Cute and funny as usual, but also, now the plot really gets going.
Usually when dramas have many main characters, I find a few I like and tune out the ones that are boring/annoying/useless. This drama is managing to balance its main characters well and show us aspects to everyone that are relatable. I don’t think the men are as well-balanced as the women (Lee Pil-mo‘s character needs more time to develop, or less dismissive acting) but the main two (Kim Bum, Choi Chul-ho) are very cute, both together and in their respective stories.
SONG OF THE DAY
Byul – “Beautiful Girl” from the Woman Who Still Wants To Marry OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 4 RECAP
The ladies run from the reporters. Bu-ki leads and Shin-young manages to escape their clutches, but Da-jung is held back and struggles to keep her face hidden while fending off their insistent questions.
Finally, they make it to the car and escape. Check out Bu-ki’s death glare, directed Da-jung-ward for getting them into this mess.
Chilled from all that outdoor exposure, the three ladies head to a sauna/bath, where Da-jung tries to cheer them up, saying she’ll ask a friend with contacts at the MBS studios to pull some strings. Maybe they can pull the broadcast. (It doesn’t seem likely, but it’s her attempt to lift the mood.)
Overcome with incredulity, Shin-young starts to laugh. Her words are bitter, though, as she gasps out between laughs that if that tape gets out, she’s completely going to be humiliated — she’s a broadcast planning director! Since Shin-young is chuckling, Da-jung tries out a laugh too, thinking it’s safe for her. Au contraire: Shin-young retorts, “What did you do worth laughing about?”
Da-jung quiets, but then a positive thought occurs. She asks brightly, “But do you think the exorcism worked? The men will come, right?” (Always thinking of what’s truly important!)
When the women head home, Sang-woo is waiting outside Shin-young’s apartment again. The three friends all give him the evil eye, not at all moved by his attempt to win her over. Shin-young treats him coldly, so Sang-woo asks for a moment with Bu-ki instead. She agrees and they relocate to her apartment, but she isn’t terribly welcoming, either. Bu-ki tells him that she’s not in favor of their reunion. She’d like Shin-young to date someone more mature, not someone who got pissy over her training program.
Though she wasn’t invited, Da-jung inserts herself into the conversation (with her trademark shamelessness) and listens with some sympathy as Sang-woo admits that he was wrong, and that “Thinking now, I think I was afraid I wasn’t loved.” Da-jung ahhs in understanding and wishes him luck.
Sang-woo asks them to tell Shin-young he’ll be waiting outside for her, which she ignores. When she does finally emerge, it’s not to see him but to drop by the supermarket. He tries to plead his case again:
Sang-woo: “I admit I treated you badly. I’m embarrassed for being narrow-minded, too.”
Shin-young: “Then live with that embarrassment.”
Sang-woo: “I called off my wedding. I went through a huge life event, and you know what I felt? That some things don’t happen just through hard work. That life doesn’t happen the way I want.”
Shin-young: “I still can’t forget how cruel your face was that day.”
Sang-woo: “You’re forcing yourself to remember that so you can hate me. Don’t do that.”
Shin-young: “I even wished you’d come back not long ago. But seeing you, I don’t think that anymore. I don’t want to put together a broken relationship.”
Sang-woo insists that he’ll wait, believing that she’ll come back. After all, “Where would you go?!”
Uh-oh. That last bit was a little overboard. Glaring, she says furiously, “You! Marry a woman who’s older than me, uglier, fatter, debt-ridden, with a kid and an awful temper!” She growls, “That’s what will happen to you!”
The ladies mope that night over wine. Shin-young’s problem is that she hasn’t had a lot of men (or relationships) in her life, having dated Sang-woo out of university through the age of thirty. There just aren’t a lot of men coming across her path.
Da-jung says her problem is that all the men she wants ignore her, while she only gets pursued by ones she doesn’t like. Story of everyone’s dating life, eh? (Although I’m sure Da-jung’s stringent requirements make this even worse for her.)
When Shin-young wraps up her acupuncture treatments, a flashback takes us back to a previous scene, when Min-jae had found out that Shin-young was the woman Ban-seok had a crush on. Min-jae had questioned Ban-seok’s taste for liking such an ill-mannered woman and scoffed at Ban-seok’s praise. However, Ban-seok had insisted, “I like her.”
Now, as Shin-young thanks him for curing her ailment, Ban-seok makes his move. Well, as much a move as a conservative, shy bachelor can make: He tells her he’s heading to a seminar in England, but in case she has any problems, she should be sure to try his cell phone. With that excuse established, he gives her his card.
