Bride of the Century makes a decisive turn into the crescendo latter half of its run remaining firmly in control of its narrative rather than the other way around. This drama isn’t about to be led around by the balls of trying give certain actors screen time or accede to fan clamoring for certain plot directions. This baby is crazy fun and it knows it, which is why it ups the ante yet again. A major character falls into a coma in this episode, which is checking off that K-drama trope box but managing to create genuine major emotional stakes with it. I actually feel Doo Rim being caught in a major bind this time around, as opposed to battling nefarious forces such as a curse or conniving mothers in order to be with Kang Joo. I always thought the substitute princess character didn’t have legs, the moment Doo Rim decided to fight for Kang Joo there wasn’t anything short of taking her out that would keep her from outing herself.
Then this episode rolled around and I went “oooooh, that makes sense” and suddenly Doo Rim has to back off and it’s up to Kang Joo to find his real wife back. I don’t blame him for not immediately realizing Yi Kyung was a cold carbon copy. His grandmother was sick, he was dealing with a quickie wedding and a curse that didn’t come true, as well as floating a bit on the buzz of pulling off a major con to marry the woman of his heart. Give the boy a few days to feel around the woman beside him and use his smarts and intuition to realize something is seriously off. Roo Mi goes from annoying clingy to awesomely snarky, and for once a second female lead actually does an about-face midway through a drama and does so with flair. She likely realized there is so much insanity of crossed plotting going around her it’s probably a good idea to step the heck away from this mess and be glad she’s not mired in it. Doo Rim and Kang Joo spent this episode completely apart but it didn’t lessen how entertaining the story remains one whit.
Episode 11 recap:
Yi Kyung takes the hospital elevator up and the door opens to reveal Kang Joo waiting for her. She asks if he’s worried that she wouldn’t come which is why he’s waiting right by the door. He was a bit worried her mom would hide her away and she teases that she ran away once and won’t be doing it again. They head in to check on the sick grandmother.
Kang Joo’s mom and Kang In are in the waiting area and Mom gives Yi Kyung a very pointed look when Yi Kyung walks over. LOL, was she really expecting a dead new bride? She tells Kang Joo and Yi Kyung to go into the hospital room and then keeps boring holes at Yi Kyung as she walks in. Kang In calls Roo Mi to tell her that Yi Kyung is back and she asks where they are right now. Come join the crazy clown car party, Roo Mi!
Kang Joo and Yi Kyung sit by sick grandmother’s bedside and she asks to speak with Yi Kyung privately. Kang Joo steps away and Grandmother reaches out her hand to Yi Kyung and confesses that she wanted to see her one final time. It would be hilarious if Yi Kyung became a nun in the future due to her having some sort of natural aptitude to receive dying confessions.
Kang Joo finds his mom standing in a daze in the lobby area and apologizes for not telling her about the private wedding and asks that she understand where he’s coming from. She wants to talk about that later but he feels like he beat the superstition and hopes that she can overcome her long held beliefs as well. He knows why she clung onto those beliefs because she did it for his sake, like how she kept the side residence intact. Yi Kyung’s mom arrives and acts all worried about the sick grandmother and says the kids situation can be discussed at a later time. God, her two-faced lying grates so much.
Kang Joo sends Yi Kyung home with her mom and promises he will be by later tonight to discuss everything with her. After they walk away, Kang Joo lets out a sigh and then answers a call from Secretary Kim and reveals he’s still at the hospital.
Secretary Kim ends the call and tells Jin Joo that Kang Joo is at the hospital and Yi Kyung is with him. Jin Joo remains worried and Secretary Kim jealously pouts and asks if she likes Kang Koo. Jin Joo tells him to stop talking nonsense and keeps trying to call Doo Rim but her calls go straight to voicemail. Roo Mi arrives at the hospital and asks to speak with Kang Joo’s mom. Haven’t been this happy to see her pinchy face in, like, EVER.
The driver deposits Yi Kyung and President Ma at home and we see Yi Hyun in a car waiting to follow the driver as he takes off to handle Doo Rim’s kidnapping.
