Crisis and Opportunity
Episode 5 of Reborn Rich starts with an overview of the IMF foreign exchange crisis. The government urges people to come together and help overcome the crisis since the country was bankrupt. The Korean government asked for financial assistance from the IMF, which came with strict conditions. The government was to implement complete market opening, promote flexibility of labour markets and reform the conglomerates.
Chairman Jin is furious about the conditions. He calls a meeting to deliberate on what to do to survive the crisis. In contrast, Do-jun had been aware of the crisis and was preparing for it, becoming the only man in Korea with the most U.S. dollars. He sets up Miracle Investment with Oh Se-hyeon as his partner and CEO.
Rachael hands him a contract to sign, and he uses the initials H.W making Se-hyeon wonder what they mean. In a flashback, we are taken back to the scene at the bank with Hyeon-woo withdrawing the slush fund as directed by Sung-joon. He signs the initials H.W.
Korea’s second biggest automaker, Ahjin motors, files for bankruptcy. It becomes the first company Miracle Investment is interested in acquiring. Se-hyeon is against the move. Elsewhere, Chairman Jin also seems highly interested in the developments. Hyeon-woo’s father is among the workers who lose their jobs due to the closure of Ahjin motors.
The government announces the beginning of a new era to overcome the national crisis in February 1998. Thus, prices would continue to increase, more people would lose their jobs, earnings would continue to decrease, and more companies would go bankrupt. Soonyang Group and Daeyoung Group are called for a breakfast meeting with the President. Cheongwadae is determined to reform corporations, and Soonyang would not be an exception.
Chairman Jin declares his intention to acquire Ahjin Motors, much to the surprise of Dong-ki and Young-ki. Chairman Jin is frustrated that his sons do not understand the essentiality of acquiring Ahjin motors for the survival of Soonyang motors.
Se-hyeon is concerned that chairman Jin would be determined to acquire Ahjin motors, and the government is more likely to give the company to Soonyang Group and not a new company like Miracle Investments without management experience. Do-jun is convinced that Soonyang Motors will never acquire Ahjin motors since they would realize that they fell prey to the winner’s curse.
Soonyang group’s money reserves are depleted due to the vast investment made to acquire Hando steel. The company have no access to bank loans since it maxed out its loan limits with major banks. Thus, Soonyang Group seems unable to afford the acquisition of Ahjin motors.
Sung-joon arrives in Korea from his studies abroad. At the airport, a woman approaches him. She informs Sung-joon that his secretary was deliberately being delayed. She states that their families intended to set them up officially, starting with the story of their suitcases being swiped at the airport leading to an accidental meeting.
The woman introduces herself as Mo Hyeon-min, the only daughter of the Hyunsung Daily family. She seems disinterested in marrying into the Soonyang family. She hands him photos of himself partying with various women and leaves. At home, the family is overjoyed by Sung-joon’s return. Chairman Jin mentions the marriage proposal, while Sun-joon’s mother dislikes the proposed marriage partner.
Mr Lee informs chairman Jin of Miracle Investment’s interest in Ahjin Motors. Ahjin motors employees are on strike, asking for their wages to be paid. Se-hyeon meets with the Ahjin motors chairman and presents his proposal to acquire Ahjin motors.
Elsewhere, Do-jun leaves his home and asks In-hyeok to hand him the car keys since he does not want Dong-ki to know his whereabouts. In-hyeok is surprised that Do-jun already knew of his connection to Dong-ki. In-hyeok wonders what will happen to him, and Do-jun gives him a chance to decide and gives him a break from work.
Do-jun drives to Hyeon-woo’s family restaurant. He notices that many businesses had been closed with notices for debt repayment delegations. At the door of the restaurant, he finds notices for unpaid bills. Suddenly, Hyeon-woo’s mother appears, and he requests to have a meal. Hyeon-woo’s mother invites him in, and he orders kimchi soup. She notices a similarity between the customer and her son since they do not eat raw eggs.
Hyeon-woo’s father comes in soon after with a flower bouquet. Hyeon-woo’s mother is unimpressed since they are strapped for money and see the bouquet purchase as a waste. They argue, and Hyeon-woo’s father storms out. With a new understanding of the situation, Do-jun has a flashback of a conversation Hyeon-woo had with his father, blaming him for his mother’s death. He feels remorse and rushes out to catch up with Hyeon-woo’s father, who is already gone.
