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I Need Romance 3: Episode 13

There’s some pain, some stupidity, a dash of sweetness, and a tinge of awareness that ignites between our couple. Our hero refuses to take things lying down anymore, and that means explosive confrontations with everyone. Let’s just say, most of his actions are highly regrettable. But as it turns out, you can be the best love guru to someone else and not have a damn clue what to do when your own heart is breaking.

 
SONG OF THE DAY

Soulstar – “이별하기 좋은 밤 (A Good Night to Say Goodbye)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 13: “Without even a promise to return…”

Joo-yeon goes on her movie date following the awkward incident where her boyfriend walked up to her hugging her roommate. She steals peeks at him all through the movie, wondering why he didn’t ask anything, to give her a chance to explain.

But then when she thinks about it, she can’t exactly explain that she once kissed Wan, that he’s always got his arms wrapped around her, that she sometimes sleeps in his bed, or that he tells her he loves her at every opportunity. She realizes she can’t actually explain anything, except to insist that to her, he’s just a Sweet Potato.

Tae-yoon finally makes her say what’s on her mind, so Joo-yeon has to bring it up first and ask why he isn’t getting mad. He just calmly says he’s miffed, it’s true, but he doesn’t want to argue about it. Instead he just says he trusts her to clean up that relationship.

She starts to tell him again that Wan is basically family, but Tae-yoon points out that he’s a grown, successful man who could live anywhere, and there’s no real need for them to live together. He just tells her to fix it and refuses to get mad about it, not wanting to waste that kind of energy. What, that’s frankly more infuriating, at least for me.

She comes home and immediately calls for Wan, and realizes that she doesn’t even know how long she’s been calling out to Wan first thing, every time she steps inside the house. She can’t fall asleep until she knows he’s home either, and eventually gets back out of bed to go check on him.

He’s already asleep in his bed, which puts her at ease. She tucks him in and sweeps the hair out of his face, and then catches herself again, wondering when their skinship became so easy and natural.

But he stirs awake and then kisses her hand, and that’s enough to jolt her back to her senses. She yells at him to stop all the skinship and stop telling her he loves her. He guesses that she fought with Tae-yoon because of him.

I love that she tries to reintroduce the word “noona” to him, which he just scoffs at. She says this might be her last relationship, and that there’s no hope if it doesn’t work out with Tae-yoon. Is this really what you think?

Wan points out that he’s right here, but she crushes his heart in one devastating blow: “Even if the sky falls down, I’ll never see you as a man!” Oof. She tells him to stop with the handholding and telling her he loves her, because there’s someone else she wants to hear those words from now. Poor Wannie.

She heads back down and gets a text from Tae-yoon asking if she’s up, and decides to send him a picture of the immaculate living room and lies that she was up cleaning.

She giggles and then goes to the greenhouse to water a plant and brag that she grows things too, which is when Wan comes downstairs and gapes in disbelief at the blatant lies. (Not to mention the fact that she just overwatered the cacti.)

He looks at the texts she sent and asks if she has no shame taking credit for his work, and then Tae-yoon texts back that he loved the soup she gave him last time so he’s trying to make some. Haha, their whole relationship revolves around Wan’s domesticity.

He trudges to the kitchen and starts prepping rice for breakfast since he’s up anyway, and Joo-yeon beams to see that he’s not too mad and hugs him. She doesn’t even realize she’s breaking her own rule and he has to ask what she’s doing before she takes a step back in surprise.

He asks what he’s supposed to do when she’s the one who’s always sticking to him first, leaning on him, asking for piggyback rides, falling asleep in his bed, following him around the house, coming to find him in the studio if he’s not home…

He suddenly stops mid-rant and stoops down to peer into her eyes curiously. The more nervous she gets the more he smiles, “Do you…like me?” Omo.

