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Beauty Inside: Episode 12

Unwelcome meddlers poke around at our leads’ secrets, causing our secret bearers to be on defense. Do-jae finds unexpected allies amongst family and new friends while Se-kye gains an irksome snooper that threatens her livelihood. As Se-kye tries to bluff her way out of her corner, she finds herself stuck in one of her worst nightmares.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Do-jae speeds home after misidentifying Woo-mi as Se-kye, and a call from worried Se-kye is interrupted by Sa-ra. She throws an envelope at him and demands to know if he really can’t identify faces.

Do-jae starts to speculate how Sa-ra intends to manipulate his weakness, but Sa-ra deplores his accusations that she would stoop so low. Do-jae realizes Sa-ra’s concern is sincere and invites her inside to discuss further.

Looking at the medical files, Sa-ra resents herself for misunderstanding Do-jae’s condition as being rude and aloof. Do-jae says that he could recognize Sa-ra by her fearless walking, and her anger frequently made her speak up first. He acknowledges that he caused that anger and apologizes, but Sa-ra looks more apologetic.

Sa-ra asks how he recognized Professor Kang, and Do-jae explains that he never needed to put in an effort because his stepfather always reached out first despite not knowing his condition. Do-jae admits that he’s surprised by Sa-ra’s reaction because she’s unexpectedly acting like a real younger sister. Sa-ra walks out grumbling about Do-jae’s low expectations.

At home, Se-kye covers up Do-jae’s mishap, but Woo-mi can sense the secret. Despite her suspicions, she decides not to inquire further because she knows that Se-kye would have told her if this was something she could share.

Secretary Jung calls Do-jae’s doctor to ask if Do-jae’s condition can worsen, but Doc says that the incurable condition can’t worsen or improve. Doc says that he merely helped Do-jae accept his condition, which is the only way to improve Do-jae’s life.

The next day, Do-jae informs Secretary Jung that his secret leaked to Sa-ra. Someone dug up his medical documents, and Secretary Jung commits to looking for the culprit. Do-jae calls him by name before he leaves to thank him, and Secretary Jung lightens the mood by joking that Do-jae could increase his salary to express his gratitude.

In Do-jae’s car, Se-kye worries about Woo-mi’s suspicions, but Do-jae feels assured by Se-kye’s concern. Since Woo-mi is someone who will be with Se-kye for life, Do-jae decides that he has no other choice than to appeal to Woo-mi if he wants to be with Se-kye for life as well.

Se-kye invites Woo-mi and Eun-ho to have soju with Do-jae because she can’t imagine disclosing their secrets sober. Sufficiently drunk, Woo-mi finally sympathizes with Do-jae and realizes that his condition made him appear rude. She apologizes for disliking him, and Do-jae seems surprised at Woo-mi’s honest confession. Eun-ho bluntly seconds that he didn’t particularly like him either, causing Do-jae to giggle drunkenly.

Do-jae asks about Se-kye’s schedule tomorrow, and Woo-mi tells him that she’s slightly changing her hair for an ad shoot. Woo-mi offers to send Do-jae photos of Se-kye every time her appearance changes, but Se-kye accusingly asks why Woo-mi would message her boyfriend. Woo-mi and Eun-ho gag at Se-kye’s defensive cuddling, saying that they didn’t raise her this way.

Then, Do-jae suddenly asks why Eun-ho claimed that Se-kye was showering when he picked up her phone. Se-kye and Woo-mi to crack up, teasing Eun-ho for his innocence, but Eun-ho fusses that he knows what that meant. Do-jae continues to ask, but he’s drowned out by Woo-mi and Se-kye’s loud teasing of Eun-ho’s cute tantrum that he knew that showering implied becoming parents. Do-jae mumbles to himself that it’s fine.

On their night walk to sober up, Se-kye thanks Do-jae for accepting her friends. Do-jae admits that he never expected to have friends after acquiring his condition and credits love for also bringing him friendship. Se-kye says that he already had both, since friendship is just another form of love.

Yoo-ri meets up with her hired spy, and she learns about some suspicious activity from the surveillance cameras from the wake. Se-kye is never spotted entering the bathroom — only exiting — and Yoo-ri remembers the older woman bawling at the bathroom sink.

