Open Thread: Heard It Through The Grapevine Episodes 11 & 12

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Isn’t our little family so cute together, in this headlining shot? ❤️ Jin Young deserves the fan club that he’s got going for himself, heh.

SOME IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:

ZERO SPOILER POLICY

1. We will be adopting a ZERO SPOILER POLICY for this Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point.

The spoiler tags don’t work in email notifications, therefore, please take note that WE WILL NOT BE USING SPOILER TAGS FOR THIS OPEN THREAD. 

ANY AND ALL SPOILERS WILL BE REDACTED to protect first-time viewers in our midst (although, I’d appreciate it if you would save me the trouble of having to redact spoilers, heh 😅).

This includes, but is not limited to, how characters &/or relationships develop, later in the show.

We need to protect the innocent! 😉

SPOILER ZONE

2. HOWEVER!! If you’d like to discuss spoilers from a rewatcher’s point of view, I’ve created a SPOILER ZONE for you, where you can discuss all the spoilers you’d like, without the need for spoiler warnings. You can find it here!

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 11

Basically, it feels like Jung Ho’s scheming endlessly, this episode, whether it’s to do with work, or with family. But I suppose that’s probably just another day, in the life of Jung Ho?

I have to confess that I have less interest in the work arc.

From what I understand, Secretary Yang’s helping Jung Ho to sort out the situation where Secretary Min’s working with Attorney Yoo and Chul Sik, to bring forth an inconvenient Hansong truth, that would clear her brother’s name, but that would put Jung Ho in a difficult position.

The thing that strikes me about this arc, is how transactional the relationships are, in this space.

When things were fine, Secretary Yang and Secretary Min appeared to be on the same side, with them sharing the same secrets and gossiping about things in a mash-up of Japanese and Korean.

But the moment there’s a whiff of unusual movement on Secretary Min’s part, Secretary Yang wastes no time in reporting the matter to Jung Ho, and working with Jung Ho, to set Secretary Kim on Secretary Min’s trail.

And, there’s no hint of discomfort on Secretary Yang’s part, as she does all this. Which tells me that all the pleasantries that she’s shared with Secretary Min, up to this point, have been mostly lip service – stuff that goes with the job – rather than anything sincere or genuine.

That makes me wonder about the relationships among the staff at Jung Ho’s house, because everyone at that party, including Secretary Yang, had looked genuinely thrilled to let their hair down together.

Now, though, I wonder how any of them would react, if a similar situation were to arise, where one of the staff’s loyalties were put into question.

On a related note, I have to confess that I’m still not super clear on what evidence Chul Sik has in his possession, that could help Secretary Min fill in the gaps, in order to prove her case.

I don’t know if I’m imagining things, but I think Chul Sik had been a detective? But even if that’s true, why would he have evidence in his possession..?

Unless.. he kept the evidence because the case had been whitewashed in a cover-up anyway..?

Hrm.. I suppose we’ll get more clarity on that soon enough. For now, that’s the theory that I’m going with. 😅

On the household front, though, things kinda-sorta seem to be more cheerful and less fraught, in general.

For example, when Housekeeper Jung makes those spicy noodles for a late night snack to be shared among the kids and the staff, everyone looks like they’re having a sincerely great time, slurping on those noodles.

..So much so that Jung Ho feels left out, when he isn’t invited to have any, ha. I don’t actually blame him for wanting some though; I felt like having some, as I watched them demolish those noodles. 😋

It amuses me quite a bit, that Yeon Hee has to enquire about the snack, and get it set up such that envious Jung Ho gets to eat some of those spicy noodles too – only to immediately have regrets, because the noodles are too spicy.

Poor Yeon Hee suffers alongside, as collateral damage, because, honestly, if Jung Ho hadn’t been so childishly jealous about not being invited to try those noodles, Yeon Hee would’ve never suffered an upset stomach because of those spicy noodles, heh.

This isn’t THE catalyst that gets Jung Ho scheming to separate Bom from her family, this episode, but it is one of them, the other being In Sang’s over-enthusiastic attitude towards all the novel things that he’s learned from Bom’s family.

