Discovery of Romance: Episode 7
It’s a fast descent into confusion as our leads make baffling choices, causing us to wonder if anyone even deserves to be together. Is it really okay to hide important parts of your life, or make someone suffer because they hurt you in the past, or take pleasure from someone else’s pain in the name of love? I used to think I knew the answer but this episode makes me wonder, as everyone seems to be living in Opposite Land lately when it comes to romance.
EPISODE 7: “This is your first one-sided love, isn’t it?”
Standing in her workshop, Yeo-reum tells Tae-ha that even if he likes her again, they can’t turn back time. He says with confidence that she’ll come back to him, but she counters, “Maybe if the sky falls, but I’m not going back to you.” She turns to go and he grabs her arm, saying almost angrily, “That sky will fall. You can count on it.”
He continues that he’s a lucky man and things usually go his way, but Yeo-reum insists that this time he’ll learn that the world isn’t that easy. She says that she knows which man she wants, but Tae-ha haughtily asks if she’s so certain of Ha-jin, without even a tiny doubt.
Yeo-reum is distracted by a burning odor, and they run to the kitchen to find a smoking pot of ramyun, and Tae-ha quickly stops Yeo-reum from grabbing it and uses his bare hand to push it off the stove. Yeo-reum holds his burned hand under the water, fussing at him for touching it, and Tae-ha just enjoys her concern.
Yeo-reum bandages Tae-ha’s hand, clucking like a mother hen, while he just stares amused at her. Suddenly he leans in and plants a quick kiss on her, and she stares at him for a long moment before smacking him and telling him to leave. Yeo-reum complains that he hasn’t changed, only thinking of himself, but Tae-ha just supposes that if he asked her to dinner she’d probably decline, and he goes.
Ha-jin drives up just as Tae-ha is leaving, and they both stand awkwardly looking at anything else but each other, as they remember their night of drunken noraebang bromance. They make awkward small talk until Yeo-reum comes out to meet Ha-jin, and she makes a point to hold his arm possessively while she shoots eye-daggers at Tae-ha.
Ha-jin came to take Yeo-reum to dinner, and he invites Tae-ha, expecting him to politely decline. Tae-ha accepts just to watch Yeo-reum squirm, then “remembers” he has plans. But he invites Ha-jin out to dinner some other time, just the guys. Tae-ha watches Ha-jin and Yeo-reum go inside and snarls when he sees them kiss through the window — Yeo-reum sees him watching and thinks that he doesn’t know anything about love.
In the car, Tae-ha tells us that he never said the word “love,” just that he started liking her again. He says love is a noble feeling and shouldn’t be spoken of lightly. Yeo-reum complains that his idea of liking someone doesn’t even have an ounce of wishing for the other person’s happiness, but Tae-ha just thinks that if she’s going to be happy, she should either be happy with him, or just be unhappy, is all. Well, aren’t you sweet.
Yeo-reum asks why Ha-jin invited Tae-ha to dinner, and warns him not to get too close to him. Ha-jin says he just couldn’t think of anything to say, and admits he doesn’t like them working together. They joke about how unattractive Tae-ha is and wonder how any girl could fall for him, haha.
Joon-ho comes to the police station to pick up Sol, who’s sitting next to Eun-gyu looking utterly humiliated. It’s so sweet how, before anything else, Joon-ho goes to her and tells her to hold her head up. She’s there for throwing the rock through Eun-gyu’s window, having been caught on CCTV. Eun-gyu says he’s sick of all the calls and texts and of her following him around, and Joon-ho grabs him by the collar and declares that he’ll go to jail with Sol – he won’t let her go alone. Awww.
The policeman says they have to settle or she’ll be charged with property damage, and Joon-ho says, “Add an assault charge to that,” and punches Eun-gyu, hard. But it’s funny how thankful he is to Eun-gyu for settling as they all leave the station, and Eun-gyu just tells him to make sure he never sees Sol again.
