Week 2 of Lie To Me brings us an extension of the lie, and although it doesn’t bring a whole lot of surprises, it’s the chemistry of the cast that has me coming back for more. Ah-jung is sure to have more crackling chemistry with Ki-joon in future episodes when their lovelines really get tangled up, but for now it’s the adorable, easy-breezy vibe with Sang-hee that I’m digging. It’s not very romantic, but that’s what I like about it — the casual friendship that is somehow turning into a more substantial connection as she starts to see him more as confidante. Cute cute cute. Can’t wait when the brotherly relationship is unveiled.
SONG OF THE DAY
Lie To Me OST – “뻔뻔한 거짓말” (Bold Lie) by Heo Ga-yoon [ Download ]
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Ah-jung makes her rash lie, goaded by Ms. Bitchypants Extraordinaire, So-ran, who basically tells her that Ah-jung doesn’t deserve a better man or life than her — that the universe won’t abide it. It’s pretty clear that it’s really So-ran who won’t abide it, but this gives us a glance into the workings of her ego, since my way = universe’s way.
I love that being one-upped by her frenemy knots up So-ran’s insides — literally, because it gives her stomach pains of jealousy. She collapses, and her husband carries her away.
Alas, Ki-joon’s school chums just happen to be in earshot and cheer the news. Immediately Ah-jung thinks with dread, “What the hell have I done?”
Ki-joon approaches menacingly, and Ah-jung stammers that it was all a misunderstanding. How on earth one can misunderstand “Hello, husband!” is a mystery, and Ah-jung’s not equipped to explain — she runs. Hee.
Ki-joon fobs off his friends with a quick “It’s not what you think” and chases. Ah-jung slips inside the elevator with So-ran and hubby Jae-bum just in time to evade death by angry chaebol.
In the morning, Ki-joon opts to work out of a suite upstairs rather than in his office, since he’s still stewing at being made into a laughingstock by Ah-jung. He vows, “I’ll make her regret it.” His secretary, Hoon, is sympathetic toward Ah-jung, saying that Aunt Myung-jin is bound to retaliate if she finds out, “like that other time.”
That must strike a chord, because Ki-joon’s attitude is softer when he tells his aunt that the marriage rumors are just a joke. She asks shrewdly if this is all the doing of that Gong Ah-jung girl, and Ki-joon says no, she’s also a victim, and that there’s truly nothing to it.
She doesn’t believe him and thinks he’s being protective of her, but accepts his request to handle it himself. She leaves with one last question — he isn’t, by any chance, brewing up these rumors himself out of rebellion since she’s pushing him so hard to marry, is he? (A story line we’ve seen time and time again, with one example being Coffee Prince.) Ki-joon teases, “You’ve been watching too many dramas.” She replies, “Is it that obvious?” Ha.
Having convinced his aunt, he heads straight for legal counsel, asking if this Chun Jae-bum guy is the best out there. (Hoon: “Aren’t all lawyers the same?”)
In the lobby of the lawyer’s office, he runs into Jae-bum, who recognizes him as Ah-jung’s husband and introduces himself. At the chilly response, Jae-bum says that Ah-jung must not have told Ki-joon about them — they used to live together. Ha! at Jae-bum trying to provoke Ki-joon’s jealousy (with the whole “I was there first!” implication), not knowing none is forthcoming. After enjoying the misunderstanding for a moment, Jae-bum clarifies that they lived at the same gosiwon (a dorm-like building).
Ki-joon can’t very well explain his situation to Jae-bum, so he leaves with one declaration: “I am definitely not Gong Ah-jung’s husband.” Jae-bum puzzles over that for a moment, and his less-than-sharp brain deduces that Ki-joon must be hinting that he doesn’t want his wife referred to by name, but by the more polite samonim (Mrs., madam). Hee. It’s a wonder he passed the bar with those skills of deduction.
