Holy jeebus what did I just watch? Episode 9 of Bride of the Century was insane, but improbably insane in all ways that make for excellent television. It’s like a train wreck of narrative piling on that shouldn’t work but instead works marvelously. I was alternatively shocked and thrilled, seething and swooning, this is exactly how a K-drama can pull out all the stops and make me come back wanting more. After two episodes of keeping the OTP of Doo Rim and Kang Joo mostly apart, this one threw the two of them up against the wall called love versus possible death and asked what decision they would make. Kang Joo broke off the engagement with Yi Kyung (okay, Doo Rim in reality) because he loved her but didn’t want to risk her life in case that pesky dead first bride curse turned out to be real. He didn’t check with Doo Rim beforehand, though one would assume that no one would be willing to die for love. Clearly Kang Joo was living in reality land and not drama land, because in drama land the leading lady always wants to die for love. LOL, I’m not wrong on this, right?
Of course the leading lady has to be willing to battle the forces otherwise there are no stakes, and here Doo Rim proves to us that she is every bit the tough in love heroine as all such predecessors before her. There is a curse on the family that is aimed squarely at her if she marries Kang Joo? She’ll take her chances, thank you very much. There is that whole substitute princess gig which Kang Joo doesn’t know about yet, but she’ll cross that bridge after marriage if she survives the wedding night. Double LOL, I can’t even get my mind wrapped around what craziness Doo Rim thinks she’s pulling off for the chance to marry Kang Joo, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and watch how this thing unfolds. I was annoyed the drama didn’t have her come clean to Kang Joo that she is Doo Rim and not Yi Kyung, but clearly the drama wants to milk that stake for later and perhaps save that angst. Right now the big obstacle is whether the curse will strike the bride down after marriage so obviously the drama doesn’t want to show hand so thoroughly. At least my precious OTP keeps saying I love you to each other in this episode, which goes a long long way in keeping me a happy camper.
Episode 9 recap:
Doo Rim confesses that she misses Kang Joo but he insists on breaking up to protect her. Kang Joo steels his heart and walks out of the hospital room. Doo Rim cries and cries and then suddenly rips her IV out and runs out of the hospital room looking for Kang Joo. She presses the elevator anxiously not wanting to have him just leave like that.
Kang Joo is walking through the hospital looking all bereft and runs into Yi Hyun in the lobby. Yi Hyun hopes that going forward he will never have occasion to see Kang Joo again. Well that’s saying openly that you don’t want him as a brother-in-law. Yi Hyun confirms that things are over now, right? He tells Director Choi to go well.
Doo Rim runs through the stairwell and rushes to the lobby. She screams out “Don’t go” at Kang Joo’s back. He stops and she runs up and back hugs him. Poor Yi Hyun turns back when he hears Doo Rim and has to watch her hug Kang Joo. She takes it a step further and says “I love you” o Kang Joo. Not sure if Yi Hyun heard that but I hope he turned momentarily deaf in that second. Kang Joo doesn’t melt at the love confession (he’s the babo!) and asks if she’s stupid? Does she not understand what he said? She does but she doesn’t believe in that stuff and it doesn’t matter either.
Kang Joo stares and tells her not to abandon her life because of him. He turns and leaves Doo Rim sobbing in the lobby while Yi Hyun stands there just listening to her cry. Halmoni and Jin Joo arrive at the hospital and runs into Doo Rim sitting like a zoned out log in the hospital corridor.
Doo Rim is deposited back in the hospital room and Jin Joo sends halmoni home and comes back to check on her. Doo Rim thanks Jin Joo but Jin Joo wants Doo Rim to stop being Yi Kyung anymore. She shouldn’t like Choi Kang Joo, everything will be fine if she doesn’t like him. Look at her now, crying and fainting because of him. It’s true that she could genuinely like Kang Joo after spending time with him, he’s rich, handsome, and smart and it would be strange for her not to fall for him.
But Doo Rim is not Jang Yi Kyung so Doo Rim is not allowed to like Kang Joo. Doo Rim bravely asks why she can’t like him? Because she’s not rich, pretty or smart? Jin Joo says this charade can’t continue forever and the day Kang Joo finds out he’ll hate her and not want her close to him. Doo Rim knows that but she still wants to keep him beside her, she wants him next to her for the rest of her life. Awwww, I love your honesty about your feelings, Doo Rim, but it needs to go part and parcel with coming clean to Kang Joo about who you are.
Kang Joo is destroying the family altar and his mom and dad are alerted and rush to stop him. He is screaming about how he’s going crazy but Dad just slaps him hard and calls him a weak whelp. If he can’t even say what is in his heart, how can he understand how another person feels? If he wants to hide here and be scared and give up, then Dad is fine with it! He yells at his wife to come out with him and leave Kang Joo to wallow in self-pity.
