Clean With Passion for Now: Episode 7
Opportunity pays a visit to our two leading men, but while one just might step up to take his chance, the other struggles with uncertainty. Our germaphobe CEO is in entirely new territory as he tries to understand what he really wants, while Oh-sol’s rooftop tenant tries to gauge the right timing to confess the feelings he’s harbored for years. And while those two struggle with their own emotions, our heroine tries to manage everyone else’s expectations of her, from her boss to her family.
EPISODE 7: “While we touch each other”
Oh-sol’s talk with Seon-gyeol about their kiss does not go as expected, and he lets her know in no uncertain terms that he has zero interest in dating. And while he maintains a stern expression as he walks away from her, by the time he gets home he’s holding his head in his hands in frustration with himself.
Oh-sol retreats to her favorite spot atop the neighborhood stairs with alcohol in hand. It isn’t long before Mr. Choi turns up with a bandage for her battered feet after her long day in heels. Mr. Choi spots the can in her hand and asks her if something happened that has her drinking alone, and Oh-sol asks if it’s normal for a guy to hold hands and kiss a girl, and yet have zero interest in her.
Oh-sol starts to reason the situation out on her own, and comes to the conclusion that she kissed the guy in a similar way before, so they should be even. Having come to her own resolution, she changes topics and asks Mr. Choi about the status of his secret crush confession.
Mr. Choi protests that the timing is tricky, and Oh-sol gives him a pep talk from her hurdling days. She recalls that whenever she tried too hard to get the timing right, that’s when she’d fall. But when she listened to what felt right without over-thinking, that’s when she’d succeed. Mr. Choi can’t help but smile as he gets advice from the very target of his affections.
Meanwhile, Seon-gyeol can’t even concentrate on cleaning Geum-ja without the scenes from the restaurant with Oh-sol flooding back.
The next day at work, Seon-gyeol and Oh-sol struggle to avoid making eye contact as she arrives at work. While the rest of the crew strolls in, Oh-sol ducks away first by herself.
But instead of heading in to the office, she’s staged an ambush for Seon-gyeol and corners him in the stairwell. She lets him know that she also has no interest in dating anyone, especially someone like Seon-gyeol. She declares them officially even, and stalks away before Seon-gyeol has the opportunity to respond.
The interaction weighs on him though, and it doesn’t help that Oh-sol stands outside the windows of the office during his meeting, threatening and taunting him. When he stands to yell at her, she’s gone, so he hunkers down in his chair for the remainder of the presentation. When he looks up again, Oh-sol still mocks him from a corner (is this real, or his brain making things up again?)
As Oh-sol heads through the hallway, she gives Joo-yeon the updates by phone, and Joo-yeon congratulates her for taking charge of the situation. Oh-sol starts to wonder if she was too harsh, but then flip flops again, of course just as Oh-sol complains about how obnoxious her boss is, Seon-gyeol materializes through the doorway in front of her. “It’s too bad you think I’m such a jerk,” he says as he steers past her down the hall.
Joo-yeon’s left with silence as Oh-sol hangs up on her, but she’s quickly distracted by the sign for the event at her school, featuring the “youngest psychiatrist” from the Rochester Clinic. I see, now we know what Mr. Choi was all dressed up for…
Back at the cleaning company, Seon-gyeol rants to Secretary Kwon about Oh-sol, so much so that he doesn’t even notice that his sanitation chamber entrance to his office is malfunctioning.
Meanwhile, Oh-sol’s father’s car washing business doesn’t seem to be doing too badly. He cheerfully washes a car as he answers new requests via his bluetooth speaker. But then two unsavory gentlemen approach him and ask him what he’s doing on their turf. Dad tries to smile them away, but they kick over his cleaning buckets as a final warning.
The parking lot attendant runs after them, and then turns to reassure Dad. He explains that these guys show up to drive away cleaners in the area, and then clients complain as soon as they take over. The guard smiles that Dad has nothing to worry about, since people are always asking for his contact info.
Oh-dol invites Yeong-shik out for lunch, but Yeong-shik is still a sullen sack mourning the end of his crush. He does perk up though when Oh-dol reminds him that this is a celebratory lunch–he got into Hanguk University! Yeong-shik offers to let Oh-sol know the news when he heads back to work, and as soon as he’s said it, he realizes his mistake. Oh-dol’s face falls as he realizes where his sister has been working.
Oh-sol is cleaning and mulling over her latest interaction with Seon-gyeol when her brother and Yeong-shik arrive. Yeong-shik drops to his knees to ask forgiveness, while her brother gives her a cool glare.
Oh-dol drags his sister out of the building, all the while accusing her of lying to everyone about her awesome job. He asks her if this is what she quit hurdling for, and the hurt is plain on Oh-sol’s face. When Oh-sol asks what’s so wrong with a cleaning job, he points to other girls her age who wear nice clothes and work in big buildings. Oh, Oh-dol…
Meanwhile, Secretary Kwon pays a visit to Seon-gyeol’s grandfather in the hospital. She reports on his changed behavior, and Grandfather is hopeful that the new doctor is helping. But Secretary Kwon confesses that she thinks it’s their new hire, Oh-sol, who is making a change in Seon-gyeol’s actions.
