Unkind Ladies – E07

Near revelations continue as our ladies go about their day elegantly. Moran comes to Hyunsook’s defense literally by attacking Hyun-Ae and Mari ends up unintentionally confessing to Roo-Oh.

THE RECAP

As Soon Ok turns around to face Chulhee, a newspaper flies into her face.  Chulhee sees Soon Ok struggle with the newspaper and laughs until more wind blows dust into his eyes.  By the time that Soon Ok has pulled the newspaper off of her face, Teacher Hwang is back and is blowing into Chulhee’s eyes to get any dust out.

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Not able to see anything but Teacher Hwang’s back as he leans into Chulhee, Soon Ok smiles in a shocked manner and walks off quickly.  Missed encounter 1 between the previous couple!

Soon Ok continues to the market, where she orders some fresh vegetables and settles into a table for some afternoon tea.  As she drinks the tea, she reminisces about the ring and her past…

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A younger Soon Ok dusts her husband’s home office and finds the diamond ring in his drawer.  She turns around to see her birthday circled and naturally assumes that her philandering husband has matured and bought her a marvelous birthday present.

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At her birthday dinner, Soon Ok happily accepts facial cream from her daughters and waits expectantly for her husband’s gifts.  Chulhee proudly exclaims that he has bought many gifts for Soon Ok and hands over …an apron…silver utensils…and leather gloves.  Seeing his expectant expression, Soon Ok realizes that the ring was not her present and has to mask her disappointment awkwardly with enthusiasm about her leather gloves.

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The next day, Soon Ok visits the ring shop to find out about the value of the ring and also learns that the silver utensils set was a free gift that came with the ring.  Furious, Soon Ok orders a less expensive replica, with which she replaces the diamond ring in Chulhee’s desk drawer.  OMG, Soon Ok is a boss!  I can’t believe that she basically forced her cheating husband to propose with a fake diamond ring while she kept the $50,000 original.  No wonder she was so happy to call a family meeting with a jewelry expert.

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As her flashback ends, we see Soon Ok sigh that she didn’t expect Moran to actually appear with the fake ring.  All the meanwhile, Chulhee speaks with his friend outside the store.

Meanwhile, Roo-Oh bangs on Mari’s door to demand that she join morning practice.  Instead of Mari, an annoyed Hyunjung opens the door, which sends an embarrassed Roo-Oh off sheepishly.  When he arrives at his kendo dojo, he finds Mari already dressed and ironing his own uniform.

Roo-Oh is digesting the information that Mari is no longer living across from him when another member of the dojo interrupts to announce that a neighborhood dojo has come to spar with them.  Hearing which dojo dropped by, Roo-Oh orders that Mari skip the morning practice, as the dojo has a member who is infamous for being a tough sparring partner.  Mari refuses to skip practice just because she’s a woman and she’s warned to be extra cautious when sparring with the man with a scarred foot.

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The sparring starts and Mari manages to defend well at first pass.  Then Mari gets over confident and actually attacks only to be sent flying backwards.  She lands on the ground with a thud and the sparring stops as everyone looks over in concern.  Roo-Oh immediately runs over to ask if Mari can get up and Mari tries…only to give up and admit that she cannot get back up.

At the same time, Moran checks out Soon-Ok’s kitchen until Soon-Ok arrives and notes that she hates it when anyone searches through her kitchen. As Soon-Ok gets ready to cook, Moran nonchalantly comments on Soon-Ok cooking with the diamond ring on as she has never seen any famous chef cooking with a ring.

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Soon-Ok smiles that she wanted to return the ring to Moran. She knows that even though she left the envelope of money at Moran’s place, Moran had transferred the amount to Hyunsook who then transferred it to Soon-Ok. She explains that she hasn’t touched the money, but will spend around $50,000 of it now in return for the ring.

Moran asks Soon-Ok why she won’t just accept the money and Soon-Ok responds honestly. People can give a gift and then regret the gift of the amount. Hearing this, Moran replies that that she doesn’t regret the gift and considers it a fitting punishment for her sins; when she was younger, she had been so lonely that she had agreed to meet with Chulhee whenever he asked and even gone on dates.

Soon-Ok smirks that Moran must be feeling better and Moran confirms that she feels much better thanks to Soon-Ok’s healthy food; she also takes the chance to ask why Soon-Ok continues to take care of her. Soon-Ok answers that she does it so that she can get to the bottom of Moran and Chulhee’s relationship. This honest but civil exchange is endearing as both women have laid themselves more open to each other and ends with Moran keeping her dignity as she ends with the statement that she doesn’t regret anything before leaving. It’s a bold phrase to tell the wife of your paramour, but I think their relationship has changed from just that of the wife of the boyfriend and mistress to one more akin to sisterhood.

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Back at the hospital, Mari insists that she’s fine now to Roo-Oh’s disbelief. He ends up testing her self diagnosis by tickling her on her feet until she kicks him. Accepting that she’s fine and doesn’t have a concussion, they get her discharged and have an awkward moment when Mari realizes that no one brought her slippers.

 

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Roo-Oh offers hers, but accepts them back when Mari avers that his slippers are too big for her. However, as they walk out of the hospital, Mari steps on a rock and Roo-Oh picks her up to carry her.

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Meanwhile, Doojin meets up with Hyunsook to let her know that his father has actually passed away and hears about her past expulsion as well as her current goal of getting the expulsion expunged. Sympathizing with her cause and not realizing that it’s his mother’s fault, he agrees to help her out.

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Mari gets ready to leave the kendo dojo and on her way out asks Roo-Oh if they could listen to ambient noise instead of classical music when they cool down and medidate. She lets him listen to the files that she recorded on her phone to support her suggestion and he agrees.

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Then on her way home, Mari pauses to record the sound of wind-chimes until she gets interrupted by Do-Jin who is on his way to the art gallery. Mari gets excited by the gallery and agrees to join.

At the same time, Hyunsook and Moran visit the same gallery exhibit with the tickets that Mari gave her. They pause in front of a picture as Hyunsook snacks and she comments that she doesn’t really understand art. Moran responds that she thinks it’s more of each viewer’s experience and Hyunsook decides to grab some more snacks instead.

However, when Hyunsook gets over to the snack table, Hyun-Ae spots her and accosts her at the food table. Hyun-Ae complains that they are letting everyone come to galleries these days and orders that Hyunsook leave as soon as she’s done eating. Hyunsook tries to stand up for herself by asking why Hyun-Ae has to be a such a witchy woman and Hyun-Ae basically dismisses Hyunsook as bringing down the prestige of the gallery.

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Overhearing this exchange, Moran cannot but help herself as she stalks over and grabs Hyun-Ae by her hair, demanding that Hyun-Ae apologize to Hyunsook. Hyun-Ae tries to fight back, but Moran has too firm of a grip and insists that Hyun-Ae apologize. When asked, she answers that she did not accompany Hyunsook to the gallery…she is a patient who came here alone to rest and recuperate but could not stand to hear Hyun-Ae’s uncalled for words.

This doesn’t get far as the security guards come to Hyun-Ae’s aid and pull Moran off of her…They drag her out, but not before Moran is able to toss cookies at Hyun-Ae for good measure.

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Moran takes Hyunsook out for a glass of wine afterwards to celebrate and Hyunsook confesses to feeling so happy and relieved.

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Meanwhile, Mari and Do-Jin arrive to find Hyun-Ae in a horrible mood. She complains about having a bad encounter and having digestion issues so Mari provides some pressure therapy to relieve the discomfort. This completely makes Hyun-Ae happy as a distinguished professor is doting on her.

Back at home, Moran and Hyunsook arrive in a wonderful mood to her mother’s jealousy and irritation. However, when Hyunsook goes into her room, she finds her husband reading her petition. He comments how it was too long ago for the school to do anything and rather encourages her to focus on passing the test to get into college.

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When Hyunsook doesn’t seem as cooperative, he threatens to expose her secret and starts dancing around until Hyunsook’s mom comes in to find Hyunsook pinning him to the wall. Smiling broadly, she turns off the light for them.

A flashback reveals the secret to be an embarrassing situation where Hyunsook and Jong-Mi had excitedly prepared for an audition… Only to get scammed by a fraudulent entertainment company! Hah!

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The morning, Roo-Oh sends Mari a bunch of snacks and a sweet note through the student that had originally asked Mari for help. She asks him what she can do for him and be confesses that when he’s around her, he doesn’t have any suicidal thoughts. Hearing that, Mari smacks him with a pillow and promises to help.

At the same time, Do-Jin’s uncle engages in a photoshoot and Eunshil drops by Hyunjung’s house with side dishes. Before Hyunjung comes out of the shower, Eunshil helps herself to around $30.

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When Hyunjung does get out of the shower, Eunshil stands there nervously as Hyunjung tells her to wait… Opens up the wallet and grabs another $30 to give to her for commuting costs… Oh dear.

Back at the photoshoot, Do-Jin’s uncle asks which picture he likes better and then doesn’t take Do-Jin’s recommendation as Hyunjung chose the other picture… Someone has a crush!

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We return to Soon Ok’s house where Soon Ok has invited all the girls for some cold buckwheat noodles. It gets more hilarious bc Moran appears wearing rings on both of her hands just to show that she doesn’t need another diamond ring!

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The family happily digs in when Mari sends the wrong recording to Roo Oh and runs out to stop him before he plays it for the class… Which he is in the middle of doing… The recording being a recorded request to a radio station about how she’s developing feelings for a guy but, due to her lack of dating experience, she doesn’t know if he likes her back…

MY TWO CENTS

This episode felt like a Korean version of Little Woman. It felt so slice of life drama-esq about these woman. For example, I really enjoyed the little details like how Moran wore all of her choice rings for dinner at home and Soon OK visibly got jealous of the developing relationship between Moran and Mari. It’s like even though these woman were brought together because of Chulhee’s infidelity, they can become like sisters despite the circumstances because both have been sincere to each other in her own way.

The other interesting question that this episode proposes if whether the circumstances affect our decisions or if our decisions are separate of the circumstances.  For example, all of the missed connections with Soon Ok begs the question of whether Chulhee would have fallen in love with her and not Moran had he met her first…Or is it that even if he had “met” Soon Ok first, he will still fall in love with Moran?  I chose the word “met” since he has already “seen” Moran.  However, unless we are talking about the chemical reactions that occur, which make people believe in love at first sight, I think that love is something that grows deeper by getting to know the person.  In this case, while Chulhee has “seen” Moran, he has not gotten to know her.

This question also lightly touches upon the soul-mate situation.  I would be interested to see if the writer chooses to play this out.

Unkind Ladies – E06

OMG, did Moran accidentally almost kill Chulhee?  I’m not sure how, but this drama actually draws me into the relationship of Soon Ok and Moran’s generation as much as I get excited about Mari’s relationship.  In this episode, we see how age really does not define your actions as Soon Ok becomes the ultimate Cheshire Cat when the tables are turned on Moran.

THE RECAP

Sizzle!  Roo-Oh slams the door behind Mari and growls that he lives across from her and has been living across from her for two months.  Mari apologizes and offers to take a hit if it would appease him.  She even sticks out her cheek and closes her eyes.

Roo Oh looks like he’s enjoying himself and tells her that he needs the other cheek; Mari complies.  Not stopping there, he slaps his own hand in front of her face to scare her.  Then turning into a sudden gentleman, he tells her not to follow whatever a guy tells her.  Instead, he tells her to buy udon.

