wouldn’t tell him where she is going. Hahaha. Cut to Mama Choi opening her door to a smiling Mama Kang, who says she has no one but bestie Mama Choi. Hahaha.
Seo-young goes to see Woo-jae at work to ask if anyone has recently developed a grudge against Woo-jae or President Kang. Oh my, is this who I think it is? Seo-young returns to her office, where Evil Lady is waiting. Evil Lady says she wants $1 million (1 billion won) to settle the case – if the money is wired immediately, she will erase all the ‘incriminating’ photos. Seo-young coolly says she’ll ask a few questions first, and Evil Lady cockily says to go right on ahead. In the course of the rapid-fire questions, though, Evil Lady gets tripped up in her obvious lies. But Seo-young just says, “Okay. I’ll have Cha Ji-sun-sshi wire $1 million right now to your account. As you said, $1 million is nothing to Winners Group. They can wire the money immediately. But you do know that the minute the money is wired, you will be sued for blackmail, right?” Go Seo-young! Evil Lady is pretty much toast at that point, and Seo-young asks her for the truth. “Who is the person who called Cha Ji-sun-sshi to the hotel room?”
Turns out it was indeed Mr. Ahn (the man who got the boot from President Kang and Woo-jae for selling Winners Group’s design to another company and making faulty products with a different design). Seo-young, Woo-jae, and Mr. Ahn meet at Seo-young’s office and listen to Evil Lady’s confession that President Ahn was the mastermind behind the whole bamboozlin’. Woo-jae is furious, because he had worked hard to convince his father not to press charges against Mr. Ahn for the design theft incident. Mr. Ahn refuses to back down, demanding the $1 million in exchange for the pictures. He believes he has nothing more to lose at this point, because without the money, his business will go bankrupt. Woo-jae suddenly recalls the conversation he once had with Papa Lee, whose employer had gone bankrupt during the IMF. Thinking of such employees who are at no fault, Woo-jae tells Mr. Ahn that if he returns the original design, Winners Group will cover the expense of the faulty products. Needless to say, Mr. Ahn is overcome with gratitude.
Woo-jae explains his decision to President Kang, who is predictably angered by the act of mercy. But one thing does manage to make him feel ashamed: Mama Kang was unfairly taken advantage of because of business matters.
Sang-woo goes to see Seo-young at her office, and the two are adorable together, affectionately teasing one another and joking around. He mentions seeing Woo-jae in front of the office the other day, and Seo-young quickly says it’s nothing important. “Did I say anything? I just saw him, that’s all,” Sang-woo replies. Heee. He asks Seo-young to come home for Lunar New Year (traditionally a time when families all get together). “Don’t think about Father. Think about it from Mom’s perspective. And think of me as well.” Well good luck tryin’ to say no to that one.
President Kang finally calls his wife, noticeably chastened, and he tells her to come back home. Mama Kang, however, refuses to budge, and tells him not to contact her until he has signed the divorce papers. “If you don’t do it within a week, I am going to court – with the Lee Seo-young you like so much, as my lawyer.” LOL. That night, as Mama Choi gets ready for bed, Mama Kang runs into her room and cries, “I can’t sleep in Ho-jung’s room because I’m scared.” Hahahaa. Mama Kang reminds her friend that they used to have sleepovers all the time during high school, and she promptly jumps on the bed in glee. Hahaa oh my gawsh, this is signature Kim Hye-ok. As the night deepens, Mama Kang just grows happier and happier at the prospect of a new life living for herself, and, unable to contain her excitement, she excitedly hugs a distinctly unhappy Mama Choi and rolls around in the bed. LOLOL. Love it love it love it!
