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Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food: Episodes 7-8

Things get intense this week, in both good and bad ways. The relationship between our adorable lovebirds deepens, and begins to have real-world implications as one by one the people in their lives begin to discover their secret. Meanwhile, a threat they’d thought was already dealt with lingers in their orbit, taking them by surprise in a very ugly way. It’s a good thing these two have a rock-solid connection—they’re going to need it.

 
EPISODES 7-8

Saya: Joon-hee’s hug reveals his relationship with Jin-ah in front of both her brother Seung-ho, and Stalker Ex Kyu-min. When Kyu-min’s mom comes to pick him up, Jin-ah straight-up tells her that Joon-hee is her boyfriend.

Laica: Seung-ho is still giving Jin-ah the silent treatment the next day, and when Joon-hee comes to pick Jin-ah up to take her to work, they agree that they’ll have to talk to their families about their relationship soon.

Saya: Joon-hee meets Seung-ho that night and for the longest time, they say nothing at all. Eventually, Joon-hee makes it clear he’s not standing down, and Seung-ho says he’ll kill him if he hurts Jin-ah. Aw, that there is as good as a blessing.

Laica: Elsewhere, Kyu-min spills the beans to Jin-ah’s dad about her relationship with Joon-hee, insisting he’s been wrongfully accused of cheating and demanding an apology. UGH. Dad calmly points out that Jin-ah has done nothing wrong; in fact, he couldn’t be happier that she’s with such a decent and loving young man. Aw, Dad! But once he’s alone, he quietly drinks himself into a stupor.

Saya: Unfortunately, Jin-ah’s phone was destroyed in her fight with Kyu-min, but it’s registered in his name, which means she needs him to get it replaced. Somebody please explain to me why she thought it was a good idea to go find the guy alone.

Laica: Such a terrible plan! And why is she keeping this a secret from everyone? I mean I get that she feels weird telling Joon-hee, but this is what girlfriends are for. The dude has already assaulted you once!

Saya: Right? I was SO FURIOUS with her for going off like an idiot with someone who’s shown no compunction in committing violence towards her. ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND. Also, WHY IS THERE ROMANTIC MUSIC?

Laica: Okay, the music drove me nuts. I am so done with the terrible music cues in this show.

Saya: Meanwhile, as Joon-hee cycles home, Jin-ah’s voice takes him by surprise, in a recording she made when she had his phone. Guys, it is… a confession of love so lovely that it brought me to tears.

Laica: Soooo sweet. And Joon-hee gets misty-eyed himself upon hearing it. If we ever doubted this man’s love for Jin-ah… (To be honest, none of us did, but you know. We’d be proven wrong.)

Saya: But back in the Car of Doom, Kyu-min’s grand plan is, “Let’s die together!”

Laica: He drives like a maniac, ignoring Jin-ah’s begging for him to stop. Desperate, she unsuccessfully tries to jump from the moving car.

Saya: When Joon-hee can’t contact her, he’s convinced Kyu-min has something to do with it. Kyu-min loses his mind when Joon-hee calls him, and ends up crashing the car.

Laica: The police are called, and a frantic Joon-hee finally finds poor Jin-ah at the emergency room. They embrace tightly, and he gently helps her dress and takes her home.

Saya: Joon-hee is nicer than me and does not ask Jin-ah if she lost her mind.

She gets defensive when he asks why her phone was under Kyu-min’s name at all, but later cuddles up behind him in bed and explains that she felt so stupid about it herself already. As long as you know it, girl.

Laica: She gets her phone situation in order the next day, and that evening joins Joon-hee at his office, watching him fondly as he works.

She falls asleep on the couch, and Joon-hee’s coworker later playfully jumps on her, thinking she’s Joon-hee, which leads to embarrassment and apologies.

Saya: I giggled my way through that, because you can see he’s both intimidated and dazzled by “noonim.”

Laica: And then for some more moments of truth: Jin-ah steels herself to finally confess to her family, and decides to do it on her own despite Joon-hee’s offers of support. She tells him she wants to be the one to tell Kyung-sun, too.

Saya: She rehearses a whole lot of lead-ins for how to tell her parents, and finally seeks out her dad in private. But with the task actually upon her, she breaks down into uncontrollable crying. Dad asks where Joon-hee is, and she looks up at him in surprise.

Laica: In his office, Joon-hee realizes he’s forgotten his sketchbook at home… which Kyung-sun has discovered at that very moment, looking through his drawings of Jin-ah in dismay. Oh NO.

 
COMMENTS

Saya: Oh nooooo!! I kept wondering how exactly she would find out—it had to be the worst way possible, but what is the worst way possible?

Laica: The thing that’s bothered me most about the secret-keeping has always been that they’re deceiving Kyung-sun, and while it was understandable at first, it’s been awful to see them sneaking around and lying to her, especially when they’ve let Manager Geum and Seung-ho into their confidence already (if inadvertently).

Saya: I actually love the way the reveal to Seung-ho worked out. I feel like he’s got a bit of a bad rep with viewers because he comes off self-centered and is his mom’s favorite. But the latter isn’t his fault and the former, well, that’s one way to look at it, but the way I see it, it’s more that he and Jin-ah are just two people who don’t really know each other very well, and therefore don’t have much of a relationship. The fact that he comes through when it matters shows he genuinely cares about her, even if he doesn’t understand her at all.

Laica: Yeah, Seung-ho’s and Joon-hee’s conversation felt very real. And I appreciate that part of why Seung-ho’s not happy about it is that he knows if things don’t work out long term, his loyalty will have to be to his Noona in the post-breakup wreckage. I’m still not impressed with the way he talks to Jin-ah, or blames her for her failed relationships, but I can also see the way their mother’s worldview has shaped his own.

Saya: His mother’s another person who I think is seen too harshly. She’s a product of the society: expected to look after her husband and raise her kids, with no existence beyond that. The thing is, this is so typical to her generation that despite what I find personally frustrating in her worldviews and expectations, I feel sympathy for her too.

She’s a woman with many frustrations and only limited ways to express it: through her behavior to her family and expectations of her kids. Generally speaking, there are people who can change and people who really can’t. Mom can’t (yet), and I wish someone understood her better, because she needs love and kindness, too.

Laica: I see where you’re coming from, and I can sympathize with that perspective in theory, but the way she treats Jin-ah and talks about Kyung-sun and Joon-hee reveals a kind of prejudiced selfishness that really rubs me the wrong way. I particularly can’t forgive her hoping for a reconciliation even after finding out that Kyu-min cheated on Jin-ah, because it smacks of a kind of disregard for her own daughter’s happiness (or a skewed understanding of what will make her happy) that might be realistic, but is very infuriating. And more so because Jin-ah hardly ever argues back.

Saya: I absolutely agree with you, I just feel like there are times where the most you can do with some people is just understand them. She does want Jin-ah to be happy, but she believes her answer is the right one and that Jin-ah will thank her later. She’s wrong, but learning to change is Mom’s journey to make. While she’s certainly not the heroine of the show, I’m wary of making her the villain.

Laica: The workplace harassment plotline also moved along in these episodes; the female employees have been reluctant to detail what they’ve suffered on the CEO’s questionnaires, for obvious reasons. VP Jung takes them out to dinner to clear the air, and here, they freely air their grievances and vow to figure out an effective way to change things.

Meanwhile the men of the office, nervous in the face of the comeuppance they can sense coming, have their own dinner, where Manager Gong, the most egregious of them, claims that he’s calmed Jin-ah down and “made her understand.” Someone needs to string up this weaselly pervert by his ankles.

Saya: I’d volunteer, but then I’d have to touch him. I have such a hard time watching those parts. It’s too real, to the extent I don’t want to even see it because it disgusts me so much and I am like, no more realism, I just want to watch a romance!

Laica: Yeah. But I do appreciate that the men obliquely address the Me Too movement during their dinner, even if it’s in a sexist “women are scary, we’d better be more careful” way.

And I found it wonderfully illustrative that the men are uninterested in going for karaoke now that there’s no prospect of forcing the women to sing and dance for and with them, while the women, free of their abusive superiors for once, have an absolutely ripping time belting out songs about loser men that they’re leaving in the dust.

Saya: Joon-hee’s not a loser, though, bless every one of his little cotton socks and slow, light-up-the-world smiles.

Laica: THOSE SMILES COULD POWER A CITY. But I do want to point out one thing that bothered me in these two episodes: as loving and sweet as he is, I find him to be almost paternalistic toward Jin-ah at times—he’s said more than once something to the effect that she gets into trouble when left alone, or that she doesn’t listen. I don’t love how much he tells her what to do, or tries to make decisions for her, and how she finds that adorable rather than irritating.

I’m also not crazy about the way she described her reasons for no longer putting up with the harassment to Manager Gong: so that the person who loves her, who sees her as more precious than she does herself, won’t worry. I get that Joon-hee is giving Jin-ah a kind of love that she hasn’t experienced before this, and it’s beautiful, but I wish the impulse to protect herself, and stand up for herself, came from her own self-worth and not so that he would feel reassured and happy.

