Yay, so happy that episode 13 of Man of Honor reversed the doldrums and regained some of its snap, crackle, and pop back. While this drama isn’t turning out to be anywhere near great, at least the hope remains alive that it won’t have a second half collapse. The story picked up significantly in this episode on all fronts, and In Woo in particular was really sweet and childishly sincere towards Jae In. It doesn’t negate his douchiness towards Young Kwang (or pretty much everyone else), but at least he’s making strides in being honest with his feelings towards her and using that as a positive motivator to cure his panic attacks. I was disappointed in Young Kwang’s mom for doing the wrong thing after learning Jae In’s real identity, but happily Young Kwang made his own connection about Jae In and his childhood memory. Hurray for the end of fauxcest! Boo for the start of super angsty Young Kwang. You know the boy is going to be a mess for awhile after discovering his own dad’s dastardly deeds.
Episode 13 recap:
Young Kwang opens his locker to retrieve his next assignment, but instead discovers his dead daddy’s beaten up old watch inside a box. He’s understandably stunned, and Young Do arrives to fill in the blanks. About time, Young Do. A shocked Young Kwang is told that Young Do was with his dad on the night of the accident, but arrived after he had already been struck by the car.
Young Kwang starts to tear up, but he holds it in and asks how that can be? As we suspected, Young Do has been good friends with dead daddy for a long time. The reason he took so long to give the watch to Young Kwang was so Young Do could ascertain whether Young Kwang was trustworthy and had the wherewithal to handle the truth.
Young Do drops the other bombshell, that he got some final words from dead daddy that night which is on the slip of paper inside the watch box alongside the watch. He wants Young Kwang to solve the mystery left by his dad. Young Do walks out of the building, passing In Chul in the lobby. He politely bows, thinking to himself that once Young Kwang solves the mystery, he will reveal everything to him at that time, such as seeing In Chul at the scene of dead daddy’s accident.
While Young Kwang is getting dead daddy instructions, Jae In is getting a confession from In Woo, which happens to be witnessed by a just returning home Jin Joo. In Woo sincerely asks Jae In to return to take care of him. What’s with the about turn in his attitude, she asks? He confesses that keeping her by his side worried him, he worried that he might fall in love with her. Jin Joo’s mouth flops open to hear this.
In Woo wants to take Jae In’s previous admonition to hear, making the effort to open his heart to someone and taking the first step to overcoming his illness. He hopes that person will be Jae In. He wants to get better as soon as possible, so he can stop relying on pills to treat himself. He asks her to help him. Jae In listens without giving him an answer. Jin Joo goes to her room and whines about why In Woo treat Jae In like that. Probably because she is NOT you, Jin Joo.
In Woo goes home with a secret smile, pleased at himself. In Chul comes down the stairs and asks why he’s home so late. As In Woo heads up, In Chul asks if In Woo has decided what to do about Jae In? In Chul thinks they should tell the Chairman so it doesn’t get complicated later. In Woo demands that Jae In’s return remain hidden from his father. He knows that revealing her existence will play into In Chul hands, further driving a wedge between In Woo and his dad. Perhaps his dad will strike him from the family registry, and In Chul can assume his place as the heir.
In Woo asks if this was In Chul’s plan when he installed Jae In next him? In Chul smiles and tells In Woo to get some sleep. In Woo vows that he will protect Jae In this time no matter what. Ooooh, I love it! He tells In Chul not to get any ideas about Jae In. He doesn’t care if In Chul wants Geodae, as long as he leaves Jae In alone. In Chul slaps In Woo on the shoulder and then walks away.
As Young Kwang is leaving Geodae, he gets grabbed to go meet with In Woo’s dad. It’s all covert and shit, with the conference room pitch black. What is this? A gangster drama? Heh. In Woo’s dad says he loves looking at the night view from a darkened room at the company. Suddenly Young Kwang gets a punch in the gut to force him to kneel. He’s told that he needs to abjectly apologize for his mistakes. Young Kwang doesn’t think he did anything worth apologizing for.
