Somewhere along the line in this episode, I felt like I missed something. As if the writer was in such a rush to get to the next phase of the drama when previously, she was taking her time and unfolding the story bit by bit. There were parts where I did celebrate the progress, but I was mostly left scratching my head. In any case, much happens in episode 12. Almost too much.
We start off with a flashback to happier times, when Joon Young was a student who could come home to find his mother singing and happy. One of her favorite songs involved building a house atop a green meadow and living with a lover for over 100 years. For some reason, that became Joon Young’s goal in life, and while he no longer can live 100 years with his love No Eul, he could hope to live with her for three months. But things have gotten to the point where Joon Young doesn’t even think he can fulfill that dream because of what he’s done to No Eul. She’s waited so long for him, and since he never shows up she’s done with him. So the best he can do is make sure that the world she lives in after he dies will be a happier one.
That is why he goes to find Lawyer Cha and pesters him to no end to tell him who was the real perpetrator in that hit and run.
Strangely enough, Joon Young isn’t working with Ji Tae after he punched him in the mouth the night before. He just punched Ji Tae as retaliation: “Fine, I stole the hard drive and nearly killed No Eul, but you haven’t done anything for her. Your parents are threatening her and trying to kick her out of the country!” Okay, so it’s just a petty fight between brothers.
Either way, Joon Young’s words spurred Ji Tae into action and he stopped No Eul and No Jik from going to the airport. He sends the taxi off and has No Jik bring the luggage upstairs, and then goes on to tell No Eul the truth: Choi Hyun Joon and Lee Eun Soo, the people who have been haunting No Eul, are his parents. He isn’t Hyun Woo as he pretended to be. No Eul thinks it’s a joke at first until she realizes he’s not laughing. And she backs away from him.
This is where I go and scream, “All right Ji Tae, you’ve done enough damage. Go to your engagement party!” But it doesn’t matter because Ji Tae doesn’t go to his engagement party. He just never shows up and it ends up becoming very, very humiliating for Jung Eun. Both sets of parents are also humiliated and Eun Soo frets that Ji Tae might be in an accident (half-hoping that would be the reason he never showed up). Assemblyman Yoon finds it unacceptable and he privately commands Hyun Joon to send Ji Tae to his daughter as soon as possible to hold an engagement ceremony – even if it’s a private one between the two of them. Because this engagement is not off.
Jung Eun, on the other hand, understands that the engagement is totally off and she throws a huge fit at the dressmaker’s, blaming the dress as the reason she couldn’t get married. She even gets drunk at a hotel bar, and somehow her title is now “Director.” So – she’s just a gourmet chef on the side…
On another attempt to “pester” Lawyer Cha, Joon Young follows him to a hospital where Lawyer Cha’s daughter is being treated (let’s say, for cancer). It’s her birthday, and Lawyer Cha wanted to bring a cake in, but his wife rejects him at the entrance and says that their daughter doesn’t even view him as a father anymore. Low blow, lady. You know that Lawyer Cha is trying, but for some reason has a horrible reputation with his family. What the parents don’t realize is that Shin Joon Young has gone into the room and is attracting a huge crowd as he gifts little Boram a nice doll set. He then tells Boram that he’s friends with Lawyer Cha and admires him the most in the world. Both parents overhear this, and it makes the mom guilty while Boram is suddenly viewing her father favorably again.
Lawyer Cha doesn’t understand why Joon Young would lie to his kid. What’s the point of trying to find out who the perpetrator is? Joon Young spins a story that’s straight out of a K-drama where Hyun Joon tried to convince Lawyer Cha to play along in covering up the crime, and in exchange he’d make sure Boram got the best care from the best hospital in Korea. But Lawyer Cha probably rejected this offer and didn’t tell his family, and then Hyun Joon still got his way so Lawyer Cha lost out anyways. So predictable!
Joon Young then lays out his final aces: he’s Hyun Joon’s son, and No Eul’s father is the victim. He has a real personal stake in this. Lawyer Cha takes a good look at him and realizes Joon Young’s dead serious.
No Eul makes her way to the Choi household, insisting on speaking with the parents but the housekeeper Jung Ja insists that no one is home. (No one is – they’re all still on their way home from the disastrous engagement party.) She starts yelling through the intercom that she’s done everything she could to forget what happened. She was removing herself from the picture and was never going to bother them again, and in her mind she was doing a pretty good job of it. But the parents then send Ji Tae to come and spy over her?!
