Lee Soon-shin is the Best: Episode 26 Recap

by: Raine

And this show just got GOOD. Like whoa. It was pretty heavy, but oh it hurt soooo good. It was all about Soon-shin and how everyone and everything is reacting to the news. IU steps up to the acting plate guns blazing. Just….wow.

AGB Nielson Nationwide had this episode coming in at 29.8%.

episode 26 recap

The truth has been told and Soon-shin reels from it. At first, it paralyzes her. Then, denial sets in. All the while Jung-ae swears that she never thought of Soon-shin as anything but a daughter. Denial turns quickly to anger and she demands who her birth mother is.

She is Mi-ryeong the heartless, who busy telling the world about her secret daughter. Joon-ho doesn’t stay to listen and runs to find Soon-shin. Mi-ryeong’s story is generic: she had a child with the man she loved and then had to separate for unavoidable reasons. She doesn’t know where her daughter was raised and just recently found out about her. She directs detailed questions towards the press release.

A reporter asks if Mi-ryeong plans to keep in touch with her daughter and Mi-ryeong gives some sob story about being heart broken for her daughter and not wanting her to have undue media attention. Tears and then: I’m afraid that child will be hurt because of me. Please show mercy towards my daughter.


Hye-shin and Yoo-shin are watching the press conference and try to hide it from Granny. They all watch in horror that Mi-ryeong would go as far as to have it without their permission.

Soon-shin and Jung-ae come home and Soon-shin sees the press conference before it gets hurriedly shut off. In a daze, Soon-shin asks to watch the conference. Soon-shin still can’t believe the truth and asks Granny for the truth: who am I?

She starts to sob and the others bow their heads as Soon-shin tries to sort through her confusion and pain. How is she Mi-ryeong’s daughter when she thought she was Jung-ae’s for her entire life. Her voice breaks as she screams: Why are you telling me this now?

Jung-ae tries to calm her, but Soon-shin runs out with Hye-shin hot on her heels. Jung-ae collapses in tears and now my heart hurts for her. She’s done what I had wanted her to: be honest in every respect.

Hye-shin loses Soon-shin but runs into Jin-wook who points her in the right direction. He joins her search, but Soon-shin is nowhere to be found.

Joon-ho is also looking for her, calling her cell and getting no answer. When he arrives at her house, he has a humorous encounter with Jin-wook. The baker still believes Joon-ho is a creeper and demands who he is…and is then made a fool when Hye-shin greets him. Jin-wook heads inside and leaves Hye-shin alone with Joon-ho. He immediately asks after Soon-shin and finds out she ran away from home. Surprisingly, Hye-shin begs him to leave their family be and to let Soon-shin go.

Inside, Jung-ae is still sobbing and Hye-shin joins her. They worry about Soon-shin, but Jung-ae is positive Soon-shin is strong enough to weather this and return.

Joon-ho searches for Soon-shin despite the warning and looks in all the places they went together, even on the mountain. Aww, my heart is breaking.

Mi-ryeong’s broadcast is playing everywhere and Soon-shin happens across one and hears people gossiping about the hottest news: HER.

And she goes to the place that she last sat with her father: on a park bench when he discovered she’d been swindled. Then she remembers all the times when her mom and Mi-ryeong hinted at the truth. She huddles over her knees and sobs her broken heart out.

Reporters are calling Mi-ryeong’s phone incessantly and she sitting in her living room as coldly as a statue. Reporters swarm the outside and Mi-ryeong’s solution is to pretend she passed out and use an ambulance to escape to a private hospital room.

Yeon-ah hears about the news from her stylist and hurries to the hospital. She is worried as heck and Mi-ryeong weakly acknowledge her and apologizes for not telling her about it all sooner. Yeon-ah is really worried and has called all the reporters she knows to ask them to write good things.

Soon-shin still can’t be reached by phone so Jung-ae tries Chan-mi who immediately blabs to her mother, Gil-ja, who immediately blabs the truth to the rest of the family. Now all of Chan-mi’s family knows the truth about Soon-shin.

Yoo-shin wakes up and glances heavily at Soon-shin’s empty, unslept in bed. She heads downstairs where Jung-ae has prepared a massive meal full of Soon-shin’s favorite foods. Jung-ae wants to cheer her up and warns Yoo-shin not to say anything mean to Soon-shin when she returns. That incites Yoo-shin’s anger. She’s furious that her mother has no pride and is only worrying about Soon-shin, Chang-hoon’s biological daughter.

