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Jealousy Incarnate Episode 21 RECAP

 

Hwa-shin gets a little ahead of himself in planning his future, and he’s like a little boy full of excitement because it’s one that he’s never imagined before. Miscommunication and stubbornness are obvious obstacles that challenge his relationships, but he’s faced with unexpected hindrances that are out of his control. His simple pursuit of normal happiness may not be so simple after all.

EPISODE 21 RECAP

“Let’s get married,” Hwa-shin says with an earnest smile. He adds, “And get me that mul kimchi, too.” Hwa-shin clarifies that he’s officially proposing, but Na-ri looks confused. She asks if he’s really proposing and asking for mul kimchi at the same time, and he nods. Then, she asks, “Can I just do one and not the other?”

She gets up to get the mul kimchi, and Hwa-shin’s smile turns into a façade. He gulps in panic and confusion, but Na-ri doesn’t clarify her actions. She delivers his requested mul kimchi and heads out.

When Hwa-shin returns to his rooftop, he watches Na-ri as she cryptically brushes her teeth without making eye contact. She glances at him briefly and heads inside, leaving Hwa-shin wondering if he’s just been rejected.

Na-ri and Hwa-shin toss and turn in bed, skeptical of what the other meant to say. Na-ri wonders of Hwa-shin just proposed to appease her anger, and Hwa-shin wonders if she really rejected his proposal. This miscommunication is delightful.

The next morning, Na-ri reports the news and transitions into the weather report. She looks at Joo-hee with endearment, but Joo-hee just looks at her with pouty envy.

Hwa-shin waits in the elevator, thinking about his proposal, when the doors open to Na-ri in a wedding gown. He’s freezes at her breathtaking look, but she breaks his trance when she clarifies that she’s dressed up for an announcers’ photoshoot.

Na-ri gets her glove stuck on her headband, so Hwa-shin reluctantly helps her. Their sweet conversation takes a turn when Na-ri continues to grill him about kissing Hye-won and his three-month dating limit. Their bickering is interrupted by the elevator doors opening to more bridal announcers, and Hwa-shin’s fearful eyes soften as he looks from the other brides to Na-ri.

The women board the elevator, and Na-ri glares at Hye-won, who glares back. The elevator doors open again, and it’s bridal Sung-sook. Hwa-shin jokingly wonders how many times he needs to get married with the flood of brides in this elevator. Ja-young calls him crazy and tells him, “What woman would want to marry you? Don’t drink the kimchi soup first.” (a phrase, meaning not to jump the gun or get ahead of himself.)

Jung-won gets ready for his day, and Secretary Cha shows him the photos from the shoot. He flips through the bridal announcers and stops at Na-ri’s photo. He looks at her photo with a longing gaze.

Hwa-shin pokes fun at bridal Sung-sook, who’s been excluded from the announcer group photos. At the news desk, she criticizes Hwa-shin for kicking Na-ri out of the live election broadcast and presumes that he’s been dumped. He responds that he proposed to Na-ri and hasn’t received a response, and he looks to Sung-sook for some form of advice. But Sung-sook seems fixated on his surprising desire to marry.

Na-ri walks past Hwa-shin as she enters the station, but she turns around to join him on his radiation appointment. Na-ri plays the role of patient again, and they try to force intimacy by awkwardly holding hands. When Na-ri’s name is called, a woman approaches them and asks if she’s an announcer. Na-ri instinctively shields Hwa-shin, but we see from the woman’s phone screen that she’s Announcer Park’s (Na-ri’s news partner) wife.

Doctor Geum notices the aloof dynamic between the couple and asks if they fought, to which Na-ri answers yes and Hwa-shin no. She congratulates Hwa-shin on his final radiation treatment and scolds him for not following the regular treatment schedule earlier (Nurse Oh gives him a killer glare for that). They’ll do some final tests before they let him leave, and both Hwa-shin and Na-ri seem relieved.

After his final tests, Hwa-shin excitedly tells Na-ri that he’ll be able to exercise and drink and dance in no time. In relief, Na-ri begins to cry and assures him (and herself) that he’ll stay healthy without relapse. Hwa-shin leans down in front of her to wipe away her tears and remembers when she first cried after learning of his diagnosis. He breaks out in dance moves to cheer her up and includes Doctor Geum and Nurse Oh in his dance party. Na-ri laughs at the ridiculous scene. Aww.

Pal-gang takes out an envelope of money from her drawer and hesitates before confessing to her moms. She tried to rip money off of the moms as well, but Hwa-shin was the only one to fall for her voice phishing. Ja-young slaps her back and tells her to spill who else helped her, knowing that it was a man’s voice who asked for money.

