Love & Marriage: Episode 7
Park Ki-woong (Kyung-hwan), above, is still an uneven actor, being rather green. He’s prone to overexaggeration, but he does have the funniest facial expressions in the drama (almost all of them sulky, angry, or frowny). I’d like to see him work on his subtlety and line delivery, because sometimes he can be hilarious.
I am bummed that we only get one episode this week. (No episode aired on Monday.) Doubly bummed because Episode 8 looks pretty juicy, and now we’ll have to wait a week to see it.
SONG OF THE DAY
Han Hee-jung – “우리 처음 만난 날” (The Day We First Met) from the songwriter also known as Dawny of Bluedawn. [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Kang-hyun claims her winnings (“the best churros in the world”) at an amusement park. Neither the churros nor the park are really Hyun-soo’s thing, so he sits out while she rides a roller coaster. (At least Kang-hyun doesn’t let his non-participation dampen her own enthusiasm, and thus her enjoyment fuels his.)
On their way out, Hyun-soo notices the zoo, and they take a detour to the elephant exhibit. Turns out this is the same elephant he’d seen as a kid, which is the same age as his big bro. Over the years, Hyun-soo has returned periodically to check on the elephant.
Hyun-soo comments that the elephant is often agitated, on account of the stress of being alone. Ever the matchmaker, Kang-hyun says, “He must be lonely. They’d better marry him off soon.” Hyun-soo responds that she has a lot of faith in love, like a young girl. He envies her.
Sensing an opportune moment to come clean about her divorce lie, Kang-hyun starts to say she has something to confess, but loses her nerve. Instead, she says she’ll tell him when she’s ready.
She wonders how animals are paired up in zoos, and Hyun-soo answers that they’re given the opportunity to “read the faces” of others, and make their choice after spending some time together.
Kang-hyun takes that concept as the jumping-off point for the next event hosted by her company (named Last Love). Because people totally mate just like caged animals, right? After all, those zoo lions always want the youngest, prettiest lionesses with the biggest birthin’ hips, and we know how females always flock to the strongest, toughest lions with the biggest stock portfolios.
Okay. I think this whole storyline is one you’ll have to take with a (king-size) grain of salt, because it’s just a little absurd. But amusing.
Sung-ho has invited the lawyers to the event, hoping for a chance to impress his ex-wife. To his and Kang-hyun’s disappointment, the lawyers don’t show. Hyun-soo is elsewhere, consulting with the lawyer friend affiliated with the TV law program. (It turns out that Hyun-soo’s answer — which lost him the bet — is also right, but the show played up the other answer for drama.)
While chatting, Hyun-soo’s gaze falls on a newspaper story about the rich man hunting for a wife, whom his friend calls a weirdo. He’d once worked on a case with the man’s girlfriend, who’d met him through a dating service and was tossed aside unceremoniously. The guy is bad news, and his business dealings are shady. Hyun-soo immediately goes off to warn Kang-hyun.
While the Last Love event is in full swing, Mr. Creepy Rich Man chooses to observe through numerous security cameras, watching from his darkened room and hiding his face like Dr. Claw. (Replete with pinky ring and cat in his lap.) It is ABSURD. Somebody’s been watching Inspector Gadget!
Hyun-soo shares his info with Kang-hyun just before Creepy Rich Dude leaves his Wall o’ Weird to announce his selection, wearing a Carnevale-style mask, ruffled shirt, and a floor-length cape, brandishing a gold(-colored) rose. Somebody’s also been watching The Bachelor! I’m not sure whether he looks more like a gay Dracula or a goofy Phantom of the Opera. He makes his way down the staircase (softly, deftly), through the crowd, stopping in front of Kang-hyun. She thinks he’s making his overture to her, but he tells her to move, then proffers the rose to Hwa-young.
Hwa-young politely tells Rich Creep that she’s only at the event to work, and walks away — at which point she is stopped by two of his muscular bodyguards.