In Woo’s dad wants to teach Young Kwang a lesson for daring to mess with him. No matter who the opponent is, if someone screws with him, that person will be crushed. That is how he deals with his opponents. He tells Young Kwang never to appear in front of him again. If he dares, he will suffer the consequences. In Woo’s dad says this is Geodae, and here he can do anything he wants. This is HIS world. He’s seriously such a megalomaniac.
Jae In sits in her room and rolls her special baseball around. She gets a text from loverboy In Woo, reminding her that he’s waiting (for her answer). Suddenly she hears Young Kwang coming home as he’s greeted by Mom. He looks worried but lies that he’s just exhausted. Mom asks what is in the box, and he replies that it’s just his next test assignment. Mom thinks her son looks wore out lately, and goes to make him some tea as Young Kwang heads upstairs.
Jae In asks Young Kwang what his next test assignment is? He doesn’t answer, so she asks if he’s sick, touching his forehead to take his temperature. She moves to make him something to drink, but he grabs her arm, and slowly moves his hand down to grasp her hand. Young Kwang notices that her hand is so tiny, yet it’s so warm. She tries to pull away, but he holds it tight. He knows that it’s not allowed, and he’s going crazy because she’s his sister. But every time he sees her, it’s like the screws are coming undone in his heart.
Suddenly Mom arrives bearing tea, and she notices the handholding and the odd mood. Awwwwkward. The hands break apart while Mom asks what is going on? Young Kwang says Jae In offered to bring her something but he’s tired and just want to rest now. Jae In excuses herself back to her room. Young Kwang declines the tea his mom brought and wishes her a good night. Young Kwang sits down at his desk and puts his head down. Jae In stands inside her room and holds her hand up. She takes a few deep breaths to calm herself. Mom returns to her room and looks at the shoes Jae In bought her. She sighs.
Jae In’s mom goes into convulsions at the hospital. The prosecutor and In Woo’s dad both arrive. Thankfully the doctor has stabilized her condition for now. In Woo’s dad tells the prosecutor not to try and rehabilitate a woman who spent the last 17 years in a coma. There is no such thing as miracles, and they should be prepared to let her peacefully die. Thankfully Jae In’s mom continues to hang in there.
In Chul has drinks with Kyung Joo, noting that fate can be so cruel sometimes. He wants to speed up fate now, so that in less than two months, either In Woo’s dad is destroyed, or In Woo himself. Either outcome will be good for him.
The entire Kim family gathers for breakfast. Jin Joo glares dagger at Jae In and asks outright what her relationship to In Woo is? She reveals seeing them talk outside the house yesterday. Young Kwang turns to ask why In Woo is at their house? Jae In makes the excuse that he came because she helped him during the product launch party.
Jin Joo continues to mouth off about Jae In, annoyed that her brother is mesmerized by Jae In and takes her side in everything. Mom gets fed up and pokes Jin Joo in the head, telling her to call Jae In “unni” and be polite and treat her with respect. Everyone stares at Mom for perhaps going insane recently, but Mom tells Jae In to go ahead and discipline Jin Joo whenever Jin Joo acts disrespectfully in the future. Mom’s sudden change in attitude leaves everyone feeling unsettled.
Grandmas asks Jae In if she did anything recently, and Jae In thinks back to Mom witnessing her and Young Kwang holding hands last night. Young Kwang arrives and reassures Grandma that nothing is going on, but Grandma is just unnerved by the weird mood around here. Suddenly Mom calls for Jae In, so Young Kwang offers to go down in her stead, telling her to feign illness and lay low for now.
Young Kwang goes down and lies to Mom that Jae In caught a little cold last night. Mom is worried that Jae In is sick and goes to see her. Young Kwang wonders if perhaps Mom is angry at Jae In, otherwise why is she treating her so differently? Mom finds Jae In hiding in bed pretending to be sick. She wants Jae In to go to the hospital, leaving poor Grandma and Young Kwang nervous the ruse will end. They manage to convince Mom that all Jae In needs is sleep for now.
