Scandal – A review [Ep 1-5]
Hello again folks! This time, I’m dropping by to review the series ‘Scandal’. I had my eye on it from the moment Kim Jae Won signed up (After Can You Hear My heart, can anyone not love him, hehe?) Put in an interesting premise-man’s son dies because of another man, he kidnaps that man’s son, raises him as his own, and I am sold! I’d actually intended to follow the series as it aired but didn’t get around to seeing it until a few days ago. And the first two episodes made me cry my heart out.
Our father number 1-Ha Myeong Gun is raising his two kids by himself after their mother has died and his relationship with his son, just five years old is the most adorable thing ever. The boy refuses to sleep at night from fear that his father may also die like his mother and leave them all alone so he promises his son he won’t die. What I love most-the boy is such a cutie, lol!
On the other hand, father number 2-Jang Tae Ha doesn’t even know about the existence of his five year old son-Jang Eun Joong, because his wife-Yoon hwa Young, left him ages ago without letting him know she was pregnant. Since he disliked her and only married her for her money, she took the first chance she could to get away after her husband took over-more like stole, her father’s company. She spent the past five years in America, only now returning and setting up her own law practice firm. A colleague urges Hwa Young to take the boy to see his father, or at least tell the father but she refuses.
Her mind changes however, when Joo Ran, her husband’s live in mistress and mother of his illegitimate child Jang Joo Ha, shows up and demands that she divorce her husband so – can marry him. She hands over a tape of one of their ‘nights’ together and tells her to use this as evidence to frame him for adultery. – watches the tape, much to her disgust and finds her husband talking about her father. With renewed resolve, she changes her mind.
So she goes to see her husband and asks that they live together from now on-for their son’s sake. He’s ecstatic to learn of his son’s existence and immediately agrees. As a condition to moving in, Hwa Young decrees that he remove his live in mistress first. Tae Ha complies immediately. Mistress of course, does not take it well.
Myeong Gun drops his son at his preschool in one of the Tae Ha constructed buildings, with plans to pick him up later, making his son promise he will wait for him and not go anywhere. Unknown to everyone, the building is currently undergoing severe construction damage-due to faulty construction and is threatening to collapse if left unnoticed. When the news reaches Tae Ha, he brushes it off and doesn’t do anything. Unfortunately, the crisis gets worse and this time, Tae Ha decides to blow up the building to cover up that his firm did faulty construction.
The whole premises is evacuated under the ruse of a ‘bomb threat’ which sells since the Olympics are happening in Seoul. Everyone leaves the premises, except Gun Young, who stays at the spot, waiting for his father as per their promise. After a hard day’s work, Myeong Gun goes home, showers and gets ready to go pick up his son. But as soon as he arrives at the site, the building crashes in front of his eyes.
And his son-Gunyoung is still inside! When the building was collapsing, the poor boy ran around, trying to find a way out, crying and calling out to his father to come again and again! He’d even reached a door, but was locked inside! *I can’t watch it again! The scenes between these two made me cry-every one of them, and each time I think to myself, how can someone be as heartless as Tae Ha?!* His son finally takes refuge under a door lying sideways.
Tae Ha acts the perfect part of the grieved person whose building was targeted by ‘terrorists’. He appears sympathetic to people’s plight about their loss-especially assuring Myeong Gun that he’ll do everything to save his son, only to go above and beyond them to get a license for excavating the site-without even trying to recover Myeong Gun’s son. The worst part of it is that his son is alive and calling out to his father to help him-that he is in pain and afraid. And Myeong Gun tries everything-from trying to remove the rubble himself to begging everyone around to show some humanity and save his son. He manages to enter the building through an open pathway and calls out to Gunyoung again and again. Then he hears a voice, “Daddy, I’m scared!” *My eyes are bawling at this point!*
Myeong Gun manages to locate his son –who is a level below, but if the rubble is moved carefully, he could be rescued easily. He tries removing the rubble but ends up injuring himself. All the while Gunyoung calls out to him again and again, “Daddy, I’m here. Daddy, I’m scared.” But an injured Myeong Gun loses consciousness and is sent to the hospital.
Once he wakes there, he rushes out immediately-he has to save his son but a shock awaits him as he gets to the site. The rubble is being removed carelessly, being taken away for dumping. He tries to argue but a legal order allowing the move is thrust into his face. As planned, Tae Ha is clearing the site so that there is no evidence left to support the faulty construction claim. He seems slightly bothered that he might be responsible for a child’s death but gets over his conscience and tells himself, “If I save his life, I’ll be doomed!”
What makes it worse is that in reality, Gunyoung is still hanging onto life with the hope that his father will come. He’s lying there in the dark, going over memories with his father, waiting. And he keeps smiling, thinking of his loving father.
