(Recap) “Five Fingers” Episode 3

The old chestnut goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”  It seems that for this drama, we also need to examine that saying from a man’s perspective as well.  Especially for a man who is walking towards you clenching his fist and spitting fire.  But I digress…

And we’re back at Boosung Corporate HQ, where Man-se has arrived to see Yeong-rang pacing and waiting for the results of Professor Hwang’s interviews of Our Boys.  When Yeong-rang asks if their guest left safely to the airport, Man-se confirms that yes, Professor Lowenthal had to leave early, and that’s why he asked Professor Hwang to take his place.  Yeong-rang looks uncomfortable when Man-se asks her why he didn’t tell her about the ol’ switcheroo, because she thought it was just going to be a nice, quiet dinner.  Man-se wonders (out loud, of course) if Yeong-rang was taken aback by him not telling her in advance?  Doesn’t matter now… he suggests they sit for tea in his office.

Professor Hwang announces that the hour is up, and what do they think about the piece he has given them to analyze?  In-ha crabs that the melody is flat and boring, and that it lacks movement or a climax.  He’s more interested in difficult music which no one else can play.  The Professor looks over to Ji-ho… who just happens to be crying.  When asked what his deal is, Ji-ho says he doesn’t know why tears spring to his eyes, except that he feels very sad.  The Professor tells both boys that they did well, and now it’s time for them to perform their interpretations.

Back in Man-se’s office, he asks Yeong-rang if she isn’t curious about who he’ll end up picking as the successor.  She says if it’s business-related, she shouldn’t be involved.  Man-se agrees with her, but then abruptly changes the subject to say he found a key in the garden.  Asking if she knows which room it is for, he plops the key to the basement storage unit on the table and studies her reaction as she picks it up.  Stumbling that she’s not sure, Yeong-rang promises to ask Dong-yi about it and will warn her to not be so careless.  The phone rings, and Man-se is not happy over what the voice on the other end says.  He demands that someone who has not been found needs to be sought out by all means possible, so that he can deal with him personally once found.

Yeong-rang continues to maintain her composure, which pisses off Man-se even more.  He jumps up and says he needs to go look for someone, so when the kids are done, just go home and wait.  As he turns to leave, he stops and asks why Yeong-rang looks so pale and like a fear-stricken animal.  Cupping her head in his hand, he makes sure to tell her how much he loves and cares for her — isn’t she bored after 10 years of this?  She fibs that she looks like that because she’s missed lunch and her energy is drained.  It isn’t until after he leaves that she finally breaks… and jumps 10 feet high upon hearing the fax machine chime.  Walking over to it, see sees the paper reference a Kim Jeong Wook, who returned to the States from South Korea in July of 1998.  She wonders… it can’t be… ?

Jumping into some sort of time-travel device (because what else could explain how she got back to the house so fast), Yeong-rang returns to the basement storage room to see that the piano is still there.  She tells herself that since it’s still in the storage room, there’s no way that Man-se could have seen it… OR COULD HE?!?  (Dun dun dunnnnnnnn!)

Back at Boosung HQ, Yeong-rang paces until In-ha pops out looking… well, In-ha-like.  She asks him how things went with Professor Hwang, and In-ha complains that he made them play such a ridiculously easy piece.  And to top it all off, the Professor made them sit there and ruminate on the score for an hour.  (Oh the humanity!!)  In-ha was adamant that the Professor must have done that to dumb-down everything to Ji-ho’s level.  Yeong-rang suddenly remembers that the Professor’s favorite granddaughter had just passed away… and holy crap, he must have written that piece in her memory!  Grabbing In-ha by his (allegedly bad) wrist, she asks where Ji-ho is, and he mumbles that the Professor asked him to stay behind to chat.  Uh oh… spaghettios!

Inside the suite, Professor Hwang explains to Ji-ho that he wrote that piece the day of his granddaughter’s funeral.  He tried to suppress his emotions, but Ji-ho being a little ball o’ tears himself, understood the score better than his stepbrother did.  Ji-ho tells the Professor that there isn’t a right answer in understanding music, since it’s open to interpretation.  The Professor says that his stepbrother doesn’t understand the soul of music; that he’s all about technique alone and that should disqualify him as a ‘pianist.’   The Professor offers to write his first-ever letter of recommendation for Ji-ho to go study abroad — even though he’ll still have to audition, his letter should smooth the way for his entry. Professor Hwang leans in towards Ji-ho… and asks what is the young master’s name?

Later that evening, we see Evil Stepmother hop into Yeong-rang’s car, complaining the entire time that she’s put out that Yeong-rang didn’t come up to see her.  But Yeong-rang has an ulterior motive — she tells Gye-hwa that a piano will be delivered to her house tomorrow; whether Gye-hwa keeps it at her own house or somewhere else, it needs to be kept safe, arraso?  Gye-hwa feigns horror that Yeong-rang is secretly selling pianos behind her husband’s back, and Yeong-rang yells back at her to siddown, shaddap, and do as she says!  Gye-hwa says she’s not deaf… they’re only 10 years apart in age, dammit!  She orders Gye-hwa out of her car, but not before greasing her palm with a couple of 10,000 won notes.  Yeong-rang drives off, still trying to convince herself that everything’s just peachy and she’s just overly sensitive.

