Perfect Wife: Episode 15
Just when it looks like Jae-bok has finally gotten herself and her children free from Eun-hee’s clutches, Jung-hee screws it all up again. His greed and overconfidence make him reckless, which could stir Eun-hee’s anger into something much more dangerous if he’s discovered. As much as Jae-bok would love to let him suffer the consequences of his own actions, Jung-hee is the father of her children, and she can’t leave him to Eun-hee without doing what she can to help.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
When Jae-bok confronts Jung-hee with proof that Eun-hee was his stalker in college, Eun-hee begins stammering more apologies and promises. Sick of hearing them, Jae-bok tells Eun-hee to shut up and stop lying before ordering Eun-hee to get out of her family’s life.
Jae-bok tells Jung-hee that she’s not doing this to get back together with him, she just can’t stand watching him head toward disaster. She tells him to get out of this situation and to stop being a shameful father to their children.
But instead of obeying her as he’s always done, Jung-hee glares back at Jae-bok and asks what’s so shameful about him. He points out that he’s successful now, and he accuses her of resenting him now that he’s doing well for himself. He tears up the article that Eun-hee wrote as Eun-kyung, declaring that he doesn’t care who she used to be.
He pulls Eun-hee to his side and tells Jae-bok that she did everything out of love and that he intends to marry her. A shriek startles all three of them, and they see Jung-hee’s mother standing in the doorway, having heard her son say that he plans to marry his stalker. Shaking with terror, she collapses to the floor.
Jae-bok gets Jung-hee alone to ask if he has his memory back, which he’d lost after Eun-hee tried to kill them both. He says that he remembers, but that Eun-hee is all better now. Jae-bok snaps that she can’t save him from himself and says that it’s really, truly over between them.
She decides that he can’t see the kids whenever he wants, so Jung-hee counters that he wants to renegotiate their custody agreement. Now that he makes more money, he sneers, he can’t allow his children to grow up poor. Jae-bok reminds him that she was the one who paid for the apartment in Eun-hee’s house, and she warns that if Jung-hee pushes this issue, she’ll bring up every single thing he’s done.
Worried about Jae-bok confronting Jung-hee and Eun-hee alone, Bong-gu comes to the house to check on her. He insists on driving her back to Won-jae’s house and grabs her wrist to prove how badly she’s shaking.
Eun-hee thinks it’s terribly romantic that Jung-hee still wants to marry her even after remembering everything, seeing it as proof of how much he loves her. Hyung-sun asks if she’s sure Jung-hee doesn’t have some ulterior motive, but Eun-hee refuses to hear a single bad word about him. Hyung-sun grumbles that Eun-hee loses perspective around Jung-hee, which will be her downfall.
Meanwhile, Jung-hee talks to his mother, reassuring her that he really is fine. He says that he can control Eun-hee so long as he’s careful, since he’s determined to marry her and gain success through her connections. He asks his mother to be strong and trust him for just one year so that he can give his children a better life.
Bong-gu can’t stand to see Jae-bok so preoccupied, so he takes her to see the cherry blossoms. As they walk under the gently falling petals, Jae-bok thanks Bong-gu, but he says that he’s the thankful one and awkwardly murmurs, “Seaweed soup.” He admits that he’d never had it before (that’s so sad – traditionally, mothers make it for their children on their birthday), then he gets adorably embarrassed at his own show of emotion.
He also apologizes for Sugar Mama’s outburst in the office, and Jae-bok says honestly that she doesn’t approve of his lifestyle. Bong-gu gives her his most charming smile and asks how he can raise his score, so Jae-bok allows him a few points for coming to her rescue today.
Won-jae has a grand time remembering her almost-kiss with Sam-kyu… until Hye-ran shows up to burst her bubble. Won-jae reminds her friend that she broke up with Sam-kyu and has no right to be jealous, then she calls him to ask him on a date just to drive home her point.
Hye-ran snatches the phone to screech that she’ll kill Sam-kyu if he dates her friend. Sam-kyu takes the coward’s way out and pretends to get disconnected, but then he squees to himself that Won-jae asked him out. Such a cutie.
