Episode 14 Review: Heard It Through the Grapevine (2015)
Shine or Go Crazy is over, long live Shine or Go Crazy! The time for Heard It Through the Grapevine to shine and for all of us to go crazy has arrived since first place, starting next week, feels like a unidirectional road! Hitting 11% with its 14th episode by the end of its 7th airing week proves that Heard It Through the Grapevine has established itself in the world of double-digit ratings. I have to admit that this article ruined my life, i started writing and writing and i just couldn’t reach an end even when i tried to restrain my thoughts from popping up. So many things to write about and so many thoughts to filter and turn into words. I even have a theory that started taking shape in my mind in the way the characters develop and interact, but i decided to keep this for another article, maybe a midway review by the end of next week’s Monday-Tuesday episodes or just a separate article since it’s very specific and it’s not necessarily getting balanced around a specific time limit, it’s in the way i’ve already started seeing things in Heard It Through the Grapevine. But let’s move in the recap part that eventually leads to a school essay in the form of my thoughts on very specific characters.
Noo Ri has left the humble house and Seo Bom’s parents keep company to In Sang who’s having a great and heart-warming time. He doesn’t skip a chance to taste anything Jin Ae ahjumma offers him while Hyeong Shik ahjussi plays his guitar and sings, creating a different and affectionate ambiance. It’s In Sang’s time to ask Jin Ae ahjumma a few questions since the atmosphere asks for it, he wonders what makes her nervous the most and if she’s afraid that her husband’s business won’t have a positive outcome. Being nervous about everything and afraid of the world at the same time depicts the constant worries of a working class family standing proud in front of the unknown future. As for her happiest time in life, she’ll get to answer him after a few more years. I guess she wants to see her two children, her grandson and her son-in-law living a happy life, then she’ll be able to answer him with the hand placed there where her heart lies. I like her minimal and meaningful approach, she delivers the message pretty well without magniloquent fanfares, always remaining the voice of logic in her family and the undercover anchor in difficult times. Enjoying Hyeong Shik ahjussi’s melancholic tones completes the scene in a heartfelt and serene way.
Noo Ri tries to take the situation in her own hands and intends to visit president Song’s luxurious living room, but she’s not in the list this time, henceforth she can’t proceed with her own plan in meeting Se Young face to face. The employee’s degrading stare as she was leaving was representative of what’s going on up there and he’s probably seen many girls appearing just once with full access and then being unable to reach for one more time love’s one-way playground. Inside attorney Han and madame Choi’s inner thought-nest the overall ambiance is darkening, attorney Han’s nerves are shaking over Noo Ri’s senseless reflexes and actions whereas madame Choi points towards the right direction. Even though Noo Ri suddenly found herself in the outskirts of wealth, a sense of jealousy towards Seo Bom must have arose in her blurry mind, but the term sister doesn’t apply well to attorney Han’s mind. Even though they are sisters, they aren’t at the same time since Seo Bom is “one lucky mutant” and she must be protected for the sake of eugenics, selective breeding! Okay, professor Xavier, you found your next X-Man.
The house personnel has gathered at the renowned place and secretary Lee becomes the main subject after asking the jeet kune do teacher to marry her! Everyone knows about the rumors around Noo Ri’s name, but they keep Seo Bom in the shadows. Seo Bom helps her teacher escape like a bobcat running as fast as possible in order not to meet secretary Lee who eventually gets informed of what had happened after looking eagerly for him to appear! Yi Ji tries to talk to Seo Bom indirectly about Noo Ri’s incident because she’s worried about her, but the drunkard In Sang returns back home in the form of an ever-vibrant playful satyr enjoying every single moment regardless of the fact that his parents could appear any time! The house personnel tries to shut his mouth but it’s something they can’t accomplish as he sings louder and louder the Bom anthem holding hands with Seo Bom and dancing together in an ecstatic dance equivalent of drunken happiness! Seo Bom recognizes her father’s song and she’s happy about it as she assists In Sang’s happiness! Not everything lasts forever in the almighty household and the heroic voice echos once again! The festival is over and Seo Bom indirectly supports In Sang in front of his parents by trying to take the blame for neglecting to manage him, although she does find his reactions kind of cute! It’s not the right moment for cute reactions and the house personnel stare at her in fear since the Han elders could explode any second, something that gladly didn’t blossom and the lava kept running underneath the surface! Entering once again the inner chambers was the only option, they already have to face a fiery front line with Noo Ri’s “achievements”, facing In Sang and Seo Bom at this very moment wouldn’t help anyone.
