Ho-gu’s Love: Episode 10
The baby finally invades Kang-chul’s space and I couldn’t be happier, although Ho-gu might be the happiest of all. It’s a lucky baby who gets these three to dote on him all day, but when you’re the World’s Cutest Baby, who wouldn’t want to dote on you? Let’s not forget that he’s being adopted soon, though — which is the best thing for everyone, because then they can go back to their normal lives. Because that is what everyone really wants, isn’t it? Well, everyone besides Ho-gu, of course.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Tenth Foolish Act: “Let’s take good care of our belly button.”
Kang-chul pins Ho-gu to the wall and tells him that he’s going to finally see this through. Rawr. Do-hee pounds on the locked door, shouting at Kang-chul to talk to her instead of Ho-gu, but Kang-chul is desperate to finally get an answer and end the confusion: just who, exactly, does Ho-gu like? Is it Do-hee? Ho-gu admits that he does indeed like Do-hee.
Stunned, Kang-chul reels back, wondering how that’s even possible. Ho-gu knows he shouldn’t have those feelings, either — especially because of Kang-chul. Even so, he still likes Do-hee. With a pained expression, Kang-chul quietly asks: “Do you like Do-hee… more than me?”
Outside, Do-hee is ready to break down the door, but Kang-chul suddenly emerges. He brushes her off when she asks him to talk in private, and she follows him to his car, asking him what he and Ho-gu talked about. In his room, Ho-gu reaches for the baby rattle Kang-chul left behind, and then picks up the four-leaf clover that fell to the floor.
Kang-chul tries to walk away from Do-hee, telling her he’s not going to waste his time with this anymore, but there’s no dramatic escape for him since his car is blocked in. He pounds on the window of a van to get the guys inside to move it — uh-oh, it looks like they’re reporters on a stake-out.
The reporter feigns surprise at running into Do-hee, who furtively takes off her “disguise” (aka her pair of oversized glasses) and genially greets him, pretending to also be surprised at their meeting like this. He pleasantly agrees it must be fate, but zeros in on the baby she’s holding.
She lies that it’s a friend’s baby, and when the reporter “jokingly” asks if it’s actually hers instead, she smoothly denies it. He asks what the baby’s name is, and she falters for a moment. Kang-chul watches in worry, knowing she hasn’t named him yet. But she quickly reassures the reporter that he has a name — she sees one of Ho-gu’s stray kittens he’s named, and uses the kitten’s name for inspiration. “His name is Geum-dong.”
To confirm that she’s telling the truth, Ho-gu comes running up, shouting “Geum-dong!” He gathers up the baby, telling Do-hee she can leave now, and then hands “Geum-dong” over to his “father,” Kang-chul. He literally shoves Kang-chul and the baby into Kang-chul’s car as he babbles to the reporter about how they have to take care of the baby now.
He drives off with Kang-chul and the baby, and Kang-chul is just as concerned as I am about Ho-gu’s terrible driving skills. But a nervous Ho-gu reassures Kang-chul that he does, indeed, have his driver’s license. As he switches on the windshield wipers instead of the turn indicator, he adds that this is only the other time he’s been behind the wheel since he took the driving test.
Somehow the guys make it safely to Kang-chul’s parking garage. Kang-chul is surprised to find out that the reporters have been following Do-hee for awhile, and that’s why she went to Ho-gu’s house. When Do-hee calls, Kang-chul snatches the phone from Ho-gu, demanding to know why she’s wandering around when reporters are stalking her. And what the hell is that awful smell?
That would be a poopy diaper, and Ho-gu carries the baby into Kang-chul’s apartment so he can change it. But Mr. Neat-freak Kang-chul tries to keep Ho-gu from setting the baby down on any of the furniture, worried about the poop getting on his pristine sofa. Affronted that Kang-chul is more worried about poop than the welfare of the baby, Ho-gu breezes by and sets about changing the diaper on Kang-chul’s bed (much to Kang-chul’s horror).
Coach is relieved to find out that the reporters didn’t learn anything. Besides, they won’t have to worry about hiding out for too much longer — he found a couple who will adopt Do-hee’s baby, but they want to pick him up today. She’s surprised at how sudden it is, but for Coach, it’s not soon enough.
