Reach of Sincerity: Episode 2
Opposites clash today, as our passionate leading lady runs headfirst into our stoic hero (or doesn’t, as the case may be) and a half-baked revenge plot is hatched. I’m enjoying the show’s light touch with comedy, and of course, both our leads are very likeable. This strikes me as an affable, if not inspired, rom-com with its deliberately silly premise, quirky side characters, and a classic clash of wills between our leads. All the pieces are there for a fun time – now we just have to see where the chips will fall!
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Her pride hurt at Jung-rok’s assertion that he isn’t interested in her, Yoon-seo spits back that women don’t like men with such bad personalities. Unfazed, Jung-rok tells her not to worry, since he will never ask her to like him – and adds that he doesn’t have time anyway, since he has to find the document that she, Jin-shim, lost.
Incredulous, Yoon-seo can only sputter, “I said it’s Oh Yoon-seo!”
Yoon-seo storms out of the office and all the way up to the rooftop, where she dramatically screams out, “Kwon Jung-rok, you jerk!” Yoon-seo consoles herself with the sentiment from Gone With the Wind that tomorrow is another day… before hustling back down because it’s so cold outside.
Jung-rok’s hunt for the important document is interrupted by fellow lawyer Choi Yoon-hyuk, who wonders if their bosses made a mistake pairing the beautiful and smart Yoon-seo with Jung-rok – since she’s a much better fit for his perfection, ha.
Attorney Choi nonchalantly hands Jung-rok the very file he was looking for, and makes an oily apology about being too busy to tell Jung-rok. Jung-rok looks over at a scowling Yoon-seo, and sighs.
Before he leaves, Jung-rok makes a formal apology to Yoon-seo for blaming the lost file on her, when Attorney Choi had it all along. Yoon-seo’s mood shifts as she realizes it wasn’t her fault, and fires back that an apology isn’t enough when the pain was already inflicted.
Satisfied with herself, Yoon-seo advises “Be thankful, not cranky, if I clean the desk.” Immediately, Jung-rok corrects her – he doesn’t want her to touch his carefully organized desk again, leaving Yoon-seo confused about his ‘apology.’
On his way out, Jung-rok bumps into Attorney Yeon, who tells Jung-rok that Yoon-seo’s welcome celebration is that evening. Although Jung-rok claims to be too busy, Attorney Yeon’s words that Yoon-seo would miss him make him pause.
At a meeting within the department for prosecution, Yeo-reum questions a colleague’s hunch that a woman may have murdered her two husbands. However, she is stopped in her tracks by the news that Kim Se-won, Lee Sang-woo, is coming back. Her boss warns her not to make an embarrassing scene again.
And who should Yeo-reum run into in the elevator but Se-won himself. The atmosphere is tense as they exchange small talk. Yeo-reum is tongue-tied, and stops herself from saying more as Se-won leaves.
Yoon-seo’s manager, Hyuk-joon, frets about Yoon-seo drinking at the party, but Yoon-seo is confident and jokingly asks if he thinks she’ll fall in love. She promises, “I’m Oh Yoon-seo. I’m going to be elegant and stay aloof, so don’t worry.”
Cut to: Yoon-seo slamming down another drink, and slurring to the team that she just wants to do well.
Still cut up about Jung-rok, she complains that she was just trying to help… and falls asleep after asking where he is. The team look on askance, and Attorney Choi takes the chance to make another pitch to Attorney Yeon that Yoon-seo would really be better off with him.
Attorney Dan mutters that Attorney Choi just wants to date Yoon-seo, and he readily agrees, ha. When Attorney Yeon tries to warn him away from Yoon-seo, Attorney Choi even starts to list off his good qualities (and Attorney Dan gets in another good burn about his mama boy tendencies).
Attorney Yeon assures the team that he will take care of any trouble brewing between Yoon-seo and Jung-rok – and at Jung-rok’s name, Yoon-seo wakes right up and drunkenly spins round looking for him.
Jung-rok’s not there, of course, because he’s busy with a client – though he does sneak a glance at his watch as the client rambles on and politely excuses himself. He arrives at the bar just in time for Yoon-seo to stumble out and spot him. Delighted, since she has sooo much that she wants to say to him, Yoon-seo (unconvincingly) denies being drunk, and takes a step towards Jung-rok.
Jung-rok steps out of the way of Yoon-seo’s accusing finger – but unfortunately, her momentum keeps Yoon-seo going and the team can only watch in horror as she falls onto the floor.
Baffled, and too drunk to make sense of what happened, Yoon-seo looks up at Jung-rok and pitifully asks, “Did you just push me?”