Yi Hyun goes home and confronts President Ma for calling Kang Joo to the hospital. Why did she do it? Yi Kyung tells his oppa to lay off their mom, she did nothing wrong. She knows oppa is mad right now because of Doo Rim but he’s not allowed to be angry at their mom because she did nothing wrong. Yi Hyun is about to leave when President Ma says that Yi Hyun should see clearly now how Doo Rim really feels. Yi Hyun asks if she hopes he will clear up his feelings going forward because of what he saw? President Ma hopes that this is the last time he raises his voice to her because of Doo Rim. Uh no, you deserve to be yelled at and slapped because of your using Doo Rim.
Yi Hyun says in the future, he will have other reasons to raise his voice to her. If she wanted him to fix his feelings there are other ways to do so but she chose this method. They have a brief stare down before Yi Hyun goes to his room. Yi Kyung tells her mom not to worry but President Ma just smirks. Yi Hyun goes back to his room and calls a manager to investigate something for him.
Doo Rim is in her hospital room holding her cellphone. She calls President Ma and then checks out of the hospital. Jin Joo wants to know where she is going but Doo Rin has Jin Joo go back to the store first while she handles something. Doo Rim goes back to President Ma’s house and rings the doorbell.
Doo Rim sits down with President Ma and has a hard time saying what she wants to say but President Ma tells her to just come clean about it. Doo Rim is here to talk a deal with President Ma. Doo Rim wants to become Choi Kang Joo’s bride, she wants to be his bride even if after one day she’ll die. What?!? So she’s willing to marry him knowing she’s the sacrificial first bride? I don’t get you girlfriend.
Doo Rim heads outside and places a call which goes to voicemail. She thinks back to the rest of her talk with President Ma who acts all “no way, I can’t let you do this, you’re giving up your name and your life” though we know what a fakety faker she is. Doo Rim has to fairly beg President Ma and admits she can’t live without Kang Joo. Will President Ma help her stay beside him? President Ma asks if she know the danger and does she have the confidence not to regret it? Doo Rim nods and says that if nothing happens to her after the wedding, then she gets to stay with Kang Joo forever as Na Doo Rim. She gets to tell him the truth if she survives. President Ma asks if Kang Joo will accept the deception afterwards? Doo Rim will take the chance, she will take the chance that Kang Joo will hate her and leave her afterwards.
President Ma and Yi Kyung sit and discuss how Doo Rim is willingly going towards her death. President Ma cackles that she’s a good girl while Yi Kyung snarks that a love that is willing to risk one’s life is soooo touching she’s envious. Shut up, you two make me barf.
Kang Joo gets into his car at work and suddenly spots Doo Rim lurking right outside staring at him. She walks over and gets into his car and he doesn’t nothing to stop her. She asks why he’s not answering his phone? He asks if she’s okay now that she left the hospital? Doo Rim pouts that she’s not okay, her legs are weak and she has no energy. He can’t leave her here so tells her to put on her seat belt and drives off with her.
During the drive Doo Rim stares at him and giggles maniacally and he asks if she’s never seen a face before? She feels alive again seeing him because she missed him so much she got sick so he has to take responsibility for her. He tells her not to make things up and go find someone else to take responsibility for her. Doo Rim says it has to be him since she got this way because of him. Why push her to someone else? She wants to become his bride. He asks if she wants to die that badly? She says yes, even if she dies one day she still wants to be his bride.
Kang Joo pulls over and is supremely pissed. He dares her to say another word and he won’t forgive her. Doo Rim glares at him and runs out of the car into the middle of the street. A car squeaks to a stop and just barely avoids mowing her down. Kang Joo pulls her to safety and asks what she’s doing? She asks why he even cares and says her life and death has nothing to do with him anymore and calls him a coward! How could he so sure that something would happen to her?
The future isn’t set so how can he give up without trying? Doesn’t he have the confidence to take a chance? She does, she has the confidence to take a chance to be his bride. Does he have the confidence not to regret passing her by? Kang Joo can’t answer that question, so Doo Rim says her biggest fear is not having him beside her. Her biggest regret would be him passing her by and them missing this chance to be together. She pulls him close for a hug while Kang Joo just looks totally torn.
Secretary Kim is having lunch at the restaurant with Jin Joo and she asks why Kang Joo broke the engagement with his fiancee? Secretary Kim reluctantly tells her the family curse but has her swear not to tell anyone. She asks if it’s true but he doesn’t know since it’s just a legend. Jin Joo thinks there must be some truth in it for Kang Joo to break the engagement. Secretary Kim asks why Jin Joo is so curious and she quickly changes the subject.
