Because This Life Is Our First: Episode 8
As our main couple maintains their distance with each other, keeping up the roles of landlord and tenant, the line continues to blur between them as feelings and motivations start to cross the boundaries laid out by their contractual marriage. Though the main couple makes strives, another couple faces an insurmountable challenge that may break them. Despite the stark reality portrayed through these characters’ lives and relationships, the show never loses its humor because sometimes it’s the little things in life that make us smile.
EPISODE 8: “Because this is my first husband”
Se-hee scrolls through the list of user complaints and finds Bok-nam’s profile with the reason listed as stalking. Ji-ho comes out of her room holding the book Bok-nam gave her, and Se-hee stares at her. She asks him if something’s wrong, but Se-he avoids answering her question.
He asks Ji-ho to take Cat to the vet tomorrow, early in the morning, and Ji-ho agrees, despite having to go to work at that time. Though Se-hee’s sudden change of heart confuses Ji-ho, she doesn’t linger on it, and texts Bok-nam to switch shifts with her. She notices Bok-nam’s nonsensical English phrase on the back of the book, and smiles at his failed attempt to be charming.
In his room, Se-hee calls Bo-mi and asks for more details about the complaint lodged against Bok-nam.
The next morning, Se-hee gives Ji-ho instructions about Cat’s vet visit, which includes taking a taxi instead of the bus. Ji-ho assumes it’s for her sake and politely declines, but Se-hee clarifies, “It’s not good for Cat.” Heh. Before leaving, Se-hee tenderly tells Cat to have a safe trip.
Elsewhere, Sang-gu merrily skips to work, remembering last night’s event with Su-ji where she admitted to being attracted to him as well. Replicating a scene directly from 500 Days of Summer, Sang-gu winks at a reflection of himself as Jo In-sung and proceeds to greet everyone and dance down the street as passersby join him in his musical sequence.
Bo-mi interrupts his giddy morning commute, taking him into the office, where Sang-gu scans the complaint list. Bo-mi explains that another user reported Bok-nam for excessive contact, which includes calls made to her workplace after she blocked him on their app. Se-hee suggests double-checking the report with blacklists from similar apps, which Sang-gu can get through Won-seok.
At the veterinary hospital, the veterinarian and nurse examine Cat and tell Ji-ho that Se-hee is a reliable husband and a manly man. Ji-ho finds that assessment surprising, so they recount the story of Se-hee’s first visit to their hospital with Cat, when they’d told him to be prepared for the worst because of Cat’s condition. Se-hee had slammed the table, telling them to save Cat no matter the cost. Back then, Se-hee wasn’t even Cat’s owner and had found Cat abandoned on the streets.
Se-hee and Bo-mi visit Bok-nam at YOLO cafe under the guise of buying snacks, and Se-hee comments on the heavy tools inside his bag. Bok-nam says that they’re essential for him as a motorcyclist since they help him fix his bike as well as women’s hearts. Well, that’s creepy.
Se-hee gives him the side-eye, clearly finding him suspicious, and pays for the snacks with a credit card. Bok-nam comments on his changed signature, but Se-hee points out that last time he paid in cash. Bok-nam laughs off his mistake, saying that he confused Se-hee with someone else. How far does this all go?!
As Ji-ho heads to work, she ponders the story she heard, but dismisses it since an angry Se-hee is unimaginable to her. Hearing familiar laughter, Ji-ho turns around and is shocked to see her friends walking towards her. They’re also going to cafe, flashing the coupons Bok-nam gave them last time.
Once they exit the cafe, Bo-mi says that Bok-nam looks too nice for the report to be true, but Se-hee deadpans, “You look ordinary from afar as well.” Pfft.
She gives him an exasperated look, but changes the topic, bringing up the cost of Bok-nam’s expensive motorcycle. Though Se-hee pretends that he’s uninterested, he leans in so she can tell him the cost.
Ji-ho and her friends arrive right then, witnessing the two’s close proximity, but Su-ji’s attention quickly turns to the expensive motorcycle. Ji-ho and Ho-rang gasp when they learn that the motorcycle costs as much as a car, and down the street, Se-hee’s eyes also widen after hearing the amount. He acts like it’s not a huge sum, but his nervous step back betrays his indifferent facade.
