Those above Hye Won believe it is greed for a position of power in Seohan that drives her. They exploit this as a way to keep Hye Won in check. Look at the way Mde Han manipulates the Sun Jae situation. Everyone knows or at least suspects something is going on between the student and teacher, but somehow that escapes Hye Won’s notice. When Mde Han gave Hye Won this pretty toy to play with, not only does the Foundation get the benefits of an extremely valuable puppet, but Mde Han now holds the strings to Hye Won’s emotional future as well. But is Hye Won really that deluded to think she could unseat Princess Young Woo some day? As a commoner, the only way to achieve this would have been to marry into the royal clan. Seo even mentioned that if Hye Won had been a man, he would have liked her as a son-in-law. As it is now, Hye Won’s greatest ambition in the service of the King’s family amounts to helping them into their robes, but never ever wearing them. We still haven’t learned how or why Hye Won sold herself into slavery all those years ago. While we have been led to believe Hye Won gave up music because of a physical injury, there has to be something more, something connected to her past. Whatever it was is buried so deep in Hye Won’s psyche, even she isn’t aware of it. It’s the other shoe Koala talked about in Episode 9 and it feels dark, heavy, cold and ominous.
✿ ❀ ✿
I attended a classical guitar concert on Saturday. The instant this piece in the linked YouTube video started, I though of SLA. It is tense and thrilling and insistent. It makes a fitting score to what happens in Episode 10, especially since it was recorded by a beautiful 40 plus year old female guitarist who still very much has it. Be warned; don’t click unless you think you can handle it. Is your stomach in knots? Do you want to run away to a safe place? Good, then let’s begin.
Episode 10 recap:
Min Woo and Joon Hyung’s assistant are putting up posters of Sun Jae’s upcoming concert which will take place in two weeks. All piano majors are requested to attend. Yoo Ra texts Jang Ho about his friend, Sun Jae’s upcoming recital.
Cello Snob (grrr) plays a student’s cello and instructs her to go see Prof Kim to fix the sound. Joon Hyung interrupts and they briefly discuss the troublesome student Snob dropped after selling her a crap instrument.
To make me really dislike him, he tells her “Good job!” She has seen the posters and can tell he is really pleased with Sun Jae. However, word is getting around that Joon Hyung’s student is really Hye Won’s protégé. He prefers to call his wife a supporter. Hye Won has only stepped in when he was busy. Cello Snob comments in that case, Hye Won has dedicated a lot of time and effort. Whatever, he says. Sun Jae not only needs to play with the orchestra to record, he also needs to bolster his recital experience. He suggests the teachers in her department let the students skip a lecture to attend the live performance. The recording will be used as his submission to the Busoni Piano competition. (which, by the way, has been around since 1949.)
Min is with Joon Hyung admiring the poster; he wants to know why they didn’t do this sooner. Joon Hyung tells him it is because of all the mishaps and that little jail time incident without mentioning it specifically. It’s all good, though, as soon as Sun Jae passes the preliminary rounds, they can spotlight him in more events. Min flatters Joon Hyung saying the couple coaching worked. The younger man seems to actually believe it, but only because he wants to preserve his image.
Seo warns Hye Won that the prosecutors’ office is coming after them. He seems very relaxed about it, despite the seriousness. Paying off those with influence and marrying his daughter to a Prosecutor didn’t work out the way he wanted it to. An indulgent father to the end, he wants Hye Won to assure him that Young Woo will have money if needed by means of a secret slush fund even Mde Han knows nothing about. Mr. Young Woo let him know the focus of the investigation will be Seohan. Hye Won hopes the Prosecutor won’t take any overt action, but Seo wants to be cautious. Hye Won agrees to prepare what he requested, making sure there is no fall out. In the most condescending and thoughtless way, he says Hye Won is lucky for not having had children. She will never know how far a parent will go to protect his own, even crawling out in front. When her head drops in response, it makes me think maybe being childless wasn’t a choice.
Sun Jae arrives at Hye Won’s office looking for his teacher. Hye Won’s secretary takes Sun Jae to Mde Han’s office to be fitted for a suit as a gift from the Chairwoman. Everyone’s-favorite-white-actor is playing tailor today.
Mde Han speaks to him through Hye Won’s secretary whose English is good. He suggests a single-breasted suit versus a tuxedo, and comments that Sun Jae has nice proportions, a thing never said by any English speaking person ever. Sun Jae seems surprised by the compliment. They ask Tailor his opinion on Sun Jae’s chances of hitting it big globally, and he is sure he could. Mde Han mentions she wanted Sun Jae to have double eye-lid surgery, but that Dir Oh was against it.
She makes it a point that Sun Jae hears “Director Oh is quite satisfied with your face.” He doesn’t reveal much, to his credit. “As you know, she trains all the up and coming stars,” Mde Han adds advising him to follow her lead and he will reap success. Han looks directly at him, suggesting more with her eyes than with her words. Sun Jae appears to comprehend the point.
I wonder if they are trying to make him think he is just one in a string of other of “Hye Won’s boys.”
In Practice Room #3, Sun Jae and Hye Won perform the Rhapsody for Joon Hyung,
who stands behind.He is decked out in a suit and Hye Won is all pearled and little-black-dressy, making Sun Jae’s in his baseball tee seem like the odd kid out. Their performance of the stormy, aggressive music is very much in synch. When they finish, breathless again, Hye Won asks her teaching partner how it was, and if he wants them to play the finale again, but Joon Hyung is satisfied. Sun Jae gets to his feet to hear “You’ve gotten a lot better,” and he bows in thanks.
