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Marriage Contract: Episode 6

Ji-hoon always seems poised just moments from a fall, but this is a fall I didn’t see coming. Or perhaps “fall” isn’t even the right word: It’s a spring in his heart, such as he’s never experienced. I don’t often spout flowery metaphors, but after a critical fifteen minutes this episode (once you’ve watched it, you’ll know which fifteen), I can’t help it. And although the course of true love never did run smooth, it’s nothing a dramatic U-turn (in a fantastically pretentious car) can’t fix.

EPISODE 6 RECAP

President Han doesn’t buy that Hye-soo is a nurse. Still suspicious, he leaves after telling Ji-hoon to come home tonight.

Ji-hoon returns to his mother’s room, where Hye-soo picks up pieces of broken dishes. Mi-ran worries that Dad’s caught on, and Ji-hoon wants to know just what she’s so afraid of in him. What’s the worst Dad could do, he argues, it’s not like he can disown him. Mi-ran considers this, then tells him to go mind his work — she’s decided to live now. He leaves with Hye-soo.

In his car, President Han calls in a favor from a hospital contact, and requests information about Mi-ran.

A dressed-to-the-nines Joo-yeon sails into Promise, causing a flutter among the men, with Ho-joon particularly smitten. She spots Seung-joo and is all asquee at seeing him, even giving him a big kiss (much to Snooty Server, HYUN ARA’s dismay). Ara notices Ji-hoon’s car pulling up outside, and everyone crowds to look as Hye-soo disembarks.

Hye-soo catches them looking, and runs in at the sight of Joo-yeon. Ara straight-up asks her what she was doing in the boss’s car, and Ho-joon jumps in to cover for her — it’s all just a big coincidence, of course. Awkwardly agreeing, she bundles Joo-yeon out. Seung-joo looks grimly on.

Now in her apartment, Hye-soo explains that they were together because they’d just come back from the hospital. She adds that a surgery date has been set for the following month. Joo-yeon is amazed that she’s so cool about it.

Seung-joo comes home to find his aunt sitting out in the cold in a daze. She recounts her run-in with Hye-soo’s new boyfriend, struck by how he’s an obviously moneyed man. She cries that her son should be the one carrying Eun-sung. Not to be callous, but…he’s dead, yeah? She hopes he’s nice to her granddaughter, and regrets not being able to say a kind word to Hye-soo. Seung-joo is more worried about who exactly this rich new man is.

Ji-hoon shows up at the family home, and President Han demands the truth about Hye-soo. He admits she’s his girlfriend, and smoothly apologizes for not introducing her already. So how about tomorrow, Dad suggests. He’s uncomfortable that it’s so soon, and Dad asks him why — does he have something to hide? He can just as easily find her himself, Dad says, if Ji-hoon would prefer that.

When he returns home, he finds Hye-soo folding her laundry outside her door. His heavy expression makes her worry that they’ve been found out, but he reluctantly tells her that they’re meeting his father tomorrow. He leaves her with a reminder to brush up on her studies about him.

The next day sees them shopping for Hye-soo’s chaebol makeover, and she gapes at the clothes’ price tags. Now smartly dressed for the meeting, Ji-hoon instructs her to let him handle the difficult questions. Arriving at the meeting place, he gives her a once-over. Gesturing her to hold out her hands, he drops first a necklace, and then a pair of earrings into them, and strides on ahead.

They greet President Han, who immediately sets to on asking Hye-soo about herself — she’s a chef? Ji-hoon keeps jumping in to answer questions, which annoys Dad as he wants to hear it from her. She tells him she studied abroad in Japan, and that her grandmother was adopted by a famous bakery heir there, receiving an inheritance with which she had her own business, now sold. I…am pretty sure it’s not true, and yet she delivers it totally believably.

President Han seems quite taken with her, and asks point-blank why she likes a scoundrel as cold and prickly as Ji-hoon. Not for the first time, she’s sincere when she says — looking straight at Ji-hoon — that he’s warm and kind inside. Dad chuckles at Ji-hoon’s luck.

Eager to quit while he’s ahead, Ji-hoon tells Dad that they can’t stay — they were just on their way to pick up (fictional) Grandma from the airport, but this meeting had come at short notice. Dad asks Hye-soo to take care of his son, and hopes to see her a lot in the future.

Hye-soo slips an arm into Ji-hoon’s as the couple see Dad off. They’re interrupted by the noisy arrival of Jung-hoon. Dad isn’t so pleased to see him, and drives away after a terse acknowledgement. I guess his broken engagement has made him fall out of favor.

Jung-hoon runs a critical eye over Hye-soo, unimpressed to learn she’s Ji-hoon’s girlfriend. Ji-hoon hurriedly excuses himself, promising to introduce her properly another time.

While they’re driving, Ji-hoon notices her rumbling stomach. She’s surprised at his offer to go eat ddukbokki, and he recites the list of (what he thinks are) her favorite foods: “I studied a lot, too, you know.” Unimpressed, she corrects him.

Over a much heartier meal, Ji-hoon asks her about Japan, and Hye-soo admits she’s never been, although she had planned to before her marriage. The famous Japanese heir was really the author of the book she was studying, she giggles. I’m getting a Usual Suspects vibe here, haha.

He thanks her for doing a good job today, and Hye-soo becomes thoughtful. Despite his wealth, he leads a restrictive life, unable to do what he wants to do. He can’t even choose who to marry, she sympathizes. He darkly remarks that she must think she knows him so well. She does, she agrees — she studied about him so much! And he doesn’t strike her as a businessman type. In an untender gesture, he gives her a napkin to wipe her face. “So dirty,” he chides. Lols.

