Author: Runa Nona from ECI
Picture credit as tagged
WARNING: If you haven’t watched this episode, please be aware of spoiler from reading this article.
Finally, the come- back drama of JKS is here!! Before I start my recap, please note that this Drama is based on a Manhwa. You will find some manga style comedy, characterization and situations in there. That being said, I think the writer, actors and director managed to achieve a balance between the elements of a Manhwa and realism. This, IMHO, is one of the most important elements to make these kinds of dramas enjoyable. So, ready?!!! Let’s start!!
Beautiful Man / Pretty Man episode 1:
In what looks like a fancy apartment, a middle age woman is ah ….. flirting with a young man who looks completely bored and unresponsive to her advances. Well, that was until she mentioned something about buying him a car.
In a flash, the atmosphere changed. With an aura of someone who just got “offended”, he coolly stops the hand playing with the buttons of his shirt and leaves the couch making a show out of the way he walks just to stop after a couple of steps to sigh with the hurt of someone who just got really misunderstood ” Do you really think I’m that kind of person? Someone who does anything to get what he wants?”
Jaek Hee quickly tries to save the situation. She explains that it’s not what she meant at all, and then apologized saying that she only has money to offer and that’s why she wanted to buy him things. A ghost of a mischievous smile appears on his face but none the less, he keeps walking away from her.
Desperate, she blurts out the first thing that comes to her mind ” An apartment?! What if I bought you an apartment just like this one!? “He firmly stops then and everything goes deadly silent. She looks at his back in desperate hope when he suddenly turns to face her with a look so intense it scared her. He walks towards her with firm aggressive steps and pin her to the wall and just like that, he gives her a kiss that melts her knees … literally! Satisfied, he walks away with a full blown smirk on his face! Meet our hero, Dokgo Ma Te! He’s not the kind of guy who flirts with a woman to get a lowly car! No, Anduea , aniyo!! Add an apartment to that and he might thank you with a kiss! The devil!
The scene changes to a normal apartment. A girl making a wallpaper out of our Ma Te is mentally disagreeing with a TV program about the meaning of “sexy”. Her brother walks in using a funny set of Karate moves to open and close the door. He looks at her desk and asks “Is that yours?” and with a dreamy look she answers “I WANT him to be mine! Sigh “Angrily the brother answers” Not Ma Te! , the notebook!”
Her brother, Kim Dae Shik tells her that there is nothing to like about a guy like Ma Te. He doesn’t even have a single muscle on his body; in his eyes guys like him are not men! While she strongly disagrees her mother walks in angry and slaps her a few times here and there because she’s working a part time job in a restaurant. The mother says that if she’s going to work in restaurants then she better help her mother with her own restaurant instead. The girl shouts back saying “YOU DON’T PAY ME!” The mother angrily gives her a notebook and asks her to write what is her goal in the future. Happily she writes down and then proudly declares it to her mother ” Ma Te’s wife!!! ” ” kkkkkk this is a glimpse of the everyday life of our leading lady Kim Bo Tong! Have I told you?! She has a very unique sense of fashion and an even more unique crush on our Ma Te! Our Bo Tong is not that ambitious though, how will her journeys to chase Ma Te affects her in the future? This is a story about success and the right way to achieve it. I am all for the ride to see how our two flawed heroes will fair in this journey and change
Bo Tong goes grocery shopping. On the way back she sits on the bus station bench. A fading heart with the name ” Ma Te ” is engraved on the wooden bench. Bo Tong smiles and re-engrave the words ” I won’t allow you to fade even If everything else does” with a smile she flashes back to the first time she met Ma Te ten years ago.
10 years ago**
A magical scene you can only see in fairy tales or shampoo commercials happened the moment Ma Te stepped inside the bus where Bo Tang was dosing off. Handsome Ma Te catches the eyes of all the females but only Bo Tong is brave enough to immediately make her move hehehe. He sits down and put his headphones on while closing his eyes. Bo Tong is next to him in a flash hovering over him while making all those star struck faces. He feels the intense heat of her gaze and opens his eyes to find her right in his face. Startled he asks her what is she doing and she asks him about his stop and just to go back to sleep because she will wake him up when it’s time. Bo Tong was awarded the title “eel” after that scene kkkk.
Back at home Bo Tong wonders if the handsome boy lives in the neighborhood since he was on the same bus with her. Then she remembers that can’t be possible since this is the first time she saw him. Bo Tong mother calls her to help with grilling meat because her mother’s friend and her son came for a visit. Bo Tong complains about it till she saw who was sitting on the table in their living room. Ma Te the handsome boy from the bus. Bo Tong thinks it must be fate if the guy she liked from the first glance was actually her mother’s friend son.
