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A Couple’s World: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

Our heroine has endured an unthinkable betrayal, but now that the pure shock is wearing off, she’s starting to fight back. Though our heroine struggles while choosing the next path to take, this week she makes some bold choices that have (and will have) some important repercussions.

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

The big bomb of a reveal might have gone off in Episode 1, but I have to say, the aftermath has been just as riveting. We left off last week with (vile husband) Tae-oh running off to his mistress when he hears about her pregnancy, and there really is no end to the shamelessness of this guy.

I think his unending deceit is the thing that Sun-woo has the most trouble wrapping her mind around. For instance, the night after he runs out with the pregnancy news, Sun-woo asks him if he was able to resolve his issue. And then she listens to his lies. It happens again and again, but she keeps testing him, hoping for a different result. To make matters worse, she has to pretend ignorance so that he doesn’t realize she knows — it’s a layer of deceit upon deceit, but it’s what she needs to do to win.

Sun-woo is getting pressure from all sides. Her “friend” Myung-sook questions her secret-reveal of the pregnancy. Her divorce attorney, who seems to be just advising her at this point, is a pretty straight-shooter. He tells her she needs solid evidence (and goes as graphic as to say photos of them in bed together) if she wants to keep her assets, and custody of her son, after this divorce. It’s a lot for Sun-woo to handle, and this isn’t the first time we see her nauseated and dizzy at the thought of her husband and Da-kyung having sex (can’t blame her!) — but still, she’s determined to win on her terms.

But that’s not the end of the pressures on Sun-woo this week. Her hospitalized mother-in-law has apparently surmised what has been going on. But, rather than be sympathetic to Sun-woo and blame her skunk of a son, she first discounts the affair (“Men will return if you leave them be”), later begs/guilt trips Sun-woo into forgiving Tae-oh for their son’s sake, and finally, blames Sun-woo herself. All of these tactics are pretty horrible.

Something that A Couple’s World is doing really well is creating a stage where its story, and characters, are polarizing and elicit strong reactions. Rather than exploring the gray space around relationships and infidelities (as VIP did, for example), this drama is just plowing through with its black and white world. This makes it more “fun,” if you will, because we as the audience are allowed to have these big, emotional, and pretty predictable reactions to characters and circumstances without judgement.

In other words, the dramatic world of this show lets us say things like, “I’m glad his mother died” or “I want to strangle Da-kyung” (and I do) or “I wish Sun-woo had stabbed him with those scissors — things we really don’t (readily) say or admit to in real life. This, like it or not, is the territory of makjang.

And on that note, I wasn’t sorry when his mother died. And I wasn’t sorry to see how upset he was, either. In fact, the drama uses his mother’s death to push Tae-oh even further into the realm of despicability. When Sun-woo goes to look for him after he’s left the building, she sees him making out with Da-kyung in her car… to the song he played when he proposed to Sun-woo so many years ago.

Again and again, Sun-woo is confronted by this double standard that it’s not only okay for men to cheat, but that it’s normal, common, and forgivable. Sun-woo is pressured to react this way about her own husband, but there’s also an interesting subplot where she diagnoses one of her patients with an STD and tells her that her husband is cheating. This woman has the opposite reaction as Sun-woo, though, and wants to keep her relationship intact, and she rationalizes that sex is just a “bodily function” for men. I highly object to this whole argument on so many levels, but this drama, if anything, wants us to experience all of this pitch-building pressure right next to Sun-woo.

Thus being, what we are really starting to see this week (already) is the huge emotional toll this is taking on Sun-woo. Every bit of it is completely warranted, but I do worry about her. She has no one to talk to, as her “friends” have either been lying to her for months, or they’re double agents that are still helping out her husband (I hate Myung-sook so much), orrrrr they have super duper ulterior motives like Je-hyuk.

That whole storyline did not go according to my liking at all — but I think I was expecting a love that this drama isn’t interested in delivering. Neighbor/friend who has pined from you from afar and is now here to emotionally support you while remaining faithful to his wife? No. Man who sees the woman he has long desired in a vulnerable position and uses it to get her in bed? Yes.

Still, Sun-woo is sharp. And the longer she lives under these conditions, the smarter she is getting. She torments Da-kyung whenever she gets the chance, she sleeps with Je-hyuk in order to get control of her household’s finances again, and she’s really charging ahead with her evidence collection with the help of Hyun-seo (one of the only other redeeming characters in this show right now).

Another thing that A Couple’s World is really bringing out beautifully is the psychological tension that results when a person is pushed to his/her limit. It’s a huge theme in the Greek tragedy to which this story is a nod (more to come on that later), but in the meantime, I’m kinda worried about Sun-woo. She’s already starting to do some crazy stuff to get her revenge on Tae-oh — and I don’t think we’ve even seen a glimpse of how far she’s willing to go.

