Jealousy Incarnate: Episode 8
Change moves in today as our different factions wage their own battles to gain someone’s heart, be it by hook or by crook. Sung-sook and Ja-young seek Pal-gang’s, while Jung-won seeks Na-ri’s. But shippers, hold on to your hearts, because there’s a strong wind ahead as Hwa-shin begins to discover his. He’s got such a long way to go, and the question is, has he missed the boat?
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Jung-won wonders if Hwa-shin just set them up, telling them to date and everything, and Na-ri laughs in disbelief. “Why do you like me?” she asks Jung-won, “I feel like I’m so lacking.”
Jung-won disagrees and says they should work out precisely who’s lacking in what, starting with his own shortcomings. He tells her that he has no free time because he’s always working, and points out that she can wear whatever she likes, while he can only wear his own company’s clothes. She also has a nice work superior in Hwa-shin (hah, “nice” is not the word I’d use), while he tragically has no superior at all.
She laughs at him to stop, but he tells her he’s a beggar for her affections right now (specifically, a beggar for ae-jung, hee). He asks her why she can’t squabble freely with him like she does with Hwa-shin, and doesn’t budge until she agrees to treat him that way, too.
Hwa-shin broods in the men’s dorm, where Jung-won finds him. He asks how it went with Na-ri, and Jung-won admits she’s playing hard to get. A ghost of a smirk passes across Hwa-shin’s face at that, and with studied indifference, he asks Jung-won when he became interested in her.
Jung-won replies that it was since he met her on the plane to Thailand—which surprises Hwa-shin—when she sat in his seat like it was her own, delighted by what was clearly her first time flying. He tells Hwa-shin that when he was flying back—alone in first class—he thought how nice it would’ve been if she were there, too.
Hwa-shin shortly tells his friend to treat her well—she won’t hold out against him long, she’s not that type. Jung-won asks how he knows that, and Hwa-shin replies that he just does. He also tells Jung-won that he plans to move in with Pal-gang, to look after her, and Jung-won notes that that’s right below Na-ri’s place. On the other side of the wall in the women’s room, Na-ri slips into bed smiling.
The next day, Chef Rak visits Hyung’s grave to apologize for not yet carrying out his instructions about Pal-gang’s care. He says he needs to observe Sung-sook and Ja-young longer to figure out who will be best for her.
Ja-young and Sung-sook show up at work in identical outfits again. Ja-young mutters in disbelief about how the two of them can have such same tastes—in clothes, in food, in men. They jostle each other on the way out of the elevator, and exchange glares.
Hwa-shin runs into Sung-sook sneaking out of the office dressed in camo gear, but she refuses to tell him what she’s up to, only saying she’s off to holler from a mountain-top and he can come along if he’s curious. Haha.
Ja-young hops out of a movers’ truck in front of Pal-gang’s house/Rak Pasta, where another truck’s already unloading. She comes face-to-face with Sung-sook in shock. The women take one look at each other and Sung-sook hollers at her crew to unload double-quick and she’ll pay them triple.
Hwa-shin also pulls up amid the flurry, and bellows at the women for trespassing at his brother’s house. He himself has been waiting for Pal-gang’s permission to live with her, he snaps. He throws himself onto the mattress on the lift-bed, assuming it’ll stop the movers, but it doesn’t, and Sung-sook tackles him, urging the ajusshi to keep going up. Ja-young eggs her own team on via the stairs (also for triple-pay).
Now Chef arrives with Jung-won’s mom (who also happens to be his older sister) MADAM KIM in tow. Slack-jawed, they take in the all-out brawl taking place at Pal-gang’s front door. Hwa-shin blocks Sung-sook from entering, while Ja-young tries to get past them with a box of kimchi, which of course splits open and flies all over Hwa-shin. Everyone freezes, and Hwa-shin howls into the heavens.
Later, changing into a clean shirt, Hwa-shin contacts a realtor to find him a place as close to Pal-gang’s as possible.
