The first episode gave us some insight into our three leads motivations and fears, and gave me enough of the flavor of the writing for me to want more. I knew before starting this drama that Kam Woo Sung could bring gravitas to the role of the sad husband who lost his wife. That was actually one of the reasons against watching, since I have seen enough of that act in various melos over the years.
I also knew that Soo-young could be sweet and likeable. What I was happy to discover watching Episode 2 is how funny and OMG sexy Kam makes Dong-ha, and how Soo-young plays Bom-yi convincingly conflicted. Let’s see if the writers will try to shove “cellular memory” into the narrative; I am hopeful that they are smart enough to avoid this.
[I am writing the recaps for the earlier episodes to satisfy my need for completeness, and in hopes that this show will pick up more interest once it is finished. It isn’t on the easy streaming sites, which makes watching it more challenging, too. Eventually, that should change. If you are interested in reading a lovely Episode 1 recap, another very famous recapping site has it here.]
Episode 2 recap:
Dong-wook stands on an outcrop of rocks by the ocean while female conch divers file past. The colors of the photography are mostly desaturated. Black and grays, with spots of color here and there. The bouquet he’s holding stands out especially. Dong-wook scolds one of the woman, Soo-jung, as they walk inland. Why is she getting precious conches for his Hyung? She tells him it’s none of his business and wants to know who the flowers are for. For her? He doesn’t think they would suit her and she agrees. Dong-wook wants her to stop working because he can’t stand it. Her mother, also a diver, goes by and he calls to her that he wants her to stop working, too. which doesn’t please the older woman. He continues that he’s not kidding. As soon as he finishes med school, he’ll get a job. Soo-jung interrupts him. “The fact that you are at medical school is the pride of our island. You’ve already started…so you should make the best of it. If you don’t, I won’t be your friend anymore.”
Soo-jung, who has changed into a pretty white dress, and Dong-wook stand at the water’s edge waiting for someone. “What are the flowers for, really?” She asks. For his future sister-in-law who they are about to meet.
Hyung drives his boat up, Dong-wook wonders aloud why he is alone. The younger brother smiles broadly and waves; Dong-ha waves back to both of them. Soo-jung smiles sweetly and shyly.
Later on while Dong-ha unloads from his truck, Dong-wook asks again about the sister-in- law. He even brought flowers for her. Dong-ha clarifies. “I told you I’d introduce her to you, not that I’d bring her.” The family friend, Gil-dong, grins and indicates Soo-jung “She’s right there.”
It becomes obvious little bro had no idea of the romance going on. “Is this a joke?” Gil-dong teases that maybe the kid studies too much. Dong-ha looks lovingly at the woman. Dong-wook’s face drops hearing that his childhood friend will become his sister-in-law. Only a secret crush can explain his disappointment.
Dong-ha admits that even though Soo-jung is young, he wants to marry her so she can stop working in the sea. Stealing the flowers from the now motionless Dong-wook, he carries them over and dramatically offers them to her on one knee, then pulls out his own gift. A hand crafted bracelet of seashells and sea-stones.
The pair is relaxed and lovely; Soo-jung, a gentle and grounded soul, puts the bracelet on and tenderly strokes Dong-ha’s hair. Dong-wook stands dumbstruck.
Back to the present, Dong-wook looks at his calendar where September 10th is marked with Anniversary of sister-in-law’s death. He holds a photo of the three of them taken on that day.
Dong-ha works busily in his garden carrying various plants. The image of his dead wife strolling in his yard stops him.
She picks various blossoms from the flowerbeds – content and at ease. He can’t believe his eyes as she looks at him with a smile. A moment passes and he sees the woman is actually Bom-yi. “Lady,” he says dropping a trimmer, advancing towards her. “What are you doing now?” Bom-yi looks down at the bouquet. “They’re for Poo-reun. She deserves flowers for a gift on a day like today. Why don’t you give them to her?”
Gruffly and very seriously he points a finger at her and tells her to take it off! Immediately!
In spite of her shock, she responds with good humor, “What? You’re telling me to take my clothes off, right?” The idea that maybe he was a bit too harsh flits through his brain with a sortuv ”Well, now that you put it that way…” look crossing his face. Bom-yi complains that she know this would happen when she put the dress on, and starts to reach for the zipper. “I didn’t tell you to take it off here. Go inside and take it off.”