Ki-joon finds the Ah-jung/Jae-bum connection fishy and suspects that they may be in it together (to wring something out of him, that is). So when Hoon suggests filing a police report, he considers it.
Ah-jung also imagines being arrested, prompted by a poster showing two cuffed hands. Her co-worker misinterprets her discomfiture, and guesses that such a reaction to that picture could only mean that she was thinking sexy thoughts. Keh.
Ah-jung’s nerves are rattled at the ominous silence — surely Ki-hoon would be quick to retaliate/respond/demand something — so she’s nervous when she hears she has a visitor. Who has described himself as her husband.
She slips out of work dreading the upcoming encounter, while her nosy co-workers hurriedly follow. In the lobby, Ah-jung looks around warily, but there’s no sign of Ki-joon — it’s Sang-hee who shows up.
(Hm, are we gonna get a double-marriage-rumor dealio, like in Mary Stayed Out All Night? I’m simultaneously excited and unnerved by that prospect.)
Sang-hee jokes that he called himself husband because it would’ve been boring to just introduce himself as a friend: “Or should I have said I was your brother?” Ah-jung’s co-workers crash into the lobby to catch a glimpse of her so-called husband, and she tells Sang-hee to fix the situation. He waves and says, “I’m her brother,” which only partially appeases them. (I suspect that rumors of her fake marriage may flare up their suspicions again at a later date.)
Over dessert, Ah-jung lets Sang-hee know she’s still miffed at him for ditching her yesterday. Ah-jung has shared the gist of the tale with Sang-hee, including the identity of her partner-in-scandal, and she worries that Ki-joon will be mightily pissed off. Sang-hee says that’s likely, and lets slip that he knows Ki-joon. Just a little.
Ah-jung spies Jae-bum walking into the cafe and ducks her head, but he sees her anyway and says hello. When he mentions running into her husband, she can’t bring herself to correct him, and even agrees to a double date at a later date. She says it noncommittally, but Sang-hee looks at her incredulously for keeping the lie going.
One thing that gets revealed in the conversation: So-ran is about to leave for Canada, without Jae-bum. When asked about it, he looks uneasy and changes the subject, confirming what we already can guess — that all is not well in their marriage.
They migrate to a neighborhood playground on the way to Ah-jung’s house, where she looks wistfully at the gosiwon where she lived for two years. She explains that she was happy there, because the man she liked was there, even though she didn’t know how to express her feeslings. So she made herself a promise to confess her feelings once she passed the civil service exam, because that would be a marker of their compatibility. Alas, when that day came, she found out he was dating someone else.
Sang-hee guesses that Jae-bum was the guy. She calls herself foolish, and laughs that to win the guy, she should’ve opted for plastic surgery rather than a civil service exam. He smiles that studying rather than surgery seems characteristic of her. Also: “I’m envious of him — how come there are no women who’ve passed the civil service exam because of me?” Because…nobody would think that would turn you on, you of the rich getaways and flirty nightclub two-timers?
And then they play on the slides like two overgrown children. They’re actually pretty cute together, in the way that familiarity breeds comfort and ease. But kind of like siblings, or noona-dongsaeng, which is gonna make this painful for the dongsaeng when it comes time to back off, methinks…
Just as she’s about to leave, a drunk beggar comes by and asks her to buy him coffee. Sang-hee intervenes and grabs her away, leaving the beggar to mutter about how very beggarly they are, heh. Ah-jung tells him they could’ve just given the dude coffee money, and Sang-hee laughs, “It’s because I was scared. I have no change.” That’s oddly cute of him.
They part ways, and on his cab ride back, Sang-hee’s mood turns more pensive. Upon hearing today’s date, he realizes, “I’d forgotten.” Instead of heading home, he finds his way to an apartment complex and looks up at the building, wondering, “Are you well, Oh Yoon-ju?”
