She Was Pretty: Episode 13
Just because one conflict is resolved doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing from here on out. Despite finding happiness in one quarter, we’ve still got more obstacles in store, and important lessons still to be learned — like knowing when to shoulder burdens alone, and when to lean on others.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Lying in Sung-joon’s hospital bed, Hye-jin finally gives him that hug he’s been asking for. He caresses her face, gently wiping away her tears… and he kisses her.
Hye-jin complains about Sung-joon working himself into collapse, but he claims to be fine. He notices she’s wearing his scarf, the one he left on the dog, and Hye-jin asks when he came to her neighborhood. He admits hovering near her place last night, but that he restrained himself from waking her.
But he says that he won’t restrain himself anymore — not from liking her, or missing her, or wanting to hug her. Hye-jin goes in for another long hug, and Sung-joon’s expression looks peaceful for the first time.
Suddenly, a shrill voice rings out — it’s Chief Editor Kim, dressed like a cowgirl today, come to fuss over Sung-joon. By the time she enters the room he’s sitting up in bed alone, reading a book, while Hye-jin hides in the closet, heh. But her nervous habit of clacking her teeth nearly gives her away, until Sung-joon pretends it was him, having a chill.
That just makes Chief Editor Kim want to hold him to warm him up, so he claims to have a hot flash, and then she tries to strip him. She calms down and tells him not to work himself to death — Most will be fine, and she’ll support him. She nearly gives away her nephew who works there, but stops herself just in time. She gives Sung-joon the most awkward kiss ever, tells him his hospital gown is un-Most-like, and leaves with a lascivious wink.
Sung-joon finally frees Hye-jin, remembering that this isn’t the first time she’s hidden in his closet. He gets that look in his eye and leans in as if to kiss her, but stops to giggle at her face when she squinches her eyes closed in anticipation. He teases her, gasping in mock horror that she thought he was going to kiss her, calling her a kissing maniac.
When she cries that she totally was not thinking that at all, he gives her a quick peck anyway, and one on the forehead, and the cheek. It disarms her, and they smile at each other adorably.
The next day Hye-jin invites Ha-ri to dinner at her parents’ house — it’s their wedding anniversary. But Ha-ri’s former coworkers are throwing her a farewell party, and she can’t make it.
Hye-jin finds herself in the elevator with Shin-hyuk at work, where he seems back to his old self. He makes a fart noise in the full elevator and blames it on her, twice, and he’s happy when she yells at him — he wants them to be friends like this. Awww, he doesn’t want to lose his dongsaeng. He tells her to let him know if Sung-joon doesn’t treat her right, and he’ll scold him like a true oppa.
Downstairs, Sung-joon is absorbed in his tablet and walks into the glass elevator door, landing right on his butt. He grins when he sees Hye-jin already at work, and wishes everyone a hearty Fighting! for the first time ever. The staff all wonder what’s up with him, and it’s Poong-ho who says that Sung-joon acts like someone who’s dating.
Hye-jin drops the clothes she’s arranging when they speculate on what kind of woman would date him. She takes Sung-joon his mail and shuts the blinds, warning him to be discreet — people are onto him. He’s not worried about them finding out about the two of them, but he asks her how he should act.
She tells him to be snotty and rude, and get mad at people a lot, and he pouts that his little feelings are hurt. Hye-jin leaves, reminding him not to drink too much coffee, and to be rude, and not to drink too much coffee. She’s adorably bossy, and Sung-joon snickers at her back. He’s a total smitten kitten.
Hye-jin admires Sung-joon during the daily meeting, remembering that he was bad at speaking to groups as a child. She sees the young Sung-joon studiously rolling up his sleeves and tee-hees out loud, and he tells her to focus. Well, she did tell him not to be too obvious.
The whole office think that Hye-jin acts like she’s dating, especially since she’s the obvious one with all the skipping and singing she’s doing. She congratulates Sung-joon on throwing people off with his fake scolding, but he seriously says that he did it because she deserved it. She snarls at him, and again he snickers at how cute she is.
Poong-ho gets a copy of mystery writer Ten’s new book, which everyone is dying to read. He agrees with Joon-woo that the author must be a forty-year-old Korean ajumma, since the book is set in Korea.
They speculate on why the author goes by the pen name Ten, but Chief Editor Kim has an interesting thery. She thinks it’s meant to be a phrase that means “here it is” in Spanish, which makes everyone wonder how she knows so much about it.
In the restroom Chief Editor Kim calls her nephew and agrees to meet him that afternoon, which Seul overhears. She waits in a cafe across the street to see who the mystery nephew is, but her coworker Ah-reum catches her and drags her back to the office.
The nephew shows up, but of course he’s hidden from our line of sight by a potted plant. Kim mentions that he’s to be made Director and wonders if that means he’s coming back to live at home.