Joon-ho wonders what Sol ever saw in that jerk, and she starts to cry for real. He takes her hand to head home, but Sol says she doesn’t want to go home tonight. Joon-ho freezes, then drops her hand and says that if any other girl had said that, he would have felt amazing. You’re not fooling anyone, buddy.
He takes Sol to a club where she violently gets her freak on, and they end up having a great time. They go for smoothies and Joon-ho offers to do everything with her that she did with Eun-gyu, and she deadpans that he said that ten years ago too, when she got dumped by another ex-boyfriend.
We go back to the night after Yeo-reum followed Tae-ha to the island, as Joon-ho and Sol discuss how she just got broken up with. Sol doesn’t think the guy meant it, only that he was nervous because he was about to go to the military, but she doesn’t seem all that upset.
Joon-ho offers to do everything with her that she wanted to do with her ex, even making a pinky-swear. He teaches her to ride a bike and freaks out when she falls and gets a teeny scrape, and she seems to notice him in a more-than-an-oppa sort of way as he doctors her up and apologizes over and over.
Back in the present, Sol assumes Joon-ho’s forgotten all about that and gripes at him for being just like Eun-gyu. He takes offense, pointing out how he even punched the guy out in the middle of the police station for her, and they’re soon back to their familiar contentious friendship, yelling at each other for being all sweaty and stinky (and Joon-ho had better learn when to stop or he’s going to lose an ear).
Tae-ha thinks about how Director Yoon told him there was no accident reported on the day that Yeo-reum’s father died. Still with Joon-ho, Sol tells him that Tae-ha is asking for his number, and he yells at her when she sends it to him. He immediately gets a call from Tae-ha, and he’s all sweetness and light as he agrees to meet right then.
Yeo-reum invites her mother over for a beer, then tells her to take the 1900 won for the beer out of her debt, HA. She gives her mom her bankbook to pay her off in full, having gotten her deposit from the project with Tae-ha. Mom tells her to use the money to get married instead, but hilariously says she can just pay her back after the wedding.
Yeo-reum confesses that she lied to Ha-jin about her father, and that she’s been feeling badly about it. She doesn’t tell him everything (like her debt to Mom), and she doesn’t think she should have to, but she also sometimes feels like a fake. He seems like someone without any worries, and she wants to look the same so he’ll like her.
Tae-ha and Joon-ho meet for drinks, and Joon-ho mentions that he and Sol didn’t know about Yeo-reum’s father dying until after the funeral either, and that they were also told it was a car accident. Tae-ha asks about Ha-jin, and Joon-ho says he’s a great guy who does anything Yeo-reum asks of him. Tae-ha mutters that it looks like he’s got a girl, which shuts up Joon-ho.
Ha-jin’s mom cleans his place and finds his photo of himself and Ah-rim from the orphanage. She tells him she’s taking it so Yeo-reum won’t see it, and he says that he wants to tell Yeo-reum the truth. He tells his mother that he found Ah-rim by chance, and she asks if she knows it’s him and what he’s going to do. He says she’s having a hard time trying to work her way through college, and he just wants to help her.
Mom asks if he still feels guilty that they adopted him instead of Ah-rim, which wow, that could explain a lot. She says that it was just their fate and that he should end it before Ah-rim finds out who he is. She tries again to take the picture, but Ha-jin says he’ll keep it and hide it somewhere.
Still at the bar, Joon-ho insists that the girl is nobody, but Tae-ha asks why Ha-jin would be hugging her if she’s nobody. This is news to Zipper-Mouth Joon-ho and he forgets to keep his mouth shut, blabbing about Ha-jin’s search for a girl with a scar.
The next morning, Ha-jin goes all out making breakfast and setting the table for two. Ah-rim excitedly delivers his juice, but Yeo-reum catches her hanging the bag on the door and they recognize each other. Ah-rim speaks first to say that Yeo-reum misunderstands the situation, and that must be why she came to her workplaces. Yeo-reum denies misunderstanding anything and tells Ah-rim that she saw her and Ha-jin eating together.
