New Tales of Gisaeng Review: episodes 41-51 Other Storylines

Son Ja and Gong Joo oddly decide to get married. (Call me old fashioned but I don’t think this is a good idea.) Ra Ra finally finds love and it looks like Ms. Jang will finally find contentment too. 



BTW When I first started writing the recaps of this drama I called Ms. Shin ‘Ra Ra’s aunt’. But then it was revealed that she wasn’t her aunt she was her mum so that started to get confusing. Then she became Son Ja’s step mum and Gong Joo’s mother-in-law. So now I’ll just call her Ms. Shin which in retrospect would have been easier to do in the first place! The same thing goes for Ms. Jang. I referred to her as ‘Ra Ra’s mum’ at first but now she has two mums so I’ll just call her Ms. Jang. 

Son Ja and Gong Joo

A lot is going on in Son Ja’s life. He has found his real father and eventually moves in with him. He has also realised that he has feelings for Gong Joo. He thinks about her catching the bouquet at Sa Ran’s wedding even though that was not the plan. (In Korean weddings it’s decided beforehand who is going to catch the bouquet.) And the saying goes that the woman who catches the bouquet should get married within 6 months. I can feel a proposal coming…

Son Ja is determined to marry Gong Joo 

But when he mentions this to Gong Joo she seems to have absolutely no interest in getting married at all. Gong Joo’s character is a real mix. She can be feisty when she feels she has been wronged and is not afraid to stand up for herself and others. We can see  she is warm-hearted in her relationship with Sa Ran as she is the only one in the family who tries to stop her becoming a gisaeng. But she is completely cold and indifferent about men. I don’t understand this. Is it because she has no relationship with her real father? Even if she wants to concentrate on her career she could still be interested in men! Sa Ran asks her if she wants to go on a blind date but of course she says no. Sa Ran suggests that someone like Son Ja would make a good match for her. Sa Ran thinks someone like Son Ja would make a good husband

Poor Son Ja is smitten though and reveals his feelings to Gong Joo. He wants to get engaged! But she tells him that she doesn’t feel the same: from her behaviour towards him so far he should already be aware of this! He doesn’t seem concerned about her reaction and confidently believes that they are meant to be together even though she tells him that she doesn’t want to see him anymore!  However, she does give him a birthday present that she made – a cushion with his name on it.

On Son Ja’s birthday his new step mum prepares a fusion birthday breakfast: miogguk, seaweed soup and a cream cake. He is also given a car as a present so he goes to see Gong Joo to take her on a date. They go to a nice restaurant because he wants to talk to her again about getting married. This is crazy. He’s far too young to get married and they are really just friends. At first she is totally against the idea of marrying Son Ja, but Gong Joo is having a hard time at home with her mum who is so obsessed with marrying her off into a rich family. And now she sees a marriage to Son Ja as her escape from her mother.  She tells him that she will marry him as long as they just live together as friends: a marriage of convenience. Son Ja is happy to accept this (!) and they tell everyone about their wedding plans.Ms Shin prepares a birthday breakfast for Son Ja. 

Her mum of course takes this very badly and starts beating her. She had expected a much better son-in-law than Son Ja. This really shows her greed because Son Ja is relatively well-off and his father is a well-to-do doctor. But even this is not good enough for Gong Joo’s mother. Gong Joo and Son Ja predicted her mother’s reaction to their news and so she has already packed a bag and they escape from the house. Gong Joo moves in to Ra Ra’s house for the time-being.

Gong Joo’s mum is fuming when she moves out

Her mum is fuming and quizzes Sa Ran about Gong Joo’s relationship with Son Ja and shouts at her for not trying to break Son Ja and Gong Joo up. She thinks Gong Joo would have an easy life if she married a rich man as rich families have maids and nannies etc. Oh dear. Doesn’t she watch Korean dramas?

Neither of the families is particularly pleased to hear about the wedding. They think that the couple is too young to marry. I agree. But the two future mother-in-laws agree to meet since they have no choice but to accept the marriage as Gong Joo and Son Ja won’t back down. They meet in a restaurant and then they realise that they have met each other before… The last time was in the toilets of the karaoke box. Both women are infuriated to see the other and refuse to accept the other as an in-law! Gong Joo’s mum is more in the wrong though!

The mother-in-laws meet for the first time

Son Ja and Gong Joo run away and refuse to come back until they have their parents approval. So the mothers meet to try and work something out. Finally, Son Ja and Gong Joo get married while the mothers-in-law pull faces at each other.

