Marriage Not Dating: Episode 7
There are so many love geometries in this drama that it’s a wonder how anyone remains friends. And yet, the unlikeliest of bromances emerges in this episode, because things weren’t complicated enough for the heroine who’s juggling an ex, a fake fiancé, and a noona-killer who all work in the same building—she has to get them to play nice with each other too. Maybe she figures it’s like multitasking, and she might as well save time by group-dating them. All I know is, if this were a French movie, the episode would’ve taken a very different turn.
SONG OF THE DAY
DickPunks & Jeon Ji-yoon – “소울메이트” (Soulmate) [ Download ]
EPISODE 7: “It’s okay even if it’s not okay”
As Ki-tae races out of surgery and weaves through traffic, he narrates, “I was really okay. In almost every circumstance, I wasn’t shaken. I feared very little. There wasn’t a door anywhere on this earth that I couldn’t open by my own strength… Until I met her.”
He arrives inside a darkened building, sweating pouring down his face. He bangs at a door and has to go around, and finally comes screeching to a halt. He lets out a panicked yell: “Joo Jang-mi!” If this is you searching for an open bathroom, we’re going to have a talk.
Rewind to the evening post-kiss, where Mom waits on pins and needles for Aunt to show her the proof she got after following Jang-mi around all day. Grandma whoops when she takes a peek at the photo of Jang-mi and Ki-tae’s lip-lock, while Mom gets a migraine.
Ki-tae tosses and turns in bed thinking about the kiss and the aftermath, as they both came back to their senses and broke apart awkwardly. It’s then that Jang-mi whispered that Aunt was watching, and he asked why the sudden change of heart. Jang-mi: “You just looked so… not okay.”
They both bolt up in bed that night, simultaneously complaining that it’s too hot. Yeah I’ll bet it is. At the same time, Yeo-reum scrubs the restaurant kitchen, and Se-ah drinks alone at a bar. Jang-mi downs her beer and calls herself crazy.
Ki-tae’s dad and his mistress cuddle at the drive-in, and she asks if “that person” is still obsessed with Ki-tae’s marriage. She thinks it’s silly when marriage is just one of many ways to love. Well, you would think that, seeing as how you’re the mistress.
In the morning, Dad asks Mom if there’s still hope for Ki-tae and Se-ah. Mom points out that he was in favor of Jang-mi, but he’s clearly changed his mind since being found out as a cheating bastard, and mentions that Se-ah’s father and the chairman of his board are friends. Mom gets the message loud and clear, and calls Se-ah.
Yeo-reum gawks at the truffles that the chef brings to the restaurant in preparation for their month of truffle-related dishes, and is shocked to hear how expensive they are.
Jang-mi arrives outside the restaurant and grits her teeth when she sees Aunt there first thing in the morning, and greets Ki-tae cheerily. She latches onto his arm and suddenly he doesn’t know what to do with himself, finally managing to shake her off once they’re inside.
She sits him down at a table, and all he can do is stare at her lips. He gulps nervously, and she breaks his reverie by casually mentioning that they should probably talk about yesterday’s kiss. He offers to make sense of it for them, and starts to say that the reason he picked her for the con was because they’d never ever develop feelings for each other… But all it takes is one glance lip-ward and he loses his train of thought. Hee.
He insists that this is all so that he can be alone, and asks her to refrain from all the physical contact. She complains that this is all for him, not because she wants to be touching, and only now explains that Aunt is parked outside. I love how jittery he is, flinching at every touch and looking everywhere but at her.
She grumbles that she sullied her precious lips for a guy like him, and in front of Yeo-reum no less. Yeo-reum arrives at their table to agree with her, adding with a glare at Ki-tae that for acting, the kiss was a bit too real. Ki-tae agrees and accuses her of kissing with feelings.
Jang-mi starts to explain to Yeo-reum, but he says he knows her by now—she’s a dummy who likes any guy and even kisses meaningless and boring men. As Ki-tae reels, Yeo-reum turns back to Jang-mi: “But I like that dummy Joo Jang-mi.”
She goes starry-eyed and asks Ki-tae if that was just a confession, and Ki-tae snarks that he’s never heard of a love confession where you call someone a moron. Hahaha. Touché. Yeo-reum sends her a text to come back at night, and Ki-tae gets caught trying to peek at her phone.
