People With Flaws: Episodes 7-8
The more determined our hero is to get revenge on the girl who hurt him all those years ago, the more he finds himself in over his head. As we see the situation from her point of view, it becomes clear that there’s a lot more to what happened, and that maybe the hero isn’t as innocent as he remembers. There are a lot of misunderstandings between them, and it’s going to be a long while before all the knots are untangled and some real healing can begin.
We flash back to middle school — the teacher had asked the students to rearrange their seating, and nobody had chosen to share a desk with Kang-woo. Seo-yeon had approached and asked to sit with him, and when he’d nodded shyly, she’d given him a huge smile.
After school, Seo-yeon had invited Kang-woo to share a two-for-one snack deal with her, and she’d decided they would be snack buddies. Seo-yeon had asked what he’s always drawing in class, so Kang-woo had shown her his sketchbook. It was full of drawings of clothing designs, and Seo-yeon had been incredibly impressed with his skill.
In the present, Seo-yeon has Kang-woo pinned against the wall, angry that (she thinks) he just shot her the bird behind her back. Unnerved by her close proximity, Kang-woo tries to slither out from under her arms, but she prevents him from moving. In self-defense, Kang-woo agrees to get along with her. When she lets him loose, he yelps that he didn’t flip her off, he’d just hurt his hand, then makes his escape.
Flustered, Kang-woo leaves the restaurant without paying for the dinner as he’d promised. Vice Principal Park gets stuck with the bill as Mi-kyung asks Seo-yeon under her breath if she killed Kang-woo and where she hid the body, hee.
Kang-woo heads straight for Doctor Kim’s house and keeps him up all night demanding to know why his heart started to pound when Seo-yeon was close. He vehemently denies Doctor Kim’s suggestion that he might be falling for Seo-yeon, so Doctor Kim finally says that possibly Kang-woo’s heart is under stress.
Kang-woo latches onto this theory like a bulldog, but even a full physical and a clean bill of health doesn’t convince him. He gets the doctor to admit that his cholesterol is just the teensiest bit high, so he excitedly rushes home to work on his so-called cholesterol problem.
He heads to school in a good mood — until he sees Seo-yeon’s familiar ponytail and his heart starts thumping again. Kang-woo steps on the gas and speeds past her. Later Seo-yeon is confused when Vice Principal Park says that Kang-woo didn’t come to school today, since she clearly saw his car. She’s upset, as she’d interpreted his agreement to get along as a promise to sign off on the budget for the track meet.
Seo-yeon mopes around all day, waiting for Kang-woo to show up like a lovesick puppy. The only person she runs into is Min-hyuk, who offers her one of his apples and looks thrilled when she accepts it. After a staff meeting, Mi-kyung notices Min-hyuk watching Seo-yeon with a worried look on his face, and she asks why he keeps giving Seo-yeon food.
He just says cryptically that he’s trying to lure her. He goes back to his office and tries to call Kang-woo, who isn’t answering, so Min-hyuk goes through his giant drawer of snacks to choose something to give Seo-yeon tomorrow in case Kang-woo doesn’t show up again.
Kang-hee hears that Kang-woo isn’t going to work and calls him to ask what’s up. He tells her to get married and stop worrying about what he’s doing. Kang-hee says that Kang-woo’s clothing designs are nice and offers to set him up with his own fashion company, and after they hang up, Kang-woo has a little tantrum that she found out about his designing before he’d accomplished anything on his own.
Mi-kyung is convinced that since Kang-woo turned out to be a chaebol, Hyun-soo probably runs a big business, too. She and Seo-yeon still believe that Kang-woo and Hyun-soo are gay, but Mi-kyung has a big plan to meet Hyun-soo’s rich friends and find a husband. She gets no information from Won-seok even though Seo-yeon saw Hyun-soo in the bar, though privately, Won-seok recalls Hyun-soo not from the bar, but from Seok-min’s home.
