Prime Minister and I: Episode 7

Prime Minister and I: Episode 7

onto Prime Minister and I

As Da-jung gets more acquainted with the prime minister’s family, it’s about time that somebody finally challenged what role she has in it. The bitter truth that being married doesn’t automatically make her someone’s wife or mother isn’t an easy pill to swallow, and perhaps now’s a good a time as any for our heroine to reflect on the reason why she does so much for this family.
Because of the KBS Drama Awards, Prime Minister and I will only air one episode this week, which means we have to wait seven long days for Episode 8. To make up for it though, the show will also be extended by one episode to even out the broadcast schedule, bringing the episode count to 17 in total.
SONG OF THE DAY
Hoobastank – “The Reason” [ Download ]
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EPISODE 7 RECAP

As Yul reads from “One Thousand and One Nights” about Scheherazade, Da-jung’s head falls upon his shoulder. He’s about to tuck her in so she can sleep comfortably when Da-jung’s eyes fly open and she pops up in alarm.
Still groggy and feeling awkward, Da-jung doesn’t believe his chivalrous intentions and calls him a wolf, which puts Yul on the defensive. He leaves in a huff, and then stands outside the locked piano room reflecting upon the source of his insomnia. And inside, we see a portrait of his late wife sitting at a piano.
Yul comes by to collect Da-jung the next morning and looks endearingly at the book, when Da-jung exits the bathroom wearing a robe. He averts his eyes and awkwardly tells her to use the other bathroom from now on.

A sudden snowfall reminds Joon-ki of his conversation with Hye-joo on Christmas Eve. He had teased her as usual and brushed away the snow that fell on her clothes and hair. Then he had asked her not to hate him no matter what happens. Ack, that statement always precedes villainous deeds!
The prime minister’s office is in an uproar this morning because a majority of the cabinet-level ministers plan to be absent from today’s council meeting. That’s because Joon-ki has gathered them at a separate location, and cancelling the meeting due to non-attendance would cause great embarrassment to the new prime minister.

So In-ho employs Da-jung’s help to stall Yul from leaving the house, and she blocks the bedroom door (with impressive strength, at that) from the hallway.
When Yul manages to push it open, Da-jung falls on top of him and pins him to the ground in order to prevent him from leaving. Hey, whatever works, right? The housekeeper gasps in shock to find them in this compromising position and closes the door. Ha.
Yul pushes her off and says they’ll deal with her behavior later. But Da-jung stands in front of the door and refuses to let him leave on In-ho’s orders.

Yul beelines for the office anyway, and marches past the crowd and his staffers to open the doors to a near-empty meeting room. Quite the blow to the new prime minister.
Da-jung wonders what’s going on at home, dismissing the thought of the earlier incident from her mind. She takes care of the kids and discovers a set of keys in Woo-ri’s room.
After Joon-ki sends away the other ministers, Hye-joo marches up to him and slaps him across the face for his coordinated act of defiance. She bitterly tells him that although she doesn’t hate him, she does find him pathetic.

Yul returns home in a subdued mood when he suddenly hears the distant sound of a piano. He follows the music to the supposedly locked room where sure enough, we see Da-jung playing on the piano for Na-ra and Man-se’s enjoyment.
But from Yul’s perspective, he momentarily imagines his late wife playing there instead, and the thought brings a small smile to his face. He comes to his senses a minute later, but he stands there speechless as his children scurry away, and Da-jung explains that the room was unlocked.
Da-jung belatedly learns that the piano once belonged to Yul’s late wife, and then gets a worried call from Dad informing her about the cancelled cabinet meeting. She delivers a cup of hot cocoa to Yul in his office, telling him that something sweet might lift his spirits.

But Yul stays up late that night, thinking back to how he had imagined his late wife sitting at the piano in Da-jung’s place. He pops a few more sleeping pills in his mouth.
Da-jung wakes in the morning in surprise that her sleep was undisturbed. Wondering if Yul pulled another all-nighter, she knocks at his study door and finds it strange when he doesn’t answer. Oh no, I’m not getting a good feeling about this.
She walks in to an alarming sight of Yul passed out in his chair and the bottle of pills on the floor. She rushes over towards him to wake him, slapping him repeatedly when he doesn’t stir. She keeps hitting him until Yul puts a hand up to his cheek and asks, “How long were you planning on hitting me?” Oh thank the heavens.