Kang Joo arrives at the Jang residence bearing an apology bouquet and President Ma continues acting cold towards him. He offers her the flowers and she asks if that’s enough to earn her forgiveness? Yi Kyung plays along and urges her mom to stop being angry. Kang Joo apologizes for what he did and promises he will love Yi Kyung more for it going forward. He asks that she accept him. President Ma claims that she can’t believe her own daughter would go behind her back like this, and all for a man. Yi Kyung pouts to her mom and President Ma hands Yi Kyung to him and asks that he take good care of her. Kang Joo solemnly accepts this responsibility.
The driver meets with some gangsters who are there guard Doo Rim. Yi Hyun waits for the coast to clear before sneaking into the warehouse area. Yi Hyun skulks around outside until he spots an opening and sneaks inside. He finds a car repair shop and the car used to kidnap Doo Rim parked inside. She’s still tied up inside the car and he pulls open the car door to untie her. Her leg is injured and he takes off his beloved Doo Rim tie to wrap up her injury and helps her up.
The take two steps out the door and the gangsters arrive bearing bats and Yi Hyun tries to hold them off while yelling at Doo Rim to run away. Doo Rim limps out while Yi Hyun is no match for the gangsters and gets beat up. A gangster beats Yi Hyun over the head repeatedly with a bat while he’s leaning over to shield a sobbing Doo Rim and this scene is cross-cut with Kang Joo drinking wine in the living room with a smirking Yi Kyung and a devious President Ma. The gangsters continue beating the crap out of Yi Hyun while Doo Rim screams for help, and OMO she is going to have a hard time not feeling terribly indebted to him after this. Suddenly a car pulls up and the gangsters back off while Doo Rim holds a bloody and unconscious Yi Hyun while howling in despair.
President Ma gets a call and heads out. Yi Kyung looks a bit concerned at how her mom rushed out just like that. Kang Joo asks Yi Kyung what his grandmother said to her back at the hospital but Yi Kyung plays coy and says it’s a secret.
Yi Hyun has been taken to the hospital and Doo Rim is waiting in the waiting area. She stares at Yi Hyun’s bloody tie and cries, remembering their first meeting when she pushed him out of the way of the falling brick, their hanging out on the street and he bought her a tasty snack, how she put the tie on him, the way he confessed that he wanted to be with her and hold her hand forever, and how he was planning to wait until she came to him.
President Ma stands outside and watches Doo Rim crying inside and chews out the driver lackey to demand how this happened! Suddenly Kang Joo’s mom walks up and says that she can explain how this happened. President Ma is stunned and this time Kang Joo’s mom has the upper hand and she can see the crying Doo Rim outside the OR. She asks if that is President Ma’s daughter?
She calls Kang Joo and asks if Yi Kyung is with him and wants to talk with her. Kang Joo hands the phone to Yi Kyung who answers sweetly. Kang Joo’s mom thanks her for cooking dinner for Kang Joo and tells them to enjoy the evening. Ice water in her veins, this one. She ends the call and glares at President Ma.
The two moms sit down to hash it out, how President Ma got a substitute for Yi Kyung after Kang Joo started working for the company, this girl from Namhae called Na Doo Rim. Was she looking to use this substitute to cement Yi Kyung’s position as the Taeyang Group daughter-in-law? President Ma dishes it right back at her for setting Yi Kyung up as a dead first bride to begin with and having no intention for her to be the daughter-in-law. Kang Joo’s mom doesn’t even apologize for that and says they had too much ambition and that is where the problem lies. If they back off now, she’ll let this go quietly. She gives President Ma until tomorrow to give an answer.
President Ma is ready to give an answer now and pulls up a cellphone recording Yi Kyung made of Kang Joo’s grandmother’s hospital beside confession. Kang Joo’s grandmother confesses to intentionally running down Kang Joo’s dad’s first wife thirty years ago. After Kang Joo’s dad married his first wife, she went to the honeymoon villa to confirm whether she survived the first night. She was shocked to see the first wife alive and well and not dead like the curse. After the first wife steps away to go grocery shopping and leaves her journal behind on the table outside, Kang Joo’s grandmother swipes it and reads the journal. The final page of the journal was the first wife writing that the family curse isn’t real at all. The grandmother has believed that if the first wife died then her daughter could be the second wife permanently.
