Jugglers: Episode 14
This episode spends most of the hour setting up our characters for the finale showdown, with Executive Director Jo ramping up his scheming to separate and weaken Chi-won and Yoon-yi. Jung-ae faces the fallout for her lies, as Yul struggles to identify exactly why her betrayal hurts so much. When it seems like everything and everyone are trying to tear them all apart, can the good guys find a way to stay strong and win?
EPISODE 14: “If it’s a temporary parting…”
There’s a long, awkward moment when Chi-won and Yoon-yi see Director Bong, and he grins at them knowingly. Finally Chi-won leads Yoon-yi past him, and Director Bong says to her ominously, “See you later.”
She’s preoccupied at lunch, but she eats so that Chi-won won’t be concerned. He doesn’t see anything unusual with Director Bong being at their building, but he does wonder what business he had there.
Changing the subject, he tells Yoon-yi that he’s staying at Yul’s place because he said he’s lonely. She asks why, so Chi-won tells her that Yul is worried about someone he trusted not being on his side. Yoon-yi asks Chi-won why he decided to believe her when he thought she was spying for Executive Director Jo.
He says the same thing he told Yul, that trusting someone means trusting them even when things look bad. Knowing what this is probably about, Yoon-yi says sadly that she wishes Yul would trust Jung-ae that way.
Having been found out, Jung-ae hides in the ladies’ room, sobbing and trying to call Yoon-yi. She leaves a heartbroken message, saying that Yul knows who she is.
When Yul called her by her real name, he’d asked her angrily why she chose him. He called her a liar and a fake when she said there was no particular reason, spitting at her, “Was it money for you, too? That’s why you acted nice, like you were on my side, being utterly fake and latching yourself onto me… for money?”
Jung-ae had tearfully denied it when he said that she was probably mocking him while he cried for his mother. Yul said that he thought she was different, but that she’s worse than the women who approach him for his money. She’d grabbed his arm, desperate for him to believe her, but he’d ordered her to let go, snarling, “You give me goosebumps.”
When Yoon-yi gets her message, she rushes to Jung-ae’s side. She feels terrible since this was all her idea, but Jung-ae is just distraught that Yul doesn’t believe her when she says it wasn’t about his money. Yoon-yi thinks that they should beg forgiveness, but Jung-ae sniffles that she can’t breathe and just wants to get out of there.
Jung-ae goes to her desk and writes out a resignation letter, signing it with her real name. But when she gives it to Yul, he rips it to shreds and tells her to go back to work.
Chi-won tells Vice President Do that he’s staying at Yul’s place for a few days. Vice President Do asks if he’s upset that he had to move out of Yoon-yi’s, adding that the distance will keep them from getting sick of each other. Chi-won is amused by the fact that he’s being comforted by his ex-father-in-law.
Bo-na reports to Executive Director Jo that Director Bong is in the building, the same Director Bong who got rid of Yoon-yi when she became inconvenient. He’s here because he’s in charge of the upcoming restructuring, and Executive Director Jo cackles that he can have Director Bong do his work (getting rid of Chi-won) for him.
When he asks about the ethics committee investigation, Bo-na says that they haven’t made their decision yet, but she thinks the support from the video department team will make a difference. Executive Director Jo mutters that he’ll just split them up once he’s vice president, but Bo-na reminds him that Chi-won won’t sit calmly for that.
She thinks he should get Chi-won’s team on his side, just in case. Executive Director Jo likes that idea and tells her to come up with a plan.
The committee calls Yoon-yi in to hear their decision, and Chi-won is ready to go with her, but she says very professionally that she’ll go alone. While he waits, Director Bong comes to the video department making snarky comments about romance scandals, and lets himself into Chi-won’s office.
He picks up one of Chi-won’s numerous cacti, accidentally-on-purpose spilling some of the sand onto his desk. Chi-won tells him to get to the point, so Director Bong orders him to cancel the whistle-blowing show. He warns that he’s here to “chop people off,” and that if Chi-won keeps his chin in the air like that, he might just cut his throat.
