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My Ajusshi: Episode 8

Every time I think things couldn’t get worse for Dong-hoon, they do, and I never see it coming. He’s starting to follow his instincts and stand up for himself more, but he’s got a long way to go before he’s capable of going toe-to-toe with his enemies. Hopefully some of Ji-an’s moxy will rub off on him in time, otherwise I’m worried that he’ll be devoured by the sharks.

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Kwang-il follows Ji-an as she runs to catch Dong-hoon before he leaves the restaurant. He watches as they talk, sharing a drink and even smiling at each other.

The wind kicks up, so Dong-hoon checks some devices he’s installed that monitor the stability of the creaky old building. He tells the restaurant owner that readings are the table so the problem must be inside, promising to keep an eye on it.

Ji-an is surprised that Dong-hoon does free inspections for his neighbors. She worries that everyone will ask for free inspections if they learn he works for a construction company, so he corrects her that it’s a structural engineering company — one designs buildings, and the other determines how they should be built and what materials to use.

He explains that every building is like a struggle between internal and external forces, and his job is to make sure the buildings can withstand all the forces working on them. He says it’s a lot like life, where you can withstand anything so long as you have strong enough internal forces.

Ji-an asks what he thinks life’s internal forces are, remembering that he said she has “strong internal forces.” He tells her about his friend who was really smart, whom everyone thought would be really successful.

But as soon as the guy graduated college, he became a monk even though his parents were very sick. As he left, he said that everyone struggles to have things, but he wanted to try being a person who has nothing.

Dong-hoon says that even if you do get what you want, the things that made you feel safe can fall apart. With a sigh, he concludes that he subconsciously agrees with his friend, so when he saw a resume that said simply “running,” he thought it was better than the others who were full of useless information.

As they continue walking, Ji-an sighs that she hates winter. Dong-hoon says it’ll be spring soon, but she mutters, “I hate spring, too.” She says she hates all the seasons, because they just repeat endlessly. Dong-hoon notes that she’s young to be that cynical, but she says that she doubts she’s only been born once.

She continues, “Let’s say I’ve been born sixty times, and was reincarnated five hundred times. Then I’d be around three thousand years old, maybe.” Dong-hoon says it’s actually thirty thousand, and Ji-an sighs heavily.

Dong-hoon drops off Ji-an at the stairs to her building and continues on. She stops and calls out to him, “Fighting.” Dong-hoon turns back to stare at her, surprised, then he slowly keeps walking. He doesn’t realize that Kwang-il follows him all the way home.

At home, Dong-hoon finds Yoon-hee crying in her home office. She says it’s because of a trial, so he asks if she lost, but she says determinedly, “I’ll win.”

Out at a job site, Executive Director Wang asks Director Park what Dong-hoon said when they talked. Director Park complains that he thinks Dong-hoon found something, but he won’t tell him. Executive Director Wang says that Dong-hoon hates conflict and wouldn’t use a person’s weakness against him, so he doesn’t think he’s changed sides.

He decides they should be nurturing Dong-hoon while Chairman Jang is still alive, since after he dies his relatives will contest his will. He says that Chairman Jang knows this, so he’ll try to handle everything while he’s still alive.

Director Jung takes Dong-hoon to lunch and explains that the company needs ten directors for the CEO election, but with Director Park gone, there are only nine. He says that Director Park’s situation was Joon-young’s doing, and that he plans to put one of his men in the empty seat to skew the votes his way.

He tells Dong-hoon that he wants to make him a director and vote out Joon-young, and that Dong-hoon was next in line to become a director anyway, which is why Joon-young had him demoted to the safety inspection team.

Dong-hoon counters that he won’t be of any help if he’s promoted because he doesn’t know anything about managing a business and he’s no good at politics. He says that his work is fulfilling because he gets to teach others and use his skills, so his place is out in the field.

Director Jung asks if Dong-hoon plans to stay a manager forever. Dong-hoon points out that his superior was kicked out of that position and he doesn’t want it, but when Director Jung says that declining will mean seeing Joon-young as CEO for two more years, he hesitates.

Director Jung reports to Executive Director Wang and Director Park that Dong-hoon definitely isn’t on Joon-young’s side, and that he’s not interested in being made director. They decide to push him anyway, since they need a flawless person like him on their side.

At the office, Director Yoon is feeling smug that all three of the director candidates are on Joon-young’s side, but he freaks out when Dong-hoon’s name is added to the list without his permission. He confronts Executive Director Wang, who argues that he has every right to bypass Director Yoon and recommend Dong-hoon himself.

Director Yoon goes to Joon-young and vows to destroy Dong-hoon so that he’ll never be chosen. Later, Joon-young checks his phone messages and is surprised that Yoon-hee hasn’t tried to contact him today.

As for Yoon-hee, she’s shocked that the phone booth she uses to call Joon-young has been removed. She ignores several calls from Joon-young on her drive home, knowing that he’s at their hideout and has found all of her things gone.

She texts him that she went to the campsite yesterday, and he apologizes,knowing that he’s been caught lying to her about where he was. He wants to get together and talk, but she replies that she’s trying to think of a way that she can feel she’s won.

He keeps trying to call her, but she heads to Mom’s house for her birthday dinner instead. Dong-hoon notices her ignoring a call and turning off her phone.

Yoon-hee tries to pitch in, but Mom and Ae-ryun won’t let her. Ki-hoon tattles that Mom likes Ae-ryun more, and Yoon-hee says she already knows. Sang-hoon pipes up that Mom likes Dong-hoon best, so it all evens out, ha.

They all video chat with Dong-hoon and Yoon-hee’s son, Ji-seok, and Dong-hoon promises to send him a video of his special talent tomorrow. Ji-seok tells Sang-hoon not to give up on finding a good woman, and when they all gesture that Ae-ryun is listening, he gasps, “Oh my god!” He’s adorable.

After dinner, they bring out the cake. Ae-ryun says that if she ever takes Sang-hoon back, she’ll go live with him in the mountains because she can’t stand the brothers always hanging out like a pack. She asks if Mom likes it, and Mom reveals that they fought constantly as kids and only started getting along after they were old enough to drink.

Ae-ryun asks Yoon-hee why she’s not joining in the husband-bashing. Yoon-hee says that Dong-hoon wouldn’t listen anyway, so she’s given up. Ae-ryun informs Dong-hoon that the only decent middle-aged guys are the ones who prioritize their wives. Mom agrees, adding that she just wants to see her sons with good partners before she dies.

Sang-hoon tells Mom to make a wish before she blows out her candles, and she takes a long time wishing. As everyone cleans up later, Dong-hoon spots Yoon-hee by herself, furiously texting someone.

Sang-hoon gives Ae-ryun some money, and she grumbles that if he’d given it to her sooner, she’d have complained about him less. He and Ki-hoon both give Mom some money for living expenses, promising to do it every month from now on. Dong-hoon also deposited money in her account, and even Jung-hee sent along an envelope of cash.

When asked, Mom says that Jung-hee didn’t get her own place, but Sang-hoon says that she leaves the bar every night. Mom guesses that she walks around the block then goes back to the bar, making Sang-hoon sad for her.

Yoon-hee is pretty upset by the time she and Dong-hoon arrive home, and she says that she needs to go back to the office. He says she can do it tomorrow, but she practically bites his head off telling him to get out of the car.

She goes to the hideout, where Joon-young is still waiting. He tells her that someone found out about their phone booth trick, and that they should end things. Yoon-hee says she never could picture them actually getting married.

She says that she’s thought about whether she should just let the breakup happen, but that she’s decided to cause him some pain first. She calls Joon-young pitiful ever since college, the way he acted carefree so people wouldn’t discover he has nothing, but that they all knew.

She continues that she was happy for him when he married the right person and things went well for him. He was still anxious, but when he was with her, he seemed less anxious so she thought she meant something to her.

As she talks, Joon-young fights back tears. He tells her that he loved her, but the situation has gone bad. He points out that he wouldn’t risk losing everything for woman he didn’t like, and Yoon-hee asks what he almost lost.

She says with horror that she was going to get a divorce because of a jerk like him, and he asks if she could have betrayed her family of ten years. He says he knew she wouldn’t, and that it’s best for them to break up and go back to their lives. Yoon-hee asks in a tiny voice if he ever had real feelings for her, and he says this is hard for him, too.

Starting to cry, Yoon-hee says that she’s humiliated by the thought that she liked someone like him. She runs out, leaving Joon-young looking stricken, and when she gets home she sinks to the floor sobbing, wondering how to carry on through her humiliation.

Ki-hoon helps Dong-hoon record his special talent — making elaborate cocktails, lol. Their friends at the bar wonder how this will go over with Yoon-hee, not to mention Ji-seok.

Later, Dong-hoon tells Jung-hee that a girl told him she’s thirty thousand years old. Ji-an listens to him talk about her reincarnation theory, and he says that he knows why she keeps getting reincarnated — because this isn’t her home, but she keeps mistakenly thinking it is.

