We’re officially five weeks into Surplus Princess. Just where has the time gone? For me, it feels as if each week is breezing by. Then again, I watch every episode at least two to three times to write a proper review each week, so it honestly feels as if I’m always watching Surplus Princess. And let me tell you, it’s a good thing. This is slightly off topic, but I’m glad this was my first currently airing drama to recap. Why, you ask? I’m having so much fun. It’s honest, fun, gritty, serious, sometimes inappropriate, and it references enough of current Korean pop culture that it actually grounds the more fantastical elements of the series (i.e. magic, witches, and mermaids). I’m not Korean, yet I feel like I can relate to these characters much better than other dramas. That is not to discredit other dramas, though. I can just directly relate to the job and other real life struggles these twenty-something’s are going through.
You know the American saying “it’s five o’clock somewhere?” That’s exactly how this episode begins. Ha Ni, Hyun Myung, Ji Yong, Hye Young, the Shared House owner, and Big are all out together — eating and drinking. I will say that it’s nice to see how Ha Ni is being integrated into the group. Now, Ha Ni, Hyun Myung, Ji Yong, and Big can study together for JH. In case you might have forgotten, Hyun Myung all but told off the Elite Group after they were especially harsh with Ha Ni, so he doesn’t want to be associated with them any longer. On another positive note, Hyun Myung has his folder of information from the Elite Group, so at least they’re not completely back to square one.
In a rather nice development, Hyun Myung and Ha Ni are getting along without hurling insults and scowling at each other. She’s actually pretty grateful for his help, and she tells him that he was cool today. Again, it’s nice to see her actually giving a sincere, over-the-moon smile to Hyun Myung. I’m relishing in these small moments, and I hope we get a few more.
The group toast again and Ha Ni polishes off her beer. Her cheeks are bright red, and judging from her last experience with the stuff, she’s pretty drunk. She picks up two shells and holds them up to her breast area. Ha Ni is obviously an emotional drunk as she starts to cry that the shells are too small and don’t fit her. It’s funny yet sad at the same time. She must miss home terribly, which is why the alcohol lead to her drunken, emotional breakdown. But as quickly as it comes, she starts to laugh hysterically. The gang is looking at her in utter confusion and horror. Sometimes, they just don’t understand her. Gang, sometimes it’s better not to ask questions. Trust me.
Right down the street, Jin Ah and Shi Kyung exit a restaurant. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t it convenient that they were in the same place at the same time? But hey, this is k-drama land, so I try not to dwell to deeply on these things.
Grasping for straws, Jin Ah invites Shi Kyung to a movie premiere. Even she senses that he’s not interested in her that way. These are her not-so-subtle attempts to “force” some kind of chemistry between the two by getting alone time. Shi Kyung says something about movies, but he never gets to finish as the gang exits the restaurant right up the street.
They’re all happy and drunken — Ha Ni the worst of all, of course. She spots Shi Kyung and runs for him. She clings to him, catching him off guard. He says her name, and now that he remembers that, she kisses him deeply and squeezes his apple-shaped butt.
Jin Ah is furious (and probably jealous), so she shoves Ha Ni away from Shi Kyung. I’m about 100% sure that Jin Ah is too late. I feel as if there is mutual interest between the two, and Shi Kyung is too curious not to take notice.
After Ha Ni is shoved by Jin Ah, it becomes an extremely awkward moment between both parties. Shi Kyung asks if these people are Jin Ah’s friends, and she just says that she knew them briefly. No emotion in her voice whatsoever. No acknowledgement that they lived together. Nothing at all. If I were giving awards for lack of tact, it would clearly go to Jin Ah in this moment.
Offended, Hyun Myung asks, “Just briefly?” Well, you’re not the only one who’s in disbelief either, Hyun Myung. If she can write your relationship off that easily, it probably didn’t matter to her that much anyway. And what a shame. Here, we have Hyun Myung trying to get back on track after he was derailed by Jin Ah breaking up with him. And she’s just adding insult to injury.
In a nearly disastrous moment, Ha Ni almost blurts everything about that day at the Han River to Shi Kyung, but Hye Young saves the day and covers her mouth before she can spill the beans and blow her cover.
