Yay, what a zippy, fun, character-development-packed episode. Plus there are more puns, zany references, running jokes — I’m nigh drowning in them. In a good way, of course.
It’s also the first episode that got to me emotionally, which is GREAT. I love that phase of a drama that goes from pure comedy to emotional attachment, but pre-Big Angst. Eee!
SONG OF THE DAY
Best Love OST – “두근두근” (Thumping heart) by Sunny Hill. This is the KBSN song we’ve all grown familiar with, whose title is an onomatopoeic sound that indicates the thumping of a heart. [ Download ]
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Pil-joo accompanies his PD friend on a scouting trip, having turned down an invitation from Se-ri. Paused at a red light, Pil-joo spies the big banner touting Ae-jung’s appearance at the nightclub.
No wonder, then, that he drops in to see her, only to hear (from Fake Dokko Jin, heh) that Ae-jung canceled her performance at the last minute and left.
Ae-jung wakes up in the car — which is now parked at a different, more scenic locale. She walks out to a dock overlooking an amusement-park castle on the water (as cherry blossoms waft down), and comes face to face with Jin.
Trust him to ruin the romance of the moment by pointing out the very romance of the moment, saying, “After being in such a pathetic reality and finding yourself here with me, don’t you feel like you’re dreaming?” Well, when you put it that way…
She’s oblivious to the mood lighting and fantasy ambiance, wondering instead what happened to her nightclub performance. Jin tells her he bought it: “That performance on the day of your 10-year anniversary of your debut, which you waited for while eating a suffocating chunk of kimbap — I bought it.”
She doesn’t understand why, and he replies that it made him angry: “I don’t like you doing that.” He concedes that it’s understandable she’d be confused when he can hardly believe it: “There’s only one answer to all this. What do you think it is?”
She thinks for a moment, then lands on it: “Dokko Jin, it can’t be… Do you like me?” Jin: “Ding-dong.”
But lest you think he’s about to get all sentimental, he adds, “Yes. Which is why I feel like a disgrace.” Whew! Way to be a charmer. It’s like he’s channeling Gu Jun-pyo’s ego AND sense of boyish romance. And maturity level.
Pil-joo, meanwhile, is bothered at the memory of seeing Ae-jung sleeping in her car outside the nightclub — which was then driven away by Jin. Pil-joo asks his friend about him, and hears that he’s dating Se-ri.
Back at the cherry blossoms, Ae-jung confirms that Jin is confessing his feelings for her, using the customary word go-baek. He replies, “It’s not a go-baek, it’s a ja-baek.” Pffffft! Heh, he’s subbed one word for “confession” with another, but the one he uses is the kind a criminal makes when being interrogated by the police.
To pin the blame on her, he says that he’d resisted as long as he could, but she kept pestering him until he had no choice but to cop to his (shameful) feelings.
Ae-jung: “In any case, you’re saying you like me.”
Jin: “How many times do you have to ask?”
Ae-jung: “I just can’t believe it.”
Jin : “You may not believe it, but numerically, it’s true.”
HAHA. To make his point, he glances at his heart monitor, grimacing at its 110 reading. Ae-jung takes a look, and as she touches his wrist, the numbers start climbing. She wonders if his monitor’s broken, so he tells her to confirm for herself, and holds her ear to his chest to hear the thumping.
With a self-satisfied smile, Jin asks if she’s speechless with the honor and gratitude of receiving his affections. Is she trembling with the thrill?
Ae-jung says, “I do feel honored and thankful — but I’m not trembling.” Jin blusters that sure, she can play a little hard to get, only to have her set him down. She turns his words back on him: “There’s only one answer. What do you think it is? I don’t like you. I’m sorry.”
Cruuuuushhhhh. (His ego, I mean, not his over-palpitating heart.) Jin insists that this scenario should be like a dream for her — he secured this location and the scenery and the lights. How dare she upset this dreamlike scenario?
Matter-of-factly, she responds, “Because it’s a dream, I should wake up. Dokko Jin-sshi, I don’t want to feel all aflutter in my dreams. I have to live diligently with my eyes wide open.” She says she’ll pretend this dream didn’t happen, and he doesn’t have to feel disgraced.
