Man of Honor isn’t so insane that it veers into cracktastic territory, yet it remains so outlandish that I’m pretty much treating it like a K-version of a Grimm Fairytale of sorts (but heaps more stupid). I wish it were better, or maybe far worse so that I can make fun of it more. Being just okay is where mediocrity resides, and dramas that fall in that dreaded crevice just end up being forgotten. Maybe MoH will roll to an awesome conclusion, but so far it remains mired in lots of posturing but very little action.
Oh a side note, I tend to get comments wondering why I’m watching this drama instead of another drama which is So Much Better. That’s like telling the guy sitting next to you on the plane that the book he is reading sucks and why doesn’t he read a great book you want to recommend. You may be right, but you’re obnoxious, and chances are that guy will avoid your recommended book like it carries the Ebola virus. Just sayin’.
Episode 15 recap:
In Woo’s dad hugs Jae In with his eyes filled with crocodile tears and reveals her real identity. He’s been looking for her for 17 years and he never realized she was so close. OMG, this is freaking hilarious! I hereby nominate In Woo’s dad for a Razzie. Jae In is confused while Young Kwang’s mom tells Grandma to go back to her room. In Woo’s dad calls the entire Kim family a bunch of trash who abandoned a child and took his money pretending to look for her but pocketed it. He claims God will smite them for their wrongdoings! Seriously, I’m laughing my ass off here with his cartoonish bellowing.
Grandma is confused and demands an explanation, so In Woo’s dad identifies himself and explains that Jae In is the daughter of the former Chairman Yoon of the company. He falsely accuses Young Kwang’s dad, the former driver for Chairman Yoon, of abandoning Jae In when she was a child and then later asking for money to pretend to look for her. Young Kwang and his mom can only watch without any response, while poor Grandma faints from the shock.
Jae In tries to explain that there must be a misunderstanding, she’s not quite ready to buy In Woo’s dad’s explanation so readily. In Woo’s dad affects a poor ah shucks attitude but he’s certain of her real identity as the daughter of his good friend. In Woo’s dad also reveals that Jae In and her mom was in an accident on the same night her dad died when they were rushing to the scene. When Jae In asks where her mom is now, In Woo’s dad lies that she was in a coma and only recently died. Okay, dude, why are you telling a lie that is so easily to refute? Are you a moron on top of being a psycho?
In Woo’s dad blames Young Kwang’s dad for everything that happened, claiming he kept asking for more money under the pretense of looking for Jae In. She doesn’t accept he could do that so In Woo’s dad loses his temper and says that man is NOT her father but is instead the man who ruined her life. He tells her not to have any kindness for him and his trashy family. He wants Jae In to go back to his place rather than let her stay here for one more second.
Young Kwang waits outside the restaurant with the minions. Jae In walks out and he wants to talk with her, but she just ignores him. In Woo’s dad insults Young Kwang as the pathetic and shameless son of his father. Young Kwang has no response to these insults, only enduring the continued vilification of his father.
Jae In returns to the house to gather her belongings, and she sees Young Kwang’s mom sitting in the living room with her back to the door. Jae In asks what she should do now, wondering if there is some misunderstanding? She wants to hear from Mom that it was a misunderstanding, then she will believe her. She can’t imagine the man she thought was her dad could do something like this. Mom turns around and gets on her knees before Jae In. All she can do is apologize and confirm that her husband was likely the person who abandoned Jae In.
She doesn’t know why her husband would do something like that, and she wants to wake him up from death to ask how he could have done it. But the dead can’t talk, so all she can do is apologize to her on his behalf. She is very sorry to Jae In. Grandma and Jin Joo sit in the room and sob, listening to Mom apologizing to Jae In. Kyung Joo and Young Kwang return home and watch this scene as well.
Mom begs Jae In to not do anything to her kids, she will do anything to beg forgiveness from Jae In. Jae In can only cry as she listens to this, still disbelieving everything she’s heard tonight. Finally Jae In collapses on the ground and everyone surrounds her to make sure she’s alright.
Jae In wakes up in a hospital bed, with her key necklace visible on the outside of her shirt. The hospital is bathed in a bright and dreamy light. Jae In gets off her bed and pulls the curtains aside to reveal…..Fairy Beggar Grandpa laying in another bed. She asks why he’s here, and he says he fell asleep on the side of the road and woke up here.
