Search Query: WWW: Episode 8
While caution is usually a good way to approach a problem, sometimes too much caution can make things even worse. Even being strong can become a weakness when your strength causes someone you care about to doubt themselves. The time is swiftly approaching for our heroine to make the difficult decision that she’s been putting off, but if she waits too long, she may not have much of a choice left.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
We go back to when Ga-kyung and Hyun were young, and they ran into each other while skipping school. Hyun had gone all shy when Ga-kyung knew her name and that she was good at judo. Ga-kyung had called Hyun cute and sauntered off, leaving Hyun all twitterpated.
Hyun had followed Ga-kyung to return her tie, and she’d found her being bullied by a trio of boys. Hyun had run in, kicking and screaming, and had singlehandedly beaten up the guys. One of the guys got up and hit Hyun in the arm with a board, knocking her to the ground.
Back in the present, Ga-kyung agrees to release webtoonist Godori from his contract with Unicon, but only if Hyun comes to work for her. Ta-mi threatens to take this to court, but Ga-kyung says that while they’re tied up in a legal battle, Godori won’t be able to post his work on Barro.
Hyun asks to speak with Ga-kyung privately, then complains at being used as bait. Ga-kyung sincerely asks her to work for Unicon, saying that they may be equals now, but eventually Ta-mi will be promoted over her.
Hyun reminds Ga-kyung that when she had to quit judo because of her shoulder injury, Ga-kyung had helped helped study, which enabled her to go to a good college. Ga-kyung says sadly that that wasn’t her dream, but Hyun says that Ga-kyung gave her another dream.
But Ga-kyung still feels guilty for destroying Hyun’s dream to be an Olympic gold medalist in judo. Hyun tells Ga-kyung that she changed her entire life, and she wonders if she can change Ga-kyung back to the person she used to be by coming to Unicon.
Hyun meets Ta-mi outside and says that Ga-kyung doesn’t intend to let go of Godori, so they need a new plan. Ta-mi accuses Hyun of being worse than a spy — she’s like Ga-kyung’s possession. Hyun snaps that Ga-kyung only asked for the trade to provoke Ta-mi, and obviously it worked because Ta-mi snarls at Hyun to just go work for Unicon if she’s going to be that way.
Later, Ta-mi texts Mo-gun that she’s working late, alone at the office. He says he’s on his way over, so Ta-mi frantically cleans up her desk then strikes a casual pose. He walks into her office, his hair styled off his forehead for a meeting, and for just a moment, Ta-mi can’t breathe.
Mo-gun asks if he can wait until she’s finished with work, and Ta-mi struggles to conjure up a single coherent thought when he bends over and all she can see is his muscular physique. Suddenly feeling warm, Ta-mi tries to play it cool as she says that she’ll be working for quite a while.
But instead of working, she just stares at Mo-gun’s gorgeous lines and exposed collarbone until he deadpans without even looking at her, “You’re being inappropriate. Stop undressing me in your mind.” HAHAHA, busted.
After a moment of embarrassment, Ta-mi asks coyly, “Why? Am I not allowed to do that?” so Mo-gun asks if he can do the same. Ta-mi complains that his clothes are a bit too provocative. Mo-gun snickers that not everyone thinks like her (did he just say she has a dirty mind? LOL) and decides to leave since he’s a distraction.
Ta-mi suddenly decides she’s finished working so that she can drive Mo-gun home. He asks why, and she says that he shouldn’t ride the bus looking like that, muttering that he has no clue what goes through women’s minds. HA.
As she drives, she orders Mo-gun not to style his hair like that again, and he busts her chops for cleaning just to impress him. Ta-mi grumps that it was just a sweet gesture, but Mo-gun says that she doesn’t even shower so he knows she hates cleaning, PFFT. Ta-mi makes a face and Mo-gun looks nervous, and when she asks why, he says he got worried she’d drain her aquarium.
She drops him off with orders to go straight home, and he confesses proudly that it took a lot of effort not to hold her hand. Ta-mi watches him go, smiling fondly, then wails, “AH! I think it’s Game Over for me…” Girlfriend, it was Game Over a long time ago.