That would be his former classmate — and crush and, although we aren’t told explicitly, his brother’s ex (played by Jo Yoon-hee) — who’s celebrating her birthday in Paris, and also her imminent departure for Korea after three years here. Ah, love rectangle completion imminent!
At work, Ah-jung sighs that she’d like to flee the country. What is driving her nuts is the fact that Ki-joon is curiously silent, and the anticipation of retaliation is keeping her on edge. Her colleague suggests that he may just be busy, and that lovely idea is enough to set her mind at ease — of course! He’s a busy businessman and executive, no wonder he hasn’t called!
The minister from the previous event takes Ah-jung out to lunch, saying that he’s sorry that the mess got blamed on her when it wasn’t her fault. He’s treating her to a lavish meal — at World Hotel.
A trite plot point, sure, but Ah-jung’s facial expressions are just so darned cute as she runs the gamut of responses to this horrific news, from trying to hide behind her bangs to biting her knuckles.
At the hotel, she ducks behind a scarf, and as a result of her nerves she confuses random people with Ki-joon, from the guy in the elevator to the server at the restaurant. She makes it through lunch, but finally does run into Ki-joon after parting ways from the minister. At first she assumes she’s hallucinating again…but no, it’s really him this time. But he walks away without a word.
She can’t help her curiosity and follows him to the elevator, asking for a moment of his time. She grabs him when he resists, and they struggle until he shoves her away and yells back — which is when they find themselves the center of attention, in the hotel lobby.
Relocating to the stairwell, Ah-jung tells him that she’s sincerely sorry for that misunderstanding, and asks for a chance to explain herself properly. Ki-joon retorts that he doesn’t care to hear it, but she says that at the very least, she doesn’t want him to think she did it intentionally.
He cuts her off to say that there’s nothing more to be done about things — which he means as “You can’t change the fact that you’re so dead” but which she takes, hopefully, as bygones being bygones. He smirks — not a reassuring response — and leaves, then mutters that he hasn’t even begun yet.
Ah-jung drops by the hospital to visit So-ran, with all the best intentions in the world, though those fall by the wayside when So-ran prods her to explain how she and Ki-joon met.
Ah-jung works up the nerve to get the truth out, but just as she’s about to, So-ran leans in excitedly and guesses, “You lied, right? You lied about being pregnant to grab him, didn’t you? If not, how else could you have married Hyun Ki-joon?”
Her eagerness for that to be true is off-putting, to say the least, and how could a person NOT want to set her down a peg or two, even if it’s with a lie?
Ah-jung switches gears and hints that she has met her match in Ki-joon, “laws of the universe” be damned. She manages to do this without naming names or saying anything explicitly, but she basically reinforces her earlier lie and greatly enjoys watching So-ran squirm in envy.
Ah-jung walks out feeling exceedingly pleased with herself, while So-ran screeches in frustration. Hilarity aside (because it really is satisfying to watch So-ran stew), it’s amazing how much her own sense of worth is tied into someone else’s. It’s almost like she doesn’t have any sense of self-esteem of her own, which has manifested in this beast of overcompensation.
At the cafe run by Ah-jung’s motherly not-mother, Ae-kyung, the ajusshi artist Seok-bong tries to ask Ae-kyung out on a date, though cloaking it in terms that make it not a date. She agrees to go to the jimjilbang with him (they have coupons), until Ah-jung’s father comes in and asks her out to dinner and a movie.
Apparently these two were once close to marrying but never did, and have maintained a friendly relationship over the years, even speaking to each other in banmal. Ae-kyung chooses Dad, to Seok-bong’s dismay. Unfortunately, just as they’ve bought their movie tickets, Dad has a call and has to be off because a lawyer acquaintance has died.
Back at the cafe, Seok-bong and Sang-hee have drinks together (they’d gone to art college together, despite the gap in their ages), and both sigh over the loves they can’t forget — Seok-bong over Ae-kyung, and Sang-hee over Yoon-ju.
