Open Thread: Heard It Through The Grapevine Episodes 19 & 20

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I’ve got this screenshot headlining our post today, because it’s the one happy shot of cute Jin Young, this pair of episodes. How cute is he, right? 😍

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 19

I realize that just about everyone in our drama isn’t having a good time this episode, with the only exceptions being Jin Young, because he’s too young to know any better, and Secretary Lee and Secretary Min, who seem to get a kick out of the proceedings, for different reasons.

As for me, I realize that I enjoy Show most, when Bom and In Sang – but really, Bom in particular – are doing well in navigating the Han household.

And because, this episode, they aren’t doing as well as they’d like to be, I also find this episode less enjoyable, for that reason.

Last episode, I’d wondered about whether Jung Ho and Yeon Hee would adjust their strategies, this episode, and they both do – just not in ways that I’d expected nor hoped for.

They’re both so upset that apologies wouldn’t suffice – and apologies aren’t even what In Sang and Bom have in mind, because that would mean retracting their stance on the whole issue, and they really don’t want to do that.

As for Secretary Lee, how very shrewd of her, to take this opportunity, when Bom’s seeking her input on their situation, to let on that she’s not happy with how Bom had forcefully taken the upper hand with her before, and therefore can’t offer her sincerity to Bom.

I have to admit, it’s a little unsettling to see Bom so perturbed, that she would ask In Sang for a hug, when she’s usually so calm and in control of her thoughts and emotions.

However, it does make sense that Bom would make mistakes and need to learn from and recover from them, in her journey to gaining the power that she now desires.

I’m glad that she is quick to apologize to Secretary Lee, the first chance she gets, and I’m glad that Secretary Lee is quick to accept that apology, because Bom needs every ally that she can get, and Secretary Lee is a pretty great pick, as someone to have on your side.

It feels like just about everyone is fishing for information, this episode, and often speaking in riddles to each other.

It strikes me all over again, how the relationship between Secretary Yang and Secretary Min appears cordial on the surface, like they’re close work partners, but when push comes to shove, they are standing on opposite sides.

The way they each smilingly hide their individual agendas from each other, while trying to fish for useful information, is low-key amusing to watch, but probably exhausting to have to experience. 😅

The fact that Secretary Yang goes so far as to pay a visit to Bom’s parents, bearing that very expensive bottle of liquor as a gift, tells us just how big of an issue this has turned out to be.

It’s not just about In Sang rebelling against his father and talking back to him; the hunt is now on, for the people who must have fed In Sang the information that had bred this type of thinking.

What a dilemma this is turning out to be for Bom’s family.

On the one hand, Chul Sik has been treated unfairly and deserves to be given a just compensation for the injuries that he suffered. And on the other hand, Chul Sik fighting for that right, is going to inevitably hurt Bom, because Chul Sik would be going up against Hansong.

Noo Ri is honest in stating that it would be helpful to her too, if Jung Ho and Yeon Hee like Bom, but at the same time, it feels hugely unfair, when she turns on Chul Sik so accusingly.

I do feel for Hyeong Sik. You can practically see the blood drain from his face, when he hears Chul Sik out, and realizes how much pain Chul Sik’s been holding in, all this time.

The only small victory that we see In Sang gain, this episode, is when Jung Ho declares that he and Bom should move out.

It’s pretty epic when In Sang responds by pointing out that Jung Ho doesn’t have the legal right to do so, because the house is under the ownership of the company that Jung Ho set up, Hantrasta, of which In Sang and Yi Ji are listed shareholders.

That effectively puts the brakes on Jung Ho’s plan to intimidate In Sang into groveling for forgiveness, but because the larger issue isn’t resolved, this feels like an interim victory at best.

But, on the upside, Jung Ho does look like he’s about to explode from frustration – but can’t, ha.

And, it’s enough of an interim success, that Secretary Lee makes the tongue-in-cheek suggestion to Secretary Yang, that she consider holding hands with her enemy after all – which is saying a lot, coming from Secretary Lee, yes?

