People with Flaws: Episodes 19-20
My main takeaway from this episode is simple: Everyone needs a lot of therapy. They’re all suffering from some sort of trauma that haunts them and causes them to make unhealthy choices. Thankfully, People with Flaws portrays mental and emotional issues not as deviant problems but as something to be unashamedly faced and dealt with, which is a wonderfully healthy attitude.
Seo-yeon reveals her big secret to Mi-kyung — when Kang-woo kissed her, she didn’t feel anything. She admits that she feels fluttery when she thinks about him, and she yelps in indignation when Mi-kyung tries to kiss her (“I was wondering if you’re more like Won-seok…”). Mi-kyung concludes that Kang-woo must be a really bad kisser, ha, but Seo-yeon points out that she’s not experienced, either.
At Won-seok’s bar, the student who’s been pursuing Won-seok (who seems to have no name, so I’m going to call him Jung-shik after the actor) shows up looking like he’s up to something. He’s asked Ho-dol to meet him there, and when Ho-dol shows up, he openly flirts with him where Won-seok can see.
Joo-hee gets a call from her sister, who took all their money and ran off with her boyfriend. Her sister has the gall to ask Joo-hee for money, so Joo-hee screams that they’re not sisters anymore and hangs up. She spots Jang-mi’s bag and remembers that it was full of cash before, and for a moment she looks tempted.
Downstairs, Joo-hee turns off the bathroom light without knowing that Seo-joon is in there. He comes out yelling, so Joo-hee says that she’s thinking of telling Seo-yeon about how scared he is of the dark. Seo-joon tells her angrily that she’s not a member of the family, she’s just a stranger who has no right to get involved.
Mi-kyung takes Seo-yeon to Won-seok’s bar, intending to find her some no-strings kisses and see if she reacts. Seo-yeon threatens Mi-kyung not to tell Won-seok her crazy idea, and instead she decides to take her own action. Seo-yeon shows up at Kang-woo’s house and unceremoniously smooches him, nearly causing the poor boy’s head to explode.
She wants to try again, this time giving Kang-woo some warning. He’s not opposed to the idea, so after making sure she’s not drunk and reminding Seo-yeon that she started this, Kang-woo gives her a good, long kiss. When he ends the kiss, he looks pretty satisfied, but Seo-yeon says thoughtfully, “I think… I’m going to marry Mi-kyung.” PWAHAHA.
Hyun-soo finds Kang-woo curled up in his misery ball again, pouting that he nearly passed out when he kissed Seo-yeon, while she didn’t react. Hyun-soo advises him to date around and not pin all his emotions on one woman, but Kang-woo snaps that it’s Seo-yeon for him, and that’s that. He moans that Seo-yeon said she’d marry Mi-kyung, which sends Hyun-soo rushing to Mi-kyung’s place.
Haha, he’s appalled at the mess her apartment is in, but at Mi-kyung’s glare, Hyun-soo switches to complimenting her on things like saving water by not doing the dishes. She tells him to get to the point, so he kneels and proposes (ring and all!), but Mi-kyung kicks him out and he ends up in his own misery ball next to Kang-woo.
Chairwoman Han unexpectedly visits Kang-woo at work to tell him that she heard he’s abusing his authority by making Seo-yeon his servant, so she’s decided to give the position of chief director to Min-hyuk. Kang-woo accuses Min-hyuk of having an ulterior motive for taking the job, but Min-hyuk fires back that Kang-woo also chose the job with an ulterior motive.
Mi-kyung hears the news and tells Seo-yeon that Kang-woo is being fired, so Seo-yeon goes to see him in his office. She says that now he can focus on his designing and even offers up her handsome brothers as models, and says that she’ll tell everyone who sees his clothes that her friend made them.
Kang-woo wilts at the word “friend.” He tells Seo-yeon that what he feels for her is much stronger than that, and he asks her to please like him back.
Meanwhile, Jang-mi’s mother has hired someone to find her daughter after she left home and disappeared. Seo-yeon catches Jang-mi about to go into her apartment across the street, and Jang-mi tells her what she knows about Seo-joon’s phobia to distract her.
Jung-shik corners Ho-dol on campus and says that he likes him. He asks Ho-dol if he wants to date, and when Ho-dol shyly accepts, Jung-shik starts to laugh and his friends come out of hiding to mock Ho-dol, having recorded the whole conversation just to humiliate him.
Later that day, Won-seok putters around making himself late to work when Ho-dol doesn’t show up for his regular tutoring session with Seo-joon and Joo-hee. Seo-joon tells Won-seok that Ho-dol canceled, saying he has other plans, but Won-seok is suspicious after the way Jung-shik seemed to be baiting him.
Seo-yeon confronts Seo-joon about his phobia, and when he refuses to discuss it, she shoves him into the bathroom and turns the lights off. She holds the door closed as his screams get louder and louder, then suddenly he goes quiet. Seo-yeon turns on the lights and finds Seo-joon curled up in a ball on the floor, and she hugs him and apologizes.
She calls a family meeting, and they decide that Seo-joon needs to go back to therapy. Angry, Seo-joon storms outside, where he runs into Joo-hee (who is, strangely, wiping off some lipstick she was wearing). Seo-joon assumes she told Seo-yeon his secret and yells at her, confusing her.
Inside, Seo-yeon asks Won-jae and Won-seok if she wasn’t at home for some reason on the night their parents died. They both look very nervous, but Seo-yeon tells them never mind. She thinks about Kang-woo’s claim that she said she wanted to talk to him that night, and wonders what it was she wanted to say.
