Clean With Passion for Now: Episode 5
As our leads encounter each other more and more, our cleaning company CEO’s sharp attitude towards his untidy employee doesn’t last long. Though the two aren’t exactly friendly, our CEO finds himself wondering what exactly his recent uncharacteristic behavior might mean. We also learn a little more about our rooftop pervert. He may be around for more than just hanging out in tracksuits and reading x-rated manhwa as it seems he has a more significant connection to the Gil family than they realize.
EPISODE 5: “Sweet and Tangy Yogurt”
Seon-gyeol dismisses Oh-sol from his sight and his company, but not before getting some jabs in about how she’s dressed up to attract the attention of the company’s clients, ouch.
Oh-sol limps away to the columbarium to pay her respects to her mother. She tries to keep up a strong front, but can’t help but cry. She laments her abandoned sports career and even says something that suggests that Oh-sol’s mother died while trying to retrieve one of Oh-sol’s medals… but Oh-sol stops when she spots a yogurt drink stuffed into one of the flower pots for her mother.
She runs outside to look for the person who left it behind, but she just misses Mr. Choi, who slinks behind a column nearby. He’s traded his tracksuit in for a real suit for the day.
Oh-sol eventually makes her way up those steep stairs towards her neighborhood, but she has to give her injured foot a break at the top. Mr. Choi follows shortly after her and sits beside her, both of them admiring each other’s unusually nice clothing choices. Oh-sol grabs for Mr. Choi Gun’s, hoping for food, only to find a pile of yogurt drinks. He shrugs that he suffers from severe constipation and she grimaces, ha.
Mr. Choi says that he heard it was the anniversary of her mother’s death from Mr. Gil, and he offers her a yogurt from his bag. But Oh-sol holds up the one she’s already half-finished with, and shares memories of her mother, and how her mom always made her feel better with a yogurt drink. Oh-sol says that to her, a yogurt drink is comfort. And this specific yogurt she’s drinking today, and the others that have mysteriously turned up at her mother’s grave for the last six years, also bring her comfort.
Back at the Clean With Passion office, Secretary Kwon manages to purchase a replacement of the rare figure for their client, and then she shares with Seon-gyeol that this day is the anniversary of Oh-sol’s mother’s death. Seon-gyeol takes that new information back home with him, and though he tries to relax, all he can hear is his insensitive comments about Oh-sol’s attire. After some nudging from vacuum Geum-ja, Seon-gyeol decides that he has to go talk to Oh-sol.
Oh-sol and Mr. Choi make their way home together. When Mr. Choi notices Oh-sol’s limp, he immediately offers another piggyback ride. But sober Oh-sol is less inclined to take him up on the offer, and now she’s feeling a little embarrassed about sharing her feelings about her mother earlier. Mr. Choi thinks her backpedaling is cute, but their moment is interrupted when Seon-gyeol appears on the road.
He’s a little concerned to see the neighborhood pervert walking with Oh-sol, but Mr. Choi goes on ahead while Oh-sol stays behind to talk with Seon-gyeol. They find a bench nearby, and after a few false starts, Seon-gyeol eeks out an apology to Oh-sol and tells her to report to her job tomorrow. He even asks about her injury, which she promises is fine.
Seon-gyeol pretends to depart, but he finds himself watching her from behind a tree while Oh-sol feeds a local stray cat. He smiles giddily as he looks on.
The angry client seems satisfied when the replacement action figure arrives, but now it’s Seon-gyeol’s turn to ask for the video of the accident from the client’s security cameras. Seon-gyeol says that they’re considering pressing charges for the injury his employee sustained during the incident. The client begs for forgiveness, and Seon-gyeol tells him that he needs to apologize to his employee, not him.
So the client finds himself on his knees pleading for forgiveness from Oh-sol next, who ushers him back up from the floor and accepts the apology.
The Cleaning Fairies work outside, mystified by Seon-gyeol’s erratic behavior towards Oh-sol. Oh-sol’s injury seems to be doing better, as she stands atop a tall ladder and cleans a clock in the plaza.
Seon-gyeol walks past with Secretary Kwon, who comments on Oh-sol’s recovery. As Oh-sol enthuses about her health, she loses her balance on the ladder and begins to fall. Without a second thought, Seon-gyeol lunges and catches her in his arms.
