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The Third Charm: Episode 11

There is no easy cure for heartache, but Joon-young is adamant on finding something, whether that be with a change of scenery or a change of pace. He opens himself up to a whole new world, a whole new life, and it’s overwhelming to have so many options laid out before him. Before he can even begin to figure out a plan, though, he needs to start believing that he can be happy again.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Joon-young’s parents are shocked that he resigned from his job. He sits there and takes their lecture (with Ri-won and Sang-hyun awkwardly listening) until he admits that he doesn’t have a plan going forward. Mom is even more furious to hear that.

Ri-won walks Sang-hyun out, musing that Joon-young used to keep a record of all his failures to ensure that he wouldn’t make the same mistakes. But he keeps making those same mistakes, as he probably will with his dating life.

It’s been a long day for Joon-young, and it shows, but when he gets a call from Soo-jae, he makes the time to meet with him.

The two meet at Soo-jae’s old coffee truck spot, where Soo-jae notes that Joon-young must be having a difficult time. He reveals that his script won the big competition and thanks Joon-young for proofreading it.

“All this time, you worked hard,” he says, obviously not talking about the script anymore. Pushing his emotions back, Joon-young musters up a smile.

The next day, Joon-young heads to the airport for an impromptu getaway. Ri-won and Sang-hyun tag along and ask when he’ll be back, but he has no idea. They ask if he’ll be okay with one measly backpack, and again, he has no idea.

Sang-hyun understands that his buddy’s hurt, but it’s unlike him to do something like this without a plan. Joon-young replies that he’s discovered that nothing in life goes as planned anyway.

Before he takes off, Ri-won calls him back and opens her arms for a hug (aww, you can be affectionate). After they embrace, Joon-young smiles at his sister and friend and says goodbye.

Meanwhile, Young-jae and Joo-ran treat Soo-jae to a congratulatory dinner. Joo-ran and Soo-jae are good friends now, and they joke that he shouldn’t ignore her when he’s a famous writer.

Joo-ran encourages Young-jae to eat the stir-fried octopus, and it triggers the memory of the birthday feast Joon-young had made her. Young-jae’s eyes sting with tears, and she excuses herself to the bathroom, lying that it’s the spice. She lets herself sob for a few seconds, touching her birthday necklace, before rejoining the others.

Se-eun is spending time with her family in the country as her ankle heals. When she’s all better, she returns to Seoul, bringing the honey bread that she knows Joon-young likes. However, she’s disheartened to find his desk at the station cleared out.

It turns out that Joon-young’s getaway destination was Portugal. When he arrives, he does as much exploring as he can before settling into his hostel and passing out.

He does this day after day—waking up, sightseeing, then sleeping. He ventures into Southern Portugal, taking in the beautiful countryside and beaches, and walking so much that his feet are covered in blisters.

Eventually, his feet start killing him and he has to hitchhike in the back of a truck in order to get back. He’s cold and hungry by the time he does, and a restaurant appears before him like a sanctuary.

Joon-young goes inside and discovers that it’s a one-table restaurant. The owner welcomes him to the table and, seeing that Joon-young can’t read the menu, promises to serve the best dish.

When the food arrives, Joon-young practically inhales it, saying that it’s delicious. And after everything he’s been through, he’s just happy to eat this wonderful meal. He gets choked up, but continues eating until the very last bite. The owner comes by with another serving, and Joon-young is touched by the gesture.

Joon-young’s parents are excited as they prepare a home cooked meal for his arrival. They get a call from him, and he informs them that he’s staying in Portugal. When Mom asks what happened, he happily replies, “I have a plan.”

That plan is a degree in the culinary arts. Joon-young meets with an advisor to get a feel for the curriculum and then heads over to a house-share, where he meets a few of his new housemates. He’s nervous but finally looks somewhat at home.

Mom and Dad are feeling pretty down as they eat dinner with Ri-won and Sang-hyun. However, Ri-won has news of her own that could liven up the mood. “I’m pregnant,” she reveals nonchalantly, making poor Sang-hyun choke on his food.

Joon-young starts his new life as a student, eager to learn from the professionals. It’s a tiring lifestyle though, and his housemate Gomes has to startle him awake every morning to keep from being late. Not only that, but mastering the proper cooking techniques prove to be more challenging than Joon-young thought. He makes quite a few blundering mistakes in the kitchen, well-aware of his teacher’s gaze.

One day, Joon-young burns his hand on a pot and hurries to the restroom to rinse it. He gets teary-eyed as the pain ceases, looking like he’s losing hope. He’s then told that he has a package at the office and when he opens it, he is pleasantly surprised to find a knitted scarf from Se-eun.

We flash back to when Se-eun was knitting the scarf, and she narrates that she couldn’t send it at first because of her cowardice.

But once spring was nearing, she gathered up the courage to send it and was elated to receive Joon-young’s response—his gratitude, along with a Portuguese sports jersey.

“I was so happy,” she narrates, “but it was just a polite response. It didn’t mean that my feelings for him could continue.”

Sometime later, Joon-young is doing much better. When leaving class, he notices a familiar face by a coffee cart. “Officer Min Se-eun?” he says, his whole face lighting up.

Se-eun is flustered as she explains that she came as a sort of summer vacation to see a soccer game (uh-huh, sure). Either way, Joon-young is glad to see her here and is more than willing to act as her tour guide.

He takes her to a nice spot by the water so they can talk. Se-eun catches him up on the folks at the police station, saying that Officer Gong actually got married and that Officer Lee broke up with his girlfriend. Joon-young figures that Se-eun must be single as well if she’s traveling by herself.

Se-eun starts to say something but stops herself, instead saying that she’s having a good time. He smiles and says that he is too. With that, Se-eun narrates that this is enough for her; it’s all that a coward like her can do.

