Episode 2 Walk-Through and Reflection
Sat Jun 28 2014

Episode 2 Walk-Through and Reflection

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Catching up from last time

Today is the anniversary of Ban Ji-Yeon's (Uhm Jung Hwa) worst memory, where she was abandoned the day before her wedding.

In the last episode, Yoon Dong-Ha's (Park Seo Joon) friend had accepted payment from Ji-Yeon's spiteful coworkers in exchange for publicly embarassing her. Dong-Ha couldn't help but to stand up for the under-dog and he successfully rescued Ji-Yeon from the ultimate humiliation (being called an unkissable ugly ajumma in front of everyone at the bar) by stepping up to kiss her himself.
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Emotional maturity

As soon as they leave the crowd, Dong-Ha advises Ji-Yeon that it is her own fault that her work colleagues have all conspired to humiliate her at the club.  He really does have reason to believe so, since she was so undeniably cruel and heartless when she robbed that orphan kid's bicycle in the last episode.
Sounding much older than you might expect from someone who is not a father in their early 50s, he responds to her look of astonishment with "Wouldn't it be good if you have something to reflect on?"
In contrast to Dong-Ha and his words of wisdom, Ji-Yeon's reaction to the ajumma club incident is childish and defensive. "This is why I became a reporter," she says. "Why are you blaming the victim?  House poor, baby poor, edu (education) poor… Do you think those problems arose because of laziness and complacency?  It's a problem with the structure of society!  Instead of modifying the system, can you really ask them to reflect on themselves?" You might think she has a point. There are always reasons that people do the things they do. So can we really blame them if they turn out badly?" Ji-Yeon relates it to the incident with being abandoned before her wedding by asking if he can say the same thing to that woman who was abandoned.  What did she do to deserve that?  She is more willing to accept that there is a reason she was left and has tired of searching for the answer. Ultimately Ji-Yeon is resigned to believe that bad things just happen, even to good, blameless people. She uses it as an excuse to treat people badly and take out her revenge on the world without feeling an ounce of regret.

Part way through the conversation Dong-Ha chimes in with a very wise and thought-provoking question: "Why does any of that matter now?" Though she doesn't realize it, this is the question that Ji-Yeon most needs to hear. At some point it doesn't matter how you got into a situation, whether it was your fault or someone else's fault. Something just has to be done to take care of it. And that really seems to summarize what Dong-Ha's character is all about at this point in the show. We still don't know anything about his mysterious past, but he isn't just sitting around pouting about it. He is stepping out into the world and doing his best to be a better person. He knows that bad things happen. He recognizes that there is some cause for them, purposeful or not, but the cause is less important to him as long as in the end lonely old women don't have to suffer public embarassment and drink the night away alone.
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Blast from the past

To prove that she has friends and wouldn't have ended up drinking her sorrow away all alone, Ji-Yeon brings Dong-Ha to meet "the traitor," Baek Na-Rae (Ra Mi Ran). She is considered a traitor because she eloped with Kang Min-Goo (Lee Se Chang), a guy that Ji-Yeon considers worthless. From Na-Rae, we learn that Ji-Yeon hasn't always been the bitter person she is today. She used to have fun with her friends and would laugh and joke. It turns out her nickname was Ddang ja because her teacher in school tried to rescue her with CPR and she coughed up a meatball on his forehead. Na-Rae refers to herself as Ji-Yeon's last friend.

In a flashback to Dong-Ha's past, we see that he was once in a serious relationship with someone while he was studying in college or something.  His girlfriend at the time assures him that he can bring a certain dead plant back to life and that someday a flower will bloom from it.  He has kept the plant and is still trying to nurse it to health.  He wonders why, even after watering the plant everyday it still hasn't come back to life. I can already see the symbolism. His girlfriend is gone and all the watering can't revive her dead plant, just like all his good deeds can't restore his former happiness or relieve his guilt.

As the scene changes Ji-Yeon watches the clock change to midnight and another year has passed since she was abandoned.
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Repercussions

The next day Ji-Yeon confronts the work colleagues who had arranged for a part-timer to publicly humiliate her.  She says that she'll forgive them, but only if they apologize within 24 hours. They're not giving in, but seem truly afraid.

The contender for presidency offers the woman he had a child with a plane ticket so that she'll leave the country until all the talk has died down.  Then he proceeds to go on tv and publicly declare his innocence. He assures the newscaster and the critical public that he will fight against the false allegations of whoever was the original reporter of the story.  It causes chaos in the news office. Phones are ringing off the hook and people are having to work too hard, but the boss thinks it's "sexy" and that they'll have to expand their office.

Ji Yeon's mom shows up to the office to try to convince her to start meeting men since she is still single at the ripe old age of 39. But more importantly, the psychic she's been seeing says that Ji Yeon is in danger because people don't like her (which somehow led her to believe that it was something having a husband could fix).  She's only able to convince Ji Yeon to meet the psychic when she reminds her that when she was dying of cancer Ji-Yeon had told her she would give her mom anything she wants if she would just accept treatment.
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The psychic

In fulfilling his duties as a part-time master of all trades, Dong-Ha goes to the psychic's place of business to fix some flickering lights.  When his phone rings in the middle of their conversation, he places it in a box next to the entrance that is supposed to hold people's cell phones.  He doesn't speak up, despite the mild sexual harassment he suffers at the arms of the psychic reader.

Ji Yeon and her mother show up, put their cell phones away in the same cell phone box, and Ji Yeon immediately starts to be harassed by the cruel psychic.  She is hit 39 times, once for each year of her unlucky life.  As she and her mom are leaving, she grabs a blue zodiac horse and the wrong cell phone.
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Drinking habits and pedophilia

There is a trend I've noticed since I started watching Korean dramas. First of all, there is a lot of drinking. For more information on that, check out this excellent article on the drinking culture in Korea by Seolistic.
In Korean dramas, just as in American culture, there's a tendency to dissociate the drinker from his or her actions while under the influence. Drinking might give one character the excuse to finally vent his anger or confess his love or sleep over at someone's house and since it was the fault of the alcohol and not the person, everything is forgiven or forgotten.
But someone new to Korean dramas might notice the common mention of something they refer to as "drinking habits." We've all seen it to a certain extent in different drinkers we've observed. When one person drinks, they become really funny and happy, whereas another might become really sad and depressed. In Korean dramas, drinking habits are little quirky things that the characters do when drunk. It's usually something silly for comedic effect.
Ji-Yeon's drinking habit is to start relationships.
When Dong-Ha discovers that their phones were accidentally switched at the psychic's place, he tries to meet up with Ji-Yeon to switch them back. He finds her drinking away her sorrow, feels pity for her and joins her for a few rounds.  After making sure she gets home safely, she invites him in the house for a few more beers. 

Reluctantly, Dong-Ha is pressured into kissing Ji-Yeon over a beer. They continue kissing and move to the bedroom.  You will want to watch this scene. But when Ji Yeon notices the wallet on the table she realizes that he is 14 years younger than her and immediately begins to fantasize about being sentenced to jail for taking advantage of a child.  She throws Dong-Ha off the bed and the episode closes with her covering herself in horror.

Don't miss this behind the scenes beer kissing video!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oVH5Bj6GgA&noredirect=1
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Conclusion

It was an excellent episode, one that really made me want to stick around for more. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below!
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