I’m pulling out the big guns for my Miss Korea recaps. Yeah, that is totally a spoiler kiss still above from episode 12, but in my defense MBC released it last night so it’s been out there already teasing us with the hotness to come. I also think in whatever way I can lure viewers to this exquisite drama then I’m going to do it. If it takes the tease of a passionate and well-earned OTP kiss then so be it, and this kiss was everything in build up and execution I would ever want from a drama couple. Too bad the PD filmed it so we don’t see all the action but good lord there better be more where this one came from since we still have eight episodes to go in this drama. Everything else surrounding the OTP is just as entertaining and compelling to watch. It’s a shame to miss out on a story that is so wonderfully crafted with a blend of laughter and tears and affection and conflict all wrapped into one. Hyung Joon and Ji Young continue to love each other through thick and thin as the drama almost takes them through the same stages of their teen romance but allows us to watch what adult incarnations of this couple would do differently. This time around Hyung Joon sheds the “I’m right” bravado and puts Ji Young first while Ji Young doesn’t let rejection stop what her heart wants. I was so close to thinking Yoon was an honorable opponent and then he goes behind Vivi’s back and tries to tank them. Why dude? You should be better than that, but then again, man do you have a penguin’s chance in Hell of ever winning Ji Young’s heart regardless of whatever you do be it direct or underhanded. This episode threw in a new obstacle for the entire Miss Seoul contestants along with their handlers and gave us a peek into the selection and bribery of the judging panel of the Miss Korea pageant. While the pageant remains just around the corner there is still so much in the air beyond the ladies taking the stage on that day. Who makes it to the top-15? Is this thing rigged already? Will Vivi survive Yoon’s sabotage? And will Ji Young continue to fight for the chance to love her Oppa every step of the way? This drama surprises me each step of the way and I remain riveted to the screen for what’s coming next.
Episode 12 recap:
Ji Young comes back home against pageant rules and sneaks into Hyung Joon’s room. She asks to stay for just a little bit because she’s lonely over there. Hyung Joon confirms she’s tired and wants to be with him right now. He reminds her that she didn’t want to like him but she counters that it’s not working out so she’s decided to go ahead and like him. Hyung Joon smiles at her.
Hyung Joon walks her out to get a taxi and chides her for taking the risk of getting kicked out. Ji Young can tell he’s avoiding her eyes and asks if he’s embarrassed that she said she likes him? She runs in front of him and stares into his eyes and confirms that he clearly likes her back. They smile at each other and then she hops into the taxi all cool as can be.
The taxi drops them both off outside the hotel and Ji Young wonders why he has this look after just getting a confession from a girl? Hyung Joon wants to know why the change of heart from her since she said with certainty that she would never like him again. Ji Young’s heart isn’t listening to her and probably belongs to Hyung Joon already. Oppa says nothing and tells her to go in because it’s cold.
Ji Young confirms its cold and asks if he’s not giving her a hug? Hyung Joon pulls her in for a tight hug and then looks off into the distance while Ji Young basks in his arms.
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Hyung Joon walks away from the hotel and looks back one more time. He calls up the sleeping Teacher Jang to get some company. He gets chewed out first of course.
Teacher Jang joins Hyung Joon at the street stall for some drinks and snacks. Hyung Joon says he can’t sleep tonight and asks to borrow some money right now. Teacher Jang asks if he’s serious and Hyung Joon smiles and wonders if he’s that shameless. Hyung Joon asks to borrow money from Teacher Jang because he doesn’t want to use Yoon’s investment money. Teacher Jang asks what it’s for? Hyung Joon won’t lie and say something like it’s for his sick mom’s surgery. Teacher Jang asks how much he needs? Hyung Joon says with a smile that he doesn’t want to regret it, he doesn’t want to regret not being better to her when he had the chance. Teacher Jang gets up to leave since Hyung Joon’s words are as incomprehensible as English to him.
