Sorry for the delayed post, and before I forget: Happy 2015 and here’s to more (and better) kdramas to watch next year! ^^
The identity crisis
With the revenge plot fully on the backburner (or has it ended?), Beauty now shifts its focus on the exposure of Sara’s identity. Which isn’t rocket science, really. Afterall, Chae-yon has already confirmed with her oppa that he HAD operated on Geum-ran under Tae-hee’s request. So it’s now up to the baddies to start their plottings, and using Sara’s dual identities to their advantage.
Chae-yon makes Sara imbibe nuts during the cooking competition, with the intention to either reveal her true identity as Geum-ran (who is allergic to nuts) in front of the nation, or to murder her (since nuts allergy can give Geum-ran anaphylaxis) on national TV. (dumb and dumber) Unfortunately for Chae-yon, the allergic reaction doesn’t occur immediately on the show (Sara did chew one peanut down in front of her, much to Chae-yon’s annoyance). However, Sara fainted in Kang-joo’s arms later when he confronts her about Guem-ran.
Since exposing Sara may not work in her favour, Chae-yon decides to play the aggreived wife and concerned dongseang (to Tae-hee). She tells her oppa (also Tae-hee’s close friend) that Sara is the vixen who caused her and Kang-joo to annul their marriage in less than 3 weeks. Then off she goes to Tae-hee’s granny (whom she cleverly worms access to, through evil Min-hyuk’s momma) and reports the same thing to her, feigning concern for Tae-hee since he is that “innocent, overly helpful White Knight” and Sara is the vixen playing the “damsel in distress”.
Unlike Chae-yon though, Kang-joo does not or cannot accept the idea that Geum-ran = Sara. Most likely cos his image of Geum-ran does not match that of the Sara. Thus, despite repeated not-so-subtle hints from Chae-yon, Kang-joo only thinks that Sara is hiding Geum-ran somewhere.
The upside of Sara’s blown cover is her reconcilation with her mother, who has harboured strong suspicions that Sara is Geum-ran, since both share same habits and mannerisms. Plus, Sara is too concerned over her well-being, even as a “friend” of Geum-ran.
The corporate war
Tae-hee manages to convince Winner’s shareholders to give him a Director-ship at any of Winner Gp’s holdings to prove his capabilities. Min-hyuk complies — and chucks him to Winner Food group, which is declaring bankruptcy in like 3 weeks time. Tae-hee’s office is the storeroom which houses expired and unsold food products from Winner Food. And his staff strength — one (his trusty loyal secretary + sidekick). (ok, two, if u count Tae-hee himself)
That doesn’t deter Tae-hee though. He decides to start a collaboration with Sara, after her successful wins in HBS cooking competitions. And organises an official launch to announce it, plus also to use the event as a marriage proposal platform.
However, the launch brings all our interested parties into one room — Min-hyuk and mom see that Tae-hee and Sara are close, Kang-joo and Chae-yon glare in envy + jealousy at having their “lover” stolen by their rival. (oh, you can add Min-hyuk to the Green Eye Monster party too)
Nothing stops the romance
Yep, despite having SERIOUS problems cropping up, they don’t affect our lovey-dovey OTP much. Well, not that much…Sara starts having self-doubts again (yawn) on whether she is capable of loving another man, after being scarred by her former husband. And the revelation of Tae-hee as the sole heir to Winner Group doesn’t help. Suddenly, he’s no longer the dorky partner-in-crime, but someone with status and power.
Not that any of Sara’s concerns makes any difference to Tae-hee, who somehow thinks that everything is gonna be dandy. (you can’t fault him for positive-thinking) He continues to be in his Lala Land, dreaming up the most ridiculous ploys to make Sara say she loves him. ><” The only thing that gets in his way is Sara’s popularity with the boys — particularly, her ex-hubby, Kang-joo. Tae-hee harbours nonsensical jealousy over Kang-joo, and has on at least two or three occasions, claimed that Sara (Geum-ran) still loves Kang-joo. (duh? and why will she plot to throw him in jail then?)
My prediction was right. Beauty has trouble keeping up with the plot and subplots. The main theme of having an ugly but aggrieved wife come back as a ravishing artificial beauty already has loadsa potentials — such as societal’s view of women, beauty, and the hypocritical bias of beauty having to be au naturale. The initial episodes did very well in touching on these topics — putting Geum-ran as the role model of a woman who has ALL the inner beauty a lady should possess. But, physically, Geum-ran fails society’s mark for outer beauty. So in comes Sara, the upgraded Geum-ran…who now passes with flying colors. But…Sara is artificial, which ironically, makes her ineligible to be in the race at all.
Another factor which Beauty does well is the parodies of all the romantic notions kdramas have inculcated in us. There are stolen scenes from other kdramas — such as I Hear Your Voice (the beer helmets), Feast of Gods (the bread dough mixing), Diary of Bright Girl (the maid-master idea) — but all of them are given this gooey, mushy overtone that makes your skin crawl instead of going doey-eyed.
Imo, if we take away Tae-hee’s familial problems (and the ensuing corporate rubbish), and let Tae-hee be kdrama’s simple chaebol/heir/heir in-disguise (if he really wants that), Beauty will still work. The prickly thorn between Tae-hee/Sara’s relationship has nothing to do with Min-hyuk and Winner Group. It’s Tae-hee’s identity as a rich, younger guy (leading Sara to re-evaluate him and having cold feet in the relationship), and Sara’s slightly trickier problem of being still legally married to Kang-joo. (he has only reported her missing, not dead…for obvious reason).