10 March 2014

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Bride Of The Century Episode 1 (A SqueeCap)

Posted by CM Shukmeister on March 10, 2014
Shuk:  Hello again everyone!  Here we go again, with another round of Late-To-The-Funeral SqueeCapping. Six episodes are already out, but never fear!  We do our best to catch up and deliver our squees and snarks to those who seek a slighty skewed recapping experience!
JoAnne: Sometimes a show just isn't on your radar, and then you watch an episode and it's both better and worse than you think, and then you watch a few more and start obsessing about it, and then you start thinking, and then you realize there's another person out there thinking the same thing, and then things get a little blurry.


EPISODE 1

Shuk:  It's a Joseon nobleman's house, and a gaggle of women are peeking through fingerholes in the rice paper walls.  It seems the lead son has taken a bride, but no one is wishing her well. Instead they are gossiping about the terrible curse the family is under.  A supernatural being decreed that the first bride of the first born son ever will be sacrificed to ensure the protection of the family.
JoAnne: Well that sure puts a damper on the wedding night, but it seems easy to cheat, too.  Marry a farm animal.  Or a really old woman who's dying anyway.

Shuk:  This scared, shaking girl is the daughter of a poor farmer, basically sold to give her family a better life, and there is a certain maliciousness among the hens as they squawk sorrowfully at her fate. Her groom claims he doesn't believe the rumors.
JoAnne: So does that mean he actually chose her because he wants to be married to her?

Shuk:  The women outside have turned it into a campfire storytelling contest, when Lady Choi shows up with a Woodalchi. Well, it's Kim Mi-kyung, anyway, and still badass. She orders the servants to disperse, which they do with alacrity.  She tells her Woldachi to keep everyone away from her son's room.
JoAnne:  Sigh...I miss Faith sometimes. I really do.  Parts of it were so good. All the parts with Lady Choi or the Woodalchi, for example.


Shuk: We have gotten to the disrobing part, when the son falls unconscious and the candles flicker out in a breeze. So do the electric lights around the perimeter, but they won't be invented for another 300 years. The couple is plunged into darkness as the perimeter doors rattle.
JoAnne: I don't think that's sexual tension we're feeling.

Shuk:  We next see the bride, now bereft of all her jewelry, fleeing from a slender dark female figure while her husband searches for her in the woods. She runs to the end of cliff but there's no where to go. The groom hears the scream, and ultimately finds a lone red shoe on the cliff.
JoAnne:  I'll let you chase me, scary ghost, but please let me  take off this expensive jewelry first?

Shuk:  Now for the modern times. We see a not-so-slender dark female figure arising from the waters, her orange face glowing in the sun. It's Na Doo-rim (Jang Jin-sung), abalone fisheress. Fisherwoman? She has a pretty good haul, as Google Fu tells me wholesale prices for abalone meat in the United States currently averages $ 40 per kilogram.
JoAnne:  Wow, she is really...orange.

Shuk:  Persimmon is relaxing on the beach with her nets when she sees a woman in white leap off a cliff. Forgetting her mask and her hood, she leaps into the water and manages to snag one arm. As she starts heading for the surface, the woman flashes into a evil looking woman in a black gown. Just as quickly the vision disappears.
JoAnne: Oxygen deprivation, that's all that is.  It's not a ghost it's not a ghost it's not a ghost.
Shuk: They make it to the beach, and Doo Rim successfully revives her. The woman cries that her man didn't love her anymore; maybe he likes grade-school girls like the one that rescued her.  Doo-rim gets even more orange as she insists she has the body of a grown woman, just hidden by the wetsuit.
JoAnne: It's very distracting, the orange.  I somehow like her already, though.

Shuk: Anyway, the woman thanks her, even though she doesn't know what being in love is like, and gives her a carnelian-stone bracelet. She promises that her life will change for the better, and grabbing her red shoes, tells Persimmon to do her best and avoid becoming a virgin ghost. LOL.
JoAnne: I wasn't really paying attention to that at time, but now, a few episodes in...hahahaha - she wasn't just being snooty. It's an actual warning!

Shuk:  Doo-rim and her grandmother run a food cart, and abalone is the fish of the day.  Her hair is atrociously fluffy, and she's wearing a running suit she stole from a certain Rooftop Prince.  She is also delivery girl for the restaurant.
JoAnne: She is 1000% adorable, the world's youngest ahjumma.

Shuk:  At a construction site, things are not going well, and there appear to be money issues. One of the men, Jang Yi-hyun (Sung Hyuk) receives a phone call from Yi Kyung, who bears a disturbing similarity to Persimmon. She is impeccably dressed, though, and is scheduled to meet someone at the airport.
JoAnne: This Sung Hyuk actor, who I do not know at all, reminds me a little bit of Hyun Bin in his skinny Secret Garden phase. Also, she is not 1000% adorable.

