Court is in session
The People v. Thunderbolt
The hearing will now begin. Are you, Thunderbolt, the author of this post which has caused undue and severe emotional distress to fans of the Korean drama, Protect the Boss?
Speak up, don’t mumble. And no one-word answers.
YES, I AM!
No need to shout; I’m not deaf. Did you write that madcap recap to poke fun at three dramas in one fell swoop?
Not a madcap but a mashcap, Your Honor. But it’s not even a mashed-up recap, it’s an alterna-recap. Javabeans defines it as “Here’s what didn’t happen but totally could have!” And no, I wasn’t poking fun at the dramas. I like all three and in fact love one of them ardently. How could…
You admit you served up a fabricated three-in-one recap, thus thwarting the wishes of many people who had been longing to read a bona fide Protect the Boss recap on Dramabeans? You made them gnash their teeth and even cry?
I didn’t think people would get angry or confused, Your Honor. I didn’t write the recap with a mischievous intent. I merely wanted to…
Whatever your misguided intentions, you made them upset enough to file this suit. I hereby sentence you to 75 hours of community service. You will recap the remaining fifteen episodes of Protect the Boss in a straightforward gimmick-free manner. No lizards, no toads, no spirits of departed great-grandmothers popping up in your writing, understand? You say that you take fifteen hours to write one recap? Learn to do it in five. So, 75 hours in all.
But I write like a snail, Your Honor! And the lizards in my room love being featured in my…
I said NO MORE LIZARDS. We will adjourn to my chambers now where I will watch you write the Episode 2 recap.
Now? But I need to think about the episode first. And I can’t write with Your Honor looking over my shoulder. I can’t write with distractions. I need to be absolutely alone and quiet when…
I will not look over your shoulder, I will sit facing you. Are you going to get moving or would you rather I ask you to recap King Gwanggaeto the Great, all sixty episodes of it?
I’m moving, Your Honor. In fact, I’m running as fast as my feet will take me!
Why aren’t you writing?
I’m watching the episode, Your Honor. I will write when I have finished…
No, no. You watch and write, watch and write. Recap as you go. If other bloggers can do it, why can’t you?
This is harder than pulling teeth. Please, Your Honor. Have mer…
Quit whining and start writing. I don’t have all day.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Ji-heon arrives at the office and is shocked to see a new face. (This is a guy who is most comfortable in a universe where everything is constant and familiar.) A glance at Eun-seol’s qualifications and he immediately pronounces her a “Nakasan” (낙하산), a word that means parachute or umbrella. So a Nakasan in this context means someone who parachutes or rides into the company under the auspices or protection (umbrella) of a higher-up.
“You recruited this Nakasan to spy on me?” he asks his cousin who has just walked in. “Throw a stone and you’ll hit someone with grad school credentials. How then did this woman who has no specs (qualifications) to speak of end up becoming my secretary?”
The cousin’s face can’t be seen clearly in that screencap. Take another one. And stop hyperventilating like you’re being tortured.
I’m sorry. Doing four things simultaneously—watch, screencap, think, write—leaves me short of breath. Do you mean Moo-won’s face? Is this one okay, Your Honor?
He looks like a villain there. Pick another one.
It is obvious from this scene that there is tension percolating between the two cousins. Ji-heon seems especially wary and suspicious of Moo-won and reminds him of a previous incident where the latter did indeed plant a spy inside the former’s office. Moo-won dismisses the charge with a laugh and urges Ji-heon to keep doing whatever he’s been doing; God forbid he should become all stressed by the possibility of being spied upon.
Unaware of the undercurrents, Eun-seol promises to be grateful to the one who hired her, and, more importantly, to be the best secretary to her new boss.
It’s so hard to remember that “Ji-heon” name. Just call him Flappycurls from here on since he’s curly-haired and always flapping away.
If it pleases Your Honor, may I be allowed to use “Ji-heon”? It is shorter. Your Honor said earlier that you didn’t have all day…
I don’t have all day. Don’t use “Moo-won”; use “Hero” instead.