Joon Hyung tells Sun Jae he’ll see him at the concert the next day. He departs after Hye Won dismisses him with a “l’ll see you at home.” He is really the odd man out, and feels it. After the husband (that’s right, he is!) leaves, Sun Jae lets out the breath he was holding in as tightly as his secret.
Walking away, Joon Hyung pauses a second in and looks back in thought before continuing.
The lovers are awkward in their silence together. Small talk becomes unnecessary, almost bothersome, when you want to throw yourself at each other. Hye Won rises up to retrieve something from her purse. A gift for Sun Jae – a soft, black and white plaid handkerchief. “You’ll need this.” He takes it politely with both hands.
She asks if he is nervous and he says a little, “You said you’d enjoy it.” They smile sweetly before she tells him to go home and sleep well. He hesitates then admits, “If I don’t do well, I think I’d want to die.” She doesn’t think that’s true.
“This opportunity that you made for me while dealing with all the dirty things…” She reminds him that is her expertise, right?
He watches her back as she leaves.
A feeling of unease, of eyes watching arrives at the hall like a malevolent fog.
It rolls past the poster of Sun Jae in the lobby of the theater. We hear an ominous snake rattle in the soundtrack. I don’t like this feeling at all.
Sun Jae had completed a rehearsal earlier, and Joon Hyung is giving him soloist stage etiquette lessons.
He demonstrates how to walk out with the conductor, hold the edge of the piano and bow in greeting to the audience, and then shake hands with the concertmaster. Joon Hyung’s secretary plays the parts of various orchestra people behind them. Min Woo and Prof Jo arrive and says nice things to Sun Jae about his rehearsal, Joon Hyung is all about taking credit and thanks them.
Min Woo wishes Sun Jae luck and Sun Jae smiles. Jung Soo (a name!) applauds as “the audience” while Joon Hyung continues his lesson about the end of the concert. Showing him the deep bow in appreciation. Sun Jae doesn’t seem to feel comfortable with all these formalities and keeps trying to exit quickly. Joon Hyung stops him, “You can’t turn your back right away — you have to thank the people here, too.”
Sun Jae walks to the concertmaster chair and mimes the handshake.
Up in the sound and light booth, somewhere between heaven and earth, goddess/woman Hye Won watches all.
Mde Han doesn’t feel it is necessary to attend Sun Jae’s concert, and has a meeting instead. If, however, Hye Won called the reporters and made it bigger, then maybe the Chairwoman would reconsider. Hye Won chattily shares that once this recording is sent, and Sun Jae makes the preliminary round of the competition, there will be more press. “You are taking good care of him, aren’t you?” Han says dusting off Hye Won’s jacket,
calling the pianist her work of art. With a knowing eyebrow raise, she pats Hye Won on the shoulder and leaves Hye Won with a curious look. And I wonder, does Hye Won realize how transparent she is about the boy?
In the green room, Sun Jae comes out of the restroom wearing his snazzy new suit.
Jung Soo and Hye Won’s secretary tell him how good he looks. With the jacket added, we have a more mature and more masculine Sun Jae than the kid in the tee shirts.
Hye Won sits in her office recalling Han’s words about Sun Jae being her work of art. She gets a nervous text from Sun Jae wondering where she is.
He waits, staring at his phone, then pulls out Hye Won’s handkerchief to wipe his brow. The door opens and Da Mi comes in. The salon has them on cleaning duty so she can’t see him play. He is disappointed. She thinks he looks great, but he is uncomfortable in the jacket, pulling it off. Da Mi wants to do a couple cell pictures of them,
and sneaks in a cheek kiss, which Sun Jae good-naturedly protests against. They are sweet without her pressure to be romantic, I think. She examines the photos offering to redo his hair, but Sun Jae refuses. She says, “I feel weird. I keep thinking of your mom.” They share a memory of Mom, Da Mi getting up to give him a sisterly hug saying, “If the girls give you bouquets of flowers, accept them and just throw them away.”
That’s exactly when Hye Won opens the door.
Her face falls and she goes back out into the hall taking some “Wait a minute, I AM the lover, right?” deep breaths and leans up against the wall. Da Mi departs without seeing Hye Won, who watches the girl leave, shakes her head, and then decides not to go in.
Back up in the sound booth, she gives last minute and (unnecessary) advice to the engineer to pay attention to the job since it is being sent to the prelims. Justifying why she has to be this far away rather than in the audience with everyone else. She peers down from her tower.
Da Mi is still running out the doors, but returns after seeing Jang Ho go inside. The young man is with Yoo Ra, who cowers from the threatening Da Mi. Yoo Ra is not happy there is a connection between the salon help and her allegedly rich boyfriend.
After Da Mi leaves, she barks “You are a vocational high school student?” and remarks that there was more than one thing strange about him. She takes off outside with Jang Ho trailing behind calling, “Noonah, noonah!”
The exiting pair passes Young Woo and Boy Toy who are going into the theatre. Boy Toy sees “Justin” and runs after him. Young Woo calls to meet back at her office.
Young Woo peeks into the green room, looking for Hye Won, wishing Sun Jae well. Joon Hyung is taking him through calming breaths. Fortunately for Sun Jae, they is interrupted by a text. He turns his back on Hubby (that’s right, he is) to read “I’m where I can see and hear you the best,” from Hye Won.
