Can Miss Korea keep getting better and better? Oh you betcha! Episode 10 was a brilliant breakthrough episode wrapped in a perfect bite-sized morsel of smooth execution. It starts with Ji Young getting a second chance good news and ends with her walking down the red carpet besides admirable rival Jae Hee as they head into the start of the Miss Korea pageant preparation. It’s the perfect place to take a breather as this drama starts off next week with the second half of its narrative run and a whole different plateau of issues big and small to deal with. Yoon finally stepped up as the second male lead and honestly I quite enjoy watching him even if he’s got a snowball’s chance in Hell with Ji Young. I like Yoon’s straight forward approach with Ji Young which is wrapped up in a first love that never happened when his best buddy won the girl and then lost her all on his own. He cares about Ji Young and actually respects her and I can tell that anything he does to try and draw her away from Hyung Joon will only end up helping those two exes get closer again. Hyung Joon probably made up for years of not being there for Ji Young by making a dramatic choice that could both save Vivi and not let Ji Young be alone again.
Romance in this drama is all about the little details and today’s episode was chock full of sweet moments between the OTP that doesn’t muddle up the pageant dreams. Madam Ma keeps on being awesome in her own way and it’s a shame that Ji Young can’t work with her because together those two probably can win Miss Korea with eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs. I actually love how the dice has rolled going into the Miss Korea pageant, with Madam Ma having ace Jae Hee under her belt, Madam Yang putting everything on the line for Sun Young, and Ji Young finally getting the one thing out of Hyung Joon she could never get when they broke up. When he said to her that for so long as she needed him then he would walk the road beside her, I was laughing and crying at the same time because these two finally chose to support each other’s dreams this time around. MK manages to pack great storytelling into each hour and the biggest achievement is making a beauty pageant something that feels meaningful and the pursuit of a beauty queen crown a genuine validation for the ladies involved. Ji Young is all guts and stubborn pride, Hyung Joon is all smarts and stubborn pride, but today they both put down the stubborn pride for each other. It’s so satisfying to watch a drama where the OTP smiles at each other all day long and then picks each other when the going gets tough. It’s still a long way to Miss Korea but I’m confident this drama can keep delivering the goods.
Episode 10 recap:
Ji Young gets the happy news that she’s back into the Miss Korea pageant after Sun Joo has been disqualified. Hyung Joon uses the opportunity to get in a few congratulatory kisses with Ji Young before they yelp in excitement.
Madam Yang confronts Sun Young with a slap for betraying Sun Joo, a girl who was her friend and now she’s stabbed her in the back. Madam Yang will not forgive Sun Young if she doesn’t win Miss Korea after having betrayed Sun Joo for the chance. Madam Yang hugs Sun Young through tears and reminds her that her road to Miss Korea is stepping on her friend and she cannot give up but must go all the way now.
Hyung Joon comes to work and the Vivi gang surprises him with champagne since the company hasn’t any good news since its inception. They ask after Ji Young and Hyung Joon explains it’s late and she needs her beauty sleep. There is a lot of happy ribbing and Hyung Joon tells the team to have energy going forward so they can support Ji Young all the way.
In addition to Madam Yang and Madam Ma, who knows how many crazy Madams are out there for the rest of the competition. They need to be strong so their Ji Young isn’t stepped on and can compete to the best of her ability. Heung Sam asks for a camping trip and Hyung Joon agrees but then wonders whether bring Teacher Jang as well. The guys say no and Dr. Ko gives an awkward glance and says nothing.
Lee Yoon gets a call about the camping trip and agrees to go. He gets an update from his secretary on the Vivi debt he’s been buying and says this is fine for now as he’s ready to invest.
Jae Hee’s dad is in a ministerial meeting when he sees a news report on the Miss Korea pageant scandal and spots Jae Hee on the news from the Miss Seoul pageant.
The Miss Seoul pageant contestants are meeting with the organizers to reshuffle the ranking. Madam Yang reluctantly hands over the Miss Seoul Jin crown to Jae Hee and Madam Yang hands over the Miss Seon and Miss Mi crowns back to the organizers. The Miss Seon crown now goes to Soo Jung.
