Oh My Venus: Episode 2
We learn a bit more about our leads in this hour, about their pasts and their present, and how our heroine isn’t the only one in an uncomfortable situation — our hero may need her as much as she needs him. But that doesn’t mean that forming an alliance will be easy — with two people as prickly and defensive as these two, just coming to an agreement might be more difficult than following it through.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
After seeing her ex-boyfriend embracing another woman, Joo-eun wanders the streets and finds herself being pursued by a strange masked man. Someone grabs her and she collapses to the pavement, crying out, “Save me!” But it’s Young-ho who answers her, wryly quipping that she’s always asking him to save her.
As it turns out, he also saw Woo-shik hugging that woman, and he asks if Joo-eun wants to go back there and pull their hair or something. But if not, he offers her a ride home, because getting a cold now would just add insult to injury. He holds out his hand with her bandage from her IV on it, as if that’s the real reason he followed her.
He makes a big deal about what a nice guy he is, always helping people in need, and it’s adorable how matter-of-fact he is. But Joo-eun is oblivious to him, and begs him to just leave — though Young-ho pulls her to his car anyway.
He admits again that he has a soft spot for people in danger. Joo-eun thanks him, but insists on getting herself home. He’s still not willing to just leave her in the street in the rain, so she takes his umbrella and is all Now I’m armed with a weapon and a bad mood, ha. She takes her bandage, saying that she’s not a woman who leaves her things behind, and Young-ho gives in and lets her go.
Distracted, Young-ho drives himself to the Han River to think. He remembers a day when he was a child, in a wheelchair with an injured leg, and his great-grandmother had sent him away for surgery. It’s a simple scene, but both Young-ho and his great-grandmother are heavy-hearted, as if this moment means more than it seems.
Young-ho signs into his hotel under an assumed name, but that doesn’t stop Great-Grandma’s minion, Manager Min, from finding him in the morning. Of course, this means that Great-Grandma knows he’s back in Korea despite his attempts at stealth, and Young-ho wearily agrees to meet with her.
Somehow he ended up with Joo-eun’s purse, and he frowns at her phone when her friend Hyun-woo tries to call her (assuming that “Hyun-woo” is the ex). At Hyun-woo’s house, breakfast is a gloomy affair, as her young son Min-joon seems to be in a bad mood and reluctant to eat. Apparently, his little girlfriend called him fat. Hyun-woo goes straight into Mama Bear mode, ready to follow him to school and kick some kindergarten butt, but Min-joon’s caretaker says she’ll go with him.
Joo-eun is late to work and tries to slink into an in-progress meeting, failing spectacularly. They’re joined by the new deputy president of the law firm, who strolls into the room in a skin-tight suit and power heels, and is introduced as OH SOO-JIN (Yoo In-young).
The two ladies recognize each other — they had been friends in law school, where it was Soo-jin who was overweight, and reclusive despite getting the best grades in the class. Joo-eun had overheard some students making fun of Soo-jin within her earshot, and had come to her defense.
Now their roles are reversed, with Soo-jin the sleek, confident one and Joo-eun feeling frumpy and uncomfortable. Soo-jin seems friendly enough, and glad to see her old friend, though both admit to being a bit shocked at how much the other has changed. Soo-jin, to her credit, says that her shock is from seeing that Joo-eun’s become a lawyer.
But then Soo-jin takes offense to being called Joo-eun’s friend, correcting her secretary that she’s actually Joo-eun’s sunbae. Then she adds that she’s only allowed to make organic coffee from now on. Okay, I was considering liking you, but I take it back.
Nervous at her old friend’s suddenly-cold demeanor, Joo-eun knocks over her photo of herself and Woo-shik while taking a call. Soo-jin looks at the photo while righting it, and she keeps a neutral expression, but somehow it seems a bit too neutral.
Young-ho leaves his hotel to find himself faced with a whole squadron of Great-Grandma’s minions. Embarrassed, he pulls up his hoodie and asks Manager Min to let him go — he’s just here for a short visit and doesn’t even have appropriate clothes. To which Manager Min holds up a suit for him. Crap.
Young-ho submits and gets suited up, asking Manager Min if he’s going to be scolded. He even shoots Min a little finger-heart to butter him up, but Min is a master at the poker face and only says that he looks pretty, ha.
