The Secret Garden, the 3rd and 4th episodes

Ah, to go from euphoria to melancholy in such a short time. The honeymoon phase of a sweet courtship, however one sided, lasts oh-so-short, and the reality of their relationship splashes us like cold water in bitter winter morning.

More than the social differences between them, it is the multifaceted but not necessarily well-rounded personality of our prince charming that’s shattering our otherwise storybook fairytale dream of a perfect romance. Apparently, besides good looks and sensibility, he also wants culture, elegance, and sophistication from his woman as well.

For example, in episode 3, 01:54, when he brings her up to his own office with “more quantity than quality” of food to impress her, she grabs her chair in self-defense as he is pulling the chair out for her. As she looks at him bewildered, he is just as puzzled, “I’m pulling out the chair so that you can sit more comfortably.”

Realizing her faux pas, but too proud to admit it, she grumbles, “No thanks. Do it for some other woman.”

He looks at her like she has horns or something, and as he walks back to his seat can’t resist poking fun at her, “All these years, there hasn’t been one guy who pulled out a chair for you?”

She huffs, “If we’re not going to pray, I can extinguish these, right?”

Then she proceeds to put out all the candle lights with her spoon.

He is flabbergasted, “Candle lights are a given standard for a meal.”

“A standard for me is 3 beers and a bowl of fruit.”

It becomes apparent that she thinks he is just playing with her. She tells him not to come to the Action School anymore as she leaves, because that’s not a place he can come “just because he is bored.”

He follows her, and he prevents her from eating her bowl of rice downstairs in episode 3, 03:15, “What are you doing? I don’t understand this present situation. Try to make me understand.”

“To me, this is more comfortable.”

“What was uncomfortable for you upstairs? Candle lights? Wine? Or my pulling out the chair?”

“All three.”

She doesn’t want to have anything to do with him and wants to settle the score with 4,000 Won for the hospital bill and for the food she never touched.

He tells her, “You’re overreacting. The only thing I wanted was for you to stop saying that you’re sorry.”

She makes her point to him that apologizing is how she makes her living and that he has now just made her life that much harder for her.

The two cousins’ heart-to-heart, part 1

Joo-won is perplexed about his feelings for La-im. In episode 3, 16:10, he walks in on one of Oska’s conquering moments, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I have something to ask you.”

“I’ve already told you I won’t do that romantic (promotional vacation) trip.” (Oska says, that nang-man or na-bal trip. Nang-man means romantic whereas similar-sounding na-bal means a snout of a pig usually used as an offensive description of either talking trash or talking a lot. Another wordplay)

“I’ve told you not to agonize over that because you’ll end up doing it anyway.”

Oska makes unhappy gestures with his lips.

“Aside from that, do you remember the house I’ve told you before? The kind that could appear on the cover of the National Geographic? Gil La-im lives in one of those houses.”

Oska scoffs, “You know, you’re wearing that name on your lips an awful lot.”

“I think her educational background is not impressive, and her language selections are very coarse. At times she resorts to violence, too. By any chance, have you dated someone like that?”

Scoffing, “Drives me nuts. Of course! Park Chae-ri, before she became a big star, was like that.”

JW looks at his cousin with a new-found pity, “You are something else. At least, Gil La-im has a flare about her.”

Oska doesn’t disagree.

JW goes on, “Okay. What about… let’s say somehow you were hit by a woman. Was there ever a time when it felt good?”


“Even if I get hit more, I think it would still feel good. In fact, I sort of want her to hit me some more – you know that kind of weird feeling.”

Oska looks disgusted, “Errl. This is why they say people with more education are worse. What about getting tied up? You wear hand cuffs, too?”

JW gets angry, “Ah! I’m not talking about that kind of thing…” He gives up, “That’s okay. Just work on reconnecting the broken ambience.” He means for Oska to reconnect his romantic mood with the woman. But JW can’t resist needling his cousin as he leaves, “That gown, I think Park Chae-ri wore that very gown.”

“Hey!” Oska denies the accusation vehemently to the now irate woman. “No. He is mistaken.” Then, Oska makes the situation even worse, “Chae-ri wore my gown.” At least he put his fingers, not his foot, in his mouth.

A glutton for punishment, that Miss Plastic

In episode 3, 22:52, his cousin’s old flame Yoon-seul shows up in front of JW’s house with an excuse of business with Oska. JW looks annoyed as he gets out of his car. He walks up to her, and they are standing face to face.

She breaks the silence, “Aren’t you surprised?”

After a few seconds of no expression, he feigns to be surprised, which totally tickles her fancy pink. Giggling, “You have a totally unexpected cute side to your personality.”

“Yes.” He agrees with a straight face.

Further delighted by another unexpected humor, she is beside herself with more giggling, “So this is why Mr. Kim Joo-won has a bad boy reputation.”

Genuinely surprised, “You sure it’s me?”

“You didn’t know? With your background, looks, and humor, you’re so perfect that you give others inferiority complex.”

“I see. And it’s not like I can go around apologizing to everyone…(it’s a dilemma). By the way, what brings you here?”

“I came to see Director Choi due to work related matters. And he happened to mention that you live right here. As long as I knew that, I thought it would be a bad manner to leave without saying hello. Are you busy today?”

No hesitation on his part, “I’m not busy. I have the rest of the day off.”

Pure delight showing on her face, “Oh, that’s great news. I happened to be off today, too.”

