His rawest moments are the ones that tug our heartstrings in the best kind of way, and I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling uneasy in the face of the biggest gamble he’s about to make in his life. But you know what they say: Go big or go home.
SONG OF THE DAY
Akdong Musician – “얼음들 (Melted)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
On the way to the hospital, Young-dal reflects upon the memories discovered at the orphanage, shown in a lengthy retread of the previous episode. The biggest truth lingering in his mind is of course, that Dong-soo is truly his hyung. Once he and Shin-hye arrive, they learn that Dong-soo is in surgery after being stabbed. His attacker is still at large.
Meanwhile, Soo-chang meets up with the Scarred Man by the river and strangles him until he goes limp, though Chairman Go orders him to make sure that he finishes the job.
As Young-dal waits with the others outside the operating room, hoping for good news, he retraces all of his memories with Dong-soo, from their first encounter to being saved from trouble to when Dong-soo said they were family now to when he had to beat Dong-soo to finally when he was told that his dream was too pure in seeking revenge.
Recalling those memories are painful, but it’s even more difficult for Young-dal to see Dong-soo being wheeled out of surgery and told that his chances for recovery are slim because of the excessive bleeding.
Watching his unconscious big brother get taken away again, Young-dal lets the tears come.
He also must’ve stayed overnight at the hospital because Jung-hee doesn’t find him at home the following morning. She hasn’t made a decision about the Seoul job offer yet, and she’s told by Grandma to decide on whatever makes her happy.
Sure enough, Young-dal diligently stands vigil by Dong-soo’s bedside. He asks Shin-hye why Dong-soo still hasn’t woken up yet. Dong-soo lost a lot of blood from the attack and required an intensive blood transfusion, but his body is rejecting the new fluids.
It’s heartbreaking how Young-dal softly asks what happens now, and his eyes well up with new tears to hear that Dong-soo is in critical condition because of his severe blood clots and may never wake from his comatose state.
“But he doesn’t know who I am,” Young-dal says, breathlessly. “He doesn’t know that Heo Young-dal is Dong-chul.” Leaning over the bed, Young-dal nearly breaks down again, urging Dong-soo to wake up because he has something important to tell him.
Sitting back down, Young-dal asks why his hyung took off without him and their baby brother. Plus, he hasn’t even gotten the chance to apologize to him for not being able to protect little Dong-woo.
“Please…” he begs, tears streaming down his cheeks. “Please open your eyes. I’m begging you. Open your eyes!”
Manager Bae and his fellow manager gripe about how the unknown new exec due to come in next week will mean another boss to tiptoe around. Jung-hee briefly interrupts their conversation to hand in her resignation letter. Oh, so you will take the new job?
Her boss isn’t happy about it, but her surprise is nothing compared to Yang-ha, who doesn’t take the news well. When Jung-hee doesn’t answer his call (and from the looks of it, she’d been expecting it), he marches down to the dealers himself, demanding an audience.
Even with all eyes on them, Jung-hee firmly states that she isn’t in the mood to chat and walks out, and Yang-ha follows after her. Hyun-mi (who decided to stay for a little while longer to get her bonus) puts the annoying sunbae trio’s sneers to rest, noting that they don’t even have the guts to gossip about Yang-ha to his face.
Yang-ha and Jung-hee resume their conversation outside, where he asks if he’s the reason why she quit her job here. How I wish I could tell him not everything is about him, but what can ya do.
Having had enough of Yang-ha’s own pity party, Jung-hee clearly asserts that her decision to leave has nothing to do with him and she’s seeking new and better opportunities. He says that she can have the same here if she so chooses it, but she says that’s his own smugness talking—who is he to call decisions in her life?
“Because you frustrate me and I feel bad for you!” Yang-ha declares. He can’t stand the idea that Jung-hee has rejected him for an unsuitable match for her like Young-dal. He’d be willing to concede his feelings if Young-dal was someone who was respectable enough for him to acknowledge as a man who was truly capable of making Jung-hee happy, but that’s not the case.
He can see how Jung-hee is getting bogged down by the likes of Young-dal and can’t understand why she’s obsessing over him. I’d say you’d know a thing or two about obsession too, Yang-ha, but continue.
However Jung-hee won’t stand to hear a decent and kind man like Young-dal being spoken of like that, especially coming from someone like Yang-ha who wants for nothing in this world. Young-dal is all alone in this world, and she needs to be by his side.
With that, she turns away, but Yang-ha whips her back around to ask, “Do I look like I have everything I could ever want in this world? Do I really looks like I lack nothing? I… I don’t even know what my birth parents look like. I was adopted when I was an infant.”
He was raised as an heir to a company, not a son in a family. Even if he was given the finest education available, there was no one who showed him affection. After he found out that he was adopted, he was gripped with fear of abandonment and relied on pills to treat his depression and anxiety.
The reason why he liked Jung-hee was because he felt she was someone he could divulge his innermost fears and secrets to, someone who could cast him a warm glance or touch. His eyes filling up with tears, he entreats, “Please don’t turn away from me.”
