Lee Soon-shin is the Best: Episode 21 Recap

by: Raine

Stuff is happening! There is still too much brooding and moping, but stuff is actually happening. HOORAY! Joon-ho is learning a lot the hard way, but it’s good for him. And there are a lot of truths flying around creating havoc and making things veeeeery interesting.

AGB Nielson Nationwide had this episode coming in at 24.6%.

episode 21 recap

Joon-ho finds out that Soon-shin now knows about the bet and he runs after her.

Meanwhile, Soon-shin is packing up all of her acting materials and Yoo-shin tells her that she is disappointed. She thought Soon-shin would actually do something with her life this time; she enjoyed acting the most.

It sounds harsh, but Yoo-shin did acknowledge her acting talent at the dinner table and she must be wondering why Soon-shin is giving up something she has talent in. Well, not REALLY wondering. I mean, look at Jung-ae’s behavior.

Soon-shin merely says that she’s always like this, giving up. Yoo-shin points out that Joon-ho, who supported her, will be really disappointed. And then he phones Soon-shin from outside her gates. He breathlessly orders her to come out; he needs to tell her something. But she refuses and hangs up on him. She heads to bed and ignores his subsequent calls.

Poor guy. I know he deserves it, but he’s such a cute little dolt that I feel so badly for him. He was helping her earnestly to become an actress, but it still doesn’t change the facts: there was a bet and it required using Soon-shin.

It’s mealtime and the family is still a little weirded out by Soon-shin quitting acting. Even little Woo-joo wonders where her strange, music video behavior has gone and mimics her silly giggle. Hehe. It’s so cute. Yoo-shin reminds Woo-joo that Soon-shin is no longer doing the video.

But Soon-shin is a good aunt and obliges her niece by pretending to be overly feminine and picky about her food. It makes the girl laugh and Granny shush her crankily. Yoo-shin is glad she doesn’t have to see that “creepy” behavior anymore, but we all know that she’s sad that Soon-shin gave up this much-loved opportunity. Hye-shin voices these thoughts aloud and Granny says that Soon-shin would give up. She never does anything for long.

I THINK Jung-ae is looking a bit guilty as Granny waxes on about how ridiculous it is for Soon-shin to actually accomplish anything.

Ah, the Granny we all know is back. Better than the moping.

Soon-shin promises Granny to be good in the future…although I don’t know what that means. Does being good mean Soon-shin feels miserable and belittled and stifled all the time? That doesn’t seem like being good to me.

Soon-shin joins her mother in cleaning up the kitchen and promises to get a new job to make her mom happy. She, while smiling, asks her mom to the bathhouse. She’s trying so hard to win her mother back and it breaks my heart. She shouldn’t have to win Jung-ae back. She did nothing wrong. Jung-ae, at least, has enough of a conscience to look guilty while her youngest daughter struggles to seem happy.

Hye-shin and sexy baker Jin-wook have an accidental run-in at the grocery store and get mistaken for a married couple. In their embarrassment and fervent denial, they knock a bunch of oranges on the floor. The clumsiest romance ever. Hehe.

Outside, Jin-wook tries to help Hye-shin carry the groceries and she says it’s okay. They go back and forth until an angry Woo-joo swoops in, snatches the contested bag from their hands and zooms away. Hye-shin follows her with embarrassment.

Hehe I love Woo-joo. That little girl is also a very fine actress.

At his bakery, Jin-wook is making some dough and picturing Hye-shin’s lovely smile in the center of it.

Okay, that was just weird, but I get the point.

Jin-wook doesn’t get what’s wrong with him, although deep down I think he knows exactly what it is. His assistant comes over and asks if he’s trying to make a new bread because the dough has been shaped into a heart. Hehe. Jin-wook denies it and smushes the dough heart into dough nothingness. Then he demands some water to, y’know, cool down. His dough is smiling at him…

In-sung brings Joon-ho Soon-shin’s profile pictures and her original audition video. He wants to throw it away and is ecstatic when Joon-ho gives the go ahead…which he rescinds in less than five seconds. In-sung has a mini-fit about how Joon-ho is always changing his mind and demands, IN BANMAL, if Joon-ho is on his period…before tacking on the respectful “yo.” Hehehehe. He wonders why his boss is so fickle these days. Is there girlfriend trouble? Joon-ho sends him away and peruses the profile. Then he pops the flashdrive in to take a look at her camera test.

