Bachelor’s Vegetable Store Episode 1 Recap
Now, this drama is supposed to be based on a true story about a poor young man who worked hard and turned a small vegetable store into a nationwide franchise [30+ stores]. I do have to say that I think they just used the true story as the beginning point. Truth is stranger than fiction, but the odds of this happening completely 100% is pretty slim. Still, I am enjoying this series after the first two episodes. My problem comes when we go from the child cast to the adult. I’m not saying I dislike Wang Ji Hye personally, but in How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor and Personal Preference, she played characters I detested so much, that I really have problems liking her. I guess that proves her merit as an actress.
We open this drama with two young kids picking up fallen cabbage leaves outside of a cabbage stall. The owner sees this and gets angry at them for “stealing.” The two argue that the leaves would be thrown out anyways, but the man says it is still stealing and he could still wash and steam those leaves. Then in comes the kids’ grandma who starts yelling at them and beating the older boy with her cane. She then collapses on the ground and cries about how the kids’ mom died and how their father abandoned them and how the kids just don’t care about their own poor grandma’s health. All they do is whine about how hungry they are. This scene causes the others watching to call the vendor a bad man. Thus, he ends up giving the kids a nice head of cabbage each.
They go home with their prize and it turns out that this is a scheme they use to get free food! In fact, the boy Han Tae Yang has padding sewn into the seat of his pants to keep him from getting seriously hurt from his grandmother’s beatings. His baby sister, Han Tae Yi, wants to go do the same at the meat shop, but Tae Yang refuses. He doesn’t want to do this anymore. This upsets his baby sister who really wanted to have meat since it has been so long since last they ate it. The next day, Tae Yang goes back to the cabbage vendor that they swindled and helps him set out his produce in thanks for giving them the two heads of cabbage. The vendor is surprised by seeing him again and thinks at first the kid is just trying to steal more food, but Tae Yang is serious about how he treats and respects the vegetables [he even talks to them like people]. The vendor is impressed by Tae Yang’s care and his idea of keeping the vegetables fresher longer.
We then cut to a scene of a young girl and her mother having a picnic. Only it isn’t really happening, its just a dream. Jin Jin Shim wakes up after nodding off in church and looks enviously across the aisle at the young girl and her mother. When the young girl turns and sees Jin Shim staring, Jin Shim quickly looks away and leaves embarrassed. She heads to a closed amusement park which holds a van that has been decorated as a home. It’s a pretty sweet setup. Jin Shim gets in the front seat and is depressed by what occurred earlier. Then comes Tae Yang with some fresh kimchi that he made. He offers it to Jin Shim who tries it and likes it. This makes Tae Yang happy. The two then sit in the front of the van reading comics together. You can tell just how good of friends they are.
At school, the teachers are arguing over just who should get a scholarship – Han Tae Yang or Jin Jin Shim. The male teacher argues that Jin Shim is more worthy as she is an orphan with no one to look after her while Tae Yang has a grandmother at least. The female teacher argues that while he may have a grandma, his mother died and his father ran off, plus he really needs the money as well. The students listen to this conversation and immediately start teasing Jin Shim and Tae Yang when they arrive. Jin Shim, not liking this, decides to give them something else to gossip about and plants a kiss on Tae Yang in front of everyone. Nothing like using a kiss to distract from how poor or pathetic you are.
On their way home from school, Tae Yang is in happy la-la-land carrying Jin Shim’s bag. He asks why she did it and Jin Shim tells him that she only kissed him to distract kids from their poor state. With the kiss, they will gossip about that instead of how poor Tae Yang’s family is and how Jin Shim was an abandoned orphan. Tae Yang is a little disappointed by this answer, but he perks up when he thinks that Jin Shim wouldn’t have done that to anyone else but him. Jin Shim just gives him a smile and leaves. But Tae Yang is content and thus their friendship starts turning into a young puppy love.
