In this episode, our hero begins to adapt to the new reality of his life, while considering what other changes he can still effect. You would think he would be more wary of playing with that particular fire, but nonetheless he decides to go for it.
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The doorbell rings, and Min-Young goes to see who it is. Maybe it is Bum-suk? (Is that the guy I have been calling CBM worker?)
Min-Young is very surprised at who is there, and asks him over the intercom why he came?
“Why are you here?” She complains that he shouldn’t have come and there’s something wrong with him.
Sun-woo walks over and asks who it is. With much stammering and discomfort, she explains how this is the guys she was going to have dinner before, but then, well, with what happened to Samchoon. The guy really shouldn’t have come out all this way.
Sun-woo asks, again, “Who?”
Min-Young responds, “It’s…um, my boyfriend.”
Min-young unlocks the door, and she explains he really wanted to greet Samchoon, but she can tell him to just go home. She runs outside to stop him from entering the house, as Sun-woo lets out a sigh.
Whitney’s voice alerts him that the record is still playing so he walks over and stops it. He continues to look even more miserable than minutes ago. His fiancée has a boyfriend. Nice.
Outside, we see Suh-joon carrying a fruit basket up the stairs, impressed by the house and wondering how a reporter could afford it. Min-young must have a lot of money in her family. Min-Young doesn’t like his impolite manner, but he says he came because he heard Samchoon had passed out. And anyway, everyone wants to meet her uncle; he’s famous!
Young fresh lover, bearing the gift for a sick (read older) man introduces himself as he would to a prospective father. At least he is honest about reasons for sucking up to Sun-woo: he’s his boss’s friend, his girl’s uncle, the Chief Surgeon’s brother. In fact, he has taken too long to come greet him. Suh-joon heard Sun-woo was ill and he offers to examine him if needed.
When Min-Young tries to get him out of the house, he invites himself to dinner saying he’s hungry.
No read on what Sun-woo is thinking of this, but he stops paying attention to anything Suh-joon is saying. Then tells Min-Young they should go out for dinner. He is grateful she cooked for him, but he doesn’t have much of an appetite. He’s tired and wants to go to sleep.
Suh-joon thinks that is a great idea, Sun-woo robotically says it was nice to meet him, offers his hand to say good-bye, and heads upstairs.
Suh-joon smiles, feeling good about the meeting. He wants to go out, but Min-Young thinks he’s being pushy. He defends himself saying he hasn’t seen her for weeks while she was in Nepal. She wasn’t with him Christmas Eve, and she stood him up today. He points out that despite all that he’s still smiling. She laughs at him.
Looking out his bedroom window, Sun-woo hears them leaving – chatting, adjusting each other’s scarves and generally behaving like a dating couple.
Sun-woo looks at the incense holder. His expression becoming bleaker each moment.
Min-Young comes home from her date, and sees Sun-woo’s light on. She carefully pushes the door open only to find her uncle isn’t in his bed. Instead, Sun-woo is sitting motionless at his desk, sweat covering his forehead. Quickly, he closes his hand over the medication packets so she won’t see.
Her chipper manner shows she isn’t paying much attention to the person she is speaking with. He’s listless, white as a sheet, and clammy looking, yet she chatters on about her boyfriend, and did Samchoon like him?
She needs Samchoon to be an ally against her parents, chirp chirp chirp.
While I know it is perfectly natural for her to have Dad-zoned Sun-woo, I hate how oblivious she acts to her uncle’s suffering. She suggests everyone have dinner together – Suh-joon, Young-hoon and Sun-woo, to which Sun-woo agrees with a completely forced smile.
But she’s relieved now, the secret’s out. No more worrying! She says good night and leaves.
“Why didn’t you go to bed? I only went out because you said you were tired.” She points out it is after midnight. Is something bothering him?
He tells her he can’t sleep and she asks why. He pauses, and replies something surprising.
“I’m lonely.” He can’t sleep because he feels too alone.
Min-Young laughs, which makes Sun-woo smile and ask why she’s laughing. Apparently that isn’t the sort of thing Samchoon would say. But this Sun-woo is different from the one she grew up with.
He talks about not noticing when she was there, a vague she that remains undefined.
“But now that she is gone, I feel really lonely.”