Sung-joon pretends to collapse again when he hears that Hye-jin can’t go to dinner because of a family obligation. He offers to at least drive her, and they linger outside the print shop, holding hands and playing the “you go first” game. Sung-joon pulls out his best pout, until Hye-rin sees them holding hands and shrieks to her dad and the world that Hye-jin and that oppa are dating.
And so Sung-joon is invited to dinner, and is immediately adopted into the family. They all push the choicest bites on him, until Hye-jin finally barks to leave the poor guy alone to eat. The attention seems to make him a little uncomfortable, but he plays along, even when they invite him to be in the yearly family picture.
After dinner he assures Hye-jin that he had a good time, and he sends her back in with a sweet kiss on the forehead. He turns to go, and finds himself face-to-face with Ha-ri for the first time since finding out that she’s not Hye-jin.
He asks to talk, and she apologizes for everything she did to him. In turn, Sung-joon apologizes for not staying to listen to her that night that he found out the truth. He sends her in to see Hye-jin’s family, seeing her off with a handshake, and says that maybe they could have been friends if things had been different. Ha-ri tells Hye-jin about seeing Sung-joon, and their talk.
Sung-joon calls Hye-jin while she’s brushign her teeth, and decides to do the same thing while they’re on the phone. She tells him that Ha-ri stayed at her parents’ for a few days, and they continue to talk about everything and nothing as they putter around doing homey chores.
While still talking, the doorbell rings, and Hye-jin opens the door to find Sung-joon there on her doorstep. He notices her clean face without the covering makeup, but she forgets her embarrassment when he brings her the red bean pastries she was craving earlier.
They snack in his car and talk some more, and listen to their song, “Close to You” by the Carpenters. They both fall asleep in Sung-joon’s car, and wake to realize that they’re late for work.
They manage to make it to the office, and today Hye-jin goes to visit her old admin services coworkers. They ask if she’s coming back in three weeks as originally planned, excited to be getting her back, though Hye-jin isn’t happy at the reminder.
Back in the Most office, Joon-woo finds proof that Ten is Korean — they confirmed it in response to a fan’s question. But they’re interrupted by a serious-looking foreign man looking for Sung-joon, who tells Sung-joon that he’ll be considered a failure if Most goes under. Sheesh, no pressure, ya big meanie.
Sung-joon tells the team that that was just his superior from the main office, making a courtesy visit. He tries to play it like it’s nothing, but he snaps at Reporter Cha when she asks if they should give up on getting an interview with filmmaker Leonard Kim. He pulls it back, and says that they need that interview to catch up to New Look.
Sung-joon silently freaks out in his office, and Hye-jin texts him to confirm that the man was here to discuss discontinuing Most. He assures her that things will be fine.
Shin-hyuk brings Sung-joon a USB with a short film that Leonard Kim made while in school, and tells him to come talk to him after seeing it. The movie should help Sung-joon when approaching him for an interview. Sung-joon admits his concern, and Shin-hyuk offers his help in whatever way he can give it, to the end.
There’s a rumor going around the office that Most will be shut down if they can’t reach number one with this issue, which causes the entire staff to semi-panic. Reporter Cha goes straight to Sung-joon for the truth, and he confirms it. She asks why he didn’t tell them, and he says simply that he thought it was the right thing to do.
But Reporter Cha is beyond understanding, asking what she’s supposed to do if the job she’s spent her youth on suddenly disappears. She feels betrayed that he’s been there three months and never let on how high the stakes are, not giving them a chance to prepare or work their hardest to save the magazine. She’s not wrong — she calls him arrogant and leaves the office.
The whole office is disappointed in Sung-joon, but Shin-hyuk says he was just doing what he though tbest. He urges them to all try their hardest, but almost everyone walks out in disgust. Later Hye-jin assures Sung-joon that the team is just shocked, but Sung-joon asks, with difficulty, to be alone today.
Sung-joon has another meeting with a different executive, though the woman doesn’t seen encouraged by his proposal for the anniversary episode. Even Chief Editor Kim expresses disappointment in Sung-joon, blaming him for the staff disappearing on him. If he had trusted and relied on them more, this might not have happened.
Sung-joon stays late at the office, plagued by regret. He finally goes to his car, only to find Hye-jin there, offering to drive him so he can rest. He turns her down, but she says she’s too worried he’ll collapse again to leave him alone. She knows the weight of his worries, and how hard of a time he must have been going through, and tells him not to carry the burden alone anymore – they can do it together.
Faced with the one person who isn’t blaming him right now, Sung-joon starts to cry. He pulls Hye-jin in for a long, grateful hug, and she tells him it’s going to be okay.
In the morning, both Shin-hyuk and Hye-jin mope into the office, expecting another long day of working alone. But they find the entire Most team there, bustling around, working their hardest. Reporter Cha says she came back because she felt wronged, but figured she would feel less wronged if she saw this through to the end, and the rest of the team agree.
Sung-joon walks in and calls a staff meeting like there’s nothing unusual going on, which confuses Hye-jin. But everything is forgotten when he announces that Leonard Kim has agreed to an interview. Everyone celebrates except for Shin-hyuk, who’s uncharacteristically sober.
