This episode is almost completely filler, but I don’t even care when it means we get plenty of cuteness from Louis and Bok-shil, jealous growls from Joong-won, and lots of fun and games. That’s not to say that nothing happens — as we count down to the final episodes, it’s time to start discovering the last of Louis’s secrets, and maybe a few more surprises along the way.
EPISODE 14: “The Winner Takes it All”
The Goldline team complain about Louis’s and Joong-won’s new desks, which sit right in the middle of the room (as opposed to a separate office). They discuss how both men like Bok-shil and debate their individual strengths, while Ma-ri rolls her eyes and orders them back to work.
Joong-won overhears Mr. Lee backing Louis, and they all scurry away from his glowering expression. He raises a fist to Louis’s nameplate, thinking, “The winner takes it all!”
Scarface sits at a convenience store, talking to someone over the phone about their plans to leave the country. Behind him is none other than the ajumma who stole Bok-shil’s bag on her train ride into Seoul, and she greedily eyeballs the bag that Scarface is clutching.
She chokes and grabs her throat, and asks Scarface to get her some water, using the same trick she used to swipe Bok-shil’s bag. When he brings her the bottle she takes a huge drink and thanks him, then takes the gum out of her mouth and sticks it in his hair. Ew! While he’s distracted, the ajumma gives him a shove and runs off with his bag.
He chases after her, but she’s already escaped by climbing to a nearby roof. She watches him run off in the wrong direction then opens the bag, and gasps to see the mind-boggling pile of cash. Jackpot.
That brings us to Scarface showing up at the bookstore, and running into Jae-sook and Louis. Louis recognizes his voice from the phone recently, but doesn’t say anything yet. Jae-sook seats Scarface across from Louis, who sloooowly reaches out and pulls his box of chocolates closer. Heh, no sharing with suspicious characters.
Director Baek somehow has possession of Louis’s treasure box, and we see that he’d overheard Louis tell Butler Kim that he remembered hiding it under the floor in the Busan house. Director Baek had rushed to retrieve it before Butler Kim got to the house, and now he opens it eagerly.
Inside are two old VHS tapes, one blank and one labeled “March 15, 1996, Mom, Dad, and Ji-sung,” and Louis’s penguin statue with “Koboshi” written on the bottom. There’s also an envelope, but whatever is inside is dismissed as unimportant by Director Baek. Then Jae-sook calls, and Director Baek forgets all about the treasure box when he hears that Scarface is in the bookstore.
At the bookstore, Louis asks why Scarface came here instead of calling Director Baek himself. Scarface says that his phone was his the bag that was stolen, and he remembered coming here with Director Baek once. Louis asks if he’s ever called his grandmother’s house, and Scarface nervously denies it.
Oblivious to the tension in the room, Jae-sook shows Louis a pink coat she bought for Ma-ri. They discuss clothing to match, and Jae-sook mentions the Goldline/Singsingline retreat that’s happening soon, while Scarface listens intently.
Director Baek runs in and confronts Scarface, and Louis tells Director Baek that he thinks Scarface called Grandma’s house once. Director Baek denies that could happen and runs out to talk to Scarface in private. He’s in a panic, and demands to know why Scarface is still in Korea. Scarface admits he was robbed.
Ma-ri goes looking for her dad and finds Louis’s treasure box. She’s curious about the unmarked tape and drags out an old VHS player, but as soon as she puts the tape in, the player jams.
Scarface wants more money, and Director Baek is stuck if he wants the guy to leave the country. But that kind of cash isn’t so easy to get his hands on once, much less twice.
Bok-shil prepares for a date with Louis, and takes out the couple ring she got for him (darn it, the ring he gave her was only a couple ring). Louis decides he wants to stay in, missing the time they spend here together, awww. He takes delivery of several packages, and opens them to reveal couple sweatshirts, couple shoes, and even couple sunglasses.
Oh how sweet, they’re the same items he bought when they were poor, the things Bok-shil made him return. This time she accepts them graciously, then he gives her the big gift — the fuzzy designer bag he bought for her once before. Louis tells Bok-shil that he bought it with the money he worked for, and whines until she agrees to keep it.
