The Secret Garden, the 5th and 6th episodes

As a general principle, I don’t like spoilers. But somehow I couldn’t help finding out that soul-swapping was going to occur in this drama. But I have accepted that and moved on, hoping that the switch would be funny, realistic, and maybe, just maybe, provide some poignant moments.

Well, there were some funny moments. We even had a kiss. Okay, technically two kisses. But as a guy, I tend not to count the first one, only because it was just a peck on the lips. We were also given a poignant moment when JW in RI’s body (JW*) finds out that her body is full of bruises and marks from her occupational endeavors, and he feels new compassion for her, enough to lose the desire to peek at her body when he had the chance.

But since the switch, the original characters appeared to have lost some of the edge. RI in JW’s body (RI*) acts more feminine than RI ever did, while JW in RI’s body (JW*), even though Ha Ji-won does an admirable job, just doesn’t have the same cutthroat, all business persona that JW portrayed so well. And there also were some unrealistic moments since the switch.

For example, in episode 6, 19:47, when JW* is paying for RI*’s Jim-jil-bang bill, the way JW* salivates to a well-endowed woman’s cleavage is not JW’s typical behavior. It’s almost like the characters have somehow lost a few screws in their head and became goofy. In episode 6, 37:00, we see RI* giving out drinks for all her co-workers. Up to this point, I only remember RI trying to maintain her tough persona in a male dominated occupational field especially among her co-workers. Since the switch her personality has become unrealistically more feminine, and it’s becoming an eyesore. And don’t even let me get started with RI* acting nauseatingly feminine when Oska holds her face to see if his cousin has a fever for acting so weird in episode 6, 37:30.

But enough bashing the switch, let’s go back to the beginning of the episode 5, 01:05, when JW realizes that he more or less spent his own money to send Ra-im and Oska on a romantic trip together, you knew he wouldn’t stand for that. JW waits for both of them on a ritzy Jeju island resort. Both Ra-im and Oska are shocked to see JW there.

JW to Oska while smiling slyly, “By the way, she looks very familiar.”

Ra-im stares venomously at him. Oska explains, “I invited her. Ms. Ra-im is my guest today.”

JW still with that mischievous smile, “But your guest cannot seem to take her eyes off me.”

Oska takes a look at Ra-im, then makes a keen observation, “To me, it seems more like she is glaring at you.”

Still with that maddening grin, “That’s exactly what I mean. Only because I’ve told her she looks prettier when she’s angry.”

Ra-im with venom in her eyes, “You jerk.”

JW smiling more warmly now, “That’s more like the woman I know.”

RI gives him one more stare, then to Oska while pointing the nearby table, “Let’s sit here.”

Oska eyes both of them critically and more to himself, “What exactly is this ambience?” Then, to them, “I’m just really curious here. What kind of relationship do you have exactly?”

JW in his I’m-better-than-you tone, “All around the world there are about 230 countries, and people like me, we are fluent in five different languages.”

RI looks up from the menu and smiles sardonically as if to say, “Please.”

JW goes on, “But despite that, I can’t seem to find the adequate words to describe our relationship.”

Sarcastically, “You speak rubbish (words).” Sweetly to Oska, “What is good here?”

At this point, maître d’ hurries in, “I’m sorry, but the entire tables are reserved.”

Disappointed RI, “Oh, is that right?”

But Oska knows, “By any chance, the arrogant jerk who reserved all the tables is… (him)?” He grunts rather than say “him” as he points his head in the direction of JW.

The maître d’ laughs sheepishly, “Yes.”

Oska and RI both glare at JW. JW smiles smugly and shrugs his shoulders, “Did you forget, Hyung (a common way to address an older brother or a close older man)? I’m the kind of guy that if you make a reservation in a restaurant, I would buy that restaurant (JW always have to be one up on his cousin, as Oska explained to Park Chae-ri earlier).”

The three “amigos” are eating finally, and JW can’t help but tease his cousin, “Did the Jeju island jail food agree with you?”

Both Oska and RI look up from their food and glare at him again.

That doesn’t stop JW, “The imprisoned look suits you so much better.”

The riled up Oska tries to calm down in RI’s presence, “Isn’t that the truth. I don’t know how my good look seems not to discriminate time or location.” RI smiles faintly at this.

Oska to RI, “He is always like this. Let us toast without him.”

Demurely, “Ah, yes. That’s a good idea.”

Oska raises his wine glass to RI, “Cheers to the soon-to-be presented spectacles of Jeju nightlights and to your eyes that are more mysterious and far more beautiful than its night.”

RI soaks up the flattering words, while JW suddenly loses the ability to swallow his food.

After they toast, RI fawns all over Oska, “If my eyes are beautiful to you, then wouldn’t that be because a star descended from heaven is sitting right in front of me?”

At this, JW chokes on even liquid and splatters the wine all over his plate.

Oska deadpans, “Ah.. My cover is blown. Let me know if I’m too blinding for you, because I can turn around.”

RI becomes uncharacteristically animated, “Oh, no, no.” Then more demurely, “I’d rather … go blind.”

JW drops his fork, and his mouth gapes open in total disbelief.

RI fawns some more, “Truth be told, I’ve been your loyal fan for three years. Can I call you oppa?”

“Of course,” says Oska, while JW can’t believe his ears, “Oppa?”

Oska in an exaggerated hushed tone, “I’m sure our Ra-im (“our” is an affectionate way of addressing someone) has no way to know this, but this oppa is a very easy man.” Easy in terms of availability and attainability.

“I’m not exactly a woman without a fault, either.”

JW can only say, “You’re crazy, just crazy.” Not that RI is listening to him or anything.

The Song

At this point, Oska wants quiet so that he can listen to the song performed by his wannabe-not protégé. The lyric of the song fits their situation fairly closely.