“I see. Then have fun on your day off.” With that, he leaves her again with her mouth open in total shock. She says to herself, “Perhaps he’s too tough a nut to crack. Maybe he has another cousin?”

The confession

In the episode 3, 24:25, the four 10,000 Won bills on his coffee table reminds him of her again. He comes up with a way to see La-im again. He calls his friend the psychiatrist and asks her to get the hospital bill. After she hangs up, the amused psychiatrist says to herself, “He is dating.”

In episode 3, 32:53, I don’t think Gil La-im looks as though she regrets, as he warned her, asking him to do the sit ups correctly, but she does look very uncomfortable when he comes up within inches of her face every time he does the sit up. Staring at her face with a smug smile on his face, this time not even bothering to go down, “Since what age did Ms. Gil La-im become so pretty? Since last year?”

She’s had enough and gets up. He protests, “Why are you getting up?”

He then flashes her a charming smile, “I was just kidding.”

She gives him a look that could kill, then kicks his shin very hard.

While he is holding his leg and grunting in pain, she asks him, “Why? Does that hurt? I was kidding, too.”

She walks away telling the rest of the group to take a ten minute break.

He gets up and follows her limping, “Hold it right there. I’m not really going to let you get away with it this time.”

On the rooftop she is cooling off, and he comes up to her limping, “I’m really angry, right now.”

“Do I look happy? My lid is wide open right now, too.”

(This is a common but not very elegant way to say you’re angry, and I think this may be in reference to a cartoonish depiction of an angry person with the half of the head open with steam coming out. It’s certainly not a lady-like expression)

“You’re doing it again. Are you a convertible? A boiling pot? Why do you insist on using such crude words?”

“For me those were the most elegant words I could think of. And only because I heard you were a CEO of some big shot company. I usually use worse words. You don’t like that, do you? Then why are you hanging around me? Why do you keep popping up? Why are you doing this? Do you, by any chance, like me?”

He just stares at her calmly. She repeats, “I asked you if you like me?”

“Do I look that insane to you?” She visibly tones down at this.

He goes on, “Or do I look so stupid? Have you ever seen a guy like me with a woman like you? Realistically, do you think that’s even possible? I’m telling you this because you don’t seem to grasp the situation, but if I were to pile up just the pictures of all the women with good education, home, and looks who wants to marry me it would be as tall as a building. On the other hand, you have no significant education, home, skill, nor young age to boast. Raise your hand if, by chance, you have any of these.”(these meaning significant education, home, skill, and young age)

She just glares at him. “See, you have none.”

“Then, why are you chasing me?”

“Why are you asking me that?”

Raising her voice, “Then whom do I ask?”

“You have to ask yourself.”

She is puzzled. He goes on, “I can’t help that you keep appearing in my head. What can I do when even when I don’t see you, it feels like you’re there. I have to chant some nonsense words every night to keep you away from my head. Do you think I want to do this? What exactly have you done to me? Of all the men, why me?”


“You hang up whenever I call, you get angry when I visit, you get even angrier if I buy you a meal, and as if that’s not enough, you hit me. In case you didn’t know, you are one strange woman.”

She looks away as if she can’t believe what she is hearing.

He concludes, “But that is the problem.” He reiterates, “That.”

That got her attention, and as they are face to face, he explains, “Because you’re so strange, I find you… intriguing and fascinating.”

His strange and yet earnest confession moves her and makes her speechless.

“That’s why… right now this makes me… a complete lunatic. So I plan on not coming here anymore. I’m going to leave now. Return my 2,000 Won in person. I’ll text you the location later. Bye.”

He essentially asked her for a date, and she didn’t say no.

Joo-won, the jerk – scene 1

What JW will never know in episode 3, 42:50, is how close LI got to him that day. She waited for his text message with almost bated breath. And when the message finally came, she became as excited as we have ever seen her in regards to JW. Once she is at the rendezvous place in a fancy club, she manages to smile at him albeit faintly. She appears to be coy. She offers to buy him drinks. She even apologizes to him. Huge concessions, huge steps for her. And he blows it all with one sharp tongue lashing. He sets the relationship ten steps back with that acrid tongue of his.

Because her friend told her that guys love it, she wears a neckerchief, I’m sure for the first time in her life. She sits across from him in a rounded booth, “Isn’t this place a little too much just to have a 2,000 Won transaction?”

But he is staring at her neck, “Did you by any chance hurt your neck? Are you chilly?”

She self-consciously takes the neckerchief off and puts her handbag on the table, pretending to be miffed, “I’m going to the lady’s room.”

As he watches her leave, he smiles at her with affection. Then his expression changes as he looks at her handbag with three safety pins to fasten the tattered end of the cord. The images of her squalid house, the taped window, and the makeshift makeup bureau of her locker rush into his mind.

She comes back and sits down, clueless, “I don’t know what kind of drinks you like, but I can buy you a beer or two. Since I have a few things I feel apologetic about.”

She looks down, feeling shy and coy, but with no response from him, she looks up at him, “You don’t like beer?”

“For the first time in my life, I think I met a woman I can’t handle. Can her family be an asset to my company, can she pass on good genes to my children –aside from those thoughts this may be the first time I have ever been curious about how much this kind of handbag would cost.”

“What are you talking about…” She then realizes what he is referring to and hastily grabs her handbag off the table.

