Kiss California goodbye and say hello to Korea!
While watching this episode, I am reminded of something Cha Eun Sang said in episode 3. Sometimes, things that appear so close can be so far away.
EPISODE 4 RECAP:
Eun Sang walks into the airport as Kim Tan and Rachel are involved in a rather awkward hug. She redirects herself in the opposite direction to avoid crossing path with them, however she fails to leave unnoticed when Tan catches the sight of her and calls out, “Cha Eun Sang. Stop right there!”
He quickly gives Rachel his farewell and makes his way over to Eun Sang. He questions her about not returning his call and holds out his phone for her to punch in her number. To his surprise, her response is short and straightforward, “I said everything already. So don’t leave your fiancée alone to ask me something like that.”
And just like he had left Rachel standing there pathetically, he is left standing there helplessly as Eun San walks away. (Background music: “The person who makes me breathe, there’s only one person who is deeply engraved in my heart…”)
On the plane, Rachel approaches Eun Sang with the excuse that her instinct tells her this wouldn’t be the last time they’d bump heads. She snatches Eun Sang’s custom form and says it is for the sole purpose of “sad” Tan who will eventually seek for her. However, this is really her way of saying, “let’s be real, I’m doing you a favor right now, you wanted to give him your number.”
Rachel arrives back to Korea and is welcomed by Choi Young Do’s sign, “Welcome! My “STEP” sister.”
In the car, Young Do blasts his music while rocking his head to the rhythm. Rachel, who is quite annoyed with his choice of music or perhaps with the very existence of him, overall, cuts his music out twice. But she doesn’t get on his last nerve until she says, “The fox (him) is now the king of the jungle without the tiger (Tan).” Young Do demands the driver to stop the car but before leaving, he asks, “Why isn’t the tiger at his jungle?” and answers, “Perhaps he only pretended that he was a tiger,” which leaves Rachel curious as to what he meant.
In the meantime, Eun Sang comes home to an empty house. It turns out her mother moved and is now a resident maid. All the while, Kim Tan is in LA sitting by the poolside and looking at Eun Sang’s photo instead of enjoying his time in the pool with the rest of his friends.
Back in Korea, Lee Hyo Shin overhears his mother scolding Jeon Hyun Joo (his tutor) for dressing “inappropriately.” His mother gives her a ridiculous list of things she shouldn’t wear. Aside from no jeans, no skirts, and no shorts, she’s also accountable for “No V-necks. No perfume or manicures either.” She obediently accepts.
She enters the room to Lee Hyo Shin already sitting at the desk. He casually asks her, “Don’t you hate my family?” To this, she replies, “I do.” Then he questions why she doesn’t just quit. Simple, his mother pays better.
Changing the subject, he makes a remark, “I like it. Everything my mother said not to do.” But little does he know, especially because he likes it, she can’t wear it.
She receives a phone call from Kim Won but chooses to ignore it. Meanwhile, Won is in California picking out jewelry for her, possibly a ring. However, he ends up looking at a wishbone necklace instead.
Eun sang finally reunites with her mother in front of the Kim mansion. She finds out that the money her mother had given to Eun Suk was actually the deposit money for their home, which leaves her to deal with the consequences such as, “Where are we going to live now? Are we going to sleep on the streets?”
But her mother is already one step ahead of her. She leaves Eun Sang to go see Madame Han and blackmails her with the information she knew of her trying to involve Madame Jung in an affair. Madame Jung pays a visit just in time for her to setup the perfect blackmailing. Madame Han quickly stops her before she reveals the plan and tells her to write down whatever she wants. Done deal, Eun Sang’s new home is now the Kim mansion.
Eun Sang’s first encounter with the Kim family (or so she thinks is her first), she witnesses Madame Jung and Madame Han in a dispute. First it is over their sick husband, then the family registry, and finally the son who was bore by one but legally owned by the other. Madame Han threatens to take Madame Jung out of the family registry; in return, she gets slapped.
A maid informs the two that Won has returned. They act casually as if nothing had happened but he doesn’t seem to buy it and says, “I’m back. Continue with what you were doing.”
He passes by Eun Sang as he heads to his room but she overlooks the fact that he was Kim Tan’s brother who had acted coldly towards him just days ago.
Eun Sang is ordered by her mother to take medicine to the chairman’s room. With the medicine in her hands, she scattered the place searching for the correct room. Won comes by and directs her into the room. She places the medicine on the table and introduces herself, and then she made her way out leaving Won and his father to discuss their matters.
