Familiar Wife: Episode 15
Both Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin have worked hard to get to a timeline in which they can be together, and it looks like they’ve finally found their happily ever after. But life and people being what they are, no timeline is perfect, and just because they’re in love again doesn’t mean their problems are over. They know that happiness will require constant diligence and effort, but they can’t control everything, and they may be about to face their biggest challenge yet.
EPISODE 15: “Couple”
After preventing the bus accident that might have taken Woo-jin from him, Joo-hyuk tells her that he loves her, and doesn’t want to live without her. He hugs her, and she hugs him back, both of them happy to finally be together.
Two weeks later, they attend Sang-shik and Joo-eun’s wedding. Predictably, Sang-shik breaks down sobbing during the vows, and afterward, Joo-eun snaps at him affectionately for embarrassing her. Jong-hoo tells Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin that they look nice together and can’t resist saying a friendly “I told you so” about their being a good couple.
Joo-hyuk wants to introduce Woo-jin to his parents, and she tries her hardest to resist, but loses. His mom thanks Woo-jin for saving Joo-hyuk from a life of singlehood and is impressed by her intelligence and beauty.
On their way home, Woo-jin tells Joo-hyuk that she saw him and Jong-hoo crying in a corner, hee. She says that Sang-shik and Joo-eun looked happy, and that she thinks marriage must be a scary choice, but that those two seem like they can overcome any hardships together. Joo-hyuk agrees that they’re good people who are fated to be together.
Woo-jin says she believes two people can make it work even if they’re not fated. Joo-hyuk adds that it just takes work and promises to try his best, and he pouts cutely when Woo-jin brings up that he abandoned her in another timeline. She reminds him that today is the day they can go back and threatens to find a coin, so Joo-hyuk acts silly to make her laugh.
It’s the night of the black hole, and they sit on a park bench to watch the moon split in two, like it always does on this night, though they’re usually too upset to pay attention. Woo-jin asks Joo-hyuk if he’s okay not to go back again, and he says that from now on, he’ll only look toward the future, with her. They agree to date without worries from now on, and under the twin moons, Joo-hyuk kisses Woo-jin.
But there’s another visitor to the mysterious toll booth tonight. They drive up and toss in a coin, then continue down the road.
Joo-hyuk is waiting for Woo-jin when she leaves for work in the morning. As they walk together, they decide to tell their coworkers about their new dating status today. They wait until after the morning meeting, but before Joo-hyuk can say anything, Branch Manager Cha apologizes for pushing Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin together at dinner last week. Everyone else also says they’re sorry, and they’re so sincere that Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin can’t bring themselves to say they got together anyway (ha, Jong-hoo looks like he’s dying).
They go to the roof to discuss this twist, and they decide to tell everyone soon, but not yet. Woo-jin says that secret dating is thrilling, and Joo-hyuk is all Oh really? When did you secretly date someone? She pretends there’s a mosquito on his face and tries to smack him, and it looks like they might start making out, only Jong-hoo loudly clears his throat to interrupt.
He says he’s sorry, but Woo-jin’s mother is downstairs. She runs down to find Mom getting ready to open an account, and Joo-hyuk nearly jumps out of his skin when she recognizes him. She knows him as the weird guy who bought all the skin products, and it surprises Woo-jin to learn that they’ve met.
Mom brought lunch for the whole team, and she hands out skincare samples and ends up launching into a full-on sales presentation, ha. The ladies decline to buy anything, but Hwan buys five sets to use as gifts.
At home that night, Mom tells Woo-jin that Joo-hyuk seems nice, but he was also kind of strange when she met him. Woo-jin assures her that he’s really charismatic and earnest, but Mom thinks she should date Hwan. Woo-jin nixes that thought and asks if Mom likes Joo-hyuk, and Mom admits that he’s handsome, but he’s not son-in-law material. LOL.
Woo-jin texts Joo-hyuk that Mom likes Hwan better, and the following day when Manager Byun lets everyone leave work early, Joo-hyuk makes Hwan stay late to finish a project. Everyone else wants to go for a drink together, but Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin exchange pointed glances and say they have other plans.