Ji Tae happens to arrive home alone and overhear this, and he realizes just how bad it looks now that he hung around her all these years. She totally didn’t see his presence as one out of pity.
No Eul continues that she’s not the one to be feared. If anything, the Chois are. She is too cowardly to do anything, so why do they keep watching over her like she’s a ticking bomb? The yelling makes her collapse from exhaustion and stress, and so Ji Tae takes her in his car and drives off to the Han River to give her some time to rest. When she awakes, she comes up with the “brilliant” idea that if the two of them were to date, his parents would be really pissed, right? So, to exact the ultimate revenge, how about they date?
She’s assuming right now that Ji Tae is going to choose her over his parents because of the way he treated her over the years. And she’s assuming this when so far, in this entire drama, Ji Tae has been choosing his loyalty to his parents over her. But SURPRISINGLY he agrees!
Back to Jung Eun – so she was drinking in a hotel and decides to walk out to the pool with a huge bottle. And then she topples into the pool because, drunk. A savior comes though – and of all people it’s Joon Young. I don’t know how he got there, or why he’s there, but he whisks her out of the pool and then tells her she’s not allowed to die just yet. Because he knows. He knows exactly who she is, since he got the answer from Lawyer Cha. She opens her eyes a bit to recognize his face (and know that it’s not Ji Tae), but she doesn’t fully register his threat.
We skip ahead a bit, because I don’t believe what happens next is the next day. Joon Young is back to filming his bucket list documentary, but this time it’s with PD Yoon, who was No Eul’s former boss. Joon Young invites PD Yoon for lunch, which makes it awkward for everyone because the elephant in the room is that CEO Namgoong fired No Eul and hired PD Yoon in her stead. Joon Young is somehow not having a meltdown over this (when he would have, five episodes ago) so everyone is on tenterhooks around him.
PD Yoon then goes to visit No Eul, where she’s just lazing around in Nari’s home due to unemployment, and begs her to refuse an offer he hasn’t made her yet. Ji Tae wants her to work on Seo Yoon Hoo’s latest film “The Time of Wolves” as a PD for the behind-the-scenes segment, but PD Yoon doesn’t want her to do it. Seo Yoon Hoo is notoriously picky and arrogant, and only wants to be surrounded by beautiful girls – which No Eul isn’t. But she’s not going to go down without a fight, and she’s going to keep working if she’s going to stay in the country. So she takes the job.
Meanwhile a bunch of food stand owners are protesting outside of Hyun Joon’s workplace because they were all forcefully evicted from their spots. They throw eggs at him, but Hyun Joon doesn’t send the protesters away. Instead he tells them calmly that they didn’t follow the laws – they didn’t get the necessary permits and if they continued their business they’d be imprisoned or facing huge fines. The protesters quiet down, until Ji Tae arrives and says, “Are you sure you didn’t just put a lot of money into forcefully kicking them out? Did you give them enough time to get those permits?” Oooooh, burn. On top of that, Ji Tae believes that Hyun Joon should have been more lenient on them since his own parents were food stand owners too. Wow – he’s really going all out in embarrassing his father. He’s got the balls to reveal this, but not about his father’s other crime.
Hyun Joon and Ji Tae move their conversation behind closed doors, where Hyun Joon doesn’t actually yell or slap his son for the outburst. Instead, he asks if Ji Tae is breaking off his engagement because of No Eul. Ji Tae will no longer live for his parents, and he’s ready to face whatever they want to do with him, whether it’s kicking him out of the house or the company.
Eun Soo hasn’t gotten this memo yet though, as she still views Jung Eun as her daughter-in-law. Behind the men’s backs, she visits Jung Eun and gives her the script to “The Time of Wolves” because she wants Jung Eun to oversee the production. (So I guess Eun Soo owns a film production company?) She wants Jung Eun to be as involved with the family business as much as possible, including being privy to all family secrets. Jung Eun herself is a pretty big family secret already, anyways.
It’s time for the shoot to begin on “The Time of Wolves” and Seo Yoon Hoo really proves to be a difficult actor. PD Yoon tries to temper his expectations for No Eul, saying that No Eul left the Shin Joon Young documentary because Joon Young was doggedly pursuing her, but she’s not that pretty to begin with. He emphasizes that despite her looks, No Eul is very talented at her job. So when No Eul comes into the dressing room in a lace white dress and heels, everyone is completely shocked. They were expecting a girl in sweatpants with a fiery personality!