He asks if her three wishes came true, did she find her family? She confesses that she shouldn’t have made the wish, it’s only caused her so much pain she temporarily didn’t know how to deal with it. He wisely reminds her that road a person must walk is very long, and there will be painful periods. But it will be okay in the long run. Happiness and sadness, she will accumulate both until it becomes the experience of her entire life. She shouldn’t worry about the hard moments, it too will pass. Jae In listens and then her necklace flashes.
Jae In wakes up in a normal hospital bed. She gets up and pulls the curtain but the bed next to hers is empty. She sits down and repeats to herself that everything will be fine, she will be fine. Young Kwang walks up to overhear her reassuring herself. He asks if she’s okay?
In Woo’s dad announces to his shocked family that he found Yoon Jae In and is bringing her home to live with them. His wife is all shocked, even moreso when she hears it’s the same Jae In that is the lost daughter of Chairman Yoon. In Woo’s dad doesn’t want to explain further and just tells her to prepare a room. In Woo is stunned and asks In Chul if his dad is really bringing Jae In here to live with them. In Chul doesn’t know why, suggesting with a smirk that maybe In Woo’s entreaty touched his dad. In Woo is pleased that he gets to live with Jae In.
In Woo’s mom is pissed he’s bringing the girl home, revealing that In Woo likes that girl and can’t live with her in the same house. In Woo’s dad screams at his wife that it has to be this way, it will determine whether Geodae remains in his hands. He warns his wife to keep her eye on Jae In every moment of the day from now one.
Young Kwang takes Jae In to a park and they sit down to talk, shooting the breeze about the weather and eating noodles. Jae In misses the noodles Young Kwang made for her. His response is to apologize to her, on behalf of his father. She wonders why she is Yoon Jae In, because now she has a different relationship with Young Kwang. She asks him what they are to each other now? Young Kwang doesn’t answer, so they just sit there and look at each other.
In Woo goes back to his room and happily talks to himself, all excited that Jae In is coming to live with them. Young Do is shocked to hear that In Woo’s dad took Jae In away. Young Kwang wonders if this means game over. Young Do says the game is far from over, as In Woo’s dad just directly announced that the battle has begun.
Young Do tells Young Kwang that Jae In is in danger now, and her every move will be followed by In Woo’s dad. Jae In goes to the memorial hall to look at her dead dad’s ashes. Young Do finally reveals to Young Kwang that In Chul was at the scene of the accident that killed his dad. His dad was clearly being chased by In Chul and his goons which caused him to encounter the accident. Young Do says the battle now isn’t about keeping Jae In’s identity a secret, it’s to protect Jae in’s life.
In Woo is outside his house waiting for Jae In to arrive, pacing back and forth nervously. He smiles when the car pulls up and Jae In gets out. He greets her and asks if she got car sick. She says they drove carefully so she’s fine. He takes her hand and brings her inside to dine with the family. In Woo’s dad is all polite and welcoming to her.
He asks if Jae In has met his wife yet, and Jae In hesitantly says yes. In Woo’s dad keeps talking about how his friend can rest in peace now that Jae In has been found. In Woo’s mom watches her son moon over Jae In from across the table. Jae In happily announces that she’s going to eat, and her exuberance catches everyone off guard. She also eats noisily, which appears to be frowned upon at this table full of crazy people. Jae In notices and starts eating carefully. She sees a dish of the same food she ate with Young Kwang’s family, which makes her smile, but then she sobers up and eats it sadly.
Jae In walks into her new room and looks around. In Woo’s dad comes to see if everything is to her liking. She confesses it’s larger than she’s used to. He tells her to settle in and let him know if she needs anything. He also got her a credit card and a car. Jae In doesn’t want any of that, she plans to take the subway to work. In Woo’s dad tells her not to work anymore, just enjoy life now.
Jae In wants to finish her job and In Woo’s dad almost loses his temper when he yells that he wants her not to work anymore. He keeps his temper in check and lies that he worries she’s working too hard. She says it’s not to tiring and she intends to keep going to the company. He has no choice but to allow her. Jae In does want to ask for a favor.
Young Kwang is getting ready to go to work but Kyung Joo counsels him to stop. Their family is like garbage now, and the enemy of the company. Young Kwang refuses to give up and let their father be called a bad man who concealed Jae In all these years. He doesn’t think their dad was a bad man, otherwise he wouldn’t have allowed her to keep her real name and send money to her all these years. He’s not afraid of what the company will do to him, he won’t give up.
