The Third Charm: Episode 14
Joon-young’s relationship with his girlfriend Se-eun is everything that he ever wanted–they have similar traits, similar tastes and similar goals. In other words, it’s everything that his relationship with his first love wasn’t. The important question, though, is if Joon-young and Se-eun have similar feelings toward each other. If they do, is it enough to outweigh his past feelings for his first love?
EPISODE 14 RECAP
After four years of dating, the time has come for Joon-young to meet Se-eun’s family. He’s looking mighty son-in-law-worthy in a suit and ready to impress. His parents wish him luck before sending him off with Se-eun. Joon-young’s nerves start showing on the car ride there, so Se-eun reassures him that her father isn’t scary; he can actually be quite cute.
Meanwhile, the salon staff notice that Joo-ran is feeling down. One of her clients, MJ (the idol that Soo-jae refused to hire), notices as well and asks what’s wrong. Instead of answering, she turns the question on him. He explains the Soo-jae situation, and she nods knowingly.
Soo-jae and his team are holding auditions for the main role of their film. The next group come in, and the board is surprised when a candidate removes his hat and reveals himself to be MJ. The idol is nervous as he tells them that he came without his representation. And though Soo-jae is still skeptical, he lets MJ continue his audition.
Afterwards, Soo-jae actually admits that he did well. MJ says that he took Soo-jae’s criticism seriously since his boy band career left him with a complex. His insecurities prevented him from trying new things, so he’s glad that he was able to do this audition, even if he doesn’t get the part. Soo-jae is surprised to hear this, realizing he might’ve been too quick in his judgment.
Joon-young and Se-eun make it to her family home, where the mom greets them with a grin. Joon-young’s nerves kick right back up, though, when the dad and two brothers file out with hard expressions. Ha, welcome to the lion’s den.
Everyone gathers inside to eat, and Se-eun’s brother notably gives her a hard time for putting food in Joon-young’s bowl rather than her own. Getting straight to the point, both brothers then question Joon-young’s career change from cop to chef.
The conversation starts getting heated, so the dad slams his spoon down and demands for alcohol. Dad pours Joon-young waaay too much soju and urges him to down the whole thing. Joon-young politely pours for Dad too before chugging like a champ.
After their meal, Joon-young and Se-eun head out, and her family watch them drive off. Mom thinks that Joon-young is a total catch, and even the brothers think that he’s a good guy. “If Se-eun likes him then that’s enough for me,” Dad adds.
However, Joon-young tells Se-eun that he got the feeling her dad dislikes him. She smiles and says that Dad’s hard look was actually his happy face, lol. He’s relieved to hear that, but Se-eun can tell that something’s still bothering him.
Young-jae walks into her kitchen and sees the thermos of leftovers from last night. She grabs a spoon to finish it off, still marveling at the taste. “You found it again,” she thinks, referring to Joon-young always finding things for her. “I won’t lose it this time.”
Joon-young meets up with Officer Jung to have a big reunion with Officers Gong and Lee (aw, yay, I missed these guys). They head into a barbeque place for dinner, where, whoa, former criminal Snakehead and his girlfriend are the owners.
As they eat, Joon-young notes that Snakehead seems to have really turned his life around; he’s even attending church now. Snakehead says that he’s let go of his past because his girlfriend is most important.
He then asks Joon-young if he ever married that Young-jae girl, confused when the other officers try to shush him. Joon-young just smiles and announces that he is getting married–to Se-eun. Jaws drop all around.
They’re all incredibly happy for their former team leader, and Officer Gong even jokes that he’ll lock Joon-young up if he doesn’t treat Se-eun well. With that, they all clink glasses to commemorate Joon-young’s engagement.
The next day, Young-jae readies to leave her apartment, dressing warmly as Joon-young instructed. She goes to the supermarket and buys all of the necessary ingredients for Joon-young’s spicy stir-fried octopus recipe.
At home, she recreates the dish, following Joon-young’s recipe step-by-step. And she’s delighted when it turns out to be a success, being just as delicious.
However, a phone call interrupts her meal, the voice on the other line surprising her. She goes out to a café to meet the caller, who happens to be Se-eun. Se-eun wanted to apologize for before, when she’d asked about a boyfriend and accidentally brought up Young-jae’s divorce.
Young-jae accepts the apology and chats with Se-eun about Joon-young and how they came to be engaged. When Se-eun mentions her confession in the airport, Young-jae praises her, saying that courage is needed to gain someone’s heart. She understands now why Joon-young must like her.
Se-eun then gets to why she really called Young-jae out; she wanted to set her up on a blind date. Se-eun starts to say that she knows a nice guy, but seeing the expression on Young-jae’s face, she stops.