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Mari slams his door and yells that will go down first.  However, when she goes down first, she runs into her father.  Mari’s father tries to drag Mari home so that the family can talk.  Mari refuses and Roo Oh walks in on what looks like an older man trying to drag Mari away.

Roo Oh interrupts and tells her father to leave Mari alone…Mari’s father tells Roo Oh to butt out as he’s Mari’s father.  Roo Oh smirks that he’s Mari’s uncle and tries to pull Mari away.  They end up getting into a tug-of-war with Roo Oh demanding udon and Mari’s father demanding that Mari come home to eat chicken…

Finally, Mari pulls out of both of their grasps and tells Roo Oh that this is her father…He had her when he was in his twenties.  Roo Oh immediately apologizes as Mari tells both of them to leave and walks up first.

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Roo Oh stops Mari’s father from going in after her and Mari’s father tells him to stop butting into Mari’s affairs.  Afterwards, Roo Oh lets Mari know that her father has left so she can relax.  As a reward, he gets to say goodnight to Mari face to face.

Meanwhile, Hyunsook has Jong-Mi read over her petition  Feeling nervous, Jong-Mi advises Hyunsook to get Mari to proofread it.  Hyunsook decides against it as Mari will only look down on her and tells Jong-Mi to keep it a secret.

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At the same time, Soon Ok hears someone in the living room and walks out to find it completely dark.  As she’s about to go back into her room, her husband calls out, “Wife.”

She turns around to see him sitting in the rocking chair, fully drenched.  His knuckles are also scraped up.  He looks around and Soon Ok tells him that their daughters are completely grown.  Her husband doesn’t look at her and asks about Moran.  To which, Soon Ok yells at him to leave immediately and Soon Ok wakes up.

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Feeling anxious, Soon Ok goes to the living room to find that the rocking chair is wet.  Moran comes over and tells her that Eunshil had spilled water on the chair earlier.  She asks Soon Ok why Soon Ok seems so nervous.

Soon Ok tells Moran about how she had a bad dream about her husband.  As she describes it, Moran has to hold on to the wall behind her and ask haltingly if Chulhee said anything.

Soon Ok lies that all her husband said was to call out for his wife.  Looking troubled, Soon Ok goes back into her room.

The next day, Chulhee accompanies the old action star to the broadcasting station.  Drama coincidences, he walks by his own top announcer star without recognizing her.

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As for our underdog, Hyunsook  goes back to her high school to submit her petition.  She gives it to the principal and he asks why she waited so long.  Hyunsook answers that she never forgot about her scar.  The principal promises to open up the debate about her petition to nullify her expulsion.  Hyunsook walks off triumphantly only to get a call from her sister.

Per Hyunjung’s orders, Hyunsook runs to the broadcasting system to return Hyunjung’s clothes that Hyunsook “borrowed.”  The outfit wasn’t even Hyunjung’s but a sponsored lend.  [Korean brands let celebrities borrow clothes so that they can be seen wearing the brand.]

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As Hyunsook walks out, she sees a bunch of fan girls and remembers her own childhood.  She stands there lost in her memories when her old physical education teacher (Teacher Hwang) finds her!

Teacher Hwang has coffee with Hyunsook and apologizes for not being able to help her.  He had gone to help his cousin when Hyunsook was expelled.  During coffee, Hyunsook declares her intent to get revenge on Hyun-Ae.

Teacher Hwang tells Hyunsook that Hyun-Ae also had issues…Hyunsook ignores the comment and continues to tell Teacher Hwang about her petition.  They discuss how Hyunsook would have been better suited to live in this generation than her generation.  Then, right before her  father walks over, Hyunsook gets up and leaves!  OH THE CLOSE CALLS!  Thanks to his amnesia, Chulhee sees his daughter but doesn’t recognize her.

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At the same time, Hyun-Ae meets with the principal.  She demands that he opens an open meeting with all of the other teachers and Hyunsook.

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As the tsunami is about to arrive, Hyunsook and Jong-Mi sing their hearts away at noraebang!  Of course we get a flash back of the younger Hyunsook and Jong-Mi singing in front of a television (that Jong-Mi carried over)!  Hyunjung interrupts this to introduce Hyunsook’s new tutor (Mari’s father aka Goong-Min)!  Jong-Mi yells at Hyunjung that Hyunsook needs a good-looking tutor as she even hugged her idol.  HAHAHA best friends for life.

Hyunsook and Jong-Mi comes home to find Goong-Min at home discussing the sale of their family home.  Soon Ok declares that she doesn’t want to use the money that Moran gave.

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Hyunsook tries to ask her mother to use the money for now…she can save up the money to pay Moran back.  Soon Ok replies that Hyunsook doesn’t need to feel guilty.  They can try to find a buyer who will let them live in the house with a deposit (junsae).  [Basically, you pay the owner 1/2 to 1/3 the value of the house and live there rent fee.  In return, the owner gets a large loan interest free.  When you move out, the landlord has to pay you your deposit.]

It’s adorable that Jong-Mi tries to convince Soon Ok to listen to Hyunsook and Soon Ok just replies that she doesn’t want to hear anything from Jong-Mi who only came over to eat.  Jong-Mi gets all angry and replies that they will finish this AFTER she eats.  OMG, love this relationship.

Goong-Min follows Hyunsook into her room to demand that she study for the college exams.  In return, Hyunsook wonders why Goong-Min isn’t work.  He tells her that he took time off until May, as he’s switching companies.  Hyunsook mutters that he must feel embarrassed to work at the same company since he’s getting remarried.  Goong-Min just responds that Hyunsook needs to quickly save up the $100,000 spousal support/damages.

As they walk out, Mari comes home and the two woman have at each other…It ends with Mari saying she doesn’t care about her mother and Hyunsook telling her daughter that she is going to write her off the family tree.

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Roo Oh finds Mari lurking outside the udon place and Mari offers to buy.  She stuffs her face and explains that she cannot eat alone.  Roo Oh is surprised and Mari explains that a lot of women are like this.  WHAT?  Are you kidding me?  I can eat ALL THE TIME…WITH PEOPLE OR WITHOUT +_+

Meanwhile, Moran is lost in her memories…She was on the train with Chulhee who proposes to her with the ring.  He tells her that he already told his wife.

At the same time, Eunshil shows her true colors!  She takes secret pictures of Soon Ok’s recipe books.

Soon Ok interrupts this with her dry laundry and then Moran interrupts to say that she’s leaving tomorrow.  Moran puts the ring on the table and apologizes that she stayed longer trying to gather courage to give the ring to Soon Ok.

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Soon Ok opens the ring and bites her lip.  Moran explains that Chulhee proposed, but she rejected him.

Smart cookie Soon Ok asks how Moran has the ring if she rejected him.  We see through Moran’s flashback.  She walked back on to the train as everyone else walked toward the end of the car because someone had fallen off the train.  She tries to hold her trembling hands and finds the ring next to her.

In her mind Moran confesses to killing Chulhee. OMG THE SURPRISE. DID SHE PUSH HIM OFF?

In reality, Moran just answers that she turned around as she rejected him.  When she turned around, Chulhee had disappeared after leaving the ring in her bag.  She notes that she doesn’t know where he went after that.  She tells Soon Ok that she wants to return the ring to her.

Soon Ok instructs Eunshil to tie a red string around the ring and runs to get her own ring.  She explains that she received her ring for Christmas the year before Chulhee disappeared.  She tells Eunshil to tie a blue string around her ring.

Then she tells Moran to wait until they have a family meeting.  She wants to tell everyone that Chulhee loved both Moran and herself the same, therefore, they should all respect Moran.  Hmmmm, I think it’s more that she wants to show everyone that Chulhee loved her, too…

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The next day, Hyunsook goes to the open meeting.  Hyunsook explains how she thinks she was unfairly expelled, as she did not steal the scarf.  However, Hyun-Ae is not an easy opponent.

Hyun-Ae turns the crowd against Hyunsook by painting her as  a fraud.  Hyun-Ae apologizes for not being able to train and teach Hyunsook.  Rather, Hyunsook was a failure who did not want to study.  As a result, she has grown up to be a failure of an adult who frequents gambling dens.  She implies that Hyunsook is only submitting the petition now so that she can sue the school for money to cover her gambling debts.

At Hyun-Ae’s disclosure that Hyunsook went to gambling dens and was caught by the police, the atmosphere in the meeting completely turns on Hyunsook.  The teachers vote against nullifying the petition.

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Meanwhile, Mari asks Doojin why he followed her to the university and Doojin grudgingly confesses that the female student sent him a picture.  He consoles Mari that the youth don’t care about much and will quickly forget.

Changing the topic, he tells Mari about how he met her mother and Hyunsook thanked his father.  He asks what his father did.  Mari explains how Hyunsook was photographed at the airport, crying after her idol.  As a result, she was suspended.  Doojin’s father was the only reporter who wrote in her favor.

Doojin seems as appalled by the situation as we are and asks what happened.  Mari tells him that her mother ended up not finishing high school.

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We return to Hyunjung’s story.  She’s golfing in the southern part South Korea and Mun-Hak has followed her there.  He invites her to coffee.

Hyunjung arrives to find Mun-Hak making fresh brewed coffee for a bunch of older divers.  He speaks loudly and happily gives each of the women a bowl before Hyunjung announces her presence.

Mun-Hak explains that a couple of writers live near by.  As a result, he was able to befriend these women.  He also tells Hyunjung to take a year off of work.  She can come work for him and he will turn into someone that the broadcasting companies will be begging to return.  With that, he tells her to find him back in Seoul.

Following up on his business development?/flirting?, he sends Hyunjung a luxurious spread for dinner.  He tells her that he’s eating with the noble prize winner, whom she respects.  He also notes that since they are eating the same thing, it’s like she’s there with him.

While the perfect older sister gets courted, the younger failure yells at her friend that her petition fell through.  Jong-Mi runs over to cheer Hyunsook up.  She tells Hyunsook that life is not that easy…if it were, Hyunsook would have been rich from investing and she would have been in Italy with George Clooney.

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It turns out even Goong-Min was called for the family meeting.  At the meeting, Soon Ok shows the family the two rings and announces that Chulhee loved both of the women.

Jong-Mi’s uncle, who works in the jewelry industry, inspects the rings.  He announces that Soon Ok’s ring is an expensive diamond…However, Moran’s ring is a cubic.

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Moran seems shocked and cannot believe it.  Trying to help, Jong-Mi tells Moran to use this black thing that beeps if it touches a diamond.  The contraption is silent when Moran puts the tip to her ring…but beeps when Soon Ok tries.

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The tide continues to turn when Jong-Mi’s uncle tries to help as well.  He tries to console Moran that the ring isn’t cheap; it would have been around $195.  Hyunjung quickly asks how much Soon Ok’s ring would be and he answers that it would be worth $50,000.

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The next day, Soon Ok comes out wearing her ring happily.  She explains how she has a slight headache and taps her forehead with her hand to show off her ring.  With that, Soon Ok walks out to buy some ingredients happily.

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At the same time, Chulhee walks in the neighborhood.  He sends Teacher Hwang to get his glasses and mutters and is alone when Soon Ok walks by.  Muttering to himself that he thought there was a museum nearby, he calls out to Soon Ok.

Soon Ok turns around as a newspaper covers her face.