Hyun heads to the hospital to visit Ji-hwan, her pet actor, and she runs into Joon-soo in the lobby. He tells her condescendingly that he hopes her heart heals, then accidentally calls her the wrong name twice. Hyun asks sweetly if he has some time today for her to break both his legs.
Joon-soo has the nerve to tell Hyun that if she gets therapy for her anger issues, they can start over. Hyun says agreeably that she can see a therapist while he recuperates in the ICU, and Joon-soo wisely escapes, calling back a You look prettier when you smile! just to ensure that his inevitable murder is slow and painful.
Hyun lets herself into Ji-hwan’s hospital room and sits by his bed watching him sleep, marveling at how innocent he looks compared to his evil drama character. He wakes up and says sleepily, “You’re here. You were in my dream, too. We had fun.”
Ji-hwan tells Hyun that he dreamed they were watching an inchworm, and when Hyun recoils, he says that he likes the way they crawl. He murmurs that they’re together whether he’s awake or asleep and drifts off again. Okay, he’s the sweetest thing ever.
When Hyun gets to work, Alex finds her watching videos of inchworms on her phone. She asks if he knows anyone that still uses a flip phone, and when he says that’s not normal, Hyun lectures him that nobody gets to decide what’s normal or abnormal. Oh, she is toast.
They notice that Brian is on the real-time rankings for the video in which he apologizes with hilarious sincerity for offending anyone with their sweet-and-sour pork emoji. There’s also a new media player app that’s got a lot of younger users, so Ta-mi decides to try and collaborate with the app owners.
Brian offers to treat everyone to sushi tonight to celebrate his name being number one in the rankings, but Ta-mi is the only one who shows up, and even she says she only came so he wouldn’t be alone, ha. Brian asks what Ta-mi normally does after work, and she says honestly that she gives everything at work so at home, she just lies on the couch.
Mo-gun calls, and Ta-mi says she’s at a sort-of team dinner. Brian tells her to invite Mo-gun to join them, so she does, whispering that she’s with someone who could be a good future contact. When he arrives, Mo-gun admits that he’s one of Brian’s new online followers after he topped the rankings.
Brian asks if Ta-mi and Mo-gun met at Unicon, and when Mo-gun says No, Ta-mi presses his knee under the table as a warning. She tells Brian that she left Unicon before they could become colleagues, but she stayed in touch with Mo-gun because of his talent. Mo-gun gets her all flustered by sliding his hand over hers and linking their fingers.
Brian gets a text that his son, who’s at college, took his credit card and went drinking. Ta-mi and Mo-gun try to look innocent as they ask him when he got married, and he asks them if they want to get married. Mo-gun quickly says Yes, but Ta-mi just as quickly says No.
Brian asks why Mo-gun wants to get married, and he says he’s always dreamed of starting a family with someone he loves. Ta-mi is asked the same question, and she pulls her hand from Mo-gun’s to answer that she likes her life the way it is, and that she can barely even take care of herself. Awww, Mo-gun looks so hurt.
Chairman Jang meets with Candidate Seo, who’s now President Seo after winning the election. She congratulates him, but he chuckles that she’s lying, having manipulated keywords during the election in support of his opponent. Chairman Jang looks annoyed but accepts her scolding as deserved. President Seo complains that the opposing party is still making a lot of noise over the election results, heavily implying that he expects Chairman Jang to use her influence to help him.
In the morning, there’s a man in the Barro lobby loudly accusing Barro of ruining his family and demanding to see Brian immediately. Ta-mi takes him up to her team’s area, where he explains that a photo of him entering a hotel with his mistress was posted on Barro View (which is like Google Street View).
Hyun is highly unimpressed by both his attitude and his use of banmal. The man says that his wife saw the photo and divorced him, and is threatening to take away his child. Ta-mi asks Jenny why everyone else’s faces were blurred but the man’s, so Jenny explains that Barro View uses AI to blur out license plates and faces, but the AI didn’t recognize it as a human face because of the awkward angle.
