The Third Charm: Episode 3
There’s only so much you can say when you run into the one person who broke your heart into pieces. Joon-young’s seven years’ worth of hurt is on the cusp of boiling over, while Young-jae is back doing what she does best, confusing the heck out of him. She’s definitely hiding something behind her smiles, and unbeknownst to Joon-young, it could very well be seven years’ worth of her own pain.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
New Year’s 2013. After Joon-young’s team arrests the drug dealer Trench Coat, they have all the club-goers pile into buses to the police station. Young-jae supports her nearly hysteric girlfriend Joo-ran as everyone is forced to provide a urine sample.
Meanwhile, Joon-young and his partner are in the interrogation room with Joo-ran’s client Steve. The manager tries to lie their way out of the situation, but Steve is so hopped up that he almost confesses. Joon-young isn’t paying attention though; he asks his partner if the rest of the club-goers were released. His face falls when he learns that most of them already were.
Joon-young leaves the interrogation room, his face somewhat expectant, and freezes at the sound of his name.
“Ohn Joon-young, right?” Young-jae says chirpily, approaching him. “I almost didn’t recognize you.” She goes on about his changed appearance, even playfully shoving him as if nothing happened. She says it’s nice to see him again, and after keeping silent this whole time, he dryly responds, “It’s nice to see me?”
Young-jae’s smile falls and they stare at each other for a beat before the paparazzi cut in to snap photos of Steve. As Steve avoids the cameras, Joo-ran clings onto Young-jae and they all scramble out of the station. Young-jae turns to take one last look at Joon-young, but he doesn’t face her.
That night, Joon-young can’t focus at the station, and Young-jae has trouble sleeping. The next day, however, it’s back to work for Young-jae and Joo-ran. They work in a pretty high-end hair salon, where they also help students learn the ropes. After a busy day, Joo-ran asks Young-jae if she has any other plans.
Joo-ran drags her to a rather colorful fortune-teller, eager for some dating advice. The fortune-teller can see that Joo-ran has gone through her fair share of bad boys, and she’s gotten hurt every time. The fortune-teller then turns to Young-jae, saying she has a very good aura. So good that she’ll not only have one man in her future, but two. (Gee, thanks for the reminder of a love triangle, Show.)
As for Joo-ran, the fortune-teller suggests she stop coming to appointments like this and join a club to find a man, ha. The girls leave the fortune-teller, Joo-ran feeling scammed out of her money.
Young-jae doesn’t understand why Joo-ran is trying so hard, especially when dating is so tiring. That may be so, but since Joo-ran is well into her thirties, she’s dead-set on finding herself a husband so she can have a pretty daughter that resembles her.
She tells Young-jae to look out for her two mystery men and to choose wisely, but Young-jae couldn’t care less; she wants to focus on work for now.
Ri-won is all grown up and working at a bar, where the boss is none other than Sang-hyun. It looks like Sang-hyun is as charismatic as ever, flirting with some foreign female customers and making Ri-won scowl. He’s surprised when Joon-young shuffles in, looking like he really needs a drink.
Sang-hyun figures his friend’s long face has to do with his one-day romance. After learning of their reunion, he tells Joon-young to forget about it. After all, it was Young-jae’s rejection that prompted Joon-young to drop out of college and join the police force, which he still finds ironic.
Joon-young grumbles that he’s not desperate enough to contact Young-jae again, but his face says otherwise.
At the subway station, Young-jae witnesses two women bumping into a man in a wheelchair without apologizing. She makes sure the man is okay and then confronts the women for acting so rude. One lady blames the man’s chair for scuffing her designer purse (cue severe eye-rolling), infuriating Young-jae further. She grabs the lady’s purse, accidentally breaking the strap.
The next thing we know, they’re at the police station, Young-jae sporting a ripped sleeve. She tries to defend the wheelchaired man’s hurt feelings, while Purse Lady just accuses her of accident fraud. To make things worse, it turns out Purse Lady’s boyfriend is an officer at that station. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, there’s only one thing Young-jae can do.
