Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 11
Our heroine struggles to get a handle on her feelings and our hero doesn’t plan to make it easy.The ball is finally in Eun-ho’s court and he plans to take full advantage of this power reversal before Dan-yi has the chance to tip the scales.
EPISODE 11:”Why Don’t You Think About Breaking Up?”
In the company restroom, Dan-yi tells herself the kiss (with Eun-ho) meant nothing. She’s surprised to realize she’s not alone when Yeong-ah emerges from a stall, giggling that Dan-yi kissed someone. She presses for details, but Dan-yi will only admit the guy is like a little brother.
Dan-yi jumps as another stall opens to reveal Director Ko. Her expression gives nothing away, but after she leaves, Yeong-ah tells Dan-yi there’s no way Director Ko didn’t hear. The women leave, unaware there’s a third listener–an editorial team member.
The female editor catches Hoon arriving at the office and excitedly relays what she’d heard in the bathroom. Overhearing, Eun-ho grins to himself.
Dan-yi ducks behind a bookshelf in the company library when she sees Eun-ho approaching. He’s already seen her, though, and asks why she skipped breakfast. Dan-yi grumbles it’s none of his concern and Eun-ho counters that the woman he loves missing meals is his concern.
Annoyed by Eun-ho’s cheekiness, Dan-yi starts to complain only for Eun-ho to address her loudly, forcing her to abide by their work relationship (where Eun-ho has the upper-hand). Smiling, Eun-ho says he thought their kiss was nice… and then pinches her cheek and saunters off.
Director Ko reports to President Jae-min, but as she proudly regales her efforts, Jae-min’s attention is focused on the loose button of her sleeve. They’re interrupted by Ji-yul delivering a copy of her apology letter for the author’s bio/sticker fiasco with the last book.
The letter is informally written and opens with Ji-yul’s admission she only accepted the job here because it was her only offer. In addition to considering the work boring, she notes that Hae-rin is a difficult mentor.
While she hadn’t thought it was a big deal, Ji-yul admits that her mistake caused trouble for everyone who’d worked hard to publish that book. Bowing, Ji-yul promises to do better and requests everyone forgive her.
While Ji-hong pulls her aside to correct the various mistakes in her letter, Hae-rin complains to Eun-ho that Ji-yul should be fired. Eun-ho gently points out Hae-rin wasn’t always perfect, and implores her to not just reprimand Ji-yul, but also praise her when she’s done well.
Hae-rin says that’s exactly how she’d fallen in love with Eun-ho when he was her supervisor. Eun-ho holds up his hand to administer his classic finger-flick punishment, but stops short. Hae-rin starts to whine that she’d rather he just hit her–and so Eun-ho does.
Eun-ho warns her to stop being a crybaby or they won’t be able to remain friends. Hae-rin reminds him he promised not to date anyone until she’s over him and Eun-ho looks up to see Dan-yi walk away, having overheard the entire exchange.
Later, Dan-yi watches Hae-rin uncomfortably. While making a copy of Seo-joon’s contract, she notices his birthday is April 23rd and flashes back to their conversation about the missing author’s final book titled, April 23.
That evening, Eun-ho texts Dan-yi to come home soon because he’s cooking spaghetti. She’s working late with Yeong-ah to plan the book concert for Writer Yu, but she lies that she’s on a date with Seo-joon. Eun-ho grumbles at her deliberate use of “noona.”
The women are hungry and decide to order a snack. Noticing Director Ko is still at the office, Dan-yi invites her to join them, but Director Ko coolly replies she’s going home soon. While leaving a document in Jae-min’s office, Director Ko pauses to smile at the photo of his daughters he keeps on his desk, not noticing her sleeve button fall to the floor.
The food arrives and Dan-yi and Yeong-ah are surprised to recognize the delivery man from the wedding photo in Director Ko’s apartment. The deliveryman is actually the owner of the restaurant and cheerfully praises his wife’s cooking, encouraging the women to order often.
Dan-yi and Yeong-ah watch in horror as Director Ko returns and offers to pay for the food. She finally looks up and the former fiances stare at each other for an emotionally charged moment and a flashback to the drunken girl’s night replays where Director Ko had said if she ever saw him again, she’d consider it fate.
The man takes his money and leaves. As Director Ko struggles to hold back tears, Yeong-ah tactlessly tries to confirm the man as Director Ko’s ex. Director Ko denies it and Dan-yi bids her goodnight, shushing Yeong-ah.
Director Ko’s ex is waiting for her outside and asks how she’s doing. She asks if he quite his job as a broker and he chuckles that it wasn’t for him. He’s relieved by Director Ko’s lie that she’s married and shares that he has three sons now.
