Thoughts and Highlights from HITTG Episode 26–First half: “Provoking your offspring”‘

A/N: I am temporarily at home due to a fender-bender induced neck injury and decided to do some clean up work on my blog–and I found this! Thought I had lost it for good! I might finish this episode after I finish the Awl Episode 6 recap, which should be ready in a few days.

Episode 26–starts with Evil Daddy throwing a fit!


*all screencaps from unless otherwise noted.**

It’s Secretary Yang on the receiving end of this chew-out, and we get into the Privet Hedge discussion (see Soompi forums for my pathetic Western take on it–page 170 and an excellent post by @baduy on pg 172 for the real BG info) Secretary Yang isn’t gonna take this scolding from her boss today. She reminds him of his past successes with a little extra butter thrown in:


But he’s out of shape, and living on Easy Street lately:


And SB is not like them–so he’s angry and frustrated. Evil Daddy fights the truth  How is SB different?


Oh, yeah–let’s blame SB for factors beyond her control, like having poverty stricken parents! *snort* Evil Daddy further blames her poor and uneducated parents for this:


Like yunno, being exposed to a teacher (Mama Seo) and learning to speak English better that all your wife’s buddies! I would define “unnecessary exposure to unrefined information” as an afternoon spent watching a Harold and Kumar or Sasha Baron Cohen movie. **hangs head in guilt**

Then Evil Daddy broils me by saying SB had “loose morals”. Oh, puhleez! I suppose SB got pregnant all by herself. I’m sure in his Effed-up Joseon worldview, women get pregnant all by themselves just to throw a wrench into a dude’s life! Thankfully, Secretary Yang puts a halt to the ridiculousness, as she informs her boss that in this Modern Era:


And he actually has the audacity to ask, “Why?” Then Secretary Yang drops a bomb:  When YJ was in middle school:


Whoa! Probably some of those mangas/manhwas we saw in the first few episodes. Heh…sounds like a huge over reaction to a bit of normal teen curiosity to me. I wonder what the psychiatrist thought of that incident? Then we get a second bomb:


So YJ has threatened suicide too! Omo. Another hint of suicide in this show. It’s well documented that SK has a huge problem with suicide at all ages and levels of society. I wonder how writer-nim will tackle this controversial topic.

Evidently, Evil Daddy has conveniently forgotten that whole escapade too!


Secretary Yang reminds her boss that YJ:


SoompiTV–“hanging gardens” for “locked-up castle”. Interesting analogy. Again I refer to @baduy’s post on Soompi forum pg 173 for a culturally relevant take on what that means in Korea, and my take on it from a Western viewpoint. Secretary Yang informs her boss that he better watch his mouth, because if someone hears his prejudicial rants:


From your mouth to the writer’s fingertips, LOL! Jaebal…please writer-nim…that would be such a perfect ending to have Evil Daddy slain by his own sword.

Here’s a Breaking News Bulletin for His Royal Han-Highness:


And you may not be able to pay them off, blackmail them, or find some issue of theirs that needs “fixing”. Evil Daddy looks pretty PO’d here, as Secretary Yang continues on. She lets him know that not all judges fear/respect him or HanSong anymore. Oh, and she’s just doing her job by scolding him, because it’s:


Ah, so now we know his parents were quite well aware of their son’s shortcomings.  Evil Daddy waves Secretary Yang off, and declares:


Yes, I am sure this is confusing to you…to be dropped into the real world from your Joseon Kingdom in the “hanging gardens” between heaven and earth, where servants serve without expectation of compensation, children and wives are always obedient, and your word is the law of the land! /sarc


The Vulture Friends are together again for another session of verbal fun and games. Evil Mommy laments that she thought she would be able to mold SB into a useful Cult Member, but has sadly failed. Call the Waaahmbulance! Even VF-Eom nods off as she’s heard it all before.


YR and VF-Eom pile on SB, saying that IS and SB could never get back together, and how awful SB is….until SJW gives her a warning:


Nice green jacket SJW has on today. Yunno, “It’s not easy being green!” YR says it’s cool, she apologized to Evil Mommy and now everything between them is hunky-dory!  Except Evil Mommy doesn’t answer her, and the uncomfortable silence is broken up by VF-Eom wondering if IS and SB will settle their divorce out of court, or go forward with the lawsuit. VF-Eom thinks:


She’s right. Who gets custody of JY is the key issue. Child custody and support is usually the biggest conflict in a divorce. Evil Mommy isn’t worried–SB has no ability to earn any income! Now I know that Tutor Park hasn’t told the Evil Parents about the test scores. SJW nails it with this comment:


For my own mental health, I hope he’s right. I would hate seeing IS becoming a Junior Viper Club member. He’s been a little jerky, but so far he’s staying as close as he can to SB while giving her some breathing room from his toxic parents. YR has an idea–


Major rant and sarcasm alert–Oh, yeah, that’s a great idea. ‘Cuz, yunno, girls are basically interchangeable for rich chaebol heirs! It doesn’t matter if IS loves a young lady or even likes her. It’s all about the family alliances, the money, and how happy the parents are. Who cares if the young people like each other? If they don’t give a crap about each other, it just makes it even easier for the young folks to pass the Effed-up traditions and behavior patterns down to the next generation! Why should some people be happy? Let’s all be miserable together! Oh, and by the way, HS is ready and available for IS. YR can have that wedding planned in less than a month. Never mind HS will feel like the consolation prize after SB! All YR can think about is herself, and what she wants–like the Doughpile!  /end rant

YR calls IS “a 20 year old divorcee”, adding that it sounds “fresh”. Oh, so now she’s gonna spin it like IS has become “tarnished goods”, and he will be lucky to have HS to take him as a husband after this debacle? Evil Mommy has her own agenda for IS’s next wife:


I hate to break it to you Evil Mommy, but that pretty much rules out HS. If you want a girl like that for IS, I suggest a mannequin–aka a Doll. It worked pretty good in this movie! Make sure you request the one without a brain. It will be easier for you to train her! VF-Eom comes up with this amazing true statement:


Uh…IS already has one girl who did love him, until you evil dolts messed with her head and she couldn’t take it anymore! Evil Mommy finally grabs a clue:


YR is all–Yeah, of course! Duh!

Back at Camp Seo, Uncle is not starting his day too well either, as he argues with SB and his Hyung.


Papa Seo guilt-trips his daughter that Uncle is giving up the lawsuit for her sake. SB argues vehemently with her dad–if we beg for money:


I understand what she’s trying to say here. Being demeaned has a price. She begs her dad to fight legally, not take any payoff money, and just in case we weren’t sure she knew the stakes:


She won’t have anything to say. Please show…I beg of you…don’t go there. I know my heart is not strong enough to watch a scene where JY has to be handed over from the loving home of the Seo’s to go live with the monsters in the Joseon Prison Mansion. SB knows:


I agree 100%. The Han Family wants to make an example out of the Seo family. I am also sure that Evil Daddy thinks:  How dare the lower class rabble attempt to challenge my authority! Papa Seo’s brain is still trapped by the idea of money, as he asks this question of SB:


He reminds her:


He accuses her of being a lousy DiL, and that:


Look at the pain on her face, as her Dad cuts her down. As a daughter, I know how a father’s words like that can put the wrecking ball to any shred of self-esteem a girl might have left after leaving an abusive situation. My father and I had a conversation like this many years ago when I moved into the rooftop apartment. My question is: WTH is wrong with Papa Seo today? Even Uncle speaks up, chiding his Hyung to watch his mouth. Then SB levels the boom on her own father:


SB leaves as she sobs out that Evil Daddy scolded her too, and Uncle knows how volatile this whole situation is:


Maybe that big fight is what’s needed here–an opportunity for Papa Seo to get a clue as to what a jerk he is being to his daughter because right now, he has no idea:


At least later on, Papa Seo reflects on his behavior. That concept doesn’t even cross Evil Daddy’s mind. Papa Seo believes his motivations for saying what he did to his daughter was correct, and he wonders:


The key word here is ‘harsh’. As a parent, you want the best for your child, so you encourage and do what you can to help them succeed. But if you go overboard; never praising them for their accomplishments and exhorting them to do more and more–that’s stepping over the line. Giving kids constant criticism and belittling their efforts will not work either. This is why there’s even a verse in the Bible about it, and knowing writer-nim’s knowledge of Christianity, she’s well aware of that too. Uncle knows that money is not going to affect SB’s thinking.

Here’s a truly heartwrenching scene:


SB sobs in the trash-strewn alleyway, the hurtful words of her dad, the separation from IS, the worry over how to support her child overwhelm her. To add to this, Evil Daddy’s words play in her head:


We get a flashback of Evil Daddy telling SB that her parents are so dumb, they can’t even take the help when it’s in front of their faces! That’s why they will always be in poverty. There’s several other flashbacks too of Evil Daddy putting the Seo’s down. Omo. Is SB gonna let it get to her? Is she done with the seemingly endless fight against the Han family now that even her own father won’t take her side?