Ma Te tells his mother that it was better if they ate at home since he’s a vegetarian. Bo Tong offers unlimited veges for him but instead Ma Te tells her he will try a small piece out of curtsey. Elegantly eating the first extra small piece of meal, he offers no feedback to his mother’s question of how was it. But simply delve into the plate full of grilled meat like a cute neat monster! In minutes the plate was empty! Can I say I would love to cook for that neat cute little monster? Kkkkkkk that scene was priceless
Ma Te and his mother are sitting outside their new home. Ma Te asks about his father and when will he meet him. His mother says it’s not time yet. Ma Te insists that he’s a grown up now and that he wants to meet him. His mother says she can’t give him the password to meet his father till it’s time. She promised that to his father. Ma Te looks disappointed. His mother goes to make him a meal low in calories ( lol! ) so he will not gain weight.
Bo Tong steels some meat from her mother’s restaurant so she can give them to Ma Te. She brings a long submarine scope (lol!) with her and when she’s beside Ma Te’s door near his backyard she starts spying on him with the scope. Suddenly she can’t see him anymore but instead she hears his voice near her. When he asks her what is she doing here. She answers that she brought meat to see if she can make her vegetarian oppa thinks better of meat. He tells her to go but to leave the box of meat here since it is “heavy” lol! Kkkk Ma Te just admit you LOVE meat!
At school Bo Tong and most of the females in Ma Te’s class are staring at him including his teacher! When he drinks from his water Bo Tong decides that her future goal is to be that water bottle lol! Kkkkkk I think many eels felt a connection with this girl. Fighting Bo Tong!
*back in present time*
Back to the present time, Ma Te is looking over the city from the huge window of his new apartment given to him by no other than jeak hee. She asks if he likes it and he says he does. She then says they should bring furniture as beautiful as Ma Te. He then asks “Am I really that beautiful?” she says that’s like asking if a squared tufu looks like a square and proceeds to say that she can’t believe she’s dating a handsome/beautiful guy like him since all she got is money. She’s older, lacking in visual and even that is from plastic surgeries. She says that every time a beautiful woman passes him she feels really nervous. She feels like she’s small in front of him. He smiles and tells her age and beauty doesn’t last long. For him having money does make her beautiful. And just to complete the spell he kisses her after ( lol! At least he’s honest! I think Jeak Hee is a very insecure woman when it comes to something that is not money. She loves having Ma Te around since he’s a “catch” in terms of looks. But that’s all. He’s just a pretty face to her too. That’s why both are pretty open about the way they see each other. It is more like a business deal for them)
She gives him the keys to his new car and this is where one of my favorite scenes starts!
*Ma Te meets his car!!*
Ma Te introduces himself to his car and starts to childishly play with the key switch kkkkkk Welcome to Ma Te’s inner child beauty! He may act aloof and cold. He might be a flirt gold-digger but no one can deny his cute inner child! Are we going to meet other layers or sides to Ma Te? Tune in and watch! A lot is in store even in the rest of this episode!
Ma Te attack the streets with his expensive car (I said attack for a reason lol!). His mother calls and he picks up all smiles. Meet Ma Te’s real smile!
His love for his mother is so clear. She asks how he is and what did he eat and he asks her the same. She asks him to choose a favorite out of the three pictures she sent him. He looks through them and picks one:
He asks if she’s bored again and she answers that she wants to see his face. He tells her he hung pictures on the wall for her when she misses him. He tells her that he’s going to pick her up soon to live in a place where she deserves. A place fit for Madame Kim. She smiles and says all she wants is to see his face then she starts to say that there is something she needs to tell him but at that time a woman in red SVU stops beside him and looks at him with a knowing look. Ma Te sees her and looks surprised. He tells his mother he will call her later and hurriedly drives his car after the woman when traffic light hits green. He seems troubled, what exactly is behind this mysterious woman? (Yet another layer to Ma Te’s character he’s his mama’s boy the sad thing is, he’s so engrossed with providing her with the living status of a queen forgetting that she prefers him to be beside her instead)
Ma te’s mother starts crying and then brings a box of what looks like medicine ….. Obviously she’s hiding more than one secret. She’s crying when Bo Tong calls her from behind the door. I love their relationship. They seem close. Bo Tong brings meat for her but she says she still have some from the last time she brought meat. Instead she asks Bo Tong for a favore. She wants her to go with her to meet someone.