그여자 by 백지영
The Woman by Baek Ji-young

한 여자가 그대를 사랑합니다
A woman is in love with you

그 여자는 열심히 사랑합니다
She loves you with all her heart

매일 그림자처럼 그대를 따라다니며
She follows you around every day like a shadow

그 여자는 속어로 소리침니다
The woman shouts from within

At this juncture, we see RI becoming pensive.

도대체 얼마나 더 너를
Just how much longer does she have to

이렇게 바라만 보며 혼자
love you alone like this

이 거지같은 사랑 이 거지같은 사랑
This wretched love, this wretched love

계속해야 니가 나를 사랑 하겠니
How long do I have to love before you love me back?

For some time JW looks at RI in the Jeju resort, and at this point he remembers looking at her from afar tying the tattered end of her handbag with the neckerchief sitting on a street side stone, trying also to mend her heart.

얼마나 얼마나 더 너를
How much longer does she have to

이렇게 바라만 보며 혼자
love you alone like this

이 바람같은 사랑 이 거지같은 사랑
This wretched love that’s like the wind

계속해야 니가 나를 사랑 하겠니
How long do I have to love before you love me back?

Now we see JW coming out of his lake with the motorcycle key secured in his hand, as this part of the song plays. The scene then changes to the Loel department store women’s clothes section where the employees were busy cleaning up the clothes on the floor that JW threw at RI’s feet. He tells them to package all the clothes, probably to give to RI when the time is right.

그래서 그남자는 그댈
That’s why the man has

늘 사랑했데요 똑같아서
Always loved you, because we are like two peas in a pod

또 하나같은 바보 또 하나같은 바보
We’re the same kind of fool, the same

한번 나를 안아주고 가면 안되요
Can’t you hug me just once before you go?

It’s cute the way RI imitates her cellphone text message arrival ringtone, “The message has arrived. The message has arrived.” Then it occurs to her that the text message is most likely from JW. She jumps to the message, and then puts on a fashion show to find just the right clothes to wear, while this part plays:

난 사랑받고 싶어 그대여
She wants to feel your love

매일 속으로만 가슴 속으로만
Inside of her, in her heart, every day

소리를 지르며
While she shouts that

그 여자는 오늘도 그 옆에 있데요
Today and every day, the woman is still by your side

그 여자가 나라는 걸 아나요
Do you know that the woman is me

알면서도 이러는 건 아니죠
You’re not playing hard to get, are you

모를꺼야 그댄 바보니까
I’m sure you don’t know how I feel, because you’re a fool

Ra-im finally settles on a sensible choice, but decides to put on a neckerchief:

얼마나 얼마나 더 너를
How much longer do I have to

이렇게 바라만 보며 혼자
love you alone like this

널 사랑하는 난 지금도 옆에 있어
I’m still with you, because I love you

그 여잔 웁니다
While I cry (the woman cries)

After the song is over, both JW and RI feel self-conscious in their own thoughts. When Oska excuses himself to have a man-to-man talk with the singer, in episode 5, 10:05, JW has a little tête-à-tête with RI imitating her in a nasal voice, “What? I’d rather go blind?”

She looks up at him with a menacing look. Unafraid and sounding like her to a tee, still in nasal tone, “Can I call you… oppa?”

“When did I talk in that nasal voice?”

Getting excited, “Look here, look here. How is that you give me axe grinding looks, but in front of Chae Yoo-young (Oska) you’re a 17 year old girl?”

As a matter-of-factly, “That’s because oppa makes me feel like a girl, as opposed to someone who treats me like a poor and alienated neighbor.”

“That oppa has girls like you scattered all over the world.”

“The important thing is that right now, our oppa is right here with me.”

Exasperated, “I could go crazy.” He tries again, “Don’t you read newspapers? That “our oppa” is a bona fide womanizer. The number of women I had to take care of for him is…”

She interrupts him while motioning with her head, “Then you should take care of that woman, too, because she has been staring at you for some time now.”

Miss Plastic walks toward him with her entourage, oh-so-happy to see him, “What a coincidence, my goodness! You know, I was thinking about you earlier today when I was walking on the beach. And then for us to run into each other so magically?”

RI can’t help chuckle, but with flat expression JW is not as amused, “What are you doing here, in Jeju Island no less?”

“I’m here because of work. We are in the hunting process. If I had known we were going to meet so fatefully like this, maybe we didn’t have to start with such conventional blind dates.” RI at this bursts into full chuckle.

Looking at RI having fun with slight annoyance, JW turns to Ms. Plastic, “It also could have been okay not to have started with each other at all.”

Trying his best to get rid of her, he motions with his head to the entourage, “Your friends are waiting.”

Feigning delighted surprise, “Omo, they are much younger than I am.”

She tells her entourage to go ahead, then looking at RI, “By the way, you have a guest.” I guess that’s her way of saying she wants an introduction.

“Yes. She is the most difficult woman to have a meal together in all my life.” RI, somewhat surprised, turns her head to look at JW as he does likewise. RI and JW look at each other for a long time. RI appears to sense that JW considers this meal with her as a date – a date that he had to work the hardest in his life to make it happen.

Feeling awkward, Ms. Plastic tries her best to butt in. To RI, “I know it’s rude of me to ask, but what do your parents do?”

JW tells her off gallantly, “If you know it’s rude to ask, then perhaps you should leave.”

Ms. Plastic finally appears to get the message that she’s not particularly welcome here.

JW, while looking at RI, explains, “Because I’m afraid that she may just up and leave, because she has a temper.”

When he doesn’t get any desirable response from Ms. Plastic, “I’ve just told you (to leave) twice already.”

Ms. Plastic finally gives up but is still annoyingly chirpy, “Then let’s meet magically like this again.” To RI, “It was a pleasure to meet you.”

RI bows her head good bye, while Ms. Plastic only tilts her head sideways, then leaves.