He appears marginally appeased. The uncomfortable jacket stays backstage despite Joon Hyung’s objection. We see the orchestra members are gathering and tuning. It’s show time!
As rehearsed, Sun Jae walks out on stage with the conductor,
greeting all the people he was instructed to. Hye Won prepares by putting on headphones, Sun Jae places the handkerchief close by.
They begin. Sun Jae looks very grown up and in charge playing masterfully.
Hye Won watches from the back.
When he has a chance to catch his breath, he gropes for his hanky, leaning sideways and looking out for Hye Won. The audience notices something is wrong, and it appears he may pass out. Everyone looks worried. He pulls himself together and continues as confidently as when he started.
The piece changes moods to soft and melodic, we cut away to Boy Toy in Young Woo’s office stealing her cup of coffee and slurping.
Didn’t she recognize Justin from the club? “What?” she asks, surprised.
Back on stage, the sweet and lulling section ends and Sun Jae finishes with an authoritative flourish. The crowd applauds and cheers. Shaman’s words “This guy will be a great stepping stone for your advancement” echo in Joon Hyung’s thoughts and he claps the loudest. “You’ll climb higher than where you are now.”
The conductor and musicians affirm how good Sun Jae is with their approving smiles. An exhausted Sun Jae stays seated a few seconds longer before retrieving the handkerchief. More than anything, he wants to be able to see Hye Won past the bright lights of the stage.
We can she looks like she could burst with pride and happiness for him.
He stands and bows deeply, shaking hands with the conductor and concertmaster before walking off. Cheering brings him back for an encore.
As he bows again, Hye Won’s tears flow freely, and she wipes them away.
When he starts his encore, she leaves the room, and walks on wobbly legs into the lobby. There is a monitor showing the stage and Sun Jae playing. We hear a voice over from him “If I get an encore request, I’ll play this. Consider it my letter to you, Teacher.” The lobby is cold marble and bright lights. Their physical distance is magnified by how small he appears on the screen while she stands several yards away.
Wistful, but happy. Or is it the other way around?
We pick up Young Woo and Boy Toy’s conversation presumably about Hye Won getting it on with Sun Jae. “It doesn’t seem that way to me,” he says, “He doesn’t match with Director Oh.” Wait until you see them together, she suggests. They are about to leave for the after party, but he balks, since he doesn’t feel comfortable in that setting. Even with her begging he declines.
In the green room, Joon Hyung receives congratulations for the performance and the secretaries finish with the recording equipment in the sound booth.
They mention Hye Won will meet them at the after party at the restaurant.
Hye Won is resting on her couch in her office.
Sun Jae peeks in them goes in, his face suffused with happiness.
He has never looked this assured, this adult. The moment is full of shared success and relief but no words are exchanged. Just adoring looks.
Hye Won grasps for words and sinks into the sofa. “It was so breathtaking I almost died.”
He confesses how he was desperately looking for her at the beginning.
She laughs and asks if he found her. “If I didn’t, I would have made a mistake.” She pats the space next to her, “Have a seat. Let’s watch how funny you were.”
She already has the recording on her laptop, and they sit half a foot apart to watch. Hye Won distances herself by leaning back on the cushion.
When they at the point in the piece where Sun Jae looked like he swooned, he gets embarrassed and laughs at himself. He leans back, covering his face with one hand, and taking her hand in the other.
The gesture is electrifying in its smallness. We see an established and equal relationship. A proprietorship that wasn’t in evidence before in their too guarded time in Practice Room #3.
The orchestra music fades, and the familiar soundtrack comes to the forefront, shifting our focus in the scene.
His spectacular success, the acknowledgement she will earn as a result of it, the perfection of the event – all of it falls away once he touches her. It is all there accompanying them now, but outside, unimportant. What is jang tang, the only thing that matters is this fierce connection. His grip tightens as we watch them enjoy the Rachmaninoff,
but really, it is this outrageous intimacy they find irresistible. Sun Jae’s eyes look less at the screen and more at their hands. Big grins fade to quieter thoughts. He leans back and puts her hand on his leg, and she reaches out to his upper arm.
They hang on for dear life as their bodies that started inches away, get drawn together, closer and closer. The awareness makes me stop breathing. Faces turn within inches, then away, Sun Jae can hardly keep from kissing her,
but they know that tiny distance is keeping them safe. Finally, she rests her head on his shoulder, he grins with satisfaction and the camera leaves them alone, and I can finally relax.
Young Woo, Jo, Min Woo and Other Prof are at the after party, Hye Won noticeably absent. They adults send JW away so they can talk about Sun Jae.
As mentioned before by Min, they comment Sun Jae’s playing reminds them of Hye Won. Jo agrees, but is reluctant to elaborate. The third guy tells him to speak up before Joon Hyung gets there. Young Woo says he’s probably off crying somewhere and they concur. Young Woo calls over to secretaries sitting at their own table – they say they are waiting for Hye Won, too.
Joon Hyung walks up the stairs at the concert hall searching…searching.
The lovers sit, holding hands, while the concert plays on the laptop.
The Big Rat continues his stalking into the hall, where he stops outside Hye Won’s office before quickly opening the door. Inside he looks around, but the sofa is empty and we hear the recording is still playing.
A new determination takes him into the Security office, telling the guard he’s just checking on something.
Sun Jae moved their after party into the off stage storage room where he hid the day he played the sacred piano. Their hands still gripped tightly. They peek onto the stage from the through the curtain then Sun Jae holds her close one arm on her shoulder.
