It’s nice to welcome the new year of 2014 with the first K-drama recap of a great episode of the still wonderful Prime Minister and I. This drama continues to thrum along with all the right beats even if all the narrative milestones are nothing new to behold. A good drama has to have multiple layers so that the conflict isn’t one big obstacle being stretched too thin but rather stage gates that need to be crossed one at a time. Right now Da Jung and Yul are standing right at the edge of trying to figure out their feelings for each other within the context of their agreed upon contract marriage. Happy-go-lucky Da Jung takes it a day at a time, but stoic and hesitant Yul tries to put up a fight despite it being a losing proposition already. Everyone around them can see that they are falling for each other and it’s a futile attempt on Hye Joo and In Ho’s part to try and keep the status quo. I rather appreciate In Ho’s revenge strategy being somewhat principled in that he’s going to take Yul down but not at the expense of Da Jung. it’s almost gallant of him except he’s clearly misplacing his own anger at his brother’s situation onto Yul.
Hye Joo is turning out to be less vindictive and more pathetically hopeless. I feel for her two decades of crushing on Yul but goodness at this point she needs to accept that Yul simply won’t love her back the way she loves him and move on. It was enlightening to hear In Ho point out that Joon Ki pretty much has a contract marriage with his rich wife as well, making it clear that any marriage based on need and mutual agreement on certain terms is no less a contract of sorts. Its clear Da Jung and Yul are giving their marriage a shot in everything other than the love part which makes it as valid as any marriage where each party fulfills the duties of husband, wife, and parent. I continue to love all the conversations and dialogue in this drama and the quick resolution of any disagreement between Yul and Da Jung emphasizes how thoughtful and considerate they are of each other. They may not see eye-to-eye, but they are not averse to looking at the situation through the lens of the other person. Da Jung is winning over the support of the kids little by little without a lot of fanfare using only care and affection. I can accept that her optimistic personality is probably the reason In Ho started to like her as well, and his candor in confessing his feelings to her did make my heart twinge for a second since he looked so sincere. Sadly he’s just way tooooo late plus his vendetta against Yul makes me currently put him in a time out.
Episode 8 recap:
Da Jung runs after the errant Woo Ri and clearly needs some lessons on basic traffic signals because she darts into the cross walk after the light turns red. In perfect K-drama coincidence, a truck happens by and is about to mow Da Jung down (and end our drama early) until Yul magically appears and pulls her to safety. They roll a few times (sadly the rolling is done in public and not anywhere in the sack) and land by the sidewalk. Da Jung is surprised to see hubby here and Yul understandably yells at her for yet another impetuous near disaster averted. She gets up and he tries to only to yelp in pain.
Hye Joo is holding yet another one of her press conferences when she hears of the near accident and informs gathered reporters. She rushes off to the hospital and Hee Chul tries to call Da Jung but she doesn’t answer.
Da Jung and Yul are both checked into the hospital, with Da Jung being fine but Yul going in for x-rays. He comes back and reveals his pinky is fractured. He gives Da Jung a look and she tries to explain she’s not that heavy (as to fracture his pinky). Hye Joo is annoyed that Yul got hurt trying to save Da Jung. Yul tells Hye Joo and In Ho to go handle the reporters. Hye Joo asks In Ho outside how Yul got hurt and hears it was about Woo Ri.
Yul asks Da Jung if she’s fine? She is but is worried about him and wonders why he rushed in to save her. He reminds her that he is doing his duty as a husband per their contract, and he thought about why she concealed information about Woo Ri and realized she is doing her duty as a wife. Da Jung says with a smile that its more than just that but doesn’t elaborate. The nurse comes in and hands Yul the examination report for Da Jung and he realizes she got lots of extra check ups including a OBGYN exam. Da Jung explains the doctor insisted since she’s a newlywed and all and she couldn’t explain the contract marriage part. Yul tells her to get dressed and they are leaving now before he needs his blood pressure checked.
Yul and Da Jung walk out with her clutching his arm but the position is awkward so Yul drapes his arm around her to show their solidarity before the reporters. Hye Joo and In Ho follow behind looking peeved as usual. Da Jung and Yul leave without answering any reporter questions and Da Jung’s Scandal News editor is annoyed she ignored them but it appears she never saw them.
Reporter Byun goes to the precinct where Yul tried to get Da Jung arrested as a stalker and talks to the cops by being friendly and bearing energy drinks.
