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Ho-gu’s Love: Episode 13

Awkward, party of two, your kiss I mean, your table is ready. Ho-gu and Do-hee dance around each other, neither willing to be the first to mention The Kiss, but eventually something’s gotta give. It’s a roller-coaster of an episode, with some very low lows but also thankfully some very high highs, and more than one gesture of love to make your heart melt.

EPISODE 13 RECAP

Thirteenth Foolish Act: “Let’s flirt moderately.”

Ho-gu babysits and watches Do-hee go about her days training and looking for adoptive parents for Geum-dong. He narrates that he’s not skilled like Coach, or smart like Kang-chul — he just wants to stay next to Do-hee until her scar heals. He remembers offering her the hug, thinking that he honestly didn’t have any ulterior motives. But then… she’d kissed him.

Ho-gu somehow manages to get home on his jellylegs, collapsing onto his bed. Poor guy, he still thinks he’s just a band-aid to her, to sooth her wounds but not to be taken seriously. He jumps out of bed (and immediately drops to the floor, hee) to talk to Ho-kyung, but she’s in a state of shock herself and orders him out.

Ho-kyung remembers Kang-chul’s loud drunken confession that he’s gay, and we see that he’d said he’s never liked a woman, and when he tried to force a relationship, it never lasted long. But mostly, anything that reminds him of “that man” still makes his heart race. Ho-kyung asks if that man knows how Kang-chul feels, but he says that jerk is in love with someone else and forgot about him. He admits he’s ashamed, and scared.

Kang-chul had stumbled home and gone right past Do-hee to straighten his trophies. Do-hee tries to stabilize him but he shoves past her to perch on the sofa, and she gripes that she’s the only one around to see this display. Gotta admit, Kang-chul is the cutest drunk ever.

He spots Geum-dong, hilariously mis-pronounces his name “Geum-deng” and complains that a whole lot of people are getting involved with the law on his behalf. He muses that if Geum-dong hadn’t appeared, he might have lived his whole life never knowing himself. Little Geum-dong just sleeps, oblivious to the commotion (though his hair looks a bit startled).

Kang-chul slurs that he’s grateful to Do-hee, because thanks to her, he had romantic feelings at least once in his life. Of course, she assumes he means her, especially when he says she’ll probably be the only woman in his life.

We go back to their high school days, when the kids had been ushered into the gym for an assembly. They’re all led in a vow of chastity until marriage, then the boys are dismissed to watch a sex ed tape while the girls stay to eat something called “purity candy” to affirm their vow to stay pure until marriage.

Do-hee hands a piece of candy to another girl, who scoffs that eating candy won’t change anything. She’s angry at the blatant sexism, and she stomps on the candy, drawing a teacher’s attention. Do-hee backs the girl up, muttering that it’s only the girls who have to eat the purity candy.

The other girls also wonder why the guys don’t have to eat the candy, but the (male) teacher yells at Do-hee to stop causing trouble. He orders her to pick up the smashed candy and eat it. She picks it up but stops there, giving the teacher her best Death Glare, until Ho-gu speaks up that he’ll eat the candy. Aww, he’s her purity-candy Black Knight.

The teacher orders Ho-gu to the floor to whip him, but at the last second another voice calls that he’ll eat the candy, too… it’s Kang-chul! He agrees that it’s discrimination to only make the girls eat it, and asks respectfully to have all the students eat the candy. Suddenly, now that the student president is speaking up, all the boys clamor for candy.

Kang-chul, Ho-gu, Do-hee, and the female student who initiated the mutiny don’t escape punishment, and are forced to do duck-squats across the playground. The other students look on, impressed that Ho-gu stood up for a woman and perplexed as to why Kang-chul would get involved. Tae-hee tells them that Kang-chul is dating Do-hee (which isn’t true, but he thinks it is after seeing them at the restaurant together).

As Ho-gu staggers home on his sore legs, leaning on Tae-hee and with Do-hee trailing sadly behind, he’s surprised when Kang-chul has his driver stop so he can talk to them. Kang-chul pointedly invites only Do-hee for a ride home, but she tries to get Ho-gu to come anyway, only for him to grouchily decline.

In the car Do-hee brings up the dating rumors, but Kang-chul just glares and huffs at the idea. They get out at their stop, where Ho-kyung happens to be waiting to see Kang-chul. But she’s wearing a scarf over her face again and has her own jacket and nametag on today, so Kang-chul has no idea who she is. Ho-kyung thinks to herself forlornly, “My name is Ho-gu.”

Back in the present, everyone is lost in their own thoughts. Kang-chul stares at the test he took to determine if he’s gay while Do-hee exercises, Ho-gu touches his lips and remembers Do-hee’s kiss, and Ho-kyung hugs her precious shoes. Silently Ho-kyung calls herself “wang ho-gu,” or “big fool.”

The next day, Coach asks Do-hee why she’s been sighing and moaning all day like a drunken idiot. She points to Kang-chul and says he’s the drunken idiot — she’s just going insane. She starts to have an immature hissy-fit but immediately calms when Ho-gu arrives, ha. He takes Geum-dong from Do-hee, and it looks like the most awkward game of Twister ever, as they try to pass the baby without actually touching.

Coach tries to talk work with Do-hee, but she’s hardly paying attention as she sneaks glances back and forth with Ho-gu. Completely off-balance, she leans over and kisses Coach on the cheek, claiming that she does that sort of thing all the time. She even runs over to give Kang-chul a peck when he comes out of his room looking like five miles of bad hungover road, scaring the crap out of the poor guy.

Ho-gu’s mom nurses his dad, who’s apparently taken to his bed in shock over Ho-gu’s new dating-with-a-baby status. We also check in with Kang-chul’s parents, where it’s his mother who’s distraught at the thought of her son being an unwed father, though his dad is delighted: “My son is a man! A real man!”