She laughs, but he thinks he’s onto something and wonders if maybe somehow she started to like him. He points out her affectionate hair-touching behavior upstairs, and she counters that he does that all the time. Though he has the perfect comeback: “Because I like you! Of course I want to touch you!”

When she runs out of excuses, she just runs away from the conversation. They each sit up in bed, her talking to the giraffe and him to the old picture of Shing Shing, and she asks why she did that. Wan: “Even you think you’re weird, right?”

She asks Giraffe, “It’s because I’m so comfortable around him, right?” Wan demands Little Shing Shing to answer: “You’ve started to like me, right?” Joo-yeon: “I don’t know…”

Min-jung runs into baby daddy Min-seok while sorting garbage, and he can’t help himself and starts to nag her about the things she’s eating and the heels she’s wearing, which are all bad for the baby.

She has to remind him that he’s selling his place and leaving, so this is definitely overstepping his bounds. He can’t exactly argue, so they leave it at that.

Min-jung chats with Joo-yeon about it before work, and Joo-yeon asks if she has zero interest in trying to make it work with the father, and if marriage is out of the question. Min-jung just doesn’t want to rely on a man, and considers all of that a fairytale.

She figures that she’s dated so many duds that even if a great man came along, she wouldn’t even recognize him or know what to do with him. That triggers Joo-yeon’s thoughts and she wonders if Wan’s early assessment of her was true—that she was deeply damaged.

Joo-yeon asks if fairytale fantasies don’t exist, or if they’re just considering them too unrealistic and therefore failing to catch them.

Min-jung tells her to snap out of it: “That bitch Cinderella met her prince because she was from aristocracy by birth. And Snow White, that bitch was a princess too. We’re just the marketing directors of the salt factory.” Pwahaha I love her.

In the office, Hee-jae gets the hiccups, and Woo-young just casually tosses out that kisses cure hiccups. He reaches out to stop her from picking up a broken mug, and warns her again that a kiss is coming. This time, contact!

Too bad they’re at work though, because two seconds later Joo-yeon and Min-jung walk in to interrupt them, only they’re out of sight behind a table. Thinking they’re alone, they continue talking about Min-jung’s pregnancy, which the whole team (and even Tae-yoon around the corner) can overhear loud and clear.

Her teammates congratulate her, but Tae-yoon isn’t so warm and fuzzy, and calls Joo-yeon to his office. He asks what she was thinking giving a promotion to an unwed mother-to-be. Ugh, could you be more offensive?

Joo-yeon argues that Min-jung is good at her job and they can work around her pregnancy, but Tae-yoon reminds her that their company isn’t so open-minded.

He tells her to order Min-jung to circulate fake wedding invites and then take a long vacation so she can have the baby quietly. SERIOUSLY. Seriously? I don’t even know where to begin to tell you all the ways in which you are making my blood boil.

Joo-yeon can’t believe that’s the only option—to pretend to be married for the rest of her entire career here? But Tae-yoon tells her to suck it up because that’s her job now, to think of the company before any individual employee. Is it also her job to discriminate against people with ovaries, or is that just a perk? Sorry, okay, I’m done now.

She comes out of the meeting to Min-jung just looking over at her with these searching eyes. Joo-yeon narrates, “I never knew it until then, how much a person’s eyes could say. And that more feelings could be exchanged that way than with a hundred words.”

She steps outside to be alone, and calls Wan hoping he’d give her different advice. But as soon as he picks up she hangs up, wondering why she keeps depending on him. He calls back and she lies that she misdialed, and he teases, “Of course you did, because you’re always thinking of me.”

She decides to ask Tae-yoon for something a little warmer, as a boyfriend and not her boss, but he beats her to it with a pair of coffees.

Min-seok goes grocery shopping, where he’s dogged by baby items everywhere he looks. He shakes off the urge to buy them all, but then he can’t resist the strawberries, and starts throwing piles of them into his cart, and then back out, and then back in. He finally just snaps and has an emotional breakdown right there in the produce aisle.

