I enjoyed this episode less than episode 4, since the major plot points revolve around Jun-soo and Manager Mok (*snooze*). As a result, this recap is shorter, and I’ve condensed the timelines of some events. As always, I’ve included beginning time code (minutes:seconds) for all Park Shi-hoo scenes.
Also, since I’ve received a few comments about it: I am still recapping Queen of Reversals! I’m just super slow. But I plan on recapping up to ep. 25 at least.
We start off with replay of the end of episode 4, only with 10 times more footage of Tae-hee crying. She pulls herself together fast, though, and tails the chaebol & his assistant out to the parking lot (1:33). Seeing her, Yong-shik asks incredulously, “Yesterday at the dinner and now here at the company?” In response, Tae-hee holds up his phone.
“I told you knew you from somewhere, but you dismissed it without a thought,” she says, and tells him to consider other people’s words more. She then hands Yong-shik his phone, and waits…and then actually has to ask him to return hers. Tsk, tsk.
Kang-woo goes to fetch her phone, and Tae-hee starts in on Yong-shik again: “Whether my husband is competent or incompetent, how would you know?” Yong-shik responds that it was the company that determined Jun-soo incapable, and he accepted their evaluation. He also indignantly questions why she’s always chewing him out.
Tae-hee says she intended to use the phone swap to suck up to him big time–but he’s firing her husband, so screw that. Yong-shik tries to correct her, saying it was a voluntary resignation, but Tae-hee says there was nothing voluntary about it. “Who resigns voluntarily? They do it out of despair.”
Kang-woo returns then, and Tae-hee realizes angrily that Yong-shik turned off her phone. She calls him a weirdo, shoots him one more dirty look, and stomps off. Yong-shik (in adorable & whiny way) asks Kang-woo why she’s always like that with him. Kang-woo’s response? “You did wrong. Who turns off someone else’s phone?”
Back at work, Jun-soo signs the voluntary resignation form and cleans out his desk. At home, Tae-hee babies her husband, serving him crab soup and sending Sora off to the sauna with Grandma. She gives Jun-soo an out, saying maybe he should sign that resignation agreement. Still, she’s surprised when he tells her he’s already done so.
Jun-soo explains about his misuse of the company credit card, and the threat of termination, and Tae-hee switches from “understanding wife” mode into full-on harangue. So Jun-soo tells her that actually, her use of company samples was the biggest problem. Which is true and not true, but I’ll give the poor guy a pass. Especially as his mother-in-law walks in with Sora and overhears that he lost his job.
After brooding over his mother-in-law’s words, Jun-soo volunteers to take out the trash, and when he doesn’t return, Tae-hee goes out to look for him. She finds him weeping by the dumpster, and he tells her he belongs there, since he’s trash too. Seeing him cry makes Tae-hee cry (trans. from Viki):
Tae-hee: “Are you crazy? Where in there world is trash so wonderful and handsome as this? Are you saying I fell for trash? Now you’re insulting me. All right then! I fell in love with trash. Do you think trash only gets thrown away? There’s recycling. Lift up your face. Why are you doing this, Bong Jun-soo?”
Jun-soo: “I really…I really wanted to do well. I’m sorry, darling.”
Then they hug, and it’s sweet. It’s also the one scene in the entire series where I liked them as a couple, although not enough to jump ship.
At Queen’s, soon-to-be-fireds Yoo-kyung & Dae-soo look at Jun-soo’s empty desk and ask what they did to deserve such treatment by the company. One former co-worker coldly tells them to take private conversations outside, and ditzy Ki-ppeum adds injury to insult by saying that to be fired, they must be inferior workers who were unnecessary to the company…right?
So it’s doubly satisfying that Yeo-jin emerges from her office to tell Ki-ppeum to go upstairs: they’ve added names to the lay-offs list, including Ki-ppeum’s. Neener, neener!
Tae-hee’s & Jun-soo’s mothers have lunch with friends, and it’s clear that Tae-hee’s mother (Young-ja) never thought Jun-soo was good enough for her daughter, which Jun-soo’s mother (Mi-soon) resents. Someone asks about Jun-soo’s promotion, leading to an increasingly awkward exchange (as Yong-ja is the only one who knows that Jun-soo wasn’t promoted, but laid off). Finally unable to take Mi-soon’s not-so-subtle digs, Young-ja calls her outside, and spills the beans.
