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Because This Life Is Our First: Episode 13

It’s a difficult episode for many of our characters as we delve deeper into someone’s painful past, someone’s complicated present, and someone’s uncertain future, and learn about the ways in which people retreat, run, or push back against the parts of themselves that they’d rather not face honestly. As always, this show offers some profound words of wisdom and, perhaps more importantly, some compassion for our characters and ultimately for us viewers. Because this life is our first, after all, and no one gets it right all the time.

 
Episode 13: “Because this is my first time visiting your room”

Se-hee asks Ji-ho if she would like to sleep together, and she accepts.

Meanwhile, Won-seok asks Ho-rang to break up, explaining that he isn’t confident that he can make her happy. He tells her that he’ll stay at Sang-gu’s to give her some space, which leads to her railing at him for asking her to wait five more years to get married, but now suddenly saying that he has no confidence to see through his promise.

With tears welling in his eyes, he screams at her not to wait for him, and asks why she always talks of their seven-year relationship as if she’s the victim.

He says that he gave up on his dreams for the sake of their marriage, and feels suffocated every day because of it. He says that button-down shirts and ties are uncomfortable, then storms out.

Back at the apartment, Se-hee waits for Ji-ho in her room with Cat. Ji-ho returns with some tangerines, and Se-hee remarks that it’s the first time he’s been in her room since their wedding. She says regretfully that she should have cleaned beforehand, but he says that her room is very like her, and smells like her too.

Alarmed, she asks if the room smells, then discreetly sniffs herself. Cute. The conversation kind of peters out awkwardly, until Se-hee picks up a book from her table and reads the title: Going to Room 19.

She explains the plot to him, describing a perfect couple. One day, the wife wanted a space of her own, so the husband made a room solely for her usage. But over time the room became like any other room, with other family members entering and exiting as they pleased.

Therefore, the wife booked a room at a cheap motel without telling anyone, and would occasionally go there for a few hours and do nothing because she felt happy just being in the room.

Se-hee says that the wife was happy because the room was space where she could be perfectly alone. He adds that getting married means that your own time and space disappears. The wife’s happiness of being alone is something that he can understand, and he calls the book a good story.

Ji-ho grows thoughtful and remarks, “I think it’s also a sad story.” She admits that she thought of Se-hee while reading the book, and reminds him of something he had said long ago about not getting married because the only things he could be responsible for are his house, Cat, and himself. Though she understands the logic of his thinking, she asks if living that way gets lonely.

He concedes that he never thought about being lonely. Instead, he thought it would be better to be alone than to involve himself with others.

She recalls something else he said, about one love being enough in a person’s life. Internally, she wonders if that one love he spoke of has already passed for him, and whether love ever start again for him.

He suggests they go to bed since it’s getting late, then steps out for a moment to retrieve his pillow, which gives Ji-ho time to do a smell check, spritz her room, and grow nervous.

She gives herself a pep talk, but then once Se-hee knocks on her door, she pretends to be asleep. He very sweetly and quietly gets into bed next to her, then asks if she’s sleeping. She automatically responds that she is (then silently admonishes herself), but soon they are staring into each other’s eyes, and Se-hee asks if he can hold her.

He pulls her close, and he repeats his comment about the smell of her and she grows self-conscious again, but this time he clarifies that he’s referring to her scent, rather than something bad-smelling.

He strokes her hair then says that he’s glad that she stopped being a scriptwriter, which catches her off-guard. He says that it was a joke, then he confesses to not being very good at jokes and worried that she’s upset after she stares at him wordlessly.

Instead of answering, she asks if she can kiss him, and he says, “Yes,” and so they do.

Internally, Ji-ho narrates: “Maybe it isn’t love, but it’s all right even if it isn’t. Today’s the first day that he visited my room—and that’s enough.”

The next morning, Se-hee gets up first and leaves before Ji-ho wakes. He pauses to glance back at her and note her roaring snores before nodding to himself, then making a note of it on his large spreadsheet containing observations about all his tenants broken down by day.

Next, he researches recipes on how to cook omurice, then gets cooking. His cooking technique is pretty much all flash, and it honestly seems like he’s just making a mess, but eventually he produces something and leaves it covered on the table for Ji-ho with a note.

Su-ji walks her mother out of the apartment, and uses the opportunity to beg her mom to quit working and live in Seoul with her. Mom tells Su-ji to move back to Namhae instead, but Su-ji is just concerned about Mom traveling back and forth the long distance to visit.

Mom assures Su-ji that she’s fine, but when Mom tries to go to the bus terminal by subway instead of letting Su-ji take her—insisting that Su-ji hurry to work after overhearing her being scolded over the phone by her boss—Su-ji protests. Right then, Sang-gu appears and offers Mom a ride, introducing himself as Su-ji’s boyfriend.

Su-ji doesn’t look happy, but Mom does, and calls the two a perfect match because of their height. Sang-gu repeats his offer to take Mom to the bus terminal, and though Su-ji rejects him outright, Mom ignores her and goes with Sang-gu.

During the car ride, Mom and Sang-gu seem to be hitting it off, as Sang-gu proudly tells Mom about his CEO status at his company, and his friendship with Se-hee (known to her as Ji-ho’s husband), but things hit a snag when Mom finds him to be a bit older than expected. After a beat, Mom decides that it’s fine after all, and it seems like Sang-gu has gotten her approval.

Back at the apartment, Ji-ho finally wakes. As she thinks to last night, we see that after their kiss, Se-hee stepped out for a moment. She giggled alone—giddy with excitement—certain that she wouldn’t be able to sleep anymore, while Se-hee grabbed some beers for them.

Alas, when he returned Ji-ho was already fast asleep and snoring thunderously. In the present, Ji-ho beats herself up for squandering their perfect opportunity.

She finds Se-hee’s note and perfectly circular omurice, complete with a ketchup smiley face. She takes a bite, but instead of sautéed vegetables, she’s confused to find a mouthful of raw onion.

Later at the bus stop, she smiles to herself as she looks at the photos of the omurice, but her smile fades when she sees a promo poster for this alternative-universe version of Let’s Eat—written by her old boss, writer Hwang, and directed by Yong-seok.

Ji-ho arrives at the cafe, where Bok-nam hands her a business card bearing the name “Go Jung-min.” The man who gave him the card said Ji-ho would know what it was for, although it doesn’t ring any bells. Go Jung-min works for an entertainment company, with credits that are amusing tweaks of tvN titles we know: I Remember, I’m a Fool (Ho-gu), Ghost Fighter.

At the restaurant, Ho-rang handles all her server duties like a pro, but her red eyes and runny nose betray her, and we see her sobbing in the break room. She looks at her long list of messages to Won-seok that have been read but gone unanswered.

Won-seok stares at a certain male user’s profile in their app that clearly states his desire to get married. We flashback to the play where Won-seok had broken up with Ho-rang, and see that while Ho-rang had gone to the bathroom, he read cordial messages between Ho-rang and that male user. Ack!

Won-seok receives another message from Ho-rang, whose voiceover sounds resigned as she asks to talk, acknowledging his wishes to end their relationship. This time he replies and designates a meeting place.

Ji-ho looks at the business card between tasks, which floods her mind with traumatic memories of Yong-seok’s sexual assault, and that godawful dinner afterward. She crumples up the business card and hardens her resolve, then throws it out.

Just then, someone retrieves the card from the trash. Ji-ho’s eyes widen to recognize the woman from the cafe—or, as we know her, Se-hee’s ex Jung-min.

Jung-min officially introduces herself as the CEO of the production company, wondering if their previous run-in was fate, and explains that the man who dropped off her business card was one of their directors.

Ji-ho asks how she found out where she works, and learns of Bok-nam’s meddling after she’d ignored the director’s messages. Jung-min explains that she read Ji-ho’s script Turtle Gosiwon and wants to work with her.

Ji-ho explains that she quit her job as an assistant writer, and quit writing. She explains that she got married, and works part-time at the cafe because it’s boring being at home all day. She apologizes for wasting Jung-min’s time and politely bids her farewell.

But Jung-min asks why Ji-ho’s reasons sound like a sad excuse instead of a real reason. She tells Ji-ho to give her a call if she ever feels like telling her the truth, even if it’s just to get a drink.

After work, Su-ji waits for Sang-gu with a grim expression. She doesn’t exchange pleasantries and drives all the way to the Han River, then angrily gets out without speaking. Sang-gu joins her outside, and takes her hand before she pulls away.

Su-ji asks why he’s intruding on her private space and making her miserable. He’s stunned by the sharpness of her words, and explains that seeing each other’s family is normal between couples.

She argues that she hates “normal” questions that inquire about her family. She adds that she knew he would say he didn’t know it upset her so much because that’s what everyone else in the world does, and she hates that.

