Oh My Ghostess: Episode 5
Bong-sun’s back! It’s great to have our heroine back in her body, even if her brain is still a few weeks behind and struggling to make sense of all the crazy she’s now in the middle of. But even with her soul back behind the wheel, that doesn’t mean an end to her problems, especially since the truth can hardly be called upon to explain anything to the confused folks wondering at her sudden change. And with a ghost as persistent as Soon-ae dangling around, we can’t expect one simple eviction to be the end of this possession story, though it would be if Bong-sun had her way.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Sun-woo finds Bong-sun collapsed in the restaurant late, burning with fever, and calls an ambulance. Something about her condition has ejected ghost Soon-ae from the body, but she doesn’t know why any more than we do.
Bong-sun’s condition is mostly fever and shock, and the doctor says it’s not serious. At least not physically; emotionally, it packs much more of a punch when Bong-sun wakes up in bed and gasps in fear at the craggy-faced ghost in the bed next to her, then again to see Sun-woo at her bedside.
He chides her for letting herself get so sick without saying anything, then recalls that she did, feeling bad that he didn’t believe her—not that we can blame him, since Soon-ae tried every excuse to get in his pants. He advises her to rest up and steps aside to make room arrangements.
Bong-sun takes in her situation with mounting fear, especially when she sees today’s date—the last thing she remembers was weeks ago, after she quit her job. She leaves the hospital confused and grows more upset with each change she discovers—her gosiwon room is gone, and she looks unlike herself with the bright makeup. She calls her grandmother in tears, frightened at her inability to remember things that people say she did.
Grandma sighs that her intuition was right, based on the call she had with Soon-ae, and tells Bong-sun that she’d been possessed by a ghost.
Sun-woo heads back to the restaurant, where Soon-ae pelts him with questions… that he can’t hear, of course, which means they’re having two one-sided conversations. He’s worried about her disappearance but tells himself (not too convincingly) that it’s not his concern.
Sun-woo gets ready for bed while Soon-ae admires the view. Upside to being a ghost: Ogling free-for-all. Downside: No touchy. Soon-ae climbs in bed next to him, admiring his face up-close while he continues to grumble about Bong-sun’s whereabouts. Soon-ae leans in like she’s going to kiss him, but reminds herself that she has bigger worries: Namely, time’s ticking and she needs to get on with her mission to resolve her lingering grudge. Time to resume Operation: Get Laid!
She decides she needs to find another host, and thinks one will have a higher chance of success: cooking show PD So-hyung. Uh-oh. Let’s hope for everybody’s sake that this idea fails. She finds her at the broadcast station and winds up like a runner launching into a race—and bounces off So-hyang, repelled by her strong ki (energy).
That fits with what Grandma tells Bong-sun, about how she has to take care of her body and avoid the spirit trying to take over—and if avoidance fails, she is to look the ghost straight in the eye and insist, “I am not a weak person!”
She stays out all night mulling this over, and Officer Sung-jae stops to say hi. He takes her to the station and offers her coffee, and when she thanks him politely, he reminds her that they’re ramyun buddies now. She lies that she remembers, which he doesn’t seem to believe, and he asks if there’s anything he can help her with. At her reticence, he says she doesn’t have to explain, but offers himself to listen whenever she wants to talk.
Sung-jae insists on driving her back to the restaurant, where he explains to Sun-woo how he ran into Bong-sun this morning. Sun-woo’s alarmed at the idea that she roamed the streets all night, but keeps it to himself as he sends Sung-jae off. And why is it that every time Sung-jae’s warm, friendly smile fades, my heart drops into my stomach? I know he hasn’t done anything suspicious… yet…
Bong-sun looks around nervously as she enters the restaurant, mindful of Grandma’s warnings that a ghost who’s successfully possessed once will try to possess again. Sun-woo tries to get an explanation out of her, but she’s back to her stammering ways and just blurts, “I’m sorry!” several times before hurrying off. He’s gotten so used to her bold persona that he’s actually surprised to hear her reverting to her old ways.
Sung-jae wears a stone face as he watches an old grandma collecting cardboard in the streets. Then he drives by, purposely clipping her cart with his car. It doesn’t cause much harm, but what’s with the random act of assiness, Suspiciously Friendly Officer?
Bong-sun finds her belongings in her locker, then stiffens when the assistant chefs arrive for work and greet her closely, reminding her that she loves skinship. She excuses herself and darts away, and Joon in particular notices the oddity.
Sun-woo gathers the crew before they begin work for the day, explaining that they have a lot of important reservations on the books today. As they discuss dishes, Bong-sun nods off and has to be roused and stumbles over her feet. The assistants are reminded of “Flinching Bong” of the old days: “And just when I was getting attached to Over-the-Top Bong!”
