Oh My Ghostess: Episode 13
Ah, there’s lots of hurt feelings and confusion in the wake of last week’s big turn, but also a gradual clarity that emerges from the emotional morass. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath all series long for this kind of payoff, with the characters reacting in ways that are very real and relatable, but not angsty for the sake of angsty, or lashing out in self-destructive ways. It’s lovely to be reminded of how to pay off conflict and hurt without giving up caring or maturity.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Realizing that Sun-woo didn’t fall in love with her because of anything she did, Bong-sun confesses the truth, that he’s not in love with her but the ghost who’s been possessing her body. Stunned, he stays in the cable car while she leaves crying, but as soon as the car reaches the top, he rushes out to follow her.
He catches up to her as she’s walking home, and first tries to believe she’s pulling his leg about this whole ghost business. But she’s completely serious, and he confirms that she really wasn’t the one he’d interacted or had skinship with, nor does she even remember those instances.
Sun-woo scoffs that it’s a ridiculous story, asking if she made it up to break up with him. She tells him sincerely that it’s all true, and that the ghost is the dead daughter of that restaurant ajusshi, which rings enough of a bell to give him pause.
Sung-jae broods over his failed attempt to run Bong-sun over with a car, and is more convinced than ever that Bong-sun is actually Soon-ae. He’s collected enough clues to pick up on the links, and guesses that Soon-ae’s been in the body all this while.
The next day, the restaurant crew jokes about Bong-sun becoming the boss’s wife now, so when she rushes in full of apologies for being late, they joke that she could be even later. Then Sun-woo arrives and puts everyone to work, going about his work briskly and avoiding looking at Bong-sun.
But the guys are having too much fun with the new couple, not realizing they’re on the outs, and pelt them with questions about the romance. Sun-woo shuts them down curtly with instructions to get to work.
The boys gossip among themselves, speculating that the couple fought. Always one to argue the opposite of everyone else, Min-soo proposes that the couple is just putting on the act to fool them, and that they’re really totally fine.
Soon-ae mulls over Sung-jae’s behavior, trying to figure out why he would want to run Bong-sun over. Unni advises her to recall whether he acted strangely to her when she was in Bong-sun’s body, and she notes how she recently gave him Soon-ae’s diary and asked him to look into her death. Since he tried to kill Bong-sun shortly afterward, there’s a possibility he’s related to Soon-ae’s death.
Unni warns that it sounds like he might be possessed by a malevolent ghost, which fits with all the unsettling details she’d noticed about him. Malevolent ghosts tend to possess long-term, and worse yet, if it’s in the body long enough it could become difficult to distinguish between the ghost and host. Furthermore, if this is true, he’ll be able to see ghost Soon-ae, so she’d better take care.
Min-soo pesters Bong-sun to find out what happened with her and the chef, and realize from her reaction that they must have fought. Sun-woo interrupts to take her away, telling the staff to take care of dinner prep, and they wonder at the seriousness of his mood.
Sun-woo has decided that Bong-sun is suffering from hallucinations, and insists that she go in for treatment. He’s practically dragging her along when she forces a stop, telling him that he must believe her, and that this is who she is. She’s lived this way for 28 years, and it’s been so difficult she’s contemplated death numerous times. She apologizes, then hurries off in tears.
Bong-sun arrives at an empty restaurant, where Soon-ae finds her and starts to launch into an explanation of her recent discoveries. But Sun-woo comes charging in, deciding that maybe Bong-sun is right about seeing ghosts, but that he refuses to believe it without seeing it. Bong-sun tells Soon-ae, “I told Chef the truth,” explaining that she didn’t want Sun-woo confusing the two of them anymore.
Sun-woo looks around in alarm at her one-sided conversation, and she explains that the ghost is here. Soon-ae makes a chair move, then lifts a ghostly hand to his cheek. He flinches at the sensation, thoroughly spooked.
Some time later, he’s still reeling, trying to make sense of it. He asks Bong-sun whether it was involuntary, and she’d been possessed without knowing. She answers that at first she didn’t know, and would wake up after being possessed. But later she allowed it, and the answer has him agog with disbelief. He can’t take any more and leaves the room, head pounding.
As he drinks alone, the details start to fit together about both versions of Bong-sun. He imagines the Soon-ae version of Bong-sun sitting next to him, chiding him not to drink liquor straight, and then Bong-sun on the other side saying the same.
