I’m feeling a tiny bit of Man of Honor plot fatigue setting in. I think the drama needs a game-changing moment right now to kick start which has been solid plot foundation that has been decreasing in intensity for me. We’re eleven episodes in and the gang is still trying to pass only the second stage of the test to enter Geodae? I continue to enjoy how the story remains tightly structured (albeit increasingly outlandish at times), but I want some major secrets to get revealed so we move on to the aftermath. Young Kwang’s mom is the next to find out Jae In’s real identity, and I hope she does the right thing and lets Jae In reunite with her mom, which also ends the drawn out fauxcest between the OTP.
Episode 11 recap:
In Woo’s daddy confronts Young Kwang at the elevator and discovers his real identity. He immediately flips his lid (as usual) and starts screaming at why this useless piece of garbage is still here? He immediately turns to Kyung Joo to ask why she ignored what he said and allowed this piece of trash to try and claw his way into the company.
Young Kwang hears his older sister with her head down being berated and he speaks out, telling In Woo’s dad that he’s crossed the line. Young Kwang is not a piece of trash, he carried 35 bricks up 33 flights of stairs using his own smarts and strength. In Woo’s dad seethes at having someone dare talk back to him, and screams for his lackeys to drag Young Kwang out NOW!
Young Do sits down with the Chairman and politely informs the crazy dude that Young Kwang will not be dismissed right now. Young Kwang hasn’t done anything wrong, and the fighting incident with In Woo resulted from In Woo pushing Young Kwang down the stairs first. In Woo’s dad asks if there is any proof of that? Young Do wonders if Young Kwang will be allowed to stay if he has proof.
In Woo’s dad asks why Young Do is sticking up for Young Kwang? Young Do wants honesty in this competition and everyone to compete on fair terms. He reminds In Woo’s dad that he agreed to let Young Do run the test. In Woo’s dad relents, but wants to change the terms of Young Kwang’s second test. He needs to sell his product to In Woo’s dad to pass. If Young Do won’t allow it, then the test will end now for everyone. Young Kwang speaks up and accepts this test, despite Young Do looking quite nervous.
Afterwards Young Do yells at Young Kwang, asking why he stepped up back there? Young Kwang didn’t want this test to be canceled. While it’s Young Do’s job to deal with the Chairman about continuing the test, Young Kwang doesn’t want everyone’s dream to be ruined. Young Do yells that the Chairman is not in the same league, how can Young Kwang hope to sell his product to him? Young Kwang says he has no hope already, so he can only continue and do his best.
Young Kwang walks out of the office to find everyone gathered around. Lackey is worried about what Young Kwang is going to do, while Hong Joo looks very concerned. Young Kwang just walks away. Jae In is washing her hands in the bathroom and flashes back to her confrontation with In Woo’s mom. She slapped Jae In and then fired her. In Woo tries to explain it was his fault, but his mom doesn’t care. Jae In is rude and needs to be put in her place.
Jae In thinks In Woo’s mom is just as rude, slapping Jae In in public as well. Jae In refuses to back down, because In Woo was the hurtful and rude person first. She doesn’t feel sorry about slapping In Woo, and she won’t apologize. In Woo looks sad, and manages to restrain his mom who wants to go after Jae In.
In Woo’s mom is shaken by her incident with Jae In and asks In Woo how he knows that beggar girl. In Woo says the girl was introduced to him by In Chul, and has the ability to take care of In Woo. He explains that he was at fault first earlier. Mom wonders if In Woo has slept with her already, to which In Woo says no. Mom warns In Woo to fool around with girls of his own station in life. In Woo tries to explain Jae In is not some easy girl. It appears In Woo is tempted to tell his mom who Jae In really is, but in the end he can’t confess to his mom (yet). Mom wonders if In Woo really likes her? In Woo excuses himself and leaves. His mom looks worried.
Jae In overhears other applicants discussing Young Kwang needing to sell his product to the Chairman. She finds him sitting outside deep in thought. She walks over and pretends to interview him, asking why he looks like the entire world’s woes are weighing on him? Young Kwang says he’s thinking about how to sell his product. Jae In knows he has to sell his product to the Chairman, and encourages him to be David to his Goliath.
Young Kwang wonders if these magical tales can come true? Jae In says if he believes, he can make it happen. Young Kwang feels like he can do it as long as Jae In believes in him, because she is his fan. She smiles and reminds him that she is also his family. They give each other fighting poses, which is when In Woo drives by and watches them. He wonders why Jae In is smiling right now instead of crying?