In it Soon-shin earnestly promises to practice hard to win viewers hearts. Then it shows her going through various exercises. Then performing her monologue for the audition Mi-ryeong sabotaged. It’s about being deceived and it pierces Joon-ho to the core.

Soon-shin and her mother are at the jimjilbang and a grandma comes by to thank Soon-shin for the massage. She tells Jung-ae she has a good daughter.

On their way home, Soon-shin tells her mom she is too thin and mom says the same thing. Soon-shin replies that Joon-ho said she needed to lose weight. At the mention of his name, she rants that she’s happy not to have to hear Joon-ho scold her anymore. Not everyone can be an actress: they have to look good, be thin and can’t eat what they want. She’s glad she quit. Jung-ae doesn’t reply directly, but instead tells Soon-shin not to mind her Granny’s crankiness. Soon-shin never does.

Then: what dream did you have when you had me? Jung-ae lies that she doesn’t remember. Soon-shin knew that she was born without a precognitive dream and that’s why she’s stupid. She wonders if Granny was being mean when she was born.


Soon-shin reiterates that she’s stupid, believing every nice person and word and then working hard for nothing, like a fool. She thanks her mother for not abandoning her. Jung-ae pats her hand.

I still want to pat Jung-ae’s head with a baseball bat.

They come across Young-hoon who is waiting to speak with Soon-shin. He wants her to come back to work. Jung-ae heads inside, leaving the two to talk. Young-hoon asks her to come back; the other workers are asking for her. If she doesn’t want to come back, he asks her to come to work for a little while, at least until he can find a replacement. She promises to think about it.

Joon-ho comes to give Soon-shin her pictures and screen testing. He spots them walking and is not happy to see it. Soon-shin isn’t happy to see him. He asks her for a moment to speak, but she is busy. She tires to leave, but he grabs her arm and literally drags her away. Young-hoon is not pleased with his behavior and neither is Soon-shin.

Joon-ho invites her to sit beside him, but she won’t.

Okay, I know he needs to apologize, but forcing someone you hurt to listen to you really isn’t a great idea. He is sort of an emotional dolt. I used that word last recap; I really like it. Dolt.

He tries to apologize, but can’t get the words out. She turns to go and he calls her thick-headed.

Yup, that’s how to win her. Keep that up…

But she turns around, hurt. He admits that he made a bet over her. So what? He’s sorry. But she said she wanted to be an actress. She should just thank him and do what was asked of her.

Guh, he’s so sincere but SO STUPID emotionally. This is not how you do this, boy. BOY.

Soon-shin turns towards him and agrees. She should’ve kept doing it because he tried so hard to make her Cinderella. She’d hated her life because it was boring and small. She thanks him for making the bet – she won the lotto. Joon-ho awkwardly, guiltily asks why she quit.

I have feelings. Even if I’m stupid, I still have feelings. I get hurt. Please don’t come find me. I don’t want to see you.

She walks away from him and I think she finally got to him. She really has been, is, and will be helping him expand his emotional palette. I like that about her. And I think that’s why people tend to like her even if she’s not extraordinary.

Hwang is hovering outside Soon-shin’s house and seems about to say something important to newly arrived Jung-ae,. but Hye-shin emerges from the gate, sending Hwang scampering away. Hye-shin thinks she recognizes him.

Inside, Jung-ae remembers Hwang shoving her and also Bok-man talking about a hoobae coming to talk to him about Kyung-sook’s daughter and inquiring as to whether or not Chang-hoon raised her.