The door opens, and the way everyone is positioned, Ha-jin only sees Ah-rim there. He invites her in for breakfast and when she hesitates, he pulls her inside and slams the door, leaving Yeo-reum standing in the hall in shock. Oh no — I’m already cringing for the beatdown he’s about to receive.
Inside, Ha-jin smiles as he tells Ah-rim that he made breakfast for her, but she stammers that his girlfriend is outside. The look on his face would be funny if this weren’t so horrible. He’s frozen in fear as Yeo-reum lets herself in and finds him and Ah-rim standing there together, and they couldn’t possibly look more guilty.
Yeo-reum walks right past them as Ha-jin starts to make a weak apology, and goes right for the table set very obviously for two. She says matter-of-factly that there’s nothing for her to eat, and she takes the empty space and invites them to sit.
Ha-jin decides obedience is his best bet for survival, and practically shoves Ah-rim to the table. There’s a long awkward silence, then Yeo-reum orders them to eat. She tells them to have their usual breakfast conversation, and they both insist this is the first time, which really doesn’t sound any better.
Ah-rim uses school as an excuse to leave, telling Ha-jin to stay and clear up the misunderstanding, and literally flees the scene. Alone now, Yeo-reum accuses Ha-jin of cheating, which he hotly denies. He says this is all nothing, but it only seems like something because she thinks it’s something and oh please stop talking you’re making it worse. He admits that he cares for Ah-rim because she’s lived a hard life.
Ha-jin promises not to meet Ah-rim alone anymore, and Yeo-reum holds out her hand… but she wants his cell phone, not his hand. He passes it over but says he changed the code, explaining that it was to keep Joon-ho out, which just makes Yeo-reum suspicious again. She gives his phone back, even though he urges her to look and see how innocent he is, but she says she would rather not look so she can keep being suspicious.
Ha-jin drives Yeo-reum home and follows her in, and Yeo-reum softens enough to apologize for making a scene in front of Ah-rim. She asks him not to be so nice to other girls, including the nurses and patients at work, since it gives them the wrong idea. He agrees and kisses her, happy to be off the hook.
Yeo-reum calls Director Yoon to tell him she’s taking some pictures at the wine bar, and Tae-ha has him stall her until he can get there. He runs out (stealing Yoon’s lunch, ha) and races to the work site while Yoon asks for more photos to keep her from leaving.
We get a small flash-forward to see Tae-ha lying forlornly on the floor of his place, telling Bunny Yeo-reum that he was crazy for going to see her without a plan, but that all he could think was that she wouldn’t see him otherwise.
Back in the present, Tae-ha finds Yeo-reum at the site and pretends that he didn’t know she was there. She storms off and he invites her to eat, which tips his hand that he came to see her though he swears he had no idea she’d be there. He finally convinces her to eat with him by claiming he needs to talk about work.
They sit on a bench and Tae-ha says he’s too hungry to talk yet, and jokes that if this were a drama her stomach would growl right now. Guessing the truth, Yeo-reum says she must seem easy to him for falling for his lie, and she walks off. Tae-ha follows and tells her sincerely that she’s not easy to him — she was when they dated before, but she’s not easy now.
He wonders why she was so easy back then but does whatever she wants now, and tells her she should have been like this before. She was so good to him then, it hurts to even think about it. She accuses him of toying with her then, but he denies it, and asks how she can talk about their five years together like that when they were so happy.
She says that she’s not the old Yeo-reum anymore, and that if Tae-ha keeps acting like this, she won’t see him anymore. She knows he came here to see her, and she warns him to look forward to being surprised at how smart and mean she can be in the future. Tae-ha invites her to be as mean as she wants, because he just thinks it’s cute. She asks if this is his first one-side love, and pretty much invites him to Bring It On.
Ha-jin can barely focus on his surgeries for the day as he thinks back on the confrontation that morning, while at the same time Ah-rim watches her phone during class for a message from him. She finally caves and sends him a text asking if everything is okay, and he answers with an apology. For an innocent man, Ha-jin is awfully jumpy, and deletes the texts in case Yeo-reum does decide to check his phone.