Ho-jung and Papa Lee go shopping together for groceries while Seo-young shops for gifts. The Lunar New Year finally dawns, and Ho-jung excitedly drags Papa Lee out of his room to receive jeol (a traditional bow given to parents/adult family members). [Mini cultural side note: A jeol is done in a variety of settings, and it is done to show respect. It is different from just the usual bow (in-sah) Koreans do when they meet people in everyday settings. Newlyweds do jeol to their parents and parents-in-law usually immediately after the marriage ceremony (these days when they return from their honeymoon). People do jeol to parents and adult family members on New Year’s (though in this case it is often called sae-bae), wishing them a prosperous year, and the adults usually give younger children money in return. One of my favorite days of the year! ^^]
Ho-jung and Sang-woo bow to Papa Lee, and Ho-jung asks Papa Lee to take pictures since it’s a special occasion (his first New Year’s jeol from them). Cutie Ho-jung then takes more pictures with Papa Lee, adorably linking her arm in his. Outside, Seo-young hesitates at the front gate before turning around and walking away. But just then, Ho-jung (who came out to throw away the trash) sees her and brightly calls out to her. In her adorably sweet way, Ho-jung introduces herself and convinces Seo-young to go inside. Sang-woo happily comes out to welcome her, and Papa Lee nervously stands inside waiting. The pure joy that fills Papa Lee’s face, when Seo-young steps into the house, just breaks my heart. The father-daughter pair awkwardly greet one another, and Ho-jung breaks the ice with her cheerfulness.
Seo-young and Ho-jung prepare the table setting for the memorial service, and when Seo-young kindly says it must have been hard preparing all the food, Ho-jung brightly explains that she just followed Papa Lee’s instructions. Seo-young is surprised, and Ho-jung eagerly shares how she learned everything – how to cook, do laundry, iron clothes, and bargain at the market – from Papa Lee. She tells Seo-young that Papa Lee gave her his bankbooks, and grabs them to show Seo-young how Papa Lee doesn’t even spend $100 a month. Oh, Ho-jung, I love you for making such an effort to show Seo-young that Papa Lee has changed. The slight confusion and surprise on Seo-young’s face are undeniable.
[Mini cultural side note #2: People do jeol at gravesides to honor the dead family member, and on the major holidays or anniversary of a person’s death, people hold a special service at home for the dead. Food is prepared (because they traditionally believed the dead person’s spirit returned, and they need to eat) and placed on a table, and people do jeol before it. If you recall, Woo-jae and Mama Kang once set up that kind of table for Papa Lee, before the whole secret was revealed. Traditionally, women usually do not do jeol in these services (jeh-sah); the men in the family usually do it instead.]
Sang-woo bows to Mama Lee, and he turns to Seo-young and tells her to greet their mother as well. “You probably weren’t able to hold jeh-sah for her the past three years.” Seo-young chokes up and says she can’t, and Papa Lee quietly turns to go inside his room. Sang-woo explains to Ho-jung that ever since they were young, Papa Lee had both Sang-woo and Seo-young do jeol (for jeh-sah). Ho-jung adorably says she wants to do it as well, then. Inside his room, Papa Lee quietly leans against the door as grief and all kinds of emotions sweep through him.
Seo-young finally bows to Mama Lee, tears filling her eyes, and she hears her mom’s voice (in her head) say, “Our Seo-young-ie, you came.” Overcome with emotion, Seo-young hastily grabs her stuff and runs out, and Papa Lee (who raced out) tells Sang-woo to just let Seo-young go. Papa Lee still knows his daughter best… T_T
Sung-jae goes to visit Papa Choi, and they enjoy ddeok-gook together (the rice cake soup is traditionally eaten on New Year’s). Papa Choi is surprised by the latest on dit from the Kang family, and he worries about his friend being all alone on New Year’s. Sung-jae, though, says his dad needs to experience some loneliness. Hahahaa.
Woo-jae tries talk to President Kang, urging his father to understand Mama Kang. President Kang, however, is unmovable in his stubbornness and refusal to give an inch.
Seo-young drives home, and waiting in front of her apartment is none other than Woo-jae. She tries to coldly walk past, but Woo-jae confesses that Mama Kang left the house and he fought with his father. “I felt so frustrated so I came out, but I have nowhere to go. It’s New Year’s, and I also didn’t have anyone to talk with about Mother except you. I want to get some air – be my companion, Lee Seo-young.” How can you say no to that? Seo-young apparently agrees, because she asks him whether he ate. Awww, what is it about this couple that makes conversation about food adorable? He asks whether she ate, and she just asks him what he wants to eat. “Can we eat after we get some air?” he asks. Stop it, you two.