In voice-over, Hye-jin says that there’s a Law of Luck, that says that the amount of luck you get is equal to the amount of misfortune you experience. The law reminds you not to despair, but remember that when bad things happen, good luck is coming.
The Most team goes out for a celebratory dinner, and Joon-woo notices that the upcoming Leonard Kim interview has been posted on their website and is already garnering lots of attention. Reporter Cha is impressed by Sung-joon’s landing the interview.
Shin-hyuk asks how everyone decided to come back at the same time, and Poong-ho says that Sung-joon came in person to beg him to come back. Apparently he did that with everyone, and they all vow to do their best and make the magazine number one.
Sung-joon goes to the office to work on the weekend, and finds a packed lunch with a note from Hye-jin sitting on his desk. The food is still warm, so he runs out to catch her, and yells at her through a glass wall to wait there for him. He asks her to stay and eat with him, and they go to a pretty park for a picnic.
He pretends to be distressed that she’s a cooking maniac on top of being a kissing maniac, and she spends the whole picnic making sure he eats well. When he goes to load the car, he takes his eyes off Hye-jin for only a moment, and when he looks again, she’s gone.
Before he gets too worried, Hye-jin sneaks up behind him, but he doesn’t laugh at her prank. She immediately feels bad, and reassures him that she has no intention of disappearing on him. He watches her while she takes pictures of the lake, and stares at her long enough that she notices.
She takes his hand shyly, and tells him not to run so hard — he’s almost there. When she sneezes from the cold wind coming off the water, Sung-joon wraps her in his coat while he’s still wearing it, and he says he wants to tell her something.
He admits that he’s impatient, and probably crazy… but he promises to save Most, and then he plans to propose to her. He pulls the hood of her jacket up to warm her face, and when she says that she wishes for him to save Most and be successful, he goes in for a kiss.
In their happiest moment, the Law of Luck kicks in in reverse, and back at the office Sung-joon’s forgotten phone begins to ring. It’s Leonard Kim.
As happy as I am that Sung-joon and Hye-jin have finally found each other and are together (and they are perfect together), it’s a bit concerning to have the main romantic conflict of the show seemingly wrapped up so soon, and with three episodes to go. Can they really string out the whole Will Most be shut down? storyline for three episodes? That seems to be where the show is heading, and while it’s not a boring storyline in my opinion, it’s not really enough as it stands now to carry us through as satisfying ending. We all came for the romance! Hopefully, some new dramatic tension will spring up between Sung-joon and Hye-jin and give us something to watch besides a two-week tutorial on how to put out a successful magazine.
But meanwhile, smitten Sung-joon is just so cute, he makes my teeth ache. I like the way he teases Hye-jin, which feels very different from the way Shin-hyuk does it — Sung-joon never makes her feel bad, but teases just enough to get a cute reaction from her. And it’s good to see him letting her support him, because as much as I’m sure he’d like to, he can’t save Most alone. No matter how hard he tries, and how much he’d like to keep that responsibility firmly on his own shoulders, there’s just no way one person can make a magazine number one all by himself.
And it’s finally backfired on him. Though I agree it was a monumentally stupid choice, I can actually understand why he kept the secret from the Most team — he didn’t want them working in panic mode, trying too hard and changing things for the worse by accident. But in trying to do it all himself, he robbed these people, who have all worked for the Korean edition of the magazine for much longer than he has, of the ability to have a say in their own futures. They have a right to know the truth, and to know that even if they fail and Most is shut down, they did everything in their power to save it.
I think that despite his outward appearances, Sung-joon is pretty insecure, and he wanted to be the white knight on his steed, riding in and fixing everything by himself. Add in the immense pressure he’s under from his boss (which seems out of proportion… it’s all threat and no encouragement, and I wish they’d explain why it has to be first place or utter failure) to that desire to make Most successful singlehandedly, and this whole situation was prime for disaster. There was no way the Most staff was not going to take Sung-joon’s silence on their potential loss of their jobs badly, and feel hurt and betrayed. He didn’t even give them a chance to fight for their jobs, though one could argue that they should be putting in their best work all the time, anyway. But still, they should have been given the respect to know the truth, and be allowed to give it their all.
So for that reason I’m glad that they found out in time to at least give success a shot, knowing the stakes at hand. And I’m happy that Sung-joon is letting Hye-jin support and encourage him. It was an interesting callback to the time that he missed the twentieth anniversary party and completely blamed himself, facing the shame all alone — so that now when it happens again and he finds himself responsible for a terrible situation, he tries again to push Hye-jin away and go through it alone. But he’s not alone anymore, and Hye-jin said all the right things… that she understands him, and that he can lean on her. He may still make bad decisions in the future, who doesn’t? Thankfully, Sung-joon does have someone who believes in him, now that he has Hye-jin.
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- She Was Pretty: Episode 1