Madam Kim looks in on Hwa-shin’s mom, who lies unresponsively in her bed. But Mom bolts up when she hears Madam Kim’s news that her ex-daughters-in-law have moved in with Pal-gang.
At school, Dae-goo nervously tells Chi-yeol that he’s decided to make Pal-gang his girl. “Do that,” Chi-yeol replies, unbothered. Dae-goo expected more reaction than that: “After all, Pal-gang kissed you, too,” he stammers. Chi-yeol just leaves.
Outside, Pal-gang lets the boys catch up with her, which Dae-goo quickly does, while Chi-yeol walks a little apart. Dae-goo asks her what it’s like living with two moms, and she says it’s similar to the feeling of kissing two boys.
The boys stop short, and she turns around. “Aren’t you guys jealous?” she asks, confused. “Especially you,” she says to Chi-yeol, when he steps right up close to her. He looks her in the eye, and with a sharp smile, he tells Dae-goo that Pal-gang doesn’t like either of them. “When a woman has someone she likes, she can’t kiss someone else,” he says, as Pal-gang gazes up at him.
Na-ri arrives at Jung-won’s workroom on his invitation, though not in the crop top he specifies. He wants to finish quickly and play, he murmurs, resting his hands on her hips. And then he grabs a measuring tape and measures her up and down, reminding her that he promised to sponsor her clothes, which from now on are going to be in “Pyo Na-ri size”. He explains that her clothing needed to be minimal for accurate measuring. “Don’t misunderstand,” he tells her, as he measures her bust. Haha.
Holding her by the waist again, he backs her up until she perches on the table, and holds her eyes. Are you sure this isn’t the playing part? Then he kneels down and takes off her shoes. Placing each foot on a mould, he stands her up again, his forearms clasped around hers.
Na-ri watches her pretty chaebol at work, drawing and cutting, until at last, she tries on the mocked-up dress he’s designed—to flatter a long-armed skinny like her, he says, smiling. She really likes it, she tells him, eyes shining.
Ja-young sits up in bed and wonders why Pal-gang’s not home yet, and Sung-sook pops up beside her. But they both throw themselves down again at the sound of her return, feigning sleep. Pal-gang opens their door and stares at them for a moment, before shutting it again, and the two moms (somehow clutching each other’s hands, lol) spring away from each other.
Under the covers in her own room, Pal-gang sobs for her father.
Na-ri arrives at work in good spirits, having collected her phone from the shop totally intact. She cajoles Hwa-shin to go to the hospital, but he shakes her off. Neither of them notice Joo-hee and two other weathergirls watching them. Their jaws drop when Na-ri puts a hand on Hwa-shin’s chest and then snakes another around his waist (asking if he’s still wearing the bra), looking for all the world like she’s feeling him up. Spotting the gaping girls, Hwa-shin puts an arm around her and leads her away.
In suppressed frustration, Hwa-shin tells her not to touch his body—his chest is his concern. She complains that he’s not taking care of himself, and when she sees him, she thinks of her mom. She asks him if he can’t entrust his bosom (where the word kaseum has the dual meaning of both chest and heart) to her. Something changes in his eyes as he stares at her, and above him, the amber man turns green.
In her car, Ja-young tells Hye-won that there’s about to be an anchor reshuffle, and advises Hye-won to set her eye on Soo-jung’s seat. She explains that if Sung-sook wins the seat traditionally held by male announcers, the otherwise female seat will be filled not just by a man, but a hotshot reporter, and that would be the end of announcers. They can never let that happen, she rails.
Just then, Na-ri and Hwa-shin walk by, tailed by the weathergirls. Hwa-shin hands Na-ri into the passenger seat, all gentleman-like, and turns away with a helpless grin. The weathergirls wonder if they’re dating.
His car passes in front of Ja-young’s, and she tells Hye-won that Hwa-shin will also be going up against Sung-sook for that spot, so Hye-won should use that to her advantage.