Young Kwang’s mom meets with the prosecutor, who discusses the deceased Chairman Yoon. Mom remembers him as being her husband’s respected boss. The prosecutor cuts to the chase and asks Mom if her husband mentioned anything about the accident 17 years ago. Mom says her husband blamed himself for the accident. The prosecutor reveals she got a call from him the night he died, and wonders if perhaps he may have wanted to discuss the accident 17 years ago.
The prosecutor asks again if her husband was acting weird back then? Mom can’t recall. Her landlady comes running in asking if it’s true she will pay a higher rent next month. Mom never agreed to this, but landlady says one of her daughter’s kicked out a prospective renter and promised to pay more next month. The prosecutor leaves.
The family sits down to dinner and discusses how to pay the increased rent, and how their landlady is so heartless to them. Mom wonders who got rid of the prospective renter, asking first Jin Joo and Kyung Joo, who both say they didn’t do it. Mom looks at Jae In, who quickly busies herself with eating. Afterwards, Jae In and Mom are cleaning up, and Mom asks why Jae In is pretending to be her daughter now. Jae In didn’t mean to, it was a spur of the moment thing. Mom says Jae In shouldn’t have agreed to pay more regardless. Mom tells Jae In to go rest. Jae In sighs that she’s adding to Mom’s worries.
Jae In looks down and sees Mom’s shoes on the ground, and it’s really tattered and beat up. Mom mutters to herself that it’s best if Jae In had been born in a rich family, but she waited all this time and ended up with her husband as a father. Mom thinks back to the meeting with the prosecutor about how her husband tried to call the prosecutor the day he died. She suddenly makes the connection that it’s the same day Jae In showed up at their house. Smart mommy!
Mom hurries back to her room and flashes back to a past moment with her husband. He was drinking heavily after the death of Chairman Yoon. She encouraged him to go back to work, but all he did was hand her a packet of money. Mom is shocked, asking where he got the money? He lies that it’s his retirement package since he is not driving for the company anymore. Mom wonders why there is so much money, and her husband says the money is for his grudging compliance. He starts to silently cry and mom notices it.
Back to the present, mom looks at his picture hanging on the wall and asks her husband what he meant by “grudging compliance”. She wonders what exactly happened 17 years ago. Jae In takes Mom’s tattered show and draws an outline on a piece of paper. She then takes measurements.
Young Kwang shows up at Goedae bright and early, vowing to win over the Chairman and not give up. Young Kwang immediately accosts the Chairman in the lobby and wants to sell him the clothes. He’s tossed aside and ignored. Young Kwang runs up the stairs and accosts the Chairman outside his office again. He holds up the box and asks the Chairman to take a look at his product. He’s dragged away and called a fool.
Young Kwang sits down with Jae In and sighs. Jae In reminds him that their dad endured the Chairman for the last 17 years, Young Kwang can also do it. Everyone loves being complimented, so Young Kwang can start with that. Young Kwang finds the Chairman golfing and compliments him on a great shot. The Chairman points his club and has Young Kwang dragged out. Young Kwang sighs to Jae In that the Chairman doesn’t respond to compliments. Jae In suggests perseverance to impress the Chairman.
Young Kwang gets into the same sauna as the Chairman, who tries to leave. Young Kwang suggests he can’t stand the heat because of his advanced age, so the guy stays. Both of them sit in the sauna and try to out-do each other. Young Kwang even ends up doing push-ups on the floor. But pretty soon the two of them start teetering from the heat. Young Kwang staggers out first and the Chairman follows, winning this show down.
The Chairman is in a meeting when suddenly he sees someone shining his shoes under the table. He freaks out and as usual has Young Kwang thrown out. LOL, this is getting so ridiculous.
Young Do finds Young Kwang and gives the boy something to drink along with some advice. Young Kwang may be exhausted, but he thinks about how his dad endured for 17 years and he only needs to endure for a few days. It’s Young Kwang’s turn to protect his family and take care of them. He tells Young Do not to worry, he will endure because he has no alternate path to walk. Young Do watches him leave and murmurs that he’s grown now.
In Woo walks into his apartment to find it being packed up, by order of his mother. He goes home demanding to know what she is doing? Mom wants him back now rather than later. In Woo leaves, and mom murmurs that she’s been too lenient with him in the past. In Woo goes to his room and remembers Jae In’s smiling face and cheerful ways. He really dislikes her smile. He flops on the sofa and keeps repeating her name “Yoon Jae In”.
Jae In finds Young Kwang at lunch, and laughs because he has some soot on his nose. He tries to wipe it but she laughs and does it for him. She teases him for looking like a puppy. He asks how she’s doing, having lost her shoes? Jae In discovered there are only limited samples made of new products, and she vows to find a solution in the remaining two days left.
