Turns out that injustice can turn even the sweetest and most generous of souls into the prickly people that they are in present day. We take a trip back to the past and meet No Eul and Joon Young, back when they were young and innocent and when No Eul hadn’t been scarred by the world yet. We see Hyun Joon’s beginnings as a senior prosecutor and we learn why Young Ok’s so insistent on her son becoming a prosecutor. Turns out most parents just try to live their lives through their kids.
Top 10 Moments:
- We meet high school No Eul. She’s very generous and very nice. We meet high school Joon Young. He’s a bad boy but a knight in shining armor
The year’s 2006 and high school No Eul, is the sweetheart who will give her mittens, hat and scarf to an old woman in her neighborhood. She even takes over pushing the halmoni’s cart and sends the woman off. She’s just as nice to the little boy she meets at her father’s stall and tells him not to bother paying for anything he gets there. Her father looks like she’s killing him (hahaha) and his complaints that she’s too generous seems like a familiar refrain. When he growls about their debt, No Eul replies that the little boy’s father got hurt on the job and states that her father doesn’t need the money. Her father wails about needing the money though (hahaha) and their moment’s interrupted by a friend who comes running in to inform No Eul that the bullies have gotten their hands on Moon Hee. No Eul heads to the rescue against her father’s warnings but next thing we see, it’s Joon Young staring at a suspension note whilst his mother drags Moon Hee into the principal office to demand that Moon Hee state the truth: Joon Young came to her rescue and is now getting suspended for it. Moon Hee though has changed her statement and one minute Young Ok’s slapping Moon Hee around for betraying Joon Young’s trust just because she’d most likely gotten paid by the rich kids families, and the next she’s begging the principal to cancel the suspension, stating that it will go on Joon Young’s record and prevent him from becoming a prosecutor. The suspension holds though and Joon Young takes the opportunity to further beat up the rich kids who had been laughing, thinking they’d gotten away with it.
2. That’s one less birth secret down
The beating lands him in the police station where a police officer takes the chance to keep hitting Joon Young with a stack of files (why do they always think they can get away with that? Isn’t it illegal?). Jeong Sik comes in at the right moment and tells the man to stop, threatening him that Joon Young’s father would be able to set the man to rights. The man is scornful though about this mysterious father no one’s seen (well, he is a congressman in the future. Seeing him would be quite difficult). Jeong Sik goes into detail bragging about how much of an important man Joon Young’s father is and Joon Young screams for him to stop talking because his father is dead. Next thing we see, Jeong Sik and Joon Young are at a restaurant and Joon Young warns Jeong Sik to never lie about his father, all the whilst glaring at Hyun Joon then a senior prosecutor up on the screen (ha. I get it know. So mummy dearest was using her son to get back at the man who left her. How pathetic and sad). Jeong Sik asks what Joon Young would do if he discovered that Hyun Joon really is his dad. Joon Young replies that he doesn’t want anything to do with the man who abandoned him and his mother. Except, as Jeong Sik explains, Young Ok and Hyun Joon had met at a restaurant they’d both been working at and had fallen in love. Hyun Joon had hid the fact that he was studying law from Young Ok and one day his brother had come to see Young Ok and basically told her that she’s not on the same level as Hyun Joon. Jeong Sik points out just how soft and vulnerable Young Ok is beneath the prickly exterior and Joon Young (cute. He’s a combination of both his father and mother’s names) who spots Young Ok can only give her a soft smile and tease her although she’s still prickly to him.
3. Some mothers live for their sons
Back in the house, as Joon Young watches his mother ignore him as she eats, he hears Jeong Sik pointing out that the only reason why his mother keeps insisting that he become a prosecutor, even with his bad grades is because of his father (so basically, she hasn’t moved on. Woman, I repeat, your son is dying. He has a year tops. I think it’s best you just take your chances and let it all go). Jeong Sik explains that his mother wants to prove to Hyun Joon that she raised her son right, raised him to be a prosecutor without Hyun Joon’s help. Joon Young then suggests to his mother that she fire the tutor she’d hired. Young Ok is angry as she wonders why Joon Young who would have otherwise not been concerned would jump to the rescue of Moon Hee. When he replies that he wasn’t thinking straight because he’d discovered that she worked at a bar to afford the tutor fee, Young Ok runs into her room to cry. Joon Young walks into his to study all night long.