Oh, you’re a fan of DBSK, Your Honor? How cool! I’m also a…
Are you recapping or not? Next scene!
Back home, Eun-seol is cursing her bad luck. Her first day and already she might get fired? Why did she pray so fervently at church, temple and mosque for a decent job but forget to ask that she get to stay in said decent job?
“I’m not giving up,” she tells best friend and roommate, Myung-ran. “If I want to remain employed I need to make sure it happens.”
So the next day and the next day she is at her desk bright and early. Day after day he sees her jumping to her feet as soon as he walks in, her effusive greeting alternately startling and embarrassing him. She’s that stubborn stain on his shirt, that predictable growl from his father before another elevator beating. Oh, what must he do to rid himself of her!
Your Honor, doesn’t Ji-heon look so cute when he’s exasperated? I really like Ji Sung in this role even though he looked hotter in Royal Family. He’s just so ador…
Will you move on? Aren’t there family scenes coming up? Where the cousins meet or better yet where the straight-haired one is in a scene alone?
I have no idea, Your Honor. You said to recap as I go.
Then hurry. Quit the gratuitous metaphors!
Ji-heon hits on a brilliant idea. He will make her job so demanding she would throw in the towel and run back to wherever she came from.
I must pause here and tell you, Your Honor, that I’m puzzled that he does not remember her face from the nightclub. That place wasn’t exactly dimly lit and he witnessed first-hand how she beat up the lecher’s underlings. He wasn’t drunk then so how could he not recognize…
His contacts dropped out in the scuffle. He got socked in both eyes. Whatever. Does it matter?
So he rattles off a list of non-negotiables. How she’s supposed to answer his phone calls. How he wants his office cleaned. The exact angle of his blinds so that just the right amount of sun will come in. The hand sanitizers that she must carry with her so that his hands will always be kept sterile. A single misstep and she becomes ex-secretary.
He nitpicks all the time and makes outrageous demands. She tears all over town trying to meet his whims (for food, coffee and whatever else he wants). He can’t believe how determined she is and how difficult it is to wear her down. She staggers home every night a bundle of frazzled nerves. If she could kill him she would. But no, she will win this battle of wills.
Because in the quieter moments when he isn’t breathing down her neck or asking for this and that, she takes stock of her present state and realizes how very happy she is. A job in an office. A full-time paycheck to look forward to. Even her company ID card is precious to her.
Did you skip the Moo-won scene? Why aren’t you writing about that one?
Oh. Seeing Eun-seol so blissful, I suddenly feel this burst of love for her. I want to reach into the screen and give her a hug and tell her this: No Eun-seol, fighting!
Yes, she will need all the support you can give. That Ji-heon is so immature and such an unreasonable taskmaster.
He’s just testing her, Your Honor. Deep down he’s just insecure and lonely. He really isn’t a mean or obnoxious boss. He’ll soon realize how invaluable she is and how much he’s reliant on her. She’ll tame him, I’m sure.
And I’ll tame you soon if you don’t talk about that Moo-won scene!
It is another of the company’s regular management meetings. Once again, Moo-won is up in front looking VERY spiffy and confident as he delivers the results of an internal audit, this time of staff performance and satisfaction. Supposedly there is widespread disgruntlement about the unbecoming behavior of certain senior staff members who are perpetually late for work, etc.
Moo-won is never late, of course.
Never ever, Your Honor. He is altogether exemplary. Okay, back to the meeting. As Moo-won is speaking, his cousin is preoccupied with doodling and is not listening to a word that has been said. But that is just on the surface; I’m sure he’s aware of everything that is going on and isn’t as obtuse as he appears. He knows Moo-won is up to no good.
That’s just conjecture. Stick to what you see!
Yes, Your Honor. Perturbed by the audit findings, Chairman Cha calls Eun-seol for a tongue-lashing. After all, she has been amiss in not reining in her wayward boss and making sure he turns up for work punctually.