The ex is genuinely happy to see her doing well, and implores Director Ko to stop by his restaurant sometime.
Up in the office, Yeong-ah kicks herself for pestering Director Ko. Dan-yi wonders if they should go over to Director Ko’s place to comfort her, but Yeong-ah points out Director Ko likely won’t let them in.
At home, Director Ko sits among the remnants of the wedding that never was. She’s always hoped her ex was doing well. Now having seen him making deliveries on a scooter, she sobs and tears up one of their photos.
The next morning, Dan-yi receives a text from Seo-joon and tells him she’s cleaning house today. Just as she’s firing herself up to face Eun-ho, he knocks on the door. She just manages to scurry behind the door before it opens but Eun-ho catches her anyway. Hee.
While cleaning, Dan-yi grows increasingly annoyed with Eun-ho’s blatant flirting. When she snaps at him to clean the bathroom, Eun-ho says if she calls him “oppa” he’ll clean the kitchen too.
Dan-yi starts lobbing items from the kitchen counter at Eun-ho until one clocks him in the face and he crumples too the floor. Fortunately, he’s not really hurt and Eun-ho beams at Dan-yi as she doctors a tiny cut on his cheek.
Eun-ho chuckles that he can see himself in Dan-yi’s eyes. She tells him he’s blushing but Eun-ho argues he’s just happy. She makes him apply the band-aid himself and shuffles over to stick her head in the fridge to counteract her flushed face. Hee!
They move on to Eun-ho’s study and Eun-ho addresses the other night when Dan-yi didn’t give Seo-joon a band-aid, despite always having some in her bag. Eun-ho cheerily accuses her of worrying for him, but Dan-yi just tells him to clean the bathroom.
Eun-ho teases he’ll kiss her if she keeps acting cute, but Dan-yi’s glare sends him scurrying off to the bathroom. As he scrubs the shower, Eun-ho chuckles at how cute Dan-yi is, even when she’s hitting, glaring, or swearing at him.
Dan-yi goes out to clean Eun-ho’s car, and glances curiously at his receipt from Kapyong before tossing it in the trash. When she returns, Eun-ho is just finishing up the bathroom. Dan-yi tells him to finish the rest of the housework on his own, because she has a date with Seo-joon.
Ignoring Eun-ho’s pouting, Dan-yi skips out the door. She meets Seo-joon at the park, but she’s not here for a date. Seo-joon didn’t sleep while working on the book cover and Dan-yi offers to walk Geum-bi while he rests.
Just as he lies down, Seo-joon gets a call from Hae-rin. He complains that it’s the weekend, but she counters he sent an email (with his draft of the book cover). Hae-rin has one suggestion to make and asks to see him. Seo-joon chuckles that she’s in his neighborhood… again.
Eun-ho takes Dan-yi’s folded laundry to her room and smiles at his flowers, but laments that she won’t wear the necklace he bought her. Opening her closet, he finds the shirt Dan-yi hid there. Realizing she’d bought him a gift, Eun-ho excitedly checks it out in the bathroom mirror.
A text from Hae-rin informs Eun-ho she’s meeting Seo-joon about the book design. He grins, realizing Dan-yi fibbed.
Seo-joon finds Hae-rin at a cafe and plops down next to her. He asks if she got dumped because she’s a workaholic, or if she became one after getting dumped. Hae-rin glares and Seo-joon laughs that she’s fun to tease.
At the park with Geum-bi, Dan-yi receives texts from Eun-ho about lunch. She ignores them because she’s on a “date.” Unfortunately, she realizes she left her wallet at home and Eun-ho exposes her ruse by texting Seo-joon is meeting Hae-rin right now.
At the cafe, Hae-rin trails off when she realizes Seo-joon has fallen asleep. Gently resting his head on her shoulder, Hae-rin writes her suggestion on a sticky note.
Dan-yi returns home and Eun-ho teases her about her lie. “You don’t like Seo-joon,” he tells her, “You just like going on dates because it’s been so long.” He guesses she didn’t meet Seo-joon yesterday either, and asks why she won’t date him.
“Do you really not know?” she asks and Eun-ho shakes his head. Dan-yi first tells Eun-ho he’s not her type. Eun-ho scoffs that he’s every woman’s type, but Dan-yi ticks off his inability to turn off the bathroom light and mild OCD. She adds that he worries her by wearing a light coat when it’s cold and he’s high maintenance.