Jung-rok’s night doesn’t get any better, when he makes it home and finds Se-won waiting on his doorstep, looking for a place to stay until he can find an apartment of his own. Resigned, Jung-rok lets him up.
Se-won makes himself at home, but his good mood fleetingly disappears as he recalls his encounter with Yeo-reum earlier. Jung-rok scoffs that he should have expected that, and rubs his eyes in frustration when Se-won half-jokingly asks if he can just live here, and helps himself to a beer.
Sobering up, Yoon-seo wails in embarrassment over her behaviour, and glares at Hyuk-joon when he points out that Jung-rok didn’t actually push her. He quickly back-pedals and offers to take revenge on Jung-rok for not catching her.
But Yoon-seo is determined to do that herself — and her big idea is to become the perfect secretary, so that when she quits in 3 months, he will miss her and ‘cry a river’. Oh please, girl. Hyuk-joon mutters that Yoon-seo sounds more like an ex than an employee.
The next day, Yoon-seo’s plan to sneak into the office early and avoid her co-workers is dashed, as everyone is already there.
To make matters worse, co-worker Hae-young recounts every excruciating detail for the benefit of their colleague who missed it. And when Attorney Dan helpfully re-enacts it, Yoon-seo’s humiliation is complete. Yoon-seo runs off to hide in the office.
Jung-rok is having a hard time himself, as Attorney Yeon berates him for dodging Yoon-seo, and laments that she might just quit. Jung-rok intently asks if that’s a real option, but Attorney Yeon just whines at him to be nice to her.
The whole office gets in on the guilt-tripping, popping out to lay it on thickly as Jung-rok heads to his office. Where he is greeted by an eerily professional Yoon-seo.
Except her mask slips almost immediately when Jung-rok tells her off for drinking too much, rather than apologizing, ha. She fires back that he committed an act of involuntary criminal battery because he neglected to help a vulnerable adult from falling. She look so pleased with herself, I’m dying.
Jung-rok simply rebuts that she knew her alcohol limits and blew past them, so she was at fault by willfully negligent. Yoon-seo glares at his retreating back.
At his new job, Se-won gets stuck in with a case. He catches a glimpse of Yeo-reum and stares longingly at her, but ruffles a few feathers among his new colleagues with his brusque manner.
Committed to her new plan of becoming the best secretary ever, Yoon-seo takes Jung-rok by surprise when she ably figures out the phone system. Yoon-seo makes sure to give Jung-rok a big smile, and confuses him even more by being so agreeable about taking care of her own lunch…
…which really means that her put-upon manager Hyuk-joon will take care of it. CEO Yeon fondly says that Yoon-seo looks so pretty when she eats, and reminisces that it was what drew him to her in the first place.
In flashback, we see a bedraggled CEO Yeon doubting his ability to even be an entertainment manager — when he spotted Yoon-seo chowing down on some street food. The heavens parted as soft backlighting bathed Yoon-seo, and Yeon immediately put her in a chocolate ad which made her famous.
Tears dramatically welling, CEO Yeon vows to Hyuk-joon, “I will see my Yoon-seo rise again.” He comes back down with a bump as Hyuk-joon suggests that CEO Yeon may be going through the male menopause if he can’t control his emotions.
Poor Yoon-seo feels too embarrassed to eat with her work colleagues, and slurps down her lunch in Hyuk-joon’s car. She ducks down even further when she spots Jung-rok, and quickly explains to Hyuk-joon that her perfect secretary image would take a dent if he saw her ‘inelegantly’ eating lunch in a car. Hyuk-joon can’t get over how good-looking Jung-rok is, to Yoon-seo’s ire.
Jung-rok overhears from the team that Yoon-seo doesn’t like to eat alone, and perhaps feeling responsible, asks Yoon-seo out to have pho with him. Having already gobbled some down, Yoon-seo declines but after Jung-rok leaves, pouts that he should have asked her earlier.
Sitting by himself at a cafe, Attorney Choi watches as Attorney Dan applies lipstick before she enters. She is clearly smitten with the waiter, which makes it even harder to watch when he asks if he can call her ‘auntie’ … and she turns around to find that Attorney Choi saw it all.
Humiliated, Attorney Dan dashes out – with Attorney Choi in hot pursuit to rub it in. Gleeful, Attorney Choi consoles her that she’ll fall in love again soon, because she’s a hopeless romantic. He recoils slightly as Attorney Dan turns dagger-eyes on him and runs off.
Determined to become indispensable to Jung-rok, Yoon-seo won’t take no for an answer when he rejects coffee, and hurries off.
