Generally I don’t have a problem buying Choi Siwon playing a 28-year-old in this role — he can look older than his age and he’s dressed like a grown-up — but in this shot (from a fantasy sequence, no worries about additional kiddos showing up unannounced) he positively looks like a high schooler. Until he strips that shirt off and bares his choco abs, of course — and this drama sure doesn’t skimp on showing off his physique. Not that I’m complaining.
SONG OF THE DAY
Oh My Lady OST – “못났죠” (Aren’t I stupid?). The soundtrack is generally upbeat but this is my favorite track, used in more subtle scenes. It reminds me of God of Study‘s “Because I’m Weary” in that it’s an unexpected but nice break from the lightness. [ Download ]
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Min-woo gets stuck taking pictures with the two schoolgirls, who are not from Seoul and therefore easily excited at the idea of running into celebrities. Min-woo takes advantage of their interest in other stars by pointing them off into the distance and saying that Kang Dong-won, Hyun Bin, and some other big names all live in the same neighborhood.
Having rid himself of them, he turns back to look for his daughter… but finds her gone. Even though he was thinking of ditching her just a few minutes prior, I have to think he’s got a heart (or at least a shred of one) because his first reaction is fear. Two seconds later that turns to relief when he sees Ye-eun sitting quietly nearby. He can’t be ALL bad if he’s relieved to find her, right?
Min-woo brings the girl back home and fields a call from his manager Yoon-seok, who finds Min-woo’s behavior suspicious and asks if he’s gotten into trouble again. Min-woo hesitates, then answers no.
He gets bad news from his friend Tae-gu, who informs him that nobody knows where to find Yeon-hee. Without any way to contact her, Min-woo will have to be stuck with the girl a while longer.
As Min-woo gulps water out of frustration, he sees the note that Kae-hwa has left on his fridge: “If you get angry, don’t just drink water but call me if you have trouble.” Irritated with Kae-hwa (and also the fact that she knew him well enough to predict his behavior), he rips up the note and tosses it in the trash.
He also finds Kae-hwa’s proposal, which contains a Jerry Maguire-inspired memo about huge agencies not caring about their stars, and only seeing them as moneymakers. She has also made note of the fact that Min-woo tends to get restless when he is asked about his acting ability and often shakes his leg in interviews. This indicates that he may be conscious of his lack, despite his overall confidence as a star. Again, Min-woo’s disgruntled to have Kae-hwa acting like she knows him.
All these thoughts spin him off into a fantasy scenario where he’s facing a press conference alone when he announces the existence of a child. The reporters pelt him with eggs and scorn for his irresponsible outlook (he admits he has a child but doesn’t want to be a father), and soon the news is flooded with stories digging into his personal life. Eventually he has to repent and finds himself relegated to serving drinks at a cafe and accepting tips from patrons to feed his kids — yes, in his nightmare scenario, he’s saddled with two additional crying babies.
That sound brings him back to the present, because Ye-eun won’t stop crying. He tries to hush her, and a neighbor rings his doorbell to ask about the crying noise (he assumes it’s coming from next door and tells Min-woo he’ll stop it). Without any other ideas, he grabs the ripped note from the trash and pieces it back together to find Kae-hwa’s phone number.
Kae-hwa is cautiously optimistic about the call, but also wary. Not wanting to get her hopes up only to have Min-woo renege on his promise, she declines to step inside his place until he first signs a contract. It’s not the official one for the musical production, merely a short one promising to accept the musical role. With a sigh, Min-woo agrees to sign the official contract later today.
He leaves her to take care of Ye-eun, and Kae-hwa rejoices to realize she’s going to get her office job after all. Min-woo is much less thrilled and works out his frustrations at the gym. This is our first of several sweaty/muscley Siwon shots this episode.