Ditched on her date, Ae-kyung calls Ah-jung to the jimjilbang and gripes about her workaholic father. Ae-jung tells her hesitantly, as though it’s a touchy subject, “If you want to marry, go ahead.” Ae-kyung retorts that there’s no point, that marriage is for the young.
Ah-jung asks her father about it in the morning, wondering if he’s inclined to marry either, but he says they’re just friends. Apparently Ah-jung used to pitch a fit at the idea, so Dad wonders what’s up with the change of heart.
At the cafe, Seok-bong lurks and waits for his chance to ask how Ae-kyung’s night went. She answers that she went to the jimjilbang — and he immediately assumes she went with Dad, and storms off, hurt. (I see that the drama is setting up the older generation loveline as an opposite to Ah-jung — Ae-kyung shied away from marriage, while Ah-jung has hurtled into it, albeit inadvertently — but it does feel like there’s too much time spent on it all at once. At least it’s over now. Phew.)
When So-ran hears that Jae-bum isn’t coming to pick her up from the hospital, she screeches over the phone, “You’d better come!” just as her friends arrive. She covers quickly as they say that her doting husband called them to see her home, and for appearance’s sake she pretends he’s such a sweetie.
At home, the friends open a bottle of wine to toast the occasion, and suggest calling Ah-jung over to hear about her married life. So-ran snipes at that, and the friends point out carefully, “Truthfully, you did wrong her quite a bit.” So-ran was the one who acted like a friend to Ah-jung’s face, but cut her out of the group behind her back.
So-ran points out their hypocrisy: “Why did you say nothing then and now act like you care?” Peeved, she orders them out. They leave grumbling, but it appears this is a common enough routine, and they’re used to it.
At work, Ah-jung is delivered an envelope from Ki-joon’s attorney — a notice that he’ll be taking legal action against her, asserting that she spread false rumors and then reneged on their plan to disclose the truth.
Incensed, she heads straight for World Hotel, but is turned away by secretary Hoon, who advises her to communicate via legal counsel and politely threatens to have her dragged out. She’s seething at Ki-joon’s doublespeak — and after he’d said everything was okay! — but leaves. For now.
Hoon reports this to Ki-joon, who’s surprised that Ah-jung gave up so easily. Hoon notes with amusement, “It sounds like you’re disappointed.” He offers to have her banned from entry to the hotel, and enjoys how Ki-joon swiftly rejects that idea (like he understands his boss’s feelings even before the boss does).
Manager Park (whose name also happens to be Park Ji-yoon) reports that there’s a troublesome guest in one of their suites, and that Ki-joon needs to take care of it. He tells her to handle it, but she clarifies that the guest is Gong Ah-jung.
Up in the suite, Ah-jung has collected a roomful of apologetic, anxious employees as she rants about the state of this room. In full diva mode, she exclaims about the horrors of the water on the ground — what if she slipped? What if she hurt herself? “I COULD HAVE DIED! How terrifying! Did I come to this expensive room to bleed to death?!”
As soon as Ki-joon arrives, the others clear out and Ah-jung confronts him about the potential lawsuit — does he really mean to sue? He replies that she made it easier for him by perpetrating the lie in front of at least twenty witnesses. She asks for a chance to settle it amicably, to which he replies, “You had the chance. You kicked it away.”
Having said all he cares to say, Ki-joon advises her to consult with an attorney, and starts to leave. Ah-jung blurts, “Then marry me!”
HA. Naturally he’s incredulous, so she hurries to explain that she doesn’t mean for real — but what if they just let this situation stand for another month, without clearing up the rumors? He can sue her if he wants — just a little later.
He asks, “Why should I?” Without a better reason, she pleads, “Because I’m asking you.”
And then, she adds that she’s terminally ill, and will die in a month. PFFFFT! Has somebody been watching 49 Days?
Unmoved, Ki-joon tells her he’ll see her in court, and leaves.