They arrive at Kang-chul’s apartment, where Ho-gu is happily cuddling with the baby and an irritated Kang-chul is busy changing his soiled bed linens. Coach is impressed with the apartment, and Kang-chul proudly puffs up when Ho-gu happily explains that Kang-chul is a successful lawyer — and the father of Do-hee’s baby.
Them’s fightin’ words, and Coach grabs Kang-chul by the lapels as he yells at him, blaming him for this mess. Kang-chul tries to explain that he’s not the father, and Do-hee steps up to intervene, also yelling at Coach that Kang-chul isn’t the father. Ho-gu kicks back on the sofa with the baby, watching them with a satisfied look on his face.
Ho-gu’s family watches a drama on TV, and the lines are eerily close to the ones that Ho-kyung had used with Kang-chul earlier. She cringes as she realizes how desperate she sounded. Mom scoffs that the drama is boring — they always make the girl a single mother who has to raise a child. Hey, now. They’re not all boring.
But Mom’s already switched to the news where there’s a report on Do-hee. Mom remarks that she looks exactly like Ho-gu’s girlfriend, which surprises Dad because she’s so pretty and Ho-gu is, well, Ho-gu. Ho-kyung is more surprised to discover that Ho-gu has a girlfriend in the first place.
Coach and Ho-gu glower at Kang-chul as Do-hee fixes up the scrapes Coach gave him during their tussel. Kang-chul slinks down into his seat as Do-hee yells at them, reminding them that she’s already told them he’s not the father. Coach doesn’t care, though — after the baby gets picked by his adoptive parents, Coach is going to interrogate Kang-chul, anyway.
Ho-gu is a little shocked to realize that baby is leaving tonight. Kang-chul doesn’t understand why the adoptive parents have to come to his apartment, of all places, but Coach explains it’s the only place that works, since Do-hee’s still in hiding. Fine, then — but they can only sit where Kang-chul allows them to sit, and they’re not allowed to touch any of his trophies. Coach: “That just makes me want to touch them even more.”
Ho-kyung sneaks into Ho-gu’s room and rifles through his things. She finds the box that Ho-gu keeps his precious momentos from that night in Yeosu, as well as the baby rattle Kang-chul left behind.
At the studio, Chung-jae tries to butter up Tae-hee in order to find out who the father of Do-hee’s baby is, but Tae-hee insists he doesn’t know. The suggestion that Ho-gu might be the father is immediately dismissed, but at that moment, they receive a message from Ho-kyung, demanding they explain why Do-hee is now dating Ho-gu.
Kang-chul tries to go about his normal life, but his new house guests are disrupting his flow. He finds Coach sprawled on the sofa, idly playing a video game on his phone, and Ho-gu on the bed with the baby. When he reminds Ho-gu that he didn’t give Ho-gu permission to be on the bed, Ho-gu pouts that the sofa is too small for him to lie down with Geum-dong. His lip wobbles as he says it’s the last time he’ll get to see the baby, and Kang-chul clutches at his suddenly pounding heart.
Flustered, he allows Ho-gu to stay on the bed, provided he doesn’t change any more poopy diapers on it. When he heads into the restroom to calm his pounding heart, he’s startled to find Do-hee curled up in his bathtub. She sadly tells him that she wishes she could give her baby a proper bath before he’s adopted.
Kang-chul tries to ignore her, but once sad-puppy-face Ho-gu appears to make the same wish, he doesn’t stand a chance against them. He says they can give the baby a bath — just don’t let him pee in the tub. Kang-chul tries to distract himself with his work, but he’s still clutching his heart as he remembers Ho-gu’s answer to his “Do you like Do-hee more than me?” question.
Ho-gu couldn’t answer that, because how can he know? He can’t possibly compare the feelings people have for each other — it’s different for each individual. Once again the men continue their cross-talk, as Kang-chul thinks Ho-gu means he loves both Do-hee and Kang-chul, but Ho-gu thinks Kang-chul is asking if he likes Do-hee more than Kang-chul likes her.
When Kang-chul tells him that it’s abnormal (as in, it’s abnormal to him for a man to be equally in love with a man and a woman), Ho-gu admits that he knows it’s strange that he’s squeezing in between them (as in, he’s interfering in what he assumes is the relationship between Kang-chul and Do-hee). But even so, he has to do it so he can see the baby. Kang-chul: “A man, a woman, and now a baby?” He throws the four-leaf clover on the floor, telling Ho-gu he refuses to be a part of this confusing mess anymore.
