The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 2
The best kind of friendships are the ones which free you to be your truest self, your most comfortable self, and ideally your best self. We’re only in the first week of the show, yet it feels like we really are watching two friends who’ve known each other for ages—but how well they truly know each other turns out to be another matter entirely. Only time will tell if the addition of new love interests could put a strain on Hana and Won’s relationship, or whether some long hidden secrets may end up doing the job instead.
SONG OF THE DAY
BoA – “Home” [ Download ]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
“The important turning points in our lives can come at any time without warning,” Hana narrates in voiceover as she recalls her botched wedding guest experience.
She feels the ramifications of it at work where her colleagues loom over her disapprovingly, echoing each other that Ho-joon’s bride—the bride whose wedding she crashed—isn’t just anyone, but the president’s niece.
In what’s clearly a dream sequence, Hana then finds herself being backed up toward the edge of the train platform by the same leering faces. She falls backwards, and her only lifeline—one of her coworker’s ties—gets viciously cut by a pair of sharp, gleaming scissors…
And then she wakes up. She calls Won to blame him for her nightmare, which she wouldn’t have had if he hadn’t caused a scene at the wedding. Won’s all, “I already told you I’m sorry, what else do you want me to do?”
As they continue to bicker over the phone, Hana catches the attention of a handsome young man at the coffee shop. Won advises her not to take the office rumors too seriously, and to show her strength in front of her coworkers. “Easier said than done,” she sighs.
The same flower boy from the coffee shop calls out to her, since she forgot a stack of papers inside. “Don’t you remember me?” he asks—and Hana, intrigued, hangs up on Won. His face doesn’t ring a bell for her, though he claims he remembers her.
Hana wonders if she’s being hit on, and smoothes out her hair. He’s insistent when he asks if she really doesn’t remember him, but she thinks it’s just a pickup line, thanks him for returning her stuff, and saunters off with a girlish grin.
Unfortunately for her, she’s reamed at work by her boss, Director Byun, because she hasn’t been able to sell all those shoes endorsed by a now-missing actress. Director Byun hops up and down with rage, cooled only by Hana’s promise that she’ll make the launch show for the shoes a success.
The flower boy from earlier takes a tour of Hana’s office as the new marketing intern before he’s introduced to an extra bumbling version of Hana as KI SUNG-JAE (Infinite’s L).
She recognizes him from earlier, but is all business. Or at least she tries to be, even though Sung-jae catches her rubbing her head where she bumped it and smiles at her.
That spurs on another memory, the one Sung-jae was likely referencing at first—he’d helped her carry a load of shoeboxes in the department store once. He’d looked back at her and smiled that charming smile.
Speaking of interns, So-eun scores points with her male colleagues by bringing them coffee, spurring them all to comment that she’s totally Won’s type.
It’s all about yin and yang they say, and a cynical man like Won could benefit from a bright and thoughtful girl like So-eun. Of course all this is said with the two of them in the room, and Won puts a stop to their conversation before things get too awkward.
On their elevator ride together, Hana brings up the department store incident he’d helped her with and thanks him belatedly. He grins as he admits that he thought she was his age, which is why he tried hitting on her this morning.
He doesn’t want her to feel weird about it now, since he realizes they aren’t the same age, and now that he works under her he promises to do his job diligently.
After watching Hana deal expertly with a dismayed consumer, Sung-jae can’t help but put it into words when they’re alone in the storeroom together: “The more I see you, the more charming you become, Team Leader. I think I might fall in love with you.”
Hana doesn’t have a response, but a tense moment passes when they find each other in close proximity. It ends when he smiles and moves aside so she can pass.
While working late that night she receives a surprise visitor bearing surprise snacks—it’s Sung-jae, worried about her being alone. He promises to wait until she’s done so he can escort her. Aww.
Hana calls Won to tell him about the new intern, and Won is swift to call him a kid when she reveals his age to be twenty-six. Still, Won has to reluctantly admit that the kid has moves, though he’s very interested to hear how Hana responded.
Hana seems surprised that she didn’t scold him the way she’d scold anyone else, and Won feels the need to remind her that there’s no way that intern would see her as a woman. He was clearly just being nice—why is Hana reading so far into it?
