Drama recap of I am Kim Nam Soon by dramabeans

300 August 3, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 1

by samsooki

[And now, for a special treat! With samsooki rediscovering his love of an old K-drama classic and generously offering his recaps, we thought it would be a blast to relive the glory days of My Name Is Kim Sam Soon. Huzzah! Those of you who’ve watched and loved Sam Soon can take this opportunity to wax nostalgic for the good ole days of the mid-2000’s, while those who haven’t seen it yet (crazy, but I assume there must be a few who fit this description) can see what the hype was all about.

So, let’s hop in our time machines and travel back to 2005, when Cinderellas and Candys ruled the day, cold chaebol princes were the hero of choice, and angst was ruled by unresolved first-love pain. Oh, wait. I guess not everything’s changed in six years. To add to the fun, we’ll be “airing” recaps on a familiar schedule, just like we’re watching it live all over again — so say hello to our newest Wednesday-Thursday drama! –javabeans]


Perhaps you’ve heard of My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, a/k/a My Lovely Sam Soon? Before your time? Wowsers… Okay, well, in a sentence, MNIKSS is a romantic comedy where boy meets girl and then girl puts boy’s brain in a blender and pulses ‘frappe.’

MNIKSS wasn’t the first to follow a rich-man/poor-girl story line or have a fist-pounding-pillow love triangle, but there was something there that just seemed to resonate with people. And while ratings began rather modestly on June 1, 2005, by the sixteenth and last episode, more than half of Korea was tuning in to see what would happen.

Whether you’ve seen this drama before or not yet, I hope that you’ll find this trip back six years in time as fun as I do.


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The initial characters!

Meet Kim Sam Soon – hovering around 30 years of age, a talented pastry chef who is soon to be ‘between employment opportunities’ due to trials of the heart. She’s not exactly the quiet, hard-working type. And she’s not quite spunky. On the other hand, she is a dreamer and she has a bright line personality for which there is right and wrong.

Min Hyun Woo has been Sam Soon’s boyfriend for three years. He is the second son of a construction company magnate. Hyun Woo is also a playboy who rationalizes everything yet believes in nothing. He is articulate and smooth, which probably contributes to his complete lack of ethics. Hyun Woo is the kind of person who would snag the $20 bill dropped by a poor old lady instead of returning it, rationalizing that his use of the $20 would be better for the national economy than a poor woman saving it.

Jin Heon is the owner of Bon Appetit, a fashionable French restaurant in Seoul. Bon Appetit is part of a conglomerate of hotels and restaurants owned by his family, led by Jin Heon’s mom, Na Hyun-Sook (aka Chairwoman Na). Jin Heon has spent his life being groomed for eventual leadership of his family’s businesses. Confident beyond arrogance, smart and jaded, Jin Heon uses the blind dates that his mother sets up for him as passable sport, both overestimating and belittling his dates at the same time.

Episode 1 – Life is Like A Box Filled With Bonbon Au Chocolat.

It is Christmas Eve night at a swanky hotel. Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” plays softly in the background as a happy couple, arm in arm, heads toward a nightcap of passion and love.

But who’s that following the couple, dressed like an incognito sack of wool? It’s Sam Soon, who’s tracked down and confirmed the cheating by her man, Hyun Woo. Sam Soon imagines herself as a vengeful woman, attacking Hyun Woo with the stiletto she has brought with her… until she is awakened from her reverie by a room service attendant who needs her to get out of the way. Sam Soon turns to run away but trips! And her woolen form doesn’t blend in with the hotel carpet! Oh noes! Hyun Woo cannot help but spot Sam Soon trying to crawl away.

Downstairs, in a packed hotel lounge, it is time to lay down cards and show hand. A non-apologetic Hyun Woo quizzes Sam Soon as to how she found out. While heart-broken, Sam Soon is not to be led astray through deflecting questions; she searches for answers. But Hyun Woo has none to offer other than to break up with her, coolly, with no regret or emotion.

Hyun Woo’s callousness finally rouses Sam Soon to defend herself. She brings out her rapidfire tongue blazing but this merely makes Hyun Woo walk away without answering. Not to save the relationship but to save herself, Sam Soon stands up in the lounge and shrilly calls out to Hyun Woo: “Was there ever a time you loved me?”

Hyun Woo pauses and then answers, probably truthfully, that he did love her. But his love has reached its limit, and so what can he do about it? Sam Soon rushes to the hotel bathroom to cry away from public eyes, but in her haste, Sam Soon had chosen the wrong bathroom! Could this Night of A Thousand Horrors get any worse?

Jin Heon was on a blind date of his own, and chose to spend the time listening in on Min Woo-Sam Soon saga rather than paying attention to his own date. Getting splashed with water for his own inattentiveness, Jin Heon finds himself face-to-face with a tear-streaked, half-dressed Sam Soon. Jin Heon offers some unwanted “many fish in the sea” advice before leaving.

Months pass. Jin Heon, the owner of the French restaurant, Bon Appetit, finds himself short of a pastry chef as his prized pâtissier has quit and gone back to Paris. Jin Heon meets with his mother, Chairwoman Na, to get a loaner French pastry chef or at least some pastries, from his mother’s hotel.

It has taken months to heal, but a resurgent Sam Soon has apparently shaken off The Worst Night Ever and is applying to a match-making service. Her unimpressive life history is laid out before a pudgy intake matchmaker. Her father has passed, she has no job, assets or university education, and pfft, what a weird name! The tigress in Sam Soon roars in response… before she wakes up again. Hehe!

These dream sequences are brilliant because more than being funny, they show Sam Soon’s character without actually being offensive (Sam Soon’s lack of respect at times would be a little hard for Korean viewers to take – but since it’s a dream, it doesn’t really count).

Back at the hotel, Jin Heon is being cheeky with his mother and Chairwoman Na is running short on patience for her son. The Chairwoman is not amused by Jin Heon’s blind date antics and starts beating on him. Consider it a loving beating and Jin Heon feels the love. Still, Jin Heon needs a pâtissier and heads down to the hotel restaurant to bum a few dozen cakes.

It seems that Sam Soon lost her pastry chef job due to her absence at work when she tried to track Hyun Woo on Christmas Eve. So after her visit to the matchmaking service, Sam Soon goes to another job interview at a certain hotel restaurant. Despite her efforts, Sam Soon is sadly rejected for being overqualified (how can one be overqualified? I don’t get it). And Sam Soon had even brought a mango mousse cake as an example of her abilities.

Before leaving, Sam Soon peeks into the hotel kitchen area and sees all the goodies being made. She is wistful and crouches for a closer look. Just then Jin Heon appears from behind and startles Sam Soon. The two collide and the latter’s hair is caught in the buttons of Jin Heon’s zoot suit!

Sam Soon struggles to get loose, but like a fish caught on a hook, squirming just makes it worse. And Jin Heon has no time to waste on interlopers or slackers. Bon Appetit needs cakes and pastries. He takes clippers… .and …. *snip* Oh no, you did-unt! Mmmm hmmm! he did-et!

Jin Heon ignores a howling Sam Soon and walks over to the hotel pâtissier Chef Chris. As Jin Heon unsuccessfully begs for pastries from Chef Chris, a pissed Sam Soon finally scores a victory for herself. *WHAP* While all of the other chefs are aghast, Chef Chris has one of the best lines when he says in some weirdly-spoken slow English, “Oh! My! God!”

Sam Soon snarks that Jin Heon should enjoy eating the cake, as she made it herself and it is a bit on the pricey side. Har! Lesson To Be Learned – hands off the ahjumma fro! On the way out, though, Sam Soon realizes that the person she just assaulted was the bathroom guy from Chrismas Eve! Sam Soon swears further revenge if she ever meets him for a third time. Meanwhile, a nonplussed Jin Heon tastes the smashed cake… and damn, but that’s some fine mango mousse, and runs after Sam Soon.

By luck or fate, Jin Heon has just found his pastry chef. Jin Heon chases down Sam Soon and reveals himself to be the President of Bon Appetit. See, the thing about Koreans is that stranger to stranger, polite speech (joen-de-mal) is pretty much mandatory even when one person is older than another. But once social status and even the briefest of personal relationships are confirmed, speech patterns can switch to familiar speech (ban-mal) pretty quickly if there is a big difference in social strata. Jin Heon has turned from polite stranger to jerky boss, and his speech and accent correspondingly switches from “Neutral-Polite-Inquisitive” to “Bored-British-Accent-Ban-Mal.” He orders Sam Soon to appear at his restaurant in a day’s time, resume and cakes in hand.

Despite her reservations with the ill-mannered Jin Heon, Sam Soon appears for the interview, desperately hoping that Jin Heon doesn’t recognize her from Christmas Eve. Jin Heon asks relevant questions about her lack of schooling but Sam Soon doesn’t flinch and answers truthfully. She passes the first round and now its taste-testing time for Sam Soon’s goodies.

With Westlife’s rendition of ‘Mack The Knife’ setting the mood, Sam Soon’s goodies are sampled before Jin Heon, the head chef of Bon Appetit, Chef Lee, and by the restaurant manager, Manager Oh. Sam Soon is asked about her pastries and she answers philosophically. Her chocolates are shaped by her own life experiences. She makes not only the chocolates but the box as well – as people must take full responsibility for their designs and choices. Jin Heon is impressed by Sam Soon’s passion and maturity but chooses a mien of disinterest.

Jin Heon has to work to hide his fascination and respect for her, but still manages to sound bored as he offers her the job. But rather than immediately accept, Sam Soon declares that she will take the job if she can be called Hee Jin, and not Sam Soon. Jin Heon doesn’t understand why Sam Soon is a bad name but Sam Soon can’t understand why Jin Heon can’t understand. What if Hyun Jin Heon were named Hyun Sam-Shik? (an adequate translation of “Sam-Shik” might be “Third-Punk” hehe.).

Finally, Jin Heon says that Sam Soon can pick any other name, but not Hee Jin. But Sam Soon must be Hee Jin. Why must you be Hee Jin? Why must you ask why I must be Hee Jin? Hehe! It’s stare-down time! Sam Soon, rather cannily, plays chicken with Jin Heon as she gets up to leave. Jin Heon caves.

And so Kim Sam-, er, I mean, Kim Hee Jin is introduced as the new pastry chef of Bon Appetit. She is greeted warmly with the exception of the restaurant’s chief single lady, Captain Jang (wait-staff floor leader), who feels threatened by the arrival of yet another woman to try to take away her President Jin Heon.

With the entire restaurant as an audience, Jang Captain asks for Sam Soon’s age, ostensibly to determine how to address her. With that being the apparent reason, Sam Soon has no choice but to answer truthfully – she is 30, and Sam Soon’s admission draws snickers from Jang Captain.

Note: way back when, recent college grad samsooki himself was dragged to a mother-child meet-and-greet at a fancy hotel, arranged by Korean mothers in the area. Throughout dinner, one mother after another would drag her child to the front and introduce him or her. One mortified med school student came up, and rabid frothing Korean moms started barking questions in Korean, “How old are you?” “What’s your blood type?” “What type of medicine?” And the daughter politely answered each question, and then was about to leave when one particularly bitchy question rang out, “WHICH-EE MED SCHOOL YA?!” At that point, the embarrassed student ran out of the room, leaving poor samsooki next on the block. There’s a little Jang Captain Morgan in each of us, isn’t there?

Still, despite Jang Captain’s barbs, this is finally the start that Kim Sam Soon has been wishing for. She has her dream job and she is free of an abusive three-year relationship where she was held hostage to a phantom hope of marriage. And by out-staring her boss, she’s no longer Kim Sam Soon the Insecure, but Kim Hee Jin, the Noona who can make or be a tasty treat for all the cute guys at Bon Appetit.

And to round out the major cast, two more individuals are flying back to Korea from America with stories to tell. The window-seat woman looks to be in her mid-twenties and the aisle-seat woman sounds and looks a bit older. These unnamed women engage in a little “wine makes the trip go faster” kind of bonding.

The aisle-seat woman who is fast going the way of sloshy, relates a tale of divorce from a cheating husband. Sometimes, when one cannot share things with one’s family and friends, the only safe ear is the stranger’s ear. The window-seat woman listens sympathetically, but is far more evasive about her own life, and deflects further questioning.

Who are these women, and why is the window-seat woman being so secretive about why she spent 3 years in America? Could one of these women be somehow related to President Jin Heon and his apparent dislike of the name “Hee Jin”?

Back at Bon Appetit, Sam Soon readies herself for her first day. She dons her newbie yellow scarf and her Kim Hee Jin name plate, adjusting her uniform and chef’s hat to be just so. Sam Soon looks in the mirror, winks and says, “You guys are all dead!”

“You guys are all dead!” is more than an optimistic boast – for Sam Soon, it is a heart-felt promise of her ability and her principles. Sam Soon may not win any awards at a beauty pageant, but here, in a French restaurant, she is well within her element. Like Mack the Knife, whose knife bites leave no trace of red on him, Kim Sam Soon is the killer nobody knows, yet. The peeps at Bon Appetit won’t know what hit them.


Wow! What can I say? This is the legendary drama My Name Is Kim Sam Soon. You can probably count on one hand the number of dramas that Koreans consider to be “national dramas” – ones that capture the imagination of the entire population, and this drama is one of them. For me, this was my very first k-drama (how lucky that I chose such a good one – imagine if my first k-drama was Sweet Spy… maybe there would never have been a samsooki in that case.).

For me, much of this drama’s charm has to do with Hyun Bin’s portrayal of Hyun Jin Heon. Before MNIKSS, I’d never seen a young Asian guy on television who wasn’t a masked ninja / karate guy or an English-challenged nerd. Seeing Jin Heon as a stylish, athletic, confident man who can pick and choose who he wants to date or not date, was mind-boggling to me. For once, it was cool to be a Korean guy (not that being a complete jackass is cool, but you know what I mean).

But without a doubt, the pulse of the show was and still is, Kim Sun Ah, who for years was nearly synonymous with her title role. Kim Sun Ah plays Sam Soon like a scalpel, slicing at not just elements of Korean culture and its idiosyncrasies, but people in general. Inasmuch as Sam Soon is a character to be laughed at, so too are the things that we all wish we could change about ourselves.

On a personal note, ever since I first started following dramabeans, I’ve wished that we’d see MNIKSS recaps pop up here like a Christmas present in August. Well, sometimes you just gotta get up and get yourself that present that you’ve always wanted… Take that, Santa Claus!

Oh right! One more thing. *wave* I’m back! 🙂


156 August 4, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 2

by samsooki

Twice a week dramas, like the Wednesday-Thursday night My Name is Kim Sam Soon, tend to work in mini-arcs; the general rule of thumb is that “Wednesday” episode brings a short story arc to bear, and the “Thursday” drama is the second-half conclusion.  And script writers try to cram Thursday episodes with enough memorable moments and cliff-hanger endings to keep people stressing out until it is Wednesday night again.  This being the first week of the series, however, the MNIKSS script writers have had to work even harder, trying to create a mini-arc within the introduction of the characters and main story line.  From technical standpoint, few dramas have done “Episode 2” as well as MNIKSS.


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Episode 2 Recap – “Shall we try dating?”

Last episode, Sam Soon found her new job as Bon Appetit’s pâtissier and new life among her co-workers as Kim Hee Jin.  Sort of like going from high school to college, Sam Soon gets to start over and create a whole new persona for herself with none of the bad memories associated with her Sam Soon name.

It’s Sam Soon’s first day at Bon Appetit, and Baker’s Assistant Lee In Hye is giving Sam Soon a tour of the restaurant and the people. In Hye is from Yeo-soo, which is about as deep south as you can get in Korea and hence her cute southern dialect. They pass by Chef Lee and Manager Oh, and In Hye gives tidbits about each. Chef Lee is also a talented French-trained chef and Manager Oh seems to have some sort of personal history with Jin Heon. Chef Lee oversees all of the food preparation and Manager Oh oversees everything else.

And finally, there’s the self-proclaimed captain of the wait staff, Jang Captain, aka Jang Captain Unni, aka Jang Young Ja. Jang Captain doesn’t like her name much either but In Hye doesn’t know why, much to the chagrin of the older Sam Soon. (The infamous Jang Young Ja was Korea’s version of Bernie Madoff, back in the early 1980’s. Her scheme boiled down to promising desperate corporations a line of credit (which she didn’t have) and then taking the resulting corporate bonds and selling them, pocketing the cash. And like the Madoff ponzi scheme of today, the sheer size of the fraud was unprecedented).

Jang Captain is at the head of the pecking order for the single young women in Bon Appetit, due to her age and her rank as wait-staff captain.  That is, of course, until Sam Soon appears on the scene. When In Hye reveals that Jang Captain has the hot and heavies for President Jin Heon, Sam Soon is incredulous. THAT puffy wind-bag of arrogance? In Hye defends Jin Heon, mayhaps too quickly and Sam Soon wonders if In Hye likes him too. In Hye huffs away, saying that it isn’t just her, but all of the Bon Appetit women are in love with him.

Sam Soon wonders what kind of restaurant she has gotten herself into. Is this Jin Heon’s restaurant or his fanclub? Hehe!

Still, let me get in line to defend Jin Heon.

1. He’s good looking, dresses well.
2. He’s taller than most other Koreans at 6 feet.
3. He’s passionate, intelligent and well-spoken.
4. He’s a likely poly-glot.
5. He’s loves his mom (though he’s got his own unique way of showing it).
6. He’s good at sports.
7. Sometimes he gets this cute puppy dog kind of sad looking face when he starts reminiscing about the past…

Hehe, why am I repeating what In Hye is saying? 

Ahem! Back to the story.

Sam Soon begins her first day and apparently she has to create a very special dark chocolate mousse cake (Marquis au Chocolate) for a customer who wants to surprise his wife with a diamond ring. Sam Soon drops the ring into an 6 inch tower chocolate mousse cake, and the cake is soon being eaten by the woman.

Luckily, the woman finds the ring on one of her very first bites and is overjoyed at her husband’s thoughtfulness. I say luckily because had the ring been at the bottom of the cake, the husband would have had to force his wife to eat maybe 3,000 of calories worth of sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol by herself in order to find the ring.

Sam Soon watches wistfully until In Hye reveals that that husband had brought his girlfriend into the same restaurant the previous week.

This sets off Sam Soon and a horrified In Hye, and then Jang Captain, tries to restrain Sam Soon from giving a piece of her mind to another cheating husband. Ah, but to no avail, as Sam Soon gives both a history lesson on the origins of the Marquis au Chocolate and a not-so-subtle hint to stop freaking cheating on his wife.

Jin Heon drags Sam Soon off before she can completely spill the beans. Jin Heon is not impressed by Sam Soon’s principles however, and replies that the people that he detests the most are those who let their personal agendas overtake their duties. “Personal agendas”?? Is Jin Heon implying that he remembers Sam Soon from the Christmas Eve Night of a Thousand Horrors? Sam Soon can’t confirm what Jin Heon knows without giving it away. She gives in.

At the end of the day, there must be silliness. Koreans love getting together and forcing newbies to do silly things because silliness is a (1) great ice breaker, (2) momentary class and gender equalizer, and (3) it’s a fun way to express one’s individuality and unique qualities.

Korea is and has been a fairly homogenous place. This isn’t to lend credence to the phrase “All Asians look alike,” but on the other hand, it is true that certain things that make people different tend to be prized. These gatherings tend to create events for silliness, and enthusiastic participation is expected – because, how else are people able to be seen as special?

And so Sam Soon is called on to showcase who she is and she dreams of herself as a ravishing beauty, basically grinding on Jin Heon, to his amazement. (Methinks, to show him that she’s not the same hysterical woman from Christmas Eve).

But alas, dreams don’t always turn into reality and Sam Soon’s dance is, well, not good. Thankfully, Jin Heon ends the evening, before Sam Soon does anything else.

Back to the heretofore unidentified women who were on the airplane together. The window-seat woman has gotten on a bus from the airport, being seen off by the aisle-seat woman. The window-seat woman looks at her cell phone, and we see a picture of Jin Heon and her together! She asks outloud, you’re still not mad at me, are you? Mad about what?

At this stage of Sam Soon’s life, she’s got two focal points: career and marriage. Having secured her job, now all she needs is a hubby. Sam Soon lives at home with her mom, and they are chatting about her upcoming blind date. Sam Soon’s mom, wonderfully played by k-drama mom extraordinaire, Kim Ja Ok, cautions Sam Soon about not screwing it up. Sam Soon confirms with her mom that the blind date thinks her name is Kim Hee Jin, and not Kim Sam Soon, which should help matters.

(It is fascinating to the see the similarities and differences between how Jin Heon and his mom interact, and how Sam Soon and her mom interact. Both moms lost their husbands early, and so the relationship between mother and child is that much more focused.)

Sam Soon heads to her blind date (though it’s not really blind since they each got pictures of each other before hand). Sam Soon is excited / impressed by the picture (Honestly, do blind dates really look that good? The guy in the picture looks like an actor that you would find in a k-drama romantic comedy. My immediate question would be, why is he single???), but she still wishes that the meeting would have been at a different hotel, and not this particular hotel.

Still, Sam Soon’s blind date shows up and he’s a looker for sure. Maybe he’s a few years older than his picture, but who’s counting. He’s definitely cute. With good manners. Who apparently rescued a cute puppy on the way over to the hotel. Or maybe it was a cat from a tree. Sam Soon, mesmerized by the Good Looking Blind Date Guy, would swallow anything her date says at this point.

As Fate would have it, and it must be fate, either that or really cruel script writers, Jin Heon is just a few tables down, also on a blind date. Jin Heon is in rare jack-ass form, giving back-handed compliments thinly-wrapped in insults to his date. That plastic surgeon of yours did a fine job on your… just nose and chin, is it (pfft)? Good thing you have tiny boobs, cuz I like that in women.

Tired of the chit-chat, Jin Heon excuses himself and espies Sam Soon on what has to be a blind date. Jin Heon pauses just long enough to get enough of the conversation to confirm his suspicion. And then he chuckles to himself, “Going on a blind date in the same hotel that she got brutally dumped in… that’s SO like the Sam Soon I know.”

Jin Heon gets this Binnie mischievous smirk on his face, and decides to punk Sam Soon. In front of the Good Looking Blind Date Guy, Jin Heon calls her “Sam Soon” and begs her not to dump him. This causes a scene as a horrified and embarrassed Sam Soon tries to shake off a clingy Jin Heon while still trying to be the demure Hee Jin.

But then Jin Heon’s real date shows up too with laser beams shooting out of her eyes. The date slaps Jin Heon. While Jin Heon’s plan to kill his date with one prank on Sam Soon has worked, he has really hurt that woman’s feelings.

Make that two women’s feelings. When Good Looking Blind Date Guy excuses himself and leaves, Sam Soon is devastated. Sam Soon also slaps Jin Heon hard, and then kicks him. Jin Heon falls to ground and looks up at a crying Sam Soon, who calls him a heartless bastard who has no idea what he has done. She tells him to prepare her severance and leaves. What a horrible place this hotel has been for Sam Soon, who may have just seen her last chance at love disappear because of Jin Heon’s prank.

Jin Heon chases after Sam Soon (but not his real date!). Sam Soon ignores him. With Nina Simone’s “He’s Too Good To Me” playing softly in the background, Jin Heon follows apace 15 feet behind Sam Soon as she walks around Seoul. This is a Korean thing, probably something Jin Heon learned from his mother at an early age. Basically, you shut your mouth and you follow your mom around until she forgives you. Is he doing this because he needs a pastry chef? Or maybe he’s truly sorry?

What I love about this scene is that the person that Nina Simone is crooning about is the perfect man who got away. Which would be the perfect man for Sam Soon? Is he the man who excused himself from the table or the man who is standing too close now?

Jin Heon offers a 10% raise and permanent employee status to win her back, but fails. Sam Soon just wants to get married and Jin Heon ruined it for her. Jin Heon though, asks an interesting question. “Why do you have to get married?” Sam Soon replies, “It is scary to cross an ocean by yourself, and two people can row much faster than a single person can row.”

A little oddly, Sam Soon spends the rest of the day doing random things like going to a video game parlor and doing karaoke at a noh-reh-bang – things that might be more fun if done with a partner rather than solo. All the while, Jin Heon stays within a few feet of her.

Maybe Sam Soon spends the day like this because she doesn’t want to go home and face her mom. Because then Sam Soon would have to spend the rest of the night answering questions. Or maybe more likely, Sam Soon is dragging out her day, forcing Jin Heon to follow, so that Jin Heon suffers at least some physical punishment for deep-sixing her blind date. By giving Jin Heon this punishment, and by Jin Heon accepting the punishment, I guess Sam Soon isn’t quitting Bon Appetit after all.

In any case, with Jin Heon still following her, Sam Soon wins a giant stuffed animal pig from the video game parlor and then goes out drinking at an outdoor bar. (I love outdoor bar scenes! Yay!) Towards the end of the night, Jin Heon offers to make things right by finding the perfect man for Sam Soon. What kind of man does she like?

Sam Soon starts general (a stable guy who brings home the bacon), but with prodding, narrows it down to… a good kisser. Sam Soon shyly laughs into her stuffed animal pig, but she goes on to explain what she really wants:

Sam Soon: Someone I can bring to my parents and my sisters, and proudly say, “This is my man.”

Sam Soon: Someone that would bring me to his parents and to his friends and say, proudly, “This is my woman.” That’s the kind of person I want.

Jin Heon nods but gives a snarky reply – easy! Sam Soon retorts that he has no idea how difficult a task that is. Remembering back to Min Woo, Sam Soon sadly notes how she was kept hidden from a previous boyfriend’s parents and friends. Jin Heon blurts out that her previous boyfriend’s face had “player” written all over it…. Ooopsie.

Sam Soon immediately realizes that Jin Heon does remember – and Sam Soon has just been a source of amusement for him. That realization ends the evening. Sam Soon realizes she needs more cash to pay, given that she’s eaten udon noodles, kimbap roll, an omelet, fried chicken legs, eel banchan, pork rib and FIVE bottles of soju. Damn.

Sam Soon goes to get money but given the amount of soju ingested, she tosses her cookies before passing out in the ATM lobby. Jin Heon ends up having to mop up the mess and then piggyback a hostile and smelly Sam Soon home.

Sam Soon awakes in the morning, finding herself half-naked in a strange bed, with only her stuffed pig (which she named Samsooki!) keeping her company. Sam Soon is horrified by her compromising circumstances, but soon finds that she may have done worse (much much worse) to Jin Heon. She threw up on Jin Heon then peed on him? Jin Heon called it chemical warfare but there’s no way she did that… right?

Before she can properly defend herself, however, this particular morning has brought Jin Heon’s mom, Chairwoman Na, and her assistant (Assistant Yoon), to visit. Jin Heon’s mom immediately starts beating on Jin Heon for nuclear bombing another blind date, but soon finds a half-naked Sam Soon bearing witness. HOW DARE YOU SCREW UP ANOTHER BLIND DATE HOLYMOTHEROFGODWHYISTHEREANAKEDWOMANSTARINGATME!

Since this kind of beating is properly done only in private, Jin Heon’s mom drags Jin Heon to the bathroom to finish the beating. Sam Soon is next to be grilled, and Jin Heon’s mom is surprised to find that this half-naked woman is the same one who was the cause of Jin Heon’s blind date blow-up. THIS is Sam Soon?

Sam Soon’s dry-cleaned clothes arrive and Sam Soon goes to the bathroom to change. Jin Heon’s mom is not happy with her son but she pulls out a surprising card – she orders Jin Heon to bring Sam Soon to be properly introduced over dinner in a week’s time. Jin Heon is quietly stunned, and amused, as a another fun plan develops into his head.

Jin Heon’s mom leaves and Jin Heon and Sam Soon head to a breakfast diner before going heading to work. Sam Soon digs into her bowl of hae-jang gook (oxtail soup – excellent for hangovers), made extra spicy and filled with rice, while Jin Heon looks on, aghast at her appetite after a night of binge drinking.

Still, Jin Heon takes a deep breath and then pulls the trigger and asks,

Jin Heon: Kim Hee Jin, shall we… try dating?

Hee. 🙂


What a fun and endearing episode!

I think what makes this drama so special is how the details of the characters drive the stories that are developed over the course of the drama. Jin Heon detests going on blind dates for a reason, and he acts like a jerk in those blind dates for a reason. Jin Heon’s development, his maturity and growth, is one story to follow. Another story line is Sam Soon, who apparently is both quite wise and quite foolish at the same time. Foolish in that she lets down her guard for love, and wise in that she still keeps trying. And Sam Soon’s search for the proper balance between wisdom and foolishness is the heart of MNIKSS.

And here, after this first Wednesday-Thursday doublet, we have the semblance of our first major story-arc. Jin Heon, who has apparently eschewed women for years for some yet-to-be-revealed reason, has suddenly found himself a way out of the serial torture of continuous blind-dates that his mother has set him up upon. The question is, what could possibly make Sam Soon agree to such a proposal?


68 August 10, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 3

by samsooki

Love contracts are, practically by definition, illogical. How do you force someone to love someone else? I guess you can’t, which is why Rule No. 1 of most love contracts is that “Neither party shall fall in love the other party. Ever.” So maybe these contracts should be called “Don’t Fall In Love Contracts.” But that doesn’t solve the problem either, right, because you are still asking people to constrain their hearts. Oh, how silly are the young, who are so presumptuous as to believe they can control so fickle a thing called called love.


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Episode 3 Recap – “How Does One Write A Love Contract?”

Sam Soon’s mom (like Jin Heon’s mom) had more or less real-time information on the blind date that her child had gone on. K-drama mothers, whether they are rich or not so rich, apparently don’t have any time to watch dramas on television because they are too busy spending all their time plotting or devolving their child’s romantic relationships. And why not? It’s better to be part of the action than to merely watch, right?