Sung-jae happens by and sees him drinking, and asks after him in concern. He’s taken aback when Sun-woo asks if he believes in ghosts, but tosses out a casual “No, I hadn’t really thought about it.” Sun-woo figures that makes sense, and mumbles half to himself, “Na Bong-sun is Na Bong-sun, but doesn’t seem like Na Bong-sun…”
And, well, that’s enough to confirm for Sung-jae: “So, Na Bong-sun is Shin Soon-ae.”
In her room, Bong-sun looks over her scrapbook of articles about Sun-woo and calls herself a fool for thinking that she could make him hers, even in that misguided way.
He calls her out, asking why she fessed up: “If you were going to deceive me you should have done it completely. Why reveal the truth now?” He says he’d have preferred believing she was just bipolar, and raises his voice to ask why she couldn’t keep lying. Breaking down, he asks if it was fun for her.
She says it wasn’t like that, and he reaches out and hugs her, saying, “I’m going crazy, Na Bong-sun. Ghosts? Isn’t that something out of a movie? Who did I like—was it you, or the ghost?” That’s the million-dollar question. He asks why she did it.
“Because I like you,” Bong-sun says. “Because I like you so much, from the first time I saw you. I wanted to keep you with me even if it had to be that way.”
He pulls away, unable to look her in the eye, and says he needs time. She cries and sits outside for a good long time, while Sun-woo heads to his mother’s house for the night.
Mom is, of course, full of nosy questions and speculations about him and Bong-sun, though he tells her nothing.
Soon-ae’s thinks sadly of Sun-woo’s reaction to her touch, but reminds herself that she has bigger concerns: She has to find out about Sung-jae and warn Bong-sun about him.
Bong-sun makes a decision and starts packing her things. She pauses when packing her Sun-woo scrapbook, and starts ripping out the pages, one by one, tearing them into pieces. With bags packed, she’s out by dawn, leaving Soon-ae and her co-workers confused about where she’s gone.
The guys tell Sun-woo as he arrives, and he finds her space cleaned out and empty. She’s left behind the couple ring she wore around her neck, which he finds in the room.
The staff also realizes she must have gone for good, noting that her locker’s also empty and that things had been strained with Sun-woo. Eun-hee is upset to hear it, though Sung-jae takes this all in carefully. He supposes this means that Bong-sun is currently unpossessed, and wonders where Soon-ae is now.
Bong-sun wakes up in an unfamiliar bed, having been found collapsed in the street by Soon-ae’s father. He’d brought her home, and both Dad and Kyung-mo insist that she rest here for as long as she needs to recover, since it appears she’s left her job and home. She tries to decline the offer and says she can go to her grandmother’s, but they point out that she should get better first.
Sung-jae comes by the restaurant and looks around carefully, but finds nothing. Soon-ae comes by later to check in on her family, which is how she comes to see that Bong-sun’s staying here.
Soon-ae asks if Bong-sun left the restaurant because of her and apologizes, feeling guilty for the way things worked out. Bong-sun admits that she initially blamed Soon-ae, but recognized that it was half her fault. Plus, at least now she has memories with Sun-woo, whom she could barely even look at before.
Soon-ae tells Bong-sun that her near-hit-and-run was Sung-jae’s doing, and advises her to keep out of sight for the time being. Soon-ae adds that her lingering grudge may be something other than what she’d thought.
At the restaurant, Sun-woo is on top of his game and in such apparent good spirits that his staff wonders at it. Goofy Ji-woong even admits to feeling vicarious betrayal on Bong-sun’s behalf, because of how little their breakup seems to affect him. Joon sighs, “He’s a real disappointment.” And Min-soo, ever the contrarian, says that the chef is just acting okay and had sad eyes, proving that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Sun-woo lets down that guard when he’s alone, and the guys steal a glimpse of his bottled-up sadness.
At the police station, a colleague, Officer Kang (cameo by Ryu Hyun-kyung), returns after taking time off for her health. Sung-jae and his partner enjoy teasing her affectionately, though Officer Kang insists on doing things herself.
Soon-ae hangs back and sees her struggling to lift a box and decides her weak body is perfect for possession—a handy disguise, since Sung-jae is on to her in her regular form.
Now steering the body, Soon-ae saunters into the station, taking a look around and noting the drawer that contains her diary, which is kept locked. Soon-ae takes back that info to Unni, recalling now that Sung-jae acted strange when he insisted on keeping it. Unni supposes that the diary contains something that points to him, and wonders what it is. Soon-ae wonders the same, and Unni thwacks her head: “It’s your diary!”
