Once in a while, when tragedy comes calling, it comes in pairs, in this case, Nan Hee’s diagnosis and Hee Ja’s dementia. Nan Hee hears some terrible news and one by one, Hee Ja’s friends discover what’s wrong with her. Even as they come to grips with it, Nan Hee still keeps her own sickness a secret and Hee Ja’s still dealing with a remembered pain that has her wandering out of her house at night and has seeking forgiveness.
Top 10 Moments:
- Nan Hee gets a partial diagnosis, Seok Gyun tries to live on his own and Seong Jae’s trying to figure things out
Nan Hee gives Wan the news that the doctor told them that she and Ssang Boon have to get CT scans done. Although she and Nan Hee are worried, neither women give anything away as Wan teases her mother about not being intelligent enough to have asked the doctor why there was a need for a scan while Nan Hee snaps at Wan for not coming with them to the hospital. Wan though, is at her office and keeps muttering to herself and to her colleague that everything will be fine, even as she reminds herself that grandmother will soon turn 90, and there can’t be anything wrong with Nan Hee. At the hospital, Ssang Boon is told that her stomach ulcer’s gotten worse and if she doesn’t want to have surgery, she has to be consistent in taking her pills. To distract her from thinking about whether or not she should get surgery, Nan Hee hands Ssang Boon her phone with a game on it and Ssang Boon is soon distracted. This however means that Nan Hee is alone when the doctor tells her that she would have to get an MRI at a larger hospital. When Nan Hee asks what’s on her chart, the doctor tells her that she has a malignant tumor on her liver (no.no.no. This is bad. This is very bad). When Nan Hee starts to panic, the doctor tells her that he can’t be 100% sure it’s cancer until she gets an MRI. Meanwhile, Seok Gyun is reading through Choong Nam’s list on how a good husband should act and trying to cook by himself. He gets stuck however and calls Jung Ah who is watching an adult film with Hee Ja (hahaha. Hee Ja hiding her face to keep from seeing the naked bodies is so cute), for help. Jung Ah tells him what to do and Seok Gyun gets to cooking (Awww Seok Gyun. I’m proud of you. See you learning to live on your own and all). Seong Jae on the other hand, is going through the security footages of Hee Ja in her house and notices that she started wandering off two months prior and is away for 90 minutes at a time, which is about the length of time it takes for her to get to the church, pray for 15 minutes and be back at home. With his suspicions strengthened, Seong Jae calls a doctor he knows and informs him about his friend who has dementia.
2. Nan Hee’s keeping a big secret from everyone
Back at home from the hospital, Nan Hee spends the time pampering her mother, form applying lotion to Ssang Boon’s hands and face, to clipping Ssang Boon’s nails (awww, it’s like the beginning of a farewell). When Ssang Boon asks her what’s wrong, and guesses that Nan Hee’s distressed because of the money she had to spend on their tests, Ssang Boon latches onto the excuse and tells Ssang Boon that that’s the reason why she’s so upset. When she calls Wan that night, Wan’s with all her auntie’s kids: from Min Hoo to Soo Young to Ho Young (Soo Young’s divorced sister) and Ha Nuel (Min Hoo’s wife), and they’re all drinking and being happy as they get ready for Wan to interview them. Nan Hee takes note of the happy sounds coming from the other side and when she brings up the hospital visit. It’d then Wan asks her how everything went. Nan Hee speaks the truth about grandmother’s condition: that her ulcer is getting worse and Ssang Boon has to become consistent with taking her pills and she lies about her condition by telling Wan that nothing’s wrong with her. When Nan Hee tries to get Wan to come over, Wan explains that she can’t abandon her visitors, and when Nan Hee starts to complain again, Wan tells her that she should quit with the whining and go date someone because soon Wan will be getting married and she won’t have time for her. When Nan Hee asks who it is that Wan wants to marry. Wan just replies that she’s marrying a man and tells her she loves her and she should go to bed. She heads out to hang with the other kids but then calls Nan Hee back saying that she senses something’s wrong. Nan Hee though lies that she’s fine. Wan believes her and soon she’s back with the kids, drinking and asking them questions starting with whether or not they like their mother at all times. Min Ho is the only one that raises his hand for that one (and I can’t blame you. Hee Ja’s too adorable). Next up she asks them what they like the least about their mothers. Soo Young and Ho Young point to Jung Ah’s appearance and Wan points to Nan Hee’s obsession with her. Next Wan asks for one thing they would want to ask from their mom. Ha Nuel answers that she would like for her mother to live for a long time even if she’s sick. The words get to all the kids, and soon they’re making a toast to their mothers and back to having fun. Nan Hee though is still thinking of the diagnosis and calls Young Won to ask if she knows any doctors that specialize in liver cancer. Young Won assumes that Nan Hee just wants to get the test done to be sure and Nan Hee doesn’t dissuade her.