In any case, Sam Soon’s mom appears to care not too much whether her daughter is playing the field or whether her daughter has has been made preggers or not, so long as she gets married off and out of the home. This seems rather crude, but Korean moms are judged by their children’s success, and like it or not, more often than not, superficial success for a woman begins with a successful marriage. Not that it appears likely that Sam Soon is headed in that direction.

Sam Soon’s toxic spew of 5 parts soju, 1 part chicken legs, 1 part eel, 1 part kimbap, 1 part noodles, 1 part omelet and 1 part alleged-but-unproven pee, has leveled the playing field. Jin Heon no longer walks 12 paces behind Sam Soon, but abreast. This is how it works. I mess up your potential love of your life, and you get to vomit and pee on me. We’re even, or as Koreans say, “same-same.”

Jin Heon wants to take a cab to work but Sam Soon would rather take the cheaper bus. Jin Heon says he’ll pay, but Sam Soon refuses outright. This is incomprehensible to Jin Heon (and at first, to me as well) because it wouldn’t have cost Sam Soon anything, but Sam Soon’s reply to that is very interesting:

Sam Soon: No, I’d rather not be part of that kind of dirty exchange.

Originally, I didn’t get it. What’s so wrong about getting a free ride? But from Sam Soon’s perspective, the ride wouldn’t be free even if Jin Heon would have done it anyway without her. This is a small point but one that I think bears repeating. What Sam Soon has learned from an early age but what Jin Heon has never had to learn, is that money is never free. It costs something to the person who gives, and it costs something to the person who takes.

Right before they arrive at the restaurant for work, Sam Soon asks a good question: there are so many women who would gladly pillage of a village to have the chance at a relationship with Jin Heon, fake or real. Why continually pester Sam Soon about it? Jin Heon answers that since they can’t stand each other, there’s no chance for a real relationship. Sam Soon is a little offended, and begins to reply that that while it is true that Jerky McJerks like him aren’t her type… and Jin Heon interrupts and says his type doesn’t include violent drunks who wet themselves. *chortle* For those keeping score at home, that’s Samsoonites 1, Jinheonnies 2.

Sam Soon turns to leave but Jin Heon grabs her again. How much money will it take to do the pretend-dating thing? Gaaah, Jin Heon, didn’t you read what I wrote like 2 paragraphs ago? You cannot buy a person without consequences. There is a steep price to be paid by the person who is bought.

Sam Soon enters the restaurant late and realizes it’s the first wine class day and she late.  She is chided by the former school teacher Manager Oh and by Chef Lee for being tardy.

But then Jin Heon strolls through and says, “Don’t be too hard on her. She’s late because we spent the whole night together.” Hehe! I think there is an important life lesson here. You can make it perfectly clear that you are not going to pretend-date your boss, but sometimes that doesn’t matter.

It’s not going to be easy working for Jin Heon, is it. Sam Soon is still flummoxed as she arrives at the bus stop near her home.  Sam Soon’s second older sister, Kim Yi Young, who was supposed to be happily married and living in America, is waiting for her. Hey, that’s the aisle-seat woman from the airplane!

Oh but she’s not here visiting. She is divorced. Wow. Yi Young’s husband was having an affair, so she ended it. He got the mistress and Yi Young got the Seoul condo apartment. Win-win for Yi Young, but Sam Soon’s first thought is that her pool of competitors for single men just grew by 1. Hee!

But as they are discussing how to break the news of Yi Young’s divorce, the mom appears from behind and says, “DIVORCE??!”  LOL! Like she probably has done her whole life, Sam Soon rats out her unni Yi Young to their mom within 0.01 seconds.  Yi Young is no dummy of course, and grabs her younger sister as shield while the mom throws hay-makers.

The mom’s reaction might seem a little odd – I mean, Yi Young wasn’t the one having the affair; she was the victim.  But the mom doesn’t seem to care about that.  On one hand, this seems like a very backward attitude to take – sure, blame the wife for the husband’s infidelities.  But I don’t think that the mom is blaming Yi Young for her husband’s cheating; rather, I think the mom is asking Yi Young to take responsibility for her decisions which included marrying a complete nimrod.  So maybe this isn’t a backward attitude at all, it is a liberating one.

And while we are adding additional characters to the story line, one new character joins the party and one old one returns to the fold.

Meet Jang Chae Ri, high school classmate of Sam Soon’s, has come to make reservations for her engagement party to be held at Bon Appetit. Her family is loaded, and so they can afford to pull out all the stops for Chae Ri’s wedding announcement.

Chae Ri and Sam Soon have a weird relationship that borders on friendship since they’ve known each other for so long – it’s weird because Chae Ri’s family is on a different socio-economic class than Sam Soon’s family, but Sam Soon is older and so Chae Ri still has to show some level of respect. Chae Ri wonders why she hasn’t seen Sam Soon around Bon Appetit, since she and Jin Heon oppa have been close forever. Chae Ri notes that since she is having her engagement party at Bon Appetit, it will be Sam Soon who will be making the engagement cake. Sam Soon wonders who the groom is, and she turns around to see…

Min Hyun Woo is back. And he has his new flame and fiancée Chae Ri.

Despite her shock, Sam Soon doesn’t reveal anything. And of course, Hyun Woo doesn’t say anything and rather cowardly pretends not to know Sam Soon.

Chae Ri skips to the back office room to meet up with Jin Heon, who plays it cool despite Chae Ri professing her first love being Jin Heon. Chae Ri even does a half-hearted OPW to Jin Heon, but Jin Heon doesn’t flinch (which proves NOTHING. A properly done OPW would have worked. I contend that Chae Ri didn’t do it right.)  Jin Heon notes that Min Hyun Woo looks familiar but can’t quite place him yet…

That evening, Sam Soon is called out by Hyun Woo and they meet up for the first time since the night he dumped her. But this time, Sam Soon isn’t backing down. After a bit, Hyun Woo asks if she is seeing anyone, and Sam Soon hesitates for a micro-second before answering.

Sam Soon: Yes.

Hyun Woo is floored. He starts flapping his mouth again and tells Sam Soon that when a person gets an arm or a leg amputated, there is a phantom pain even if the appendage is gone. And if you love someone and then it stops, how much greater would the pain be if the heart is the part that is amputated? (samsooki note:  isn’t it weird how can truth be spoken by a person who only lies?)

But Hyun Woo is right in that Sam Soon still feels pain.  That night, Sam Soon weeps the whole bus ride home, weeping for her lost years, her youth and vitality that was destroyed by her believing in Hyun Woo. Sam Soon weeps in sadness but also in anger at her lost confidence in herself and the fact that she is crying at all over a piece of crap like him.

Sam Soon arrives home but finds that all is not well.  Her father’s younger brother had gotten Sam Soon’s dad to co-sign a business loan and use the family home as collateral.  Then when the business went bad, Sam Soon’s uncle skipped town, leaving the debt to be paid by Sam Soon’s family.  The debt is big enough that even if Sam Soon, Yi Young and their mom combine their savings, they would fall around $50,000 short.  Yi Young’s apartment can be sold but not in time to stop the bank from taking Sam Soon’s family home.  This is a disaster.

Sam Soon takes off for work the next morning, but stops at the gate and looks back at her yard.  A montage of memories comes back to Sam Soon, and we get a glimpse of Sam Soon’s dad before he passed away.  The garden and the swing are all that is left of her dad now, and losing the home would mean losing her dad all over again.

Sam Soon is left with no choice but to awkwardly accept Jin Heon’s offer for cash in return for pretend-dating.  Jin Heon gloats only a little bit, but even a little bit of gloating is noticed by Sam Soon. Still, this is a time to swallow pride. A few clicks of the mouse, and Sam Soon is now hooked like a fish.

Jin Heon gleefully grabs Sam Soon’s wrist and drags her out to the entire restaurant staff where they are eating during their break. Jin Heon announces that they have been dating and its been two months. Jang Captain drops her spoon in shock and In Hye suddenly has a need to inspect her food with her forehead. Sam Soon is now officially the most hated woman in the restaurant.

Now it is off to Chairwoman Na’s estate, where Jin Heon and Sam Soon must convince his mom that their relationship is sincere AND convince his mom that Sam Soon isn’t a loser-moocher. It’s your typical mo-in-law quiz time – not for the faint of heart. The usual questions come up. How old are you. Where did you graduate college. Where do you live. What does your dad do for a living. What does your mom do for a living. Judgy-judgy!

Rather than being evasive, Sam Soon answers forthrightly and this confuses Chairwoman Na, who cannot believe that someone with so little would be so dignified about her comparatively poor background.  Switching tactics, Chairwoman Na asks a tricky question. How much do you love my son?  Get this one wrong, and you’re history, thinks Chairwoman Na.  Jin Heon, having been silenced by his mom, can only squirm. Sam Soon freezes for a moment.

Chairwoman Na (smugly): It appears that Sam Soon has no answer!
Sam Soon (composed): Dear Mother, there was this writer. She would write all night and then at dawn, she would leave the manuscript on her husband’s desk before sleeping. Day by day, the husband would be the first person that would read his wife’s words. Day by day, I want Jin Heon to be the very first person who would eat my cake. I want Jin Heon to be the person to eat the very first and the very best cake that I can make. I love your son that much.

Beautiful! Impressive! Eloquent! Sam Soon’s coup de grâce is a little heart she makes with her hands and I am dying with laughter. I LOVE IT! Chairwoman Na and her son are both initially speechless. LOL!

While Sam Soon is in the bathroom decompressing and dry-heaving, Chairwoman Na rather crudely tears into Jin Heon’s choice for a girlfriend. But surprisingly (and sincerely), Jin Heon defends Sam Soon, her work ethic and her personality, noting she is far better than the idiots that his mom has set him up with. His mom asks another killer question, tho: Does this mean you are over Hee Jin? Wasn’t that the reason Jin Heon has been sabotaging the blind dates?

Jin Heon’s face turns dark. After a pause, he answers that he is over Hee Jin and Sam Soon is the reason why. Chairwoman Na is impressed then, acknowledging that at the very least, Sam Soon has been able to do what all the other fancy blind date women could not – get Jin Heon over the black hole that was Hee Jin.

Sam Soon explores Jin Heon’s house and finds Jin Heon’s niece, Mi Joo, playing by herself. Mi Joo apparently doesn’t talk but Sam Soon gets along just fine with her. When Jin Heon re-appears and also plays with Mi Joo, Sam Soon finally catches a glimpse of a totally different side to Jin Heon. He’s not just a Jerky McJerk!

In an organic moment, Jin Heon plays with Mi Joo on the piano and follows that by playing on his own. Then with Sam Soon watching from a distance, Jin Heon plays an Elvis ballad, Can’t Help Falling In Love. Maybe it’s the arpeggios, or maybe it’s this new side of Jin Heon, but Sam Soon is touched. Maybe it’s because Jin Heon plays with passion, and passion knows passion? Jin Heon offers to play a tune by request. Sam Soon asks for “Over The Rainbow,” but Jin Heon’s mood suddenly shifts to angry at the mention of the song. When Sam Soon starts pressing for the song, Jerky McJerk leaves the piano.

Jin Heon drags Sam Soon to a bar to hash things out, but Jin Heon is too cranky to be civil. What he wants and what Sam Soon is willing to put up with are just too far apart. Sam Soon quits but Jin Heon pulls her back when a spy for his mother appears. It looks like both Jin Heon and Sam Soon will have to work to keep their respective sides of the bargain.

To prevent future flare-ups and to keep this organized, Jin Heon and Sam Soon lay out the terms of the pretend-love contract on the backside of beer coasters. Jin Heon’s and Sam Soon’s clauses are all rude against one another and reading the coasters later, Yi Young thinks it all crazy. Yeah, but this craziness saved their home and that’s all there is to it.

What is interesting is that as rude as Jin Heon is to Sam Soon personally, Jin Heon is far more respectful to Sam Soon the pâtissier. Unaware that Hyun Woo agreed to Sam Soon’s request that she not be forced to make the engagement cake, Jin Heon takes the initiative and puts Sam Soon on the challenge of creating the best engagement cake. At the very least, Jin Heon has believed in and respected Sam Soon’s ability and talent. Maybe that’s enough to build upon? Sam Soom agrees to do the cake.

It seems all is finally settled. Jin Heon and Sam Soon have their agreement. Jin Heon is freed from future blind dates, and the debt that threatened Sam Soon’s family home has been paid. All is well? Not exactly? While Sam Soon is hard at work sketching a design for the cake and Jin Heon away on hotel business, a visitor comes to Bon Appetit…


What strikes me early on is how weak of a person Jin Heon appears to be, especially relative to Sam Soon. Sam Soon might have been the one who was hurt and humiliated, but she is proving to be an extraordinarily strong person to bounce back. In contrast, Jin Heon can’t seem to do anything that requires significant will power. He cannot stand up to his mother on issues of his heart, resorting to passive-aggressive pranks get out of blind dates. And despite the passage of time he still hasn’t gotten over this mysterious woman named Hee Jin.

To paraphrase Hyun Woo, when people who are in love find themselves falling out of love, there will be phantom pain in the cavity where the heart used to be. What bears scrutiny in the future is to see if Jin Heon is able to fill that hole in his chest over the course of drama, because if he doesn’t, then I’m not sure if he would be worth the effort to hold onto him.


114 August 11, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 4

by samsooki

‘Over The Rainbow,’ made famous by the 1939 film Wizard of Oz, is a song about a child whose sweet dream is to find some faraway magical place where there is no more pain, somewhere over the rainbow. What the singer probably doesn’t know, however, is that even if one makes it over the rainbow, at some point, grown-ups have to return. They have to go back and face the reasons why they left in the first place. And Yoo Hee Jin, the girl whose very name brings dark storm clouds to Jin Heon’s face, has returned.


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Episode 4 – Over The Rainbow.

Hee Jin walks through the restaurant like she’s in a dream and Sam Soon finds herself caught in that dream. Hee Jin doesn’t seem to hear when Sam Soon tells her that the restaurant is closed. Hee Jin is looking for Jin Heon, but he’s away for another day. Though asked by Sam Soon, Hee Jin doesn’t even reveal herself except to say that she shares the same name as Sam Soon (whose name tag says Hee Jin). Sam Soon, whose curiousity probably spurs her generosity, shares cake and coffee with this stranger.

Sam Soon finds herself being the target of a wait-staff beatdown for stealing the wait-staff’s shot at Jin Heonnie. And it’s betrayal!! Et tu, In Hye?! Sam Soon’s own protege In Hye is the leader of this coup de cuistôt. Still, you have to agree right? Sam Soon should have waited in line, but she didn’t. She cut right to the front without asking the other girls who were there first if it would be okay. Sam Soon is beat up… until she wakes up again. Hehe, guilty conscience much?

Sam Soon wakes up to find the stranger has left, and in an epiphany realizes that this stranger is likely to be Jin Heon’s reason for being upset whenever the name Hee Jin is brought up.

Jin Heon appears the next day, thoughtfully bringing Jeju pastries back for Sam Soon. Sam Soon relates that a girl named Hee Jin had dropped by and Jin Heon turns from thoughtful to nasty in a heartbeat. Jin Heon’s indignity raises Sam Soon’s ire, which makes a bad situation worse. Jin Heon’s anger finally snaps and he punches the wall next to Sam Soon’s head before storming off. I think it is safe to assume that Sam Soon had no idea the depths of Jin Heon’s anger over this Hee Jin person.

A few days later at lunch, Jin Heon appears with a gigantic bouquet of roses and recites a really cheesy poem of love:

Jin Heon (deadpans): In this vast universe, you and I met on this tiny speck of a planet. Counting the days since we came to be, today is our hundredth day. Thank you for coming to me.

Sam Soon is dying of embarrassment and annoyance, even as a tiny part of her is touched.

I gotta say though, it’s a pretty slick move by Jin Heon. He is able to (1) annoy the crap out of Sam Soon, in keeping with his personality, (2) keep up the charade to fool his mom’s spies, in keeping with his master plan, and (3) apologize sub-rosa to Sam Soon for nearly striking her, in keeping with his concealed respect for her.

Back at CIA headquarters, Chairwoman Na gets the intelligence briefing on the poem and flowers. Not only is Chairwoman Na not really fooled, but she knows that Jin Heon knows that Chairwoman Na is not fooled. Summarized aptly by Assistant Yoon, “So in the end, you guys are all playing this game together.”

Well, not everyone is playing the game. Sam Soon has no idea of the level of gamesmanship that is going on, and of course, Hee Jin has yet to find out.

On civil terms again, Jin Heon and Sam Soon head out for research at a pastry shop, and by coincidence, Chae Ri and Hyun Woo show up as well. Hyun Woo again pretends that he doesn’t know Sam Soon.

Suddenly very self-conscious, Sam Soon excuses herself to go to the bathroom. An oblivious Chae Ri quizzes Jin Heon about the rumors that he’s dating finally after so long.

Finally, Jin Heon finally realizes why Hyun Woo looks familiar – Hyun Woo was the blackheart from Christmas Eve who tore Sam Soon’s heart to shreds! Bastard! His eyes blazing, Jin Heon does something that maybe he wasn’t going to do. Jin Heon admits to the truth in the rumors, and while staring at Hyun Woo, Jin Heon starts proudly describing his new girlfriend. Hyun Woo is shocked to find that Jin Heon is describing Sam Soon.

Sure enough, when Sam Soon re-appears, Jin Heon introduces her as his new girlfriend. Chae Ri’s head nearly explodes and she drags Sam Soon out of the shop to get more details. How did you do it! Bitch! Chae Ri simply cannot believe it, and Sam Soon is a riot in spoofing Chae Ri’s mannerisms.

You could say this moment makes up for a lot of poor memories. And many years from now, on a cold winter’s night when howling winds steal the very breath from lungs and biting flecks of snow sting the last bit of feeling from near-frozen flesh, Sam Soon will not care a whit, since she will have this delicious memory to keep her warm.

On the way back, Jin Heon apologizes to Sam Soon for not recognizing Hyun Woo sooner, for it would have saved Sam Soon a lot of grief. Jin Heon wondering about what Sam Soon could see in Hyun Woo, that Sam Soon would date him for three years. Sam Soon asks the more crucial question though, which is, why is Jin Heon so curious?

And on a crowded subway platform filled with scores of people passing around them, Jin Heon can see and hear only Sam Soon, and vice versa. Their voices are clear to each other despite all the busy noises around them.

Jin Heon: Rather than Hyun Woo, the person I can’t understand is you.

Sam Soon: And why is that?

Jin Heon: Even though you KNOW how ridiculous and superficial love can be, too easily do you try to fall in love again.

Sam Soon: When have I ever done anything easily? I have never once fell into love easily. I agonize over it before I start, and when it ends, I agonize again. Whether it was hormones or chemicals, my heart remained sincere to my love. I remained true.

The look on Jin Heon’s face is so open and wide. It is the face of a person who cannot believe that he is starting to see in Sam Soon what he has always sought in another person.

See, this is why “I Promise Not To Fall In Love” contracts don’t work! The potentially romantic moment is broken as quickly as it began, however, when Jin Heon suddenly feels stabbing pain in his leg. He has been on his feet for too long. Sam Soon feels a bit repsonsible and takes Jin Heon to a video-bang (like a noh-reh-bang (karaoke room) but you just watch movies rather than sing songs) where he can rest his leg before they head back to Bon Appetit.

Jin Heon reveals that his leg hurts because of artificial implants that came as a result of a terrible car accident. Ahh, and Hee Jin was the girl who dumped him after the accident, which is why he won’t date other women… or maybe he likes men? Or maybe… Sam Soon peers at Jin Heon’s mid-section. Jin Heon follows Sam Soon’s line of sight and is immediately defensive. He curtly responds that he is quite sufficient in that category. Sam Soon snarks one too many times though, and Jin Heon grabs Sam Soon to teach her a lesson. He leans in for a manly kiss. Sam Soon doesn’t fight back but holds her breath and closes her eyes… But then, nothing?

Hehe! Out comes the razor sharp Slightly-Bored-British-Tinged-Korean accent from Jin Heon again, and it is game-over for Sam Soon. And… the final score is Samsoonites 3, Jinheonnies 24. Please check that you have all your belongings before finding the proper gate, and have a safe ride home!

That night Sam Soon is appalled to find that she’s so affected by Jin Heon, as her heart is still beating fast. As is her habit whenever she feels the pangs in her heart, Sam Soon gets up at dawn to bake. Sam Soon starts down the road to figuring out why she feels certain pangs in heart, but Jin Heon appears wearing a slick European style tracksuit that is the apparent prototype for the flashier tracksuits he will wear 6 years later, and Sam Soon’s questions of the heart are buried for now.

Dinner time comes and Sam Soon is making yet another Marquis Au Chocolat for the same cheating cheater who cheats, who is with his girlfriend this time. Sam Soon is disgusted with this cheater’s methods but keeps it to herself this time around. But there’s trouble brewing. The cheater’s wife appears with a tank filled with kerosene. From the girlfriend’s lack of shock, it is obvious that the girlfriend has been a knowing party to this tryst. As a commotion erupts as the wife sprays kerosene everywhere.

Luckily, Jin Heon appears before the husband can strike the wife. And just like he promised to Sam Soon, Jin Heon throws the husband to the ground. The wife is a wailing mess and they help her off the floor as both the floozy girlfriend and the husband flee the scene.

The woman is inconsolate but Sam Soon appears with free chocolate, free wine and free advice. Plus, tonight is the first night where guests with broken hearts get chocolate and wine to make them feel better. And President Jin Heon will take piano requests. The jilted wife requests, “Over The Rainbow.” Hee.

After a long pause, Jin Heon starts playing. Sam Soon watches intently, as she had also requested this song from Jin Heon. Maybe Sam Soon wants to believe that Jin Heon is playing for her?

But that’s not true, is it. And as if the Drama Gods needed to spell it out any further, Hee Jin appears at the restaurant and immediately recognizes the song. It’s THEIR song, after all. From across the restaurant, Jin Heon and Hee Jin give each other thousand-mile stares, and Sam Soon is right there, caught in the middle.

Sam Soon’s face alights with recognition and then as her chest heaves twice… sadness? Something. She looks one way at Jin Heon and then again towards Hee Jin.

God, it sucks being in the middle.

Jin Heon and Hee Jin have their face to face. Hee Jin admits that Jin Heon has a right to be mad at her for three years, and urges Jin Heon to just let out his anger. But Jin Heon is not about to let it all go. He relates that while Hee Jin used “studies” as an excuse to leave Korea after the car accident, Jin Heon had to endure five leg surgeries and the torture of rehab just to walk again, and still built this restaurant from scratch. Angry at Hee Jin for the last three years? Sorry, but he just didn’t have the time.

Hee Jin’s sole reply is that she thought that since she said for him to wait for her, that he would have enough faith in her, and so that would be enough. I don’t know, Heej, I gotta say, that’s kinda weak-sauce.

After a late night of prepping pastry dough for the next day, Sam Soon is shutting down the restaurant when she sees that Jin Heon hasn’t left yet and is drinking by himself at the bar. Sam Soon sits by Jin Heon and shares a drink with him.

Sam Soon pulls Jin Heon a little bit out of his darkness by asking about his niece Mi Joo, and that puts a smile on Jin Heon’s face. Then Sam Soon asks about Hee Jin, but while Jin Heon doesn’t respond, he doesn’t get mad either. Sam Soon asks about Hee Jin’s last name, which for a person who is only pretend-dating Jin Heon, is a bit presumptuous. But Jin Heon, probably for the first time in nearly three years, obliges and calls out the full name of his former love:

Jin Heon: Yoo Hee Jin.

A wasted Jin Heon then passes out on top of Sam Soon!


The boundaries of a nascent love triangle are now traced. But this thing is not yet fully drawn. Sam Soon might have started to have feelings for Jin Heon, but I’m not sure if she can really identify what those feelings are. And what about Jin Heon? A few episodes ago, a drunk Sam Soon tells Jin Heon that the kind of man she would like to have is the kind that would not hide her away but tell his friends, peers and family all about her. And isn’t it interesting, but Jin Heon has already done all of that:

1. he’s brought her to his family,
2. he’s announced their relationship at work,
3. he’s brought her flowers in front of all her co-workers, and
4. he even proudly introduced her before his peers, Chae Ri and Hyun Woo.

While the first two weren’t real or even for Sam Soon’s benefit, a reasonable argument can be made that #3 was Jin Heon’s way of apologizing to Sam Soon without anyone else knowing, and #4 was certainly both real and in Sam Soon’s defense. But what does this mean?

Koreans have this idiomatic expression that doesn’t quite have an equivalent phrase in English – to see an individual as a man/woman. As dramabeans fans know, seeing a person as a man or a woman is the litmus test as to whether said person can ever be date-able. I don’t know if Jin Heon likes Sam Soon yet, but I think it is clear that he does see her as a woman.


95 August 17, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 5

by samsooki

K-drama watchers know that the bottom generally drops out when things are going well, because dramas fade without conflict. But conflict shouldn’t just randomly happen – conflict should be set in motion because of choices that people make. A few episodes ago, Sam Soon makes the innocuous choice to trade her date-able-ness to borrow $50,000. It took some effort, but things were going peachy until Jin Heon’s former girlfriend returned. And now Sam Soon has to face up to the fact that her choice is now hurting not only that person, but ultimately Sam Soon herself as well.


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Episode 5 – Love Is Supposed To Be Childish.

Sam Soon has somehow dragged Sam Shik, er, Jin Heon to his apartment and into bed. For whatever reason, Sam Soon feels she has to strip him and not just leave him there fully-clothed. Now, I’ve passed out drunk in bed many times fully clothed, and to be honest, I don’t recall ever feeling worse off than had I been stripped first. That said, Sam Soon has taken responsibility for her drunk boss.

Of course, when Jin Heon wraps Sam Soon up in his arms and legs (Not quite as drunk as he first appeared??? Copping a few feels??? Arguable!) , she might be thinking differently about her effort to be a responsible person. Sam Soon would have to be a nun to simply remain still and think of nothing. Sam Soon is not a nun. Jin Heon seems to be having his pastry chef and eating his cake too.

Jin Heon awakes to find Sam Soon swinging her hips, playing the part of an ahjumma who got lucky with a young buck. Jin Heon can’t remember much at all, and Sam Soon plays it for all it is worth. Hehe! Note: I just realized something – If the bed wetting incident really happened, then Jin Heon saw Sam Soon nekkid, since he would have had to strip her entirely to get rid of the… um, soiled garments (ew). Therefore, by the Universal Law of Tits For Tats, Sam Soon certainly gets to see Jin Heon’s little Jinnie.

Sam Soon’s delightful deadpan and needling continues through breakfast, but her fun is about to end. This morning brings another guest to Jin Heon’s apartment – Hee Jin is at the door.

Note: you may wonder why Hee Jin comes back. Well, you know how k-drama characters sometimes submit their resignations, but then STILL show up for work the next day? Well, submitting a resignation doesn’t always mean The End – the expectation often is that you still can keep your job (the resignation being the required act of humility). Similarly, Hee Jin likely has the expectation that she just has to humble herself and after Jin Heon’s anger has cooled, and then they can get back together.

Hee Jin has too much history with Jin Heon to just let things go. And besides, Jin Heon doesn’t know something that is all-so-important – the reason why Hee Jin left 3 years ago. Maybe Jin Heon won’t be mad any more, or, more likely, Jin Heon will still be mad but at least he’ll understand. At the very least, he won’t have that “you ran over my dog” look on his face every time he sees her. Hee Jin walks in to the apartment and… Sam Soon is there, looking a little bit guilty.

Cake Lady?! What’s Cake Lady doing in Jin Heon’s apartment? It’s too early for cake deliveries, unless… the cake was from the night before… Hee Jin has apparently walked into something here. Rumpled bed, unmade. Two bowls of after-sex soup, two bowls of post-snuggle rice. Yeah, this isn’t quite the right time to spill your guts.

Hee Jin asks Sam Soon to leave but Jin Heon grabs Sam Soon and makes her part of the show. Hee Jin is humiliated and storms out. Sam Soon is also humiliated by Jin Heon’s display and made to feel like a whore, and after yelling at Jin Heon, she storms out.

Back at Bon Appetit, Chef Lee can’t believe his eyes or his mouth. His steak tartare has come back untouched, but his mouth says that the dish is killer. Apparently, the customer at table B-3 isn’t satisfied and dismissed her dish, and Chef Lee doesn’t know why. Plus his assistants are screwing up. The pot-au-feu is a giant mess (seriously, simmer, not boil!) and his sous chef apparently can’t work the santoku. B-3 sends back her dessert (looks like a mascarpone-filled crêpe with cherry syrup) without touching it, and that tears it. Chef Lee on the war-path.

Chef Lee prepares and then brings out a more basic version of the quintessential French dessert dish called a Crêpe Bretonnes and serves it personally. B-3 refuses the dish, the lame explanation being that she’s on a diet. What?! Even dieters eat! Why come to a French restaurant, order a gorgeous steak tartare and mascarpone crêpe, and then NOT eat? Are you a crazy person? Oh, that’s right. A DIE-IT-TUH. A DIE-IT-TUH. You go on a diet to wear slutty clothes and so you intentionally miss out on one of life’s great treasures, the Crêpe Bretonnes? Why, this crêpe is no ordinary crêpe and certainly not a crêpe that can be found anywhere in Korea. Eat it! Eat it!

The commotion brings out Manager Oh, and then Jin Heon, who gets hit in the face with a flying crêpe. Sam Soon arrives too late to stop the crêpe’s mad dash for freedom. Oooh, sorry, where are my manners! Jin Heon, this is Sam Soon’s older sister Yi Young. Yi Young, this is Sam-Shik, the rude dude President of Bon Appetit who is pretend-dating your baby sis. And I see that Chef Lee and Yi Young have already met.

