Clean With Passion for Now: Episode 8
Our leading lady doesn’t know what to make of the two men who have taken a personal interest in her. Her rooftop neighbor turns out to be an accomplished psychiatrist but she can’t seem to shake her misconceptions about him. Her boss constantly criticizes her and she can’t figure out why she puts up it. In spite of her confusion, she begins to notice that she’s more at ease around one of them.
EPISODE 8: “Things I Like and Things I Like”
Seon-gyeol stares at Oh-sol and her rooftop neighbor and overhears some students discuss the handsome Dr. Daniel and his lucky companion. Seon-gyol realizes that “Rooftop” is his doctor and he gapes at Mr. Choi just as he confesses to Oh-sol.
Later, Mr. Choi asks Oh-sol if she’s headed home but Joo-yeon interjects, “Of course not…She wants to have dinner, drink tea, and have fun today. She may even stay out tonight.” Joo-yeon then excuses herself so that Oh-sol and Dr. Choi can be alone.
When Mr. Choi jokes that he can’t stay out all night, Oh-sol snaps, “You’re unbelievable.” Relieved that Oh-sol is back to normal, Mr. Choi proposes a nice meal and Seon-gyeol watches from his car as they walk away.
Mr. Choi’s “nice” meal is convenience store ramen and kimbap accompanied by a view of the Han river. After Mr. Choi catches Oh-sol staring at him, he wonders, “Do I look different now that you know I’m a doctor?” Oh-sol admits that she was surprised to learn the truth but Mr. Choi reminds her that’s because she jumped to the wrong conclusions about him.
After Oh-sol scolds him for confessing to her instead of his crush, Mr. Choi makes his feelings perfectly clear, “The cheerful, pure-hearted girl I want to protect is the person in front of me now, Gil Oh-sol.” The confession causes Oh-sol to choke and when she winces in pain because some noodles got into her nose, Mr. Choi smiles, “Even with the noodles in your nose, you still look so pretty.”
At home, Seon-gyeol recalls his doctor’s question, “By any chance, do you like that person? Enough to protect her?” He scoffs when he remembers that’s what Oh-sol’s tenant said to her earlier, “It’s you, Oh-sol. The person I want to protect.”
On the bus ride home, Oh-sol is uncomfortable around Mr. Choi. When she dozes off, Mr. Choi puts his arm around Oh-sol and rests her head on his shoulder so that she can sleep comfortably.
As they walk home from the bus stop, Mr. Choi apologizes for making Oh-sol feel uncomfortable. He picks up a small rock and asks what it is and when Oh-sol answers that it’s a pebble, Mr. Choi places it in her hand, where they both agree that it’s still a pebble.
Mr. Choi reminds Oh-sol that the jobless man on her roof who turned out to be a psychiatrist hasn’t changed. That goes for his confession as well — she should think of it as a pebble that’s been moved. Mr. Choi urges Oh-sol not to feel uncomfortable but when he informs her that he plans to speak casually to her from now on, she chases after him looking very uncomfortable.
Seon-gyeol meets with Secretary Kwon at a coffee shop, in spite of the late hour, to ask about Dr. Daniel and how she found him. Secretary Kwon explains that his mother mentioned that Seon-gyeol’s mysophobia improved under the late Dr. Fore and when she learned that a Korean doctor studied under him, she decided to search for him.
In her room, Oh-sol studies the pebble as she tries to make sense of Mr. Choi. Oh-sol suddenly remembers Seon-gyeol and checks her phone, but there aren’t any messages from him. Frustrated, she sets the pebble inside a flower pot next to her bed and tries to sleep.
In the morning, Oh-sol’s father notices the dark circles under Oh-sol’s eyes and frets that office work must be stressful. When Mr. Choi joins them for breakfast and greets Oh-sol casually, Oh-sol’s father approves of their friendship and encourages his daughter to call their neighbor Ha-in from now on.
Mr. Choi smiles when Oh-sol chokes on her food and coughs all over the table. Oh-sol’s father yells, “That’s gross,” while half-eaten rice flies out of his mouth. Oh-sol excuses herself to get ready for work and when Mr. Choi waves at her, she scurries to her room.
After breakfast, Mr. Choi gets a call from Seon-gyeol , who wants to meet. He offers to visit the doctor, since he has an idea where he lives, but Mr. Choi suggests meeting elsewhere.
Oh-sol runs into Seon-gyeol at work and asks about what he wanted to tell her. When he answers that it was nothing important, Oh-sol suggests that he shouldn’t call her after working hours.
When Oh-sol joins her team, Dong-hyun asks if she met with Seon-gyeol the previous day. He explains that Seon-gyeol was looking for Oh-sol after work so he told him where to find her. Oh-sol suddenly has an idea why Seon-gyeol told her not to move during his call.
