Saturday, October 13, 2012

K-Drama Review: Nice Guy, Episodes 3-4


Read episode reviews for:

Nice Guy--Episodes 1-2
Nice Guy--Episodes 3-4
Nice Guy--Episodes 5-6
Nice Guy--Episodes 7-8
Nice Guy--Episodes 9-10
Nice Guy--Episodes 11-12
Nice Guy--Episodes 13-14
Nice Guy--Episodes 15-16
Nice Guy--Episodes 17-18
Nice Guy--Episodes 19-20

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 3-4

NEW: I'm experimenting with audio-blogging! Click play below to listen to me read my review at you! :-) Apologies in advance for any sound quality issues.

This episode opens with a scene that is definitely not a continuation of that dirt bike wreck from the last episode. Where is the story? Where am I? I don't care--I'm just glad to be here. Eunki rolls up to her company to find that the workers' union she had supported is now calling for her dismissal. She tries the brave move, reasoning with them.

It Ends With Her Washing Egg Out of Her Hair.

Then we hear Maru's voiceover saying that Eunki is a total work addict who has no friends or hobbies. Holy cow, he's been studying her from a distance, doing reconnaissance like a criminal sizing up a mark. Her only leisure activity is--and here's the tie-in to the last episode--off-road dirt biking. I love the show's writing style, now; showing us something that looks disconnected and silly, then back-tracking to show how it fits perfectly.

It's simple--if Maru wants to get to Eunki, he has to dirt bike. Now the main question in my mind is whether he sabotaged her breaks on the off-chance he could rescue her?

You Wouldn't Do That, Would You, Maru?

But no, he seems genuinely surprised that she wrecked. And as Maru pulls Eunki from the edge of a cliff, you get the feeling that while this is not exactly the meet-cute he wanted to orchestrate, nothing less than a 2nd life or death encounter would work for these characters.

After being rescued, Eunki actually tries to scramble back down the cliff to get to her motorcycle, but it's not the bike she wants--it's a doll she packed to come with her on the trip. Probably a beloved toy given to her by her deceased mother, if I were to guess. Maru begins to lower himself down the dirt cliff, and he retrieves Eunki's doll at the exact moment his safety rope breaks. We rejoin the scene as Eunki sits in a hospital and a doctor tells her that the patient has fractured his ribs, but will recover from the fall.

Are You Happy Now, Eunki?

Maru just keeps getting hurt because of the women in his life! Emotional wounds from Jaehee and to a lesser extent, from his sister Choco, and now his wounds on behalf of Eunki are literal and physical. Also, Eunki now owes Maru three times over, twice for saving her life, and once for getting injured while retrieving her doll.

But the first thing Eunki does when Maru wakes up in the hospital is accuse him of trying to extort money from her by saving her life! Maru puts her in her place, asking if her parents taught her such awful manners and encouraged her to act angry and affronted whenever she felt guilty or grateful. That is probably not too far from the truth, considering what we know of her dad. Maru sends Eunki away and says he doesn't want to speak to her anymore, but Eunki has pangs of conscience as she leaves.

Off in the lawyer subplot (this show has a lawyer subplot!), Jaehee's lawyer, Attorney Ahn tries to figure out Jaehee's relationship with Maru, while keeping said information from Eunki's lawyer, Attorney Park.

I'm Hoping For a Lawyer-Fight in the Near Future.

 And at the Seo household, Dad, Jaehee and Eunki are eating lunch, and Attorneys Ahn and Park are both present. What kind of family is this, that the lawyer-to-family-member ratio is almost 1:1?

Icily Civil, Yet Ready For Lawsuits.

A call comes in, saying that Eunki is an organ donor match for her Dad. What does he need, a kidney? Some liver tissue? If I were Eunki, I'd require that Dad sign a contract willing me the entire company before I forked over any vital organs. Dad's an awful person who hasn't really earned any love or respect from his daughter, so it's natural they should handle this like a business transaction. But Dad actually doesn't want to prolong his life through a transplant, which seems kind of brave of him. He may be a bully, but he's not a coward.