At school, Shin-young gives a lecture on interview guidlelines but finds herself distracted by Min-jae, who holds up a camera and snaps shots while she talks. It causes her to trail off and nearly lose her thought, so she gives the class a break and calls Min-jae up to ask him why he keeps taking photos of her. Min-jae points behind her to the blackboard — he was shooting that, not her. He enjoys her disconcerted reaction, asking pointedly, “You didn’t think I was taking pictures of you because I’d fallen for your beauty, did you?” Embarrassed, she doesn’t have a good answer for that, and he adds, “Sorry for disappointing you.”
Class resumes, and Shin-young continues her lecture. When Min-jae again picks up his camera, she defiantly erases the board. Still, he takes one last photo of her.
He may have denied it to her face, but he really was taking photos of Shin-young, although they are ostensibly for Ban-seok’s benefit. The two look at the images, and Ban-seok thinks she’s even prettier in photos. Min-jae begrudgingly asks what’s so pretty about her, but Ban-seok isn’t fazed. He just says, “Just wait ten years, then you’ll develop some taste.”
Ban-seok is proud of himself for giving Shin-young his number, but when he asks Min-jae if she’s likely to call, he deflates at Min-jae’s negative answer. Min-jae points out, “She has a lot of pride. She’s not the type to make an advance. Plus, you’re not the type to attract women.”
This worries Ban-seok — then what is he supposed to do? Min-jae suggests that he make the first call from England, to which Ban-seok balks. She’ll think he’s weird! He changes his tune when Min-jae counters, “Then die an old bachelor.”
Taking another look at one last photo, Ban-seok prods, “Isn’t she pretty here?” This time, Min-jae’s expression grows more serious and he concedes taht she is, a little distracted by his thoughts.
All is going well at work until Shin-young’s sunbae Myung-seok mentions, “I hear you went to an exorcism.” She tries to laugh it off, but the MBS reporter is Myung-seok’s old school friend so the denial rings false. If Shin-young appears on a competitor’s news program, it would be bad professionally (on top of being plain humiliating), so she begs Myung-seok to help block the story. She and her co-worker Hye-jin brainstorm — maybe they can offer one of their own stories in exchange for pulling the dating exorcism one.
Myung-seok agrees to help and makes a call. A little while later, he gives her the good news that MBS agreed to back off. Myung-seok had explained that Shin-young had been working on her own story, but their team had interrupted.
Now she gets to work on her own story. Her team is trying to score an interview with the coach of an Asian Games silver medalist in boxing, but the request was refused. Therefore, Shin-young heads to the gym to try to persuade him into agreeing. The coach tells her that if she can beat him in the ring, he’ll do it. After all, a reporter ought to have knowledge of what they’re talking about, right?
Unsurprisingly, she fails. But she’s not one to give up, and promises to come back tomorrow.
In London, Ban-seok psychs himself up to call Shin-young, agonizing over it and chickening out of a few preliminary attempts. When he finally does call, he stutters and speaks in stiff, formal language, saying he’s just checking on her condition. Also, he prepared a small present for her — nothing to feel pressure over — and requests to meet her the day he returns.
She’s busy that night, and he can barely contain his disappointment, forcing a laugh. But he musters his courage again and presses one more time. Shin-young is a little taken aback, but offers to meet him at the airport since she’ll be nearby.
Shin-young consults with Bu-ki, guessing that he’s interested in her. She thinks it’s a little odd, but Bu-ki tells her not to be too skeptical up front — meet him and see how things go.
When she meets him at the airport, there are lots of awkward pauses and uncomfortable silences. He talks about his seminar, and in a bid to make polite conversation, Shin-young muses that she likes London; it would be great to go back. (He blurts, “Together?” before realizing that’s not what she meant.)
She drops him off at the hospital, where he promises to pay her back for the favor by taking her to dinner later. He gives her the gift and reminds her to take her medicine. It’s cute that Ban-seok is thoroughly pleased with how he handled himself, although anyone else would have buried his head in embarrassment.
The ladies convene to eye the present curiously. Enjoying the anticipation, Shin-young opens the box excitedly… until they realize it’s just a box of chocolates. No card.
Da-jung suggests that there’s actually something inside the chocolate, like a ring. Bu-ki agrees — men who are inexperienced in dating tend to do dumb things like that in the name of romance. Shin-young pops a chocolate into her mouth and feels around carefully. The other ladies join in. When the first few yield nothing, they continue with the rest of the box.
