What an emotional rollercoaster of an episode. I cried, laughed, cheered, and swooned all within the hour of this show. While the romance stays adorable, the friendships take the limelight this time, and it’s endearing to watch friends love each other so selflessly and be comfortable around one another. Especially in times of hardships, sometimes a good friend is all you need to trudge forward and live another day.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Hae-sung’s stunt goes awry as he crashes into a wall and falls to the ground. Meanwhile, Joon-ki receives CPR in an emergency room, and in voiceover, the fortune teller from last week reminds us that someone close to Hae-sung will die.
So-hye rushes to the hospital and stops in front of a room. Jamie, Joon-ki’s sister, comes out with tears in her eyes, and hugs So-hye. She comforts the crying doctor, and then bracing herself, enters the room. Joon-ki lies in bed, but opens his eyes when So-hye enters. She cries in relief, and he reassures her that he’s fine.
In Joon-ki’s secret garden, Jamie informs So-hye that Joon-ki stubbornly went to volunteer despite his condition, which led to a cardiac arrest. She explains that Joon-ki is probably tired of being in the hospital, so he leaves whenever he can in order to forget about his illness.
So-hye goes back to visit Joon-ki and rebukes him for being a delinquent “cancer comrade.” She admits that even though she knew about his condition, she never really thought of him that way. Grabbing his hand, she forms it into a fist, and tells him that he can’t die before his patient.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Manager Oh pushes Hae-sung in a wheelchair while Hae-sung continues to call Joon-ki. Thus, Joon-ki’s phone keeps buzzing, and So-hye checks it for him, noticing the missed calls and messages from Hae-sung. Joon-ki laughs about how Hae-sung loves him too much, and So-hye offers to talk to him.
Manager Oh goes to ask someone about Joon-ki’s whereabouts while Hae-sung gets a call from So-hye. He cheerfully answers, and lies about having to film late into the night. Manager Oh comes running back to him and tries to warn him about something, but Hae-sung shrugs him off.
He finally looks down the hall and notices So-hye standing there. Shocked, she asks what’s wrong, and Hae-sung jumps up from his wheelchair, claiming that nothing’s wrong. However, Jamie arrives, having received a message from Joon-ki, and Hae-sung is caught in his lie.
The group heads over to Joon-ki’s room, and Hae-sung is surprised to see Joon-ki waving from a hospital bed. He reads Hae-sung’s text about falling twenty meters, and Hae-sung awkwardly laughs, attempting to convince So-hye that he’s better now. He then asks about Joon-ki’s condition, and the latter tells him that he’s a lung cancer patient, rendering Hae-sung speechless.
Meanwhile, Sul arrives at an emergency center, and the doctor tells her that her mother is stable. However, they’ve discovered another tumor, and while it is operable, the surgery required is expensive.
Resigning to her fate, Sul calls Jerk-face and tells him about the surgery costing 30 million won (around $27,000 USD). He sighs in annoyance, and goes to ask him mom about it. Her in-laws begin to belittle Sul and her family, calling her shameless, and Sul overhears all of their insults.
Spotting a business card for loans on the floor, Sul starts calling banks, but everyone refuses to loan her money since she doesn’t even have a credit card. Left with no other option, Sul calls So-hye (who doesn’t answer) and then Mi-sun. She asks Mi-sun if she has any extra cash or if So-hye might have some spare cash. Mi-sun cautiously tells her that So-hye is having a difficult time, and offers to wire her money to Sul.
So-hye waits for Hae-sung to finish his checkups, which reveal that he’s fine. She’s relieved to hear that nothing’s wrong, and Hae-sung takes her to a stairwell for some privacy. He asks for a hug, and promises her that there won’t be another accident.
Returning to Joon-ki’s room, So-hye notices the missed call from Sul, and steps outside to call her back. Right away, So-hye realizes something is wrong, but Sul lies that she’s alright before hanging up. Thus, So-hye calls Mi-sun and hears everything from her.
Sul calls Jerk-face, but he doesn’t even answer his phone. Dejected, Sul returns to her mother’s bedside, and her in-laws’ insults rattle in her brain. Jin-sook says that it’s about time Sul’s mother passed away, and her mother-in-law yells that Sul is a lowlife who cut their family tree. Oh, the things I would do to these people.
