Romance lovers are gonna love Episode 8. Prepare yourself for a cutesy episode, with lots of giddy-sweet moments.
SONG OF THE DAY
Casker – “고양이와 나” (Cat and me) [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Kang-hyun faces off with the Rich Loner, who bristles at her for standing up to him. (I don’t know his name — I don’t think they’ve used it yet, but they’re calling him Cash King, so that’s what I’ll use for now.) Then Cash King deflates, losing his anger. Nobody understands him, he says — all those stories about him are exaggerated or false. His wives died on him, his two live-in girlfriends left him. Rumors may say he cut off his fiancées without proper compensation, but they’d actually only approached him for his money.
The truth is, he may have $50 million in cash, but he has nothing else. He didn’t want to be burdened in assets and sold off everything. Now all he has are his dogs: “Like you said, I’m going to live with my dogs the rest of my life and die.” In a macabre mood, he says he’ll die alone and be found half-eaten by the dogs (Bridget Jones he is not, but the fears are similar).
Understanding the real picture, Kang-hyun asks, “Were you that lonely?” He nods sadly, and says that’s why he decided he’d give it one last shot with her company. He was drawn to its name: Last Love.
Feeling compassion, Kang-hyun takes a new approach, and tells him she’s going to find him somebody within the year. With her trademark enthusiasm, she assures him that she can do it, with a few changes in strategy — first of all, he’s going to enroll in their services as a regular client, not a VIP. That means no hiding behind money — he’ll have to do the dating dance just like a normal member.
Maybe her optimism is contagious, but by the time she leaves, the Cash King is feeling hopeful. As she’s leaving, she comes clean about her own unmarried status, telling him she’d lied previously.
But he tells her, “I don’t care. I’ve found in life that sincerity is more important than experience. Passion like yours is more important than clumsy experience — it can move the world, and people’s hearts, too.”
Kang-hyun is touched by his faith in her, and starts to strategize.
Kang-hyun’s mom is still hanging out at Kang-hyun’s apartment and does that nosy ajumma thing by telling Kang-hyun’s friends with an air of superiority that they’d better get their acts together. At their age, they should be chasing careers or getting married. After all, she points out, look how well Kang-hyun is doing with her good job and her soon-to-be-successful boyfriend.
This prompts Hee-soong (the quiet, dour one) to burst out that Kang-hyun and Kyung-hwan broke up. Soon-young tries to do some damage control, but it appears Hee-soong thinks the jig has gone on long enough. (Personally I think she was out of line, but her motives are well-intentioned and Kang-hyun isn’t angry. I suppose no harm, no foul?)
Intending to find out the truth, Mom goes to Kyung-hwan’s office to hear from him directly. He’s unavailable at the moment, so she waits in an empty room, and when Hyun-soo passes through, he takes her for one of their clients. (She self-consciously covers her bruise — no doubt he assumes it’s husband-related, not knowing it was an accident.) He asks how long she’d been considering divorce, and Mom answers that not a day has gone by that she hasn’t thought of it. This is the first time she’s talking to a lawyer about it, though.
Hyun-soo counsels Mom that since she’s been married 27 years and expects to live 30 more, it behooves her to think of the life she has yet to live. Does she want to live it miserably?
Things have been strained between Kang-hyun and Hyun-soo after the scene at the hotel, with Kang-hyun too mortified to face him after being outed as a liar. She avoids him at work and sits alone on the rooftop, though she imagines he’s there by her side, giving her encouragement.
One misunderstanding is cleared, though — she had been bothered by the possibility that Hyun-soo was just playing around with her. When she overhears Sung-ho talking on the phone, she finds out that Hwa-young is staying at the hotel because Sung-ho felt uneasy at the idea of his cousin staying somewhere all alone.
Hee-soong gives Kang-hyun a pep talk about her feelings for Hyun-soo, telling her that she’s got nothing to lose now that everything’s out in the open. She urges Kang-hyun to “act like Kang-hyun” and confess her feelings for him openly.
Kang-hyun warms up to the idea, and to encourage her, Hee-soong gives her a free package of kimbap (she’s a clerk at the convenience store). Kang-hyun notices it’s the most expensive kind, but Hee-soong assures her that it just passed its expiration date, so it’s free.
Hyun-soo is distracted throughout dinner with Hwa-young, zoning out to dwell on her mother’s words about leaving Hwa-young alone. He’s so lost in thought that he doesn’t even notice that his food is spoiled (ah, do you see where they’re going with this? lol) — Hwa-young brings it to his attention when she tastes it. This reminds her of a similar occurrence back on their third date — he’d been eating spoiled food without noticing, which made her feel sorry for him. It was then that she thought, “I’ll have to watch over him for the rest of my life.”