He tells her that he wants to brave the world together, so she humors him and asks him to envision what their married life will be like. She asks if he can live with her mother, and after he says that they can, she asks what he will tell his parents when he marries “a girl who doesn’t know who her father is, and whose mother is disabled.”

Su-ji’s eyes grow wet as she tells Sang-gu that her mother worked at a restaurant and raised her alone. Su-ji is finally in the position to support her mother in return. She explains that she doesn’t know what it’s like to live in a normal family like Sang-gu probably does, because the only person her mom has is her.

She tearfully warns Sang-gu not to give her false hope and be sweet to her, since it makes her want to be part of his world. Su-ji turns her back toward him, and doesn’t see his hand hover over her shoulder before falling back down.

As the sun sets, Ji-ho narrates that in the novel Going to Room 19, the main character’s husband discovers her hidden room, and the wife lies and tells her husband that she’s been having an affair. When she’d read the book at twenty, she couldn’t understand the wife and wondered, “Is the room’s existence more important than lying about an affair?”

Ji-ho had asked Su-ji that same question, and Su-ji replied that she understood: “Because that room means nothing if people find out about it.” She explained that sometimes it’s easier to say something crazy than something that people can’t understand, because it’s better to be crazy than to be pathetic. Wow, that’s powerful.

At the bus stop in the present, Ji-ho looks over the book and wonders why, when Jung-min asked if she still writes, she answered that she got married.

Ho-rang and Won-seok meet, and Won-seok asks if she thought things through. She says that she was wrong for getting mad at him, and complaining about the sofa, and pressuring him to get married.

He doesn’t seem pleased with her answer and asks what will be different if they got back together, and if it means that she won’t ask to get married anymore. She sadly promises not to if he hates it, which makes him explode; he asks why, if she wants to get married, she would hold back just because of him.

Ho-rang explains that she wants to marry him, but he isn’t so sure, which confuses her. So he tells her about the messages he saw on the app, and Ho-rang hurries to explain that she was just trying it out because it’s his work. She swears that it meant nothing, but Won-seok doesn’t fully believe her, since she wants to get married, and so does the app guy.

Won-seok tries to point out to her that given the state of their relationship, and his inability to marry her and give her what she wants, even if she doesn’t love someone else, her talking with someone else might be an indication of something changing inside of her. He hopes that she can be honest with herself, since it’s becoming clear they can’t satisfy each other.

He begins to leave, but she frantically hugs him from behind, begging him not to go since she can’t live without him. Through tears he assures her that in time she’ll be fine without him, then removes her hands and walks away.

On the bus, Ji-ho and Se-hee exchange sweet accounts of their day, after which Ji-ho shows Se-hee Jung-min’s business card.

Ji-ho tells him about Jung-min’s offer, but admits that she isn’t sure what she’s going to do yet. She begins describing Jung-min as a strong woman who seems like she would use her strength to protect people rather than hurting them.

Ji-ho calls Jung-min a unique person with a common name, and though it looks like there are some glimmers of recognition in Se-hee’s eyes as Ji-ho describes Jung-min, he assures himself with the thought that the name is a common one.

Right then, Ji-ho receives an SOS from Su-ji about Ho-rang and heads immediately over to console her. Su-ji is already there, but Ho-rang looks lost in a trance, and refuses to go inside because she can’t be in “that room.”

Se-hee joins Sang-gu and an already wasted Won-seok at a bar. Won-seok explains how Se-hee’s advice pointed out that his sentences all began with “I,” and how after he changed the subject of his sentences to “Ho-rang,” he was able see that he has only been trying to make himself happy for the last seven years.

After Ho-rang falls asleep, Ji-ho tells Su-ji about Jung-min’s visit, and her puzzling lie about stopping her writing because she got married. Su-ji reasons that Ji-ho probably didn’t want to explain herself, since marriage can sometimes be a good shield in society.

Ji-ho shares that she felt cowardly in that moment with Jung-min, but Su-ji defends Ji-ho and says that sometimes a person just wants to feel like everyone else, because in life people need a shoulder to lean on.

Ji-ho wonders if Su-ji’s shoulder to lean on is Sang-gu, but she just smiles and says that she doesn’t need to depend on anyone because she has her mom’s support.

After Won-seok passes out, Sang-gu asks Se-hee why he would give Won-seok such advice. Se-hee corrects him and says that Sang-gu actually gave that advice first, twelve years ago.

We go back to that time, following Se-hee’s break-up with Jung-min. Sang-gu had said that men are selfish—and although Se-hee wanted to hang onto Jung-min, she was no longer happy to be held on by him, which was why she left him.

Back in the present, they reminisce and marvel at the passage of time. Sang-gu asks if he knows what happened to Jung-min, but she cut off contact with their friends and disappeared. Se-hee says he doesn’t know, and when Sang-gu leaves the table, he pulls out Jung-min’s business card and looks pensive.

When Su-ji brings Ho-rang to her apartment, they run into Sang-gu waiting in the parking lot. The couple drives somewhere nearby to talk, and Sang-gu confesses to following her that day, thinking she might be meeting another man, and saw her with her mom.

He agrees that he doesn’t understand her world, because he came from ordinary circumstances. “But I must really like you,” he says, explaining that even as her sharp words pierce him and hurt him, he feels glad if by stinging him she can feel at ease. He promises not to invade her privacy again, or act like he knows everything about her life.

However, he adds that he hopes she will face the world head-on, instead of running away or hiding behind excuses or cursing the world. His words bring tears to her eyes, and he adds, “And when you start to do that, I’m ready to stand there by your side.”

He decides to stop the conversation there before it can turn into a scolding from Su-ji, and retreats. Su-ji watches him leave, then turns around and sees an apple (as in, apology) from Sang-gu tucked in the seat belt with her doll.

Ji-ho wraps up the scene in voiceover: “Everyone has a Room 19 of their own. No matter how close they are with others, they don’t want them to find out about that room. No matter how comfortable they feel around others, they can’t invite them to that room.”

At their apartment, Se-hee and Ji-ho watch soccer again, and this time Se-hee asks why Ji-ho always sits on the floor. She says the floor is more comfortable, but she’d sat on the sofa in the beginning because she found the house and Se-hee a bit uncomfortable.

Later, they say goodnight and Se-hee hands Ji-ho back the business card. He expresses his hope that their marriage isn’t making her hesitate in accepting Jung-min’s offer, because as he had promised her mother, he doesn’t want to get in the way of her future.

In her room alone, Ji-ho thinks, “Maybe both he and I need to rest in our own Room 19 today.” She thinks for a moment, then hurries to open her laptop and views her scripts.

The next morning, Won-seok and Ho-rang run into each other at their apartment, as Ho-rang packs her things (notably, Ho-rang’s hair is shorter). Won-seok insists that he’ll move out and she should stay, but Ho-rang prefers to move out. She calmly tells Won-seok that he was right about her, and that it’s time for her to try and be honest with herself.

She heads downstairs with her suitcase, and when Won-seok peers down, he sees the guy from that app waiting for Ho-rang and taking her things into his car. Aw, man.

Ji-ho also decides to be honest with herself, so the next day she goes to see Jung-min. She isn’t sure what kind of story Jung-min wants, but says she wants to write a good story that only she can tell. Jung-min assures Ji-ho that she’s interested in exactly that kind of story.

Before they begin their partnership, Ji-ho tells Jung-min that she was assaulted by a former colleague, and wants to deal with that matter before she’ll be able to write.

Jung-min looks surprised, but ready to help, and recommends one of two tactics: sue him, or “get rid of him.” Jung-min assures Ji-ho that her employees are good at handling such matters. Jung-min clocks Ji-ho freaked-out expression and admits that it was a joke, and asks to discuss actual options in detail over lunch. Ji-ho smiles then and remarks that Jung-min is not good at making jokes, and Jung-min replies that it’s part of her charm.

They sit down for lunch with some drinks and soon the conversation shifts to Ji-ho’s husband, whom Ji-ho describes as a peculiar person whom she has never seen drunk before. Jung-min assesses that the couple is still being careful with each other, and Ji-ho confirms it and explains that they each have a “Room 19.” Jung-min finds that trait of their relationship enviable, and explains that married people need to be careful to protect each other’s personal space.

Ji-ho asks why Jung-min isn’t married, and Jung-min says that she’d done “something like marriage” once before, when she was college and living with her boyfriend. She adds that they were dating and she had gotten pregnant, so they promised to get married, but lived together first.

Jung-min continues that eventually she miscarried and so they broke up, which was easy since his family was against their marriage anyway. She’s surprised by her own candor, and chastises herself for drinking, and Ji-ho apologizes for prying.