Oh-sol retreats to a restaurant to treat her brother to some grilled meat, but Oh-dol’s mood isn’t improving. Oh-sol tells him that this job is temporary until she can save up money. Oh-dol doesn’t understand why she can’t rely on their father to help her out, so then Oh-sol shares with him that their father lost his job.
She tries to reassure him that she’s doing the work because she enjoys it, and he grumbles out that she’s a liar. She reaffirms that she refuses to do anything but fun things, and he asks again why she quit hurdles then. She bluffs that she got bored with it, and then tells him that she never quit, but just went down another path.
When they get home, Oh-sol asks Oh-dol not to let their dad know he’s aware of the job loss. Oh-sol is the one who shares Oh-dol’s big college news, but while Dad is ready for a celebration, Oh-dol glumly excuses himself for bed.
Seon-gyeol spends his evening on the phone with his new psychiatrist Mr. Choi. Mr. Choi listens to him go on about how the girl who has been affecting him, and now that Mr. Choi knows that it’s Oh-sol, he can’t help but ask some probing questions that are probably not strictly professional. He asks Seon-gyeol if he likes that person and if he’s willing to protect them. Seon-gyeol answers honestly that he hasn’t thought about it enough yet to know for sure.
Seon-gyeol asks if these questions are part of his therapy, but Mr. Choi answers that no, he just wants to know what kind of man Seon-gyeol is. Before Seon-gyeol has a chance to ask about what that means, Mr. Choi switches to the topic of Seon-gyeol’s medical records. Mr. Choi tells him that according to the documents, Seon-gyeol’s phobia may be inherited. Hmmm…
All the talk of Oh-sol’s athletic past has her looking at her old medals stashed away in a box. She holds one in her hand, and it triggers a flashback to the day of the accident that took her mother’s life. That day, Oh-sol receives a call after track practice, and races to the scene of the accident. She joins her father alongside her mother’s stretcher, and the gold medal falls from her mother’s hands.
The next morning, Oh-sol is stunned to see Mr. Choi wearing a nice suit jacket on his way out. She guesses that he’s off to confess his love, and wishes him luck.
As soon as she arrives at work, Oh-sol runs into Seon-gyeol on the stairs. Seon-gyeol stops her to ask about what she said the day before. She assumes he means their agreement that they both aren’t interested in dating, but Seon-gyeol is stuck on the fact that she called him obnoxious.
He asks her if she really feels that way, and Oh-sol says that yes, she thinks that men who play with other people’s feelings are obnoxious, and then she leaves him stammering on the stairs.
Seon-gyeol retreats to his office, not even excited to hear that his air sanitation system is working again. He sits down with Secretary Kwon for some advice, for his “friend.” This friend has no dating experience, but there’s a girl whom he can’t stop thinking about. And indeed, his mind rushes with all of the interactions he’s had with Oh-sol, from revealing her under the horse head to the moment that he reached out and held her hand and then leaned in for that kiss.
Seon-gyeol says that his friend does have feelings for her, but didn’t have the courage to take the next step. Secretary Kwon promptly tells him that his “friend” sounds completely clueless and needs to watch more tv dramas, ha. She says that the worst thing he could do was apologize after a kiss, and that the friend needs to go confess his feelings.
Back at Joo-yeon’s school, a crowd is gathering for the talk from Daniel Choi. And as the doctor arrives, Joo-yeon recognizes him immediately as Oh-sol’s handsome rooftop tenant.
Oh-sol and crew are cleaning at a hospital, where a familiar face strolls through the halls–it’s “Doctor” Baek, Mr. Choi’s patient. Oh-sol spots him in the hall, and watches as the man ducks into a room just before a harried swarm of hospital attendants rush by, looking for their lost patient.
Oh-sol’s still unaware of the man’s delusion, so when Dr. Baek returns to the hall, she’s quick to say hello, as well as ask for some psychotherapy, since she’s got a lot on her mind recently. Oh-sol’s questions delay him just long enough for the attendants to return, and they corner Dr. Baek, who starts growling like a dog at them. His shouts of, “I’m a doctor!” echo down the hall as the attendants carry him overhead back to his room. Oh-sol wonders to herself that if Dr. Baek is a patient, what does that make Mr. Choi?
At the university, Mr. Choi stands before his audience and begins his lecture, which just happens to be about opportunity, and specifically, why people often hesitate when an opportunity arises. Joo-yeon steps out of the room to call Oh-sol and demand that her friend come to her school to see for herself.
Mr. Choi lectures on, about how it’s the fear of failure that holds people back from taking opportunities. Mr. Choi says that while we worry about the what ifs, in the end, the lost opportunities haunt us.
Back in his office, Secretary Kwon tells Seon-gyeol that the girl in question must have expected a confession after the kiss. And Seon-gyeol has his own what if questions holding him back. He asks what if his friend gets turned down, or what happens after a confession, but Secretary Kwon responds that as long as his feelings are true in the moment, there’s no point in worrying about what will happen in the future.