Mom tells Grandma to mind the restaurant today while Young Kwang is sent to buy supplies to make soup for Jae In. Jin Joo wanders around the house and finds Jae In’s cellphone when it rings because of a call from In Woo. She answers happily and tries to ingratiate herself as Jae In’s dongsaeng Kim Jin Joo. Barf, her fakeness can’t even be excused by her young age. When In Woo asks to speak with Jae In, Jin Joo sweetly says Jae In is sick and can’t talk. In Woo hangs up.
Hong Joo arrives at Young Kwang’s house and runs into In Woo outside, who reveals he’s here to see Jae In. She’s confused (did In Woo’s fugly capelet coat blind her?), until he reveals that Young Kwang and Jae In live in the same house. Jae In goes to the door and opens it to smell Mom cooking a nourishing soup for her. Young Kwang watches his Mom cook, wondering why Mom is so concerned about Jae In recently. Mom says she has not treated Jae In right for so long, as an elder she must behave better. This is the mess his dad left behind, she is the only one to clean it up.
Suddenly Young Kwang asks his Mom if dead daddy acted weird on the day he died? Mom halts the stirring and wonders why Young Kwang is asking? He asks Mom if she knows what the code QR-31 means. Mom is clueless, so Young Kwang just smiles and ends the chat. Suddenly Jin Joo comes in and introduces visitors – Hong Joo and In Woo. The former is here to see Young Kwang while In Woo is here to see Jae In.
In Woo calls in his minions who come bearing baskets of fruit, flowers, and other gifts. He goes to Jae In’s room to visit with her, leaving her no choice but to sneak back into bed and pretend to be asleep. Young Kwang reluctantly leads In Woo up to Jae In’s mom. He tries to get In Woo to leave now that the presents have been deposited, but In Woo says he needs to check on the patient. He’ll stay until she wakes up. Hong Joo walks up and finds out Young Kwang’s room is across the hall. Young Kwang warns In Woo to keep the door open during his visit.
Young Kwang leaves and In Woo heads over to check on Jae In. She continues to feign sleep, so he sits down and puts his hand on her forehead. Finally she can’t stand it anymore and just sits up. She asks what he’s doing, touching someone else without their permission. She tells him that she’s not sick, so will he please take his fruit and flowers and leave.
Young Kwang sits at the door of his room and glowers in the direction of Jae In’s room. Hong Joo asks if he’s that concerned about In Woo? He wonders why she came to visit without any invitation. She thinks there is nothing wrong with a friend visiting another friend. Young Kwang says he doesn’t believe in platonic male-female friendships. Young Kwang says men will not approach another woman unless he’s interested. Hong Joo notes that he appears much too concerned about the welfare of his “sister”.
In Woo smirks, asking Jae In why she’s pretending to be sick. She can’t explain but tells him to please leave. He refuses and just lays down on her bed. She tries to pull in up but he keeps laughing and saying no. Then Young Kwang arrives and forcibly pulls In Woo off the bed, telling him to leave as he’s being asked to. In Woo was just teasing, and asks if Young Kwang isn’t reacting much too strongly over his sister’s welfare.
In Woo asks why Young Kwang loses his temper around In Woo each time. Young Kwang refuses to share his feelings and thoughts with a guy like In Woo. Of course In Woo just burst the bubble and says Young Kwang must be having more than sibling-esque feelings for Jae In. When Young Kwang pulls back to punch In Woo, and Jae In gets out of bed to stop him, In Woo dares him to land the punch which will mean Young Kwang is being honest about his feelings.
Young Kwang moves to punch In Woo when suddenly Mom arrives and breaks up the fight. In Woo and Hong Joo leave the office, both of them putting on their too-cool sunglasses outside and driving off in their respective cars. LOL, what a pointless scene.
Mom sits down the two kids and asks what was going on back there. Young Kwang absolves Jae In of any responsibility and says he was to blame for losing his temper. Mom sends Jae In to her room and talks with Young Kwang alone. Mom reveals that she feels much pity for Jae in, and for mistreating her initially, and she wants Young Kwang to treat Jae In well. But he’s her older brother, and she wants him to remember that always. MOM, TELL HIM THE TRUTH! ARGH!!!!