As for Jun-soo, he interviews for another job, but it’s a bad position (far from home, at a start-up), the competition is fierce, and they don’t even want him (“5 years at Queen’s and no promotion?”). The experience is brutal enough to kill all of Jun-soo’s initial job-hunting optimism, and to convince him he can’t hack it as a salary man.
Being proud, however, Jung-soo tells Tae-hee that they begged him to take the job, but he said no: he couldn’t possibly work that far away from his family. As a result, Tae-hee doesn’t understand why Jun-soo becomes so set on starting a business rather than getting a normal job, mistaking his fear-driven flailing as a lack of seriousness. Which is why you need to stop lying to your wife, Jun-soo.
At a Queen’s board meeting (25:05), Song-yi announces a product idea competition, to boost the company’s image and talent pool after the lay-offs. Submissions will be judged anonymously, and the winner will have a 6-month probation period before being offered a full-time job (gee, I wonder who’s going to win?).
After the board meeting, Yong-shik tells his dad it’s harsh hiring people right after firing all those workers, and President Goo says that an organization must fire incompetent people to run well. Yong-shik responds with an anecdote about a baseball pitcher who was terrible, until he got fitted with glasses and became an ace. Are the workers really incompetent, Yong-shik wonders aloud, or is Queen’s just not helping them reach their potential (aka “fitting them with glasses”)? Either way, Yong-shik says he’s done what President Goo asked him to, and now it’s time to return to the U.S. (you promised, Dad!).
Cute moment (27:29): Yong-shik sees Tae-hee crossing the street in front of his car, and his first instinct is to duck his head and hide. When Kang-woo calls him on it (“Did you commit a crime against her?”), Yong-shik laughs & straightens out, but only after she’s crossed the street.
Tae-hee learns about the product idea competition from office buddy Yoo-kyung, and encourages her husband to enter (with her help; as she tells him, she has lots of ideas stored up). But Jun-soo says he doesn’t want to crawl back to a place that fired him with the help of his wife. He adds that he still has some pride left to protect, leading to this exchange (trans. from Viki):
Tae-hee: How can it hurt your pride? If you get it, it would be great.
Jun-soo: Since you quit the company, you wouldn’t know how it feels to be fired. But I don’t want to repeat that experience!
Tae-hee: Why do you think you’ll get fired? Go back there and survive until the end.
Jun-soo: If that’s so easy, you do it. You go in and survive then.
Tae-hee: Fine, I will! Doing that wouldn’t hurt my pride at all. Both of us being bums, that hurts our pride more. How can striving to make a living hurt one’s pride? What a strange sense of pride you have!
After their tempers have cooled, Tae-hee re-confirms with Jun-soo that she will enter the contest, and then puts her Type A personality to good use by running product tests & neighborhood surveys. I seriously love how awesome she is at her job.
At Queen’s, President Goo talks with Song-yi about the diehards, the few employees who still refuse to sign the resignation agreement. She promises to get rid of them another way, but he says no, he wants to make them into the “Special Planning Team,” which will run for 6 months before disbanding. Oh, and make Goo Yong-shik the team leader, he tells her.
Cut to Kang-woo informing Manager Mok that he has to choose: sign the resignation form or be switched to the newly formed team (31:05; Yong-shik’s watching silently). Kang-woo explains that if Mok chooses the team option, he’ll get to work at Queens for at least 6 months more, but with no guarantee of employment after that (also, he loses the benefits he’d get by signing the resignation form now). Manager Mok doesn’t like either option, and after some polite resistance, he finally loses his temper. He tells Kang-woo he’s quitting because it’s so insulting; he wasn’t even at his own mother’s deathbed because he had to entertain a client for Queen’s, and this is how the company repays him?
Stricken by Manager Mok’s anger, Yong-shik later vents to an amused Kang-woo: “So what if the company wants to get rid of incompetent employees. What’s wrong with that? Why do they keep making me the bad guy?” Kang-woo asks why he cares so much about this, when he doesn’t even think about a woman, no matter how pretty she is, for more than an hour.
While talking to his family in Canada later that day, Manager Mok opens the results of a routine check-up and sees the words “Liver Cancer – Positive.” At the hospital, the doctor tells him he has about 6 months to live, based on other similar cases, and that surgery won’t help. Over drinks with Jun-soo, Manager Mok then learns that Queen’s employees can get worker’s compensation for work-related deaths (“like that guy who died of liver cancer last year.” Seriously, coincidences abound in this drama).
