Discovery of Romance: Episode 10
We’re past the halfway point of the show, and I’m glad to say we’ve overcome the midway hump. Moving forward full speed ahead. Though we get less plot, we’re given loads of emotional development, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The small hints given throughout the episodes have accumulated to give us some rich emotional yet realistic reactions from our past lovers, who have yet to come to peaceful terms with each other. Long-awaited truths are revealed, but it may be too late to reverse the damage that’s been done.
EPISODE 10: “Let’s break up…”
We start off with Ha-jin perfectly timing his arrival to witness Tae-ha supporting Yeo-reum. He looks intently at the two as he thinks back to earlier in the day.
In a flashback, Ah-rim asks him what he thinks love is, and he replies that love is when you like the person even if you’re disadvantaged. “It’s when you know you’re being fooled, but just go along with it.” We see now that he’d seen Tae-ha and Yeo-reum together in the parking garage of the shopping mall, but he didn’t do anything about it.
Back to the present, Sol and Joon-ho rush out and do a double-gasp, first seeing debilitated Yeo-reum with Tae-ha, and then seeing Ha-jin. As soon as Ha-jin is in close enough proximity, Yeo-reum pushes away from Tae-ha and leans into his embrace. They all give Tae-ha accusing looks, so he explains that she had lost consciousness. But he doesn’t explain further, keeping her privacy.
Ha-jin gives him a curt thank-you, and they all carefully walk in, with the exception of Tae-ha and Sol. She presses him for more information on why Yeo-reum fainted, but he just says to let her rest and eat. Before going back inside, she warns him not to associate with Yeo-reum in the future, as it adds to the suspicion and stresses her out.
Joon-ho and Ha-jin try to get Yeo-reum some necessary medical attention, but she declines it, saying that she just wants to shower and rest. Being the considerate boyfriend, Ha-jin dries her hair, feeds her, and brushes his teeth with her. It’s really sweet.
Meanwhile, Tae-ha paces outside, unable to communicate his worry to anyone. He tries to text Sol but can’t manage to ask her about Yeo-reum. Sitting in his car, he starts his engine but waits. He’s clearly frustrated, stuck doing nothing. He eventually leaves, but he broods on his stairs at home. “I wish I could just hear that she’s okay.”
Ha-jin has fallen asleep next to Yeo-reum, but she hasn’t. She stares at her ring and thinks back to earlier. She had felt Tae-ha’s tears fall onto her hand. Not only that, she’d woken up and seen him bawling. Confused and unable to sleep, she gets up and gives him a call.
Tae-ha looks depressed as he drinks the night away and braces himself before he picks up the call. He asks if she’s okay, but she replies with a question, asking if something happened while she was at the hospital. Behind her, Ha-jin walks in just in time to overhear the conversation and interrupts the phone call just as she starts to thank him.
Ha-jin takes the phone and thanks Tae-ha on behalf of Yeo-reum, which of course doesn’t sit well with Tae-ha. He demands to hear those words directly from Yeo-reum, but Ha-jin ends the phone call after his quick word of thanks. He tells Yeo-reum that it shouldn’t matter who expresses the gratitude as long as it’s shown. He adds that they’ve got a lot to talk about but not tonight. She needs rest.
Angry and frustrated, Tae-ha goes to the batting cage with Yoon. He inserts coin after coin into the machine and bats away, ready to push himself to exhaustion. Yoon insists that he stop, as he could injure his shoulder, but he doesn’t listen. He’s got too many feelings brewing up inside of him.
They end up sitting against the wall on an empty street with some beer. Yoon massages Tae-ha’s arm and asks what’s going on. Tae-ha asks what kind of person he is, and remembers what Yeo-reum said about him. She told him that he always made her wait and had more important things to do, even though he insisted that he liked her. He acknowledges, “I’m a selfish person, I do what I want, and I don’t think of others. I’m that bastard.”