She has to fly back to Korea the next morning, though she’s hesitant to leave. To her surprise, Joon-young shows up to the airport with some egg tarts that he whipped up for her. He promises to cook her something extra special once he’s an official chef and encourages her to bring a boyfriend next time.

And just like that, Joon-young gives her one last smile and turns to leave. Se-eun watches him walk away, suddenly gaining a burst of courage. “Team Leader!” she calls out, squeezing her eyes shut. “I like you! I came all the way here because I missed you!” She slowly opens her eyes to see Joon-young looking back at her, speechless.

Joon-young narrates that autumn came around again, delivering two more surprises. Soo-jae’s film was a major hit, even overseas, and Joon-young gets to watch it with his housemates. Soo-jae celebrates his success at a party, where Joo-ran is clearly peeved to be introduced as “my sister’s friend.”

The second surprise is a brand new niece. The whole family video chats with Joon-young to introduce the baby, and Ri-won is still tough as nails while Sang-hyun is a sobbing mess, heh.

Joon-young continues to narrate that the seasons kept changing, until another year passed and he earned his degree. During this time, he also started dating Se-eun, who eased her way into calling him “oppa” instead of “team leader.” She sends him a care package with side dishes, as well as an apron with his name embroidered on it, and he beams with happiness.

With the seasons, time and hard work, Joon-young’s relationship with Se-eun flourishes, along with his career as a chef. Joo-ran, on the other hand, who had put just as much hard work into dating, still cant find the right man.

Drunk, she asks Soo-jae if he’ll marry her, though this seems normal since he doesn’t give much of a reaction. They video chat with Young-jae since they’re missing her, and interestingly enough, we don’t actually get to see or hear her.

Joon-young has Se-eun in his arms as they look out at the view. She asks why he likes her, and he answers that they’re a good match and feel comfortable with each other. More than that, he loves that they both put effort in their relationship.

Four more years pass, and Joon-young eventually gets an offer from his boss to be the sous-chef at their new branch. It’s a great opportunity, but Joon-young turns it down, thinking that it’s actually the perfect time to go home.

His parents and girlfriend welcome him back to Korea and aw, Dad makes sure Se-eun gets the first hug. Joon-young also visits Sang-hyun, who’s a loving father to his daughter Da-in. That said, Sang-hyun is still bitter that Ri-won would rather be co-parents than a married couple.

Once they get Sang-hyun’s dad to babysit Da-in, the two boys head over to Ri-won’s company. (Damn, girl, look at you taking on a business.) Sang-hyun is horrified to see that the college junior who’d hit on Ri-won works there, but Ri-won ignores him to talk restaurant locations with Joon-young.

Ri-won and Sang-hyun find it strange when Joon-young picks a simple and small location, so he explains that he’ll be opening a one-table restaurant. Sang-hyun helps with setting up, saying that he doesn’t see what Se-eun sees in Joon-young.

Joon-young throws back that he doesn’t understand why Sang-hyun likes Ri-won and vice versa; he suggests they stop trying to comprehend the inexplicable. “Hey!” Sang-hyun warns. “Stop talking like Ri-won!”

Sang-hyun still doesn’t see the logic in Joon-young’s restaurant idea, but once they get the place all fixed up, the exclusivity brings in plenty of reservations. In fact, Joon-young has customers ranging from old married couples to groups of friends and even to foreigners.

One day, while shopping for ingredients, Joon-young passes a jewelry store and takes note of the engagement rings. (Omo.) Later, Joon-young is prepping a meal for an anniversary reservation when Se-eun stops by to bring him lunch. In return, he gives her some egg tarts, having made extra since she likes them.

He takes in her smiling face and starts to ask a question, but the repair man he’d called for comes in and interrupts. Joon-young ends up sending Se-eun back to her car, but once she drives off, he changes his mind and chases after her. She stops and asks what’s wrong, and he just gets to the point.

“There’s so much I couldn’t do for you,” he says. “And that makes me feel sorry, but even so…” He then pulls out a ring and asks if she’ll marry him. She’s too emotional to answer, so Joon-young goes ahead and slips the ring onto her finger. They smile at each other and seal the deal with a loving embrace.

Joon-young is still smiling when he returns to his restaurant, and even when he sets the table for his next guests.

He creates a romantic atmosphere perfect for an anniversary, topping it off with a candle. The door chimes just as he finishes and he turns to welcome them.

Joon-young freezes, as does the couple at the door: Young-jae and Ho-chul. Joon-young’s mind seems to be spinning as he tries to speak, but nothing comes out.

 
COMMENTS

Well… this is awkward. But what an episode. So much was packed into this hour that I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I guess I should start with the man of the hour, Joon-young. We didn’t get to see Young-jae much at all, and that kind of makes me nervous, but it was gratifying to watch Joon-young’s journey.

Joon-young pretty much became a police officer to prove a point, because he’d felt so much resentment toward Young-jae after their first separation. And while I’m sure that he came to like the job and the people he worked with, it was still a job that resulted from resentment rather than true passion. The culinary arts, however, seem like the perfect fit for him. He loves cooking, he’s great at cooking, and the interest came from a genuinely warm place. He’d been wandering around Portugal, clearly overexerting himself on purpose, because he was lost. Without Young-jae and without his job, he didn’t know what he had anymore. And that one-table restaurant appeared before him like a sign. Now that’s a good reason to pursue a passion.