Because of the scandal both Ji Young and Sun Young are going to be Miss Mi but there is currently only one crown available. The organizers will make another one for Ji Young but Hyung Joon pipes up that its not fair and their Ji Young deserves one right now. Why does Madam Yang’s girl get the current one? The pageant director agrees and tell Madam Yang to hand it over since it was her girl who caused the scandal.
Madam Ma suggests rock-paper-scissors to determine who gets the existing crown and who has to wait for another one, giving Hyung Joon the hint that Madam Yang always plays scissors first which makes Madam Yang whine that her unni is helping Hyung Joon. Madam Yang agrees to play for the existing crown rather than just hand it over and Madam Ma reminds Hyung Joon again that Madam Yang always plays scissors.
Hyung Joon plays scissors and Madam Yang does paper and he wins the crown for Ji Young.
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The pageant director remind the ladies they need to be on time tomorrow at 6 pm to arrive for the retreat otherwise they are disqualified. They also must wear an evening gown at the arrival for a photo-op.
Everyone files into the elevator to head down and immediately Ji Young plays the elevator girl and welcomes everyone in. She asks Madam Ma which floor she wants to go down to. She presses the basement level 4 for Madam Ma and when Madam Yang rudely asks to go to the lobby Ji Young points out her rude tone in addressing the elevator girl. Hyung Joon tells Ji Young to stop but this elevator is Ji Young’s and she wants to provide the best service.
Ji Young compliments Madam Ma on being the most beautiful Miss Korea ever selected, then and even now. The elevator then passes the lobby level and is heading down to the basement. Madam Yang gets pissed and tries to hit Ji Young who threatens to reveal her plotting behind the replacement Miss Mi. Ji Young then turns to Soo Jung and threatens to reveal what she tried to do to her prior to the Miss Seoul pageant with the scissors and Soo Jung tries to silence Ji Young.
Ji Young tells Hyung Joon to stay in her elevator with her until they arrive at their destination. She wants Vivi Cosmetics to be with her until they create Miss Korea Jin Seon Mi together. The elevator arrives at the basement and Madam Ma gets out with her group.
Madam Ma immediately confronts Soo Jung in the parking garage asking if she cut up Ji Young’s breast inserts before the Miss Seoul pageant? Soo Jung has no choice but to admit it. She hates that Madam Ma prefers such as beggar like Ji Young while she was at Queen. Madam Ma says the beggar here is Soo Jung for being a bully behind the stage so that she can smile in front of the stage thinking she’s got an advantage. A girl who has no money for breast implants putting in breast inserts backstage is not a beggar.
Madam Yang calls Soo Jung the beggar and she’s furious that Soo Jung would resort to such tactics. How can she be Miss Seoul Seon (Kindness) when she does things like this. Madam Ma hates someone like Soo Jung who bullies those who don’t have as much means as her to try and become Miss Korea. YOU GO MADAM MA! Madam Ma storms off and tells Soo Jung she’s not to follow and she can pick her own evening gown for tomorrow’s photo op.
Madam Yang and Sun Young storm out of the elevator to go pick their evening gown. After they leave, Ji Young sighs that its a good feeling to be back at work. Hyung Joon hands her the bag containing the crown and asks if she wants to try it on right now since there is no else here? She smiles and nods so Hyung Joon takes out the crown and puts it on her head. She asks if it fit her and he says not quite (i.e. she deserves a bigger one). Ji Young confesses she wanted to try it on back there but there were too many people around. Hyung Joon wants her not to care what people think. Ji Young models the crown in the elevator and confesses it feels great to put it on in here like it’s a reward for all she did before.
Madam Yang and Sun Young are in the bathroom and run into a crying Soo Jung. Ji Young walks in to try on the crown and Sun Young calls her a beggar and takes the crown off her head. Madam Yang and Sun Young gang up as well and they deride her as beneath them and she should just be an elevator girl. Soo Jung warns Ji Young to stop buttering up to Madam Ma otherwise she’ll need to watch out for more than just scissors cutting up her breast inserts.
