Temperature of Love: Episodes 5-6
When two people are at such different places in their lives, what should they do when romance presents itself? Should they be adults and do the responsible thing, or throw caution to the wind and see where love takes them? And what happens if they care about each other, but they each want something different?
EPISODE 5 RECAP
We back up a bit, to the evening after Jung-sun and Hyun-soo’s date. He escorts her home, both of them walking as slowly as possible, and back to being a bit awkward after their kiss. Hyun-soo drops her keys from nerves, and Jung-sun chivalrously pretends he didn’t see. So cute.
Hyun-soo goes inside to find her sister Hyun-yi in tears, being comforted by their friend Joon-ha after learning that her ex-boyfriend got engaged. They both criticize Hyun-soo for calmly requesting the facts, and remark snidely that this is why she can’t write love stories. She snaps that the two of them are so alike, they should just date. (Doth they protest too much?)
Joon-ha asks Hyun-soo where she’s been and she freezes, remembering the kiss. She narrates that back then, she didn’t know it was love, and wonders why it’s so difficult for people to be sure when they’ve fallen in love.
As Hyun-soo grins to herself in the bathroom later, Hyun-yi bursts in to throw up, crying that she wants to die. When Hyun-soo tells her to stop now, she wails that she hopes that someday Hyun-soo ends up alone and crying her eyes out over a guy, but Joon-ha quips that it will never happen.
We skip forward a day, to the moment that Hyun-soo rings Jung-sun’s doorbell, looking for comfort after having been fired. But Jung-sun isn’t home, and instead his mother answers the door. Meanwhile, Jung-sun is unsuccessful reaching Hyun-soo from a pay phone, so he decides to go buy a cell phone.
Jung-sun’s mother takes Hyun-soo to a coffee shop, where she peppers her with questions. Mom is visibly relieved when she learns that Hyun-soo is older than her son, and she shakes Hyun-soo’s hand and coos sweetly (and a bit smugly) that she’s sorry their acquaintance won’t last long. She leaves without another word, leaving Hyun-soo blinking in her wake.
Hyun-soo heads home to collapse, exhausted, but her phone rings almost immediately. It’s Jung-woo, calling to say that he heard from Joon-ha that she was fired. He tells her to be at his office later, goading her by saying that if she doesn’t show, he’ll think of her as having an inferiority complex. Annoyed, Hyun-soo says she doesn’t care what he thinks and hangs up on him.
At the restaurant, the sous chef is after Jung-sun again, angry when Jung-sun shows him up yet again. He very nearly punches Jung-sun, and it’s only the chef’s timely arrival that stops his fist.
The chef snaps at the sous chef to go easy on the kitchen staff, then he finds Jung-sun where he stepped outside for some fresh air. He tells Jung-sun again to try to get along with the team, reminding him that even though he’s talented, he’s still a rookie.
He pleads with Jung-sun, saying that he’s helping him out for his sake. But Jung-sun argues that he was being patient and holding back all this time. But he says that if there’s one thing he’s learned in life, it’s that when someone says they’re doing something “for your sake,” it’s a scam.
Jung-woo and Jung-sun’s mother literally bump into each other on their way into the restaurant for lunch. They’re seated at neighboring tables, and Jung-woo perks up when Jung-sun’s mother mentions her son to the server.
Hyun-soo meets with her mom at a park, where she shouts at no one in particular, “I have a mom too!” The two are precious together as Mom hugs her daughter on command. She can tell something is wrong, but she doesn’t push when Hyun-soo dodges the question.
She tells her daughter to get married, and that all she and her father care about is that she chooses a man who grew up in a happy family. Mom lights up at a doting text from Dad, and Hyun-soo says that she’s glad her parents love each other so much, since it means she never has to worry about them.
Jung-woo pays attention when Jung-sun comes out to greet his mother. Mom offers a sort of sideways non-apology for her behavior this morning, but Jung-sun just tells her to leave.
When Jung-sun’s mother finishes eating, she imperiously tells the cashier to put it on Jung-sun’s tab. The cashier starts to say he can’t do that, but behind her, Jung-woo gestures silently that he’ll pay. As he does, he gives the cashier a little bribe to let him into the kitchen.
