This is how lax the Korean building codes were in 1998. What happens when your Rich Person Mansion was put together on the cheap with oily rags and balsa wood? THIS.
Returning to the scene of the crime… erm, the accidentally-set fire at the Yoo Mansion, where Yeong-rang pulled out Ji-ho instead of In-ha because of the ol’ Bunny Pajama switcheroo. As she holds on to him for dear life asking if he’s okay (as we’re all worried she’s going to smother him to death instead), that fact slowly dawns on Yeong-rang…
… the bedroom where In-ha should have been sleeping (instead of giving away Bunny Pajamas) suddenly explodes. Soo-pyo is still searching for anyone still alive, when he sees In-ha trying to make his way down the stairs and throws himself on top of the boy to protect him from the Chandelier Of Death.
As Ji-ho calls out for his eomma, Yeong-rang turns on her heels and grabs Ji-ho by the shoulders and almost shakes the crap out of him, asking him why he’s there? Why is Ji-ho there and not In-ha? She spits out that “he needs to go in front of God and tell him that He made a mistake by switching the boys — GO TELL HIM NOW!!” Ji-ho sobs and asks what will happen if their In-ha dies, and Yeong-rang insists that In-ha will die? Her In-ha hasn’t done anything wrong to make him deserve to die!!
She hysterically runs back towards the house (again) and is stopped (again) by the firefighters, screaming at the front door for In-ha not to die (again) (and busting up her vocal chords in the process), just as the rest of the building explodes with pieces of McMansion flying all over the place.Meanwhile, in Oblivious Land, the Hong Family is sitting down to dinner. Da-mi asks her mom why she looks so pretty today; is it a special occasion? Nam-joo says nah, that she just wants to look good for her father today. Da-mi sees the gifted ring on the table, Da-mi wonders why their dad is so late tonight, ’cause she’s starving! Nam-joo decides to wander back down to the hoddeok stand to look for him. When she sees that he’s not there and turns around, she then sees the smoke and fire coming from up the hill. Soo-pyo is still on the floor covering up In-ha, as the firemen kick in the door to see them lying there. Soo-pyo then decides it’s time to finally pass out.In-ha is rushed out and put in a waiting ambulance and Yeong-rang jumps in to ride along to the hospital, leaving Ji-ho just standing there by his lonesome. As he’s trying to process everything with a weak smile, a hand reaches for his shoulder. Ji-ho turns around and looks up to see his Appa standing besides him, blood still gushing from his head wound. With a squeal, he asks Man-se that he’s really alive? Man-se just smiles at him, as Ji-ho holds on to him for dear life and tells him that he’s glad his Appa is safe now. But when Ji-ho opens his eyes, his Appa is nowhere to be seen. *blink blink*
A murmur comes up from the crowd, as Ji-ho turns around to see Man-se on a stretcher being rushed out to one of the ambulances. That was too much for the little puppy, as he yells at his dad not to leave him; he can’t go, so please don’t leave him!! And with a bloodcurdling cry, yells for his APPA!!!
The Hong Family arrives at the hospital (how did they know Soo-pyo was there, hm?) to find Soo-pyo a hair’s breadth away from death. Nam-joo pleads with him to open his eyes, because he can’t leave yet. She doesn’t care what he looks like, just please don’t die. Da-mi sobs that she’ll stop bothering him to buy the family a better house. Woo-jin joins in, telling Dad who said he could die — he’s worked to hard to die now! You could tell that Soo-pyo is trying to say something to his family, but he flatlines and that’s that.
Yeong-rang paces the hallway outside the emergency room wondering why the pajamas were switched. So God needs to just save In-ha; if everything that happened to him was because she was too greedy, just let her die so In-ha can live. As she starts beating her chest in anguish, Secretary Oh runs up and tells her that the President has just passed away. Yeong-rang asks “who?” but turns towards the wall again… and sees all the blood still on her hand from cradling her (now-dead) husband’s head. It’s off to the restroom time, where she washes her hands clean and THEN sees Man-se’s blood all over her blouse. Ripping that off in the bathroom stall, she panics by taking it off and wrapping it up in a whole roll of toilet paper before throwing it in a trash bin. (Mark my words; that will come back to haunt her later.)
In the side room of the hospital’s funeral rooms, Yeong-rang is dressed in her mourning clothing, as we hear a news report voiceover saying that Boosung President Yoo Man Se passed away that morning in a fire at his home. The reporter goes on to say that after a party at the home, President Yoo was resting. The police investigating the fire discovered a cake with candles and matches, and are trying to determine if someone in the family was negligent for the exact cause of the fire. Yeong-rang flashes back to pushing Man-se off her in the study, and the resulting gaping head wound after he cracked it open while falling. Repeating back to herself “someone negligent in the family,” Yeong-rang tries to pour a cup of tea while willing herself to get a grip.
Looks like Dueling Funerals, as we see the Hong Family gathered for Soo-pyo’s service. Woo-jin asks his mother if she’s talked to the police. She nods and says that they found their appa underneath a collapsed pillar, and doesn’t know why he went up to the President’s house — it’s not like he knew them or anything. Woo-jin tells her that he probably ran up there to help, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. A nurse comes in and asks if they are the Hong Soo Pyo family, and that she has a note to give them. Soo-pyo apparently wrote it in the emergency room because he thought he may not see his family again.