As they turn to leave, Se-hee trips over Bo-mi’s foot, causing him to lurch forward in the direction of the parked motorcycle. Everyone holds their breaths as Se-hee falls towards the bike, but in an impressive display of nimbleness, he twists his body at the last second and narrowly misses it.
Having seen everything, Bok-nam jokingly warns Se-hee to be careful, unless he wants to pay off the compensation costs for years along with his mortgage. Se-hee huffs, calling that an exaggerated statement, but danger strikes again when a scooter suddenly zooms extremely close to Se-hee.
The near-crash causes Se-hee to fall towards the motorcycle, but in an even more impressive display of athleticism, Se-hee uses his momentum to launch himself over the bike, spinning in the air before plummeting to the other side. While the motorcycle is unscathed, the same can’t be said for Se-hee’s pride, and he pretends to pass out to hide his shame. Hahahaha!
Sang-gu visits Won-seok’s one-room office, and is surprised by the lack of respect Won-seok’s employees show him. Grabbing a coffee outside, Won-seok vents his frustrations about work and love to Sang-gu, explaining how Ho-rang recently forced him into celibacy because of their marriage issue.
After sharing his worries, Won-seok asks what Sang-gu will do about his own problem concerning Bok-nam, and Sang-gu informs him that the main issue is Ji-ho. Since she works with Bok-nam, they can’t act rashly, but Sang-gu isn’t too worried about it because they have Se-hee—the man who doesn’t even bleed!
…but of course Se-hee bleeds, and is currently getting stiches. The doctor asks how he got his injury, and Ji-ho stammers about a motorcycle. The doctor jumps to conclusions and assumes Se-hee was riding the motorcycle, which causes Ji-ho’s friends and Bo-mi to stifle their laughter.
Ji-ho starts to explain that he was trying to avoid the bike, but the nurse assumes that Se-hee got into a crash with a moving motorcycle. Se-hee finally interjects, telling the doctor that he got injured while trying to avoid a parked motorcycle.
The nurse incredulously asks if he did it to avoid scratching the bike. The doctor chides the nurse for asking such a silly question, and laughs at the thought of some lunatic sacrificing their body because of an expensive bike. Unable to admit the truth, Se-hee excuses himself and shuffles out of the room.
In the car, Ho-rang and Su-ji awkwardly compliment Se-hee’s athletic prowess, but Bo-mi pops up from the backseat, having joined the two rather than become a third wheel with the couple. She bluntly states the truth that everyone is thinking about Se-hee, and says that she would have been too embarrassed to even acknowledge him if she was Ji-ho.
Abruptly, Bo-mi asks them about Bok-nam, and the two friends assume she’s interested in him. Ho-rang passive-aggressively tells Bo-mi that he’s out of her league, but Bo-mi retaliates, saying that she would rank higher than Ho-rang in the dating app. The two exchange barbs, but Bo-mi gets in the last word, pointing out Ho-rang’s lack of manners.
Se-hee stops by the pharmacy to take some medicine, and Ji-ho asks him why he worried about the bike more than his own body. Se-hee explains that his medical bill costs less than fixing the bike. Remembering the veterinarian’s words about Se-hee’s manliness, Ji-ho scoffs at the thought.
She gets up to go to work, but Se-hee stops her, asking her why she chose that cafe. Ji-ho thinks that he’s concerned that their workplaces are so close, but before he can clarify, she tells him not to worry since she’s actively trying to avoid situations where they have to act as a couple. She also explains how difficult it was for her to even get this job, so she would appreciate it if he didn’t speak so lightly of it.
Su-ji grabs her things from her car before going to work, and the sight of Sang-gu’s doll makes her smile as she remembers his multiple confessions. On her way in, she runs into Park, who deliberately stares at her chest, knowing that she isn’t wearing a bra, and Su-ji covers herself with a file. Ugh, he makes my blood boil.
In the bathroom, Su-ji puts on her bra, but outside, a couple of female workers start gossiping about her and last night’s happenings. Their talk quickly turns to why Sang-gu called out the CEO for making advances on Su-ji, and they gossip about her no-bra habits, calling her an escort. Once they leave, Su-ji exits her stall looking worn, and stares at text message from Sang-gu.