He offers to cook a meal, then proceeds to screw up every single step and call for Bok-shil’s help until she’s exhausted. Eventually he manages to make something presentable, but when Bok-shil tries it, she goes a little green, ha. She lies that it’s good so Louis gives her all of his portion, and the poor girl is forced to choke it down.
Bok-nam isn’t doing any better after his tutoring with Butler Kim, and Butler Kim is exhausted trying to teach the Slow Toad. Jung-ran is worried about Butler Kim, who moans that he feels like he ages a year every time he tutors the kid.
Louis cleans up after himself in the kitchen, and Bok-shil dries his hands and applies some hand lotion. When he asks for his usual five hundred won payment (lol), she reaches into her pocket for his couple ring.
But her phone rings with a call from Jung-ran wanting to discuss Bok-nam. Louis goes with her, and Bok-shil has to wait to give him his surprise.
Director Baek takes Scarface to the locked-up bookstore, and orders him to stay here until he can bring him more money tomorrow. He says that he’ll keep his wife away, and for Scarface not to call the house or do anything until he returns. From outside, someone whose face we don’t see is taking pictures of the two of them together.
That night, Bok-nam asks Bok-shil if he can stop studying. She tells him to grow up, and he argues that she didn’t go to university either. He nearly escapes the apartment but he’s caught by In-sung’s mom, who sits him down for a good old-fashioned lecture. She tells him that he can either live like In-sung, or live like Louis.
Of course he wants to live like Louis. But when In-sung’s mom says that Louis studied hard in France and earned his director position on his own merits, Bok-nam says he’ll just live like In-sung then, ha.
Butler Kim worries about Louis’s lost treasure box, way more stressed about it than Louis. Louis promises to go to Busan after the retreat and help him look for it again.
Louis snuggles in bed with his Bok-shil stuffed dog, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. He wonders if he’ll have to marry her to be able to sleep next to her again, and he texts her to ask, “Bok-shil, should we get married?” OMG.
Bok-shil asks if he likes her that much, and Louis responds that he does. She notices his complete lack of hesitation, and when he asks if she likes him too, she says she’ll answer his question if he wins the talent show at the retreat.
Louis asks for a kiss, so Bok-shil kisses her phone screen and turns over to sleep. Louis calls to laugh at her for kissing the phone instead of sending a kissy emoji, which was what he meant, hee. They go to sleep as giggly as children.
The entire Goldline and Singsingline group head out for their retreat the next day, with In-sung and Butler Kim joining them. HA, Louis and Joong-won declare their rivalry right away with their matching limited edition tracksuits. Louis reminds Joong-won how he once said he felt like he used to wear the Number One jacket, and Joong-won just growls.
They choose numbers for teams, and Louis and Bok-shil pout when they land on opposite sides. Louis and Joong-won are team leaders, and they place a bet that the leader of the losing team does the dishes.
The first game is jump-rope, and Joong-won glares when Bok-shil gives Louis pointers. When it’s his team’s turn, Joong-won jumps in too close to the rope, and Louis’s team wins.
Next is arm wrestling, and Bok-shil goes up against Ma-ri. Bok-shil easily wins, having worked outdoors her whole life. Besties Mi-young and Hae-joo face off, with Hae-joo securing a point for Louis’s team. Do-jin quickly scores against In-sung for Joong-won’s team, then Butler Kim ties the score again, with his battle cry of, “Jung-ran-shiiiii!”
It’s down to Louis and Joong-won, and the mood suddenly grows serious. They’re pretty evenly matched, and their hands waver back and forth, with neither willing to give in. Just as it looks like Joong-won may win the game for his team, Louis finds a burst of strength and slams his fist to the table. That’s two wins for Louis.
Louis’s team also wins the hackysack game, due to Louis’s ability to keep the toy in the air longer than Joong-won (and HAHA, his chicken arms crack me up). Joong-won’s team is losing faith in their leader, so Bok-shil gives him a supportive pat, and Joong-won accuses Louis of lying about growing up in France. Bok-shil asks how Louis was so good at it when he’s never done it before, and they titter over how talented he is.
Scarface stays in the bookstore out of sight as he promised, until a cop car pulls up and Detective Joo-hyuk steps out. He walks to the door with his hand in his jacket, and Scarface panics, slipping out the back door. Joo-hyuk finds the front door locked and wilts, disappointed because he’d planned to buy a book with his gift certificate, ha.
