Jugglers: Episode 2
When our heroine’s career takes an unexpected nosedive, she’s forced to grab onto the first lifeline she’s offered. It looks like all of her problems are about to be solved, but nothing could be further from the truth. Her reluctant savior turns out to be nothing like what she expects, and in fact fervently wishes she’d just disappear.
EPISODE 2: “A shoe without its match should be thrown away…”
After literally being dragged out of the restaurant, the boss’s wife, “Misery,” tells secretary Yoon-yi that she found the secret phone she bought for her husband. Unfortunately for Yoon-yi, hers is the only number that her boss Director Bong has saved in the phone, which is proof enough for Misery that Yoon-yi is the one having an affair with her husband.
As she walks home later in a daze, Yoon-yi narrates that there are times she wonders if she really has to go this far for her boss, but that she’s always told herself that it’s because he trusts her that much. But she also knows that the consequence for her foolish loyalty is unpredictable.
The next morning, Yoon-yi prepares the office like she always does. But when she checks the day’s schedule, she’s surprised to see that Director Bong is taking an unplanned day off. She texts him, then remembers that she’s teaching a training class for new assistants this morning.
Over at ad managing director Chi-won’s office, he rushes Team Leader Gong through a presentation, barely even interested. Afterward, he tells Team Leader Gong not to prepare any more complicated presentations in the future, but to just condense what he needs to know and email it to him.
When he leaves, the rest of the staff complain about the fact that they won’t be having meetings anymore, when the boss hardly communicates with them as it is. Team Leader Gong decides that this is all because Chi-won doesn’t have an assistant, who would work as a middleman between the boss and the team. But one employee, Soon-young, hyena-laughs and says that if Chi-won had an assistant, he’d only cut them down to size and render them useless.
In the middle of Yoon-yi’s training class for the new secretaries, a wave of surprised murmuring suddenly breaks out. Yoon-yi looks at the screen of one trainee’s computer, and she gapes to see that there’s a series of photos of herself and Director Bong on the company website, looking distinctly couple-like.
She pleads her case to HR, insisting that she’s never once seen Director Bong as a man. The HR representative tells her that this is not a court to decide guilt or innocence, and suggests that she take some time off. Yoon-yi asks why she has to take time off when she’s done nothing wrong.
The HR rep says that Director Bong is about to be promoted, and he places the blame for the inappropriate situations squarely on Yoon-yi, saying that she should know better (grrrr). She’s told that reassignments are coming up soon, and to wait to hear back from them.
She calls Director Bong, who doesn’t answer, but texts her back immediately. He says that he’ll get his promotion and bring her back to join him later, saying that they can’t both die, adding, “You worked hard.” It’s the dismissive way he refers to her efforts that gets to Yoon-yi.
She packs up her things and says goodbye to her fellow secretaries, who seem genuinely sad to see her go. One of them brings the shoe she discarded after losing its mate, but she just tosses it in the garbage and leaves with her head held high. It’s not until she’s finally alone in the elevator that Yoon-yi lets herself cry.
She thinks about the pictures that made it look as if she and Director Bong were having an affair. In one, what looked like an intimate dinner was just Yoon-yi finishing up some work while her boss waited for his girlfriend to arrive. In another, she’s leaning in close but only to clean his tie, and in the one where she looks like she’s hugging him, she’s really steadying him because he’s too drunk to stand.
Watch the scene
Yoon-yi can’t contain her tears
As she gets out of the elevator, the bottom of her box gives out, spilling her belongings all over the floor. She kneels to pick everything up, and someone stops to help her, though she’s so upset that she never looks at his face. When she stands again, she sees her shoe in the box, and she looks up and recognizes Chi-won just as the elevator doors close on him. Aww.
On the bus home, Yoon-yi’s mother calls her to ask what time she’s arriving in town. When Yoon-yi is confused, her mom throws a fit at her for forgetting her father’s memorial day for the third year in a row. Oops.