Jung-hee calls him an idiot for not knowing how to stop being reborn and go home. She says it will happen when there’s no hate left in your heart and you can love without reservation. She singsongs that she’ll find her home among the stars, and Ki-hoon walks past them muttering, “I’m not going to live in the stars. It’s no fun there.” ~snort~

When Jung-hee closes the bar, Sang-hoon says they should have a housewarming party at her new place. She just waves them goodbye and circles around the block, ending up right back at the bar. She sighs that she has so much love to give, but nobody wants it.

After Ji-an gets home that night, Kwang-il lurks outside her door, but for once he doesn’t let himself in. Inside, Ji-an hears a strange sound through Dong-hoon’s phone as we see him doubled over in the middle of the street. He gasps for air, then gives himself a weak, “Fighting…”

Yu-ra goes for a screen test, but she’s horribly bland and emotionless. In private, the PD tells Yu-ra that he really wants her for this project, and he asks if today is… but he stops when he sees that she’s crying. Afterward, she goes to the cleaning shop looking for Ki-hoon, but there’s nobody there.

Kwang-il discusses Ji-an and Dong-hoon with his loan shark buddy, assuming that Dong-hoon is the man she’s getting all the recent money from. The friend asks if they looked like they’re dating, and Kwang-il says it’s not like that.

He can’t stop thinking about them together, so he finds Ji-an’s friend Ki-bum in a PC cafe and gives him a beating when he refuses to say anything. Ki-bum calls Ji-an the next day to tell her that Kwang-il asked him about Dong-hoon. He tells her to quit the job at Dong-hoon’s company now that Kwang-il knows about it.

At the bar that evening, Yu-ra drinks heavily, then announces to the room in general that her mother was someone’s third wife. Okay then. She tells Jung-hee that she doted on her stepmother, who passed away when she was in middle school. She says she’s never cared what people think of her, and that she was naturally happy until ten years ago.

The guys grow uncomfortable and murmur that they should leave, but Yu-ra plunks herself down at their table and orders Ki-hoon to put her back the way she was, since he’s the one who made her this way. She says that whenever she goes to an audition, she gets scared that she’ll be yelled and and feels like she wants to die, but that she really wants to act again.

She starts sobbing, pleading with Ki-hoon to fix her. He just takes another shot, unsure what to do.

While on his way home, someone bumps into Dong-hoon and nearly makes him drop the food he’s taking to Yoon-hee, who stayed home sick. Ji-an hears it happen and recognizes Kwang-il’s voice.

Dong-hoon doesn’t realize until the next morning that his wallet is gone. Kwang-il stole it when he bumped into him, and he spends a long time looking at the contents. He calls Ji-an at work, slamming the phone down when she’s not there.

Then she scares ten years off Kwang-il’s life by popping up right under his nose at his office, ha. She says she came to him before he could show up at her workplace, pointing out that she’s paying him regularly, so she wants to know why he’s following her around.

Regaining his composure, Kwang-il says that he was curious how she’s making so much money. He asks if Dong-hoon is the guy she mentioned, and since Dong-hoon doesn’t seem rich, he assumes they’re working together to embezzle money from the company.

He leans right into Ji-an’s face and asks if Dong-hoon knows she’s a murderer. She locks eyes with him and asks, “Do you know I’m a murderer?” Shudder. Kwang-il backs up, actually looking scared as she says that he can’t kill her, but that she can kill him.

She does the math for him, saying that she works two jobs to pay him back so she won’t have to kill him, but if she loses her job because of him, then she won’t have a choice. A police siren wails, and Ji-an says that she reported seeing him steal a wallet, but that if he gives it to her now, she’ll take it and leave. Damn, she is such a badass.

Kwang-il laughs and holds out Dong-hoon’s wallet, saying that he knows who he is now, then tosses it out the window. Ji-an warns him not to go near Dong-hoon or he really will die, and something in Kwang-il’s expression changes. He asks if she likes Dong-hoon, and as she leaves, she tosses back a casual, “Yeah.” Kwang-il lets her go, too stunned to say anything.

Ji-an leaves the wallet at a cafe then heads to work. She goes to her desk without saying anything, so Dong-hoon asks if her grandmother is unwell. She mumbles that she just overslept, and he gives up on getting a truthful answer.

In the middle of a job, Ki-hoon suddenly drives off in the van. He goes to Yu-ra’s apartment and pounds on her door until she answers, then rapid-fires at her: “I’ll straighten you out. I’ll straighten you out really well. What do I need to do? What do I need to do to straighten you out?”

Yu-ra tries to close the door on him, saying that it’s fine. Ki-hoon apologizes and says he’ll be nice to her until she’s well again, and turns to leave. She stops him, begging, “Just once, can’t you hug me once before you go?” He goes back and gives her an awkward hug, then runs away.

The company executives fight over whether they should promote Dong-hoon to the director position, with Director Jung arguing that not only does he have seniority over the other candidates, but the skills to back it up. Director Yoon points out that he’s been questioned by the audit team twice in the last month, but Director Jung reminds everyone that he didn’t take that bribe, and in fact was framed by people who felt threatened by him.

He pointedly glares at Director Yoon when he says that “those people” are the same ones that got Dong-hoon demoted to safety inspection. Director Yoon loses his temper and insists that he put Dong-hoon on the safety team because he’s so talented.

That backfires on him hard when Director Jung says that even Director Yoon acknowledges that Dong-hoon has talent. He says that even if they exclude Dong-hoon’s best and worst employee reviews, he still ranks first among the candidates.

Later, Director Yoon tells Joon-young that he plans to have one of their candidates leave the company to avoid a split vote. Joon-young leaves the office and texts Ji-an to follow him.

Director Park calls Dong-hoon to tell him that he has to attack as soon as Joon-young discovers he’s a director candidate. He says that the only way justice will be served is if Joon-young is destroyed by Dong-hoon personally.

When they meet, Joon-young asks Ji-an why she didn’t use the photo of her kissing Dong-hoon against him, and she says that someone caught on that it was a setup. He asks how things are with Dong-hoon now, but she refuses to answer. Joon-young says that lots of girls liked Dong-hoon (in college), asking if Ji-an wants to date him.

He suggests that Ji-an spin her friendship with Dong-hoon as an unwelcome relationship forced on her by her superior. He tells her that all she has to do is date Dong-hoon, and he’ll continue to pay her to keep tabs on him. He gives her ten million won in advance, and she asks if he expects her to be physically intimate with Dong-hoon, too.

Joon-young tells her not to go that far or Dong-hoon will panic. All he wants her to do is keep “accidentally” running into Dong-hoon so it looks as if they’re dating. She asks tentatively if eating and drinking with her means Dong-hoon likes her, and Joon-young says it does.

She looks shaken, and she says that people also do that when they want something from the other person. He insists that for Dong-hoon, it means he likes them. He tells her to just do that much and he’ll do the rest.

Ji-an is thoughtful as she heads to the subway station. As she’s waiting for her train, she turns to see Dong-hoon standing nearby. She stares at him, thinking about Joon-young’s instructions to date him, but he doesn’t notice her.

 
COMMENTS

Ugh, Joon-young is such a weasel. He’s so determined to destroy Dong-hoon, not just because he’s a professional threat, but over a woman. I appreciate that for once, the antagonist doesn’t have convoluted reasons for disliking the hero, just hating him because he hates him, but he’s just so disgustingly unrepentant about it. And now, not only is he offering to pay her enough money to get her out of debt, but he’s asking her to do the one thing she really wants to do — spend time with Dong-hoon. It would be hard for a young woman to resist a kind, attractive man under most circumstances, but Dong-hoon’s friendship means so much to Ji-an that she probably doesn’t know what she feels. It will be interesting to see if she’s willing to let go of him in order to keep his life from being destroyed, or if she’ll give in to her own feelings.

This show is brilliant at making small moments between Ji-an and Dong-hoon so monumentally important, when to anyone else, it wouldn’t even register as unusual. I could think of a thousand examples, but the one that really got to me was when Ji-an called out “fighting” to Dong-hoon. For one thing, she probably hasn’t been able to lift her head up from her own problems to think about encouraging someone else in years, so to offer him her support that way was a huge step towards making a connection with someone else. She’s purposely kept her world very tiny, just her grandmother and her friend (and unwillingly, Kwang-il), not only because maintaining relationships takes energy she just doesn’t have, but because caring about someone else opens her up to being hurt.

And as for Dong-hoon, he probably hasn’t had anyone genuinely encourage him for even longer, at least not without their own agenda. Yoon-hee encourages him to quit and start his own business, but she’s doing it because she wants him out of the company so she can divorce him to be with her lover. His mother encourages him to be successful in his career, but it comes from a place of her own personal pride, wanting at least one of her sons to succeed so she doesn’t feel like a failure as a mother. Even his brothers mainly encourage Dong-hoon because when Mom dies, someone will have to pay for her funeral and help support them the way Mom does. Ji-an’s “fighting!” is probably the first time anyone has given him support just because he needs it, and not because they want something from him. He didn’t say anything in that moment, but you could tell how incredibly moved he was, especially knowing what that one small word likely cost Ji-an.