The grandmother decided to take matters into her own hands. As she’s reading the diary, she sees the first wife walking back to the villa carrying groceries and she steps on the accelerator and runs the first wife down. She did it for her daughter, for her daughter who spent every day just waiting for Kang Joo’s dad. She got out of the car and looked at the first wife dead on the ground and couldn’t believe what she did, leaving the journal beside her but with the last page torn out. Back in the present, the grandmother hands the last page to Yi Kyung.
President Ma says that she and Kang Joo’s mom both made the same mistake, which was believing the curse was real. But President Ma luckily got a chance to get correct the mistake now thanks to Kang Joo’s grandmother. She uses this terrible secret and the threat to out it and demands that Kang Joo’s mom back down now and let Yi Kyung stay forever as Kang Joo’s wife. This time it’s President Ma who tells Kang Joo’s mom to give her an answer by tomorrow.
Yi Kyung walks Kang Joo out and he sighs that yesterday felt like a storm and finally he can relax now. Yi Kyung assures him her mom won’t be mad anymore but Kang Joo reveals that compared to her mom he’s more scared of her oppa. His sense was that Yi Hyun oppa stares at him like a predator stares at competition, as if he’s stealing his sister away. He wants to find time to grab a drink with Yi Hyun. Kang Joo takes Yi Kyung’s hand and then wonders why her calloused hands feel so silky soft now. Yi Kyung makes the excuse that she got a beauty treatment. Kang Joo leaves her here for the night and tells her to sleep well.
Jin Joo rushes to the hospital and finds Doo Rim all beaten up and waiting outside the OR. The doctor walks out having done his best on Yi Hyun and the rest remains up to further observation. Doo Rim almost collapses for what happened to oppa because of her.
Kang Joo’s mom goes home and reads over the first wife’s journal and places the final missing page next to the tear to confirm it’s the real deal. The final journal page says this curse isn’t real and simply a test of true love to see who has the right to be the wife. She remembers President Ma’s threat to out this truth to the world and ruin sick grandmother as well as Taeyang Group. Kang Joo’s mom cries and cries.
Kang Joo comes home and the housekeeper and butler run out to welcome him back as a married man. They are so happy for him and really proud of his decisiveness and courage in pursuing love. Kang Joo’s mom sees him walking in and looks sad. Kang Joo meets with and thanks his dad for trusting in him. His dad compliments him on doing well.
President Ma informs Yi Kyung that Yi Hyun is severely injured in the hospital. At least Yi Kyung has half a heart and looks distressed and wants to go see him right now. President Ma says Doo Rim is there so she can’t go, and then blames Yi Hyun for getting beat up since he decided to get involved. To get what they want, sacrifices have to be made. All that is left is for Kang Joo’s mom to throw in the white flag and they will have accomplished their goal. Ugh, President Ma is officially worse than Kang Joo’s mom.
Doo Rim sits by Yi Hyun’s beside and talks to him, asking how he can keep sleeping and begging him to open his eyes. She has so much to tell him, so much bottled up inside that it’s threatening to burst forth. Doo Rim cries for Yi Hyun oppa.
The two moms meet and President Ma is pleased that Kang Joo’s mom has made the correct decision. She asks for a press conference to introduce Yi Kyung officially as the daughter-in-law. Kang Joo’s mom agrees but asks to wait a bit since Kang Joo’s grandmother is ill right now. President Ma says she’ll trust her for now since she is holding onto something so devastating. Kang Joo’s mom asks what else President Ma wants? President Ma wants Kang Joo’s mom to transfer her shares in the construction company to President Ma, and then transfer her personal shares in Taeyang Group to Yi Kyung. She needs to at least do this much to show her sincerity so that President Ma will trust her. Plus she has to provide the investment funds to the construction company. She also hands off the Doo Rim problem to Kang Joo’s mom and has her find a way so Doo Rim isn’t hovering around Kang Joo anymore.
Jin Joo brings lunch for Doo Rin at the hospital and worries about her not sleeping or eating. She assures Doo Rim that halmoni is aware she’s at the hospital taking care of the injured Yi Hyun. The monitors suddenly start beeping and Yi Hyun starts convulsing on the bed. Doo rim screams for Jin Joo to get the doctor. Kang Joo’s mom arrives at the hospital and sees Doo Rim inside worried sick over Yi Hyun.