Saya: I read that a bit differently, though I agree it’s a very subtle difference. I felt that what she was saying was that her relationship with Joon-hee represents a turning point in herself; it’s not Joon-hee who makes her do it—correlation does not equal causation. It’s that she’s suddenly alive to the fact that she is allowed to treat herself as someone who matters, which she perhaps never realized until now.

Laica: I can see that reading, and even agree with it to a point, but I do feel a bit of imbalance in the relationship, and I’ve sensed it from the beginning. And part of it may just be that Joon-hee has a more outgoing personality, whereas Jin-ah tends to avoid confrontation, but I do find this unusual among the noona romances I’ve watched, which so often have a more dominant heroine. It’s interesting, for sure, but I’ll be ambivalent about it until we know where it’s all leading—and we won’t find that out until the end.

In the meantime, hugs and eye-smiles and adorable love confessions, hurrah!

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Wow thanks for the weecap @Saya and @Laica
1. I do understand what @Saya thinking about 'The MOM' cause I live in the society that close to how Jian's Mom believe. But I still can't accept those thinking about marriage is one of the way to make you and your status increasing. How parents thinks that the background family is anything for you to look success (and happy?). In the end I really dislike Jian's Mom.
2. Luckily, Jian's father and brother are open minded and can sympathy with JA and JH. As long as you get the support from on of your family, it will be different.
3. JH is hot temper and this will be advantage for both of them to stay together and facing JA's Mom
4. I think, KS just disappoint with them, cause they are the closest ont for her and yet they are not tell her about the relationship.

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1. I'm trying to be understanding of the mom from her point of view but she is going to be unnecessarily overtop.
She only plays the family card with the Seo siblings when she is in front of them. In reality she looks down on them.

4. I think they had to make sure that what they have is a relationship that they want in the long run before letting KS know.
It was only when she confessed that she loves him too that they started making plans to tell their families.

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I fully agree with "no more realism, I just want to watch a romance!". I like the romance as well as the realism in this drama but the romance is just wow.

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I like it all. And though I agree that Joon Hee sometimes comes across as a little paternalistic, he never actually pushes it into domineering - it feels more to me like this is one of the ways he's evening the age gap. Even though Ji An's older, he's making requests that would typically come from the older person in the relationship, and that kind of balances a bit. It comes across as a little more playful than controlling.

The scene at Joon Hee's where they start arguing, Joon Hee opts out, and then Ji An slowly admits to why she's being so prickly was delightful. Again, that's how good relationships work - knowing when to insist, when to leave it, when to apologize.

I am worried about the women complaining about sexual harassment. I have this sinking suspicion that they're not playing offense the way they need to, and that the men at the company are going to somehow warp this whole thing.

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I've said this a few times, But I really think the primary challenge in their relationship has always been their proximity to being family; their being near-siblings. Their age gap is only a few years, which isn't as big a deal as, say, ten or more years.
The only major anxiety either of them faced over the age gap is Jin-A being nervous about Joon-Hee's friend's girlfriends.

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(which, I'd like to add, was resolved in like, a quarter of an episode, so not a major plot point)

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The strange thing about that is I don't think any of the KIDS thought of themselves as siblings? It's more like one-to-one relations: Kyung Sun's probably the closest to seeing Jin Ah as a sister, but Kyung Sun's also the one most susceptible to adopting family members since she feels abandoned. There's no real indication that Jin Ah's brother sees Joon Hee as an actual sibling. And while Mom SAYS she sees them as her kids, it's pretty clear she means that in the context of bossing them around and lecturing them and feeding them, but she also draws a very firm line between her biological kids and the other two. It's more like Mom's constructed the family in her head and doesn't care how everyone else perceives it.

If I remember rightly, Joon Hee was right at the end of high school when his mom died, and he's been living in the US for years. Other than giving herself the title "Mom", I don't see a whole lot that would show that she considered them blood relations. They never lived under the same roof, they were almost adults when they lost their parents, it just doesn't make sense to pitch a fit when the entire "we're all one family" thing is more distant than most cousins.

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I agree with all of this so much, re: being a "family".

I see what you mean about JH trying to compensate for the age gap, but it's not a huge gap to begin with, and I feel like she never plays the noona card with him anyway (except to tease). And the teasing bossiness I have no problem with, because they both do it and it's clearly affectionate (and soooo cute).

My issue is when he does things like show up where she is when she told him she'd be fine on her own, or praise her for listening to hime/badger her to do what he wants until she gives in. And it's usually something he wants her to do because he loves her or is trying to protect her, but it sometimes comes off as him thinking he knows better than her, or that she won't make the right decisions on her own. It's not a dealbreaker for me, and it's very subtle, but I keep noticing it and it kind of bugs me. And just to note - I don't mind his character having that small flaw, but I think I will mind if the show continues to portray JH as perfect in every way and no one ever calls him out on it. I'm hoping Kyung-sun will kindly give him a few pointers once she's done being furious at them.

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Yes, you've really articulated the niggling problem I have with their relationship.

It's so frustrating with Joon-hee always turning up where he wasn't invited or insinuating himself into situations to 'save' or 'protect' Jin-Ah and never being called on it - Jin-Ah is always happy with him (because she secretly wanted him there? If you wanted him to come, ask). I know he thinks he's doing the right thing but in a healthy relationship you respect boundaries, and you respect what your partner tells you, not what you think they really want.

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I agree. And my problem with this whole thing is my sneaking suspicious is that this is what was wrong with her past relationships as well. She's always 110% all in so she overlooks or excuses behaviour she shouldn't. At the moment, they're in love so she interprets his behaviour as love. There's something about it that could turn into her ex's behaviour if she lets it. His response to the flowers was particularly bad. It was paternalistic, violent and robbed her of agency in decisions about her life.

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About the JH situation: I am so glad others pointed it out cause this was something that would completely throw me out of my immersion in the show because of how strongly I felt about it. However, I think the problem is not in JH's character but rather the writers, because both of them are at fault. They have made JH into too much of a knight-in-shining armor kind of a guy & on the other hand Jin-ah is too much of a damsel in distress (aka dumb). Not cause of external factors either but she simply does not know what to do in situations which put her in a bind unless they are work-related. It's something that boggles my mind cause she IS smart. It's like the writers make her do senseless things suddenly that make me wonder how the f she managed to stay alive all these years, just to have JH come in & save her & hence solidify their OTP & their "love". For example - that fucking car ride. WHAT. just WHAT THE FUCK was going through her mind. how stupid can she be. It also had me rolling my eyes when JH just somehow instantly seemed to know something was wrong. Or even other situations - its just so unrealistic that JH is somehow always there to save her. & the thing is its not even like she does not need that saving. she behaves in such dumb ways that you actually sigh with relief when JH comes in. All of this leads me to the real problem I have with this show - its half reality & half fantasy. It's not something unthinkable but when the reality is so harsh that it hurts, the two just don't mesh well. Atleast not in this drama. The entire JH half of the film is complete fantasy. I can just never look at him as a real character. Sure he is cute & all & does all the right things, but that exactly is the problem. Where are his lows? I wouldn't be surprised if the writers added a twist at the end about how actually Jin-ah is mentally deranged & that JH was all in her head cause JH really does seem to exist only to make her happy. A relationship does not work that way. Jin-ah does not know how to stand & fight on her own. Every change in her is only to satisfy JH & not to make him worry. Even if the change is right, it's turning her into a child that needs to be told what to do. Hence how the car fiasco happened. Even after that she was apologizing to JH for making him worry. & then she goes to meet him alone AGAIN while all this time I am here wondering why she just doesn't get a new phone under her name. It all just goes to show that all that change is temporary. The moment JH is not in the picture in some way, all of that change vanishes into the air. That scene where that pervert boss of hers takes her out for dinner - she should have known what it was going to be about. But she seemed so lost when he brought up what he had been building up to & also - the fuck was up with that reply. People don't talk like that with people they don't know. In a nutshell - Jin-ah is overly dependent & JH has no problem spoiling her & solving her problems...

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In a nutshell - Jin-ah is overly dependent & JH has no problem spoiling her & solving her problems for her. Bora, her colleague, said the right thing - don't spoil Jin-ah too much. But of course the writers had to go & prove the one wise character on this show wrong. Cause the OTP can never be wrong guys. It's the universal truth.

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I got that feeling too, it seemed like it could turn into controlling boyfriend at the turn of a writer. However just read about the directors comments in the most recent press conference, and he was saying how JAs character, while not the brightest when it comes to what she gets into, always goes into those situations herself. JH is never there to save her like a knight, only to comfort her. She is always in these situations alone.

That mad me look at all the cafe assualt, crazy car ride scenes in a new light. It is true JH is actually never there when she is in trouble. So it’s a deliberate setup by the writer. His character is supposed to be young (though really? Young at 30?) and a bit hot tempered and quick to react and his growth is to become more thoughtful and mature.

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Well I agree, they are not a family, who does not know if their brother is back from US?

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Kyung Sun did not know her brother was back from US, yet she is family with Joon Hee. They can't know if he doesn't tell them.

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@panshel
She knew he was coming back and she left the note in his room, prepared the room as well. He just did not call her as soon as he got back. That's the opening scene for JH.