I really loved Jung-hee’s theory about why Ji-an keeps being reincarnated instead of going to her soul’s home. It makes sense that the hate in Ji-an’s heart is cosmically holding her back, because it’s certainly holding her stuck in one place here on Earth. You have to let go of negativity to move forward in anything, so until Ji-an learns to do that, she’ll just keep being reincarnated to live crappy lives. But Dong-hoon has also said that he feels like he shouldn’t have been norm, and maybe that’s his own soul telling him that he should be moving on, but isn’t because he’s holding onto hate. He’s a good person, but I believe that he’s bottling up a lot of negative emotions instead of dealing with them.

This is getting pretty existential, but I have my own theory about Dong-hoon and Ji-an and what it means to be a good person. I believe that you can be a person who does bad things but still has a good soul, and that you can also be a person who does good things but has a dark soul. I think that Ji-an is the former, and Dong-hoon the latter. Ji-an lies and steals, and has even killed to ensure her survival and the survival of those she loves. But she does them for the right reasons, which is what makes her a good person. And Dong-hoon is the type of man who does the right things, but often for the wrong reasons. I’m not saying he’s really a bad person deep down, because clearly he’s not, only that his feeling of being misplaced may stem from the conflict between the things he does (like give in to keep the peace), and the things he really wants to do (like threaten a jerk with a hammer). Being around Ji-an and learning that being “good” isn’t just about how you act, could free Dong-hoon from whatever is tying him down.

 
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Thank you @LollyPip! Ramblings, in general:

- As always, My Mister is superb partly because of certain scenes from which viewers can take away new insights. In this episode, two such scenes would be the conversation between Dong-hoon and Ji-an about "internal forces" versus "external forces", and Jung-hee's response to Ji-an's thoughts about being reincarnated over and over when Dong-hoon tells her about that. These lessons are applicable to our own lives, too.

- Ah, it turns out that Dong-hoon's true talents lie in making soju bombs... I guess everything ties back to alcohol when you're an ajusshi! That the men turn so quickly back to their drinks after expressing surprise over Jung-hee's flamboyant "showgirl" get-up only drives this point home :P Later, Dong-hoon's echo of Ji-an's encouragement "Fighting" to himself was pretty sweet; it is one more reminder of how the two can heal each other in their short interactions together.

- Really, how exactly did Ji-an *hear* Gwang-il pickpocketing Dong-hoon?? What Mad Skills does she have? I replayed the scene a few times and I still couldn't grasp it. It must be something out of K-drama land (as expected!) Later, Ji-an confirms that she "likes" Dong-hoon, although it is debatable what exactly this "like" constitutes at this point in time. She does this so casually that Gwang-il falls into complete disbelief *laughs*

- Director Yoon's slip-up about his putting "skilled" Dong-hoon on his team makes clear why he can never be the effective lackey of Joon-young which he has imagined himself to be. He messes up too much!

- So Joon-young pretty much tells Ji-an to build up her bond with Dong-hoon, only to sell that out for 10 million won. I'd have wanted Ji-an to just take that advance and run out of Saman E&C asap, but alas, we all know that life is not easy! As Ji-an ponders Joon-young's offer later in the subway - this very important setting was saved for last in this episode- it really made me wonder what she would do next. Of course, this drama does well in keeping us viewers on our toes and inevitably coming back for more...

Much awaits us in episode 9 :o I foresee trouble with two things. Director Yoon will learn about the department's dissatisfaction with Ji-an and (probably) look into her connection with Dong-hoon. Meanwhile, Dong-hoon likely saw Ji-an being beaten up by Gwang-il and will (probably) learn about her crime from her abuser, when he confronts him later. I suppose this kind of drama is what we came for, right? ... Right?

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About Ji-An hearing Kwang-Il pickpocketing: I don't think she heard the actual physical act of him slipping the wallet out of Dong-Hoon's pocket. She was rewinding the recording to make sure it really was KI's voice and not just a random encounter. If it was KI, then it's too much of a coincidence that he just happened to bump into DH, especially considering how well-versed in skullduggery he is. Once she confirmed that it was most likely KI's voice, she had to ask why KI would purposely bump into someone he had been shadowing, and put two and two together.

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I think she heard the scuffle since his phone and wallet was in the same pocket put that with her knowledge of KI she may have just put two and two together. Or she nay have seen DH at the train station in the morning and he didn't have his wallet but they cut that out. She's just super intuitive to illegal things.

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Think she put two and two together. Recognized Kwang-il’s voice, the next morning she probably heard from the recording- Donghoon asking his co-worker to pay for his taxi fare cuz he lost wallet. Conclusion: Kwang-il must have been the culprit.

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I agree with you. But mostly wanted to say that your use of the word “skullduggery” is daebak - made me chuckle in my coffee cup. 😊❤️

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glad to provide a laugh!

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Extra - Ramblings about Lee Ji-ah and her character Kang Yoon-hee:

- I have always been partial to Lee Ji-ah since her lead role in Beethoven Virus (2008) and I think my affection for her has paid off with this episode, haha. (Apparently Kim Young-min also acted alongside her way back then, but I don't quite remember his role there because I haven't watched this in *years*...) Between Yoon-hee's despair over her revelation about the current state of affairs (ha ha) and her rage - made especially apparent when she was driving her car in both episodes this week and of course during the confrontation later - Lee Ji-ah has proven that there is so much more to her character than a shallow woman who is merely smitten with her frustrating husband's enemy. Granted that Yoon-hee is horrible for her infidelity, but I'm so glad that Lee Ji-ah now has the opportunity to act beyond the one dimension which we've seen of Yoon-hee in the earlier episodes. Also, I find it artful how her fringe obscures her eyes when we see her slump a number of times; I think this tiny detail adds much value.

- About Yoon-hee herself: I believe that her despair arises partly from her lack of belonging to her loved ones, like how Dong-hoon and Ji-an feel unwelcome in this world. Most prominently, she and Dong-hoon are so distant from each other even as they try to show each other concern. Their son is the singular entity that binds the couple together, yet he is halfway around the world and cannot possibly discover his parents' problems, much less provide physical support. And now Yoon-hee learns that she has never truly belonged to Joon-young, the "pitiful" being whom she'd risked so much for, either. Her problems are exacerbated by her well-meaning in-laws, who tell her to go rest instead of letting her help them. In placing Yoon-hee on a pedestal like this, they inadvertently signal the disparity in status between her and her husband's family. This demonstrates how Yoon-hee cannot be on equal footing with the others and thus truly belong to this family when both parties are unable to correct this imbalance.

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Liked your pun. *thumbs up*

I agree that Yoon Hee is an interesting character, and not just some malicious wife who decided to have an affair with her husband's enemy.

I found it difficult to have much sympathy for her character this episode (although I found her reaction to the end of the affair to be well-written in its realism) because she's acting as if she were the victim, when actually she's the adulteress.

I also felt the grandmother's birthday party was an excellent scene to show how out-of-place Yoon Hee is in Dong Hoon's family. She sticks out like a sore thumb. In fact, I wonder if what drew her to Joon Young (besides a desire to feel loved and accepted) is a similar desire to rise above her humble beginnings.

I have to wonder if Yoon Hee has the same kind of "greed" that Joon Young has, but to a lesser degree.

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I find myself can relate to Yoonhee in this episode. That's how I feel with my in law family, they put me on pedestal and treated me like a fragile princess. The difference is my husband also doing it and showing his inferiority complex to everyone. So they dislike me for making their precious son feel inferior behind my back, yet they still put me in pedestal. No matter how much I tried to communicate how I feel, they won't understand and all they think is themselves. I don't know what kind of story my husband told them about me, but they seem scared of me. My husband also play victim in front of my already abusive parents so they would emotionally abuse me over and over again for not wanting to kneel down to my husband manipulation attempt. While I'm not a cheater like Yoonhee (I don't think I believe in romantic love anymore) I know how it feels to be so lonely and having no home to return to.

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:( Thank you for sharing your story.

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Sorry to hear this, but thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself with us. I hope that better things come your way.

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Sorry to hear that. Be strong and hope everything will get better. Just made sure you bought house/properties under your name and savings stashed away without your husband and family knowledge.

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God, THIS SHOW!!! cannot wait for next week. Also, what is that song that plays at the 40 min mark? Is it Lee Seon-kyun singing by any chance? *swoooon*

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It's One Million Flowers (백만송이 장미) by Sim Soo-bong (심수봉), from about two decades ago! And it does seem like Lee Sun Kyun sings along at one point :o

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Found a source saying it's One Million Flowers sung by a Seoul University opera student - Ko Wo-rim... so good, either way!

Also whoever the foley artist is on this show is AMAZING.