I’ve loved Joon-young and Young-jae as a couple all this time, and last week’s breakup was brutal, but this was such a nice change. I’m glad that they’re trying different things and seeing different people. (I don’t like that Young-jae seems to be with Ho-chul, but I’ll save my thoughts on that until we actually know what’s going on there.) Neither Joon-young or Young-jae wanted their love to end, and it’s brought a whole lot of pain and sadness on them, but I think it’s safe to say that the pain was needed to get them to this point. I don’t know about Young-jae since we haven’t seen her side of the story yet, but Joon-young definitely came out of this experience as a better person—as his own person, and not someone’s son, someone’s brother or someone’s boyfriend.

But now I’m conflicted because I think that Joon-young and Se-eun as a couple are about as sweet as a bushel of apples. I wish that Se-eun had been introduced into the show much earlier since her storyline here added more to her character than all the previous episodes put together. She reminded me a lot of the younger (and permed) Joon-young, when he’d been so consumed by his shyness that it hindered him from taking chances. And I was sincerely proud of her when she built up the courage to confess her feelings to him in the airport. True, their romance was rushed—like Romeo and Juliet rushed—but they seem so right for each other. Joon-young and Young-jae were right for each other in a different way, but as their situation got complicated, they became wrong for each other, unfortunately.

At least now, Joon-young gets to experience a loving and healthy relationship. Even if things change once again and he finds himself drawn back to Young-jae, he needed Se-eun in his life to see what else was out there. But again, I really don’t know if I want him back with Young-jae, especially now that he’s engaged. He’s in a good place in his life with a career that he loves, a girlfriend that is just as giving as he is, and a family that appreciates him more than ever. With all that in mind, is his first love really worth it?

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So happy to read this recap. Thank you @sailorjumun!!!!!

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I actually like him with Se-eun more than him with Young-Jae......

Since they are similar to each other, they will understand each other more than him and Young-Jae ever could. They have similar likes and dislikes too so on dates, they can both have food that they like (no spicy food), watch movies that they both like, etc. And in the long run, they will probably have way less fights due to this.

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some viewers have commented how since JY and SE's r/s was mostly long distance, SE never really got to experience JY's petty outbursts. but, maybe as you said, since they have similar preferences and personalities, maybe they'd have less clashes and there's also less probability for JY to act up? >.<

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Nope, He will never act petty and jealous to Seu Eun. It's not because he doesn't like her. Seu Eun action is just make him more sure she will never leave him. They get long-distance relationship and not even once Seu Eun waver and instead she put up with everything thrown at her just to be with him.

There is this subtle moment in this episode and next episode, the look in his eyes when he look at her, that he appreciate her affection towards him. He can't help it compare every moment he does between YJ and Seu Eun.

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You caught that too huh? He doesn't like her nearly as much as she likes him.i feel bad for her because she is so sweet.

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Thanks for the recap! This is my favorite episode by far. One of the reason being that I got to enjoy Portugal's natural wonders and the other being that we went on a journey throughout the years along with Joon Young and got to see him find happiness and purpose. (I feared a meaningless "5 years later" title card might appear so I'm glad that didn't happen)
I was so shocked that he even dated, nay got ENGAGED to Se Eun! I didn't expect that. Maybe I haven't been around Kdramas long enough to realize that main protagonists actually CAN move on from first love (to an extent). Anyways I'm just really proud of him. For finding love, passion and himself.

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Yes, I was so pleasantly surprised by the time and care(not so surprised by this part as I have come to expect this of the show :)) they took with JY's journey and personal growth. After seeing many dramas with the aforementioned title card(where we are told XY lead changed without actually showing the transformation), it was refreshing to see an entire episode dedicated to the cause. You have my trust,show (please don't break it--no terminal illness excuses, la Kim sam soon). And yes,this is one show where leads ending up with some other partners would be a healthy change

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I felt like I was watching a different drama this episode.

I'm not sure I like Joon Young with Se Eun. The relationship seemed too comfortable and too pleasant to be true. And he has become so smiley that it looks unnatural. Like he's trying to make himself believe he is truly happy. I believe he loves Se Eun to a certain extent, but not the head-over-heels, butterflies-in-your-stomach kind. If their relationship doesnt work out it probably won't have the same kind of impact as his breakup with Young Jae.

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yeah, the whole episode felt surreal and like a dream. Am I watching another drama? But with the same MC?

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sigh! i have mixed feelings about this, mostly because I came in too strong with YJ/JY as OTP (back story: I'd watched ep 1-4 at one go when starting out the drama). despite the flaws in the YJ/JY relationship, it's harder for me to accept this new pairing than I thought >.< even more after ep 12.

also, we've found some of the Portugal filming locations, along with Joon-young's 'Small Table' restaurant on KDL :) https://koreandramaland.com/jobs/?search_keywords=%22the+third+charm%22&submit=

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Whoa! BRB, I'm gonna find all these locations on Google Maps

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haha! we have the geolocations (co-ordinates) with each listing so feel free to use those ;)

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This is like the first time ever in my years of watching k-drama that I wish the OTP won't be back with each other 😂😂 Well, I hope the writer is brave enough to go that route. In my eyes, Joon-young's life is better without Young-jae in it.

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Same here! SE is such a nice girl. I don't want her to get hurt :( plus JY is already happy... that's enough for me.

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I'd love for the writer to take a chance too... but Young-jae... AGH, I don't know what I want. T_T

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Just move on guys. The first love is over, and there are regrets, but just... enough. Have the dinner, say hello, find out the spheres in which each of you are moving in, and AVOID THOSE SPHERES forever. Some wounds are not worth re-opening, even if it means a permanent split forever. It's okay. Move on.

Never, ever thought I would be so opposed to the original OTP but at this point, 4 or 5 years later, if JY were to break-up, especially after a marriage proposal, it would be treating Se-Eun terribly. She'd have to die in some plausible manner for this proposal to break.

I might have just jinxed it.