Woo Ri is in his room when Man Se pops by to inform his hyung and their dad is home and gets a glare in return. I would be more contrite, Woo Ri, since you almost turned your step-mother into truck roadkill.
Yul and Da Jung return to their bedroom and she offers to help undress him since his hand is bandaged. She helps take off his jacket, his tie, and then tries to unbutton his shirt only to send a button flying. Yul immediately pulls his shirt closed and asks if Da Jung is a pervert? She claims he’s the one misunderstanding since she just wanted to help him. Yul orders her out and she heads to find Man Se.
Hye Joo is drinking alone and all I have to say is girlfriend needs a boyfriend really badly. She calls In Ho out to drink with her but he declines since he has another engagement. Turns out turncoat In Ho is having dinner with Joon Ki who asks why In Ho is helping his cause in bringing Yul down? In Ho has his own reasons but Joon Ki needs some proof before trusting In Ho. He wants In Ho to show proof that Yul’s marriage with Da Jung is fake. In Ho refuses since he’s after Yul and not Da Jung. He reminds Joon Ki that he has his own contract marriage. All he wants is for Joon Ki to metaphorically bind Yul’s hands and feet so that he’s a vegetable for life and can do nothing.
Yoon Hee is practicing seduction techniques and tries it on Joon Ki when he comes home. Joon Ki is neither amused nor interested and ignores her as usual. She tries to cajole him to not be mad at her dad. Joon Ki tells her to leave the room and she does. Joon Ki thinks about what In Ho wants him to do to Yul and realizes he means business.
Yul looks at a picture of his kids and zeroes in on the rebelling Woo Ri. He stands up and goes to the window to brood. Da Jung comes in to get him for breakfast and pauses when he turns around to look at her. His presence flusters Da Jung and she quickly leaves his study. She grabs her heart outside and wonders why its beating so fast.
Da Jung is sewing frogs on the bed while Yul gets ready for work at his desk. She sees a halo around him and a heart pops out from her eyes and she swoons at him.
Da Jung goes outside to practice kendo and clear her head. LOL, it’s like she’s slicing vegetables. Yul comes by and corrects her moves and gets behind her to show her to correct positioning. He’s pleased she’s trying to practice and tells her to exercise every morning. She notices he’s dressed for work on a Saturday and it turns out he has a meeting with the President.
The President knows about the port construction and asks him to keep the country running. Yul wants the project reassessed and if there are any evaded taxes it can be collected to use for the people. He wants to do things right despite the President urging him to not cause any problems.
Yul and Hye Joo leave the Blue House and she wonders what he will do if the President ends up opposing his strategy? Yul jokes that he’ll probably be fired then. Hye Joo invites him to lunch but Yul declines to go home and spend time with his kids. Yul mentions Da Jung and Hye Joo reminds him that Da Jung is visiting with her dad today at the hospice.
Da Jung sits with her dad and In Ho who she happened to run into as he’s visiting his brother. Dad worries about his Kwon son-in-law getting hurt and reveals that he’s so popular that a guy came to ask him about Yul. In Ho asks if it was a reporter and Dad says it was someone claiming to be a fan of Yul. In Ho and Da Jung ask Dad not to say anything if anyone asks about Yul. Dad turns around and asks In Ho is he if dating anyone since he is an eligible bachelor. In Ho reveals he isn’t dating but has a girl he likes.
Da Jung’s Scandal News reporters are peeking around the corner and observe this scene and think Da Jung and In Ho are too close for comfort. The editor thinks this would make a good story and wonders if the Prime Minister knows about his wife and aide being so close?
Yul is having lunch with his kids and looks at Da Jung’s empty chair. He asks Woo Ri how he’s doing at school and he says fine. When Na Ra is asked about her homework, she reveals Da Jung thinks kids having fun is more important. Man Se says he doesn’t need to learn the 1000 word homework since Da Jung just wants him to eat and grow up well. Yul then imagines Da Jung chiding him for berating the kids at the dinner table.
Yul grabs a vegetable and smiles to imaginary Da Jung before realizing he’s smiling to himself. His kids stare at him oddly and each of them decline his offer to practice kendo after lunch. Yul ends up all alone at the table as his kids leave and he shoots another look at Da Jung’s empty seat.
Da Jung hears from her dad’s doctor that his treatments are going well. The doctor reveals that Yul calls frequently to check on her dad’s condition and that makes Da Jung smile.
Yul is reading in bed and checking his phone wondering why Da Jung isn’t home yet. Someone is missing his wifey.