Sitting next to her mother, Sul tells her that they should just stop here. She can’t grovel anymore to those people, so instead, they should leave together. Sul cries and asks for forgiveness.
Mangaer Oh drives So-hye and Mi-sun to Sul’s location, and they run inside. Meanwhile, Sul heaves a sigh, and shakily gets up. Strengthening her resolve, Sul places her hand on a valve, and closes her eyes.
But before she commits the deed, So-hye calls out her name, and stops her just in time. She grabs Sul, telling her to come to her senses, but Sul breakdowns and cries that it’s too hard to continue. She dissolves into tears, and the three friends collapse to the floor, hugging one another.
Outside, Sul explains her situation, and So-hye and Mi-sun curse Sul’s in-laws. So-hye asks how much money Sul needs, and even after hearing the full amount, they offer to help. Sul refuses to take their money because she can’t repay them. Instead, she’ll return to her in-laws since they’ll eventually foot the bill even if they’ll give her hell before then.
So-hye and Mi-sun won’t idly stand by after learning Sul’s situation, but Sul admits that she finally realized her position today: She has absolutely nothing. Even if So-hye and Mi-sun helped with the surgery expenses, what will she do about future hospital bills? In the end, Sul decides to endure her in-laws until her mother passes away.
So-hye is vehemently against the idea, asking how Sul can tolerate such inhumane treatment. Sul admits that she’s thought of leaving, too. However, she’s not an accomplished writer like So-hye or blessed with a kind husband and family like Mi-sun. So-hye interrupts Sul and confesses that she’s a cancer patient. Like Sul, she’s at rock bottom, too.
Sul can’t believe this and asks why So-hye would have cancer. So-hye turns the question back towards Sul, and asks why Sul deserves her hardships. So-hye admits that she wanted to give up countless of times, but in the end, she’s learned that living is better than dying.
She tells Sul to live every moment of her life with pride, but right now, Sul only focuses on So-hye. Sul asks why she didn’t tell her about her cancer, and Mi-sun explains that they were going to tell her in person. They all start to sob, Sul worrying for So-hye, and So-hye worrying for Sul.
Mi-sun can’t believe their rotten luck, and declares war against So-hye’s cancer and Sul’s in-laws which finally gets everyone to smile. Turning her attention back to Sul, So-hye warns her to never think of dying again, and Sul promises that she won’t. Luckily, Mi-sun and So-hye are able to find the money for the surgery with each of them paying for half.
Hae-sung is hanging out with Joon-ki, sharing his room for the night, and asks why Joon-ki didn’t tell him about his cancer. Joon-ki just jokes around, and holds out a bottle for Hae-sung. He doesn’t want it, but Joon-ki deadpans, “No, open it for me.”
Hae-sung immediately remedies his mistake, and then Joon-ki orders Hae-sung to lift his bed. Though grumbling, Hae-sung does as he’s asked, and then Joon-ki asks Hae-sung to take him to the bathroom. Hae-sung draws the line there, so Joon-ki basically falls on top of Hae-sung as he gets out of bed, forcing the superstar to help him.
Hae-sung tries his best to keep contact at a minimum, but that only makes Joon-ki tease him more. He tells Hae-sung to support his waist, and Hae-sung screams at the sudden butt-contact. In the end, they hobble towards the bathroom with Hae-sung hunched over and Joon-ki teetering back and forth.
Sul informs the doctor that her mother will receive the surgery, and she’s transferred to Joon-ki’s hospital. Once So-hye exits the ambulance, Hae-sung calls out to her since he’s been waiting with Joon-ki after hearing about Sul’s mother.
Joon-ki reassures Sul that her mother will alright after the surgery, and So-hye introduces everyone to Sul. Joon-ki apologizes for his appearance, and then asks So-hye why she didn’t call him beforehand. Hae-sung chimes in that they were worried about her, and also adds that he’s gotten sore from taking care of Joon-ki.
In the hallway, So-hye takes out an envelope a nurse from the nursing center gave her. Sul opens it, and it’s filled with cash and a letter. In a moment of clarity, Sul’s mother wrote her a letter, telling her to not spend money on her funeral procession. She urges her daughter to not keep things bottled up, and wishes for her happiness. After Sul finishes reading, Jamie comes out to tell them that Sul’s mother can receive her surgery tomorrow.