Joon-ho wanders by and breezes that he saw Ha-jin delete a text, and Ha-jin makes him swear not to tell Yeo-reum. Joon-ho tells him that eeeeveryone knows about him hugging Ah-rim (even though he’s kept his mouth shut, of course), and Ha-jin has a small freakout. Joon-ho threatens to tell Sol too, knowing she’ll tell Yeo-reum, unless Ha-jin takes all the night shifts for a month. Hee.
Yeo-reum frantically searches the spot where she and Tae-ha argued, and calls him to ask if he’s seen her camera bag. He pretends not to know anything even though he’s got the bag, planning to use it to see her again.
Producer Bae staggers into his messy apartment to be met with a woman’s voice demanding to know where he’s been for the past week and where he’s been sleeping. He answers the persistent voice but it only gets worse, until he begs his deceased wife’s picture to stop nagging him from beyond the grave.
Ha-jin’s mom wakes in the morning to find yet another note on the fridge from her husband with his dinner order, and vows to find a way to make him talk to her. At their support group meeting later, she says that she took everything in the fridge and left. After the meeting she gives two suitcases-worth of side dishes to Producer Bae, HA.
Producer Bae takes the food to Yeo-reum, Joon-ho, and Sol, and they all chow down until Yeo-reum’s mom comes in. She asks why he didn’t take the food home and he complains that his wife makes a ruckus. Mom tells Sol and Joon-ho that Producer Bae talks to his dead wife like she’s a ghost, and snipes at him for taking food from a married woman.
Sol notes that Mom and Producer Bae are weird around each other but Yeo-reum denies that they’re dating, saying her mom is too cold for him. Joon-ho says her mother is an attractive woman, even going so far as to say between the three of them, he’d date Mom before he dated Yeo-reum or Sol. HA.
Producer Bae offers Mom a ride home which she declines, and explains that he got the food from a woman at his meeting and it doesn’t mean anything. Mom argues that a woman giving a man food means she likes him, which kind of tickles him, and he admits that she’s pretty.
Tae-ha brings Yeo-reum’s camera to her workshop, and she’s forced to thank him even though she suspects foul play. He tells her he’s meeting Ha-jin for dinner, and invites her to come along if it makes her nervous.
Ha-jin gets a call from Ah-rim at the end of the day and doesn’t take it, but when he leaves work she’s there waiting outside. She’s there to talk about the surgeries he promised to perform, but it doesn’t look so innocent when Tae-ha arrives and sees them together yet again. He laughs when he sees Yeo-reum pull up in a taxi, having taken him up on his offer to join them for dinner.
Ha-jin sees Yeo-reum before she sees him, and grabs Ah-rim by the wrist to duck behind his car. Tae-ha waves at Yeo-reum, and casually points to Ha-jin and Ah-rim with a totally straight face. She doesn’t pick up what he’s putting down, so it takes a few more points and ridiculous faces to get her to walk around the car. Ha-jin and Ah-rim creep the other way, only to come face-to-face with a delighted Tae-ha.
He brightly asks what they’re doing here, just as Yeo-reum sees them together. She takes in their guilty faces and Ha-jin’s hold on Ah-rim’s wrist, and she demands to know why they were holding hands and hiding. Ah-rim accidentally calls her “unni,” which doesn’t help Yeo-reum’s mood, and Tae-ha can barely hold in his mirth.
Yeo-reum asks Tae-ha to leave but he refuses, his face clearly showing how much fun he’s having right now. Ah-rim asks if she can go, and Ha-jin agrees, but Yeo-reum forbids it. Ah-rim says this whole misunderstanding is too much, and Yeo-reum says they’re too much, but when Ha-jin tries to speak up she just tells him to shut his mouth. All the while, Tae-ha is grinning like this is the best thing that ever happened to him.
Mark this down as the episode where absolutely everyone started to get on my last nerve. And we’re not even halfway through the drama. But seriously, I’m beginning to not like any of our leads, and I’m conflicted about that.
