Cinderella’s Sister, episode 5

Now we’ll start the recaps in earnest.

I had really wanted a continuation of everybody in their younger years. Like I’ve said for “Will It Snow for Christmas,” I would not mind watching a melodrama involving teens, because god knows adults can be such idiots. Another reason I guess they had to move on is that they cast Taec, and apparently he’s the only person who can’t play a younger version of himself, while everyone else can. Not that I don’t love kid!Jung Woo. He’s the best; I laugh at every scene he’s in.

(On another note, I am feverishly trying to churn out all of CS’ recaps so I can be up-to-date and recap as the episodes air. I find that it’s really difficult to write recaps for eps that have aired for one-two weeks in the past because you already know what happens afterward and it skews your point of view. So yes, if there are like a bajillion consecutive recaps for this drama in the next week or so, bear with me.)

Recap of episode 5

A quick refresher from the end of the last episode: We fast forward 8 years. Eun-jo now works as a project manager for makgeolli plant, and she’s in charge of pushing the brand to potential customers.

One day after a meeting with clients, Eun-jo sees a sign for an exhibit by an artist that Ki-hoon first introduced to her. When she goes in, she peruses the paintings when all of a sudden Hyo-son makes an appearance, telling her about one particular painting that Ki-hoon used to really like. At the mention of Ki-hoon’s name, Eun-jo does a double take. That’s when she finds out that Hyo-son and Ki-hoon are now dating. Hyo-sun does her best to bait Eun-jo, lamenting on how sad it is that Eun-jo didn’t even know the two were in a relationship; Ki-hoon must not have made an effort to contact her at all all these years. Eun-jo’s a smart girl, so she doesn’t bite, and moves on wordlessly.

On their drive back, there is barely any conversation, which highlights how the relationship between the sisters has not gotten better over the last 8 years. Hyo-sun flippantly makes a remark about how sad it is that Eun-jo didn’t know that they were dating, because it must mean that Ki-hoon didn’t bother to keep in contact with her all these years. Rather than take the bait, Eun-jo feigns sleep. In a voiceover, we hear Hyo-sun say to herself that all her sister had to do was ask, and she would tell her everything. This is sad because we see that deep down inside, Hyo-sun does want to connect with her sister, just like she did all those years ago when they were still teens, but Eun-jo won’t let her in, and especially not in a way that Hyo-sun knows she’s being let in.

Then, Hyo-sun tells Eun-jo that she has to do her a favor. She’s reached her credit card limit and she knows her dad is going to berate her, so Eun-jo needs to put in a good word for her. At this, Eun-jo asks Hyo-sun how much exactly she spent that she maxed her limit. Hyo-sun doesn’t tell her, but that just infuriates Eun-jo more until she gets out of the car.

After Eun-jo gets out of the car, Hyo-sun follows her, expressing her disbelief in a sister that won’t help her. But then Eun-jo gives her the smackdown. What exactly are Hyo-sun’s dreams? Life plans? Goals? Does she even have any? Or does she plan on wasting her time away by doing things like maxing out her credit card?

Hyo-sun retorts that she has her ballet, which Eun-jo immediately discredits: Does she practice? If she does, why is she always failing her auditions? On top of that, why are her feet always so pretty? Ballerina’s feet are always unruly and unkempt, but hers are always pristine and perfect. There is no way she actually practices to the extent to which she says she does. Hyo-sun has nothing to say to this and before she has a chance to cry, Eun-jo tells her not to, because it pisses her off.

Once at home, we find out that there’s been an addition to the Goo family, in the form of a son named Jun-su, who we see is slightly mean. (When Dae-sung admonishes Hyo-sun with informal language, Jun-su repeats it, and it is most definitely not his place to repeat something like that to a much older sister. But, neither Dae-sung or Hyo-sun yell at him for it, which leads me to believe that the little munchkin is fuckin’ spoiled. This probably has much to do with the fact that he’s the first son of the family and you know what they say about first sons in Asian families.)