She leaves him standing alone, feeling his beating heart.
Ae-jung drives home, only to have a pissy Jin catch up to her car and cut her off. Omg so immature, this overgrown manchild. He orders her to leave her car behind and get in his, threatening to tell everyone she rear-ended him (snerk) and he’ll fake injury, reminding her that he did as much for Peter Jason.
Into the car she goes. She offers to keep mum about this, if they could just put it behind them, and will consider today her chance to see some pretty flowers.
Growling, Jin offers to tell her flower story to match, and pulls over to explain a tale he calls “Camellia.” (Which may be based on a gay love story, whose original characters Jin actually twists around to fit his version.)
The hero of the tale a guy who had everything — good family, background, the works. One day, he looked favorably upon the neighborhood loser, and made his feelings known. But that loser rejected him — so how must he have felt? More than just a little embarrassed. But, that loser had a beloved chicken — and the rejected hero started to torment that chicken. So what happened? That loser cried ever so pathetically that she’d been wrong, sobbing underneath the camellia blooms.
“I’m searching carefully now — Gu Ae-jung, what is your chicken?”
Gah! I’m starting to think Jin’s not just egotistical, but downright unhinged. He plucks a cherry blossom petal from Ae-jung’s sweater and says maniacally, “Away with today’s shameful cherry blossoms of my heart — the camellias of revenge are blooming bright red!” Uh, this guy IS our hero, right?
Later that night, Se-ri calls to thank Pil-joo for the flowers he sent in place of attending the fanmeeting, and invites him to the wrap party. He declines, so she retracts and says that she was just throwing it out there, whatever. Pil-joo asks her if Jin’s with her, and she says no; he, of course, is thinking of seeing Jin with Ae-jung, but Se-ri lets his interest flatter her vanity.
Jin pulls up to his own house, without bothering to drop Ae-jung off at hers. She stays in the car, feeling miffed at his high-handedness, refusing to go into his house: “Do I look that easy to you?” Jin: “You don’t look that hard.”
He clarifies that he doesn’t want her to go inside with him — she ought to go home. Perplexed, she informs him that he’s a pretty strange person; normally, a guy whose advance has been declined will either walk away coolly, or try to change her mind. Jin replies that he has no interest in either: Instead, he’s going to make her (heart) tremble. HAHA. He warns her to prepare herself, because he fully intends to make her heart thump at the thought of him. He means in attraction, right? ‘Cause I can think of a few other emotions that might cause palpitations.
Ae-jung just sighs, telling him to have at it; she’s got a pretty cool, easy-going personality so she can accept his childish antics. “I’ll consider you at Hyung-kyu’s level and let it slide.” Recall that Hyung-kyu’s her young nephew, also known as Ding-dong.
He takes up that gauntlet and tells her, “You’re quite beautiful tonight.” Which elicits this reaction:
Hee! That’s a line from the Fake Dokko Jin, and he challenges her to make good on her word to “accept” his behavior (the word they use has the connotation of doting on, or cooing over, as with a child).
So Ae-jung accepts that challenge, pats him on the butt, and says in baby-talk how cute he is.
He grabs her hand and tells her not to mistake him for Ding-dong, because the methods of doting on a 7-year-old and a 37-year-old are vastly different. So how ’bout she try that again, and do it right? He jerks his head toward the house, then starts to lean in closer, and closer…
Ae-jung pushes him away, saying that he’s going to give her palpitations. He replies that palpitations can lead to fixation, and “One day, you’ll find that flowers bloom in the background.” In his case, she’ll find camellias as his backdrop. Muahaha.
Omg. Forget the possibly unhinged — he’s downright dingbatty. He goes home laughing crazily, congratulating himself for making a good rebound from humiliation. That would depend on your definition of “rebound.” Also “good.”