They go to a gorgeous viewpoint at Namsan (a mountain in the outskirts of Seoul), and Woo-jae asks what he should do for Mama Kang.
Woo-jae: You know her better than me.
Woo-jae: I don’t like to admit it, but I am like Father in some respects. I wasn’t an affectionate son to Mother, and even now I don’t really know what I should do.
Seo-young: Father should be the one to make up with Mother.
Woo-jae: You know my father. He doesn’t know how to make up with other people.
Seo-young: Mother would be so happy if Father just changed a little bit.
Woo-jae: My father will never change.
Seo-young recalls Ho-jung showing her the bankbooks and telling her that Papa Lee spends less than $100 a month.
Seo-young: Don’t think he will never change. I don’t think there’s such a thing as “never” in the world.
Yay for progress! They finally go to eat, and on the street corner is a yeot seller. Little kids are trying to punch out star shapes from the taffy. [Mini cultural side note #3: The yeot (kind of like taffy) is basically melted/burnt sugar. Back in the day, the yeot seller would flatten out the yeot into a thin sheet and imprint a shape, usually a star (kind of like pressing a cookie cutter into the dough). If you can punch out the shape, intact, then you get that one for free and get to try another one. Because the yeot is brittle and thin, you usually end up cracking or breaking the piece. It’s a yums and fun pasttime!]
Seo-young sees the kids, and Woo-jae asks if she would like him to catch a star for her. Hahahaa that is one slick one-liner you’ve got there, Woo-jae! He goes to work on his yeot star, and as Seo-young watches, we get a flashback to a very young Seo-young (maybe early elementary school?). She was crying because she had missed 1 question on a test, and Papa Lee was trying to pacify her. He saw a yeot seller and asked her if she wanted him to catch a star for her. “How can you catch a star? They are so far away from us,” she had yelled, and Papa Lee just answered, “Not that star. I’m talking about the tastiest star in the whole wide world.” That had effectively stopped the crying, and when Papa Lee successfully punched out the star, Seo-young marveled and said she wanted to put it in her treasure box instead of eating it. He playfully put it in her mouth and said to a protesting Seo-young, “This is nothing. I can just do it again for you!” He promptly went to work on another star, and that memory of her father’s broad back hunched over a tiny yeot sheet is what remained in Seo-young’s memory. Gah, stop making me cry! Back in the present, Woo-jae is hunched over his own yeot star, and the similarity cannot be overlooked.
Seo-young kimchi-squats next to Woo-jae and deftly punches out the star, much to his – and my – amazement. He adorably yells at her for taking his yeot, and Seo-young mocks him for already having messed up several sheets. “We’re never going to eat at this rate,” she complains, and they adooorably walk together talking about her childhood. “We are pretty close to friends today,” Woo-jae says with a wide grin, Seo-young pauses before answering, “You’re right,” with her own smile. Eeee!
Papa Lee, Sang-woo, and Ho-jung enjoy dessert (aka fruit, pretty much the equivalent of dessert in the dessert-less Korean cuisine), and Ho-jung says Seo-young Unni was very pretty – like a lady (noblewoman). Papa Lee excitedly agrees, and he brags about his Seo-young and what she was like when she was growing up. “She did well in school, she didn’t get into trouble, she was bright (sunny and cheerful), she had a lot of aegyo (cutie cute cute), and she was smart. Oh, and she received the Model Student Award every year!” Awww the way Papa Lee’s face lights up just slays me. Ho-jung hilariously answers, “Wow, Unni is amazing. I never received the award even once.” Hahaha. Sang-woo adorably demands Papa Lee brag about him too. Hee!
When Ho-jung calls her mom, Mama Choi tells her not to come (even though it is New Year’s) because Mama Kang is over. Ho-jung quickly says she won’t go if Mama Kang is there, which Mama Choi finds odd. Over at the Kang residence, President Kang is all alone – even the housekeeper went home for the holidays. Feeling quite at a loss, and remembering Mama Kang once eating bibimbap (rice mixed with different vegetables and meat) at home, he digs out the classic metal bowl and eats bibimbap by himself in the living room. LOL.