At the hoddeok stand, Da-mi is practicing her little heart out on a flat-plastic teaching keyboard.  When Nam-joo asks what piece she’s working so hard over, Da-mi says it’s a secret and Mom will find out when she plays it tomorrow on her birthday — she’ll even borrow a chingu’s melodion to help!  Soo-pyo comes over and feigns ignorance that it’s his wife’s birthday, and asks what she wants for a present.  She says she wishes for nothing, since she already has a charming husband, two gorgeous kids and another on the way.  She’s fine with things the way they are.  Hubby is still indignant that he never gave her Mom a ring when they married, but Da-mi promises to buy Mom the prettiest ring when she grows up.  Although for some strange reason, Mom hopes the jewel has Dad’s face on it so that she can see him all the time.  (Um… okay.)  Mom tells Da-mi that her fingers need to grow a little more before they can get a piano for her, and as she commands her fingers to grow faster, we see CrazyGran watching them from behind the electrical box again.  She curses that she came over to eat one lousy pancake, and gets a sob story instead.  How hard could it be for that jerk to buy his wife a ring?

Yeong-rang is back in the study, arranging even yet more flowers.  Ji-ho enters with an envelope in his hands, and when Yeong-rang asks why he’s there, he tells her he’s bringing in Professor Hwang’s recommendation letter.  Yeong-rang pauses a nano-second and tells him to put it on the table, because she doesn’t want to get such an important document dirty.  Ji-ho places it on the table, while saying there’s something he needs to tell her… but Yeong-rang stops him from going any further and asks if it can wait until tomorrow.  Ji-ho meekly agrees and bids her a good night.  After he leaves, Yeong-rang gingerly picks up the envelope and turns it over, but instead of opening the darn thing, wads it up and tosses it into the trashcan!  Then she takes out the rest of her anger on the poor defenseless flowers next!  Her fury is interrupted by Dong-yi speaking through the door that CrazyGran is looking for her.

In their bedroom, she sees that CrazyGran has all of Yeong-rang’s clothes and accessories laid out.  Crazy Gran says that there’s so much in there, so pulling out a few (hundred) pieces of clothing will help the closet breathe better.  Yeong-rang asks what CrazyGran is going to do with all this, and CrazyGran says she has someone in mind.  Reaching into one of the drawers, she pulls out one of Yeong-rang’s diamond rings as well, asking why something this sparkly should be kept in the dark — it needs to be in the light to shine.  Yeong-rang starts doing the slow burn, and CrazyGran then drops the bombshell that the piano in the basement needs to go as well.  When Yeong-rang feigns ignorance, CrazyGran calls bullshit on her — she saw the piano, so stop lying — and is it that precious that it cannot be given away?  Yeong-rang begs and pleads of anything that she owns, that the piano needs to stay.  CrazyGran says that she could always ask her son for a new piano, but that would put a burden upon the recipient.  CrazyGran orders her to pack everything up and bolts from the bedroom, leaving Yeong-rang to crumple to the floor in anger.

Back in the study, Man-se is enjoying a fine glass of grape juice (since I’ve never seen wine that transparent before), when Yeong-rang comes in and apologizes for not greeting him when he returned home.  As she heads to the kitchen for some snacks, Man-se asks her if she’s had a chance to read Professor Hwang’s recommendation letter yet.  She says she hasn’t, but Man-se finds that (and the letter itself) quite odd.  It’s obvious that the Professor favored Ji-ho, but the letter was for recommending In-ha instead.  Yeong-rang’s face goes blank…

…as we see Our Boys in the music room staring at each other.  In-ha is incredulous, demanding why Ji-ho had the recommendation letter written under In-ha’s name.  Ji-ho says that it’s not because he was being nice, it’s just that he finally gave up since he has no intention on studying abroad.  In-ha grabs Ji-ho by the collar and complains that he’s not a beggar to eat what Ji-ho throws at him.  Ji-ho throws him off by saying that it’s a great opportunity, so don’t pass it up!  In-ha is still indignant, and says he’ll get his own damn recommendation letter.  He doesn’t need the help, so why the heck is Ji-ho doing this?  In-ha turns away to leave, and Ji-ho yells back… BECAUSE YOU ARE MY BROTHER!!  Even though In-ha hates the ever-livin’ sight of him, they’re still brothers and why can’t Pabo In-ha understand that?!?  Of course, Pabo In-ha does not understand that, and spits back so big freakin’ deal they share a father — because his eomma was ridiculed because of Ji-ho, that made her cry… and he will never forgive him for making her cry!  (Never mind about always making poor Ji-ho cry.  Sob!)

Yeong-rang thinks Man-se is fast asleep, so she steals down to the study to retrieve the thrown-away recommendation letter.  Not seeing it in the wastebasket, she heads outside to the garbage bins.  While rooting around for the envelope, she is startled by Man-se behind her, holding the crumpled-up letter.  Asking if THIS is what she’s looking for, Man-se says he’s come to a conclusion — putting on a brave face and treating Ji-ho like her own son, but trampling all over him when Man-se is out of sight.  Yeong-rang denies it, saying it’s all a misunderstanding, but Man-se continues his tirade that Yeong-rang didn’t want to admit that the son he brought in was way more talented than HER son?  (“Her” son?  Hmmm…)  Yeong-rang backs away in terror, but Man-se ain’t done yet — knowing that she was the one who broke Ji-ho’s trophy and threw away the recommendation letter.  How much longer was she going to keep playing the ‘good mother?’