The Confrontation

Suddenly it dawns on RI that Ms. Plastic is the same woman who tried to get her friend fired. RI gets up and catches up with her to confront her. At first Plastic doesn’t remember, but when RI mentions the bag, she instinctively grabs her neck, remembering how RI dragged her to a trashcan while holding her lapel. In episode 5, 13:05, RI congratulates her, “Yes, that’s me. Because this world is much smaller than you think.”

Not knowing that JW has caught up and is watching them, “You have the wrong person.”

RI looks skeptical, “I don’t think so.”

Raising her voice, “I told you, you have the wrong person.”

“Then why is your voice shaking?”

Plastic almost screams, “Look here!”

Menacingly, “You insist on …(pretending). Do you want me to convince you that apologizing would’ve been so much easier? Are all rich people like you? Thanks to you, my friend who’s been working hard there for five years almost got fired. You should have kept your word since we promised to bury the hatchet. You have the nerve to call the department store? Does it feel good to live your life that way? Is it beneficial to you?”

JW had heard enough, “That’s enough!”

Ms. Plastic, seeing JW, makes a mental note to herself to be more plastic.

To RI, “Why are you causing commotion in a public place?”

To Plastic, “Are you okay?”

Plastic goes to work, grabbing her chest, stammering, “I… I can’t breathe.”

RI seems slightly hurt at JW’s action, but scoffs at Plastic, “You’re comical.” To JW, “Don’t meddle in an affair you don’t know anything about.”

“I wish that were the case, but I had received the report on this matter, and I’ve also heard Lim Ah-young’s account of what happened, so I know more about this case than you. Don’t make the matter worse. I want you to apologize.”

RI is completely taken back, “What?”

“I said, apologize to this woman.”

RI looks at him hard for a few seconds, “Why should I?”

“The VIP members in our department store earn their rights to be at the lounge by spending more than 100,000 dollars a year. But thanks to you, the customers who were there that day had their privileges besmirched.”

Ms. Plastic, loving this so far, can’t help but smile smugly.

“Okay, let’s assume for the moment that’s the case. Was it so wrong for me to use the crummy lounge? Did I sell our country or something?”

“Don’t you think stealing a pin would lead to stealing an ox?” He is referring to a Korean proverb about how a small bad habit as a young kid, if not corrected, can lead to bigger and worse things later.

RI looks hurt and incredulous, while Ms. Plastic looks so thrilled with delight that she can’t seem to contain her joy, but she manages, “If I had known things would escalate to this degree, I should have restrained myself. I’m somewhat displeased right now at my keen sense of morality in the face of injustice.”

JW doesn’t spare the rod here either, “There is no need for you to be displeased. I want you to apologize, too.”

Ms. Plastic can’t believe her ears and barely squeaks, “What?”

“If you had agreed to bury the hatchet, then you should’ve stuck to your words. Because, a promise is a promise.”

“But I don’t remember making that kind of promise.”

Gesturing in RI’s direction, “You said this person retrieved your friend’s handbag.”

“But it’s not like she retrieved my handbag.” That’s a great rationale.

Sarcastically, JW says, “Ah.”

RI is not so gentle, “Apparently you have not yet learned your lesson. Come here, you.” JW blocks RI’s physical advance toward Seul (Ms. Plastic), but even he can’t seem to hold her ire too long. Good thing, Oska showed up at this juncture to save his soul-mate’s hide.

You know, I was going to feel sorry for Seul. I wasn’t even going to call her Ms. Plastic anymore, because contrary to what I initially thought when she contemptuously spurned Oska’s marriage proposal thinking he was a washed-up, second-rate actor, it appears that she truly loves Oska back. The way she looked when she was at his concert and the pain on her face when she was out of his sight that she hides well behind her effervescent nonchalance all appear genuine. Maybe the gallivanting around looking for chaebol is her coping mechanism in dealing with the loss of her one true love, Oska. Maybe, his family opposed the marriage citing her common lineage.

But regardless of all that, Seul is just so snobbish, superficial, and manipulative that it’s very difficult to feel sorry for her, let alone like her.

Economics 101

In episode 5, 15:34, JW tries to defend his actions. RI looks deep in thought, and JW, while walking beside her, is gauging her mood, “Are you miffed? Are you?”

When she doesn’t say anything, he gets impatient, “How can you not say anything when someone is asking you a question?”

“How can a person do something like that?”

Thinking she’s talking about his actions, “I knew you’d be like this. I didn’t take that woman’s side. I was just on the side of truth.”

“What kind of people spend 100,000 dollars in a department store? In one year no less. What is so different between them and me?”

Life 101 begins for Gil Ra-im. Exuding patience but showing slight fatigue, he tries, “You wouldn’t understand even if I told you.”

For the first time since walking, RI looks at him, “Are you going to speak English? Tell me. I’ll do the understanding.”

Reluctantly, “How much do you have in your bank account right now?”

“I don’t have much. Why?”

“That’s it. That is what’s different.”

Perplexed, “What?”

“You know how much is in your bank account, but those people they don’t know how much money they have. Every day, every minute, every second, their national and international bank balances increase.”

RI is trying her best to comprehend.

He goes on to say that what makes these people different is their social class, “While they spend 100,000 dollars a year, they want only two things: Inequality and discrimination. If they can’t oppress and dominate, then they at least want to be completely discriminated. That’s the principle and wisdom they go by.”

Very quietly, “Are you like that, too?”

“Only because, there is no good reason not to be that way.”

She mulls over that comment, but apparently had enough lecture for the day, “Make sure to find my motorcycle key. When I’m in Seoul, I’ll come by to get it.”

Why did I include this scene? Because JW wants RI in his glitter and glamour world, and he is grooming her. It’s touching. And it looks good to see them act like a real couple.

