Episode 23 Review: Heard It Through the Grapevine (2015)
After the 22nd episode’s major cliffhanger Heard It Through the Grapevine maintains the first place in the Monday-Tuesday drama course with 10.6%, leaving behind Hwajung with 9.5% and School 2015 with 5%. Heard It Through the Grapevine’s average ratings for the past 23 episodes ≃10.21% which is a pretty good average, especially when we take into consideration the fact that after the 7th episode it fell only twice below 10%. Ratings-wise it’s a quite a successful drama, as for its quality, we all know that it’s quite rewarding and never lets its guard down as it works in the most representative way for our eyes only!
In Sang goes back at the basement to turn off the boiler, but if they want to, his parents can still use hot water! Seo Bom’s lost in her own thoughts and In Sang tries to comfort her by saying that they didn’t really mean it since they have already said it before and it was because they were angered due to the heat inside their room. However, it’s not so easy. Attorney Han regrets every single step they took from the very beginning and agrees that he made a mistake in the first place, they shouldn’t have approached this matter the way they did. Waiting until In Sang and Seo Bom get bored of their marriage feels too overburdening, could they deal with it legally? Once again, Seo Bom’s the scapegoat and everyone acts this way because she interacted with them, both In Sang and Yi Ji but also the house personnel. She should have never stepped her feet inside the almighty household, but it’s too late for regrets. She’s the personification of immorality since she dared violate every single principle of the Three Bonds and Five Relationships of Confucianism, it’s enough of a reason for madame Choi to keep insisting on kicking her out of the house!
In Sang wants to talk to his parents, the whole situation doesn’t make any sense at all, not even in its legal aspect. As for the moral factor, i won’t even refer to it! Seo Bom realizes to the fullest how much In Sang’s parents hate her, it’s the first time we witness her this way, she’s shaking, it’s an ongoing emotional shock while she tries to hold back her tears. Even though she has In Sang and Yi Ji by her side she’s too different from them and she doesn’t say it to differentiate herself from them, it’s plain logic. No matter what In Sang and Yi Ji may do, they’ll be protected eventually, but when it comes to Seo Bom she’s frail like a petal in the passing of the wind. All faults will come back at her without any hesitation and we’ve witnessed it many times. She could never belong inside the almighty household, she could only be disdained as she desperately tries to be loved by her in-laws. No matter how hard she may try they will always hate her for all the simple reasons: for the space she takes inside the household, for the sterile air she breathes in there, for the fact that she eat with them, dresses like them, bathes like them. It’s always different when you’re not born rich because you’re different and no matter how much Yi Ji and In Sang may retaliate they will still be their children at the end of the day; or the next one.
In Sang’s parents want Seo Bom to appear at the study alone, but In Sang wants to accompany her. Before proceeding she texts her mother since she intends to leave the household with Ji Young. Jin Ae ahjumma finds and excuse and rushes to Seo Bom’s aid. She wants her daughter to not necessarily give an answer to their questions, but she should absolutely say everything she wants to. Seo Bom proceeds, without In Sang, she doesn’t want to seem weak to their eyes. In Sang refers to the 1.7 million ₩ and for the well-being of Seo Bom and Jin Young he intends to use them if he has to, no matter the method his father used to earn them. In Sang may understand his parents, but he doesn’t respect them and he intends to support his wife and his son, but Seo Bom must go through this confrontation alone. At the same time, secretary Yang gets ordered to do just anything that will bring the nanny back to the household as soon as possible!