Eun-ho immediately replies he’ll change. Dan-yi argues they’ve known each other too long to have any fun dating. Eun-ho counters that they had plenty of fun just cleaning the house. Dan-yi moves on to her final argument: breaking up.
She notes that relationships are fickle and cites Eun-ho’s many breakups. “That’s because it wasn’t you,” Eun-ho says, “And I always knew that.” Dan-yi says that if they break up, she won’t have anyone else to rely on.
Eun-ho points out she’s confessing to him that she likes him, and thinks she just needs time. Dan-yi starts to protest, but Eun-ho says he’ll return the dog to Seo-joon and leaves her to finish eating.
At the cafe, Eun-ho finds that Hae-rin has also fallen asleep and smiles at the dozing pair. She eventually wakes up to find Eun-ho left a note. He agrees with Hae-rin’s note and says he left Geum-bi tied out front.
Seo-joon wakes up and Hae-rin asks about Geum-bi. Seeing his dog, Seo-joon asks if Dan-yi came by but Hae-rin tells him Eun-ho dropped the dog off. Seo-joon sleepily mumbles it’s understandable since they live together…
Hae-rin catches him and Seo-joon quickly corrects that he meant they live in the same neighborhood. Hae-rin is still confused why Dan-yi would suddenly force Eun-ho to take the dog, though.
She’s still thinking about it the next morning when she runs into Eun-ho outside the office. His shirt catches her eye and she recognizes it from Dan-yi’s desk. Eun-ho proudly declares it a gift.
Director Ko arrives at the office in a pretty lace dress in lieu of her usual business suits. While getting the list of gifts to buy from Director Ko, Dan-yi tells her she looks beautiful today. Dan-yi adds that should Director Ko ever need a friend, Dan-yi and Yeong-ah are there for her.
Dan-yi hands Director Ko the business card for her ex-fiance’s restaurant. Director Ko protests, but Dan-yi reminds her she’d told Dan-yi to speak her mind (to Dong-min, that night the women were drunk) and that Director Ko would accompany her. Dan-yi extends the same offer and excuses herself.
Hae-rin and Seo-joon watch their book get printed and Hae-rin smiles at a finished copy. She says it’s exactly what she wanted and Seo-joon corrects, “It’s exactly what we wanted.”
Later, Dan-yi finds Seo-joon in a bookstore, smiling as customers pick up the book he designed. They go out to eat and Seo-joon says he’d been waiting for Dan-yi’s call. She tells him she didn’t call on purpose, asking how he’d felt in their time apart.
Seo-joon quickly admits he forgets everything else when he throws himself into a project, but Dan-yi says she hadn’t minded being apart either. She thinks this is a good stopping point in their relationship, and wants to just continue as neighborhood friends.
“I like you, you know,” Seo-joon tells her, “You’re pure and innocent.” Dan-yi apologizes, but Seo-joon says she has no reason to feel guilty. He suggests they bookmark this place in their relationship and they’ll go back to neighborhood friends, but should Dan-yi ever want to, they’ll try again.
Dan-yi is helping set up for the book concert when she gets a call from Yeong-ah, claiming she’s been in an accident and can’t make it. Dan-yi presses for details and after swearing to keep it to herself, Yeong-ah finally admits that her son is sick and she can’t bring herself to leave him. She admits anytime there was a family issue or her children were ill, she’d lied and begs Dan-yi to cover for her now.
Eun-ho arrives and Dan-yi tells him Yeong-ah was in an accident and can’t make it. Eun-ho puts Dan-yi in charge since she’d helped Yeong-ah organize the event, but also because of her background in advertising. She protests, but Eun-ho implores her to trust him.
Yeong-ah’s calls are forwarded to Dan-yi’s phone and she reports that one group of attendants can’t make it. Everyone scrambles to find people to fill in and Hae-rin’s parents agree to come in order to get revenge on Eun-ho for rejecting their daughter… oh dear.
The event opens with a performance from the guitar player Dan-yi knew and then Dan-yi introduces Writer Yu to read an excerpt from her book. Director Ko arrives with a woman whom she already had a meeting scheduled with and the woman recognizes Dan-yi.
As Writer Yu explains her reasons for writing this book, Hae-rin looks over at Eun-ho. He’s watching Dan-yi fondly and Hae-rin thinks back to the shirt. Seo-joon notices the couple next to him (Hae-rin’s parents, that agreed to come in order to get revenge on Eun-ho for dumping their daughter) are glaring and huffing at Eun-ho.
Dan-yi finishes her hosting portion and returns to Eun-ho’s side. As Writer Yu begins to read, Eun-ho takes Dan-yi’s hand into his and she lets him. Seo-joon watches her with a smile as Hae-rin continues to look pained.
