Reach of Sincerity: Episode 12
Everything is beginning to fall into place for our leading lady and leading man; what could go wrong? But just as every cloud comes with a silver lining – so the opposite seems to be true as well. As we go into the final weeks, a new problem pops up that might just break our happy couple.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
There’s big news over at the prosecution office. Se-won rings Jung-rok to warn him that Lee Gang-joon and Jung Ji-ho were meeting in secret at Macau to launder Ji-ho’s embezzlement funds through one of Gang-joon’s dummy companies.
Which is when Jung-rok notices Gang-joon’s lackey. He races back to Yoon-seo’s apartment, and saves her from the maddened Gang-joon just in time.
Gang-joon is led away in cuffs by a parade of police (plus Se-won). Well, that’s satisfying. Inside, Jung-rok assures a dazed Yoon-seo, “You can really rest easy now. He’ll never show up in front of you again.”
Gang-joon’s arrest (for stalking, drugs, and embezzlement, the busy boy) is splashed all over the news the next day. Aww, CEO Yeon and Hyuk-joon cry in each other’s arms, relieved that it’s really over and Yoon-seo won’t be misunderstood any more.
Despite not having a drama to work on, Yoon-seo shows up for her last week of work at Always Law, determined to leave on a good note. The team rally round to comfort her, offering sweet words of encouragement. Attorney Yeon speaks for all of them when he says, “Of course we worry about you. You’re like family now.”
And Jung-rok is an even brighter spot – he printed out all the lovely comments Yoon-seo’s fans were leaving. He even highlighted (in pink!) the best ones for her. He eagerly shows her a positive article – and Yoon-seo laughs when she notices that he’s liked every single nice comment left on it.
Yoon-seo thanks Jung-rok for being so considerate. In turn, Jung-rok thanks Yoon-seo for being so strong.
Yoon-seo ducks out to the roof, and tears well as she reads articles about fans calling for her comeback.
Yoon-seo’s heart has lifted, and on a walk with Jung-rok, she assures him that she really is fine. Pausing, she says there is one thing she’s worried about – and pouts, “I’m hungry. What should we eat?”
But after Yoon-seo headlined the news, her glasses aren’t fooling anyone any more – and she is soon mobbed by fans asking for photos and autographs. Jung-rok steps in, and uses his legal skills to stop them taking photos. But true fans can’t be easily stopped, and he gets pushed out of the way. Lol.
At lunch, Yoon-seo happily tells Jung-rok that she’s finally feeling like herself again, with fans responding to her online and in person.
Meanwhile, the sight of Attorney Dan (working late) throws Attorney Choi into a mess of emotions as he remembers how she saved him. Caressing a rose on his desk, Choi contemplates, “I, Choi Yoon-hyuk, am like a rose. I’m colorful and beautiful but I also have thorns. That’s why I have been searching everywhere for a woman who can embrace me.” Looking at Dan, Choi asks himself, “What should I do with you?”
Ha, Attorney Choi pricks himself on those same thorns when Dan catches him staring. Even though Dan briefly wonders if he was spying on her, she shakes it off – because she made a promise not to humiliate herself again.
So, Dan is taken aback when Choi stops her from leaving. He awkwardly asks her if she wants to go for a drink with him.
At the restaurant, it’s Choi’s turn to swoon over Dan – and how expertly she handles the fish.
Choi goes on a fishing expedition of his own, and asks if Dan has fallen for anyone recently. Dan admits that she likes someone, and Choi perks up – but wilts on hearing that she has given up since the someone clearly doesn’t like her. Choi starts to ask who it is.
Cutting him off, Dan comments that it seems like he’s drunk and leaves. Haha, Choi must really be gone, because he is even impressed by that. He’s too busy lost in his own thoughts, and doesn’t notice when Dan steals his thunder and pays. Choi races after her.
At the end of their date, Yoon-seo laments to Jung-rok that they only have one week left working together. Grabbing his hand, Yoon-seo plants a smacker on it – and looks up to see Hyuk-joon, horrified, staring right at them.
Hyuk-joon looks like his brain is about to explode when Yoon-seo confirms that she’s dating Jung-rok. Hyuk-joon pulls her inside to talk – glaring at Jung-rok the whole way.
Inside, Hyuk-joon is baffled that Yoon-seo could be dating the lawyer she hated. When Yoon-seo complains that he’s being meddlesome, Hyuk-joon exclaims, “It’s my job to be nosy!”
He whines that she needs to be careful about her image, with the public looking on now. But Yoon-seo stops him – and confesses that she likes Jung-rok a lot. Deflated, Hyuk-joon cautions her not to get caught then. And he reveals the reason he came – because writer Lee Se-jin wants to meet with Yoon-seo.