Kang Joo’s mom sits down with Doo Rim and accepts her own responsibility for not being able to tell that Doo Rim was not Yi Kyung. She tells Doo Rim not to show up in front of Kang Joo again, to quietly live like she is dead. If she does so, Kang Joo’s mom will assure her life and make sure Yi Kyung’s side doesn’t hurt her anymore. Doo Rim doesn’t care about herself but she won’t forgive those who hurt Yi Hyun oppa. Kang Joo’s mom shares the wisdom that forgiveness and punishment is a power that Doo Rim currently doesn’t have. Doo Rim doesn’t understand why Kang Joo’s mom is quietly accepting all of this.
Doo Rim says this isn’t right for Kang Joo either! Kang Joo’s mom says she doesn’t have the power either to oppose them. Doo Rim says those who committed a wrong will be punished, even if it’s not now. Kang Joo’s mom points out that Doo Rim doesn’t have any chance to punish the daughter-in-law of the Taeyang group, now or in the future, plus she’s doing this because she wants the position for herself. Doo Rim assures her that she’s not doing this because she wants Kang Joo. His mom doesn’t care as long as she stays away from Kang Joo, they are from different worlds and can’t be together ever. Doo Rim says she doesn’t love Kang Joo because he’s a chaebol heir, she wishes he were just an ordinary man then he could become hers.
Doo Rim never once regretted being born to her parents until Kang Joo came into her life, and now she wishes she were born at the same class level of him so that she can match up. She feels apologetic to her parents for thinking this way. Kang Joo’s mom resorts to pleading with her not to show up again because if she does then Kang Joo will be placed in a difficult situation. She needs to stay away and let Kang Joo go down his path.
Kang Joo’s mom sits with her mom in the hospital and cries while asking how her mom could have committed such a wrong. She wanted to be a daughter who didn’t disappoint her mom, but now she’s the culprit for why her mom committed such an unforgivable crime. She cries while her mom thinks to herself that she was wrong and placed her daughter in this position. She was wrong for believing in the family curse to begin with and hopes her daughter can forgive her.
Doo Rim leaves the restaurant to go back to the hospital and halmoni tells her to take care of herself lest she collapses as well. The fortune teller sees her leaving and is shocked that she’s alive and well.
President Ma is at the hospital and hands Yi Hyun’s care over Doo Rim. She thinks Yi Hyun needs Doo Rim more than his family, and offers to send her away with Yi Hyun forever all expenses paid and that might help him recover. Doo Rim tells President Ma to stop pretending she cares about Yi Hyun since this offer is clearly to send Doo Rim away. President Ma isn’t cowed and blames Yi Hyun’s situation on Doo Rim for daring to covet what isn’t hers. If it wasn’t for her, Yi Hyun wouldn’t be like this. Doo Rim admits she wanted Kang Joo and now she’s getting punished for it. This is even scarier than a family curse, it’s her watching people pursuing greed without any care for others.
President Ma doesn’t feel bad and reminds Doo Rim that Jin Joo and her halmoni are in danger as well if she doesn’t comply. Doo Rim can’t believe President Ma is so cold to sacrifice her own son for her greed. President Ma says Doo Rim isn’t from their world and won’t understand. Doo Rim would rather die in a pile of money then understand their world. She hates their world as much as they don’t want her in it. Doo Rim can’t forgive her own greed for wanting Kang Joo, and she can’t forgive their greed as well. Doo Rim is living now to repay her debt to Yi Hyun and she doesn’t know if she can repay it all in her lifetime. Doo Rim walks to Yi Hyun’s bedside and stares forlornly at him.
Yi Kyung is at the department store with Kang Joo and he wonders why Yi Hyun oppa has been MIA lately. She lies that he’s overseas to check on their construction project in Dubai. Kang Joo and Yi Kyung head up the escalator and he sweetly fixes her hair. His eye is caught by something and we sees it’s Doo Rim standing at the base of the elevator behind a plant. She quickly turns around and thinks to herself that she hopes Kang Joo remembers her. She leaves her couple’s ring on the plant branch. Roo Mi walks up after Doo Rim walks away and stares at the ring.