Seon-gyeol and Oh-sol stare into each other’s faces in shock, but Seon-gyeol remains standing without a negative reaction to Oh-sol. His mind immediately goes to his phone conversation with his new psychiatrist, who is officially revealed to be Mr. Choi, or Dr. Daniel Choi, as his medical license reads. Dr. Choi’s diagnosis is acute stress disorder at first, but then he suggests that it’s perhaps love sickness that Seon-gyeol is suffering, and that it might even help diminish his OCD symptoms.
Seon-gyeol realizes that he’s still holding Oh-sol and sets her down at last, and that’s when her dirty cleaning rag falls from the ladder and lands right on his face. It takes just a minute to register it, and then Seon-gyeol faints to the ground.
After work, the cleaning gang grab some snacks at a convenience store together. Jae-min explains Seon-gyeol’s phobia to Oh-sol, and then proceeds to tell her the rumors he’s heard, like that Seon-gyeol used post-it notes to demand that school awards be delivered to his house so he didn’t have to touch them, or that he came out of the womb asking if the scissors were sanitized first.
But as Yeong-shik and Dong-hyun join them at the table, Jae-min wonders how a germaphobe could catch someone like Oh-sol without having any issues. He starts to suggest that there’s a love connection, but he leans in close enough to get a whiff of Oh-sol’s unwashed hair and immediately waves off any such ideas.
The unconscious Seon-gyeol wakes up at home in bed. He’s grateful that Secretary Kwon took him here instead of the hospital, until he sees that his mother is present as well. Seon-gyeol does his best to usher his mother out as soon as possible, but Secretary Kwon slips and mentions Seon-gyeol catching Oh-sol in his arms before Mom is out the door.
The next morning, Oh-sol tells Joo-yeon about the fall and Seon-gyeol’s collapse. Joo-yeon says that Oh-sol’s boss is like a saint if he’s willing to catch Oh-sol even with his condition.
Oh-sol stops short as a car cuts off her path across the road. Seon-gyeol’s mother’s secretary pops out and escorts Oh-sol into the car and off to a cafe. Seon-gyeol’s mom is “disguised” in a pair of dark shades, but Oh-sol recognizes her right away. Mom refuses to say anything directly to Oh-sol, instead whispering to Secretary Kim, but eventually gives up when Oh-sol wins her over with compliments.
Meanwhile, Seon-gyeol walks to work, his hand wrapped from his fall, and spots Secretary Kim on the street. He’s surprised to see the secretary so early in the morning, and asks what he’s doing.
Inside, Seon-gyeol’s mother admits to Oh-sol that she was worried about a girl that could affect her son, but seeing Oh-sol, she says she’s no longer concerned. Oh-sol eventually gets her meaning and takes offense at the insinuation. Just as Seon-gyeol enters the cafe, Oh-sol exclaims, “Is it against the rules for Mr. Jang to like me?”
Mom turns to fuss over her son, but takes a moment to apologize to Oh-sol and warn her against dating anyone as intolerable as her son. As they see Seon-gyeol’s mother off, Seon-gyeol points out that now Oh-sol will be late to work, and no, he will absolutely not give her a ride.
Oh-sol tries to argue that it’s his mother’s fault that she’s running late, but when she sees his bandaged hand she stops arguing and thanks him for his help instead. Seon-gyeol starts to ask if he can test something and reaches out his hand to her, but Oh-sol’s bus appears, and she darts off in an effort to make it to work on time.
At work, Secretary Kwon notes Seon-gyeol’s bandaged hand and tells him she’s impressed. He assumes she means that he’s still at work, but she means that he jumped in to save Oh-sol even though he knew he might be injured. Seon-gyeol smiles, and shrugs that he is just a great CEO, after all.
While Oh-sol and Dong-hyun are working outside, Oh-sol spots her father in the parking lot and cowers behind a dumpster to hide from him. Dong-hyun accepts the card that her father hands to him, and Oh-sol crawls back out once he’s gone. The card is for a car washing service that he’s advertises, and Oh-sol sighs.
Seon-gyeol’s back on the phone with his new doctor Mr. Choi. Seon-gyeol wants to know if it’s possible for his symptoms to suddenly disappear, since he was able to hold a sweaty, gross girl in his arms, but Mr. Choi is skeptical. He suggests testing the theory and tells Seon-gyeol to try to touch something owned by someone other than the girl.