Seon-gyeol heads for the employee lounge, but everyone except for Dong-hyun has already left. Seon-gyeol asks specifically about Oh-sol, so Dong-hyun tips him off that she’s headed for Myungwon University to see her friend.
When Oh-sol finally arrives, Joo-yeon drags her into the auditorium and dead center into Mr. Choi’s line of sight. They both catch each other’s eyes, as Mr. Choi continues to lecture about how once an opportunity has passed, it can’t be obtained. And then he likens opportunity to the concept of “timing,” something that should sound very familiar to Oh-sol.
Mr. Choi says that a friend told him, “Timing is something that gets harder even if you try to control it,” quoting Oh-sol from the night before, and he encourages the audience to not think too hard and just act when it feels like the right time.
Joo-yeon and Oh-sol stand on the steps of the building after the presentation lets out. Seon-gyeol is in his car on the way there, Oh-sol’s phone buzzes with a call from him. Just as she picks up, Seon-gyeol arrives at the building and spots her on the stairs. He tells her not to move, and hangs up to meet her.
But before he can reach her, Mr. Choi joins her on the steps, even as his fans beg him to stay for one more photograph. She asks if this is what he had to do today, rather than confess his love, and he says that he’s considering adding a confession to the day as well, since he doesn’t want to miss his opportunity.
“It’s you, Oh-sol,” Mr. Choi says, “The person I want to protect. From the bottom of the stairs, Seon-gyeol arrives just in time to hear Mr. Choi’s confession.
We return to those two little kids from the first episode on the playground, and the young boy has fainted after the booger encounter. The little girl sits astride him while she attempts mouth-to-mouth to revive him. He screams when he wakes up with her on top of him, but the girl takes no notice and jumps up to dance.
“I saved you!” she shouts, and as she dances and shouts around him, the boy can’t help but look up at her with a smile.
Timing and opportunity all lined up for Mr. Choi in this episode, and he managed to take Oh-sol’s advice and act when it felt right. He couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment, and I’m glad that he went for it, no matter what the outcome.
I love an episode that does a good job of tackling a single resonant theme and the way its various characters work through it in different ways. Not a lot happens in this episode, and I really appreciate the slow-down, because the slower pace gave them the opportunity to really thread that theme through Seon-gyeol and Mr. Choi’s experiences and demonstrated the very different ways that these men approach uncertainty.
While Mr. Choi listens to those around him and takes the leap when he gets the chance, Seon-gyeol isn’t accustomed to taking chances, and he’s just only now realizing that he has romantic feelings for another person at all. In every prior moment when Seon-gyeol has made a mistake, he’s been quick to apologize and make amends. But this time he was caught off-guard by his new emotions, and they ultimately delayed him just enough for him to miss the chance that was offered up, and also forced him to watch a rival step up to the plate.
But Mr. Choi’s presentation on opportunity skips over the idea of second chances, and I can’t help but think that Seon-gyeol isn’t going to give up just because he missed one moment.
Meanwhile, Oh-sol serves as the old soul to these older men, the one who learned early on in life about opportunity and missed chances and what it can mean to overthink things. And I think that she is the example they need to understand how one missed chance can quickly become a new opportunity. She may not have been able to live out her dreams as an athlete, but she might be on a new path to happiness that she never would have found without that initial loss. It seems like they’ve all got a lot to learn from one another, and I appreciated this more serious episode to set up these stakes.
Not to be overshadowed, Oh-sol and Oh-dol’s moments after he discovered her real line of work were really grounded and rich. They were full of conflicting emotions, things said hastily, half-truths, then revealed truths, and then some more bluffs to cover old wounds. It was all there, mushed together in what came out to be a very real scene between two siblings who are very similar, even if they don’t recognize it.
Oh-dol looks up to his sister, and is also likely feeling the burden of getting a chance at his own dream, while both his sister and father struggle to make a living doing something he assumes is a burden to them.
And am I reading too much into it, or are we going to learn that Seon-gyeol’s grandfather also suffers from a phobia? And what if that phobia somehow contributed to the accident that connects everyone, in turn making Seon-gyeol’s grandfather’s insistence on fixing the phobia not so much because he’s disgusted by it, but because he fears it will destroy his grandson, as it has him?
It sounds so dramatic, but it’s not so unbelievable either. It’s the first thing that came to my mind when Mr. Choi suggested that Seon-gyeol’s phobia came from his family, and I can’t help but think of the way that his grandfather’s eyes widened when he heard that Seon-gyeol’s symptoms may be lessening. Of course, that could easily be explained by Grandfather’s eagerness to crown Seon-gyeol as the successor to his company, and not anything to do with actual feelings this horrible man might have.
Still, I trust Secretary Kwon, and I don’t believe that she would report to Seon-gyeol’s family unless she thought she was helping him. I’m not sure that I need a redemption arc for Grandfather, but then, maybe it’s not for me. Perhaps Seon-gyeol really needs to see another side to his family before he can truly heal.
But before he can get to that, Seon-gyeol’s going to have to figure out what to do with the new emotions that come with a romantic rivalry. This is not a man made to endure a love triangle, so I can’t imagine this is going to go well. But even with my love for all second leads ever, I’m still rooting for our main man. Seon-gyeol, fighting!