Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 15
Love isn’t just about grand gestures. A lot of it lies in the little things. Like being there when someone needs you, no matter what. It’s not always easy, but I guess if it was, it wouldn’t be love.
EPISODE 15:”Even Without You Telling Me, I Should Have Known”
Having discovered Author Kang’s things in Eun-ho’s attic, Dan-yi leafs through handwritten notes. As she reads, Dan-yi learns that Author Kang was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and that Eun-ho had persistently cared for him.
Author Kang describes considering Eun-ho like his son and begging Eun-ho to ensure that he die as a brilliant writer rather than a weak man with no memory. Eun-ho had agreed and has been caring for Author Kang in secret ever since.
Dan-yi starts to cry as she realizes how hard things must’ve been for Eun-ho. Remembering how he’d told her that all he’d needed was Dan-yi to be on his side, she cries harder. She now realizes the weight of those words and that she can’t go back in time to comfort him.
Returning home, Eun-ho finds Dan-yi sniffling in the attic and confirms that he’s been caring for Author Kang. Wiping her tears, Eun-ho tells her that he’s okay, because he considered it his responsibility.
“Even without you telling me, I should’ve known,” Dan-yi sobs into his embrace, “But I had no idea. I’m sorry, Eun-ho.” Meanwhile, Ji-yul shows Hae-rin The Heroes manuscript.
Having calmed down, Dan-yi admits she’s upset thinking about the burden Eun-ho’s carried alone for so long. Eun-ho lays his head on Dan-yi’s lap and thinks they should sleep upstairs tonight.
Sobering, he asks her to tell him he did the right thing. “I know you, Eun-ho,” Dan-yi says, “You must’ve agonized over it hundreds of times, trying to figure out what’s best for Mr. Kang. You did the right thing.”
Cake in hand, Ji-hong pays a visit to a coworker whose birthday is today. Oblivious to the coworker’s discomfort, Ji-hong invites himself inside. Just as he thinks the shoe in the entryway look familiar, Yeong-ah bounces around a corner.
Ji-hong’s guess that she’s also paying their coworker a birthday call trails off as he notices their awkward reactions and he asks Yeong-ah when she got here. “Yesterday,” Yeong-ah deadpans.
Ji-hong chases after her and Yeong-ah points out she’d told him she was seeing someone. Ji-hong balks that she’d slept with a coworker and Yeong-ah snaps that she and Ji-hong had been coworkers too.
“Our case is different!” Ji-hong cries. Yeong-ah scoffs that they were nothing special, but Ji-hong pouts that they were. Despite his protests, Yeong-ah gets in her car and drives away, leaving him crying in the street.
That night, Eun-ho thinks back to the promise he’d made to Author Kang as he lies next to Dan-yi in the attic. His phone rings with a call from Hae-rin and he caresses a sleeping Dan-yi’s cheek before leaving to take it.
Hae-rin informs him about the manuscript and they meet in person. Handing Eun-ho a copy, Hae-rin says she already discovered the phone number and address attached to the manuscript were fake, but is unsure of the email address.
She’s read the manuscript and thinks either Author Kang has resurfaced, or someone is copying his style. Hae-rin recalls joining Gyeoroo because of its ownership over Author Kang’s publishing rights, but had soon realized no one would discuss it.
Hae-rin wonders if being a founding member, Eun-ho knows who received Author Kang’s declaration of retirement. He only answers that he’ll review the manuscript and they’ll talk tomorrow.
At home, Eun-ho reads the manuscript and then sends an email to the address provided, asking for the writer to call him to schedule a meeting. Seo-joon promptly responds that Eun-ho has likely already figured out he only plans to correspond via email.
He gives Eun-ho a week to decide whether or not to publish the novel. Sitting back, Seo-joon muses that Eun-ho knows he’s not Author Kang. He’s sure, however, that Eun-ho knows where Author Kang is and what he’s up to.
The next morning, Eun-ho informs Hae-rin about the email and she wonders if it really is Author Kang. Eun-ho suggests they keep looking into it and urges her to keep the manuscript secret until then.
Hae-rin meets with Ji-yul in the breakroom to tell her to keep quiet, but Ji-yul focuses on the fact that Hae-rin seemingly passed the job over to Eun-ho. Ji-yul argues she should’ve been allowed to edit the manuscript, and points out her recent hard work.
Pouting, she asks if rookies aren’t allowed to edit for famous writers. Hae-rin gently reminds her that a different name was listed as the author so they need to vet it carefully. She assures Ji-yul that she’ll find a better manuscript.