MY TWO CENTS

Okay, I’m not going to lie.  I squeaked when Roo Oh slammed his fist on the wall behind Mari.  There was just this sizzling charisma about him that I haven’t seen in a lot of daily dramas…>.<  Yup, you can’t fake that.  Regardless of how the writer rights it in, some actors have it and others do not.  Roo Oh does.  ^____________^

Ahem.  Back to the episode.  In this episode, I thought the revelation about the Soon Ok/ Chulhee / Moran relationship was the most interesting.  I don’t know what to think about it since Chulhee seems to have two-timed the women?  Did Chulhee not realize that one ring he bought was a diamond and the other was a cubic zirconia?

The look on Moran’s face was so precious.  This whole time, I hadn’t realized it…However, Moran had been playing the I-Am-More-Loved-Than-You to Soon Ok.  She was always apologetic, but it was always against the backdrop of I am SO SORRY THAT HE LOVED ME MORE THAN YOU.  This revelation that Chulhee had actaully bought the largely more expensive ring for Soon Ok threw all of the assumptions into the air, which  I thought was an interesting move by the writers. O_O

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Random note – how cute is it that Soon-Ok is loving the rub Moran’s face into her more expensive real diamond ring business?

Also, why is the show portraying it as Moran thinking that she killed Chulhee? I think this is a red herring, so I’m not going to spend any more time on this.

 

Unkind Ladies – E05

OMG, the absolute worst nightmare comes true for Mari.  Her mom embarrasses her in front of her employer AND her students by kneeling and begging her head professor.  Can she crawl into bed and hide…pretending that this never happened?  Can I craw into bed and pretend that I didn’t see that?! Noooooo the humiliation!  Sigh, but really, I can’t blame Hyunsook as she is a living scar – a bundle of insecurity from her bad adolescence.  Enough of my ramblings, read on to hear about Mari’s complete and utter humiliation as well as the tear-jerking tale of Hyunsook/Jong-Mi’s friendship.

THE RECAP

Turns out, Doojin had bent over to try to threaten Mari that he will literally drop her if she doesn’t get up when he got attacked from behind by Hyunsook.  Doojin looks up in surprise to see Hyunsook painting him as a pervert, who’s about to snack on her daughter…except, he doesn’t know it’s Mari’s mother.  Mistaking Hyunsook for Mari’s sister wins him a couple of brownie points, and she refrains from attacking him to focusing on calling out others to carry Mari indoors.

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This leaves us and Doojin watching in pure entertainment as Hyunsook, Soon Ok, Moran, and Eunshil grab Mari from all sides and barely carry her into the house.  He awkwardly stands in the courtyard with everyone as he holds Mari’s backpack.

Soon Ok seems notes that he’s familiar and her maternal instinct perks up.  She invites him over for tea, which he politely refuses to run away from the five women.

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At the same time, we see what happened after Hyunsook left.  Witchy Ex-Teacher Hyun-Ae grills Hyunsoo until she finally (albeit begrudgingly) explains that Hyunsook had been caught in a small neighborhood gambling bust.  [Can I interject here that in the United States, gambling is not a crime?! Additionally, COME ON.  Half of the Korean population gambles money over Go-Stop during the traditional new years festivities…]

Anyways, Hyun-Ae lights up like the Cheshire Cat and INTERRUPTS the current song to grab the mike.  She announces gleefully to the room that she has been reassured about her service in saving the girls, as she was right in kicking out the bad apple Hyunsook, who was caught in a gambling den.  She continues that it was through her hard decisions that the people in the room were able to successfully get to the positions they hold now…PUKE.

One of the ladies calls everyone to attention and they all start singing this song, which Korean students sing on Teacher’s Appreciation Day…Basically, the lyrics analogize teachers to God’s gifts…which, I would normally agree, just not for HER.

In contrast, Hyunsook stuffs her face at home and ends up sleeping with her daughter.

Through Hyunsook’s dream, we get to get more of a background on the Hyunsook v. Hyun-Ae situation.  A long, long time ago, a teenage Jong-Mi runs up to teenage Hyunsook to let her know that she overheard Teacher Hyun-Ae arranging to meet up with reporter Munsoo Kim, who wrote the article defending Hyunsook.

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Hyunsook shows up at the cafe and sits at a nearby table listening to the conversation.  Basically, Munsoo blames the Korean government’s policy of opening up rather than Hyunsook.  Meanwhile, Hyun-Ae has one thing in mind – would Munsoo like to go to a theater play with her?  Although surprised, Munsoo agrees, but gets called away because another protest is beginning and the government is responding with tear gas.  He runs out to cover the protest.  As Hyun-Ae gets up to leave, she sees a sad Hyunsook sitting in a different booth.

Hyunsook immediately asks why Hyun-Ae didn’t even talk about her situation during the time that Hyun-Ae flirted with the reporter.  Hyun-Ae doesn’t seem as evil during this time and looks a bit guilty…Luckily for Hyun-Ae, the tear gas is increasingly filling up the room and she sternly tells Hyunsook to go home as she shouldn’t be out near a protest.

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Days later, we see Hyunsook hide from her old classmates as they walk to school.  When one tries to call out to her, Hyunsook runs away into an alley and runs into the mean/gang girls.  Sighing that the girls are lucky that they can go to school, Hyunsook explains how she was expelled unfairly.  However, the girls in their childish way tell Hyunsook that it doesn’t matter; they’re only interested in her money.

Hyunsook tries to leave them with the advice that they should go to school.  Yet, when she turns to walk away, one of the girls throws her bag at Hyunsook’s retreating back…which triggers Hyunsook and bags against the four girls.  The four are no match for Hyunsook’s anger and this begins Hyunsook’s legacy as a fighter.  Basically, the rumor mill churns that she turned into a full out a gangster for fighting against four other girls her age.

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That night, Hyunsook dances her sorrow and frustrations away in the rain.  Walking by, Jong-Mi sees this and tries to cover her with an umbrella.  True to her emo age, Hyunsook asks if Jong-Mi’s umbrella could ever try to cover the extent of her sorrow.  In response, Jong-Mi throws her umbrella to the ground and starts to dance with Hyunsook.  OMG…talk about making a short and simple scene hit you where it hurts.  True friendship conveyed with less than three sentences…Excuse me as I wipe away my tears.

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In the morning, Mari drags her hungover self out to buy beansprouts.  Of course, on her way back, she runs into Roo-Oh.  He takes one look at her carrying the bag of beansprouts without a bag and takes his stuff out of his own plastic bag to give to her, while joking that she doesn’t need to pay the ten cents for the bag.

Mari gets straight to the point and asks Roo-Oh what we are all thinking, does he like her?  Roo-Oh smirks that Mari must have been so lonely if she mistakes a gesture of kindness as interest.

Mari defensively replies that she was just joking as he’s not her type.  Surprising her, he comments that it’s a shame since she is his type.  Joining Mari, I’m staring at the screen wondering if this is a confession when Roo-Oh follows up this comment with the explanation that it was a joke and we lose the moment.  Oh you writers…You tease us so!

We turn to the kendo dojo, where Roo-Oh fences off with another master.  Afterwards, a member of the dojo tells Roo-Oh that he’s relieved it was Roo-Oh and not some upstart who wants to take over the dojo.  He notes that he heard rumors about Roo-Oh’s rival, when he was on Korea’s official team is still smarting as Roo-Oh only lost to the other guy because Roo-Oh got hurt.  Like a good sport, Roo-Oh tells the kid that he wasn’t hurt by his rival and all of that was pure rumors…

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Meanwhile, Mari helps Hyunsook cook and Hyunsook tells Mari that she can only date Doojin after she gets her professor position back.

At the broadcasting company, the team has a meeting…Instead of focusing, Mari passes a note to Doojin asking if he tried to kiss her and he denies it.  Of course the team leader picks up on this as asks if they have any problems with his current instructions.  Mari and Doojin deny that they have any issues and another member accuses them of having a fling… Oh the love triangle is starting to shape up!

Following instructions, Mari and Doojin end up waiting in line for the oldest ox-bone-soup restaurant in Seoul.  After they’ve been waiting for over 40 minutes, Doojin’s mom calls about being in the area and joins them.

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Of course, Hyun-Ae doesn’t recognize Mari as Hyunsook’s daughter and Mari doesn’t realize that Hyun-Ae was the witch who destroyed her mother’s life.  The two hit it off as Hyun-Ae thinks that her son is interested in or is dating Mari.  His introduction of Mari as a professor of modern Korean literature wins her over immediately and she mentions how she used to teach literature…She brags that her students have really succeeded in the world, although, she had her bad apples.

Mari realizes that this would be a good story and tries to ask about it.  Luckily for us, Doojin distracts them away from the long story in time for Mari to get a call from her professor rival, accusing her of being an elementary student who needs her mom to solve everything.

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Mari races back to the university, with Doojin following as he got a picture from the student he’s tutoring, to beg her mom to get up and stop plead on her behalf to her head professor.  Mari ends up angrily ordering her mom out before stomping out herself in embarrassment!

Hyunsook crawls after Mari as her legs have fallen asleep and Doojin tells the students to erase the pictures of Mari’s mom literally begging the head professor for Mari’s job. Oh dear. Oh dear.

In the cab, Mari blows up against her mother asking why her mother would do such an embarrassing thing.  Hyunsook doesn’t apologize as she still thinks that Mari needs to do whatever is necessary to get her job (and classes) back.

However, Mari’s not even sure that being an active professor at that school is her dream.  She tries to tell her mom  that she’s suffocating and needs space, but Hyunsook isn’t having any of it.

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So Mari does what a grown woman does…She stops the cab in the middle of the freeway and walks out.  Hyunsook gets out after her to ask why Mari is acting this way…after all she did to make Mari a professor so that Mari wouldn’t live the way she did.  Mari yells back in in frustration that she doesn’t want this kind of life and calls her mom crazy for not being over getting expelled when she was younger.  She asks if her mom gave it her best when she’s telling her daughter that the only reason that Mari wants to quit is that she’s not trying her best.

She tells her mom that she’s suffocating because of her mom’s insecurity issues and her father must have felt the same.  Hyunsook yells at Mari to beg her professors once more and Mari screams that her mom is crazy before walking away.

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Hyunsook goes straight to Jong-Mi’s shop and lays on the bench.  As Jong-Mi goes to get her a blanket, Hyunsook mutters that she thought she had succeeded once…making her daughter a professor, but now she thinks she failed even that.

Jong-Mi laughs that Hyunsook must be hungry and goes to get food.  As she walks away, she runs into a couple, who Jong-Mi helped in getting his termination nullified.  Hyunsook sits up and researches the different nullification options with Jong-Mi promising to help draft the petition.

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At home, Moran asks if she could join the next cooking class.  Soon Ok refuses and continues to read a book.  Moran tries to continue to talk and asks about the book that Soon Ok is reading so Soon Ok gives it to Moran as a gift…The title being…Adultery.

Moran pauses and tries to explain that she only grabbed hands with Chulhee…Chulhee only liked her innocently.  Soon Ok sighs in aggravations and notes that she must not have loved Chulhee, so she ate with him, slept with him, and had two children.

Moran tries to tell Soon Ok to stop and Soon Ok responds that its a joke for a woman to say that a man loves her so much that he won’t sleep with her.  So Moran responds that Soon Ok wouldn’t feel better if she said that she slept with Chulhee and Soon Ok freezes.  After a few moments when Moran regrets saying the last, Soon Ok tells her that Moran would not be likeable no matter what she said.

Eunshil interrupts to bring meet for hamburger steak…Soon Ok had told her to buy some as Moran mentioned that she wanted to eat it.

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At the same time, Doojin goes to interview an old action actor, who lives at the same center as Chulhee!  He tries to plug in a cord after watering plants and gets electrocuted.

