Search Query: WWW: Episode 3
Our heroine Ta-mi settles in at her new workplace, but it’s not an easy road–in either work or love. Her colleagues at her old job are looking for any opportunity to get revenge, and she’s not getting a warm welcome from everyone at her new place of work. And in the midst of all this upheaval, Ta-mi has to decide whether it’s worth the risk to open her heart to her besotted admirer, as he so desperately wants.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
CEO Min shows the new task force their workspace, although he says they’re free to work wherever they like, and informs them that at Barro everyone uses English names rather than titles, and speaks jondaemal across the board. Bong-ki is amazed to find out that they won’t be forced to attend hwaeshik (team dinners) either.
Hyun doesn’t join them for dinner, and the other new teammates, Alex and Jenny, ask Ta-mi how she convinced Hyun to join the team–and escaped unscathed. At Ta-mi’s surprise, they explain that “Scarlett” has a criminal record for assault: she once beat a man so badly for groping her that he was hospitalized for twelve weeks. Yikes.
Meanwhile, Hyun is having a drink with Ga-kyung, asking if she needs to kill Ta-mi for her. Ga-kyung smiles affectionately and says Hyun hasn’t changed. She implies that she herself has, but says that at least to Hyun, she wants to be the same person as before.
Ga-kyung goes out to smoke, and Hyun follows her just in time to grab her out of the way of a passing bicycle, resulting in a tense and silent embrace. Hyun steps back and Ga-kyung asks, “Are you still afraid of me? Whether it’s now or in the past, you always save me.” Hyun says that now, even if she saves Ga-kyung, she won’t get hurt.
A flashback shows us young Ga-kyung and Hyun in high school uniforms, Hyun running to defend Ga-kyung when she sees her being attacked by a group of boys. In the present, the two women smile at each other–and Ta-mi witnesses the moment as she passes them in her car.
At his home, Mo-gun takes a break from his work to look up Assemblyman Joo’s case, watching a video clip of Ta-mi’s testimony. He repeatedly texts her, asking why she’s so busy when she’s unemployed, until she calls him in annoyance to announce that she has a job now, which he finds cute. He asks if she’s keeping any other fish (men) in her tank, and if so, how they measure up against him. She tells him he’s in 1207th place.
He wants to meet the next day, and she tells him to pick her up from work, but he suggests lunch instead, “To show you that we aren’t only about the nights.”
The next day, Hyun is already in a temper from the makjang drama she watched during her morning workout, and is still swearing at the villain of the piece as she drives to work, which easily turns to road rage. (I’m starting to get a little concerned about her anger management problems.)
As she walks into the office, she raises an arm to stretch, causing the three newbies to flinch. Ta-mi says that she’s not used to working with someone who has an assault record. Ha.
In their first strategy meeting, Ta-mi says that in order to quickly raise Barro’s profile, they should focus on the search engine. She suggests pointing out that a user can get to the same information on Barro’s portal in three clicks that takes seven on Unicon’s. Hyun counters that this isn’t because the search engine is better, but because they have less users and less advertisements.
Ta-mi replies that it doesn’t matter, since they’ll be telling the user only that it’s faster, and that’s true–it’s just marketing. Hyun disagrees, and says that this amounts to deceiving users. Ta-mi concedes, and asks the team to come up with a solid reason that Barro is the better search engine by the next meeting.
Upon finding out that her husband suddenly bought her parents a bunch of new appliances, Ga-kyung goes to meet him at his office. He cuts short his meeting and orders her tea, but she very formally thanks him for the appliances.
He asks why their interactions are so businesslike–aren’t they close enough to text or call? She points out that they’re not a normal couple. “Am I just another in-law to you?” he asks. She coolly says that she has no bad feelings towards him, but when she returns to her office, she dumps the herbal medicine her mother sent for him in the trash.
At Barro, Alex tells the others that Unicon already knows they’ve formed a task force, and is reorganizing their own team in response; the news spread unusually quickly. Ta-mi sees Hyun run off secretively after receiving a text and eyes her suspiciously.
