Fight My Way: Episode 11
The hilarious awkwardness we were treated to last week is nothing compared to the secondhand cringeworthy, sugary goodness this episode delivers. As the lifelong besties try to adjust to their new status, they’ll have to navigate nosy friends and interfering neighbors in addition to their own insecurities. But not everything in the Villa is hearts and roses, and as one couple learns to find their footing, another may be about to lose theirs completely.
Round 11: “A real woman”
Dong-man kisses Ae-ra, then tells her that this means they’re officially dating. She agrees with a stunned nod, and he kisses her again.
A while later they sit on the beach, feeling a bit awkward. Ae-ra asks why Dong-man was so impulsive and manly back there, and he says that it wasn’t impulsive, admitting that he’s been able to do nothing but stare at her lips for a while now.
Nervous that Ae-ra might change her mind, he orders her not to date anyone else, or sit next to men on the bus. He tells her not to even think of any other men, particularly not that first love of hers: “Only think of me.” Ae-ra comes clean that Wrist Guy, her stupid jerkface first love of twenty years, is actually Dong-man. He blinks and stammers, surprised, and she says that he’s sort of like that pimple on her forehead that comes and goes, hurts then doesn’t.
She asks him to stop being her guy friend, because she feels like she’ll die if they go back after he kissed her like that. Dong-man calls her an idiot and says that she should have just kissed him and he’d have fallen for her instantly. Ae-ra shyly asks if he liked it, and he just as shyly asks if she wants to kiss again. She does.
Nearby, Coach Hwang and Landlady Hwang set off more fireworks. Landlady Hwang makes a face at the lovebirds, then asks Coach to shoot his firecrackers at them. Hee.
At the villa the next morning, Dong-man and Joo-man discover that they’re getting a new neighbor. They wonder at all the fancy furniture, which doesn’t seem to suit their building at all. Oh no, I’m getting a bad feeling…
Seol-hee watches Ae-ra getting all fancied up in her at-home sweats, rolling the shirt up to show off her midriff and wearing a headband. Ae-ra insists that this is her normal outfit for taking out the trash, getting huffy when Seol-hee asks if anything happened with Dong-man in Daecheon.
They head outside, where Ae-ra poses hilariously while tossing out the trash in front of Dong-man. Horrified at her exposed skin, he quickly unties her shirt. Seol-hee asks suspiciously if they’re going to spend the whole day together, and Dong-man fails to be casual when he says they are.
Joo-man suggests they all have some of Seol-hee’s plum wine after work. Before leaving, Seol-hee tells them not to “do it,” making Dong-man and Ae-ra cough guiltily. Then she adds, “The plum wine. Don’t open it.” HA.
Landlady Hwang scares Dong-man again by popping up right behind him (that never gets old, lol), and she notes that the new tenant left rice cakes for all the other tenants except for Ae-ra. She says the tenant is a very famous announcer, and ugh, I think I know where this is going.
Sure enough, Hye-ran comes down the stairs to confront Ae-ra and Dong-man. She’s completely brazen about the fact that she’s moving into the apartment above Dong-man’s, saying that it’s so she can see him every day just like Ae-ra does.
Dong-man tells Hye-ran that he and Ae-ra are dating now and she accepts the news, saying that it’s good that he’s lost his best female friend. She says that she’ll move into the vacant spot left behind and ensure that Ae-ra knows exactly how annoying that friend can be.
Ae-ra spits that she’s now Dong-man’s best friend and girlfriend, but Hye-ran counters that once they break up, she’ll be nothing. She tells Dong-man that it’s all or nothing, and there’s no going back.
Her words haunt Ae-ra, who flops around her apartment wondering what Hye-ran meant by that. Dong-man calls her outside and tells her to change clothes and come along to his weigh-in, then after they can go on a “date or whatever.” Hee, so smooth.
He notices that she’s not talking and asks her why she’s suddenly acting like a real woman. He starts to say she’s being no fun, but he sees the pouty look on her face and squeaks, “Of course that makes you ideal!” Ha, nice save, Moose.