Hoon-dong gets nagged by his mom for his abnormally high food costs at the restaurant, and she warns him to keep better tabs on his staff. Hm, it looks like someone’s stealing.
Jang-mi comes back to the restaurant that night and Yeo-reum sneaks a tiny bit of truffle for the dish he makes, and she marvels at how weird it smells but how good it tastes. Just as he shows her the truffles whole, the chef returns to the restaurant while bragging to someone on the phone that he got his hands on truffles.
In their panic to run away, Jang-mi drops the entire package of truffles and tramples it underfoot. Eek. The chef wails to see his precious cargo squashed, and in the morning, he rats Yeo-reum out to Hoon-dong.
Yeo-reum admits to sneaking into the kitchen and cooking, but when Hoon-dong accuses him of being the thief who’s running his food cost up, he swears he only ever used ingredients that were going to be thrown out the next day. He did take some of the truffle, but only out of curiosity.
He says he’ll take responsibility for the things he did wrong and pay for the truffles, and Hoon-dong warns that he’ll get to the bottom of it with CCTV footage. That makes the chef squirm, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Yeo-reum and Hoon-dong.
At work, Jang-mi tries to console Hyun-hee who’s crying over Hoon-dong. Hyun-hee thinks it’s best if she leaves because she feels guilty towards Jang-mi but misses Hoon-dong, and Jang-mi sighs to see that she’s sincerely distraught over him. It seems a bit much, but then again, I don’t understand anything Hyun-hee does.
Hoon-dong watches the CCTV footage and fumes when he sees that the person Yeo-reum was cooking for was Jang-mi. She happens to arrive just then and says Hyun-hee is waiting outside—she thought it was best for Hyun-hee not to get involved with him, but her feelings are sincere, so she warns Hoon-dong to treat her sincerely.
Hoon-dong asks if she’s really okay with that, and she insists that they’re over. He spins his laptop around and asks if that’s why she’s sneaking around in his restaurant, and points out how she happens to be spending her days engaged to his best friend and her nights sneaking around with his employee under his roof. Well, when you say it like that, it does seem to be all about you.
He marches outside and apologizes to Hyun-hee for messing with her when he has feelings for someone else, and calls himself trash. “Having two women in one heart—that’s not a thing that should be done.”
He faces Jang-mi and says accusingly that he can’t possibly two-time two friends. Man, when Lee Hoon-dong takes the moral high ground with you, that’s a bitter pill. Hyun-hee leaves in tears, and Jang-mi wonders what the heck just happened.
Hoon-dong tattles on her to Ki-tae, who goes way overboard in trying to act like it’s no big deal and he totally doesn’t care about Yeo-reum. He says that marriage and dating are two separate things, and he’s not worried at all. AT ALL.
The more Ki-tae insists he doesn’t care, the more Hoon-dong becomes convinced: “You really like Joo Jang-mi, don’t you?” Ki-tae chokes on his wine, and Hoon-dong sees right through him—he’s acting cool to protect his pride, just so that he can stay with Jang-mi even while she’s running around with Yeo-reum.
He says that Ki-tae’s mom even called to ask about Yeo-reum, and he thought about showing her the CCTV footage he has. Ki-tae leaps to his feet and begs him not to say anything to Mom, and Hoon-dong says with pity, “Do you like Joo Jang-mi that much?”
Yeo-reum waits for Jang-mi outside of work that night, and assures her that he’s okay and didn’t get fired. But she sees that he has his bags packed, and he confesses that he had to take out the security deposit on his apartment to pay for the truffles. She feels terrible for the mess he’s in because of her, and he asks if she’ll let him sleep over then.
Ki-tae plays video games at home, but his mind keeps wandering back to his kiss with Jang-mi. Hoon-dong’s question echoes in his head, and he tries to shake it off: “No, no, nonono. Never!” But the kiss just replays over and over, and finally he buries his head in his hands in defeat, while his video game taunts him: “Game over.”
He doesn’t hear his doorbell ring so Jang-mi lets herself in, and Ki-tae actually goes a little googly-eyed when he looks up to see her smiling back at him. But he soon comes crashing back to reality when she says to come on in, and Yeo-reum walks through his door with luggage in tow. Ha, best-worst plan ever.
