Open Thread: Heard It Through The Grapevine Episodes 23 & 24

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! This was a tough pair of episodes, not gonna lie. And since this scene was so pivotal, I thought it made sense to have it headline our post today, even though this scene did not make me happy. 🫤

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 23

Grrargh. At this point, I just want Bom to pack up and leave already, and I want her to take Jin Young and In Sang with her, and go make a new life and be really happy and successful, and leave Jung Ho and Yeon Hee to wallow in their self-righteous misery. 😤

It was just so hard to see Bom breaking down in tears like that, particularly since she’s usually so calm, unruffled and even-keeled.

This means that she really is that hurt and that shaken, and why wouldn’t she be, with the way Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are treating her, like she’s the scum of the earth?

Mainly, I just want Bom to stop feeling so miserable, and leaving that toxic environment seems like a quick way to have Bom experience a less anxiety-ridden life.

Plus, I do think that losing Jin Young and In Sang would kick Jung Ho and Yeon Hee where it hurts.

They might act like they’re fine, but you know that this would be something that would eat away at them, and maybe-possibly drive them to change their ways, if only to get Jin Young and In Sang back?

This episode, it really, really bugs me, that the more they think about it, the more self-righteous they become, about how Bom’s ruined everything and everyone, and how they need to get rid of her, in order for things to go back to their right places.

It actually gave me a good amount of satisfaction, when Bom agrees so readily, to leave the house, and informs Jung Ho and Yeon Hee that she would leave with Jin Young, much like how she’d arrived in that house, along with Jin Young.

I’m honestly rather surprised, that Bom’s plan is that she should leave with Jin Young, and that In Sang should stay and convince his parents to change their minds.

Given how hurt she is, I’d expected that Bom’s decision to leave had been real and final, but this shows that she’s got a more long-term plan in mind, and that she intends to come back to this house, with the way paved for a better life ahead.

Bom really has her wits about her, and I’m really impressed that she would even be able to entertain these thoughts, while feeling so hurt.

I do love how Jin Ae is so ready to fly to her daughter’s side, no questions asked, if that’s what Bom needs.

And, the way that the household staff come flying back to the house, when they hear that Bom’s about to be kicked out, also gives me a good amount of similar energy.

They care about Bom like family, and that’s why they come back, even though they’re on strike.

It’s only afterwards, that Housekeeper Jung says to Bom that instead of thinking of it as Bom having failed, she’ll think of it as Bom having given them an excuse to return. Gosh, I love Housekeeper Jung. That is so kind.

I love Jin Ae more, the more I see of her, particularly in emergency situations like this. She’s always grace under fire, when the going gets tough, and I love how she sits down and talks to In Sang about the situation, instead of yelling at him like most mothers-in-law would have done.

And, there’s the way she has no harsh words for Bom either, and simply cries with her, and holds her, and essentially lets Bom do what she thinks is best, even if Jin Ae herself isn’t so sure if it’s the right choice to make.

Secretary Yang ends up being the mediator through this whole thing, acting as the go-between for Jung Ho and Yeon Hee on the one hand, and the household staff on the other.

It occurs to me that previously, Jung Ho had mentioned that this is the kind of thing he’d expected Yeon Hee to have done, as matriarch.

This makes me see Secretary Yang in a new light, because, in a weird sense, she is kinda-sorta fulfilling the matriarch role in our story.

When Jung Ho acts up and gets all upset and peevish, she’s the one who watches over him and sweet-talks him, and when he gets really out of line, she’s the one who intervenes and tells him that he should do things differently.

And now, when things are at an impasse in Jung Ho’s home, she steps in to mediate between the Jung Ho and Yeon Hee, and the staff.

How.. interesting, yet dysfunctional, at the same time? Especially the part where Jung Ho and Yeon Hee need paid personnel to intervene, in order to get things to work in their home?

And even then, their own relationship is still in a bit of a mess, since the united front is only for show, and as far as Yeon Hee is concerned, Jung Ho’s still in the doghouse and doesn’t deserve to sleep on the bed.

ALSO. Despite Secretary Yang’s mediation, Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are both still cold, peevish and touchy, the following morning, as if to show their displeasure continues, despite the official truce.

I do love that when Yeon Hee’s sarcastic to Secretary Lee, Secretary Lee outright quotes Jung Ho back at Yeon Hee, “Generosity and understanding. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

Muahaha. I do love Secretary Lee’s deadpan elegant sass. 😁

I feel bad for Chul Sik, that he gets berated for what’s happened to Bom.

As unfair as it’s been for Bom to be blamed for Chul Sik’s actions, it’s just as unfair to blame Chul Sik, for how Jung Ho and Yeon Hee have taken out their anger on Bom.