The Secret Garden

In episode 5, 20:00, in retaliation for Seul’s intent to pursue JW, Oska tells her that Ra-im is his guest and his woman. Seul’s expression is unmistakable jealousy. In order to make this farce appear real, he races JW to win the right to chase after RI.

The bike race, about to be won by JW if not for the apparent screaming by RI, leads JW and RI in episode 5, 37:37, to the “Mysterious Garden,” which I think is where the title “Secret Garden” comes from. In 39:29, RI’s father, disguised as a woman, makes a chicken soup and gives JW two portions while completely ignoring RI. The lady tells JW, “Enjoy. It’s from my heart.” Feeling somewhat spooky, JW slowly inches away from her. Mistaking his actions or despite them, the old lady asks JW, “You’re not by any chance sick, are you? Cancer or leukemia or something like that…”

JW interrupts her, “What?”

She answers her own question, “I’m sure you don’t. You’re rich and young.”

Both JW and RI look alarmed.

The lady to RI, “Young lady… It’s good to see you. It’s really good to see you.” That may be so, but you still haven’t given your daughter any food yet.

Feeling flustered, RI stammers, “Yes, it’s good to … (see you, too).”

Looking around, “You must like making wine?”

“It’s my one and only hobby.”

“Oh? My father’s hobby was making wine, too.”

She is not impressed, “Drinking was more enjoyable than making it.”

RI puzzled, “What?”

The lady looks at her with a knowing glance, “You like Ban-ju, don’t you? Just by looking at you, I can tell that you’ve been drinking since high school.”

Ban-ju (반주) is soju (Korean gin) or liquor that is typically served with meal.

Amazed, “Uh? How did you know? Ban-ju is how I learned to drink alcohol, from my dad.”

JW is shocked, “What? When did you learn to drink alcohol? You mean a high-schooler drank alcohol?”

Confident in her worldly knowledge, “How is Ban-ju alcohol? It’s a medicine.”

Turning to the old lady and referring to the bottles behind her, “Are those alcohol like medicinal liquor?”

The lady, looking tired and sad, agrees, “They are medicinal liquor. The very liquor that will cure my daughter.”

RI sounds sympathetic, “Ah. Is your daughter sick?”

The lady’s face is filled with parental concern, “That is her fate.”

RI is clueless, “What?”

In episode 6, 12:45, we get to see that the old lady at the Secret Garden is really her father. And as his reflection on the wine surface changes to our two lovebirds kissing, he says to JW, “I’m really sorry. I hope you’ll understand why I had to go to this length to save my daughter.”

In episode 1 (yes, one), 56:00, when JW was giving RI a hard time because she didn’t take a taxi home, RI tells him that she is 삼재 (“Sam-jae”), meaning she has ominous fate which is determined by your Chinese zodiac sign (birth year) over a three year period. (This error of mine was pointed out to me by bella012, and the concept of “Sam-jae” is covered in fascinating detail by bella012 and dramaok in the response section of SG, the 3rd and 4th episodes. Special thanks to both bella012 and dramaok for clarifying this.)

So, what does all this mean? RI’s fate is to get sick. What does “sick” mean? In conventional sense, “sick” means disease, categorized broadly as curable or incurable. But how does swapping souls change her sickness? It’s okay for JW, his daughter’s soul mate, to get “sick?” Is that why he’s so apologetic? He thinks that’s not going to make his daughter sicker with worry?

If “sick” means she is not really living her life to its fullest and that she is not fulfilling her potential by being content with living as a stuntwoman, well, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

As dramaok mentions in the response section, the root problem of the ominous fate is greed, anger, and ignorance. Okay, RI does have anger management problem, but only when it comes to JW, and she is “ignorant” but only according to JW. RI is certainly not greedy, and she has so many other laudable qualities, unlike some people most notably Ms. Plastic, that those very intangibles seem to attract Oska and even normally unflappable JW.

Or is this all just a superstitious belief that is fueled and given life by those who believe in it. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

After the Secret Garden

In episode 5, 41:30, it’s cute when JW expresses jealousy when RI wants to know if the call he received was from Oska worrying about her. It’s cuter when she coyly thanks him for coming to get her. The chemistry is definitely heating up. It’s a time like this when a part of me wishes that soul-swapping were not a necessary premise of this drama.

After JW is done talking on his cellphone, RI can’t contain the excitement, “Is it Oska? Did he say he worried about me a lot?”

Not flattered at all, “And if he did?”

Deflated, “I can’t even ask?”

“Yes, don’t ask, because it makes me angry.”

JW looking at the booze bottles she’s holding, “Why did you accept that?”

“How can I refuse a gift from an elder? Especially since she said they are medicinal alcohol good for your health.”

“You’re going to maintain your health with alcohol? Tell me the truth, there is ajasee living inside of you, right?” Ajasee is generally used to address a man. In this case, JW is saying that some of her behaviors are typical of ajasee.

She smiles rather warmly, “I have a few. Among them, one shy one wants me to deliver a message to you.”

Cantankerously, “What message?”

Shyly, “Thanks for coming to get me… earlier.”

JW can’t hide a smile, but trying not to appear too happy, “If you were thankful, you should’ve told me then. Why are you thanking me now for something you should’ve thanked me before?”

Now annoyed, “If you keep this up, you might see a fist-swinging ajasee.”

The stage is set for the soul-switching when JW takes the alcohol, but only when RI tells him that it was meant for Oska.

When the Action School director interrupts JW and RI and orders RI to “come with him,” JW is not happy at the prospect of RI sleeping in the same room with the bunch of guys. The director assures JW that it’s not uncommon (“weird”) for his “family” to share a same room. JW is cute when he screams while the director and RI are walking away,

“It is weird. Of course, it’s weird.”

JW crashes the party at the director’s room. The director doesn’t look very happy to see JW, “What brings you here?”