Chi-won isn’t intimidated, and he tells Director Bong that his department will prove their worth. Director Bong invites him to try but reminds him that he doesn’t have much time. On his way out, he brings up Chi-won’s One Piece quote from their elevator confrontation, and says he’s looking forward to seeing how Chi-won protects his friends’ dreams.
The ethics committee informs Yoon-yi that they’ve decided to transfer her. She runs into Director Bong on her way out, and she asks him angrily why he requested her back as his assistant after what he did to her. Oh nooo.
He says that if she works for him again then people will know the scandal with him was wrong, but he takes way too much pleasure in the fact that her scandal with Chi-won is real. He tells her that he can easily get rid of Chi-won, making his threat clear– she can save her and Chi-won’s jobs if she works for Director Bong again.
The video department team learns that the person in charge of the restructuring is Yoon-yi’s old boss, and Chi-won listens in from around the corner as they worry that that connection could get their department dissolved. Scared for their jobs, they wonder if merging with Executive Director Jo’s department would be better.
When Chi-won hears the news about Yoon-yi’s transfer, she has to stop him from storming over to oppose it, saying that it won’t do any good. He says stiffly that she doesn’t seem to trust him, but she tells him that she’s only worried that Director Bong and Executive Director Jo will try harder to get rid of them if she doesn’t comply.
She reminds him that he’s the one who said this isn’t just about them, adding that he shouldn’t put the whole department in danger on her behalf. She says that an assistant’s job is to help the boss make decisions, and that this is her recommendation to him.
Yul holds a department meeting in his office, insisting that Jung-ae join them. But he’s openly hostile to her, calling her ideas boring and outdated.
Chi-won watches Yoon-yi from his office. He looks at the things on his desk that she’s changed — his cactus garden, his pencils, and his coffee mug — seeing them disappearing after she’s gone. He even imagines her empty chair, and he calls her into his office to ask her to go on a date with him.
They stroll down the street after work and stop for ice cream. Yoon-yi asks for a bite of Chi-won’s, and when he says she can have it because it’s too cold for him, she pouts that she only wanted one bite.
He belatedly figures out that it’s not about the ice cream, but the sharing, and he takes a bite of her cone then offers her a bite of his. Later he claims a tummyache from the rich ice cream and excuses himself to the restroom.
Executive Director Jo takes the rest of the video department to a fancy dinner, and when they act uncomfortable, he motions them to sit closer and pours them drinks. They’re impressed when he mentions personal tidbits about each of them, having spent the day studying.
He even implies that Team Leader Gong will probably be the new director, once the two departments merge and he’s promoted to vice president. He assures the team that they won’t be dissolved, putting them all into a celebratory mood.
Chi-won drives Yoon-yi home and holds out a hand silently, and she slips her hand into his. But he quips, “No, my house key,” and takes her upstairs to his place. He gives her a gift, which turns out to be a pretty pair of shoes.
He kneels and slips them onto her feet as tears well up in his eyes. She recalls the saying that buying shoes for your lover means that they’ll leave, and she asks if this means he wants her to leave him forever.
But Chi-won looks up at her tenderly and says, “When you return to being my assistant, wear these and run to me. I’ll wait until then.” Awww, and swoon.
Yoon-yi takes out her black hanky to wipe her tears, the one that landed on her head when she was crying in the stairwell at work. Chi-won finally tells her that he was the one who dropped it to her that day, and he jokes that she shouldn’t blow her nose in it because it’s expensive. Hee.
Yoon-yi promises to wear the shoes and come back to him soon. She thanks him, and he pulls her into a tight hug, but they both look uneasy.
After a trip to the restroom, Executive Director Jo returns to the table to find the video department team gone. A server hands him a plastic bag that they left for him, and inside is a note listing exactly how much they owe him for each bite of food they ate.
There’s a P.S. saying that they don’t let anyone buy them food except for Chi-won. PWAHAHA, the bag is full of coins — have I mentioned that I love them??
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Sticking it to the man
Jung-ae stays at the office late working on some documents for Yul. Team Leader Baek complains that Yul is being mean to her, and he asks for her promise not to quit.
Chi-won finds Yul at home, drinking and yelling at his puppet that Jung-ae deserves it because she lied (and ha, they’re wearing their matching orange tracksuits). They have a beer together, Chi-won second-guessing his gift of shoes and Yul moping that he should have at least fed Jung-ae dinner.