Hyung Joon grabs Teacher Jang’s arm and says that Ji Young confessed that she liked him but they don’t have much time left. After Ji Young becomes Miss Korea he will leave her side because a guy like him doesn’t match up to her. Teacher Jang stares at him and then walks out. He agrees to lend him the money but chides him for acting so cool but staying around a girl’s side. Hyung Joon admits that he doesn’t want to break up with her, he doesn’t want to leave her side. He also doesn’t want to have such a tiring romance and trying to make her Miss Korea. He also wants a normal love with going to work and coming home everyday. But………Teacher Jang cuts him off and repeats that he’ll lend him the money and then walks away.
Sun Young is brooding in the hotel room and thinking of how to get Ji Young to get disqualified or not make the top-15 cut. Ji Young comes in after her shower and finds one of her high heels snapped. Sun Young looks guilty and Ji Young confirms that she did it and it’s something she’s done before. Ji Young tells Sun Young that these tricks don’t work because she’s developed a habit of checking her items now after what happened before.
Sun Young is unrepentant because Ji Young is her main competition. Jae Hee will make it the end as Miss Seoul Jin and she doesn’t see Soo Jung as competition. That leaves only Ji Young and only one of them can advance. That is why Sun Young keeps tormenting Ji Young who remains uncowed. She does wonder if they could be friends if it wasn’t just one of them who could become Miss Korea. She tells Sun Young to fix the broken heel and tosses it on the bed before leaving the room.
Ji Young is practicing her pageant entrance alone in the playground when Hyung Joon comes and compliments her for working so hard. She’s got only a few days left until the pageant and not a minute to lose. She practices her squats and tells Hyung Joon to join her. He does so and she asks him to tell her how much he likes her but he is reluctant so she doesn’t press him. Hyung Joon then reveals that for the next week he will let her experience something so amazing she will be impressed.
Ji Young doesn’t think Hyung Joon can or should do it. It’s not his style, his style is to do little things that show he cares about her. Hyung Joon asks if she doesn’t want it? Ji Young accepts it since the end of the week is the Miss Korea pageant so she’ll enjoy what he has to shower on her. She’s hungry so Hyung Joon takes her to eat.
Jae Hee’s dad makes a call to Kang Sik and tries to encourage the pageant officials to pick anyone other than the top three Miss Seoul Jin Seon Mi contestants as the next Miss Korea. Turns out most of the past Miss Koreas have been Miss Seoul Jin and he thinks that’s not fair to the other provinces. He doesn’t care who is the next Miss Korea, from Jeju or Cheolla or wherever, as long as its not one of the Miss Seoul girls. Clearly he is doing everything to make sure Jae Hee doesn’t win. Smart sleazy dad. Afterwards he notes that it’s three more days until the presidential election and he has to buckle down until then.
The pageant director meets with Kang Sik to hand him a list of the judges. He’s representing Bada but the other judges from the department store and shoe manufacturers haven’t been chosen yet and is currently being decided. Kang Sik tells the Director that all but 5 of the Miss Koreas since 1971 have been Miss Seoul Jin and tells him to not select any Miss Seoul contestants to win this year. Perhaps the winner should come from Gangwando?
Jae Hee is checking her high heels and Sun Young comes in and says she wouldn’t mess with her because its respect for her being Miss Seoul Jin. She will support Jae Hee until its the finals when it’s just the two of them.
Hyung Joon takes Ji Young to a suite at the hotel that he’s rented to make as base camp for the Vivi team to help her during the final days. There is breakfast on the table and Hyung Joon helps Ji Young sit down and pours her a glass of milk as she marvels at the fancy digs. She picks up a still warm roll and bites into it. Hyung Joon still remembers that she loves warm bread. Hyung Joon keeps putting more food on her plate and Ji Young chows down in big bites but reminds Oppa to eat as well.
She gets up and wanders around and he laughs and tells her sit down and eat. He tells her to come here for breakfast every morning until the pageant but she worries that he has to work. He says that making her Miss Korea is part of Vivi’s job. Ji Young wonders if he’ll be the only one coming in the morning to breakfast with her and gives him a smirk. Heh.
Director Yoon rushes to Madam Ma to inform her that the judges are being changed to Gangwando people and its a clear sign that the pageant wants new blood and isn’t going to pick anyone from Seoul.