Young Kwang heads to work and passes by his mom downstairs. She tries to stop him but he’s certain that he won’t give up until they physically throw him out. Mom gives him money and reminds him to eat lunch. She tearfully thanks him for doing this to help his father.
In Woo’s dad arrives at work only to find Young Kwang purposefully greeting him in the lobby respectfully. When asked why he’s here, Young Kwang says he’s coming to work. Young Kwang reminds In Woo’s dad that he promised to help Young Kwang if he managed to sell him the parka, and he’s a man who always keeps his word. Young Kwang wonders why he’s so intent on chasing him away? He calls Young Kwang a thorn on his finger that he wants to pluck. Young Kwang vows to walk to the very end with In Woo’s dad so that he can erase the stain on his father’s name. In Chul smirks as he watches this scene.
After everyone walks away, Young Kwang looks up and sees Jae In and In Woo standing there. Jae In walks past Young Kwang without acknowledging him, and In Woo follows suit. Jae In looks tired in the elevator and In Woo asks her what’s the matter? She lies that she’s fine. Turns out the favor she asked of In Woo’s dad was to not do anything to Young Kwang’s family.
In Woo’s dad initially wanted to make the entire family homeless, but Jae In makes him promise not to do anything to punish them. In Woo’s dad agrees with some conditions, she’s not allowed to see or talk to anyone in that family, nor is she allowed to reveal her real identity at the company until In Woo’s dad has made the preparations. Jae In accepts his terms, and he agrees to not touch Young Kwang’s family. In Woo’s dad says Jae In is just like her father, and in his mind, he thinks she’s just as weak and trusting as her father.
In Woo’s dad asks In Chul to find someone on Young Do’s team that will work for them. The four applicants assemble and are asked recall what they got out of their respective lockers. We all know Young Kwang got his dad’s watch and the note. Gangster lackey has a nail in his locker, In Woo has a burlap bag, and Jae In has a card that says “Hope is Nowhere!”. Young Do gives them all one month to find the answer to their question left for them. Young Do will make the final determination on the winner. During this month, Dae Sung will manage their progress.
Dae Sung steps forward and announces that his job is to torment each of them so they will quit one by one. Dae Sung has everyone cleaning the office until it is spotless. He purposely spot checks everything done by Young Kwang and makes him redo it. Jae In watches Young Kwang getting a hard time from Dae Sung but she continues to purposely avoid him.
Jae In sits down outside and Young Kwang wants to go over and talk with her. But In Woo steps between them and tells him not to stare at her like that. She’s not his sister anymore, and he shouldn’t display such affection for her. Young Kwang wonders if Jae In is eating well, she must be feeling conflicted emotions. In Woo doesn’t think there is any conflict, she must be happy to be rid of his dirty family and find her rightful place now. Young Kwang asks In Woo to stay by her side and take care of her. She’s someone who always pretends she’s fine. In Woo tells Young Kwang to stay away from her since he has no right to care about her anymore.
Jae In and In Woo are sitting on his car hood and enjoying the night lights of Seoul. He teases that Young Kwang must’ve not brought her here before. Jae In’s face falls and In Woo quickly changes the subject to the pretty view. She thanks him politely and he tells her to call him In Woo in banmal since that was how she addressed him when they were kids. She used to tease him for being a crybaby. In Woo then brings up memories they shared as children.
Young Kwang walks into the empty restaurant and remembers eating noodles there with Jae In. He lays down on the table and calls out for Jae In. In Woo’s mom paces around waiting for In Woo to come home. He comes home with Jae In and she demands to know where they went. When Jae In calls her ahjumma, she gets annoyed and In Woo has to explain that his mom hates being called ahjumma. Jae In starts calling her the Chairman’s wife per her request.
In Woo’s mom walks into Jae In’s mom to clean up her clothes. Jae In says she’s put her clothes away, but In Woo’s mom is here to throw out all of Jae In’s clothes. She cannot endure that any closet in her house is filled with such cheap clothes. She beckons for racks of new clothes brought inside and tells Jae In to change right now. Jae In refuses and asks for her old clothes back. In Woo’s mom wants to scrub away the last 17 years of her pathetic poor life. Jae In continues to hold her ground and says no. She walks out leaving In Woo’s mom furious that Jae In won’t do as she demanded.
Jae In goes outside and grabs a jacket out of the trash where her clothes have been tossed. She hugs it and reminds herself that she’ll be fine. But then she cries and concedes that she’s not fine. She wonders what is going on?
