Can’t Lose: Episode 13
Aw, what a cute episode. With our couple now able to admit to themselves how they really feel, we’re one step closer to them admitting it to each other. It’s pretty adorable watching them act like teenagers with a crush, using a third party as an excuse to keep talking to each other — they’re just one step up from shuttling messages back and forth with boxes and checkmarks indicating DO YOU LIKE ME? YES OR NO — which makes for some cute moments, as well as more pointed comments about how this divorced couple sure isn’t acting divorced.
SONG OF THE DAY
Milk Tea – “Couple Ring” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Eun-jae comforts Hyung-woo about his dead brother, and he finally lets loose his grief.
Hyung-woo says he hadn’t told Eun-jae because he hadn’t wanted to make her lie to his mother as well. When getting his brother’s things in order, he’d found the emails and took over, saying that he felt he’d stolen his brother away from Mom.
Eun-jae listens sympathetically, then insists on walking Hyung-woo home, knowing that he’s feeling emotionally drained. She even kicks Woo-shik out of bed (he’s reading, not sleeping) so Hyung-woo can take a nap, and sticks around to make sure he gets his rest.
She finds Gogi at Young-joo’s restaurant afterward, and tells him that Hyung-woo told her everything and unloaded his feelings at last. Gogi is relieved to hear it, and both muse that it was so easy to take their spouses for granted, just expecting them to be around whenever they looked. Their mutual Hyung-woo concern has brought them a bit closer and Eun-jae invites him out for a drink, which he has to regretfully decline because of his plans.
Inspired by the other couple, Gogi sits his wife down and asks if she’s keeping anything from him, inviting her to let it all out. Young-joo admits there’s one thing…that she’s constipated. HA. And her one suggestion for how he could improve that? “Pass the law exam.” Haha. In her mind, law exam = less stress = no constipation. Too bad for Gogi, that suggestion just seems to worry him, although he deflects her with a back massage.
That night, Hyung-woo calls her after waking up from his nap, and Eun-jae eagerly prepares herself before answering noncommittally. They have a cute conversation like the kind you have when you’re still in the honeymoon phase of dating, even if the questions are more personal: “What did you like best when we lived together?”
He replies that he liked sleeping with her, but not in the sexy way — that he slept best next to her. Woo-shik wakes up in the middle of this call and clears his throat pointedly, disrupting the mood and causing Eun-jae to hang up in embarrassment.
The next morning, Hyung-wo walks by her place but changes his mind before heading into the building. He perks up when he gets a call, though, not aware that it’s Eun-jae who’s masterminded Hot Bartender’s offer of a basketball date. Aww, that’s so cute.
Hot Bartender grumbles like the annoyed little brother he is, but Eun-jae now understands Hyung-woo’s desire to have a brotherly relationship with him and insists he go along, warning him not to mention that it was all her idea.
In fact, when Hyung-woo shows up, she’s so hasty to cover up her part in this that she blames Hot Bartender for manufacturing this run-in, which makes him gape helplessly, unable to protest.
She sits by while the boys shoot hoops, cheering for Hyung-woo. He doesn’t notice she’d left until long afterward, and when Hot Bartender mentions seeing her go, Hyung-woo says he ought to have held her back. Wise little bro says dryly that the one who wants to hold her ought to be doing the holding. Touché.
She then drops in on Mom-in-law, saying that even though she’s divorced, she wants to keep seeing Mom-in-law periodically, saying she hadn’t been very close to her before.
Mom-in-law then drops by to see Eun-jae’s mother, saying she’d dropped by earlier. Eun-jae’s mother sighs that she envies her, noting that her son in America is so diligent with his email correspondence: “I wish I had a son like that.” Hyung-woo’s mother sighs, “You’re right. There’s no son like that in the world.” And something about the way she says that makes me wonder….does she know her son is dead?
Hyung-woo’s mother invites Eun-jae’s mom out for a sauna day, which is just adorable.
More cuteness on Hyung-woo’s brotherly date: He and Hot Bartender have relocated to a bookstore, where the latter looks mighty unenthusiastic about his new role as go-between. When Eun-jae arrives, Hyung-woo hurriedly tells Hot Bartender to pretend he’s the one who wanted to call her over, and HotBar sighs that they’re two peas in a pod.
With an exasperated roll of his eyes, Hot Bartender tells the two of them to enjoy their date, and removes himself. So they pretend to browse the shelves, all the while casting moony looks at each other and pretending they’re not.
On the way home, they act like her annoying brother is such a painnnn, while being secretly glad they’ve got an excuse to keep calling each other. They linger as they part ways, without a good excuse to keep the date going, and head off in opposite directions. But this time it’s Eun-jae who changes her mind and chases after him, and suggests they stay out just a bit longer.
When Eun-jae gets home later that night, she finds herself flushed with giddiness and wonders, “What’s going on? Are we dating?”
Woo-shik heads out to go grocery shopping alone (Hyung-woo rejects the offer and warns himself not to turn out like him), and who should he run into over the sample platter but Professor Jo. They chuckle over the coincidence and shop together while chatting like an old married couple.