Madam Yang goes to put up her car and house as collateral to get more money to bribe the new judges. She rails at how much more money she’ll need to spend now that there are new judges.
The Vivi team heads to a meeting with Yoon but before heading inside Dr. Ko drags Hyung Joon off to demand the truth about why Yoon suddenly invested. Hyung Joon claims it’s because of his friendship with Yoon but Dr. Ko is no dummy and says there must be better terms now. She remembers Yoon wanting him to break up with Ji Young when they were camping so did he agree to that? Hyung Joon says nothing and Dr. Ko gets her answer.
The Vivi team sits down and gets the investment terms from Yoon. He’ll split the money into two installments and in case Vivi can’t be resurrected then the IP for the Vivi cream belongs to his company Human Partners. There is one more term that he didn’t write into the contract but he trusts that Hyung Joon will fulfill that promise. Hyung Joon says yes and Dr. Ko sits there looking absolutely livid with her arms crossed over her chest.
The Miss Korea contestants are watching a performance of some cheerleaders dressed like pirates and the routine ends with a human pyramid. They are told that this is the look for the upcoming Miss Korea pageant performance. Everyone wants their girl to be the girl on the top of the pyramid because it’s the most eye-catching spot. When asked who wants to be the top every girl raises their hands.
Madam Yang yells out that Sun Young is a dance major and has great rhythm. Teacher Jang yells out that Ji Young is super light and Hyung Joon adds that she doesn’t have big boobs so it’s okay to be on top and not flash everyone. Ahahaha! Ji Young turns and gives him a fighting fist with a smile. The selection for who is on top will be done tomorrow and he tells the girls to go prepare tonight.
Jae Hee is walking back to the hotel room when Ji Young brushes off a foot print from the back of her track suit.
Yoon gets a report from his secretary that Neo Cosmetics has agreed to their request to stop supplying raw materials to Vivi for their manufacturing. Oh you didn’t! Yoon ah, why so underhanded? He confirms Vivi has nowhere else to go to buy silicone even if they can buy the other raw materials elsewhere. Without silicone for their cosmetics Vivi will be bankrupt within 2 months. He tells his secretary to schedule a meeting with Neo Cosmetics.
Madam Yang takes Sun Young to meet a hanbok designer who is a major supporter of the Miss Korea pageant. When the owner comes in Madam Yang immediately starts speaking of how Sun Young wants a new hanbok for her grandma’s 70th birthday. Madam Ma meets with a political wife after she’s gotten her hair done and compliments her new style. She hands a gift to the lady of an organic face mask she made herself. The wife asks how she can repay Madam Ma for such a gift?
Hyung Joon brings the Vivi team to the hotel suite he rented and Teacher Jang bitches that he’s spending the most money to make the next Miss Korea. Everyone claps when Ji Young arrives and they christen this place as their base camp.
The political wife brings Madam Ma and Director Yoon to a Gangwando party where she is introduced to the new museum director who has been asked to be a judge. He hasn’t accepted yet but the wife introduces her as being famous in the pageant world for making two Miss Koreas. Madam Ma is introduced to another guy who comes straight out and says that even if she’s here at a Gangwando party the next Miss Korea will still come from Seoul in the end.
Ji Young’s family is being interviewed for a family segment to be aired before the pageant. Mom wants to do the interview alone but the reporter wants to interview the entire family. Grandpa is still grumpy but Uncle asks him to cheer on Ji Young who must be nervous and tired when the pageant rolls around.
The Vivi team practices the human pyramid with Ji Young on top so she can win the spot at tomorrow’s selection.
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Hyung Joon, Kang Woo, and Teacher Jang are on the bottom, Heung Sam and Dr. Ko in the middle, and Ji Young tries to climb on top but they keep falling down. It’s adorable and hilarious.
Finally Ji Young makes it on top and the pyramid holds for more than a few seconds. Everyone collapses in happiness and cheers. Ji Young crawls over and lays down next to Hyung Joon who says this is harder than it looks. Ji Young isn’t scared of it now that they’ve practiced but Hyung Joon tells her to be careful and not get hurt.