But Jung-min replies that “a privilege of getting older is that painful experiences are just memories now.”

After Se-hee’s calls to Ji-ho goes unanswered, he heads out to find her, just as Ji-ho and Jung-min ride in a cab toward her neighborhood—totally wasted, and totally vibing.

Ji-ho narrates: “Maybe I already knew it then. That this person is his Room 19, and maybe he knew it too—that he would one day have to face his room.”

Ji-ho gets out of the cab near her apartment, needing to urgently pee. She finds a bathroom, while Jung-min waits for her, and muses to the designated driver what a nice person Ji-ho is. Similarly, in voiceover Ji-ho asks herself, “Why do nice people all come at once?”

She comes out of bathroom in time to see Se-hee wander by and run right into Jung-min—and they both freeze in recognition and surprise. Ji-ho narrates, “Why are fateful connections, which we can’t see coming, always so sad? His Room 19 and mine have opened.”

 
COMMENTS

This is probably one of the most emotionally intelligent dramas I’ve seen in a long time. Rare is a show that is so fluent in the language of human emotion, interaction, and self-exploration. It’s funny because often whenever a show has its characters frequently quoting books or dropping wisdom in voiceovers, it can feel very soapbox-like, and needlessly abstract, and characters begin to feel like naive mouthpieces for the writer. But with this show, I think the writing successfully keeps the quotes thematic to the episode, and beautifully weaves its analogy between the three couples as they progress and grow.

On that note, the writing is masterfully evocative when painting the emotional landscape of our characters’ feelings and struggles. Like with Ho-rang’s story of the woman and the red coat, the usage of the Room 19 analogy provided so much depth of understanding in describing the various circumstances of each couple. I often feel like I’m watching dear friends go through their struggles, dealing with problems that don’t always have a right and perfect answer despite their best intentions. As a result, at the end of every episode I have this feeling that all I can do for these characters is simply to listen to them and be there for them as they try to work things out, just as I would do for a friend, and maybe learn some things about myself along the way.

I love these characters so much, and while I know it’s important to be critical of their bad choices and cyclical patterns of behavior, I think it’s also important to be kind to them, and in turn, be kind to ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made in our lives. I feel like that’s the real intention of this story, because for all these characters’ flaws and shining successes, it always feels to me like the writer is treating every character with kindness and understanding, and rooting for them to try to be a little better each time. You can’t force a friend to see the error of their ways, but you can be there for them when they’re ready to.

This show does a really good job of capturing the unpredictability of life, and the impossibility of truly ever fully knowing a person to their core, or predicting how they will react to a given situation, but also the importance of letting people surprise you, as Se-hee has done for us again and again. I don’t think I leave nearly enough space in my life to let people (or dramas for that matter) surprise me. It reminds me of something I heard recently of how being cynical and pleasantly surprised is not more sophisticated than being too idealistic and disappointed. In a way, I feel like Ji-ho is teaching me that it’s okay to be idealistic and disappointed even if things don’t work out, or if you make a fool of yourself, because you remain open to letting other people surprise you and enter your life.

I loved the thought Ji-ho expressed at the end about “nice people coming all at once,” because Jung-min is really a lovely person, and it makes sense that someone as sensitive and careful as Se-hee would fall in love with someone kind and caring. I don’t know why, but I don’t see Jung-min as a threat to Ji-ho and Se-hee’s budding relationship. I feel like Ji-ho’s relationship with Jung-min is a crucial one that will help her return to her dream and become an important career support system that she never had before, and help her become the writer she’s always hoped to be. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe there’s another skeleton in the closet about Se-hee and Jung-min’s past that will come back and shock Ji-ho into letting him go, but I feel like any revelation will only bring them closer, and make them stronger than before. Also, I feel like Ho-rang and Won-seok may have fulfilled the “break-up and come back together” quota for this stage in the drama.

Speaking of, I was surprised to find Ho-rang and Won-seok’s break-up scenes so moving. Because for something so inevitable, these two actors, especially Kim Ga-eun, really nailed it. I don’t find Won-seok’s reasons super compelling outside of context, but I thought it really worked here because knowing Ho-rang, she would try to convince Won-seok that she would be happy without getting married, but ultimately be unhappy. I do miss chipper, and confident Ho-rang, but I’m happy to see her trying to find a way forward and not believing she can manipulate Won-seok into getting her way as she’s done before.

On a final note, Su-ji and Sang-gu are perfection.

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Eee, thank you murasakimi!!!

Ji-ho opening her eyes only to see Se-hee looking right back at her with that gaze made me melt. Lee Min-ki killing me again, what else is new? And the fact that they both asked for consent for the hug and the kiss made my heart absolutely soar. Oh my goodness. That was so good.

This show feels so real that in some scenes I feel like I’m intruding. Someone said something along those lines last week, and I felt in keenly here. The beginning of this episode was incredibly intimate, sweet, and lovely, and I have watched it probably ten times already, but each time I feel like I’m not supposed to be watching it!

I think that really is a testament to how well-crafted this story is. Just… props to the cast and crew for making it so raw and real in the best possible ways.

Se-hee absolutely knew, or at least had a good guess, that the Go Jung-min that Ji-ho was meeting up with was THAT Go Jung-min.
And yet he never tried to stop her.
Because, as he promised her mom, he wouldn’t get in the way of her happiness and her writing career.
Not only that, but Se-hee was, in essence, inviting Ji-ho to his Room 19 when he told her to not hesitate to take the offer because of their marriage. At the very least, he was unlocking the door.
Man, I am THIS close to crying.
That was some bomb they dropped at the end. My heart was already breaking for Se-hee last week, but I swear I could actually hear it fracture when Jung-min talked about that miscarriage to Ji-ho. I can’t wait to see both of their Room 19s open up, and see them both grow even closer from this experience.

I actually read To Room Nineteen in high school, although the specifics of the story are hazy to me. I loved how it was used in this episode!

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Oh noo, I don't know why the second half of my comment is spaced so weirdly. *looks sadly at the non-functioning edit button*

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THANK YOU for the book title! I kept thinking it was a Korean book, and I desperately wished I could read Korean fluently... but I couldn't find it anywhere online. Turns out it's an English short story, so YAY! Time to settle down for a good read!

I really like how this show is so quiet and sort of muted... but in the best way possible. It makes me feel like I'm sitting at a window, staring into the lives of our characters, who feel very much like real, normal people.

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For me is somehow also painful, like... painful in a beautiful way, and I don´t know if that is easy to understand, because whenever I am not watching the drama but remembering it (which is like... at least 5 to 6 hours everyday in between so many things I have to do) I feel like I am missing it, and lately, because I know it will end, I feel already like sad, to know that it will be gone. I can re-watch it afterwards, and I will, but it is not the same, I wish i could always, always have this "intruding" into their lives, although I know it should be privat... but i want to be part of it, so badly, that it hurts me to know it is fiction and it is almost over!!! :( I am about to cry, because I already miss all these characters, as if they were my friends.

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Ji-ho opening her eyes only to see Se-hee looking right back at her with that gaze made me melt.

He was SO unguarded here, and coupled with the fact that I wasn't expecting him to look be looking at her, it was really jarring. I was right there with JH, that I almost gasped.

There is this special look that he only reserves for her when they are alone, and I don't know how to explain it.... but it's so full of emotion, and anyone with eyes can see that it's L-O-V-E in his.

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I gasped, then covered my mouth with both hands, and then my eyeballs swung violently left and right to make sure no one saw and heard me.

No one was in the room, except my dog. Yep, my dog saw me gasping and covering my mouth like a fool in love.

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Oh I thought my heart just stopped. Apparently it just skipped a beat. Plus, the gaze gave me goosebumps. The good kind.

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'Like a fool in love' is exactly what I've been thinking! I haven't been in many relationships but watching these two is like experiencing those flutters and butterflies of a new relationship so beautifully. The second hand embarrassment is very real but the emtions are so raw as well.

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Ji-ho opening her eyes only to see Se-hee looking right back at her with that gaze made me melt.

Same here my heart skipped a beat at that scene i didn't expect him to look at her with eyes full of affection!

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Same here! I have to pause and watched it again. Beautiful, beautiful scene.

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"Ji-ho opening her eyes only to see Se-hee looking right back at her with that gaze made me melt."

I melted too...

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Also, Lee Min-ki's cheekbones could cut glass, they're so sharp! Just LOOK at them in that header screencap!

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LMK reminds me of a grasshopper. A very attractive grasshopper.

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"This show feels so real that in some scenes I feel like I’m intruding. Someone said something along those lines last week, and I felt in keenly here. The beginning of this episode was incredibly intimate, sweet, and lovely, and I have watched it probably ten times already, but each time I feel like I’m not supposed to be watching it!"