Jae In’s mom is trying desperately to walk and falls off the bed. The prosecutor arrives and cautions her to take it slow. But she cries, wondering why she can’t do it. She’s angry that In Woo’s dad is out there fancy free and she is stuck here while her Jae In is somewhere unknown. She rails at the Heavens for being so unfair, and she misses her Jae In so much. In Chul stands outside the hospital room and watches this.
In Woo’s dad is told by his wife that Jae In has disappeared. His wife claims that she was just buying new clothes for Jae In and there is nothing wrong with that. In Woo’s dad rails at his minion to find Jae In right away, and the turns to glare at his wife for causing this mess. In Woo watches and tries to call Jae In but doesn’t get an answer.
Young Kwang lays on a table in the restaurant where he has a bottle of soju open. In Woo calls Young Kwang asking if Jae In is with him? Young Kwang wonders why Jae In would be with him, but In Woo hangs up without answering. He runs out of the house to look for Jae In. Outside the house, he sees trash bags with Jae In’s clothes. He takes a jacket with him as he leaves.
Young Kwang runs out of the restaurant only to stop short when he sees Jae in sitting on the front steps. He walks up to her and asks what’s going on? He can tell she’s crying, but she tries to pretend everything is fine. Young Kwang asks if In Woo’s dad is mistreating her? She lies and says she’s here just to think through things. She doesn’t know what is going on in her life. She feels useless and angry about the last 17 years.
Jae In starts to cry about how the last 17 years seems meaningless now and she doesn’t know how to go forward. Jae In wonders if she’ll be fine if she lets go of everything. If she lets go of her name, and Young Kwang lets go of his name, will they be able to see each other again. She suggests they should just give up their names. Young Kwang wonders if Jae In is confessing to him, and if he lets go, he can like her?
Young Kwang reaches towards Jae In’s teary face and uses his hands to wipe away her tears. He thinks to himself, asking if he can love her if he gives up his name? Young Kwang leans in to kiss Jae In. We see In Woo driving to find Jae In.
Jae In stands there as Young Kwang ends the kiss, the tears still rolling down her eyes. She calls his name, so of course this can only lead to one thing. Young Kwang leans in and kisses her again.
Thoughts of Mine:
Recently every episode of MoH has been like getting whiplash. One episode is good, the other sucks; one moves the plot forward, the other spins in circles; people behave rationally in one episode, people go batshit crazy in another. This is not good in terms of keeping me interested in this drama, which sadly dipped again in episode 15 despite it ending with a long-awaited kiss between Young Kwang and Jae in. The kisses were chaste and tender, but I was in the mood for some passion and didn’t see it. Perhaps it’s too early, but I do appreciate the script taking its time in bringing them closer.
It was a relief to see the OTP continuing to be so honest about their feelings towards each other, even in the face of so many shocking revelations. I’m glad Jae In and Young Kwang didn’t try to stop themselves from caring about the other person, which is always such a forced plot device. It’s difficult and it’s frustrating, and maybe they can’t be together, but their feelings are real and I’m glad they were candid with each other. Jae In’s rhetorical questions about them dropping their identities and running away was really sweet and sad at the same time, but Young Kwang’s response was so heartfelt, wiping her tears away and kissing her which said more than any words could.
I’m also glad that the family and even Jae In refused to outright accept the allegation that Young Kwang’s dad hid Jae In away and took money for his own gain. They know what he’s really like, and it’s only right they try to find out the entire truth before jumping to conclusions. Chances are Young Kwang’s dad did do something wrong, but at least no one bought In Woo’s crazy-eyed dad’s bucket of lies. Speaking of which, I couldn’t stop laughing through most of this episode when it comes to the double dose of psycho that are In Woo’s parents. It’s not just his dad that is a control freak, his mom is just as bad. Kudos to Jae In for insisting that she will not bend to the unreasonable whims of others.
This episode was really slow primarily because it dealt with Jae In learning the shocking truth about her parentage and then coming to terms with all these new revelations. Lately the drama constantly grinds to a halt with scenes of a character deep in thought or having some emotional struggle, which frankly is dead air space if you ask me. A good writer can integrate emotional nuances into plot action, pushing the story forward while the characters act and react to things that are happening. Because some characters are written so over-the-top, the dialogue becomes theatrical. I find myself missing the time when the drama had more heart and less hysterics. I’m glad everyone knows Jae In’s identity now, so let’s get the show on the road to unite her with her mom.