Tae-hee visits Ho-gu while he babysits and complains about Chung-jae and Gong-mi, who are now dating and totally going overboard with the cutesy act. Ho-gu is surprised, considering how long Chung-jae has liked Ho-kyung, but Tae-hee says Gong-mi is just filling up the space that Ho-kyung left. Ho-gu applies this to his own situation, assuming that Do-hee only kissed him to fill the space left by Geum-dong’s father.

The parents decide to meet each other formally, so Kang-chul’s parents wait in a fancy restaurant for Ho-gu’s parents. Ho-gu’s dad enters in a state of mourning, and when he assumes the other father feels the same, Kang-chul’s mom hilariously redirects his sympathetic hug for herself. Ho-gu’s mom introduces herself to Kang-chul’s dad, while the other two sob together.

Coach drives Do-hee home after practice, and she stops him excitedly when she sees a food stand selling the same red bean buns that Ho-gu brought to her in the hospital. Seeing an opportunity to break the awkward silence between them, she buys a ton of buns, and goes home to loudly flourish the bag of snacks at Ho-gu… and Tae-hee, and Chung-jae, and Gong-mi. HAHAHA whoops.

The gesture isn’t entirely lost on Ho-gu, who smiles secretly as his friends scarf up the buns, knowing that Do-hee really got them for him. Everyone cringes as Chung-jae and Gong-mi feed each other and coo like lovebirds, and Ho-gu quietly asks Do-hee why she came home early. His eyes widen when she answers honestly, “I missed…” but she quickly covers, saying that she missed Geum-dong.

The awkward atmosphere is back when Ho-gu’s friends leave, and Ho-gu tells Do-hee that he’s going out for a while so she can spend time with Geum-dong. He won’t say where he’s going, and she pretends it doesn’t bother her. He actually goes to get some soju, beer, and snacks, and heads to the gravesite of Do-hee’s friend who died in an accident.

Ho-gu is here to have some hard words with Do-hee’s friend, who he assumes is Geum-dong’s father: Do-hee keeps flirting with him. He says it’s only because she needs someone to lean on, and that he’s having a really hard time because he wants to fall for it.

Ho-gu says he knows it’s crazy to come here, but he thought Geum-dong’s father should know about this. He apologizes, knowing that the friend must already be upset about Do-hee and Geum-dong and that he’s making it worse. He promises that he’ll do his best not to fall for Do-hee’s seduction. Before he goes, he leaves a couple of adorable pictures of Geum-dong that he drew.

The parents settle to a meal, and Kang-chul’s dad assures Ho-gu’s dad that he doesn’t judge and think their relationship is wonderful (remember, each set of parents thinks the other set are actually Do-hee’s family, and with the Korean language’s way of dropping pronouns, this makes this whole conversation hysterical).

Kang-chul’s mom asks everyone to keep the relationship quiet, as her child is up for a raise, and she’s baffled when the news that their child is a lawyer doesn’t seem to please Ho-gu’s parents. Ho-gu’s dad sobs that the kids won’t have much time to spend together — he wanted his child to meet someone with whom he could “swim a carefree life.” Kang-chul’s parents, still assuming his child is Do-hee, swear their child won’t interfere with her swimming career. HA.

Ho-kyung finds Kang-chul in court, and the swimmer Kyung-woo is there also, to observe Kang-chul defending a school that fired a male teacher for being gay. Kang-chul is good, but he stammers a bit when he describes a witness seeing the defendant kissing another man. The defendant admits he’s gay, but asks if Kang-chul hasn’t ever found himself falling for someone before.

The man pretty much describes Kang-chul’s exact response when he sees and thinks of Ho-gu, which makes Kang-chul’s temper flare. Kang-chul reminds the defendant that homosexuality goes against the natural order and is even illegal in Korea, which the man again doesn’t deny, but he says that he’s never felt for a woman the way he felt for that one man.

He asks, if Kang-chul met the only person who ever made his heart race, wouldn’t he have to love that person? Sadly, he says the man didn’t love him back. There’s a long moment of silence, so long that the judges are concerned, and we see that Kang-chul is frozen in place with tears coursing down his face.

Later at the office, Kang-chul is dressed down for losing the case, and all of his coworkers (plus Ho-kyung) listen outside his office door. They gossip that his raise probably won’t happen, and he may even be fired. They even wonder if Kang-chul might be gay himself, since he cried at the trial, and he never dates and sometimes wears a pink tie. Ho-kyung takes offense, but Gong-mi holds her back from saying anything.

She takes Kang-chul out for a meal, but he’s in a terrible mood. She teases him for getting so upset over losing one trial, taking offense when he calls her clueless and rude. Ho-kyung angrily says she was only trying to comfort him, but he yells that he never asked her to do that.

Ho-kyung turns it around on him, that she was worried after he told her he was gay, that something may have happened to him when he went home drunk. Calling herself an idiot, she leaves first this time (even paying for his meal as a “breakup gift”), and this time it’s Kang-chul who chases Ho-kyung out of the restaurant.

He begs her not to go like this, saying she should have to take responsibility — he only realized his sexual identity because of her. Ho-kyung complains that that wasn’t her intention, and Kang-chul becomes desperate as he begs her to fix him. Oh sweetie, you can’t “fix” this.

Ho-kyung calls him out on his self-centered focus, saying that he’s never once thought of how she feels in all this. She tells him that she’s a woman with feelings too, wrenches her wrist out of his grasp, and leaves him standing there alone.

Do-hee meets CEO Park in a private dining room, where she’s greeted warmly, and CEO Park immediately gossips about one of the company directors dating a man much younger than herself. Comfortable, Do-hee tells her she should date and not always work so hard, and the CEO’s smile turns suddenly hard… “Do I look that low-class to you?”