“Why are you changing your mind? Immediately means that you want me to take it of right now.” She manages to pull the zipper down, and Dong-ha looks away embarrassed, but not too, since he sneaks another look at her. She asks Poo-reun to get her clothes, even though they are wet. Dong-ha grumbles that she should keep it on and she calls him cheap, stingy and indecisive. In an attempt to soothe Bom-yi, Poo-reun apologizes, explaining her father usually isn’t this strange, but today is his birthday…
Bom-yi is not appeased, why does he have to be so especially cheap? Poo-reun starts to tell the woman that his birthday is also —— but her father cuts her off with a threatening look. As Poo-reun zips Bom-yi back up, she mutters he shouldn’t be so sensitive about the dress – all of her clothes are wet. What is she supposed to do wear his clothes? Poo-reun tells him she is ashamed of him, taking the clothes to hang on the line. He concedes defeat, “Okay, okay…” and steps away from the ladies, still keeping his eye on Bom-yi.
Bom-yi hands the little bouquet to Poo-reun. “This is for you. You’re supposed to have a party today so you should at least get flowers and a present.”
Bom-yi removes the heart necklaces she has been wearing. “Here. Think of it as a new one and take it as a gift.” When the younger girl declines, Bom-yi puts in on her, bringing a tiny, but massive in the joy it holds, smile to Poo-reun’s lips. “Congratulations.”
Still watching from a few yards off, Dong-ha seems to be revising his opinion of Bom-yi.
The kids tease their father as they prepare a picnic table outside for dinner. They assert Noonah isn’t coming out because she doesn’t like Dad (either does Ba-da) and by the way, he looks like a bum since he didn’t shave. Dad wants to know why she is picking on him today, and inquires why Ba-da’s sister is getting meaner. The little brother defends her, “It’s because she’s tired of raising me.” More grumping from Dad evokes a motherly a “Can we please just have a quiet dinner today?” from Poo-reun.
Everything’s ready, and Dad is forced to round up Bom-yi from the house, as nobody takes his side. [Side note – during this whole conversation, Dad is doing a very Ahjussi thing of picking at his toes with a sock off. The sock he now carries into the house and puts on while talking to Bom-yi.] Helpful and efficient, Bom-yi stirs and spoons, but Dad criticizes her for going through someone else’s kitchen. She, of course, takes umbrage at this idea. “Wow, really? If you were going to pick on every single thing I do, why did you bring me to your house in the first place?”
They bicker, but softly, about who’s fault it actually is that she is there. Dong-ha can’t win, so he suggests they stop talking altogether. “You’re rude to your elders,” he moans. Her retort, “If you’re my elder, you should act like it…” proves there is no way these two will let the other have the last word. “Ayyyy, jeeeez,” he objects.
But honestly, she says “Ahjussi,” didn’t he do it on purpose, you know, to bring guests home and earn money?” He doesn’t understand at first, and then laughs at the implication. She goes over to her purse and pulls out her wallet. Listing what she owes him for the meals and lodging, the laundry. He protests that she is turning him into a cheapskate, “Awww,” it doesn’t seem he’s aware of this yet, that he actually IS a cheap person, the best she has every met. She gives him a too close thumbs up which he has to cross his eyes to see. “How much do you want?”
Resignedly, he makes an accounting: $15.00 for the BBQ, $5.00 for breakfast. “Transportation fee?” “Free,” he allows and she compliments him. “Nice.” Another $40.00 for the room – she only has $30.00 so if he texts her his account number, she can send him the difference. As far as drinks, if she has any she’ll pay later. Gathering up one of the dishes she cooked, she orders him to take the other pot in. He asks what it is, “What are your eyes for? You can see it for yourself. Why are you asking me?” LOL
Old man grousing continues…Kids, these days…He tries to lift the hot lid barehanded, and pulls out the wad of bills she just gave him to use as a pot holder. Whatever he smelled in there pleases him.
Back outside, we see it is seaweed soup, which she hands to Dong-ha. Ba-da suggests his father properly thank Bom-yi for making him soup for his birthday, with a polite bow of the head. He starts, but Bom-yi makes it seem as if she intended it for Poo-reun, making the kids giggle.