Se-ryung comes by to pick an outfit for Wan’s radio appearance, and notes one of the potential projects lying on his desk that involves going back to the States. Noooooooo.

They go for a walk and she says that her company is really struggling right now—she’s out of cash and she only managed to pay half-salaries last month, and even started to look into borrowing cash to keep her business afloat.

Wan asks why she won’t just go back to work with Joo-yeon, which even Se-ryung admits would be best, but she can’t bring herself take the loss in their power game. She only tells Wan because he won’t use it against her, and cries as she says she’s having a really hard time letting go of Tae-yoon.

At home that night, Wan mentions that Se-ryung cried and asks why Joo-yeon can’t be the one to hold out her hand—she has the boyfriend and she’s the one with all the power here.

She just gets upset that he’s always making her out to be the bad guy and sulks in her room. (Were those “Please” shirts couple tees or is she wearing his?)

He comes in to cajole her, and when she pouts and turns her back, he reaches for the giraffe instead, asking to hold it for a while. She thinks he means her, and leaps up to argue, and then steals the giraffe back just to cover up her embarrassment.

He finally teases her enough to get her laughing, but Tae-yoon calls and breaks up the fun. He’s outside her house because he wants to see her, and she jumps to reapply her makeup.

But Wan grabs her wrist and asks her not to go, arguing that they saw each other all day. He asks if what they’re really doing is dating—all the masks, the scheming, the withholding and effort. She just breaks free and goes toward the door but he follows her and stops her again, refusing to let her leave.

She gets angry and asks why he’s intruding in her life, but he just barrels on through without listening: “Is it me or Kang Tae-yoon?” He asks her to think about them disappearing from her life forever—which one would she want to remain by her side?

Wan: “If I disappear, can you live?” Joo-yeon: “Of course I can. I lived perfectly well before you came.” She breaks free and storms out, leaving him deflated again.

Tae-yoon asks her to come over to his place, but she makes up an excuse about having work to finish, so they decide on a date instead.

Meanwhile, Min-seok comes knocking and brings Min-jung a box full of healthier food and vitamins to take, worried about her constantly eating instant processed food while pregnant.

She starts to tear up at the gesture and asks cautiously if he wants to see a picture of the ultrasound, but he gets scared off by that and says this is as much as he’s capable of doing. Gah, it’s almost more crushing to keep getting her hopes up.

Tae-yoon asks if Joo-yeon has broached the subject of moving out with Wan, and she tells him that she can’t. She says Wan was only supposed to stay in Korea for a year anyway, so she plans to just let him stay there for the rest of the time. Why all this talk of Wan leaving? It’s making me sad.

He drops her off and leans in to kiss her, just as Wan steps outside. He calls out: “Hey, Shin Joo-yeon! How long are you going to two-time us both?” Oh no you di’n’t. Waaaaan.

She just stands there gobsmacked as he demands to know which of them she’s going to choose. She finally comes to and calls him crazy, but he just keeps going and asks Tae-yoon if he can live without her.

Tae-yoon: “And if I can?” Wan: “I can’t.” That just makes Tae-yoon laugh smugly, and he tells Joo-yeon it’s time to kick Wan out of the house.

He turns to Wan with a glare: “Let’s see if you live or die. There’s no such thing as a love you can’t live without. The fact that you can say that with such certainty is just proof that you’re still a child.”

He tells Wan he’ll discover just how pathetic a one-sided love really is, and then flips on a smile to say goodnight to Joo-yeon.

She orders Wan to follow her inside and fumes, reminding him that he’s the one who told her to follow her heart.

He tells her he was wrong about everything and not to listen to him anymore. He argues that even now she can’t kick him out, but she corrects him—one bad move and he’s out.

He broods in his room and tells the picture of Shing Shing not to smile at him anymore: “You were wrong. There’s no such thing as a love that’s only bright and shining and smiling. It’s all petty, and childish, and a giant mess.”