They arrive at Grandmother’s house, but a pair of stylish heeled boots clues Young-ho in to the real purpose of this meeting — he’s being set up on a marriage date. But he puts on a brave face and goes inside, to find a beautiful young woman waiting for him.
Joo-eun and Soo-jin find themselves in the same elevator later that day, where Soo-jin says in a sickly-sweet voice that it doesn’t look good for Joo-eun to be leaving early, even though it’s her half-day. Joo-eun tries to say something to her old friend, but she’s cut off by a backhanded non-compliment.
Young-ho plays along with his surprise date, who’s relieved that the rumors about him aren’t true. Her face falls though, to hear that he plans to go back to the States. They’re interrupted when he gets a text, a string of photos of Anna Sue — the star he’s rumored to be carrying on an affair with — but he ignores it.
Manager Min is there ready to usher Young-ho to his next engagement as soon as lunch is over, but suddenly a sleek sports car screeches into the driveway, and Young-ho jumps in and they’re gone before Min’s men can even react. HAHA, it’s Joon-sung and Ji-woong, here to rescue him.
And then the best thirty seconds of my drama-watching career occurs, as Young-ho takes his friends for a Pretty Woman makeover, complete with theme song. Too bad they’re shopping for bulky cold-weather clothes!
Young-ho is carrying Joo-eun’s phone around, and he sees multiple calls from Hyun-woo and tries to guess the swipe code. The phone gets a text that he CAN read, from Joo-eun offering a reward for its return. He manages to get into the phone and call her, and admits he would have picked up sooner if he’d known the Hyun-woo that kept calling was a woman.
Joo-eun goes from grateful to snippy when she realizes who has her phone, but he jovially offers to replace her corset that he cut on the airplane. Young-ho makes her wait while he has a discussion with a salesperson, which has Joo-eun snorting into the phone, but he’s blithely nonapologetic.
They arrange to meet at his hotel so he can return her phone and purse. Hyun-woo thinks his voice sounded sexy and squeals, but Joo-eun is embarrassed, and Hyun-woo assumes it’s to see Young-ho again after he saw her bare belly.
But she’s really upset over seeing Soo-jin again, and that she didn’t say she was happy to see her. Even if she couldn’t say that she looked great, she should have at least been able to say that much. Joo-eun regrets not mentioning their physical role reversal, moaning that they could have laughed about it.
Young-ho and his friends are cut off by Manager Min’s minions as they try to leave the shopping center parking lot, and Min is immune to his pleas for sympathy. Young-ho reminds Min that he’s only in Korea for a short while, but Great-Grandma has other ideas, and is having his things shipped from America as we speak.
Manager Min just holds up his phone, showing that he was also texted the photo of Young-ho with Anna Sue, who is apparently trying to blackmail him. They paid her double her asked-for amount to shut her up, and for now only Manager Min and his grandmother know about this. He says that Director Kim, Young-ho’s father, is probably still unaware, but Young-ho sighs that he’ll know soon enough.
Great-Grandma holds a meeting to announce that she’s bringing in the president of the American branch, her great-grandson Young-ho, to run the company. Her grandson and Young-ho’s father, KIM SUNG-CHUL, is there looking decidedly unhappy about this turn of events.
The executives express reservations, since Young-ho is young, has no Korean connections, and is a stranger to them, but Great-Grandma begs their indulgence. One of the executives blows off steam in his office later, accompanied by none other than Woo-shik, who also works for the company.
He assures his coworker that if the prodigal great-grandson really wanted the company, he’d have made a move before now. Later Woo-shik makes a call to someone, and tasks them with finding out any and all information related to Young-ho.
Young-ho is late to meet with Joo-eun, and she runs into Soo-jin in the hotel lobby. Woo-shik approaches her and casually slides an arm around her. He also sees Joo-eun there, and after a moment of shock, starts to approach her. Joo-eun just says quietly, “Don’t come.”
Stunned, she tries to flee, only to run smack into the glass door and fall to the ground. She lays there whimpering, cringing as everyone stares and she realizes she’s lost her shoe, and whimpers, “Save me.”
Which is, of course, Young-ho’s cue. He picks up her shoe, and when Woo-shik starts to approach again, holds up an imperious hand to stop him. With a look of contempt, he says that the lady told Woo-shik to stay away.