Sam Soon drags Yi Young out of the restaurant to yell/talk. Not to be distracted about disgusting crêpes and such, Yi Young immediately quizzes Sam Soon about not coming home last night and wants details. Sam Soon is in no mood, given the morning. But Sam Soon’s face gives away too much and Yi Young knows trouble when it is spelled out so clearly. Yi Young asks what Sam Soon and Sam Shik did together and Sam Soon says nothing, we just slept together.

Yi Young’s face is shocked, but it’s not a “OMG IT’S AN ASTEROID COMING TO KILL US ALL!” shocked face but a “O-MO MY BABY SISTAH ALLS GROWS UP NOW” shocked face. But Sam Soon says, no, not that kind of sleep, you know, SLEEEEEEP!

LOL! What is it about older sisters that make younger sisters sound so…. young? Sam Soon’s voice has lost all her whiplash bite and she sounds like teen who’s been caught with a pack of smokes or with a bottle of liquor. These days, dramas, especially rom-coms, have a tendency to be heavily stylized. Not dissin’ nobody, but these days you have so many dramas with comic book characters who over-act at the slightest breeze. A straight up Yi Young (superbly played by Lee Ah Hyun) and annoyed-sheepish Sam Soon feel so real together. Just wonderful, brilliant acting!

But then here comes the grown-up part. Sam Soon heads back inside the restaurant and crosses paths with Jin Heon. Heart on sleeve, Sam Soon tells him to go see Hee Jin and apologize. Jin Heon says nothing and begins to walk away but Sam Soon isn’t done, calling him cruel and a coward. Jin Heon is ready for a fight, and he acidly wonders at Sam Soon’s motivation in all of this. Sam Soon immediately notes the rude use of ban-mal.

Jin Heon: You really have that little to do (except butt into other people’s lives)?
Sam Soon: By what God-given right do you have to use ban-mal to me?
Jin Heon (louder): This is why I told you not to interfere!
Sam Soon (louder still): Then you shouldn’t have involved me in the first place!!

Wow, but I’m not sure. I feel like grownups are talking in the kitchen and I’m sitting at the top of the stairs just listening. Sam Soon KNOWS that Jin Heon has been seriously hurt by Hee Jin. Sam Soon also should know that any pretend-dating contract would cover situations like this. Plus, this ain’t none of her business, right? On the other hand, no where does it say that Jin Heon’s money buys silent acquiescence. And Jin Heon using Sam Soon to hurt Hee Jin was a little bit a lot cowardly. I see the wonderful acting in a scene like this, and I just wonder how many full episodes it would have taken by today’s drama standards to be able to put out the same amperage as was shown in these short scenes.

A bit later, during lunch in front of the restaurant staff, Chef Lee gives Sam Soon her blue scarf; no more yellow scarf! Sam Soon is a newbie no more. Of course, Jang Captain comes around to use this public opportunity to reveal Kim Hee Jin’s real name as Kim Sam Soon, and Sam Soon is forced to admit it. However, the Bon Appetit staff was already told by the wise Manager Oh and so Jang Captain’s scheme to embarrass Sam Soon was exposed. Too bad, Jang Captain!

At closing, Hee Jin is there waiting for Sam Soon. Maybe it is time to clear the air a bit. Hee Jin, though younger and in the unfortunate position of not being introduced properly yet (and therefore unable to approach Sam Soon without being disrespectful), asks Sam Soon for time to chat. The fact that Hee Jin feels the need to eschew formality bespeaks to her rising level of concern here.

Hee Jin starts it off, asking the questions using joen-deh-mal. Sam Soon answers politely as well, noting that she has been to Jin Heon’s house and got approval from Jin Heon’s mom even. Sam Soon then asks some questions, but Hee Jin doesn’t respond to the one that mattered (why did you go away in the first place). Hee Jin notes that she and Jin Heon never did break up, they were just apart for the 3 years. Hee Jin then asks another question, the same question asked by Jin Heon’s mom: do you love Jin Heon? First of all, trick question! It’s been just a few months, and you ask that question? Second, you won’t answer why you disappeared three years ago, and you want an answer to whether Sam Soon loves Jin Heon?

Sam Soon thinks about it and thinks about it, and for whatever reason, Sam Soon says that she loves Jin Heon very much, so please don’t get between them any further. WHAT?!?! Is she telling the truth now (remember, last time she was dry-heaving in the bathroom after saying that to Jin Heon’s mom)? Or is she just following through the pretend-dating contract? Hee Jin, upset, abruptly gets up to go without any apology or preamble. Then Hee Jin makes another disrespectful gesture by grabbing for the check. Sam Soon yanks the check from her, however, as she can’t let too many of these gestures go without response.

Hee Jin just isn’t getting anywhere. She tried a direct approach with Jin Heon, and that failed. So she does a rather shameless end-around with Sam Soon, but that was a fail. What to do now? Before she has much time to think, Hee Jin’s phone rings.

It’s Henry, Hee Jin’s American friend, the extraordinarily handsome man from the videotape who can dunk a basketball, the wonderfully good-natured man who openly professes an unconditional (and unrequited love) for Hee Jin. Guess who’s going to be spending the next 6 months in Korea? Hee Jin’s life probably could not get more complicated. Ruh roh…

Yi Young, after hearing how the evening went down, also wonders if Sam Soon’s life could get any more complicated. At least Sam Soon isn’t in love with Jin Heon… .right? Sam Soon answers no, not even. Yi Young doesn’t seem that convinced at that answer, and as Sam Soon goes outside to think, even she isn’t convinced. She plucks the leaves off of a tree branch, and recites the age-old “he likes me / he likes me not” except that she is reciting whether she likes Jin Heon or not. The last leaf plucked is “I like him” but she repeats “I like him not” at the end to comport with what would hurt less.

A few days later, Mi Joo comes for a play-date with Sam Soon, making animal cookies. Jin Heon drops by as well and with Mi Joo as the focal point, Sam Soon and Jin Heon find that their hard feelings toward each other have softened.

Hee Jin makes one last attempt to tell Jin Heon the whole story, this time waiting up late at Jin Heon’s apartment complex for him (rather than going to the airport to pick up Henry). Jin Heon hasn’t gotten past his anger, however. Jin Heon relates how he was abandoned by Hee Jin right after his car accident… because she had to go to school in America??? Jin Heon chokes back his emotions as he notes that he looked her up in every college in America and she wasn’t listed as part of any of them. Why did she lie? Was it the disgusting prospect of being with a guy with broken legs? Did she leave to be with another guy (Henry???)?

And Hee Jin apparently has nothing but crocodile tears to show. Jin Heon tells her to stop acting like she’s hurt as it disgusts him. This is too much for Hee Jin. She storms out again. After a moment’s pause, however, Jin Heon chases after her. He stops the elevator from going down and tells her to come out. With her pride on the line, Hee Jin will only get out if Jin Heon says that he will break up with Sam Soon. For whatever reason, Jin Heon won’t say those words. Jin Heon orders her out of the elevator. Hee Jin again refuses unless Jin Heon says he’ll dump Sam Soon. A game of chicken! And while Jin Heon says nothing and Hee Jin won’t budge, the elevator doors close.

A pregnant pause, and Jin Heon race down the stairwell to catch up with Hee Jin. He just misses her as she zooms away in her car. Jin Heon hails a cab to follow her and when he finally reaches Hee Jin’s apartment, Jin Heon sees her crying… and a man comforting her! It’s Henry!

And he’s hugging her!

And he’s kissing her! (Mrs. Samsooki adds, “Squeeeeee! It’s Daniel Henney doing the kissing!”)

Wow. Jin Heon, buddy, you’ve been played…


How awesome is this episode? In refreshing bluntness (and almost opposite from the usual k-drama fare), the main characters in this drama are so direct. Sam Soon tells Jin Heon what he is (a childish coward) and what he should do (apologize to Hee Jin). Jin Heon tells Sam Soon how he feels too (mind your own damn business or pay up the $50,000). Sam Soon, to her face, tells Hee Jin to stay the hell away. Hee Jin, also to her face, tells Sam Soon to back the heck out, since Sam Soon’s 3 month relationship is nothing compared to Hee Jin’s 8 year relationship. Sam Soon’s older sister rather crassly tells Sam Soon to continue seeing Jin Heon, not because he really likes her, but because “something” might happen and they might start really dating (wow, that’s kinda… cold?).

And Sam Soon is caught in this maelstrom of mature opinions, hurt feelings and blunt talk, and still doesn’t know how she feels about anything. Mayhaps she is just envious of being in love, but is that really it? Just about everything is out in the open, and yet we still have a whole epic story left to unfold.

The wonderful thing about MNIKSS is how Jin Heon and Sam Soon can only get closer to each other if both start to change. It isn’t that Jin Heon and Sam Soon are MFEO (made for each other), because they clearly aren’t. How could it, since Jin Heon is a childish piece of work, and Sam Soon totally isn’t the physical or economic representation of the woman Jin Heon would expect to be dating. And yet, in this Episode 5, we are starting to see small changes in both Jin Heon and Sam Soon that will start to bring them into each other’s focus.

Koreans have this idiom to describe being in love, that one’s heart is snagged by another person, much like a person’s shirt sleeve might get caught on a protruding nail. Since both Sam Soon and Jin Heon wear their ragged hearts on their sleeves, is it any wonder how they might get snagged upon the other?


116 August 18, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 6

by samsooki

Here we go! Can we have the main characters stand and be accounted for?

Kim Sun Ah as Kim Sam Soon? “WHAT?! Er, I mean, Yes?”
Jung Ryu Won as Yoo Hee Jin? “Here!”
Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin Heon? “Yo.”
Daniel Henney as Dr. Henry Kim? “Right here, ready to help Hee Jin, any way I can!”

Hey, I know the k-drama audience is slightly more way more female than it is male. So I get it. Daniel Henney is good-looking, and that’s important. Mrs. Samsooki says so, and I gotta believe she knows what she’s talking about. Javabeans herself leaked a bit of drool onto her keyboard over Mr. Henney as well. He’s a hottie, not a nottie. But is it realistic for a guy, who could walk into a speed-dating shin-dig and come out 3 minutes later with every single phone number written on his arm, to follow a girl across the world when she likes someone else? Just sayin.


Seo Yoo-suk – “아름다운 나의 사람아” (My beautiful person) [ Download ]

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Episode 6 – The Calories of a Kiss, The Calories of Love.

Okay, it’s taken 5+ episodes, but Dr. Henry Kim has personally arrived on the scene to help “heal” the wounds of Yoo Hee Jin. Dr. Henry Kim is a doctor of love, and he uses hugs and kisses to treat his patients. Not that Yoo Hee Jin seems to mind.

Jin Heon watches them head back up into Yoo Hee Jin’s apartment, where Dr. Henry Kim will administer some personal therapy to Yoo Hee Jin that possibly involves a physical. Jin Heon is… well, he’s got nothing to say. He watches them go up, he turns around and walks away. I guess Jin Heon has figured out what Hee Jin wanted to say that Jin Heon wasn’t aware of.

Back in Sam Soon’s neighborhood, Sam Soon’s former love of her life, Hyun Woo, has been waiting for Sam Soon at the bus stop. He starts walking with Sam Soon, and tries to restart things with Sam Soon even though his engagement party with Chae Ri is the next day.

Sam Soon tries to beat sense into Hyun Woo but he just doesn’t get it. He asks her to be his “affair woman” even if he gets married to Chae Ri. Sam Soon, as angered as she is, is saddened a bit here too. She has been trying to hold onto the memories that she had with Hyun Woo as something to cherish, but Hyun Woo’s true colors are tarnishing her memories.

What’s interesting is that Hyun Woo is 100% genuine about his wanting to get back together with Sam Soon. But earnestly being a dirt-bag doesn’t make him any less of a dirt-bag – it just makes him a sincere dirt-bag.

The next day it’s engagement partee-time!

Bon Appetit turns out for the party and the guests arrive in splendid fashion. The mothers of the two engaged kids arrive, decked out in beautiful han-boks that set them apart from everyone else. Even as Korea continues to modernize, the traditional aspects of life’s important milestones (birth, marriage, death) are kept, and I think that rocks.

Sam Soon herself is hard at work, building a cream-filled pastry tower cake. As she finishes the tower cake, she hears the cheers of the on-lookers as Min Hyun Woo and Jang Chae Ri are introduced as a couple. And as the couple take turns bowing before the respective parents-in-law, the final element is placed on the cake – an iced cookie to be used as a plaque, with delicate writing proclaiming congratulations on the engagement.


Sam Soon wipes away her tears as she looks upon the cake that she had always thought would have been for her and Hyun Woo, not Chae Ri and Hyun Woo. As Sam Soon watches Hyun Woo and Chae Ri place promise rings on each other's fingers, Sam Soon's thoughts go back to when she first started dating Hyun Woo in France, back when Hyun Woo didn't seem like such a jack-ass.

Where did all that passion go? Back then, Hyun Woo wasn’t a jack-ass! He was kind, thoughtful and a romantic. Sam Soon wouldn’t have gone out with a person like that, right? What went so wrong?

Jin Heon sees Sam Soon’s tears and asks if she is okay. Sam Soon can’t hide but brushes away her tears. Jin Heon very gently and thoughtfully stops asking if she’s okay (no, she’s not) and moves on. Sam Soon’s cake is a rousing success, but this doesn’t make Sam Soon feel any better.

The party over, Sam Soon receives congratulations from Chae Ri and her mom. Sam Soon also gets a cash gift from Chae Ri’s mom, who also unintentionally rubs salt on open wounds when she tells Sam Soon to try to get married quickly. Chae Ri follows with more inadvertent salt, when she says she wants Sam Soon to do her wedding cake as well. Ouch! A heavy-hearted Sam Soon heads back to the kitchen but is accosted by Hyun Woo, who still hasn’t learned his lesson. Sam Soon, speaking both for her sake and for Chae Ri’s, gives Hyun Woo one last piece of advice:

Sam Soon: Do you know that even the rear of a car has a facial expression? When a student driver cuts in front of you, the back lights are so bashful that you see exactly how nervous the driver must be. And a violent driver has blinkers that are intense as well. The back of his car has “Don’t mess with me” carved into it. When even pieces of metal have expressions, what do you think human beings have? Instead of sullying the memories we have, walk away with dignity and coolness, leaving a beautiful face behind you.

Sam Soon turns to walk away and she sees that Jin Heon has been standing there too; he has heard it all. An embarrassed Sam Soon runs past Jin Heon. Now, Jin Heon may or may not have feelings for Sam Soon, but one doesn’t need to be in love with Sam Soon to feel anger towards Hyun Woo.

An intense Jin Heon walks up to Hyun Woo and gives a warning to stay the hell away from Sam Soon. Hyun Woo brushes it off with a joke, perhaps not realizing how angry Jin Heon is. Is it “Go-Time”?? No, it’s not Go Time yet but bother her one more time, and it will be, Jin Heon promises.

PCB – Philosopical Comedy Break!

The female wait staff of Bon Appetit are out drinking their single-woman-hood sorrows away, thinking up reasons why they can’t meet great guys. Here’s what they have come up with:

1. The nice guys are all bad-looking.
2. The handsome guys, well, they ain’t so nice.
3. The handsome and nice guys are already married.
4. The handsome, nice and single guys are are penniless.
5. The handsome, nice, single and rich guys don’t have interest in them.
6. The handsome, nice, single and rich guys who are interested, are two-timers.
7. The handsome, nice, single and rich guys who are interested and loyal, are gay.

What a crock! Want samsooki to break it down like a fraction?

Know why y’all Bon Appetit agasshi’s are single? It’s cuz you are looking for a finished product. The most important part of a guy is not what he looks like or his wallet, but his heart. If you find the right heart, then the rest can be developed. Is he a bit overweight? Join a gym with him. Spends all his time watching Flames of Ambition? Volunteer together at a homeless shelter. Smokes and/or drinks too much? Sign up for a triathlon and train with him daily. A bit light in the wallet? Explore your passions together to see if any of those can turn into money-making activities. The point is, a great guy is built, not found. There endeth the lesson.

Late that night, Sam Soon still hasn’t left for the night. She’s drinking wine and playing chopsticks by herself. Until Jin Heon appears. He hasn’t left either. They bicker then play chopsticks together, which is nice, because chopsticks is one of those pieces better played by two people than one.

Then Jin Heon asks a mood-killing question – why did she cry earlier, does she still like Min Hyun Woo? Sam Soon says, nope.

Jin Heon persists, then why? Sam Soon wonders if she has to answer, and while Jin Heon says that she doesn’t have to, he still waits for an answer.

Sam Soon: Because I was so surprised.

People change, hearts change… even love changes. When it hit me that there wasn’t such thing as everlasting love, I was so surprised.

That’s why.

Jin Heon nudges Sam Soon to get more liquor, and Sam Soon heads off to the kitchen, leaving him free to play another piece on the piano. Sam Soon collects the bottle and a bit of nosh, but stops on the return when she hears him playing.

The look on Sam Soon’s face is interesting. Guys, piano-playing is a freaking awesome way to get a girl. My advice is to memorize three ballad-y songs and have at it.

Sam Soon and Jin Heon get to talking, and Sam Soon gives more of her life history and dreams to Jin Heon. Since they aren’t facing each other, it isn’t really like they are talking to each other. It doesn’t count. It is the kind of “date that isn’t a date” kind of thing that makes everything okay.

But then it starts to rain. Heavy rain. It’s a downpour. And Jin Heon reveals that his relationship with Hee Jin is all over. And then Jin Heon plays “My Beautiful Woman” on the piano while Sam Soon sings. And then it happens. Sam Soon bites a bit of cake and frosting remains on her lips. Jin Heon touches her lips to wipe it off. Awkward moment.

They get up to leave, but Sam Soon almost falls. Jin Heon grabs her tight but doesn’t let go. Sam Soon tries to get loose but Jin Heon interlocks his fingers at the small of her back and closes in for a kiss. Is this a patented Jin Heon fake-out no-kissy kiss? Jin Heon notes that this time, Sam Soon’s eyes are wide open.

Sam Soon, wide-eyed, doesn’t wait to see if Jin Heon is trying to fake her out. She kisses Jin Heon first! When Jin Heon doesn’t back away or flee or say something awkward, Sam Soon kisses him like she means it.


Until Jin Heon starts kissing back. Sam Soon is startled and pushes Jin Heon away.

Then Sam Soon flees.

What? Can somebody explain to me why she flees?

Awkward Town has replaced Bon Appetit as the finest French restaurant in Seoul, and Jin Heon brings Sam Soon into the office to get things cleared up.

It was a mistake. He wonders how she was able to get him so drunk. Was it the cake? Well, whatever. Jin Heon apologizes. Sam Soon apologizes more. No, Jin Heon apologizes more. The Jin Heon accuses Sam Soon of being a fox. Sam Soon counters by calling Jin Heon a wolf.

Hey, hey, HEY! Can’t you guys just admit you guys are crazy about each other? Sheesh!

Still there’s a job for Sam Soon to perform. She is an actress and her role is “girlfriend.” Jin Heon needs to be at the grand opening of his family’s newest hotel in Jeju Island and that means that he’s gotta be there, and so does Sam Soon.

Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Kim has set up his room in a hostel and Hee Jin is visiting. Though Henry has come to see Hee Jin, that’s not all he’s here for. Henry’s mom is Korean and Henry has come to see her as well. Hee Jin opts to help Henry explore his mother’s origins, much to Henry’s delight. Still, it is apparent that Henry’s love for Hee Jin is just a one-way street, as Hee Jin just doesn’t feel the same way. Odd, but inasmuchas that would crush a man, Henry merely swallows his disappointment behind his megawatt smile.

And wouldn’t you know it, but Henry’s mom’s origins are in a Jeju orphanage. Guess it’s time to make that trip, right Heej? Maybe we go right now!

Still, that’s not quite enough people in one place who have issues with each other. Who else can we include?

Ahh, there we go. The more the merrier!


First things first. Kim Sun Ah’s acting? Superlative. Kiss scene with Binnie? Hot.

Okay, let’s talk Hyun Woo for a second. You might think that Hyun Woo’s proposal to Sam Soon to be his “romantical affair woman” is just crazy. After all the time Hyun Woo spent with Sam Soon, shouldn’t Hyun Woo know better? Sam Soon would NEVER let herself be that woman for Hyun Woo, right?

Before re-watching this episode, I thought Hyun Woo was too stereotypical of the clueless evil guy. But now I think Hyun Woo isn’t clueless at all.

Hyun Woo’s tactics (financial stability in exchange for “friends with benefits” status) are actually likely to be the most effective when targeting realists – of which Sam Soon is most certainly a member. If Sam Soon’s dreams of marrying the perfect guy and opening her own shop remain unfulfilled for just a little while longer, it is possible that Hyun Woo’s tactics might work on her. Should Sam Soon’s dreams all go down the tubes, Hyun Woo is in the best position to manipulate whatever is left of Sam Soon’s shattered ego and heart.

Interesting then, that Hyun Woo and the person in the world most unlike Hyun Woo – Dr. Henry Kim, are both going to be in Jeju at the same time with Jin Heon. Can such a small island hold all three guys and Sam Soon and Hee Jin?


85 August 24, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 7

by samsooki

Sometimes, episodes need no introduction. All you need do is watch.

Episode 7 – Madeleine, In Search Of Lost Time

The episode starts with the grand opening celebration of Jeju Island’s newest luxury hotel. Among all the people there, out of place is Sam Soon, who is already being looked-down upon by Jin Heon’s peers. Was it a mistake to bring Sam Soon here, just to have her be laughed at by other people?

Hyun Woo, whose family construction company was involved in building the hotel, comes over to say hello to Sam Soon. Sam Soon is eating by herself (how come Binnie’s not there?!), and Hyun Woo warns Sam Soon to back out of her relationship before it ends on Jin Heon’s terms, because she’ll be the only one getting hurt. Damnit. Don’t you hate it when good advice comes from a snake?

Hyun Woo also has a gift for her. He puts a jewel box on the table… but Jin Heon is the one to pick it up.

Why, it looks like a crystal necklace on a platinum chain. From Spain, no less. Jin Heon examines it before tossing it into a koi pond. Hyun Woo grabs at Jin Heon’s jacket lapels and Jin Heon takes a swing at him. Okay, is it Go Time yet? Yep, it’s Go Time!

How strange must this all seem to Sam Soon. Let’s see who is fighting here. Guy #1 is her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her and dumped her, but who still might be there at the end to catch her if she falls. Guy #2 is her jerk boss with whom she has a fake-relationship contract. And what’s the fight about? The formal right to treat Sam Soon like dirt?

So Chae Ri strolls by, sees Sam Soon chewing on Hyun Woo’s arm, and jumps into the fracas to save her husband-to-be. Sam Soon calls Chae Ri’s fiance a dog and Chae Ri retaliates by yanking on Sam Soon’s ahjumma fro. Sam Soon gives two warnings to let go, but Chae Ri apparently doesn’t know who she is messing with.

Jin Heon and Hyun Woo stop their fighting and watch Sam Soon pummeling Chae Ri before they separate the two women. Sam Soon leads Jin Heon away but Hyun Woo can’t keep his mouth shut and calls out to Jin Heon:

Hyun Woo: Hey boy! You may not know it, but I was Sam Soon’s first man. Do you even know what that means, punk?

Interesting! Hyun Woo doesn’t know that the relationship is fake, and so in his mind, he’s just protecting her. On the other hand, Jin Heon’s anger is also justified, because he believes that Sam Soon deserves much more than to be pestered by a cheater. Boiling pot and boiling kettle, each trying to prevent the hand from getting burned?

After pushing Hyun Woo into the koi pond, Jin Heon leads Sam Soon away. In the hotel, Jin Heon lays down the law with Sam Soon, who can’t understand why Jin Heon even cares. Jin Heon’s face flashes anger.

Jin Heon: If I tell you not to do something, THEN DON’T DO IT! Whether it’s that punk or anyone else, don’t make eye-contact. Don’t talk with them or listen to what they say. Listen only to me, pay attention only to me!

Is that a touched face that I see on Sam Soon? I think so! And who wouldn’t be touched if Binnie told you to only pay attention to him? In the hotel room with Sam Soon, Jin Heon goes to the bathroom to check his face, and Sam Soon giggles like a school girl. Maybe Jin Heon is falling for her, yeah? Well, hard to say, really. Who knows, especially with guys who think they are so smart. Smart guys often end up confusing themselves because they think they see all the angles.

Outside, it appears that Hyun Woo is in deep trouble since he basically admitted he liked Sam Soon. Chae Ri immediately wants to call off the wedding, and Hyun Woo of course knows how to respond. Yes, let’s call off the wedding because you always call that Jin Heon punk “oppa” but you call me “mister.” If you won’t call me “oppa” too, then let’s call off the wedding! Hehe! A classic deflection, and big hair Chae Ri is quieted down.

Back in the hotel room, Sam Soon is tending to Jin Heon’s cut lip and bruises. With a little bit of craftiness, Sam Soon takes a reverse-tack and tells Jin Heon that she won’t misunderstand Jin Heon’s actions as him falling for her. Still, she asks, did Jin Heon made a mistake when he told her to only listen to him, only pay attention to him?

Jin Heon pauses, but doesn’t take the easy-out. He replies honestly that him saying those words wasn’t a mistake. He really doesn’t want Sam Soon to pay attention to any other guy, doesn’t want her to look any other guy. Why, he doesn’t quite know; he just doesn’t like it. Sam Soon is quietly stunned.

Sam Soon starts wondering outloud what this means, but Jin Heon’s smirkiness returns as quickly as it left. Who said anything about liking Sam Soon? Who said anything about them dating for reals? Oooh, that’s not nice. Booo! Sam Soon looks like a toddler whose ice cream just fell out of her cone. Jin Heon’s is all smiles as he twists his needle a little further and asks Sam Soon if that’s what Sam Soon would want, to have Jin Heon to start liking her.

Sam Soon stutters and Jin Heon senses his upper-handed-ness. He pushes Sam Soon over on the bed and starts using her stomach as a pillow.

A happy Jin Heon nestles in and Sam Soon can only suck in her gut. Jin Heon asks that the pillow stop sucking in her gut but Sam Soon says that’s her stomach and she can do what she wants. Hehe!

Then all of a sudden, Jin Heon turns stops smirking and notes that he shouldn’t be laughing. He doesn’t have the right to laugh ever again because that accident that he was in, the one where he had broken his leg – that accident had cost the lives of three people.

Jin Heon closes his eyes and tells of how he lost control of the car he was driving, and it spun out of control and flipped. He escaped with a crushed leg but his brother and his brother’s wife, along with a trailing motorcyclist, all died that day. He was the one who orphaned Mi Joo.

Sam Soon sits up and stares at Jin Heon, surprised at the trust that Jin Heon apparently has in her, to tell her his darkest secret. Jin Heon had never told anybody the whole story, and Sam Soon can only cradle his head as tears run down his face.

Just a few miles away, Dr. Henry Kim and Hee Jin are at a crossroads. He’s there in search of his mom and his mom’s hometown, but Jeju has changed so much that nothing is recognizable from the old pictures he has. Henry and Hee Jin climb one of the hills overlooking the bay and talk.

Henry tells Hee Jin to just tell Jin Heon the whole truth, but Hee Jin refuses, saying she’ll never tell. (What’s the secret?!) Hee Jin’s reasoning is that if she tells Jin Heon what really happened and then he comes back to her, then she’ll never know whether he has come back out of love or sympathy. Aha! So it’s a tragic secret….

Hee Jin (half) jokingly asks Henry that if, in the end, Jin Heon doesn’t go back to Hee Jin, would Henry take Hee Jin? Henry says he’ll think about it (though his face says “yes please”). Hee Jin tells Jin Heon to man up and teaches Henry what to say in Korean if such a similar situation were to arise in the future:

“치! 내가 봉이냐?!” (Chi! Nae-ga bong-ee-nya?!? – Trans-literally, it means "Chi! Am I a sucker?" but in usage it means "Pffft! Do I look like a sucker to you?" Either way, at the top of the mountain, both Hee Jin and Henry start laughing and shouting the phrase out to the wind, perhaps not quite realizing the updraft of mountain winds pushing the subtle irony back into their faces.

Miles below, Jin Heon finishes his story to a sober Sam Soon. Just a few days after the accident, Hee Jin took off for America, only promising that she’d be back after 5 years.

Sam Soon notes softly: You’ve waited all this time for Hee Jin.
Jin Heon replies: No, not really. Time has just passed, that’s all.
Sam Soon tries again: But you didn’t go out with any other women.
Jin Heon responds: I didn’t want to bother.
Sam Soon concludes: You’ve been waiting for her.

Jin Heon gets up off of Sam Soon pillow. He tells Sam Soon of Mt. Halla and what it meant to him to climb it, both before the accident, with his brother, and after the rehab, alone. Jin Heon swore, then, at the top of Mt. Halla that he would live his life without guilt or blame, and if he ever saw Hee Jin again, he would never let her see him as weak. Jin Heon concludes by saying that he and Sam Soon should climb the mountain together later if there’s time. Sam Soon ponders what this all means.

On the way out of the hotel, they see Henry and Hee Jin. Jin Heon grabs Sam Soon’s wrist and pushes past them. Hee Jin stops them and asks to speak with Jin Heon alone, grabbing Jin Heon’s free wrist. With surprising boldness, Sam Soon is the one to interject, forbidding any alone time. It’s a wrist-grab stand-off until Henry grabs Hee Jin’s wrist and yanks her away. Aww, nobody grabbed Henry’s wrist.

