Saturday, November 10, 2012

K-Drama Review: Nice Guy, Episodes 17-18


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 17-18

Click "play" below to listen to me read the review! :-)

I am so jazzed and so scared for these episodes. Ack, do I dare to look?

We start by re-viewing Eunki's announcement to the Taesan board members about how she lost her memories, but she still wants to fight for her job.

Honesty May Just Get Us Where We Want To Go.

Eunki meets with Secretary Hyun and tells her that actually, she wants to give all the company leadership to Maru--Eunki's tired of this charade. And if her left father left money for her in Swiss bank accounts or anything, she wants to give that money to Maru. I wonder what her game is, but I halfway think that Eunki's genuine about not wanting to run the company anymore. She was good at business, but it was never her dream, just her way to not drown in her stormy family life.

But no, Eunki calls Secretary Hyun out for not telling her that Maru was the other person in the car accident a year ago. She asks if Secretary Hyun, Attorney Park, and Maru are all conspiring against her.

This Coffee Date Just Turned Into An Interrogation.

Eunki tells Secretary Hyun not to tell anyone else about her recovered memories. Secretary Hyun cries with joy that Eunki is better. The next day, Eunki talks to Choco, then goes downstairs to greet Maru, who is cooking breakfast.

Has No Clue That She Hates Him, Now.

Eunki gives Maru a hug, and as she leans against his back, she tells him about a "dream" she had where she met many people who said they were on her side, but Maru himself had said nothing. Eunki says all she ever wanted was for him to say sweet words to her, even if they were lies. Without turning around, Maru asks if he and Eunki should move somewhere far away, where nobody knows them. Wow, this is sudden.

"This Might Be the End of Everything/ So Why Don't We Go/ Somewhere Only We Know?"

Jaehee goes to see Maru's old house, which she bought, and the cleaning ahjumma is really freaked out by Jaehee's being there so early in the morning. Jaehee says her house is cold, but this place is warm and the ahjumma takes her literally, thinking the heater in her mansion is broken. Jaehee asks, if she waits for Maru at his house, will he come back? When the answer is negative, Jaehee announces that she'll make him come back home.

She's Scary When She Wears Fur.

Jaehee walks out the front gate to find Attorney Ahn waiting for her. She's skeeved out and angry that he's got her under surveillance 24/7 and always watches where she goes. Jaehee says, "You seem to have forgotten your place. Return to your senses--I am your boss." Attorney Ahn warns her that Eunki's acting strange lately, then he wraps his scarf around Jaehee, ostensibly to keep her warm, but she and he both know it's a sort of threatening gesture.

At home, Maru brings home a pair of couple rings he bought for himself and Eunki, then he sees some crumpled-up paper on Eunki's floor. It's her old diary notes, which say "Maru is the nicest guy in the world." He thinks to himself that Eunki has got her memories back, and he's glad of it, though it only means more heartbreak for him.

All Good Things Come To An End.

Unfortunately, we all still have to play the corporate game, and Eunki and Maru's fake wedding invitations have already gone out. Eunki's pretending to be happy, and Maru knows it's all an act, though it was an act anyway, since they weren't really getting married, though they did get officially engaged after their fake engagement... Dramas, oy.

Eunki makes Jaehee come with her for wedding dress shopping, which is cruel but funny, since Jaehee is fuming about the wedding, but can't say so. Jaehee doesn't know it was all Eunki's idea and she asks Maru if he loves her so much that he has to needle her through Eunki. The situation gets worse when Eunki walks in to see Jaehee holding Maru's hand.

The Chronic Guilt-Face Maru Suffers From Doesn't Help.

Then Eunki invites Choco and Jaegil to eat a meal with her, Maru, and Jaehee for two reasons; first, to kill Jaehee inside at the sight of the family she can no longer have, secondly to hurt Maru by having to see everyone interact. Choco, Jaegil, and Jaehee lie that this is their first time meeting.

After the awkward dinner, Maru is still left wondering who new-Eunki is and what she wants and values, but he decides that he loves her and won't grow weary of waiting for her to decide what she needs.

Well, Bonus Points For Stick-to-it-iveness.

Jaehee calls Maru in for a business meeting, but skips to the most serious topic ever--apologizing for taking away his bright future when she let him go to jail. She says she'll compensate him for ruining him, and she looks sincere. Maru says forget it, he's going to get rid of Jaehee as his final act to protect Eunki. He makes good on that intention by calling Jaehee out in a meeting for supporting a business plan he suggested, when she had opposed the same plan back when it was Eunki's original idea. He highlights her hypocrisy in front of everyone.

Jaehee finds him again and yells, "Is Eunki all you ever think about?"

Why, Yes She Is. Got a Problem With That?