Ae-jung looks up the Camellia story and imagines how it would play out with them. To her shock, despite the poetic, flowery language, the content is unmistakably…sexy. (It hints in vague terms at tumbling over with the wind and being buried in camellia flowers.) Ae-jung gasps, wondering what Jin intends.
Jin’s amusement park lighting event is turned into a PR move by President Moon — Dokko Jin romances Se-ri with midnight date! — who tells Se-ri that it was better than entertaining more breakup rumors. Se-ri asks if Jin is dating, but President Moon waves that aside, saying that he’s not the type to do that kind of thing for a woman.
The story makes the rounds with Pil-joo (who knows Jin wasn’t with Se-ri) and Ae-hwan (who remembers Jin taking Ae-jung away that night).
Jenny takes the story at face value, figuring that Se-ri’s really done well in her career. Ae-jung asks Jenny if it would be burdensome receiving a confession from Dokko Jin — if the woman were someone of her level, there’d be too much of a gap between them, right? Jenny laughs that that would mean Jin’s stock would plummet, akin to “stepping in crap.” Ae-jung vows not to become that crap.
At the agency, President Moon wants to speak with Ae-jung and asks her to wait in her office, which is where Ae-jung finds Jin. She vacillates over whether to stay, then decides that she should play this cool and sits down across from him.
Jin asks how she slept, and she says she had a good night’s sleep. He replies, “I couldn’t sleep, thinking of you. To be more specific, thinking of your chicken.”
He’s found one such chicken, and shows her the flyer from her nightclub performance: Attending events without the agency’s knowledge is a breach of contract. She asks for the flyer, and he stuffs it down his shirt. LOL. And then his back pocket.
Just as she’s reaching for it, President Moon walks in and asks Jin pointedly about yesterday’s events. Jin answers that he just viewed some flowers, and makes a show of taking out the folded flyer.
Ae-jung looks at him pleadingly, and he prolongs her anxiety before tossing it in the trash, then leaving with a wink. Gah, Cha Seung-won, why are you so sexy when you’re not being an eccentric nut or a drunk, crotchety grandpa?
President Moon finds his explanation fishy, but assumes his flower-viewing partner was some other woman. She explains to Ae-jung that this is the first time Jin’s scandals have had this melodramatic touch; the Se-ri scandal arose after she followed him around (she had a crush), and they were photographed together by paparazzi, so President Moon figured to use the rumors rather than blocking them. But this time, there’s a huge CF hanging in the balance, and a bad scandal could derail things.
Turns out President Moon is thinking to give Ae-jung an album, which is great news. Ae-jung vows to not worry about other things (like turning into crap) and to work hard on her career.
At the studio, she runs into the Couple Making PD, who comments about seeing her poster at the nightclub. He promises to keep it a secret, but since Pil-joo also saw it, Ae-jung visits him next.
He makes a comment about never having been to a nightclub before, always having thought studying was more fun. Ae-jung says his mother must be happy to have such a good son, and remarks that she’d like a son like that some day. Pil-joo says, “To have a son like that, you’ll have to marry a man like that.” Omo omo! Did our oblivious doctor actually make an advance? Eeee!
Ae-jung doesn’t pick up his other meaning and just says that men like that tend to obey their mothers, and those mothers won’t accept her as a daughter-in-law.
Pil-joo: “Men like me sometimes disobey.”
Pil-joo: “We purposely do something our mother dislikes.”
Ae-jung: “Alcohol, smoking, gambling?”
Pil-joo: “No, not that. This is a secret… I eat ramen. My deceased father used to say that we should always listen to what our women say and make them happy. But sometimes we don’t understand and get angry too. So then, Father and I would cook ramen together. We’d eat a ton of that, and eat Mom’s food unappetizingly as our sole form of rebellion.”
That’s so adorkable. Ae-jung sighs, “I really have to have a son like that,” which makes him smile like the cutest little boy ever.
At the CF shoot, Jin and Se-ri pose while muttering under their breaths back and forth about Jin’s flower-viewing date. Se-ri says that she should know who it is, and that if she meets a guy, she’ll be sure to let him know. She advises him to make sure she’s a good catch, “Otherwise I won’t let you go.” Jin mutters back, “Even if you meet someone who’s not a good guy, I’ll be sure to let you go.”
