Korean tvN Drama Misaeng Episode 13 Recap

Korean tvN Drama Misaeng Episode 13 Recap

By dramabeans:

While this episode is about the big sales pitch by Sales Team 3, the real stars of this episode are the newbies, who are slowly becoming a cohesive unit. Newbie huddles are becoming more regular, as more workplace shit hits the fan and as more achievements come and go. They find their way, still get lost, and get criticized, but at least now they know that they’re not the only ones.


As One International executives approach the meeting room, Seok-yul sees them pass by and gapes at this new gossip fodder. Chief Oh greets the executive director, and the meeting commences.

Geu-rae watches the executive team look through the presentation notes expecting the same old, tried-and-true format and observes how many of them are already marking up the notes with criticisms — some may have even prepared counterarguments beforehand. Some even voice their criticisms, bringing up Chief Park and questioning whether Sales Team 3 is ignorant or brave.

The door suddenly opens, and the CEO walks in to watch the presentation, as he had extra time in his schedule. With the extra top dog, the mood in the room further tenses. Geu-rae turns off the lights, and Chief Oh takes a deep breath before starting his presentation.

Korean tvN Drama Misaeng Episode 13 Recap and Screenshots

Meanwhile, at the resources team, Assistant Manager Ha gets approval from Chief Jung on the final Russia business exchange. Chief Jung comments that Young-yi does pretty good work, and Assistant Manager Ha agrees in silent acquiescence. Chief Jung assigns her as the lead on the trading contract, and she looks back in shock but seems grateful for gradual acceptance in the team. Then Seok-yul rushes over to Young-yi and starts blabbering about what he just saw: the group of cold executives chillingly walking through the corridors.

Getting back to Chief Oh’s presentation, the room remains at a painful silence before the start of the presentation, and Geu-rae keeps questioning what mess he’s caused. Chief Oh finally begins the presentation with a detailed history of corruption in the company, eliciting an expected outrage from the executives. But he follows up with accurate estimates of the company’s loss in profits that they could’ve gained if they hadn’t swept those deals tainted by corruption under the rug.

Korean tvN Drama Misaeng Episode 13 Recap

Chief Oh continues with reports on the companies that did those deals in One International’s place, and the results are all the same — other companies profited because they didn’t want to face their mistakes. Geu-rae makes an analogy: “In baduk, when your opponent bites off more than they can chew or tries to spare themselves from the important effort, they try to keep it that way until the very end.”

The vice president in Jordan (who’s dressed in a suit on top with his hidden bottom half in boxers, ha) and his assistant watch the intense meeting from a live stream waiting for their cue and note that if they don’t stay on top of their game, they might lose it for the whole team.

Now that Chief Oh has grabbed the executives’ attention by addressing their main counter, he proceeds to the regular familiar presentation that One International is used to. The presentation goes smoothly, and the vice president in Jordan manages to persuade the room with his data of positive responses by locals to this business proposal. After the presentation ends, another painful silence ensues. But thankfully, the first voiced response is positive, and the executives discuss the feasibility of this business plan. The CEO even nods in approval.

The executive director speaks up about the difficulty in restarting this business proposal after the unfortunate leave of their former team member, and the CEO follows up with the question on who proposed revamping this project. Chief Oh names their newbie, and Geu-rae cautiously stands up to introduce himself. After a few obligatory puns on his name, he’s asked why he decided to bring up this project again, and Geu-rae replies, “Because it’s our company.”

Korean tvN Drama Misaeng Episode 13 Recap 

It’s a simple response, but that’s enough for the CEO and much of the executives in the room. They nod in solidarity, and the CEO has the last word: He hopes that the Jordan used-car business will succeed. With that, the executives applaud in approval and congratulations, and the meeting is adjourned.

On the way out, the CEO makes a call to reschedule his golf game so that he can spend more time in “our company.” The other executives walk out in a good mood as well, praising the presentation for manifesting the spirit of the salaryman. Sales Team 3 bows as the executive director leaves, and Chief Oh turns around to thank his minions for the hard work. He pats Geu-rae’s arm, and Geu-rae immediately falls down as his legs give out from the relief. Haha.

Chief Oh thanks Chief Chun for sticking with the project even with his political struggles within the company, and Chief Chun replies that it felt good to be a part of it. Dong-shik returns without Geu-rae, and he explains that he sent their newbie out for fresh air since he still seemed out of it. Geu-rae checks to see if his paper stuck in the pillar is still there and looks at the company building in reflection.

Geu-rae gets dragged by Seok-yul to their newbie circle and gets congratulated on his achievement. Baek-ki extends his hand as a sign of acknowledgement, and Geu-rae shakes it with gratitude. Young-yi also gives him a quick congratulatory word, leaving Geu-rae to fend off Seok-yul’s attempts to give him a big hug. Heh.

Korean tvN Drama Misaeng Episode 13 Screenshots

Young-yi glances at Baek-ki in the elevator and says that he should lower his ambitions. She tells him not to compare himself to Geu-rae who’s proving himself after starting with nothing, and tries to give him perspective on how Sales Team 3 also has a history of mistakes. She says that their job is to be steady and not make mistakes in the first place.

Though the elevator talk alleviates some of Baek-ki’s anxieties, they come right back when he starts back with his work. He looks around for Assistant Manager Kang, and Baek-ki desperately wants to ask him for a drink after work but hesitates and ultimately can’t get himself to ask.

After work, Sales Team 3 heads out for a team dinner, and Chief Oh gives Baek-ki some words of wisdom when he runs into him heading out from work. Baek-ki looks at the team longingly as they leave and flips through his contacts for anyone he could de-stress with. Just then, Assistant Manager Kang passes through the lobby and curtly tells Baek-ki that he’ll see him tomorrow. Baek-ki lets the chance pass by him again.

Chief Oh pours his team members a drink and advises them not to drink excessively on a day like this. In response, Dong-shik orders another bottle of soju (heh), and the rest of the team enjoy their celebratory dinner. Meanwhile, Baek-ki drinks alone, drowning in his misery as he thinks back to all the times he dismissed Geu-rae for his lack of work experience or knowledge.

The next morning, Baek-ki jerks awake and immediately drops his head when he realizes that he’s late. He quickly puts on his glasses and hops around to get his clothes on. Running out to the street with his clothes and sanity barely intact, he thinks back to Assistant Manager Kang’s warning that their boss despises tardiness.

Seok-yul beatboxes as he makes himself coffee, and Geu-rae walks in noting that he must be in a good mood. He’s in more of a carefree mood, and Seok-yul grabs his hand and puts it on his chest, saying that he has a resignation letter in his heart. Geu-rae pulls his hands away with a distasteful look, and Seok-yul gets a call from Baek-ki asking for a favor. Seok-yul agrees to the request and keeps his secret.

Slyly walking through the office, Seok-yul takes off his suit jacket, hangs it on Baek-ki’s chair, and turns on his laptop. Baek-ki rushes into the building with his hair at less than its usual perfection, and Seok-yul greets him in the elevator.

On the way up, Seok-yul asks why he didn’t just ask Assistant Manager Kang for the favor, but Baek-ki says that he still feels awkward around his senior. Seok-yul shakes his head and laments his own situation along with Baek-ki’s. He starts advising Baek-ki about getting closer with your senior, and he tells him not to ever go to the sauna together until they’re super close — it’s the most awkward situation to get into.

Then the elevator doors open, and the perfect crime is disrupted by Assistant Manager Kang catching the two red-handed. Baek-ki isn’t given any pardon and gets a lecture from their boss for being late. Baek-ki glares at Assistant Manager Kang while their boss makes a call (requesting that he push back the time of a meeting because he’ll be late, ironically).

Chief Oh introduces the team to Department Manager Lee, who will be leading their sales department. Manager Ma passes by looking bitter, and especially when Geu-rae gives him a quick greeting as he runs off to get coffee. He runs into Young-yi, who’s also making coffee, and they discuss how well Sales Team 3 is doing. She even suggests that Chief Oh could get promoted again soon, but unfortunately this gets overheard by Manager Ma.

Manager Ma looks at the two accusingly, and the tension accumulates when the rest of the resource team enters the room looking for Young-yi to go into the meeting. Manager Ma asks Chief Jung why Young-yi would be participating in the meeting requests that Chief Jung make the trading contract report himself. Young-yi looks deflated, and Chief Jung gives her an apologetic pat on the back.

Geu-rae tries to talk about it, but Young-yi claims that she’s grown immune to the insults and disapproval. She stays optimistic and reminds Geu-rae to tell Sales Team 3 that she made the coffee for them as a congratulatory gesture.

Seok-yul returns to Assistant Manager Sung being scolded for incompetent work by their boss. Assistant Manager Sung implies that it’s Seok-yul’s fault, causing Seok-yul to think back to his outburst on their power dynamic. He defends himself to their boss that he was given the wrong directions by Assistant Manager Sung, which results in their boss walking away, dissatisfied with the lack of responsibility.

Assistant Manager Sung insists that it’s a team effort and a team responsibility, but Seok-yul argues that he should start taking more responsibility for his own faults. Assistant Manager Sung approaches him in a threatening manner and asks if he would like to know what real responsibility looks like. Ahh, the tension.

Dong-shik leaves some papers for Geu-rae to send to Jordan, but as soon as Chief Oh and Chief Chun are back from their meeting, they’re called into another one, requesting Geu-rae to join them. Chief Oh lightly teases Geu-rae for becoming so popular and a celebrity at work, which causes Geu-rae to make a face.

When they run into Young-yi by the elevators, Chief Oh thanks her for the coffee and asks her to just make his coffee next time. He jokes around that Geu-rae is in high demand even though he doesn’t know how to do anything, but Chief Chun comes to his defense, saying that he’s meticulous with the meeting minutes (aw). Young-yi smiles at the team camaraderie and returns to her desk.

Manager Ma comes in raging and yelling for Young-yi, and when the team gathers, he starts off by getting mad at Young-yi for not wearing stocking socks with her heels. Then he gets into her report and criticizes her for having Chief Jung contact people for her, even though she wasn’t familiar with any of them.

Chief Jung tries to step in to defend her, but Manager Ma doesn’t give him a chance to. Manager Ma blames Young-yi for not understanding their line of work and condescendingly pushes her forehead with his finger. He yells at the whole team for their incompetence, and by this point, the whole office has their eyes on the resource team.

The newbies go to their usual meeting bench outside and ask if Young-yi is okay. She gives them an unconvincing nod, and their conversation is interrupted by their workplace seniors passing by. They stop to talk to Geu-rae and asks him for his sense of what the business in Iran is like, and want to know his gut feeling about about a deal they’re working on. He doesn’t know what to say, but his fellow newbies are surprised and jealous that he’s even asked for advice on such important matters.

Baek-ki excuses himself to do more work, but as he organizes the steel samples, he’s still clearly irritated with Geu-rae’s advancement. His boss drops by the storage area to check on Baek-ki and gives him some money to go to the sauna after work, since he’s working hard and sweating.

As Baek-ki undresses and gets ready for the sauna, he thinks back to Young-yi’s advice but still worries that he’s the only one not making any advancements, just walking in place. He closes his locker, only to see none other than Assistant Manager Kang, naked and ready for the sauna. Aaawkward.

Now it’s time for Seok-yul’s advice to come floating back, and everything is true. Neither one of them can get out of the sauna tub first, and Baek-ki is especially antsy, not knowing when to leave or how to respond. As they wash up, he doesn’t know what stall to use, as in what distance is appropriate for their relationship. And when Assistant Manager Kang is about to leave, Baek-ki notices a strip of soap left on his back but can’t say anything because then it would seem like he was staring at his boss’s naked body the whole time. So Baek-ki goes to the closest stall and “accidentally” sprays water on his back to wash off the soap. HA.

They finish off their awkward sauna adventure as they dry their hair, and Assistant Manager Kang tells him that he always finishes his week off with a sauna. Baek-ki explains that he got dust all over himself while cleaning the steel storage, and with that, his boss starts to leave. But Baek-ki calls out to him and asks to get a drink. Yes, finally!

With beers in hand, Baek-ki tells Assistant Manager Kang his worries: him walking in place while his colleagues make advances. Assistant Manager Kang asks if he’s jealous of Geu-rae, and Baek-ki replies that it’s not really jealousy but self-anger.

His boss reminds him that he’s part of the steel team. By nature, steel is a long-term business that requires constant management and care. “What you show to others is not important. Even if it’s not flashy work, it’s necessary work. They might not see it, but you cannot think that our work is nonexistent. There are people who risk their lives based on the numbers we crunch. If you can’t find self-fulfillment in your work, it’ll be hard to endure.”

Assistant Manager Kang leaves it at that, but that’s enough advice for Baek-ki to find some resolve. He walks away from the conversation with a relieved smile.

The holiday season is here, and the streets and buildings are decorated with lights and ornaments. Seok-yul gathers all the newbies as they arrive for work that morning and asks about their holiday plans. When Baek-ki says that he’ll be hitting the slopes, Seok-yul assumes that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. He then asks Geu-rae, and he says that he doesn’t have a girlfriend either.

Geu-rae gets a tweet notification and ignores it, but Seok-yul doesn’t let that slide. He sees that it’s a girl and asks who she is, since he claimed that he didn’t have a girlfriend. Young-yi recognizes her as the kindergarten teacher who likes him, and Geu-rae wonders how she found him. Not one to lose this sort of opportunity, Seok-yul grabs Geu-rae’s phone and tweets her, much to Young-yi and Baek-ki’s amusement. She eventually tells him to buy her a drink sometime, so Seok-yul rubs it in by wishing him good luck with a heart as the elevator doors close. Ha, I love him.

Geu-rae greets his team loudly and does errands as usual. He runs off to get coffee for his team but doesn’t hear Chief Oh’s request for water, so he goes himself. As Geu-rae starts making coffee, he overhears the conversation that two female employees are having. They note that Geu-rae is only a contract employee, so he’ll start applying elsewhere soon. Chief Oh also overhears this, so he yells loudly in the area to break up the conversation. As he finishes up, Geu-rae realizes how foolish he was to take all of this for granted. He decides that it’s too soon to be content here.

Chief Oh seems a little bothered when he returns to the team and starts writing Christmas cards with Chief Chun and Dong-shik to send out to their business workers and providers. Geu-rae returns with coffee and is assigned to address all the envelopes with the mindset of gratitude, as these people are the ones who allow for salarymen to make a living. Chief Oh calls Geu-rae over and hands him a card — the first Christmas card from him is for Geu-rae. Awww.

Geu-rae takes the stairs up to the roof of brooding with the Christmas card in hand. He opens the card, which reads: “Jang Geu-rae, you couldn’t have done any better. YES!” He imagines the card flying out of his hands and floating through a montage of what he’s been through up until now, from his young baduk days to his current struggles in the office.

Geu-rae: Be drunk. You must always be drunk. Everything lies in that; it is the only problem. To avoid the detestable weight of time that makes your shoulders give and makes you fall to the ground, you must be incessantly drunk. Whether it be on alcohol, poetry, or virtue, be drunk. Wherever you are, wake up from the hindering loneliness. If you get lost, just ask — the wind, water, stars, birds, time, everything that passes, everything that feels sadness, everything that runs, everything that sings, everything that talks — what time it is. They will reply. Now, it’s time to be drunk.

Baek-ki hands in a report with a Christmas card and gift for Assistant Manager Kang, Young-yi enjoys a glass of wine in her furnished apartment, and Seok-yul wraps stacks of gifts for his nieces and nephews. It’s another wrap on a long day at work.


What a heartwarming episode. These newbies are slowly getting a handle on their work, again except for Seok-yul. But what he can’t seem to accomplish with his actual work, he seems to make up through workplace savviness and gossip. I do hope he finds some common ground with his boss soon, as we can see how important and uplifting it is for our other newbies. In the face of adversity, there’s nothing like a supportive team or boss to pull you through.

Sales Team 3 coming through with the Jordan used-car proposal is a testament to the power of a team. I thought Geu-rae’s strategy to remind the executives of previous corruption scandals was a risky yet necessary move, especially since most of them were ready to rip apart their proposal in that excruciating silence of uncertainty. It got rid of the elephant in the room, and with that settled, the team was able to change the executives’ biased perspectives into more professional objective business ones. The team’s dedication and trust in Chief Oh despite this enormous risk just comes to show how cohesive they are. It helps (or doesn’t) that Chief Oh always gravitates towards difficult projects; they’re forced to bond and work together in order to endure the difficulties.

I’m sad that we’re constantly reminded of the inequality towards women in the workplace, but it’s a realistic struggle that I appreciate seeing evolve through Young-yi’s perseverance. Young-yi’s difficulties are slowly being relieved through her team’s recognition. She no longer receives unfair mistreatment from her team members, and in fact, when Manager Ma tries to criticize the life out of her, they come to her defense. You can see that they’re no longer on Manager Ma’s side because they’ve seen how capable she is. Someone’s going to need to convert Manager Man soon, or else he’ll have no friends or end up being dismissed. Not that I wouldn’t like both to happen.

This was Baek-ki’s episode, as we saw him climb slowly back up from his low point. My heart broke a little when he couldn’t get himself to ask to get drinks with his boss or call anyone else out. He needed a wake-up call (literally, in this episode), but I wish he could open up to his newbie colleagues to share his inner struggles. He’s so by the book and prides himself in his competence, but he’s his biggest critic. Being his perfectionist self, he’s always so full of anxiety and ambition to make sure he’ll succeed. And he doesn’t want to show any sign of weakness to his colleagues, who he assumes are way ahead of him. I love how he finally got to let out his worries through a hilarious turn of events that led him to grab a beer with his senior. It was like the universe giving him this one last opportunity to make it happen, just through the most awkward way possible.

Geu-rae articulates his epiphany quite well, with the metaphor of being drunk. He was lost in a state of indifference for so long because he had lost that passion, that ability to become drunk. He convinced himself that he was no longer committed to baduk, and that state of soberness had quickly turned into cynicism and loneliness. We don’t want to promote perpetual drunkenness or alcoholism here, but I can see how soberness can be detrimental in this context. Without this drunken state, you lose drive, motivation, and any will to do anything. He may be drunk on work now, but you could make the case that he’s still drunk on baduk — the game that allows him to be so passionate about work and life in general.

I love how the newbies are starting to find solace in each other through turbulent times. They’ve started to hear each other out, give each other advice, and give unwanted congratulatory hugs. I’m loving the camaraderie from this group, and I’m hoping these reluctant friends will soon become definite homies.


Korean KBS2 Drama Cantabile Tomorrow Episode 15 Recap

Korean KBS2 Drama Cantabile Tomorrow Episode 15 Recap

by dramabeans:

Almost at the end! *Sniff* Finale week is upon us, and it definitely starts to feel like we’re heading into the final stretch as we prepare to say goodbye to these characters and take a look back at how far they’ve come.

The downside is that the feeling is a bit bittersweet, and I’ve come to love everyone so much that I’ll be sad to not have any more of them to watch. The happier flipside to that, though, is that we gear up for some major payoffs as the big threads come together, ready for their happy finale.


Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto in D major – I: Allegro moderato [ Download ]


Korean KBS2 Drama Cantabile Tomorrow Episode 15 Recap and screenshots

Under Nae-il’s direction, Yoo-jin falls into a hypnotic state and revisits the source of his trauma. As he relates the experience of being in the turbulent plane, we see that it’s not just a bad accident that has caused his phobia, but a deeper-rooted guilt over not being able to save the grandpa who dropped his heart medication. Nae-il tells him that it wasn’t his fault, and that he doesn’t have to be afraid or guilt-stricken anymore, and that he will be able to take planes again.

When the alarm rings to awaken him, Yoo-jin finds himself alone in his room and we hear Nae-il’s instructions again in voiceover. It suggests that Yoo-jin recalls hearing them in his hypnosis, but he doesn’t think too much of it now, just figuring that she’s been saying strange things lately.

Korean KBS2 Drama Cantabile Tomorrow Episode 15 Recap

Shi-won comes upon Il-lac in a practice room, playing the violin with completely healthy arms. He admits to her that he’d lied about his arm to give the soloist part to her, since they all know that she would have won the part in a fair vote, but now he’s changed his mind—he can’t give up the solo. “I know I’m not as good as you,” he says, “but I want to do a good job. I’ll work hard.”

He braces himself when Shi-won reaches over as though to hit him, but she just flicks his forehead lightly and tells him he’s a dummy for not listening when she told him he had every right to the solo. And then she hugs him and thanks him.

Yoon-hoo stops Yoo-jin to challenge him for his recent actions—namely, intimidating the orchestra with video of their rivals, and for not informing them that they’d be filmed in rehearsal. He points out that Yoo-jin would be the most hurt by everything.

Yoo-jin asks if it he’d be getting too ahead of himself to say he did it because he had faith in them. It’s a cryptic way to answer and confuses Yoon-hoo, although we can see that Yoo-jiun’s mind flashes back to the Rachmaninoff concert, when he’d dropped his baton and was encouraged by his members to continue on.

Korean KBS2 Drama Cantabile Tomorrow Episode 15 screenshots

For now, though, the orchestra struggles; half of them don’t show up for rehearsal, given their precarious position with the school. The board will be voting on their future tomorrow, and some musicians been urged to leave. Il-lac steps up and takes the reins, and the remaining members rally together to convince the others to stick together.

Yoon-hoo observes with an air of confusion, or perhaps it’s weariness, and asks why they don’t quit. He says they’ve all done as much as they can—aren’t they all tired of this all?

With no rehearsals on the books, Yoo-jin has the day free and Nae-il pesters him to spend it with her. He cringes as her repeated use of his “our Nae-il” slip of the tongue, and she pokes at him to give her six hours of his day and promises to never use “our Nae-il” with him if he does.

That’s incentive enough, and Yoo-jin sets his phone alarm to six hours. They start out at a movie, where she teases him for looking just like Jo Jung-seok (it’s My Love, My Bride), which he scoffs at huffily. Then she makes him hold her purse while she goes to the ladies’ room, and he finds himself cringing in embarrassment to stand with the other boyfriends carrying purses. He tries to insist that he’s not like them, but I’m thinking he should just be glad he didn’t have to carry the bright pink one.

Then he wins a stuffed animal in a claw machine, only to be thoroughly outdone by Nae-il, HA. She insists on giving him her scarf because it’s cold, and they both freeze when they find themselves within lip-touching range, suddenly nervous and tensed up with awareness.

I love that it’s Nae-il who relaxes first, while Yoo-jin is the one seized with confusion, because it’s about time, buddy. Kiss, kiss, kiss!

Annnnd then his clock alarm rings, breaking the spell. Booooo!