At work, Joo-man is informed that the kimchi company run by Ye-jin’s aunt has decided not to do another broadcast with them. His boss makes it clear that it’s entirely due to Joo-man’s rejection of Ye-jin.
Ae-ra asks Dong-man why he’s standing outside all awkwardly instead of coming in. He says that he can’t come in anymore, because they’re really just young, vigorous, impulsive animals (You say that like it’s a bad thing?). Ae-ra mutters under her breath that he’s too uptight.
She tells him that it will take her over an hour to get ready, snapping at him that it’s their first date when he tells her to just wear anything. She asks if he really knows that little about women’s hearts, then stomps inside.
When she comes out, dressed to the nines in a sundress and heels, Dong-man gives her an awed round of applause. But then he suddenly yells in horror, “Why are your legs so pretty?!” HA. He pouts that they’ll dazzle other men and tells her to put some pants on. When she goes in, he collapses from the shock of her gorgeous legs.
Joo-man and Seol-hee go to a restaurant, where Joo-man ignores Seol-hee in favor of a baseball game on his phone. She complains that he’s not talking to her so he turns off the game, though he says it’s normal for things to settle and become routine and dull after being together for six years. Ouch, dude.
He says he’s tired, but she asks what he’s tired of when they never talk or go on dates, or even kiss or have sex anymore. Joo-man says that she’s always so sweet and loving, so he’s tired of always being the bad guy. Upset, Seol-hee leaves, but Joo-man catches up to her. She complains that she doesn’t ask anything of him—she just wants things to be how they used to be. Joo-man asks how anyone can stay the same for six years, but Seol-hee says, “I have.”
She says that he still makes her heart flutter, and that she likes him even more than before. Joo-man says he’s sorry with a sigh, and Seol-hee says that she feels like she’s always whining and he’s always sighing. She asks if this is just a phase or if they’re in the process of breaking up.
On the bus, Ae-ra slides her hand out of Dong-man’s, admitting shyly that her hand is sweaty. Dong-man just smirks and offers his hand again, silently letting her know that he doesn’t care. They decide to keep their fledgling relationship a secret from Joo-man and Seol-hee for now, dreading the vicious teasing they’ll get.
Ae-ra says that Seol-hee will tell them not to date and just get married, and Dong-man coyly asks if she just proposed to him. Ae-ra asks if he wishes she had, making Dong-man grin to himself again. So cute.
It’s difficult for Ae-ra to watch Dong-man train, especially when Coach Hwang pins him and hurts his arm. Coach fusses at him for tapping out, but Ae-ra defends Dong-man, then yells at Coach for hurting him (and Dong-man shows her his owie with the cutest pout on his face).
Dong-man asks when Doo-ho will show up for training, but Coach just curses about Tak-soo. Apparently Doo-ho did defect to Tak-soo’s team, and he’s Dong-man’s next opponent. The two pose shirtless at a press conference, and afterward, Dong-man and Doo-ho find themselves alone in the restroom.
Calm and collected, Dong-man asks Doo-ho what’s going on. Doo-ho says that he needs to go where he can flourish, but he looks distraught when Dong-man asks if he even told Coach first.
In the press room, Coach Hwang tells Tak-soo that his dirty tricks only make Dong-man more determined to win. Tak-soo warns him away, but Coach gets in his face and snarls at him not to make it too easy, because it makes it less fun to crush him.
Tak-soo’s coach apologizes to Coach Hwang for stealing two of his fighters. Coach Hwang says that Doo-ho is just a kid trying to make a living for his family, asking the coach not to use him.
Doo-ho tearfully admits to Dong-man that if it weren’t for his child, who’s very sick, he wouldn’t have switched teams. Dong-man tells him firmly to stop crying, but Doo-ho is upset. He says that Tak-soo’s team is trying to mess with Dong-man and get Coach’s gym shut down, and he defected anyway despite knowing this.
He asks Dong-man to take care of Coach, and then Coach arrives. Coach tells Doo-ho to come over for soondae any time, then they leave him crying all over again.