President Moon and Ae-jung are on their way to a meeting with a songwriter when a call comes in needing attention: Jin has put a halt to the CF by refusing to proceed.
The reason? The ad requires him to shave off his trademark facial hair, and he isn’t having it. The others try to persuade him that it’ll be a good look for him, and when Jin pointedly asks for Ae-jung’s opinion, they all frantically indicate that she should agree. Caught off guard, all she can say is, “Well…”
Jin takes advantage of that hesitation and reaffirms his refusal. Ae-jung finds him in a green room to try again, this time rattling off everyone’s comments about how he’d look more handsome without the facial hair, but he’s enjoying putting her into this awkward spot and reminds her that he’s still looking for her chicken. Lol, if that’s some kind of euphemism, I don’t even wanna know.
Jin asks for her opinion of going clean-shaven, disregarding money and CF contract matters. Ae-jung thinks for a moment, then says honestly, “I think you’d look handsome.”
Ding-dong! Jin: “Really? Then I’ll shave. I’m doing it because of you.” Ae-jung, confused: “Then if I told you not to, you wouldn’t?” Jin: “Naturally.”
In exchange, though, he requires one thing of her. What could that possibly be?
Next thing we know, Ae-jung is standing there awkwardly with bright red lips. The photographer gives her instructions to kiss Jin on the cheek, to leave her lipstick mark. Hee!
Ae-jung quickly gets it over with, but not to the photographer’s satisfaction. After many dissatisfying attempts leaving subpar lipstick imprints on Jin’s cheek, the photographer is throwing his hands up in frustration and Ae-jung’s nerves are shot.
Jin sees her discomfiture and tells her to close her eyes and stay still, then guides her to kiss his cheek — at which point a heart starts thumping. And from the looks of it, it just might be Ae-jung’s.
Lying in bed restlessly that night, she recalls Jin’s ominous words about making her heart thump at the mere thought of him. When washing up, the photo of Jin on hair product’s label suddenly springs to life, jumping off the flat surface like a menacing Thumbelina (-o?). He glowers and vows to make Ae-jung’s heart thump. So random and wacky, I love it.
A phone call arrives from “Camellia” (hee! another change), who’s outside, ready to take her somewhere. Ae-jung retorts that she’s not about to go anywhere with him, but he laughs, “But your heart is thumping right now. You’re best off seeing it through the end to confirm it. That’s what I did.” And we see how well that worked out for his sanity.
But it has a certain twisted logic (if only feelings could actually be worked out of one’s system), and Ae-jung tells herself that taking this through to its conclusion will allow everything to return to its rightful place — an argument Jin had also used.
Manager Jae-seok reports to President Moon that he suspects Jin is out secretly with someone again. He has a habit of seeing his movies in the theater on opening and closing day, and today’s the last day Fighter is screening. Jin always drags Jae-seok along, but tonight he let him off without a struggle. Fishy, fishy!
In the car, Jin wonders aloud why he likes Ae-jung — she of the cheap clothes and poor situation. Not flattered at that, she grumbles, “How would I know?” He replies that he has nobody else to discuss this with, actually wanting to discuss the dilemma of liking a problematic woman with the woman in question. Ha.
He asks Ae-jung if she has some kind of mystical energy, which might explain how she controls his feelings. Or maybe she’s got some sexual energy. Anything to deflect the responsibility from himself. She returns that she lacks those, but has a touch of the wacko energy in her, so he’d best watch himself before she unleashes it on him. He throws her old scandal in her face, laughing that yes, that particular skill made her slap Se-ri and turned her into a washed-up has-been. Ha! Ha! HA!
That sours her mood, and she says that he always has to say things meanly, in a ddong-ko way (her early nickname for him, a play on his surname, meaning butthole). Though it’s not in retaliation, he drives right over a speedbump just as she’s taking a sip of flavored water, and the spill stains her white shirt red.