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Meanwhile, Moran tastes the food and announces that it’s delicious, if not the same taste.  Eunshil comments that it can’t be the same since she was eating with her loved one…

The talk turns to Moran’s past.  She tells the two about how the engagement was broken because someone told the family that she was a second wife’s daughter.  She comments that she thought it was Soon Ok at first…Soon Ok denies it and explains that she had hoped Moran would get married so that Chulhee would return to her senses.

Soon Ok wonders if Chulhee was the one who wrote the letter…and then asks if Moran set the bar on fire, which killed Chulhee.  Moran vehemently denies it and then asks if Soon Ok did it for revenge.  Soon Ok angrily replies that she would have…if she knew where Chulhee was drinking….HAH!

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Chulhee wakes back up.  Good news, it seems like his memories are slowly returning.  He watches a movie, in which the main male character is named Chulhee and speaks to the television, “I am Chulhee.”

At the same time, Hyun-Ae and her secretary have another meeting.  Her secretary notes that no one knows where Teacher Hwang is…but, he found out about Mun-Hak’s property.  Mun-Hak is basically a chaebol!  He wishes Hyun-Ae luck with Teacher Hwang.

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Hyun-Ae sighs that he’s so stupid; if she got remarried, Mun-Hak would never let her inherit anything.  They walk out with expensive food for him to bring to her family only to get caught by Mun-Hak.  Awkward.

Roo-Oh goes back to the cafe only to see the depressed student sitting outside, waiting for Mari.  Feeling bad for the kid, he invites the kid to wait for Mari at the dojo.

As for our rebellious teacher?  She has taken refuge at her aunt’s place…which is completely messy and only has beer.  Welcome to the life of a single, young woman, living alone! HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Ahem.  After taking a sip, she remembers her promise to the kid and finally checks her voicemail.  She runs to the dojo as Roo-Oh had left her a message.  There, Roo-Oh asks how a teacher could forget a promise with a student.

Mari responds angrily that she did make a mistake, but she had a reasons, too!  Roo-Oh tries to ask for more information, but Mari tells him to keep his nose out of her business.

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Back at Jong-Mi’s place, Hyunsook is still on the couch when her husband visits.  She hides underneath the blanket and overhears her husband asking about her welfare.

Jong-Mi responds that no woman would be doing well when her ex-husband is getting remarried.  Feeling humiliated, Hyunsook declares her presence.

Seeing here, Hyunsook’s husband tells her that he wants $100,000.00 in damages from her.  She caused him to lose out on an executive position opportunity because she ruined all of the social/networking events.

When Hyunsook gasps at the large amount and tells him that he should run when she’s not holding on to him.  Hyunsook’s husband responds that he will get married after Hyunsook graduates from college; he’s going to tutor her on the Korean college exams.

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At the same time, Mari walks to her aunt’s apartment with Roo-Oh walking behind her the whole time.  She asks if he’s following her…except, they end up in the same hallway.  Roo-Oh walks up to her and…Mari SLAPS HIM! Oh dear! >.<

Glaring at her, Roo-Oh walks into the apartment across from her.  Mari is left staring at the empty hallway in embarrassment.  Yep, we’ve all been there.

However, Roo-Oh interrupts her reverie of humiliation to walk up to her and slam the wall next to her. O_O Squeal?! Note- this is only exciting BECAUSE he’s hot.  If not, I’d be advising Mari to get a temporary restraining order.

MY TWO CENTS

Gah! Why does Hyunsook’s childhood have to be so bad?  Additionally, I don’t know if the writer meant to do this, but WHERE WERE HER PARENTS DURING THIS TIME?  I don’t blame Soon Ok as she was probably busy trying to keep her marriage together.  What about that sad excuse of a father that Hyunsook had? Was he so busy chasing after Moran that he left his daughter to be expelled AND NOT try to get her into an alternative career/learning situation?  Sure, it was probably very different back then.  I bet expulsion was like a career death sentence.  However, from what I’ve seen, her parents don’t seem to exist at all!

Sigh, okay, I’m calm.  I do love the Soon Ok/Moran dynamic though.  Why is Soon Ok always feeding Moran good things?  Deep down inside, is Soon Ok actually building a frenemy relationship bordering on friendship with the woman who stole her husband’s heart?  I wonder if Soon Ok is able to do so because she’s so kind at heart…or is it that she misses Chulhee so much that it’s nice to be around someone else that also misses him as much?

Finally, Hyun-Ae.  It’s so weird.  In the flashbacks, Hyun-Ae seems like a horrible teacher, but not as witchy as she seems now.  What happened between then and now?  For example, I think in the past, Hyun-Ae might not have hated Hyunsook if she had studied and gotten better grades…but now, it’s clear that she also hates Hyun-Sook…why?  Also, why does she have such an insecurity complex that causes her to gather her old students and fan her ego?

Unkind Ladies – E04

The fortune teller was right.  Things are continuing to fall apart for Soon Ok’s family, but it’s relieving to watch as we know the family will get back on its feet.  It helps that each tsunami of misfortune seems to be taken in stride.  Nothing is too much for these women to deal with…from chasing idols to airports, confronting your nemesis teacher, and enjoying funemployment, these women will continue living life.

THE RECAP

Back in the past, girls gather around the bulletin board to find out that Hyunsook is in trouble again.   Meanwhile, the girl in question gets caught writing a love letter in English to her idol.  Her teacher sees it and slaps her because she is supposed to write a letter of apology for getting her concert photograph published on the newspaper.

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Back in the present, we see how the cocky young prosecutor’s insistence that Hyunsook write and rewrite her letter of apology opens up that past wound.  Finally, Hyunsook loses it and throws the letters in his face, asking just what did she do wrong?  Instead of realizing, with emotional intelligence, that they are dealing with a person with scars, they end up handcuffing her for obstructing police work.

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At the same time, Mari meets with Jong-Mi, who shows her a new bracelet that she designed.  Mari explains how she is so happy these days being funemployed.  She notes that she was never so content in the past…she just wants to have a simple job and live a simple life.  Jong-Mi laughs that Hyunsook will freak if she hears about this.  Jong-Mi notes that she expected Hyunsook to be satisfied when Mari gets accepted to a good school, but Hyunsook seems to have a lot of scars and insecurities…

Meanwhile, Hyunsook calls for the manager of the department to come out and refuses to calm down at the prosecutor’s office.

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Hyun-Ae (Hyunsook’s nemesis and witchy teacher) meets with the head of the school, who tells her that they have some concerns as there have been reports about her past.  He hands over printed emails, which include accusations that Hyun-Ae privately tutored rich students, accepted bribes, and didn’t allow some of the less scholarly students from attending homeroom.  The chancellor explains that reputation is important for the school…

Hyun-Ae interrupts to remind the chancellor that her family has donated a lot of money to the school.  She also demands to be able to face and respond to her accusers directly, which the chancellor admits is not possible as all of the accusations were anonymous.

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Returning to the prosecutor’s office, a senior prosecutor (Shin Hyunsoo) arrives and recognizes Hyunsook.  She demands that Hyunsook’s handcuffs are taken off and reminisces, noting that she always wondered how Hyunsook ended up.  Hyunsook responds that she doesn’t really feel happy that Hyunsoo remembers her and gets up to leave.

Ad Hyunsook walks off, Hyunsoo adds that some of the students are meeting with Hyun-Ae and invites Hyunsook.

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Hyunsook meets up with Jong-Mi to tell her what happened and they wonder about how Hyunsoo, who was only average in class managed to become a prosecutor.  Hopefully as a foreshadowing, Jong-Mi notes how you never know with life.

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At home, Soon Ok makes medicine for Moran, who gets emotional with gratitude.  After drinking the herbal medicine, she walks out to ask Soon Ok if there is anything she can do to help.

Soon Ok empties the prunes on the table and tells Moran to go through all of them and separate the good from the bad ones.  Soon Ok also tells Moran to hide in her room when the students arrive as it will be embarrassing to explain the situation.

Moran tries to answer that she finds her embarassment as penalty for the past, which she is willing to accept.  Soon Ok retorts that if Moran truly believes that, she wouldn’t have put on BB Cream.

Moran looks up in surprise to answer that she didn’t put on any BB Cream, which Soon Ok laughs off.

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Meanwhile, Mari watches old television broadcasts and recognizes Jong-Mi!  She runs home to look at her mom’s old box of pictures and newspapers.  Finding her mom’s picture on the newspaper, she runs out…to run into Hyunsook, who tries to tell Mari to go beg her professors for mercy.  Mari smiles and runs off.

In the library, Mari reads through articles, all which berate the state of education and youth, who are obsessed about singers.  She muses to herself that her mother was unfairly expelled.

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At the same time, Hyunjung meets with an executive from a rival broadcasting network.  However, he kills her confidence by telling her that they want to bring her over to head the home-shopping channel and not news…And so it starts…

Hyunjung runs home after she receives a text that informs her that Moran is at home.  She kicks over the medicine pot and throws all of the beans that Moran is separating on the floor.  Seeing this, Soon Ok orders that Hyungjung leave as Moran is her guest.

At the kendo dojo, Roo-Oh walks up to a short haired member only to find a guy.  He awkwardly tells the member that he has a pretty back image and walks away.

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Lucky for him, he sees Mari in a cafe on his walk home.  He knocks on the window and gestures for Mari to smile. >.<  Mari looks up and runs after Roo-Oh with a coffee.  She hands over the coffee with the apology that she won’t be able to attend anymore.

Roo-Oh asks her if she’s busy on the weekend because of dating.  Mari answers that she’s just busy and Roo-Oh smirks.  He asks her if she could repeat after him, “Can you protect me?”

Mari tries to change her voice, but Roo-Oh isn’t convinced.  He threatens Mari that he will tell everyone it was her if she doesn’t return.

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Back at home, the family reminisces about Soon Ok’s late husband.  Soon Ok even invites Moran to say something and Moran notes that Chul-Hee (Soon Ok’s Ex-Husband) must have been blessed to have such a warm family.  Hyunjung snaps that their father would have been happy if Moran hadn’t gotten involved.

Hyunsook jumps in to Moran’s defense and the two bicker until Hyunsook has the last word that Moran didn’t even return Chul-Hee’s feelings; she loved someone else.

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Switch to an older folk’s home…Chul-Hee is ALIVE!  Except he has lost his memory and is called Minami Grandpa.  Han Choong Kil comes over to talk with Grandpa Chul-Hee and we hear that Choong Kil was the one who found and saved Chul-Hee.  Note, he’s not married yet … Is this a hint?

We return to home where Eunshul flirts with Mari’s father until Hyunjung kicks her out to talk with him…She tells him that she’s ready to submit their divorce papers and adds that he can visit Mari whenever he wants.

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In her room, Soon Ok talks to a picture of her husband.  She asks if he liked the cake and opens a box with a diamond ring.  She promises to give it to Moran before she leaves, but then comments that she might not. HAH! Love her!

Surprise! Surprise!  Moran is talking to Chul-Hee as well! She has the exact same ring and tells Chul-Hee’s ghost (or air) that she will give the ring to Soon Ok…however, Chul-Hee will need to wait until she can gather her courage to talk about THAT NIGHT.

Our matriarch listens to oldies as she eats cake in the living room.  It’s the same song that was playing when Soon Ok had run into Chul-Hee with Moran in the cafe.  Moran’s flash back shows us that she walked out of the bathroom to find Chul-Hee cover for his wife…He explained that he was playing around.

