Fantastically hilarious but without forgetting heart, Yang BaekHee has returned and captured my heart. As 1 Night 2 Day’s resident YAPS Kim JunHo would say, “(I’m) All in!”
And since it’s only 4 episodes, I decided to recap it.
Yang BaekHee Has Returned Episode 1:
The episode opens to a lady pushing her lusty dog on a wheelbarrow. Pfft.
She calls after it (“BaekHee!”) and sees a new neighbour moving in. This is YANG BAEK-HEE (Kang YeWon). She seems to be a celebrity of some sorts as a camera and interviewer follow her. She unveils a portrait of Shim Saimdang, famed Korean artist, writer, poet and the lady on the ₩50,000 note, calling Ms Shim her muse. She wipes some crocks and describes herself as a conservative woman, one who agreed to her doctor-husband’s suggestion of moving into a remote area without question.
When asked what kind of doctor her husband is, she mutters “a urologist” under her breath and then continues to say that she aims to be the character YongShim from the book “Evergreen Tree”. The interviewer corrects her (it’s YongShin) and she does a very loud and vocal throat clearing, asking for that part to be edited out. Hahaha!
Lady owner of the dog sees BaekHee and is stunned, and next thing we know, the entire town is informed and running towards BaekHee’s house.
BaekHee must be a food master of sorts as the interviewing people film her washing seaweed for seaweed soup. She’s asked to take the ring on her index finger out since seaweed-stuck-in-ring doesn’t look great on camera but she refuses, saying that it’s important.
A call from Detective Choi of the Teenage Women’s Department gets BaekHee running off with her phone into a little room and she catches herself screaming for someone to be put behind bars. LOL. We learn then that her only daughter’s an infamous trouble maker.
Said troublemaker SHIN OK-HEE (Ji JinHee) is enjoying a huge plate of Jajangmyeon in jail and her easy banter with the detective-in-charge shows that it’s obvious that this is not the first time. She’s apparently run away from home (again) and the detective passes her a slip, with the address of her new home. Pfft. Her parents moved while she was out!
Lusty Dog Owner HWANG JANG-MI (Kim HyunSook) wonders why BaekHee has returned and gripes at her husband HONG DOO-SHIK (In GyoJin) who comes round with popped collars. They banter back and forth about his dressing up to meet his first love and her getting plastic surgery when a sexy car drives up and SHIN KI-JOON (Choi Phillip) appears. He recognises DooShik who shrinks back in apparent embarrassment and JangMi comes along and obliviously calls KiJoon their Ball Boy from back in the days – the one who was terrible at everything save for studying. Haha!
KiJoon must be BaekHee’s husband since he opens her gates and addresses her as “Honey”. He introduces the interviewers to the residents of the island, offering to give them scoops on BaekHee’s past. They must have a lousy marriage because he visibly revels in her discomfort at seeing her old (and new) neighbours.
BaekHee declares that she doesn’t know them and oblivious JangMi talks about the time they were younger when BaekHee had kicked her in the face over a bad game of table tennis. Glad she didn’t know DongGu from 1N2D then.
BaekHee stalks towards JangMi and menacingly asks if she really knows her. She raises her index finger and reveals a “wang” tattoo and the villagers are intimidated enough to buzz off.
On a ferry, the captain (interestingly with that same tattoo on his index finger) addresses his fellow passengers, telling them that they’re on a ferry piloted by the “most handsome pilot in the world” and heading for Sumwol Island, “the most beautiful place on earth”. Hur.
OkHee is on that very ferry and screams in between the captain’s announcements that she’s the one being exiled and calls him a pervert.
Since doors are too cliché, she jumps off the side of the ferry when it docks and mouths the word “pervert” at the captain, WOO BUM-RYONG (Kim SungOh) who stares after her. Heh, he repeats her words and gets groped in the butt by an overly affectionate grandma who’s a regular on his trips. Haha, she flirts and calls him “Oppa”!