Jaehee begins a long fake speech about how Eunki is the Taesan corporation's hope for the future, so she must put her own health first. And Jaehee reveals that she is cleared to be a donor, too, which warms the old guy's heart. She says it doesn't matter what happens to her, since she doesn't have any intention of surviving her husband in this cold world.

Solidifying Her Position By Pretending Not to Care About Her Position.

Eunki cannot stop thinking about Maru, even going so far as to doodle 강마루 over and over in a notebook. She goes back to the hospital to see him, then follows him home when she learns he's been discharged. When she finds Maru, she starts dissing his cheap neighborhood, but she does it in this joking way, like she's trying to make friends.

Maru counters her light insults with, "Are you dissing me to show your interest in me?" Why, yes, perceptive person. Yes, she is. He tells her that her debt to him is nonexistent, so there's no reason for the two of them to ever see each other again. I get the feeling that Eunki has never met anyone who played hard to get, so he's playing the game right...if he's playing at all. I can't tell how much of this was schemed.

You Could Not Possibly Have Planned This! Right?

Maru has to go tend to an emergency involving his sister, Choco, but Eunki isn't done talking with him, so she jumps in the passenger seat and buckles in. He drives like a madman, but that doesn't phase Eunki because she's a maniac driver herself. These two are so well-matched, it's scary. Eunki again tries to give him a thank-you present of an expensive watch, but he says no. Again.

The Maru asks, "What if what I want isn't that watch, but you, who can afford hundreds of those watches?" He halfway means it, but in his mind it's about revenge, not romance. "There is a mountain I want to climb, but I need a ladder to reach it. You'd be the perfect ladder." Wow, he's really up front about this--he needs her for her connections, not as a person. No different than Jaehee's view of Eunki's Dad. He teasingly says that now his ideal woman is the type with a nasty personality and a constant death glare.

That's Eunki, To a "T".

When Maru gets to where Choco is staying, he stops a man from beating a woman, then is in turn hit by the woman with a broom for defending her against her monster of a husband. It's an intensely uncomfortable scene. At least he manages to save Choco and get her back. At least now I know Maru hadn't planned anything past the initial attempt to meet Eunki through dirtbiking. When you want to impress a woman, you don't let her witness all the family's dirty laundry before the first date.

Maru drives Eunki and Choco back to Seoul, and as he pulls up to the sleeping Eunki's house, he sees Jaehee romancing Attorney Ahn:

Another Day, Another Man to Bedazzle.

Maru says nothing, just stares at Jaehee before waking up Eunki. When Eunki sees Jaehee watching them, she loudly says to Maru, "I'm curious about you. Let's keep seeing each other." Jaehee is obviously terrified of that idea, afraid that if her ex-friend and her stepdaughter start meeting, they'll begin to compare notes and then she'll lose her chance of inheriting the Taesan Corporation.

The next day, Jaehee and Eunki have spent some time at the spa and Jaehee tries to warn Eunki off of Maru because, "He doesn't look like a nice guy." Heh. Eunki doesn't need a nice guy--she'd eat him for breakfast. She and Maru flaunt their new fake(?) attachment in front of Jaehee a short while later, when Maru meets Eunki for lunch.

Could There Be Any More Lies, Plots and Counter-Plots Between These 3?

Eunki's Dad rolls up in a wheelchair pushed by Attorney Ahn, and the "awkward bristly" meter gets cranked up to eleven. Eunki reluctantly introduces Maru as the guy she's dating and Eunki's Dad pulls a move that surprises everyone by inviting Maru to a family lunch!

Only One Lawyer Present At the Meal? Y'all Are Slipping.

Dad is even further surprising when he acts like a proud papa, semi-excited that a young man has come calling to see his baby princess. I think Dad is sincere. Despite his rough treatment of Eunki, I think there's a part of him that wants to her married-off and happy, not engaged in the cutthroat rat race of the corporate world. Maru is surprised to hear that he's the first guy Eunki ever introduced to her Dad.