Dong-ha slurps loudly in response. “Seriously? Are you a caveman?” Dad picks up a piece of lettuce, shaking the water out of it at the other side of the table causing his three adversaries to cry out in complaint. Hilarious.
Dong-wook sits alone at a bar, but not for long. Ji-woo joins him.
She guessed he would be there as it is the anniversary of Soo-jung’s death. Although he complains she should have left him alone, she ignores him, filling him in on the fact that the Chairman ordered a background check. Rather than tell the whole truth, Dong-wook requests if she can “for old times sake keep it a secret that we lived together.”
We learn more about Dong-wook. When he broke up with Ji-woo, he said he’d never get married. Ji-woo thinks marriage to the chairman’s daughter makes sense in securing his future. Dong-wook’s words seem harsh in response, “You live your life so poorly. Normal people don’t get married for the reasons you would. Actually, you wouldn’t understand. You go out with old chairman Song to get a promotion.” Ji-woo takes these insults quietly, but I can see there is more to the story from her eyes. He, on the other hand, loves Bom-yi very much especially since she makes him feel like a good person.
The family enjoys the delicious dishes Bom-yi prepared. She brags that she has a culinary license and several others she needs for work. Dong-ha flashes back to their first meeting where she said she was a clinical dietician at Hae Gil. “So you told the truth?” he concedes. Poo-reun lets them all know she works at the same hospital where Samchoon is. Dong-ha tastes a sauce using the serving spoon. This non-mannerly behavior upsets Poo-reun.
“Do you think I poisoned it?” wonders Bom-yi. When he tells her not to pick a fight, the kids gang up on him arguing he was the one who started it.
Everyone high fives including the neighbor, who Bom-yi was never introduced to.
Calling her “Dietician Lady,” Dong-ha asks why she came to Udo alone. Bom-yi reveals she came to thank someone, but is reluctant to share more details figuring they may know the woman. After a lengthy discussion about grades of Korean beef, Bom-yi philosophizes how important good food is to healing her patients, and how she was hospitalized, too. Dong-ha listens, liking what he hears from the Bom-yi, and offers her a drink. She declines, not because of health issues, “No, I don’t, but actually if I drink alcohol I become a woman who’s too attractive. Alcohol makes me lose control over my attractiveness. As a result I become a dangerous femme fatale.”
The table can’t believe what they hear. With perfect timing, Dong-ha quips, “Don’t drink then,” pouring for his friend, ”Ah, she annoys me.” Everyone laughs at the joke including Bom-yi. It’s really fast, in a shot from behind him, we even get to see Dong-ha’s shoulders shaking from laughing. Dong-ha telegraphs his delight with Bom-yi with an OMG smile
and shy glance at Bom-yi, which Poo-reun catches, making her smile.
After the kids have gone in, Dong-ha keeps feeding Bom-yi, who finally tells him she can’t eat anymore. Dong-ha laughs, which I love to hear, and declares he never met a woman who eats as much as her. She said she wanted to get her money’s worth, and she warned him. She goes inside, leaving a disappointed Dong-ha.
His eyes follow her in, but he says nothing. Gil-dong comments that it was nice to have a guest today since it didn’t feel like the anniversary of her death. He wonders, “Would your wife be upset? “No, she wouldn’t. She’s so good with the kids my wife would be grateful to her.”
Talking on the landline since her cell is sea soaked, she tells Se-na that she’ll be back the next day for work. Ba-da comes out of his room glum. His sister is torturing him to do school work. They go into the bedroom where Bom-yi sits comfortably on the bed with them, complimenting Poo-reun on how well she takes care of her little brother. Since they don’t have a mother, Poo-reun is willing to give up having friends to help him. They ask Bom-yi to read their favorite book about Puppy Poo.
Dong-ha listens from the hall to her cheerful voice saying the familiar words. With a slight of camera, we see Soo-jung reading to the kids at their present ages, with a tear rolling down Poo-reun’s cheek. Eventually the kids fall asleep.
Walking out into the field behind the house, Bom-yi holds her phone up trying to pick up a signal. She discovers Dong-ha leaning against a large rock, well on the way to being drunk from bottles of soju.
