Korean Drama

My Ajusshi: Episode 7

As Dong-hoon starts to gain some control over his life, Ji-an’s carefully made plans are slipping out of her grasp. It’s as if they’re polar opposites who can only counterbalance each other, unable to be in the same place at the same time. When one prospers, the other declines. I wonder, if they ever find a way to help each other out, whether they can offset the balance so they can both find a better way to live.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

After Dong-hoon crashes the camping trip, Chairman Jang talks about a TV show that just shows a bonfire burning all day. He says that the show’s ratings are actually very good, and that he’d watch it because his mind and heart go calm when he watches a fire burning.

Dong-hoon is so absorbed in watching the flames of their fire that at first, he doesn’t hear Chairman Jang ask him why he’s here. When he does, he just says dazedly that he forgot.

He thinks about earlier, when Chairman Jang had wondered out loud if Dong-hoon and Joon-youngvv knew each other well in school. Joon-young clarified that he entered college after Dong-hoon finished his military service, so they attended school together for two years.

Joon-young had said they knew each other because they were both in the Western music club. Grinning, Chairman Jang noted that that’s an unusual club, and guessed there must have been a female student that they liked in the club.

Dong-hoon and Joon-young were suddenly very absorbed with cooking dinner. Dong-hoon had gone into the tent for the salt, and behind the box of spices, he’d found a single women’s glove. He’d recognized it, and pocketed the glove before leaving the tent.

Meanwhile, Joon-young had made an excuse to go to the car, where he texted Yoon-hee to ask why her husband showed up here. Dong-hoon had come up behind him and growled ominously, “Put it down. If you call her, you’re dead.”

Now he recalls Yoon-hee coming home the other night smelling like smoke. He imagines her and Joon-young together here, alone, as Joon-young shoots nervous glances at him.

Joon-young follows Dong-hoon away from the campfire to ask if he came to scare him, or to make him look bad in front of the chairman. Dong-hoon throws down the equipment he was carrying, and as she listens in while working her part-time job, Ji-an goes on alert at the sound.

Dong-hoon says that people’s faces usually show what kind of people they are, and from the moment he saw Joon-young in college, he seemed like the type who would make others do his dirty work. He says that he hated the way Joon-young clung to him and called him “sunbae,” and that he knew he’d eventually do something like this.

He asks if Joon-young planned on firing him, making Yoon-hee divorce him, then marrying her, but he decides that Joon-young is too greedy to marry a woman from an average family. He says that he knows Joon-young and Yoon-hee have been having an affair since last Spring, and he tells Joon-young to answer all of his questions truthfully.

First, he asks if Yoon-hee knew about Joon-young’s plan to frame him with a fake bribe and get him fired. Joon-young says that at first, it wasn’t his intention to get him fired. Dong-hoon counters he knows Director Park was the original target of the bribe, but that he and Director Park both know that Joon-young used the mix-up to his advantage.

He asks again if Yoon-hee knew Joon-young was trying to get him fired, and Joon-young says that he had no choice since Dong-hoon had already received the money. Dong-hoon asks a third time if Yoon-hee knew, and when Joon-young turns away, he has his answer.

Next he wants to know if Joon-young told Yoon-hee to convince him to quit, once he figured out he couldn’t have Dong-hoon fired. Joon-young says that Yoon-hee just wanted him to leave the company without being disgraced.

Back at the campsite, Joon-young tells Chairman Jang to go home because it’s late. As he cleans up the campsite, he moves out of sight, and there’s a loud crash and Joon-young cries out.

He somehow gives himself a bad head wound, and Dong-hoon ends up driving him to the hospital. On the way, he asks why Joon-young wasn’t scared when he knew Dong-hoon was digging through his call history. Joon-young doesn’t answer, and Dong-hoon sighs that he must be in shock because everything just blew up in his face.

Joon-young ends up with stitches on his forehead, and while they wait, Dong-hoon tells him to break up with Yoon-hee, but not to tell her that he found out about the affair. He says that the moment Yoon-hee discovers that he knows, Joon-young is done. He warns Joon-young not to tell her everything and ask her to play dumb either, because after living with her for fifteen years, he’ll know.

Ji-an is at home by now, listening to their conversation as she does her chores. She sinks to the floor as Dong-hoon tells Joon-young not to mess with him at work. He says that Joon-young can fire him for legitimate reasons if they come up, but that he’s dead if Dong-hoon discovers that Joon-young fired him for any other reason.