Oh, my fans, autographs, autographs for all!
Du-duguseo? I can’t see you well, but ahjussi, bring more soju please!
Seo Bom takes care of baby In Sang and puts him to sleep! She can forgive the fact that he got drank with her father and he had a good time, but getting drank itself is something he should be scolded about! Scolding someone ready to collapse wouldn’t have any meaning and she leaves him lying on the bed to get some rest. A message arrives at In Sang’s mobile phone and Seo Bom’s curious about the text. It’s the right moment for her to receive the OK from In Sang and as she reads through the lines her world gradually collapses as she dives from unawareness straight into the mouth of the abyss. She tries to remain calm by the time the housemaid arrives, but she can’t help it, she needs to find more information and eventually bursts into tears, but she’s not the only one. Yi Ji who was worried about Seo Bom witnesses the moment and closes the door to make Seo Bom’s breakdown more private while In Sang sheds his own tears as he’s covered by blanket. The night’s eye weather forecast was overly rainy and Noo Ri becomes aware that the rumor’s traveled way too fast pretty much everywhere whereas Jin Ae ahjumma cries in silence unable to help her own daughter.
In Sang’s apologetic towards Seo Bom, but he wants to know in full detail everything that happened, the answer lies inside his cellphone. Attorney Han tries to ease the tension within by thinking of Jin Young, he prepares the pushchair and plays around with it until he hears a noise and hides! The nanny’s here and she can’t understand how the pushchair could be found in the middle of the corridor! He sits at his desk pretending to be reading while madame Choi acclimates Jin Young in his pushchair for future walks! Attorney Han can’t help but participate in the overall attempt! It’s like a ritual to him as he’s being extra careful and utterly absorbed by the young master’s divine radiance! In Sang gets ready and Seo Bom asks him what he would have done if it wasn’t Noo Ri but his own sister and the answer is representative, he would kill him instantly! And that’s the first moment we realize that Seo Bom’s after revenge for what happened to her sister! The moment arrives for both of them to face the Han elders and attorney Han can’t hide his wrath. Seo Bom’s apologetic on behalf of her sister, but madame Choi tries to ease the tension. They didn’t let her know of the incident in the first place so that she would remain focused on studying.
Attorney Han won’t let the fact that she apologized on behalf of her sister slide that easily, it’s part of the divide and conquer campaign. Even though they are sisters, they are two different individuals and they should behave according to their background, especially Seo Bom as part of the Han family. Although Seo Bom can’t hold back, she must meet her sister, but it shouldn’t be done under an emotionally charged climate. She should never cross the line of utterly affectionate and compassionate blood relations and that’s the only condition under which she would be able to meet Noo Ri inside a protected environment that doesn’t promote loud voices and tension since it’s a place the Han family visits often. She agrees and to make things sure that everything will flow according to plan madame Choi orders secretary Lee to accompany her. Seo Bom’s mood is flowing downwards and In Sang tries to strengthen her before leaving, if things get awry she should contact him instantly.
Noo Ri informs her mother that she’ll be having launch with Seo Bom but apart from that she’s not in the mood for talking and leaves, ignoring Cheol Shik ahjussi’s questions whether everything’s fine or not. Noo Ri’s uncle’s reactions and too much caring attitude makes Jin Ae ahjumma suspicious, but Cheol Shik ahjussi manages to keep the secret, even though his facial expressions, avoidance of direct eye contact and trembling voice betray him. At Hansong, a big plan’s in the making and attorney Yoo’s part of it. Attorney Han is pleased with her work and applauds her efforts! Everyone’s gathered inside the conference room and the hard work fever rises! Secretaries Yang and Min are having one of their renowned conversations and of course attorney Han would enjoy really difficult cases the most, he was born to overcome each and every burden! Even though he was pissed off due to his in-laws’ actions this case brought him back to a normal state of self-ecstasy! Secretary Min wonders whether he’s a monster or not with some special and unique abilities! Well, he kind of is, professor Xavier! And just like attorney Yoo tries to earn attorney Han’s trust and amazement once again, that’s what secretary Min’s been trying to do as well by putting Cheol Shik ahjussi in her own mission, even though it didn’t blossom and Noo Ri eventually made a severe mistake.