Although in casual attire, JW sounds all business, “It may be alright for you to have both genders sleeping in the same room, but it’s too weird for me.” To RI, “I vacated my room. Come on out.”

The director apparently is not going to give up so easily, “She is part of my family.”

“I will assume the responsibility of that particular family, since she is a contest winner of my department store.”

RI finds out here that it was the director who put her name in the Loel department store contest pool.

RI decides to sleep in JW’s room, alone, “Instead of making life more difficult for the director and my co-workers, I rather make his (JW’s) life more difficult.”

The os rears its ugly head again

In the episode 5, 46:15, JW starts to grill RI as they come into his posh room, “What exactly is your relationship with that guy? Is it the kind where you two don’t feel anything even if in the same room? Don’t try to say it’s teacher and student relationship, because I’m not that gullible. You sure that guy doesn’t like you? Or maybe..” He lowers his voice, “you two dated each other?”

“So what if we dated? What does it matter to you whether I date or whether I spend a night or day with a man alone?”

Not as excited, “I can’t even ask you?”

“Yes, don’t ask. Because it makes me angry.” She’s returning the favor.

She continues, “What exactly made you come here? Why are you torturing me like this? What exactly is your intention?”

Calmly, “You know.”

Not so calmly, “I don’t know. How could I know?”

“You do know. I’m telling you that you know.”

She doesn’t say anything, but she looks like she knows.

He goes on, “If you’re testing me to see if I had changed my mind about you, then don’t. Because, I have too much for me to give up just for one woman. Speaking of which, let me give you a hug.” Oska told him earlier that while he can give up everything he has for a love of a woman, JW can’t.

Not sure what to make of this request, “What?”

“For me, there are only two kinds of women: A marrying kind and as you’ve mentioned before, a playing around kind. But you’re meandering around somewhere in between those two places. So let me give you a hug.”

Still not trusting him, “If you hug me and you like it, then what are you going to do?”

Grinning smugly, “I’m going to let you live a life entirely different than your present one.”

Sarcastically, “Peachy. Does that mean I’m going to be a Cinderella?”

“No. A Little Mermaid.”

RI’s expression changes completely.

He goes on anyway, “Gil Ra-im will probably always stay somewhere between the two worlds. That means I want you to stay invisible like that and then eventually disappear like bubbles. That is the wisdom by which guys like me live by.”

Her lips quivering with anger, she slaps him hard.

He actually looks surprised that she slapped him, “Tell me after you’ve thought it over carefully.” Then he leaves. Of course, after that she has no desire to sleep in his bedroom, and she ends up sleeping in Jim-jil-bang (Korean sauna place).

Sometimes I just don’t understand this boy/man.

The Little Mermaid, the 1989 Disney film version, has a happy ending, but the book written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1836, which JW is surely referring to, does not. In the book, the pact Ariel makes with the sea witch was that if the prince marries someone other than Ariel, then she will die. When the prince is marrying a princess whom he thought was the girl who saved him, Ariel has a chance to save herself only if she can stab the prince with a knife obtained from the sea witch. But she couldn’t bring herself to do that, and she throws the knife and herself into the sea where her body disintegrates into bubbles.

The Kiss

After the soul exchange, in episode 6, 06:45, JW* (in her body) and RI* (in his body) run into the Action School director. RI* somehow manages to shake the director loose, but in the process of farewell, RI* grabs JW*’s head and forces him to bow to the director. JW* is not happy RI* did that, “How dare you stoop my head. I didn’t salute like that even to my President (of Loel department store, his grandfather).”

“How is that your head? It’s my head.”

“It is your head. But as long as my soul’s in it, my head’s mine, and your head’s mine also. Understand?”

RI* doesn’t say anything and keeps on walking. JW* gets impatient, “Where are you keeping walking to? Let’s talk here. There is no one here.”

When she doesn’t stop, JW* grabs her arm, “Where are you going?”

RI* looks like she has to go real bad, like yesterday, “You drank lots of water last night, didn’t you?”


Crossing her legs, “I’m going to go crazy.” And RI* walks like a girl to the public restroom.

While in the restroom, RI* screams like a banshee, I guess because she has never touched a guy’s private member before. Which means she has never ventured into a man’s tepee before, and I can respect that.

They are in a restaurant, and RI* has her head on the table while JW* is sitting with her legs open. JW* is irritated, “Will you please get up? Everyone’s looking at us funny.”

When she does get up, RI* prevents JW* from even drinking anything in case the situation they are in becomes permanent. But grabbing the glass from JW* reminds RI* of what those hands touched, and while making a tortured face she starts to scrape her hands with a napkin.

JW* is not amused, “Don’t you do it. Don’t even think about crying with my face.”

“How can I not cry? What did I do so wrong? Why has something like this happened to me? Why couldn’t I have changed into Kim Tae-hee or Jeon Do-yeon?” She barks at him, “Think of some solution, quickly!”

“I have been thinking. I’m trying to think, and I don’t know if it’s because of the switch, but I can’t think of anything.” Looking accusatorily at her, “What exactly is your IQ? Is it at least three digits?”

Not amused, “The speed of my fist exceeds three digits. Do you want me to prove it to you?”

Riled up, JW* raises his voice, “This woman…” When that got everybody’s attention, he lowers his voice, “We are in a dilemma where we can’t figure out whether to solve this medically or scientifically, but you rather fight?” Then he notices the bra strap hanging down to his arm,

“Ah. Why does this keep coming down?”

“In the shoulder strap, there is a buckle. Shorten it.”

JW* looks into it, “The shoulder strap? Where?”

He gets impatient, “Ah! I don’t care. I’m just going to take it off.”

“Are you crazy? Come here.”

RI* proceeds to put his hands into her chest and starts to fiddle with it, and the public doesn’t exactly cheer him on. They decided they better take it outside. They sit on the bench, JW* in her body sitting with her legs wide open, while RI* in his body is crumpled up into an almost fetal position with his legs up to his chest.