When asked about his progress, Young Kwang says he’s making none. Jae In reminds him that it’s easier to attack an immovable hard object by being a flexible soft object. Young Kwang gets a call that the Chairman is on the move, so he quickly gets up to follow. He turns and runs right into the poor OCD Dae Sung and smashes the food on him. Dae Sung asks why Young Kwang does this to him? Is it on purpose? Young Kwang says it’s an accident and tries to clean him up. Dae Sung vows that he will make sure Young Kwang fails!
Jae In reminds herself to be careful, which is when someone else pipes up that Jae In needs to be careful indeed. It’s Hong Joo, who was sitting behind Jae In and heard that her shoes were lost. She takes Jae In aside to talk, asking why Jae In is keeping this a secret? Jae In says she’s looking for a solution. Hong Joo wonders why Jae In wants to join the company, is it because of Kim Young Kwang?
Hong Joo corners Jae In asking what her relationship is with Kim Young Kwang? Jae In gets a great idea, asking if Hong Joo will buy her product if she tells her what the real relationship is between herself and Young Kwang. Hong Joo accepts the trade. If Jae In gets a pair of shoes and tells her the truth about her relationship with Young Kwang, then Hong Joo will buy Jae In’s shoes.
Young Kwang grabs a loud speaker and tries to get the Chairman’s attention in the lobby. He’s restrained, but the Chairman suddenly gets an idea. He signals for Young Kwang to come on over, asking if Young Kwang will do as he asks? Young Kwang says he will do anything if the Chairman will buy his product? The Chairman says he’s going to dinner, and if Young Kwang can make him laugh at the dinner, he will buy the product.
Young Kwang finds himself at a dinner for the Dragons, his former baseball team that is owned by Geodae. Of course he’s brought there to be ridiculed. The Chairman gets on stage and tells the team to eat and drink on his tab. Young Kwang turns to leave, which is when the Chairman purposely calls out his name. Everyone turns in surprise to see him here. In Chul reminds Young Kwang that his name is being called.
Young Kwang turns around and faces his old teammates. He walks on stage and the Chairman announces that he has brought a special guest to entertain everyone today. Everyone looks at him uncomfortably, including In Woo. The Chairman whispers to Young Kwang not to let him down and make sure he’s laughing at the entertainment. He hands the microphone to Young Kwang, who stands there for a moment and reminds himself to endure this for his family.
Young Kwang holds the microphone up and greets everyone. To celebrate this moment, he has decided to sing a song for everyone. The Chairman asks if perhaps Young Kwang shouldn’t put on some make up like they do on TV. God, I hate him! Young Kwang steels his face and says with conviction that he will make everyone laugh. Hong Joo walks into the party to see Young Kwang dressed like a buffoon and dancing and singing on stage. He gets his teammates excited and happy, while those in the know just look upset at seeing this. Jae In calls Young Kwang’s phone and gets his voicemail only.
Young Kwang continues performing until the party grows quiet. He finally gets off the stage. He hides in the back and cries, calling himself a fool for entertaining that bastard. In Woo walks out and see Young Kwang screaming in frustration. Can we have some bromance please!
Jae In gets a call from Young Kwang and she happily answers. She surprised to hear that it’s In Woo, who says that he is outside with Young Kwang right now. Jae In runs out and sees drunk Young Kwang sprawled on In Woo’s car. She tries to revive him but he’s pretty wasted and can’t even walk. He ends up falling on top of her, and poor In Woo can only watch.
In Woo asks Jae In to lead the way, he’ll carry Young Kwang back. In Woo heaves Young Kwang over his shoulder and carries him inside. Everyone wonders what happened, but In Woo asks to hurry up and show him to the room since Young Kwang is so heavy. Jae In smiles and points to the second floor. Grandma says it’s best Mom isn’t home right now to see this. Kyung Joo wonders where Mom went?
In Woo dumps Young Kwang into his bed and explains that he drank about 4-5 bottles of soju. Jae In wonders what happened that caused him to drink so much? She thanks In Woo for bringing Young Kwang home. In Woo wonders why Jae In is thanking him, is she Young Kwang’s wife? Jae In says she’s Young Kwang’s sister, of course she should thank him. In Woo mutters “yeah right, brother my ass.” After he leaves, Young Kwang teeters off the bed. Jae In looks at him and wonders why he has gunk all over his face? She tries to wipe it with her shirt.