At CEO Yeon’s office the next day, Writer Lee apologizes to Yoon-seo for dropping her as the lead – and asks her sincerely to return to the drama. Yoon-seo’s face breaks into a smile, as Writer Lee explains that many investors came forward after hearing about Yoon-seo’s involvement in the drama, and the explanation of her scandal.
CEO Yeon tries to play hardball, but Yoon-seo is too overjoyed to be asked back and thwarts him. Yoon-seo says that this drama is special to her after working in a law firm, and promises to do well.
Driving her home, Hyuk-joon “compliments” Yoon-seo for not being the pitiful actress she was two years ago, begging anyone for work. Lol. As if it’s his mission to annoy her, Hyuk-joon wonders at how shocked everyone at Always Law firm will be when they find out Yoon-seo is acting again.
Yoon-seo’s biggest fear is that Jung-rok won’t forgive her for lying about why she was at Always Law – and Hyuk-joon agrees that he might even dump her. He slyly asks, “So why don’t you dump him first?” Exasperated, Yoon-seo tells Hyuk-joon this is serious. But she is spooked, and sends a message to Jung-rok asking to meet with him to tell him something important.
Poor Jung-rok really is clueless about this though – he tells the rest of the team he thinks that Yoon-seo won’t go back to acting, and will pursue a career in law.
Uh-oh. When the Always Law team head out for lunch, they get accosted by a horde of paparazzi. All of them yelling about Yoon-seo’s undercover work at the firm for a TV show. Jung-rok doesn’t have time to process, as he spots an unaware Yoon-seo from afar. He hurries over to whisk her away before the paparazzi can see.
Se-won walks with a spring in his step, triumphant from the embezzlement case. Running into Yeo-reum, he credits her with his success (because of the hug) and when she asks him to dinner, replies with a big grin, “That’s the most exciting thing I’ve heard in a while. Let’s go eat now.”
Back at Jung-rok’s apartment, Yoon-seo glumly apologizes to Jung-rok for not being able to tell him sooner. But before Yoon-seo can say anything more, Jung-rok envelops her in a hug.
He congratulates her on the drama, since he knows how much she likes acting – even if he was surprised. Jung-rok scoffs at the nonsensical idea that he wouldn’t want to see her again – and takes the day off work to spend time with her.
The rest of the Always Law team wonder at Jung-rok’s unusual request. The unusually sharp Ms. Kim wonders if he’s dating Yoon-seo since they left together holding hands – and Attorney Yeon blusters that would be ridiculous.
Au contraire, Attorney Yeon. Looking just slightly awkward, Jung-rok offers to make lunch for Yoon-seo – to her delight, from scratch. But when Jung-rok goes to look for the ingredients, he can’t find anything. A quick call to Se-won through gritted teeth confirms Se-won already ate everything. Ah, the perils of having a roommate.
But Yoon-seo doesn’t mind, and they decide to go to a market to get the ingredients. Looking through Jung-rok’s clothes for a disguise, Yoon-seo spots his lip balm – which Jung-rok hurriedly demonstrates are for his dry lips. Yoon-seo thoughtfully rubs her lips, and muses, “My lips are dry too.” Hee, she gives him a peck- for the lip balm, of course.
Yoon-seo and Jung-rok head out for their market date, messing around and eating tasty snacks. But even through the disguise, one of the stall owners recognizes Yoon-seo – but she thinks it’s because Yoon-seo stole four chickens from her, lol. Jung-rok and Yoon-seo hurry away before she can make the real connection.
Se-won finally gets his meal with Yeo-reum, in an empty little restaurant they used to visit before. Se-won can’t keep the grin off his face, and Yeo-reum looks secretly pleased as well. Just as they’re leaving, the owner recognizes them.
She guesses they aren’t dating any more, since Se-won no longer puts food on Yeo-reum’s plate. And makes it super awkward by misunderstanding – thinking that they’re now married. When Yeo-reum tries to correct her, Se-won just smiles and says he’ll do better.
Outside, Yeo-reum thanks Se-won for the trip down memory lane (and gets crankily shot down when she suggests bringing Jung-rok next time). She curiously asks how long Se-won is planning on staying with Jung-rok, when he could go back to his parents.
Frowning now, Se-won answers that he won’t go any time soon. Not after the vicious things his father said to the woman he loved. Only half-joking, Se-won wags his finger at Yeo-reum and tells her to take responsibility. And he becomes totally serious when he gently says, “I want to be with you again.”