IS is in a black mood as he strides into the Joseon Mansion. He gets on the phone and chews someone out, because his Daddy won’t respond to his calls.


It must have been Secretary Yang he was barking at on the phone, judging by the next scene. Another contender for Understatement of the Year by Evil Daddy:


Secretary Yang knows her boss has stepped over the line in a big way. He’s really provoked his son this time around. She encourages him to let another attorney handle the case if he can’t look at it in a strictly business manner. Honestly, I have no idea how Evil Daddy (or any attorney) could look at his son’s impending divorce with detachment. Secretary Yang reminds Evil Daddy that his son is only 20, and he’s a passionate young man with a bit of a hero complex.

Side Note: I could write a book on this subject too. My sons and some of their buddies have this hero complex stuff in truckloads, which can be problematic. They also tell me about other young men who have no inkling of how or why to be appropriately protective of young ladies, little children, the elderly, or just doing the right thing in a tough situation.

Evil Daddy tells her to stop in a very terse manner, and she gripes to Secretary Min about how he can’t separate this situation into a business one!

Secretaries Lee and Yang text back and forth about the slush fund, and that it may not work out in a good way for anyone. Secretary Lee remembers the overseas tax haven accounts of IS’s trust funds, and that maybe they can use that in some way to their advantage.

IS is back with his Evil Parents, and evidently he’s confronted them about hassling the Seo’s. Evil Mommy’s defense:


Yeah, 24 hours, give or take, is plenty of time to move on from a marriage relationship! /sarc

Evil Daddy asks his wife not to scold IS because:


I think know Evil Daddy forgot to stand in the Compassion line upstairs when it was being handed out. IS lets his dad know why he’s so angry:


Honestly, that’s probably the biggest mistake that any parent makes, including myself. Don’t go back on your word, and don’t promise what you can’t deliver. I used to call one of my son’s friends’ mom “The Queen of-I’m-a-gonna” because she would always promise her kid, “I’m gonna get you some new shoes, I’m gonna get you braces, I’m gonna pay for your college, I’m gonna quit drinking….” and she would never, ever follow through. It took years for this concept to sink in, because he wanted to believe in his mom. The expression on IS’s face is haunting. It’s like he’s numb. He’s caught between doing what’s right by his wife, and what’s right as a son. There is no easy solution, and it looks like there will be no compromise either.

YJ gives her own recap to AH:


The Evil Parents get down to business, asking IS for the dollar/won amount SB wants. When he says she doesn’t want any money, they accuse her of trying to pull something over on them! It doesn’t matter anyways; she won’t stand a chance in court with the lawsuit! IS reiterates:


I think he would have better luck telling the sun to quit coming up every morning! IS tells his parents that he didn’t even fight with the Seo’s. Then he asks his Daddy:


My answer to that would be–it wasn’t to hurt their feelings as much as it was a show of Royal Han power and control. Evil Mommy defends her hubby:


It’s all about the money, honey! Then Evil Mommy comes up with a whopper–If a nice car drives down the street, does that car hurt poor people’s feelings? WTH!? I watched that part 4 times, and I’m still puzzled by that remark. I think that is complete nonsense, as does IS, who gets up and leaves. Evil Mommy is taken aback by this, and her hubby reassures her:


IS trudges up the stairs, and past YJ who is sitting on the steps  She offers him some snacks, and he slowly parks it next to her. He then offers up this steaming heap of crap: He thought he was a fool, but now:


No, dude–she’s the smart one because she’s outta the Joseon Mansion with it’s lies and deceit, and you’re still there! This statement makes me worry too:


YJ chimes in that no matter what, you need to express your opinion, but IS knows that won’t cut it here at the Joseon Mansion!

Back at Camp Seo, Mama Seo and SB deal with reality issues like cooking dinner and crying, hungry babies who need clean clothes and a diaper change. Papa Seo is downstairs, thinking about the fight his daughter and he had earlier today. We get to hear the rest of what SB said after she accused her dad of being like Evil Daddy:


Papa Seo sits down in the kitchen to a good looking meal of what looks like a Korean version of veggie frittatta, and SB looks very sad and regretful. Uh, oh..


No, I think you just told him some harsh truth this morning. The Seo parents offer to sleep with JY so SB can get some rest.