At least Seo Yoon Hoo isn’t too averse to working with No Eul anymore.
Meanwhile Young Ok is feeling considerably warmer towards her son, now that she has an idea of where he’s coming from. She’s prepared food for him, which makes Jung Sik super excited because she’s finally being a mom to him. Funnily enough, Young Ok just wants to drop the food outside the front door and then leave, and they argue for a bit outside. What they don’t see is Hyun Joon driving up because he wants to speak with Joon Young as well.
Dun dun dun!!
Jung Sik turns Young Ok around at one point and Hyun Joon has a clear view of her face. His jaw drops, because he can’t believe that he’s actually seeing the real thing. (Thankfully) Hyun Joon gets out of the car and says, “Shin Young Ok! Right?” And she turns around. FINALLY THEY MEET!
Nari picks No Jik up from school because she’s afraid someone is going to hurt him. Guess she got the notice from No Eul. She links arms with him, and they bump into Haru, who’s pretty miffed that No Jik has been ignoring her. No Jik is all cool: “Are we in a relationship where I have to constantly text you?” Haru thought they got closer (ever since he scolded her for being careless for losing Kitty?) and immediately gets jealous that Nari is holding No Jik’s hand. Nari is like, “Girl, I can do whatever I want with No Jik – even pat his butt!” I love that No Jik is totally game and goes along with Nari because he really views her like an older sister.
Haru blurts out, “I like No Jik!” Well, that’s awkward. And here, I sit just shaking my head at the character.
Jung Eun meets with Seo Yoon Hoo for dinner, as she’s the new producer on his film. They seem to be friends, and he confesses how relieved he is that Joon Young passed on the antagonist role for the film. He hates Joon Young and thinks his acting is subpar. “Are you talking crap behind my back?” Woops – guess Joon Young heard everything! He’s at the same hotel they’re in because he actually is going to take on the role of antagonist! Welp!
On top of that, No Eul struggles working in heels as she can’t stabilize herself while filming shots of Seo Yoon Hoo working. But her savior Ji Tae is around, as he too is overseeing the project. (Don’t think he knows that Jung Eun is on the team yet…) He puts a bandaid behind her heel for her, as that’s the least he can do if they’re pretending to be dating. He carries her back to the hotel (since she can’t walk) and they run into Joon Young and Jung Eun talking at the lobby.
Well, don’t we have a bit of a messy situation here.
We’re really ramping up in getting the love square in as many scenes together as possible, which is about time. What really puzzles me is how we leaped over to this new movie that came out of nowhere (for me). I don’t think there were enough references to this film being made beforehand, so I feel like there was a massive time jump between the engagement day to the day they started shooting. But it’s not clear in the show either how much time has passed.
(Jumping timelines isn’t this drama’s strong suit, as it had to release a special to explain what happened in the first four episodes in chronological order.)
So I generally felt that the film “The Time of Wolves” was just a crutch to get the characters together in one place. I know that you need to create conflict, but sometimes it comes off more naturally than others. Here, it was more obvious than in any other situation, and I didn’t like that. I was also expecting a full-on legal battle with Lawyer Cha playing a bigger role in Joon Young’s plans. It’s not clear if Lawyer Cha will show up anymore, and even if he does, it feels like Joon Young and Ji Tae are going to try to resolve the situation privately (and thus, melodramatically) instead of braving the strong winds of public sentiment.
I am looking forward to what will happen between Young Ok and Hyun Joon now. It’s been refreshing so far how most characters have been able to face the truth or expose the truth more easily rather than keeping their thoughts inside. For example I didn’t expect Joon Young to reveal so much to Lawyer Cha about his background. I didn’t expect Hyun Joon to step out of his car because he could have just stayed inside out of shock, and had them meet even later in the series. I didn’t expect in the last episode even for Joon Young to tell his mother what happened to No Eul’s family. So hopefully Young Ok and Hyun Joon can get to a place where Hyun Joon realizes his son is Joon Young, and realizes what is going on without anymore “surprises,” because Eun Soo and Ji Tae already know everything. (And it’s okay if Haru remains in the dark – at this point her character is just useless.)
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