The next day at school, Tae Yang sees a girl with a pager and learns that it’s given to her by a boy she likes. Thus, whenever she gets a page, she thinks of him. She’s his love slave [lol – at such a young age, too]. This gives Tae Yang an idea. He wants to do the same for Jin Shim. After school, Jin Shim is outside a shop where she sees the girl and her mother again. Mrs. Choi complains that Ga On wants another doll, but Ga On explains that her dolls are her only friends. Thus, Mrs. Choi gives in, but this is the last doll she’s buying her daughter. Ga On then catches a glimpse of Jin Shim outside and goes to talk to her. This shocks the other girl who goes to run away, but Ga On has her bag. Ga On takes it inside with her. Jin Shim enters the shop, nervous. Mrs. Choi tries to be nice the young girl, but when Ga On starts questioning her about being an orphan, Jin Shim goes to leave and accidentally breaks a cup, cutting her hand. Mrs. Choi immediately goes in to help the young girl and takes her to the hospital and even gets the prescription for her. Ga On then invites Jin Shim to her house. Jin Shim doesn’t want anything to do with the different Ga On, but decides that she would like to be around a mother and that’s how their friendship first starts.
Tae Yang looks at pagers and Tae Yi wonders how he will buy it as their grandmother doesn’t have money. Tae Yang’s answer? He’ll work for it. He will work to buy the pager and take care of their grandmother as well as Tae Yi. He’s a good kid. Thus Tae Yang starts working in a watercress field. It’s hard work and he falls a lot, but he keeps at it and becomes quite adept at harvesting it. He is then allowed to take his watercress and sell it. Tae Yi doesn’t think anyone will trust or buy from a kid, but Tae Yang has a plan. He gathers a crowd by having Tae Yang sing and then talks about a former king and what watercress did for him. The two quickly sell out. With their success, the siblings dream of buying chicks and making lots of money from their vegetables and eggs. Their fantasies are so cute. While being realistic, these two still know how to dream.
While going home with their money, an older boy named Bin approaches Tae Yang and wants his money. Tae Yang refuses to hand it over as he worked hard for it. A fight ensues and he loses his hard won earnings for the day. Tae Yi says it is better to run away, but their grandmother agrees with Tae Yang that it is best not to run away all the time. The next time around, Bin steals Tae Yang’s watercress right after he harvested it. Tae Yang chases him down only to have Bin toss it in the trash. This angers Tae Yang and he throws his shovel as Bin throws the tub back at him. When the two come crashing down, they almost hit Choi and Ga On. Jin Shim scolds Tae Yang for being reckless. Tae Yang apologizes and Jin Shim then leaves with Ga On and her mother. Poor Tae Yang feels really bad to have earned a scolding from Jin Shim.
That night at their secret meeting place, Jin Shim comes with ointment to treat Tae Yang’s roughened hands. She apologizes for what happened earlier and Tae Yang asks if that was the girl from church. Jin Shim replies yes and then she talks about how the two girls are now best friends and trading diaries. Not the thing to say to your original best friend. Tae Yang is sad and jealous of the relationship the two girls have.
Tae Yang is selling his watercress at the marketplace when Bin comes along again to take his money. This time Bin is spotted by a girl and two older women. The girl recognizes Bin as a boy she went to school with. Bin seems really chagrined and embarrassed. Tae Yang then comes to his rescue and says that Bin wasn’t stealing the money, but rather the older boy was giving him a scolding for borrowing and not returning money. Bin then drags Tae Yang to a place and takes Tae Yang’s watercress away from him. Bin then hands it over to the woman and tells her to only buy her watercress from Tae Yang from now on. This makes the younger boy really happy. His first order! When Bin asks if Tae Yang helped him out earlier because Tae Yang was afraid of getting beaten, Tae Yang replied that although he was frightened by Bin’s fists, that wasn’t the case. He likes a girl, too, you see. So Bin needs to work hard and become a guy worthy of that girl.
At the store, Choi overhears news that Mok In Beom was getting divorced from his wife as she was unable to bear children. We then learn that Choi and Mok were lovers and lived together with their baby Ga On. However, Mok’s family arranged a marriage for him. If he forsook that, he would lose everything. Choi did not have his child to have him cast aside penniless, so she decides to take Ga On and leave. Mok tries to stop them, but Choi begs him to let her go. She will wait for him and raise his daughter until the right time. What a woman. She can’t leave Ga On with him, because then she won’t have the life she wanted for herself. So, while she may or may not love her daughter, you learn that Choi basically sees her as a ticket to a better life. The flashback ends and Choi calls Mok and the two arrange to meet as Mok is keeping his promise to bring her and Ga On back.