Granny joins Jung-ae at the table confront her about being careless with Hye-shin and the divorce. She wants to travel to Hong Kong to deal with it. Granny accuses Jung-ae about caring more about her non-blood related daughter.

Guh, that’s infuriating. You adopt a child, she’s YOURS. Period. Granny. I no like you.

Granny wonders if Jung-ae is planning to run away with another man. She seems careless with her family after the death of her husband. She is treated badly and she’s really disappointed in Jung-ae.

I think I might’ve just had a twinge of pity for Jung-ae. It’s gone now.

Granny does make a few valid points: Jung-ae has been really rude to her, she didn’t talk to her about Soon-shin and paid back the contract money when they didn’t really have it to spend. Is she the head of the family? Jung-ae asks Granny to stop, but she won’t. She can’t believe Jung-ae made a mess for a non-related daughter. *grr* And finally Jung-ae declares, “Soon-shin is Chang-hoon’s child!”

Wait, how do you know? I never got that impression…oh well. Granny is shocked. Jung-ae sobs and wants to be comforted. She lost her parents and she treated Granny like her mother. She never disregarded her. She only has her now – can’t she please take care of her? She’s in hell now.

Really? Really? You disregarded your whole family. But I can’t really stay rational in this conversation with horrible Granny and pity-party Jung-ae.

Jung-ae leaves as Soon-shin comes in. The look on her mother’s face worries her and Soon-shin asks Granny what’s wrong. No answer.

Young-hoon waits for Joon-ho to come and asks Joon-ho to stop coming to the restaurant. Soon-shin isn’t coming because she doesn’t want to see him.

Joon-ho: Did she say she doesn’t want to see me?

Young-hoon: You think she wants to see you?

Joon-ho: But she wants to see you?

Ha. Joon-ho is jealous and not really thinking straight, is he? Young-hoon tells him to think about what he did to her. He thinks he changed Soon-shin’s mind about the restaurant so Joon-ho is banned.

Oooh. Young-hoon definitely has an interest. What employer bans his friend over an employee…unless she’s a woman in his eyes. OooOooooh.

Mi-ryeong and Yeon-ah guest star on a show together and are told they are like mother and daughter. They played a mother and daughter in the last drama; how did Mi-ryeong act like a mother when she isn’t one? Heh, Mi-ryeong looks a bit nervous, but answers that a good actress can do the part.

Yeon-ah says Mi-reyong is the closest person to her since her mom died. Reporter Park is watching the shoot.

After they’re done filming, Mi-ryeong asks Yeon-ah about Joon-ho. She says he’s still obsessed with Soon-shin. Mi-ryeong advises Yeon-ah to leave him be for now. His strength and weakness is his soft center. He must pity Soon-shin.

Eeeeh…not quite.

Reporter Park interrupts them and Yeon-ah takes a phone call, leaving him free to ask if she wonders about her real daughter, not the fake one. Shocked face. Park says she had a daughter a long time ago, probably younger than Yeon-ah. Maybe he heard it wrong. When Yeon-ah returns, he leaves with his evil reporter smile.

Mi-ryeong confronts Hwang at home about what he’s told Reporter Park. How did Park know about it? Why has Hwang been so secretive lately? He needs to tell her what’s going on now. He denies it and says he didn’t say anything. Mi-ryeong doesn’t believe him. He is incredulous; he’s been working hard to stop news of her past, trying to find her daughter before Park does.

Uh…why are you so pissy when you spread the gossip, eh?

Mi-ryeong is shocked to hear about the orphanages and Hwang says that he couldn’t find her. She should stop worrying and appreciate him.

Listen Mr. No-chin Hwang. Get off the show. You’re useless and annoying.

Yi-jung waits to ambush Chan-woo in a horrendously ugly dress. This girl’s stylist needs some taste adjustments. Anyway, she pretends to bump into him and he forces himself to be polite to her – he now knows she’s the bosses daughter. Hehe. Yi-jung asks him for tea. He flatly refuses her. he doesn’t want her to do this anymore; he has a girlfriend. He’s infuriatingly polite about it and although Yi-jung pulls out the aegyo, he doesn’t budge. Well, not in his opinion. His feet high-tail it out of there.