Seeing him revert back to this behavior makes her feel bad for him all over again, and she suggests giving their relationship another try. At this, Hyun-soo pauses, then tells her he it’s a bad idea for them to meet so often because it muddles up their feelings (read: HER feelings).
He says this gently but firmly, and Hwa-young is disappointed. As they leave, she suggests taking him to the hospital before he gets sick from the food, but he says he’s fine. Preferring to walk, he sends her off in a taxi, telling her that they should be more mindful of giving each other space (read: HIS space).
Hyun-soo receives a text from Kang-hyun, which apologizes again for her lie and asks him to meet her at the elephant exhibit; she has something to tell him.
Hyun-soo hesitates, not sure how he feels about meeting her. Instead of heading over to the zoo, he returns to his office and contemplates the text. Hye-sun drops by (picking up on his disturbed mood) and advises him to start dating again: “I want you to be happy. You’ve always lived for someone else, struggling with the heavy burden, like you’re afraid of being happy. You should be happy now — I hope you can meet someone who will make you feel that way, and be happy together.”
At the zoo, Kang-hyun is practicing her speech when her stomach starts acting up, which she attributes to her nerves. However, the feeling only intensifies, and she rushes off to the bathroom. Once in the stall, she finds herself without toilet paper (or rather, one measly square, which may actually be worse — mocking you with its puniness as you try to figure out how to maximize its use). What now?
Kang-hyun is stuck in her stall when Hyun-soo arrives — and I love that he comes running. He calls her to find out where she is, but she’s so embarrassed she hangs up on him. But out of desperation, she’s forced to text Hyun-soo an SOS message asking for toilet paper.
Uncomfortable with the idea of breaching the sanctity of a ladies’ toilet, Hyun-soo makes his way in slowly, drops the pack in front of her stall, and runs out before he can be seen.
When Kang-hyun emerges, she thanks him and starts in on her speech — only it’s a little rambling because she’s been taken off-guard — and she starts to confess her feelings… but is forced to rush off when pains assail her stomach again.
When she returns — waving at him to keep his distance, not wanting him near her in her condition — she barely has a chance to start her speech again before she must rush away again.
While waiting, Hyun-soo remembers all the time he spent with Kang-hyun and considers Hye-sun’s suggestion to open himself to love. By the time Kang-hyun returns, he seems to have made a decision, and approaches her to resume their conversation.
Kang-hyun, on the other hand, feels weakened and ill, and tells him, “I’m sorry, I’ll have to confess next time.”
So Hyun-soo grabs her hand and says, “Then I’ll have to be the first to confess today, too.”
(I have to note: It looks like one of those kisses that looks great on film but would be terribly awkward in real life. It would be great if all big dramatic kisses felt as nice as they looked, or vice versa.)
Kang-hyun thinks, “If the first kiss is sweet, it’ll turn to love.”
With that out of the way, Hyun-soo carries Kang-hyun to the hospital.
On the way, he starts feeling sick to his stomach, too, and by the time Kang-hyun has been treated for minor food poisoning, he looks so awful that the doctor treats him, too.
Hyun-soo’s food poisoning turns out to be much more serious than Kang-hyun’s, which means she is first to recover. When she’s feeling back to normal, she drives Hyun-soo (who’s still ill) back to his hotel.
Kang-hyun puts Hyun-soo to bed and tends to him. When clearing away his clothing, something drops to the floor, and she picks it up — his passport. Noting his birthdate, she muses that she’ll have to get their compatibility forecast taken.
In the morning, Hyun-soo awakens feeling much better, and spots Kang-hyun curled up on the floor, asleep.
As they drive in to work, Kang-hyun wonders if they ought to go public with their relationship. She admits that Kyung-hwan is her ex (Hyun-soo guessed as much) and would like to tell him herself, since she knows from experience that hearing about your ex from someone else can be painful. Hyun-soo answers that he could use some time as well (to break the news to Hwa-young). This means their relationship is a secret for now. (Possibilities for pesky complications, let me count the ways…)
Still, that doesn’t mean she can’t get their compatibility scored, using the excuse that it’s for a client couple. Already in such a good mood that her co-workers raise their eyebrows in bewilderment, the favorable reading makes Kang-hyun positively giddy. She and Hyun-soo are quite compatible, and forecast to be a great marriage pairing.
Kang-hyun wants to take a photo with Hyun-soo, but he’s uncomfortable with pictures in general and shies away. Since they’re still a secret couple, Kang-hyun hits upon a compromise — foot pictures!
(While looking at their feet, Kang-hyun makes a playful comment about toes indicating the life span of one’s parents. He tells her how his mother died while he was in middle school and his father a couple years after that. Kang-hyun feels sorry for bringing up a painful topic without realizing it, although Hyun-soo is calm about it as always — he’s come to terms with it a long time ago.)
