Make A Woman Cry – E01

Happy Monday surprise!  I will be recapping 여울/MWC!  After watching the first two episodes, I decided to give my instinct the benefit of the doubt and give this drama a try.  First impression reminds me of the drama Royal Family, which I also immensely enjoyed.  In two sentences, Deok-In runs her bapjip with a caring eye toward her young clientele.  When one of her repeat customers runs into her bapjip to hide from bullies, Deok-In gets pulled into her local high school’s affairs.  At the same time, all is not as it seems at home as Deok-In’s husband is having an affair with the bully’s aunt.  The homewrecker comes from a rich and tense family full of problems, the main one being a war between the two daughter-in-laws.

THE RECAP

Deok-In goes shopping at the neighborhood street market for ingredients.  She has an easy rapport with the store owners and drives a mean bargain, even throwing in extra fish on the house for herself.

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In the middle of a negotiation, a pick pocket runs by and pushes her into the fish.  Deok-In picks herself back up to look at the face if a wailing ajumma asking for anyone to help.  Sighing, Deok-In runs after the pickpocket avoiding the boxes that he tosses in her way and sliding under easels. After some time of this chase, we arrive at a standstill… The thief jumps off a first floor roof and has the gall to mock her as if she won’t jump off the roof as well.  Deok-In gives him an exasperated glare before tackling him in one jump.  Case closed.

 Screenshots_2015-04-20-19-53-36-01Deok-In returns to her real work, cooking and feeding the neighborhood boys. She deftly prepares the main side dish as the boys wait and serves everyone equally, all the while taking the time to check in on her late drop-in to make sure that everything’s alright. Deok-In is reassured when the latecomer replies that his tardiness was due to clean-up duty for reading a dirty magazine.
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As the kids start finishing up, Deok-In pretends not to notice when one student orders another one to pay for him.  The paying student’s grumbled complaints alert Deok-In to the fact that this isn’t a mutual understanding and she steps in by taking the bully’s cell phone and reading off his texts from a girl.  She threatens to read off each one until he pays, which gets his quick cooperation.
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Then Deok-In notices through her mirror that a quieter student, Minwoo pretends to drop in a ten.  However, he ends up taking approximately $40 dollars from cash buckets before leaving.  Interestingly, she lets him leave before asking one of the other boys if Minwoo is having a difficult time.  He confirms, but we don’t get to hear the details.
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Meanwhile, Choi Hong-Ran snipes at her make-up artists and stylists until she turns into the smiling angel actress for a press conference. [I think the writers are implying something about their drama actresses here…]  At the conference, Hong-Ran jokes that she does not have time to actually create a skin-care routine as she turns into a normal mother once she gets home.  When the conference is over and Hong-Ran gets into her car, she immediately tosses her fan presents aside.
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However, Hong-Ran does not find peace at her home.  When she arrives, she walks in on her sister-in-law Na Eunsoo cooking in the kitchen.  Eunsoo even takes the time to order the housekeeper to make arrangements for Hong-Ran’s husband, Kang Jin-Myung’s clothes.  Hearing the last, Hong-Ran bristles like a porcupine and politely snarls that Eunsoo takes care of Jin-Myung so much that a stranger would mistake Eunsoo as Jin-Myung’s wife.
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Eunsoo does not rise to Hong-Ran’s bait and smiles that she only wanted to help her sister-in-law who is busy with her work.  Hong-Ran gives up at Eunsoo’s placid tone and storms to her room to find her husband.  When Hong-Ran accuses her husband of acting as if Eunsoo is his wife, Jin-Myung responds that Hong-Ran is overreacting; he’s just being polite as Eunsoo is in a horrible spot after the death of her husband (his brother).  Instead of comforting her, he dismisses her and warns her that that her overreaction turns her unattractive and common.
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A tense family dinner follows afterwards. Jin-Myung’s father comments on how hard it is to see Hong-Ran and jokes that family feels like it’s missing a wife and not a husband.  Hong-Ran responds that this is the reason that many people in the entertainment industries get divorced as it resolves the problem. Hong-Ran’s mother-in-law chastises her for being so direct with her father-in-law and her father-in-law recommends that Hong-Ran reduce her working hours as working under stressful conditions affects a person’s personality.  Hong-Ran still doesn’t back down and replies that if she didn’t work, she would have run out of the house crazy.  Trying to back up his mother, Kang Minseo quips that if his mother didn’t work, he’d run out of the house crazy as she would turn her obsession towards him.  Eunsoo’s son, Kang Hyunseo also supports Hong-Ran by commenting that it must be hard for her; he saw how celebrities have to go without sleep to finish filming.
