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Laya

Please bear in mind that I am not Korean, so a lot of the stuff dealing here with Korean culture are based on my own deductions from the drama itself, or research, and it may not be totally accurate, although I learned a lot about their culture just from this drama. If you're a Korean reading this blog and I might have misinterpreted or misread some cultural nuance, please feel free to explain it to me nicely.

Episode 2
Sung Hee is in the driver's seat now.
Last episode we left Eun Sung distraught over her father's death. She refuses to believe that he is gone, and her stepmom, Baek Sung Hee, speaks harshly to her. It is a battle of wills, and the stepmom prevails by showing Eun Sung her father's personal effects, which had been found on the body that had been burned beyond recognition in the fire. Eun Sung weeps and falls on Sung Hee's lap, and we see a single tear streak down Sung Hee's cheek as she strokes her stepdaughter's hair, and we think that maybe she is not really that bad, maybe she just can't show how she feels. Well, we're going to find out soon. [I think Han Hyo Joo is trying too hard to cry here. I dunno, maybe I just don't like histrionics.]



Eun Sung wants Eun Woo to come to the funeral parlor, since he is after all their father's only son. But Sung Hee dissuades her saying it would just be bad for Eun Woo, as it would upset him and he would cause an uproar. Although we can't help but think her reason is really less of the former and more of the latter-- she doesn't want the autistic kid causing a disturbance at his dad's funeral. She tells Eun Sung they can both act in Eun Woo's stead. Eun Sung asks why she is like this, as Eun Woo is not stupid. Has she raised Eun Woo with that mindset all that time? Sung Hee reminds her that she, Sung Hee, took care of Eun Woo for seven years. Finally she tells Eun Sung, fine, do what you want. The look she gives her stepdaughter behind Eun Sung's back is ominous.

Eun Sung goes to her brother's room and tries to hug him but he pushes her away. It doesn't look like he understands that their dad is gone. Meanwhile, Hyeong Jin finds out that Eun Sung's dad's company, Sung-Woo Construction [ooops, one letter away from Hwan's name, haha], has been declared bankrupt.

At a restaurant, Hwan's grandma enters and is greeted as "President" by one of the staff who is manning the counter. This is Soo Jae, about whom more later. For now, he is holding some money which had just been paid him by a departing customer. Granny takes the crumpled bills and smooths them out; Soo Jae remonstrates saying that the money is filthy. Granny tells him that money is neither good nor bad, but scary, and hands him back the bills. Granny comes across as a no-nonsense, but charming old lady here, so we are wondering why the hell Hwan is so hard on her.


Meanwhile, Hwan is waiting for Eun Sung to show up, not knowing of course what had happened. He is fuming because his friend tells him that hey, maybe she won't show up and just sold the expensive stuff in his bag.
Hwan kicks at Eun Sung's bag, but someone reprimands him. It's Granny! He tries to sweet-talk and bluff her, saying that he has to go back overseas, but she just calls the butler to escort him to the car.
LOL at Butler Pyo's gangsta appearance here! Hwan sighs in resignation.

At home, Granny tells Hwan he is not going to study abroad anymore. Hwan makes all sorts of excuses, but it turns out Granny wants him to stay home to go into the family business. She reminds Hwan of how much the business means to her; it seems that it is a lecture she has repeated many times, because Jung butts in and mock-seriously finishes the rest of what Granny is saying about how she and their father started the company, including the fact that their dad is already dead.
It seems Granny ignores Jung's facetiousness, and Young Ran's whine of "why are you telling us this again, mother?" Hwan asks why he has to look after the family business when Granny is already there to do that.

[Word of warning, Hwan-ah, that is an argument you do not make to your elders, especially when you are already old enough to be earning your keep. You fully deserve what is going to happen to you next, and for God's sake do something about that bird's nest you call your hair!!] Basically he tells her that even if she had an heir, he/she would quit after a few days working in the company. Of course Granny gets angry. "I feed you expensive rice yet you insist on being rotten!"
Hwan stomps off in a snit. Instead of taking a paddle to his backside, the way my mom would have done if I had acted that way, Young Ran runs after him and tries to placate him. Can't help but think, duh, no wonder the guy's spoiled rotten. Hwan objects strongly to being made to work in a store, but his mom urges him to try it out for a while just to appease Granny.

