Open Thread: Heard It Through The Grapevine Episodes 21 & 22

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Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I’ve got this screenshot headlining our post today, because I do love how gung-ho and earnest Bom and In Sang are, in doing their best to run the household on their own. Plus, doesn’t In Sang look kinda cute in an apron? 😁

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 21

Everyone’s uneasy in the Han household, and it feels like every little move that anyone makes – whether intentionally or not intentionally – is ripe for some kind of ripple effect.

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How stressful and.. suffocating. 😝

It’s a tussle for the upper hand, particularly between the parents and children of the Han household, and in the end, it’s poor Bom who ends up getting stuck in the middle.

But that’s partly because Yeon Hee refuses to be the mediator between Jung Ho and the kids, the way he expects her to.

From where I’m sitting, it does look like that’s largely to do with her dissatisfaction at the way Jung Ho’s been treating her, particularly of late.

Meaning, I think that Jung Ho’s brought this on himself, and it’s just like him to not see that, and just bluster angrily instead, that Yeon Hee needs to do more than just sit on her throne.

Yeon Hee’s intent, of getting Jung Ho to connect personally with Yi Ji, is not a bad one, since it’s true that their father-daughter relationship could use some work.

However, Yi Ji’s got Jung Ho all figured out, and won’t suffer his overly bright show of being friendly with her.

I’m actually really impressed that Yi Ji cuts right to the core of the matter, and points out that the big difference between Jung Ho and Bill Clinton, whom he’s using as an example, is that Bill Clinton apologized for the error of his ways, while Jung Ho has never apologized.

Ooh. Burnnn. But also, so accurate! Yi Ji might be the youngest in the family (not counting Jin Young), but she’s definitely a sharper thinker than her parents give her credit for.

Unfortunately, Yi Ji hits a very raw nerve with Yeon Hee, when she mentions the thing between Jung Ho and Young Ra, and that triggers that start of an eruption, in the household.

Because, not only does it cause Yi Ji to run to Bom to ask about her rights to report domestic abuse, because she’s just been slapped by Yeon Hee, it also triggers her to blurt out that  Housekeeper Jung should take off the uniform because it’s ugly.

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In fact, it just feels like everyone’s true triggers are coming out in full force, because Yeon Hee’s simmering dissatisfaction with Bom comes out too, just because Bom addresses Yi Ji by name, instead of addressing her as “sister-in-law.”

Things are definitely getting ugly up in here; the niceties are being dropped pretty fast, and true feelings are being splattered about quite freely, it seems. Eep.

Even the only nicety that remains in place – that Yeon Hee puts up a united front with Jung Ho despite being displeased with him – gets compromised, when Yeon Hee, freshly livid at being reminded of Jung Ho’s dalliance with Young Ra, relegates him to sleeping on the floor. Ha.

Poor Bom. It definitely looks like she’s the convenient punching bag in this, for the fact that she’s not Jung Ho and Yeon Hee’s daughter, but their daughter-in-law.

I’m glad that In Sang’s firmly in her corner, and I’m also glad that their relationship is as full of communication and trust as it is.

Even though In Sang had grunted his agreement when Hyun Soo had demanded that he keep it a secret even from Bom, that she’d told him about the company secrets of Daehan and Hansong, In Sang doesn’t think twice about confiding in Bom.

It’s arguable whether what In Sang did was right, since he had agreed to Hyun Soo’s demand, no matter how reluctantly.

However, I do think that In Sang’s decision to be completely open with Bom, not only about the secret itself, but also, about the way Hyun Soo had come on to him, was the right decision for their relationship.

Given everything that Bom’s been through at home in In Sang’s absence, it just feels to me, that having the assurance that In Sang is completely transparent with her, and fully in her corner, would definitely help her to feel better after being lashed out at, by her in-laws.

Also, it’s kind of amusing how In Sang is so wholehearted, in the way he then avoids spending time alone with Hyun Soo, as per Bom’s instruction. I have to love how unabashed he is about it, too.

He doesn’t care about looking like a whipped husband; he only cares that he’s keeping his word to Bom. That is very sweet.

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I actually like the fact that Secretary Lee consults Bom about what to do about the employment contract, and how to best get a copy of the contract. That shows that she trusts Bom, for sure, and I just like the idea of Bom winning people’s hearts.