Young Kwang’s mom goes to visit Jae In’s mom at the hospital. Jae In’s mom is still pretending to be dazed and confused. Young Kwang’s mom introduces herself, not sure if Jae In’s mom still remembers her as the wife of Driver Kim. Young Kwang’s mom recalls meeting Jae In’s mom a few times when Chairman Yoon was still alive. Jae In’s mom perks up and does recall her as Young Kwang’s mom. The two moms start crying.
Jae In takes a wet towel and tries to clean Young Kwang’s face. He wakes up less drunk now and sees her taking care of him. Jae In asks why he drank so much, was something the matter? Young Kwang sighs that he was just so exhausted. The name Kim Young Kwang, his pride, his dignity, he put all that down because he was so tired. Everything he has done, what has it all been for? Living with pride and dignity, what will he end up with?
Jae In smiles, understanding that her Kim Young Kwang baseball player is genuinely very tired. She’s sorry that she can help him. Young Kwang looks at her, asking why she has to be his younger sister. Wouldn’t it be great if she were just Yoon Jae In? But why is she his sister now? Why can’t they remain the way they were at the hospital, when she was his number 1 fan?
Jae In’s mom asks if Young Kwang is all grown now? His mom says he’s 27 now but just quit his baseball career to work at Geodae. Maybe he’s Chairman Seo’s secretary by now. Jae In’s mom’s fall falls. Young Kwang’s mom apologizes for talking about her kids, since Jae In’s mom must be missing her own child. Jae In’s mom says “my Jae In should be about 26 years old now.” She believes her Jae In is still alive somewhere and will come back to her. Young Kwang’s mom freezes and tentatively asks Jae In’s mom to repeat the name of her daughter. Jae In’s mom says her daughter is called Yoon Jae In. Young Kwang’s mom repeats the name in shock.
Young Kwang asks Jae In why she couldn’t use another name to meet him? Jae In tries to say Young Kwang is drunk now and needs to rest. He grabs her hand before she can leave. They sit there and stare at each other. His hand leaves hers and moves up to stroke her face. He cries, saying that because of her, he is really going crazy. Because of her, he’s become abnormal these days.
Young Kwang’s mom drops the apple she was peeling on the ground. Her eyes are filled with tears but she quickly kneels down to find the apple as a pretext to control her emotions. Young Kwang calls her Jae In and then leans in close to kiss her. He says in his mind “Jae In, please forgive me.”
Thoughts of Mine:
I don’t like fauxcest as a plot device but the one in MoH is not icky at all. For all intents and purposes, Young Kwang and Jae In are two adult strangers who meet, get interested in each other first, and then find out they might be are brother and sister. Imagine someone telling you one day randomly that the guy you are crushing on is your long-lost brother? Best you can do is work through your formerly valid feelings and let time erase that possibility while you adjust your mind and heart to the shocking change in context. That is what those two are trying to do. I’ve read some ridiculous assertions that Young Kwang can like his other two sisters if he has feelings with Jae In, which is so non-linear and without any logic it made me laugh like a loony.
I don’t believe Young Kwang will kiss Jae In, and what we’re seeing is yet another feint. K-dramas loving pulling these cliffhanging stunts. I don’t expect the OTP to have romantic skinskip until after their relationship is cleared up. What makes me love their camaraderie is how real it feels. They talk about their struggles, their ideals, their dreams and hopes. They encourage and support each other. They get annoyed and yell at each other. They are friends first before anything else, and that kind of basis for a romantic relationship really wins me over.
While it was funny (and sad) how Young Kwang tried all these ballsy ways to get close to In Woo’s dad and sell him the damn parka, I almost upchucked my lunch when I got to the scene at the baseball celebration party where Young Kwang was purposely made a laughingstock. Most evil villains in Kdramas tend to be evil in plotting grand schemes but don’t have the inclination (or time) to bother being evil 24/7 and make such a effort to be horrible to everyone at every single moment of the day. In Woo’s dad joins Min Woo’s dad (in Giant) as being the two of the worst human beings I’ve had the displeasure of watching onscreen. What is keeping me sane is knowing that everyone knows he’s evil and he’ll get his just desserts soon enough.
It’s becoming clear that Team Young Do isn’t omniscient or all-powerful, and the test was a brilliant idea to even out the playing field, but Young Do himself can’t control who passes and who doesn’t. Jae In is definitely a bright girl, and I love how she turned Hong Joo’s interest in her relationship with Young Kwang into an exchange. She’s a natural salesperson who thinks on her feet and is creative. Young Kwang tries to use endurance and power to win his challenge, and that’s not going to work in this case. In Woo continues to soften my attitude towards him (as I knew it would happen), and it’s clear he’s as much as victim as he is a bully. I would love for the three youngsters to become friends and bond together to make everything right and then all live happily and emotionally healthy lives.