But the mood is light, and he tells her that she should pursue her plans again. But Hye-soo’s dream now is just to have a small restaurant like this one, and live happily with her daughter. She continues eating, while he looks at her intently.

Now home, President Han surveys Hye-soo’s true resume, along with her organ donation form which lists a wish for her mother-in-law’s recovery under the reason for donation, revealing Ji-hoon’s secret marriage. Ohhh, and he’s furious.

Jung-hoon suddenly bursts in, loud with the news of Ji-hoon’s supposed girlfriend. But Dad has little humor to indulge his elder son. He hides to documents, and tells Jung-hoon to sort himself out and get Na-yoon back. Praising Hye-soo, he gets angry at Jung-hoon’s inability to keep a girl. He storms out in a rage.

Na-yoon finishes practice for the night and dwells on her encounters with Hye-soo. Jung-hoon finds her there, and she tells him to leave. Ever the gentleman, he grabs her forcefully but she breaks out of his grip. He tells her that Ji-hoon has a new girlfriend — she can’t have him now, so he’ll take her back, he says. Well, when you make it sound so appealing…

Na-yoon asks if the girlfriend is the woman working at Promise, a question which surprises him. She makes it clear that they’re finished, and expresses relief that she saw his real nature so soon. Incensed, he raises his hand. What, you’re going to hit her? Smooth. With a sneer, she walks away.

Some kid steals Eun-sung’s headband at her nursery. A foot stops the escaping kid’s scooter, and Ji-hoon gets it back. The kid asks him who he is, and Eun-sung runs over and says that he’s her dad. She goes back to play, but turns back to wave at him with the world’s most adorable smile.

Hye-soo rushes up to collect Eun-sung and finds out that Ji-hoon’s already taken her. She finds them back near Promise, where Eun-sung whizzes around on a new scooter as he tries to keep up. She smiles to see them, and Eun-sung rushes over. Ajusshi bought the scooter for her, she reveals happily.

Later, still buzzing with energy, Ji-hoon rockets Eun-sung up to their door, where she pesters him to come in. Hye-soo isn’t so sure, but Eun-sung pulls him in by the hand. Inside, she shows him her treasures — her lost front teeth — and now pesters him to eat with them. She asks what he can cook (Ji-hoon: “Ramyun!”) and begs him to make it.

They gather around the table and tuck in…ha, is Hye-soo teasing, or is it genuinely not good? While they eat, Ji-hoon putters about, looking for the source of a draught. He discovers a guitar, which he quickly puts down when Eun-sung says it was her father’s.

After that, Hye-soo suggests it’s time for him to go, and gently persuades her daughter to let him leave. On the way out, he notices a picture of her late husband, and awkwardly acknowledges it. He stubs his toe near the door and blusters that she should fix the entry-light. Hye-soo points out it was like that when she moved in.

Once he’s out, she chuckles to herself over his mishap. She rejoins Eun-sung, shedding her earlier restraint.

Ji-hoon returns to his own apartment, grinning wide enough to break his face. He body-slides onto his table and hugs the fruit bowl like a giddy toddler. Bursting with euphoria, he leaps around, jumping on the bed and banging his drums, and generally can’t contain himself. God, so adorable.

The next day, Chef notices Hye-soo coughing, although she says she’s fine. Ara sneers that it’s because she’s always gallivanting around. Of course, the boss has her back — she’s seen them together. Chef defends Hye-soo, and Ho-joon, catching her tirade, sends her away. And that, Ara points out, just proves her point that Hye-soo has unusual backing.

For good measure (and to Chef’s outrage), Ho-joon also yells at Hye-soo to go clean something by the entrance, and tugs her out by the arm.

So it is that when Jung-hoon arrives at Promise, she’s the first person he sees, although he doesn’t recognize her until he takes a second look from inside. He looks like the (evil) cat that got the cream when Ara tells him that Hye-soo is an assistant chef, and his lip curls when he hears she was married and even has a kid. He turns heel and leaves when Ho-joon arrives, although he takes a calculating backward glance at Hye-soo before getting into his car.

In her room, Hye-soo shudders at the total cost of the clothes Ji-hoon bought her — it’s more than she’d earn in a year. She folds them away. Still coughing, she makes a dinner suggestion to Eun-sung, who happily agrees. Hye-soo strokes her hair, hoping she stays unpicky. She reveals she might be in hospital a bit, but assures her daughter that she’s definitely not sick.

She asks about Eun-sung’s drawing, which features Ji-hoon. Eun-sung tells her mom that he’s going to teach her how to ride her scooter every day. Hye-soo thought she didn’t like him, but Eun-sung says that he’s not so bad after all. She wonders if Mom is going to give Ji-hoon ajusshi some of the bread she’s going to make. Hye-soo stares.

The next day, Hye-soo watches her mother-in-law haul her cart out from around a corner, but doesn’t approach. Instead, she goes into her front yard and leaves two pots of soup.

Hye-soo takes a flask of soup to Mi-ran in hospital, pre-empting any refusals by saying she just had some extra. She remembered Mi-ran not being well that day, and the soup is to shore her up. Mi-ran doesn’t mince her words and says that it’s uncomfortable for her to see Hye-soo. Apologetically, Hye-soo says she won’t come around too much anymore, and anyway, the surgery isn’t far off.

She reassures her that President Han didn’t catch wind of the truth, and encourages her to eat. Mi-ran is surprised at her cooking skill, and Hye-soo admits that if nothing else, she can definitely cook. Mi-ran sighs about how she used to take pleasure in cooking delicious things for Ji-hoon’s father, but then homes in on Hye-soo about how pale she is. She extracts a lipstick from her handbag and gruffly tells her to take it.