3. Seong Jae gets a first eye view of Hee Ja’s dementia
After figuring out the time Hee Ja leaves the house to head to the church, Seong Ja sets an aalarm. And sure enough, as the alarm beeps and he checks his phone, he sees Hee Ja get up and leave her house. Seong Jae races to the church and is there to witness Hee Ja coming in to pray. He then silently follows behind her till she gets home safely. When he gets back to his own house, Hee Ja who isn’t able to sleep calls him. Seong Jae then offers to sing her a lullaby to get her to sleep. Hee Ja agrees with a smile and soon Seong Jae’s singing Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ to her as a lullaby. Hee Ja hears the song with a smile and she soon dozes off, an act that Seong Jae confirms when he looks at the security camera feed on his phone and he watches her sleep looking sad even as he smiles.
4. Nan Hee fishes for opinion and Seong Jae asks for an expert opinion
After closing her restaurant earlier for the day, Nan Hee fishes for information amongst members of her staff whose family she knew had had some cancer diagnosis. She starts with one of them whose mother-in-law had cancer. When she asks what happened with the mother-in-law, the woman gives the dire news that her mother-in-law couldn’t control her urine and feces and had died three years after suffering with the cancer. She even adds that old people who get cancer, get dementia right alongside it. Nan Hee asks the woman if it had hurt when her mother-in-law found out that she had cancer. The woman replies in the affirmative and Nan Hee snaps that she’s alright. The woman smiles as she replies that she knows Nan Hee’s fine (oh. More nails into poor Nan Hee’s heart. You have to tell someone soon Nan Hee). Nan Hee then asks another of her employee who gives her better news by saying that her own mother’s cancer turned out not to be cancer after all but cystis which was easily removed and now her mother’s fine and happy at the new lease in life she’s been given. Nan Hee confirms if the hospital had said it was cancer and the girl replies that yes, the hospital had thought it was cancer but it wasn’t. The news cheers Nan Hee up as she smiles that the hospital guessed wrong and there was nothing wrong with the girl’s mother after all. But soon, her smile dims. Seong Jae on the other hand is at his doctor’s friend who he shows the security feed of Hee Ja leaving her house at night. The doctor states that if it is that Hee Ja’s not aware of the difference between night and day in that state, then her dementia is quite severe.