 
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This drama makes me hold my breath so many times while watching!
At first I was angry why Sun Woo is’t taking serious action to bring him down and why she gets surprised again n again but it was so silly of me!
That woman’s entire life suddenly fell apart and she went from perfection to disaster in the blink of an eye!

That scene in the hotel..I was waiting to see her back off n leave but NO! she did it! She sacrificed herself to teach Tae Oh a bigger lesson!
Go girl, go! Let them face the music!

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I feel she went into the seduction willingly. She wanted payback, like you cheat, I'll cheat too, and she is using the guy too. She is avenging herself on the feckless friends, too, for betraying her, and accepting the mistress and the affair. I feel she's going to lure every one of these fake friends to her side, until the husband is left with nothing and no one.

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That’s the kinda a heroine kdrama needs! Bring all down one by one!

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Je-hyuk cracks me up during the love scene. His face, I can't...

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So much anger and pain revisted after reading this engrossing, brilliantly detailed recap. And I scroll up, and I realise it's my favourite recapper, @missvictrix. I love how you insert your own thoughts and feelings in your recaps, and hey, they could easily be mine too...maybe we forged a cosmic connection when we left our brains behind in Forest.

Almost every scene hurt. The song playing at the beginning. And in the end. Promises made and broken. A false friend playing a wife against a cheating husband. Lie upon lie. A son torn between witnessing his father's infidelity - I believe it was him who filmed the vomit-inducing illicit romp in the garden - and wanting his parents to stay together. A mother begging her daughter-in-law to understand, and using her grandson to drive the knife in. Such a powerful part, with lines that cut me to the core, and delivered by a dying woman, the emotions that it invoked...you pity her because she is sick, and you want to strangle her at the same time. A dignified woman who accepts her husband's cheating and likens it to "excretion" - such a powerful word, dirty, hidden, and base - because that is the only way she can live with a cheater. A man who is in love with his friend's wife, who broke my heart when he said to her, "You look nice. You always look nice," and then crushed it when he revealed he was not leaving his wife, it would be an illicit affair, after all. And the part that hurt the most, the cheating husband sitting on his bed, lying to his wife on the phone, the mistress on the bed.

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I think the son saw everything and well he is a child after all! He is afraid of being like his friend and tries to hide! So much pressure on him as well:(
And also the mother-in-law blaming Sun Woo and saying it was her fault just because she was a successful woman made the dying scene so satisfying to watch!

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I totally loathe the mother in law just as much as I do with her so called friends. They all covered up his affair and then make Sun-woo feel responsible for it.

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I think the son is selfish, yes he doesn't want his parent divorce but he saw what his daddy did and his mother cried but still he defends him JUST BECAUSE he doesn't want move from his school and his house

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Looking in from the outside, you can't help but be taken aback at the actions these characters take and wonder what is going through their minds. Take Tae-oh with his endless lying and deception but who shares with others that he loves both women. Then there's Hyun-seo who's regularly battered by her abusive boyfriend but she has apparently convinced herself she's his only relationship hope. We have neighbor Je-hyuk thinking it's ok to jump into bed with your friend/client's wife because, hey, he's always liked her so why not. There's hospital colleague Myung-sook playing friend one minute and spy the next. The list goes on with this show.

Certainly an interesting and riveting look at some of the behaviors people engage in and the justifications they make.

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They are all toxic. The only character I trust so far is the abused girl. And the new guy. A new love interest? An outsider, therefore someone clean and upright? An onlooker, like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, someone standing on the outside, watching the world spiral out of control in the tight-knit community? Because if it is based on a Greek tragedy, it will descend into mayhem and chaos and bloodbath.

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My take also - the longer I watch I wonder if there ARE any "good guys", or just varying degrees of really screwed up people.

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"Another thing that A Couple’s World is really bringing out beautifully is the psychological tension that results when a person is pushed to his/her limit. It’s a huge theme in the Greek tragedy to which this story is a nod (more to come on that later),"

Thank you! Now I want to read "Medea" too.

This is truly "hell hath no fury like a woman's scorned." This show is going to be revenge hellish. I fear for those that wronged her before and in the future.

I saw the previews and it looks like the next episodes is going to be the dinner party from hell. Buckle up everyone.

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So excited. Is he going to confess to his adultery? And the guy with the itch, I read somewhere a speculation that he could be the ex of the divorcee, and he was actually stalking her at the birthday party. The mistress says she got rid of the baby. I doubt it.

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Do you think he is capable of telling the truth?