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they are exhausting tbh

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Everything you said is the advice I would(have) give(n) friends in such a situation 😊.But this is a kdrama (emphasis on draama 😉).Would be too easy if they actually took the sensible route. besides it's not like either are actually going to be happy since there is soo much that is unsaid between them.

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I'm happy that he found his dream. It was not easy but he fought for it.

I like Se Eun but the most part of their relationship was a long distance kind. The proposal is kind of rushed, like she was patient so he must pay her back with a wedding...

So even Ri Won doesn't know how to use contraception? I had faith in her :p

So now I'm curious about Young Jae.

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Did anyone else get a strong "Sabrina" (1954 Audrey Hepburn film) vibe from this episode? Both Sabrina and Joon Young go to culinary school in Europe and come back more sophisticated and successful in love. And the episode ended with an instrumental version of "Moon River", the song Audrey Hepburn sings in "Breakfast At Tiffany's". The lyrics are interesting...

Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a crazy world to see
We're all chasin' after all the same
Chasing after our rainbow's end
Moon river wider than a mile
Crossin' in style someday
My dream maker
Heartbreaker
Wherever you're going I'm going the same...

Hope the song isn't in reference to Joon Young and Yoon Jae being the two drifters.

I don't think JY and YJ should get back together for a third time especially since he's engaged now. As someone who has dated and broken up with the same guy twice, I would never attempt a third try at a relationship that has failed twice. Old habits die hard.

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interesting reference! thanks for sharing that :)

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@fogcity,

Yes, I caught the "Moon River" instrumental, which is one of my all-time faves. And I was thinking of those lyrics, too.

I'm also thumbs-down on Joon-young and Young-jae getting back together. No way.

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Thanks @fogcity for pointing out the use of "Moon River" at the end of the episode. I actually missed it at the end of episode 11 but found myself humming it at the beginning of episode 12. I think it was an inspired choice of music by whoever is responsible for the music.
Good catch.
(I am putting in a link to the Frank Sinatra rendition in the recaps for episode 12.)

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I'm having a hard time to believe that neither HC or YJ know that the restaurant belongs to YJ. Especially with his one table concept. The exclusivity is enough to garner attention and people do make a reservation to dine there. We in 2018, it is hard to believe YJ face is not all over socmed as the owner. But...ok

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Me too, I had to stretch my imagination for that bit.

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Part 1 of 4

Short version:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/11/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-128/comment-page-2/#comment-3335300

Thanks for your dandy recap of a dandy episode, @sailorjumun! After all the growing pains Joon-young has endured, it was a blessed relief to see him throw caution to the wind and bail out of his comfort zone. I loved the imagery of his cutting the apron strings tying him to his family of origin. He was long-overdue to make a break for freedom. For years he had been enabling his mother to exert her dominion over the rest of the family. By ceasing to serve as chief cook and bottle washer, Joon-young gave the rest of the family the opportunity to get off their butts and take care of themselves. It forced his parents to reexamine and redefine their partnership.

There's nothing better than travel to broaden one's outlook and stretch one's resourcefulness. At the same time, Joon-young's sojourn overseas immersed him in a totally foreign culture and challenged him to find common ground with the locals. Stumbling across that tiny restaurant during his dark night of the soul was a turning point that spoke to the depths of his being.

I appreciated how Joon-young's talent for cooking at home led him to pursue it as a profession. While it was a stretch for him to acclimate to the rigors of the work, he persisted and applied himself. I could see traces of his studious engineering student self as he set to work in the kitchen classroom. His new calling was an organic outgrowth of his earlier life, and just plain felt right. He has always been a nurturing person, and now he has the opportunity to extend hospitality in creative ways that for him will probably be more fulfilling than police work ever could have been. And probably more remunerative, too. With less risk of being injured or killed in the line of duty.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 4

Truth to tell, there wasn't even a need for Officer Min to toss her hat in the ring in this episode. The sheer amount of growth in Joon-young's character arc occasioned by his selection of, and dedication to, a meaningful new career was thoroughly gratifying all on its own. It strikes me that the former ugly duckling truly morphed into a swan during his time on the Iberian peninsula.

One of the most telling aspects of Officer Min's “trip to see a soccer game” was the way in which Joon-young engaged her in conversation. Instead of the torrent of logorrhea he desperately used to spout, he was relaxed and attentive to what she had to say. He did not try to gain reassurance about anything from her. For a change, he was truly in the moment, and was able to comfortably sit with the silences that naturally pepper the ebb and flow of even the most engaged conversations. It was a far cry from his desperate chattering. If anything, he may have been a little too laid-back at first. Over time, he became more responsive. The quality of their conversations was radically different from the way in which his family and Young-jae usually talked over him and drowned him out, or undercut his agency.

It suddenly hit me that Officer Min's trip to Portugal was her playing hide-and-seek with Joon-young. Instead of abandoning him during the game, she flew halfway around the world to find him. (Interestingly, he's the one who abandoned ship, and was clueless as to her budding interest in him.) His earlier despair at still being “unfound” at 27 gave way to his being discovered by someone shy like he was. Officer Min was willing to get up the gumption to not only track him down, but to tell him exactly how she felt about him. Temperamentally, they are similar, and have had to work hard to compensate for their introversion.

It also occurs to me that Officer Min's extreme efforts to inform Joon-young of her feelings parallel Doc Ho-chul's desperately persistent efforts to declare his love to Young-jae. Both of them are sick and tired of their failure to speak up in the past. Ho-chul's confession on the beach did not bother me as much as it did other Beanies. I interpreted it as his saying what he needed to say, regardless of her response to it.

- Continued -

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Wow, @pakalanapikake..your observations about the JY's conversation style blew my mind!that is so true and shows so much of JY's growth.