5. Jung Ah asks for her son back and Nan Hee goes on a date
Jung Ah’s checking part-time work posters in her neighborhood when Seok Gyun shows up, grumbling about her not doing such work as it’s not good for her eyesight. When he keeps following her around, Jung Ah asks him why he’s not at work and Seok Gyun tells her that he was fired. When he tells her that he intends to start picking up recyclables on the streets, she snaps at him to stop thinking about himself and think about other people as well, namely the poor people who actually need that job. At her grumbling, Seok Gyun meekly agrees. They get home and Seok Gyun watches her wash rice. When he notices the amount of rice she’s washing, she admits that she’s preparing it for the both of them. Seok Gyun though tells her not to bother as he made them food: Doenjang Jjigae and he brings out the food with a muted proud smile on his face even as Jung Ah looks just a little bit impressed. Soon they’re eating their meals and Seok Gyun brings up the fact that he’d visited the house where they’d spent their honeymoon and he’d found it abandoned. He tells her that he’d fallen asleep by accident there, and had been reminded of when Jung Ah had had her miscarriage and how she’d kept bringing up how unwell she felt that period and she’d even come to the factory to tell him. He tells her now that he’s sorry for not taking her to the hospital. Jung Ah pushes the table away with the food and everything topples to the ground, as she angrily glares at Seok Gyun and asks him the purpose for bringing it up now when he should have just taken her to the hospital then, especially because he knows she’s not the type to be whinny. Jung Ah cries as she tells him to bring her son back to her. Nan Hee meanwhile goes to a cyber cafe to research on cancer and her chances of survival. She’s so engrossed in her research that she’s startled when Il Woo pops up beside her, all smiling and cheerful. He soon grabs her hand (although I wonder if maybe he’d seen what was on the webpage before she’d had the chance to close it), and leads her outside for street snacks where they formally introduced themselves to each other. Feeling inspired now that they know each other’s full names, Il Woo takes her to the cafe he sometimes plays his guitar at (where Nan Hee had dragged her friends to look at the potential new man in her life) and tells her that there’s a fortune teller there who can read their fortunes. Whilst there, a waiter whispers into Il Woo’s ears and when Nan Hee asks him what the man said, he tells her that the waiter had called her pretty (awwwww). Nan Hee finds it hilarious and accuses Il Woo of being a player but their conversation is put on hold when the fortune teller shows up. Nan Hee eager for some good news eagerly asks how long she would live whilst Il Woo wants to know if he stands a chance with Nan Hee. Nan Hee tells him straight though that jokes like that make her uncomfortable because her late husband was witty just like that, but he was a cheater as well. Il Woo then rephrases the question to asking about he and Nan Hee’s future whilst Nan Hee just wants to know if she would live to a good ripe age. On their way back, Il Woo’s miffed that the fortune teller had told them that he and Nan Hee aren’t meant to be, whilst Nan Hee’s thrilled that her told fortune had been that she would live a long life. When Il Woo teases her that that’s what she wanted to hear, Nan Hee smiles even as she tells him to not speak so informally to her seeing that she’s the older out of the two of them. Nan Hee then gets a call from Wan and Il Woo uses the opportunity to step into a nearby store. Wan though is calling her mother to tell her that she will be busy writing and so Nan Hee shouldn’t bother coming over to her house that night. Nan Hee smiles as she tells Wan that she wasn’t planning to because she’s on a date. When Wan asks who it’s with, Nan Hee replies that he owns a convenience store, is a widower, has a son who is in college and is younger than her. Even as Wan is teasing her that there’s no way she was able to catch the attention of a man like that, Young Won calls Nan Hee to inform her of the hospital appointment she’s booked for her for the next day. As she ends the call, Il Woo shows up with a cute teddy bear phone accessory and Nan Hee smiles.
6. Wan makes a promise she has no idea she might not be able to keep just yet
When Wan hangs up her call with Nan Hee, she continues her video call with Yeon Ha who she tells that she can’t afford to talk for long with because she has a deadline and she intends to finish her story by July so she can come over, go to the beach with him and wear a bikini. Yeon Ha smiles even as he asks Wan if she’s sure that she will come. Unaware that her mother is most likely sick, Wan promises that she will and Yeon Ha smiles as he tells her that he will be waiting and that he loves her. He warns her not to fall in love with anyone else in the meantime, and then ends the call. Whilst he beams on his own side, Wan goes back to working, but takes a break to note down her departure date on her calendar and then returns to work with a smile on her face (oh Wan. Heartbreak is coming. I just hope for both our sakes that it’s doesn’t lead to you breaking up with Yeon Ha).
