My resolve not to continue recapping Me Too, Flower! was like an egg meeting the hard surface that was episode 9. The surface was hard because there was so much anger going on, anger stemming from jealousy, betrayal, and disappointment. The look on Jae Hee’s face when he realized that Bong Sun, standing there on the CCTV screen, just found out the truth about his identity in such a lousy way, that was the clincher for me. It was a split second look of stunned realization mixed with paralyzing fear, and then he pushed beyond that and took off looking for her.
I’ve decided that I can’t imagine anyone else in the role of Jae Hee anymore. Yoon Si Yoon owns him, capturing both the subtle nuances and the broad strokes brilliantly. I’ve never found Lee Ji Ah pretty before (personal preference), but she’s beautiful here while styled dowdy because her character glows from within. While I still can’t afford to recap M2F, I can’t stop myself when the episode was so good and there is so much I want to discuss. As such, this baby is on my agenda for the foreseeable future. If I pass out from exhaustion someone send some smelling salts.
Episode 9 recap:
The episode starts with a few minutes revisitng scenes from the first eight episodes. It’s brisk and effective, reminding everyone how things have gotten to this point. Hwa Young sits in the darkened room preparing for the upcoming Launching Show. Jae Hee arrives and asks how she’s feeling. She’s got a good feeling, which he notes is quite a departure from her initial disapproval when he wanted to design bags.
Hwa Young knows Jae Hee wouldn’t stop regardless of her dissent, he’s someone who needs to hit a wall before he will give up. And if things go wrong, he’ll do his best to fix it. Jae Hee confirms Hwa Young gave the invitation to Bong Sun. He would like for her to see his work, but now is not the time yet to reveal his identity. Hwa Young shakes Jae Hee’s hand and congratulates him. She’s totally about to pull an “Et tu, Brute?” soon.
The employees of Perche prepare for the show as the models arrive. Bong Sun sits at home and gets dolled up, but in her usual low key way. Love the lone roller in her hair. Jae Hee is in a mad rush parking cars. He finds out Baek ahjusshi, the maker of the bags, refuses to attend the show. Jae Hee calls him but cannot convince him to come.
As Jae Hee ends the call, he turns around and sees Bong Sun walking up. She shyly looks down while he stares for a few moments at her uncharacteristically wearing a skirt. He compliments her on being pretty. She confesses this is the first time she’s worn a skirt and her legs are cold. Jae Hee assures her it’s warm in there and gives her a little nudge to go inside.
Bong Sun tentatively walks into the party and is greeted enthusiastically by her friend, who Bong Sun stood up for against the crazy rich customer. Bong Sun hands over her invitation and is asked to sign the guest book. She’s handed a gift bag and told to tour the show floor and enjoy the experience. Before heading in, friend asks what Bong Sun’s relationship with the parking lot attendant is? Bong Sun says they took a trip together, which makes friend fret that Bong Sun is settling.
Bong Sun walks in and naturally almost trips right by the beverage table since she’s not used to wearing high heels. She takes a glass of champagne and starts to walk around the show floor looking at the bags and the other guests. As Bong Sun walks by a picture of Baek ahjusshi designing bags, she makes the connection that he’s the uncle who raised Jae Hee after he was orphaned.
All the guests have arrived so Jae Hee sneaks away and goes to the CCTV control room in the building to look in on the show. He sees Bong Sun on a screen and smiles to himself. The MCs starts the show and introduce the new high end products being launched, with the crowning glory being the diamond encrusted bag.
The lights dim and a beam of light shines on a glass case where Dal stands modeling the bag. Hwa Young gives a little smirk while Bong Sun looks carefully and recognizes the model as Dal, her step-sister. Jae Hee also looks surprised to recognize the model as being Dal. The models begin a parade down the catwalk and around the room carrying the various models of bags.
During a break, Bong Sun walks up to the glass case where Dal is standing and peers at her intently. She asks Dal if this was the training she meant. Bong Sun likes Dal working hard this way, and wonders if the credit card debt is paid off. Bong Sun compliments Dal on being a true professional. If she didn’t know Dal, she would have called her cool. She suggests Dal soak her feet when she gets home tonight, but she’ll have to pay extra.
Bong Sun grabs another glass of red wine and Hwa Young walks up asking if Bong Sun likes red wine that much. When asked what she thinks of today, Bong Sun candidly reveals that she finds it’s lousy. She used to think Hwa Young was cool, but now she knows Hwa Young is shameless, orchestrating the fake theft of the diamond bag to drum up media interest in this show.