Dong-hoon arrives home and stashes the ladies’ glove he took from the campsite under the seat of his car. At the same time, Ji-an makes her grandmother a hot water bottle and tucks it into bed with the old woman. She’s still listening as Yoon-hee asks Dong-hoon where he’s been all day, telling him that their son, Ji-seok, needs a video of him performing his special talent for a school assignment.

He ignores her and calls Ji-seok, who also tells him about the assignment. As he talks, he sees the mate to the glove he found, lying on the dresser. When he hangs up, Yoon-hee suggests he learn a simple magic trick for the assignment — anything but soccer.

Dong-hoon meets up with his brothers at Jung-hee’s bar and enlists their help. Sang-hoon whines that magic tricks aren’t really magic, but Ki-hoon compares illusions to an actor on TV who makes you cry — you know it’s not real, but you fall for it anyway.

They can’t think of anything he can do, and Jung-hee calls them pathetic for not having any talents. Sang-hoon protests that since they grew up poor, there wasn’t money for lessons or hobbies.

Dong-hoon says wryly that they have a talent for drinking, and Ki-hoon jokes that they’re so good at that, they could get international scholarships. Sang-hoon sets off on a series of drinking puns, and Ki-hoon begs Dong-hoon and Jung-hee not to laugh or he’ll never stop.

Outside, Dong-hoon teases Ki-hoon when Yu-ra, the actress who ruined his career, keeps trying to call him. Jung-hee closes up and orders the brothers to walk her home, and the fact that she even has a home is news to them (she’s been sleeping in the bar).

Ki-hoon reminds Jung-hee that she swore she wouldn’t leave Thailand until she found a good man, and she wails, “There were only monks everywhere!” LOL. Sang-hoon guffaws that she always runs into monks, and she and Dong-hoon both give Sang-hoon a weird look. Interesting.

Sang-hoon and Ki-hoon head to their mom’s, and after walking a ways with Dong-hoon, Jung-hee turns down a different street. Dong-hoon asks where she lives, but she just calls back that it’s a secret and refuses his offer to walk her home.

When she arrives home, she calls out that she’s been waiting for a customer who never shows up, so she got bored and drank. She says she doesn’t feel like washing up, but that she’ll do it anyway because she’s a clean woman, her voice sounding shaky and vulnerable. She turns on the light, and we see that she’s all alone.

The following morning at work, Joon-young texts Ji-an to leave Dong-hoon alone for now. Yoon-hee calls him from the phone booth on his primary phone, but he doesn’t answer, knowing how easily Dong-hoon figured out their system.

In the copy room, Deputy Kim nervously asks Ji-an for help when his machine gets stuck. She silently fixes the paper jam, and once she leaves, Deputy Kim asks Dong-hoon why they can’t fire her and hire someone nicer. Dong-hoon says dryly that she’s more respectful to her superiors than he is, ha.

He continues that there’s someone friendly who doesn’t do any work, but that there’s someone else who may be bitchy but takes care of someone, asking which one is truly nice. He tells Deputy Kim that Ji-an supports her grandmother, and when Deputy Kim asks how he knows, he says simply that they live in the same neighborhood.

Joon-young confirms with Director Yoon that the bribe mix-up won’t happen again, and Director Yoon tells him not to worry. Joon-young asks angrily if he’s not supposed to worry about continuing to be loved by a business that caused trouble, or if he’s not supposed to worry about how this situation has caused Dong-hoon to be noticed by Chairman Jang. He tells Director Yoon to make sure he doesn’t need to worry about him causing trouble again without permission.

As they all wait for the elevator after work, Joon-young tells Director Yoon that he can’t have dinner tonight because he has plans. Dong-hoon goes stiff, recalling that he’d invited Yoon-hee to visit Sang-hoon’s new business with him after work, but she’d said she has plans.

At the subway station, Dong-hoon catches Ji-an staring at him, but she doesn’t look away. On the train, Dong-hoon asks Ji-an if her parents are alive, curious about her grandmother living with her. Ji-an says they passed away, and that her grandmother was kicked out of the nursing home for failure to pay.

Dong-hoon points out that a granddaughter doesn’t count as immediate family, so Grandma could live in a nursing home for free since she’s disabled. She doesn’t qualify because Ji-an has an income, so he advises her to register a different address for herself, then Grandma will qualify. Ji-an just stares at him, looking amazed at this information.

