Discovery of Romance: Episode 3
It’s an episode chock-full of flashbacks as we learn how Tae-ha and Yeo-reum fell in love, and why Ha-jin is obsessed with finding a girl with a certain scar. It becomes a little clearer why Tae-ha hasn’t been able to let go, and why Ha-jin has a hard time opening up. Yeo-reum has quite the decision to make, the lucky girl.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
After Yeo-reum refuses his job offer Tae-ha pulls her chair close, brackets her with his arms, and says, “Han Yeo-reum, if I ask you to break up with that guy and come to me, would you? If you come back to me, I promise I won’t make you cry.” He says that he’s never forgotten one single thing, from the time they met to the time they broke up, all at Jinju Station.
We flash back to the day they met, as they introduce themselves after their train ride. It’s cute how they’re both reluctant to walk away, and finally Tae-ha goes, but stops to look back and wave one more time. Joon-ho and Sol find Yeo-reum, and she aegyos Joon-ho into buying them tickets to Yeonhwa Island, where she knows Tae-ha is heading next.
Sol is still in a bad mood and flat refuses to board the ferry, since she’d rather go see her boyfriend before he joins the army, so Yeo-reum swipes her ticket and goes on without them. Joon-ho tries to drag Sol onto the boat but she bites him and runs off, and he follows her despite knowing that Yeo-reum has no money to buy a ticket back.
Yeo-reum finds Tae-ha on the ferry and tries the old “what a coincidence” line, but he’s all I told you I was going to Yeonhwa Island before. Hee. She waxes poetic about their meeting each other being the hand of Fate, but Tae-ha is pragmatic (though amused) as he just says it depends how you look at it.
Yeo-reum doesn’t realize her friends missed the ferry until they arrive at the island, and Tae-ha suggests she climb up the mountain and see the sunset as long as she’s here. She trails behind him like a kid and asks him to lend her some money, because that was the last ferry and she has no money to sleep somewhere or catch tomorrow’s ferry home.
Tae-ha gets suspicious, and asks if she told him she fell in love with him on the train just to get some money out of him. Yeo-reum insists that’s not the case, but now he doesn’t believe her. Optionless, she follows him as he takes pictures of the amazing scenery, swearing to stop following him if he lends her money. He says with a mischievous grin that he can’t lend her any money since then she’d leave. Cheeky boy.
Yeo-reum clings to the railing of a narrow bridge, still begging Tae-ha to help her out. He starts asking personal questions like her age and what school she attends, clearly using her disadvantage to learn more about her. He even plays with her a little by jumping on the bridge and making it shake, and freaking her out. He’s like a little boy pulling the pigtails of the girl he likes.
They finally reach the top of the mountain right at sunset and wow, the view is incredible. Yeo-reum says that she learned a valuable lesson today: Don’t trust a man you fall in love with at first sight. HA. Tae-ha laughs that saying such things out loud gives him an advantage, but Yeo-reum just nods sagely and asks for money now that she’s looked at the damned nature like he wanted. Tae-ha deadpans that the ATM is at the bottom of the mountain, and Yeo-reum yells at him for making her hike all this way.
When they get back down the mountain, the ATM is out of service and won’t be repaired until the next afternoon. Well, crap. Yeo-reum buys some ramyun but she’s a few won short, and it’s hilarious how Tae-ha oh-so-generously fronts her the 100 won. They share the ramyun and a local tells them where to find a school so they can sleep indoors.
They set up beds in a schoolroom (I love how Tae-ha gets the pink blanket and flowery pillow), each warning the other to stay on their side of the room. Yeo-reum freaks out when she hears noises that sound like mice, and asks if she can scoot her bed closer to Tae-ha, promising not to try anything on him. I love his shocked-yet-interested expression. He asks if she’s not scared of men, and she gives him her best martial arts pose when he teasingly leans in close to her face.
She hears mice again and asks to hold his hand while they sleep and, being a smart man who knows a good thing when he sees it, he obliges. A bit overwhelmed, Yeo-reum asks Tae-ha if he feels the same thing she’s feeling – something electrifying, but also warm and blooming.
Yeo-reum blames the ramyun, but Tae-ha says it’s not that… it’s the start of something new. She asks what’s starting, and he says it’s something people call love. He gives her a big grin, and she tries to pull her hand away but he takes it back and says he likes holding it. Long after he’s asleep, Yeo-reum lies awake processing her new feelings. So cute, these two.