Won informs his father that he saw Tan in the States. However, Chairman Kim does not believe so. He threatens Won to relieve his younger brother of exile; otherwise he’d take it upon himself to do so. He justifies his choice saying he allowed Won to hurt Tan because he knew Won had been wounded. Except, he thinks Won is going overboard and the “fair” play had turned bias. He continues, saying he never hugged Tan for the sake of Won because he knew it would hurt him. But the lack of sincerity in his tone makes Won question him whether he even raised them with love to be saying that.
Madame Han ignorantly complains about being rich to Eun Sang’s mother. But in realization that Won must have met up with Tan, she rushes to his room. She throws quite a number of questions at him. Annoyed, Won sarcastically asks whether she knew Tan’s number. She then questions his motive for exiling Tan, and to that, he provides the fact that he was already a major shareholder at Tan’s age. After deciding it was no use to continue discussing such matters, she confesses to Won that she can’t even face her own son, which Won refuses to listen to any further. He waves her off saying, “This is not a catholic church. You can confess somewhere else.”
The sun is setting beautifully over the horizon of the waters as a lonely Tan sits by the beach gazing off into the world beyond him. He is reminded of the last time he had met his brother at the almond ranch and sighs at the sadness it brings him.
In the kitchen of the Kim Mansion, Eun Sang asks her mother which of two women she had met earlier was more powerful. They are interrupted by Madame Han who rudely greets Eun Sang for the first time, demanding that whatever is seen within their house should not be told to outsiders. But she doesn’t just stop there, she goes as far as to mention that Eun Sang’s mother wouldn’t be able to even if she wanted. This angers Eun Sang however, for the sake of compensation, she ignores it and thanks her instead.
Eun Sang notices her mother is tired after a long day of work so she tells her mother to sleep while she takes over. In the morning, she organizes her textbooks into cutout cardboard boxes of shelves. When her mother walks in, she grabs for the almonds she had bought and gives it to her. She apologizes to her mother as tears overflow.
Times passes as Eun Sang works hard, balancing multiple jobs, to repay the money she owes Chan young and as Kim Tan reminisces about the past, revisiting the places they were once at. After some time, she’s finally worked up enough money to pay Chan Young back. She gives him a call to ask for his account number so she can route him the money, however, she learns he is on his way back to Korea soon.
Madame Han tries to convince Chairman Kim to allow Tan to return, which he has no problem with; the problem is, is Tan courageous enough to return? With that, she quickly phones Tan but once again, there is no answer from the other side.
As his mother is waiting anxiously on the other side of the phone, Tan is sitting on a bench, staring at his notebook.
“I have always thought about the people who were lonely because of me. I hope that they were lonely at least once because I was not there.”
As his father is staring out the window, Tan looks at him from afar. “I want to come back home, father.”
As his mother is running her hands over the sheets on his bed, he stands at the side and watches her in sorrow. “I miss you, mom.”
As Won is standing by the window, Tan stands near him and says, “I want to believe that it hurt you at least once to send me away like that.”
After thinking all this, he phones secretary Yoon.
He walks into his professor’s room and hands in his essays. He thanks him for everything as he bows and walks out. The professor opens his notebook and flips to a page that read, “One who wants to wear the crown, bears the crown.” Goodbye California.
Tan arrives to Korea and is welcomed by secretary Yoon who informs him that his mother wants him to call her first but instead, Tan wants to meet Won.
Just as a worker is telling Won about Tan’s arrival, the door opens and in walks Tan. He tells Won he is there to stay and assures him nothing he is afraid of happening will happen. Won mockingly reminds him that it isn’t for an illegitimate child to decide. Won warns him that he had crossed the line and lost “the chance for the half-brothers to be nice to each other.” Won bitterly walks out, leaving Tan in despair, and orders secretary Yoon to book a hotel for him.
Opposite of the spectrum, Madame Han is happy as can be to see her son return. Tan greets his mother with a sweet, warm smile then he turns to his father. When asked about his home in California, he expresses that it was too big, too bright in the morning and too dark at night. His father shows no sympathy and says he could have seen the stars then. When asked what he learned in school, Tan replies he just had fun. Because that’s exactly what every father wants to hear from his child who went away for three years to study, right? Good going Tanny. With that, he dismisses Tan.
Tan enters his room and takes a moment to look around, and then he starts unpacking. All the while, his mother is bugging him on the side. He tells his mother he needs to take a shower, so she leaves.