As the gang walks away, Shi Kyung reflects upon what’s just happened. He brings a finger up to his lips. I’ve got to say, it definitely seems like he’s affected by Ha Ni.
At JH Foods, Shi Kyung is in his office. He clicks down on his pen and you hear Ha Ni’s voice.
“To me, love is a time bomb that will explode in 100 days. To die or to love, it’s one or the other.” – These lines were spoken at the end of episode three where she confesses to Shi Kyung outside of JH, but he couldn’t see her face, and he didn’t know her name.
*Flashback to Shi Kyung and Ha Ni kissing*
*Flashback to Ha Ni kissing Shi Kyung underwater*
Is he putting two and two together?
But before Shi Kyung can reflect and think more deeply on the situation, Jin Ah appears. She announces that she’s made a reservation at a restaurant where he will be tasting samples.
We shift to the shared house where Ha Ni wakes up nursing one heck of a hangover. She’s dizzy and feeling pretty icky. I’m guessing Ha Ni might guess twice before picking up a bottle again. Alas, she’s not alone as Hye Young is sitting with her in her room.
I give even more bonus points for Hye Young. She didn’t have to watch Ha Ni sleeping or keeping an eye on her, but she has. Hye Young feels like an overprotective, older sister. I honestly look forward to their interactions so much these days.
She also reminds Ha Ni of how she made a move on Shi Kyung while intoxicated. Ha Ni once again shows her innocence and obliviousness to the human world. She thinks that Shi Kyung knowing that she was the one who saved him would make him love her. Hye Young promptly tells her to stop living in fairytale land. She gets Ha Ni to get her crap together so that they can go to the restaurant to see Shi Kyung and clear up the events from the previous night.
Jin Ah and Shi Kyung are at the restaurant. Hye Young and Ha Ni arrive. He invites them to eat with them since he ordered a lot of food. Of course, Jin Ah tries to send them off, but it doesn’t work. In an effort to get Shi Kyung and HN alone, Hye Young decides to call Jin Ah outside to talk about something. Man, Hye Young is just wracking up “daebak” points this episode.
Hye Young and Jin Ah have a brilliant conversation.
Hye Young said she read their tarot cards and that they (Jin Ah and Hyun Myung) weren’t a good fit from the beginning. It said that they won’t stay together. Hmm, let’s flashback to episode one where Ji Yong and Big were taking bets on the two of them breaking up. Hye Young goes on to say that, as part of the reading, that the two wouldn’t last because Jin Ah would betray Hyun Myung. Well, it definitely seems to be the truth so far.
Then, Hye Young suggests doing a reading for Jin Ah and Shi Kyung. I think she already knows that the relationship isn’t going anywhere because she shrugs the suggestion off.
Back inside the restaurant, Ha Ni chugs a whole bottle of water and asks the waitress to refill the container. Shi Kyung looks on in amusement.
He admits to being surprised about yesterday because she came on so strongly. She apologizes and says that she’s usually the modest type. Well, at least she’s taking Hye Young’s advice. Shi Kyung asks her about what he has to recognize because she asks him that same thing every time they meet. Then, in a shocking revelation, Shi Kyung admits that he remembers everything — about Ha Ni saving him that day. He leans across the table as if he’s about to kiss her… he adds, “the secret that you wanted to keep was this?” and he dumps water on her legs and scales begin to appear.
Thankfully, Ha Ni wakes up from a brief cat nap. It was all just a dream. I think we can all breathe a gigantic sigh of relief as Shi Kyung is smiling. I know I say it a lot, but he’s definitely so amused by Ha Ni’s quirkiness.
Ha Ni eats a ton of food and gives amazing critiques that even Shi Kyung is impressed. They sort of flirt and smile and have an adorable conversation. It’s honestly hard not to like Song Jae Rim every time he cracks a smile.
Upon leaving the restaurant, in front of Jin Ah and Hye Young, Shi Kyung invites Ha Ni to eat with him tomorrow. I can literally seem the steam rising from Jin Ah’s ears.
As Jin Ah stayed behind to finish the tasting, one of the employee’s gives her a pen that was left behind. This is Ski Kyung’s pen, and as we saw earlier this episode, it isn’t just an ordinary pen, either.