Not everyone is happy at Son Ja and Gong Joo’s wedding

Now we have another weird honeymoon scene. On Sa Ran and Da Mo’s honeymoon, he dressed up like a woman and wore a wig with Sa Ran’s hairclip. Odd! On this honeymoon Son Ja asks Gong Joo to undress him (even though they have agreed not to do any ‘skinship’!! She agrees, only to find that he is wearing a superman outfit under his pajamas. Oh how strange this all is. He wants to be her superman. They play around and it looks like they might get together after all? She enjoys having him lift her up again and again so much so that the next day he gets a nose bleed and can’t lift his arms! They are only kids but they want to act like a married couple and soon after the wedding Son Ja is already acting more and more like a middle aged man! They call each other terms of affection used by older married couples, yobo and tanshin.

Son Ja thinks that Gong Joo will start to have romantic feelings for him after they get married, but she doesn’t. He’s disappointed, worries about losing her, and feels jealous of every man she talks to. He wonders if having a child with her before he goes to the army is the answer! (Under the circumstancesI don’t know how they would do that!) He dreams they are doing the tango but then he gets dragged away and she dances with another man. (there are so many dancing references in this drama) In the swimming pool when he sees Gong Joo chatting to another man, Son Ja jealously shouts YOBOOOOOOO right across the pool to show everyone that she is his! Some might say that was cute but I had to look away at that point! Son Ja has jealous dreams about Gong Joo

When his new step mum, Ms. Shin, notices that he is sleeping on the floor she confronts him about this. He confesses about the state of his marriage. She suggests he give Gong Joo some alcohol to get her in the mood!  He tries this – he gets some wine –  but wine doesn’t make her drunk! And instead, Son Ja falls asleep drunk.

Gong Joo’s mum laughs when she hears that the newlyweds haven’t consummated the marriage. She’s weird! But Ms. Shin is worried about this. She was a pain at the beginning of the drama but now we can see her good side. She is loving and caring about the children and even accepts Son Ja into the family. Busted. Ms. Shin finds Son Ja sleeping on the floor

When Ra Ra hears about Son Ja’s problems with Gong Joo, she suggests he try to make Gong Joo jealous. She sets him up with a date with her friend and Son Ja starts putting on aftershave and going out late. At first Gong Joo ignores this but in the end she follows him to see where he goes. She confronts his date and demands to know if she wants to go out with him. When the girl says yes, Gong Joo wants to know her address. Son Ja is pleased to see the exchange because he thinks his plan is working and Gong Joo is jealous. But Gong Joo simply goes home in a taxi and on the way home calls a removal company to come and get Son Ja’s stuff!

Son Ja is mortified when he arrives home to find the removal company packing up his things. Gong Joo says she will give him a divorce and he has to kneel and ask for forgiveness. When Ra Ra comes home he wants her to explain that it was all her idea, but she has just heard the truth about Sa Ran’s family circumstances and she is too upset to speak. Son Ja has to spend a lot of time grovelling and getting punished – kneeling with his arms in the air – before Gong Joo will forgive him. I don’t really understand what there is to forgive, since she is the one that wanted a platonic relationship. Does this mean that she expects him to be celibate forever? He is too weak right now. 

Ra Ra

Ra Ra finds happiness with a new man

Everyone is upset that Ra Ra wants to become a gisaeng. Ms Shin storms over to the gisaeng house and attacks Ms Jang blaming her for the situation: she says none of this would have happened if she hadn’t left Dr. Geum and moved out. Ms Jang looks upset and says she will sell the gisaeng house to stop Ra Ra becoming a gisaeng.

Ms Shin blames Ms Jang for Ra Ra wanting to become a gisaeng

Ra Ra starts her gisaeng training but Ms.Oh plans to make her life so hard that she will quit. She is told that she will have a special honour of dancing for a guest before her training is complete, but this is really a trap and the guests make her drink lots of alcohol until she has to be carried back to her room. The other gisaengs are cold towards Ra Ra suggesting they don’t like her because she is the daughter of the owner.

 The other gisaengs are told to give Ra Ra a hard time

Ra Ra has no friends and goes out to a restaurant to eat alone. She bumps into Kyle, the English teacher, at the restaurant but she avoids him. They first met in the men’s toilets but she doesn’t know that he works at the gisaeng house yet! Then she finds out that he is her English teacher and that he has moved into the gisaeng house.

Kyle is concerned about Ra Ra because she’s having such a hard time and always getting very drunk. She goes to the chuk restaurant (rice porridge that’s good for hangovers and upset stomachs) for breakfast because she knows that no one will make her porridge at the gisaeng house. On the way there she is feeling ostracised and upset when she bumps into Kyle who goes with her to eat. She asks him to be her friend and look after her at the house. He agrees and announces his allegiance to her at the dinner table back at the house. This annoys everyone as their plan to make Ra Ra’s life hard has had a set back. Ra Ra has a hard time at the gisaeng house

Things become a little easier for Ra Ra now as Kyle looks after her, talking to her and bringing her drinks. But her confidence is knocked when a guest tells her that she’s not as good at dancing or as pretty as Sa Ran. She wonders why she can’t even impress the guests at the gisaeng house, but Kyle simply explains that it’s because she doesn’t belong there. The rough treatment she’s had to endure together with Kyle’s words finally help her decide to quit. She’s upset that she has failed as a gisaeng but everyone around her celebrates!