But no ring. Just chocolate.
Now the ladies are confused and a little bit insulted. That’s… it? He called all the way from London just to give her chocolate? Did he just want to save on taxi fare?
Shin-young starts to get angry, and Da-jung backs her up — there’s no way she can date a man like this who has no common sense. Plus, she’d have to teach how to date, step by step. Da-jung declares that the woman who marries him will have a time of it (which makes me think it will probably be her, heh).
Bu-ki orders them to get dressed to go for a run — they’d better work out to burn off all that chocolate. Next time, they’re just going to crush the candies rather than eating.
One might wonder why they didn’t just do that in the first place, but I suppose Shin-young wanted to play along with the fantasy of “accidentally” finding a ring in her surprise gift (which, by the way, is one of the dumbest romantic gestures ever! Guys, precious metal in one’s colon = NOT happy fun romantic times!) She explains as much in a voiceover as she and her friends work out:
Shin-young’s narration: “It’s the feeling of wanting to be repaid handsomely after spending such a long time in loneliness. Only those women who detest luxury bags and talented boyfriends may throw stones at us now. Next winter won’t be cold, because he will come — I’m looking at the thin coat I’ve bought for the occasion. In this seemingly endless winter, I am Lee Shin-young, jogging in the middle of the night to melt my frozen heart.”
As promised, Shin-young returns to the boxing gym repeatedly to pester the coach for the interview, and finally succeeds. The coach relents, and the resulting piece is well-received by Shin-young’s boss. Things are definitely looking up, because in addition to this piece, she’s got others in the works.
Shin-young celebrates this upswing in her life by going out on the weekend with the girls, shoe shopping and relaxing at the sauna. Unfortunately, the day is cut short with bad news: they’re on television. The dating exorcism story went on air, describing them as 34-year-old single women praying for marriage in a fraudulent dating exorcism. (The words “desperate” and “man-starved” are not used, but the implication can’t be missed.)
Ban-seok had felt good about himself for making an advance with Shin-young (however weak), but as time passes and he gets no response, he grows upset and grumbles that he’s never taking Min-jae’s advice again. Min-jae counters that his advice had been to call from London, but to keep it short and then not call back once he was in Korea. That would keep Shin-young intrigued enough to return for another treatment out of curiosity. He calls Ban-seok’s move weak — he should have at least had a designer scarf for her!
Ban-seok retreats to his fallback stance — women are all materialistic, so he’s giving up. (A stance that once seemed noble is starting to seem a little self-defeating, no?) He adds that he’d been wrong about Shin-young — she isn’t the type who’s receptive to a guy’s advances.
Now that Ban-seok has declared he’s backing off, Min-jae jumps at this opportunity to make this a challenge: “What if she’s not? If I make her fall for me, what’ll you do?” Ban-seok laughs, not taking him seriously, but Min-jae proposes a bet. Ban-seok takes it, since the terms aren’t too bad: If Min-jae makes Shin-young fall for him, Ban-seok will owe him a favor. If Min-jae can’t, he’ll give up music.
Min-jae is pretty confident of himself, and gets to work winning her over. Which first requires him to push her away.
On the last day of Shin-young’s class, he comes staggering in late, looking ill. Seeing his wan face, Shin-young asks in concern whether he’s sick. He responds weakly that even if he’s sick, he had to make it to the last day. When he turns away, he allows himself a triumphant smile, because this is all part of his act — he had used concealer on his lips to fade out the color from his face.
He further piques her interest by acting listless and leaving the classrom without showing any inclination of talking to her. Instead, he just hands her a plain envelope with a gift bow stuck to the front. When she opens it, she finds her photo, the one he had taken during class (which is now an admission that he was taking her picture instead of the chalkboard).
To her surprise, Shin-young also sees Min-jae at the UBN office. As he walks down the hall toward her, she straightens and waits expectantly with a smile… but he just gives her a slight bow and breezes right past her.
When she talks to another producer about the staging for a shoot, she looks up to see Min-jae chatting in a friendly way with another woman. Again, Shin-young is distracted, and she wraps up her talk quickly and heads over to talk to Min-jae, only to find him gone. She asks her co-workers if he dropped by to see her, and is mildly disappointed to hear that he hadn’t.
But this curiosity quickly gets pushed to the backburner when Shin-young hears that her sunbae Myung-seok is back from a business trip. Angrily, she calls and asks for a meeting, and talks to him in an empty studio. Min-jae sees Shin-young storming off for the meeting and watches, out of sight, as she confronts him about the exorcism story. Not only did he lie about getting the story killed, he took the story she offered as an exchange for pulling the story and used it himself.