Back in the present, Soon Ok apologizes for wrecking her cake and Moran replies that Chul-Hee loved Soon Ok a lot.  Soon Ok replies that she should shut up and eat her cake. ^.~

In the morning, Doojin reads a newspaper as his uncle/Mun-Hak gets a new suit matched.  I’m a bit confused as he calls Mun-Hak baby grandfather…only to be scolded that he should call Mun-Hak “hyung” in public.  Mun-Hak asks about Hyunjung only to find out that she’s being pushed out.

Doojin also teases his uncle/grandfather about his possible crush and tells him to date instead of just fighting with his mom.

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Later, Mari calls up the one author, who wrote in defense of her mother…a Munsoo Kim.  She then walks into the department, where she will be working…It’s the same office as Doojin!

Speak of the devil, Doojin arrives and sits down.  Within minutes of awkward silence, Doojin gets a call that alerts him that Mari is looking for his father.  The scene ends with Doojin confronting Mari on why she is looking for his father.

Meanwhile, Hyunsook gets a full makeover for the lunch with Hyun-Ae.  She’s wearing the clothes that Moran bought her and even takes anxiety medicine.

At the same time, Hyun-Ae looks over all of the land that Mun-Hak owns.  Hyun-Ae comments that it’s the family land…She instructs her attorney/secretary? to figure out a way to keep him from getting it all.  She also instructs him to look up Han Chun-Kil, who was Hyunsook’s PE teacher.

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Jong-Mi ends up driving Hyunsook back home as she’s too scared.  On her way home, Hyunsook sees the local bar owner being taken away on a stretcher.  Turns out that he spent over $100,000 to remodel the bar when he came into the space last year…Except, he was told to leave as they are remodeling the whole building.  Feeling that he has no options as he invested too much money into this bar, the man overdosed.

Hyunsook asks why the man didn’t fight back since the landlord never told him about the possible remodeling.  The neighbor lady sighs that there’s nothing that powerless people can do.

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The next generation continues on…Doojin is sitting in front of a drunk Mari and keeps asking her why she was looking for his father.  Mari just mumbles that Doojin’s father is a wonderful author, but doesn’t explain why…She ends up passing out.

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The witchy Hyun-Ae is in her mode with the other students.  She sees Hyunsoo checking her watch and asks why.  Hyunsoo explains that she ran into Hyunsook and invited her.

Hyun-Ae grits her teeth and notes that she doesn’t have good memories of Hyunsook.  At the request of another past student, Hyun-Ae recounts her version of the story.  Hyunsook gave her a cashmere scarf, which she went to exchange in the store…only to find that it was stolen.

At that moment, Hyunsook enters in all of her finery and Hyun-Ae scopes her dress.  She comments that Hyunsook looks comfortable now and asks about Hyunsook’s situation.

Hyunsook explains that she has married and has a daughter, who finished her PhD.  All of the other women note in surprise and Hyun-Ae comments that Hyunsook must have gotten married really early without finishing her school.

In response, Hyunsook tells Hyun-Ae to kneel before her.  Hyun-Ae looks up in surprise and Hyunsook asks if she doesn’t remember…

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Back in the past, Hyunsook listens to music as she circles a cassette tape on her pen.  Hyun-Ae walks in and makes Hyunsook stand in the back, twirling both cassette tapes.  Hyun-Ae asks if Hyunsook does anything right and Hyunsook answers that she has won awards for poetry…

Ordered to compose a poem about her situation, Hyunsook responds, “Twirling with my right hand, twirling with my left hand, you can do it with both hands. In the world, there are two things, right hand and left hand…sunlight and darkness…”

Hyun-Ae smirks that Hyunsook thinks that this is a poem.  Hyunsook tells her teacher that she thinks a song will have such lyrics in the near future.  Hyun-Ae tells Hyunsook that if such a song comes out, she will kneel in front of Hyunsook.

Back in the present, the room bursts out in laughter about how it ended up being the lyrics of a song.  Hyunsook tells Hyun-Ae to kneel.  Hyun-Ae just asks if Hyunsook has been writing to publishers to defame her.  Hyunsook responds that she never did such a thing…however, she tells Hyun-Ae to stop being a teacher.

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Hyun-Ae tells Hyunsook to leave as she’s having a meal with her cherished students.  Hyunsook continues that she bought the scarf from Yoon Misook, who offered it for cheap.  Hyunsook had bought it as a sign of peace, but Hyun-Ae only believed Yoon Misook, who was the daughter of a rich family and expelled her.  Hyunsook notes that Hyun-Ae must have hated her for seeing Hyun-Ae flirt with another man, when she was dating the PE teacher.  She declares that she will let the world know the truth and leaves.

As Hyunsook walks home, she wonders how she hasn’t accomplished anything.  However, she notes that she had a wonderful time, too.  Back in memories, Hyunsook remembers going to her idol’s concert.  For one song, he calls up Hyunsook from the audience and sits her down on stage to serenade her.

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This was also the concert, where Hyunsook fainted and Jong-Mi pulled her out to splash water on her.  Hyunsook even ran to the airport to see her idol leave Korea…and it was that scene, which was photographed.

In the present, Doojin carries Mari home.  He manages to find her house, but she can’t stand.  He catches her and leans over to check on her breathing when Hyunsook sees him and slams the kid with her purse! GO MOM!

 

MY TWO CENTS

First, I still don’t know if Mari x Doojin is supposed to be an issue.  This episode hinted that Mun-Hak may actually have a love line with Hyunjung.  In that case, Mun-Hak cannot be Mari’s real biological grandfather, which would mean that Doojin is not related to her by blood.  Phew, some complicated issues there.  I’ll wait to see where things go with the Moran | Hyunsook relationship, before I get more worried.

Who else loved the fact that Soon Ok is just SO human?  She wants Moran to live and get better, but she cannot win over her petty self and gives Moran tons of grunt work as well as tons of snide comments.  I love it, because I would probably do the same if I could ever bring myself to forgive someone who hurt me so bad.  But it really shows the different layers of a person.  She still feels guilty about ruining Moran’s birthday cake, but she also doesn’t want to hear anything from Moran about how Chul-Hee loved her.  It’s like Soon Ok was telling Moran to shut her trap, she doesn’t need her pity.

The two diamond rings, though…WHAT THE… Grandpa Chul-Hee/Minami NEEDS to get his memories back and tell us what exactly was going on!

Just because my rambling thoughts are getting long, I’ll comment on one more thing.  I LOVE Mari’s character.  In her, we have a successful woman, who is successful by society’s standards.  She’s finished her PhD and taught at a prestigious university.  Her life was “ruined” when the broadcast painted her in a bad light and now she’s working a temporary position at a cafe/about to begin working on a project basis at a broadcasting company.  However, she tells her aunt that she’s actually enjoying (f)unemployment…she feels content and not stressed for the first time in her life.

While I don’t endorse that everyone throws responsibility to the winds, I do wonder about whether it’s the right message of society that’s been perpetuated by dramas.  If you have a successful woman character, who reaches her position of success, she’s always happy.  She always has a never-ending thirst for accomplishment and success…and she thrives on whatever job she’s in…whether its pulling all nighters as a doctor/lawyer/detective/CEO/etc…  It never really explores the question about what happens when she achieves that job that everyone else thinks is a success, but she’s not happy?   Is she a failure, if she like Mari decides that she doesn’t want to pursue her professorship career?

 

Unkind Ladies – E03

Looks like Soon Ok’s family is just falling to pieces. Moran moves in with Soon Ok’s family.  Hyeonjong gets kicked off her throne.  Mari’s lack of employment gets found out… and Hyeonsook loses it at the prosecutor’s office.

THE RECAP

The scene opens up with Soon Ok kicking Moran, who falls to the ground.

Hyeonsook quickly runs over and tries to massage Moran into consciousness. She yells at the staff to call the hospital and berates her mom for assaulting Moran. Hyeonsook even asks her mom to help get Moran conscious, but her mom just sulks on the side with the excuse that it was the equivalent of throwing a glass of water. HAH!

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When nothing works, Hyeonsook has the idea of pumping Moran’s chest like CPR. This gets some results as Moran coughs back into life.

Once she’s conscious, she apologizes to Soon Ok again.

Soon Ok asks Moran to hand over all of her husband’s things and Moran answers that she doesn’t have anything. Soon Ok calls her a horrible person since her husband left their family for Moran…she hands over the envelope of money and Moran tells Hyeonsook that it’s ok… She is ready to hear everything.

Hyeonsook gets dismissed…

Meanwhile, Hyeonsook’s scary teacher visits Jong-Mi’s flower shop demanding to know who sent her the wreath. Jong-Mi responds that they don’t know as they get so many requests.   The teacher is not happy to hear that but she accepts and leaves.

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When Hyeonsook leaves, Moran has a curious flashback… She walks into a train compartment with shaking hands. After she enters the car, a man walks in shouting that someone is was abandoned outside. As a result, most of the people leave to go see while Moran slips into her seat…

At the same time, Hyeonsook calls Jong-Mi, who like a true friend tells Hyeonsook to protect the money no matter what!

Back in the present, Moran apologizes to Soon Ok for distracting her husband. Soon Ok tells her that she’s not forgiven and gets up to leave with Hyeonsook.

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However, as they walk off Moran faints and they accompany her to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctor asks Soon Ok, if she’s Moran’s older sister from Seoul… Moran had mentioned that she missed her older sister’s cooking. He also adds that Moran had a successful surgery, but she has no desire to get better or eat well..

They go back into Moran’s room to find that she woke up. At this, Soon Ok surprises everyone by telling Moran to come live with her… Pay back for her sins by seeing the family that she wrecked.

Surprised, Moran pauses and says that she can do that on one condition… She can give Hyeonsook the money. Soon Ok mutters that she’s an idiot.

Hence, the three woman go back to Soon Ok’s house and Moran gets the old study room.

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At the same time, Mari does her best at a neighborhood cafe. When she serves two boys, one of the two is the Kendo master, who recognizes her as Professor Jang… And her voice as the woman, who accidentally entered the men’s shower.

However, another youth gets Mari’s attention first. He calls her by Professor Jang and asks to talk. Outside the cafe, Mari finds out that this is the youth that her mom saved. Before leaving him, she had told him to find Mari if he needed help. He now tells her that living is too hard and the only reason he tries is because of his grandmother… His only relative. Mari promises to meet with him on Friday to hear more.

Back at the house, Hyeonsook cleans Moran’s room and Moran reassures her that she will still gift her the money. Hyeonsook confesses that she hates the fact that she can’t decline the money to an understanding Moran.

All of the women of Mari’s dojo gets a text explaining that the women’s showers have been moved. The text also notes that he didn’t see the woman who entered the wrong bathroom, therefore, she should feel confident in returning.

And return Mari does. When she goes home after her shift, her mom tells her to stay out for dinner like a successful and busy professor as the atmosphere is awkward. So Mari heads out to the dojo.

During dinner, the atmosphere does get awkward. First, Soon Ok tells Moran to enjoy as she’s probably had a lot of Soon Ok’s cooking… Her husband would like that he’s bringing food to his coworkers only to give it to Moran…

Then Eunshil notes that Mari’s father is returning and Hyeonsook tells everyone that he is getting engaged to another woman.

