Take One runs into some more obstacles and barriers now that the can of worms has been popped open. True, it’s a can of lies and rumors but once it’s out, it’s nearly impossible to contain. The boys do their best to stay afloat and while we get some cute, the series is setting us up for more Seriousness on the horizon.
EPISODE 6, PART 1
Everyone is left stunned after Lee Joon drops the bomb of Kang-hwi’s scandal and consequently, his banishment. Tae-ik yells out, shocked and angry, and those around him turn around to pelt him with questions, asking if it’s true.
He’s quickly whisked away and in the car, Tae-ik demands to be taken to see Lee Joon immediately. His manager tells him that the company is likely to be crowded by reporters so they’re better off heading home for now.
Man-ok receives an emergency text from Kang-hwi and meets him at her gym. Once she’s filled in, Kang-hwi tries to piece together his memory from the night he was waiting for Man-ok at Playground.
He runs over the details, recalling that he finished off one bottle… and then it hits him: how Jay poured him a drink and saw him drive away from the company the following morning.
Speaking of whom, Jay smiles gleefully at the news but is left confused as to why Lee Joon kicked Kang-hwi out of the group. Question of the day, kid.
There’s no time to contemplate that now because he gets called in from “Man-ok’s Agency” to see him about the CF he’s been eyeing. He tries to run as soon as he sees Kang-hwi but Man-ok easily twists his arm and sits him down.
Jay vehemently denies that he was the one who leaked the photos because Lee Joon has the originals and their conversation was recorded. If Kang-hwi doesn’t believe him, he can hear the truth straight from the horse’s mouth.
Kang-hwi dangles a little evidence of his own (a photo of Jay with his idol honey) and threatens to publish it should he find out that Jay is lying to him. Jay repeats himself that it’s Lee Joon he wants to take this up with.
They let him go and Man-ok wonders if Jay will blab about their meeting. Kang-hwi (who now dons the niqab) says that it isn’t likely since Jay was kicked out of their company because of a scandal (Innteresting) and another one would mean the end of his career.
Hunting down that voice recorder is their first priority but Kang-hwi notes that Lee Joon wouldn’t store something that valuable in the office. No – it’d be somewhere else.
That somewhere else happens to be Full House and Lee Joon places the evidence inside his diamond-encrusted safe just as Tae-ik bursts in, enraged. Lee Joon barely blinks an eye at this, even acknowledging that the photos were fake.
Tae-ik doesn’t buy the excuse that the team’s image was at risk since the company always managed to squelch Kang-hwi’s past incidents before. What was it about this one?
Lee Joon slickly replies that he thought Tae-ik would be happy about the news and Tae-ik tenses that no matter how much he may dislike his partner, “Kang-hwi and I are a team.” Aww.
Lee Joon laughs and sarcastically remarks that they should have shown more of that teamwork on stage. If Tae-ik is so torn about Kang-hwi’s leaving, then he can follow suit and abandon Full House. After Tae-ik storms out, he chuckles, “I told you that you’re my puppet.”
Kang-hwi and Man-ok manage to sneak into the Full House grounds via a loose board. Man-ok is still hesitant but Kang-hwi reminds her that he has nothing without that evidence and right now, she’s the only one he can trust.
Getting into the house itself is a little trickier especially with those flimsy tree branches as camouflage. The lights are still on in Lee Joon’s office and Kang-hwi proposes that they hide in the basement until after he leaves.
Man-ok worries that they might run into Tae-ik but Kang-hwi assures her that Tae-ik is afraid of the dark so he won’t go down there.
They crawl into the house through the secret entrance and panic when the lights suddenly flicker on – someone’s coming. Man-ok rushes to push Kang-hwi down the basement before she finds herself face to face with a surprised Tae-ik.
Man-ok cooks up an excuse that she forgot something and let herself in. Exasperated, Tae-ik shouts back, “Aren’t you the least bit worried about Kang-hwi in this situation?” Man-ok searches his face at this uncharacteristic note of concern but Tae-ik collects himself and tells her to leave so he can be alone.
There’s no way Man-ok will be able to sneak into the basement with Tae-ik still there and she reluctantly leaves. Meanwhile, Tae-ik turns on the house alarm. Ha.