Won-seok arrives at Sang-gu’s office, but Bo-mi greets him instead since Sang-gu is out meeting an important VIP (aka Su-ji).
Su-ji finds Sang-gu at a nearby cafe, and scolds him for showing up at her workplace. He tells that he was planning to wait until she was done with work and even brought work with him, and takes out his stuff, including a rose to commemorate their first day as a couple. Right then, Park walks by with another coworker, and Su-ji wearily orders Sang-gu to follow her outside.
Ignoring his rose, she tells him harshly that she only wanted to sleep with him, not date, and explains that she was only fooling around that night, thinking that he was the same as her. Her words hurt Sang-gu, and he calls her a mean person, which she doesn’t deny.
Sang-gu finally explodes when Su-ji tells him to stop interfering, and asks how wanting dinner and meeting someone you’re interested in are things that warrant such a negative response. Su-ji informs Sang-gu of the harsh realities women face and explains how the repercussions of breakups disproportionately harm females.
He’s unable to comprehend her concerns, instead seeing it as a twisted viewpoint, but she calls him out on his naivety, telling him that the world hasn’t changed. If he really wants to sleep with her, then he should sell his company first because only then will she date him.
Se-hee looks over the blacklist from another app that also includes Bok-nam for similar stalking behavior. Won-seok points out the similarities between Bok-nam and the recent kidnapping incident (where the culprit has yet to be captured), but Bo-mi interrupts, firmly believing that Bok-nam doesn’t look like a criminal.
Won-seok thinks they should tell Ji-ho, but remembering Ji-ho’s words about her job, Se-hee says that they should wait until they get solid evidence since both Ji-ho and Bok-nam could get fired. Won-seok doesn’t see why it’s a big deal, but Se-hee tells him that a part-time job can be important to someone, giving them no right to ruin it.
Noticing Se-hee’s injury, Won-seok asks how he got hurt, and Se-hee gives a vague answer that causes Bo-mi to audibly laugh.
Ho-rang looks over the lacy undergarments she bought today, and holds up a red one for Ji-ho to have. Bok-nam comes by their table and says that the white one suits her better, since she looks good in sleeveless white shirts because of her shoulders.
Ho-rang teases Bok-nam, asking if he saw her shoulders before, which triggers a memory for Ji-ho of a similarly odd situation where it seemed like Bok-nam knew her previously. He quickly covers up his mistake, and Ji-ho uneasily brushes off her concerns. No!!! Trust your sixth sense!
Won-seok hands out his business card, introducing himself as the CEO of “Get Up-larm” (a mashup of “Get Up” and alarm), and Se-hee and his coworkers recognize the app. Won-seok is excited that they’ve used his app, until Se-hee adds that they’ve always wanted to ask the developer a question: “Why did you make this app?”
Won-seok gives his pitch about his app’s purpose of friends waking friends, but Se-hee points out an easier method of setting multiple alarms that would make the app useless. The final nail in the coffin is Bo-mi’s question about profit, and Won-seok quietly says that there is none. Poor puppy.
Ho-rang waits for Won-seok to come home, dressed in her new undergarments to drive him crazy, but once he steps into their flat, she notices his dejected expression. Forgetting her petty plans, she rushes to Won-seok’s side, and he cries into her arms.
Sitting on their pink couch, he tells her about the embarrassing encounter at Sang-gu’s company, and Ho-rang grows indignant on his behalf. She defends his app, and can’t believe Se-hee’s audacity after making a fool of himself to avoid paying for a rearview mirror.
Ji-ho and Bok-nam clean up the cafe, and he teases her for all the mistakes she made today. He notices a call from “landlord” on her phone, and Ji-ho steps out to take it.
Se-hee stiffly asks Ji-ho when she’ll be home, informing her of a soccer match tonight, and then asks if she’ll be taking the bus. She wonders why he keeps asking about the bus, so he starts to babble about the safety and efficiency of taking the bus home. Even he realizes how weird he sounds right now (and Ji-ho affirms it), but he doesn’t explain the source of his concern..