Seon-gyeol meets with Mr. Choi and exclaims, “The pervert who lives on the rooftop of my employee’s house turns out to be my doctor?” Mr. Choi wonders how Seon-gyeol got his phone number, since it’s a challenge to find him.
When Seon-gyeol avoids his question, Mr. Choi brings up another question that was never answered, “Do you like Ms. Gil? Enough to protect her?” Annoyed, Seon-gyeol protests, “Why should I answer that question? I don’t think it’s necessary for my treatment.” Mr. Choi admits that he’s curious because he likes Oh-sol and he’s aware that she’s special to Seon-gyeol as well.
Seon-gyeol insists that the only reason Oh-sol is special is because he can touch her and he scoffs at the idea of protecting her, calling it childish. Relieved, Mr. Choi admits that he was worried that Seon-gyeol’s confused emotions would hurt Oh-sol. When Seon-gyeol hears Mr. Choi use Oh-sol’s first name, he heatedly observes that they must be close.
Seon-gyeol sits in his car and frets about the meeting with Mr. Choi just as Oh-sol walks by and peeks inside. Seon-gyeol scrambles to get out of his car before Oh-sol walks away, but when she asks if he went to find her at the university, he laughs.
Seon-gyeol vehemently denies that he looked for her but when Oh-sol turns away, he calls her back. Tongue tied, Seon-gyeol eventually points to Oh-sol’s dirty uniform and orders her to change before her training resumes. As Seon-gyeol walks away, he scolds himself, “What am I doing? I’m such an idiot.”
After Oh-sol realizes that she left her clean uniform at home, she calls Joo-yeon, who’s busy with a blind date, and Oh-dol, who’s at taekwondo practice. Desperate, Oh-sol calls Mr. Choi, who finds the bag with her clean uniform under her bed. On his way out, Mr. Choi sees photos of Oh-sol on her walls (proof that Oh-sol is the little girl from the playground) and the pebble sharing a pot with a dead plant.
Seon-gyeol absentmindedly scribbles some notes when Secretary Kwon reminds him that it’s time to address the trainees. She asks why he was curious about Dr. Daniel and offers to set up a meeting with him. Seon-gyeol informs Secretary Kwon that he already met with Dr. Daniel and won’t be seeing him again because he’s an annoying jerk. After Seon-gyeol leaves, Secretary Kwon reads his notes, “Daniel, Gil Oh-sol. Do I like her enough to protect her?”
Mr. Choi delivers Oh-sol’s clean uniform and when Oh-sol runs back into work, he waves and yells out, “Have a nice day, and I’ll see you at home.” Oh-sol literally runs into Seon-gyeol and Secretary Kwon and when Seon-gyeol glares at Mr. Choi, Oh-sol explains that she asked the tenant to bring her uniform. Secretary Kwon catches on when Seon-gyeol complains, “I really envy you, Ms. Gil. For having a tenant who ‘protects’ you so dearly.” When Seon-gyeol walks away, his eyes flash with jealousy while Secretary Kwon follows with a knowing smile.
During the training session, Oh-sol’s mind is on Seon-gyeol’s curious reaction to Mr. Choi. When Seon-gyeol catches Yeon-shik sleeping, he asks him a challenging question, along with Jae-min and Oh-sol. After Oh-sol fails to answer any of the questions that Seon-gyeol poses, he orders her to retake the training session.
Mr. Choi joins Oh-sol for coffee and she explains that she wanted to thank him for bringing her uniform, Mr. Choi wonders how long she plans to work in secret but Oh-sol argues that she doesn’t have a reason to quit.
Oh-sol reminds Mr. Choi that he mentioned liking someone for a long time but he hasn’t lived on their rooftop that long. Mr. Choi confesses that he liked Oh-sol before he moved in, even though she may not remember when they met.
Oh-sol is surprised when Mr. Choi informs her that she greeted him first. When she tries to find out when they met, Mr. Choi helps himself to her drink and answers, “If you try to find out too much at once, you’ll get hurt. I’m not going anywhere, so let’s take our time step by step.”
Oh-sol laughs at the idea that Mr. Choi moved into their house because of her but he notes, “Isn’t it natural to want to be close to someone you like?” When Oh-sol gets home, she notices that there’s a new plant in the pot with the pebble.
Oh-sol stares at her uniform and wonders, “Why am I going through so much to do this type of work?” Secretary Kwon calls to ask Oh-sol to take her place for one day and after they hang up, Secretary Kwon glances over at her son with a determined look. Her son looks like a miniature version of Seon-gyeol, decked out in a mask and gloves to read a book on the couch.