Jin Heon and Sam Soon take a taxi to the airport, but Jin Heon’s mind is not in the car. Jin Heon was “this” close to learning what happened to Hee Jin and now he might never find out. Unless he goes back. Should he go back? Arggh. Toughie. But half-way to the airport Jin Heon finally makes up his mind.

Jin Heon bails from the taxi and gets out to run back to the hotel. Sam Soon realizes that Jin Heon is heading back and panick-bails too, catching up to Jin Heon before he can get into a taxi heading back to the hotel. If Jin Heon reaches Hee Jin, maybe Sam Soon will never have the opportunity to say what’s on her mind to Jin Heon. It’s now or never.

Sam Soon: Wait, don’t go. I’ve got something to tell you.
Jin Heon: Later.
Sam Soon: Please, I’ve fallen for you.
Jin Heon: …
Sam Soon (pleading): I’ve fallen for you, you jerk! Don’t go. If you go… if you go…

Jin Heon stares at Sam Soon for a second, but then just leaves without a word. Not even a good-bye. And Sam Soon is left, literally at the side of the road.

Jin Heon heads directly to Hee Jin’s room and finally, we have our face to face to… uh, face, since Henry hangs around. Jin Heon orders Hee Jin to tell him the real reason she left. Hee Jin refuses, declaring that she will never tell, leaving Jin Heon in the dark until he dies, that’s his punishment for not trusting her. Jin Heon starts asking jerk-y questions and Hee Jin gets more and more upset.

This is too much for Dr. Henry Kim, and he blurts out, “Hee Jin is very sick! I am her doctor… SHE’S GOT AGC! Advanced! Gastric! Cancer!” Then Dr. Henry Kim leaves, because that’s what love-struck surgical oncologists who perform gastrectomies do after such revelations. But seriously, what is Henry to do? Third wheel…

Jin Heon, whose English is good enough to understand Advanced! Gastric! Cancer!, asks if this is true and Hee Jin nods, so Jin Heon slaps her. Uhm… wut? Whither the slap?! But then they hug and now I’m totally at a loss. What just happened? And what about Mt. Halla with Sam Soon?

Meanwhile, Sam Soon has hitched a ride with a pig truck back to the hotel (LOL!). She meets Henry in the lobby and through Konglish, finds out that Jin Heon and Hee Jin are in the same room together. Oh Mah God! O-mo oh no no no!

Sam Soon tries in Korean, French and then English to force Henry to tell her where Hee Jin and Jin Heon are. But Henry, whose Korean is only marginally better than his French (and he don’t speak French), can only smile. This totally frustrates Sam Soon, who really really really wants to break up any possible “let’s get back together” scenarios.

It’s such an odd thing. Sam Soon likes Jin Heon and therefore wants to intervene – must separate potential love-birds. Henry likes Hee Jin and therefore wants her to be happy – so no intervention. Which is the way to go? I say intervention! (Mrs. Samsooki merely swoons and says, Daniel Henney 얼짱!)

And upstairs, Hee Jin has slid right in and started smooching Jin Heon, who doesn’t pull back or nothing. Dude, you left Sam Soon on the side of the road, and now Hee Jin is basically licking your face. Have you no conscience? Still, okay I get it. Hee Jin had a 35% chance of survival and she beat cancer without Jin Heon’s support. And now Hee Jin is back, just like she promised. All is forgiven? But what are you going to do about Sam Soon?

You know what? Never you mind, okay? Sam Soon can take care of herself, thank you. Sam Soon, perhaps a bit charmed by the ultra-handsome-face that is Dr. Henry Kim, has calmed herself. Perhaps she realizes that she can only control how she feels and not how others feel, or maybe sitting in front of Dr. Handsome has pushed Jerk-Heon out of her mind.

Sam Soon teaches Henry a bit about the Madeleine cookie and about Marcel Proust’s novel, In Search Of Lost Time, where the main character finds his mind flooding with forgotten memories when when he tastes a tea-dipped Madeleine cookie. Sam Soon wonders whether Jin Heon and Hee Jin are also searching for their lost time together.

Late that night, at the airport, waiting for the last flight of the night, Sam Soon gives Jin Heon a call. And in the first-ever documented use of cell-phone voice-mail in a k-drama, she leaves Jin Heon a message. Sam Soon thanks Jin Heon for sharing with her the story of his older brother, and then she tells him the story of the last time she was able to see her dad before he died.

Sam Soon leaves the message and finds herself looking toward Mt. Halla, even though at night she wouldn’t be able to see through the glass. For Sam Soon, unable to see anything but her own reflection, this will likely be as close as she will ever get to Mt. Halla.


Why does Sam Soon, after everything that happened that day, share the story of her dad with Jin Heon? Was it just because he shared the story of his tragic loss and cried in her lap? I guess it is possible that Sam Soon wanted to show Jin Heon that she understood how he feels about loss to some degree. But to what end? Sam Soon had to know that Jin Heon was with Hee Jin, because otherwise he would have been at the airport for the last flight.

It seems like such a waste, but I think Sam Soon is sharing her life with Jin Heon because she has started loving him, and she can’t help it. Once she loves someone, she can’t help but share herself with that person. And at this point, it doesn’t really matter whether Jin Heon loves her back. Oddly enough, this is the position that Henry also finds himself with Hee Jin. And isn’t that what love is, when you give of yourself even knowing that you may not get anything back in return?


109 August 25, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 8

by samsooki

Last episode, Sam Soon was ditched faster than Henry can say “Nae-ga bong-ee-nya?” when Jin Heon discovered the real reason Hee Jin left him three years ago.

But all is not lost for Sam Soon. Having a strong family like Sam Soon’s is like having a safety net that catches you when you love and lose, so that you can get back up and love again.


Kim Jung-eun – “Inside My Heart” [ Download ]

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Episode 8 – Daddy, Why Is My Love Life So Hard?

Sam Soon spends her days and nights staring at her cell, wondering when Jin Heon might call or text her. Jin Heon hasn’t been to work in 3 days, which is more than enough time for him and Hee Jin to catch up on old times, and then for Hee Jin to get the hell back to California. Sam Soon might be a kind-hearted person, but she won’t share a boyfriend, even a fake boyfriend, especially one she has started to like.

The other staff at Bon Appetit smell the change in the wind though, even if Sam Soon will not. Pfft. As if Jang Captain stands a shot with Jin Heon. Give it up!

As another day comes and goes, Sam Soon still clutches her cell- her only line of communication with Jin Heon. Ella Fitzgerald softly warbles “This Girl’s In Love With You” in the background as Sam Soon takes the bus home, but it’s not like we don’t know. Sam Soon is smitten, though really, I don’t think Jin Heon has done anything to deserve it. What has Jin Heon done except break up her date with Good Looking Blind Date Guy and constantly tell her that she’s not his type?

Now now, tssks Mrs. Samsooki. I should be fair. He did carry her drunk-ass all the way to his apartment and took care of her clothes. And he did defend her twice against Hyun Woo, right? Fine. He’s not all bad. Where IS Jin Heon, anyway?

Jin Heon has been looking after Hee Jin at a Seoul hospital, and finally texts Sam Soon. He’s a bit busy. That’s it?? Jin Heon adds, “At hospital.” An alarmed Sam Soon asks a ton of questions ending with, shall I go to you? But Jin Heon merely replies, “Nope.”

Clearly, Jin Heon has other things on his mind, like how to get rid of Hee Jin’s 6 foot 2 inch chiseled surgical oncologist moonlighting as a guardian angel. Damn. Even though I’m like 2.5 times as mature as Jin Heon, even I’d wanna get rid of Henry too.

Jin Heon breaks the ice with Henry by asking, “When are you leaving?” Hehe! Henry the Chiseled Surgical Oncologist, for whatever reason, ignores Jin Heon’s slights. Not sure exactly what game Henry is playing here. Is his plan to stay in Korea for another 5 months and just watch Hee Jin and Jin Heon make kissy-faces at each other?

Meanwhile, Kim Sam Mopey has not gone unnoticed at home. Sam Soon’s mom and older sister can’t help but see Sam Soon’s erratic behavior. During a dinner cooked out in the yard (BBQ! Yummers!), Sam Soon’s mom heads inside to answer a phone call. Yi Young quickly bitch-slaps Sam Soon into reality. What the HECK has gotten into you?!

Sam Soon admits it, finally, to Yi Young. She misses her Sam Shik like crazy. Yi Young is surprised but not in a good way.

Yi Young: I won’t allow it. I’ll never allow you to fall for Sam Shik.
Sam Soon: And why not?!

Why not indeed. What’s wrong with Sam Shik, other than the fact that he’s in love with another woman and his family would never allow you to marry him and he’s an immature dork and he’s rude and arrogant… AND he’s your boss? Well, even so, that’s not why Yi Young won’t let her like Sam Shik. Yi Young notes that rich people live differently than the rest of us, and nobody really knows what goes on inside rich people’s homes. And yet, people line up for miles to get the chance to be a Cinderella. Well, Yi Young won’t allow that to happen for Sam Soon.

I don’t know. Yi Young is all protective and stuff, but I’m not convinced by Yi Young’s logic. Yi Young married for money, didn’t she? But reading my mind, Yi Young slaps that argument away though, noting that Sam Soon has different principles than she does, and so what Yi Young does or did has no relevance to Sam Soon.

Sam Soon finally reveals all. Yoo Hee Jin is back and that’s why Jin Heon hasn’t called. Well, game over. Thanks for playing. Yi Young can’t believe how silly Sam Soon is being. But Sam Soon’s emotions, pent up for days, comes flooding out, along with the full story of what happened at the Jeju Hotel. Sam Soon cries out her justification, saying that everything Jin Heon did means that he does like her.

A world-wise Yi Young clucks in frustration at her sister’s naivete. She tries slapping some sense into her younger sister but Sam Soon doesn’t believe it – her Sam Shik is not like that!

Yi Young (exasperated): Gaaaah! Why is it that girls who know nothing about dating always fall for the same stupid tricks!

I guess so. But still, “I told you so” won’t make Sam Soon feel any better. Of course, I can hear Yi Young now, saying, “Making her feel better isn’t what an unni is supposed to do! Making her feel better isn’t going to get her married! A big sis has gotta slap some sense into their dong-sengs!”

Yes, but being a big sis in wisdom but not in size has its own issues. Yi Young tries to slap Sam Soon again but Sam Soon is ready and grabs Yi Young’s arm. Disrespectful! Yi Young automatically tries to slap Sam Soon with her free arm but Sam Soon is ready for that as well. LOL! The two sisters go at it, hilariously listing off every wrong that the other has done since like grade school.

Sam Soon’s mom reappears with a huge winnowing Korean fan and chases her daughters around the yard, before giving up and plopping back down. Sigh, what fate brought her to this. One daughter with too much in her head and one daughter with too little.

As with many fights between sisters, this one ends as quickly as it starts. And Sam Soon’s mood has brightened considerable as she realizes how much Yi Young cares for her. That’s what family is for, to bitch-slap some sense into you and to lend you new dresses so long as you don’t sneak out to see Sam Shiks.

Speaking of which, it hasn’t taken long for Jin Heon and Hee Jin to share the same bed. So Hee Jin is now sleeping over Jin Heon’s? Hmmpf. I guess quick is as quick does. And busy is as busy does. Just saying.

Deep into the night, Sam Soon is still awake and still holding out her hope in her hands. She sends a last text to Jin Heon for the night, and then bikes over to Bon Appetit to start baking – her way to make herself feel better.

Sam Soon makes two things: sesame jook (traditional rice porridge made for ppl who are ill) and a Napoleon cake called a gâteau de mille-feuilles – fresh raspberries, flaky crispy crusts, alternating almond buttercreme and vanilla custard fillings and topped with almonds, powdered dark chocolate and confectioner’s sugar. *drool* Who could the goodies be for? Right, Jin Heon said he was in the hospital… Ruh roh!

Sure enough, Sam Soon wraps up the jook and cake for a bike trip out to Jin Heon’s apartment. In the elevator on the way up, Sam Soon practices how to sound nonchalant but still worried. I am watching now with my hands over my ears and only partially watching the screen. This won’t be pleasant. Just leave the food at the door and run away!

Sam Soon rings the door, and Jin Heon answers it. As Sam Soon butchers her planned speech, out pops Hee Jin from behind Jin Heon, because she must. Protective of turf, much? With nothing to say, Jin Heon sheepishly grabs the goodie bag. With only a hint of sarcasm, Sam Soon asks Jin Heon to enjoy the food with Hee Jin. Sam Soon turns to leave when Hee Jin offers an apology (Hey, skinny girl. You pipe down. Winners shouldn’t fake apologize as a means to proclaim total victory).

The door closes and Sam Soon exhales, crushed. After a pause, Sam Soon turns around and rings the door bell again. Jin Heon answers it again and this time an angry Sam Soon kicks the crap out of Jin Heon’s leg, telling him to end the contract. Sam Soon reaches the elevator but Jin Heon chases after her and follows her into the elevator.

Jin Heon: I’m… starting over with Hee Jin.
Sam Soon: It looks like it. Congrats.
Jin Heon: Like we had agreed, the contract is terminated.
Sam Soon: Fine.
Jin Heon: And since it was me that breaks the contract, you don’t have to pay me back the $50,000.

Sam Soon turns to look at Jin Heon, and Jin Heon starts to repeat himself, but gets slapped. Hard. But I don’t quite get it? Why did Jin Heon get slapped? Sam Soon asks if Jin Heon thinks that he can buy someone’s heart for a mere $50,000. Where did that come from? What is she talking about? Aight, let’s break it down, samsooki-style.

1. Sam Soon needed $50,000. Jin Heon needed a fake relationship.
2. Jin Heon lent the money to Sam Soon.
3. They agreed: if Jin Heon breaks the deal, Sam Soon doesn’t have to pay.
4. Jin Heon and Sam Soon agreed never to fall for each other. Ever.
5. Jin Heon broke the deal by re-starting with Hee Jin.
6. Therefore, Sam Soon doesn’t have to pay back the $50,000.

So why should Jin Heon need to get slapped at all? But then Sam Soon explains it. The things that Jin Heon said and did for her, they scream out, “I like you.” Sam Soon didn’t fall for Jin Heon until Jin Heon apparently fell for Sam Soon. Now that Sam Soon’s heart is shredded, Jin Heon thinks he can just buy back his guilty conscience for $50,000?

Ahhh. Okay, I get it. This is Sam Soon’s point – Jin Heon isn’t taking responsibility for Sam Soon’s hurt feelings; he thinks he can escape responsibility for breaking her heart by paying cash. Jin Heon has no response, finally, perhaps, realizing the extent to which he has affected her.

The elevator doors open (finally), and Sam Soon storms out. Jin Heon follows her out though. Not sure why he does, but he does. Is this the same kind of Follow The Samsoon Game that Jin Heon did, way back in Episode 1?

Jin Heon doesn’t try to stop her though, but just tries to explain himself. That’s why you don’t have to pay me back, Jin Heon says. Disappointing! So Jin Heon still hasn’t figured it out. And I thought a smart guy like him would have figured it out by now.

Bitterly, Sam Soon announces she is taking back what she said in Jeju, about how she had started liking him. Cancelled. Jin Heon can’t let well enough alone, though, and replies that he’s not cancelling his words, when he said wants to take her to Mt. Halla. Sam Soon has wised up finally though. She ain’t no Mt.Halla-back girl. Sam Soon exhales and then tells Jin Heon to take Hee Jin instead.

Sometimes, a breakthrough like this, gaining wisdom at the point of a spear, is difficult to bear. With all that Sam Soon has been through, there’s too much for her to process. Seconds after she starts riding off on her bike, she just passes out. Sam Soon falls off the bike and collapses on the street, nearly crashing into a passing motorcyclist.

Jin Heon brings Sam Soon to the hospital, and of course Hee Jin is there too (probably to protect her turf in case this is a fake accident). They are met there by Yi Young, who recognizes Hee Jin from the airplane ride.

While Sam Soon remains out cold, Yi Young and Hee Jin talk outside. Yi Young spills the beans about the fake relationship (why??). Jin Heon remains with Sam Soon (again, why??). Jin Heon starts checking his voice mail and finally hears the message that Sam Soon left for him while at the Jeju airport. Jin Heon is truly touched, and smiles at Sam Soon’s sleeping form.

Sam Soon is released from the hospital after a few hours, and Jin Heon offers to drive her and her sister home. But Sam Soon sees Jin Heon’s new car and realizes that Jin Heon really has turned a corner and moved on in his life. Her wounds thus re-opened, Sam Soon sadly breaks off to find her own taxi. Before following Sam Soon, Yi Young slugs Jin Heon good, while an approving Hee Jin stands near by.

In the midst of this, Jin Heon’s mom calls Hee Jin, ordering her to come over. When Hee Jin arrives, Jin Heon’s mom cuts to the chase and orders her not to see Jin Heon again. This, despite the successful stomach surgery and excellent prognosis. Jin Heon’s mom gives it to her straight. She will not have another daughter-in-law who dies on her. Jin Heon’s mom doesn’t want more death in her family. Her husband died. Her first son died. Her daughter-in-law died. Can’t Hee Jin understand?

No, apparently not. Hee Jin is crushed – the secret deal 3 years ago was that if Hee Jin beats the cancer, she could come back to Korea and be back with Jin Heon. That was the deal! How can Jin Heon’s mom renege now? Didn’t Jin Heon’s mom love Hee Jin like a daughter? How can Jin Heon’s mom be so cruel, when that secret deal, that singular hope, was the only thing that kept Hee Jin alive through the brutal chemotherapy and uncertain recovery? But Jin Heon’s mom leaves Hee Jin collapsed on the floor.

Jin Heon’s mom goes to her dead son’s room and strokes the photo of happier times, when they were all together. Koreans have a saying, that the very worst thing in the world is for a parent to out-live his or her child. Jin Heon’s mom might appear to be cruel to Hee Jin, but really, all she was being was honest. And sometimes, honesty is the fastest antiseptic to wounds of the heart.

Late that night, Yi Young and Sam Soon go out to eat and drink, or, rather, drink drink and maybe eat a little. Yi Young heads for the bathroom while Sam Soon gets a headstart on the soju, and gets up for another bottle. Sam Soon returns to the table and finds her dad sitting at the table and smiling at her. Sam Soon sits down and her dad grabs the bottle so that he can share a special drink with his favorite daughter.

And even though this is just between a daughter and her dad, Sam Soon keeps the cultural formalities of drinking with one’s elder. Her dad pours the first drink, and Sam Soon holds her glass with both hands. Then Sam Soon takes the bottle and pours her dad a drink. And Sam Soon doesn’t touch her glass until her dad picks up his. Then when her dad lifts his glass, Sam Soon follows suit, but with both hands. Finally, Sam Soon doesn’t drink facing her dad, but turns 90 degrees away. Even though she’s 30 and her dad is dead, Sam Soon does the only thing she can do to show her love.

Sam Soon’s dad is so awesome in this scene, just looking at her daughter with so much love as her daughter tries to smile but fails miserably.

Sam Soon: I thought I was done crying over men, but… Dad? I really didn’t think I would be like this when I turned 30. I thought that nothing would make my heart race faster, or make me stay awake all night waiting for a phone call. Dad, do you know how that’s like torture? I thought I could just meet a decent guy so as to not worry about my heart being hurt, so that my heart would not be hurt… that’s how I wanted to live. But just look at me now… I’m a tragedy.

And finally, Sam Soon confesses to her dad that she just wants her heart to harden, so she can’t feel any more pain.

After all that she has been through, with Hyun Woo and then with Jin Heon, Sam Soon finally asks for a time-out.

That’s enough pain, okay? Please, don’t give me any more pain. It hurts too much. It is enough to make anyone tear up, but for those who have felt similar pain, where the hurt really does start from inside the chest like a burning ball and radiates outward, pushing out tears no matter if you are crying or not, Sam Soon’s pain is palpable.

Okay, that’s all I got. It’s time for a drink.


This episode is, from a technical standpoint, relatively short. In fact, there are less scenes in this episode than any other episode so far. From a plot standpoint, only two things have happened: Sam Soon finding out that Jin Heon really has moved on, and Hee Jin finding out that Jin Heon’s mom has moved on.

Still, this might be my favorite episode of the drama so far.


56 August 31, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 9

by samsooki

We’re halfway through the series, already?! I feel like we just started! This ninth episode aired just about a month after the series began, and struck a milestone with ratings at the 40% mark. While a lemmings effect probably contributed to the 50% end-of-series ratings, it doesn’t quite explain why MNIKSS became so popular in the first place. What WAS it about this drama?

Current and former math nerds will appreciate this more at all, but in mathematics there are things called Euclidean algorithms, which are used to derive the greatest common factors. Not that you have to channel Euclid to figure this out, but clearly the greatest common factor of the drama is Sam Soon, charming both men and women alike. Still, this begs the question. What IS it about Kim Sam Soon, anyway?

Episode 9 – You Played With My Heart As If It Were A Toy.

Sam Soon’s dad, dead for many years, has re-appeared to his depressed daughter to share a drink with her. Sam Soon pours out her troubles to him, ending with her wish that her heart would harden so much that she wouldn’t feel any more pain. Maybe she’s right.

Still, Sam Soon’s dad is able to answer Sam Soon before going. He reminds her that he died because his heart hardened too much. Sam Soon’s dad smiles and says that he’s happy that Sam Soon can love, because it means that her heart is powerful and healthy. This lifts Sam Soon’s spirit quite a bit and Sam Soon wonders whether she should tell Jin Heon how much she likes him.

Sam Soon’s dad concurs wholeheartedly. But what if Jin Heon says, “no way!” and embarrasses Sam Soon?

Sam Soon’s dad: Embarrassment? Come on… Is life so complicated to live? If he says he doesn’t like you, then you just tell him, “Go Have A Nice Life!” and give him a nice knuckle-sandwich to eat.
Sam Soon (snickering): You know, even without you telling me, I did already give him a good punch earlier. That boy is always getting beaten by me. He ALWAYS stirs me up to the point where I have to hit him. He’s totally my bap.

Note: “bap” means food or rice, but in this case, you could say that Sam Soon is referring to a cruder word that also starts with a “b” but rhymes with iatch.

But when Yi Young comes back, their dad disappears and it’s back to reality. As they are walking back from the restaurant, Yi Young tells Sam Soon that she should forget about Sam Shik. Yoo Hee Jin is the real deal – nice, pretty and fun to hang out with. And if Yi Young were a guy, even she would choose Hee Jin over Sam Soon, sorry.

It appears that both Yi Young and Jin Heon have the same taste in women. Across town, Jin Heon is lying in Hee Jin’s lap as she cleans out his ears. This slightly-gross activity is something that married couples do for one another. And looks like nothing that Jin Heon’s mom said in the last episode (go back to America, stay away from Jin Heon) has made a difference to Hee Jin.

Still, Hee Jin knows that she’d better not show up the next day at the Buddhist Temple with the rest of the Hyun family. Tomorrow being the anniversary of the accident that killed Jin Heon’s brother and brother’s wife, Jin Heon’s mom won’t be any mood to accomodate Hee Jin.

Not that Sam Soon knows anything about this. Jin Heon’s mom calls her up and cryptically orders her to be outside of her house in the morning without telling her why. In the car ride to the temple, Sam Soon tries to say that she and Jin Heon broke up but Jin Heon’s mom curtly dismisses it. Jin Heon has no say in this! You’re not dumped! Yet!

So, Jin Heon’s mom, Assistant Yoon, Mi Joo and Sam Soon arrive in one car, and Jin Heon and Manager Oh arrive shortly thereafter. Jin Heon is surprised to see Sam Soon there. Hey… didn’t I just dump you? Hehe! But this is interesting – why is Manager Oh there?

Inside the temple, the names of Hyun Jin Tae (Jin Heon’s older brother) and Kim Shin Young (Jin Tae’s wife) are written on one paper tower. Surprisingly, there is another paper tower with another name written. Who could that be? In front of the paper towers, a wide array of foods are placed on a dining table. Jin Heon takes the spoons, and places each one into the respective rice bowl before each paper tower. With the metal chopsticks, he taps on a plate twice and then backs away from the table. Before a smaller table, Assistant Yoon pours rice wine for Jin Heon, who then circles it over the incense twice before bringing the wine to the table.

What’s going on here? In simplest terms, the tradition is called Jae-Sa (in Korean 제사 and in Chinese 祭祀), a unique mix of Buddhism, shamanism and Korean Confucianism. The spirits of the dead are honored with food and drink. Jin Heon, as the oldest surviving male of the family, has the task of performing this ceremony.

In an adjacent building, the women sit and wait (for the spirits to finish their meal and depart). Here we learn that Manager Oh’s son was the motorcyclist who was killed in the same car accident. Manager Oh then tells Sam Soon the whole story about the accident.

Sam Soon is touched by the story and cannot help but see Jin Heon in a new light. It is almost like Jin Heon has been caught in a time warp and never had a chance to grow up since the accident, just living in the tiny space allotted between anger at Hee Jin and regret for his own actions that took the lives of three people.

Jin Heon’s mom asks Manager Oh to lunch and takes Mi Joo as well, leaving Jin Heon and Sam Soon to find their own way. Two people, one car… sounds easy enough. After Jin Heon’s mom’s car is safely away, an annoyed Jin Heon tells Sam Soon to just listen to him and not to listen to his mom anymore.

Sam Soon has other ideas. Sorry, but she’s not going to listen to either Jin Heon or his mom from now on. Sam Soon won’t be used in the Hyun Family chess game any longer. Sam Soon shoves a resignation letter into Jin Heon’s belly and walks off, not even asking Jin Heon to drive her home.

But when Jin Heon drives off without Sam Soon, it is Sam Soon who appears surprised. It looks like she expected him to still give her a ride. Since Sam Soon is the one who is giving the gesture of resignation, is it her expectation that Jin Heon will now beg for Sam Soon not to quit?

Well, it worked? Jin Heon is there at Sam Soon’s bus stop waiting for her, flowers in hand, begging Sam Soon to stay on as pastry chef. But rather than reject the flowers out of hand, Sam Soon tells Jin Heon to offer the flowers while on his knees. Really? Is this a test for Jin Heon or is Sam Soon just giving a little pay back?

After grumbling, Jin Heon finally does get on his knees. The choices aren’t great- either he has to go back to Chef “Oh My God” Chris to beg regularly for pastries, or he has to beg Sam Soon to stay (but this is a one-time thing).

Sam Soon enjoys the view and takes the flowers. But then she STILL refuses to come back. Unexpected backbone! Jin Heon pulls his final trump card and calls on Sam Soon’s integrity. That forces a concession out of Sam Soon. 2 weeks. 2 weeks to train In-Hae and to give time for Bon Appetit to find a replacement, and then Sam Soon is out.

On the other side of town, Hee Jin has lowered herself to begging as well. She begs Jin Heon’s mom, and then Assistant Yoon, to buy her lunch to show she can eat. It is a weak tactic and one that has little chance of success on its own. But Hee Jin isn’t expecting short-term results. Her rather shameless strategy is long term – Hee Jin is trying to tear down the wall that has been built between her and Jin Heon’s mom, one brick at a time. She might get rejected 100 times, but she only needs to succeed once. Sooner or later, Hee Jin expects to succeed.

Meanwhile, Chae Ri makes a surprise appearance at Bon Appetit, to pester Sam Soon. Chae Ri accuses Sam Soon of trying to seduce Hyun Woo. An annoyed Sam Soon pours baking flour over Chae Ri and chases her away, past the Bon Appetit staff on their lunch break. Sam Soon’s mouth is in rare form, threatening to throw whoever bothers her next into her oven. She’ll mix them with eggs and flour and turn them into pastries, DON’T TEMPT ME! RAWR! I’LL BAKE YOU ALL!!!!

A pissed Sam Soon plops down on the toilet in the stall next to Jin Heon who initially tries to hide his presence. Oh poo, but Jin Heon’s stall is out of TP. Could Jin Heon borrow a square or two? Suddently, Sam Soon’s crappy day just got 1,000 times better. Oh noes, Sam Soon lies gleefully, she’s out of TP too! Sooo sorry!

Instead of toilet paper, Sam Soon offers advice. She describes various methods used by different blood types to escape this untenable situation.

1. Type A’s would wait for help.
2. Type B’s would utilize the two finger method (use your imagination).
3. Type AB’s would scrounge for used TP (ew).
4. And Type O’s would just wipe later.

Which type is Jin Heon? A desperate Jin Heon reverses the question and asks what Sam Soon would do, and Sam Soon replies, “Socks.” Karma warns me from snickering too much here, for who knows when this could happen to any of us. Must not laugh too much!

That night Sam Soon goes out with the Bon Appetit girls at a club but is ditched by her co-workers when it is clear that clubs aren’t really for old maids like her and Jang Captain. Minorly drunk but majorly depressed, Sam Soon arrives home in a disconsolate mood. The days of her youth are gone, and her heart is being pulled by yet another guy who has dumped her. What’s wrong with her?

Sam Soon cries on her swing and then again, lying on her bed. Unfortunately, she is caught crying by her mom. Being caught crying by a Korean parent is not a good thing, it’s bad. This is because Korean parents always blame the child first for crying. And blaming is generally followed by hitting. So Sam Soon is getting blamed, hit and yelled at her mom, and a stressed-out Yi Young spills the beans about Sam Soon dating and getting dumped by her boss. But that causes MORE hitting, not less, and so Yi Young opens her mouth AGAIN, admitting it was a fake relationship! In the immortal words of Chef Chris, “Oh. My. God…”

Panic often makes people blurt out things when they should just keep quiet. Yi Young clearly panicked here, and so I can’t really blame her too much. But Korean kids learn dissemblance and obfuscation skillz when dealing with their parents (survival instinct to avoid further hitting and yelling), so I’m a little surprised at Yi Young’s cracking under pressure and lack of survival skillz. Yi Young, what do you THINK is going to happen now that mom knows?