The actual act of having Driver Kim reach out to Secretary Yang does seem to kick off rather unsettling sequence of events.

For one thing, Secretary Yang definitely seems to be playing double agent.

On the one hand, she appears to be suspicious of this move on Hansong’s behalf, but on the other hand, she shows up at Secretary Lee’s house when Teacher Park comes over to look over the contract for Secretary Lee, and appears to be one of them too.

That’s definitely suspicious, yes?

Funnily enough, it’s Teacher Park who gets all riled up about the contract, when Jung Ho’s intention in inviting Teacher Park back, is so that Teacher Park can help him keep everyone in the house in order, according to Jung Ho’s preferences.

I’m sure Jung Ho would be so offended to know that Teacher Park’s already on the staffs’ side, even before coming back.

On the upside, though, it feels like Teacher Park and Secretary Lee might just be on the road to reconciliation, since Secretary Lee actually seems to like it when Teacher Park blurts out that he’s upset because “his woman” is being treated this way. Ooh. 😏

As if all this internal drama isn’t enough, Young Ra stirs the pot too, with her targeted lie to Yeon Hee, that there are rumors flying around about In Sang.

I can’t tell if the reason Young Ra’s doing this, is on the off-chance that she can get In Sang for Hyun Soo, who’s still clearly hung up on him. But at least part of the reason, is because Young Ra wants to mess with Yeon Hee, I’m sure.

Over at the Seo household, things are getting a little rocky as well, with the family members divided over Chul Sik’s case.

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I guess it’s safe to say no one’s actually having an easy time, in this drama world.

The thing that shocks me the most, as we close out the episode, is how Yeon Hee starts referring to the possibility of getting rid of Bom. Say, what?

What happened to all of the progress that Bom made, supporting Yeon Hee when she’d been down? And all the progress that came from Bom having such great potential in her studies?

It all feels like that’s about to be thrown down the drain, because of this internal drama.

Gah. That makes Bom’s foothold in the family feel so weak and precarious. 😓

In fact, when Yeon Hee goes to check in on In Sang and Bom, on Young Ra’s snide suggestion, she looks legit displeased, when everything seems to be fine between the young couple.

In Sang and Bom having such a strong relationship, is one of my favorite things in this show, so I really hope Yeon Hee leaves them alone! 😝

Episode 22

Teacher Park makes his formal return to the Han household, this episode, and while that’s something that In Sang, Bom, Yi Ji and the staff have been looking forward to, things, uh.. don’t quite go the way they’d hoped.

I feel like the staff are a little naive in their optimism, as they write down their various demands, so that Teacher Park can include them when he brings up the contract to Jung Ho.

I mean, they’ve been working for Jung Ho and Yeon Hee for literal decades now. Do they really think that Jung Ho and Yeon Hee would compromise on some of these fundamental routines in the household, like the morning greeting, just because the staff request for it?

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I’ve only known Jung Ho and Yeon Hee for.. 22 hours now, and I already know that these types of requests will be nothing short of horrifying, to their eyes.

Nonetheless, everyone in the house looks on like curious meerkats, as Teacher Park presents those requests to Jung Ho, even as they also all look ready to dive back into their caves, should Jung Ho so much as look in their direction.

As I’d expected, Jung Ho is not at all amused by the requests, and Yeon Hee is upset enough, to leave the room even before the requests have been fully read out.

That’s not a good start at all – and it’s also a good indication of everything else that unfolds, this episode.

Because Jung Ho and Yeon Hee don’t respond to the staff requests, everyone goes on strike, and.. honestly, that feels like the beginning of the end. 😅

As any of us could have imagined, nothing runs right in the household without the staff, and well, things just seem to get worse and worse, while Bom, In Sang and Yi Ji do their best to keep things running, while Jung Ho and Yeon Hee continue to keep a stiff upper lip.

This is quite literally the drama equivalent of watching a train-wreck in slow motion. Everything looks poised for disaster, and it’s a mess, but you can’t look away, because it’s a mess.

The longer Jung Ho and Yeon Hee hold out and stick to their old customs, the clearer it becomes, that it’s useless to have all these airs and expectations, when there’s no one who actually wants to bow to you.