At work, Dan-yi fibs to another caller that the president isn’t in–even though he’s sitting 10 feet away–and her coworker notes that’s the fifth call today from someone demanding pay. The president calls Dan-yi over and praises her marketing proposal…
However, it’s too pricey, so Dan-yi agrees to write up a low-budget one instead. Dan-yi also suggests they rethink the book they’re planning to publish, since there’s nothing interesting or unique about it.
The president’s wife snaps that the similarities between this book and other works just proves that it’s popular. Dan-yi bites her tongue and returns to her desk.
Her frustration melts away when she receives a text from Eun-ho, inviting her on a library date after work. They giggle as they roam the shelves and Eun-ho loads Dan-yi up with books. After working for a bit, Eun-ho motions for Dan-yi to meet him behind a bookshelf and they kiss.
Walking home, Eun-ho says he’d noticed Dan-yi carries around the poetry collection in her bag. She grins and starts reciting her favorite poem, “Because of You,” and Eun-ho finishes it. He notices Dan-yi staring at him and warns he’ll kiss her here in the middle of the street if she doesn’t stop.
Dan-yi gives him a quick kiss on the mouth and laughs that he should just do it, then. She walks off and Eun-ho chases after her, asking for her to give him the chance to do it properly.
On the bus home, Ji-yul whines to Hoon about having Author Kang’s manuscript taken away. He’s only half-listening as he scrolls through a dating app. Ji-yul watches as Hoon makes a match and then suddenly stops the bus to get off.
Failing to hold Hoon back, Ji-yul is forced to wait until the next stop to get off. Leaping off the bus, she kicks off her shoes and screams for Hoon to wait for her as she tears up the sidewalk.
Meanwhile, Hoon is stricken by a sudden heart spasm, startling the girl he’s eating with. He tells her he’s suddenly feeling anxious, unaware that Ji-yul is making crazy eyes through the window behind him.
Hoon excuses himself and Ji-yul slides into his vacated seat to inform the girl that she’s Hoon’s roommate. Confused, the girl asks, “So?” and Ji-yul barks a laugh. She snaps that she’s living with Hoon.
The girl is clearly uncomfortable as Ji-yul warns her to keep what she’d said in mind. Hoon returns from the bathroom and Ji-yul leaves before he can spot her. She pauses again outside the window, though, to give the girl one last dose of crazy eyes before walking away.
Hoon sits down and gushes he’s thrilled to work with people in the same field. He asks when he can join the study group (oh noes!) and the girl blurts that he can’t. At Hoon’s confusion, she explains that his scary roommate just came in and threw a fit.
Back at the apartment, Ji-yul freaks out over her own outburst. She vehemently rejects the implication that she likes Hoon, but when he bursts into the apartment her heart beats wildly.
Hoon demands to know why she flipped out and cries that it’s really hard to find a marketer living nearby. Ji-yul realizes it was a professional meeting and her terror immediately turns to joy. Poor Hoon isn’t sure what to make of her sudden giggling, and begs her to stop.
Meanwhile, Hae-rin is still working on the manuscript at the office and can’t shake the feeling she’s read it before.
The next morning Hoon and Ji-yul note that the winner of the company’s idea competition with be announced in a week. As they try to sneek peeks at the founding members’ assessments, Jae-min attempts to consult with Director Ko but she shuts him down in honor of fairness.
Ji-hong corners Yeong-ah to pester her yet again about the other morning’s incident. He reasons that she must’ve just been there to wish a coworker happy birthday and Yeong-ah breezily tells him to think whatever he likes.
When Ji-hong asks her again to deny it, Yeong-ah muses that she thinks she actually needs three men: a funny guy, a rich guy, and a guy who’s “good.” Ji-hong laughs nervously that she must be bluffing but after Yeong-ah is gone, he mutters that he’s gonna kill that coworker. Hee.
At home, Eun-ho is also in the midst of judging and gives full marks to a proposal, wondering if it’s Dan-yi’s. The person in question hovers at the doorway, trying to squint at his writing but is quickly caught.
Eun-ho jokingly reprimands her and Dan-yi argues she was just bringing him a drink. They do a cute high-five and he sends her away so he can finish evaluating.
The announcement day arrives and everyone unanimously agrees on one proposal. Eun-ho inputs the entry number to reveal the winner and his eyes widen. He suddenly excuses himself, claiming to need coffee. The others gather around the laptop and blink in shock… while in the break room Eun-ho imitates Dan-yi’s power dance.Ha!