Kang Joo’s grandmother goes to see his mom to ask about the rumor she heard about Kang Joo wanting to end the engagement? She asks why? Kang Joo’s mom is walking grandmother out and runs into Kang Joo’s dad coming him. The two of them briefly glance at each other before she rushes out. He asks Kang Joo’s mom what happened and she reveals that grandmother heard about Kang Joo wanting to end the engagement. Since she already heard there is no reason to hide it from her.
Doo Rim goes back to the restaurant and finds Yi Hyun waiting for her inside. He asks if she’s okay and she assures him that she’s fine. He asks if President Ma said anything to Doo Rim and her silence speaks volumes. He wonders if President Ma said anything awkward about them but Doo Rim says she is the one always creating trouble for President Ma. Yi Hyun knows he can’t force Doo Rim to be with him, but she also can’t be with Kang Joo. That fate doesn’t exist between her and Kang Joo. To grab onto a fate that isn’t meant to be only makes it harder for herself. Doo Rim knows and tells him not to worry about her. Yi Hyun tells her to rest up and leaves.
Doo Rim is called in to meet Kang Joo’s mom and she notes that Doo Rim doesn’t look very well. She knows that Kang Joo has been doing strange things lately because his heart isn’t clear. She called Doo Rim in today to ask what she feels? What if her mom also disagrees? Doo Rim says she likes Kang Joo and doesn’t want this fate to pass them by. Even if her family opposes it, she’ll still continue. Kang Joo’s mom is relieved to hear this from Doo Rim and asks if she needs any help from her? Doo Rim doesn’t, she just needs everything to be as is until Kang Joo changes his mind.
Kang Joo’s dad calls Kang Joo’s grandmother out to meet and she knows he has something to say. Kang Joo’s dad brings up Driver Man and the car accident thirty years ago. Kang Joo’s grandmother looks totally freaked out.
The Choi housekeeper is lecturing all the servants like she’s the lady of the house. Suddenly all the servants run back because Kang Joo’s mom is walking Doo Rim out. The housekeeper walks Doo Rim out and the Kang Joo’s mom reminds the housekeeper to watch her mouth and not say too much. The housekeeper wants to know why Doo Rim is here since the engagement is over and Kang Joo’s mom shushes her.
Kang Joo sits in his office brooding and thinking back to Doo Rim calling him a coward for being scared of the unknown future and whether he has the confidence not to regret missing his chance with her. Kang Joo makes up his mind and rushes out.
Kang Joo goes to see President Ma and begs for a chance to start over with Yi Kyung (Doo Rim). President Ma claims she called him to the hospital for him to end it with her. Kang Joo wants to start over with her and President Ma asks if he wants to risk her Yi Kyung’s life? Kang Joo gets on his knees to beg but President Ma is not interested. She goes to get the necklace and tells him to take it and leave. She tells Kang Joo to think of Yi Kyung’s welfare and reminds him that he wanted to break the engagement in the first place.
Kang Joo says he loves Doo Rim and wants to hold onto her. President Ma says its too late and their side doesn’t want it. She wants to save Yi Kyung’s life and won’t risk it. She leaves Kang Joo kneeling there. Yi Kyung is eavesdropping from another room this whole time. President Ma calls Doo Rim afterwards to tell her that Kang Joo came by and asked to start over with her.
Doo Rim goes to see Kang Joo the next day and says she heard he got on his knees to President Ma. She wishes she was home to see it, it must’ve been amusing. She walks forward to hug him, thanking him for accepting her heart. He tells her this place is the holy office and not suitable for such things. She steps back and he wonders when she became such a romance pro since she seemed so innocent. She says it was because of him so he has to take responsibility for her. Kang Joo agrees and he went to see President Ma because he wanted to take responsibility for her.
Doo Rim is leaving the department store when she passes the neighborhood ahjumma who stole everyone’s money on the escalator. She chases after the woman who runs away. Roo Mi spots this and pulls that woman to hide and then confronts Doo Rim to ask if she plans to end things with Kang Joo? Doo Rim insists that she’s going to marry Kang Joo still. Roo Mi asks if she wants the family fortune so much but Doo Rim smiles and says it’s because she sincerely loves him. Roo Mi asks if she’s willing to risk dying and Doo Rim is willing to risk it because she’s even more scared of missing this chance with him. She tells Roo Mi that she doesn’t hate her for what she did during this time because is must be difficult for her as well.