Back in the present, Tae-ha tells Yeo-reum that unlike her, all of his memories are of the good times they shared. With a faraway expression, he remembers things like her honesty and easy smile. He stares at her lips as he says he remembers how they feel, and good lord, this woman must have nerves of steel because I don’t know how she resists his intensity.
Then Tae-ha teases her for getting flustered and says he knows she has no intention of coming back to him. He points out that she has a boyfriend and obviously isn’t affected by him, so she’s got no reason to refuse his job offer. He breezes that to be honest, he doesn’t really want to get back with her and warns her not to let her feelings get in the way of business… wait, now I see how she resists him. Jerk.
After Tae-ha leaves, Yeo-reum complains interview-style that Tae-ha has always been like that – he likes to play with people. We go back to ten years ago when they met, when he finally gets some money from the repaired ATM and teases her with it. He refuses to give her any because then she’ll leave, and he runs from her as she gives chase.
In the present again, Tae-ha tells us that the only way he can think to get Yeo-reum back is to prick her pride. Just like when they first met, she’ll chase him if he runs away from her.
Ten years ago on the island (ouch, I’m getting whiplash), Tae-ha buys himself a huge meal and finally gives Yeo-reum some money. He ignores her whining and invites her to spend the day with him, deflating her anger by saying he doesn’t want to part from her yet.
They go on a boat ride and take pictures, and Tae-ha isn’t above taking advantage of the waves to catch Yeo-reum whenever she loses her balance. Later they go for a walk holding hands (so cute how Tae-ha keeps pointing out that they’re holding hands) and he gives her a pretty rock shaped like a heart. He steals a kiss on her forehead when Yeo-reum isn’t looking, making her shy.
They find a pair of trees that have grown together, and smile that they’re together, just like the trees. Yeo-reum tells the tree to stay where it is, because it makes people comfortable and secure, and she promises to always treat wood respectfully when she makes furniture.
In the present (for the last time), Joon-ho brings Ha-jin a drink he ordered, and confirms that the juice delivery girl is named Ahn Ah-rim. He asks what Ha-jin’s relationship is with her, but they’re interrupted when Yeo-reum comes to visit. She jokingly asks if they can improve her face to look like Kim Tae-hee, and Joon-ho is all Nope, beyond help. Ha-jin is a good boyfriend and says she’s already prettier than Kim Tae-hee.
After Joon-ho goes back to work, Ha-jin sits Yeo-reum down to have a serious talk. He asks if it wouldn’t be nice to have a friend always waiting at home for you after a long day at work – this friend would never go home, and nobody would think it was strange for them to stay all night long. Rather than think it was odd for you and your friend to be together all the time, people would think it was normal and even be jealous. He says that’s how he thinks of marriage, as he gets on one knee and offers her a ring.
A scream echoes through the clinic (and scares off a patient, ha), bringing Joon-ho running. Yeo-reum tells him that Ha-jin proposed, but Ha-jin is still waiting for an answer. Yeo-reum sadly closes the ring box and says that it’s not a rejection, it’s just a bad time. Aww, poor Ha-jin puppy.
Later Yeo-reum, Sol, and Joon-ho discuss things, and Joon-ho points out that if she married Ha-jin she’d be out from under her mother’s thumb. Yeo-reum says that it’s not that simple – it would hurt her pride, and Ha-jin’s mother is still against them. Sol’s only input is to moon over her ex-boyfriend Eun-kyu and how much she misses him. Well, how helpful.
The three of them sit down with Yeo-reum’s mother, who tallies up how much they owe her from a loan to start the furniture business, including their rent for living in the house. Yeo-reum owes so much she’ll never catch up, and not even nudging her friends into speaking up for her can soften Mom’s penny-pinching heart. When the subject of rent comes up, Mom says she knows Yeo-reum’s been sleeping at Ha-jin’s and warns her to be careful about birth control. Sol, too. Yikes, Mom!
Yeo-reum tells her mother that Ha-jin proposed but she declined because she has no money. Mom still doesn’t budge as she tells her to just confess to him that she’s broke and go sign papers, no wedding necessary. Yeo-reum’s eyes well up as she asks why her mother is so meeean, only to wipe them away with a sigh when her crocodile tears fail. HA.