Yeong-rang drops to her knees for forgiveness, and says that she must have lost her mind and to please forgive her — it’s not that she hates Ji-ho; it’s that she pities In-ha so much.  Man-se leans down next to her and tells her to prove it, since he plans on throwing a huge shindig for his business contacts and will introduce Ji-ho as his eldest son at that time.  Maybe it might be good for Yeong-rang to play the ‘good mother’ at that time as well?  She agrees, as Man-se stifles a laugh, and then hands her the recommendation letter with a directive for her to tear it up with her own hands to make herself feel less sorry to Ji-ho.  Shaking like a leaf, she does that very thing under his glare.  Man-se stands up and tells her that she really is a good woman… she doesn’t even hesitate to obey him even if it means throwing away the future of her own son.  Looking visibly pained himself, he leaves her stunned on the ground.

The next day, CrazyGran is over at the hoddeok stand with the loot taken from Yeong-rang.  When Nam-joo asks if it’s really true that all this is theirs, CrazyGran says that her ‘madam’ threw all the clothes away before going abroad.  Nam-joo still does not believe someone would throw good clothing away, as CrazyGran says it’s no big deal to a family that wipes their noses with money.  (LOL… and EW!)  CrazyGran demands their home address next so she can have a piano (that her Madame is also throwing away) delivered to their house.  Nam-joo is besides herself with gratitude, and CrazyGran tells them that if the family is looking for a piano teacher, they have two snobby kids that could fit the bill.

Moving on over to Soo-pyo, CrazyGran reaches into her pocket for the diamond ring.  CrazyGran tells him that she knows it’s his wife’s birthday, so here’s a gift for her. Pressing it into his hand, he looks mortified but CrazyGran says it’s a fake that should bought for $5 at the open-air market, so don’t be so shocked!  Enjoy the birthday gifts and she’ll be back later.  Annyeong!

Man-se asks what brings Gye-hwa to his office, as she cattily reminds him that he and his money were supposed to move her into a bigger house by month’s end, and she hasn’t heard Word One yet.  Man-se chuckles and reminds her that she’s already living in a 2,100-square-foot house by herself; anything larger would just be wasteful.  Man-se also gets a dig in about Yeong-rang sending her personal spending allowance over to the States to take care of her siblings’ school tuition, so geez lady, what’s your point?

Gye-hwa reminds him those are harsh words coming from someone who has to take a bus from their entryway to the front gate.  Is it his wish to see her live in a one-bathroom house until she dies? When the children return, is he going to make them stand in two lines just to use the facilities?  Man-se will surely be cursed by his relatives for that oversight.  Man-se says he’s not scared by any curses — just because the son-in-law is rich, does that mean the mother-in-law has to live like a chaebol as well?  He reminds Mommy-In-Law that he doesn’t work to keep her living the high life.  That deflates Gye-hwa a bit, but she says Man-se’s attitude sure has changed over the years — if she didn’t stick her nose into his business, would he have been able to marry ‘her’ Yeong-rang?  He needed her then and she obliged; given that she’s only asking for a mere pittance of money, does he still consider her request wasteful?  Man-se does consider that wasteful; from now on, live more frugally and stop wasting so much money, since Daughter Dearest ain’t gonna be your cash cow for life.

That statement was the last straw for Gye-hwa… she says even if she was the poorest person on earth, she cannot live by bowing her head to a person lower than herself.  A poor mother-in-law is still that, and a stepmother is still a mother.  Mess with her some more, and their marriage will cease to be a comfortable one.  As she stomps out of his office, Man-se decides to pull out his trump card by telling Gye-hwa that he knows Yeong-rang had come to see her the day before… so what did they discuss?  If she’s not truthful with him, a house move could be quite a bit of a problem, so think about it carefully.  She wheels around and asks why he’s so curious, she’ll tell him — Yeong-rang said that her ‘new son’ is so amazing and good to the point that she’s already comfortable with him.  Happy now, Big Boy?  She takes off and leaves him glaring at her backside.

Yeong-rang pulls up into the driveway to see a boatload of household goods being loaded onto a truck, with CrazyGran supervising nearby.  When she asks what the hell is going on, CrazyGran says that Madame arrived at the right time, as they’re loading up the piano now.  Handing Yeong-rang the address where everything should be sent off to, CrazyGran says that the recepient of their largess is a deaf man who sells pancakes on the corner.  He’s so upstanding and proper that she wants to do something to help out his family.  As Yeong-rang just stares at the ground, CrazyGran tells her not to be so sad about seeing her possessions leave — there are enough old things still left in the house… CrazyGran included.  (Ha!)

As the movers get ready to load the piano onto the flatbed, Yeong-rang yells out at them to wait.  She wants one last, steamy look at the piano before they take it away.  She caresses the piano lid and looks at it lovingly… and then races into her bedroom to retrieve a medicine envelope from one of the drawers.  Flushing the pills down the toilet, while muttering to herself that CrazyGran shouldn’t have crossed her like that.  Didn’t she make a promise to take care of her — isn’t putting up with her bullying for ten years enough to earn her a “Favorite Daughter-in-Law” coffee mug?