After getting a surprise call from Young-jae, Joon-young finds her at the station still looking upset and a little embarrassed. He’s able to get her out of there and as they settle into a pojangmacha, she rants about the unfairness of the system. Joon-young crossly states that she hasn’t changed one bit, always butting into others’ business.
She says that the people back at the station are the reason why police have a negative reputation. At that, Joon-young stands to take off, but Young-jae insists that he let her repay him with drinks. She’s not leaving until he accepts, so he pours an entire bottle of soju into his glass and downs it. Young-jae laughs, impressed with how grown-up he turned out. Again, he’s hurt by her carefree attitude, asking if she’s been fine this whole time.
Four soju bottles later, Joon-young is so drunk that he finally gets everything off his chest. He slurs that back then, he had so much hesitation over calling her or visiting her and for seven years, she never called once. Now, as if nothing happened, she’s calling him and drinking with him? “What am I to you?” he demands.
She dodges his question and compliments how nice he looks without his glasses. Assuming she’d been ashamed of his appearance, he asks if she dumped him because he had glasses and braces. She laughs and shakes her head ‘no,’ assuring him that their separation wasn’t his fault.
The reason she dumped him was… Just because. She says it couldn’t be helped and leaves it at that. It’s not enough for Joon-young; he reveals that she’s the reason why he became a policer officer and why he can’t trust women. As he orders another drink, Young-jae watches him sadly.
The two walk towards a convenience store, Young-jae watching Joon-young stagger in front of her. “I wasn’t completely fine either,” she thinks. “I thought about you sometimes too.”
She runs into the convenience store to grab him a drink and returns to find him passed out cold. With his phone locked and her having no idea where he lives, she decides to just bring him back to her apartment.
The next morning, Joon-young wakes up on the couch of a room he doesn’t recognize. He scrambles into a sitting position when he realizes he’s not alone. Soo-jae is sitting across from him, sipping coffee and wondering what he’s doing here.
Something’s changed in Soo-jae. He urges Joon-young to drink his special coffee, speaking in an almost poetic manner. He then tosses Joon-young the notes he’d been writing, which Joon-young realizes is a horrific description of a murder.
Soo-jae explains that he’s writing a crime thriller based on the serial killer case that happened seven years ago. The day of that case changed his and Young-jae’s lives forever. Joon-young’s ears perk up at the mention that he knows Young-jae. Before he can ask how, he realizes he’s late for work and jumps up to leave.
Joon-young’s partner picks him up and they drive over to a suspect’s home. The suspect, however, flees his apartment and Joon-young gives chase. He’s clutching his stomach the entire time (making me feel nauseous) and finally pukes when he’s strained too far. Thankfully, his partner does catch the suspect.
At home, Ri-won brings up the fact that Joon-young spent the night out. His parents’ look up at him, hopeful that he may finally be dating. Dad gives Mom the side-eye, though, and warns Joon-young not to date mean educators, lol.
Joon-young ignores his family and their curiosity and escapes to his room, where he ponders his drunken conversation with Young-jae. He’s hung up on the last thing she said to him, that their separation couldn’t be helped.
Young-jae is sitting in her salon when one of her students asks to leave early to tend to her sick mother. She lets the student go, making Joo-ran point out that it was most likely a lie. Still, Young-jae thinks that the student wouldn’t have made up the excuse if she didn’t have a legitimate reason.
“All day, it felt like I was walking through dark clouds,” Young-jae narrates. “All day, my memories from seven years ago followed me.” We return to seven years ago, only now, we’re in Young-jae’s perspective. As we see her walk away from Joon-young, she narrates that after her grandmother passed away, her brother was all she had. To her, he was her brother, mother, father and grandmother all in one.
Twenty-year-old Young-jae later got a phone call from Soo-jae’s girlfriend Jung-eun and her expression changed to one of dread. She raced down to the hospital, finding a crying Jung-eun waiting outside the emergency operating room.
Young-jae continues to narrate that Soo-jae was in surgery because he’d fallen off the fourth floor and damaged his nerve cells. The news was so horrible that Young-jae didn’t want to believe any of it. She’d stayed in the halls of the hospital, silently crying, as her phone continued going off with Joon-young’s number.