Won-jae’s daughter catches the two ladies fighting over Sam-kyu and deadpans that she sees why Jae-bok thinks Hye-ran is like Eun-hee. Then she asks her mother if a man is worth throwing away her twenty-year friendship with Hye-ran. Smart girl.
When Jae-bok gets back, she tells her friends how everything backfired on her tonight. What worries her most is Jung-hee’s threat to sue for custody, because it would mean that her children would have to live with Eun-hee. Won-jae assures Jae-bok that the last thing Eun-hee wants is her kids, so if Jung-hee pushes the issue, Eun-hee will do something to show her true colors.
Arriving back at the house after taking his mother home, Jung-hee runs into Eun-hee — and for one horrifying moment, he sees her as she looked back in college. Eun-hee asks why he pretended not to know her when he knew she used to be Moon Eun-kyung, expressing embarrassment that she’s been assuming he didn’t know.
Jung-hee thinks fast and fibs that he had already started to like her when he remembered, so he didn’t think there was a point in bringing up the past. This dispels Eun-hee’s suspicion, and she throws her arms around him, elated to hear that he’s happy with her. Behind her back, Jung-hee’s face goes slack.
Jung-hee’s mother cries to herself, recalling the days just after Jung-hee broke things off with Eun-kyung, and she tried to kill him. His mom had hovered over his hospital bed, and when he’d woken, he’d hallucinated that she was Eun-kyung. Jung-hee had flipped out, screaming and begging her not to come near him. Now his mother can’t understand how he could marry Eun-hee when he feared her so badly then.
Eun-hee sets up a fancy dinner on the lawn and wears her best dress, and she turns on some music so they can dance. She doesn’t notice Jung-hee’s discomfort, and she thanks him for forgiving her. She says that she’s always regretted that she hurt him once, but Jung-hee says that the future is what’s important.
Giddy with happiness, Eun-hee starts to giggle uncontrollably, then twirls around the yard under the drifting cherry blossoms. Jung-hee watches her, looking scared but trapped.
Worried about money, Jae-bok admits to herself that she talked big to Jung-hee, but she’s more concerned than she let on. As she looks at her sleeping children, she vows that she’ll do anything to protect them.
In the morning, Jung-hee tells Eun-hee that he wants to sue for custody of his children. Eun-hee argues vehemently that children should live with their mother, but Jung-hee makes it clear that his children are his first priority.
Eun-hee follows him downstairs to try and change his mind, but Jung-hee says that if she loves him, then she’ll love his children, too. Growing angry, Eun-hee asks why he can’t respect her wishes, and he says that giving up his kids is the one thing he won’t do. He goes without another word, leaving Eun-hee to throw a tantrum.
Jae-bok instructs her children never to leave school with Eun-hee, no matter what she says. Jin-wook grumbles that he doesn’t like Eun-hee anymore anyway. He cringes when his mom wants him to say he loves her, but little Hae-wook happily chirps that she loves her mommy more than anything. Eun-hee asks if she misses her daddy, and though Hae-wook pouts and says she doesn’t, Jae-bok can tell it’s not true.
Eun-hee lies on her bed, stewing over Jung-hee’s refusal to marry her unless she accepts his children. She pulls herself together and decides that after all these years of planning, she’s not going to lose him over some brats.
She surprises Jung-hee at work with lunch, claiming that she’s worried because he skipped breakfast. She apologizes for arguing about the kids and says that she’ll go along with whatever he wants. She even offers to hire him the best lawyers, which has Jung-hee genuinely thankful.
Eun-hee hugs Jung-hee and sighs that soon they’ll have their own kids. She seems ecstatic at the idea, but Jung-hee grows wary again.
Worried about a possible legal battle, Jae-bok asks Jung-hee’s mother to testify to make sure Eun-hee doesn’t get her children. As scared as she is of Eun-hee, Jung-hee’s mom seems hesitant to testify against her own son.