Roo Mi walks into Kang Joo’s office and says very pointedly that she hasn’t see Yi Kyung in awhile. She notices Yi Kyung looks very happy and then wonders where her couple’s ring is and how come only Kang Joo is wearing his? She wonders if Kang Joo put the ring on another woman? Roo Mi then says it was a joke, how could there be a man in this world who can’t identify the woman he loves. Ahahaha, love her sly digs. She leaves the office and looks at Doo Rim’s couples ring in her hand.
Kang Joo asks Yi Kyung where the couples ring is and she lies that she left it at home. Kang Joo reminds her that she wanted to say something to him at the villa but Yi Kyung says it’s nothing. Kang Joo doesn’t think so since she seemed really serious back there. He asks if she’s hiding a man somewhere and Yi Kyung changes the subject to say that his parents are waiting for them.
Doo Rim goes back to the restaurant and tries to get back to work on her usual routine but she breaks down while trying to slice onions.
The fortune teller is chowing down on delicious food and muttering that it’s so delicious he’ll get fat this way. The family ghost arrives and picks up a drumstick and grouses that he sure is eating well whereas she gets nothing and hasn’t eaten an offering meal in a hundred years. He tries to hand her a drumstick and she chides him for offering her unclean human food. She sighs that she won’t get anything this year either since that child didn’t pass the difficult human obstacles. The fortune teller asks why that child is still alive and well since that is the wrong fortune she told him and will ruin his reputation. She yells at him and threatens to go elsewhere before disappearing. The fortune teller keeps apologizing and whining for her to come back.
Kang Joo and Yi Kyung bring presents to his parents and Dad is happy with his cardigan while Mom makes no effort to try it on. Yi Kyung walks over to take out the scarf to have her try on but she brushes Yi Kyung’s hand aside and the men notice it.
Kang Joo’s mom goes to the kitchen to get water and Yi Kyung follows and asks her not to dislike her too much. She doesn’t want to have a bad relationship and hopes she doesn’t go behind her back in the future. She brings up the sick grandmother and then says Mom is merely paying the price for using Yi Kyung’s life as a token in the first place.
Yi Kyung is in Kang Joo’s room and asks when he started fencing. He started in elementary school and then remembers Doo Rim fencing in his room and chuckles over that memory. Yi Kyung asks why he’s laughing and he brings up her one-woman show in her room. Yi Kyung asks him not to mention the past and Kang Joo figures she doesn’t remember either. He decides to remind her and pushes her against the wall and leans in asking if she doesn’t remember. Before he can kiss her, the butler comes in to announce dinner. Yi Kyung makes a quick escape to dinner and Kang Joo looks at the wall quizzically.
On their way home, Kang Joo sees a street stall and stops. He wants to have a bowl of udon but Yi Kyung stares at the place like it’s crawling with bugs. Kang Joo sits down in front of plate of food and picks up a piece of soondae to feed her. Yi Kyung says she gets ill just smelling soondae and Kang Joo says more for him and leans down to eat his udon.
Kang Joo and Yi Kyung are at the park where he kissed her and he brings up how this was the most ridiculous stunt she pulled in all her stunts. He tries to test her as to the big coat she was wearing and the thing on her head. We know Doo Rim was wearing a wig but Yi Kyung says she was wearing her mom’s hat because it was cold that day. Kang Joo says she didn’t eat the organic cake he bought for her either and Yi Kyung says no one would eat cake out here but she ate it all at home afterwards because he bought it for her.
Kang Joo asks if she’s not forgetting something else that night and then leans in to kiss her the way he kissed Doo Rim. As he gets close and Yi Kyung closes her eyes to accept the kiss, Kang Joo stops and pulls back while asking “Who are you?” FINALLY!~
Thoughts of Mine:
BotC really has no business being this darn enjoyable. It’s like a bibimbap that someone decided to take a blow torch to and managed to control the fire at just the right temperature and consistency to crisp it perfectly. One element I can point to is the ever changing landscape, nothing gets beaten to the ground and no one can rest easy about getting their way. Upper hands become losing cards in a nanosecond, and in this episode it was delivered in such a refined showdown between the two moms. Yi Kyung’s mom President Ma has definitely tipped the odds in her favor for being the most dastardly of all the villains, unless you count Grandma who ran over a poor defenseless woman so her daughter can get her man. That was thirty years ago, so if we’re counting our nefarious deeds in the present timeline, President Ma is leading the pack. I’m not sure what her grand plan was in terms of getting rid of Doo Rim, or was she just winging it and intending to keep Doo Rim bound and gagged until she figured out a long term solution. Except Yi Hyun white knight oppa came to the rescue first, but then she got a lucky break when Grandma poured out her guilty conscience to Yi Kyung. I still don’t know why Grandma did it, because nothing changed today compared to thirty years ago when she walked away from a dying woman and kept her silence this entire time. It makes for great reversal of fortunes, the way Grandma actually undermined her own daughter’s plotting by inadvertently giving the biggest trump card to her daughter’s nemesis.