Side Note: It’s interesting that for a culture that seems so averse to closeness and touching, it’s okay to sleep with a baby next to you. Here in the US, people look at you like you’re crazy if you mention your kids sleep next to you. I slept next to all my kids for a long while…it’s easier at night when you can breastfeed them in bed. Warmer too. I used to joke that the first four-letter word my daughter knew was “crib”! It was only a place for the cat to sleep and to store stuffed animals–a total waste of money. My youngest was able to swing his leg up and catapult himself out of the crib (a life-skill taught by older siblings) just after he turned 1, and I finally gave it away to another family. When I arrived at the Sillimdong-OC rooftop apartment, we all slept in the same room for a few months, mostly because we were so scared. If their father was gonna come over and cause trouble, or the local gangs decided to have a shoot-out some evening, I wanted all my kids (and my daughter’s friend too) within arm’s reach.

I also notice the Seo parents share the food on the plate…no need to dirty a second dish! It’s more than that though.It’s intimate and close, as they share the food and their day together. The way SB looks at her folks having dinner together–she knows she’s made the right choice to come home. No meals of awkwardness and overblown fussy manners here FTW!

HS is in gossip-girl mode in the Valentine Room:


Today the info feed is from YJ. I’m not entirely sure I want those two to be BFF’s. HS is probably not the best influence–we already know her clubbing and drinking issues. YJ lets HS know it was Yawn City at their house until SB showed up:


(referring to JY’s birth!) and now that JY is gone…it’s back to boring! Here comes YR–will it be time for a mother-daughter blowout fight again today? We haven’t had one in a while, and I miss them! YR starts it off–I heard you ran into IS at school. Gimme the 411, I gotta know if he’s properly suffering. HS–ehh….he’s not showing it too much. Perhaps you would be happier:


HS declares the whole deal “boring” which we all know is one of the most catastrophic and devastating teen experiences known to mankind! YR thinks it’s more like this:


Yeah, and why would he? So the likes of you two can broadcast them all over SK? Here’s another thing that’s almost on an equal par with “boring” for teens:


IS must be at the bottom of HS’s list…he acts “old”, he’s “boring”. In fact it’s so bad he even talks like his Daddy!  Whuuutt? YR counters–IS is mature, and that’s cool. HS is too smart, and feeds her mom’s words back to her:


Ummm….YR, it sure seemed like you were kinda flustered there for a moment when Evil Daddy was giving you that piggy back ride in the park a few episodes ago! YR knows she’s at a dead end here, so she tries another approach:


Ah, yes–be there to “comfort him”. That might work with some dudes, but personally I wouldn’t want to get within 2 meters of IS right now, considering what a rotten mood he’s been in. HS doesn’t even bother to address this. She gets down to business, asking her mom:


I have this strange vision of HS and IS, tied up together on the railroad tracks, waiting for Dudley Do-Right of the RCMP to show up with Horse (and SB) to save them! High 5 to my Canadian Readers! HS knows it’s not for, yunno, her personal happiness or anything like that! YR–the Queen of Spin answers:


YR reminds HS how awful it was that her dad had to “crawl” to Evil Daddy–but HS puts the kiss of death on that deal:


YR grouses at HS that it’s time to grow up, as HS says she’s only half as interested in IS as she used to be! In fact:


Winner of this round: HS–by TKO!

IS is curled up on the couch, and SB is in her bed at Camp Seo. Looks like nobody is having a good night’s sleep. Things aren’t easy at Camp Seo in the morning either. NR can’t use the bathroom because SB has to wash up a poopy JY. She’s ticked off, as Papa Seo bails out for the local sauna. Uncle shows up and is nice enough to help a frazzled NR with her shoes so she can get launched for work. He makes this sterling observation:


Naw, that’s just a normal day at Camp Seo–you do the best you can when there is only 1 bathroom available! I had 7 of us here with 2 bathrooms for a while. It took some level of cooperation so everyone could take a shower in the morning or evening, and get out the door. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Our schedules staggered enough that we rarely had a problem.

Uncle and Mama Seo bicker nicely back and forth that it’s the baby that makes things hectic, and Mama Seo comments that babies are a lot of work and that “it takes a village”. I will admit that I get it on a certain level….but I believe it should be “extended family” and not “villagers” to look after babies and children. If that child is related in some way to you, there’s more incentive to take proper care, although there’s always exceptions. Villagers don’t have the same kind of bond that a family member does. This PC nod by writer-nim totally grinds my gears. I make no excuses–this is not a PC blog. You have been warned 🙂

The bombs are dropping all over the Han Kingdom today, so it should be no surprise to hear this:


Looks like YJH has had enough of his boss’s antics. Evil Daddy asks why and I think we all know:


(note to SennaR from Soompi forums if you are reading this–I took 3 screencaps so I could get one with his eyes open–just for you!)

