[Edit: malware removed and site all fixed. Once google trawls again, it’ll remove the flag on my site and the warning will stop appearing.]
Now moving on to the happy little drama that is Protect the Boss. I don’t know if it was the extension or the fact that the story is moving into more serious territory, but episode 13 was decidedly low key and even a bit slow. Everyone seemed a half step off and the conversations were not nearly as snappy. But the drama has given me so much nutritious and delicious scenes for the first 12 episodes that I’m happy to let it take a breather and set up the next story arc.
Episode 13 Recap:
Eun Seol sees the confidential files on the Chairman’s table and is stunned by what she reads, detailing the slush funds of DN Group. The Secretary has her pretend she didn’t see anything. The Chairman comes back in and notices everyone looks uncomfortable. He thinks they are talking about him behind his back and warns his Secretary not to do it otherwise he’s dead. The Chairman asks Eun Seol what is going on, he can tell by her expression she’s bothered by something.
Secretary Kim is meeting with Ji Heon in his office. Ji Heon is told about taking a trip to oversee a new project. Ji Heon has Secretary Kim arrange an overnight trip for the three of them (including Eun Seol), and then reminds Secretary Kim to conveniently have something arise so he needs to head back to Seoul early. Ji Heon tells Secretary Kim to wise up and get with the program (i.e. learn to read between the lines). Secretary Kim says he understood what Ji Heon wanted, he just can’t give a convincing performance. Ji Heon tells him to practice. The coffee shop part time employee comes to see Ji Heon to pick up his scholarship check.
The Chairman wants Eun Seol to be honest, she’s not the type to keep things to herself. Eun Seol calmly tells the Chairman that she will participate in the bridal studies at a later time, she’s not the type to learn such refined skills like flower arranging and fine dining. She feels like someone is raising her like she were a pet.
The Chairman says that he’s the head of DN Group and it doesn’t look good if he were to cancel the program. He thinks Eun Seol would hate to waste the tuition, right? Eun Seol uses the excuse that she doesn’t have any time to date Ji Heon lately. The Chairman agrees for that reason, but tells Eun Seol he won’t give up. She smiles and says she understands. But she declines to discuss anything further.
After Eun Seol leaves the Chairman’s office, his Secretary drags her off urgently to talk. Secretary tells Eun Seol to believe everything he is going to tell her. Secretary tells Eun Seol that the Chairman is the cleanest (i.e. least corrupt) chaebol out there. What she saw was the basic administrative needs of any conglomerate. Eun Seol says tax evasion is still against the law. She’s just an ordinary citizen and she knows that this is wrong.
Secretary reminds her that they are both secretaries and their jobs are to keep their boss’ secret. He reminds Eun Seol that she can’t tell Ji Heon this either. Secretary says the Chairman is preparing to pay all the necessary taxes which is upsetting him. Secretary says no one is honest these days, and Moo Won and his mom are doing even more egregious things. Eun Seol asks if this is the only way to run a company?
Director Park sees the Secretary drag Eun Seol off and hurries to eavesdrop. Moo Won catches him eavesdropping. Director Park tells Moo Won that he’s on Moo Won’s side and working for his mom. Moo Won says Director Park may be on his mom’s side but is not aligned with him necessarily. Director Park mutters that Moo Won’s fallen into a honey trap and is useless these days.
Eun Seol walks into Ji Heon’s office to see him playing online video games with Secretary Kim and the part time employee. He quickly gets up and shoos the other two out of there, blaming them for playing the games. Ji Heon beckons Eun Seol forward 7 steps until they are standing face to face. He shows that he’s keeping his promise not to have skinship with her.
Which is when Eun Seol pulls Ji Heon in for a hug. He smiles and says this is what he’s been working towards. He hugs her back and asks if anything happened? She shakes her head and says Ji Heon is just too good looking. He thinks she should call him cool, but she sasses that cool better describes her.
Na Yoon is walking down the street and thinks back to Moo Won and spending time with him in recently. She goes to dine by herself and looks really lonely and sad. When the waiter asks if something is wrong, Na Yoon says she’s the something that is wrong. She looks at her phone and sighs.
Moo Won meets with Na Yoon to discuss work. He asks Na Yoon to ask Eun Seol later when she goes home if anything is wrong? Na Yoon reminds Moo Won that Eun Seol dumped him, he needs to stop caring so much. She thinks he needs to be like her, passionate and let it all go. And when he dumped Na Yoon, he was so cold afterwards.
Moo Won says he’s trying his best. It’s not like he can stop liking Eun Seol the next day. He confesses to Na Yoon that he’s just concerned about Eun Seol. Moo Won asks Na Yoon if she likes him? She says she used to like him. He wonders if she’s back to liking him the same way now and regrets dumping him?