He explains that when he saw Yeo-reum in the hospital, he regretted everything. He even says that Ha-jin is probably a better guy for her. He even considered resolving his feelings and wishing for her own happiness. But he can’t do that. He can’t wish her happiness with another man. He gets up and explosively tells Yoon that he’s a deplorable guy but can’t help himself when it comes to Yeo-reum.
The next morning, Yoon comes to Tae-ha’s house with a hangover breakfast and finds him asleep against the couch. As soon as he wakes up, he confirms that they’re going to Yeo-reum and Sol’s shop. He insists on going along because he has something to tell Sol.
Ha-jin accidentally wakes up Yeo-reum with a morning kiss, and he tells her to rest as he prepares breakfast. Lying in bed, she thinks back to Ha-jin’s lie about the seminar yesterday. She gets up, finds his car keys, and sneaks out to do some snooping. In the car, she looks through his receipts and GPS to trace where he went yesterday. She sees that he went to an orphanage, which completely throws her off.
Sol and Joon-ho see Yeo-reum snooping around in the car, so they join her to ask what she’s up to. She admits that she’s looking for evidence to use against Ha-jin, but what she found so far is confusing. They see that he went to the orphanage, but Sol tells her that if a man were to cheat, he would go anywhere to do so. Joon-ho tries to escape the situation, but Yeo-reum locks the doors and Sol grabs him. Ha.
Back inside, they all sit down for breakfast, and Yeo-reum cuts to the chase. She asks why Ha-jin lied to her, so he asks why she didn’t tell him she was out with Tae-ha. Joon-ho and Sol follow the conversation and interrupt to defend their respective friends. Sol tells the couple to stop misunderstanding each other, and if they’re going to lie to each other, don’t get caught.
Ha-jin takes note of how Yeo-reum used banmal with Tae-ha on the phone yesterday, as did Joon-ho and Sol when talking to him last night. They quickly cover up the situation, explaining that they just got close from their frequent interactions, but he’s suspicious. Oohh, if you all are going to lie, don’t get caught.
Yeo-reum changes the topic back to Ah-rim, asking how Ha-jin could meet up with her again so soon after their big fight. He explains to her that he went to drive up one of the children who needs surgery. Since these children don’t have parents to support them, he wanted to be of greater help. Of course, this hits a soft spot for him, but Yeo-reum is not as sympathetic and leaves the table, angry that he always makes her the bad person.
Producer Bae has an afternoon date with Ha-jin’s mother at the regular bar that the whole crew — Yeo-reum, Joon-ho, Sol — frequents. He gets a call from Mom asking where he is, and she hangs up saying that she’ll meet him there, not giving him a chance to explain his situation. He mentally prepares for a big fight between these women over him and tells the bar owner to be ready. Little does he know, he’s introducing the two in-laws without their knowledge. Haha.
The meeting of the two women is not as explosive as Producer Bae had expected — their conversation actually turns into a compliment-fest for him. It seems like they’re both trying to set each other up with him. Ha-jin’s mother pops the question about the two being friends for a long time; now all they need to do is combine their living situations.
That catches Mom off-guard. After some clarification, it turns out neither of the two women are interested in Producer Bae, which is news to nobody but him. Sorry to crush your dreams, my friend.
Ha-jin comes into Yeo-reum’s room with her uneaten food. He insists that she eat and starts to explain his nightmares. But he can’t fully disclose his backstory because of his mother. “Without my mother, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be a doctor, and I probably would have never met you.” He promises to tell her as soon as he can with his mother’s permission.
Ha-jin accidentally knocks over the juice on the white comforter, cueing laundry time for the couple. Joon-ho and Sol watch from afar and comment on how they were just mad at each other moments ago — they’ll probably never break up. And because laundry time is always a good time, they also join in on the fun.
Meanwhile, Ah-rim is preparing lunch and the little boy, Tae-kyung, waits for Ha-jin to join them. He’s disappointed when Ah-rim tells him that she’s not going to call, so he tries to call himself. She’s clearly trying to distance herself from him, but she does call him for Tae-kyung.
