Because This Life Is Our First: Episode 12
Love can make one foolish and irrational. It can also be all-consuming and fervent, as our heroine learns as she falls in love for the first time. Sneaking glances and holding hands, our couple is now free to express their feelings, but like the beginning of most relationships, they tread carefully, making sure to keep their emotions in check. Our couple reaches new heights of adorableness this episode, and I can’t stop smiling!
Episode 12: “Because this is my first time with desire”
Se-hee tells Ji-ho that the kiss at the bus stop wasn’t a real kiss, and leaning in closer, he says that this is how you do it. He kisses Ji-ho, much to her surprise, but when he asks if they need to do it again, she says yes.
They kiss once more, embracing each other, but a phone rings, interrupting them. Ji-ho doesn’t hear the phone, completely immersed in the kiss, so it takes a while for Se-hee to grab her attention. Heh. It’s Mom calling, asking where they are, and Ji-ho hastily tells her that they’re just watching the ocean.
They decide to head back to the house, and Se-hee wonders if she acted too angry with her mother. Ji-ho explains how her dialect makes her sound mad because her voice naturally gets louder, and Se-hee readily agrees since he already analyzed the dialect while making kimchi.
He starts to list off the different pronunciations of words he heard, one of them being “pretty,” and Ji-ho wonders if the ajummas joked about him being pretty. He explains that they asked him if he thought Ji-ho was pretty, and though Ji-ho looks up at him with expectant eyes, wanting to hear how he responded, Se-hee merely smiles and says that they should go.
It’s nighttime, and Ji-ho and Se-hee say their final goodbyes at the door. However, an ajusshi from before stops Se-hee, forcing him one last drink before he leaves. Ji-ho intervenes, grabbing the bowl, and drinks it in one gulp in his stead. Glaring at the husband, she drops to informal speech, and threatens to dunk his son-in-law in a liquor jar if he bothers her husband again. Se-hee steps behind Ji-ho with a triumphant smile plastered on his face.
As Ji-ho’s brother Ji-seok and his wife drive them to the bus station, Ji-seok recalls the last time Ji-ho threatened that same ajusshi when he stole the stray dog Ji-ho was taking care of, saying he’d eat it. In retaliation, she stole his cultivator and threatened to sink it in the ocean if he didn’t return the dog. Looking back at Se-hee, Ji-seok says that once Ji-ho gives her heart to something, it lasts forever, but Se-hee stares out the window with a sad look on his face.
Once they arrive at the station, Ji-ho and Se-hee turn to go, but a bicyclist rides dangerously close to them. Se-hee pulls her in, saving her from a collision, and the two exchange a look before separating. Perceptively, Eun-sol notes how “fresh” they look, almost as if they’re in the beginning stages of dating rather than married.
On the bus, Ji-ho wonders if they should ask to switch seats to sit next to one another, but Se-hee tells her not to, because it would inconvenience the other passenger. Sitting in the front, Ji-ho thinks to herself that all her childhood dramas and movies ended with kisses, and now she realizes why: The real story happens afterwards, but people don’t want to watch the truth since it can be painful and dark.
Remembering their kiss, Ji-ho grows hot, and narrates, “The drama between that man and me has only just begun. And my desires have also of only just begun. All of the romantic cells inside of me have woken up.”
They arrive at the apartment in the early morning, and after petting Cat together, they stand awkwardly in the hallway, neither making the first move to leave. After Se-hee says that he had fun making kimchi and adventuring at the beach, they playfully argue over who should go in first.
Ji-ho relents, but before closing her door, she pokes her head out and adorably waves goodnight to Se-hee. He returns the sentiment, waving back. They’re so CUTE!
Ji-ho scrolls through pictures of Se-hee saved on her phone, and realizes that they don’t have a proper picture together. In his own room, Se-hee does the exact same thing, and looks at pictures of Ji-ho on his phone.
He suddenly gets a text from Ji-ho, while in her room, she kicks her blanket in embarrassment for asking about his response to whether he thought she was pretty. Se-hee texts her back, telling her that he said she was pretty, and Ji-ho lights up.
As Se-hee turns out the lights, he stares once more at a photo of Ji-ho and smiles. SO. MUCH. CUTENESS.
Meanwhile, Ji-ho tosses and turns in her bed, unable to fall asleep. She sighs over the fact that they aren’t sleeping together in the same bed, but then bolts up, disgusted by her own thoughts. Heh.
Won-seok wakes up to an empty bed and finds breakfast already made for him. Ho-rang left early for work, and at the bus stop, she longingly watches the mothers send their kindergartners off to school. Ho-rang hesitates before answering Won-seok’s call, and they make plans for their date later today. He says, “I love you,” and after a pause, she says it, too—though both sound drained rather than happy.