Do-hee is surprised at this extreme flip in CEO Park’s demeanor, and flinches when the woman asks if she looks like some kind of trash that dates men for their power. Her voice rises until she ends on a scream, even throwing her utensil across the room in fury. Wow.

The motherly CEO is gone, and a scary woman full of anger is left in her place. She gets up to whisper ominously in Do-hee’s ear that she’s not like all those other girls — trashy girls who can’t live without men. She says she thinks of Do-hee as a daughter, which is less heartwarming than before, and now is just frankly terrifying.

CEO Park sees the photo album that Do-hee brought with her, the one she gave Do-hee when she offered the photo shoot with Kyung-woo, but now Do-hee tries to hide the album. Instantly the CEO is all sweetness again, and sits to eat like nothing happened. Okay, that was freaky as hell.

Back at Kang-chul’s place, Ho-gu puts Geum-dong to sleep and gets out his art supplies. He lovingly works on more drawings he’s done of Geum-dong, taking great care with the pictures. Do-hee comes home in a daze, smiling when she sees Ho-gu, but he doesn’t look equally happy to see her.

Do-hee sees the drawings and comments on them, but Ho-gu pulls them away defensively, saying they’re just for fun. Do-hee takes them anyway, seeing that they’re all pictures of Geum-dong and Ho-gu. Ho-gu admits they’re a gift for Geum-dong when he finally gets adopted.

Do-hee asks what the story is about, and Ho-gu reluctantly tells her it’s about a poor boy who finds a baby one day. The baby has wings, so the boy takes him into hiding, afraid they’ll be found out. The boy and winged baby do everything together, but they don’t live happily ever after. When the baby’s real parents show up, his wings fall off.

Ho-gu says that when Geum-dong finds out later that he’s adopted, he hopes this story will help him understand where he came from – that he was born as an angel. He wants Geum-dong to know that he was special and loved, and wasn’t abandoned.

Smiling wistfully, Do-hee asks what Ho-gu has to think about to draw something like this. She says Geum-dong is lucky to have someone who loves him so very much, and looks at Ho-gu with those huge eyes as she says, “And that person is you.” Without a word, Ho-gu packs his supplies and starts to leave, but he turns back to say one thing: “Do Do-hee, stop. Stop flirting with me.”

Do-hee follows Ho-gu to the elevator, demanding to know what she did to make him say such a thing. She says she was just grateful he drew those pictures for Geum-dong, but Ho-gu whirls on her. He answers her question of what he has to think about to draw something like that: “I can draw things like that if I think of you all day.” But it’s a painful confession, and he tells Do-hee again to stop flirting with him because it’s driving him mad.

Angry, Ho-gu complains that his first love slept at his place, and stayed with him all day, yet he couldn’t do anything about it. He tells Do-hee that she’s being cruel, and tells her to stop and just stay focused on finding Geum-dong new parents.

Ho-gu gets in the elevator, and Do-hee only has time to say, “Yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t do that to you. But… ” before the doors close. To the empty hall, Do-hee finishes her sentence, “…you haven’t asked me even once, who it was that I liked. Who my first love was.” She sinks to the floor and cries in earnest. Oof.

Ho-kyung thinks about her confrontation with Kang-chul, and we see that he had one more thing to say after she starts to walk away. He’d called out, “I’m scared.” He says he’s scared he’ll be fired, or that his classmates will find out, or that rumors about him being gay will spread. He starts to cry and his voice wobbles, as he wonders what will happen if his parents find out. Will his whole life fall apart?

Ho-gu stands in the elevator, stunned. OMG, he heard Do-hee! He opens the door and sees her crying on the floor, and crouches down to her. He sees that she’s holding the sketchbook with his story of her as a mermaid, and asks why she has that. Do-hee asks, “Why do you think I have it?!”

Ho-gu asks tentatively if her first love was really him, and Do-hee wails — how could she NOT like a guy who draws her something like this? Ho-gu just stares in disbelief as Do-hee cries even harder, and sobs that he flirted with her first. Even a single mother has a first love, and isn’t she allowed to seduce the man she likes? Ho-gu just pulls Do-hee in for a hug, and tells her to stop because she’s breaking his heart. Then he sobs right along with her.

Ho-kyung goes back to Kang-chul’s office and offers him a ride home, but they’re interrupted by swimmer Kyung-woo. Ho-kyung waits in the car while the guys talk, and Kyung-woo expresses interest in Ho-kyung and asks for her number. The ominous music tells me this is a Very Bad Idea.

Meanwhile Ho-gu and Do-hee sleep on either side of Geum-dong, hands clasped over the baby’s tummy, looking like a peaceful and complete family.

COMMENTS

I have so many feelings right now!! I don’t know where to start. Okay, the confession… how awesome was that?! Finally everyone knows that everyone likes everyone, and always has, and my heart is so happy. I don’t even need to analyze it, because that whole elevator scene is so perfect I almost don’t want to ruin it by deconstructing it. Though, I have to say my favorite part was when Do-hee told Ho-gu that of course she fell for him, because what sane woman wouldn’t? I think Ho-gu needed to hear that, that he’s a person who any girl would feel lucky to have love her. And I know, we still have three episodes left and it’s probably not going to last, given that Do-hee still has some pretty serious secrets she needs to come clean about before they can freely be together. But at least now I have hope that this little family will be able to find each other in the end.

And as a side note, how beautiful and meaningful is Ho-gu’s way of expressing his love through drawing stories? It’s how he originally told Do-hee that he understood her and loved her, by getting to the root of her aloofness by saying she’s just a mermaid who doesn’t belong on land. No wonder Do-hee fell in love with that boy, who was able to understood her deepest self without even having to be told. And now he’s doing the same for Geum-dong, by drawing him a story about his beginning, and how he was an angel and was loved by at least one person. What a gift for Geum-dong, who will probably feel conflicted when he discovers he was adopted, to know that there was a man who loved him with all his heart. It makes me feel all mushy inside. Do-hee was right — Geum-dong is lucky to have someone like Ho-gu love him so much.