Yul is still stinging in pain as he heads out to work later. He finds it absurd that Da-jung thought that he would consider suicide because of yesterday’s events, and she barks back that she offered to read to him so that he wouldn’t rely on his sleeping aids.
But she does catch him to apologize for her actions yesterday—for trespassing upon the piano room and playing on the instrument without permission. He asks her what else with this amused glint in his eye, and Da-jung racks her brain before recalling how she jumped on him.
He laughs, admitting that he hadn’t thought of that, and tells her to reflect on her behavior. Da-jung is surprised that Yul isn’t as angry as she had expected, and wonders what other big thing she had missed.
In the car Yul answers that question as he thinks to himself that Da-jung had made him think about his late wife.

Da-jung meets up with the Scandal News team later, who pitch the idea to write a feature on the prime minister that might benefit them both. She declines, saying that Yul will never agree to it, which has editor, Editor Go leave in disappointment. However, the idea of somehow assisting Yul has her thinking.
Meanwhile Yul is distracted during his meeting with Hye-joo and In-ho, who argue on how best to address the international port center project (the one that Joon-ki’s father-in-law is gunning for). Hye-joo believes they should bide their time, but In-ho counters that the prime minister always sticks to his principles, and Yul sends them both out.
They pick up their argument outside where In-ho challenges her certainty that Yul always makes decisions that align with his strict principles. Hye-joo asks where he’s getting at, and In-ho answers that he’s more curious about what decision Yul will make as a human being versus a prime minister.

Yul stands in his courtyard deep in thought later that night, thinking back to In-ho’s words about his principled nature, Hye-joo’s words that he’ll be in danger of bearing all responsibility in case of the fall, and Da-jung’s words that he’ll become a prime minister who’s a strength to the people.
That’s where Da-jung finds him and she encourages him not to dwell on the past since he can always do a better job tomorrow. That’s easier said than done, and Yul admits that he doesn’t know what decision to make.
To that, Da-jung says she may not know much about politics or what choice he’ll make; however she is certain that Yul will be a prime minister who serves the people because he’s a man of his word. Yul smiles in amusement at how Da-jung can make the problem seems so simple, and Da-jung suggests that they go out for a drink then.

In-ho is surprised to hear that both Yul and Da-jung are out. He runs into Woo-ri on his way out and marvels at the teenager’s flip phone. Woo-ri snatches it back and leaves, but something about the phone gives In-ho pause.
So In-ho reviews the estate’s security tapes to when he had seen Woo-ri onscreen one night. He notes that Woo-ri had used a smartphone to make a call and finds it strange.

Meanwhile Yul and Da-jung go out for that drink, and he points out that it seems like Da-jung was the one who wanted to drink. I love that she doesn’t hide it at all and says they’re killing two birds with one stone by getting out of that stifling estate.
Yul looks up in surprise at that statement. Clearly the thought hadn’t occurred to him before, and listens as she says she’s the free-spirited type who can’t be cooped up. When he keeps staring at her, she offers him a shot of soju, telling him that it’ll get rid of all his worries and he might even get a good night sleep.
He asks why she’s being so good to him, from the diplomatic banquet to Man-se’s school festival to the Christmas gifts—what can he do for her in return? She eagerly asks him to do away with the assignment to write up daily records on the children. Ha.

She smiles sheepishly at his look of surprise, and says that it’s obvious that a wife should comfort her husband in his time of need. She’s the prime minister’s wife after all, and the words echo what Yul’s late wife similarly used to call herself.
Da-jung tries to feed him some soondae instead, and when Yul says he’s allergic, she grumps that she’ll just have to eat everything herself. But then she nearly chokes on her food to see the Scandal News team plop down at a nearby table.
She hastily whispers at him to get up, saying that it won’t do him any good to be met with a headline about him out and about drinking soju. It cracks me up that Yul still feels strongly about paying the bill even when they have to sneak out, and that’s when they get recognized. Whoops, time to run!

Yul and Da-jung make a run for it with their security guards a few steps behind them and the Scandal News team on their tail. When Da-jung starts to fall behind, Yul takes her by the hand and keeps running.
They eventually lose their tail in an alleyway and set off in a run in the other direction with a smile on both of their faces. Aw.

They exchange a knowing smile when they get back to the estate, and then laugh good-heartedly at the bodyguards’ remark on how sweet they are together.
Da-jung comments to Yul that his smile suits him and encourages him to smile more often in the future. That’s when Yul looks back at her and his eyes linger on the image of Da-jung smiling at him. He snaps out of it moments later and barks at her to go to bed.
In-ho is still at the estate, having waited to give Da-jung a belated Christmas gift. She gasps in surprise at the fountain pen, saying that she always wanted one. He notes that it seemed like an appropriate gift since he remembered her dream is to become a writer like Jane Austen.