Shocked, her mother orders that she doesn’t sign the divorce papers, which will only add another failure to her life. Hyeonsook responds defensively that her life isn’t a failure; she is the mother of a professor at a prestigious university.   Soon Ok sighs that she can’t berate Hyeonsook, who didn’t grow up seeing a happy family…which gets to Moran and Eunshil texts Mari to ask her father and Mari responds that it’s none of her business.

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Then Mari blows off steam by wracking the target furiously… Even off form.

Roo-Oh sees this and yells at her thinking that she’s one of his students. Calling her the “crazy stick,” he demands that she stop… When she doesn’t stop, Roo-Oh slaps the stick with his own causing Mari to fall back in shock.

Only then does Roo-Oh realize that this is not his student. He apologizes and helps her up.

After Mari takes off her mask, Roo-Oh realizes who she is. He calls her Professor Mari and even notes that he signed the petition protesting the cancellation of her class. He invites her to join the team’s happy hour.

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Mari ends up joining because… What the heck. She is currently unemployed and she was told to stay out tonight…

At the bar, the members happily comment that with the new master, their membership has steadily increased. They also ask about the mysterious woman, who accidentally used the men’s showers and Roo-Oh replies that it was a long haired college student.

When asked why he’s at the neighborhood dojo instead of a more renown one, Roo-Oh explains that he was a problem child. Everyone had given up except for one instructor, who taught him kendo. As a result, he became a kendo master. He also adds that he still believes that all teachers should be given respect as a matter of fact.

Mari hears his and looks at him in surprise.

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When Mari gets up to leave, Roo-Oh follows and tells her to take heart. He also invites her to come more often.

Mari tells him to stop calling her a professor as she is no longer teaching. In response, Roo-Oh calls her by her name and the two have a charged moment.

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After Mari comes home, she hugs her mom, who insists that she’s fine.  Mari tells her that it will be different if her father becomes someone else’s man…this is a really sweet scene. >_<

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The next day, the witch gets told off by the head of the publishing company. He tells her that he read the story twice…it was unclear whether the book was a story or an essay.  Additionally, the plot was horrible as the teacher only cultivated the most capable students and cut off the rest.  He advises her that the other publishing companies would likely have the same response.

The witch tries to play the victim and sniffs that he will probably influence the other companies.  She tells him that she married his nephew, who was a widower with a child because she loved him.  However, she knows that he disapproved of the union believing that she married for money.

Her potential publisher responds that she needs to stop playing the victim; he knows how to distinguish between his public and private life.  When his secretary brings him another folder of profiles, the witch takes her leave.

Meanwhile, Hyeonjung finds out that her life has hit a stumbling block.  Her or organ was cancelled and the new program was given to the younger announcer. To add insult to injury, the salon she frequents has changed her automatic discount from 50% to 10%.  The sad truth of our society…when you reach the top, you better either have to have a backup exit plan or you have to keep fighting to hold your position.

At the same time, Mari looks at books in the library.  She gets a call from Doojin’s broadcasting company (Daeyoung) and agrees to meet up.  Daeyoung explains that they read Mari’s letter and have transferred Doojin.  He hopes that the transfer will help appease her and asks if Mari will join them on a new project.  They want her to write the script for the Future Legacy Project of historic monuments in the form of a video archive.  Mari looks at some of the footage and promises to think about it further.

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When Mari walks out to the lobby, she sees one of her school students and Doojin.  The student walks over and declares that they submitted a petition protesting the cancellation of her class.  Mari assumes that the school board promised to rethink their decision, but the student explains that she worked really hard to get a lot of signatures…as her future job was riding on it.  The student adds that Doojin promised to tutor her on the reporter exams.

Doojin walks over and grabs Mari’s arm.  He tries to add that he saw a great story and had to go for it…if the full broadcast had gone out, she would have been applauded.  Mari notes that she heard he was transferred because of her.  Doojin responds that he is satisfied if she is mollified.  Mari answers that they can both assume that they were victims of the incident and pretend not to know each other in the future.

Hyeonsook apologizes to the local police, who tells him to speak with the prosecutor’s office next.  Outside the police station, Hyeonsook declares that she’s going to call her old teacher, the witch.  She borrows Jong-Mi’s phone and calls…However, when the witch answers, Hyeonsook freezes up and hangs up.  She hands the phone over to Jong-Mi, who calls the witch again and cusses her out before asking if the witch is the lady that ripped her off.  The witch assumes that it was a wrong call and hangs up.

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Meanwhile, Soon Ok prepares medicine for Moran at the same time that they prepare Soon Ok’s husband’s memorial dinner.  Hyeonsook’s husband stops by and Soon Ok introduces Moran as her husband’s second wife.  Moran freezes up in embarassment and returns to her room.

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Soon Ok grabs her son-in-law’s hand and asks him not to leave her daughter.  Hyeonsook arrives in time to yell at her mother and drag her ex-husband out.  They meet at a cafe, where Hyeonsook promises to sign the divorce papers; she truly wants him to be happy with someone who fits him more.  Mari’s father asks Hyeonsook if she truly wants a divorce and Hyeonsook replies that she does.

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Unfortunately, this cafe is the cafe at which Mari works.  The two spot her and run out after her…Hyeonsook asks Mari to beg the college together with her…She shouts at Mari that Mari cannot do this to her…not after how she raised Mari.

Crying, Mari asks her mom to give her space…She needs to breathe…

Her father intervenes and tells his daughter to run away for now.

The next day, Hyeonsook stops by the prosecutor’s office.  The prosecutor explains that since she doesn’t have a record, she can just write a letter of apology.  Hyeonsook drafts a simple one and the prosecutor tells her to redo it because it’s so short that it doesn’t so any remorse.

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Hyeonsook drafts another sentence, but this doesn’t appease the prosecutor either… Unfortunately for the prosecutor, Hyeonsook isn’t really just dealing with reality, but she’s also dealing with her past trauma with the witch…when the witch made Hyeonsook draft elaborate letters of apology for simple mistakes.  The prosecutor forces Hyeonsook to redraft it several times…Finally, Hyeonsook drafts a full page, except it has tons of spelling errors.  The prosecutor smirks that this isn’t a child’s game and tells her to redo it.  Hyeonsook rips up the page and screams at the prosecutor about what exactly did she do so wrong.

 MY TWO CENTS

First, just as a background to the Korean legal system.  Until the recent years, Korean students chose law as a major in college.  Afterwards, they took a national exam.  Depending on how well you did on the exam, you would have the choice to become a judge, a prosecutor, or a lawyer at a big law firm.  Usually the top 5% (give or take) choose to be judges.  The next 5-10% (give or take) become prosecutors.  Finally the top certain percent go to biglaw jobs.  There are some overlaps as there may be highly ranked test-takers that choose law firm jobs for the higher salary.

However, the problem with this is that after you take the test…You take a couple years of additional studying at Yonsuwon.  Then, when you’re literally around 25, you become a prosecutor or a judge.  Additionally, in Korea, prosecutors set the sentencing for minor crimes.  (Disclaimer – I am grossly simplifying the system 😉 )  Hence, the last scene is especially poignant for older people… Hyeonsook is basically being sentenced and judged by someone, who is her daughter’s age.

Therefore, you have Hyeonsook reliving her horrid trauma of dealing with the witch at the same time as she’s being judged by a child… She ends up overreacting with hysteria because it’s like the whole world is judging her and pointing fingers at her.

On a second thought… I hope the writers clarify something.  We either have the most epic revenge situation ever if the publishing CEO and Moran are Hyeonsook’s biological parents…or we have a melodrama in the making if Doojin and Mari fall for each other.  They technically are blood relatives!  Doojin is Mari’s like second or third removed cousin.  Doojin is the publishing CEO’s nephew and Mari is the publishing CEO’s daughter… >.<  I really hope they don’t go there.

After all, Roo-Oh is a nice romantic candidate for Mari ^_____^

Finally, because my thoughts are getting long here… I loved Soon Ok in this episode.  She totally did the whole, I am going to kick you because you’re the woman, who broke up my marriage thing.  She also basically told Moran that she broke up her marriage.  But then, even though she still hates Moran and hasn’t forgiven her (hence all of the snide remarks during dinner and the introduction to her son-in-law) she invites Moran to come and stay with her when she finds out that the other lady has no reason to live.  It’s a really complicated situation to be in and the writer’s wrote it very well.

 

Unkind Ladies – E02

Another episode and another female lead character is introduced.  The show continues to amaze with its tight and enthralling writing.  I was surprised at how fast the episode went as it was a full hour just following the lives of four women.

THE RECAP

Hyeonsook declares that she will get her revenge before falling unconscious.

Meanwhile, Jong-Mi explains everything to Hyeonsook’s family.  Hyeonjong reams into Jong-Mi for not preventing Hyeonsook from creating this mess.  Soon Ok comments that she never asked for Hyeonsook to do anything…it would have helped her more if Hyeonsook had just done nothing.

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Jong-Mi defends her friend by telling Soon Ok that she shouldn’t say such things…After all, Hyeonsook is so stupid because her parents neglected her nutrition when she was younger.

Soon Ok tells Jong-Mi that she doesn’t want to see her and asks her to leave.  She also tells everyone that she will sell the house and move to the country.  Everyone can live separately.

At this moment, the police calls.  Mari and Jong-Mi run to the police to find out that three high school students were beaten up by Hyeonsook.  They even have it filmed on a security camera.

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Seeing the security camera feed, Mari and Jong-Mi take the students to a restaurant and demand to know if they tried to rape her.  One of the kids laughs and tells them that he will explain everything.  He was walking down an alley when he saw Hyeonsook crying over a broken slipper.  Thinking that she was a homeless woman, he even gave her tape to fix her slipper.

The kid then went to join his friends, who were taping a student from another school.  The taped kid asked the three to do whatever they want to him, but leave his friends alone.  Right before they begin to beat him senseless, Hyeonsook (standing below a glowing cross HAHAHAHA) yells at them to leave the kid alone or face her wrath.  The kids ignore her and she arrives with her bat to beat them up.

After the talk, Jong-Mi takes Mari back to her school.

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Meanwhile, Hyeonsook is unconscious in the hospital.  She remembers watching Carrie with her friend as they discuss how Carrie died.  She opens her eyes to see a woman talking to the doctor, who confirms that Hyeonsook will be okay.  She mumurs, “Mom…”

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At home, Hyeonjong checks in on her mother.  Soon Ok comments that she must have been arrogant.   When she heard that her husband passed away, she thought all her suffering was over…

Hyeonjong curses Hyeonsook and her mother tells her that they can’t blame Hyeonsook, who must be feeling so guilty.

Mari’s father leaves a voicemail on Hyeonsook’s cell phone.  He explains that he saw her crying in his dream and asks if anything is wrong.  He tells her to call him as he will come to help, but then erases the voicemail.

Mari calls around looking for her mom when she gets a text message.  It’s a picture of her from the back with the snide remark that she’s been fired.  The kendo captain sees her in the cafe and feels sorry for her…He orders a coffee before leaving.

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Meanwhile, Doojin walks down the steps of Mari’s school where he meets the girl that he interviewed the other day.  He wonders how no one protested against the cancellation of Mari’s class and the girl slyly asks if she can help by starting the petition against cancelling Mari’s class.  Doojin asks if she would help and the girl explains that she would in exchange for Doojin helping her prepare for the announcer job interviews.

Mari mails something before wandering around looking for her mom.

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When Hyeonsook wakes up, she finds herself in an elegant house.  The owner walks in to check on her.  The lady explains that she brought Hyeonsook home since she doesn’t seem to have a place to go; she notes that she read Hyeonsook’s farewell letter.