Why do i have to be so awesome?!
Noo Ri arrives at the restaurant and Seo Bom greets her. She easily notices that there’s something overburdened lying on the horizon awaiting its turn to rain down on her and wonders whether someone could hear what they’re talking about. Once Seo Bom asks her if she’s afraid of it or not and lets her know that she knows everything Noo Ri takes the offensive and it’s a direct attack to Seo Bom’s personal experiences and hardships that eventually had a positive outcome. Although she seems to be missing the point and Seo Bom points it out. Seo Bom never conceived any part of everything she went through as something different and she accepted one way or another everything that appeared her way and if Noo Ri refers to it as a medal of honor, yes, it kind of is since she was able to surpass all the obstacles that appeared on her way at such a young age. Seo Bom sets the rules of the game on the table and tells Noo Ri that she pities her, her greed went too far indeed and blind greed never helped anyone. Causing trouble is something the Han elders hate the most and Noo Ri caused trouble, a lot of trouble. If she wants to remain out of the Han blacklist she will have to await for Seo Bom’s decision on the matter. Being sincere, harsh and caring at the same time was the only way to make Noo Ri see the truth with bare eyes.
It’s time to leave and Seo Bom leaves right away, as for Noo Ri, she will have to get in a better shape as if nothing happened and then head back home. Seo Bom’s thoughtful in the car and once secretary Lee informs madame Choi on the phone Seo Bom makes her next move. The car stops and she asks secretary Lee to sit next to her on the backseat. Secretary Lee realizes that no good can come of this, but she has to obey the young lady’s order and joins the backseat. Everything begins with a few questions on secretary Lee’s background on how she started working at the Han household and for how many years. Now that she’s got all the necessary answers it’s time to strike in full force to get her point across effectively. First of all, she should stop badmouthing her family. If she can talk this way about them without Seo Bom finding out, it’s fine, but if she gets caught doing so she should take responsibility for her words. Making fun of madame Choi in her absence applies to the same rules as well, Seo Bom knows what she’s doing by strengthening the stranglehold around secretary Lee. The point is, madame Choi needs secretary Lee, Seo Bom doesn’t. She can live without her as she’s been living without her all these years since everything she needs she can learn it through Madame Choi. Urging her to become a professional secretary for her from this moment and on, someone Seo Bom would need, was a dart straight to the heart! Because if she doesn’t need her, then it’s over for secretary Lee whose shock is immense.
If her previous experiences with Seo Bom felt frightening, at this very moment they seem like romantic confessions compared to her latest experience! And that’s even more apparent when they return back home, everyone senses that something’s wrong, but the truth reveals itself once secretary Lee bursts into tears in front of the housemaid inside the house personnel’s room! She never thought something like that would happen and after many careless thoughts and nerve-shaking tears she finally decides to get herself together! Seo Bom calls her mother and informs her on the overall matter concerning Noo Ri and we watch both women in a fragile state with Seo Bom nearly breaking apart once again, but her mother, no matter how much it pains her to find out what happened to Noo Ri, strengthens Seo Bom. One brokenhearted daughter is enough, both of her daughters breaking to pieces would be unbearable for Jin Ae ahjumma who tries her best to remain sane and as calm as possible so as to keep Seo Bom’s information a secret. By the time the phone call reaches an end Jin Ae ahjumma lowers all of her defenses and bursts into tears, it’s a woeful and emotionally fortified scene with Jin Ae ahjumma feeling helpless. Hyeong Shik ahjussi and his brother return back home, but Cheol Shik ahjussi can understand the reason behind her cries and prevents Hyeong Shik ahjussi from talking to her and finding out, it’s something he wouldn’t bare to know. It’s not only about the mission, it’s also about his brother’s internal world.