“If you have any consideration for me, before you came here you should have looked at yourself at least once. I didn’t really ask you to come here just to deliver 2,000 Won, you know.”

She just looks at him, and he continues, “You couldn’t have kept the bag from my sight? You don’t have a bag that’s not torn? You didn’t have time? It was unavoidable? Or…” He pauses, while she is shaking with part anger and part embarrassment, “You don’t even have money to buy a bag?”

She turns her head as he goes on, “Answer me. Did I really use 2,000 Won paper excuse to swoon over a woman who can’t even afford to buy a decent bag?”

Clutching her bag tight in anger, “I think you’re mistaken, but my only purpose coming here was this.” And she takes two 1,000 Won bills from her back pocket, slams them on the table, and then leaves.

He wants her to look at their relationship from his perspective. But he doesn’t even get to that part because he was too busy making a complete os (the British pronunciation of **s) of himself.

The two cousins’ heart-to-heart, part 2

Even after being a jerk, he still worries about her. In episode 3, 53:05, it’s a funny scene when the cousins appear to have a two way conversation, but they both have blinders on. They both blurt out “I have something to ask you,” followed by “I asked you first.” Then while completely ignoring the other’s questions, they fire away in succession their own questions.

“Gil La-im got home okay?”

“I’ve heard you had a seon.”

JW stares at his cousin, and asks him edgily. “I have a seon all the time, so what?”

When Oska doesn’t say anything, JW goes on, “Did you send her alone? Did you take her home?”

Completely ignoring him, Oska asks, “How was the woman from the last seon?”

JW ignores him back, “Did she say anything about me?”

“Hee-won (JW’s sister) said you got dumped. Is that what happened?”

“Anything? Even a little?” JW is tuned into La-im only.

“Did you really get dumped?”

“Was she still carrying that wretched bag?” JW mumbles to himself, “A plastic bag would’ve been a better choice.”

I think Oska had enough. “Hey! Are you going to marry the stuntwoman? I don’t think so. So if you’re just going to have fun with her, don’t ask, don’t fuss, just enjoy. You know you’re going to marry through seon, so what does it matter?” Taking his own cue, “Speaking of which, how was the seon woman?”

“You said you heard it from Hee-won. I got dumped. Okay?”

Oska looks at him funny.

JW gets impatient, “Say something about Gil La-im.”

“Exactly what dirt does she have on you that make you yelp like a constipated puppy?”

“Dirt? Me?”

“Don’t pretend to be otherwise. I know everything. Maybe.. you’ve got photographed, too?”

“What?” JW is now getting angry, “It was me who took the photograph. Me!”

The Poetry

In episode 3, 55:26, JW is trying his best to forget LI by immersing in some poetry, but of course he can’t help looking at her picture on his cellphone. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he is reading anthologies with titles that make up a poem describing how he is feeling. The background soulful music adds to the somber mood.

On an innocent bright sunny day

Someone is walking in my heart

(When) at times I depended on fate (chance)

My melancholic, precious one (angel)

You flew into the wrong heart

In the episode 3, 58:20, the way La-im looked at him in front of the hotel, clutching her bag away from Oska and quickly covering up the tattered end with part ashamed and part pained expression, haunts him as he is parked in front of her house debating whether to call her or not.

Yes, he was a jerk wad, and he hurt her “real bad,” as John Travolta says to Olivia Newton-John in Grease, but even a jerk has conscience. Joo-won’s heart tells him one thing, but his brain – his well-conditioned voice of decorum and snobbery – wants to rebel. And he is not handling the inner conflict very well.

Joo-won, the jerk – scene 2

In episode 4, 00:48, JW manages to become an even greater os. But at least he gives her his perspective this time. La-im has come to Loel Department store to pick up her free gift she apparently won in a contest. He runs into her inadvertently, and he takes her to his office.

“So, what you’re saying is that Ms. Gil La-im has no recollection of buying anything from our department store and certainly has not entered any contest, but you have received a notification that you have won a vacuum cleaner as a third place winner.”

“I know it doesn’t make any sense, but did you by any chance pull a string …”

He smiles rather condescendingly, “Do I look like someone who has nothing better to do? Just to give you one measly vacuum cleaner when we’re not even a vacuum cleaner store? Did you really come here to collect the vacuum cleaner? Carrying a handbag that’s worse than a plastic container wasn’t enough?”

Her expression changes, but he goes on with a big sigh, “I must have been really crazy. All that for a woman who’s no better than someone who comes to collect a free vacuum cleaner from a department store.”

Almost choking with anger, she manages to say, “What did you just say?”

“You couldn’t have not heard it.”

“I heard you. I did. But I wanted to make sure I heard you right…”

He repeats it for her, “I must have been crazy. She is no better than a woman who comes to collect a free vacuum cleaner from a department store.”

She looks at him incredulously.

He has more to say, “You did hear me correctly?”

“Were you always this heartless?”

“Depending on what standard you’re using.”

“What standard are you using now?”

“Let’s just say it’s a situation where a woman whom I was excited about albeit momentarily turned out to have not only low education and poor family but also no self-pride.”


“Do you know how many eyes are looking at me in this department store? I gave you spaces to film your movie in this store. For the first time in my life I had a meal prepared, for you. But for that woman to walk out of my office with her arms wrapped around a free gift, do I really have to show that to my employees? You couldn’t have shown me at least the same respect I’ve shown you?”

With a spunk showing on her face, “I… I only wanted to…”

Then she takes a deep breath out and makes a short chuckle.