So they head home and to their separate doors, and Nae-il offers up some reassuring words about how everything will be okay with the orchestra. He’s still rattled from the not-kiss and takes refuge inside, not seeing that Nae-il is getting a little wistful and talking about things as though they’re about to end. Was today a goodbye date?

After Yoo-jin heads inside, he wonders to himself, “Is it that she got prettier, or that shelooks prettier?”

Board members arrive on campus next day to decide on the orchestra’s fate. Yoo-jin heads to the rehearsal room, a bit nervous as he gathers his nerves before opening the door… and finds only an empty room. Oh no, they didn’t show?

Yoon-hoo appears to ask whether he truly hadn’t anticipated that this might happen—did he think everyone would hang in there in the midst of all these obstacles? Yoo-jin replies that he didn’t think this would be the outcome, admitting that it’s quite deflating. And truly, he hasn’t come up with an alternative plan, because he really did think the members would come through.

Still, he’s not down and out, and supposes that they’ll have to start over from the beginning. If the worst-case scenario is that the orchestra’s rehearsal space and official status are revoked, well, they’ve dealt with that before. It might be an interesting experience practicing in the lobby, he muses.

Yoon-hoo sighs that Yoo-jin’s no fun this way, saying, “I hadn’t understood why everyone I like likes you…” It sounds like he means he understands now, but he cuts himself off to inform Yoo-jin that everybody’s gathered outside the faculty conference room. Ah, so were you just testing him for his reaction?

The board members head to their meeting, and find the entire orchestra gathered outside the building. They aren’t there to block them or do anything active, but their united presence sends a message—and one of the board leaders smiles with satisfaction to see the display of solidarity. The board members are all parents and relatives of students, and note that it’s quite unusual to see those independent-minded students standing with their friends. After graduation they’ll be back to their solo paths, and this may be the last chance they have to take part in this kind of collective experience together.

Yoo-jin comes running up in time to see his orchestra gathered there and steps up to look at them with pride.

Yoo-jin’s narration: “In an orchestra, dozens of instruments gather to make one sound. No, dozens of people gather to make a melody. Violin, viola, contrabass, trumpet—when they play their parts from each of their seats, Mozart sounds like Mozart, and Tchaikovsky sounds like Tchaikovsky. One by one, they must guard their places and play together to complete the music.”

Now alone in the rehearsal room, Yoon-hoo thinks back to yesterday, when he had asked the orchestra whether it was better for them to quit. Il-lac had replied right away, saying, “Then what about our conductor? That’s not the way. We have someone believing in us. We can’t let go of that hand just because we’re tired.”

Yoon-hoo had looked almost upset to hear it—not upset at them for remaining positive, but as though this answer has dealt him a blow.

The decision is made, and it’s good news. The orchestra survives, and celebrates in a collective show of glee. (Adorably, Min-hee and Su-min make it a point to shove their way between Il-lac and Shi-won, frowning on them when they try to sneak in some couple moments—this is orchestra time!)

Nae-il puts in her last day of working at the cafe, having declined Mom’s offer to keep playing there. She gives Min-hee all of her carefully accumulated food coupons and sounds wistful about not getting to see her much anymore—she’s talking like it’s for good, but Min-hee doesn’t pick up on it, thinking she’s just referring to the end of her cafe gig. Nae-il wraps her up in a huge bear hug, looking emotional.

Next, Nae-il drops by to see Streseman, assuring him that she’s not going to try to prevent Yoo-jin from going abroad. To the contrary, she asks Streseman to make sure that he does go, and to insist if Yoo-jin balks for any reason. She returns the watch as well, and leaves his office wiping at her tears.

She runs right into Yoon-hoo, who notes that she’s crying and moves to wipe the tears, though she gets to them before he can. He guesses that he’s not going to like to hear what she wants to say, but she has to say it today, and thanks him for liking her piano-playing, and also for liking her.

Yoon-hoo recognizes that she’s finally addressing their relationship openly, and doing that marks her official rejection. He says ruefully that he would have been okay to leave it open-ended so he could be tortured by hope, but Nae-il smiles through her tears and tells him that she couldn’t do that—she’s an expert in one-sided loving: “It hurts too much.”

He agrees, “It does hurt.” But he wonders why it seems that she’s hurting more than he is, and asks if she’s truly okay. I’m guessing she isn’t, but she insists cheerily that he needn’t worry.

Yoon-hoo meets with Streseman regarding his conducting plans, and although he’s decided to embrace that path, he notes that he isn’t Streseman’s official pupil—Yoo-jin is still the only one who has that title. Streseman says that Yoon-hoo has the ability to do very well in conducting, but expresses his one concern: that Yoon-hoo may be hindered by pride, which only allows him to accept those whose talents he acknowledges. If anybody can break him out of that, Streseman says, then he would be a better teacher for Yoon-hoo.

Teacher Do is thrilled to hear that Nae-il has received an invitation to participate in an international competition, enabled by special recommendation of Teacher Yoon. But he can’t locate Nae-il to tell her, because she has turned her cell phone off.

Her friends make the same discovery, and Yoon-hoo finds no answer at home, either. When he brings it to the others’ attention, they start piecing together Nae-il’s strange behavior as of late, and share their concern with Yoo-jin.

At first he waves it aside as unnecessary concern, but when he finds that her door code has been changed, he starts to worry as well. He heads out to scour the town and search any places she might be, while the others do the same. It’s all to no avail, because her phone remains off all night and she’s nowhere to be seen.

Just as Il-lac suggests filing a report with the police, Nae-il finally resurfaces with a call to Min-hee. She explains going home to Jeju, and Min-hee does her best to drag out the phone call as long as possible so that Yoo-jin can get there. When he arrives, he snatches the phone and barks into it, “What are you doing?!”

Shocked, Nae-il goes silent and hangs up on him, to everyone’s astonishment. It’s cute how the other friends scold Yoo-jin for prompting her to cut the call, leaving him to say lamely, “All I did was raise my voice…” But he keeps Min-hee’s phone just in case.

Nae-il is subdued enough with her family that they find her mood curious. They accept her explanation that her vacation started early, then tell her happily of a kindergarten that just opened nearby, which means she can get a job there and stay close to home. She just excuses herself quietly, leaving them wondering what’s wrong.

Teacher Do tracks Yoo-jin down to inform him of Nae-il’s competition, whose application deadline is nearing. Yoo-jin takes the form and calls Nae-il yet again, leaving a voicemail to inform her about the chance she has to win funding to study abroad if she wins the competition.

Still unaware of his own hypnosis breakthrough, he says ruefully that she might earn her trip faster than him, and he adds that he’s starting therapy with his doctor again, because he’s willing to try anything.

“So if we go together…” he starts to say, only he stops himself and just asks when she’ll be back. “The dummies miss you a lot,” he adds. “And I also…” But he cuts himself off again.

Then Min-hee’s phone rings with a call from Nae-il, and he hurriedly warns her not to hang up, informing her of the competition and her deadline in two days, which is the day of the orchestra’s performance. Saying that he won’t ask for an explanation for her departure, Yoo-jin just asks her to come back.

But she says no, even when he presses her about her future riding on this chance. When she says that she’s sick of everything, he considers those words and asks carefully whether she really means it—because if she truly does, he won’t pester her about it anymore. “Are you going to give up on piano, and school, and me?”

Nae-il takes a moment to gather herself, then says that she will. She clearly doesn’t mean it emotionally—she doesn’t appear ready to let go of any of those things she holds dear—but it’s the decision she’s made, and she says the words firmly. He accepts her answer dully and as promised, doesn’t pursue it. He ends the call.

So when Yoon-hoo stops him to ask for Min-hee’s phone back, he hands it over readily. Yoon-hoo presses him about Nae-il’s return, and Yoo-jin just tells him to do whatever he wants. He takes one last look at the application, and rips it up and tosses it in the trash.

The day of the orchestra’s competition arrives, and Streseman finds him to give him the watch Nae-il had returned. He wonders what she meant by insisting that Streseman take him away no matter what, asking if it’s some kind of secret between them. Yoo-jin, still feeling the sting of her giving up, just says it doesn’t matter and heads inside to prepare.

But he toys with that watch all the while, and doesn’t argue when Yoon-hoo drops by to tell him that he’ll prepare a taxi to take him to the airport right after the concert. Yoon-hoo notices the watch and comments that he’d wondered at her interest in hypnosis: “But I see now that it was yours.”

That comment makes him think to his session with the doctor, who had noted that it shouldn’t be possible to be hypnotized without knowing it: “But maybe if you were in a situation where you could accept it without any resistance…”

So he thinks of Nae-il’s words while he was hypnotized, putting the pieces together: Did she think she was curing him so he could study abroad? “That’s just like her,” he says with a smile.

Time for the performance. There’s a bit of nervousness in the air when it takes Yoo-jin a while to join the orchestra, but he and Il-lac take their places before anxious audience, and begin the concert.

As they play, Yoo-jin thinks of the significance of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, which had been initially met with negative response when the work was premiered, only to be appreciated later for being the beautiful composition that it is. It’s just like his friends, he notes, who’d been dogged for being the bottom-rate students and are now recognized as better than initially judged.

He also makes the wise observation, “It isn’t my orchestra. It’s the orchestra I am playing with.”

Il-lac plays beautifully, and when the concerto comes to its triumphant close, silence hangs in the air before the audience rises to its feet in an enthusiastic standing ovation.

There’s a distinct air of finality as Yoo-jin thinks, “Now, I have completed what I had to do.” Time to move on?

Shi-won congratulates Il-lac for a job well done, assuring him that he was awesome. She teases that she’d liked him at first because he was cute, but now likes him even more, and he teases back that she’s in danger if she falls any more in love with him. They’re so cute I could just gag, which is pretty much the reaction that Min-hee and Su-min have, simultaneously envious and disgusted. Ah, friends.

Yoon-hoo finds Yoo-jin after the concert, prepared with Nae-il’s application form and Yoo-jin’s plane ticket to Jeju Island. Yoo-jin eyes that with some trepidation, though he doesn’t betray it to Yoon-hoo as they take the taxi to the airport.

Once inside the terminal, however, Yoo-jin starts looking ill, and thinks to himself that he can’t do it. Yoon-hoo presses him to hurry, then sees him faltering and snatches the application, ready to go to Jeju himself if Yoo-jin can’t manage it. That’s enough to get Yoo-jin to snatch the application back and assert himself, and he heads onward alone.

But the closer he gets to the gate, the greater his panic attack grows in intensity. His steps falter and he breaks out into a cold sweat, breathing hard and even turning back at one point.

Meanwhile in Jeju, Nae-il calls Min-hee and hears that the Rising Stars didn’t lose to their rivals in the competition, and tentatively asks about Yoo-jin. Min-hee replies that she doesn’t know where he went, and that he won’t even speak of Nae-il these days.

She deflates a bit, accepting that he’s upset at her (or worse, indifferent), not seeing the car that pulls into the parking lot. She just tells Min-hee ruefully that she’d thought it would be a simple matter to win her competition and go abroad with Yoo-jin. But now she regrets leaving, since she could have sent him off while remaining in Seoul. She could have worked hard on her own piano while talking with him about his studies, and seeing Master Viera again.

Her back to him, Nae-il doesn’t see as Yoo-jin finds her in the park, beelining for her and swooping her up in a back-hug, catching her completely by surprise. “I came to get you, Nae-il-ah,” he tells her.


Awww, what a sweet ending. Scratch that, what a sweet episode, all around. First of all, the orchestra rallying together has always been a theme throughout the series, but I appreciate that each time the stakes and conflict are just a little bit different. It’s fitting that this final challenge is something that comes from within, and therefore the solution also rests with the Rising Stars themselves. It’s Yoo-jin who leads them to the discovery, as befits his role as conductor and leader, but it’s up to them to decide how to dig themselves out of the hole they made for themselves.

Yoon-hoo accuses Yoo-jin of hurting himself more than anybody else, but as Streseman notes, Yoon-hoo’s thinking is still stuck in a mode that prevents his progress. Namely, he thinks pessimistically, of cutting his losses rather than bringing everyone up. There’s a “it’s not worth it” bent to his attitude, which explains his defeated response to the latest setback. So it’s completely in character for the scrappy S Orchestra members to not just pick themselves up, but to also not even consider defeat as their end. They have a fundamentally different way of approaching the problem—it’s a starting point, not the end—and I think it’s fair to credit Yoo-jin for harboring that attitude in them. Which is why it’s nice to see that when the orchestra makes their silent appeal to the board, they’ve won over the A Orchestra members to their side, rather than the reverse.

I loved the orchestra’s show of solidarity, even if they weren’t actively arguing or pleading their case or doing something. Their spirit of unity was sincere and loud enough to move the board members—plus, it takes the question of their future away from whether they “deserve” to have an orchestra or whether they’ve “lost” the privilege due to their media snafu, and instead to what the orchestra gives them. The board members recognize that the orchestra provides these students with lessons and experiences that enrich their lives, and that has value. It’s lovely to see that kind of message come through.

I felt for Nae-il, although I’ll admit to being momentarily confused as to why she felt the need to leave. And I don’t read her departure as a temporary retreat to collect her thoughts but as the start to a permanent change in life direction, given the way she speaks of it. She says she’ll return to Seoul after Yoo-jin has left to “wrap things up” there, and appears to be considering taking up that teaching job in Jeju that her mother pointed her toward.

It’s perhaps a dramatic decision in light of one failed competition, but the more I think on it, the more I can see why she’d think this way. She noted previously that doing more competitions wouldn’t solve her problem, because the entire world of piano competition—and therefore the future she was pursuing—is hostile to people like her, and unwilling to accept her kind of talents. The problem here was never that she lacked the funding to go abroad or a slot in a foreign university, because those chances are always out there. It’s a more fundamental problem of feeling like the world refuses to have her in it, while knowing that it’s the world that Yoo-jin would thrive in.

In that sense, I see Nae-il as the anti-Do-kyung, she who decided that if she couldn’t be the best, she would just date the best. Because being unsuited for the world of professional classical musician doesn’t mean Nae-il has to give up on a future with Yoo-jin, of course; it’s a bit extreme to give it such an all-or-nothing approach. But just as she decides she wants to be a part of that world, it’s that world that rejects her. Yoo-jin had pushed her to try competitions, and there was perhaps a question of whether she was pursuing it for his sake (as in, purely to be with him) or for her own. I think her response now is proof enough that she does want it for herself, and the big crushing irony is that once everyone is willing to back off and stop pushing her and she has the chance to be a kindergarten teacher, that’s not what she wants anymore.

Thankfully, Yoo-jin is one to give up with one word. Huzzah! Now, if only we could justhypnotize him into embracing his kissy nature…


Korean SBS Drama Pinocchio Episode 5 Recap and Screenshots

Korean SBS Drama Pinocchio Episode 5 Recap and Screenshots

by Dramabeans:

Now that feelings are getting mixed up with warring agendas, things start to get complicated in a good way, and more is left unsaid than ever before. Sadly for our heroine, even denial leads to hiccups, which means she either has to confess her feelings, or be stuck hiccupping for the rest of her life. Or until she stops finding Dal-po swoony. Yeah, good luck with that.

Note: The recap for Episode 6 will be a little later than usual. ‘Tis a holiday here, and there is much turkey to be eaten.


Thomas Cook – “솔직하게” (Honestly)

EPISODE 5: “The king’s ears are donkey ears”

After finding out about his father’s death in the middle of his job interview, Dal-po heads to the police station to claim the remains. But he’s shocked when the officer tells him that a family member already came to do all that, and Dal-po asks frantically for that person’s contact information: “That’s my hyung!”

The officer is happy to offer the information… if he can show documentation that he’s a member of the deceased’s family too. Naturally he has nothing of the kind (and I’m assuming that even his adoption records wouldn’t show the identity he was trying to leave behind).

Dal-po leaves without any leads, but his eyes well up with tears as he says to himself, “I wasn’t alone.” At the same time, Hyung tearfully adds Dad’s broken trophy and their family picture next to his ashes, and cries, “Now I’m truly alone.” No you’re not! Poor Hyung. Dal-po asks, “Father, answer me. Where should I go, what can I do… to find Hyung?”

As if answering, his phone rings with a text message, alerting him to the fact that he passed the YGN selection process. He lets the news sink in, and narrates that he wanted the job to show “that woman” that he and In-ha could become reporters, but we’ve already seen that plan fall apart in the debate.

He narrates, “I’ve found a new resolution: Father, to whom being alive was hell, I want to tell your unjust story to the world.” He adds that he’s going to find Hyung too, and thinks that maybe the person who led him to becoming a reporter wasn’t In-ha, but his father.

On Monday morning, Dal-po gets dressed sharply for his first day, while In-ha dons her usual sweatshirt-and-jeans uniform for schlepping about. They head out at the same time, and Dad can’t help but get some jabs in, pointing out that Dal-po is headed to his salaried job as a reporter, and In-ha is going to the convenience store to work a part-time job like she’s still in college. Thanks for ratcheting up the awkward, Dad.

Grandpa complains that they’re skipping breakfast when they both skipped dinner, but it’s clear that neither is ready to sit at the same table. Dal-po lies for them that everything is fine, and In-ha trails after him to the elevator while swearing up and down that she’s totally fine with the fact that he passed and she didn’t. She holds no resentment, really.

He points out that she’s hiccupping, which she’s been doing intermittently all morning. But she looks away and says it’s not because of that. She says cheerily that he needn’t feel bad, and that she knows he had to say those things because it was a debate.

But he finally looks over at her and says he honestly believes what he said—that he thinks she shouldn’t become a reporter. That’s a punch to the gut she wasn’t expecting, and she thinks back to Dal-po’s scathing outburst during the debate, about why someone with Pinocchio syndrome can’t become a reporter. She’s stunned and asks again if he really meant it, and he says coldly that her mother was right.

Korean SBS Drama Pinocchio Episode 5 Recap

She chases after him angrily with the reminder that it was HIS idea for them to become reporters together. She shouts after him, “Was that all a lie?!”

As he walks away from her, Dal-po thinks, “Don’t become a reporter, In-ha.” He can’t help but be reminded of her mother who tore his family down. Even when she throws her shoe past him and calls him a crazy bastard, Dal-po doesn’t turn around. “If you become a reporter, I’m afraid that seeing you will become too painful.”

In-ha spends the day mindlessly tending the register at the convenience store, until an ajumma starts offering advice on how to get rid of her hiccups. In-ha bursts into tears and whines that they’ll never stop, and then when the ajumma calls her a student, she wails again, “It’s been three years since I graduated and I’m still unemploooooooyed!” Hahaha.

Thus begins her day of confessing her life story to every single customer who comes in, in an endless stream of hiccups, tears, and comical self-pity. “I failed the test for the thirty-sixth tiiiime! You should study hard, or you’ll end up like meeee. That’ll be 3,800 won!”

She’s not even looking up at the customers anymore, and just continues right where she left off with the next customer in line. She says that she might die of hiccups because she knows that in order to stop she has to confess her feelings, but the person she likes…

“Is Choi Dal-po, right?” asks the voice at the counter. Startled, she looks up and finds Beom-jo smiling back at her. He tells her to keep talking, and offers to listen to all of her problems because he’s got nothing but time.

Meanwhile, Dal-po arrives at YGN and finds all the newbies way ahead of him, huddled together sharing all the information they’ve gathered on their superiors. Our saseng-turned-reporter Yoo-rae is the leader of the pack, and shares all the tips she’s dug up.

She corrects Dal-po’s use of jondae with his fellow rookies, and wonders why he doesn’t know that reporters use banmal with their own entry class. She tells the group that she researched all the head reporters in charge of different sections of the city, and the only person to be careful of is JANG HYUN-KYU (Min Sung-wook).

Hyun-kyu is the funny reporter we met briefly while the YGN newbies were auditioning, who only dresses up from the waist-up and likes to be disagreeable for the sake of being contrary. Yoo-rae warns them never to show tears in front of Hyun-kyu, because once you get on his bad side, you’re done for.

Korean SBS Drama Pinocchio Episode 5 Screenshots

Of course Hyun-kyu is standing right behind them as she says all this, and shouts at the rookies to follow him. YGN’s triumvirate of bosses looks on with amusement as Hyun-kyu begins his usual hazing process, and wonder who’ll break first.

Editor Jo begins a play-by-play sports commentary as Hyun-kyu makes Yoo-rae and another guy hold their arms up in punishment for talking behind his back (she tries so hard not to cry but one tear escapes), and then turns to Dal-po to ask if he’s being unfair.

Gyo-dong watches curiously, and tells his colleagues that Dal-po is the rookie who will break first, since he’s the kid who railed at him and said that reporters made him feel sick. They remember him as the upstart who caused a scene during the debate, and watch with anticipation. When Dal-po just does as told and raises his arms in punishment too, the bosses seem a little disappointed that he seems to be tamed.

At home, In-ha is in a foul mood as she listens to Grandpa swoon over Dal-po’s freshly minted YGN press badge, and brushes her teeth with fury remembering his words this morning. She brushes madly, until she gets an evil glint in her eye as she spots Dal-po’s toothbrush. HA, you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking, are you?

She snickers at it like an evil genius, and then begins to furiously clean the toilet with Dal-po’s toothbrush. And then she just hangs it right back on the rack where it was. The look of satisfaction on her face afterwards is so funny.

She walks away and watches him go to the bathroom full of anticipation. Yaaaack, he doesn’t seem to notice anything wrong and just picks up his toothbrush to start brushing… and suddenly In-ha storms back into the bathroom without a word, chucks his toothbrush in the trashcan, and storms back out. Heh.

Luckily for Hyung, the place where he ran into the plant manager and his workers is a place they still frequent, and he overhears them sharing their relief at Firefighter Dad’s remains being unearthed. They drink to the fact that now they can sleep at night knowing he won’t show up alive to contradict them. Hyung pretends to be drunk as he walks out past them, and uses the opportunity to swipe the manager’s wallet sitting out on the table.

As Hyun-kyu shows the rookies around the newsroom (and Yoo-rae spends another session with her arms raised above her head for mouthing off), YGN reports the results of a consumer study about news that people can trust, which puts their network at the highest rating.

Over at MSC, they meet to discuss the very same survey, worried that their approval ratings are tanking by the day. They wonder if there’s nothing to be done to improve their image, and In-ha’s mom Cha-ok gets an idea and asks how many rookie reporters dropped out in the current class. Balls, I don’t like where this is going.

At the convenience store, In-ha is still prattling on about her problems to Beom-jo, and he cheerily takes her side and agrees that Dal-po is the weird one for changing his mind about becoming reporters together. She asks why everyone in her family refuses to let her be a reporter, and says her life is messed up all because of these stupid hiccups.