Dae-sung breaks out the hitting sticks, determined to instill some form of punishment into Hyo-sun. But before he can do any real damage, Eun-jo’s mother comes rushing in to save Hyo-sun, and yells at Hyo-sun to leave before she can get hit. (Ah, reminds me of my own mother.) Dae-sung yells at Hyo-sun to stay put, but he doesn’t really have any power when he’s up against these women in his life, lol.

Eun-jo, on the other hand, is sitting in her room, replaying Hyo-sun’s earlier words to herself, “You didn’t know I was dating Ki-hoon oppa? Oppa must’ve not contacted you.” At this, Eun-jo launches to her closet to pull clothes out, until she sees a duffel bag. This brings us back to a time when she was still a teen—presumably right after Ki-hoon left—and she was ready to leave once again. Just before she does, however, Dae-sung sees her and stops her. Eun-jo tells him that she has to go. No, she will go. Dae-sung doesn’t try to reprimand her for leaving, but he does tell her that now is not the time yet. He knows that if she really wanted to, she could easily just leave when she’s out of his sight, but for his sake, he hopes she doesn’t. Furthermore, he tells her that one day, when he knows that he won’t worry about her anymore, he will let her go. That’s a promise, and he’s a person who keeps his promises.

(I am so partial to this father/daughter relationship. I will shit bricks if Dae-sung dies before Eun-jo truly realizes how much he loves her and the potential he sees in her.)

At dinner, Eun-jo and Dae-sung keep talking business about the plant. This annoys Kang-sook and makes Hyo-sun uneasy.

After dinner, Kang-sook goes over to Hyo-sun’s room, telling her cheerfully that she’s seen Hyo-sun’s credit card bill, and knows that she bought bags with them, so she wants to see. Hyo-sun is happy to show her, and tells her that she bought one for her too. But as Kang-sook looks through the belongings, she seems to like everything that Hyo-sun bought, even the things that weren’t bought for her. Hyo-sun is a little taken aback when Kang-sook suggests that she give her this bag and that bag and this bag, even though she says nothing and just hands them over.

Hyo-sun gets a call during the night from an oppa and apparently, he’s at the front steps of the house, which Hyo-sun thinks is just crazy. Eun-jo overhears the conversation, and she thinks that the visitor is Ki-hoon, since she thinks that Hyo-sun is dating him.

However, it turns out that the oppa in question is just some dude Hyo-sun was dating. He’s fretting about why she hasn’t called and what exactly he did wrong. Hyo-sun is impatient with him, and after he goes, she gets a called from him, telling her that he got a flat tire. Hyo-sun asks him what exactly that has to do with her, and tells him he can just take the train from a station nearby.

After a moment’s consideration, Eun-jo rushes outside. Neither cars would open, so she just grabs a bike and goes. She rushes to the train station that Hyo-sun suggested the oppa should go to, but doesn’t find anyone there. Eun-jo is completely dejected, believing that she missed him a second time around.

Then, we see Ki-hoon re-entering the Land of Morning Calm, and he goes straight to his father from the airport. His father tells him about his older brother Ki-jung, who has cunningly maneuvered his way through the entire company, becoming friendly with everyone he needs to be friendly with, effectively bringing to his side all those who were once loyal to his father.

In his hotel room, Ki-hoon broods. He has in front of him a copy of a magazine flipped over to an article about the Dae-sung makgeolli plant. On one page is Dae-sung, and on the other, Eun-jo. Ki-hoon makes a motion for the phone, and then let’s go. He reaches, and let’s go. Finally, he reaches over, dials a number, and talks to Dae-sung.

Jun-su is playing with a buddy out in front of the house when the friend accidentally gets some sand into Jun-su’s eyes. This apparently really pisses him off and he shoves his friend to the ground. Crying ensues, and then the friend is told to leave. But after he actually does go, Jun-su calls after his friend, telling him to come back and play, but the friend says “NO~!” So yes, I am not a fan of Jun-su.

At this moment though, someone comes up to Jun-su and asks if this was his house, someone with a baseball bat. It’s Taec Jung-woo. Jun-su asks (in banmal), “Who are you?”