Coach is a bit put out when Dong-man and Ae-ra don’t want to go eat dinner with him. Ae-ra mocks him for holding a grudge, and Dong-man announces, “We’re dating.” He tells the shocked Coach that today is their first date.
Coach yanks Dong-man close to ask if there’s something he can’t tell him. HAHA, he thinks Ae-ra is forcing him to date her against his will. Dong-man shuffles back to Ae-ra’s side, taking her hand with a gesture like, Whatcha gonna do? Once they’re alone, Dong-man backhugs Ae-ra and pouts that he’s hungry.
Back at his place, Dong-man swoons over the fancy fried rice with a heart drawn in ketchup that Ae-ra makes for him, which he says is very different from the dog food he’s used to getting. In flashback, we see her thrust a pan full of mixed-up rice and eggs at him with a curt, “Hey. Food.” It’s actually the exact same food, just served very differently today. After eating, they settle in to watch TV.
When Ae-ra makes herself comfortable on the floor, Dong-man casually says there’s plenty of room on the bed with him. She accuses him of trying something, making him splutter that he wouldn’t do that when they’ve just started dating.
She complains when he says he wasn’t even thinking such thoughts, so she hops up on the bed, deciding that one of them needs to do something drastic to jump-start their relationship. She says that after taking twenty-three years to kiss, she thinks they should speed up to make up for the delayed start. Well, rawr.
Dong-man looks nervous, but when Ae-ra asks if she needs to explain further, he shakes his head and scoots closer to lean in for a kiss. Just before their lips touch, Joo-man lets himself into the apartment and they jump apart. Luckily (or unluckily), Joo-man is too upset about his fight with Seol-hee to notice and he flops onto the bed between them.
Joo-man just blindly gets comfortable between them and starts asking for liquor and food, not noticing the glares he’s getting from both sides.
The next day is Dong-man’s fight, which Joo-man and Seol-hee both skip work to attend. The four run into Landlady Hwang on their way out, and although all they say is that Dong-man has something happening that day, she stops to give him a cute little “Fighting!” which they can’t even decipher because she says it so shyly.
Before his fight, Coach Hwang and Joo-man remind Dong-man to knock his opponent out early with his kicks and to avoid being thrown to the ground, because his ground skills are weak. Meanwhile the girls find seats in the audience, and as another fight gets underway, Ae-ra finds herself fascinated by the theatrical announcer.
She excuses herself and finds an empty room, where she practices imitating the announcer’s booming stage voice. She jumps ten feet when Dong-man peeks around a partition at her, having been in the room the whole time, HA. Embarrassed, she flees to the hallway, where she spots creepy producer Kyung-ku entering the room.
He’s here to film Dong-man for a show, but he gets off on the wrong foot by insisting that Dong-man follow a concept he doesn’t care for, to play up the poor starving fighter sob story. Kyung-ku starts to get nasty, but he dials it back when Ae-ra bursts into the room. She tells him right away that she and Dong-man are dating.
Ha, the look on his face is so gratifying, and Ae-ra continues that if he messes with Dong-man, then she’ll be the one to bite him. She orders Kyung-ku not to film a single thing, then leaves. Kyung-ku looks terrified, while Dong-man looks like he just fell in love all over again.
In the lobby, Ae-ra finds a poster announcing open recruitment for cage fight announcers. She tells Seol-hee that it sounds exciting to be in that cage with the fighters, though Seol-hee worries it’ll be hard to get the job since it seems like it’s mostly men who do it. Ae-ra says that just makes her want to do it more, thinking that she’d love to be the first female cage fight announcer.
As Dong-man prepares to enter the ring, Ae-ra grows nervous again and has to step out into the lobby. Dong-man comes out strong, landing several kicks to the torso then a flying roundhouse kick to Doo-ho’s face. He knocks Doo-ho to the ground, injuring him and stopping the fight momentarily.