It looks like Full House has another intruder on their hands as our scammer-turned-legit tries to jump the gate. Doing so triggers the alarm and Man-ok panics, thinking her exit set it off. She leaves the way she came in and at the sight of security, takes poor cover again behind a light post.
She sends a text to Kang-hwi that she’ll drop by again in the morning but little does she know that he’s lying on the basement floor, unconscious.
Kang-hwi blinks awake the next morning and winces from the pain in his ankle. Man-ok finds him in this state and urges that they go to the hospital.
Unfortunately, that option includes the risk of getting caught, so Man-ok affixes a makeshift splint for the time being. She’s seen her fair share of injuries running a martial arts gym and his ankle doesn’t appear broken.
She insists that they still go by the hospital later and assures Kang-hwi that she’s strong enough to carry him. When Man-ok offers to go out and buy some medicine, Kang-hwi asks her to retrieve some clothes and items from his room.
It’s too bad that Kang-hwi’s stuff is being cleared out as they speak per Lee Joon’s orders. Tae-ik storms upstairs after he hears this news and Man-ok asks Go-dong if she can take a few things in case Kang-hwi returns.
Tae-ik is on his way to give Lee Joon his two cents when he overhears the president scream in outrage at the news that Kang-hwi never made it onto the plane. To make things worse, he’s gone missing. Lee Joon instructs his secretary to track him down before he causes trouble.
Our legit scammer rifles through Kang-hwi’s trash (ew) to find bits of juicy gossip to no avail. He turns to the books next and a photo flutters onto the ground.
It’s the picture of the trio we saw last episode, only Se-ryung’s third is missing, and now depicts the boys snuggled up to each other. That’s more for the Kang-hwi male lover rumor mill and he tries to call it into Ga-ryung.
He gets annoyed that she’s not saying anything and we see the reason why: she’s sitting in silent protest with her fellow fangirls demanding that Kang-hwi be reinstated into Take One.
Lee Joon sighs at the sight of this fan demonstration from the car. He picks up a call from the Chairman who tells him that stocks are plummeting. He assures the Chairman that he needn’t worry too much since the contract is coming along.
Meanwhile, Tae-ik does some more brooding in his room. Thinking about Lee Joon’s words, he wonders aloud, “Where are you Kang-hwi?”
Why funny you ask because he’s getting his ankle checked out at the hospital in a niqab. But bad news bears: the fracture will mean he’ll need to stay off his foot for four weeks.
Man-ok goes to pay for the hospital fee using Kang-hwi’s card. But he receives a text from an unknown number that his financial activity is being tracked and he grabs the card and bends it.
Back at Full House, neither of them have a clue whom the text was from. (My guess is Tae-ik.) She invites Kang-hwi to stay with her since it’s more comfortable than a basement. He declines, citing that he needs to track down the recorder and it’s too dangerous living in a fangirl’s place. You’re telling me (imagines the possibilities).
He figures that this is probably the safest place since it’s the last place they’ll think of looking for him.
Man-ok suggests that they consult Tae-ik, recalling his earlier concern for Kang-hwi. She knows that they must care for one another even if it seems like they hate each other. Plus, right now he’s the only one who can help their cause.
She helps him up the steps and Kang-hwi’s hand hovers over the door handle. He’s just about to open it when he hears voices outside.
Lee Joon and Tae-ik sit in the living room as the president mentions that they need to divert the fans’ attention. He slides over a demo and Tae-ik asks if he’s being given a solo album.
Lee Joon doesn’t see the issue here: he’s giving Tae-ik what he wants. Didn’t he say he didn’t want to work with “a jerk” like Kang-hwi when they were in China? Tae-ik shouts, “President!”
EPISODE 6, PART 2
Kang-hwi turns away from the door after he hears Tae-ik’s biting words spill out of Lee Joon’s mouth. On the other side of the door, Tae-ik reminds the president that he didn’t mean those words like that to which Lee Joon asks, amused, “Then is there some deeper hidden meaning to them?”
He does, however, remind Tae-ik that he’ll need to do as he’s told if he wants Full House back in his possession as soon as possible.
Elsewhere our scammer, now reporter, searches for the best ways to use this goldmine of a photo and jots down Lee Joon’s number.