At the Hong Residence, the piano has arrived but it’s all Da-mi can do but to stare at it because she still can’t believe it’s real.  Nam-joo tells her that someone was just going to throw it out, but it still has a good sound so sit down and play something already!!  She plinks around on a few keys and asks Nam-joo if she’s really not dreaming, but also says that she’s weirded out that someone would throw out such a grand piano.  When she gets the chance, she’ll have to thank the original owner for her good fortune.  Nam-joo said that the halmoni who gifted them the piano would also introduce Da-mi to a piano instructor as well (since her family is overflowing with them).  She turns to Soo-pyo and tells him to listen to what she’s going to play for him, but when Nam-jo0 protests, Da-mi explains that someone had once told her that if you play with your heart, then everyone can hear… even appa.  Soo-pyo is amazed that he can actually hear what his little girl is playing!

Da-mi flashes back to the time she met up with Ji-ho, while interspersed with her practicing is Ji-ho with his practicing, flashing back to the time they got caught on the auditorium stage, riding his bicycle through the woods, etc.  But back at the music room at school, we see In-ha stomping all over the presto movement of the Beethoven “Rondo a capriccio” when his wrist gives out and he has to stop.  Piano Teacher takes one look and chastises In-ha for overdoing himself lately and that he should take a rest for awhile.  In-ha tells him that he’s fine and stop worrying, which then sets off Piano Teacher to tell him that if In-ha pushes himself too hard, there will be consequences later!  He turns back to the piano and asks Piano Teacher not to tell his mother so she doesn’t worry needlessly, and goes back to practicing.

Da-mi then appears in the practice room, introducing herself and announcing that Grandmother Min Ban Wol referred her to a piano instructor there.  It’s all In-ha can do is to stare at Da-mi as she stands there (with yet another freakin’ halo of light around her!) with big ol’ puppy-dog eyes.  That boy done be in love at first sight now!

CrazyGran has finished with her evening bath and is resting while Yeong-rang hands her a glass of wine, with CrazyGran saying it should be good for her to have a glass of wine to counteract her Alzheimer’s diagnosis (wait, when was she told?).  CrazyGran also tells her to prepare a certain type of fish, which is also good for the brain… CrazyGran doesn’t want to bring any disgrace to her son now, right?  Yeong-rang offers to give CrazyGran a massage after her bath, but she says that Man-se promised to do yoga with her when he returned home that evening.  Yeong-rang reminds her that it’s well past midnight already, but CrazyGran says she doesn’t care what time it is — a promise is a promise!  And is her daughter-in-law getting all green-eyed because Man-se is spending more time with her than his own wife?  Yeong-rang protests no, but CrazyGran goes off on some tale that she was both a wife and a concubine in a past life.  And remember, that as long as CrazyGran is still alive, Man-se will never be Yeong-rang’s for a single moment…

So it’s way past midnight, and yep, CrazyGran and Man-se are practicing yoga poses in the living room.  CrazyGran makes him promise to take care of her, and he concurs by saying that she needs to be healthy in order to live for a long time.  But CrazyGran spills her guts, telling Man-se that he’s not to worry about that, since Yeong-rang took her to the hospital for a full checkup.  They even put her in an MRI tube!  Man-se looks stunned, asking about which hospital?  CrazyGran says that she was treated well at the Gangnam Hospital and passed with flying colours… as long as she’s not in a car accident, they said she would live past 100.  (A car accident of her own doing, I suppose.)

Man-se calls up one of his lackeys and requests the records from the Gangnam Hospital, especially the MRI scan report.  Hanging up, we don’t even have to count to three before Man-se accuses his wife of abject trickery — how could she play around with his mother’s life like that?

In the music room, we see Ji-ho setting up a tape player, and then starts in on the Debussy “Arabesque.”  (FYI, with its florid melody line, it’s a perfect teaching piece for the proper fingers on arpeggios.)  Next we see Ji-ho standing outside of the music store where he met up with Da-mi for the first time.  Holding a cassette tape in his hands, he sits on the stoop and waits.  And waits.  And waits some more, as the rest of the world goes by in slow-motion.  Although we’re unsure of the time lapse, Ji-ho finally gives up and returns to the music school instead.  He hears a familiar plinking and leans around the corner to see Da-mi sitting at the piano playing the (now-tiring) “Heart and Soul” again.  He starts to enter the room, but is stopped by In-ha’s voice asking how she likes that piano and offers her a glass of juice, saying she must be tired (or diabetic).

Da-mi gets impatient and orders In-ha to sit down and help her play, to which In-ha is amazed she’s been holding back on how badly she’s wanted to play the piano.  They launch into a tarted-up version, as Ji-ho stands around the corner, sighing dejectedly.  He goes to sit outside and stare at his tape cassette, when In-ha and Da-mi come outside, apparently finished with their five-minute piano lesson.  Ji-ho quickly hides the tape, as Da-mi recognizes Ji-ho and says hi.  In-ha asks if they know each other, as Da-mi says yes… and Ji-ho attempts to be cool by saying that they’re not that close.  (Hmpf.)  In-ha suddenly remembers that he forgot something and runs inside, which gives Da-mi the chance to sit down next to Ji-ho.  She asks if he practices at this school a lot, and when he nods in the affirmative, she’s glad that she’ll get to see more of Ji-ho, as she’s being taught by In-ha now.