Su-ji tries on the bras Sang-gu bought for her, but all of them are uncomfortable and ugly. She decides to order a custom one, and finds a local craftsperson who specializes in custom undergarments. Su-ji is impressed by her knowledge and amount of data, and mentions organizing it all and creating an online database for future transactions.
The woman thanks her for the advice, but she’s only doing this as a part-time job since she’s married. Su-ji apologizes for overstepping, and asks for the cost (250,000 won), which causes her jaw to hit the floor.
Won-seok arrives at work, and jumps back in fright at the sight of Se-hee sleeping in the massage chair. Se-hee came in despite it being the weekend to use the chair (since the kimchi-making made him sore) and wonders if Won-seok came for the same reason. But Won-seok is only stopping by before his date later.
He suddenly asks Se-hee if he loves Ji-ho, but takes back his question after Se-hee gives him an odd look. Thinking for a moment, Se-hee invites Won-seok for some coffee, and the two relocate outside to talk.
Won-seok confesses his recent worries about marriage, relationships, and love. He tells Se-hee that he no longer fights with Ho-rang even though they’re both aware that they’re thinking differently, and Se-hee understands, since an argument might lead to something irreversible.
Se-hee also confesses that he and Ji-ho didn’t marry out of love, but rather because their needs matched and neither felt uncomfortable with each other. But as Se-hee found peace with himself through their marriage, feelings for Ji-ho grew in his heart.
He advises Won-seok to be honest with Ho-rang since humans are naturally selfish, and explains how marriage is one of those instances where selfish desires show most clearly. Won-seok argues that he has no desires, since he only wants to make Ho-rang happy and can’t live without her.
Se-hee repeats Won-seok’s statements, and points out that the subject in each one is Won-seok, never Ho-rang. Having imparted his wisdom, Se-hee gets up to leave, but turns around to ask Won-seok a question: “What do people do on a date these days?”
Thoughts about the kiss consume Ji-ho as she furiously wipes the table at work. Su-ji stops by to ask to “borrow” Ji-ho’s chest, so they move to the backroom where Su-ji collects her measurements. She excitedly tells Ji-ho about gathering data and enabling people to custom-order bras, widening the customer base. Noticing the twinkle in Su-ji’s eye, Ji-ho says that she should just start her own business.
Su-ji says that can’t leave her high-paying job since this life isn’t hers, and Ji-ho apologizes. Su-ji changes the subject to Ji-ho, and asks if she’s struggling with lust since the man she likes lives in the next room. Ji-ho denies it emphatically, and Su-ji finds that odd, wondering if it’s because she’s never dated anyone before.
Ji-ho sits at the bus stop, remembering Su-ji’s advice: Don’t get physically close if she isn’t going to sleep with Se-hee because it’s like opening Pandora’s box. Nearby, a group of high school girls talk about how their friend is good at something because she’s a fearless first-timer and that newbies are more hardcore. Ji-ho audibly agrees with their statement. Heh.
She hangs her head in shame, and right then, Se-hee shows up to sit down next to her. He came by hoping that he might see her here after work, and asks if she wants to do anything. Ji-ho can only stare at his lips, imagining him seductively make kissing faces and licking his lips, and loudly protests that she doesn’t want to do anything.
So Se-hee asks if she wants to do what he wants, then, and holds out his hand for her to take.
Walking down the street, he leads her to a crowd gathered around some musicians busking (cameo by MeloMance, who sing an OST for the show), and much to her disappointment, he lets go of her hand to applaud. Afterwards, Se-hee explains why he likes cats, but Ji-ho is preoccupied with trying to hold his hand again. She’s such a precious cinnamon roll!
When asked about her favorite animal, Ji-ho says that she likes snails because they take their home with them, and her interpretation impresses Se-hee. Off in the distance, he sees a game stand, and suggests playing. Ji-ho is unenthusiastic at first, but perks up as soon as Se-hee grabs her hand to lead her to their next stop.
Ho-rang and Won-seok head off for their date, and notice a man spectacularly failing at popping balloons at a game stand. As they get closer, they realize it’s Se-hee, who puts on a serious expression every time he throws the dart, only to miss miserably. Hehehe.
Ho-rang asks Ji-ho what’s wrong with Se-hee, but Won-seok clues them in about how Se-hee asked him about his date course. Realizing the reason behind Se-hee’s action, Ji-ho steps up when he buys another round of darts, and impressively pops every balloon with each throw. The crowd around them cheers, and Se-hee proudly watches Ji-ho.
As Se-hee carries the doll that Ji-ho won, she asks why he wanted to win it so badly. He explains that it’s hers, and that he wanted it because it’s a snail (whose shell is a house), and hands it to her. He also hands her a small box to carry since that’s hers, too, and hurries on ahead—though he looks back to make sure she’s still following him. Heh.
