Though last week left us hanging with the feeling of doom and portent, this episode is, in my mind, best described as bittersweet. As Eun Soo finalizes wedding plans with Joon Hyuk, Hye Rin and Tae Joo are becoming more like a genuine couple, which is really nice to see, except for the knowledge that it can’t last. Or can it? I can’t predict what’s going to happen anymore with this drama, and I won’t try.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Monni (몽니) – “너” (You). The group reminds me of Nell. As far as I can tell, they’ve only released one album, in 2005. [ zShare download ]
Monni – “소나기” (sonagi / sudden rain). [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 14 SUMMARY
With Joon Hyuk so insistent on marrying Eun Soo, Hye Rin’s parents give in and cease their opposition, and the plans carry forward. The parents don’t love the idea — Eun Soo’s so ordinary — but there’s no point in continuing to disapprove.
Tae Joo likes an idea for a new brand from the MD team and asks for the person in charge — who turns out to be Eun Soo. Uncomfortable to be working together, Tae Joo maintains a strict professional demeanor and keeps his distance. World Department Store is planning to introduce a brand to keep up with the popularity of street and casualwear, which fits with Eun Soo’s proposal. He puts her in charge of finding appropriate products and lines.
Eun Soo’s mother bemoans her cheap and tacky wardrobe (so she IS aware!), saying she has nothing to wear to the formal introduction dinner between Joon Hyuk and Eun Soo’s families. Ji Soo doesn’t care about making a good impression — it’s Eun Soo who has to fit in with that family, not them — but her mother doesn’t want any cause to feel embarrassment when she meets them. Joon Hyuk, however, has already thought of that and invites her to shop at the department store (for free, under his name).
She gratefully accepts the offer, and happens to be shopping in the Chat Chat store (Hye Rin’s line) when she runs into Hye Rin and Tae Joo, and they say their brief hellos. Hye Rin offers to help her shop, but Eun Soo’s mom makes an excuse to quickly leave, waiting to catch Tae Joo on his own, without Hye Rin.
Eun Soo’s mom brings up the deposit issue, but Tae Joo cuts her off and says he’s settled it with Eun Soo. She’s uncomfortable with the whole situation — Tae Joo and Eun Soo marrying into the same family — but Tae Joo stops her and says it’s all in the past. He and Eun Soo have ended things, and both fiancees are aware and fine with the resolution.
At the family meeting, the parents hold up fairly well, complimenting each other for raising such fine children. A brief hiccup arises when Hye Rin’s mother asks if Ji Soo’s still a student, and they explain that she couldn’t finish school because of some personal matters. Ji Soo answers it’s because she was an outcast, which Tae Joo remembers and laughs, filling in the blanks — “Because you’re tall, pretty, and what was the last one? Thin?” Hye Rin’s parents are surprised to realize everyone already knows everyone, and Eun Soo explains they used to be neighbors.
Tae Joo pointedly asks if the elevator in the building still gets stuck, and Ji Soo answers, glaring all the while, that it does, though less than before. But it’s fine. Not a problem.
Despite the circumstances that brought them this far, I’ve started feeling like Hye Rin and Tae Joo have begun to be a genuine couple… Maybe not completely, but perhaps they’ve upgraded closer to 90% Coupledom. Hye Rin and Tae Joo mention how Tae Joo, oddly enough, wants to find a house with a yard on the outskirts of the city, even if that’ll make their commutes more difficult. The parents agree a house with a yard is better for raising children, and Tae Joo jokes that he’d be better raising kids than Hye Rin, with her temper and all. Their exchange shows that Tae Joo and Hye Rin have talked on their own about their future and their plans, like a normal couple would. In contrast, when Joon Hyuk is asked about Eun Soo’s plans to move in, he doesn’t know — they haven’t really discussed it.
Afterward, Eun Soo’s mother worries that Joon Hyuk is upset over the meeting and how it was obvious Tae Joo and Eun Soo knew each other well. But Eun Soo asks her to let it go and give her some peace; Joon Hyuk understands that she has a past, and it’s not like people marry these days without having prior relationships.
Hye Rin also asks Tae Joo why he was so up-front about knowing the family, and Tae Joo says he can’t ignore people and pretend he doesn’t know them. Hye Rin cautions him, that the more he does this, the more he’s actually hurting Eun Soo. She’ll get the brunt of ill will, whether it’s from her parents or Joon Hyuk, and Hye Rin figures he’s not doing this with the intention of hurting Eun Soo. So he should be careful and think of others, instead of just himself.