As if In Sang doesn’t have enough on his mind, Hyun Soo starts badgering him too, because of her mother’s involvement with his father.

I gotta say, I’d thought Hyun Soo was pretty neutral and level-headed, but she’s coming across as anything but level-headed, this episode.

The way she lashes out at In Sang, when he asks her if telling him hadn’t been enough, that she’d had to tell Yi Ji too, is very personal and cutting.

When In Sang asks her not to contact Yi Ji, Hyun Soo’s remark, that oh, it must be because Bom is now like a sister to Yi Ji, lands angry and spiteful, to my eyes.

Also, I have to admit that I was not very taken at all, by the scenes of her rocking out to music, and pointedly avoiding eye contact with her mother. This made her come across more like a prepubescent tween, than a young adult.

I mean, I understand that Hyun Soo feels upset and helpless, but at the same time, these reactions of hers, are not endearing her to me, unfortunately.

The final arc as we close out the episode, feels like a disaster coming together in slow motion, eep.

The way all the secretaries scramble to find a way to prevent Young Ra and Yeon Hee from crossing paths at Hansong, where they’re both due to be, is ridiculously stressful.

And, might I point out, the fact that Jung Ho seems to understand that a meeting between Young Ra and Yeon Hee would not be a good thing, indicates that he knows that his interactions with Young Ra have been improper, despite his self-righteous bluster.

Because, if he truly believed that he had nothing to hide, then why try to hide the fact that Young Ra’s there at Hansong to see him in the first place, right?

Clearly, Young Ra doesn’t care about making Jung Ho’s life easier, because she willfully ignores Secretary Kim’s request to move downstairs to the conference room.

I feel like she sticks around in the executive lounge, just to see what kind of reason Jung Ho had, for wanting her to leave.

How breathtakingly awkward, when Yeon Hee arrives, and comes face to face with Young Ra. You can practically cut the tension with a knife, as they pretend to play nice with each other – at least for the time being.

The thing that stuns me the most, though, is Jung Ho’s reaction, when he’s informed that Young Ra and Yeon Hee have come face to face with each other.

Instead of going up there to deal with things personally like Secretary Yang suggests, he refuses, and instead, stays put in his office, so that he can receive the intel and hear about what happened, after the fact.

UGH. That’s such a cowardly move, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve known for a while now, that I shouldn’t have any expectations of Jung Ho, and that he’s a coward at heart, but I’m still flabbergasted, that this is his chosen reaction. 🙄

Maybe he’s afraid that if he shows up, both women might join forces to kill him..? 😏

Episode 20

Watching this episode, it occurs to me that I have no idea what would constitute a satisfying ending, for our story.

In an ideal world, Jung Ho and Yeon Hee would realize the error of their ways, and change for the better, and everyone would live happily ever after.

But.. this doesn’t strike me as that kind of drama world, so I’m just rubbernecking at everything that unfolds on my screen, while wondering where this is all ultimately going to end.

That said, I have to admit that I got a good amount of gratification, watching Yeon Hee wipe away her genteel facade, and start pelting Young Ra with those ice cubes. Ha! That is so epic, by Yeon Hee’s standards.

I half thought Yeon Hee would end up throwing water at Young Ra as well, in true makjang fashion, but she doesn’t.

That said, I gather from Yeon Hee’s expression, that she’s far from done, so I wouldn’t brush Yeon Hee aside just yet, if I were Jung Ho.

The way Jung Ho makes to leave his office to go to the scene, and then makes a U-turn to back into his office, over and over again, just makes him look even more pathetic, because it shows so clearly, that he doesn’t have the guts to face the mess that he’s created.

It’s Yeon Hee who takes control of the situation, and summons Jung Ho to the executive lounge instead. Pfft. Serves Jung Ho right, for being too chicken to go up there on his own.