But just as his son before him, the chairman finds himself unexpectedly drawn to this new secretary. The meeting concludes with mutual chuckles and an agreement that she has one month to make sure his tardiness dies for good. She will personally go to the Cha residence and haul Ji-heon to work every day.
So the next day she shows up at the sprawling Cha mansion. In the garden is Ji-heon’s grandma, dressed like she’s in the family’s employment as a gardener. Without identifying herself, and after hearing why Eun-seol is there, she points in the direction of Ji-heon’s room. At last. Maybe this young woman will succeed where everyone else has failed.
I should have done this in my Episode 1 recap but it’s not too late. Kim Young-ok! *squeee*
Eun-seol tiptoes into Ji-heon’s room and finds him fast asleep. Aw, look at how he sleeps. Just like a baby!
And see his boxers, hehe! Oops, I’m sorry, Your Honor. I didn’t mean to laugh so loud…
Your Honor? Are you sleeping, Your Honor? Oh, you are.
Hehehehehe, Ji-heon suddenly awakes and is horrified that Eun-seol is not only in his room but has seen him wearing THAT!
As he takes his most red-faced shower ever, angry that she invaded his private space and aghast that she’s seen MORE of him than he cares to admit, the guilty one is blithely checking out his room when she chances upon a most unsettling sight.
A faceless standee that looks uncannily like her. A few feet away, perched like some prized exhibit, a shoe. Her shoe.
Suddenly she remembers. Holy cow. The guy who got beat up because of her is none other than Cha Ji-heon! So she’s the one to blame for the chairman’s public humiliation!
“Does that shoe fit you?” asks Ji-heon as he emerges all showered and collected. “Of course not! See how wide my feet are?”
“Wait till I find that Poophead. I’m totally going to make Ms. Poophead pay for all the misery she caused me.” And then he proceeds to demonstrate with darts and the standee.
Watching him, Eun-seol must wish the ground would open up and swallow her. What cursed bad luck is this? Her boss now her hunter? He must never find out!
It’s afternoon by the time the two arrive at the office. Guess who is walking in at the precise moment? Yup, The One. The building fairly shakes as he roars: “How dare you come to work so late?!”
This is just too much, really. Must you be so predictable, Chairman Cha? How can you behave like a thug toward your own son? Have you forgotten how cute he was and still is? Stop bashing him!
Unable to watch any longer, Eun-seol jumps in front of Ji-heon just as another blow comes flying.
That scene will keep replaying itself in Ji-heon’s head. His secretary shielding him. His secretary getting socked on his behalf. So when he steps outside and sees her being treated condescendingly by the other secretaries, he is furious. They dare bully her, Cha Ji-heon’s secretary?
In the next scene, one that’s too endearing for words, he creates a pretext for her to tidy his table so that she will see the tube of ointment that he’s prepared for her. And when she applies it to the wrong spot, he steps close and takes over the task. Everyone say it with me now.
They spring apart when each realizes the other is too close for comfort. Before the awkwardness gets prolonged further, Ji-heon receives a call. It is his former secretary asking for a favor: a letter of recommendation for a new position.
“Ha, no way!” replies Ji-heon, remembering how he had been unceremoniously dumped as boss not too long ago. “I found Poophead!” the ex-secretary says, clinging desperately to this last lifeline. “You found Poophead? Wow!” exclaims the hunter. “Oh shit!” says the hunted to herself.
The lizards in my room laughed so hard at the next scene I think they dropped five tails in total. Running like her life depends on it, and donning an improvised City Hunter disguise, Eun-seol manages to grab the incriminating evidence containing Poophead’s whereabouts. The ex-secretary gives chase but our girl is too quick and strong for him.
“Your memory or your life? If you forget everything about Poophead, I promise I will secure that letter of recommendation for you.”
The eventful day gets even more eventful as Eun-seol persuades Ji-heon to make a scheduled visit to the family’s departmental store. Because his brain is still grappling with Eun-seol’s chivalrous act earlier, he greets the staff with more chirpiness than he or they are accustomed to.