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TIL, thanks for the heads-up! I only recognised the song by its lyrics, hehe

Oh yes, s/he adds so much to our immersion when watching this drama! Little details like these really add up.

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is there a way to get a copy of that song? I found JK Kim Dong wook's version on YT, which was very good, but the studio version sounds really nice :)

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Thanks everyone! I loved this song!!!

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Thanks @lollypip for a quick recap as usual. Been refreshing this page since last night :) *it's day broad light in my place. :)

I LOVE LOVE this episode so much. I watched it twice already. My most favourite part is when Dong-hoon and Ji-an were talking about building, inside & outside struggling, and ended up with the story of Dong-hoon's friend, the monk we saw in the earlier episodes. That line keeps popping in my head "when everybody wanted to have everything, he wanted to have nothing.... ",

And when Ji-an told Dong-hoon "FIGHTING", I was crying. I don't know why. That scene was beautifully shot, and Dong-hoon responded with expression is priceless. I agreed with you that nobody has said encouraging words in years, and Ji-an is the first one who said so (even though she said it shyly).

This episode is bleak as usual. But there were some "light" scenes to "cheer" our characters: when Ji-seok called and told his uncle go find a good woman (but her aunt was there), when he said "Oh My God" that was so cute of him. He's a cheerful kid! Also, the scene in the bar when Dong-hoon showed his talent, and Ki-hoon recorded it! Oh Gosh, these men were all drinking every night, LoL.

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It's because the "fighting" was so timorous, as though she's not sure how to do it. After watching so many kdramas with characters belting out lusty "HWAITINGs!!" all the time, hers really struck me with how hesitant and uncertain it was. For such a pared-back script and such a closed-off character, Lee Ji-eun gives a surprisingly multi-layered performance. I remember in Scarlet Heart people blaming the director rather than her for her performance and I now think she's proven them correct.

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@lollypip thank you for the recap, and i *LOVE* your analogy on what is a «good» person or a «bad» one.

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Ji-seok is adorable! Why is he off so far away? I know there are many reasons for boarding schools and the advantages they can offer, but I'm surprised. It seems from what we have seen of DH he'd be a very hands on dad and feel a real responsibility to teach his son .....so I'm a bit surprised.
I'm not a fan of YH, especially with DH having to watch her deal with a broken heart, but she lights up when it comes to her son.
I'm not sure what I liked more the "Fighting" or the "Oh my God", lol.
Can't wait for next week.

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This show is so bleak and comforting, it honestly does its job of luring watchers and making them feel so weary but not in a bad way. Am I making sense here?

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So many of these relationships are an explosion waiting to happen. It's gonna be harsh.

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How will DH react when he learns that Ji-an spied on him? Then there’s Ji-an’s biggest fear, her being outed as a killer. Dong-hoon knows somewhat of her wretched past. When he hears the rest, he won’t abandon her.🤞

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I am so glad that I'm on board on this wonderfully crafted drama. Ji An is such a badass and they cast the perfect actress for this. With that small built, but so much pented up emotions and maturity beyond her age. And I think they purposely cast a tall (also a model), Jang Ki Yong to play the antagonist to emphasize that.
Watched the script reading the other day, and one thing that stood out to me was the director saying that this is gonna be another 'well-made' drama. He's definitely right.

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I think the writer must know about people making issue of the possible romantic pairing between the leads. And it's a clever move to make other characters in the drama questioning it. Kwang-il who tried to figure out the unusual nature of the two's relationship and wanted to know Ji-an's side of the story about this new ajusshi. And also Joon-young who proposed a new dirty tactic for Ji-an to date Dong-hoon and later incriminate him for inappropriate relationship.

When Joon-young mentioned about them eating and drinking together, we can see Ji-an's eyes wavered because that's exactly what they've been doing lately. Having him put emphasis to that simple action clearly made her conflicted. She already done her work and formed a relationship with ajusshi if she wanted to betray him and collect her much-needed money. At the same time, she realized how dangerous their tentative friendship could be for Dong-hoon if anyone ever found out about them spending some time together. And she also finally understood that him willingly buying her food and drink is a much bigger deal than what she thought it was. In the last subway scene, we knew that Ji-an finally stood at her crossroad, and whatever option she choose would definitely bring big consequences to their respective lives.

On to a lighter note. How much do I love it when everyone gathered together to celebrate Mom's birthday? It felt so very real, like something that could happen in my own home. Everything was so mundane, with several conversations going on all at once and half-finished inside comments that everyone instantly understood thrown in here and there. Some of them have a more strained relationship, the other snappy, but everything is still enveloped in warmth. And that one phone call with Dong-hoon's son where everyone joked and teased each other happily was simply perfect.

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I enjoyed that breakup scene so much. I don't agree with Yoon Hee but it was so great watching Joon Young's face the whole time.

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I won't lie...i was super satisfied when yoon Hee had those lines thrown back in her face..."this is hard for me too"
She so cruelly said it to her own husband while trying to run to another man. She can have a taste of her own medicine.

Last week i thought she still loved Dong Hoon. This week I know she doesn't. So she can suffer in her own misery. She brought it on herself for not getting a divorce and cheating with his superior instead.

I have no empathy for her.

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I can't imagine myself in Dong-hoon's shoes when he actually knew his wife had an affair and why his wife was so heartbroken, and still he tried not to show that he knew.... and took care of his broken-hearted wife instead.

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Bigger person than I am for sure. I wouldn't be able to do it even if I wanted to.

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Dong Hoon is afraid of change hence he will try his hardest to keep things the way it was. While he was talking to Ji An he actually spoke about how there were people he thought would always be his pillars only to find out they weren't. I believe he is referring to Yoon Hee mainly but also his mother and older brother.

His mother's expectations of his continual "success", his older brother's, (whom was once successful and could be relied on), situation with both his business and estrangement from his family, are both support system he had lost and is now leaning on him for support. Losing Yoon Hee is more than just a marriage, it was the one part of his life that he felt was stable, her mere existence in his life was enough of a support for him. Only now he realised that he doesn't have her either.

This is why he now turns to Ji An, she presence now calms him because she is someone who understands life is not always a bed of roses and
we just have to suffer through each day as it comes.

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I know a guy who went through Dong-hoon's marriage situation, at about the same age too. "Mid-life crisis" is a real thing and a gender-neutral affliction. Its a phase you either have to work your way through, or you let it blow up your life.

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Time to choose between Dong Hoon and Joon Young has arrived for Ji An. There are now many signs that she likes Dong Hoon and will try to protect him. It is interesting how honest she is. She was so truthful in her explanation to Joon Young of why she didn’t use the kiss photo. She so has the upper hand in that relationship. She gives Joon Young information as she sees fit. She tells him the truth when she feels it’s okay but she won’t lie or give information about her current relationship with Dong Hoon to Joon Young. But the circle is closing on both Dong Hoon and Ji An from Joon Young and Kwang Il.

Now that he lost Yoon Hee and his position in the company is under threat from Dong Hoon Joon Young really has it in for him and plans to use Ji An to get rid of him. Ji An will definitely make counter plans. I wondered whether she was recording Joon Young’s plots against Dong Hoon to use against him. Frankly I am more worried about Kwang Il than Joon Young. As Yoon Hee says Joo Young is quite pitiful but Kwang Hil is unhinged. I am not sure whether Ji An is doing Dong Hoon any favors by baiting Kwang Il. She clearly knows how to deal with Kwang Il but telling him she likes Dong Hoon made him see red. Also considering her honesty she must be telling the truth about liking Dong Hoon which brings me to her conversation with Joon Young on whether Dong Hoon likes her back. According to Joon Young who has known Dong Hoon for a long time he wouldn’t eat and drink with a woman he doesn’t like. And I do think Dong Hoon likes and respects Ji An but I don’t think it is a like in a romantic sense yet (or that it will ever be). What Joon Young is missing is that I don’t think Dong Hoon views Ji An as a woman. And not for the reason Ji An thinks: “What kind of crazy man would like a woman like me?” He is still thinking and talking of her as a “kid” and we learn that she is all of 21 years old. I am worried because I see heartbreak in Ji An’s future.

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At first I thought Ji-an is purposefully baiting Kwang-il as usual with her "like" comment. But then, I think Kwang-il has pretty much made up his mind that there is unusual relationship going on between Ji-an and that ajusshi. And whatever denial she said would only made him even more certain that it was something special. I think Ji-an knew this and that's why she just threw a casual "Yes, I like him," instead. Besides, the word like has many meanings and she isn't exactly lying about it, even if Kwang-il interpreted it very differently.

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I don’t think Jian meant she romantically “like” Dong-hoon but more as a person, she sees Dong-hoon as an adult/brother/father figure that guided and supported her. For some reasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jian is adopted by Dong-hoon’s family at the end.