“It’s a present,” she says. Hye-soo should pretty up and find a man: “You look more like a patient than me.” Touched, Hye-soo accepts it. Mi-ran laments the injustice of her life and the vagaries of human caprice, that she had wanted to die while she was living, and now dying, she’s grateful to live.

Hye-soo kneels and takes Mi-ran’s hands in hers. “The two of us…let’s live well.” They’ll have the surgery and continue their future lives happily. These are the words she came to say, she tells Mi-ran, and she hoped that by seeing her, she could gain courage. Hye-soo’s tears slip out, and Mi-ran is affected despite herself.

Ji-hoon shops for a sensor to replace Hye-soo’s broken light…which he puts into a trolley FULL of things. When he reaches company HQ (making a call about the draughty window), Jung-hoon calls his name. Even his brother’s barbs can’t quite dim his glowing grin.

He can’t take up Jung-hoon’s dinner invite because he’s leaving for a business trip. Jung-hoon plays passive-aggressive about Dad favoring him and his great new girlfriend. But then he drops the façade and reveals he knows all about him and Na-yoon. Ji-hoon turns back to him with a half-smile: “You don’t have that much confidence in your woman?” He leaves his brother fuming and yelling.

A serious Seung-joo drops into Joo-yeon’s nail salon. Without preamble, he asks if Hye-soo’s new boyfriend is their restaurant’s boss. Ji-hoon’s a bad man, he says. She plays dumb and speculates that he must like Hye-soo himself. He refuses to be sidetracked, however, and before she knows it, she’s spilled the beans on the marriage, the money, and the organ donation. Um, bad best friend?

Ji-hoon intercepts Ho-joon trying to dig through the bags of shopping on his table. Whimpering at the rough tackle, he reminds Ji-hoon to be careful about how he treats Hye-soo. The other staff are muttering — they might misunderstand and think he likes her. Ji-hoon yells defensively at him (“Who likes whom?!”), but my my, the gentleman doth protest too much.

Seung-joo has come to confront Hye-soo, but neither notices Ji-hoon across the way, listening. Upset, he rails at the madness of her deal with him. She tiredly tells him to mind his own business, but he’s certain she’s being taken advantage of — Ji-hoon must’ve approached her knowing how much she needed the money. Is she really going to sell herself to him like that?

Brought to anger, she delivers a hard slap across his face. They have a mutually beneficial contract, she says. He’s still appalled — will he take responsibility if something goes wrong? They’re not even people to rich folk like them. She entreats him to lower his voice.

Yes, she’s scared, she says, and yes, she knows it’s morally questionable, but it’s all she can do right now. Still watching, Ji-hoon swallows. She asks Seung-joo to keep her secret. Roaring in frustration, he promises to kill Ji-hoon if she gets hurt.

Ji-hoon reveals himself at that moment, and Seung-joo lunges towards him. Hye-soo blocks him, and still roaring, he backs off and leaves. Hye-soo wipes her eyes before turning to Ji-hoon with a generic smile. Wordlessly, he goes back in, expression blank.

A little later, she notices Eun-sung waiting alone outside with her scooter.

She seeks Ji-hoon out at his apartment. She’s not sure if he overheard the earlier conversation, and explains that she’s known Seung-joo a long time. He was her husband’s relative and he’s a good kid. Ji-hoon treats her like a friendly stranger, and tells her he’s about to leave on a business trip.

But she’s not quite finished. “About Eun-sung…please don’t be too nice to her,” she asks — she doesn’t want her daughter to get hurt. His bland mask cracks just a little, and she further asks him to keep his distance. She returns the clothes, too, leaving them next to the bags of household goods that he’s yet to give to her. The two sets of bags sit forlornly beside each other as Hye-soo leaves.

From the top of the landing, Ji-hoon looks down at Eun-sung, still desolately waiting for him although it’s now late. He goes back inside, and she looks up just a moment too late to see him.

Chef tells a still-peaky Hye-soo off for not getting herself checked up at the hospital, but she still insists she’s fine.

President Han’s investigation into Hye-soo continues, and apparently the only way out of the marriage is an annulment, which itself would be difficult. Jung-hoon bursts in again with something to tell him — but of course, Dad already knows that Hye-soo’s a fake, and tells him to focus on winning back Na-yoon.

But both parents are shocked when he reveals that Na-yoon’s other man is Ji-hoon — they go way back, he tells them. Dad derides Jung-hoon for going this far to discredit his brother. His mother takes his side but Dad interjects that he’s fully aware of what Ji-hoon’s up to, so they can butt out.

After looking up brain tumor symptoms, Hye-soo takes some pills and returns to bed but grows increasingly feverish, shivering and sweating. When Eun-sung can’t rouse her, she gets scared and takes Mom’s phone from her hand, which she uses to ring Ji-hoon.

Seeing Hye-soo’s name, he deliberately doesn’t answer. When he finally does, a tearful Eun-sung tells him that Mom is sick and won’t wake up. He tells her he’ll be right there. Dad calls right then, demanding his appearance, and he apologizes that he can’t come. He makes a U-turn.

Arriving back home, he rushes inside, where he finds Hye-soo non-responsive. After helping Eun-sung on with her coat, he scoops Hye-soo up, and they run for the car.