While the medics check out Doo-ho’s bloody face, Dong-man is worried, but Coach Hwang yells at him that this is a fight. But Dong-man sees Doo-ho’s wife sobbing in the audience, so when the fight resumes, he’s reluctant to hit Doo-ho the next time he knocks him down.
Everyone is baffled when Dong-man hesitates, then backs off to let Doo-ho stand. Doo-ho comes at him, trying to get him to the ground but failing, until Dong-man knocks him down easily with another kick to the leg. Again he lets Doo-ho up, and now the audience is starting to complain.
As Ae-ra peeks in, curious about the noise, Dong-man takes Doo-ho down a third time with a kick to the chest. The fight ends, and Dong-man is declared the winner. Dong-man asks Doo-ho if he’s okay, and though he’s bloody and battered, Doo-ho wails that being knocked out would have been better.
Even though he won, netizens are already derisively calling Dong-man “the Octagon Waiter” because he waited for his opponent to get up every time he knocked him down. Over dinner, Coach Hwang and Joo-man are annoyed at the way Dong-man behaved during the fight. Coach snaps that there’s no place for niceness in the ring and tells Dong-man to quit if he’s going to be like this.
Dong-man argues that he’s still learning, and says that he’ll just KO his opponents from now on instead of letting things get messy. Coach moves to smack him, but just a small twitch from Ae-ra has Coach meek as a lamb again, hee. She asks why Coach is so anxious, telling him to just sit back and trust Dong-man, and Dong-man beams at her adoringly.
Dong-man’s parents discuss him at the dinner table, as Mom tells Dad that he should call his son every now and then. While they argue, Dong-man’s sister Dong-hee watches his fight on her phone, smiling when he’s declared the winner.
Ae-ra and Dong-man linger at their doors that night, reluctant to part. Dong-man says he’ll be over for breakfast, so Ae-ra simpers that she should start washing her hair every morning, and he giggles that normal people do that anyway.
Ae-ra turns to ask if she should come over to Dong-man’s place for TV and ramyun. His brain freezes up again, knowing what she means by “ramyun,” and they both smile coyly… until Landlady Hwang steps between them with a firm, “No sleeping together before marriage, and no ramyun at night!”
Ae-ra asks why she keeps saying that to them, but Landlady Hwang just points out that she’s giving them a break on rent, so the least they can do is follow her rules. She complains that all her tenants are blinded by love, snapping that they can move to a place with higher rent if they want to sleep together.
Landlady Hwang wanders over to Coach’s soondae cart to demand a bottle of soju, which he pours for her reverently. He knows who he is, and says all he knew is that she left for Japan a long time ago. Landlady Hwang reveals that she had a near-death experience, so she decided to find Nam-il, her son, and Namil Villa’s namesake. Coach Hwang didn’t know she had a son, and she tells him that she’s already found him.
Ae-ra complains to Seol-hee about the landlord, and why she cares if they have ramyun at night or not. Seol-hee wonders why Nam-il isn’t here to take care of his mother.
Tak-soo is worried after seeing Dong-man’s latest fight, though Tae-hee tells him not to worry and to rest. But Coach Choi tells Tak-soo that Dong-man has the same weaknesses that “somebody” had when he first switched over from taekwondo—he doesn’t protect his face and never attacks low, or goes to the ground. Coach Choi thinks that if he can’t avoid fighting Dong-man, then Tak-soo should do it now while he still has weaknesses to exploit.
In practice, Coach recreates Dong-man’s fight with Doo-ho, and again Dong-man refuses to go after him when he’s on the ground. He says he’s more confident on his feet and refuses to go low, but Coach yells that he’ll never be a true fighter that way, clearly getting very personal and emotional about it.
A handsome man in a suit catches Ae-ra practicing her fight announcing outside her apartment, listing her own stats as if she’s the fighter, hee. He says he’s the owner’s son, NAM-IL (cameo by Kwak Shi-yang), and he sighs heavily when Ae-ra says his name like she knows him.