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He lies. He is scum. That's why I was shocked at the preview. Unless it is a red herring. And the jerk is saying something hypothetically.

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The preview...DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED...

He said to his wife, "YOU CAN'T HELP IT IF YOU FALL IN LOVE." I couldn't. Breathe.

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I am obsessed, why is Kim Hae Ae best in Melodramatic adultery dramas. She is so freaking good here.

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Just to provide a bit of cultural perspective, there are research that indicates that almost half of married men in Korea end up cheating on their spouses and 40% do not consider paying for sex adultery. Add to that how much stigma surrounds getting a divorce, you have your answer to what Sun Woo is going through and why so many people are willingly to let it slide. I kinda didn't hate that she slept with Jae Hyuk....like she said, women have base instincts as much as men and then why the double standard. Not to mention, it is horrible what Jae Hyuk's wife did to her along with Jae Hyuk. I can't wait till she kicks Tae Oh with not a penny to his name. Also is Da Kyung stupid, her dad would freaking kill Tae Oh if he figures out what is going on here, this divorce would not change a single thing for her or Tae Oh.

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Not just that, but Tae Oh is hoping to get film investment money from Da Kyung's father. Talk about ruining himself both professionally and personally.

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You are right to point that out. No decent dad would want that guy for a son in law. He would probably want the daughter to keep the baby but not to allow him near her at all.

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I can't find the series streaming. Which is a darned shame, I was really looking forward to it. Instead I get to watch 'How Are You Bread' on Viki (eye roll).

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Seems like the only place to stream it is on the pirate sites. Viki was supposed to get it, or at least they say "coming soon", but so far it is not even on their schedule. It may show up on NetFlix after the series end, but who knows.

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Great recap!
This show makes my blood boil, I don't even know how Sun-woo can keep living the lie and look at her husband or friends. So many lines and bonds have been damaged. Seo-won using her patient as the spy, her friend and colleague betraying her, the husband breaking their vows. The lengths she is going to to get vengeance and the truth are shocking, I'm wondering how things will play out in the coming episodes.

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Lousy friend indeed. I wonder why would she keep spying for him. I do pity the neighbour’s wife. He looked down on her. I wonder why he wanted to marry her and make her life miserable.

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I don’t watch makJang shows, and shows about married ppl etc don’t interest me. But for reason, this seems to be a thriller more than a tearjerker. It’s interesting to see the main lead actress Sun Woo character grow. And yes indeed, her neighbour isn’t any less better than the hubby.

Let’s see what the new doctor’s role is. And I hope that Hyun Seon reports her abusive ex BF.

What I am glad is to see Sun Woo handling this very sensibly. Instead of focusing her anger on getting rid of the “mistress” and keeping the husband, she turns to protecting her son and assets. As for the lady with wealthy husband, she made the choice to stay with him because he gave her financial security and society prestige. She wants to keep that. It’s her choice. If the husband is poor, I think she would have dumped him on the spot.

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I don't agree with what she did by sleeping with her "friend's" husband but it could potentially make the story more interesting. She is still highly emotional and resentful WHILE trying to make extremely calculated moves so she won't be screwed in her divorce. I think people were assuming the anger from the betrayal would make her immediately snap into a calculated killing machine where we root for everything she does that is meticulous and calculated but that is not realistic. This whole situation is going to be MESSY and I don't see her ending being the best whether or not she gets some type of revenge. I'm along for the ride!!

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Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially when that woman has nothing to lose anymore.
I would like to believe that she was going to simply get a divorce as cleanly and as quietly as she could when she first found out about the affair—because we all know S.Korea is backwards and stigma on divorce isn’t kind, and it’s even harsher on women in such a patriarchal society— but then all bets were off and all hell broke loose when she realized that her son found out about the affair and knows about it now, too

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I just feel that they will make her pay for sleeping with the other guy. I hope they won't, but I have a feeling they will. The morality gurus will decry, "But we have to send a message to the viewers. Sleeping with another man, even in revenge, or on the rebound is a no-no. You will be punished for your indiscretion." Honestly? I'm glad she did it. I loved that he told her he found her attractive, that her husband is a fool (not sure about this, maybe I imagined it, because that's what I wanted him to say to her), that she didn't regret it, that it made her stronger. I hope he finds out, I hope he gets gutted when he finds out.

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Just like how @missvictrix describes it, the drama makes everything very black and white, the lines about what is and isn’t morally right is all laid out, and so, yea, I agree, I think she will have to pay a consequence later on for her actions, whether it be for sleeping with Je Hyuk now or the things she will do later in the name of revenge 😔😔😔

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Thanks for the weecap.

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