COMMENTS

I have to say, one of my least favorite things in drama and in life is people insisting they are well when they are sick. Don’t you know you will only be more sick later? It’s not self-sacrificing, it’s irresponsible! Especially when you’re specifically told you have to stay healthy for the donor surgery. But that aside, UEE really is doing her character justice, exemplified in a really lovely scene between Hye-soo and Mi-ran. Again with setting up contrasts, Hye-soo’s two mothers-in-law are very different. Both are embittered and grieving women, but I wonder if the difference between them is that what Mi-ran grieves for — herself — can be saved.

What I particularly like and continue to notice in Marriage Contract is its treatment of romantic clichés. It’s full of little subverted moments that could be twisted into romantic tropes, but they just stay plain and everyday, i.e. when Ji-hoon tells her to belt up (instead of fastening it for her, that well-loved dramaland device for proximity), or when he just drops the necklace into her hand (again, instead of putting it on her). Part of the fun in it is that I fully expect the same gestures to come back when he has feelings for her, and be the absolute opposite. The careless ease hasn’t escalated to romantic tension…but it will. I’ve noticed some people complaining that they have no chemistry — at this point, I don’t think they should. His interest in her is, literally, clinical. He doesn’t check her out to get an eyeful, he’s checking she passes muster.

And how great is it that the cause and reason of his giddy rapture is not Hye-soo, but Eun-sung? I just LOVE IT. It’s SO GREAT. When you think about it, it’s even obvious why. It’s not just the heady elation of being part of a family, or having a circle of warmth that includes him without chaebol family politics muddying the waters, though they are definitely important. It’s being needed, wanted and appreciated — feelings which must have been absent in his life all this time. It’s so new to him. Falling in love with Eun-sung is discovering some new sweetness to life. She has, in other words, comprehensively slayed him.

It’s definitely not a one-way street, either. It’s a touching and true-to-life characterization of a child’s emotions, both in how completely she’s taken Ji-hoon into her heart, and how hard it was for her to let him to enter it in the first place. He’s able to bring things that Hye-soo isn’t, even if it’s just a more intense energy level to engage with her. Intensity is a pretty important quality here, because it achieves the same ends as time, just much faster. That dynamic play that is very much the domain of fathers also answers a basic developmental need in her, and you can see how much of the budding bond is built on that. And just having someone to call “dad”? Powerful.

So it’s no surprise that Hye-soo is drawing the lines, scared for a relationship growing between Eun-sung and Ji-hoon — he isn’t her father, and nor will he be. That’s the reality that sends them crashing to earth: This isn’t a real relationship, it’s a cold, hard contract that she doesn’t have the luxury of forgetting. Despite her current position, with her inside access to Ji-hoon and his family, she’s still an outsider. Nevertheless, she’s right to assert that it’s mutual: She chose the terms as much as he did. She asked for the money; she asked for the living arrangement. Her anger at Seung-jae’s insinuation is justified, because his version strips her of her dignity. And I think, if there’s anything she’s held fast to through this entire situation, it’s her self-respect and agency.

As for Ji-hoon, until now, he’s only ever known being a burden, living under restrictions imposed by others. This sudden injection of color and warmth into the shadow-life he’s been living turns him into a more realized, more actualized self. For all that he’s well and healthy, and that he’s not strictly a part of the life/death narrative that we’re seeing between Hye-soo and Mi-ran, it seems to me that he hasn’t really ever dared to live. The decision he makes at the end is also a critical one for that reason, because his daring now extends to defying. Big steps.

I’m glad that his apparent schism with them was short-lived (for now…), because I’m looking forward to it all blowing up with the family and I want Ji-hoon to be pushed into owning them. I like that, despite his many faux-pas and abrasive attitude, he’s never been ashamed of Hye-soo, and his respect for her evidently increases by the day. Love? It’s only a matter of time.

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OMG - the dimples, the giggles AND the jumping on furniture? He's is sooooo smitten! :)

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The dimples~~ I always like it when he is smiling but he want to hide it.

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This episode was just too much for my heart. Too cute! >< It's a shame though because these cutesy stuff will probably turn into painful memories when he finds out she's dying. ㅠㅠ

This drama is really nothing new. It follows a certain formula that we all know but I'm so drawn to it. Just when I thought I'm done with rom-coms, Marriage Contract came into my life. Weekends just became so much better with it.

Thanks for the recaps!! 2 more episodes and you'll be catching up. Yay!

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Yes this drama is nothing new. But even for for cliche plot, as long as it is well executed, it is still a good drama.

Anyway, I think Marriage Contract is melodrama. and not romcoms.

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Can go either way but I can just rephrase it as a love story. I've been watching Dragons and Signal and I thought I was done with dramas like this.

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Let's not lean towards her dying. Hopefully the writers included a fix to have the two of them end up a happy couple. I think him finding out about her illness will draw him closer to her.

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Ji-hoon was adorable in this episode. His giddy moments melted my heart ♥

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Thanks, Saya, for the recap!!! You're almost all caught up!!!!

"Ji-hoon returns to his own apartment, grinning wide enough to break his face..."

OH MY GOODNESS <3 <3 <3
I almost broke my mousepad from pressing on it and rewinding that scene (well, actually, the whole 15 minutes) so much ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ He's so stinkin'
S-M-I-T-T-I-N.... SMITTEN <3 <3 <3

I can't bear to even think (and later, watch) how heartbroken Ji Hoon will be once he finds out that Hye Soo is sick T.....T

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One more thing: Why do I get the feeling that once Hye Soo realizes Ji Hoon's growing feeling towards her--and really, it's not a spoiler to say that anymore at this point-- first, of closeness (i.e. having someone to care about and vice versa and not, for once, being a burden for someone, just like Saya said of Ji Hoon) and a sense of familial-icy, then LOVE--- that she's GOING TO PUSH HIM AWAY? T.......T
Because:
1. She's terminally sick
2. She's pragmatic and knows that Ji Hoon is not Eun Sung's dad and possibly will never be
3. The marriage contract that she's so set on sticking to

Anyone else feel this way???