She asks Ki-tae to house him, and two seconds later they’re both tossed out into the hallway. She complains that she wasted her lips on him, and he reminds her that this all started because he wants to be alone. Jang-mi feels terrible that Yeo-reum has nowhere to go because of her, and he calls them even for his part in helping Se-ah meddle.
Se-ah calls Ki-tae to make sure he’s alone because she’s on her way with his mom to drop off some food, and it takes him a second before he realizes that they might run into Yeo-reum and Jang-mi on their way out.
He runs down and starts throwing Yeo-reum’s stuff around the corner, and Jang-mi argues until she hears that Mom is on the way, and immediately switches to couple mode and pushes Yeo-reum into hiding.
They cuddle just in time for Mom and Se-ah to pull up, and Ki-tae totally takes the opportunity to sneak an extra squeeze in there. It’s adorable. Se-ah wonders why he pretended to be alone, and he says he didn’t want to be interrupted.
When he rejects Mom’s kimchi, Jang-mi takes it and promises to eat every last drop, and asks Mom why she came with Se-ah—is she objecting to their relationship? She prods for Mom to admit that she’s being disapproving, and Ki-tae smiles gratefully to have someone else on his side.
Naturally Mom admits nothing of the sort, and remains aloof when Jang-mi suggests they ditch Ki-tae and spend a day shopping. Once they leave, Jang-mi asks him to house Yeo-reum for a few days, and she’ll make sure to get him his lifetime of solitude. Yeo-reum comes back out and throws an arm over Jang-mi’s shoulder as she asks what he’ll do if Mom sees her with Yeo-reum, and Ki-tae scowls.
So in they go, where Yeo-reum runs around the house touching everything, and Ki-tae follows him from room to room to tell him that everything, from washing to eating, is off-limits. All he gets is the couch for eight hours at night.
Ki-tae gets fidgety even when Jang-mi tugs at his sweater to make sure he’s going to be okay with this, and she makes the boys hold hands before leaving them for the night.
Mom feels bad for the awkward situation, but Se-ah says she’s used to it—she’s seen Ki-tae date other girls before, and his girlfriends have always been jealous of her. Mom asks after her father, and Se-ah says that he still likes Ki-tae very much and wants to recruit him to his hospital. In fact he’s been wanting to meet with Ki-tae, but Se-ah feels weird about it since Jang-mi might misunderstand, and Mom offers to help out.
Ki-tae wakes up in the morning shivering from the cold and reaches for the covers, and slowly opens his eyes to find that he’s spooning Yeo-reum. Ha. He darts up and asks what the hell he’s doing here, and Yeo-reum just murmurs that it was too cold to sleep on the couch. Ki-tae screams at him to get out, and peeks under the covers to make sure he’s clothed. Hahahaha.
Ki-tae eats his usual OCD breakfast and stops to ask what Yeo-reum is doing, and we see him sitting across the table just staring at him: “You said I couldn’t eat.” Ki-tae asks if he really has nowhere to go—doesn’t he have friends or family? Yeo-reum says that all his friends are girls, he never had a father to begin with, and his mother abandoned him.
Ki-tae feels bad… for about three seconds, and snaps at him for using a sob story to get sympathy. Yeo-reum smiles, noting that it worked on Jang-mi but not on Ki-tae. Yeo-reum tries to get a ride to work but gets left on the curb, and he chuckles to himself that Ki-tae is cute.
Cutie pie spends the day coughing and sneezing, blaming Yeo-reum for the cold he caught because he stole the covers. He ends up leaving work early, and reminds the nurses to move the refrigerated supplies because the electricity will be shut off for the night for repairs.
Jang-mi’s mom calls the clinic looking for Ki-tae and hears that he went home sick, and she sends Dad to bring home some fresh chickens. Jang-mi comes home and swoons at the smell of samgetang, but pouts when Mom says it’s for Ki-tae and sends her off to deliver it.
She heads over with the giant pot of soup when Ki-tae’s mom calls to suddenly take her up on the offer to spend the day shopping, and insists it has to be now. So she hauls the pot with her, and Aunt starts making her try things on for the nice dinner that Mom has planned for her and Ki-tae.
Meanwhile Mom calls Ki-tae and tells him about the dinner, and he convinces Jang-mi to just go along with it and make Mom buy her everything. Jang-mi tries to just go with the first dress so she can at least deliver the soup to Ki-tae, but Aunt makes her try every single thing in the store and haul the soup pot up and down the stairs, and then takes her to the salon where she makes them redo her hair and makeup about a thousand times.
