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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Suspicious Housekeeper" Episode 9

Park Bok-nyeo's past is coming to haunt her in many forms. The children and Sang-chul are rabidly curious about her and keep questioning her; her mother-in-law's right-hand man threatens her; she meets a face from her past that makes her break her composure for the first time in the drama. All put together, this makes the mystery of Bok-nyeo unravel at a nice pace. Around her, the Eun family is starting to rebuild their ties.


Sang-cheol has chosen his children over his mistress, Song-hwa, which makes her angry and makes her want him even more. She approaches Han-gyeol for permission to date their father and potentially become their mother, which doesn't go over well. It's a question that remains unresolved as Song-hwa goes job-hunting and encounters a potential boss who seems more interested in flirting with her than hiring her. This potential boss is Jang Do-hyung (played by Answer me 1997's and The Princess' Man's charismatic Song Jong-ho.) His role in the drama is twofold: a challenge for Sang-chul as a man in love and as a familiar face from Bok-nyeo's past.

When Bok-nyeo accidentally encounters Do-hyung eating with Song-hwa, she demands in a shriek to know how he is still alive. The break in composure is shocking for Bok-nyeo's character and extremely telling. The Eun family speculates that the man resembles Bok-nyeo's dead husband. While the mystery behind Bok-nyeo is interesting, I'm more curious about Bok-nyeo's past than I am about her mother-in-law threatening her and sending a person to stalk her and make her miserable because of that dark past. It sounds like crazy mother-in-law behavior used to garner viewer interest, which I hate. Bok-nyeo's pain is the meat and potatoes of the show.

Because of Bok-nyeo's boss's involvement, the kids figure out how to get her to talk about her burdens, which is the reveal that next episode will (hopefully) bring. The boss, played by I Hear Your Voice's Kim Hae-sook, has played a quiet, but very important role in helping the Eun family unravel the mystery of Bok-nyeo. She knows about Bok-nyeo's past and seems to be a person that Bok-nyeo will listen to on occasion. She also likes the children's grandfather and knows him from childhood. I don't appreciate all the "coincidental" connections between the characters, but k-drama likes to do that to keep the social world small, controllable and make it easier to unravel mysteries and backstories.

"Suspicious Housekeeper" is starting to branch out of the Eun family/Bok-nyeo centric work and focus more on the other people in the family's lives. Han-gyeol's cheating ex-boyfriend skips school to pay for his low-life dad's debts. This side story seems a bit oddly inserted, but I'm hoping that it will make Han-gyeol continue to open up emotionally. Her worry for her sunbae has also brought her closer to Bok-nyeo - she treats the housekeeper like a mother in moments of emotional needs. This is good for her and Bok-nyeo. I think it also brought Bok-nyeo closer to sharing her past with the family.

One random scene that was absolutely wonderful was when Han-gyeol dreamt that her clumsy aunt and Bok-nyeo switched personalities. It was a way to reveal Bok-nyeo as a human being without telling too much of her past. We can see her lively, in motion and acting (sort of) normally. Great moment. It also confirmed the fact that Choi Ji-woo is an acting goddess.

The drama is chugging right along and dealing with difficult subject material well: parental death, spousal cheating, teenage sex, bullying, societal expectations. Bok-nyeo's willingness to obey every order helps to highlight these issues because she faces them head on. However, as her personal life becomes more involved, she becomes less willing to follow certain orders. I like the disintegration of her established stony character. It it was I wished for in "The Queen's Classroom". It makes Bok-nyeo human and her situation relatable, which is what is needed out of drama: people and issues to connect to.

Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy

"Suspicious Housekeeper" is directed by Kim Hyeong-sik and written by Baek Woon-cheol and features Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sung-jae and Kim So-hyun.


Broadcast starting date in Korea : 2013/09/23

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