4. Nothing shall distract Joon Young in his quest to be a prosecutor except maybe No Eul
Joon Young’s still studying in the bus, on his way to school when CEO Namgoong drops into the seat that Joon Young’s fangirls had been working up the courage to take. He hands over his card and makes Joon Young an offer to join his entertainment agency. Joon Young though, isn’t in the mood to be disturbed and trashes the card without even looking at it. He also trashes the love notes school girls drop on his desk whilst he’s studying in the library. Except, the love notes turn out not to be love notes but request letters No Eul had sent to him asking to meet. She finally corners him and accuses him of being responsible for her friend Na Ri’s refusal to eat or sleep or come to the office due to Joon Young rejecting her (girl, your friend needs to see a shrink. No man’s worth all that. Except he’s an alien, a night errand boy, a vigilante out to find who killed his father, a… Ah. I get the picture now). No Eul demands that Joon Young do right by her friend and Joon Young simply calls No Eul sick and wonders if maybe he should call her parents to come help her. We then cut to No Eul with Na Ri, her crying friend who insists that she will waste away because Joon Young doesn’t like her. When she tells No Eul that No Eul’s lucky that Joon Young’s not her type and so she can choose not to like him, No Eul gets a look in her eyes and as she walks back home we see her flashback to some months prior when she’d decided to work up the courage to tell Joon Young that she likes him but had seen Joon Young hugging Na Ri. At the sight, she had walked away then.
5. No Eul’s father gets hit and there’s a whole lot of cover-up
On her way back home, after the flashback, No Eul calls her father to tease him. Of course he’s all grumpy that she’s probably calling to help yet another friend in need but No Eul just smiles and asks him to buy her a drink. When he sputters in outrage and hangs up, she laughs and calls her brother to tell him of her plan to surprise their dad by showing up unannounced at his store. She spots her father pulling his stall and turns around so he wouldn’t see her before she surprises him. Except, at that moment, she hears a screech and a thud and drops her phone in shock and horror as she sees her father who’s been knocked down by a young woman driving a red convertible. The woman races off and No Eul isn’t able to catch up with her on foot. Shortly afterwards, Congressman Yoon calls Hyun Joon to inform him that he needs his help because Yoon’s daughter has gotten into trouble. And sure enough, when No Eul’s called from her father’s side to meet the man who’d hit her father and who’s turned himself in, she’s surprised to see that it’s not the young woman. When she wails that they’ve gotten the wrong person and even reads out the woman’s license plate number, the police officer doesn’t respond and the man who claims to have hit her dad just apologizes.
6. Joon Young has a heart to heart with his unsuspecting father
Hyun Joon’s headed to work after he’s done his work, and is unexpectedly caught in the rain. Joon Young then shows up with an umbrella in hand asking if Hyun Joon’s on his way to the prosecutor’s office. He explains that he’s seen Hyun Joon on television a lot which is why he recognized him and Hyun Joon buys the explanation. Soon they’re both strolling to the prosecutor’s office and Joon Young tells Hyun Joon about his plan to go to the same university Hyun Joon had gone to and become a prosecutor just like him. Hyun Joon’s impressed and states that Joon Young’s parents must be very proud that he has a goal and the persistence to carry it out. He compares Hyun Joon to his kids and states that other children don’t have that determination or drive. When he states that he envies Joon Young’s parents, Joon Young is stunned. When he then offers his hand for a handshake and tells Joon Young that he’s looking forward to seeing Joon Young as a prosecutor, Joon Young is even more stunned.
7. No Eul meets Hyun Joon and Joon Young offers a challenge
Whilst Hyun Joon’s on his way to the office, a furious No Eul tosses rocks at his parked car. The act has Hyun Joon meeting with her, which is what No Eul wanted in the first place and she informs him that her father’s hit and run case isn’t closed because it was the wrong suspect that was found. Hyun Joon tries to wiggle out of it by stating that it had nothing to do with him, but No Eul states what the officer in charge of the case had told her, that all the details of the accident had changed the minute Hyun Joon got involved; from the suspect to the type of car the suspect was driving. She tells him of the detectives belief that someone powerful is trying to do a coverup and Hyun Joon just scoffs at what he calls tall tales and tells her to leave. She storms out of the office and sees a smiling Joon Young who’s waiting for Hyun Joon outside his office. She immediately stomps up to him and points out that whilst Na Ri’s in pain that she got dumped, he’s clearly happy. And to make it worse, he broke up with her because he said he needed to concentrate. Unaware that Hyun Joon’s out of his office, she blurts out that Joon Young’s 200th place in class and no amount of studying will move him from that point (ouch). He trips her when she says the words and she glares as she tells him that it’s because of jerks like him who become prosecutors that the country’s a mess. She also states that he can decide not to date or marry but he will never pass the bar (girl, aren’t you being too harsh? Sure your friend’s in a hospital and you’re pissed at Hyun Joon but why are you transferring your anger at all that on poor innocent Joon Young?). She stomps off and Joon Young turns down the book Hyun Joon was about to offer him, stating that he will come back with his report card to state his name and get the book, along with Hyun Joon’s signature. He then heads out where he catches up to No Eul who’d gotten into a bus. He offers her a challenge that she should tempt him away from his books then, because no guy would ever choose studying over a girl unless he didn’t really like her as much. When she makes to leave, he pulls her back down and tells her to tempt him away from his books, that way, he wouldn’t become a prosecutor (huh… what about Na Ri then? Or are you giving up the whole, I want you to date my friend request?). When she still doesn’t answer him, he promises to chase her then, and get her to tempt him.