What? Min-Young’s curiosity is piqued. Excitedly she comes back near where Sun-woo is sitting. Did Samchoon really have a woman? Since when? Who is it?
The way he looks at her while describing this other woman upsets me to the point where it is unbearable. (I find I dislike this girl unfairly; she has every right to be upbeat and content in her own world of young love.)
Sun-woo says “No comment” making her mad. She complains that she told him everything. Sun-woo says he never asked about her love.
She barrages him with questions that he only answers with one or two syllables.
When he refuses to talk, she refuses to leave until he tells her.
Why did he break up, why doesn’t try to get her back?
He gives that tiny little smile to the woman he loves hiding behind the girl in front of him. You can feel somehow that he is communicating wordlessly to her heart for a moment and closes his eyes, takes a deep breath before replying.
Why not? Min-Young wonders.
Amnesia! Sun-woo says. Just like in the dramas.
“The most common disease in the world.” LOLOLOL
But Min-Young doesn’t like this reason.
Why is he being so elusive with her? Why is he lying? First it’s Viagra, now amnesia.
(I feel an intensity of interest from her, suddenly, that wasn’t there before hearing about the other girl. It was OK for her to have a boyfriend, but Samchoon? Not without her prior knowledge. It isn’t possessive – but a clear-cut she KNOWS there isn’t someone else.
And why isn’t there someone else? In Life v.1, he didn’t have a girlfriend all those years because he was secretly in love with Min-Young. Are we to think the same thing happened in Life v.2 – he fell for his niece secretly?)
He tells her she’s not gonna believe him no matter what he says, why does she keep asking?
She pretends to accept. OK. But what if the girl has amnesia, he can just start again with her? Memory be damned.
He tells her it would be considered incest.
She’s like: WTF?
He explains that while they thought they were strangers, they found out they were related.
You know, like in dramas. A birth secret.
She gets more frustrated, and he laughs. I like that he is starting to have fun with this. He needs to find humor in this pain.
He tells her to leave and he really is tired and ready to sleep.
Reluctantly, and not at all satisfied with what she still doesn’t know, she departs, closing the door behind her.
What is probably the next day, we find Young-hoon sitting despondent on a park bench in a playground. His body language is anxious – he actually looks like a shy 12-year-old girl who would rather disappear than have someone see her.
His wife, comes up and tells him he looks like an old bum. She reproaches him for sitting so still and hunched up. Compared to Sun-woo, he looks ten years older.
Out of the blue, he asks about the girl who set them up: Han So Ra. She dated Sun-woo all those years ago. The wife fills him in on So-ra’s three marriages since then. They talk about how pretty she was but that one of her marriages was broken up by alcoholism. (They don’t specify who drank.)
Young-hoon muses that life is funny. Fate is funny. How come Sun-woo’s relationship with S0-ra ended, Young-hoon and his wife stayed together and had a family? (I get the impression Young-hoon thinks Sun-woo escaped, while Young-hoon is stuck. ) He barely moves while he talks, eyes cast down. His wife complains he’s been acting weird – going to church every day and praying.
Ever so pitifully he tells her how sad he’s been lately. He cries out dramatically that it’s useless to fight fate. Everything is decided already!
When he gets up to leave, shoulders drooping, she asks if he’s going to work and not to go out drinking. He leaves and his wife is puzzled about what the heck is up with him?
Flashback: 30 December 1992
They are planning an outing to Chunchcheon, and So-ra wants to have Sun-woo’s friend go as this girl’s date. Despite the fact that the second girl calls Young-hoon a loser, she also mentions he was the valedictorian. Something tells me she agrees. (I deduce it is Young-hoon’s future wife.) Still in the past, the next scene has Sun-woo playfully grabbing Young-hoon by the neck, trying to get him to go to Chuncheon with him. He can fix him up with a pretty girl. Come on, you know you want to…
But Young-hoon has something more urgent to discuss. What is up with that Christmas card, dude? Yo, it was weird. Sun-woo has no idea what Young-hoon is referring to, but suddenly he remembers a similar conversation with his mother, who also commented about a Christmas card he gave her. Sun-woo remembers – looking guilty how he lied to his mother to get out of their dinner date to sneak off to the movies with So-ra. He thinks he was going to get reprimanded when instead Mom shows him the heart pendant, and thanks him. (I love how touched she is about getting the gift from her son, cause she really did get the gift from Her Son, just a much more mature version of him.)
