Picking up from the last few minutes of Episode 1, In-ha is still crabbing about having to enter the piano competition with Ji-ho. I’m not going to repeat the narrative, but it ends up the same way it ended up — with everyone wet, scared, and prone on the floor. Kinda how I like my men!
Later at the hospital, In-ha gets his swollen wrist put in a cast, but only as a precaution. Yeong-rang asks the doctor how it will take for his recovery, as they have a piano competition in a little over a month. Doctor tells her that at least it’s not fractured, but it will take at least two weeks to heal. Yeong-rang grabs her head in frustration, In-ha glares (as usual) at Ji-ho, and Ji-ho looks mortified.
Walking out of Radiology, Yeong-rang then decides to ask Ji-ho if he needs an x-ray too. Ji-ho says he’s fine, as Yeong-rang says that she’s glad he’s not hurt. In-ha turns on his heels to ask why she’s so glad when his arm is hurt and Ji-ho comes out of that little incident smelling like a rose. In-ha says he’s doomed and cannot compete now, so what does Ji-ho have to say to him? All poor Ji-ho can do is tell In-ha he’s really sorry. A booming voice says Ji-ho should not have anything to be sorry about, as Man-se arrives on the scene. It’s In-ha’s fault for not protecting his own arm when he fell down. Stop making excuses – a performer is responsible for taking care of his body in any situation. (True dat – see below.)
Yeong-rang interrupts and asks Man-se if there is any way to push the competition back a month, or even a few days? In-ha has prepared for this for so long, it wouldn’t be fair for him to drop out now. Since the competition is being sponsored by Boosung Instruments — TCTCH!! Man-se tells her to stop being a fool. He won’t stoop that low to ruin the dignity that is his own piano competition, and tells Ji-ho to listen carefully. This changes nothing; it just means you have one less competitor to go up against.
In-ha goes into full-blown Meltdown Mode and starts beating on a nearby wall, saying it’s better to break all the bones in his hands… ALL OF THEM!!! He breaks out in big weeping sobs and Yeong-rang wrestles him down to the floor in a bear hug to calm him as Ji-ho looks on helplessly. He can’t take it anymore, and runs out of there to catch up with his appa. As Man-se tries to get in the limo, Ji-ho tells him that he won’t enter the competition either. He’s just not good enough and he doesn’t care about it. If In-ha cannot compete, then he will also not compete, no matter what!! Man-se turns to him and says that if Ji-ho thinks he’s helping In-ha out by not competing, then he’s stupider than Man-se thought. He tells Ji-ho to carefully consider what is more helpful for his dongsaeng.
As the car takes off, Ji-ho runs after it yelling that he’s not going to compete, no matter whether or not it’s an order! YOU’RE A BAD MAN!! As he watches in the side mirror Ji-ho stand and scream at him as he drives off, we hear Man-se in voiceover say that Ji-ho will end up competing anyway, because he will not be able to stop the hunger within him. He’ll bet the farm on it.
Meanwhile, back to the Yoo Homestead (which strangely looks like one of the side gardens at the Lotte World Amusement Park), Man-se and CrazyGran are out taking a stroll. Crossing one of the footbridges over the koi pond, he tells her that things could have been worse; at least ‘Ji-ho’s mother’ protected Ji-ho. CrazyGran agrees that she did a good job, because In-ha’s injury could have been far worse. It looks like Yeong-rang is going to be a real mother to Ji-ho after all. CrazyGran takes the opportunity to tell her son that he’s too clueless when it comes to women. Man-se may think that he’s the one in charge, but everyone knows Yeong-rang wears the pants in the family — even CrazyGran sees that, and she’s crazy!
When Man-se spits a ‘deh?’ back at her, CrazyGran says that there are two things a woman cannot forgive, even if she came back from the grave: One is a child born from an affair, and the other is the father who brings home a child born from an affair. If there is a wife out in the world who can truly forgive her husband for doing that, CrazyGran would gladly give up all her assets to worship her. Whatever CrazyGran tosses into the koi pond sets them off in a feeding frenzy, as she wanders off and it’s all Man-se can do to keep from blowing his top.
Back in the Music Room, In-ha is practicing the crap out of the “Butterfly” etude with his one good hand. That only goes so far, as he gets frustrated and bangs on the keys instead (and that little move actually sounded more musical than the chordal runs of the Beethoven). Saying that he can’t do it and he’s screwed, Ji-ho wanders in and tells In-ha his playing is pretty great. When In-ha begs to differ, Ji-ho tells him he’s not kidding, because that level of skill is enough to win the competition. Is there any rule that you have to play the piano with two hands? (In this case, yes.) If all In-ha has to offer is his five fingers, then he can just express the piece with them. And we have Our Title, ladies and gentlemen!
In-ha bounces up from the piano bench and asks Ji-ho if that is how he wants to see In-ha get humiliated. Like his father said, how would a moron who can’t even take care of himself have the nerve to go on the stage? Ji-ho yells at him that playing is not just about making sounds; although In-ha’s left hand is in a cast, it’s still playing the music inside. (Ooooh, profound for a 11-year-old kid!) In-ha has heard enough, and orders Ji-ho to try putting both his hands in a cast and see how HE gets mocked for it? Ji-ho tells In-ha that he’s still a coward because he wants to quit the competition — but twisting the knife, he says that In-ha has already lost to him even before they’ve taken the stage. So wait and see… when Ji-ho wins the competition, he’ll get their father’s acknowledgment once and for all!
