Here we recap and discuss episode 2 of Fashion King. Caution, spoilers below. Do not read if you don’t want to know what happens.
With nowhere to go, seems Young Gul has decided to sign himself up for a boat ride. The workers are taking a quick break when the captain decides break time’s over and starts beating one of them. Young Gul sees it and when he tries to break them apart, gets beaten himself for his troubles. Later, we see him lying on his bunk inside his cabin. He has a flashback to when his dad apparently dropped him off with his aunt to go in search of his mom, who they previously said ran away to American with another man.
Amidst all the trappings of wealth, Jae Hyuk gets dressed for his first day in New York. He gets in his car where his assistant tells him they’re going to stop by the New York Fashion School to see about getting him enrolled there. At the school, we rewind a bit to Ga Young learning about Madam Jo’s interference. She tries to plead her case, but no luck. After she gets rejected, who should appear but the cause of all her problems: Madam Jo’s daughter. She snidely mentions to Ga Young that she only got in because some unknown girl rejected an offer to go to the school and that she was on the waiting list. Ga Young is pissed, obviously, but says nothing to the girl as she leaves.
Later that night, Ga Young calls Young Gul’s factory and asks to talk to him. The worker there says that he’s not in though. In an unknown city with no resources to her name, Ga Young can do nothing but wander around as she tries to come to grasp with the situation. She is chased off by a crazy homeless woman. However, in her wanderings, she does find a motel and checks in for the night. As soon as she sits down on her bed, Ga Young immediately begins to cry and thinks back on what Madam Jo and her daughter said.
Meanwhile, Young Gul is sleeping on his bunk when he’s awoken by noises outside. Seems the workers from yesterday didn’t take too kindly to the captain’s discipline yesterday and have staged a mutiny. Young Gul, being Korean, is bound along with the captain and some of the other crew members and watches them being tossed off the ship. When it’s Young Gul’s turn, he manages to stop them by giving them his fake Rolex watch and saying that he’ll help them get more from his friend if they get him to the US.
The next day, Ga Young is reading the newspaper when she sees an article about Jae Hyuk’s generous donation of $5 million to the school, and seems to recognize him. Guess school tuition’s gone up a bit. We then see him presiding over a meeting at the local branch of his dad’s company. They tell him that this branch is all about research and development of new styles, and that it doesn’t generate any revenue. Jae Hyuk seems displeased and tells them they’re going to reconvene at 7am tomorrow and walks out. His assistant tries to talk him out of it, but of course no luck.
As they get into the elevator, who should be there but Ga Young. She asks him if she remembers him as his mom used to bring him to her parents’ store before. However, like Young Gul, he doesn’t recognize her. Ga Young chases after him and pleads her case with him, but he thinks she wants a plane ticket to go home and tells his assistant to give her money and send her away. Of course, our budding fashion designer takes offense at the presumption and marches into his office to tell him that she just wanted him to find out what happened to her admission. After she leaves, he nonchalantly tells his assistant to go find out what happened for him.
Seems Jae Hyuk does remember her after all, because we then have a quick flashback to a time in the past where we see him attending a party. Ga Young is there as well and he watches her take some of the banquet food back up to her room. He follows her up and peaks at the fashion books there when he hears Ga Young and Madam Jo arguing. Ga Young brought the food to commemorate her parents’ death, but Madam Jo is angry that she was seen taking food from the opening ceremony of the store.
Ga Young returns to wandering the streets, but seems to have a destination in mind. She enters an apartment building where she hears a tenant arguing with the landlady about rent. Of course that tenant happens to be the person she’s looking for. She introduces herself as a designer and lays out the ground rules for letting her stay here. When Bong Sook asks for 2 months’ rent in advance, Ga Young balks since she has no money. She then says she can’t stay then and as Ga Young is about to leave, one of her clients walks in and demands that she fix the dress she made for her. Ga Young, of course, takes this opportunity to show off her skills with a sewing machine and says she’ll fix it for her.
