The drama is stepping things up, which is a good sign since I thought the last two episodes were already a marked improvement. Despite his relative inexperience, after seeing Choi Siwon act in Hyang Dan three years ago I was expecting him to be decent. But I wasn’t expecting him to carry the show, which he pretty much is doing. (Which is no insult to Chae Rim; I’d just like to see her doing something that actually makes use of her talents.)
SONG OF THE DAY
Coconut – “Hello” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
After Min-woo makes the announcement that he and Kae-hwa are dating, he smiles at the press, gets up, and walks out coolly.
Kae-hwa is flabbergasted, Yoon-seok is disgruntled, Reporter Han is suspicious, and Yura… well, let’s just say she was gripping her drink so hard I was hoping that the smoothie would burst all over her. But her vexation is almost satisfaction enough. She gripes that his comment should have been about her, not Kae-hwa.
Kae-hwa is more resigned than touched by Min-woo’s grand gesture, and tells Bok-nim that although he was probably thinking to save her, he just added fuel to the fire. Bok-nim asks if it’s true, to which Kae-hwa retorts that she’d be crazy to date such a rude young’un like Min-woo. (Her friend’s response? Everyone else would think HE’s the weird one for dating Kae-hwa.)
Bok-nim comments that the announcement felt sincere, and Kae-hwa mutters that he’s an actor: “When did that lousy actor learn to act?”
This also means that when Kae-hwa arrives at work, reporters and angry fans bearing anti-Kae-hwa signs are haunting the sidewalk. Kae-hwa decides to go for it and heads toward the door with her head down. When a reporter calls out her name, she ducks and says she’s not Kae-hwa, but the denial convinces nobody and she is accosted for an interview.
When she finally manages her way inside, she finds the others regarding her coolly, assuming the rumors are true. Kae-hwa can’t deny them, and Jae-hee is back to being snippy, annoyed at the inconvenience this poses to them all.
Kae-hwa apologizes to Shi-joon and promises to take responsibility for this scandal, although she’s not sure how. He asks if she means to write her resignation, and comments that quitting over a personal matter is even more irresponsible. He instructs his staff to power through and get back to work, and Kae-hwa is relieved that he doesn’t seem terribly ruffled by the gossip.
Byung-hak, on the other hand, comes in to lecture them all for their unprofessional behavior. When he addresses Shi-joon for the lax way he runs his business (letting an employee run amok and date his star), Kae-hwa grabs him and takes him to the roof for a private talk.
He asks if she really did blackmail Min-woo, because that makes more sense to him than a romance. At first I wondered whether I’d have to rescind the positive things I’d said in the previous recap, but I think this is in character. He isn’t angry or accusing, but incredulous.
Kae-hwa becomes so annoyed at his high-handed behavior that when he asks if she’s really dating Min-woo, she declares, “He says I’m beautiful!” Haha. That just makes Byung-hak burst into laughter, although he soon stops when she gets a phone call from Min-woo. Kae-hwa doesn’t answer the call, but it’s enough to make Byung-hak uncertain.
Back in the office, Jae-hee also has a hard time accepting the news and asks what Kae-hwa’s secret is, unable to picture them together. Jin-ho decides that Min-woo must have unique (read: eccentric) taste in women.
Shi-joon’s unperturbed demeanor can be attributed to the fact that he knows Min-woo’s announcement was merely a PR ploy, and now he expresses his disappointment in Min-woo’s tactic. Did he really think that would solve things? In reality, it has increased problems for Kae-hwa, who’s now being harassed by the media and his fan club.
Min-woo asks what he should have done — in the moment, that was the best he could do. Shi-joon says that Kae-hwa’s not used to the attention and cameras, and cautions him to take care that she’s not hurt further.
For the first time ever, Min-woo defers to Shi-joon and asks for advice on what he ought to focus on for this musical — what’s the most important thing? This is his first time acting without Yoon-seok, and he has to make sure he’s successful. This is one more step in Min-woo’s growth as a person and an actor, and Shi-joon answers that he ought to concentrate on the solo — if he can pull that off properly, he’s halfway to success.
Byung-hak’s threats to pull his investment have just been bluster, but now Eom tells him to withdraw his funds — is he going to put his money into a project where is ex is dating the star? Byung-hak actually gives a pretty mature response, saying that that’s a matter between the two single people, but I’m not too hopeful that he’ll stick with his more noble thoughts.