As always, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree about No-chul though😊.
So-eun by nature is wary with words(when she isn't being sassy with her fam in saturi,ofc) and her confession was done as a burst of nervous emotion,unlike mr. No-chul's captive confessions.
She liked a guy,did some (mild) stalking,sent him thoughtful gifts and finally made a difficult journey just to see him all the while thinking she has no chance with him.What's more she even made a point of confirming his single status when they were dining overlooking that beautiful sunset.she then shot her shot without much hope for a positive response.
No-chul on the other hand is a worldly guy who actively got himself inserted in an already messy relationship.
Eventually though I fear Se-eun might be destined to a similar fate to what No-chul has already experienced -unsure of her place, second guessing her relationship when the two times-exes meet for the third time . I hope for her sake that she doesn't endure too much pain while JY and YJ 's paths inevitably cross again.As to No-chul (even if he and YJ are married*shudders*say it ain't so show) I am not too fussed about his potential heart ache, coz Karma

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Part 1 of 2

@ashes2ashes,

Both of this week's episodes were meaty and well done. It has been so distressing to observe Joon-young curling up and dying by inches that I was thrilled to pieces to see him embark upon such a plausible, realistic upgrade path. Needless to say, it inspired me. But if there weren't so much grist for the mill, I wouldn't have commented at such length. Some of our characters are layered to the point that even their layers have layers. ;-)

As for Ho-chul, yes, he has apparently succeeded in finagling his way into a serious relationship with Young-jae. Maybe he really does believe he loves her and feels compelled to express it or he will regret it for the rest of his life. Whatever. I have no reason to doubt that he would regret failing to express his feelings to his girlfriend or wife. But I think that Ho-chul's motivation is based more on keeping up with his buddies who are also well-off professionals, and maintaining socially-mandated appearances. It's all about surface impressions and external factors. If something looks good on the outside, it must be good on the inside, too. Not!

Now that I think of it, Ho-chul's method of trying to corner Young-jae in the presence of witnesses is very similar to the cringetastic M.O. of the character Philip in SOULMATE. He gets down on bended knee in a freaking subway car to propose publicly entrap his girlfriend into agreeing to get engaged. And the ring he picked out looks like some kind of decoder gizmo. It's in one of the first episodes, and it is so painful to watch that I practically had terminal second-hand embarrassment while watching it. Note: Philip is neither as handsome nor as flush with cash as Ho-chul. He is completely clueless about his intended's wants, needs, and professional aspirations. He is a dork, but not adorkable, and that spells L-O-S-E-R.

Ho-chul is actually more of a plot device than a character. He's the personification of surface appearance unsupported by "veritas" (truth) -- to cop a term from Doc Yoo-jin over in ROOM NO. 9. To Yoo-jin, truth is the bedrock of a loving relationship, and is what he values most. Ho-chul is a plastic surgeon who deals in outer appearances and surface beauty. He himself is handsome and presumably always has been. Joon-young, on the other hand, was an ugly duckling because of his braces. He was also the thoughtful, compassionate doer of secret good deeds who did not blow his own horn. His invisible heart and sensitivity made him aware of other people's feelings, and as a police officer prompted him to treat even law-breakers in a kindly manner.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 2

We don't actually get to see Officer Min recovering at home with her family until Ep. 12, so I'll hold my peace about her until that recap. I agree with your excellent analysis of her process of warming up to Joon-young and her initiation of a long-distance relationship with him. You are absolutely correct about her working herself into a nervous tizzy so she could tell Joon-young how she felt about him. The difference between Officer Min's approach and those of Ho-chul and Philip in SOULMATE is this: She was willing to make a fool of herself in the middle of the airport departure hall in order to express her own true feelings (as far as we know at this time). Not someone else's feelings, nor a socially-prescribed declaration of interest in dating.

I'm a bit nervous, too, over how Officer Min will weather the impending reunion between Joon-young and Young-jae. If Show continues to put new twists on hoary old tropes – or sidesteps them completely – I'll be a happy camper indeed. Because Joon-young is such a sensitive person, I doubt very much that he will put Officer Min through the same kind of thoughtlessly inhumane self-centeredness that Young-jae inflicted on him. It would be refreshing indeed to have him never waver for a nanosecond, and simply wish his old flame a happy life and send her off with a blessing for her highest good. I apologize in advance if my wish comes to pass and ends up triggering the Apocalypse.

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Part 3 of 4

Joon-young's popping the question to Officer Min was so completely different from the way he planned to ask Young-jae to marry him that I can hardly believe he's the same man. Instead of trying to make himself heard over the din of everyday life with a flashy, splashy display of plumage substitutes, he quietly expressed his intentions in his own way, straight from the heart. This was the real deal, not some show-biz extravaganza meant to shock and awe the object of his affections into complying with his wishes. I also liked how he suddenly changed his mind after he though he had lost his opportunity to propose that day. The Thinker who used to plan everything in his life put “carpe diem” into action in a wonderfully significant way.

And now for my concerns. First off, this is technically only Joon-young's second romantic relationship. One might even consider the possibility that it is a rebound relationship, despite how much time has passed. Given the traumatic nature of his partnership with Young-jae, I think it would do him a world of good to engage in couples counseling with Officer Min. A competent psychotherapist would be able to guide them in addressing their individual and collective baggage before they inadvertently waltz into a minefield. We don't know much at all about Officer Min, and neither, presumably, does Joon-young. Introverts being introverts, someone may need to light a fire under them to ensure full disclosure and healthy self-revelation. It takes two to tango, but what do you do if two introverts don't dance?