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It’s so amusing to see how the events are unfolding. Dong Hoon gets nominated to be director against his will, Yoon Hee ignores Joon Young because of what she learnt from Ji An and Joon Young thinks this is all Dong Hoon’s doing because he didn’t breakup with his wife. Ha ha. He is thinking Dong Hoon is acting on his threats. I wonder if Yoon Hee thinks the public phone is removed by Joon Young.

I really have zero respect for Yoon Hee because even after she learnt the truth about Joon Young she doesn’t feel guilty towards her husband at all. She feels humiliated that she fell for a guy like him but she doesn’t once say to herself I cheated on my husband for this. She just wants to win against Joon Young. That relationship was so doomed from the beginning. Neither of them trusted each other. And we learnt about the chip on Joon Young’s shoulder. He came from a poor family and was ashamed of it. That’s why he was so greedy. But then why did he divorce a rich wife?

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I noticed that too, Yoon Hee is so self-absorded till the end, Ji Ah gave her the recording so she can help Dong Hoon and she is ready to wreck everything because she simply wants to? I even hate how she made her husband care about her when she cries over her lover, or how she says unkind words to Dong Hoon. Honestly, at this point, I would be fine as long as our ajusshi doesn't end up with that woman

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It looks like Dong Hoon will try really hard to save his marriage but it is so unfair for him. I don't want him to end up with that selfish woman either.

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I think hoping Dong Hoon to end up with Yoon Hee again is almost like wishing Ji An to end up with Kwang Il, which is ridiculous. Ji An has been abused physically, and Dong Hoon emotionally, and both are equally traumatic. So yeah, let's find a different happiness for him.

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I feel like they were setting up bar lady as Yoon Hee's replacement.

She is someone with a lot of love to give but no one to give it too. While Dong Hoon is someone who wants to take care of everyone hence he treats Ji An differently after he finds out her hardship. Next weeks previews shows this really well.

I want Ji An to meet bar lady, I think bar lady will really help Ji An who needs parental figures in her life. And lots and lots of love.

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The writing is so good! I don't know if I should laugh or cry. I also don't know how Dong-hoon is holding it together especially since he knows about his wife and that she has been dumped.

And the hug between Yu-ra and Ki-hoon... so awkward.

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I felt this episode was all about greed. The greed that comes with self-loathing and the drive to accomplish in order to attain self-love (Joon Young). The greed that comes with emotional neediness (Yoon Hee). The greed one hopes to avoid living a life of contentment (monk, Dong Hoon). And the temptation of greed that comes with the care and affection one has always longed for but never experienced (Ji An).

Our poor Ji An just can’t seem to catch a break. Finally, she has a legit full-time job, making a new friend (who, yes, she’s falling for)…then she is roped into another of Joon Young’s schemes.

This is good writing. We instinctively believe that given a choice between DH (a kindred spirit/soulmate) and JY (= money), JA would choose DH. In fact, she already did when she helped to end Yoon Hee’s affair rather than blackmail her.

But, what if Ji An is faced with either losing Dong Hoon (but saving him), or hurting him (by pursuing a relationship with him)? Oh yes, this is good angst. When doing the right thing pulls you further and further away from what (or who) one wants, THAT tests a person’s mettle.

JY asks her to do the ONE THING that was hers alone to enjoy with DH. But, now JY lifted the friendship out of its haven and forced it into the realm of office politics. And why wouldn’t JA be tempted to do this? She already stops dead in her tracks whenever she hears him thinking or talking about her, she literally runs to him, she asks him to eat and drink with her…what more evidence of her feelings do we need? The LOOK on her face when JY said Dong Hoon would never eat and drink with a woman unless he likes her… It was so heartbreaking to see the longing and hope in her eyes.

But, now the one thing that brings her joy is being manipulated into a trap to ruin Dong Hoon. But, she’s a clever one, our Ji An, so long as she doesn’t do anything that jeopardizes her friendship with Dong Hoon.

Dong Hoon isn’t doing much better, frankly. He’s about to throw into the villainy and depravity of office politics. DH asked a very fair question: is he even suited to be an executive?

It’s not that I want DH to suffer, although suffer he will, but this is good drama. If he were just the long suffering manager and cuckolded husband - that would be boring. We’ll see now if he can (1) mend his marriage while (2) holding onto his integrity as he enters into the lion’s den of office politicking, in order to (3) live out his inner strength and virtue and (4) save Ji An in the process.

DH’s speech at the end of episode 3 still haunts me. He said he was never tempted. But, will Ji An be as much of a temptation for him (eventually) as he is for her now?

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is he even suited to be an executive?

He will be if he remembers to bring his hammer to the meetings :)

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@lordcobol: and Prison Break references...... ;)

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ahhh, here's another candidate for @john 's suggestion for a season TWO of Prison Playbook...

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oh, i don't know how to do this...

is it @johnb?

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Wait, who is going to Drama jail? What drama crime did they commit? Speaking of the TOD, if Tae Wook had been run over by the TOD and confessed to Hye-ran, that still would have been a better ending. ✍️

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Now the conflict begins for Ji-an and the angst for the viewers. If she does continue to meet with DH is it because she wants/needs to or is it because of the directive/money from JY.
Also, does anyone believe that JY knows or has an idea that DH and Ji-an are already meeting? Or that Ji-an might be having second thoughts working with him (JY) because of any potential 'feelings' Ji-an might be developing for DH?

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It took me 8 episodes to finally feel the dread of having to wait for a week for the next episode. Argghhh, this show has grown in me.

I love the subtle transition in the relationship between each characters and I really love how protective Ji Ann is towards Dong Hoon. She is not in a good place herself but she knows already that this ajusshi is someone she needs in that bleak life of hers. Since this show has been marketing itself as a healing drama, well I say the job has been well done so far because as viewer, I definitely can feel the healing.

I still am unsure about my acceptance of the romantic development between Ji An and Dong Hoon but I must say IU seems to have way stronger chemistry with older actors that I just adore every single scenes of her with LSK.

I hope my Ajusshi will continue to surpass my expectation and being awesomely rewarding.

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I'm the opposite. I need the break between each episode to absorb. I feel like there's so much going on in each one I need time to process.

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I've loved IU's chemistry with every actor she's worked with so far. She had beautiful chemistry with Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Hyun Woo, Kang Ha Neul , Jang Ki Yong too.

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Love this show. I love loving the characters i love and i love hating the characters i hate. I'll be a little upset if dh and ji an to have romantic feels for each other at the end, but the shoe is good that i can't be to mad ( like with my reply 1988 ship were i almost cried). My ajussi is my most favorite drama so far second to 7 day queen

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There's a good bit of type os in this comment. Time go to bed

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My Ajusshi Drinking Game:
(#9-11, 14-15 courtesy of MapleSilver; 12-13 courtesy of @egads; 16 courtesy of @stpauligirl)

Rules: take a swig each time the following happens (my tally for episode 8 is below - join in the fun!):

[1] Each time Lee Sun Kyun’s velvety voice causes you to think impure thoughts
🍻[3:33-6:38] When Dong Hoon is walking Ji An home talking about internal strengths and external pressures
🍻[6:54] When Dong Hoon says “It’ll be spring soon.”
🍻[13:30-33] When DH says “It’s only because I get to use my skills and coach others that I feel like work is fulfilling.”
🍻[16:09-11] Flashback, when DH says “The moment she finds out I know, you’re done for.”
🍻[24:13-24] Asking if his son's new girlfriend is “nice or pretty?”
🍻[39:10-56] DH talking to Jung Hee about Ji An not belonging on earth

🍺Hmmm….wait a second...maybe @Lollypip was right: #1 might be quite dangerous if one wants to remain sober 🍺🍻🍸🥂

[2] Each time Ji An does something bad-ass
🍻[59:29] - waltzing into the loan shark office and threatening Kwang-Il
[3] Each time Ji An runs to Dong Hoon
🍻[0:33] Ji An runs to the restaurant to meet DH
[4] Each time Ji An reacts to something Dong Hoon says via eavesdropping
🍻[39:15] Ji An hears DH talking to JH about her feeling 30,000 years old
[5] Each time Director Yoon does something stupid
[6] Each time Joon Young is being a sleaze
🍻[1:14:00-1:15:55] JY making a new scheme to ruin DH with JA
[7] Each time Sang-Hoon or Ki-Hoon do something dumb
[8] Each time Yu-Ra says she likes that Ki-Hoon is a failure
[9] Each time DH lectures JA about proper adult behavior
[10] Each time Kwang Il shows up within 10 meters of Ji An
[11] Each time Yoon Hee says something unkind to DH
[12] Each time Ji An hits or kicks the printer
[13] Each time that guy in the office tells Dong Hoon to fire Ji An because she isn't nice.
[14] Each time they show the back of LSK's head
[15] Each time they show LSK walk away and IU follows with her gaze
[16] Each time Deputy Kim tells DH that he loves him!
[17] Each time Dong Hoon nonchalantly hovers around Ji An awkwardly in an attempt to ask her a question
🍻[1:04:30-1:05:00] DH asking her why she’s late

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Hopefully you have someone to give you a piggyback home.