Madam Yang refuses to hand back the crown since it also belongs to her Sun Young. Ji Young grabs it and what ensues is a hilarious bitch fight in the bathroom stall over the crown. I love how Ji Young takes off her jacket to dive right back in. LOL forever.
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Hyung Joon waits outside for Ji Young and we see her put the crown into her purse safely. Love that our girl won because she’s so damn awesome and fierce. Ji Young comes out with a smile and walks off with Hyung Joon.
Teacher Jang is brooding when Dr. Ko hands him a cup of coffee and confirms he heard the news about Ji Young. Dr. Ko confirms a new investment is coming in soon but it can’t be used to return the debt yet. Teacher Jang reveals that he has until the end of the year otherwise President Hwang will off Hyung Joon. Dr. Ko says the Miss Korea pageant is before year end and when Ji Young wins they will repay the debt. Teacher Jang asks what if Ji Young doesn’t win? Dr. Ko will give him the Vivi cream sample then and its worth the debt. She then invites him to the camping dinner.
Hyung Joon and Ji Young run into Yoon as they head to pick out an evening gown and he asks where she wants to go? A high end or low end bridal dress salon?
Madam Yang drags Sun Young to the most exclusive dress shop in town and Madam Ma sits outside surprised that Madam Yang also knows this place and got here before them. Madam Yang has Sun Young try on a royal blue tulle strapless down and confirms that it’s the only such dress in all of Korea. She hears the astronomical price to rent it for a day and agrees to it for Sun Young. Madam Ma walks into the same shop and picks out the same dress for Jae Hee. Director Yoon loves it but Madam Ma isn’t into it. She wants Jae Hee to try on a light blue dress instead which is a lot cheaper to rent.
Yoon and Hyung Joon wait in the same store as Ji Young is in the dressing room trying on the same strapless blue gown. The curtains open and both guys gape at Ji Young modeling the dress. She really is lovely. Yoon likes it as does Hyung Joon. Ji Young picks a pink strapless dress instead explaining that this blue doesn’t suit it. She prefers the pink dress which is a lot cheaper. Yoon wants her in the blue and asks if she wants to enter the competition in a cheap dress? The store owner explains this dress has been rented out for tomorrow already. This makes Ji Young happy since it’s so expensive and she tries on the pink dress instead.
Madam Yang goes back to the store and finds out that Madam Ma picked a light blue dress for Jae Hee. She asks about Ji Young and hears she picked a light pink dress. Madam Yang is so easily swayed and instead buys both the light blue dress and the light pink dress on the spot so neither Jae Hee nor Ji Young have a dress. She gives up the expensive blue strapless dress.
Madam Ma and her coterie are sitting in the car outside and observe Madam Yang walking out with two bags in her hand. Madam Ma tells Director Yoon to go back in and rent out the beautiful blue strapless dress. Director Yoon asks about the light blue dress and Madam Ma snarks back that even a dish rag is prettier than the dress. Ahahaha, she then sneers that Madam Yang seriously has no taste.
The Vivi gang set up for their camping retreat with grilling and tents everywhere. Suddenly a fleet of trucks pull up and it’s Yoon who has arrived with a professional catering service for the event. The now much fancier party starts and everyone digs in. Kang Woo thanks Ji Young for this spread but she’s worried about eating a lot tonight since she has the photo op tomorrow. Hyung Joon puts food on her plate as Yoon watches.
Everyone sits down to eat and Ji Young thanks Yoon oppa for this spread. Dr. Ko tells Ji Young to have one drink and they all toast to working even harder from now on. Hyung Joon stands and pulls Ji Young up as well to make a speech. They have worked hard so that Ji Young has made it to the Miss Korea pageant and their goal is Miss Korea Jin for Ji Young.
Yoon is silent through this speech and asks if he can say something? Hyung Joon tells him to share his thoughts. Yoon wants to invest 100% into the launch of Vivi cream rather than half like they initially asked. But in return he wants them to stop their project of making Ji Young into Miss Korea. He wants Hyung Joon to never see Ji Young again. It’s the wrong way for Vivi to put their energy into making Ji Young into Miss Korea.