While the spoiled brat sulks, Eun Sung and Eun Woo bury their dad. At least, what they think is their dad. Sung Hee plays the grieving widow to the hilt. But who is this watching from around the corner of the building? It's Mr. Go himself. Eun Sung tries to make Eun Woo get into the funeral car, but the kid's being difficult and his sister sounds on the verge of exhaustion. Frustrated, she weeps, and their dad weeps in turn, but of course he can't approach them... it's his funeral!

Hyeong Jin tells Jun Se that his hopes for a bright future are dashed-- Eun Sung's dad is dead and the company is bankrupt. Jun Se gives him a dressing down for not even going to the wake.
All right, he hits him. No, Hyeong Jin, you're not getting any sympathy from me either, you jerk. It looks like Jun Se, who has met Eun Sung only twice, cares more about her than you do! Well, I guess Eun Sung did make a big impression on him at their first meeting :P
Next we have Hwan, ostensibly reporting for work. He's wearing white loafers, the first thing we see as he gets out of the car; obviously he is not planning to do any real work! And a leather jacket, and a scarf. Hrm, he must have used pomade on that hair as it looks neater. Well, somewhat. But he still looks disagreeable. He walks into the restaurant, is greeted by staff, asks for the manager.
The manager is Lee Joon Young, a youngish but stern-looking guy who immediately reprimands Hwan for coming in late, as he was supposed to report at 9am. Joon Young introduces him to the staff, emphasizing that although Hwan is Granny's grandson, he is "on the same working level" as per Granny's wishes. Which, if Hwan had been more sensitive, he would have realized the situation and shaped up. But hey, if he were more sensitive he wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.
Joon Young gives Hwan a uniform to put on and leaves. Hwan of course has no intention of putting it on; he throws it to one side. The next thing we know, he's sitting behind the manager's desk and talking on the phone to Seung Mi, whose mom has told her to not mention to Hwan what is happening in their family. So she diverts the topic when Hwan says he heard her mom was sick.
Joon Young comes in on the tail end of the conversation and asks why Hwan has not put on the uniform yet. Hwan impertinently says that his grandma told him to go to work, but did not tell him to change clothes. Smartass. Joon Young tells him that using crude language [this is how it is translated into English, but it's actually banmal or familiar/ informal speech] is prohibited, and puts him to work unloading supplies and putting them in the storeroom.
It's a faceoff between these two; Joon Young treats him as an employee, Hwan is like yeah right, don't forget I own this company. If you don't like me then fire me. And walks away.
Next we have Seung Mi bringing Eun Sung a bowl of porridge. Eun Sung is still moping over her dad's death and Seung Mi coaxes her to eat.

Meanwhile Sung Hee is in an office, handing over some papers. The insurance claim?
In their house, creditors are attaching everything valuable. Eun Sung and Seung Mi, holding hands for comfort, stand in the middle of the room looking bewildered and lost.
(If anyone else even half-expected someone to stick red tags to these two, raise their hand.) For this time at least they look like sisters. Sung Hee comes in and both girls run to her. Outside, more creditors are knocking on the door, looking very angry. Uh-oh.
Next is a sad scene where Sung Hee, on her knees on the floor, lays out before the angry creditors what she says is all that remains of their assets. We learn the extent of their debt: 200,000,000 won. She makes it appear that she did not know they were that heavily in debt until after her husband died. Yeah right, you're buying expensive jewelry and stuff left and right, no wonder you got into that much debt.
But I love Sung Hee here. She plays the creditors just right; the innocent, grieving widow left with nothing in the world but debt yet refusing to surrender her dignity. She makes all the angry, rude creditors back down. "At least leave us enough to be able to find a place to stay." Boy, this woman could teach lessons in the art of chutzpah.

And Eun Woo, still oblivious, cannot understand why his room, containing his piano, is locked. Eun Sung asks Sung Hee for the key; she says that Eun Woo cannot touch the piano because it has been attached by the creditors. Sung Hee asks her if she would take responsibility if she gets the key and Eun Woo removes the tag that has been put on the piano by the creditor. She then tells Seung Mi to go take Eun Woo out and buy him a hamburger.
Then she tells Eun Sung that they all have to leave the house the day after the next. Eun Sung asks what she is to do, and Sung Hee professes surprise that she has not been thinking where to take her brother. Surely she cannot expect that they would all still live together, they are not her kids after all and she has Seung Mi to consider. This after she had earlier breezily promised her husband when he was alive that she would take care of "all three of our kids" if anything happened to him. Ah, monster stepmom shows her hand at last.