While unpacking, he reaches for the dream catcher and decides to hang it on his window. Out the window, underneath a tree not far from where he is, Eun Sang sits. She takes out of her wallet the boarding pass from the time she’d gone to the states and takes a photo of it. She uploads it onto her SNS account with the caption, “Just as I have no way to prove what was in my dream last night, that place is the same to me. Was I really there?” Above her, Tan stands by his window looking out. (Background music: Love is the moment…)
In the morning, as Tan walks across the yard, something catches his attention: a girl’s leggings and red shoes hanging on the clothesline. He backs up to take a longer look but continues onward after. While eating dinner one night, he suddenly hears the soundtrack of a scary movie, and it looks as though he would ignore it but soon after, he rushes to open the door only to find no one there. Eun Sang catches a glimpse of him one morning as she walks into the living room while he was heading upstairs and asks her mother whether he was the second son, but she has no idea it’s him. Thanks to the massive size of the mansion, they will never run into each other, and so the hide and seek game begins.
Early one morning, Eun Sang’s mother wakes her up to leave the house for the time being to avoid the chaos in the Kim household. As she exits the mansion, Myung Soo, who had just gotten dropped off by Young do, sees her which causes him to wonder if the Kim Family had moved.
Sleepy Eun Sang walks into a convenience store which just so happens to be the one Young Do made a stop at. He watches her closely as she buys a drink and chugs it down. She exits and decides to sleep on one of the tables set outside the store. Soon after, he follows her.
While watching her sleep and slurping his noodles, two little boys dressed in identical clothes decided they were going to settle their dispute over who gets to play the game in front of Young Do. Young Do hushes them, which causes them to cry and make even more noise. Eun Sang then gets up and walks away. Young Do continues to mock the kids, turning the table around and insisting they are mocking him instead for not having a mother.
Bo Na is at her father’s company scattering the place, stopping here and there to ask them if they had seen her father. She receives a text message from Chan Young as she is talking to Hee Chul that reads, “What are you doing with another man?” She scans the room in confusion, looking for him. She receives another text message that says, “right side.” She turns to see as he waves to her. They reunite with a tight hug. He takes her to his home where both he and his father cooked up a nice meal for them. Things get awkward for her when Kim Tan is brought up.
At their usual hangout spot, Myung Soo pokes fun of Bo Na for grieving over her delusional thoughts that Chan Young will dump her because of Kim Tan.
Kim Tan logs onto Eun Sang’s SNS account and finally sees her update. Apparently, she hasn’t changed the password yet. Eun Sang receives a message from herself which confuses her until she realizes who had written it. And so the bickering online begins. As he waits for her to reply, he walks by Eun Sang’s mother and catches sight of her peculiarly familiar “I ❤ California” shirt which causes him to stop for a moment.
While following along to an auto version of Sleeping Beauty, Madame Han just so happens to be wearing Eun Sang’s socks also, which Eun Sang came to find oddly familiar as well.
Eun Sang’s mother walks in carrying a bottle of wine and hands it to Madame Han. Turns out it was the wrong one but instead of telling Eun Sang’s mother nicely, Madame Han made a rude comment saying, “have you gone blind too?” This angers Eun Sang so she asks that next time, Madame Han orders her to get wine instead. Eun Sang’s mother yells at her to just go study. She replies, using sign language, how can she when she can’t even do her part. Eun Sang enters the wine cellar only to feel even lower than she’d felt before, even the wine lives luxuriously.
Meanwhile, Tan is sitting outside anxiously waiting for her to reply. She walks pass the back of him while heading back to Madame Han. He turns but misses her by a step. Tan walks into the living room with his phone held high up, still waiting for her reply. He notices at the corner of his eyes, a girl in the other room but again, misses her when he turns. He must be thinking he’s going crazy because asks his mother whether she had experienced night terrors before. He tells her that he keeps seeing a girl with long hair. She assures him it must be the maid’s daughter who is living with them, “Cha Eun Sung.”
He is upstairs in his room trying to comprehend what he’d just heard. He sends her a message asking what she was doing and waited impatiently, constantly tapping the screen of his phone to see if she replied. Finally, she replies saying she was drinking water at the moment. He rushes out of his room and down the stairs to the kitchen. He stops outside of the kitchen door to take a moment. He closes his eyes then he turns to slowly open the door. Before him was Cha Eun Sang drinking water. (Background music: instrumental “I’m saying” by Lee Hong Ki)
First and foremost, as much as I love seeing them in places I am so familiar with, I actually like that we’re back in Korea now. Eun Sang refers to California as a midsummer night’s dream and I’m beginning to see the connection now. Somehow California seems unreal, like a mirage where things appear a little different from actuality. In California there’s no such thing as Kim Tan, the heir to Jeguk group, or Cha Eun Sang, the heiress to poverty; We only have Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang, the girl he fell infatuated with. Now that we are back in Korea, things are suddenly becoming clearer. He is the rich Chaebol whose family owns the mansion she is currently living under in a closet. The gap between their worlds will only make him appear further out of her reach and thus, harder for her to reciprocate his feelings.