This show’s a great pick-me-up because while the conflict goes from bad to worse, the drama itself stays light and fun, which I appreciate. It’s a nice reprieve from the other series I’m watching lately, which are pretty much the embodiment of doom and gloom. The couple remains delightfully bickering and cute, but mostly just very human and relatable.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Hyung-woo ditches mom and wife at the airport, leaving both of them fuming in his wake. Way to end up in the double doghouse in one blow, buddy.
Mom acknowledges that Eun-jae doesn’t exactly have it easy being married to that fool, and Eun-jae complains a little too much, till Mom has to remind her that he’s still her son. Oops. That’s a trap.
Everyone goes their separate ways and Mom calls Hyung-woo. She’s basically like, I know you’re my son, but you’re an ass. Haha.
He calls Eun-jae in a panic (oh NOW you’re worried?) but she hangs on up on him right away. He sees her pull up next to his bus in a cab and gets her attention, but seems to somehow miss the point that she’d rather not see his face right now.
Eun-jae goes straight home and raids his closet for revenge. She throws all his clothes into a suitcase and stomps on it for good measure, and kicks it to the curb. Or, the hallway, since it’s a high-rise.
Hyung-woo meanwhile goes to meet his mother-in-law at her noodle shop. He suddenly remembers that back when they were dating, Eun-jae had an aversion to noodles, the reason for which he now understands.
She proudly shows off her son-in-law to the other shop ladies, and Hyung-woo consults them on the new property owner’s insistence that they vacate the building. He assures them that they’re still protected for five years under the previous contract, so there’s no way the new owner can kick them out. Wanna bet your wife’s about to find a loophole there?
Pleased as punch, Mom calls… Mom to have her come and sign a new contract, but having just been ditched at the airport by her son, she’s in no mood to deal, and hangs up, just before hearing Hyung-woo’s voice on the other end of the line. This is going to be so awkward later.
Mom gushes over him, wondering who raised him so well and gave him to her as a son-in-law, in the same breath after cursing her landlady. Ha.
He rushes home knowing that Eun-jae is stewing, but he doesn’t realize how bad it is until he gets to his front door and finds his suitcase in the hall… and the lock code changed. Well THAT’s a message.
Eun-jae sits on the couch, readying herself for war, as Hyung-woo goes through all the possible new codes, like his birthday, her birthday, their wedding anniversary. None of them works.
She sneaks up to the door and watches him through the peephole, shrinking back when he does the same. He thinks and thinks, and then a light bulb goes off. He presses 0000, and presto, the door opens.
Eun-jae jumps back in shock, and he tsk-tsks at her simplicity in choosing such a ridiculous lock code. Heh.
She doesn’t back down though, and tells him to get out. He stupidly stays silent about going to meet her mother, because she asked him to keep it a secret. But really in this dire position, you ought to just come out with it, no?
All their recent friction comes back to the surface and he tells her that she’ll come to understand someday. She wonders why wait around for that day? Why should they live together then?
She starts pushing him toward the door, shouting for him to get out, and he struggles to hold his ground and swerves out of the way when she lunges at him… which sends her toppling to the floor.
His jaw drops in shock and he rushes over to check on her, but she totally overreacts, accusing him of resorting to violence. Ha. Who’s the one who lunged? But she’s so worked up that she can’t go backwards now.
She shouts, “Let’s get a divorce! Right now!”
This time she goes to reach for her bag to walk out, and he tries to stop her. She whirls around with her big purse, knocking him straight in the face by accident…
And he turns around with a bloody nose. They both stare dumbfounded, as he ekes out, “Is this… blood?” She tells him to press charges if he feels wronged, and storms out.
He runs after her and searches the complex, but she’s nowhere to be found. He sits at the playground and talks into his recorder, saying that it’s become the worst case scenario, that they’re not even on speaking terms, and today he even saw blood. Heh.
Hyung-woo continues to look for her, calling all three of their employees one after the other, not realizing that they’re all sitting right next to each other. They sigh that the lawyer couple is at it again.
Eun-jae is of course hiding out at her bar, throwing darts to get some of her aggression out. She pictures Hyung-woo’s face in the center of the dartboard, which helps to motivate her.