She asks if he’ll be taking a taxi to bring Cat home, and Se-hee says that he will. Before hanging up, he confirms their meeting time later to watch the match, and without the full context, Ji-ho huffs at Se-hee’s odd behavior especially since he keeps pressuring her to take the bus while Cat takes a taxi home. Heh.
Se-hee checks a message from the veterinary hospital, reminding him to pick up Cat before 7 o’clock tonight, and as he leaves, a couple of coworkers call him over to solve a Rubik’s cube. Though Se-hee holds the record for their company, he simply stares at the cube, and the others leave, getting tired of waiting for him to solve it.
At the bus stop, Bok-nam rides up to Ji-ho on his motorcycle, but she refuses his offer to drive her home. He asks if it’s because of her husband, and mentions how he overheard her conversation through the window. He criticizes Se-hee for never coming to pick her up and prioritizing Cat over her, and his last comment strikes a nerve. So when Bok-nam invites her to grab a beer, she gets on his bike, momentarily dropping her bag in the process.
Meanwhile, Se-hee gets in a taxi and continues to stare at the Rubik’s cube.
Won-seok learns about Se-hee’s fiasco this afternoon, and finally comprehends why everyone says that Se-hee only cares about his loans and cat. He calls Se-hee the weirdest out of all of them, which somehow explains his record for solving a Rubik’s cube the fastest. When Ho-rang calls the cube a kid’s toy, Won-seok yells at her, clearly disagreeing.
Bo-mi calls Se-hee after learning more about the kidnapping case through her policeman uncle. In that case, a spanner wrench was the only evidence found at the scene of the crime. Uh-oh.
Determined to prove Ho-rang wrong, Won-seok borrows a Rubik’s cube from the kid downstairs (heh) and rambles on about the logic behind it. Ho-rang finally throws up her hands in frustration after thirty minutes of his explanation, and leaves him outside.
Se-hee starts to solve the Rubik’s cube in the taxi, and memories come flooding back to him like pieces of a puzzle. Once the cube is done, Se-hee seems to have put the clues together, and calls for the driver’s attention.
Sitting on a bench, Ji-ho checks her watch, remembering Se-hee’s call about the soccer match, but resumes drinking her beer with Bok-nam. He suddenly asks why she got married to Se-hee, and she tells him that he’s thrifty and stable. He points out the fact that she saved him in her phone as “landlord,” and says that marriage doesn’t seem like a big deal.
Won-seok is contrite about annoying Ho-rang with the cube, but she tells him she’s more upset about him being belittled by others. Touched by how angered she is on his behalf, Won-seok asks why she wants to marry someone like him who makes no money and is struggling with his company, but she simply tells him, “Because it’s you.”
Se-hee arrives at Ji-ho’s bus stop, and calls her phone since she’s not there. He hears it ringing, and on the ground is Ji-ho’s phone, having fallen when she dropped her bag.
Back at the bench, Ji-ho tells Bok-nam that though Se-hee’s job and house did play a part in her decision to get married, she wouldn’t have married anyone else—she married him because he is Se-hee. Even if marriage isn’t something amazing, it’s also something she thinks strangers can’t look down on.
Bok-nam seems sad to be called a stranger, and asks if Se-hee will come to her rescue if something happened to her right now. The air turns chilly as he presses her to answer, and Ji-ho jokes around with him until he says that she shouldn’t have married a fake husband. Run, Ji-ho!
Finishing his beer, he goes to his bike, and asks Ji-ho why she’s so surprised—he’s actually not a stranger. He grabs a wrench from his bag, and with a creepy smile plastered on his face, he slowly walks towards Ji-ho, who’s too shocked to move.
Drenched in sweat, Se-hee suddenly appears, grabbing Bok-nam and throwing the wrench away. He tells Ji-ho to come watch soccer with him, but Bok-nam retaliates, grabbing Se-hee’s arm. However, Se-hee doesn’t back down, warning him to let go.
Bok-nam goads Se-hee to punch him, but Se-hee says that he doesn’t punch people because it costs too much. Approaching the motorcycle, Se-hee kicks the mirror off, and admits that it’s quite an expensive bike. He promises to pay it back along with his house, and then kicks the motorcycle to the ground. YEESSSSSSSSSSSS!
