Ah, time for the major complication to show up and throw our agency into a tizzy. Muahaha. Not that I haven’t been enjoying the breezy romance-of-the-weeks thus far, but there was a level of emotional conflict in the inherent Cyrano premise that hadn’t been integrated into the plot just yet, and really, you can’t have a show about Cyrano without the Cyrano.
SONG OF THE DAY
Taru – “Kiss You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
So Byung-hoon comes to, and Min-young asks if he’s okay. He says gruffly, “I’m fine, so be quiet… it’s embarrassing.” He shades his face with his hand, all, If I can’t see my shame, maybe it’s not there.
He hands her the necklace, declining to explain how he got it, only saying that now its got the value of a person’s life. So don’t lose it. I like the sweet little moment where they’re walking without speaking, and Min-young reaches over to wring some water out of Byung-hoon’s sopping wet coat. He shrugs off her help, but wrings some more.
Seung-pyo replays last night’s conversation with Min-young, where she assured him not to feel bad about whatever secret he’s harboring. Reading into his expression as he sees her arriving with Byung-hoon, I’d guess that it bothers him more than he’d like to have possibly lost her good opinion of him. Or at least shown himself in a less-than-sterling light.
His dark mood has his two underlings more nervous around him than usual, and given last night’s flash of violence, I’m thinking there’s a good reason they fear him. He just asks whether another person has ever made them feel uneasy before, and while we know he’s thinking of a woman, that question gets interpreted as a possible reference to those thugs.
Upon returning to the agency, Byung-hoon declines to offer an explanation for his bedraggled appearance and just heads off in his usual cranky way. Min-young complains to the boys about how ungrateful Byung-hoon was, and after she’d saved his life and performed CPR… at which point she freezes in embarrassment and clams up.
Min-young excuses herself, wondering why the mere thought of CPR has her all aflutter. Before she can delve too much into that uncomfortable thought, she gets a text that makes her happy, and she runs to show it to Byung-hoon. It’s from Su-ah, and shows a photo of her hand holding her crush’s, with that broken watch clasped between them.
It’s sweet of Byung-hoon to give her proper credit (“I knew you’d do a good job,” he says, and not even grudgingly!), and he asks about the final result. But Min-young is plenty happy without such a solid “result,” so to speak, since it’s satisfying enough to know that Su-ah broke out of her shell and confessed her feelings.
She muses that she’d really worried that Su-ah would end up alone and hurt, always looking one-sidedly at her unrequited crush. It’s no coincidence that the camera focuses on Byung-hoon as she says those telling words, catching him smiling at Min-young while she remains oblivious of his gaze.
When Arang resumes filming for Min-young’s dating tips video, she decides she won’t continue with the project. What’s the point in making a guide when everybody’s cases are different?
Still taping, Arang finds Byung-hoon in the camera lens and notices that he’s smiling… and looking at Min-young. “As I watched them, I became curious all of a sudden,” Arang narrates. “How many fates in this world are made of chance and mistakes?” Ah, so is Arang’s narration from this video project, which he’s taking rogue?
Min-young heads next door to greet Seung-pyo with a tentative hello. She’s trying to resume their easy rapport and shares today’s success with him, though now he’s acting awkward and distant. Since she won their “bet,” he recalls that he owes her a favor, but he says it with such reluctance that it makes you think he being forced to walk the plank.
Min-young leans in close to whisper encouragingly that he made the right choice in leaving behind his previous life, and adds, “You know I’m always on your side, don’t you?”
He asks hesitantly, “Weren’t you… scared of me?” She says cheerily that she has no reason to be, since she knows he’s a good guy. Watching incredulously are the two thugs, who realize that Master was all twisted up in knots over her. And it really is very sweet to see Seung-pyo smiling again, almost in wonder.
Our new Cyrano client seems like a hoot right from the get-go: She’s a raspy-voiced sassy granny who used to be a famous actress and has no qualms about identifying herself as the most beautiful in her day. But she’s also no-nonsense enough to shoot down Min-young’s attempt at flattery, since she’s old now and not so crazy to insist she is still the hottie she once was.
Then she identifies each employee with uncanny details: Byung-hoon is the cocky, self-assured one; Min-young likes to butt her nose into things; and Arang is a student busily saving up his money like a good little squirrel.