Shaking off the memory of that conversation, Kang-chul focuses once more on his work. Meanwhile, Do-hee and Ho-gu give the baby a bath. Eeep, that’s a huge tub with a lot of water in it for such a little baby.
They gently wash the baby, being careful not to disturb the remaining bit of the umbilical cord still attached to him. Do-hee sighs, sad that she won’t be able to see it fall off before the baby leaves. Kang-chul peeks in on his way to refill his espresso, but the next thing he knows, he’s helping bathe the baby, too.
Ho-kyung lays out the evidence that Do-hee was the girl Ho-gu had a fling with, and Tae-hee continues to profusely deny that they’re dating. When she asks if the thing with her brother petered out because of Kang-chul, Tae-hee gasps that she figured it out (and Chung-jae just wants to know who Kang-chul is, ha!). She downs another shot of soju as she contemplates what Kang-chul, Do-hee, and her brother are up to.
Still washing the cutest baby ever, that’s what. Ho-gu and Do-hee are delighted when the tiny bit of umbilical falls off the baby’s belly button as Kang-chul washes it, but Kang-chul freaks out and tries to put it back, worried that the baby will be without a belly button the rest of his life.
Do-hee and Ho-gu explain that it’s supposed to fall off, and she takes it from him, gently wrapping it up in a cloth so that Geum-dong’s new parents can keep it. They dress the baby on Kang-chul’s bed, pointedly explaining that they can’t add the baby powder so it won’t make a mess.
But Kang-chul is wrapped around their fingers now, and despite his initial protests, he insists they put it on. He’s just going to change the sheets, anyway, so it doesn’t matter if they make a mess. Yeah, because changing the linens a few times a day is just what you do, eh? The cute domestic moment is soon cut short when Coach tells Do-hee that CEO Park wants to see her.
She leaves the baby with Ho-gu, and he coos over Geum-dong as Kang-chul pretends to not care. But Kang-chul watches as Ho-gu shows Geum-dong the “belly button” that fell off. He explains that if you cry and laugh, it will fall off, and then when it falls off, the belly button needs to be carefully disinfected. Ho-gu starts to cry because he won’t be around to disinfect it for Geum-dong — instead his adoptive parents will be the ones to take care of it. The doorbell rings and Ho-gu goes to answer it, thinking it’s Do-hee returning from her meeting. Instead, it’s Coach with the adoptive parents.
Do-hee’s still in her meeting with CEO Park and the rest of the board of directors who are there to cancel Do-hee’s contract and replace her with Sung-shil, her rival. But CEO Park is one tough cookie, and asks someone to convince her why it’s a good idea to get rid of Do-hee. When someone brings up the rumor about the baby, she point-blank asks Do-hee if she had a baby.
Pausing a moment, Do-hee looks her straight in the eye and calmly answers, “No.” That’s enough evidence for CEO Park, and she chides everyone for believing rumors over the word of one of their athletes. She cooly tells the board that if it turns out the rumor is true, she’ll resign as CEO.
Do-hee meets with CEO Park privately in her office, humbly apologizing for putting her in a difficult position and offering to take full responsibility. But that’s not what CEO Park wanted to talk to her about, and Do-hee desperately tells her that she’ll work four times as hard and make it to the Olympics and win the gold medal.
When CEO Park gives her a hug, Do-hee starts to cry. “Don’t you want to know what I’ve been up to?” But CEO Park tells her that it doesn’t matter what she did — she’s back now. That’s all that counts.
Coach explains to the adoptive parents that the baby’s mother attends one of Korea’s best colleges and accidentally got pregnant with her boyfriend, who’s studying for the civil service exam. Of course. In private, Coach explains that he’s just trying to keep Do-hee’s identity as the mother a secret, as well as make the baby appear more appealing by having smart biological parents. When they find out that Geum-dong is a boy, the adoptive parents aren’t so sure they want him because they were expecting a girl.
Ho-gu sends an urgent text to Do-hee, telling her to hurry back. He’s got a bad feeling about the parents, but Coach sends him off to get a teddy bear so the baby will have something to remember them by. He runs into Do-hee just arriving at the apartment, and it’s too late — the adoptive parents have already left with Geum-dong.