Myeong Gun tries to get the workers to stop-or at least help him but is viciously thrown off property. Here, he sees a dump truck taking away rubble out of which a show falls. And it’s a shoe he’s seen loads of time-it’s Gun Young’s. He rushes after the truck, running after it until it stops and asks to see the rubble inside. All the while a reporter, Joo Pil is trying to undercover the truth about the bomb scare, sure that there is another story hidden beneath and the evidence he collects brings him closer to the truth. He also sees Myeong Gun begging to see the rubble.
The truck driver allows Myeong Gun to check the contents of the truck and Myeong Gun goes up trembling. Moments pass until he sees a familiar sight. It’s his son’s hand, sticking out from a pile. It breaks him as he reaches over and touches his son, holding his hand as he cries and mourns his son. *Heartbreak*
From the sidelines, Joo Pil watches, looking horrified.
Myeong Gun learns from Joo Pil that Tae Ha was covering up faulty construction and probably blew up the building himself so Myeong Gun confronts Tae Ha who coldly tells him to being evidence and not just small talk. Joo Pil vows to let the truth out and Myeong Gun works with him doggedly pursuing clues and building up a news article. The day before it is to go print, Tae Ha calls over Joo Pil and buys the man’s silence. Myeong Gun is left defeated, his son’s murdered going scot free. Joo Pil does come and beg him for forgiveness for not being able to fulfill his promise to expose Tae Ha, but it’s a moot point now.
So he decides to take matters into his own hands and heads to Tae Ha’s house for revenge. Tae Ha, however is away and waiting for him at home is his wife and son. When Myeong Gun is hiding outside by the gate when Eun Joong walks outside.
Seeing Myeong Gun, whom he thinks is his father, Eum Joong fires his pretend pistol at hi. It causes Myeong Gun to remember Gun Young, who’d play the same game with him. So when he bursts into tears there and then, Eun Joong hugs him, calling him Daddy and begging him not to cry.
That causes Myeong Gun to think and seeing a car coming-Tae Ha’s, he makes a split second decision and walks away with Eun Joong.
Tae Ha goes viral when his son is missing and rightfully suspects Myeong Gun. Hwa Young is also consumed by grief and watching her mourn her childs disappearance touches Myeong Gun’s conscience but Tae Ha’s actions spur his anger further. He threatens Myeong Gun, asks the police to investigate him-which they do, but when nothing works, he tries pleading and begging with him. Untouched and still angry, Myeong Gun leaves the city after resigning from his job. Tae Ha tries to follow him-even going so far as to jumping onto the train at the last minute, but Myeong Gun evades him by jumping off in the middle of nowhere, leaving Tae Ha with no clue as to where he’s gone.
And so he spends the next three years raising Eun Joong, who still believes he is his father and is so extra sweet to his younger sister that it touches your heart. Myeong Gun is not even awfully kind to Eun Joong-he’s rather harsh at times, especially when Eun Joong reminds him of Gun Young-by talking the same way and showing concern for him, so Myeong Gun would lose his temper at him but Eun Joong remains devoted to him and his younger sister. It’s worse because you can see his heart break every time his father scolds him considering how eagerly he always tries to please him!
The Jang household is still the same as ever. Joo Ran takes advantage of the situation to move back in and promote her own daughter to Tae Ha, all the while belittling and torturing Hwa Young so that she leaves. She goes so far as to burn every last thing remaining of Eun Joong but Hwa Young refuses to budge, unwilling to leave until she has her son back. Tae Ha, obviously aware of how cut up she is from guilt and hurt, chooses to let her suffer as punishment for losing their son, finally telling her to move out. Joo Ran meanwhile, decides to make it easier by sending Hwa Young an anonymous letter that her son is dead from the kidnapper.
Tae Ha tries to find Myeong Gun by watching Gun Young’s grave but Myeong Gun has help from a friend who helps him and the kids evade Tae Ha’s minion at the graveyard. At the same time, Hwa Young gets the call about a prospective child in an orphanage who may be Eun Joong because of the scar he has on his leg. Hwa Young goes there and sees the child-who she knows is not Eun Joong, but also reads the anonymous letter about Eun Joong being dead. The shock causes her to faint.
Joo Ran follows her there and Hwa Young sees her just before she is about to tell the kid she is not his mother. But remembering the injustices she has suffered for the past three years at her husband and Joo Ran’s hands, she makes a decision and tells the boy he is her son.
Joo Ran protests that the boy is not Tae Ha’s real son and asks for DNA testing to be done. Hwa Young, not to be deterred agrees when Tae Ha says the same and sends in the real Eun Joong’s first tooth-which she’s saved all this time for the test. As a result, the DNA test comes back positive.