So-hye pays a visit to Hae-sung and Joon-ki, and thanks them for their help. She’s glad that they’ll be together for the night, and turns to leave. Just like old times, Hae-sung and Joon-ki start their petty one-upmanship for So-hye’s attention with Hae-sung getting in the last word: “Only call me!”
The three friends have a sleepover in Hae-sung’s apartment, and Sul wonders how her mother knew about her situation, to which So-hye comments that she’s a mother. Putting down her cup, Sul announces to her friends that she’s getting a divorce, and her friends wholeheartedly support her decision.
So-hye advises Sul to be level-headed at times like these, and Mi-sun comments that she’s seen woman be kicked out of the house without any alimony. Sul doesn’t expect anything from those people, but So-hye mentions that even getting a divorce might be difficult since Jerk-face is planning to run for office.
They ask Sul if she gets physically abused by her husband, and Sul proudly states that she would be the one hitting him, not the other way around. Mi-sun agrees that Jerk-face wouldn’t be a match against Sul, and asks if her in-laws hit her. Sul tells them that they don’t usually resort to violence, so So-hye comes up with a different plan.
At the hospital, Jamie checks up on her brother, but it’s empty aside from empty snack bags, comics, and games strewn all over the place. The two troublemakers are stuffing their faces with ramyun in Joon-ki’s secret garden when Jamie barges in. She catches them mid-slurp, and orders them to return to their room.
After being scolded by Jamie, Hae-sung texts So-hye before going to bed, and then thinks back to Joon-ki’s words about being healthy in order to love. He gets up to tuck in Joon-ki, but gets worried when it looks like he isn’t moving. He places his hand in front of Joon-ki’s face to feel his breathing, but unable to tell, Hae-sung leans in closer to check. Abruptly, Joon-ki inhales and teases Hae-sung for forgetting his CPR lessons. Hae-sung attempts to repay Joon-ki for the scare, but Joon-ki reminds him that he’s a patient.
In the middle of the night, Joon-ki asks if Hae-sung is still awake, and wonders how much money Jin-sook invested into So-hye’s drama. He asks if he should give them the money, but Hae-sung brushes off his question as crazy talk.
Later in the night, it’s Hae-sung’s turn to ask Joon-ki if he’s awake, and Joon-ki sleepily asks why he’s waking him up. Hae-sung admits that he was thinking of creating a management company, and while Joon-ki thinks it’s a great idea, Hae-sung has some reservations about his abilities.
Joon-ki tells Hae-sung to make a fist and says that a person who loves the stars isn’t afraid of the dark. So if Hae-sung is afraid of the dark, then he can just love the stars more. Hae-sung laughs at him, but then jolts up in bed. Has he used this line to pick up So-hye!?
Joon-ki averts his gaze, and in his roundabout way, Hae-sung tells Joon-ki to get better because, you know, he doesn’t want Joon-ki to use cancer to appeal to So-hye (you old softie). Joon-ki smiles at Hae-sung, telling him that he really does have a lot of money, and Hae-sung yells at him to stop.
The next morning, So-hye visits Hae-sung and Joon-ki, and can’t pass a golden opportunity to take some photos of them sleeping. They wake up from the sound of her camera, and Joon-ki tells So-hye to take Hae-sung back so he can rest. He complains about Hae-sung snoring all night, and Hae-sung counters that Joon-ki grinds his teeth. When Hae-sung gets up to change, he warns Joon-ki not to use his pick-up lines from last night.
So-hye wonders if Hae-sung wasn’t too much trouble for Joon-ki, and he loudly complains that Hae-sung is too talkative. Still wearing his hospital pants, Hae-sung runs out to correct Joon-ki, accusing him of being the chatterbox. Joon-ki laughs and asks So-hye if he can borrow Hae-sung from time to time, and she readily agrees.
Jerk-face enters his office wearing a flower garland and leading a cheering crowd. He’s been nominated as a candidate for the city council election, and vows to create a world where justice prevails. Sang-wook weakly claps, but stays out of the festivity.