Jung-hee is annoyed when Jae-bok calls him to her office to talk, but he shows up anyway. Sam-kyu leaves them alone, then he answers a call from Eun-hee, who asks if he has any information for her. He decides not to tell her that Jung-hee is with Jae-bok right now, but she already knows, since she has someone loitering outside his office.
Jae-bok informs Jung-hee that she’s already filed a complaint, and that he’s not allowed to see the children without her permission until the trial is over. He says that he’ll file his own complaint to demand visitation.
When Jung-hee runs into Bong-gu on his way out, he guesses that Bong-gu is acting as Jae-bok’s lawyer. He says darkly that he’ll uncover all of Bong-gu’s filth, but Bong-gu jokingly says that Jung-hee is the filthy one, mentioning the photos that he burned.
Jae-bok pokes her head out, and Jung-hee warns her to be careful of Bong-gu, or he’ll stab her in the back. She retorts that she has no back left after all the times Jung-hee has stabbed her, ha. She calls Bong-gu inside and he goes with a happy smirk, and Jung-hee scoffs at their playful bickering.
They get down to business with the custody case, with Bong-gu confident that the key is proving that Eun-hee is insane. Jae-bok correctly assumes that all of the records have been destroyed, so there’s no chance that Hyung-sun or Jung-hee will testify that she was institutionalized, and she’s not sure about Jung-hee’s mother.
Jae-bok and Bong-gu realize they need to set up a situation where Eun-hee will be seen behaving erratically. Jae-bok asks Bong-gu not to let Na-mi know of their plans, concerned that she’ll do something reckless. Unfortunately, Na-mi is right outside listening to every word, and she smirks like she’s already getting ideas.
Eun-hee also meets with a lawyer, who tells her that they could lose the case if Eun-hee has received psychological treatment in the past. Though Eun-hee informs the lawyer that she’s cured, he still thinks it will be a disadvantage for the trial.
He warns Eun-hee that she must control her emotions until the trial is over, since even with the records destroyed, the opposition knows of her psychological problems. Later, Hyung-sun asks Eun-hee if she can control her temper for that long. Eun-hee says that she’s waited this long for Jung-hee, so she won’t lose control.
Hyung-sun sneers that she already had that one outburst in public, when she passed out in front of a crowd. Eun-hee waves that away like it’s not important, since she didn’t know how Jung-hee felt back then. Her control is immediately tested when she receives a photo from her spy which shows Na-mi and Jung-hee talking together.
Na-mi seems to be aware of the man taking their pictures, as she tells Jung-hee that people at the company are calling him “Cinderella.” She says that she hopes he’s recognized for his own abilities, then denies it when Jung-hee asks if she’s trying to seduce him again. As she walks away, she thinks that this is just the first part of her plan to help Bong-gu by making Eun-hee look crazy.
Eun-hee asks Brian to fire Na-mi, since her flirting with Jung-hee bothers her. He refuses, reminding her that he and Na-mi are dating (it’s not true, but he wants her to think that). Brian asks Eun-hee if being with Jung-hee truly makes her happy, and she says she’s so happy that it makes her afraid.
Out for coffee, Jae-bok asks Bong-gu why he’s being so good to her lately. He gives a vague answer, so she asks what mission he was given by Eun-hee. Bong-gu’s grin slips as he warns that she might be offended, but he tells her honestly that Eun-hee ordered him to seduce her.
Jae-bok goes on a rant about how Eun-hee’s answer to everything is to seduce someone, ha. She asks why Bong-gu isn’t doing as he was told, and he hilariously accuses her of hoping for it. Jae-bok is all, Come at me, I dare you, and Bong-gu throws an arm around her so it will look like he’s doing his job, just in case someone is watching.
Eun-hee’s spy is taking pictures — and luckily, since Bong-gu and Jae-bok are laughing, they’re good enough that Eun-hee believes that Bong-gu is performing his mission well. She goes to see Jung-hee’s mother and catches her taking out the trash, and she tries to approach her. But Jung-hee’s mom recoils from Eun-hee, throws her bags of garbage at her, and runs back inside.