Shuk:  The little Vespa putters on to the worksite, and Doo-rim pulls up to the man just as some worker pushes bricks off the construction scaffolding. Realizing they are about to hit the ahjussi she leaps into action, pushing him into a pallet and receiving the bricks on her head, err, her bike helmet.
JoAnne: Are we witnessing the beginnings of a triangle?
Shuk:  She asks if he's okay but he's stunned speechless, maybe because she looks just like the woman on the phone. Or maybe because she looks like a pumpkin. Anyway, he comes back to his senses and asks if she's okay. She smiles; she's a martial arts trainee who breaks boards with her head.  He gives her a business card and tells her to call him if she feels the need to go to the hospital. She shakes her head and hurries off to deliver her food to the workers.
JoAnne: I like it: tough girl with a guy who seems a bit fragile. Not for me, but I can watch.

Shuk:  The woman heading to the airport calls back and laughs that he saw her doppelganger.  I mean, what is this, a birth secret?
JoAnne: But it's sooooooooo obvious, come on, can't there be a little twist to it or something?
Shuk:  He decides to eat with the men at the construction site, but they are understandably miffed that they haven't been paid.  He promises to have full salary including backpay by the end of the month, and they share makgeolli.
JoAnne: He seems like a nice guy, if a bit bowed down by worry. We agree, right? He's a nice guy?
Shuk: [shrug]

Shuk:  There's fangirling at Incheon, but its not B2ST. It's our chaebol firstborn,  Choi Kang-Joo (FTIsland's Lee Hongki), nodding to the crowd like the superstar he is. Do rich sons have their own fan club?
JoAnne: In a world where ghosts decree that the first born's first wife must die and women look like Oompa Loompas, THIS is what you question? Sidenote: HongKi is looking nice here.  He doesn't inspire me to grabby hands but I have always liked him from the start, when I first saw him as Jeremy in YB.

Shuk:  Miss Cool And Collected gives him a welcome bouquet and a cool and collected smile, which he mirrors back. The cameras flash as he accepts the flowers, then walks past her with his entourage, complaining that the welcoming party was too much and leaving her in his wake.
JoAnne: Well I already know we won't like her, but that seemed a bit much on his part.  Rudeness!
Shuk:  Inside the car his female assistant, Lee Roo-mi (Jang Ah-young), hands him a small box which he then hands to Yi-kyung. It's a necklace, with a small, handtooled silver pendant. She's touched; he's unmoved as he tells her to put it on.
JoAnne: So...he does like her?
Shuk: [shrug]

Shuk:  She asks where they are going, and the assistant in the front seat gives a secret smile.
JoAnne: What's up with this one? Is she smiling because of the surprise or because she's a bitch?
Shuk: Probably both.
Shuk:  The first stop is lunch, but all she eats is the salad.  Their conversation is formal and superficial.  She doesn't eat sushi (and with that, she's on my Bad Girl list), but she will eat salmon and caviar. We find out during the convo that these two are engaged, but they haven't actually spent any time together.  He merely asks if she has received the list of his likes and dislikes from her mother; that list will be all she needs to know about him for now. She puzzled between the gift and his cold behavior now, as he starts checking his watch.
JoAnne: I'm feeling a little bit of sympathy for this girl.

Shuk:  Suddenly he springs out of his chair as an older woman walks by.  They immediately talk in Japanese, and he compliments her on looking prettier now than when they first met in Paris.  He introduces his fiancee., who also greets her in polite Japanese.
JoAnne: That woman is familiar.

Shuk:  He asks her to share their table, but President Kaneko declines.  After all, she has already chosen another company to do business, and it wouldn't seem right to be eating in public with a rival.  He takes this with equanimity as she turns to leave.

Shuk:  But she stops short when she glimpses Ms C&C's new necklace, and he smiles behind her back. She is transfixed by the necklace, and Kang-joo jumps into the silence. It's a necklace he considers lucky, because he gave it to his fiancee when he proposed. And then he smiles, love shining out of his eyes at Yi-kyung. You can almost see unicorns and rainbows in their depths.
JoAnne: Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!

Shuk:  It turns out to be the work of her late husband called "Eternal Love", and was given to her by her husband when he proposed to her.
JoAnne: So THAT'S what kind of chaebol he is...wow.  So devious!

Shuk: And like that, the business deal changes, and President Kaneko seals the deal.  It turns out he sent Flunkette to NYC just to bid on the necklace as insurance for the business deal. Now it's time for a board meeting.  Yi-kyung says it out loud; Is she a puppet to be used with things like the necklace and the restaurant scene?
JoAnne: I'm with her...that was...wow.