“You laugh?”

“You thought I was pretty only when I got angry, but I’m even prettier when I smile, right?” She becomes more earnest, “You are right, about everything. I shouldn’t have come, whatever my reasons were. I didn’t think about your position. I’m sorry. If I’ve caused you embarrassment, I’m sorry about that, too.”

He smiles faintly at this. She gets up from the sofa, “I’m going to go. But..”

He looks away as if to brace for the unexpected, but he turns to look at her when she says, “I have to have the vacuum cleaner. Give it to me. I debated for a moment. Do I continue to ignore you or do I leave with hurt expression so that I will stay in your mind for a long time. But either way, there is nothing for me to gain. So I thought I should at least salvage a vacuum cleaner out of this. You don’t give defective products to women with low education and poor family, do you?”

“Stop it.”

“If you’re still embarrassed, then tell your employees that you discarded me after playing around a few times…”

He interrupts her, “I told you to stop! Discard you after a few times? I can’t do that. Want me to show you why?”

He grabs her wrist and drags her to the women’s clothes section telling her to follow him despite her protests. He tells the workers there to clear the floor momentarily. After throwing all kinds of clothes at her feet, he tells her to wear it. She is bewildered, “What are you doing?”

“You can’t even fathom what I’m doing, can you? And yet you tell me to do what? Play around with you? You think you’re even in a position to play with me? If you want to play with me, you have to maintain at least this level of sophistication. While I respect different race, religion, skin color, and sexual orientation, I can’t forgive ignorance.”

She looks away in anger.

He is not done, “What kind of expression is that? For someone whose hobby is being wretched and her specialty being unkempt. What kind of man do you take me for? A woman who pretends not to be interested in finer things in life? In my eyes, you look more like a woman who is incompetent and unrefined.”

She’s had enough. She starts to leave, but he grabs her wrist, “Where do you think you’re going? Didn’t you say you wanted to play?”

He grabs a dress from the floor and leads her to a dressing room, “Wear this. I want to see if you look pretty.”

She tells him repeatedly to let go of her.

In the small dressing room, they stare at each other for a while, but finally she relaxes and looks down. He holds up the dress, “Put this on.”

She just stares at him, so he offers, “Want me to put it on for you?”

She stops him from unbuttoning her shirt, “If I put this on, then what? If I put this on, what are you going to do with someone who’s not even qualified to play with you?”

“Nothing. I’m not going to do anything with you.”

She looks puzzled and surprised. He goes on, “I’m just letting you become aware… of how far apart we are in the social status.”

His claustrophobia is affecting him, and he is beginning to sweat, “I have a pretty good idea what kind of woman Gil La-im is.”


“But that doesn’t mean I understand everything about her. That’s why I wanted to study you more. Thus, you should’ve given me more time.”

“Time? What kind of time? A time to study more about being poor?”

“You ridicule my effort? At least I’ve tried. What did you do? The situation is such that it would’ve been funny if you came to buy a vacuum cleaner. But what? You came to collect it? (But) do you know what really makes me angry? Despite the fact that I have asked you before, you didn’t spend even five minutes thinking about who I am and what I do.”

She stares at him without rancor and maybe with even a dawn of understanding, but he bolts out to breathe, leaving her to contemplate what he said.

She loves me, she loves me not

It’s cute in episode 4, 12:40, when he thinks while playing “She curses me, she curses me not” that by the virtue of last remaining petal she is at that moment cursing him, he becomes self-defensive, “Why? She is the one who did wrong.” And then he becomes indignant, “She is really a strange woman.” But after he leaves, another petal magically grows out, showing us that cursing him may be the farthest thing from her mind.

The transformation of Gil La-im

I don’t agree with his method, which to put it mildly is insensitive and Neanderthal, but Gil La-im in spite of it has begun to change for better.

For example, in episode 3, 07:40, when Park Chae-ri is screaming at her as to why La-im lied about her relationship with JW, LI calmly tells her, “By the way, Ms. Park Chae-ri, why do *you* keep talking down to me? (This *you* was spoken by LI in a lower form, as if talking to a kid or someone inferior in a job setting) And what does it matter to you what kind of relationship we have with each other? Is there any particular reason why I should give you an answer?” The last sentence was uttered also in a lower form, and Chae-ri puffs once, then calms down, “No, there is no reason.” – in higher form of speech, no less.

La-im tells her calmly, “I didn’t think so either.” – in lower form.

The old La-im, I think, would have tried to solve this problem by bowing and apologizing to her ad nauseum.

In episode 3, 26:45, Gil La-im smiles while looking at Jeon Do-yeon’s poster on a bus stop when she remembers what JW said about her – that to him she is Kim Tae-hee and Jeon Do-yeon. When she imitates Jeon Do-yeon’s posture, she has begun to think of elegance and herself in the same sentence. Well, at least it’s a start.

The fireworks of a different kind

He is in a distracted and foul mood all day thinking about her, but when she calls him, he looks surprised. And when he hears her voice, he can’t help but put on a slow, I’m-happy-you-called smile in episode 4, 31:20, as La-im says, “Hello,” three times. “Can’t you hear me?” Now yelling, “Hello!”

Still smiling and with surprising warmth to his voice, “I can hear you. Go ahead.”

“How come you weren’t answering? What is this vacuum cleaner? What is this? (I want you to) come and take this right now.”