At the shared house, Hyun Myung is in his room. He looks pretty somber. Jin Ah is to blame there. It’s depressing to watch just how affected he is by the entire situation. He has a flashback of her saying, “Come if you can.”
With a sudden burst of energy, Hyun Myung runs to Big and Ji Yong. He’s officially tired of being idle and he wants to get to work. Is this him wanting to show Jin Ah that he’ll succeed at all costs? That he will sincerely do his best?
But before any studying can happen, the gang have an unexpected visitor.
A former member of the house, Seon Jae, a man who is now pretty darn successful, pays the group a visit. He tells Ji Yong that he has a friend in need of an office secretary. He goes on to say that passing the bar and finding employment at his age would be a challenge.
Ji Yong is embarrassed and ashamed by his lack of employment, so he sprouts a lie about having a job. Did anyone else feel that this lie was going to catch up with him? I can understand why he lied, so I feel sympathy for Ji Yong, but I think all of us knew that it was going to land him in nothing but trouble.
Back in Hyun Myung’s room, the group gather together to get to work. Hyun Myung explains to the gang that writing an introduction is key. Embellishing written introductions are actually his specialty. Unfortunately, no one in the group have any passionate, creative, or challenging experiences to make them stand out.
He tries to help them when it comes to credentials and backgrounds, but everyone just gets offended when Hyun Myung tells them the truth. Ji Yong takes it especially hard and decides to consult the internet experts for help with a self-introduction. Yeah, good luck with that, Ji Yong.
Ha Ni, Big, and Ji Yong decide to take a shortcut. They don’t want to write their own resume/introduction, so they get together (Big lies to his mom about needing a new laptop to secure funds!) money and pay someone online to write it for them. Ha Ni even blackmails Witch Ahn into giving her the money.
Arriving home, Jin Ah here’s Ha Ni’s voice coming from her purse. She sees it’s coming from Shi Kyung’s pen; she even learns of his condition. Oh boy.
Hye Young and Ha Ni are spending more time together. Ha Ni is in the bathtub and Hye Young sits on the toilet. It’s totally the kind of thing I can see sisters and best friends doing. Love, love, love the show for giving much-needed screen time to these two.
Shi Kyung calls and the two plan to meet outside of JH. Ha Ni is overjoyed.
The CEO of JH, hungry, decides to stop at the food truck that Witch Ahn operates. Witch Ahn won’t sell them to her because he feels they aren’t the best quality, so he tells her that he’s closed for the night. The CEO is persistent, but she eventually decides to leave empty-handed.
Meanwhile, Ji Yong is still in jerk mode, and he taunts Hyun Hyung. Ji Yong even brags about having a ghost writer writing his introduction. Hyun Myung tries to warn Ji Yong, but he’s just not listening.
Back in his room, Hyun Myung is totally in the zone and hammering away at his introduction. Say what you want about his methods with the others, but Hyun Myung really works hard. We see him open up a folder filled with saved self-introductions.
Taking the easy way out doesn’t do Ji Yong, Big, and Ha Ni much good, as it’s a scam, they’re out x amount of dollars, and they still have to write their own introductions. I hate to say it, but you reap what you sow, guys. Even Witch Ahn warned Ha Ni not to underestimate the human struggle of finding and securing a job. I guess they just had to learn the hard way that the easiest path isn’t necessarily the right one.
Hyun Myung rallies the troops and tells them that it’s about time they really do something. Yet again, major points go to Hye Young as she inspired this sudden change. He suggests doing something like one-day sales and charity work. They decide to sell octopus balls using Witch Ahn’s food truck.
Ha Ni asks Witch Ahn for the food truck, but he doesn’t want to. Ha Ni resorts to begging him. He eventually concedes. See, she is like a daughter to him because he wouldn’t have turned his truck over to just anyone. You can’t deny that Witch Ahn has a soft spot for her, and I love how the show keeps finding ways to remind us of this.
The group make a plan. They pretend that they saw Witch Ahn collapse, and they decide to do their good deed and run the truck until he gets better. I don’t know about anyone else, but this sounds like a terrible idea. But the group is thrilled and they decide to run with it.