The unasked question gets answered a second later when Moo-jin arrives and recognizes “Madam Hwang”—aka, his grandmother. She’s not here for herself, however (“I’ve got old men lined up wanting to be with me, why would I need help?”), but for a sweet woman she knows named Lee Hae-shim, or literally, Understanding. (The Dickensian names on this show crack me up.)
Hae-shim (cameo by Yeh Ji-won) is a kind, understanding nurse who takes care of Grandma in the senior ward. She also likes a firefighter named Chul-soo (Im Won-hee), whom she runs into every so often on fire drills at the hospital.
One day Hae-shim gets stuck doing the second-story balcony jump demonstration (onto pads below) and Chul-soo encourages Hae-shim to fight her fear and jump. She musters the courage and asks, “If I jump… will you go on a date with me?”
But Hae-shim walks back down, and glumly tells Granny that she really did intend to jump if he said yes. Aw.
So Granny has been trying to play Cupid—but even though she thinks Chul-soo may be interested, he’s resisted invitations and attempts to put them together.
Byung-hoon is eager to talk fees, which earns him disapproving looks from his team. He awkwardly offers a discount, which I find adorable because when was he one to be shamed into politeness before? Thankfully for him, Granny’s rich and doesn’t care about discounts; she just wants results.
First the team needs to check whether the couple is even interested in each other, to rule out the possibility that Grandma’s spinning romances out of thin air. I do appreciate that this is a consideration, since the matchmaking meddliness of elders is no joke. Moo-jin offers to take the recon trip to the hospital to confirm, since he can visit his grandmother as a cover story.
On his way out, he runs into Hye-ri and asks her to come along, which she’s happy to do—until she sees that their destination is a hospital and freezes up. He apologizes, not having realized this would put her so ill at ease, but Hye-ri tells him to go on and run his errand while she waits outside. She sends him on with a cheery smile, but that fades as soon as he’s gone.
Moo-jin observes as an ajusshi rips into Nurse Hae-shim for some imagined offense or another—he’s the guardian to one of the seniors, but mostly he’s an asshole. Firefighter Chul-soo sees the exchange, and while he doesn’t step in right away, he does wait outside for the ajusshi to emerge, then accidentally-on-purpose knocks into him and kicks away his car key. The ajusshi takes one look at Chul-soo’s scary don’t-fuck-with-me face and backs down.
Granny finds Hye-ri sitting alone and offers her a lollipop to help with the gloomy face. She’s already heard that Hye-ri came with Moo-jin (to all the nurses’ dismay), and asks about the long face. Hye-ri explains that her older brother spent the end of his life in a hospital like this.
Grandma has some sweet words for Hye-ri, telling her to live as cheerfully as she can because life is short, and to think of her brother when she’s feeling happy, which will ease his spirit too.
Moo-jin takes back his surveillance footage to the team, and it’s pretty clear that the firefighter is interested, but for some reason is not acting on it. Byung-hoon declares that they’ll have to set a fire in his heart, and pulls up a still clip of one of the makeout scenes in Nine to illustrate. Ha.
Min-young scoffs that men are so animalistic in their thoughts, Byung-hoon counters that women like skinship too, and then they have another awkward moment where they get stuck looking into each other’s eyes.
On to the mission. That night at the hospital, Grandma sends Hae-shim on a trumped-up errand to look for something in storage, and then happens across Chul-soo as he’s conducting a routine check of the fire extinguishers. She sends him to retrieve Hae-shim, and then Moo-jin locks the door on them after cutting the lights.
They decide to wait it out for now, and in the meanwhile Moo-jin takes his grandmother out for some air. She advises him to treat Hye-ri well and be nice to her, chuckling that since this is the first girl he’s ever brought to see her, of course she’s going to look favorably on her.
The air in the locked supply room gets stifling, probably more from the tension than anything. Mirroring the scenario is the one in the surveillance van, with Min-young and Byung-hoon feeling similarly awkward and ignoring the reason for it.
Hae-shim admits that the one nice thing about this is that they get to be alone together. Aw, she really is trying; it’s Mr. Firefighter who’s the brick wall. When she comments that he must have had some interest in her if he noticed her clothing in the past, he blurts that he’s not interested in her. She’s disappointed, but still keeps trying to break the ice despite his rebuffs.
Moo-jin finds his grandmother’s wheelchair empty and realizes, “She’s back.”
Ah, so Grandma has an ongoing condition, and when she opens the locked supply closet, she’s already in a different reality. She grabs Hae-shim by the hair and drags her out, then tells the “director” that she can’t get into the scene properly. Then she advises Hae-shim like she’s a junior actress, and the other two play along to appease her.