Young Kwang says that he knows, and he was just upset at In Woo for always messing with him. Mom says she knows her own son, she gave birth to him. From now on, she will always treat Jae In as a member of this family, because of her own mistreatment of Jae In in the past and her husband’s mistakes towards Jae In. She again asks Young Kwang to remember this.
Young Kwang walks out of the talk with a sigh, running into Jae In outside. She’s nervously clicking her fingers but then walks away without saying anything. Jae In goes to her room and sits down, biting her nails in a nervous habit. We see Jae In’s mom in the hospital doing the same thing. Turns out mother and daughter share the same little nail biting tic when they appear to be nervous or worried. Jae In stops biting and turns to look at her baseball. Young Kwang stands outside her door, which is when she comes out. She asks him to join her for a drink outside.
They sit on the banks of the Han River, with Jae In cheerfully drinking soju while Young Kwang watches her. He points out she is drinking rather fast but she continues happily chugging. She confesses that her tolerance is about 1 shot of soju, which is when Young Kwang takes it away from her and drinks it for her. She stops smiling and apologizes to him, apologizing for being Yoon Jae In. It would have been better if she hid and remained his fan. She shouldn’t have come to find their father, she shouldn’t have made those wishes.
Jae In starts to cry, continuing to apologize for causing trouble for everyone. She leans on Young Kwang’s shoulder, asking if this is okay at least. She really is so tired today, so can he let her slide on this? Young Kwang nods, and then his hand naturally moves to stroke her hair. He pauses for awhile before touching her head, but then gives her one comforting stroke. He then puts his arm around her, both of them sitting quietly looking out on the water.
Mom sits and looks at the clock, noticing that it’s almost midnight. She hears a noise, and we see Young Kwang returning home with a drunk and passed out Jae In on his back. Grandma worries, wondering if it’s because of what happened today. Young Kwang tucks Jae In into bed and looks at her sleeping. He sees pictures on her desk, showing her happily growing up with the nuns at the orphanage.
He smiles, still not recognizing that it’s the same Jae In he met as a child. Jae In stirs, and we see her necklace glow for a second. Young Kwang keeps looking at the picture of young Jae In, finally reaching over to pick up the photo frame. Which is when his baseball falls down from behind the picture.
Young Kwang puts the baseball back but thankfully he notices the writing on it. He picks it up and reads the baseball carefully, which says “Kim Young Kwang’s first home run”. His eyes widen, and he asks why this is doing here? He flashes back to meeting Jae In, hitting the home run, and running in the rain to give her the baseball. He incredulously realizes that Jae In is the girl from his childhood. He turns towards the sleeping Jae In, and with tears in his eyes, asks who she really is? Uh, most definitely NOT your half-sister.
In Woo wakes up to a call from Jae In, which makes him really happy. He answers with a smile, asking why she’s calling this early, and also realizing it’s the first time she’s called him. She asks to see him before work so they can talk. In Woo happily runs down the stairs and then stops when he realizes that he almost sprinted right by his parents.
He turns and bows to his dad, greeting him politely. When asked why he’s in a such a rush, In Woo says today is another test day, and he wants to go to work early. His dad looks wide-eyed at the newly hardworking In Woo, who immediately starts running again out the door. Okay, his excitement is so infectious and cute. In Woo’s dad wonders if that was really In Woo? His wife is pleased, saying that she always knew he’d come around if they were patient. In Woo’s dad ponders whether In Woo might be in love as a reason for his transformation. His wife’s smile disappears.
Jae In leaves to go meet In Woo, but pausing to go see Young Kwang first. He’s putting on a tie and is acting aloof, asking if she feels alright. She says she’s got a strong stomach and feels fine. Before she leaves, he asks her where her baseball came from? Jae In explains it’s been with her since she was a child and first arrived at the orphanage, around the time she was nine years old. She asks why he’s interested, but Young Kwang just looks worried but pretends its nothing, telling her to go to work. After Jae In walks away, Young Kwang looks at his dad’s watch and the note with the code.
