Boyfriend: Episode 5
Two people have never been more suited to each other, yet encountered so much opposition. Despite being the one who’s older and (presumably) wiser, our high-flying hotel CEO is locked in uncertainty while the free-spirited Jin-hyuk does his best to coax her out of her comfort zone. She wants to go, but a lifetime of conditioning make it difficult for her to trust him, afraid that the freedom he represents won’t be worth the cost.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Dae-chan confronts Soo-hyun in front of half the company, demanding to know exactly what’s going on with the employee she appears to be dating. She refuses to answer other than to say that she’s done nothing wrong, and she turns to leave with Driver Nam.
But Jin-hyuk steps forward and tells Soo-hyun that he has some money, so they should go get ramyun together again, letting everyone watching know that he’s not being coerced or harassed. After a long pause, Soo-hyun smiles and says that she’ll buy.
They leave with Driver Nam and Secretary Jang, and Secretary Jang tells Driver Nam to drop off Jin-hyuk somewhere unobtrusive, assuming (hoping?) that this was all for show. Soo-hyun agrees and tells Driver Nam to pull over somewhere quiet — to drop off Secretary Jang, HA. Driver Nam beams while Secretary Jang just looks gobsmacked at being ganged up on.
After being left by the side of the road (literally), Driver Nam watches Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk drive away together and says that twenty-five years ago, he was as cool as Jin-hyuk. He bellows for Secretary Jang to eat with him, but she just rolls her eyes, sticks her fingers in her ears, and waves for a taxi.
Feeling shy, Soo-hyun offers Jin-hyuk an out by offering to take him straight home, but he insists on taking her to a tea house he knows. He tentatively introduces Soo-hyun to the owner as a friend, feeling more confident when Soo-hyun doesn’t correct him.
When the owner goes to get their tea, Jin-hyuk tells Soo-hyun that she’s the wife of his father’s photographer friend that gave him the old camera. Soo-hyun notes that the tea shop looks like a church, and Jin-hyuk confirms that the owner bought a church cheaply and converted it.
He goes to help the owner with the tea, and he admits that he brought Soo-hyun here because he needed calming. The owner asks if he’s confessed to Soo-hyun yet, and Jin-hyuk asks if she would accept him if he did. Peering at him closely, the owner tells him that he’s ugly today, so he should do it another time, hee.
After serving the tea, the owner makes an excuse to leave them alone for a while. Jin-hyuk asks Soo-hyun if she feels calmer, and she says that she was alarmed because of him, but that she also calmed down because of him.
He apologizes for startling her and says he doesn’t regret it, but she warns him that things are going to get difficult at work from now on. He tell her that he’s made his decision, which is why he stepped in, and when she says she’s not joking, he says that he’s not, either.
He admits that he wants to be someone meaningful to her, looking at her expectantly, and seems disappointed when she doesn’t offer him a similar confession.
Hye-in sits alone in a cafe, thinking about the day she graduated high school. She’d turned down invitations to hang out with her friends, saying that she was going to eat with her father, but he’d never showed up. Jin-hyuk had surprised her with flowers, knowing that her father would be too busy working to come, and he’d taken her to eat then to visit her mother in the hospital.
Secretary Jang ends up back at Dae-chan’s restaurant again, and she asks him to text Jin-hyuk and have him come by. Dae-chan jokes that she must be a loan shark, making her laugh, but she goes too far when she teases that he doesn’t look very smart so he snaps at her to send her own text.
They quickly end up trading insults, and Dae-chan sends the text to Jin-hyuk just to get Secretary Jang to stop talking. Yup, I’m totally shipping it.
Woo-seok comes home just as his mother is getting a report from Dae-chan on what happened at the hotel. Chairman Kim tells Woo-seok that Soo-hyun has lost her mind, and she asks Woo-seok if he really means to sit back and let Soo-hyun ruin Donghwa Hotel.
Woo-seok argues that the hotel is Soo-hyun’s to do with as she pleases, but his mother retorts that it belonged to them first. She says she’s planning to hold a board of directors’ meeting and get rid of Soo-hyun.
Back in the car, Jin-hyuk asks Soo-hyun if she ever got the painting she was trying to get in Sokcho. He mentions that there’s an exhibit on famous paintings in his neighborhood and Soo-hyun playfully accuses him of lying, since she knows all the art galleries and there’s no one in Hongdae-dong. But Jin-hyuk insists that it’s there and offers to show her sometime.
Soo-hyun tries to bring up work again, but Jin-hyuk just says that they shouldn’t be awkward with each other or it will make things even harder. He jokes that he’s not dumb enough to start calling her “noona” at work or anything, which makes her laugh.