The woman with Director Ko finally places where she’s seen Dan-yi–at an interview for her company (she’s the mean interviewer that shamed Dan-yi in the bathroom). Director Ko is surprised to hear Dan-yi applied to an advertising company, and the woman replies Dan-yi used to be a copywriter.
Director Ko’s eyes widen as she adds Dan-yi won a lot of awards in college, too. She stutters that Dan-yi is only a high school graduate and the other woman laughs. Dan-yi’s fingers entangle with Eun-ho’s and she smiles as they listen to the reading, blissfully unaware of the storm to come.
Finally!!! I have to admit, I was getting antsy about our OTP. It’s not that I can’t understand the thin line they’ve been navigating up til now of “more than friends, less than lovers” and the fear of upsetting that delicate balance, but dammit I was promised a romance and the lukewarm flirtation between Dan-yi and Seo-joon was not cutting it. It’s been fun watching poor Eun-ho waffle, but he’s earned his turn at the wheel and I’m digging the dynamic shift in his favor.
By the end of last week, he knew Dan-yi liked him… she just wasn’t ready to accept it. And boy did he take advantage of that power this hour. It’s nice to see Dan-yi frazzled for once and Eun-ho got a little revenge (for her constantly trying to force him into the little brother box) with his shameless flirting. However when Dan-yi expressed her genuine concern–of losing her most important person–he spoke candidly and maturely about their feelings and their future. Because there’s no sense in holding back now, over something that might or might not happen.
Alas, this happiness is bound to come with some hiccups. There’s not a lot of collateral damage in terms of Seo-joon. His feelings are genuine, but not particularly deep. Hae-rin, on the other hand, has built up a three-year long attachment to Eun-ho and those feelings aren’t quick to fade. Unfortunately for her, there’s just no way to compete with the love Eun-ho has harbored for Dan-yi for so long. Nor should she have to. As Eun-ho said, she deserves someone that makes her shine. I think she’s found a real match with Seo-joon and they have an easy chemistry that he severely lacked with Dan-yi.
Love isn’t the only obstacle ahead, though. With the reappearance of the interviewer from episode one, Dan-yi’s past is coming to bite her. And the crazy part is, it’s not even something shameful–a college degree, awards, and a successful career–things she hid in order to get a job running errands. It hardly seems like a big deal, and yet the look on Director Ko’s face says otherwise. She’s a stickler for the rules and the baseline is, Dan-yi lied. It’s a shame, since I think she and Dan-yi were making some real headway towards a friendship Director Ko desperately needs.
My favorite thing about this drama surprisingly hasn’t been the romance, but the female relationships built throughout. And as the romance comes to fruition, those friendships seem to be crumbling apart. I don’t think Hae-rin is a petty person, but it’s going to be hard accepting that Eun-ho has “moved on.” From her perspective, Eun-ho and Dan-yi met recently and it has to sting how quickly their relationship has seemed to develop over the bond Hae-rin nurtured for three years. Even if it’s clarified that their relationship is far more complicated, Dan-yi and Eun-ho kept it from her that they knew each other, and were living together. Regardless of their reasons, it’s bound to feel like a betrayal.
And while Dan-yi’s relationship with Director Ko seemed to grow stronger this episode only to falter with the revelation that Dan-yi has lied about her background, the one relationship that survives is that between Dan-yi and Yeong-ah. Yeong-ah took a shine to Dan-yi early on and their bond over failed marriages and clubbing has been fun to watch. We knew that Yeong-ah endured a lot as Ji-hong’s wife, but it was heartbreaking to see that she feels the need to lie even when her child is sick, and who better to understand than fellow mother, Dan-yi.
It’s easy to forget Dan-yi is also a mother, since we’ve seen so little of her daughter and hardly hear mention of her now that the conflict of her tuition in the early episodes is resolved. Like the mystery surrounding Eun-ho’s father, I question whether this inclusion is necessary. It’s like an odd mashup of a completely different thriller/melodrama trying to bleed through into our fluffy noona romance.
What’s more, it’s a drama I don’t care about. We found out Seo-joon’s birthday is the same as the title of Author Kang’s last book which just adds to the suspicion Seo-joon and Eun-ho are half-brothers. And while I think that relationship dynamic would be a lot of fun, I’m not impressed with the way we’re getting there. In trying to keep the mystery mysterious, the show has held so much back that I feel zero investment towards that part of the story. I’d rather spend our time on cute romance hyjinks.
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