Gulping hard, Nam-joo opens the note to see what Soo-pyo had written. He apologizes for putting them through such hardship, and thanks them for the things they’ve done for him. Woo-jin takes the note from her hands and wonders what exactly it is that they have done for their father for him to thank them like that. You die, and you die alone. No one will remember you, because all they’re talking about is the death of President Yoo. Throwing down the note and stomping out, Da-mi picks it up to read, and asks her mom for validation that her appa is a really good person, right? Mom can only nod through her tears, while telling her how else would he have closed his eyes if he wasn’t so pitiful? (Hunh?) So since he’s so useless, how could they send him away like that?
And in stark contrast to the spartan funeral of Deaf Dad, we see Yeong-rang and Ji-ho receiving mourners at Man-se’s funeral. Secretary Oh and Dong-yi bring up CrazyGran to allegedly pay her respects. Of course, the first thing she does is tear into Ji-ho for being an ugly boy for crying. If his father saw him like that, he’d rip Ji-ho a new one! CrazyGran, being off in LaLa Land, scolds them for coming to see flowers instead of getting President Yoo’s dinner ready for when he returns from his business trip. Yeong-rang tells Secretary Oh to stop letting mourners come in from now on…
CrazyGran continues her tirade against Yeong-rang, and tells her that if she’s going to be so lazy during her son’s absence, then she should just hand over her Madame position to CrazyGran. If she tattles to President Yoo, he’ll tell her to get the hell out of Dodge without a dime to her name. Yeong-rang is taking this all in with a wan grin on her face, when she finally speaks up and tells CrazyGran to do whatever the heck she wants to do, because she doesn’t have the strength to fight with her anymore. Ji-ho looks up at Yeong-rang with his own “what the hell are you doing?” face.
CrazyGran calls Yeong-rang out for staring at her like that, but Yeong-rang rushes over to the funeral altar, grabs Man-se’s portrait off the bier, and shoves it in CrazyGran’s face. Telling her to look carefully, where is your son? Where is he right now? Why is her ‘perfect son’ here in this funeral picture?
Yeong-rang tells CrazyGran to take a good, steamy look — who took the lit-up birthday cake and dropped it? You know who it was… don’t you? CrazyGran goes into a fit and asks if her son is dead because of HER?!? She doesn’t know anything!! She didn’t do it!! Come back, my son — she’s scared to death!! Yeong-rang tells Secretary Oh to have CrazyGran hospitalized; she’s in shock and needs to be sedated, as a hysterical CrazyGran has to be helped from the viewing room.
Dropping Man-se’s funeral portrait on the floor, Yeong-rang turns to a distraught Ji-ho and asks him if he’ll be all right staying there by himself? She has to go see In-ha at the hospital, and turns around to leave. Ji-ho stops her by telling her thanks for saving him. That statement actually brings tears to Yeong-rang’s eyes, and she says of course she saved him; she’s his mother, remember? Because Ji-ho is alive, his father will be happy now in his next life because he treasured Ji-ho so much. And she bolts, leaving Ji-ho to then apologize for giving CrazyGran the matches. It’s all his fault that the house was set on fire, but why did she risk her life to save him since he’s a nobody? Poor little puppy collapses in tears in the viewing room…
As Yeong-rang heads to the hospital to see In-ha, she voicesover to her dead husband that his precious mother’s life is in her hands, so what should she do now? Because she tore up the last will Man-se wrote, all his fortunes will pass to In-ha going forward. So now she’s gonna live like she wants to, and will return the humiliation both he and his mother gave her in spades just as soon as In-ha wakes up. Entering the hospital room, In-ha is awake and she rushes over to check on him. But In-ha hasn’t had any of the pissyness burned out of him — he asks her why she saved Ji-ho the enemy, instead of In-ha, the birth son? Yeong-rang attempts to tell him what happened, but Impatient In-ha keeps interrupting her from getting the words out because telling her that she’s happier that Ji-ho is more of a piano genius than he is? Yeong-rang grabs him in a death clutch (a burn victim? why isn’t he screaming bloody murder right now?!?), and tries to tell him, when…
… ding dong, Avon Calling! Or actually, the police, as they enter the room asking if she is indeed Chae Yeong Rang and she needs to come with the detective for questioning. The detective tells Yeong-rang that according to their investigation, the cake that fell on the carpet caused the fire. She agrees with that statement, saying that CrazyGran has dementia and was throwing a birthday party for herself. CrazyGran’s a bit of a pyromaniac, ya see. But Detective Guy wants to know why Man-se didn’t come out of the fire under his own power? Yeong-rang backtracks and said he must have felt sleepy from the wine she brought him earlier. Detective Guy ain’t giving up, and states that even though the autopsy showed he died of smoke inhalation, the coroner found signs of a cerebral hemorrhage before the smoke got to him. Yeong-rang stares at Detective Guy and says that can’t be…
Oh look, it’s our favorite eavesdropper, Gwa-hye (hereinafter referred to as EvilStep). EvilStep waits for Yeong-rang to come out after meeting with the police so she can twist the knife by saying “she didn’t mean to overhear, but…” Ha, yeah right. EvilStep notes that the police are starting to suspect Yeong-rang, so did she really push President Yoo? Yeong-rang wheels around and tells her not to say anything else; it wasn’t her! EvilStep then says it’s a good thing she ended up saving Ji-ho instead of In-ha, because that gives Yeong-rang a nice, tight little alibi to go on in case she’s questioned further. Why would she have killed her husband and then end up taking Ji-ho out of the fire before In-ha? And remember most of all, the only one that made Choi Yeong Rang the person who she is today… is EvilStep. (Um, cryptic much?)
