Boyfriend: Episode 4
It looks like Soo-hyun’s struggle to keep what little independence she’s earned is going to be harder than she thinks, because a good reputation will only get you so far when people are determined to wear you down. Thank goodness she’s got people who believe in her no matter what, but even they aren’t strong enough to do more than offer sympathy. There’s only one person who can help her stand up to her enemies, but does he have the courage to risk everything on her behalf?
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Jin-hyuk tells Soo-hyun honestly that he came back to Sokcho because he missed her. She replies that it’s nice that someone missed her, but that it’s a dangerous thing to say, so she’ll pretend she didn’t hear it.
Jin-hyuk says that in this huge world, they met and spent a day together in a city far away, then met again as employer and employee at home and spent another lovely day together. He thinks that’s all pretty amazing, and he smiles despite Soo-hyun’s obvious discomfort.
After they eat, Jin-hyuk wants to have coffee, and they find a bench on the beach to sit. He gives Soo-hyun his coat, saying that being with her keeps him warm. He’d claimed not to be at all tired after his sleepless night, but he starts to nod off right away and topples over onto Soo-hyun’s shoulder.
While he naps, Soo-hyun says that she didn’t have friends when she was little because her mother wouldn’t allow it, so any time she got close to someone she’d have to break things off again. She says that she forgot how fun it can be to spend time with a friend, and that having to become distant is still very painful. “That’s why I’m trying to stop.”
Jin-hyuk wakes when his phone rings, and he apologizes for crashing on her. She teases him for having a heavy head, and they finish their coffee in companionable silence.
Unable to find Soo-hyun, Woo-seok leaves a note for her at the hotel desk, but as he’s about to leave, he sees Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun pull into the parking garage together. He watches as Jin-hyuk gives Soo-hyun some more of the potato rice cakes they ate together, and asks her if it wasn’t nicer to eat breakfast with a friend than alone.
In her room, Soo-hyun finds a package from Woo-seok — the expensive dress he purchased for her. But it’s the potato rice cakes from Jin-hyuk that she opens and that make her smile.
Woo-seok stays in the area and follows Soo-hyun to the artist’s studio, where she’s told that Artist Jang is still out of town. One call from Woo-seok to the artist’s assistant reveals that Artist Jang is hiding from Soo-hyun nearby, so he goes to see her.
She reluctantly admits to Woo-seok that as her sponsor, his mother is pressuring her to back out on Soo-hyun’s exhibit. Woo-seok acknowledges her tough position, between his mother being her sponsor and Soo-hyun being her biggest fan. He tells Artist Jang that the only thing that ever earned him brownie points with Soo-hyun was driving from Spain to Portugal when they were first married, just because she wanted to see the sunflower field that inspired one of Artist Jang’s pieces.
Convinced, Artist Jang calls Soo-hyun and tells her that she can have the painting for her exhibit, but that she won’t take money for it. She says it’s a gift for a fan who went a long way to understand her art.
Chairwoman Kim is unhappy when she hears what Woo-seok did for Soo-hyun. He tells her to treat Soo-hyun better as her ex-daughter-in-law, but Chairwoman Kim argues that as a former family member, Soo-hyun should think twice before getting involved in scandals, so she’s punishing her.
Woo-seok says they had no right to punish Soo-hyun even when she was family, but his mother promises to be nice once Soo-hyun is family again. He says that it’s up to him and Soo-hyun to get back together or not, but Chairwoman Kim counters that the two families are already involved, snarling that Soo-hyun is just like her useless father.
She tells Woo-seok to let her handle Soo-hyun, but he argues that she’s not an object and can make her own decisions. He says again that he will decide if he wants to remarry Soo-hyun, warning his mother that if she keeps pushing the issue, he’ll cut ties with her.
Jin-hyuk is so tired by the time he returns Dae-chan’s truck that he borrows Dae-chan’s room for a nap. As he lies there, he thinks about Soo-hyun saying that it hurts to make herself distant to someone she cares about — unknown to Soo-hyun, he was still awake. He smiles to himself at this proof that she does care about him.
Dae-chan complains to Jin-myung and Hye-in about Jin-hyuk borrowing his truck in the middle of the night. He says that the only reason a man acts like that is because of his parents, or a woman (Jin-myung: “Our parents are fine.” Dae-chan: “So it’s a woman!”). Hye-in finds Jin-hyuk still sleeping, and she wonders what’s happening to him.