Beom-jo counters that hiccups are cute, and besides, isn’t it better that she hiccups instead of farting whenever she lies? It cracks me up that she takes him seriously and declares that he’s totally right, and it’s a huge relief that she only hiccups. She thanks him for making her feel better, and suddenly Mom’s voice cuts in to note that she sounds better than she expected.

In-ha is surprised that Mom tracked her down, and even more surprised when she asks if In-ha still wants to be a reporter. In-ha wonders what changed, and Mom is as cold and blunt as ever: “It’s for publicity.” She says that MSC’s biggest weakness is their credibility, and she thinks that publicizing the choice to hire a rookie with Pinocchio syndrome will change their image.

In-ha can hardly believe what she’s hearing: “So you want me not as a reporter, but as a doll you want to advertise.” Mom doesn’t even pretend to care as she says that’s right, and explains that it would be a three-month internship after which she could be hired officially. In-ha turns her down, but Mom tells her that she’s not really in a position to worry about her pride.

She tells In-ha that this is what choice is—you have to give something up to gain something else. In-ha just turns the question around on her: “So what is it that you gave up to become a reporter?” Mom: “You.” In-ha asks if she’s never once regretted that choice, and to her shock, Mom actually says she did.

A flicker of emotion passes across her face, but only for an instant. Mom tells her that seeing In-ha like this now makes her regret her regret, and slides her business card over. She tells In-ha that if she’s going to come, she should take care of her current bout of hiccups first.

After Mom leaves, In-ha picks up the card with a long sigh, “I thought she came because it was my birthday.” Beom-jo looks down at the birthday present in his hand and pops it back in his pocket.

Beom-jo tells Chaebol Mommy all about In-ha, and wonders why she’d still want to be a reporter after that kind of treatment from her mother. He gives Mommy a hug and says he thought all moms were like her, like he’s shocked to find out that there are moms who don’t dote on their children, and wonders what’ll happen if In-ha becomes a reporter. Mommy notes that there are a lot of things Beom-jo is curious about lately.

Dal-po stops at the bakery on his way home, and buys a birthday cake against his better judgment. He chides himself for getting it when he can’t even bring himself to give it to In-ha, and ends up giving it to a little boy and his grandma on the bus. Augh, why can’t you just give her the cake, dammit?

In-ha is waiting for him outside their building, and takes him to the rooftop for a chat. She clutches her button necklace and starts by saying that she honestly doesn’t resent him for getting the job, but he points out that she’s still hiccupping.

She says the hiccups aren’t because of that: “They started after I denied the fact that I like you.” That is not the answer he was expecting. She shuts her eyes and says it again, “I like you.”

His eyes widen and he tries to process it, as she says that she’s been hiccupping nonstop for days after trying to deny it. He actually can’t contain his reaction so he turns away and says she must be lying. She walks over to his other side to look him in the eye and show him that she isn’t lying—her hiccups have stopped.

She says she can’t even have a one-sided love like other people. “I know your answer, and I know you’re my uncle and it’s wrong, but because of these hiccups I have to confess. So… pretend you didn’t hear it.” She promises to clean up her feelings as best as she can, and call him Uncle, and meet other people, and do whatever it takes to get over him.

She asks him again to forget what she just confessed, and he lets out a tiny, “Okay.” Relieved, she walks away, and a tear escapes from his eye as soon as her back is turned. He calls out after her, “What if you can’t? What if you put all your effort into it and try anything you can, and your feelings remain the same for a really long time? What happens then? To us?”

The question catches In-ha off-guard, but she says, “That can’t be, because we’re family.” Not knowing that he’s talking about himself, she assures him that he needn’t worry—she’s not that far gone, so she’ll be able to clean up her feelings in no time. He watches her go and says quietly, “It must be nice for you, that you can do that.” Aauuugh, it hurts so good.

In-ha lights up when she comes home to Dad and Grandpa cutting a cake, thinking that they remembered her birthday. It turns out they didn’t, and Dal-po is taken aback to see the exact same cake he gave away sitting on the table. Weird.

Dad explains that he once helped a grandma out and found her an apartment without taking any commission, and she brought him a cake today to thank him. Ha, so it IS his cake! In-ha stuffs her face noting how serendipitous it is that it’s her favorite flavor on her birthday, and Dal-po tries not to let his reaction show. Dad just grumbles again about her being embarrassingly dirty, while she scowls at all of them for forgetting her birthday.

Dal-po sits up staring at their family photo, with In-ha’s words echoing in his head: “It can’t be, because we’re family.” He turns the picture face-down. In-ha hangs upside-down until she comes to a decision about the internship at MSC, and calls Mom with a decision.

The next morning, MSC staff reporters Princess and LEE IL-JOO (MSC’s version of Hyun-kyu) get on the crowded elevator while discussing the two replacement rookies, both parachuted in through connections to Cha-ok and their director. We see the rookies in question—Beom-jo and In-ha—standing in the same elevator in opposite corners.

They spill out of the elevator at the same time, and In-ha is shocked to see Beom-jo there. He officially counts as a stalker now, right? She doesn’t even have a chance to ask him what he’s doing there, before Mom takes her to hair and makeup and hands her a script for the commercial she’s going to shoot.

She looks down at In-ha’s shoes and asks if she doesn’t have anything better, and takes off her own shoes for In-ha to wear. In-ha really is there for publicity before all else, and the first thing she does is shoot the ad spot announcing herself as MSC’s newest reporter, with Pinocchio syndrome.

Dal-po’s week of training continues, and Hyun-kyu leads them through the forensics lab and to the day’s highlight—an autopsy. He’s a little too excited about grossing the rookies out, and today Yoo-rae is determined not to fail. But she looks like she’s on the verge of throwing up through the autopsy, and Hyun-kyu leans in to ask what they should have for lunch.

Dal-po is the only one who doesn’t flinch and answers back, “Let’s have intestine soup.” Yoo-rae promptly passes out and half the group runs out, and Hyun-kyu looks over at Dal-po, a little impressed.

Mom asks In-ha if she’s told her father about the new job yet, and when she gets home that night she tries to work up the nerve to tell them. But Dal-po comes home before she can say it, and suddenly throws up at the sight of the intestine soup sitting on the table. Ha, guess he wasn’t really as cool with the menu suggestion as he made it seem.

After washing up, he finds medicine sitting on his desk with a note from In-ha not to jump to any conclusions. And then soon after, Grandpa comes home with medicine in hand and tells Dal-po to tell him if he’s sick or having a hard time, so that he can help.

A minute later, Dad comes through the door and hands Dal-po medicine too, declaring that there’s no one else who would take care of his hyungnim like he would. Awww, Family, why are you so great?

Dal-po looks at the three packets of the exact same medicine lined up on his desk, and his heart wells up with gratitude as he sets the family picture upright again.

The next morning, a line forms at the bathroom and Dal-po and In-ha still feel awkward around each other. She asks to use the bathroom first because she’s running late, and he decides to put everything aside and act normal, which means yanking her back by the hoodie and staring her down for trying to cut in line.

They’re back to their bickering dynamic in no time, but then Dad comes out and they both shrink back in unison at the smell that wafts out with him. He warns that whoever goes in next will have a hard time, and suddenly they’re now fighting to be last in line. Dal-po has strength on his side and shoves her in there and holds the door closed, declaring himself generous for letting her go first.

At the end of the day, Hyun-kyu greets his rookies with a mound of shredded papers and tells them no one goes home until they find something newsworthy in the pile. As they get to work, talk turns to which district they’ll each be assigned to, and Yoo-rae already knows that she’ll be assigned to Hyun-kyu’s team because he purposely picks the flunkies to drive them crazy.

Hyung’s boss sees that his bumper is still not fixed and tells him to call and get the money because it’s the right thing to do. He seems to be convinced this time, and Dal-po gets the call to meet that night to pay for the bumper. He knows he’s not supposed to go anywhere until the shredded papers are reconstructed, but he agrees to go anyway and runs out of the office. Omo, is he really going to meet Hyung?

Hyung says over the phone that he’s almost there, and Dal-po says he sees the car as he rounds the corner… Aw man, it’s Hyung’s boss who meets him. He’s the one who called Dal-po because he knew Hyung wouldn’t, and Dal-po is happy to pay him for the damages.

Hyung arrives at his meeting… and the plant manager is there waiting for him. Oh. Uh-oh, he’s making me nervous. He’s here to return the wallet he stole, and leads the manager down a narrow lane near a demolished building in the middle of nowhere, insisting that his apartment is just around the corner.

He asks to borrow the man’s cell phone on the way, which seems sketchy, and then as the man walks on ahead, he suddenly steps on a newspaper and falls right through into the manhole beneath it. And then, ack, Hyung grabs the manhole cover and rolls it into place to seal him in. Whoa. Okay, as far as plans go, it wasn’t really the most foolproof, but the effect did surprise me. This is NOT how I thought this night would go.

Dal-po runs back to the station, where Hyun-kyu is seething mad by the time he arrives. He barks at the rest of the team to go home this instant, and tells Dal-po he’ll be finishing the task alone.

The rookies are grateful, not only that they get to go home, but that Dal-po just managed to get himself to the top of the shit list, meaning they get to steer clear of being on Hyun-kyu’s team. Yoo-rae realizes that this means they’ll likely be teammates, and can’t help but smile.

In-ha and Beom-jo walk out of work together, and it amazes me that she only now learns his name. She wonders why it sounds familiar, and he says it’s because there’s a mall named after him. She thinks he’s kidding, though we know he means it.

It also only occurs to her now that they’ve met too many times for it to be a coincidence, and he starts to tell her that it isn’t, but she doesn’t hear him because she’s watching her MSC ad projected on the massive wall in the lobby. Crap, does this mean that the commercial is already on the air before she got to tell the family?

Footage from her interview plays as she says that she wants to become a reporter because she can’t tell a lie, and she signs off, “This is Choi In-ha, for MSC News.” A smile spreads across her face, and Beom-jo says to himself that it doesn’t matter if it’s coincidence or not—what matters is that they met.

Gyo-dong waits till Dal-po is alone and says that if memory serves, Dal-po isn’t one to sit here and patiently take all this flak from Hyun-kyu. He confronts him directly about the things he said eight years ago, and Dal-po tries to play dumb.

Gyo-dong chooses Dal-po’s wording from eight years ago to ask why he’s stepped foot in this disguting place to become the thing he hates most. When Dal-po doesn’t answer, he shuts the door and tells him he can say the truth in here and it won’t affect him. He asks again why Dal-po chose this job—did he suddenly come to like reporters?

Dal-po finally stops pretending and replies honestly that there’s no way that would happen. He says this place suffocates him as much as it always has, but the reason he became a reporter is his name. One day, when he gets his own mic to give a report, he wants to say his real name at the end. Gyo-dong: “What’s your real name?”

The plant manager screams up at Hyung through the manhole cover to ask why he’s doing this, and who he is. Hyung: “I am the son of Firefighter Ki Ho-sang.”

Dal-po: “I am Ki Ha-myung. The son of Firefighter Ki Ho-sang.” Gyo-dong is stunned speechless. Dal-po says that because of reporters, he lost his family and his name, and found out how wrongfully his father died. He has lots of questions and lots of things to get done, and someone he wants to find. He says, “I thought about who could do all those things, and came up with an unbelievable answer…”

The plant manager asks what Hyung is planning to do to him, and Hyung says he wanted to show him how his father died. He starts boarding up the manhole cover with bricks, one by one. “You’re going to die in there. But no one will know you died. They’ll think you’re hiding somewhere. And the world will think of you as a devil who killed your two friends!”

Cut to: a forensics table with two dead bodies, one with burn marks on his hand. OMG, Hyung, did you already kill the other two?? Craaaaaap. The plant manager says he never killed anyone and begs for his life. But Hyung’s eyes fill with rage, as he says even his own family will think of him as a killer, and no one will ever know the truth: “You’ll find out that hell isn’t a place you have to die to get to!”

Hyung screams that even if he’s discovered later, no one will care how wrongfully he died, “Just like my father!!”

Gyo-dong asks Dal-po, “And is that answer: a reporter?” Dal-po says yes. He bows at the waist with determination, and says he’ll learn properly, calling him boss (he calls him “Cap,” which is his title as the head of the city news desk).


Oh man, I really didn’t expect Hyung to become a killer. I knew there was a chance he’d do some shady things to try and orchestrate a revenge plan, but I was anticipating a long-term scheme with plenty of time for Dal-po to find him and save him from himself. This is much, much worse than I expected—though drama-wise it’s much, much better. Now I’m suddenly terrified that Dal-po WILL find Hyung, and have to report the truth about his own brother being a murderer. Aaaaaaah, could there be anything worse? Is he going to be the one to catch his own brother and put him away? It’s too cruel.

I find Hyung a little underdeveloped, since he didn’t seem like a killer at all before this, which was obviously in service of the surprise. I wish his darker side had been given a little more attention, because up until now he’s seemed trusting and kind, and I was so looking forward to their reunion. Plotwise, the twist is great, since it sets Dal-po up for a future moral quandary that he’s never had to consider before. He’s always been on the side of the wronged innocent party, but if Hyung continues down this path, he’ll be at odds with the very reason he wanted to become a reporter. It’s tragic, but I do like the mechanism by which the two brothers end up on opposite sides, because it’s instigated by the same event—they each find out that Dad really died, and through that Dal-po gains hope that he isn’t all alone in the world, while Hyung loses his last ounce of hope and believes he’s truly alone. That’s the point at which the road forks for them, and the contrast is made even starker when we see Dal-po being so loved by his adopted family.

The trio of medicine packets pinched my heart, and what’s so nice about the setup is that the heartwarming family moments now serve double duty, to make us happy and then to also ratchet up the romantic angst. It’s almost worse that they’re so good to Dal-po, because this way he can never act on his feelings, and he has to keep burying them even in the face of In-ha’s confession. She has no idea that her declaration just made his burden to keep his distance a thousand times harder, but that’s the kind of angst that hurts in a good way, and it killed me when he smiled wistfully and said that it must be nice to be able to shake off those feelings so easily.

What I love about their relationship is that the truth can be said on In-ha’s part—and it has to, eventually, given her hiccups—but knowing the truth only adds to the complications. It’s the very opposite of the kind of drama conflict I hate, where the telling of one secret would un-complicate everything (because where’s the creativity in that?). Obviously Dal-po plays everything pretty close to the vest, but we’re not holding back on revealing things between characters because there’s plenty of conflict even with the truth exposed. In-ha confessing her feelings makes it even harder for Dal-po to get over her, and Dal-po telling Gyo-dong who he really is makes him better for the job (He’s passionate about the truth!), and worse (Hello, loose cannon, twelve o’clock!). And now that In-ha is part of MSC and quite literally in the enemy camp, will Dal-po’s fears about seeing her as her mother come true?


Korean TVN Drama Misaeng Episode 12 Recap and Screenshots

Korean TVN Drama Misaeng Episode 12 Recap and Screenshots

by Dramabeans

The hurdles to complete the used-car project are even higher than before now that the entire company is keeping a close eye on Sales Team 3, and Chief Oh’s confidence goes through a beating as he tries to figure out a way to convince the executives — and his own team — that this project is worth picking up again. Meanwhile, Young-yi must face a ghost from her past as we learn more about her life before joining One International.


Korean TVN Drama Misaeng Episode 12 Recap and Screenshots

Chief Oh gathers the rest of Sales Team 3 around him to quietly tell them to go forward with the abandoned used-car import plan. Dong-shik reminds him that they won’t get much support for it from outside the team, and Manager Ma won’t approve it. Also hesitant is Chief Chun, who’s concerned about how it will look to the rest of the employees who already are wary of Sales Team 3.

But when Chief Oh asks him to disregard the office politics and instead just focus on the potential of the project, Chief Chun reluctantly agrees that it’s a reasonable project to work on. Besides, since when has Sales Team 3 been more worried about office politics than getting the job done?

Korean TVN Drama Misaeng Episode 12 Recap 

Dong-shik takes Geu-rae outside to gently but plainly tell him that suggesting they pick up this project again was a terrible idea — even if the rationale behind it is sound, it’s difficult to accomplish without potentially ruining careers. But he’ll keep his doubts to himself since Chief Oh is determined to go ahead with it. He only asks that Geu-rae come to him first if he has similar ideas in the future.

When they return to the office, Chief Oh assigns Dong-shik and Chief Chun to visit used car dealerships to find ones suitable to work with, but Chief Chun has stepped outside for a smoke break. He thinks back to why the executive director assigned him to Sales Team 3 in the first place (whether or not it’s easier to extract a rotten tooth or leave it in), and throws down his cigarette in frustration.

Korean TVN Drama Misaeng Episode 12 Screenshots

Young-yi checks her bank balance, and smiles in relief when she sees a large sum taken from her account, telling herself it’s all over now. Baek-ki happens to walk by and teases her for being so happy to see her paycheck — he never thought she cared so much about money. She deadpans that she loves money and intends to become rich, and as they walk upstairs together, her heel comes loose and she stumbles.

Banging her shoe against the floor a few times, she fixes her high heel. Baek-ki chuckles in amazement that Young-yi really does seem human after all (a statement that perplexes her). When he returns to the office, he notes that his coworker is hearing high heels too, and he wonders quietly to himself why women need to wear them. You and me both, bub.

In the break room, Seok-yul complains to Geu-rae about being called a sociopath by his boss, adding that Geu-rae lucked out with his superiors. Just then Chief Chun walks in and Seok-yul jumps to attention to cheerfully greet him, introducing himself and then running through the impressive litany of Chief Chun’s impressive work experience. But he’s quickly dismissed by Chief Chun who wants to speak to Geu-rae alone.

Seok-yul’s curiosity is too strong, and after he leaves the break room, he leans back around the corner to listen in. Chief Oh reprimands Geu-rae for being such a short-sighted newbie and not thinking about the important effects of office politics. Besides, he doesn’t even have the skills to complete the project he suggested, and no amount of hard work will see it through.

Of course Seok-yul needs to share this gossip with the rest of the newbies, and when Young-yi mentions that Sales Team 3 will surely see this project until the end (because Geu-rae is at least good at that), Seok-yul points out that she seems to always support Geu-rae.

A reluctant Baek-ki listens as Seok-yul runs through all the ways she’s taken Geu-rae’s advice over Baek-ki’s, but finally Baek-ki jumps up, asking why Geu-rae is so important. Seok-yul aks who else would think about retrying the Jordan used-car project — which Assistant Manager Ha overhears, and soon the resource team is marching their way to Sales Team 3.

Chief Jung’s anger catches the attention of the entire office, and everyone stops to watch as he demands to know what’s going on. Dong-shik calmly answers his questions until Chief Jung accuses their team of being led by someone without any sense of business ethics. That riles Dong-shik up (because you don’t insult Chief Oh!) and he reminds Chief Jung that the resource team lied about the B/L document, blaming the sales team for losing it, so he’s one to talk about ethics.

Furious, Chief Jung charges Dong-shik and has to be restrained by his coworkers, and continues to try and attack Dong-shik when he stubbornly stands up for Chief Oh and their project. It’s only the appearance of Chief Oh himself that finally gets the resource chief to calm down.

Chief Chun meets with the executive director, who pleasantly asks if it’s nice to be working with Sales Team 3 again. Hesitating, Chief Chun brings up the fact the team is taking on the Jordan used-car project again, but the executive director laughs, asking him why he’s acting so concerned when the team has decided on a profitable project. Besides, doesn’t he remember why the executive director asked him to be on the team?

Geu-rae is still feeling the burden of suggesting they take up the used-car project again, and he hangs his head as he apologizes to Chief Oh since he can’t take responsibility for it. But Chief Oh is having none of his pity-party, and hands him the report to read and know inside out.

If he just does what Chief Oh tells him to do, then he’s doing his part. Even if he can’t do it 100%, then do it at least 80%, since there’s nothing worse than a newbie trying to do something 120%. He jokingly calls Geu-rae “Team Leader Jang” as he orders him to get some water (and Geu-rae literally runs to get it), but Chief Oh’s smile disappears once Geu-rae is gone.

In the morning, Young-yi is surprised to discover that the resource team and the steel team will be meeting with Samjung to discuss mining rights in Mexico. All the guys are impressed that Samjung business superstar Team Leader Shin will be there, but when she hears this, she dazedly walks away (and Baek-ki watches her in concern as he walks by).

She sits outside, trying to compose herself as remembers her last day at Samjung. She had cleaned out her desk, and when Team Leader Shin stopped to tell her that it’s not right for her leave “like this,” she had simply told him good-bye, refusing to look him in the eye.

Chief Oh barks at “Team Leader Jang” to call One International’s representative in Jordan. Aw, Geu-rae’s plaintive whine at being called “team leader” is adorable. The Jordan representative thinks this project is a good one to pursue, but he warns Chief Oh to be careful about the rumors surrounding Chief Park’s scandal.

Dong-shik and Chief Chun are busy meeting with various used-car dealerships to find one that will be able to fulfill their demand, and as Dong-shik insists on driving after seeing Chief Chun exhausted yawn, he reminds him that Geu-rae is reliable and trustworthy.

They work nonstop, even when when at their hotel. OMG it’s super weird seeing Dong-shik in his underwear after only ever seeing in him his office attire. As they try to get in a nap before heading out on the road, Dong-shik hesitantly points out that Chief Chun still doesn’t like this project. But Chief Chun knows Dong-shik isn’t fond of it either, yet Dong-shik loyally supports Chief Oh and therefore believes it will succeed.

Per Chief Oh’s request, Geu-rae dutifully familiarizes himself with all the financial reports from the used-car dealers. Just like in the game of baduk, he’ll figure out a the basic framework to understand everything. But he wonders if it’s possible to bring the rules of a failed game to a new game.

When Dong-shik and Chief Chun return to the office, the entire Sales Team 3 stay up late carefully reviewing the list of used-car dealerships for suitability. They get the over-exhausted giggles when Chief Oh introduces Dong-shik and Chief Chun to “Team Leader Jang,” but Geu-rae knows that behind their awkward laughter, each is fully aware of the uncomfortable truth behind the uncomfortable atmosphere.

The executive director stops by and sees the men working late, then quietly leaves, unnoticed. Or almost unnoticed, since Geu-rae catches a glimpse of him as he’s getting on the elevator.

In the morning, Manager Ma calls Chief Oh crazy for trying to revive the used-car project. He thinks Chief Oh is being too greedy and selfish to taking on the project again, and says there’s no way the executive director will approve of it. Cut to the executive director questioning Manager Ma’s judgment in trying to stop a profitable project. Ha!