As Ji-ho walks away, In-ha yells at him to stop in his tracks. In-ha then has the bright idea for them to make a bet — the loser has to grant the winner a wish. When Ji-ho asks In-ha what his wish would be, of course In-ha would say it would be for Ji-ho to return to Jebu-do and never show his face around Yoo Mansion ever again. Ji-ho takes the bet, and counters with his own wish — that if he wins, In-ha will have to start calling him ‘hyung’ (older brother). When In-ha protests, Ji-ho asks him if he’s that afraid of calling him hyung, then he should just give up now. In-ha scoffs at that, saying he’s not afraid of anything, so let’s do it. He says he can top Ji-ho with one finger alone. (But then this drama would be called “One Finger”…) They promise each other to, erm… keep their promises, and the scene ends in a staring contest.
The obligatory Rocky-style montage comes up next, with both boys practicing their little hearts out (oh look, In-ha is using his left hand after all)… and getting frustrated with their individual progress towards perfection.
At Boosung Instruments, Man-se is inspecting one of their latest piano models with a critical eye. He asks the supervisor if the production is proceeding without any problems, and the supervisor insists that he will work all night to finish it in time for his wife’s birthday. (Ha, which wife?) Man-se tells the supervisor that everything needs to be the best, since this will be the world’s most perfect and precious piano — there will be no way in hell that anyone will even attempt to make an imitation of that piano! The supervisor explains that special woods were brought in that have never been used in piano making before, and professional artists were commissioned for the design so that it will ensure being a masterpiece for the ages when it is finished. Man-se asks where the best spot would be for her initials, over here? How about YL… that would be good, no?
Back at the Superior Quality Education School (well, that’s what is embroidered on their shirts), Ji-ho is in the Music Room practicing the Tchaikovsky “Barcarolle,” while his classmates crowd around him watching. One little girl turns to her schoolmate and says that although it’s not played perfectly, it still made her heart race and brought tears to her eyes. The little boy said that he was so wrapped up in the music that he forgot he was headed to the bathroom. In-ha overhears this in the hall and looks in to see Ji-ho playing. He sighs and walks out again, to a classmate tossing a soccer ball at him. In-ha catches it with both hands, and then stares at his left hand in shock. At the doctor’s later, he is told that it must have only been a light sprain, but he’s lucky his ligament is fine. As In-ha wiggles his wrist around, he asks the doctor to put the cast back on… he just wants to be sure that it’s completely healed.
Leaving the school, In-ha calls after Ji-ho to remind him that the competition is today, and that he hopes that a country bumpkin like Ji-ho doesn’t wet his pants by going on stage. Ji-ho tells him that he’s more worried about In-ha… that he’ll have to call a pants-wetting country bumpkin ‘hyung’ once Ji-ho wins. (Hee!) In-ha laughs that off by saying he was learning how to play the piano from the time he was weaned off the baby bottle. While other kids were playing with their toys, he was crying because he couldn’t reach the foot pedals. And Ji-ho STILL thinks that he can beat him? A toddler would have more luck climbing a mountain. In-ha pushes Ji-ho out of his way and leaves the school, all the time Ji-ho reminding him that he’ll meet him in front of the school at 1:00 PM and don’t be late. Ji-ho adds in a “good luck, In-ha” after he’s out of sight… but Ji-ho too, is not pretending.
Outside the school, In-ha is talking to a pretty lady. She leaves just as Ji-ho comes up and asks what is up. In-ha isn’t telling, but then a dark look comes across his face and he tells Ji-ho that lady was looking for him. When Ji-ho asks why, In-ha spits at him that it’s funny Ji-ho doesn’t realize that blood isn’t thicker than water, but it’s thinner than money. A beggar boy is doing well now; he wouldn’t be happy to meet his poor mother now, would he? Ji-ho goes pale, as In-ha tells him to pretend that he didn’t see her, because he won’t bring it up either. The family driver pulls up, but Ji-ho breaks out in a dead run…
Ji-ho runs and runs and runs after Fake Mom, following her a few neighborhoods away and finally into a subway station, where he sees her getting on one of the cars. Hopping on himself, he searches high and low for the lady as the train leaves the station.
Back at the school, the competition is getting ready to start, as Man-se and Yeong-rang pace and wonder where Ji-ho has run off to. In-ha rudely says that he didn’t realize Ji-ho was still hell-bent on entering, but he must have gotten scared when the time to perform actually arrived. In-ha apologizes and says he should have stopped him; it’s all his fault (yeah, right…). Yeong-rang says that she’s got people looking for him, and he’ll probably show up soon. Man-se is not amused, saying Ji-ho should have given up from the start if he was going to act this way. A son flinging shit on his father’s face even knows better… as In-ha smirks to himself that he’s got this in the bag. (The competition; not the shit.)
We see the train come to the end of the line, and everyone gets off. Ji-ho follows the lady off the train as well, as a poorly-placed edit shows In-ha at the 9th Boosung Competition, still pounding away on the “Butterfly” (the same scene we saw in the previews). Man-se and Yeong-rang look on as proud as peacocks, and the Judges Panel nods their affirmation as well. Yeong-rang keeps checking her watch, and Man-se squirms in his seat.