So Seon-gyeol’s off to the work lounge to touch all of the coffee mugs. He passes over the mugs labeled “Actor Hwang” and “Mr. Hopeless Romantic” and settles over one labeled “The Love” (playing on the similar-sounding Korean word for “dirty”). The cleaning crew return just then, so Seon-gyeol grabs the mug and hides around the corner of the room.
When Oh-sol gets up to make some coffee, she discovers her mug is missing (of course it was hers). She almost finds her hidden CEO, but turns back at the last second. But then Yeong-shik gets up for a drink, and the cap to his bottle drops on the floor and rolls directly in front of a crouched Seon-gyeol.
They both scream as their eyes meet, and Seon-gyeol does his best to turn the tables on everyone else and shouts about how dirty the employee lounge is. He’s still got the mug clutched in his hands, and he does his best to scurry out with it behind his back, even dodging Secretary Kwon in the hall.
Meanwhile, Mr. Choi is out and about, peeking in the window of one of his patient’s homes. He turns away at first, but at last the fortune teller opens the door and welcomes him inside. She makes him some instant coffee, which he immediately points out is bad for her insomnia.
The woman laments that she feels bad about receiving his treatment for free, but Mr. Choi persists that he wants to help her. She looks up at him and tells him that it might be time that he gets over “that accident” as well. Mr. Choi pretends not to know what she means, but the woman shakes her head and says that it wasn’t his fault that her home collapsed.
She goes on to say that Mr. Choi has been looking after all of the victims of the accident, even after he became a doctor. She then asks if he’s finally found the girl he told her changed his life. He nods that he has found her, and that she seems stronger than he expected.
At the end of the day, Oh-sol receives a text from her brother to pick up some chicken on her way home. She heads towards the shops, but when she spots a sign for beef leg bone that promotes bone health, she stops in there instead.
Oh-dol whines when he sees that his sister has no chicken for him, while her father asks if the beef bone is for him. Oh-sol avoids answering by asking about the car washing card. She says that she found it while on an errand from her office, and her dad says that he needs something to keep busy. She tries to remind him that she’s working now for the family, but Dad of course isn’t listening.
He instead lures her over to the kimchi pancakes he’s made, though he failed to pick up makgeolli to go with them. Dad suggests she take some pancakes over to Mr. Choi, since he helped make the business cards, so Oh-sol heads up to the rooftop with a plate.
Mr. Choi’s not inside, but he sneaks up on Oh-sol as she tries to peer through his windows. He’s delighted to see the pancakes, though he thinks they should definitely get some makgeolli, so the two retrieve some and sit down on the rooftop to eat and drink while they gaze up at the night sky.
Oh-sol asks about Mr. Choi’s family, and he replies that he’s old enough to live without their help. Oh-sol responds that you’re never too old to lean on your family when you need them. Mr. Choi points out that the two of them are practically family, and again brings up the fact that they basically sleep under the same roof.
Oh-sol offers to swap secrets, and confesses that she works at a cleaning company. Mr. Choi teases her, asking if that’s actually a secret. Oh-sol says that while her father wouldn’t approve, she actually likes the work.
Now it’s Mr. Choi’s turn to share a secret, and his is that there’s someone who he likes. She asks if he’s confessed yet, and he says that he’s being cautious and waiting for the right time. But he says that she’s a very pretty and bright person, someone he wants to protect.
Once Oh-sol’s gone to bed, Mr. Choi’s thoughts drift back to the first time that he met Oh-sol, before he became a tenant in their building. He was working as a construction worker at the site where Oh-sol’s mother was protesting, when a young Oh-sol offered him a yogurt drink. She tells him that her mother told her to not be unkind to the workers who were working against their will. She smiles broadly at him, and then dashes away to her mother’s side. Returning from his thoughts, Mr. Choi drinks a yogurt drink from the fridge.
As for Seon-gyeol’s evening, he spends it in front of his television with “The Love”‘s mug sitting in front of him. A documentary about love comes on, and Seon-gyeol scoffs when the host suggests that love can start when you believe that a person can do something others can’t.
But as the documentary goes on, it seems like it’s speaking directly to Seon-gyeol, chanting over and over, “You are in love now,” and then the host slowly turns into a smiling Oh-sol, who makes finger hearts at Seon-gyeol.