She then recalls the child actor who suddenly appeared on set and eavesdropping on Se-kye’s conversation with Woo-mi. Yoo-ri puts together the pieces and thinks she’s going crazy, but she figures that this is the only explanation.

At the hair salon the next day, Yoo-ri runs into Se-kye and asks about the child actor who suddenly appeared like magic when Se-kye disappeared. Woo-mi claims that the child actor was her relative, and Yoo-ri asks for the child’s contact information.

From behind, another customer complains about the noise and points to Yoo-ri to be quiet. It’s Sa-ra, and she looks at Yoo-ri blankly when Yoo-ri flips her hair and assumes that she’ll be recognized. Sa-ra feigns ignorance and tells Yoo-ri to introduce herself, causing Se-kye and Woo-mi to snicker at Yoo-ri’s mortification. Sa-ra once again disses Yoo-ri by recognizing Se-kye but not her, causing Yoo-ri to storm out.

When Se-kye thanks Sa-ra for her help, Sa-ra claims she wasn’t trying to help and complained because it was actually noisy, but that’s her way of saying “you’re welcome.” Sa-ra says that it’s her first time at the salon, but she won’t be returning because she’s uncomfortable, looking at Se-kye to indicate her reason.

Before Sa-ra leaves, Se-kye tells her that Eun-ho is waiting for her call. Sa-ra says that he can wait a little longer and walks out. Woo-mi asks Se-kye if Eun-ho really has a rich girlfriend now and sounds like she’s about to curse him but praises him instead.

As expected, Eun-ho lies in bed checking his phone for any word from Sa-ra and sighs in defeat. When Eun-ho leaves his room to head to work, his family surprises him with a cake to celebrate his mother’s acceptance of his dreams. Eun-ho remembers his cake for Sa-ra and wonders aloud if he shouldn’t become a priest.

Eun-ho doesn’t explain further and numbly leaves for work, leaving his family to wonder why he changed his mind. His mom is convinced that God heard her prayers, but his sister speculates that Eun-ho may have a girlfriend.

Director Kim meets with Sa-ra’s fiancé, Ki-ho, who confirms their plan to drag down Do-jae and put Sa-ra in his place. Director Kim knows their next step after that and pledges his allegiance to Ki-ho. He asks to know about Do-jae’s weakness, but Ki-ho is waiting to reveal at the right time.

Walking through the mall, Ki-ho comments on Sa-ra’s new hair and asks if she liked his gift. Sa-ra says that it’ll either be a gift or a bomb, depending on where they send the information. Noticing Sa-ra’s indifference, Ki-ho angrily reminds her that she approached him first about taking over the family company. Sa-ra says that she used to be that person and walks away.

Ki-ho grabs Sa-ra from behind and shoves her at an incoming couple, causing them to spill their coffee on themselves and Sa-ra’s boots. Short-tempered Ki-ho stuffs a few bills into the man’s pocket as compensation without a single word of apology and tells them to leave. As they walk off, Sa-ra deprecates Ki-ho’s lack of apology, and he goads her and says to just buy a new pair of shoes.

Then, they look down to find Eun-ho cleaning Sa-ra’s boot with his sleeve. Sa-ra notes that she must have done her hair for Eun-ho to notice, and Ki-ho walks off in a huff. Eun-ho asks why Sa-ra didn’t call, and she says that she’ll call him now. He says that he can’t go now because he needs to sell a load of bags, so Sa-ra easily takes care of it with her credit card.

Eun-ho takes Sa-ra to his regular pojangmacha spot and asks if she’s fine with this setting. Sa-ra asks him the same question and explains that she’s taking a step into Eun-ho’s life. He nods that it’s fine and tells her not to worry about his stained shirt from cleaning her shoe, since he can just buy another shirt. Sa-ra worries that he’s wasting money because of her, but Eun-ho assures her that he can just earn more money.

Sa-ra asks why Eun-ho wants to become a priest, and Eun-ho says that he has no reason — comparing his wish to become a priest to the subconscious desire to become better. Sa-ra likes that he had no reason because she always had a reason: to survive and not appear weak. She says that those reasons collectively defined her and became a habit.

Sa-ra accepts Eun-ho’s dream to become a priest and agrees to cede to the higher power, but Eun-ho asks why she gets to decide that. He confesses that he wants to know why his dream changed from pursing priesthood to Sa-ra, but Sa-ra points out that he doesn’t like bad people.