Dad asks some kindly getting-to-know you questions and Maru answers honestly that both his parents are dead, but even in life, they weren't important people. Dad is more unsettled to know that Maru was expelled from med school and now works as a bartender. Dad manages to turn this disappointment back around to Eunki's poor judgement, but Eunki turns the question right back at Dad: How much does he know about the past of Jaehee, the young woman he left his wife for?

She's Got You There, Dad.

But like all hypocrites, Dad doesn't want to hear the truth about his own actions, so he throws a glass of water in Eunki's face and fumes away from the table. Eunki runs out of the room, too, leaving Maru to quietly vow his revenge on Jaehee. He tells her that if someone as corrupt as Jaehee remains in her high position, it ruins the balance of the world. He tells her to wait for the day that he'll bring her down, because it will happen.

I Don't Doubt His Word For A Second.

Dad removes Eunki from her executive position, and is set to make Jaehee rise in the company by giving her more power. He also wants to sell a resort that has special value to Eunki, so things are really taking a turn for the worse for her.

At Maru's house, Choco begs him to find a girl that he sincerely loves. She tells him that he must forget Jaehee-unnie, so he can be with another girl. That statement truly hurts him, but he perks up a little when he gets a call from Eunki. Eunki says she misses him, and despite her ulterior motives for pretending to date him, I think she's serious.

Eunki tells Maru that she's in Japan, fighting for a resort where she use to go with her mom. This resort contains all her best memories of her mom. Maru is faking most of his attachment to Eunki, but his sympathy seems genuine.

But She'll Need More Than Sympathy to Beat Jaehee.

Eunki doesn't hang up her phone when Jaehee walks up, so Maru gets to hear Jaehee gloat and lord over Eunki, talking about how she has nearly triumphed and won't stop now, because Eunki is not her equal. Eunki responds by going to work, looking for the money to save her resort.

Smart Girls Know Maths!

I like her never-give-up spirit. Maru surprises her by visiting her in Japan (where did he get the money for travel?), and throwing her into a small lake to wake her up when she falls asleep after an all-nighter of problem solving. A weird thing to do.

But Who Could Stay Mad At This Face?

The episode ends here, with Maru telling Eunki that they're going to tackle this problem together.

Things I Loved:

1. Maru. He may have an evil side, but he spent so much time trying to help others, that counts in his favor. And he seems so vulnerable at times.

Don't You Just Want to Protect Him?

2. Eunki. We see some of her cracks and fragile places, and her softer side. She's a schemer and a brain, but the right person could make her human.

I Doubt Maru's the Right Person, Though.




Irreversibility of Time. In this show, you cannot go back into the past and regain what you have lost. Time is not kind. Jaehee cannot make up for what she did to Maru, and Maru cannot get back the Jaehee he once knew.

As T.S. Eliot Said, "Time is no healer"--

Internal Becomes External. Maru's internal pain is now getting outward manifestations. He's going through life as a wounded man.

Watch Nice Guy on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations:

Ooh, I can't wait to see what happens next. If either Maru or Eunki goes full-out evil, I'm dropping this show, but for now I want to see if they can get their revenge, then learn something from it--namely that it isn't as satisfying as they thought, or that it is satisfying, but not worth the price paid.

Because no matter how much gray area we allow, ultimately, we don't want Maru to stoop to Jaehee's level, and we don't want Eunki to become Lady Macbeth. Our heroes can be super-dark and super-flawed, but we don't want them to become the very thing they have come to hate.


  1. You sound exactly like Myra McEntire on audio!!!

    I'm so happy to hear the dirt bike scene makes sense. It's kind of cute :-)

    1. I was never so happy as to find that the dirt biking made any kind of sense!

      I love me some Myra McEntire. Sounding like her is good with me. ;-)