Hwa Young is surprised Bong Sun is so direct with her. Bong Sun wonders if she needs to apologize now. Hwa Young dispels the orchestrated theft perception – it was just a low level employee bringing the bag back so she didn’t want to escalate the situation as long as they got the bag back. God lady, you are such a lying piece of work. Bong Sun points out this explanation is different than what Hwa Young told her the other day.
Bong Sun says goodbye and turns to leave. Hwa Young calls the MC over and tells him to start it now. We see a reporter standing nearby who overheard Bong Sun and Hwa Young’s conversation. Hwa Young gets onstage and proceeds to start her introduction about her partner in this company who helped make this dream come true. Jae Hee sits in the CCTV room and starts to look worried.
Bong Sun is stopped by the reporter as she’s walking out, asking for more details about what happened. Bong Sun refuses and keeps walking, but stops in her steps when Hwa Young announces that her silent partner is Seo Jae Hee. Bong Sun turns around to stare at pictures of Jae Hee designing bags flashed across the big screen. Everyone is stunned, especially Jae Hee sitting in the CCTV room.
Jae Hee is pissed but his eyes suddenly glimpse Bong Sun standing there looking towards his picture. Jae Hee’s look of fear is palpable and immediate, knowing how the truth will be received by his distrusting and prickly Bong Sun. Hwa Young concludes the show event.
Jae Hee rushes out of the CCTV room and down into the event hall. He anxiously looks around but cannot find Bong Sun. Security guards try to restrain him because he doesn’t have an invitation, but all Jae Hee can see is one person who is not there anymore. Hwa Young notices him and announces to everyone present that Seo Jae Hee has arrived and is standing right there.
The guards let Jae Hee’s arm go, but he just stands there and glares at Hwa Young, who gives him a pointed look. Bong Sun quietly walks out of the building. The reporters hurry over to snap Jae Hee’s picture, but he just shoots one more death glare at Hwa Young before rushing out. He can’t find Bong Sun outside the building either, while his parking lot manager thinks he’s off being lazy again.
Jae Hee walks back into the building but waits behind a wall for all the guests to leave first. After the event hall is cleared of the guests with only employees remaining, Jae Hee storms inside and asks Hwa Young “why?” Hwa Young tells everyone to leave but Jae Hee screams his question again. Angry Jae Hee is scary but mesmerizing.
Hwa Young says she’s too tired and if she doesn’t do this, he’ll never go public. She did this for the company. Jae Hee asks why she changed the model for the bag. Hwa Young doesn’t think it matters as long as it’s a success. Jae Hee demands to know if she used him the same way for success? And for whose success? For what success? He grabs a nearby bottle of wine and heaves it at the glass case, shattering the case like he feels his world has just been smashed. Jae Hee lets out a scream of rage and needs to compose himself. The camera films the scene through the fractured glass, like how Jae Hee’s trust in Hwa Young is fractured at this moment.
Hwa Young gets a call from the late-arriving Dr. Park and she tells him to hurry up and restrain Jae Hee. Dr. Park arrives to hear Jae Hee berating Hwa Young for why she keeps doing things like this? He doesn’t accept her excuses about benefiting the company and just storms out.
Jae Hee takes a cab to Bong Sun’s house and urgently rings the doorbell. No one is home and he’s left standing outside the gate in frustration. Bong Sun is at a street stall drinking her pain away. Dal is getting changed along with the other models and she is still processing the truth about Jae Hee’s identity. Bong Sun thinks back to all of Jae Hee’s lies about how little money he makes and how protective he was about the bags she derided as knock offs.
Bong Sun drinks and drinks, finally remembering Jae Hee offering to take care of her. She starts to laugh, loud boisterous chuckles that draw the attention of other customers. Her bitter laughter just breaks my heart. She calls the stall ahjumma over and reveals that her boyfriend, who she thought was no one, turned out to be a company president who makes lots of money. She must’ve hit the jackpot. Perhaps she did good deeds in her past life and this is her reward. Bong Sun offers to treat everyone’s meal today.