He tells her he needs to drink because of his insomnia. Bom-yi explains how that is actually counter productive since it dehydrates, suggesting natural remedies for hangover and sleep problems. He teases her for being too talkative. After he thanks her for taking care of Poo-reun that afternoon, she asks permission to be friends with his daughter because she likes her. Why should she ask permission for that? She points out “You were mad because I wore this dress, and you were mad because I used your kitchen, so I was worried you’d be mad if we were friends without permission.” He allows it, so she asks him to pour her a drink to celebrate.
But wait, “Will you be alright? You said that you couldn’t control your fatal attractiveness.” LOL. She said she joked about that because actually she doesn’t hold her liquor very well.
After he pours it, she sings, “Thank you, Father.” Which he takes exception to. What? She asks. He is her father’s friend, so she should call him “Father,” too. He takes this good-naturedly, showing his dimples. “Father.”
To add even more insult to insult, she asks how old he is, prolly about the same age as her father – Fifty? The offended look on his face is so funny, and he says nothing. “You’re mad at me again. I should apologize quickly. I’m sorry.” Bowing her head formally. He calls her a comedian, and when she says she isn’t good at guessing ages, he adds she isn’t good at faces, either. She really doesn’t recognize him? She doesn’t understand she saw him all over the island that day… “Forget it. Just take one more drink. I’ll pour you this one because I am sorry for misunderstanding you. This one’s on the house.” They sit companionably. She is definitely drunk now. Her purpose for coming out to the island to thank someone, he finds out, was because of his reprimand back in Seoul. “A while ago someone told me I live m life for free…”
We flash back to him calling her a brat. He looks a little ashamed. While she should have beaten him up right there. (He doesn’t think beating is the solution. LOL.) She whispers very drunkenly “It’s true that I live my life for free. I should have been dead a long time ago…” He doesn’t understand.
“Have you even thought that someone died because of you, father?” The question hits home. “I think that every day. I really mean every day. I dream about it every night, too.” This gets her drunken attention. “I dream about my wife dying every night.”
Oh, sot that’s why he can’t sleep well, but he is used to it now “But who’s dead because of you?” he wants to know. In a very inebriated voice, she confesses “I prayed every day…for someone else to die instead of me. Then it actually happened.” He humors her with an “Ah, yes. Is that right?” She even cut the line, by helicopter, imitating the sound and motion of a chopper, the momentum of which lands her head on his shoulder. She stays there. This makes her think of something.
“Father, do you know of Alphonse Daudet’s The Stars? He does. “You’re the shepherd in the story…and I’m – “ “The beautiful Stepanette.” He finishes wistfully. “My wife always talked about that book when she was alive.” Then, he tells her it is his wife’s death anniversary, and they actually live in Seoul, she has fallen asleep on his shoulder and heard none of it.
We see the horrifying moments leading up to Soo-jung’s death. A boat plows over the spot where Soo-jung dove for conches and she is rushed to the hospital.
Dong-wook attempts resuscitation desperately while Dong-ha looks on helpless. She flat lines.
Dong-ha grabs and shakes Dong-wook, screaming, “You know how I raised you. You know how hard it was to make you a doctor. Why can’t you save her? Why can’t you save her, you bastard?!”
The heart that saved Bom-yi came from Soo-jung that day. At the hospital in a scene lit like a dream, we see Soo-jung’s spirit smile at Bom-yi’s spirit, who follows the dead woman to a stairwell in the hospital.
Soo-jung strokes Dong-ha’s hair while the man grieves and sobs on the stair.
Back in the field in real life, Dong-ha cries out in his sleep. Mimicking Soo-jung’s caress, a sleeping Bom-yi reaches out to stroke Dong-ha’s hair, immediately soothing him. Dong-ha narrates: “After than day, my dreams disappeared like magic. The day I saved Stepanette instead of my drowned wife, my guilt in the name of yearning suddenly expired.” The camera pulls away and we see the pair sleeping comfortably in each other’s arms.
Morning breaks, and Bom-yi discovers herself in Dong-ha’s embrace thereby proving her assertion the night before. “This is why I shouldn’t drink.”
She carefully extricates herself from the soundly slumbering Dong-ha, grimacing in the process. Her escape is not clean, as she runs into Gil-dong and all the other field workers.
Director Song, across from Ji-woo, has the background info on Doctor Kang.