As Bong-sun goes about her tasks, she takes Granny’s advice to ignore the ghosts wholesale. So when Soon-ae bounces around her asking questions, she pretends not to see anything and tries to drown out Soon-ae’s chirping. Of course, that still looks strange to the staff, since she runs from room to room shooing away invisible things.
During the lunch rush, Sun-woo sends Bong-sun to the storeroom to get more torches, and she determinedly avoids acknowledging Soon-ae’s attempts to engage in conversation. But it doesn’t look like Soon-ae’s going to give up, so she takes Granny’s second bit of advice, which is to look the ghost in the eye and firmly assert herself.
Bong-sun does, but she stammers on the words “I’m not a pushover” and Soon-ae chatters excitedly, asking for one more possession as a favor. Bong-sun fires the torch and keeps Soon-ae at arm’s length, warning her to stay away and treat her as weak. Only, one false step sends her whirling, and the torch makes contact with a shelf of supplies. Whoosh! Flames erupt.
The kitchen enjoys a lull while diners eat their lunch, and with all the stoves off, the assistant chefs wonder at the smoky smell. Realizing that a fire has broken out, they usher out the customers and hurry down to the storeroom to put it out.
Soon-ae’s brother Kyung-mo sees the fire trucks going by and is disappointed that the fire isn’t actually bigger (for viewing entertainment), while Dad clucks at him to grow up soon. Dad is tempted to finish off a half-drunk bottle of soju left by a customer, but recalls Soon-ae (as Bong-sun) telling him not to drink alone anymore, offering herself as soju buddy. Dad sets the bottle down and wonders why she hasn’t been by lately.
The restaurant staff takes stock of the damage, and sous chef Min-soo angrily berates her for being responsible. Sun-woo’s upset too, but he gives her a chance to explain—though she has nothing to say that would make any sense and just repeats the familiar “I’m sorry” refrain. She does look up to glare at Soon-ae, a look that Sun-woo clocks with curiosity and follows up with a call to a doctor.
Bong-sun trembles with fear and agitation as Soon-ae approaches, telling her she didn’t have to go at her with fire. Bong-sun tells Soon-ae to leave her alone because she’s afraid of her and doesn’t want to deal with her, angry and scared in equal measure.
Soon-ae heads off sighing that it’s not like she wants these things to happen, and cheers up to see her father.
Sun-woo’s mother hears about the fire from sister Eun-hee, and thinks that all the charms and rites she asked her shaman to perform worked—at least the fire was small, right? Shaman unni isn’t an outright quack but she’s not above fishing for money from an eager customer and suggests that perhaps they could make some spiritual appeals to help Eun-hee get pregnant.
Sun-woo pulls Bong-sun aside and takes her somewhere, explaining that he knows she’s not fully well and that she can consider this a medical exam. (And takes credit for being such an awesome boss who looks after his employees so thoughtfully.)
Dr. Hong turns out to be a psychiatrist, and he hooks Bong-sun up to a machine for readings, though his uncontrollable facial twitching has them concerned. Then Bong-sun sees the grandma ghost clinging to the doctor, causing the muscle spasms, though nobody else is aware.
Dr. Hong interprets Bong-sun’s behavior as bipolar disorder—bold, talkative, sexually curious during the manic stages, then the complete opposite in the depressive state. The doctor adds that he saw signs of her seeing or hearing things, and asks if she’d undergone a big shock recently.
Sun-woo’s mind flashes to all the harsh words he’s had for Bong-sun recently, and now he sees them through the lens of being her depression triggers. The doctor prescribes medication and advises Sun-woo not to leave her to be alone, in case her mood swings and results in extreme outbursts.
The staff prepares to head out, and Min-soo is still yammering on about the day’s events, making pointed comments at Bong-sun for causing trouble. At least he clams up when Sun-woo drops by, dismissing the staff, and Joon hangs back to double-check on her. Bong-sun just apologizes again and he sighs to hear those words again, heading off.
Bong-sun starts calling around to find a new place to stay, and doesn’t have much luck. Sun-woo sends her a text to bring her things to the rooftop, clearing out a storage area for her to stay in until she finds a new place. He says he’s not doing it to be particularly nice, uncomfortable with her gratitude, and says that bipolar disorder is no big deal but she should take care.
Then he uncomfortably mentions “that accident” which he takes responsibility for, telling her not to take it too much to heart. I love that she has no idea what he’s referring to while he tries not to act awkward about it, and he blurts out all these contradictory things, like how she can borrow blankets from him, which are very expensive, but she shouldn’t worry about that.