When Woo-shik gets home, Gogi’s there nursing a beer, worrying over Young-joo’s nagging over the law exam. Truth be told, he’d quit preparing because he doesn’t think he can pass, while Young-joo’s expecting him to be a prosecutor or a judge. Hyung-woo advises him to ‘fess up soon, noting that he got served with divorce papers over an issue he’d dismissed as “not a big deal.”
He’s right, though Gogi turns the tables on him and points out how he’s fussing with his cell phone: “And why is the man who waits so much for a phone call stubbornly staying divorced?” Hyung-woo explains that he’s afraid of repeating the same mistakes.
Young-joo, meanwhile, worries to Eun-jae that Gogi might fail the exam. Eun-jae suggests that perhaps Gogi doesn’t want to take the exam, reminding Young-joo to learn from her mistakes and assuming she knows everything about her man. She’s wearing Hyung-woo’s jacket, and sighs about still liking him — she wants to heed Young-joo’s advice not to foster those feelings if she’s not going to reconcile, but clearly that’s not working.
Eun-jae spots Hyung-woo at the courthouse the next day, here to argue a case on the behalf of a taxi driver working for an abusive company, and she slips inside to hear the proceedings. She murmurs her encouragement under her breath, pleased with his performance, and ducks out when court is adjourned before he can see her.
She thinks she’s slipped away but he spots her hurrying out and joins her at a nearby cafe having lunch. She’s here to interview with a prospective lawyer partner, and Hyung-woo gets up to take a seat at the nearby table. I love this — it’s a twist on the old standby of the hero jealously listening in to the heroine’s date with another man (we could call it the Sam-shik maneuver, perhaps), only with employment as the issue rather than romance.
The lawyer is pretty uppity, making demands with the attitude of “I deserve this,” and Hyung-woo interjects with his commentary, tossing out things like, “Get rid of him” and “You need a better guy” and “What, are you going to solicit sales to earn that salary?” Hee.
Hyung-woo leaves the cafe mid-interview, but Eun-jae agrees with his comments and turns her prospective partner down, saying, “I’ve just thought of the perfect partner for me.” Aw. All this while she’d been insisting they ought to find a new partner other than Hyung-woo, but at least she’s not entirely blind to their situation.
Professor Jo confirms that Hyung-woo really intending to leave Hope. After that lunch date, Hyung-woo can only say dejectedly that Eun-jae’s already looking for his replacement, so Professor Jo shares his tip: He has a colleague in another city who’s looking for someone. Hyung-woo lights up at the opportunity, but has cold feet and says he’ll have to think it over.
Just then, Eun-jae comes in, and the office atmosphere freezes up. Hearing that he’s considering a relocation to Kyung-ju, she’s surprised and asks if he’s decided yet. He asks what she thinks, all the while thinking to himself that he won’t go if she holds him here. Meanwhile, she’s thinking to herself, “If you don’t go, I’ll hold onto you.” Urg! Just say it!
They both try to suss each other out, but are too proud and defensive to put themselves out there. The conversation is basically a deterioration, going from Should I go? to You say you want to go and Well, if you think I should and Hmph, do what you want. The discussion ends with ruffled feathers and the misconception that both would prefer being apart.
Eun-jae suggests a farewell party for Hyung-woo, though she says it with a miffed tone and makes a point at dinner to act like she’s thrilled that he’s going to Kyung-ju. At dinner, she suggests that everyone share a few words to help him succeed at his new job, which turns into an open call for criticism (though it sounds like it’s stuff he needed to know, like his tendency to speak very prettily while working his staff extra hard). He takes their words with uneasy smile, although he does cut off Gogi when he tries to join the party, haha. Eun-jae goes last, and everyone tenses as she says with the sweetest tone (and glaring eyes), “You…are a real pain in the ass.”
Everyone forces laughs and pretends it’s all a funny joke, and afterward Eun-jae extends a handshake with a “Good luck in Kyung-ju” that sounds a lot more like “Good riddance.” She walks off in a huff, only letting out her real disappointment to Young-joo once she’s home. She’s peeved that he’s leaving so coldly, while he’s fuming that she could so coolly shove him out.
Eun-jae arrives at the bachelor pad of sadness and shoves Hyung-woo’s jacket in his lap, leaving without a word.
And then, they’re both glued to their phones, expecting a call from the other and deflating when they don’t get it.
Eun-jae goes to see Professor Go, and today he’s lucid and advises her in favor of holding on to the one she loves. Tearily, she asks, “And what if the person I love keeps going far away?”
Hyung-woo drops by not long after, and while his professor is now lost in his dementia, he can see the bag of sweets left behind and guesses that it was Eun-jae. Professor Go blurts in his child-like voice, “A pretty girl came by, cried, and left.” He tells Hyung-woo he should make her laugh, not cry, and hoards the sweets that the lucid professor had shunned.