Hye Rin calls Joon Hyuk out to tea, and mentions Eun Soo and Tae Joo working together. She knows it’s for work so she can deal with it, but she doesn’t love the idea. Joon Hyuk says he’s fine, but Hye Rin asks, “Surely you haven’t forgotten what happened in Singapore? I won’t ever forget.”
Hye Rin gets to her point, saying she’s going to treat Eun Soo well and be nice to her. She advises Joon Hyuk do the same — don’t take Eun Soo for granted and be happy. She wants things to go well: “After all, we can’t take being betrayed twice.”
Let me take a moment to note how pretty Hye Rin has been looking the past few episodes. It was partly Hye Rin’s controlling character, and partly her hair and fashion choices early on, but initally, she looked rather bleh. I thought she was an attractive woman, but not very appealing. But now that she’s softened and become more sympathetic, Yoon Ji Hye is looking very pretty.
Joon Hyuk makes the suggestion to Eun Soo that she quit working after they’re married. For the meantime, they’ve been able to keep their relationship quiet, but after their marriage is announced, Eun Soo will have a hard time at work. Eun Soo understands his concerns, but she tells him she wants to work. She has to work. She needs to take care of her family, and even though Joon Hyuk has offered to take care of that, Eun Soo turns down his offer. She says it may seem like she’s being needlessly stubborn, but she needs to prove that she can do that with her own strength. Plus, she hasn’t had time to build her career history enough to move to a different company — once she does, and once she’s risen to a place where she can do things on her own strength, then she’ll quit and look for a job elsewhere. Joon Hyuk says he understands, but his expression shows he doesn’t like that answer.
With Tae Joo working late all the time, Hye Rin’s mother complains that he seems distant and disrespectful. Hye Rin defends him, saying he’s trying very hard — he’s used to a different life, and it’s hard on him. He needs time to adjust. Tae Joo walks in to hear the discussion, and Hye Rin’s mother is chastened to be caught bad-mouthing him mid-sentence.
When they’re alone, Tae Joo tells Hye Rin that when her mother’s bad-mouthing him, let her. If Hye Rin keeps defending him so strongly, her mother will just hate him more. Tae Joo also shows Hye Rin some brochures and asks her to look at model apartments together. She’s surprised, since he wanted to live outside the city, but Tae Joo says, “You said you liked apartments. I thought it was probably best to leave matters of the household to you.” Hye Rin asks when he had the time to look into this, and Tae Joo replies that if they’re getting married, they should figure this stuff out soon. He also tells her he’ll try harder to avoid doing anything to make her mother bad-mouth him.
Hye Rin’s impressed, and Tae Joo seems glad to see her happy.
I really like this exchange, which is honest and playful as both people try to do well for the sake of the other. The fact that Tae Joo seems to care about Hye Rin enough to think and do all this indicates to me that his choice isn’t all about materialism and selfishness. At least not now. He does sincerely seem to care for her. I do almost wish, for the sake of THIS relationship, that Tae Joo had never met Eun Soo, because these two kids coulda had something nice. Nice and boring, maybe, but drama isn’t always a good thing.
President Cha asks Tae Joo about Joon Hyuk’s goings-on, and Tae Joo reports that he saw him with Director Choi once. The President also sends Tae Joo on an errand, to drop off a birthday gift for an old friend, saying it’s a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone — delivering the gift while introducing his future son-in-law.
On his way to drop off the gift, Tae Joo sees Joon Hyuk with Director Choi — and I wonder if President Cha sent him on the errand knowing that would happen, or if it was truly coincidence.
Tae Joo calls Joon Hyuk for drinks, though Joon Hyuk is not particularly glad for the company. Tae Joo acknowledges they’re on bad terms, but says he might’ve liked Joon Hyuk if they’d met under different circumstances. Joon Hyuk merely says, “I would’ve disliked you either way.” Tae Joo tells him he wants to get along on better terms.
Tae Joo asks about Joon Hyuk’s relationship with the President — Hye Rin has described it as close and affectionate, but it doesn’t seem so to him. Joon Hyuk asks if he’s been instructed to report on him, and Tae Joo answers yes, he’s currently looking into it. However, he doesn’t care to get involved in someone else’s fight. He’s a pacifist (to which Joon Hyuk — and I — half-laugh in disbelief). He also has no intentions of trying to usurp Joon Hyuk’s position, so he can stop worrying.