Witnesseth from Sam Soon’s mom’s point of view: Sam Soon has seriously screwed up. By engaging in chicanery and falsehoods, she has brought shame to her family. And worse, she has turned herself into a fake prostitute and what if other people find out? The whole family will be the laughing stock and Sam Soon will NEVER get another match-maker to help her out. For what? For mere money? To save her home, she destroys everything that the home stood for? And finally, what’s this, Sam Soon is the one who is crying her eyes out like a baby? How can a girl have so little sense or pride in herself?!

Sam Soon’s mom is deeply shamed, hurt and angry. How can anyone face their ancestors after something like this? How can she face any of her friends or neighbors now? All to save a house? Sam Soon’s mom would rather be a homeless person than be faced with the humiliation of this.

Samsooki Note: every time I watch this drama, when I get to this point, I am always surprised at myself. For 8+ episodes, I get suckered every time and I forget how desperately foolish Sam Soon was in doing the fake relationship thing. It seemed so innocent, silly and not a big deal. But it IS a big deal. It should never have been done. Ever. And it takes Sam Soon’s mom getting really upset before I wake up to how poorly this whole thing could play out.

The next morning, Sam Soon’s mom is on the warpath. She storms into Bon Appetit and starts yelling for Sam Shik. Manager Oh blocks the path and gets her cooking goons to “escort” Sam Soon’s mom out. But Jin Heon arrives and Sam Soon’s mom is free to start beating on him. Free, until Manager Oh splashes a pot of cold water on Sam Soon’s mom and yells at her to stop. How dare she come into this establishment and lay a hand on the owner! How dare she?! Ruh Roh x10.

The opening guitar riff to The Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black leads into the drums of war as Sam Soon’s mom launches herself into Manager Oh. Oh the humanity! I see a red door and I want it painted black. No colors anymore I want them to turn black… [ Download ]

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Sam Soon and Yi Young arrive in a taxi and rush to the battle. Sam Soon’s shriek carries through the restaurant and everything stops, including Paint It Black (awwwww).

Sam Soon and Sam Soon’s mom finally settle down and have a face to face with Jin Heon. Sam Soon’s mom hands over the deed to her home. Jin Heon tells her that it’s not necessary since he settled things with Sam Soon already. This sets Sam Soon’s mom off again, as it did Sam Soon the first time.

Sam Soon’s mom makes a second point before leaving. Sam Soon is done with Bon Appetit. There is no more bargaining. This is it.

Jin Heon looks at Sam Soon, but Sam Soon’s face warns him from speaking. This thing is written in stone.

Sam Soon heads to the lockers and picks up all of her stuff and takes off her name tag. In the short time she was at Bon Appetit, she sure was part of a lot of interesting things. But didn’t all of this have to end? I mean, if Sam Soon is ever to be able to look at another person in the eye, be it Jin Heon or anyone else, she has to (1) pay back the money and (2) not be subordinate to the whims of Jin Heon as her boss.

In Hye comes to see her unni as Sam Soon is packing up. Sam Soon smiles warmly at In Hye but apologizes for leaving like this. In Hye is a wreck but Sam Soon gives In Hye a gift on loan: her prized scrap book of French pastry notes, private thoughts and recipe diary. I absolutely adore this scene, as it reminds me of everything I love about Korean culture- how knowledge, culture and tradition is passed from person to person through the unni / dong-seng relationship. This is how dong-sengs learn to become unnis (or hyungs).

Finally, as Sam Soon is walking out of Bon Appetit, word has spread to everyone that Sam Soon is done. Every rank and file staff member gathers near the front to give her a cool send-off. Sam Soon is touched but she gruffly tells them not to follow her out. Of course, they follow her out. Even Jang Captain is upset. This isn’t how things are supposed to be.

And in the window, Jin Heon also watches Sam Soon leave. Is all of this his fault? I think, maybe. Yes.


This can be a difficult episode to watch, with many embarrassing moments and scenes that bring back painful memories of one’s own childhood. Moreover, in ways that may not be entirely suited to many palates, as there is is a strong Korean flavor to this episode. From the Jae-Sa ceremony, to the crude jokes, to the way that Koreans can make rather extreme statements as a starting point for negotiations, to the (over?) protective Korean parenting, there is a pungency about this drama that may not be as agreeable to the wider audience, especially when compared to more recent k-drama fare.

But like Sam Soon herself, this drama makes no apologies for being how it is. Koreans DO bargain and base their preliminary negotiating positions upon age and social status. They DO enjoy a bit of toilet humor. They DO place a tremendous amount of consideration into honoring one’s ancestors. They DO act shamelessly to protect their own. And Korean parents DO create paradoxes in the way they raise their kids. This is just how it is, and Koreans, like Sam Soon, wouldn’t have it any other way.


85 September 1, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 10

by samsooki

Names are important, not just in a family sense but because there is community in a name. And names can be just chock full of meaning, both to the giver of the name and the one who wears it. But changing a name is something else entirely. Changing one’s name is a pretty big deal because all the things that went with the original name are now being tossed into the garbage.

Still, Sam Soon has always wanted to change her name because her name didn’t sound cool. But was that the only reason? Well, what does “Sam Soon” actually mean? Her name spelled in Korean: 삼순. But since there are a lot of meanings for 순 (Soon), like sprout, purity, gentleness, order and martyrdom, you can’t know what her name means without knowing the Chinese characters. Sam Soon reveals that her name is spelled out in Chinese like this 三殉, which literally means, “Third Martyr.” Gee thanks, mom and dad. Of course, she could lie and tell other people her name means “Third Sprout,” but I guess she has extra incentive to wanting to change her name.

Episode 10 – My Name Is Kim Hee Jin

Jin Heon watches Sam Soon leave Bon Appetit. There’s a heaviness in the air, a finality. Kids can screw around but once parents step into the ring, that’s it. For better or worse, Kim Sam Soon’s career at Bon Appetit is most likely finished. Now that her mom has said her piece, Sam Soon would be making a fool out of her mom if she came back to work for Jin Heon.

Jin Heon closes the restaurant for the night but stops at the pastry station where Sam Soon worked. He turns on the lights and puts himself in the position that Sam Soon was in. For the first time, Jin Heon tries to understand Samsoon.

He finds Sam Soon’s notebook and flips through it. He smiles as he reads Sam Soon’s notes on baking and comparing herself to dough that rises without help from quick rising yeast. The no-yeast dough may not rise as quickly as the other dough, but maybe there is something special about that too.

Jin Heon texts Sam Soon with entreaties of a 10% raise, and then a 20% raise. Has he not heard anything that Sam Soon has said? Well, maybe it isn’t that he didn’t listen. Maybe Jin Heon doesn’t have much he can offer Sam Soon other than money. And what Sam Soon wants, Jin Heon either doesn’t know how to give or is unwilling to give. Hey Jin Heon. What happens if Sam Soon decides to come back? How will you take responsibility for her, or haven’t you thought that through yet?

Sam Soon’s immediate response to the texts is to delete them, but then even more than that, she goes to her closet and pulls out the outfit that Jin Heon had bought for her to wear, when she first went meet Jin Heon’s mom. Sam Soon takes the dress and the dried roses, the two things she received from Jin Heon, and tosses them. The longing is over. It’s time to begin anew.

For Jin Heon, though, the longing seems to just have started.

Jin Heon’s morning begins with the stuffed animal Samsooki (not me – I’m samsooki lower case, the pig is Samsooki) calling out to him in Sam Soon’s voice. A freaked out Jin Heon quickly throws the stuffed animal out of his apartment despite Samsooki’s protests. Jin Heon walks back inside but the pig has beaten him back inside and flies at Jin Heon with Sam Soon’s vegetable peeler! I’ll peel you like a potato! Jin Heon wakes with a start, it was only a dream… until he rolls over and finds the pig staring at him. FREAKY.

Sam Soon begins her morning with a determined face and attitude. At breakfast with her sister and mom, she recites all the unfortunate (but funny) names that she found in the National Name Registry, like Go Yang Yi (cat), Kang Ah Ji (dog) and even Ahn Tae Na (antenna). Yi Young wonders at the cruelty of parents who name their child “antenna.” Sam Soon notes that there’s one such cruel parent sitting at the breakfast table now.

Note: Korean names are generally 3 syllables long: a one-syllable surname followed by a two-syllable first name. Given the lack of diversity in surnames (the five most common surnames make up about half of Koreans), it is understandable that individualistic tendencies might want to throw in an unusual first name. But since females generally keep their names even through marriage, a silly name given at birth is something that will last for a lifetime.

Sam Soon’s mom impassively glances at Sam Soon, who is staring back. Sam Soon, who spent her childhood begging for a name change, declares she is going to change her name to Hee Jin. Sam Soon’s mom says ‘do whatever you want,’ which causes a start in both Yi Young and Sam Soon. WHAT? Sam Soon’s mom explains the change of heart. Sam Soon is 30 now, and if changing her name means that she’ll change her life for the better, then so be it. Sam Soon is beyond excited, and guess what? She’s going to start going on blind dates again! Aja! Kim Hee Jin!

Jin Heon needs to change his life too. He starts by trying to throw away Samsooki (nooooooooo!) but the pig is saved when a garbage man notes that Jin Heon hasn’t bagged it properly (whew!). Jin Heon’s next effort is to give it away to a little girl but the little girl is far too plucky and a pissed Jin Heon tells the little girl to go and grow up like Sam Soon. Hehe! A little girl could do worse, no?

You know, I’m a huge fan of movies where the hero gets his ass handed to him and then he has to go back and re-think things, get stronger, get more skilled, be smarter. The Rocky movies (I, II, III and IV), which are the single greatest collection of guy movies of all time, were all based on this single premise. What makes this premise so attractive is that it has universal application. Fail a test? Study harder. Lose your job? Improve and then kick ass at a competing firm. Lose at love? Get on the treadmill, eat right, get a new haircut and find your destiny.

Sam Soon has taken that to heart and she’s all about change. New clothes, new hair style and color, new attitude and a new name. Oh, and no caramel syrup in her coffee. Aja AJA! Kim Hee Jin!

Jin Heon, Hee Jin (the Yoo kind of Hee Jin) and Mi Joo are toy shopping before Mi Joo’s play therapy session. Mi Joo points at things and Hee Jin buys them for her. Hee Jin suggests a play-hospital set to purchase and Mi Joo is agreeable, but Mi Joo also wants kitchen bakery set. Hehe!

Mi Joo, this ain’t no Big Love scenario, you can’t have both the doctor and the baker! After shopping, Jin Heon, Hee Jin and Mi Joo arrive at the play date therapy. Hee Jin and Jin Heon watch as Mi Joo plays with other special-needs children.

Hee Jin: How long has Mi Joo been coming here?
Jin Heon: It’s been about two years now.
Hee Jin: And you’ve taken her every time?
Jin Heon: Just about.
Hee Jin: Must have been a burden since these play-dates are twice a week. No small feat.
Jin Heon (absent-mindedly): Yeah, but now I have you here to help, Sam Soon. You and I can start taking turns, and it will all work out okay.

EEEEEEEEEE! Hee Jin is alarmed but realizes that Jin Heon hasn’t caught his Freudian slip. This is a quandary for Hee Jin. If she brings it up, Jin Heon will pass it off as a mistake and then watch what his says from then on, and so Hee Jin might not be able to trust what he says. If Hee Jin doesn’t bring it up, she may never find out why Jin Heon was thinking of Sam Soon would switch off with Jin Heon in taking care of Mi Joo.

In the car driving home, Hee Jin casually asks about Sam Soon, probing until Jin Heon tells her that Sam Soon quit Bon Appetit. Hee Jin wonders aloud if Sam Soon quitting has anything to do with her. Jin Heon is immediately on guard and pulls a Hyun Woo and answers a question with a question, “why would you think that?” Undaunted, Hee Jin asks the questions that she’s probably had since Jeju:

Hee Jin: …did something happen between the two of you?
Jin Heon: Mm? Nothing, really. You shouldn’t concern yourself about her.
Hee Jin: Does… Kim Sam Soon like you?
Jin Heon: Mmm, that’s hard to say. I wouldn’t know for sure.

TRICKY! I’m not saying this is a good thing, mind you, but technically, Jin Heon is NOT lying. Sam Soon said that she had fallen for him back on Jeju. BUT, right before Sam Soon crashed her bike, Sam Soon took back those words, cancelling them. So, technically, Jin Heon is telling the truth. I guess. Feels wrong though, since he’s not telling the whole story. Jin Heon, this is a line that should not be crossed, because once you cross it, there are no more lines after that – just degrees of justification. Lying by omission is still a lie, and a lie to protect another’s feelings is still a lie.

Ohhh, disappointing! That is hopeful blind date she told her mom about? The dude is less than advertised. Unattractive Blind Date Guy is also rude, which brings out the 6-shooter mouth in Sam Soon, which leads to the Unattractive and Rude Blind Guy just walking away from the table.

Awww, sorry. But just remember, there are plenty of bullfrogs in the swamp. Best of luck to you! Sam Soon seems to have gussied up for nothing.

But then another man calls out her name. Kim Hee Jin? OMG IT’S GOOD LOOKING BLIND DATE GUY! I love that guy! Yay!

Good Looking Blind Date Guy has also just been rejected (who would reject Good Looking Blind Date Guy?!) and asks if he might sit with Kim Hee Jin. Ho ho ho ho! Of course! Ho ho ho! The two get to talking, and Sam Soon fills him in on what’s happened between her and her evil boss.

Meanwhile, Jin Heon hears about Sam Soon being on a blind date from a gossipy Chae Ri, who was passing by. Jin Heon rushes over from the restaurant and spots Sam Soon overdoing her “ho ho ho ho” cute thing. Jin Heon interrupts the date and tries the “you promised not to date other men!” but that doesn’t work. Jin Heon then tries the “but what about our baby!” but that doesn’t work. So Jin Heon tells Sam Soon that Sam Soon’s former helper In Hye burned herself and is seriously injured.

Sam Soon rushes over to Bon Appetit but In Hye’s burn is nothing but a small boo-boo. Sam Soon charges into Jin Heon’s office and Jin Heon is waiting for her. Jin Heon tries to engage Sam Soon in banter about her new clothes and hair, but Sam Soon is not having any of it.

Sam Soon leaves the restaurant but Jin Heon grabs her wrist, stopping her. Sam Soon’s eyes warn Jin Heon to let go and then Sam Soon walks away. Jin Heon follows her AGAIN, even getting on the same bus. Yes, Korea is a free country and so Jin Heon can travel where he wants to, but this has got to be close to the text-book definition of stalking.

Meanwhile, Hee Jin is sitting at Henry’s place and pondering the events that have led this point. Clearly, she asked one fewer question than she should have. The additional question Hee Jin needed to have asked Jin Heon, is whether he likes Sam Soon. Isn’t that the question? Maybe Hee Jin was too incredulous to believe that that could be the case, or maybe she was too scared of the possible answer to ask. Either way, now Hee Jin is sitting in Henry’s apartment, pondering the unknowable – whither Jin Heon’s heart?

Hee Jin and Henry grab dinner together, and Hee Jin tries to makes small talk. Henry notes immediately that something is up, because Hee Jin always laughs as a cover when something is wrong. Some things can’t be so easily translated into English, and so Hee Jin talks in a parable-like fashion – things can shine at first, but then as time passes, the shine can fade until it isn’t there anymore. And Hee Jin thinks that she doesn’t shine anymore. Dr. Henry Kim, the 6’2 chiseled surgical oncologist, screws his face up for a while as he concentrates, before finally saying, “You still shine.” Thanks Henry.

Sam Soon arrives to her neighborhood and starts walking up the road to her place. Jin Heon is still following her. Finally, right before her house, Sam Soon whirls around.

Sam Soon: Back at the hotel, that man I was sitting with. Do you know what that man means for me?
Jin Heon: …
Sam Soon: Do you know how unlikely it is to meet the same person on a blind date twice? That first time and even again tonight, we were doing so well together. But what’s your point? I liked him and he liked me, and what do you think, I can find ANOTHER man like that again? Because of you, everything got ruined. You might have chased away the last chance I’ll have!
Jin Heon: Why do you always think he could be the last chance?
Sam Soon: It looks like you still want to play games with me.
Jin Heon: Men even better than the man you were with tonight… you can find whenever you like.
Sam Soon (sarcastically): Whenever I like? WHENEVER I LIKE?!
Jin Heon: Yes.
Sam Soon: …
Jin Heon: You have so much charm. And the fact that you don’t even know how charming you are adds to that charm.

A pause, then Sam Soon smiles ruefully. Sam Soon says that she won’t be tricked again. He tricked her once in Jeju, and then he ran off, leaving her on the side of the road. Let me hear you say this shit is bananas, b – a – n …

Jin Heon says nothing for a bit, just standing by his words with conviction.

And then:

Jin Heon: Don’t meet with other guys. And don’t go on any more blind dates.


I translated just about the entire conversation at the end because I think it’s important to get more or less a verbatim account of what was said. Despite multiple watchings, I really don’t know what’s going on inside Jin Heon’s head.

Jin Heon never says that he likes her. He just says that she is charming. Oh, and he also tells her not to see other men. Is he making her wait for him? It’s SO not fair for Sam Soon though. Sam Soon is 30 and in just a few years, she might have a greater chance of being kidnapped by aliens than she does of getting married. How can Jin Heon take responsibility for that? If Jin Heon truly loves her, wouldn’t Jin Heon do the k-drama male lead thing and sacrifice his own feelings for what would undoubtedly be the safer path for Sam Soon?

Does Jin Heon love Sam Soon? What do you guys think?


77 September 7, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 11

by samsooki

Hold onto your knickers boys and girls. This one moves like a roller coaster.


Noise – “오래된 만남” [ Download ]

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Episode 11 – Don’t Say It Was A Mistake. This Is The Second Kiss.

In what I thought would be a nice romantic moment for Sam Soon and Jin Heon has turned in a different direction. After telling Sam Soon that she has charm, after telling her that she can find better guys than the Good Looking Blind Date Guy anytime she wants, after telling her not to see anyone, Jin Heon ruins the moment. Jin Heon adds “…until you pay me back my $50,000.” WHY. WHY? Why would you be mean like that for no reason? And now, it’s gonna get worse. Apparently, Hyun Woo was standing nearby waiting for Sam Soon to come home and overheard the whole exchange.

In his own mind, Hyun Woo feels he has a right to be pissed. Hyun Woo might be a cheater boy but at least he admits that he still has feelings for Sam Soon. Huge difference from a non-cheater boy who doesn’t admit he has feelings? Hyun Woo punches Jin Heon (who deserved it), who returns the favor by smacking Hyun Woo (who deserved it). Street fight? No, Sam Soon stops it, facing Hyun Woo first. Isn’t that interesting? If you are the woman being fought over by two guys, isn’t the guy you like MORE the guy you look to FIRST to ask to stop fighting?

Then Sam Soon turns around, and she tells Jin Heon to go. And when he doesn’t move, Sam Soon tells it to him again. Even Hyun Woo is surprised by Sam Soon, who seems to be taking sides against Jin Heon. Sam Soon even shoves Jin Heon, who really looks upset. What is he upset about?

Hyun Woo is overjoyed and doesn’t even mind that Sam Soon tells him to go as well. Who cares! With Jin Heon out of the picture, Hyun Woo now has all the time in the world to try to get Sam Soon to sleep with him again from time to time. Sam Soon doesn’t have to like Hyun Woo, or even respect Hyun Woo, for this to work out perfectly from Hyun Woo’s perspective. Hyun Woo leans in to try to kiss Sam Soon but Sam Soon yells “MOM! PERVERT!” and Hyun Woo flees with Sam Soon’s mom giving chase.

Sam Soon can’t sleep that night. She wonders how it came to be to have Jin Heon and Hyun Woo chasing after her. Her efforts to improve herself has only attracted the kind of flies that hover around rotting meat.

Jin Heon can’t sleep that night. He tries to throw Samsooki away but can’t. He ends up just using the stuffed pig as a punching and kicking bag. I’m not the least bit offended (*sniff* what did I ever do to you). Three words: Stop. Kicking. Me!

Finally back in bed, Jin Heon stares at the pig who won’t go away. He repeats to Samsooki Pig what Sam Soon said to Jin Heon earlier that night:

Jin Heon: What do I care if you stare at me.

Since Jin Heon is talking to me, I’ll answer his question with a question. If you don’t care, then why are you talking to a stuffed pig?

Step One in Sam Soon’s Master Plan is to get that metabolism going. Yi Young takes her out jogging and tries to talk some sense. Yi Young tells her younger sister to get off of the Jin Heon Dream Train because it’s never going to stop at the Sam Soon station. Instead, focus on a different goal: when Yi Young’s condo sells, they can take the money and open a bakery shop together! It’s a good plan – Sam Soon does the baking and Yi Young handles the business end. Woo-hoo!

On the other side of town, Hee Jin has taken business steps of her own: Step 3 in the Jin Heon Reclamation Project – “Public Appearance To Put All Rumors To Rest” (Step 1 being “Tell Current Girlfriend To Scram” and Step 2 being “Innocently Bump Into Jin Heon On Jeju“).

Hee Jin heads over to Bon Appetit to have lunch, dragging along Henry as well. Well played, well played. See, Hee Jin COULD have showed up at Bon Appetit during the staff break to see Jin Heon, but that would put her on the same level as the rest of the female staff. But by coming as a paying customer, the staff has to treat her well, and they can’t ask her questions or even talk to her.

When Jin Heon joins the table, Henry asks if “Sophie” is at Bon Appetit, not knowing that Sam Soon had quit. Jin Heon wonders why Henry wants to know, which makes Hee Jin want to know why Jin Heon wants to know why Henry wants to know. Henry needs a birthday cake, and Jin Heon tells him to look elsewhere since Sam Soon isn’t just any cake maker.

Hee Jin perks up at that. Why does Jin Heon care about whether Henry asks Sam Soon anything? Jin Heon plays it off, but a penguin named Awk-ward comes for a visit and sits with the three of them for the rest of the meal.

So the Bon Appetit staff want to know: how can Heej get all the guys! Well, no doubt part of it is that Hee Jin is a slim and tasty like a Pepero pretzel stick. And it isn’t like Sam Soon hasn’t noticed.

In an effort to lose weight, Sam Soon goes on an all-beef-all-the-time diet. But with her mom and Yi Young going nyam-nyam-nyam over what looks to be mouth-watering bi-bim-bap with plenty of hot-sauce, Sam Soon is suffering. Dying for a taste, Sam Soon asks if the bi-bim-bap is any good. Her mom and Yi Young can barely look up to answer, so focused they are on shoveling the spicy mixture of rice, spicy sauce, meat and veggies into their mouth.

Sam Soon lasts about a half-day after watching her mom and sister eat the bi-bim-bap. Not even a full day on the all-beef-all-the-time diet. Hey, I’m not throwing stones but she won’t get no choco-abs that way.

Sam Soon gets a call from Jin Heon, who orders her to pick up her bike that night or it’s going to be tossed. Sam Soon heads over and notices that the front tire is flat. She asks Jin Heon to drive her home.

On the drive over to Sam Soon’s, Jin Heon asks the question he’s carried with him all day: what did Sam Soon do with Hyun Woo that night? Sam Soon replies, never you mind. That’s right, keep him guessing!

After a silence filled with “Say something!”, Jin Heon asks another personal question but less intrusive. Whither the name “Sam Soon”? Sam Soon reveals she was named by her disappointed grandpa, who had expected a boy to be born but instead, got a third girl. Trying to keep the conversation going, Jin Heon asks about why Sam Soon needed the $50,000, but all these questions raise more questions, like, why all these questions?

Just then, Jin Heon’s phone rings out, but Jin Heon tries to let it go to voicemail but Sam Soon insists on having him take it. It’s Heej, the Smile Queen!

Since neither of them are doing anything wrong, why not take the call? Afraid Smile Queen might turn into Frownie Franny? Not taking the call means you’re up to no good. So Jin Heon takes the call, but then lies about what he’s doing. That works fine until he nearly blows through a red light and Sam Soon yells at him to stop. Whoopsie! Jin Heon quickly hangs up. Now he’s in trouble. Smile Queen is now Nervous Nellie.

A pissed Jin Heon pulls over to the side of the road and orders Sam Soon out of the car. Sam Soon won’t leave but then Jin Heon starts taking out the bike.

Dude, what’s WITH you and leaving Sam Soon at the side of the road! Sam Soon gets out of the car but faces up Jin Heon. She asks the question. Does he like her or something?

Jin Heon answers with a question of his own, using his Fake British Haughty Korean accent:

Jin Heon: Didn’t I say this to you before? Who would like to hold a person like yourself? You… are just not my type. You wanna know why? Because you have ugly hands. Are these pig’s feet?

Sam Soon: You’re not my type also. You wanna know why? Because you can’t be honest. Speak honestly. Was there even two minutes, one minute even, when you liked me? Yes or no?

Jin Heon: …No.
Sam Soon: Then, let me teach you one more thing. Don’t pull stunts like this. Calling out a person in the middle of the night for no good reason, asking her questions like it’s a census, and snapping back answers like this… do you know how this is interpreted? “I’m… interested in you.” If you’re not interested in someone, don’t do meaningless things like this. Don’t confuse women like this for no good reason.
Jin Heon: And so, were you confused?
Sam Soon: I was. For about 59 seconds.
Jin Heon: My bad. For confusing you.

And with that Jin Heon turns to leave, but kicks over her bike first before driving away. I would have believed Jin Heon, but kicking the bike? That says, “I’m… interested in you.” Actually, EVERYTHING screams “I’m interested in you.” And it isn’t like Sam Soon doesn’t know. She knows. And she knows that Jin Heon is acting this way because he’s an immature person.

And Hee Jin knows too. Well, Hee Jin doesn’t know. Hee Jin suspects, but can’t know for sure. She can’t know because Jin Heon doesn’t know. Still, Jin Heon apologizes to Hee Jin for everything but without defining what “everything” is. Hee Jin has no choice but to let Jin Heon off the hook. What can she do? Hee Jin has no leverage anymore. She can either dump him or she can forgive him. But she didn’t survive advanced gastric cancer and three years of recovery so that some pastry chef can confuse her boyfriend with some late night hijinks.

Ding dong, calls out Sam Soon’s door bell!

Who is it NOW? Jeez!

Sam Soon gets called out, this time by Hyun Woo. He wants to have a date, sort of like a finale for their relationship before he gets married. As unbelievable as this sounds, it sort of makes sense for both Hyun Woo and Sam Soon (assuming that both were good friends after the break-up). It would be a time for celebratory remembrance, a time for toasting good fortune and health to each other as they move on with their lives, never again to be so close. Culturally, the staying-close-friends-with-exes after one gets married… it’s just not done.

Sam Soon is actually amenable to the idea, probably because in her mind, if a cool send-off will get rid of Hyun Woo for good, then it would be good for both of them. And more importantly, Sam Soon would be doing this for herself, because maybe there would be at least some recognition of the three years that they spent together. Three years is a long time, and a lifetime can be lived in those years. She would celebrate her memories, because those memories are a part of her.

So Sam Soon goes with Hyun Woo, who drives them to the same hotel where he dumped her (nice) and where Jin Heon had broken up her date with Good Looking Blind Date Guy. Sam Soon wants to go elsewhere, but Hyun Woo doesn’t know anywhere else. They go inside but meet Jin Heon by the elevators. It is Jin Heon’s mother’s hotel after all.

Jin Heon stares at Sam Soon but gets in the elevator anyway. Hyun Woo brings out a little needling, but Jin Heon doesn’t bother with Hyun Woo, focusing his words on Sam Soon, calling her an unfaithful and irresponsible person. Which isn’t true, obviously, but he’s upset and he STILL can’t figure it out other than he’s upset.

Alone at last with Sam Soon at the hotel club bar, Hyun Woo presents Sam Soon with an engagement ring, asking her to marry him. Hyun Woo magnaminously says that he’ll break it off with Chae Ri if Sam Soon says yes. But Sam Soon reverses the order, saying she’ll accept the ring if Hyun Woo breaks off the engagement first.

Hyun Woo, in a slightly surprising reply, agrees to break it off with Chae Ri. Sam Soon offers to call Chae Ri to tell her the news. Oh, you mean right NOW now? But it’s too late to call… Not too late for Sam Soon though. Sam Soon picks up her phone and calls Chae Ri, telling the latter to break his legs and do whatever it takes to turn him into an honest person. She hands the phone to Hyun Woo, who hangs up on Chae Ri. Bluff called!

At that moment, Jin Heon appears from behind and yanks Sam Soon’s phone from Hyun Woo. Get your mitts of my woman’s phone! Jin Heon and Hyun Woo each take a Sam Soon wrist like two kids grabbing the ends of a wish-bone. Standoff!

But the standoff ends rather anticlimatically as Jin Heon merely kicks Hyun Woo over and drags Sam Soon out of the bar. To the men’s room. To smooch her. Because… that’s romantic. Forget OST mixtapes, poems and flowers. This is the way to woo Sam Soon. And it’s not like there’s bad memories of Sam Soon here, right.

During the smooch, Sam Soon’s eyes are wide open. She’s not swayed. Sam Soon is mad. She asks if Jin Heon’s high. No. Drunk? No. Another one of those mistake-y kind of things that happen every now and then? No. Then what IS it this time?

Jin Heon yells, “I’ve started to like you! I like you! I can’t stop thinking of you! Why do you flutter inside my head so and fluster me! Why not just get out of my life!”

Sam Soon has just about had it. She agrees to stop bothering Jin Heon and starts to leave. Jin Heon softens dramatically and asks to take back his last words.

