Too often, we craft explanations and create expectations about the people around us: why they act the way they do, how they would feel when they learn about a particular thing, and whatnot. But when reality presents itself differently, it is sometimes harder to deconstruct the story in our heads than it is to accept the truth. This episode shows the family’s struggle in dealing with the unfamiliar.
The second family
Last episode ended with Young-sik and his son, Young-kyu arriving at the house, to the entire family’s shock. Young-kyu hugs Eun-joo after she picks up his ball but Young-sik calls him back. Sang-sik thinks they should all know each other since they are all family but is quick to say that it’s not what they think it is. He admits that he’s had two families his whole life; he hid his second family for the sake of his first family. Jin-sook stops him because talking about it in front of the kids is shameless. Young-sik tries to correct the misconception but Sang-sik wants to be the one to talk about it.
He recounts the summer of 94, when he was driving late at night and he hit Young-sik as a kid with his car. Young-sik’s grandma thanked him for covering their medical bills. However, he knew this was something he should have gone to jail for had they reported him to the police. To atone for this, he kept supporting them as Young-sik grew up, which explains why he suddenly gave only half his earnings to Joon-sik at some point.
In the present, Young-sik says that he went to Incheon to find his son’s mom and Sang-sik is looking for a place to stay for the three of them. Young-sik doesn’t understand this since he’s now seen that Sang-sik lives in a nice place (obviously, because Jin-sook is selling the apartment). Sang-sik cuts him off and announces that he will now live with Young-sik and Young-kyu since he needs to take responsibility his whole life. To everyone’s surprise, Ji-woo is the first to speak, saying that he barely saw Sang-sik his whole life, and runs to his room. Sang-sik tells Young-sik and Young-kyu to wait for him in the car while he follows Ji-woo to his room.
Sang-sik explains to Ji-woo that Young-sik was bullied because of his leg, which got hurt because of the accident. Ji-woo should know better than to be jealous of Young-sik but Ji-woo thinks that Sang-sik has done enough. He grew old and tired because he tried to do what’s right. Sang-sik, however, begs to differ and thinks that his life is just beginning, as he invites Ji-woo to go hiking with him. Jin-sook interrupts by saying that Eun-joo is leaving.
As he sees his daughters out and they both remain silent, Sang-sik asks why they don’t seem to have anything to say to him. Is he that worthless to them? Eun-hee, ever the mediator, wants to get her thoughts together before saying anything. Eun-joo, however, is blunt, even more so with the revelation about her real father. She tells him to do whatever he wants but what he should have done back then was to call the police back then and to talk to Jin-sook. She thinks that he did what he did because it was the cheapest and easiest thing to do. She asks why he took responsibility for something he couldn’t handle. The last point is almost a parallel to what she felt happened with her, how Sang-sik took responsibility as her father and Jin-sook’s husband, when he couldn’t do it right. He apologizes to each of his daughters. Eun-joo walks out and Eun-hee follows her.
Jin-sook gives Sang-sik the money that he saved for Eun-joo but he refuses. Jin-sook thinks he should’ve just told her and not dragged the kids into it. Sang-sik says that it feels cathartic and he doesn’t know why he was so scared to do it all these years. Jin-sook says he made her misunderstand him all these years; if this was his way of trying to get even with her? Sang-sik wants her to just keep hating him and throws the bank book to the floor.
A few days later, Sang-Sik’s friend remarks that Sang-sik started working hard again and he says that he always had to because he was supporting two families. On the other hand, Jin-Sook and her patient talk about their husbands. The patient reveals that when Mr. Yoo was teaching, he was abusive towards the kids. She’s envious of Sang-sik because he was sweet to the kids.
Jin-sook visits Sang-sik at a restaurant. She warns him that he shouldn’t frown or raise his voice as she gives him the bank account. She forces him to take it but he says he’ll still send her money every month. Jin-sook refuses, saying that she supported him and doesn’t need his money. She wouldn’t have been ready to “graduate from marriage” if she didn’t have plans. She is mad that he never told her about the accident. He counters by saying that she has her secrets too: when Eun-joo’s father came to the wedding, he assumed they’ve been in touch all these years. Jin-sook throws the fruit on the floor in anger.