With the promise of going back to Mok, Choi starts being even harder on Ga On to be perfect. Like paying for extra violin lessons and having Ga On stay longer and longer practicing in order for the girl not to bring shame to Mok and his family. Ga On tells Jin Shim about what is happening and Jin Shim tries to comfort the other girl. Meanwhile, Tae Yang has saved up for a pager finally! He buys it and puts it in a pretty box, but when he goes to give it to Jin Shim at their secret place, Ga On is there. Needless to say, he cannot give the gift in front of the other girl and shoves it back in his pocket. He does not like Ga On being in their special spot, but he can’t say that to Jin Shim. He says he came to collect comic books, but when he goes to enter the van for them, he sees things from Ga On inside and he turns around and leaves.
In spite of not necessarily liking Ga On’s relationship with Jin Shim, Tae Yang doesn’t dislike the other girl. Ga On, in fact, joins Tae Yi and Jin Shim in helping Tae Yang sell his watercress. The foursome are having a good time when Choi comes and sees her daughter playing the violin on the street. Choi immediately scolds Ga On for doing something that would tarnish Mok’s name, when Ga On says that Jin Shim is right. Ga On wasn’t abandoned by her father, instead Choi was. This earns Ga On a slap and she runs away. Tae Yang and Tae Yi finally buy their chicks, but Jin Shim, feeling guilty goes to look for Ga On instead of going home with her friends even though she promised to help them look after the chicks.
Jin Shim goes to the store where she sees Choi who is cold to her. Choi doesn’t want Jin Shim hanging around her daughter anymore. Jin Shim is shocked by the sudden change in Choi. And if she didn’t think that Jin Shim was Ga On’s equal, why did she let the two become friends? Choi replies that her daughter is of a different stock than Jin Shim. Ga On doesn’t need such an inferior friend to bring her down. When Jin Shim asks why Choi is being so cruel, Choi responds that she doesn’t need to be nice to Jin Shim, just her own daughter. Jin Shim, hurt, replies that no, Choi doesn’t need to be nice to her, but Jin Shim doesn’t think that such a woman could be a good mother. She then leaves, crying. Wow! I like that. Jin Shim is right, such a person can’t really be all that great of a parent.
At the Han home, the kids are preparing a home for the chicks when Tae Yang notices something wrong with their grandmother. She denies that there’s anything wrong and quickly goes for a bottle of medicine she keeps hidden. Seeing this, Tae Yang goes to the hospital with Tae Yi and demands to know just what is wrong with his grandmother. When the nurse tells the kids that it is adult business, Tae Yang explains the family situation, stating that he is his grandmother’s guardian due to the lack of any other adults. He and Tae Yi go home after learning that their grandmother is dying. Tae Yang loses it and starts yelling at his grandmother for being cruel for taking them in when she was just going to die anyways. She explains that she is looking carefully for someone to take care of the children when she passes on as she doesn’t want them separated. Tae Yang leaves to “play ball” [sans ball mind you] while his grandmother comforts the crying Tae Yi.
Tae Yang goes to the van to cry and meets the crying Jin Shim. The two comfort each other and tell one another what happened. Jin Shim wants to two to come to the church orphanage and live with her, but Tae Yang replies that his grandmother had all ready asked and there is no room. This disappoints Jin Shim, but she tells him to keep his chin up. Tae Yan declares that no matter what he will never be separated from his little sister since he promised his grandmother. He also declares that he will never leave that neighborhood since Jin Shim is there. Tae Yang then tells her not to feel upset about what Choi said. Tae Yang then tells her that no one knows her like he does. He can’t quite get out his confession to her and instead just calls her the best. These two are so cute together.