Na-ri’s happy they’re finally going to the hospital, but they argue when Hwa-shin says he wants to go eat (aka avoid treatment) instead. Frustrated, she makes him stop the car and grabs him by the hair, threatening to turn him over to Jung-won. In fact, she’s had enough of him, so if he’s determined to die, he can, she says, unbuckling herself.
He catches her arm and tells her he’s holding out for the anchor audition. If he has to go to the hospital every day through a gaggle of women, how can he hope not to be found out? And if he’s found out, he says Sung-sook and the others will rip him apart like a pack of hyenas. Na-ri says she won’t let him get found out, but he doesn’t budge. Annoyed, she leaves, and he watches her go.
But the next thing you know, we’re in hospital and a nurse calls out for “Pyo Na-ri-nim”. Na-ri’s hand shoots up…attached to Hwa-shin’s.
In her office, Dr. Geum explains that they’ve made an arrangement to protect his identity by using Na-ri’s name on everything (she also wonders why his hair is messed up…). Na-ri will be here with him, so he can just act like her guardian and no onlooker will be the wiser.
Hwa-shin worries that people will then think that Na-ri has breast cancer, but she’s okay with that—it’s stage one, so a full recovery is likely. She tells him to concentrate on getting better. After all, she points out, he’s the one who has to go through the gruelling therapy, she’s just going to be pretending.
Dr. Geum remarks that looking at them, it seems like the woman loves the man more, when it ought to be the other way around. Na-ri laughs at the implication and tries to correct her, but Doc argues that she even saw them kissing. Na-ri urges Hwa-shin to refute it, but he stays closemouthed. Dr. Geum chuckles that Hwa-shin is lucky to have found someone like Na-ri. Na-ri insists it’s not like that, and doesn’t notice Hwa-shin gazing at her.
Hwa-shin looks really nervous and laces his fingers with Na-ri’s as they enter the treatment room. While he receives the radiotherapy, in voiceover, we hear Dr. Geum’s instructions to him to avoid dairy and samgyupsal, and absolutely no alcohol or smoking. She reminds him that because he’s young, he could relapse and the cancer could spread quickly.
On the drive back, Na-ri gets a message from Jung-won saying, “Let’s eat,” and a beat too late, Hwa-shin asks the same. Smiling happily, she says she already has plans. Since it’s Jung-won, she invites Hwa-shin along, but he declines.
Soo-jung meets Hwa-shin when he gets back, and offers him a condolence envelope. She says they’ll see each other a lot after her marriage to Jung-won, which of course is the first Hwa-shin’s heard of it.
He calls Jung-won up and asks if he trusts him. Jung-won replies that he does. “I don’t trust you,” Hwa-shin tells him. Jung-won repeats Hwa-shin’s words to Na-ri, and says he must trust him to say such a thing to him. Na-ri asks if they’ve ever fought, and Jung-won says they’ve never had any reason to. Famous last words.
As they leave the newsroom, Hye-won tells Hwa-shin to have a drink with her. Over drinks (why are you drinking, Hwa-shin??), she gets straight to the point. She says she’s got the 9 o’clock female anchor position (Soo-jung’s spot) in the bag; he’s already a strong contender for the open position, but if he allies with her, his win will be a sure thing.
She leans over close enough to kiss, and notes that he doesn’t smell horrible after he eats, like her current colleague. He asks her if she has feelings for him. “Not yet,” she replies, and paints a picture of them holding hands under the newsdesk, dating, even marrying. Hwa-shin marvels at her brazenness and asks why him. She answers that he’s good at his job and totally looks down on her, which makes him cool.
That night, Hwa-shin’s treatment area itches. He pads over to the women’s dorm to ask Na-ri for some ointment, and admits he drank.
Oh noo, even with a face mask and facing away, you can tell that’s Joo-hee in Na-ri’s usual bunk (with a porcupine pillow, haha)! She just waves him away, but before he leaves, he tells her about where they should meet tomorrow so that nobody from the station sees them. He even (grumpily) pulls the covers over her bare shoulders because she might catch cold.
