Familiar Wife: Episode 14
Woo-jin and Joo-hyuk are locked in a tug-of-war of feelings, with her determined to put things back how they should be, and him equally stubborn about making sure he doesn’t ruin her life again. One of them is going to have to crack to break the stalemate, but this show isn’t done handing out surprises, and what happens next is anyone’s guess.
EPISODE 14: “I will be back”
Woo-jin shows up for her first day at Joo-hyuk’s bank branch, having charmed Branch Manager Cha into hiring her despite Joo-hyuk’s attempts to keep her out. This time, when he startles and throws his tear gas gun, she deftly snatches it out of the air and points it at him with a triumphant grin. BANG.
Joo-hyuk watches Woo-jin warily as she introduces herself to the team. She surprises them by saying she missed them and hands out their favorite drinks, and she anticipates all their concerns, like Team Leader Jang’s sensitivity about her singlehood. Everyone takes to her immediately, except Joo-hyuk, who’s noticeably frosty as she shakes his hand.
Later, he tries to hide from her in the men’s room, and she threatens to go in if he doesn’t come out first. She finally leaves, so Joo-hyuk calls headquarters to ask about a transfer, but he learns that there are no openings.
He relaxes after work as he heads to the bus station, but there’s Woo-jin, sitting at the bus stop waiting for him. He says her name in warning, but he calls her “Woo-jin-ah,” which makes her melt a little at hearing him call her so familiarly. He asks why she’s doing this, when she has the chance to find a better man than him and live a happy life.
She admits that she doesn’t know and even feels bad for acting this way, but she says her heart just keeps leading her to him. She tells him that when she first woke up back in 2018, she thought that it might be best that they live their own lives. But then she realized that she’s happy now because he changed their fates and saved her from life as a bad wife. So she decided that this time, she’ll be the one to save him.
Joo-hyuk argues that it’s because she
Joo-hyuk keeps saying they can’t, until Woo-jin doubles over dramatically in hunger. Joo-hyuk caves, and Woo-jin suggests ddukbokki and tonkatsu at her favorite haunt. He says that Team Leader Jang is coming over and they should invite her, and when Woo-jin looks, he runs and jumps in a taxi. Coward! But Woo-jin isn’t deterred — she just sighs that this won’t be easy.
On her first official day at work, Woo-jin makes everyone wonder if she’s psychic when she already knows where all the banking forms are kept. Jong-hoo gets annoyed when Joo-hyuk won’t gossip with him about the pretty new employee, and he nags until Joo-hyuk asks to go to lunch early just to get away.
Woo-jin also asks to go and follows him out, ignoring his insistence that he wants to eat alone. He gives in when she promises not to talk, but she breaks that promise right away, hee. She burns her tongue on her hot soup and Joo-hyuk hands her some water, which makes her smile to herself, but she plays innocent when he asks what she’s so happy about.
Joo-hyuk even trades bowls with Woo-jin when she complains that she got mostly organ meat, which she doesn’t care for. Woo-jin is touched, but she gets a text from Team Leader Jang asking her to come back because they got busy, so she has to leave. Joo-hyuk worries that she’ll be hungry later, then reminds himself that he doesn’t care. Riiiight.
On his way back to the bank, Joo-hyuk walks right past Hye-won, but she recognizes him and stops him. She’s happy to see him, but he looks like a cornered rat, and he can’t think of an excuse not to stop and catch up. Hye-won became a successful cellist again in this timeline, though she says she finds her orchestra job boring, and she asks him why he’s still single.
Joo-hyuk says it’s just easier being alone, and Hye-won makes her familiar confession that she liked him back in college. But this time Joo-hyuk jokes darkly that she had bad taste in men back then. Hye-won notes that he’s not as innocent as he used to be, but when she asks him more about himself, he simply says it’s been nice to see her and excuses himself.
Before he goes, he turns back and tells her to be happy, and not to give up on playing the cello. Hye-won is so shaken that she spills her water in her lap, and her waiter rushes over to bring her a napkin. It’s Hyun-soo, who goes back to the kitchen and resumes studying, actually in college in this timeline. Good for him.
Back at the bank, a customer asks Hye-jong to give her the statements from her husband’s account for the last two months. Hye-jong explains that only the account holder can get that information, so the woman reveals that she thinks he’s cheating on her. She gets angry when Hye-jong tells her that it’s a privacy violation, and she even accuses Hye-jong of plotting with her husband to keep his infidelity a secret.