We reimagine the scene where Hye Won leans gracefully on the edge of the piano listening to Jo and Min Woo. “Back then,” he tells her, “you were someone from another world, not Oh Hye Won. Someone too far away. It seems like that was 100 years ago.” She puts her hand on his, their cheeks touch. “You crossed a big river,” she says. He smiles and they snuggle behind the black curtain.
Joon Hyung’s curiosity takes him into the green room, then, checks the bathroom stalls.
How do I convey how distasteful this hunt for the lovers feels? A hundred bucks says he’s looking in all these dark places because that’s is where he hid with a woman.
Sun Jae and Hye Won embrace then stumble so their feet show below the billowing curtain Except for them, the hall is completely empty.
Sun Jae grabs and holds Hye Won protectively as they regain their balance, then pushes her up against the wall kissing passionately.
The Rat makes his way down, then walks out center stage straining to hear something anything that would give them away.
Not fifty feet away, Sun Jae places Hye Won on a low riser and holds himself above her. His direct, then teasing kisses reveal his ability to play with the ebb and flow of Hye Won’s senses and she responds accordingly.
At one point, her leg knocks a twist of wires onto the floor.
From the stage, Joon Hyung hears this, but can’t place exactly where the sound originated.
We pull back to see the whole theatre again, and the screen goes dark.
At the restaurant, the after party drinking continues. Other Teacher explains how Hye Won benefited from bad treatment from Young Woo. It toughened her up and succeeded as a result. Young Woo protests saying, “You’ve got to be kidding. It was Hye Won who – “ but she stops. “Hye Won is really good at teasing. I had to see a psychologist in the U.S. because of her.” But Other Teacher won’t believe it, Young Woo asks Jo to back her up.
A text comes in that stops Young Woo cold. “What is it?” Jo asks. Reacting slowly at first, she gets up suddenly and rushes out.
Hye Won’s secretary wants to go get Hye Won and bring her to the party, but Hye Won’s friend tells her not to go. She looks at her watch and says, “Let’s let the three of them run into each other,” which baffles the other woman.
Young Woo is running to her car begging someone to pick up her phone.
Joon Hyung is crossing the stage when his cell buzzes from a text. “When you located Hye Won, tell her to go to Hannam-dong ASAP. There’s an investigation going on.”
He rises to his feet, panic building, breathing nervously, Pacing from one end of the stage to the other, he is very afraid, and looks lost.
I actually feel sorry for him. At one point he is within feet of the lovers, whose embrace is heating up.
They halt all movements. Joon Hyung calls out “Oh, Hye Won…Hurry to Hannam-dong now!” She brings her hand to her face, “The prosecutors are there!
They are looking for you.” She stifles a cry while Sun Jae hovers over her fearful.
“Please go!” Joon Hyung cries as he shakes his head walking away.
Terror, now, stays with Sun Jae and Hye Won and they barely let out the breaths they have been holding. “I have to go.” She tells him. “Will you be OK?” He reassures her – not to worry and he’ll take care of himself. They part at the stairway door; Hye Won fixes her hair as she scoots away to her office. Sun Jae stays behind and worries.
In her office, she retrieves her cell, and finds several missed calls from a number of people, which makes her run out, at first. As we have seen in past crises – at the jail, at her house after kissing Sun Jae, Hye Won stops to think.
To consider. To review. First, moving around her office calculating odds, perhaps. Then later in her car. Options are examined and discarded. She leaves the parking garage followed by Stalker Rat Car Driver.
Sun Jae, desolate in the green room holds his head in his chin, then leaves.
At Seo’s house the men have gathered.
Hye Won makes her climb up the palace stairs to the King while we hear Young Woo berate her husband for not doing his duty protecting his wife’s family.
“Think about how much money my dad poured into you, turning my brothers into enemies.” He ignores her complaints and asks. “Can you prove the source of the seed money for the company you recently set up? Mr. Young Woo has decided to play hardball with them after all. Young Woo yells his name after him. “Kim Hye Kyung!” (Played by Jang Hyun Sung, KHA’s husband in A Wife’s Credentials)
Mde Han says a tearful goodbye to her “Honey,” as Seo prepares to face the music. He says he needs to dress up to get released quickly. He comments how sentimental the handkerchief she holds is. She presses it to her face to suppress her sobs. With much concern, he orders Hye Won to take care of his Mde Lily if he gets detained. Hye Won has heard that it will be a short investigation. Mde Han hopes so.
An uneasy feeling follows Sun Jae up the street to Seo’s home. He looks like a lost child with his backpack on.
Joon Hyung backs his car into the garage. Another stalker, this one terrifying, Da Mi peers around the wall from the street, and watches as the door drops. She looks upset.
Prosecutor Kim leads Seo down the stairs, Young Woo sobs at her Daddy’s arms.
Mde Han asks everyone to keep calm as he goes outside to his car.
It isn’t just one car, but a motorcade that takes him away. Sun Jae watches from up the street from behind a pole.
The secretaries have to restrain Young Woo from going after Mde Han, the dutiful wife, still clutching her hanky. As Young Woo screams accusations, “Whenever this happens, you always gain something!” Hye Won literally pushes her out the door. Now off camera, Mde Han throws down her prop disgustedly. “Why is she so damn noisy?” Then demands to know where Hye Won was that she didn’t answer her phone?