The next morning, Oh-sol is up early enough to wash her hair. Meanwhile, Seon-gyeol has been tossing and turning all night with his thoughts, and the alarm clock goes off way too early for him.
He staggers into the office, still caught up in his denial of the documentary. It seems that everyone in the office saw the documentary, but Seon-gyeol is not interested in discussing it at all. He instead starts spraying his disinfectant spray on every surface, and claims that the office needs a deep cleaning.
Oh-sol arrives at the office, a bag in her hand and hair freshly washed and combed. She leans in to speak to Seon-gyeol, but when he turns to face her, all he can see is his delusion of her smiling and holding up finger hearts. So he attacks with his disinfectant, spraying it frantically into her face.
I’m afraid that I must disagree with the good Dr. Daniel Choi-I don’t see how we’re supposed to believe that the feelings that Seon-gyeol is experiencing are love sickness. Of course, Mr. Choi doesn’t have all the details that we do, so he’s allowed a stab in the dark about the situation, but I can say with certainty that I haven’t seen anything yet between Seon-gyeol and Oh-sol that resembles romance.
I’d hoped that we would circle around a growing attraction between them as Seon-gyeol had opportunities to see Oh-sol’s good qualities and see that in spite of her haphazard appearance, she is someone who is good for him. But we’ve seen way more incidents where she stumbles and gets in his way than we have of her being awesome. Seon-gyeol has been given many chances to prove his worth as a human through his interactions with his staff and especially Oh-sol, but Oh-sol hasn’t had the same opportunity to shine in front of him and demonstrate her own merits. So what is it about her that Seon-gyeol suddenly finds attractive? I just don’t believe that witnessing a girl feed a stray cat is enough for a guy like Seon-gyeol to suddenly fall in love. It feels like the show wants to rush through the adjustment of Seon-gyeol just feeling comfortable with another human, and instead went straight for the romance without any sweet moments to scaffold that transition.
I feel bad, because I want the main couple to find a love connection, but the writing just isn’t giving them the chance currently. They need some quieter moments together where they get the chance to work together, rather than Seon-gyeol constantly saving Oh-sol or tolerating some mishap she’s fallen into.
The thing is that I like Oh-sol’s messiness when it’s just about her being a bit careless about her appearance. I feel a kinship with someone who doesn’t care about what others think about how she looks or where she chooses to focus her energy. But I’m not as fond of this attitude when it plays out as negligence at her job, and that unfortunately seems to be the driving force behind any of her interactions with Seon-gyeol.
I do suspect that she’s carrying bone broth soup in that bag, made especially for Seon-gyeol, so perhaps we still have time to build some touching moments in before we go full speed one-sided love.
Meanwhile, the budding friendship between Oh-sol and Mr. Choi the piggyback king is happening naturally, easily, and in a way that I really enjoy. He takes a lot of unfair (though not mean-spirited) abuse from just about everyone with a shrug and a smile, and he knows how to be there for someone naturally without making it a big deal.
I like the idea that Oh-sol is someone whom Mr. Choi admired when they were younger, and he still admires her for the same plucky resilience. He may have expected to see someone much less put together than Oh-sol when he finally sought her out, but it seems like he’s pleased to see that there are some things that even the darkest moments can’t touch. It sounds like he’s been making the rounds with all of the people who were affected by the accident that took Oh-sol’s mother’s life, and the trauma that he’s seen left him unprepared to find her still living life with a bright smile. I think they’ve got a great opportunity to reveal Mr. Choi’s backstory very naturally by bringing in his pro bono patients that he’s been listening to for years, and I’m looking forward to see it develop.
It’s interesting that Mr. Choi behaves as though he and Oh-sol have been close for a while, longer than Oh-sol is aware of anyway. He refers to her as “our” Oh-sol, and likes to bring up that they’re all sleeping under the same roof. While Mr. Choi may be making up for his part in the building accident to the other affected individuals, it feels like he’s taking some solace in his proximity to Oh-sol, someone he’s obviously been thinking about for years.
All the same, I don’t feel like these are romantic feelings he’s harboring, or at least, that’s not all to what Mr. Choi feels. I get the sense that he takes strength from seeing her, especially when she keep persevering despite setbacks. And even if he’s stuck as the second lead in the end, you know he’ll support her happiness above all else until the end.