Dr. Park asks Hwa Young why she did what she did? She makes the excuse that she’s tired of doing the work of two people. When asked why she didn’t just ask him and had to pull this underhanded maneuver, Hwa Young suggests Jae Hee would refuse to change his mind. Dr. Park actually accepts her excuse, because he’s diagnosed Jae Hee as suffering from a social phobia. The hardships most people endure over a lifetime, Jae Hee endured it all since he was a teenager.
Jae Hee’s desire to survive made him stronger, but by becoming stronger he would get hurt, and the hurt made him afraid. The world, people, and added to it the death of Hwa Young’s husband, it’s all contributed to Jae Hee’s fear. Hwa Young doesn’t believe it, the Jae Hee she knows is afraid of nothing. Dr. Park asks Hwa Young if she doesn’t have more feelings for Jae Hee? He thinks she does, but she denies it and asks him to leave. Dr. Park tells Hwa Young that he respects any decision she makes, so shouldn’t she respect any decision Jae Hee makes? They are adults, he trusts they can fix this situation.
Jae Hee continues to wait outside Bong Sun’s house and he keeps calling her only to repeatedly get her voicemail. He paces until finally he calls it a night. He leaves a note for her wedged into the door. When a drunken Bong Sun staggers home, she opens the door and the note falls on the ground without her noticing it. Dal comes home and she picks up the note.
Dal finds Bong Sun vomiting in the bathroom and slumped over the toilet. She puts the note in her pocket and walks over to assist Bong Sun back to her bedroom. Before leaving, Dal asks Bong Sun if she’s dating and throws the note at her. The note asks Bong Sun to turn on her cell phone as he promises he’ll explain everything. It’s signed J. Bong Sun snarls to Dal that her boyfriend is one those rich guys she likes so much.
It’s Jae Hee’s turn to drink his sorrows away, but he has the company of Baek ahjusshi, who wonders why Hwa Young did something like this without consulting Jae Hee. Hwa Young arrives and ahjusshi leaves so she can talk with Jae Hee. As Jae Hee pours himself another shot of soju, Hwa Young holds out a glass but he rudely ignores her. She asks him to take back what he said, that she was using him. He knows that wasn’t her motive.
Jae Hee points out that they mutually used each other, she used him for his talent, he used her for her capital investment. Hwa Young says it was a partnership. Jae Hee laughs at that, because he approached her purposely to use her money. Hwa Young knows but she believes in his talent. Jae Hee rages at why she can’t believe in him until the end, why she had to do this!
Hwa Young keeps insisting she tried to tell Jae Hee but he wouldn’t listen. Jae Hee yells that she has to keep persuading him until he agrees then. She insists that she did enough persuading already. He slams down the bottle of soju and gets up. She apologizes for what happened, she didn’t know it would cause him such anxiety.
Jae Hee laughs at Hwa Young’s belief that he’s anxious right now or what happened was that dire in his life. People naturally endure a lot in life. When his parents were alive, his relatives lovingly treated him. Once they died, the relatives all came to fight over the money. He realized then that money was dirty and people were the same. What happened today is nothing, but he’s just disappointed that the person who did it was Hwa Young. Because he trusted her, and he uses the word trust in the past tense.
Jae Hee intends to stay here for a few days, but he’ll continue to do what needs to be done. Hwa Young understands and wisely excuses herself. Jae Hee still intends to visit her son, for which Hwa Young thanks him. Later that night, Hwa Young puts the boy to bed and read him a story. She puts down the book and shares a story from her childhood.
When she was little, one day her grandfather come home from a business trip and brought her a beautiful dress. We see Jae Hee sitting in the dark. Hwa Young only wore the dress once because she was afraid to dirty it. So she hung it up on the wall and looked at it many times every day, she loved it so much. But one day her cousin came by and took the dress, thinking Hwa Young didn’t want it because she never wore it.
Hwa Young was so sad and cried for a long time. Her son asks why she didn’t just take it back? Because the cousin had worn it, and it actually suited her very well. Her son feels bad for Hwa Young, who reveals the selfish truth that even if she didn’t want to wear it, she didn’t want it taken away from her either. I understand she lost her husband in a tragic accident, so she’s railing at how unfair life is to her through her attempt to keep Jae Hee to herself. But Jae Hee and Bong Sun have suffered their own share of loss and disappointments, so I can’t give Hwa Young a pass to be do wrong because she has been wronged by fate.
Bong Sun leaves for work the next morning, walking outside just as Jae Hee rides up on his bike offering to take her to work. She walks away but he calls out that he wants to explain everything to her. To which Bong Sun turns back and hits Jae Hee a few times until she puts her hand over her eyes to stop herself from crying.