Sun-woo goes to see Mi-kyung with a peace offering of traditional foods enjoyed during the holidays. Mi-kyung explains how she understands now why Sun-woo had said everyone has their own perspective and thus nothing is perfectly black or white. Sun-woo asks if Mi-kyung has truly let go of Sang-woo, and Mi-kyung says all the things that happened have truly allowed her to let him go and now she can even forget him. “Well, you are good at forgetting things,” Sun-woo says, and she reminds her friend of how she (Mi-kyung) fell in love with that countryside medical officer who saved her life her junior year of high school. Because of him, Mi-kyung studied her butt off and got into medical school, but on the day she entered medical school, she asked, “Sun-woo, what was the name of that Oppa?” Mi-kyung laughs, but when she spots Kyung-ho, she cautiously asks Sun-woo, “Do you happen to remember his name?” Sun-woo can’t remember exactly, but she does recall it was “Choi” something. I kneeew it!
Mi-kyung goes to ask Kyung-ho about how he said he knew her, but before she can even properly explain Kyung-ho says what she suspects is correct. Ha! And even funnier is her reaction. “Are you really that medical officer Oppa–” At the word “oppa” she slaps a hand over her mouth. Hee! Kyung-ho just nods sagely in his 4D way, and Mi-kyung protests that it can’t be true. “That Oppa was warm, and kind, and he had a beautiful smile…” Kyung-ho wryly asks, “Ah, but the person in front of you is cold and mean and an ahjusshi (older man) with a face full of wrinkles – is that what you’re saying?” Haha. Mi-kyung demands proof that he is her first love Oppa, and he asks if she will believe him if he provides proof. Ooh la la.
Ho-jung gives Sang-woo various foods they had made for the New Year and tells him to take it to Seo-young – she left without eating earlier, and Father prepared calamari specially for her. Sang-woo gratefully takes the food and asks Ho-jung to come with him next time. Awww progress!
Woo-jae drops off Seo-young at her apartment and thanks her for a good day. She isn’t as freely open as they were during their date, but she doesn’t push him away. Progress is the word for today! Waiting in front of her apartment is Sang-woo, and she invites him inside. Seo-young tells him Ho-jung seems like a wonderful girl and to be good to her. Sang-woo responds that he is already really good to Ho-jung, to which Seo-young demands he describe how he is good to her. He lists: he doesn’t spend the night elsewhere, he doesn’t get angry at Ho-jung, and he tells her that her cooking is yummy. Seo-young laughingly chides him and says those are the basics of any marriage. Determined to prove how wonderful he is, Sang-woo shows her photos they took that day. Seo-young looks at the photo they took with Papa Lee, complex emotions flitting across her face. The kettle they had put on whistles, and Sang-woo says he’ll get the coffee – Seo-young can look through the photos. She scrolls through them, one by one, smiling and looking at them with affection and longing… until she comes upon an old photo: the one they took when Sang-woo brought Mi-kyung to the rooftop home for Papa Lee’s birthday. Dun dun duuuun!!
I said this in the Sneak Peek, but I need to say it again: Sang-woo, why the heck do you still have that photo in your phone?!?!?! I suppose you could have forgotten about it (
it has been 3 years, after all EDIT: it has only been a few months, not years. Thanks, PiscesDragon, for the correction!), and you may not have felt the need to go through all your stuff and delete anything related to Mi-kyung. You don’t hate her, after all. But stiiiiill, you should have cleaned things up before your marriage! Aaauughh.
That being said, Hallelujah the last big secret is out in the open – well, kinda. The Kang parents don’t know about it. But anyhoo, this is the end, right? No more skeletons in the closet that I don’t know about? No more proverbial fans waiting to get hit by the doo-doo? Please let it be so.
Thank you to all of those who answered my question about the Sang-woo & Ho-jung shoe gift happening! 😀
We have a few new friends (and one old, whom I accidentally left out last time) joining us! Welcome, Liz, MEK, nina lee, Teryn Hill, and vahdaneh!! We hope you have a wonderful time with us here at the Patch. New friends and old, if you have not introduced yourself, please do, so we can properly welcome you! 😀
Food for thought this week: Should Woo-jae and Seo-young get back together? And by “back together,” I mean marriage. Or should they just remain friends? Please discuss away on our Discussion Board! 😀