Na-ri steps off the elevator just as Hwa-shin turns the corner, narrowly missing him. She pauses at her dorm door, suspicious that Hwa-shin might be drinking. Back in his room, Hwa-shin is surprised that Na-ri didn’t bite his head off about that. Meanwhile, Joo-hee’s totally razzed thinking that they must really be dating.
The next day, PD Oh announces a mandatory-attendance company dinner for that evening, and adds that he’ll make important announcements about the anchor audition. Hwa-shin complains that they always go to the same samgyupsal place. The PD retorts that if he wants to go somewhere else, he can pay.
Na-ri sneezes her way to the hospital with Hwa-shin, and worries about how he’ll handle the company dinner when he can’t have either samgyupsal or alcohol. From around a corner, the weathergirls confirm the couple’s rendezvous.
At the company dinner, Na-ri watches Hwa-shin drinking and being fed samgyupsal by Dong-gi. She asks the serving ahjumma to bring her a plate of lean beef, which Na-ri deposits at Hwa-shin’s side with a quiet reminder. He grouses that this is how company dinners are and pushes her away.
PD Oh announces that the anchor auditions will be a live internal broadcast, and that he fought hard with the president to have the eligibility range include Hwa-shin and Sung-sook, who were nearly excluded by the original criteria.
One by one, the team offer salutes and bomb-shots. Na-ri becomes increasingly worried, and when it’s Hwa-shin’s turn, she slides in and intercepts his glass, downing it herself.
Put out, PD Oh pours Hwa-shin a fresh drink—which Na-ri also intercepts, followed by Hye-won’s and Dong-gi’s, too. Everyone starts whispering about her, but she keeps going, intercepting his every attempt, and getting more and more soused herself. When she at last returns to her table, he gazes at her, probably wondering if she has alcohol poisoning yet.
Now at a noraebang, Ja-young and Sung-sook take turns up front. PD Oh urges Hwa-shin up, too, but he waves it off. So it ends up being Na-ri, singing alone, while everyone has pretty much zoned out. As she’s about to shut it off, he picks up a mic and joins her to finish the song together.
Na-ri takes a seat again, looking queasy, and PD Oh calls out for Hwa-shin to do Kim Gun-mo’s Wrongful Meeting (lyrics here), which, ha. How terribly (in)appropriate! As he sings the song about introducing his girl to his friend and then realizing she likes the friend more than him, a montage of Na-ri and Jung-won’s meetings flash by.
Just as he sings the line about how the girl and the friend became lovers, Na-ri runs out, clutching her stomach. A moment later, Hwa-shin follows to see if she’s okay. She hurls her guts up in the bathroom while he waits outside.
A tipsy Soo-jung calls Jung-won to ask if he’ll pick her up. He’s currently with his mom, who guesses it was Soo-jung, and gets angry when Jung-won delegates the task to Secretary Cha. He’s about to leave without responding, but turns back at the last moment. He asks her if she wants him to live like she does, ignored by his father as if she doesn’t exist.
“I’m going to marry a woman I like,” he tells her. “Just concede that to me, and I’ll do the other ninety-nine things your way.” With a barbed smile, she tells him to concede on his marriage, and she’ll let him have his way on everything else. Ugh.
Hwa-shin piggybacks Na-ri back to the station. He asks if he should call Jung-won, but she says she doesn’t want him to see her like this. As he tucks her into her bunk, he scolds her for drinking so much. She tries to send him on his way, but he’s reluctant to leave and tells her to call if she needs anything. Slurring and half-asleep, she finds his sudden niceness weird.
Na-ri can’t fall asleep, afraid that she won’t be able to wake up for her morning broadcast. But she also feels unwell and really needs to sleep, and the dilemma sets her wailing that she’ll be fired.
Hwa-shin curls up by her, promising to wake her, and she finally quiets. On the bedside table, each of their phones vibrate in turn as Jung-won tries to reach one and then the other. But nestled together, they’re already asleep.