Nam-il imperiously orders Ae-ra not to wear offensive clothing on the shared staircase (is he offended by her lack of fashion?), and not to shout and disturb others. Further, he intones that nobody would believe she’s the height and weight she yelled out. Wow, he’s really uptight. As they part, she mutters that he’s handsome but a total jerk, while he mutters that she’s a wacko.
Joo-man heads home with a stuffed pink bunny for Seol-hee. Just outside the door, he answers a call from Ye-jin in an annoyed voice, reminding her that he said to stop this, but she tells him that she’s been in a car accident. He rushes over to help, casually stepping between Ye-jin and the aggressive men who are berating her.
Though Ye-jin claims that the other guy backed into her, he says that she’s at fault and demands a large sum of money to settle without getting insurance involved. Joo-man smells the barbecue on the guy’s clothing and guesses that he had a few drinks, which makes the would-be scammer drop the issue.
As Joo-man drives Ye-jin home, he asks why she was even in his neighborhood. He tells her one last time to stop pursuing him, and she promises, but when they get out of the car she limps and falls, needing help to stand. Joo-man helps her up to her apartment, accidentally leaving the pink bunny in her car.
At her door, he asks her to come back to work, because her absence is putting him in a bad position. He turns to go, but when he sees her struggling to carry in some large boxes, he goes back to help her. Joo-man goes inside her apartment with the last box, and the door closes behind him with an ominous click.
At home, Seol-hee stares at Ye-jin’s Instagram account again. She sees a new post pop up, showing a man’s hands driving her car, with a caption reading, “Together.” Seol-hee recognizes those hands, and a lance of pain pierces her heart.
Dong-man bounces upstairs to meet Ae-ra on the roof. She pours soju bombs while he talks to his dad, who’s coming to town on a business trip and needs a place to crash. After hanging up, Dong-man admits that he’s nervous because he’s never slept alone with his dad before.
He changes the subject to ask about Ae-ra’s MMA announcer interview in two days. He asks if she’ll be okay watching his fights, and she retorts that it’s the only way she can protect him. Dong-man looks pleased and says that she’s always protected him, even when they were kids.
He likes the idea of Ae-ra becoming an MMA announcer, which would technically make them an office couple, which he’s always thought sounded sexy. He says shyly that office couples can sneak off to kiss at work, and it’s Ae-ra’s turn to go on the fritz and just repeat, “Huh…? Huh…?”
She denies being embarrassed even when she curls into a protective ball. Dong-man slides nearer to her, takes her face into his hands, and says she’s acting really girly now. Ae-ra pushes his hands away, but he just clasps her wrists and uses them to pull her closer.
In a gruff voice, Dong-man asks why he can’t see anything but Ae-ra’s lips. He asks if they can kiss all the time since they’re dating, and laughs when Ae-ra calls him crazy. He gives her a kiss and asks if she likes it, then gives her another, and another, until they’re both smiling.
Dong-man says he should have kissed her a long time ago, and Ae-ra jokes that she’d have just beaten him up, hee. Dong-man admits that he likes kissing her, adding, “Choi Ae-ra, I like you a lot. It’s driving me crazy.” Instead of melting, Ae-ra snaps, “I’ve always liked you, you jerk.” LOL.
Growing serious, Dong-man says that if it’s all or nothing, then he wants to make it “all.” Ae-ra doesn’t know what he means, so he asks her, “Do you want to sleep over tonight?”
The night that Joo-man had interrupted Dong-man and Ae-ra’s kiss, he stayed to play games on his phone while Dong-man complained loudly that Joo-man did a terrible thing to him today. Joo-man asked what he meant, and Dong-man hemmed and hawed, asking if Joo-man was going to tease him about it. But just as Dong-man was going to reveal his and Ae-ra’s new status, Joo-man screamed excitedly over his game, and Dong-man shoved a dumpling in his mouth in annoyance.