Bong Sun continues to head to work, so Jae Hee just follows her slowly on his bike. When Bong Sun gets on the bus, Jae Hee rides his bike parallel to the bus and just looks at Bong Sun through the windows of the bus as she continues to ignore him. Jae Hee tries to stop Bong Sun right outside the precinct and asks her to listen to him explain. She threatens to shoot him if he shows up in front of her again.
The employees at the store are gossiping about Jae Hee. Bong Sun’s friend tells the other employees that there is another Cinderella out there so they need to stop plotting. The parking lot attendants are also gossiping about Jae Hee’s real identity, with the manager recalling all the times he berated Jae Hee. He’s annoyed Jae Hee used to tease him, which is when Jae Hee arrives for work.
When Jae Hee notes that it’s cold, manager adorably pushes the portable heater towards him. Jae Hee feels like on such cold days one might want to leave early. But he won’t, and instead he’ll keep busy, doing a few stretches to show off. Jae Hee asks manager if he’s enrolled in the insurance Jae Hee offered a few episodes back, he ought to have accepted the offer when Jae Hee extended it.
Hwa Young meets with Dal and offers to make her an exclusive model for the brand. Of course that is not the only reason to meet with Dal personally, and Hwa Young cuts to the chase and confirms that Dal likes Jae Hee. More accurately, she likes what Jae Hee has to offer. Hwa Young asks Dal to accept her deal and she’ll make sure Dal gets everything she’s ever wanted. Hwa Young wants Dal to break Jae Hee up with a woman in his life.
Bong Sun pulls up next to the store building and thinks to herself that Jae Hee owns this, and much more. Dal actually looks uncomfortable and asks why Hwa Young needs her, why she can’t do it herself. Hwa Young says that Dal has a unique weapon in her arsenal, thinking to herself that Dal is sisters with Bong Sun.
Hwa Young needs the woman taken care of so Jae Hee can do bigger things and do more for the company. Dal correctly points out that Hwa Young doesn’t want to dirty her own hands. Dal gets up to leave, stating that she has her pride, too. Hwa Young throws an expensive trinket on the table and leaves first, telling Dal that if she plays her cards right, she can become a Cinderella. The expensive trinket turns out to be keys to a new car. Lady plays with big stakes.
Jae Hee goes to see Dr. Park, who asks if he intends to keep parking cars? Jae Hee wants to keep doing it for a bit longer. Dr. Park looks around and finds a baseball signed by a famous Korean ballplayer. He tosses the ball at Jae Hee and shares something he learned recently while reading a book on baseball. Every young player must feel fear when a ball thrown 100 mph comes flying at his face. The way to conquer the fear is the swing at the ball. Only someone who conquers this fear can reach a base.
Dr. Park thinks Jae Hee has the potential to be a home run slugger, but right now all he can accomplish is reaching second base. He suggests Jae Hee accept what Hwa Young did and use it as a chance to accomplish more. Dr. Park gives Jae Hee the ball and reveals it was signed by a fat player on Dr. Park’s amateur team with the same name.
When Jae Hee tosses the ball at Dr. Park, he accidentally shatters a vase. When he kneels down to help Dr. Park clean up, Dr. Park uses the chance to ask if Jae Hee has a girlfriend. Jae Hee smiles and reveals he has a girlfriend, but won’t reveal any details.
Bong Sun goes to visit a sick haraboji and makes sure he’s got supplies and food. He’s crotchety and tells Bong Sun to scram because he didn’t want to see her. When Bong Sun tries to leave, haraboji howls that his belly hurts. All the rest of the things he demands Bong Sun do, she’s already done. She leaves, promising to come by when it’s Spring.
Bong Sun returns to the precinct and Jae Hee opens her door, telling her to get out. She asks Maru for his gun but he doesn’t have one. Bong Sun gets out of the car and Jae Hee asks if she’s wants to end up in the newspaper as the police woman who shot her lover to death. Bong Sun runs into the precinct and grabs a gun from another officer.
Everyone tries to restrain her. Jae Hee walks in and tells everyone to let Bong Sun do what she wants. He was wrong, and what he did deserves the death penalty. He stands before the barrel of the gun Bong Sun is holding and holds it up to his own face. He calmly says he can’t die right now and leave Bong Sun all alone.