In a seemingly peaceful and innocent manner, Eunsoo also comes to Hong-Ran’s defense, but basically just emphasizes what an angel she is.  She states that she will buy some herbal supplements for Hong-Ran the next time that she goes to buy some for her father-in-law and Jin-Myung.  She also adds that she would have made more of Hong-Ran’s dish if she had known Hong-Ran would be home early and pushes one of the side dishes toward Hong-Ran as it’s one of Hong-Ran’s favorites.
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Meanwhile, Minwoo runs to Deok-In’s restaurant and asks her to save him.  The neighborhood high school bullies, lead by Kang Yunseo.  [Yup, in case you were wondering why we were introduced to Hong-Ran’s family, it’s because they’re connected to Yunseo and his father Kang Jinwoo.]
Deok-In stops the bullies by telling them that her restaurant is not open to all customers; especially guys who have short legs… The youngsters try to intimidate her, but Deok-In doesn’t budge and the bullies end up eventually leaving.
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Once they’re gone, Deok-In sits with Minwoo who asks if she saw him take money that morning.  Deok-In doesn’t answer and asks him whether he’s being forced to pay his bullies.  She adds that he might want to tell his parents as no parent would feel comfortable knowing that her son was being bullied at school.  This hits a nerve and Minwoo bites back that it is no use to tell a parent; the best that could happen is that the parent would tell the school, which would lecture the bullies.  However, teachers only pretend to care…Inside, the teachers would rather stay out of troublesome situations.  As a result, once the students are punished, the bullying will get worse.  He ends with the conclusion that all he can do is wait…
Deok-In seems surprised and asks what waiting will help…Will he stand by as they bully someone else like him?  Minwoo snarls back that there’s nothing else that he can do before storming out of the babjib.
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That evening, the Kang family sits around the living room for some good old fashioned family time.  Minseo brags about his next trip to the jungle and invites Hyunseo.  In a good natured fashion, Minseo notes that Hyunseo shouldn’t spend his youth indoors.  Hyunseo seems to consider it when Hong-Ran interrupts to note that Hyunseo cannot join…If he went there could be an accident.
Hyunseo looks crestfallen and the other adults freeze until Jin-Myung invites Hyunseo to join him for fishing instead.  He adds that they could even grab drinks afterwards.  Eunsoo snaps back at Hong-Ran by remarking to Minseo whether he has gone fishing with his father…
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Afterwards, Hong-Ran demands to know why Jin-Myung is favoring Hyunseo over Minseo.  Jin-Myung responds that he’s disappointed in his son for baiting his cousin when Minseo should know that Hyunseo cannot even ride an airplane.
Hong-Ran asks if Jin-Myung doesn’t like his son because he doesn’t like her and Jin-Myung answers that he’s worried about what their son will turn out like with her for a mother… Ouch.
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At the same time, Deok-In walks out to throw out trash only to find herself stumbling straight into Yunseo and friends running after Minwoo to beat him up.  She immediately intervenes and tries to get the children to settle down without violence.  Burning with youthful energy and confidence, one of the friends launches himself at Deok-In and she disarms him quickly by pulling his arm behind him.  This instigates his friends who attack Deok-In to support their friend, except they all end up smarting from a good and necessary drubbing.  Thinking that the children will back off, Deok-In turns around to take Minwoo back to the bapjip.  At this moment, one of the kids attacks Deok-In with a piece of wood and she has to disarm him as well, this time with a bit more force so he stays down long enough that they can walk away.
Now that all of the kids are smarting both physically and ego-wise, Jinwoo walks into the alley and immediately assumes that the kids are bullying a neighborhood ajumma.  He knocks each of them on the head and apologizes for his students to their exasperation.
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In a moment of comedic relief, the students try to tell Jinwoo that she beat them up so they have nothing to apologize for, but Deok-In starts to pretend that her shoulder is sore and she has lower hip problems, which convinces Jinwoo that the students are trying to cover up their actions.  HAHAHAHA.
Thus, Deok-In slightly hobbles off with Jinwoo and they end up playing basketball to calm him down.  Once exhausted, Deok-In gives him a supportive talk about how it’s not knowing how to fight but having the look (the confidence to fight back).
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Meanwhile, Deok-In’s mother-in-law (Bok-Rye) prepares dinner for her two younger sons and daughter.  The family has a warm and cozy family dinner when Deok-In returns.  It’s adorable how the mother-in-law lectures her sons for trying to eat before Deok-In (who’s older) and Deok-In jokes around with them by pretending to offer them food before eating it herself.  It’s clear that she actually considers these people her family.
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Unfortunately, the cheating loser of a husband Kyung-Cheol also stops by to pick up something and ends up having to spend the night.  But before we see how irritating Kyung-Cheol is, we get to see how much Bok-Rye loves Deok-In.  She calls Deok-In to the side to give her the new pajama set that she received as a present.  Of course, the style is a bit dated and too feminine for Deok-In, but it’s the thought that counts.