Ji Young feels so happy right now and thanks him. Dr. Ko stares at them with a sad look on her face. Teacher Jang complains and Dr. Ko tells him to stop complaining. He points out that he was placed in the middle and Dr. Ko says of course he is since he’s the man compared to Kang Woo or Heung Sam. That totally makes Teacher Jang’s day.
Ji Young asks Hyung Joon what the first thing they will do after the pageant is done? Hyung Joon smiles and says nothing. Ji Young wishes the pageant will be over as soon as possible.
Hyung Joon gets a page and returns the call about judges. He goes to meet a new judge and is surprised to hear of all the judging changes to prevent the next Miss Korea to come from Seoul. The new judge is an artist and makes it clear that he’s about to open an art exhibit with the implication that Hyung Joon can buy his art now as a bribe. When Hyung Joon hesitates the judge chides him that if he doesn’t step up then all the Miss Seouls are going to miss the cut.
Madam Ma talks with Director Yoon and wonders what is going on? Why is no one looking her in the eye and always looking uncomfortable when they see her? Something is going on. Hyung Joon goes to ask Madam Ma why there is talk that the next Miss Korea won’t come from Seoul? Madam Ma scoffs that Hyung Joon is finally on the ball and why does she feel like he’s finally doing something productive now. Hyung Joon asks if she’s here because she got a call from the sleazy artist?
Madam Yang rushes in as well and asks if she heard about the judging changes. She has and so has Hyung Joon. Madam Yang wants to complain to the organizers but Madam Ma reminds her that the list of judges is supposed to be sealed right before the pageant so if they complain then they are in fact revealing that the judge list has been leaked. They need to wait until the list is made public. Hyung Joon says they need to band together to fight this. Madam Ma tells him to calm down but they will indeed have to stop further disruptions.
Sun Young sneaks back to the shared hotel room when no one is around and adds something to Ji Young’s make up. Jae Hee comes in as Sun Young is leaving and notices Ji Young’s make up carry case is open. She closes it and then has a suspicion.
Ji Young heads back to the room and passes Sun Young on the way. Jae Hee sits alone in the room and stares at Ji Young’s case. Ji Young comes in but Jae Hee says nothing. Ji Young finishes washing up and comes back to grab a lotion from her case. Jae Hee keeps staring at her and Ji Young finally asks why she keep staring? Before Ji Young can put on her cream she gets a call and heads out.
Ji Young goes down to the lobby to meet with Yoon who compliments her on looking quite glowing. What if she becomes Miss Korea? Ji Young reminds him that she’s here to become Miss Korea so she doesn’t want to hear that from him. To Yoon it doesn’t matter if she wins or loses Miss Korea, she’ll always be the girl who makes him nervous. He can make a lot of money and win the hearts of girls, those are easy and can be planned. But only winning her heart is something that is difficult for him.
Since they were school she has never acted accordingly to his plan. Why? He was rich and had a lot of toys, so she was like a toy he couldn’t get and it made him frustrated. When he came back to Korea and wanted to see her again, he wanted to tell her that he was sincere towards her so he didn’t want to call her out of the blue. When she showed up again with Hyung Joon, it was his pride that led him to be mean to her. He’s someone without a lot ambition and he never got to confess his feelings to her. As a first love, he was just one of many guys around her that she didn’t even spare a glance for.
Compared to her first love, he treasured her more and actually was sad and regretful for so long. Would she believe him that he was thoroughly heartbroken because of her? Ji Young laughs but Yoon says he really likes her and that is why he opposed her being in the Miss Korea pageant. Yoon then reveals that Hyung Joon promised to break up with her after the pageant. It was in exchange for the full investment but it was a term that Hyung Joon offered up himself. Ji Young’s face falls as this shocker sinks in.
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Yoon doesn’t want Ji Young to only have eyers for his friend just like in the past and then he quietly slinks off alone. Yoon doesn’t want to have the same regret again. So he’ll have champagne ready if she wins and if she loses then it doesn’t matter to him either. After the pageant ends he will be by her side and she will still have a lot of future opportunities in life.