Jang-mi ends up begging her to stop the makeover torture, and they finally get to Ki-tae’s clinic and collapse on the couch. Aunt waits for Jang-mi to fall asleep and steals her phone before sneaking out.
Mom can’t believe Aunt left her sleeping there and worries that she’ll wake up and call Ki-tae, but Aunt slips her Jang-mi’s phone and says she already took care of that.
Meanwhile Ki-tae arrives to dinner, and finds Se-ah waiting for him. She says that her father is on the way, and asks if he doesn’t want to slip away to be alone, sliding over a hotel key with a memory card—the one with photos of Jang-mi and Yeo-reum—and offers to keep them away from Mom if he goes up with her. She’s mentally ill, right? In what universe is blackmailing your ex for his sperm a thing people do?
Mom arrives first, and she and Se-ah sit there exchanging pleasantries while Ki-tae stands there in disbelief. He asks what she did with Jang-mi, and hears her purse ringing when he calls Jang-mi’s phone. He demands to know where Jang-mi is.
Jang-mi wakes up at the clinic and wonders where everyone went. At eight, the power shuts off all at once, and Jang-mi stumbles her way to the door to call out for help. She grows increasingly frightened and feels her way through the dark to look for a phone, and ends up spilling the pot of soup all over herself. Her panic starts to mount at being trapped all alone.
Mom finally cops to leaving Jang-mi at his clinic, and Ki-tae freaks out when he sees the time—it’s past eight, when the electricity is due to be shut off for the night. He scoffs that Mom has resorted to kidnapping, and when she tells him to lower his voice, he says even louder, “So you do know it’s something to be ashamed of?”
Se-ah defends Mom and says she’s the one who asked for this, and Mom tells her it’s okay. Ki-tae blows up at them: “IT’S NOT OKAY! That woman can’t be alone. I can’t leave her alone!” He runs out of there, leaving Se-ah and Mom shocked at his reaction.
He runs red lights and weaves through intersections nearly killing people, all the while thinking back to Jang-mi’s story about being trapped alone when she was young and Dad’s pleas for him to take care of her.
Jang-mi sinks to the ground in defeat, sopping wet from soup, sweat, and tears.
Ki-tae finally arrives and Yeo-reum wonders what he’s doing here when the whole building has been shut down. Ki-tae tells him that Jang-mi is trapped inside, and together they pry the door open by force.
They split up to search for her inside, and Ki-tae runs everywhere calling her name, sick with worry. He finds her crouched underneath his desk like a scared little girl, and he erupts in a rant, asking why she’s so stupid as to be tricked like this.
She bursts into tears, crying that she was terrified and it’s all because of him, and then Yeo-reum swoops in to hug her and tell her it’s going to be okay. Aaaaaaah, you let the other guy hug her! You idiot.
At Ki-tae’s house, she sighs forlornly at the pot of samgetang that was ruined, and shuffles off to go wash up. Yeo-reum thinks it’s plenty for all three of them to eat, and Ki-tae asks snidely if he’s Jesus. He lets Yeo-reum use the kitchen just this once, and pretends not to be lured by the smell of delicious chicken pasta.
He’s bothered when Jang-mi says it’s delicious, and then when she spoon-feeds Ki-tae to make him try it, it’s Yeo-reum’s turn to be miffed. Ki-tae sighs that he feels bad about the samgetang—he doesn’t deserve to be treated so well by her parents.
She says it’s not all bad since it’s their one chance to dream of a doctor son-in-law, and calls it their midsummer night’s dream. Yeo-reum (whose name means “one summer”) asks if they called him, and wedges himself into the conversation, to Ki-tae’s annoyance.
But once Jang-mi busts out the wine, the mood brightens. The three of them actually sit down for a meal together, though it’s peppered with jealous looks every time Yeo-reum feeds Jang-mi or Jang-mi feeds Ki-tae.
Still, they actually get along for a few hours, and Ki-tae finds himself smiling at Jang-mi even when she’s swooning at Yeo-reum playing the guitar. They make fun of Ki-tae’s bachelor auction dance, and he eventually joins in on the fun. Aw.