OF COURSE it has to start pouring rain, as Ji-ho is still chasing down Fake Mom. Poor little guy doesn’t have an umbrella, but then spots Fake Mom under hers walking towards a bus stop. As she is just about to step on the bus, Ji-ho runs up to her and says that he’s Yoo Ji Ho, the son of the President Yoo Man Se. As she looks at him, he says that she came to his school earlier. Fake Mom has no freakin’ idea what he’s talking about and when did she come to his school? Oh yeah, that’s right… Ji-ho’s school was the one were she had an interview earlier for a cafeteria worker’s position? Fake Mom’s had enough and gets on the bus, and as it pulls away, leaves Ji-ho standing there in the rain. As he curses at In-ha, Ji-ho takes off running yet again…
Ji-ho is still running… and running… and running… (Run Von Ji-ho! RUN!!!) Taking refuge under an overhang, he unbuttons the top button of his school shirt but all of a sudden feels something in the pocket. Pulling it out, he sees that it’s a note from Yeong-rang that tells him not to be nervous; don’t forget that she will be there too and will be cheering for Ji-ho! Scrunching up his face, he resumes his marathon back towards the school.
The competition MC gets up to say that the next performer is Yoo Ji Ho from the fifth grade. (Okay, that proves that Ji-ho must be 11 years old, and In-ha is 10 or about to turn 11.) But for personal reasons, Ji-ho is absent from the competition. Yeong-rang and Man-se look disgusted, the Judges Panel looks confused, and In-ha looks evil with that smarmy grin on his face. The MC says that they will proceed to the next performer on the list, when to doors to the auditorium fly open and a dripping wet Ji-ho is standing there (with a halo of light behind him!) saying that he’s not absent — he just arrived now!! The crowd turns around to watch him slosh down to the stage, where he announces he will be playing the Tchaikovsky “Barcarolle.” Man-se breathes a sigh of relief, Yeong-rang looks annoyed, and In-ha looks like he could set the whole place on fire right then and there.
Ji-ho starts in on the “Barcarolle,” and you could see the crowd nod their approval, as Ji-ho flashes back to everything that’s happened to him to make him arrive at that point on stage. (I’d like to know where the orchestra is hiding, because now I hear strings in the background.) The audience rises to their feet with a standing ovation, Yeong-rang starts tearing up, Man-se is amazed, Ji-ho breaks out crying, and In-ha just stands there dumbfounded.
The Judges retire to their Judging Room to talk about the awards. Ajusshi Judge says that he’s giving his vote to Ji-ho, because he played so well with a sensitivity that communicated with the audience. Extremely Ancient-Looking Judge says that he enjoyed Ji-ho’s playing too, but you need to take into consideration In-ha for playing with an injured hand. Ahjumma Judge concurs with Extremely Ancient-Looking Judge, in that it was the first time she had seen a student perform with a cast on.
And in the next scene, we see In-ha placing his first-place trophy on the dressing room table. His chingus come in to congratulate him and shove bouquets of flowers in his arms. Ji-ho stands just out of sight, looking at his own trophy, where he won a Special Award (I kinda expected it to say Best Performance By A Dripping Wet Fifth-Grader). In-ha grabs Ji-ho’s own bouquet out of his hands and stomps the crap out of the poor defenseless flowers, reminding him of his promise to go back to his island. In-ha needs to know when exactly he’s leaving so he can prepare a proper good-bye present. At least Ji-ho has the baby stones to call In-ha a cowardly jerk; like he has the right to say those things? In-ha says that he received the Grand Prize – his five fingers beat Ji-ho’s ten put together. Ji-ho only got the Special Prize because their father’s company was sponsoring the competition. From now on, Ji-ho should use his five fingers to pick his nose instead of playing the piano.
As Ji-ho dejectedly leaves the competition hall, Yeong-rang comes up to his with her own bouquet of flowers to present to him. She reminds him that the Special Prize is also a good one, and that there will be a congratulatory party at the Seoul Hotel (which one?!?). And since his Appa hosts the shindig, he must attend… as she hands him a bag with a change of clothes. She tells him she’ll just wait outside until he’s ready, but turns around and tells Ji-ho that she is so proud to be his mother. Yeong-rang is well out of sight before Ji-ho can weakly speak up, and thanks her for taking in a son like him… “Eomma.”
Later at the hotel, In-ha is repeating his “award” winning performance just like the trained monkey he’s become, as Man-se and Yeong-rang walk around the banquet hall and greet their guests. In-ha keeps plinking away, but Man-se suspects something wrong in the way that he looks at his cast. And what’s up with the look on Ji-ho’s face? Hmmmm.
After the gala, Ji-ho is sitting by the pool still dressed in his finery. The rest of the family arrives home to see Ji-ho all by himself, when In-ha runs in front and tells Appa that his wish after winning the competition was to have the New York Philharmonic come to Seoul – they’re sure to come if Boosung Instruments invites them! Man-se says that was your wish? Well then, there’s a gift I want to give to In-ha now. In-ha gets all giddy and asks what sort of gift that would be? Man-se reaches over to take the Grand Prize out of In-ha’s hand, but first says that he bets the cast made his hand all wet, so let’s take the cast off first. In-ha panics and tells him no, the doctor said that the bone had not healed itself and to be careful! Man-se rips the cast off anyway, and says there is a terrible smell from keeping it wrapped up for so long, so why don’t we wash it clean? Man-se suddenly picks up In-ha and tosses him into the pool instead!
In-ha swims over to the side and lifts himself out of the pool with both hands, which just confirms Man-se’s suspicions that In-ha was faking it all along. Ji-ho is stunned and asks him what happened to his arm? Man-se asks In-ha why he lied when his hand was fully healed long ago, and that he kept the cast on just to play on everyone’s sympathy in order to win the Grand Prize? And foremost, was In-ha worried that he would lose to Ji-ho with his ability? In-ha stammers that it’s not true, but Man-se tells him that he’s lost anyway. As soon as he stepped on the stage with a casted hand, he was already disqualified because what Man-se saw was not a piano performance but an acting job. The judges made the mistake of giving the award to the cast, not In-ha’s performance.