He asks what would happen if he did take back his funds, and Eom answers that not only would the company be over, so would Min-woo’s project and his ex-wife’s job. What better revenge is there? (Except… let’s not forget that you cheated on her, so even using the word revenge is ridiculous.)
But perhaps it won’t be such a big issue even if he takes back his money: Jin-ho looks online, and the news is starting to trend well for them. People are commenting that if Min-woo’s dating Kae-hwa, she must have other qualities if not her looks (you know, since Chae Rim is such a troll). Interest in their musical is skyrocketing and opinions of Min-woo are rising. Jae-hee even gets an email from someone interested in sponsoring the musical. All this gives Kae-hwa some relief that the scandal is no longer a burden to the company.
Yura bursts in to the office wearing her bitchface to confront Kae-hwa, and has the nerve to ask the employees to step outside to give them privacy. (Jin-ho doesn’t mind because she’s hot. Sigh. Boys!)
Kae-hwa is surprised that Yura believed the press conference, saying that her dating Min-woo makes no sense — he was misguidedly trying to help her against the blackmail claims. Yura is appeased, but is still suspicious of Kae-hwa and Min-woo’s relationship. Without giving away the issue of Ye-eun, Kae-hwa explains that Min-woo’s going through some difficulty that she’s helping him with.
Kae-hwa gently suggests to an impatient Yura that perhaps she should try to ride this out quietly, since Min-woo will appreciate being given space. That way, he can come to her when he’s ready, and since Min-woo likes her a lot, Yura should trust in him and wait. Her fears assuaged, Yura is much friendlier now; she sees Kae-hwa’s point and decides to give it a try.
Min-woo is busy at rehearsal when he gets called in by Yoon-seok, who wants him to renew his contract. Min-woo thinks Yoon-seok has got some nerve, but the latter casually pulls out the DNA test results as a silent threat, “suggesting” that he’d better renew.
Min-woo isn’t cowed and tells Yoon-seok to do as he pleases. In any case, he will only stay with him through the duration of his current contract, and adds that he’d prefer to end their relationship on good terms.
Unable to get through to Min-woo, Yura harangues Tae-gu into calling him to the smoothie shop. Min-woo knows she must have been shocked at the press conference and apologizes for not calling her back, expecting her to be upset with him. She is, but she keeps Kae-hwa-‘s advice in mind and affects an understanding tone. She tells him she’ll wait until the problem can be resolved and he can talk about it with her, hoping that easing off the pressure will earn her his appreciation. I think he is relieved, but he’s still distracted and excuses himself early, leaving Yura disappointed.
Tae-gu tut-tuts over Min-woo’s odd behavior, saying it was only recently that he was all in a bother to find Yeon-hee — and then he remembers he shouldn’t say that and has to quickly make up an excuse. He tells Yura (who knows Yeon-hee is the girl Min-woo dated after Yura rejected him) that he couldn’t forget Yeon-hee and wanted to find her again. This, of course, does not ease Yura’s already tense nerves.
At the end of the workday, the crowd is still gathered on the sidewalk outside the office, which keeps Kae-hwa from being able to leave. She tells Shi-joon that she’s still here because she has work to do, and although he understands her real reason, he doesn’t interfere. (He can’t help because he’s on his way to a business dinner, but tells her to let him know if she needs help.)
Reporter Han slips inside dressed as a cleaning lady, startling Kae-hwa, who tries to shove him outside when he pesters her for a story. Just then, Min-woo calls her, which piques the reporter’s interest. (He grabs her phone and sees the display, assuming that “Awful Acting” is Min-woo, lol.)
Min-woo is calling from just outside, having seen the crowd gathered on the sidewalk. Naturally she doesn’t want to answer the call in front of the reporter, but there’s no way he’s going to leave with this juicy tidbit dangling in front of him — so he grabs the phone and answers.
But that means that on Min-woo’s end of the line, all he can hear are sounds of struggling between a man and a woman, as Kae-hwa tries to wrest the phone back from the reporter’s grasp.
Hero time! Spurred into action, Min-woo drives through the crowd and parks right in front of the door. Naturally this attracts attention, and as he gets out of the car, camera flashes light up and the fans go crazy.