Unfortunately, just outside the break room, her shoulders drop as she overhears Attorney Dan and Hae-young discussing her scandal. Yoon-seo interrupts, but pretends she didn’t hear anything and laughs with the two women. Jung-rok silently watches from afar.
Later that night, Hyuk-joon drives a crestfallen Yoon-seo home, who insists that she’s fine, really. Yoon-seo forces a smile, and recounts her multiple acts of revenge that day – like photocopying, making coffee, and managing the phones. Some revenge.
Hyuk-joon breaks the news to Yoon-seo that he won’t be able to drive her tomorrow – but lies and tells her it’s because he will be doing reserve army training, when really he will be taking care of Yoon-seo’s more popular hoobae. Aw, don’t lie.
Already at the apartment, Se-won greets Jung-rok with a homemade meal, in an attempt to prove how good a roommate he is. Jung-rok sighs and tells him to find a place soon, and warns Se-won that he won’t be there as a shoulder to cry on for Yeo-reum. When Se-won tries to cajole him be saying that Yeo-reum likes him, Jung-rok flatly says that she would have picked him from the start if that was true. Se-won asks Jung-rok not to be so inflexible.
Although Jung-rok walks off, Se-won’s words affect him – and he thinks back to Yoon-seo and her efforts. Perhaps he is more affected by her than wants to be.
The next day, Yoon-seo drives with panache, pouting and flicking the wheel with ease… except she’s actually stationary in the driveway, trying to pump herself up. The reality of driving is very different, as she crawls along the streets, hunched behind the wheel.
One particularly irate driver slams on his brakes just outside the law offices to confront her, and Yoon-seo bumps into the back of his car. Yoon-seo’s mind immediately conjures up horror images of a ‘reckless driving’ scandal.
The driver gets increasingly aggressive, as Yoon-seo cringes away – until Jung-rok grabs his arm. Jung-rok lays down the law, as he threatens the driver with reckless driving and road rage. The driver tries to bluster that they should just reach a settlement then, but Jung-rok is firm, “No. Let’s do this by the law. Because I like the law.”
Afterwards, Yoon-seo stares at Jung-rok in wonder, and he can’t help but notice. At his concern, Yoon-seo bashfully smiles that she really doesn’t need to go to the hospital, and cutely promises to pay him back by working really hard today.
Attorney Yeon interrupts the sweet moment and shimmies his way between the pair. Totally shameless, Attorney Yeon tells Jung-rok that he should be smiling every morning when he sees the lovely Yoon-seo.
When Jung-rok walks off, Attorney Yeon warmly tells Yoon-seo to come to him any time if Jung-rok makes her life difficult. He is left confused when Yoon-seo smiles that Jung-rok just might be a better person than she thought.
Enthused, Yoon-seo promises to do well when Jung-rok tasks her with a legal research job. She returns to Jung-rok with less cases than she had hoped for, but adds that she remembered hearing about a U.S. case on the same subject from her semester at law school.
Yoon-seo underplays her good memory as no big deal, but Jung-rok sincerely tells her that it is (aww) and thanks her for her help. Yoon-seo leaves with a huge beam on her face.
Still trying to impress Jung-rok, Yoon-seo worries over whether she should leave the office when Jung-rok looks set to continue for a while. As night falls, Jung-rok realizes how late it really is… and heads out to find Yoon-seo asleep at her desk.
Of course, Yoon-seo wakes up claiming that she was just going over Jung-rok’s schedule in her head. She is taken aback when Jung-rok suggests they go for dinner together. Suspicious, she wonders why Jung-rok has been so kind to her today — helping her with the driver, giving her important work to do, and now asking her to dinner.
Turning huge eyes on Jung-rok, Yoon-seo jumps to the wrong conclusion, “No way! I’m getting fired, aren’t I?”
Jung-rok rolls his eyes and assures Yoon-seo that it’s nothing like that. He really just wants to have a meal with her.
Jung-rok takes Yoon-seo to a completely dead restaurant. He states that the food here isn’t very good, but since he knows that Yoon-seo doesn’t like busy places, this was perfect. Yoon-seo can even take her sunglasses off since there is no-one around.
Yoon-seo spies a familiar face on the wall, and launches into the speech from the advert she was in (which goes down like a lead balloon). She cracks open a bottle of soju and asks, “I can drink a lot tonight, right?”
Jung-rok is less than impressed, and notes that she seems to drink a lot. Yoon-seo answers, “I drank a lot at my welcome party because I was in a bad mood. I’m drinking tonight… because I’m in a good mood.”