Shi-joon has no idea his marriage is facing trouble but discovers this because of his wife Jung-ah’s carelessness. As soon as he leaves home for work, she gets on the phone with her boyfriend. Shi-joon turns back to retrieve some forgotten documents, which is when he hears Jung-ah speaking affectionately and saying, “I love you, too.”
It’s quite a blow, and Shi-joon reacts with shock and anger. Half in a daze, he follows her as she leaves and tails behind her car in his own. He is unfortunately cut off by traffic and has to abandon his chase.
Kae-hwa drops off Ye-eun with her friend Bok-nim, who’s a pediatrician, before heading to meet Min-woo and The Show Company to work out contract details. She’s worried because she can’t get a hold of him on the phone and he’s enough of a flake that she is on edge that he might not show, so when he does arrive, she grabs him in a sudden hug. The look on his face is pretty telling (it practically reads, “Crazy ajumma alert! Back away slowly”).
Kae-hwa’s quite proud of herself for securing Min-woo’s cooperation, and she introduces him to the other employees, Jin-ho and Jae-hee. However, it soon becomes clear that Min-woo and Shi-joon already know each other, from the way they talk.
(I get a kick out of the total Zoolander face Siwon’s working in the pic below. How apt, given his pretty pretty face and his diva personality. Blue Steel forever!)
As before, the men’s conversation takes on subtly challenging undertones, as both men banter back and forth like they’re jockeying for power. Shi-joon didn’t think Min-woo would agree, based on his response at their last meeting, so Min-woo gets up, saying he can always just leave. Kae-hwa jumps in and quickly fabricates, “He said he felt the need for a new challenge.”
Shi-joon needs Min-woo much more than the other way around, but he’s still not the type of guy to fawn over someone to flatter their vanity. Quite the contrary. Therefore he says coolly that they didn’t strictly want Min-woo; they just needed a star. Min-woo understands that Shi-joon is calling him a mere star but not an actor, and answers that in that case, the company should treat him like a star.
Despite this exchange, both sides proceed with the agreement, and Kae-hwa sees Min-woo out. She tries to talk to him about Ye-eun, but Min-woo says impatiently that he doesn’t care to hear about her.
Shi-joon reads over Kae-hwa’s proposal to Min-woo, and wonders at Min-woo’s change of heart. He knows him well enough to know that casting him was a long shot — he’s immature, arrogant, and avoids hard work. Does Kae-hwa have some secret deal with him? Diplomatically, Kae-hwa answers that he’s probably just maturing.
In any case, Shi-joon agrees that this worked out well and is a good opportunity for everyone. He entrusts her with the task of making sure things run smoothly, and has a workspace set up for her. She has earned her job, as promised.
The news soon spreads about Min-woo’s casting in the musical, and one man who is not happy about his is Eom Dae-young, Shi-joon’s rival musical producer. Producer Eom blusters that Min-woo’s a poor choice as a pretty boy star (read: not true actor), and while Shi-joon may agree personally, he isn’t going to admit that to him and says that there’s nothing wrong with using a pretty boy actor if he’s right for the part. Producer Eom reminds him that Min-woo’s famous for his horrible acting, so Shi-joon answers that a skilled producer can draw out the actor’s talent.
Shi-joon has won this round fairly easily, but his good mood takes a hit when he spies his wife walking out of the restaurant, arm in arm with another man. He runs out after them, but their car roars off before he can reach them.
Hit hard by this shock, Shi-joon broods and seeks out some solo time on the roof of his office building. Overcome with anger, he punches the wall, and seriously, this is the most emotion I’ve seen from actor Lee Hyun-woo since… ever?
Kae-hwa checks in with Min-ji at lunchtime, and her daughter’s answers are pretty upsetting. Hearing that Min-ji was left home alone to eat ramen, she instructs her to come out to meet her immediately, and buys her lunch.
As they eat, Kae-hwa tells Min-ji that she’s got a new job now, working with that famous star Sung Min-woo. Min-ji isn’t impressed: “I don’t really like Sung Min-woo. He’s sleazy and cocky.” (Kae-hwa is pleased that her daughter has good taste.)