At first Myung-seok feigns innocence, acting surprised to hear about this. But Shin-young isn’t fooled, and calls him a low-down reporter — she had known from the start when he boasted about betraying someone for a story: “I decided then that I’d better not turn out like that.”
Myung-seok counters by saying she’s the worst loser at UBN — she’s hanging on, ignoring the indications that people want her to voluntarily resign, still single at her age. He offers her severance pay, so she’d better leave. Otherwise, he warns, he’s going to make sure she has a hellish time here.
Shin-young doesn’t bat an eyelash and answers firmly, “I’ve put up with it and hung in there for ten years, and grown stronger. You won’t be able to fire me so easily.” He may politick around and play up the old boys’ club, but she’s going to make a strong program that’ll be so successful that people will have to take her seriously.
With that, Shin-young storms off with angry tears in her eyes. Min-jae watches her with a solemn gaze, feeling for her. He waits for her downstairs in the lobby, and catches her on her way out. Unlike before when he was playing hard to get, now he’s friendly. He explains that he was here to meet with producers, since he and a friend are going to be music directors for a program.
He also asks, “Do you know that there’s a tape of ballet dancer Lee Cho-hee singing?” That doesn’t mean much to us, but Shin-young is immediately intrigued — a lost recording of a famous dancer that’s over half a century old? That’s noteworthy. Min-jae is basically giving her a scoop.
Over coffee, Min-jae explains that before Lee Cho-hee became famous, she recorded in Japan under a false name. The song in question is an aria from Carmen. He knows this because a record label president told him, and the recording is in the possession of his friend.
Shin-young’s mind is awhirl — how to prove that the recording is authentic? Min-jae suggests comparing known recordings of her voice to the aria with the help of a phonetics lab analysis. Together, they get to work looking up her old recordings. Shin-young tells him she can do it alone, but he is only too happy to stay and help, boasting that he’s good at listening to voices, and can tell how a person feels just from their tone.
To test him, Shin-young asks how she’s feeling now. He smiles, but doesn’t want to answer. She asks why, and he grins, “Because I think you like me.” She returns, “It sounds like you’re saying that hopefully.”
Min-jae picks up on her choice of words — she’s shortened her address so now they’re talking more familiarly. (In particular, she uses the word “jagi,” which means “you” and is used in a friendly, close way. It could be with a friend, but more often is used with a boyfriend/girlfriend.) Shin-young mutters that she’s surrounded by difficult people.
They find what they’re looking for and take it in for a technician’s assessment. Comparing the aria, the specialist determines that there’s a 99% likelihood that it’s the dancer.
Over a coffee break, Shin-young thanks Min-jae for his help and promises to treat him to a nice meal later, when the program airs. Min-jae promises to treat her sometime, too, since he just got paid a songwriting fee.
When she gets up to handle the bill, the cashier tells her, “Your boyfriend already paid.” Rather than correcting the misconception, Min-jae just smiles and tells her to buy him something nice next time. (He also winks at the cashier, which suggests that he told him to use the word “boyfriend,” as part of his plan to get Shin-young interested in him.)
Sang-woo waits for Shin-young at the apartment and finds a sympathetic audience in Da-jung. When Shin-young arrives, her expression sours and she scolds her roommate for letting him in. She tells him to leave, and when he lingers, she ignores him.
Spying the photo in Shin-young’s purse, Da-jung asks about it. Shin-young asks if she knows who the independent songwriter Ha Min-jae is, and both Da-jung and Sang-woo have heard of him. (Sang-woo, in fact, is a fan who has seen him perform live.) Shin-young pointedly says that Min-jae took the photo of her, and Sang-woo not only doesn’t believe her, he thinks it’s embarrassing that she would actually say that. He scoffs that thinking that Min-jae is interested in her just makes her look pathetic.
That provokes her temper, so Shin-young orders him to leave immediately. Sang-woo asks, shouldn’t she cut him some slack when he’s begging like this? (She retorts, “Then don’t beg.”)
He asks, “Where will you find someone as good as me at your age?” and advises her to come to her senses because she’s not 20 anymore. This mention of age gets both women’s hackles up, and they inform him that times have changed, and threatening a woman with her age is passé.
Pride nettled, Shin-young declares, “I could even date Ha Min-jae, instead of an old guy like you!” Not at all threatened, Sang-woo wonders, “Why would he date an auntie like you?” and tells her to get her act together.