Jung-woo greets Hyo-sun’s uncle in a full army salute. It’s kind of adorbs, and also really, really loud. One can guess that the two have a relationship from being in the same division in the army. Hyo-sun’s uncle brings him to tour the plant and on the way there, they come across Eun-jo leading a group of businessmen on a tour as well. Music swells, angels sing and Jung-woo just looks longingly at her. Slowly, he tags along with the group following Eun-jo.

As they all enter into the space where the makgeolli ferments, Eun-jo instructs everyone to quiet down to listen to something. When the wine ferments, it lets out little bubbling noises. As everyone listens, Eun-jo gets lost in a little moment of her own, distracted until Dae-sung takes over the group tour himself.

In the next scene, we follow Hyo-sun as she goes to a ballet audition. She does a little bit of her routine in front of judges but she messes up and falls. The judge immediately tells her that she can exit, but Hyo-sun tells her she’ll restart from the beginning. She’s told that it’s fine, she doesn’t need to go again. As Hyo-sun starts repeating the routine, she misses and falls for a second time. After she falls, she hears Eun-jo’s voice in her head, “What is your dream?” By that point, Hyo-sun is already on the floor and starts to cry. She starts to tell a non-present Eun-jo that she can start planning for her life now, she can do everything now.

In the middle of talking business with Dae-sung, Eun-jo brings up their conversation from 8 years ago when she was deciding on leaving. She’s waiting; she’s waiting for a time when she will have paid all her debts to him and this house, and she will leave. Dae-sung is completely surprised that she is still holding on to this sentiment.

Once outside, Eun-jo runs across Jung-woo. Jung-woo tells her (in satoori) that he’s kept his promise. When he asks, “Noona, don’t you remember me?”, Eun-jo turns back to him.

Simultaneously, we get Ki-hoon’s return to the makgeolli plant. The first person he comes across (again, by the nature of K-dramas) is Hyo-sun. She runs into his arms and gives him a bear hug.

Back to Eun-jo and Jung-woo. Eun-jo tells him that she doesn’t remember who he is and says that he must’ve mistaken her for someone, which just induces frownies all around. But Jung-woo persistently follows her out, telling her once again that it’s him, Jung-woo. (As this point, I am so certain Eun-jo’s pulling a fast one on us because how can someone as smart and observant as she is not remember who Jung-woo is?) Again, she tells him that he really must be mistaken and that he’s probably looking for Hyo-sun, and directs him to her. In a last attempt to remind her who he is, Jung-woo tells Eun-jo that they used to live together at Jang ahjusshi’s place, but everything falls on deaf ears, because it is right at that second that Eun-jo witnesses Ki-hoon coming down the slope, arm-in-arm with Hyo-sun.

And then the next bit I just love. As Ki-hoon sees Eun-jo, he slows down and the subtle sound effect is like that of the wind — almost like the wind is knocked out of the both of them as they see each other for the first time in almost a decade. The walking couple grinds to a halt and Ki-hoon slowly remarks that this is a face that he knows; it must be Hyo-sun’s unni. And then he asks if she remembers him. I love the expression on Moon Geun Young’s face — she’s half issuing a challenge, half submitting a resignation — like she’s daring, just daring, Ki-hoon to say he doesn’t remember her, or to bring up whatever was left unsaid eight years ago when he disappeared.

After a tense second, Eun-jo deliberately says, “Annyonhaseyo,” the meaning being clear that she’s greeting him like she’s meeting him for the first time. If Ki-hoon is surprised, he doesn’t show too much of it outwardly, though there is a subtle clenching of the jaw as he says, “Yes, annyonghaseyo.” At this, Hyo-sun steps in to break up the love politics by asking if her father’s in his office and drags Ki-hoon away from the very intense staring match he was having with Eun-jo. Meanwhile, all about Jung-woo is forgotten as Eun-jo leaves him without a word.