Of course, it’s the boys, and we see Pal-gang, Chi-yeol, and Dae-gu planking in punishment. Chef and Sung-sook chastise the boys for helping Pal-gang in the criminal act, and Ja-young looks for something to beat their asses. Pal-gang ends up crying in guilt and repentance, and she apologizes that it’s all her fault.

Sung-sook calls a contact in the police department and asks if there were any reports of reporters who recently suffered from voice phishing. Thankfully, it seems that Hwa-shin hasn’t reported the scam, and Sung-sook presumes that it’s because he was ashamed that he fell for the scam as a reporter. But Chef worries that Hwa-shin could change his mind at any moment.

Jung-won calls Na-ri to meet by her house, and she agrees to because she has something to say. When they meet up, Jung-won asks how she’s doing after the live election broadcast and tells her to lean on him if she’s having a hard time. Na-ri reveals that Hwa-shin proposed to her and says that she’ll say yes if he asks properly again. Jung-won shakes his head in denial and says that Hwa-shin vowed to never get married.

Hwa-shin notices the two and stops his car to intercept the conversation. Jung-won confronts him about the proposal, and Hwa-shin confirms that he’s sincere with it. Na-ri warns them not to fight again, but the tense air between them doesn’t assure her. She gives up and decides that she’ll remain as the woman who broke a friendship. She lets the fighting commence.

Jung-won tells Na-ri not to marry Hwa-shin and marry him instead, claiming that Hwa-shin’s workaholic habit will make her miserable. Hwa-shin accuses Jung-won of the same workaholic misery, but Jung-won says that he’ll just take Na-ri along on his business trips. Hwa-shin suggests that he just find a secretary to accompany him, rather than forcing Na-ri to quit her job to accompany him.

Tired of the arguments, Na-ri pleads that they stop, but Hwa-shin continues: “I acknowledge it. Up to this point, I haven’t met a woman that I was scared enough to break up with to change my mind and want to marry. But can’t I change my mind?” Jung-won accuses Hwa-shin of proposing in response to his looming pursuit of Na-ri, and Na-ri finally steps in to tell both guys to stop and hold back.

Hwa-shin admits that he must’ve learned from Jung-won, who always approached his relationships seriously to the point of marriage. Hwa-shin confesses that he doesn’t know what marriage, burden, and responsibility feels like, but he proposed to Na-ri because he doesn’t want to break up with her. Is that wrong? Jung-won walks away from the conversation, as does Na-ri, and we see Secretary Cha roll his eyes while watching this fight unfold. Same.

When Na-ri arrives home, she kicks a bucket in frustration, and Chi-yeol rushes out with his apologies. Unaware of Chi-yeol’s criminal deeds, Na-ri says he has no reason to apologize and praises him as the best man she knows. Ha, only if she really knew.

Their conversation is rudely interrupted by Hwa-shin at his rooftop, who orders Na-ri to stop meeting Jung-won. Chi-yeol gets defensive and accusingly asks why Hwa-shin is demanding such things. As Na-ri begins to stop him, Chi-yeol starts going off about his noona’s three-year-long crush on Hwa-shin, and she lets him go. Chi-yeol can’t understand why Hwa-shin didn’t like his noona, and even when Hwa-shin admits to liking her now, Chi-yeol doesn’t approve. He suggests that Na-ri date Jung-won, who seems to be the better choice, and Na-ri welcomes her brother’s judgment. Ha!

In the staff meeting the next morning, Ja-young and Sung-sook show cautious worry for Hwa-shin, and Sung-sook even offers to lend him 10,000,000 Won (the exact amount he lost in the scam). Just as Hwa-shin is about to agree, PD Oh starts the meeting. He asks if anyone is willing to report on site about the fine dust pollution, and Na-ri immediately volunteers. Hwa-shin doesn’t look to pleased, but Na-ri insists on taking on the report.

Na-ri reports the increasing fine dust pollution levels as she changes the height, imitating the size of children. She decides to stay on the ground for an hour to replicate the experience of young children, who breathe in fine dust during regular outings. She coughs through the hour, insisting that she experience the real thing without a mask.

Hwa-shin eats ice cream with Bum at the convenience store and calls out to Na-ri as she passes. It’s too cold for ice cream, and Na-ri hilariously knocks the ice cream on deadpan Bum as she tries to take it away.

After breathing in all the fine dust, Na-ri shivers and says that her body doesn’t feel like hers. Hwa-shin hugs her, joking that he’s hugging a different woman since her body isn’t hers, and they leave Bum to shiver on his own.

Na-ri pulls away from his embrace, since they’re out in the neighborhood, so Hwa-shin wraps his jacket around shivering Bum and gives him a loving kiss. Jealous of the love, Na-ri also claims to be cold and asks to be loved like Bum. Hwa-shin flatters her by saying that she’s the most beautiful living thing and insists that it’s a fact.