In the end, it’s Yeon Hee who makes the decision to change the way things are run in the house, in order to address the problem of insubordination. Jung Ho’s just.. going along for the ride, so to speak.

And, for the record, it looks like Yeon Hee hasn’t forgiven him yet, because later on, when he makes a big show of calling her in the middle of the day, she won’t even deign to answer. Ha. Have I said that it serves him right? 😏

The new rules – which, apparently, are really the old rules, from the time when Jung Ho’s mother had run the household – are even stricter and more suffocating than the ones we’ve seen thus far.

Wow. And we’d thought that these people were already doing things in over-the-top, exaggerated ways. 😅

Of all the things that Secretary Lee details for everyone, the one that I think makes the least sense, is having Jin Young dressed and ready at 6:30am. I mean, he’s just a baby! Surely babies should be allowed to sleep..?

The other thing that feels more extreme than the others, is the demand that Yi Ji lose 10kg. Poor Yi Ji. She’s not even directly involved in the issue that had resulted in the rule change, and she’s being targeted for drastic weight loss. That sucks.

Of course, the staff themselves also have to suffer as a result, and I feel bad for Housekeeper Jung and Butler Park, who suddenly have to wear their old uniforms, and do things differently.

That bit about Housekeeper Jung and Secretary Lee having to stand alongside, while the family has their meals, is another thing that feels like a step too far.

The silver lining to this, I think, is that Bom checking in with Secretary Lee, to see how she’s doing, goes down well. Secretary Lee’s expression softens for a second, and it makes me feel like she appreciates the gesture of concern. That’s a positive, yes?

I’m intrigued that after firing Teacher Park, Jung Ho’s now looking at getting him back, with a tenfold pay-rise.

The condition, however, appears to be that Teacher Park become “someone whom [they] can rely on.” Doesn’t this imply that he can have his job back, with 10 times the pay, if he’ll be the kind of voice that Jung Ho wants him to be..?

But.. wouldn’t that go against Teacher Park’s decision to be a better man..?

Gosh, I’m actually quite curious to know how Teacher Park decides, on this one.

It’s such an interesting conundrum, that Hyeong Sik and Jin Ae find themselves reaching for the idea of possibly sending Chul Sik away, to farm an empty plot of land that Jin Ae’s mother has.

That’s exactly what Jung Ho and Yeon Hee has once offered them, and they’d reacted very angrily to the idea.

And now, when they find themselves in a difficult position, they find themselves essentially thinking of doing the same thing to Chul Sik, which they’d hated, when it had been done to them.

At least they’re self-aware enough to realize the irony of this, and feel conflicted about it, which is still more than what we saw from Jung Ho and Yeon Hee.

But also, this whole thing does reinforce the idea that it’s easy to judge – until you find yourself in the same situation.

Poor Hyeong Sik. The way he weeps in the dark, because he feels so stuck between his brother and his daughter, is really heartbreaking. I wouldn’t know what to do either, in his position.

As it is, though, Chul Sik’s lawsuit is already in progress, so it seems like there’s nothing that Hyeong Sik can do anyway.

On this point, it does look like Jung Ho is underestimating Je Hoon’s ability to fight Chul Sik’s case for him, judging by how pleased and relieved he is, to find out that Je Hoon is the one taking up the case.

I can’t wait to see Jung Ho’s face, when he realizes that Je Hoon’s got a stronger case than he thinks.

Also, how like Jung Ho, to tell In Sang to come by the office, so that he can show In Sang how ignorant he is – and then send In Sang to Je Hoon instead, and with no prior instruction to Je Hoon either.

It’s becoming painfully clear that Jung Ho’s quite useless, when left to his own devices.

Like when Je Hoon excuses himself from dinner, and Jung Ho ends up just sitting there with In Sang for an hour, and not saying anything at all, except to keep up his loud blustery act of being a jovial father, when in front of the staff.