Alarmed, she attempts to leave, and because Hyun-soo never met a distressed damsel he couldn’t save, he swoops in and escorts Hwa-young outside.
At this, Rich Creep throws a hissy-fit and yells at everyone to leave. They do. Kang-hyun’s Last Love co-workers urge her to hurry and get in the car so they can get away from El Crazy, but she changes her mind at the last minute and charges back in. (Thus indicating Kang-hyun’s pluck and courage! But this kind of behavior will get her killed one day, I’m sure, because as far as crazies go, this guy is IT.)
(She looks like a witch, and he looks like Count Chocula.)
She’s under the impression that the guy is being difficult by choosing a staff member rather than one of the available candidates. He, on the other hand, shows her Hwa-young’s paperwork — and Kang-hyun realizes that this was her mistake, because she’d accidentally mixed Hwa-young’s papers with the candidate pile.
Rich Creep actually likes Kang-hyun’s sass, but he’s still got his eye on the prize. He wants Hwa-young, and nobody else. If they don’t deliver, he’ll sue them for scamming him and reneging on their promise.
Hyun-soo drives Hwa-young to the hospital to visit her mother, where they run into her father, who then invites Hyun-soo out for a drink. The older man still likes and respects his former son-in-law, and asks if Hyun-soo might want to reconcile with Hwa-young. Hyun-soo has no ready answer, and the man asks if there’s anyone else in his life.
That question makes Hyun-soo think of Kang-hyun, and spins us off into Flashback City. For the next day, Hyun-soo continues to think about Kang-hyun, trying to figure out what he feels for her, and the accompanying montage reminds us of scenes from prior episodes — fishing, the night spent in the car together, the zoo, and so forth.
Remembering that Kyung-hwan is Kang-hyun’s college acquaintance, Hyun-soo asks him about the “ex-husband,” musing that the amount of alimony she received after a five-year marriage was very low. Kyung-hwan bristles in his own defense but doesn’t give away the secret, instead asking, “Do you like Kang-hyun? It seems you have a lot of interest in her.” He leaves without waiting for a response.
Kyung-hwan texts Kang-hyun and accuses her of making him into the bad guy regarding the compensation money. This reminds Kang-hyun that Hyun-soo is still under the misconception that she’s a divorcee, so she asks him to meet her on the roof so she can come clean.
Kang-hyun nervously practices her speech, ready to admit the truth and that she likes Hyun-soo. But when he shows up, she’s not ready, so he goes first, launching into a long-winded explanation of how things have “by chance — no, naturally” developed because of all the time they’ve been spending together.
Kang-hyun starts smiling, guessing that he’s working his way up to a confession of his feelings for her. I giggle at Kang-hyun’s inner thoughts while Hyun-soo’s delivering his monologue:
Hyun-soo: “I’ve been thinking, what are my feelings toward you?”
Kang-hyun’s thoughts: “You love me.”
Hyun-soo: “I haven’t been divorced long, so I’m very cautious.”
Kang-hyun’s thoughts: “Of course. If you fell for someone too quickly, you wouldn’t be appealing.”
Hyun-soo: “If I were to express my current feelings in four letters…”
Kang-hyun’s thoughts: “Highly cherish? Thousand-year love?”
Hyun-soo: “…I would say we ‘share the same disease.'”
Not… exactly the romantic speech she’d hoped for.
It’s because they’re both divorced, he explains. Plus, they both came to new jobs at the same time, so they’re at similar stages in life. At this, Kang-hyun speaks up to tell the truth, but he delivers the nail in the coffin: “If you’d been single, I would have been very uncomfortable with you.”
She smarts a bit at that, realizing he would never have bothered hanging out with her if he’d known she was single. Now that she can’t make her confession, she has to make up another excuse for asking him to meet her. So, she confesses her mistake regarding Hwa-young’s application instead, and he assures her that Rich Creep doesn’t have much grounds for suing for when there was no intent to mislead him.