JW*: “The more I think about it, I don’t think this problem can be solved either medically or scientifically.”

Sardonically, “You realized that now?”

“Are you going to keep being sarcastic? Is this only my problem?”

“I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve this kind of punishment.”

“Then did I?”

Looking at JW* sarcastically, “I’m sure you want to believe that.”


“Never mind. Can you think of anything that may have triggered this? You know, in movies, you either get struck by a lightning, or we both utter a weird incantation together, or we find a rare jewel.”

Sounding cocky sure, “The weather was sunny, we did not incant any spells together, and I already have many rare jewels.”

Making a face, “I’m sure you do.” More seriously, “First, let’s tackle this medically. Let’s go to a hospital.”

“Hospital? What hospital? When we say our souls were switched, what hospital do you think would say, Oh, is that right? It’s due to the seasonal change. Please fill out the paperwork and wait here.”

“Then, should we go to a fortune teller? Exorcism or something like that might work.”

“Are you crazy? Once rumor goes out that Kim Joo-won had an exorcism, all the company stocks will crash.”

“Then what about going to a church or a monastery?”

“Church would want cash, and monastery would want us to donate.”

“Then, let’s try falling from some place high, sort of like a shock treatment.”

“The fact that you’re thinking something like that is a shock to me.”

RI* doesn’t miss a beat, “Then, what about a kiss?”


“It’s always like that in a children’s book. But then, when it comes to children’s book, I’m sure the Little Mermaid may be the only book for you.” At this reference to his os-ish behavior, JW* looks slightly contrite.

RI* goes on, “The Beauty and the Beast, the Princess and the Frog. They all kiss and then come back as humans. All I’m saying is, since something ridiculous has happened to us, let’s at least consider using a ridiculous remedy.”

“That’s your best idea? Are you sure?” This is JW’s patented saying.

“Do you have any other ideas?”

“I have none. Okay, I got it, so start. A little peck or something heavier?”

“I’m sure we’ll figure it out as we go along.” RI* warns him, “You better close your eyes.”

RI* gives him a light peck on the lips. Then they wait and wait. When nothing happens, they become despondent. JW* blames RI*, “That’s because you let go as soon as you touched.” He means the lips.

RI* shows a glimmer of hope on her face.

JW* tells her sternly, “Don’t move.” Then JW* grabs her neck and the fireworks begin.

During the kiss, RI*’s arm starts to go around JW*, and it’s an interesting observation that it is JW* who finally stops the kiss. And it’s JW* who tries to analyze her, “Tell me the truth. You did that on purpose, didn’t you, so that you could kiss me?”

“You’re crazy. You’re the one who didn’t want to go to a hospital or see an exorcist… We had to do something. Then, do we go on living like this?”

JW* makes a good point, “If we go on like this, I’m screwed, but I don’t think you have anything to lose.”

“Do you really think that?”


RI* smiles, “Me, too. Since I can’t seem to undo this, I might as well live as a rich man.” Turning to JW*, “But in the meanwhile, you have to live your life as a poor and alienated neighbor.” Then RI* bursts into unrestrained laughter.

“You laugh? Can you laugh at a time like this?”

“Like you said, I have nothing to lose.”

RI* goes on to ask for his birthdate and his PIN number so that she can buy everyone at the action school a new car, produce an action film, buy her friend, Ah-young, an apartment, and marry someone he is going to be “shocked over.”

Social Studies 101

In episode 6, 43:36, RI* gets a social studies lesson when Ms. Plastic inadvertently let it be known that the man she cried over in the past was Oska. When RI* asks her again to verify, Ms. Plastic coldly reminds him that since she hasn’t asked him about a woman named Gil Ra-im, who “dates Oska but has meals with JW,” he shouldn’t ask about her previous affairs. She tells him, “Then, let me make a concluding remark. As you have heard before, I’ve had enough experience with love, and now that’s all over with.” Referring to her relationship with Oska. “So, Mr. Kim Joo-won should also desist at an appropriate time, and come.” Smiling sweetly, “To me.” And then, she walks away.

RI* is blown away and can only murmur to herself, “Wow! The way she thinks is really different from us.”

Female Intuition

In episode 6, 44:34, RI* gives JW* a lesson on female intuition, “But that woman (Ms. Plastic) doesn’t like you. There is something a woman can notice about another woman.”

JW* ponders what she said, but not to be outdone, JW* retaliates, “Yeah? Then, how about this? Your director likes you.”

“Don’t overreact. That’s because the director is just usually very thoughtful about all his family.”

I guess the female intuition doesn’t apply to males who are your boss.

Lesson beyond Empathy

In episode 6, 50:00, while in deep thoughts about everything, JW* happens to see the strap of the bra showing again, which gives him a brilliant idea. All that tiring commands from her not to take a shower, etc. so that he can’t peek at her body, he says to himself as he is literally salivating at the thought of, “Just one look. One look.”

But after seeing all the bruises on her body, sympathy wells up from deep within, and he totally loses the taste to look beyond.

He is getting a first-hand lesson on how the other side really lives.

25 thoughts on “The Secret Garden, the 5th and 6th episodes

  1. been waiting! Not even a tiny twitch of unnoticed facial muscle escapes you – that detailed. Love it. Can’t wait to read your next 2 episodes.