By their very nature, long-distance relationships have built-in challenges that can doom them in the long run. In some ways they remind me of GI marriages during WWII. Couples in my parents' generation grabbed the brass ring when the opportunity presented itself during a time of fearsome uncertainty and upheaval. In a similar fashion, in long-distance relationships there's an urgency to make up for lost time that can never truly be replaced. But after years of living apart, togetherness may be too claustrophobic for some parties. The extra effort and excitement necessary to overcome separation may be impossible to sustain. Or it may prompt one or both parties to hang onto a relationship that has run its course, unwilling to pronounce it dead via “Dear John” letter. Sadly, close proximity sometimes reveals that there is not enough common ground to sustain a healthy, vital partnership.

- Continued -

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Part 4 of 4

Speaking as someone who studied overseas in the late 1970s, and then moved from the Mainland to Hawai'i for three years for work, I've been in the same boat as Joon-young and Officer Min. In those pre-Internet days, international telephone calls were exorbitantly expensive. The issue has been rendered moot by modern real-time telecommunications. To anyone who has never had to rely on airmail letters to keep in touch, it may be well-nigh impossible to conceive of the joy with which snail mail deliveries were received.

As for Soo-jae, I was thrilled that his dedication to screenwriting has come to fruition. I really appreciated his contacting Joon-young to thank him for his diligence in proofreading his winning screenplay. I was touched by Soo-jae's diplomatic acknowledgment of his friend's distress over his sister's termination of the relationship.

I was glad that this episode focused almost exclusively on Joon-young's growth arc. I appreciate the attention he received. On the other hand, the ominous silence that was broken by the arrival of the evening's diners at Small Table made me anxious on his behalf. It's all well and good to be master of one's own life after an extended travail and lengthy period of healing. But the true test of Joon-young's recovery and growth will be how he relates to his former girlfriend when they actually have to speak with each other. Here's hoping that he has internalized his new behaviors, and refrains from backsliding into his old default patterns of relating to her. I'd tell him to play Jim Croce's “Lover's Cross” and “Thursday” and a bunch of other pieces just to reinforce the point. Since sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, I've put together a number of selections by various artists for Young-jae as well. See my fan wall for the links, starting here: http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/641900/

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Your in-depth analysis is as fantastic as ever PP.
I enjoyed reading it. Thanks :)

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You're so very welcome, @fatcat007 Kitty. ;-)

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I am kind of late and jumping back and forth between episode recaps. Thanks @pakalanapikake. I gave your above analyses a careful reading and as always I find them always helpful.
(Lol. Re your reference to Air Mail. Being of a certain age, my first overseas trip was is 1983. I can remember the whole rigamarole for making a phone call back to the States (finding a place for international calls, the phone booth, making the call and then paying). To me it is still amazing to see something like JY Skyping with his family back in Korea.)

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You're most welcome, @marcusnyc20 Bong-soo. I'm glad you found my comments useful. It's been an intense couple of weeks for me, too, with the finales of 100 DAYS MY PRINCE and THE GUEST, and then these developments in THE THIRD CHARM.

I know exactly what you mean about being wowed by Skyping international calls. It's nothing short of miraculous. I remember the hassles of calling home from Germany in the late 70s -- including the hoard of Deutschmark coins you needed.

Communicating by air mail involves a time element that can actually be beneficial. You get plenty of time to mull over your thoughts while awaiting the next letter.

This is the kind of air mail letter no one wants to get:

http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/644594/ ;-)

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Gosh I love Seu Eun So much But more like the way Kim Yoon Hee act as Seu Eun. The look in her eyes when she look at JY, my heart is just fluttering so much, can't help it! She is so into JY, I know there will be more to her than meet the eyes, and perhaps she will turn out to have some flaws also. I just enjoying every moment of their scene in this episode.

I think I'm the only one who feel Seo Kang Joon and Kim Yoon Hee has more spark and better acting chemistry compare to with Esom .

And Esom has more chemistry with the doctor. Make me wish the OTP won't end up together lmao...

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[Part 1] What a wild ride of an episode. It felt like a different show at times, but I think what we were watching was meant to feel like change. We were seeing J-Y changing in the most physical sense possible.

I'm happy for him. So, so happy for him. Culinary arts makes 100% sense for him, and he got to experience his study time whilst away from an overbearing family. It's independence at its finest, and it's essential for the growth I've been waiting for. Finally he's got a career of his own choosing, that isn't based on a foundation of bitterness and spite but on that magical moment in the one-table restaurant when he was cold, in pain and unhappy. It's a beautiful, magical moment to rival that precious memory of his first relationship, but I think this memory will be treating him far better.

I find myself oddly torn about his relationship with S-E. Don't get me wrong – I'm extremely happy about it. Her gift to him arrived at a timely moment when his confidence was shaken and he was feeling low. What he took from that gift – which was literally a symbol of comfort and 'weathering' the conditions – probably gave him the courage to get back to the grindstone that day.

Her appearing in Portugal was important too. I've seen her called a 'stalker' for this, but looking at it on a different level...isn't she being the first person to put in the effort for him? Like PakalanaPikake says...hasn't she tried to find him, which is something he was afraid no one would do?

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[Part 2] Their conversation was easy, and J-Y even managed to come across as the dominant speaker. He was relaxed and friendly. It was like seeing a whole new man, and maybe that was it. But I'm worried.

I'm worried because I get the horrible feeling that J-Y has become the Y-J of this new relationship. The long-distance relationship while he works on his career, leading to him apologising to her for not being there much, these could all be explained away as just the different efforts a couple has to make in their individual lives.

But...is it just me, or is J-Y's happiness too casual and sometimes too forced? His smile is completely different to the smile that he had with Y-J. When I watch back scenes from earlier episodes and compare them to his scenes with S-E, it makes me uncomfortable, because he's almost too casual. I feel like he's almost using S-E like he would that scarf she made him. She's something comfortable and warm, she's a balm but not necessarily the place where his heart is.