Thinking of Hwa-young’s safety, Hyun-soo suggests moving her to his hotel while her home is being remodeled. Sung-ho takes it a step further by getting her the room next door to Hyun-soo’s. Now, normally I’d be a little irritated with a dreamboaty leading man being all macho and “I am Tarzan, step aside and let me protect you,” BUT Hwa-young is such the wilting flower that I don’t blame the guys for thinking she’s helpless.
(There’s also a long, clunky conversation between them bemoaning the inequity between the sexes after divorce. Hwa-young complains of the injustice in societal views that hold women up to higher standards than men. As with other clunkers in this drama, the intent of the conversation is appreciated, but GAHHHH the delivery is so awkward and heavy-handed. Stop talking and keep the story rolling, I say.)
Kang-hyun attends her cousin’s wedding. Although she makes excuses for Kyung-hwan’s absence, her parents have called him directly, so he shows up out of obligation. Despite his complaints that keeping up the ruse is a pain, he goes along, and Kang-hyun promises to tell her family about the breakup when the timing is right.
They keep up appearances, forcing uncomfortable smiles while everyone refers to them as though they’re already married (he gets called “son-in-law” and “Kang-hyun’s husband,” and everyone talks about their impending wedding as a foregone conclusion).
Afterward, they chat while waiting for the subway. Kyung-hwan tells her, “I think Park Hyun-soo likes you.” She replies that they’re not that far along yet (they’re merely “sharing the same illness”), and apologizes for making him seem the bad guy with the alimony talk. He understands, and the atmosphere is actually very pleasant and sweet.
Still, Kyung-hwan tells her again to beware of Hyun-soo and to protect herself.
Just then, she gets a phone call from her boss, and excuses herself to answer. Sung-ho is a nervous wreck because of their client, and because the easiest answer to their problems is to convince Hwa-young to meet the guy just once, he puts Kang-hyun to the task (Hwa-young has already said no).
Kang-hyun gets Hwa-young’s hotel information, but Kyung-hwan only hears the hotel name and grows suspicious. He assumes she’s meeting Hyun-soo.
Hyun-soo is called by Hwa-young’s mother, who has heard from Sung-ho that her daughter isn’t ready for remarriage. (When Sung-ho had mentioned that Hwa-young still has feelings for Hyun-soo, she flew into a fit.) This. Will. Not. Do.
Therefore, she tells Hyun-soo — in a gravelly, pained voice — that he must leave Hwa-young, because her daughter will not be able to be happy until she’s free of him.
As Kang-hyun makes her way to Hwa-young’s hotel room, she’s intercepted just before knocking on the door. Kyung-hwan has followed her, supposedly out of worry.
Without giving her a chance to explain the situation, Kyung-hwan bursts out, “I told you to be careful — all men are the same! Do you think an unmarried woman can just roam around hotels like this?”
He doesn’t notice that behind him, Hyun-soo and Hwa-young have stepped into the hallway, and continues: “Is this why you lied about being divorced?!”
Mortified, Kang-hyun leaves. Kyung-hwan follows her downstairs, still throwing out cautionary words. She doesn’t stop him because it has the ring of truth, which she can’t ignore: “Even after their divorce, they’re still meeting. Didn’t you see for yourself? At the party, he left holding her hand! The office all thinks they might be reuniting. I told you before, you’re not his type. He’s just a divorced man fooling around!”
Meanwhile, the other two don’t seem to be terribly bothered by the revelation that Kang-hyun wasn’t divorced. Hwa-young actually speaks up in Kang-hyun’s defense, saying that she’s sure that Sung-ho coerced her into faking it as a part of her job. Hyun-soo agrees.
However, Hwa-young suggests that Kang-hyun kept up the pretense purposely to get closer to Hyun-soo. He doesn’t think she’d be that manipulative, but Hwa-young muses, “In any case, I think she likes you.”