It’s exactly as Bom tells Jung Ho at the beginning of the episode; Chul Sik’s simply filing a lawsuit against the company where he’d used to work.

It’s Jung Ho’s own fault, that this is a problem for Hansong, because of Hansong’s dirty dealings in how the case had originally been handled.

That’s like.. robbing a bank, and then getting angry at the police for doing their job in coming after you.

Also, we finally get a clearer indication of why Jung Ho can’t get rid of Secretary Min, even though he wants nothing more than to fire her.

It’s essentially the same reason that he chooses to back down, with the household staff; Secretary Min knows too much, and he can’t risk her spilling that information if she’s let go.

Ahh. See, this is what happens when you conduct yourself in a way where you end up with lots of shady secrets, Jung Ho.

Because Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are counting on Bom doing poorly on the mock test, in order to have a reason to kick her out, I’m pleased that both Bom and In Sang do well on the test, in spite of all the emotional upheaval they’ve both just been through.

This means that Jung Ho and Yeon Hee can’t use the test results as a reason to force Bom out.

However, I’m intrigued by the fact that In Sang and Bom ask Teacher Park to keep their test scores a secret for the time being, so that they can reconsider their goals.

I’d kind of forgotten, but it’s true what Bom says; the only reason they’re studying law and preparing for the bar exam, is because Jung Ho and Yeon Hee want them to. It’s not something they ever wanted, for themselves.

It does make sense, that they should stop to think about whether this is something that they really want.

That said, I can’t imagine what course of action they would take, if they were to decide that they don’t actually want to take the bar exam anymore.

If they fake their test scores to be much poorer, for example, wouldn’t that just give Jung Ho and Yeon Hee ammunition against Bom..? I’m curious to see what In Sang and Bom have in mind.

Meanwhile, I’m very much intrigued by the conversation between Secretary Yang and Secretary Lee, as we close out the episode.

So.. Secretary Yang’s been skimming money off Han Trust, of which her brother is the official CEO, and she’s offering to share that skimmed money with Secretary Lee, in exchange for her cooperation, since Jung Ho and Yeon Hee refuse to talk about severance pay..?

That’s.. pretty wild, when I think about it.

I guess Secretary Yang’s work relationship with Jung Ho really is of the “trust me to do my job; just don’t mind how I do it” sort of thing.

Even more intriguing, is Secretary Lee’s response, that 50% isn’t enough, and will not buy her cooperation or her silence.

Ooh. Gauntlet, thrown.

My gut tells me that Secretary Lee isn’t just doing this for herself, though; that she’s doing this for the sake of the rest of the household staff as well.

Let’s see if I’m right – and also, let’s see if Secretary Yang will bite. She looks like she’s maybe about to bust a blood vessel, from the effort of maintaining that strained smile, in the face of Secretary Lee’s audacious demand.

Episode 24

This little bubble of happiness picture in this screenshot is so fleeting, sigh.

All I want is for Bom to be happy, and that is absolutely not what I’m getting, this episode. 😭

After attacking Bom directly last episode, this episode, Jung Ho and Yeon Hee change tactics, and attack via In Sang instead.

In theory, I wouldn’t expect their plan to work. After all, their plan is basically to show In Sang everything that he stands to inherit – and then make it a condition that in order to receive his inheritance, he needs to divorce Bom.

I wouldn’t expect In Sang to accept such a condition in a million years. But, whaddya know, just the existence of the offer and the condition attached to it, is enough to drive a small but persistent wedge between In Sang and Bom.

NoOo.. say it isn’t so! 😭

Essentially, I don’t think that In Sang wants to break up with Bom at all. But what Jung Ho does seem to have some success with, is showing In Sang the reality of how things would be, if he were to truly only live by his ideals.

Jung Ho mentions Bom’s dilapidated family home as an example, and we see later, that he also impresses on In Sang, how Hansong would go bankrupt, if Chul Sik’s case were allowed to be a precedent.

I don’t think In Sang is greedy for his inheritance per se, but I can believe that he would be concerned with his family going bankrupt, because that’s no longer just about him, but also about his parents and Yi Ji as well.

No wonder he becomes so heavily troubled, after his conversation with Jung Ho.

I do appreciate that while this is going on, the household staff agree that regardless of Jung Ho and Yeon Hee’s efforts to exclude Bom, that they will continue to treat Bom as the young mistress of the house.

And, it does give me a shot of gratification, to note that it’s Secretary Lee who speaks up for Bom like this.