Jung-ae tries to ignore her, but Yoo-shin demands a DNA test or she won’t see Soon-shin. And then she says it: they were all fooled by their father; betrayed. She calls her mother stupid for not noticing the affair happening right under her nose….and earns a well-deserved slap from Jung-ae. She tells Yoo-shin to never say that again: Soon-shin is her sister. If she says it again, she won’t see Yoo-shin again.

Both women are crying as Yoo-shin storms from the house. Jung-ae orders Hye-shin to go make her sister feel better.

And there we have it folks, Jung-ae is a real mother again. This is how she should’ve been with Soon-shin before. But I guess she had to grow up. Took her damned-well long enough.

Hye-shin goes after Yoo-shin who still thinks their mother is being stupid. She stalks away and is greeted by a crowd of eager reporters outside their gate. A still teary Yoo-shin is assaulted with questions, denies that Soon-shin lives there and pushes her way through.

Meanwhile, Woo-joo accidentally tells a reporter who calls the house that Soon-shin is her aunt. Hye-shin denies what Woo-joo said and refuses to answer the subsequent calls.

It has happened: the attack of the press. Chang-hoon’s reputation hangs in the balance as well as poor Soon-shin’s sanity.

Hye-shin asks Jin-wook for help leaving the house in order to take Woo-joo to school and he barks at them like a puffed up guard dog. They back off immediately. He demands who Lee Soon-shin is and says that only the three of them live in the neighborhood: him, his WIFE, and his CHILD. He wants them to leave before he calls the cops. He takes a reluctant Woo-joo’s hand and leads her off. She is furious, but Hye-shin is more than thankful. She won’t, however, tell him what’s wrong. He promises to help them in anyway they can and she thanks him…by name. He flips out and repeats it, “Jin-wook ssi.” It’s so flippin’ cute. He practically glows.

Soon-shin tries to return home, but it’s surrounded by reporters and onlookers. With a sigh, she turns the opposite way and leaves.

Soo-jung and Yi-jung think that Mi-ryeong is done for and Joon-ho’s company is in trouble. They gossip about her pretending to be a virgin when she has a daughter. Dong-hyuk defends Mi-ryeong…again. Yi-jung asks Joon-ho for details on the daughter, but he leaves for work in reply.

Joon-ho tries to call Soon-shin and can’t reach her. He shows up at Young-hoon’s restaurant, grabs a beer and sits down. Jo Jung-seok does angst so well that I’m not even annoyed by the brooding! WOW!

Young-hoon sits with him and says he read the news. He tries to reassure Joon-ho that it will fix itself over time. Then he asks if Joon-ho met the daughter and feels bad for whoever it is, as an orphan for an orphan. When Young-hoon asks what the daughter does, Joon-ho asks him to inquire himself: ask Soon-shin.

Denial is his first reaction as well and treats it as a joke. Joon-ho’s somber demeanor tells Young-hoon it’s anything but a joke.

Soon-shin tearfully listens to one of her mother’s desperate messages, but makes no move to return the call. Her phone rings a second later and it’s Hwang. He wants to meet to talk and wonders if she saw the press conference. As if that makes everything okay, Hwang immediately wants to meet, but Soon-shin SHUTS HIM DOWN!  She doesn’t want to talk to him. He shouldn’t call her ever again.

That’s right. You go, girl.

Hwang tries to cheer Mi-ryeong up by reading posts from supportive netizens and says the general consensus is supportive – it was the right choice.

Mi-ryeong asks dully if Soon-shin’s family called. Hwang says, “no” and that Soon-shin hung up on him. That surprises Mi-ryeong and Hwang promises to try again. Mi-ryeong tells him to wait: Soon-shin will come.

I want to claw her eyes out. I AM glad to see her cold confidence is beginning to waver, though.

Soo-jung is making a delicious-looking lunch to bring Mi-ryeong as “her friend”. Wow, this woman is either too nice or desperate. Mi-ryeong treats you like dirt. Soo-jung convinces Yi-jung to join her in visiting Mi-ryeong to cheer her up and feed her well.

Yeon-ah visits Mi-ryeong again.

Has anybody noticed that her dresses and skirts get shorter and shorter in each subsequent scene? And then she wears long shawls and jackets and things so it looks like she’s…nekkid.

Anywho, Mi-ryeong asks Yeon-ah a favor: she wants her to be friends with the daughter. It’s hard to accept, but Mi-ryeong wants her to. Yeon-ah says she’s not immature and says she was planning to take care of her “dongsaeng”, younger sister, anyway. When she starts asking questions, Mi-ryeong tells her that she knows the daughter: it’s Soon-shin.

Cue huge face fall and confusion. What was that about being immature again?