Jin actually feels bad this time and hands her a tissue, telling her to wipe up. She automatically wipes the spill from his car, and he amends, “Not the car, yourself.” Aw, progress! She’s thoroughly out of sorts with him, though, and tells him to forget it.
The writer and PD of Couple Making meet with Pil-joo for a planning session about upcoming dates. The writer worries about the cruise date, which took the most effort to set up — Ae-jung can’t get that one.
Pil-joo asks why not, and is told that the cruise has been planned with an ultra-luxury shoot in mind, and Ae-jung would bring it down with her “air of cheapness.” Ouch. Pil-joo doesn’t like that either, though the producers don’t notice as they muse that on the other hand, seeing Ae-jung amid the luxury could be entertaining for the fish-out-of-water aspect.
The writer suggests that they could make Ae-jung do a Titantic parody to up the humor level. Pil-joo likes that even less, so when the writer checks, “You do know what a Titanic parody is, right?” he plays dumb and says no. Hee!
Not only that, but he’s actually offended and says in a hilariously miffed tone that he won’t eat with them. With a pout, he leaves.
That means Pil-joo has to drop by the convenience store for some instant ramen instead, and when he reaches for a bottle of water, he imagines Jin laughing at him from the label and purposely picks a different brand.
Se-ri runs into Pil-joo in the lobby and waits for him to notice her, and this time he does. She sees his dinner, and he invites her to join him. She declines, since she has a shoot tomorrow and she’s been studiously watching her diet today to keep her looking her best, but he waves the bag enticingly. Eek! Having just eaten a bowl of ramen and resigning myself to the dreaded bloat-face to follow, I cringe for Se-ri.
But it’s cute that she gives in, more for her dinner companion than anything else, and takes just one bite. He points out that she left out the kimchi, so she agrees to another bite with it. And pretty soon, “one more” turns into an empty bowl, soup and all.
She has regrets the instant her brain regains control over her stomach, and wails that she’s doomed. Bloated face means press scrutiny and internet comments about how she must’ve gotten injections, et cetera. Seeing her worry, Pil-joo calls his clinic and has some medicine set aside to be sent to her first thing in the morning to help with the bloating.
Se-ri offers to treat him to dinner in return for the dinner she ate, and that gives Pil-joo an idea. He asks for a favor instead, and requests that she nix the whole Titanic parody idea for the cruise date. She doesn’t really know what this is about, but agrees readily enough.
That gives Se-ri an idea, and she suggests a movie instead of dinner.
Speaking of movies…
Jin pulls into the parking lot, and when he goes over a speedbump, he puts out an arm to brace Ae-jung against the (hypothetical) impact, which is hilarious and also sweet, especially since he’s feeling sorry for putting her in a bad mood and hyper-aware of possible triggers. For the second speedbump, he all but rolls to a stop as he goes over, and she has to smile at that. So. Cute.
Jin sends Ae-jung ahead while he waits in the car — can’t be seen together! — and turns down her offers to buy refreshments, saying crabbily that he can’t abide noisy snackers. She makes her way to the VIP room just as Jae-seok arrives, armed with camera, reporting to President Moon that he’ll be sure to suss out Jin’s date.
Another group is on its way to the same screening: Se-ri, Pil-joo, and the two producers. At the PD’s comment that Pil-joo has developed an interest in Dokko Jin, Se-ri’s interest — and vanity — are piqued, since that can only mean interest in HER.
While waiting for the others to grab snacks, Se-ri asks why Pil-joo’s interested. She pointedly refers to Jin as “my boyfriend,” because in her mind surely Pil-joo’s not concerned about Jin specifically, but whoever it is that happens to be her boyfriend. Life must be grand in the Se-ri Galaxy.
Jae-seok sees Ae-jung entering the VIP theater and guesses in shock, “It was Ae-jung noona?” This throws him into confusion, because he doesn’t know if he should report this to President Moon, who’s expecting news.
As Ae-jung sits alone in the empty theater waiting for Jin, she tells herself, “I can come this far. This much is okay.”