He finds Jung-sun alone, prepping for dinner service. Jung-woo asks if he’s given any thought to his offer to open a restaurant together, but Jung-sun says that he didn’t take the offer seriously. His new cell phone chirps, so Jung-woo swipes it and enters in his number, then makes his restaurant offer official.
Jung-sun officially turns him down, making Jung-woo pout that he barely even thought about it. His tone loses some of its lightheartedness as he says, “When I want something, I keep trying until I succeed. Then I make it mine.”
At home, Hyun-soo sees a call that she missed and recognizes it as a phone booth that Jung-sun once called her from. She realizes that he called her at the same time she was at his house, and she tries calling back.
A random passerby answers, and Hyun-soo asks where the phone booth is located. She goes there, but of course Jung-sun isn’t there, and she wilts. But she cheers up when a call on her cell turns out to be Jung-sun, and when he says he got a cell phone, Hyun-soo grins from ear to ear and lets it slip that she’s happy and excited to hear from him. She tries to take back her words and goes bright red with embarrassed delight.
Their mutual friends Won-joon and Hong-ah have lunch together, and eat an elaborate picnic made by Won-joon. Hong-ah says that it’s a waste if Won-joon is still dreaming of being a chef, because only people from poor families like Jung-sun’s are free to chase their dreams.
Won-joon reveals that Jung-sun isn’t from a poor family—his father is a doctor and he received an inheritance from his grandfather. Hong-ah is surprised, having assumed that Jung-sun hasn’t asked her out because he lacks confidence.
Won-joon says that not all men are attracted to women like Hong-ah, which makes her temper flare. She challenges him to watch and see if she can make Jung-sun fall for her.
Hyun-soo shows up at Jung-woo’s office after all, exactly on time. He says that he thought writers tend to be late, but Hyun-soo says she’s not a writer yet. Jung-woo argues that if you write, then you’re a writer, making Hyun-soo roll her eyes.
Noting that she’s awfully cheerful for someone who just got fired, Jung-woo slides his business card to Hyun-soo and says that he needs a writer to adapt some internet novels and webtoons. He offers her a staggering salary, nearly four times what Hyun-soo was making previously.
But Hyun-soo refuses his offer, saying that it’s too good to be true and she feels like he’s hiring her because they went to the same school. Jung-woo doesn’t deny it, then drops to banmal since he’s her sunbae. Hyun-soo smirks and stands to leave, sarcastically calling him “sunbae-nim,” but she’s incredulous when Jung-woo says that her refusal makes her seem competent.
Hyun-soo quips that she often seems competent when she’s not, warning him not to be fooled. Jung-woo just tucks his card into her hand, inviting her to try fooling him but warning that she won’t find it easy.
Jung-sun and his mother have a drink on his balcony that evening. Jung-sun seems a lot calmer, though the barbs fly easily between the two. She offers to die if he wants her to, and he tells her that she can’t hurt him with words she doesn’t mean anymore. Eventually Jung-sun hands his mother an envelope of cash to pay for the cost of finding him and promises to get her a place, since he doesn’t want to live with her.
Mom tries to convince him to go to Paris with her and finish his studies, then changes the subject and says that his father regretted getting married before the age of thirty. She says she’s afraid he’ll beat women too, which has Jung-sun telling her not to assume he’s like his father.
Mom tries to say that she wants to do something to help his future like other moms, but he just mutters that people don’t change before getting up to leave. She calls after him, “I saw her. She came to see you at the house,” and Jung-sun whirls back to order her not to go near Hyun-soo.
Hyun-soo drinks with Hong-ah at her place, surrounded by her research on steak for the drama she’s writing. She mentions that she interviewed Jung-sun about it, and when Hong-ah asks how she got in touch with him, Hyun-soo says he has a cell phone.
Hong-ah asks incredulously if they’re dating, but Hyun-soo denies it, saying that he’s much younger. Hong-ah relaxes and tells her not to go out with him even if he likes her, because he’s a playboy.
Hyun-soo doesn’t believe her, until Hong-ah says that Jung-sun flirted with her a lot when they first met. Hyun-soo seems to lose confidence at that, and when Hong-ah asks for Jung-sun’s number, she hands it over.