They go on a dinner date, and Woo-jin asks why Joo-hyuk was being mean to Hwan, thinking he’s jealous because Mom liked Hwan more than him. They panic when they see the women from work walk in, and they try to sneak out without being seen. Woo-jin makes it to the door, but Joo-hyuk gets caught by Team Leader Jang, so he thinks up a quick excuse for being at a steakhouse alone.
He makes it out to join Woo-jin, and as they try to think of another place to eat, they run across a famous chef, Kang Sun-woo (cameo by Jo Jung-seok, as his character from Oh My Ghostess) analyzing the food at a food truck for his TV show. He’s extremely tough on the truck owner, calling his food disgusting and tossing it into the trash, making the gathered audience gasp.
Woo-jin thinks that Sun-woo looks familiar, and as soon as he spots her watching, he calls her by name. She suddenly recognizes him as a sunbae from school, and Joo-hyuk gets twitchy when Sun-woo hugs Woo-jin familiarly. He says that he asks old college friends about her occasionally, and they banter back and forth until it’s time to resume filming.
When they find a place to eat, Joo-hyuk mentions that Woo-jin and Sun-woo seemed close. Woo-jin says they weren’t just close — Sun-woo was her first love, because he’s so handsome. Joo-hyuk grumbles that he’s not that handsome, but Woo-jin just keeps talking about how cool it is that he became a famous chef.
Joo-hyuk glares at Woo-jin so much at work the next day that Jong-hoo accuses him of being obsessed. He asks Jong-hoo what first love means for a woman, but Jong-hoo says it’s just first love and tells him to get it together. Internally, Joo-hyuk blames himself for changing the past so that he’s no longer Woo-jin’s first love.
He looks up Sun-woo online, but all the comments about how good-looking he is only make Joo-hyuk grumpier. He finds one calling Sun-woo pretentious and hits “Like,” hee.
Branch Manager Cha gets an exciting call, then runs out to tell Woo-jin that Sun-woo wants to take out a loan to open several more restaurants, and to move all his professional accounts to their bank. He specifically asked for Woo-jin to come do the inspection, which impresses everyone but Joo-hyuk, who slumps in his chair.
Woo-jin is told to take Joo-hyuk along, since he’s in charge of business loans. They arrive in time to watch Sun-woo at work, but Joo-hyuk rolls his eyes at having to wait for Sun-woo to acknowledge him. The chef starts flirting with Woo-jin right away, so when he shakes Joo-hyuk’s hand, Joo-hyuk tries to give him the manly grip of dominance, only to have his own hand crushed.
Sun-woo has six restaurants, and plans to open several more in Korea and Japan. He humble-brags about his popularity, saying that he doesn’t really care about things like fan clubs (though he’s keenly aware he has one, ha). He interrupts to ask Woo-jin personal questions every time Joo-hyuk tries to discuss business, and Joo-hyuk looks like he wants to kill Sun-woo with his brain when he mentions all the times he piggybacked a drunk Woo-jin home.
Walking home hand-in-hand, Woo-jin tells Joo-hyuk that Sun-woo has really changed from the shy, quiet guy he used to be. Joo-hyuk calls Sun-woo a show-off, saying that success doesn’t mean a person can’t still be humble. Woo-jin disagrees, but she’s not upset by his comments.
They discuss weekend plans, and Joo-hyuk’s eyes go wide when Woo-jin says she wants to hang out at his place. But he likes the idea, and takes extra care cleaning his apartment and stocking the fridge. They make kimbap and ramyun, and just as they’re sitting to eat, Woo-jin’s phone rings with a call from Sun-woo. He’s calling about business, but he monopolizes Woo-jin for a long time while Joo-hyuk waits dejectedly for her to hang up.
She eventually gets off the phone, but Joo-hyuk is upset that she told Sun-woo she’d call him back. She insists that it’s purely business, but he can’t let it go. Finally they agree not to fight about it, and they’re silent as they start eating.
But Joo-hyuk can’t stand it — he mumbles around a mouthful of kimbap, “Why did you smile while you were talking to him??” Woo-jin leaves angry, and Joo-hyuk grumbles that he probably shouldn’t have said that last thing. Ya think, doofus?