Called by Ah-jung, Sang-hee arrives at the hotel, still taking care to hide his face from employees who might recognize him. She unloads her woes onto him, wondering if her request was really so excessive. He asks why she did it, and she answers that if she’s going to be sued anyway, she may as well minimize her regrets along the way. When she saw So-ran today, she felt so gratified that for once in her life, So-ran was at a loss and unable to feel superior to her.
He clues in to her true motivation, that she wants revenge on So-ran. Tearing up, Ah-jung says that she does — she wants revenge for her lost three years, the time following her heartbreak wherein she was so angry and hurt that she was nigh immobilized by it: “I couldn’t date, or love, or marry. I couldn’t do a thing. I couldn’t like anybody after that, either. I’d just be alone forever…I’d be alone forever!”
Sang-hee assures her that she’s plenty appealing, and that she could marry right away if she wanted. She cries, “It’s not that I want to marry. I want to be a woman who has married! Right now!” It sounds silly, but she means that she’s so desperate not to feel that way again that she wants to perpetrate her lie, and be a married woman.
She starts sobbing in earnest, and cries herself to sleep. Sang-hee sighs that she’s in trouble, and tucks a blanket around her.
In the morning, she wakes up tired and hungover. Sang-hee’s still in the room, to her surprise, and while she’s still trying to get her bearings, he asks, “Do you have to pretend you’re married to Hyun Ki-joon? If that’s what you want, do you want me to help you?”
Now that we’re three episodes in, I can see more clearly the things I like and don’t like about Lie To Me, which is cute and easy to watch, but not without its flaws.
What I don’t like:
The story’s pretty obvious, and so far there have been no surprises. None. Nada. Zero. Everything that’s coming, we can see coming — and I bet we’ll be able to predict a lot of the future, as well.
Then there’s the tone: Alas, the drama feels very ordinary. The storytelling, the plot turns, the characterizations, even the style of directing/editing/music — it’s nothing special. It’s not even that pretty to look at. There have been other dramas that are no more creative or innovative in their content yet somehow feel fresher with clever use of camera work, or great cinematography (Dr. Champ), or a refreshing tone and standout soundtrack (Triple). This one’s more along the lines of My Princess — obvious, with a bland color palette, but cute for all that.
What I like:
Despite the above, it’s still a fun and amusing drama. It’s just not particularly clever or different. Once you get past the disappointment that it’s not going to be one of the standouts of the genre, it could be simple, light-hearted entertainment that doesn’t necessarily make a deep impression.
That doesn’t mean there’s no depth. It’s just not really a focus of this drama. But every now and again, when I’m starting to feel bored, a moment will come and grab me. It’s this mix of weak and strong that I suspect will continue, and which may drive me nuts later on.
Take, for instance, the lie. It’s necessary to get the drama moving, and on the most basic level it’s a crude plot device. So it’s to the drama’s credit that they do a pretty good job of showing us Ah-jung’s hurt, her sense if being unfairly judged, and her split-second decision to blurt it out. And then it brings us onboard for why she’d be tempted into continuing it.
What works is that it’s not a premeditated lie — it’s a totally impulsive action that just happens to have piss-poor timing, with witnesses. And then, you have the cartoony villainess scraping at the heroine’s wounds at every chance, prodding her into extending the ruse. In this, it’s really Yoon Eun-hye who makes these moments work — she’s still got some weaknesses in her acting, but when she cries, it makes me feel something. She has this way of getting into the character that makes us feel for the underlying hurt, not just the silly surface stuff, the petty rivalry and the sniping — instead, she brings us close and shows us the character’s rawness. I love that about her, when she connects with a character like that. If she can continue to do that, it may be the drama’s saving grace.
- Lie To Me: Episode 2
- Lie To Me: Episode 1
- Lie To Me releases posters, new stills
- Lie To Me’s kiss scene, the B-side
- More, more, more from Lie To Me
- Lie To Me poster stills