Hot Bartender (whose name is yet to surface, so I will continue to call him Hot Barkeep or some variant thereof) comes in to work and finds Eun-jae deep in the throes of dart angst. He asks why she isn’t in Japan right now, which just makes her angrier.
Hyung-woo goes to fight out some of his anger in the boxing ring with his buddy Soju, who advises him not to fight so much, or he’ll really end up divorced. He gets a punch in the face for that comment.
Meanwhile Eun-jae vents all her frustrations while knocking back shots, and wonders if she really ought to just divorce him, saying it more like a threat to teach him a lesson.
Hot Barkeep gets all worked up and blurts out that he just might beat the crap out of her husband if she keeps talking this way (as in, telling him how badly he’s treating her).
She laughs that he ought to invite her along so she can watch, in no way taking him seriously. Aw, the poor kid. She’s practically pinching his cheeks.
But Hyung-woo always manages to come around and be the good hubby, and he waits all night on their front stoop for her to come home. She stumbles out of a taxi in her drunken haze, and refuses his help, so he just follows behind her with his arms stretched out.
She gets to their door and tries their old lock code, too drunk to remember that she changed it. She accuses him of changing it and not informing her, and then makes fun of him for choosing 0000 like a simpleton. Hee.
She asks for a coke and when he says he’ll bring her water instead, it sets her off, and she starts crying like a little kid. Startled, he comes over thinking she’s crying over the events of the day, but she just wails, “You never listen to me! I said I wanted cola~~~!” Hahaha.
He laughs and brings her the coke and she sucks it down, crying for another one, this time wailing that she’s not going to live with him if he doesn’t give her a cola. He envelops her in a hug and just holds her as she cries, finally getting that this isn’t about cola.
She cries on his shoulder, wailing like a little girl, and he hugs her and pats her back. It’s adorable.
The next morning Eun-jae wakes up… in naked Hyung-woo’s arms. Her eyes dart open as she realizes she doesn’t know how they ended up that way, and she lifts the covers to check just how naked he is.
Judging from her reaction? Pretty damn nekkid.
She quickly rewinds to last night, when he hugged her. She stopped crying, and he wiped her tears, affectionately calling her stupid, and then kissed her. She was still mad enough to pull away at first, but then a minute later, they were making out.
Back in the present, she shakes her head in disbelief and wonders if it wasn’t a dream. Hyung-woo wakes up, happy as you please, “It wasn’t a dream.” She gets out of bed and storms off in a huff, still angry but now totally without steam because they’ve already had make-up sex, which deflates her whole angry silent treatment thing.
He happily chitchats over breakfast, while she still cringes, half embarrassed and half still angry. She declares last night an accident, and tells him that she’s still angry, so their fight isn’t over.
But as expected, he just coos at her mockingly. Under her breath, she swears off liquor forever. Ha.
At the store they end up fighting over a bag of chips, and Eun-jae pops them open as soon as they get home, insisting that she’s going to eat them all herself. They explode all over the place, so she ends up having to eat them off the couch to save face.
Hyung-woo notices their fridge stocked with side dishes from his mom, and remembers that she’s probably just as angry at him. He suggests they go eat dinner at mom’s tonight, and Eun-jae refuses, so he heads out to go alone.
Outside he calls Mom, but she informs him that she’s in Jeju, while chewing him out as expected. He turns back around to go home, but then his phone rings again. He picks up thinking it’s Mom, but another voice startles him.
It’s HEE-SOO (Lee Soo-kyung), the ex who’s been calling him lately. She asks him to meet. Here we go…
He arrives outside the restaurant and looks in, his eyes betraying unresolved feelings. He finds her depressed and drinking quite a lot, and asks if something’s the matter. She admits that she probably shouldn’t have called him, clearly having been the one to break his heart, but he dismisses it as no big deal.
The reason she called is that she needs some legal advice. She’s a reporter at a big paper, and voiced some complaints about sexual harassment at work – female employees being treated differently, especially at office parties and dinners where they’re told to pour drinks for the higher ups like bar girls.
They went unanswered so she filed a more formal complaint, which ended up making her an outcast. Other women who were initially behind her pulled out, and now she’s gone from writing front-page news to not getting a single byline.
Hyung-woo tells her that she has to involve the law now, and offers his help. She admits to lacking the courage to take it that far, but he assures her that it’s the right thing to do. She asks him to have a drink with her, so he does.