Her mother blames Yoon-yi’s job, angry that her daughter remembers everything for her boss but not her own family. When she tells Yoon-yi that she should just quit, Yoon-yi loses her temper and yells that the company said that they don’t need her.
She sobs that she doesn’t know what she did wrong, admitting that she gave more than she received, but that she gave it her all only to be discarded when she became inconvenient. She hangs up on her mom, then spots the shoe Chi-won returned and hurls it out the bus window, where it lands in a tree.
Chi-won spends his afternoon at the gym, sparring in the boxing ring. Afterward he takes a gratifyingly long shower, and we see what looks like a large burn scar on his back. As he’s dressing, he ignores a call from Vice President Do.
He visits the gravesite of his uncle, who looked to be relatively young when he died. He avoids another call from Vice President Do, then smiles at his uncle’s photo and says that he has to go before Uncle’s friend shows up.
He walks right into Vice President Do, who holds out his ringing phone accusingly. Chi-won has no choice but to join him for a drink, and when Vice President Do says that people will think he’s stalking Chi-won, Chi-won deadpans that at least he admits it, ha.
Chi-won promises that he’ll come to visit his uncle with Vice President Do next year if he stops nagging him, but Vice President Do counters that he shouldn’t complain because when he dies, Chi-won won’t have anyone left. Chi-won asks if that’s a threat, and Vice President Do says he’d be moved if Chi-won took it that way. He does make one threat—for Chi-won to hire an assistant.
Chi-won starts to argue that he prefers to be alone, but he’s suddenly distracted by the man at the next table, who’s trying to light a cigarette. His friend tries to take the lighter from the man, who swings his arm wide, nearly hitting Chi-won in the face with the lit flame. Chi-won jerks away and cowers, looking terrified.
The man is led outside, and Vice President Do asks Chi-won how long he’ll be like this. He says that his father-in-law’s credo was to confront things head-on, and that when he first met him, he made Vice President Do eat a whole basket of peaches even though he was allergic to them.
Vice President Do ate them, even though he nearly died. But from that day on, he tells Chi-won, he’s been able to eat peaches. He tells Chi-won again to face his fear head-on.
While golfing with some colleagues, YB Ad’s sniveling Executive Director Jo is shown the latest company newsletter, which features Chi-won on the cover. Apparently he was recently voted Most Charming by female employees, but Executive Director Jo sneers that all Chi-won has is connections.
One coworker tells him of the rumor that Chi-won refuses to get an assistant, which could give him an advantage in being promoted to a vice president position, since assistants badmouth bad bosses and can damage their reputations within the company. Executive Director Jo imagines Chi-won’s photo doing a taunting little dance for his benefit, hee.
He finds a quiet spot and makes a call, telling the person on the other end to find Chi-won an assistant, someone that Chi-won would hate and who would be on their side. He hangs up and cackles like the evil little troll that he is, and in the middle of grocery shopping, Chi-won gets a sudden chill.
Yoon-yi’s friends Bo-na and Kyung-rye quickly grow tired of Yoon-yi’s moping in bed, so they toss cold water on her to get her up. They drive her to their friend Jung-ae’s home for a change of scenery, and when Yoon-yi starts to get carsick, Kyung-rye says that she ought to feel sick to her stomach, after what she endured because of that jerk of a boss.
Bo-na grumbles that she wasn’t laid off, that she’s waiting reassignment. She and Kyung-rye bicker over the semantics, making the car swerve until Yoon-yi is forced to hurl out the backseat window. Ewww.
When they get to Jung-ae’s house, Yoon-yi is feeling a bit better, and Jung-ae feeds them a huge meal and sighs with happiness to see them. They note that she seems thin, but she insists that she’s fine, although her smile is a bit weak when Yoon-yi says that she envies her.
Over beers, Jung-ae tells them that her son is staying with his grandmother at the moment. Bo-na asks when her husband is coming home after what feels like an extra-long business trip abroad, and Jung-ae looks nervous again before insisting that she’s okay being alone.