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That is my guess, also.

I also assume that HS doesn't want to tell anyone that she's sick , with the fear that others will discover her terminal illness. I have a feeling that she's not just having a simple cold :(

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Though I hate noble idiocy with a passion, we'll probably get it in this drama as well. I'm still wishing for the show to surprise me though.

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I think Hye Soo is tired and afraid of attachment,
she is giving up before this contract marriage ever happen,
get chased by debt collector and in early episode, she said she only lived for eun sang and she said she will treat the cancer after the liver transplant. She is really poor, live in rooftop is not comfortable, she can't even buy her clothes.
She is totally tired and in her mind, she need to make sure of Eun Sang future more than anything, so whatever happen to her will not affect Eun Sang, she knew how hard it is to live alone (as orphan that raised by grandma) and this is one chance when she could give some luxury to her daughter, this is her only chance and nothing can sabotage it.

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Sorry, I should have clarified:

I meant to say that she's going to push Ji Hoon away emotionally, but not out of their lives, because she's already asked of him to provide for Eun Sung until she is of age (18/19 years old)

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I so agree! Hye-soo has "noble idiocy" written all over her!

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+1

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Isn't the person who make him smitten is Eun Sung? Not Hye Soo? I think he just respect Hye Soo now, not falling to her. And i think next episode will be he knowing Hye Soo's disease.

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I think both of them made him smitten ;)

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YAYYYY ep 6 - even more than the cute squeeing Ji-hoon (which was quite cavity inducingly sweet), I really loved the shot of Eun-sung waiting with her pink helmet and Ji-hoon in the background framed by the restaurant and staircase/railing. It was really lovely!

ALSO a great note from the script was Hye-soo's snack food. Ji-hoon studied his notes but incompletely: He thought her favorite foods were: sesame seed covered, nuts, rice cakes (ddukpoki). (Like it was three separate foods). But Hye-soo scoffs and says it's "nuts-and-sesame seed-ddukpoki" and the camera pans to the dish she was talking about.

But then in the following conversation, we see that Hye-soo has studied her notes diligently - because she was able to see and draw the conclusion that his interests and favorites weren't really related to the job that he currently has. I thought it was a lovely note on their characters - Hye-soo's thoughtfulness and Ji-hoon's (as yet) selfish outlook.

AND I don't know what the significance is: but there is a lot of shoes in this drama - that is, the camera shot of Hye-soo taking off her shoes, there is another shot where Ji-hoon is holding Eun-sang's shoes (in the prev. episode i think?) and this episode ended with Eun-sang running after her mom with her shoes. cool beans~

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I'm guessing it's to do with filling in the shoes of someone else and assuming responsibility. Hye-soo is preparing to hand over the responsibility of looking after Eun-sang to Ji-hoon, and wants Eun-sang to be able to look after herself to a degree. Hence Ji-hoon and Eun-sang carrying the shoes.

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then.... Hye-soo's taking off her shoes .....is her....letting go of responsibility.... (i.e. death?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!)!!!!!!!!

But my dramatics aside, you're right - "filling in shoes and assuming responsibilities" is a great connection and significance.

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Reading your recap convinces me to watch this drama. And turns out, I love it. So much. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. And I adore all those unusual relationship between Jihoon and Eunsung or Hyesoo and Jihoon's mom. Especially Eunsung, I love that girl. I bet she'll be the first person that'll make Jihoon rethink about his plan with Hyesoo..

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Eeeeeeeee, I couldn't wait for this recap. I squeed so hard during that spazzing out scene I've watched it atleast 5 times. I think they have great realistic chemistry considering the circumstances, and the littlemlooks of surprise at the skinship is really telling of the chemistry to come. I can't wait for the ep 7 recap heeee heeee.

I really enjoy the subversion too Saya, and I think that will make the romatic scenes all the more satisfying.The whole makeover scene was so practical ... lol there was no grand revelation of Hye soos beauty where Ji hoon simply fell in love, he was just completing a mission.He's known she's attractive for some time now...he just doesn't react to it visibly. And the ramyun and scooter scenes stole my heart. I know there is more angst in store but the cute famiky moments are so sweet.

Sigh the weekend can't come fast enough.

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Finding myself surprisingly liking this drama. Never been a fan of UEE (she's been serviceable or bad, depending on script), but she's killing this role. She has me actually caring about the outcome for this character, which is a critical hook for a show to keep me involved.

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This is my favorite episode by far and I've been waiting for a review to come out about it. Yay Lollypip and thanks!

First off, I gotta rant like Lollypop did. What person in their right mind would ignore a cough that gradually gets worse when so much is at stake? Although Hye-Soo prioritizes her daughter more at this point, she should still take care of herself for her surgery, damn it.

I'm worried about Hye Soo if she's showing symptoms of illness already, because her illness with a small chance of recovery(or so the show hints) might actually turn terminal. Even if she says that she wants to live, her actions seem to be based on the worst-case scenario: that she will die(hence the aim to get a large sum of money and tying her life with Mi-Ran's).