Everyone at the company needs to return to their jobs at the company to launch Vivi cream properly. Yoon’s revised offer leaves the gang silent and processing what Yoon suggested. Heung Sam drags Hyung Joon off to talk and everyone goes with him.
The team goes back inside and contemplates this offer which is best for Vivi. What if Ji Young doesn’t win Miss Korea? If they accept Yoon’s investment and terms they can launch the Vivi cream and save the company without any uncertainty. Heung Sam can tell Yoon likes Ji Young and its not bad for her to go with him. Yoon is rich, smart, and capable, there is nothing wrong with it.
Everyone stares at Hyung Joon and Heung Sam adds that even if Hyung Joon dated Ji Young before that was in the past and its not like they are dating now. Hyung Joon speaks up and says both Vivi and Ji Young are equally as important to him. She turned down all the first rate beauty salons to work with them. Heung Sam asks if Hyung Joon wants them to be loyal to Ji Young to risk it all on her winning Miss Korea when there is a guarantee solution for them right now?
Teacher Jang punches Hyung Joon asking him to wake up. He asks if Ji Young will die if she doesn’t enter the Miss Korea pageant? Hyung Joon will die if he can’t save the company, and it infuriates him to see Hyung Joon wavering because of a girl. Hyung Joon yells back that he won’t let the company die and he will repay the debt.
Ji Young is outside with Yoon and asks why he made the offer? Yoon doesn’t want her to participate in the pageant since winning is an unknown and he knows the competition is rigged and unfair. He doesn’t want to throw her into this fire. Ji Young wants to enter regardless and it’s not a joke to her. She will stand on the stage that he thinks is a joke and show him so he better not stand in her way.
The Vivi gang come back out and Hyung Joon immediately asks Ji Young if she wants to become Miss Korea. She says yes and Hyung Joon turns to ask Yoon if his investment of even half is off if Hyung Joon rejects this most recent offer. Yoon admits that even if they made Ji Young into Miss Korea Jin he still wouldn’t invest and his only offer is this offer.
Hyung Joon speaks up and says he is giving up the role as the President of Vivi Cosmetics. OH. MY. GOD. He turns to Ji Young and says he will walk the rest of the way to Miss Korea with her alone and not as the President of Vivi. Hyung Joon points out that Yoon’s investment offer to Vivi did not require Hyung Joon to be the President.
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Hyung Joon asks Ji Young again to go with him alone to become Miss Korea.
Ji Young’s family is playing cards and discussing Ji Young entering the retreat tomorrow and officially joining the Miss Korea pageant. The decide to use the face and back of the cards to cast their votes on whether they approve or disapprove. Grandpa immediately disapproves because he doesn’t want her showing her body to the world. Oppa disapproves because he doesn’t want to see her hanging with Hyung Joon. Mom votes yes because his biggest regret was when Ji Young wanted to learn the piano as a kid but they couldn’t afford it. If they let her learn maybe that was her talent and she wouldn’t have become an elevator girl. He doesn’t want to see her wear a swimsuit on national television either but he doesn’t want her to regret something again. He doesn’t want to be the dad who ruins her life again so he wants to support this one time she wants to do something.
Oppa asks Uncle how he votes and Uncle votes yes as well. Oppa asks if Uncle is a legislative member what with his flip-flopping votes in the span of one day. Uncle can see how hard Ji Young has been working to become Miss Korea and perhaps she is doing this so people cannot look down on her as an elevator girl. if Ji Young becomes Miss Korea, no one can look down on her anymore. She can go to those who used to look down on her with her head held high. Oppa asks about the vote being tied now and should they re-vote. Grandpa still says no so the two sons try to convince him to change his mind.
Hyung Joon is brooding when Teacher Jang comes by and calls him a crazy fool but he should do it this once. He’ll wait and see what Hyung Joon does. He leaves with a pat on the back and a smile.
