Romance is a Bonus Book: Episode 14
Having the chief editor on her side isn’t enough to keep our heroine at her job. But while Dan-yi’s days at Gyeoroo are over, Eun-ho is at her side, as always, to help her heal and move on. And Dan-yi may have left her job behind, but she took with her valuable allies who are also there to provide help along the way. But as everyone starts to move on in their lives, Dan-yi discovers the secret Eun-ho has been hiding from everyone, even her.
Eun-ho darts out of the classroom where he was giving a lecture as Hae-rin explains to him by phone what happened that morning that prompted Dan-yi to resign. The camera peels back to a shot of Dan-yi getting out of the elevator, as we return to earlier that morning. Dan-yi is determined to act like nothing happened the day before, but the rest of her coworkers can’t seem to do it.
Dan-yi tries to do her tasks like normal, but everyone seems reluctant to allow her to do anything for them. Finally, Ji-hong asks her to deliver a document to the foreign literature department, and once Dan-yi leaves, Ji-hong and Hae-rin admonish everyone for their behavior. But Yeong-ah can’t help but feel sorry, since she’s the one whose suggestion to transfer Dan-yi to her team started the whole mess, and Hoon and Ji-yul feel guilty for taking permanent jobs that Dan-yi was obviously more qualified for than them.
Even so, Hae-rin tells everyone to just act normal, but as she leaves the office, she finds Dan-yi still in the hallway, and she definitely heard the whole discussion. Hae-rin suggests that the two of them eat lunch together, but Jae-min arrives just then and reminds Hae-rin that she’s got a work lunch to attend. So, Dan-yi ends up eating ramen by herself for lunch.
In her office, Director Ko receives a call from one of their authors, who is upset to see that his books are still in stores even after he chose not to renew his contract with Gyeoroo. Director Ko storms out of the office and directs her rage at Song-yi, who was supposed to inform the sales team of the contract termination. After some hesitation, Song-yi passes the blame, and says that she told Dan-yi to send out the notice.
Dan-yi says that she never received the notice, and it’s clear to everyone in the room, even Director Ko, that Dan-yi is not at fault for this. But Director Ko chooses not to argue, and instead admonishes Song-yi for giving such an important task to a mere contract employee and not following up on it. As Director Ko departs, Dan-yi is left standing in silence with no one coming to back her up or comfort her.
And so we return to Hae-rin’s phone call to Eun-ho. Eun-ho asks where Dan-yi is now, and Hae-rin reports that she’s packing up her desk. In Jae-min’s office, Director Ko says that perhaps this is for the best, while Jae-min says that he hates being CEO at times like these.
Box in hand, Dan-yi says goodbye, first to Ji-hong, then a deep bow to Director Ko, and a wave to Hoon and Ji-yul. Hae-rin meets Dan-yi at the elevators and offers to carry her box of things to the bus stop. Dan-yi is grateful, but once they’re outside, Dan-yi tells Hae-rin to go get ready for her meeting instead.
Eun-ho arrives at Gyeoroo shortly after, and Hae-rin sends him running to the bus stop. When Dan-yi spots Eun-ho running to her, she tries to hide her tears. When he reaches her, Eun-ho just envelopes her in his arms and holds her.
After work, Ji-yul heads back to Hoon’s apartment to calculate her expenses. Hoon hopes that they can find a way to cohabitate in the tiny apartment, but Ji-yul isn’t interested in sharing and tells him to go to the jjimjilbang while she pays the rent on the apartment. Hoon leans in, hoping to seduce Ji-yul with his eyes, and even confesses that he is super attracted to her… but in the end, he’s back at the jjimjilbang (sorry, Hoon). And from a dark car nearby, Ji-yul’s mother watches. Her secretary asks if they should do anything, but Mom is confident that Ji-yul will come running home on her own soon.
At Eun-ho’s, he and Dan-yi read together in her bed. Dan-yi is contemplative, while Eun-ho brushes back Dan-yi’s hair. There’s a brief moment, like perhaps there’s a question hanging in the air, but then Eun-ho stumbles to his feet, blushing, and announces that he’s off to bed. Dan-yi throws the book over her head to hide her embarrassment, while Eun-ho gives a gentle punch to the wall in the hallway in frustration. I really hate it when my face turns red,” he says to himself. “I think I have a problem.” Haha.
The next morning, Dan-yi wakes up in a panic, afraid that she’s late, but then she recalls that she has no job to be late to anymore. She finds Eun-ho awake already, and he’s made a big breakfast for her. Smiling, Eun-ho asks her to pick one of three options. Number one: a boyfriend who shows his love with money. Eun-ho hands over his credit card and tells her she can buy whatever she wants.