I feel like Jung Ho and Yeon Hee – but Jung Ho in particular – feels threatened by the idea that In Sang might be losing some of his “noble / royal” sensibility, by imbibing too much “common culture” from his in-laws, metaphorically speaking.

Another part of it, I think, is part of feeling territorial, and feeling afraid that their roles in In Sang’s life would be usurped.

For example, it’s true that Yeon Hee might have genuine concerns about the suitability of the herbal tonic that Jin Ae’s given In Sang.

However, the vibe I get, is that she’s actually being more territorial than anything, in asking Housekeeper Jung to deal with those tonics in whatever way she sees fit, while she gets In Sang replacement tonics.

On that note, I actually find it very endearing, that In Sang is that enthusiastic and genuinely excited about trying new things that he’s learned from Bom’s family. That’s sweet.

But also, that’s probably precisely why his parents feel threatened.

I think any time they see him gravitating towards Bom’s family, or having a good time with Bom’s family, they feel threatened – mostly likely because there isn’t a similar sense of camaraderie between them and In Sang.

Which is why Yeon Hee looks low-key like she’s got her tail between her legs, when she overhears the video call that In Sang and Bom have with Bom’s parents, along with Jin Young.

Conversely, though, it seems like Bom is adapting pretty well, to the new demands of her surroundings, as she learns them.

For example, she doesn’t need to be told, to tell In Sang to adjust his table manners, and to only do the shaking of the rice bowl thing, when he’s with her family.

More pertinently, I think it’s great that Teacher Park seems to have advised Bom to apologize preemptively to Yeon Hee for the whole incident – which Bom does, and thus renders it impossible for Yeon Hee to scold her, as planned.

Huzzah! I count that as a small victory for Bom, even though she can’t help shedding a tear, that things have to be this way, once it’s over.

I’m not terribly sure where Show’s going with Jung Ho and his employment of valedictorian Je Hoon, but I was admittedly rather ruefully amused at the way this creates so much tension between Yeon Hee and Young Ra.

Gosh, the snide attitudes and the levels of snark in that group that hangs out at Jae Won’s home, are so toxic. And this episode, we even get a legit cat fight, between Young Ra and So Jung, over money matters!

Secretary Lee sure has to be adept at a lot of things – including stopping a cat fight with speed and class.

On a tangent, Secretary Lee’s got a new haircut this episode, AND, it seems that she sleeps over at Teacher Park’s house or something, with the way she shows up to work the next day, in the exact same clothes as the day before.

Ooh, things are getting spicy in such unexpected narrative corners!

Finally, I don’t quite get what that whole fake genealogy book has got to do with separating Bom from her parents, to be honest.

I mean, wouldn’t this lifting of their reputation work towards bringing the families closer together, instead of driving them apart..?

I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

In the meantime, I’m rather intrigued and entertained by the way Bom is taught the finer points of bowing, and what each degree of bow means. It’s kinda like the Korean version of a lesson in really fancy social manners, and it’s kinda cool that we get a bit of that insight.

And then the whole way Jung Ho and his family swan into the Hansong executive lounge, reminds me of some kind of royal procession, where the King and his family go out in style, in order to be seen by the commonfolk, heh.

I was a little afraid that Bom would fall over in those high heels or something, but for now, it looks like Bom’s making a nicely positive impression on the Very Important People whom Jung Ho’s introduced her to, and that’s pretty gratifying to see.

Episode 12

I have to admit, it took me most of this episode to figure out what I think is Jung Ho and Yeon Hee’s plan, in terms of separating Bom from her family.

Most of the way through, it actually looked like quite the pleasant picture, with Jung Ho and Yeon Hee treating Bom nicely, and even going so far as to meet Hyeong Sik and Jin Ae, to have peaceful, cordial conversations.

That basically looked like the opposite of driving a wedge between Bom and her family, to my eyes.

Which, I suppose, just goes to show how insidious the plan really is.

On the surface, Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are doing everything to establish Bom within their family and their social circle, and to lift the reputation of their in-laws, and everything looks great.