Yi Kyung can’t even pretend to be just a passive participant, the way she fairly reeks of smugness makes me want to deck her in the face. She also immediately showed Kang Joo’s mom who’s the boss around the Choi house from now on when after Kang Joo’s mom rejected the scarf present Yi Kyung made sure she got in the last word. I guess luck is on our side that President Ma and Yi Kyung’s plan is way easier to get busted than Grandma’s mow down the first bride plan. Even if Kang Joo’s mom is now piling on to the pressure of keeping Doo Rim quiet and away from Kang Joo, our boy is no dummy and just needs a teensy weensy bit of time to figure his wife is not his wife. Two days isn’t too long, is it? I mean, who among us would immediately suspect our loved one was replaced by a doppleganger the moment he or she started acting off. At most we would think the person was having a bad day and/or having severe PMS. Plus Kang Joo was distracted by sick Grandma as well as trying to beg for President Ma’s fake forgiveness. I did like how he remembered Yi Hyun and noticed his conspicuous absence.
I also can’t wrap my mind around whether Yi Kyung was all ready to kiss, cuddle, and sleep with Kang Joo like a wife would, and whether she’s repulsed by him or by all men in general, because each time he gets close I swear she has this millisecond instinct to back away from him. How can Yi Kyung ever expect to pull off the con of the century after Doo Rim got to see little Kang Joo in all his glory and Yi Kyung can barely make eye contact with Kang Joo of any other variety other than smirking and shirking. Yi Kyung is a delightful second female lead, easy to hate but fun to watch, and there was a bit of bizarro world what if going on as we spend the hour with Kang Joo and Yi Kyung as a couple and seeing how totally wrong they are for each other. I actually think Yi Hyun and his warmth, patience, and goodness would do wonders for thawing out Yi Kyung and he seems to be the only person she cares about aside from herself and her demon mom. Too bad they are half-siblings (or are they, the jury still out on that one), but perhaps I am grasping at straws because I don’t want poor Yi Hyun oppa all alone when the drama ends and Kang Joo and Doo Rim sail off to happily ever after land.
I didn’t mind the OTP being apart in this episode, and frankly they both went through some pretty serious “my world is spinning in its axis” revelations. Doo Rim getting rescued by Yi Hyun was expected, but I didn’t expect to feel so moved by how far Yi Hyun went to protect her, and how utterly smashed up he was by doing so. These gangsters did a number on him, and by going there the drama is clearly putting in front of the kind Doo Rim an obstacle she can’t just cross over like when bad people do things to her and she overcomes it. Yi Hyun has been nothing except be on her side, and even his love and confession was done in a way that was respectful and never imposing. Other than falling for a girl that looks identical to the sister he grew up with, Yi Hyun’s predicament is really heartwrenching and so easy to second lead ship.
Of course I’m not going to leave my precious Kang Joo ship EVER, but I do like how there are genuine stakes in Doo Rim’s life now beyond bad people keeping her away from Kang Joo. How can she leave Yi Hyun when he’s done so much for her? Kang Joo spent the majority of this episode operating in a vacuum but I felt his happiness at having married the woman he loves (even if she’s been swapped out), and his slow burn in the last ten minutes in cornering Yi Kyung was totally rawr times a million. When he stared and said “who are you”, I was pumping my fist in the air and going “booyah, suck on that Jang Yi Kyung”! I’m dying to see how Kang Joo overcomes his mom being blackmailed by the even more conniving Jangs as well as brings Doo Rim back to his side without any lingering regrets on her part for Yi Hyun. I luff this drama so so much!
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