I already complained last week about Yeo-reum’s vow to make Tae-ha miserable once she learned that he likes her again. I don’t take kindly to people who hurt others on purpose, and I can’t get behind a leading lady who viciously and purposefully sets out to make someone suffer just because she can. I still haven’t seen any evidence that Tae-ha hurt Yeo-reum on purpose back when they were dating — granted, neglecting the one you’re supposed to love is pretty bad, but it’s not deliberate. Forgetting to be loving and attentive is not at all on the same level of badness as shoving your current relationship in the face of someone who cares for you, just to see him hurt.
I understand that Yeo-reum was deeply hurt by Tae-ha in the past and I can even understand that whole “I want him to feel what I felt” thing, but she’s being mean to him every time he tries to be sincere with her which is just plain bitchy. And when he calls her on it, and even expresses that he respects her more now that she’s strong, she just tells him that she’ll get a lot worse. She’s got a point in that his attentions are unwelcome and he should respect that, but I still can’t help but feel for him that he’s only trying in his bumbling way to be close to her. Being as hateful as she possibly can isn’t really the way to handle the situation.
Tae-ha’s behavior is starting to bother me a lot too though, and he’s far from off the hook. It’s plain that he likes Yeo-reum and wants to convince her to be with him but dude, you’re going about it all wrong. She’s got a boyfriend and is halfway engaged, and if she tells you to back off, you should Back. Off. If you really want to try to convince her you’re the right man for her, the way to go about that isn’t to maneuver her into situations she didn’t agree to, like being alone with him on the job site. I do think he really does care for her again, and might even love her this time when he didn’t before. But it’s like he has no idea how to handle these feelings, so he escalates his usual teasing behavior and it becomes just plain meanness. I hate how he provokes her then makes fun of her for being upset. It’s like people who make mean “jokes” then say you’re being over-sensitive when you get upset — it’s manipulative, and it’s not a way to convince someone to date you.
And this new thing he does where he thinks it’s funny when Ha-jin gets caught with Ah-rim… just, I can’t even. I think that in his mind, every time Ha-jin gets in trouble they’re one step closer to Yeo-reum breaking up with Ha-jin so she can be with him, but there are so many things wrong with that. First of all, it doesn’t work that way. If Yeo-reum and Ha-jin break up, that doesn’t necessarily mean Tae-ha gets her. Besides, Tae-ha taking pleasure in Ha-jin getting busted, is pretty much the same thing as him taking pleasure in Yeo-reum’s pain. She’ll be terribly hurt if she thinks Ha-jin is cheating on her — is that what Tae-ha wants? I don’t think it is, but his emotional response to the situation is so immature, it’s alarming.
And as for Ha-jin, I’m just completely baffled at his behavior. Why for the love of puppies is he hiding his relationship with Ah-rim, even from Ah-rim? If she’s his sister, or even just his dongsaeng from the orphanage and he truly has no romantic feelings or intentions, why keep it all a secret? He’s looked for her for years, and I don’t understand why he finally finds her and is so determined to keep it all to himself. We got a little glimpse of what happened when they were kids, when his mother said they adopted him instead of her (and I wonder if that’s significant, that she said they adopted him instead of Ah-rim, as if they chose between the two), so if he’s feeling survivor’s guilt and has fear that she’s angry with him, that might explain things a bit. But she told him when they had dinner that she’d been looking for her brother and hoped to find him someday, so obviously she’s not angry. I just don’t understand him, because hiding their relationship is only making things worse when a simple “she’s my sister/old friend from the orphanage” would clear everything up.
I’m still hoping that the show is making everyone supremely unlikable for a reason, and that all this is going somewhere. Hopefully there’s an epiphany, or a lightbulb that will go off somewhere, or something coming up soon to redeem all of these people. Because right now I’d like to just chuck Tae-ha, Yeo-reum, and Ha-jin out a window and watch Joon-ho and Sol go clubbing for the next four weeks. Please Show, you started out so strong, prove to me that you have a plan and a direction and that you aren’t just making me hate all the leads for no reason?