It must’ve been painfully awkward for In Sang to sit through that. And, to think that Jung Ho literally tells In Sang to sit there, at least for an hour, so that the staff won’t think poorly of him.

Pfft. That is so lame.

On a final note, I still think that Hyun Soo’s being a pain, with the way she keeps going to In Sang for anything related to his family, even if it’s not his direct doing.

I’m not surprised that In Sang eventually explodes at her a little bit, telling her that she’s the crazy one, to bother him like this, because he’s a married man.

Yep. I do think that Hyun Soo’s romantic interest in In Sang is definitely driving her behavior, at least in part.

But, now Hyun Soo drops a new tidbit of information, that her dad’s company’s secret funds have everything to do with Jung Ho.

This isn’t surprising news, but it does look like it’s something that In Sang hasn’t thought about.

I wonder what he’ll do with that information, and whether it’ll end up helping his case against Jung Ho..?

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eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago

“i want to put this up for a vote on social media” – in sang’s little sister.
yei, that’s the way to go! as she says, this looks like it is being filmed as a sageuk in their household. she does get to the essence of the entire “field game”. i like the way the drama uses her little sarcastic rebellious remarks. she’s is an antidote to her brother, (until… he also revolts) and to the poisons of her parents..

you know how almost every drama has stumbling blocks, where you just had enough of crying for 5 min., walking for 5 min., staring into space for 5 min., day dreaming for 5 min., endless flash backs, etc… where you just want to give up. it does happen to me quite often, and i just switch to another drama, and usually after a cooling off period go back to the first one.
well, the greatness of this drama that it has none of it, absolutely none. it does not provide a moment of boredom – which is quite refreshing. every scene is full of meaning, psychological riddles, thought provoking and much more.

i wanted to mention about this scene, where bom’s parents’ desperation reaches new highs, and they want to send uncle to farm some land that mother has, to simply get rid of the disturbance in their lives. (psychology behind this idea?)
they are able to quickly catch themselves and self-reflect. that’s exactly what in sang’s parents offered them, so was it such a bad idea? if it is THAT bad, how come they are thinking along this same line? after all, bom’s father is close to a complete failure in life, and an orchard would solve their problems. but… seems like pride is more important than having a better life. from what i see in other dramas, it is not always that the rich in-laws are ready and willing to help, regardless of their motives. i am not saying that bom’s in-laws are saints, far from it, but the idea might have been beneficial. i also have seen in other korean dramas that people dream and want to have land and make a living like this. again, what i am saying is that this is food for thought.

dark clouds are gathering above the “palace”, and a revolt is slowly brewing by the domestic help. that can be lethal, but very interesting. the queen’s new rules threaten to backfire. did she go too far?

i have another question. it is not clear to me – how can a law firm represent both parties – the defendant and the plaintiff?
from what i understand, jung ho’s firms’ lawyers have independent practices, but still. how would they go against their own attorneys and fight. is it simply a drama trick, or is it really real, as to me it seems that it will be very awkward and even risky?

MariaF
MariaF
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda
seems like pride is more important than having a better life

In “One spring night “ the middle sister says: “it’s always the beggars who care about their dignity”.

I don’t totally agree with her, but I think there are many reasons why some people become successful, while others remain poor. 

Inability to recognize and grab an opportunity is one of them. The issue is multidimensional.

By the way, farming is also a business, so there is no guarantee that Bom’s family will become successful working the land.

how can a law firm represent both parties – the defendant and the plaintiff

I know nothing about how Korean law firm conduct their business.

In the US, I don’t think it’s always illegal for a law firm to represent opposing sides, as long as the clients sign an informed written consent.

Some clients agree to that for various reasons. The Chinese wall protocol is used in such situations, although it’s more common in finance.

But I doubt a serious law firm would want to get into such an ethically questionable situation. So I agree, it’s strange. 