Da-mi is in the hospital chapel, praying to have God help her dead father regain his hearing so that he is able to hear her playing the piano in heaven and can smile again. Ji-ho starts walking up the aisle toward the front where Da-mi is praying, and not two pews away, a hand reaches out and yanks him backwards so hard you can see Ji-ho’s head snap back. Ouch! And another missed connection between our Young OTP!
EvilStep pulls Ji-ho into the stairwells and curses him for being the product created by a mistake of the Birth God while he was napping. Ji-ho’s father is dead, his brother is burned beyond recognition, and his halmoni has gone nutcase and has been kicked out. Is Ji-ho in the process of kiling his only mother too? Ji-ho yells back at her NO!!!, while EvilStep scolds him for talking back to an elder. It’s bad enough that he got thrown a party; they wrongly accepted him and now the family is cursed. Why the hell didn’t he stay on the island, huh?
Ji-ho yells back at her that no matter what GRANDMOTHER says to him, he’s not going to let her break his spirit!! He’s not going anywhere, and she’s going to stay with his mom until he dies!! It’s the first time in his short life that he finally has a dad and mom, so why is halmoni getting in the way of that? If she is going to take them away this fast, then she shouldn’t have given them in the first place!! (GO JI-HO!!!) He runs down the stairs away from EvilStep, as she admits he’s got his father’s blood with a temper like that. Hee!
Secretary Oh runs after Yeong-rang, saying that Hong Soo-pyo’s wife has come looking for her. She feigns ignorance, saying she’s never heard of this person before. Secretary Oh tells her that he was found in the house during the fire, and died after being taken out. Yeong-rang asks who is this person again, and he died? Secretary Oh says that he was the deaf man who sold hoddeok at a street stall down at the end of their street. Leaving Boosung HQ, she spots the Hong Family on the street in front of the police station… and the pregnant lady is carrying one of Yeong-rang’s purses and wearing a diamond ring!! She flashes back to when CrazyGran went through the closets and pulled out a boatload of clothes and that same diamond ring, and remembers that her stuff was what CrazyGran gave away. But why would the pancake vendor be in their house?
At the nursing home where CrazyGran has been deposited after her meltdown at the funeral service, poor Dong-yi is attempting to feed her but CrazyGran keeps pushing her away. Yeong-rang arrives to check in on CrazyGran and give Dong-yi a brief respite. CrazyGran goes off on Yeong-rang, accusing her of always showing up at the same time she’s eating. She protects her lunch and tells Yeong-rang she can’t have any. Neener neener neener!! Doesn’t faze Yeong-rang one bit, as she’s carrying a Paris Baguette box and pulls out one of their luscious Strawberry Cream Chiffon party cakes, much to the delight of CrazyGran’s falling blood sugar level.
CrazyGran goes all Cro-Magnon on the cake, as Yeong-rang tells her to slow down. There’s lots more of that where it came from, but she needs CrazyGran to answer some questions first about the deaf pancake seller from down the street. CrazyGran looks up and asks if he’s okay? Did he get hurt? That stuns Yeong-rang speechless, as CrazyGran sighs in relief that he’s okay, because she thought for sure he was dead. Yeong-rang asks how he got into the house, and CrazyGran said that she sent him to save her son (meaning Man-se, not the two boys). CrazyGran saw him all burned and crying out for his mommy, and all she could do is stand there and watch.
That’s when CrazyGran finally breaks down into a conniption fit and tells her to go away because SHE’S NOT HER SON!! Yeong-rang, in a rare show of mercy, tells her that everything’s okay now that she’s there. CrazyGran calls Yeong-rang ‘unni’ and pleads with her to not abandon her. She’ll be good… she promises!! CrazyGran grabs onto Yeong-rang for dear life with cake-crusted hands, as Yeong-rang tells her she’ll be taken care of all right… just as the police barge in yet again and tell Yeong-rang she’s needed back down at the station for more questioning.
Throwing a bag of evidence down in front of her, Detective Guy tells her that this evidence was found in the debris under President Yoo’s desk — a torn-up will and a woman’s hairpin. (And again, I call NO WAY those items could have survived such a conflagration of epic proportions!!) She looks up at him dumbfounded, as Detective Guy tells her to look at it closely. It’s definitely an original, notarized will; they cannot figure out the content just yet, but it’s evidence that Man-se had a quarrel with someone over the contents of the will.