It’s pretty swoony, though he shatters his own hero moment by crouching down to ask Joo-eun why she’s always saying “save me,” ha. He actually apologizes for not being able to beat up her ex for her, since he’s a blackbelt and could seriously hurt him, but Joo-eun just clutches his pants leg and begs him to take her away from here. Off the planet, if possible.
He just helps her up, offers her his arm, and says, “Let’s go!” He puts his arm around her waist to pull her in close, tenderly straightens her hair, and walks her right past the gaping Woo-shik with a “so there, jerkface,” glare. And with that, I officially love Young-ho.
He takes Joo-eun to his suite, saying that to her, being in a suite with a guy like him is the same as being off the planet. She takes him up on his unspoken dare, and it’s interesting how closely he watches her once they get inside. He notices something strange and puts a hand on her shoulder, and asks softly if it hurts a lot.
Joo-eun breathes that it does, but again Young-ho ruins the moment — he didn’t mean her feelings, he meant her actual shoulder. HAHA. She shoves him off irritably, but then cringes when she finally feels the pain.
Young-ho asks if they should “do it” on the sofa or the bed, and again Joo-eun gets the wrong idea. He’s just talking about adjusting her shoulder, which is dislocated. Ha, her shrieks and cries that she’s not ready, coupled with his assurance that it will only hurt for a second and to be still or it won’t fit, sure do sound different from the outside of his hotel room door.
After what sounds like an awkward date, Woo-shik tells Soo-jin not to do anything about Joo-eun and let him handle it. He promises not to hurt Soo-jin like he’s hurt Joo-eun, and she smirks that it’s not so bad, being the bitch.
Joo-eun and Young-do sit on his bed, clothes askew and gasping for breath, looking like a lot more went on than a shoulder relocation. Wow, she nearly ripped his shirt off. They discuss how Joo-eun wants revenge on Woo-shik while Young-do sweetly wraps her in a blanket, and he fusses over her temperature and pulse being too low.
He tells her to see a doctor about her shoulder… that though it may look fine, some scars are hard to see. Suddenly I don’t think he’s talking about her shoulder anymore.
When Joo-eun makes it downstairs she finds Woo-shik waiting for her, and he offers to take her somewhere that she can scream at him. They go to a restaurant where he tells her not to misunderstand what she saw, and Joo-eun counters that he shouldn’t misunderstand her going into a hotel suite with a strange man, either. When he says that he knew she was injured and didn’t misunderstand anything, it angers Joo-eun that it wouldn’t occur to him that she was doing anything illicit in there. It does sound insulting, put that way.
She surprises Woo-shik by officially breaking up with him, and telling him to get lost. He actually has the nerve to ask her not to blame Soo-jin for this, and she tells him to shut up. She’s a lawyer, after all…
But now Woo-shik loses his calm attitude, and he lashes out — she wanted to be a lawyer who had brains and beauty, and she’s gotten her wish, but she’s lost a lot in the process. She spits that her good looks may be gone, but her intelligence is intact, and that she’s trying very hard to hold back and not lose her temper.
She dismisses him again, and he seems disappointed. He says that he’s as unhappy about this as she is, and at that, she storms out of the restaurant. She grabs a taxi and asks to be taken to the airport. She retrieves her own car, grumbling that she should have thrown a drink at Woo-shik, and she tries to smash a little framed photo of the two of them.
That only makes her shoulder hurt, and reminds her of Young-ho saying that some thing hurt more than they look. She realizes she’s still wearing her couple ring, and rips it off and throws it in a trash bag with her ruined corset.
As she drives home, Joo-eun remembers telling Woo-shik a long time ago that it was her dream to become “the Cinderella of the legal profession.” He’d asked why Cinderella, when she has a mother and sister, not to mention her adorable dimples. She’d told him that her father gave her the book as a child, and she loved how it ended, with a happily ever after.
Woo-shik had pouted that he’d better be her happily ever after, and given her his ice cream when she finished her own. Now older and wiser, Joo-eun thinks of the Cinderella story from a different angle, and realies that there’s no happily ever afters in this world.
The next day Joo-eun fumes in her office, since it’s noon and Soo-jin still hasn’t come to talk to her directly. She storms into Soo-jin’s office, saying that she remembers that it was her in the bathroom at that restaurant a few nights ago, when Woo-shik broke up with her. Soo-jin claims it was a coincidence, and invites the furious Joo-eun to lunch.