So Manager Mok returns to restructuring headquarters and asks to be moved to the Special Planning Team after all. Kang-woo refuses, saying Manager Mok’s already signed the resignation form, so it’s over. Manager Mok actually kneels to beg for his job, but Kang-woo still says no…and then Yong-shik appears (50:08), saying he hasn’t signed Mok’s resignation form yet, so it’s not official. Aww, I knew I liked you, Yong-shik.
Jun-soo, meanwhile, is still floundering. He fixates on starting a business, despite his lack of start-up capital or business savvy. He wavers between a ddukboki stand (he tells Tae-hee she can run the register, which goes over SO well), and a grave cleaning service (only $10,000 for the equipment!). Not fully understanding his new-found entrepreneurial streak, and with full contempt for his business sense, Tae-hee rips him a new one after hearing his grave-cleaning spiel.
She returns home, and Jun-soo stays behind to sulk at the cemetery, drinking alcohol offerings left on people’s graves (ugh, that’s not for you!), before eventually passing out. It’s already night when he wakes up, disturbed by strange moaning noises and angry cat screams, and he flees the graveyard, thoroughly freaked out.
While Jun-soo’s walking home, he runs into Yeo-jin. They have dinner together, and she asks Jun-soo if he ever wondered what life would be like if he had married her instead of Tae-hee. To which I say: Yeo-jin, you suck. Jun-soo does the right thing, though: he gives Yeo-jin a firm no, and leaves the restaurant pronto.
Walking home, however, Jun-soo starts imagining Yeo-jin as his wife. They live in the same house he lives in now, only this one is lit with CG magic. He imagines telling Yeo-jin about his business ideas, and her giving him supportive and adoring answers (in contrast to Tae-hee’s contemptuous ones). And so it begins.
Back at Queen’s, Yeo-jin takes the top contest entries to Song-yi. As Song-yi flips through them, she stops on one, her giant eyebrows knitting together. She asks if this entry is a finalist, and Yeo-jin says yes, that it’s the most popular one. Song-yi asks Yeo-jin to look up the source of the proposal (“anonymous contest,” my butt), and they find out it’s from Tae-hee. Then it turns into DEFCON 1 up in there.
Song-yi tells Yeo-jin that she can handle the other board members, but they need to keep Tae-hee’s proposal from Yong-shik. Yeo-jin goes to retrieve Tae-hee’s proposal from Yong-shik’s office, and while leaning over his desk, hears a deep voice (52:50) go “Who’s this?” Caught in the act, she plays dumb (“Oh my, I’m sooo sorry! I came into your office when you weren’t here.”) .
But Yong-shik isn’t buying it. He toys with Yeo-jin a bit, before telling her:
Yong-shik: By the way, I’ve looked over the contest entries.
Yong-shik: You were here before, my secretary told me. That one was very impressive.
Yeo-jin: What? Which one?
Yong-shik: That one you’re hiding right now!
He tells her to go ahead and take it, as he’s already made a copy (which he waves in her face). Hahahaha! I love that he’s clever.
So thanks to Yong-shik, Tae-hee gets to be a finalist after all. She arrives at Queen’s, nervous and out-of-place after her long unemployment, and of course immediately runs into mean girls Song-yi & Yeo-jin. Song-yi pretends she knowingly let Tae-hee come back to the company, so that this time around she can “destroy [her] completely.”
It would be a laughably melodramatic threat, if Song-yi weren’t certifiable. But she is. Consequently, Tae-hee has a meltdown, and when it’s time for the finalists to enter the boardroom, Tae-hee instead flees for the elevators.
Which is where she meets Yong-shik (01:01:05). He glances at her name tag, and realizes she’s the author of the proposal he liked. He tries to talk to her, but she ignores him, and gets on the elevator. Surprised, he asks her if she’s leaving, and she says yes. Yong-shik then stops the elevator doors with his hand, demanding a reason for her behavior (trans. Viki):
Yong-shik: You called me an alpha. That I’m a clueless jerk who lives off my father?
Tae-hee: No matter how drunk I was, I don’t think I’d be that honest…
Yong-shik: You talked like you were so wronged, sympathetic, and righteous. Why are you running away?
Tae-hee: Never mind.
Yong-shik: That’s why you’re always a beta.
Tae-hee: What did you say?
Yong-shik: You’re throwing away the position you fought for and earned. Why did you accuse me of doing something to you?
He berates her a little more, angry at her for wasting this opportunity, and when she still won’t get off the elevator, he grabs her wrist and pulls her out.
My smart bits reject this, but the rest of me thinks it’s HOT. So hot.