Yeong-rang interrupts this father-son bonding moment by asking him to hear In-ha’s side of the story first – there has to be a misunderstanding. But one glance back at her effectively shuts her up. Man-se leans down towards In-ha and tells him that he saw In-ha doing pull-ups at night on the high bar over ten days ago. Man-se reaches down and picks up In-ha’s trophy and asks if after all that, does he still deserve the Grand Prize? For his deception to everyone, Man-se breaks the trophy against the walkway and tells In-ha that he is not a person who can be a musician… and you are sure as hell not worthy of being the president of a company. Man-se is embarrassed to even have him as a child, and that his only child now is Ji-ho.
In-ha does the slow boil and yells back at what should he have done differently? He wasn’t able to practice with the cast, so did Appa expect In-ha to sit and watch his rightful Grand Prize taken away from him? His father taught him that was being incompetent — it was never about being conscientious!! Man-se does agree with In-ha, because that’s exactly what Man-se would have done too… and that’s why he will never be able to forgive him. In-ha wheels around and grabs Ji-ho by the collar and asks why he’s just standing there. In-ha wasn’t the only one who cheated! Wasn’t Ji-ho the one who was late and created a scene in front of the judges? Ji-ho tells In-ha to pull himself together, because with all that ability in him, why the heck is he acting that way?!? Ji-ho pushes In-ha to the ground and stomps off, as does Man-se, leaving In-ha blubbering on the ground.
Yeong-rang is in the gazebo overlooking the koi ponds and holding the Special Prize trophy that Ji-ho received at the competition. She stares at the nameplate, muttering “Yoo Ji Ho,” and then takes off walking across the footbridge, all the while saying Yoo Man Se… Yoo Ji Ho… until she gets to the end of the path and smashes the trophy across the bridge railing. In flashback mode, we see the scene of when Ji-ho was locked up in the laundry room, with Yeong-rang being the one to not let him out due to his terrors. Another flashback shows her keeping an eye on In-ha, as he takes his cast off to practice. And yet another flashback to her bribing the Extremely Ancient Judge with an envelope of cash to ensure that In-ha wins the Grand Prize. So NOW we get to see the real Yeong-rang!!
Back on the bridge, Yeong-rang is still holding what’s left of the shattered trophy in her hand and either she’s squeezing a ketchup packet in her hand or she’s actually drawing blood, while cursing Ji-ho’s daring to take her son’s place. Suddenly a voice behind her asks if she was there the whole time… Ji-ho was looking for her, and then asks what happened to his trophy? Yeong-rang attempts to stammer out an excuse, when Ji-ho interrupts her to ask if In-ha had broken it. Ji-ho takes it from her, saying that it’s okay; she’ll hurt her hand with such a meaningless trophy. And he promises not to fight anymore with In-ha, now that he’s his hyung. She tells Ji-ho they need to hurry up and meet with Appa… but Ji-ho stops her in her tracks by calling her “eomma” — is it okay if he calls her Mom now? She wheels around and it takes a good long 15 seconds before her Ice Queen composure thaws… and she thanks Ji-ho for not making her wait too long to hear that. They hug in the setting sun… with blood still gushing from her hand running down the back of Ji-ho’s shirt. Okay then!
Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, Yeong-rang is trying to bandage herself but is failing miserably. She overhears the rest of the family in the living room asking Ji-ho what special present he would like for winning the Special Prize at the competition. Ji-ho hems and haws a bit, until responding that he wants to eat a whole chicken! Man-se and CrazyGran are flabbergasted, with CrazyGran saying that Ji-ho must think her a fool because she’s old. (Truth as a defense, honey…) But CrazyGran goes one step further, and tells Man-se that Lawyer Choi should come over and draw up papers to put the chicken restaurant she owns in Gangnam-gu. Everyone looks stunned, until Yeong-rang comes into the room and diffuses the situation.
CrazyGran tells her that she needs to give a present to Ji-ho as well for winning his first competition. Yeong-rang already has something in mind, as she pulls out an album (remember, it’s 1998 here) of a rare limited edition containing the first recording of a pianist she admires the most — Dinu Lipatti playing Chopin’s 14 Valses (Waltzes). Ji-ho asks why she’s giving up such a precious item, since he doesn’t know how to play a record, but Yeong-rang tells him it’s because she’s thankful for his being there. And just behind the entryway to the living room, we see In-ha overhearing their conversation…
Throwing Tantrum No. 614, In-ha starts tearing up everything in his bedroom, saying he doesn’t need anything — it’s all trash! Yeong-rang runs in to stop him, as In-ha demands to know why she gave such a precious item to that jerk — did she forget who’s mother she was?!? Yeong-rang attempts to remind In-ha that Ji-ho is also her son, but he grabs her in a bear hug and pleads for her to say that In-ha is her only son. Even though his father and grandmother take Ji-ho’s side, In-ha will be fine just as long as his mother is his and his alone! Yeong-rang almost tells him she agrees with him, but gets the sense that someone is listening behind her and tells In-ha to stop acting like a child. Ji-ho has talent, so his mother will help him — stop being jealous, follow and learn! In-ha says there is nothing he could learn from that bastard… and right on cue, Man-se walks into the room accusing In-ha of losing his place to Ji-ho. If In-ha has lost his place in the family, it was his own doing.