This episode brought home yet again how refreshingly honest Ae-ra and Dong-man are with each other. Even when it’s horrifically awkward, they say whatever they’re thinking. That conversation on the beach after they kissed was just my favorite scene, because even though they were nervous with newfound awareness, they still laid out their expectations clearly. Dong-man made it known that he wants to be the only man Ae-ra sees, and Ae-ra told him that it’s been like that for years now. And I love that she was the one who made the first move in shifting their relationship to something more physical—or would have, if not for Joo-man. But I also appreciate that Dong-man took the lead to ask her to sleep over, not willing to leave something so important to happen by chance. It’s totally in keeping with their openness for each other for him to simply ask what she wants, which I find incredibly respectful, and therefore incredibly sexy. Dong-man always says what he’s thinking and what he wants, so Ae-ra can feel secure in knowing what he’s feeling at any given time.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Dong-man? He’s just so lovable and he obviously adores Ae-ra so much, how could you not? I think it’s fantastic that he’s not at all threatened by her aggressiveness, not even when she steps in to defend him from some injustice—so many drama heroes would bristle at having a woman fight their battles, but Dong-man thinks it’s awesome. I love how he beams at Ae-ra every time she does it, and how proud he is to be the person she so fiercely protects. Then when she gets amorous, he just turns into a blinking, stammering ball of mush, so flustered by her that he can barely even think, much less string together a coherent sentence. That’s not to say that the boy hasn’t got game, because he’s got all kinds of game… he just has a hard time recovering when Ae-ra knocks him off-kilter.
As for his fighting, I’m actually glad to learn that Dong-man has a weakness (and I love that his theme song is “Fire” by BTS! It’s such a great fight song). It wouldn’t be realistic, after almost a decade of not fighting at all, for him to be an instant prodigy. His first 19-second fight was a fluke, so seeing him struggle in the fight with Doo-ho was actually realistic, because it makes sense that in a totally new and more aggressive fighting style, Dong-man would struggle to hurt a friend. It could have been disastrous when Dong-man started feeling bad for Doo-ho during their fight, but I liked how he was able to alter his fighting style to keep himself from hurting Doo-ho too badly yet still win. Maybe it backfired this time in terms of telegraphing his weakness to his enemies, but it’s a useful skill to be able to adjust to the situation. Once he learns how to use it better, that ability to tailor his style to the situation at hand could be Dong-man’s true gift.
As for Seol-hee and Joo-man—I used to think they could work through their problems, because Joo-man has mostly been good about pushing Ye-jin away, but now I’m realizing that Ye-jin is just a symptom of a larger problem. They’re letting their relationship stagnate, neither moving forward nor ready to let go, and though she seems sweet and innocent, Seol-hee is a large part of the reason this is happening. She wants things to stay the same, but Joo-man is right in that it’s not a realistic expectation. And Seol-hee has no interests other than him, and that’s got to be very burdensome for Joo-man, not to mention just plain boring.
I mean, I don’t find their storyline that interesting and I can usually find something to keep me interested in any love story. At this point, I just want them to break up and spend some time apart. If they are meant to be together then they will, but they’ll be more complete people who are together because they want to be and not because they haven’t got any better options. Mostly I want Seol-hee to find an interest that doesn’t revolve around a man and being married—there’s nothing wrong with wanting to marry and raise a family, but having only one life goal and no other interests isn’t healthy. She’s a smart, compassionate woman with a vast capacity for love, and there’s so much more she can do with her gifts in addition to being a housewife. And as for Joo-man, I almost want him to go date Ye-jin for a while. Let him see how shallow and selfish she is, and how much he’d be losing by letting go of Seol-hee. I want to see him suffer, and miss her terribly, and fight to get her back.
- Fight My Way: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: Circle, Fight My Way, Lookout
- Life is rosy for the youths of Fight My Way
- Oh Snap! A friend to lean on when things go sideways
- Suffocating best friends in Fight My Way’s new teaser
- The cute and the petty in Fight My Way’s second teaser
- KBS schedules drama shorts, delays Fight My Way’s premiere
- Finger hearts in new stills for Fight My Way
- Bickering besties Park Seo-joon and Kim Ji-won for Fight My Way
- Kimbap and charged looks on the set of Third-Rate My Way