At the gym, Ban-seok is expecting Min-jae to have failed in his challenge to make Shin-young fall for him. On the contrary, Min-jae assures his hyung that he’ll send proof that he’s succeeded — in the form of “a decisive photo” — tonight. Ban-seok is surprised — does this mean they’re really dating? Min-jae just tells him to sit tight and wait for his picture.
Min-jae drops by the studio as Shin-young is preparing to film her piece, which should air sometime next week. Following a successful shoot, she invites him to the wrap party with the crew, who relocate to a bar to celebrate the night’s efforts.
Everyone does rounds together, and when Min-jae struggles to drink his, Shin-young swoops in. Buoyed by great spirits, she announces that she’ll drink for him, and finishies his beer. And again. And again. Pretty soon, she’s holding her head and feeling the effects. When Min-jae asks if she’s okay, she asks for some water, explaining that she just wanted to protect him.
But this isn’t actually a misguided act of gallantry, because as soon as Min-jae steps away, Shin-young furtively primps in the mirror and touches up her lipgloss. When he comes back, she feigns drunkenness again, acting demure.
A flashback to her argument with Sang-woo explains her act — she had taken affront to his comments that she’s old and undesirable to other men. She’d challenged, “If I date Ha Min-jae — if I make him fall in love with me, will you leave me alone?” Convinced it would never happen, Sang-woo had agreed readily.
Just as Min-jae had told Ban-seok that he’d prove their relationship, she had told Sang-woo the same. While Ban-seok anxiously waits for Min-jae’s photo to arrive, Sang-woo waits outside Shin-young’s apartment to see if she really will be carried home by Min-jae, per her promise.
At the bar, the co-workers pull Min-jae and Shin-young onto the dance floor, and Min-jae pulls out his cell phone to take a photo of the two of them dancing together. This is a little trickier than first anticipated because the others pop in to the photo, but Shin-young’s willingness to cooperate aids things. Feigning dizziness, she stumbles on purpose right into his arms, just as he takes the photo.
She sighs that she’s not feeling too well, and he asks if she’d like him to carry her home. Bingo!
Lee Pil-mo lost me a bit in this episode as Sang-woo. Or should I say, he lost me if he’s just going to be the undeserving ex-boyfriend. If he’s being prepped to connect with one of the other women (my guess is Bu-ki?), he’s not quite doing the job, since he’s being kind of a dick with Shin-young. At first, I had to give Sang-woo credit for coming back and begging, admitting that he was completely wrong rather than trying to justify his past actions. However, even though he claims to love Shin-young, he doesn’t even value her fully, either, since he sees her as an over-the-hill spinster. His two arguments really show that, when he scorns Shin-young’s pride in herself by saying that she won’t ever be able to do better than himself, which means he doesn’t think she deserves any better.
I suspect that the drama may give us the pairings of Bu-ki and Sang-woo, and Da-jung and Ban-seok, although I haven’t yet seen the next two episodes so that’s not based on spoilers. I say this because these two pairings are at odds right now, and it would be too easy to give us the easy one with Da-jung and Sang-woo (which I call easy because Da-jung is sympathetic to Sang-woo whereas Bu-ki is disapproving). Furthermore, Da-jung’s fate was sealed (probably?) the moment she said that she’d pity the woman who married a naive, bumbling guy like Ban-seok. Challenge accepted!
I’m enjoying seeing both Shin-young and Min-jae flirting with trouble here by making this romance thing into a game, because that makes things messy and gets the feelings all confused, in a good way. It’s one thing to pretend to be liking each other — that’s easy — but it’s another thing entirely to admit that the feelings may be real. We’re already seeing multiple layers, particularly when Min-jae talks with Ban-seok and derides his crush. He protests (too much) about her charms (or lack thereof), but that’s really just him trying to convince himself. Plus, he was definitely disgruntled to have someone else potentially step in ahead of him, which is why he is so quick to jump on things as soon as Ban-seok declares he’s backing off. I think the bet to win over Shin-young is partly a fun challenge for him, but it’s also a way of legitimately pursuing her without being a bad friend — he wouldn’t “steal” her from a friend who expresses interest first, but he certainly doesn’t prod Ban-seok to give it another try.
They’re both playing games when it’s not real — like Min-jae’s playing hard to get in class — but I like that they both drop the pretenses when it IS real. That’s why I can like Min-jae despite the silly bet, because when Shin-young is actually feeling bad, he steps in to help, the act forgotten for the moment.