Eun-hee waits for Jung-hee’s mother to come out again, and when she does, Eun-hee falls to her knees to beg forgiveness. Jung-hee’s mom drags her back to her feet, and Eun-hee presses the keys to a luxury apartment on her. Jung-hee’s mom snaps that this won’t work, but she doesn’t refuse the keys, either.
Next, Eun-hee intercepts Jin-wook and Che-ri on their way home from school. Che-ri refuses to leave Jin-wook alone when Eun-hee asks, then blatantly eavesdrops as Eun-hee asks Jin-wook why he doesn’t visit her anymore. Jin-wook reminds her that the last time they spoke, Eun-hee was angry and rude to him.
Eun-hee explains that she wasn’t feeling well, but Che-ri breaks in to say that that’s no excuse, and that Eun-hee went out shopping right after that. Eun-hee apologizes to Jin-wook and says she bought him a new guitar and amp, inviting him to come whenever he wants.
Sam-kyu and Won-jae meet for lunch, where they obviously feel incredibly awkward. Scared of the prices, Sam-kyu fakes an allergy to get out of paying for the meal, but Hye-ran already warned Won-jae how cheap he is. She offers to pay and Sam-kyu experiences a sudden, miraculous recovery.
But they’re both shocked when Hye-ran shows up and invites herself to lunch, then orders the lobster for all three of them. Sam-kyu digs into the succulent lobster obliviously while Won-jae looks like she’s planning to strangle Hye-ran with her own hair.
The next time Eun-hee talks to Brian, she’s startled to learn that he’s not the one who took the photos from her secret room. She wracks her brain trying to think who it may have been, then sends her spy on an emergency errand.
Angry with Na-mi for her interference, Brian roughly drags her aside to warn that he’ll fire her if she keeps it up. Na-mi promises that she’ll stop flirting with Jung-hee, and Bong-gu happens by as she’s pouting at Brian. Brian leaves, and Bong-gu says he came to drive Na-mi home.
Awww, he’s so sweet, he even got her favorite clementines for Na-mi to snack on. He lectures Na-mi that Jung-hee is bad news these days and orders her to stay away from him.
Eun-hee has her spy clone Jung-hee’s phone so that she can track him, read his texts, and even listen in on his calls. She makes a huge fancy meal for dinner, and while they eat, she asks about Na-mi. Jung-hee says they work in different departments, so he doesn’t see her very often.
Seeing the elaborate food, Jung-hee remembers a time when he and the kids met Jae-bok for a simple meal, though Jae-bok had complained that they couldn’t afford it. But then she’d felt guilty when the kids complained that there wasn’t enough, so she ordered more anyway.
Jung-hee tells Eun-hee that he doesn’t feel well and excuses himself. He calls Jae-bok, missing his children, but she says he can’t see them now. He throws on a coat to go anyway, but Eun-hee stops him on his way out. She knows he’s lying about going to the office, but she remembers her lawyer’s warning to keep her temper in check and lets him go.
He picks up Jin-wook from prep school and brings him to Won-jae’s, and the kids are so happy to see him that Jae-bok invites him to dinner. She softens as she watches Jung-hee and Hae-wook feeding each other and snuggling at the table.
Eun-hee waits, but Jung-hee doesn’t return. Eventually she stands, tosses the food to the floor, then storms out of the house. She lets herself into Won-jae’s place, scaring the whole family when they look up to see her staring at them.
She’s frighteningly calm, and when Jae-bok sends him a tiny head-shake, Jung-hee goes with her. Jae-bok asks if Eun-hee is going to apologize for barging in on them, and when Eun-hee stammers that something urgent came up, Jae-bok asks if her anger is that urgent.
Eun-hee holds everything in until she and Jung-hee get outside, then she stops and says that he’s never laughed with her the way she saw him laughing with his children. She asks why he lied to her, but he fires right back, asking why she eavesdropped on his phone call.
She says that she knew he was lying, but he counters that he lied because she wouldn’t have let him go if he’d told the truth. Unable to stay silent about her suspicions, Eun-hee asks if Jung-hee pretended not to remember her in order to use her for her money. Jung-hee tells Eun-hee that it’s not wrong for a father to want to see his kids. Growing more upset, he asks Eun-hee why she lied about having changed since she was Eun-kyung.