He wonders if Dong-wook is still suspicious of their relationship, which we find out was a lie. She asks he allow this unfair misunderstanding to continue. He laughs. They move on. Song expects everything will go according to his plans, since he has the Chairman’s ear.
Daddy Chairman is having a fake loud cell conversation with his daughter – she in a phone booth at the airport. “You dropped your cell in the toilet?” Mom isn’t buying it and grabs the phone out of his hands, “Where are you?” she demands. The “Whoops! Caught!” look on Bom-yi’s face is hilarious.
A loudspeaker makes paging noises almost giving her away. Mom is angry about something other than her daughter staying out all night. “Meet Miss Bae right now and take care of the trouble you caused.”
“What trouble? Did I make trouble again?” Bom-yi used the name of the hospital on an Internet posting bashing Hanu Haon Beef, but Bom-yi says she didn’t do anything wrong. It’s all true. Mom hangs up on her, swearing she’ll make her daughter quit her job first thing.
Miss Bae is called in to report on Dr. Kang. Most of his family lives on Jeju, and his sister-in-law died in an accident five years ago. Mom doesn’t like the fact that Dong-wook has a widower brother with two children. Bom-yi may have to take care of them. Oh, and the brother? He is the CEO of the meat company Bom-yi posted about. Ut-oh…
Sec Park, in a helicopter, flies over Dong-ha’s property, landing in the field near his bed rock.
The CEO doesn’t stir and Sec Park has to wake him. Dong-ha yells at him for using the helicopter like a toy. (It is expensive. Here are the numbers.) The fact that Dong-ha slept soundly shocks him. Of course, Sec Park agrees, since he slept with a woman. What?! Apparently the news is out thanks to Gil-dong who runs away in fear for his life…Dong-ha launches a shoe at him and stumbles in the process. LOLOL
Dong-wook shows up at the airport. He runs into his brother – the first time in a long time – they are polite but not friendly.
Dong-ha complains that Dong-wook never stops by to see the niece and nephew. In the near distance, Dong-wook spots Bom-yi and after the brothers part, he grabs her hand. She is sooo happy to see Oppa. He wishes she would have let her take him to Udo, but it was something she wanted to do alone. By the way, “Do you know anyone who died five years ago by any chance? I don’t know how they died, but—“ He avoids lying but only just by stating he didn’t live there then and changes the subject by telling her he brought donuts. Smart man. She hugs him not worrying about who sees them.
Dong-ha, driving by, is happy to see his little bro happy for once.
Dong-ha’s important status is underlined when he does the CEO led ducks-in-a-row-walk into his facility. His legal counsel stops him, “Doesn’t he know what happened?”
Sec Park points out Bom-yi could have died if the CEO hadn’t saved her, and accurately describes the situation is like a romance novel. Daudet’s The Stars, in fact. He teases that it was even erotic, since Dong-ha had a one-night stand with her. Dong-ha stops his shenanigans asking for her phone number. He’ll call and apologize.
Sec wonders, “Why didn’t she recognize Dong-ha?” Then, rightfully assumes it is because of the mask, and continues his OTT ribbing that he is the Shepherd and she is Stepanette. Bom-yi doesn’t answer. Sec Park saves her name as “Bom-tapentte” on the CEO’s cell.
A sticky note with Park Hyun Woo – Dong-ha’s secretary – and phone number is on her desk. Se-na teases about her friend sleeping with the Shepherd and how the quiet ones behave badly. What would Dr. Kang say if he found out?
“I told him but he didn’t believe it.”
Se-na warns, “Don’t even think about keeping in touch with a widower with children.”
Though Bom-yi doesn’t even know his number, she would like to talk to Poo-reun. Se-na claims, “They were nice to you because they want you to have a relationship with their father.”
Surprisingly, Bom-yi’s phone is functioning. She answers an unknown number. It’s Dong-ha trying to apologize, but she misunderstands the purpose of the call. The fact that she calls him “Father” makes Sec Park and me giggle.
She acknowledged she made a mistake the previous night, referring to her falling asleep on him, and offers to send the money she owes him if he texts her his bank account, and promptly hangs up. It happened too fast for Dong-ha, so he calls her back immediately.
Bom-yi is being examined by Doctor Kang. Her story about seeing someone in the water worried him enough to check her. She insists she did see someone. Fortunately, she is fine- taking all her immunosuppressants. She worries – can she really have a normal life raising kids? After all someone lost his or her happiness for her.