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  MariaF

maria, thank you for your input.
farming is also a business, so there is no guarantee that Bom’s family will become successful working the land.

i basically agree with your assessment, but there are no guarantees for anything in life, so i would say they should have probably tried. i imagine, that the in-laws would have provided them with workers or capital to hire enough help. (god forbid bom’s family will come back) and i think that farming would have been simpler for the family to work with, the mother could have also get involved in something like this. and the brother/uncle. also, there is not as much competition as in the city. it’s easier to survive, may be not get rich, but survive comfortably. at least they would have lived of off the produce and would have been able to grow their own food. but i know very little about farming in general, so this is just an uneducated guess…

and thanks about the explanation about law practices. i knew nothing about the chinese wall protocol, so i google it and it is more clear to me now. but still, what kind of atmosphere would it create, when one attorney trying to outsmart the other and they all work in the same office?, no matter what, they are all still humans, not excused from human emotions.

MariaF
MariaF
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda

I agree that they should’ve tried. But it wouldn’t have been an easy ride.

I understand their hesitation and their doubts.

Besides the fact that they will be indebted to their in-laws, farming is hard.

The work never stops. You need to know the process (what, how and when). You need to be an early riser. You need to know what stuff to buy (like which fertilizer, etc.).

You need to be able to sell your product for profit. Weather can be good, but there are bad years too.

The family will need a proper manager (hopefully just in the beginning).

Also, we know that the in-laws wouldn’t just give Bom’s family the money and leave them alone. Because, like you said, they wouldn’t want her family to reappear.

what kind of atmosphere would it create, when one attorney trying to outsmart the other and they all work in the same office?

Honestly, attorneys trying to outsmart each other wouldn’t be my biggest concern.

They are always trying to do that anyway. They are competing for more money, better clients, partnerships, etc… They live in a cut-throat world.

I would be more worried about information/ strategy sharing, which might not necessarily be accidental.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  MariaF

maria, you succeeded to talk me into giving up any “dreams” of becoming a farmer.

But it wouldn’t have been an easy ride.
I understand their hesitation and their doubts.

i find that nothing is easy in this life, whether in real or on screen.
i also understand their hesitation, but isn’t it how this family lives and isn’t it that this is how they find themselves in pretty difficult situations? i do not find them lazy, but one must have guts, a little bit of brain and yes, balls – does this father have it? i doubt it. and so they decline whatever comes their way. although the mother is kind in nature, deeply cares about her family and somewhat street-smart, she still finds herself in this predicament. i still think that if anything, an orchard could have worked out for them, and the mother could have taken a more active role, working on a farm (after all, this is not live stock, or produce that everything can effect it, it is an orchard, which is some kind of fruit trees. you do not need to plant, you need to maintain and harvest. and this seems easier to control and make it profitable.)
and getting the money from the in-laws. isn’t every business getting a loan from the bank or something like this? after all, they could have paid it back, if they felt they needed to.
they did consider taking the in-laws proposals, and dad was thinking of a business like a restaurant,- now that’s really tricky and difficult to stay above water. a farm is definitely easier.
but… they blew it. and that’s that.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago

The Empire strikes back! Waiting for the return of the Jedi in the next couple of weeks.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

snow flower
cute!

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Ooh, good analogy! Let’s see what the plucky rebellion has in store!

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

Your path’s unbeaten and it’s all uphill

I like the fact that the drama has thrown obstacles into Bom’s “smooth path toward world domination” (nice! @Trent) as it makes the story much more interesting. And, like kfangurl, I have no idea how this is all going to play out, a real strength in a drama.

A few unrelated comments:

(1) Oh, that weasely weasel Jung Ho! I am starting to wonder how he became such a feared force in law in the first place. I know he had that chaebol privilege to get him started on his own path (one of the few pleasures of Sound of Magic was the lovely metaphor of the smooth concrete road vs. the bumpy dirt road) but he had to succeed somewhat on his own to stay there. I can buy that he has an Achilles heel when it comes to dealing with women, but his is turning up some real next-level cowardice as we go along.