Ji-ho reaches behind him to pull out the tape, but In-ha magically reappears carrying a bag which contains his performance tapes.  If Da-mi doesn’t get the chance to go to any concerts, she can just listen to his tapes.  He pulls out a Walkman and pushes in an earbud, all the while Ji-ho starts becoming more and more uncomfortable.  Da-mi gets excited hearing In-ha’s playing on the tape — it’s almost as if he’s playing right next to her!  That statement pushes Ji-ho’s last button, and he storms off in a huff.  Da-mi is upset that he didn’t even say goodbye, and then reaches into her pocket to fish out a small heart-shaped keychain.  Handing it to In-ha, she asks if he can give it to Yoo Ji Ho when he sees him next.

At Boosung HQ again, Man-se is besides himself hearing about the results of CrazyGran’s medical tests that show an extremely advanced case of geriatric dementia… advanced enough so that medication was prescribed.  Ripping the papers out of Lackey’s hands, Man-se scans and scans the results, muttering over and over that it makes no sense.  His intelligent mother getting such a disease?  OH THE HUMANITY!!  Man-se turns to Lackey and orders him to call the doctor and cure his mother, even if he has to SWAP OUT HER ENTIRE BRAIN!!!  (Pausing here several minutes while I try not to pee my pants from laughing so hard.)  Sinking into his chair, Man-se starts weeping for his dear, sweet, geriatrically-demented mother.

The boys are in their bedroom, allegedly studying.  Well, Ji-ho is studying his math… and In-ha is studying the heart-shaped keychain that Da-mi asked him to pass on to Ji-ho.  In-ha flashes back to his conversation outside the music school of Da-mi telling him it was a present her mother gave her, and it’s an item she treasures the most, so because she’s grateful to Ji-ho, make sure you give it to him, arraso?  In-ha asks her if it’s so special, why doesn’t she give it to him herself?  Da-mi gets all shy and says she’s afraid Ji-ho might not like it (and of course, that would hurt her little 12-year-old pride).  Not unexpectedly, In-ha puts the keychain inside his keepsake box instead, and when he slams the lid shut, Ji-ho looks up all annoyed and stuff.

CrazyGran and Man-se are in the living room playing Janggi (a variation on Chinese Checkers), and it’s bloody obvious that Man-se is letting her win big time.  She even calls him out on it, because she was the one who taught him the game in the first place.  Man-se capitulates and says nothing could ever beat his mother’s brain, as Yeong-rang slides over a cup of jujube tea, telling her it’s good as a sleep enhancer.  Man-se asks his dear wife if she notices any change in his mother’s demeanor; because she’s with her 24/7, she would be the first to see.  Yeong-rang tells him it is quite uncommon for someone of her age to have such a good memory — it must be because she keeps his mother’s diet a healthy one.  Man-se is calling no way on the inside, but presses her to keep his mother healthy and take good care of her.  And on that note, Yeong-rang takes her leave to prepare for the next day’s party.  Man-se appears to melt down in three… two… one…

But it’s already the next day, and the Party People have arrived!  Another young pianist greets the arriving guests to the strains of the Brahms “Waltz in A-flat.”  Back inside the house, though, Ji-ho is getting manhandled by Gye-hwa.  When asked if he is indeed Ji-ho, Gye-hwa strokes his face and tells him he looks exactly like his dad… and then finally introduces herself as In-ha’s grandmother.  Ji-ho looks confused, but deep-bows to her anyway as Gye-hwa sticks out her hand and asks him to get along with her, because there’s no difference between Ji-ho and In-ha.  Fortunately, CrazyGran arrives to save the day by telling Gye-hwa to get lost.  Gye-hwa lays it on thick, complimenting CrazyGran on getting younger by the minute, but CrazyGran reminds Ji-ho that their guests are waiting, so head on down to the garden!  Ji-ho beats cheeks to get the heck away from what is shaping up to be a right proper cat fight.

CrazyGran asks why Gye-hwa picked this day of all days to come and bother them, but Gye-hwa asks where is it written that a maternal grandmother should not show up on her grandchild’s birthday?  And boy, how different is it in the chaebol world — Man-se boasts publicly about having a child outside of marriage and throws a party to tell the world.  President Yoo is definitely a man amongst men… as CrazyGran cuts her off by telling her to basically STFU, since a lot of important people are outside there.  Gye-hwa “apologizes” if she offended CrazyGran; she was only paying him a compliment.  But if Yeong-rang was not Yeong-rang, she would have asked for a few expensive buildings as alimony and pitched a fit to get a divorce instead.  Her daughter is the Queen of Endurance, it looks like.  CrazyGran reiterates if Yeong-rang doesn’t realize that by now, then she has no business being her son’s wife!!  Gye-hwa slowly turns around and tells CrazyGran to not speak about her daughter that way, because if CrazyGran’s family was so piss-poor, what did she have to do to be able to live so luxuriously?  CrazyGran gives it right back to Gye-hwa, telling her yes, she was from a poor family — but at least she didn’t have any parents who wanted handouts from a married daughter!!  (Oooooh, BURN!)  Gye-hwa stomps off, and CrazyGran yells at her backside that she’s ignorant!  And… end scene.