He turns to Yeong-rang for affirmation, and with a pained look on her face, agrees with Man-se that because of his dirty tricks, In-ha lost the bet… he has to keep his promise to call Ji-ho ‘hyung’ now. Man-se reiterates that he will only have strong children in his family, and as he walks away, In-ha runs to him and grabs him by the leg, apologizing the whole way and that he won’t be a coward anymore. So please don’t disown him; from now on, he will not disappoint his appa. Ji-ho listens from the hallway, as Man-se tells In-ha he gets only one more chance to redeem himself. If anything like this happens again, he will make Ji-ho the heir of Boosung Instruments. Man-se and Yeong-rang both leave the room to let In-ha continue glaring at Ji-ho.
It’s dark, and we see a set of heels going downstairs into the basement. Yeong-rang searches for a key to the padlocked door down there, and upon opening it, walks over to a covered object. She flings off the blanket to show a grand piano, which she gently stokes while flashing back to her own performing days (and that gorgeous lavender gown again). She finishes her piece with a flourish to a standing ovation… then returns to present-day and opens the piano lid and starts to quietly play. Clump clump clump… Yeong-rang hears another set of footsteps and starts to panic, flashing back to when Man-se told her to throw out that piano now, because if she ever plays it in front of him, he will kill her and her son with his own hands!! (Dun dun dunnnnnnn!!!!!)
Quickly covering up the piano and relocking the closet door, Yeong-rang turns around… and runs straight into CrazyGran! She collapses to the floor, while CrazyGran wants to know why Yeong-rang is down here all by herself — she’s eating something yummy in secret, right? CrazyGran accuses her of starving her mother-in-law to death, as Yeong-rang slowly regains her composure and guides CrazyGran back upstairs with the promise of making her something delicious.
In the boys’ bedroom, they’re both in bed and Ji-ho takes that opportunity to ask In-ha if he wanted to win the competition that badly enough to lie about his birth mother being around. In-ha says he didn’t know that Ji-ho would chase after her; he was scared Ji-ho would kill him if he even tried to stop him from leaving. Ji-ho explains that every night he has nightmares that his birth mother is still living in poverty, while he’s in the lap of luxury now. In-ha made a fool out of his birth mother, but In-ha asks what’s the big freakin’ deal? Ji-ho still won a prize at the competition… especially for his acting ability since he cried at the perfect time. As a bonus, Ji-ho gained a mother as well.
That sets Ji-ho off to tell In-ha at least he HAD a mother by his side all the time; Ji-ho’s birth mother is further away than the stars in the sky now. So even though he yells in the night for his mother until his throat is raw, is it so bad for In-ha that he has to share his mother with Ji-ho? In-ha has everything — what makes him so jealous?!? In-ha yells back that who is it that suffers the most — the person who never had a mom in the first place, or the person who gets their mom stolen away? Ji-ho suddenly gains a mother, but In-ha loses his… and Ji-ho is the one suffering the most because he’s worse off? He screams that Ji-ho is a sick bastard, and rolls over to sob himself to sleep. Ji-ho looks away in extreme pain.
The next day at Boosung Instruments, Ji-ho is getting the nickel tour from Man-se and his factory personnel, along with some foreign visitors. Man-se shows off one of their recent creations, as he hands Ji-ho a piece of sprucewood used in the making of their pianos cut in the shape of a gingko leaf. Man-se had it engraved with his name especially for Ji-ho so that he would remember the texture of the sprucewood. When Ji-ho looks confused, Man-se explains that one can take dead wood and use it to create a piano to make the wood alive again… this is what his Appa does for a living. A little father-son bonding moment, and we jump-cut to…
… In-ha beating the crap out of the Liszt Concert Etude No. 2 — blindfolded, with Yeong-rang standing by giving advice and reminding him that he needs to play the keyboard with heart, not his head. More forte… more staccato! Play like you’re breathing with the piano — play like Ji-ho! That infuriated In-ha enough to rip off his blindfold and tell his mom that he will keep practicing until his fingers rip apart in order to play what Ji-ho cannot. (Ooooh, foreshadowing!) In-ha looks up at his mom and promises that he will fulfill her long-forgotten dream!
Later that evening, Yeong-rang comes in to tuck her children in for the night. First going over to In-ha, she gently strokes his face as she brings the covers up around him. Then in going over to Ji-ho, she stops and notices the piece of wood that Man-se gave Ji-ho earlier in the day. She recognizes it as spruce, but when she turns it over, the inscription reads “To my son, Yoo Man Se.” Yeong-rang face starts getting dark, until she is interrupted by CrazyGran’s beeper again.
Yeong-rang is giving CrazyGran a leg massage, when she decides to stop and gets up to leave… when CrazyGran grabs her arm and stops her asking if she’s sick of massaging her already? Yeong-rang wonders out loud why CrazyGran wasn’t sleeping, and CrazyGran tells her that it is no use that a new bride is so flabby and weak. Why is it that Yeong-rang hasn’t had a baby yet? Yeong-rang just stares at her, when CrazyGran tells her that Man-se has hidden a great treasure in Gapyung, but she’ll only tell of the secret when Yeong-rang and her son bring an heir to the family. CrazyGran then pinky-swears to seal the deal.