Sul returns home, and reads a text message from Sang-wook. He notes how she must have been surprised that day, and tells her not to feel apologetic towards him. He’s simply worried about her. As Sang-wook packs things into a backpack, he continues narrating his message, asking her to remember him as Lawyer Sang-wook, and wishes for her happiness.
Jerk-face and his jerky crew march into their house, still celebrating, and Sul gets up to greet them. Mom is annoyed to see her, and Jerk-face feigns concern over Sul’s mother. She lies that her mother is fine and doesn’t need surgery anymore.
Knowing that he broke Sul’s rule about bringing the assemblywoman home, he asks for her permission because of the occasion, but Sul leaves them without a word. Sul enters the basement, and starts to take out the most expensive wines.
Upstairs, the rest of the family drink and gush over the congratulatory plants sent from various politicians. Jerk-face offers to sing a song, and Sul smirks as she strolls down the hall carrying two paper bags.
As Jerk-face sings, Sul vigorously shakes a wine bottle and then aims it at his face. The cork smacks him in the forehead, and Sul douses everyone in wine. Jin-sook screams, asking if she’s gone crazy, and Sul retorts that it’s impossible to be sane in this house.
Holding up a bottle, Sul explains that the cost of this wine is the same as her mother’s surgery. To them, her mother’s life isn’t even worth a bottle of wine, so how dare they talk about seeking justice. She lets the bottle crash to the floor, and then drops another.
She’d rather die than live with them, but Sul reasons that she shouldn’t have to die. Instead, she’s decided to live her life, and asks for a divorce. Turning to Mom, Sul congratulates her for finally getting the daughter-in-law she always wanted, and informs her that Jerk-face is having an affair with the assemblywoman. Mom and Jin-sook’s attitude change completely, and they stare at the assemblywoman in disgust.
As Sul leaves, she chucks a few more bottles of wine, and smiles triumphantly. Once outside, she sheds off her hanbok, and walks out of that prison, a free woman.
Sul meets up with her friends at a park, and they ask her if she brought it. Rewinding back to last night, So-hye instructed Sul to return home and find something to use as leverage. After thinking about possible weapons, Sul remembered a handwritten account book that revealed the true amount of the family’s estate.
At Jerk-face’s house, he moans about the expensive wines Sul broke, and cuts his hand on a glass shard. The assemblywoman rushes to his side, and Jin-sook and her mom share a knowing look. Jin-sook suggests that the assemblywoman leave, and feeling their open hostility, the assemblywoman agrees. Once they’re alone, Mom recalls her account book, but it’s too late.
The account book is in So-hye’s hands, and after skimming through it, she proudly smiles at Sul. They jump up and down in glee, and Pil-ho tries to join their group though Mi-sun smacks him for intervening.
At night, So-hye hears more good news from Sul (her mother recognized her), and Hae-sung carefully delivers a hot drink while she works. He asks how she’s feeling, and So-hye tells him that she has gotten better. However, she has to finish a synopsis before bed, and Hae-sung let’s her work.
Hae-sung thinks back to last night when he laid in the coffin in Joon-ki’s secret garden. When asked how he felt, Hae-sung said that he wanted to eat ramyun, and Joon-ki thought that was a great answer. He mused that dying well meant living well, and asked Hae-sung to take care of So-hye when the time comes.
Hae-sung told Joon-ki to take care of So-hye himself when the need arises, but Joon-ki stated that So-hye and he live with death besides them. He advised Hae-sung to do and say the things he wants rather than live in regret.
Back in the present, Hae-sung moves closer to So-hye and tells her about his accident the other day. After he fell, he thought that he could actually die this way. However, in that moment, he could only think of one thing: Lee So-hye. Hae-sung admits that there’s something he has wanted to tell her, and says that they should marry. Though he hasn’t prepared a ring yet, he proposes to So-hye, “Let’s get married.”
I love this show. It knows the way into my heart, and with each passing episode, I fall more in love. First of all, I think the show does a masterful job of pacing and balancing frustrating moments with rewarding ones. There’s enough tension within the show to keep the plot moving, but there’s a good amount of small character beats that gives the show a low-key vibe. Despite the unrealistic situation, the way the characters are written and portrayed make them feel real. I find that this show’s greatest strength is fleshing out its characters and relationships which creates a breathing, organic world. The lovely So-hye and adorable Hae-sung aren’t merely two protagonists plopped onto a backdrop, but situated within a world with various circumstances and realities.