“Whom are you ordering to come and go? Either you throw it away if you don’t want it or you can return it yourself.” He hangs up on her.

In episode 4, 36:25, La-im goes through his estate to do that very thing.

She gets off her motorcycle and throws the vacuum cleaner box onto the deck next to where he is sitting, “What is this?”

“You asked for it.”

“Then you should’ve given it to me when I asked for it. What’s your reason for doing this now? What exactly is your intention?”

Calmly he pours tea, “You want tea? Black tea? Coffee?”

She screams at him, “Why did you send this?”

“Because I wanted to wake myself up.”

She is completely perplexed, “What?”

“Needless to say, Ms. Gil La-im did nothing wrong. I also know that you find this situation absurd. I was the one who went after you first, and then I get angry because I find that you don’t exactly suit my dining table when you’re not even comfortable around flowers and candle lights. Do you remember the day we first met? The day that I took you to the hospital? We should’ve stopped right there. There to that point of warm compassion and concern for the poor and alienated neighbor. To me, Ms. Gil La-im is just a poor and neglected neighbor, nothing more, nothing less.” Pointing to the vacuum cleaner with his head, “So, go ahead and take it.”

She is boiling inside, “Your each and every uttered word is making me laugh.”


“Thanks to you, I’m looking forward to the year-end and the New Year.” She is making fun of his good neighborly gesture. She, visibly angry, picks up the vacuum cleaner box to leave and barely resists hitting him with it. While staring at him, she changes her mind and throws the box down again, “Yes, you’re right. I’m poor. But how can I be your neighbor? Do you know how far my house is from here? I don’t need a neighbor like you, so you use it. You!” She kicks the box for emphasis, and then she turns and walks away. He yells at her, “Take this with you.” She ignores him and continues to walk when she hears the splash sound, and she is astonished to see that he has thrown the box into the lake.

Almost shaking with disbelief, “What did you just do?”

While calmly reading, “You said you didn’t want it. I don’t need it either. If you’ve changed your mind, you can fish it out from the water.”

He looks up to see her going into the water, he yells at her, “What are you doing? Come out of there!”

After she has retrieved it, he tries to stop her from putting the box onto her motorcycle, “Stop it!”

“Let go of me,” as she pushes him away to put the box on the cycle.

He takes the key from the motorcycle and throws it into the lake.

She screams at him, “What are you doing?”

He screams back, “What kind of person are you exactly? How can a woman be so tough? If I throw the box, then either tell me to get it out or tell me to apologize. Why can’t you give me even a little crack of chance to redeem myself? How can you walk in there yourself? How can you see it to the bitter end?”

“Didn’t you throw it so that you can see how far you can push me?”

“I didn’t know you were actually going to go in!”

“Is that why you threw away the motorcycle key, too?”

He doesn’t say anything.

She orders him, “Go and find it (the key) right now.” She now screams at him, “You said to ask you to find it!”

He screams back, “Why can’t I just apologize instead?”

She looks at him speechless and dumbfounded. She walks toward the lake, (to get the key herself) when he grabs her wrist, “This woman, really… where do you think you’re going again?”

He steers her into the house, “I will buy you a hundred just like it, (but first,) let’s go in and get you washed.”

She tries to shake him unsuccessfully, “Let go of me! Let me go!”

Too bad they run into his mother.

My most satisfying scene thus far

His mother tells him that she came to discuss the gift by Seul’s parents. Addressing La-im, “Who are you, young lady?”

When she doesn’t answer, he tries to be vague, “She is a friend I have become recently acquainted with. I’ll tell you about her later.”

“Is her identity such a suspect that she can’t even introduce herself?”


“You have only known her recently, and yet she is here. Does that mean that you two are pretty close?” To La-im, “How many times?”

When La-im doesn’t get the question, she asks again, “How many times have you been here?”

“It’s my first time here.”

“Is it a work that you get paid for?” She just called her a prostitute.

“What?” JW is appalled, “Mom!”

To her son, “Don’t be so naïve.” To La-im condescendingly, “You don’t know what I mean?”

“I understood what you meant. I have recently found this out myself, but I’m just a Kim Joo-won’s poor and alienated neighbor whom he feels compassion and concern for.”

His mother scowls, “What?”

JW warns LI protectively, “Don’t say anything.” To his mother, “Mom, that is…”

His mother interrupts him, “Are you going to keep disappointing your mother like this?” Pointing to La-im with her head, thick with condescension, “How can you bring this kind of woman home? Even if you’re just playing around, please, uhm? Let’s try to maintain our standard and not alarm your mother, Kim Joo-won?”

La-im, looking calm and collected, delivers her line well, “I don’t think you have to worry about that. A man who grew up pampered thanks to his wealthy parents is not privileged enough to play with me. I bid you good bye, then.” She bows to his mother as the proper manner dictates and leaves.

Her lips quivering, his mother stammers as she points her finger in LI’s wake, “What did she just say? Where did you find such a (trash)…?”

Okay, I wanted Gil La-im to do more than just verbal jousting, but a silver lining, I guess, is the theme for these two episodes. It would been much more satisfying if La-im had switched body with his mother, so that his mother can see what it is like to live not just as a regular person but as a stuntwoman. Now, that I would pay to see.