Hyung Joon walks Ji Young home and she says that someone with patience is too arrogant and she doesn’t like that, and someone who is too impatient is impetuous and she doesn’t like that either. Hyung Joon asks if he’s too impetuous and Ji Young says she is also someone impetuous so don’t worry about it. Ji Young sighs that Hyung Joon can’t even let her enter the competition without any additional worry. Hyung Joon is trying to lessen her worry which is why he’s sticking beside her. Ji Young points out that she respected him because he was the President of a company. Her dream was to become the wife of a company president and have kids and a secure future.
Ji Young calls Hyung Joon “President Kim” and says she wants to enter the competition all by herself because she wants to reserve all the honor and riches for herself when she becomes Miss Korea. Hyung Joon points out that the same will still happen if he helps her become Miss Korea. They stare at each other and there is such mutual understanding it just hurts so much.
Ji Young is packing in her room and can’t get the suitcase zipped. Hyung Joon comes in and helps her shove everything in and zip it up before walking out without a word exchanged.
Hyung Joon goes to get Ji Young the next morning but she’s already gone. Ji Young has gone with Uncle to get her registration information and Uncle is still a bit reluctant to let her do it. Ji Young laughs that the vote being 2-2 is already enough. Uncle wonders why she’s here alone and where Hyung Joon is?
Kang Sik chews out the pageant director for letting Ji Young enter the finals despite his orders to cut her specifically. The director had no choice since all the reporters were there to look at the scores after the scandal. Kang Sik then requests that the winner of Miss Korea must become the exclusive model spokesperson for Bada Cosmetics. That’s fine with thedirector and Kang Sik wants all the contestants to sign the contract.
Hyung Joon is with Teacher Jang and wondering what the rest of Vivi is thinking today. Teacher Jang thinks they are happy to split ways with Ji Young though jealous that Hyung Joon likes Ji Young more than he likes the Vivi gang. Hyung Joon tells Teacher Jang to shut up and asks why he came along today? He tells Teacher Jang to stop beating him up in public because its so embarrassing. He then orders Teacher Jang to hurry up because he needs to go buy an evening gown for Ji Young.
The two men go pick evening gowns and its adorable. The sales lady offers to help and asks what the lady’s style is. Hyung Joon says her style is stubborn beyond belief and never gives up. He offers to buy the prettiest dress at whatever the cost. Ji Young is calling around to rent an evening gown for the night and it’s all too expensive.
Jae Hee is headed to the retreat when she’s greeted by a bunch of men in black sent by her dad. Jae Hee sits down with dad and refuses to quit the competition. Dad threatens to keep her from arriving at the retreat on time since that would disqualify her. Dad says the pageant is just a way to distract the people from the financial woes of the country. Jae Hee points out the Miss Korea pageant is on the 22nd while the presidential election is on the 18th before it. Isn’t it in his interest to keep her happy before the presidential election? She promises nothing will happen before the election on the 18th if he lets her go.
Ji Young gets a call from Yoon to come to his office. Yoon hands Ji Young an evening gown because he can’t stand watching her arrive in a cheap dress. Ji Yeon tries on a strapless pink dress with rhinestones but doesn’t look all that happy.
The arrival red carpet is set up to welcome all the contestants to the Miss Korea pageant retreat. The Vivi gang sit and discuss how the arrival photo op is probably happening right now. None of them are in the mood to eat dinner. Cars pull up and deposit the arriving contestants who all get out of their cars and walk down the red carpet to the light bulbs flashing.
Yoon and Hyung Joon arrive at the same time and stare at each other. Teacher Jang tells Hyung Joon to hurry and deliver the dress. Hyung Joon runs off and finds out that Ji Young isn’t there yet. Teacher Jang confronts Yoon and asks if it’s worth it to use money to buy a woman? He calls Yoon sleazy for using his money to win a woman to his side. Yoon ignores Teacher Jang’s barbs.
Madam Ma is arriving with her two girls Soo Jung and Jae Hee. She reminds them that the picture taken today will be shown during the pageant and will also be the first impression of the judges to the contestants. Sun Young is walking down the red carpet in her light blue dress when the car pulls up and Madam Ma arrives to deposit Jae Hee and Soo Jung. Madam Yang freaks out when she sees Jae Hee in the strapless blue dress and to be thus one-upped by Madam Ma.