Still thinking about Jin-hyuk’s admission that he missed her, Soo-hyun asks Secretary Jang to return the dress that Woo-seok left for her. He says it was just an early birthday present, but Secretary Jang tells him that it was the fact that he went all the way to Sokcho that makes Soo-hyun uncomfortable. Woo-seok sends some advice to Soo-hyun through Secretary Jang — it’s been hectic because of the scandal articles, so she should be more careful.
Secretary Jang passes on the message, though she doesn’t understand what he means. She complains that the Artist Jang situation was obviously a warning, but Soo-hyun just says that she won’t be left alone even if nothing happens.
At work, Jin-hyuk tells Hye-in that he heard she was at Dae-chan’s, and she asks why he was so tired. He just says he had his reasons. Their manager, Han-gil, wants to do something for Soo-hyun for her birthday. Director Kim says Soo-hyun doesn’t like things like that, but Hye-in sees Jin-hyuk make note of the date.
Jin-hyuk also learns that Han-gil shares the same birthday with Soo-hyun, which is this coming Saturday. Han-gil tells him not to get him a gift, but that if he does, which he shouldn’t, that he prefers women’s skincare products.
Secretary Jang literally chases Driver Nam down in the parking garage to demand the truth about what’s going on. She yells at him for taking Jin-hyuk to Sokcho, but he says that nothing happened, though he kind of hopes something does happen.
He snaps that Soo-hyun’s happiness is more important than a hotel, and that he hasn’t seen her smile like she does with Jin-hyuk since she was a child. Secretary Jang mutters that she’d support Soo-hyun if the person she was dating was good enough for her, and Driver Nam tells her she’ll never get married with that attitude.
Jin-hyuk’s whole family sees the picture of Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun on the news, and although Jin-hyuk’s face is blurred, Jin-myung recognizes Jin-hyuk’s sweater (which he’s currently wearing). He asks Jin-hyuk if he’s met Soo-hyun, and Jin-hyuk says stiffly that yes, he has and yes, she’s pretty in person. Mom says haughtily that a woman should just have a husband and family instead of being rich and famous, and she snaps at Jin-myung for saying that he’d like to find a woman like Soo-hyun.
As Driver Nam walks Director Kim home, he asks if she’s heard anything from the private detective she hired to find out if he husband is cheating, She hasn’t yet, but she says she has a strong intuition, reminding Driver Nam that she even sensed when her brother died.
Chairwoman Kim is having Soo-hyun followed, and she receives several photos of Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk together in Sokcho. There’s also a picture of Jin-hyuk with Hye-in, and Chairwoman Kim learns that Hye-in is his friend and a long-time employee at Donghwa Hotel.
Jin-hyuk waits until the end of the day to give Han-gil the birthday gift he was told not to get him, making Han-gil’s day. As they wait for their bus, Hye-in gets a call from someone asking her to meet him regarding Jin-hyuk. She leaves, telling Jin-hyuk that she decided to take the subway.
Soo-hyun passes Jin-hyuk sitting at the bus stop, and in her distraction she slams on the brakes and gets rear-ended. Jin-hyuk runs over, and he gives the other guy his card and promises on Soo-hyun’s behalf to pay for the damages.
He pulls Soo-hyun aside and offers to drive her home, but she snaps at him that she’s fine, all while avoiding looking at him. Jin-hyuk says that she seems like she’s screaming for help, and she finally turns to him, yelling that he knows nothing about her.
He figures that as long as she’s mad he may as well double down, so he pulls her by the wrist to the passenger side, puts her in the car, and gets behind the wheel. He says that she can yell at him later, but tonight he’s calling the shots.
His attempt to be the alpha male is undermined when he unzips his tie, and Soo-hyun gets the giggles. Jin-hyuk just zips it back up and says it’s worth it if it makes her laugh.
Hye-in meets with Chairwoman Kim’s man, who tells her to put a message on the company bulletin board about Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun, and in return she’ll get a promotion. She refuses to do anything to hurt Jin-hyuk, and even when the man tries to fan her jealousy, she tells him that it’s wrong to interfere when it’s not even true.
Soo-hyun stops Jin-hyuk a ways from her house to drop him off in case reporters are still at her place. He says to wait, sitting very still until the clock ticks to midnight, and he wishes her happy birthday. He gives her a small gift, saying that it’s just a lipstick, but that he thought it would suit her.
Soo-hyun thanks him but declines to take the gift, and Jin-hyuk assumes that it’s too plain. She says that she doesn’t want to be involved with him anymore, that she’s not used to it and it makes her uncomfortable. Jin-hyuk wilts, disappointed, then gives her a brave smile and says that he just got too excited.