In the morning, Jung-sun bikes past Hyun-soo’s place as she’s leaving. He asks if she’s going to work, and she laughs at him when she says she got fired and his face falls. She says she’s headed to her old college library to work on a contest entry script, and he offers her a ride on his bike.
She refuses, but next thing you know, she’s whooping it up on the back of his bike and admitting that she’s fickle like that, ha. They hit a bump, and they both reach to grab onto each other. Hyun-soo leaves her arms around Jung-sun’s waist as they both smile. When he drops her off, they make plans to meet on campus for lunch.
Hong-ah spends her morning working out and calls Jung-sun afterward, confusing him when she fusses at him for not giving her his number directly, and their conversation quickly devolves into a grumpy back-and-forth (“Was I supposed to call you?” “It’s basic manners!” “Why are you mad?” “I don’t know!”).
Hong-ah calms herself, then orders Jung-sun to make her a reservation at his restaurant for Friday. Jung-sun tells her to call the restaurant and do it herself, and when she snaps at him again, wondering why he never lets her win, he replies, “Because we’re comfortable. Because we’re friends.”
At the library, scenes from Hyun-soo’s drama play out as she writes. But the dialogue isn’t narration—she’s muttering it out loud and annoying her table-mate in the process. When the student passes her a note ordering her to be quiet, she packs up and slinks out, embarrassed.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Jung-sun meets Hyun-soo on campus for lunch, and as they eat, he offers to let her use his place as a quiet spot to work. She doesn’t want to get something for nothing, so Jung-sun says she can repay him by being a taste-tester for his recipes. He asks what she likes, and she says she likes soup.
They spend many meals together over Jung-sun’s soup recipes, talking about everything from food to friends to family. She says his soup is good, though not as good as her mother’s, and explains that Mom’s soup tastes better because there’s a story behind it. She advises him to put an item on his menu with a story behind it when he opens his own restaurant someday, because that’ll make it a big hit. He smiles at her in appreciation and wonder, and she proudly asks if she’s earned her meal today.
At one point Hyun-soo asks if Jung-sun keeps making soups just because she said she likes them, and when he says he’s not, she snaps grumpily that she wants something spicy.
Cut to: a series of spicy dishes for every meal thereafter, pfft. One night, over dinner on the balcony, Jung-sun places some meat on her rice and Hyun-soo asks if this is how he seduces women. He pretends not to know what she means, so she says he’s being affectionate, and he asks cheekily if she wants him to treat her like a woman.
She says no, because right now she needs to focus on work before love. She asks if he’s heard back from Alain Passard about his internship, and sighs when he says that he’d be gone for five years if he’s accepted. Jung-sun says that he won’t go if she just says the word, but Hyun-soo replies that she’s not that important.
Growing serious, Jung-sun says, “We kissed.” Hyun-soo says that it was a no-strings-attached kiss where they were just drunk on the mood of the day, and that she wants to leave it at that. Jung-sun looks crushed, even when Hyun-soo admits that she’s only acting cool about it because she’s older than him and feels like she should be the responsible one.
Then it’s Hyun-soo’s turn to be uncomfortable, when Jung-sun’s phone lights up with a call from Hong-ah. She asks if he’s going to answer, but he just requests that she pour him another shot and doesn’t pick up.
The sous chef gets cranky again when Hong-ah shows up at the restaurant, calling Jung-sun a player who attracts men and women. He passes his inventory duties to Jung-sun, who makes a face but complies.
Out of the blue, Hyun-soo gets a call from her former coworker Kyung, who says that their boss Writer Park wants her to come back to work. Writer Park takes the phone to ask if she’s holding a grudge, guilting Hyun-soo into coming back without actually apologizing for firing her.
When Hyun-soo goes back to the office, Writer Park even offers to read her contest script and give her some pointers. But it quickly becomes clear that she hasn’t changed when she berates Kyung just for making ramyun wrong.
Jung-sun’s mother lets herself into her ex-husband’s office like she owns the place, scowling at a photo of him with his new family. She demands to know why he’s not answering her calls, and when he yells at her to stop, she smashes the family portrait at his feet.