Ji Young is arriving and Hyung Joon sees her outside and helps her to go in. He hands her the evening down and sees her hesitation. He asks if she’s worried the dress isn’t to her liking and she assures him it’s not that. Hyung Joon sighs and says she doesn’t need to be this way just because he’s not the president of a company anymore which gets a smile out of her. He tells her that from now on when she needs him he will always be beside her. Squeeeee. He shoves the dress in her hands and she calls out Oppa and thank you before rushing in to change.
Jae Hee stands ready for her walk down the red carpet when Ji Young arrives and stands next to her. The two sides curtly and politely acknowledge each other. Ji Young turns to Hyung Joon with a smile and he smiles back with a nod before she starts walking down the red carpet.
Teacher Jang and Yoon also watch her walk down the red carpet and Ji Young is lovely and smiling the entire way.
All the contestants pose for the cameras as their handlers all gather behind the red velvet rope to look on. Ji Young and Jae Hee are beaming before the cameras. Teacher Jang hilariously mutters that the blue dress on Jae Hee is so cheesy which earns him a glare from Madam Ma.
Hyung Joon calls out for his Ji Young to smile showing teeth with “YKK” and right on cue as if she heard him Ji Young smiles for the cameras as she makes her debut as a finalist in the Miss Korea pageant.
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Thoughts of Mine:
I don’t know how this drama keeps ending each episode perfectly. It’s always intense or stirring, grabbing the viewers’ emotions so it lines up with what the characters are feeling. I feel euphoric right now watching Ji Young walk down the red carpet to her destiny. Even better is that Hyung Joon is right beside her, and its not a place he came to easily. There were so many chances where they would let go of each other’s hand, and in this episode I wouldn’t have blamed either of them if he had taken Yoon up on his offer. Ji Young also wouldn’t blame Hyung Joon either, and in fact she appears to try and walk the road alone. But Hyung Joon is no longer denying that Ji Young matters so much to him, and it’s a clarity that spurs him to do what’s best for everyone while never letting her hand go. To see Ji Young wear the evening gown that Hyung Joon got for her rather than the expensive one from Yoon meant so much, because each time she’s always going to pick Hyung Joon like she did that very first time. I don’t blame Yoon for his offer to invest in Vivi if the company quit helping Ji Young with her Miss Korea dreams. It’s a smart offer and one that helps the company and Hyung Joon while severing the ties that would bind him to Ji Young. He also doesn’t want to see her continue down a path he knows is rigged while ruining her chances at modesty so highly prized in a conservative society like Korea. What he doesn’t understand that Ji Young is doing this for her own pride and future, and for one she can do something on her own rather than just accepting her lot in life.
It’s reassuring to see Ji Young’s sweet family have mostly all come around to supporting her endeavor, and really their objections were all borne out of love and concern to begin with. This pageant isn’t going to be a cake walk to win whether by competition both legit and underhanded. Madam Yang has her own pride and purpose even if she can be a hilarious foil, but I respect Madam Ma enough both for her sense of honor and her skill and experience that if she helps Jae Hee win it won’t be a hard pill to swallow. I’m relieved that Vivi’s future can be saved by Yoon’s investment and not tied to Ji Young winning Miss Korea because perhaps Ji Young will be just fine if she doesn’t win but instead the journey will be the reward. This drama has thus far made the experience so moving already I feel comforted that both the goal and the trials will continue to meaningful. The OTP’s candor and understanding in this episode was made all the more rewarding on the heel of seeing their first break up was because they put their own feelings before the other person. I love how Hyung Joon knew that he couldn’t let Ji Young’s hand go again this time, even if he had to swallow his own pride and quit as Vivi’s president. It’s not that he’s doing this to get back together with her, it’s that he’s doing this because he loves her even if it doesn’t spark an immediate second chance between them. The story allows them another chance at love not with love being the end goal, but showing us that it’s the tangible expression of love that comes from sacrificing for each other’s hopes and dreams. This OTP is earning their right to love each other again and proving that sometimes it’s better the second time around.
Click here to watch Miss Korea.