CHA JONG-MYUNG (Choi DaeChul) comes round and scoffs at the former promising Taekwondo star being reduced to Granny’s plaything and informs him of BaekHee’s return. He offers snidely to set a meeting up for them at his club, since he, JongMyung, was BaekHee’s friend back in the days, no love lost between them.
BumRyong walks straight towards JongMyung who stutters and falls backwards but all BumRyong was intending to do was tie his boat up. JongMyung asks him if he’s not curious about the night back then when BaekHee spent the night with him at the beach and BumRyong tells him not to speak so rudely of another person’s daughter. He walks off, citing some errands, with JongMyung accusing after him of ruining a woman’s life and then calling it love.
A spread is prepared in BaekHee’s house and her husband asks her how it feels to come back to her hometown after years – does she feel humiliated or ashamed? BaekHee puts her spoon down and tells him to behave; at least until their daughter marries for she will repay all his gambling debts in just five years. She tells him to just eat, even when he keeps taunting her.
BumRyong catches OkHee smoking in someone else’s greenhouse and when he tries to scold her, she’s struck by how familiar her looks are. She stalks off, her cigarette butt stuck in a mound of combustible fertilizer.
In her house, MiJa is keeping BaekHee up to date with BumRyong’s news. From a promising Taekwondo athlete, he’s now reduced to the island’s labourer, his family having lost everything after she left the island.
BaekHee just tells her to go home, along with her husband who has been squatting and hiding in the shed for the past hour.
They pass by OkHee on the way and stop, intruiged by her familiar looks.
OkHee reaches her new home and storms indoors, awkwardly greeting her father with “it’s been a long time” but having no problems lashing out at her mother. Heh, she asks what kind of mother BaekHee is and BaekHee just retorts that she should be a good daughter before she can be a good mother.
OkHee’s question of how she’ll go to school when she lives on a remote island has BaekHee scoffing at her suddenly being concerned about school when she wasn’t even a regular at any of her previous ones.
OkHee demands to know just why the heck she chose such a remote place and BaekHee returns that it’s because this is her childhood home. Just like how OkHee leaves her home and returns when she’s hungry, BaekHee is now back in her own home because she’s hungry.
She tells OkHee to therefore behave and not embarrass her in this place that’s her district unless she wants to see her mother die.
OkHee sits with the elderlies outside and asks if there’s internet in the area, to no avail (they don’t even have an antenna because a seagull flew into it and knocked it down, heh). A lady pinches her, accusing her of being BaekHee and mutters that BaekHee is always the problem when someone screams, “FIRE!”
It’s from that place where she stuck her cigarette and DooShik proudly presents a pair of chopsticks clasping a cigarette to the island’s residents and declares that someone did this on purpose while trying to snub the cigarette out. His wife brags that he’s very logical and is an aristocrat who always watches CSI on TV, pfft. DooShik’s sister notes that such a thing has never happened ever since BaekHee burned down a whole mountain back in the days, ha! They all stand straight in suspicion and OkHee chooses that moment to confess to her wrong.
They can’t even believe that she’s the one who smoked and demands to know who her mother is. She stands up real good for her ownself, soundly countering every single admonishment that DooShik dishes out. BaekHee hides behind the crowd and they all fuss over how familiar the scene is. They insist on calling the police and while OkHee sees her mother behind, BaekHee resolutely hides her face.
OkHee has had it and parts the crowd to get to BaekHee and demands to know what she should do, screaming “MOM?!”
Back at home, BaekHee removes OkHee’s door (hahahaha!) while OkHee yells about her privacy and BaekHee shouts back that she doesn’t deserve any. OkHee resolves to leave the house and stalks off. (BaekHee: “Oh, go ahead. And Don’t you dare come back!”) HAHAHAHA!! This is so familiar!
Dad KiJoon just stretches and says, “like mother like daughter”.
OkHee gets to school and promptly bends over her table to sleep. A group of three stand around her, trying to intimidate her. Heh, they try to put her in her place but OkHee just plays along with them, making them flustered. Their leader asks OkHee to get her some strawberry milk and then gripes outside in the halls that she can’t even drink milk since she’s lactose-intolerant. HAHAHA!