It’s in the details, that the wedge-driving becomes visible.

To their credit, I do like the fact that they are serious about embracing Bom as part of the family.

Of course, this has to do with how they’ve come around to the fact that Bom has great potential, and would be a huge asset to their family – something which I’d predicted from the very beginning (yay, me!), that they’d come around to seeing.

Still, even though this is all strategic and not really anything to do with genuine affection or attachment, I just like the fact that they really do want Bom in the family now.

And, I also rather like that along with that, Yeon Hee’s becoming a little less strict with Bom now. That’s also nice to see.

But, in the lifting of Bom to become aware of the finer points of the social expectations appropriate to her station, that’s where the wedge-driving comes in.

It’s in the way Jung Ho invites Hyeong Sik to the executive lounge, and introduces him to important people; it’s in the way Yeon Hee gives Jin Ae that card for house repair; it’s in the way Yeon Hee instructs Secretary Lee to ensure that Bom doesn’t act overly enthusiastic, when she sees her sister.

It all comes together to demonstrate the thing that gnaws at Jin Ae this episode, that Bom’s now more the Han family’s daughter now. That is the thing that will slowly but surely draw a line, separating Bom from her family.

It’s quite insidious, and is just the sort of thing to eventually cause a great deal of distance between Bom and her family, if it’s not carefully managed by Bom herself.

While all this is going on, it seems like Bom herself is going through a season of reckoning, as if she herself isn’t sure what to make of it all, and how to react to it all.

It’s not super obvious, but when I look at the way Bom lies awake while In Sang happily goes to sleep, and wonders about whether they’ll ever have as much power as Jung Ho, and the way she maintains that sense of distance even when texting Noo Ri privately, but looks conflicted about it, I can’t help but think that Bom’s struggling to come to terms with it all, a little bit.

It’s like Bom knows that she needs to play this game and gain her in-laws’ favor, if she’s going to win at this game, but playing the game in itself, is bringing her some discomfort.

I appreciate that Noo Ri kind of goes through a parallel sort of grappling, on her own.

On the one hand, she tells Jin Ae that Bom becoming more like a queen is completely normal, given the circumstances, and that she’s going to create whatever opportunities she can, when they are presented.

I thought that was a really nice combination of level-headed, practical and understanding.

On the other hand, when Bom sends her that reply text, while maintaining the subtle difference that Yeon Hee talked about, Noo Ri can’t help but instinctively feel upset.

It’s not easy for Noo Ri either, but as with Bom, I feel like Noo Ri’s got a great deal of potential, and I’m curious to see how this plays out.

I mean, it’s not long before we see Noo Ri being in a position to interview Yoon Je Hoon, and we hear Jung Ho monitoring her performance, to see whether she’s worth his support.

To be honest, I’d really love to see Jung Ho be impressed by Noo Ri, and end up favoring both her and Bom, in spite of himself.

I’m also curious to see if something’s going to develop between Noo Ri and Yoon Je Hoon, since they have opportunity to meet, this episode.

And then there’s Hyun Soo, who, for all intents and purposes, appears to be fake-dating Yoon Je Hoon, in order to play the adults. I’m very curious to see where that goes, too.

I’m low-key amused at how the household staff agree, in their conversations, that Bom is absolutely going to surpass Yeon Hee, as lady of the house – and then, before long, Secretary Lee gets to experience exactly the shrewd management style that they’d been talking about.

Ha. I guess it’s a lot more entertaining and amusing, when you’re not on the receiving end of said shrewd management, coz Secretary Lee looks suitably uncomfortable and chagrined, when Bom quietly lets her know, that she knows that she and Teacher Park are dating.

I’d actually expected that Yeon Hee might feel threatened at the sight of this, since Yeon Hee’s shown that instinct before, in relation to Bom.

So color me quite surprised, that Yeon Hee is, instead, pleased with Bom’s showing, and even reports it to Jung Ho with a measure of delight and amusement. Just as surprising to me, is how Jung Ho notes with some satisfaction, that Bom has a sense of power.