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@oppafangirl (@rket593)

By that logic, Jin Ah knew he was coming back too, since she knew Kyung Sun had found a room for him. Didn't she say, "Your noona went through a lot to find your room. Why don't you just move in with her?" They're best friends, of course Kyung Sun would have told Jin Ah her brother was coming back.

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@panshel

I am sorry! But I beg to differ!
For family you will call them and tell them personally you are coming but in KS case I guess he was just tired so he did not call her after he arrived. But he definitely called her before coming.

But then I am not sure if he called JA. Because she got a lot of info only from KS. They (JA /JH) were not in direct contact when he was in US.

By that logic my friends know my parents are visiting me but that doesn't mean they are my family now.

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@oppafangirl
I believe he didn't call his sister because he is also worried about her doing too much for him based on his conversation with Jin-ah.
Showing up at her work and surprising her was what he wanted to do.
She didn't have to prepare food etc for his homecoming.

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But Kyung Sun seeing Jin Ah as a sister is reason enough. While Seung Ho does not see Joon Hee as an actual sibling, he does see Joon Hee as a "bro." And Bro Code Rule #19 is "A Bro shall not sleep with another Bro’s sister."

As for Joon Hee living abroad, just because you haven't seen each other in three years doesn't mean you forget you're family.

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I rest my case!

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I lived abroad for over a decade, I never got particularly confused about who was family and who was not. The mom didn't treat him like a son, particularly when his back was turned. When you're overseas your mom calls you, sends you packages, maybe visits you. Sometimes when she doesn't hear from you for a couple of days she googles one of your coworkers and Facebooks him to ask him to call you and tell you to call her, which is pretty embarrassing but hey, it's your mom and she thought you were dead, apparently. Do you sense any of that happened with Jin Ah's mom towards Joon Hee?

It won't surprise you that I don't subscribe to the bro code. And doesn't it tell you something that both Seung Ho and Kyung Sun were okay with this within a day or two? They don't see each other as siblings! They're not family! They're close friends who celebrated family events together. That's not family, though it's nice. Ji An and Kyung Sun are tightly bonded as close as sisters, but that certainly doesn't extend to the rest of the family. Two families don't automatically become one because their kids are close - in fact that's a pretty common recipe for romance!

If anyone else in the family TRULY thought they were siblings, we'd be seeing Flowers in the Attic-style freakouts. But every single family member accepts it... except Mom. That means they really don't see this as a taboo. It's just her.

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@Miranda
Personally, I have no problem with their relationship as they are not blood-related, so it is not incest. However, I understand the conflict in that other people may have a problem. And clearly they did too, which is why they were apprehensive to go public.

This is the cultural difference of this drama. Besides Korean, which other cultures do you call non-family members "older sister" (noona) and "younger brother" (dongsaeng)? Yet our characters have referred to them as siblings time and time again.

- Ye Eun: "Won't you feel weird at Manager Kang dating your dongsaeng?"
- Kyung Sun: "She's not just anybody. Jin Ah is our family."
- Mom: "Who cares? We're family."
- Seung Ho: "35? That's like dating your sister."

I have not watched Episodes 9-10 due to lack of subs, so I did not know Kyung Sun was okay with this within a day or two, but I'm glad she was. As Joon Hee and Jin Ah are Kyung Sun's world, I was confident she would be okay as long as they were happy.

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I don't see as much difference culturally as you do. The way people refer to each other in friendship structures is just language, the real importance is in how they view the relationship. African-American families have a tradition of applying the term "cousin" to people who aren't actually cousins by a family tree, but it's a term of proximity to the family that may or may not be actual kinship. The words don't matter so much, behavior does.

But no one's freaking out other than Mom. SH got over it, KS got over it, Bo Ra and Kang and Ye Eun all see it as something to giggle over rather than something shockingly scandalous. If people really did see Joon Hee as Ji An's brother, they wouldn't be reacting like that. That's why I'm so skeptical of Mom's hyperventilating. She seems to be the only one who drew mental boundaries around these relationships.

- Ye Eun: "Won't you feel weird at Manager Kang dating your dongsaeng?" Pretty normal thing to say about a coworker you don't really like dating your family friend.
- Kyung Sun: "She's not just anybody. Jin Ah is our family." KS is talking more about breaking up the family friendship, not about Jin Ah really being his sister.
- Mom: "Who cares? We're family." People say this all the time to close friends.
- Seung Ho: "35? That's like dating your sister." This is literal - Kyung Sun is 35.

Koreans use "dongsaeng" and "noona" frequently and in much broader contexts than this, it's not as specialized a word as if I said my friend was my "sister" in English - which depending on the context could come across as very literal. But at the end of the day I take cues from the reactions of characters, and they're all acting like no one actually thinks Jin Ah and Joon Hee are siblings in any sense.

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Maybe the title is kind of misleading to us non Koreans.
It's more about her being an older "sister" instead of an older "woman" if that makes any sense.

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Other way around actually, you can use noona to refer to any older woman (if you're male, unni if you're female). Just because you call someone noona does not mean you are related, not at all.

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Yes, this happens in my country too. When you have to call a person you don’t know well, and he/she is not that old but look older than you, you call/refer to them as older brother/sister or if they’re younger, little brother/sister. If they are way older than you, the choices of words change to uncle/aunt, grandfather/grandmother. We’re never blood-related, yet we call everyone using terms used for calling relatives.

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I get the definition, it's just that it's not much about the age gap or because that she is older.
It's more about the fact that they are seen as close as family.

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I'm not sure I'd say "Any" older woman. My understanding of it is that it varies, If a person is 20 years older than you, you might not use those terms. But there are cases where you'd use it anyway, and times where another word would take priority.
It makes my head spin!

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"I’m also not crazy about the way she described her reasons for no longer putting up with the harassment to Manager Gong: so that the person who loves her, who sees her as more precious than she does herself, won’t worry"

This. I also wanted her to stand up against the bosses due to her own realization and not becoz joon hee wanted it.

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Did Joon Hee ever lecture her about standing up for herself, though? He showed a lot of concern, but I can't remember him instructing her to stand up for herself.

I thought it was nice that the level of concern he had for her made her realize that she could stand up for herself more, because someone external is making it clear she's worth caring about that much. I actually thought that entire segment was really sweet.

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I don’t know. I might not be in a majority here but I somehow feel like the romance is quite .. hmm too much? I don’t know. Haven’t been in a relationship for a long time so I can’t connect to that feeling of being infatuated by love that much. I somehow think that the relationship dominated by feeling alone is likely to be doomed at the end.. dunno. Let’s hope it’s not gonna be like that. I also think that the plot should make the leads more reasonable. Haha.. if any beanie can not comprehend my point of view, I’m an ISTP. I think that can answer all the questions. 😌

I agree with an opinion here too that the way Joon hee seems to be paternalistic is because he’s trying, unintentionally, to narrow the age gap. He is much younger in the relationship, yet this is a relationship established in a very conservative part of the world, where men are supposed to take care of the household and women nurturing the family. What kinda makes me a feel a bit uncomfortable is the way Jin ah treated Joon hee. Sometimes she is very sweet to the point that I’m not sure whether she acts more immature than she really is (perhaps to make Joon her feels more confident, domineering.) But there are also many times when she acts like his mother or Noona. Many decisions should be made together or things done together like telling their close ones about their relationship, yet she always says, perhaps ‘offers’ is a more suitable word, to do it alone. It doesn’t make sense to me, so Jin ah comes of as being self-centered and very immature in thr relationship.

I don’t know. Perhaps this is the result of lacking appropriate love and understanding from her mother which made her this way. She lacked self respect and could not stand up for herself, which I’m not sure whether this can be made better by receiving so much love from Joon hee alone.

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Well, at least I am on your #notsailingshipofromance.

I thought she went too fast from one relationship to another. She never had the time to think what was wrong with the first relationship. She accepted it as my ex boyfriend is the one who is wrong. End of reasoning.
She is not the smartest woman on our planet but I would like if she stops for a moment and sees and understand when and where the things go wrong and thinks why was she with her ex boyfriend in the first place, what she wants in a relationship and till where she would like to go and what made her choose or stay for so long in a relationship. Learn how to read people's behavior.
She needs to stop this "needing the love" story and somebody's love makes her precious. She needs to just understand and find out why she should consider herself precious.

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Weirdly, as an INFJ I agree with all your points ~ I feel they jumped too quickly too deep, which ruined the process of growing their feelings (my favorite part of shows usually).

I do feel like Jin Ah is rather immature, it’s like she left a bad relationship and as soon as she meets a good guy she lets go of everything she was holding in. Because we haven’t seen much time pass, the way she acts with Joon Hee still seems a bit like a reaction to her awful ex...

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Loved reading your opinion, and found it interesting that the point of JH being paternalistic was brought up as I never saw it that way until now.

Perhaps because of a similar age gap (4yrs) with my husband being younger, there were quite a few situations in this drama I could directly relate to. I read the situations where JH showed up unasked as him understanding it may have been difficult for JA to ask for his support, and doing it anyway.

I love this pairing so much simply because from what I've seen so far, they complement each other really well - he's bold/outspoken where she tends to be more reserved. They support each other at their weaker points, and it seems like being with JH has made JA realise she has been undervaluing herself.