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@egads, only if Lee Sun Kyun offers to be the one piggybacking me à la Ki-Hoon's wild imaginings from episode 7 when Yu-Ra was too drunk to walk home by herself. ;)

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Hahaha... I really love the way your mind works. If it doesn't go quite all the way like you hope, perhaps he'd at least give you an awkward semi-hug.

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Hi! I just wanted to say I really enjoy reading your comments.
I seem to have a weak spot for No. 17. Every time DH hovers around and hesitates before talking to Ji An. Idk why but I love seeing those moments, probably because it shows DH is curious/wants something even if it's just information (when usually DH tamps down any feelings he has which makes him seem so dull to most other people). But with Ji An he can't seem to help it. He wants to know more about her. Also LSK does so much with so little dialogue, it's fascinating.

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Amy, awwww....thanks for the compliment (and the patience to read through all my ramblings).

Yes, I agree with your analysis of Dong Hoon! He is extremely understated and generally non-communicative, so every instance where he tried to reach out to Ji An holds a lot of intensity.

And yes! I think LSK uses his body really well to express his inner feelings or intentions. It “communicates” so expediently with minimal dialogue, it’s great acting

So happy and grateful to discuss these episodes with you!

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Add me to the list of people to enjoy reading your thoughts on every episode. Keep them coming. Besides, not often do I have others to fangirl over LSK :-)

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I need the Halal version for this game.

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I actually don’t drink (alcohol), so I usually just down coca-cola....hahaha! No one said it had to be an alcoholic beverage! ;)

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I hope Ji an stops lying to Dong Hoon and listening on him behind his back.

How much is the loan that she needs to pay to Kwang Il? She doesnt need to support her grandma already now so she's not anymore in that dire need of money right? If she truly cares and is grateful to Dong Hoon, she should stop.

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She got 10mil before and 10mil now. At the start she took all 50mil to him and pays back 1.2mil per month (inclusive of interest) so she should have at least another 27mil left to pay off. That is if we believe the original debt with interest was 50mil.

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I thought her debt was 20 mil because wasn't she the one who wanted 10 mil for each person she helps get sacked from Joon Young? That's why I thought what now as she got the second 10 mil from Joon Young this episode.

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I was wondering if the three ajusshis' mom somehow know the affair of DH's wife. From what she said that she prefers older son's wife to DH's wife ( despite her excuse for his wife makes more money so she dislikes her) and her comment that as far as couples do not have extra marital affairs etc, everything is fine( or something like that.), I cannot help wondering about that. And if that were the core reason why their mom feels sorry most among her three sons, how pitiful she must feel for DH. I hope it is not the case. If that were the case, I cannot even imagine how tormented she feels.
Still their mom senses that something is not right for their marriage. It is not because of monetary reason like her eldest son's failing marriage but something more damaging like a small crack in a building that have been spreading over the years and now tearing apart internally.

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can someone help me? what is chairman jang relationship with joonyoung since they have different surename so i'm confuse

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None, apparently. The Board of Directors selects the CEO every 2 years, presumably from among themselves. (Writer Park Hae Young set it up that way to provide for the political intrigue that partly drives the story.) However, as the owner, the Chairman must have the ultimate say, else why would they all kow-tow to him every time he shows up from the hospital?

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If the CEO is replaced, does the previous CEO go back to the position of director?

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DH is a misunderstoood character, usually by female commentators (want to guess why?).
The guy is literally FLAWLESS - as an imperfect being(even his superiors attest to that). He is stressed by externalities beyond his control, hence, fighting.

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Wha, she's only 20 international age? I wish they'd made her just 5 years older. If the studying-not-dead son weren't enough, the fact that she's only, what, 8 years older than Donghoon's kid definitely kills any last possibility of romance. (PLOT TWIST: 10 YEARS LATER, DRAMA BECOMES NOONA ROMANCE BETWEEN JIAN AND SON)

Side note, was really admiring the makeup artist during Donghoon and Jian's cute drinking/smiling session last episode because Jian became increasingly red, even her neck--what attention to detail! Just watched the BTS and turns out that wasn't makeup, the Asian glow was real!!! 😂😂😂 IU got super buzzed while filming!

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Could you please post the link to the bts clip? Thank you!
:)

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Thanks again!

:)

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I believe she's exactly half Dong-hoon's age. There's an old rule of thumb, don't date anyone younger than half your age +6. That metric works for 18 year olds, 42 year olds, and 60 year olds.

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Another great episode! Thank you drama gods for letting TVN give the greenlight to this story.
I'm amazed about how most of every situation and activity look and feel very realistic and normal, nothing over the top or overreacted. All the cast, especially IU and LSK are doing an amazing job and the interactions between their characters are so quiet but full of boiling emotions that you can see them trying to be shown. Two episodes a week are not enough.
BTW, I'm also impressed with Chang Ki Yoon's (Kwang Il) acting, I mean he acted as IU's love interest and very lovey dovey in two of her music videos so it's a real contrast to see them here as enemies. But I also think that Kwang Il is a little jealous of Jian's (possible) crush on Dong Hoon.

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The Central character is an upright man. However, it is still absolutely natural to develop feelings for someone attractive - and young. But that’s as far as it gets, I believe, keeping to his characterisation. Nevertheless, the romantic tension is to keep viewers speculating and coming back for more. I am putting my dollar on DH to keep his current...treasures..in his household.

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It's strange but I feel more interested in their office politic plot story rather than their romance side story (aka Ki Hoon and Yoo Ra). I don't understand her demand to Ki Hoon to fix her so she only appears as a clingy woman in my eyes and that's really annoying 😒 now everytime both of them appear on the screen, I push the ff button like crazy

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My understanding is Ki Hoon stole YuRa’s confidence by being so harsh in his criticism of her acting when they worked together 10 years ago. She now has so much anxiety about her acting ability (and being yelled at more) that she no longer can even audition. So she has lost her livelihood- which was also her passion (talent?). More importantly, it sounds like she lost her joy, and her ability to bring joy to other people. She is asking Ki Hoon to give back what he stole from her.

He seems to agree with her by always being so uncomfortable around her (and acting a bit guilty imo).

I wonder if there was something more than a working relationship (or at least the possibility of something more) between them 10 years ago which may have made the professional conflict worse. YuRa’s request for a hug just once seems to speak to this, as I can’t imagine asking someone who ruined my life to hug me unless there was an underlying relationship/affection for that person.

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i have to say that i STILL don't like Yu-Ra. i hope she doesn't start a relationship with Sang Hoon (Kaist, in my memory still)...

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wait -- i got the brothers mixed up, didn't i...
: |

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I liked the scene where Kwang-il was discussing the relationship of Donghoon& jian with his friend and couldn't definetely describe it in words but he realized that it wasn't merely a relationship for money, he could figure out that it's aunique, more deep and meaningful relationship which was more painful for him.

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Thus is the genius of the writer and director, because Kwang Il is exactly like us viewers. We know their relationship is deep and meaningful, but we also can't describe it with words, and like him, we will continue to guess where it is going.

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Exactly

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I am conflicted about Ji-an’s growing feelings for Dong-hoon and what those feelings actually represent.

Ji-an is a very lonely, physically- and emotionally-starved young woman in a hopeless and hate-filled life situation. Her whole life is centered around giving her all to people around her who can’t or don’t give back. She gave up her childhood to care for her disabled Grandmother, including an actual 3 years in jail as payment for killing a man while defending Grandmother. Now, she works all day at multiple jobs only to give all she earns to the son of the man she killed, to whom she feels both hate and guilt - enough guilt to provoke him to continue “punishing” her through beatings. She then goes home and works all night giving her time, energy, and what little love and positive emotions she has remaining to care for her grandmother. She gets nothing but guilt, worry, trouble and beatings in return. (I will allow the very rare moment of love she receives from grandmother, such as when they watched the moon together, but even those moments would be mixed with feelings of guilt and exhausted concern for the future.)

Enter a kind-hearted man who is good and caring to a fault, who sees through Ji-An’s carefully built facade straight to who she is at her core. He treats her with kindness and concern, is open and honest with her, encourages her, and offers her the hope of a relationship that is two-sided, not one-sided like she has had for years. He shares her burden physically (providing food, drink and even carrying grandmother up the stairs) and emotionally, by listening, offering fatherly wisdom and advice, and providing her a safe place to be open without fear of being beaten (literally and figuratively).

How is a young girl going to respond? Of course with feelings of like/love. But is it romantic love? Or is it the kind of grateful love one has for a rescuer or a friend who has taken good care of one in difficult times? It would be easy for Ji-An to confuse the two and mistake one for the other. I am interested to see which love it turns out to be because I can see it going either way. I just hate how it is going to crash around her when Dong-Hoon finds out she was trying to frame him.