The winner is Dan-yi and while Eun-ho is ecstatic, the rest of the founding members worry about how to resolve this pickle. Ji-hong wonders if they have to pick someone else and Yeong-ah laments they can’t rehire Dan-yi…
Meanwhile, Dan-yi is baffled at the poor translation on a book to be published. She soon realizes that the mistranslations were even copy and pasted from other books. When the president returns, Dan-yi informs him of the problem.
The president argues that it’s too hard to start over now. She asks about the people that worked hard for the book and the translators whose work was stolen, but the president just snaps at her get back to work.
Hoping to prompt a response on the results, Hoon and Ji-yul mention the competition loudly, only to be ignored. Jae-min gripes that had he not made the competition open to every employee, he wouldn’t be in such a mess now.
Since Eun-ho is gone, Jae-min accosts Director Ko and demands what they should do about Dan-yi, essentially announcing her as the winner to the rest of the office.
Hae-rin, Hoon, and Ji-yul break out into huge grins. Director Ko points out they have a special recruitment policy. Astonished, Jae-min wonders if they can do that. “Why are you asking me?” Director Ko smiles, “It’s in the regulations.”
As Dan-yi sits at her desk and stares at the poorly translated book, she flashes back to her time at Gyeoroo and how much everyone there loved the books they published. Steeling her resolve, she submits her letter of resignation.
The president balks, but Dan-yi insists that it’s unfair to the people that worked hard for the books, the readers that will unknowingly buy the books, and the trees that sacrificed themselves to print the books. Her coworker offers her a light clap and thumbs up and Dan-yi returns a weak smile.
As soon as she’s outside, however, Dan-yi curses her temper for leaving her unemployed again. A dramatic wind blows and Dan-yi turns to see Jae-min strutting her way in his founder’s jacket. He grandly introduces himself and declares he’s there to scout her for his company.
Dan-yi is stunned, but her eyes take on a cunning glint and fibs that she’s actually doing quite well in her current job. Jae-min increases his salary offer and says that this time she’s not a contract employee, but full-time marketer. Dan-yi breaks into a grin and they happily high-five each other. So cute.
Seo-joon eats with his mother and she pesters him about the “tall woman” he’d been dating. Seo-joon admits it’s over and mom sighs that he must’ve just let her go. Seo-joon asks if that’s why she gave birth without telling “him,” but mom just smiles that she got Seo-joon out of it.
That evening Hae-rin works late trying to decipher The Heroes mystery. Song-yi (the employee that passed the buck to Dan-yi over the mishandling of a writer’s terminated contract) discovers the damning notice while cleaning her desk.
Panicked, Song-yi attempts to shred the evidence but is caught by Director Ko. Realizing that Dan-yi was unfairly blamed which lead to her resignation, Director Ko is furious and orders Hae-rin to make sure Song-yi files a report on the incident.
Song-yi whimpers that she really believed she’d asked Dan-yi to do it and points out at least Dan-yi was hired back. Seeing the shredder, Hae-rin’s memory is triggered and she rushes back to her desk.
Recalling the papers she’d pieced together at Seo-joon’s, Hae-rin finds an identical passage in The Heroes and realizes he’s the one that sent in the manuscript. She rushes out, dialing Seo-joon’s number before deciding she should inform Eun-ho first.
Unfortunately, Eun-ho is busy washing dishes with Dan-yi and it goes unanswered. Dan-yi excitedly reports that she returns to work tomorrow. She asks if Eun-ho wants to go somewhere over the weekend, but he’s visiting Author Kang.
Dan-yi admits something has been bothering her about Author Kang’s journals. He’d mentioned his son visiting him and Dan-yi thinks Author Kang might’ve confused Eun-ho with his real son.
Eun-ho agrees he’d found it strange–especially since he hadn’t visited Author Kang on the day in question–but points out Author Kang often mixed up dates and time.
The doorbell rings and when Dan-yi sees Hae-rin on the camera, she attempts to hide. Eun-ho assures her Hae-rin already knows and buzzes her in. Hae-rin smiles brightly at Da-yi and says she’s happy to hear Dan-yi will be returning to work.
Turning to Eun-ho, she demands why he didn’t answer his phone. Dan-yi runs off to find where he’d misplaced it as Hae-rin reveals the writer of The Heroes to be Seo-joon. Dan-yi returns with the phone, but Eun-ho stops her from retreating.
Eun-ho and Hae-rin fill Dan-yi in on The Heroes manuscript and that Seo-joon seems to have authored it. Dan-yi gasps and adds that Seo-joon’s birthday is April 23rd, just like the title of Author Kang’s final work.