After she leaves the house, Ra Ra begins to spend more time with Kyle. They do volunteer work together at an old people’s home where she finally feels appreciated for her dancing ability. On her birthday Kyle takes her out for an expensive dinner and gives her a present too. Then he proposes! In a rather Korean stye! And she agrees. Wow, that was quick. Her family is not happy about her marrying a foreigner and are concerned that she will move to the USA. Especially since her brother already lives abroad.

One night Ra Ra and Kyle are at her house alone. There’s a thunderstorm (another one!) and Kyle cooks some jon since this is traditionally eaten on rainy days in Korea.They have a romantic evening together and there’s another dance scene as they slow dance after eating jon and drinking soju. There’s a clip of them asleep in bed together and later sure enough, Ra Ra is pregnant.Ra Ra’s parents are not pleased to hear about her wedding plans

So Ra Ra and Kyle move in with her real parents. But Kyle doesn’t get on too well with his soon to be mother-in-law as he has far too much to say  about her cooking. He explains how to cook noodles properly and even explains how to cook an egg! He criticises her for using MSG in her cooking and wakes her up at 4am because he is looking for ingredients to make toppoki for Ra Ra. But Ra Ra seems to like the fact that he knows all these things and is keen to make healthy food. He does seem rather obsessive though. And as a new son-in-law he is not acting appropriately at all. If someone moved in with me and started telling me how to cook I wouldn’t be pleased either.

The gisaeng house

Ms Jang moves back into the gisaeng house once Ra Ra has left. Ms. Oh asks her if she will sell the house to her. But to Ms. Oh’s dismay, she doesn’t want to sell the place and instead wants to get involved in operations again. She starts to take a bigger role and even goes into the guests’ rooms. There is rivalry between Ms Jang and Ms Oh. Ms Jang seems to think she can run the gisaeng house with no experience which annoys Ms Oh who has been doing it for years. There are always foreign guests coming to be entertained and Ms Oh chats to them in English. Ms. Jang looks uncomfortable and later asks Kyle to teach her English too. He politely turns her down saying he is too busy.Ms. Jang moves back into the gisaeng house

Ms. Jang also wants to lighten the mood of the gisaeng house. She thinks it’s too formal. She suggests that they allow younger guests to come, not just the very elite, so that they can have all the rooms full and make more money. She thinks they could play games rather than have such a formal atmosphere. Ms. Oh is against this but when Ms Jang decides to be in charge of several of the guest rooms, there is nothing that Ms. Oh can do. She plans to try out some of her ideas… But I always thought Ms. Jang was a sophisticated woman. I don’t understand why she suddenly wants to lower the tone of the gisaeng house. I guess she sees it as a business and only wants to make money from it. She is a woman driven by money after all – isn’t that why she married Dr Geum? She has never been proud of being the owner of the gisaeng house, but because she is so lost, she throws herself into the house as it’s the only thing she has right now.

Ms. Oh is upset to see how guests are behaving. So she quits, packs her bags and goes to stay at Ms Han’s apartment. Ms Jang is not upset. In fact she seems pleased. Ms. Lee says she will quit too and even the offer of a substantial pay rise won’t persuade her to stay. So they both move out together. Through loyalty, lots of the gisaengs quit too.

But things don’t go as well as planned. With Ms. Lee and the gisaengs quitting and even the kitchen manager handing in her resignation, Ms Jang has to admit that she can’t cope. She is unhappy but has to call Ms Oh and ask her to come back to her old job. She admits that not as many guests are coming either. She accepts defeat and hands the running of the house back to Ms. Oh. Ms Jang moves out  leaving Ms. Oh to sort out all the problems she left behind. Ms. Jang doesn’t know what to do with herself after she moves out but then Ra Ra asks her to go to Las Vegas with her after she gets married. It looks like her problems are solved.

Ms. Oh has to rid the gisaeng house of vulgar customers

Ms. Noh and Ma Dang Sae

The kitchen manager, Ms Noh lies in bed thinking how romantic it is that Sa Ran and Da Mo are finally together. She is happy for them and wonders what it’s like to cuddle a man. Poor Ms. Noh has never been in a relationship. She imagines cuddling Ma Dan Sae. Cute.

 Ms. Noh cuddles Ma Dan Sae in her imagination

It does seem that Ms. Noh and Ma Dan Sae are gradually getting closer. There are some more odd dancing scenes: first we see a clip of Ms Noh dancing in her pajamas in her bedroom. Then at the karaoke box she is surprised to see the usually rather stoic and quiet Ma Dang Sae get up and go crazy with his dance moves. Now they are going out and socialising together. But will anything really happen between Ms. Noh and Ma Dan Sae?
















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