Also, there’s that beat as well, when Secretary Lee asks Bom to have lunch with her and the rest of the staff, because Yeon Hee isn’t home. The warmth in Secretary Lee’s smile, as she makes the invitation, makes me smile.

Gosh, I just love any little indication that Bom truly has Secretary Lee’s loyalty and trust.

On the other hand, I hated that scene where Hyun Soo and Min Jae visit the Han household, on the pretext of cheering up Bom.

Ugh. What kind of weird conversation is that, where Hyun Soo discusses, in front of Bom, why things hadn’t worked out between her and In Sang?!?

This visit doesn’t turn out to be anything like its stated purpose, which had been to cheer Bom up. Instead, they’re making Bom feel bad and uncomfortable, and also, Bom’s being made to fulfill the role of housekeeper, because they’re there.

With “friends” like these, who would really want any, really?

We finally see what Secretary Lee’s real request is, when she meets Secretary Yang, and like I’d guessed, it’s not about tussling with Secretary Yang over her skimmed money at all. It’s about taking care of the staff’s retirement, by making them shareholders in Han Trust.

The idea is not a bad one, if conditions could have allowed it, because, as Secretary Lee says, with Bom behind him, In Sang just might agree to an arrangement like that.

But, as Secretary Yang points out, there’s a possibility that In Sang and Bom will get a divorce – and I’m actually kind of shocked that this seems to be the first that Secretary Lee’s hearing about it.

I suppose, with the improved hours, she has less access to the information flowing around the Han household..?

In the meantime, things come to a head between In Sang and Bom, when Bom realizes that In Sang’s asking her to accept the idea of a settlement for Chul Sik – and thus forsake the justice in court that he seeks – in order to prevent the case from becoming a precedent.

This really is a clash of ideologies, and I can see how upset Bom is, to be confronted with the thought that she and In Sang aren’t on the same page like she’d believed they were.

The way Bom tells In Sang that she’s sorry, and hugs him as she tells him to go home on his own, feels so sad and final. 💔

I refuse to believe this is the end for In Sang and Bom, but.. I also can’t figure out a way forward for them, given the circumstances?

And, how horrible, that back at the Han household, Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are taking actual satisfaction, from the news that In Sang will be coming home alone.

Gah. That makes me so mad. 😤

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eda harris
eda harris
27 days ago

so the sky is dark and heavy in our drama, and the sky is falling, with it’s sun, moon and the stars. all on poor bom’s and in sang’s heads. these few scenes are a real nerve racking, nail-biting situation.
but before i go into those painful situations, i just wanted to mention this: bom’s parents know to be “proud” for themselves, but demand uncle apologize to in-laws and give up the law suit. (beginning of eps. 23) how about his “pride”? is he entitled to his “pride”? when it comes to their own solving a problem, pride gets thrown out.

now about the real problems. our characters are put between the rock and the hard place. and no matter what direction each of them will choose – i can understand. in sang is afraid for his family (of course he does not understand that dad’s bankruptcy threat is sheer nonsense), and of course how can he comprehend that all this inheritance that was his from his birth, will be gone and he’ll be a very poor young man, with no real way to climb out of the hole his dad dug for him. the way his parents dealt with him and his marriage – it is the most cruel way i saw up till now, and for that i truly hate his parents. they are sub human. no matter what in sang will choose, it will be an extremely difficult decision.
now, bom… of course i understand and identify with bom’s unhappiness in this house and this situation… but… bom willing to leave in sang behind – noooooooooooo. you are either married and committed or a “capricious” child.
the break up of the young couple – i did not see it. they together and their love seemed very solid. where did it go and so fast? so sad.

MariaF
MariaF
24 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda
Their love didn’t go anywhere. They are just very young, so they make rush decisions. They’ll figure it out!

I’ve been wondering why I’m not that enthusiastic about participating in this discussion.

I like the show very much, after all.

And it finally dawned on me: it’s a form vs substance thing. 

I absolutely love the form (HOW the show is done). Everything fits perfectly: the writing, acting, the music, etc… 

Normally I don’t consider making faces acting, but this particular show is an exception: actors’ emotions don’t seem fake. Their acting is both truthful and surprising, which is great. 

But for some reason I don’t connect emotionally with the characters.
So it’s a story of a good girl from a family of losers, falling in love with and marrying a boy from a successful, evil family.
The evil family falls apart, the rich boy ends up following his young wife and leaving his comfortable home to live with the family of losers.

The story is very well written, and there’s a lot of drama.

My brain knows it’s a good story… But I don’t like the characters well enough to care. They leave my heart cold(ish).