You are not alone. The whole time I watched their “bed scene” I could feel my face redden more and more. The backside of my neck got warmer and it moved to my face. By the time I finished watching those few minutes scene, I got a feverish face and my heart beating so fast that breathing became heavier. My hand was shaking and lost its power. It is so intimate that I feel like I wasn’t supposed to see it. I feel embarrassed and guilty. That was so simple yet beautiful. They were being honest to each other even though it means being vulnerable.

I think we can conclude that their "sleeping together" is not purely innocent but also not the other one. It's right in the middle between the two poles. I am satisfied for now. Just for now.

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I’m so happy this writer used the ex trope so refreshingly well. By having Jiho first have met her, and having a good impression frees us from all the hair grabbing angst that other dramas portray. And how it build up to Sehee meeting her again, the whole flow was great. No one is a bad person, everything just happened because of missed opportunities and bad choices. This is life.

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I think most viewers are tired of exes with extreme and unrealistic personalities. So it was a welcome change to have an ex in dramaland who many can probably relate to and is difficult to dislike due to her candor and easygoing vibe.

Hopefully other writers will take heed of how this show's writer deal with KDrama tropes on a refreshing light.

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In reality not all exes are horrible nasty people. Most people continue with their lives instead of plotting revenge. Jung Min seeming so normal is really a breathe of fresh air to remind us, even exes or any other people still have a life after their relationship ends.

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Se Hee: Can I hug you?
Ji Ho: Can I kiss you?

Asking consent is so swoooooonnnn-worthyyyyyy!!!!!

Yeey!! I'm an early bird in this recap.. 😁

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IKR? What is going on with all these asking of permissions? I am not recognizing this Kdrama consentscape!

This is the kind of revolutionary love I can get behind.

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My favorite part of this episode.

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Same. What I particularly liked is that he took his time in answering. The nuances in that close-up of his face was wonderful to watch.

My favorite kiss of the drama.

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When they kissed, I paused the video and closed my phone, and asked myself if I am intruding unto something there, it felt so intimate! But I'm guilty of replaying that scene a hundred times now. 😂

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Same! I think I will be replaying that scene until the next episode come..

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I love how their relationship plays out. By far, the most refreshing k-drama couple I've seen.

And although I wished that Sehee didn't have to go out for a beer after the kiss, did anybody notice the light brush of his hand on Jiho's cheeks then? So affectionate, natural and tender. I love it when a man does that to his woman!

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I did!! I did!!! And everytime I replay that scene (which only a few hundreds) the gesture is one thing that I expected.

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buahaha. the oranges!!! my naive self completely missed it the first time around, until a friend pointed out the symbolization. show, so cheeky.

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SH thumping it JH opening hers in half! ☺️

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I definitely find Ji-ho and Se-hee’s different approach to the clementine curious. 😉

I also could not get enough of how awkward Se-hee looked when Ji-ho walked in with them!

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Wait, what? It has another connotation. What is it? Please explain.

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It's very suggestive with See Hee pounding the tangerine in his hand, and Ji ho opening hers. Not to mention the long boingy cat toy he played with when she was out of the room. This writer is playing with fire.

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My innocent self is so confused.

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OMG hahaha me too i feel too innocent because i didn't get the meaning of the orange part until you mentioned it guys LOL

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Damn! I don't know what to say to that. But I did wonder why he was pounding those darn oranges. I guess now I know. Thanks.

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Yes... my first thought was not cat toy.

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I actually think that contraption is a massager where one slings it over the shoulder and hit the back muscle to relieve tension....okay....I am making this sound even more suggestive, aren’t I?😅

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I thought it was a pen with an exaggerated design. Well damn 😂😂😂

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Oh em gee, I only understood this just now, I thought it was just nothing! My game is deteriorating. 😣

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I can't believe I missed that!!!
Now that I'm reading the comments, it toooootally makes sense!!!
hahahahahha

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I was curious about it as wall, this is what I've found so far:
The orange is a prayer or wish for good fortune. That is why it is probably the most common food offering. As a harbinger of wishes for good luck, they are often eaten on the second day of the New Year. Why not the first, because once an Emperor distributed oranges to his officials on the second day of the New Year. Thus you are also wishing for officialdom if you eat them on this day.

The mandarin and other fruits in the citrus family have other interesting roles. For instance, after her wedding, the bride is given two of these fruits by her new in-laws. She is to peel them the evening of the nuptials and share them with her husband. These two fruits are symbolizing a family wish that the bride and groom share a happy and full life together. Also, the name of the mandarin in Cantonese also means gold, clearly a dual wish here adding hopes for a life loaded with prosperity.

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Maybe in China. As for Koreans, they were extremely rare and never heard of any custom of brides receiving them after wedding.

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Lmao, I was SNORT-CACKLING!!!!
This show had me going unexpectedly wild.
Like when they showed the end of their kiss, and Se-hee was like "I need a second...."
I was like....Holy shit, he's not going to..... ?
And then he got a beer -.-
I was dead (and slightly embarrassed at my own thoughts).

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I believe that pillow trip already took care of that particular need. This man is a Rubric Cube champ who foresees dozens of moves ahead. He is a planner.

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I agree with you. He was prepared for all scenarios, but needed to cool down a bit for her sake. Also, one of my favorite parts of the whole scene is when he comes back and finds her snoring and isn't mad. And he makes her breakfast. He's a keeper.

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He finds her snoring and still decides to spend the night laying next to her!!!!

Why are all of his choices and actions so sexy? Gah!

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It did take an awfully long time to go next door for a pillow, didn't it? You may be onto something . . .

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But the guy's been celibate for like the past 12 years! How can he be prepared with that???

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OMG I personally thought he was going to get a... certain something he would need to use in the very near future. Then he went to get 2 beers? I was slightly confused and very, very embarrassed, HAH.

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Me too. I think everyone watching that scene thought "what? he's leaving the room now?????"
and then when he opened the beer I could see he was very nervous himself.
poor guy

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Haha I know I was like dood. Why would you use this moment to go get a beer????

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You are not alone. Oh em gee, I was expecting product placement for those things 😂😂😂

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Actually we should blame PPL for the aborted "nightcap", lol. Seriously, who gets beer in the middle of snogging? 😛

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@sriracha Suji got the product placement, why not Sehee though. I was expecting a different PPL 😂

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We might be rewarded soon @GedSkaiKru , hee 😁

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@ged-casinillo OMG I though Suji’s PPL in the earlier episode was a joke because of the name.....until now.

Only if Baeksang has a category for Best Use of PPL!

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Hey, hey.... Go to get that what you were thinking means he had it planned before, and I don´t think he is the type. But on the other hand, being the drama so realistic, I would loved to have... I still would like them to have that kind of conversation, because they are living on a tight budget... I mean... it is important to prevent these kind of things if you are going to start to... you know... be more like... close... (blush)

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Thanks for the recap! I had previously had a lot of reservations about Jung-min showing up again, but now that she has - and now that I like her so much - I’m actually looking forward to the ensuing drama. So far, this show has managed to take difficult tropes and subvert them (and also break your heart in the process), so instead of being wary, I’m excited. Also, even though I probably should have seen it coming, I was totally shocked at the kid revelation. So many questions!

On a brighter note, our couple had so many firsts in this episode! It’s hilarious to me that they make all the non-romantic things swoon-worthy, and then all the actually romantic things so awkward you cringe. And then they come back around and make it so heartachingly sweet you get whiplash. And I cannot get over the fact that Se-hee has a frickin Excel spreadsheet about Ji-ho’s qualities.

As for our two other girls, Ho-rang and Won-seok was heartbreaking, but it needed to happen. I’m genuinely curious to see what will come next, because I’m not sure they could logistically get back together while keeping their respective dreams intact. On the flip side, I really liked this new insight into Su-ji and I’m also curious as to where her trajectory will take her. I love being so invested in each storyline, but it also means I usually have to cut my comment down so it isn’t a book, haha.

Also did anyone else catch that FBRS reference (the song With A Heart To Forget) when Ji-ho and Jung-min were at the restaurant? Otherwise I think my drama bias is showing...

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@russe,

Thank you for identifying "With a Heart to Forget" by Kim Kwang-seok, the second song playing in the background in the scene at lunch. I'd come across it a couple of years ago when tracking down the OST of THE CLASSIC, which featured "If It Hurts Too Much, It's Not Love" by the same artist. I've posted it (and several other songs by him and Kim Hyun-sik) with English lyrics on my fanwall:

http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/315238/

I watched FLOWER BOY RAMEN SHOP a couple of years ago, but don't recall your reference. Lee Ki-woo was also in the THE CLASSIC, so we could play Six Degrees of Kdrama, if that would help. ;-)

The lyrics of "With a Heart to Forget" not only echo Jung-min's Post-It in Se-hee's poetry book. They also mention the lingering scent of a lover departed from an empty room, which nicely ties in with the conversations between Se-hee and Ji-ho in her room.