Second, the end of this episode is where I feel certain that Ji Hoon has fallen for Hye-Soo. Before it might've just been increasing respect, but the way he so readily defied his father's orders, which he almost seems to fear and treats with such cautiousness, is supporting evidence. In fact, he's probably already fallen for Hye-Soo given his childish happiness after eating a meal with Eun-Sun and Hye-Soo, but the ending really hits the nail in. He might be a little ignorant of his newly found feelings and afraid, but in the end, he ended up liking her first, and this bodes all sorts of problems(plus romance! Finally!). Since Hye-Soo isn't in a position to decide anything, cancer and social standing and all, it'll be up to Ji-Hoon to hold on to Hye-Soo, and that would take...a lot of effort, especially since he broke things off with Na-Yoon. Should we look forward to this development, or dread it? Dun dun dun.

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Sorry I meant Saya. Sorry! ;_;

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lol! I totally take that as a compliment, LollyPip is my hero! <3

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While I agree that it's unethical to conceal your cancer diagnosis or to neglect your cough when you're up for a transplant op, I think we need to understand just how desperate people can get. I've known many in straitened circumstances who believe that a trip to the doctor's or the hospital would entail a whole heap of trouble and expense that they can't afford, and hence prefer to gamble on being able to soldier on till they finish what has to be done. They know there's the risk of collapsing too early, but they are banking on sheer willpower and effort. I think that's the situation Hye-soo is in. I don't entirely approve, but I understand that she's afraid her condition would be revealed before the liver op.

In fact her reluctance to stay in hospital is an example of how the usual cliches are used rather cleverly and realistically in this show. Instead of being an irritating character trait, akin to noble idiocy, it highlights (at least to me) how medical care is a luxury in more ways than one for some people.

I was also impressed with how the writer deflates Ji-hoon's - and our - giddiness with that conversation between Hye-soo and Seung-joo. For a while I was all about the lovely little family unit and Ji-hoon falling for Hye-soo and Eun-sung. And then Seng-joo and especially Hye-soo remind me that the whole thing is based on a desperate organ-selling scam undertaken by two damaged people.

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+1
Honestly, I've been wondering about the transplant while she have cancer. If revealed it be a NO NO. Since she is in the early stage, so no ir low chance of metastasis.
Can you imagine a drama where she give Mi-ra cancer, that would become melodrama makjang..hopefully it's too much thinking on my mind and none of this will be reel.

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As a matter of fact I CAN imagine a drama where she gives Mi-ran cancer, but I think it'd have to be very very well-written to work!

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My guess is that HS doesn't want to go see a doctor or refuses to admit she's sick, for fear that others will find out she has a terminal illness (for ex, if a doctor runs some tests or finds her medical chart). She's been adamant in keeping her health condition secret, and she's probably afraid that the transplant wouldn't go through if they find out about her real condition.

But wouldn't the doctors find out, though, once they'll get ready for a transplant?

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That's my question too. She would need a physical to make sure she is completely healthy for the surgery, so why hasn't she had one already or why hasn't she been warned about having one and worried about it?

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She did some tests to see if her liver was compatible with Miran's in an earlier episode and was surprised that they didn't find any abnormalities with her tissues. But that was in the early stages of her condition, for all we know the tumor might have progressed. There's no way of knowing since Hye soo adamantly refuses to get any medical treatment. But if this were the usual clichéd kdrama HEA troupe, Hye soo would actually have been misdiagnosed, and not have a brain tumor at all. Lol.

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So...maybe now she's having REAL flu? LOL
I hate fake diagnosed trope, make me wanna pull my hair out.

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I kind of think fake diagnosis is a thing that happens in comedies and not melodramas. I fear (or guess), she will still very much have a growing tumor that will start to manifest itself in all kinds of scary symptoms, in the future episode (Episode 9 onwards).

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I suspect the writer chose a brain tumour to be as far away from the liver as one can get. For all I know, this could be medically sound, i.e. maybe malignity in the brain never spreads to the digestive system. But I still think it's pretty dodgy...

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As far as I'm aware, it's definitely not recommended to transplant the organ of someone with cancer. Although the risks of it spreading from the donor to the receiver is very small. I think it might be acceptable if the tumour isn't in the organ being transplanted and if the cancer hasn't started spreading throughout the rest of the body. Not too sure though

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Wow Saya! Thanks, ... that was a great recap!!! I enjoyed reading it so much! :)

Yes this was my fave episode when I watched it (and re-watched it). I'm so pleased to see that what I was saying in Episode 1 has come to pass... I am loving watching Ji Hoon come under the spell of little Eun Sung... I'm under that same spell myself!

I really like your insight into Ji Hoon's reason for giddiness, Saya, "It’s not just the heady elation of being part of a family, or having a circle of warmth that includes him without chaebol family politics muddying the waters, ... It’s being needed, wanted and appreciated — feelings which must have been absent in his life all this time."

Considered this way, it becomes a bit more understandable why he was being rebellious (according to his father) all along, and having romantic flings so carelessly.

His sudden taking on the responsibility to care for his mother, and now a sick Hye Soo and little Eun Sung, is awakening a whole bunch of abilities and emotions that he may have suppressed for years.

Also more of your insight: ... "As for Ji-hoon, until now, he’s only ever known being a burden, living under restrictions imposed by others. This sudden injection of color and warmth into the shadow-life he’s been living turns him into a more realized, more actualized self. For all that he’s well and healthy, ... it seems to me that he hasn’t really ever dared to live." ... sums it up well.

I began watching Marriage Contract invested in having Hye Soo overcome debt, illness and death (or come to terms with it well) and now I'm watching for the whole family of Hye Soo, Eun Sung, Ji Hoon and hopefully, Mi Ran to also become fully alive! :)

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I have to admit I cringed a little (well, maybe a lot) in that scene out of second-hand embarrassment for Seojin. Hahaha, what the director had to do to him to make him do that stuff, I can't guess. Love it!