Do-hee fights to keep her expression neutral as she agrees with Coach that it was best that Geum-dong left before she returned — it’s easier that way. Ho-gu spots something in the trash and digs it out before rushing back out the door. He runs through the streets, looking everywhere for Geum-dong while Coach, Do-hee, and Kang-chul sit silently in the apartment, each lost in their own thoughts.
Coach tries to ask how it went at the meeting, and Do-hee tells him she starts training again tomorrow. Ho-gu returns just as she’s forcefully rattling off the regimen Coach will need to put her on. Ho-gu’s still worried about Geum-dong because he doesn’t trust the adoptive parents, and Do-hee cooly asks if he wants to bring Geum-dong back — it’s easiest to have a baby adopted when he’s still a newborn, you know. Ho-gu says it isn’t that, but Do-hee stands and turns to face him.
Her voice rising in emotion, she asks what will happen if they bring him back and can’t find someone to adopt him. Who will take care of him? Will Ho-gu decide to sacrifice her life and her dreams so he can save Geum-dong’s?
But Ho-gu shouts that they left behind the belly button. He breaks down into sobs, explaining that he gave it to them to take careful care of since it belongs to Geum-dong, but they threw it away. He shows it to Do-hee, and she slowly turns around and sinks back down on the sofa.
Ho-gu falls to the floor, weeping. Do-hee silently cries, her face still turned away. The happy times they shared during Geum-dong’s bath are now just a memory.
Oooof. As gut-wrenching as those final few minutes were, all I can think of is how great this episode was. I feel like the writer must be reading my comments, because this had everything I’ve been wanting from this show — namely, a cute baby who totally messes up Kang-chul’s perfect apartment, Do-hee getting a chance to live her life again and pursue her dreams for gold, and everyone living as one big happy family under one roof. Then there’s the surprise bonus of the intriguing CEO Park. I’m pretty sure she knows what’s really been going on, and while I can’t get a definite read on exactly what her motivations are regarding Do-hee (is Do-hee just a commodity to her? Or is there some genuine affection?), I’m super happy that the show has added another interesting female character.
Also: who’s the pushover now, huh? I was a little confused at first when the standard “My name is” voice-over at the beginning sounded like it said “Byun Ho-gu,” but now it makes sense. Because he is a hogu — a fool and a pushover, especially whenever Ho-gu starts to pout and Do-hee gives him those big ol’ puppy eyes. Those two have him whipped.
And I couldn’t be happier, because it means I get Nanny Ho-gu and his BFF Do-hee as they tease and torment Kang-chul (who is actually a big ol’ softie) and everyone takes care of adorable baby Geum-dong. It’s only a matter of time before Detective Ho-kyung joins them, too. Of course, that does mean that Ho-gu and Kang-chul will finally have to realize that they’ve been having conversations about two completely different topics all this time. I’m curious to see how the other will take it, once Ho-gu realizes that Kang-chul is in love with “him” and Kang-chul realizes that Ho-gu is in love with Do-hee. But at the moment, I’m happy to see that Kang-chul’s pristine walls are starting to crumble.
I just wish that we could extend the “everyone living together under one roof” trope a little longer. My heart ached at the end of the episode when the shot focused on the empty tub. The loss of Geum-dong isn’t just about the loss of Do-hee’s flesh-and-blood — it’s also about the joy and camaraderie and sense of family. I don’t think Kang-chul’s apartment has ever experienced such laughter and messiness, so I can only imagine that, for once, it actually started to feel like a real “home.” You can sever your ties to family, like you can sever an umbilical cord, and as you grow up, it will fall away, gradually forgotten. But the scar always remains and marks you as human.
Yes, what I want most of all is for all these characters to find their home and their humanity in each other. And to get baby Geum-dong back, ASAP, because as much as Ho-gu can annoy me with his interfering ways, he’s not alone with the “these two are bad news” vibe when it comes to the adoptive parents. But if in the meantime we get an episode or two of Do-hee figuring out what it means to pursue a lifelong dream of winning a gold medal when a part of you also wishes you could make room for the lost “gold-bronze” (“geum-dong”) baby, then I’m happy to wait for his return.