Attorney Han’s not that simple-minded, he definitely knows that Seo Bom’s learning capacities are powerful and he intends to refer to her faults as honestly as possible. He refers to the Three Bonds and Five Relationships of Confucianism, with the first bond being the one between parent and child; a child’s foundation should be respect for his/her parents. Seo Bom and her family prevented In Sang from practicing this virtue and her uncle started a direct war against him. In Sang wants to interfere but Yi Ji prevents him. The second bond is the one between a king and his subjects; a retainer’s foundation is serving the king. His household retainers have never committed such an atrocious act before Seo Bom passed the almighty household’s gates. Seo Bom understands what attorney Han wants to convey, but she neither understands why he refers to the house personnel as retainers nor she can witness what they did wrong. As for her uncle, he never started a war against attorney Han, he’s only suing the company he used to work for and when it comes to In Sang, he unveiled his father’s faults face to face because he sincerely wants to respect him as a paternal figure. She wishes she had prevented In Sang from proceeding at that point, but she was unable to do so and she hopes that attorney Han will read through the lines before it’s too late by getting condemned by the public.
Madame Choi doesn’t intend to keep listening to her, she wants Seo Bom out of the almighty household at all costs even though attorney Han sees this conversation as the minimum necessary procedure. Without any further thinking Seo Bom “obeys” madame Choi’s orders and there will be no taxi this time because her mother’s waiting for her. She will leave in the exact same way she arrived. Back in the days she still had Jin Young inside her and she will leave with him by holding him in her loving hands since she can’t put him back inside her belly. Of course, they would never approve Jin Young leaving the household, but In Sang states that he will follow Seo Bom and this is it, they want both of them out of the house! At this crucial moment Yi Ji informs the house personnel of what’s going on and they decide to return back to the household even though it would feel like surrendering and kind of condemning their strike.
Seo Bom wants In Sang to stay at the household in an attempt to persuade ihs parents, if he leaves now along with her his parents won’t accept him back. Secretary Yang arrives with the nanny and shortly after Jin Ae ahjumma too. The young couple is ready to leave and it’s going to be hell on earth while secretary Yang tries to convince attorney Han to reconsider and discuss the whole situation calmly in order to put an end to it. She points out that not always everything goes as planned, especially now that their decisions are clouded by anger. Specifically, madame Choi should definitely regain her “sense” of reason and “elegant” attitude for “logic” to prevail over “emotion”.
In Sang and Jin Ae ahjumma are having a conversation which seems mostly like a shattered mother’s monologue who opens up her heart piece by piece. She can’t go against his parents, but she can’t tell Seo Bom to do the same either. In Sang’s parents simply hate her and he intends to beg his own parents by keeping it a secret from Seo Bom at the same time. He thinks that their anger will subside since pretty much everyone will be back to the almighty household. And then questions pop up one after the other filled with regret, why do they treat her this way? Doesn’t Seo Bom have a family too? Was it because her uncle sued the company? In Sang states that if Jin Ae ahjumma takes Seo Bom he will have to follow at all costs, even though he doesn’t have a backup plan when the “after” factor comes into mind. Comforting his parents while Seo Bom and Jin Young will be leaving the household is an option, after all his parents have always been this way and they neither intend to change nor accept Seo Bom. When they let Seo Bom study for the bar exam, was it really for her own sake or there were deeper reasons behind it? It’s a question she carves upon In Sang’s mind as she reveals how much worried she had been since Seo Bom and In Sang let their guard down; In Sang in his immaturity and Seo Bom in her desperate tries to be loved and accepted by her in-laws. The house personnel arrives and Jin Ae ahjumma can’t hold back her tears.
Secretary Yang points out that the almighty couple should greet the house personnel with grace in order not to expand the battlefield. And that’s what happens with attorney Han’s hypocritical voice tone as if nothing happened, but the house personnel remains strong, they are not back because they ended their strike, they were worried about Seo Bom! The almighty couple is “thankful” towards their warm heart and sincere worries! If Seo Bom leaves now everyone goes down with her, she’s the captain of a ship on the verge of sinking and she decides to hold her position for everyone’s sake; except for hers, probably. They left in the first place because Seo Bom would be responsible for their return! I wonder who will be responsible for poor Seo Bom whose words are utterly representative, she’s totally screwed!