They go to Hyun-woo’s restaurant, and the friends both sneer when Soo-jin orders a plain salad, saying with a superior air that she doesn’t eat for the taste. Hyun-woo doesn’t hide her comtempt and tells Joo-eun to commit whatever violence she wants, ha.
Joo-eun grows even angrier watching Soo-jin pick at her salad, and she asks Soo-jin if she did aomething wrong. She reminds Soo-jin that she’s a straight talker herself and can handle the truth, but Soo-jin just demurely mutters that Woo-shik told her not to do anything.
But if Joo-eun wants an excuse, Soo-jin is willing to give one. She says that you can’t help who you fall in love with, but that she hasn’t done anything yet to apologize for. Joo-eun reminds her who she’s talking to, but Soo-jin just laughs in her face. She tells Joo-eun that it’s understandable for her to act this way based on who she used to be, but it’s time to face the facts.
She may have been beautiful and able to do anything she wanted, and had Woo-shik following at her heels, but those days are past. Now it’s Soo-jin who has everything she wants, and she’s not about to let it go.
Joo-eun asks if this is about Ji-hoon, the boy that Soo-jin liked back in law school. Soo-jin pretends not to know who she means, and laughs a bit too hard when she “remembers.” She offers to pay for lunch and quickly leaves, but that little act didn’t fool anyone.
The truth comes out when she’s alone, and the tars starts to fall as Soo-jin whines that she liked Ji-hoon so much. In flashback we see a younger Soo-jin, starstruck by Ji-hoon, as she’d gone on his radio show to thank someone for impacting her life. She’d admitted to being overweight and friendless, but had mentioned her one friend who told her that you lose weight because you’re either lonely or troubled, or both.
As Joo-eun had watched, Soo-jin had thanked her for being there for her. But as soon as Ji-hoon had leaned in close to say she did a good job, Soo-jin had passed out, ha. Later after coming to, Soo-jin had seen Ji-hoon giving Joo-eun his number, and it had crushed her.
Joo-eun broods in her office, until a smiling tornado of Ji-woong comes in, grinning ear-to-ear to see her. It’s so cute how he calls her “Ma’am,” and he says he was worried about her and has been trying to text her. He proudly presents her with a contract to look over for him, and she thanks him for helping her on the plane.
He sees some diet aids she’s been taking and chastises her, saying sweetly that she’ll get sick and lose her pretty face using those. He reminds her of the woman from The Stella Show who got in shape and changed her life, and asks why Joo-eun doesn’t do the same thing.
Cut to: Joo-eun that night, chowing down on a mountain of delivery food. HAHA.
Young-ho gets a surprise visit from his father, and Young-ho knows that this mean he knows about the scandal. But Dad isn’t here to catch up, and he asks if Great-Grandma has spoken to Young-ho yet. What he really wants to know is whether Young-ho intends to make his father step down from the company for him. Young-ho just gives a noncommittal answer.
The hospital sends Joo-eun her belongings that were left in the ambulance, and with them is Ji-woong’s coat that he lent her on the plane. Somehow she also ends up with a wallet, which is full of cash and a credit card with the name “J Kim.” An ID badge with the name John Kim gives the final clue, and Joo-eun realizes that she knows the famous John Kim.
Suddenly, a lot of things that the bouncy Ji-woong has said to her make sense, and his offer to change her life like the woman on The Stella Show seems a lot more interesting now. She goes to talk to Ji-woong (whose attack-hugs, I hope, are getting to be a habit) and swears him to tell the truth… he’s John Kim, right? Ha, so close.
Ji-woong is baffled, but Young-ho is there with him, and says that Joo-eun has indeed found John Kim. Ji-woong and Joon-sung both give him silent “What are you doing??” looks, while Joo-eun beams in triumph.
While the plot seems simple, and I don’t anticipate many surprises from Oh My Venus, I’m really enjoying it more than I expected to. Like javabeans, I’m here for the pairing of Shin Mina and So Ji-sub, and so far I’m getting exactly what I hoped from them — witty banter, snarky attitudes, and lots of crackling chemistry. As characters, they seem evenly matched in the wits and brains departments. I appreciate that much more because I expected the character of Joo-eun to be more disappointed in how her life turned out, in the sense that she’s no longer the most beautiful woman wherever she goes. I expected her to be shy, withdrawn, apologetic for “letting herself go” (though let’s face it, she’s not that overweight, and still gorgeous). But instead I’m pleasantly surprised that she’s kept her core personality, in that her looks were never what she considered her most valuable asset in the first place, they were just a convenient bit of luck. Even when young and “perfect,” she always had big dreams of being a lawyer, and the conviction that she could do anything if she put her mind to it. I liked that about her when she was young, and I love that she still carries that mantra with her now. She doesn’t let her looks define her, and she gets angry when others try to boil her down to little more than her body type.