Hye-jong professionally but firmly advises the woman to handle her personal issues at home. It infuriates the customer into raising a hand to strike her, but Woo-jin grabs the woman’s arm and tells her to calm down. Joo-hyuk returns to work in time to see Woo-jin struggling with the angry customer.
Just as the woman wrenches her arm away and grabs a plastic piggy bank, giving it a mighty swing, Joo-hyuk runs over and takes the blow meant for Woo-jin. He wobbles unsteadily, but when Woo-jin fusses and tries to look at his head, he says he’s fine and pushes her away.
Jong-hoo finds Joo-hyuk’s involvement quite suspicious, and even starts singing “I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard at him, lol. He and Hwan decide that Woo-jin is pretty awesome the way she handled that customer, and Hwan wonders if she likes younger men.
Joo-hyuk tries to make a sneaky escape from work at the end of the day, but Woo-jin runs screaming onto the bus and plunks herself down right beside him. She tries to check his head wound, making him cringe in pain, and he insists he would have done the same thing for Hye-jong or Hyang-sook.
Woo-jin pulls out her earbuds and puts one in each of their ears so they can listen to some music. Joo-hyuk can’t help himself and watches her enjoying the music before remembering he’s supposed to be grumpy and staring out the window again. Woo-jin just smiles to see him absently tapping the window in time to the music, and she notices that one of his cuffs has a loose button.
She follows him off the bus, pretending that she’s meeting someone who lives nearby. Joo-hyuk calls out her lie and asks if she’s trying to come to his house, and she’s all, Can I?? Let’s eat there!
When Joo-hyuk just rolls his eyes at her, she promises to stop following him if he’ll help her buy “a friend” a new shirt. While they’re shopping, he gets a call from Sang-shik and wanders off, and Woo-jin quickly buys the shirt he picked out.
Joo-hyuk goes to Sang-shik and Joo-eun’s food truck to find Jong-hoo already there, having also been called over to be their “human shield.” Joo-hyuk assumes they’re going to announce that they’re dating (which is news to Jong-hoo) and gives them his approval. But when Sang-shik reveals that Joo-eun is pregnant, Joo-hyuk attacks him for defiling his little sister, hee.
When he eventually makes his way home, Joo-hyuk finds a bag on his door containing the shirt he picked out with Woo-jin. He looks around nervously, but seems disappointed when she’s not there. He realizes that she must have seen his loose button and catches himself weakening, so he reminds himself that he’ll only make her unhappy.
The next day at work, Branch Manager Cha tries to set Joo-hyuk up on a blind date, making Woo-jin’s head whip around so fast it’s a wonder she doesn’t break her neck. Joo-hyuk politely declines and leaves for a client meeting, and after he’s gone, the managers plot to have Joo-hyuk “accidentally” meet the lady.
In desperation, Woo-jin jumps up and says she’s against it, and that they should respect Joo-hyuk’s privacy. But they all head-tilt at her odd behavior, so she confesses that she’s interested in Joo-hyuk herself. The entire team think that’s just fantastic, except for Hwan, who wilts in disappointment that his newfound crush likes someone else.
The women corner Woo-jin in the restroom to grill her about her interest in Joo-hyuk. She says he’s handsome and kind, and cute when he’s shy, and she loves his sexy eyes. They cringe at her description of him as sexy, though they obviously disagree (are they blind??), but Woo-jin just jokes that she won’t have to worry about competition.
The men also think Woo-jin’s crush is great, though Hwan pouts that she’s being too hasty since she just got here. The others decide that Joo-hyuk needs someone determined like Woo-jin and vow to support her, and Woo-jin is happy to have their help.
Jong-hoo finds her in the break room and says he likes her a lot and hopes she and Joo-hyuk end up married. Woo-jin says fondly that she likes him a lot too, and when he takes a call from his wife (who’s having food cravings, making him ask if they’re having another child), she wonders if he married the woman from the airport or someone else.
Poor Joo-hyuk has no idea why his coworkers are suddenly acting so strange, talking about how cute he and Woo-jin look together and humming the wedding march at them (hee, look at Manager Byun back there). Awww, he can’t help himself — it makes him smile, and when Branch Manager Cha outright accuses him of liking Woo-jin, he protests a little too strongly.