Chi-won is surprised that the person Yul was upset about not being able to trust is his assistant. Yul grumbles that he’s angry because she lied to him, sighing that he must have lost his eye for judging people.
After thinking for a moment, Chi-won asks what exactly Yul is feeling — a sense of loss for losing a trusted colleague, or betrayal by the woman he likes. Startled, Yul stammers that of course it’s the sense of loss… or maybe it’s the betrayal… or maybe both.
Shaking his head, he snaps at Chi-won that you can’t categorize feelings that easily. Chi-won gives him the side-eye, all, The heck was that?? LOL.
Jung-ae gets a call and rushes to the police station to find Gun-woo there, having been picked up by the police while making deliveries. He says he plans to drop out of school and get a job, and Jung-ae lashes out, slapping him across the face.
She screams at him, asking why he keeps breaking her heart and making things harder on her. She runs out, leaving him there9, and she walks blindly as she thinks about her husband’s betrayal and Yul’s accusations.
Gun-woo calls Yul later, asking if his “aunt” is with him. Yul finds Gun-woo outside the police station and yells at him for referring to his mother as his aunt, admitting that he knows the truth.
“Then do you know about my dad?” Gun-woo asks. He tells Yul the whole story, including that his mother had no choice but to lie about who she was in order to get a job. Worried, Yul calls Yoon-yi to ask where to find Jung-ae, and she says that she’s always either at work or at home.
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Come back to work… as yourself
Yul heads to the office, where he finds Jung-ae huddled in the locker room, crying. He asks why she’s always the victim, adding, “If it’s hard, say it’s hard. If you’re hurting, say you’re hurting. Scream and get angry.” She looks up at him and says that if she can put up with things, then everything becomes okay.
He kneels in front of her and says sadly that she’s not okay. He covers her hands with his and tells her that she can take a break from work and come back later, “Not as Wang Mi-ae, but as Wang Jung-ae.”
Yoon-yi packs up her desk, then goes to Chi-won’s office one last time to ready everything for the day. He walks in while she’s there, and they stand for a long time just looking at each other.
She takes Yul one of his favorite coffee drinks, but he tells her without looking at her that he doesn’t drink sweet things anymore. She says that she deserves his hate and apologizes, and thanks him for finding Jung-ae last night.
She asks him to take care of Chi-won and turns to go. Yul stops her and says haltingly that if she’s worried (about Chi-won), she’s always welcome at his house.
The team gather to say their last goodbyes, all except for Chang-soo, who gives in to his uncontrollable sobbing in the break room. Chi-won isn’t there either, but Yoon-yi puts on a brave face and leaves with her head held high.
She lets herself cry once she’s alone in the elevator, but the doors open again to reveal Chi-won, out of breath from running to catch her. He sees her tears and chides her for breaking her promise not to cry.
He vows to bring her back, and she says that until then she’ll be herself, though she asks him not to make her wait for too long. He steps out of the elevator and turns back, and Yoon-yi tells him with a brave smile, “It’s been a pleasure, Director Nam Chi-won.”
Chi-won throws himself into the whistle-blower episode, which will address accusations that Executive Director Jo’s ad planning department has won bids for a suspiciously large number of projects for one particular company. He tells the team that it will be difficult to get information, but he urges them not to get discouraged.
Meanwhile Executive Director Jo discusses the situation with the owner of the company selling him the bids, who’s nervous about Chi-won’s investigation. Executive Director Jo tells him not to worry and to trust him, but he looks very worried later as he tells Bo-na to schedule a meeting with Director Bong.
Before Yoon-yi is even settled at her new desk, Director Bong is ordering her to buy lingerie for his mistress just like before. When Executive Director Jo arrives for his meeting with Director Bong, Yoon-yi accidentally drops the ice while making them some ice water, but she gets an evil idea and puts the ice in the drinks anyway.
Executive Director Jo fawns disgustingly over Director Bong, but Director Bong is downright rude in return. Executive Director Jo makes his case for allowing his department to absorb the video department, but Director Bong says they can just outsource the work that the video department does, taking offense at Executive Director Jo’s presumptive use of banmal.