Secretary Yang will have to make the arrangements when it comes to the house personnel, the rebels, according to attorney Han! He must be seeing them as the Yellow Turban Rebellion or something! Secretary Yang informs secretary Lee that things are a bit complicated and they should be accepting half their demands and removing the clause about severance. However, since secretary Lee knows way too much when it comes to secretary Yang’s shady background she intends to take care of her severance pay. Divide and conquer once again under a different motive. The nanny overheard a part of the conversation and wonders whether she was excluded or not from the negotiations and she wants secretary Yang to take her into consideration as well. Settling down the improvement of the working conditions feels essential for now, as for the severance clause, secretary Lee will take care of it separately, will she? The factor of the highest importance for now is that In Sang and Seo Bom won’t leave and In Sang doesn’t want the house personnel to back down from their righteous cause either whereas Seo Bom is apologetic.
Secretary Yang considers essential a clause about breach of confidence, after the house personnel quits they might start talking about anything inside the household, they’ve been there for many years and they know quite a lot. Madame Choi states that this is their weakness, especially because of attorney Han! They meet with the house personnel and they can barely hold their civilized masks on! They should always solve everything through a calm conversation like this; tolerance, understanding and generosity! Secretary Yang will be the one to go through the realization of such virtues and madame Choi already wants a massage from secretary Lee!
In Sang hugs Seo Bom now that they are back from hell, he tries to calm her down and ease her tension within. Jin Ae ahjumma’s still waiting and Seo Bom wants to see her mother, alone. Jin Ae ahjumma is worried that Seo Bom will be in a tougher situation by now, it might seem currently better but she shouldn’t be disappointed or sad and above all, she shouldn’t pretend. She’s not quite sure whether it is right to leave like this or not, it’s hurtful to be hated so obviously. Seo Bom cries her heart out while Jin Ae ahjumma tries to hold back her tears for her daughter’s sake, but eventually both of them cry in each other’s embrace while In Sang’s watching from a safe distance. Every time Seo Bom meets with her mother under such circumstances all feels surrender without conditions!
Attorney Han wakes up on the same bed as madame Choi and she wonders why didn’t he sleep on the floor as he wants her to put an end to his sleeping restriction! They are worried about the young couple’s alliance with the house personnel, but they are sure it won’t last forever. They will make up their mind when it comes to Seo Bom after they see the trial exam’s grades. The young couple can skip the morning greeting, but they still can’t dress like that, maybe they dress like my grandma or something! Madame Choi states that secretary Lee can be at ease and even talk to her comfortably! It’s time for breakfast and attorney Han holds the chair for madame Choi to take a seat, what a knight! As for Seo Bom’s “bon appetite”, she should speak more politely to her in-laws and attorney Han refers to China’s Cultural Revolution and how the country’s own culture was ruined. These people will never learn!
It’s raining ₩, hallelujah!
Secretary Kim informs Ji Young Ra about the return of the house personnel and the vague condition Seo Bom has found herself in. Attorney Han informs the teacher that he wants to know the outcome of the trial exam as soon as possible while everyone’s worried about Seo Bom taking the test under such circumstances. Jin Ae ahjumma’s words still echo inside In Sang’s mind on the reasons why his parents let her study and the 100-minute long test begins. At the humble house, Hyeong Shik ahjussi blames his brother and his wife in addition and tells her that she should have apologized on behalf of the family while she was outside of the almighty household! He continues in the same vein and Noo Ri concurs! Noo Ri’s concerned and she wants to meet Je Hoon tomorrow after work, she can’t hold back and informs him on the latest events at the almighty household.