Out at the party, Man-se is greeting the guests and introducing Ji-ho to his society friends around the patio.  In-ha is seated at the Old People’s Table, where CrazyGran holds court by pointing out Ji-ho first and In-ha second to her guests at the table.  Gye-hwa is over near the trees clinking glasses with two young gentleman guests, already in Tipsy Stage One.  Yeong-rang comes over to chastise her for already drinking too much, but Gye-hwa tries to remind her daughter that she can drink like a fish with no after-effects.  And why shouldn’t she drink heavily?  Her daughter is going to raise a child that isn’t hers, and can’t she drink and voice her indignity over how unfair this whole situation is?  And then she stumbles, with Yeong-rang catching her and saying she’s ordered a car to take her home.  This isn’t a place for her to be, but that sets off Gye-hwa to loudly rail on Yeong-rang how she’s seen her suffering for 10 years at the hands of the Yoo Family.  That tears it for Yeong-rang; she starts dragging Gye-hwa out of the party to keep her from being a further embarrassment.  Gye-hwa pulls herself out of Young-rang’s grip, as Young-rang reminds her if she wants to give up the gravy train in support money, do whatever the hell you want.

The entire Yoo Family is presented on the balcony, as Man-se thanks his guests for attending his Ji-ho’s birthday party.  He tells Ji-ho to introduce himself to the crowd, as Ji-ho gives them all a deep bow to lots of hollers and hoots from the assemblage.  Man-se goes on to say that his Ji-ho also has a special talent for the piano, and he’s certain he will be a great asset to Boosung Instruments when the time comes.  Because Man-se wasn’t around during his formative years, he and his wife will be providing him with whatever he wants from now on.  But wait, there’s more!  His two sons have prepared a present for the party guests, as the boys take their places at the piano on the balcony.  Before they start, Ji-ho leans over to tell In-ha that he overheard the last time In-ha practiced — his right hand was a tad faster than his left hand.  In-ha gets pissy and asks who’s teaching who now?  They then launch into a spirited version of one of Dvorak’s “Hungarian Dances” (not originally written for four hands, but who cares at this point).

After the party dies down, we see Man-se and Ji-ho sitting besides the pool, where Man-se asks him why he never asked about his birth mother… isn’t Ji-ho curious?  Ji-ho says it’s because he thinks his stepmother would feel sad if he did think about his real mom, because she treats In-ha and Ji-ho equally and nicely.  He should be hating on her, but he can’t bring himself to do so.  Man-se tells his son that he has nothing to feel sorry for; this is his house too and his appa will protect him until the end.  But in return, Man-se requests one thing from Ji-ho — don’t make In-ha sad, because he’s had a rough life because of his Dad.  Also don’t make life difficult for him, because if Ji-ho can’t protect his dongsaeng, he won’t forgive him even after his death.  Man-se asks him to promise, to which Ji-ho does… he’ll take good care of In-ha from now on.

Man-se looks extremely relieved, and tells Ji-ho that his birth mother was very good at the piano, which talent he also sees in Ji-ho.  Poor little puppy looks stunned to hear that his mother was a pianist as well.  Man-se tells him that she was very pretty and popular, and that he fell in love with her at first sight.  Ji-ho wants to know why they never married, and we dissolve to a flashback where Man-se is holding wee babe Ji-ho in his arms inside a car in the pouring rain.  He tells Baby Ji-ho not to cry, because he is a son of Yoo Man Se, and they are destined to meet again someday.  Looking quite pained, Lackey opens the car door and takes the crying child away.  (How long has that one guy been in his employ?)  The thunder and lightning gets worse as Man-se sits there like a statue.  (Which also explains poor Ji-ho’s night terrors in a thunderstorm.)

Back to the present, Man-se tells Ji-ho that it must have been fate why they never married.  Reaching into his back pocket, Man-se produces a handkerchief with flower embroidery on the front.  Saying this was his mother’s favorite treasure, Ji-ho needs to keep it deep inside his drawers.  Man-se actually looks visibly moved to see his son and the handkerchief together, but then interrupts the tender moment by saying they need to go inside now because it’s getting late… and they don’t want to make his current mom mad now, right?  Ji-ho lingers by the pool a little longer, thinking about his real mother, the pianist…

In the kitchen, Yeong-rang is putting together some snacks when In-ha asks her what she’s doing there when they have perfectly good maids to handle that job.  Young-rang tells him since they worked so hard at the party earlier, she gave them the night off to rest.  She turns to In-ha and praises him for doing a great job at the party; even though it must have been hard for him, she thanks him for everything.  Yeong-rang reaches into a cabinet to pull out a wrapped box, saying that he must have felt sad that only Ji-ho got presents today.  In-ha thanks her, but today’s not his birthday, remember?  She laughs that off and tells him it’s a robe… hope he likes it!