To decide who has to do the dishes, Yoon-seo and Jung-rok play a game of jenga (with tasks on them – where can I get one?). Omg, these two are so cute – taking couple selfies, and renaming each other in their phone. Yoon-seo holds on to a wish for later. When Jung-rok loses, he looks genuinely upset about it.
Since Yoon-seo isn’t answering her phone, CEO Yeon comes looking for her at Always Law. Despite the suspicious circumstances, Attorney Yeon desperately insists she and Jung-rok aren’t dating – there was an employee vote on it and everything. CEO Yeon sighs that the public would think it was scandalous that she was dating at work. Hyuk-joon keeps quiet.
But he’s just biding his time. Hyuk-joon calls Jung-rok out to meet with him after Jung-rok drops Yoon-seo home. Eerily serious, Hyuk-joon nods sadly when Jung-rok confirms that he likes Yoon-seo a lot.
Hyuk-joon explains that he has been Yoon-seo’s manager for ten years – when she’s happy, he’s happy, and when her scandal came out, it broke his heart. Well-meaning (but utterly wrong) Hyuk-joon tells Jung-rok that Yoon-seo was able to endure the last 3 months because of her passion for acting, and desire for everyone to love her again.
Hyuk-joon sincerely asks Jung-rok to break up with Yoon-seo for her own sake. But Jung-rok answers, “Breaking up with her first… I will never do that.”
Completely oblivious, Yoon-seo tells her toy hedgehog that she doesn’t deserve someone as great as Jung-rok (yes you do!). She texts (a very conflicted) Jung-rok, “I’m happy being cast in the drama… but what makes me happier is being cast as your girlfriend.”
Jung-rok has a troubled sleep that night. In the morning, the Always Law team wonder what the heck was going on yesterday between Jung-rok and Yoon-seo, since a photo of them having lunch was snapped. Attorney Yeon pleads with Jung-rok to deny the dating rumors.
At first, Jung-rok refuses to answer – but the shocked looks on everyone’s faces makes him lie that of course he isn’t dating Yoon-seo.
He’s rocked again when Yoon-seo tells him that CEO Yeon wants to release a denial that they are dating. Yoon-seo asks if he would be upset – and hesitantly says that she wouldn’t mind if everyone knew.
But Jung-rok austerely answers that Yoon-seo should just do what her CEO tells her to. Softening slightly, he says that it would make her life easier if she lied about them dating. Neither of them look very happy right now.
Attorney Yeon has something else important to discuss with Jung-rok – which meme to use for Yoon-seo’s goodbye gift. He coos over how Yoon-seo shines when she’s acting above all else, and sadly says their time with Princess Ann (from Roman Holiday) is coming to an end.
Curious, Jung-rok asks what happens to Princess Ann – and Attorney Yeon replies that of course she goes back to being a princess. Memories of Yoon-seo describing how much she felt alive while acting run through Jung-rok’s mind. He sighs.
Aww, Always Law really did throw a goodbye bash for Yoon-seo. Attorney Yeon makes her pinky promise to come back and see them – with photo evidence as proof. But the most important person to Yoon-seo is missing – Jung-rok is apparently stuck at a client meeting.
The mood is merry as everyone celebrates Yoon-seo (apart from Attorney Yeon, who can’t control his tears). Yoon-seo tells everyone that her new show isn’t just a legal drama, but a rom-com, where the leads date through contract because they don’t know if they like each other. Attorney Dan and Attorney Choi conspicuously don’t look at each other.
But it inspires something in the romantic Attorney Dan. When Dan and Choi awkwardly meet in the hallway, Dan sees her chance – and dramatically pushes Choi up against the wall and declares, “Let’s date by a contract!”
I’m not sure who’s more shocked, Choi or Dan. But Dan doesn’t back down and says, “To be truthful, I have feelings for you. Let’s date by contract for one month.”
Hahaha, Choi starts his internal monologue again, swooning over the ‘contract’ Dan proposes. He wonders, “What a provocative woman. What should I do with you?”
Just as Yoon-seo can’t contain her disappointment about Jung-rok’s absence any more, he shows up. One smile, and all is forgiven. But he was late for good reason too – Jung-rok explains that he wanted to make his own separate goodbye party for Yoon-seo.
Jung-rok takes her to a movie theater. He tells Yoon-seo that he remembered she can’t go to movie theaters any more, so he borrowed this one, where they can watch Roman Holiday together. Aw, don’t do this Jung-rok. He can’t tear his eyes away from Yoon-seo.
After the movie, Yoon-seo happily tells Jung-rok how glad she is they could watch that movie together, even if it was their goodbye date. She corrects herself – since it’s not exactly goodbye when they’ll be seeing each other a lot anyway.
