Side dish: This recap is late because it was my anniversary on Saturday and we went out to dinner. Here’s a recipe for the standout dish from our meal, eclade de moules, from Great British Chefs. Alternately, if you’re in Toronto, try this dish at Boralia. You can thank me after.
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Chaebol heir, Hyun Min (Ahn Jae Hyun) is rudely awakened from a fantasy of kissing destitute but lucky orphan, Ha Won (Park So Dam) by Ha Won herself, demanding that he eat breakfast. He flashes back to what actually happened the night before, when Ha Won kicked him to get away from his kiss.
Meanwhile, both Hyun Min’s childhood friend, Hye Ji (Son Na Eun) and angry misfit Ji Woon (Jung Il Woo) are also flashing back to the night before, when Ji Woon stopped Hye Ji from seeing Hyun Min almost kiss Ha Won.
To fulfill her first mission of having the three brothers eat a meal together, Ha Won spends the morning trying and failing to convince them to eat breakfast. Undeterred, Ha Won attempts to trick them by beating them at games, then tries to win them over with their favourite foods. Ha Won only succeeds in having a meal with her fourth knight, the Chairman’s secretary, Yoon Sung (Choi Min).
Finally, Ha Won gets some inside information from the housekeeper, who tells her that Hyun Min had eaten alone since childhood, that Ji Woon had shut himself up in his room since discovering that he was a member of the Chairman’s family, and that Seo Woo (Lee Jung Shin) avoided eating to maintain his idol figure.
Armed with this knowledge, Ha Won begins her campaign anew, only to fail again. She is, however, successful in making Ji Woon briefly rethink his rejection of his new family, and in making Hyun Min grow bored with his latest girlfriend. After he dumps her, Hyun Min calls up Ha Won and uses the excuse of helping her with her mission to take her shopping. In the meantime, Ha Won’s stepsister, Yoo Na (Ko Bo Gyeol) is so jealous of Ha Won living in Sky House with the Kang brothers that she starts stalking Ha Won. She is appalled to witness Hyun Min buying a reluctant Ha Won the entire inventory of a clothing store.
Ji Woon meanwhile, has plans with Hye Ji, but their dinner date is interrupted by the poorly timed arrival of Hyun Min and Ha Won. The awkwardness is too much for Ha Won, who spills food all over her new dress. Ji Woon follows her to the washroom to confront her over her behaviour, and ends up feeling bad instead when she mentions the word “family”. In flashbacks, we see on the one hand, the Chairman telling Ji Woon to get rid of his old friends, and on the other hand, Hyun Min rejecting Ji Woon.
In the meantime, left alone with Hyun Min, Hye Ji can’t resist asking about his relationship with Ha Won. Hyun Min is blunt and mocking in response and an overwrought Hye Ji leaves, with Ji Woon chasing after her. Hye Ji is so depressed that Ji Woon has to save her from being run over by a random truck. Instead of thanking him, Hye Ji tells Ji Woon that she wants Ha Won to disappear from Hyun Min’s side.
Hyun Min, meanwhile, attempts to give Ha Won a house to live in once she fails at her mission at Sky House. Instead, Ha Won puts Hyun Min in an arm lock until he gives up and drives her home.
That evening, Ha Won’s determination to succeed is doubled and she tries to summon Hyun Min, Ji Woon, and Seo Woo to dinner in the courtyard. They all reject the idea, but by accident, Seo Woo discovers that it’s Ha Won’s birthday. While Seo Woo and Yoon Sung try to arrange a party for Ha Won, Ji Woon finally comes to the conclusion that he wants to take away everything Hyun Min has, starting with his orange juice, and ending with his supposed fiancée, Ha Won.
Ji Woon starts his campaign of seduction with a surprise back hug for Ha Won and a declaration of war for Hyun Min. The two brothers face off as Seo Woo’s fireworks for Ha Won go off in the background.
Look, you can’t enjoy Kdramas if you don’t like stereotypical chaebol characters, because there’s no avoiding them. On the other hand, “Cinderella and Four Knights” has assigned each stereotype to a single character, with the result that you have three main characters that can comprehensively be described in one word; the playboy, the misfit and the artist. It’s enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but by episode four, none of these characters seems to have gained any depth. Hyun Min, the playboy, is still playing around; Ji Woon, the misfit, is still angry; and Seo Woo, the artist, is still nice.
Of the three brothers, none of them seem like viable choices for Ha Won, especially male lead Ji Woon, who alternates between sulking over being rich and enabling Hye Ji’s obsessive behaviour. Worst of all, his habit of physically intimidating and throwing around Ha Won is pretty unattractive. The only things he’s got going for him so far are his brief moments of kindness (which he seems determined to repress), and the fact that he’s played by Jung Il Woo, who can make much worse characters seem charming. That said, if I were Ha Won, I would have punched Ji Woon in the last moments of this episode; using her as a pawn in his war with Hyun Min is just obnoxious.
As for Hyun Min, well, his dynamic with Ha Won is pretty entertaining, especially the way she bats aside his ridiculous come-ons. I can’t say I feel any heat between the two of them, but at least it’s fun. Seo Woo, on the other hand, just feels like he’s there so one of the brothers can be nice to her.
If Ha Won has to end up with anybody (and this is a Kdrama, so basically, she does), I’m rooting for Yoon Sung. He cooks, he’s considerate, he appreciates good food, he’s willing to go along with her weird ideas, and he looks good in a suit. In other words, perfect. Team Yoon Sung!