Da-jung says she gave up on the dream long ago, and decides to use the pen to write up the children’s daily logs instead. He asks if she doesn’t find it taxing doing assignments for Yul, and wears his disappointment on his face to hear she went to comfort Yul.
Holding back tears, In-ho asks if she isn’t trying too hard. He says he has one more thing to discuss with her, but we don’t get to hear what it is.
Yul stays up working again that night, and he stops Da-jung from reading to him again, saying that it was enough to see her fall asleep snoring once. He tells her to go to sleep instead, and Da-jung reluctantly complies. But she does look over and watches him work at his desk…

… and then bolts up when Yul pulls out her nightgown lodged in his chair. HA. This gives Yul the perfect opportunity to criticize her messy habits, which Da-jung takes offense to. She asks why they have to share a room then, citing that even real married couples sleep separately when they’re fighting.
Yul calls that the smartest idea she’s had tonight and orders her to leave. Da-jung scoffs and agrees to gladly go sleep in Man-se’s room from now on. Pfft, you two have no idea how much you already bicker like an actual married couple, but I love it. She curses her nightgown outside and cringes in embarrassment.
Now that Yul has the entire bedroom to himself, he sprawls on the bed and scoffs at the idea that Da-jung would read him to sleep. He spots the stack of books by the bedside and starts reading out of curiosity. And whaddayaknow, he actually falls asleep that way.

The other ministers come to Yul with feigned apologies and excuses for missing the cabinet meeting. They’re taken aback when Yul smiles that the international port center proposal is still on the table and reminds them to hand in their respective reports by the end of the day.
Hye-joo holds a press conference and confirms that the prime minister knows of the rumors said about him and apologizes to the public. Editor Go causes a stir with his question about why the prime minister would be out on a date and drinking at a local restaurant the day after, but Hye-joo promptly puts him in his place.
Unfortunately they’ve got no photos to prove their case, but when Reporter Byun saunters up to them afterwards, the Scandal News Team freely expose his currently unemployed status in front of the other reporters and leaves him spluttering in their wake.

Hye-joo follows Yul on his way out of the office. It seems the question about the restaurant outing weighs on her mind more than she let on because she asks if it’s true. She makes a note to scold Da-jung when Yul confirms it, to which he comes to Da-jung’s defense.
He says there’s nothing wrong with a married couple having a drink together, and Hye-joo is quick to point out that they aren’t a real married couple. When he asks where she’s getting at, she replies with a tinge of jealousy that it seems like the prime minister holds Da-jung in special regard, words that weigh on Yul’s mind afterward.

Now we learn that In-ho had mentioned to Da-jung that Woo-ri appears to own two different phones. Da-jung discovers the smartphone along with an advertisement for Woo-ri’s concert tonight and gets caught red-handed by Woo-ri moments later.
She gently asks how he acquired the phone, and Woo-ri comes out with it to admit that yes, his uncle bought it for him. Slightly panicked, she asks Woo-ri if he’s the spy, and then tells him that while she may be able to hide the fact that he’s in a band, it isn’t right for him to spy on his father. And that’s when Yul’s voice cuts in, asking what that means. Oh crap.
You can see the fear settling in on Woo-ri’s face as his father demands in a stern voice asking who gave him the phone. But Woo-ri lies that he knows nothing and runs away.

Yul gets his answer when the phone rings seconds later—it’s Joon-ki, and Yul suggests that they meet up. After they hang up, Joon-ki turns to In-ho and says they’ll have to discuss their business at a later time.
Then Yul confronts Da-jung about knowing that his son was in a band and had a phone all along. Da-jung replies that she felt sorry to Woo-ri and intended to help him bring it up to his father in person after his concert. Yul asks, “And are you his mother?”
He’s grateful for her kindness towards him and his children, but he reminds her that Da-jung is neither the children’s real mother nor is she his real wife: “What are you [to this family]?”

Yul asks her why she continues to involve herself in his family’s affairs then, and the stinging words bring tears to Da-jung’s eyes. He tells her not to overstep her boundaries again and walks away.
Da-jung holds back tears as she tells herself that it isn’t her place, but then Na-ra comes running in a panic and says that oppa must have run away.
Meanwhile Joon-ki explains that he bought Woo-ri that smartphone because his own father wouldn’t buy one for him. He adds that Woo-ri also has an affinity for music like his mother and called earlier to confirm where his band was playing tonight.