[Honestly, the reveal about the “second family” felt anti-climactic. I mean, I get it, it was a nice twist than going for the predictable and it does leave room for the family to have a reconciliation and to try to understand each other better. I guess I can’t get behind the fact that he chose to have his wife think that he was cheating on her all this time than to fess up to the accident. Maybe it was for revenge, sure, but he also could have just asked her why she left home back then. I’m not really a fan of almost 30 years of misunderstanding and communication that could have been resolved with a few tough conversations. Which is why I applaud Eun-joo for being the exact opposite of her parents and speaking her mind.]
The end of a sham
As Eun-hee drives Eun-joo home from their family meeting, Eun-hee says that she understands Sang-sik now. Eun-joo stands by what she said but doesn’t want to argue further. Eun-hee tries to fish from Eun-joo when she plans to let Sang-sik know that she knows the truth. Eun-joo brushes her off and says that she’ll handle it. Eun-joo feels bad for Ji-woo because he never had a father. When they reach Eun-joo’s place, Eun-hee gives her older sister a gift but Eun-joo doesn’t seem to appreciate it.
Tae-hyung is waiting for her and he scolds her for forgetting her medication. Eun-joo flashes back to when Young-kyu hugged her, breaking down when she thinks that their child would have been the same age if not for the miscarriage. She realizes that she needs to stop acting like she’s okay and that she can never forgive Tae-hyung.
The following morning, Eun-joo arrives to a meal prepared by Tae-hyung in the apartment and she hears him yelling at his mother over the phone. As they eat, she puts the chocolates that Eun-hee gave her on the table, saying it’s her sister’s way of saying that she doesn’t want to fight. Tae-hyung understands, that Eun-hee doesn’t want to use the words. Eun-joo agrees, and draws a parallel between the change in her relationship with Eun-hee and the change in their own relationship: how Tae-hyung is now starting to take care of her. She talks about Sang-sik, how he must’ve felt comfortable around Eun-hee but cautious around her, because she’s not his child. She ends their talk by saying that she wants to end the marriage.
Finally, Eun-joo pays a visit to her mother-in-law. She tells her that they’ll get an amicable divorce and that there’s no changing either of their minds, so she shouldn’t bother pressuring Tae-hyung. When she gets home, Eun-joo tells Tae-hyung that she saw his mother and it seems like she wants to get revenge, saying that the divorce wouldn’t just be between them.
The beginning of something else… maybe?
The episode opens with Chan-hyuk reading Eun-hee’s text about checking up on Eun-joo. He calls her and tells her about their college friends who dropped by but receives no response. Eun-hee says that she hates herself (this was after her fight with Eun-joo last episode). He tells her there’s nothing she can do about it and that she has to move on. To make her laugh, he reminds her of the letter she wrote him in the military but she denies any knowledge of it. After they hang up, he retrieves the letter and reads it again: “She lied with such sincerity.” But he’s getting giddy while reading it. Eun-hee then remembers what she wrote and wants to die from embarrassment. She thinks of how Chan-hyuk used to take pictures and that’s what she thought of while writing the letter.
Back to the present, Chan-hyuk is tidying himself up and the apartment in anticipation of his visitor. Gun-joo arrives and gives him a bunch of photo books as a gift. Gun-joo says that Eun-hee wanted to get Golden Goose studio as their photography company, even if they’re working with someone else. Chan-hyuk says they should stay with their old company, but the author wants to use their pictures. Gun-joo informs Chan-hyuk that Eun-hee didn’t proceed with the contract as she didn’t want things to be personal but Gun-joo personally delivers the contract to him. They have a conversation about Eun-hee being a good writer. Gun-joo thinks Chan-hyuk should encourage her to be a writer and brings up the time she won an award and Chan-hyuk was the one who came with her. After a while, they realize that Eun-hee is the only thing they have in common. Seo-young runs into Gun-joo as he heads out of Chan-hyuk’s studio, and admits that she came back to see who was in his marriage meeting. She accepts that he’ll never like her and he says that he’s like a sister to her.