Yep, YJH is gonna file a lawsuit on behalf of Uncle against the Supernova investors! Evil Daddy reaches for the Confucian card as we hear a bell ring. Heh–is YJH messing around in the Sacred Temple?


Like a good Jedi Warrior lawyer, YJH has already thought of that:


Evil Daddy asks him if there’s a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of winning. YJH gives him the honest answer:


He’s just going to “make a noise”. Shamrockmom’s translation: “Crack Open Pandora’s Box”. YJH reminds me again of Atticus Finch, with his unwavering stance and commitment to doing the right thing. Evil Daddy stands up, eye to eye with this former Valedictorian who is gonna (hopefully) bring the Han Kingdom to a ignominious end. I can practically see the hubris drip from Evil Daddy’s mouth:


Evil Daddy is so smug, so self assured that his Kingdom is impenetrable; he’s built this Great Wall around his kingdom. Nothing could knock it down! The adversaries shake hands:


The only thing that could have made this scene better was if YJH had his fingers crossed behind his back while shaking hands! Attorney Yoo watches her rookie pack his valuable action figures, and gives him some sound advice:


Translation by Shamrockmom: Get out of Dodge!  YJH is a step ahead as usual:


Attorney Yoo makes YJH a surprising offer: (and no, it’s not ‘tutoring’!)


Evil Daddy is replaying Secretary Yang’s words while fiddling at his desk:


Screencap from

Sing it Evil Daddy! “Oh, the times, they are a-changin’…”

Attorney Yoo gets to give everyone the Breaking News Bulletin as YJH says: “See ya!”


Secretary Min seems awfully pleased to say this next line:


Heh…what was it that Evil Mommy said before? “Adults can be so childish…” Secretary Yang uses YJH’s resignation to instruct her Boss:


I think she’s watched Paula Deen’s cooking shows–because part of her success with Evil Daddy is to always add in some extra butter! Even though YJH was a Valedictorian:


Evil Daddy is resistant to the usual flattery, and thinks Secretary Yang is having a crisis. She points out:


Yeah, ’cause if Evil Daddy goes down, her slush fund is gonna get flushed! He makes this concession:


That’s a bizarre idea. We know Attorney Yoo thinks her boss is only slightly better than pond scum. She knows how it is to be treated in a discriminatory way as a woman because she took a lot of crap from him over her pregnancy. Plus, he stole her nanny! Why wouldn’t she draft up some kind of agreement to put SB in the driver’s seat here? Evil Daddy fills me in–it’s a test for her! I think this is one test where he’s not gonna want to see the results!

Secretary Min is next on Evil Daddy’s scolding list this morning. He starts off with the butter too:


We then learn that Secretary Min uses money from an account at HanSong to keep informers and others on the under-the-table payroll, so the info will keep flowing. Now he’s got a new job for her–but I don’t think she’s gonna go for it:


and find all the people who he’s given the info to! At least Secretary Min is honest–this isn’t gonna fly with her:


Evil Daddy dangles the dinero, promising her more money. There’s a snowball’s chance of that working too! After watching this scene several times, I can’t decide if Evil Daddy is pulling the ageism card, or if he is accusing her of being immature, or both. Nevertheless, Secretary Min is done with HanSong. She “sticks a fork” in it:


One thing I have always liked about Secretary Min from the very start is that she is single minded. She has one goal and one only–justice for her brother.

Secretary Yang is going down with the ship:


Yep, the loyal First Mate is staying with Captain Evil Daddy, even if the good ship S.S. HanSong is springing leaks and taking on water right now! Looks like others have jumped (YJH) or are about to jump (Secretary Min) from the sinking ship as well.

There was an interesting comment by @mdj101 on the Soompi boards that perhaps Secretary Yang has a one sided love for Evil Daddy. I could see where that’s almost believable. She’s been with her Boss for 25+ years, watched him grow up, and spends a minimum 40 hours a week with this guy at work. She obviously admires his ruthless style, and has co-opted it for her personal benefit. His parents picked her too–kinda like they picked his wife–obviously trusting that Secretary Yang would be able to rein their son in when needed. I definitely think that there’s a protective, almost “motherly” instinct Secretary Yang shows around her boss. She tries to give him advice to keep the S.S. HanSong ship afloat, and to keep peace in his family. She compliments him, and in turn, he makes her feel important and useful. It’s a symbiotic relationship; they need each other. As is typical with this writer-nim, there are layers and layers to think about and debate, and that’s what I love about her work!

Second half of this episode to follow…



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