Manager Hwang drops by to see Lee Joon and asks why he’s putting the boys through this. Annoyed, Lee Joon bites that he hates “Why?” questions the most. He really drills in that Do as you’re told bit to all his subordinates, telling Manager Hwang that he doesn’t pay him to get involved in these matters.
It’s interesting that Manager Hwang gets so worked up that he drops to banmal which strikes a nerve with Lee Joon. What kind of history do these guys have?
Lee Joon sends him out but immediately calls him back in. It’s the picture of Tae-ik and Man-ok together in the trailer and Lee Joon warns that it’ll be the end if this gets out.
I was honestly worried for a second and thought that Manager Hwang might be the bad guy when he meets up with the criminal. Turns out that he lets the guy off this once, handing him the ransom he wanted and warns him not to pull a trick like this again before driving off.
Tae-ik is unable to sleep, tossing in his bed. Man-ok worries that Kang-hwi might be too cold at night and goes shopping for bedding. When she returns in the morning, she finds him in the cat costume. Adorable.
As he sleeps, she cleans up the basement spic and span.
She re-enters through the main door carrying a pile of fabric in her arms. Tae-ik greets her with his usual scowl and Man-ok remarks that he really doesn’t have any manners.
Tae-ik drinks his milk daintily and Man-ok tells him that he should be eating a hearty breakfast. Honey, I think he needs to eat a hearty ham or two.
Man-ok’s brought her work since they’re doing construction in the main house. He gives her and her noisy sewing machine a disapproving look but leans back to read his magazine soon enough.
Why one of the scandalous photos is in a financial magazine is beyond me but a headline about how Kang-hwi’s scandal is affecting the company’s stocks is the last straw and Tae-ik exits in a huff, leaving Man-ok to wonder if her sewing was annoying him.
Tae-ik lies on his bed and lets out an exasperated sigh.
Kang-hwi wakes and lights up to see the basement decorated into a humble abode. He cracks when Man-ok gives him a temporary phone to use for the time being and he pulls her into a hug. Her eyes widen in surprise.
He says, “Man-ok I only have you!” and hugs her again, thanking her.
Tae-ik is miffed to find Man-ok already gone but he finds a note on the table saying that he’s getting pricklier because he isn’t eating breakfast, along with a spread she prepared for him. Tae-ik is touched and that previous disapproving smirk turns into a pleased one.
Lee Joon sighs at the falling stock values and gets an unknown call (from our scammer-reporter) about a compromising photo of Tae-ik.
Reporter So (what he’s calling himself) arrives in front of a grand hotel suite for the dropoff but Lee Joon’s got his men in place and one of them clasps his mouth. We see Manager Hwang repeat himself that he doesn’t give second chances. Ah, so this must be the same criminal as before.
Manager Hwang tells him to hand over the photo and Reporter So pulls out a stack of them… and tosses them all into the air. The men give chase and Manager Hwang finds out that the photo isn’t in the pile.
Unfortunately, Reporter So manages to climb into a taxi with the other men hot on his heels until they drive off.
Late that night, Kang-hwi curls up in fetal position trying to will himself to believe that he’s full and not hungry. He wonders aloud, “Is there a beggar living in my stomach? How could I eat all of this and still be hungry?” Ha.
He can’t call Man-ok over so he sneaks out into the kitchen on his crutches. He manages to silently stuff his bag with food and drinks until a water bottle clatters to the ground, calling Tae-ik’s attention to the noise.
Tae-ik goes down to investigate but finds nothing and we see Kang-hwi huddle beneath the counter and hobble back to the basement after Tae-ik leaves.
It’s morning when Tae-ik sees the extent of damage in his refrigerator and he gapes. Why am I not surprised that the items are labeled?
He calls Man-ok over, who let herself in since the door was open, and she gasps when Tae-ik tells her he’s been robbed. After she finds out what’s been stolen, she’s like, That’s it?
Man-ok finds his instruction to report the burglary to the police ridiculous. What kind of robber would make off with just salad and juice?
Then it dawns on her that Kang-hwi must have been by and Tae-ik catches her in her look of astonishment. He zeroes in on her and asks if she ate his food and Man-ok shakes her head… and then takes the fall.