Dan-yi thinks Seo-joon is the son Author Kang mentioned.Hae-rin points out Author Kang has always lived alone and realizes Eun-ho and Dan-yi know something. Eun-ho and Dan-yi exchange a look, but we don’t get to hear what they say.
Afterwards, Eun-ho frowns at the manuscript and calls Seo-joon. He asks Seo-joon to meet and Seo-joon flashes back to standing outside Author Kang’s house when he was a high school student, begging Author Kang to help his mother. He’d walked away as Author Kang had opened the door and looked helplessly after him.
Seo-joon is surprised at the bar Eun-ho chose, but Eun-ho says he’d gone there often with Author Kang. Sliding over The Heroes manuscript, Eun-ho says he figured Seo-joon would be interested as a fan of Author Kang. Seo-joon asks if Author Kang wrote the novel, but Eun-ho disagrees.
He says no one would write a full-length novel simply for being a fan and calls Seo-joon out as the author. “Shall I let you in on a secret?” Eun-ho asks, “The secret behind the title of Mr. Kang’s last novel, April 23?”
I have to admit that going into this final week, I was prepared to have to restrain my rage when it came down to the comments. With the way this writer loves to punish Dan-yi, I was sure we were headed for an emotional fiasco before we were allowed our happy ending. I haven’t seen the finale yet, so perhaps it’ll yet tug some heartstrings, but this has probably been the most satisfactory hour for me this entire run.
The mystery in this show has been the bane of my existence from day one, so I’m thrilled to finally have it (nearly) resolved. There had been hints that Eun-ho might not actually Author Kang’s son so I’m not really surprised by the revelation, but it speaks so much more to Eun-ho’s devotion to Author Kang when he had no ingrained responsibility towards him… rather he just respected and loved him so much that he took on the burden of protecting Author Kang and his secret, even from his most important person, and despite all the harsh criticisms that have followed.
I would’ve liked to have seen more of that bond beforehand, since all of Eun-ho’s scenes with Author Kang up to this point have lacked any sort of emotional punch. We barely knew who this man was, only that lots of people liked his books. So it was hard to feel much of anything when we saw him wasting away in a bed, or Eun-ho sobbing at the prospect that he might die soon. I wanted to care, but the show never gave me enough to do so.
The one (and possibly only thing) I felt really worked with the “mystery” was Seo-joon. His motives were always a little suspect and his pleasant smile made it hard to know what he was thinking. That’s probably why I enjoy him with Hae-rin so much. Because around her, he’s more expressive, be it laughing, sighing, or downright annoyed grimacing, she managed to evoke a strong enough response in him that it broke through his pleasant mask.
But apart from the mystery, we had a few other loose ends to tie up. Dan-yi’s resignation from Gyeoroo was beyond upsetting, even after it was clarified that she’d fully intended to stick it out. I’d been so disappointed in Song-yi, thinking that she’d deliberately pushed the fault on Dan-yi because she was an easy scapegoat so it’s nice to know that she at least hadn’t done it with malice, only fear. She claims she’d truly believed she’d passed it on to Dan-yi so it’s possible to forgive her up to there, but to then try and destroy evidence that proved Dan-yi was innocent (even though Dan-yi had been hired back) was pretty crappy and I appreciated how furious Director Ko was on Dan-yi’s behalf.
Director Ko has come such a long way and I really do adore her. I like all the women at Gyeoroo (although, perhaps not Song-yi too much at the moment), and I hope there’s a little more female bonding in the finale because I came for the noona romance, but stayed for the lovely female friendships that formed over the course of the show.
Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the romance, which was especially cute this episode. One thing I definitely appreciated is that there was no breakup. I’m always bummed when a couple finally gets together only to spend the majority of the remaining episodes separated due to some (often unnecessary) fallout. It wouldn’t make sense with a couple like Dan-yi and Eun-ho, who trust each other so implicitly and are bonded so strongly, but all the same I am grateful to spend this time on sneaky library kisses.
Despite the many couples throughout this drama, the most entertaining by far is Ji-yul and Hoon. Ji-yul has grown so much from the start of the show and while she still has a long way to go, she has great mentors like Dan-yi and Hae-rin to guide her. Her growing maturity is opening her eyes to what a great guy Hoon really is and after all he’s put up with, I’m glad she’s finally returning his affections… although from her crazed episode with the girl she’d thought he was dating, I’m not sure he’s entirely prepared for what he signed up for.
Romance Is a Bonus Book is not without its flaws, but the journey with these zany characters and their mission to bring good books to the world is a journey I was glad to take. Regardless of the outcome, it’s been a fun ride.
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