Number two: a boyfriend who gets revenge on her behalf. Eun-ho declares that he will pull all of his books from Gyeoroo and send the company tailspinning for a month. And finally, number three: a boyfriend who stays with his girlfriend all day long until she feels better. When Dan-yi says that Eun-ho needs to go to work, Eun-ho grandstands that he’s just not going, but then pretty quickly admits that he’s already called in for the day anyway. With that, Dan-yi chooses option three, yay!
At the office, Ji-hong and Yeong-ah stare at the schedule board and Eun-ho’s day off status. They can’t help but rub it in for Jae-min that his chief editor seems pretty angry with the company, and then saunter away.
Jae-min retreats to his office, where he finds yet another button dropped by Director Ko. He finds her in her office, and he offers to sew the button back on for her. But as they inspect her shirt, it turns out that it’s the button at her collar that’s fallen off. Without missing a beat, Director Ko tells Jae-min to go ahead, since she understands this is an act of collegial kindness.
So Jae-min leans in and starts sewing, and he leans in, tilts his head, and generally looks very intimate as he tries to reattach this button. As he sews, Jae-min tells Director Ko that he’s grateful that she works there, because while everyone else is busy turning everything into a social gathering, she helps bring balance to the team. He tells her that he’s grateful for everything she’s done, even though he feels like the company stole her youth, making her sell books instead of enjoying her youthful beauty. Director Ko asks if he means that she’s no longer beautiful, and Jae-min stammers in protest. Finally, the button is attached, and Jae-min actually leans in to cut the string with his teeth before Director Ko tells him to go get a pair of scissors. Ha!
While the rest of the world is at work, Eun-ho and Dan-yi stay at home in their own cuddle bubble. They read side by side, tickle one another, watch movies and playfully kiss, and stick to each other in a back hug while they make ddeokbokki. By the end, they’re back to reading together, until Dan-yi falls asleep in Eun-ho’s arms. He cuddles in, and two nap together peacefully on the floor.
Meanwhile, Seo-joon is at the post office, where he stamps a package. The from address he attaches says it’s from Park Jeong-hun, and the to address is Gyeoroo’s novel manuscript submissions.
At Gyeoroo, Hae-rin notes that both Dan-yi and Eun-ho’s office chairs are empty. Seeing this, she’s pretty certain it confirms her suspicions about the two of them. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t upset her though, and she finds herself on the bus to Eun-ho’s neighborhood.
Seo-joon has returned home, where he is shredding everything from his murderboard in his locked room. Whatever he was hoping to accomplish there, it seems as though he’s given up. He takes the bag of shredded paper outside, where he finds Hae-rin lurking near the recycling bins. Hae-rin still feels guilty, so she offers to throw Seo-joon’s recycling away in her own neighborhood, even though the bins are right there. They struggle with the bag, until it rips open and bits of paper spill out on the ground.
Seo-joon has had enough, until Hae-rin brings up the pollack and the cuttlefish, and declares that the cuttlefish is Dan-yi. She gives Seo-joon a moment to take a guess at the pollack’s identity, and then Seo-joon curses Eun-ho. Next thing you know, the two of them are in Seo-joon’s apartment drinking wine (so much for Hae-rin’s declaration of sobriety). Hae-rin wails that she wanted to punish Eun-ho and Dan-yi, but she couldn’t because she liked both of them too much. They clink their glasses and cheers to their shared heartbreak.
The next morning, Seo-joon’s hangover headache is further irritated by Geum-bi taking large gulps from his food bowl. Seo-joon wonders if Hae-rin left, but she’s still there, awake and trying to assemble his shredded papers like jigsaw puzzles. Seo-joon is frustrated at first, but Hae-rin suggests hangover soup and he’s able to sweep up the paper without too much struggle. Hae-rin can’t recall which room is the bathroom, and as he directs her, she asks about the locked room at the end of the hall. Seo-joon gives his best serial killer smile, and asks if she thinks he’s hiding a dead body in there. Hae-rin hesitates, until Seo-joon’s expression breaks and turns goofy.
Dan-yi starts her day looking for a new job, when she gets an unexpected call from Director Ko. At first she answers the phone formally, but then leans into a more gruff, casual tone when he remembers that the director is no longer her supervisor.