At her father’s restaurant, Soon-ae reminisces about the old days, asking Dad if he remembers playing Go-Stop with her after they closed up shop, and how she knows he was on to her cheating but let her do it anyway. She perks up when she sees Dad reading a wedding invitation, sent to Soon-ae by a friend. Dad’s near tears, calling the friend bad for not calling like she promised in the handwritten memo.
Dad reaches for the soju, and Soon-ae’s face grows ever longer as he goes through bottle after bottle. She instinctively reaches to steady him when he stumbles, but her arm goes through him.
Dad falls asleep hugging Soon-ae’s photo to his chest, in the room he refuses to change. Soon-ae lies down next to him and wraps her arms around him, and they sleep together.
Bong-sun sets up her cot and settles in with her incense, while down below, Sun-woo starts to make his nightly bowl of instant ramyun. It occurs to him that Bong-sun might be hungry (aw), and then he wonders whether ramyun would be bad for her health (double aww), and then reaches for her very own cabbage porridge recipe, uploaded by blogger “Sunshine.” Oh my god you are too cute.
He brings up the porridge to Bong-sun’s room, and plays it off like he was just trying to get rid of extra cabbage. He even uses her own words (well, Sunshine’s) to add that this dish is the best for consoling the heart and the body. Bong-sun is touched, and smiles as she eats his porridge.
She finds a new comment on her blog, written by Sun-woo under the handle “Noodle Love.” He calls himself her fan, and she types in a reply.
Sun-woo fidgets in his room wondering if Bong-sun is eating his dish, and he sits up to see that a new reply has come in on the blog. He grins widely to read her response: “Thank you… your replies always give me support. And I’m eating cabbage porridge right now…” Adorably, he considers it a telling coincidence that he just cooked the porridge, saying they’re on the same wavelength.
He plays music that reaches Bong-soon’s room, and she puts her ear to the wall to listen. They both sit there feeling content, listening to the strains of Nell’s “Good Night,” from their aptly titled album Healing Process. Something tells me that’s not a coincidence.
In the morning, Soon-ae wakes up as her brother is pestering Dad for money, protesting ineffectually for him not to hand it over. Dad gives in and forks over the cash, leaving Soon-ae vexed over spoiling Kid Bro while Dad worries about being able to pay their utilities.
But that triggers a memory of her stashing some cash in a notebook, marked with a flag. She hurries to her room and focuses her concentration on that book, trying to conjure enough energy to move something. But nothing.
Bong-sun and Sun-woo get up at the same time, causing a minor traffic jam up on the rooftop. He reminds her that today is shooting day, which she has to google to understand, and one look at the video of her possessed self on TV has her seizing up with fright. She’s frozen with nerves and tries to tell Sun-woo she can’t go through with it, and he just tells her to trust him.
Soon-ae’s father is still pretty hungover from his drinking binge, though he tries to go about his normal duties. He’s looking pretty bad as he makes a batch of kimchi, and when he reaches up to a high shelf for a container, he can’t quite reach and falls to the ground. It knocks him out cold.
Shaman unni makes her way to Sun-woo’s mother’s house, here to perform some rites in Eun-hee’s room to aid in the baby-making process. Seeing a photo of the couple, the shaman is struck with a peculiar sense—not only was Sung-jae’s fate strange (she’d read him as someone meant to be alone), she’s puzzled to see that “It’s the same person… but something is different.” Omg is he possessed. Oh nooooo.
Speaking of the devil, Sung-jae arrives at Dad’s restaurant and looks around for him. He sees his body lying prone on the ground, but curiously makes no move to do anything. When his partner arrives, Sung-jae pretends he hasn’t seen anything and suggests trying a different spot for lunch. And he takes one last look at Dad, his face hardening eerily.
Back to Chef vs. Chef, where Bong-sun fights of a panic attack during introductions, particularly when she’s mentioned as a fan favorite. Then today’s mission is unveiled, and has Sun-woo looking worried: It’s a tag-team challenge, swapping between the chef and his assistant. Bong-sun shakes her head at Sun-woo, and looks sick to her stomach as he takes the first leg of the challenge (to make a healthy snack out of canned salmon for hard-working students).
Soon-ae keeps trying to move her notebook, and after countless attempts, she finally manages to fling it open to reveal the money inside. Excitedly, she runs out to get her father, only to find him collapsed in the kitchen. She can’t rouse him, and she can’t touch a phone to call for help, either. Panicking, she heads out into the streets looking for someone to possess, but only gets flung aside by their strong ki.