Ga On looks for Jin Shim in church, but doesn’t spot her in the usual place. When she finally does see her and smiles, Jin Shim actually ignores her! After church, Ga On confronts Jin Shim who tells her friend that she is jus sick of her and doesn’t want to see her anymore. When Choi comes out of church, Ga On demands to know what her mother said to Jin Shim to make her act like that. Choi tells her daughter that she doesn’t need a girl like that and Ga On points out that until Jin Shim, she had no friends whatsoever. That being said, how could Choi take away the only friend Ga On had? Is Mok really that much of a cold-hearted person that he wouldn’t accept his daughter being friends with an orphan? I don’t really think so personally. My heart broke for Ga On here. The poor girl. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like her or not, but you realize she is just a poor girl isolated from a lot of stuff and being driven hard by her mother with no explanation as to why.
Jin Shim works hard to find information on people who might be willing to take the Han siblings in. The trio goes to an older couple’s house with no kids and plead their case. The older couple are delighted with the siblings, but think they can only take one in. Which one? They want the adorable Tae Yi. Tae Yang leaves and Tae Yi scolds him. She was hoping to charm the couple into taking her brother along with her, but Tae Yang just left instead so her plan when down in flames. As adorable as she is, would she really be able to change the couple’s minds and get them to adopt Tae Yang as well? If she didn’t, then the worst would happen and the siblings would be split apart.
When Tae Yang goes to the van, he meets Ga On. This does not make him happy. Ga On then wonders where Jin Shim is, but Tae Yang replies he doesn’t know. Ga On then gives him the diary she shared with Jin Shim. She asks him to get it to Jin Shim by the next day or else it will be too late. Tae Yang takes it asking her if she wasn’t afraid he’d read it. Ga On isn’t as he wouldn’t understand it even if he tried. After she leaves, he opens it, and sure enough, he has no idea what the two girls are saying. At home, he uses watercress to make health food for his grandmother. His little sister reads the diary, and easily cracks the code and reads the diary later at home. Tae Yang scolds her for this, but is happy to learn the trick to the diary.
At school the next day, he reads a bit of the diary. He then sees an entry where Jin Shim tells Ga On what she really thinks of Tae Yang. He’s her everything essentially [father, mother, brother, etc]. She then asks that Ga On try to get along with him. This makes Tae Yang happy and apologetic. He then recalls Ga On’s words from the day before and he apologizes once more and reads the last page. Ga On wants her father to adopt Jin Shim! If Jin Shim feels the same way, then Ga On asks her to meet her at the van after school. Tae Yang rushes over to Jin Shim but can’t bring himself to tell her, he just begs her not to leave making Jin Shim wonder what is going on. Later, he rips the last page out of the diary. Looks like he decided not to tell Jin Shim in fear of losing his best friend.
Meanwhile, Ga On waits for Jin Shim at the van. Night falls and still she waits. Tae Yang is starting to feel guilty and wonders if she is still there. As he goes to check on her, Tae Yi runs in with a sick chick, so he forgets about Ga On and works on saving the chick’s life. Ga On is frightened by firecrackers near the van. Two teenage boys are there and they chase after the young girl. While this is going on, Choi is desperately searching for her daughter and goes to Jin Shim for help. Jin Shim says she knows of a place and she takes her towards the park where she runs into Tae Yang. Tae Yang tells Jin Shim everything and the three go to the park to look for Ga On. Who, slips off a ride and falls to the ground while calling for her mother. [I must admit that the park scene was such a Thorn Birds moment, except, I don’t think it will end up the same way as that drama’s scene did.]
When Choi, Jin Shim, and Tae Yang get to the van it is empty. Tae Yang then notices the doll on the ground, the one that Ga On always had with her and treasured. This makes Choi freak out. What happened to her daughter?
It may be based off of a true story, but it has a lot of typical kdrama plotlines and twists. It’s still enjoyable, though. And I can’t wait to see Ji Chang Wook as the grown up Han Tae Yang! Hopefully, Wang Ji Hye as the adult Jin Jin Shim will make me start liking her. Again, not a bad actress or anything, but those evil roles she played really stuck with me and annoyed me. So it’s kind of hard to think of her as the good female lead.