(A little housekeeping question about the spelling of Gil La-im vs. Gil Ra-im. Most people appear to prefer Ra-im, and I can conform to that. As dramabeans said in her overview, the actual pronunciation is somewhere between Ra-im and La-im. The only reason I decided on La-im is because it is phonetically somewhat difficult to say Ra-im right after Gil. It is so much easier and puts less stress on your facial musculature to say Gila than Gil-ra. But since I’m a conformist at heart, I’ll go with whatever majority opinion, if any.)

27 thoughts on “The Secret Garden, the 3rd and 4th episodes

  1. There were parts of the subtitle that I didn’t understand, though I know it’s impossible to put all those lines on the screen, so your writing helps a lot. Thank you.

  2. thanks so much for the recap; I really enjoyed reading it

    I think JW is pretty much a jerk and has hurt LI with his frankess, but I can’t help but see his point. Just like what he said in the fitting room, he’s trying hard to get to know and understand her but it appears that she doesn’t care. Hence, his frustrations. Of course, we know that La-im is starting to care (such as we find out later her trying on different outfits before going to the club to give him the $2), but she’s too stubborn to show it.

    When JW was reading the poetry books and then stood next to the bookshelves in deep thought as the titles of his books appeared in the air summarizing his feelings for her, I thought that was pretty ingenous of the writer to come up with such a sweet and pretty scene~

  3. This was such a great read, Michael! I’ve not watched the two episodes, but I thoroughly enjoyed your recap. I LOVE your fabulous translation and the witty and insightful side remarks.

    Between Mary Stayed Out All Night and Secret Garden, I’m ready to bail out of the former (after three episodes) but am totally smitten with the latter (after two episodes). By the way, I just learned today that the SG writer is the same one behind some dramas that I either had mixed feelings toward or simply loathed outright. That fills me with trepidation because I adored the first two episodes of SG and want to continue liking it to the end!

  4. thanks michael. something for me to read during lunch break.
    how do you find the acting so far? i am slowing trying to watch ep. 3 but the acting seems a bit extravagant but i guess it fits with the genre. i think i’m gonna have to stop myself from watching more of this soon because i didn’t want to feel anything negative about Chaeok (HJW). but i do want to know how it ends eventually so please keep this up.

    thundie!!!! Hogae is on your blog margin. OMG. i have missed that prince. he was so misunderstood. and yes i know he’s not available. (as of now). *cry*

  5. @Thundie , for your sake, I hope I am wrong about where the drama is heading:) *guiltily looks away*

    @Michael, Ha…’Labour of Love’ ㅋㅋ By the way ,I belong to the Ra-im faction !”if you are not with us ,you are against us !”:-) so ,choose wisely ^^
    Thanks to your recap ,so many things I wondered about makes sense now like I honestly didn’t think he was asking her on a date when asking to return the 2000 won ( now Duh !),may that’s why his (over)reaction at a normally dressed GRI at the club puzzled me .Still ,he created a new jerko- standard for all K-Drama Chaebols to aspire for that night.You might think I’m missing the big picture in taking things too literally but trust me ,y’all wouldn’t excuse his behaviour if he wasn’t the Hyun Bin ! Ignorantia manners non excusat ! 🙂


  6. Everyone’s already trembling with fear at the possible ending for this drama, just when I’m about to get into it and enjoy it. Sigh. (Look, Kim Eun Sook, at what your past stupidity has done to all of us!!!)

    The body switch turned out to be much more hilarious than I expected. I’ve never been a fan of Hyun Bin, but him acting feminine is definitely a “win” for me. By the way, is it me, or is “JW as RI” much more feminine than “RI as RI”? LOL.

    Michael, loved reading your recap as always! Your translations are spot-on! I agree that Ha Ji Won’s character name is closer to La-im than Ra-im (especially the way it’s written in Korean), but Ra-im just sounds better in English? Not sure.

  7. Hmm, I meant RI as JW is much more feminine than RI as RI. Wait, did I get it right this time? Oh, screw it!

    And also, after I posted the comment above, I realized that I started talking about episodes 5 & 6. Yikes! I apologize for the possible spoiler, but we all knew that the body switch was coming up, right? *Sorry*

  8. Good evening, Michael

    Thank you for your insight about these two episodes. Like some others, I didn’t get that JW was asking LI for a date. Their followings showdowns sound way more interesting (and logical) this way.
    For some reason, reading about the SG’s episodes is more enjoyable to me rather than watching them… This is where I guess, translation is such a key part for SG.

    Oh, and a hug for the *Os*, sooo hilarious XD

  9. Great review Michael and fabulous translations. I have finally ventured to Thundie’s thread after countless recommendations and hello to you Thundie =D and not to mention I’m sneaking in on my meeting-lunch.

    Perhaps all this strange happenings are attributed to RI’s “sam jeh?” And let’s not get me utterly paranoid over the potential ending for this drama.