The happy lounging couple sees the call, and Ha-jin surrenders his phone to Yeo-reum. She picks up and tells Ah-rim that Ha-jin won’t be able to make lunch with them because he lied to her yesterday. It’s a pretty straightforward message and one that Ah-rim seems to have predicted, but they’re both disappointed by his absence.
Joon-ho watches Sol saw wood, with an enamored expression on his face and “My Girl” playing in the background. He stares intently as Sol turns around, smiling. The real Sol calls out to Joon-ho, which wakes him up from his reverie. She asks him to get some coffee, and he happily agrees.
As he walks outside, he runs into Tae-ha and Director Yoon. Tae-ha requests to talk to him as Director Yoon rushes inside to “work” with Sol, making Joon-ho wary.
Joon-ho asks if anything is wrong with Yeo-reum, but Tae-ha clarifies that it was a momentary wave of stress that caused her to lose consciousness. He then asks about where Yeo-reum’s father is resting, which raises a red flag for Joon-ho. Yeo-reum’s mother goes there once a month, but Yeo-reum refuses to go. She’s particularly sensitive about her father, and they know not to bring it up. Still, Tae-ha wants to know where he is.
Back at the shop, Director Yoon presents Sol with a contract for a new project collaboration, but he’s more concerned with the pine tree he’s brought. He gives it to Sol and confesses his feelings just as Joon-ho arrives. He starts out by saying that he has a chest, to which Sol immediately covers her chest. He quickly corrects his mistake — he meant heart. HA. “I’m 37 and single. What people do these days with flirting and testing the waters, I think it’s a waste of time. I don’t have time for that. I’ve seen enough of you… and I was wondering what you thought of me.”
Smiling shyly, Sol begins to answer, but she’s cut off by Joon-ho. He announces his arrival with coffee and politely gives Director Yoon one. Director Yoon takes his leave, and Joon-ho smacks Sol on the forehead, telling her to get in her right mind.
Tae-ha finds where Yeo-reum’s father is resting and arrives with flowers. He spends some time at the tree paying his respects and lost in his own thoughts.
Yeo-reum and Sol discuss the new project collaboration with Tae-ha’s company. Joon-ho interrupts with his biased input, saying that he thinks they shouldn’t do this project. But the two want to go forward anyway and use the earnings from this job to expand their shop. Joon-ho then remembers that he told Tae-ha about Yeo-reum’s father’s resting place. She reacts angrily to this news and thinks back to Tae-ha’s behavior at the hospital.
Ha-jin gets quick updates from Ah-rim about Tae-kyung’s condition and then meets with his mother. He tells her that he wants to tell Yeo-reum about Ah-rim. “I received a lot from you, Mom. If I hadn’t met you, I would have lived like Ah-rim, and she would have lived like me. I’d like to give Ah-rim a tenth of what you’ve given me.” But when his mother asks if Yeo-reum wants to marry him, he has no response. She tells him to wait and think about whether or not they should reveal this to Yeo-reum.
At work, Tae-ha tells Director Yoon to alter the contract so that it excludes Yeo-reum and is only with Sol. Director Yoon seems doubtful, but Tae-ha looks sure. Later, in the break room, Yeo-reum runs into Tae-ha and confirms that he asked for her father’s resting place. She also requests that he not tell anyone that her fainting was because they’d visited the fishing site her father frequented.
But Tae-ha opposes that idea, “These people are the closest to you and should know about this. Why you hurt, have a hard time, and get those symptoms… ” But Yeo-reum cuts him off, “I don’t think people need to know everything about me, no matter what it is.”
She takes her leave, but Tae-ha gets the last word: “You need to give a chance to the people who love you. Think about what that means.”