When they arrive at their stop, Ji-an asks Dong-hoon to buy her food, actually looking a bit sheepish. Instead of refusing like usual, Dong-hoon says he’ll even buy her alcohol and leads her to a restaurant.

Ji-an watches Dong-hoon warily as he says he’s treating her because she deserves it. Soon she’s tucking into the food with her usual desperate gusto, and when she’s finished, she reminds him that he was worried people would learn about their eating together.

She asks if he’s okay with it now, because if anyone asks he can just say he buys her food because she’s pitiful. She tells him not to assume that nobody has ever helped her, because there have been many people who bought her food. But she says that after the fourth time, they all run away, judging her for living a life that won’t improve.

She mutters that they must have thought themselves good people, and Dong-hoon says, “They were.” He thinks four times is still a lot when many people didn’t even help her once. But he also says that he he’s not buying her food because he pities her, but to thank her.

With a sigh, Dong-hoon tells Ji-an that it was Joon-young who sent the bribe and tried to have him fired. He says that he would have been fired if she hadn’t thrown the money away, so he’s treating her to a meal. She asks why Joon-young did it, and Dong-hoon says that at their company, you don’t get fired for doing something wrong… you get fired for rubbing someone the wrong way. Ji-an asks what Dong-hoon will do now, and he says that he already told Joon-young to back off.

She says that if it were her, she’d go to Joon-young’s boss and get him fired. Dong-hoon asks if she’d feel good about screwing over a bad guy, and she fires back that he’s staying at a company where someone tried to frame and fire him. Touche.

But Dong-hoon just says that there’s probably a reason he’s suffering this particular hell, and that he can go once he’s been sufficiently punished. Ji-an says softly, “Punishment is for people who did something wrong.” She offers to kill Joon-young for Dong-hoon, and he just pours her another shot.

After their meal, Dong-hoon buys another dinner for Ji-an’s Grandma. He tells Ji-an that he saved her once, too, thinking about his request that she be hired on permanently, though he doesn’t explain. Ji-an goes home to Grandma, who thanks her for the delicious food, and Ji-an actually smiles.

In the morning, Mom tells Sang-hoon and Ki-hoon that Ae-ryun, Sang-hoon’s estranged wife, brought her kimchi for her birthday. She fusses that women Ae-ryun’s age need money more than ever, telling Sang-hoon to make more of an effort to reconcile.

She adds that she likes Ae-ryun more than she likes Yoon-hee. When Ki-hoon points out that all the money Mom gets from Dong-hoon is really from his lawyer wife, she spits that she hates anyone who’s more successful than her sons.

Yu-ra shows up unannounced at the cleaning office, and she seems genuinely impressed with the brothers’ collection of cleaning rags. I can’t decide if she’s just that innocent, or just that dim. They leave for the day, Ki-hoon ignoring the lunch she brought for him. She says she’ll see them tonight at Jung-hee’s bar, and Ki-hoon stops to order her to call Jung-hee “unni” instead of by her name.

Mom is at Jung-hee’s bar helping clean up when Jung-hee realizes that Mom is crying. Mom says that she worries about Dong-hoon, who never upsets her or asks her for anything. Jung-hee says that it’s because she likes Dong-hoon so much.

Mom tries to return the money Jung-hee sent her while she was in Thailand, but Jung-hee insists she keep it as payment for keeping up the bar while she was gone. She says that Mom treats her like a daughter, so she should accept the money as if it came from her daughter.

Joon-young visits a job site with Chairman Jang, who asks Joon-young out of nowhere if Dong-hoon has something on him that Chairman Jang should know about. Joon-young tells him that Dong-hoon found his wife’s phone number while digging through his call records and jumped to conclusions.

He says that he still keeps in touch with Yoon-hee, who was in the Western Music club with him in college. he claims that during the bribe debacle, she called him often to find out what was going on. He says that Yoon-hee never told Dong-hoon because she knows he hates Joon-young.

Chairman Jang asks why, so Joon-young blames it on being promoted over Dong-hoon. He claims he’s been understanding, but that he’s getting tired of Dong-hoon’s attitude.

Director Park calls Dong-hoon to meet with him, although he tells Dong-hoon that he’s been instructed not to talk to him. He asks who made calls to Joon-young from the pay phone, but Dong-hoon fibs that he never found out. Director Park doesn’t seem to believe him, but he asks for the call records back.