While all this is going on, and the staff gather at Secretary Lee’s home to hang out, it strikes me that Housekeeper Jung and Butler Park actually have pretty strong personal attachments to the house where they’ve worked for so long.

Conversely, we see that it isn’t very long before Jung Ho sends new staff to the house, via Secretary Yang (the double agent!) – except that In Sang turns them away, saying that they’ll manage fine on their own.

What a contrast, eh?

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It’s honestly kind of sad, that while the staff themselves have some personal attachment to the house and its inhabitants, Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are more than ready to have them replaced, because of how they’ve been inconvenienced.

On a side note, I find it very intriguing, that we get that scene of Secretary Yang low-key threatening Secretary Kim with the knowledge that his parents think that he’s working as a lawyer in Seoul.

In response, a startled Secretary Kim bows and addresses Secretary Yang as “대표님” (“daepyo-nim” which is the general term of address for a company president).

Hmm. Does this mean that Secretary Yang is, in fact, the president of Han Trust? Secretary Min does mention, this episode, that the president / owner of Han Trust has the same last name as Secretary Yang, after all..?

I’m curious to see what the significance of this is, to our story, since I’m pretty sure Show didn’t drop those nuggets just for funsies.

In the meantime, things continue to grow more strained in the Seo household.

Dad and Noo Ri want Bom to align herself with her in-laws as much as possible, and not fall out of favor, while Mom and Chul Sik are more gung-ho about Bom standing up for what she believes in.

I can see where both sides are coming from, and it’s hard to say who has a stronger case, but it is true that Bom’s having a hard time, and is not at all in her in-laws’ good books.

Meanwhile, Yeon Hee’s toxic friends continue to sow the idea that Bom’s more than likely behind everything. Huh, they’re not even sure, and have no evidence, and Yeon Hee believes them and sobs that she hates Bom so, so, soooo much!

Boo. I’m disappointed in Yeon Hee for this, honestly. I’d hoped that the time she’d spent getting to know Bom, would have stood her in better stead than this.

By the time Jung Ho and Yeon Hee return home to find that In Sang and Bom have turned up the heat in the master bedroom to deal with the mold, Yeon Hee’s ready to snap, and that’s when she tells Bom to leave. Without Jin Young.

UGH. I can’t believe Yeon Hee’s actually doing this.

Like I said, I’d expected better from Yeon Hee, particularly since we’ve seen her warm to Bom over so many episodes.

I’m glad that Bom says she won’t leave alone, and I’m glad that In Sang and Yi Ji instinctively back her up on this.

That’s right, if Bom has to leave, you should ALL leave with her, and then let’s see how well Jung Ho and Yeon Hee survive on their own. Muahaha. 😈

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eda harris
eda harris
4 months ago

did anybody notice this weird thing, in episode 22, at 14 minutes, the stuff is discussing things in their little room-hideout. right behind the butler’s shoulder, on the wall next to the window, there is a picture hanging. this is the picture of bom’s parents, sitting somewhere on the grass, when they were young. we saw this picture hanging in bom’s parents house. how come it’s also on the wall in this room, the stuff really has no connection to bom’s parents. so why and how would they have this hanging there?
was it just used carelessly as a prop here without much thinking, or what… it just looked to me real weird.
sorry, i notice all kind of little details.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

When did you see that picture in Bom’s parents’ home? And in episode 22, I couldn’t make out who was in that picture at all.

eda harris
eda harris
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

the same picture hangs in bom’s parent’s house, unfortunately i did not pay attention at that time what episode it was, since i did not think of it as important. but there were even some remarks, that this picture was taken when they were young and in love. it’s 99.9% the same picture. i am not sure i am in the mood to go again through all the episodes to find it.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda
Dont rewatch the episodes. If it’s the same picture, I have no idea why it’s there anyway (even if you tell me the episode number). And if it’s not the same picture, there is nothing to explain.

Leslie
Leslie
4 months ago

This is such a smart and literate, yet eminently entertaining show. As many have said, it has it’s own style, and I also feel it has a book-like quality, as if I’m reading a manuscript. Interesting camera angles, micro facial expressions, overblown reactions, some funny physicality (looking at you Jung Ho, whether you appreciate it or not), and so importantly, the OST!, all add to a depth of ambiance and aura. It’s its own contained world, like the pages of a book.