Sure that something nefarious is going on, Joo-hyuk takes Jong-hoo to the roof to demand answers. Jong-hoo plays dumb, but he’s a terrible liar, and he finally admits that Woo-jin confessed her feelings to the whole office. He refuses to believe that Joo-hyuk doesn’t like her back, and when Joo-hyuk rants that she’ll ruin her life by liking him, all Jong-hoo hears is that Joo-hyuk called her “Woo-jinnie.”
At Woo-jin’s welcome party that night, everyone is still urging Woo-jin and Joo-hyuk together, and by now Joo-hyuk looks like he’s trying not to cry, ha. Branch Manager Cha bluntly says they should date, and although Joo-hyuk insists there’s nothing going on, he just gets accused of being shy.
All the teasing starts to genuinely upset Joo-hyuk, so when Branch Manager Cha insists that he switch seats with Hye-wonan to sit next to Woo-jin, he blows his top. He yells that he has no feelings for Woo-jin and orders them all to stop, but seeing Woo-jin’s hurt expression takes the wind out of his sails. Dinner is silent and awkward after that, and Woo-jin starts drinking and carefully avoiding eye contact with Joo-hyuk.
Woo-jin follows Joo-hyuk out of the restaurant when the party breaks up, and asks him to have a talk. She says that she thought it would work if she just tried hard enough, but now she’s afraid she’s making things harder on him. She asks one last time if it’s really not going to work, and when Joo-hyuk shakes his head, Woo-jin says that she’ll give up.
She apologizes, says they should just live their own lives, and walks away. Joo-hyuk watches her go then drops his face into his hands.
Woo-jin shows up at work the next morning in a surprisingly good mood, befuddling Joo-hyuk with her perfectly professional behavior towards him. At the end of the day, everyone wants to go to dinner together, but Woo-jin begs off, saying she has plans with Mom. Jong-hoo correctly guesses the reason and whaps Joo-hyuk upside the head for being an idiot.
Woo-jin goes for a walk alone by the river, then runs into Joo-eun on her way home. They stop by the convenience store, and Joo-eun licks her lips jealously at Woo-jin’s beer before telling Woo-jin her little secret. She invites Woo-jin to her and Sang-shik’s wedding, and she’s surprised that adorable Woo-jin doesn’t have a boyfriend to bring along.
Joo-eun decides to introduce Woo-jin to Sang-shik (he doesn’t know her yet in this timeline) so they head to the food truck. Jong-hoo and Joo-hyuk are there helping out, and when the ladies arrive, they’re all surprised that they already know each other. Sang-shik goes through the whole coincidental connections list again (though this time it’s Woo-jin with the crush and not Jong-hoo) and decides they were all fated to be friends.
Talk turns to wedding plans, and Joo-eun objects when Sang-shik says he wants to do an expensive photo shoot. Jong-hoo says that Joo-eun is right and Sang-shik should listen to his wife, then offers to take the photos himself. Joo-eun asks Woo-jin to be there to help her with makeup and hair, and with a nervous glance at Joo-hyuk, Woo-jin agrees.
Jong-hoo walks with Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin for a while, chattering about how great it is that Joo-eun and Sang-shik are getting married. He says he has to go borrow his friend’s camera right now, purposely leaving Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin alone. Woo-jin asks if she’s making Joo-hyuk uncomfortable, and wonders what they should do since they have to see each other at work.
He doesn’t answer, and Woo-jin muses out loud if she’ll ever be able to see him as just a coworker, without any feelings attached. She asks if they’ll be able to put this all behind them, and when Joo-hyuk just looks away, she says that a friend who works at a branch in Hong Kong has been asking her to transfer there. She says she kept hesitating, but now she’s thinking about going.
She asks Joo-hyuk what he would do if he were in her place, but he just says he doesn’t know, but that it’s a good opportunity for her. His voice breaks as he struggles to say the words, and Woo-jin nods and walks away.
Mom notices that Woo-jin is watching a sad movie, which she does when she doesn’t want anyone to know she needs to cry.
On the day of the photo shoot, Jong-hoo calls Woo-jin to offer her a ride with him and Joo-hyuk, but she says she’s already on the bus. They drive past the bus stop, and Joo-hyuk sees Woo-jin standing there and knows she lied to avoid riding with him. The bus arrives, and in the mirror, Joo-hyuk watches Woo-jin get on.
As they drive, an ambulance speeds past going the opposite way. It reminds Joo-hyuk of this day in the previous timeline, when he’d gotten stuck in traffic on the way to pick Woo-jin up for a date because a bus had collided with a truck, resulting in a lot of injuries. He tells Jong-hoo to pull over and frantically yanks him out of the driver’s seat, and drives back the way they came.