He bellows and advances on her, but she just calmly presents her cheek to him in case he wants to hit her. He tells her to leave, and she asks why he doesn’t hit his new wife like he used to hit her. She tells him to answer his phone when she calls, and he just asks for her bank account number instead. Before she goes, she snarls, “You’re not allowed to be happy until I’m happy.”
Hong-ah hangs out until Jung-sun gets off work, and as he’s walking her out, a man bumps into her. He fondles her waist as he bounces off her, but when she snaps at him for it and for looking her up and down, Jung-sun stops her with a hand on her shoulder.
He smooths over the situation, and when the guy leaves, Hong-ah complains that it makes her feel dirty when men look at her like that. She seems moved by his intervention and pouts at him to take her home, but instead he bundles her into the taxi he already called for her.
By the end of the day, Hyun-soo decides she can’t come back to this job after all. But when she tells Writer Park that she’s already decided to focus on her own script, Writer Park throws her contest script on the floor and says that she’s good at analyzing the work of others, but her own is a mess, and snaps at Hyun-soo to know her place.
Writer Park goes back to screaming at Kyung, this time for making the coffee wrong. Kyung stands up and joins Hyun-soo in quitting, making Writer Park scream at Hyun-soo all over again for influencing Kyung. She threatens to make sure neither of them works in the industry again.
Jung-sun arrives home to find his father waiting outside. His father says that he was uneasy when Jung-sun came back to Korea because he feared his mother would follow him, telling Jung-sun about her showing up at his office and throwing a fit. He asks Jung-sun to take her and leave so they can all live in peace.
Jung-sun asks what he’s supposed to do, and his father says that his mother is crazy but at least she listens to her son. Jung-sun wonders out loud who made his mother crazy, and his father has the nerve to insist that she made him hit her.
Hyun-soo’s landlord tells her that her sister asked for her deposit because they’re moving out, which is news to Hyun-soo. When she asks, Hyun-yi says that she’s tired of Hyun-soo mooching off of her, so she’s decided to live alone. Hyun-yi adds that it’s the only way Hyun-soo will come back to reality.
Jung-sun’s day gets better when he checks his email and finds a response from Alain Passard accepting him as an intern. He calls Hyun-soo to tell her his good news, and although she spends the entire call stifling her sobs over how she’s going to get by on her own, she does seem genuinely happy for him. She refuses to see him though, not wanting him to see her in tears.
A few days later, the chef asks Jung-sun why he ordered double the usual inventory. He swears he didn’t, and when the chef accuses him of stealing, Jung-sun is the one to lose his trust in the chef and quits on the spot, offering to repay what they lost on the inventory.
On his way out, Jung-sun finds Jung-woo waiting for him. Jung-woo takes him to his home, which boasts a huge collection of antiques and collectibles. Jung-woo asks for Jung-sun’s help making pasta, and he says that since Jung-sun quit, this is his opportunity to convince him to open a restaurant together.
Jung-sun gets right in Jung-woo’s face and asks if he can have anything he wants. Jung-woo asks, “What is it that you want?” Without missing a beat, Jung-sun says, “You.”
There’s a long pause where Jung-woo is taken aback and doesn’t know how to respond… then Jung-sun laughs and says that talking like Jung-woo is addictive. HA! Jung-woo laughs and realizes that this is what it feels like for the people he’s talking to. The little troll refuses Jung-woo’s offer yet again, but Jung-woo takes it in stride and even offers to let Jung-sun call him “hyung.”
Jung-sun says that in a few years, if and when he decides to open his own restaurant, “Then I’ll open it with you, hyung.” Awww, I love these two.
With no other options left, Hyun-soo calls Jung-woo. She meets him at a batting cage to accept his job offer, and although his expression is stern, he says she can start tomorrow. She declines when he asks if she wants to take a swing because she’s not in the mood, but he reminds her that he’s her boss now, which means she has to do what he asks even when she doesn’t want to.
So she takes a swing and misses, but when she asks for another try, Jung-woo says no: “Because you want to.” Instead he says they’re going to eat, and when Hyun-soo asks if he doesn’t feel uncomfortable making people do what they don’t want to do, he says he doesn’t because it means he holds the power.