Yoon-yi serves them the dirty ice water, and they both take huge gulps, crunching ice in a weird effort to intimidate each other. Yoon-yi just smiles placidly and does a little victory jiggle once she leaves the office.
Not long after, a meeting is called to discuss the company restructuring. Director Bong announces the teams that are being considered for dissolution while Yoon-yi hands out documents, and Chi-won makes a point to sweetly stroke her thumb with his while taking the papers from her.
But when Director Bong lists the video department as one of the possible areas to be dissolved, Chi-won looks up at Yoon-yi. She looks back at him, their expressions unreadable.
Before Yoon-yi left Chi-won’s office, she’d given him detailed instructions on how to care for his cactus garden. He’d complained that she said they were easy to take care of, but she admits that she lied, and that cactus need very specific conditions in which to thrive, “…just like you.”
She’d described Chi-won as prickly, as if he rejects any interest, but that if conditions are slightly off, he gets all weak. She’d told him that the cactus flower means “passionate love,” but he’d said that he didn’t believe it. Yoon-yi had grinned, agreeing that that’s why it’s just like him.
Chi-won smiles at her affectionately, but now he’s all alone in his office. He picks up the first cactus Yoon-yi gave to him and changes its sign to say, “Needs attention and love to grow.”
I’m not really sure what that glance between Chi-won and Yoon-yi meant at the end, because the announcement that the video department is being considered for dissolution wasn’t exactly news. It seemed as if Chi-won was suspecting Yoon-yi of supporting the decision, but he has to know her better than that. That moment was just very unclear, but I guess we’ll find out next week.
For me, this episode was really all about Yul and Jung-ae. I don’t blame Yul one bit for being angry at Jung-ae and wanting to punish her when he first found out about her lying. It was very telling, what he said about women approaching him for his money, particularly after what he said on his mother’s memorial day about sending him a nice girl to marry. He’s never been appreciated for who he is, and I hadn’t thought that that probably extends to potential girlfriends, too. He’s probably had his fill of women being interested in him for his money, and so it’s no wonder that the things he liked about Jung-ae are her caring nature and her trustworthiness.
I think it was meaningful for Yul to hear Jung-ae’s reasons for lying about her age from Gun-woo, because Gun-woo has no reason not to tell the truth, and Yul has no reason not to believe him. I believe that he was moved to know that Jung-ae did it all for her son, because he probably wishes he had had his own mother around to do things like that for him. And though I really wasn’t expecting Yul to have romantic feelings for Jung-ae, it does make sense for his emotions to at least feel muddy to him, as close as they’ve become. I’d have been okay with it if they just became good friends and colleagues, but oddly, I’m also okay with the idea of a loveline between them. I thought it was sweet of him to let her go take time for herself, letting her know that her job (not to mention himself) will be waiting for her.
I don’t recall if we’ve been told Yul’s exact age, but if he’s been out of college long enough to have gone through almost a hundred assistants, then he’s probably in his late 20’s. And we do know that Jung-ae went to college but became a mother very young, which would put her at about 35-37 years old. There’s probably less than ten years’ difference in their ages, so a romance isn’t out of the reasonable realm of possibility. And they’re just so sweet together, so caring with each other, that I think they would make an adorable couple if it came to that. Of course, we don’t know if Jung-ae has those same feelings, but now that we’ve seen how sweet they are with each other, the idea doesn’t bother me like it might have if this had been introduced earlier in the show.
Yoon-yi and Chi-won continue to impress me with how much maturity and dignity they muster when handling conflict. Yoon-yi’s decision to go back to work for Director Bong must have been difficult, but she’s willing to do it for Chi-won’s sake, and for the sake of the video department. What I love about her is that there’s no sense that she’s playing the martyr or feeling sorry for herself — she simply takes this gracefully as the natural consequences of a sticky situation. And although Chi-won’s instinct is to ride in and save the day, he respects Yoon-yi’s commitment to go along with things for now, willing to let her make her own decisions. I’ve always loved how much they trust each other, so I’m really hoping that there are no last-minute misunderstandings between them to ruin their track record of mutual respect.
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