Can’t Lose: Episode 15
The love triangle is set and the men’s jealousies start to assert themselves, although it’s kind of a lopsided fight, with Hot (Hyung-woo) facing off versus Cold (Seok-hoon). Maybe this is where the we should be welcoming the extension, since it’ll give us more time to delve into Eom Ki-joon’s character instead of trotting him out as a token late-game obstacle. And I’m all for delving into Eom Ki-joon.
SONG OF THE DAY
Standing Egg – “Little Star” [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Old Ex, meet New Ex. Aw, that’s one way to nip this budding bromance in the bud. And they’d liked each other so much.
Hyung-woo and Seok-hoon eye each other like alpha dogs trying to assert dominance, all earlier friendliness gone, while Eun-jae is left wondering what’s going on. Too bad the boys get too carried away one-upping each other to see that they’re ticking off Eun-jae, and they don’t notice she’s left until they’re done with the dick-waving. (Results of measuring exercise: Inconclusive at this stage.)
The staff wonders what this means. Hyung-woo may have married Eun-jae for a year, but Seok-hoon has known her for five and dated her for three. Furthermore, Woo-shik knows Seok-hoon well enough to know he hates losing, just like Hyung-woo. He’s not likely to back down easily, and that’s not good news for Hyung-woo…
Eun-jae mopes on the rooftop, mumbling, “Why aren’t you coming to me?” See, here’s proof that if the jealous boys would just pay attention to the object of their jealousy, they’d get farther than they do by posturing with each other. Deuk-hee informs her that Hyung-woo’s working, and that ticks her off. “Can he work like this?!”
Hyung-woo explains to Eun-jae how he met Seok-hoon and ended up wishing him luck getting his girlfriend back. Eun-jae declares that she has no interest in her ex-boyfriend, mollifying Hyung-woo somewhat.
But Gogi shakes Hyung-woo’s confidence, telling him that women are weak at the reappearance of an ex. Don’t dismiss the power of treasured memories, he warns.
That spins Hyung-woo off into fantasyland, imagining Eun-jae in lovey-dovey scenes with Seok-hoon. Aw, they really are adorable together, even if only in Hyung-woo’s horrified imagination.
Seok-hoon drops by to say hi to Eun-jae’s mother, who’s happy to see him. At least, until he mentions Eun-jae’s divorce and Mom gets uneasy about being caught in the middle of a tug-of-war.
Seok-hoon assures her he won’t ask her to take sides, though, and says wistfully that if he’d known Eun-jae would interpret his departure as a dumping, he would have stayed. Mom notes that Eun-jae does have the tendency to assume that anybody who leaves her side is abandoning her forever — though it’s not like you could blame her, given her family issues.
Hyung-woo’s plan for today’s date is to teach Eun-jae how to ride a bike. Oh, you are so cute, trying to one-up imaginary Seok-hoon. Are you sure you’re really jealous of Seok-hoon, and not your imagination?
He asks hesitantly if she was ever taught to ride a bike “from someone,” perking up when she says no. He’s immediately disappointed, though, when she says she knows how to ride a bike: “Why do men always assume women don’t know how to things like this?”
Eun-jae suggests they ride together, and the date continues pleasantly at home with a home-cooked dinner and a rented movie. That’s one perk of dating post-divorce, Hyung-woo says, since you can be comfortable at home instead of always trying to find places to go.
That mood is interrupted by an unexpected visitor, and it’s Mom again, which earns the couple another disapproving scold. Mom has brought a bag and declares she’s moving in — to speed up their decision-making process. Mom warns Hyung-woo to hurry it up, “Or you’re gonna lose my daughter!” Aw, how cute — she’s rooting for Hyung-woo, and covering up that she knows about Seok-hoon.
Eun-jae sighs that life is about to get complicated — mother-daughter living situations are rife with trickiness. Still, Eun-jae’s glad to have Mom here, though she warns her to keep the nagging to a minimum.
Mom brings up Seok-hoon and how he’s still hung up on her. Eun-jae wonders at her ex’s lingering attachment, but Mom tells her to think of it from his point of view, saying she understands. He’d tried to keep in touch after leaving, but it was Eun-jae who refused his calls, thinking she’d been dumped, and insisted on moving on.
At the office, Eun-jae sees Deuk-hee taking some sel-ca photos on her phone, which she considers utterly cheesy but also is curious to try. She snaps a few in the bathroom, hesitating before sending them, so Deuk-hee takes care of the matter by swiping her phone and sending them to Hyung-woo before she can stop her.
Eun-jae’s embarrassed but Hyung-woo finds them adorable and shows the photos to the guys. Eun-jae retaliates by swiping Deuk-hee’s phone to return the favor.
Seok-hoon walks into Hope unexpectedly to propose working with Eun-jae on a contract case that he can’t handle alone, which his firm is understaffed on. Eun-jae wants to take the case, but looks to Hyung-woo for his approval, even though Seok-hoon pointedly says that she doesn’t need his say-so when it’s just about business. Hilariously, when he suggests dinner with Woo-shik, the latter also looks over at roommie Hyung-woo for permission. Ha.