Wanting to change should come from within, but it is the people around us that can sometimes give that spark of motivation. We see this daily not just in romantic relationships but at work and with friends. One single person can have such a huge impact on our lives, and I love that JH is that person for JA.

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I can’t agree with you more. Thank you for a very objective viewpoint regarding the whole situation. It’s nice to learn about the opinion of a person who is actually in this type of relationships. And I totally agree with your viewpoint that there are many times when we got inspired by people around us. It can be from their comments, the way they act or their opinions about things.

I too agree that it’s not wrong to find courage from outside as it can lead to courage stemming from inside. It’s just a process which takes time, but people are different. If one realizes the value of oneself in the end, I think it doesn’t matter how that is achieved.

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What in the fuck? Kyu Min tries to kill her, and NOTHING happens to him? He doesn't get arrested? She doesn't get a restraining order? Then she sees him AGAIN the next day?

I have to keep reminding myself not to victim blame, but Jin Ah is So. Stupid. She brings it upon herself. She is the stereotypical damsel in distress who always needs her boyfriend to save her. She almost got raped and killed, then acts cute like nothing happened.

I know it's not her fault her ex-boyfriend is a psycho because it could happen to anyone, and I commend her good mentality for quickly forgetting the bad things that happen to her, but she is a bloody idiot. Though I never believed Kyu Min would actually kill Jin Ah; he's too much of a coward to take his own life.

How do her parents and brother not hear Jin Ah's lovey-dovey phone calls with Joon Hee? Does her room have soundproof doors? My doors are paper-thin.

Seung Chul's drunken Congratulations was the highlight of today's episode. Thank you, Jin Ah, for stealing that tambourine from the noraebang. And thank you, @Laica and @Saya, for your commentary!

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Psycho Ex ! I could flip the writer’s table for including that in the script.

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I think writer nim does well with the dramaless romance parts. It feels real like it was from her own experience or someone close to her.
She is very lucky to have actors with natural chemistry and executed well by a creative PD.

The ex comes off being written on the go. I don't get his sudden obsession over Jin-ah if she was so boring.
He walked out on her and I don't buy the "if I can't have you nobody can" because he didn't give a crap before.

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i was yelling at the screen when she got in the car with that psycho ex -- i know there are women that rely on their partners way too much, for everything such as setting up those things. recently i became frustrated with my cable provider and found out over the phone that i couldn't make any changes because it was in my husband's name! GRRRRR!!!

i was furious, as i am the CFO in this family - i pay the bills, i monitor the bank accounts, i track utilities useage (overconsumption of water = daughter/husband long showers), etc. i had to have my husband call Xfinity to put my name on the damn account...

i digress -- the point being, yes, one cannot necessarily make those changes to an account if one's name is not the primary customer on said account.

GRRRR!!!! check all your accounts ladies, it happens here in the states as well...

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Omg that is so true, now that you have said that. Because we have the same in my house. I sometimes speak for my mom when I have to sort the utility bills and it is always a hassle since they have my dad on the account. I feel your pain.

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Yep, that handphone thing happened to me too. Have since separated the accounts.... It's too darn annoying.

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I AM pretty irritated at how the sh*tty ex-boyfriend keeps on getting screen time to commit crimes and YET gets no punishment. NONE!

and @panshel , you were NOT victim-blaming at all !
Jin Ah juuuuust suffered through an episode of sexual harassment at her workplace with her ex trying to force himself on her, THEN she heard about the private pics of her he was gonna post and STILL she had the mind to trust him??? HOOOOOW????? just HOOOOW???

for the love of Kdrama gods, someone explain to me how this guy isn't in jail?!?!

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i just want to comment about the mom's differing attitudes toward her daughter and son. asian moms have a cultural gene that prevents them from crediting their daughters' intelligence and capability - wait, i think it's that cultural gene's fault that mothers will focus their hopes and dreams upon their prodigal sons, rather than notice, acknowledge or encourage those of their daughters...

i joke, of course. but hey, it's REAL. the sons get the praise, the daughters get the criticism... as your asian sisters/friends. in my generation, my asian girlfriends had to pay their own way thru college while their brothers got support from the parents. i'm talking about here in the US... so imagine what it's like in asia.

the mother isn't "mean" or "cruel" - she's a korean/asian mother, period. it's cultural, it isn't shocking to hear the way she talks in korea or even for those of us who've had to deal with those issues from our own mothers (immigrant or american-born) here in the states. it is a lingering cultural norm that - at least among my generation of asian american women - we hope to dispense of as we raise our own children. it is getting more diffuse here, but it is not changing much in the native asian countries.

just had to toss that in, so you can try to not hate the mother based upon your own cultural upbringing...

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As an Asian American woman myself, I get that, and I acknowledge that it's real, but it still drives me crazy. Maybe even more so because I've had to deal with it in real life. So I can see where the mom is coming from, but there's an element of meanness to the way she interacts with her family that means I really can't like her.

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: D
you'd have hated my mom... my sisters had a difficult relationship with her based upon her attitudes/expectations/criticisms, but being the youngest of 3 sisters - i realized that my mom was a product of her generation and i didn't let it affect my self-worth. easiest for me, i acknowledge.

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Wasn't it in Cheese in the Trap where the heroine paid her college tuition through scholarships and jobs while her parents sent her brother to the US fully-paid? I have definitely seen that in other dramas.

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preferential treatment at its worst, that example. our poor Seol even got into a fight with her dad who ACTUALLY told her that there's no point paying for school for a girl, when all she needs to do is marry.

My heart hurt for her.

Ah, another example: Girls' Generation 1979. the preferential treatment between male & female siblings was overtly offensive.

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I remember that scene and it pissed me off so bad. Especially since her brother was such a slacker. To be honest, I didn't envy him either as he had to live with his parent's expectations. In the end, both are screwed. The brother can't do whatever he wants and the sister gets opportunity taken away from her despite her hard work.

To think some people have the same mindset as the 70s is sad. :(

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Someone wrote in a different forum that this is how Asian mothers love and care for their daughters. When I pointed out that her behaviour is utterly self-serving and almost narcissistic, they got very angry that I didn't understand the culture. Even then their point was that her "love and care" was all about ensuring her daughter didn't shame the family. I just can't hand wave a cultural imperative that says a daughter's happiness is less important than all other family members.
So I find it almost painful to watch.

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There's a nuance that may be getting lost here - there is of course a particular brand of sexism that is common in Asian cultures (different from the type of sexism that exists in "Western" ones), and understanding that is important. There's also cultural norms and expectations that have to do with family structure that aren't necessarily right or wrong, just different - and one often needs a bit of cultural literacy to understand those. Then there's just a person being nasty and mean and not very willing to have empathy for the people in their life, and that exists everywhere. It's not the case that it has to be only one thing at a time - often all of these things exist simultaneously.

In the mom's case, the cultural factors are there, there's an element of sexism, but she's also not really a generous person and tends to calculate her own benefit first (at least from what I've seen so far). She does love her children, but it kind of goes through the filter of what kind of person she is. All of these things interact with each other, and while I have sympathy for the first two because everyone is a product of the society they live in, the third makes me feel much less charitable toward her.

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Hmm I slightly disagree here. Speaking as a Korean woman, with parents that are in that 'traditional' generation, I think you can recognize the cultural influence on patterns of thought and also recognize that it is still cruel. Perhaps I was just lucky that my parents, despite being older (60-80), are more open minded than your typical kdrama parents, but I think it's possible to have that cultural influence and recognize that it's wrong on a human level.

My mom also placed a huge amount of importance on my first (ex)bf's family background, same as Jinah's mom. When she met with his family and had negative experiences with them, she immediately disapproved of our relationship and we fought about it a lot. Her reasoning is that you can see the character of a man based on the character of the family because that's how he was raised - if they suck, then it's more than likely that he'll suck too. Which (now) makes sense to me and is more logical than the focus on money and status that Jinah's mom has.

When she found out that my ex had become abusive she immediately supported me, instead of victim blaming and pushing me to get back together with him. She has always been supportive of my career and schooling. And she loves my new bf and his family (now husband^^).

So all this to say, just because parents were raised with certain cultural norms does not give them carte blanche to be horrible people. People are still capable of having empathy and recognizing that wrong is wrong, and some people are objectively worse than others. I can understand that Jinah's mom was raised with those values, but her complete lack of regard for her daughter's wellbeing goes beyond that.

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Well said! This is exactly what I was trying to articulate above. You've done so much more clearly, though. :)

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Thanks Laica! Although I think your comments do a great job articulating it too :)

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And that's what I was trying to say as well. It was other viewers who were telling me that I didn't understand the culture and that the Mum is actually showing love and care.

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well i never said it was showing love and care... i said that's how asian moms can be.

things being as they were/are regarding our mothers' attention being more on our brothers isn't what we'd call love and care. it just is what it is... does this make sense?

i'm not saying it's "okay" or that we condone it, we are totally hurt by it all. but we cannot change how our mothers were/are, and they cannot change their ways... so, we just live with it. some with resentment, others, like me... we just live with it and don't need all that (attention/praise) to move forward with our lives.

and we don't hate our moms. we just understand that that is how they were/are.

i don't "like" her mom, but i don't dislike her. she's just one of those asian moms who must buy into that social/cultural stuff. it's not okay, but it is still real to some families, sadly.