She brings the snacks and a bottle of wine to the study.  Turning around to leave, her eyes settle on a binder sitting in the middle of his desk.  She just can’t resist picking it up to view the contents, but what she sees inside (the successor designation) makes her gasp.  And just as Man-se arrives on the scene, natch!  Young-rang is stunned to see that Man-se is leaving all his stock and real estate holdings to JI-HO, which Man-se just laughs off and says it makes perfect sense.  Ji-ho is his eldest son, so isn’t it obvious that he become the successor?  Young-rang is pissed that after all this time, he’s making Ji-ho his heir?  Man-se just chuckles and tells her it’s about time that her true feelings came out — she’s got the light of a fire in her eyes, so maybe finally they’re going to have a real fight between them.  She pleads with him to think about In-ha; In-ha is his son too, so why is he leaving everything to Ji-ho?  Did In-ha do anything wrong?  Was the lie he told at the competition what put him out of the successor race, to which Man-se discounts that fact right off the bat.  It’s not In-ha’s fault at all… it’s his mother’s fault because she loves In-ha so much, she’s ended up ruining In-ha’s life.  Young-rang grabs onto Man-se and tells him that if he hates her that much, just cast her out onto the streets.  In-ha did nothing wrong, so she doesn’t care what he does to her; just give their In-ha a fighting chance.  Man-se says that how can she be such a good mother to In-ha, when she’s done such wicked things to his mother!!

Ji-ho steals into the kitchen and opens the rice cooker to sneak a bowl, when he is startled by a (Paris Baguette) cake making its way to the countertop… and then startled again by CrazyGran popping up from underneath the counter.  When he asks what she’s doing there, she says no one has even started preparing her birthday party, so she’s doing it herself.  Ji-ho’s just there because he’s starving after the party, when CrazyGran asks where the lighter is.  Ji-ho reminds her that Man-se told them it’s too dangerous so they can’t give one to her.  CrazyGran promises to light the candles once and then blow them right out, so make with the matches NOW.  Ji-ho finds the boxes, and CrazyGran grabs as if her life depended upon them and heads out of the kitchen.

In the boys’ bedroom, In-ha comes across the record that Yeong-rang gave him as a present for the competition with a note that asks him if he could take care of the record instead.  Ji-ho feels uncomfortable about receiving such a present, since it suits In-ha much more than he.  In-ha gets annoyed and is prepared to smash the album against the desk, when he sees the rest of the note Ji-ho wrote for him.  Ji-ho doesn’t want to fight any more with his piano partner and roommate, so don’t forget that.  “Signed, His Hyung.”  Ji-ho returns to the bedroom to see In-ha still holding the record, but instead, In-ha grabs the present that Mom gave him earlier and tosses it onto Ji-ho’s bed.  When Ji-ho asks what’s inside, In-ha gives him back a “whatever” and pulls the covers up over his head.  Taking the lid off the box, Ji-ho sees that they’re rabbit pajamas and pronounces them cool because they’re from In-ha.  In-ha lays in bed, processing that statement.

Meanwhile in the dining room, CrazyGran is singing the birthday song to herself with a cake that has so many candles on it that I’m surprised the smoke alarms didn’t go off.  She blows out the candles and then yawns.  Reaching for the matches again, she relights the candles… as we fade back to the study, where Man-se is ripping Young-rang a new one over her protests of Ji-ho being made the heir.  Man-se wants to know if she intended his mother to disappear without a trace, but Young-rang needs to remind him that she was his mother’s slave for over 10 years no matter what.  What did she ever do for her — did she ever feel sorry for her for having her daughter-in-law ruined by her son?  And is it such a sin that she couldn’t love her?

Man-se said that deceiving them for over 10 years was the sin, not that she couldn’t find herself able to love his mother.  Young-rang then asks if he even has the right to say those things to her — what more can he ask of her when he spent his whole life as a player?  How is he going to repay her for the 10 years of mocking and ridicule?  Oh, but Man-se ain’t done yet… he tells her she betrayed him first by meeting that man in New York, and that’s what made their marriage so miserable.  Young-rang yells back that his excuse is lame and that he’s the one that wanted to bury it; he just married her so that he could torment her for the rest of her life over it.  He’s such a pitiful and pathetic man; not loving him for even one second was her sweet revenge!

That was the last straw, and Man-se slaps her hard across the face so hard, it sends her hairpin flying across the room.  And then he reminds her of the secret storage she had built to hide the piano That Man gave her.  She swears the reason she didn’t get rid of the piano was because it was the last vestige of her life’s dream, and she couldn’t just throw it away like that!  She’s tossed That Man aside ages ago, so why does he insist on keeping him alive?  Man-se starts shaking her and calling her a liar; she’s just put up with his crap for 10 years just so she can get her grubbies on his wealth and make In-ha the successor!!  His shaking gets more violent, until she pushes him off her and there’s a sickening thud as his head lands against the corner of his desk.

As a prone Man-se lies on the floor, Yeong-rang reaches for his head to wake him up; she recoils with a handful of blood instead.  (Insert your own “MOTHER!  BLOOD!!!” joke here.)