But there are still a few hoops needed for approval, and Manager Ma tells Chief Oh that he’ll have to present it to the entire executive team by the end of the week. When Chief Oh protests that it’s a simple business item, not a presentation, Manager Ma needles him about his previous confidence.

No one on Sales Team 3 is thrilled to hear that they’ll have to put together a presentation, but of course Dong-shik is the first to jump on board, followed by a sighing “of course we have to do it” Chief Chun, and Geu-rae, well, Chief Oh doesn’t need Geu-rae’s opinion.

The steel and resource team meet with the representatives from Samjung, which include Team Leader Shin. Young-yi practically has to force herself to walk through the door, and at first Baek-ki is delighted to see her filling in for Assistant Manager Ha, but soon clues in that something isn’t right between her and Team Leader Shin.

She carefully avoids looking at anyone, but when she’s tasked to discuss some contract issues, she smoothly debates and negotiates with Team Leader Shin, getting him to agree with her (much to the approval of her boss). Baek-ki quietly keeps an eye on her, noting the change in her demeanor, and as they see the Samjung representatives out, she’s the only one not smiling.

Team Leader Shin sends her a text, requesting to meet with her for a few minutes in a nearby coffee shop. He asks if she finds her new job fun and challenging, and she says she does. He gets up to leave, adding that it will be like this from now on — strictly business. But she admits that she’s not sure how she feels being around him again. As he’s leaving, he turns back to smile at her. She did a good job today, and he doesn’t know who trained her, but they did a good job, too.

Dazedly, Young-yi leaves the coffee shop and thinks back to when she was at Samjung — it seems like Team Leader Shin was the one who trained. She and Team Leader Shin were meeting with representatives from China to discuss mining rights, and she surprised the Chinese buyers by constantly being one step ahead of them. Afterwards, Team Leader Shin told her that since Chinese and Arab buyers never expect a woman to take the lead, she should always be the one in the middle. With a bashful smile, she thanked him.

Baek-ki runs into her as she’s slowly returning to the office and she snaps out of her reverie. As he’s walking away, she quietly calls after him, asking if he wants to get a drink. They sit silently as they drink their beers. Or, in Young-yi’s case, gulp it down. Baek-ki looks like he wants to intervene, but wisely keeps silent. As he’s walking home, he passes a shoe store and stops to look at the pair of high heels in the window. A tipsy Young-yi staggers home alone.

Also getting home late is Geu-rae, who blinks exhaustedly at the fact his mother tidied up his room. He wearily gets ready for bed, amused to see that she hung his world map upside down.

The next day at the office, Seok-yul is busy putting away textile samples as Assistant Manager Sung goes through his list of lady friends, trying to find someone free that night to go with him to a special movie premiere for which he won tickets, but the only one who agrees to go can’t make it at the appointed time.

Which means Assistant Manager Sung then berates and belittles the poor PR employee into getting him a later showing, and he grabs the pen from Seok-yul’s pocket to scribble down the confirmation code. Except he can’t get the pen to work, so Assistant Manager Sung tosses it into the trash, much to Seok-yul’s astonished horror.

Our trio of newbies look on as Seok-yul paces outside, venting his frustration with his boss as he yells out curses. Their deadpan faces as they tell him to be patient are hilarious in comparison to his furious desire to take his boss on in a fight, but even more hilarious are Baek-ki’s and Young-yi’s surprised reactions when Seok-yul offhandedly mentions that Geu-rae had struck him first during their rooftop fight.

After Seok-yul storms off, Baek-ki tries to make small talk with Young-yi about her cast-iron stomach and alcohol tolerance, but she’s more concerned about Geu-rae’s team and their progress. Aw, the goofy grin on his face after she gives him an encouraging pat on the arm is ridiculously adorable.

Sales Team 3 are deep into preparations as they meticulously go over the powerpoint slides and Chief Oh records himself so they can verify every pause and facial expression. But Geu-rae feels uneasy, as though there’s something still missing, yet he can’t figure out what the problem is.

He’s not alone in the feeling, because as Chief Oh rehearses his speech during a lunch break, he knows something is “off,” too. As does Dong-shik, who finds him and accuses him for working through lunch. Neither are pleased with the presentation, but ever-loyal Dong-shik is sure it will work, even if Chief Oh isn’t sure it’s persuasive enough.

But Geu-rae gets distracted by the big world map on the wall, and tilts his head to try and see it upside down. When that doesn’t work, he does a handstand — which is how Chief Oh and Dong-shik find him. They’re utterly baffled by their newbie standing upside down, and Dong-shik assumes he’s cracked under the stress.

As they’re getting coffee in the break room, Geu-rae admits to Dong-shik that he feels uneasy about the presentation. Something doesn’t sit right with him about the content — it shows off too many negatives. But when Chief Oh enters and overhears, Geu-rae immediately clams up, telling him it’s nothing.

Except Chief Oh knows it’s not “nothing,” and pulls the rest of the team into one of the conference rooms for a meeting, demanding Geu-rae explain himself. Geu-rae says that the format for the presentation (which is a format that all One International business plans use) make it sound like they’re just giving weak excuses. Instead of following normal protocol, perhaps they should be a bit more radical.

He pulls out a map of the world, explaining that using the north as the top is a habit — in reality, the Earth is spinning in orbit where there’s no up or down. He points out that normally on maps Australia is down on the bottom and not as visible, but when you flip it around, it becomes the center of of the map and the focus of attention.

Chief Oh understands that Geu-rae is trying to explain that if they focus too much on precedent and procedure, then the important points of their presentation might not be as obvious. Dong-shik freaks out at the thought of having to revise their entire powerpoint and presentation in one day, and despite his faith in Chief Oh, is against changing anything. As is Chief Chun, who thinks they should stick to protocol and not try anything different.

Geu-rae is sent out so Chief Oh can discuss it with the other two, and Chief Oh passionately argues that the presentation, as it stands, doesn’t even convince him, so how can it convince others? That’s why he wants to use Geu-rae’s approach — because Geu-rae is focused on successfully completing the task at hand, not on office politics.

Everyone looks unhappy when Geu-rae is called back into the conference room, which is why he’s surprised when Chief Oh tells him to make a new powerpoint presentation by the morning. Chief Chun still thinks the whole thing is ridiculous, and steps outside to get some air.

Dong-shik follows, and Chief Chun complains that Chief Oh has changed so much since he last worked with him — he can’t remember Chief Oh being this rash before. But when Dong-shik tells him Chief Oh hasn’t changed, Chief Chun tells him that in order for Dong-shik to ever be promoted, he’ll need to leave Sales Team 3. The executive director finds them as he’s taking a break outside, to ostensibly feel the breeze and feel the change of seasons. But it at least reminds Chief Chun that he was put with this team for a reason.

Geu-rae works through the night on the powerpoint, fighting sleep as he organizes everything, even hand drawing the slides that are too complicated for him to make so that Dong-shik can fix them in the morning. He sends off a revised copy to Chief Oh, who replies: “YES.”

In the morning, Dong-shik stops at Geu-rae’s desk and picks up the powerpoint rough draft he left out. Geu-rae’s sound asleep at the desk, and is startled awake when Dong-shik pats him on the shoulder. As Dong-shik settles in to finish the powerpoint, he warns the bleary-eyed Geu-rae that if this presentation doesn’t work out, he’ll be really angry at Geu-rae, and probably will continue to be for a long time.

The guys get to work prepping for the presentation as they test the microphones and setting up the video conference with the representatives in Jordan. The One International executive in Jordan is pleased that Chief Oh decided to go ahead with the project, but when he sees the new presentation material, he looks at Chief Oh in astonishment.

Geu-rae’s previous confidence is suddenly gone in the light of seeing Chief Oh practice the presentation, and the executive in Jordan voices his concern about such an unconventional presentation, implying that no one will agree to pursuing this project further.

When Geu-rae slips outside a moment to gather his thoughts, Chief Oh joins him (asking him if he’s praying, ha). Just down the hall, the entire executive team walks towards the conference room and Chief Oh.


I feel like I ought to be more nervous about this presentation, because if Geu-rae is questioning himself, then it must be something really radical. But Sales Team 3 has taught me these past few episodes to have utmost faith in them, especially when Chief Oh decides to follow his gut instead of protocol. That’s not to say everything will end up being perfect for them, but history has shown that by fighting their way through based on integrity and the desire to do the job to their best of their ability, they often manage to succeed in the end. It’s about winning the war, not the individual battle. Even if this Jordan used-car project does seem to be the hill Chief Oh is willing to die on.

Dong-shik has been one of my favorite characters since that first day he willingly decided to help Geu-rae navigate office life, and throughout the show he’s remained one of my favorites. But this episode cements the reason why I love him so him so much — he’s a steady and loyal employee. He perfectly balances out the exuberantly dynamic Chief Oh by calmly getting his work done, even when he may not initially agree with it. That’s not to say he’s afraid of speaking his mind — he voices his concerns, even as he accepts that he’s willing to follow Chief Oh’s lead.

I wonder how many times he’s been told he should try to transfer out of Team Sales 3, since I think it’s been told to him at least a few times just since Geu-rae joined the team. Yet he believes in his team, and he believes in Chief Oh, and is willing to stand up and fight for those beliefs. Perhaps even literally, considering how it was only Chief Jung’s accusation that Chief Oh had no business ethics that finally got a reaction out of Dong-shik. He’s the center of our little misfit team, and I’m pretty sure they would be lost without him — especially Geu-rae, since I’m happy to see this little friendship/mentorship continue to bloom.

I also haven’t spoken much about Young-yi, but she definitely deserves some extra attention now, especially since we’re getting more clues to her past. I get the feeling that whatever happened between her and Team Leader Shin wasn’t strictly business (if you know what I mean), and that was likely the reason she left her old job. Although, the fact that she was so happy to see that last repayment taken from her check makes me wonder what debt she was carrying, and why, and if it had something to do with her previous job.

Even so, huge respect to her for being able to stand her ground against Team Leader Shin — not just in the business meeting when she was able to persuade him via her knowledge and skills to agree to One International’s contract, but also in letting him know that even if they will have to meet up for business purposes, she’s still not comfortable being around him. I just hope that if he asks to meet her again, she refuses. She’s too good to still be under his spell, no matter how awesome everyone else thinks he is.

That makes me wonder if one of the reasons she treats Baek-ki differently from Geu-rae is because Baek-ki perhaps reminds her of Team Leader Shin — ambitious, charming, and good at what he does. Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve been purposefully ignoring any hints at a loveline because I want my quartet to be best friends forever and not get muddled up in messy relationships, but I do appreciate the gentle way she handles Geu-rae. Even so, I’m glad she’s warming up to Baek-ki (and he continues to respect her by keeping his distance), because it definitely looks like she could use a friend or two. Or at least someone to have a drink with.


Korean Drama

Korean Drama "Misaeng" Episode 11 Recap

By: Dramabeans

Late on the latest gossip, Seok-yul runs around the office frantically looking for Geu-rae to ask about Chief Park. When he finds him, Geu-rae ignores his hysteria and approaches Baek-ki to thank him for his help. Behind them, the audit team heads to Sales Team 3 with boxes to collect Chief Park’s items, and Seok-yul gapes at their sight.

Seok-yul follows Geu-rae to the scene, where Chief Oh and Dong-shik watch the auditors pile all of Chief Park’s papers into boxes. Dong-shik notes that this is the biggest case of corruption since the company’s founding. As the audit team leaves, Geu-rae narrates the series of events that followed: all the previous bosses Chief Park worked under were called into examination, meaning that Manager Kim also couldn’t avoid blame.

Chief Park desperately asks the executive director for his mercy, and the executive director seems to respond favorably. He acknowledges that salarymen often have to be conmen and gamblers. He knows Chief Park’s dedication, but it’s too late now. Chief Park’s face falls as he realizes that he has no other choice but to face the consequences.

The demotion notices are posted, and Manager Kim prepares his leave. He tells Chief Oh to buy a drink after he settles into his new position and shakes the hands of each person in his department with a farewell message. As he leaves the office, Chief Oh recollects all the times under his boss, starting from when he was a newbie up until now. He bows one last time and can’t hide the devastation in his face as Manager Kim turns the corner, out of sight.

Geu-rae reflects on the outcome of this situation in baduk terms. When you are losing with the black stone (which has the advantage of making the first move), you start to wonder if the small wins are worth it if you’ll ultimately lose anyway. But when you are winning, you start to look at the world differently. You’re thankful for your opponent and every move you’ve made to make the win possible — the smaller moments were what made the win possible.

As Geu-rae passes by Chief Park being escorted out by the audit team, he continues, “If you forget the significance of the smaller moments, you lose sight of the whole game. When did you start losing those moments?”

The executive director’s secretary reports that the CEO has made an appearance, and we see that he’s arrived at the office to thank Sales Team 3 for their important work. He presents each of them with a bonus, and the whole office applauds their achievement — except for the people who are lined up under the executive director, of course. Young-yi knows better than to clap but sneaks in mini claps with her fingers. Hehe.

The executive director arrives to greet his superior as the CEO notes that Chief Oh’s promotion is long overdue. He also recognizes Geu-rae’s important role in this case and leaves him with some newbie advice — to make a habit of thoroughly checking your work to avoid mistakes. After he leaves, Dong-shik whispers to Chief Oh that he’ll probably be a Deputy Director soon. Chief Oh calls it nonsense and cautiously watches the executive director leave with the CEO.

As predicted, the CEO tells his assistant to set up a promotion for Chief Oh, as there’s no better guarantee for a salaryman than a promotion. Manager Ma gets off the elevator, and the CEO notes that he’s the temporary placeholder for Manager Kim’s position. The executive director remains noticeably silent through the conversation, and the tension ends with the closing elevator doors.

At home, Chief Oh’s sons celebrate their father’s promotion, though they don’t know what a promotion is. All they know is that their mom and dad are happy, which means they should be happy. He calms them down and presents the bonus to his wife, who divides the cash and sticks a stack into his wallet. He goes through the obligatory rejection of the money but then happily takes his full wallet. And the first thing he does is order pizza, which gets another round of cheers from his kids.

Sales Team 3 is back into their daily grind of work, with the now Deputy Director Oh (but we’ll just keep calling him Chief Oh) who’s still meticulous as ever. Geu-rae narrates that the team’s silent dedication to work is due to the unfortunate case with Chief Park — it was not a success to be celebrated. “We didn’t feel a difference within our team, but we could feel the difference in the gazes directed at us. We had taken out a sluggard from our team and a saved the company from a drawback. But we were given uncomfortable looks because others questioned if we had benefitted at the cost of a team member.”

As Sales Team 3 walks through the office for their meeting, all the office workers stare at them. The office members had become sympathetic towards those who had resigned due to this incident, but no one disputed the fact that someone had to take responsibility.

Chief Oh calls Dong-shik and Geu-rae to the roof to address the issue. He tells them that they’re in an uncomfortable position and warns them not to become hostile. They did the right thing and reminds them not to forget that. Geu-rae notes that he’d created a guide for them; they just need to follow through.

Chief Jung tells Assistant Manager Ha that he heard from loudmouth Seok-yul that he made Young-yi transport all the chemical products to the port on her own. The other team member comments on how scary Young-yi is but Chief Jung starts to praise her before catching himself.

Assistant Manager Ha calls Young-yi to the break room and gives her the Russian part of the contract to take care of. She’s dumbstruck but happily realizes that she’s been requested to help him with actual work. Before he leaves, he adds that he won’t be cutting her any slack just because she’s a girl.

Seeing that Assistant Manager Kang is looking through his approved contract, Baek-ki asks if there’s anything wrong with it. His boss criticizes his unprofessional jargon and long-winded articulation of the business. If he’d thought of this contract as his own, he would have written it with better composition and active voice. Baek-ki politely acknowledges this, but Assistant Manager Kang knows that he has no idea what’s wrong with it and hands him a sheet to edit as an exercise.

Sure enough, as soon as Assistant Manager Kang is out of earshot, Baek-ki wonders what is wrong with his written contract, claiming that he’s knowledgeable enough in professional jargon and concise writing. He takes a look at the sheet of paper with convoluted sentences and goes outside to start editing them.

Chief Oh and Deputy Director Sun talk about their hopes for good manager replacements, but their conversation is cut short by a team member under Deputy Director Sun. He frantically tells her that Manager Ma requested some sort of approval but was so vague about it that he has no idea what he’s talking about.

In a quick flashback, we see that Manager Ma scolds the team member for not knowing what he’s talking about: “You know, that FDA thing or something that foods need to get approval from in the U.S. Something like that — don’t you know what I’m talking about? That something. It’s that something! Are you under Deputy Director Sun? That’s why a woman can’t take those positions — she can’t even properly train her team member.” As frustrating as ever.

Deputy Director Sun goes directly to Manager Ma to figure out what he’s asking. She calmly asks if he’s requesting FDA approval, but he diverts the conversation elsewhere, saying that she should know what he’s talking about. She lists off the approvals she’s already gotten for the product and tells him to get back to her if he remembers what he’s requesting from her.

She starts to leave, but Manager Ma characteristically adds that she should be thankful to her husband for living with her. Not one to lose, she turns around and warns him that his second charge of sexual harassment probably won’t end with just a pay cut. That’s right, you tell him.

She returns to her desk and tells her team member that she’ll take care of approvals from Manager Ma from now on, much to his relief. He then asks about her conversation with Chief Oh and admits that he doesn’t want to be moved to Sales Team 3. Then a timely message arrives, notifying the office of Sales Team 3’s new member, Chief CHUN KWAN-WOONG (Park Hae-joon).

Dong-shik expresses his relief to Geu-rae about their new team member during their coffee break. He assures Geu-rae that this guy is normal and has experience on their team before. He entered the company with work experience — not the process that Geu-rae and the newbies went through. Dong-shik says that he’s had some bonding moments with this guy when he was on the team, and his excitement seems to relieve Geu-rae’s worries.

Chief Chun is given a cordial welcome by the team, and quickly excuses himself to wrap up his things at his previous position. Geu-rae notices that this new team member set up his desk as soon as he arrived and found his place. Contrary to the comfort he expected to feel with whoever succeeded Chief Park, Geu-rae notes that Chief Chun gives off a strange aura of tension.

Seok-yul finishes his report and submits it to Assistant Manager Sung. When asked about the polyester report, Seok-yul defiantly states that the polyester report isn’t his work to do. It only takes a few seconds for Assistant Manager Sung to find an error in the report and make his point. Seok-yul made a mistake, and Assistant Manager Sung tells him that he would have known the difference had he done what he was told to do as training.

He’s reminded that people learn from their mistakes and continues to be scolded as Geu-rae and Dong-shik pass by. Geu-rae distinguishes the two terms from his internal dictionary, and Dong-shik smiles, impressed at his memorization skill.

In the elevator, Dong-shik starts out with praise for Geu-rae’s ability to memorize all these terms. Geu-rae explains that it’s easy if you find the connections between the words. Dong-shik says that with that logic, he should also understand how the connections work with different companies, but he doesn’t. He lightly accuses him of never understanding the connections, always asking questions, which causes Geu-rae to quickly drop his smile. Ha.

As they exit the elevator, Dong-shik bumps into Baek-ki, who drops his sheet of sentences to edit. Baek-ki quickly grabs the sheet and takes the elevator down, but Dong-shik recognizes the exercise as something Assistant Manager Kang always gives to his newbies to help improve their reports. Dong-shik acknowledges that it’s very effective, which causes Geu-rae to pout. If it’s effective, why didn’t he give him that sort of assignment? Dong-shik leans in and whispers, “Don’t worry, I’ll make you throw up writing the reports.” HA.

Young-yi speaks in fluent Russian doing her assigned work. Chief Jung and the other team member watch dumbfounded while Assistant Manager Ha sneaks in a small smile. After her call, she’s asked to carry out more odd jobs (picking up shoes, buying cigarettes), but Assistant Manager Ha takes her side, saying that she has actual work to do. She excuses herself to make copies first before carrying out the errands.

Young-yi smiles as she makes copies and when Geu-rae arrives, she jokes that his fly is open. He immediately looks down, but she thanks him for the respectful bow. He’s a little thrown off by her playful attitude, but they laugh nonetheless. Hearing their laughs from the next room, Seok-yul asks how his colleagues could be in such a good mood when he’s in such a bad mood. He requests that they all go out for drinks later.

After chugging a glass of beer, Seok-yul claims that his boss is the worst. Expressing his resentment, Seok-yul says that he manipulates him and feigns innocence, so everyone thinks he’s the good guy. He gets a call from his boss, and his colleagues tell him to pick up. He eventually does, and a drunk Assistant Manager Sung apologizes and requests that they have a drink together to work out their issues.

Seok-yul leaves Young-yi and Geu-rae awkwardly in each other’s company, and they decide to leave. As soon as Geu-rae stands up, Young-yi averts her eyes and says that his fly is open. He catches himself before being fooled again, but Young-yi insists that it’s real this time. Shocked, Geu-rae quickly looks down, and she once again thanks him for the bow. He freezes as she walks out laughing.

Now drinking with his boss, Seok-yul tries to clear the misunderstandings. He says that he’s happy to do anything that’s assigned to him, but Assistant Manager Sung says that it’s not assigned to him — it’s just all Seok-yul’s work.

They repeat the same phrases to each other, and at one point, Assistant Manager Sung calls him a sociopath. That gets Seok-yul worked up and he exclaims that he’ll do everything he’s told. But he can’t deal with Assistant Manager Sung getting credit for his work. Again, he’s called a sociopath, and that’s enough to provoke Seok-yul and cause him to drop the honorifics in anger. As soon as he does so, he realizes his mistake.

Assistant Manager Sung calls him a psychopath and leaves, as he’s no longer in the mood for drinks. Seok-yul follows him but gets stopped by the waiter, who hands him the huge bar bill. Seok-yul’s apologetic attitude immediately flips to anger, and he starts cursing.

Young-yi and Geu-rae walk together, and she notes how it’s starting to get cold. He offers his suit jacket, and she comments that he’d be a good boyfriend. Geu-rae gets hot in embarrassment, and she’s amused by his reaction. As they continue to walk, Young-yi says, “Fall will pass, then winter, then spring. And soon enough, it’ll be one year for us.”

Geu-rae stops and notes the “us” in her statement. He thinks back to Chief Oh’s declaration of “our kid” and tells her that last spring, he longed for that “us.” He happily repeats her statement that it’ll be a year for them and gives her a wide smile.