Seo Bom tries to keep in mind her mother’s advice and gathers her pieces. By the time she gets off the room she finds secretary Lee who was trying to gather all her strength and knock the door. She’s here to apologize, but Seo Bom’s attitude remains dynamic and if secretary Lee wants to apologize she will accept it even though secretary Lee never got rid of her thoughts on her as a strange girl who appeared out of nowhere inside the almighty household. She has to remain strong in order to preserve her very own plans. Secretary Lee bows in front of Seo Bom as an utter expression of apology and madame Choi who watches from a distance can’t believe her eyes, she’s almost frightened! She calls Seo Bom to inform her that everything’s fine with her health and can’t hold back but ask her what happened to secretary Lee, it’s the first time she witnesses her this way! It’s nothing much, it’s just that Seo Bom tends to holds grudges and this time madame Choi can’t believe her ears! It sounded almost like a threat! As for secretary Lee, she’s under martial law every time Seo Bom appears in front of her!
Inevitably, Jin Ae ajhumma wouldn’t keep it a secret from Noo Ri and tries to unearth more answers and find the reasons behind her actions as Noo Ri lowers the barriers between them and speaks up for herself for the first time after her conversation with Seo Bom. Her greed blinded her and at this very moment she looks like a girl who tried to benefit from a rich guy, it’s an etiquette she can’t bear to have attached to her and she’s even thinking of quitting her job. Jin Ae ahjumma tries to restrain her from taking rash and thoughtless decisions, if Noo Ri’s greed wasn’t helpful, self-pity won’t help her either, especially now. At the same time, In Sang’s searching for information when it comes to Se Young and he finds everything required that connects him to attorney Han and Hansong in order for Seo Bom to bring to life her plan. An affectionate massage on her feet is essential! Seo Bom’s waiting for secretary Lee early in the morning at the doorstep. She takes her inside the studying room and informs her about everything, it’s something she can’t do alone and that’s why she calls secretary Yang. In the beginning she doesn’t intend to help secretary Lee, even though she listens to every single detail about Se Young’s relation to attorney Han and Hansong in the far and recent past, but secretary Lee uses her own “friendly” manipulating weapons that make secretary Yang eventually cooperate, even though she can’t promise that everything will flow well. She works hard to gather everything required and it’s the right time to inform attorney Han. He doesn’t intend to move on, but secretary Yang’s words that Se Young acted knowing that Noo Ri was hisd= daughter in-law and boasted about it made the thin red line inside his brain erupt.
And the plan moves on! Secretaries Yang and Min arrange all the details for Noo Ri to meet Se Young and president Song inevitably has to cooperate. Well, by the time Noo Ri arrives at the luxurious living room president Song decides to act indirectly and hides Se Young who receives the message through Noo Ri’s determined spirit. If he comes in person at her workplace in the morning and begs for forgiveness everything would probably be fine and if he doesn’t want to have any further problems he should comply. Everything went fine and everyone’s heading back home! Seo Bom and In Sang bid farewell their teacher and In Sang notices that he didn’t leave with secretary Lee who informs him that they broke up because they didn’t love each other. As you may have noticed, secretary Lee bowed towards the young couple before leaving and In Sang towards her too, as for Seo Bom, she barely moved her head! Her will is strong!
The big day has arrived, Se Young is at Noo Ri’s workplace and asks one of her colleagues to inform her. Noo Ri plays her part well and soon enough the rumor that Se Young was the one that was hanging onto her starts to spread! Shortly after the good news arrive at attorney Han’s, madame Choi’s, Ji Young Ra’s and pretty much everyone’s ears in South Korea! They sure heard it as a rumor! And then more rumors spread, that he committed suicide and then assumptions come to the surface, whether he did drugs or not, etc! Attorney Han’s scared to death because he could easily consider himself an accomplice to Se Young’s suicide, but he’s relieved to find out that he’s alive after Se Young sent a message to president Song! Later on Se Young visits president Song and he even considers of starting to date her properly! It’s probably the first time he felt the urge to chase after a girl after all this humiliation!