Sam Soon’s emotional guard is crumbling and she finally starts to yell. NONE of this has been fair to her. What right does Jin Heon have to treat her this way? And after everything that has happened, it’s not that she ever expected Jin Heon to be romantic to her, but couldn’t he have picked a place that wouldn’t have had such terrible memories for her? In what amounts to a summary of her life, Sam Soon cries out.

Sam Soon: What makes this so hard? If you like me, then you like me and if you don’t then you don’t. What makes this so difficult and complicated? This is really hard for me. It’s so hard, it’s killing me!

Jin Heon hugs Sam Soon, and slowly, Sam Soon hugs back.

Maybe she didn’t want to believe it, as she’s been burnt so many times before.

But here again, she opens up her heart and hugs away!


After rooting for Sam Soon – Jin Heon for like 10 episodes, I am sort of ambivalent here. For or against Jin Heon?

Anti Jin Heon. Jin Heon has always thought of himself first. And he’s never considered the possibility that maybe he’s not right for Sam Soon. Shouldn’t that be part of his consideration? Jin Heon has never stopped to think how his actions have affected Sam Soon. How immature can you get? And if you really love someone, shouldn’t you consider what would happen if you actually started dating that person? Why should Sam Soon have to spend the next 10 years waiting for him to grow up, or worse, baby-sitting him?

Pro Jin Heon. That’s a pretty arrogant argument, isn’t it? What makes anyone think that they can know what’s best for another person? And so what if Jin Heon thinks about himself first? EVERYBODY thinks of themselves first. What do you think Sam Soon has been doing, saving the world – one pastry at a time? These are grown people! Let Sam Soon decide what’s best for herself! The question isn’t whether Jin Heon is or isn’t “best” for Sam Soon, because who knows that anyway. The REAL question is this: Does Sam Soon want Jin Heon? If the answer is yes, then what is so hard to understand? Let them hug and cheer them on!


86 September 8, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 12

by samsooki

What would have happened if Henry got tired of being Hee Jin’s handmaiden and decided to turn his charms on Sam Soon? Or perhaps in a more likely scenario, what would have happened if Sam Soon decided that handsome surgical oncologists were better for dating than arrogant owners of French restaurants? We may never know…


Lee Hae Na – “고별” [ Download ]

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Episode 12 – What’s The Big Deal? I’ve Only Just Turned 30!

While we will never know that potential pairing, this much we know: Jin Heon likes Sam Soon. Initially, Jin Heon is the only one doing the hugging, but after a bit, Sam Soon starts hugging back. Aww! It’s taken a dozen episodes, but we finally have mutually hugging.

Then Sam Soon asks the question that’s been hanging over them like Fresh Linen scent air freshener: what about Yoo Hee Jin? Ah right, her. Jin Heon responds truthfully – “I’m thinking about it.” Sam Soon is astounded.

Sam Soon: You mean to say that you didn’t think this through before you started down this path?
Jin Heon: Look, this is all new to me and I don’t know what to do.
Sam Soon: If you don’t know what to do, then who can know? Should we ask Samsooki?

YAY! I’ve waited this WHOLE SERIES for Sam Soon to ask for my opinion! Ask me! Ask me! *Raises hand* I totally know the answer to this one too! Samsooki answer: Jin Heon, pick one and stop being a knucklehead. *sigh* Aeeeyoooo. Sam Soon is upset now. Since Jin Heon is in still-thinking mode, Sam Soon has officially become the “other woman.”

Jin Heon drops off Sam Soon at her house and watches her go inside. Sam Soon’s older sister strolls up from behind and asks Jin Heon for a little chat. Yi Young warns Jin Heon against seeing Sam Soon, who might seem neat to a guy like Jin Heon but that won’t last 6 months. Rather, Yi Young sees Hee Jin as the perfect fit for Jin Heon, who by the way, is a jerky mcjerk. Hehe, nicely done.

It’s all nice and good to have a protective older sister like Yi Young, but what happens when the older sister isn’t around? Sam Soon is apparently taking advice from strangers in mirrors. First advice from the lady in the mirror is to seduce Jin Heon, but her fantasy seduction scene ends in epic fail. Next fantasy option? Go through Dr. Henry Kim by getting him to seduce Hee Jin!

Fantasy Sam Soon heads over to Henry’s rental pad and starts packing his clothes as Henry stares in disbelief. Fantasy Sam Soon must get Henry to live with Hee Jin for any Pepero seduction to happen.

Henry (in English): Stop it. This is ridiculous, okay?
Sam Soon (in Korean): Ya, whether you take this as a pretext or a gift, it’s for your own good.
Henry (speaking Korean): Nae-ga bong-ee-nya? Nae-ga bong-ee-nya? (Am I a sucker?)
Sam Soon (in Korean): Jashik… where did he learn to say that.. You! Hee Jin! Lub, lub! Euh? Okay, ahn okay? (“ahn” means “not”)
Henry (laughing): What?
Sam Soon (muttering in Korean): Ahh, what’s with this ja-shik constantly flashing his beautiful smile at me like that. You’re totally inflaming this old maid’s heart, you know that… This is maddening! Ja-shik… cham… should I just pass off Sam Shik to another person and… hwaaak! hook up with this guy?

Sam Soon (in Korean): *sigh* Henry-ya.
Henry (puts on his thinking face): …
Sam Soon (in Korean): This is not the time for you to be laying back like this. Love through merely watching is no love at all. (in English) Platonic! Oh no! I am not platonic! No! Nebber! (in Korean) You are just too young to know this, but do you think that persons that exactly fit your heart just up and appear in front of you?
Henry (gesturing): Sophie. I’m not the man that Hee Jin loves. So. I’m satisfied, as long as she’s happy and healthy. It doesn’t matter who she’s with.
Sam Soon (mocking Henry’s gestures): What are you babbling about? You gotta talk in a way that I can understand. What about Hee Jin?

LOLOLOL! Oh my, this might be the funniest scene in the entire drama. This is funny on sooo many levels. For those who have clueless relatives who speak rapid-fire in a different language that you just don’t understand, Henry’s friendly efforts to make Sam Soon understand will be so relatable. And for those with parents or other relatives who speak fluent Korean but only a smidgen of English, Sam Soon’s frustration with the American Henry will also be spot-on pitch-perfect.

Now, Hee Jin understands “Platonic? Oh no!” and understands that if she weakens for even a moment, her boyfriend might be stolen like an unattended iPad. Hee Jin has pretty much been in continual semi-desperation mode since she returned to Korea, but her senses tell her to take it up a notch. Not only has she cleaned Jin Heon’s apartment and done the laundry, but she’s also made food for him.

Jin Heon is surprised to see her, and visiting penguin named Awk-ward seems to have decided to make his home permanent in their relationship. Jin Heon has something to say. But he can’t say it. Hee Jin can guess what it might be, but doesn’t preempt him. Why not? Because who knows whether fickle Jin Heon might change his mind later. If Jin Heon can’t say whatever it is that he wants to say, then maybe he’s not made up his mind yet.

Still, Hee Jin can’t leave it to chance. She calls up Sam Soon to have another face-to-face. As the title-belt holding, reigning girlfriend, Hee Jin tries to get Sam Soon to swear off all men named Hyun Jin Heon. Sam Soon defends her behavior though, saying that she never seduced anyone and never took anything that didn’t belong to her. But, if that man comes on his own to Sam Soon, she has a mind to maybe say yes.

Hee Jin brings up her fight with cancer as a reason why Sam Soon should back away- for pity sake? Oooh, sorry but Sam Soon is out of pity pastries. Sam Soon suggests they engage in fair play and then this time, Sam Soon leaves first. Of course, Sam Soon wouldn’t suggest fair play if she didn’t think she was going to win. And that confidence has got to be a bit disconcerting to Hee Jin, because Hee Jin is the current title-holder with an 8-year reign on top.

An agitated Hee Jin goes to hang with her platonic friend Dr. Henry, and who strums a love song to cheer her up. This is really an odd thing to do, because if Hee Jin is cheered up, it will probably mean that she’s dreaming that Jin Heon is playing the song for her, rather than Dr. Henry.

Hee Jin asks Henry what he would have done 3 years ago, if he were in Hee Jin’s shoes. Henry answers automatically – of course he would have stayed and fought through it together. He wouldn’t have left without a word. Just so it is clear, Henry would also have closed the barn doors before any cows have had a chance to leave the barn. Hee Jin sighs. Yep, the cows have left the barn, and closing the doors now seems a tad bit on the late side.

Perhaps as a prod to get her to move on, Henry notes that Hee Jin’s hindsight makes little difference now. Hee Jin rolls her eyes a bit at Henry, snapping, “Uh yeah, I see that.” Meoowwwwrrr! Ftt! Ftt! Little Miss Pepero Kitten flashing her claws? But wrong target! Where was Little Miss Pepero Kitten when Hee Jin was sitting with Sam Soon?

Of course, Henry is uber gallant and asks if Jin Heon did something to Hee Jin. Henry offers to beat up Jin Heon, noting he clearly has the ability to beat Jin Heon up. Aww! Every girl should have a devoted platonic and chiseled cancer surgeon friend like Henry who takes six months off of work to fly half-way around the world to country whose language he does not speak in order to be there to support you and beat up bad boyfriends for you.

The day has finally arrived! Yi Young’s apartment has finally sold! Two checks are drawn – one for $50,000, and one for the balance. Yi Young slides over the $50,000 check to Sam Soon, telling her younger sister to get back the deed to their family home from Jin Heon. The $50,000 check will mean that there is no more reason for Sam Soon to be tied to Jin Heon, and they can go on their separate ways.

Sam Soon reveals to her older sister that Jin Heon admitted he likes Sam Soon. Yi Young tries to yell some sense into her younger sister, but Sam Soon doesn’t like Yi Young’s tone or her negative references to Jin Heon. Yi Young sticks to her guns though – did Jin Heon break up with Hee Jin yet? No? Oh you silly girl! Get back our deed and stop dreaming!

So Sam Soon goes and presents the $50,000 check to Jin Heon, who is (1) surprised at the speed at which a poor girl like Sam Soon could repay the money and (2) disappointed because he just lost his last hold over her. In response, Jin Heon tears up the check in front of Sam Soon. Rather than touched, Sam Soon is shocked and enraged at the stunt. Why would he do that! Is this something that rich guys do to impress poor people??!

Jin Heon protests though – it’s his money, he can do what he wants with it – and he’s just showing Sam Soon that he cares for her more than he cares for money. You know, romantic-like. Sam Soon could not feel more different.

Sam Soon (distraught): I knew you were hopeless but I didn’t know it was this bad. You are selfish, immature, ignorant of the pains of the world… you make me sorry to my own heart. I’m so freaking embarrassed I ever felt anything for you. A person like you… I would never present to my Dad.

Initially, I was like, wow overreaction much? It’s one man’s money. If he buys an expensive car that he never drives, if he puts in premium gasoline rather than regular, if he doesn’t rollover his cellphone minutes nor subscribe to groupon, what’s the big deal? In Jin Heon’s words, stop twisting everything and just accept the fact that he likes you more than money. What is so bad about that?

Then a second later, I see it the other way. That money could have fed a family of 4 for a whole year. And some people work until their very bodies break down, all the while missing their kids and family, just to make a fraction of that money. And for that money, to save her family home, Sam Soon was willing to throw away her pride and her family’s pride. And here Jin Heon is, just ripping it up as if it didn’t matter. If it was bad enough that he ripped it up rather than using it for the common weal, it was 10x as bad that he failed to recognize what Sam Soon had to go through for that lousy $50,000.

Sadly and full of bitterness, Sam Soon turns to leave, and guess who walks in but Hee Jin.

Hee Jin: We meet again.
Sam Soon: Yeah. I had reason to be here.
Hee Jin: Oh, me too. See, we made plans to see a movie together.

Whelllp, that should be it. Sam Soon stares at Jin Heon, who can’t make eye contact. What was that about liking Sam Soon so much that he tears up money? If he would he tear up $50,000 for Sam Soon, maybe he’d tear up $500,000 for Hee Jin?

Sam Soon walks out of the office, running into the Bon Appetit staff who crowded at the door trying to listen in. They pretend to be staring elsewhere as Sam Soon passes by. Oh, is that something on my shoe? I never noticed that particular painting before, I must check it out closely right now…

Yi Young’s warnings must be ringing in Sam Soon’s ears as she walks through the restaurant. She stops near her former work station, and sees that she indeed has been replaced. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Sam Soon notices that her former assistant, In Hye has been tailing her, so Sam Soon asks In Hye to go and grab Sam Soon’s book of notes and recipes. It’s time to start over and leave nothing behind.

Sam Soon arrives home and finally receives some good news! What do you know, but her application for name-change has been processed and… it’s been granted! Woo hoo! All she has to do now is take the notice down to the government center and fill out the confirmation sheet and file it within 30 days. Sam Soon jumps around like prancing horse. You all have to call me Hee Jin now! Yi Young and Sam Soon’s mom stare in wonder as Sam Soon cries for joy and maybe cries with a bit of sorrow as well.

Meanwhile, Hee Jin and Jin Heon can’t seem to find any place to eat in Seoul. They eat at one place, but with Jin Heon being broody, Hee Jin blames the food as different than what they were used to. Hee Jin drives them to another place, a favorite of theirs back in the day, but the restaurant is not there anymore. Face it Heej, things have changed. When Jin Heon doesn’t seem to be bothered by this, Hee Jin mentions that Henry would have cared. Jin Heon stares at Hee Jin, who appears sorry but doesn’t retract the statement. The Jin Heon – Hee Jin relationship has officially become a love triangle between Jin Heon, Hee Jin and Awk-ward, the Penguin.

Back at the Kim residence, in another delightful scene between sisters, Sam Soon and Yi Young are sharing beer and snackie puffs (dried squid-y things – quite yummy with dry beer). Sam Soon mentions that it’s really over now between her and Jin Heon. Yi Young asks about what happeened but Sam Soon refuses to say.

Sam Soon wonders if she should go for a liposuction and Yi Young shoots down that idea immediately. It’s not your looks that stay with you, but your work and your skillz. They clink beer bottles and drink.

Yi Young (touching her size 0 waist) : Maybe I should get a lipo…
Sam Soon: Listen to this crazy woman talk… it’s always the skinny ones who act the worst.
Yi Young (threatening to slap): Oh you little –
Sam Soon: YOU KNOW I’M TOTALLY RIGHT! (muttering) All the skinny people of the world should be bound together and dropped off somewhere far away…

I won’t argue with Sam Soon here, except to say that if they took Yi Young and Little Miss Pepero away, they would also have to take Jin Heon away too… even pre-SG Binnie was just one or two skipped meals away from being told to stay away from sidewalk grates and window fans.

Anyhoo, Jin Heon has been doing a lot of thinking lately, and it appears most if not all of those thoughts revolve around Sam Soon. He even digs through the trash to find his ripped-up $50,000 check – perhaps he’s growing up a little bit now? That night he heads over to Sam Soon’s but she’s not there.

Sam Soon has left for parts unknown. Well, Yi Young knows but she’s not saying. Sam Soon’s mom appears, umbrella in hand, to swat away pervs and stalkers who might be lurking around. Yi Young hides Sam Shik until her mom leaves. Yi Young wants to know why Sam Shik continues to bother Sam Soon, but Sam Shik’s confident approach turns her off. She slams the door on Jin Heon, and he’s left to try to text Sam Soon.

Jin Heon starts with bluster, but then the bluster fades. Jin Heon finally texts, “I’m sorry.” Yi Young opens the door again, and asks what Jin Heon is sorry about. Jin Heon says, “for everything.” Well, it’s a start, and certainly, he’s got a sincere look about him. Yi Young, just tell him where she is, okay? Yi Young agrees, but on one condition, that Jin Heon promises not to make her sister cry anymore. Jin Heon agrees and Yi Young tells him that she went to Jeju to climb Mt. Halla alone.

The scene shifts to Mt. Halla, where Sam Soon has gone. Sam Soon starts climbing Mt. Halla from the east side trail that leads to the top known as the Sung Panak Trail, just like she heard that Jin Heon did when he wanted to let go of everything and start over.

Today being her birthday, the start of her 30th year, Sam Soon is starting over as Kim Hee Jin, pâtissière d’extraodinaire, with no more regrets or bitterness.

Well, maybe a little bit of bitterness. Apparently Jin Heon didn’t tell Sam Soon that reaching the top of the Mt. Halla would be a windy trek. Sam Soon sends a stready stream of curses down the mountainside as she struggles against high winds and rain to get to the top.

But she makes it, and at the very top, she cups her hands together like a megaphone and shouts:


But then a voice calls out from over the howling winds!

Sam Shik: Says who?!


You see over-the-top scenes like this and there’s a part of you that chuckles at the theatricality of it all. Like in the drama Greatest Love, where Yoon Pil Joo gives Gu Ae Jung not one but ALL of his immunity roses during the elimination round of a reality dating show, basically eliminating everybody but her. Total awww! scene.

Just about every romantic drama has one or more of these awww! scenes that just makes you wonder how Koreans ever get anything done if they go around thinking up and then pulling stunts like this. Don’t they work and sleep and eat?

But it works, doesn’t it? While a small part of me might chuckle at the absurdity, a (much) larger part says, “damn, I wish I thought of that.”


89 September 14, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 13

by samsooki

At the end of Episode 12, Sam Soon made the decision to climb Mt. Halla alone. Jobless and the loser in yet another game of love, she would remake herself once she reached the top. She would be Pâtissier Solitaire Kim Hee Jin, her own boss and free from the tragic baggage of her old life. And after the long march up Mt. Halla, after the struggle against gale-force winds and driving rain to reach the top, she makes and triumphantly calls out her victory to Sam Shik. But who does she find at the top but Jin Heon, waiting for her.

Anyway, given some of the mature themes dealt with by immature characters in this episode recap, I slapped the Korean television rating of 15+ on the intro picture. Not that that will stop anyone, but someone’s gotta think of the children.


My Name Is Kim Sam Soon OST – “Goodbye” [ Download ]

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Episode 13 – The Way To Break Up With Her

You can like someone. You can have strong feelings that person. And then, *poof* that person can appear like magic on top of a mountain. But so what? If we all did what our feelings told us to do, we’d just end up in front of the computer, drinking coffee, eating choco-pies and watching k-dramas all day… and of course, we don’t do that (right?). The point is that adults do what they must do, not necessarily what they want to do.

And yet, here’s Sam Soon sitting with Sam Shik, sharing sea urchin sea-weed soup. To her credit, Sam Soon isn’t all swoon-y like Mrs. Samsooki was when she saw Jin Heon standing at there at the top of the mountain. It’s Sam Soon’s birthday and Jin Heon brought the traditional food for birthdays so that Sam Soon would have it and have someone to share it with. Where was this romantic person when Sam Soon was plucking flower petals and crying her eyes out on her swing? Oh right, sorry, I forgot – he was sleeping with Hee Jin that night.

That night, Sam Soon and Jin Heon do shack up in the same hotel room but there’s no touching allowed by Sam Soon. Well, let me rephrase that. There’s actually plenty of groping and moaning going on, because Jin Heon is totally rubbing his hands all over and squeezing Sam Soon’s swollen….um, legs. Hehe!

Sam Soon permits the chaebol massage on her bod, but this isn’t really surprising. One, she’s probably thrilled at the physical contact and has turned all gooey on the inside like a 10-second microwaved marshmellow. Two, it’s not like they’ve not had previous skin-shipping encounters. And three, it’s not sex – it’s just a massage because Sam Soon’s sore legs and butt really need some TLC (tender loving chaebol).

Of course, there are massages, and then, there are… *wink* massages. Jin Heon decides that he should change his name too, because Randy seems to fit him better. But Sam Soon totally does the Little Samshiki Block though. Not because Sam Soon is angry, but because she’s embarrassed at being overweight. She wants Jin Heon to wait until she loses a few.

Note: I was going to let this one go, but I can’t. Now, I’m not talking about the “No Sex Until I’m Thinner.” In just about every k-drama rom-com I’ve ever seen, the heroine doesn’t play the Hide-The-Kimbap-Roll game with a guy until (a) marriage or (b) a formal declaration of serious gf/bf. In fact, generally speaking, the heroine is even a chaste V. Contrast that with Sam Soon. The only reason Sam Soon isn’t making the Beast With Two Backs with Jin Heon is due to Sam Soon’s issue with her weight, and not cuz she’s STILL the other woman! I’m NOT judging Sam Soon, mind you, I’m just noting!

Anyway, Sam Soon takes out her name-change application approval that she has to file with the district clerk, and Jin Heon yoinks it from Sam Soon and tears it up. He’s a man and Sam Soon’s his woman. Didn’t he tell her not to do it? Of course, Sam Soon is enraged by this completely inappropriate act and starts beating Jin Heon. finally ending up kicking him off the bed and giving Jin Heon a bloody nose. Not that that prevents Jin Heon from climbing back into bed, of course. I love this scene, as Jin Heon drops his arrogant chaebol attitude and just becomes his cute and immature self. The real Jin Heon fits snugly with Sam Soon like lock and key, even if nosebleeds occasionally happen.

Still, they aren’t the only two with chemistry! Back in Seoul, Henry and Hee Jin go do a bit of sight-seeing and find themselves at Chang Kyung Palace, one of the main palaces built during the Koryo Dynasty almost a 1,000 years ago. Hee Jin spreads her arms out wide and welcomes Henry to humble abode, she’s got a few empty rooms so there’s plenty of room if he wants to crash. Hee Jin then teaches Henry a bit about the historical site, and Henry breaks out a bit of Korean – no doubt charmingly (Mrs. Samsooki says, “Absolutely perfect pronunciation – he’s perfect!”).

Hee Jin, even as she is with Henry, still checks her phone for calls from Jin Heon. She doesn’t know where Jin Heon went the night before and he’s evidently not picking up his phone. Out of the blue though, Hee Jin asks Henry to go to royal palace pond and catch her some golden carp. Henry is understandably confused, but goes to the edge of the water and tries to grab a few fish as they swim by. This is forbidden of course, and Hee Jin tells Henry that she’s just kidding.

This might (MIGHT?) seem a little weird, but there’s a few things to this. First, as to why Hee Jin asked in the first place- carps are associated with courage, endurance and success. There’s this legend of carps swimming against the current in this one particular stream and the one that would survive the journey would turn into a dragon. Similarly, in the olden days (back when Korea was called Joseon), individuals who would successfully undergo the tremendous hardship of trying to study and pass the royal exams would be seen as dragon carps. Second, since they lay so many eggs, carps are a reproductive symbol. And third and more to the point, Hee Jin just basically wanted to see if Henry would do anything for her, which, of course, he would. Amazing what love can do.

Jin Heon heads into work and after a brief discussion with his mom (who wants to set him up with another blind date, this one to get rid of both Hee Jin and Sam Soon), he heads into his office. He turns on his phone and he sees he’s missed 3 texts and 2 voice-mails. The first voicemail is from Hee Jin, who remarks that Jin Heon didn’t seem to be eating the kimichi that she made for him so she’s taking it back, but that he should still try to eat well.

Jin Heon is stuck. He stares at his phone and let’s out a deep breath.

How do you tell someone with whom you’ve had an eight-year relationship it’s over? That the love is gone and you’ve moved on? Is it possible to love one person for one reason and love another person for another reason? Let me make one more comment here – more than a few peepz have said that it is unfair of Jin Heon to string along both women, to rather cowardly waffle between them. But in Jin Heon’s defense – he would not be so ambivalent if he didn’t care so deeply about both.

As Jin Heon is staring at bathroom mirrors and reflecting on the past, others are in motion – life moves forward even if you are standing still. Yi Young and Sam Soon are hunting for a retail space to set up their pastry shop and shopping for commercial appliances. They are moving forward to build the foundation for their dreams.

And in more contrast, Jin Heon’s mom has gone straight for Sam Soon’s mom in a flanking maneuver to bypass Jin Heon. As SOON as I saw this scene, I cringed big-time because when a couple’s respective moms go tête-à-tête, there are always issues. Class, money, employment, education social status issues. Whose son or daughter likes or needs the other more issues. Family background issues. Beauty, style, language and culture issues. Come to think of it, there’s not a SINGLE thing that isn’t a bomb waiting to explode when two Korean moms get together.

So, here’s the set up. Jin Heon’s mom comes in a chauffered car, right to Sam Soon’s door. But she doesn’t get out of the car, she sends her assistant to do the initial meet. And so when Sam Soon’s mom comes out, she is accosted by Assistant Yoon, who tells her rather disrespectfully to get in the car. In fact, Assistant Yoon is addressing Sam Soon’s mom with her arms crossed (a no-no) and with lack of sufficient honorifics for a first meeting (a big no-no). Given the circumstances, Sam Soon’s mom refuses to do anything until she finds out more, and this forces Jin Heon’s mom to exit her car – bringing her back down to Sam Soon’s mom’s level. Jin Heon’s mom hands over a fancy business card as her introduction, and asks if Sam Soon’s mom knows who Hyun Jin Heon is.

Sam Soon’s mom says (without a trace of irony), “ohhh, you’re talking about that ill-mannered Samshiki or whatever his name is?” LOL! Jin Heon’s mom is forced to say that that’s her son. Then Sam Soon’s mom says, “oh, then that means you are that motel owner…” Hehe! Now we know that Sam Soon’s blurt-out-the-first-thing-that-pops-into-your-head gene comes from the maternal side.

Jin Heon’s mom asks Sam Soon’s mom to take a ride with her. Sam Soon’s mom refuses, and instead offers her home to sit and chat. Jin Heon’s mom refuses. Jin Heon’s mom loses the subsequent staredown, however (she’s the one who needs to talk), and she is forced accept standing in the street as neutral ground. And in delicate terms, Jin Heon’s mom notes that while the two kids might have feelings for each other, marriage is another story altogether. A surprised Sam Soon’s mom drops TWO bombs in return: (A) Hey, I ain’t about to give my daughter to a jerk who buys love for money, and (B) their relationship was just a fake-love contract thing. Ooops! Jin Heon’s mom never got that memo….

Jin Heon’s mom heads directly to the restaurant but Jin Heon is not there. Instead, she runs into Hee Jin. Seriously, Jin Heon’s mom’s head must be spinning as her son seems to be dating two women at once. Where is that rascal anyway?

Why, he’s off to visit… Henry? Henry seems to have taken Jin Heon’s place as Hee Jin’s support/help/comfort, and I guess Jin Heon wants to know why? At this point, I can’t really say for sure about anything that’s going on in Jin Heon’s head. This part is more of a guess-cap rather than a recap; one would guess that he’s there to see if Hee Jin would be in good hands if Jin Heon dumps her, but I’m not so sure.

Henry comes back to see Jin Heon sitting in Henry’s room and rifling through Henry’s stuff – including a Practice Korean book where Henry has written the words, “Hee Jin, Henry, Jin Heon, Fried Octopus” about a dozen times (weird!). But rather than be offended by the invasion of privacy, Henry smiles broadly.

Jin Heon challenges Henry to a game of one-on-one basketball and they head to a court at Jin Heon’s club gym. A bunch of guys there are running pick-up 5’s half-court but Jin Heon doesn’t want to be part of a team. A stray ball rolls over to Henry and grabs the ball, starts dribbing between his legs and runs the length of the court and DUNKS it. This surgical oncologist has got game.

Running pick-up fives means that teams are made on the spot and winners stay on. Henry dominates and so Jin Heon watches in dismay. EVERY guy on the floor looks to be 6’2 or taller (in a random pickup game??) – eh… but I get it. If Henry had been playing and dunking over average-height guys 5-6 inches shorter than him it wouldn’t have been as impressive.

Jin Heon asks to go swimming with Henry, and happily Jin Heon finds that he’s slightly bit faster at swimming than Henry (still, proving absolutely nothing but that he’s a bit faster at swimming). An understanding Henry pats him on the check and tells him he’s cute. In response, Jin Heon punches him.

Henry: Are you crazy? What are you doing?
Jin Heon (in Korean): If you have a problem, do something. Come on, boy! (And then in English) I don’t like you. You suck.

This is the problem with straight translation, and a problem that is well-known to drama subbers everywhere. What Jin Heon says to Henry in English (“I don’t like you, you suck”) is pretty much verbatim what Sam Soon’s sister said to Jin Heon (but in Korean) last episode. Jin Heon says the exact same thing in English, but it comes out sounding weak. If only Jin Heon had a translator in the pool with him to tell him to tell Henry to go eff himself. Still, Henry didn’t need the words since he received the punch. Henry finally punches back and the fight that needed to happen finally happens.

After the fight, Jin Heon asks Henry if he loves Hee Jin. Henry says yes. Jin Heon accepts this and mumbles to himself that Henry isn’t such a babo (a fool) after all. (Jin Heon’s point is that only a fool would be so dedicated to someone without loving them). They go to dinner together, and Jin Heon does two things: (1) Jin Heon helps make Henry’s soup – an act of service (like a Dad might do to a son-in-law) and (2) Jin Heon tells Henry (in Korean) to take good care of Hee Jin, just like Henry has always done. Henry doesn’t understand the Korean, but that’s okay – it’s more for Jin Heon’s sake than Henry’s. It’s Jin Heon’s first official act to give away someone who has been so special to him for so long.

Back to Sam Soon, who has picked up another certified name-change authorization form to replace the one that Jin Heon had ripped up. She gets off the bus at her stop but doesn’t see the flour ambush attack by Chae Ri, who is upset at the ruination of her marriage to Hyun Woo. Sam Soon instantly understands, as that was her position less than a year ago. Rather than slap her around again, Sam Soon takes Chae Ri to a jim-jil-bang (sauna / spa) to talk things over.