By any chance do you know the name of the first song that's playing in the restaurant scene? I kind of recognize the singer's voice, and it's making me batty. Thanks again!

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With a Heart to Forget was Chi-soo's mother's song in FBRS! They played a lot with the idea that a person you love can become a song in your mind, so whenever you hear 'their' song it's like they are with you. Chi-soo's mother had passed away, and so that song played an important part in the show. It's a sentimental favorite of mine, because it's so wistful and beautiful.

I do not know the first song in the restaurant scene, but I feel you because I also recognize the singer's voice! Sorry about that!

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Yep, FBRS is my favorite drama and I was so excited to hear them play that!!

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LoVED this episode as well. Can someone translate the excel sheet that Se Hee used to take notes about Ji Ho? I'm curious about the rest of the list!

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Despite my gluttonous propensity for instant gratification, BTLIOF is the first drama that I wish each episode would air 3 days apart so I would have more time digesting the beautiful dialogues and savoring each delicious scene.

Last week BTLIOF makes me contemplate the possibility of drama monogamy, and now I want to experience my own bout of noble idiocy. What ya doin’ to me, Show? I may wish for self-induced amnesia after BTLIOF is over so I will never hold all future flings with unrealistic expectations of what every drama should be or could be.

Each BTLIOF episode leaves me feeling both completely satiated as well as craving for more.....kind of like enjoying Thanksgiving dinner while thinking about all the ways I can reinvent the leftovers....turkey hash, sweet potato biscuits, turkey pie with squash and kale, cranberry-swirl bread, pulled turkey sandwich with pita and tahini dressing, mashed potatoes and turkey croquettes.....

On second thought, all of the above spell more work in the kitchen. I think I will just microwave some leftover turkey and park my self in front of TV to rewatch BTLIOF until Monday.

I give thanks to the Drama Gods and our DB Overlords, and wish all Beanies have plenty to be thankful for this week. Happy Thanksgiving!

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For the first time I am indulging in a little fan-fictioning. This is me imagining what is going through Ji-ho’s head during Se-hee’s hug:

This is the first time I am fully embraced by a man. Not just by a man, but by this man. In the present the space he creates between his arms and chest feels like home, a home filled with steadfast generosity even when I am not searching for it.

What is the smell that he is referring to? Could it be the smell of the clementines which both of us were too nervous to eat? Or is it the smell of my anxious giddiness induced by this man’s close proximity?

What about him? Even if this man does not feel lonely I can still detect a faint trace that resembles its scent. It is not necessarily the scent of loneliness but rather the enduring of it. I am not sure if I can yet smell love, but the way his hand caresses my hair feels like something that resembles love.

This is the first time this man comes into my room and when he gently moved my hand while I was pretending to be asleep was his way of asking me to save a little space for him. Since when my heart has reserved a private space where this man now permanently nestles? I hope he being by my side will bring him comforting solace even if he is not searching for it.

Could that one love he referenced no longer be recognized as love because it had past so long ago, and whatever we share at the moment would suffice our desire in the present? Whatever this is, I want to be enveloped by it fully and knowingly.

May I kiss you now, Se-hee ssi?

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This is lovely, @kimbapnoona. At the pace of their inner thoughts, we'll need another hour for

What is ...
the smell ...
that he ...
is referring to?

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A wise person once said “he who smelt it dealt it.”

We are all loving the way Se-hee is dealing with the emergence of his senses.

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whoaaah... Kimbap ssi.. you should join dramabeans minions. Your fan fiction's as lovely as many recaps here.

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hands down my favorite episode so far. when I was watching it, I literally sat down and not doing anything else because many things that I had to digest. Each relationship is shaped beautifully, or beautifully painful I might say. I grew to sympathy more to each character, even for Jung Min, she's such a cool ex that you cannot bring yourself to hate her, rather to understand why she did such a thing. I love how this show continues to impress me, and put myself not to blame who is wrong in certain situation, but to understand the reasoning behind each action.

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Thank you for the recap, @murasakimi!

I loved every minute of episode 13: from Se-hee telling Ji-ho that her room smells like her, to him sleeping with her, him taking down notes about Ji-ho and cooking an omelet rice for her, and even when he tried to call her so that he can take her home. To summarize it all, I love the Nam Se-hee we've seen in this episode!

This episode also showed us Ho-rang and Won-seok's breakup, and I can say that those scenes are so painfully beautiful because that's how it is in real life, parting ways with someone you love hurts and it's inevitable, even if you still have feelings for each other. Staying by that person's side will hurt both of you, and happiness can only be found once you both let go.

I might have been in the minority of those who hated how Sang-gu acted that way with Su-ji and her mom at first, but he also made me love him more for admitting his mistakes and telling Su-ji to face the world because he is going to be by her side when she decides to do so.

Love love love how this show gives me literatures and books to research every single week because the literature lover in me is going out of her closet! I really like how show showed us that everyone has their own Room 19!

Jung-min is just 💗💗💗!

And of course, Su-ji will always remain as my most favorite character in this show. As a person who only had my mom with me while I grow up, I can totally relate with her! And her answers to Ji-ho's questions are so beautiful that it hurts!

Honestly, BTIOFL gets better and better every week, and I couldn't hold my excitement for the upcoming finale week. Monday, please come faster!

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When Sang-gu barge on Su-Ji and her mom (do 'barge' sound harsh?), all I can think was, "crap, why do you have to barge on her that way, Sang-gu? She's already a 'flight risk', and you have to barge on her?" I was seriously worried that Su-Ji just up and dump Sang-gu then and there. But then as the show progress, I saw that what Su-ji might need was a bit of a nudge out of her shell.
But still, I'm a bit mifted about the way Sang-gu showed up. Just a bit. Nothing that apple and that 'i'm-sorry-and-i-love-you' dance back to the car can't cure. hehe.

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I hated the fact that he had to "barge" on Su-ji's Mom issues but I loved the way he opened her eyes to her office issues. I might've want to punch him on this episode but seeing how his advice made Su-ji beat the crap out of her cowerker was very fruitful!

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Woah, did it get HOT, or what? I almost had to cover my eyes in the first few minutes because I didn't know what to expect. 😂 And boy, if he's staring at her snoring like a chainsaw and smiling, you know he's got it pretty bad.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I really love the voiceovers in this show, and how they're so relatable. I love the example of Room 19 in this episode, and about how everyone has a Room 19 that they wish to hide from the world. I didn't understand the significance of it until Su-ji explained it to Ji-ho - that there are things we wish to hide from the world, and it's easier to give an excuse rather than trying to explain those things. It makes Se-hee's situation almost more clear. Rather than explaining his past heartbreak, he'd rather give an excuse of preferring not to bother someone else, of preferring to live in solitude. Of course, that might be partially true as well, but I'd like to think that it's also because his past marriage is his Room 19.

In a sense, I think Su-ji's scenario is similar. Rather than explaining to everyone about her family background, she'd rather tamp down her desires and insist that she has no wish to date seriously or get married, and my heart goes out to Su-ji for that. Thank goodness we have the awesome Sang-gu, who makes me like him more and more every episode, because he's slowly chipping away at her with his sincerity.

I can't say I'm upset that HR and WS broke up, though I REALLY hope that it's not because he thought he was doing the right thing by "letting her go" so she could go get married to someone who wanted to. Like, not in the noble idiot way. I think it was high time to address the fact that they both had such differing views about their relationship and their goals. BUT I do wonder if the show will make them work it out in the end?

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I was absolutely shocked when they dropped the bomb that they were pregnant before. I wasn't expecting that at all, and initially didn't like the idea. I guess I'm conditioned to expect my drama heros and heroines to have these pristine clean past and the otp is ONE TRUE LOVE. But knowing the gravity and loss that SH experienced, I totally understand and see where he's coming from now. I was one initially that felt like SHs feelings came out of nowhere, but this was like the missing puzzle piece that helped me understand why SH is the way he is. No wonder he closed himself off and decided not to live anymore. The show isn't afraid to explore difficult topics and it's very realistic in showing that our heros/heroines can have flaws and Messy pasts.

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Meant love, but live works in there too.

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I was equally surprised. Even more so because this is a K-drama, for the same reasons you mentioned above.

I guess this also ties in with the fact that these characters are so fully realized. And by that I mean, that it really feels like they have been living all their lives, and we as the audience are just dropping-by in this specific timeline to witness the continuation of their story.