Mi-ryeong asks Yeon-ah to forget the past and to treat Soon-shin well. Yeon-ah doesn’t answer: she seriously can’t believe what’s going on.

Just then, Soo-young and Yi-jung burst into the room. Soo-jung is talking a mile a minute and showing off all of her food. Yeon-ah leaves, crestfallen, and is followed by Yi-jung who wonders when she found out. Hearing that Yeon-ah just found out as well, Yi-jung is curious if the actress feels betrayed.

Yes, yes she does. And jealous.

Yeon-ah hurries away as quickly as possible.

Yoo-shin can barely contain her anger and embarrassment as her co-workers gossip at work and wonder who the daughter is. She ignores a call from a concerned Chan-woo who waits outside her workplace instead. She walks right past him, but he stops her.

She cruelly reminds him that they’ve broken up, but he is more concerned about how she is: he’s heard about what has happened. He says she should’ve told him about it; that’s what boyfriends are for. A wounded Yoo-shin declares that she doesn’t need a boyfriend if they’re going to be like this. She accuses him of being like her father: pretending to love one girl and cheating with another. Chan-woo says firmly that he’s not that way and she knows that.

But jaded Yoo-shin doesn’t. She thought she knew her father. She won’t give an in to Chan-woo and leaves him frustrated.

When he returns to the chicken restaurant where Jung-ae has been trying to call Soon-shin, he kindly tries to help her by offering to do her work. She refuses despite Chan-woo and Gil-ja’s repeated urging.

Soon-shin is wandering her neighborhood when she is finally spotted…by Chan-mi. Chan-mi drags her off to talk and rambles on about how pitiful Soon-shin is and how horrible all of this is. The neighborhood is annoyed by all the press hanging around. Then she tells Soon-shin that Jung-ae called looking for her. Chan-mi thinks she’s really worried and stressed; Jung-ae must’ve felt betrayed…

Wait…are you trying to comfort her by talking about her mother feeling betrayed by her…what? Birth? Existence?

Chan-mi tries to cheer her up and tells her to think of it positively. others would kill for Mi-ryeong as a mother. Soon-shin’s face begins to harden as Chan-mi asks, “Did you meet her?” Soon-shin softly asks why she would need to meet her and Chan-mi insensitively points out that Mi-ryeong is her mother, too.

Soon-shin turns scarily calm and derisive. “Who is my mother?” With a smirk, she rises and leaves her insensitive, plot-filling friend.

Next we turn to another plot-filling character, In-sung, who is currently singing Mi-ryeong’s praises for turning the vicious media tide to her side. People see her as human now and producers now want her and her daughter on their talk shows. Has Joon-ho met her yet? He heard that her name is Lee Soon-shin.

At that moment, a worried Joon-ho receives a call from Soon-shin who demands to know where Mi-ryeong is.

She is sitting in a hospital room with Yeon-ah by her side. Yeon-ah wants to know why Soon-shin hasn’t yet come and Mi-ryeong figures she’s mad.

Uh, you think?

Yeon-ah thinks she should come anyway…

…which is when Soon-shin shows up with empty eyes and a blank face.

When Yeon-ah leaves, Mi-ryeong thanks Soon-shin for coming.

Mi-ryeong: You hate me don’t you? I did what I wasn’t supposed to. I’m sorry. I really didn’t know. I really didn’t know anything about you. I ‘d appreciate it if you can understand me. Soon-shin

Soon-shin: Song Mi-ryeong Seonsaengnim (teacher). I came to ask you a favor.

Mi-ryeong: A favor?

Soon-shin: Please make all the reporters leave our house. Make them not call my house. Don’t bother my mom, grandma and my sisters. Make my family live like they used to. Don’t make them feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to be a person that would make them uncomfortable. I hate to see my family going through hard times just because of me. My mom, grandma and my sisters, they are my family. I can’t live without them. I couldn’t be who I am now without them. Do you understand? So don’t ever contact me again.

Mi-ryeong: Soon-shin ah…

Soon-shin: Seonsaengnim…Please don’t contact me. I don’t’ want to see you in my life. *she turns to leave*

Mi-ryeong: Wait…

Soon-shin leaves anyway and the look on Mi-ryeong’s face finally tells me that she’s STARTING to get what she’s done to this girl and her family. Or least that’s what I’m fervently hoping for. At least Soon-shin calling her seonsaengnim rather than “eomma/eommeoni” (mother) hit a huuuuge nerve.

Outside the room, Soon-shin’s cool exterior breaks and we see how hard that was for her. Bravo, IU. A-ma-zing.