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I was also wondering about Ji An's feelings but it's her first time been acknowledge as a person and that somebody likes her, cares for her and understands her without any selfish reason.
When you think about it, it's a little sad that she has just found her first friend and parent figure, this girl needs a bear hug ASAP.

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Eight episodes in and we have not seen a single hug from any character. I don't count Ki Hoon's awkward hug. LOL. No wonder everyone is so lonely. This is a healing drama, right? So I am looking forward to the episodes where everyone is hugging everyone else.

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I agree completely and I really don't want a romance plotline in this. I don't see a scenario where it doesn't feel exploitative and Dong-hoon is definitely supposed to be better than that.

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The best lines I like from this episode...

"And, do you know that I am a murderer?"

"Straighten her out already"
"How am i supposed to do that?"

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How many actually understand Korean culture and values? Understandably most will speak off themselves - if you know what I mean. Granted that the story can take on many possible scenarios depending on one’s biases but I think most writers are inclined to be “politically and genetically correct”

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Drama ending that will never happen or perhaps a spin off. Dong-hoon becomes Director and eventually Chairman. Along the way, he divorces Yoon-hee and marries Ji-an. She now lives luxuriously as the Chairman’s wife. Ji-seok says he has the coolest step mom ever !

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I'm honestly obsessed with this show. I fervently read the live recaps, then watch the TVN clips then watch it raw and then finally with subs! Then I have to read all the discussions on the Soompi forum and wait for Dramabeans to put up their recap. What has this show done to me?? Help me!! But also don't because I'm enjoying this show so much.

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I just loved the use of the song at the part where DH hollars out "Fighting!" Beautiful.

In most dramas, I find it so very frustrating when there is a lack of communication between the characters. In this drama, I understand it. I admire DH's decision to go on as if he knows nothing, and I understand it based on his explanation of his view on this and his comment to JA "I'll pretend I don't know." if he ever found something out about her. He did the same for his wife. At this point he doesn't want to end things and to make her feel to awkward to be around him. But how it breaks my heart to see him basically nursing her broken heart over JY. Gross. My opinion of her is probably lower than Umma's at this point.

I was so disappointed in JA taking the money this time, and surprised too. I hope the time comes when she stops soon. I thought that whole thing would be over once DH confronted YJ!

I hope things don't get worse for our JA and DH before they get better!

I had lost track in the moment of how many episodes in we were. It felt like it was nearing the end, when I realized we were only half way through! I'm so excited for that much more wonderful development to come.
I have very little sympathy for YH at this point.

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hollers*

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I found it sad that DH is so numb to the world that he cannot even cry when he is by himself. In the scene you described, he was clearly suffering, but all he could do was take a few short gasping breaths. Contrast this to LSK's last character where he reacted BIG to every new revelation about his wife's affair. I wonder if DH' first tears will be brought about by Ji An.

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Just reading the comment that DH's first tears will be brought about by jian made my heart aches, but unfortunately, it is very likely to come true😢😢😢

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(Oh and of course JA can't be straight up with DH yet for obvious reasons, I meant to put that up there when I was talking about communication.)

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Hooray! Thanks LollyPip for your recap and for keeping our party going! YES to JY being a weasel and YES to the small moments! But I want to add my 2 cents and say I disagree with your thoughts in the last paragraph. I do think Ji An is a good person...but I don't think she had the right/justifiable reasons, at least not after she got to know DH, to do some of the things she's doing. I actually don't dislike her for it, and I do understand her, but what's she's doing...it is still pretty bad. And the more she knows and learns about him, and the more her relationship develops with DH, I dearly wish she'd stop.

I think it's really interesting about what you say about DH having the wrong reasons. Perhaps sometimes he does? I guess that’s just a matter of opinion...but I just find his actions and motives so strong, honorable, and admirable! He sometimes doesn't make a fuss because he knows that situations will then be worse for those he cares about, and/or for himself. But when people cross the line, he goes all out. His reason for confronting the gangster with a hammer was to protect his brother. That was awesome. Many of his other reasons, to me, are equally awesome.

When DH brought up the question about who is really a nice person or not to his team at work, I thought more along the lines of JY and YH seeming like friendly, upstanding, caring, giving people. But they are both selfish, greedy, and very uncaring. Even DH’s mom sees that about YH, and we can all easily see it in JY. That was my interpretation of that theme.

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OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS:

What an enemy says about his opponent is very telling.

You have to hand it to Joon Young, he knows his sunbae. Although it is a shame he never learned how to be a virtuous and honorable man from Dong Hoon, he has been so observant. He recognizes DH’s attractiveness to the ladies, even during his college days. He knows that DH would never participate in something as intimate as a meal if he didn’t like someone. He knows that DH would never be disloyal to someone he cared about, how ever harmful to his career/future.

Kwang-Il is definitely interesting. He’s quite perceptive. He can tell Ji An and Dong Hoon are not having an affair. Yet, he knows there’s something very unique and special about their relationship. He feels threatened by Dong Hoon, and rightly so.

Grandma’s Birthday
Well, if that ain’t the most awkward family gathering…. HAHAHA! It was a great scene to show how Yoon Hee doesn’t really belong with the family. Even the way she dresses and carries herself sets her apart from Dong Hoon’s family. I wonder if YH and JY share the same kind of self-loathing at their humble beginnings and attempt to “rise above it” through accomplishment and “greed”.

But, Ji Seok takes the cake(!) in being both adorably lovable AND putting his foot in his mouth when he tried to encourage Sang-Hoon to find a good woman when Aunt Ae-ryun was there. HAHA!

Why can’t my ship sail…?
While I am still in the “save the marriage” camp regarding Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee, it’s hard not to ship Dong Hoon and Ji An because they complement each other so well. The other is usually a bit more “world-weary” in a way the other is more innocent or naïve.

Both are “old souls” and both are “wistfully idealistic” as well. Ji An actually thinks that by informing the superiors at work about the “bad guys” that justice will be restored, but as Dong Hoon pointed out, even such actions will invariably have unpleasant consequences to the whistle-blower. Dong Hoon thinks that by keeping his head down, working hard, and keeping secrets that he’ll avoid all pitfalls - but it’s actually Ji An who has been his guardian angel (when she’s not plotting to ruin his life) ending the adulterous relationship between YH and JY (and indirectly saving DH momentarily in episode 7 from JY’s scheme), quietly protecting him.

Ji An was so sweet trying to be supportive of Dong Hoon with her little #fighting!

My wild speculation is that Ji An will guide and protect Dong Hoon through her ability to play the pog game of office politics deftly and silently behind the scenes. Dong Hoon will help Ji An heal through his gentle and warm investment in her, and through modeling how virtuous people behave.

I honestly don’t think Dong Hoon will end up with Ji An, and that’s totally fine. If they can help each other flourish and thrive so that they can...

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Just to finish my thought:

"I honestly don’t think Dong Hoon will end up with Ji An, and that’s totally fine. If they can help each other flourish and thrive so that they can move forward in life happier, stronger, wiser, and freer, that would be enough for me. :)"

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Admittedly, this episode has some scenes that could possibly lead to controversy. But as the casts and even the director have repeatedly said for so many times I lost count, there is NO romance between Jian and Donghoon.

They’re simply two people lost and broken by this world that find comfort in each other. They like each other, yes, but as human beings, as FAMILY. Dong-hoon probably sees Jian as a child who struggles so hard just to survive and the only one that could truly understand him. Jian admires Dong-hoon as a brother/father figure that provides her support she never once has.

Please do not take their relationship other than what it is.

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I think viewers are not used to seeing men and women as 'people'. They only see them as objects of desire or sexualized otherwise, romanticized 'love from the stars' kind of weird fantasy trips, where 'love' solves all problems or love is the ultimate quest. And since viewership is usually female, they want to feel they haven't 'wasted their time' by watching real life! Ji-An definitely likes and respects DH, because she sees he is trying his best to fulfill all duties while unhappy and DH of course sees a girl making the best of a very bad situation. I would like to see them sitting together on a train without any distance, but that isn't how life works - they are at different stages of life and are 'people' not objects.

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I actually empathize with Yoon Hee. Not the fact that she cheated, but the fact that she is very lonely in her marriage. He doesn't try with her, even before he knew she was cheating, he didn't try. She did most of the talking and communicating. They both need therapy, honestly. Finally I agree with @lollypip, my favorite scene was when Ji-An told him fighting. It was so simple, but conveyed everything that is great in their relationship!!

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Ah, they married the wrong person. They need a divorce. Therapy doesn't help when you made the wrong choice. He bowed to family pressure to "marry up" and provide and she chose the nice, solid, responsible guy when she wanted the exciting guy. He now has so much pent-up emotion he's about to explode and she's cheating just to feel alive.
End it.

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I don't know. I believe they liked each other at one point. It was probably sometime before their kid left. The kid saw them affectitionate towards each other or he wouldn't have asked what Dong Hoon thought of Yoon Hee. So I do think they like each other or at least qualities in each other, they just either have to find their way back to each other or they can as you say divorce. However both those things require communication.