As soon as Joo-hyuk drives away, Director Baek pulls up with a new bag of cash for Scarface. But he finds the store empty and the back door wide open, and assumes he’s up to something nefarious.
At dinner that evening, Louis pulls Bok-shil away to a private spot where he’s set up food and drinks. He says he grilled the meat just for her, which reminds her of him saying before that he would only eat the food she makes. They feed each other and enjoy being alone for a moment, but they agree that the retreat is fun, getting to play with everyone.
They head back to the group, where they’ve run out of meat. Luckily Joong-won arranged for Joo-hyuk to deliver more, and he shows up right on time. The women swoon over the strong, handsome man, and invite him to stay for the talent show tonight.
The talent show is a hilarious parody of King of Masked Singer, where the men dress in costume and sing, and the ladies score their performance skills. The costumes are absolutely hysterical (no kidding, one is a mask of a poo), and the ladies have fun trying to figure out who is who and scoring them. It’s cute how Bok-shil gives every one of them five stars.
The final singer, who wears a dog mask, sings a love confession song that makes all the ladies melt. Bok-shil is sure it’s Louis, especially when he steps on a balloon and his speaking voice gives him away, hee.
He gets a perfect score and wins the contest, and takes off his mask to reveal that he is, in fact, Louis. Bok-shil says that she recognized him even with the mask, and he asks when he’ll get the answer to his question. Bok-shil whispers for him to be patient.
Joong-won sees their conversation and moves to leave them alone, but Bok-shil stops him to say that he was great. He growls at Louis’s trophy, and goes outside to think. He recalls all the times that he’s seen Louis and Bok-shil together, so obviously in love. Holding a red scarf aloft dramatically, he runs through the yard repeating, “The winner takes it all,“ until he collapses.
Once that’s out of his system, Joong-won does the dishes as the loser of the games. He snaps at Bok-shil when she tries to help, and takes a call from his mother, who wants to set him up with a few young ladies. Joong-won threatens to move away if she doesn’t stop, and hangs up on her when she says that she has to do this because Bok-shil is dating someone else.
Joong-won tries to do damage control and tells Bok-shil that his mother didn’t mean anything by mentioning her. He notices her diamond ring and asks if Louis proposed, but Bok-shil says it’s not that, just that he promised to buy her one a long time ago.
Joong-won says that Louis does keep his promises well, and hands Bok-shil some gloves to protect the ring. She offers to just take the ring off, and they argue over the gloves until Joong-won accidentally sprays water all over Bok-shil’s coat.
The team play a large version of the ladder game to determine who sleeps where. Butler Kim and In-sung end up rooming with Joo-hyuk, and Ma-ri pouts when she ends up in Bok-shil’s room. Louis says that it’s okay because Bok-shil is a quiet sleeper, and the whole room goes silent, HA.
Butler Kim worries that Louis will get stuck with the tent, but Louis reminds everyone how lucky he is…. then chooses the ladder leading to the tent. Joong-won crows that he’s lucky he won’t catch a cold. But he’s not laughing when he finds out he’s also sleeping in the tent, and he demands they re-draw the ladders, but Louis leads him away with a grin.
Louis cheerfully backhugs Joong-won when he grumbles that they always end up stuck together, and Joong-won tells him to leave him alone to hate him freely. Louis is excited to be sleeping in a tent for the first time ever, and he tries to snuggle up on Joong-won. So cute.
Bok-shil can’t sleep, and she looks at Louis’s couple ring, then texts him to ask if he’s awake. She teases him and says she’s not missing him, then suggests they meet up now so she can give him his present. They agree to meet at the bench where they ate earlier.
Ma-ri is still awake, and she grouchily tells Bok-shil to take her pink coat when Bok-shil finds that hers is still wet. Bok-shil heads out, excited to see Louis and give him the ring. But as she’s walking, Scarface sneaks up behind her and clamps a cloth over her face, drugging her. When she passes out, she’s tossed over his shoulder, and the ring drops to the ground.
Scarface shoves Bok-shil into the back of his car, and the hood of Ma-ri’s coat obscures her face. He takes her phone and turns it off so it can’t be tracked, and drives away with Bok-shil.