Doubting that a bad person and a good person could be together, Sa-ra suggests that they can be friends. Eun-ho responds that there’s no such thing as friends between a man and a woman, and he drinks to that. Sa-ra looks alarmed by his sincere insistence on figuring out their relationship.

As Se-kye inspects the white porcelain, Do-jae notes her resemblance to the piece. Se-kye takes another look and asks if she’s round like the vase, which Do-jae jokingly confirms. She says that Do-jae must have thought of her every time he looked at the white porcelain and asks when he started to make that connection.

Do-jae explains that he noticed to resemblance when he started to understand Se-kye and wanted to understand her more. That ultimately resulted in him loving her. He shares, “I feel like I crossed over from an era where I feared everything to an era where I don’t fear anything. Because I met you.” Se-kye looks touched and says that it’s a relief that they met each other.

Do-jae remembers that her transformation day is near, and Se-kye seems impressed at his accurate prediction. She proposes that they stay together all day when she transforms, and Do-jae agrees.

As Woo-mi arrives at Se-kye’s house with the dog, she runs into the hired spy and suspiciously asks who he is. He tries to act natural by claiming, “It’s me.” Woo-mi mistakenly assumes it’s Se-kye and worries about the sudden transformation. She assumes that “Se-kye’ is going to meet with Do-jae, and the spy goes along with the conversation. The dog barks at this stranger, and Woo-mi heads inside assuming that the dog is cold.

Se-kye returns home in her original body, which shocks Woo-mi that she transformed back already. Then, it dawns on her that she misidentified a stranger as Se-kye, and they set out to catch this spy.

In the morning, the spy photographs Se-kye as she takes her dog on a walk, but it’s a trap by Woo-mi and Se-kye to catch this guy in his car red-handed. They figure out that Yoo-ri is the culprit, and Se-kye decides to take matters into her own hands.

Se-kye threatens to sue Yoo-ri, but Yoo-ri doesn’t back down. Yoo-ri shows her the surveillance camera footage from the wake and also finds it strange that Woo-mi identified the spy as Se-kye.

Yoo-ri then points out that Se-kye always asks for a week off every month in her contracts and knows that she’ll disappear again in a couple of days. Se-kye’s smile drops at Yoo-ri’s accurate prediction of her transformation time, and Yoo-ri explains that she calculated the days after the suspicious appearance of the child actor.

Se-kye walks out on the conversation, but Yoo-ri follows her into the elevator. Yoo-ri taunts her about running away, so Se-kye stops the elevator and proposes that they stay there all night until Se-kye transforms. Yoo-ri suggests an easier method and invites her to star on her 24-hour reality show. Se-kye bluffs and agrees to make an appearance.

Woo-mi curses Yoo-ri for setting Se-kye up for mortification, and Se-kye deflates that it was about time for someone to discover her secret. Woo-mi won’t let that happen and tells Se-kye to trust her.

Do-jae unknowingly passes by Sa-ra at work, and Sa-ra covers for him by adopting her angry opponent persona when she notices Director Kim nearby. She accuses Do-jae for ignoring her, and before he can explain, she also accuses (and identifies for Do-jae) Director Kim of ignoring her. Director Kim exchanges pleasantries with them before Sa-ra and Do-jae head off, and he can’t quite put a finger on his suspicions about Do-jae.

In his office, Do-jae thanks Sa-ra for helping him, and she says that she didn’t want someone else to beat her punching bag, which again is her way of saying “you’re welcome.” Sa-ra notices her fish well and alive in his fish tank, and Do-jae says that it’s his favorite fish.

Do-jae says that he didn’t recognize her because she called him oppa and because of her changed style. He asks if she’s come to confirm his condition, and Sa-ra responds that she’s visiting to figure out where her heart lies. She decides that she’ll feel uncomfortable with her initial decision, so she reveals the source of the medical documents: Ki-ho, who’s teaming up with Director Kim to bring down Do-jae.

Sa-ra confesses that she was originally on their side, but just now decided to betray them. Do-jae wonders if Sa-ra is helping him because she pities him, but Sa-ra denies this and admits that she’s doing this because her crush likes nice people. With that, she walks out before Do-jae can grill her on this person.