I hope I'm wrong about this, because actually, I want S-E to be end game. If J-Y is momentarily swayed by the past, fine, but then I want him to realise the position he's in and everything that's come before now. I want him to realise that S-E is a blessing to him, in the same way that he's a blessing to the people he loves, and that he'd be missing out on something truly special if he throws himself back into the unknown with Y-J.

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[Part 3] And cop a load of Y-J's expression at the end. Talk about misery guts. H-C has his usual gormless expression but Y-J looks like curdled milk. Did she marry the dude? If she did, how soon after her breakup? I'm actually not sure I even care. No, I DON'T care. Somehow the writers have officially written her out for me, and I simply don't care any more.

Congratulations to Soo-Jae! I love that he's successful, and seems more confident, complete with a new look. I also love that he hasn't just thrown himself in a relationship or a friends-with-benefits scenario with J-R. Not least because her whining is hilarious to me.

I'm even pleased with the way S-H and R-W have turned out. I was never particularly interested in them as a separate story taking up screen time, but now that they've blended into J-Y's story a little better, I enjoy their banter and their roles as parents.

One last note: I've seen comments saying that SKJ absolutely nailed the Portuguese. This follows on from comments on AYHT that his Czech was not only brilliant, but also better when it was Nam Shin III using it. Can we give this guy a slow clap or fifty?

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SJK really deserves the applause 👌👌👌. As someone who had tried and failed to master Portuguese,his Portuguese sounded pretty darn good for a non native speaker.He speaks Czech too!?Omo,actors with an ear for language always tend to do well,from what I have seen so far.

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If he's not only able to master a language and its accent, but make distinctions between two characters like in AYHT, then he is truly amazing. I was shook when I read that his Czech as NSIII was even better than the human NS, it was another layer to the differences between human and robot.

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Omg @alex. JY becoming the YJ in his new avatar.I had the exact same thought..For me it started registering with his time in the culinary school.For perhaps the first time in his life,JY was doibg something he truly wanted but also struggling.Which made him double down on focus ,just like YJ did.
Then Se-eun came through for him,literally.The moment after her confession was so well done and I was so happy for him.He looked stunned and thankful.But then as the seasons progressed there was this current of emotion underneath the happiness.Like you said, his smile at times was a little too forced and I started feeling a sense of dread for Se-eun,esp. once they were all back in Seoul.At every corner,people remind him of what a gem Se-eun is,how much she has done for him.They all make very clear what they expect him to do in return.JY knows all too well the pain of being left hanging,of being unsure of your place in someone's life, so he does the decent thing,coz he is a god guy.He proposes .But his exhales before and after the proposal are telling. I am sure he loves and aporeciates her but he realizes that there is a part of himself that he is holding back from her.That this time,he is the one who is receiving more than what he has given.It's ironic that his experiences have actually brought him to a point where he would have related with the YJ of 2013.

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Exactly. I wonder if the culinary school thing was meant to be 'JY starting to understand things from YJ's POV', though I think that falls very flat. It wasn't just YJ's interest in her career that caused all of this drama, after all.

I think JY appreciates SE, but not passionately. He's choosing what's comfortable to try and force himself to continue moving forward. I don't want him to force anything, but I don't want him to go back to YJ either.

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I agree, when I watch JY's interactions with SE, I feel sorry for her. He's kind and warm, but he doesn't seem to focus on her. He can't name anything about her personally when asked why he likes her. I think it's easy for him to confident with SE because he doesn't care as much. He's not as afraid of losing anything, because his heart is not as invested in her. I want them to both have someone who adores them, not just one who adores and the other who accepts that adoration.

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Right? He seems like he's still being the reservedly kind self he was at the hospital when they ate peaches together and he checked her foot for her.

It's tragic that it seems like the primary reason he came up with for liking their relationship was that she represented what was absent from his previous relationship, but nothing about her aside from being pretty. I really hope this changes. I'd love for him to have an epiphany and finally break free from the past.

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Why I find it hard to watch this drama is because it's so realistic it hurts. Watching these two go through a break up is like watching two close friends who were a couple end and move on. That's why I like dramas, they aren't real, but this one is. So I am interested to see if the writers are going to make them get back together or have them move on with different people.

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@sailorjumun, thanks for the recap. Could not agree more with your post recap comments. I have read that folks dismiss the relationship with Officer Min, but they do seem to care for each other, and probably both too nice to try and hurt one another. Our OTP probably can't make that same sentence. I'll comment about YJ after Ep 12, but she needs some more self-love than romance.

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Thanks a lot for the insightful recap, @sailorjumun. The comment section was particularly poignant.
Thoughts:
*Like our esteemed recapper-nim, I am also reserving judgement on YJ and No-chul's potential relationship(chaebal show,say it ain't so)
*This episode was all JY and rightfully so. the poor guy needed time and distance and he got it in spades!! so happy for him to have finally found passion.(Side note :How very like a perfect student to find something positive out of arguable the hardest time of his life).
*I was wary of Se-eun's late addition to the game, but she proved to be such a sweet, devoted influence in JY's life and right when he needed it the most. I really liked the sweet beats of their relationship and almost wished that he stayed in Port with her and had his restaurant,sigh.
*Ri-won continues to be jjang. The screencap of her expression while holding her new born baby really says everything about her. The girl stuck to her gun on co-parenting and whatsmore is her own boss.Yes,girl. And her hug with JY at the airport almost made me taer up. Out of everyone in his circle,Riwon and Seo-Jae are the ones who really get him. Seo jae might be a bit biased but we can rely on Ri-won to deliver some truths when her brother needs it(and given the premise of the show, he will most likely need it)
*Soo Jae and Joo-ran's relationship is interesting. despite his success, i suspect he still doesn't see himself as a viable life partner and so is dismissing Joo-ran's earnest request for a romantic relationship as drunken rants?
*Good for omma-oppa to finally learn to be caring instead of demanding of your grown son.
*Sang Ryul,i think one of the reasons Ri-won kinda looks down on you is coz you still don't have any ambition/passion of your own.
*Was it a moment of awareness I saw in Jy's eyes when his buddy was having a jealous fit in front of his li'l sister?
*I want JY and SE to work out so badly, but I feel JY is not all in this relationship as SE is. Have you even told your fiancee about your previous relationship,Chef On?? Really hope SE doesn't become collateral damage during JY and YJ's third season :(