Kae-hwa has managed to grab her phone back, but Min-woo sees Reporter Han harassing her and shoves him aside, then leads her out of the building. (I love that he thinks to grab her purse for her, which is one of those small gestures that indicates intimacy.)
Shi-joon has returned to the office after dinner in time to witness the scene. His smile indicates approval at Min-woo’s gesture.
His own personal life, however, is just as troubled as Min-woo’s public one — he arrives home to find Jung-ah waiting to present him with divorce papers. He asks why she’s in such a rush; she answers that she doesn’t want to drag this out. She requests, “Just pay me as much attention as you do your employees,” which is a veiled reference to his interest in Kae-hwa.
In the car, Min-woo asks, a little anti-climactically, “So how was your day?” Kae-hwa is exasperated at his impetuous behavior and asks what he was thinking, lying that they’re dating. He says he couldn’t just let her be seen as the bad guy and points out that they can always announce later that they split amicably. He apologizes for causing her trouble, though, which mollifies her.
She’s surprised that he went to rehearsal today, and impressed with his answer that he has to work hard if he doesn’t want to be embarrassed with the musical.
They pick up Ye-eun and head home, but when they pull up to the building, there are more people waiting in front. Kae-hwa urges Min-woo to go inside alone, as she and Ye-eun can spend the night in the jjimjilbang. While Episode 1 Min-woo would have taken the suggestion in a heartbeat, now he thinks for an alternative and suggests going for a drive.
When Kae-hwa’s stomach grumbles, she blames it on Ye-eun (ha), but that is soon followed by the grumbling of Min-woo’s stomach, so they stop by a convenience store for cup ramyun. The cashier sneaks curious looks at her, so Kae-hwa says everyone’s been telling her she looks like Min-woo’s girlfriend. How funny, right?
The trio heads to a park to eat, which is when Min-ji calls to ask if her mother is dating Sung Min-woo. Kae-hwa’s about to explain, but Min-ji says she’s thought it over and decided that Min-woo’s not so bad after all, which throws Mom for a loop. Min-ji has decided that maybe he’s not as sleazy as she originally thought.
It’s clear she’s saying this to ease Mom’s concerns, so Kae-hwa explains that they are friends, but they’re not actually dating like everyone says.
Kae-hwa turns back to join the others, pleasantly surprised to see Min-woo is feeding Ye-eun. Aww!
He asks if she was talking to her daughter, and rather than fluff his ego by repeating Min-ji’s words, Kae-hwa tells him that Min-ji doesn’t think he’s all that great. In fact, she said her mother is wasted on him. Haha. Min-woo banters back that her daughter’s got no taste in men, but ruins the effect by asking, “Did she really say I’m not that great?”
At her store, Yura catches her employees surfing the internet and oohing over Min-woo’s latest news. Peering at the screen, she sees the latest photo of Min-woo ushering Kae-hwa out of the office, which gets her insecurities flaring again. The employees (who have presumably borne the brunt of Yura’s snobbishness in the past) enjoy poking at her pride now, saying that they thought she was dating Min-woo — didn’t she even call him her soulmate? Their knowing looks and giggling add insult to injury.
Yura hurries to Tae-gu to demand he call Min-woo (since she can’t call him, given her promise to back off). Before he can, Tae-gu gets a call from Yeon-hee, who confirms that she’d sent Min-woo her child to raise. As Min-woo had never confided the reason he’d been so desperate to find Yeon-hee, this is news to him.
Both are shocked, but Yura soon recalls the signs that Min-woo was hiding something from her, and it starts to add up. She warns Tae-gu not to tell Min-woo anything or breathe a word of this to anybody. She’s going to tell him herself.
Still killing time, Min-woo practices running his lines, then looks at the backseat to see the other two fast asleep. He covers them with a blanket, smiling at the sight of a sleeping Ye-eun, then lingers to brush a lock of hair out of Kae-hwa’s face.
He ignores Yura’s phone call, then drives to a hotel and tells Kae-hwa to spend the night here, as he’s made reservations. He tells her to call if she has any problems (just look at the expression on his face!), then heads back home… where he finds Yura waiting for him.
Late that night, Jung-ah comes into the living room to see Shi-joon drinking in the dark. Clearly he isn’t dealing with the divorce news well, although he hasn’t bothered (till now) to actually talk to Jung-ah about how he feels about it.