Seon-gyeol hangs up after Secretary Kwon informs him that she’s sick and won’t be at work. He’s surprised to find Oh-sol in his office, wearing a professional looking pink suit to work as his substitute secretary for the day. When she reviews Seon-gyeol’s itinerary, he corrects Oh-sol’s pronunciation of a name and warns, “Don’t bother with this if you can’t do a good job. I don’t want to be all confused.”
Seon-gyeol is about to snap at Oh-sol when she can’t keep up with him, but he notices how carefully she has to walk in heels. Oh-sol senses that Seon-gyeol has slowed his pace so that they can walk together comfortably and smiles to herself.
Oh-sol is uncomfortable when they have to ride the elevator together, until she notices a small insect flying around. She tries to swat it away and then lunges at Seon-gyeol, pinning him to the wall. When the elevator doors open, Jae-min, Yeong-shik and Dong-hyun stand frozen until the doors close. Seon-gyeol quizzes Oh-sol about her actions and she stammers before showing him the mosquito in her hand, causing him to scream in terror.
Fumigators arrive at the company just as Seon-gyeol and Oh-sol leave for his meeting. They run into Jae-min, Yeong-shik and Dong-hyun outside, who don’t recognize Oh-sol right away. On their way to his car, Seon-gyeol checks that Oh-sol has everything that he needs.
After Oh-sol’s stomach growls, Seon-gyeol buys her breakfast and wonders, “Who’s the secretary here?” He smiles as Oh-sol enjoys her food but when other customers sit nearby, he excuses himself to wait in the car. Oh-sol gets a call from Secretary Kwon to inform her that the location for Seon-gyeol’s meeting has changed.
Oh-sol and Seon-gyeol sit in his car at the airport while he tries to muster up the courage to get out. His mother calls and she panics when she learns that Seon-gyeol is at the airport, because she knows it’s a location that he avoids.
Oh-sol offers to attend the meeting on his behalf but Seon-gyeol points out that she can’t speak English. Seon-gyeol finally announces, “Let’s go,” and once inside, Oh-sol runs interference for him as they walk through the airport. Seon-gyeol is just barely holding it together as he dodges one person after another but he can’t breathe when a large tour group suddenly swarms him.
When Seon-gyeol crouches down in a full-blown panic attack, Oh-sol opens his umbrella and creates a protective bubble over him. Seon-gyeol looks up and is reassured, “No one can come in here now. Don’t worry.”
Seon-gyeol rests his head on Oh-sol’s shoulder and they don’t move until the entire tour group has passed by. From an upper level, Secretary Kwon and Seon-gyeol’s grandfather watch the pair and when she asks his opinion, Chairman Cha answers, “Good. Let’s hurry things up.” Secretary Kwon promises, “I’ll proceed with the plan.”
Seon-gyeol’s meeting is successful and he compliments Oh-sol’s use of the umbrella. She confesses that she’s good in emergencies but gets annoyed when Seon-gyeol tells her to hurry. As she walks by, Seon-gyeol notices that Oh-sol is limping.
In his car, Oh-sol tries to discreetly slip off her heels but Seon-gyeol recognizes that she has a blister. He pulls over and runs into a store, returning with a pair of sneakers for Oh-sol. Seon-gyeol puts the shoes down and when Oh-sol slips into them, she breathes, “They’re pretty.”
By the time Seon-gyeol parks near Oh-sol’s house, she’s sound asleep. He gazes at her until a call from “Rooftop” comes through. Not quite ready to let her go, Seon-gyeol leans back in his seat and looks at Oh-sol as his eyes grow heavy.
Eventually, Oh-sol wakes up and it’s her turn to gaze at Seon-gyeol, who’s fallen asleep. When she remembers what Mr. Choi asked, “Isn’t it natural to want to be close to someone you like,” Oh-sol wonders aloud, “Why am I going through so much to work at this company? Is it because…”
Seon-gyeol stirs, causing Oh-sol to turn away and pretend to be asleep. She “wakes up” and acts surprised to find that she’s in her neighborhood. Oh-sol grabs her things and runs off but as she climbs the stairs to her house, she worries, “I hope he didn’t hear that.” Mr. Choi is waiting outside Oh-sol’s door and asks why she didn’t answer her phone. When she asks Mr. Choi why he called, he has to tell her, “He found out about your secret.”
Seon-gyeol sits in his car and recalls overhearing Oh-sol ask herself why she’s endured so much to work at the company, because he heard everything. Seon-gyeol stares at the passenger seat as he contemplates what Oh-sol meant.
Oh-sol tries to talks to her father, but he’s already checked into her employment with her company. With a thick voice, he wonders, “How poor a father must I have been to you to make you do this type of work.” When Oh-sol claims to like her job, her father yells that she’s to quit immediately.