Young Kwang goes to ask Kyung Joo what the name of their dad’s former boss was, the deceased Chairman. Kyung Joo reveals it was Chairman Yoon. Young Kwang wants to know where the Chairman’s ashes are kept, and the day of his death. If Kyung Joo won’t tell him, he’ll find out anyways.
In Woo excitedly sits down across from Jae In, all bursting with happiness. Jae In thinks back to her conversation even earlier with In Chul, asking for an advance on her salary because she needs to move out. Back to In Woo, who asks whether her answer is yes or no, will she help him? She says she will try her best, and In Woo grabs her hand and says he will work hard, too. She takes her hand out of In Woo’s but smiles at him. She apologizes to Young Kwang in her mind, but this is what she needs to do now.
Dae Sung informs Young Do that all three applicants are here except for Young Kwang, who hasn’t called either. Young Do walks out and looks worried, as does Jae In. In Woo’s dad finds out that Young Kwang didn’t show up, and is pleased that his threat to him worked. He calls Young Kwang a bigger coward than he thought. Young Do has no choice but to announce that Young Kwang’s absence will be treated according to company rules. Young Kwang will be eliminated! Jae In is worried but cannot do anything.
Young Kwang walks into the ceremonial hall where Chairman Yoon’s ashes are kept. He slowly walks right up to the compartment where the ashes are kept and stares at it. Jae In tries to call Young Kwang but cannot reach him. Young Kwang looks at the pictures of Jae In with her family, and it’s the same little girl in those pictures as the girl in the pictures with the nuns back in Jae In’s room. He holds up the code left by his father, and realizes it’s the serial number where Chairman Yoon’s ashes are kept.
Young Kwang starts to break down right there, trying to convince himself it can’t be true (that his dad hid Jae In away from her real family) until he finally screams out against his dead dad.
Thoughts of Mine:
Finally! I sincerely believe Young Kwang finding out Jae In’s real identity should have happened a few episodes ago. There was no point in prolonging his mental stress of having feelings for his newly discovered supposedly illegitimate half-sister. I was hoping he would find out via the baseball, which was a glaring plot point prepared since episode 1 to make its grand entrance. What is really pissing me off at this point is Mom and, to a lesser extend, Kyung Joo. The latter is clearly under In Chul’s thrall, so I’ll give her a pass for now, especially since she’s really a pawn more than anything. But Young Kwang’s mom is actively continuing with Jae In’s victimization, and adding to the suffering of Jae In’s sick mom who is just praying for her daughter’s return. If Jae In was a genuine orphan, then I’d understand Young Kwang’s mom keeping what her husband did a secret and try to treat Jae In well for the rest of her life to atone for her husband’s sins. But she knows Jae In’s real mom is alive! For her to keep Jae In from her real mom is selfish and I hate the writer going there.
I was hoping that the entrance to Geodae would take up at most half the drama with the remainder about how the kids work at the company and try to right the wrongs done in the previous generation. But it looks like the Geodae entrance exam might take the entire drama, which saps away the excitement of seeing Young Kwang or Jae In succeed at the company. Midway through the drama, the writer really hasn’t built on many of the interesting possibilities inherent in his set up, and instead has chosen very predictable and unimaginative ways to develop the story. By dragging on the fauxcest, even the sweet budding romance between Jae In and Young Kwang can’t fully be appreciated because we’re just waiting for them to KNOW THE TRUTH ALREADY.
I never expected MoH to be some well-written dramatic masterpiece, and it’s not so bad that I want to dissect every little misstep. I just wish it could be more, try harder to do more. The fantasy elements from the beginning of the drama has disappeared, and taken with it the effervescence which made the drama come alive despite it’s by-the-books melodramatic underpinnings. I hope the big reveals continue to arrive in rapid order so that we can get to the aftermath instead of wadding in the hidden secrets kiddie pool. I continue to love Jae In and Young Kwang, but their characters have being so moody lately with their fauxcest it’s taken on toll on their cute banter. Hopefully after Young Kwang works through his angst and Jae In also knows the truth, we’ll get some long overdue character development for the OTP.