Deciding she needs Bong-sun, she takes off at a run.
In the studio, the first tag is initiated and Sun-woo has to turn over his dish to Bong-sun. She hears her name being shouted and flinches, spilling flour in the process and making herself panic even more. She’s so flustered that PD So-hyang calls for a break just as Soon-ae dashes up to her side, begging for her help.
Bong-sun runs off apologizing, trying to ignore Soon-ae who tells her about her father’s condition and begs her to call an ambulance. Bong-sun wails at her to go away, but Soon-ae cries, “It’s my father! How can I just watch, even if I am just a ghost? Please, just make the call.”
Her desperation makes Bong-sun pause, just as a crew member calls for her. And while she’s distracted, Soon-ae spots her opening and makes a dash for the body.
Ahh, I love it. Okay, the unauthorized possession thing is ethically questionable and I’m totally with Bong-sun in her desire to be left alone, though what’s great about these developments is that there’s a very reasonable, compelling conflict pulling us in opposite directions about the whole shebang. Because it wouldn’t be the worst thing for Bong-sun to be possessed right now in her moment of need, and for Soon-ae to get what she needed. I was hoping the whole time that Soon-ae would possess her and save the day. Isn’t that a win-win, even if one person doesn’t see it as a win?
But no, that’s the whole point about autonomy—we don’t get to decide for other people what’s “best for them” and ignore their desires in the moment, even if those desires are totally wrong or stupid or bound to fail. That ignores Bong-sun’s agency in all this, which is why this relationship requires a little more understanding and a lot of work. I half-expected Bong-sun to ask Soon-ae to possess her out of desperation and strike some kind of a deal, but I do think Bong-sun is made of sterner stuff than to hope for literal miracles to swoop in and clean up her messes for her. She may be terrified, but checking out and giving up control to someone else isn’t a solution for her.
It’s why I don’t see the resolution of this drama as a question of “getting rid of” the ghosts, but learning to live with them in a way that doesn’t paralyze her life. (Very Sixth Sense or Master’s Sun—but hey, it’s a resolution that makes sense and provides emotional catharsis.)
I think it’s a small step in the right direction that Soon-ae asked for permission, because at first she didn’t seem to give a whole lot of thought to her hosts. And she still has a ways to go, since she was all too willing to possess So-hyung and seduce Sun-woo that way, or to possess any random stranger to save her dad. No judgment from me for that, by the way; it’s just a point that I expect to mark her own growth, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.
I’m super-curious to know what Sung-jae’s deal is, and why he’s so alternately sweet and terrifying. We had whispers of possible nefariousness with him before, but in such fleeting glimpses that I almost wondered if I’d imagined it—the show has done the reveal very smartly, easing us in with the vague misgivings before giving it to us outright.
I’d wondered before if perhaps he might have had a hand in Soon-ae’s death (or maybe Eun-hee’s hit and run accident), but with the shaman honing in on his mixed-up destiny and same-but-not-same aura, I’m going with ghost possession. The question is: Is he rescuable? If he is possessed, does he still have time before that ghost turns malevolent, or takes him over completely?
I like this drama’s explanation about ki, where the stronger your sense of confidence or energy—it’s self-possession in the most literal reading of the word—the more impervious you are to being taken over. And if Sung-jae is as sweet as we’ve seen, that perhaps explains why he may have been prone, just as Bong-sun is.
Most of all, though, I’m glad that we have Bong-sun back in control, even if she may be shortly losing it again. I’m curious to see if, in this world, she’ll be able to exert any sort of control from within, now that she knows what is happening to her, and if she and Soon-ae will duke it out or come to a sort of agreement.
The fact that this will confuse Sun-woo is an added bonus, because how much do I love him? I love the character’s mix of confidence and insecurity (and am so grateful that the character is in Jo Jung-seok’s hands), where you can see so clearly the point where they join and sometimes clash. I love when he contradicts himself, like telling Bong-sun he doesn’t want her thanks when clearly he’s itching to be praised for being thoughtful, or when he hopes she won’t fall in love with him.
When I worried that Soon-ae was going to be in control the whole time I was unsure about the loveline, but with both girls taking turns twisting him up, I’m just want more, more, more. As far as he knows, the two Bong-suns are parts of a whole, so I don’t see it as a question of “which side does he like better?”—he already had a budding interest in her before she was possessed, even if it manifested in frustration over her niceness. As much as I love watching Soon-ae throw Bong-sun’s body at Sun-woo, what I hope Soon-ae does for the romance is push everything that’s been repressed to the surface—things that may have needed her push to bloom, but not things that require Bong-sun to be Soon-ae.