Hwa-shin goes back to hugging her, and she asks if he has anything to tell her officially. He doesn’t know what she’s talking about, so she lets it go. Hwa-shin holds Na-ri and Bum in his arms, and suddenly, Bum marvels at the sky. It’s the first snowfall of the season, and Bum adorably jumps around in glee.

Meanwhile, Chef and the moms argue about what to do with Hwa-shin’s money. Chef suggests that they just return the money to Hwa-shin with an explanation, but the moms fear that Hwa-shin will seek justice, even against Pal-gang. Faking a compromise among the suggestions, Ja-young stuffs the money in a bag and then proceeds to run out of the restaurant to deliver the money without Hwa-shin’s knowledge. But she’s captured by the snow, and she marvels with Chef, who’s followed her out.

Jung-won also experiences the first snowfall but thinks back to Na-ri’s finality in her decision be with Hwa-shin. Madam Kim asks why he’s alone during the first snowfall, and he remains silent.

Hwa-shin wraps a blanket around Na-ri, and she tells him that she always felt a bit disappointed when she missed the first snowfall in her weather forecast because she felt responsible for giving others the opportunity to experience it. Na-ri asks again if he anything to tell her, and she hints that this is the perfect time.

Hwa-shin doesn’t get the hint and offers her meat for her fine dust inhalation that day. Then, he offers to make a snowman and runs off to gather snow. He returns with two mini snowpeople and says, “Let’s live together.”

Na-ri smiles at the proposal but feigns ignorance. He tells her that he wants to live with her and have two children, but Na-ri remains blank-faced. She runs off — leaving Hwa-shin more confused — and returns with two smaller snowpeople. “Like this?” she asks. He takes that as a yes, and they snuggle as our hearts burst at this cute snow family of four.

Ja-young and Chef gain access to Hwa-shin’s room with the help of the building owner, and Sung-sook keeps watch. When Hwa-shin returns to his home, Sung-sook urgently calls Ja-young to get out of there, so they frantically stuff the bag of money in a cupboard and hide away in Hwa-shin’s room. Clueless Hwa-shin takes another moment to soak in the snow before entering his room, and he settles into bed while Ja-young and Chef crouch in his closet.

Sung-sook wakes up the next morning without Ja-young by her side and looks alarmed. Hwa-shin wake up to his alarm and gets in the shower, and Chef wakes Ja-young in the closet to escape at this moment. Chef practically needs to carry Ja-young out, after her legs lost feeling from crouching all night, and they don’t notice that her earring was left in the closet corner.

Chef helps Ja-young down the stairs in front of the building, and as soon as they’re down, he goes in for a kiss. Ja-young pulls away, shocked, and asks what he’s doing. He asks her out, and they proceed to kiss as fireworks go off in the window pane above them.

PD Oh and Hwa-shin watch Na-ri’s report and news sequence, generally impressed by her job. As Na-ri concludes the segment, she decides to end on a more somber note than the optimistic message on the teleprompter, and Hwa-shin gives her a thumbs down for that.

Hwa-shin receives a call from Doctor Geum, and he exits the news room to answer. She tells him to come alone to the hospital today, without Na-ri, and Hwa-shin can sense something is wrong with his exams. He refuses to come alone and anxiously looks at Na-ri.

Hwa-shin goes outside to call his mom and asks why his heart is beating so fast. She thinks he just had too much coffee and asks when he’s going to bring his girlfriend over. He promises to bring her tonight, and Mom quickly hangs up to get ready to finally meet Hwa-shin’s girlfriend.

After the news, Na-ri asks Hwa-shin why he gave her a thumbs down, and he explains that the excessive emotion into her statements may unnecessarily elevate the public’s fear. Na-ri acknowledges her fault and knows that reaching Hwa-shin’s standards would be much more difficult.

He then asks her to meet his mother that evening for dinner, but Na-ri is hesitant because his mother still knows her as Jung-won’s girlfriend. Hwa-shin admits that he’s afraid of losing her, and Na-ri agrees to meet his mother. She’s wary that Hwa-shin’s mother may kill her, but she figures she could just claim to love Hwa-shin even in death.

Hwa-shin arrives at the hospital alone and notices a fortune teller’s tent across the way. He ends up at the tent, and the grandma asks to see Na-ri. After mistakenly pulling up a picture of his mother (lol), he shows her pictures of Na-ri. He describes her, “She drinks well, cries often, and can’t take care of herself that well. She’s one to die with me if I die.” Grandma doesn’t believe him, but he says that she exists.

He’s curious if he has the ability to make a woman happy because now, he has someone he loves. Then, he asks the hard question of whether he’ll die early. He worries because he wants to live with Na-ri for a long time.