She says that usually they get a report and blur the face out manually, and Ta-mi directs her to do it now. But the man says his life is already ruined, and he demands compensation or he’ll sue them and alert the media.
Later, Hyun says she doesn’t think Barro should pay, but Ta-mi says that the man’s affair is his private business and it’s true that Barro invaded his privacy. She says it’s dangerous to think that he has no right to privacy just because Hyun finds his affair distasteful, but Hyun argues that private activities that victimize someone shouldn’t be protected.
Ta-mi strongly disagrees, but she says that they took immediate action as soon as they learned of the mistake, and she disagrees with paying compensation on top of that. The others are worried that a lawsuit could harm Barro’s reputation, especially now that they’re on the rise.
The legal team informs them that there’s little chance of Barro being forced to pay up. Ta-mi says that she respects the team members who believe they should offer compensation, but as head of the team, she decides against it.
On the day he’s to present the winning prize at a race, Jin-woo is surprised to be joined by Ga-kyung, who slides her hand into his and plays the doting wife. The race organizers offer to take them to the VIP area, but when he learns that President Seo’s son is already there, Jin-woo decides to watch the race from the stands.
Ta-mi gets off work early, but Mo-gun is pulling an all-nighter. Ta-mi says that he’s doing that a lot lately, and he guesses what she’s thinking and tells her to forget what he said about marriage. Mo-gun tells her not to worry, but Ta-mi says that she can’t help it, since already knows how this will end.
Mo-gun assures her that he has no plans to marry any time soon, so there’s no reason to break up over this. Ta-mi says they can’t just date until someone changes their mind about marriage, knowing that neither of them will do that. Mo-gun starts to look genuinely scared as Ta-mi continues that they can’t pretend this issue doesn’t exist, and that it’s futile to start something they already know has an end point.
During the race, Jin-woo asks Ga-kyung why she came, and she says it’s to thank him for agreeing to buy the movie rights to Godori’s webtoon, even though Barro is going to steal him. Afterward, Jin-woo runs into President Seo’s son, Joon-shik, back at his building, and the air between them is decidedly chilly.
Joon-shik gloats that Jin-woo’s mother tried so hard to get the other candidate elected, but now she’s begging his father for attention. Jin-woo tries to ignore him, but then Joon-shik continues that he and Ga-kyung looked awfully close today for a couple that doesn’t love each other.
Jin-woo reaches out as if to straighten Joon-shik’s tie, and he slowly tightens it as he wonders where Joon-shik got his confidence when his father’s position isn’t hereditary. He invites Joon-shik to call the guard over if he can’t breathe, and when he doesn’t, Jin-woo says his pride is his biggest problem.
Hyun bursts into Ji-hwan’s hospital room, furious about the plot twist in today’s episode of What’s Wrong With My Mother-In-Law? His character has been killed off, shot by a street gang in Macao, and Ji-hwan says he was as surprised to see it as she was. Hyun marches him (in his wheelchair, ha) to the set and demands to speak to the PD, claiming to be Ji-hwan’s manager.
She hands over her business card, and the PD explains that they film each episode the day before it airs, so with Ji-hwan in the hospital, they had to cut his character. Hyun argues that he got hurt while filming, and that they didn’t even notify him, and Ji-hwan starts coughing right on cue, hee.
Hyun gets loud and orders the PD to write Ji-hwan’s character back into the show. She even suggests the old “secret twin with opposite personality” trope, and that he could fall for the mother-in-law. When the assistant PD says that would make Ji-hwan the lead, Hyun thinks that’s just dandy.
She takes Ji-hwan back to the hospital and offers to drive him to the set every day if he’s rehired, but he says he’d be uncomfortable. He asks if she really works at Barro and confesses that he uses it daily, but he’s vague about what he looks up. Hyun leaves, both of them expecting this to be the last time they see each other.
Ta-mi still has the paper she got from the hacker proving that Jin-woo is the one who had her name falsely added to the rankings. She takes it to Ga-kyung and offers it in trade for Godori. Ga-kyung says that Ta-mi could have negotiated with threats and not handed this over, but Ta-mi says she doesn’t do things at other people’s expense, especially their family members. Ga-kyung tells Ta-mi to take Godori.