Seo Bom contacts Noo Ri via messages and lets her know of the rumors and the fact that her name has already been cleared, she should grab this chance and progress her life with her own powers. Noo Ri’s thankful towards her younger sister and urges her to wait and see, the promise has been made! In Sang wants to find out what Noo Ri said and by the time he hears the good news a beautiful and playful hug takes place between the young couple! At last, they can be happy now for the time being! Secretary Min and Cheol Shik ahjussi are eating together after the storm has passed and he can’t believe his ears once she refers to Seo Bom as the young lady! She talks about her relationship with attorney Han’s family and Hansong, it’s quite impersonal without any special connections and attachments to people. She refers to her interest towards Seo Bom’s face, the line she uses, “execute my plan with someone else’s sword” is utterly representative of Seo Bom’s future capabilities! Could it be that she intends to achieve her own plan through Seo Bom somehow in the future or she can’t wait to find out what Seo Bom’s truly after under the proper young lady’s veil? Time shall tell!
Noo Ri’s colleague changes her attitude towards her and she’s interested in getting closer together! She directly shows her intentions to hang out with her at the same luxurious place, but Noo Ri informs her that she doesn’t intend to see Se Young anymore since she broke up with him. Reclaiming her reputation and shining on her own is the only pathway she should walk upon and this is only the beginning! Attorney Han realized that everything went according to Seo Bom’s own plan and acknowledges that he was used pretty well! She never ceases to amaze him! And it’s another big day at the household, Seo Bom will be sitting for the GED exam! She doesn’t skip the chance to show her good manners once again and takes the serving disk from madame Choi’s hands and serves attorney Han! To madame Choi’s questions if she’ll be able to pass the answer is only one! Attorney Han’s stare at the very end of the episode was utterly representative of Seo Bom’s powerful mind! Here’s to Seo Bom’s GED forthcoming success, gun bae!
Thoughts: The 14th one was a Seo Bom centered episode dedicated to sisterhood and familial love under Heard It Through the Grapevine’s perspective and circumstances. It’s a journey from the safety of awareness to the realization of overburdening events leading to an emotional breakdown, then dealing with the problem face to face and taking care of incomplete aspects that affect her life one way or another by using the preachings of the Han family to the gradual flow of her thoughtful plan to completion and eventually redemption of everyone’s honor around her. She’s still the loving, caring and utterly fragile Seo Bom we first met, she hasn’t changed and she preserves these aspects of her character when the nights feel darker, but she’s more cautious when she expresses herself and lets emotions overrun her.
She might have not changed, but she hasn’t transformed either, she’s progressing under each and every circumstance that appears on her way from the very moment she walked into the almighty household. She’s learning step by step the way things work in the Han family and for the sake of In Sang, Jin Young and her own family she willingly sacrifices her external expressive self while keeping it safe and sound on the inside. She has partitioned herself in the Seo Bom the Hans desire and the Seo Bom we all know for everyone’s well being. It’s Seo Bom’s very own dignity to filter herself through a prism that combines who she really is, the adorable girl next door, and who they want her to be, the relentless and devoid of emotion but full of ambition young lady. Her love for In Sang hasn’t changed, it’s there and she lets it shine every time they’re on their own, even if it lasts for less than a minute.
She’s a battering ram bringing down walls one after the other, but underneath the surface her very heart and essence pound twice as brightly because if up to the moment she started living inside the household as a necessary parasite and loved In Sang, Jin Young and her family, now that she’s a more than welcome mutant and part of the family loving them is not enough, caring and protecting as an extension of her absolute love is essential, even if she has to ostensibly sacrifice a part of her external affection and human side. The power struggle between her and secretary Lee wasn’t something Seo Bom started, it was secretary Lee’s wrong decision and approach in the first place. If Seo Bom wants to survive and possess peace of mind in order to accomplish her dreams that are always related to the people she loves she has to strengthen her roots inside the almighty household. She has to make full use of her young lady title, not only in papers but also in action. Using everything she learned from madame Choi and attorney Han, but taking into consideration all the immense amounts of knowledge she receives and extends every day through her resourceful and sleepless mind is the only way to surpass any obstacle that appears her way.