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This is not a mere series .. this is an art which should be treasured. This series are a rare breed which can incite emotions out of two character just having a simple conversation because its so well written and so well acted and also props to the directing and music. In any other situation we wouldnt bat an eye on the conversations which Jian and Dong Hoon but we are privy to their life and so we know every word these two has are so loaded. As more episodes go on , Jian will keep on digging herself a big hole, nothing better not happen to her by the end of this show pd.

And iu..wow. when jian spits her 'Do YOU know i killed a person?' to kwang. I think i got goosebumps because i dont think anyone saw that coming. And thats what make her so scary , coz when she goes to survival mode or protection mode which only included her grandma but also seems like she included dong hoon also... She is capable of doing anything , she gives no shit about moral compass at those times. So yeah kwang il , dont be stupid.
Thank @lollypip for your recaps. Always look forward to them.

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Correction needed : Donghun's monk friend's parent are not sick. When they got notified from their son that he would be into the priesthood, they got frustrated.

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Another : At a bar with Joonyoung, Jian's saying was not exactly like the above. Her intention was 'guys do some hospitable things for ladies to get laid'.

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Thank you and wow! But I am a bit confused. So was she asking Joonyoung if DH would hope to to sleep with her by eating and drinking with her?

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Maybe, or maybe not. She was just talking about regular logic for guys. And JY denied that. He emphasized that's not exactly the case with DH.

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Ah! That makes sense. Thanks again.

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i am late to this page... i am just so engrossed in this drama, its characters and their stories...that i barely think do anything else these days.
This episode was so great... the conversation between JA n DH while walking back homes was so slow but sincere.... how well one kdrama character can teach me something so important about life.... i had to pause and replay that scene almost 5 times to make sure i got the real meaning of all the words.
Then JA saying "fighting" to DH and then how that one single words keep DH going in one of his most vulnerable moment.
Then there were last 2 scenes.. when JY offers one large sum of money to JA to pretend to love DH and at same time confirming that "A man like DH will go for dinner and drink with her only if he loves her" and that strikes her heart. And that moment must have been of big decision making to choose money or her ahjussi.
i still doubt its love or romance from DHs side, but JA has started falling already....so next episode will be one very angsty or Serious one to reveal what exactly is there for us.

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Actually It's not love. Korean speakers use that exact Jo-a-ha-da when someone has peculiar interest to another person, but it's about the initial stage when some guy or girl start to have some interest and favourable mind to someone. So it's not exactly love.

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Don’t get too carried away with JY’s observation of DH. After all, he is a character with a twisted mind.
Question, would JA take the bait?
Through DH’s actions and how he had stood up for “family” with his life, JA should conclude DH has the purest of intention( not the account of a twisted mind) and had embraced her as “family”( has his love and protectiveness).

Family folks, family....pls calm down your raging hormones

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Thanks @lollypip for the recap / review.

So true: 'Every time I think things couldn’t get worse for Dong-hoon, they do, and I never see it coming. He’s starting to follow his instincts and stand up for himself more, but he’s got a long way to go before he’s capable of going toe-to-toe with his enemies. Hopefully some of Ji-an’s moxy will rub off on him in time, otherwise I’m worried that he’ll be devoured by the sharks.'

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While reading the various comments, I was troubled about two matters: (1) why are some viewers adamantly opposed to Dong-Hoon and Ji-An having anything more than a platonic relationship; and (2) why are some viewers rooting to see a romantic relationship between Ki-Yong and Ji-An.

I would like to believe the world has become more progressive in accepting the various differences we may have (ie, gender, status, race, age, etc.). If two consensual people who are mature enough to "understand" one another, are able to "connect" with one another, "love and care" for another, and have what it takes to endure whatever conflicts and affliction that any other relationship would go through... what is there to oppose?

Moreso, I am very bothered that some viewers are wishing for a relationship between Ji-An and K-Yong despite knowing what type of character he is, Are we rooting for a relationship simply based on looks? And, yes, while I know this is just drama... I am really surprised that viewers can still "root" for Ki-Yong despite the heinous acts he has committed toward Ji-An. It is like saying. "I know that Ki-Yong viciously pummeled Ji-An to a pulp... but man, they would look like an awesome couple together."

In any case, like how the other readers have alluded to, I am not certain if the story will end with Dong-Hoon and Ji-An in a romantic relationship. I suspect that they will end up as being very good friends. People may disagree with me on this... it is possible to be "in love" with your spouse but also to "connect" with another person without romantic interests.

In any case, great story, and I cannot wait for the next episode.

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Great thoughts. I also think this is a very well written story and I'm counting down the seconds until Wednesday. Ha!

Personally, I'm neither adamantly opposed or in favor of a romantic love line between the two leads. In fact, I think I'm all alone in championing the "save the marriage" between Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee.

I believe the director and actors themselves have already stated there wouldn't be a romantic love line, and I'm content with that.

Although I haven't read all of the comments, I think what you've observed has a few explanations.

(1) Certain commentators read selectively and carelessly and then overreact to someone else's posts. I personally have lost count of how many people respond negatively to what they imagined I wrote rather than actually read what I wrote.

(2) Those who are adamantly opposed, generally, seem to be reacting to those who would like to see a love line. I take their point in that not every love story has to be a romantic one. While I cannot speak for them, I can understand the lament for the devaluing of really deep, healthy platonic friendships in stories. Also, I think it is a well-worn k-drama trope that the leads who heal each other always do it from a "romantic" relationship. Fair point.

(3) For those who adamantly wish for a romantic relationship, I think it is hard not to "ship" Dong Hoon and Ji An together because the story is written to show their emotional connection, most likely in ways they (in their current situations apart from each other) desperately need. Actually, I think there's quite a bit of ambiguity in their relationship. While I think Ji An has shown more romantically-inclined actions towards Dong Hoon, I think Dong Hoon views her primarily as a colleague/friend-in-need - but there are hints that the line between friendship and romantic love is being danced on.

(4) Gosh, I REALLY hope no one is genuinely shipping Ji An and Kwang-Il. Dude needs therapy.

I also suspect Ji An and Dong Hoon will become really good friends...heck, maybe Dong Hoon will adopt her into his family so she can keep his brothers in line. HAHA! I think that would be a sweet ending.

I also agree that one can be in love with one's spouse but still have a deep and meaningful friendship with someone else. :)

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Hi Pineapplegongzhu,

Appreciate your insight...

You are right, so far, I have yet to read any hint of support for the marriage between Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee to be salvaged. I wonder why this is the case? I can speculate why... but I will refrain as I suspect my answer will offend some readers.

Moreover, while I am preferring that there be no romance story -- the production notices did announce that that there would be no romantic development --however, seeing how this ambiguous relationship between Doon Hoo and Ji-An is being developed so far, I am wondering if the production notices were just to appease viewers who opposed their age-gap.  I mean this would not be the first time a production team divert from what they had intentionally intended or planned.  :)

Me too, I cannot wait until the next episodes. I am so committed to this drama that on Thursday and Friday nights, I tell the nurses not to page me from 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. -- unless it is urgent. :)

Looking forward to future insightful commentaries from you, Pineapplegongzhu.

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At this point of the drama, some may hope for a more sedate and an unexciting coupling, and may appear to be heading that way too, but the sick writers may surprise y’all with a few screw balls and throw the ending in a shocking but delightful finale?

But I think it is going to be an ending awashed in soju and with friends in the “losers bar”

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For sure and for certain.

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While waiting for Wednesday to come (it's still Monday morning), I comeback here, read the recaps and comments all over again. I might be watching this episode again tonight.

I don't know when this drama is over. I might be getting a bad drama withdrawal... :(

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Mishmash of Leon the professional and Nikita??

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Does anyone here think that JY knows about or is guessing at Ji-an and DH's interactions so far? He is a smart fellow and would either have someone following Ji-an or can guess at what might be happening between Ji-an and DH. He already questioned Ji-an about everything she is listening in on. Maybe he is putting 2 and 2 together. Him saying how DH was very popular with women in college and telling Ji-an to eat and drink with DH seems very suspicious. I don't think he knows but he might suspect that Ji-an is starting to have some feelings for DH or at least may be questioning her actions. JY giving money to Ji-an to undertake this 'mission' might also be a way to see who Ji-an is truly loyal to, JY or DH. In any case, Ji-an has a big decision to make.

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I don't think Joon Young knows at this point, but there were two lines that worried me. One was when he asked her how their interactions turned after the attempted kiss. Another was when he asked why she was not fired right away. Ji An was evasive in her answer, but I'll bet somewhere in the near future JY will put two and two together. It seems like his instinct was already telling him something. Of course Ji An will be loyal to DH, but at this point she could not just tell JY that she won't do what he asked, because saying so would make DH an even bigger target than he already is.

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Yes, his comments like those you mentioned made me think he might know or is starting to suspect something.

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What a genius comments about this episode.

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What is the song in the ending?

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