It’s another end of a work day, and our newbies wrap up their days. Baek-ki spends his night at the office, finishing up his work and then doing more sentence editing while Seok-yul sits in the bar with the bill and drinks out of the whiskey bottle. Young-yi and Geu-rae walk their separate ways to go home.

The next morning, Geu-rae and Dong-shik greet their new Chief Chun. He seems friendly enough as he tells Geu-rae to cut his hair and calls Dong-shik into the meeting room, but his façade drops as he’s privately addressing Dong-shik. He tells Dong-shik that the workplace is not a joke and that he shouldn’t drag in the memories they’ve had in the past.

Dong-shik immediately drops his friendly attitude and asks Chief Chun if he has a different reason for joining the team. Chief Chun has no ulterior motives but hints that the person who sent him to the team may. Before he leaves the room, Chief Chun tells Dong-shik that they didn’t do anything wrong but warns him that they’re being watched. They sent him specifically because he’s personally closer to the team, implying that his job is to get close to them and report their activities.

They return to their desks, and Chief Oh notices the strange tension when they arrive. Chief Chun asks Dong-shik to send him the current business files, and he comments aloud on the business plan that screwed Chief Park. He requests to look through the files on the business, which causes an outburst from Chief Oh.

Walking over to Chief Chun’s desk, Chief Oh warns him to just do work and not get pulled into the game. “Do you know the reason why people get pulled into games? Because they play games instead of doing work.” He asks that they grab drinks after work, and Dong-shik gives his boss an appreciative look.

Seok-yul approaches Assistant Manager Sung with the receipt for last night’s drinks. His boss just scoffs and gives him a word of advice: “I didn’t tell you this last night because I thought it would be too offensive, but you have to change your personality if you want to adjust to society. Honestly, you’re a bit of a sociopath.” With that, he leaves Seok-yul to his silent violent fit.

Baek-ki continues to work on his sentence editing and has a sudden thought about Assistant Manager Kang’s comment on writing the phrases with active voice. That gets his wheels turning, and he begins to put together better, concise sentences. Assistant Manager Kang watches his newbie struggle with a tinge of pride.

Sales Team 3 goes out for after-work drinks, and Chief Oh asks Chief Chun if he still drinks by himself nowadays. He confirms that he does, and Chief Oh seems to understand. After accepting drinks in compliance with business partners and clients, sometimes you just want to have a drink for yourself. In your underwear and watching baseball, Dong-shik adds.

Chief Chun apologizes for having mixed feelings and ulterior motives before joining the team. He says that he’ll do his best to adjust as a Sales Team 3 member. He then turns to Geu-rae to ask if he has any requests for him, and all Geu-rae can come up with is if he really needs to cut his hair. Chief Oh interprets Chief Chun’s silence as a yes, and they joke about Dong-shik also straightening his hair for the sake of their team’s visuals.

Chief Chun arrives home and takes a swig out of the water jug in his refrigerator. He looks at the bottom of his fridge where the alcohol is and hesitates with his decision to have a solo drink. When he gets into bed, his wife notes that he didn’t have his regular solo drink and comments that he must like his new team. He nods.

The next morning, all the teams go into their meetings to plan next year’s business proposals. ‘Tis the season for budgets, action plans, and business performance management. All business items include the collaboration of different departments, so everyone is busy with meetings. Sales Team 3 works several days and nights until exhaustion, and Geu-rae notices his burnt-out team members.

He thinks back to some relevant words from his baduk mentor who told him that the reason why he doesn’t improve in baduk is because he restricts himself by rules and methodology. While methods and strategies are essential, baduk would not have survived this long if it were purely based on repeating existing strategies. He’s advised to break the norms and go the unconventional route.

After a moment of hesitation, Geu-rae suggests that they try the Jordan business plan — the one that got Chief Park fired. The whole team freezes. Chief Chun says that they’re not allowed to steal business ideas, and Dong-shik tells him not to bring up Jordan for the time being. But Geu-rae presses on and gives his honest opinion that the Jordan business plan is appealing, without the corruption and politics attached to it.

Seok-yul walks through the office with his coffee looking for his daily scoop of gossip. He notices Sales Team 3 looking pretty serious during their meeting and slowly approaches the room. Seeing that they’re all looking at Geu-rae, he assumes that he’s being scolded.

Baek-ki finishes his sentence editing and prints his final version to turn in. He hands it to Assistant Manager Kang, who after a quick browse, approves of the edits. He crosses out one unnecessary word, but Baek-ki seems proud of himself, smiling at his small accomplishment.

Seok-yul calls Baek-ki and Young-yi to discuss Geu-rae’s scandalous suggestion about continuing the Jordan business plan. Baek-ki shakes his head in disapproval, saying that Geu-rae should have known better, given his team’s situation. Young-yi disagrees, saying that she sees Geu-rae as decisive — someone who goes for the win. Seok-yul asks if she’s fallen for him, which earns him an incredulous look from Young-yi. When Baek-ki jumps in and tells Young-yi that she thinks too highly of Geu-rae, Seok-yul asks if he’s just jealous. That earns him another look of disbelief.

Seok-yul has no idea what Geu-rae is thinking, but Baek-ki concludes the discussion by saying that Chief Oh should and will reject the proposal. On his way back to his desk, Baek-ki looks at his sentence editing sheet with disdain.

Sales Team 3 has halted its marathon meetings, and the team members think in silence over the possible consequences of accepting this business proposal. Even with this unconventional idea that came from a newbie, the team members need a justified reason to reject the proposal. But they strangely cannot determine whether they just don’t want to do it or if it just won’t be worth it. Whether it’s taboo, or worth a shot.

Chief Oh seeks the advice of Deputy Director Sun and Chief Go, but they both advise him not to. There’s still a fresh stigma attached to the project, and the justifications for executing the project are weak. He needs some validity to back up the move, something more than just profitability.

He takes Geu-rae to the roof to ask if his sole reason for wanting to pursue this project is the profit. Geu-rae acknowledges the commendable business model, but he claims there’s more. He feels that the team has left this project unfinished. The whole company has thrown contempt from Chief Park to the team, and he wonders if simply reporting the corruption is enough. He wants to reestablish the business to normal so that the company can gain back the maximum benefits.

Chief Oh nods at his points and says that Geu-rae probably thought of this because he’s a newbie. But Geu-rae’s given him enough reason to pursue the project, and he says, “Let’s give it a shot.”


Korean Drama 'Cantabile Tomorrow' Episode 13 Recap

Korean Drama 'Cantabile Tomorrow' Episode 13 Recap

By: Dramabeans

Fighting nerves, Nae-il stumbles onto the stage and sits at the piano for her first-round performance. Looking to Yoo-jin out in the audience calms her, and he thinks encouraging thoughts her way as she begins her competition piece.

She’s off to a good start, and Yoo-jin relaxes while the judges start nodding approvingly, noting that she’s the best so far. Teacher Do is pleased, too, recognizing that Nae-il is adding her own feeling into the performance: “Good,” he thinks. “Play just like that.”

Also watching is Teacher Yoon from the master class, who remains stony-faced through it all. Yoon-hoo, on the other hand, doesn’t look worried as he joins her in the audience.

Nae-il plays strongly through the end, and more than anything I love that she looks thrilled with herself. Teacher Do bursts into applause, and Yoo-jin joins in, thinking, “Good job, Seol Nae-il.” It’s like she can hear the thought as she nods back him, and Yoon-hoo notices their silent communication with a dip in his spirits.

We hear that Teacher Yoon came at Yoon-hoo’s request, but she informs him not to expect any more of her—Nae-il is no more than the girl who ran out of her master class. Yoon-hoo explains that he was afraid the teacher would let her prejudice close her ears to Nae-il’s playing in the final round (which she’s judging), so he wanted her to listen to Nae-il before then.

As they await the results, Nae-il fidgets nervously, simultaneously confident that her performance was good and worried that it wasn’t good enough. Teacher Do is just as nervous, but advises her to never let down her guard even if she feels confident, because arrogance makes a musician too lax.

Yoo-jin gets Nae-il’s text as he’s running to rehearsal, and although he’s just as anxious to know how she did, the moment he reads that she passed the first round, he says confidently, “Of course you did.”

Time for the Rising Stars to vote on a soloist. The orchestra is still divided down the middle, so when Il-lac moons all over Shi-won, his friends mutter, “Traitor.” Aw, can’t a guy even have a crush without being all political about it?

Yoo-jin counts the votes, and his furrowed brow alerts us to shenanigans. Both sides have schemed to keep the other side from “winning”: The S members divided their votes so that no A members could amass enough to win, and the A members voted for someone they could manipulate into giving up: Il-lac.

Il-lac is stunned to hear Yoo-jin pronounce him the winner and protests, asking if there was a mistake. Despite knowing otherwise, Yoo-jin says pointedly, “I’ll choose to think that everyone voted for the sake of the orchestra. I’ll trust that there was no other intention.”

The A members suggest that Il-lac choose a new soloist since he isn’t up for it, and Il-lac is happy to agree, naming Shi-won. But it’s Yoo-jin who cuts him off and reminds everyone that they agreed beforehand to abide by the votes, holding them to their promise. He names the Tchaikovsky violin concerto (which was Il-lac’s audition selection) as their performance piece, and the A’s glare in disgruntlement. Hey, it’s not Yoo-jin’s fault your dumb idea backfired.

Even so, Il-lac suggests that Yoo-jin open a revote or reconsider the matter, hesitantly asking if Yoo-jin is angry that he was named the soloist. Yoo-jin answers yes, making Il-lac momentarily more woebegone before clarifying that it’s because the A members have no respect for Il-lac. They knew he’d be afraid of ruining the concert for everyone and would take himself out of the running.

Instead of caving to their expectations, Yoo-jin tells Il-lac to prepare for three-hour lessons every day, “so that those guys can’t say a word about you.”

Aw, I love Yoo-jin’s continued trust in his friends. Il-lac stammers a bit that Yoo-jin likes him too much, but he’s obviously touched and encouraged by the show of faith.

When Yoo-jin comes home, Nae-il is there to surprise him (ineffectively, since he’s unsurprised to find her there) and asks him to praise her for doing well today. He merely replies, “You’ll do an even better job in the future,” which isn’t quite praise but is almost more effective, since he’s treating her success as a foregone conclusion.

They trim bean sprouts together as they chat about the solo selection, and he admits being surprised at the extent of the feuding; he’d believed the members would think of the orchestra more than their in-fighting. She asks if he was disappointed in his members, and he admits that he was.

Just as I’m thinking of how they strike me as a cozy old married couple, Nae-il comments on it too. She sighs that it’s nice to have Yoo-jin confiding in her, at which point he tosses away a sprout and barks at her to practice. Apparently the only way to get Yoo-jin to enjoy domesticity is to trick him into it.

Nae-il worries about her second round song selection, hoping she’ll be able to play a composer she feels “friendly” with. This turns out to be something of a struggle, as Teacher Do runs down the approved list of pieces, all of which are unfamiliar to Nae-il. Thus far she’s only played things she liked, which explains the gaping holes in her repertoire, now a clear source of chagrin for Teacher Do.

But there’s one piece on the list that she’s played before, a Chopin etude (“Winter Wind”). She looks rather scared at the thought of it but she gives it a try, playing it from memory. Her fingers fly over the keys as her mind flashes back to the last time she played it: She’d been a child, and the display of her talent had her teacher excited to develop her further. Yet it’s not a happy memory…

Watching her now, Teacher Do thinks how Nae-il isn’t “just good”—she’s amazingly, unnervingly good. Yoo-jin can hear it from outside the practice room door, where Yoon-hoo joins him to wonder why Nae-il’s piano is only now being heard by the world.

Yoon-hoo sighs that he wants to show off her playing to others, but also wants to hide it away as a treasure because it makes him uneasy—similar to Nae-il’s own thoughts regarding Yoo-jin’s conducting.

He supposes that Yoo-jin feels the same, but instead gets back a different reply: that it’s up to Nae-il to decide what to do with herself, because she’s not an object. He says it without judgment, but I still kinda want to say, Booyah.

And then, Yoon-hoo informs Yoo-jin that he’s applying to the conducting department, and with Streseman’s recommendation to boot. So when Yoo-jin is called in to see the maestro, he asks why he wasn’t told about it, only to be reminded that it’s not something he should find a big deal. The maestro has bigger plans for Yoo-jin, starting with the idea to travel to Europe together, which he has already cleared with Dean Mina.

Yoo-jin is taken aback by the proposal, but Streseman asks directly if he isn’t going to go abroad—does he plan to keep conducting the Rising Stars even after he graduates? He points out that Nae-il gets to study in Europe if she places first in the competition, and asks if that had anything to do with Yoo-jin encouraging her to compete. And if so, is he really not going to go with her? I don’t suppose any of this is news to Yoo-jin, who seems like he’s consciously aware of his motivations, but it’s hard to shy away when it’s stated so plainly like this.

Il-lac feels dejected over the way the orchestra vote went down, but Shi-won assures him that he deserves this solo and can do a good job. She’s sweet in the supportive (almost?) girlfriend role, though in this case it may be even more meaningful to throw her support to him as concertmaster, and she tells him to do a good job.

Bolstered, Il-lac promises to do well enough that the others won’t be able to say a word against him, putting a finger to her lips in a silencing gesture… and then he sneaks that finger to his own lips in a sneak-kissy move. Lol. One of these days, you’ll work up the guts for a real kiss! At least you’d better.

But his confidence just isn’t there in orchestra rehearsal, where his intonation is all off and he’s missing shifts and sounding like a mess. His detractors smirk to themselves, while his friends look on in concern. Yoo-jin corrects him kindly, but is clearly dismayed at Il-lac’s subpar playing. Although everyone’s nice to his face about it, Il-lac’s clearly feeling vulnerable.

Nae-il practices her competition piece furiously, haunted by the memory of her teacher’s harsh lessons with this same etude. She has to force herself to chase aside the bad thoughts, and reminds herself to focus on coming in first place so she can accompany Yoo-jin to Europe.

Streseman watches from the hallway as Nae-il plays through her bad memories, then approaches with concern. He asks how she’s feeling, noting that her feelings come through loud and clear in her playing, and that her face looks harsher than the bitter winter wind evoked by the song.

Nae-il apologizes for letting other thoughts in while she’s practicing, but Streseman advises her to utilize her emotions, to pour all of herself into her playing. She has nothing to fear in front of the piano, he says—and once she lets everything out, she can be free to return to her normal, happier self. The words seem to have an effect on Nae-il, who promises not to avoid confronting her feelings.

Yoo-jin directs violin lessons with Il-lac, which aren’t going as well as hoped for, and picks up on a recent change in Il-lac’s playing. Il-lac admits to purposely pulling back because he’s afraid of getting carried away by his feelings, only to have Yoo-jin assure him that he shouldn’t lose that ability. As long as he doesn’t go overboard, he should be able to lose himself in the performance.

The advice renews Il-lac’s enthusiasm, with Yoo-jin giving him the greenlight to return to himself. He resumes playing, and already the results are improved.

Nae-il waits outside that evening, excitedly waving at the distance at an approaching figure until she belatedly realizes that it’s Yoon-hoo, not Yoo-jin. He notes her disappointment, and also her chilled appearance, reaching to drape his scarf around her neck. Nae-il shrinks back involuntarily, though, and adds that his constant teasing makes it seem that he likes her.

He asks if it would be such a bad thing, but Nae-il replies that he can’t like her. She excuses herself, leaving Yoon-hoo to sigh that he rushed things.

He joins Yoo-jin in the cafeteria later to announce that Nae-il rejected him. Yoo-jin’s first reaction is to smile; his second is to ask why Yoon-hoo’s telling him this. Yoon-hoo explains that he has nobody to tell, and that the gang wouldn’t take his side anyway. Yoo-jin supposes that he doesn’t have many friends, being the type to take things on himself. Spoken like an expert in the matter.

Yoon-hoo guesses that Yoo-jin knows that from experience, and proposes a ceasefire, just until Nae-il wins her competition. Yoo-jin replies that he hasn’t been fighting with Yoon-hoo, but his face sure takes on a conflicted look when Yoon-hoo states his intention to follow Nae-il abroad to study music. Isn’t Yoo-jin going to go too?

It certainly isn’t that he doesn’t want to, and the idea brings on another flashback to his childhood plane accident.

The Rising Stars hear that they’ll be entering into a competition of university orchestras, and scoff at the idea of using Il-lac’s solo to go up against formidable rivals, particularly one led by a conductor who was taught in Germany. The news has everyone determined to up their game.

Round 2 of the piano competition arrives, and Nae-il texts Yoo-jin to ask him to make sure to see her play. She isn’t quite “friends” with this composer, she says, but she’s acquainted with him and promises to work hard.

She’ll need to, because the competition heats up and one particular pianist, named Ka-ram, attracts everyone’s notice as the one to beat. To make matters worse, there’s a familiar face in the crowd: Nae-il’s childhood teacher.

Nae-il waits for a reply text from Yoo-jin but doesn’t get one, as he’s currently stuck in traffic trying to get to her performance in time. He ends up ditching the taxi and running on foot, arriving just as she’s beginning.

Yoon-hoo isn’t surprised to see that Teacher Yoon is back today, and when she asks why he didn’t specifically request her presence here, he replies that he knew she’d come anyway. Ha.

Nae-il comes out wearing a long face, and everyone puzzles over her obvious heavy mood. She looks downright angry as she plays the etude—fiercely, almost frantically—and the judges shake their heads that she’s playing way too fast. It’s a far cry from the perfect performance she showed with her textbook Haydn in Round 1.

Yoo-jin knows it’s a rocky performance and Teacher Do says grimly that it’s all over. Nae-il is so upset with herself afterward that she won’t come out of the bathroom, despairing that she ruined everything.

Yoon-hoo says optimistically that Nae-il put in a good performance—it just didn’t happen to suit the competition. On the other hand, Teacher Do barks that a player has to be prepared to follow competition rules when they come to a competition. You’ve gotta play the game to win the game.

Still, they crowd around the bulletin board hopefully when the results are posted, and are elated to see that Nae-il’s name made the list after all. Teacher Do exults, and holds up a hand for a high-five that gets left hilariously hanging.

We see in a flashback that Teacher Yoon had played an instrumental role in swaying the judging panel in Nae-il’s favor. They’d agreed that she had talent but had been ready to drop her anyway; she’d ignored the competition’s rules and played too much in her own way.

And so, Teacher Yoon had pointed out that she’d like to see more of Nae-il’s playing, which had a personal appeal. The other judges had admitted to the same curiosity over what she’d play next, and had decided to advance her.

Yoo-jin calls Nae-il with the good news, texting her the message when she refuses to answer the calls out of shame, thinking she’d failed. The good news lures her out and she launches herself at Yoo-jin in a fierce attack-hug (I love that Yoo-jin is attacked regularly with hugs, and that he obviously doesn’t mind them anymore).

Teacher Do rescues Yoo-jin from the hug and drags Nae-il away to prepare for the final round. Meanwhile the student expected to win, Ka-ram, also advances to the finals, and it turns out that she’s a student of Nae-il’s mean old teacher.

Nae-il’s name is distinctive enough to catch the teacher’s eye, and when Ka-ram asks about her, the teacher sniffs that while Nae-il is very talented, she’s nobody to worry about because she can’t handle competitions.

Be that as it may, Nae-il’s confidence meter is back to full as Teacher Do goes over the selection for finals. She’s unfamiliar with the pieces, so he selects Liszt’s “La Campanella” for her, and they get to work.

Orchestra rehearsals continue, and Il-lac’s playing is much improved, to the relief of all his friends. In fact, it’s the arrogant trumpet player who squawks in the middle of a run-through, and Yoo-jin makes it a point to tell everyone to put in additional individual practice. (Cutely, when he says he won’t single out the mistake-maker, Su-min points a finger immediately in Trumpet’s direction, having no problem with it.)

Despite the progress, Il-lac has second thoughts and worries to Yoo-jin about making a mistake during the concert. He hems and haws before getting to his point, asking if it’s possible to swap soloists and have Shi-won play the concerto instead.

Yoo-jin flatly denies the request, asking what happened to Il-lac’s renewed drive. He assures Il-lac that he’ll perform well if he continues to practice, closing the door to further argument.

Nae-il works through her competition piece, thinking herself through the interpretation as she plays, and Teacher Do is amazed. Not just at her progress, but the fact that she got here all on her own, because he didn’t teach her any of this. “How can such a person exist?” he wonders.

Teacher Do calls Yoo-jin to request his help, which must have to do with Nae-il’s absorption in practice. Yoo-jin finds her playing at the studio late into the night until she literally conks out at the piano, falling asleep on the keys.

He carries her home on his back, and she sleepily asks him to come to Europe with her. Yoo-jin replies that it would be nice if he could, and when she promises to make it so, he thanks her for the thought.

Then when she promises to work hard so she won’t be embarrassed in front of him, Yoo-jin answers that she doesn’t have to win first place. He says she was right before when she talked about playing freely and with enjoyment, because she has to be happy in her playing in order for her listeners to be happy. Nae-il comments that he’s changed a lot, but adds that she still wants to take first place.

Soon it’s the day of finals, and Mini Min-hee and Mom head over to cheer Nae-il on. Nae-il is in good spirits as she prepares backstage… until she comes face to face with her old teacher in the hallway. Ack.

The teacher is just SO condescending about having expected Nae-il to have quit already, and essentially sniffs that Nae-il is wasting her time since her student Ka-ram will take this competition.

The encounter has Nae-il deeply rattled, and exacerbating the matter is seeing Ka-ram playing the same Liszt piece she’s selected. Other competitors comment that they’re glad they didn’t pick the same song, lest they be compared unfavorably.

Nae-il is slated to follow her, and the old nerves resurface as she’s instructed to head outside for her turn. Choking back her panic, Nae-il gets up—and bolts the other way.

She runs out the back door and through the lobby, stopping only when her escape path is blocked by a new arrival. Yoo-jin.


Korean Drama Pinocchio Episode 4 Recap

Korean Drama Pinocchio Episode 4 Recap

By: Dramabeans

We rewind a little to see that Dad finds the kids on the rooftop and hides out of sight, just in time to watch Dal-po try to stop In-ha’s day-long bout of hiccups, over having to lie that things went great with Mom and she’s totally fine giving up on journalism altogether. In-ha knows that Dal-po gave up college for her, and says she can’t live off of his taxi-driving income forever.

But Dal-po stops her from burning all her books by declaring that he needs them now, because he’s going to become a reporter too. Just like that, her hiccups stop, and fireworks explode in the distance.