We don’t hear the response from fortune teller grandma, and after Hwa-shin leaves the tent, he calls Na-ri to tell her not to come to the hospital and meet him at the restaurant. Na-ri enters the restaurant room and takes a seat while Hwa-shin enters Doctor Geum’s office and asks if he’s relapsed.

The scenes are interchanged between Na-ri and Hwa-shin, as we watch the events unfold. Na-ri looks through Hwa-shin’s notes of encouragement. “Don’t be nervous.” Doctor Geum tells Hwa-shin that he hasn’t relapsed, and Hwa-shin sighs in relief. She still has a forced smile, so Hwa-shin asks why he was asked to come alone.

“You’re not alone.” Doctor Geum explains that he may need to keep this a secret from Na-ri. Hwa-shin doesn’t want to keep any secrets from Na-ri and asks Doctor Geum to tell him quickly.

“I’m here for you.” Doctor Geum says that they need to do more tests to be sure, but it’s highly probable that he’s infertile. Hwa-shin looks at her like a deer caught in headlights.

“I love you.” Na-ri smiles at her collection of notes, as Doctor Geum explains that his male hormone levels are abnormally low. Hwa-shin realizes that this is why he was asked to come alone. He asks why he got breast cancer and now is also infertile. Is this the end of him as a man?

Doctor Geum assures him that plenty of couples love each other happily without children. Hwa-shin tears up and says that he doesn’t want to do that. Raising his voice, he yells, “I don’t want to! Tell others to live like that! Why me? Was breast cancer not enough?” He looks up above, as if asking some greater power why this is happening to him.

Hwa-shin cries that he just wants a normal family with two children. He asks Doctor Geum and Nurse Oh if they would marry him, arguing that this diagnosis is a command to live alone. He desperately begs Doctor Geum to fix him and vows to be extra careful so that he doesn’t relapse with his breast cancer. He sobs in her office, as we get another glimpse of the now crying snow family.

 
COMMENTS

Aha, so this is how they’re extending this story. While I’m not terribly worried about Hwa-shin overcoming this new reality, I can see how crushing this is to him. Having never imagined marriage and children in his future, he’s made a huge step in his change of heart. He’s adopting new elements — simple hopes of happiness with the person he loves — to his self-centered asshole persona with ambitions solely for work. Hwa-shin’s devastation about his infertility has some relevance to his pride as a “man,” but it’s definitely different from his reaction to when he was diagnosed with breast cancer. He was simply emasculated when he received the breast cancer diagnosis, and while the infertility diagnosis is along the same lines, we see his devastation in the context of his desire for a family.

The snow family was an adorable metaphor for this desire, and it also felt poignantly fitting by the end of the episode, considering the transience of snow. Hwa-shin’s hopes for family were shut down, as if the snow family melted out of existence. I don’t want to get too practical with solutions for his family dilemma because Hwa-shin’s meltdown was an emotional moment, an instinctive reaction to his inability to create the family he so intimately imagined with Na-ri, but this really isn’t the end of the world. Honestly, I’m just glad Hwa-shin is healthy and alive to cry over a snow family.

Continuing with these snow metaphors, Jung-won seems to be melting out of relevance because he’s just frozen in time, stuck in the time of his denial. I’m over his whining and insistence that Na-ri won’t be happy without him — his attachment is turning obsessive. The trite arguments between him and Hwa-shin continue to be enraging, since they both treat Na-ri as an object in their aggressive disagreement, and I am done tolerating that. I’m hoping that Secretary Cha’s eye roll signaled the end of such arguments because the show must know that it’s beating a dead horse at this point.

It’s sad that the show keeps exacerbating Jung-won’s character, making him a distraction and plot device to cause conflict for our couple. He doesn’t even pose a serious threat anymore, and he’s more of a boring annoyance compared to the entertaining pathetic rival that Hwa-shin was when the situation was flipped. I hate to admit it, but I think Jung-won is better left forgotten than brought back on screen to incite conflict. Unless the show is willing to let Jung-won grow as a character, he needs to take a break.

There was a nice flow and theme to this episode, and I’m once again in admiration of how this show manages tell the story. Even with the introduction of this new conflict, it doesn’t feel forced; rather, it feels like a new opportunity for Hwa-shin to redeem himself. It’s a way for Hwa-shin to embrace himself and the changes in his life, without making everything about his pride. It could get ugly and sad, but I think it will complete Hwa-shin’s growth.

I enjoy how our side characters are getting their few moments to shine again. From our moms and Chef, to lil’ Bum, to our delinquent teenagers, we’re finally seeing how our unconventional family is coming together. It’s never perfect and often quite messy, but I think it’s a kind of fitting that Na-ri and Hwa-shin are going to be a part of it.