Sang-shik calls Joo-hyuk to visit him at the food truck now that he and Joo-eun are back from their honeymoon. He complains that it wasn’t much fun as Joo-eun’s morning sickness kicked in and she spent the whole trip throwing up. He whines that he was vomiting in sympathy, so it wasn’t so much a honeymoon as an eat-and-vomit trip. Laughing his butt off, Jong-hoo tells Sang-shik that if he thinks he feels bad for Joo-eun now, to just wait for the birth.
They notice that Joo-hyuk seems upset and guess that he and Woo-jin had a fight. He tells them about Sun-woo’s weekend calls, and his friends confirm that if he feels uneasy about Sun-woo, he’s probably right. But they also say he’s jealous and tell him to apologize to Woo-jin, because it’s not her fault men are attracted to her.
Sang-shik advises Joo-hyuk to apologize to Woo-jin… then asks Sun-woo to review his food cart on his show, hee. Joo-hyuk acts like he’s going to whup Sang-shik, which gets him teased for being “jealousy incarnate,” ha.
Woo-jin keeps giving Joo-hyuk the stink-eye at work on Monday, so he starts to follow her as she leaves the lobby, hoping to talk. But she runs into Team Leader Jang, so he chickens out and hides from them. Branch Manager Cha wants to have a team dinner after work to discuss something, but absolutely everyone has a “family event” to attend… until he says they’ll be going to Sun-woo’s restaurant to celebrate his signing on with the bank, and their commitments suddenly clear up.
Joo-hyuk is the only one who says he isn’t going even though it’s his loan deal. Woo-jin says they should go without Joo-hyuk, so they do, admiring the beautiful food as Sun-woo signs the contracts. The ladies are impressed and pose for pictures with the handsome chef, but the men begin to grumble, annoyed by his showboating.
Jong-hoo sends a text to Joo-hyuk, who’s gone to the movies, that he thinks Sun-woo has a crush on Woo-jin. After dinner, Sun-woo tells everyone to come to the restaurant any time they like, staring at Woo-jin as he says that they’re always welcome. Hwan teases that Sun-woo seems nicer than a mere sunbae, and Sun-woo openly admits that he likes Woo-jin as more than an old classmate.
Jong-hoo frantically texts Joo-hyuk again, telling him that the situation is escalating to emergency status. Joo-hyuk is already on the way — he runs in, grabs Woo-jin by the wrist, and tells Sun-woo, “The two of us are dating.” Sun-woo is clearly disappointed, but he recovers and says that he suspected so, and congratulates them.
As they walk together later, Woo-jin tells Joo-hyuk that he looked pretty sexy when he made his announcement. She takes his hand and offers to take him to eat, saying that Sun-woo’s food didn’t suit her tastes. They go to their old hangout for ddukbokki and tonkatsu, and Woo-jin writes on the wall, “Seo Woo-jin and Cha Joo-hyuk were here, September 2018.” Joo-hyuk adds the word “again” and draws a heart between their names, making her smile.
In the morning, Team Leader Jang mock complains when Woo-jin and Joo-hyuk arrive at work together. Manager Byun jokes that he’ll start meeting her before work and coming in with her, and Hwan insists he’s not the least bit jealous as Joo-hyuk high-fives everyone on his way to his desk. He stands up for Woo-jin later when a customer gets threatening, saying that he’s her boyfriend and nearly getting into a fight, ha.
Over time, Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin learn to fight without letting things get out of control, and Joo-hyuk even helps Woo-jin learn to drive. One night, Mom catches them smooching outside the house, reluctant to part for the night, and Joo-hyuk starts blabbering about the skincare products he got from her to cover for his embarrassment.
Mom stops him from leaving and invites him inside, and when he’s too nervous to eat, she assures him that she’s got no ulterior motive. The familiar taste of her food reminds him of the original timeline, causing him to accidentally call her “Mom,” but his now-enthusiastic appetite smooths over any awkwardness and soon Mom is doting on him.
He mentions how much he loves Mom’s kimchi, and after he leaves, Woo-jin gets smacked for sneaking kimchi to him without Mom’s knowledge. Woo-jin whines that there are circumstances Mom doesn’t know about, but Mom just chastises her for kissing in the street and risking getting a reputation. Woo-jin isn’t at all repentant and points out how Mom was fawning over Joo-hyuk earlier.