Eun Seol and Ji Heon are in the elevator by themselves. He wants to hold her hand but she’s wary of the CCTV. Ji Heon moves to the corner underneath the CCTV and pulls her back with him. He back hugs her and suggests they go on a date today. She smiles and nods.
The door opens and the Chairman and Secretary walk in. Ji Heon pushes Eun Seol away and she lands in the Chairman’s arms. The Chairman smiles and tells them to finish and he and the Secretary get out of the elevator. Ji Heon pulls Eun Seol back but quickly pushes her off when other employees enter. They end up just locking pinky fingers like two adorable school kids in love.
Secretary asks the Chairman why they ended up walking down the stairs. Chairman thinks walking is a good thing. He worries that Eun Seol looks pretty wan these days. He wants her checked out and some nutritional supplements sent to her house. Secretary laughs and asks if the Chairman likes Eun Seol that much. The Chairman says yes, he likes her so much, ever since he met her. The thought that she’ll become his daughter-in-law makes him like her even more. Everything she does is so cute. He just wants to hug her.
Secretary thinks the Chairman’s words may be misconstrued. The Chairman says he’s just being honest, he likes who Eun Seol is as a person. She has nothing yet she lives with her head held high. She never assesses the situation to gain an advantage but rather treats people with sincerity. They run into Director Park, who continues to look like crap, and now has salon pas on his neck. The Chairman thinks he needs a break and invites him to go night fishing. Director Park wonders if it’s the three of them? Secretary snerks that they ought to find a secluded fishing spot, the kind of place where no one can find them. Director Park looks freaked out.
Eun Seol and Ji Heon are on their date, leisurely walking down the street holding hands. He jokingly suggests they go get a room at a hotel and when she tries to twist his arm, he holds on to her hand tightly. They start using banmal with each other in private since they are the same age, which delights both of them. Eun Seol keeps calling him Cha Ji Heon over and over again.
They go dine at a fancy restaurant where Eun Seol shows off her newly acquired fine dining skills. But she still enjoys her food with passion. She warns Ji Heon that while she’s enjoying this meal, she doesn’t want to do it again, which in her mind is wasting money.
Ji Heon walks Eun Seol home. She tells him to go now, and he holds up their entwined hands and reminds her that she needs to let go before he can walk away. She lets go and he smushes her face together to tease her before turning to leave. Ji Heon walks down the stairs as Eun Seol watches him, though slowly her smile disappears.
Ji Heon is driving when he takes a sudden u-turn. Moo Won is sitting in his room and thinking back to Na Yoon telling him to wake up to the reality that he’s been dumped. Moo Won calls Ji Heon to meet, which is when Ji Heon drives up right at that moment. They bicker and head off together.
Eun Seol lays on the bed while Na Yoon lays on the floor, both of them moping. Myung Ran tells them they will drill a hole in the ground if they keep going like this. Eun Seol is so frustrated and gets up, telling the other two to go for a power walk to relieve some stress.
They power walk until Eun Seol stops and asks Myung Ran what’s going to happen if she continues this way, becoming the daughter-in-law of a chaebol, one day turning into Moo Won and Na Yoon’s mom. Na Yoon thinks Eun Seol will become just like her. They see ahjummas doing exercises against some beams in the park and proceed to try it out. They notice Na Yoon is mopey and she confesses that she keeps thinking of Moo Won.
Moo Won and Ji Heon go to the batting cages. Moo Won easily creams Ji Heon at batting. Next is basketball, where Moo Won once again dominates the hoops. They go to the running track and engage in a foot race where Ji Heon is left eating Moo Won’s dust.
Later the boys lay on the grass to catch their breath. Moo Won wonders why Eun Seol picked Ji Heon since Ji Heon can’t beat Moo Won at anything. Ji Heon says that’s just the mystery of love. And more importantly, there is one thing Ji Heon wins over Moo Won, and it’s the most important thing to him. Moo Won smiles and says he’ll let Ji Heon win this one then.
Moo Won tells Ji Heon that Eun Seol looks worried lately, and it’s not because of him. Both boys worry about her. Moo Won tells Ji Heon to take good care of Eun Seol while Ji Heon vows death to anyone mistreating his Eun Seol.
Eun Seol can’t sleep and wakes up extra early. She arrives at Ji Heon’s house earlier than usual and finds the Chairman in the yard. He invites her to stay for breakfast, asking his mom to prepare an extra setting, and tells her to go wake Ji Heon up. Eun Seol sits down on Ji Heon’s bed and watches him sleep. Ji Heon wakes up and instinctively pulls Eun Seol into his embrace.
