Sly and Single Again: Episode 7
Lots of action in this episode: fisticuffs between men for a woman’s virtue; women (literally!) wrestling over an apology; a mother attempting to beat sense into her daughter; and the wanton destruction of art, be it canvas or fruit. This is no doubt to make up for the fact that plot barely inches forward, but at least we learn who is truly responsible for the Dontalk messaging app.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
After overhearing Ae-ra and Jung-woo’s conversation on the rooftop, Yeo-jin is shocked to discover that they were once married, and retreats to her office where she begins to make sense of past clues: Ae-ra’s sabotage of Jung-woo’s car, Jung-woo’s argument that they shouldn’t give special dispensation to Ae-ra over the other interns, Ae-ra’s drunken accusation that “someone she knows” told her how much Jung-woo’s wife sacrificed for him to create his company. She does not appear particularly pleased with this discovery.
At home, Jung-woo insists he’s on a diet when he sees that Secretary Gil has set out all the food Ae-ra’s mother prepared for him. Secretary Gil has no problem eating alone, cheerfully agreeing that Jung-woo does have to watch his image as the divorced, single man that women want to seduce. But the homemade food is too tempting even for stubborn Jung-woo, and he’s soon stuffing his face.
Jung-woo eats with rapturous abandon, but Secretary Gil is suspicious: “What kind of ex-mother-in-law still takes care of her ex-son-in-law?” Jung-woo protests that she’s just someone who’s generous with food in general, even giving extra servings to the poor exam students who would frequent her restaurant, and that her food is too tasty to be ignored. Secretary Gil concludes this must mean Ae-ra was a good cook, too, and Jung-woo admits she was, but they rarely ate at home because she would spend too much money on ingredients and it would take her forever to make even simple dishes (because she would take a picture of her work after each step, ha).
Secretary Gil reminds him that Ae-ra made him breakfast everyone morning, and Jung-woo concedes that point, remembering their early days of wedded bliss when she would happily feed him in the morning as he hurried out the door to go to work.
Min-young wakes up to finds Ae-ra crying in the living room, and she hilariously thinks at first Ae-ra is crying because of what they’re selling on the shopping channel before finally cluing in that it’s because of Jung-woo.
She peppers Ae-ra with questions about their meeting, and when she realizes that Jung-woo rejected her apology (“He said that he was really hurt because of me”), she’s outraged on her friend’s behalf: “What about you? Weren’t you hurt, too?” and just as she’s about to remind why Ae-ra chose to divorce him, Ae-ra wearily interrupts: “What’s the point in talking about the past?”
At work, the mobile shopping team is in the middle of a staff meeting, and Ae-ra is bewildered by all the English business terms that Team Leader Wang and Song-hee use. Seung-hyun whispers the Korean translations, but the women are all too ready to pounce on Ae-ra’s ignorance, and Team Leader Wang appoints Song-hee to teach Ae-ra everything she needs to know.
Manager Kam sweetly consoles Ae-ra after the meeting, and when she admits she doesn’t understand why all the terms need to be in English instead of Korean, it sets him off on a tirade where Ae-ra learns that his wife and children are in America and keep postponing their move back to Korea. So Ae-ra ends up consoling him, instead.
He hurries away before Seung-hyun can offer him the clementine he’d peeled in a cute shape as a way of encouragement, so he gives it Ae-ra, who marvels at his skill (but has no problem eating it because, hey, it’s food!). Jung-woo happens to be riding in the elevator just at the moment, and their playful banter doesn’t go unnoticed from his glass perch.
During lunch, Team Leader Wang asks if everyone has submitted an entry for the messenger service contest (because she doesn’t want to look bad compared to the business team), and everyone focuses on their food so they don’t have to respond. Ha. Song-hee “modestly” admits that she once sent a rude text to what she thought was a spam message, but it turned out to be Dontalk inquiring if she was still looking for a job, and that her straight-forward answer was actually admired.
Seunghyun notes that Ae-ra is lost in thought, and asks if she also came up with a “message gone wrong” story. She recalls when she and Jung-woo were first dating and her parents had gone out of town for the weekend, so she’d texted him: “Oppa, my house is empty tonight. Come quickly!”
But when her mother furiously burst in on them while they were having a cozy dinner, she discovered she had accidentally sent it to the wrong person. She shares the story (although not naming names), and Seung-hyun thinks it’s a perfect idea to submit, but Ae-ra clearly would rather keep that memory private.
Cut to: Yeo-jin reading an entry that sounds suspiciously similar Ae-ra’s story. Jung-woo chuckles that everyone must have had the experience of a parent walking in on them at least once, and when Yeo-jin asks if he did, he neither confirms nor denies it — but from the look on his face, we know he’s know that he’s recalling the same memory as Ae-ra. They settle on that entry as the contest winner.