Louis grows impatient and goes looking for Bok-shil, but all he finds is the ring box on the ground. He opens it and tries it on, correctly guessing that it’s the gift Bok-shil has been telling him about, and calls for her to stop hiding. He starts to grow worried when she doesn’t answer, and he tries to call her but her phone is off.
Scarface finds a phone booth and calls Director Baek. He accuses him of calling the cops on him, and says he won’t go down alone. He tells Director Baek that he has Ma-ri, and instructs him to bring the money to the clock tower in Gold Square tomorrow.
He tells Director Baek that he’ll tell him where to find his daughter once he has the money. He warns him not to call the police, or he might do something awful.
Back at the retreat, Louis screams for Bok-shil, terrified that something has happened to her.
Okay, now I’m scared. I’m hoping that Scarface doesn’t hurt Bok-shil, though really, he doesn’t strike me as a guy whose goal is to hurt anyone. He just wants to get his money and get out of the country. Obviously he was aiming to kidnap Ma-ri, since he knew that pink coat was a gift from her mother, and use her to blackmail Director Baek into giving him more money. Hopefully when he sees that he’s got the wrong girl, and realizes that Director Baek was bringing him money anyway, he’ll do the right thing.
We’re winding down to the end of Louis and Bok-shil’s story, but there are still many mysteries to solve and questions to answer. Such as, what’s in the freaking treasure box??? After so many weeks of teasing us about Louis’s treasure box, whatever is on those videos must be extremely important. It seems as though only Butler Kim really knows what’s in there, because Director Baek wasn’t even curious enough to give the contents more than a cursory glance. But the way Butler Kim has been talking about this box ever since they found Louis has me so curious I can’t stand it. What’s on the video and in the papers, why is the penguin statue significant, and why didn’t Butler Kim become worried about the box until just recently?
I loved Joong-won’s final swan song, when he ran around yelling “The winner takes it all!” I interpreted that to mean that he was conceding to Louis, and letting go of any lingering hope of being with Bok-shil. He knows that he never had a real chance with her, that she’s been Louis’s since the moment they met, but he’s still harbored hope that she might one day look at him. The retreat hammered home to Joong-won that Louis is just a stronger opponent. But there’s no shame in admitting defeat when you’re so obviously outgunned, and I love that Joong-won went out in a blaze of glory, even if he was the only one to know it.
I just can’t get over how even the smallest detail of this show can be carried over to mean something big later on. The return of the bag-swiping ajumma was hilarious, delivering some well-needed karma to old Scarface, then forcing him to hatch an even bigger plan to kidnap Ma-ri and get more money. I don’t for a minute believe this is a coincidence, or the writer realizing late in the game that a trick can be used twice with an interesting twist. It’s been proven time and again that nothing, nothing in this show is an accident, and that everything and every character plays an important role in the plot.
That’s not to say that the show has no plots holes — there are certainly a few hiccups, such as the whole mini-plotline about Director Baek being suspicious of Joong-won just getting dropped once it didn’t further the story anymore. Or the fact that Scarface can always find a phone booth to call Director Baek (seriously, do they really still have those??), except for that one time he needs to see the coat meant for Ma-ri, and suddenly his only way of contacting Baek is to show up at the bookstore. But these are minor quibbles compared to some giant gaping plots holes I’ve seen in other dramas, and as a whole, Shopping King Louis is pretty tightly-written. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it now, and I’ll probably say it again before we’re finished — the writing in this show is amazingly sharp, well-constructed, and clever, and I can’t wait to see what this rookie writer comes up with next. I have a feeling we can look forward to many more skillfully-crafted dramas from Oh Ji-young in the coming years.
With Bok-shil kidnapped, I think we’re about to see Badass Louis come out and play, and I can’t even wait. I think he’s been sitting back and observing Director Baek for some time now, sensing that something is off with the guy, but holding his cards very close to the vest. This leads me to believe that Louis has a side to him that he’s been hiding, a side that’s not about to take any nonsense off anyone who wants to hurt those he loves. Louis may be a sweetheart, but he loves Bok-shil fiercely, and he’s not going to accept her endangerment gently. I think he’s about to explode, and that we’re going to see a very different side to Louis in the final episodes. Bring it on.