But on the serious side, I’m getting very worried about Kang-chul. I’m pretty much accepting, at this late point in the story, that he really is gay. In fact I’ll be pretty disappointed in the show if they try to whitewash it and explain it away as something else. There have been no clues otherwise, and Kang-chul’s increasing desperation is a sign that he’s realizing that this is who he is, and is now dealing with the emotional backlash that brings. I’m glad that he admitted his fear and asked for help, though I don’t think he’s going to be able to just do some therapy sessions with Ho-kyung and suddenly be not-gay. He’s only going to find peace when he accepts himself for who he is, and accepts that he’s not what society tells him he should be and that’s okay.

I’m also developing some serious concerns for Do-hee and Ho-kyung’s safety. I’m pretty sure the show will reveal that the swimmer Kyung-woo was the monster who raped Do-hee, and that Do-hee’s deceased friend (and his death) was somehow wrapped up in all this. And what in the WORLD is CEO Park’s problem?? I can understand if she were upset that Do-hee lied to her about the baby, but Do-hee’s actions are completely defensible in this situation. I find it extremely alarming that CEO Park became so unhinged when dating was brought up. Something isn’t right there, at all. CEO Park seems kind and understanding, but it’s becoming clear that she’s more interested in controlling her athletes than in supporting their best interests. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she even pushes Do-hee into interacting with Kyung-woo, and tries to say the rape was just Do-hee blaming someone else for her mistake. And now the monster has his eye on Ho-kyung, and I’m very scared for both girls.

But aside from that, I love the overarching theme of the show — that it’s okay to be who you are and be different, and still be deserving of love. In a society that values conformity and sameness, and urges people to fit in or be ostracized, I’m proud of Ho-gu’s Love for highlighting that not everyone fits into that mold, and that that’s okay. All of our characters are oddballs in their own way, and don’t quite fit in anywhere. It’s perfect that they’ve found each other, and I still hope for a non-conformist family unit of Ho-gu and Do-hee in love and raising Geum-dong, with Ho-kyung as the quirky auntie and Kang-chul there to take care of them all. I’m afraid that won’t be able to happen without some serious heartache, especially on Kang-chul’s part, but the beauty of this show is that you really don’t know where things will go. They could still find adoptive parents for Geum-dong and go their separate ways, and that would be a natural and believable ending to their story. But even if that happens, and we don’t get a perfect happy ending, I think I would be okay with that. For a show that is as quirky and unpredictable as it’s characters, I would embrace a quirky and unpredictable ending. Whatever happens, all I want is for our four oddballs to walk away proud and confident in themselves, and who they really are.

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I still don't know that they're going to go with Kang Chul really being gay. The problem is that he's really only been attracted to one person who he *thinks* is a man. He hasn't been attracted to other women, but just as importantly, he hasn't been attracted to other men, either. When his heart flutters for Ho-Gu, he's still framing it around his encounter with his fake Ho-Gu; I don't think he reacts without that context. It'll be interesting to see what happens when he finally finds out that his imaginary Ho-Gu of old looks nothing like how Kang Chul remembers and that he's been crushing on the wrong person for years.

I will say that it makes for some really interesting flashbacks in the meantime, though, once we all know what the hidden motivations are for everyone, and it's pretty easy to see how each of them could be misled from their assumptions. Pretty sad for poor Ho-Kyung, but I gotta say, even with her original jacket it's not like there are a lot of people who looked or sounded like her original self, so I find it a little hard to believe that Kang Chul really didn't think twice before dismissing her greeting after just reading her name tag.

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There was also a part of the episode that wasn't mentioned but I found difficult to understand: the survey that Kang-Chul finished that seemingly convinced him that he was gay was actually an unfinished survey accidentally misplaced by one of Ho-Kyung's fellow students, but I don't really know what the implication of that was.

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I wish they hadn't used the survey. Bringing in those kind of things is not helping gay people.

I mean, "depending on how many boxes you tick, we'll determine your sexuality". Of course, Kang-chul goes and does some new things, and consequently ticks a few more boxes... so suddenly he's less gay? Sorry, but it doesn't work like that.

But then again, pretty much everything that Ho-kyung has been spouting in terms of her psychological observations has been pretty non-sensical. (I get it's just "comedy" but... studying psychology doesn't mean know the secret to the perfect, eternal relationship.)

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The survey, my subs told me, was an EQ survey. I am going to be SO UPSET if they use that as a resolution to Kang Chul's identity crisis.

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I have no issues with KC not being Gay. I actually thought the court room scene was good, it emphasised the point that everyone should be treated equal and no one should judge peoples choices. However I also think that debating ones sexuality and difficulty in accepting being gay is a very real issue, so I don't get why everyone is hell bent on wanting to have KC being gay. In his case he loves a particular person (Ho Kyung) irrespective of sex (he just thinks it was a guy, Ho Gu).

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<However I also think that debating ones sexuality and difficulty in accepting being gay is a very real issue,

Yeah, it's a very real issue, I personally don't like it being dealt with in the way it seems to be going here. For me, it's too sensitive an issue (particularly considering the taboo it is in Korea) to be dealt with so dismissively.

<so I don’t get why everyone is hell bent on wanting to have KC being gay

Because if he turns out to be straight, there's a message: if you think you're gay, don't worry, you're not! There'll be a girl for you ultimately.

Sorry, but all I can think of is a young person grappling with his/her sexuality and watching this show and who won't have this magical "fix". The ultimate message of this show matters. A courtroom scene that says "all should be treated equal" would feel, to me at least, like a joke if Kang-chulk isn't gay after all. Because all problems are going to be instantly resolved – Mama and Papa Kang-chul will be happy and Ho-kyung will get her boy after all, no worries anymore!