Hyeonsook yells at her for reading her letter and tries to get up before falling into bed because her head hurts.  She asks for a computer instead.

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At home, Mari looks through Hyeonsook’s things.  Soon Ok interrupts Mari during this time and Mari wonders about a picture of her grandfather and a young woman.  She gets an email from Hyeonsook at that time explaining that she’s safe and not to look for her.  Soon Ok orders that Mari ask where Hyeonsook is and why she has that picture.

At the stranger’s house, Hyeonsook comes out of a shower and asks the lady why she helped.  The lady just comments that Hyeonsook looks a lot like someone she knows.  At this Hyeonsook notes that the lady looks familiar, but she can’t quite place her.

At the same time, Soon Ok stares at the picture and rips it up.  However, she ends up just folding the edges behind the man…

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The next day, the officers and members of the board of directors of Doojin’s company all get a letter from Mari explaining how she lost her dream.  As a result, Doojin gets transferred from the Documentary Department to the Special Coverage Department.

Outside, Doojin and two of his coworkers discuss the situation.  One of his friends notes how Doojin was in a difficult situation to begin with.  The announcers’ department wondered when Doojin would go freelance, while the documentary team was wary about Doojin arriving as the producer.  Doojin interrupts the other two to emphasize that he’s fine.

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Meanwhile, Mari prepares a protest board and shyly walks to campus.  She gets her courage up when other students set up their table and Mari gives up.  She steps on her board in frustration when the ex-colleague comes by to gloat.

Mari tells the guy that he shouldn’t live like this.  She knows that he was the guy that went around asking to cancel her class.  She warns him that the school doesn’t hire permanent professors, who have not graduated the school before stomping off.

Back at the random mansion, Hyeonsook asks if the lady saved her newspaper.  The lady brings out a ziploc with the pieces and gives it to her.  Taking the newspaper, Hyeonsook calls Jong-Mi to send a wreath of flowers to someone.

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At the same time, Doojin’s mother has a meeting with the head of the publishing company.  He notes that she shouldn’t worry about the cover yet as they have not agreed to publish her book.  He tells her that he’s not so sure about the story as she has not obtained permission from the student, whom she’s writing about.  Additionally, he notes that they don’t know if the student was framed or if she did it because she was too poor…  He casually notes that he’s reading the book as she’s the wife of his nephew, but he has to approve of the story before publishing it.

Doojin’s mother stalks out and comments that this is the reason why he’s still single.  She hopes that he will always live like this so that her son can inherit the company.

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Meanwhile, Hyeonsook takes a walk with the mysterious lady.  She explains that she had a man whom she loved.  However, someone told her lover’s family that she was a plebian…the daughter of the second wife.  As a result, she gave up.  She then turned to help her father’s family and was lucky.

The lady tells Hyeonsook to stay with her for a year.  Hyeonsook politely declines.  The lady asks if she is going back to her father’s grave and notes that she heard about Hyeonsook…That she can dance well and was free spirited.  However, as she walks, she falls to the ground.

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They go back to the house and the lady gifts Hyeonsook with a new outfit and a large sum of money.  She tells Hyeonsook to take the money and tell her family that she was able to grow her investment.

Hyeonsook asks if the lady’s  name was…

The lady responds that Hyeonsook’s suspicions are correct; she’s Moran.  She explains that Hyeonsook’s father loved her, but he was just a hometown friend, who liked her.  She confesses that she did lean on Hyeonsook’s father after her engagement was called off even knowing that he was married.

Hyeonsook throws the money on the table and states that she can’t accept it.

Moran adds that she only has one year to live.  She thinks that she is receiving the price of her sin…She wants to die quietly.  She asks Hyeonsook to take the money and keep the source a secret from her mother.

Hyeonsook tells her that she might not be able to keep her promise.  Moran asks Hyeonsook to just wait until she’s dead to tell the rest of her family.

Afterwards, Moran accompanies Hyeonsook to the bus and tears up as Hyeonsook waits on the bus.  She mouths that Hyeonsook should buy udon if she’s hungry…Hyeonsook looks away and wonders out loud, “Are you my biological mother?”

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In Seoul, Soon Ok continues teaching her class.  The students ask what happened at the end of the story.  Soon Ok explains that she packed everything up and told her husband to go eat it with his girlfriend.  He did and she cried about her childishness at night…she had put in diarrhea medicine and dish washing detergent in the food.

Doojin’s mother walks into a conference room, but notes a particular wreath outside the door.  The wreath is the one from Hyeonsook.

Mari continues to spread her resume around.  She walks out and texts her mother when a random guy in a red sports car pulls up and warns her not to walk and text.  (The guy is Doojin’s uncle.)

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Mari gets a text that she needs to pick up her uniform from a kendo dojo.  She goes and exercises for a bit before undressing to shower.  When she goes in, she realizes that it’s actually the men’s shower.  The other person explains that after the remodeling a couple months ago, they moved the women’s showers to the floor above.

Mari tries to rush out but slips on a soap.  When she finally opens the door, she finds other guys undressing in the locker room.  She asks the guy (the kendo captain) to get everyone out of the locker room.  The guy asks if Mari came in on purpose and Mari begs for his help.

The guy awkwardly walks past Mari and requests the other two men to walk out with him for three minutes as there is a problem.  After he leaves, Mari gets dressed and runs out.  The kendo captain walks out in time to see Mari’s retreating back.

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At night, Hyeonsook returns home and gives her mother the money of envelope.  Everyone asks what Hyeonsook has done at this point.  Hyeonjong even threatens to call the police.  Leaving everyone shocked, Hyeonsook goes off to sleep.

However, just as she’s about to fall asleep, Hyeonsook remembers Moran and sneaks out to call her.  Hyeonjong sneaks up on Hyeonsook and picks up the phone.  Moran hangs up, but Hyeonsook ends up confessing.  This leads to Soon Ok sobbing in her room.

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Hyeonsook begs for forgiveness.  She explains that she only took the money because Moran told her that she’s going to die within the year.  Hearing this, Soon Ok decides to go visit Moran.

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On the way there, we get another memory…Soon Ok walks out to see her husband come out of the bakery with a cake.  Surprised, she follows her husband to a coffee shop, where he meets with Moran.  Furious, Soon Ok grabs pieces of the cake and throws it in his face.

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When Hyeonsook and Soon Ok arrive, Moran tellingly has difficulty looking at Soon Ok directly.  Meanwhile, Soon Ok looks like she’s about to well up with tears of anger.  The three women walk toward the couches and Soon Ok ends up kicking Moran in the stomach.

As i wonder if this is Soon Ok’s daydream, the episode ends.  Luckily for us, there are previews.  We find out that Soon Ok actually did kick Moran.

MY TWO CENTS

Alright, now we even have a birth secret! O_O I totally did not expect to hear that Hyeonsook is not Soon Ok’s child.  Now I’m wondering if she’s not actually the child of Moran and Doojin’s uncle.  That would be delicious revenge in the end as Doojin’s mother is literally drooling for Doojin’s uncle’s inheritance.  Then she finds out that the girl, whose life she ruined, is actually the heir to said inheritance.  It would be SO SATISFYING.  The only other time I was so satisfied was watching the drama, My 19 Year Old Sister-in-Law. >____< Yes, I’m like drooling at the prospect of this makjang reversal.  But, hey!  I never said I hated makjangs.  I actually think that elements of makjang, when woven into the plot well, can create a more enthralling drama.

Back to the drama itself.  I really like the writing of this drama as it maintains a slightly slice of life feeling to it.  When Soon Ok comments that life is so hard to live and she wants to just move to the country side…she doesn’t need anyone…she will just live a simple life, I had to nod along.  I’ve felt that and I’m sure many of the viewers of this drama has felt this as well.  Life is so difficult sometimes.  Even so, people have to continue living their lives and forcing a smile on their faces.  Soon Ok does this as she goes to teach her cooking class with a calm demeanor, even telling the story about her cheating husband.

Similarly, I empathized with Mari.  She feels completely wronged and in a fit of anger, she strikes back at Doojin by writing to the broadcasting company’s officers and directors.  However, while this gets Doojin transferred, it doesn’t change the fact that now’s she’s unemployed.  She goes to work off some of her steam and then gets into that horridly embarrassing situation where she ends up in the men’s shower room…To top it off, her mom’s missing.  Talk about a bad week.

The best part of this? Watching Mari’s story does not make me depressed or tired.  I know that she must be having a horrible week, but we don’t have any sobbing or volunteered starvation.  Rather, she goes to the cafe to use the internet.  She also goes and exercises.  It’s like watching someone’s real life…with elements of drama woven in.

Unkind Ladies – E01

Somehow, this drama snuck into my favorite dramas with just one episode!   This episode introduces us to three generations of modern women, which includes the matriarch, the alpha woman, the scholar, and the free spirit.  Additionally, we see how each type of woman is seen and treated in Korea’s current society as well as the insecurities and issues raised in each type of lifestyle.  I cannot wait to see how each of these ladies  face the tumultuous wind blowing their way and end up stronger and happier.

THE RECAP

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Soon Ok sits in front of a modern fortune teller in his office. From behind the wooden desk, the man uses a brush to write phrases in parchment, with each phrase indicating an answer to Soon Ok’s question.  Receiving the parchments, Soon Ok reads them off, “the buried kimchi vase will burst, the oldest daughter will hit a wall, the younger daughter will be hit by a hurricane, and the granddaughter will fall from a rock…”

Disappointed that the omens are overly general and negative, Soon Ok asks for a more specific reading that she wouldn’t be able to come up with herself.  However, the fortune teller is not fazed and continues to scribe away. He does try to be helpful by providing some zen advice.  He tells her that when the wind blows, it will eventually stop and when one runs into a deadend, one can just turn around.

Soon Ok stands up in disbelief and leaves.  When she gets in the car, she tells her pupil to keep their visit to the shaman a secret and pastes on a smile that the fortune teller told her that this would be a great year for her family.

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Meanwhile, Soon Ok’s granddaughter, Mari Jeong watches the university’s leaders meet and show a guest around the campus.  When they walk off, she gives the signal to the handful of students waiting behind her and they send off a garage of text messages to students across the campus.  This messaging triggers a migration of students to a common area…

At the same time, Doo Jin (a reporter) complains about how his assistant couldn’t order Chinese for their staff lunch and the substitute kimbap doesn’t taste satisfactory.  As he complains, a bunch of delivery people on motorcycles for Chinese takeout zoom past their van and Doo Jin makes an executive decision! They’re going to follow the delivery people to find out why none of the restaurants could take their lunch order.

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The can follows the delivery people to Mari’s campus.  Feeling intrigued, he tells his crew to start filming as he starts interviewing some of the students. They even get to film Mari’s speech to the students, in which she empathizes with the students that they have to be so focused on padding their resumes that they don’t have time to actually live. She asks everyone to enjoy the free lunch and sign up for her course in the upcoming semester.

Over in another part of the city, Hyeonsook Kim walks toward the ledge of the roof. As she walks toward the edge, her mind races through specific memories…of her grasping the gates of a closed office and shouting for her money back as it was both her money and her mom’s money.  A short chat with another victim alerts the viewers that Hyeonsook lost over $300,000.00.