As she leaves with Sol, Yeo-reum tells Director Yoon about how happy she is to be busy with work nowadays. But he finally breaks it to her that this contract is only for Sol, not both of them. Upon hearing this news, Yeo-reum immediately gives Tae-ha a call, but he doesn’t pick up. He just watches them walk away from afar.
Ha-jin performs surgery on little Tae-kyung’s burn scar, and though it’s successful, Tae-kyung keeps crying after the surgery. Ha-jin and Ah-rim try to figure out what’s wrong, and he finally admits that he misses his mom. Ha-jin is taken aback and looks at him sympathetically, but Ah-rim immediately begins to scold him.
She tells him that he can come live with her; all he needs to do is study hard and come to Seoul when he grows up. He swallows his tears, and so does Ha-jin, as he looks at Ah-rim apologetically. When he returns to his office, he thinks back to Tae-kyung crying for his mom and lets a tear drop before he wipes away his sadness.
Tae-ha looks through his memory box again, trying to relive some of his moments with Yeo-reum through some adorable pictures. He comes across a written contract and a handwritten letter, which stirs particular memories.
Flashback to the relationship days. Yeo-reum throws a notepad and pen at Tae-ha, who’s kneeling with his hands above his head in punishment for being two hours late. She forces him to write a contract, and though she’s mad, she smiles at the thought of this punishment. At another point in their relationship, Yeo-reum forcefully opens Tae-ha’s eyes to show him the handwritten letter, reminding him of their promise to write to each other.
Back in the present, Tae-ha looks through all the contents of the box — the pictures, the letters, the ring — and packs it back into the box in a concluding manner.
As Yeo-reum and Sol close up their shop, Tae-ha arrives. He sits down with Yeo-reum to explain why she’s not included in the future contract. He simply doesn’t want to see her anymore. Even this current project is being headed by Director Yoon now, so she won’t be seeing Tae-ha anymore. He gives her an envelope of pictures to look through as reference for the wine bar.
As she looks through them, she finds pictures of her father’s burial place. She’s immediately brought to tears by the photos and asks Tae-ha why he went there. He says that wanted to apologize to her father for not fulfilling his promise to be by her side. He also admits that he should have been by her side when her father passed. If he had been there, she probably would have told him the truth. “I’m sorry.”
In a quick flashback, we see Yeo-reum faced with telling Joon-ho and Sol about her father’s death. They hadn’t known about the funeral until it was too late. Mom also enters the room, and Joon-ho goes to express his sympathies. They ask how he passed, and Yeo-reum lies that it was a car accident. Mom looks at her, knowing it’s a lie, but doesn’t say anything.
In the present, Yeo-reum continues to cry as she lets out her thoughts. “I thought that you would find out eventually since we dated for so long. I don’t know why, but when I was at the hospital, I thought that maybe you had figured everything out. Because you’re Kang Tae-ha.”
The only thing Tae-ha can do is apologize for finding out too late. Yeo-reum breaks down in tears, so he comes over to comfort her. In a voiceover, she tells us, “This person’s warmth, tears, and sincerity reassured me. I felt like I’d gotten lost and only now found peace of mind — someone to tell me that it’s okay, that it’s not my fault. That’s how I felt.”
After letting out her tears, Yeo-reum tells Tae-ha everything about that day. It seemed like a normal morning: Her parents were aloof and she was nervous at their behavior. Tae-ha says that he thinks it was planned, as her father had told him at the fishing place to be good to Yeo-reum and think of her as his last love. Sadly, he couldn’t keep that promise.
Thinking back, Tae-ha reflects on their past problems and regrets that they could have overcome them. “Everything’s my fault. You were right, Han Yeo-reum.” She admits that she should have told him the truth but was too scared to speak of what really happened.
Throwing his pride away, Tae-ha tells Yeo-reum that he lost his chance, but she should give that chance to Ha-jin because he’s the one by her side now. He stands up to make his final statement. “Let’s break up. Now, let’s properly break up. I couldn’t break up with you because I didn’t know why we broke up in the first place. And you’ve been resenting me all this time. You’re not broken up if you’re still resenting that person. Be happy, Han Yeo-reum. I’m glad I can sincerely say this to you.”