There’s a meeting at Hyun-soo’s company, which Kang-woo has to attend now that he’s signed a contract. Kang-woo unknowingly ends up in the elevator with Seo-joon, who kind of reminds him of Seo-yeon, and just the thought of her sets off his heart again. Meanwhile, Seo-joon assumes that the good-looking stranger is the mysterious CEO that none of the idol trainees have ever met.
The trainees are informed that their grades will be evaluated, and if they’re not high enough, they won’t be allowed to take the test to see if they’re ready to debut. They’re told to set a goal for how many places they’ll increase their class ranking, and Seo-joon, who isn’t much of a scholar, panics and promises to raise his ranking a hundred spots. Yikes.
Hyun-soo’s staff meeting is to discuss his plans to launch a new fashion line, with Kang-woo as the designer. He’ll also be the styling director for their successful idol group, Hi-Seven, as well as their upcoming new group. Ah, so that’s what his contract is about!
Hyun-soo drags a reluctant Kang-woo to a club to do some networking. Won-jae is there, too, since it’s the same club where he ran into Kang-hee, but the bartender tell him to give it up — Kang-hee goes there to dance and loosen up, not to meet guys.
Kang-hee is working late in her office when she hears a loud roaring noise. She follows the sound to the hall, where an employee’s son is playing with a toy dinosaur. The employee apologizes, explaining that her husband is also working late and her mother-in-law is sick, so she had to bring her son to work.
Back at the club, Kang-woo stands in the center of the dance floor, stock-still and looking miserable. Eventually he makes his way back to Hyun-soo, who asks if he’s ever going to start dating and inquires as to whether Kang-woo’s “thing” died, HAHA.
Mi-kyung has Seo-yeon text her a picture of Hyun-soo’s high school photo, hoping to upload it to the school alumni site and see if anyone knows what he does for a living. Seo-yeon notices that Kang-woo isn’t in her yearbook, and Mi-kyung reminds her that he moved abroad before they graduated.
In a keepsake box, Seo-yeon finds a set of photo-booth pictures of herself and Kang-woo in middle school, with the caption “best friends.” She wonders how such a nice guy can have changed so much. Recalling the day she called him fat and ugly, Seo-yeon mutters, “Why do you still remember that? You’re the one who made a mistake first.” Hmmm, interesting.
That night, Seo-joon can’t sleep, wracked with anxiety over having promised to raise his class ranking by a hundred places. He wanders to the kitchen and gets scared half to death by Joo-hee. He yells at her to turn on a freaking light, but she deadpans that he called her a dog, and dogs don’t turn on lights. Later she’s woken by a series of texts from Seo-joon, all with gifs of dogs turning on lights, LOL.
In the morning, Seo-joon is huddled in the corner of Seo-yeon’s room when she wakes up. She calls an emergency sibling meeting, and when Seo-joon confesses the source of his anxiety, they decide he needs a tutor — and that Joo-hee is the perfect person for the job.
In the morning, there’s an announcement at Shinhwa Foods that childcare will now be provided for parents who work late. The employees hurry to thank Kang-hee, but she tells them to be less worried about overtime, and more focused on getting their work done during regular work hours. Won-jae happens to be lurking in the lobby, trying to get information on Kang-hee, and he witnesses the exchange.
Seo-yeon still hasn’t gotten Kang-woo to sign the budget so that the track team can attend the meet, since he hasn’t been to school in four days. Mi-kyung asks if he actually said he’d sign, and Seo-yeon recalls that his actual response was, “Don’t follow me.” Whoops.
Seeing Seo-yeon’s furious screaming from his office, Min-hyuk tries to call Kang-woo again, but he’s still ignoring his calls. Min-hyuk texts to ask if something is wrong, and to say that they need him at school. Seo-yeon comes to Min-hyuk’s office and pouts for the candy bar he’s holding, so he happily hands it over and tells her to come any time she needs a sugary pick-me-up.