Eun-jo and Dae-sung are in the process of interviewing people for an open position within the company. On the day of the interview, neither interviewees show up, which leaves Eun-jo frustrated. Dae-sung has brought on a third interviewee, who they have to interview now after the two no-shows. It turns out to be Ki-hoon.

As Ki-hoon wastes anxiously outside, Jung-woo is also there, sweeping up. Obviously knowing him from the tense face-off from the other day, Jung-woo sizes Ki-hoon up by asking him if he’s been to the army. Ki-hoon is confused for a second as to who he’s referring to, but after a quick glance around, it must be him who Jung-woo is talking to. He replies affirmative, yes, he’s been to the army. Jung-woo supposes that he must’ve worked in public offices, but Ki-hoon lets him know that he was in the navy. At this, Jung-woo is a little taken aback and cautiously asks him what division. Ki-hoon lets him know it was the 921 division and immediately, Jung-woo drops his broom and gives him a full army salute. LOL I kind of love Jung-woo.

Ki-hoon gets called inside for the interview. Eun-jo asks him why he’s coming to work at this plant when he’s been at better ones — does he plan on working here until a better place scouts him? Ki-hoon tells her that he doesn’t plan on doing that — he’s going to work here because he likes it here and he’s grown up here. He’s lived in this town all his life and if she didn’t already know, he’s got no place to go.

Eun-jo continues to ask him questions about where he went after he went and what he’s done, but we know the underlying premise of these so-called objective questions. Ki-hoon tells her he went to study abroad and after doing so, stayed in New York to complete an internship at a marketing firm. (I love it when Korean dramas just make vague references to studying abroad in New York or doing internships in New York like that is a satisfactory answer to a “Where’ve you been?” question. They don’t work like that.)

One more question: And during all those breaks? Did he once …

Yes, he’s come home every break. At this, Eun-jo’s eyes are downcast. To her, it probably sounds like, “Yes, I’ve come home maybe a billion times in the past eight years. But I’ve never once visited you.” Dae-sung is quick to jump in and yell at the guy for never having called him, but it doesn’t make Eun-jo’s feelings of disappointment any lighter.

Hyo-sun calls up the place that held the ballet audition, presumably to ask about her results. Her voice wavers as she hears her response, which tells us she probably did not pass. (Love her, hate her, Seo Woo is a great actress.) Once again, she hears Eun-jo’s “What’s your dream?” After a little while, however, we hear Ki-hoon’s voice, asking Hyo-sun if she flunked her audition again. Ki-hoon reassures her that she can keep going at it, and she’ll eventually make it. And if she doesn’t, so what? There are so many other fun things in life to do. At this, Hyo-sun asks Ki-hoon where he’s been all this time, coming back so much later. She tells him, “I don’t have dreams, I don’t have plans, I don’t have character. Can a kid like me have a fun life?” She leans into Ki-hoon and by another law of K-drama land, Eun-jo passes them in her car and sees their intimate postures.

In trying to develop a new marketing strategy for Dae-sung’s makgeolli, Eun-jo tests out Hyo-sun as a brand model. She grabs her sister for an impromptu photoshoot, and even though Hyo-sun doesn’t really know what she’s doing, she obliges. After Eun-jo gets her shots, she casually remarks that Hyo-sun’s pretty. Hyo-sun can’t believe her ears, so she makes Eun-jo repeat what she said. Eun-jo reckons that it’s not the first time Hyo-sun has heard someone tell her she’s pretty, so the act of repeating is unnecessary. I think this conversation is a good manifestation of the sister’s relationship, or at least how Hyo-sun regards her sister. There is still a part of her that can’t stand how inherently good Eun-jo is at what she does and how she condescends, but she still wants her approval nonetheless. (Ah, Asian girls, how I sympathize with thee.)

Ki-hoon goes to Eun-jo’s office to hand her a report of costs and expenses for any possible new marketing strategies, but she rejects it, telling him to redo it taking out all the costs of using a model, filming crew, etc. They would do it in-house. He then asks her if she has anything to say to him. She doesn’t. He asks again but only gets a glare from Eun-jo.