At home, Su-ji organizes the data about custom bras, and then get enraptured in designing new bras, which makes her miss calls from Sang-gu.
So Su-ji arrives at the hotel room late for their date, and appeases Sang-gu with a back-hug. He asks if she’s braless again, but Su-ji tells him that she’s underwear-less this time, teasing him to check for himself.
After some sexy fun-times, Su-ji and Sang-gu freshen up together, but when Su-ji brings out her own hair dryer, he comments on how much easier it would be for them to just meet at home. She ignores his complaints, and Sang-gu drops the topic, instead offering to dry her hair for her.
At a cafe, Ji-ho opens the box, which contains earrings. Se-hee explains how he always wanted to gift her something like everyone else, and Ji-ho says that he must have also wanted to go on a date like everyone else, too.
She mentions their age gap, highlighting the different milestones they had at the same time, and Se-hee mildly objects to being treated as so old, ha. Ji-ho asked Sang-gu for advice on dating someone older and had been told about this cafe, which Se-hee used to frequent, and Se-hee looks around, momentarily lost in thought.
Ji-ho shyly excuses herself to go to the bathroom to try on the earrings, and comments to herself on how adorable Se-hee is. As she puts in the earrings, she drops an earring back, and another occupant (Lee Chung-ah) picks it up.
Noticing Ji-ho struggle, the woman offers to help, and in a rather intimate moment, she puts the earring in for Ji-ho. They meet again in the cafe, as Ji-ho finds the woman sitting at her table. She apologizes, citing this spot as having the best view, and gets up to leave. She exits the cafe moments before Se-hee rejoins Ji-ho at the table.
Ho-rang and Won-seok eat dinner, talking about this and that, when Won-seok remembers Se-hee’s advice about being honest. He brings up their marriage, and asks Ho-rang if she can wait five more years. Ho-rang is stunned, asking if he means to just date for twelve years.
Arriving at the theater, Ho-rang notices that he got the wrong play (mistakenly getting tickets to a knockoff), and he offers to fix the mistake and see the right one. Frustrated, Ho-rang tells him they can’t get tickets now so they should just watch this one.
During the play, the actors’ lines reflect Ho-rang and Won-seok’s situation about continuously missing one another, and they both recall their past discussions about marriage. Their eyes turn red, and Won-seok loosens his tie while Ho-rang turns away as tears fall down her face.
As soon as Ji-ho and Se-hee arrive home, they pet Cat together, and Se-hee unintentionally flusters Ji-ho when he tells her to shower first (which she hears as a prelude to sleeping together). He then unknowingly makes her swoon when he mentions how she looks the same with or without makeup, and Ji-ho playfully hits him in the arm before scurrying away to her room.
Ji-ho silently wonders how long she has to keep feeling fluttered and berates Se-hee for keeping their love platonic. As she takes off her earrings, Ji-ho remembers the lady from the cafe bathroom, and scoffs at herself for even being charmed by a woman.
Su-ji drives to her apartment with Sang-gu riding along, since he wants to see her home. He asks if she has any desire to get married, but she firmly says no. He, on the other hand, isn’t totally opposed to the idea, thinking that there’s some merit to sharing lives with someone.
Su-ji disagrees since she only sees marriage as tomb for her sexual life. He mentions how everyone else does it, but she doesn’t want to live like everyone else. She knows her place in life and doesn’t intend on ruining someone else’s life through marriage.
Ji-ho reads an article online and concludes that she’s experiencing sexual frustrations. Noticing the poetry book still by her bed, Ji-ho decides to return it, and steps into Se-hee’s room since he’s still showering. Placing the book back in the closet, Ji-ho apologizes for borrowing it without knowing that it contained memories.
Su-ji parks her car and when she steps outside, Sang-gu notices a text message from “my love” pop up on her phone. He’s bothered by the text, and asks Su-ji if she’s having any friends come over. She says no, thinking he’s angling for an invitation to her place, and tells him that she’s going to rest.
She waves goodbye, but as soon as the elevator doors close, Sang-gu bolts up the stairs, thinking of Su-ji’s conditions to dating: how they were to only meet outside of their homes, and not interfere in each other’s private lives. He reaches her floor as soon as she does, and hears Su-ji warmly greet someone.
Returning from his shower, Se-hee spots the poetry book in his closet and takes it out to read the Post-it note telling him not to love again.
Sang-gu watches Su-ji walk to her apartment, and it’s her mother who greets her outside. They talk about having dinner together, revealing a loving relationship, and Su-ji supports her mother as she limps. Sang-gu hangs his head in shame, realizing the truth.