He gets angry when Dong-hoon says he destroyed them and demands that Dong-hoon give him the number from the phone booth. Dong-hoon says he’s not sure he remembers it, but he obediently enters the number into Director Park’s phone. As soon as he’s home, Dong-hoon really does destroy Joon-young’s phone records, ripping them to shreds and taking them to the dumpster.

In their apartment, Yoon-hee dances to one of Joon-young’s favorite songs then asks him to play it one more time. He does, but then he leaves, saying that he needs to go to the campgrounds for Chairman Jang.

Instead, he meets with Ji-an, who plays him her recording of Dong-hoon’s conversation with Director Park. She turns up the sound so that Joon-young can hear Dong-hoon calling to request that the pay phone be removed.

She says that he’s going to get away with it, and asks if this is the end of his plans. He orders her to keep recording Dong-hoon’s conversations, and when she balks, he gives her a fat envelope of cash and says that he’ll pay her that much every week. He asks if she heard his fight with Dong-hoon, and she sneers that it was more like listening to him get pummeled.

At Jung-hee’s bar that evening, all the guys are impressed when Yu-ra shows up and admits her feelings for Ki-hoon. She says she loves him because he’s a failure, and Ki-hoon looks like he wishes the floor would open up and swallow him.

He tells Yu-ra that every man in this room is a failure, so she must be super happy. He warns her to be careful and yells at her for calling them failures to their faces, but she insists that she genuinely respects them all.

She explains that human beings live in fear of failing, and that at first she really was happy to learn that Ki-hoon is a failure. But she was even happier to see that he’s fine, because it made her think that she can still be happy despite her own failure. She says that she likes Ki-hoon because his failure eased her mind, and aAll the guys sigh and raise their glasses to her, thinking her an angel.

Ji-an finishes up her part-time job shift to find Kwang-il and his loan shark friend waiting for her. She gives Kwang-il the cash she got from Joon-young, and he wonders where she’s getting so much money lately.

She snaps that she found a guy who’s richer and more powerful than him. He doesn’t believe her, purring menacingly that he’s curious to know what’s really going on with her.

Yu-ra is too drunk to walk home, and Ki-hoon grumps that if he piggybacks her home, she’ll ask him in and they’ll sleep together. He asks if she wants to marry him as if it’s the worst idea ever, but she just laughs at him for making such huge mental leaps.

Ji-an goes to apply for elderly care for her grandmother. She asks if it’s free, and she seems a bit stunned to learn that it is.

Director Yoon pulls Dong-hoon into his office to ask why he showed up uninvited to Chairman Jang’s campsite, assuming he did it to kiss up. Everyone can hear him scream at Dong-hoon for going over his head, and he tells Dong-hoon that he’ll never allow him to be promoted to the empty director’s seat.

When he finally gets free, Dong-hoon goes to the roof to look at the view. He calls Yoon-hee, who says again that she can’t go see his brothers’ new business. She asks if he thinks his subordinates would follow him if he quit, telling him not to be disappointed if nobody does.

He runs into Joon-young on the elevator and asks why he’s still seeing Yoon-hee. Joon-young says that he has to break up with her at the right time, telling Dong-hoon not to worry because he doesn’t feel anything for her anymore.

Dong-hoon sees red and yanks Joon-young into the elevator by the collar, dragging him up to the roof. Joon-young screams to just expose him, asking if Dong-hoon is having fun with the knowledge that he turned out to be a bad person as he predicted.

As Ji-an listens from downstairs, he says that when he met Dong-hoon, he thought of him as a guy who acts like he’s a good person and thinks that life is unfair. He accuses Dong-hoon of giving up on himself while criticizing those who were ambitious.

He snarls that if Dong-hoon had just played nice, he would have felt bad and ended things. But now he refuses to break up with Yoon-hee and invites Dong-hoon to tell everyone.

Dong-hoon just says, “Okay, let’s do that. Let’s see this through until the end! Let’s see how far I can go. I’m also curious to see just what I will do when I’m completely ruined, and what kind of person I’ll become. Let’s do it.”

Downstairs, Ji-an hears this and rushes from her desk.

Joon-young storms down to his office, ignoring another call from Yoon-hee. He texts her that he’s going to the campgrounds and not to wait for him.

Ji-an marches all the way to Yoon-hee’s office building, and she throws herself in front of Yoon-hee’s car to stop her from leaving. Nearby, Kwang-il witnesses Ji-an get hit and crumple to the pavement, and when Yoon-hee jumps out to check on her, she instantly recognizes Ji-an from the resume Joon-young was looking at.