He forces a smile and walks away. Yeo-reum’s tears start to fall again, and Tae-ha can’t hold back his tears either as he walks away from the actual end of their relationship.
This was such a solid episode, and it was executed so well. If you’ve been drama-hopping and just happened to watch this episode, it may have been a bit overwhelming. But if you’ve been following the previous episodes, this was a much-awaited emotional catharsis from both sides, but especially Yeo-reum. There’s something about her breaking her cold front and allowing herself to break down that gave me a wave of relief. She deserved a good cry, and I’m glad she finally got a chance to do so.
It’s interesting to see how the change of tone and perspective can change our view of our characters. These past two episodes have been particularly sympathetic towards Yeo-reum, as all the missing pieces are slowly coming together. Until we figured out what exactly happened, she was misunderstood as an unreasonable person. I kept asking the question: Why couldn’t she just tell Tae-ha about what happened? But we see the reasons now. Speaking of and even just thinking about her father is too much for Yeo-reum. The memory of him haunts her to the bone, and it’s likely something she’ll never get over. It was great strategy for the writers to be stingy and reveal only little bits of information at a time. That way, we as the audience experienced the same misunderstandings and frustrations as the characters who had trouble understanding each other. Our understanding widens with the characters, and there’s not much more that we know that they don’t. Ironically, it’s that lack of dramatic irony that makes this show so intriguing.
While I think our couple is taking steps in the right direction, I’m honestly not a fan of them anymore. They’re cute, they’re sweet, and they’re beautiful. But they don’t have the depth that I see with Yeo-reum and Tae-ha. The chemistry between our exes is undeniable, so much so that even Ha-jin is catching on and bound to find out sometime soon. As most of their history is now fully disclosed to us and them, we see how tragic their relationship is. They were so close in mending the rips and tears, but they found themselves as victims of circumstance. Of course, they were at fault for not communicating and taking each other for granted, but some of the cracks in their relationship were out of their control. Nothing could have prepared them for difficulties they never got over until now.
The star of the episode was definitely Tae-ha. His raw moment of self-hatred was wonderfully done, as I definitely don’t hate him as much as he hates himself. He can’t want to get back with Yeo-reum because she’s someone he’s already hurt too much. But he desperately and earnestly wants to give it another shot. Also, Tae-ha’s advice about trusting others to understand your pain was profound. I totally understand Yeo-reum when she’s saying that people don’t need to know everything about you — hiding your vulnerabilities is an easy way to avoid getting hurt. But he has a point when he tells her to give these people a chance. They all care about her and need to be given a chance to understand. That’s some great advice. I worry a little bit about Tae-ha’s noble idiocy tendencies, but so far, it’s more about making amends than anything. He’s trying to make some proper amends in this dysfunctional relationship so that they can both move on. Problem is, I don’t see them moving anytime soon.
I must mention that the level of acting with this whole cast is phenomenal. I haven’t commented too much on this before because it was clear that everyone was pretty competent. But I can’t leave this out, especially on such an emotion-heavy episode. Eric and Jung Yumi have some crackling chemistry together, but they also express their flawed characters with depth so well individually. And some of the relative newbies surprise me from time to time: Sung Joon and Yoon Jin-yi are doing quite well. Especially with Yoon Jin-yi, who has such a raw delivery of her emotions. I have a strong memory of specific moments with her in this drama, and that says a lot when you’re not getting as much screen time.
Going forward, oh my goodness, Director Yoon’s confession was utter perfection, Joon-ho’s infatuation with Sol is slowly becoming my favorite thing in the whole world, and Producer Bae’s vain tendencies make me laugh out loud. Regarding our exes — amid the turbulence and official breakup — one thing’s for certain: This sure isn’t the end.