  10. Hey Michael,
    I’m back again for more- it’s interesting to see which scenes you cover cuz the one with the actress where RI finally stands up for herself is one I overlooked the significance of till now. loved what you did for the poetry scene and I would also pay to see JW’s mom as a stuntwoman 🙂
    Had no idea that woman was the same one from smile you – she plays evil and snooty so convincingly it’s scary
    Hey blue- omg we need to stop thinking alike – I wrote that same comment on my blog too – JW as RI is more girly than the actual RI and RI as JW is more unrefined and manly than actual JW. 🙂

  11. Michael, I’ve been waiting for your recaps of Eps. 3 and 4 after I ranted about JW’s boorish behaviour in these two episodes. I’m lad for your input as it at least makes me understand why JW is so frustrated with RI’s reaction (or blase reaction) to his overtures. He doesn’t know how to handle her, and he’s never come across such an independent and stubborn type of woman who’s quite oblivious to his wealth and “charm”, and maybe this is the first time he feels inadequate in dealing with the opposite sex, who usually fall head over heels for him at the first meeting. Instead of trying to understand why RI is behaving as she is towards him, the spoilt chap keeps lashing out at the object of his obsession, which makes the stubborn one more stubborn.
    As a non-Korean I just want to know whether the “r” and “l” phonemes are interchangeable? I know the Japanese and Thais have great difficulties pronouncing and diffentiating between these two sounds. I’m not sure about Korean and Chinese languages. I don’t mind if you use La-im or Ra-im; this is small potatoes. You’ll find bigger problems when you start recapping Eps. 5 and 6 after the soul-swap, because it’s so difficult for us readers to follow which character (RI in JW’s body or JW in RI’s body) the recapper is referring to. But it’s so much fun! Please continue with your great recaps and your insightful asides, too.

  12. In response to the question about “l” and “r”:

    Unfortunately, I don’t speak Korean, but I am a speech therapist.

    /l/ and /r/ are in a category of consonants called liquids/approximants –very closely related to vowels. The Korean “liquid” falls in between these two sounds in terms of it’s articulation and where it falls within in a word or series of words–that can affect whether it sounds more like an “r” or an “l”

    When I hear JW calling Raim, I actually hear “Key Lime.” That’s what my auditory system is trained to hear–but others really may hear it differently.

    Korean has lots of consonants (phonemes) that are at slightly different frequencies than English consonants: in Korean /f/ is produced more like a /p/; a hard /g/ is close to a /k/ (because it’s almost unvoiced); sometimes /b/ and /m/ even sound the same (both bilabial sounds)…

  13. #sobohomon2 Thank you for your kind reply. Your explanation brings me back to my Phonetics class I attended decades ago! When Oska calls our Ra-im, I hear “Lime” every time. So I thought “R” and “L” are interchangeable in Korean. As I’m completely clueless about Korean language, your explanations of Korean phonemes help me a lot. Thank you again. This is what I love of the various bloggers I’ve come across Spoiler pages: everyone seems so helpful, especially to non-Korean and non-Chinese speakers like us.

  14. Thanks Sobohomom2! There are a lot of phonemes that I can’t make out at all. There is this word that I think means sir but sometimes it sound to me like Chazzanim (!) and sometimes like tsazamim. I may be completely off but we probably relate to the languages and phonemes that we are already familiar with.

  15. Sorry, everyone, for not responding promptly. With my schedule, it’s almost impossible for me on weekdays to do anything else other than the basic necessities of life such as work, eat, sleep, and take out the garbage. 🙂

    Thank you, ShouldBeStudying and Tari for your thoughtful words.

    Thanks, lidge_fan, for understanding TW’s point of view. I loved the poetry part, too. I haven’t seen it done quite that way in a long time.

    I know what you mean, thundie. I also hope that the expectations the writers built up in the first two episodes can be sustained or at least not dwindle away to nothing.

    dramaok, in the episode 6, I thought the acting became somewhat over-the-top after they switched bodies, whereas I didn’t feel that so much before the switch. BTW, thanks for reading.

    Ha, ha. Well, Nimi, with that kind of thinly veiled advice (“If you are not with us, you are against us, so choose wisely”), how can I go astray. The majority wants Ra-im, so Ra-im it will be from this moment on.

    Thank you, blue. Yes, I agree that Ra-im sounds better in English, although La-im may be a tad bit closer to the actual Korean pronunciation.

    With those simple words “as usual, the drama makes more sense with your input,” oi, you’ve made my week. Thank you.

    choufy, to say that you enjoyed reading about the SG’s episodes more than watching the drama, that is the ultimate compliment. Thank you. Oh, and regarding the hug for the “Os,” I wasn’t sure if the hug was meant for Hyun Bin (the “Os” himself) or for me, but just in case, thank you for the hug. 🙂

    Thank you, bella, and welcome to TP. BTW, by RI’s “sam jeh,” do you mean her father?

    Hi, Softy. Thanks for coming back. I’m glad you liked the poetry scene. The poetry scene was so original, and the poem so beautiful and apropos to his feelings that I just couldn’t leave the scene out.

    Thanks, Kito9. BTW, I have yet to finish watching the episode 6, so I guess I had better do that and get started on the E5 & E6 recapping. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

    Thank you, miaomiao22.

    Khin Nwe Aye, “the spoilt chap lashing out and making the stubborn one more stubborn” is a great point. At times the chap can be utterly hopeless.

    Regarding the pronunciation of “r” and “l” sounds, I don’t know about Chinese but Koreans also have great difficulty distinguishing the sounds. In Korean language, I think, there is a spectrum between “r” and “l” sounds, and while it never reaches the either extreme, depending on a particular word it can sway more to the “r” or “l” sound. For example, as blue mentioned before, the sound in Gil La-im tilts slightly more toward “l” sound, whereas some other words may go the other way a little.

    Yes, I haven’t thought about it yet, but after the soul-swap, I think recapping just got that much harder. I can’t wait. 🙂

    Thanks, sobohomom2, for making me realize how thankful I’m that I’m no longer in school. I felt while reading your post that I was back in school studying for an exam. 🙂

    Houstontwin, I would love to help you, but I’m not sure what the word, Chazzanim, is. What was the context in which it was used?