Director Ko asks Dan-yi to meet her for lunch, and Dan-yi wears her flashiest outfit, complete with heels and dark sunglasses. The director can’t help but smirk at Dan-yi’s efforts, and teases that she was considering giving Dan-yi a lead on a job, but now she’s not so sure. Dan-yi drops the act and lowers her glasses. Director Ko tells her she knows someone at a small publishing company, and that she’ll give Dan-yi a referral. The director warns that the job will be tough, but Dan-yi says that she always works hard.
At home, Dan-yi and Eun-ho sit in her bed and she shares the news with him. The company got back to her right away, and she starts the next day. Eun-ho is hopeful that the experience will lead to a job at an even bigger company, but Dan-yi points out that Gyeoroo doesn’t like to hire people from other publishing houses. Eun-ho explains that they do so because they find that those hires have a hard time adjusting, but then he says that maybe he can get the company to reconsider the policy.
Dan-yi yawns, and at that, Eun-ho draws up his courage, and asks Dan-yi if he can sleep in her room tonight. As soon as he says it, Eun-ho immediately backs out and starts running for his room, but Dan-yi responds that he should go put on his pajamas then. Eun-ho considers, and then decides that he doesn’t really need pajamas, haha. He returns to the bed, and Dan-yi tells him to go turn off the lights. With a smile, he turns out the lights and shuts the door.
Dan-yi reports to her new job in the morning. The president and chief financial officer are a husband-wife duo, and they welcome Dan-yi warmly. They tell her she can work on anything that she’s interested in and direct her to her desk. A sound emits from the pile of blankets at the desk next to Dan-yi, as a frazzled employee emerges. She passes a note to Dan-yi, that tels Dan-yi she should run away as fast as she can from this hellhole. Uh oh.
At Gyeoroo, Ji-hong answers the phone call of an irate customer. The customer complains on and on about typos, but when they share the title of the book, it’s not even published by Gyeoroo. That doesn’t matter to the customer, who continues to insult Ji-hong (and as Ji-hong yells back) until they finally hang up.Ji-hong sighs that Dan-yi put up with these kind of calls all the time without complaint.
And in the kitchen, Ji-yul and Yeong-ah find themselves restocking everything themselves. Yeong-ah tells them all to adjust, but then admits that she misses Dan-yi the most.
Eun-ho is back at work, and Hae-rin slyly asks how Dan-yi is doing. Eun-ho says that she’s got a new job, though she’s exhausted when she comes home… Eun-ho trails off as he realizes his blunder, and Hae-rin wonders aloud, “Why did she go to the house after getting off work?” Eun-ho continues to play dumb, but the two smile at one another in understanding.
At her own job, Dan-yi grumbles to her coworker that she’s been asked to make posters for the company president’s son’s school election. The phone rings, and it’s an unpaid designer demanding payment after four months. The next angry call is from the print shop, who has also not been paid. Dan-yi’s coworker says that the company does eventually pay everyone, just not until things escalate to legal threats.
By the end of the day, Dan-yi drags herself home and throws herself on the floor in exhaustion. Eun-ho stops cooking for a moment to give her a comforting hug. Dan-yi tells him that the thought of coming home to him is what kept her going through the day, and after an effort or two, Eun-ho picks her up from the floor.
It’s finally the weekend, and Hoon heads back to his apartment, wondering if he’s disturbing Ji-yul. But Ji-yul is gone, and her note says that she’s working through the weekend. Hoon is impressed, even moreso as he notes how clean the apartment is and how thorough her efforts are to track her expenses. Hoon sees all of Ji-yul’s notes of encouragement to herself in her notebook, and he can’t help but add his own.
At Gyeoroo, Ji-yul opens up a new manuscript submission, and begins to read the Heroes manuscript Seo-joon mailed in earlier.
Dan-yi spends her weekend cleaning, and she heads up to the attic to straighten things up. While she organizes, she discovers the box of Author Kang’s handwritten manuscripts. She sits with the box and digs through its contents, unearthing diaries. She reads one, about Eun-ho visiting and learning how to drink with the author. Dan-yi smiles at how cute Eun-ho was. As she reads further, Author Kang mentions medication, and she wonders if he was ill. And a year later, she spots an entry, indicating that the author’s son had visited him.
At Gyeoroo, Ji-yul realizes what she’s found, and Hae-rin arrives just in time for her to deliver the news: Author Kang has resurfaced. Hae-rin is puzzled, but her expression changes as she reads through the manuscript herself.
Eun-ho returns home and when he doesn’t find Dan-yi anywhere downstairs, he climbs the stairs to the attic. There he sees Dan-yi, crying on the floor and surrounded by Author Kang’s writings. “You’re taking care of him, right? In Kapyong…” Dan-yi asks him.