As Se-hee narrates the poem from the book about how tremendous a thing it is for someone’s heart to come to you, Ho-rang washes away her tears in the bathroom, and finds Won-seok sitting alone in the empty theater. Avoiding eye contact, Won-seok tells Ho-rang that they should break up.
Flashing back to Se-hee’s past, he sits at the same cafe from his date today, and sitting across from him is the woman Ji-ho met in the bathroom, Jung-min. She’d slid him the poetry book, telling him that she already moved her things out, and stopped Se-hee from apologizing and explaining about his father’s phone call. She told him to not talk about his family to her, to not say “us,” and to never be happy.
In the present, Se-hee reads that note again and think how he had done as Jung-min said: “I wasn’t happy. As you told me, I didn’t love anyone.”
He walks out to the living room and sees Ji-ho laughing at the television, and thinks, “But today, briefly, I was happy. Briefly, I forgot about everything.”
Ji-ho brightens up to see him standing there and invites him to join her. With a smile, Se-hee joins her on the couch, but he watches her rather than the television and thinks, “I find this woman to be pretty. Her heart is cute.”
A bit later, as they linger in the hallway that separates their rooms, Ji-ho says goodnight. Se-hee continues his narration: “However, at the same time, I’m afraid of myself. I’m scared that I’ll hurt someone again.”
As Ji-ho closes her door, Se-hee grabs it with his hand, and steps inside her room. He thinks, “But now, I…”
He asks her, “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?” To himself, he adds, “I want to be happy too.”
The show is spoiling me with two absolutely adorable endings this week! While we usually hear Ji-ho’s inner monologues, this time it was Se-hee’s turn to end the episode as we got to learn more about him and his feelings towards Ji-ho. It’s interesting that the more I watch the show, the less I think Se-hee has changed, and instead, it’s simply that we’re learning more about him. Ji-ho isn’t making him more caring or emotional, it’s just that she’s bringing out these emotions again after he spent years subduing them out of fear. He clearly recognizes his feelings, which makes me ponder his past actions and see them in a new light. It adds something special to those earlier scenes where Se-hee betrayed his feelings, like the one with Ji-ho’s mom or the Bok-nam incident. All this time, as the viewer, I thought Ji-ho was in a one-sided relationship where Se-hee would slowly open up his shell, but in fact, it may never have been one-sided at all.
Watching these two oddballs date each other while married and living under the same roof is a riot, and all the sweetness is probably going to give me cavities. They are so adorable, and it’s lovely how they, themselves, recognize how cute the other acts around them. Also, Ji-ho’s continued fantasies (which seem pretty tame, but maybe we’re only getting the TV-friendly versions) are precious, and I love how she just wants to do everything with him but is partially afraid of scaring him away since she thinks he doesn’t quite feel the same way she does. When she tried to hold his hand during their walk, it killed me. In addition, I adore Se-hee’s attempt at a date, and all the little moments that reveal just how much he loves Ji-ho like the way he smiles at her when she isn’t looking or how he peeks behind his shoulder to make sure she’s still there. However, it’s really the moments where Se-hee isn’t trying and just being his (sexy) honest self that really make Ji-ho’s heart flutter (and mine as well). They are just so perfect, and I want them to walk down a flower path for the rest of their lives!
I’m not usually a fan of first loves coming back because they usually cause unnecessary angst and misunderstandings between the main couple, but in this case, I’m actually interested to see how the creators will handle this seemingly clichéd situation and surprise me. At this point in the show, the creators have proven again and again that they know what they’re doing, with pieces of the story always having a purpose and never haphazardly thrown in without deliberation. Thus, I have no doubt that the introduction of Jung-min will be dealt with in a sensitive manner. I thought it was an interesting touch to have that intimate moment between Ji-ho and Jung-min, since it secretly made me think what the show would be like if they twisted this overused trope and created a super unconventional “second lead” vying for the female’s love. At the very least, I hope they don’t make her character mean even though her breakup scene with Se-hee was heart-wrenchingly ruthless. His teary eyes made me want to reach in and give him a hug.
The other big development this episode was between Ho-rang and Won-seok, who have finally decided to end things. This “end” seemed inevitable as they continued to let their emotions fester and you could see that it was suffocating both of them. I loved how their breakup was done without much histrionics and, overall, was quite a mellow affair. You could feel how tired both of them became after fighting to keep their relationship going for seven years, and I think it was actually this quiet weariness of everything that made their feelings even more relatable and heartbreaking. Though they might love each other, they realize that their ideas of the future misalign, and even if severing ties with someone you’ve given your heart to for so long is probably hard and scary, I think this breakup was necessary for both of them whether or not they come back together later on.
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