“Are you jealous?” Hana asks. Won acts scandalized as Hana calls him out for not attracting his female juniors because he’s too stiff and boring. He’s just jealous that her intern luurves her, right? “I’m very popular!” he defends weakly. Hana: “As if!”
Maybe that conversation is what spurs Won to sit next to So-eun on the bus, while his colleagues give him the thumbs up. She thanks him for helping her out with that rowdy passenger, and nervously admits that she wants to use her gratitude as an excuse to have dinner with him.
Now that Won can’t help but to think about Hana’s diss, he agrees to the date. He’s not really keen on allowing her to hand feed him once they’re there, but her insistence ends up prevailing in the end. Wow, she’s not shy at all, is she?
Sung-jae texts Hana to ask if she made it home okay, and once she responds, he replies: “I’ll see you tomorrow then. ♥” Heart emoji aside, Hana wonders if he’s already talking to her like she’s his girlfriend. The thought makes her smile.
Back at dinner, So-eun asks Won about their Mir-loving boss, Mi-hyang, and finds out in the process that she and Won are cousins. She sighs that it must be nice that he gets to call Choi noona, since she never had any siblings to call endearing terms.
Her next question takes Won completely by surprise: “Can I call you oppa?” That’s some fast moving there, but she sort of steamrolls over any protest he could’ve made by asking with a please.
She takes his silence as a yes, and adds, “Oppa.” Hana calls him then, and when he claims he’s just out with a junior from the airline, So-eun seems to deliberately call him “Oppa” so Hana can hear from the other end.
Hana calls him out on dating at work, though Won claims So-eun was just joking. She’s skeptical, but agrees to pick up their conversation when he gets home.
So-eun asks if he was talking to his girlfriend, and doesn’t quite seem to believe Won when he says she’s just a friend. “Can a man and a woman really just be friends?” she asks, and of course Won says yes.
She freely admits she’s happy to hear it, because if he’s telling the truth, that means he doesn’t have a girlfriend. And if he isn’t, that means he was lying to make her feel better. Won’s figured out that she’ll just think the way she wants, but he likes her optimism.
Hana can’t sleep that night, still incredulous over hearing that girl call Won oppa. “When did he start dating?” she mutters sourly. Meanwhile Won walks home thinking of So-eun’s question about male and female friendships.
Flash back to Won and Hana’s high school days, with both of them preening in preparation for a blind group date that neither of them know the other is going on.
They see each other all dolled up in their 90s finest outside their homes and lie about where they’re going, only to end up at the same place, on the same date. When the rules call for everyone to put one personal item on the table (with the idea that you’ll be matched with whoever picks your item), Hana pulls Won aside to show him the scrunchie she’ll be using.
It’s like a lightbulb goes off over Won’s head. “It’s like taking a test with all the answers,” he says. Now that he knows what she’ll be using, he promises not to take it. “Okay, then we help each other,” Hana says excitedly. “Yes. Since we’re friends,” Won agrees. Both: “Fighting!”
But Won is faced with a dilemma when two nearly identical scrunchies are put on the table, having no idea which isn’t Hana’s. Unfortunately he picks wrong, and both their faces fall when they realize they’re stuck with each other for the evening.
They still manage to have fun, as always, leading to a montage of happy memories from their high school days. As much as they might say they’re just friends, Won’s transfixed look when Hana smiles at him seems to hint at something deeper.
Won smiles fondly in the present, and continues his trip down memory lane by looking at old high school pictures. His smile fades when he comes across a picture of him, Hana, and her friend who had a crush on him.
That’s when he also spots the book we’ve seen before, The Love of the One-Eyed Fish, which contains a poem about longing for companionship and true love. It’s the poem that put him in a mood back in his younger days, though it’s unclear why it makes him so upset.
Ho-joon and his new wife, Yoon Min-ji, are back from their honeymoon, which means Hana will encounter them in her work. Min-ji’s given everyone gifts and Hana tries to play it cool, at least until her assistant comments that Min-ji not only picked a great gift, she picked a great man! Bang.
Hana tries to steel herself so she can stand tall in front of Min-ji, only to end up losing her nerve as she ducks out of view. Then it’s off to actress Gu Yeon-jung’s house now that Hana’s heard she’s back in Korea, since the only way she can redeem herself is to get Yeon-jung to publicly endorse her shoes.