And on Young-ho’s side, my favorite thing about him is that, so far, he’s barely mentioned Joo-eun’s weight except to express concern about her health. And even then, only after seeing that she was already trying to lose weight — I get the feeling that if he hadn’t seen her diet aids, he wouldn’t have even mentioned it. He doesn’t seem concerned about her weight, only about helping a woman in need and making sure she’s safe. But he’s not a total white knight, and he gives her back the same verbal barbs she shoots at him. I notice though, that he never starts it, he always just follows Joo-eun’s lead. He seems like a nice and civil guy, and though he’s not about to take any abuse from her, he’s not mean about it, either. But when she genuinely needed him to help her out in front of the man who just dumped her for another woman, and he stepped up like he was not only willing but proud to do so? That’s when he won me over completely. Even though he keeps insisting he doesn’t care about her feelings, it’s obvious from his actions that he does.
I was definitely worried about the premise of the show, and any hint of unrealistic fat-shaming would have had me calling the show out to the woodshed in a heartbeat. But I’m happy that, aside from the reality of society labeling anyone who seems less than ideal as “other” and open for comment, the show doesn’t seem to be giving Joo-eun’s size any more weight (no pun intended) than she gives it, herself. I love that, rather than shrink in shame when it’s mentioned, Joo-eun bristles and defends herself. She doesn’t accept that being a bit overweight makes her less in any way, and I adore her for that. Even when her old friend shows up, svelte now while she’s gained a little, she doesn’t initially feel embarrassed — only sad that she didn’t mention it and use it as a point on which to bond again. That right there says something pretty positive about Joo-eun’s core values.
I’m finding Soo-jin a bit less interesting than our main leads, mostly because she (as a character) hasn’t yet fully embraced her role as the villain. She’s still pretending, for the most part, to be friends with Joo-eun, though we’re starting to see flashes of her capacity for selfishness. She’s only just realizing the power she feels as the beautiful woman who can take a man from the beautiful Kang Joo-eun, which is starting to feel like the real reason she’s pursuing Woo-shik. I wouldn’t be surprised if she only wanted him because he was with Joo-eun, if indeed she’s really just trying to have the perfect life she saw Joo-eun living back in school, and I suspect she’ll drop Woo-shik like a hot potato once Joo-eun no longer wants him back. She seems more in love with the feeling of using her looks to get what she wants, than whether she truly wants him. So, though she feels a bit toothless at this point, it seems more that she just doesn’t have experience being the bad girl, and that she’ll learn how as she goes. Knowing Yoo In-young and her ability to embrace the dark side of her characters, I anticipate a lot more evil to come from Soo-jin.
So, while I’m still reserving the right to have some words with the show should it take any shaming or offensive turns, I’m cautiously hopeful that that’s not the direction we’re going in. Joo-eun’s loss of her figure may be the central line around which the basic story revolves, but so far it hasn’t used this one thing about Joo-eun to define her, or make her less of who she is at the core. Though the whole “get in shape and you’ll be happy” line some of the characters are pushing still feels potentially problematic, I’m counting on Joo-eun’s strong sense of self, and refusal to let this one part of her life defeat her, to be the driving force of her change. It’s one thing for the world to tell someone to alter themselves to fit in (or worse, to get a man, because ugh), and quite another for someone to be their own motivation, and to change for themselves. As long as Joo-eun’s wish to regain her sense of self is her primary motivation to get back in shape, I’m totally on board.
- Oh My Venus: Episode 1
- Thing vs. Thing: Image ruinations
- Oh My Venus teases secret heirs and diets
- Oh My Venus’s rain-soaked trainer, ex-boyfriend, and rival
- Shin Mina, So Ji-sub weigh in on Oh My Venus
- So Ji-sub pumps iron for Oh My Venus
- High school uniforms and boxing gloves for Oh My Venus
- Yoo In-young, Jung Kyeo-woon join Oh My Venus
- Shin Mina and So Ji-sub’s rom-com gets new title and costars