Ma Te is racing through the streets not wanting to lose the woman. She keeps checking her mirror and smirks when she sees him following her with all he got. Finally she takes a sudden turn and he loses her. Ma Te says this kept appearing suddenly in his life everywhere he goes. The first time he met her was when he first came to Seoul. Inside a coffee shop he notices a very beautiful woman. He picks his seat where she can see him and starts to make a show out of him drinking coffee. When he looks his way to check her reaction , she’s gone. He looks around for her but a waitress comes and gives him a cold drink with a note telling him a woman left it for him. He smiles in victory proud in himself. When he opens the note he reads “take a sip of this cold drink and get a hold of yourself” lol!!! I think our Ma Te found his match! A woman who resisted his charm! Why is she hovering around him though? Keep watching!
Ma Te’s mother went to meet “someone”. That someone was a man in his 60. He says she’s still beautiful as always and asks about Ma Te. I’m guessing he’s the father. She calls him president and says that he looks sick. He answers it’s the old age. He wonders if there is something wrong since this is the first time she calls the meeting. Normally that’s his call. She answers that she only felt the desire to see him. Bo Tong in the background collecting fallen autumn leaves from the ground.
The meeting is over and Bo Tong makes a bouquet out of the dead tree leaves. Ma Te’s mother marvels at how things that has been thrown away becomes beautiful in her hands. Bo Tong says it is Ma Te’s the one who is beautiful. The mother asks her if she really like Ma Te that much. Bo Tong says she does because the first time she laid eyes on him she felt he’s going to turn into an amazing man. She says He’s already proving his worth having a house in Seoul (Oh, Bo Tong dear , if only you knew how got that lol! ) She adds that she will work hard to meet his standards. The mother asks if she can stay by Ma Te’s side and adore him always if she’s (his mother ) not there beside him anymore. Bo Tong is happy that Ma Te’s mother trusts with her son but then she asks the mother if she’s going away somewhere. Which the later denies and says that Bo Tong is really beautiful. Bo Tong is very happy and says it’s the first time someone calls her pretty.
Ma Te is with Jaek Hee reunion with her friends. They say he’s young why is he dating Jaek Hee and what does he like about her. He answers with no hesitation “She has loads of money” her two friends laugh and say he’s so honest but they ask does he know how she become to have that much money? She started out with small amount of money and built her fortune slowly by brilliantly working with real estate. Jaek Hee says Ma Te doesn’t know that. One of the friends looks at Ma Te and says he’s just a gold-digger , when he gets his fix he will up and leave. Jaek Hee doesn’t like where this is going and stops her friends saying they are wrong and he will not leave. Ma Te tells Jaek Hee not to worry and that most housewives calls the girl their husband meets behind their back a “gold-digger” to save their pride and confidence so it must be a habit for them to accuse people of that. The women laughs and says he never losses and are not surprised Jaek Hee fell for him. One of the friends even asks him to call her if he ever breaks up with Jaek Hee. Ma Te doesn’t look that happy about him winning. It looks like their comments got him more than he lets on. So this is another layer of Ma Te. He’s not as shameless as he pretends to be!
Bo Tong and her mother are doing exercises. Bo Tong gets scared after seeing her mother’s young slim figures in Photos and then he figure in the present time. She’s afraid she’s doomed to the same fate , so what’s our unique quirky girl to do?! She wraps herself in plastic! With all the lightness of that scene you will not expect what will happen next. Bo Tong mother hurriedly tells her to call Ma Te because his mother collapsed and she’s admitted to the hospital.
Ma Te leaves the gathering and tells Jaek Hee to never ask him to go to these types of occasions again. Just when he was about to leave the woman in the SVU appeared again. He faces her and asks her why is she circling around him since all those years. She plays dump at first but then tells him that he must have felt angry about that time so he wanted to meet her. He tells her that he wants answers and she says if he can wait till after her school reunion. Oh! So she’s one of Jaek Hee’s school friends! At that moment Ma Te’s phone rings and he sees his mother’s number but when he answers he hears Bo Tong crying. She tells him his mother in the hospital because she has cancer. The woman hears everything and suddenly stops Ma Te and leans forward like she’s about to kiss him. She say he drunk a lot so she will drive him to the hospital since the journey is far to where he lives. He shouts how on earth she knows where he lives. She dodged by saying that she’s faster than any Taxi so will he come or not?