Sung-jae drives her and her assistant, though he ends up staking out the actress’ house alone with Hana once it gets late. As the hours pass and Hana wonders why Yeon-jung hasn’t appeared, Sung-jae says he doesn’t blame her.
He opens up a bit when he explains that he wanted to hide like her when his girlfriend broke up with him, thinking that the world was coming to an end. Hana turns toward him to listen to his heartfelt story…
…And accidentally farts in the process. There’s no mistaking the sound in the silence of the car, leaving both of them at an awkward loss for words. Poor Hana. But still, hahaha.
Sung-jae tries to continue with his story like it didn’t happen, but the smell’s enough of a problem that Hana opens the window, using some excuse about wanting to feel the air. Sure, Hana. Let’s just go with that.
They can’t stake out Yeon-jung’s house all night though, and Sung-jae eventually drops Hana off at home. She can’t get over her embarrassment, but at least she finds it funny in retrospect.
Hana’s enjoying her weekend the way any sensible person would love to do: by watching TV in her pajamas and eating snacks her mom brings her. She’s lost in her own little world, enough for Mom to ask little bro Dae-bok to help set Won up with Hana. Since he’s still single and all.
Companionship isn’t far from Hana’s mind either, as she wonders who she could possibly date. Suddenly, mixed martial artist Chu Sung-hoon appears in her bedroom and bears his manly chest to her. She goes googly eyed for only a moment before sadly realizing he’s way out of her league.
Along comes a dreamy Yoon Sang-hyun (Secret Garden reunion!), who sings her a sweet serenade. But even that fantasy crumbles—not only is he too popular with women, he’s also already married.
Next up is Ohn Joo-wan, who makes a display of showing off and slapping his own bottom in front of her. Haha. She doesn’t like the idea of him being so vain, so away he goes.
The next example is someone a little more attainable: Sung-jae. As radiant as he appears before her, Hana talks herself out of it—he’s eight years younger than her, for god’s sake. Poof.
Last but not least, her final possible suitor, Won, appears on the bed next to her. She’s all but repulsed at the idea, and fervently wishes the thought out of her mind. When she opens her eyes, she’s finally alone.
Of course, she walks downstairs to find the real Won in her living room. Mom and Dad suddenly have somewhere suuuper urgent they need to go, which means leaving Hana and Won alone in the house. Way to be subtle, guys.
Hana and Won just hang out like they normally would, eating on the couch while watching TV. She can’t help but ask about that girl who calls him “Oppa,” and balks when he says So-eun’s just twenty-five years old.
Won goes on the defensive trying to find ways Hana’s being inappropriate with her younger suitor, but since Sung-jae’s still calling Hana by her formal title, it’s not like his current situation with So-eun.
That’s exactly why Hana argues that formality dictates relationships between men and women, and it’s clear she thinks So-eun is a bit too forward for calling her rightful sunbae “Oppa.” Won asks if she wouldn’t allow Sung-jae to start calling her noona. Hana: “Of course not. I’m a woman who clearly separates love from work.”
After going on on a grocery run for Mi-hyang where the two of them just bicker about who’s more saintly for putting up with the other, they end up getting wrangled into Mi-hyang’s plan to make food for her idol, Mir.
While Won is disparaging, Hana supports Mi-hyang’s dreams and her cooking: “If I were Mir, I would marry you.” Even the age difference between herself and Mir doesn’t bother Mi-hyang—age is just a number, after all.
Speaking of age differences, Won helps So-eun at work when she takes it upon herself to carry an old woman’s suitcase for her. (I thought we were going Liar Game for a second there—the last time I saw this grandmother, she was having Kim So-eun help her carry the exact same suitcase.)
Meanwhile, Hana and Sung-jae accidentally touch hands while working with the customers. He follows her into the storeroom and gently takes her wrist in his hand as he offers to do her work for her, and Hana obliges him.
They end up in close proximity again, at first accidentally, but then Sung-jae takes a step forward to shorten the gap between him and Hana. Both of them just stare into each other’s eyes for a charged second before he lets go.
Sung-jae, having taken note of Hana’s foot pain during the day, appears before her after work with a pair of comfortable sandals. Aww, darn. Why does he have to be so cute when we know he’s just a cameo?