All that PR makes him thirsty so she steps away to find water for him. When he turns around and finds that she is gone, he begins to panic. It’s as if hordes of people are rushing at him. Walls are moving; even the ground is shifting. Breathless and lightheaded, he falls just as Eun-seol returns with the bottle of water.
Stunned and frightened, she holds him as he closes his eyes and mutters: “Just one second. I’ll be okay soon.”
Back at home, he can’t stop thinking about the way she hugged and comforted him. “Go away,” he tells the images in his head. They don’t listen, of course.
As for Eun-seol, the concerned one is on the Internet trying to find out the reasons for her boss’s panic attack.
The next day at work, Eun-seol discovers bottles of medicine inside Ji-heon’s drawer. When she and Moo-won are taking a coffee break, she asks: “Is Director Cha Ji-heon ill by any chance?” But when his eyes gleam at her question and he leans forward to find out more, she quickly changes the subject.
Your Honor, wake up. It’s a Moo-won scene. You don’t want to miss that.
Huh? What did you say? Who’s Moo-won? Ah, Moo-won!
Moo-won finds out from his own secretary that there’s a name for Ji-heon’s condition: Agoraphobia. Put Ji-heon in an unfamiliar and possibly threatening environment with many people present and he becomes so afraid of getting a panic attack he ends up actually getting one? Interesting.
evil Moo-won comes up with a most evil plan. Appoint Ji-heon the keynote speaker at a large media event designed to boost the company’s public standing.
“I’m not going to do it,” the appointed one tells his dad. “Do it,” replies the older man in an almost pleading manner. “After your hyung’s death, there is no one now except you. You are my successor, Ji-heon.”
The mention of his brother triggers a hidden resolve. Telling Eun-seol to take a break since he will not be coming to work for a few days, Ji-heon holes up at home and meticulously rewrites the speech that Moo-won gave him. With Eun-seol’s daily prepping (he discovers her outside his door but fails to evict her), he feels more than ready for the big speech.
Allow me to pause here, Your Honor, and tell you how proud I am of Ji-heon. I’m so proud! On the day of the event as he is going up the escalator, did you see how he’s still going over his speech? He’s nervous and yet determined to do his best. I just love him so much! And aren’t he and Eun-seol a great team? I love them both so much!
Yes, yes. There’s so much love swishing around I’m practically drowning. But not enough screen time for Moo-won’s character. A big flaw in the story, if you ask me.
The event gets underway and Ji-heon is introduced as the main speaker. He goes up on stage, sees the sea of faces before him, and suddenly the hours of rigorous rehearsals melt away and he’s back where he started, back to feeling anxious and unsure. His monotonous delivery is a world removed from the animated speeches that he’s been making in the private and reassuring confines of his bedroom. There he only had an audience of one. Here he is standing before a too-large crowd.
As if to make things worse, someone has suddenly appeared at the back of the room.
Seeing the woman, Ji-heon stammers even more and then announces: “My secretary will finish the speech for me.” He leaves.
By this time she’s been around him long enough to know where he has gone. “Do you feel like crying? Just let it out then,” she says cheerfully. “Do whatever you want.” He doesn’t know it, but she has decided that she will do everything she can to help and protect him.
Chairman Cha arrives soon after. When Ji-heon refuses to explain why he ran away, the enraged father gives his son a stinging slap and then yells at him to get out of the house. “There’s a reason why he’s behaving this way, Chairman,” says Eun-seol. “I’m not one hundred percent certain and I can’t tell you even if I find out, but there’s definitely a reason.” She then leaves to go after Ji-heon.
The next scene makes me cry, Your Honor. She follows behind him as he walks but he keeps yelling at her to go away. But when he turns and finds that she is indeed gone, he starts to panic. That’s when my eyes well up. He’s like a frightened child, Your Honor. And it’s becoming so clear that he needs her.
How long is this episode? It doesn’t seem to end!
We’re almost there, Your Honor. Without any money on him and with little on her, the two end up in Eun-seol’s house. Glancing around, he sees her shoes. Glancing at him, she realizes he has seen her shoes. Uh oh.