At Ta-mi’s piano lesson, Da-in plays her arrangement of the wedding march that she wrote for a young bride, saying that she’s jealous. Ta-mi asks what Da-in would do if she met someone she wanted to marry, but they weren’t interested in marriage. Da-in says it would be sad but she’d break up with him, because marriage is that important to her.
Ta-mi finds Mo-gun, wanting to talk about the marriage issue further. He says he wants to get married, but it’s not a criteria for who he dates. He says there’s nothing strange about marrying the person you love, but Ta-mi notes that it is considered strange not to marry the person you love.
She says that if they start dating, either he never gets to experience marriage, or she’s forced into it, or they’ll have no choice but to end it. Mo-gun asks why this is Ta-mi’s only focus, since every relationship ends one way or another.
He says that knowing it will end doesn’t mean the relationship is worthless, so instead of worrying, she should just choose to be with him. Ta-mi agrees that everything ends, but she says that knowing how it will end makes it difficult to begin.
The cheater does end up suing Barro, which results in an explosion of users for the site, and Bong-ki realizes that this is why Ta-mi let him sue. When Ta-mi arrives at work she tells him to have the cheater come see her, because she’s changed her mind and decided to pay compensation.
Ga-kyung gets a message from Chairman Jang, with an article to post on the main page. It speculates whether Candidate Lee (whom Chairman Jang used to support) had an affair, and this time, Ga-kyung refuses to obey. Chairman Jang shows up at Unicon in person to make it clear that Ga-kyung has no choice, and Ga-kyung tries to explain that the front page article is determined by an AI.
She says that she can’t present groundless rumors as fact on the main page, but Chairman Jang snaps that nobody cares that it’s fake, they only care that it’s interesting. Ga-kyung stands firm, insisting that nothing will be gained by causing a scandal and watching Unicon lose to Barro.
Chairman Jang says that Unicon should disappear if it’s of no use to her, and Ga-kyung fires back that without Unicon, Chairman Jang would be nothing. She says that Chairman Jang needs both Unicon and her, but that she will no longer publish fake articles and keywords, because Unicon is hers to control.
Hyun tells Ta-mi that she saw the article about the cheater’s lawsuit, and that now she gets why Ta-mi let him sue. She starts to argue when Ta-mi says she intends to pay him, but Ta-mi tells her to wait, because she’s going to like this. The cheater comes in all smug, thinking that he’s strong-armed them into giving him his way.
Ta-mi meekly thanks him for giving them the opportunity to upgrade their AI, and he acts like he was doing this for the good of the people. Hyun gives him an agreement to sign, but when he reads it, it states that the compensation will be paid to his ex-wife. HAHA, awesome.
In a voice sweet as honey, Ta-mi says that his ex-wife is unemployed and raising a child on her own, and Hyun adds sadly that she’s the true victim in all this. LOL, they’re laying it on so thick. The cheater refuses to sign so Hyun invites him to carry on with his lawsuit, pointing out that the actual reason for his divorce isn’t Barro’s error, but his cheating.
After work, Ta-mi finds Mo-gun waiting for her outside her building. He says they’ve been very different from the start – he slept with her because he liked her so much, then she pushed him away for the same reason. He says he regrets sleeping with her every time she puts up a wall, and now there’s another wall.
He admits that this time, he doesn’t know what to do, and asks if she thought of him today. She says yes, and Mo-gun relaxes and asks if she wants to play Tekken. They do the same things they did on the night they met, playing games (Ta-mi wins this time) then having drinks.
Mo-gun tells Ta-mi that the song he played for her that first night is going to be used in a game, and Ta-mi notes that a lot of time has passed. Mo-gun asks if her aquarium is open, and if she’ll really just let him leave. He says that she’s the one who fears wasting time, and Ta-mi agrees that he’s right.