We’re at a hospital now, where CrazyGran is being wheeled into a MRI scan machine. Yeong-rang sits with the doctor at the end of the tests to discuss why CrazyGran’s memory started becoming so bad awhile back. When the doctor praises Yeong-rang for being so good in taking care of her mother-in-law, Yeong-rang can only smile and say that she doesn’t want to worry her husband. She’ll take care of everything (she says with one of those smirks on her face again).
As both of them leave the hospital, CrazyGran crabs that she’s tired of coming to hospitals. What the heck was the MRI scan for? Yeong-rang implores that it was just for a general health checkup, when CrazyGran spouts that her fortune teller told her she will live to be 99 years old, healthy as a horse, and pass away calmly in her sleep. CrazyGran asks what was the doctor’s diagnosis anyway, to which Yeong-rang replies… there was nothing wrong with her, as long as she stays on a healthy diet. So in punishment for Yeong-rang dragging her to the hospital for no go reason, CrazyGran deserves to go to the driving range. Are the clubs still in the trunk?
CrazyGran beats some poor defenseless golf balls to death and laughs about it, while Young-rang watches. She gets up and walks away from the tee, all the while remembering what the doctor had told her earlier — that CrazyGran has an advanced diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Her brain has shrunk and her condition will get worse, so the doctor has prescribed some medicine so she needs to start taking it right away.
When Young-rang returns to watch CrazyGran some more, she suggests to her that she’s worked out enough and that it’s time to go home. When CrazyGran turns around… it’s not CrazyGran! It’s some other ahjumma who CrazyGran gave her vest to because it was too tight, and she left awhile ago. Yeong-rang panics and runs off to find her.
And you could all probably guess where she’s headed to, right? Yup, the hoddeok stand where Da-mi’s mom and dad work. CrazyGran flashes back to her younger time, when she was in charge of her dongsaengs, All three kids were watching from afar the hot pancake maker, all the time complaining that they’re hungry. She says to no one in particular for them to wait for her… unni will go and buy pancakes for them all! CrazyGran takes off in a dead run towards the hoddeok stand and grabs a bunch of pancakes again, but this time she trips and falls upon her getaway.
Soo-pyo (Da-mi’s father) runs over and picks her up off the ground, while CrazyGran begs and pleads not to be turned over to the police just because she was hungry! As she is dragged back over to the pancake stand, Soo-pyo signs for her to wait there, as he reaches for some fresh pancakes off the grill, bags them up, and hands them over to CrazyGran. Da-mi’s dad writes on the package that the hotter ones taste better. CrazyGran asks what’s up with him — can he not hear or talk? Soo-pyo writes on the package that she needs to eat as much until she is full. CrazyGran scolds him for still being able to write, but not speak or hear, so she’s totally embarrassed now.
They part ways, as CrazyGran walks back home chomping down on a hoddeok. At that moment, Yeong-rang drives up and CrazyGran hides the pancakes behind her. Yeong-rang scolds CrazyGran for making her worried since she looked all over the place for her! CrazyGran just sits there with a Cheshire Cat grin on her face the whole time.
Back at the stand, Jin-soo (Da-mi’s mother) and Soo-pyo are taking a break, as Jin-soo asks how many pancakes did you give the grandma – a whole stack? Soo-pyo signs that they were lucky they had several fresh pancakes ready for her. Jin-soo sighs and asks how she cannot love such a man who is handsome (agreed!) and so considerate? Make sure she knows the next time CrazyGran comes over to give her enough pancakes for her and her family too!
Soo-pyo asks why Nam-joo is there at the stand — why aren’t the kids home from school yet? She explains that Woo-jin is still at school studying; even though he doesn’t need a private tutor, he still received 1st Place on his last test! Now it’s Soo-pyo’s turn to apologize for making his family worry; he’s going to earn a lot of money to give Woo-jin private lessons and but Da-mi a piano. And for his loving wife, he is going to buy a trip for her to visit her parents again. Nam-joo reminds Soo-pyo that she’s happy enough as things are — hopefully some day her mother and father will finally give them their blessings, because how could they hate a son-in-law as special as him. So Soo-pyo just needs to smile, arraso? They have a cute little moment… interrupted by the baby kicking!
Later than evening, Yeong-rang is bringing tea to the study where Man-se is discussing business matters with Choi Seung Jae (Jang Hyun Sung), the General Counsel of Boosung Instruments. She overhears Man-se telling him he thinks that he needs to rewrite his will now that he’s found Ji-ho. When Seung-jae asks why now all of a sudden, Man-se says that Ji-ho is not just any normal son. Seung-jae asks if Man-se has figured out how to distribute his inheritance yet, to which Man-se he has and he has already alerted the boys of his decision to choose from a fair competition. Seung-jae says that it’s too soon to decide and the boys are still too young, but Man-se realizes that and tries to form an allegory that an Alaskan spruce tree has already been proven to provide the best wood for a good piano. (Hunh?) Man-se will decide on the heir and have him schooled in business procedures at his early age.
With Yeong-rang pressing her ear up against the study door, she overhears that Seung-jae has arranged a lunch meeting with the Juilliard School of Music’s department head the next day and asks Man-se to join them. But Man-se has a prior appointment with Principal Lowenthal, who just happens to be in town for a concert. Man-se wants to ask him a personal favor during that meeting. Seung-jae takes his leave of the study, almost running into Yeong-rang with the tea (which should be stone-cold by now). He says goodnight, and she enters the study after he departs. Man-se comes out as well, and is surprised to see her there. She says that she was preparing the tea, but it must be too late since Seung-jae has left — Man-se tells her that their talk was too serious for tea. (I would have served Scotch myself…) Man-se then asks her what the kids’ schedules will be for the next day, and Yeong-rang says that after their lessons, they’re pretty much free so why does he need to know? He dismisses her outright and goes back into his study.