OkHee comes back, having run all the way to the supermarket outside of school since the strawberry milk at school had sold out. She refuses to return the change them, calling it her service fee and one of the three goes to pull her hair off. Streaky grey hair let loose, OkHee lets loose the inner gangster too and fights all the other girls, soundly defeating them all.
BumRyong comes along as the milk man and simply stares at OkHee he imagines her to be her mother from when she was young, doing the exact same thing, the exact same way. Ha!
In the teacher’s office, they kneel and put their hands up as punishment. OkHee tells them that she’s older than them and their leader declares them to have lost completely, turning the title of Becky’s Clique at CheonBang High School’s head over to OkHee “unnie”.
Their teacher comes over and smacks them in the head with his book, sighing that he’s sick of this stupid Becky’s Clique that’s been running well for the last 18 years. Heh, that’s the exact same number of years that OkHee’s been alive.
BumRyong tip toes over to the office and stares at OkHee, who repeats the same thing that her mother had said to him long ago: “What are you looking at? Is this your first time seeing a pretty girl getting punished?”
BumRyong drives his truck away, looking at a picture of Choo Sarang and lamenting his missed first love and the daughter that he would have had if he’d married her. He wonders what’s he’s done, during the time that she got married to a doctor and returned home in glory when OkHee pops up from the truck bed and appears in his rear view mirror like Sadako.
She motions to be let inside and orders him not to stare at a minor. She flips through the papers and tells BumRyeong to send her to a place to get part time job. She says that her dad’s a doctor and a mother’s a sort of celebrity, but her mom doesn’t give her allowance and she feels too awkward with her dad to ask him for money.
They shrink back the moment they see BaekHee crossing the road and BumRyong whimpers in shock to learn that that’s her mother.
He watches her go about her new job and pulls her big boss, JongMyung, aside to tell him to be good to her for she’s BaekHee’s daughter. What is it about BaekHee that affects them so badly?
In his tiny office, he works out the math, trying to see where OkHee fits in the timeline between now and “that day”. He doesn’t get very much further because he’s overcome with sneezes from his cat allergy. He tells his employee to fire OkHee and the feisty fire dragon that she is, she threatens to report this to the Ministry of Employment and Labour. Hur. Then she demands three days of wages for severance and sneezes, asking if there’s a cat nearby. JongMyung gapes at that.
They both sneeze all the way to the local minimart, where he introduces the owner to her new employee. The owner isn’t very pleased with OkHee’s looks and JongMyung gets angry at that, not taking no for an answer and telling her not to make OkHee do hard labour. He also tells OkHee to tell anyone who bullies her that her uncle is JongMyung from One Punch. I don’t think that’s happening any time soon.
OkHee arrives home and BaekHee forcibly smells her head like a chimpanzee. OkHee screams for her mom to stop for there are infinite ways to deceive her and demands a new set of uniform.
She barks that she got into a fight because of the damned uniform and all BaekHee’s concerned about is whether she has to go to the school to meet her teachers. Not winning Mom of the Year this one. She says that she won’t go to OkHee’s school, even if she’s expelled, and OkHee rewards her with the news that she’s the new, 19th head of Becky’s Clique from today. Pfft, I saw that nervous glance-away, BaekHee.
BumRyong drinks his cola at BaekHee’s workplace where the boss demands she return her 300 bucks, accusing her of being a thief.
They relocate to the local police station where both ajumma and child go at it. Nosy BumRyong is there and reprimands OkHee for speaking so rudely to an adult. Then he switches sides and is deeply upset when the ajumma unfairly accuses OkHee of looking like a delinquent and concludes that she’s a bad kid. Hur, he suddenly praises OkHee’s looks, emphasizing her deep black eyes and they push back their shirts and wipe their noses in the same way in defiance.
The police officer asks if he’s her father, remarking that they look so similar and JongMyung strolls into the station, offering to return the money to the boss. When the ajumma curses OkHee out, he takes OkHee’s side and when the officer asks if they’re both OkHee’s guardians, they answer in unison that she’s their friend’s daughter. Uh huh. Okay.