Later, Yeo-jin meets with what she assumes to be a potential investor, Robert Kim, only to find out that it’s a blind date set up by her father. She tells him point blank that she has no interest in dating him, and that she already has someone else in mind for marriage. He calls her bluff, saying he already knows everything about her, and that not only would he be a good business partner, but he’s also one of the few guys who could handle her (implying that no guy would want to marry her with her prosthetic leg).
At that moment, Jung-woo arrives at the meeting, and Yeo-jin introduces him as the man she’s going to marry. He’s surprised at this announcement but goes along with it, thinking she’s just using him as an excuse to blow off the blind date. Robert gets up to leave, but as he does, he snidely remarks that Jung-woo must be getting paid handsomely for taking on “this kind of woman.” Jung-woo responds by punching Robert in the face.
President Kook receives an airmail letter from his wife, and he assumes this means that she’s finally been won over by his tears and is ready to reconcile — but after seeing it’s a divorce agreement, he goes on a rampage in her art studio, tearing down easels and knocking over painting supplies. Ae-ra and Seung-hyun are killing time at a coffee shop after a failed visit to a potential client when Seung-hyun receives a call from Director Oh about his mother’s studio.
Now it’s Ae-ra’s turn to be the optimistic one and cheer up the normally effervescent Seung-hyun as she helps him clean up the mess his father left behind.
Meanwhile, Yeo-jin nurses the wounds on Jung-woo’s knuckles, and when she asks why he went so far as to hit Robert, he says that people who look at marriage as a business deal disgust him, and Yeo-jin isn’t someone who should be treated that way. Yeo-jin practically swoons at that admission, and shyly admits that Jung-woo doesn’t really know all that much about her.
Jung-woo says that’s probably true, but he does know at least one thing about her: “You’re someone I can trust.” She tests the waters by asking whethere he would still protect her as he did if there were a circumstance about her that he didn’t know. He smoothly responds that, because he trusts her, he’d do his best to understand the situation and respect the fact she was unable to explain the circumstance. She then gently raises the question as to why he divorced, since he’s not the type to give up easily or “throw people away.” Jung-woo: “Trust is like a piece of paper: once it’s wrinkled, it can’t become perfect again.”
As Seung-hyun and Ae-ra continue to clean the studio, Ae-ra wonders at what would make his father want to destroy it: “Did she ruin the family business?” This throws Seung-hyun for a loop, until Ae-ra explains that every time her father would ruin a business venture, her mother would go around wreaking havoc, just like his father. Seung-hyun admits he’s jealous of her family, and Ae-ra teases him that if he keeps saying that, he should just go and live with them. Seung-hyun: “Can’t I?” He plays it off as a joke, but I’m not sure how much he’s joking.
Speaking of Ae-ra’s family, Soo-cheol calls Jung-woo to let him know that they need the containers from the food Ae-ra’s mother gave him, and to just leave them with Ae-ra since that would be easiest (and most convenient in terms of getting them to reconcile). Even though he doesn’t look thrilled to have an excuse to meet with Ae-ra, Jung-woo sends her a message to meet him on the roof.
He carefully settles into a cool pose, and once she arrives to pick up the containers, he launches into a lengthy (and no doubt rehearsed) explanation about how her family needs to stop contacting him and referring to him as “brother-in-law” — only to discover that Ae-ra didn’t bother to stick around to hear him speechify.
Yeo-jin offers Ae-ra a ride home, couching it as a favor for employees who work late (but we know it’s really because she’s curious about Ae-ra and Jung-woo’s relationship). When Yeo-jin questions why Ae-ra doesn’t live at home, Ae-ra cheerily admits that she’s always wanted to be independent, even getting married early — but stops short, admitting that she’s now divorced. Ae-ra is relieved when Yeo-jin says a divorce shouldn’t be shameful, and takes Yeo-jin at face value for her offer of getting a drink sometime. Aw, Ae-ra is so happy at the thought of making a friend, when really Yeo-jin just wants to keep tabs on her.
Seung-hyun visits Jung-woo (with beer and snacks in hand), and admits there’s a woman who’s caught his eye. He doesn’t mention who it is, but begins describing her to Jung-woo, and his favorable descriptions are hilariously juxtaposed with flashbacks of Ae-ra’s actions. For example, he says that she’s an “intelligent woman who doesn’t make the same mistake twice,” and the flashback shows her drunkenly shoving his offer of a bag out of the way because she refuses to vomit again.