In Ho finds the lurking Scandal News reporters at the hospice and chides them for following him and Da Jung. He threatens to tell Da Jung unless they quietly leave. They leave but not before Hee Chul begs In Ho not to tell Da Jung noona. In Ho wonders if the reporter that talked to Da Jung’s dad was the Scandal News duo?
Da Jung is walking outside when In Ho tosses snow at her. She packs a snowball and throws it right back and they engage in a feisty snowball fight. Yul waits for Da Jung at home, checking his phone constantly. Da Jung and In Ho’s snowball fight is captured on camera by Reporter Byun.
Yul is sewing more frogs for Da Jung when he gets distracted and pricks his finger. He then realizes what he’s doing and tosses a frog down before complaining about how late it is and why Da Jung isn’t home yet.
Yul walks outside and finds Man Se waiting in the cold for Da Jung to come home. Man Se asks if his dad is also out here waiting for Da Jung but Yul lies that he’s out for some fresh air. Da Jung pulls up and Man Se runs into her arms for a hug. Yul notices In Ho drove Da Jung home and hears that In Ho’s brother is at the same hospice as Da Jung’s father so he gave her a ride. After In Ho leaves, Da Jung asks why Yul is outside and he claims he came out for fresh air and is totally not here to wait for her. Even Man Se looks puzzled.
Yul and Da Jung go back to their bedroom and he sits down at the desk and wonders why In Ho never told him about his brother at the hospice. Da Jung says she found out from her dad as well. Da Jung then switches to perfect wife mode and brings Yul his paperwork, hot cocoa, and changes the toilet paper roll in the bathroom.
Yul orders Da Jung to tidy up the room and she eagerly does so. He wonders why she’s so obedient today and Da Jung says she will do whatever he asks going forward and she’s in a really good mood. Da Jung wants to read to him first before she goes to sleep. Yul doesn’t need her to and she threatens to tuck him in if he doesn’t climb into bed right now. Yul quickly climbs into bed and goes under the covers while Da Jung grabs the book and starts reading.
Yul stares at Da Jung as she reads and she keeps reading until she sees that Yul is asleep. She looks at his bandaged hand and writes a note on it and thanks him for taking such care of her dad. She wishes him a good night and turns off the light as she leaves the room quietly.
After Da Jung is gone, Yul’s eyes open as he’s not really asleep. He looks at the note she wrote on his hand bandage which says “Prime Minister, get well soon!” He smiles briefly and then looks very contemplative.
Yul leaves for work the next morning and Man Se asks for a full hug before leaving. Yul awkwardly kneels down for a hug and looks at Na Ra who says she doesn’t need it and he can hug Man Se more since he only went to see Man Se’s performance. Yul wonders where Woo Ri is and hears from Da Jung that he’s in his room going through a phase. Before Yul gets in the car, Da Jung has the kids give him a very proper farewell. She also tells In Ho fighting before he leaves.
Yul and In Ho are out visiting a marketplace and hearing from the vendors about their complaints. Yul walks by a vendor for hair accessories and he buys something for Na Ra. He notices a black rhinestone bow hair clip and buys it as well. In Ho gets a call and tells Yul that the President has agreed to review the port development project anew.
Joon Ki watches the news report and turns off the television angrily. Reporter Byun comes to see him and he thinks back to hearing from the cops that Yul tried to have Da Jung arrested as a stalker and Da Jung’s dad didn’t even know they were dating until he read it on the newspaper.
Yul comes home with a present for Na Ra which makes Man Se throw a fit since he didn’t get a present. He chides himself for forgetting about Man Se’s present. Da Jung comes by with tea and suggests he lighten up on the homework load for the kids rather than buy them presents. This reminds Yul to ask about her homework and he decides to check it right now.
Da Jung hands him her homework and says she heard about the port review news and congratulates him. Yul wants to invite In Ho and Hye Joo over for a drink since they worked so hard to help him. Yul keeps trying to give the hair clip to Da Jung but he can’t bring himself to say it directly so he keeps changing the subject. He finally asks if her long hair isn’t a problem and shouldn’t she wear a hair clip? He is about to take out the clip when Da Jung says hair clips are for elementary school kids and she hates it. Yul gets annoyed and tells her to wear her hair however she wants and then nitpicks at her homework journal for being shoddy work.