7. Seong Jae fills Choong Nam in
Earlier in the day, Seong Jae had run into Choong Nam and asked her to meet with him for tea. Choong Nam who had been on her way for a mock exam to prepare her for entering the university had told him that she had to run. When Seong Jae had insisted on waiting for her to finish and had told her that he would wait at a nearby cafe, Choong Nam had teased him about why he looked so dull and asked him if he’d broken up with Hee Ja. Seong Jae hasdsaid nothing and had just kept walking choosing to ignore Choong Nam when she’d called out that he can just date her instead or any other woman for that matter. That night, Seong Jae drives her to Hee Ja’s home and Choong Nam looks heartbroken watching the past security feed that showed Hee Ja wandering out of her house, late at night. When Seong Jae tells her not to look so down as there are drugs that can minimize symptoms, Choong Nam snaps at him to stop talking as if Hee Ja’s been diagnosed. Choong Nam is of the opinion that there’s nothing to it if Hee Ja is aware of what she’s doing, and all they have to do is confirm that Hee Ja is aware. Choong Nam then heads inside to spend the night with Hee Ja. As she brushes her teeth hard, Hee Ja smiles as she asks Choong Nam why she is doing that. She smiles so more when Choong Nam replies that she’s trying to get the old person smell out of her mouth, which causes Hee Ja to give a sweet smile as she agrees that as they get older their mouth odor got worse. Soon, they’re both lying down and Choong Nam watches Hee Ja watching the television and remembers when Hee Ja had been at her house with the rest of the girls, and Hee Ja had woken up in the middle of night asking what they were all doing in Choong Nam’s house. Hee Ja though is unaware of everything that’s going on in Choong Nam’s head as she suggests that Choong Nam, her and Jung Ah all get a car and go on a road trip together. When Choong Nam snarks that Hee Ja should get a casket instead, Hee Ja giggles as she stares at Choong Nam and calls her pretty and smart, all the while wondering none of the men snatched her up. When Choong Nam admits to being the one who had rejected all the men, Hee Ja, curious as to reason asks her why. Choong Nam doesn’t answer the question but instead asks Hee Ja if she goes out at night, to maybe pray at church or something. Hee Ja shakes her head in reply saying that she doesn’t like going out at night because it’s too dark. When Choong Nam asks her how many times she eats in a day, Hee Ja can’t give a straight answer as she guesses two or three times. She does mention though that she goes to the toilet a lot which is strange because no one else that she knows heads to the toilet as much as she does. At 1:15am, whilst Hee Ja’s sleeping and Choong Nam is looking at her sleeping form, Hee Ja’s eyes snap open as she gets up, wears her cardigan and tries to head out. When Choong Nam calls for her and identifies herself as Choong Nam, it takes a while for Hee Ja to place her. And even with that Hee Ja still attempts to her out. Even Choong Nam telling her not to leave because Choong Nam herself doesn’t like being left alone at night, isn’t enough to get Hee Ja to change her mind. It’s only when Choong Nam walks up to her and turns her around that she goes back with her to her sleeping pallet. When Choong Nam asks where she’s going and why, Hee Ja, looking lost replies that she was going to church to repent. When Choong Nam asks what Hee Ja has to repent about, Hee Ja doesn’t tell her.
8. Hee Ja has no idea about her nightly strolls
The next morning, Choong Nam calls Seong Jae to fill him in on the previous night’s happening and the fact that Hee Ja hadn’t remembered anything about what had happened or the conversation she’d had with Choong Nam the previous night. Seong Jae sighs as he asks if they should tell her kids. Choong Nam however is of the opinion that they should tell Jung Ah first as she will be the one who best knows how to break the news to Min Ho. Seong Jae sighs again as he says that Jung Ah will most likely be surprised. But, he agrees to tell her anyway and tells Choong Nam to call Jung Ah so they can both go see her. Choong Nam therefore, places the call.