Ji-an staggers to her feet and pulls out her phone to play the recording of her first conversation with Joon-young, when she’d asked him why he was dating a middle-aged woman. When it’s finished, she says she was curious to see what an adulteress looks like, and tells Yoon-hee to get herself together before her life is ruined.

Yoon-hee hears Joon-young saying on the recording that married women are perfect to date because they won’t tell, and she speeds to the campgrounds. She finds it abandoned and starts to sob.

Kwang-il follows Ji-an as she walks home, listening to Dong-hoon as he sits at a restaurant and orders a beer. She stops in her tracks when he asks the waiter if the pretty girl who’s always underdressed for the cold has been by, realizing that he’s waiting for her.

She starts walking again, then she runs, reaching the restaurant just as Dong-hoon is about to leave. Out of breath, she sits and tells him to have one more drink. After a while, Ji-an remembers the temp agency manager saying that Dong-hoon hired her. She asks Dong-hoon why, and he says it’s because she seems mentally strong.

He’d seen on her resume that she listed running as her special talent, and he asks her best time at 100 meters. She mumbles that she doesn’t remember, so he asks why she put it on her resume. Ji-an says, “When I’m running, I disappear. But I feel like that’s the real me.”

Dong-hoon holds out his beer, and after a moment, Ji-an clinks his glass with hers. He toasts, “Let’s be happy,” and they watch each other as they drink. It turns into an impromptu competition, and they both giggle when Dong-hoon comes up for air first.

Outside on the street, Kwang-il watches them laughing together.

COMMENTS

I’m so glad that Dong-hoon is finally speaking up and confronting Joon-young about his affair with Yoon-hee. Dong-hoon really is a nice man, truly a good person, but being a good person doesn’t mean that things don’t bother you. Bottling up his negative emotions just leads to the depression and feelings of futility that Dong-hoon has been experiencing lately, and probably for a very long time. But now he’s learning from Ji-an that you can be someone who stands up for themselves, who speaks out against those who are taking advantage of him, and still be a good person.

I really thought that Dong-hoon would keep his knowledge of Joon-young’s affair with his wife to himself for a while, but I like that he went to Joon-young about it right away. It changes everything, because now Joon-young can’t continue with his plans to get rid of Dong-hoon without potentially bringing a world of hurt down on himself. It also affects Ji-an’s plans to get paid to help Joon-young get rid of Dong-hoon, which is why I think she was initially upset listening to their conversation at the campsite. She needs that payout to get Kwang-il off her back, and now it’s anyone’s guess whether she’ll keep feeding information to Joon-young to earn the money to pay off her debt. Dong-hoon’s confronting Joon-young may have been good for him, but it carries unexpected consequences for the young woman he’s getting to know, and I really have no idea what will happen when Dong-hoon learns that Ji-an has been recording him for Joon-young’s benefit.

On a lighter note, I was initially annoyed by Yu-ra and her unrelentingly cheerful harping on Ki-hoon’s failure. But after her explanation that his failure made her like him because it made her feel better about herself, I think she’s a lot more insightful than she initially appeared. Many people say that you fall in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself, and if that’s true, then it makes total sense that Yu-ra would fall for the man who made her realize that she can still be happy even if she isn’t traditionally successful. Hopefully she’ll teach him the same thing, so he can stop being miserable that his life didn’t turn out like he wanted and start to enjoy the live he has now.

I thought that Ji-an’s change towards Dong-hoon after their heart-to-heart talk was interesting. She’s the one who said she wishes her secret could be broadcast so that everyone would know and she could stop being scared they’d find out, yet now that she and Dong-hoon know a bit more about each other, she’s prickly with him for being nicer to her. Yet at the same time, she’s volunteering information about herself and opening up to him, even though it’s backfired on her whenever she’s tried it with other people. I’m so impressed with her resilience and her willingness to keep trying to make a connection with someone, even though on the outside she still seems resistant.

And it’s so beautiful to see Ji-an opening up to Dong-hoon, even though it’s all internal at this point. You can see it in her body language, and the way she looks at him and speaks to him. She no longer has that defiant glint in her eye, and when she asks that he buy her dinner, instead of sounding like an order, it’s a request, and she even seems a bit ashamed to be asking. I think that he’s earning her respect as she secretly listens in on his life, something I bet that Ji-an hasn’t given to anyone in quite a long time. I’m curious to see which side she’ll choose, once she’s forced to make a choice between Joon-young’s money or Dong-hoon’s friendship.

 
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