When he sees the bus with the truck behind it, he whips the car around and follows them. He pulls alongside the truck and honks wildly, but the driver is too distracted to notice him. He speeds up until he sees Woo-jin on the bus, and he notices the light turning red up ahead and realizes that the accident is about to happen.
At the last second, Joo-hyuk slams on the breaks, swerves between the bus and the truck, and they all screech to a halt. Somehow they avoid a crash by mere inches, and Joo-hyuk ignores the truck driver yelling at him when he sees Woo-jin watching him from the bus. She gets off, and Joo-hyuk goes to her and pulls her into his arms.
When he can speak, Joo-hyuk says to Woo-jin, “I know it’s shameless of me. I know it’s not right. I know I can’t. But I can’t help it anymore. I don’t care about my conscience or sense of guilt, but I’m sure of one thing… I love you so much. I’ll make you happy. I’ll make sure to keep that promise.”
He hugs her again, and with a sigh of relief, Woo-jin hugs him back.
I finally figured out what’s been bugging me about Joo-hyuk, and has since the beginning — he never makes a strong stand, never decides he wants something and goes for it, or if he does, he quickly chickens out and backs down again. He’s passive and reactive, only acting when things get so bad he’s forced to, and only to do the minimum that will get him out of trouble. It’s a big reason he and Woo-jin were so miserable the first time around… even when Joo-hyuk saw her unhappy, he would make a tiny effort to cheer her up then retreat when it wasn’t enough, hoping that if he just ignored it, whatever it was that was bothering Woo-jin would blow over. But all that did was make Woo-jin resentful and bitter, and then Joo-hyuk didn’t even have the insight to realize that he contributed to her unhappiness.
Having said all that, I can now say this — FINALLY! Finally he woke up and decided not to punish himself for one stupid mistake. I was about ready to smack Joo-hyuk upside the head like Jong-hoo if he didn’t come to his senses soon. I really like how Joo-hyuk’s discovery that he doesn’t want to live without Woo-jin happened almost exactly the way hers did in the previous timeline — they both thought the other was seriously hurt, which made them realize how they truly felt. I’m a bit concerned that he went from “never ever ever” to “I’m all in” so quickly, when he was so determined not to let Woo-jin waste her life with him again, but I’m glad that he decided to forget all that and be selfish, because despite his stupid choices, he didn’t deserve to spend his life alone and miserable.
It was fun to see Woo-jin confess her secret to the entire bank team, and it was adorable how they embraced the idea and ran with it, though they did come on just a tad strong. I didn’t blame Joo-hyuk for feeling embarrassed and cornered, and I’ll say one thing in his favor — as much effort as he’s put into trying to convince Woo-jin that they shouldn’t be together, he was never cruel to her other than losing his temper at dinner, and in his defense, his coworkers were being really out of line by that point. He immediately felt bad, which is good because otherwise I’d have been very angry with him, but for the most part he’s always been mindful not to hurt Woo-jin with his refusal to get back together. The problem is that he was wrong, because the answer isn’t to just shut himself off to that part of life, but to learn and grow and try to do better next time.
It’s good that Joo-hyuk has this version of Woo-jin to deal with, because she’s not going to let him get away with his negligent behavior if he ever backslides. She’s willing to go to the mat for their life together, even though she didn’t live through it the first time and is going on faith. She’s aware that things between them could turn sour and isn’t going to let that happen on her watch, not this time. I loved her reasoning for not giving up — that Joo-hyuk saved her from an unhappy life by changing the past, so she wanted to return the favor and save him from an unhappy life. It’s so simple, but so true, that Joo-hyuk rescued Woo-jin from a life of misery, so of course she doesn’t want to see him living a miserable life in return. I was disappointed that she did give up after that, but I understand why, because at that point she realized that her determination was making him unhappy and backed down out of love for him.
As I said before, I don’t have a problem anymore with Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin moving forward in this timeline, because for the most part, it’s the one that turns out for the best for everyone else. Jong-hoo has his original family back, Mom is healthy, Woo-jin’s dad got to live a long life, Sang-shik and Joo-eun are getting married and having a baby, and Hye-won is successful in her career. All that’s needed is for Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin to figure out what to do from here, since their first life together is gone (and they wouldn’t want it back anyway). Now they can start fresh with the knowledge of what not to do, and be happy knowing that no matter what happens, they chose each other.