Assuming that she erased the picture of his phone number, Jin-hyuk offers to give it to her again, but Soo-hyun rattles it off from memory. Jin-hyuk beams, then wonders why she never used it and pouts that he still doesn’t have her number.
When she snaps at him, he just grins at her use of his name, then admits that he’s only teasing to get her mind off what happened today. He says that her position and status means he should treat her respectfully, but she says there’s no need, and he agrees that it’s not necessary between them.
He’s gently chastised for using the word “we” (which implies closeness), but he asks if there’s a reason not to, and he leaves after a reminder to Soo-hyun not to think too much tomorrow.
He heads to Dae-chan’s restaurant to meet Secretary Jang, who says that he did something very daring (read: dangerous). He says he only told the truth, but she’s worried about what might happen tomorrow, so she tells him to lay low and let things blow over since there’s nothing between him and Soo-hyun anyway.
Jin-hyuk says that attitudes like hers are the very reason he and Soo-hyun decided to publicly acknowledge their friendship. Secretary Jang also gets hung up on his casual use of the word “we” and calls for a soju, ha.
Later, sitting on the swings at his playground, Jin-hyuk sighs over what Secretary Jang said to him while drunk. She’d told him that she’s Soo-hyun’s only friend, and that Soo-hyun never even got a chance to date. She’d said that he’s too young to understand what it means to go up against her in-laws, who are so tied up with Soo-hyun’s father’s political activities that they’ll never break apart.
Soo-hyun lies awake that night, mentally replaying Jin-hyuk’s brave statement of friendship in front of the entire company. She recalls him saying that he wants to be important to her, and she drifts off to sleep with a smile on her face.
Woo-seok gets a briefing on what happened in the Donghwa lobby, and he asks his secretary to get him any information he can find on Jin-hyuk.
Soo-hyun manages to get to work with a minimum of fuss from the employees, but when Jin-hyuk arrives, everyone stares at him like he’s got two heads. He steels himself and pastes on a sunny smile before walking into the HR office, but Han-gil wastes no time asking him what his relationship is with Soo-hyun.
He tells everyone honestly that they met elsewhere, and only later realized that she was going to be his boss. Director Kim cuts off Han-gil’s intrusive questioning, in a bad mood because she’s gotten a picture of her husband from her investigator, confirming that he’s cheating on her.
Secretary Jang sheepishly admits to Soo-hyun that she drank so much that she left her wallet at the bar. She complains that Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk call themselves a “we” now, and nearly throws up when Soo-hyun refers to Jin-hyuk by name, but Soo-hyun just smiles indulgently.
Jin-myung downloads a dating app onto Dae-chan’s phone, determined to find him someone to spend time with other than the snails. He carefully poses Dae-chan for a profile photo with his hand covering his beard, ha. Secretary Jang just happens to have a profile on that same app and gets matched with him, and she thinks he looks familiar but can’t quite place him with his hand covering half his face.
In a meeting with his adviser, Soo-hyun’s father says that he’s not interested in a two-party merger, but his adviser warns that Chairman Kim is pushing hard for it. Soo-hyun’s father is against the idea of a company dictating political moves, especially since the other party doesn’t share any of his party’s ideals.
At lunch with Jin-hyuk, Hye-in starts to mention the anonymous post that started this whole kerfuffle, but Han-gil interrupts them so she says she’ll tell him later. People are openly staring and talking about Jin-hyuk in the cafeteria, so he makes an excuse to leave.
Driver Nam and Soo-hyun are on their way somewhere in the car when they see Jin-hyuk sitting alone in a cafe, looking pretty down. Soo-hyun texts Jin-hyuk his own advice to listen to the radio on his phone if he’s bored. He responds that he was considering playing hooky since the weather is nice, but he didn’t want to do it by himself.
He says he could play hooky with his boss, and invites her to take the afternoon off and go to that art gallery in Hongdae-dong. She starts to reply that she’s too busy, but instead she agrees to help him skip work.
Jin-hyuk manages to get the afternoon off by being adorable, and Soo-hyun gives Driver Nam the rest of the day free. He says he’s meeting with her father, and she assumes her dad heard what’s going on and wants details, but Driver Nam assures her that she’s done nothing wrong.
Soo-hyun predicts that her mother will probably call her about two seconds before her mother calls her, furious. Soo-hyun lies that she’s in Busan on business and hangs up, and Driver Nam agrees to convince her dad to go along with the lie.
Jin-hyuk is a happy little blur as he gets ready for his date, then he meets Soo-hyun near his house. She’s confused why they’re outside under a bridge, so he turns her around to show her that there are paintings hung on each column down the entire length of the bridge.