Detective Guy pulls out the bobby pin (wrongly translated everywhere as ‘hairpin’), and asks Yeong-rang if this isn’t hers as well. Did this bobby pin fall off from her having a fight with her husband? She protests, saying she wasn’t wearing that bobbypin; it could have fallen off another day. It can’t be proof that she pushed her husband!! (Emphasis on that, because I’m sure this statement will also come back to bite her in the butt later.) And BTW, she knows nothing about the will. Detective Guy pushes just a little bit harder, when Yeong-rang has finally had enough and tells him she’s going to sue the police for defamation of character. She’s got a child in the ICU, fer chrissakes!! Why call her out because she’s innocent! Detective Guy tells her look here missy — the phone line was cut, the will is torn, and now the bobby pin. It’s more than enough for an arrest warrant!!
Muttering to herself “an arrest warrant,” Detective Guy continues saying that only the family was in the house at the time the fire started — all the servants and other house workers were all sent home for the night. Yeong-rang flashes back to Secretary Oh telling her that Song Soo Pyo’s wife was looking for her, since he was the man found at the house. Wheels of Deceit turning, Yeong-rang says that is not quite true; she knows there was a stranger in their living room. Detective Guy is one step ahead of her, and says that stranger was Hong Soo Pyo? They’ve investigated him too, but found nothing out of the ordinary. He didn’t have a police record and he was just a plain pancake seller; he had no reason to have a relationship with the President. His family thinks that he saw the fire and ran up the hill to help.
At this point, Evil Plot No. 213 is now fully formulated, as Yeong-rang tells Detective Guy that she’s not sure she should be mentioning this, but not too long ago a diamond ring and some expensive bags were lost. At first she suspected the servants, but became more suspicious when she heard that a stranger was visiting her home. This statement makes Detective Guy sit up straight, as Yeong-rang continues on that it must have been a strong man to knock her otherwise healthy husband down. (ANOTHER MISPLACED STATEMENT!!) Anyway, that’s her story and she’s sticking to it.
We then get the Obligatory Rushing Into The Guilty Party’s House scene, where the police are searching the Hong Family’s residence and taking away all the clothes and other items that CrazyGran had given them just the week before. (Payback’s a bitch, but really?) The kids just glare at the police as they rifle through Nam-joo’s possessions.
Nam-joo has been taken in for questioning by Detective Guy, and gets the Third Degree from him whether she knows or not how much this stuff costs? The one alligator bag alone costs over $10,000, so why is someone paying $300.00 a month in rent afford stuff like this? Nam-joo says that they didn’t buy it; a grandmother they know picked all this stuff up and gave it to them. Detective Guy tells her to quit playing him — these are all stolen items from President Yoo’s house! You took advantage of them knowing that their halmoni was suffering from dementia, right?
Nam-joo tries to explain that she didn’t know the halmoni came from the President Yoo house; she was just a lady that they gave pancakes to for free, so she assumed she brought these things to show her appreciation. Detective Guy wants to know then why he was found in the house that night — didn’t he go in there to steal more stuff? That’s too much for Nam-joo to handle, and yells at Detective Guy that her husband was not a thief!! And she won’t stand for anyone insulting her husband, dammit!! Detective Guy tells her that apparently Nam-joo was the only person who didn’t know the kind of person her husband was — he cut the phone cord and blocked the study door with a bookcase and ran away!!
Nam-joo yells at Detective Guy that all he’s saying are LIES!! They were happy without money; she had no need for any of these things… as she sweeps the whole table clean of all the clothes and bags. She demands of Detective Guy to apologize to her husband RIGHT NOW!!! Detective Guy pulls out the diamond ring and says isn’t this the fake ring he bought for $5.00 at the market? It’s actually a 5 carat flawless diamond the President’s wife reported missing. As Nam-joo is attempting to process this revelation, she clutches her pregnant belly and slumps back into her chair.
It must be dressing-changing day at the hospital, as we see In-ha getting his burns treated and writhing around in pain. Yeong-rang is there trying to comfort her little burnt boy, telling him to not hold back and just scream his lungs out from the pain. In-ha insists on wanting to be killed instead; how can he live like he’s wearing a turtle shell for the rest of his life? Yeong-rang pleads with him to live, because Mom can help him get better because, well… she’s his mom. (Ooooh, profound.) The nurses are still working on In-ha when Ji-ho comes in to see his dongsaeng.
In-ha takes one look at Ji-ho and asks why he’s there — did he decide to come by to see what terrible shape In-ha is in? Here, take a good long look (as he holds out his left arm to show Ji-ho how mangled it is). In-ha spits at him that he’s no longer a piano prodigy or the son of a chaebol family anymore… he’s just a pathetic loser now and that Ji-ho is the winner. Ji-ho just stands there with wide eyes, just too terrified to speak. Yeong-rang wheels around and orders Ji-ho to leave, but In-ha has to get the last word in and asks Ji-ho to take their mom with him. He doesn’t need half-a-mom because he’d rather be alone, so both of you JUST. LEAVE. Ji-ho runs out of the room and sits sobbing on a bench down the hall, telling his appa in voiceover that he’s sorry, but he doesn’t think he can keep his promise to him to help out In-ha.