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I figured it out as soon as Ji Ho and Ming Jun talked in the lunchroom. I was like -- there is no way Se Hee broke up with her... not a chanc... oh... oh... yeah, that would do it, especially if he completely mishandled it just because he was too young and immature... So now, I can see how it played it out.

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I took a long hiatus from Kdramas and this is the best comeback. Oh, the giddiness this drama brings! My gushing skills have deteriorated these past few months, due to my hiatus, so please bear with me:
1. I can totally relate to Su-ji and where she was coming from, she’s an independent woman for too long, and the problem with woman like us, if I may include myself, is that we value our personal space like no other. This is the reason why I can’t bear to get myself in a relationship, I just don’t want to share my space, my time, my priorities, especially my heart. So, at first I was appalled at Sang-gu and his intrusion to her privacy, but then, the best thing about this couple is when they fight, they let each other know what the problem is and then someone acknowledges where they got it wrong and comes up with a compromise. That’s seriously goals. The ‘sagwa’ on baby Su-ji and her giggles…weee, cute.
2. Horang and Wonseok, wow, I didn’t expect it to turn like that. I still have mixed feelings with that twist. On one hand, I kind of wished they didn’t include that because then there’s one person to blame for the fallout instead of both of them at fault. On one hand, it fastens the realization that they are not on the same wavelength at the moment. But Horang, girl, what about the 3-month rule? Surprise me, show.
3. Last but not the least, oh em gee, I saved them for last because *hyperventilating*. How do I get a man like Se-Hee? Forget about personal space, I want him to invade mine. But then I also like a woman like Ji-Ho, cool head on her shoulders, a good defender but even a greater forward. *Sigh* one thing is for sure, both are match made in heaven. *squeals*
Props to writer-nim for not sweeping the sexual assault under the rug though.

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Without the dating app twist, who would you blame for the fallout? Just curious.

I personally see it as both their faults regardless of the twist. WS didn't communicate with HR about his misgivings, or even his fear of marriage, or anything like that. He simply told her to keep waiting, and naturally from HR's POV, it made no sense. What WS did was to keep burying all his feelings under the carpet until it all piled up to a big mound that he couldn't ignore anymore.

On HR's part, she only saw her side of the "happy marriage dream". She wanted to mold WS into the ideal husband so she could be the ideal wife, but she forgot that marriage is a 2-person thing and they both had such different ideals.

So I do think it's both their faults, and their relationship was a ticking time bomb, but sometimes I do lean toward it being HR's fault. She bulldozed over WS a lot, and I think he chose to hide his feelings and give in to her because otherwise she would cry and be unhappy. But WS never had the privilege of doing such a thing.

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Even without the app, I still blame both of them. They've been together for seven years and they only discuss marriage or their views about it now?

It was frustrating, as a viewer, because if they both sidestep around the issue, they would get nowhere, and if they face it head-on, they'd still fallout because both of them are just not on the same wavelength, and no amount of love can fix the issue, except compromise.

You are right about the communication, this is the problem with these two, they talk but sometimes they don't listen. Imagine if Su-ji didn't tell HR to talk to WS about marriage, HR would still be pining about that sofa to the end of the show, and WS would still have no clue.

At first, I was blaming Horang because as you well put it, 'She bulldozed over WS a lot', however, when I had really time to think about it, I blame society. Because Horang's fear is that she's getting too old. Society instilled that to women, that they are too old when they reach 30 and that they must get married, have kids, settle down.

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When in doubt, blame society ;) Always :P

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I honestly have no idea how to react to your comment 😅

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@ged-casinillo I think the way you did is just fine ;)
(If you're a cynic, take me seriously and nod in agreement, if you're not just wave it off an laugh :P)

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That’s what I always do 😎

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In this case, I don't think Horang's main motivation is societal pressure. It was her dream to be married and have a family ever since she was a high school girl.

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Hmm, I perceived that it was pressure because when WS asked her to wait for a bit more time, her initial reaction was that she'd be 35 then. But of course I could be wrong. Teheh

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@GedSkaiKru She has a point though. If a man dated her for seven years and still wasn't sure what he wanted for their future, how could he know after dating for 12 years?

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@Chilisan

If, as per, Ho-Rang’s mothers’ statement that she had trained her daughter to be that housewife (and by extension to want to be that housewife) since Ho-Rang was a little girl - are you sure it is actually Ho-Rangs independent dream?

I had interpreted Ho-Rang’s mother's scene was to construct Ho-Rang’s need for marriage as not just a personal desire. Instead, its genesis was the traditional expectations of family. Just because it was created years earlier does not remove the formation process. (its the classic plato’s cave)

This show is full of how South Korean traditional patriarchal hierarchies and family values positively and negatively affect both women and men.

For many, these expectations are normal and provide security. However, for some, these are suffocating. I interpret the show as not showing the expectation itself as bad, but the built-in side effects:
- intolerance of difference
- the masking of abuse
as the issue.

Ho-Rangs breakup is not unrealistic or uncommon and many people desire her dream only to find it does not work out. I think what we are discussing is why she wanted that dream and what was the genesis of its issues.

HR & WS are the story arc that sets the traditional expectations against the current milieu. Its more than the normal “generational gap”. The issue is not that change but the speed of change. There parents have not fully comprehended their children's new reality. More than that, the skills they brought their children up with are straining to cope.
"We weren’t 1988 babies anymore. We became the 880,000 won generation”

So this is not interpreted as a misunderstanding between S Korean and Western society, the question is what is the underlying fundamental value, and what is just a practice that is manifested from the value to suit a particular time. Even though we all find our practices comforting, what happens when they struggle to fit the new time...If you try and save a failing practice you may loose it all.

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I think it just stamps the deal on the fact that men just don't get hints, and HR was just dropping hints all over the place... but it just wasn't working for WS, LOL. You'd think that after 7 years she'd have realized that he's pretty thick that way.

Perhaps I blame HR but I also empathize with her a lot. There's a huge pressure to settle down because of the limit to the biological clock, and I can understand HR's desperate need to be the same. BUT maybe she shouldn't have just kept waiting and waiting and hoping that WS would come around someday. I do think that her tendencies to only think of the "happily ever after" made her a little narrow-minded. Like JH wisely said... marriage isn't the happy ending and the real drama starts after.

Of course, it wasn't totally her fault, like @chii-le said below. WS is to blame as well, and I guess... their relationship is just a mess. I wonder if they will get back together?

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I am hoping they don't get back together. I really appreciate what the drama is saying about how love does not always conquer all.

Ho-rang wants marriage and babies. Won-seok wants the freedom to develop his app with his friends. Neither of these are bad or wrong things. But they are also not compatible things. In order for these two people to be together, one of them is going to have to give up their dream. And loving each other isn't going to change that.

I am glad Won-seok finally admitted this out loud. It will be hard for a while, but I think they will both be happier with other people in the long run.

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Me too, I don't want them back together, yet. Because I want WS to succeed and Horang, well, to just enjoy being alone for awhile.

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I want HR to figure out what the frik she wants to do in life outside of marriage and babies. Girl's a decent restaurant waitress managaer, she's not stupid! Go somewhere girl!

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I'm kind of on the fence about this couple. Horang isn't my favorite character, but I don't like Wonseok's insecure tendencies either. All I know is they seem to truly love each other and maybe they have never been in love with anyone else, so they both try to hang on to a long-term relationship that was not working because being with each other was all they've ever been.

Though Horang's bratty personality rubs me the wrong way, her desire to get married is relatable to a lot of women who are hoping day and night for a diamond ring from their significant others. It's not Wonseok's fault that he couldn't be an equal partner financially right now, but I blame him for not being honest with Horang. Wonseok is full of insecurities - as smart as he is, he gives himself lots of crap for failing to be as successful as he hoped to be. At one point he broke down in front of her, she comforted and supported him, and I thought she's the only one in the world who doesn't see him as a small man. She may be a brat but she's also his protector and really sees how smart and passionate he is about his dream. But when Wonseok hides his self-doubts, Horang can't really be there for him, can she? In a way, it's really uncool for him to act like all is cool but he's planning to undo the engagement.

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Wow. 👏👏👏

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"She's the only one who doesn't see him as a small man." Nailed it.

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Sang-Goo does not see WS that way.

SG is a business salesman...but he has not been one to give false praise. Given his comments and regard for his achievements, I suspect Sang-Goo sees WS as a misplaced giant.

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@Chiisan
I think we interpret that scene differently.

Over the episodes, Ho-Rang had continually diminished and dismissed WS work. When he really needed mentoring, she could not face things honestly for 2 reasons:
1 - she had never looked to understand the realities of his world and could not now.
2- that question would also question the viability of her image of him as a wealthy/successful husband (her expression for why she would choose an engineer as a partner).