That’s news to Yul, a moment which Joon-ki takes full advantage of the fact that Yul doesn’t know anything about his children. Joon-ki tells Yul that he’s just getting what he deserves with a cancelled cabinet meeting and driving his son further away.
However Yul gets in the last word and tells Joon-ki that it doesn’t matter what he does to Yul, but he wants to preserve that familial relationship for his children’s sake. He warns Joon-ki against dragging Woo-ri into their affairs again, and if he does, this won’t be the end.

Woo-ri is distracted during rehearsal and he’s less than happy to see Da-jung show up. Once they’re outside, he asks if she’s trying to curry favor with him this time after persuading his little brother.
But Da-jung replies that she’s here to change his mind about running away, and suggests that they return home after the concert to talk about over with his father. Woo-ri has had enough by now and asks her to get lost.
He turns to leave, at which point Da-jung grabs onto him and asks what’s gotten into him. She tries to appeal to him with sympathy, to think how difficult it must be for his father, and Woo-ri bites back: “Who are you to get involved? Are you my real mother?”

It’s the second time Da-jung has heard those words today, and she’s left stunned when Woo-ri asks why she’s doing this to him. He wrings himself out of her grip and runs while Da-jung thinks to herself: “Why am I doing this? I’m not even their real mother, not even [his] real wife, but why am I doing this?”
As Da-jung runs after him, she asks herself what the reason is: “We’re not even in love but the reason why I stepped in, the reason why his firm hand felt so warm, the reason why I felt such heartache and sorrow while looking after him, the reason I cried without realizing…”

Da-jung chases him to the crosswalk just before light turns green. She stops in her tracks like a deer caught in headlights as an oncoming truck approaches…
…which is when Yul grabs her out of the way and they safely roll onto the pavement. As Da-jung looks up at Yul, she answers her own question: “The reason is because… of him.”

COMMENTS
Well I’m not going to complain about a truck of doom device if the end result gives us more skinship. In fact, I’ll be the last person you’ll see rooting for threats of physical harm on our main couple, but then again, this is a couple where “accidents” bring them closer together. Hmm, what a dilemma.
Even though I love Da-jung to pieces, I’m so glad that this episode sought to challenge Da-jung’s intentions and place in this family. She may be the prime minister’s wife and stepmother to his children to the rest of the world, but it’s an entirely different story within the estate. I had worried that the show was giving her character a bit too much slack for her behavior at times because she’s such a lovable and kindhearted character, like how she told little Man-se not to follow strangers when they first met and she was technically a stranger herself.
Da-jung had easily morphed into a wife and mother in the family, which was wonderful to see, and certainly a blow to her when both Yul and Woo-ri had delivered the bitter truth pill that she is neither of those in this family and therefore has no right to intervene in their lives. I’m inclined to believe that Yul’s words are a reaction to the painful reminder and similarities between Da-jung and his late wife. It’s apparent that Yul hasn’t allowed himself to deal with his grief properly, but Woo-ri does have a point when he challenges Da-jung’s involvement—she hasn’t earned that kind of trust with him despite being married to his father.

That brings us to the point wherein Da-jung finally asks herself why she did all those things for Yul and this family unit. It makes me wonder if she was on autopilot mode to this point, where she felt that doing these gestures didn’t feel like a far extension of her kindness. But the challenge was for her to scrutinize the motivation behind why she continued to do them, even when no one asked her to. Her realization that the reason is because of Yul reinforces the idea that acts of love is because of the intended person and are outwardly expressions of the feelings already involved. What I hope is for Da-jung to continue to explore and further develop in this area since it’s rich with character conflict and development, though, boy am I glad that our heroine finally arrived that the realization that her heart is a-stirrin’ with feelings. Now just to get the prime minister to get in tune with his feelings.
Along with the moments where they actually enjoy being in each other’s company, I rather like the times where they challenge each other’s worldview and speak simple truths into each other’s life. Sometimes it reinforces hidden truths about themselves (which could be praise or criticism) or the warning that those sleeping pills could be harmful. Why take a pill when a book can give you a better night’s sleep?
As we move forward, there are still the central mysteries that are left unanswered but mostly I like how quickly we’re continuing to address smaller conflicts. I’ll just have to take Joon-ki at his word that the smartphone was just a present for his nephew for now while I still don’t know why In-ho was riding in the car next to him. We’ll have lots of time to mull over these issues and more over the next week, which I’m sure will be the longest week of our lives. Time to read up on One Thousand and One Nights in the meantime?

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Tags: Chae Jung-ahn, featured, Lee Beom-soo, Prime Minister and I, Yoon Shi-yoon, Yoon-ah