The next thing we see are The Eyes of Ji-ho Mars (50 points to anyone who gets that reference), and he takes off on the Chopin “Butterly” Etude, giving it a great romping all the while taping his performance
Returning to the hotel later, In-ha is fast asleep with Yeong-rang at his side. He sneaks over to In-ha’s bed and in voiceover, tells his dongsaeng to get healthy and don’t hate mom. That’s the only favor Ji-ho asks of him. Looking over at Yeong-rang, he smiles and tells her that she’s beautiful; she shouldn’t have to cry anymore….
An exhausted Yeong-rang leaves the hospital to visit with EvilStep, asking if he (Ji-ho) really left for the island? EvilStep confirms that fact, amazed that such a little boy has no fear at all. But she’s not on Yeong-rang’s side for a change — EvilStep tells her to go and fetch that boy off the island, or rumours are gonna start flying right and left. Yeong-rang tells her to shut her piehole; leave him be. EvilStep is amazed that she’s gonna leave that boy to live on the island by himself? You know the cops aren’t going to take too kindly to that! Yeong-rang tells her he left on his own accord; she didn’t force him to leave. But enough of that; she’s leaving for a meeting… but not before EvilStep tells her it looks like she’s becoming a more eviler stepmother than EvilStep ever was! Yeong-rang spits back that at least she doesn’t treat her children like a retirement account, so butt out of her life… and out of Ji-ho’s as well.
The cassettes that Ji-ho brought for In-ha before he left are thrown across the room. In-ha asks Yeong-rang why did he bring there? Did he want to brag that he has ten healthy fingers? Yeong-rang asks him if he’s still jealous of Ji-ho, then In-ha can still win, but only if he practices 1,000 times more better. In-ha waves a grimy hand at her and asks how he can play piano now… with these hands?!? Yeong-rang tells him that she just came from meeting with the surgeon to talk about his skin transplant procedure. She’s not sure if it will take 10 or 20 operations, but it will be taken on by the top burn surgery team. Your mom has decided that she’s going to live the rest of her life just for In-ha. Because if was her fault In-ha ended up like this, she’ll spend the rest of her life making it up to him. Until he becomes the rightful heir to Boosung Instruments, she’s going to make sure he doesn’t fail.
In-ha looks confused, as he remembers that his appa made Ji-ho the heir of Boosung, so what happened with that? Yeong-rang tells him that Ji-ho has left, never to return. And even if he does come back, she will not accept him since there would be no reason for them to meet again. In-ha asks if she speaketh the truth, to which she agrees and tells him to trust his mom. So let’s go and have a surgery, arraso? In-ha says nah, let’s wait a bit longer… he’s really hungry and wants to eat well before going under the knives. Yeong-rang is so grateful that she grabs the poor burned boy and holds him in a death grip. (And he’s not screaming in pain? Whatever.)
Yeong-rang goes to meet with Attorney Choi to discuss the succession procedures. He’s beside himself finding out that Ji-ho went back to the island, as Yeong-rang says that apparantly his father’s death was a great shock to him and she’s thinking about sending some help down there so he can live a more comfortable life. Attorney Choi says that’s not a bright idea, since Yoo Ji Ho is the largest shareholder at Boosung Instruments. Yeong-rang asks what the hell he’s talking about — there’s no inheritance available for Ji-ho? Attorney Choi says that she must not be aware what they found after the fire at the mansion was finally extinguished.
When he and Secretary Oh were going through the rubble of President Yoo’s workout room, a wall had collapsed and they found a secret safe. Picking up a black binder, Attorney Choi says that another will was found inside which says that 80% of the President’s stock reverts the his eldest son. And that would be Ji-ho by a few months! (Dun dun DUNNNNNN!) She rips the binder out of his hands, muttering there’s no way, dude! Attorney Choi says that until Ji-ho becomes the owner of Boosung Instruments, it is his plan to help him the best he can. Getting up from his seat, he says he’ll see her at the emergency meeting. Yeong-rang stops him by saying that she’s not the largest shareholder nor have major connections to the company, but she realizes that Attorney Choi has a huge influence on the Board of Directors. So please please please help her become the President of Boosung Instruments.
Attorney Choi purses his lips (not a pretty sight, ew) and says it won’t be easy since the Board wants to hire a management specialist right away, so things have already been decided. Yeong-rang turns on the charm (such as she can) and says that she can get Attorney Choi either money or a higher position in the company. He thinks about it for a nano-second, and then asks if he’s being too greedy if he asks for BOTH? (Ha. Spoken like a true lawyer.) Attorney Choi says okay fine… he wants 15% of the stock and the position of Vice President. Attorney Choi stands there just smirking at her until Yeong-rang says okay fine herself. She’ll promise him his demands and they stand in a Staring Contest, until Secretary Oh barges in and tells her that she needs to come down to the lobby pronto.
Doing just that, Yeong-rang hightails herself to the lobby to find a crush of reporters clamoring for a statement. But if she was thinking it was gonna by a piece of cake talking to them, she was sadly mistaken. All these reporters are interested in is why she saved Ji-ho first instead of In-ha. She stops and stares at the cameras, and announces the two are both her children — she saw Ji-ho first and her only thought was to save him then… because she’s a mother.