Sam Soon notes that she actually did Chae Ri a favor by revealing how much of a cheater Hyun Woo really is. Chae Ri scoffs at that – if Sam Soon knows so much, how come she went out with Hyun Woo too. Sam Soon starts to say that she did because she was young at the time but now that she’s 30… Perhaps thinking about Jin Heon, Sam Soon admits that really, everyone is in the same boat when it comes to love – we all end up fooling ourselves.

Sam Soon ends the discussion by noting that since she saved Chae Ri, Chae Ri should buy the soup. Chae Ri responds cheekily by saying that Sam Soon should buy the drinks since Sam Soon keeps hitting her. That brings more klonks to the head – and Chae Ri retains her spunky side by insisting that all of the food and drink should be paid by Sam Soon. A mirror to the Henry-Jin Heon scene, and one that reinforces the notion of how the unni-dongseng relationship works – at least when man-chasing doesn’t get in the way.

Anyway, it’s taken a while for Jin Heon to get around to it, but here he is.

Jin Heon is there waiting for Hee Jin as she arrives home from a day of errands and shopping. Hee Jin takes out a shirt that she bought for Jin Heon but Jin Heon doesn’t wear it. There’s something on his mind. Hee Jin asks if something happened, and if there was a reason he turned off his cell phone.

Jin Heon looks Hee Jin and Hee Jin is suddenly scared. She gets up hastily, saying she wants to soak her feet. But Jin Heon grabs her and hugs her for a second, but in a way that a child might hug his mom. Hee Jin is more than a little anxious now, especially when Jin Heon asks to wash her feet for her.

Jin Heon: During the three years we were apart, I changed a little too… Let’s stop this, now.
Hee Jin (shocked): Look at me. I said look at me. Is this because of Kim Sam Soon?
Jin Heon: Eo (yes).
Hee Jin (delicately): Do you love her?
Jin Heon: …

Hee Jin (insistent): Hmm?
Jin Heon: I can’t. Stop. Thinking about her.
Hee Jin (sobbing): Do you love her, I said.
Jin Heon: I miss her.
Hee Jin (upset): I asked if you love her!
Jin Heon: When I am with her, I’m happy.

Hee Jin: She might be all sparkly now, but with time, she’ll be just like all the rest. However bright she may shine now, as time passes, it will be like she’s a nothing, just like the way we are now. Jin-Heon-ah, even knowing this will you still go (from me to her)?
Jin Heon: People, even knowing that they will die, still try to live.

Then Hee Jin cries as she beats on Jin Heon, with whom she had always thought she would marry and grow old together one day. And actually, so did Jin Heon. He grabs her and hugs her tight, even as she strikes him multiple times.

And so with that history and expectation, how do you wipe away those dreams? How do you break up with someone that you’ve held in your heart for so long, especially when that other person still loves you?


For everyone who said that Jin Heon was this or Jin Heon was that – you gotta at least give props to the man for facing up Hee Jin and telling the truth. No deflection or prevarication. At the very least, to honor and respect the woman he loved for so long, Jin Heon owed it to Hee Jin to tell it to her straight up and he did.

This episode might have started out all fun and games but there was always the other shoe that was dangling by a lace, just waiting to drop. Well, it finally dropped and it hurts just as much as you thought it might hurt. There’s no getting around it. For every beautiful relationship that begins, there may be another just like it that must end.


59 September 15, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 14

by samsooki

I asked what is it about Sam Soon and this series that makes it so charming, and I think I figured it out. What sets this particular drama series (and the main character) apart is how real it feels. The hint of fantasy that comes with “yet another chaebol romance story” is literally trampled upon by the combined might of Sam Soon, Sam Soon’s sister and Sam Soon’s mom. And if restaurant owner / heir to a hotel fortune Hyun Jin Heon is fantasy, then “In-Between Jobs And Love” Kim Sam Soon is reality. And somewhere along the line, fantasy is beguiled.


Byul – “I Love You” [ Download ]

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Episode 14 – The Elements Of A Romance.

The thing about people is that you just never know. Will someone wait, will someone change, will someone’s heart always be there for you. Hee Jin did everything that she thought she was the right thing to do. When Jin Heon got into his accident, causing the deaths of three people including his older brother and his brother’s wife, he had nearly destroyed his family. Jin Heon’s mom had just then learned of Hee Jin’s stomach cancer and asked Hee Jin to not further deepen Jin Heon’s depression by revealing her illness. Jin Heon’s mom also asked Hee Jin to go to America for treatment and recovery. Hee Jin agreed, on the promise that if she survived the chemo and surgery, that she could return to be once again, part of the Hyun family. What nobody could have known was the degree to which Jin Heon would take that personally, and, that in the end, Jin Heon’s heart would change in Hee Jin’s absence.

And now, Hee Jin is left with nothing but memories, and not even a shred of her pride is left. After all, Hee Jin had resorted to begging – first to Jin Heon, then to Jin Heon’s mom, and even to Sam Soon, but she ultimately failed on all accounts. Not that Hee Jin’s begging wasn’t the right strategy, but that it is generally an all-or-nothing strategy.

Jin Heon is also in wretched state, having just shredded the heart of his girlfriend by ending it. But there still are unsettled matters that must be dealt with. For one, Jin Heon’s mom is still tremendously upset about the fake-contract thing that made Jin Heon and his family look like pimps. Jin Heon’s mom orders him home and when he arrives, she starts slapping him around, hard. But in a twist, Jin Heon doesn’t argue or defend himself. He just stands there, taking the beating. Jin Heon’s mom screams and hits with some serious emotion and anger, as Jin Heon crossed a line that shamed the family with his love-contract hi-jinks.

Jin Heon’s mom has every right to be upset, but she immediately stops when she realizes that something is very wrong. Jin Heon probably has the same dead look on his face as he did when his brother died, and his mom undoubtedly recognizes the possibility that Jin Heon could slip back into his depressed state. Her anger fled, Jin Heon’s mom’s eyes widen in fear and recognition.

It’s another sleepless night for Sam Soon, as Jin Heon had left his cell in his car and so there’s just no contacting him. The next morning, he’s not even at work, and Sam Soon learns that Jin Heon may be ill. But it’s not a total loss – Sam Soon runs into Ki Bang, the youngest of cooking staff, who had been Jin Heon’s mom’s spy. Jin Heon’s mom had promised him a chef position at her Seoul Hotel restaurant, and so Ki Bang had spied on Jin Heon and Sam Soon. Sam Soon chases Ki Bang around the restaurant and finally corners him in the bathroom, where Ki Bang had locked himself in.

Sam Soon promises not to hurt Ki Bang, swearing an oath that she won’t touch him. She just needs to use the bathroom. Ki Bang, trusting Sam Soon, opens the door, and immediately Sam Soon starts beating on him. LOL! Look, I gotta take Ki Bang’s side on this one. He’s the bottom rung chef’s assistant. The owner of the whole shebang promises him a bump-up in salary, better working conditions, a promotion and a slot in a fancy hotel kitchen. He took his shot, and lost. But hey, can’t fault a man for trying. He never told Sam Soon that he WASN’T going to spy on her. On the other hand, Sam Soon deliberately lied to Ki Bang so that she could start beating on him, hard. My sympathy is totally with Ki Bang.

After getting her fill of revenge beating, Sam Soon heads to Jin Heon’s apartment to check up on the apparently ill Jin Heon. The last time Sam Soon was here, she was also checking on Jin Heon being ill, and she was humiliated when Hee Jin popped up under Jin Heon’s arm. Sam Soon takes a deep breath, and cautiously rings the doorbell. This time, though, Jin Heon opens the door, alone. He doesn’t look well, so Sam Soon starts preparing jook (rice porridge) for her sick heonnie.

And, she’s not the only one doing the jook thing. Henry is over Hee Jin’s place, and has seen fit to bring porridge. Henry comes with top-notch medical care, good advice, sincere warmth and a personal story about how when he got sick his mom made him jook. Hee Jin grudgingly eats but HOW does she not see what a total catch she has in front of her? Seriously. The story Henry tells makes no sense but when I heard it I was all like, “gimme some jook!” I guess it is what it is. Hee Jin has eyes for only one, and until her heart changes, she can’t see Henry.

Back at Jin Heon’s place, Sam Soon asks Jin Heon if it really was that hard to break up with Hee Jin. Jin Heon just looks at Sam Soon, but doesn’t answer. Sam Soon says something interesting, which is that she feels sorry/guilty about the whole thing (i.e., Sam Soon being the reason why Jin Heon and Hee Jin are no longer together). Sam Soon does feel bad because Jin Heon feels bad, but the timing and the way she says it just come out wrong.

And in any case, it’s kind of a courtesy thing to say. It’s also a very Korean (but not only Korean) thing to say, to be all apologetic even if there’s nothing to be apologetic about. Or like if you brought over a gift-basket of chocolate chip cookies to Cookie Monster’s house, and Cookie Monster says, “Oh, you shouldn’t have! I thought we agreed no gifts… OM NOM NOM NOM.” Jin Heon just stares at Sam Soon and Sam Soon apologizes for being a little tactless.

Still, Sam Soon is able to cheer up Jin Heon and they decide to spend the following day doing the things that Sam Soon always wanted to do with a stand-up boyfriend. The alternative is to stay in, but Sam Soon knows that they might lead to them struggling underneath the covers, and she’s only lost a quarter pound so far (that’s a beef patty, Jin Heon says). Sam Soon declares she has a list of 7 Things To Do With A Stand Up Boyfriend, and she’s determined to knock them off one by one. In reverse order, David Letterman style:

7. Travel around in public, hand in hand. They look good together!

6. Take a selca with boyfriend, for her cell. Jin Heon doesn’t want to do it at first, but Sam Soon does a pout wiggle (note that since Sam Soon is older, the “O” part of the OPW would be inapposite) and gets Jin Heon to do it.

5. Take a trip by an old style train, riding the club car and drinking beer with her honey. This is pretty specific, but I have to admit, that’s a pretty neat idea.

4. Get her boyfriend to yell, “I love Kim Hee Jin!” in public. Sam Soon may still want to be called Hee Jin, but Jin Heon is pretty adamant about not doing it. On the train ride back to Seoul, Sam Soon offers to cut the waiting time before the sex by a whole month, and Jin Heon leaps to his feet. Hehe! But instead of shouting, “I Love Kim Hee Jin!”, he announces to the train that his girlfriend’s name is not Il Soon, not Yi Soon, but Sam Soon – which causes giggling. But he asks if she should change her name, and people encourage her to keep it, and then Jin Heon thanks his audience and says that he’ll live happily with Sam Soon. Awww!

3. Do an erotic scene while watching a horror movie. (WHAT?) I’m not vibing being all sexy during a horror movie. Is this a girl thing? Is this a Korean thing? I don’t know what it is. You got people screaming and dying, but you are smooching? But look who else is in the theatre. Sam Soon’s sister Yi Young and Chef Lee! Caught! Yi Young is tickled by the whole idea, and actually, so is Chef Lee.

2. Get Couple Rings! I like the idea, but are couple rings supposed to go on the same 4th finger of the left hand like a wedding ring? I guess the meaning is the same, but I always thought couple rings were worn on the right hand…

1. And finally, there is the last part. I totally knew what it was before she said it too. Jin Heon has to come over and formally meet her mom. Jin Heon doesn’t want to, since the last such meeting had drums of war going on in the background and the Rolling Stones singing ‘Paint It Blank.’ But there’s just no way around it. Since this is a serious relationship (Sam Soon wouldn’t have it any other way), even as immediate as it is, Jin Heon has to get parental permission.

Of course, Sam Soon has to prepare her own mom for the event. Sam Soon tells her mom that she has had a secret boyfriend, and of course Sam Soon’s mom asks all the basic questions. Sam Soon evades the questions by noting that those questions can be answered when he comes over. And so that makes Sam Soon’s mom run out to the grocery story to be a proper host, but before she goes, she drops a small bomb by saying Sam Soon’s mystery boyfriend better not be that good-for-nothing Sam Shik. Ruh roh.

Jin Heon dresses to the nines and does a little internet research on how to make a good impression on a future mother-in-law to be. He appears at Sam Soon’s house bringing flowers and a dog. Sam Soon is so excited to see her beau all classy and earnest about making a good impression. Heonnie fighting!

Sam Soon’s mom immediately starts hitting and spouting off about this and that, and of course Jin Heon takes it. Then Jin Heon gets on his knees and does the same kind of bow that he did at the Buddhist temple. It’s the first step of showing respect and honor due to one’s elder in a formalized and ritualized greeting. Sam Soon’s mom grumbles but doesn’t get up and leave, which she would do if she wasn’t going to accept the bow. Sam Soon’s mom doesn’t go anywhere, so Jin Heon kneels.

Sam Soon’s mom starts up with the grumbling and the criticizing, and since she’s not making too much headway, she stands and walks out of the room. Jin Heon overreacts and repeats his line of desperation that he said when Sam Soon was sitting with Good Looking Blind Date Guy:

Jin Heon: But what about the little baby growing inside Sam Soon!?

OING!?!?!!! Sam Soon’s mom looks to Sam Soon for confirmation and Sam Soon has two bad choices: (1) she could say that’s not true, and make Jin Heon out to be a liar, or (2) she could agree it is true and suffer Sam Soon’s mom’s wrath. Sam Soon chooses the path with the greater chance in not having Jin Heon booted from the home. Bedlam! When Sam Soon’s mom grabs a hand broom and starts swatting Sam Soon, Jin Heon sweetly blocks the blows (aww) but gets hit with the hard part of broom. And Jin Heon is down! Jin Heon is down! 1..2…3…

Aww, fortuitous this is. Leads to happy cute snuggling time in Sam Soon’s bed it does. Yay! Until they get caught by Yi Young who barges in on purpose to see what they are doing. Sam Soon asks if it would break her wrist to knock. Of course, Yi Young’s answer is yes, yes it would. Sam Soon sighs. It is time for the part of the “get to know you” session that her two older sisters’ significant others both had to endure.

The Test Part II. Koreans love dramas almost as much as they love liquor, and so it is only natural that drinking and dramas go together. For instance, the following phrase, “don’t drink and drama,” is not a phrase heard in Korea often. So Sam Soon’s mom pulls out a giant container of moonshine. Looks like old kim-chi container filled to the top with gin and olives. Sam Soon’s mom tells Jin Heon to drink and answer questions simultaneously.

Sam Soon’s mom pours Jin Heon’s drink and Jin Heon takes it with both hands. Jin Heon tries to then serve Sam Soon’s mom, but she won’t let him. Yi Young then takes the alcohol and pours it for her mom. Sam Soon is left to watch. Sam Soon’s mom asks him why he’s not drinking but of course that’s not a real question. Jin Heon can’t touch his glass until given permission and he’s not been given permission. Sam Soon’s mom tells him to drink but doesn’t wait for a clink of the glasses. It’s rude for sure, but Sam Soon’s mom has earned that right.

The questions begin. Name. Age. College. As the questions drag on, Sam Soon and Yi Young sit quietly just munching on the food at the table. Jin Heon hasn’t really been given leave to eat, so he’s just drinking on an empty stomach. Sam Soon’s mom asks if Jin Heon is an only child, and the answer is yes. Sam Soon’s mom notes sharply that that means that Sam Soon will have to live with Jin Heon’s mom.

Explanation: the literal translation for one of the Korean phrases for “to get married,” is “to go to the husband’s home.” Since the wife kinda-sorta joins the husband’s family, getting married is equivalent to losing your freedom and finding yourself under your husband’s mom’s control. In the olden days, the oldest male of the family would keep the family’s ancestral home (which would also be populated by husband’s parents). And so, “going to the husband’s home” would put a tremendous amount of stress and aggravation on the new wife, because she has to obey her new mother-in-law, who would be genetically pre-disposed to criticizing daughter-in-laws. Since Jin Heon’s mom has already implied that her family is too good for Sam Soon, that makes Sam Soon’s mom feel bad about sending Sam Soon to live with and be ruled by, such a bitchy mother-in-law.

Sam Soon’s mom asks a very important question, which is whether Jin Heon’s mom will accept such an arrangement. Jin Heon answers that he will take care of that if Sam Soon’s mom gives her blessing. So far, so good! Sam Soon starts feeding her Jin Heonnie some vittles to help with the alcohol, and Sam Soon’s mom is a bit surprised at the tenderness shown by each half of the Sam Soon Sam Shik couple. Sam Sam merely shrugs. You can’t help (or hurry) love, I guess!

Oh right! I forgot. There’s ONE more thing that Koreans love besides drinking and drama-ing. They love drunken singing! Sam Soon and family head to a noh-reh-bang (karaoke place) and Sam Shik is totally smashed. He has a tie wrapped around his head like a bandana and he’s rollicking. Sam Soon is concentrating on keeping the maracas beat and Yi Young has the tambourine. When Sam Shik starts his tune, Sam Soon’s mom starts shaking everything she has and then some. She even those the shampoo dance. HEE LARIOUS. Go Mommy! Go Mommy!

That night, Sam Soon’s mom comes out of her room to set out something for Jin Heon, who is sleeping on the family room floor. She totally adores the sleeping Jin Heon, stroking his face in a slightly creepy fashion. When Sam Soon’s mom goes back in her room, Jin Heon opens and his eyes and smiles. Btw, I TOTALLY knew he was awake. I swear I called it.

The next day, Hee Jin and Henry are out and about. They watch a movie and get ice cream, but Hee Jin overdoes it and her stomach can’t take the food. She is rushed to the hospital by Henry and Jin Heon gets the call from a doctor that he knows at the hospital. He immediately heads out to the hospital without telling Sam Soon where he’s going.

Apparently, Hee Jin’s recovery has been drastically slowed, and Jin Heon cannot help but feel responsibility. Not just because he was the one who broke it off, but because as Hee Jin’s boyfriend for so long, he had always been the one to take responsibility for Hee Jin. While Hee Jin is getting a CAT scan to rule out the return of cancer, Henry tries to reassure Jin Heon by telling him that the likely diagnosis is anorexia nervosa, but that just makes Jin Heon feel worse. Anorexia nervosa would mean that this is his fault.

In another part of Seoul, Sam Soon is heading to the City Clerk’s office to file the name change approval notice. She’s accosted in front of the office by a goon who goes through her stuff and rips up the notice. Sam Soon starts beating on the goon until the goon takes out a business card with Jin Heon’s name on it. Sam Soon starts cursing and tries to ring Jin Heon but there’s no answer. Jin Heon is still at the hospital.

Jin Heon takes Hee Jin out of the hospital, and says that he’ll take her home to his apartment for the night. Hee Jin protests, saying that she’s none of his business now, but Jin Heon notes that if their positions were reversed, wouldn’t Hee Jin try to take care of him? And, Jin Heon says, Hee Jin is and will always be etched into his heart. Sam Soon will understand.

That remains to be seen. Of course, there is a HUGE flaw in Jin Heon’s logic. How can Sam Soon understand something when she hasn’t been told anything? When Jin Heon arrives on his floor of his building, he finds Sam Soon already there. And what do you know, but Hee Jin is in the elevator too…

Perhaps Jin Heon has overestimated Sam Soon’s level of understanding and sympathy.


Jin Heon finds out this episode that his attempt at a clean break with Hee Jin (1) isn’t so clean after all and (2) doesn’t really result in a break as he might have intended. It is part of life, that we end up tearing into each others’ lives as we struggle to balance our own interests versus the interests of others. Unlike many k-drama rom coms where the protagonist (usually male) spends half the drama trying to please the woman he no longer loves because she won’t let go, Jin Heon here does what most people would advise him to do: tell Hee Jin the truth and move on. The flaw, if there is one, with that advice is that it is strictly from Jin Heon’s perspective. Nobody considers what such a move will do to Hee Jin.

Hee Jin doesn’t stop eating because she’s trying to get Jin Heon back (very unlikely). I think she stopped eating because she doesn’t feel like it, because she’s extremely upset at how her life has turned to shit for no good reason (her stomach cancer and then getting dumped). She no longer cares so much what happens to her body because she really only recovered in order to find her way back to Jin Heon. And it is nothing but cruel fate that has turned even her courageous and victorious fight against cancer into an ironic tragedy.


42 September 21, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 15

by samsooki

This is it! The last two episodes. Like most twice-a-week dramas, this is a pairing that should be looked at as a two-part finale. This being part 1, you just know there’s going to be something big that happens at end of this episode, something so big that it makes you die just a little bit, inside. Last episode, Jin Heon and Sam Soon finally started dating for real and there was this feeling that everything now would be okay. But Hee Jin’s collapse/hospitalization has seriously changed the dynamic, so much so that Jin Heon decided against telling Sam Soon what he was doing. And this was a huge mistake.


My Name Is Kim Sam Soon OST – “Inside My Heart” (Piano version) [ Download ]

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Episode 15 – The Rules of Romance

The elevators open, and Sam Soon finds Jin Heon bringing a very pale (nearly gray!) Hee Jin up to his apartment. He has his arm wrapped around Hee Jin. Sam Soon looks at Jin Heon, who looks at Hee Jin, who looks at Jin Heon. Sam Soon doesn’t know what to do except back up and let them out of the elevator. Finally, Jin Heon opens his mouth:

Jin Heon: A moment, just give me a moment.

Sam Soon starts controlled heavy breathing as she only now begins to process what she has seen. Jin Heon brings Hee Jin into the apartment, but his ex-girlfriend doesn’t want to stay. Then the doorbell rings (who could it be?) and Jin Heon then has to go explain things to his current girlfriend. Jin Heon tells Sam Soon not to misunderstand, as there’s a reason – Hee Jin is “a little sick.” Sam Soon feels slighted and says that she’s sick too. Jin Heon tries to explain how Hee Jin has anorexia but Sam Soon isn’t having it. Why does Jin Heon have to be involved? Doesn’t she have Dr. Henry Kim? Sam Soon wants her to leave now.

Jin Heon: What, you don’t trust me?
Sam Soon: It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s that I don’t trust the moments that you and she will be spending together.

With that, she walks into the apartment, pushing her way past a protesting Jin Heon. You know you are supposed to feel sympathy for (1) a sick Hee Jin (who doesn’t want to be there), (2) a super-cautious Sam Soon (who also doesn’t want Hee Jin to be there) and (3) Jin Heon, who is caught in the middle. With all of the tension and negativity going on, it will be mighty hard for Hee Jin to just sit there in Jin Heon’s apartment, and it’s a good bet that Sam Soon’s intent is to chase Hee Jin away.

Sam Soon (with only a tinge of condescension) offers to cook whatever Hee Jin wants, to get her to eat. Hee Jin agrees, but cleverly asks for the food to be delivered tomorrow. An equally wily Sam Soon replies, sure, but since I have to start cooking so early in the morning, I might as well sleep here too. Sam Soon goes over to the sofa and asks for a blanket. Hee Jin gives a silent plea to Jin Heon, who then walks over to Sam Soon.

Here’s the thing. I think Sam Soon is way out of line. Yeah, you have to protect what’s yours, but my sensibilities say this is not the right way to do it. Hee Jin gets up to leave, as any sane person would in this situation. But then Sam Soon asks whether it is really that hard for Hee Jin to accept being in the same room as her, and Hee Jin answers truthfully, “yes, it is.” Then Sam Soon does a 180 and says that she’ll be the one to go. And with that, Sam Soon just walks out.

A resigned Sam Soon goes home and sits down next to her dog. Sam Soon tells her dog not to fall in love, because it’s just a huge hassle. The dog doesn’t say anything in return, and Sam Soon just sighs. But then Sam Soon’s phone rings, and it’s Jin Heon. He thanks Sam Soon (from his bathroom – the only private room in his apartment, LOL) and then smooches his phone. Sam Soon, finally, smiles happily and smooches her phone in return.

Sam Soon (looking at her dog): Ya. I changed my mind. You should fall in love. Sometimes, it might be exhausting and difficult, and sometimes it might hurt your heart, but this is true, falling in love is a very good thing.

With that, Sam Soon heads inside her house, her heavy spirit lifted.

Late that night, with Jin Heon sleeping on the couch, Hee Jin rises from the bed and is standing but a few meters away. Hee Jin doesn’t wake him but just stares in wordless grief, perhaps hoping he’d wake on his own accord and rescue her from heartbreak.

The camera angle changes and now we see that she’s got her bag with her – she’s not staying. Perhaps this was Hee Jin’s last attempt to win back Jin Heon – a silent plea for him to wake from his Sam Soon dream, and when Jin Heon doesn’t awake, Hee Jin leaves. Romance can be such a zero-sum game. Since Sam Soon has gained a boyfriend, balance dictates that Hee Jin loses one.

While romance can be zero-sum, a mother’s love for her daughter is not. Even when a daughter lies about being pregnant or sneaks around behind her back, the mother either pretends not to notice (why do children always underestimate their moms’ intelligence, sheesh!) or just accepts the lie for what it is. Sam Soon is up at the break of dawn cooking more jook, and is startled by her mom who wonders who’s up. Sam Soon’s mom is totally on Jin Heon’s side now, but still worries about sending Sam Soon to Jin Heon’s family, since Jin Heon’s mom seems mighty uppity about it all. Sam Soon hugs her mom from behind, basking in her mom’s unconditional love.

Sam Soon heads over to Jin Heon’s apartment but Hee Jin has left in the night. So Sam Soon heads over to Hee Jin’s apartment. She drops off the food, but… but what, Hee Jin wants to know. But Sam Soon wants to watch Hee Jin eat the jook before Sam Soon leaves. Hee Jin cannot believe the sheer audacity of Sam Soon, and tells her to get the heck out. An irked Hee Jin counts to three and when Sam Soon doesn’t leave, Hee Jin grabs her hair and tries to pull Sam Soon to the door. Sam Soon lets Hee Jin get about 3 steps before she also starts up with the wrassling. Luckily, Henry appears and stops the fight.

Henry calms the situation down and puts in what looks to be a parenteral IV drip bag for Hee Jin. If Hee Jin won’t (or can’t) eat, then she’ll have to be fed intravenously. Henry and Sam Soon keep an annoyed Hee Jin company, and are playing an addictive gambling card game called Go-Stop. The object is to match one’s hole cards with the cards on the table, but certain cards and combinations are worth more than others. It looks like Sam Soon has taught Henry how to match the correct cards but not the point combinations. Might as well make some money to defray the costs of the jook…

Sam Soon is up huge in the first game. Hee Jin notices that Sam Soon is encouraging Henry but not teaching him everything (the analogy would be if Sam Soon were teaching poker hands to Henry but not telling him in advance which hand beats which hand). Hee Jin rips out her IV and joins in the game on Henry’s side over Sam Soon’s objections. Hee Jin is a whiz at Go Stop and by the time Sam Soon leaves, she’s got only a few bills left to her name.

After Sam Soon leaves, Henry is playing with the cards by himself and Hee Jin is hooked back up to her IV. Henry asks Hee Jin if she’s hiding something from him – like maybe that she feels something for him but isn’t showing it. Hee Jin denies it but a thoughtful look passes over her face. Henry horses around for a bit, trying to get a laugh out of Hee Jin. But Hee Jin suddenly gets serious and tells him that she wants to go back to America. While this doubles as an admission that she’s lost the battle to reclaim her spot next to Jin Heon, the question remains whether Hee Jin is telling Henry that maybe she’s open to seeing other people now.

So, Chef Lee has been having a great deal of trouble trying to get Sam Soon’s sister, Yi Young, to go steady with him. While they have held “friends with benefits” status with each other, Chef Lee isn’t satisfied with the occasional drinking night or the hops into the sack. He wants a real relationship. So Chef Lee begs Jin Heon to reveal his secret to winning the heart to a Kim sister. Jin Heon won’t reveal the secret without compensation, so Chef Lee buys him an expensive bottle of brandy and Jin Heon in turn buys him a giant Samsooki stuffed animal.

Chef Lee is totally nonplussed, but Jin Heon notes that the ways of the Samsooki are mysterious and once Samsooki bites you, it won’t let go. It’ll worm its way into the target’s heart. Chef Lee is mistrusting, but Jin Heon says not to worry, Samsooki will do what it does. Hehe! The pressure is on! I’ll do my best!

Jin Heon gets a call from Hee Jin, surprisingly, asking him to come over. He drives over but doesn’t go up, which makes Hee Jin have to come down. Hee Jin tells Jin Heon that she’s decided to go back to America, to be with her parents. Jin Heon immediately understands, but then Hee Jin asks him for a favor: would he be willing to take her back to America? Jin Heon is silent for a moment, but when prompted by Hee Jin, he agrees. But how to tell Sam Soon?

Jin Heon takes Sam Soon and Mi Joo out to the aquarium and dinner, and then back to his place. Sam Soon reads more of the Momo book to Mi Joo, who then falls asleep dreaming about her day at the aquarium and the Professor Hora character in the book. While Mi Joo is sleeping, Jin Heon tells Sam Soon about going to America for a week. The trip is so out-of-the-blue that Sam Soon asks why, and Jin Heon reveals the whole story. Sam Soon is not only resistant, she is angry.

Sam Soon: If you want to do this, then why did you end it with her? Why not just continue on with her?!
Jin Heon: That’s not what we are talking about right now!
Sam Soon: I have endured everything I can endure. How much more shall I have to put up with?
Jin Heon: This is really disappointing. I thought that you would understand!

There are no answers here, and no resolution. Perhaps fortuitously, Mi Joo is awoken from her Momo dream by the argument, and comes out of the bedroom. Mi Joo is crying. But to the shock of Jin Heon and Sam Soon, Mi Joo cries that she hates her uncle Jin Heon, and begs him to stop yelling and fighting. She is mute no longer!