Silent turmoil and uncertainty reigns supreme at Hansong and pretty much everyone finds him/herself cornered by the sudden turn of events. Attorney Han wants to have a drink with Je Hoon for a further discussion, attorney Yoo’s attitude has changed and she’s kind of nervous and secretary Min points out that attorney Han pressures everyone by simply attacking Seo Bom. The Daesan Group case doesn’t seem to be flowing well for the second party while attorney Han moves on with yet another plan. He wants to find a way to fire secretary Min, an indirect one, but it’s not easy unless they can erase all the Hansong information from her brain! The order is pretty much clear, Je Hoon, attorney Yoo and secretary Min; removing them is difficult, but disrupting them feels essential. Their order and priority of existing information will change. When it comes to business, everything becomes clear, for domestic matters, especially concerning women and children, attorney Han states that he doesn’t know anything and he can’t control them with reason and logic! We knew,
asshole, how about emotion and not controlling them?
Madame Choi has arrived at president Song’s luxurious living room and she can’t accept the new rules and regulations concerning the house personnel! Ji Young Ra arrives and notices that madame Choi arrived without her secretary, now she’s got the chance to complain as much as she wants to! Had the house personnel been still on strike and Seo Bom along with In Sang and Jin Young had left the household it would had been quite uncomfortable for the almighty couple. But Ji Young Ra’s tongue runs faster than her mind and she nearly betrays herself, how could she know all this information beforehand? She finds a mere excuse and evades any further investigation for now and madame Choi keeps complaining about everything going on at the palace! The shaman said that In Sang would achieve his goals, but madame Choi doesn’t care about it now, all she cares about are their own goals! You should be caring madame Choi, because if In Sang achieves his goals alongside Seo Bom you and your husband you’re ultimately effed and you’ll probably have the chance to become humans too, who knows?! Know Kwon knows! Eom So Jeong mentions that madame Choi should shape In Sang as if he was a topiary and that once she finds harmful insects she has to exterminate them, for Jin Young poop’s sake, are you freaking serious?! He’s a young man, not a castrated lizard! Madame Choi calls secretary Lee and complains about her answering too late, she wants her to find out the shaman’s schedule! I guess she will rely upon African juju or Haitian voodoo in the forthcoming steps!
The exam goes on and on and on and… time’s over! The teacher corrects the tests with Seo Bom hitting 305 and In Sang 301. It’s a reasonable score since they have encountered many of the questions before, but their grades were much higher than the passing score. If they take more exams it will be even higher, but they discussed it and this isn’t their real goal. They started it to flatter In Sang’s parents, but the teacher states that regardless of their motives they should pass the exam first if they don’t want another war to erupt. They need time to decide and the teacher will help them by not reporting immediately their grades, they have some time to think even further until his shift reaches an end.
Secretaries Lee and Yang finally meet. Secretary Yang tries to evade the main topic and the conversation always moves towards attorney Han or the better working conditions. At the same time the house personnel is kind of worried about secretary Lee’s methods, but they must believe in her while secretary Yang’s money-making machine starts revealing itself step by step. Secretary Yang wants to know how much the house personnel knows about her slush fund, but secretary Lee calms her down, but she has discussed it with teacher Park! The owner of Han Trust is secretary Yang’s brother and after this information secretary Yang intends to share half her monthly profit. She considers it mutually beneficial, but secretary Lee’s not satisfied since secretary Yang could get arrested anytime! She wants more than 50% and her thirst for power grows as secretary Yang’s enigmatic smiles steadily cracks into pieces!
Thoughts: What were these divorce theories in the preview of the 24 episode?! But i won’t invest into this since a preview can be deceiving, especially when we’re talking about such a deceiving drama as Heard It Through the Grapevine! On the 23rd episode there’s immense emphasis on the Three Bonds and Five Relationships of Confucianism which are pretty much the starting basis and the very foundation upon which attorney Han’s ideals are being built through their most despotic aspects.
Once upon a time, around 500 BC…
The Trial of Solomon:
Teacher Park didn’t bring the Trial of Solomon out of nowhere. It’s a story from the Hebrew Bible which refers to two women claiming a child as their own respectively. Keeping things sort, King Solomon decided to split the child in half by the sword so that both women would keep 50% of the baby and every party would be pleased. At the announcement of his decision the real mother cried her heart out for the baby’s life and the other one concurred the King’s decision. Eventually, the baby was given to his/her real mother, the one caring for the baby’s well-being.