  16. @Houstontwin, I think you may be referring to either “sa-jang-nim,” which is a respectful way to address a president of a company, or “cha-jang-nim,” which is a respectful way to address the deputy head of a department in a company. They both appear frequently in Korean dramas. Another common title is “shil-jang-nim,” the head of a department team. Most 2nd generation chaebol sons in dramas are shil-jangs.

    Of course, this is how normal Koreans would pronounce these titles. If you have a lisp like Choi Ji Woo, it would be “shil-ddang-nim” (for shil-jang-nim in “Beautiful Days”) and “sa-dang-nim” (for sa-jang-nim in “Stairway to Heaven”). 😀

  17. @ Michael- Nope, her 3 years of “bad luck.”

    I have no Korean font on this computer but it’s 3 years of when you have to be “careful” as a multitude of either extreme negatives or positives can happen dependent on your sign (chinese) and comes in “threes.” This is what RI referred to at the end of episode of 1 of why she was not beating JW to a pulp at that point.

    A few years ago, the signs of the horse/dog/tiger had to be careful. I have a superstitious mom and grandmother who keep me well informed of all of this and insist I carry a multitude of extremely expensive pieces of paper to keep me safe.

  18. Thanks for bringing this up, bella012, because this has significant relevance later on in episode 5 and 6 that explains why Ra-im’s father is behind the soul-switching. “Sam-jae” – 삼재 – can also mean the three disasters that may potentially destroy the world with either flood, fire, and wind or war, pestilence, and famine. When it is referred to an individual, it could just mean ominous or unfortunate fate. But the information you gave above is far more detailed and interesting.

  19. @ bella012 & michael

    In the same kind of ideas, 삼신 할머니 (Three Spirits Granny) was also mentionned by RI when she faced JW’s mother for the 1rst time. And you can see here :

    how the greater goods take action lately (check chapter n °2 ^^)

    Did you also notice that magic is in the air mostly around JW ? I wonder if it’s just a (good) way to emphasize and play with his dreamer tendency or is there something more ?

    p.s : lol I didn’t realize that my sentence was confusing but yes, the hug was for you michael (even if I wouldn’t mind hugging the Os too *cough*)

  20. Regarding the magic around JW, choufy, I think there is more. What I initially thought was side effect from the medication he’s taking or sequela from his medical condition may be more related to Ra-im’s father. I’ll have to finish my episodes 5 & 6 recapping to solidify my thinking on this concept, so I’ll get back to you.

    About 삼신 할머니 (Three Spirits Granny), I debated whether to include this information or not in the recap and decided not to, but as you mentioned the three grannies are apparently popular mythical figures who many Koreans believe decide the fate of Korean babies.

    Thanks for the parody cartoon link. They were hilarious. And thanks again for the hug. 🙂

  21. 삼재 in popular Korean culture:
    1. everyone has 3 years of calamaties and sufferings in every 12 year cycle.
    2. the 3 years are determined by your birth year and the corresponding animal/sign.
    3. for the years 2010 – 2013 the signs are monkey, rat, and dragon.
    4. anyone born in the year of monkey, rat or dragon need to be careful.
    5. the calamaties are in 3 catagories: (1) from heaven, (2) from earth, or (3) from human.
    6. the calamaties can also come from Buddhist definition of calamaties: (1) fire, (2) water, (3) wind.
    7. the sufferings can be because of: (1) money loss, (2) alchohol addiction, (3) illness, (4) parents, (5) siblings, (6) spouse, (7) government, (8) education.

    In order to avoid these calamaties and sufferings, there are a few things once can do.
    In popular culture, some of these practices include:

    – burning clothes
    – using amulets and charms
    – smashing eggs
    – stacking coins matching the number of one’s age in years

    However, first and foremost the way to “fix” this ominous fate is to address the root of these calamaties.

    These calamaties are invited because of three poisons (Buddhism reference):

    1. greed [탐]
    2. anger [진]
    3. foolishness [치]

    Greed leads to poverty and famine, because resources are not equally distributed.
    Anger leads to conflict and war, because anger gives rise to hatred and vengeance.
    Ignorance leads to illness, pestilence, and prejudice and discrimination, because people fail to see the truth behind any given situation.

    The key to overcome these lies within each individual.

    Thus, one needs to overcome greed with kindess and mercy, overcome anger with love, and overcome ignorance with wisdom.

    If you live with mercy, love, and wisdom, you are not inviting calamaties and sufferings into your life.

  22. @ dramaok
    And of course I’m from the year of the monkey lol Well I guess I’ll have to live with more mercy, love, and wisdom for the next three years… Thank you for the cultural note ^^

    I guess referring to Samshin Halmeoni in korean sounds like referring to God in a western way lol.
    I’m curious to read your take on episodes 5 & 6. So far I would say that the magic surrounds JW because the story focused mainly on him too. Most of the conflicts come from his side whereas RI… She is still a big question mark to me.
    Oh well, with 12 episodes ahead of us now, I guess/hope we will get there :).

  23. I want to thank you for the wonderful recaps and everyone for the amazing comments. I have been a fan of K dramas for quite a while but I have never enjoyed them this much before! All the great comments, language references and cultural notes have made this such a fun read. Thank you all 🙂

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