Seung Mi, ignorant of all this, goes outside with Eun Woo, who is thinking of "bulgogi burger." She promises they will eat that, "hamburger and cola." But she forgot her purse so they go back in, and she catches the rest of the conversation. Eun Sung is asking her stepmom to take Eun Woo for a while, at least until she finds work and gets settled. But Sung Hee refuses; they only have money to stay in a room, and she objects to Seung Mi and Eun Woo staying in the same room. And when Eun Sung calls her mother, she says there is no reason to do that anymore, as they are not related anymore. She guilt-trips EunSung into leaving.

Seung Mi, meanwhile,has seen everything. She confronts her mom, who asks her if she would be able to marry Hwan if they had the other two living with them. Hwan's family will not accept her if they find out the truth, Sung Hee says.They have to keep up the semblance of luxury, and they cannot do that if they have to take along Eun Sung and Eun Woo. And so Sung Hee gets her daughter to consent.

Seung Mi hides and watches her stepsiblings leaving. Even if she is getting kicked out, Eun Sung is still polite in saying goodbye. Eun Woo says blithely "I'll be back,mom," which brings tears to Seung Mi's eyes.


Sung Hee does give them some money. To assuage her guilty conscience? Or maybe for another reason?

And so Eun Sung and Eun Woo leave the home they have known for many years. The taxi driver asks them where they want to go, and Eun Sung asks for a cheap and inexpensive hotel. It seems she really has no concept of money; they won't last long at a hotel.

Eun Woo understandably balks at the idea of staying in a strange place and starts acting up that he wants to go home; his sister diverts him with a puzzle. She then looks for a place to live, but doesn't want to leave the locality because Eun Woo is still going to school. Eun Woo gets into trouble at school... more problems. Desperate, she goes to ask In Young and her family if they would look after Eun Woo while she finds a job and a place to stay.
Meanwhile, Sung Hee and Seung Mi have arrived at their new place. Hey wait a minute, I thought they were so poor they had to make do with a room... this is an apartment. Seung Mi suspiciously asks where they got the money, and Sung Hee fobs her off that she borrowed it. Seung Mi still goes on about her stepsibs. Of course she is still in for a scolding and emotional blackmail by her mom. Why can't she see that they have to look out for number one? She had to kick out the other two to make sure that Seung Mi at least gets the secure future that she deserves.

Eun Woo acts out while his sister is gone, looking for a piano, and even In Young's mom refuses to accept them anymore. The two have to leave again.

Meanwhile, Joon Young is making a report to Granny, saying Hwan is not interested in working and the other employees are uncomfortable with him. Granny tells him to teach Hwan to work, and not mollycoddle him. Well, you heard your marching orders, manager Lee. Off you go.

Someone else is making a report about Hwan being uncooperative and a nuisance. The report is being made to...Director Park, who seems pleased. Uh, why? He then goes off to talk to his son and persuade him to leave the restaurant and join him in the company. Jun Se refuses, saying they have Hwan, the logical heir. It seems his dad is planning to present him as possible manager material if Hwan doesn't measure up to Granny's expectations. But Jun Se is adamant; he'd rather stay in his restaurant. And he gets a flashback of EunSung saying that getting involved in other people's business isn't much fun. She seems to have made quite a big impression on him!

Eun Sung is having a hard time taking care of her brother, who doesn't understand their situation and keeps acting up. They get into what looks like a homeless shelter a sauna, where they sleep on the floor. While Eun Sung dreams of their dad, Eun Woo gets into trouble, and their money gets stolen. Aigoo. Eun Sung hits rock bottom. She has nothing left.
As they leave the sheltersauna early in the morning, Eun Woo says they should go to their dad. And Eun Sung agrees. Since she thinks their dad is dead--- uh-oh. Major drama moment approaching.

We see them next on the edge of what looks like a cliff. It's really a sort of overhang or lookout above the city. And we realize... she's getting up the nerve to jump and bring Eun Woo with her "to join mom and dad." She's standing on the edge, grasping her brother's hand, about to jump... and Eun Woo tells her he loves her. As he teeters on the brink of the cliff, she catches him... she realizes she can't let him die.
I love this shot!