Bok-nam rushes to his bike, and Se-hee walks to Ji-ho. With an outstretched hand, he tells her, “Hurry up, so we can go to our home.” Swoon.
As Ji-ho stares up at him, she thinks to herself, “We can’t understand each other if we don’t try. Even in a world like this, love still exists.” He takes her hand into his, and leads her back home.
Be still my beating heart! I loved how the episode built up to the final scene where Se-hee knocked over the motorcycle because part of the catharsis was knowing how much this act was deliberate on his part. It was hilarious to see him flounder and make a fool out of himself to avoid paying compensation for scratching the bike, but what amazes me is how the show uses these moments for multiple purposes. Not only was it a funny scene, it also reinforced Se-hee’s character as well as Ji-ho’s disappointment in him, because to her, it seems that money means everything to him, even more than his own body. In addition, Ji-ho starts questioning her own place in Se-hee’s life, interpreting his (more than usual) odd words to mean he prioritizes Cat over her. Thus, his actions at the end not only convey to Ji-ho that Se-hee does care for her, but that he does a lot. Though she doubted the story about Se-hee getting angry over Cat’s welfare, the ending scene proves that there’s more to this meticulous and rational man who’s also strongly protective and compassionate.
In that sense, I’m happy with the way the show treated Bok-nam because it’s much more interesting to seeing Se-hee’s normal characteristics shine rather than a full-blown jealousy which seems a bit more foreign with his sense of self. That isn’t to say he didn’t feel jealous, but ultimately what caused Se-hee to act was not because he had changed as a person but simply because he’s Se-hee. Like Ji-ho said, there’s more to him than what people assume, and this is what makes me love this couple so much. They’re both quiet and introspective, and at their core, both are kind people who would never purposely harm another person to better themselves. If this ending was any indication, it seems that Se-hee may have realized that he no longer wants to be just landlord and tenant, and quite possibly the “us” that Ji-ho craves will finally come true.
If our main couple made my heart flutter at the end, Su-ji and Sang-gu’s relationship made me seethe with anger. Su-ji is amazing, and Sang-gu has turned out to be a surprisingly earnest and heartfelt person. His opening parody scene was adorable, but the choice of movie did make me a little worried since I wondered if it was foreshadowing something about their relationship. Though neither is perfect, the show has depicted how these characters have changed a bit because of each other in lovely ways. Sang-gu has become more open about his mistakes, and actually seeks forgiveness for them, letting Su-ji dictate the terms of their relationship. As for Su-ji, she’s starting to let her guard down and let a man enter her life beyond a one-night stand. It’s clear that she has begun to develop feelings for Sang-gu as evidenced by the doll and the way she smiles, which is what makes me sad (about their fight) and angry (about the real cause of their fight).
I don’t think Sang-gu jumped to conclusions about them dating, and his complaint about her harsh reaction wasn’t undue. However, I think Su-ji’s cruel words were intentional in order to make him hate her and stop pursuing her. While it is frustrating that Sang-gu doesn’t understand how sexist society still is, it’s really these social norms around gender and the workplace that irritate me. Park continues to be a living plague on this earth, and I really want him to get his comeuppance, though part of the frustration is that he knows he will never have to be held accountable for his microaggressions and sexual harassment. Besides Park, the gossip in the bathroom really infuriated me because it painfully captured the ways a lot of women are still treated and viewed by society.
Even though the female coworkers knew Su-ji was the victim of a CEO’s sexual harassment, they focus on gossip about her and Sang-gu. Despite being the irrefutable victim in this situation, they talk more about her than they do the CEO and his atrocious crime. Essentially, they start to slut-shame Su-ji, and in a way, they engage in a form of victim-blaming by assuming her “promiscuous” behavior (of not wearing a bra, mind you) somehow explains why men fall for her. Then the kicker is that one of the coworkers feels “disappointed” in Su-ji, and right there is when I lost my mind. Somehow Su-ji must uphold a pristine image as a “pure” woman while lecherous older men can get away with their crimes, and the fact that this backward hypocrisy was the cause of my adorable couple to break up before they even started was the source of my anger. I only feel bad for Su-ji and Sang-gu (neither are at fault or should be blamed since both are victims trapped by societal norms), which is what makes me so mad (in a good way)! Seriously, show, well done.
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