Dong-hyuk has been watching his daughter get rejected and decides to do something about it. He asks Chan-woo if he has a girlfriend (yes) and if they have been dating a long time (no). He invites Chan-woo over for dinner with him and his wife. Chan-woo has to accept his boss’s offer.

Gil-ja is walking home and making face’s at a girl wearing short shorts and walking with a sway to her hips. Yoo-shin trips and Gil-ja fights her laughter. When they recognize each other, Gil-ja says she wondered what kind of girl would wear something that short. And even if Yoo-shin is short she shouldn’t wear heels like that. They fuss at each other. Gil-ja wants her to dress more modestly and meet a good guy, instead of weirdos. Hehe. Yoo-shin is already getting the in-law treatment.

Gil-ja complains about Yoo-shin to her husband. Doesn’t Jung-ae have a say in how Yoo-shin dresses? And then Chan-mi comes in wearing a short skirt and high heels.


Bok-man laughs that their daughter does the same and at first Gil-ja has nothing to say; then she makes the excuse that Chan-mi is a stylist.


Mi-ryeong mopes and broods about her daughter. Can we have more Joon-ho being a fool and chasing after Soon-shin instead?

No? Okay then. Mi-ryeong goes to the car for an appointment and while Hwang is gone, she searches the car for any evidence that he’s been doing research. She finds it. Photos of Jung-ae and her family (not Soon-shin). Then, she remember Chang-hoon asking her if she was curious about how her is doing and where she is. She re-reads the paper with Chang-hoon’s family information, including Soon-shin and her birthday 3-7-90, the date her daughter was born. (And my sister, Lil’ Raine!!!)

Hwang comes back and Mi-ryeong flips out. Chang-hoon told her the daughter was sent to an orphanage.

Yeah, feel horrible. I just don’t want to watch you do it.

Soon-shin returns to work and is warmly greeted by Mr. Waiter. He eagerly asks if she’s coming back – only until a replacement is found. She apologizes for being irresponsible and he tells her she shouldn’t have quit in the first place. Aw. She won the prickly waiter over. He orders her to keep working there and if the KOK fan club comes back, he’ll beat them up for her.


Young-hoon joins them and the boys smile, happy to have their Soon-shin back.

Yi-jung is shopping with her mother and Yeon-ah. (Again, Yi-jung, what are you wearing?) Mi-ryeong joins them but is in a total daze. Soo-jung suggests a meal and Yeon-ah recommends Young-hoon’s restaurant. Good food and good place for celebrities.

Mi-ryeong is still in a daze at lunch. Soo-jung invites Joon-ho down, interrupting his thoughts. He was remembering Soon-shin saying that she gets hurt too, even if she is a fool.

Aw, it really got to him. GOOD. Now win her over.

(Nice shot, putting the steel column between them.)

Yi-jung notices Soon-shin and Yeon-ah informs her that she quit acting, which makes the snobby Yi-jung happy. Mi-ryeong is distracted by Soon-shin and excuses herself from the table. She runs into Soon-shin and asks when her birthday is, to confirm that this Soon-shin is the same as the one on paper. It is. Mi-ryeong asks if she was born in this neighborhood, but Soon-shin is called to work.

Joon-ho comes in and runs into Soon-shin. They have an awkward, electrically charged visual exchange before he is called away by his mother. He approaches the table of women and immediately asks why Yeon-ah is there. Yeon-ah wonders if it’s uncomfortable eating with him, but his mother can’t see why. They’re all Yeon-ah’s fan club.

Uh, he’s not. He’s her anti.

Joon-ho coldly begs his leave, passing by Soon-shin again. Behind hm, Mi-ryeong rejoins the luncheon, still quiet. Soo-jung notes that she is pale. Mi-ryeong continues to watch Soon-shin.