Shuk:  There's no reason to hide it. FirstBorn tells her that is her role in his life.  This is a surprise to her, and he scoffs.  Did she think it was love?  It is strictly business.  And he walks away, leaving her to make her own way out.
JoAnne: Ok but he could have TOLD her what he was doing, I don't get the sense she wouldn't play that part willingly.  I feel bad for her, somehow.

Shuk:  A happy blonde guy in a Vash The Stampede jacket hails her.  It's Kang-joo's younger brother, Choi Kang-in (rookie actor Jung Hae-in) with eye candy on his sleeve. He didn't know his hyung was back in Korea, but he's been busy. She's still upset, and takes her leave.

Shuk:  We get the Aerosmith strut through the department store.  Kang-joo starts making changes, including cancelling the idol group they use for spokesmen (and his dongsaeng's group), and firing the department store front desk greeter for smelling like cigarettes.
JoAnne: Serious Secret Garden feelings.
Shuk: Ms C&C is railing at her mother for her unfair treatment by FirstBorn.  Mom tells her to suck it up and slaps her before she goes into hysterics. There's some twisted alien-lip mirrored thing behind them, but, fortunately I don't think it's alive. At least, the tentacles don't move.
JoAnne: This is the house from MiSa! I always liked it. But weird furnishings this time around.

Shuk: FirstBorn arrives at an ancient estate, and right away relaxes into a happy smiling guy. He's greeted with enthusiam by the housekeeper and her husband, and it's clear he has great affection for them.
JoAnne: As do I, immediately.

Shuk:  It's a little more formal with his parents, with some conversation over tea.  Mom objects to him throwing himself into work so quickly, but Dad is proud. They talk about his younger brother; clearly they don't approve of his singing career. He promises that IdolBoy will be home soon.  Is that why they fired him from the store advertising?
JoAnne: I'm having a hard time reconciling this nice dad with the creep over on Age of Feeling

Shuk:  Things are just as formal at the Jang household. Over a glowing alien head they chat about the day's events.  Yi-kyung glosses over her treatment by FirstBorn and tries to steer the conversation to her lookalike. Her brother looks uncomfortable.
JoAnne: And why is that, exactly?

Shuk: On the poor side of town, Persimmon has decided that the lucky bracelet really isn't lucky, tosses it on her desk, and heads for bed.
JoAnne: I'm going with that's a mistake.
Shuk:  FirstBorn is praying at the family shrine, and remembering a time when, as a child, he was apparently locked in a room.  Ahjumma sees him coming out of the shrine, and expositionally muses that he goes there every time he's home.
JoAnne: I'm sure there's more to it than that.

Shuk:  Persimmon is wowing some fangirls with a cock-and-bull story that she once fed the idol group Monster at this very restaurant.  She takes the restaurant take and goes to an aunt's house, where she hands in the envelope and gets an entry in a log.  Auntie is all smiles until she leaves.  Uh-oh, she should have that money in a bank, not in a Auntie's hands.
JoAnne: Yeah I don't get that. People chip in a monthly amount for X amount of time and then it's their 'turn' and they get all the cash collected so far?  I did the math - you can't get more than what you'd have saved up yourself in the same amount of time, so why bother?
Shuk:  A bespectacled shaman relaxes in his business for a moment, but then gets visited by a certain scary Woman in Black. She hovers over him and gets right to the point.  The next woman who comes into his business is to get anything and everything she wants.  Fearfully, he agrees.

Shuk:  It's Yang Mama!  She wants to know how her successful daughter's marriage will be. She hands him the envelope with the bride and groom birth information, but it turns out to be filled with money.  Yang Mama gets to the point; he needs to tell her everything he knows about the Taeyang Group family.
JoAnne: Wouldn't you think she'd have done that before allowing her daughter to be engaged to their son?

Shuk:  Our Genki Girl is one of many talents.  She is now selling coffee at the waterside.  She hears about Choi Kang-joo.  She wonders if he's a idol star, but the girls correct her right away.  Then some thugs show up and try to get coffee without paying. Persimmon wasn't fooling about those martial arts skills when she supplies a multi-thug beatdown that has the crowds cheering.
JoAnne: We're getting an awful lot of proof about how capable she is of defending herself.

Shuk:  That night she's running the numbers and paying the utilities, and it appears there be a bit left over. Granny comes in with hot sweet potatoes. We find more backstory for the family: Persimmon's family died at sea, and Granny is sick but refuses to admit it. They flip on the old CRT  television, smack it a few times, and watch it together.

