Here we recap and discuss episode 15 of Fashion King. Caution, spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.
After Young Gul crushed Ga Young’s spirit, he decides to go for a walk by the river and think things over. He thinks back to an earlier conversation he had with Jae Hyuk where he asks him to promise him a few things about Ga Young. First of which is to squash any rumors of her getting into J Fashion because he pulled some strings. Second is to make sure that she can go back to New York Fashion School. Third is to make sure Ga Young can attend fashion shows around the world. Lastly, make sure she doesn’t turn out like Anna. You certainly do have a lot of demands for someone who just made $5 million. I guess he is doing it for Ga Young after all though so can’t be too hard on the guy.
He goes back to his office and pulls out the necklace that we first saw on their visit back to New York. Apparently, he used it to break the ice with Ga Young when they first met when they were much younger. He saw Ga Young in tears because Madam Jo had taken away a necklace that used to belong to her mom and so he bought her one that looked just like it and used it to perform magic tricks. I had actually forgotten that that was how they first met. We then cut to Ga Young looking at some Polaroids of their final dinner in New York before the whole deportation thing. She then stuffs them into a random book and puts it back in her drawer.
We now see Young Gul in a jewelry store getting his little necklace appraised. The jeweler tells him that the gems are all cubic zirconia, which Young Gul knows already, and he asks the jeweler to swap them all out for diamonds. Boy this better be for Ga Young. We then cut to some bank representatives trying to get him to open an account with them. Anna walks into his office and starts talking business with him, but they’re interrupted by a call from Young Gul’s aunt. Wonder how much money she wants?
Sure enough, when Young Gul goes back, his aunt is all smiles and says she always knew he’d be a success like this. She’s complimenting non-stop but Young Gul isn’t swayed by her act in the slightest. His aunt might not actually have called him to mooch some cash and he asks her why his dad called her out of the blue. She’s not sure either and just said that she was told that Young Gul’s dad is living in a homeless shelter in the middle of nowhere. She says that he should visit him now that he has some money, but Young Gul has no interest in doing so. He does give her some cash that he prepared on his way out though, family is family after all.
At Bong Sook’s apartment, all the factory ahjummas are gathered to watch a news report that Young Gul was on, however briefly. As they’re all gossiping, Ga Young is trying to ignore them to get some work done, but her ears perk up when Anna is mentioned. One of them says that there’s no way that Young Gul is head over heels for Anna because she heard about how Young Gul’s mom had an affair and ran away when he was younger. As Ga Young is listening to Young Gul’s story, the others are commenting about this is why Young Gul is the way he is with women and why he doesn’t hang onto women if they want to go. Bong Sook then receives a call from Young Gul telling her that he’s going on a business trip somewhere.
See as how Anna is speaking French on the airplane phone, looks like our new power couple is heading to Europe. After ordering two glasses of wine for herself, Anna starts briefing him on the three companies that they’re supposed to meet tomorrow, but Young Gul isn’t in the mood and tells her to keep quiet so he can think. The smile on Anna’s face immediately disappears and she’s worried about her future now.
Meanwhile, Jae Hyuk’s assistant is telling him about Young Gul and Anna’s trip. He says that given the fact that the GG brand is taking off worldwide, while their YGM brand is still mired domestically, maybe firing Anna wasn’t the best idea. All Ga Young knows is design and with the Fashion King competition coming up, everyone’s whispering that it’s all just a setup for Ga Young to win. Down in the design room, the other designers are gossiping about this everything, not knowing that Ga Young is hidden behind some clothes in the room. One of them then mentions that she heard Ga Young was a pro at seducing men and that she had also seduced Young Gul as well. To top it all off, they question her design skills and says she’s just a gold digger.
We now cut to the actual Fashion King competition and see Jae Hyuk, Madam Jo, and several others going around looking at the various clothes that each designer has come up with. Jung Ah’s design was seriously just a plain white shirt, but at least it looked like they tried a little with Ga Young’s. Predictably, Jae Hyuk gives Ga Young’s a perfect score. Madam Jo at first gives Jung Ah’s design full marks, but decided to drop her 10 points out of 100 to make it seem fair. When she gets to Ga Young’s design, she gets her 10 out of 100. Of course, Director Kim comes around and mirrors Jae Hyuk’s opinion.
Afterwards, the judges are all meeting up and Director Kim is asking why she gave Ga Young such a low score. She tries to justify her score by saying that it seemed cheap to her and that she likes high quality fashion. Director Kim takes offense at this and Jae Hyuk has to play ref and says they’re going to drop the highest and lowest score for each design to make things fair. Later, we see the results for the first round and Ga Young has passed, and of course, Jung Ah is out. She complains about this to her mom and asks her to try to overturn the decision, but Madam Jo says that Ga Young has Jae Hyuk completely under her spell so there’s nothing she can do. She even tells Jung Ah that her design was crap. At this point, Ga Young steps out of one of the stalls in the restroom and walks out without saying a word.