After lunch, she calls her ex, Byung-hak, and lets him have it. How could he leave a child at home alone for three days to go off to a spa for a vacation with his new wife? Byung-hak doesn’t think what he did was so bad and even tries to wheedle Kae-hwa into talking to his father for him. Byung-hak doesn’t want to work for him anymore and Dad’s always liked Kae-hwa, so he’ll listen to her. This conversation tells us a few things: Byung-hak is immature, irresponsible, and wussy.
So it is that Shi-joon looks up from his brooding to see Kae-hwa at the other side of the roof, strangling a broom as though it’s her husband and muttering things like “Jerk! Cheater!” His treatment of Min-ji is what unleashed the temper but now she’s venting old grievances — she’d put up with his immaturity and other faults, but cheating was the one thing he really shouldn’t have done. She declares that she will turn her life around, earn money, send Min-ji to school abroad, “and meet a man a hundred times better than you and remarry!”
She calms herself and heads back, which is when she sees Shi-joon. Embarrassed, she asks if he heard. His denial is cute, because it’s obvious he did:
Kae-hwa: “Did you… by any chance hear?”
Kae-hwa: “What didn’t you hear?”
It’s then that she notices his bleeding hand, but it’s clear he doesn’t want to talk about it so she leaves him to his privacy.
Manager Yoon-seok finds Min-woo at the gym, pissed off, to confront him about his musical role. Doesn’t he know that signing a contract without his management’s approval is a breach of contract? Min-woo points out that Yoon-seok signs for him all the time.
Yoon-seok asks if he’s being forced to do it, not buying Min-woo’s vague answer that he just likes the project. After all, he’s a guy who never even bothers reading the script. However, given Min-woo’s sensitivity about his acting, and his recent disillusionment with Yoon-seok’s tactics, the comment rankles. (It may be true that he sucks at acting, but he’s quite self-conscious about it, so pointing it out makes him defensive.)
This point is highlighted one more time when the spa employee expresses surprise at Min-woo’s plans to read. With boyish defensiveness, he grumbles that he can read scripts if he wants to — only, he doesn’t even get two lines into the script before he starts dozing.
When Kae-hwa picks up Ye-eun, Bok-nim tells her that the girl may not be able to talk for a while and needs further treatment with a specialist. It’s not that she is choosing not to speak, but that emotional shock has caused her to lose her ability to talk entirely.
This is big news, so Kae-hwa calls Min-woo to schedule a time to talk. Uninterested in anything she might have to say, he refuses to come to the hospital to meet her and hangs up on her, entering her into his phone as “meddler.”
So Kae-hwa comes to the spa instead, where he’s getting a massage — and this drama just keeps giving us excuses to see him half-naked, doesn’t it?
Contrary to her grave demeanor, his response to the news is, “So?” She urges him to be a real father to Ye-eun, because the most important element in recovering her speech is to feel love and support from her parents. Selfish as ever, Min-woo counters that he’s the one who’s to be pitied — does she even know how much is life has been turned upside down because of the kid?
Kae-hwa is not impressed with his answer, and glares. She maintains that they must help Ye-un, and he won’t be able to find her mother anyway until she speaks again.
As they leave the spa, Min-woo grabs Kae-hwa aside and tells her furtively, “Let’s just leave her somewhere.” Since the girl can’t talk, nobody will be able to trace her to them.
Quite rightly, Kae-hwa kicks him. (He balks, “Do you know how much this body’s worth?” She retorts, “I don’t know about your body, but your brain isn’t even worth a penny!”) She questions his sense of decency, accusing him of not having any, and then adds in a dig: “That’s why your acting is how it is.”
Ah, now that’s the way to his heart! (Or his wounded ego.) Min-woo is offended at her comment that his acting sucks because he lacks basic human character, and without that he’ll never be able to act well.