He sits at a bus stop for a while after sending her off in a cab, already showing signs of first love regurgita rearing its ugly head. One point in the he’s-not-over-her column? She looks just like his wife. That can’t be a coincidence.
On his way home, he stops outside to check his breath, which reeks of alcohol. He figures he can’t hide that, so what should he say? He drank with a friend? What friend? His mother? She can’t drink.
He pictures thought-bubble Eun-jae questioning him, and even starts to cower in fear from his imaginary version of her. Heh. He decides to go with truth.
He cautiously makes his way inside, and Eun-jae notices the smell right away, as expected. He tells her he drank with a college classmate named Hee-joo, though he adds the suffix -nom, which gives the impression that Hee-joo is a dude.
She asks if he’s going to try and sneak one past her, and he gulps in fear. But she means getting a contract from Gogi for that loan, and he breathes a sigh of relief.
She stops herself from repeating the same argument because she doesn’t want him calling her a cow anymore, and he tells her that she’s a bird now, because she’s so forgetful. “But not just a bird. A PRETTY bird!”
She hits him upside the head and he muses that her violence is becoming quite natural.
The next morning Hyung-woo comes out to meet Gogi, who’s on the verge of tears. He asks what’s wrong and Gogi blurts, “I got hit!” He tells the pathetic story of how he didn’t want to do the dishes this morning so Young-joo slapped him.
He blubbers that she even turned her pointy diamond ring inside out to have it hit him in the face. Aw. Hyung-woo agrees that women can be so violent, and Gogi wonders if he gets hit too.
He quickly recovers and pours on the sympathy for his friend, and they head off to work on Grandpa Potato’s case. They ask him to write a statement for the judge, and Grandpa worries, only having attended grade school. Hyung-woo assures him that it’s nothing to worry about, and they watch as he writes in this grade-school penmanship that just breaks your heart.
They take the statement to try and convince the seaside restaurant ajusshi to give a witness testimony, but he continues to evade them. The two friends sit on the beach and sigh over their problems, and end up splashing around in the ocean like a couple of kids.
Back at the office the next day, Gogi freaks out when Hee-soo walks in the door. She greets him warmly as “sunbae,” while he hilariously tries to hide her from Eun-jae while motioning for Hyung-woo to come out.
Hyung-woo comes out and wonders why he’s freaking out since Eun-jae’s going to know anyway once he takes the case, but Gogi just shoves them into the conference room and tries to run interference.
I love that no one is panicked but him, and yet, he’s probably right to overreact – though currently it’s comical, later he’s going be saying “I told you so.”
Eun-jae joins them to say her greetings, surprised to hear that this is Hee-soo. “Didn’t you call him nom?” He quickly declares that his particular brand of slang, and she lets it go.
He asks her to join them, and Hee-soo remarks that it must be nice to work with her husband in the same office. Eun-jae just muses that she must not be married yet. Heh.
Eun-jae gets up in arms about the sexist remarks documented in Hee-soo’s files. She happily volunteers to help him with the case, and Hyung-woo looks at her lovingly. Aw.
Afterwards Gogi rushes Hyung-woo outside, asking what the hell he’s doing seeing Hee-soo again. Hyung-woo insists that it’s fine and it’s long since over between them, and he’s just helping her with this case.
Gogi tells him there’s no way he can tell Eun-jae about her – that there’s not a woman on this earth who would take that news well. Well that’s true but keeping it a secret and being found out later is just exponentially worse.
He stupidly agrees with Gogi. Just overhead, Woo-shik appears, having heard the whole thing, making Hyung-woo as jumpy as Gogi. He tells them to zip it, and the three men start digging their own graves, en masse.
Hyung-woo goes back to working on the case with Eun-jae, and she notes how organized her paperwork is, musing that she’s exactly like Hyung-woo. She asks how they met, and he says the hiking club, and she guesses that they must’ve been close too, if they had the same hobby.
Hyung-woo laughs a little awkwardly and says they were, but certainly not anymore, and then answers his phone with, “I’ll call you back later.” That rouses her suspicions, and she returns to her office to suss out the clues, landing at a guess close to the truth.
She wonders if it’s possible, but finds that she has no evidence to back it up, and will get nowhere by questioning friends loyal to him. I love that she figured it out on her own right away.