Meanwhile Sung Hee is visiting Young Ran and pretending to still be a rich society wife whose husband is overseas. She says she's bored and would like to go into business, and was there anything Young Ran would recommend? Perhaps Granny could let her invest in the company, or a franchise? Young Ran suggests they combine their investments, but Sung Hee demurs, leading Young Ran to ask if maybe she considers Hwan not good enough for Seung Mi, who is so smart, and all Hwan has is lineage. Ouch, whattamom. Sung Hee plays this very nicely, of course, saying that Seung Mi will marry the guy she likes and business doesn't have to enter the equation. She flatters Young Ran that of course Seung Mi would be lucky to have her for a mother-in-law.
Now it's Seung Mi who's forgotten her comb.
Seung Mi has other ideas... she phones around asking about Eun Sung and finds out that Eun Woo is not going to school anymore. This of course earns her another scolding from her mom... why should she care? Why should she risk that Eun Sung finds out that Sung Hee had deceived her?

Meanwhile, Eun Sung has remembered another friend, whom she calls up. They go to what looks like a nightclub.

There's a girl dressed in slinky dusty pink satin lounging on a sofa as they enter, and Eun Sung asks after her friend. The girl instead greets Eun Woo saying it had been so long since she last saw him, and Eun Sung realizes this is her friend Lee Hye-Ri. Eun Woo calls her Gangster Noona, and Hye Ri says his memory is better than his sister's.

Hye-Ri bops Eun Sung on the head for forgetting her.
Eun Sung hesitantly tells Hye-Ri her problems, and gets scolded: why did she wait so long to come to Hye-Ri for help? It seems that Mr. Go had footed the bill for the funeral when Hye-Ri's mom died long ago and left her orphaned. Hye-Ri generously takes in both of them, although she's only living in a small cramped place with her boyfriend. And she finds Eun Sung a job in the club, as a waitress. Hye-Ri, who was born poor, gives her a crash course in survival.
Thus is born Spy, the nightclub waitress in a yellow wig, leather minidress, cat-ear headband, and shades. It seems things are looking up for her at last.
I still want this room.
Meanwhile, Jung wakes Hwan up because her mom threatened to send her to work in his place if she wasn't able to wake him up in time for work. She also pesters Hwan to buy her a watch and take her to a nightclub for her birthday the next day, "and Jun Se oppa, please," like a birthday present.
At work, Joon Young sets Hwan to watching the pots in the kitchen. Hwan complains that he can't stand the smell of beef soup because it makes him sick, and his boss tells him that it's his problem. The two have another standoff, and Joon Young pulls rank on him. Hwan fumes. [I think Jung made him so late with her pestering that he forgot to brush his hair again.]
Hwan walks out, and tells Joon Young that if he ever becomes president of the company he'll fire the manager. Joon Young retorts that if he ever becomes president, Joon Young will be the first to resign. Hwan is like "do you know who I am?" and is answered that "you'll ruin this company."
And of course he decks Joon Young, right in the middle of the store. [Ouch. Very bad decision, Hwan-ah. You are in for a lot of suffering later on, I see!]

Next we see Hwan in a night club, followed by Jung, Seung Mi and Jun Se. Evidently the promised birthday treat. Seung Mi excuses herself to go to the bathroom, and when she comes out she hears... someone say Eun Woo's name. Of course Seung Mi can't resist spying on whoever it is. It is Eun Sung on the phone talking to her brother.
Seung Mi stares in disbelief, but now she's found Eun Sung. She makes an excuse to Hwan that she has to go home early because her mom isn't feeling well.
Jung drags Jun Se off to dance, leaving Hwan in their booth alone. And Eun Sung is the waitress at the next table.

And Hwan recognizes her. So he resorts to the old grade school trick: he sticks his leg out in the aisle while Eun Sung is walking by, and of course she trips and falls. And when she looks up... surprise, surprise. Here is the guy who has her bag.

She tries to explain, but Hwan does a repeat of that thing where he grabs her by the collar and drags her off backward. Jeez. I wouldn't blame Eun Sung if she decked him again.
Jun Se catches sight of them as they go by, what with Eun Sung shrieking "mother, mother, mother!" As Hwan releases her, something clatters to the floor.
And we have another confrontation where Hwan asks for his bag and is so maddeningly arrogant. Eun Sung tries to match him in arrogance, but now she's lost her phone. She tries to rush off to look for it, Hwan hauls her back, and as he takes a step, something crunches.
Uh-oh. Phone found. Eun Sung flies off the handle; she hasn't paid for the phone yet. Hwan couldn't care less. Jun Se arrives on the scene and recognizes her.
Meanwhile, at Hye-Ri's house, her boyfriend is drinking beer and watching TV. Eun Woo is on the floor doing puzzles. The guy is so soused, he sends Eun Woo off by himself to the store to buy more beer. Major facepalm moment here... we anticipate what will happen next.
Eun Woo wanders off and gets distracted, the guy falls asleep on the sofa, and when he wakes up later Eun Woo still isn't back.
Does the broken glass mean he broke in just to play the piano?
The kid is playing the piano somewhere. And Sung Hee gets a phone call from someone looking for Go Eun Woo's mom. Sung Hee goes to get him, of course, but she doesn't look too pleased about it. We are thinking no way she's gonna bring him back to live with her and Seung Mi. But she doesn't know where Eun Sung is. So what will she do?