After Doo Rim leaves, Roo Mi goes to dig the ahjumma out of the clothing rack where she hid her. The ahjumma thanks Roo Mi and she asks to speak with the ahjumma.
Yi Hyun is handed an investigation by a subordinate into whether President Ma rented the officetel for Yi Kyung to hide. The subordinate says there is no such evidence. He then goes to meet with President Ma and turns out he’s working for her and covered her tracks. She tells him to continue to report what Yi Hyun asked him to do.
Yi Hyun goes home and rummages through Yi Kyung’s drawer and finds a cell phone there. He takes out his cell phone and calls the number he dialed before when the ahjumma answered. He connects the dots now that President Ma was the one who orchestrated Yi Kyung’s runaway bride routine, and did so after Yi Hyun ran into Doo Rim and told them about a girl who looked just like Yi Kyung. He also realizes his subordinate lied to him and is most likely taking orders from President Ma.
Doo Rim is making a lunchbox and Jin Joo asks who it’s for? Doo Rim hesitates and then lies that it’s for Yi Hyun oppa. Halmoni hears this and is totally pleased.
The fortune teller comes and halmoni is happy to see him this time and has no intention of chasing him away. She now knows that he really is a famous fortune teller and says that he was correct, her granddaughter went to the hospital that day. She asks him to tell her again what he said that day. The fortune teller says this place as a strange dark aura and is making him thirsty. Halmoni goes to get him something to drink and then will prepare a nice sumptuous feast for him.
Doo Rim heads out to deliver the lunchbox when the fortune teller notices the bracelet on her arm. He grabs Doo Rim’s arm and asks where she got this bracelet? Doo Rim says she got it as a thank you present and it’s supposed to bring good luck. Doo Rim leaves and the fortune teller wonders how this could have happened. He won’t tell halmoni what he sees anymore because it can’t be divulged and he runs out after Doo Rim. He watches her walking away and wonders what this means? The girl doesn’t know that it’s not luck but instead the spectre of death walking towards her. Her life is now at risk but he can’t tell her since the secrets of the unknown can’t be revealed.
Kang Joo stands in the family altar and thinks back to Doo Rim asking him to have a private wedding just the two of them, like a love’s promise to each other. She doesn’t see the need for a big wedding as long as they have a promise to each other for hundreds and thousands of years. She doesn’t need a ring or a wedding dress, she can wear a flower crown and a grass ring. She wants nature and the sunshine to wish them well. Kang Joo listens to this with a smile. Doo Rim asks him to consider this as their only way to be together.
Kang Joo asks the family ghost to protect this family and he will protect the owner of his heart. Even if he ends up shattered into pieces and destroyed, he wants to take this chance for the owner of his heart. Kang Joo walks out and the family ghost appears.
Kang Joo calls Doo Rim and finds out she’s at the department store waiting for him in the lobby. She runs into Secretary Kim who greets her politely and asks if she’s here to see Kang Joo? He says Kang Joo isn’t in the office and asks if she made plans with him? He says the department store is closing soon but she assures him she’ll just wait a bit longer. After he walks away, she pouts and wonders why Kang Joo is not here yet?
Doo Rim is waiting and waiting when suddenly all the lights in the department store turn off. She looks up and sees three banners of the moon light up above. Suddenly a ball of red yard rolls and bumps into her feet.
Doo Rim picks it up and turns back to see Kang Joo sitting there holding the other end of the yarn. She walks back to him and asks why there is suddenly a moon and what is with this red yarn? Kang Joo says the moon is supposed to bring lovers together with red string, so this signifies the two of them being tied together. They are the sky and the earth, apart but always connected. The road ahead might be hard but he won’t ever let her go. Kang Joo says “I love you” and then takes out the necklace and puts it on Doo Rim.
Kang Joo asks Doo Rim to be his bride and then silences her with a kiss when she starts to get quippy with his proposal. Kissing and more kissing under the moon banners.
Kang Joo drops Doo Rim off and says that he’ll take all the hits, the opposition, and the censure going forward. If her family finds out then let him handle it. Does she trust him? Doo Rim nods and tells him to go safely. Kang Joo tells her to go inside and then leaves but not before adorably waving at her a few times from outside the car and after he gets behind the wheel.
Suddenly Yi Kyung’s voice rings out and she asks Doo Rim if she has the confidence not to regret it? Roo Mi has been spying from the distance this entire time and she is stunned to see Yi Kyung and Doo Rim at the same place. Doo Rim tells Yi Kyung that she won’t regret it. Yi Kyung smirks and says that Doo Rim’s decisions means both of them will become Kang Joo’s bride soon. One will die, the other will live. Yi Kyung doesn’t think this is a bad idea. After the wedding, Yi Kyung will seamlessly take Doo Rim’s place if something happens to Doo Rim and no one will be the wiser.