“Most importantly,” he concludes, “when a man wavers, she’s a woman who knows how to hold onto him.” To that we get the image of Ae-ra holding onto Seung-hyun’s legs to keep him steady as he’s replacing the light bulb in his mother’s studio.
Jung-woo marvels that such a woman exists, and then asks if she’s pretty. Seung-hyun hesitates, but Jung-woo reassures him by saying that the one woman a man should avoid is the “pretty but petty” woman who holds a grudge, like his ex-wife. Seung-hyun wishes he could have known her, and Jung-woo says he wants to meet that fantastic woman of Seung-hyun’s. I also can’t wait for them to realize they’re talking about the same woman.
The next day, Team Leader Wang reveals Song-hee won the “messenger service upgrade” contest, but as she reads the story out loud to the team, everyone notes that it’s obvious Song-hee used Ae-ra’s original story. Song-hee calls Ae-ra out to the hallway, and defends herself by saying that she was able to make Ae-ra’s idea “blossom like a flower,” when Ae-ra would have foolishly just let it linger as an unused idea, and that Ae-ra’s most important role as Song-hee’s hoobae is to quietly support her sunbae.
Ae-ra isn’t buying any of that nonsense, and drops the formalities as she shoves Song-hee up against the wall: “As your sunbae in life, let me teach you something: You’re a thief for selling off my personal story without my permission.” She then demands an apology. Song-hee refuses, insisting Ae-ra’s story wasn’t that unique, anyway. She angrily adds that in order to survive the jungle of the workplace, you have to eat your rivals before they can eat you. She insists that, instead, Ae-ra should apologize for speaking informally to a sunbae, and when Ae-ra refuses, Song-hee grabs onto her arm, repeating her demand for an apology.
In the tussle, Song-hee falls over a potted plant — just as Jung-woo happens to be walking by. Oh no!
Ae-ra stands in shock while Song-hee quickly rushes to Jung-woo’s side, putting on her most pitiful face as she lets him know how apologetic she is for her hoobae’s abusive and terrifying behavior, and that she promises, as the sunbae, do better in training her. But Jung-woo ignores her and tells Ae-ra to follow him instead (which was totally not the response Song-hee was hoping for).
In an empty conference room, Jung-woo asks Ae-ra if it’s really that hard to work quietly without letting her impulsive emotions get in the way. She tries defends herself (ha, but only adding the formal “-yo” at the end of her sentence, almost as an afterthought), but Jung-woo questions her sincerity in her apologies (hinting that her rooftop apology from the previous episode was insincere), and that she’ll be officially reprimanded. After all, he’s the CEO and she’s still just an intern.
At that moment, Yeo-jin enters the conference room for a staff meeting, and Jung-woo dismisses Ae-ra. Yeo-jin asks what happened, thinking it more personal than business related, and he simply says that due to her fight with a sunbae, he doesn’t think they should hire on Ae-ra on after her internship.
Ae-ra returns to her desk, annoyed that Jung-woo seems unaware that if it weren’t for her, he would never have come up with his free messaging service in the first place or the new “wrong message” service: “At this rate, I’ll be responsible for the entire company!” Ha!
In an act of petty retaliation, Song-hee invites the office out to dinner as a celebration for her winning the contest, but with the help of Team Manager Wang, they make sure Ae-ra stays behind to complete extra work. Seung-hyun seems reluctant to leave Ae-ra, but he joins the rest of his workmates for dinner.
Ae-ra takes a quick break to get ramyun from a convenience store, and coincidentally meets Jung-woo in the elevator. When he asks if she’s working late, she sighs and says she’s always working late, and, in fact, his entire company rests on the blood, sweat, and tears of tireless and hardworking people like her. She wonders when he’ll finally admit that the free messaging service was inspired by her. “Inspiration? More like mistreatment,” he retorts. She leaves the elevator only after calling him a rotten CEO, and he childishly blows the insult back at her. Oh, these two.
But once again we see that flashback to their married days, when Ae-ra had gasped at the high cell phone bill and ordered him to work on creating free text messaging, reminding us that yes, she was his inspiration after all.
Seung-hyun surprises Ae-ra by returning to the office under the pretense of forgetting to complete a report, but instead he’s just happy to spend time with her. His spirits are temporarily deflated when she refers to him as just a colleague, but he bounces back by taking her kimbap, since, as “colleagues,” they should share. Jung-woo watches their happy conversation from the hallway, where he had been about to offer to take her dinner as a way to show his gratitude, but walks away trying to convince himself that he’s thankful to save money instead of spending it on Ae-ra.