Back at Ahjin motors, Se-hyeon presents the acquisition deal to the chairman, including the buyout of employees. They seem to have an agreement and shake hands.
Do-jun rushes to catch an elevator and Soonyang motors and meets with Hyeon-min. He remembers her as the wife of Sung-joon from his life as Hyeon-woo, and there is a flashback to when she directed Hyeon-woo to bring Seong-jun to the succession event within thirty minutes or else he would be fired. Do-jun scoffs at the memory, and Hyeon-min takes it as an invitation to talk to him. She thinks he is staring at her because he is interested, but her dress tag is sticking out.
Lee Pil Ok, chairman Jin Yang Cheol’s wife and daughter-in-law, volunteers in the campaign to collect gold to help the country with its gold reserves. Hyunsung daily plans to have the news on the front page, but Chairman Jin has a different suggestion. Hyeon-min and Seong-Joon meet in the presence of Chairman Jin and Hyeon-min’s father. On his way out, Chairman Jin advises Do-jun not to associate with Se-hyeon.
Hyeon-min shows more interest in Do-jun after finding out more about him from her father. Do-jun visits the coffee shop where Min-young works, and she interprets his consistency in getting coffee during her shift as his interest in him. They agree to meet at the library the next day, and she gives him her phone number.
Hyeon-min meets with SDo-jun at the university and hands him a newspaper. On the front page is an article stating that the acquisition of Ahjin Motors by Miracle investments would surrender the Korean market to foreign investors. Thus, the Korean citizens rise against the acquisition, demanding Miracle Investments step back; hence, the deal falls through. In addition, Chang-je reports that the Seoul prosecution office was investigating Ahjin motor’s chairman for corruption and embezzlement. If found guilty, Ahjin motors would not be turned into a public corporation making it easy for Soonyang motors to buy.
Back at Miracle Investment, Se-hyeon finds out that Do-jun is more interested in helping employees of Ahjin motors keep their jobs than the profits made from the acquisition of Ahjin motors. Do-jun is frustrated and intends to negotiate with Chairman Jin, outing himself as the man holding the chessboard. Se-hyeon is frustrated that Do-jun is willing to lose so much money in a futile attempt to acquire Ahjin motors.
Flashback answers why Do-jun was intent on an employee buyout. Hyeon-woo’s father was among the employees protesting, and the police assaulted him. Hyeon-woo’s mother faints from seeing her husband beaten up, and she dies. Do-jun wanted to save Hyen-woo’s mother.
Do-jun visits Jeongsinjae to talk with his grandfather, and Sung-joon informs him that he has a meeting with the President. Sung-joon informs him that the President had approved Soonyang Group’s acquisition of Ahjin motors.
At the meeting, Chairman Jin thinks he is the only contender, but Daeyoung group’s chairman also shows up for the negotiations. The President’s suggestion is a merger of Ahjin motors and Soonyang motors under the umbrella of Daeyoung motors.
Do-jun comes up with a new idea. Se-hyeon meets with Chairman Jin and offers to help him acquire Ahjin Motors to merge with Soonyang motors and become among the top 10 global automobile companies. He presents the condition that Chairman Jin must agree to keep all the employees of Ahjin motors. Chairman Jin agrees and presents the deal to the President, who also agrees.
To help Hyeon-woo’s family, Do-jun buys the Three-way restaurant building and goes to present it to Hyeon-woo’s mother. However, it is revealed that what happened in Hyeon-woo’s life must happen in Do-jun’s life. Hyeon’s mother is dead.
The Episode Review
The episode is mainly about corporate games and overviews fierce competition, unfair deals, and undercuttings within the business environment. New players are introduced to the story, the eldest grandson Sung-joon and his potential wife, Hyeon-min. We also witness the power held by the government over corporates and the business environment. Do-jun’s revenge plans intensify, but he also faces various obstacles.
It is exciting to watch the events unfold and Do-Jun’s ability to use his emotions in business dealings and his intelligent business acumen. Significant events seem to be set in stone, and Do-jun might be able to change the causality, but eventually, it seems they will always happen in this timeline too.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|