Young-jae looks up at her and asks, “Then will your heart be at ease?” Se-eun responds with confusion, so Young-jae just encourages her to set up the date. When Young-jae leaves, Se-eun doesn’t look at ease; she looks regretful.
Later, Joon-young is contacted by Se-eun’s dad and learns that he approves of their marriage. Joon-young then calls Se-eun to relay the news, saying that her dad wants them to marry sometime this year.
It should be a happy moment for them, but Se-eun’s smile drops as soon as they hang up. She sighs, still feeling horrible over her actions toward Young-jae.
While shooting some free throws, Soo-jae has a hard time concentrating. He’s bothered by his knowledge of MJ’s insecurities, Joo-ran’s outburst at his prejudiced attitude suddenly hitting home.
He tries to call Joo-ran, but she’s busy getting ready to leave (presumably to another doctor’s appointment). He then thinks about calling Young-jae but decides not to. Instead, he decides that maybe it’s time to pay Joon-young a visit.
After Soo-jae surprises Joon-young by rolling up to the restaurant on his scooter, the two catch up over dinner. They haven’t seen each other in years, so Soo-jae wanted to thank Joon-young for playing a part in his now successful film career. He also wanted to see how Joon-young was doing these days.
Joon-young admits that he’s getting married soon, and though Soo-jae expresses his congratulations, they’re both thinking about Young-jae. Soo-jae gets into one of his film references, saying that relationships are funny in that their chances of meeting are slim.
Still, if these people can’t always see or be with each other, they should at least wish each other the best. Soo-jae clarifies that he’s talking about him and Joon-young, though I’m sure they know who he’s really referring to.
Afterwards, Soo-jae tries to pay for the meal with his card, but the restaurant only accepts cash. Joon-young offers to take care of it, making Soo-jae fuss that he needs to be the one that pays. But with no cash and no ATM, he has no choice but to be indebted to Joon-young once again.
Since they’d been drinking, Soo-jae needs a designated driver to take him home, which Joon-young also pays. Soo-jae is saddened that he can’t repay Joon-young for all he’s done, but instead of apologizing, he wants to say thank you. And with that, the two part ways.
Joon-young’s parents are writing up the wedding guest list, but they’re coming up short since Joon-young doesn’t have many friends or any employees. Dad doesn’t see the big deal when a wedding should be intimate and romantic, but Mom thinks that this is important, considering that they won’t be able to do this with Ri-won.
Speaking of whom, Ri-won is getting ready to leave for work. Sang-hyun is upset because it was supposed to be her day off, and even more upset to hear that she’ll be with the junior he’s jealous of.
She asks if he’s feeling insecure, and he grumbles that he is. “Even if I do break up with you,” she says, “I’ll discuss everything with you beforehand.” That said, she doesn’t want him to worry about it. She gives him a reassuring kiss before leaving.
Se-eun and her superior wish their co-worker luck before he heads out on his blind date with Young-jae. And seeing her co-worker so excited, Se-eun’s guilt starts to intensify.
Young-jae meets up with her blind date, nowhere near as excited as he is. She sits down with him, acting polite, though it looks like she already wants to leave.
Meanwhile, Joon-young treats Se-eun and her superior at the restaurant. In the middle of their meal, the superior gets a phone call from their co-worker and learns that his date was cut short. Apparently, the woman claimed that she had somewhere to be, though she did pay for the bill.
Se-eun urges her superior to continue eating, afraid she might reveal everything with Joon-young right there. But the superior keeps talking, saying that setting a divorcee up probably wasn’t a good idea. It dawns on Joon-young who they’re talking about, and he turns to Se-eun, appalled.
When the superior leaves, Joon-young drops the friendly smile and tells Se-eun to sit down and wait as he cleans. She offers to help, but he snaps that he’ll do it himself, surprising her. Eventually, when they’re driving back, they get caught in traffic, forcing them to talk about it.
“What were you thinking?” he demands, not just annoyed but legitimately angry. Hurt, Se-eun asks him the same question, wondering why he didn’t tell her that Young-jae was his ex-girlfriend. (Whoa, wait, she didn’t know?) She points out that in the four years of their dating, this is the first time he’s been mad at her. And of all things, it’s because of Young-jae.
Joon-young realizes that she’s right, and his expression softens. He quietly apologizes for making her anxious, saying that it won’t happen again. He then tells her that he’ll walk from here so she can get out of this traffic.
Young-jae goes to Joo-ran’s salon–Joo-ran’s phone call having ended her date–and finds her sitting by herself. Joo-ran starts talking about the salon and how it’s come to be her husband and her baby. And she thinks that her employee Noo-ri would be the best choice to take over. She’s starting to scare Young-jae, so she finally looks up at her and says, “I have cancer.”