We’re back on the island, where Ji-ho is wandering the halls of his former school. All of a sudden, he hears a familiar melody that stops him short. Looking into a classroom, he sees Da-mi there playing the usual “Heart and Soul.” Pushing himself inside, he stands and stares at her but then reaches out to touch her shoulder… wait, it’s not Da-mi after all. Some other little girl sitting there playing looks up at him and gives Ji-ho the stink eye and runs out.
Walking over to the piano, Ji-ho reaches for the keys… but stops short and chastizes himself by saying he promised to never play the piano ever again. Would doing that make him want to go back? Sadly, Ji-ho pulls back his hand and dissolves into sobs…
Attorney Choi tells Yeong-rang to make her President, but why is she taking the time to put all this information in the press? She needs to go to the island and bring back Ji-ho first. She refuses, saying she could never bring ‘that kid’ back to her home. Attorney Choi says there is no way she can do that; he needs to come back now. After all that talk of her being a ‘loving mother’ (he almost chokes on the word ‘mother’), Boosung Instruments’ brand recognition and sales shot up in the world — but if it’s found out that Yeong-rang drove her husband’s son off to some island, then it’s Game Over for him, her and the Company as a whole. Yeong-rang shakes her head, saying that if Ji-ho returns, In-ha will lose what little hope he has left and will want to die. She can’t take that chance when his surgery date is right around the corner.
Nam-joo is waiting outside of Boosung HQ, as the kids run up to meet her. Woo-jin chides her for disappearing like that, as Da-mi complains that she’s going to collapse if she doesn’t rest up for the baby. She tells the kids that their father is being wrongfully accused as a thief — he clearly told her that the ring was a $5.00 fake, so how can it turn out to be a real 5-carat diamond after all? Nam-joo is convinced that someone is framing them.
At that moment, Yeong-rang, Secretary Oh and Attorney (or is he Vice President?) Choi leave the headquarters. Nam-jo runs up to her to try and get a moment of her time. Yeong-rang brushes her off, all the time Nam-joo yells at her to clear her husband’s name! The charges are false — was that ring really a stolen one and she didn’t negotiate to sell it to him? Secretary Oh pulls Nam-joo off the car and tells her to go to the police is she believes she was wronged, but Nam-joo yells at him that’s why she’s doing this — the police do not believe her at all! She needs to meet the halmoni who gave her all the clothes, so please let her meet the grandmother!!Nam-joo ain’t taking NO for an answer… she runs to the front of the town car and throws herself in front of it to keep it from leaving. Telling Yeong-rang that if she’s going to leave like that, then go ahead and knock her down. She came to see her prepared to die anyway, and she’s not moving from that spot until her dead husband’s name is cleared!! Even though they were poor and uneducated, her husband was a fine man and treasured by his children. Come out of that car and bring that halmoni to her for an explanation!!! Yeong-rang coolly rolls down the window and tells Secretary Oh that they’re going to be late for her appointment. That’s a cue for him to unleash the blue-shirted goons standing by to grab Nam-joo and throw her hard against the walkway. Yeong-rang drives off (with Woo-jin giving her the typical Drama Death Stare), everyone else walks away, and Nam-joo faints in Woo-jin’s arms… bleeding from her tummy.
Nam-joo is rushed to the hospital, as the doctor comes out and tells the kids that he can’t hear the baby’s heart. Nam-joo lost too much blood and they couldn’t save the child; now she needs emergency surgery to remove the baby or else Nam-joo’s life may be at risk. (OH GOD, SHADES OF BACHELOR’S VEGETABLE STORE AGAIN?!? YAAAAAAHHH!) Woo-jin continues his Death Stare, as Da-mi grabs his arm and pleads with him to do something to save their dongsaeng!
Back at Evil ConHugeCo, Yeong-rang and the manufacturing team are looking over the butt-ugly piano that Man-se had made in advance of her upcoming birthday. She is amazed that the President had it made just for her, and that they’ve been working on it for over a year now. She strokes the beast and says she’s never seen such a masterpiece before… the color and design and everything else is just perfect. Plinking out a few basic chords, she asks which supplier provided the wood for the soundboard — can she see the production records? Supervisor Guy says that there are none — it was the President’s wish to not leave any trace of the production records, even down to the piano construction expert that they scouted from the States and the 30 other craftsmen that participated. Once the piano was completed, everybody was sworn to silence to not release the steps in the making of the piano. Boosung cannot make another piano like this again, and neither can any other company in the world as well.
Yeong-rang suddenly realizes that it’s time for In-ha’s first surgery, so she rushes to the hospital to be with him. In-ha is all locked and loaded to go, as she tells him she had a really good dream and that everything is going to go well. In-ha says she’s not to worry about him and that she needs to return to Boosung because of the emergency board meeting. Oh and by the way, where’s his Dad? Wouldn’t he come see him on the day of his surgery? Yeong-rang hesitates before telling In-ha that his father is getting treatments at the same time, so In-ha looks relieved because he’ll get better after 10 surgeries, right? In-ha says that after he and his dad are both discharged, they should travel to Switzerland… just the three of them. Yeong-rang strokes his cheek and tells him that’s a good idea. Before they wheel him in, In-ha hands her a little paper piano as a gift, because it’s Yeong-rang’s birthday today to boot. Watching him head into the surgery room, Yeong-rang finally breaks down.