Jaehee counters that she didn't say goodbye to Maru because she didn't still love him. She just wanted to get away from her horrible life. Jaehee says it's okay for him to marry Eunki, so long as she can still see him and he doesn't move any further away from her. Eww. And Eunki overhears all of this, naturally, for maximum knife-twisting.

Eunki says some mean things to Attorney Park, revealing that her memories are back, then she unwisely talks with Attorney Ahn who tells her about Maru's past time in prison for murder. Then Eunki brings up her own father's death and how strange it is that Jaehee and Attorney Ahn were the first ones to find him. Attorney Ahn denies any foul play.

She Knows What You Did Last Summer!

And wow, we skip forward a couple weeks (months?) to Eunki's wedding day. I'm betting she's going to leave Maru at the altar, not that public humiliation could hurt him worse than knowing she's plotting against him.


But Maru has gone missing, leaving his tux behind. We also get footage of a local news station receiving pictures of Jaehee and Maru, and a note warning them that the president of Taesan has a relationship with her stepdaughter's fiance. Next thing you know, their former relationship is in articles all over the internet. Reporters invade the wedding hall, shouting questions at Jaehee.

I'm betting Maru set this up. He wouldn't mind taking himself down and destroying his chance with Eunki if it meant protecting Eunki by getting Jaehee out of the way. Yeah. Maru totally did it--we see him brooding in his car far away, and not answering phone calls as the city lights up with the fresh gossip.

And The House Of Cards Begins to Crumble.

Jaehee barely notices when Attorney Ahn drives her away and says she needs to stay at his house, because there are reporters camped out at her mansion. I see what you did there, Attorney Ahn. Night falls. Eunki remains in the wedding hall, looking sad. I can't tell if the sadness is an act for those around her, or if she's truly let down that Maru bailed and this secret was revealed to the public.

But Maru does come back! He goes to see Eunki, who refused to leave the wedding hall until he came. He says "We need to talk".

We hear Secretary Hyun tell Attorney Park that it was Eunki who leaked this news story to the press and intentionally ruined her own wedding. Ah. That's mildly surprising. Maru talks to Eunki saying, "I know everything. I know your memories are back and you know what kind of man I am."

And Now She Knows He Knows She Knows.

Episode end. Not the most climactic ending because we don't get her reply, but still a big clearing of the air. I hope.

Episode 18 starts with Eunki and Maru sitting in his car. Eunki asks since when did he know her memories were back, and why didn't he say anything? He answers, "I wanted to be played as much as you planned." Maru wanted to take whatever punishment she doled out, because he knew he deserved it. Then Maru explodes that he can't believe Eunki was willing to hurt her own self in all of this. She should have taken down Jaehee and Maru and left herself unharmed, not drawn into a scandal.

But She's Not Being Sensible, Now.

Eunki says that since her father died while she was busy paying attention to Maru, she'll do anything to destroy his life. Listen, girl, you chose to go nuts over Maru--nobody was holding a gun to your head, keeping you away from your awful father in his last days. Take some responsibility for your actions.

Attorney Park comes to pick Eunki up and drop her off at a motel.

At Maru's house, he is calm as Secretary Hyun packs up Eunki's things. He eats a meal Choco prepared for him, showing no tears or outward signs of heartbreak.

But All Is Not Well On the Inside.

Maru goes to see Jaehee and says that he's the one who leaked the information to the press. He tells her not to have a press conference and deny the rumors or he'll circulate even more condemning evidence. Maru says he was only taking care of Eunki out of obligation, and that his love for Jaehee was the real thing--he repeats Jaehee's past words verbatim. Argh, what's his game? Personal degradation or something deeper? Maybe just keeping Jaehee out of Eunki's way?

Also, Maru's here to affront Attorney Ahn by showing how little Jaehee cares for him when Maru's around. Careful, Maru, it won't take much to push this guy to kill you. Or maybe you want that.

At the motel, Eunki locks herself into the bathroom and sits in her wedding dress in a full tub. Attorney Park finally gets in there, and I'm just glad she hasn't hurt herself.

Though The Wedding Dress + Bathtub Combo Is Still Weird.

Eunki haltingly says, "I...couldn't hate Maru. I should be furious, but no matter how hard I try, I can't hate him." She cries, "He doesn't love me. He's only using me to get her back." Which isn't true, but now Maru is saying it's true, so it just got all "K-Drama Inception" up in here. Eunki says that she hoped telling their story to the world would end her love for Maru, but it didn't work.

She weeps that she did the right thing, but she still misses him so badly, and I feel a little sick at my stomach. All this needless pain, just to prove a point that she doesn't need to prove.

At Jaehee's house, Maru tells Jaehee that she can have him, so long as she gives up the company and leaves Eunki be forever.