As they head back down with her suitcase full of books, In-ha offers to give Dal-po her precious notes that she spent three years compiling. She worries about Grandpa finding out that Dal-po isn’t dumb, but he’s not concerned at all, since he plans to keep his cabbie job and just study intermittently because he’s positive he won’t be hired. Ah, okay, this helps me understand your whim a little better. He says there’s a zero-percent chance that a taxi driver will get hired as a reporter, and she corrects him that their chances are the same: fifty-fifty, pass or fail. For her sake, he agrees.

At home, Grandpa helps them put her books back, and In-ha’s already on edge just dreading the inevitable blowup with Dad over her breaking their contract. Grandpa wisely tells them that there’s no forcing someone to think your thoughts, parents and children alike.

When Dad comes home In-ha rushes out to greet him, but just as she draws in a big breath to blurt it out (while hiding behind Dal-po, heh), Dad cuts in to ask Dal-po for a chat. They leave In-ha and Grandpa behind, wondering why she’s being left out of a conversation about her career.

Outside, Dal-po starts to try and sway Dad on In-ha’s behalf (and when they’re alone, he’s back to calling him Ajusshi). He says that In-ha can’t give up on her dream, and haltingly quotes Grandpa’s advice about not being able to control your kids and all that. But Dad isn’t here to talk about journalism—he confesses that he saw them up on the roof earlier, and Dal-po immediately tenses up. This is a conversation about that other thing.

Dad’s a straight-shooter as always, and asks Dal-po if he has feelings for In-ha, or if he has the wrong idea yet again. This time Dal-po doesn’t bother trying to deny it, and admits that he does. He says he doesn’t know since when: “Just that it’s been a long time.”

Dad doesn’t raise his voice or show any signs of anger, and just explains honestly that In-ha is his only daughter, so to him, she’s the most beautiful and precious girl in the world, and no man will ever be good enough for her. Dal-po cuts in to say it himself—that he’s severely lacking, and that he knows he overstepped. Ugh, I love them both, so this conversation hurts no matter which way you look at it.

Dal-po assures Dad that he’s never once been greedy about his feelings and won’t be in the future either. Dad keeps trying to interject but Dal-po doesn’t let him, and I’m dying to know what he would say if given a chance. Dal-po: “The thing you’re worried about won’t happen—to me, this family comes first. I won’t ever do anything to break that.” He says he’ll clean up his feelings, and Dad thanks him.

When they get back home, In-ha runs out of the bathroom mid-toothbrushing, and spits out her prepared speech at Dad while foaming at the mouth. Dad has this hilarious moment where he stands there looking at In-ha while hearing his own words playing back in his head, about how she’s the prettiest girl in the world and needs to be protected.

He shoves her back into the bathroom and calls her embarrassing, and he’s so focused on that that when she asks in between if she can stick with journalism, he tells her to do whatever she wants. I love that he can’t even look Dal-po in the eye, he’s so embarrassed of her.

Hyung’s supervisor at work takes pictures of his dented bumper and tells him to get some money out of the other guy to fix it. Hyung just says that bumpers are meant to be bumped, and asks again for the supervisor to help him get a side job on the crew that’s demolishing a nearby factory. Oh, is this the factory Firefighter Dad died in? The man asks if he isn’t afraid, since the factory is rumored to have ghosts, and Hyung just thinks to himself that even in ghost form, he’d like to see him.

In-ha shows Dal-po the open call auditions for one last network this season: YGN. Woot! She says they actually have a shot at this network, since they’re only looking at skills and not education, and plans to keep her Pinocchio syndrome hidden this time, unless asked directly.

She gives Dal-po a stack of books to start with, and figures it’ll take him a month to study them. He scans the stack and says he’ll be done in a week, and reminds her of his crazy speed-reading and memorization skills. Dal-po seems much more guarded around In-ha now, gently extracting himself if she links arms, or catching himself staring at her and shaking the thoughts away.

He sits down at his desk and begins to study, and wakes up at the crack of dawn to go around the apartment complex and read the neighbors’ papers and take notes. He has to hide when Grandpa comes by, but doesn’t notice when Grandpa comes back out to peek at him. As suspected, he seems to have known all this time that Dal-po isn’t a dummy, and he smiles to himself to see Dal-po hard at work.

In-ha and Dal-po spend their days at the library (where he sits by the window just to keep the sun out of her eyes), and she coaches him on his enunciation, which is so frustrating that she resorts to stretching his mouth sideways just to get the right sounds, heh.

Grandpa sneaks into Dal-po’s room late at night while he’s slumped over at his desk, and opens up all his comic books to find their guts replaced with journalism books. Funny how most kids spend high school doing the reverse.

Grandpa pets him sweetly, and seems to make up his mind about something. The next morning, he’s a man on a mission, and goes to the bookstore to buy the latest hip men’s magazine. The bookstore clerk tries to tell him that’s for the young’uns, and Gramps is like, Yeah duh.

He calls Dal-po out and drags him kicking and screaming into a beauty salon, where he whips out his magazine and starts quoting verbatim the “dandy block haircut” in “ash brown” that he wants. Hahaha. I love it—we get a makeover, and it’s forced on him by Gramps.

Dal-po just squirms and asks why they’re not at the barbershop like always, and Grandpa just shushes him. Next they go shopping, and again Grandpa quotes the F/W trends right out of his magazine, and demands a “charcoal gray minimalist two-button suit.” He waits in anticipation as Dal-po tries it on, and we finally get the big reveal…


Okay, that was worth waiting four episodes for. So pretty. Even Grandpa is shocked, and he grins from ear to ear: “Who are you?” Dal-po feels so awkward that Grandpa has to coax him to smile while he takes pictures for his resume, but eventually he loosens up.

As they head toward the bus stop, Dal-po stops to look at his reflection and asks, “Father, are you okay? Looking like this… it feels like I’m not your son.” But Grandpa just laughs at him and says, “You are my son. See, you look just like me!”

Grandpa takes the opportunity to tell Dal-po that he doesn’t have to keep lying for his sake, and Dal-po looks over at him in alarm as Grandpa finally admits, “I know that you kept yourself hidden for my sake, to be my son.”

Dal-po hurries after him onto the bus and kneels by his seat, fraught with worry and eyes filling with tears. Grandpa tells him that he knew after only one year together, but kept it hidden because he thought that In-ha’s dad would kick him out if he let on that he knew the truth.

Dal-po’s tears spill out, and Grandpa says that at first he did it because he felt bad for Dal-po, “But now it’s because of me, because I want to keep you by my side.” Could there be anything more heartwarming? Great, now I’m crying.

Grandpa tells him to stop hiding himself from now on, and to live as impressively as he was meant to. He pats Dal-po on the head and tells him that he’s okay now. All Dal-po can manage to say the whole time is, “Father…” and he just buries his face on Grandpa’s shoulder to cry. Grandpa hugs him close: “I’m sorry, Dal-po. Thank you, Dal-po.”

When they get home, Dad comes to greet them with a quizzical look on his face: “Who…?” HA, he actually has no idea that it’s Dal-po. Dad still doesn’t believe it when Grandpa tells him it’s his hyung, but In-ha recognizes him right away and run up with her jaw on the floor.

Grandpa says Dal-po is smart and handsome because he takes after his father, and winks at Dal-po to play along. Dad is doubly floored, especially when he sees that his “precious beautiful” daughter is standing there wearing her hoodie backwards (to use the hood as a snack pouch—genius!), looking like a complete slob next to shiny new Dal-po.

He yells at her to throw away those ugly rotten sweats, and she counters that Dad’s the one who bought them for her. “Yeah, but I didn’t know you’d wear them for a thousand days!” She reminds him that he told her she was prettier than Miss Korea, and Dad says he must’ve been drunk. I love these two.

Dad’s logic is hilariously backwards, and he argues that if she keeps looking like a slob, Dal-po will think he has a shot with her. (Right, because if she’s pretty all the time, that’s going to stop him from crushing on her?) In-ha finds the whole thing ridiculous anyway, and says that Dal-po’s never once seen her as a woman, and she’s never once seen him as a man.

She means it too, since she doesn’t hiccup afterwards, and Dal-po listens from his room with a long face. Aw. But he doesn’t overhear the last part, where she turns back around to get one thing straight with Dad: Dal-po isn’t just someone he can belittle, because no matter how much it aggravates her, he’s smart enough to do in one month what she couldn’t in three years.

She says he’s got everything—looks, brains, and personality—though of course she’s quick to add that she does too. Dal-po takes the false comic book covers off of his books and gets back to studying, and In-ha goes to her room wondering why it’s suddenly so hot in here, blaming Dad for saying crazy things.

One month later. YGN’s “blind” auditions for broadcast news reporters gets underway, and our future rookie foursome assembles for the first time among the hopefuls. (Yoo-rae we met while she was auditioning over at MSC, so it’s natural she’d also apply here, while chaebol Beom-jo is probably here for the sole purpose of finding his Pinocchio, I’d wager.)

As the audition process gets reported as a special news feature, the staff over at MSC calls it a cheap ploy to get ratings… but then wonders what they can do to out-maneuver them. Mom notices In-ha among the group and takes it in with silent disapproval.

As they wait for the camera test portion, Dal-po asks In-ha to sell his dream back to him and return the button necklace, since it was bad luck on her last audition. But she counters that it also led to them passing the written rounds and getting this far together, and refuses to give it back.

They get called in for their camera test in a group of five, and both Yoo-rae and Beom-jo are in their group. Yoo-rae recognizes In-ha as that weirdo she ran into at MSC, while In-ha doesn’t remember her at all.

The more disconcerting thing is the way Beom-jo keeps looking over at her and smiling, and Dal-po is the first to notice and find it uncomfortable. Has he already found Pinocchio?

We go back to earlier that morning, when Beom-jo heads out for his audition and Chaebol Mommy calls to check on him and worries that he won’t be able to find Pinocchio this way. He assures her that he’ll recognize her in a heartbeat (since In-ha texted “Mom” pictures of herself over the years).

Mommy asks if he wants her to check if she passed the written test and will be among the final applicants, since otherwise he needn’t bother trying to become a reporter. What? These two are so weird; it’s a wonder that a mama’s boy like this even became a functioning adult, though I guess that part remains to be seen.

He agrees, until he stops at a red light and notices In-ha on the bus and recognizes her right away. He opens his convertible top to try and get her attention, and Dal-po asks if it’s someone she knows because he keeps staring at her. She has no idea who he is, and when Beom-jo winks at her, Dal-po scootches her behind him like a guard dog.

Back at the audition, Dal-po doesn’t like the way Beom-jo keeps looking at In-ha and steps in between them. Beom-jo remains sunny and clueless, and the lineup gets reordered so that he gets to stand next to In-ha.

The judges arrive, and YGN’s reporter-turned-PD-turned-section-chief Gyo-dong is among them. His bosses Director Lee (the same principled boss who argued against jumping to conclusions about Firefighter Dad back in the day) and Editor Jo nag him to shave once in a while, though they figure it’s a victory that he even managed to put on a suit.

Dal-po recognizes him on sight, and mutters under his breath, “Of all the people…” Gyo-dong doesn’t even look up at them initially, but once he finally does, a flicker of recognition crosses over his face. Does he recognize Dal-po?

The camera test begins, and the five reporters are shown a clip of an event that they are to report on the fly. The fact that it’s the same clip five times does give the last person a huge advantage over the first person, and Dal-po happens to be first. It’s a clip of a bird attacking a cat and getting killed in the process, and Dal-po gives the dry, facts-only version of the events. Yoo-rae goes next and adds more color, including some interpretation of the cat and bird’s behaviors, and an adage that it reminds her of.

The third guy changes it up dramatically with a sympathetic angle, and says that the reason for the bird’s attack was in defense of its nest, and the mother bird died protecting its young. In-ha’s turn is next, and everyone expects her to build on the last guy’s report. But to their surprise, she reverts back to Dal-po’s dry facts-only version.

She looks disappointed, and Gyo-dong asks why she chose to report it that way, and she says that she thought the last report was a very good one, but she couldn’t repeat it because she can’t lie. They ask why she can’t lie, and both Dal-po and Beom-jo chirp in unison, “Because we’re reporters!”

Dal-po speaks up and says that they’re supposed to report the truth, and based on the video clip, they can’t know what the bird or cat was thinking, or whether or not there’s a nest offscreen that motivated the attack. In-ha finds her confidence and chimes in to say that a reporter’s job is to only report confirmed facts. Director Lee presses, “Even if it leads to a broadcast accident?” She deflates and lets out a small, “Yes…”

Last up is Beom-jo, and he goes even further to say that he won’t give a report at all, because he deems the clip inconclusive and therefore not newsworthy. He says he agrees with In-ha that a broadcast accident is better than reporting something false.

The judges go over the applications after the camera test, and express frustration at the blind part of the process (background, education). They heard that there’s a taxi driver and even a saseng fan (someone who stalks idols) among the hopefuls, and wonder if they were eliminated in early rounds.

They shrink back when Yoo-rae presses up against the glass wall behind them, stalker that she is, desperate to listen in. Editor Jo laughs that it reminds him of Gyo-dong back in his rookie days, and Gyo-dong coughs awkwardly.

Dal-po and In-ha wait on pins and needles for the announcement to be made, and In-ha worries that she’ll have brought Dal-po down with her. He says that’s better, since he only wants to make it if they both do, but she argues that at least one of them should go on, whichever one of them it is.

He takes issue with her wording, implying that she’d be fine to continue on without him, and traps her against the wall so she can’t scurry away. She artfully tries to backpedal but knows she’s been caught, but I can hardly process what she’s saying because it looks like he’s going to kiss her.

She sinks to the ground and he slides all the way down the wall with her, and tells her that at least for him, it doesn’t work that way—if she doesn’t make it, he’ll drop out too. There’s a long moment where they just stare, and she finally looks away and wonders why it’s so hot in here.

Beom-jo comes up and pouts to see them looking cozy, and shouts as loud as possible that the results of the camera test are up. They all run over to the screen, and of course the four characters we care about have all made it to the final round.

Grandpa is delighted to get the news, while Dad tenses up to realize that In-ha and Dal-po could be hired at the same station and go to work together every day. It’s funny that it hadn’t occurred to him until now, and he starts to imagine the kids getting ready for work in the morning like a couple.

Dal-po makes sure that In-ha eats breakfast, and In-ha pops a wedge of toast in her mouth as she fixes Dal-po’s tie. Dad starts to sputter in protest, as Dal-po says coyly that he finds tie-tying such difficult work, and leans in to take a bite of her toast with it still hanging in her mouth.

Whoa. How come I never knew toast was sexy until now? Thanks for the visual, Dad. He gets so worked up that he hurls a pillow at his own waking nightmare, only to hit Grandpa upside the head. Pffft. Gramps gives him a pillow beating in return.

The final test at YGN is a survival roundtable debate, and the director turns on a news broadcast of their topic for discussion. Dal-po is in good spirits… until he turns to face the screen and sees the report of the fire that tore his family apart thirteen years ago. Gack, of all the topics.

It’s a reel of the various outlets’ reports, including footage of In-ha’s mom at MSC. Dal-po can barely hide his anger, and swallows back his tears. Director Lee says that it’s an old case but one that remains controversial especially in how it was presented in the media, and asks the group to discuss how they would report it today.

As they begin the debate, Yoo-rae raises her hand to ask what happened to the missing firefighter—is he still missing? Gyo-dong finally looks up for the first time, and says that Firefighter Dad’s skeletal remains were just discovered a few days ago. Omg. This is how Dal-po finds out his father is dead? Yikes. We go back to the plant demolition a few days back, where Firefighter Dad’s remains are dug up in the process. Hyung is there on site, and breaks down when he sees the final confirmation that his father has been dead all these years.

The debate begins, and Dal-po looks like he’s having a panic attack, and loosens his tie to just keep breathing. Yoo-rae argues that the press handled the story badly, while Beom-jo counters that they only reported what the police determined to be true. Yoo-rae thinks that a good reporter should dig for the answers herself instead of relying on secondhand information.

In-ha says that the Pinocchio witness is the key to this tragedy, and that it’s because the reporters and police all believed the Pinocchio’s statement. She argues that they had no choice but to believe him though, since there is no testimony as certain as one from a person who can’t lie. She says it’s a tragedy that the firefighter died, but calls it simply a case of bad luck.

Dal-po’s blood boils as she speaks, and he can’t help but see flashes of her mother as she talks—the same confidence behind her words, convinced that she’s right. He finally speaks up to ask her directly if she really thinks that there’s no one responsible for this, and gives her an ice-cold stare.

He says that people believe that Pinocchios and reporters only tell the truth, and Pinocchio and reporter alike should have known that—the weight of their words, accepted as truth. He explodes as he shouts that it’s their mistake for not being careful with their words: “That carelessness destroyed one family! And they should be held responsible.”

She fights back and says that the Pinocchio witness only told what he believed to be true. Dal-po calms down and says coldly, “I see now why a Pinocchio can never be a reporter.” Ouuuuch. He continues, “How dangerous it is for a person who disregards the fact that they could be wrong to become a reporter, how scary it is to talk carelessly without knowing the weight of your own words—I get that now.”

In-ha grits her teeth and tries not to betray how hurt she is, as she asks if he’s saying this to her. He doesn’t look away and says yes. The panel catches on and they ask her directly if she’s a Pinocchio, and she has to answer yes. She starts to cry and gets up to run away, but can’t manage to open the door. Beom-jo stands up to say that he’s leaving too, and opens the door to walk out with her. Aw, is she giving up?

It’s only after this that Gyo-dong places Dal-po’s face as the quiz show kid who railed at him eight years ago. Director Lee asks if he’s left an impression on him too, and Gyo-dong says it’s not that—he’s met that kid before.

Beom-jo just silently follows In-ha into the elevator, and then asks if she’s upset because that guy betrayed her. She says no, since it was a debate and Dal-po is totally free to have a contrary opinion. It’s just… she knows it’s irrational but she just wanted Dal-po to take her side, because he’s Dal-po. That alone makes her angry at herself, and she wonders why she’s being like this.

He asks if she likes this Dal-po guy, and she says indignantly, “No, not all!” *HICCUP* Eeee! She’s more shocked than he is, and thinks she’s crazy. She swears it isn’t true, but just keeps hiccupping.

Dal-po throws up in the restroom and heads outside for some air, but just falls to his knees in tears, crying for his father and pounding his chest in agony.

In-ha is still hiccupping when she gets to the lobby, and whirls around to say that this can’t be happening—Dal-po is her uncle, and he even has a girlfriend. She starts pounding her chest too, and says, “That’s not it. It can’t be. It can’t be! If it is…”


Korean Drama King's Face Episode 1 Recap

Korean Drama King's Face Episode 1 Recap

By: Dramabeans

We open on a chaotic scene as ministers of Joseon gather in protest outside the quarters of KING SEONJO (Lee Sung-jae), asking him to rescind his order to have the crown prince dethroned.

While the crown princess’ son is torn from her arms and attendants of the court are cut down in cold blood, PRINCE GWANGHAE (Seo In-gook) stands in front all the portraits of the kings who came before.

He focuses specifically on King Sejong’s portrait as he takes note of how his features were harmonious, signifying the peaceful era that would come about during his rule. “His is truly the face of a king,” Gwanghae thinks.

It’s 1608, the forty-first—and final—year of King Seonjo’s reign. Gwanghae is wanted for treason, and though the ministers outside question the king’s command, Seonjo coldly quells the protest by killing one of the more outspoken ministers.

Moments before royal guards would come to surround him with their swords drawn, Gwanghae looks up at the wall of kings and asks, “Do I truly have the face of someone not meant to be king?”

Gwanghae’s voice narrates a shot of a book hidden beneath the statue of a dragon. In it is written, “If a ruler without the ideal facial features becomes king, the people will starve. The royal servants will listen only to their own voices. The whole country will fall into chaos and face a great calamity. The one with the face of a king must become the king of Joseon.”

Rewind to the year 1589, the twenty-second year of King Seonjo’s reign. He wakes from a nightmare/memory of his childhood, where the court’s face reader had foretold that he would bring disaster to the nation if he were to become king, citing his unsuitable features and the Yongahn Biseo, the secret book of physiognomy that’s been handed down since Joseon was founded.

But when the ailing king suddenly died—leaving Seonjo was next in line for the throne—the face reader wielded a sword on the then-prince Seonjo, prepared to kill him for the good of the country.

In the present, King Seonjo is taken to a village suffering from an outbreak of the plague. Those who aren’t burning in mass graves are vomiting blood, but Seonjo surprises his attendants when he takes the hand of a man who collapses at his feet.

“Do not worry,” Seonjo tells the sick man. “I will save you. I will not leave my people in despair.” One of the villagers calls him out for lying—how is he supposed to save them when he can’t even feed them?

Their starvation comes as news to Seonjo, who sets to rectify it by opening the palace’s food storage to the people. Okay, there’s got to be a gimmick here.

And there is, since we see Seonjo’s true face once he’s not having to put on a show in front of his citizens. He asks that those villagers who stood up to him be taught a lesson. In secret.

He made the face reader who tried to kill him pay for his crime all those years ago as well, since we see Seonjo Lite presiding over the would-be assassin’s torture.

Even with his eyes gouged out, the face reader had prophesied that Seonjo’s pointed chin would stab the hearts and minds of the people. Even then, his words were less of a condemnation and more of a warning, which Seonjo still remembers vividly.

We meet a younger and less burdened Prince Gwanghae as he punks his eunuch IM YOUNG-SHIN during his acupuncture session, being performed not by a doctor, but by one of the court face readers.

Gwanghae has full faith in his abilities even if Eunuch Im doesn’t, since a face reader would know the pressure points of the face better than a plain ole doctor. Nice to see someone with a sense of humor up in here.

The face reader named GO SAN performing the acupuncture is called to meet with Seonjo, who claims he only hired Reader Go due to his claim that a woman existed capable of changing the dark fate Seonjo’s face is doomed to bring about.

Seonjo gives Reader Go one month to find that woman so he can make her his consort, orelse. It’s on his orders that Gwanghae has been getting his face poked and prodded every day, because Seonjo is convinced that the only way he can coexist with his son, whom he sees as competition.

That night, Gwanghae sneaks into the royal library to read a book on physiognomy, all while checking what the text says against the features he sees in the mirror.

Everything about his face points to good fortune, which only makes him more upset—he knows that his father is trying to use acupuncture to change his face. He just doesn’t know why.

After killing the royal guards posted outside the library, their assassins use their uniforms as a disguise to enter. When Gwanghae confronts the two intruders, they draw their swords against him.

Gwanghae drops to his knees to plead for his life, and uses the moment the assassins are temporarily caught off guard to engage them in a fight. He’s no stranger to martial arts, that’s for sure, and uses his skills as well as his environment to fend off his attackers.