Catching sight of the stain on her shirt, she heads to the bathroom to wash it out. In that meantime, Se-ri arrives with Pil-joo and recognizes Jae-seok, thinking nothing of it until she registers his shifty behavior and his insistence that she can’t see the movie.
Immediately guessing that Jin is with another woman — probably the same other woman from the other night — she corners Jae-seok and pesters him for the name.
Pil-joo wonders what’s going on, particularly when he spies Ae-jung in the distance, who hides her face when she spots Se-ri and slinks off. In the lobby, she ducks away again to avoid being seen by the producers.
She drops her hat in her haste, and Pil-joo picks it up to return it to her. Thoroughly rattled, she thanks him and asks him to not tell anyone he saw her, then dashes off nervously. Aw, poor disappointed Pil-joo. Eek! I knew this would hurt — and it’s only the beginning!
Once safely out of view of acquaintances, Ae-jung stops to collect herself and wonders with some self-disgust, “What the heck are you doing?”
And then, to twist your heart even more, next we see Jin sitting in the empty VIP theater, in front of a table laden with all the movie snacks he hates. AW. He looks around wonderingly, sadly, and jumps to answer when Ae-jung calls.
Sounding stressed, she tells him that coming to the theater was “as far as this goes” for her. When she says she won’t see the movie with him, he protests that he even bought popcorn and potatoes for her. At that (potatoes = his Camellia story!), she replies that the potato is “really, really, really frightening.”
He asks, “Did you leave because you’re afraid I’ll get your chicken?” (Which I swear doesn’t sound that ridiculous in Korean.) Ae-jung sighs that yes, she’s afraid — of herself for not avoiding his tormenting. She wants to be cool and easy-going, but what will he do if she actually asks him to catch her?
And as she talks, Jin gets up and stalks out of the movie theater.
Wow, so quickly we arrive at mutual attraction! No complaints here — I love when a drama gets going quickly and doesn’t drag its feet. We all know where this is heading, so let’s get there already, yeah?
I’m sort of amazed at how much development occurred in this episode, and that it happened pretty believably. I didn’t expect Ae-jung to tune in to her attraction this soon, but I’m pleasantly surprised with it. It also makes sense that despite her general like of Pil-joo, Jin’s the first one to evoke a physical, uncontrolled response. I love the way she played her fear of the discovery, because she has every reason to run away, despite the outer benefits of linking her name with his — and that she knows that there’s enough there to land her in some serious emotional trouble if she allows herself to open that door.
In the beginning, I was ready to write Jin off as a hero I just didn’t click with — I find Cha Seung-won’s comedy hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny even, utterly wacky and refreshing, but too exaggerated and manic at times. So while I got where the writing was taking him, I didn’t feel completely at one with the emotional throughline.
Until halfway through, of course, and then Jin got all decisive and blunt and assertive. I had been feeling a lot of Hwang Tae-kyung (You’re Beautiful) similarities with his character, which is enjoyable on one level but also veyr familiar, so I like that they veered away in this episode by making Jin so frank about everything. Tae-kyung was the master of hiding his feelings, but Jin has no qualms about informing Ae-jung that he’s shaving off his mustache for her, and that he’s determined to make her feel for him the way he feels for her.
Better yet, he’s not cloying or sentimental about it, but refreshingly matter-of-fact. Once he lays off the manic energy, it goes from unnerving serial-killer intensity to heart-tugging hero stuff. And the Hong sisters are great at taking little moments to show development, like Jin not caring about the water spill in his car. And buying all the snacks she wanted. There is hope after all!
And on top of that, we have a sweet, thoughtful, adorably nerdy doctor second lead? And I love the heroine for all her genuineness and down-to-earth sweetness? And the rival’s bitchiness-to-entertaining ratio is appealingly, thankfully low? It’s like I’m in heaven.
- Best Love: Episode 4
- Best Love: Episode 3
- Best Love: Episode 2
- Best Love: Episode 1
- Park Shi-yeon’s Best Love cameo
- First teaser and poster revealed for Best Love
- Why do so many dramas change their titles?
- Best Love: Hong sisters’ meta lens on K-variety