The Doctor believes thanking the person will suffice, and invites her over to meet his family. She agrees, but hesitates, requesting that he keep her heart transplant a secret to avoid looking like a sick person to them. He tells her his family, brother and two kids and mom live in Seoul- his sister-in-law is deceased.
Chez Kang, in his bedroom, Poo-reun frets about Ba-da’s inability to read. Telling her “The thirsty man digs a well,” Dad suggests his son will succeed he needs to. A call from “Bom-tapentte” lights up his phone and Poo-reun reads the name quizzically.
Bom-yi introduces herself, calling him “Abonim.” He replies, “Ah, yes. Miss Lee Bom-yi, the dietitian,” getting Poo-reun’s attention. Apologizing for hanging up on him, she says she was uncomfortable taking the call at work. “Why didn’t you send me the text? I asked you to send me your account number.” “I didn’t call you because of that. It’s because…” He shifts uncomfortably on the bed, and doesn’t finish. “By the way, are you calling me because of that?”
She wants to talk to Poo-reun, who waves “No!” to her father. He puts the call on speakerphone letting Poo-reun hear, “I couldn’t say goodbye to them this morning because they were still sleeping. Could you buy some painkillers and keep them at home too? Poo Reum might get cramps. There’s a pharmacy on Udo Island, right? Anyway, please tell Poo Reum to call me.” After he hangs up, Poo-reun explains that she felt guilty to her mother for being so at ease with Bom-yi. Dong-ha reassures her, revealing surprisingly he felt the same way. “You remember I was mad at her when I saw her in your mother’s dress? It isn’t strange. It’s normal.” Dong-ha takes his daughters hand. “We probably feel that way because we miss mother more on the anniversary of her death.”
Bom-yi talks to her Udo map thanking her for letting her meet good people.
Passing each other in the hall the next day, Ji-woo alerts Dong-wook that the company involved in the dust-up with Bom-yi is actually his brother’s. He watches the video of Dong-ha knocking down Bom-yi at the same time Bom-yi does.
She is as SHOCKED as Dong-wook. She can’t believe that that man is Udo Island Abonim. Her supervisor is not amused.
Infuriated, she goes down to the parking garage. CEO Kang all spiffed out in a suit is there with the rest of team Hanu Haon who are unloading boxes. Se-na is trying to talk reason to Bom-yi, who is spitting mad, “He knew all about it from the beginning and he mocked me… I won’t just let it slide if I see him again.”
Unaware her anger is directed at him, Dong-ha calls her name. The woman makes a beeline for him and slams her foot into his shins calling him a crook. He yelps and spins in pain.
Two future scenes flash: Bom-yi realizing that Abonim is CEO of Hanu Haon and he is Dong-wook’s Hyung. Ooops.
If ever there were such a thing as a perfect romcom episode, this is it.
A feisty girl has more than a few charged interactions with an unfamiliar man. He’s just some jerk that speaks his mind and gets on her nerves. She’s an annoying woman who sticks up for herself when threatened, or when she witnesses behavior that she cannot accept. The relationship begins on equal ground way out there on Udo Island away from Society, away from her stifled situation. Forced to interact under those circumstances, they hide nothing. (Well, of course, except for the fact that he is actually that mean old man at the meat store, but that was just a misunderstanding for both of them.) His opinion of her changes the more he gets to know her, the more she hangs out with him and his family. She grows fond of this grumpy, cheap man the more he reveals the sadness of losing his wife. Fueled by soju, and abetted by a sense of familiarity, they reveal to each other their most intimate fears and dreams. When it was over, this fateful night in the field under the stars didn’t seem all that significant. If they thought about it, however, it was just that ordinariness and ease of sharing secrets that made it eventful and unprecedented.
The banter between Bom-yi and Dong-ha was perfect through-out. Neither could resist poking at the other and both were excited to lob back the perfect retort, keeping the volley lively and fun. The age difference was handled deftly. The jokes, unfortunately were mostly on poor Abonim. It will be interesting to see how that night has influenced them. It’ll be fun to watch Bom-yi deal with the repercussion of her fury. Not that I think she would be ashamed of what she did, but the sudden awareness of to whom may cause a wee bit of trouble for her.