On the way to the hospital Ma Te tries to hide his tears so he bites hard on his lip to stop them. It didn’t escape the woman though. She offered a handkerchief.
Back at the reunion Jaek Hee and her friends sees Ma Te’s car and one of the workers gives her the keys to the car and tells her that Ma Te went with the woman in the red SUV. They all knew who she is since she didn’t come. Finally we get to know the name of the mysterious woman! Meet Hong Yu Ra! Her friends started to say “Is going back to her old habits?” does that mean she steals her friend’s boyfriend? Jaek Hee says Ma Te loves Money and Yu Ra doesn’t have much after she was divorced and kicked thanks to her mother in law. When she walks away from her friends though, she’s not as confident as sounded a minute ago. so what is her goal? She’s defiantly not to be trusted!
Ma Te reaches the hospital. He begs his mother to hold it together, her words for him are ” Don’t blame anyone , there will be a day when you will smile” He asks what does she mean and If she doesn’t want him to resent his father then call him and let him at least stay by your side now that you’re sick. His mother refuses and starts to have pains so the nurse put her to sleep. Ma Te begs his mother to wake up. He wants to do many things with her. He prepared the house and everything. Ma Te was doing everything for his mother. All this preparation was for her to live a good life with him. But it came too late and he lost the most important thing while pursuing the materialistic things to give her. He lost time. The time he might have been there with her and the time he might have at least been there when she was suffering alone in pain. It was heart breaking for him. He says if his mother goes away like that he will not be able to forgive himself nor let her go. Jaek Hee calls and Yu Ra tells Ma Te that he has to pick up and explain hence she thinks they are hanging together. Ma Te leaves the room to take the call.
Ma Te’s mother woke up and Yu Ra doesn’t waste time. She introduces herself as Ma Te’s friend. Someone who knows who he really is. She asks Ma Te’s mother why she was hiding. What made her so afraid? It was hard to find her and Ma Te because of that. Yu Ra says she will help Ma Te get his real position and that it was time for him to know who his father is. The mother acts scared and she was against Ma Te knowing about his father yet. She cries and suddenly her vitals start to crash. Outside Ma Te hears people shouting and Yu Ra runs outside calling him to come in a hurry. When he comes inside, his mother’s heart has already stopped. He cries and shouts his heart out. This scene really broke my heart. Ma Te’s only family died and it was clear he will blame himself.
At the funeral room Bo Tong’s mother sees Ma Te in a miserable state. She says that’s not how the “man of the house” should act. He says he can’t be “the man of the house” after he left his mother in that condition. How can he be the “man of the house”? He has no qualifications. This is where we get to see yet another new side of Ma Te. A new layer he hides so well. Under all that flirt gold-digger pretty man is a person who thinks his only assets are his good looks. He doesn’t think he has qualifications. People around him always defined him by his looks. He grew up with that and believed it. So he tried to provide his mother with the best life using the only qualification he thinks he got. The only thing good about him is the looks, his only qualification. But that was not enough to save his mother.
Bo Tong comes with a picture of Ma Te’s mother. She says it was the only picture she found in the house that they can use in the funeral. Ma Te sees that it was the picture he picked as his favorite. Tears will up in his eyes. So, she even prepared her funeral picture and made sure it’s a favorite of Ma Te. She was a great mother to her last breath. Ma Te cries his heart out holding the picture. He wails the pain away breaking our hearts in the process.
(Editor’s note: Jang Keun Suk’s acting here is superb, his eyes, his tears, his moves fully expressed the deep sorrow he had for losing his most beloved the person in the world, his mother. Viewers will cry with him here, I feel I can’t miss these shots for his 1st episode.)
Yu Ra visits his home with flowers. He tells her it’s useless to ask her how she knew where to find him. He doesn’t even care anymore. Yu Ra says it’s the third day after his mother’s death. She brought her favorite white roses for him to put on her grave. He says he’s not interested in who is she now nor why she’s following him. She answers that he should care about something else then, the “password”. At that Ma Te is all ears. He asks what is she talking about and she answers she heard the password from his mother. The one he should know to meet his father. He asks her again what is she after. She says that she has the most important words to him. For that he will be hers.
This was an amazing first episode for me. It has everything a first episode should have. Fast pace, interesting characters with layers , interesting plot threads that will be build up later and great acting , directing! I loved the use of music too. A first episode filled with humor, angst, suspense and mystery. I can’t say I wasn’t satisfied! Can’t wait for more!