It’s a multifaceted story applying to pretty much everyone and everything in Heard It Through the Grapevine’s world and it has its beginning in attorney Han’s ongoing divide and conquer campaign from trying to separate Seo Bom from her parents, Seo Bom from Jin Young, In Sang from Seo Bom, the house personnel from Seo Bom and it pretty much goes on with the static parameter remaining Seo Bom, the caring mother of the story. The second parameter always changes, but none of these variables are the other woman, the other woman in the Trial of Solomon story is attorney Han alongside madame Choi while at the same time they are the King as well.
The Three Bonds are:
- Ruler over Minister
- Father over Son
- Husband over Wife
According to attorney Han Seo Bom has violated all Three Bonds by supporting the house personnel against attorney Han, by separating In Sang from attorney Han and not being an exemplary wife according to attorney Han’s books when it comes to In Sang respectively. In fact, Seo Bom paid tribute to all Three Bonds under a more humane prism setting aside all authoritarian spirit and preserving the deeper aspects of these rules and adjusting them to nowadays’ reality.
The Five Relationships are:
All of them are representative aspects of the South Korean reality, but they apply pretty much everywhere, but since it’s the world of South Korean dramas we easily witness the father-son, superior-inferior, husband-wife, senior-junior and friendship aspects under all the possible parameters from the most totalitarian one to the most heartfelt perspective. Heard It Through the Grapevine’s nature is the one of witnessing the most totalitarian aspects of the Five Relationships inside a patriarchal society trying to move on towards the pathway of equality in all Five Relationships. Inside the drama there’s an ongoing struggle of the two opposing sides of the pyramid with all intermediate statuses partaking one way or another by choosing and changing sides according to the circumstances, the benefits, the morals, the beliefs, etc.
Jin Ae ahjumma here is like Death in the renowned chess scene from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, so much threnody!
It’s the first time we witness Seo Bom so devastated and in an utter emotional shock under the vast shadow of the latest events and the sudden realization that she was desperate trying to be loved by her in-laws. At this point, no matter how hard In Sang might try to help her, while it isn’t, it feels pointless, all he can do is let her rely on his shoulder as a deeply caring and loving support. Hyeong Shik ahjussi and Noo Ri prove themselves right, or at least they think so, since they don’t take into consideration deeper thoughts on the overall subject as they swim endlessly on the surface while Jin Ae ahjumma cracks on the inside having witnessed her daughter’s weakness for the first time in person after a very long time since Seo Bom was managing to keep it a secret from her, but not from her maternal instinct.
The house personnel feels quite uneasy under the new circumstances after the strike has reached an end, the latest turn of events can’t let them be happy but they can’t be that sad either since half their demands have been approved. Ji Young Ra and secretary Kim keep moving on with their united spying plan and soon enough everything will be revealed. Attorney Han and madame Choi find it pretty hard to adjust to the new parameters inside the household, especially madame Choi since she spends most of her time in there.
Attorney Han has his workaholic and plotting schedule going on at Hansong that keeps him busy, regardless of the fact that he still doesn’t know how to communicate with his wife and his children and solve domestic matters like a caring paternal and husband figure. Concluding, secretary Lee’s methods are a bit shady at this point, why does she want more than 50% of secretary Yang’s share? Is it because she wants to ensure that the house personnel will receive the severance payment or she wants it all for herself? Is it enforced charity through profit or a megalomaniac’s own dream?
The 23rd episode had tremendous waves of feels that devastated the coast and everything that appeared in their way. It’s restoration time and a moment of deep thought process, difficult times haven’t surrendered and not even a breath of celebration should get wasted for celebrations in times of war always distort the whole picture.