In voiceover, Eun-ho laments that he always feared someone discovering what he had done. And yet, he think, “I think I might have wanted Dan-yi to find out everything. Even if the whole world turns their back on me, Dan-yi will stay by my side. She will hold my hand with love in her eyes.”
Dan-yi looks up at him from the floor, and Eun-ho nods gently in response to her question.
This is love. Eun-ho doesn’t demand to know what happened when Dan-yi resigns, he just hugs Dan-yi. He doesn’t try to take over her job search or take back her resignation, he just offers Dan-yi his company for the day. He doesn’t get angry or frustrated when Dan-yi drags herself in from a long day at her new job, he just makes her dinner and scoops her up in his arms. And when Dan-yi discovers the secret he’s been keeping about Author Kang, he knows that Dan-yi will stay by his side. They’re doing life right, and it was so wonderful to watch.
There’s honestly not enough room to highlight each sweet moment that happened in this episode, but even though the episode was book-ended (see what I did there?) by two very heartbreaking moments, I still walked away smiling. The show has done an excellent job of selling this couple, and the transition from one-sided love to gentle romance has been perfectly paced and delivered in a way to optimize the number of times that I saw “awww” in a single sitting.
But to now reflect on some of those heartbreaking moments, I don’t know if Song-yi’s actions in the office were inevitable, but they were certainly what many of the managers feared. It wasn’t just about whether someone like Dan-yi could adapt after so long away from work, but also about everyone else in the office and how they might react to working with someone so clearly overqualified for the job. And I mean, the good and true answer to that problem is, those people should get over it. But Song-yi passing the blame on the weakest target was certainly something that those aware of potential issues in the office were concerned with, and it didn’t even take a day before it was realized.
The show doesn’t go the easy route and just have the caring CEO change all of the policies and let Dan-yi stay, and I appreciate that. But I’m not sure that the message that the show wants to convey about this phenomenon is clearly articulated either. I mean, I think that it manages the overall message that society should not automatically look down on people who have taken a break from work and that everyone should get a fair shot. But while Dan-yi did lie and had to face consequences for that, ultimately her deception seems to have gotten her ahead. She had to resign, but she also gathered experience and supporters, and found a new (much more grueling) job by the end of it. It certainly forgives Dan-yi for her dishonesty, and hasn’t presented an alternative solution yet.
But let’s not forget that we still have the employee idea competition dangling out there is loose-thread territory. I’m looking forward to Dan-yi’s killer idea being revealed, and equally interested to see how everyone reacts to it.
I love that Ji-hong and Yeong-ah are on Dan-yi’s side from the start. The split feels very much along the lines of the founder’s vote over the volume of poetry. And if that’s the case, it’ll be Director Ko, not Jae-min, who switches sides and find a way to bend their rules in an effort to do good. If they can publish their first volume of poetry in company history, they can also hire back a truly great employee.
Director Ko’s help–is it actually help, or a little punishment? I could see how it could be perceived either way, but I think she meant to be helpful. Director Ko didn’t hide the fact that the job would be a challenge, and she didn’t have to reach out to help Dan-yi find a job at all. But this is Director Ko’s way. She adamantly plays by the rules, but understands how hard it is as a woman in the workforce as well.
That doesn’t diminish the fact that much of Director Ko’s bad behavior towards Dan-yi was all about her personal insecurities, but I think it’s important to remember that none of the characters are perfect here. Everyone is learning and growing, and doing so in a slow, realistic way. Ji-yul is still a total brat towards Hoon, but she’s learning to really apply herself to her job and live on her own. Small victories of growth for everyone, a little bit at a time.
And now that we’re in the final stretch, I’m finally interested in this long-standing Author Kang mystery! I thought I had it all figured out, but the new manuscript in the mix means there’s more here than a simple father-son falling out.
I can only assume that Seo-joon mugging at Hae-rin with his best serial killer face was for us, the audience, and any of us who thought maybe he really had a body stuffed in that room. I never suspected much from the secret room honestly, but I admit that I was surprised when that manuscript dropped from his printer. All of the clues seem to point to Seo-joon being Author Kang’s son, but what kind of relationship did they have if that’s the case? Was Author Kang stealing writing from Seo-joon and playing it off as his own? Or is this Author Kang’s work, and Seo-joon’s been holding on to it for the right moment, one that never came? I finally have so many questions, and I’m eager to see them sort out next week.
And more Eun-ho+Dan-yi cuddling next week. I am requesting now that Episode 16 consist of nothing but Eun-ho and Dan-yi reading together in bed.
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