Hyung-woo is tense throughout the exchange, but he tells her to take it, since it’ll help Hope. And after Seok-hoon leaves, he tells Eun-jae that she’s a great lawyer who’d be good on this case, and that he has faith in her. Aw, that’s sweet.
Woo-shik and Seok-hoon head to Young-joo’s restaurant for dinner, where Young-joo fawns over the perfect ex-boyfriend. He assures Woo-shik that he isn’t using the case as an excuse for romantic overtures, which I actually believe, oddly enough. He seems oddly principled in that way, the type of guy who’s going to do his damnedest to win the girl, but fair and square. He says he heard Hope was struggling, and figured he could help them out with a well-paying job, which would in turn ease Eun-jae’s burden.
Professor Jo walks in and gapes to recognize Eun-seok, whom he’d also taught at law school, although he’s unaware that Eun-jae and Seok-hoon were ever a couple (they’d hooked up after law school). Professor Jo is fully aware of what this means for Hyung-woo, and asks him about it later at the Sad Bachelor Pad. Hyung-woo sticks to his “I trust Eun-jae” line while the others worry on his behalf, and Professor Jo tells him that his and Eun-jae’s biggest problem is that they don’t tell each other how they really feel. Ain’t that the truth.
It’s funny how everyone else is freaking out over the return of the ex, while Hyung-woo’s trying to act like he’s secure. Eun-jae calls him that night wondering if he wants to meet before her business trip tomorrow (with the dreaded ex), but he tiredly tells her he’ll see her after she returns.
Eun-jae and Seok-hoon arrive at the resort to handle the contracts, and she makes it clear right off that they’d better separate work from personal business. He assures her that he always does.
And then… Hyung-woo comes marching up, joins the party, and declares that he can’t leave things be. Eun-jae’s embarrassed and wants to continue this discussion in private (away from Seok-hoon), then asks why he’s in such a fuss when she’s only here to work.
She insists that she has no interest in Seok-hoon, and their frustration brings up old fights; they sigh that they’ve had this argument a lot. Hyung-woo starts to warn her against continuing on the case, which makes Eun-jae dig in her heels to retort that she’s sticking with it. As she leaves, she comments, “Nothing’s changed after all.”
Hyung-woo goes out looking for her, only locating her after searching for hours, while all this time she’s been nursing a drink at the restaurant. He’s so peeved that she shut off her phone that he tells her to do as she likes and stalks off in a huff.
Seok-hoon joins her at the table, knowing she’s reconsidering working with him, and tells her to take her time thinking it over. She says that this is an old argument, one they’ve had too many times before.
Hyung-woo heads to the bar to talk it out with Hot Bartender, who tells him that what he’s feeling is natural. He even offers to get rid of the guy for him, which cheers up Hyung-woo, even if it’s mostly in jest. Brotherly solidarity, gotta love it.
At Hope, Hyung-woo talks with a client who’s dealing with a baby-swap case; the other family wants to swap their sons back right away, but she’s obviously grown attached to the son she’s raised.
Eun-jae returns from her trip, and Hyung-woo admits that he’d initially okayed her working with her ex out of pride. And when he left the resort, it that wasn’t because he was running away from the problem; he just didn’t want to fight in front of Seok-hoon. He’s going to take the good professor’s advice by expressing his feelings openly from now on, even if it leads to fighting.
Eun-jae agrees, but adds a few caveats: Hyung-woo can take over the case for her — Hope needs it, after all — and she wants some time apart. She hates fighting and wants a break from it, so for the time being she wants to treat him like a comfortable friend. A bit disappointedly, he agrees.
They get a break in Ji-oh’s case about the car accident: Ji-oh has confessed the truth about his girlfriend driving the car that killed her, but they’ve had trouble finding witnesses to back it up. Now they locate a rest stop attendant who remembers arguing with the girlfriend, but he’s not willing to testify.
At home, Eun-jae sighs to her mother that she thinks she might really end up splitting with Hyung-woo after all. I love that Mom doesn’t join the pity party and instead scolds her for taking too long to make up her mind, ha.
That weekend, Woo-shik calls Eun-jae out because he wants moral support for his daughter’s wedding — the one he’s been disinvited from — and she accompanies him inside, urging him on when he turns to leave. He can’t do it, though, and asks her to convey his letter to the bride while he waits outside miserably.
Eun-jae finds the bride in her waiting area and tells her that her father’s here, but the daughter doesn’t want to hear it and angrily tosses aside the letter. Eun-jae gently tells her that all parents love their children — they just show it differently — and that she’ll regret it if she doesn’t read the letter.