She asks if this is the “art gallery,” and he tells her, “There are paintings, there’s you who likes paintings, and there’s me who likes you who likes paintings.” Soo-hyun side-eyes him for sliding that part in, and asks him to move his hand, which he’s kept resting on her shoulder.
While cleaning Jin-hyuk’s room, his mother sees Soo-hyun’s heels still sitting on a table, and she asks Jin-myung what he thinks they are. Jin-myung says they might be a gift for Mom, or not, and she grins that they’re probably not.
Jin-hyuk shows Soo-hyun his favorite painting, which appears to be just a collection of tiny white squares on a blue background. He says that he didn’t get it at first, but then it mesmerized him to think of how hard it was to make all those squares. Soo-hyun is familiar with the artist and says she likes their work, too.
The title of the piece fascinates Jin-hyuk as well, and he tells Soo-hyun that it’s a line from a poem. He recites the poem from memory: “Among a multitude of stars, one stares down at me. Among a multitude of people, I stare up at that one star.” Soo-hyun takes up the next line: “Where, when, and as what will the two of us — you, one so warm, and me, one so tender — meet again?”
Jin-hyuk is surprised, and he finds it an interesting parallel to their story of meeting in Cuba, then again in Seoul. Soo-hyun notices his use of “we” again and admits that she’s getting used to it.
She tells him that nothing much will change between them going forward, and turns down his invitation to dinner. He wilts at that, so she asks what she’s supposed to do when he gives her that puppydog face.
Driver Nam and Soo-hyun’s father have dinner together, and naturally Dad asks about the scandal article. Driver Nam says that the man in the article is an admirable guy, telling Dad how Jin-hyuk responded to the nasty anonymous post. Dad worries that Jin-hyuk will make things harder on Soo-hyun, but Driver Nam doesn’t think that will happen.
After work, Secretary Jang heads to Dae-chan’s place to get her wallet, which he’s got hanging from the ceiling. She freaks out at the clothespin he used, wailing that the wallet was very expensive, and he grumbles that he did that to keep it from getting anything on it.
Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun show up while they’re still sniping at each other, and Secretary Jang complains that she feels like she needs another drink. At Dae-chan’s assumption, Soo-hyun says she’s Jin-hyuk’s work sunbae (it’s his turn to side-eye her), and she yanks Secretary Jang down to sit with them.
Dae-chan insults Secretary Jang further by saying that Soo-hyun looks like her hoobae, HA. Secretary Jang revs up to lecture Jin-hyuk, but Soo-hyun just shoves food in her mouth to shut her up.
Hye-in shows up, but when she sees Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun sitting together and the way they look at each other, she leaves again. She passes a store, sparking a memory of running into Jin-hyuk here once and him helping her pick out a journal.
Jin-myung arrives at the restaurant for work, and he immediately recognizes Soo-hyun from the news story. He figures out that Jin-hyuk was the ramyun guy, causing both Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun to look sheepish.
After sending the ladies home, Dae-chan and Jin-myung pump Jin-hyuk for information. He forbids Jin-myung to call their mom and tell her about this, which just makes them even more curious.
Woo-seok’s secretary reports that there’s nothing special about Jin-hyuk or his family. Woo-seok recalls his first time meeting Soo-hyun — she’d said she was supposed to make him like her and asked him about his preferred type of woman. He’d said that he didn’t really have a type until that day, when he’d discovered that she was his type.
In the car, Secretary Jang tells Soo-hyun that she can’t protect Jin-hyuk from the trouble their relationship will cause. Soo-hyun says she knows, but no matter how hard she tries to run away, she can’t. She admits that the timing is frustrating, wishing that she’d experienced these feelings when she was younger instead of now, when she’s older and divorced.
She says that she doesn’t know for sure if she likes Jin-hyuk, only that she keeps wanting to learn more about him. But she sighs that her life won’t let her continue this, and Secretary Jang expresses grudging sympathy for what she’s going through.
Soo-hyun’s mom calls, having learned from someone at the hotel that Soo-hyun isn’t in Busan. Soo-hyun says she’s driving and hangs up on her mother, but when she pulls into her parking garage, her mother is there waiting.
Jin-hyuk is feeling happy when he gets home, but he loses his smile as he remembers Soo-hyun saying that she was trying to stop things between them before anything started. He looks at her shoes and the stuffed owl she won for him, and he frowns recalling the things he overheard his fellow employees saying about him today.