So Soon-ae thinks hard, trying to recall anything that might be helpful. She pictures herself in the water and the tinkling sound of a lullaby, but that’s all. Unni instructs her to go after the diary.
At the end of the night, the assistant chefs pout, wheedle, and persuade Sun-woo into going out with them afterward. Aw, it’s nice to have your bros out to cheer you up. They take him out for drinks and do the dude-solidarity thing by saying you don’t know women and that they’re all trouble.
But Joon waits for a quiet moment to ask Sun-woo whether he really means to give Bong-sun up. He says, “The Bong I know only ever looked at you, from the day she first started. When she was washing dishes, and serving, and even resting—her eyes always followed you. I respect you, Chef, but if you give up on her like this, I’ll be disappointed in you. I know it’s not my place, but I like both of you and want you to be happy.”
Back in her Officer Kang disguise at the station, Soon-ae eyes Sung-jae and bides her time, waiting for her chance. So when the guys mention ordering food in, she offers to watch the station while they go out to eat, saying she has work to finish up.
As soon as they leave, she gets to work trying to jimmy the drawer lock open. She’s terrible at it, and gets caught by Sung-jae’s partner, Officer Hwang, who eyes her questioningly. He asks if she’s got any concerns or doubts about Sung-jae, so Soon-ae confides that she heard a report about Sung-jae possibly taking bribes or doing other unsavory things, and she got a report from above to look into it.
Taking her at her word, Officer Hwang sighs that Sung-jae’s dirty in more than one way, and says he’s found him suspicious lately too. He explains how he was recently attacked while in the process of getting the restored CCTV footage of Sung-jae’s wife’s hit and run, and that he thinks Sung-jae was at the scene. He suspects that Sung-jae is trying to conceal the criminal, but doesn’t know why. But he does have a plan in the works—he’d gone back to his attack site and recovered a piece of evidence that fell into a crack, which is being examined.
Sung-jae and one of the officers sit down at Dad’s restaurant, and Bong-sun hears them in time to duck out of sight before being spotted. Sung-jae keeps looking around, though it doesn’t seem he knows of her presence.
Sun-woo returns to Bong-sun’s now-empty room, and this time he spies the scraps of paper that fell under a shelf. He reads the torn notes written in her hand, recognizing the cabbage porridge recipe from Sunshine’s blog. And there’s another familiar dish—buckwheat pancakes, which he’d once taken Bong-sun to eat, when she’d been the real Bong-sun.
He pulls up Sunshine’s blog and reads a new entry about the pancakes, which she’d eaten “on a particularly hot summer night, with that person.” She uses words he’d spoken to her, about a chef being like a conductor of an orchestra. She also mentions the lesson when he’d had her taste seasonings and given her tea to cleanse the palate, and he realizes that this Bong-sun was sometimes there with him.
He pulls up her resumé to get the address listed there, and heads out in a hurry.
Kyung-mo drops by to offer Bong-sun an ice cream bar, gruffly telling her to eat up and regain her strength. She politely declines, and he hilariously takes her formality as “drawing the line” between them, and scolds her for being foolish enough to quit her job and mope around because that punk chef dumped her. He pouts that if she was going to reject Kyung-mo for the other guy, she should have at least been happy with him. Lol. I love perpetually wrongheaded Kyung-mo.
Sun-woo drives all the way to Grandma’s house, and she can sense just from her first glance that he’s from Seoul and uses knives for a living. She nods approvingly about him picking the right career for his destiny, which happens to match well with Bong-sun’s fate.
He looks around for sign of Bong-sun, but when he realizes she’s not here, he makes up an excuse about just saying hello while he was in the neighborhood. He tells Granny that Bong-sun is doing fine, and that she’s a sincere, thoughtful person.
Granny agrees, explaining that Bong-sun matured at a very young age, having lost her parents young. Growing up with a shaman grandmother couldn’t have been easy, but she never said a word against it and always took care of Grandma. She wishes that Bong-sun hadn’t inherited her gifts, or grown up lonely without any friends because she saw ghosts. Granny stops at that and apologizes for the rambling, insisting that he wait while she buys him a soda.
So Sun-woo sits there and waits, looking around the shabby home and imagining Bong-sun living here, caring for her grandmother. He thinks, “You were as lonely as I was, Na Bong-sun.”