Woo-jin begins to think about marriage, but her hints to Joo-hyuk seem to fly right over his head. Later he brings her an account ledger and insists she prepare it for him, even though she grumps that she’s busy. But she opens it to find that it’s Joo-hyuk’s, and the deposit notes make up a letter to her:
You told me one day that what we’ve been through seemed like a long dream, and that today seemed like a miracle. At that time, I thought my miracle was you. Both in the past and present, you are my miracle and salvation, Woo-jin. If you give me your permission, I’d like to live for you again. The two of us met again after the long, long way around. My choice will be you even if I travel back in time a hundred times.
She looks at Joo-hyuk and finds him sending hand-hearts her way, and looks down to read the last line in the ledger: “I love you, Woo-jin. Will you marry me?”
Later in the hall, Woo-jin asks Joo-hyuk what kind of proposal this is supposed to be. He sulks adorably, saying that he just wants to go to sleep and wake up with her, and she admits that she’s really touched. She says she still wants the kind of proposal she’s dreamed of her whole life, and asks if he’s up for it. A little scared, Joo-hyuk asks what’s involved, which is how he soon finds himself strapped into a roller coaster, HAHA.
The poor guy is terrified, but when Woo-jin gives him the signal in the middle of the ride, he yells, “Woo-jin-ah, I love you! Will you marry me?” She screams back that she loves him, too, but he’s too sick to talk by the time the ride is over. Woo-jin gets him some water and thanks him for giving her her dream proposal while he tries valiantly not to barf on her shoes.
Finally she chirps that she’ll marry him, and Joo-hyuk forgets to feel sick. He smiles down at her, marveling, “Wow, I’m getting married to Seo Woo-jin… again!”
Three years later.
Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin almost sleep through their alarm, having been up all night again with their toddler and new infant. They realize at the same time and leap out of bed, wrestling to be the first to the shower. They get stuck in the doorway, and shoot annoyed glares at each other.
Aww, it gives me the warm fuzzies to see Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin right backwhere they belong — married and with their kids — even if it happened a few years later this time. I almost wish that last scene were the end of the show, because it was such a cute bookend to see them doing the exact same thing they were doing when we first saw them, hopefully with a much healthier relationship this time around. Although, considering how anxious they both looked, I won’t be surprised if the finale shows them butting heads again. But this time Joo-hyuk can find a way to turn their marriage around, knowing what he knows and having made the promises he’s made.
In fact, I’d very much like to see that, because even though all their time travel adventures made it impossible for Joo-hyuk to go back to the original timeline and set things right with that Woo-jin, it would make for some nice closure to the drama to have Joo-hyuk, being human and therefore fallible, end up in a similar situation but make better choices this time. Joo-hyuk has changed a lot, but he’s still very passive and tends to be reactive rather than proactive, so I can see him slipping, and needing to step up and fulfill his promise to be better to Woo-jin this time around.
But I’m happy with the timeline they’ve settled in, which does seem to have the best outcome for nearly everyone. This timeline has Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin together with their kids again, Jong-hoo back with his wife and twins, Sang-shik and Joo-eun married and with their baby, Mom with a sound mind and body, and everyone at the bank living their happiest lives. Some things were lost from the second timeline (like Hwan and Hyang-sook’s romance, and Manager Byun and Team Leader Jang’s growing regard for each other), but no timeline is perfect, and those things may still happen naturally. What’s important is that Joo-hyuk has learned that the grass is not always greener, and that even the worst mistakes can be repaired if you just make the effort.
What worries me, though, is that short scene showing someone else going through the toll booth in 2018. Apparently, somebody has a problem with this timeline, as good as it seems to have turned out for everyone. But whatever they did in the past doesn’t seem to have enacted any significant change… yet. I’m scared that Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin will be faced with an unexpected twist of events just as they think they’ve gotten their life back where it belongs, and it’s too late to use time travel to fix their problems again, now that three years have passed since the night of the twin moons. My biggest fear is that it’s Hye-won who used the tollbooth, and that she’s going to pop up again to threaten Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin’s marriage. But I also have faith that they’ve fought so hard to earn this life back that they’ll be able to face any unexpected threats as a united front this time around.