(2) It strikes me that so much of the show is play-like, very talky with the same sets and camera angles again and again and again, like Jung Ho’s office with Sec’y Yang hovering over his shoulder, or that weird party apartment, or the teaching room, etc. But at other times we get really effective cinematic tricks like the double images through panes of glass or those long shots through the menacing house (repeated a lot, true, but still very nice) that elevates the viewing experience by contrast. (There’s one I really like in Ep 21.)

(3) Gotta give credit to the show for its plot development. I now look forward to every episode whereas at the beginning it felt like a chore to watch and an effort to stay awake while doing so (a role currently taken by our other group watch – hoping that that one will pick up steam too).

Not a Spoiler But a Boring Footnote Like I Use In Practically Everything Else I Write
I’ve run out of lyrics from the eponymous song of the show so I’m reaching out to other sources. A cookie to whoever gets this one!

Last edited 1 month ago by j3ffc
eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  j3ffc

show is complicated, twisted, sophisticated, intellectual, unpredictable – and will keep you on your toes till the end. i personally really appreciate something like this way more than something dripping with white sugar or even worse, some artificial sweetener. but this is my preference.

MariaF
MariaF
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda
+100
This show is unique!

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  MariaF

maria, glad you are with us on this one.

MariaF
MariaF
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda
You know how sometimes you watch a show and think to yourself: “Oh. Here we go again. It’s one of those.”

You don’t get this kind of thoughts when you watch *grapevine.

There are simply no “one of those”.

Last edited 1 month ago by MariaF
eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  MariaF

maria,
yeah, right. isn’t that your “something new under the sun”?
but that is why when beez and i saw it, we were quite taken by it, and that is why we were so enthusiastic to try to have it as a group watch. too bad beez is too busy with her new house and is not able to join us.

MariaF
MariaF
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda
isn’t that your “something new under the sun”?
Oh. You got me!

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

Looking forward to seeing how things play out now that we’ve made it to Act 3…..

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  j3ffc

— Re: Jung-ho, I think this actually a variation of the trope (which I think we see somewhat reflected in real life, on occasion), of the type of person who is analytically very strong, but just has very poor emotional intelligence, or at least low EQ in some/most dimensions.

Combine that with, as you say, Jung-ho’s privilege already giving him a substantial leg up, and I don’t find it too unbelievable that he would actually be legit very good at what he does (wheeler-dealer, fixer, power-broker at major law firm), while being wretchedly incompetent at normal folks’ more human interactions.

Trent
1 month ago

I’m totally with your observations up at the opening of your notes; these couple episodes gave me a bit of whiplash. Just when I thought Bom was on the smooth path to world domination, show mixes things up and we are in for some kind of retrenchment/readjustment. I also am not sure just what end game looks like here, and we’re officially two-thirds of the way through.

One thing I find particularly interesting is how Yeon-hee was previously seeming to really soften towards Bom and view her almost as a competent and welcome ally. And Yeon-hee was up in arms against Jung-ho’s marital nonsense (and to be fair, that animus is still simmering). But then somewhat to my surprise…Yeon-hee apparently judges that the rebellion must be crushed as the overarching goal, and that therefore she has to close ranks with Jung-ho, at least to provide a united front from the throne, so to speak. And hence all those (truly onerous, ridiculous) rules.

I definitely sense a brewing rebellion among the court and ministers (to extend the analogy); just curious how head on it will be…perhaps more a soft power undercutting? I expect that Bom will put her fine strategic head to the problem. Or maybe I’m just idly speculating here…will be interesting to find out. One reason I keep being very absorbed in continuing and watching show as it unfolds, it has continued to remain interesting.

I do think that we’ve spent enough time, up to and including currently, on the Secretary Min/Chul-sik case, that it almost has to play a prominent part in what’s to come. Will it lead to the downfall of Hansong? Or just a rebalancing of power dynamics? Stay tuned!