As Ta-mi tries to exit the building, the revolving door stops and she pushes it, puzzled. A man’s hand covers hers, telling her the door stops if you touch it, and familiarly moves her hand and then holds her shoulders as she walks out.
She throws off his touch angrily, and he says in banmal that she’s as hot-tempered–and pretty–as ever. She doesn’t recognize him, even after he introduces himself. He claims they were close, but she says she doesn’t remember, “So get lost, and keep your hands off me.” Nicely done, Ta-mi.
Mo-gun has been watching this exchange, having arrived for their lunch date, and when she approaches him, he tells her he’s single. He asks her to let him know if she has a boyfriend, so he can research how to be the other man.
Ta-mi says she has no clue who that guy is, but he suddenly calls out her name from down the street and makes a heart at her. Mo-gun asks if he should swear at him–“I’m good at it”–but Ta-mi just grabs his wrist and starts walking.
As she continues to wonder who Handsy Dude is, Mo-gun puts his hands on her shoulders from behind, claiming that he’s “disinfecting.” He asks if that guy is her 3840th favorite fish. Ha.
He watches her intently over lunch, saying it’s his first time fanboying over someone he saw on TV since Girls’ Generation in high school. Eyes widening, she asks how old he is, and he says he’s 28. Shocked, she blurts out that she’s 38. “So?” he asks. She looks at him in disbelief–and then accusingly asks why he looks so old. Hahaha.
She’s suddenly conscious that people in the industry might see them, and he asks why she cares so much what others think. Ta-mi starts to explain, then simply tells him what she came here to say: age aside, she doesn’t want to see him again. He calmly eats his food, but when they part, he asks her why she’s rejecting him.
She says she’ll be too busy with her new job in the near future to play around with him. He takes this to mean that she’s not rejecting him specifically, but she contradicts him, and says that while their night together might be a good memory for him, to her it’s a pathetic episode in her life. How could she like the one person who shares that disappointing memory with her?
She tells him to think of it as a mistake, but he refuses, so she’s a little more honest: she doesn’t want to start a relationship this way. He replies that it doesn’t matter. He liked all of it–their conversation, her listening to his music, her expression when she shared her secret–and that’s why he wanted to be with her. “Don’t turn me into a one-night stand. We can spend the day together too, like today.”
Mo-gun and Ga-kyung arrive at their meeting early, and she asks him probingly about Ta-mi; we see in flashback that she saw them together outside Ta-mi’s place the other night. Ga-kyung files away the information that he already knows about her new job.
The next day, Ta-mi suggests advertising Barro comparatively against Unicon. Hyun counters that Unicon might sue them and/or make an ad of their own, but Ta-mi points out that any type of marketing will benefit the second ranked company more. The team suggests using hot young model Han Min-kyu. Hyun is still opposed, but Ta-mi says they’re going ahead with it–she’s the one who’s going to take responsibility, so she gets to decide.
Ta-mi says the copy will be “Barro is instant [baro],” and announces that the ad must go live in two weeks. The team finds this rushed, especially as they still have no solid reasons that Barro is better than Unicon–until Hyun speaks up, saying she’s found one.
On the day of Barro’s ad shoot, Ga-kyung’s secretary tells her that model Han Min-kyu is waiting outside her office, but Ga-kyung refuses to see him. Meanwhile, Ta-mi’s team slowly realize he’s stood them up; he’s signed a contract with Unicon instead and Barro can’t even hold him to anything, since they were to sign with him today. Since the staff is already set to film, Ta-mi tells them to go ahead without Han Min-kyu’s scenes.
She pulls Hyun aside to ask her if she leaked information to Unicon, even by accident, since she’s close to Ga-kyung. Hyun retorts that it would be more reasonable to suspect Ta-mi of being a spy, since she just left the company. This is Ta-mi’s fault for trying to shoot the ad within two weeks, Hyun says, and tells her to go take responsibility for her mistake.
Mo-gun texts Ta-mi to ask if they can meet, but she doesn’t respond. He waits outside the building for three hours, and is about to leave when she finally arrives back at Barro. When he asks her why she didn’t reply, saying that he waited because it’s his day off, she says she had neither the luxury nor the intention to reply to him. He promises to come back at a better time, but she says that she hopes there won’t be a next time.