Moo-jin tells Byung-hoon about the episode, saying that he didn’t think it was relevant to disclose earlier. Byung-hoon points out that they can’t take clients who are dementia patients, but Moo-jin balks at the wording and tells him to ease off; besides, Grandma’s spells are over quickly and he chooses it to think of her briefly visiting her past, that’s all.
Using last night’s spell as an excuse, Grandma guilts Chul-soo into going on a “date” with her to Namsan Tower, which of course is yet another bait and switch opportunity to get him together with Hae-shim. She pretends she was fooled by Granny too, and though he seems pretty aware of the ploy, he agrees to stick around.
The Cyrano team is dispatched to various areas of the tower to keep an eye on the couple. Byung-hoon and Min-young get commandeered by a man in a stuffed bear suit into sitting on a couple bench (the kind that slides you together)—and we see that it’s Arang in the suit, doing a little matchmaking on the side. Cute.
Hae-shim takes a look at the thousands of locks fastened by happy couples as little tokens of their love, but the sight makes Chul-soo even more uncomfortable, if possible. Hm, a painful past experience, perhaps? Or a lost loved one? In any case, he excuses himself with an apology and runs off.
Seung-pyo looks to be warming up even more to Min-young after her show of faith in him, and he calls her just as she pulls into the driveway with Byung-hoon. He invents an excuse to ask her over, while Byung-hoon sniffs in his pettily jealous way.
Seung-pyo makes a dish with thyme, which he uses as a segue to explain that courage (one of the meanings of thyme’s name) is something he could use right now. He reminds her of her earlier question, asking if he had anybody he wanted to cook for. Well, he does now: “Min-young-sshi. I like you very much, not as a teacher, but as a man. I’d also like to always be on your side. Can you accept my heart?”
The hopeful look on his face dims by degrees as she says that she likes him very much, but doesn’t want to change the relationship they have. He asks, “If someone like me showed up at the agency, would you say that?”
Moo-jin follows Chul-soo from the Namsan Tower date and reports back: Mr. Firefighter has a woman. Byung-hoon instructs him to keep tabs on him.
Min-young is confused, since her research had him being single for the past few years. Byung-hoon clocks her flushed face and assumes she’s feeling ill, and feels for fever. The contact makes them freeze, and Min-young escapes with pounding heart.
Meanwhile, Seung-pyo mulls over Min-young’s response just a few minutes earlier, when she had decided to use her one wish. We don’t get to see what that is just yet.
Seung-pyo makes some kind of decision and barges into Byung-hoon’s office: He’d like to hire his services. Aww, yeah. Time to shake up this joint.
When I first heard the premise of the movie version, I was all about it, and recall thinking it could make for a juicy romantic drama as well. It’s a classic story with a meaty conflict—the love messenger falling in love with his target—and jazzed up with a cute spy-theater-modern component to keep things fresh. So when the drama adaptation of the movie was then announced, I was pretty sure there was plenty of story potential here.
So it’s perhaps a little puzzling that the show took this long to get to what is, in all other story adaptations, the central conceit. But mostly I haven’t minded, because if you watch this show as a light rom-com series and not with the expectation that it’s gotta hew closely to the trajectory of the famous story, then there’s no reason it can’t be enjoyed for what it does rather than doesn’t do.
Thus it hasn’t upset me that we haven’t played with the conflict of interest inherent in the premise. But now that we’re here, I realize that there’s a new energy here that wasn’t here before—the story just got a LOT more interesting. It’s not really a rearranging of the movie’s plot, but a twist on it on a more fundamental level: Here, have the feelings engaged on all three sides before the case is even brought to the table.
I like that we can obviously see the budding attraction between Byung-hoon and Min-young, but because Seung-pyo realized his first (and was assertive enough to make the first move), Byung-hoon is locked in by his own denial. The third party interference throws things out of whack, but in a good way—I’m not sure Byung-hoon would be propelled into acting at all without a little provocation.
Based on how long he carried his torch for Yi-seol, I wouldn’t hold my breath that he’d get around to admitting his feelings in anything resembling an appropriate time frames. Though it was a nice touch, symbolically speaking, for him to lose his Sherlock pendant as he’s rescued by Min-young, which does signify that there’s hope for him yet. It’s just that Mr. Slowpoke Denialpants needs some kicking in the rear to actually get the ball rolling.