Immediately, the anger in Jin Heon fades and he looks with wondrous eyes at his niece, who had been silent since the car accident. With infinite care and tenderness, Jin Heon softly kneels before Mi Joo and tells her that he was wrong, that he is sorry. Witness to the miracle of Little Mi Joo who finds her voice, Sam Soon’s face softens and she wipes away her own tears. This man who is kneeling before this crying child, he is the one who can touch her heart so. Is her resistence weakening?

Jin Heon drives Sam Soon back to her place, with Mi Joo asleep in the back seat. Jin Heon finally says that he won’t go. Since Sam Soon doesn’t want him to go, he won’t. But Sam Soon isn’t satisfied with that answer. She wanted Jin Heon to have refused to go without Sam Soon saying anything. In other words, from Sam Soon’s perspective, there is still a part of him that still belongs to Hee Jin.

Still, life must go on for everyone. And in the days that follow, Yi Young and Sam Soon are hard at work setting up their online pastry selling business. Yi Young has the knack to figure out how to do the internet thing by herself. Sam Soon wonders how come all the brains went to Yi Young and how come Sam Soon doesn’t have any. Yi Young gives a snarky response (because she’s Sam Soon), and so Sam Soon decides to flake out the rest of the day, ditching Yi Young.

Actually, Sam Soon isn’t flaking out. She’s heading over to Hee Jin’s place. Hee Jin opens the door and Sam Soon gets right to the point. You are heading back to America, and you asked MY boyfriend to bring you back? (Wow. That’s serious gumption, to just straight up ask an brazen question like that.) Hee Jin starts talking in parables but Sam Soon doesn’t beat around the bush at all, asking why Jin Heon has to go. Hee Jin finally says, “it’s a farewell trip.”

Now, this is similar to the farewell toast that Hyun Woo asked Sam Soon to accompany him with, when he brought Sam Soon to the hotel club bar. The idea is that the farewell trip is a time of celebration for the memories and the love that Hee Jin and Jin Heon used to have for each other, and without the hovering presence of the current girlfriend getting in the way. Sam Soon concludes that she can’t let Jin Heon go on this trip. She won’t let him go.

Brief moment of comedy. So Chef Lee has taken Yi Young out to dinner, and he’s dressed to impress. He’s also brought with him a present: the Samsooki pig! He gives her Samsooki, and then asks her to marry him. Yi Young says no. A chastened Chef Lee then asks if she will just live with him then. Yi Young says no. A frustrated Chef Lee then starts beating on Samsooki – you were supposed to do something, why you are just sitting there, do something! Hey Chep! This isn’t like flipping crêpes! Love takes time!

Sam Soon is trudging back up the hill to her house, and Jin Heon is there waiting. She had turned off her phone, and so Jin Heon hadn’t been able to reach her. Sam Soon admits that she’s been at Hee Jin’s place. And as to the farewell trip thing, Jin Heon mustn’t go. Jin Heon agrees, saying that he’s not going to go. But then Sam Soon says something really interesting.

Sam Soon: If I said that you could go, would you still want to go?
Jin Heon: Eo. I want to do this for her.
Sam Soon: And you only need a week to do this?
Jin Heon: …
Sam Soon: Seriously, a week is all that you will need?
Jin Heon: …
Sam Soon: Then go.

Sam Soon has changed her mind! I had a feeling that she would change her mind, ever since she realized, with Mi Joo finally speaking after so long, that a person’s time is too precious to spend arguing and exchanging heated words. Still, is it the right decision? Jin Heon gives her a long hug for a thank you, and Sam Soon hugs him back.

Then Jin Heon tells Sam Soon that he won’t fight her on her name change anymore. Sam Soon is surprised, but Jin Heon tells her that he likes the name Sam Soon, but that if she really wants to change her name, then there’s nothing he can do to stop her.

A few days later, Sam Soon heads to the City Clerk’s office, to register the name-change authorization. Sam Soon wears Audrey Hepburn glasses to go incognito, but there are no gangsters this time to stop her. But just as Jin Heon promised, there is no one there to stop her. Not her mom or dad, and not Jin Heon or his goons. Sam Soon reaches the counter and obtains the registration paper to fill out. But as she is completing the very last step to changing her name, she starts to think about to what Jin Heon had said to her, after her Mt. Halla climb.

Jin Heon had taken a red-eye flight down to Jeju and then raced to beat Sam Soon up the mountain on a bad leg, so that he could be there when she arrived at the top. And he wouldn’t have done it for any common Kim Hee Jin, but for the one and only Kim Sam Soon. And in that moment, Sam Soon realizes that perhaps her name did set her apart as not just being different, but being special. Maybe her dad wasn’t the only guy who thought she was truly special. She pauses over her registration papers.

Sam Soon (VOICE-OVER): They finally left for America yesterday. And my unni told me how crazy of an idea it all was. And that there was likely to be no bigger babo (fool) in all the world than me. And I feel the same way. But people who fall hopelessly in love, they do foolish things. And he who said how much he liked my name Sam Soon, there is no doubt that he’s been turned into a fool too.

Sam Soon reaches the clerk’s counter and hands in her registration papers. But in one fateful moment, she asks for her papers back to look at them one last time. And after a long pause, she tears them up. The moment she has been waiting for most of her life – to finally be a new person, and she spurns this final chance to change! Is it because she has realized that she already is a new person, one who has been made even stronger by her name?

Sam Soon walks out of the City Clerk’s office, strong and confident. She doesn’t look back at what might have been if she had changed her name. And as she walks up the street, smiling and looking toward her future, she has one last voice-over.

Sam Soon (VOICE-OVER): Love really is a foolish kind of thing.

And a week has passed, each day taking as long as a whole year. And that person, he did not return.


When we watched this drama for the first time, we were just filled with optimism and positive feelings when Sam Soon tears up her name change application and strides out of the government center. But my visit to a warm and fuzzy place only lasted about 10 seconds, as I was just beside myself when Sam Soon said that Jin Heon didn’t return. And of course, YA Entertainment put the last episode on a separate DVD, so we had to switch out DVDs. It was pure torture as I couldn’t get the last DVD into the tray properly. Can you just imagine what it must have been like for the millions of fans who watched this when it first aired, having to go to sleep all bothered, going to work on Thursday all bothered, and waiting 23+ hours for Part 2 of the finale?

That said, I think it best to have my substantive comments follow the end of part 2 of this recap finale. 🙂


160 September 22, 2011January 24, 2016

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 16 (Final)

by samsooki

In a heart-wrenching turn of events that I totally did not see coming, Jin Heon did not come back. He didn’t come back! Against her better judgment, Sam Soon allowed Jin Heon to take Hee Jin back to America. Jin Heon hugged Sam Soon and promised to come back, but then nothing – he did not return. And now, for part 2 of the finale. It is with equal parts love and trepidation that we turn eyes back to Sam Soon. She’s going to make it, isn’t she?


Lena Park – “Reflection” [ Download ]

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Episode 16 – Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Before

Maddeningly, Episode 16 opens with the mundane – a daily scene of Bon Appetit hard at work. It’s a single long take, with a lone tracking camera following members of the Bon Appetit staff as they move through the restaurant. None of the main characters are here, however. The implicit lesson appears to be that life continues to move regardless of whether we are there. Here, the camera follows the Kitchen Assistant Ki Bang, who creeps up on the Assistant Pâtissier In Hye and surprise-kisses her on the lips in the bathroom before running away. In Hye is first horrified and then extremely pissed as her romantic “first kiss” dreams have gone up in smoke. This too seems like a lesson. Sometimes, the dreamy fantasy kiss doesn’t comes true and instead you get a hairy Ki Bang ambush-kissing you in a restaurant bathroom.

While In Hye seems to be headed toward therapy, cute little Mi Joo has likely graduated from therapy and is back to her old self. She talking (a lot) and Mi Joo’s grandmother, Chairwoman Na, could not be happier. But then Mi Joo asks about Jin Heon, and when he is returning to Korea. Time seems to have passed, and Jin Heon has still not come back.

And in still more news, the catatonic assistant to Chairwoman Na, Assistant Yoon, is quitting after decades of service. Without warning, she lays off her resignation to her boss. She’s gone in a week, to see the world. It’s odd, but then again, it’s not really that odd. Everybody must live and keep on living, if not for others then for yourself.

Finally, we get to see what Sam Soon has been up to. In another voice-over, we learn that Jin Heon hasn’t called or written in two months. But Sam Soon is her own person and has continued to grow. Her piano ability seems to have improved ten-fold, and now Sam Soon can play the Elvis song “Can’t Help Falling In Love” without sheet music. Maybe this is Sam Soon’s anthem song – a person with such a heart that can absorb the pain and yet still thump and throb when love passes by.

And aside from the piano playing, Sam Soon goes about her life and her living. She goes from store to store, picking up sundries for her pastry shop and scouting the wares.

Sam Soon (VOICE-OVER): I thought I understood how hard it is for one person to understand another. I knew I was just kidding myself to think that I could understand that man, but this is beyond even that. Then again, since I don’t really know myself that well, how can I understand others?

Am I still waiting for him, have I given up on him – I don’t even know the answer.

Following the shopping, Sam Soon is waiting at the bus stop, her bus not yet arriving. She puts down her sundries and notices a billboard on the side of her bus stop booth.

Love, like you’ve never been hurt before – Alfred D. Souza
Dance, as though no one is watching
Love, as though you’ve never been hurt before
Sing, as though nobody else is listening
Work, as though you didn’t need the money
Live, as though today is the last day of your life

It’s enough to bring one to tears. For Sam Soon, hadn’t this been her life principle?  What is the result of all of the tears, the embarrassment, the sleepless nights and the waiting?  She is standing at a bus stop, alone, having been burned yet again, and this time by the person she thought would be her last chance at love. This has been Sam Soon’s deepest fear, that she would end up alone just like this, for the rest of her life.

Sam Soon: And sincerely, I wanted this to be true. To love as though I’ve never been hurt before. But in the end, it’s not like that. I want to change the sentence to read, ‘if you don’t want to get hurt, then don’t fall in love.’

Would this really be Sam Soon’s ending? No, I refuse to believe that. The essence of Sam Soon is that she holds her heart in her hands, waiting for love to fill it. If she withdraws her heart, then where can love go? What would Sam Soon be, if she gives up on love?

At that moment, a voice calls out to her, “Kim Sam Soon?” OMG! IT’S GOOD LOOKING BLIND DATE GUY! I love that guy! What are the odds! Oh, relief! Good Looking Blind Date Guy has a new ‘do and looks a little thinner, but other than that, he hasn’t changed or aged a day. Plus, he notices Sam Soon’s tears and immediately his face turns to worry. Good looking AND empathetic! Things are looking up! YAY!

And of course, Yi Young feels happy for Sam Soon too. Sam Soon is doing prep work at her pastry shop, and Yi Young is on the computer. Yi Young jumps up at the news and asks if Sam Soon rejected Good Looking Blind Date Guy. A noncommital Sam Soon says no, they have a movie date planned for this weekend. Yi Young congratulates Sam Soon, but Sam Soon is less than enthusiastic. Methinks she’s still hung up on he who shall not be named.

If only their pastry business were going well. Sam Soon blames the name of their shop – she was in favor of naming it Momo. They’ve been open for more than a month and not a single online order yet. But then suddenly, “ka-ching!” goes Yi Young’s laptop. It looks like an order for a honey cake!

Sam Soon and Yi Young go bonkers, and we get a shot of the outside of the shop. The name of the shop is Patissier Samsooni – still her name, but the way it is written in Korean has now changed to 삼수니 (Sam Soo Ni). Her name sounds the same if you say it quickly, but the meaning is now far and away different from before.

It’s date time! Good Looking Blind Date Guy drives up and gets out. Sam Soon is all dolled up and she looks good too. He asks Sam Soon what she wants to do, and Sam Soon has no answer really. Good Looking Blind Date Guy notes that he has movie tickets. Hmm, a little light on the excitement side, isn’t he? But, you know what? That’s okay. Not every guy has to be a barrel of snarky monkeys, right?

At least he’s not going to hurt her like that good for nothing Sam Shi-

HOLY SHIK! Speak of the devil. Good Looking Blind Date Guy stops short as a man blocks the road. It’s SAM SHIK! I mean, the cynics among you are probably like, “Yeah, he had to come back – it was unresolved, he’s a main character and this is the last episode” but seriously, this is a shock.

At least Sam Soon is shocked. And Good Looking Blind Date Guy is REALLY shocked. He cannot believe his bad luck. I mean, this guy probably woke up that morning, thought happily to himself, “It’s fate. After all this time and two extremely odd failed meetings, I get to go on a real date with Kim Sam Soon!” He would have bet his car that there would be no chance whatsoever that Sam Soon’s ex-boss would show up A THIRD TIME and ruin the date.

Jin Heon walks around to the passenger side and tells Sam Soon to get out of the car. But Sam Soon claims she doesn’t know this person. Then she tells her date to keep driving. The car drives off, leaving Jin Heon wondering what happened.

Sam Soon and her date are at the movies, and Sam Soon is staring off into space. But a flashlight shines in her face, and it’s Jin Heon again. He tells Sam Soon to leave, but this time Good Looking Blind Date Guy stands up in the movie theater and tells Jin Heon to leave – this woman doesn’t like you. But Jin Heon won’t leave. This is so unfair to Good Looking But Too Mild Mannered Blind Date Guy. To stop this pointless bickering, Sam Soon stands up. She bows and apologies to her really pissed date, who has now been torpedoed three times by Jin Heon. Poor guy!

Jin Heon thinks that everything is now back to normal, but Sam Soon doesn’t. She’s done with Jin Heon. Jin Heon tries to ask what’s gotten into her, but Sam Soon won’t listen. Not this time.

Sam Soon walks up the long hill to her house, and Jin Heon is there again. Sam Soon tucks her hands behind her back to quickly take off her couple ring (wow! she was still wearing it!). Jin Heon gets on his knees to apologize, but Sam Soon doesn’t accept his apology. Sam Soon gives Jin Heon an earful, telling him that it wasn’t just Sam Soon who felt betrayed, but her mom and sister too. Her mom, who wondered whether Jin Heon got into an accident, and prayed at the temple daily until they learned that Jin Heon’s family got a postcard. And even then, Sam Soon’s mom was more relieved that angry, since that meant that Jin Heon wasn’t hurt. And her sister, who always claimed she didn’t like Jin Heon but secretly wished for Sam Soon and him to be together. Jin Heon betrayed all of them.

Jin Heon has no words in response. And when Sam Soon goes inside, Jin Heon tries to reason with Sam Soon’s mom, but Sam Soon’s mom throws salt in his face and tells him to take back the dog that he had given as a gift. Jin Heon has no idea why Sam Soon and her family are acting this way – didn’t they get his postcards? Sam Soon doesn’t even laugh, she’s so angry at the lame excuse. But at the mention of the postcards, there’s hope that what Jin Heon said is true. What happened to the postcards?

That evening, Jin Heon is still camped out in front of Sam Soon’s house, together with the dog. From Jin Heon’s point of view, the (over)reaction by Sam Soon and Sam Soon’s mom just needs some time to be whittled down. Jin Heon doesn’t realize what has happened, but his decision to stay put within earshot until he is forgiven is both fortuitous and cultural (perhaps a more extreme version can be seen in Episode 21 of Goong (궁) when Princess Chae-Kyung messes up and goes on her knees near the throne room until the King forgives her – her formal action was called Seok-Go-Dae-Jwoe – 석고대죄). While Jin Heon may not be able to do Seok-Go-Dae-Jwoe, he’s not going to give up until he finds out what happened.

Luckily for him then, the missing box of postcards finally arrives at Sam Soon’s house that very night. It had been sent to the wrong address, and finally after weeks and weeks, someone delivered it. Sam Soon spends all evening reading all of the postcards that Jin Heon sent. I knew it, btw. I always liked Jin Heon better than Boring Blind Date Guy.

Sam Soon heads outside and brings Jin Heon in. Jin Heon finds himself in a similar suplicative position to the last time he was there. The postcards show that he had true intentions, but don’t explain why he took 2 months to do it. Jin Heon explains – since he has been in need of a greater understanding of the world, he set out to visit as many different hotels as he could, learning as he went. He didn’t call because he wanted to make sure that he finished what he set out to do – become a person who can provide for Sam Soon.

Sam Soon’s mom doesn’t quite look convinced, so Jin Heon asks if they should go back to the noh-reh-bang – LOL! That brings a cackle out of Yi Young and even Sam Soon’s mom can’t quite hold back her smirk. All seems to be forgiven! I would squee but I’m a wary of yet another set-back, even in this last episode. Can’t be too careful, especially with k-dramas.

Like Jin Heon, Chef Lee is ruined for other women. He’s got Yi Young on his mind, and not even “no no no no you’re a drag no no no no no no no no no no no no” seems to get him to reconsider. He calls Yi Young out again, but Yi Young keeps treating him like a stranger. Yi Young seems to just want him for the occasional tickle in the hay but nothing more, and won’t even consider using less formal language when speaking privately with him. That’s pretty harsh, but Yi Young has been pretty up front about everything. She likes her fun and doesn’t want the commitment of marriage or the potential consequences of a “let’s just live together” kind of dealio.

Chef Lee stalks Yi Young and zeroes in on her home. If Yi Young won’t see reason, maybe Yi Young’s mom will listen. Yi Young stops any further conversation between Chef Lee and her mom, however, ruining Chef Lee’s plan. Yi Young brings out Samsooki pig and shoves it into Chef Lee’s chest. Nice try trying to win me with this kid’s toy, Yi Young sniffs, and then waltzes back inside. An exasperated Chef Lee then scolds Samsooki, saying “You had TWO months to do your thing, what the heck have you been doing?!?!” Hehe!

Jin Heon has borrowed Sam Soon for the night and they are snuggling under the covers. Sam Soon shows her empty ring finger to Jin Heon but then shows the ring, explaining that she took it off because she had such anger toward him (but still kept the ring since she still loved him). Jin Heon flips the covers over their heads and there’s a giggle and some other kind of noises- but then Sam Soon reappears. Jin Heon hasn’t said he loves her! Jin Heon appears to have a mental block about saying things like that- he’s never said it to anyone. In response, Sam Soon literally squeezes it out of him. Hehe!

They go back under the covers, but a new problem appears: no thingamabob. Sam Soon doesn’t want to be preggers in a wedding dress, so she kicks Jin Heon out of the bed to go get pack of thingambabobs.Jin Heon tries one drugstore, but the shelf is empty. He asks the clerk if they have any, you know. The clerk has no clue, and inquires as to the function of the thing that Jin Heon is searching. Hehe! Jin Heon leaves, not wanting to be seen as a perv. A second store is closed. Jeez! The third place, he gets beaten to the snatch by another customer.

Meanwhile, Sam Soon is all hot and bothered and waiting, but Jin Heon is striking out all over town. But then Sam Soon gets a call on the phone and surprise surprise, it’s… Hee Jin? Hee Jin is calling from America, to say thank you for the jook, and letting Jin Heon go to America with her.

It’s an odd conversation, and finally Sam Soon just comes right out and says it.

Sam Soon: You know, um, I hope that you won’t call me any more in the future. I’m not actually glad to hear from you.
Hee Jin (the slightest of pauses): I feel the same way as you. There won’t be a reason for me to call you again. Nor to meet you again.

Interesting. Hee Jin didn’t have to call to thank Sam Soon for the jook and for allowing Jin Heon to go to America. It was unnecessary. But I do think Hee Jin called to thank Sam Soon for helping Hee Jin to become reborn again, to be able to live again. And it looks like, Hee Jin will be able to do that, with her new beau Henry. Henry has done what he said he would do, which is stick by her no matter what.

So grats to Dr. Henry for sticking with it and getting his woman, and a second grats to Dr. Henry for getting accepted into the Doctors Without Borders program (is there anything this guy doesn’t do)!

In one of the days that follow, Sam Soon and Jin Heon finally have their formal meeting with the elders of the Hyun family, including the patriarch, Jin Heon’s uncle. Jin Heon’s uncle is funny and adorable (a scene stealer, the criminally underused Kim Seong Kyeom). And despite Sam Soon’s age, lack of education, family wealth or background, Jin Heon’s uncle is far too human to let those things stand in the way of love. Since Jin Heon’s uncle is the oldest, Jin Heon’s mom has to keep her trap shut as Sam Soon graciously and confidently answers every question.

Still, Jin Heon’s mom tries to stop this before it gets any further by asking to see Jin Heon in the kitchen. Jin Heon’s mom tells Jin Heon that Sam Soon just won’t do. But Jin Heon is ready for that and offers a deal – him working at the family hotel in exchange for his mom’s blessing on marriage to Sam Soon. Jin Heon’s mom scoffs at that, so Jin Heon brings out his “but she’s preggers” card again. But this time, Jin Heon’s wily mom says, fine, then tomorrow let’s just visit a personal friend I like to call Dr. Oh Bee Gee Why En.

A frantic Jin Heon literally drags Sam Soon to his apartment for DEFCON 5 emergency unprotected sex, because Sam Soon has to get preggers like right now – their marriage might depend on it! Sam Soon protests though, she wants to be thin for her wedding but Jin Heon drags her into bed anyway. Hehe!

Hours later, both Jin Heon and Sam Soon are lying in bed exhausted – both with tissue paper stuffed up their nose to stop their respective nose bleeds. Now, k-dramas often depict nose-bleeds as being the result of extreme efforts to study (i.e., see Kim Myung Min as the gangster Oh Dal Gun in the last episode of Bad Family, trying to pass his high school exams (interestingly, Sam Soon’s dad – the actor Maeng Bong Hak, plays Dal Gun’s high school teacher)). But seeing as they can’t leave things to chance, they flip the switch and study some more.

Late that night, Sam Soon wakes up to the noise of a Korea-Nigeria U-21 soccer game on television. Without disturbing Jin Heon, Sam Soon creeps out to the living room and finds her dad sitting there with a beer and anju (snackies). Sam Soon freaks out because her dad is just chilling watching television in another man’s house, and asks him what he’s doing here! Her dad tells her to relax, since this is just a dream. Sam Soon’s dad asks if she’s happy, and Sam Soon nods.

But all of a sudden, Sam Soon starts to weep again, very much like she did back at the outdoor restaurant when she thought she could not handle any more pain. Sam Soon’s dad immediately notices the change and asks her what’s wrong. Aren’t you happy?

Sam Soon: It’s just that things are going so well right now. I am so happy right now… but… I am so afraid that everything will just disappear.
Sam Soon’s Dad: Sam Soon ah.
Sam Soon (crying): What if everything goes away? Daddy, I’m so afraid.
Sam Soon’s Dad: You dummy. Getting hurt, not getting hurt, why are you worrying about things that might never happen?

Sam Soon’s Dad: My dearest third daughter has to live her life to the fullest, okay?
Sam Soon: Yes, Daddy.
Sam Soon’s Dad (holds up a fist): Hwaiting?
Sam Soon (wiping away her tears): Hwaiting! Hwaiting! Hwaiting!

After all that she has been through, Sam Soon has realized what a monumental climb she has left to attain her goals. What if she never gets married? What if Jin Heon’s heart changes again? What if her business fails? What if, what if. It is like her whole life is still resting on the razor’s edge and even a single mistep can bring it all crashing down. But her wonderful and gentle dad, never leaving her side, gives her love, hope and a balanced way to live – without fear.

And so it is that our dearest Sam Soon, so strong to the world but so vulnerable to her heart, can find her way to live and love.

Bon Bon au Chocolat III [ Download ]

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Sam Soon gives a voice-over which shows her dream of marrying Jin Heon and having three kids – two daughters and one son, and in the next scene, showing an expanded and upgraded Samsooni Cake, complete with outdoor seating and an in-house florist. In reality, those dreams haven’t happened, yet. But Sam Soon did manage to attain one small dream, to play her Elvis song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” for her love, Jin Heon. Sam Soon’s technique has improved so much – her even tempo and the richness of her playing is evident, perhaps as a metaphor for how much this woman has grown.

And in the last scene, Sam Soon and Jin Heon are holding hands and talking as they stroll down the city block towards the stairs near the Nam-San Cablecar Station. Ahead, they see an enormous staircase they have to climb, perhaps a bit symbolic of the challenges that they have yet to face.

And Sam Soon says this:

Sam Soon (VOICE-OVER): Sometimes, the thought comes to me that we might one day break up, since that’s part of being in love. But I won’t be afraid of the future. I understand the things that I have to do now:  do my best to make my cakes and do my best at love, just as if today is my last day, just as if I’ve never been hurt, and to love myself, Kim Sam Soon, more.


There are so many things to say. This was my first drama, and though I didn’t know it at the time, it would be and remain my favorite drama. Until very recently, however, I was a little bit upset at the ending. My thought was, where is the happy ending? Couldn’t the writers have given Sam Soon a happy ending? Would it have killed the drama? With monster ratings smashing the 50% barrier, Episode 16 could have been Sam Soon and Hee Jin playing Go Stop for an hour to determine who gets Jin Heon and ending that way. It wouldn’t have changed the ratings at all. The writers chose to end the series this way despite the fact that they absolutely knew that half of Korea was desperately rooting for Sam Soon. And by happy ending, I mean, they could have had Jin Heon and Sam Soon get married.

I mentioned this thought to Javabeans and to Girlfriday, about whether they thought that Sam Soon had a happy ending. Both had interesting responses, and I want to share them with you first before concluding.

Javabeans’ Comments:

I’m pretty sure I would’ve been happy had Samsoon and Jin-heon gotten their neat, happy ending. But that final-episode satisfaction would have chipped away a little at my love for the overall series, which comes in part because the drama steps outside of the mold of traditional Cinderella stories. Samsoon still bears a lot of the hallmarks of a conventional K-drama (and a conventional rom-com, at that), so I don’t think it’s necessarily groundbreaking in that sense. But historically speaking, Samsoon was the point at which the heroines got to be crass and rude and still lovable, the everywoman instead of the paragon, and I think giving her the fairy tale would have diminished what the drama so wonderfully achieved all series long. She doesn’t fit in that box, so she should get her own story, not follow the preordained footsteps of Cinderella and her ilk.

I think the point may be that times are a-changin’, and the mainstream ideal for a successful, beautiful woman now includes someone like Samsoon, whereas previously she’d be the cautionary tale, the loudmouthed spinster constantly told to lose ten pounds. And that the mainstream ideal for a successful, beautiful life as a modern woman doesn’t necessarily require marriage and husband and mother-in-law stamp of approval. I would have felt betrayed if Samsoon fell in the trap of all those self-sacrificing, demure, infuriatingly wan heroines of yore and got the same ending they got, too. She was a representation of what was there outside of the conventional trappings, so to leave her with nothing but conventional trappings? Ouch. She’s realistic enough to see her world and her place in it without feeling that she’s necessarily “less than” Cinderella/Candy. So her happiness isn’t necessarily “less than” theirs, either. I find Samsoon’s ending affirming and empowering much more than a marriage or a ring would have achieved.

Girlfriday’s Comments:

I think the series did a great job of giving both a satisfying and open-ended ending, which is frankly hard to do. Samsoon as a character was about breaking the mold. She was a heroine designed to break the heroine types of old, and I see the ending in the same light. It’s part and parcel of the same thing — the heroine need not be thin and waify, long-suffering and good, chaste to the old-school standards of purity, censored and demure. And her endgame need not be marriage. It can be part of what she wants, but the point is that it’s not the end all be all.

So then why would a writer back out of that, to satisfy traditional ideas of what a satisfactory ending is, based on the dramas that came before? If I had spent all that time writing a groundbreaking new kind of heroine, I certainly wouldn’t give her the same ending as every other Cinderella who came before her. That’d be lame.

Samsoon is certainly not the inventor of the open-ended finale, but the ending manages to be satisfying despite lacking a traditional happily-ever-after because it stays true to its themes. Personally, I don’t think not getting the pat ending isn’t a lack of happy ending. I think it’s part of what she has to discover about life, and the conscious choice to love somebody and give him her all, not knowing the outcome. Her biggest struggle throughout the drama is the decision to go headlong into love despite her fears of the future, and her triumph over that fear is her biggest victory. It’s not that marriage isn’t a part of that, but it’s the fact that she learns to put the endgame aside and love someone in the here and now. And that’s pretty awesome.

Samsooki’s Revised Comments:

I’ve changed my mind. Here are my new thoughts on MNIKSS.

While at first, I really did think that this drama was just a love story (an epic one, but still just a love story). But it’s not just that, it’s a lot more. The drama is a story of a woman who initially is determined to get married to a decent man, her reason being that she’s afraid of growing up and growing old by herself. Sam Soon’s problem isn’t that her dream is bad, but that her dream is ill-fitting with a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and cannot help but be true to her desires. And she desires more than just a decent man.

The whole issue with her name is fundamental to this. I think Sam Soon’s reason for changing her name, long after school kids had stopped teasing her, was because she felt like she couldn’t get married if she kept her odd-sounding name. She wanted to be cool and special, and it wasn’t until Jin Heon showed up that she started to believe it. And so, when she finally decides to keep her name, at the end of Episode 15, this is her most important victory. It is a victory for self, for Sam Soon, who needn’t worry about what her name means in Chinese, or what others may think. She IS special, she IS awesome, she DOES rock, she IS beautiful, and she DOES kick ass.

I realize now that Sam Soon’s happy ending is that there is no ending. Her life will continue to have challenges, ups and downs. And her happiness will come from her ability to stay her course without fear, without regret, and with living life to the fullest. That’s why Sam Soon gets her happy ending. Her happy ending is the rest of her life – I can’t imagine a more fulfilling ending.


Finally, I want to thank Javabeans and Girlfriday for giving me the opportunity to come back and re-live one of the truly outstanding Korean dramas of all time.  It was a hoot to recap, it was a joy to watch and re-watch, and it was an honor to do it for dramabeans and for each of you. I treasure every comment by every reader, and hope that you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have.  Until next time!  *wave*