Joon-ho finds her as she’s leaving the hospital and he won’t let her leave despite her portests that  she is fine. Finally, he stops her and tells her that she’s not okay. She needs to get mad. Wasn’t she the one who told him she had feelings that could be hurt? But Soon-shin is defeated. What happens if she gets mad? Will anything change? Can she be who she was before?

A tear courses down her cheek and Joon-ho swallows the lump in his throat. Then he reaches out and gently takes her hand like one would a child’s. It’s not romantic at all. It’s pure caring and sweetness. He wants to take her home.

Quietly, Soon-shin pulls her hand from his and tells him again that she’s okay. Then she leaves. He now knows when to back off and does so, watching her go. Hopefully, he’ll know that he can try again later when she’s not too devastated to accept his help…and his feelings.

Yeon-ah watches. Boo-hoo. I don’t care about your sadness.

Hwang returns to Mi-ryeong’s room where she’s brooding on a chair. He tries to cheer her up and promises Soon-shin will accept it soon. Mi-ryeong asks him if he told the reporters Soon-shin’s identity – he did. He feared bad rumors if they didn’t. Mi-ryeong throws a side table object to the ground and wants to leave the hospital.

Wait, is she actually mad because her relationship with Soon-shin was ruined or because she can’t control Soon-shin and the family?

The moment Hwang gets her home, she heads out again, presumably to find Soon-shin.

Jung-ae is wandering the neighborhood and calls Soon-shin. She hears her “Candy” ringtone (so sadly appropriate) and sees Soon-shin sitting a few feet away. Jung-ae immediately asks if she’s eaten.

Tearfully, Soon-shin apologizes and asks her mother if things can be the same. She’s the same Soon-shin and the youngest daughter and a sister and an aunt…right? She is part of their family and will continue to be. She’ll be mad if they treat her any differently. Jung-ae pulls her into a hug and they cry on each others’ shoulders.

This is when Mi-ryeong walks up and sees them in a moment she never dreamed of having with the daughter she gave up for her own ambitions.


How much do I love Soon-shin? How much do I love IU? This episode was so fantastic. This is what I wanted this show to be in the first place. Lee Soon-shin is just one be ball of overwhelmed. There are bursts of emotional explosions and then longs periods of absolute mental dullness, the kind that comes from shock. As much as I wanted Soon-shin to accept Joon-ho’s caring, Soon-shin cant handle the kindness or the worry. It’s too much emotion right now for her to process. She’s on overload. And she needed her mommy who, for the period of the episode, she couldn’t trust.

It shows her strength of character, though, that she came back to her family. That was huge step in the right director for her. I’m really glad they didn’t draw that particular angst out. I’m wondering how the family will react. I’m not particularly worried about Yoo-shin, believe it or not. The girl is feeling betrayed and although she has a venomous tongue, I think she’d be the first person to defend Soon-shin should the need arise. But she is capable of nastiness. So we’ll see.

Joon-ho. Wow, what finesse of acting Jo Jung-seok gives him. Every facial muscle plays a part. He just emanates the emotion he’s portraying. And Joon-ho was pretty powerful himself. He can finally see what someone else needs and what someone else is going through. He knew when to go to her and when to let her go. That was beautiful.

Mi-ryeong, oh am I so glad she got to stand on the outside and watch as the mess she made was cleaned up by Jung-ae with one tearful hug. She needed a huge slap upside her selfish head and that was it. Rejected by her “object”…oh, I mean daughter. While you threw her away and then attempted to reclaim her like a lotto ticket when the time suited you, Soon-shin’s family, however flawed, took her in, raised her, loved her. Suck on that egopants!

And then there is how Mi-ryeong treats Yeon-ah, or rather, uses her. She calls her “daughter” and is completely negligent of her until it suits her. I feel no love for Yeon-ah, but her desperate need for a mother does ear my pity every time she directs it towards Mi-ryeong. I’m sure I’ll pity her less when she starts being mean to Soon-shin out of spite and jealousy.

As for the funny, it was not often, but it was well-placed. Thank you sexy baker for making me laugh. And thank you more Woo-joo for making me cackle. I love her reactions to him. They are one of my favorite couples, Woo-joo and Jin-wook. I can’t wait ’til she turns to him.

Can’t stand how Yoo-shin is treating Chan-woo, but it is her defense mechanism. She shoots barbs and won’t let anyone near her, especially not since her infallible daddy is now a cheater, someone no longer to be trusted. I wanted to see Chan-woo tame that side of her. I also can’t wait for chang-hoon’s innocence to come around. I suspect it will when Mi-ryeong comes around…

Until Saturday…

Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

Character introductions.

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