Just then, BaekHee marches into the station, bottles of conciliatory drinks in hand. She glares at OkHee while both men shrink back.
As BaekHee passes the drinks out with apologies, OkHee screams that she innocent. All BaekHee does it to command her to be quiet and it pushes OkHee over the edge. She says with tears in ther eyes that she’s sorry that she’s thief and runs out.
JongMyung comments that this is the first time he’s ever seen BaekHee bow for anyone and realises that she’s now a mother. BumRyong looks downcast and guilty.
BumRyong walks out and sees OkHee cry. He calls DooShik and the simple information that BaekHee’s daughter is in trouble is enough to have him push the boss’s son into the station by the shovel.
Now that even her son is there, BumRyong persuades the ahjumma to settle, though ajumma rejects and demands that OkHee go on her knees and beg for forgiveness. She has shifty eyes though.
In the toilet, BumRyong remarks on the son’s new perm and shoes, asking how much they cost. They add up to exactly 300 bucks and Son knows that he’s been caught. He tries to call for mommy but BumRyong uses his taekwondo skills to bring him to his knees and next thing we know, ajumma is pulling her son off by the ears and calling him an embarrassment. She doesn’t miss the chance to complain that OkHee looks like a thief though.
The officer asks for BaekHee and OkHee’s particulars and BaekHee answers with her new name SoHee. She’s wary of saying out her daughter’s birthdate though and pulls the document to write it herself. It’s not like it helps though, since the officer loudly announces that OkHee’s 18 that year.
Outside, all three men stare at OkHee as she sits alone.
BaekHee thanks BumRyong for his help and he asks if he shouldn’t know why her daughter is not 17 but 18.
BaekHee’s eyes turn cold as steel as she tells him to not even dream. If OkHee were his kid, she wouldn’t even have given birth to her.
BaekHee waits sadly for a taxi and asks if OkHee got a part-time job in order to run away from home. OkHee, with tears, accuses her mother for being worse than strangers and therefore, when other people ask her, she says that she doesn’t have a mom.
That tips BaekHee off her edge and she says that OkHee must have been born to punish her. Ouch.
It hurts OkHee deeply and she shouts that BaekHee’s not normal herself. She finds her own daughter the most untrustworthy in the world, the most embarrassing and resents the fact that her own daughter was born. She credits her mother for making her feel like she’s a degenerate.
The tense moment is broken by BumRyong’s arrival in his truck and OkHee says that she’s choosing to go with the ajusshi who trusts her, so her mom can do whatever she likes.
In the truck with BaekHee too, OkHee asks about the tattoo on BumRyong’s finger. He brushes it off as dirt and BaekHee turns the radio on to fill the silence. Uhm JungHwa’s Poison comes up and while OkHee tries to change the channel, the adults stop her and shake (on their own) to the beat.
Back in 1998, “Becky” (BaekHee) in her red socks and high heels combi dances on a stage. She gets BumRyong on stage and after flashing their identical tattoos at each other, they dance in unison, step for exact step.
After that, young BaekHee asks young BumRyong how much they’ve earned that night (quite a lot). He asks how she can be so greedy, taking all the beauty for herself (pfft) and asks how her eyes can be that black.
He passes her all their earnings and he tells her that he wants her to take all his money from now on and forever. In other words, he’s proposing marriage to her.
BaekHee tells him to get her a gold medal then, and help her release an album. He promises to set up an agency for her and she wants it to be called Gold Medal Agency. She calls him a hillbilly and agrees to marry him. Hur.
Nearby, JongMyung and DooShik steam, with JongMyung declaring that it’s not over yet.
In the present, all three men wonder how the heck BaekHee got a daughter who’s now 18.
BaekHee disguises herself and shops at the nasty ajumma’s little shop. She reveals herself only at the counter, where she takes picture of all the expired and mislabelled food.
“Ajumma, my daughter looks like a theif? You look like you’re someone who’s going to jail.”
And the sign Temporarily Closed goes up.