Though So-hye and Hae-sung are the main protagonist, this episode was very much about Sul and her dilemma of reclaiming her identity as a strong woman or enduring the psychological strain of losing her agency in exchange for material comfort. As an outsider, it’s easy to tell Sul to leave since she is in an abusive family. However, the situation isn’t simple for Sul because she has become dependent on her in-laws and has internalized their abuse. Thus, when faced with the choice to leave or stay, Sul initially concludes that escape can only be accomplished through death. The concept of hope is absent for her, and when Sul admitted to So-hye that it was too hard to live, it was devastating to hear. Years of abuse warps self-perception, and I was so relieved this episode when So-hye convinced Sul to leave her husband. It was thanks to So-hye and Mi-sun that Sul was able to escape because they gave her the emotional and material support she needed to make this huge transition.
I would also argue that Sang-wook has played a role in helping Sul make this change because he was an outsider who validated her worth as a human, when all these years, the people around her cursed her and treated her like a slave. It’s not that Sul is finding her self-worth through a man, but Sang-wook’s undeterred admiration for her is what Sul needed to remind herself that her current circumstance is abnormal and undue. Also, Sang-wook is an adorable puppy, and his unassuming love for Sul is sweet.
It was rewarding to watch Sul leave Jerk-face, and it was done in such a satisfying way. Kudos to the writer and director for turning Sul’s fantasy into an even bolder and better reality beyond her imagination. It was gratifying to see Sul stand up for herself and spray the expensive wine at them, but I cheered the most when she gave her speech, calling them out for their hypocrisy. She finally spoke her mind, and stopped them in their tracks. It was also interesting to see how quickly Jin-sook and her mom turned against the assemblywoman, because it would be so rewarding to watch them destroy each other. Rather than Sul dismantling them, I think having Jerk-face and those horrible people around him create their own demise would be satisfying to watch because it would reveal how rotten they are as well as keep Sul out of their affairs. As for Sul, now that she’ll (hopefully) be divorced and single, I can’t wait for her to rediscover herself and live life without regrets.
I loved the portrayal of friendship in this episode. Mi-sun continues to be an amazing friend, and this episode really showcased her selfless love for So-hye and Sul. When Sul first called asking for money, Mi-sun didn’t hesitate to offer all her extra cash, and after hearing the full amount, she even offered to pay the entire bill since So-hye was recently scammed. Alongside Mi-sun, I cannot believe how giving Pil-ho is, especially compared to Sul’s in-laws. It was obvious from his little actions that he didn’t want to give away all their money, but when Mi-sun decided to help, he was completely on board. Despite being a minor character, Pil-ho really is an antithesis to Jerk-face in that he’s a faithful, giving, and supportive husband.
Besides the female friendship, this episode also spent a lot of time on Hae-sung and Joon-ki’s relationship. While they don’t have a deep history like So-hye and her friends, their interactions still give me warm-fuzzies. It also helps that I love them both individually as characters. Hae-sung wears his heart on his sleeve and is always willing to put So-hye first in his life, and Joon-ki has a self-deprecating sense of humor and self that is both endearing and heartbreaking. Thus, when these two warm and cheery people interact, their appeal grows exponentially for me. Most of their interactions end with teasing because Joon-ki is a perpetual jokester and Hae-sung is hilariously animated in his reactions. However, even within the laughs, they often share words of wisdom and insightful comments about life.
It’s interesting that Joon-ki is older because that changes their dynamic. Despite his teasing and joking behavior, Joon-ki is the one imparting wisdom to Hae-sung, and like a little brother who looks up to his older brother, Hae-sung dutifully listens. I really appreciate how the show made the “rivals” friends because it’s much more interesting to see them together rather than jostling each other for So-hye’s attention. Hae-sung learns more about a terminal patient’s viewpoint and the struggles they face because Joon-ki teaches Hae-sung through his anecdotal experience. In a way, Hae-sung is not only learning from his past mistakes, but also gleaning from Joon-ki and the life lessons he’s acquired. Thus, when Joon-ki told him to not live with regrets, Hae-sung was spurred to speak his mind and proposed to So-hye.