Suddenly the precinct chief walks out and screams at this crazy scene, asking what the hell is going on, with the gun pointing in such a deadly way. The gun is taken out of Bong Sun’s hand but the chief demands an explanation from her.
Jae Hee grabs Bong Sun’s hand and walks toward the chief together. He pulls her down to kneel before the chief, to whom Jae Hee sincerely apologizes for what just happened. Jae Hee confesses that he did something wrong, something so wrong that even if Bong Sun shot him dead it would be what he deserved. Jae Hee asks the chief to please forgive Bong Sun for what she just did. Bong Sun turns to look at Jae Hee with red-rimmed eyes.
Thoughts of Mine:
Lying about his profession and net worth is an offense punishable by death? LOL, don’t be absurd and overly dramatic, Jae Hee. To be sure, Bong Sun’s reaction was akin to finding out he killed her dad or something even worse. Normally I’d tell her to take a chill pill and cut the histrionics, but for once I really feel her hurt as genuine. She’s a really fractured person, an introvert who never dealt properly with her broken family, so her reaction to Jae Hee’s deception felt commensurate with how much it felt like a ten ton betrayal to her.
It might seem contradictory that she’s upset her supposedly butt poor boyfriend is in fact an extremely wealthy man, when the normal person ought to be pleased with this revelation. But Bong Sun has her own prejudices towards rich people, coupled with her razor thin tolerance for lies, makes this truth impossible for her to swallow so suddenly. I’m still freaked out by her pulling a gun on Jae Hee, because seeing that muzzle pointed at Jae Hee’s head gave me the nervous shakes even if I knew nothing would happen.
Jae Hee once again owned this episode, his reaction to everything around him is so immediate and so raw. His happiness at seeing a dolled up Bong Sun arriving at the party, his gutwrenching anxiousness when he realized Bong Sun discovered his deception through Hwa Young’s ploy, his rage and disappointment at Hwa Young for manipulating him like a puppet on the string. When I see Jae Hee, I just see a man who want so much that money can’t buy.
He wants affection, not for his talent or his wealth, but for his personality and spirit. He wants loyalty and honesty, because struggling to survive on his own has left him with no faith in people. He wants to take care of others, because as an orphan without any family, that is the only way he can form interpersonal ties. I love how he’s always the first to make a move with Bong Sun, whether it’s to pursue her and now to get her to forgive him for the lie. I like it not because he’s a man and men need to take charge, but because his desire to be with her draws the real him out of either the rich or poor persona he wears like a protective shield. She is the one thing he wants for himself, not something he’s pursuing for survival.
I can compliment Hwa Young by calling her a capable and complicated character, but I don’t think she’s either despite her persona as one. She’s as much as child as Jae Hee and Bong Sun can be, at times immature and willful. Except Jae Hee and Bong Sun never hurt others, and definitely not deliberately and intentionally. Yes, Jae Hee hurt Bong Sun by his lie, which happened before he fell for her and he’s been trying to find a way to mitigate the impact of the truth. Hwa Young’s behavior springs from selfishness, the desire to keep what is hers regardless of the consequences on others.
If she were smart, she’d let Jae Hee and Bong Sun go at their relationship, since there is a high likelihood these two damaged souls won’t be able to make it work. Then she can swoop in and reclaim Jae Hee. But instead she’s focused on her own hurt, the feeling of having something taken away from her drives her actions more than a desire to keep the item she so treasures. Both her motivation and her actions are thoroughly childish and destructive, so I fail to see the nuance in her. To me, she’s just a grown up version of a three year old throwing a temper tantrum. Except with the brains and wealth to plot an underhanded reaction. Dal and Dr. Park sadly remain just plot devices.
So often in dramas we get OTP struggling to deal with secrets revealed, but mostly the histrionics are laughable and the conflict flimsy. In M2F, I completely feel for both Bong Sun and Jae Hee. Her anger is so understandable, because Jae Hee’s lie managed to destroy her feeling of kinship with him and torpedo the tentative trust they had built up. Jae Hee’s acceptance of his own guilt makes my heart hurt. He’s pushing so hard to get through to an even more closed up Bong Sun because he might lose her as well as being responsible for screwing her up emotionally more than she already is. This drama has no easy solution for all the difficult emotional problems, but I’m riveted to the screen waiting to see the rest of the journey between Bong Sun and Jae Hee.