At the emergency Board Meeting, Yeong-rang steps up to the podium to announce that she is bucking for appointment as the new President of Boosung Instruments. She starts off by saying she’s just a normal housewife that spent all her life taking care of her husband and son, but since he’s now dead, she wants to continue her husband’s dream by taking over Boosung. Everyone knows that she was a former concert pianist, and that she knows a piano backwards-and-forwards… especially which piano is the best. Your typical contrarian Board member speaks up to call bullshit on her — the Board can’t trust her family love to take care of the thousands of employees at Boosung. Realizing there would be pushback, that’s why she’s prepared a little presentation for the members gathered…
Nodding to Vice President Choi to step over to the covered item in the room, they take off the wraps to show the Butt-Ugly Piano that her dead husband gifted to her for her birthday (inciting board member rhubarb throughout the room). Saying that this masterpiece (snicker) is the only one in the world, it was created by 30 master craftsmen and has the most beautiful sound a piano could ever make. Why, it should be considered a national treasure (cough… choke…)!
Yeong-rang goes on to say that if she is voted in as the President of Boosung Instruments, she will make sure that this piano is faithfully reproduced within five years of her assuming the position. With their technology, it will not fail… and that must have been the reason her husband left her that work of art.
Yeong-rang assumes that the applause all around the board room means she’s got this appointment all sown up, when Mr. Crabbypants stands up again and wants to know the status of Yoo Ji Ho, the largest shareholder of their company and the son she saved from the fire. He’s heard all the rumours that he was thrown out of the household, so can she explain that fact? When Yeong-rang cannot answer right off the bat, Mr. Crabbypants tells the rest of the board members that he wants to know if it’s true that he was basically exiled to an island. The room denigrates into shouting and fist-showing (just like a normal Korean board meeting), when Yeong-rang is handed a note that says after his surgery, In-ha has been downgraded to critical condition. She bolts for the door…
The surgeon tells Yeong-rang that some muscles needed to be transplanted to provide rich blood to his skin. Somehow the procedure went wrong and took longer than anticipated, but now they have to worry about necrosis setting in (dying off of blood-starved tissue). The surgeon says that only prayer will help him overcome this setback. Vice President Choi runs up and tells her that he’ll take care of things from here, but that she needs to haul her hinder down to Jebu-do and bring that boy back home. Yeong-rang doesn’t want to hear it; her son is dying, and he wants her to do what again? If her In-ha doesn’t make it, then why should she become the President anyway? VP Choi tells her IF he lives — then wouldn’t it be different? If she is officially appointed as the President, then the chances for In-ha to eventually be the heir are greater. Right now, In-ha doesn’t need her tears, but her calm demeanor instead. Go get Ji-ho so that In-ha can eventually get his rightful position back.
Back on the island, another thunderstorm is rolling through, as we see Ji-ho laid out on the floor suffering through more of his night terrors… muttering for someone to help him because he’s so scared…
… when the front door opens to a shadowy figure standing in the way, lightning and thunder crashing all around her. The rain continues throughout their ride back to the mainland, but it doesn’t seen to bother Ji-ho this time, weakly smiling as his eomma has come to rescue him and bring him home!
As part of the induction ceremony, Ji-ho is invited to play a tune at the Butt-Ugly Piano, while Yeong-rang asks in voiceover if her husband is watching. She may only be a half-President right now, but her In-ha will proudly defeat his son Ji-ho… and the day that he stands there will come very soon.
Awwww, looks like CrazyGran is off to another nursing home. She runs up and tells her ‘unni’ to come and visit soon; she’s going to decorate their room up extra-special for her visit. Leaning in to Yeong-rang’s ear, CrazyGran tells her sotto voce that this place is filled with crazy people — take care! (snerk) The nurses load her up onto the transport vehicle, and CrazyGran waves bye-bye as they drive off. What’s that? Are there actually tears in Yeong-rang’s eyes?
Back at the Hong’s neighborhood, a flatbed is parked out front loaded with their possessions while their neighborhood do-nothings all crowd around to watch. Nam-joo and Da-mi come out with more items to put on the truck, when she sees that someone decided to tag the place, saying “Hong Da Mi’s Father is a Thief.” Nam-joo loses it, and grabs a cloth to scrub off the graffiti. Da-mi joins her with her own cloth in an attempt to clean off the front of the house.
In a newscast voiceover, it says that the police have announced the final result of the investigation into the death of President Yoo Man Se. According to the police, a deaf man named Hong Soo Pyo broke into the house, seeking valuables, and struck Yoo Man Se, causing his death. But since Mr. Hong died in the fire, the investigation was closed without an arraignment made. Woo-jin comes over to the two, still scrubbing away, and drags them into the truck. As they take off, the neighbors continue to curse them and their bad fortune.
A bit of an unknown time jump occurs, and we see In-ha in the process of having his bandages removed. Yeong-rang asks him to move his fingers now. He bends four fingers on his left hand and is estatic seeing them work again… until he gets to the pinky one which does not move from its upright and locked position. He turns to the surgeon and asks why his pinky is not listening to him, and the doctor says he did the best he could, but all the muscles in the pinky were damaged beyond repair.