Bo-na asks for an extra charger for her phone, and Jung-ae sends her to her bedroom to find it. While she’s gone, Jung-ae asks the others what they think about her possibly getting a job.
While looking for a charger, Bo-na happens across Jung-ae’s husband’s passport in the dresser drawer. She goes back outside and asks Jung-ae where her husband is right now, and Jung-ae says again that he’s overseas.
But Bo-na pulls out his passport, proving that he’s not gone on business. Jung-ae starts crying and confesses that her husband left her two months ago and hasn’t come home.
Days turn into weeks as Yoon-yi waits for a phone call from HR. Things look bleak as her mortgage and bills pile up, and even the secretaries on the Jugglers website gossip about the secretary who seduced her boss.
But eventually the call comes in that she’s been reassigned, and she’s issued a new employee ID at subsidiary company YB Ad. She’s given a personnel file on her new boss, but told that it contains very little since he doesn’t reveal much about himself. Yoon-yi isn’t concerned though, saying that a boss is only as good as his secretary.
At the same time, Chi-won learns that he’s been assigned a secretary whether he likes it or not. He storms into Vice President Do’s office, exclaiming that he’ll never stand for this, but Vice President Do looks delighted and just tells him to train his assistant well so that she’ll be a good partner, saying that a secretary is only as good as their boss.
A befuddled Yoon-yi is called to the boiler room to meet with Executive Director Jo, who thinks he’s in a spy movie and tells her dramatically that all of their conversations, now and in the future, will be off the record. Yoon-yi asks why he recommended her for this job, but he just hands her his cell phone. Ha, she thinks he wants her to take his picture, but he tells her to give him her number.
When she does, Executive Director Jo tells her to always pick up by the third ring. She asks why, and he rants that she should be grateful to him for getting her reassigned. Still confused, Yoon-yi asks what he wants from her.
Executive Director Jo tells her that he wants her to be a spy, and to send him information on her new boss when he asks. He makes it sound as though it’s all about connections and clearing her reputation, threatening to cut her from the company if she doesn’t become one of his people, adding that his nickname is “Cutter.” Yoon-yi hardly takes him seriously, but decides to play along for now.
On her way up to her new office, she runs into Chi-won in the elevator. Yoon-yi is still under the misconception that Chi-won is Vice President Do’s assistant, and she comments on the fact that he’s dressed casually. When he ignores her, she asks how he got the shoe that he returned to her, and he says with a sigh that he was at the hotel the day she lost it.
She follows him out of the elevator, wondering why he’s heading towards the managing director’s office. She tries to stop him from going in, but Team Leader Gong rushes over to greet her, assuming that she’s already met their boss. She and Chi-won stare at each other in horror.
Watch the scene
Yoon-yi discovers the hard way that Chi-won is her new boss
Yoon-yi does her best to recover and goes into secretary mode, giving Chi-won her biggest smile and offering to pick up lunch. He says curtly that he doesn’t need anything from her and sends her out of his office.
She decides to organize her desk, and she nearly falls over when Yul pops up from behind her desk with a perky, “Hellooo!” Annoyed, she answers when he asks her name, then asks who he is with a smirk. He tells her not to be shocked and hands her his business card.
She gasps to see that he’s a director. She quickly corrects herself and speaks to him more respectfully, but she gets his name wrong, calling him “Director Hwang.” He corrects her that he’s Director Hwangbo, and Yoon-yi makes the connection that he’s in the Hwangbo family who owns YB Group, which explains his lofty job title at such a young age.
Yul is charmed by Yoon-yi, and he tells her that he’s been looking for an assistant like her. He asks if she’d be willing to move her desk, pointing to his office. Chi-won leaves his office and walks past him, and Yul bounds after him like an eager puppy.
He follows Chi-won to the break room, complaining that Chi-won got the perfect assistant, while he’s gone through eighty-eight of them. Chi-won asks if he knows that his former assistants made an anti-fan website about him, ha.