He gets out of the car and leaves without another word, and Soo-hyun watches him go in the mirror. She honks, then rolls down the window and holds out her hand, and Jin-hyuk runs back to give her the lipstick. She says she just doesn’t want to seem ungrateful, but when she’s alone, she sighs that she just can’t help herself.
Secretary Jang shows up to start the birthday celebrations, and she finds the brand-new lipstick. She guesses who it’s from, but Soo-hyun threatens to end the party if she nags. She tells Secretary Jang about the car accident and how Jin-hyuk happened to be there, and that the lipstick is a birthday present.
Soo-hyun says she knows she’s acting weird lately, and Secretary Jang agrees that she’s more like the “lunatic Soo-hyun” she was before her father got into politics. They talk about their days together in school, how they’d play hooky to go to a concert.
Secretary Jang says sadly that Soo-hyun needs to stop this. Soo-hyun tells her that she’s thought the same thing ever since Cuba, but she keeps running into Jin-hyuk. Secretary Jang offers to return the lipstick like she returned Woo-seok’s gift, but Soo-hyun just grabs it away from her.
Over dinner, Chairwoman Kim gives Soo-hyun’s mother a gift for Soo-hyun, and she tells her to discuss things with her husband, who’s still against the merging of parties that Chairwoman Kim wants. She explains that he would run unopposed if they merge, and Soo-hyun’s mother reacts with abject gratitude.
Soo-hyun gets ready to go to her parents’ place for her birthday, though she grumbles that being left alone would be the best gift. She invites Secretary Jang along, who says that she’d love to see Soo-hyun’s dad, but not her mom.
Soo-hyun’s mother gives her Chairwoman Kim’s gift along with an admonition to be nicer to her. Her dad tells her mom to stop nagging, and he gives her a book of poetry — the same one Jin-hyuk gave to her.
Secretary Jang asks to meet with Jin-hyuk, and he suggests Dae-chan’s restaurant, which she finds confusing and a little beneath her. Her attitude offends Dae-chan, who tells her snippily to leave and find a nice cafe (is it too early to ship it?). Jin-hyuk shows up in time to break up the fight, and he asks why she wanted to see him on the weekend.
She asks him to stop getting involved with Soo-hyun, because she’s not as strong as she looks. Jin-hyuk asks if Soo-hyun has any power over her own life, and why it’s necessary for her secretary to monitor her friendships.
Secretary Jang points out that for regular people like them, relationships are private, but that’s not the case for people like Soo-hyun. She shows him that even last night’s fender-bender is news today because the other driver recognized Soo-hyun and tweeted about it (luckily he thought Jin-hyuk was her secretary).
She tells Jin-hyuk that this must all seem new and exciting to him, but for Soo-hyun, the slightest mistake can destroy her world. She leaves Jin-hyuk stunned, but after a moment he goes after her.
He tells her, “I’m not having fun exploring a new world. I’m just surprised every day. I realize that we live in different worlds. It’s surprising. I’ll make sure not to cause more problems with my feelings, but my feelings aren’t based on curiosity. Letting a person into your heart, even for a brief moment — I believe it’s meaningful.”
Despite Hye-in’s refusal to publicly out Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk, a notice is posted on the company website anyway. It accuses Soo-hyun of harassing an employee with her “personal desires,” painting her as the aggressor and saying that the employee can’t refuse her for fear of losing his job. Hye-in reads the posting and wonders who could have written it.
Jin-hyuk reads the comments on the slanderous posting incredulously — the employees are starting to turn on Soo-hyun, and they sympathize with the employee she’s accused of harassing. The HR office still supports Soo-hyun, though Manager Lee is suspiciously quiet on the subject… a flashback shows us that he had dinner with both Director Choi and Chairwoman Kim’s investigator, promising them that he’s loyal and can keep a secret. He also reads the posting, and smirks — argh, he took the deal, didn’t he?
Director Choi reports to Chairwoman Kim that their plan is going well, and that a board meeting will be held soon to accuse Soo-hyun of damaging the hotel’s reputation. When Woo-seok hears about the situation, he orders his secretary to find out who posted the message at Donghwa, and to have a hacker bring down the server so nobody else can read it.
In the hotel cafeteria, Jin-hyuk overhears employees criticizing Soo-hyun and speculating on who the object of her affections could be. Secretary Jang advises Soo-hyun to go home, but Soo-hyun refuses, saying that she’s done nothing wrong and that acting guilty will only make things worse.
