2013/10/29 | 2063 views | | Permalink
Park Bok-nyeo is a housekeeper no longer. She is now a single-minded woman on a mission to obliterate the living demons from her past. After sharing her sad tale with the Eun family, she leaves them to chase down Song-hwa's new boss who resembles a man she thought was dead, Seo Ji-hoon.
The story of Bok-nyeo's past is heart-breaking. She was neglected by her mother, studied hard to appease said mother, abused by her stepfather and stalked by a student she tutored, Seo Ji-hoon. He forced her to flee the country, where she met and married her husband. But Ji-hoon wouldn't leave her alone and her family died in a fire because of it. As Bok-nyeo tells the family that she heard her son screaming her name, the sound of a young boy's anguished voice punctuates her tears. Her mother-in-law blames her for conspiring with Ji-hoon in planning her husband's and son's deaths. A detective, the man who was stalking Bok-nyeo, is searching for her and questions Sang-chul about her behavior and whereabouts. Sang-chul tells the detective about the reappearance of Ji-hoon who is supposed to be dead.
All of this makes for a very strong start to the second half of the "Suspicious Housekeeper". Now that the family is back together and supporting each other, the focus turns to Bok-nyeo in earnest. The Eun family supports her and wants to help her, but she is determined to end this herself by killing Ji-hoon if he indeed is the same Ji-hoon from her past. At the end of the episode he admits he is and then he poses a challenge, "What are you going to do about it?"
Song Jong-ho is marvelous as a villain. His entrance last episode was goosebump-inducing in how he lecherously hit on Song-hwa and he continues to be creepy. He is spot on in his portrayal of Ji-hoon's tendency to get a little too close a little too quickly and how he masks his inappropriate speech and behavior with more wordplay.
Ji-hoon hires Song-hwa and Sang-chul, surely not coincidentally, to help him create a China Town. He will probably interfere with the Eun family because Bok-nyeo cares for them and because they won't give up on her. They're still in her life. When Bok-nyeo leaves, the youngest follows her, crying "mom" after the woman who became her surrogate mother. Little Kang Ji-woo is a scene stealer as young Eun Hye-gyul.
The newly reunited family unit will be tested by Bok-nyeo's past and by Sang-chul working with Song-hwa. Thus far, Sang-chul is doing a wonderful job of putting the prideful and selfish Song-hwa in her place. She asks him to "reset" their relationship to the beginning and then rags on him for checking up on Bok-nyeo. He tells her, in no uncertain terms, to mind her business. It's a glorious moment for his character and for the plot. He grew and now has an even angrier ex-mistress to contend with.
There are a few side plots that seem random. One involves Han-gyeol's ex-boyfriend who used her. His low-life father took his guitar and amp to pay off his debts. Han-gyeol works with the band to raise money for a new guitar. It shows her growing up and learning to care for others. But then why is she the only child in the Eun family with a friend circle? Why show her ex-boyfriend? The other side plot has to do with the nosy neighbor's husband cheating on her with a writer at work. Again, this subplot seems out of place unless it will later converge around Bok-nyeo's mystery.
Just as Bok-nyeo helped the family reunite, the family will help Bok-nyeo piece back the pieces of her broken soul. Sang-chul asks her at one point if his family could be the reason for her to live. It definitely gives Bok-nyeo pause before she goes off to exact her revenge. She has two possible reasons to live: revenge and to help a family that needs her. She is too blinded by pain to see the second reason clearly. Hopefully the family can help her without getting hurt.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Suspicious Housekeeper" Episode 10"
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53rd Baeksang Arts Awards 2017