Ha Ni tries to slip out, probably to meet Shi Kyung, but Hyun Myung grabs her arm and asks her where she’s going. She apologizes that she already had an important appointment scheduled the previous day, and she runs out before everyone else can object to her leaving all of the art and posters to everyone else.
Shi Kyung is getting ready for his date with Ha Ni when a situation comes up. One of the other chefs burned his hand, and there’s a cooking class that needs to start in ten minutes. Shi Kyung rushes into action.
Elsewhere, Ha Ni waits eagerly for Shi Kyung.
Things get awkward for the chef when he has to teach a cooking class. He taught some of these women before, but with his condition, he can’t make out the faces. It seems that it will turn into a major disaster, but Jin Ah steps up and writes the names on paper with her lipstick. With her help, everything goes smoothly.
Ha Ni continues to wait as Shi Kyung continues to do the cooking class. She’s starting to lose hope. She even texts him, but he doesn’t reply. Ha Ni has been waiting for a very long time. Disappointed, she leaves.
Shi Kyung confronts Jin Ah about when and how she knew. He’s angry that she meddled in his business. Jin Ah even admits to liking him a romantic way. She tries to apologize and wishes that he overcomes his condition in a cool way that is like him. In these moments, she’s not half bad, but one good deed doesn’t erase the other things she’s done.
Ha Ni returns home. Hyun Myung is outside and spots her. He reprimands her for abandoning the group and being gone all day. But he’s not really yelling at her. He does tell her that she’s out of the group because he’s very angry with her.
Although, he gets worried when she drops to the ground and starts crying. She admits that Shi Kyung stood her up but she doesn’t think it was on purpose.
He tells her not to think about anything else and just worry about getting hired, first. He gives her the okay symbol with his hand and she returns it with a slight smile.
The gang are all dressed up in costumes — superheroes and whatnot — to go with their “saving someone’s life” theme for Witch Ahn. Nobody is really around, so Hye Young does a live broadcast to attract people to their event. Everything is going well, there’s singing and dancing, and they’re handing out flyers.
Thanks to a flashback, we see that Jin Ah did get a reading of herself and the chef.
Hye Young says, “You will have a very powerful secret weapon. It could help you get everything you want, but it could be dangerous to you.”
Right now, it seems like it’s working against her.
Awkward moments ensue when Jin Ah gets on the elevator with Shi Kyung.
His grandmother calls and tells her that he’s curious about the girl who brought his cellphone. She says she’s friendly and bright and would be a good match for him.
Jin Ah and Shi Kyung don’t even acknowledge each other.
The food truck charity event is going extremely well.
It seems to be working in their favor as they recognize CEO Hong from JH Foods.
Unfortunately, things take a turn when Hyung comes with some co-workers. Ji Yong freaks out and abandons making the octopus balls. Hyun Myung tries to get him to go back to work, but when he won’t, he asks for the skewers. Ji Yong shoves Hyun Myung. He gets mad and starts fighting with Ji Yong.
Witch AHn shows up at that moment. Apparently, Ha Ni didn’t tell him about their whole plan. CEO Hong discovers that it’s all a ruse and calls him a horrible person. Hyun Myung and Ji Yong continue to fight. He accidentally knocks the truck into gear and it coasts into a pole. Guys, Witch Ahn is going to be super furious.
Mortified, Ji Yong looks up and makes eye contact with Seon Jae.
Outside of the house, Ji Yong is visibly upset and drinking alone. Hyun Myung shows up and tries to console his friend. Ji Yong apologizes for ruining the day. He also talks about not being able to do anything well except for playing games; he seems to believe it’s the only thing he’s good at doing. Ha Ni comes outside and tells him that he’s really good at making ramyun. The rest of the gang comes outside and they all beg him to make them all ramyun. Even though Ji Yong was selfish and a bit cruel, these group of people are really like his family because they support him even during his lowest moments.
Hyun Myung teases Ha Ni and tells her that the only reason a guy doesn’t call is because he isn’t interested.
After Ha Ni leaves, Hyun Myung looks at his phone and discovers he has a missed call from Jin Ah. Will he call her back or ignore it completely?
Shi Kyung is at home and is on his phone. We shift to Ha Ni answering her phone enthusiastically. We also see Jin Ah answer her phone, too.