Now that she’s pricked his weak spot, he pricks hers by grumbling that she’s tiresome, and her husband must have tired of her. Hurt at that low blow, Kae-hwa tells him furiously that fine, she will step aside, since he finds her so meddlesome. Min-woo reminds her that if she backs out and breaks their contract, then he’s also going to back out of the musical.
Angrily, she declares, “I won’t work with a lowlife like you either!” and storms off.
Now we meet Yura, who is flying back to Korea from the U.S. to meet her boyfriend. One guess who that is.
Meanwhile, Min-woo hears about Yeon-hee’s whereabouts, but it’s not good news. She has married and moved to the U.S., and tied up all her loose ends in Korea to embark on a new life. I guess she thought a child was a loose end.
Not knowing the full story, Tae-gu thinks this is good, because he was afraid Yeon-hee would try to blackmail Min-woo — maybe threaten him with a sex video, or suicide threats. Instead, she left a simple message for him: “Sorry and thank you. Take care. I leave everything to you.”
Kae-hwa brings Ye-eun home and sings her to sleep, which is the sight that greets Min-woo upon his arrival. He watches the two for a moment, and a thought comes to him. Quietly, he leaves the two and waits for Kae-hwa in the living room. The wineglasses show that he’s approaching this as a truce, and he invites her to sit down for a chat.
Kae-hwa’s still a little stiff after their earlier argument and keeps her distance. When he comments at the way she doesn’t treat him differently even though he’s famous, she scoffs, “People are all the same. What’s different if you’re famous?”
With a smile and a conciliatory tone, Min-woo suggests that they try to get along from now on, and pours her a glass of wine. He explains that he was completely taken off-guard when Ye-eun showed up, and that’s why he said all those ridiculous things — he didn’t really mean them.
Kae-hwa loosens up at his warm demeanor and his explanation, and accepts the drink. There’s also a brief moment where she looks at him in a different light — sensing a brief attraction — which unsettles her.
Frankly, seeing Min-woo acting so nice has ME wound up with suspense, because I don’t believe for a second that he’s actually being nice for the sake of being nice. And sure enough, the reason for his friendly overture becomes apparent as he prepares to get to his main point.
Adding tension to the moment is the arrival of Yura, who steps out of the elevator and makes her way toward Min-woo’s door. Clearly he is the boyfriend she spoke of, and she pauses in front of the door to prepare herself…
…while Kae-hwa waits expectantly as Min-woo says, “It’s hard for me to say this, but… please be Ye-eun’s mother.”
And she spits her wine all over his face, just as Yura reaches to ring the doorbell.
I don’t feel an emotional connection to this drama yet, in that everything is light and quick and entertaining without making much of an emotional statement yet. This isn’t to say that it’ll never happen, because we’re still pretty early in the run, although I’ve definitely seen plenty where that connection was there from the start.
On the positive end of things, Oh My Lady is very easy to watch, and there’s potential for it to get more interesting. I’m still in it to see how Chae Rim and Choi Siwon’s budding relationship will evolve, because right now they’ve got the bickering stuff down but Min-woo is far from deserving Kae-hwa, or even the audience’s sympathies. I like that he’s selfish and irritable — just as Kim Ji-hoon was so easy to dislike until about six episodes into Wish Upon a Star — and I’m looking forward to the change. I just hope that the romantic chemistry is credible.
But interestingly enough, I was most surprised with Lee Hyun-woo in this episode. Granted, I haven’t seen everything he’s done but I have seen several dramas with him so far, and he has always been such a bland, wooden actor playing the same kind of cold professional character. But suddenly, he’s emoting! I wouldn’t call it brilliant emoting, but just seeing him portraying any sort of anger, hurt, pain, and frustration was a nice surprise. I guess this goes to show you can never rule someone out — not when he finally shows some acting growth at the ripe age of 44!