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Don't worry @spazmo I wasn't referring to your comment - or the comment of anybody else on here. I find the opinions of Beanies to be far more nuanced, intelligent and measured than elsewhere. and it's why I enjoy the site so much. Even when we disagree, we usually do so in ways that are thoughtful and well-argued.

I was referring to a different forum where I said her Mum was narcissistic and self-serving and someone replied with a torrent of acrimony about how I didn't understand Asian culture.

To be honest, I was a bit comforted by the more-layered responses to this issue here because I usually try to at least acknowledge where I'm coming from a different cultural framework and to be as respectful of others as I can.

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So, Episodes 7-8, not the strongest. Are there not restraining orders in Korea? But Joon-her overcome with emotion from the recording and then driving her home from the hospital was enough to make me forgive the rest. And I started ep 9. Still so good. I LIVE FOR THIS OTP TO BE ON SCREEN TOGETHER!

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In Spanish we have a saying for that state you are, which literally translated means: you are fried, like fried chicken or fried eggs... I suppose, in English you would say: "you are toast"!!!!😂😂😂😂😂😂
But I understand this feeling, since I have been watching too... I can't help myself but feel a little bit the same, I just like them soo much.
I hope they will date for real. Soooo cute! 😍😍😍🎉♥😍😍😍

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Oh God, I could write 10,000 words on how people in Asian dramas never call the police and/or ambulances. I wonder if there is an expectation the police won't respond well to domestic issues? When he sent her the creepy flowers, they should have gone straight to the police.

What struck me in this episode though was when she had the dinner with The Pervert she came out of that feeling like she'd "won" the conversation. I think she felt buoyed by it and thought she could deal with stalker ex as well. But there's a big difference between a handsy boss and a guy who tried to rape you.

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I’ve seen LIVE, and I don’t think it’s the police, it’s the culture. The devaluation of women. And it’s horrible and depressing.

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Thanks for the recaps.

Long post for discussion purposes:

The "realism" of the story is very good, but the relationship seems stalling at this point.

In what direction is the relationship moving? There needs to be some core conflict between the couple beyond JA mother’s objections or an “us against the world” relationship bond. The story needs to have a moment which puts the relationship in serious risk. Here is my suggestion: JA and JH have a major conflict involving trust.

Example, if JH goes to China (expected because of the Korean economy, gaming industry hard field to enter, etc.), we’d expect JA to “surprise” visit him.

A plot twist would be that JA surprises JH who is comforting a drunk, Chinese female co-worker. He would say that there is nothing going on - - - just helping a colleague going through a bad time. But in reality, the Chinese female worker has been harassing JH for his attention and affection. (An ironic change from the coffee company subplot).

At JH’s place, as our couple gets playful, JA finds a bra. JH jokes is that hers? It sets up the bad assumption-denial couple story. JA accuses him of infidelity in their relationship; he tries to calm her down with a story about his colleague being too drunk to go home (and he could not read Chinese to find her address) so she crashed at his place - - - - but nothing went on. JA feels she is suddenly back with her pyscho ex-bf.

Flashback to JH talking to JA’s brother about his playboy days. JA assumes the worst and storms out. This gives the couple a real issue: mistrust.

How would JA handle such a (perceived) betrayal?
How could JH redeem himself?

I would presume that JA would delete their past and block him on her phone because she has been crushed by JH. JH would have to find another way to get her back.
I would presume JH would try to resign to go back to Korea to patch things up, but his bosses would threaten him with no employment in the industry if he left them at a critical product development point. Or his sister would tell him not to because he would be both miserable and unemployed with no prospects for recover from either setback. She could offer to mediate between the couple, but her own view could further sabotage their relationship.

JA would return home to make a critical examination of her life. She would resign from the coffee company to the dismay of the director. She would move out of her mother’s domineering house to another city like Busan, to become a coffee shop manager in a tourist area. This would give her a taste of real independence.

Since viewers have speculated that the story seems to be set in 2015, the ending could drift to present 2018, three years later after the “break up” incident. We could see JA managing her own shop when a middle age man comes in to order. There is some small talk, and the man says he needs to come in more often if JA is around. JA could have found the courage to be a more forceful self by...

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Thanks but no thanks!
Just common, how stupid can one be to bring a drunk girl home, I would'nt even have trust issue. I would break up on the point that you are too stupid for me to handle.

I think there is already a Sexual harassment line in work at the end of ep 10, so maybe we see it in ep 11.

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That's just an entirely different show. I feel like that show's been done a lot, as a soap opera. I like this one because it's got a lot of elements that feel extremely familiar to me.

Most love stories don't have big cinematic breakups or betrayals. Just small, quiet ones.

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I feel like people have different expectations of conflict in a show. I personally dislike makjang and find that kind of drama annoying and a bit silly. I love the simplicity of this show, I love that all the conflict is realistic and I even love that all the conflict is about people's attitudes and prejudices rather than "real" issues. There's no real age difference, there's no real family relationship, there's no real taboo here. There was no cheating (on her part). These two people have done nothing wrong. I like that core of the show and I would not want to see that change.

The only point of personal conflict I see is in how paternalistic he can be. But I feel like that's a maturity thing and will hopefully change.

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With the same level of intelligence as our heroine, there were two more possible options to take rather than getting on the car with a psycho:
Option 1: Ask your new boyfriend to buy you a phone/since you accepted the one from your previous boyfriend.
(Wash Rinse repeat cycle)
Option 2: Buy a new plan for yourself Sorry that's for smart people.

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My husband says Jin-ah reminds him of our dog, not very smart, but inexplicably lovable.

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Oh that's cute ! :)

*tries to hug your dog!*

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Oohhh. That hurts! 😳

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hahahahahahahaaha @ally-le
that is a peeeerfect description for her !
I just couldn't understand why she didn't simply get a new plan with a new phone!! Her ex is a scumbag who HAS proven, time and again, that he WILL be aggressively forceful on her, so, whyyyy in the hell does she even stay in touch with the dirtbag??

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Right! I mean I didn't have the room to mention this above, but that drove me nuts too. Why can't she just stop paying that phone bill and get a new number? People change their numbers all the time, it's not brain surgery. There was no reason for her to ever talk to Kyu-min again!

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Agree agree agree totally, but well, sometimes (actually pretty often) k logic is weird.

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I thought the same but I assumed that she had to pay the contract for her old phone so she had to cancel it whether she liked it or not, so she could get a new phone.

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I am sorry, I don't understand this plan part.
I would if you could tell me how it works. For me I am not a big fan of this contracts which big phone companies give out as offers with new phone. In my home country you don't need to do such a thing and also wherever I live I ensure that I can get rid of a phone/ a phone number as soon as possible and I travel a lot so I would die if there was a sim lock.

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What concerned me about the phone situation is that she'd lose her number, but also all of the hookups in the phone - her contact book, any links to work email, the chats between her and Joon Hee, the photos. I thought she was making a rational decision trying to get ownership of the account because those are risky things to leave open to a vengeful ex.

People are calling her an idiot but it's much more complex than that. Sometimes we make a bad decision that turns out to impact everything else disproportionately. Approaching her ex who she'd dated for a year and getting him to cross the road to recontract her phone must have seemed like an okay decision - public place, lots of people, short walk. But then he walked to the car and she made the poor short-term decision to ride with him. Last-minute variables can screw with well-reasoned plans.

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That's not possible! You don't lose such a stuff. She had a smart phone. Assuming it was android OS, she will have all the info on her google account. (well if she did choose that option, when you are working you need back ups right?)
When you buy a phone, you don't set an account.
And account password won't be changed at any shop, not even google can do it. You can try going to Google Headquarter it won't help much.
You can only do it yourself.
This already explains everything!
If it is still as you said then JA does not understand anything about a smart phone. And then she should take option1 because well second one is too hard now.

This was all after that Picture accident and she had been to police station with him. She has some talent here. Give her due credit.

Its a misconception that public places are safe. They are even worse, people don't help and the its easy for the suspect to run away.

The point was after that pic accident you meet that psycho only if you are in hell and moreover, just take JH or your own brother along because you know he is mad, why go good will hunting, when you are the prey!

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You should look more into your phone's security features. If the phone (and therefore the phone account) is in his name, he's the one who gets to make alterations. You can change your gmail password and it would be wise to change all your other passwords, which will lock him out of incoming mail, but the content left on the phone is still there - historical emails downloaded to local mail, photos, texts, recordings. He owns the phone, he owns the content. There's an off chance you might be able to remotely wipe the phone, but even for that the other person has to connect it to wifi or cell.

I was pretty sure Gyu Min was going to use that phone against her, likely the text messages and her work phonebook. Didn't happen, but it's completely possible.

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this man, to her (and our) greatest disappointed surprise, sexually assaulted her juuust a few days/weeks ago. It should be FRESH on her mind. no way I'd be comfortable being anywhere in a locked space alone with him. No way I'd lower myself to ASK him for anything.

I'm not calling her stupid, just extremely naive. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me". her trust in her ex-bf acting like a decent human being SHOULD have been broken by now and never should she have trusted him from that moment on.

no amount of "lost contacts and cellphone plan payment" should have moved her to go near him. none.