Her good mood doesn’t last long though. A worker comes into the restaurant and pulls down Yoon-seo’s adverts to replace them with posters of their new model. With her back to the worker, Yoon-seo tries not to let Jung-rok see how affected she is and quips, “It’s a good thing we’re sitting like this. It would have been awkward if he recognized me.”
Jung-rok sees right through her, and astutely answers, “You’re a much tougher person than I thought, Oh Jin-shim.”
Yoon-seo matter-of-factly explains that she’s had to become this way after working in her industry for so long. She’s used to people telling lies, and gossiping about her. Yoon-seo candidly admits, “It would be a lie if I say I’m totally okay with it though.” Jung-rok looks thoughtful.
Outside, Jung-rok stops Yoon-seo from leaving and tells her that he did initially think of her as a burden because she was going to leave soon. Now, though, he wants to give her a chance. With a small smile, Jung-rok solemnly says, “Let’s start again from the beginning.”
Delighted, Yoon-seo claps her hands and promises to do her very best. She skips towards his outstretched hand… and her high heels catch on the pavement. Yoon-seo stumbles towards Jung-rok – but this time he catches her in his arms.
Looking down at her shocked face, Jung-rok says, “I didn’t dodge this time.”
Ha, how cute. This show isn’t lighting me on fire yet, but it’s certainly a warm and fun way to spend in the evening.
This kind of show lives or dies on the chemistry of its two leads. I think everyone and their mother has probably seen Goblin by now, so we all knew that was never going to be a problem with Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook. I just hope that the drama does it justice. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the character of Jung-rok plays to Lee Dong-wook’s strengths. I have always been more drawn to him in offbeat roles (I must be one of the only people who watched all of Iron Man, just because of it) but Jung-rok is disappointingly stiff right now. He’s just a good guy who loves his work too much. I’ll be happily proved wrong, because I would love some weird, but as it stands I’m far more invested in Yoon-seo and her story. I’m willing to admit that part of that is probably also because I can see that Jung-rok is (or was) going to get bogged down in a love triangle with Se-won and Yeo-reum.
However, a larger part of it is because Yoo Inna is just so damn adorable. Yoon-seo could be such an annoying diva (and okay, kind of is), but Yoo is so natural and likeable, and imbues Yoon-seo with a charm and innocence that she gets away with it. For example, Yoon-seo definitely should not have blamed Jung-rok for her fall – but her melodramatic, hilariously bad, revenge plan had me in stitches instead of feeling aggrieved. And claiming, with a straight face, that making coffee and working the phones was all part of her master revenge plan took it over the top into wonderfully farcical territory. I’m actually disappointed that Yoon-seo might already be over her revenge plan if more moments like that are sacrificed – but then again, she runs so fiery that I could see it becoming a running joke every time Jung-rok irritates her.
And on the other hand, Yoon-seo seems to be so genuine about wanting to do a good job, and fit in with the office staff, that she earns a lot of good will for her more childish antics. She became a star at a young age, and such a long time ago, that she just doesn’t know how to navigate more average experiences. In fact, it makes a lot of sense that Yoon-seo reacts so dramatically to everything. She may not be naturally high-strung, but we have already seen how passionate she is, and over-the-top acting has been her normal for years. She may still be channeling the characters she played, with her more vulnerable moments peeking through and showing us the caring person that lies beneath the star.
I’m glad to say that the rest of the drama looks to be a fun and light watch as well, which is just what I need. I’m especially looking forward to watching Lawyer Choi and Lawyer Dan together, who are at each other’s throats so often that they have to be destined for romance – right? Or the funny President Yeon, who is blatantly on Team Yoon-seo, and throws bags at his employees just to make a point. The whole law firm is populated with comedic potential, which makes this a show I could enjoy hanging out with, even if it doesn’t seem to be interested in offering anything new.
I am surprised at just how quickly the romance seems to be kicking in though. Yoon-seo and Jung-rok are already gravitating towards each other, Jung-rok in a characteristically quieter way, and Yoon-seo flipping so quickly that I’m not convinced it will last. But whether it’s their bickering, or more meaningful moments of connection, I’m here to see where this relationship goes.
- Premiere Watch: Reach of Sincerity, Legal High, Trap
- Take two for Lee Dong-wook in tvN’s Reach of Sincerity
- Lee Dong-wook and Yoo Inna take the bickering to court in tvN’s Reach of Sincerity
- Reach of Sincerity to pull off last-minute casting switcheroo
- Wishing for a lucky start for Reach of Sincerity
- Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook get cozy in first teaser for Reach of Sincerity
- Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook to reunite for Reach of Sincerity