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One last thing😊
JY's journey to finding himself was an excellent fusion of stellar acting, beautiful scenery, and wonderful silent beats that allowed us viewers to interpret and infer.I particularly loved the way he came upon his calling.Weary of heart,soul and gut he stumbles upon this almost whimsical place where a foreign man feeds him something foreign.But this alien thing turns out to be the one thing he needed to hold on at that time,he exhales the unfamiliar food and soaks in the warmth of the chef.JY, a lifelong feeder of people finally realizes what he wants to do.Whatsmore ,he is generous enough to be that warm chef to other people.Create a happy,cozy atmosphere,give them delicious food and then step aside to let them make their own memories 😍
So well written,such nuanced acting and a director who lets these moments breath.Kudos,show, kudos

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Well said!

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For me Joon Young Like Seu Eun. He is enjoying every moment being with her. It might be not as intense as his previous relationship because there is still left his old feeling towards his ex. But STill he is enjoting it.
Yes, I agree.. He is now see Seu Eun in his shoes back when he dated Young Jae, and now He is YJ in his relationship with Seu Eun.

But He is not that saint. Joon Young like to get attention from her. He finally understand the feeling of getting appreciation and affection. BEcause of Seu Eun, he start to have fate in woman! Before, he is even doubt he can be loved.

When he is being alone in the dark in Portugal, catch a cold and feeling lonely (everyone seems has their own agenda), and when he is at his lowest, Seu Eun found him. After that, He is no longer feeling lonely and always put a smile on his face. There is someone who he can call other than his family member. And when he said he miss her, she is coming to him.
He touched by every gesture he received and he is enjoying it so much! that's why he want to get married with her.

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I'm just hapy that Joon Young finally found himself. Being a chef of a one-table-restaurant suits him so much!!!
It totally fits his character!!

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I guess it's just me, but Joon Young doesn't seem to like Se-un as much as he should. There is something missing from their love, but she is very sweet and I hope they get some happiness.

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Nope, I'm with you 100%. His entire body language, smile, speech etc is much more reserved and casual with her than he was with YJ. I get the horrible feeling that he's with her for comfort and familiarity, and that passion can override this. Praying it's not true, though, because I think SE is adorable.

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Definitely not alone there @kafiyah-bello.
His relationship with SE is all mixed up-it's essentially a re-bound-feelings of with comfort, responsibility/duty ,gratefulness etc all jostling around. JY is also shown to be conflicted before and after the proposal coz he knows full well the pain of being the one who gives more in a relationship and he truly doesn't seem to want that for SE.
Ri-won's insights about JY are handy here-He has taken note of his one broken relationship and reasons that if he does everything he wishes YJ did in their old one(negate the mistakes) he can have a happier outcome with SE. Except that human mind is not a neat sum of all parts.
sigh..i wish everyone gets out reasonably happy in this season.

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-With all that in mind, is his first love really worth it?

NOPE.

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JY said it when Se-eun asked why he liked her: she's comfortable, and they both put the effort in to make it work. However, I believe JY is also gratified by the knowledge that she loves him more; she is the one who laid bare her heart, who loves him unreservedly, who thinks of him all the time, who quietly and fervently supports him. There is something healing in being the receiver of that love when once you were the giver, and we see that reflected in JY's mellowing.

One of the aspects of Korean drama that blew my mind was this concept of being okay with being the one who loves more (first encountered this in "Coffee Prince"). It's a bittersweet existence, but I wonder if that's the thesis statement for JY in Third Charm. I think of his father picking the persimmon and commenting on its bitterness despite it being ripe and the tree fruitful. He didn't look angry or disappointed, or even resigned. He just chuckled and went on with his life (I bet he went and found a use for those persimmons). JY didn't know, in 2012, how to reconcile himself to this, and how to live with it. It requires a lot of strength, and tact, and a fortified heart. I think, I hope, going into the third encounter with YJ, all of what he's learned and how he has grown, will help him accept the truth -- he was, is, and always will be in love with YJ, and it might be terrible, but it is indestructible.

I know we have to laud SKJ's acting every episode (it is mandatory), but I really, really, really need to see him garner some actual trophies for this. Two scenes stand out for me: when he cried while eating the soup and when he saw YJ for the first time in five years. Crying while eating will always get me right in the gut, it is such a viscerally lonely experience, but SKJ hit all the right notes, mixing relief with sadness with nostalgia with gratitude with hope.

The other scene, the final scene, was another example of just exemplary emotive, wordless acting. The way his face fell translated so much, it made more of an impression than all of his smiles with Se-eun. SKJ, you are my Daesang.

I'll reserve my YJ comments for next episode, but a preview: Esom tore me to shreds.

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I think the third charm is them not ending together but findind themselves and growing as person through pain and sorrow. They may end up together or not but that is not the main point. The end may be they realizing that they loved each other but moving on, knowing that they can still find love elsewhere. It's a journey. I think is the best way of watching this show.

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I just wonder if anyone have info about MJ?

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