Small things:

  • Yeon Hee is a jerk for letting her so-called friends believe that it was Seo Bom who hit Yi Ji, and not herself.
  • The frustrated communication between Bom’s parents is so realistic, it’s a bit painful. They just see Bom’s situation from totally different perspectives, and can’t move from their respective perches. Still, Bom’s mom is a star for being so intuitive about Bom’s difficult daily life, and for wanting more for her, even at the expense of money and privilege.
  • The younger generation IS changing things, with micro (and what looks like a macro one coming up) rebellions – as is the world changing around Mr. and Mrs. Han, witness the employee strike. The structure beneath the isolated privilege of the Han’s class and cohort is weakening and slipping, and they haven’t gotten it yet. It creates tension in my watch.
  • Despite that, the change feels so fragile, for Bom and In Sang, Yi Ji, the employees, and all those around them. Will the powerful wrest back absolute power? It also create tension in my watch.

Hold on to that baby, Seo Bom, and tightly! Bom is such a brave young woman – I love her.

Last edited 4 months ago by Leslie
eda harris
eda harris
4 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

leslie, well said!
It also create tension in my watch.

here is something for you to ease your tension – drama throws little sparkles in the middle of stress and tension: in sang in a GREEN apron (i found this hilarious); baby pooped – in sang washed him in the kitchen sink (sister sure has a thorny sense of humor, telling it to the parents during their meal) – sends parents to puke their guts out- i found the whole scene extremely amusing.

when i watched this drama the first time, i could not think of what i am thinking – it was so different from all i have seen before, i was stunned. aigoo! when i came to my senses i could not understand how this drama is not on a pedestal and does not get the highest ratings. this drama was really a revelation in the world of asian dramas.
and you are right, it has this element of a good book or manuscript.

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 months ago

OK, now it’s on.

I mean, the whole idea that “Jin Young’s mother” would leave without her son is so Jung Ho and Yeon Hee, which is to say so very, very wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the moment when Bom, decided more than ever, that things are gonna have to change.

Trent
4 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Oh wow, wait until the next two episodes, which I have now blazed through in nothing flat, and I really really really want to go on to find out what happens…

(which is to say, their majesties don’t become any less terrible).

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Uh oh.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
4 months ago

Anyone else who wants to punch Secretary Yang in the face? Her annoying smile is stretching my patience.
I was impressed with Yi Ji in these episodes.

Trent
4 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Secretary Yang is becoming more and more one of the “smiling villains” of the piece. She seemingly has a foot in all camps, so to speak, but she’s really Jung-ho’s right hand fixer in the end (which admittedly does allow her latitude to point out to him when he’s making a mistake or should think about adjusting course).

eda harris
eda harris
4 months ago
Reply to  Trent

but she’s also friendly with other people working for jung ho, especially with secretary lee. i do not think it is all fake and acting, she does have genuine (or semi-genuine) connections with this people. yes, she’s the fixer for jung ho, she knows him more than anybody else, having worked for him (and with him) for 30 years. she is more understanding of him than his wife, and at times she’s like his mother. but she can help him in this way because she also understands the people working for him, and so can maneuver many situations and prevent disasters and so on.
i really appreciate how the drama created this very very multifaceted character.

Trent
4 months ago

OMG, “curious meerkats”, I’m ded 💀🤣. What a perfect description! That is kind of what they all look like, isn’t it?

(the interior architecture of the family compound has been tripping me out from the beginning; the way they can all just kind of peer into the master’s lair, while still being distanced by the bannister and height differential…I was thinking just yesterday about the other chaebol modern court drama we’ve seen where the architecture felt so distinctive–Money Flower. It really brings something extra to the drama, in both cases, I feel).

Show continues to be fascinating in its twists and turns, and once again, I was faced with having to restrain myself from jumping right ahead to see what happens! This show doesn’t have the same touch with cliff hangers that Money Flower did (they’re different styles of drama, after all), but I definitely felt it when they ordered the exile of our Bom there at the end. How dare?! I’m fired up for some open warfare, and for our royal couple to be taught a lesson…

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Now that I think of it, I do think that my first drama addiction was probably Meerkat Manor.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
4 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I also see elements of Money Flower and SKY Castle in the setting, but I agree that this drama has its own style.