The next scene is back with Young-hoon. When Young-hoon shows him the handwriting, he agrees it is his own, but he can’t explain it.
She really did like it, he comments. Sun-woo apologizes that he had previously came alone, but is happy that now the family is bigger.
Moments later, Hyung comes in with his wife and Min-young who once again is non-stop chatting. Sun-woo braces himself for the first face-to-face meeting with his Hyung since the café over a year ago. Min-young runs to Mom in the chair, singing “Halmoni.”
Hyung asks after Sun-woo’s health. There is hesitancy between them. The impression I get is that they still not close in Life v.2. Yoo-jin and Min-young talk about the pretty silk sweater they give to Halmoni.
Sun-woo escapes to get a cup of coffee and Hyung joins him, leaving the ladies.
Sun-woo flashes back to the café where Hyung was acting strange, and needed money. A sharp contrast to the confident, successful doctor ordering his brother to come in for a complete check up the following week. Sun-woo claims he’s far too busy for that.
When Jung-woo spills some drink on himself, he pushes up his sleeve to dry his arm with a handkerchief. Sun-woo sees needle tracks on Jung-woo’s forearm. (Wait a minute – the doctor is a user?) but Jung-woo says it is vitamin shots. Wifey comes to take Hyung out, saying it’s time to go. Once outside, she decides she and her daughter need some alone time and they get into one of the two cars, leaving the men to drive together.
Hyung drives. Sun-woo, when adjusting the seat for more leg room, accidently discovers an empty medicine bottle on the floor of the car. This prompts him to examine his brother more closely, recalling the Hyung’s antsy body language from the past at the cafe when he handed over an envelope of cash. Sun-woo surreptitiously pockets the drug bottle and asks if everything is OK with his brother. The stress at the hospital isn’t too much? Jung-woo assures him everything is fine.
Turns out they are going to their father’s memorial at a crematory. Yoo-jin narrates it has been 20 years since Dad’s death. She feels bad that they haven’t paid their respects more often, especially after having been in the States for so long.
This is the first time Min-young has visited. (Must be important later.) Yoo-jin tells Sun-woo a story about when Jung-woo’s father visited her a long time ago at the record shop. He was frank, telling her he was against the relationship. His authoritative demeanor frightened her, and she had decided to give Hyung up after that.
Jung-woo sighs and leaves during this part, and Yoo-jin explains that he doesn’t like her to talk about it – that he probably feels guilty. The night before his father’s death, Jung-woo threatened to sever all ties with him. Who knew the father would die so soon? Had he not died, we don’t know how things would have turned out. (Little red flag here.) She laments that after Dad died, Mom fell ill, and that Jung-woo regretted his actions.
Following his hunch, Sun-woo guesses correctly that things weren’t all that smooth while Hyung’s family lived in in the States. He pretends he found out from Min-young. We learn Hyung, with easy access to drugs at the hospital, had been self-treating for insomnia and depression, and because of this even had to change jobs. Apparently, the problems didn’t go way when they returned to Korea.
Sun-woo talks enigmatically to Yoo-jin about how his father passed away twenty years ago. He says something about there aren’t many chances left to help his father. Yoo-jin is understandably mystified.
Choi Jin Cheol of Myungse Hospital gives a press conference and talks for a long time. Among other things, he apologizes to his supporters, rebuts all the charges that Park Sun Woo made, and reveals he is suing and Sun-woo for defamation. Sun-woo is watching the presser on the television when his boss comes in and shuts it off.
Why bother? You know what he’s going to say. He asks Sun-woo if he’s afraid, but Sun-woo says not really, but he’s just realizing how long this is going to take to finish. Chul-min states that Choi isn’t the type to just fold. If he were, he would never have gotten to where he was in life. That Choi would rather die than give up.
Chul-min thanks Sun-woo for his hard work, but pats him on the shoulder saying he can take time off now. They would take care of everything from now on.