In the morning, Seon-gyeol greets Jae-min, Yeong-shik and Dong-hyun and inquires why Oh-sol is missing. They had the same question for him and wonder if it’s Oh-sol’s day off.
At home, Oh-sol tries to text Seon-gyeol that she has to quit. She joins her father in the living room but when she makes an appeal to keep her job, Oh-sol’s father insists that he doesn’t want her to make a living like he did.
Seon-gyeol overreacts when Secretary Kwon informs him that Oh-sol isn’t feeling well. Seon-gyeol ends up in front of Oh-sol’s house with a gift and calls Oh-sol just as she returns home. Seon-gyeol denies that the bag is for her until Oh-sol sees her name written on it. Before she can explain exactly why she couldn’t come to work, Oh-sol’s father opens the door.
Seon-gyeol introduces himself as the CEO of Cleaning Fairy and presents his card and soon he’s sitting across from Oh-sol’s father in the living room. Her father quietly explains that he’s against Oh-sol working for his company and when Seon-gyeol asks for a reason, Oh-sol’s father answers that the work would make any parent unhappy and returns Seon-gyeol’s card.
Seon-gyeol addresses his concerns — cleaning is a physically taxing job that people look down on. Seon-gyeol believes that cleaning is important since it gives hope to clients. Scenes of Oh-sol, Jae-min, Yeong-shik, and Dong-hyun with happy clients prove Seon-gyeol’s claim that cleaning has a positive impact. When Seon-gyeol asserts that he’s proud of his company and respects his employees, Oh-sol slides Seon-gyeol’s business card back to her father.
When Seon-gyeol finally leaves, he can barely walk after kneeling for so long. Oh-sol warns that her father is stubborn but Seon-gyeol promises to do his best to make sure that she can work for his company again. When Oh-sol points out that she’s not irreplaceable, Seon-gyeol argues that Cleaning Fairy needs her, but then he corrects himself and confesses, “I need you.” Seon-gyeol takes Oh-sol’s hand and softly asks, “Stay by my side.”
I really feel for Seon-gyeol, it must be difficult to confront a romantic rival like Mr. Choi/Dr. Daniel. Mr. Choi is a young, handsome, accomplished doctor who certainly doesn’t have a limiting phobia like Seon-gyeol. And he’s way more comfortable with his feelings for Oh-sol than Seon-gyeol is. For one thing, Mr. Choi has had a crush on Oh-sol for years and he’s well informed about what her family experienced when her mother died in that collapse. Seon-gyeol is still trying to get used to having another person who’s constantly in his thoughts and he gets tongue tied whenever Oh-sol is around. Seon-gyeol is certainly way out of his comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean that he’s down and out.
In fact, I have to give Seon-gyeol credit for overcoming his fears so quickly in order to keep himself in the game. He finally managed to tell Oh-sol how he feels after so many false starts, and I’m sure that’s in direct response to Mr. Choi’s increasing presence in her life. That’s one thing that Seon-gyeol has going for himself, he doesn’t give up, in spite of how hard he has to work to keep his phobia under control. For her part, Oh-sol may not be sure how she feels about Seon-gyeol, but she definitely doesn’t feel anything for Mr. Choi just yet, other than uncomfortable.
What surprised me in this episode were the insights that we got about Secretary Kwon. She been like a substitute mother/big sister for Seon-gyeol, part confidant, part employee, always dependable. It was jarring to learn that she’s working with Seon-gyeol’s grandfather and that she was behind his crisis at the airport. For what reason? I think that her young son must be behind her actions because Secretary Kwon must be desperate to find a way to help him overcome his mysophobia. Is Seon-gyeol a guinea pig, a subject that she can use to evaluate what works and what doesn’t? No matter what Secretary Kwon’s motives are, it was creepy to see her look down at Seon-gyeol and Oh-sol at the airport, ready to implement Chairman Cha’s plan. It’s disturbing to think that she’s exploiting Seon-gyeol, but that could be the tie-in with abirdword’s theory, that Chairman Cha has his own phobia and is looking to Seon-gyeol to figure out how to cure it. Are Chairman Cha and Secretary Kwon working to help Seon-gyeol, themselves, or both?
Oh-sol’s biggest challenge will be to convince her father to allow her to continue in her job at Cleaning Fairy. Even though she’s clumsy and messy, it’s the one job where Oh-sol is expected to get dirty, plus she has the physical stamina for the work. After seeing how interested Secretary Kwon and Chairman Cha are about her effect on Seon-gyeol, it seems safe to assume that they’ll see to it that Oh-sol returns to her job and that she’s close to Seon-gyeol. I’m just not sure that’s reassuring.