Myeong Gun is meanwhile working at a construction site where he is arguing against the bad construction being undertaken. When he comes home, he finds a letter and medicine left for him by Eun Joong and although it sparks anger in him for a moment against Eun Joong’s care, he seems to get past it. Hwa Young burns the fake letter.
Myeong Gun finally makes a decision to let Eun Joong attend school-something he had been forbidding before. That day, Eum Joong and Tae Ha come face to face in the construction site and Myeong Gun worries, seeing them together. However, the immediate danger is a pile of construction goods that are about to fall over them both. Tae Ha gets out of the way in time, and Myeong Gun jumps in to save his son. Tae Ha doesn’t see Myeong Gun and hands the other workers money for hospital fees and asks that the two be taken to the hospital. Everyone is surprised by the kind act by Jang Tae Ha.
Eun Joong cries to see Myeong Gun hurt and admits that he’s happy his father saved him but sad that it’s caused him hurt. Myeong Gun just tells him that he’ll send him to school and before it’s too late, “I’ll put you back in your place! I’ll do that for you. I’m sorry. I’m… your dad… is the one who’s wrong, Eun Joong.”
He packs Eun Joong’s bag and takes him to his old neighborhood-intent on returning him to his rightful place, but where they run into the new Jang Eun Joong. Myeong Gun is surprised to see another boy here in Eun Joong’s stead and doesn’t know what to do so he takes Eun Joong back with him.
However, inside, Jang Eun Joong tells his mother how he ran into a kid with the exact name as him and she runs outside, sure that it is her son but by then, both father and son are gone. She heads back inside and checks the CCTV footage and one look at Eun Joong-her son, confirms her belief that Eun Joong really is alive and she cries tears of joy.
As Myeong Gun and Eun Joong walk away, for the first time ever, Myeong Gun smiles at Eun Joong himself and holds out his hand. The boy smiles back and takes his father’s hand.
Years later in 2013…
Jang Eun Joong, son of Jang Tae Ha is a famous and capable lawyer who wins his cases easily. After one such case, he goes excitedly to see his mother Hwa Young and gloat about his success, proudly remarking again and again, “After all, whose son am I?” He doesn’t pick up on her discomfort or evasiveness as she changes the subject.
Ha Eun Joong, son of Ha Myeong Gun is now a detective and chases a thief through the streets. He’s dogged in his pursuit so that even a car hitting him isn’t enough to stop him. But he loses the thief when he bumps into a woman’s selling cart and he holds him back, demanding payment for the damages he’s caused.
He asks for her identity card number and name instead, reminding her that she’s doing illegal work. She tells him to go ahead and report her, “Be a tattletale” if he wants but to pay her first. She changes her tune though, when he reveals his badge.
Except, that is when she doubles over from pain in her stomach and asks that he take her to the hospital since she’s pregnant. He thinks she’s faking it and forces her up, only to find out she has actually fainted.
So he takes her to the hospital and finds out that she really is pregnant. When the nurse asks if he’s with the woman, “Woo Ah Mi”, he says no but then asks her what woman she means-describing Ah Mi in detail. This shows that he has a keen eye for detail and looking deep into things which others would normally just pass by.
He helps Ah Mi check out of the hospital once her check up is done and she’s allowed to go. She tries to slide past him without notice but when caught, appeals to his sense of chivalry by offering to be taken in for ‘obstruction of justice’ and ‘illegal activities’ and then tries to wheedle him to buy her a drink by turning puppy eyes on him. And he just stares at her.
I am enjoying this series a lot because in the first few episodes you get to see so many human emotions and actions that it is truly a cry fest. I cried a lot when Gun Young’s arc was being told-I cannot even imagine the pain of losing a child-it is that immense so it came as no surprise to see even the great Jang Tae Ha becoming humble in the name of his own child-a child he had yet to meet. But that’s the power of love, especially a parent’s-it is infinite, and it is always there as protection. My favorite part is yet to come-the whole question of family when Ha Eun Joong will discover the truth and how he will handle the balance and choice between both his fathers. I love the way he’s grown up-grumpy and unconcerned with others, but totally considerate and caring for his own family (Spoiler, I’ve seen ahead up to Episode 10). He is a reflection of Ha Myeung Gun in his beliefs, values and concern but what will happen when those ideals crash when he learns the truth about the man he calls ‘father?’ Undoubtedly, this is one series I am totally going to follow and review if anyone shares my liking for it and wants to read my review so let me know what you guys think of it!
Posted on August 1, 2013, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Written Excerpts and tagged Kim jae Won, scadal drama review, scandal, scandal episode 1-5. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.