Judging from Jung-hee’s expression, his words appear to tug at her heartstrings once more… and just around the corner, we see that the female manager has overheard the entire conversation and relays the info to Director Hyun, who smirks to hear it.
Director Hyun takes that juicy secret about Yang-ha’s lovelife straight to Chairman Yoon, who’s told that Jung-hee’s late father was one of the leading mining protesters alongside Daddy Jang.
Young-dal finally sees the barrage of missed calls from Jung-hee and calls her back, to her great relief. He says he’s still in Seoul and has unfinished business to attend to, which she’s understanding of. She says she misses him and hopes he’ll come back home soon (aw). He replies that he will (double aw).
The detectives have finally gotten a visual and identity on the Scarred Man, who has logical motive to attack Dong-soo, aka the detective who put him behind bars twice before. But what’s more unnerving is that he works for Chairman Go, which has Shin-hye wondering whether Chairman Go had ordered the attack.
Young-dal lets this information sink in, and then walks away with an expression that suggests he intends to take matters into his own hands. So he doesn’t get to hear the rest of Shin-hye’s plan to arrest Chairman Go in order to squeeze information out of him, since she’s apparently a better detective(ish) than psychiatrist.
Young-dal heads back to Dong-soo’s bedside, however, as he recalls the names of their mutual enemies, and it’s like you can see the dull look in his eyes sharpen as the rage slowly builds up within him. He calls up Boss Min for her help to get him an audience with Chairman Go.
Speaking of whom, Chairman Go is incensed that Dong-soo is mostly dead, not all dead. He picks up Boss Min’s call, and she throws her weight around using her gangster husband’s name. Surely Chairman Go wouldn’t refuse listening to him, right?
It does the trick and Chairman Go waits alone that evening, impatient. He’s rather intrigued to see Young-dal walk in instead, though it isn’t long before Young-dal wipes that smug smile off of his face by telling him to shut it. In banmal. Oh snap.
Young-dal is in no mood to pander to Chairman Go and walks right up to him and cuts to the chase: “I’m no longer Heo Young-dal to you. My name is Jang Dong-chul.”
Daddy Jang was his father and Dong-soo is his hyung, and he knows that Chairman Go killed one and tried to kill the other. Chairman Go hears this as crazy talk and denies it, and Young-dal hollers back, “Shut up, you son of a bitch!”
“Don’t call me Heo Young-dal,” Young-dal bites back, grabbing the chairman by the lapels. “Heo Young-dal was just a son of a bitch who did everything he could to earn the approval from bastards like yourself. From now on, to you, I’m Jang Jong-kook’s son, Jang Dong-chul. Jang Dong-soo’s brother, Jang Dong-chul!”
Chairman Go breaks a bottle over Young-dal’s head in retaliation, and that’s met by Young-dal’s right hook. Then Young-dal proceeds to hurl the older man to the ground and kicks him before hollering at him to get up again.
Chairman Go, however, continues to deny it and takes all of Young-dal’s punches. And it looks like Young-dal doesn’t intend to quit until he’s left punching a corpse, but that’s when the detectives come rushing in with Shin-hye to stop him.
Even while he’s forcibly held back, Young-dal hollers his death threats at Chairman Go. Shin-hye gets her bit of vengeance with a slap and arrests Chairman Go for attempted murder. Wait, does she have the authority to do that? She’s a doctor (sort of) not a cop. Orrr is she?
Back at the underground casino, Boss Yang can’t stand to see another suitor flirtin’ with his woman, unaware of how powerful a gangster Manbong is. He tries to impress her with a hefty diamond ring, which Manbong takes to slip on her finger himself.
Shin-hye leads the interrogation against Chairman Go and challenges him on his statement that his lips are completely sealed no matter what the cops do against him. Once the cameras are turned off, Detective Tak lets Chairman Go have it, punching and kicking the man to the ground.
Picking Chairman Go up off the ground again, Detective Tak swears that he won’t regret it if he loses his job because of this, because he won’t stop until Chairman Go is snivelling under his feet.
Jun-ho sneaks into Yang-ha’s office to copy Daejung files off of Yang-ha’s laptop. He hands them over to Jailbreak, who reassures him that the new director coming in has his back.
Chairman Yoon is updated on Chairman Go’s arrest and Dong-soo’s hospitalization and calls Yang-ha to come see him in Seoul. Jung-hee doesn’t show up to work again, but runs into Jang-soo and Jailbreak, who plan to go to Seoul to check in on their friend.
Young-dal asks Elder Ahn and Boss Min to postpone their infiltration into Daejung Casino, given recent events. They agree. He heads back to the hospital where he’s met by his friends and Jung-hee, and the two chat outside.
She asks who the comatose man is, whom Young-dal identifies as his long-lost hyung. However, his hyung has yet to learn that they’re brothers and he may never know if he doesn’t wake.
Young-dal is upfront about how he might not be able to uphold his promise to Jung-hee in living a more respectable life without gambling his life away. Now that he knows who he truly is, how his father died, and seeing his brother like this, he lacks the confidence to hold to those words.