She goes outside to think, clearly annoyed at what she’s overheard. Ga Young texts Jae Hyuk and asks to talk to him in person. Jae Hyuk says sure…but she has to come to his relaxation room. To pass the time, he decides to use one of the massage chairs he has in there. I’m not gonna lie…I think the relaxation room is pretty ridiculous, but I kinda want one too. When Ga Young arrives, she asks him if she can drop out from the competition so she can focus on her job. Jae Hyuk says that as an employee of J Fashion, she can’t just drop out because she feels like it. If she’s afraid of what the other workers are saying, she should just work hard and let the sales from her designs do the talking. He tells her to think about all the stuff that he’s done for her and asks why she hasn’t at least treated him to a meal. Well she kinda did, but yeah still not exactly even. He then asks if she’s like this because she hasn’t been taught by her parents, causing her to roll her eyes at him. Jae Hyuk eventually guilts her to agreeing to dinner that night since he’s apparently booked for the next few months.
Seems a tad early for dinner, but we see Jae Hyuk driving them somewhere, smiling to himself as he watches Ga Young staring out the window. He takes her to the beach and they watch the sun start to go down. Ga Young then turns and asks Jae Hyuk why he likes her because she feels she wouldn’t like herself in his position. All she does is come to him when she needs something and she’s impolite. He’s glad that she knows that and asks what she thinks of him, seeing as how the only thing sides that he’s shown her is an image of a player and a mama’s boy. Yeah, sounds about right. Ga Young just smiles at him, but says nothing. As they’re sitting watching the sunset, Jae Hyuk says that he doesn’t expect her to like him, but he hopes she at least doesn’t hate him.
Young Gul and Anna have returned from their business trip and Anna suggests that they get some tea together, but he refuses and drives off. He gives Il Gook a call and asks if he looked into something that he asked about. They meet up and Young Gul apparently had Il Gook look into Madam Jo’s past. Il Gook mentions that he found out that he and Young Gul used to sell trinkets in front of Ga Young’s parent’s store, which obviously isn’t news to Young Gul. He then says that Ga Young’s mom was one of the best designers in the country and had plans to expand, but died in an accident. Madam Jo was an employee at the store and took over since she knew Ga Young had nobody. She quietly changed the company’s title over to her name and Il Gook also suspects that maybe there’s more to this accident than what meets the eye.
Back at the factory, Young Gul unpacks a bottle of alcohol that he brought back from Europe. He starts thinking about Ga Young and unfolds her old bed to sit on. He remembers the conversation where she told him about how Madam Jo tormented her for 10 years and feels bad about how he casually said that everyone has scares like that.
We now go to Madam Jo’s boutique where she’s lying down on her couch after dealing with some reporters. Young Gul then shows up, bringing her relaxation to an abrupt halt. She asks him what he’s doing here, and he says that he’s here to talk about Ga Young’s parents. Madam Jo is disinclined to speak with him about it, and so Young Gul calls in his lawyer. As her former partner, he feels he should “help her out”. Since she’s uncomfortable talking to Young Gul, she can talk to someone else about this. Meanwhile, Anna is looking for something in Young Gul’s office and of course comes across the necklace that Young Gul had made. She smiles to herself, thinking that it’s for her, and quickly puts it back.
Well that was quick. The Fashion King competition is over and, no shock here, Ga Young won. They even gave her a freakin trophy for winning. To celebrate, she goes out to dinner with Jae Hyuk, his dad, and Director Kim. Jae Hyuk’s dad says he’s heard a lot about her design skills, especially from Director Kim. Later, we see other coworkers cordially congratulate Ga Young on her win as well, even if it’s not entirely sincere. Jung Ah has no time for manners and bluntly asks about all the stuff that Ga Young won. She also says that Madam Jo has something to say to her. Ga Young says she has no desire to see her mom, but Jung Ah says she thinks it has something to do with Young Gul. This gets Ga Young’s attention and Jung Ah turns around, her message delivered, and runs into Jae Hyuk who overheard everything. He wanted to invite Ga Young out to dinner, but she can’t make it now since she has plans. Jung Ah tries to get in on the dinner by saying she’s free, but Jae Hyuk just sighs at her and walks away.