Whether he’s employing books as blade blockers or his own fists, Gwanghae darts and dives between the two, knowing when to strike and when to dodge in a pretty nifty action sequence.

But he gets no answers from the assassins even after downing one with a solid kick, since they turn tail and run.

Gwanghae pursues them through the palace, overtaking one with a flying leap that sends them both rolling to the ground. He doesn’t blink twice when the assassin pulls a Joseon switchblade on him, and subdues him by twisting his arm.

Only then does he see a tattoo of five dots on the man’s arm, right before the royal army arrives. The assassin uses the distraction to gain the upper hand, and swings behind Gwanghae so he can hold a knife to his throat and use him as a human shield against all the soldiers with arrows at the ready.

King Seonjo arrives, and orders the soldiers to shoot regardless of the fact that his son could get hurt. The soldiers still can’t, so Seonjo takes a bow and arrow and aims it right at Gwanghae, who looks heartbroken and scared.

Then Seonjo lets the arrow fly… right past Gwanghae’s head and into the assassin’s hand, just moments before he could plunge his blade into the prince’s neck.

Gwanghae manages to stand and have an oddly small-talk conversation with his stern father afterward, only to collapse again the second Seonjo turns his back.

After he recovers, he finds his father heading the torture of the captured assassin. The assassin finally confesses that he broke into the library to steal the Yongahn Biseo in order to prove that Seonjo’s face is not that of a king.

He claims to have been sent by the future king of Joseon, the one who’ll save their country from the plague and starvation caused by a king who should never have taken the throne.

Seonjo doesn’t like the sound of that, so he uses his guard’s sword to cut the man down. From his unseen vantage point, Gwanghae is able to witness this as well as the murder of every guard present for the torture. All done under his father’s order.

Just when it seems like Gwanghae escaped unnoticed, he comes face to face with his father. They retire to the royal steam room (I know!) to have a chat about what Gwanghae did or didn’t see—Seonjo seems to know his son was in the room and that he’s lying, but Gwanghae sticks to his story regardless.

Seonjo brings up Gwanghae’s departed mother, who may have been only a concubine, but one he claims to have truly favored. He knows his son is just saying things he wants to hear as he thinks to himself that the only way Gwanghae can go on to find his destiny is if he lives as unassumingly as a stone.

If only he could read Gwanghae’s unthreatening, non-confrontational thoughts: “Father, please do not worry. I will live only as your vassal.”

Gwanghae wants to catch the remaining thief because the one who died mentioned that they were looking for the Yongahn Biseo, the secret book he was searching the library for as well.

In the hopes that he’ll have the answers Gwanghae seeks, he copies the tattoo pattern he saw on the man’s arm so that he and Eunuch Im (both in disguise) can ask around to see if anyone recognizes it.

It’s on that hunt that Gwanghae becomes distracted and momentarily entranced by a beautiful young scholar. He can’t take his eyes away, probably because it’s KIM GA-HEE (Jo Yoon-hee) disguised as a man.

Gwanghae draws a huge crowd in the square by setting himself up to be a renowned face reader, getting them hook, line, and sinker when he uses Eunuch Im as a plant to convince them of his authenticity.

Soon everyone is scrambling for a reading, but Gwanghae doesn’t want their money. He brandishes the copied tattoo and claims that he’ll only give a reading to whoever knows what it means. (Bystander: “Five dots!”)

Ga-hee, who’s been watching the entire exchange with interest, finally speaks up to say she knows the answer. But she won’t give it away for free—she’ll tell him after he gives her a reading.

Gwanghae finds himself unsettled when she comes near, but reads her features all the same. The only problem is that he sucks at face reading, so in an effort to point out something accurate, he resorts to pointing out totally obvious details anyone could see.

She presses him to tell her about her nose or lips, but looking there has Gwanghae all aflutter. Luckily (or unluckily), he doesn’t have the time to prove he’s a hack when the assembly is broken up by a band of club-wielding men.

Gwanghae does the smart thing and runs for it, leading his pursuers on a merry chase through the bustling streets of the capital. He narrowly avoids being caught when Ga-hee yanks him into a storehouse.

She tells him that he was targeted by the gang that runs the marketplace because he didn’t pay them to set up shop there, which makes sense, even if Gwanghae thought he could skirt their notice because he wasn’t charging for his services.

Ga-hee scoffs. “So you pretended to be a face reader and used the constellation as bait?” Gwanghae fires back that she shouldn’t have humiliated him in front of everyone if she knew—… wait, what did she say about a constellation?

She huffs that at least she (well, technically he right now) wasn’t lying when she said she knew the mark. It’s the King’s Constellation, she claims. The four outward dots represent the four guardians who protect the king in the center.

Gwanghae is so happy he grabs her hand, causing Ga-hee to uncomfortably wriggle herself away from his grasp and his quick-fire questions about what else she knows.

Now that his deadline has been shortened to a month, Reader Go uses a gibang to find young, virginal women for him to read—which I realize sounds sinister, but the inspections simply involve him inspecting each girl’s face.

He’ll know who’s meant to be the king’s consort when he sees her, but after a year of searching, he hasn’t been able to find a girl “like the moon shining through the clouds on a dark night.” That’s when a figure in the crowd catches his rapt attention—it’s Ga-hee.

He scrambles to follow her, but stops in confusion when he realizes that he just saw the face he’s been searching for all this time… on a boy.

At the next court assembly, Ministers LEE SAN-HAE (Ahn Suk-hwan) and YOO SEUNG manage to rub Seonjo the wrong way when their only concern about last night’s library break-in is the possibility that Gwanghae could’ve gotten hurt.

Seonjo doesn’t like that they’re so concerned for his son, which he interprets to be their preference for Gwanghae as a royal replacement. If they like him so much, they can justmarry make Gwanghae the crown prince, and Seonjo will step down so they can have the king they really want.

Instead, all the ministers grovel until Seonjo’s anger is soothed. But what he orders next causes a few uncomfortable glances: He wants to hold a ritual to pray for rain to ease the droughts causing starvation amongst his people, and needs young sons from every minister for the production.

Word of the king’s “offer” to give the throne to the crown prince makes its rounds through the palace, particularly to LADY KIM (Kim Gyu-ri), the highest-ranking consort of the king’s, second only to the queen.

She finds the story amusing when Minister Lee tells it to her, and knows instantly that the king said what he did only to test their loyalty. He didn’t think about stepping down even for a moment.

QUEEN UIIN (Im Ji-eun) believes the same, though she has a harder time convincing Gwanghae’s elder brother PRINCE IMHAE of that fact. All he heard was that the king wants to pass on the throne to whoever’s installed as crown prince, and feels that it’s his birthright to have that position.

The way he’s acting is exactly the way Lady Kim predicted he’d act, knowing Prince Imhae’s penchant for being impatient and dim. She lets Minister Lee wonder aloud about why thieves would’ve broken into the library of all places, before adding that she finds it curious that Gwanghae just so happened to be in the library at the same time.

Meanwhile, Ga-hee is in for an unwelcome surprise when Gwanghae and Eunuch Im show up at the soup kitchen where she volunteers(?). He thinks she has an astronomical chart for her to have known about the King’s Constellation, even though she’s told him before that she doesn’t have one.

Their zippy interlude is interrupted when the patrons back away from a man convulsing on the ground, fearful that it’s the plague. Gwanghae is the only one unafraid to help the man, convinced that it can’t be the plague because the symptoms don’t match.

He makes sure the man sees a doctor, and is proven right when Ga-hee reports that his body went into shock when he ate after an extended period of starvation.

Which means Gwanghae helped save the man’s life, as much as she’s reluctant to admit it. Gwanghae all but preens before he asks her for a reward—how about that astronomical chart?

Turns out that Ga-hee had the chart on her the whole time, though she only lets him see it after he tells her that he saw the constellation tattoo on the arm of a thief who broke into his house.

She’s evasive and uncomfortable when he asks her about who drew such a detailed map of the stars, and only says yes to him borrowing it in order to get him out of her yard when she’s warned that her father’s coming.

Unfortunately for her, her father catches her trying to sneak Gwanghae out. Though they only see each other briefly, they recognize each other for being the prince and a minister of the court, respectively.

It comes as a surprise when her father takes her to task not because she’s dressed as a man, but because she was acting too much like a woman around Gwanghae.

Any femininity on her part is strictly forbidden because of her “destiny,” but Ga-hee corrects her father from thinking that she’s disguising herself because she’s afraid of whatever dark fate lies in store for her—she’s doing it out of guilt for her late brother, who died because of her.

“So please don’t worry,” she tells her father resolutely. “The time will come when I will completely forget I am a woman and live as a man down to my very bones.” This appeases her father, but doesn’t mean she can lower her guard when she has to go to the palace for the king’s rain ritual.

Her father then reveals that the man she was playing shovin’ buddies with is none other than Prince Gwanghae, and warns her not to let him recognize her. And, above all, to notget exposed as a woman.

The stern warning not to be recognized gains a little more context when Ga-hee sighs over a jade pendant she’s kept with her. “It’s a relief that the prince completely forgot about me. But, I… cannot forget him. Even though I’m living as a man…”

Cue a flashback to Ga-hee as a grief-stricken young girl reeling in the wake of her brother’s death—a death she felt directly responsible for since he caught the plague from her while tending to her sickbed.

She’d gone to the temple to beg the Buddha to let her meet with her departed brother just so she could tell him something she didn’t in life, crying that she’s not at all grateful to be the one who lived.

Unbeknownst to her, Gwanghae was in the same temple, and was so moved by her heartfelt pleas that he hid behind the statue and pretended to speak to her as the Buddha. “Your brother says for you not to cry,” he said. “Since he can hear all the things you say, now you may tell him what you wish to say.”

Poor Ga-hee wanted so badly to believe it was the Buddha speaking to her that she relayed her message: “Tell my brother that I’m sorry. That I won’t forget him… that I am truly thankful.” Aw.

Gwanghae, still using his official voice, answered, “Your brother wants me to tell you that he is thankful you are alive.” Awwwww.

Afterward, Gwanghae met her face-to-face to give her the jade pendant. “When I am not beside you, this star will protect you,” he says, referencing the simple etching in the stone. “I will make sure to come back and meet you again. So, make sure to wait for me.”

Ga-hee holds the pendant in the present and sighs that Gwanghae is still the same as he was all those years ago, because he’s still a liar. Then she thinks back to when a temple monk warned her of her fate if she were to continue living as a woman, which is why she now has to live as a man.

Cue an almost uncomfortably long bath-and-breast-binding scene in preparation for the rain ritual, where Ga-hee is lucky to be one of many identically-dressed boys enacting the elaborate ceremony.

They’re soon joined by King Seonjo and the princes, all decked out in their finest ceremonial robes, there to lead the formal prayers. To complete the ritual, all the boys have to empty their pitchers of water into a giant ceramic bowl, which inevitably takes place right in front of the princes.

Ga-hee grows flustered when Gwanghae recognizes her from the market and sends her an enormous grin—but in her effort to just hurry up and empty her pitcher to escape his gaze, Ga-hee bumps into another boy, who bumps into the bowl…

…Which goes crashing to the ground. Ohhhh noooo. There is literally nothing worse she could have done at this ceremony aside from setting the king’s robes on fire.

All eyes inevitably fall on her, including Reader Go’s. Hers is the face he saw on the street, the one that’s oh-so-perfectly detailed in every way King Seonjo’s is lacking. Hers is the face that will change Seonjo’s unfortunate features into those of a king.


Korean Drama Bad Guys Episode 8 Recap

Korean Drama Bad Guys Episode 8 Recap

By Dramabeans:

We pick up right where we left off, with the Scarred Man revealing that the Hwayeondong serial killer is none other than Jung-moon himself. He didn’t believe it either at first, because who would be crazy enough to ask someone else to keep record of their crimes?

But he did as he was told for the money, tailing Jung-moon without questioning why the latter chose his victims. And there was a pattern in Jung-moon’s movements: every Tuesday evening, he would follow his chosen targets into their houses and leave exactly one hour later, like clockwork. Six victims were found dead some hours later that way.

“Did you see me kill those people yourself?” Jung-moon asks. Of course the Scarred Man didn’t, since he was both too much of a coward and wished to shed any responsibility of the murders.

Assuming that Jung-moon killed those people he followed just because they were later found dead sounds like too much of a leap in Jung-moon’s mind (but… does it, Jung-moon?), but the Scarred Man has a counter-argument at the ready—why did Jung-moon return to the crime scenes then?

Something about recalling Jung-moon’s last victim—that detective’s daughter—still frightens the Scarred Man to this day. What he saw was enough for him to believe that tracking Jung-moon’s movements was part of an act just so he could plead insanity with an I-don’t-remember-anyone sob story if he was ever caught by the authorities.

Jung-moon demands to know what it was he saw, grabbing the Scarred Man in a chokehold when the latter breaks into incredulous laughter. “You… smiled,” he ekes out. “You looked at me and smiled.”

A flashback transports us to that night when the Scarred Man filmed past Jung-moon loitering in the alley where Goo-tak’s daughter Ji-yeon was found dead. Past Jung-moon had looked back and said, “I did it… Me. I killed her,” then broke into a smile.

This is a shocking revelation for present Jung-moon… and for Goo-tak, who overhears everything just a stone’s throw away.

A mystery car had been caught on camera too, but the Scarred Man assumed it belonged to Jung-moon’s accomplice, since someone died every time Jung-moon had emerged from that car.

As Goo-tak shadows Jung-moon down the street, the scene intercuts with the past as a grief-stricken Goo-tak couldn’t understand why his daughter was the only victim found outside (whereas the others were left inside their homes).

He’d been completely torn up about how Ji-yeon had died without eating her favorite dish one last time—it had been the day before his only daughter was supposed to go study abroad.

As present Goo-tak takes out his gun to point it at Jung-moon, his past self echoes, “I can’t forgive myself. This is the only way. After I catch and kill the bastard that killed Ji-yeon, I’m going to get on my knees in front of her funeral portrait… and beg, ‘I’m sorry your father is useless. Please understand… forgive me.'”

His finger on the trigger, Goo-tak trains his gun on Jung-moon, who stops in his tracks and closes his eyes. Had he known that Goo-tak was following him? But Mi-young and the police arrive just then, and Goo-tak hides behind a corner.

They’re also joined by Prosecutor Oh, who asks why Jung-moon went missing tonight. He doesn’t miss an opportunity to make a dig at how Jung-moon will justify his actions as psychological disturbance again, and Jung-moon heads back to the van. Goo-tak heaves a heavy sigh.

Mi-young, on the other hand, rides with Prosecutor Oh to ask what he knows what the deal is between Jung-moon and Goo-tak.

Prosecutor Oh discloses that he was the prosecutor-in-charge of Jung-moon’s first murder case three years ago, in September 2001, back when Jung-moon was a graduate student. We see that day in Jung-moon’s perspective: he’d come home to see a pair of burglars rifling through his family home, his parents lain dead on the floor.

Jung-moon had slowly closed the door behind him and told the intruders with a dark look in his eyes that this was his home: “Why was it my house?” Then he had taken a rock and attacked them.

This is where Mi-young interrupts to say that sounds like Jung-moon acted out of self-defense, a reasonable postulation any prosecutor would have made prior to seeing the crime scene. And there’s that image again: a bloodied Jung-moon with a rock in his hand, and this time, he chokes back tears.

However the prosecution had deemed that Jung-moon’s reaction (read: murder) was too severe compared to the crimes made against him to be acknowledged as self-defense. When the case was turned over to him, Prosecutor Oh had considered him a mental patient and let him go.

But once the Hwayeondong serial killings took place and all fingers pointed at Jung-moon, Prosecutor Oh had resigned from his post. He’s here now because he won’t make the same mistake again.

Jung-moon is brought back to his hospital room, knowing that Goo-take is already here waiting for him. Goo-tak asks how Jung-moon felt when he killed the burglars three years ago—happy? Sad? Let down?

After his daughter died, Goo-tak couldn’t bring himself to eat or sleep, living a hollow existence like a fool. But as time passed, he found himself going about his day and taking care of himself. Pulling back the curtain, Goo-tak snarls that he did all that so he’d have the strength to exact his revenge on Ji-yeon’s murderer when they’d finally meet.

Goo-tak raises his gun at Jung-moon, who turns back with a sigh. “Do I seem like the culprit? Do you think I killed your daughter?” That question triggers their earlier conversation about whether Jung-moon was the Hwayeondong serial killer or not, and Jung-moon asks why Goo-tak came to find him in the first place.

He remembers asking Goo-tak (in Episode 3) what he was getting at by recruiting him. “What do you want from me?” Jung-moon asks. “The truth or [someone to] blame? If you want the truth, help me one last time. If it’s resentment, then pull that trigger. Hurry up and kill me.”

That’s a tempting offer to Goo-tak’s ears, and his finger slowly pulls back the trigger… only to drop the gun at the last second. He asks Jung-moon what will happen if there’s resentment after they figure out the truth, to which Jung-moon replies that he’ll comply with Goo-tak wishes then.

Handing over the picture of the mysterious car, Jung-moon asks him to look into it. Goo-tak emphasizes that this is the last chance he’s giving him before heading out. “He didn’t ask what car it was,” Jung-moon notes.

Mi-young receives a shocking phone call that takes her to the morgue where the locksmith serial killer from Episode 2 now lays dead. Her observations leads her to conclude that this man died of strangulation, not suicide, and orders an autopsy to confirm.

But the man in the suit thwarts down the idea, arguing that the killer had no family. When Mi-young protests, the man in the suit claims he’s following orders from the higher-ups and advises Mi-young to keep her head down. I dunno who you are man, but I don’t like you.

Out in the hallway, Prosecutor Oh acknowledges that Commissioner Nam is a great, respectable man, yet there are instances where he can be imprudent as well. He repeats his earlier question of why he decided to work alongside Team Crazy Dogs, laughing at her naive answer that he’s here to facilitate their criminal cases.

His intentions couldn’t be that valiant, and Mi-young asks in a slightly exasperated voice why he joined them then. The answer is simple: to disband Team Crazy Dogs. He’ll leave Mi-young to figure out how to go about it, but he’ll extend a helping hand to her if she does.

Goo-tak, the three criminals, and Commissioner Nam too, they’re all nuclear bombs, Prosecutor Oh states. A nuclear bomb can stop a war but it can also incite one, and when Mi-young asks where he’s getting at, Prosecutor Oh basically advises her to join hands with someone better—him.

He has one last tidbit to share with her, however: he heard that someone paid a visit to the locksmith serial killer in prison the day before the man died.

That visitor turns out to be Commissioner Nam, who says he tried to be the better man and forgive the man who murdered his son. But the killer had mocked him instead, cackling about the day they would meet upon his release.

Commissioner Nam offers a drink to Mi-young, but she has a more pressing question on her mind: why was she selected to be a part of Team Crazy Dogs? “Because you’re smart and ambitious,” Commissioner Nam replies.

Smart people are unaware of what living in the real world is like, and the ambitious ones are too busy with their own greed to be in tune with others’ desires and wishes of them. Affected by those words, Mi-young’s eyes well up in tears as she asks if that’s the reason why she was chosen.

Commissioner Nam doesn’t see those qualities as disapproving, however—she’ll learn from under his leadership and she’ll rise in the ranks. But Mi-young cuts him off and disagrees with that logic. Keeping her tears in check, she excuses herself.

Goo-tak calls an Detective Park Chang-joon out of a super boring police lecture to look up the car Jung-moon’s looking for. The license plate number comes up as a match with a small-time criminal, and Detective Park stops Goo-tak to apologize for not keeping in touch.

Goo-tak corrects him—he was the one who didn’t call because seeing Detective Park only reminds him of Ji-yeon (since Detective Park was the cop in charge of Ji-yeon’s case), and it’s clear that Goo-tak bears no grudge against him.

Then it’s back to the hospital to spring Jung-moon out without suspicion by removing his ankle monitor. Informing Jung-moon that they’re looking for an illegal taxi driver who takes his passengers anywhere they want at a price, Goo-tak explains that there’s no need to go looking when they just call him instead.

So when they meet, both Jung-moon and Driver Cha recognize one another right away. Jung-moon pulls him into the car and beats him for information while Goo-tak stands guard outside. I know I shouldn’t condone violence, but these kinds of moments never cease to be funny.

Driver Cha insists that he knows nothing and simply followed a Doctor Kim’s orders. About three years ago, Driver Cha had been told to take Jung-moon to Hwayeondong and other neighborhoods after their sessions together. Unlike his previous customers, Jung-moon had been specific about his destinations.

Next thing we know, Goo-tak and Jung-moon arrive at the psychiatric clinic where Jung-moon allegedly used to frequent. Jung-moon recognizes the secretary at the front desk, but he also recalls that she acknowledged someone else’s presence in the past, which means he didn’t come here alone.

He relays as much to Goo-tak, but doesn’t recall who that other man was. He vaguely recalls the doctor’s face, and is surprised to see a female psychiatrist sitting in the office instead. She’s fairly new, but she knows that Doctor Kim Dong-ho used to work in this practice.

Mi-young visits the locksmith killer’s wake alone, recalling the day she’d been appointed as inspector. Commissioner Nam had told her that this responsibility makes them a team now.

Now she calls up Commissioner Nam to provide a response to his metaphor about how a master doesn’t die when a dog bites him: If that dog leaves his master, it’ll find a new one. Oho, is she thinking of switching loyalties? It must be, because Mi-young says the old owner will be sad then, since there’s no beast that will do his bidding.

With that, she ends her ties with Commissioner Nam and calls Prosecutor Oh to ask if his offer still stands.

So when Mi-young sits down with Prosecutor Oh, she agrees to join forces on the condition that Prosecutor Oh actively works with her to break up Team Crazy Dogs. He chuckles and tells her to keep up because he won’t look back if she falls behind.

All they need to do is widen the cracks in the feeble trust the Team Crazy Dogs members have in each other. Prosecutor Oh is already aware of the hit on Jung-moon’s head; there are no secrets in this world—the guys they’re after just think there are. Because he knows that both Tae-soo and Woong-chul received orders to kill Jung-moon. Where doyou get your intel?

When Mi-young pays a visit to Woong-chul, he replies that he doesn’t know who ordered the hit either. The only thing he does know is that Boss Lee had told him that a hyungnim he knew lost a child in the Hwayeondong murders. Wait a minute, but Boss Lee and Goo-tak knew each other. Could it be?