Ji Young goes to wash her face but she’s totally zoned out and stares in the mirror. Hyung Joon runs into Ji Young in the lobby and can tell that something is wrong. She keeps staring at him but lies that nothing is wrong. He keeps pushing her but she keeps insisting nothing is going on.
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Ji Young finally asks him why wait one week when they can break up now? He’s received the money already right? Ji Young walks away but Hyung Joon grabs her. Ji Young asks if she did something wrong this time as well? If not then it’s fine.
Ji Young shakes Hyung Joon’s hand off and runs into the stairwell to cry. She kneels down and stifles her sobs but her tears keep falling. Hyung Joon goes up to the suite where the team is waiting. He stares out the window and looks distraught. Dr. Ko appears to know what happened. Hyung Joon goes to the playground where Ji Young trained in the morning but she’s not there. He waits in the suite with breakfast for her but she never shows up.
The Vivi team is at the company and getting the bad news that their raw material suppliers have cut off business despite them having funds to pay now, claiming their late payment before is the reason. It sounds fishy since they do business with other customers who pay late. Kang Woo asks why they can’t buy supplies now that they have money. The three guys run to the bank to check on the funds and Hyung Joon remembers to ask Dr. Ko to check on Ji Young and she promises to do so.
Ji Young is getting ready in the morning and takes out her cream but Jae Hee offers hers to use. She doesn’t like butting in but others are already gunning for the Miss Seouls and they need to work together. She glares at Sun Young and tells her to stop it.
Director Yoon tells Madam Ma that Jae Hee turned down the pageant family portrait which leads him to realize they really don’t know anything about her. He wonders if this sudden pressure to not pick Miss Seoul Jin as the next Miss Korea appears to be directed at Jae Hee. No matter what he thinks it’s going to be impossible for Jae Hee to win Miss Korea Jin this year.
The Miss Korea contestants are taking pictures for a voting drive and all the candidates arrive for the photo op. Jae Hee’s dad shows up and awkwardly stands right next to Jae Hee. Ji Young is interviewed and she tells the citizens to come out and vote. Jae Hee is asked who she thinks will win the election and she hopes its someone who loves their family. Her dad’s face freezes hilariously.
Her dad is asked if he would let his daughter be in the pageant and her dad says winning is a family honor but sadly he doesn’t have a daughter. Jae Hee asks to say something to her dad. She speaks to the camera to her dad that she will win Miss Korea Jin to bring honor to her family name and asks him to watch her. The photographer asks everyone to link hands for the final picture and her dad reluctantly takes her hand. As he walks away, he mutters under his breath that the chit is just like her mom with the same stubborn personality!
Jae Hee is tearing up in the bus remembering her dad claiming he doesn’t have a daughter. Ji Young is remembering Hyung Joon wanting to be super good to her for the coming week. She takes out her gum and chews a piece because she’s super tired right now.
Madam Ma has noticed Jae Hee’s odd behavior at the photo shoot and now calls her out to lay everything on the table. Madam Ma thinks father-daughter look very nice together. Jae Hee’s face falls and Madam Ma asks if her guess is correct? Jae Hee confirms it and says that Madam Ma is the only other person in this world now other than her mom who knows who her dad is. Jae Hee says through her tears that she is happy that person is Madam Ma.
Ji Young is walking back to her room when she stops in the hallway and runs up to the suite. She finds a maid cleaning and asks for some time alone and if the cleaning supplies can be left in the room. Ji Young is cleaning the room when Hyung Joon arrives and asks what she is doing? Ji Young says when a person is stressed cleaning is a good way to relieve it. She vacuums and says that she is worth just one week in Oppa’s heart, right? She knows now that she is worth so little to him whereas she made a hard decision to start over again.
Ji Young stops vacuuming and asks if he was planning to break up with her after the pageant? Hyung Joon admits it, he was going to break up with her after she became Miss Korea. Ji Young says everyone is waiting now for the top-15 preliminaries and everyone knows that the 37 who don’t make the cut will pack their bags and go home quietly and no one will remember them. Those who make it to the top-15 move on to round 2. Without Hyung Joon it’s like round 2 doesn’t exit for her. She feels like her life will always just be the preliminaries in that case.