  2. Thank you for the detailed recap, Michael. You’re the first to point out the lunch at the resort island is seen as a first date with RI by JW. Now, I realize this is also the first meal they share together, after she spurns the banquet he prepares for her at the department store. I love the way you capture the important dialogues between the two lead actors, and also thank you for your explanation of the Little Mermaid allusion, as per Hans Christian Andersen, as people around the world are more familiar with the Disney version of it. JW is being so cruel to RI when he wishes on her the fate of the Little Mermaid. Why should a strong-willed, independent woman like RI, though poor in material terms, would submit herself to a life of obscurity as a mistress in hiding, and then agree to disappear from Jw’s life without a whimper? He should learn by now RI is not the stuff meek and mild and mercernary mistresses are made of. He’s seriously lacking in judgment and he totally deserves the slap in the face. Should have been two slaps, left and right! Even then he refuses to back down, and asks RI to think it over and give an answer. Full marks for persistence and for being completely clueless. I’ll be waiting for your recaps of Eps. 7 and 8, Michael, where you may be able to point out JW’s redeeming lines.

  3. I just wanted to add to what Khin Nwe Aye said. In the 3rd episode JS (that’s the boss, right?), meets with JW to tell him to leave RI alone, ’cause she’s very talents and getting ahead on her own. JW says that he only wants to help RI…

    However, our hero is such an extraordinarily unbalanced person that he seems to be torn between taking a disinterested and “charitable” approach (like tossing a vacuum cleaner in the lake) , and wanting to exploit her (hugs and probably much more) in exchange for material support.

  4. Thank you for another great write up Michael. I have very little patience and desire to watch this (still @ ep. 3) because it is too silly for my drama taste (and I don’t trust this writer). but I love reading your take nevertheless. I love your romantic point of view above all else. From your caps, Hyun Bin and Ha Jin Won look a lot alike for some reason. And love Baek Ji Young. One of Korea’s most talented and courageous singers. Great writing keep it up.

  5. I wanted to give you a ‘high 5’ for another great recap! It’s always a treat to read about it from the other side. I like that you’re able to catch that extra detail that we miss from our own POV. Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won is one of my fave kdrama couple to date! Looking forward to more of your caps.

  6. Hi Michael!

    This recap was epic, clocking in at 6,800 words (nearly twice as long as your Episodes 1-2 recap). Number of screencaps? More than 80! Writing it must have been exhausting; you had to juggle a busy weekend and yet did your best to give us this absolutely fabulous and meaty read by Sunday night (your time). I really appreciate your commitment to the recaps!

    I agree with your take on the body-swapping. I enjoyed the tomfoolery and laughed out loud many times, but I also really missed the so-hot-it-burns fireworks between our leads in the early episodes. I want the switch-back to happen real soon because I miss Hyun Bin as JW and Ha Ji-won as RI.

  7. Michael, thanks for your recaps. I find you have a different and better point of view on certain scenes from the other write ups out there. You’re doing a great job, man! 🙂

    About RI’s sam-jae, on Episode 3, JW was holding up that weird looking stocking stashed in RI’s locker at the action school — that’s an amulet perhaps? After that it was shown that RI’s father photo lost his smile/frowned in the photo.

  8. Thanks for this great recap , luv to read yours becoz you always notices the romantic side behind some scenes which I can’t notice by myself like the fact that the meal RI had with JW was considered by him as their first date , that’s cute .
    I really luv this drama and I’m waiting for ur upcoming updates 🙂

  9. Jule, I read somewhere on Soompi that the stocking that JW lifted out of the locker was filled with the ends of bars of soap. Apparently, it’s a common way to save money, by not wasting soap. Maybe that’s why RI’s father was frowning in the picture–it’s so embarrassing!

  10. The body-swap is hilarious, but I just can’t seem to feel the characters any longer, and I kind of miss the pre-body-swap episodes. And you’re the first to point out the thing I was thinking about – how JW wasn’t that interested in female anatomy (he basically didn’t care at all about women) in the earlier episodes and how I never saw RI as such a girly-girl (not all the time at least), I mean the fetus position when Hyun Bin is acting like RI is a pose I never saw RI do before.
    But I get the concept, it’s funnier if it’s all over the top and exaggerated, and it’s a hoot seing Hyun Bin as a super girly-girl with screams and all, and I just love the super macho portrayal that Ha Ji-won does of JW.

    Anyways, love these recaps, keep em up!

  11. …………..JW ,You didn’t pull a on HJW when you propositioned her ? $%&!@)(*^*%)!$)…Okay,I’m calm now .You may put away the tranquilizers 😀

    and RI,Puhleeze , you still haven’t checked out HB ? who are we kidding 🙂

    also ,am sure JW never leered or RI was never this demure ! Character inconsistencies galore but I’m fully invested in JW & RI .

    Micheal ,Thank you, nothing is lost here in translation .As usual ,I never got the ‘first date ‘ till I read the recap .It’ like watching a show with a friend/friends who gently points out the crucial scenes that you missed while you were being busy-disruptive at the movies 🙂

    Nimi (who would like to soul-swap with either with So Ji-sub or Kang Dong-won for a day:P )

  12. honestly ,where do the words I type disappear ? …..*JW ,You didn’t pull a WFkHIB on HJW when you propositioned her ?*.

    I’m still not ready to talk about Bali .My reaction to ep 3 & 4 of SG had a lot to do with how I was feeling watching WHIB which I only finished a couple of days back .

  13. Thanks for another wonderfully detailed recap, Michael!

    I like how you broke down the song “That Woman” scene-by-scene. That’s my fave part in these 2 eps! I like how at first, it’s TS singing but then the sudden transition to BJY’s voice. I thought it was really romantic how we got to see a positive side to JW’s character, such as him following her home after the disastrous handbag situation (err….actually more like stalking, which is freaky and a total no-no in real life but in K-drama, if it’s done by a hot chaebol guy like Binnie, it’s OK by me!^^)….. then we see him going into the pond to fish out the key. So romantic~

    I know some have pointed out the inconsistencies in JW and RI’s characters after the soul switch but I didn’t really mind because I enjoyed the hilarity of it all.