She takes Eun Woo in her car and brings him somewhere. She is frantically trying to call a number which isn't answering... well, if she's calling Eun Sung we know why she cannot be reached. She asks Eun Woo again for the number and he gives it. Then Eun Woo follows up with her own number, license plate number and address... and no, she cannot bring Eun Woo back to his sister after this.
Eun Sung is still at the club. A co-worker asks why she wasn't answering her phone, so Hye-Ri has called his phone instead. Hye-Ri tells her Eun Woo is missing. She runs off home.
But Eun Woo is no longer in the locality. We see Sung Hee in her car at a toll booth, off to somewhere. Eun Woo is still oblivious to what is happening to him. Where is she taking him?

End Episode 2

Comments:
1. Honestly, that place that Eun Sung and Eun Woo end up going to, when they leave In Young's, I thought it was an orphanage or homeless shelter or something, because (a) lots of kids around and (b) matching clothes, like a uniform of sorts. It was only after I began reading Dramabeans (javabeans and girlfriday, you two totally rock) that I realized it was a jimjilbang or sauna. JB and GF keep touching on it in their drama recaps, as k-drama characters hang out in such places when they've left home and have nowhere to go. Then I also came onto this recap of another k-drama where the people in the sauna totally wear the same clothes as the ones in the sauna that Eun Sung and Eun Woo ended up in. Ngyahaha. Same place?
2. Hwan just keeps getting worse and worse. Well, better and better, if he's trying to convince us he's a jerk. And what's with the grabbing-the-collar-and-dragging stuff? And I still hate that hair! LOL.
3. Um, I thought Hye-Ri's boyfriend was used to special kids like Eun Woo. Then he tells the kid to go to the store by himself? At night? Hye-Ri-ah, I'm glad you got rid of this one fast. Pretty convenient plot device there to get Eun Woo to disappear, isn't he?
4. Eun Sung seems to have picked herself up a bit, and we see she is not all sweetness and light [yay finally!] as she goes from despair to determination. The wannabe-suicide scene is shot in hazy blues [it's dawn, and the sun comes up just after she decides to live], as if to show how depressed she is, which contrasts later with the hard-edged beat in the night club. The fit of temper she has in her confrontation with Hwan harkens back to her reaction during the car chase in episode 1... wait, Hwan won that one, too.
5. WTH are you doing Seung Mi? You're like, but this is so wrong! But wait, if I don't do this wrong thing, Mom and I will end up badly. You phone round asking about your stepsis, but when you accidentally find her, you run away instead of talking to her, so what was the point in looking for her in the first place? It's like you know that something is wrong and you say you want to make it right, but you just make excuses instead of putting it right. At least your mom is so much more straightforward. Oh, and evil and devious and stuff like that. I love Sung Hee. She's so much the villainess who makes it easy for us to hate her but we admire her for her cool effrontery at the same time.

6. Sung Hee is amazing. Well, she is an evil stepmother, so we should be hating her, but at the same time I can't help but think that boy, she's good at this! That sweet, elegant, poised exterior, those barely reined-in tears, and at the same time she's been squirreling away stuff in order to save herself and Seung Mi and kick out her stepkids and one of them a disabled child. She knows just what to say to push the right buttons, too, witness the way she manipulates Eun Sung and Seung Mi, and even the creditors, into doing what she wants. *shivers*
7. Did I mention the kid playing Eun Woo is GOOD!?! I could believe he's actually autistic.


Acknowledgment: To GMA-7, for airing this delightful drama so that I became interested in it. To Mysoju and hellogamers, for making it possible for me to watch it in the original Korean. To the guys and gals at haruharu subs, for their subtitles that made it possible for me to understand the dialogue.

 

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