Yul goes back to his office to look it up, and gets super excited when Yoon-yi comes to see him, hoping that she’s decided to work for him. She’s actually looking for information on Chi-won, but instead, Yul casually informs her that the executives are presenting strategy reports in a meeting this afternoon.
Yoon-yi runs out of his office to witness the entire team in a state of pandemonium. She runs around helping everyone get ready, so efficient that she seems to be in several places at once. It earns her a round of applause from the team, but they go silent when a stern-faced Chi-won approaches them.
He hands over a report that’s full of mistakes and typos, expecting it to be ready before the meeting. Yoon-yi fixes it and even adds to it, narrating that doing exactly as you’re told is the same as not working at all. She starts to follow Chi-won to the meeting, but he makes her get out of the elevator, saying that he doesn’t bring assistants to meetings.
She decides to clean Chi-won’s office while he’s out, but when she sees her corrected report still on his desk, she rushes to take it to him. The elevator is closed for maintenance, so she walks up the stairs to the conference room, arriving out of breath to see the that meeting has already started.
When Yoon-yi peeks inside, she gapes to see that all of the other executives brought their secretaries. She sneaks in and creeps to Chi-won, sliding the report onto the table before retreating to stand by the wall.
When it’s Chi-won’s turn to present, he completely ignores the report that Yoon-yi brought to him, having already memorized his own talking points. After the meeting, she asks him why he said that assistants wouldn’t be present, and he reminds her that he said he doesn’t bring an assistant.
She asks if he left behind her report intentionally, and he says he did because it lacked credibility, since she’s only worked there for half a day. Hurt and disappointed, Yoon-yi retreats to the stairwell, where she sits for a while to lick her wounds and wonder what to do when she’s not needed.
When it starts to get late, she goes into Chi-won’s office, and he assumes she’s asking permission to go home. She says that actually, she was wondering if she should pick up dinner for him, but it’s her own stomach that growls loudly. Chi-won surprises her by asking her to have dinner with him.
She texts her friends as she primps a bit, and Bo-na says that this is very unlike Chi-won, based on his reputation. Kyung-rye asks for his birthdate and time, thinking that they may be fated and wanting to check their compatibility. Yoon-yi just thinks he wants to make up for being mean to her.
During dinner, Yoon-yi tries to explain to Chi-won that the incident he witnessed at the hotel was a misunderstanding, but he says disinterestedly that it has nothing to do with him. Yoon-yi gets nervous when Chi-won just stares at her, and she claims to have lost her appetite.
Chi-won asks if her knee is better, actually sounding sincere, and she tells him that she’s fine. He tells her not to wear high heels anymore, and when she argues that she has to so that she looks good, he says there’s no need, especially if she’s doing it for others. In fact, he tells her that she can wear slippers at the office, because the clicking sound of her heels is annoying.
Yoon-yi’s smile falters as she realizes that he’s not actually being nice. He continues that she looks silly when she smiles for no reason, and tells her not to come into his office anymore unless he calls her. He adds that the way she constantly asks if he needs anything is a nuisance, and that he’s offended by the way she’s been asking the other assistants about him, like she’s doing a background check.
Stunned, Yoon-yi says that a big part of her job depends on knowing about him, but he doesn’t understand why. Stunned, she asks if he just wants her to sit around doing nothing, protesting that she’s not a flower in a vase.
Chi-won agrees, so he suggests that she speak to HR about getting another assignment. He concludes, “I’m sure there’s a department that needs your talent and skill. I’m sorry, but I do not.”
He says she worked hard today and gets up to leave. She sits there in shock, upset at having been blown off by a casual “thanks for your hard work” sendoff yet again. She gets a text from Kyung-rye, who’s done the numbers and concluded that Chi-won is her soulmate, which just starts Yoon-yi sobbing.
As he’s paying the check, Chi-won can hear Yoon-yi’s wails, but he doesn’t blink an eye as he walks out of the restaurant.