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I tried to rationalize it as she couldn't lose her number because it doubled as a work phone.

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Women take on a lot of blame for male behavior during a breakup. I see a lot of criticism coming her way, but in the real world women behave like she did ALL THE TIME. We've seen Gyu Min acting like a jerk since the start of the show, but for a year prior to that he was Jin Ah's boyfriend. She slept with him and traveled with him and clearly thought marriage was on the horizon. One horrible event, though immediately obvious to outsiders as crossing the line, usually reads as an aberration that's unlikely to happen again. Many women believe that the man will feel such guilt for crossing that line that he'll behave himself.

People are judging her too harshly, or at least judging the writer too harshly. Jin Ah showed a pattern of behavior that is NOT AT ALL unusual, even for the smartest women. You do not think that the guy you loved for a year is going to kidnap you and threaten to kill you. You just don't.

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I think one should think that way, because almost in every other kidnapping murder or rape it the person closest or in a position of your trust who does that.

Random crime is called terror attack.
We are not blaming her for her pyscho boyfriends behavior but there were other options available for her once she knew that your ex is a psycho you get a restraining order. End.
Your life is more important than a phone.

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I've made some bad bad baaaad decisions in my little lifetime. So I'm not one to point fingers. but her trashbag ex has not only committed 1 offense, but 3 GRAVE ones!
I don't blame her for her sh*tty ex-bf's behaviour: she is not RESPONSIBLE for his actions. However, she IS responsible for hers, and I can't seem to understand her lack of self-preservation whenever she's around him given ALL THE HORRIBLE THINGS he's put her through....

(I'm not screaming at you, dear Miranda, just deeply frustrated with her naive actions)

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So true! If I have to make a list of all the stupid dating mistakes that I've made it would be a long one.
I can't relate to a perfect kickass heroine who knows what she wants out of life all time.

Sometimes love comes along when you least expected and you are not quite sure when it began with someone.
It's always a beautiful thing to be loved and even better when you love someone back.

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I get that - it's frustrating to see someone make mistakes that might cause them harm. I guess what I'm saying is that it's realistic. I don't think she's a moron, though in retrospect her choice isn't a wise one. She's very, very typical for a woman who over the past year has seen this particular guy as husband material 99% of the time and a threat 1% of the time.

Her mindset just isn't terribly unusual, which is why I feel more sympathetic than enraged when things turned out badly. Most women don't realize they're in a Lifetime movie until they're well, WELL over the line.

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I couldn't understand why she didn't just write off the phone. She has a good income, she lives with her parents. Just take the financial hit and move on. But watching this episode a second time I realised that she wanted to feel like she was taking control of the situation - both at work and in her personal life. I think being able to deal with him and get this contract sorted was important to her.

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Also because this wasn't just breaking a phone - Gyu Min is the account holder, which means he technically owns access to all of the contents of that phone. If he'd wanted to, he could've bought a new phone and retrieved data from backup, and now Gyu Min's got a phone packed with Jin Ah's contacts, texts, emails and photos.

It's the first thing I thought of, security-wise, so I was not at all surprised she tried to get him to transfer the phone to her. It's not something she could do herself.

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I was wondering why she didn't get a new phone for herself, too. Although the show didn't go there, I know the gymnastics I've pulled to not have to switch my phone number. It's such a hassle and especially for some one in business who may have all her contacts and stuff in there. It's not always that easy to just get a new phone.

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@laica, you spoke my truth. I find him super paternalistic and the way she kept apologizing to him about her ex being a psycho made me itch. Should she have had her guard up around her ex? Yes, absolutely. However, apologies were unwarranted and unnecessary. That particular piece of writing loss me some of my goodwill toward the show. I still like it, but don't love it as much anymore.

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Jin Ah hates conflict.
With that mother, her learned behaviour is to apologise to avoid the nagging when something negative happens.

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Agree. I Jin Ah being around Kyu Min has also contributed to that learned behaviour. I have a hunch that if she stays with Kyu Min and marries him, she would be a doormat who keeps apologising her whole life. Her previous attitude at the workplace shows similar patterns too. She still has a long way to go, and stepping up against the harrassment is only the beginning. To let go of the apologizing-for-everything habit takes a while.

I’m not saying Joon Hee is without his own flaws. He can sometimes be overprotective on her. But what I want to see more is how they navigate their issues around each other, accepting the flaws (and sometimes the stupidity), and changing it for the better.

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I haven't liked this part of his personality since the beginning. Unfortunately, I think he needs to have it to show just how pervasive this chauvinism and victim-blaming is in this culture. Even he has a tendency to blame the (female) victim in this situation.

I find it telling that whenever her brother does it, Joon-hee gets really angry at him. Sometimes you need to hear your inherent prejudices come out of someone else's mouth to realise how they sound.

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'I wish the impulse to protect herself, and stand up for herself, came from her own self-worth and not so that he would feel reassured and happy'
PREACHH! JinA seriously has a very low self-esteem. She needs to love herself a bit more because she is a fantastic person. I hate that she said she wanted to change how she is because of a man because it is very demeaning to hear that as a woman. Hopefully, she will realise that in the future.

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Exactly! Not that she is precious because someone loves her but she is just precious to herself.

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Yell it for the people in the back

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Amen sisters/brothers( not sure your genders, ha)

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I haven't seen anyone think of it this way in the comments but I interpreted Jin ah's statements more as since she's receiving so much love from Joon Hee she's realized her value. Someone else loves her so much and thinks so much of her that she's realized she has worth as a human being. I mean look at how her family treats her and how horrible her ex bf was to her. She didn't act like she valued herself, so I think of it more as Joon Hee's love is a catalyst that made her realize she has self worth and should take care of herself more. People have pointed out Joon Hee acting paternalistic, I guess I can see that but it never really bothered me. I think it's like others have said he's over compensating. I find their relationship squee worthy but also unrealistic. But hey it's a kdrama.

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The whole thing about Jin-ah and her cellphone issue it's so odd to me, so okay, she wanted to keep her number and had to ask her ex for a favor BUT the same ex who tried to rape her and it's constantly stalking her, she could at least call her friend to go with her (maybe she didn't tell Kyung-sun because she knew she would tell Joon-hee) or her brother i don't know, but anyone it's better than getting in his car alone. Thank god nothing happened and i hope she learned from this.

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The police probably could have gotten it taken care of as well. As is a restraining order. I’m sure the phone company would have teminated the contract if she had a restraining order.

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The restraining order against a lawyer who attacked you on your work place is not an easy solution.

It leaves a trail, and it would have been made public, and it can affect her future, as a "difficult" woman.

I think we are oversimplifying the consecuences.
I'm not saying she shouldn't have done it, but it is against her personality to face such a conflict.

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Crap! I keep forgetting he’s a lawyer. 🤣

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Why wasn't he charged with attempted murder or kidnapping or reckless driving or speeding, so he would lose his license to practice law?

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Typical chaebols gets away with murder.
That's probably why mom thinks having that kind of family background and connection is important.

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Precisely because he would lose his license she didn't denounce it.
He and his family would have fought like crazy against that.
But the main reason is that Jin-ah doesn't want to destroy a live.
She believes that he can recover from his obsession.
I would have forced to take serious counseling.
For a year at least.

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That's what I was thinking - wouldn't the police help facilitate this?

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I'm so glad I watched 7 and 8 back-to back. I wasn't sure if i should be scared, mad, or annoyed that she got into the car with her ex.

I understand that she thought nothing would happen but couldn't she meet him at the phone store.

I have to vent, phone companies are the worst. My sister and mom can't even make changes to our phone plan because the plan is under my name. Even though we are all adults.

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To her their relationship was over. The phone was the last thing that ties him to her.
I think she has always been too nice and accommodating which can be frustrating.

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I am trying hard to see that mum’s behaviour is product of culture but it is difficult for me. I can’t help but see that it has a lot to do with her as a person. I am Asian living in Asia. Seen my fare share of mums prefering their sons to their daughters. But to give no voice to her daughter is difficult for me to stomach. I argue that that is the primary reason why Jin Ah made terrible decisions. That is also the reason why she stomached all the abuse in office. If her mum (a person whom she is supposed to get a glimpse of her self worth from) is telling her what to do, how to think, to deny her gut-level feelings of danger and except GM again cos couples do quarrel... belittling her, calling her unkind names...how is she going to learn to see herself as worthwhile.
Although JH came off as paternalistic earlier on, he learnt to let go and let her take the lead. I argue that she needed to do that to grow. She needed to learn to stick to her preference no matter how uncomfortable the process. With JH giving her the support, not belittling her even when she made mistakes, she will see herself as worthwhile.

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Agreed with both points.

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I also think the mom's behavior is more than just being the norm in an Asian society.
She is very abusive. Mentally is worst especially for one's self esteem.
I'd feel like crap if I live with her.

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Episode seven had me pumping my fist with joy when Jin-ah's father said he was supportive of their relationship. I'm glad that he worked out that Kyu-min isn't the nice guy they thought he was and wouldn't give him the satisfaction of being shocked.

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Dad is the best !

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That 2 drops of tears reflecting in Joon he’s eyes.... best realization ever....