She decides to question Young-joo, and comes by to just casually drop Hee-soo’s name, saying that she came by the office to ask for Hyung-woo’s help with a case. Young-joo immediately gets huffy about her appearing out of nowhere, after breaking up with him via text message.
Oops. Eun-jae tries to play it off like Hyung-woo already told her, even acting totally cool about taking on her case because the past is in the past. But Young-joo can read her face, and realizes that Hyung-woo said nothing of the kind.
She tells her that the boys definitely signed a pact, knowing Gogi, and Eun-jae stops to laugh that she calls her own husband by that nickname. Young-joo asks if she’s just going to let it go, when old flames could start back up again.
Eun-jae insists that there’s no way that’s what’s happening, and yet she can’t shake her annoyance at the whole thing. She returns to the office determined to chew him out, but then stops short, thinking who in the world marries with zero relationships in their past?
But then she turns back around, remembering that he should have told her if he has nothing to hide – there’s something there if he’s not being honest. But then she stops short again, annoyed that it stings her pride to even ask.
She keeps eyeing him suspiciously all day, unable to decide what to do. They have another small tiff (he left the toilet seat up, she fell in, ha) and then he gets a call and goes out, saying that Soju wants to have drinks.
She decides to go out too, and heads to Young-joo’s place, but when she looks in the window from outside, she sees Soju sitting there, with Gogi but no Hyung-woo…
Ruh-roh. She quickly turns away to leave before they see her, and Young-joo runs out to catch her. She makes excuses and leaves, not wanting to be caught in her moment of vulnerability, and rushes home.
She stares blankly at the tv and ends up watching a tear-jerker reality program, which gives her an excuse to cry. She falls asleep like that, waiting for Hyung-woo.
When she wakes up, it’s the middle of the night and Hyung-woo is asleep next to her, stone cold drunk. She asks where he was, and he murmurs that he was with Soju. She asks if she’s supposed to believe that lie, but he just falls right back to sleep.
He wakes up the next morning none the wiser, as Eun-jae zooms right past him coldly and heads to the office alone.
He gets a call from Grandpa Potato who ends up in the hospital because he can’t afford to eat anything other than potatoes. He vows to get that testimony they need and tells Eun-jae that he’s headed to Seokcho.
With all his lies piling up, she wonders if he’s even telling her the truth, and decides to follow him. She drives the whole way making threats in the event that they end up someplace not in Seokcho, but to her great relief, she follows him right where he said he was going.
She thinks twice about just turning around, and decides to surprise him so they can eat sushi together, and gets out of the car to approach him.
But just as she gets close, someone else beats her to Hyung-woo… it’s Hee-soo, who runs up and greets him with a smile.
Dude, you are SO busted. While I don’t think Hyung-woo is exactly cheating on her or doing anything nefarious, he’s clearly not as over Hee-soo as he’d like to think. It’ll probably take him a while to realize it though, which is just going to lead to more loaded misunderstandings.
I love that Eun-jae finds out right away, literally minutes after the boys make their silence pact. It’s going to be painful to watch Hyung-woo continue to dig his own grave, but then again, he might deserve it if he keeps up the lies.
So far I like that Hee-soo doesn’t seem to be the typical scheming second lead type. She’s certainly a type though – just the rose-colored nostalgia-laced first love type. But it at least means that the conflict will be believable, especially if she’s the One That Got Away and he still harbors a torch.
I’m actually torn between wanting Hyung-woo to clear everything up, or really just step in it, because so far the fighting has been mostly of the disgruntled threats kind, but they don’t seem to actually be on the verge of real divorce.
Hee-soo’s reappearance coupled with their explosive fighting might be enough to drive them over the edge, which from a story point of view, is a necessary turn. Gotta break up to make up, right kids?
- Can’t Lose: Episode 2
- Can’t Lose: Episode 1
- Stills from soon-to-premiere Can’t Lose
- Can’t Lose’s comic promo posters
- Choi Ji-woo and Yoon Sang-hyun as Can’t Lose’s warring couple
- Stills from MBC’s divorce romance Can’t Lose
- Can’t Lose holds first script reading
- Yoon Sang-hyun as Choi Ji-woo’s leading man
- Choi Ji-woo back in dramaland as a lawyer