Graceful Friends returns this week and now we’re starting to dive deeper into the Professor Han murder in the past. Alongside that, a lot of our characters continue to experience their own woes and misfortunes as this murder mystery starts to crank up the heat. Of course, the usual dose of humour is here but it’s really the melodrama that’s starting to shine through now.
Episode 9 of Graceful Friends begins in the past with Jung-Hae speaking to Jae-Hoon in a restaurant. She reveals that she’s going to marry Goong-Cheol but he is not happy. Back in the present, Goong-Cheol watches footage from his wedding but tellingly, Jae-Hoon doesn’t clap or look particularly enthused. He also notices Hae-Sook standing at the back. Who invited her?
Interestingly, it seems like Hae-Sook and Jae-Hoon are forming an alliance as we see fragments of their conversation together, including Hae-Sook messaging with “I accept your proposal.”
Ji-Wook finds Mi-Ra and apologises for his actions. He admits that his mother is a porn star too. As they talk, the pair finally open up and embrace, kissing for the first time.
Hyung-Woo predictably receives a call confirming that the Director wants to meet (on the back of Kyung-Ja presumably sleeping with him of course) while Choon-Bok forgets to put his trousers on while dropping Pu-Reum off at the bus.
After signing his lucrative contract, Hyung-Woo heads home. On the way however, he spies Ji-Wook and Mi-Ra in a restaurant together. He doesn’t oppose their relationship though and eventually she admits to Ji-Wook that her real name is Ae-Ra.
Things between Goon-Cheol and Jung-Hae are still frosty and awkward in the morning. It turns out Jung-Hae has never bothered to tell him about her family. Given she told Jae-Hoon however, it doesn’t settle well with Goong-Cheol who senses something is up. Jung-Hae tries to bite back, telling him about his feelings for Hae-Sook until he mentions the nursing home and Man-Sik. Things continue to bubble up but for now, this situation is left unresolved.
Goong-Cheol’s problems continue at work as he learns CEO Yang has scammed employees at stores. As Goong-Cheol struggles to compose himself, he tells the others to keep this a secret for now.
In his car, he notices a pen in the glove box. That same pen, as it happens, that happened to be Man-Sik’s which he borrowed in the past. This brings him to Man-Sik’s grave where it turns out his pen was actually found at the crime scene for Professor Han. Was he the one who killed him?
In the past, we see more of what happened to this Professor. He forced himself on Hae-Sook and she struggled to get away. Jung-Hae seemingly isn’t the one who killed him either, as we we see flashes of the past where she saw his dead body on the floor.
Jung-Hae meets Jae-Hoon in their familiar restaurant spot where she hands back the money he lent Goong-Cheol. Jae-Hoon is cold and bitter though, resentful of their failed relationship and Jung-Hae picks up on this. She tells him to stop his obsession and move on. In reply, his smile turns to a frown as she leaves.
Myeong-Sook returns and sits with Goong-Cheol outside. They talk about Man-Sik and the nursing home, with the former eventually heading inside and weeping at Man-Sik’s grave.
Meanwhile, the Kang-San case takes a further twist when the police find out he has a partner called Joo-Won. Their priority right now is finding this guy no matter what.
That evening, the group head to Hae-Sook’s bar and celebrate Kyung-Woo’s big deal. When Hae-Sook brings food to the table, Choon-Bok immediately asks where Man-Sik is. It seems he has early onset of dementia but the others don’t see this, believing he’s simply telling an ill-timed joke.
Back at the table, Hyung-Woo overhears Jae-Hoon talking about Kyung-Ja and the hotel. As things get heated, Jae-Hoon and Hyung-Woo eventually come to blows, prompting the latter to leave by himself. As he does, Choon-Bok finds himself confused and unsure where he is.
Hyung-Woo meets Kyung-Ja at a bar and finds out the truth for himself. He struggles to hold it together though and calls her a bad woman. As he storms out, we cut back to the bar where Goong-Cheol and Hae-Sook talk about the wedding invitation.
As Jung-Hae arrives, Jae-Hoon grabs her and spills the truth. He’s happy that Hae-Sook is back and gave Goong-Cheol the money intentionally to hurt Jung-Hae and make her suffer. “What goes around, comes around,” He says gleefully. As he grabs her hand, Goong-Cheol shows up from the bar and sees the two together. Uh oh!
With plenty of drama throughout the episode, all of this leans heavily on what happened to Professor Han in the past. Could Man-Sik he responsible? Given he mentioned shyly about liking someone, that someone could be Hae-Sook. Perhaps he found out about the rape attempt and confronted the Professor. Or this could be a big set-up to make Man-Sik look like the killer. Either way, this one is really starting to heat up now!
Graceful Friends continues to tackle some pretty big themes too, including the whole Choon-Bok angle about his dementia. This feeds back into the constant jokes about him getting old. However, this time it’s given an undercurrent of poignancy too.
It’ll be interesting to see what direction the show takes next but for now, Graceful Friends bows out with another good episode.
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