Jung-rok says, “Oh Yoon-seo.”
Sensing something is wrong, Yoon-seo nervously asks why Jung-rok is calling her by that name.
But Jung-rok doesn’t stop. He solemnly continues, “Thanks to you, I was happy. But just like that movie, you’ll go back to your world, and I’ll go back to mine. That’s what I want.”
Yoon-seo looks like the bottom fell out of her world. Afraid that she knows exactly what he’s saying, Yoon-seo asks anyway, “What do you mean?”
Jung-rok answers, “Let’s break up.”
AHDRERKVFMVMLPRF. NO. WHY.
You know, this show really reminds me of old K-drama rom-coms – and I thought it was in a really good way. But now we’ve taken a dark turn down the noble idiocy path, and I’m remembering just how frustrating that trope is. Jung-rok, why are you doing this? Yoon-seo has already told you about a thousand different times that she’s happier with you than she has ever been. Trust her when she says that. Don’t go making unilateral decisions for her because you think you know better! At least respect Yoon-seo enough to have one measly conversation about it before you break her heart! Because, ultimately it’s her choice to take the risk with her career for love. On top of that – she has already weathered a scandal once before, and come out the other side a stronger person for it. And you even helped her do it. Why stop being the considerate, communicative person that you have already shown us you are? Especially after the uncomplicated acceptance of the ‘lie’ Yoon-seo told about why she was working at Always Law, which turned out to be a nothing problem. Jung-rok and Yoon-seo’s relationship was totally solid, because of how mature it was. Even if Yoon-seo does manage to talk some sense into Jung-rok, this was a fairly significant wobble in the way he should have handled things – and Jung-rok, you’re going to need to prove to me that you can make up for it.
I would be a lot less aggravated by this turn of events if it came from a place that Jung-rok himself didn’t want to deal with Yoon-seo’s resurgence in fame. It’s totally understandable, from the moments we saw them dealing with it in this episode, that a ‘normal’ person might find it overwhelming. Having your relationship and life scrutinized isn’t something that most people want, and Jung-rok hasn’t had to deal with any of that yet. But when it’s presented almost solely as a choice for Yoon-seo, you really need to grant her the agency she deserves. Yoon-seo is not a child to be managed (do you hear that, Hyuk-joon and CEO Yeon?) and I’m so incredibly disappointed in Jung-rok that he’s treating her this way. There hasn’t even been any concrete indication that the public would actually turn against Yoon-seo again (were there any negative comments about the leaked lunch photo?), so Jung-rok is basically acting on faith that it would happen. I’m not saying it wouldn’t – but I need more setup to buy into the idea.
I fear this is a result of the fact that there is basically no drama in this drama. For example, look how quickly the Gang-joon storyline got resolved. Not that I wanted a protracted turn to melo and tears, but I can’t be the only one who is waiting for the other shoe to drop. It just seems too pat a solution, right? I wanted to actually see Yoon-seo triumph over Gang-joon – not just get saved by Jung-rok and Se-won. That’s not the proper payoff to Yoon-seo and her development.
Part of the problem, as well, is that in the past few of weeks this show seemed to be more a legal rom-com than about an actress trying to break back into the industry. And I was content with that – but now it’s falling flat for me when I’m being told this is jeopardizing her chances of becoming a beloved actress again. I just don’t know that Yoon-seo actually wants to go back to being an actress, especially when she has consistently said she enjoys working at Always Law, and was never very good at acting to begin with. Honestly, I think she likes the recognition of doing a job well, and has mistaken public fandom for that sense of satisfaction. We’ll see how it shakes out, but the fact that I don’t know what she wants going forward doesn’t help my ambivalence to this new storyline being thrown in at the eleventh hour. And if this was deliberate, and we’re being set up for Yoon-seo’s realization that she doesn’t want to continue acting – Jung-rok had still better have a reckoning coming to him.
On the other hand, Attorney Choi and Attorney Dan’s romance shot sweetness and fun throughout. I love the fact that Choi likes Dan for exactly who she is – all the moments when he swoons are the moments when she is acting the most like herself. I’m also enjoying how ridiculous he is when it comes to the romance – his running refrain of “What do I do with you?” just kept getting funnier each time he repeated it. I don’t know, Choi – maybe you could ask her out? But I like that Dan was the one to make the first move, with the old ‘contract dating’ cliche. Her optimism in the face of all her repeated rejections is played largely for laughs, but it’s actually quite lovely as well – and now she has found the one person she doesn’t want to humiliate herself in front of, and he likes her back. She’s going to get her prince, even if he comes with some serious mommy issues. Speaking of which, we better get to meet Choi’s mom by the end of the drama.
- 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