That night, Mi-kyung tells Seo-yeon to just call Kang-woo and ask him to meet with her about the track meet budget. Seo-yeon whines that she doesn’t know his number, but Mi-kyung has it and dials him up. He picks up for once, and Seo-yeon sounds hilariously nervous as she asks why he’s not coming to school and suggests they meet to go over the track budget.
Kang-woo decides to mess with her, so he says he’s too tired to go out but that she can come to his place. He expects her to refuse, but to his shock and alarm, she agrees. Mi-kyung advises her to take some alcohol since Kang-woo doesn’t seem like much of a drinker, so if she gets him a little drunk it’ll be easier to make him sign off on the budget.
While Seo-yeon gets ready, Mi-kyung gets a picture of Hyun-soo’s yearbook photo (the one Seo-yeon sent was blurry). Seo-joon, looking over her shoulder, recognizes Hyun-soo as the janitor at his agency, dashing Mi-kyung’s hopes, hee.
Kang-woo is a nervous wreck waiting for Seo-yeon, reminded of the night back in school when she asked to come over to talk, but never showed. He convinces himself that she’s not coming but that he totally doesn’t care, obviously caring very much.
Seo-yeon is as nervous as Kang-woo by the time she gets to his house, and he’s so shocked that she actually showed up that he kind of freezes up. HAHA, he actually lines up the beers she bought in perfect rows on coasters — that says so much about Kang-woo.
While waiting outside the house in her car for Seo-yeon Mi-kyung spots Hyun-soo letting himself in. She takes the fact that he knows Kang-woo’s lock code as proof that he and Kang-woo are dating, and believing he’s a janitor, she accuses him of sponging off of Kang-woo. Hyun-soo starts to deny it, but then he realizes that if she and Seo-yeon think he and Kang-woo are lovers and that Kang-woo is his sponsor, they won’t chase them for their money, so he tells Mi-kyung that it’s all true.
Kang-woo takes for-e-ver to look over Seo-yeon’s proposal, when in actuality, he can barely process it because he’s having a massive internal freakout about Seo-yeon being in his house. When she asks to use his restroom he lets out the breath he’s been holding, and he speculates on why she’d visit the home of a bachelor, with alcohol, late at night.
Meanwhile, Seo-yeon gets lost looking for the restroom… instead she finds Kang-woo’s studio where he does his design work. Kang-woo goes looking for her and slams the door before she goes inside. In the restroom, she remembers Kang-woo’s sketches and how he’d wanted to be a designer, and she smiles as she thinks that not everything about him has changed.
Just as she’s feeling all mushy about her old friend, Seo-yeon gets a text from Mi-kyung that Hyun-soo admitted he and Kang-woo are lovers, and she feels a little disappointed. Kang-woo’s reading the budget again and says he’s going to read it two more times. He’s hoping she’ll get frustrated and leave, but she just tells him to take his time.
As she watches him, she thinks that she can see the little boy he used to be in his face. Her fond gaze weirds him out and he thinks she’s trying to seduce him (LOL), but he’s determined to resist her like he resists all the other women that come onto him.
Then Seo-yeon cracks open another beer and it sprays all over her. She wipes the foam from her collarbone then licks it off her hand, and Kang-woo is horrified to find himself getting turned on. He tries to focus on the budget, but Seo-yeon thinks he doesn’t understand so she moves over next to him to explain it.
Her close proximity makes his, um… situation worse, so he leaps to his feet and tells her it’s time to go. She follows him to the door, asking if he’s refusing to sign the budget because of what happened in the past. She yells that he didn’t ask her out because he actually liked her, but because he was trying to humiliate her because of a bet.
At that, Kang-woo whirls around in indignation, and Seo-yeon slams up against him. She notices something strange, and looks down… oh no, poor Kang-woo is a little, well, excited. Seo-yeon backs up, staring at Kang-woo, while he thinks with despair that his life is over.