Her comfort in that scene - although sweet - was the equivalent of giving an aspirin to someone with a tumor. If I was to put it in terms to parallel the "small man”, she never saw him as a man, only the facade of the ideal husband.

HR & WS’s relationship appears to be suffering arrested development. It’s as if it is frozen at those first idealistic moments and gestures of a relationship (is this the meaning of the earlier scene of WS meeting HR after work to the jealousy of her women work colleagues). It’s just since those early happy moments; they have just left the same slot for the other to fit into and failed to grow in parallel as their lives hit new realities of adulthood.

I am not saying it is HR's responsibility to prop up WS the engineer. Only that their relationship and interactions are more layered.

At present we do not know the eventual outcome in store for this couple. But most people had commented that some honesty was needed. We can take different interpretations of WS actions but it is probably starting to bring things to a head. However, I would agree that both are yet to be truly honest and both WS and HR’s actions are earnest but ham fisted.

This is probably the joy @GedSkaiKru (comment# 11) analysis of Su-Ji and Sang-Gu’s current relationship:
“...when they fight, they let each other know what the problem is and then someone acknowledges where they got it wrong and comes up with a compromise”

WS and HO are nowhere near that level of engagement and the issue for them is they can no longer wallpaper over the issues. They have now reached that point where the impacts of their mismatched expectations are becoming real and turning both their dreams into their actual nightmares.

If anyone has read my previous post, I hope it is clear that I have great sympathy for this couple and the story’s depiction is achingly realistic. None of us are truly rational and stepping back from our emotional reactions can be a herculean effort. Too often we are found wanting and we fight with proxy arguments. If they are able to find the strength to be honest with each other, there could be merit in seeing if they really do match in an honest relationship rather than just walking away only judging their relationship through the previous dysfunctional lens.

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I was actually quite disappointed with the breakup scene because of the app guy. I wish it wasn't a trigger because the breakup was made contingent upon the app guy instead of them recognising their own differences.

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You took the words out of my mouth..👍

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I'm thinking that the app guy was just the catalyst to it all, but WS had been thinking for some time about how their goals were so different. And then seeing that she was talking to a guy who had marriage in mind... it just sealed the deal for him.

I got the idea that WS asked her out on a date because he wanted to tell her about their differences and maybe either 1) work it out and compromise or 2) break up!

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Wow! I actually liked that the app guy was part of the breakup. I don't think WS broke up with HR because he was jealous of the app guy. It was more because of the realization that someone else could give her what she wanted. He realized that it would be selfish to hold on to her. The app guy combined with sehee's advice were just the kick that WS needed to break up with HR. That's what I think.

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...Or that Ho-Rang was starting to see that the relationship was not as she saw it before.

I agree, the show did not cast her as at fault...rather it is only a sign of changing focus.

We all engage in micro-destructive behaviours...ones that indicate that we are no longer singularly focused. We may have no intention of acting on them...but if we are honest they are markers.

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For couples in a long-term relationship, because they have been together for so long they start assuming that they want the same things in life. Take HR, she wants to get married and got frustrated when WS cannot get what she was hinting at because in her mind he should also want to get married. For WS, he cannot understand what HR wanted because in his mind HR is contented with their current set-up because that is how he feels. They never asked each other if they are still on the same track.

But then that's how relationship work sometimes, you just start drifting apart.

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On Ho-rang and Won-Seok : Love and marriage, or relationships in overall, are about timing, I guess.

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Omo omo . . . feeling excited because I get to comment before this recap reached 300+ or the talk bubble turned maroon but I have no idea how to express my love for this show in words.

Hope this is enough. 💖❤️💜💛💚💙💖

Thanks @murasakimi. 💐💐

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I knoooww!!! Usually when I see recap, comment already reached 250+ hahaha...

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Well . . . the comment count did jump from 41 to 71 in the time it took me to read the recap . . .

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Hehe I love that BTLIOF Beanies are live-capping the comments.

Now at 10:26 PM DB Time, the current count is at 124. Kimbap of Channel BTLIOF reporting from the magical Dramaland neck of the woods.

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Thank you so much for the recaps. I look forward to it and the comments every week so that I can read other viewers' insight. But I have to admit, this week was an up and down for me.

I really loves the lines each week and as I'm typing this I'm aware I've watched the next episode and am trying hard not to give anything away. But for the first time, this week's episodes were hard for me to watch as the emotions were so raw and the human aspects were so real. I doubt that the ex would be a threat but instead act as a catalyst for them to confront their feelings for each other. Similarly, it is time that ho rang comes to terms with what she really wants.

Sometimes it is scary to leave what we know and confront the truth. But maybe that is what she needs, no matter how painful it is.

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This only makes me even more excited for the next recap, more insightful discussions please!

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Continuing from last week of misery with HR & WS, and how it cut deep into my own life. I was just like HR, and i hated myself for that. So on this episode I love it when WS was finally being honest. Yes, he's in this 7 years relationship too, he's also waiting, but why does HR always make herself the victim, when he's also suffering. I just hoped both of them can finally move on and be at peace, wether by themselves, or back together again.

On Jung Min... is it wrong if I find myself liking her so much? She's the kind of person the Ji Ho can look up too. Strong, independent, and succesful. My jaw was on the floor after the pregnancy bomb, but then felt so horribly sad knowing that she miscarriaged. On top of that, having your BF family hating you also. Prbably she also felt that SH wasnt being supporting enough. No wonder she put a wall between her and SH and said that cruel words on the last ep.

I trust the writer on not making this spin into some typical & cliché story line. The preview for ep 14 looks good also. Hope they can all be friends or at least she can still be some kind of a good role model for Ji Ho.

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Both WS and HR were just miserable in their relationship and it's sad to see it took them 7 years to come into the decision. It's hard to see both trying so hard but in a different tune.

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I just find myself rooting for WS this ep just because he finally speak up, and oh boy the truth hurts. But my heart breaks for both of them, especially when I can really see my past self in HR.

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I really like Jung-min too... is that bad? She seems like such a fun person to be around, she's kind and strong and independent, and she's gorgeous. The way she carries herself is insanely elegant, and I wish at 38 I could be like that too.

She was probably very hurt by Se-hee in the past. They were both young and immature, and she wrote those words to hurt him because she'd been hurt by him and his family. It was so sad. :(

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After knowing Jung Min, you can actually tell that SH has a type. They are somehow quite simillar, but just in a different stage of their life. Even JH is in love with her. She is probably the best ex GF character in kdrama

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I mean JH & JM are the one who's quite similar.

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I think so too..both are mature and caring.. that's why Sang Gu asked SH in previous episode "does JH reminds you of her?"

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Even JH is in love with her

Hell, I'm half in love with Jung-min. She's yet another element that makes BTIOFL such a fantastic show. Her miscarriage (and likely isolation from her friends) adds great depth to her backstory and makes her rage more relatable. I hope we learn more about what Se-hee's and his parents actually did during this time.

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Yea I actually reallt liked Jm a lot too. I think she's a fabulous character, I can't ever recall a ex being fleshed out and used so well as a story line in a drama. I know so many were dreading the ex line, but I truly do think she adds to the story and her presence in the drama feels letigimte. And don't hate me y'all I think JH is so pretty/cute but I feel like the ex exudes so much class/beauty/gracefulness that I would feel totally intimidated and feel my self confidence shrinking if I found her to be THE ex.

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I really like her too for all the reasons you listed. I was prepared to not like her, not because she is SH's ex, but because I thought that note she left him was so cruel, but now knowing about the pregnancy and miscarriage and parent opposition, I can understand. We still don't know the whole story, but she had to be in a ton of pain at the time. I really liked what she said about painful experiences becoming memories.

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Why on earth would it be bad to like Jung Min? She's a well written character, who is wise, funny, strong, smart, independent and has great chemistry with our other faves. She isn't petty and she sees far more than she lets on. I think she's great.
So refreshing to see someone like her as the ex too.

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Totally agree. I trusted that the writer wouldn't go down the hated ex route, she's been doing so well thus far. Can't imagine her throwing in a conniving, manipulative ex gf

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This is probably the first time I've had such faith in the writer to finish everything well. I'm naturally an untrusting person so part of me is still throwing up wild scenarios that mean I will hate the ending, but when you have 14 hrs of solid character writing like this I feel like it's safe to assume I won't be disappointed.

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Don't jinx us though. *side-eyes 49 Days*

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Ekkk. Yes. Please no time jumps, separations, car of doom, ambiguous endings with an email imparting a glimmer of hope that maybe the leads are getting back together.

I've had so many dramas crash and burn the final hour, but I'm feeling pretty good about this. Bjt still slightly on guard. 😅

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@jig I'LL TRY NOT TO. The amount of dramas that loose it in the last 2 hrs... *smh*
*once burnt twice as cautious* *I've been burnt more than once...*
I'm honestly still torn between trusting writer-nim fully and lowering my expectations WAY down just in case, but @Maple yeah, I'm feeling good about it for now.