Yeon Hee even broaches the subject of now engraving Bom’s name, along with the rest of the family’s names, at the concert hall.

Wow. It looks like Bom’s really managing to sink her roots into the Han family, as their bona fide daughter-in-law.

I’m curious to see how Bom takes to this, and how she’ll reconcile the demands of her new role, with her heart for her family. Because, right now, to my eyes, that’s where the biggest disconnect looks like it’s going to be.

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eda harris
eda harris
3 months ago

KFG, as always, great description of episode 11 (i didn’t get to ep. 12 yet).
That makes me wonder about the relationships among the staff at Jung Ho’s house, because everyone at that party, including Secretary Yang, had looked genuinely thrilled to let their hair down together.

secretary yang has been by jung ho’s side for 20 years – that’s the same amount of time as being married. as i see it, she fulfills multiple roles for him, at work and at home. apart from being his assistant in everything (even that she’s called secretary), she’s his spy, his advisor, his sort of psychologist, she’s kind of his mother or nanny, his confidant, his counselor on family disputes, his representative at work and at home – the woman is multitasking. so it’s not surprising that she’s leading a double life, that is why i think she does enjoy a drinking/dancing party with her hair down and her guard down. she does consider herself a part of the entire crew of people working for jung ho and their household, yet she’s loyal to jung ho. (so far). but i believe both sides of her life are genuine.

there are a lot of little details that one might miss on the first watch. like it was mentioned already that bom’s uncle worked with min joo young’s brother, that’s the connection, but he’s not a detective. and i am not going to elaborate as it might become a spoiler.

eda harris
eda harris
3 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

 I don’t quite get what that whole fake genealogy book

neither do i, till today i am not sure whether it’s fake or real, and how could they manipulate it to that extent.
but i think that the purpose of it was to elevate bom’s family in the eyes of their society.

j3ffc
j3ffc
3 months ago

The ascendence of Bom has been expertly developing as we’ve gone along, although it seems as though with her move with Secretary Lee seemed a bit of a major step to me, maybe a little jarring. But she knows where she’s going….

I’m with KFG at having relatively little interest in the details of whatever scandal is brewing and the connection of Chul Sik to everything. but figure we’ll see how it goes when it goes. I’m guessing not good for Family Seo.

One minor thing. I’m currently watching from a foreign land and so get to see the opening sequence for the show, and get to watch the little silent-movie closing dot at the ends. And, although the theme song is kinda jaunty, I think the opening sequence is one of the lamest I can remember, especially as it is about 80% Yeon Hee and Jung Ho…

Leslie
Leslie
3 months ago

I felt moments of dread, as Bom’s family members became more and more accepting of Yeon Hee and Jung Ho’s largesse – now better calibrated than earlier efforts. I couldn’t help but think of “selling your soul to the devil”, Seo family.

I get the impression this largesse has two objectives: the one KFG discusses, about trying to separate Bom from her family, by tangibly illustrating that Bom is now in the world where such largesse can be casually offered. And not, any longer, in the world in which she was raised.

The second objective, I *think*, is to build loyalty in the Seo family to Han Jung Ho, so that Uncle Chul Sik will waiver in assisting Min Joo Yung in her mission. And/or, the Seo family will put pressure on him to stop helping her. Is the Seo family being softened and co-opted to be supportive of the Han family? Once that’s solidified, wouldn’t it be harder for them to be the instrument of the Han’s downfall or, at least, serious reckoning?

I want to believe that Bom has both the intelligence and integrity to see her way through the silken web the Hans are spinning around her (as I see it.) It’s a tall order for an 18 year old, though. She and In Sang are so passionate about their progressive ideals, but naive, too, in that the full force of elite society and corrupted politics and law have not been brought to bear.

So far, they – and especially Bom – have been making the right moves to navigate the situation, and maintain their ideals. But Jung Ho is a formidable challenger; I give him props for his skills and ruthlessness in manipulating nearly every professional situation. On the other hand, I can’t help but think that Jung Ho is grooming a tiger in Bom, and you know the old saying about having a tiger by the tail! Beware.

Last edited 3 months ago by Leslie