Se-kye transforms into an older man and can’t answer an incoming call from Yoo-ri, who waits to be interviewed with Se-kye. Yoo-ri tells the interviewer that Se-kye isn’t answering her calls, and the interviewer curses Se-kye for running away again. Yoo-ri smiles at her prediction of Se-kye’s disappearance and decides to bring the interviewer to Se-kye’s house without permission.

Transformed Se-kye receives a message from Yoo-ri about coming to her, and she calls Woo-mi for help. Woo-mi escorts old man Se-kye into a taxi with her dog to relocate them to her house. She tells Se-kye to trust her, and old man Se-kye silently squeezes her hand.

In her car, Woo-mi calls Eun-ho and orders him to go to her house to look after Se-kye. Then, she messages Reporter Park that she got into accident and gives herself a pep talk — this is her mistake; she’s Se-kye’s representative and friend, so she needs to take responsibility. She starts her engine, speeds down the street, and crashes into a tree.

The interviewer sees the news of Woo-mi’s hospitalization after a car accident and tells Yoo-ri that Se-kye canceled everything on her schedule due to this. Yoo-ri seems impressed that Se-kye would resort to these methods and suspects that it’s a lie, but Woo-mi is actually injured and unconscious at the hospital.

Eun-ho finds Woo-mi unconscious in the hospital, and Se-kye sees the news of her friend’s accident. She calls Eun-ho, who confirms Woo-mi’s hospitalization and assures her that he’s headed to her. Se-kye drops her head in guilt.

Do-jae runs into the hospital and asks if anyone else — a man, a woman, or a kid — was brought to the hospital with Woo-mi. The nurse doesn’t find any records of another person involved in the accident, so Do-jae calls Eun-ho, who informs him that Se-kye is staying at Woo-mi’s house.

When Eun-ho arrives at Woo-mi’s house, he finds it empty and calls Do-jae to inform him that Se-kye has disappeared. He doesn’t notice hooded older man Se-kye pass by in the opposite direction. Se-kye messages Do-jae apologizing that she’ll be gone for a while, and Do-jae also finds Se-kye’s house empty.

More than a week passes by without a word from Se-kye, and Do-jae continues to send pleading messages without a single response. When he notices a woman with a white dog, he orders Secretary Jung to pull over and races over to check the person’s identity, but it’s not Se-kye.

Do-jae hopelessly walks through the streets, only looking up to catch a glimpse of Se-kye’s ad on the big screen. He crosses the street at a crosswalk, and older man Se-kye passes by him in a hood and mask. Do-jae doesn’t notice her, but upon reaching the other side of the street, he turns around and recognizes the older man as Se-kye.

Facing Do-jae from the other side of the street, Se-kye calls him and reveals her unfamiliar face. She tells him that she hasn’t been able to transform back to her original self. Do-jae looks at Se-kye longingly, but when a bus passes by, Se-kye disappears once again.

 
COMMENTS

So… now I’m trying to imagine Do-jae loving this older man Se-kye forever, but it’s tough. I was really into the idea of Do-jae loving Se-kye even if she was trapped in a transformation, but now that I’m seeing it, the idea doesn’t appeal to me as much. I think it’s because our main couple’s relationship doesn’t seem that complicated anymore — no more secrets, no more disapproving families, no more sudden family illnesses — so this transformation just seems like an interruption for the sake of conflict.

A tricky thing about fantasy elements in a real-world based drama is always the boundaries and rules of the fantasy mechanism. Se-kye’s transformation has loose rules — once a month, with a buffer of a couple days — so that gives the writers a lot of wiggle room to build conflicts and hijinks. Once you break those rules, it’s hard not to question the capricious nature of the mechanism and the story’s consistency. Until we get a proper explanation of the root cause, I’ll be watching these transformations with a healthy dose of skepticism.

I’m feeling the story plateauing just a bit, and I found Woo-mi’s car accident to be a bit extreme as a cover-up for Se-kye’s transformation. Even though some moments did feel contrived, I always found the story and conversations to be quite thoughtful. But I’m struggling to extract meaning from this one. I felt that Woo-mi’s accident and Eun-ho reason for becoming a priest were not super thought-out, but I’m hoping that the next episode quickly dispels my doubts about the dwindling story. You can do it, show! Prove me wrong.

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