He shares how he used to be a street beggar as a boy, collecting scraps at the train station and being beaten up by the pimps who stole his money. He went hungry every day, but the fear that no one in the world either loved or protected him left him in constant fear and uncertainty that was even harder for him to endure.
Young-dal: “In order to be rid of that uneasiness, I became more and more like the crazy bastard that I am today. Not caring whether people called me a thug or trash, becoming a brazen bastard who knew no sense of shame, everything I did was a means to try and erase the constant uncertainty I had.”Now he knows who were the ones who made his life a living hell and just thinking about it drives him crazy. Jung-hee tells him not to ruin his life in the present trying to fix the past, and encourages him to imagine their future together.
That’s something Young-dal can’t afford to do anymore: “There’s no way I can forgive those bastards for what they’ve done.”
As Shin-hye sits by Dong-soo’s bedside, she thinks back to Chairman Go’s
After confirming that the Scarred Man works for him, she’d been unable to get Chairman Go to admit to calling the hit. If the cops are that curious, they can ask the Scarred Man himself, but it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be able to find him.
Manbong is delighted to hear that Chairman Go’s absence possibly gives him the opportunity to take Chungjin Group for himself. At the same time, Soo-chang is sent to deliver Chairman Yoon a message: their earlier conversation ordering the hit on Dong-soo.
Chairman Yoon is hardly fazed by the threat that he take care of the Dong-soo problem himself, lest his name be dragged into the attempted murder investigation. Instead, he tells Soo-chang to parrot back that if Chairman Go will be digging his own grave if he tries.
Yang-ha tenses in surprise to learn that his father already knows about all about Jung-hee, including her family history, lack of education and work experience. At his father’s (quiet but stern) disapproval, Yang-ha says Jung-hee is someone he cares for and that’s the only thing that matters to him.
Chairman Yoon lets out a deep sigh before reminding Yang-ha that he is the future heir to Daejung before he is his son. As such, if there’s anything that stands in the way of his company’s future, Chairman Yoon won’t hesitate to be rid of it. And if Yang-ha can’t accept that, then he’ll be forced to kick him out as well. Sheesh, no wonder Yang-ha’s suffered from fear of abandonment for years.
They’re interrupted just then by the arrival of their guests, and wait a minute—that’s Jiyeon (T-ARA). Apparently she’s a family friend whom he hasn’t seen in a couple of years. I’m not quite sure, but it sounds like they’ve sorta-not-really been dating, and she’s determined to change Yang-ha’s mind about her.
Ah, so Young-dal will be taking Dong-soo’s place as the man Elder Ahn intends to place in Daejung. Oof, this ought to go over well. He and Elder Ahn head inside and Jung-hee spots him wearing a curious expression.
Chairman Yoon and the rest of the Daejung executives wait patiently until the doors finally open… and Yang-ha’s eyes widen to see Young-dal enter the boardroom.
Ooh, it is on. When it came to bringing down the baddies in this show, I was prepared for either Dong-soo or Young-dal to be the inside man working at Daejung Casino. So when Dong-soo was rendered comatose, it was natural that Young-dal would be the one to fill his shoes. At least it gives Lee Beom-soo some time to rest while it looks like we’re in live-shoot territory now. How else would we explain allllllll the lengthy flashbacks in this hour?
And yet, I didn’t want Young-dal to step in as a substitute to this plan out of mere obligation, but I wanted him to make a decision and also hope that we’d hopefully see him make a choice. We did, and in short, it was a glorious sight.
His entrance also evens the playing field between the ongoing battle between him and Yang-ha, now that they’ll presumably be sharing similar levels of authority in the workplace. Up to this point, Young-dal did feel like the underdog in an uphill fight against former gangsters and company execs who threw him into prison at will, but I’m excited to see how our once-aimless hero will take this battle to the next level.
I must admit that my heart stopped for a moment while watching Young-dal shed his previous identity and way of life in Chairman Go’s face, and his declaration that he is Jang Dong-chul honestly sent a chill down my spine. (For continuity’s sake or until Young-dal fully identifies as Dong-chul to himself and others around him, we’ll stick with Young-dal.) For him, his appetite for vengeance is fueled by the truth he now knows, to fight for himself and his family and the tragic lives they led because of two corrupt chairmans.
And while I adore seeing Young-dal and Jung-hee together to pieces, I also appreciate Young-dal’s straightforwardness and honesty with her as to why he won’t be able to keep the promise he made to her. In spite of the dangers of going forward while being fixated on the past, there’s no one else who will fight this battle for him and he can’t live aimlessly in this world anymore, not when he has a duty to protect the only family member he’s found again (so far).
So as we press forward, it seems like we’ll be saying goodbye to the lovable Sabuk boy next door who once had such innocent dreams to settle down. I know, it breaks my heart, too. For what it’s worth, I can take comfort in journeying with Young-dal as he abandons his old lifestyle and the lamentable things that came with it, and then take action by stepping into a corporate battlefield in a fight that involves more than the affections of his heart. Don’t you wish Yang-ha could learn a thing or two about that?