They both look over at the surgeon dumbfounded. In-ha pleads with his mother if he’s really going to have to live the rest of his life this way? If he can’t move his pinky finger, then how can he play the piano?!?
Just as this revelation was starting to sink in, right on cue walks in Ji-ho. He looks relieved as he tells In-ha that the doctors unwrapped his hand. Ji-ho says it took a lot of strength to keep from coming to the hospital. In-ha looks at him with crazed eyes and an ottoke? forming on his lips. Yeong-rang tells In-ha that she was the one that brought him back to Seoul. In-ha is rendered speechless, as Ji-ho says it looks like In-ha didn’t know he was back. So what does In-ha want to do first? Does he want to go out… oh maybe the first thing they should do is go visit their father’s tomb. In-ha asks wait, what… my father is dead?
Ji-ho looks up at Yeong-rang with a “Mom, you’d better field this one” look on his face. Yeong-rang carefully tells In-ha she’s sorry that she kept that tiny piece of important news from him — she just couldn’t tell him because she knew he would get shocked. In-ha spits back that without him knowing, you buried my father. Without him knowing, eomma brings back Yoo Ji Ho. And you say that was all for ME?!? You can see In-ha’s brain visibly checking out. He looks up at Yeong-rang and asks who she is — who is this ahjumma in his room? Yeong-rang continues to look at him painfully, when…
…In-ha bolts from his bed and takes off running through the hospital, leaving Yeong-rang to collapse from grief. In-ha is still running running running with Ji-ho chasing him, until In-ha forces open a door to the outside, not realizing it was a dead-end balcony. Ji-ho tells him to grab his hand, because he knows how he feels. His hyung will help him!!
In-ha yells back that if Ji-ho comes any closer, he’s gonna jump!! Ji-ho tells him he can’t do that – -he promised their Dad to help you, and he wants to keep that promise!! In-ha screams at him to stop playing all high-and-mighty, and don’t look at him with his pitiful eyes!! In-ha turns and grabs onto the railing, Ji-ho yells out ANDWAE!!! and lunges towards In-ha as he starts falling. Fade to white…
14 Years Later
Panning over a large estate in the country, we come across a young man making repairs to a grand piano in the courtyard. While attempting to secure the braces to the keyboard, a shadowy hand appears. Sporting a tasteful pinky ring, he reaches over to the keyboard and strikes a couple of keys…
Looking up and getting quite annoyed as to who has interrupted his handiwork, the man looks up in disgust and says basically ‘what da fuck?’ He is amazed to see… In-ha! And the first words out of In-ha’s mouth after being away for 14 years is “Torturing pianos as usual?” BWAHAHAHA!!
Flowers and Brickbats
Hang on one second here… SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Okay, I feel much better now. Thanks for understanding. I could go off on a tangent for weeks over how flippin’ excited I am to see Joo Ji Hoon and Ji Chang Wook back on television again: Ji-hoon for the obvious reasons that he’s been missing for so long, and My Precious just because the sixteen people (including myself) that actually sat through all of “Bachelor’s Vegetable Store” were waiting for him to score such a meaty role in redemption for that travesty. Nevertheless, SBS should be commended for have the brass balls to cast both boys in their latest production. Huzzah!!
This was the first episode where I wrote the analysis first, because I needed to get my thoughts down fast before they left my feeble mind. There were a lot of NO WAYS sprinkled throughout this show, but I need to remember that this is a K-drama, not “CSI: Seoul.” That crack team of detectives couldn’t find a clue if they had both hands, a flashlight and a map. Pretty damning evidence to at least hold Yeong-rang for more questioning, but she plays the Money Card and if there’s anything the Korean Police are more afraid of, it’s being taken to the woodshed by some mega-influencial chaebol family. I’ll just have to deal for the time being, because it being a K-drama, she will get her just desserts… and it looks like it will be a toasty one, given the first few minutes of Episode 1. S’mores, anyone?
It has been written that the production spent over $250,000,000 won to burn down the set in Episode 4. The shooting took place over two nights at the SBS closed set in Ilsan; fire and medical personnel were standing by in case of emergency, and certain of the news outlets were amazed at how realistic the scene turned out to be. So money is obviously no object for this production!
Now that they’re all growed up now, I can expound upon the kids. The boys definitely hit it out of the park with their performances. I haven’t seen Kang Yi Seok (Ji-ho) in anything but “Life is Beautiful,” but he’s growing up to be another fine young actor at the Yoo Jin Goo and Park Geon Tae level. I’ve only seen Kim Ji Hoon (In-ha) in that travesty called “Man of Honor” on KBS last year, but he was only featured in three scenes and didn’t make much of an impression on me until this offering. Suffice it to say that Kim Seong Kyeong (Da-mi) didn’t turn my gears nearly as much as the boys did; it’s one thing to just sit there and be cute all the time, but she didn’t bring anything to the table except sitting there and being cute all the time. This is only her second acting gig (as 2012 is her debut year), so I’m hoping that she gets more roles under her belt before I can make an informed decision.
More Hottie Screen Time awaits us in Episode 5. Bring it. I AM READY.