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Back at the Kang residence, round two of the daughters-in-laws ensues.  Hong-Ran insinuates that Eunsoo had Hyunseo only to get monetary support from the family.  Eunsoo doesn’t have to fight her own battle as their father-in-law walks in and roars at Hong-Ran that he asked Eunsoo to have Hyunseo even if Hyunseo’s father had passed away because he wanted any remaining connection to Hyunseo…He adds that he had asked Eunsoo to live with them and take care of Hyunseo.
When he gets back into his room, Jung-Sook comments that her husband is unusually sensitive when it comes to their dead son…after all, it’s not proper for him to get involved in a spat between the daughters-in-laws.
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Unbeknownst to the in-laws, we get to see Eunsoo’s mask drop when she has a talk with Hong-Ran separately.  She tells Hong-Ran that Hong-Ran needs to mature and get smart; Hong-Ran has lived with Eunsoo for so long and still doesn’t understand what Eunsoo’s end goal is and what motivates her. Eunsoo continues to note that Hong-Ran needs to apologize because Hong-Ran stepped over her limits when she said that Hyunseo would only be a burden as if he’s some elderly patient.
Hong-Ran scoffs back that Hyunseo is not a normal child and elderly people are healthy these days anyways.  In response, Eunsoo calmly throws her coffee into Hong-Ran’s face.
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Deok-In returns to her room to go to bed, but picks up on Kyung-Cheol’s irritation while studying and offers to sleep in Bok-Rye’s room.  Kyung-Cheol agrees and Deok-In leaves.  As soon as Deok-In leaves, the lying cheating scumbag picks up a call from his mistress Kang Jinhee who is calling to know why he’s not coming home. He placates her and hangs up before Deok-In comes back for something.  The powers that be hate us and will make us suffer until this guy gets divine retribution.
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In the morning, Jinwoo prepares breakfast for Yunseo and promises to eat separately in the living room if his son would just eat breakfast before leaving.  Yunseo sits down to eat, but gets up when Jinwoo laments the fact that they cannot even eat together…what would Yunseo’s mother in heaven think?
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Coming from this stress at home, Yunseo decides to take it all out on Minwoo.  They beat him up until Minwoo manages to escape into Deok-In’s bapjip all bloody, bruised and heaving.  Deok-In sees her own dead son in Minwoo and hugs Minwoo close to her crying at the injustice of the brutal high school society.
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Still in a rage, she barges into the school’s office and starts yelling at all of the teachers for letting students kill each other.  She asks the questions that are on many of parents’ minds these days…How are parents to trust a school to keep their child safe if teacher just look the other way while children are beaten up so badly?  How are they to trust the schools when the teachers would rather stay out of troublesome situations than actively create a safe environment for the students.
Jinwoo and the principal try to ask Deok-In who her son is, but she’s furious.  She cries and throws the books off of teachers’ desks as she yells if they would take responsibility and protect that child once they know.  Until the end, she refuses to give up Minwoo’s identity as she knows this is not the first time that Minwoo was beaten up…If so, how is it that she could trust the teachers who either let this happen or created an environment in which this could happen without their notice?  Her anger and frustration gets the better of her as Deok-In ends up collapsing in the teacher’s office.
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Jinwoo picks her up and carries her to the nurses office.  However, Deok-In regains consciousness on the way and walks off by herself to sit on the steps.  As she looks up, she sees another student getting bullied next to the basketball courts…the other students see the commotion but go back to their activities within minutes.  Tears fill her eyes as Deok-In asks the students whether it is okay to ignore their classmate’s suffering to hide and hope that one will not be bullied next…
At this point, Jinwoo walks out to ask Deok-In about her health and the identify of her son.  Deok-In ignores Jinwoo and walks into her bapjip.
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Next morning, Jinwoo stops by Deok-In’s bapjip and asks if Minwoo was attacked by the kids who attacked her in the alley the other night.  Deok-In responds that she will let him know after she hears from the  student’s parents.  Jinwoo seems surprised that Deok-In is not a parent.
As he’s about to leave, his stomach growls and Jinwoo stays for a meal.  Deok-In gives him some food and explains that the patrons eat whatever she makes them.  It’s also $6 for adults and $4 for students.
Jinwoo comments on the sound business logic behind the system and Deok-In tells him that he’s too chatty.  Jinwoo  tries to eat quickly but ends up burning himself.  He tries to engage in small talk again and notes that it would be easier for Deok-In to run her business if she doesn’t get involved with the children from the other day.