Yi Kyung wonders if they look identical for this reason, to allow a fate that cannot be to happen. Doo Rim wants to prove that his family’s curse is not true, but Yi Kyung says there is something protecting that family that transcends space and time. Doo Rim ought to see that thing soon, and after seeing that thing, Yi Kyung wonders if Doo Rim still has the confidence not to change her mind. Roo Mi listens to this and sneaks off.
Kang Joo’s mom reads the journal left by the dead first wife of Kang Joo’s dad and in the journal the dead first wife writes of meeting a strange woman who asked her “Even if you lose your life, you still want to marry that man?”
Doo Rim walks back to the restaurant and Roo Mi follows her. Doo Rim senses someone following her but doesn’t see Roo Mi. As Doo Rim heads up the hill to the restaurant, she suddenly sees the woman in the red coat who she rescued in the ocean. The woman says Doo Rim’s necklace is really pretty. Doo Rim wonders how she came to be here?
The woman asks if she wants to become the owner of the necklace? Doo Rim asks what her real identity is and what she wants from her? The woman asks if Doo Rim really thought the bracelet was lucky? The moment Doo Rim’s get her love, she’ll lose her life. Suddenly all the street lamp light bulbs shatter and the woman in red morphs into the Choi family ghost dressed all in black. Oooooog, scary and I love it!
Thoughts of Mine:
It’s an understatement to say episode 9 of BotC was a jam-packed hour of entertainment. It was like that but juiced up on twelve cans of Red Bull. Kang Joo and Doo Rim not only got re-engaged, they said their I love yous and planned a quiet little wedding. All the while Doo Rim is pulling off the con of the century on Kang Joo and gave the curse the proverbial middle finger by going forward with the wedding to Kang Joo in the guise of Yi Kyung. She clearly is in way over her head, and so desperate to get married to Kang Joo and she’s willing to risk her life and losing him forever should he elect not to forgive her for the deception. I can’t say her thought process is all that flawed – okay, it’s completely wack if we were to apply real life logic – but more like she’s thinking with her heart and her gut rather than planning a long term scenario. If she knew both Moms were deliberately setting up the first bride as a sacrifice, Kang Joo’s mom using Yi Kyung and Yi Kyung’s mom using Doo Rim, then she can actually offer to marry Kang Joo as herself and neither of the two Moms could object. All they want is the curse to hit whichever girl is unlucky enough to be Kang Joo’s first bride. Of course President Ma needs that girl to be Doo Rim pretending to be Yi Kyung because if Doo Rim dies then Yi Kyung can swan in and be the replacement with none the wiser. We know that’s not going to happen, either Doo Rim dying or Kang Joo accepting a replacement that he can’t tell immediately isn’t the girl he loves. But still, this plan of Doo Rim’s is surely not the one I would have suggested, but I guess it gets her Kang Joo the fastest though with the highest amount of risk.
I have to admit it was absolutely satisfying the way Kang Joo and Doo Rim confessed their love for each other, both how persistent she was in opening herself up, and then later how once he got over the hump he was all in. I guess it might not be a huge deal that she’s Doo Rim and not Yi Kyung, because ultimately he never knew Yi Kyung and the only girl he ever fell in love with is Doo Rim. And in the grander scheme of things, there are plotting mothers, a homicidal grandmother, and a ghost plus a curse, so perhaps Doo Rim’s deception is the least of Kang Joo’s worries. I think in another drama it would be a dealbreaker, but in this silly frothy supernatural tale this shouldn’t be taken as seriously as a breach of trust. Doo Rim also knows that she’s taking the risk Kang Joo may never forgive her and she’s willing to do so to earn the only chance she has with him. I accept her decision because she’s going in with her eyes wide open as to all the risks, whether its her life on the line or Kang Joo’s love being shattered by a deception he can’t forgive. I would say that if Doo Rim breaks the curse, deception or no deception, her being alive likely outweighs everything. I continued to hate President Ma with every fiber of my being, she was way more evil in this episode than Kang Joo’s mom with the way she played both Doo Rim and Kang Joo. But at least Yi Hyun is now fully aware of the extent of how the women in the Jang family behave and now Doo Rim has an ever stronger ally on her side. But with the way the scary version of the family ghost showed up at the end of the episode, one has to wonder if Doo Rim really doesn’t want to reconsider the devil’s bargain she struck to marry Kang Joo. What’s the point of being bride for a day? I guess my question depends on whether Doo Rim gets her wedding night first, because if she does then maybe it really is worth it. Heh.
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