Joon Hyuk answers that he has no reason to believe Tae Joo — he’s the guy who dropped the woman he loved the instant he heard he could become the heir to World Department Store.
In somewhat a roundabout manner, Tae Joo keeps his gaze averted as he casually brings up the issue of Joon Hyuk’s wedding location. Tae Joo had already found a traditional hall to hold the ceremony, but now suggests a wedding on a boat — specifically, the tourist boats on the Han River. Not revealing the source of that idea, Tae Joo says he’s always thought those boats weren’t fun, but for the wedding it could be romantic.
Joon Hyuk remembers being with Eun Soo on the boat, and how she mentioned that someone had once told her they were no fun. Making the connection, he realizes what is driving Tae Joo’s suggestion, while Tae Joo continues to act like it’s just a random idea, with no particular significance, just: “Eun Soo would like it too. She’d probably enjoy riding the boats.”
Joon Hyuk’s rattled at the realization, and says abruptly they’ve already ridden it, and he prefers to keep the wedding ordinary — they’ll stick to the wedding hall.
The President assigns Tae Joo and Joon Hyuk to work on a project together, which unsettles both men. More particularly, it alarms Director Choi. He argues against it; he doesn’t see the need for making them equal partners. But President Cha just tells them to do as he says.
Tae Joo and Hye Rin go looking at model apartments, while Joon Hyuk and Eun Soo take their pre-wedding photos. Upon arriving home, Tae Joo sits Hye Rin down for a talk, and begins to ask for a favor… But Hye Rin cuts him off, already guessing. He wants to be excused from going to Eun Soo’s wedding. Hye Rin says okay, she’ll explain it nicely to her parents; they’ll say he went on a business trip. At her easy acceptance, Tae Joo thanks Hye Rin.
Working with Eun Soo on their brand selection project, Tae Joo finally breaks his silence on personal issues when he brings up her wedding this weekend.
Tae Joo largely avoids looking at her as he tells her he won’t be able to make it because of business. He congratulates her, and when Eun Soo turns to exit, he fixes his eyes firmly on his documents, looking straight down as he tells her: “Be happy.”
Perhaps expecting Tae Joo to continue being cold and formal forever, Eun Soo is shaken by his words, and looks completely bewildered.
And yet she proceeds with the wedding.
Hye Rin drops by before the ceremony as the couple take pictures, and calls Tae Joo, wondering what he’s doing.
Hye Rin arrives at the rooftop where Tae Joo’s keeping himself busy playing basketball, and tells him the wedding went through without any problems. (Call me naive, but I was surprised they actually went through with it! Eek. Que Sera Sera sure has some cojones.)
Tae Joo: “Why do you like me?”
Hye Rin: “Why ask an embarrassing question like that so suddenly?”
Tae Joo: “I used to think that women liking me was an obvious conclusion.”
Hye Rin: “Why would it be obvious?”
Tae Joo: “I figured they liked me because I was good-looking.”
Hye Rin: “You’re funny. Well, your awful Prince Complex can be charming.”
Tae Joo: “Do you know how to play basketball? Want to play?”
Hye Rin: “Your inconsiderateness in asking a woman wearing high heels to play basketball is pretty bad too, but it can be cute sometimes.”
Tae Joo brings out a pair of sneakers he’s bought for her, and puts them on her.
Hye Rin: “At first, I liked all your different ‘acts.’ Acting so great, acting stylish, acting cool, you did them all.”
Tae Joo: “If we’re talking about acts, you’ve done plenty yourself.”
Hye Rin: “You’re right. I might’ve become interested in you because we were similar. Freely turning your back to rumors, being selfish. It was refreshing.”
Tae Joo: “Your tastes are dangerous.”
Hye Rin: “And somehow I just fell for you. For a while, I kept hurting because of Joon Hyuk, but at some point, I realized it was because of you.”
Tae Joo: “So, have you completely forgotten Shin Joon Hyuk?”
Hye Rin: “Rather than that, it’s more like it’s been covered, used up. Because of you, it’s been bearable. It eased from my memory slowly, and became fainter. And then, there was only you left. So you do the same. I’m speaking from experience — it really does get better….. You know you’ve done lots of awful things to me, right?”
Tae Joo: “That’s why I’m giving you presents like this. I don’t normally do this for anyone.”
Hye Rin: “Let’s really start fresh now. We can’t turn back anymore. We can only look ahead. Come to our senses, and let’s really start anew.”