But then he freaks out and pushes her away. He covers his face and tells her to leave, he only wants her to see his “coolest” side. Eun Seol says she doesn’t care about these things, and even if Ji Heon has eye boogers he’s still cute to her.
The family sits down to breakfast. The Chairman and Ji Heon both put food in Eun Seol’s bowl, which causes Grandma to mutter that no one cares about her. Everyone puts food in her bowl and tells her to eat up.
Eun Seol talks with Grandma after breakfast, confirming that the Chairman is treating her so well. She asks Grandma that if a great person like the Chairman did something wrong in the eyes of the law and Eun Seol knew about it, what should Eun Seol do? Grandma asks what Eun Seol means? She heads off to work with Ji Heon before answering Grandma’s question.
During the drive to work, Ji Heon looks at Eun Seol and tells her that she’s not following her promise. If something happened to her, she promised always to tell him. She says there is no need if she can handle it. Ji Heon thinks she needs to give him a chance to be cool.
The moms are at the salon and discussing, who else, Eun Seol, and how she’s all buddy-buddy with the Chairman these days. Na Yoon’s mom derides her, which makes Moo Won’s mom notice that Na Yoon’s mom appears to dislike Eun Seol more than her. Na Yoon’s mom doesn’t like someone like Eun Seol joining their world and dirtying up their pond.
Moo Won’s mom gets a call from Director Park and she mutters why that guy keeps calling. She explains to Na Yoon’s mom that she installed a spy next to the Chairman and now the guy won’t leave her alone. She heads to meet with Director Park and once she leaves, Na Yoon’s mom calls someone and asks that person to keep an eye on Moo Won’s mom.
Moo Won’s mom goes to meet with Director Park, who keeps changing the meeting location. Na Yoon’s mom is tailing her and loses her. Director Park reveals that he thinks someone is following him, a gut feeling he has. It’s like he’s caught a big fish lately and he doesn’t know what to do with it. But he knows it can possibly be used to sink the Chairman.
He confesses the need to vent right now. The Chairman invited him to go night fishing at a secluded spot. Which makes him realize that nothing is more important than his life. Ahahaha, love his dramatic monologue. After the meeting and Moo Won’s mom leaves, Director Park is dragged to meet Na Yoon’s mom. Dum Dum Dum.
Eun Seol tells Na Yoon to just be honest with Moo Won. Don’t waffle and be indecisive like Eun Seol, she needs to take her chance. Na Yoon heads to a work meeting with Moo Won and Ji Heon about a new smart phone the company is introducing. Once Ji Heon leaves, Na Yoon drops an invitation on the table and tells Moo Won that it’s the treat of one of the advertisers. Moo Won passes it back to her but agrees to try to go. Both say they will make the effort to attend.
Ji Heon gives Eun Seol one of the new phones and says it’s the latest couples phone from the company. Na Yoon comes running in and hugs Eun Seol, explaining that she’s so nervous these days. Ji Heon wants to ask her what’s going on? Na Yoon tells Ji Heon she’s not going to hang herself his tree for the rest of his life. She toddles off to go to the beauty salon.
Ji Heon chases after Na Yoon and asks to speak with her. Ji Heon asks Na Yoon if her mom has been mean to Eun Seol lately? Na Yoon says her mom did threaten Eun Seol but nothing has happened. She’s been keeping an eye on things and will let Ji Heon know if she sees anything. He reminds her to come to him if she hears anything. Na Yoon heard about his upcoming overnight trip with Eun Seol. Na Yoon says he was like a grade schooler when they dated, she had to plan everything.
The Chairman hears from another chaebol that there are murmurings amongst the rich folks that Ji Heon is involved with his secretary. The Chairman is warned kindly that since Ji Heon has so many weaknesses already, he needs to be careful and not get involved with the wrong woman. He hopes Ji Heon is just fooling around with that secretary.
The Chairman speaks up and says Ji Heon is not fooling around. If the other guy’s son likes to fool around with women, his Ji Heon is not like that. He tells the guy that the girl his son Ji Heon is dating does not deserve to be spoken of in these flippant tones. He wants that guy to watch what he says in the future. Moo Won’s mom, and some other chaebols overhear this conversation.
Afterwards she meets with the Chairman and chides him for pretending to be so chummy with Eun Seol. The Chairman is annoyed that people like that guy will be out there judging Ji Heon and Eun Seol. He’s tired and doesn’t want to bicker with Moo Won’s mom today. He tells her that he bought a new pair of shoes for her and it’s at his house. She tells him that she won’t let everything go simply because he bought her a pair of shoes. But you can totally see she’s not so sure of her path anymore.