The following day, Eun-hee sees Chan-hyuk in front of her office and he tells her about Gun-joo giving him the contract last night. They play around about signing the contract but get to business and act professional when Gun-joo arrives. Eun-joo calls in the middle of the meeting to meet up with Chan-hyuk, which takes him surprise but he agrees to it anyway. Eun-hee tells him that Eun-joo and Ji-woo both feel down after their family meeting. He tells Eun-hee that he’ll call her after dinner with Eun-joo.
The two of them go to the park and playfully take pictures. She observes him and finds herself drawn to him. He tells her that Gun-joo seems to care a lot about her and that the reason he treats Jin-woo like a brother and is polite to Eun-joo is because of Eun-hee; she is more important to him than her two siblings. Eun-hee thinks that it’s the perfect profession of friendship, and has conflicting emotions about it. She plays it off as a joke and they start bantering.
When she returns to the office, Eun-hee calls Gun-joo out for getting involved with Chan-hyuk under the guise of work. Suddenly, she gets a text from Ha-ra and they meet up. Ha-ra informs her that she is going back to the US and wonders why Eun-hee didn’t even contact him the whole week. Before leaving, Ha-ra drops several bombshells about Gun-joo. First, he used to cheat slightly when they were together. Second, Gun-joo went back to Korea to close their branch, and that he’ll be returning to the US soon. Finally, she reveals that they slept together that last night. Eun-hee remains unperturbed. Ha-ra, as a last ditch attempt to insult Eun-hee, wants her to give him his phone. She refuses, saying she doesn’t want to get involved anymore.
Eun-hee drinks alone at a bar later that night. Gun-joo is still in the office, and finds Eun-hee’s keys on her desk. He thinks about what Eun-hee said, how she worked late all week when he was gone. So yes, she was waiting for him. Kyeong-ok shows up at Gun-joo’s office and gives him his phone, but not before throwing him judgmental looks.
Chan-hyuk meets Eun-joo at a rooftop bar. Since a photographer usually sees and hears things during a wedding, she asks him what he saw and heard on her wedding day. He tells her about some bridesmaids who asked for pictures, which turn out to be Eun-joo’s old friends. They treated her like family, but she never talked about her own family with them. She feels like Chan-hyuk found out about her scars and emotions that she never told anyone just through his pictures. He thinks it would be good for Eun-joo to talk to those friends again, because sometimes friends are better than family.
She tells him that Eun-hee used to like him because Eun-hee usually draws a line when she likes someone. As the middle child, she put herself down a lot so she doesn’t go for someone who she thinks is out of her league. Eun-joo thinks she needs to mature and get over that complex. Chan-hyuk seems taken aback by the revelation.
After dinner, Chan-hyuk calls Eun-hee and realizes that she’s drunk. He figures out where she is and tries to take the drinks away from her. She talks about the pictures of Eun-joo that she sent him when he was in the military, saying how Eun-joo looked pretty. Chan-hyuk argues that Eun-hee is pretty in the pictures he took of her too. They reminisce about the time Chan-hyuk accompanied her to her award ceremony and the stroll they had after. She tells him that she started seeing him as a guy after that night but he ruined it when he spread her pictures to other guys in the class. Chan-hyuk jokes that he feels dumped even though they didn’t date and stops her from drinking. Feeling nostalgic, he takes her to the place where they walked together that night back in college. Their eyes meet. He walks up to her and stands close. The episode ends.
They’re going to kiss. But then this show has the tendency of leading us to expect the obvious and then pulling back after the cliffhanger. I’ve decided to just roll with this one despite my earlier reservations, because it is where the show is obviously heading. I was for team Eun-joo and Chan-hyuk (if that existed) but they’re obviously not compatible. And I want my queen, Eun-joo to be happy. Still, my standard for best friends-to-lovers-with-long-term-pining is Ik-jun and Song-hwa from Hospital Playlist, and Chan-hyuk and Eun-hee fall short of that.
I do hope Eun-joo gets her revenge though. I can understand how trapped Tae-hyung felt but it doesn’t excuse how shitty he treated Eun-joo. She deserves to win, for once.
See you all next week!