Do You Really Want Him Under Those Conditions, Jaehee?
At his home, Maru looks over the one lovely picture of himself and Eunki, and thinks and thinks and thinks.

The next day, Eunki moves back home into the mansion with Jaehee! Ha. Love it. Now that there's nothing left to hide, there's no reason for two bitter rivals not to share house-space, is there?

At the office, Jaehee has a face-off with Attorney Ahn. She tries to snub him, and he grabs her by her jacket and says that's she's a murderer and a nobody, so she shouldn't act all high and mighty. Who does she think helped her get to where she is, now? "You are mine. I gave up everything to have you. Let's get married." Then he forces a kiss on her, literally holding her head still.

It's Not A Happy Moment.

Maru goes back to work, and Attorney Park asks him to ask about Eunki. Maru says he won't ask about her because if Eunki is over him, that news will hurt him, and if Eunki is missing him, that news is unfortunate news also.

Eunki calls Maru, but she doesn't speak. They have an entire silent conversation in their heads, just listening to the other person breathe on the other end of the line.

Y'all Are In So Much Denial.

For Real.

After she hangs up, he says out loud, "보고싶다, 서은기." (Bogoshipda, Seo Eunki./ "I miss you.") Then he thinks to himself, "Call me again tomorrow. I'll be waiting for your call." Finally, some sweet moments, just when it looked like we'd lose them forever.

On the upside, every last bit of hidden nastiness is known by all parties. If Maru and Eunki can jump this hurdle and be together, there is literally nothing else left to drive a wedge between them. They have stared into the abyss, the abyss stared back, and they lived on.

At work, drunk Jaehee decides to stop drinking alone and hauls some alcohol up to Maru's office. It's weird that they almost seem like they could be buddies, now that's everything's over.

At a Certain Point, There's No Point In Enmity. 

Later, uber-drunk Jaehee comes home to the mansion where Eunki is, but Maru is the one helping Jaehee home. Jaehee invites Maru to stay so they can drink some more, with Eunki this time, since they all have so much to catch up on. Maru puts the kibosh on this idea, and as he and the housemaid walk Jaehee to her room, Eunki does the sad panda face.

Does Not Enjoy the Reality She Created.

Maru stops by Eunki's room after the maid tucks Jaehee in for the night. Maru asks Eunki a series of questions: Did she move back home? Is she doing well? Is she eating well? Has she been sleeping enough? It's like he's pouring his heart into these questions. He asks, "Is there anything you want to say to me?" When she doesn't reply, he leaves. Eunki stands in front of her door, almost opening it to go stop him, as Maru stands on the other side of the door, hoping she'll decide to stop him.

Instead, Maru calls her cellphone. He asks, "Is this house the only place you can go? Why do you look unwell? I'll leave now. Goodnight." Eunki says in her head, "I'm glad I saw you today."

Next day, Jaegil says he's forcing Maru to have that important brain operation. Maru doesn't agree.

Eunki meets with Attorney Park and says she wants to re-investigate her father's death, which looks like there could have been foul play involved. Attorney Park knows it's true, but if he tells Eunki, Attorney Ahn will tell Eunki that Attorney Park's Dad was responsible for Eunki's Mom's death.

His Secret Doesn't Seem That Impactful Anymore.

Attorney Park tells Eunki most of what he knows about the old events, and she's angry he kept this from her. She angrily asks if there's anything else he needs to tell her.

Jaehee meets Maru in a park and we don't see the scene, but I presume she confesses that she contributed to Eunki's Dad's death. As Jaehee sobs, Maru holds her, and of course Eunki walks up in the only park in Seoul and sees them. Because we must have coincidences and lots of them.

Things I Loved:

1. Eunki's Sugar Cubes. In episode 17, it's a nice callback to the past when Eunki starts plunking sugar cubes into her coffee when she gets her memories back. We've seen her do this before when she was troubled.


Some of the fire is gone from the show, but that's mostly due to the places the plot needed to go. So, it's okay.

Watch Nice Guy on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations:

Oh, these episodes weren't totally heartbreaking, but they were frustrating. Because Eunki's choices are keeping us from all the good moments, these eps were constantly scurrying away from satisfying scenes. Yet, the writing is still dead-on because the frustration is showing us something important about the characters' choices.

I like how revenge feels so empty for Eunki. Revenge is not the tasty morsel of rare meat that it is advertised to be--sometimes getting revenge means keeping yourself from the only good things you have in life. Even Maru learns that the fruits of revenge aren't grand. He thoroughly relished the chance to ruin Jaehee in the past, but now he's like a brother, shepherding her home when she's had a few too many. There is nothing left to be angry about.

So, Nice Guy. The anger is gone, so let's bring the love. You've got two episodes to give me my epic happy ending. Go, go, go!