At the end of the day, Director Choi ambushes Soo-hyun in the hotel lobby to publicly accuse her of avoiding his calls. She tells him to his face that there’s nothing to discuss, but he sneers loudly that she’s upset everyone at the hotel. A crowd is gathering (including Jin-hyuk and Hye-in), so he invites Soo-hyun to explain herself, here and now.
She repeats that there’s nothing to explain and turns to go. Director Choi tells her that as CEO, she should reveal whether the man she’s been seen with is an employee, or some guy she picked up in a host bar as some rumors claim. Soo-hyun’s silence has people assuming that she’s guilty, but when Driver Nam comes to collect her, she starts to go with him.
Suddenly, Jin-hyuk calls out, his voice ringing confidently. Soo-hyun slowly turns to see him smiling as he steps forward to stand in front of her. As if nobody is watching, he asks if she’s headed home, and she thinks, “Just live your life from now on. Don’t take another step towards me.”
But he replies silently, “I’ve made my choice. I’ve decided to take a step towards the world you’re standing in all alone.” Out loud, Jin-hyuk says that he has some money, and he invites Soo-hyun to get ramyun with him, his treat.
He makes it clear who he is by saying that there’s too much traffic to go to the rest stop this time, so they should eat at a convenience store. The crowd realizes two things at once: that the man from the scandal is Jin-hyuk, and that he’s been spending time with Soo-hyun because he wants to, not because he’s being harassed.
He narrates, “Don’t ask me what this feeling is. I don’t know yet, either. Right now, I just don’t want to leave you alone to be lonely. That’s all.”
Sh stares at Jin-hyuk for a long time, thinking of all the kind, generous things he’s done for her… then she returns his smile.
Well, go Jin-hyuk! In other circumstances, what Jin-hyuk just did would be monumentally stupid, but it was actually very smart of him to make his feelings known so that the rumors of Soo-hyun harassing him would be discredited. This is my favorite thing about him — that he’s not scared of how he feels, even if he’s not exactly sure what his feelings mean yet, and he’s not ashamed to let everyone know that he likes and respects Soo-hyun and wants to be her friend. He’s young, and he doesn’t have any experience in how things work in Soo-hyun’s world… But he’s not naïve, he knows what kinds of issues will crop up if they have any kind of relationship, friends or otherwise. However, he also knows that love is more important than money or status, and he cares for Soo-hyun enough to feel it’s worth it. Most importantly, he’s confident that despite her reticence, Soo-hyun feels the same way, if only she’d admit it to herself.
I think that that quality of Jin-hyuk’s is what Soo-hyun finds herself drawn to, they way he’s willing to go for what he wants even before figuring out why he wants it. She’s been forced to hold back her whole life, forced not to show what she wants for fear her controlling mother will take it from her, so she’s just convinced herself that she doesn’t need or want close relationships. But then, here comes this young man who isn’t scared to say what he wants and is willing to make himself vulnerable for her, and she just doesn’t know what to do with him. So she tells herself that she’s okay without him, when that’s quickly becoming untrue.
I really felt for Soo-hyun after she told the sleeping Jin-hyuk why she’s trying not to even start anything — because of her mother, she knows how painful it is to care for someone and have to distance herself from them. It makes their struggle that much more meaningful that Soo-hyun isn’t trying to put the brakes on things because she’s being threatened with losing her hotel, but because she’s personally scared of the pain she knows she’ll feel if she lets herself get any closer to him then has to break things off. I want her to see through Jin-hyuk that the important things in life are worth fighting for, worth risking everything for, because I believe that she already instinctively understands this. She’s just too afraid of what will happen if she goes for what she wants, so she tells herself that she doesn’t want anything. Jin-hyuk is going to change that, and I’m looking forward to the person Soo-hyun will be when she stops being afraid.
I have to mention the lovely artwork that’s highlighted at the beginning and end of each episode, and bookends exactly what’s happening in the story. In this episode, for example, the first painting was of two people standing back-to-back, facing a crowd of snakes that loom over them menacingly. It perfectly illustrates the issue of Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk being threatened from all sides, but at the end, the snakes all fall away as the couple in the center clasps hands. I love the artwork itself, it’s absolutely gorgeous, but I also love how it condenses the events of each episode and makes even the hardships beautiful, reminding us that whatever Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk will go through, it’s all just a part of their story and it all contributes to what I hope will be a beautiful love.
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