We get an interesting bit next with Kang-sook. Apparently she still regularly meets up with Jang-sshi for food and drinks. He convinces her (probably for the nth time) to leave with him, but she tells him he’s crazy for suggesting she leave the lofty lifestyle she has now.

After dinner when Kang-sook gets back, Dae-sung is waiting out front. As is the habit of those who are out doing something they shouldn’t, Kang-sook gets anxious that maybe Dae-sung knew where she was, but he tells her he’s waiting outside for Hyo-sun because her ass got drunk and Eun-jo and Ki-hoon had to go pick her up.

In the car, Ki-hoon turns on music, and asks Eun-jo if she remembers anything. She doesn’t say anything, and shuts it off.

Once at home, the two bring Hyo-sun into her bedroom and once Ki-hoon leave, Eun-jo tucks her sister into bed. On her way back to her room, Eun-jo sees Ki-hoon standing there, mid-walk. He turns to her and asks one more time if she had anything to say to him. Eun-jo doesn’t respond, and Ki-hoon grabs her by the arm and pulls her out the door.

Now Ki-hoon loses all sense of the formality he’s been using to speak to her with, and asks her again in familiar language whether or not she had anything to say to him,

Ki-hoon: You don’t have anything to say to me, you bad girl?
Eun-jo: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Ki-hoon: You bad girl. You pretend not to know me?
Eun-jo: I have to pretend to know you?
Ki-hoon: Do you know how much I…
Eun-jo: Shut your mouth.
Ki-hoon: What?
Eun-jo: Crazy bastard.
Ki-hoon: What?
Eun-jo: What Hyo-sun is, what I am…I didn’t know you were a son of a bitch, but you’re a son of a bitch.
Ki-hoon: No.
Eun-jo: No?
Ki-hoon: It’s not Hyo-sun.
Eun-jo: No?
Ki-hoon: No. That’s not the truth.
Eun-jo: Does Hyo-sun also think that that’s not the truth?
Ki-hoon: I said no, didn’t I? I said no, didn’t I?!
Eun-jo: What are you? You’re fired. Don’t step one foot into this house.

As Eun-jo walks away, Ki-hoon calls after her. After not responding, Ki-hoon calls out one more time.

Eun-jo ya.

This stops Eun-jo dead in her tracks.

Eun-jo ya. Eun-jo ya.

Tears fall out of Eun-jo’s eyes, and tears well in Ki-hoon’s eyes.

Eun-jo ya.

Annnnnnnnnnnd scene.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I don’t think I breathed for much of the last scene. I was going to talk about the content of the dialogue and blah blah blah, but I think I’ll diverge and talk about sound editing instead. The sound editing in this drama is superb. Sound editing, essentially, doesn’t matter until it matters. The point of it is to add pieces to a scene that you didn’t know were necessary, but can do so much for any particular situation in the story.

During the last 30 seconds or so of the last scene, where Ki-hoon is calling out to Eun-jo, two things: one is the wind effect that comes after Eun-jo sheds her first tear, and then the other is the magnified sound of her second tear hitting the ground. FANFUCKINGTASTIC. Like I said about the wind effect in an earlier part of the episode when Eun-jo sees Ki-hoon for the first time in 8 years, it is like an outward manifestation of the wind being knocked out of Eun-jo as she hears her name being called in such a delicate, soft manner — the way she had always wanted to hear it, and the one thing she holds dear to Ki-hoon. The tear-dropping sound is not as dynamic, but it does add a different level to the scene, signifying that in these moments in their relationship, all else is silent; everything else that happens is magnified, which is completely true.

  • clowninpathos

    \(^`^)/ Yay! I’m so glad you’re recapping this. And wanting to catch up. It’s always interesting to read a person’s take on a drama. Even moreso when that said drama is also one you are interested in. :)

  • peteytheparrot

    Thank you so much for your recap!! It’s brilliant and wonderful and detailed – like watching the episode all over again. Keep up the amazing work. :)

    Btw, I just found your blog yesterday, and I have to say, it’s really really gorgeous. The aesthetics are so pretty!