So Ji Young has decided that her Miss Korea dreams and her love will move on to round 2. Oppa can stay in round 1 and break up with her based on the contract and that won’t matter because she won’t let him go. She cannot let him go because she hates quitting midway. She lived like that her whole life on the bottom of the rungs and she doesn’t want to anymore. She’d be crazy to let him go. He doesn’t dare to do anything until he gauges how she feels and he’s going to make it so one day people call them Mr. President and Madam Wife.
Hyung Joon smiles and asks her what else? Ji Young cries that he is pathetic and sad and………that is when Hyung Joon rushes forward and pulls her in for a major kiss.
Hyung Joon kisses Ji Young as he embraces her tightly and she hugs him back.
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Thoughts of Mine:
Man was that an intense build up to a kiss or what? I’m still gobsmacked at how Hyung Joon was kissing Ji Young like there was no tomorrow. But for these two, that might not be a stretch since they appear to have less than a week left to figure out how to stay together. I don’t think it’s as easy as telling Yoon to f-ck off and just breaking the promise. There is a long way to go for Miss Korea, for Vivi’s future, and for Hyung Joon and Ji Young. What was lovely was how Ji Young took the news of Hyung Joon giving her up and worked through it and came away with a decision that reflected who she had become. She wasn’t going to give up on HER love for him, regardless of what he chose to do or what others were doing to them. It’s akin to saying that he can break up with her but she wasn’t going to take it laying down. Good gracious she continues to astound me with her character growth and grit. She’s also less prone to fits of insecurity and doubt and I think she doesn’t fault Hyung Joon for his decision. The last few weeks they spent reconnecting has reminded her of who he is as a man and it’s still her Oppa that she fell in love with as a teenager. Hyung Joon giving up Ji Young wasn’t because he didn’t love her enough, it was because he loved her too much. It’s hard to hate Yoon for using every arsenal in his hands to break them up but it’s also the fault of the world that they can’t tell him to buzz off and actually need his help. I do hate Yoon for going behind Vivi’s back to ensure the company goes bankrupt regardless of his investment, but that does provide the stakes needed to keep us worried about the future of Vivi. Like Dr. Ko said in the last episode – something worries her because it feels so perfect that everything is getting resolved just like that. Nothing has been resolved other than the OPT knowing the depths of their love for each other.
I also like the judging twist and how Jae Hee’s dad is now getting involved in the pageant. The drama is really pulling all its threads tighter and tighter as the story progresses which is a clear sign of good writing. This also gives the three bickering Miss Seoul Jin Seon Mi handlers a reason to bond together in a Miss Seoul versus the rest of the Korean provinces way. Madam Ma is the experience, Madam Yang is the spitfire, and Hyung Joon is the brains of this collaboration to make sure the pageant isn’t stacking the odds against the Miss Seouls right off the bat. Jae Hee also gets more airtime as she continues her quest to exist in this world other than as the secret daughter of a presidential candidate. She remains a really admirable competitor and her backstory really sympathetic and I hope she never resorts to any underhanded tactics in the future. I actually wouldn’t mind if she won because ultimately Ji Young needs the journey for her growth and rebirth but winning not not be needed for either her future or Vivi’s future. That doesn’t mean I don’t want Ji Young to win because right now her perseverance is so amazing to watch and root for. MK is definitely the girly version of the typical feel good sports movie and one done without resorting to paper thin caricatures of either heroes or villains. Hyung Joon and Ji Young are flawed and they admit as much to themselves and others. It’s that very pluckiness and desperation that make them compelling. I laughed through the human pyramid practice and swooned over every Hyung Joon and Ji Young interaction and in the end fairly collapsed in a heap after Ji Young gave her rousing soliloquy about sticking with both her life and love dreams to the very end this time around. Go get ’em, Ji Young! I’m with you every step remaining of the way.
Click here to watch Miss Korea.