Yeong-rang stands there trying to remember who Professor Lowenthal is… until the lightbulb goes off over her head, and she heads to their home library to do some research on said Professor. The montage of Looking Through Important Books and Other Written Materials follows, when she comes across a news article on him that says he favors Beethoven pieces that are played with great speed and technique. Yeong-rang closes the book and ponders…
… as we Ji-ho and In-ha in the town car being chauffered somewhere after learning that their lessons had been cancelled for the day. In-ha accuses Ji-ho of knowing all about the cancellations because Appa singled him out again. When Ji-ho denies that very fact, In-ha crabs that Ji-ho and Appa have been spending a lot of time together recently… but remember that no matter how strong a dragon is, he can’t beat the local snakes. (Remind me to needlepoint that on a pillow soon.) The car passes by the piano store where Ji-ho saw Da-mi that first time, and of course, she’s standing there again! Ji-ho asks the driver to just pull over for a second, and as he jumps out, tells In-ha that he needs to go somewhere first. He won’t be late, so tell Mom nicely. And before he slams the car door shut on In-ha, thanks him for calling him a dragon. See you later, local snake! (BWAHAHAHA!!!)
Ji-ho comes upon Da-mi playing “Heart and Soul” up against the music store window. As Ji-ho looks on lovingly, the shopkeeper comes out and scolds her for not leaving when he asked nicely the first time, and gives her a small whack upsides her head. The shopkeeper yells at her to leave and never come back, or he will tell her parents so she can get a right proper scolding from them! Going back inside the music store, Da-mi stands there dejectedly and goes over to sit on the curb. Ji-ho plops down next to her and asks if she’s been practicing hard, as she admits she hasn’t because if she doesn’t see the piano keys in front of her, she keeps forgetting. Ji-ho gets up and tells Da-mi to follow… she’ll find out where when they arrive!
Back at the Palacial Mansion, In-ha asks Yeong-rang why his lessons were suddenly cancelled, and she tells him today he is practicing with her instead… the Beethoven “Rondo e Capriccio” (Op. 129 in G-major) In-ha is dumbfounded why of all pieces, when Mom tells him that his Appa will call both him and Ji-ho together at a meeting that night, and all In-ha has to do is say that is the work he’s always liked. In-ha gapes and asks is today THE DAY, and Yeong-rang nods yes, it is.
Ji-ho drags Da-mi by the wrist to the performing hall where Ji-ho had played the Tchaikovsky piece a few days before. Da-mi asks if this isn’t the place where the famous people perform, and Ji-ho says that he’s going to give her a special tour of the joint. From after this, even when Da-mi can’t physically see a piano, she’ll still be able to play it. Da-mi counters that tiny bit of wisdom with her own thought that the piano keys are in one’s eyes. (Yeah, right.) Ji-ho calls bullshit on that, and they run inside.
Up on the stage, Da-mi pronounces the place daebak, and she runs towards the grand piano sitting in the middle. Ji-ho tells her to basically drink it in with her eyes, and she will never forget the keys again. Da-mi is more interested in asking if they can play that piano, and he sees no reason why not since no one is there right now. As expected, they launch into “Heart and Soul” with Ji-ho riffing a bit on the melody… and then we see the curtains slowly separate to an audience just filing in, where they applaud the plucky young tykes for their musical selection. (NOT.) Embarrassed to high heaven, they grab hands and run off through the lobby to FREEDOM!!!
Ji-ho returns to the house, but then remembers that he neglected to ask his little partner-in-crime what her name was… he wonders what grade she’s in too. Next, Ji-ho is turned back into the little gentleman he is in a new suit and tie to get ready for his dog-and-pony show. When Ji-ho asks what’s the special occasion, Yeong-rang tells her that his Appa’s chingu specially invited him and In-ha to dinner tonight, so mind your manners! In-ha pops in and says that they’re going to be late if she continues to full over Ji-ho, but after she leaves the room, In-ha chides him for actually looking like a rich kid now. Ji-ho begs to differ, as he says Mom made a beggar into a dragon! But by the way, who is this guy they’re supposed to meet tonight that makes them have to dress up in the monkey suits? In-ha says it’s something the adults set up, so isn’t it obvious? Shark fin or scallop… they’re bound to order expensive foods for them. Ji-ho says that it sounds delicious, so they should hurry… he’s already hungry!
Meanwhile, the Yoo Family arrives at the hotel where the elusive Professor must be staying. One of Man-se’s lackeys greets them at the entrance and will escort them to the VIP Room. Yeong-rang asks if the guests have already arrived, to which Lackey responds that they are on their way… but Madame, the President hasn’t arrived from the airport yet either. Yeong-rang asks Lackey what he means by the airport (you know, that big building where planes take off and land… but I digress), and Lackey responds that he had to see off an important person before arriving at tonight’s meeting… the Julliard School of Music Department Head has left Seoul. So who is the person that has summoned her and her children? Lackey points to the entryway and says that he has arrived. Yeong-rang turns around, and asks “Isn’t that Professor Hwang?”