Later, during the meeting to introduce the advertising for the new messaging feature, the marketing team reveals that since they couldn’t afford Brad Pitt, the “top star” they selected to helm the advertising campaign was their very own CEO. Ha! Jung-woo is astonished by this news and only reluctantly agrees when Yeo-jin convinces him that the money he saves on model fees could be used for more research and development. The CF director reassures Jung-woo that he will be sure to uphold the image of the young and enthusiastic entrepreneur…
…only to find himself dressed in a Superman costume (but with the Dontalk logo instead of an “S”). Pfft.
The contest winner is supposed to be a part of the ad shoot, but Song-hee shows up with the aftereffects of a bad reaction to a facial, begging the CF to keep her in and just use photoshop to fix her blemishes. The CF director retorts that not even all the CGI in Avatar could save that face. That means they have to use Song-hee’s fill-in instead, who turns out to be none other than Ae-ra.
Oh, I am so looking forward to that photo shoot!
Actually, I’m looking forward to a lot in the upcoming episode, because, let’s face it — this episode wasn’t exactly heavy on plot or character development.
But one key moment for me was finding out how incredibly important trust is to Jung-woo, and that he’ll do anything to protect someone who has once earned that trust — but once that trust is broken, well, there’s nothing to do but throw it away like a scrap of paper. While this helps me understand a little better his reasoning for so easily dismissing Ae-ra’s apology, I’m hoping that he will gradually learn that it’s possible to gain trust again — especially if it he stopped trusting someone for without understanding the full story (as I assume we’re still waiting to hear, or why would the show tease us with Min-young being so outraged at reminding Ae-ra the original reason for her divorce, only to cut it off — which makes me think it’s more than she was just tired of supporting him in what seemed like a fruitless effort to succeed in his business).
It is interesting to note that he’s perfectly fine with trusting Yeo-jin without knowing the reason why she would be keeping something from him, but still feels the sting of Ae-ra’s betrayal. This is, no doubt, to show that he still loves Ae-ra on a deep level — but it also hints that, perhaps, a relationship with Yeo-jin would be primarily built on respect and trust, instead of “true love.” Which I personally think is a pretty awesome foundation for a long-lasting relationship, but this is Dramaland — no sizzle, no endgame.
So, yes; while I hope Ae-ra and Jung-woo can learn to reconcile and heal the deeply embedded hurts they’ve caused each other (or at least allow them to scar over without constantly picking at each other’s wounds), I still would have no problem if they moved on and built new relationships with the second leads. Yeo-jin is a stabilizing for in Jung-woo’s life, and he for her — and I definitely think he’s the type who would not be at all put-out by the fact she has a prosthetic leg. In fact, I think he’d be slightly offended she hadn’t mentioned in all the years they’ve known each other (so tell ‘em already!).
But I think I’m more invested in Seung-hyun and Ae-ra. This episode really helped me see how good Seung-hyun is in dealing with his passionate and petulant father, and while I know this isn’t the most favorable comparison, that skill would really help in managing Ae-ra’s passionate outbursts. I love how he never faults or insults the emotions (and reactions due to those emotions) from either his father or Ae-ra — instead, he acknowledges them as real and tries to figure out how to work within them. Even (literally!) smoothing the furrowed brow in order to provide some peace.
I love that he sees Ae-ra as a spirit not to be tamped down, but a flame that must burn in order to survive. Whereas Jung-woo still seems intent on trying to restrain her before she burns out of control.
I’m also hoping this drama will start to better utilize the side characters. I know most of them are there just for laughs or to move the plot along (hello, Ae-ra’s family) or, on the rare and delightful occasion, to be the Voice of Reason, but they are sorely underused. I actually enjoyed getting a brief look into Manager Kam’s life, because he’s a sweet and likable character — and to know that he’s struggling with the fact that his family is happy to be on the other side of the world instead of with him was probably more meaningful for me than the excuse to use it as a way to show off yet another of Seung-hyun’s neat little tricks.
Even Song-hee — the way she was so passionate in her explanation that it’s “eat or be eaten” makes me think that it’s not just puffed up pride in wanting to be the sunbae (and instinctive dislike because Ae-ra doesn’t adore the CEO like Song-hee thinks everyone should), but that someone did exactly that to her when she was new and naïve. So the only way she knows how to survive is to make sure no one cheats her again by being the first to be successful, no matter what it takes.
But I suppose I should just be grateful that the leads are finally getting some character development, and that I’m invested enough to want them to be genuinely happy instead of merely waiting to see how the show plans to get Ae-ra and Jung-woo back together.
At the very least, I hope more truths come out soon, because I still really need to know the true reason why Ae-ra divorced Jung-woo. And I think he deserves to know, too.