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I have a feeling Sehee's dad has a lot to do with their break up, and I expect the writer will tell us what it is, but we only have 2 episodes left so I'm a bit unsure.

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Yes agree seems like SHs dad played a huge role which resulted in their falling out.

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Having watched episode 14 — I have the feeling the writer is going to let us imagine what happened and leave it at that. I almost want the writer to handle it that way as if these were our friends who didn’t want to talk about it.

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but let's be honest... wonseok is only suffering now when their relationship is asking sacrifices, like his freedom to do his dream... he wasn't suffering before when horang was supporting him. She gave up a lot throughout the relationship, she supported him financially... realistically speaking, he will realize once he goes back to his app-making job with his friends that many things will still change because he will no longer have a house deposit, he will no longer have the same place to live, and he won't have an income to get by. What I'm saying is that, he was shocked because suddenly the relationship required a lot more than he was used to; and he got used to the ease because Horang was carrying them.

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Their breakup was heartwrenching and very real. Realisations during the play or thru an art form were exactly what I went through before I had my own break up. Painfully, it is very hard when there is unequal footing in a relationship. WS was finally out of the bubble that is HoRang.

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Omgg, I love their little moment in bed. It was so unbearably romantic.
They were so achingly soft and vulnerable with each other that I felt like an intruder. It was simple, yet so intimate.
And it wasn't just their actions, but words as well. I really love how this writer always accompanies these scenes where nothing "needs" to be said with actual dialogue.

Her writing style is something else. It's just so delicate, eloquent and full of raw emotion; which I think is rare (and even harder to pull off) but very befitting of a slice of life drama. I said this on the fanwall too, but when the characters talk, I get the feeling that they’re not just talking to each other, but they’re also talking TO me/us. And sometimes it is so good, it hurts.
Like when SG said, "But if you could feel much at ease by hurting me, I'd be glad." This line completely and utterly gutted me, along with the "It's better to be crazy than pathetic." These words speak to me on a cellular level... and watching this show, I feel like it's a lesson in writing. But also a tribute to the foibles of life.

Today, I'll end this here. I just want to bask in the glorious creation that is this show.

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Seriously. I can't recall a drama that's written so eloquently and introspectively as this one has been. The lines and dialogue are everything! I usually bore with Slice of life dramas, but this one is soooooo good!

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Su-ji's reaction to Room 19 story, i.e. her "it’s better to be crazy than to be pathetic" statement, explains quite a lot about her reactions in this one as well as previous episodes.

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I LOVE the Room 19 analogy. It explains a lot of everyone's actions, and personally when I think back on my own experiences, I have tons of Room 19s left unlocked. I think it's an amazing analogy.

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Yeah, I agree. Plus I realized that I also sometimes behave crazy rather than to look pathetic

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This is a drama that gets better with each episode. I'm especially attached to Ho-rang and Won-seok's story this episode. It's sad to see her trying to hold on to unhealthy (and already ended long time ago, even before they broke up). It's so realistic (at least on this part of the world, where I've seen it done for whatever reasons..). Not exactly happy with the return of Se-hee's ex, but their story is also pretty much relatable.. Thank God we've got those adorable moments with the hugs and kisses to balance out the heavy stuff..

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Won-seok and Ho-rang's relationship reminds me of something I read before, about the 5 Languages of Love. Seems to me they both gave everything, but not the thing their partner understand.. meanwhile Ji-ho and Se-hee have the same "language" of love, that enables them to be so tuned to each other..

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really nicely said

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Oooh I love the 5 love languages. Hrmm...
Ji-ho - words of affirmation, quality time (?)
Se-hee - acts of service
Sang-gu - quality time
Su-ji - quality time, physical touch (though I think that's more a front to not admit she needs the quality time)
Ho-rang - receiving gifts (?)
Won-seok - words of affirmation
What do y'all think? I'm not really sure about Ho-rang, but that seems the closest?

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Hmm... I agree with you that Ho-rang's language is receiving gifts.. also with Su-ji's language being a front to her actual language.. but I think Ji-ho's is act of service as well.. she tends to put Se-hee's need first, even though she still can be upset about it... hahaha...

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That's a good point. I forgot that you usually have two love languages - one you like to receive and one you like to give. I would say Ji-ho likes to do acts of service, but words of affirmation is what speaks to her the most then.

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<Not exactly happy with the return of Se-hee's ex

Although it's sensitively handled, I still could have completely done without the ex returning – just her appeareance through the book was more than enough.

Yes, she's not the stereotypical evil ex that gets in the way, but it's too coincidental for me (I like my slice of life 100% slice of life) – them running into each other, her owning a company that works with writers, her hiring Ji-ho (what a dreamy way for a job to fall into Ji-ho's lap – someone magically showing up in her coffee shop, who somehow got her script and found it so compelling to seek her out). And Jung-min not being married / in a relationship either, just to tease us with the chance that she might still be hung about Se-hee.

I still like the drama a lot, but, yeah, I would have done without the ex, and without the whole Bok-nam sub-story too.

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The writer has never shied away from the typical Kdrama set-ups.

The skill of this show is that is deliberately includes these typical devices and shows that there is a different way to handle them - one consisted with the characters.

To me this is one of the subtle joys of the show. It did not try and invent a new genre. Instead, its energy was spent on intelligently questioning what the genre means in South Korea (yes this includes gender roles and generational expectations).

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What is it about this show that just gets you? Everybody has that room where they locked everything up, hidden from everyone and not wanting anyone to see. A place of comfort. An escapism. Each of us has something we refused to let anybody sees, we hide behind facades of excuses, not being able to speak out what we really need to say. We sometimes suffer in silence, delusional that Room 19 would bring us peace. We pretend it’s okay to be comfortable in that room, when in reality, it’s like a prison that locked you up emotionally, and draining your energy. But what are we to do, when it’s the only place we feel at peace?

I have loved all the episodes so far, but this episode just hits me hard that I kept on thinking about it even hours after it ends. I personally feels so emotional when they were discussing the symbolism of Room 19 - the journey of tip-toeing between society expectation and cultural boundaries, between freedom and escapism. Ji Ho probably sees Se Hee’s place as her room 19 - a place she escapes to, a place she finds comfort after that horrible night. Se Hee provides her the room 19 that she needed the most. It’s interesting how this parallel to Se Hee as well.The house is also his Room 19. The place of comfort where he needs to escape from the world. So isn’t it wonderful twist that he allows someone else to be in his “room 19”? The whole journey of finding each other, opening up to each other and understanding each other means so much more now.

There’s nothing wrong of having a room to yourself. Everybody needs it. It’s who you allowed to step into the room and understand the room WITH you that matters.

So again, what’s YOUR room 19? And how do you face it?

p/s: I think Dramabeans is my room 19.

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Thank you for that great insight @alert. We all have our hidden places of the heart where we think, or want to think we are 'safe'.
A few thoughts:
When Se Hee and Ji Ho met at the bus stop he sort of spoke to her heart when he said that we are all living this life for the first time.
Then at the beach, she really opened his heart when she said to not blame himself for things, that his experience was yesterday's - and not today - "Just because you lived yesterday doesn't mean you know all about today" or something like that. Such profound words that helped them both to forgive themselves a little and open themselves up to life a little more.

Incredible show on EVERY level. Even cat climbing into the shelf behind her while Ji Ho was talking was perfect.

So many other people write so much more eloquently so I'll stop here.
Oh wait, one more thing: I've been refreshing the page off and on all day waiting for this recap. All the other shows barely had any comments - then this came up and before I could even open the page the read to the end the comments had doubled! So this show obviously speaks to all of us, doesn't it?
Thanks for the fast recap @murasakimi!

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I don't know the age of other beanies, but the girls and I are similar ages (early 30s) and all the struggles and dilemma they are going through feels soooo true to life. I think that's why I relate so hard with this drama. I can see myself in all 3.

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I'm closer to Se Hee's age, and the struggles really hit home too. The drama feels too personal sometimes, or it's just me, letting the drama gets to me. And Jung Min might just be my fav ex-gf in a kdrama like ever.

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I'm entering my mid 20s but the topics and experiences discussed are quite relatable. I'm slowly entering a phase in my life where whomever I date I need to consider marriage, housing and the future of my career. It's really intimidating to be honest, especially when friends around me have kids or are getting married.

I can see bits and pieces of myself in our trio of friends flickering here and there, as many have said. In a way it's comforting to know these struggles I'm having is normal and everyone experiences something similar. Reading all the discussions here has helped me digest some of my thoughts and has challenged me to think differently on my past experiences.

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