Da Jung leaves wondering why he’s in such a bad mood and tells herself to have patience with him. After she leaves, Yul takes out the hair clip and wonders what he’s doing these days? Joon Ki goes home and thinks about his meeting with Reporter Byun who claims he has evidence that Yul’s marriage is a fraud. Joon Ki is excited about tomorrow’s press conference. He then gets a call from the President asking to meet him.
Yul is celebrating with Hye Joo, In Ho, and Da Jung and they toast to the good news. Yul apologizes to Hye Joo for declining her lunch offer the other day and she stares at his hand bandage with Da Jung’s scribble on it. He pours everyone another glass and Da Jung wants one too. He smiles and is about to pour her one when he pulls back and tells her to drink less, reminding her of the drunken time she ran into him. Da Jung sadly goes to nibble on a snack and Yul relents and pours her a glass but tells her to sip slowly. She happily agrees. Hye Joo calls Da Jung out to make more food as an excuse to talk with her.
Hye Joo asks Da Jung how things are going with Yul? Da Jung says he’s a good person but sometimes difficult to deal with. Hye Joo has known him for 20 years and he has never had an off moment in front of her. He is someone difficult to deal with but very admirable. Hye Joo asks if Da Jung admires Yul like she admires him? If so, then Da Jung must know there is a boundary she cannot cross, right?
Yul asks In Ho about his brother and In Ho reveals his brother got into a car accident with the woman he loved. His brother ended up a vegetable and the woman died. In Ho regretted letting his brother go meet that woman that day. In Ho asks if Yul has any regrets and of course Yul does, who doesn’t have regrets in life. In Ho is curious what Yul regrets but Yul declines to elaborate as everyone also has secrets they cannot share.
Da Jung comes back with a plate of sandwiches and wonders why no one is drinking. She gulps down her alcohol and thinks back to what Hye Joo said to her. Hye Joo doesn’t want Da Jung to have feelings for Yul because Yul will never forget his ex-wife. There is no one who can enter Yul’s heart no matter how much time has passed.
The President meets with Joon Ki and asks him to say things to the businesses participating in the port development to help smooth things over. Joon Ki asks whether the President isn’t worried about the popularity of the Prime Minister eclipsing his own?
Da Jung is drunk and her New Year’s wish is for less homework. LOL. She asks what Hye Joo’s wish is and Hye Joo wishes for the contract marriage to end smoothly so Yul can go his own way and Da Jung can go her own way. Da Jung thinks this is a silly wish and of course everything will go well. Hye Joo asks if Da Jung doesn’t have plans after the contract marriage ends? Or does she think being married to Yul is insurance enough. In Ho steps up for Da Jung but it’s Yul who tells Hye Joo that he will support Da Jung in whatever she wants to do afterwards so she can take her time. Da Jung laughs that she will worry about it later.
Da Jung tries to change the subject and asks In Ho what his wish is? In Ho stares at her and says his wish is to confess his feelings to the girl he likes. Yul pauses and stares at him as does Hye Joo.
In Ho leaves the mansion with Hye Joo who comes right out and asks if In Ho is planning to confess to Da Jung? Too bad Da Jung’s heart appears to lie elsewhere.
Da Jung is outside walking off her buzz and she’s pretty impressed at In Ho’s courage to confess. She shakes her head and says she doesn’t have the courage to confess her feelings. Yul comes out and tosses her a coat and tells her to go inside. Da Jung stops him and asks if he still loves his ex-wife and that is why he forbids them from entering the piano room and from playing music? She sees that sometimes Yul has a look of loneliness and its because he can’t forget his ex-wife, right? Yul says nothing and just heads inside.
Da Jung blinks back tears and jogs to cheer herself up. In Ho walks up to her and Da Jung brings up the lucky girl that In Ho is planning to confess to. In Ho asks if she wants to know who that girl is? Da Jung really wants to know so In Ho says that the girl he likes is rather silly and amusing. Da Jung laughs that the girl sounds just like herself. In Ho reveals that since his brother’s accident he doesn’t smile anymore but she makes him smile and cheers him up. But now when he sees her it hurts his heart.
Da Jung realizes what he’s about to say and quickly changes the subject and makes an excuse to go inside. She turns around and In Ho rushes up to back hug her and confess that she’s the girl he likes.
Da Jung goes to the kitchen table and downs another glass of alcohol as she processes the shocking confession. Yul goes to the piano room and thinks about Da Jung’s question as to whether he still loves his ex-wife? He thinks back to looking at pictures taken of his ex-wife meeting with In Ho’s brother and then the fateful accident.