<In his case he loves a particular person (Ho Kyung)

But he doesn't love Ho-kyung – it's Ho-gu. That's the person he was watching in high school, that he felt his heart beat for, that he demanded the purity candy for, that he couldn't forget and kept the four-leaf clover for, that he found his heart racing for when he met him again.

He spent one emotional day with Ho-kyung in the past, but the feelings he developed were developed from the sidelines over his high school years – for Ho-gu.

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"Because if he turns out to be straight, there's a message: if you think you're gay, don't worry, you're not! There'll be a girl for you ultimately."

That's not the message, though. The entire show is about how erroneous assumptions cause big problems that aren't rectified until someone chooses to say what they feel. Kang-Chul's terrible assumption (though all things considered, not a huge reach) is that the one person he's ever loved is a man. We as viewers have known that not to be the case for a very long time, so I don't know that the show is saying that there's a girl out there for every gay man when the person the character who's supposed to be gay fell in love with is actually a girl to begin with. It's not like this is a new trope in Korean or Asian dramas in general, women being mistaken as men and men being confused by their feelings (see Coffee Prince, You're Beautiful). I'm not a big fan of how the show treats the idea of being gay, but it's not some blanket statement about homosexuality here.

In fact, I personally will be more disappointed if he turns out to be gay. To me the show would be saying that he ultimately loved his idea of Ho-Gu the high school boy more than he likes the actual woman he thinks was Ho-Gu. And where does that leave Ho-Kyung's ending? She loses her first crush because on the day she fell in love with him, she looked too much like her brother? Ouch. I'm already of the opinion that the show has been too slow in revealing Ho-Kyung's less... ladylike qualities to him to start him down the path of extra identity confusion. I assumed the idea of Ho-Kyung's story arc was that she wasn't going to be in a meaningful relationship until she found someone who liked her actual, loud, rap-loving self and not the facade she's created of a prim and proper woman.

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I'm not arguing it's the main message of the show – Kang-chul isn't a lead character, but in the "love rival" position so the main message wouldn't be about him anyhow – but it is a message it's leaving about homosexuality.

<The entire show is about how erroneous assumptions cause big problems that aren’t rectified until someone chooses to say what they feel.

To be honest, I'm not taking getting that message at all because so many of the erroneous assumptions are forced by the writers, in part of how they are set up, and in part because they are dragged out so long. It's pushing it to have three potential father figures (Kang-chul, dead guy, Kyung-woo) over months – it should have been clarified after the first misunderstanding. There's also no way that Kang-chul's and Ho-gu's parents would sit through an entire meal without actually ever mentioning the names of their child.

<It’s not like this is a new trope in Korean or Asian dramas in general

Nope, it's not, which is exactly why it's so lame here (if they really go that way).

<And where does that leave Ho-Kyung’s ending?

Maybe that she ends up with no one? That just because you fall in love with someone, doesn't mean it's going to be happy-ever-after but unrequited love that is never fulfilled, because that's actually a lot more realistic? (She can find her prince charming in another drama!)

I would have preferred Ho-kyung's arc as you describe – and a girl that doesn't chase after the guy she likes when he doesn't like her back (too many dramas like that). But kudos for her that she told him he's only considering his feelings and trampling over hers when he wants her to continue counselling him.

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I also agree that it's not necessarily that KC is gay, and I wouldn't be mad if he didn't end up so. Sexuality exists on a spectrum, and he's more of an asexual aromantic who just happened to fall in love with one person.

I would feel cheated if he just switched to Ho-kyung upon learning the truth of that first kiss, because he's attached that love to Ho-gu and grown it with him, not just based on the kiss (although there was also the day spent together before the kiss). If he does end up with Ho-kyung, he would have to fall in love with her from scratch, which I haven't seen yet. I think he's letting go of Ho-gu, at least, by accepting that he's in love with Do-hee. He's letting it go gracefully.

The big mishandling, though, is of trying to take up the moral issue of homosexuality. You can't just walk away from that with an, "oh, turns out I wasn't gay after all. lol." You can't just brush it off after having such a crisis. Choi Han-gyul in Coffee Prince was a better handling of it, because that show didn't try to take up the societal angle as much. It was only a matter of feelings, and once Han-gyul accepted himself everything was fine no matter how it turned out. But here, we're discussing legalities and social injustice in a court room. LollyPip seems to think the show will take up the banner and run with it, but I have no such far-reaching expectations. It's simply not, as far as I can tell, their priority.

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I'm okay with him being on a spectrum – an asexual romantic who falls in love with one person (Ho-gu).

<I would feel cheated if he just switched to Ho-kyung

That, exactly that. Cheated and totally insensitive towards anyone that doesn't fit into a neat box of heterosexuality.

Coffee Prince: it didn't take on the moral angle, but it also didn't involve two people. Gong Yoo fell in love only with Yoon Eun-hye's character. He thought she was male, grappled with it, learned she was female, but ultimately it was the same person he had feelings for.

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I agree with you, mongoose22. Especially that he hasn't been attracted to ANYONE else. And it's all about who he spent that day with. The fact that he found Ho Gu and admirable guy while in high school...and even now...I think he's mistaking it all. He obviously is not in touch with his feelings in any way. I would love to see his genuine friendship with Ho Kyung turn into something more when all is discovered. Because, it really was her and her personality that moved him so much that day way back when...and the kiss just sealed the attraction.

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The problem with this logic is that he spent that day with Ho Kyung because he THOUGHT she was Ho Gu because he had been watching and had been aware of Ho Gu actions prior to that day. His heart beat because he THOUGHT it was Ho Gu kissing him. In the end it doesn't matter that it was Ho Kyung physically because the entire time before, during, and after he only thought of Ho Gu.

The fact that he still has that reaction now to Ho Gu makes clear the point...if the person who kissed him had been Ho Gu (which it was in the actual webtoon) then it would be the same.