Hye Won apologizes, claiming she fell asleep at the office. Han doesn’t know yet if this blip will hurt them or now, but believes she has to gain something from it, or it’ll be a wasted opportunity.
Hye Won is instructed to go home and rest as a reward for working so hard on her favorite’s concert. “You have a private life, too.” She says good night and leaves gracefully as ever. Maddeningly so.
Hye Won awaits in his leather lair in the living room, bottle of expensive liquor as his companion.
Maybe he’s mulling over the choice before him: His pride or his success? “What happened?” he asks his wife when she arrives.
“Had to go to the Prosecutors office,” she says sounding dead to the world.
“You know I was looking for you,” he states. She dissembles. “No, I didn’t.”
How did she know to go to the Prosecutors Office then? She got a call, she tells him. Finally, he rebels, though wordlessly,
showing the limits to his patience as the he launches a glass smashing it against the wall. Barely registering any reaction, she ascends her stairs wearily.
Chez Sun Jae, he is on his stairs, too, sitting. Forlorn, helpless, uneasy, unable to do anything at all.
The next morning, word of Seo’s detention is out at the Foundation. Han sweeps into her office, telling Hye Won to keep the employees peaceful. They aren’t at war. What did Mr. Young Woo say to Hye Won on the side yesterday, Han wants to know.
Hye Won reports she had to send the Foundation’s accounting books over to him. Han calls him a crazy bastard. Hye Won gets a text that the books were received. Before she calls, Hye Won wonders if there is anything Han wants to tell her.
“What could I possibly know that you don’t?” the older woman responds. In her smoothest voice, Hye Won lets the Prosecutor know how she sent passwords for the protected files over in her email.
She assures him that after he investigates, he’s sure to find the Foundation has nothing to do with Seo’s private accounts. After she hangs up, Hye Won informs Han the Prosecutor wants to meet with her. “They try to throw everything off whenever the get a chance. The bastard is using this opportunity to see how much I pulled out by coaxing the Chairman.” Whether that is what he is after or not, Hye Won promises there is nothing on the hard drive. All the content is on a USB drive. She cautions Han to stay away from Baek for a while. Han agrees, and out of the blue asks why Hye Won’s desk nameplate hasn’t changed. Is “Vice” CEO too temporary so she’s just biding her time until the “Vice” is gone?
Hye Won walks back to her office scrutinized by the all-knowing Secretary who goes to meet Han.
No dancing around it, Han wants to know if Hye Won is seeing someone. Sec balks, but Han knows they go out drinking. Although, there weren’t any clues. “It’s just a thought, since Hye Won is known for being incapable of having relationships, however, lately…”
On the way back to her office, Hye Won leans against the wall, mask off, and her face a jumble of uncertainty.
Finishing this episode felt like getting through a mine field alive, I can’t even imagine how the characters feel!
The circle is closing in on Hye Won and her nefarious actions. I don’t understand how the legal system works and how she could be safe if Seo gets charged with crimes. Couldn’t he just as easily make her the scapegoat? Isn’t that after all why she is there?
And our adulterous lovers. Boy..Every second they aren’t touching is torture for him, for them. They sneak an adoring glance or a light touch, but otherwise try to reveal none of what is hidden between them. Funnily enough, everyone knows.
To the unwavering eye of Society, played ominously today by our rolling fog camera, there is no difference between Young Woo’s Boy Toy and Hye Won’s piano playing one. Heck, I may be underestimating Boy Toy’s feelings here, maybe he does love as fiercely as Sun Jae. Still it doesn’t matter. Young man gains a foothold because of wealthy older woman. Covert rendez-vous ensue. Until Hye Won gets asked point blank to choose between her career and her lover, we don’t know if she truly loves him or if this is temporary insanity on her part.
She isn’t the only one this has ever happened to. People are attracted to people that the Rules say they must stay away from. They are married to someone else, the wrong gender, the wrong color, the wrong religion, whatever. Problem is the force that drives humans to keep the species on this earth is mighty. It doesn’t know the Rules and folks often risk everything for the intimacy it demands and for the passion it provides. It’s messy and weak people do it and adultery is wrong. This force that wants so badly to create tends to destroy with equal measure. We all know the consequences. Best friends separate. Marriages end. People lose jobs. Two people who may have been lovers never talk to each other again. With Hye Won and Sun Jae, it could be a wrong people wrong time scenario, or it could be they are meant for each other. We will see in the following weeks which it is.
Since I started and ended on a very serious note, I want to lighten the mood with another song. Did you know there actually is a Princess in the animated world that sold her soul to the devil, and then was rescued by a young handsome god-like creature? I am not making this up. I leave you with Megara from Hercules and the hope for similar miraculous finish for Hye Won and Sun Jae.
what a thrill it is to be the first one to comment! this is an excellent recap from koala and jomo as usual. i also experienced this episode like a taut thriller!
All eyes are on HW and SJ and they seem so oblivious to it all. They are taking so many risks; making out at her workplace, her sneaking out in the middle of the night for their trists.
Many, many thanks for your recap Jomo!
Been stalking and refreshing this site eversince I watched ep 10 on Wed 🙂 SJ & HW’s chemistry is just ricocheting everywhere despite their efforts to put on a nonchalant front.
And I am so glad that you highlighted more on the quiet moment they enjoyed cocooned in HW’s office. Both understanding and reciprocating emotions they have for each other without any words exchanged. And it was evident that SJ was holding back his need to do more than just hold hands with HW just by the way he looks at her and his physical contact with her on the sofa. I mean, you can’t even wedge a piece of paper between them!