Yul leaves the piano room and finds Da Jung sprawled asleep on the kitchen table. He sighs and tries to wake her but she’s totally passed out drunk.
Yul sits down across from her and just stares at her. Da Jung starts to mumble “Prime Minister” in her sleep. Yul wonders what he’s going to do with her? His homework…..is her.
Thoughts of Mine:
Marriage is like one never-ending exam requiring careful thought on reaching the correct answers and it’s never going to become an easy ride. Yul understands that since he’s been through one marriage. When he looks at Da Jung at the end and says she’s his homework, it’s as clear an admission on his part that this contract marriage has become more than just part of his job as Prime Minister. She’s not a child for him to order around, and she affects him way more than he’s ready to accept. He admits it but doesn’t know what to do. Ignore her, push her away, accept her care and affection despite knowing what will surely come down the road? Is he ready to open his heart to her and ask her to become his real wife and mother to his kids? Right now the answer is no because that is just too much to process at once. So she is his homework, to try to mentally catalog their interactions without a full road map as where it’ll all lead. Hye Joo remains a sympathetic figure because she speaks the truth even if she has own her motivations. What will happen with Da Jung after the contract marriage is up? Is it even possible for her to leave a family where the kids are already becoming attached to her and she to them. This is love coming after the family is formed but it’s still real emotions being formed. Contrast that with Joon Ki and Yoon Hee and its clear he never once tried to have a real marriage with her despite agreeing to it. This is why Yul is a man who remains genuine and wins the people’s hearts while Joon Ki can only resort to tricks to gain any advantage for his political career.
I’m not as mad at In Ho for his confession to Da Jung as I thought I would be. It’s clear he has no intention of using her in his fight against Yul nor are his feelings insincere. It’s wholly inappropriate but Da Jung also needs to be reminded that she had no sense of boundary with In Ho despite being warned by Yul to remember her position as his wife. In so many ways Da Jung’s artlessness is what makes the guys fall for her, but its also what creates so much incidents around her. In this drama I can side with Da Jung because each one of her little slip ups get resolved plus sometimes it brings her closer to Yul and even ends up solving bigger problems. But in general I need her to really think about her actions more, and in the same vein I want Yul to soften a bit when he barks at Da Jung because she frustrates him so much. Part of his frustration is clearly because she is chipping away at his well-structured persona and turning back on his emotion buttons. I am relieved that Yul knows In Ho likes Da Jung so it’s not some recipe for a big misunderstanding. It is a recipe for trouble when it comes to the public perception of his marriage so I need everyone to step up their vigilance rather than act as if the lens of the world isn’t shining on them constantly. I do find it a little ham-fisted of In Ho to align so quickly and openly with Joon Ki since its bound to come out quicker than if he was more covert in undermining Yul. He tends to look really pissed around Yul sometimes and I wonder why no one is picking up on it. Hye Joo really needs to do better background checks before hiring staff members for Yul. It’s also ridiculous that Yul doesn’t know the identity of the other person in the same car accident as his wife and whether there are any family members around.
This episode delivered a lot of what PM does best in terms of character emotional development for the relationship growth of the two leads. Da Jung’s growing understanding of her feelings for Yul doesn’t suddenly turn her into his doting wife. Instead she still challenges him but also steps up to be better as his support and aide. I like that she keeps learning all that he does for her dad behind the scenes and it spurs her to do more for him. Yul is also becoming aware that Da Jung’s presence in his life is growing more important and he needs to figure out how to deal with it. Let it continue to develop naturally or forcibly try to end it before it becomes something he cannot deny. They are so warm and wonderful together its going to hurt so badly if either one tries to push the other away. It’s clear that whatever feelings Yul has for his ex-wife are less of the madly in love variety and more of the regret and sadness type. I wonder what happened back then with her and In Ho’s brother? I’m actually curious now because it’ll likely be important in resolving In Ho’s anger towards Yul as well as help Yul move on from her death. Da Jung remains such a wonderful character that she not only brightens up the world around Yul, I feel all warm and fuzzy when I watch her onscreen. She’s delightfully flawed which makes it even more satisfying to watch her grow through her experiences being the Prime Minister’s wife. She and Yul are as matched an OTP as any I’ve watched onscreen in both chemistry and personality quirks. I’m dying for their romance to explode but content to watch the process unfold because even their most mundane of moments is lovingly rendered.
Click here to watch Prime Minister and I.