What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim Episode 10: A Tangled Web

One hug? That’s all we get? Some major discoveries are made by Mi So and the audience in this episode. But you can’t keep doling out adorable kisses and then make us quit cold turkey. It’s just not fair!

That’s our girl!

I underestimated our brave Secretary Kim. When Young Joon responds to her call of Sung Hyun Oppa, she doesn’t pretend he dreamed it or try to act like she said something else. She faces the problem head on and asks again for the truth about the past. Young Joon shuts her down and says he was just half-asleep and she shouldn’t attach importance to anything he said.  Later, he sits at home reliving another disturbing memory from the past and tells himself that she doesn’t need to know. His reason? He doesn’t want her to cry anymore. But he should know his tenacious girlfriend better than that. When her boss won’t tell her anything, she goes to his mother and asks her if they had ever changed Young Joon’s name when he was a boy. The mom denies that she said the name Hyun before and that Secretary Kim must have misheard her. The problem with this stonewalling tactic is that Mi So is starting to remember more and more. She can now see the face of the boy that she was with all those years ago, and older brother Sung Yeon doesn’t have the same agenda as his mother. Mi So finds two pictures of the brothers as children and asks him which one he is. He points to the one that she doesn’t recognize, confirming that it WAS Young Joon with her in the spider house all those years ago.

Your family is my family

We take a much needed break from the Lee family drama by visiting Mi So’s sisters. She heads on a beach trip with them to remember their mother’s birthday, and her overdressed but earnest Vice President makes an unexpected appearance. He’s already pumped his best friend for advice on how to impress your girlfriend’s family and is ready to pander all day if necessary. Young Joon quickly fesses up to the change in their relationship status and the oldest sister is especially unhappy with the news. He tries to win her over by devouring his weight in seafood to show that he’s ordinary people just like them, and the younger sister seems ready to accept him. But older sis is still the holdout. So Young Joon trades his suit for waders and an ahjumma visor and digs for clams with all his might to once again prove his worth. The recalcitrant sister finds his sincerity hard to resist (who wouldn’t?), especially when she realizes he’s been working with indigestion from eating too much. She applies the Korean home remedy of pricking his finger for him, and even offers to do it again next time. Young Joon latches on to that “next time” like a trophy and is in danger of pounding the bread dough he is kneading into oblivion with his joyful punches.

Don’t these people have homes?

Young Joon isn’t the only one making progress over the weekend. Instead of spending their Saturday with families, the work crew invites themselves over to Ji Ah’s new place for a housewarming party. The lip-pursing Section Head Bong makes a run to the store to get more refreshments partway through and gets a lecture from the supermarket worker when she eats too many free samples. The lady shames her by saying she’s not going to buy anything anyway. Cue the epic soundtrack as Secretary Yang shows up to rescue her once again. He grabs three bags of the meat and asks the woman not to embarrass people. When he walks away, Bong follows him like an adoring puppy. The housewarming party moves to a nearby restaurant and Secretary Yang once again makes an impression when he sings a fabulous version of “This is the Moment” from the stage musical Jekyll and Hyde. (This song has popped up in multiple shows. Why does South Korea love it so much? Is it connected with some famous event in their pop culture? If anybody knows, please tell us in the comments.) Section Head Bong just about swoons under the table. After one two many drinks, she staggers down the hall with Secretary Yang not far behind. She starts a whole internal monologue about whether or not she should tell him she likes him, only she does it out loud. The object of her affection looks none to upset with the news and methinks an office couple is about to be born.

And the Best Parent of the Year award goes to . . .

Fans of the Jung So Min/Lee Min Ki couple in Because This Is My First Life must be pretty happy with their cameos in this episode. They play the younger version of Mi So’s parents in a flashback and are just as sweet and loving as we would hope. Rocker dad is excited about winning a singing trophy for his wife’s birthday, but his plans are derailed when they lose the car keys at the beach. Mi So’s mom assures him that this present is just as good as they look for clams and frolic with their happy daughters in the water. Older sister tells Young Joon that mom was only able to keep that promise for one year before she passed away, but the girls still come to the beach annually to remember her. Mi So later opens up to Young Joon about how she missed her mother while she was in the hospital, but was so excited to see her show up one day at the playground. She didn’t find out until later that it was because the doctors couldn’t do anything else for her. Despite being in so much pain, her mom had laughed and played with her daughter as if nothing was wrong. (Is anyone else feeling teary?)