Maybe the evil parents are too evil, and the young couple are too young, healthy and smart for me to worry about them.

eda harris
eda harris
23 days ago
Reply to  MariaF

wow, maria, how interesting! it seems your intellectual is disconnected from the emotional. it happens sometimes, as long as it’s not permanent, and i do not believe it is in your case. but it’s ok, i have experienced it also.
i do feel for in sang, even more than bom. i like his character, i like the actor, i like his looks. that covers it. and to me his dilemmas are even more severe than anybody else’s.
and his parents do crack me up, even when they are in the most serious.
i think also this drama is so different from almost everything out there, that sometimes it is difficult to know how to feel it, as it is such a sophisticated, intellectual piece of work.

eda harris
eda harris
23 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

just remembered, it happened to me with CLOY. i did like the drama, but could not relate emotionally to the FL, (because of this actress) also the women in the north korean village … they just annoyed me. although the drama as a whole is worth watching.

j3ffc
j3ffc
28 days ago

Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
You know the Queen of Hearts is always your best bet

So, what a long and winding set of circumstances have brought us here. Given these developments, I just don’t know what to make of the times when it appeared that Yeon Hee seemed to be warming to Bom; it’s the one case where I don’t think that the writers handled that development well. [While I’m at it, I also wonder about Secretary Lee’s apparent move to Team Bom, when she told her a while back that just because she got her obedience it didn’t necessarily come with her loyalty.]

Yet here we are. I think if you were to ask Jeon Ho or Yeon Hee, Bom was just an Icarus who got too full of herself and flew way too close to the sun, where she had no reason being, and of course her wings were going to melt. While from Bom’s perspective, I think for the first time in her life she saw this glimpse of possibility and was able to tune out the noise and put on blinders for a while, but the walls are now crashing down and she has to reevaluate. And In Sang is faced with a dilemma that I think any of us not in his shoes could never really appreciate. I mean, it’s easy to judge him for pursuing the Golden Road instead of his heart (the Eagles would certainly agree!), but in the moment, faced with that kind of money….

I agree with kfangurl that I’m just as happy with Bom outta that house, but I don’t ever see the “Adults” learning their lesson or warming their hearts. And now that she’s apparently leaving, with baby in tow, I really hope to see her find a way to continue her self-improvement and education. Because if she finds her mojo and gets into the game (is Korea a meritocracy?), I’m totally betting on her and against Jeon Ho.

Minor thoughts (to add to the above minor thoughts):

(1) Like, kfangurl, I have admired Jae Ae from E1. Class and heart.

(2) The whole thing about the family going poor if Hanwhatever goes bankrupt….hmm. Has nobody heard of corporations in this drama world?

(3) OMG I just learned that Gil-Hae-Yeon, who plays Sec’y Yang, also was The Mother in Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (AKA Something in the Fricking Rain), one of the most reviled characters in my drama experience. 🤨

Trent
28 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I can kind of see and agree with the Yeon-hee shift. I think it’s because her warming up phase was when Bom appeared to be a smart, docile prodigy, but crucially, one that was firmly under their thumb and guidance; the shift (although I’m not sure it was clearly signaled or demarcated) came when it started to become evident that Bom was a bit too smart, and retained an independent world-view, and would not in fact be wholly under their thumb…and Yeon-hee in particular no doubt had a recurrence of her (well-founded) fear that Bom would not only retain influence with her son, but that Bom’s influence with her son would continue to eclipse her own.

Secretary Lee’s shift to Team Bom I think can be clearly traced to Bom proactively apologizing to Sec’y Lee for pulling that power play move on her where she outlined and enforced the hierarchy so explicitly. Because yes, that put Sec’y Lee firmly in her place and compelled her obedience, but then Bom later frankly apologizing and acknowledging that that isn’t the kind of person she really wants to be put them on the road to a lot more normal, “human” sort of relationship. And Bom’s follow up actions, supporting the servants and doing what she could to stand in their corner and for their interests, helped to cement the change in relationship.

j3ffc
j3ffc
28 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I concede both points. I only hope I do better in my deposition tomorrow….😦

eda harris
eda harris
27 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j3ffc,
I just don’t know what to make of the times when it appeared that Yeon Hee seemed to be warming to Bom
at that time bom seemed to yeon hee to be smart, very perceptive, and most important quickly adopting to the ways of the “kingdom” (remember when she scolded secretary lee and yeon hee saw it and was impressed how fast bom is becoming the true “little madam” of the house).
but then… both yeon hee and her partner in crime (her husband) started blaming bom for inciting all the rebellions happening in the previously quiet kingdom – in sang and his little sister, the house help and of course she was also blamed for the uncle’s sudden change (and being from THAT family – guilt by association) and his law suit. in their heads she was the reason of all their troubles, and it had to be stopped. thus the sudden change.