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I think he fell in love with the person that he spent the one free day of his life with, Ho Kyung.

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I don't think Kang Chul even knew Ho Kyung existed until he met her for the blind date and then he only found out she was related to Ho Gu when they met at Kang Chul's apartment. So Kang Chul, it's always been Ho Gu that he's been thinking now.
My issue with this is that if they wanted to set him up with Ho Kyung, they could have started doing that much earlier than the 13th episode out of 16. By this time, Kang Chul's spent 75% of the show pushing away or actively avoiding Ho Kyung, has shown no interest in her beyond his need for counselling and has spent a lot of time watching Ho Gu do things that make him fall for Ho Gu even more. It would just be bad writing now to use something like that survey or even the reveal to push him towards Ho Kyung.
I don't want this show to go up to the last week, or even the last episode and say, "Oh, it was Ho Kyung all along! Your VERY BIG LIFE CRISIS and all the stress you've been through means absolutely nothing, because you're straight after all!"
Unfortunately, that's what seems to be happening.

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It was Ho Gu in the webtoon???? Can someoone tell me the webtoon solution to his crisis? The kdrama didn't have the courage to go there?

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Or he could be asexual...that's possible too

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I just want Kang-chul to be happy--whether he learns he's gay or he learns he was mistaken, I don't care. I have no vested interested in his character being portrayed either way.

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@hippolyta I had the same thought! Was wondering if anyone else has considered this :-)
If he was never attracted to anyone but that one person in all his years, maybe the sexual orientation doesn't really carry much weight. Most likely, asexual, just not into the whole attraction/romantic relationship. He seemed to have always been alone, he didn't seem to have any relationships at all outside of work contacts and even that stays in the office.

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Right! I Totally AGREE with what you wrote! I believe He's in love with a strong will, self protecting, independent person that he mistook as a male! So he THINKS he is gay.

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The CEO is absolutely crazy.

I also really loved that elevator scene.

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CEO Park is totally creepy. I. don't. like. her. Disappointingly, I think she'll be forgiven in the end.

Kyung-woo is also a total creep, but I find him rather perfunctory and flat as an evil character. Like we needed a bad guy here to resolve some parts of the story, except that he was brought in too late and hasn't been fleshed out (instead the show continued with "let's mislead them with the dead-guy-is-the-father" twist – a twist I just don't see any point to? I mean, it's great Do-hee had a friend, but what was the point the point of that diversion?).

<I’m pretty much accepting, at this late point in the story, that he really is gay. In fact I’ll be pretty disappointed in the show if they try to whitewash it and explain it away as something else. There have been no clues otherwise...

I hope you are right, because I would really hate a let's-pretend-he's-gay-when-he's-not twist (I realised in this episode I have serious patience anymore with any gay-bashing like in the trial – cultural differences in attitudes towards homosexuality be damned! – I needed a voice of dissent there because the whole trial was frustrating.). However, I did notice that Kang-chul's heart is not beating like crazy anymore when he's around Ho-gu (see also ep. 14 where he smiles about something he should feel jealous about). Instead, he's turning more and more towards Ho-kyung and I feel like there are slight signs there towards him developing feelings (e.g. his memory being triggered when he's hit on the head with the soju bottle lid).

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Love this show so much!! What a quiet surprise! Choi wooshik is the perfect hogu and the writing is pretty spot on

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I left this show after episode 2 but it looks interesting.

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I fast forwarded through a lot of the earlier episodes...but it got really good and I am loving the later episodes a lot!!

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To me, the whole Kang Chul being gay thing is based on him thinking Ho Kyung is Ho Gu. Once he figures that out I am pretty sure he will be good to go. Besides, Ho Kyung needs a happy ending too, right?

The elevator scene was THE BEST! I wanted to sob right along with Do Hee. Easily a top five confession scene.

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Gonna copy and paste myself here

The problem with this logic is that he spent that day with Ho Kyung because he THOUGHT she was Ho Gu. He had been watching and had been aware of Ho Gu actions prior to that day. His heart beat because he THOUGHT it was Ho Gu kissing him. In the end it doesn’t matter that it was Ho Kyung physically because the entire time before, during, and after he only thought of Ho Gu.

The fact that he still has that reaction now to Ho Gu makes clear the point…if the person who kissed him had been Ho Gu (which it was in the actual webtoon) then it would be the same.

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I think you're wrong on that point--the kiss made his heart beat because of the person he'd spent the day with, regardless of whether it was the Ho-gu he knew of before. But I do agree that he then built that love up on Ho-gu, so he can't just switch to Ho-kyung when he learns the truth. They would have to have him fall in love with her for her loudmouth self all over again, which they had better hurry up. How many episodes are left?

On the other hand, I don't think he is really in love with Ho-gu either, because he doesn't know him. He certainly COULD love him, because they're both super cute. But he's under a misconception, and in love with a hybrid, imaginary person who has both Ho-kyung's ferocity and Ho-gu's... Foolishness? (Although there was all that shouting about condoms in the elavator... Maybe Ho-gu isn't exactly lacking in ferocity. Must be a family trait.)

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really?Hogu actually kisses him in the webtoon?So is he actually gay in the webtoon(can't login into daum to view it arrgh)Or does he somehow end up with ho-kyung? I actually really detest the idea of him with ho-kyung though :( He has so much more chemistry/is more interesting with hogu. This drama will be my favorite if BKC's feelings don't waver for her :)

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It's a very late reply but still...you're wrong about "he spent that day with Ho Kyung because he THOUGHT she was Ho Gu."

He never spent the day because he was ho-gu...he had to spent the day because of certain situations...and he enjoyed that day...he didn't even think about Ho-gu before...so he is actually in love with ho-kyung.

in the present, he still likes ho-gu just because of that past memory...nothing else...