Se-ah drinks and ponders Ki-tae’s outburst over not being able to leave Jang-mi alone. It’s a direct contrast to the way he broke up with her three years ago: “Being alone suits you better, and I prefer being alone too.” She pretends to feel relieved and lies that she was anxious the whole time while planning for their wedding.
He asks if they’re okay, and she lets him off the hook. It’s only now that she finally admits out loud to herself: “What am I going to do, Gong Ki-tae? I’m not okay.”
Ki-tae wakes up with a coughing fit and ambles to the fridge in the middle of the night. He sighs to see his kitchen a giant mess and start to clean angrily, whining that he’s the sick one here.
But when he glances over at the couch, he sees Jang-mi lying with her head on Yeo-reum’s shoulder, snuggling close.
Suddenly the question rings in his ear—the one asked by Hoon-dong, his nurse, then Jang-mi—Are you okay? His heart beats faster and faster, until the answer lands with a thud and he says aloud, “No, I’m not okay.”
Kyaaa, because you lurrrrve her. What a great payoff to have Ki-tae fall for Jang-mi first, after all his blustering about how he’d never ever ever love a woman like her. He falls so squarely into the trap he set for himself, and it’s delightfully satisfying that he literally has no one else to blame. He broke his own rules, after teaching her how to expertly maintain her fishpond of suitors—that’s the best part—that he’s now stuck with genuine feelings for the girl after teaching her how to be cool in love. How hilarious is it that after all that, he’s now going to have to convince her that his feelings are true and she should stop seeing other guys?
I really enjoyed the way Hoon-dong was brought around to make Jang-mi and Ki-tae examine themselves a little, because it’s an unexpected turn to have him be the voice of reason here. Isn’t it funny that despite being based on wrong assumptions every which way, Hoon-dong sees the feelings very clearly? As ridiculous as he is, he’s in the rare position to have lost Jang-mi first and regret it, and even though he’s technically wrong about her being a straight-up two-timer, what he says to both of them makes sense. She’s playing a dangerous game and messing with friendships, which, go figure, even Hoon-dong knows is wrong.
He even sees that Ki-tae is putting up a front thinking that if he plays it cool, he’ll get to stay by Jang-mi’s side no matter how many Yeo-reums come and go. And we see in this episode that this is Se-ah’s move—pretending to be so cool in love that she can be Ki-tae’s friend while he dates around, hoping to be the last one standing. But all she’s done is lie to herself for years, all because she couldn’t just admit that he hurt her and she wanted to marry him. Quick, Ki-tae, do something about your feelings now, before you turn into Se-ah and start blackmailing exes to have their spawn so you can remain tied to them forever. And ever… and ever. Please tell me that admitting the truth out loud means that Se-ah can stop creeping me out now.
I suppose I should at least be grateful that she was humanized by the rejection, though she’s too far gone for me to empathize with in any real way. She serves as a cautionary tale for Ki-tae though, which is important if he’s ever going to change. Because so far, despite hating everything about his mother and Se-ah, they’re all remarkably alike and all he does is fight pride with pride and end up frustrated that Mom isn’t falling for his scheme while fuming that she’s scheming him. And ’round and ’round they go.
There’s a nice progression throughout the episode on the issue of pride, which is Ki-tae’s (and Mom’s, and Se-ah’s) big stumbling block on the road to happiness. And it starts with the simplest of lies—that you’re okay. Mom has pretended to be okay for her whole marriage because she can’t admit that she’s hurt by her husband’s infidelity; Se-ah has pretended to be okay for years while not even admitting to herself that she’s always loved Ki-tae; and Ki-tae starts down that path when he tries to convince himself that it doesn’t bother him that Jang-mi is falling for someone else.
It’s not okay, but they say it’s okay, because that’s how you save face and walk away with your pride intact. But we see with Mom and Se-ah that this self-preservation comes at a steep price (mostly, sanity). I like that with Ki-tae, we’re exploring how someone breaks from that habit, whether by sheer force of will, or perhaps because Jang-mi is special. She will always put honesty above pride, someone else’s pain above her own, and choose heart over head. First when he argues that it isn’t okay for Mom to treat Jang-mi that way, and then later when he admits he isn’t okay to see her with someone else, we see proof that she’s changing Ki-tae for the better, into someone who might actually risk his pride for love.
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- Marriage Not Dating: Episode 5
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- Marriage Not Dating: Episodes 1-2
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