He spits that if she acts this way, people will think she’s not sane. Eun-hee’s expression goes scarily neutral as she asks if he’s saying she’s psycho, then she slaps him across the face. She tells him in a cold voice to shut his mouth, but the blow infuriates Jung-hee past the point of reason.
Just as it looks like someone may really get hurt, they hear a noise. They look up to see Jae-bok nearby, filming them with her phone. Jae-bok says the recording is her evidence that Eun-hee has issues with rage and obsession, thus her proof that she and Jung-hee are unfit to have custody of the children.
Eun-hee demands that Jae-bok hand over the phone, and she lunges at her. Jae-bok holds her off long enough for Jung-hee to grab her from behind, but she continues to fight and scream at Jae-bok to give her the phone. Jae-bok coldly says that the more upset she gets, the worse it will go for her.
I know I said that I wanted to see Jung-hee get a backbone and take control of his own life, but now he’s gone and jumped the shark. I know that he’s not really in love with Eun-hee, and I’d been hoping he was planning some sort of revenge. It’s obvious that he finds her repugnant, if not downright horrifying — he can barely look at her, and whenever she touches him he looks like he wants to throw up. He’s so bad at hiding what he’s really feeling that he’s lucky Eun-hee has been too deep in her delusion to notice until now.
If he’s telling the truth and his plan is to use Eun-hee to gain money and power, then (I suppose) dump her after a year, then he’s dumber than I thought. This is a woman who has been stalking his family, buying people, and planning to trick him into coming back to her for over a decade. Does Jung-hee really think that Eun-hee will just give him a divorce and go on her merry way when he decides he’s finished with her? At the very least, he’ll lose the job and money he’d have gotten while with Eun-hee. What does he think he’s going to do after that to continue being successful, even if Eun-hee does let him go peacefully? Which she won’t. There’s no way this plan of Jung-hee’s can succeed.
The only reason I could think of that might explain Jung-hee’s behavior was if he were trying to protect Jae-bok and his kids. By distancing himself from them, he could redirect Eun-hee’s focus off of them and fully onto himself. But then he decided to sue Jae-bok for custody and there went that theory. If he’s really doing all this just to have a fancy job and a good paycheck, then that’s one thing, but to bring his children to live with a woman he knows will harm others to get what she wants is irresponsible and dangerous. Eun-hee isn’t sane, and eventually she’s going to get jealous of the attention Jung-hee gives to his kids, and then who knows what she’ll do. She’s already put a target on their backs by telling her that they’re his first priority, so how much worse will Eun-hee be now that she has a reason to directly target Jin-wook and Hae-wook?
On the other hand, I’m so proud of Bong-gu right now! Not that I was ever really worried, but I was so happy when he told Jae-bok that his mission from Eun-hee was to seduce her. This show is just full of people who let themselves be bought by Eun-hee, and not just bad people, but people who are otherwise decent human beings like Na-mi and Sam-kyu. Even Jung-hee’s mother was swayed by a fancy apartment when she knows more than anyone how badly her son was traumatized by Eun-hee and how his life was ruined. So to see Bong-gu, who previously categorized his dates by their net worth and who let himself be kept by a rich girl who paid for his car and clothes, put his friendship with Jae-bok above money is just really refreshing to see. We know he has feelings for Jae-bok, but I don’t even feel like that’s his main reason for coming clean to Jae-bok about Eun-hee’s mission for him to seduce her.
What I love about Bong-gu as a second lead is that his romantic feelings for Jae-bok always take second place to the respect and admiration he holds for her. We don’t have to suffer through him pining after her — though we see his pain at times, it’s not the primary focus of their relationship. Bong-gu is learning from Jae-bok’s example on how to be a good person: to be honest and not to take advantage of others, and to always do the right thing even if it’s hard. I just think it’s wonderful that for once, the second lead’s role in a drama isn’t to wring more angst out of the audience, but to highlight how he’s being changed for the better by having known the heroine.