Her friends correctly guess that Mom told Yeo-reum she was on her own, and Sol declares that she knows the answer to Yeo-reum’s money problem: Kang Tae-ha. Or more specifically, Tae-ha’s job offer. Taking the job would pay off her debt and besides, it’s not like she still has feelings for him, right? Sol says there’s even a bonus in that she could get revenge on Tae-ha by getting married with the money he pays her.
The next day Tae-ha texts Yeo-reum to go take a look at the bar they want decorated, and prepare a design presentation. Yeo-reum says she’s not going, but Sol’s creepy face changes her mind. The building turns out to be beautiful, and the girls can’t help but get excited about the possibility of designing furniture for it. That night Yeo-reum tells Ha-jin about the exciting business opportunity, and he gives her his support.
Hard at work, Yeo-reum’s mother talks back to characters in a drama, calling them stupid, to the frustration of her assistant Gi-eun who points out that she wrote them, ha. Producer Bae lets himself in, and Gi-eun says she feels sorry for him but Mom is more interested in discussing whether she should have her characters kiss again (in my opinion, the answer is always yes).
Ha-jin finds Ah-rim at one of her jobs, and thinks back to a time when he was a child, hiding in the woods with his little sister. They had been orphans and his sister was going to be adopted, so he had run away with her. He promises her that when they go back, they’ll stay together.
Ah-rim passes out from hunger and Ha-jin carries her all night to find help, but he trips and she rolls down a hill and into a chain-link fence. The fence cuts her arm badly, but Ha-jin manages to carry Ah-rim back to the orphanage (where interestingly, the nuns refer to him as Jin-soo). Ha-jin fiercely protects his sister, telling the nuns that he knows if he gives her to them she’ll be adopted… but even though they seem moved, they take her from him anyway.
Yeo-reum wakes Ha-jin from his nightmare about his sister, and he feels bad for waking her but she says they’ll get through this together. They go out in their pajamas to play and run off their insomnia, and when they’ve exhausted themselves Yeo-reum asks about Ha-jin’s nightmares. He swears it’s nothing but she doesn’t believe him.
Ha-jin loosens up enough to tell her that when he was young he did something wrong to someone, and that he dreams about them sometimes. Yeo-reum says that she heard that someone who has frequent nightmares is a good person, and he promises that he’ll tell her about the nightmares soon.
The next morning Joon-ho comments on Yeo-reum sneaking in early in the morning, and tells her that Sol was up all night drinking and crying about her ex. They commiserate on what a lost cause Sol is over this guy, until she comes in the room and they clam up, terrified of her. Oh man, Sol has lost it – she slinks up to Yeo-reum and Joon-ho quoting “Gangnam Style” and grousing, “Where is there a woman like that?!” Afraid for his life, Joon-ho agrees with her that men are all bastards.
Sol lives out her own little drama scene as she does all the things she used to do with Eun-kyu, which would be fine if she didn’t text the poor guy a play-by-play of the whole thing. Later she complains to Yeo-reum and Joon-ho about missing him, and tells them she figured out why Eun-kyu never slept with her – her boobs are too small. HAHAHA. Joon-ho offers to do implants for her, but Sol says she’d rather Ha-jin did them (causing Yeo-reum to do a spit-take).
Tae-ha visits Yeo-reum and Sol at work and invites them out for a drink, and Sol perks up at the word “bar” so off they go. He takes them to a place with a similar concept to the wine bar he’s building, and they settle in to listen to the band.
The singer says it’s time to pick out an audience member to come up and sing, and of course he picks Yeo-reum who bravely goes onstage to sing Toy’s “Every Time You Do That.” Sol answers her phone when Ha-jin calls, and she hesitates to tell him where they are since Tae-ha is with them, but she eventually caves. She gives Tae-ha a heads-up that Ha-jin is on the way, and tells him to keep it a secret that he and Yeo-reum used to date.
Yeo-reum sings as Tae-ha watches, not even trying to hide the adoring expression on his face. He thinks back on their dating days and realizes that he knows why he hasn’t been able to forget her… just because she was herself, Han Yeo-reum.