The bride thinks over Eun-jae’s words and finally decides to open the letter, which reads:
“Jin-so-ya, I have nothing I can say to you. I’m so sorry that I can’t say the words I’m sorry. When you were born, you were so fragile that I was afraid to touch you for fear you’d disappear. But now you’re grown and marrying, and I’m so proud of you. My clever daughter, you didn’t choose a man like me, did you? If my son-in-law is like me, I’ll go beat him. Be happy forever.”
Moved to tears, the bride runs out of the hall looking for Woo-shik, and calls after him as he’s leaving dejectedly. She cries, “Aren’t you going to hold my hand? If you leave now, I’m really never going to see you again.” Aww, is anyone else crying? The father-daughter stuff always gets me, right *there.*
Eun-jae’s mother calls Hyung-woo out to ask if something’s happened between the couple, knowing that things have been tense lately. He tells her about Eun-jae wanting a break, and Mom advises him that it’s because Eun-jae is protecting herself.
Mom gets called away on urgent news and asks Hyung-woo for a ride to the hospital; Eun-jae’s father’s condition has worsened. Mom sighs that Eun-jae should meet her father once before he dies, even though she understands her resistance to reuniting with a father she’s never seen before, one who caused her so much pain in her youth. Mom tells him that Eun-jae always runs at the first indication of hurt, to preserve herself.
Eun-jae thinks over the words she told the bride, scoffing that she’s hardly one to be dispensing father-daughter advice. She meets with Seok-hoon later to bow out of the resort case, saying that Hyung-woo will take over for her.
She apologizes for hurting Seok-hoon in the past, admitting that she’d only been thinking of her own feelings. But she tells him she wants to focus on herself now, and live comfortably, in effect telling him she doesn’t want to start anything with him.
Hyung-woo waits outside her apartment that night, and spots them walking together. Jealousy flaring, he grabs Eun-jae’s wrist and pulls her away, all angry indignation as he asks why she’s seeing the guy she said she wouldn’t see anymore. She sets him straight, saying that she’d met him to tell him her decision to quit the case, and that kills his temper. But he has a bomb to drop, and tells her that he met her father today. “I understand now how deep your pain runs.”
Eun-jae stops in her tracks, stunned, and he hugs her, saying he wants to stay together tonight: “I’ll comfort you, like you did for me.”
But Eun-jae tells him, “You and I are different. You and your mother’s problem arose because you loved each other so much, but for me, he’s someone I’d wished might hold my hand just once, even in a dream, but who never showed me his face.” So all she could imagine was the same scene in her head, of a childhood Eun-jae crying out for Daddy who never turned back to see her. Now she’s angry at him for being ill, for turning her into the bad guy for not wanting to see him on his deathbed: “I can’t reconcile with him. I won’t.”
Eun-jae goes home alone and cries, thinking of Woo-shik and his daughter, saying, “I’m so envious of them.”
Hyung-woo sits down at his usual pojangmacha, where Seok-hoon sits with some soju. They’re not exactly happy to see each other, but since they’ll be working together, Seok-hoon invites him to join him. He tells Hyung-woo that Eun-jae has a habit of running to her cave when problems arise, but that Hyung-woo was able to at least join her at the front of that cave: “I couldn’t, even though I wanted to. And that makes me angry.”
Hyung-woo thanks Seok-hoon for his frankness, which has make him more frank in turn. Seok-hoon leans in to declare that he won’t give up. Hyung-woo leans in to challenge, “And does it look like I will?” Seok-hoon: “I’m telling you because it doesn’t seem so. Let’s take this all the way.”
Fight! Fight! Fight!
It’s to Eom Ki-joon’s credit that he can play an interloping third wheel, one with very obvious intentions to “steal” away the heroine from a different man, and yet seem honorable doing it. It’s partly his acting — Eom has this way of bringing a groundedness to all his roles, a sense of realism to the emotions — and also partly the setup, which makes this love triangle fair game for all, in terms of fidelity. Plus, there’s the fact that despite being the older ex, Seok-hoon does know Eun-jae better — or at least for a lot longer. It’s five years versus one, and if we could measure quantity of love in terms of quantity of time, he’d have Hyung-woo beat for sure.
But there’s also the fact that Eun-jae seems wholly uninterested in rekindling the romance with the old flame, so I find this love triangle a little disappointing. It might have been more of a threat if, say, the drama explored Seok-hoon actually knowing Eun-jae better, and treating her in an effective way when Hyung-woo’d gone and mucked things up. Say, for instance, what Hot Bartender did in the early days, before we knew he was her half-brother. Right now he’s a foil for Hyung-woo’s jealousy, but he’s not really an obstacle. Hyung-woo’s biggest obstacle right now, sadly, is Hyung-woo.
I want more of a reason to root for Eom Ki-joon winning (other than the fact that he’s Eom Ki-joon and therefore I’m already pulling for him). Maybe the next three episodes will do that, and really give Hyung-woo a run for his money.
- Can’t Lose: Episode 14
- Can’t Lose: Episode 13
- 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