Thanks @laica and @saya for this again

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Is no one going to talk about that tasteful intimate scene at the hospital where JH helped JA change?

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How gorgeous was that? Find someone in your life who will do that for you. And I loved his admission that he wanted to rage but had been so preoccupied making sure she was okay that he missed his chance. I was so glad that the camera just lingered that whole time, wonderful directing.

"You're okay, right? That's fine then" is pretty much the perfect way to comfort someone who's just been through something terrible largely because of their own stupid decisions. It let her relax.

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That scene was the most relatable and my favorite in both episodes.
He is a keeper!

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It wasn’t the most relatable for me, but it was my favorite. It’s a seriously rare moment in K-Drama Land.

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I love the way it was filmed too. That was my PD Ahn moment.

I should've said relatable to me :). At that incident, that kind of support was needed but any other time like a regular doctor's appointments etc would make me uncomfortable.

It's not rare for younger guys to be over protective. Like they are trying to show that they are man enough to take care of you.
It's silly but it's true for some.

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That scene was beautiful.

I really love the way this show portrays intimacy.

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I love that scene so much. It resembles a husband nursing his sick wife at a time when she needs him the most.

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I actually talked about that scene in a gushing post about the drama on my wall. I also posted the video. You can find it here.

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Ok, first things first. Thank you both for the awesome recap. I'm actually liking this format more than I thought I would. Reading the two of you talk about your difference of opinion is quite satisfying especially since I see myself being of the same mind with one, and I get to see the opposing view of the other play out. Something similar happens in the comments section here, but with you two, it seems like a podcast. Oh, it would be so awesome if we had podcast recaps. Anyways...

Ok, let's talk about the Jin-ah's mother first. @Saya stated, there are people who can and/or choose to change, and there are those who can't and/or refuse to change. I also agree that we are the products of society. The culture, norms, agents of socialization etc. we are surrounded by shape our beliefs. However, as @Laica stated, personality is a totally different thing. Take Jin-ah's father for example. He is a product of the same society that Jin-ah's mother is--granted, as a man he may not have had the same experiences she did--however, his personality allows him to be far more caring and openminded compared to his wife. There are many times when I found Jin-ah's mom berating and disparaging. I mean, if you can tell your own daughter that she should take back a man who cheated on you and even worse in the way she did, how is that not disparaging. There are times when one needs to realize that something is wrong or something needs to change. This often happens when that individual is impacted by it directly. It is for this reason why I'm giving Jin-ah's a ton of leeway. As much as I dislike her already, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt be seeing not only how she reacts to the news, but also if there is any change in the short term. Unfortunately, in real life, it can take people years if not an entire lifetime to finally come around--if they ever do in the end. This is a drama though, and I'm not exactly waiting for ep. 16 for her to finally turn around.

I would love to talk about how silly the ending of the car ride back from the hospital was. I mean, all she had to do was say that she told her parents she wasn't coming home that night to diffuse the situation. I mean, yeah, he gets to be with her, but come on. I could see the real life aspect of this conversation, but it was just too stupid for my tastes.

but I wish the impulse to protect herself, and stand up for herself, came from her own self-worth and not so that he would feel reassured and happy.

I have to agree with @saya on this. I definitely see where @laica is coming from, but sometimes the catalyst for change does not always come form within, but from other sources and I don't think, in this case, that's a problem. TBH, I've seen this imbalance in a few of relationships around me and none have resulted in a split yet. lol. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually find it refreshing compared to the usual K-drama fare.

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I agree with @saya too. I do think previously she knows what need to change, but never really bringing attention to it. Without her stepping up, change doesn't happen. Being in a healthy relationship does make you feel better about yourself, reflect yourself and value yourself more. So seeing her finally seeing her self worth and stepping up is a good sign. I believe that she doesn't change for the guy, or for the relationship, but her relationship triggers her to wanting to be better in her other relationships as well - especially at her workplace.

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I appreciate your detailed and insightful analysis! We found ourselves amazed at how differently we saw some of the aspects of this show too - which makes it more fun and interesting I think.

As for it sounding like a podcast, perhaps that's because we talk to each other (and @festerfaster) all the time on our podcast, and we've fallen into a rhythm ;)

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What I love about this drama is that given how realistic it is, it tends to strike a chord in people. So there are viewers like me who may not be able to relate in the same way, but given the dialogue that it brings about, we are able to come to new and better understandings.

Have you guys kept up with the podcasts? How about a partnership/JV with DB. This site would be so awesome with more podcast recaps. That’s just me though.

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Yes! We do two a month, you can find them here: https://soundcloud.com/akdramapodcast. It's our own thing and not related to DB ;)

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We also have a YouTube channel where we recently uploaded our First Impressions of Pretty Noona. You can hear us argue IRL in a ten minute audio right here: https://youtu.be/dhZ5C2u_GUA

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Thank you so much for the recap!

And thank you for putting your finger on what's been bothering me from the beginning: I see so much infatuation from Joon Hee and I get why Jin Ah, after being so mistreated from everyone around her, would fall hard for him.
But.
I don't understand his love for her to be honest, and maybe it's me knowing that this director tends to make more dramatic shows, but I feel like I'm sometimes watching a disaster waiting to happen.
I squee a lot, yet I don't like the very possessive streak in Joon Hee. The flowers incident mirrored his behavior to Guy Min's: one sends inappropriate pics and flowers, the other deprives her of standing up for herself by going there directly (and with her brother...).
It's an overarching theme in the drama that this is a men's world. Hence the omnipresent song 'Sometimes it's hard to be a woman'
How odd a choice for their romantic theme right?

Still, I was impressed by Jin Ah's reaction in the car. She called Gyu Min on his bluff and for once I saw her standing up for herself. I agree she should never be in this car to begin with but that's also consistent with the theme. For being a woman, Jin Ah has to fight an uphill battle all the time: at home, at work, in her relationships... This is exhausting. There is literally no 'right choice' for her, always compromises and fight if she wants her way.

Did you notice how all the women in the drama look so tired and lifeless esp. compared to the men in the startup, or even the dad and brother?

In the end this drama always leaves me with a very bittersweet impression: there might be a Joon Hee to sweeten the deal but man, is it hard to be a woman

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I've often seen female reviewers harshly criticize female characters for not being 'Wonder Woman'. They gnash their teeth angrily over their smallest flaws, faults and foibles. Where's the entertainment value in watching two perfect people dating each other? Where would the conflict and drama come from?

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Of all the phone debate made me realise one more aspect which was taken lightly, where i think Joon hee manhandled the situation extremely badly : the laptop / phone breaking case with the psycho ex. With cloud storage, destroying the HD was so useless. The ex can recover all his data. If he doesn't have a back up its even a bigger problem because JH also made him lose his other data and the proof of the pictures, the lawyer ex can now file an official complaint against him and that would be hard to justify without evidence.
This is not a great situation to be in. I think as other beanies have said this ex needs to be taken care of really well and not in the way JH/ JA are handling it.

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I agree with your point about Joon hee destroying the ex’s laptop and phone. I mean, hey.. we’re living in a CLOUD world here. If he really wanted to destroy all the files having those photos or texts he wanted to delete, should you do anything more than that? So to me it was more like doing something a half way: either he just wanted to vent his anger on those devices (which I think was unlikely the case), or he wanted to destroy all those files - and in this case, he should have done a better work.

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It's K drama logic... Kinda like all the other dramas like Misty, where they think that destroying the memory card = destroying all media in it. Err.....

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JH is not Jason Bourne or a police detective, he's a young hot-blooded guy confronting a creep stalking the girl he likes. Also, do creepy stalkers store their stalker photos on the cloud? We've already seen his Instagram page with nothing but his young girlfriend but no pictures of JA.

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Well, in short they do. And instagram is not cloud storage. And you dont need to be jason bourne to store your data. Every person who works has back ups. Untill and unless you want to lose all your stuff.

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I honestly think Jin Ah is somewhat naive? She does do dumb things like get into the car of an ex already proven to be violent towards her. But I also feel like she is not very mature when it comes to relationships. I feel like she is a teenager in her outlook. Like telling Jun Hee that 'everyone does it' about making joint bank accounts etc. Like she has an idealistic/unrealistic picture of what dating is supposed to be. Maybe that's why she had supposedly dated so many losers.

Honestly I almost stopped watching from the very first episode when she went out to buy those expensive clothes and shows for that meeting with Gyu Min - I absolutely don't like those kinds of characters. Jin Ah is so intelligent and capable at work though. And I don't think she is standing up for herself at work because of Jun Hee at all. Her backbone started growing before they were officially in a relationship.

As for Jun Hee being paternalistic/controlling, I don't think so at all. And if I was in his position with a partner like Jin Ah I would also feel the need to be overly protective. Nothing that he has done has been in a normal context. Everything was a reaction to the extreme situations that she has been in with Gyu Min. The one exception is perhaps the whole incident with the flowers. That reaction was violent I admit and I make no excuses for him. But again, I can't say I wouldn't do the same in that situation.

Jin Ah and Jun Hee's relationship seems too much like a fairy tale to me right now. I really don't like the choice by the director to have a lot of scenes of them frolicking to background music. I want tangible, real relationship development. More talks and interactions like the one they had after the hospital. I guess that's too realistic though.