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i can't believe that this drama gonna end next week. ep 13 was super like the other ep we laugh a lot and cry also a lot,love all the cast especialy do do he

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I think that the deceased friend is going to turn out to be the "candy girl" in the flashback. She is the only recently introduced new character and was featured too prominently in the scene. The writer could of had Do-hee refuse to eat the purity candy. Why add a new character? I also would not be surprised if her death was not somehow related to the rapist. I realize that this belief is some what of a stretch, but suppose Do-hee went to confront the rapist about her friend and then became his victim too. Do-hee seemed to have some evidence for Kang-chul about the rapist that he refused to use. That evidence could be about her friend's situation. Just another wild theory...

What do you think?

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But the deceased friend is a guy. The word "son" has been used, unless the subs I read were wrong...

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Correct me if I am wrong, but Korean is not gender specific. So the subtitles might read "son", but should may be read "child" instead. Hence, the parents misunderstanding of who was Do-hee's mother and father. They each assumed the others were her parents. We do not know the gender of the person buried in the grave unless I missed something.

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The subs have been wrong a lot. The dramafever subs have totally whiffed on a lot of the jokes in the show because they haven't been vague enough. (I've gotten to reading the recaps for this show a lot and going, "Oh, *that's* what was happening.) Though to be fair, the running gag where both sets of parents think the other is Do-Hee's parents is a hard one to translate, since it's awkward to use English gender-neutral pronouns or no pronouns in the conversation.

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The subs totally screwed me on the whole Kang-chul question. I was completely convinced he was the father because they PUT the word "condom" into the vague conversation in the hospital. I thought the recapper was crazy. But once I accepted that the subs weren't taking a lot of that subtlety into account, I had a much easier time understanding what was happening.

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Exactly my thoughts! She had a half second more screen time than a normal extra would have. And there was a meaningful look to Do Hee given.

the thought that the dead person was the real dad never stuck with me.. Especially after reading what they were actually saying. This show really likes making use of Korean languages gender neutrality to confuse people.

Director Park: i don't really understand her. Last episode, we saw that she already got information that Do Hee's pregnancy might've been the result of an assault. Then she goes batshit crazy on Do Hee while having dinner? Dude! Where's the logic in that?

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Having missed the last six episodes and marathoning them today, I have to say I really love this show, love the humour and the slow release of backstory. I rewound the happy dances that Ho Gu and Do Hee did so so cute these two.

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I think Kang-chul may be asexual but bi-romantic. His attraction to Ho-Kyung/Ho-gu stems from what was primarily an emotional moment really.

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No one else was bothered by Ho Gu going off to the cemetery to talk to the "baby's father" that he only learned about by once again making assumptions?

I also don't have a problem with Kang Chul NOT being gay. He doesn't actually like men. He likes the one man, that he thinks is the first person who made his heart race. That his heart races around Ho Gu now just shows how easily we project who we want people to be on to who they really are. That's how most people "love" especially in the beginning of a relationship (and why many don't last), people "love" the person they think or want the other person to be.

I'm also a more than a little annoyed at how long this confusion has taken place since Ho Kyung is very up front and direct. It makes sense that Ho Gu and Do Hee have all these misunderstandings since Ho Gu lives on assumptions, but not for his sister.

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First: thanks for the recap Lollypip!

I have to get this off my chest. The CEO is the absolute worst-- or at least, she would be if Kyung Woo wasn't around. She is a textbook manipulator. During their dinner she brought up the topic and steered the conversation to a place where she could (in)credibly blow up and intimidate Do Hee. CEO is emotionally abusive, and cold and calculating to boot. She does not have Do Hee's best interest at heart. This makes me even more upset, because Do Hee really needed a mother figure and I thought the CEO was going to be it. Ugghhh.

The rest of my emotions are wrapped in the elevator confession, although a sliver is also concerned with how unreasonably good Choi Woo Shik looks with his new 'do. His hair is just so shiny.

It's funny how Kang-Chul's sexuality has pretty much taken over everyone's focus in the comment section. I'm pretty obsessed, myself. All I know is, at this point he better be gay. If the show spent from episode 3 until now just jerking us around, there will be some words said and some hands laid.

... I actually have more to say, but I'll wait until the next episode's recap is up. Still processing the feels...

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I'm not crying, it's just raining in my room

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"I’m also developing some serious concerns for Do-hee and Ho-kyung’s safety. I’m pretty sure the show will reveal that the swimmer Kyung-woo was the monster who raped Do-hee, and that Do-hee’s deceased friend (and his death) was somehow wrapped up in all this."

I thought it was apparent last week that Kyung-woo was the rapist Do-hee's reaction to his name was to strong to be anything else.

All I have to say now is if that misbegotten asshat rapes Ho-kyung as well this drama and I are through.

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I am surprised that KC doesn't know who the rapist is, if it is indeed the asshat KW.

I mean, think about it. DH went to see KC because she wanted him to support her in a suit against the rapist, but he refused guessing that it would hurt her career more than anything. I assumed that he was afraid that accusing a high profile person was also a problem.

I think when he finds out it was KW, he will beat him up.

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(1) I love that confession. It was so real without all these grand words. It points out how love comes naturally and simply when you understand the person ♡
(2) There's something about Kang-chul not wanting Ho-kyung to leave him that tells me it's something more than him clinging on to someone. Like his subconscious is saying that this is a person you kissed and felt your heart beat for--you just had no idea. Not a psych major or anything tho so I'm just sharing what I thought. I also have a feeling that the show will not make Kang-chul gay in the end because (a) he's led to thinking that he's gay due to a wrong survey, and more importantly, there's this thing we call in Contemporary Epistemology where one has a belief P and since all the set of other beliefs that he has coheres or fits with belief P, he is, of course, naturally led to believe that P (in his case, a belief that he's gay); and (b) He hasn't kissed Ho-kyung yet which is an important part for the show, I contest. If Kang-chul ends up gay, that's okay but I want him to discover with w/o all these beliefs and assumptions that points to one conclusion. If he turned out to be not-gay, I don't think there's a problem with thay because not all people who went through identity crisis actually ended up being gay. Some of them realized that they are straight and I don't think that would necessarily imply that the Show is sending a message that "you can't be gay!" Plus, I agree with one of the comments that he has not been attracted to another man, as well. It's also an important case in point how he reacted when he saw Do-hee and Ho-gu holding hands.
(3) I love Ho-kyung. I like how her character is that of a girl who's tough on the outside but is actually feeling all these simple things that girls feel--like how your heart ache when the guy you like does not like you back and how you couldn't stay away because you can't let that feeling go.