Sun-woo asks half kidding if he’s getting fired. Chul-min tells him he heard about him collapsing, so… Sun-woo says: You told me to die at my desk! Chul-min admits that would look awfully cool to everyone, but what with the paperwork and the mess, he’s not so sure. Sun-woo laughs saying he never knew he was that merciless.
Mostly I put this picture in because I love his crinkly smile.
Chul-min is more worried than anything, telling Sun-woo to check into the hospital. Work on getting cured. Sun-woo is still young after all. With absolute confidence, Sun-woo says he will be fine soon and there is no need to get a replacement ready. Chul-min invites him out for a little drink after the news and leaves.
(Let’s pretend that it is a 1926 bottle of Macallan scotch, since a Korean businessman paid $75K a bottle of it, and Choi is just arrogant enough to be that man.)
As soon as he starts talking, Sun-woo hits the record button. (Does my phone do that?) What follows is an awesome show-down between power and righteousness. Choi is drunk, and not giving a damn how he sounds as he blathers on.
He dramatically tells Sun-woo his limbs are being torn away by the landmines Sun-woo planted. We flash back to the hospital on the day Dad dies. Nurses and hospital crew crying. (Why are they taking him from the hospital in an ambulance? If he is sick, should he stay at the hospital? If he is dead, what is the rush?)
Choi readily admits: Sure, I did embezzle and forge and lie, but I didn’t kill your father, reminding him whatever evidence you had then wasn’t enough to pin anything on me, so don’t try to find anything now. Sun-woo picks up on Choi’s emphasis on I didn’t do it and asks if he is confessing to paying someone else. Choi is being a dick and says, I don’t feel guilty. In fact, you eff with me, and I’ll rip off your arms and legs. Choi seems pretty pleased with his position of power in this game.
Sun-woo retaliates, laughing at how it’s actually Choi’s knack for bullshitting that holds Choi in power. Not ability. “It’s because you are a thug.”
You can tell that Choi has NEVER been talked to like this. That Sun-woo is that kid pointing out that the emperor has no clothes and that scares the beejeesus out of Choi. It brings his bluster up a notch, and we see him incensed, slamming his hand down and cursing at Sun-woo, calling him vicious.
On the other end, Sun-woo is amused, having provoked this response. I am, too.
Choi takes a ragged breath, pulls himself together, and says “Yobosayo.”
(The name of my blog. Go look at the web address now. See?)
He checks to see if Sun-woo hung up. Almost apologetically, Sun-woo tells him it must be difficult to have worked so hard only to be brought down in the end.
Choi launches into a “How dare you” rant “ I didn’t kill your father. We were brothers, man. And you were nothing but a little shit back then. Who the f^ck are you to talk to me like this?” In so many words.
Sun-woo remains calm, coolly informing Choi that he will find out who killed his father (prepare to die) soon enough.
Choi is stunned, of course, and Sun-woo even offers to apologize if he is wrong.
In fact, he’ll also give him a choice whether to stay a doctor and do right, or try to follow his path of national fame again. Choi has no clue what this means. Then Sun-woo reminds Choi that was almost exactly 20 years ago that his father died. In two hours, he’s going to call the Chairman back and let him know what he finds out, and hangs up.
After the call, Choi looks at the phone – perplexed maybe? He doesn’t seem too bothered, though, and goes back to drinking.
Sun-woo rushes into the newsroom and asks for camcorders from Bum-suk. He promises to return them soon.
We see Choi swirling his 87 year old scotch (OK, I am making that part up.) in his glass reflecting back on what Sun-woo told him about being a bullshit artist, and getting to where he is now, not by ability but by being a thug. He takes a very impressive slug of scotch and looks up at the clock, which is about to turn 10PM.
The screen splits to simultime-minus-20 years.
Flashback to Young(er) Thug Choi. He’s on the phone with someone who seems to think if Choi gets rid of the director, it’ll be smooth sailing for his pet project. Young(er) Choi actually balks at the idea, and hangs up. Moments later, Sun-woo’s Dad receives Choi in his office. You can tell Director Dad must have been a son of a bitch to work for by the withering look he gives before asking, “Why didn’t you go home already?”