Inside her boutique, Madam Jo is pacing around and throws a box of tissue that was on her desk at Ga Young as soon as she walks in. She angrily asks what Ga Young had Young Gul do and says she’s not just going to take this from them. Ga Young, of course, has no idea what she’s talking about, but Madam Jo thinks she’s just playing dumb. Guess Young Gul is trying to get ownership of the store back from her, but Madam Jo says she’s not the person she used to be when she worked for her mom. She tells her to relay a message to Young Gul that she’s done nothing wrong and she’ll have both of them locked up for slander. Ga Young says that she can tell them that himself and to stop calling her out for things like this. Glad to know she still has a spine, because we sure haven’t seen it in a while. After Ga Young leaves, she thinks back to Young Gul telling her that he could get her mom’s store back.
At the factory, the ahjumma crew is waiting around because Ga Young says she’ll treat them to dinner. They want to invite Young Gul, but they’re afraid Anna will want to tag along. They eventually trick him into coming with them by saying that they miss seeing him around since he’s so busy. We see them drinking and eating at a restaurant and they ask him what his relationship is with Anna. They pester him about whether they use two rooms on business trips and say that it seems like Anna likes him. Young Gul is all smiles and says that they know that women like to follow him around. When Bong Sook asks how he thinks of Ga Young, though, he avoids the question and tells them to just drink more.
Just then Ga Young shows up and they seat her next to Young Gul. They reveal the real reason that they called him out and it immediately turns awkward. Ga Young tells him that she doesn’t know what he’s planning by using her name, but he should stay out of her business. She then stands up back and tells the others that she’ll have dinner with them some other time. Young Gul, however, chases after her and says she should go back in since they miss her, and walks away himself.
Later that night, Bong Sook tells Ga Young that she shouldn’t be like this since she’s the one who went to Jae Hyuk first. She might have her reasons, but they’re all excuses in Bong Sook’s mind. Ga Young gets fed up with it and surprises Bong Sook by asking why she’s taking his side and before covering herself with her blankets in anger. At Young Gul’s factory, we see him thinking about what Ga Young said to him and he gives someone a call, saying that he’ll buyout the company.
The next day, he takes the elevator down and of course, it stops on Jae Hyuk’s floor and he gets in. They exchange some tense small talk about what Young Gul’s been doing lately. Jae Hyuk tries to get in a few jabs, but Young Gul isn’t fazed and throws a few verbal punches himself, easily beating Jae Hyuk at his own game. We then go to J Fashion where they’re showing the difference in growth between the GG and YGM brands. Jae Hyuk flips out at his assistant for reporting the facts and angrily threatens everyone else at the meeting that if any of them do something like this again, they’re fired. After the meeting, Jung Ah tries to find out what her mom said to Ga Young, but they’re interrupted by Director Kim saying that he wants to talk to her. He says that he got invited to a fashion show in New York, but he can’t go so he’s letting her go in his place, all expenses paid.
Back at Young Gul’s factory, he’s just finished with a business meeting of his own and Anna complains if they really have to do work day and night like this. Young Gul smiles at her and says that you have feel the hard work with your own hands to appreciate what you’re doing. Anna then suggests that they move the office, but Young Gul says he’s comfortable here and offers to get her a new office. He then pulls the box that Anna found earlier and gives it to her. Anna’s face immediately lights up, but when she opens it, it’s not the necklace but a wallet. She badly hides her disappointment, but Young Gul barely notices and heads out for his business trip. After he leaves, Anna goes to look for the necklace, but it’s nowhere to be found.
On the plane, we see Ga Young being seated in first class, amazed at all the amenities. She looks to her side and is shocked to see Young Gul. He notices her as well and is equally shocked.
So, someone want to explain to me the point of that whole ridiculous Fashion King competition if they’re going to resolve it in what, 2 episodes? To give the workers something to whisper about? To confirm that Jung Ah is a terrible terrible designer? It’s not like they needed that as an excuse for Director Kim to give Ga Young the trip to New York since he’s already sweet on her anyway. It’s little useless things like this that have added up and cluttered the story line. If you’re going to introduce a plot point, at least develop it properly so that it adds something to the narrative. Don’t just do it for the sake of doing it.
That being said, I actually did like the direction that this episode is taking. We’ve confirmed that Young Gul turned Ga Young away so that she can make a better future for herself, and she’s starting to realize that maybe he has his reasons other than just to be a dick. It’s also nice to see him take shots at both Jae Hyuk and Madam Jo. He has valid points of attack on both of them, and I can’t wait to see him pull the rug out from under them.
I do feel bad for Anna though. Abandoned by Jae Hyuk, soon to be abandoned by Young Gul, it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the girl. She did herself a huge favor by separating herself from Jae Hyuk, who’s still a prissy brat, but it’s a shame that she’s going to be cast aside by Young Gul after doing all this work to expand his business. She’ll probably end up with Jae Hyuk in the end, but she deserves better.