After spotting her mother, Soo-hyun drives away again, fighting back tears as she thinks of all the fights and nasty comments she’s been forced to endure. She remembers Jin-hyuk saying that he decided to be her friend, and that he wants to be someone important to her.
She ends up back in Hongdae-dong, standing in front of Jin-hyuk’s favorite painting. He finds her there, and he looks happy and relieved to see her. He aims the headlight on his bike at the painting and joins Soo-hyun, and he wonders out loud what they should say is the reason they met here tonight.
Soo-hyun tells him, “You caught me. I’m usually good at holding back, but here I am.” He says that he read in a book that having an interest in someone is a fight between the certainty and doubt of liking someone, and that when the doubt fades and the certainty takes hold, that’s when love begins.
He asks Soo-hyun, “What if we leave these feelings of certainty and doubt to fight with each other, and find out if we like each other?” She turns away, unsure, but Jin-hyuk firmly takes her arms to turn her back to face him. He asks, “Why don’t we say that we’re now in a ‘some’ relationship, and met here again?”
He waits patiently for her answer, and so many emotions cross Soo-hyun’s face as she considers what this means. Finally she comes to a decision, and she looks him in the eye and says, “Okay. Let’s say that we’re now in a ‘some’ relationship.”
Soo-hyun drives through the streets, going nowhere in particular, too upset to notice that she’s about to run out of gas. She ends up stranded in an unfamiliar area, and she has to call a service to bring her gas. While she waits, she tells herself, “I’m good at holding back. I am,” as her voice wobbles and tears stream down her face.
Finally they’ve put a name to what’s happening between them! Even if it’s a vague and tentative “some” definition, at least Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun have acknowledged that what they’re feeling is more than friendship, and have expressed a willingness to see where it leads. I’m so glad that this drama didn’t turn out to be the whirlwind romance I was expecting, because I much prefer this slow burn and careful exploration of emotions and relationships. It makes me feel that, if and when Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun do enter into a true romantic partnership, they’ll have a solid foundation to carry them that much further.
I love Jin-hyuk’s little satisfied expressions every time he challenges Soo-hyun to take a chance on him and she does, like it’s a tiny victory just to convince her to have tea with him. In a way it is, because she’s so closed off that every invitation he extends is a challenge to her to step outside of her comfort zone. So whenever she softens, relents, agrees to take a risk, Jin-hyuk understands exactly how significant that is for her and doesn’t take those moments lightly. I think that’s a big part of what makes Jin-hyuk so irresistible to Soo-hyun — he instinctively understands her on a level that nobody has ever even attempted. I think that if it seemed like Jin-hyuk had to work to understand her, Soo-hyun would run away, afraid to be a burden after a lifetime of suppressing her own wants to make everyone else happy. But understanding her is so effortless for Jin-hyuk that Soo-hyun feels safe letting him see her weaknesses. He’s not perfect — his giving Soo-hyun advice not to let people at work upset her, then getting upset himself is proof of that — but he seems pretty perfect for Soo-hyun.
I’m tired of Secretary Jang acting like she has any right to tell Soo-hyun what to do, including going behind her back TWICE to tell Jin-hyuk to back off and repeating several times to Soo-hyun’s face that she shouldn’t be seeing Jin-hyuk. I do think she means well, and that she genuinely cares for and worries about Soo-hyun, and I can see how she thinks Soo-hyun needs protection since she’s never even been allowed to date. But Soo-hyun is also a grown woman who has earned the right to choose who to date, and she’s found a pretty great guy who obviously adores her. Secretary Jang may think that she’s only trying to help, but in fact she’s trying to control Soo-hyun’s life exactly the same way she complains that Soo-hyun’s mother does. As a friend she can certainly voice her concerns, but then she needs to back off and let Soo-hyun live her own life.
This show seemed so trope-y at first, but the deeper in we go, the more it’s shattering those tropes. It’s getting to the point that I suspect we were purposely set up to take the show lightly, so that the big moments land harder. Jin-hyuk’s public statement of friendship, then his advice to Soo-hyun to openly show their friendship at work, are so unusual in a drama of this type that I’m still reeling at how simple a solution it is, yet most dramas have their characters sneak around and go to ridiculous lengths to hide a relationship, often for much flimsier reasons than Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun have. But for once that’s not what’s happening — Jin-hyuk is correct that the best way to handle this is to just be open and honest, both to show that they have nothing to hide and aren’t ashamed of their relationship, and to strengthen their bond by standing solidly side-by-side instead of letting others’ opinions create a wall between them. Sometimes Jin-hyuk can seem very young, but when it comes to human nature, his lack of self-consciousness and willingness to be honest about his feelings seem way ahead of his time.
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