Ta-mi says that she’s past the age where she jumps into things she can already see will end; it’s better to give up before you start, because that doesn’t cost anything. “Passion isn’t endless, and at this point it’s not fueled by love, but by survival,” she tells him.
He says that his actions today must seem pathetic to her, then, but she counters that she’s jealous that his passion is still motivated by love. She gently thanks him for liking her, and says goodbye. He jokes that now he’s really become a one-night stand, but he sincerely wishes her well too. She watches him walk away with tears in her eyes.
Time passes as the team works day and night on their ad campaign. Launch day arrives and they nervously wait for it to go live. The ad’s main thrust is that bank opening hours are more quickly found on Barro, showing a hammer smashing a phone with Unicon on its screen.
Almost immediately “Barro” becomes the top searched word on Unicon’s engine. Unicon’s CEO wants to sue Barro, or at least come up with an ad in response, but Ga-kyung advises waiting for Barro to make a mistake before acting.
Meanwhile, Ta-mi is satisfied from her spying–er, people-watching–that Barro is becoming increasingly popular. She pauses at the arcade where she first met Mo-gun. That evening, unable to focus on work, she rereads the six texts she has from him. She reproaches herself, but still can’t concentrate, and eventually falls asleep at her desk.
The team wakes her with the exciting news that their market share has increased by 2.3 percent (and Unicon’s has dropped by 1.2). Ta-mi asks Hyun if she’s still opposed to her, and Hyun responds that she is and always will be opposed to all of Ta-mi’s ideas, even if they’re reasonable, because Ta-mi has the tendency to go too far, and needs someone to hold her down.
Alone later, Ta-mi is reminded of her own similar words to Ga-kyung while she was at Unicon, and wonders, “Am I the villain now?” Her friend from Unicon’s gaming department finds her at what used to be their common hideout, and teases that she shouldn’t come here anymore. They reminisce about when they first found this little island in the middle of the city where there’s no cell signal or wifi, the good old days when they weren’t responsible for anything.
Ta-mi asks him about the atmosphere over there, and he jokes that they all want to kill her. But what’s weird, he says, is that they suddenly want him to replace the RPG music director, Mo-gun, without giving him a reason.
Ta-mi angrily confronts Ga-kyung, saying she let it go when Unicon stole Han Min-kyu from them, but this is too much–how could they cut off the livelihood of a person for no reason? Ga-kyung initially denies it, but then tells Ta-mi that she has no intention of engaging in fair play with her: “Just like you, I can do anything.”
Ta-mi asks what she can do to reverse Ga-kyung’s decision about Mo-gun. Ga-kyung asks if she’s willing to work for Unicon from inside Barro. “Are you crazy?” replies Ta-mi.
Ta-mi contacts Mo-gun, who’s happy to see her, saying that bad things and good things are happening at the same time. She reveals that he got fired because of her, and apologizes. She promises to use all her connections to help him quickly find a new job.
Mo-gun asks her, if she’s really sorry, whether she’ll do as he says. Ta-mi agrees, and he tells her to answer his calls and texts, to meet him when he asks, to eat and drink with him. He doesn’t plan on giving up. “This is how you are at 28. My passion is limitless, and it’s fueled by…me.”
There are times when I feel like Mo-gun goes a little too far in trying to woo Ta-mi and it feels a little like he’s invading her space, but I really liked that last line of dialogue. Because he’s not actually forcing her to spend time with him–he’s asking her to take a chance on her own feelings, feelings she’s already revealed to him in lots of little ways, and outright admitted that she’s afraid to take a risk on. And let’s be real, I can totally understand where she’s coming from. It does get much harder to take chances on people the older you get, because life gives you the hard lessons on how few of them you can actually trust. This on top of the fact that Ta-mi is already dealing with a period of seismic change in her professional and even personal life (she doesn’t seem to have friends outside of work, as we saw with Gaming Manager). I’m sure that after the kind of day she’d just had, finding out that Mo-gun waited three hours for her because “I’m the CEO” only added to her feeling that they’re living in different realities.