Shuk:  The next day, Persimmon shows up at Auntie's store, only to find out she's absconded with everyone's contributions.  Right away she heads to the bus stop, but the old bat's not there.  She slogs her way home. It's silent except for a cat, until she rounds a corner and finds Granny unconscious on the floor. At the hospital, doctors say she needs surgery. When she wakes, it turns out she collapsed after hearing about Auntie's perfidy.  Persimmon tells her to be strong; they will persevere as a team. {{{hugs}}}
JoAnne: I always have a real soft spot for the grannies, too.

Shuk:  Back at the estate, Bach's Partita in D minor (Chaconne 1) for solo violin plays as Choi Dad stares out the window.  He later meets his wife in the courtyard; she tells him that his late mother begged them to protect the home, and he shouldn't keep his dead wife's picture in his study.  Ah, so Dad was previous generations first born.
JoAnne: And an idiot, apparently, because if your family is cursed, why would you marry someone you actually loved? Isn't it just guaranteeing their death?
Shuk:  Current FirstBorn is going over some documents late into the night.  Ms C&C is with her school friends, who ooh and ahh over the necklace.  And Flunkette is part of the group as well. They trade barbs over the rest of the girls. In the bathroom, it becomes clear that Flunkette aspires to be Mrs. FirstBorn, in spite of being rejected by the Choi elders.  Ms C&C spits that she will never give up the position as FirstBorn's fiancee and wife. Flunkette warns her that she's know him longer and will ultimately be the one to be by his side.
JoAnne:  Hmmm...does she aspire to be wife #1 or wife #2, though?
Shuk:  [shrug]

Shuk: There's a party that night welcoming Kang-joo to the company, and Yi-kyung preps for display, including the necklace. She goes back and forth in her head between the puppet comments, and her mother's insistence that she take one for the team.
JoAnne: Her mother WANTS her to die? They do know about the curse, right?

Shuk:  At the party,  Ms C&C's a no-show, leaving a "I'm running away" note for her brother.  They give excuses for her absence at the party, but Yang Mama has a panic attack once they get home.
JoAnne: So it's worth it to her to have the daughter die, if it saves the company?
Shuk:  Unni, you have a lot of good questions.

Shuk:  She has tea with Choi Madam the next day, and promises that her daughter will not miss any more public appearances. Madam gives the threat that the wedding is off if she fails in this.
JoAnne: That's it, isn't it.  The daughter will die as the wife of the first born, and her family will be saved from their financial woes.  The mothers have worked this out...but who is the girl that he is supposed to marry who will live?  Is it Roo Mi? How could a mother DO this? She's not her real mother, is she.

Shuk:  But her daughter is no where to be found, despite her son's efforts, and the pre-wedding dinner date looms on the horizon.  The pressure is on!! Yi-hyun thinks if they can get through the dinner, they can buy some time to look for her.
JoAnne: Does he know his mother is evil? Is she his mother? He really seems to love his sister kind of a lot, if you know what I mean.
Shuk:  A great many questions that may need to be answered by The Force.

Shuk: Persimmon wonders about squeezing a little more money somewhere, about the same time Yi-hyun shows up at her village to look for her.  She's going through want ads, but there's nothing. The carnelian bracelet falls out of her pocket, and she decides to put it on one more time. She also finds the business card of the guy she saves, and, even though her conscience stabs her with pitchforks, calls him to claim injury.
JoAnne: Scamming for Grannie. Can't hate that.
Shuk:  Except he's right there, and sees her on the bench when she calls. Busted!  They sit down for coffee, and he pulls her hair back, marveling at the similarities. She apologizes for lying; but that doesn't matter. He needs her to be the fiancee of Taeyang Group's Choi Kang-Joo.
JoAnne: Oh gee, what a surprise.

EPILOGUE SCENE:  The receptionist behind the desk is the ghost.  As Kang-joo walks past, something makes him turn back, but by then, she's gone.
JoAnne: Do we have a ghost with a sense of humor, perhaps?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Shuk:  There's not anything that's original in this plot.  Nothing.  And yet, my interest is piqued.  Despite the deplorable orange/fake bake pancake, and Poor Girl hair styling, I already like our plucky heroine.  She seems much more natural as the martial arts expert than the emotionless doll, so I hope the show really focuses on the interaction between our destined lovers. Corporation shenanigans and evil mothers [yawn].
JoAnne: Not.One.Thing.  Not one.  But somehow...I just have WTF Paris feels. I can't explain it.

Shuk:  So far, the ghost has been a little hard to figure out. Since she's both in black and white, she's kind of color coded: evil/black, helpful/white. Or is it two ghosts? After all, it's two girls.
JoAnne: Or maybe it's one ghost who likes to change it up sometimes.  Eternity is a long time, yo.



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