And the Worst Parent of the Year award goes to . . .

I normally like Young Joon’s mom, but the woman has made some baaaaaaad life choices. Her conversation with Secretary Kim forces her to reconsider past decisions and she tells her husband that it’s time to be honest with the kids.  So what does she do? She sits down with JUST her older son to let him know that his years of creepy memories and resentful feelings toward his brother are incorrect. Ummm. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for your younger son to be there if you’ve been lying to both of them? An understandably distraught Sung Yeon searches out Mi So to confirm what his mother told him because he just can’t accept it. He finds her at a giant, business showcase and tries to broach the difficult subject but Mi So is distracted by the magician’s assistant being lowered from the rafters on a swing. The woman’s red shoes and long, dark hair unlock a door in Mi So’s mind and she is transported back to that scary room, which is now even more terrifying than they’ve previously shown us. Their unbalanced captor is yelling at the kids and the little girl remarks that something is wrong with Aunty. Her oppa tells her that she isn’t their aunt. She’s just a big spider. (Well that explains a lot.) Although the cuts are quick, it looks like the woman hangs herself in the next room and Young Joon tries to keep the tiny Mi So from seeing. The horrific memories overwhelm Secretary Kim and she collapses to the floor. Sung Yeon tries to wake her but is pushed aside by a panicked Young Joon who gathers her in his arms.

So now we know for sure that Young Joon was the oppa in the spider house and his parents lied to the kids and said it was Sung Yeon for a reason that is yet to be revealed. The family went through a heinous time after the kidnapping when Sung Yeon continually attacked his younger brother.  Was it a guilty conscience? Remember that Young Joon was a genius even as a child. My theory is that he faked losing his memory to try and bring some peace to the family. He probably had no idea that his parents would rewrite history and even change his name. Talk about an identity crisis!  But even if he truly had amnesia and only recovered his memories later, I still think this was a terrible idea! It may have brought a surface peace to the family, but both brothers suffered from nightmares and a fractured relationship afterwards. Burying the truth didn’t solve anything, yet Young Joon is making the same mistake as his parents. He wants to protect Mi So from the ugliness of the past, but she is nothing if not a fighter. I trust our girl to keep facing problems head on and giving the man she loves the courage to face them, as well.

It’s surprising that this much of the mystery is revealed when it’s only episode ten. I hope the next six episodes aren’t going to be filled with angst and psychological breakthroughs. I admit it. I’m watching this show for the Rom and the Com. And I’m afraid the production has reached the point where they are staying just barely ahead of the air date. Although the acting is still great, there have been a few sloppy cuts from one scene to the next. The pilot episode delivered beautiful angles and lighting, but now it seems more status quo. Don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the show, and they still include lots of cute sound effects and cartoons. But I hope the overall quality doesn’t suffer as they hurry to crank them out. The curse of the live-shoot. *Sigh*

Until next time. Keep the K-love alive!


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

5 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim Episode 10: A Tangled Web

  1. I’m assuming writers love to play with the Jekyll/Hyde element since so many know the story and character and the split personality thing is pretty big in dramas. I don’t know much about the musical theatre scene in South Korea, but “This Is The Moment” was a pretty popular audition/recital piece when I was I was in high school/college actively pursuing acting/theatre. Maybe that’s the connection?

    I fall in love with Secretary Kim more every episode. She’s just so great. And the bit about the spider being the woman and not an actual spider? Such a good detail.

  2. I don’t think the mystery is really answered at this point…. we’ve got a big piece, but there are still a lot of questions. How did the woman find them/why did she choose them? The thing about the dad being at work… and she wanted to kill them too but then didn’t. How did they get away? It looked like his feet were still tied when he was trying to prevent her from seeing the corpse. Why did the parents lie? Why didn’t Mi So’s family know she was gone?

    Some of these will almost certainly be answered in the next episode… but I feel like there’s a lot of reasoning and implications and tangled (spider?) webs to unravel that will hopefully be plenty of fodder for the next six episodes.

    Also, they’re stepping up the side stories, so I’m really hoping that they will be able to keep the fun mix high, even if our main plot line goes inevitably angsty.

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