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JA's and JH's relationship is like a fairy tale because that's what the first weeks of a new relationship is often like. Episodes 7 and 8, though, you can see the fantasy starting to crack. There's still 8 episodes to go and what K-drama has ever sustained the fairy tale conceit? Things have got to first be very good before they go very bad.

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aaahh I have stuff I want to say (lots of stuff!) but I'm pathetically exhausted XD

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Laica: Okay, the music drove me nuts. I am so done with the terrible music cues in this show.

Me-too

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I don't know, I don't think the Mom's excusable by generation or by culture and people like her character need to stop being given that "crutch". My parents are of the Mom's generation and from Taiwan and when my mom was in a similar relationship to Jian's and her ex my grandparents fully supported her decision to get out of that relationship regardless of how rich the family was because they saw how miserable she was. Respect for people you love is respect at any time period, and I don't think Jian's mom respects her daughter at all. I feel like she looks down on her in comparison her son, whether it be for the typical sexist reasons, or because Seungho's moving up in the world in her eyes by getting a Ph. D. She doesn't respect anyone really, unless they have status. In her conversation with Joonhee and his sister at dinner earlier, she basically insults them for not having parents and acts like she doesn't have a clue what's so wrong about what she said. She seems very materialistic and foolish from what I've seen, using the guise of concern for her daughter's wellbeing to mask the fact that she's status hungry. Like that's the only reason I could find for why she's clinging onto Jian's ex, because is she wasn't then she'd just tell Jian to marry just anyone. Unless they spin her materialism as fear (which I doubt due to her fixation on Jian's ex), I don't think I'm going to be able to come around on her.

That being said, she's a very real character because I have met various people with bits and pieces of her personality, but it's still not ok.

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I think mom is a 'failed social climber', someone who probably had dreams of marrying a chaebol (watched too many K-dramas, probably) but wound up with a retired office worker instead. She's a classic 'stage mother', pushing her children to achieve the dreams she always wanted for herself.

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He is being paternalistic by seeing and telling her that she gets into trouble when alone? Well, he is absolutely right. She has done a number of very foolish things, mostly with her ex. She went to confront and beat him up and ended up at the police station, she secretly went for a ride with him in the car risking her life and ended up at the hospital. I mean... this girl often seems to have the brains of a chicken!
He is too good not to confront her more angrily. Instead, after the car crash incident, instead of scolding her, he was silent and supportive, he even teared up saying "It's my fault, I should have insisted on buying you a phone". If it were me, maybe not that same moment, but the next moment, when she was calmed down from the shock, I'd let her hear a bit of my mind.
This girl is so immature and he is much more mature than she is. That's how the age gap is compensated.
I remember "Secret Love Affair". Although the woman there was smooth and capable, still she was very fragile inside and the younger guy was a force of nature, her pillar of strength where she could lean on.
The mother? No, sorry, she's a villain all right, just like the mom in "Temperature of Love". The father comes from the same society, the same generation, still he is much more human.

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Sorry, not "the next moment", I meant "the same day". Dramabeans, when are you going to implement an "Edit" feature?

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Oops... It should have been "The next day". Ah, I must also stop pushing the "send" button before re-reading what I wrote.

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Totally agree! I love this drama and the OTP, but Jin Ah is really dumb outside work. Its actually understanding Why Joon Hee sometimes is being somewhat paternalistic towards her, cuz she gets herself into trouble all the time! And he is never being mean towards her, calling her ’idiot’ or such.. if i were dating someone like Jin Ah Im not sure if i would be as nice as Joon Hee. .

I actually tried to understand where Jin ah’s Mom came from, But in the end couldnt .. you are right, the dad is from the same generation as her and from same country/culture, yet he is a very kind and understanding person. I Dont think Jin Ah’s mom loves Jin Ah :/ She is awful, one can say its culture differences only etc ,..But one has to admit that this is too extreme for even a korean mother.. I refuse to believe that MOST korean mothers are like her because that would be terrible. I Do know they Ofc exist , much more so than in western countries,, but I refuse to believe that MAJORITY of korean mothers are like Jin ah’s Mom who cares more about status , money etc than her own family. Jin ah’s Mom is a Narcissistic person. She puts herself first and doesnt care about others feelings, if they are miserable or not.

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Just wanted to say that I love that it only took about 4 episodes for them to get together , its fresh of air because I feel like in most k-dramas it takes about 10 episodes or so for the leads to become a couple. Joon Hee and Jin Ah are not some teenagers or very young adults that is like ”Omg i like him/ her?? No way i wont admit that to even myself !” for so many episodes, until they finally admit it to themselves, and Then try to get the courage yo confess, until FINALLY after when the drama is soon almost finished they start a relationship.. Theyre not that childish that goes around being too stubborn. I Dont feel like their relationship was rushed at all, because they already knew each other for a long time .. and i believe Joon Hee has had a crush on Jin Ah for a very long time (which Ofc has now developed to LOVE). And when Joon Hee has been in US for 3 years and comes back, she sees him differently.. how manly he become etc .she saw him in new light.. I Dont think she would have ever fallen in love with him if he never had been abroard for so long.

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the more I watch this
the more this is just another damsel in distress story, but in every aspect, because that's what makes people swoon, "a new handsome prince who saved you in his prime age"
a disappointment

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JA needs to learn to trust JH more. The whole phone debacle showed that she is not ready to ask him for help when the issues are complicated. I think after the near death experience she realised that he can help and that she needs to share the important things and not just what she thinks couple should share (just because everybody else does it). Her dad was cool with MK...is he actually drinking so much because he knows his wife will try to mess the relationship up or is he disappointed? I honestly think he is happy for them so I did not understand why he drunk so much.

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I was wondering the same thing about the dad. I'm assuming he's cool with it.

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Appa is secretly a hopeless romantic (hello Casablanca). He got the lines memorized and it's in English lol.
It's too bad mom's personality and mindset doesn't seems to match his.

I think he is genuinely happy for them because he knows Joon Hee well but he is worried a lot because of his wife.

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I wouldn’t say he’s disappointed, but I think he foresees the problems which will come to Jin ah and Joon hee and that was why he drank so much. He knows that it’s gonna be difficult, but he chooses his own daughter and her happiness above all else.

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aren't we being almost "too sensitive" about JH's interactions with JA?
Is telling someone to be careful "paternalistic"?
Does "you should listen to me" really a paternalistic statement, or rather just a sign of worry that anyone, regardless of gender, would say?
Is thinking that your way of doing things might be better (given a certain situation) really a gender thing or can we agree that everyone can act this way?

as for JA loving herself more now that she's with JH, I interpreted it the same as @saya : sometimes, it takes an external force for you to realize just how precious you are. If you have always being treated like a doormat and then meet someone who treats you like a princess, it should make any reasonable woman rethink how she values herself. her self-worth is not really based on how he sees her but maybe it was the trigger that got her remembering the inner queen that she is, deserving of being treated well, to be respected and loved by her man and peers. She isn't just "grateful" for JH's love; she now understands that she DESERVES to be loved respectfully. the positive influence of his love and care for her turned off the doormat switch and gave her the boost of confidence she needed to navigate her world with a more assertive attitude.

Will she crumble back to her doormat ways if JH mysteriously becomes the Jerk of the Century? I don't think so. for once-worn-out-doormat-yet-intelligent women like JA, once the Inner Queen switch is turned on, there's no going back.

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This is more-or-less the story arc of 'My Ajusshi' too, a woman learning to respect herself after experiencing someone else respecting her first. Its not about co-dependency, its about self-realization.
It seems reviews of romances in particular can be a bit tainted by the reviewers' own past experiences. Some reviews, I've half-expected the writer to inadvertently insert the name of an ex-boyfriend in place of the character she's angrily criticizing.

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I've got to admit, the brother's reasoning for being against the pairing is pretty convincing. The odds that the relationship will eventually burn-out and leave Joon-hee ostracized from the only family he's ever known is pretty high. Especially considering Jin-ah's own flashes of doubt over the relationship. Joon-hee just wanted to date normally, Jin-ah wanted everything hidden. Joon-hee definitely has the most to lose. He's even risking his job for her.

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I’m really enjoying this show (a little late) but I’m really worried about how it handles the crazy and abusive ex boyfriend. It was frustrating the first time watching the first sexual assault go unreported but after being abducted/kidnapped and almost killed, it sends a terrible message to the audience that we just let this behavior go. I almost wish there was a PSA at the end of the episode for women in general but those who are most vulnerable and in abusive relationships.

I was hoping to see that concern addressed here.

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Not sure if you'll see this, but this is one of the things that disappointed us more and more as this drama went on--and eventually made us really mad about the way it ended. No spoilers, but Saya and I both felt that it sent a really demoralizing message to women about sexual assault/harassment.

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I’m a “give me some spoilers” kind of person when it comes to K Drama. I’ve just started episode 7 and since most spoilers said that I might be coming to the good end of this drama, I was here reading your sides of the story.

Laica & Saya, you’ve delivered such a convincing note that I should (no matter what) continue this, despite all the hardships I might face ahead. Thank you for your beautiful narratives.

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