My goodness, he absolutely adores and Loves her! (wiping off the sweat on my flushed face)
I’m nervously waiting for Hell’s Gate to be obliterated in next week’s episodes… in fact, I need to get a force field just to brace for the impact…
As far as YAI, I hold back on almost everything I write.
Boy gives me the vapors, whatever those are.
We need our own black and white plaid hanky, don’t we?
I SO Know what you mean!!! I just HAD to re-watch that scene in her office again right after my post!
Pleaseeee write a dissertation on YAI in black and white plaid hanky! I’ll the be the first to comment. Teehee!
I have been making up stuff trying to guess exactly what is behind Hell’s Gate:
1. HW goes to the Big House, after taking a fall for Seohan. In dramas, it seems the longest time they end up in prison is 3 years. During that time, Hubby and she divorce. She gets the Lizzie Borden treatment from all her former colleagues. SJ travels the world with a piano on his back, learning a lot more stuff that if he stayed the Wunderkind of Seohan Land. When she gets out, they marry and move to my neighborhood.
2. SJ or someone in his entourage becomes embroiled in a jewelry theft frame-up. Hints come from the fact that they keep showing various necklaces, rings, etc AND the omnipresence of the cameras. One of which SJ requested be turned off. Circumstantial but still suspicious. Remember in 10 when DM tells SJ, “THIS is a restricted area.” She is on camera onsite, and she prolly showed up on some CCTV camera near HW’s garage. It could also involve Jang Ho is guilty by being poor.
They admit the love affair which everyone knows about anyway, and SJ or HW falls on his/her sword to protect the framed whomever that is. There much disgrace all around but the lovers hang together rather than separately. When he/she finishes jail time, community service, they marry and move to my neighborhood.
I don’t want HW to keep any illicit money after she goes through whatever turmoil is ahead. I want her to walk away clean and poor.
Same here. I want her poor, back to the basics and with him.
Thanks for another great recap. The office scene was for me, just like for you, the highlight of this episode. Such great acting. Yoo Ah In is Sun Jae.
The chairman’s comment about her being lucky having no kids. It could be a hint at a possible pregnancy (which I wouldn’t like) or she lowers her head, because somehow she worries about Sun Jae like about a kid of her own him being so young and clueless to the world’s mechanisms.
The next eps will be very tough.
thanks for another wonderful recap Jomo. I think I may need psychiatric help. I hate dramas in my real lufe and am usually grateful for the calm one i have but this drama has rendered my life colorless. it’s made me listless and restless. pretty much like some lovesick fool.
oh well. thank goodness I have lived enough to know that drama is not a good thing. keep all dramas in k land! 🙂
After every episode I have to diffuse. I leave the room and pace and flail, taking deep breaths. I attack whatever unfortunate family member happens to be in the next room I enter with how great the show is and how intense the moments are. All the while pacing and flailing. And then I rewatch the episode, which starts me up all over again.
As someone who doesn’t speak nor understand Korean, I have to wait for the subs. I watch them from multiple sites since they are always a little different. Then I wait impatiently for the recaps here. I don’t feel my understanding of the episode is complete until I read about it here. I think part of it is my excitement at knowing there are others just as wrapped up in this show as I. The rest is comparing notes. Did I read that scene correctly? Did they see what I saw? What was that? I don’t get it, etc. Example: I didn’t know that it was actually illegal to participate in adultery in Korea.
The two of you really bring everything together. Your writing styles although different, compliment each other well. I finally calm down after having read the recaps. They know, they saw, they feel it as well. I can take a deep breath and wait for the next episode. Where it will start all over again. 🙂
You are not alone! I undergo exactly the same procedure every week. Lol.
oh same here… 🙂
Thank you, Jomo, for your recap/analysis. I especially like your probable scenarios in the comments. My mind has wandered too. God, I love this drama. All the elements are there: writing, acting, directing. I hope they don’t screw it up by extending it. I want SJ and WH to ride off together on the motor scooter, and be happy together, even if they ride off a cliff. (I know it’s been done before, but it’s so effective). Eagerly awaiting the next episode, and thanks again.
Lol Misty, I’ll take the ride off the cliff as well, if they are together and happy. Or, as happy as you can be, as you fly over a cliff…
The remarkable thing has been the building sense of impending doom. Just which doom hammer(s) will fall, since there are several possible ones, is part of the suspense.
I have a hard time seeing any positive way out for Hye Won, as it really isn’t in her careful and manipulative nature to just flat out turn on Seohan. But Sun Jae represents all that isn’t Seohan, and I don’t wonder if it’s more of a case of him pulling her out of it than him getting sucked in to that world.
I adore this drama but I am not really drawn to the love affair in terms of identifying with it myself. I do not wish to be Hye Won as I often do when I am watching other kdramas that pull me in as much as this has. And that is what I like best about it. I think the PD is really smart this way — he makes the situation moving and very understandable but not (at least for me) desirable. It is not exactly sordid but a little bit uneasy situation — especially in this episode where everyone appears to know and let be. For me, that web of knowing takes way from the “rebelliousness” of the relationship. It makes it a little sleazy — not their love but the complicated reasons why Mme Han, the husband, the dean, etc etc both know and do not know. This knowing unknowingness is the same attitude that people have to Young Woo’s boy toy right? So, how is Hye Won and Sun Jae different from the perspective of a materialistic, soulless world which will look the other way as long as some benefit is to be gained from this relationship. I think that a “illicit” romance gains in power and force when the couple scripts its own destiny in a hostile and narrow-minded world but in this universe of don’t ask, don’t tell, of open secrets, there is no self versus society conflict that makes the couple and its choices heroic.