eda harris
eda harris
27 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

j3ffc,
from bom’s perspective, at first, she was fascinated by the idea of POWER, how do you obtain it, how do you use it, what is the benefit. it really occupied her thought process, but once she discovered the meaning of it as presented to her by her father-in-law, she also discovered that this kind of power did not appeal to her, and all of it was against her ideology and the way she imagined life to be for her and in sang.
although, in my opinion, she was impatient and rushed to action, instead of letting it settle in her own mind and figure out a way of how to handle it. as a matter of fact, that is what i expected from her. throwing out the love of her life, the father of her son – that was childish, a snap decision and of course impulsive.
it was not the right time and not the right way – it required strategic thinking, which i thought bom possessed quite nicely, but gave up on it. i was quite upset with bom, when she told in sang that her parents will not accept him, or will not allow him to stay in their house ( what? where did she get this idea? i think her parents would gladly accept and would be happy that in sang would stay with bom, no matter where). i think it was quite insulting to in sang, regardless of how many disagreements the young couple was faced with. that’s not to say that i do not understand bom’s frustration, which was quite justified, but… not the way she handled it.

now that she’s apparently leaving, with baby in tow, I really hope to see her find a way to continue her self-improvement and education.
how, j3ffc, she is very very young, never earned a penny in her life, with a child on her hands. and even that her parents will try to help, it’s not going to be enough, her parents are poor and in debt. how can she continue her education? where will the money come from? and the father of the child is still in high school!!! and even if in sang would move with her, it will mainly fall on her parents to support all 3 of them, as i am sure, his parents will refuse to help in any way. that is why, both in sang and bom should have thought about all of this together, and stay one team. it was heart breaking to see them fall apart under pressure (enormous pressure, i admit).

and yes, gil hae yeon is a truly versatile actress, she’s also the mother in one spring night as well as something in the rain – two extremes of a mother figure. and i was amazed to see her in this drama, and thought that she did an amazing job, bringing secretary yang to life.

j3ffc
j3ffc
26 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Hi, @eda, back from the dead here! Thanks for your perspectives on the show, good points all (I’m pretty sure I watched the same episodes but connecting the dots has never been my strong point 😕). I especially appreciate your thoughts on what is facing Bom as a young mother, the details of which I glossed over. My advice to Past Me will be simply watch things unfold as they do….

Trent
28 days ago

Guys…I finally succumbed. I couldn’t help it, I had to know what happened next, so I…ended up bingeing the final six episodes last night and this morning. Oops.

j3ffc
j3ffc
28 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent, I gotta admire your endurance! I guess we’ll hear from you again after E20…..😂

Trent
28 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

You know, it was one of those situations where I got to the end of ep. 26 and I was like, I gotta just peek and see what happens…and then I was all the way to the end of the episode, and at that point, well, the sanctity of the weekly watch was broken and I still really wanted to see what happened next, and… welp.

j3ffc
j3ffc
28 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Still. You Are Amazing.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
28 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I finished the last episode today.

Trent
28 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Haha! I am not alone among the weak-willed!

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
28 days ago
Reply to  Trent

The struggle was real!

j3ffc
j3ffc
26 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

(Waves hi from way back in the pack…..)

Leslie
Leslie
29 days ago

I mentioned last week that mores and traditions were changing around the senior Hans, but the change seemed so fragile. Yep, these episodes play that out, with everyone’s ideals being challenged in the face of the age-old temptations of money and protecting one’s family(ies.)

My heart sunk when I realized In Sang was backing away from the vision of justice he and Bom had shared for months, and I felt bad for Bom’s Mom and Uncle as they tried to resist Bom’s Dad and Sister’s insistence that they not rock the Han boat, for the sake of status quo. The relative black or white themes of the show got a lot more grey.

I can imagine show going toward both happy and unhappy endings at this point. All I know is if Bom and In Sang don’t reconnect I’ll be 😭.

j3ffc
j3ffc
29 days ago

Sheesh, what to do?

I’m away on a work trip, with a big day coming up tomorrow, so I have time to either (1) write a thoughtful commentary that addresses all that came up in last week’s episodes OR (2) watch E25 right now before I fall asleep.

Uh, see you all later this week…😳

Trent
29 days ago

Whew. Yeah, things were getting real these episodes…a little more real than I was expecting or than was quite comfortable, to be honest. One of the bedrocks of the show to this point has been the (unlikely, when you think about it, given their age and circumstances) bond and solidarity between Bom and In-sang, and seeing that shaken is legit upsetting.

What do you have in store for us show, here in the home stretch? I’m on pins and needles to see where we end up!