Queen of Tears – K-drama Episode 12 Recap & Review

Episode 12 

Episode 12 of Queen of Tears begins with Hae-in and Hyun-woo looking over the CCTV footage at the warehouse where they initially thought the slush fund to be.

Hae-in recognises the truck from the CCTV to be the one that she saw on the day the chairman told them to leave to change the ventilators. This means that the slush fund was transported from the warehouse to the Hong residence that day.

Hyun-woo then leaves to get the car since it begins to rain. The events from the last episode now, take place from an outside perspective and we see Eun-seong approach Hae-in, who is sitting alone near the warehouse. She mistakes him for Hyun-woo and Eun-seong plays along. Meanwhile, Hyun-woo returns to see Hae-in climb into Eun-seong’s car and chases them. The rest is history. 

Hae-in comes back to her senses and gets out of Eun-seong’s car however, she tells him that Eun-seong invited her to avoid telling him what actually happened. She then leaves with Eun-seong with a mind to poke around the house for clues regarding the slush flush. Hyun-woo however, is hit on his head by an unknown person. 

Hae-in and Eun-seong reach the Hong household and Eun-seong prepares for a dinner date with Hae-in while she just wants to meet her grandfather. At the same time, Hyun-woo wakes up in his car while the broker is getting ready to kill him. He receives a call from the land broker that Hyun-woo has been killed.

Eun-seong turns off his mobile claiming to send money to the broker “later”. Unlike his plans though, Hae-in is not interested in dinner but Eun-seong is able to keep her there by telling her a story about how he saved her from the dog and even from drowning. It’s revealed however, that he lied about the latter incident. 

Meanwhile, Da-hye’s uninvited guest is the finance director of the Queens, who is revealed to be Gun-woo’s biological father. He is also nasty, rude, insensitive and violent. He informs Da-hye that he has committed illegal acts while serving as finance director and pinned the blame onto Soo-cheol and that Soo-cheol is going to get arrested. This makes Da-hye worried about Soo-cheol. 

Back at the Hong residence, Hae-in meets her grandfather and is shocked to see him in a terrible state. She nevertheless whispers about the secret recording pen that he gave her, places it on a table and instructs him to tell leave a message as she will be back for it. While she’s leaving, the chairman says some cryptic lines which mention an air-raid shelter. 

Hae-in leaves the house while Eun-seong and his mother argue about Hae-in’s presence. She gets lost in the garden, unable to find her way to the main gate. This is when she sees Hyun-woo looking for her but she isn’t sure if he’s Hyun-woo because he appears as Eun-seong to her for a brief moment.

Luckily though, Hyun-woo finds her and is able to convince her of his identity. They leave the mansion. Meanwhile, Eun-seong is furious and calls the broker. It’s revealed that Hyun-woo was able to barter his life by logically arguing that the broker would get a 20 year sentence for murder than a 3 year sentence for fraud. Because of this and Eun-seong’s betrayal, the broker spares Hyun-woo’s life. 

Hyun-woo and Hae-in spend the night at Hyun-woo’s apartment, living a “normal” life – eating good food, cuddling and just being happy. She also tells him about the secret pen that she had kept in her grandfather’s room.

Meanwhile, Soo-cheol is practicing to be a boxer. Through his questions, it’s revealed that Baek Hyun Tae’s wife lives with him and treats him well because Hyun-tae’s mother decided to be unorthodox and gave her freedom to do whatever she pleases in exchange of not divorcing her son, possibly because his other knew she was his only chance at marriage. 

Meanwhile, Gun-woo’s father enters into an argument over a gold buddha statue that Da-hye stole from the Hongs, and almost harms Gun-woo. Da-hye then mixes pills into his wine, packs her bags and leaves with all the money, along with the gold buddha statue. 

Later, while Grace is dining with Eun-seong and Seul-hee, it’s revealed that it was her who helped Hyun-woo enter the Hong mansion. She then breaks a deal with the two, telling them that Hyun-woo thinks that the slush fund is in the house.

Meanwhile, a bunch of reporters snap pictures of Hyun-woo’s house and Mi-sun kicks one of them but they are able to flee in their car. They decide to make a team of five to patrol the area in which Soo-cheol is excited to serve. 