Am I being delusional here?
Part of the deliciousness of HW/SJ is that they have to hide it.
Every second together is heightened by the adrenaline of maybe getting caught.
That makes me wonder – if HW and SJ could love openly – as YW and her Boy Toy, would it be as sexy? As tantalizing? At first I thought it wouldn’t be, but I think the clandestine element is only part of it. I am not talking about hiding behind stage to get it on. The urgency of SJ having to have her THEN and THERE is more a part of the newness of their relationship than the illicit nature. Even married people would get into trouble for doing it back stage at a work place!
Next I wondered – if they were the same age, would be the same sexy since it is less forbidden?
Mulling…mulling…I think so. They are hot for each other because they have similar musical and other sensibilities and they find each other physically attractive. He likes the way she smells, which isn’t necessarily tied to age. It sounds like a good pheromone match.
The tragedy, I think, is when they met – since she is already tied to another.
Their sexual chemistry
Their sexual chemistry soul and feeling is making us crazy, it’s more an awakening for HW that following her ambition a better life chose a package that includes a husband but she is more tied up with her work. Nobody supports adultery/cheating but it looks to me she is more married with work than the “husband”. Also we don’t know yet her past, we only had hints about it. Why she gave up playing?!?!
Thanks for the recaps again!
And I watched the guitar video….breath taking and tense and sexy!
And I looooove his piano concerto, it was thrilling!
The make out scene I confessed I couldn’t see anything , it was so dark I was trying to increase brightness my computer screen! Lol
Hooomygoooooddddd my heart beat so fast like crazy energizer rabit battery on their dangerous make out scene! Show you’re killing me! And the piano concerto…gosshhhh…YAI is such a badass and sexy little maestro! So real actin and so beautiful music! Love love love this episode so much!
Thank you for this beautiful well-thought and quirky recap, Jomo. I smiled a lot and aww-ed here and there while reading each passage. I love how you described the scene where they are sitting together watching his concerto, so detail and just catched all the feelings that I couldn’t say. That’s one of their best scenes. Once again props to KHA & YAI fantastic acting. As one said, they say at best when they say nothing at all. The gestures, the eyes, the expressions have said all the words.
PS: for the encore, LS plays Brahm’s as his “love” letter to HW. It was actually Brahms Six Pieces for piano that he dedicated to his lover Clara Schumann too. They had similar love story.
I could barely breath easy watching this episode just as how HY quoted SJ’s performance: “It was breathtaking I almost died.”
Again, thank you Koala and Jomo for your brilliant minds, yet this is my second comment posted here I am very satisfied with your affirmations on the episode’s story. With the total of 10 episodes aired, it has been most of the time with me that I reviewed watching it from the start as I wanted to absorb every detail of the story that would help me understand those scenes where there are idiomatic messages of the dialogues and conversations of the characters, say for example:
1)How, when and why HW stopped from playing piano?
2)why YW always emphasizes that she and HW are both married for convenience: I would easily understand on YW’s part why coz of the prosecutor’s office influence on her husband’s side, but then, what about HW? what has she gained being married to her Stalking Rat Husband, whom was always described by her colleagues as “a child being raised by her”
3) how are the people on HW and SJ’s surrounding were able to comprehend earlier on their affair?
With the chain of events happening behind the Seohan Art Center I could say it is really a threatening place both for HW and SJ for a number of dangerous people around.
Firstly, both the chancellor and chairwoman are playing strikes both hiding behind HW’s diligence and orderliness of the job they gave her especially in incurring money out of their greed both behind their backs.
Secondly, YW who’s extrovert of her relationship with her young bf, would somehow make a move that would pull down HW once she finds out her affair with SJ. Since they were always bickering on each other on YW’s matters.
Thirdly, Mdm Han’s secretary who has started to place into the platter on her thoughts towards HW’s behavior adding up HW’s secretary as well.
Fourthly, the Stalking Rat Husband who has already shown a tantrum and had suspicions early on.
And fifth, Park Da Mi the former gangster, oh she’s equivalent to HW’s husband who’s started stalking too around the couple’s neighborhood.
Naah, the wait’s too long for next airing of this love affair, am anticipating for a more thrilling scenes and events to come up.
Couldn’t one possible reason why Hye Won married him be, that the Korean society pretty much expects women of a certain age to be married? She wasn’t really interested in founding a family, the working place very often is the pool to choose a partner from, her friend Jo, who might have been a candidate, had another partner, and hubby at least understands her passion and job. Other men would nag about her devotion to this profession and might have tried to tie her down to the house and possible kids.
So she gained social acceptance and to a certain ammount even support.
hi newbie, thanks for your thoughts. what really clings to my mind about HW’s marriage life is why she chose stalking rat to be her husband who himself claimed as inadequate for HW and doesn’t even love her. well, I hope in the next episodes to come this question of mine will be answered. right now am imagining what’s next (feeling excited!)
Mz Koala and Jomo, thank you very muchie for the wonderful recap.
of ep 9 & 10.