It’s a war against time, space and herself. Time, because the more she delays succeeding the more the people around her will possibly suffer. Space, because she lives inside the almighty household and her moves are limited as she is almost unable to see the outside world and if she can’t expand her space for the time being, she can move mountains with the power of her mind; and that’s what she does. Herself, because she’s sacrificing way too much of her bright and vivid self and has to study hard and breastfeed Jin Young everyday while remaining an exemplary wife and a stellar daughter-in-law in advance. While other women who are part of the high class society learn to behave and study under the best teachers at the best schools and colleges for years to achieve the welcome model personae, Seo Bom has to succeed in becoming a proper young lady within a few months and if others move on step by step, she upgrades herself block by block or region by region dare i say.
One could say she’s becoming the female version of In Sang the Hans always desired where in fact she’s always the Seo Bom we loved and still love, under new variables, parameters and circumstances. It’s the evolutionary mechanism of species, once they find themselves in a new environment they have to survive and claim their domain, in its purest societal form. If her behavior feels different when she has to communicate with her family, it’s always with love. And if she might hurt anyone belonging to the sphere of people she deeply loves, this pain reflects back upon herself and the impact is greater.
In Noo Ri’s occasion she dealt with the overall subject masterfully. An emotional breakdown was essential, her heart is always the same and this can’t change. She had to be rough on the surface for Noo Ri to understand that the world is not the outskirts of heaven but the perimeter of hell on a mission to devour you once you let your guard down. Noo Ri didn’t just let her guard down, she was blinded by greed and the consequences were more than she could bear, alone. Seo Bom and eventually her mother were the ones to awaken her from her senseless slumber and face reality the way it is, if Seo Bom was lucky enough to greet a life she’d never imagine, but for which she has to fight in various ways countless times a day in order to preserve it for her and her loved ones, it doesn’t mean that it can happen anytime to anyone. In the end, Noo Ri had already shown her megalomaniac symptoms and the approach on her from the Hans was wrong in the first place, but it was her and only her that made the wrong decisions and it was a lesson learned. As for Seo Bom, it was a lesson learned as well, she put everything she learned into palpable practice for the first time and emerged victorious. In one hand, she was ruthless when her loved ones were under threat, cautiously caring and ultimately loving on the other hand. Under the young lady’s veil, Seo Bom remains a deeply loving mother, wife, daughter, sister and niece and why not, daughter-in-law.
That’s Seo Bom’s part of the story. In Sang as a figure still remains in the background throughout the last episodes after shining as a caring husband, father and in-law against all odds and going against the stream he wasn’t supposed to. As i’ve written before, Seo Bom is In Sang’s flame that sets alight his character, In Sang is Seo Bom’s wind that strengthens her wings and together, as they burn with love, they can set on fire and eventually enlighten the household every time darkness grows thicker. Seo Bom sets fires in disguise, burning shyly and waiting for the right moment to expand. In Sang can set a fire anytime anyplace once his newly emerged revolutionary spirit spreads its wings. Being with his in-laws is like entering a sanctuary. As Seo Bom progresses herself in a Han family oriented way, In Sang progresses the other way around, in Choi Hyeong Shik ahjussi and Jin Ae ahjumma’s embrace. That’s where familial love shines brightly, something he never cherished as a child and an adolescent since he was programmed since birth to follow a very specific course. Meeting Seo Bom, he found himself in a radical crossroad and changed his course moving towards her family’s warmhearted environment.
Set aside drinking, their humble house is a place where he can laugh, feel and express himself openly and freely without taking into consideration inhumane restrictions that reign supreme inside the almighty household. He’s almost a shame and a waste of skin to his parents’ eyes, but in Seo Bom’s parents’ eyes he’s more of a son rather than an in-law. Feeling loved and loving back is a brand new reality he doesn’t want to sacrifice for all the reasons in the world, even if this lengthens the chasm between him and his parents. His insuperable love towards Seo Bom’s face was the fuel that set on fire his forced blinders and as he explores the world around him he evolves in like-minded ways as a more next-door daily figure partially rejecting the world he found himself in since birth. In Sang’s time is near to shine anew and i think the test outcome will be crucial for his figure and the way he’ll progress, especially if he fails.
Monday, why do you feel so distant?!