May I Help You (Season 1), Episodes 3 & 4: The Korean magic realism drama ‘May I Help You’ is the story of Baek Dong Ju. He possesses the supernatural ability to communicate to the dead to grant them their last wish before their switch to the afterworld. Opposite to her is Kim Jip Sa, who runs an errand business with his uncle. While the couple often crosses paths, they are expected to eventually come together to help the deceased and fall in love. In the previous two episodes, we learn how Baek Dong Ju takes up the job of a Funeral Director and how her journey of meeting the dead people started. Through a series of events, we realize how she has already helped multiple people, and now she only has 14 people remaining to help.
The episodes also show the first encounter between Kim Jip Sa and Dong Ju, where he is sent to her by her boyfriend in order to break up with her on his behalf. Obviously, the meeting does not go so well, and the following events establish how Jip Sa repeatedly tries to make up with Dong Ju without success. In the process, he begins to develop feelings for her, which he is unaware of. Aside from the love story, the narrative also focuses on secondary characters like Dong Ju’s father and how he does odd jobs secretly from his daughter, Jip Sa’s uncle, who is worried about the failing business, and a few more. Additionally, each couple of episodes together try to solve a case or two where Dong Ju tries to solve the dead person’s problem before their final heavenly abode.
May I Help You (Season 1), Episodes 3 & 4 Recap:
Episode 3: Let me tell you a secret
The second episode of ‘May I Help You’ve ended on a cliffhanger when Kim Jip Sa shockingly finds Baek Dong Ju in a closet on one of his errands. Episode 3 starts on that note and explains how Dong Ju ended up in the closet in the first place.
In the first scene, Dong Ju is in conversation with her latest’ client’- Suk Chul, who asks her to help him deliver a huge sum of money to his wife that he had earned just right before his death (remember the drunk person Jip Sa drops home in the last episode?). While Jip Sa had been assigned the job of cleaning out the deceased husband’s (same person) closet through a request on ‘A Dime A Job.’ She reaches his house searching for the cheque and hides in a cupboard upon hearing someone enter the house.
On seeing Dong Ju in the cupboard, he is clearly flustered and asks her to leave. However, she is bent on finding the money that Suk Chul has requested her to deliver to his wife. The pursuit results in the banter between the two, and Dong Ju leaves the place upside down. But in the end, she does find the money and offers it to Jip Sa to hand over to Suk Chul’s wife. During the whole chaos in the house, Jip Sa accidentally cuts his finger and Dong Ju offers him a bandaid which becomes a metaphorical ‘peace offering’ between the two. As a result of the good deed, ‘A Dime A Job’ gets a lot of positive recognition, and the business starts booming as opposed to the last few days.
Dong Ju’s father- Baek Dal Sik, had lied to her daughter about his work conditions. He works part-time as a guard, which she is not aware of. Presently, he is required to fill in for the night duty, and he cannot come up with an explanation for Dong Ju. While it’s also becoming inconvenient for Dong Ju to keep lying to her father, she comes up with a plan to move houses and live by herself for a while to ‘study.’ Surprisingly, the father agrees as he has his own secrets to keep. It is a convenient way out for both. Coincidentally, she becomes a renter in the same building where the office of ‘A Dime A Job’ is situated.
In between the fast-paced story, Jip Sa asks Dong Ju out for dinner, to which she agrees. Through the conversation, we realize that she is due to give birth just four days after. Simultaneously, a new story starts where we see a young husband- Lee Won Hyu, and a pregnant wife- Seo Gang, who are clearly in love with each other. As the husband leaves the house to get apples for the wife, there is a break-in, and the pregnant wife gets murdered.
Upon arriving at the funeral parlor and meeting Dong Ju, she was devastated upon being told that she and her unborn child were dead and that they had left their husband alone. They have a heart-breaking conversation where she tells him that her husband will probably not be able to bear the loss and will try to kill himself. But before she could finish what she was saying, Jip Sa barges open the door, and the powder room changes into the funeral parlor again.
Episode 4: The guy I already knew
Jip Sa was angrier than disturbed on seeing Dong Ju holding the dead body of Seo Gang and decided to report the activity to Dong Ju’s boss. The boss, however, was in a frenzy because the husband and the Chief Mourner- Lee Won Hyu, were reported missing. So the matter was left at bay. Through a sequence of Won Hyu’s flashback and a radio commentary, the audience is told the heart-rending love story of Won Hyu and her wife- how they had met as orphans, fell in love, and got married. It was an account by the dead wife and an ode to her wonderful husband. The city was mourning after the terrifying incident while the police were frantically searching for Won Hyu.
After the incident at the funeral house, Jip Sa was shaken- he was beginning to think Dong Ju was insane and making up stories. In a bout of anger- he also asked Dong Ju to vacate the house and move out. Later, when Kim Jip Sa was driving around in his car, he heard Won Hyu’s love story streaming on the radio in the words of his wife. The story mentions Ddaeng-sam-i-bridge, a symbol of love for the couple. On instinct, Jip Sa drove to the bridge and found Lee Won Hyu, who was moments away from jumping into the waterbody. He saves him and brings him back to say his final goodbye to his wife.
May I Help You (Season 1), Episode 4 Ending, Explained:
The climax of this episode connects all the dots of the story together and answers questions like how did a personal account of Won Hyu’s wife reach the radio station, how did Jip Sa save Won Hyu, and how did Dong Ju solve this case with Jip Sa’s help unknowingly. The narrative has a lot of to and fro, but worry not because we will thread it for you.
An early scene in the episode touched upon a lunch date that Dong Ju was on with her two friends. The same scene is elaborated upon in the last act of the episode. While they were having lunch, a famous RJ (Radio Jockey) walked into the restaurant. Dong Ju walked up to him and asked him to consider airing a particular story that was written by her ‘friend’- Seo Gang and was submitted to the radio station a few days back.
It was conveyed to the audience that this information was imparted to Dong Ju by the dead mother before she vanished into the afterlife. All this while, Seo Gang kept an account of her love story; minutes before she was murdered, she had sent it to the radio station as a gift to her husband. When the story was broadcasted, Jip Sa heard it on the car radio and realized the importance of Ddaeng-sam-i-bridge. Won Hyu had fleetingly mentioned to his wife that they would live together and also die together on this bridge.
In the story, it was supposed to be poetic, but the event was actually happening. Kim Jip Sa immediately realizes that Won Hyu must not have been able to deal with the loss, so he might try to end his life. And the story was a clear indication of how he could attempt to do it. So he immediately switched gears of the car and arrived at the Ddaeng-sam-i-bridge to save Won Hyu’s life. He brings Won Hyu back to the funeral home, where he bids his last goodbye to his beloved wife. The score tracker in the powder room/ funeral parlor turns to 12.
A Pretext for the Next Episode
After all the chaos of missing Won Hyu and Dong Ju telling him how she can see ghosts and talk to them, Jip Sa is relaxing at home and reflecting on past events. He is trying to connect the dots, and he is on the verge of believing that what Dong Ju told him could be true since she possessed confidential information that she couldn’t obtain in any other way. Just then, he sees an apparition of a young boy- Joon Ho. Joon-Ho was also Dong Ju’s first experience with the ghosts- he is the same kid she ran away from and had decided to quit the job. The young boy addresses Kim Jip Sa and asks him- “Why did you kill me?”
Spooky right? Tune back in next week to find out what happens next.