In any case, Prosecutor Oh is pretty confident that knowing who issued the kill order on Jung-moon will ultimately result in Team Crazy Dog’s dissolution. Tae-soo admits that he also received an order to kill Jung-moon when they were imprisoned together two years ago. Although he doesn’t know who instigated the operation, he points Mi-young in the right direction.

Mi-young is in no mood to deal with unanswered questions from the elderly baduk player, flicking his book away to let him know that she means business. She reports back to Prosecutor Oh of what she’s told: that the man was one of the Hwayeondong victim’s fathers who wanted Jung-moon dead.

They’ll need the Hwayeondong case files to learn who, and all it takes is for Prosecutor Oh to pull rank with a hoobae prosecutor to get him to infiltrate the police station and seize Goo-tak’s previous case files. Detective Park, who had also been Goo-tak’s former partner, gets pulled in for questioning.

Elsewhere, Goo-tak and Jung-moon drive to the countryside to Doctor Kim’s residence. It’s certainly suspicious that a successful doctor would suddenly resign and go into hiding, but that’s what they’re here to find out.

Jung-moon stumbles upon a cracked portrait of Doctor Kim, the image triggering memories to when the doc gave him medication to put him at ease.

But that’s when a scraggly-looking Doctor Kim turns on the light, asking who’s out there. He reels in shock to see Jung-moon in the flesh, and then takes off. Goo-tak and Jung-moon both give chase, but the latter tires easily, his wounds still fresh.

So Goo-tak makes a quick decision and takes a shortcut to ambush Doctor Kim and take him down with a flip. He gets a few good punches in and tells Jung-moon to sit it out, but Jung-moon whips out his stun baton and uses it against Goo-tak, asking, “Why were you following me that night?”

Aha, so Jung-moon had seen Goo-tak that night, catching a glimpse of his reflection behind him. He asks how long Goo-tak has been tailing him and adds, “I can’t trust you anymore, Goo-tak.”

“You can keep resenting me. I’ll find out the truth.” Jung-moon declares, then grabs Doctor Kim with him. Goo-tak can barely writhe in his temporarily stupefied state, let alone speak.

Jung-moon throws Doctor Kim into the car, only to belatedly learn that he’s been stuck with a tranquilizer. Doctor Kim slurs his words—he knew that Jung-moon would come looking for him eventually, and cackles devilishly that he knew everything before Jung-moon passes out.

Which mean Goo-tak is unable to grab ahold of him, and when he arrives back at the church, he launches into a rage. Grabbing his head in his hands, Goo-tak lets out a long scream before breaking into what sounds like sobs but is actually laughter.

This is how Mi-young finds him, and she comes right out with it: “The one who killed your daughter is Jung-moon, wasn’t it?” She’s astounded by the great lengths that Goo-tak would go to lure his daughter’s murderer into his vicinity.

She knows everything now: that Ji-yeon was the final Hwayeondong murder victim, what Goo-tak did to Jung-moon afterwards, why Woong-chul, Tae-soo, and Jung-moon were chosen for this team and what past they all shared.

She has one final question for him: Is he the one who instigated these chain of events by contacting Boss Lee to have Woong-chul kill Jung-moon, the one who had Kim Do-shik approach Tae-soo, and then issue the order to have Woong-chul and Tae-soo killed as well?

“Was it you?” she asks. “Say it. Oh Goo-tak, did you call out the order? Say it. Oh Goo-tak, are you the culprit?”

And Goo-tak look up and breaks into a wry smile. Oh shit.


Korean TVN Drama Liar Game Episode 10 Recap and Screenshots

Korean TVN Drama Liar Game Episode 10 Recap and Screenshots

This is a really dense episode, packed with character revelations and plot twists that are actually revelatory and truthfully twisty, and even though it calls for every ounce of attention you can dedicate to it, it doesn’t fail to reward you for time well spent. So much happens this hour that it’s near impossible to sum it all up here, suffice to say that the time to reunite our dearest and most craziest of villains with his missing marbles has come and gone, along with any shot he might’ve had at redemption. He’s positivelyunhinged now, as opposed to just being functionally certifiable before. Don’t think there’s a difference? Wait and see.

by Dramabeans

Faced with a possible traitor amongst them, Woo-jin turns to Dal-goo to ask why he did it, before revealing that he never thought Do-young was psychic and suspected he had an accomplice from the beginning. He just didn’t know whether it was Dal-goo or Jaime.

And he never expected Do-young to pick Dal-goo, but it became increasingly clear he was the culprit as the game wore on. Woo-jin even figured out that Dal-goo and Do-young must’ve been sending each other hand signals through the windows, which is why he sent Da-jung with a note only she could read.

However, she was the one who withdrew the full one hundred thousand dollars when Woo-jin told her to only take an extra five grand. “I got angry at Kang Do-young for making us deceive one another,” Da-jung explains solemnly.

“What I don’t understand is the reason,” Woo-jin continues. “What offer did you get from Kang Do-young?” Jaime thinks it all comes down to money, but Da-jung refuses to believe it: “You wouldn’t do that, Ajusshi… right?”

Dal-goo can only drop to his knees and say he’s sorry.

Flashback to Dal-goo’s inspection with Do-young. There’s a part of the exchange we didn’tsee, after Do-young made his claim that every person has a price. He knew that Dal-goo’s price was to get Da-jung out of her current situation, with enough money to pay off her father’s debts so she could live happily with him.

Do-young knew that Dal-goo didn’t want Da-jung to get hurt, and that he no longer trusted Woo-jin with her safety. “You don’t want her to keep playing either, right?” Do-young asked. “Wouldn’t it be better if she won her prize money and forfeited?”

While Jaime curses Dal-goo in the present, Da-jung kneels by his side and puts a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. She knows he did it for her, and Dal-goo can’t help but cry.

Surprisingly, it’s Jaime who comes to Dal-goo’s defense by blaming Do-young for sewing discord. Tears fall down Dal-goo’s face as he says he was tricked by Do-young, and Woo-jin putting a stop to his self-blame leads to a super sweet moment when Dal-goo buries his face in Woo-jin’s chest and sobs. All the while, Woo-jin pats his back comfortingly. “We’re finally a team,” Woo-jin comments. “Now, it’s time for battle.”

Korean TVN Drama Liar Game Episode 10 Recap and Screenshots

His strategy? They’ll use all their bank cards at once to withdraw all the East’s funds and use the East’s own team members to smuggle the money across.

In order to win the trust of the three East citizens who aren’t Do-young, they’ll promise to share the prize money (since they’d be winning instead of the East) and seal the deal by handing over their bank cards. But since they only need three cards for the three East citizens, Jaime gets to keep hers since she doesn’t do things for free.

As for who to send to convince the East team of their plan, Woo-jin says it has to be someone they’ll trust. Cue everyone looking at Da-jung, who’s modest enough to be all,Who, me?

Korean TVN Drama Liar Game Episode 10 Recap 

There’s already unrest in the East’s camp thanks to Da-jung’s call to arms, but they all go quiet once Do-young enters. They probably suspect some truth in Da-jung’s claim about Do-young receiving help when Do-young defers playing inspector in the next round and instead volunteers one of his teammates to go.

…Which gives Da-jung the perfect opportunity to make the offer to all three members of the East nation. She even sweetens the pot by offering her bank card with any prize money she’d make by winning the round, even if it means she won’t see any of that money herself. She’s fine with sacrificing it if it means gaining the East’s cooperation, since they’d still move onto the final round with the ten million dollar prize.

She makes the same offer to Bulldog and Actor Gu, with instructions for how they’re to smuggle the money as well as what signal to make if Do-young catches on.

Of course Do-young notices Bulldog miming signals through the window to the West the instant he tries it. He may not know what they’re for yet, but suspects something amiss.

When Do-young volunteers to play inspector, the West team worries that he might’ve already caught onto their plan. Woo-jin is confident that he hasn’t (yet), and volunteers to be his team’s smuggler. He thinks he’s got a way to shake Do-young up.

Woo-jin uses all their bank cards to withdraw everything in the East’s bank, and hides the giant stash in a conveniently sized air vent.

Korean TVN Drama Liar Game Episode 10 Screenshots

He greets Do-young more enthusiastically than ever before, claiming that he was busy experimenting with whether he could control his microexpressions in the bathroom mirror. It was difficult, he even admits.

Even with ample practice, Woo-jin believes that a person can’t control their microexpressions completely even if they make themselves empty vessels to do so. After all, no one can fully shed their human qualities, even if they’re lacking in humanity.

He seems to know that Do-young told Da-jung about his role in her father’s financial downfall and questions Do-young’s use of that method, to which Do-young shrugs, “As long as it’s fun.”

So Woo-jin asks another question—did Do-young eliminate Guru Pippi from the President Game because he didn’t like the reading she gave him? The one about him being the kind to eat his own parents? “By chance, are you an orphan?” Woo-jin ventures.

Do-young’s expression remains static as he replies, “This isn’t fun.” Woo-jin pounces on the opportunity to get under his skin by asking if Do-young grew up in a neighborhood called Walden Two, and whether there’s any credence to the rumors that children were forced into sick psychological experiments.

Woo-jin: “I thought it was a ridiculous, nonsensical rumor at first. But I wonder if there’s some truth to it when I see you acting like an amused ten-year-old child watching people deceive one another.”

Do-young, who has been trying to keep himself composed this whole lecture, finally(!!) loses his temper as he slams his fist on the table.

But it’s Woo-jin’s turn to smirk as he notes, “What? I thought you were an empty shell, but now you seem human.” Do-young goes for the button to call Woo-jin out for carrying the max amount, and Woo-jin gladly opens his briefcase for him.

“It’s nice to meet you, Kang Do-young,” Woo-jin says, like it’s their first time. He also won this round.

In the control room, Director Jang asks PD Lee if there’s any credence to what Woo-jin said about Do-young being an orphan. PD Lee says she doesn’t know, but thinks it’s just Woo-jin’s way of getting to him. Orrr does she?

Do-young returns to his team’s camp in a rage, decimating nearby inanimate objects. He then turns to his teammates and tells them to handle the next round—he’s going to rest.

Da-jung wants to use the time to have the East smuggle the stashed cash from the air vent, but Do-young already seems to suspect something when Actor Gu returns his bank card.

“If, by chance, all three of you betray me, what would happen if no one reports it? Should I burn these?” Do-young asks, before he holds a lighter dangerously close to all three bank cards as a warning. PD Lee issues her own warning to make Do-young stop, and though he does, he can’t help but giggle madly to himself after. Ruh roh.

Actor Gu is the first one to carry a fistful of cash from the air vent in the East over to the West. He launders the cash through the West’s machine somehow (I literally don’t know how), so that he’s able to stash that cash in the West’s air vent.

Sung-joon is next, and slowly but surely the West’s vent is filled with the East’s money. They’ve got over half of it transferred, though they worry what’ll happen if Do-young were to snap out of his (extra) crazy spell to participate in the next round.

After Bulldog smuggles the remaining air vent sum to the West and gets passed by Inspector Da-jung, he returns to find Do-young and the others waiting. Sung-joon and Actor Gu look pensively silent as Do-young asks Bulldog why he gave him Dal-goo’s bank card instead of his own.

Bulldog panics and fishes for his other card, only to see that the one he’s holding is Dal-goo’s card. Do-young just said he had the wrong card to catch Bulldog’s treachery, and it worked.

“Did you think I wouldn’t know?” he asks the three of them, as he holds up all the bank cards—the ones they were given at the beginning, and the ones the West team gave them as a bribe. He’s already shaken down Sung-joon and Actor Gu, then.

Bulldog has to think fast before Do-young melts the cards, and makes up a lie(?) that the cards no longer matter now that they’ve safely stored the money. The others catch on and go along with it, earning a stay of execution on their bank cards.

They think they’re safe since Do-young can’t return the cash they smuggled to the West, only for Do-young to ask, “Why would I bring it back? Jaime will help me.” Does that mean Jaime’s been a traitor all along?

The West team wonders if their comrades in the East were caught, or if they’ve been betrayed. There’s no way of knowing which it is, but when Do-young is announced as the East’s inspector, Jaime volunteers to be the smuggler.

She’s cleared of traitorous suspicions during her inspection with Do-young, who shows her that he’s got all the bank cards given to the East team. Jaime all but screams in frustration, even though she can’t understand why Do-young is making a fuss when he could’ve kept the money even if his team lost.

“Games are only fun if you win,” Do-young says in an especially lifeless monotone (even for him). “I’ve never lost a battle.” So he gives Jaime a choice: she can return the smuggled money back to his camp for two bank cards, equaling double the amount she’d get if her team won.

Jaime doesn’t seem to want to betray her team, but the deal Do-young’s offering is a hard one to refuse. We don’t see the moment of decision, only the muted video of Do-young slamming his hands down on the table when he “loses.”

The West team thinks they’ve won the round, and even resident grumpycat Woo-jin manages a smile when he commends Da-jung on a job well done this round.

Too bad the good cheer doesn’t last, since Woo-jin has to only look at the East team’s long faces to know something’s gone wrong. He immediately turns to the monitor, where Do-young is slumped in his chair, barely able to contain his hysterical laughter.

The others don’t know what Woo-jin does before Jaime returns, but Woo-jin gets all the proof he needs when Jaime claims that Do-young was still too lost in his own insanity to put up a good fight.

And maybe that’s true, since Do-young does seem a bit more cuckoo than usual as he threatens to wipe the bank cards with a magnet (that he somehow fashioned from the speaker he broke).

Well, he did promise them a magic trick, and that’s what he delivers as he renders the cards useless with a maniacal grin and even more uncontrollable laughter.

For the last turn, Jaime volunteers to be her team’s smuggler so she can move the lump sum of cash from one air vent to the other per Do-young’s orders.

She demands her payment when she meets him, and Do-young is all too happy to give her the two bank cards he promised along with a bonus card. Hahaha. Those are the wiped cards, aren’t they?

Jaime doesn’t know that, so she’s more than happy to join Do-young in posing together for the camera wearing cheeky grins. The fact that Jaime has betrayed them again comes as a shock to everyone but Woo-jin, who’d already guessed as much.

Do-young uses the inspection room microphone to sardonically tell everyone that they worked hard—but none more than Da-jung, who he commends for bartering her prize money for a chance to win. Even though she lost anyway.

The round goes to Do-young, but even PD Lee is surprised that he couldn’t even be bothered to throw Jaime a bone by giving her just one functioning bank card.

Just then, something on the monitor catches PD Lee’s eye. She sends a camera crew to the border hallway just as Do-young’s leaving, only for him to realize that he’s not what they came to film as he turns around…

…And sees the whole sum Jaime was supposed to steal from him sitting behind the glass doors to the West. Jaime walks out to face him defiantly from the other side of the glass. She double-crossed Do-young? Brilliant!

Do-young looks genuinely surprised, while all the other contestants suddenly find themselves cheering for Jaime instead of scorning her. Only Woo-jin and Sung-joon think of something they’ve all forgotten as Do-young’s shoulders begin to shake with laughter.

His smile disappears in an instant when he lashes out at the partition separating him from Jaime: “Did you think it would end like this?” Cue the announcement that his team still has three rounds left before the game ends, which has Do-young happily skipping back to the East.

With only moments to spare, Woo-jin plasters a hastily-written sign saying “Commit treason” for the East team to see. Sung-joon is the first to understand, and runs to block the door before Do-young can enter.

It’s a battle of strength when it comes to the door, but luckily Sung-joon gets backup in the form of his teammates, who’ve decided to throw their possible victory to the wind as long as Do-young loses.

After his team fails one out of three rounds due to mutiny, Do-young returns to the hallway to find Jaime perched on the pile of money just to rub it in his face. He mentions how surprised he was that she didn’t betray her team, only for her to reply that she was just as surprised as he was.

Flash back to Woo-jin confronting Jaime about her would-be betrayal after Do-young made his offer. Being faced with her possible crime hadn’t chastened her, but Da-jung was the one who stopped the situation from escalating by letting Jaime leave of her own free will.

“Only you can stop your own betrayal,” Da-jung had told her. “So make a choice about what kind of person you want to be when you walk out that door.” Her words got through, since Jaime didn’t betray them after all.

The contestants are brought back to the soundstage after the mutiny succeeds in preventing the East from using its last three rounds, and the totals are tallied. As far as total money earned, Woo-jin’s team has the (much) higher number.

“It’s all thanks to Jaime,” Da-jung says, prompting Jaime to mutter under her breath that she might start to like Da-jung at this rate. (Cuuute.) But Do-young calmly contests that he’s still the winner, since he won the most prize money from collecting all their cards.

He waves this evidence at Da-jung while simultaneously calling her out for failing to keep her promise—she won no money in the round, so she has no money to share.

But Da-jung, unafraid, looks him straight in the eyes as she tells him how pathetic he is (in much nicer words). “You said you never fight a losing battle. You said that money moves people, right? You have all that money, but where is everyone standing? Why aren’t they moving toward that money?”


At least Do-young acknowledges how much Da-jung has matured before he starts feeding his cards into the machine… but they’re all invalid. Do-young starts to look just a wee bit panicked as Woo-jin reveals that he had their cards reissued before they handed them out, so that they’d keep their real cards while Do-young got the fakes.

No one knew this but Woo-jin, who now apologizes for fooling the East team by giving them blank cards—but he had a feeling this would happen, so he wanted to be prepared. Now that the game is over, he hands them the real versions to make good on their promise. Aww.

Afterward, Do-young and Woo-jin meet outside to discuss the ticking time bomb Do-young is sure he placed in Da-jung’s mind when he mentioned Woo-jin’s ties to her father’s debt. He makes a this-would-be-cool-if-it-were-meta reference to Chekov’s gun (the principle that everything in a narrative must have a purpose—literally, if you have a gun hanging on the wall in one scene/chapter then it better go off before the story ends) by reminding Woo-jin that what he told Da-jung is a gun that’s bound to go off.

Instead of being scared, Woo-jin warns Do-young to be careful, because that loaded gun will blow his brains out.

Team Woo-jin stops their car to let Jaime in with her heavy suitcase of money so she won’t have to haul it alone, and though she complains about it, Jaime begrudgingly accepts their generosity. They bond, as do the three men who stood up to Do-young’s tyranny.

Dal-goo thinks he’s leaving Woo-jin and Da-jung to their own devices, when really Woo-jin just wants to use her computer to check the USB Sung-joon gave him.

In the file, Woo-jin reads that a subsidiary company of the one Do-young worked had plans to take over L Company before its collapse. Past that, all Do-young’s records are falsified, save for the one showing that he was adopted to the U.S. twenty years ago…

…And suddenly, Woo-jin is looking at a picture of his own mother. Do-young grew up in the orphanage his mother ran before he was adopted. Holy crap.

Woo-jin hurriedly snaps the laptop shut before Da-jung can take a good peek at the screen, but she’s got something on her mind—why would Do-young tell her that Woo-jin was responsible for her father’s debt? Did he want to win that badly?

It takes Woo-jin a second to realize that this is what Do-young meant when he said he put a ticking time bomb in her head. “Da-jung-ah,” he calls her fondly, “I’ll come to your cafe tomorrow night.” He wants to talk to her then about himself… and Do-young.

Sung-joon is accompanied by ominous lighting and orchestra strings (noooo!) as he enters an elevator later that evening. He answers a call from Do-young, who asks if he’s heard of Pandora’s box and what happens to those who open it.

Suddenly, Sung-joon’s elevator malfunctions, and he finds himself trapped in his own coffin as the car he’s in hurtles down the shaft before crashing far below.

PD Lee is confused and upset when Director Jang wants to air soundbites of the conversation she had with Da-jung’s father—one she thought was private, when it was secretly being recorded.

Da-jung is caught completely unaware when she hears her father’s voice on the broadcast… only to then hear his secret confession that she’d inadvertently stopped him from hanging himself with his own necktie.

As she reels in horror, Woo-jin reaches the door of the cafe to have that talk he promised her…

…But he’s too late. The broadcast reveals that what Do-young told her was true—Woo-jin was responsible for L Company’s collapse, and thus her father’s debt.

Woo-jin chooses not to enter as he answers a call from Do-young. “Who are you?” Woo-jin growls. “What do you have to do with me and my mother?”

Do-young clucks his tongue at Woo-jin for failing to remember that moment at the orphanage.

“You saw the true face of your angelic mother,” Do-young grits out, his expression going from leering to dead serious in the blink of an eye. “That’s why… you erased it from your memory.”


Just when I thought the episode had gone above and beyond the call of duty when it came to making one point, it was really setting up for about a dozen more. At first it seemed to be about Team Woo-jin triumphing over Do-young, only for it to really harken back to Da-jung’s Disney princess worldview trumping Do-young’s psychopathically skewed perception of humanity, leading to a sidebar on the bonds of friendship, the pitfalls of revenge, the depths to which determined madmen can stoop to, and the heartbreak that inevitably comes when someone finds out their guardian angel may have/sort of/kind of had a hand in ruining their life.

I know that Woo-jin’s involvement in L Company’s fall will be explored in the show’s final week (*sob*) and that it may be hard for Da-jung to think through this issue rationally for a while, but I do hope she gives it a very good shot. Because while I see how this can be a damning reveal—especially in the way Da-jung heard about it—I don’t want the blame game to be drowned in a puddle of tears next week. Woo-jin did a bad thing in razing a company and probably ruined a whole lot of lives, true, but him being unintentionally and tangentially responsible for Dad’s debt when he wasn’t even using his own money butborrowed money to invest isn’t the same as Woo-jin holding a smoking gun over the corpse of Da-jung’s father. Or so I hope, because if I needed my smelling salts after Woo-jin called her “Da-jung-ah,” just think of the damage a whole scene could do.

Watching Do-young give into his insanity was more frightening than I thought it’d be, though I realized somewhere along the way that the reason I felt so unsettled during his mad scenes was because I actually care about what happens to him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m advocating forgiveness or reconciliation for him, only that he’s not the kind of villain I can view through a dispassionate and detached lens. I actually can’t quite figure out what it is, only that I felt a twinge in my chest when Do-young started to panic with the invalid bank cards. It was something-like-but-not-necessarily pity, which came on unannounced because Do-young does NOT deserve it.

And yet I felt it. I don’t know what that says about me, only that there’s something sad about the idea that Do-young was once a normal child who endured something sinister. Just how sinister is yet to be revealed, though the pieces of the puzzle are starting to form a coherent picture. If Woo-jin’s mother had something to do with Do-young’s stolen childhood, and if everything up to this moment has been an act of very, very elaborate revenge on Do-young’s part, then I’ll have to prepare my mind before it gets blown to smithereens next week. In the meantime, R.I.P. Sung-joon. Yours was the kind of death that will live on forever in our nightmares. *pours one out*