Deok-In snaps at this and slams her knife down.  She yells that the system is flawed because so many people are looking for easy lives.  Jinwoo backs off and asks if Deok-In has an anger disorder…
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The next day, the Kang family all head meet at the Buddhist temple for Hyunseo’s father’s memorial.  Tensions abound as Yunseo comments that it’s illogical to have a memorial when they haven’t even found the body… (OMG – HYUNSEO’S DAD IS ALIVE SOMEWHERE!)
The memorial starts and ends in time for the family members to get in their side conversations.  The father-in-law tells Eunsoo not to hold memorials in his memory after his death; he has no right to take the memorial from them.  Oddly, this strikes Eunsoo emotional.
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At the same time, Jin-Myung steps up to Jinwoo who turns to leave when his brother joins him.  Jin-Myung curiously asks Jinwoo how long he’s going to avoid his brother…The music also turns suspiciously secretive.  Jinwoo apologizes and Jin-Myung asks if it is because of the incident from the day that their brother died.  Before Jinwoo can answer, Hong-Ran calls the two and Jinwoo leaves.
Back down in front of the school, Deok-In gets some information from one of the mini-bullies (Hyoshik Park).  Hyoshik tells Deok-In that the school will never punish Yunseo as he’s the grandson of the school’s head…additionally, his grandfather is the CEO of a huge company.  Deok-In tells Hyoshik to tell Yunseo that they need to meet.
Yunseo sends one of his minions and Deok-In demands to see Yunseo himself.  They meet up under a bridge and Deok-In tells Yunseo to attend school quietly; if Yunseo bullies another child, she will kill him.
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Yunseo laughs and Deok-In grabs his shirt to warn him that he’s not the only one who can retaliate.  Another minion interrupts as one of their friends is being beaten up by neighborhood gangsters.  Everyone runs to the warehouse, where fully grown idiots beat up on one child…
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The youngsters run up to the gangsters, but Deok-In walks past them before they can get involved.  She yells at the gangsters to back off and then does this awkward thing where she steps on logs?  I guess it’s posturing, but it doesn’t really work with the band of idiots and they attack.
MY TWO CENTS
Well that was a promising start.  Since we were getting introduced to everyone, it was hard not to give an overly detailed recap.  There’s just the right amount of makjang to make this a mania drama for me…kind of how I felt while watching Royal Family.  You know, the ones where you watch it going, OMG they’re not going to do that are they…OMG THEY DID.  But it doesn’t feel over the top makjang because of the way it’s written; rather, it feels like you’re watching a makjang novel.  I’m not sure if I’m making sense here, but this is the genre I like the most.  There’s enough makjang conspiracy to keep you peacefully enthralled, because at the end of the day, no matter how frustrated you get, you know it’s safe.  It’s a makjang drama.  Therefore, you can happily get angry all you want!  Yet, the novel part of it is that with good writing and acting, you still WANT to watch and see what happens to see how it enfolds.
Back to the drama at hand. We have our two families and they are curiously entangled.  On one side, we have the nice and cozy family of Deok-In’s (minus the lying cheating arsehat who is wasting everyone else’s oxygen..)  On the other side, we have the very tense and stifled Kang family.  I’m not even exaggerating when I say messed up…Their oldest son is dead (or missing!), younger son seems to have this thing going on with his sister-in-law, youngest son is a widow, and their youngest daughter loves a married man.
Notably, it’s interesting that half of the tension stems from a fight between the two daughter-in-laws.  Usually the “rich family” arc focuses on the horrible in-laws making the life of their daughter-in-law miserable.  However, in the Kang family, while the father-in-law seems sensitive over Hyunseo’s family, it appears that the in-laws are rigid but reasonable.  Rather, the two daughters that married into the family are barely hiding their feud against each other…
Additionally, since this drama teases me with it’s makjang elements, I couldn’t help but guess…Did Jin-Myung have an affair with his sister-in-law?  Did his brother see that and get into a car accident, lose his memory, and is currently in drama limbo?  What is this really weird dynamic between Jin-Myung and Eunsoo?  If he had been the perfect man, I would understand how nice he is to Eunsoo…However, the way that he treats his wife, it’s clear that he’s not one of the “nice guy” types… The hint from the interaction with Jinwoo also makes Jin-Myung even more suspicious.
Finally, I was originally afraid that Make a Woman Cry would be overshadowed or mimic Angry Mom like the similarities in Hyde, Jekyll, and I with Kill Me, Heal Me.  Fortunately, this episode reassured me that while bullying will be an aspect of this drama, MWC will paint another picture.  The focus isn’t the corrupted school system…It seems that the teachers may be guilty of not caring enough, but there isn’t an evil mastermind here.  This is a school of regular teachers; teachers who might be a bid jaded or exhausted.  Additionally, rather than bullying at the school being the main issue, the writers appear to be using Yunseo’s bullying to manifest his problems and emotional state.  As a result, we return to the focus on the two families, which is a focus I can totally get behind.
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