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Tbh I'd still be happy if it turns out that kang Chul is straight and ends up with ho kyung cause could you just imagine their parents they'd be like "thank god those other parents aren't- ... oh god"

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Hah! I hadn't thought of that. It'll be great if they get around to a second meet-and-greet and then see the horror on their faces when it's the same parents.

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OMO.... Now I'm wanting to see that scene.... kekeke

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Ho-kyng is recommended by Kang Chul's mom. So I think they will approve :D

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Thanks for the recap and your thoughts.

The "Am I gay? Oh, god, that would be a horrible way to live since gay people are shunned in SK." is an AWESOME situation for KC to be in. To marinate in, as someone else so loverly said. It is making him see the world from the downtrodden point of view, and it is the complete opposite from his high falutin' tower he has been living in.

The show isn't asking ONLY "Is KC gay?" it is exploring what all that means to everyone in the story. If he is out, how will his parents react, how will his co-workers react? Will he be able to find a suitable boy for himself? Will he have to change jobs? Life is Beautiful dared to show us two adult gay men navigating the rough waters of being homosexual and out. This story isn't quite there yet, since we are all unsure, but still, the conversation has started about KC.

He started out as the biggest jerk of all Kdrama, and look how far he has come. Yes, still self absorbed, but a lot more human than god-like in his own eyes. His need for a HK, an advisor in life and love is new. Up until now, he has only depended on himself. Will love blossom once they discover he kissed a GIRL, and he liked it? Maybe, or maybe he just has a new good friend. Either way, I am happy we are on this journey with him, and I JUST WANT HIM TO BE HAPPY!

Every second of the entire hour of this show just thrills me. We are deftly moved from comedy to romance to fear to tears by a skillful creative team. I am so glad they all decided to make this very unusual show.

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If he does end up as gay at the end, and have to go through all that you wrote, it would make (for me anyway) a more interesting and satisfying story arc for KC.
You said you just want him to be happy, I agree, and maybe, going through all that and finally knowing himself, would lead to that. It doesn't have to be that he ends up in a romantic relationship, maybe it would be enough for him to have formed more meaningful platonic relationships with HG, DH, HK, and to not be alone. There is happiness in that and one could argue that in itself is a happy ending for him.
Maybe they will have his relationship with HK morph into a romantic one, I don't know. I think he is leaning on her and clinging bec she is the only one at this point who knows what he's going through, she did bring it to his attention. She's a professional and claimed to be able to help him with issues like this, so would be natural for him to ask her for help and not a sign of impending romantic feelings.

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Best ending scene!!!!

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This show has so many feels! This confession made me weep like a baby. Can't wait to see the next episodes!

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If that guy try to do anything with Ho Kyung, let's hope Ho Kyung still remember how to kick some ass.

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Go go Ho Kyung!!!!!!! Kick his ass!

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Would now be the wrong time to awkward laugh at what for a horrible moment I thought was going to be a "The Little White Bird" reference with the comic for Geum-dong? Yes? Okay. I just didn't want to be the only one uncomfortable.

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I don't think Kang Chul is gay. He doesn't have any present romantic feelings toward Ho goo, except when he think about that kiss. It's the kiss that he is questioning his sexuality.

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Concerning Kang-chul and Ho-kyug, I believe this drama will have a similar ending to Shakespear's play "twelfth night". In fact, I think the writer was inspired by this play in regards to these two characters. If my prediction is correct, just as Duke Orsino and Viola/Cesario, Kang-chul and Ho-kyung will end up together.

I noticed many comments about identity and sexuality issues, some treating them very lightly. These are very complex issues and most unfortunately the media in general broadcasts the idea that they are easily explained - you're either homosexual or heterosexual (from birth ) and there's no shifting from one side to the other and vice-versa. Using words like 'fix ' show a conceived idea that human sexuality is unchangeable or that it shouldn't change, when, in fact, there's been seen the contrary. There are studies that show shifts in both sides and they weren't a result of a treatment or a 'fix', people shifted by themselves. Therefore, whatever Kang-chul decides to be is ok with me.

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thye made us cry, cry and cry some more in this ep!! I loled with Do hee trying to be cool about the kiss but I kept crying the whole thing... kangchul breaks my heart! when he started crying in court, I could just cry with him... Even tho the test he took wasnt about knowing if youre gay or not, his doubts are so real to him that he feels his world is falling apart... Hope ho kyung can help him and make him realize shes the Hogu he met and/or accept himself

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I don't know whether kang-chul is gay or not but I know that he IS in love with hogu at this point..he had taken interest in hogu long before his day with ho-kyung..though he wasn't necessarily attracted to him during that time, he did watch over him in high-school so he spent that day based on what he knew about hogu. I mean how dumb is it for him to end up with ho-kyung all because he finds out that they spent ONE day together. Besides they don't even fit well or have chemistry together. She has been manipulating and trying to force a relationship with him throughout the show and that approach clearly has backfired because someone as lonely and love deprived as KC doesn't need an aggressive and obsessive stalker but rather someone sweet who is sometimes aggressive when he thinks he did wrong such as hogu.I really dislike HK personally.

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