Additional thoughts, some random meta, and lingering questions.
The hardest thing for me to swallow in this episode was Jin Ah discovering Shi Kyung’s deteriorating condition: facial blindness. What was even harder for me to swallow was that she was particularly awesome with helping Shi Kyung with the last minute cooking class. I assumed, based on the way that the show was portraying it, that Jin Ah’s biggest interests were Shi Kyung’s looks, social status, and money. But the way she helped him out a jam, whether it was pity or sincerity, was really nice as the show has done a bang up job at making her quite villainous and hard to sympathize with. So, I might be disliking Jin Ah less these days, but it depends on the day and what episode it is. I am rooting for her to get it together – whether it’s with Shi Kyung or someone else. I hope she starts doing things for the right reasons and not because her mother influenced them for her.
Jin Ah is in a rough place with Shi Kyung. Now that he knows that she knows about his condition, it’s going to make him feel vulnerable and uncomfortable around her. His pride has to be hurting right now. He may be ignoring her, but once they go back to work, it’s going to be hard to ignore. At the same time, I think a part of him is relieved that the burden is a little bit lighter now that someone else knows. If a situation arises again, Jin Ah may be helpful. The true test of her sincerity towards Shi Kyung is how she treats and/or helps him, and if she keeps his condition a secret. I’m really rooting for her to become a person that is motivated to do the right things for the right reasons. I don’t like the petty traps she consistently seems to fall in. And I’m not even going to focus on her lack of respect for her relationship with Hyun Myung and the rest of the house because I could sit here raging about it for hours. I’m fairly certain that none of you want to sit here and read that.
So, in theory, if Ha Ni gets a job with JH Foods, how is she going to do it with her entire resume and education being a lie? Sure, she could fake some of it with her knowledge of food, but how is she going to handle all aspects without suspicion? It seems like a pretty tough job. Although, if it turns out that Team Leader Kim is a mermaid, (thanks to Kristina for this idea!) she could be helpful in pulling it off. Either way, I don’t think this is something she could pull off alone because she just doesn’t know enough about human habits and culture.
I would like to learn more back story about Big and Ji Yong, but seeing as they’re side characters, I’m not sure the show will go into as much detail as I want. Ji Yong appears to be very smart and well-versed. Why couldn’t he secure a job when he was fresh out of law school? Just what happened that put him in this jobless funk? And what is the deal with Big? What are his motivations? I don’t really understand what his interests are aside from tinkering around in Photoshop.
Did the whole house know about Hyun Myung and Jin Ah’s tarot card reading? If we rewind to episode one, both Ji Yong and Big try to take bets on the two of them breaking up.
Ha Ni and Hye Young’s friendship is one of my absolute favorite depiction on the drama. Ha Ni is determined and quite forward herself, but Hye Young nudges her in the right direction. It even appears that Hye Young’s advice about Shi Kyung was actually useful as Shi Kyung and Ha Ni have a nice little moment in the restaurant. Although, I am bummed that they didn’t get to have dinner together. I know, I know. I still prefer Hyun Myung, but if Shi Kyung and Ha Ni have real chemistry and interest in one another, I wouldn’t mind the show exploring it. That said, it wouldn’t be my personal endgame “ship” for Surplus Princess, but I would be okay with it until things (hopefully) develop between Hyun Myung and Ha Ni.
Can I say that drunk Ha Ni is totally hilarious? The way she ran into Shi Kyung’s arms, kissed him, and squeezed his behind had me laughing so hard. Even though she was under the influence of alcohol, her mind is still set on Shi Kyung. Poor Ji Yong, though. He really has a crush on Ha Ni, and every single person is completely oblivious to it. Oh, the horrors of unrequited love. I can feel Ji Yong’s pain, but I hope he realizes that Ha Ni and him aren’t going to happen when she doesn’t see him in a romantic light.
Note: Okay, so this monster of a review is my longest to date. It took an enormous amount of time. I think there are over 80 screencaps, which took me about two hours to edit. I know, it’s way more than I expected, but I was so excited to interact with a few of you who are reading my recaps. Now, I will be working into the night for episode 6. Hope you all enjoy!