But she clearly can’t forget about about him, and I’m looking forward to where their relationship goes from here. I’m a little mystified as to why he’s so intensely fixated on her after only one night and one lunch, but it’s adorable that he’s so obvious about his feelings, and yet so willing to start with whatever attention she’s willing to spare him–to be her 1207th fish. I do find it a bit distracting how very dreamy the cinematography suddenly becomes in their scenes together; it’s clearly a deliberate choice, but it can feel at odds with the fresh, lively and dynamic feel of the rest of the directing.
The workplace stuff is mostly positive for me, although I was rolling my eyes at the notion that no one has ever thought to use that “baro” pun for ad copy before. What I love is that the work storylines are used in the service of character- and relationship-building, and not in a way that feels forced or heavy-handed–this is how we’re finding out who these people are, which is very true to life. Most people don’t give you a two-minute exposition about themselves when you first meet them. So Ta-mi reveals herself to us in an organic and real way which I’m really enjoying.
I didn’t realize how much I had noticed Ta-mi’s loneliness until I wrote in the above paragraph how few friends she has, but it’s true, and it’s in the unremarked-upon details: she has no one around to lean on when she faces such a huge betrayal at work, neither family nor friend. Ta-mi and Ga-kyung were very close in the past, but that’s history; she doesn’t see Gaming Manager much anymore, and she keeps a professional distance from Bong-ki and Ah-ra, even though she’s clearly fond of them. And this aloneness sets up the fact that when she met Mo-gun and felt an instant connection, she made the uncharacteristic decision to spend the night with him–and now is stepping back from that momentary vulnerability, because this cautious, guarded woman is who she’s become over the years.
My absolute favorite thing about this show, however, is the dynamic between Ta-mi and Hyun. I am tickled that these two have had the meet-cute, instant antagonism, and subsequent enjoyable bickering that would usually establish the main couple of a rom-com, clearly broadcasting to us that this is the main relationship of the drama. I love the way that they challenge each other, fight with each other, and push each other to be better. Both of them are highly capable and successful in their own way, and they both have a history of getting what they want, so it’s extremely entertaining to watch them keeping each other in check. Hyun is right that Ta-mi, despite her deceptively calm manner, has the tendency to go off the deep end occasionally and take the kind of risks that she told Mo-gun she’s too old for. Hyun recognizes, and we can see, that Ta-mi isn’t risk-averse–she just reserves all of her risk-taking for her career and has none left over for her personal life. Whereas Hyun likes to play it safe at work and apparently has no boundaries when it comes to people. Let’s hope she gets some therapy for her tendency towards violence.
As much as Hyun’s angry outbursts make me uncomfortable, though, I do have to give the show props for giving her the kind of unlikeable qualities that are normally reserved for male characters; she’s the antagonist to our heroine, at least for now, but she hasn’t been given the typical characteristics of the vicious and catty second female lead that Lee Da-hee has played so many times before. Hyun is so prickly, smart, interesting and funny. I’m also intrigued by her relationship with her “sunbae” Ga-kyung. What was that embrace about? That felt warmer than just friendship, especially given that it was lit with the Dreamy Lens Flares of Love. I’m wondering if there’s some unspoken history there that may complicate things even more down the line as Barro and Unicon duke it out (and perhaps explain Ga-kyung’s distant relationship with her husband). Regardless, I’m here for these women, their friendships, their vendettas, their awesome pantsuits and weird hats, and their complete dominance of the tech industry–which may be fantastical in today’s world, but it’s exactly the type of fantasy I want to see.
- Premier Watch: Perfume, Investigation Couple 2, Search Query: WWW
- Jang Ki-yong ruffles Im Soo-jung’s feathers in tvN’s Search Query: WWW
- Pondering the meaning of love, marriage, and work with tvN’s Search Query: WWW
- Im Soo-jung, Jang Ki-yong, Lee Da-hee, Jeon Hye-jin join tvN romance drama
- Jang Ki-yong up for tvN fantasy noona romance opposite Im Soo-jung