Having failed to convince Hwa-young to meet the Rich Creep, Kang-hyun tries again to reason with the client. He compliments her for being smart, but doesn’t really appreciate it (saying smart women are a pain).
When she informs him that he has no grounds to sue them for scamming him, he counters that he DOES have grounds for suing the company for breach of contract. After all, he requested everything be handled with privacy, but the company advertised online and put out bulletins. Oops.
Kang-hyun’s mother has discovered that her husband has withdrawn 20 million won from Kang-hyun’s wedding fund, which increases her resolve to divorce him. Kang-hyun feels awful for letting her mother think the worst of her father, but she and her friends figure that telling the truth about the money would cause further problems without solving the original one.
When the Last Love office receives a legal notice from Rich Creep stating his intention to sue for 200 million won, Sung-ho flies off the handle. A co-worker gets blamed for the mistake, so Kang-hyun steps up and admits it was her own fault that Hwa-young’s profile ended up in the Rich Creep’s candidate list. She will take full responsibility.
Word spreads that Kang-hyun has caused trouble, and that she’s already 40 million won in debt. The law office gossips, wondering what she did to be so indebted, and assume it’s probably credit card debt from being a shopaholic.
Kyung-hwan and Hyun-soo both overhear the employees gossiping, but while Hyun-soo is merely a little perturbed, Kyung-hwan simmers at their unfair judgments. He marches up to them, and tells them they’re wrong. She’s not in debt for shopping; it’s because of a work-related incident at her old job. It’s sweet of him, actually.
Intent on resolving her mistake, Kang-hyun pays Mr. Creep one last visit. His dismissive attitude pisses her off, and she reaches her limit when he voices his intent to ruin her company.
Angry, she demands, “Is money everything?” His attitude — treating marriage like a hunting process — is why everyone runs from him, afraid. His wives, his employees, his friends: “I bet you have no friends. You’re all alone in the world, aren’t you?”
That gets him. “You dare talk to me like that?” he shouts.
She retorts, “I bet everyone’s so busy flattering you because you’re rich that nobody’s ever talked like this, have they? You’re really pitiful. Bury yourself in money and live with your dogs until you die!”
And then, she recalls that he’s got a couple of fierce attack dogs on a short leash, ready to go…
Regarding Hwa-young: You know, it’s not that she’s an incapable person. It’s more that she’s channeling some learned helplessness — she CAN help herself, but doesn’t. This attitude in women (or men, really) drives me bonkers. (I don’t hate her personality, but that helplessness makes me unable to respect her. Inasmuch as I can respect a secondary character in a fluffy drama.)
As for Kyung-hwan: He’s a weak, petulant man-child most of the time, but I can’t dislike him because it seems like underneath all the pettiness, he’s a decent guy with decent feelings. They may bicker like an old married couple, but he could at any point cause trouble for Kang-hyun by revealing her lie. Instead, he goes along with Kang-hyun’s story and stands up for her when she’s being unfairly judged. I almost like him enough to think he and Kang-hyun could have a second go-around, now that they’ve both learned from their mistakes.
The relationship between Hwa-young and Hyun-soo has an interesting dynamic, because as far as we know, they had a perfectly happy marriage outside of his brother’s issues. It’s been stated several times that they would not have divorced if not for the brother’s problems. Since Hwa-young seems like a nice person, those issues must have been severe to break up a marriage that otherwise seemed a good match. (Albeit a placid one.) I think they loved each other, but not in a passionate way — more like two good buddies joining households and bank accounts. Hwa-young retains feelings for Hyun-soo, but she isn’t assertive about them, and I don’t get the sense that Hyun-soo sees her romantically at all. She’s just never on his mind unless she’s in front of him (and sometimes, not even then).
I also like that jealousy is kicking in, because while things have been very cute thus far, they’ve been a little too easy for our couple. We need some obstacles to roughen the road up a bit.