They plan to have their official first date on the weekend, and think up options for first-date activities. Hyun-soo suggests fishing (how romantic, huh?), to which Kang-hyun happily agrees (since that means she gets to eat her favorite ramen again). Her cheerful agreement contrasts sharply with Hyun-soo’s memory of Hwa-young reacting to a similar suggestion — she disliked fishing and tried to coax him to accompany her golfing instead.
Kang-hyun’s friends don’t react as positively to her relationship as she’d expected, though, since they’re suspicious of Hyun-soo’s motives for keeping their relationship secret — is he cheating, or is he ashamed of her?
The friends mean well, but Hee-soong’s words in particular throw a wrench into Kang-hyun’s happiness, since she suspects Hyun-soo of being a womanizer. She also pegs him as having intimacy issues.
Hwa-young avoids an obvious attempt by her mother to set her up with the doctor, and thinks gloomily about Hyun-soo’s caution not to see so much of each other. Sinking into depression, she ignores her phone calls, and Hyun-soo’s in particular, finally dropping her phone into the pool. Thus Hyun-soo can’t get a hold of her to tell her his news.
Kang-hyun’s mother calls Kyung-hwan to demand to know why they broke up. Caught off-guard, Kyung-hwan stammers, not knowing how to respond, and fakes a reason to hang up. (Isn’t our baby Kyung-hwan such a manly man?)
Kang-hyun’s father takes the news even worse than Mom, since he really liked the guy and had thought of him as his son-in-law. He suggests to Mom that they figure out a way to get the kids back together.
Bothered by her friends’ suspicions (oh, pernicious friends! Obviously they care about her, but their misguided actions are ruining a good thing. It’s rather reminiscent of Persuasion), Kang-hyun does the equivalent of googling (i.e., Navering) and looks up symptoms of intimacy issues. On the surface, the signs fit Hyun-soo — giving short explanations, making himself seem pitiful to get the girl’s sympathy, disliking taking pictures (which are hard proof of the relationship), liking physical contact, etc.
Then again, she’s instantly cheered up one text message later, when Hyun-soo suggests they meet for lunch. She texts back an affirmative and is ready to shoot out the door, only to be stopped by Sung-ho wanting lunch company. Unable to shake him off, Kang-hyun is forced to bring him along, and it’s cute the way she and Hyun-soo try to act as though they’re meeting by coincidence.
On the way to their weekend date, Kang-hyun asks him whether he’s ever been embarrassed of her, thinking of Hee-soong’s warnings. He doesn’t know what she’s talking about, so she refers to all the mistakes she’s made and how she’s embarrassed herself in front of him, but he answers that he thinks of her actions as part of being a talented couple manager, and recounts all her successes. (He’s a glass-half-full type of guy when it comes to her.) Good answer, dude.
Hyun-soo suggests a short coffee break before heading out to the lake, and they end up at an airport. He explains that coming to the airport cheers him up, and Kang-hyun’s upbeat mood turns a little pensive as she reads between the lines when he says he likes watching people leaving because it makes him feel as though he’s leaving, too.
But their date is aborted when Hyun-soo receives a phone call telling him his brother has been sighted.
Hyun-soo is immediately alert, apologizing to Kang-hyun while taking her to the racegrounds in search of his brother. She assures him she can amuse herself alone, and he goes off with investigators to scour the grounds.
Meanwhile, his brother actually sees Kang-hyun and pegs her for a novice, approaching to give her some “tips.” He isn’t trying to make money off her, but I think he’s just amusing himself at her expense, telling her with mock authority which numbers to pick.
In a funny twist, Kang-hyun rejoices over the money she wins, and asks how much he won. He didn’t, because he didn’t take the advice he’d given her, lol.
After looking all over, Hyun-soo gives up, figuring his brother must be long gone. He makes his way to meet Kang-hyun, not (yet) noticing that his brother is right in front of his eyes…
I think my love of Kim Ji-hoon is probably largely residual affection from Flowers For My Life, which is a drama I adored. That isn’t to say I don’t like him here, but I think Hyun-soo’s character is kinda flat as far as romantic heroes go. Because I’m not really taking Love & Marriage seriously — it’s great, zippy fun but not a drama you watch for meaningful themes or introspection, if ya know what I mean — this doesn’t bother me a lot.
It does, however, make me impatient to see Kim Ji-hoon in a role that actually stretches his abilities, because I think he’s been playing in his comfort zone in his past few dramas (Why Did You Come to Our House, Golden Age of Daughters-in-Law). While he wasn’t a scene-stealer in Flowers For My Life — hard to do when you’re acting with Kang Hye-jung and Cha Tae-hyun — there was enough there to make me think he could be good if he challenged himself more. I want to drool over him as much for his acting as for his pretty, pretty face (and ze hot bod, of course!).