After the meeting earlier that afternoon, Chi-won and Yul squeeze into an already full elevator, which sets off the maximum capacity alarm. They both refuse to be the one to get out, so Executive Director Jo gives Chi-won a shove. He lands on his hands and knees in the hall, and watches as Executive Director Jo frantically closes the doors.
He starts to take the stairs, but he can see Yoon-yi a couple of floors down, upset and sniffling after he called her work subpar. He starts to go a different way, then turns back with a heavy sigh and drops a hanky down the stairwell to her.
As soon as Chi-won leaves the stairwell, Yoon-yi jerks upright and starts calling him every bad name she can think of, ha. The hanky lands on her head, and she uses it to blow her nose loudly before heading back to the office.
I just love these little epilogues that show the rude, uptight Chi-won doing nice little things for Yoon-yi. He’s skirting the line between prickly and downright hate-worthy, so it’s those little moments of basic human decency that are keeping me from hating the way he treats Yoon-yi to her face, because I know that behind his rude exterior, he really isn’t as awful as he seems.
In fact, that last speech of his to Yoon-yi really changed my mind about him, because paired even with what little we know of him, I could read a lot between the lines of what he was saying. I had assumed that the show would have Yoon-yi teaching Chi-won to loosen up and enjoy life more, and I’m sure that will happen. But I was surprised to find that Chi-won has some pretty important lessons for Yoon-yi to learn first. Although he’s prickly and sometimes even rude, I admire that he lives his life for himself and not to please others, while Yoon-yi puts on a very fake persona as if her entire purpose is to please others. The problem they both face is that they’re too extreme, with Yoon-yi much too conciliatory and people-pleasing, while Chi-won swings so far in the other direction that he comes across as arrogant and mean. But I don’t think that’s who either of them truly is, and I’m very much looking forward to Yoon-yi discovering her spine, and Chi-won loosening up and having some fun sometimes. And I know he can do it—I mean, this is the guy who gets his wisdom from comic books!
I don’t think that Chi-won objects so much to Yoon-yi herself, because we’ve seen him do thoughtful things for her like return her shoe and drop the handkerchief for her. I believe that he does care about others, so long as he’s not caught caring about them. At this point I think that what he objects to is the fact that he didn’t get a choice as to whether to have a secretary, and that he would be angry no matter who had been assigned to him. I can’t help but wonder why he’s so violently opposed to accepting any sort of help, and whether it has to do with his intense fear of fire. Clearly he was caught in a fire at some point, and almost certainly has some degree of post-traumatic stress from it, and that can really change a person.
I understand where Chi-won is coming from, because Yoon-yi’s behavior when she’s in “secretary mode” really bothers me. It’s what she’s been taught, both by society as a woman, and by her previous employer. But it’s problematic when a woman believes that her only purpose is to serve and look pretty. So I was pleasantly taken aback when Chi-won told Yoon-yi to stop worrying about what others think and just be herself. He sounded mean when he said it, but I think he was doing that on purpose to scare her away. And I feel like there’s more to Chi-won’s words than just telling Yoon-yi that she annoys him, though he may not even be aware of it. I don’t know yet if he’s motivated by genuine concern for her, or if he just doesn’t want to be around someone who’s acting so fake all the time… I’m sure it’s a bit of both, but more of the latter at this point. But his bottom line rings true either way, that she should be more focused on what she needs rather than what people expect of her.
- Premiere Watch: I’m Not a Robot, Jugglers, Black Knight, Beautiful Goodbye, Rude Miss Young-ae
- Holiday posters and typing struggles in latest Jugglers promos
- Superhero secretaries save their bosses in Jugglers
- Secretary Baek Jin-hee juggles an explosive time bomb of tasks for Jugglers
- Baek Jin-hee offered starring role in office drama Jugglers
- Daniel Choi and Lee Won-geun up to join workplace drama Jugglers
- Kang Hye-jung considers returning to dramaland in Jugglers
- KBS’s Jugglers courts Yoon Kyun-sang to become stoic boss