8. Screwing No Eul over and No Eul’s father dies
The next morning, after No Eul’s spent the entire night putting up posters with the plate number of the hit and run driver, and asking for witnesses to step forward, she gets to school to find Joon Young waiting for her with a teddy bear in hand, claiming that he skipped school so he can give her their 100th day together present (hahaha. She looks so dazed it’s hilarious). He then tells her that he loves her and the moment is captured by hundreds of their classmates. Even Na Ri faints when Joon Young states that he hasn’t been able to concentrate because of No Eul and then he apologizes to Na Ri stating that he’s sorry but things just turned out that way (Rofl. What a jerk. What a charming, hilarious jerk). Alone at the restaurant with Jeong Sik, Joon Young busts into laughter, asking Jeong Sik who he got his assholey behavior from. Meanwhile, No Eul’s grumbling to her unconscious father and baby brother that Joon Young is a jerk who’s effectively painted her as a boyfriend snatcher to all her friends. She’s still grumbling when her father flatlines and then she stands there in shock as the doctor reels out the time of death.
9. No Eul’s gone and the case is closed
Joon Young is shocked to hear the news of No Eul’s father’s death and even more stunned when he learns that No Eul’s disappeared with her younger brother because they’d discovered upon her father’s death that he’d taken a huge loan when No Eul’s dead mother had first fallen ill. The boys continue that the loan sharks had come to make a nuisance at the wake and No Eul had run away with her brother. Joon Young’s able to see the loan sharks causing yet another disturbance at the wake when he comes to pay his respects to No Eul’s father. As his son pays his respect, Hyun Joon meets with Congressman Yoon to inform him that No Eul’s father is dead and the suspect who turned himself in has been left off with a two year probationary warning, meaning, the case is now closed. Congressman Yoon is thankful for the help and tells Hyun Joon that he’d sent his daughter abroad that very night so she could ‘recuperate’. He calls the accident a small mistake and although that clearly bothers Hyun Joon, it doesn’t stop Hyun Joon from clicking glasses with the man when Congressman Yoon cheers to them becoming in-laws.
10. Life goes on
Time passes and soon Joon Young is doing way better in his school. His mother is amazed that he’s gone up 100 positions and makes a mini celebration at the school, branding dishes and drinks with pictures of his face (seriously mother?) and thanking the teachers for the work they’ve done. Joon Young meanwhile keeps re-taping No Eul’s posters seeking witnesses to the hit and run that killed her father. He also keeps trying her number without it going through. When her number finally goes through, he’s disappointed to hear an old lady at the other end of the line, complaining that people keep calling her number and asking for No Eul. Hearing the words, he strikes out No Eul’s number on the poster, seeing that she can’t be reached through the number again. He’s just about to write his instead, but changes his mind at the last moment. Shortly after, he receives a call from No Eul herself, thanking him for the help he’d rendered at her father’s funeral. We then cut back to present day when No Eul calls Joon Young a scumbag (um girl, what exactly did he do to be called a scumbag? Last time you spoke to him, you were thankful he helped with your father’s funeral). She asks him if he would do the documentary if she asks him but guesses that he won’t because he’s still the same jerk from the past. She thanks him for the money and then walks away and then proceeds to faint. As Joon Young runs to her, he tells himself that there’s no way she’s his No Eul.
Character I wanted to bitchslap:
Because dude, a man is dead! There is no way that can be constituted as one small mistake. Scratching a phone screen is a small mistake. Stepping on someone else’s foot is a small mistake. But killing a man? That is NOT a mistake. What a jackass.
Headache inducing moment:
Because at that phone call, I just knew that Hyun Joon would pander to a corrupt congressman because he wants the connection and poor No Eul and her father won’t get the justice that they deserve. Urgh! This world is just too cruel to those without money. Too damn cruel.
This episode’s an East Indian Negroni; utterly bittersweet. It sets the tone for the rest of the drama with the visuals and the sweetness of how young and youthful both No Eul and Joon Young had been and balances it with the bitterness of life’s cruelty and the jadedness that fills our characters as they’ve entered adulthood. I’m still going to keep watching but I have to keep reminding myself that Joon Young would most likely die and it’s going to be heartbreaking. So no matter how sweet the romance becomes, the bitterness will be sure to follow.