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Hyeonsook gets perilously close to the edge as we remind ourselves that she is a main character, so the writers cannot kill her off so quickly.  However, the brain wonders whether the actress ticked off the writer and there would be a plot change when she stands on the edge…The scene is long enough that I even wonder how far Korean television stations will go with these sensitive issues. [DRAMAFEED: Korea is actually very open about suicide attempts.  Several high profile executives have left the world in this way and many schools have rumors about ghosts, who had been students that have suicided on the campus… I wouldn’t say that Korea is less sensitive than other countries such as the United States. However, attempts may be more prevalent or conspicuous so it’s not as much of a taboo to include on dramas or movies.  Overall, the trend has been to focus on/ highlight people being saved from some suicide attempts or changing their mind and living happily ever after.]

A strong gust of wind blows Hyeonsook off the ledge and back on to the roof.  Coming back to her senses, Hyeonsook goes to a restaurant and orders beer and oven baked chicken.  As she drinks her sorrow and guilt away, the news comes on and her sister Hyeonjeong Kim shows up.   Bitter about the difference in their current predicaments, Hyeonsook turns off the television immediately.

Hyeonsook’s friend Jongmi Ahn shows up and chastises Hyeonsook for beginning to drink so early in the day.  When Hyeonsook starts to say that she wants to live the way she wants since this will be her last days, Jongmi doesn’t even indulge her, which implies that this might happen frequently.  Instead, Jongmi dryly points out that a person who doesn’t care about life wouldn’t order oven baked chicken.

Jongmi mentions if Hyeonsook is doing this because her ex-husband is engaged, but it’s news to Hyeonsook.  Hyeonsook starts crying and Jongmi tries to console her when Hyeonsook replies that she’s crying because of the lost money.  Hyeonsook then asks to borrow $1,000.

Them Hyeonsook takes Jongmi to an illegal gambling den.  It becomes clear that Jongmi is not comfortable being there, but she accompanies Hyeonsook into the den and tells her to just blow off steam-not rely on what occurs within the gambling pits for her future.  [DRAMAFEED: in Korea, it is illegal for the citizens to gamble. Usually, illegal gambling dens are set up in people’s houses or warehouses.]

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Meanwhile, we return to Soon Ok, who is in the middle of teaching her cooking class.  They finish the lesson on cooking cutlets and one of the students enthusiastically notes that she’s going to make this for her husband that night.  Soon Ok shares some wisdom and warns her student not to indulge her husband too much or he will take her for granted.  Though full adults, the women perk up at learning more about Soon Ok’s past and encourage her to divulge more.  Soon Ok explains that she was under appreciated… One time, she cooked a majestic meal for her husband to celebrate their anniversary, but he left to take a call in the study.  So she reheated many of the dishes and after an hour started to worry that something was happening to his business…only to find out that he was talking to his mistress.  The students ask her how she handled the situation and Soon Ok smiles that she will let them know at the next lesson.

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Next, we find ourselves introduced to the perfect Hyeonjong Kim. She finishes filming a segment and returns to the announcer’s room to pick out her outfit for the next day’s program.  Seeing the younger announcers walk in, Hyeonjong nonchalantly turns on the voice recorder on her phone.  After exchanging pleasantries, Hyeonjong leaves her cell phone on the table before leaving the room.  She walks away from the door but stops a few steps away.  After waiting for a couple minutes, Hyeonjong actually returns back to the room to pick up her handout and cell phone.

At her re-entrance, the two younger announcers stop talking awkwardly and everyone’s intuition screams that they were talking about her.  All of a sudden, Hyeonjong’s weird behavior starts to make sense.  We see further how much it makes sense when she listens to the recording on her drive home…the two girls had spent the minutes speculating about Hyeonjong’s Botox and wondering when she would step down.  Looks like the princesses are biting at the bit to take over the queen’s position.

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That night, the women have a glass of wine to celebrate Mari’s successful outdoor picnic. After a couple of sips, Soon Ok asks Hyeonsook about the status of her new shop.  Since this was the project for which her mom had invested money with her, Hyeonsook freezes up and quickly lies that everything is going well.  She tries to gloss over the details, but Hyeonjong, who is still smarting over her disloyal younger announcers, starts to push Hyeonsook for clear answers such as how much was the down payment.

Pushed into the wall, Hyeonsook pulls out the cash that she won earlier that evening and throws it at her sister.  Hyeonjong is visibly surprised that her sister might be succeeding with her business.  Before the conversation could get more developed, Mari interrupts to cry that her mother is too pitiful and everyone should be nicer to her since the world has been unfair to her mother.

Soon Ok is surprised at this outburst, but Hyeonjong laughs that Mari has a bad drinking habit and ignores Mari.  Obviously drunk at this point, Mari hugs her mother and complains that it’s not fair that her mother had to quit school because she was so sick.  Soon Ok’s successor (Eunshil Park) looks interested in this story and asks Hyeonsook if she was sick when she as young.  In response, Hyeonsook changes the topic.

A little bit later, Hyeonsook tucks Mari into bed and tells her sleeping daughter that her life was a failure except for the fact that she was able to turn her daughter into a professor at a  prestigious university.

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In the morning, Eunshil wakes Mari up because she’s on the morning news!  Mari stumbles downstairs in a hungover state to see how the news covered her outdoor picnic.  Then suddenly, the tone of the coverage changes as two of the students interviewed tell the reporter that Mari is just throwing the picnic to bribe students into taking her course.  They even accuse Mari of promising the students who helped throw the picnic, A’s.

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This accusation wakes Mari up and she remembers getting drunk with her core students at a bar…She had started to complain at the state of education and how liberal arts majors are dying off in this society.  She had gone on to plan this picnic and encouraged her students to each bring two friends, who would bring two friends…like a pyramid.  I had to cringe when we see the rest of her memory and she had drunkenly promised everyone there an A.

The journalist criticizes the state of education and practices of bribing students, when he’s cut off by an merge ch broadcast.  At the news station, we see Doojin yelling at someone that he needs to finish his section or the professor, who is the subject of his segment will have to deal with the fall out…the segment ended where it   interrupted paints the professor Asa corrupt influence, when in reality he wanted to emphasize that such tactics might actually be necessary with the state of our education system that only focuses on majors that would be profitable .

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Mari doesn’t see this behind the scenes exchange….instead, she runs to the school, where she finds out that public opinion has turned against her.  At a cafe, she watches as students dropped her class and she eventually gets her class cancelled.  She tries to contact her students to plan a response to damage control.

When Mari arrives in the classroom, she finds it packed with her enthusiastic students outraged that the school would do this.  They promise to help her fight back. When Mari blinks, the scene disappears and she finds the classroom empty.  The blackboard has been filled by notes from students professing their love for jjajjangmien, which she had bought for them, but disrespecting her.

Mari gets a call from Doojin, who apologizes for how the program was broadcasted and tries to explain that he will do everything he can to fix the situation.  Understandably, Mari is neither happy to hear from him nor trusting of his promises…

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Unable to accept that the students have turned their backs on her, Mari paces at the front of the classroom and waits.  After the hour or so has past, another teacher comes in to pick up something.  Mari asks him to help her and he gives her cold advice.  Everyone thinks that she made this mess herself by selfishly trying to bribe students into signing up for her class so tat she can become a tenured professor.  She needs to find a husband or a different path as no one is going to help her.  The educational background has changed, students don’t care about their education anymore and  teachers don’t care about their students.

When he leaves, a student from the kendo club walks in.  Mari inflates thinking that at least one student cares about her class, but he was only their to wake up his captain, who had been sleeping in the room.  The captain (Roo Oh) wakes up and orders his team member to sign Mari’s protest before leaving.

While her daughter’s career seems to be falling to pieces, Hyeonsook gets a call from Eunshil that she and Soon Ok are checking out the new shop space and find it incredible.  Hyeonsook is unable to say anything and after the call, Soon Ok’s visit is interrupted by the true space owner.  When she tries to call her daughter for clarification, she finds out that Hyeonsook has turned off her phone.

Back at the school, Mari finds out that she’s being let go as the parents have reacted badly to the news program.

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Meanwhile, Hyeonsook is back at the gambling den and Lady Luck is on her side.  Jongmi gets a call from Hyeonjong, who figures out that Jongmi is with Hyeonsook and hears some suspicious noises in the background. Jongmi tries to convince Hyeonsook to leave, but Hyeonsook is convinced that she is lucky that night.

Jongmi decides to wake for Hyeonsook outside and Hyeonsook continues to gamble until the police raid the den…. In the chaos that ensues, Hyeonsook manages to escape by jumping from the window in the bathroom.

As their car was blocked by another car that had parked in front, Hyeonsook ends up running away from the police on foot.  She looses the police by ding within trash and takes a bus to visit her father’s grave the next day.

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In the city, Hyeonsook’s family have to face the mess that she has made. Mari and Jongmi visit the police station to pick up hyeonsook’s purse that she had left at the gambling den.  Then Soon Ok, Hyeonjong and Mari find out that Hyeonsook has taken out a reverse mortgage on the house…

Hyeonsook pays her respect at her fathers grave and falls to lay down in her sorrow at her incompetence at life.  Fate or drama writers that be get her to focus when the wind blows a newspaper at her.  The article on the front page of said newspaper actually featured her high school teacher that had, in Hyeonsook’s mind, ruined her life.

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We travel back in time through Hyeonsook’s memory and find out that she had been a below average student.  Then a new teacher came in, who had a Spartan mindset.  For example, she wanted the students to sit in the order of their grades. Hyeonsook had raised her hand and raised an issue that she doesn’t think such policies wouldencourage their growth and the teachers her from then on.  In fact, all of the students even ignored her once they realized that the teacher hated her.  It had gotten to the point where she wished to be Carrie with powers to get revenge the teacher.

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The teacher turns out to be Doojin’s mother.  He advises her not to talk about the poisonous leaves that need to be cut in her interviews.

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Through her, we also find out that she had received a scarf as a gift from Hyeonsook, which some student had accused of being stolen.  As a result, she had expelled Hyeonsook.

 

MY TWO CENTS

Though sometimes dramas can have one or more “makjang” (crazy unrealistic plot lines) elements to them, many dramas can also be a mirror of aspects of Korea’s current society.  For example,  many dramas in the most major broadcasting stations focused on mental illnesses in the past year. Winter 2014 had a battle between two dramas in which the main male lead had to deal with a mental illness that was affecting their ability to succeed their family businesses.

This coincidence isn’t an isolated event.  Writers usually take inspiration from their own lives and the lives of those around them…Within the drama world, I surmise that these concepts that are picked from the real world is combined with a toolbox of drama themes (history, fairy tales, etc)  and your latest drama is born.

Unkind Ladies is another manifestation of this process.  The story revolves around three generations of women.  The men are conspicuously missing in the first episode, reflecting how many people in society have seen the rise in the role of women.  Woman have generally been more empowered than past generations and with such empowerment, new questions and issues arise.  For example, the alpha woman Hyeonjong obtained the prestigious position of a news anchor.  However, behind the facades of flat platitudes of praise, she is surrounded by younger girls eying her position and doesn’t have a family.  The other alpha woman, Mari managed to become a young professor at a prestigious university.  Yet, under the pressure of becoming a full time faculty member, she ends up turning to more drastic measures of bribing the students so that more sign up…

On the other hand, we have Heyonsook.  She’s a free spirit, who tried to voice her opinions against the wrong teacher and was shut down at a young age.  Afterwards, due to her lack of education, she has not been able to find a stable position in the competitive job market in Korea.  She tries her best to try to be helpful to her family and ends up losing her family’s house…

It’s clear that each character has issues and this drama focuses on the period of time when this family is actually pushed to its limit.  I can’t wait to see how these woman overcome issues that face modern women every day.