He’s more annoyed that she took his food without asking than the fact that she ate it but she cuts him off that she’ll replace the missing salads and drinks. Then Tae-ik oh-so-casually mentions that she can make breakfast like she did for him yesterday.
But that breakfast will have to wait as Go-dong rushes in with a copy of the newspaper. Tae-ik throws it aside and storms off. Man-ok wonders what the big deal is and catches the headline. She asks Go-dong shocked,”Those two were in that kind of a relationship?”
And it looks like that incriminating photo from Reporter So has hit. Ga-ryung and Nora both receive the photo on their phones and a large outcry breaks among the fangirls.
Lee Joon is in a fury and calls Manager Hwang inside.
Things are turning bad and fast – the advertisers want to cancel their endorsements and Tae-ik’s solo album prospects are slim. Even the press releases to the reporters are no use.
Lee Joon shoots down Manager Hwang’s suggestion that Tae-ik hold a press conference to clarify the situation, telling him it’s too soon. He instructs Manager Hwang to put Tae-ik on house arrest and says in his Do as you’re told! voice to get his point across.
Did you get your two-toned suit custom made to match your two-faced personality there?
Lee Joon reviews the photo of Tae-ik and Man-ok in the trailer when Manager Hwang leaves.
Tae-ik intends to continue with his scheduled activities regardless of Lee Joon’s orders and barks at Man-ok to follow. She gets a call and answers, “Grandfather” before she realizes it’s Kang-hwi.
He heard the noise and wonders if something new flared up. Man-ok tells him that they’re on their way to a radio broadcast. She tells him not to raid Tae-ik’s fridge anymore and promises to bring food back.
Kang-hwi lets out a heaved sigh, feeling cut off from the world for so long. Figuring he has a few hours to spare, he peruses the headlines. I don’t have a good feeling about this.
He reads the articles about how he’s in a relationship with Tae-ik and the public backlash to the news. He lurches at the screencap of kissing Tae-ik back when they were in China.
The Give& are split on their Oppa and they all crowd around Tae-ik’s van when it pulls up. They’re stuck and Tae-ik surprises everyone when he tells Man-ok to open the door.
That’s just inviting chaos through your front door but Tae-ik reminds Manager Hwang of something he told him once, “The truth is always bound to come out. If you’re honorable, then face it head on.”
Then he opens the door himself and walks through the crowd as the girls close in on all sides.
They enter the building like this and then suddenly the fire alarm goes off. Everyone rushes out of the building and only once they’re out do they realize that Man-ok is missing. She’s inside, covering her ears, frozen.
Tae-ik rushes inside and finds her in the corridor. He shakes her to get it together and she looks at him with a blank stare.
Tears fall from her eyes and she faints. Tae-ik picks her up and carries her out of the building.
After what felt like a lot of payoffs in Monday and Tuesday’s episodes, this cliffhanger didn’t leave me wanting. It does, however, leave me wondering why Man-ok froze in the middle of that corridor. Eek, does it involve Mom and Dad dying in a fire? ‘Cause that would be pretty tragic. Given what we know of our character background stories so far, I think Kang-hwi’s past kind of takes the cake there, glass shards and all.
I did find it interesting that Jay (I’ve also seen ‘Jae-hee’ but I haven’t seen an official character name for him) used to be part of the same entertainment company as Take One. Which explains a part of his vendetta towards the company though he’s still careless in terms of his career. His minor storyline does question Lee Joon’s Do As You’re Told stance towards his idols. Does he purposefully allow a scandal to be leaked and let the public decide or take ownership and kick you out himself?
I felt that we were treading water for the first time in a while as we hovered about Kang-hwi’s leaving and his same-sex lover scandal. The more that we kept hearing about it with rehashed headlines, I started to feel desensitized to the matter. What should have made for ripe conflict (the rumor that the Take One members are lovers) felt ridiculous because the show treated it as ridiculous. This show does light and crazy a lot better than dark and serious and the music pulls us into extremes that overpower the moment rather than accompanying it.
There’s still a lot of cute and giggles to hold me over and the show is easy to watch and still chock full of meta references. But if you’re going to go melo or dark, drama, take us with you – don’t take us out of it.