When Sun-woo arrives at the restaurant, Kyung-mo storms up in a temper, calling him bastard for playing with a sweet girl’s heart and tossing her aside. He slaps him full in the face, asking why he hurt Bong-sun. Aw, the misunderstanding isn’t even funny this time with Kyung-mo so earnest and heartfelt, shedding tears as he says, “I never saw a girl so bright and positive like her, aside from my sister. But what did you do to her to make her crumple in a day, not even eating a bite? You call yourself a person?”
Sun-woo asks how he knows that, and Kyung-mo shouts that she’s staying at his house. Immediately, Sun-woo takes off running, and Kyung-mo says tremblingly, “Be happy.” You adorable fool.
Bong-sun steps out into the alley to take a call from Grandma, who asks if she’s doing okay. Bong-sun assures her that she is, and just as she hears that someone came by looking for her, Sun-woo shouts her name. He’s out of breath and upset and relieved all in one, and asks if she ran away just down the block so he’d find her.
Bong-sun starts to protest just as he reaches her and pulls her into a hug. Grabbing her tight, he says, “Don’t be mistaken, Na Bong. I didn’t come running here because I’ve forgiven you for tricking me. I was just so worried. My heart is telling me to hold you so I’ll just hold you for a little while.”
She tells him, “I missed you.” He tells her he can’t hear her, so she says more loudly, “I missed you, so much.”
Aw, and there’s that tiny hint of a smile. He pulls back and stammers, “I’ve been thinking, but one thing I’m sure of… I— From before— From way before you were possessed by a ghost, I saw you, and thought about you, and worried about you. So for now, don’t disappear from before me. It makes me so worried I feel like I’d go insane.”
She throws her arms around him and promises. And as they stand there holding each other, he finally starts to breathe easily.
Aw, I’m glad he came around, though it happened quicker than I thought it would. I don’t even think I would have minded it taking Sun-woo a little longer to work through his confusion, wrestling with the question of whom he was missing and whom he cared about. I’m perfectly happy with where he ended up, because it makes sense to me that he would see Bong-sun for who she was and appreciate that part of her, but I do wonder if it’s a little pat to have him so accepting of her. I would think he would also miss the Soon-ae half—he certainly had his share of falling-in-love moments with her, and would mourn that loss, even as the idea creeped him out.
I liked how the episode ended on Sun-woo’s comment about not forgiving her just yet, but acknowledging that he cares for her and doesn’t want her to go away. I think it’s fair to be confused and in love and need time without shoving her out of sight, and Bong-sun needed to be told that because as far as she knew, she meant little to him. I respected that she was honest and wouldn’t let him cling to false explanations, and that she went about it trying to make things easiest for all.
Now I’m glad we have several episodes left, so that we can now establish this new relationship between Sun-woo and Bong-sun, because it in essence is a brand-new dynamic. You could see Sun-woo trying to turn his brain inside out trying to figure out exactly where one person started and the other began, but that might just be an impossible task. Even though we always knew who was in control at what time, nobody else can divorce the two when they were in the same space; it’s almost like they became a third entity. Because even though you could argue that love is blind, and that it’s personality over corporeality, our knowledge of one aspect inevitably affects our impression of the other; Soon-ae doing something as a ghost is always going to be different from Soon-ae doing something as Bong-sun.
So I’m encouraged that Sun-woo has recognized that his caring for Bong-sun started even before any of these recent developments happened, and that’s bolstered by learning that her caring for him likewise was rooted in deeper context. But I don’t think he knows her that well yet, even if he connects with her loneliness and yearning and general personality. Heck, she doesn’t know him either, since she wasn’t very conscious for many of their interactions and heard about the encounters secondhand—and that’s after it was filtered and reinterpreted.
As for Soon-ae, I feel for her in that she’s the one with the rawest deal right now—she lost the guy, she has to uncover Evil Dude’s deal, and she’s still dead. But I’m glad she’s refocused her attention on what’s important, and that she gave herself a moment to think wistfully of Sun-woo but ultimately is very aware that her priority is to figure out the mystery of the bad cop and what he may have to do with her death. I’m looking forward to her partnership with Buddy Cop, and hope we’ll get a chance to see her sticking around for a while as the cop—mostly because I like seeing Soon-ae actively going after something. Other than sex, I suppose. Not that there’s anything wrong with going for sex! Just, you know, not when you’re dealing with evil ghosts on the rampage going on killing sprees, and the possibility of turning into one yourself. Priorities, girl!