Hee-jae and Woo-young go hunting for accessories, and when a bag catches her eye, he encourages her to buy it instead of always scrimping and saving and stressing. I like that he’s not trying to buy it for her, but nudging her to change her perspective.

Se-ryung finally calls Joo-yeon, and Min-jung jumps to join them. The air is frosty, of course, and both Se-ryung and Joo-yeon maintain their stupid bullheaded positions, each wanting the other to be the first to cave.

Suddenly Min-jung interrupts them to say she’ll beg—will that do? Haha. Before they can even argue, she gets up and says she’ll kneel if she has to, and makes a big show of getting on her knees and chides them for acting like that’s so freaking difficult.

She points out that she’s survived in this crazy workplace longer than both of them, and then adds that she’s about to have a baby out of wedlock: “Can any of you say you’re worse off than I am?”

It’s the perfectly shocking thing to break the ice, and before they know it, Se-ryung is laughing and admitting that she broke up with Tae-yoon. Though of course she then outs Joo-yeon for dating him.

They argue that Joo-yeon hasn’t shared a secret of her own accord, so she begrudgingly admits to liking this drinking party. Aw, can you guys finally all be friends now?

Wan records a song that he clearly wrote about Joo-yeon. And then he cleans the house… and packs a bag. Wannie, no. He leaves a copy of the song behind, titled “Love is Smiling,” and then grabs his guitar and suitcase and heads out.

Joo-yeon walks up just as he’s getting ready to leave, and he’s happy to hear that she made up with Se-ryung. She asks if he’s coming or going, and he takes a step closer to her. She reminds him that she’s going to kick him out if he breaks her rule.

He just takes another step: “You’re going to kick me out for good today.” He swoops in and pulls her close with a hand to her waist, as he leans in closer: “Because I’m going to kiss you.”

They linger just looking into each other’s eyes for a moment, and then he kisses her. She pounds his chest (Urg, does it have to be forced, Show?) but then she ends up grabbing his jacket as they kiss.

He pulls back, and with one final, “Be well, Shin Joo-yeon,” he walks away, leaving her stunned.

 
COMMENTS

Wannie, why’d you have to do it? Why’d you have to go? I knooooow. He had to, otherwise she’ll never realize how much she misses him and just how much she’s come to rely on him and his Sweet Potato ways, and fall in love with him. It had to be done. But I refuse to not be a grumpypants about it. Hmph. That said, I do actually look forward to tomorrow’s fallout, because I’ve been dying for her recognize how much she actually feels for him. And if pain and separation is how we have to get there, let us embrace the pain.

At this point leaving is probably the most mature thing he could do, considering his boneheaded moves in this episode. Suddenly forcing an ultimatum on a person who hasn’t even figured out if she likes you? That doesn’t seem all that bright. And then making her look like a two-timer in front of her boyfriend? Oy. And what’s with all the wrist-grabby? I knew all that too-good-to-be-true behavior would come with a dark side eventually, but that was a full-on stupidity spiral.

It’s important that he actually learns though—that love isn’t all roses and smiley faces, and there’s no such thing as a love without the mess. It’s sort of what I want to scream at Joo-yeon and Tae-yoon, who are so disengaged from their relationship so as to ignore things by choosing to be polite. They’re somehow under the impression that this is a more enlightened adult way to have a relationship, like they’re above all the petty squabbling and immature hurt feelings, but I just want to wedge my way into the conversation and ask, Or is it that you just don’t care? There’s compromise and understanding, and then there’s refusing to engage because you were so burned the last time.

At least we’re making progress with Joo-yeon, who’s finally starting to ask herself why she relies on Wan so much, and more importantly—what she feels for him. And while Wan’s methods were dumb, I don’t disagree that she needs to sort this stuff out before breaking hearts left and right. I trust that his moving out will give her the kick in the pants that she needs to figure out her heart. That, or the deadpan giraffe will get it out of her.

 
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