YAI is fantastic in this show. With a look or a smile, he can cause spontaneous combustion. When he was playing Rachmaninoff at the concert, I almost died. Can I keep him as my very own pianist, playing for me only? (oops! I said that out loud) I think the pair has one of the best on screen chemistry ever. Together, KHA and YAI can light up buildings, I believe even the whole city. Makes me wonder whether it is just great acting or directing skills or…
Albeit, this show is amazing. I go through different shades of emotion and thoughts watching it. There are so many themes one can glean off from this show. One that really stand out for me is the theme of greed/desire. Every character has a different relationship with greed/desire. Some more dysfunctional than others.
I can’t wait for more.
The most disfuncional here its the absence of sexual relations into the married couple and his husband sexual life is where I ak for myself in club girls because nothing has been shown still but I think he is a man after all.
The otgher disfunctional role is the wannabe girldfriend whose stubborness to get Yoo ah in is going to blow up their world
inappropriate saying, but i am addicted to this drama like in drug…can someone tell how to quit it? i am hoping our pair eventually together like Ivo pogorelich and aliza kezeradze.
u may quit after the 20th episode is aired and recapped here LOL
IS the preview for ep 11 on any other site than the drama website. That video runs in steps and there shud be an alternative to watch smoothly.. Youtube doesnt have it .
Here you go.
I am so happy that you chose to recap this drama! As none of my friends nor families watch this (despite my incessant raves), glad to meet people who are as addicted to this as I am. For someone who does not speak a single Korean, I surprise myself that I am willing to watch each episode raw, every mon/tue soon as they aired and again after they’re subbed. I am that invested. Considering, I don’t watch drama that often and very rarely do I repeat watching any drama, for whatever reason this drama got me hooked.
Again, thank you for the recap. Nervously anticipating the opening of Hell’s gate and getting impatient as now I just saw the clip for ep 11. Unfortunately, we have to be content in re-watching all 10 episodes this week as I think I saw that JTBC is postponing the airing of ep 11 to next week in light of the recent Sewol tragedy.
this week feels like forever.
Yes, I keep telling all my friends about this great drama but they don’t seem interesting , I guess love and beauty is in the eye of beholder! The storytelling is so beautiful .
Thanks for the brilliant recap. I simply love LSJ. Unlike your typical Kdrama male leads, he doesnt bully the love of his life as a sign of affection. He stays true to his feelings and doesnt suppress them, 100% honest with her, care for her, protect her using his own way but at the same time being selfish and careless just to be with her . I have to say YAI does a very god job portraying LSJ as an innocent cute boy and mimicking professional pianist being all fiery hot and sexy while he’s at it. Bloody talented fella.
ps: my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of Sewol ferry tragedy. may they find closure soon.)
love this drama. cant get enough of the two lead together. really dislike that gf of him. she should now by now. that him dont think anything of her other then a friend.
One week without SLA feels like forever!
This is the very first Korean drama that I’ve watched and like all of you (whom I am assuming are all women), I feel like what I felt as a young girl (I am 42 years old) experiencing the giddy, heady rush of a first love.
Even after the 16 episodes are over, I find myself tearing (sometimes even sobbing) when I recall certain images in the episodes that squeezes my heart so hard and makes me into an emotional wreck.
It is those little small seemingly unimpressive things SJ does for HW that squeezes my heart and make me cry, because these little words or actions of his speak so incredibly much of his protectiveness, care and love for HW.
Like for example, when they were having a tickling and rolling around on SJ’s bed, amidst all that laughter he stopped to ask her ‘Are you ok?’; another example when they were making love for the first time, he said ‘Let me know if you are uncomfortable’, and then this other example which would you believe, I am crying now as I type at the memory of the time when HW went out to meet SJ near her office, at some construction site or something, and then they realised they were being stalked. HW wanted to hurry down the steep stairs on her own to quickly return to her office, and told him not to touch her (or something like that) and SJ said to her ‘At least take hold of my hand as the stairs are steep and dangerous’.
Oh my goodness me – I cried and cried at that scene and recalling it, I am crying now.
I felt like I could collapse into a puddle. His concern and care and protective feelings towards her are so pure and uninhibited, I feel like if those were the last words I hear, I don’t mind dying.
Yoo Ah In sekshi in formal wear. A review in 7 words.
Seon Jae keeps a tight hold on his gift from Hye Won, a handkerchief. She found a gift that wouldn’t be showy. He kept it with him on stage, a personal reminder of his goddess.
The hand holding scene, absolutely marvelously beautiful. If you told someone there were a couple of wordless minutes of two people sitting on a sofa watching a video, it would sound boring. But with these two actors, this was one of the most wonderful scenes in the entire drama. SJ/YAI was so natural when he took her hand. No calculation or hesitation. The two of them sneaking little glances, shifting closer together, holding hands, discretely touching, yearning. I loved loved loved this scene, so well done, saying so much without saying a word. The gorgeous music. Beautiful.
And speaking of sekshi, their backstage antics!!! Sweet of SJ to want to show HW where he first saw her. Their faces pressed together, rubbing his nose along the side of her face with his beaming smile, so sweet. And then SJ, wow, his confidence has grown, trapping her against the wall and teasing kisses on the floor, omo incredibly hot. He is so gentle yet passionate. My turn now? So, yeah… I kinda like YAI.
Then the build up of anxious tension as JH searches for them. He even looks like the tiny little man he is here. This was the first time I noticed HW voicing concern for SJ asking, what about you? She really did not want to leave him, her safe place, and go out to face the dangers awaiting her. And SJ feels so helpless.