We flash back to the day of Joo-ran’s diagnosis, when the doctor had told her that she was in the third stage of cervical cancer. She could be treated, but she still wouldn’t be able to get pregnant. Joo-ran now cries, expressing how embarrassed she feels for trying so hard to have a baby.
She also tells Young-jae about the cancer patient she encountered in the bathroom. When she saw her, Soo-jae was the first thing that came to mind. She then understood how scared he must’ve felt after his accident, how hard it must’ve been to feel comforted.
She regrets ever bringing up his pain, remembering the way he would just smile at her like everything was okay. Both Joo-ran and Young-jae are crying as she asks for one favor–she doesn’t want Young-jae to tell anyone about her illness. She doesn’t want to show it off.
Young-jae accepts Joo-ran’s wishes, and also agrees to cut her hair. Joo-ran’s eyes continue to fill with tears as Young-jae carefully cuts her hair all the way down to a pixie cut.
She shuts her eyes when the clippers come out, and only opens them when Young-jae is done. As she looks at the new her, she grasps Young-jae’s hand with a grateful smile.
After closing up shop, Young-jae takes Joo-ran home and tucks her into bed. Joo-ran is still emotional by the time Young-jae leaves, crying into her pillow.
As Young-jae walks back to her apartment, she looks up at the moon and gets a sharp pang in her heart. She’s reminded of a time when little So-ri had sweetly claimed that she wanted to eat a lot of food and become the moon because the moon was everywhere.
The memory is too much for Young-jae to bear. She falls to the ground and sobs right then and there, under the moonlight.
When Se-eun arrives home, she realizes that Joon-young left his planner in the car. She reads through it and sees that there are little notes everywhere, reminding him to spend time with her, bake treats for her, and so on. She smiles at one note that says “1500th day with Se-eun.”
While drinking beer outside, Joon-young gets a call from an unknown number. He freezes when he hears Young-jae’s weak voice come through: “Joon-young, it’s Young-jae. I wanted to call someone, but I had no one to call.”
He listens to her deep breathing as she shakily continues, “All the people I love end up getting hurt or leaving me.” Joon-young starts to say that they shouldn’t be contacting each other, and she answers that she knows and that she’ll be leaving soon.
“I will leave,” she repeats. That’s then followed by the sound of falling glasses and someone’s concerned cries. Joon-young panics and says her name over and over, but there’s no answer.
This is so freaking sad. How many times do I have to say that? I feel like I’ve been saying it throughout this entire drama, and frankly, it’s starting to get to me. We only have two episodes left, and I have no idea how any of this is going to be play out. We have an engagement possibly falling apart, we have a female lead suffering depression, we have the second female lead diagnosed with cancer, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. It has to go up from here, right? It can’t leave all of our characters in pain, right? I don’t even know anymore.
Young-jae’s depression has been festering the last few episodes, leaving me on edge, and it seems to have progressed to suicidal thoughts. I don’t think she was trying to hurt herself during that phone call (it sounded like she passed out drunk somewhere), but her words make me think that she wants to. She just sounded so… done. And it’s truly awful because at first, it looked like Joon-young’s advice got to her for a while. She was taking small steps by dressing warmly, making a home cooked meal and, though it didn’t work out, going on a blind date. Granted, that blind date was the worst possible suggestion on Se-eun’s part.
Se-eun and Joon-young’s fight was inevitable, and it went as I expected. He was furious with Se-eun, and understandably so, only to end up furious with himself all over again. He’s been frustrated because he’s doing exactly what Young-jae did–he’s making Se-eun nervous, making her question their relationship. But I feel the same way I did when Joon-young and Young-jae were going through this problem. I want them to work it out. They can work it out. All it takes is some communication and understanding. I know that this is a drama and that we’ve been rooting for one couple for a long time, but with the way things are now, I don’t think getting the original OTP together is the best solution.
Young-jae needs time to heal. Joon-young needs time to mull things over. If the show is going to maintain its realistic atmosphere, then these things need to happen. But with the finale right around the corner, I’m afraid that all we’ll get is another time jump. And if we skip from heartbroken Young-jae and Joon-young to happy Young-jae and Joon-young, it won’t feel earned. So whatever happens after this ending phone call, I hope it leads into something better.
That last scene was very well done, though. If there’s anything I’ve been looking forward to in this drama, it hasn’t been Young-jae and Joon-young reuniting. It hasn’t been them getting back together for the third time. It’s been for them to communicate, to open up to each other like they never have. And though it may seem too late, Young-jae finally opened up to him. I hope that he finds her, I hope that he talks to her, and I hope that he gets all of her repressed feelings out. Romance or not, he could help Young-jae through this. Her call to him was a desperate cry for help, and he needs to answer it.