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Me too!! Esp when you compare him in real life. He hates being told to do giddy stuff (especially if it comes from Na PD). Always try to act cool. haha

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Lol yeah but he's a professional actor who knows what his job as an actor is, in variety shows he shows his real grumpy side because that's what Na PD wants to see, dramas and movies are totally different, you have to convey what the director wants from you. So I give Seojin props for being professional when it comes to acting.

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+100000!! ^^

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It's good that Ji Hoon does not fall in love because of her look, rather he fall in love through Eun Sung & slowly knowing Hye Soo personally just strengthen it.

I agree with Saya that this drama downplay the romantic cliche.
The makeover & marriage photoshoot scene (Ep 3) does not mean anything at all too Ji Hoon. He's like "Yep, she's ready. Let's do this" :P But in other drama, they will play it as dramatic moment & the male lead will fall head over heals by it.

The scene at the ddukbokki restaurant is one of my favourite. It's like a conversation between friends. We dont normally see Hye Soo joke around with Ji Hoon but they just let down their wall during this scene. As Hye Soo is speaking honestly about Ji Hoon's life and his grumbling even when she aegyo him unintentionally with Japanese line.

I like how Eun Sung - Ji Hoon relationship develop. Notice that in this episode, he came to pick Eun Sung without being told to? He likes to do that. And him being snappy to that boy is just gold! Haha. It's so like him to do that. :P

I cringe & smile at the same time watching his giddiness esp with the fruit bowl!! Can't help but to compare with his cool act in real life as Lee Seo Jin (esp in TMAD & GOF). That cool and gruff demeanor of him. haha. I bet LSJ is cringing when he's told about the scene.

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Totally agree with you about the wedding pic and makeover scenes. And also about Lee Seo-jin cringing over the fruit bowl scenes!

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And I think the biggest part of the restaurant scene was the regular conversation that they had! It wasn't manipulative or orders (like he would have with his father) or whining and begging (with his brother or Na-yoon or even his mom), but just a friendly, relaxed time.

I also think Hye-soo sharing her dream (of opening a small snack shop) was something of an eye opener too. His father is all like "she a golddigger" and he's dated tons of status-seekers who like his money....but Hye-soo plans for her life and her family (Eun-sung), and has no greed to 'have a comfortable life on the dime of a man.' Of course, that may be because she sees her time left differently, but her independence and hardworking spirit must be a huge contrast to all the other women that have been in his life before.

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This is continuing the contrast of the dad and the ahjussi in Eung Sang point of view.
She supposedly sad when meeting her dad but her face show that she just okay, she knew she needs to be sad but she said that there's nothing she can remember from his dad to have the emotion portray like her mom. Simply just because they never met and that's true. She is sad but it's only in her mind.
Then her action towards the missing appointment with the ahjusshi is her being sad. Because the only person in her life that ever acted, behave and agree to be his dad is him.
The ahjussi and her interaction is real and happen, they spend time together and they mean it. They fill each other moment and time, especially when she show her teeth (gosh that is so cute for me). Also when Eung Sang how her mom smiled after the ahjusshi leave, she think that she can trust the ahjussi

Again, Eun Sang is the only things they never calculated in this whole contract. Why? because Eun Sang liking this ahjussi and vice versa is out of their possibility when this actually could be happen. Their sense of understanding and affinity towards other is born out of sincerity when none of them think it should be this way.
Ji hoon at 1st think there's no need for him to win eun sang heart and eun sang think the ahjusshi is only for her mom.

So, I hope the best for their family

For the sickness, I've been sick alone and if you ever lived alone, there's those sickness you believe will cured after 2 days of sleeping and you already proved that with experience, even if people saw you like a living corpse, you knew you had this before and you will get cured after a night. I think that's what happen in Hye Soo mind
[spoiler]
the sleep actually working

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I like how you compare her dad and Ji Hoon. Her emotions is real when it comes to her dad and Ji Hoon. And she portrays it through her action (drawing Ji Hoon, spending time with him) & words (acknowledging that he will be her dad)

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+1

Nice comparison.

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It was so sweet~~ Eun-sung showed her biggest treasure (the baby teeth) to Ji-hoon so proudly! I love the way you phrased it: "they fill each other moment and time"

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It's rare that a drama has the audience caring about so many of the characters. I genuinely want to know what happens to Ji Hoon, Hye Soo, Eun Sung and Mi Ran - even the dead husband's MIL is pitiful.

Hopefully, there will be some happy bits in the ending. Hye Soo might not live but she lives on in Eun Sung and if Ji Hoon wholeheartedly becomes her guardian/stepfather, that is also considered a happy ending. This is more reflective of real life isn't it?

Ah, this show, it makes me sad that the reality of life can sometimes be so clinical - yes, I do think you can buy an organ outright and by whatever means with money. It's uncomfortable to think about it but put yourself in the rich party's shoes and you know that you might/will do the same thing in order to save a loved one.

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Oh! How I was cringing when Hye soo was lying to Ji hoon's dad, knowing that she was going to have to eat her words, eventually.

I disagree with those who say that Hye soo and Ji hoon have no chemistry. In my eyes, they have explosive chemistry, and I noticed that since ep. 5, Ji hoon has begun noticing Hye soo as a woman. He isn't in love with her yet, but he is finding himself more and more attracted to her, and caring more about her the more he learns about her.

She has the power to hurt him, as evidenced by how he felt when Hye soo asked him to keep some emotional distance from her daughter. I noticed the chemistry between them when Ji hoon gave Hye soo a ride after she knelt down to beg his mother, there was that moment in the car when he turned to help her with her seatbelt and I was like...wow.