Now he asks for an explanation, and she says that he seemed so far away and alone that sometimes she’d thought he didn’t need a woman. Furthermore, he can’t think of anything else while he’s working, but he works 365 days a year, which leaves no room for her. She knows there’s no excuse for the affair, and can’t forgive herself for it either. Hence the divorce.
Min-woo lets Yura inside, where she sees signs of Ye-eun’s presence, like the origami animals (now on proud display) and her teddy bear. He speaks first: “I think this is as far as we go.” He’s going through things right now and can’t treat her well, nor can he hold on to her. So he’ll let go.
Yura tries to contain her shock and fishes for an explanation, trying to steer him into confiding the truth. Instead, Min-woo falls back on the musical and his schedule, saying that he doesn’t have time for anything else.
Min-woo: “Till now, I think I’ve just gone with the flow. After I started being called a star, I just did as people told me to do, since I lived well enough that way. But now I don’t want to live that way, doing what people tell me. I want to live thinking of the things I want to do.”
His phone rings, and he steps aside to answer. It’s Kae-hwa, who asks Min-woo to bring them Ye-eun’s pajamas and dolls because the girl is unable to sleep in these strange new surroundings. As she is annoyed that Min-woo is answering this call when he ignored hers, Yura eavesdrops and hears him confirming the hotel room number.
Therefore Yura takes her cue to leave, but waits in the parking lot in her car, fuming all the while. When Min-woo gets into his car, and follows him all the way to the hotel, where she keeps herself out of view while he makes his way up to Kae-hwa’s room with Ye-eun’s toys.
Yura can’t make out who answers the door, but when it swings open, she does notice Ye-eun’s little hand tugging on his pants. (Which is ADORABLE.)
Min-woo steps inside the room, where Ye-eun presents him with a drawing, and by now he’s learned enough to praise her for the effort. He compliments her drawing, but guesses wrong (“A monkey? A puppy?”) which makes Ye-eun frown. Kae-hwa surreptitiously points to the teddy bear in her hands, and he guesses right.
Just then, the doorbell rings. Kae-hwa goes to answer it… and opens the door on a very shocked Yura.
And then, Min-woo steps into view carrying Ye-eun.
Byung-hak’s surprise defense of Kae-hwa in the last episode got me thinking about his character, which I hadn’t bothered to do till now because, frankly, the side characters in this drama aren’t really that deep.
Byung-hak has been talking big this whole time, but he doesn’t really mean it, which suggests that he just likes the ego boost of being the investor. I see him as a harmless inconvenience in the big scheme of things, even if he does end up taking back his money. He reminds me of the ex-husband in Last Scandal — albeit a much more likable version — in that he’s a weak, weak man who has been married to a strong woman whom he has grown to dislike because she is proof of his weakness. Oh, he’d like to tell himself his wife is a pushover, but underneath her meek exterior is a spine of steel, and he knows it. It’s probably been emasculating to live with someone whose very existence as a competent and hard-working person casts your own incompetence into stark relief, which is why both men remarried weaker women who made them feel good.
I did particularly enjoy the numerous instances of Yura’s stinkface in this episode, if just because she’s such a boring character otherwise. Alas, Yura’s still pretty toothless and she’s not nearly as fun to hate as In-hee from Personal Taste. I wish Park Han-byul would approach her characters with more gusto, because I think she could be hilarious if she actually had some fun with her villains. In Fantasy Couple, for instance, for the most part she was dull, but in the rare moments when she treated Han Ye-seul as an equal adversary, she was pretty funny. Being pretty is fine and all, but she’ll never get more interesting roles by coasting along by merely being pretty and boring.
Anyway. It’s nice to see Min-woo growing up and bonding with Ye-eun in obvious ways. He’s not even trying to hide it now, as he did before, and he didn’t betray any fear when he basically told Yoon-seok to go shove it. He was even mature about it, saying he’d prefer to keep things friendly between them.
Things seem to be building for Min-woo to claim Ye-eun as his own, both privately and publicly, which takes the sting out of Yura and his friend finding out the truth. In fact, I wonder why they didn’t find out earlier, which would have introduced tension and given us more plot. Don’t get me wrong, as a viewer I like knowing that those two idiots have no sway over Min-woo, but it seems like a missed dramatic opportunity.