He even walks her home that night while carries her shoes for her. She doesn’t notice Won outside his house, but he sure trains his eyes on the two of them.
Hana’s worried that Sung-jae isn’t in the best spot to be advancing in the company, but he’s happy where he’s at—and he’s learning a lot thanks to noona. His use of the endearing term takes her by surprise, though he’s quick to remind her that they’re off the clock. For now she’s not team leader, and he’s not an intern.
Hana doesn’t quite know how to respond, and only when she turns toward her house does she spot Won, who gives them a big grin and a wave. She stops him from saying something embarrassing to Sung-jae by squeezing his arm, leaving the two men to have a stilted but cordial conversation.
The two best friends retreat to their favorite drinking spot afterward to discuss Won’s thoughts about Sung-jae, even though Hana’s still forming her own. She’s almost dreamy as she describes how he called her noona, prompting Won to ask if “that kid” actually moved her.
She denies that it was the noona usage that swayed her, citing that it was Sung-jae’s looks, work ethics, and general care for her that caught her attention. Still, she goes on the defensive when Won calls her out on her feelings, especially when he throws back her earlier declaration that unlike him, she knows how to separate love from work.
But in the end he has to be supportive, though he teasingly wonders whether he can give her the bet money in payments since she’s obviously going to get married first. Cue adorable chokehold fight. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)
Won gets a rare day off when his schedule is cancelled and wants to celebrate with Hana, who doesn’t answer his texts since she’s busy at the store. She doesn’t have the option to avoid seeing her ex pick Min-ji up from work while she’s left without a ride in the rain.
Interestingly enough, she’s ditched her heels for her comfortable pair of sneakers. She doesn’t know Won’s on his way to her so she makes a run for it, but surprisingly doesn’t get drenched—probably because someone’s holding an umbrella over her head.
It’s not Won, who gets held up on his way over by So-eun wanting to share his umbrella. Hana looks up to find Sung-jae standing over her instead.
We flash back to moments in Hana and Won’s past we think we’ve already seen, but from Won’s perspective now. Their chance encounters outside their houses weren’t so much chance as they were Won waiting for Hana.
Hana remained oblivious, even to the fact that Won saved her from falling during their game of steroidal leap frog. On the day they ended up on the same group date, Won had watched her walking away…
…And he definitely noticed the exact color of her scrunchie.
Even though we only have two episodes to go off of so far, I appreciate how this show handles its cliffhangers, which have to rely on smaller emotional beats as opposed to something more traditionally exciting. I remember being tricked last episode into thinking we’d reached the end when we hadn’t, and the same happened here—most dramas would’ve finished on the dual shot of both would-be couples huddled under their umbrellas, but that alone wouldn’t have raised enough compelling questions to last until next week.
So in place of something more generic that would’ve still been serviceable, we got a different perspective on some key scenes of Hana and Won’s past that we thought we already knew. What’s maybe even more interesting than Won’s secret feelings being revealed to us is that we have no idea if they’ve ever been revealed to Hana, though all signs seem to say no. After all, Won made it a point to shoot down any hopes of them having a romantic future together in as blunt a way as he could muster. More than once, even.
Now that we’ve seen that Won was the one deliberately searching Hana out, I’m even more curious to find out what changed with him, and why he was so harsh in telling her he’d never love her. Why would he go out of his way to help her in ways she wouldn’t even notice, unless he’s just that good of a person? Wait, I think I answered my own question. Still, there’s got to be much more to it, and I’m definitely down for this feeling that we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface when it comes to the two of them.
It’d be tragic if Won has relegated himself to the friendzone because he thinks that’s best for Hana, though his visceral reaction to that picture of the two of them and her buddy raised some red flags. Even if I don’t understand his reasoning behind picking her out on the blind date if he wasn’t going to change the status quo, it’s adorable that he acted as though it was all by some bad stroke of luck.
If only he wasn’t the only one holding onto these secrets, since that means Hana will only find out if he chooses to tell her. After almost twenty years of assuming Won never had any romantic interest in her, who could blame her for wishing his apparition away during her fantasy parade of suitors? Then again, the fact that he appeared to her at all says something, even if she doesn’t know—or would rather not think about—what that something is.
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