In the present, Joon-young is staring at the hand drip coffee business card he’d gotten from Soo-jae that morning. Soo-jae’s comment about the serial killer case starts to get to Joon-young, so he sets out to find this coffee shop.
He eventually finds this shop, though it turns out that the business is actually done out of a food truck. He then hears Soo-jae call out and turns around… To see Soo-jae sitting in a wheelchair.
Back in Young-jae’s memories, she had to sit in shock as the doctor explained that Soo-jae had paralysis in his lower body. She walked down the long hallway, wishing it were longer so she didn’t have to deliver the awful news.
But it was too late; Soo-jae had already woken up and was panicking about the lack of feeling in his legs. All Young-jae could do was hold him as he writhed in agony on the floor.
Young-jae came home to see Joon-young waiting for her, and that’s when she blew up at him. When Joon-young left, we see that she’d sat down on the roof, her whole world crashing down as it began to rain. Her narration concludes that that day, she pitied herself for the first time, on top of pitying her brother.
Having just heard this entire story from Soo-jae, Joon-young is speechless. He slowly walks away, Young-jae’s story finally falling into place with his own memories.
He breaks into a run as he narrates that on April 22, 2006, the whole country was fixated on news of a serial killer and he was throwing a fit like a child. All the while, Young-jae and Soo-jae had lost everything.
He runs all the way to Young-jae’s hair salon, arriving out of breath and covered in sweat. Young-jae is surprised to see him, especially when his first words are that he’s sorry. He looks at her with such sad eyes and apologizes for not knowing anything back then.
At first, Young-jae seems too overwhelmed to respond, her eyes filling with tears. Then she approaches him with a small smile and asks where he got his hair done. She messes with his bangs while Joon-young continues to look at her and narrate, “Young-jae said it wasn’t my fault, but I feel like it was all my fault. I wish it was all my fault.”
He thinks that she looks so pretty as she tries to hold back tears—so much that his heart feels like it’s going to explode. So he closes the gap between them and kisses her, a tear streaming down his face. They separate for a brief moment before going in for another deep kiss.
Okay, I had some issues with this episode, as well as the last, but the way those two looked at each other at the end kind of made up for it. Kind of. The actors’ chemistry hasn’t blown me away or anything, but it’s definitely getting there. I’m starting to root for them wholeheartedly. I’m a sucker for puppy eyes, okay? What am I supposed to do when they both have them?
I still think things are moving a tad too fast because this episode honestly felt like it belonged somewhere in the middle of the series. I’m nervous because if this were any other rom-com, we would’ve breezed through more than half the plot. So I’m hoping that this isn’t the average rom-com and that it has a lot more in store for us. And I’m talking about The Cute. I’ve been pretty bummed since their breakup, so I expect heaping loads of The Cute to make up for it. In retrospect, the first three episodes now feel like pure setup, and this revelation with Young-jae’s past is our real starting point.
Poor, poor Soo-jae. I should’ve known whatever was wrong with Young-jae had to do with him. I remember a shot in the first or second episode focusing on his work boots, and I had wondered why it felt so eerie. When we saw those boots again in Young-jae’s rainy flashback, it was such a sucker punch to the heart. Then another thought hit me: What if Soo-jae’s girlfriend was another reason as to why Young-jae was so harsh in her and Joon-young’s breakup? We haven’t seen her in the 2013 timeline and I don’t recall seeing her in any of the show’s promos, so is it possible that she left sometime after Soo-jae’s accident? If that’s what really happened, I could see Young-jae losing faith in anyone else other than her brother and herself.
Of course, all of Joon-young’s resentment completely dissipated after he heard Young-jae’s side of the story. He’s been a good person from day one (which is his weakness as well as his strongest asset), and he only proved that by realizing and fully accepting that Young-jae’s pain had been stronger these past seven years. Her brother had gotten hurt, leaving permanent damage, and she didn’t have time to grieve. She had to grow up right then and there to become the head of the household and care for Soo-jae physically and emotionally. As sad as I am for Young-jae and Soo-jae, I am glad that they seem to be in a much better place now. And I think Young-jae deserves a little happiness in her life, which I’m sure Joon-young is more than willing to provide.