If the relationship between Ji hoon and Hye soo is tentative, the one between Eun sang and Ji hoon has blossomed into full scale love for each other. He was so giddy after the Ramyun meal, I laughed out loud watching him and his antics!

Thanks for recapping this, Saya. I am so grateful you are catching up with the episodes. Two more to go before this week's.

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Take note of this..

I will see by next episode and see if there is anybody still say there's no chemistry.

Because i see plenty of it in that exact episode. LOL

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Gahd I know what scene you're talking about. I did a double take actually. Explosion!!

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I was like daaaaaamn!!! Sparks on a hundred!

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If i have a crush on Seojinnie thru Grandpa Over Flower and 3 Meals a Day, then i fall over heel thru this series.
His act getting so much better.

Uee made Hyesoo so believable, relatable and i just want to hug her everytime she appear.
Life is getting better, Hyesoo.
Hang in there :')

Eunsung-ah, you are amazing!!

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That little girl is awesome. So far, she's had about as many scenes as any of the adults and nailed all of them.

I'm curious how they're going to deal with her screen time/schedule going forward. Drama schedule is gruesome for adults, there's no way that can be good for a kid. Nap time needs to be worked into the script.

I also wish they'd stop caressing her face like that. Uee seems to be the only one that isn't constantly stroking the little girl's face. I imagine that's one of the reasons child actors often become brats. At an early age, they have to start letting people know to B.T.F.U

And. Saya needs to do more recaps.

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I like this episode. It was so heart warming so see jihoon and eunsung get close together and spend time. Thank you for recaping ??

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"She cries that her son should be the one carrying Eun-sung. Not to be callous, but…he’s dead, yeah?"

I know the mother-in-law is not a popular character, but I was quite moved by her scenes (even though the actress was a bit OTT). They're a reminder that the female protagonist is not the only one grieving for the dead guy. The mother who has lost her only son - a really nice man by all accounts and someone who should have had his whole life before him (nicely shown by brief glimpses of his university graduation pics) - and she is getting older and living that hand to mouth existence without any real hope on the horizon… I dunno, it made me really sad.

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Mother in law is a tragic, but not an unpopular, character. One of the things that I love about this drama, is how deeply layered and rich the side characters are. There are no real antagonists, except maybe chaebol dad. Even stepmom and half bro are sympathetic characters, I mean, it can't have been easy raising the child of one's husband's mistress, or in big bro's case, finding out your fiancée is in love with your little bro. Mother in law's heart was broken by the tragic death of her beloved son, and she needed a target for her grief, which in this case is her daughter in law. I hope most of the side characters get closure in the end, including tragic mama mistress, who needs to stop looking at another woman's hubby and own her happiness. And I hope chaebol dad gets his comeuppance.

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Maybe the wife, I can understand, but the big brother has always been a whiny, I think. Both parents acknowledge that he doesn't have quite the maturity of Ji-hoon and he wasn't in love with his fiancee at all, it was cooked up by their parent and something of a status-thing for Jung-hoon. She was a prize (rich family, pretty figure/face, elegant occupation as a harpist) to him, and not a person.

So when they were breaking up, his argument to her wasn't "we're so good/I love you/remember how much fun we had/etc"--

It was "what are you going to say to your parents and the money that is hinged on our families' business."

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What? Who said they don't have chemistry? I'm absolutely kicking my pillows when I'm watching them smile at each other. I haven't been this way in a while. So excited for this show ♥ It continues to be great, hee.

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I knew I shouldn't ship Lee Seo Jin and Uee, but I did and I already feelbad for it, they just acting for freak sake
Idk how but their interaction is not that intense or that remarkable but ywhen you saw how they looked at each other, perceive other and how they personally, they do matched and they can work
Then add the chemistry when they have normal interaction. Them add Eunsung,
Love it, maybe just me , please make them happy

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I was wondering, why not travel and perform the transplant operation somewhere else. Where it could be legal or at least less risky.
China is actually very popular among my people for liver transplant, I'm sure he can convince (pay) a match and perform it in many countries

Of course, we wouldn't have a drama on our hand?!

SPOILER ALERT

In the coming ep of 2, the chairman will oppose the OP, so I kept wondering why not get it done outside Korea ?!!! They certainly can afford it.

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Saya, I loved your recaps.
Hope to read your future recaps.

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The Chaebol dad
they originally hide that from the dad cause if they went to another country , the dad will knew and Ji hoon can’t see his mom 24/7,
his mom is likely to escape and may choose to suicide if he can’t have the control over her

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So, why not travel to a foreign land where transplantation conditions are easier and you can find donor (legally/semi legal), or even fly mi ra & Hye soo to a country where they can perform the OP legally (less dangerous) like China for example, it is actually very popular among my people to go there for liver transplantation.

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???????????UEE has arrived, she's got the acting chops in spades.
Thanks for the recap.

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Thank you Saya for the recap, your wording is phenomenal.
Adal said "how deeply layered and rich the side characters are." Yes, I agree. As viewers, we can understand the different pains and perspectives these characters bring.
The dying mother, her character is brought in such a realistic way, I imagine, they did a lot of research about persons who drink so heavily that it causes liver damage. The implications of her "drinking lifestyle" reach so far, that the son feels like he has to be the "adult figure". However, Hye-soo kneels and takes Mi-ran’s hands in hers. “The two of us…let’s live well.” Hye-soo is showing respect and kindness to Mi-ran, and this maybe is what Ji-hoon finds so remarkable about Hye-soo, she does not HAVE to love and respect others, she just desires to.

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