9. Jung Ah doesn’t take the news so well
Whilst Seong Jae waits outside the apartment, phone in hand, Choong Nam is dealing with Jung Ah who is convinced that they’re talking nonsense after they’ve just finished eating a meal. She tells Choong Nam that Hee Ja’s always been just a bit different since she was a child and there’s nothing wrong with her. When Choong Nam tries to bring up Seong Jae’s words, Jung Ah snaps that she’s the one who knows Hee Ja best so who is Seong Jae to talk considering that he’s only been seeing her for a couple of months. As she talks, Jung Ah remembers all the little instances when Hee Ja had been forgetful, when her house had been messy, when she’d been delusional and when she’d complained about there being pain in her belly. But Jung Ah’s not willing to take the memories into account as she tells Choong Nam that she sees Hee Ja constantly and if Hee Ja has detention then Jung Ah does too. When Choong Nam tries to bring up the doctor, Jung Ah cuts her off by stating that what Hee Ja’s suffering from is delusions, not dementia and Choong Nam calmly interrupts that it’s Dementia. At the words Jung Ah screams then starts to cry for her mother even as she cries for Hee Ja (Damn. I’m crying too. Three more episodes and this drama’s making a mess of my emotions). After she’s cried all her tears, Jung Ah slathers on lotion then reaches for her jacket. Seeing her jacket brings back memories of her laughing with Hee Ja and of her asking Hee Ja why she wanted to commit suicide, to which Hee Ja had explained that now that what she’d been suffering from just delusion, she can’t even change a lightbulb. But should she get dementia, then Min Ho would get angry with her, then frustrated, which was the reason why she wanted to end it. Jung Ah fights back tears as she shrugs on her jacket and then she places the call to Hee Ja who’s at the church,;there to return some of the rosaries she’d made. Jung Ah cheerfully tells her to go back home the minute she’s done, and not to stop by anywhere else. She even tosses in tteokbokki to sweeten the deal and get Hee Ja to come straight home.
10. Nan Hee’s diagnosis isn’t good and Hee Ja’s really getting worse
Nan Hee heads to the hospital to get an MRI. The doctor’s diagnosis however isn’t good as he tells her that the cancer has spread from her liver and it’s now all over. As Nan Hee heads back home in a bus, she wonders why she has to wait for three weeks for her surgery then, when it’s not as if the doctor wants her to die. She ignores a call from Young Won when it comes in but can’t help but pick up Wan’s. Wan is very frazzled as she’s in her mother’s restaurant, pitching in, seeing that it’s rush hour and the place is fully booked. Nan Hee though isn’t willing to share any news with Wan just yet and simply tells Wan that she’d gone shopping. Even as Wan asks her if she’s well and truly dating, Nan Hee hangs up the call. Meanwhile, Seong Jae, Choong Nam and Jung Ah all in Seong Jae’s car, all pull off in front of Min Ho’s mechanic workshop (Gah. This will be painful for him. And for us. My heart. I can already feel the pain). And on the other side of town, Hee Ja’s walking on the bridge with a bundle that looks reminiscent of her first boy (the one she took the hospital but who was already dead) on her back as she walks and sings to her dead son (God, seeing it is heartbreaking and having to write it is even more so).
Character I wanted to bitchslap:
No one in this episode. Maybe it’s because everyone is dealing with their own personal struggles, but no one annoyed me at all throughout the episode.
Headache inducing moment:
Because Hee Ja has dementia and she’s walking alone on a bridge in a big city, far away from home. I’m terrified for her. Utterly and completely terrified.
This episode’s a Martinez. It’s sweet and complex and rich and layered and filled with tradition. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t a hard one because all that pain and the realization that at least two of the aunties aren’t alright is enough to make me feel like someone’s punched me in the face. And to make it worse, all I can remember is Nan Hee saying Young Won was given cancer by the universe because she’d cheated. Talk about a double blow to Nan Hee.