In the town car returning from the airport, Man-se takes a call from CrazyGran who is frantic over losing a hairpin that she’s wanting to wear. Dong-yi is there helping her find it, but they have been looking all evening to no avail. Man-se chuckles and tells CrazyGran not to get so worked up; he’ll buy her a new one instead. But CrazyGran insists that Yeong-rang stole it; she’s sure of it because she steals CrazyGran’s stuff one piece at a time and hides them in the basement storage room. That’s why Yeong-rang goes down to the storage room late at night like a thief! Man-se asks what about the basement storage again, as Dong-yi asks CrazyGran isn’t that the hairpin you’re looking for… sitting on your own head?!? (Dun dun dunnnnn!)
At the meeting which was supposed to be with Professor Lowenthal but is now with Professor Hwang (You get that? Need a scorecard?), we see Our Boys sitting while Professor Hwang prides them on looking like smart children. They should be proud to be the spawn of Professor Yoo, but the main reason he’s there is he wants each boy to play a piece of music for him. Depending on how it is played, it could sound rich or beggar-poor (what is it with beggars in this show?!?), and hands them both some sheet music to review. In-ha takes his and is flabbergasted that Hwang-nim would want him to play such a simple piece; it’s as easy as a nursery rhyme! Professor Hwang asks if In-ha is disappointed because it is such an easy song, but he is asking a favor of them both to study the score carefully and to play it well. He’ll give them an hour.
In-ha gets his panties in a wad (again), and asks why he needs an hour to play such a simple song? He’s not some piano newbie (throwing a look towards Ji-ho), and announces he will play it right now. Professor Hwang tells In-ha to sit his butt down and cool his heels; being in such a rush is not courteous to the composer! In-ha dejectedly sits down, and Professor Hwang starts timing frommmmmmmm…. now.
A curtain moves inside a dark passageway. A light shines onto a padlock, as we pan back and see Man-se and his lackey staring at the locked closet. He complies with Man-se’s request to break it, and as he raises a sledgehammer to do so, Man-se tells him to stop and he focuses on something shiny on the basement floor. Picking up the key to the lock, he opens the closet door and surveys the items with his flashlight. Grabbing the flashlight, Man-se walks towards the large object covered with a red cloth and flings it off to see Yeong-rang’s piano. Lifting the lid, he sees the initials “J.W.” inscribed on the faceplate. Man-se face twists with rags, and realizes that was the piano from “that day.”
Yeong-rang is out pacing in the lobby of the hotel, wondering why Professor Hwang is there talking to her sons? It’s not like he’s a famous pianist or anything… he’s more renowned for being a composer. There must be something more to this meeting; maybe this is Man-se’s way of deciding who his heir will be? As she continues to pace and pace to figure it out, we see Man-se walking towards the suite with a sense of purpose… or maybe just a sense of absolute anger since he’s clenching his fist. (I can never tell the difference.) We see the boys stare at each other over the score, as Man-se walks up to greet Yeong-rang… and we end with a bunch of people just staring at each other. DUNNNNNNNN!
End of Episode 2
Flowers and Brickbats
Wow. More plot exposition than humans should be allowed to handle! We see more of the ‘Tiger Mom’ tendencies come out in Yeong-rang after she realizes her world has been turned upside-down by the arrival of Ji-ho. What else could she do when her allegedly perfect life started showing the cracks? And geez, Man-se continues to rant and rave for what we think just because he can… and then the PD-nim surprises us by dropping the hint about why he’s so mad at this elusive J.W. person. I’m voting for him being the actual father of In-ha, so that way we can enjoy a real bromance between Jihoon and Changwook… uh, I mean Ji-ho and In-ha when they get older!! But even as much as I appreciate the crazy, In-ha’s tantrums are really starting to get on my nerves. A boy his age should not be crabbing like that without getting a scolding for not behaving properly… which is a tactic every mother should employ on a Saturday afternoon at Costco. And you can’t help but feel nothing but pity for poor Ji-ho, as he keeps getting scars layered on top of more scars. I really do not have any complaints about the show so far, but we’re only in Episode 2. I’m sure they’ll pop up once we start getting into later episodes.
But I like the fact that this chaebol family still insists on their children calling them ‘eomma’ and ‘appa’ in banmal, instead of the more formal “abeoji” and “eomeoni.” A small attempt at keeping them down-to-earth… that ends up failing especially with In-ha, who as the stereotypical only child, doesn’t want to share even the air he breathes with anyone else. And I think I mentioned this in the Soompi 5F thread, but the cinematographer decided to shoot in 24FPS (frames per second) than the usual 30FPS (which all the dailies and certain other dramas employ) to give this show a very luxurious movie-like feel to it. The scenes are just so purty!
Let me explain about why Man-se told In-ha that a ‘performer is responsible for taking care of his body in any situation.’ When I was in college (back in the Stone Age), a kinesiology course was required in order for any music student to graduate. We were taught the right way to fall if we ever tripped to mitigate a bone break or sprain, how to recover from a stumble while carrying our instruments, stuff like that. We were also required to learn self-massage on our limbs in order to keep the blood flowing properly, and were encouraged to take a yoga class or two to keep our ligaments supple. There are exercises that I still do to this day to keep my hands and wrists flexible so I can play at a moment’s notice. Too bad those moments are few and far between these days… sigh.
And for the curious, Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950) was a well-known Romanian pianist who specialized in Bach and Chopin works. Another child prodigy of the early 20th century, he died tragically young of Hodgkin’s Disease but not before recording some magnificent pieces so his legacy would live on after his death. The album that Yeong-rang gifted Ji-ho was released in 1945 before he became too weak to play with any passion. If you want to read more about him, visit this link: Dinu Lipatti
Looks like things are ramping up for the inevitable conflagration that happens in Episode 3. I’ll bring the marshmallows!!