Elsewhere, Hyun-woo and Hae-in reach Yongdu-ri and watch a sunset. Hyun-woo presents a ring to Hae-in, asking her to take the divorce back but Hae-in tearfully refuses, telling him about how her illness has worsened that she cannot even be sure of anything. She tells him about the day she mistook Eun-seong for Hyun-woo.

At the same time, Young-song is looking for his mother and Beom-ja helps him to find her through Conan’s spy drone. As they sit in his courtyard, they share a heart to heart about each other’s personal history. Beom-ja tells him about how she behaved with her father before he collapsed and Young-song tells her that he lived all his life without his mother, since she had left him to escape from his abusive father. He tells her that he brought her back when she got diagnosed with dementia. And this is how they trauma bond. 

In the meantime, it’s revealed that the chairman is coming back to his senses and pretends to swallow the medicine given on orders by Seul-hee. Instead, once the help leaves his room, he takes out the pill from his mouth, and stores them in his bathroom cabinet. 

Back in Yongdu-ri, the entire family discuss about the air-raid shelter and conclude that the slush fund might be in the panic room. The issue is that although everybody knows about the panic room, nobody really knows where it exactly is. Hyun-woo suggests that there might be a secret floor plan. 

Later in the night, while patrolling the area, Soo-cheol meets Da-hye who has returned with both the gold Buddha statue, and Gun-woo. Da-hye apologises to the family and returns all the money except that spent on air travel and in the US.

While Seon-hwa is furious at her presence, Soo-cheol defends Da-hye repeatedly tells them that Gun-woo is his child since he was present at his birth and brought him up. They leave and while Da-hye suggests that she will leave Soo-cheol alone, Soo-cheol emphasises that he cannot live without her and Gun-woo. They eventually reconcile. 

Later the next day, Hyun-woo, with the help of his friend Kim Yang Gi , is successful in acquiring the original floor plan from the makers of the house.

As they study the floor plan,they realise that the elevator that is connected to the chairman’s room may have two doors, and one of them opens into the panic room on the other side. They plan to visit the house early morning, along with the charges of negligence by Seul-hee towards the chairman’s health. At this time, Eun-seong and his mother are already searching the entire house for the slush fund. 

Unfortunately, at the same time, Seul-hee catches the chairman while he is in the bathroom cabinet. It’s evident that he comes back to his sense for a brief period. The chairman tells Seul-hee that it’s like living in a horrible prison. That night, the chairman wakes up, records something in Hae-in’s pen and proceeds towards the stairs, smiling while a sad music plays in the background. 

The next day when the Hongs arrive, the chairman is already dead from the fall. Seul-hee loses the power of the attorney, meaning that the Hongs will be able to get their house and belongings back since Seul-hee no longer has any power over them. After the funeral, the family visit the house with the chairman’s picture, gets into the elevator and are able to open the door of the panic room. This is where the episode ends. 

In the epilogue, we see Hae-in and Hyun-woo’s mothers talking and looking over Hyun-woo’s childhood pictures. It is here that it’s revealed that it was Hyun-woo, being an excellent swimmers, saved Hae-in from drowning as a child. 

The Episode Review

This episode, as expected, kept us on our toes. The highlight for me was definitely Da-hye’s return to the Hong family. Despite her limited screen time, her character is bold and independent. Within seconds she is either fleeing with a bag full of money and within the other, she’s coming back with it.

In the show, I feel that she displays grit and an enormous amount of agency. Similarly, Soo-cheol, despite being a scaredy cat most times, is an excellent partner and father, a green flag through and through if you may. 

The shock that came with the chairman’s drastic decision was just mind-numbing. The entire scene, although devoid of any dialogue, accompanied by just a melancholic melody, was exceptionally powerful.

In that silent scene, veteran actor Kim Gab-soo who plays the role of Hong Man Dae, the chairman, displays complexity of emotions as he acts out the both grief over his impending death, and his inability to see his family one last time, but also a kind of heartwrenching relief, or joy, that will come after his death as Seul-hee will lose her power over his family. Hats off to his brilliant performance. 

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