Eun Seol gets called out to meet someone, who claims that Eun Seol was the one who called him out. Eun Seol takes his picture and announces that she’s recording this meeting. She wants him to be honest about who he is and what he wants. He has a card that says he works for a non-profit that aims to enact financial reform (probably the whistleblower type of group). Eun Seol looks him up online and confirms his identity, but she really didn’t call him.
He says he got a message from her saying she wants to meet and report misdeeds at corporations. He asks if she has such information? Eun Seol says she’s not clear on these matters. Before leaving, he reminds her to contact him if she changes her mind. Eun Seol notices someone is taking secret pictures of her. She chases that car but it drives off before she can catch the person.
Eun Seol meets with the Chairman’s Secretary and both are worried about what is happening. He confirms that Eun Seol didn’t say anything to that guy. Eun Seol says she plans to tell the Chairman everything. Suddenly Eun Seol imagines Ji Heon in a wheelchair getting grilled by the media over the company’s misdeeds. This conversation is once again overheard by Director Park.
Eun Seol starts getting nervous like a ferret, always scanning her surroundings. She heads to the overnight business trip with Ji Heon and Secretary Park. Na Yoon makes sure her hair and makeup are perfect as she waits for Moo Won in the lobby of the performance hall. Eventually she goes in by herself. During the performance she sits and keeps looking at her empty seat. We see Moo Won is in the middle of a meeting and looks alarmed when he realizes what time it is.
Ji Heon is taken on a tour of the facilities of this new residential complex the company is building. Ji Heon has to forcibly grab Secretary Kim’s arm to make the guy remember his leaving early excuse. Except Secretary Kim is just so awkward when giving the excuse and then running off. Eun Seol gives Ji Heon a knowing look.
The performance concludes and the audience all file out, leaving Na Yoon sitting alone in the auditorium. Moo Won arrives and walks out with Na Yoon. On their way out, Moo Won asks Na Yoon if she wants to return to his side? She says yes, asking him if it’s not possible?
Eun Seol and Ji Heon are shown to their respective rooms. Ji Heon calls Eun Seol from his room, confessing that he can’t sleep because this is a strange place. He asks if she can give him a hand massage like last time. Eun Seol heads over and massages his hand. She asks if he’s not sleepy yet, to which Ji Heon just gives her a steady look and says he’s not sleepy.
They end up laying on the bed facing each other in the infant position. Ji Heon says he’s not sleepy, and then leans in to place a gentle kiss on Eun Seol’s lips. Eun Seol smiles and then asks Ji Heon if he remembers offering to come to her place? What if that is what she wants? What if she wants him to give up the succession and come into her world?
Thoughts of Mine:
Rather get into the nitty gritty, it’s simpler to consider the corporate misdeeds at the core of Eun Seol’s concerns are the financial improprieties that have been unearthed at any number of corporations the world over. It’s not some type of moral outrage, but does imply that Eun Seol is caught between protecting those she has grown to care about and her principal beliefs in doing the right thing. It’s clear someone is setting Eun Seol up to be the fall woman for a media leak of the DN Group’s slush funds, by luring her out to meet with a whistleblower organization and then snapping pictures of the meeting. It’s clearly Na Yoon’s mom’s attempt to take out two birds with one stone.
I think the core of PTB is the concept of affection and family, and for Na Yoon’s mom to take the role as principal antagonist for the remainder of the drama pushes Moo Won’s mom ever closer to aligning herself back with the Chairman for the sake of being a member of the Cha family. I never thought she genuinely hated and wanted to destroy the Chairman, but rather she had some longstanding grudge against him that seemed almost petty, but drives her to annoy him at every turn. But once an outsider threatens the Cha family, I have a feeling she’ll back up the Chairman in the end.
I love how the Chairman stood up for both Ji Heon (my son doesn’t fool around with women) and Eun Seol (you can’t talk about this girl in such terms) with his fellow chaebol head. And the way he was so happy to tell his secretary just how much he likes Eun Seol, who he’s even more excited will be his daughter-in-law. I hate watching the Chairman deal with the corporate fall out to come, but I trust the drama will resolve everything properly and satisfactorily.
While Eun Seol and Ji Heon’s relationship has been so well developed in this story, conversely both the relationships surrounding Moo Won feel half-baked. I never knew when he grew so enamored of Eun Seol, nor did I quite feel how much he initially liked Na Yoon and was heartbroken when she refused to give him a chance. While the characters of Na Yoon and Moo Won are well written, their love story feels a bit forced up until now. I would prefer for Moo Won to consider dating Na Yoon, and let me watch them give love a second chance. For now, Ji Heon and Eun Seol’s continued happiness remains a reprieve before the storm about the hit.