Eun-jae and Gogi return to the hospital to talk to the car accident victim, Ji-ho, who is keeping his grief bottled up and refuses to talk about the accident. His girlfriend died in the crash and her father is suing, while Ji-ho is suffering from a severe case of survivor’s guilt and blames himself for everything. Eun-jae clues in on a comment and suspects that he wasn’t driving after all, which would dismiss this entire case, but he insists (unconvincingly) that he was at the wheel.
In the following days, Eun-jae revisits him and tries to get Ji-ho to talk, but he just lays there silent and uncooperative. Gogi notes that this is just like Hyung-woo was, clamming up after the accident, and finally one day Eun-jae finds the hospital door locked to her.
The night before the case is to go to trial, Eun-jae works late and Gogi finds Hyung-woo packing for his departure tomorrow. Hyung-woo is, as usual, tetchy at the mention of the accident, but he lets Gogi persuade him to come to the office.
He can’t actually go inside, though, and sits outside. He’s not ready to get involved in this, although he does slip into the courtroom the next day to observe the trial.
Without Ji-ho’s cooperation, Eun-jae’s best strategy is to argue that there’s no way to prove who was driving the car — no witnesses, no cameras. The only thing the plaintiff has to go on is Ji-ho’s admission — although it’s pretty damning when you have your defendant breaking down and admitting, “It’s all my fault.”
Eun-jae comes back from court feeling down, but her staff is markedly cheery and tells her that her new partner is here to help her on the case; he’s waiting in Hyung-woo’s office for her. In she goes, and there Hyung-woo is, ready and willing to help.
And what about Kyung-ju? “I have to give that up if I’m going to work here.” They shake on it with smiles.
Into the office bursts an angry man — the father of the dead girlfriend — who’s furious with Eun-jae for suggesting that his daughter was driving the car that killed her.
Hyung-woo steps in to try to calm the father, saying that they’re not trying to skirt responsibility, but to reveal the truth, in case an innocent man is punished for something he didn’t do. The man scoffs — why would an innocent man admit guilt? — but Hyung-woo explains that he’d felt the same way, that he’d wanted to die when he was in a similar position. The man still refuses to settle the case, but Hyung-woo’s admission somewhat mollifies his reaction.
Eun-jae tells Hyung-woo he can step back from the case, but it looks like he’s ready to confront it head-on and he tells her that he’ll have to do it someday, so might as well do it now. She actually invites him inside, but he declines, saying he’ll want to spend the night, and they’re not quite ready for that. He explains that he’s got to go see his brother in the morning anyway, and they head to their separate homes.
But when he leaves his neighborhood in the morning, he finds Eun-jae waiting for him, ready to accompany him to visit his brother’s grave. Moved, he gives her a hug and she says she would’ve really liked his brother.
They arrive at the temple to pay their respects…and who should they find there but Hyung-woo’s mother. Aha! I knew it! So Mom knew all this while, and kept up her act to spare Hyung-woo, who was keeping up his own act for Mom’s benefit. Ahhhh, that’s so sweet.
Confused, he asks what’s going on, and Mom tells him, “I did it to keep you alive.” She says he’s tender-hearted, and assures him that both he and Hyung-joo are “the same son to me.”
Breaking down, Hyung-woo hugs his mother, who comforts him.
This episode provides pretty good support for the argument that this couple needed to split up before they could come back together, because as they both wryly point out, their newly split status changes the dynamic between them and lets them act in ways that they couldn’t (or merely didn’t) when they were still married. Key among those things is not taking the other person for granted, which is admittedly a lot easier to do when you’re married and have a legal, binding commitment — you figure that’s enough to hold you together and forget to listen, or be emotionally available, substituting physical presence for mental.
I think there’s some truth to Hyung-woo’s mother’s comment in the last episode that if they were less stubborn, they’d see that their problems could be solved over time, but I think the divorce fast-tracks that rediscovery process for them. Especially since, as we’ve noted before, their courtship was so abbreviated in the first place.
I’m relieved that all the secrets are out in the open, all the misunderstandings cleared, and the stage set for a positive resolution for Eun-jae and Hyung-woo. If this drama were ending next week, I’d find the pacing right on target…which is why the extension of another week makes me nervous. Okay, all extensions make me nervous, but this one specifically worries me because I don’t want them to introduce a last-minute conflict, but I don’t see how we can have an extra two episodes without one. Well, this drama has pleasantly surprised me throughout its run, so I’m crossing fingers for more of that to come.
- Can’t Lose bargains its way to extension
- Can’t Lose: Episode 12
- Can’t Lose: Episode 11
- Can’t Lose can’t agree on extension
- Can’t Lose: Episode 10
- Can’t Lose: Episode 9
- Can’t Lose: Episode 8
- Can’t Lose: Episode 7
- Can’t Lose: Episode 6
- Can’t Lose: Episode 5
- Can’t Lose: Episode 4
- Can’t Lose: Episode 3
- Can’t Lose: Episode 2
- Can’t Lose: Episode 1