The director of the music video comes to meet Joon-ho. Joon-ho apologizes about the music video and we find out that the director really wants Soon-shin back. YAY! In-sung says it’s over, which disappoints the director. He found her charming. He shows them some footage of her. although she’s not that pretty, she’s has a unique quality that attracts people. Even In-sung, the Soon-shin anti, can see it. The director says she is a bit like Song Mi-ryeong, she has that special something. Can’t they change her mind?

The last bit of footage we see is of her crying beneath her yellow umbrella. Then we see Joon-ho remembers that walk in the park and how happy she was with acting and with his help. This helps Joon-ho make up his mind to take her camera testing and pictures to her.

He finds her getting ice cream with Woo-joo and blowing her diet. Woo-joo sees him first and he and Soon-shin relocate to a cafe. He gives her the flashdrive with her camera test and her profile pictures. He thought she should have it. Whatever he says may sound like an excuse, but he really wanted to make her a great actress. That’s the truth. She looks ready to believe it and yet still hesitant.

He tells her he’ll help her whenever she wants it. He’ll be waiting for her to come back.

Soon-shin heads home and watching the camera test, smiling at her eagerness and the love for the art.

Granny is lying in bed, trying to absorb that her son was a cheater and how this could happen to her family. She asks Jung-ae who the mother is, but Jung-ae doesn’t want to know or talk about it. Soon-shin is her daughter, she raised her. She doesn’t care about her real parents. She wants to let it go now.

Where was this opinion before? Huh? I guess she’s learned her lesson. Now she needs to make it up to Soon-shin.

Mi-ryeong is drinking and brooding. She remembers Hwang pushing Soon-shin and ignoring them. She remembers lying to Soon-shin to hurt her. She remembers Jung-ae accusing her of not knowing what it’s like to raise a daughter.

Then, she stumbles on over to Soon-shin’s and comes face to face with Jung-ae.


If they’re going to spend so much time on Mi-ryeong and her angst, they should’ve at least made me sympathize with her first. I just get annoyed when I see her. And Jung-ae. And Grandma. They were on the way to making me sympathize with grandma ’til she started Soon-shin bashing. I really can’t deal with any of the older women in this show. They’re all hardheaded, selfish, mean and unwilling to admit any fault. They bottle things up and talk to no one and expect the world to accommodate them. Not fun character to watch and pretty much impossible for me to relate to them.

I am, however, glad that Mi-ryeong found out the truth. It gets the ball rolling.

I dislike Gil-ja hating on Yoo-shin, but I suppose it was coming. Gil-ja is so opinionated, loud-mouthed and in everyone’s business, she would be in her in-law’s business, too. Put her together with stubborn, loud Yoo-shin and we get the pre-in-law family feud. I kinda like Yoo-shin getting what was coming to her though. Being rude and brash all the time really doesn’t endear people to her. Maybe she’ll take that lesson home. She IS being nicer to Soon-shin, which is good. But she could mellow out a bit more.

Also, I can’t wait until Yeon-ah finds out that Soon-shin is Mi-ryeong’s daughter. I know it’s horrible of me, but Yeon-ah is horrible and selfish and I want to see her deal with that punch in the gut. Her beloved adopted mom is her love nemesis’ bio mom. Ha! Take that you smirky wench!

Yes, I’m mean.

I love Joon-ho struggling to figure out how to fix this huge mistake. Unlike with Yeon-ah, he’s not passively sitting by and letting her walk out of his life. He also cares more about Soon-shin’s dream than she does and has genuine faith in her. That will be his strength, I believe. Soon-shin’s dream has been stomped on…HARD. Granny doesn’t value her at all. Yoo-shin just started to change her mind, her mother made her suffer tremendously, her teacher and the first person to believe her turned out to be lying and her number one supporter, Joon-ho, turned out to have used her. Even if they aren’t all true, it’s what Soon-shin heard for herself from each of these people and what else can she do but feel her soul and ego and everything else feel completely quashed.

Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Character introductions.

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