I gather that Director Dad wasn’t against Choi’s project for scientific reasons, just that the investors seemed shady. Choi’s outlook differed because he wanted success at any cost, while the Dad seemed more concerned about hurting the hospitals’ rep. The Director tells him to stop bringing it after the beginning of the year or else, and Choi makes reference to “what if something happens before then?” and leaves.
Choi keeps remembering the guy from the phone telling him to get rid of the director.
Young-hoon is working at his desk. His clock shows after 10PM now.
He recalls what Sun-woo said, “Maybe it is the forbidden fruit, but how could I not take a bite? I’m not a God, I am only human.”
Sun-woo is retching in his bathroom. It feels like he is throwing up from the center of his being. He calls Young-hoon and reminds him he told him he’s feel OK for about three months. Why does he feel even worse over than last week?
“When you diagnosed me and said I was going to die, I didn’t feel that different. Until now. I feel worse all over – my body feels like it is dying.” He connects this rapid decline to using the incense. Sun-woo admits to not knowing what to do. There is no manual for him to refer to. He’s making it up as he goes along.
We see Young-hoon shaking the bad thoughts out of his head, tries to finish the paperwork he was working on, but gets up and paces. He glances at the clock. 10:20 PM.
Earlier, we see he was talking to Sun-woo about Hyung’s addiction. Sun-woo deduces that Hyung’s Life v.2 was only better by half than his first version. That Hyung had realized only one of two unfulfilled desires. One was staying with Yoo-jin, the second was saving Dad from the fire.
Young-hoon totally disagrees. You already kept him alive, but you’re dying! Shouldn’t you be trying to fix yourself up? Sun-woo doesn’t disagree, but he hints that he has time for that later. Next up is saving Dad. For his Mom who really needs him.
By the way, he tells Young-hoon about Choi’s unapologetic attitude as he threatened to rip him limb from limb.
Young-hoon asks how he plans on saving himself and Dad.
It’s no problem. “As long as nothing unexpected happens.” (Doesn’t Sun-woo know that “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition the unexpected?!!”)
Then finally Young-hoon asks the question I have been yelling from my chair:
Young-hoon speaks sense. What if something else changes other than your father? Min-young could change for the worse. Sun-woo has every right to use this opportunity to survive. YOU are alive NOW! Your father is dead and has been for twenty years. Just survive. There shouldn’t be any consequences from heaven.
Sun-woo seems to agree but you can tell the temptation to save his father is too strong. It’s within his grasp and feels compelled to do something about this simply because he can.
Again, we hear Sun-woo tell Young-hoon that he has already taken a bite out of the forbidden fruit. How could he not use that knowledge? We hear again, “I’m not a god. I am only human.” Aarrrrrghhh! Why can’t I reach through the screen and stop him?!!!
Cute Hoobae hands a document to sign, and Young-hoon’s hand shakes noticeably. Cute Hoobae wonders what the heck is up? In non-response, Young-hoon asks the name of his girlfriend, hearing the young man say Min-young however much he didn’t want to hear it.
“You still have the same one?” (By the way, I love his attempt at “closing the barn door after the horse has bolted” by Young-hoon to fix what he broke by matchmaking Min-young.)
Next scene is Sun-woo prepping for battle with his computer and cameras and timers. Music with intent plays in the background. He pulls one incense stick from the holder and waits….and waits…and we wait…He does this cool spinning thing with the lighter…and waits…sets his timer for 30 minutes, and finally lights it. Something chimes behind him and he turns. It’s the freaking doorbell and Min-young is at his gate.
She rings it again, but then decides, she has the pass code, she may as well break in again. Into the house and up the stairs she goes, asking him through the door why he isn’t watching the news. She tries to door to his bedroom, but it’s locked. Thank god. She shakes the doorknob, knocks and asks if he’s in there.
We see he is gone and she panics, calling “Samchoon.”
Old Sun-woo turns on the light in his own bedroom. Young Sun-woo is sleeping and we see Adult Sun-woo’s reflection in a full-length mirror. In vain, he tries to wake himself up, but it isn’t easy. He has to slap himself lightly several times, smiling down as his young sleeping self saying, “Get up. There’s not much time.”
With a very scary face (from Young Sun-woo’s point of view – Who is this creeper in my bed room?!) Sun-woo says, “Wow. Long time no see.”