  14. @sobohomom2 — LOL! So they were leftover soap! Actually I thought those were pieces of paper stuffed in there. I don’t visit Soompi since i am not a member. Thanks for that info. 🙂

  15. Thank you, Amber’s Cube. And thank you also for the encouragement.

    “Not even a tiny twitch of unnoticed facial muscle escapes you…” I love that line. Thank you, xyz.

    Khin New Aye, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the dastardly behavior of JW, but having seen the episodes 7 & 8, I’m happy to say that there are many redeeming qualities of JW although most of them are not yet tapped.

    Thank you, dramaok. This is the first time I’ve listened to Baek Ji Young’s song, but yes, I love her voice. The best way to listen to this song, for me, is to listen to her soulful voice at the same time I watch the scene and also read the lyric, because I can feel the song better when I do all three things at once. It’s sort of like music video but better.

    Thank you, Ariendoll. I ‘high 5’ you back. 🙂

    Thank you, thundie. Well, you’ve got your wish on the switch-back. 🙂 I really thought I wouldn’t see the switch-back until at least a few more episodes later, but I’m glad it happened sooner than later.

    Thank you, jule, for your kind words. Regarding the stocking holding the used bar soaps, I’m puzzled by that scene. When JW holds up the stocking, her father loses the smile. The father is displeased about something. As sobohomom2 mentioned, embarrassment for his daughter? Maybe, but from my point of view, who’s also a father of a daughter, I’m not sure if I would be so embarrassed about that. Now if JW were to hold up a pair of her panties, I would be embarrassed for my daughter, but bar soaps? I would laud my daughter for being sensible and frugal befitting her means. So, could the scene signify a different meaning… such as maybe this is where RI’s father first “sees” JW and the idea of soul-switch began formulating in his brain? I mean, RI’s father is supposedly deceased, and he is portrayed as supernatural being, but he is not exactly a god who knows everything at all times. He had to be made aware of JW’s existence somehow. It’s something to ponder, anyway.

    Thank you, rainyrain. I quote another hopeless romantic, Popeye, who said, “I yam what I yam.” 🙂

    Thanks, ninji. “I just can’t seem to feel the characters any longer,” is exactly the words I was looking for. So I’m thinking about using your line on my next re-cap, of course ascribed to you. If I don’t hear from you by Sunday, I’ll assume you’re okay with the idea. Thank you either way.

    Nimi, you’re so witty and sweet. I love the line, “… nothing is lost here in translating.”

    Thanks, lidge_fan. Yes, when I first saw JW wading out of the dirty lake with the key and heard the lyric speaking of man’s undying love, I also thought it was very romantic. It reminded me of the axiom, “Action speaks louder than words,” except in JW’s case, he doesn’t seem to mince words as well as action.

  16. Hello michael,

    first of all, thank you for the asterisk sign which indicates when RI and JW are switched. It was pretty tiring for me to read SG’s recap at dramabeans lately : I had to read a sentence like 3 times to get which character was involved because of the nicknames. So confusing for me lol

    About the body swap : I’m torned. That’s a typical expectation vs reality case for me.

    Expectation : I’m all for it. Actually, that’s the reason why I signed for SG at the first place. I was really curious to see how they would deal with this plot in a Kdrama way. And how glad I was when SG chose to wait before the switch. Thanks to this, the body swap became necessary in a symbolic kind of way : JW & RI were in a dead end by the time of episode 4. They had to be literally in each other shoes in order to open their mind a little instead of being wrapped up in their own prejudices toward each other and yelling at each other’s face… Especially for the Os.

    Reality : Well I laugh a lot. And I’m pretty sure that episode 6 was written just for the sake of comedy. I wasn’t looking for any true to original characters from it anyway. I thought that the subtler tone would be back in episodes 7 and 8. But they came with the magical veil’s device and I just can’t stand it. I agree that the actors made a terrific job with their original characters so I understand why people miss them from the pre-swap. But I also believe that they are skilled enough to deliver emotional scenes as RI* and JW*… I was quite disappointed.

    • I thought that the subtler tone would be back in episodes 7 and 8. But they came with the magical veil’s device and I just can’t stand it.

      Oh choufy, WORD. Hate the magical veil, too. It feels like such a cop-out device.

      Also, HR and JW’s exchanges used to be so full of fireworks but after the swap they feel like sodden wood instead. I was watching ep 8 last night and kept falling asleep. Had to quit at the halfway mark because I just couldn’t keep awake. I hope they swap back quickly!

  17. In the scene where JW was staring at RI from afar after their disastrous ‘bad bag’ date, I love how JW caught his breath when RI looked up at the night sky — as though her beauty pierced his heart.

  18. Hi, starbreez. I went back and watched the scene again, and you’re right. He does catch his breath when RI looks up at the sky. He looked achingly sad, too.

  19. Hi Michael, I’m currently watching Secret Garden up to this point, new to reading your recaps and I can’t help but comment, it’s the first time I see recaps being done this way, like a tie-in. You have very keen eyes for detail and write wonderfully. Most of the times the show itself is so vigorous and quick, but your recaps are so gentle and thoughtful, I might just end up loving SG more than I should just because of your writing. Even if I’m wary with the discouraging knowledge that apparently latter episodes induce much headdesking, frustration and even bashing – ugh, the bane of not watching a show live.

    Much as I love the hilarious shenanigans (the switch is full-on hysterical) the show’s great at its quieter and reflective moments, especially the montage when Baek Ji-young’s song played. The song itself always puts me in melancholy, which also emphasises the looming of something sad and ominous, which seems to be more prominent in these episodes.

    Boy this is becoming rather long.

    • Hi toopai,

      I’m so glad you’re watching Secret Garden and also reading our recaps. Don’t worry about the later episodes potentially giving you headaches, because SG has a happy ending.

      I so agree with you about the drama being at its best in its “quieter and reflective moments.” You’ll see more or those moments later. In addition to Baek Ji-young’s song, there will be another soulful song later on that I also love.

      Thank you for your generous praise and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

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