She says that the more she lets herself fall for him, the more scared she gets of being with him and worrying every day when it will end. Mo-gun wonders if she doesn’t like him enough to overcome her fear, and when she can’t answer, he assumes he’s right and says they should end it.
He offers to drive Ta-mi home, but she says that she knows he hates her right now. He says that he does hate her, and he’s angry, but he still wants to take her home. He walks her all the way to her door, but neither of them makes a move to separate first.
Mo-gun asks, if he’d just walked her home the first night they met, would things have been easier. He admits that he tried to do things differently tonight because he regrets that night, hoping that she might see tonight as their first. When she doesn’t speak, his eyes go dull and he says it was nice meeting her, then he leaves.
It looks like it kills Ta-mi to let Mo-gun walk away, and when she goes into her dark, empty apartment, she can’t do it. Ta-mi whirls and goes after Mo-gun, who’s still in the elevator when the door opens. He looks at her with his eyes full of hope, but he waits to see what Ta-mi will do.
Ha, she stands there so long the door closes, and she smacks the button to make it open again. Mo-gun asks, “Should I stay?” and when Ta-mi says, “Yes,” he practically leaps out of the elevator to kiss her.
Okay, now that my heart has stopped racing from all that sexual tension, the only thing I can think is Finally! These two have been dancing around Ta-mi’s fears and excuses for months, and I was beginning to think that Mo-gun was going to let it drag on forever. I was proud of him for being the one to say enough is enough, it’s time to either jump in and trust, or end this. He really is the more emotionally mature of the two, because he’s willing to lay out his feelings honestly, but he also let Ta-mi make the final call. He was ready to accept her decision to end things, but I’m glad that he told her about his regrets and how he wishes he’d done things differently. I think that when Ta-mi realized that Mo-gun has fears and regrets and reservations just like she does, is when she understood that he’s not just charging in with rose-colored glasses on, and that he understands the risks if they decide to try and make this work.
And I think she made the right decision — if Mo-gun is willing to give this a shot, knowing that it might end and they might get hurt, then she can feel safe that he’s taking this as seriously as she is. The issue of marriage is an important one, because as Ta-mi said, there’s no compromise — someone will have to sacrifice what they want, and that will always be an issue between them. But as sad as the conversations that Ta-mi and Mo-gun had in this episode regarding marriage and whether they should date knowing that they want very different things out of life, it’s pretty amazing that they had those talks before they get too emotionally invested. And although the conundrum is whether to even start anything already knowing it will end, it actually proves that they will make a very strong couple because they’re willing to talk about the hard stuff before it’s too late.
Mo-gun and Ta-mi aren’t the only ones who made huge strides in this episode — Ga-kyung is one of those characters that I don’t particularly like, but it works because she’s not written to be liked. I do think she’s been through a lot and that it’s changed her, and I’m glad we have Hyun to remember the sweet, loving girl that Ga-kyung once was, because it humanizes Ga-kyung and gives us reason to hope that she can become that way again. I’m not sure exactly what’s changed, but Ga-kyung is finally making some first moves to take her life back. She seemed to genuinely want to go to that race with Jin-woo, and not because she was getting something out of it. But I was mostly excited to see her finally stand up to Chairman Jang, both because the things Chairman Jang was having her do are wrong, and because a mutiny is long past due. Ga-kyung can’t live in fear forever, and this makes me hopeful that she’ll find her way back to the person she used to be.
I’ve written before that I really enjoy the way Search Query: WWW explores issues of morality and choice in a way that gets across the point but never feels preachy or sanctimonious. I realized while watching this episode that the reason for that is that multiple sides of each issue are always presented, and in such a way that each side seems reasonable depending on where the person holding that belief is coming from. As Hyun said, there are certain issues that aren’t up for debate, but for the most part, the situations presented in the drama are held up as the multi-faceted, complex problems that most of us face in everyday life. It’s so interesting how each character’s personality, background, personal experiences, and moral code inform how they react to these situations, and I always come out of each episode feeling like I’ve learned that it’s sometimes possible for nobody to be wrong, and for nobody to be right — it all comes down to finding the best solution for that specific problem.
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