At last, a much more definite shift in his feelings! He’s seriously spent half the episode gazing moon-eyed at her. And yet…I feel like we’ve reached the point more than once, where Hwa-shin realizes that he might actually like Na-ri, although we do creep a step for’arder each time. From sharing a room with their backs to each other, they’re now sharing a bed, and look at him, all cuddlebuggy now. This transition from apart to together also brings a really nice emotional symmetry to the episode, which has been building up to this quiet climax all hour.
The real problem is his godawful stubbornness. He really is lucky to have Na-ri, and in the grand scheme of things, I think she can be forgiven for poking his chest a couple of times given the huge commitment she makes to someone she has no responsibility towards. Going with him to the hospital (/dragging him there) every day for six weeks is a big deal, letting him use her name, constructing this whole scheme to protect his concerns…she doesn’t have to do any of that, but what I like so much about her is that as a natural caretaker, she does it without a second thought.
Is Hwa-shin’s fear of being found out disproportionate? Maybe not, given his competitive work environment, but his utter lack of self-care is frustrating, regardless of whether his future career on the line. How about, your future existence on this plane is on the line?! And that’s what makes me currently irritated with Hwa-shin, because it’s just irresponsible for a grown man not to take care of himself. I don’t think that’s a matter that is encompassed by personal choice—self-care is a matter of moral duty. You have a body, you have to take care of it. So I understand Na-ri’s interference and inability to stand by while he wrecks himself.
I don’t usually ship second leads (I know they’re doomed I AM EMOTIONALLY SMART), but last week, I found myself thoroughly, wholly, totally shipping Jung-won and Na-ri, and wanting this show to pick him. I take back what I said about him being bland (although! I still think he needs a few more lines in his face!). He’s a character who seems untouchable on the surface—rich, good-looking, emotionally mature, seemingly lacking in nothing despite his catalogue of his “faults” to Na-ri. But this conflict of wills between him and his mother that has just come to a head really deepens his character, touching him with a clarity that comes from emotional hardship and a struggle for personal agency. So it’s so saaaad that he’s not endgame. Cry with meeee.
I like how the show plays Hwa-shin’s jerk-with-the-heart-of-gold archetype in an entertainingly subversive way—Na-ri does quite quickly reject him as a viable interest, and she does find someone new—so I more than half-wish we could run with it all the way, Jo Jung-seok notwithstanding. I actually usually like jerk transformations (after fanatically hating them for half the show, obviously), but the slow development of this show, and therefore the characters, frustrates me a little—I’m certain we could compress the two episodes of the week into one without losing anything. The show could really do with some sharp tugs and tweaks to make it tighter, tangier and zippier, because while it’s full of really good standalone moments, they haven’t yet managed to sew themselves together into a cohesive whole.
I feel like Jealousy still hasn’t quite decided what kind of show it will be, whether it will be a workplace drama or a family drama, and as a result, certain aspects get much shorter shrift, like the family side of things. Look at how Na-ri spends no time at home (Chi-yeol needs you, too!) and the kids are always by themselves—but their storylines are prominent enough that you can’t dismiss them. Just give us more, show! Especially of sardonic sweetheart Chi-yeol.
We got some progress with Sung-sook and Ja-young moving in with Pal-gang, but Pal-gang herself remains elusive, and there’s not enough of her being real, like that flash of her crying under her covers. At this point, the pairing I’m covertly shipping is actually these two moms, and the prospect of a reluctant friendship/grudging respect between them is surprisingly tantalizing. What they have at the moment is probably closer to a ceasefire, but it is hugely entertaining that they end up in the same bed, somehow fighting on the same side to gain Pal-gang’s notice. Ha. But what I really want to see is how Hwa-shin will repair his relationship with her, and I hope that comes before he gets anywhere with Na-ri.
But those anchor auditions, though. Sung-sook should get the position just to spite everyone. I get that she’s not exactly a cuddly character, but she clearly rocks her job, and the constant barbs sent her way by men and women alike aggravate me. And what happened to Na-ri applying? She should. Steal it out from under them all!