Oh nooo, how embarrassing! Poor Kang-woo is so emotionally stunted by Seo-yeon’s rejection in middle school, plus his own inferiority complex over his body and looks, that he’s avoided women entirely. Now, seeing Seo-yeon again, it’s like all that missed experience is catching up to him and he’s basically reacting to Seo-yeon like he would have reacted to girls back in high school if he hadn’t been so traumatized. Thankfully, even though I’m pretty certain that Doctor Kim isn’t actually a doctor of any kind, at least he does seem insightful and gives good advice, because more than a job or a girlfriend right now, Kang-woo needs some serious therapy. (And as an aside, can I just say that I love that this drama doesn’t shy away from sexuality as if grown adults don’t have normal bodies? Seo-yeon is a beautiful woman, of course Kang-woo got excited!)
I’m glad we got to see a bit more of Seo-yeon and Kang-woo’s past from both of their points of view — not only were they friends, but best friends. I have a feeling that Kang-woo wasn’t the only one who felt something stronger, because according to Seo-yeon, she only reacted to his confession so hurtfully because (she believes) he only confessed to her on a bet, and so she lashed out in hurt. But whether Kang-woo has forgotten that or it was a misunderstanding, I believes that his version of events is very real to him, because in a lot of very tangible ways, he’s still that lonely, unattractive little boy, rejected by the girl he loves and publicly humiliated. Now he’s having to deal with her popping back up in his life, and he doesn’t know how to deal with it. Kang-woo makes such a habit of placing blame on others because of his insecurity that it’s no wonder he’s conveniently forgotten any involvement in what happened between him and Seo-yeon all those years ago, and when she reminds him, I’m predicting he’ll have a full-on meltdown.
The only thing that makes me feel uneasy is that Kang-woo has put himself in a position of power over Seo-yeon’s career in order to enact his revenge on her. But knowing that she wasn’t just a pretty girl rejecting an awkward boy, but that they were actually very close, makes it more understandable why he took it so hard, and he’s hardly any more mature now so he just doesn’t see how what he’s doing is problematic. And I do like that Seo-yeon doesn’t let him get away with anything, and even called him out in front of the entire staff when he brought their personal issue into a professional situation. I think that Kang-woo’s plan to use Seo-yeon’s job to intimidate her and get vengeance is going to backfire on him spectacularly, because he underestimates exactly how tough Seo-yeon really is, and how very unprepared he is to go up against someone who has three brothers and still rules the roost.
It’s been a long time since I had a real case of Second Lead Syndrome — I’m too jaded after many years of K-drama watching and recapping, and I know to guard my heart against falling for the wrong guy. But Min-hyuk is doing a serious number on me, and I’m not sure I can resist him for much longer. The tragedy of the Second Lead is that he almost always knows the heroine much better than the male lead does, but he plays the long game, and while he’s biding his time, the lead steps in and sweeps the lady off her feet (and this is one reason I don’t usually mind childhood connections, because it makes the case that at least the hero knew her first). Min-hyuk is the quintessential Second Lead — he’s been watching Seo-yeon and learning about her, he keeps a stash of food on hand knowing that she loves to eat, and he doesn’t pressure her or push her into anything she’s not ready for. I have no defense against his happy little smile when Seo-yeon does the least little thing like accept his apple, because in real life, Min-hyuk is the kind of guy I’d go for… forget the tortured angry hot guy, I’ll take the sweetie who brings me food. I’m afraid I’m doomed.
The show seems to be settling nicely into the balance I’ve been hoping for. The slapstick has calmed down a lot, the poop jokes are being kept to a minimum, and some more serious, soul-searching issues are cropping up. This is what I wanted from this show, so I’m finding myself liking the drama more and more as it goes forward. I love delving into the psyches of characters, and these characters give us a lot of fodder for analyzing and speculating on what makes them tick. Honestly, very few of these characters are emotionally healthy, but I think I’m going to enjoy watching as they straighten themselves out.
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- People With Flaws holds script reading with Oh Yeon-seo, Ahn Jae-hyun
- Casting news for beauty-oriented rom-com People With Flaws