Won-joon helps Jung-sun pack for Paris, and he asks what Hyun-soo thinks about him leaving. Jung-sun just says she has her own life, and Won-joon lectures him for not asking her to wait for him. Jung-sun argues that work is more important to her, but Won-joon asserts that Jung-sun just didn’t try hard enough.
Jung-sun wavers, so Won-joon tells him to call Hyun-soo before he leaves and see if she picks up. Jung-sun counters that she always picks up… it’s that she might reject him anyway.
Over dinner, Hyun-soo notes that Jung-woo has a little kid’s taste in food. He says that he eats like this when he misses his mother, and when Hyun-soo says he should just visit her, he throws her some wicked side-eye. Whoops.
She asks how old he was when his mother died, but Jung-woo doesn’t answer. Hyun-soo’s phone rings then—it’s Jung-sun, calling from the airport, but she tells Jung-woo that she won’t answer it. He asks if she wants to, and she hesitates.
Oh wow, no wonder this “breakup” is such a source of pain for both Jung-sun and Hyun-soo. They never actually broke up at all, in fact they weren’t really even dating—the whole thing was just a horrible mash-up of crossed wires. Jung-sun knew he was in love, but Hyun-soo didn’t realize it until it was too late, because she was too worried about other things in her life to process how she really felt about him. No wonder Jung-sun left without really talking to Hyun-soo about it, not when she’d drawn such a definite line between them and any romantic possibilities. He’s always been very respectful of her and what she wants, so even though I’m sure he knew she had feelings for him, he took her seriously when she made it so clear that she didn’t want a relationship.
One of my favorite things in dramas is when the guy falls in love first, and normally I’d be hoping to see Jung-sun try to woo Hyun-soo all over again when they meet in the present. But in this case I find myself wishing for the opposite—that it’s Hyun-soo who has to pursue Jung-sun this time around. Not that I think he’d put up much of a fight, because I’ve never seen a boy so gone on a girl. But the power imbalance presented by their ages in the past created a situation in which Hyun-soo called all the shots (and bless Jung-sun for being so respectful of her wishes), and I want to see that turned on its ear when they reconnect. At twenty-three and twenty-nine, they were at very different places in their lives and maturity levels. But the distance isn’t quite so far between twenty-eight and thirty-four, and I’d love to see Hyun-soo be the one to do the romancing this time around.
I worry that Jung-woo’s character is going to go dark, and I really, really hope that doesn’t happen. I love his tentative are-we-friends-or-are-we-foes relationship with Jung-sun, and the way they banter and poke fun at each other is highly entertaining to watch. And I think he could be a strong professional advocate for Hyun-soo at a time when she could really use someone to believe in her. But that conversation last week with someone on the phone worried me, and his refusal to take no for an answer may be beneficial now because it gets Hyun-soo what she needs in the moment, but down the line it could very easily turn into a control issue, or worse. With Jung-sun it feels like a genuine desire to work with him because he admires what he can do, but with Hyun-soo it feels more like a power trip. I don’t like what that foreshadows.
I’m so pleased that I’m continuing to like this show as much as I did initially, because all too often I’m swept up by a show in its first week, only to feel something beginning to slip in the second week. I think that it’s easy for dramas to start with a bang, but then to relax after a couple of episodes once it’s hooked its audience, and you can begin to sense that it may not live up to the quality of the premiere. But Temperature of Love still feels like it’s just getting started, and now that we’ve seen Jung-sun and Hyun-soo’s beginning, and how it ended, I get the sense that we’ve only seen a small part of what the drama intends to show us.
I particularly love the feel of the show, though I’m finding it difficult to describe it in words. It’s not really slice-of-life, but it’s not really a rom-com either… it seems more like an old foreign film in its style and cinematography, but without feeling dated, if that makes sense. The characters speak and act like real people, which speaks to a complaint I have often with dramas, because I see so many shows and wonder why the characters are talking and behaving in wildly unnatural ways. But here, the characters don’t overreact or under-react, or say and do things that make no sense. They behave the way I would behave under the same circumstances, which is what makes them so relatable and likable. I can just feel the show finding its stride and getting better with every scene, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.
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