Ha-jin enters the bar, and stands near Tae-ha as he watches Yeo-reum sing with a huge grin on his face. Tae-ha sees him and thinks that this man has Yeo-reum and, while he’s not exactly jealous, he’s curious if this man knows what a great woman he has.
As Tae-ha watches Ha-jin watching Yeo-reum, he realizes that he does know how special she is. At that moment Ha-jin looks over, and the smile leaves his face as he recognizes Tae-ha from that night at the hotel when Yeo-reum crashed his blind date. He remembers Yeo-reum confessing that this is the man at whose house she spent the night.
Confronted with their competition for the first time, the two men glare at each other as Yeo-reum looks up and notices the stare-off.
I really enjoyed that we got so many questions answered in this episode, rather than making us wait a few more weeks with mysteries hanging over our heads. It’s good to know that Ha-jin’s search for a girl with a scar is about his sister and not some long-lost first love. I want him to be a stand-up guy and I was worried he would have some dark secret to hide that could hurt Yeo-reum. Knowing that he’s only searching for the only family he’s ever known is a relief, not to mention heartbreaking, and it explains a lot about how he’s reluctant to open up to people since he lost the one person in his life that he’s loved.
I loved seeing how Tae-ha and Yeo-reum fell for each other, and watching them navigate that whole first-attraction minefield was a lot of fun. Props to Eric and Jung Yumi for differentiating their young carefree selves from their current adults-with-adult-problems selves… you can really feel how they grew and matured over the years since they met. The whole flashback to their island first date was so cute, and it’s interesting how, even though Yeo-reum confessed first, Tae-ha wasn’t far behind her. He had her number from the very beginning, and knew that the way to get her wasn’t to give her what she wanted, but to make her come to him.
It says a lot that Tae-ha has known how to be with Yeo-reum from the very beginning, as opposed to Ha-jin who is still trying to figure her out after a year of dating. It’s also interesting to see that their relationship was contentious from the start – Tae-ha has always poked at Yeo-reum’s pride and Yeo-reum has always responded with affectionate frustration. When they broke up, they hadn’t really changed how they related to each other, it’s just that for some reason Yeo-reum began taking his teasing as a sign that Tae-ha wasn’t interested anymore. I wonder what happened to make her change her reactions to him, when he never treated her any differently.
The main thing I took away from this episode is the difference in Yeo-reum’s relationships with the two men in her life. Her relationship with Ha-jin is so sweet and supportive, and I have no doubt that he loves her, but I sometimes get the sense that Yeo-reum feels more friendship for him than anything else. There’s definitely attraction, but it’s more the kind of attraction you feel towards someone you can be yourself around, than the kind of sizzling magnetism that happens when you’re with that one person who turns your whole world inside out.
Speaking of which, that’s exactly the kind of attraction I think that Yeo-reum and Tae-ha still feel towards each other, though Yeo-reum tries to deny it. They may not get along a lot of the time, but there’s no denying that their chemistry is off the charts. Even while she tells herself that she’s not interested in Tae-ha at all anymore, Yeo-reum can’t help but be swayed by him when he does that thing where he leans in close and uses those gorgeous eyes as deadly seductive weapons. And he knows it too, the bastard, and has no qualms using her attraction to him to get what he wants – namely, her. Thank goodness that he wants her for the right reasons (because he thinks she’s wonderful), otherwise I’d worry.
It’s an interesting conundrum that Yeo-reum has to sort out. She can choose Ha-jin and live a happy, comfortable life with a man with whom she’s very compatible, but which will most likely mutate into companionable cohabitation. Or she can choose Tae-ha and live a life of bickering, frustration, and emotional battlefields, but also experience a once-in-a-lifetime passionate love story. I don’t envy the choice, but I think I know what choice I would make.
- Discovery of Romance: Episode 2
- Discovery of Romance: Episode 1
- Everyone’s got a secret to hide in Discovery of Romance
- Lovers’ quarrels begin for Discovery of Romance
- Kisses and post-breakup bitterness in Discovery of Romance
- Yoon Hyun-min and Kim Seul-gi join Discovery of Romance
- Yoon Jin-yi scores loveline with Sung Joon in Discovery of Romance
- Sung Joon becomes Eric’s rival in Discovery of Romance
- Eric and Jung Yumi confirm Discovery of Romance
- Eric and Jung Yumi up for possible dramaland reunion
- Jung Yumi courted for new KBS rom-com