Meanwhile, Young Gul is bargaining with some unsavory characters about getting help sneaking into the US from Mexico. At first he’s short the money to get him and the others from the ship in, but once again uses the fake Rolex as a bargaining chip. Now that he’s managed to buy their way in, the ring leader from the boat wants to know where his friend with the Rolexes is or else Young Gul is a dead man. As there is no friend, Young Gul has no choice but to escape and manages to call the Korean Embassy, who is unwilling to help him because they think he’s an illegal immigrant.
Back in Korea, Tae San and his merry band of henchmen are watching a news report that says the crew of the ship that Young Gul was on was rescued by another ship. The news report also says that Young Gul was the one who incited the riot and that he fled the country after declaring bankruptcy. Tae San confirms with his henchmen that Young Gul is capable of selling the ship in the US and then asks if they’ve found his mistress. They hesitantly say no and he now wonders if they’ve made plans to meet in America.
At this point, Young Gul’s gangster friend receives a call from him, but before they can really say anything, the pay phone that Young Gul is using runs out of money and the call is cut off. Young Gul is out of options now so he wanders the road and tries to hitchhike. Fortunately, a kind soul stops and gives him a ride.
Back in Korea, Madam Jo’s shop receives a call from Ga Young, but she refuses to take the call. Jae Hyuk’s mom then walks in and she’s once again offered some free clothing. She also managed to close a deal of some kind thanks to Madam Jo’s contacts. As a favor, though, Madam Go wants to let her daughter stay at her son’s house in America because she currently has nowhere to stay while attending fashion school. Jae Hyuk’s mom seems hesitant at first, but agrees.
Jung Ah wastes no time and immediately moves her stuff into Jae Hyuk’s place. He seems uncomfortable as well having her there, but she doesn’t seem to mind. As she gets up, he asks her if she knows a Lee Ga Young. Jae Hyuk says he needs to talk to her and just wanted to know if she knew how to contact her. Jung Ah suspects other motives, but Jae Hyuk doesn’t elaborate and walks off as well. She then tattles to her mother who immediately panics and contacts his mom. Jae Hyuk’s mom, however, is not happy that Madam Jo is trying to take advantage of their relationship. As she’s being fitted for a dress, the worker there mentions to her that she must be regretful that her son’s ex-girlfriend is now a famous designer in New York. She however, seems to have disapproved of the ex in the past, and just gets angry. Guess Yuri’s finally going to make an appearance.
And there she is. Anna is busy with working on a fashion shoot when she gets a visit from Jae Hyuk. She is not happy to see him and tries to brush him off, but he insists. He ignores all her less than subtle hints to get lost and tells her to come work for him instead. When he finally does leave, Jae Hyuk leaves Anna a contract to work as a freelance designer for his company.
The next day in Jae Hyuk’s office, his assistant mentions that he doubts Anna will come work for them since their company is only well known in Korea and that Jae Hyuk’s mom will flip out if she finds out. His assistant then receives a call saying that they found out Ga Young’s number.
Speaking of our plucky heroine, her work has impressed Bong Sook’s clients and so it seems that she’s been allowed to stay now. The phone then rings and Bong Sook tells Ga Young that she received a call from the school. They’re allowing her to interview again in person. Seems Jae Hyuk pulled some strings to get her this chance.
Meanwhile, Young Gul finally makes it to New York and is dropped off in front of the school by the friendly people who picked him up. He immediately goes in search of Ga Young, but stops in the restroom first where he happens to meet someone who allows him use of a razor to shave his beard. As he’s wandering the school, he steals some clothes and goes to the registrar to ask about Ga Young. Young Gul is distraught that he can’t find her, even though she happens to walk by him. The students that he stole the clothes from find him and the director decides to gift his fan girls some more by making him strip out in the open.