Another conveniently-placed thunderstorm starts up, and Ji-ho gets his night terrors again.  He jumps into In-ha’s bed, where In-ha gives him a WTF?!? and pushes him away.  Ji-ho explains to him that he’s scared of the thunder the most, but In-ha is adamant about Ji-ho sleeping in his own bed.  Ji-ho dejectedly attempts to go back to his own bed, until In-ha grabs his arm and tells him to be quiet and just go to sleep… and how could his hyung be afraid of the rain, eh?  Ji-ho gets all excited that his dongsaeng just called him hyung, pulls the hood of the bunny pajamas over his head, and snuggles in next to In-ha.

CrazyGran’s taking a nap on the dining room floor, as we look over to see the vestiges of the Evil Birthday Cake on fire on the floor.  CrazyGran then wakes up, sees that their house has turned into a Burning Man camp, and runs out of the house screaming.  The camera pans back to show the dining room engulfed in flames.  (And I still call no way that such a little cake could do all that damage, dammit!)  Yeong-rang is still in the study with Man-se’s head bleeding out, so she runs out of the room to find the house a veritable tinderbox.  Suddenly getting an idea, she rushes back into the study to grab the black binder containing the succession papers, and rips them to shreds.  Then for good measure, she cuts the phone cord in the study and tries to leave the room, but a fireball holds her back.

Yeong-rang looks over to the floor to see Man-se slowly regaining consciousness and calling for her.  She runs out, as he attempts to crawl across the floor to safety.  Outside the study, Yeong-rang amazingly turns into The Hulk, and pushes a bookcase in front of the study door for good measure.  After all that exertion, she suddenly realizes that In-ha is in his bedroom, and she flies upstairs to find him.

Meanwhile, CrazyGran is running down the street hysterical, and ends up at the hoddeok stand where Soo-pyo is closing up shop for the night.  She yells at him to help because there’s a fire and her son and grandsons are trapped in the house!!  Thank goodness Soo-pyo is a good lip reader, because he takes off running towards the mansion and pushes his way into the living room to see if engulfed in flames.  Pretty much all of Seoul’s police and fire personnel are seen arriving at the house, while Yeong-rang is still searching for In-ha.  Entering the music room, she sees a figure in bunny pajamas lying on the floor, passed out.  She scoops him up on her back and rushes out the front door to safety.

Outside in the driveway, she asks the bundle in her arms if he’s okay… is her In-ha okay?  Pulling back the pajama hood, Yeong-rang is horrified to see that it’s Ji-ho instead that she rescued — not In-ha!  Panicking, she drops Ji-ho on the ground and rushes back towards the house screaming for In-ha, but is held back by a firefighter… just as the second-floor bedroom explodes.  But In-ha is nowhere near that room; he’s making his way down the stairs, when Soo-pyo sees him.  Soo-pyo also sees the crystal chandelier pull away from its mountings at the same time, and with a gutteral yell, pushes In-ha out of the way and lands on top of him, just as the chandelier comes crashing down on both of them.  Yeong-rang is still screaming for her In-ha…

End of Episode 3

Flowers and Brickbats

This was the episode where I needed another shower after watching; so much was going on throughout that made me end up dripping with sweat after the credits wrapped.  Lies, betrayal, more lies, lots of cray-cray, and some actual sweet moments all wrapped up in a nice, tight 65 minutes. Some really good character development that made me unsure of who to hate the most — EvilStep seems to be in the lead by a country mile right now, but I’m sure that will change once more of the supporting cast is introduced.  I’ve watched all 6 episodes to date, and should cobble together a flow chart tracking which character belongs to which family; I’m seeing some overlap between all three lines to date.

What I worry about for future episodes is that less emphasis will be put on the wonderful music that is the undercurrent of the drama, and more onto the conflict between the family members (especially the brothers).  A few nice works were chosen for Episode 3, especially the Debussy piece since that brings back wonderful memories of my own student days.  But I wonder if the few clinker notes heard during the Dvorak four-hands piece were intentionally recorded that way to show that kids actually do make mistakes, no matter whether or not they’re piano prodigies.  BUT OH MY GOD, ENOUGH WITH THE ‘HEART AND SOUL’ ALREADY!!  I hear it in my sleep now; I hear it as I brush my teeth; I hear it even as I’m typing up this recap.  STOP.  NOW.

Since he’s pretty much done with his Special Appearance now (unless the PD-nim brings him back as a ghost or something), I really am in awe of Jo Min Ki’s acting abilities. This is the first time I’ve seen him in such a conflicted role, and he nailed it big time.  Unfortunately, the ‘Davy Jones Hairstyle’ he wore throughout was quite distracting — does a 45-year-old man really wear his hair like that in real life?   And Chae Si Ra, is there nothing you can’t do?  Beauty, brains, and even brawn (in the way she manhandled that bookcase while fire was lapping at her heels), all rolled into one package.  Everyone’s Favorite Halmeoni (Na Moon Hee) is spectacular as usual, and don’t you think that playing a character with Alzheimer’s makes her wonder about her own advancing age?

Episode 4’s recap is 2/3rds of the way finished, which answers a lot of the questions raised by Episode 3.  But at least at the end, we get a small taste of the older versions (i.e. the hotties!!) of In-ha and Ji-ho.  I’d better start clearing off a hard drive just to house the screencaps that are gonna pile up in droves once that happens.  Seeyas on the flip side!

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