After he gives the clothes back, who should show up by Jae Hyuk? Young Gul lies and says he’s in town for a fashion show in Las Vegas, and that he sent one of his workers here to study. Jae Hyuk doesn’t believe him for a second and starts to leave. Young Gul chases after him and says they should have lunch together since it’s hard for friends to meet, especially since they’re in a foreign country. When Jae Hyuk refuses, he breaks down and tells him the truth about what happened. Appealing to his humanity, of course, fails and Jae Hyuk tells him to get lost. Shouldn’t have done that, guy. As the episode ends, we see Young Gul storm into a meeting that Jae Hyuk is having and grab him by the collar.
And so the love square is now complete. As Anna was on screen for all of five minutes and just showed her pissed off, we can’t really judge Yuri’s acting abilities just yet. However, so far we have a solid job by the mains and the supporting actors so even if she’s not that great, I’m sure they’ll be able to carry her.
So two episodes in and so far it’s been a pretty predictable ride. Personally, I’ve always been more of a fan of dramas where one of the main characters acts as the villain as opposed to one of the side characters like they seem to be doing here. Jae Hyuk seems like your typical arrogant rich kid, but that’s more of a foil to Young Gul as we’ve seen he does care about Anna and Ga Young to various degrees. I’m hoping that Anna transitions towards taking that role as opposed to Madam Jo and Jung Ah, but that’s a tall order for a rookie actress to do well. If they can make her into a proper villain along of lines of UEE’s character in ‘You’re Beautiful’, I’ll be happy.
Anna’s character is the most interesting to me at this point only because there are a few different ways they can develop her. The obvious role is that she becomes jealous of Ga Young’s talent and of Jae Hyuk’s eventual feelings for her. She’ll probably also start liking Young Gul to a certain extent as well or at the very least use him to piss off Jae Hyuk. While it’s not a bad way to go per se, I’m hoping for something different to at least surprise me. The other characters are pretty much set in their standard drama roles so I don’t hold any hopes of surprises there. I’ll be glad to be wrong though.
On a side note, the director really does seem to be trying to get Yoo Ah In half dressed as much as possible. In two episodes, I’ve seen more skin from a male lead than I’m used to seeing in an entire series. Even Lee Je Hoon had a brief moment of it. It’s not a bad thing exactly, and I can understand doing it early to draw in viewers at least. It’s just interesting to see as Korean culture is usually very conservative.
Some viewers are complaining that there’s all these scattered plot points that don’t quite make sense or could use more explanation. To a certain extent I agree, but for the most part I’m fine with how this dramas has progressed. One such point is Ga Young not bothering to check in on the school before she left. Yes, her foster mother dislikes her, but her character is the wide-eyed optimistic who sees the good in people, why would she suspect that Madam Jo would go so far as to reject her acceptance? Why is Young Gul accused to starting the mutiny? Despite being tied up, he is also the only crew member who wasn’t tossed overboard. Add in his recent financial troubles, I don’t believe it takes a drastic suspension of belief to accept this. How did Madam Jo know that by having Ga Young reject her admission that Jung Ah would get in? I don’t believe she did and that she sent the rejection letter to ensure that Ga Young had no chance of getting into the school, which is why her eyes widened in the previous episode when Jung Ah mentioned the scholarship. While it’s true this might have been why Jung Ah got in, I think the more likely scenario is that Jung Ah just said that to Ga Young as a way of rubbing it in her face. How does Young Gul get smuggled into the country? To this I say does it even matter? Would it serve the plot to show exactly how he got across the border?
My basic point is this. Yes, there is a lot of information basically thrown at viewers in just two episodes, but that just means there’s more time for actual story and character development. Why waste say 5 episodes drawing out the backstory in a 20 episode drama when you can accomplish it in 2? Get the groundwork laid out as quickly as possible and you can build from there. I’m not saying this drama is a must-watch, but like most series I believe warrants a few more episodes before being completely written off.