Joo-hee finds out that it was Jang-mi who told Seo-yeon about Seo-joon, and she admits to Seo-yeon that she also knew. Seo-yeon lets her off the hook for not saying anything, aware that Seo-joon would have stopped her. Joo-hee asks why Seo-joon is so scared, so Seo-yeon tells her the truth as she knows it — the night their parents died, they’d all rushed to the hospital, forgetting that little Seo-joon was asleep.
He’d woken up and had been left alone in the dark all night, crying for his mother, who never came home. Joo-hee starts to sob, and Seo-yeon hugs her, realizing that Joo-hee also knows what it’s like to lose family. She tells Joo-hee that it takes time, but it will get better.
Won-jae and Won-seok wonder if they should tell Seo-yeon the truth about the night their parents died. Won-seok is afraid of her reaction when she finds out what really happened, but Won-jae says that it might be worse if they want until she remembers on her own.
Won-jae takes a call from Kang-hee asking him to work for her tonight. Won-seok assumes he’s using another woman for her money and tells him to stop, but Won-jae snaps that it’s not like that, slams a picture of a mountain face-first onto his desk (that was weird), and leaves.
She only wants Won-jae to drive her to a business dinner, and on the way Kang-hee tells Won-jae that these dinners are intended by her business rivals to intimidate her by getting her drunk. Afterward, Kang-hee is obviously intoxicated but relatively in control of herself.
Won-seok asks why she had him drive her instead of a company driver, and she says they have to report to their bosses and she doesn’t want her family to know. He asks why she goes to these dinners, and she says it’s so her father doesn’t have to. Awww. She says that her father is happiest when he’s painting, but when Min-hyuk’s father refused to work for the company, he was forced to do it.
Smiling, Won-seok says that Kang-hee is more warm-hearted than she looks, and he jokes that he’s hitting on her. He asks if she’s falling for it, and she flusters him by saying that it depends, and that he’s also more warm-hearted than she thought.
In the morning, Min-hyuk is introduced as the school’s new chief director. The employees suddenly act very stiff around him, including Seo-yeon, so he follows her to her office to ask if she wanted Kang-woo to stay in a position he’s not suited for because she puts her own greed above her students. Seo-yeon just says coolly that his new position has already changed him.
Kang-woo has thrown his diet out the window — he sits in Hyun-soo’s office, stuffing his face with jjajangmyun (wearing a white sweater, eek!). Hyun-soo is horrified when Kang-woo spills food on his pants and just ignores it, then Kang-woo suddenly runs for his life when he realizes that Seo-yeon is about to get off work. Hyun-soo calls Mi-kyung, who just screams “DON’T CALL ME!!” at him and hangs up, lol.
Seo-yeon apologizes to Min-hyuk for being rude, and says that he’ll be good at the job of chief director. Min-hyuk also apologizes, admitting that he took the job because he wanted to get Kang-woo away from her. He confesses that he likes Seo-yeon, and we don’t hear her answer, but the next thing we see she’s knocking on Kang-woo’s front door.
She calls him when he doesn’t answer, and it turns out that he’s at her house. She hurries home and finds Kang-woo lurking at her gate. When she sees him, she thinks about Min-hyuk’s confession, and how she’d blurted out without thinking, “I… I like Kang-woo.” Eeee, she admitted it!
She asks Kang-woo if he’ll go on a date with her, and his eyes almost pop out of his head. Seo-yeon says that things between them have been confusing so she wants to just go on a date like normal people. We see that Kang-woo had been drawing a little picture of Mr. Potato on her gate, asking her on a date. So cute.
They go to an amusement park where they have a blast, and later they step inside a photographer’s studio to have their picture taken. Kang-woo smiles at a photo of a newlywed couple, noting that the bride’s dress looks like the one he once designed for Seo-yeon.
She’s surprised that he remembers… she’d seen him one day at the park, still in a tuxedo after some family event, and had joked that he looked like a groom. He’d drawn her perfect wedding dress as she’d described it to him — the drawing she still has to this day.
As they sit to pose for a portrait, Seo-yeon tells Kang-woo that she’s wondered what she wanted to tell him that night she asked if she could come over, and she’s concluded that she must have been going to say she likes him. Thrilled, Kang-woo grabs her hand and puts it in his lap, and they’re both smiling broadly in their picture.
Kang-woo’s parents are at his place, and his dad accidentally finds his design studio. He tries to keep Kang-woo’s mom away, even purposely injuring himself and saying he needs to go to the hospital, but she shoves her way inside. What she sees shocks her, especially the sketches he’s made of Seo-yeon, who she recognizes as the woman she saw with Min-hyuk at the dress store that day.
Seo-yeon and Kang-woo finish their date with a movie, which leaves Kang-woo sobbing but Seo-yeon unaffected. He says he was hoping she’d cry and he could console her, but she tells him that ever since her parents died, she hasn’t been able to cry. She asks if he’s okay with all of her faults, but he just takes that as proof she wants to be a couple. He says that, after waiting fifteen years for her, he’s not about to lose his second chance.
Meanwhile, Kang-woo’s mom meets with Min-hyuk and asks him about the woman in Kang-woo’s sketches. He reminds her that he can’t lie, and he says that Seo-yeon is not his girlfriend — she’s the woman Kang-woo likes, and probably wants to marry.
He thinks to when Seo-yeon said she likes Kang-woo, and Min-hyuk had told her that he can’t support them, but he’d promised not to get between them. She’d told him again that he’s a good person, but after she left, he’d said again that he’s not nice.
Kang-woo goes to bed giddy, sleeping with his picture of himself and Seo-yeon on his pillow. But Seo-yeon dreams about the night her parents died, and this time, it all comes back to her.
She’d texted Kang-woo for his address, saying she had something to tell him, and when he’d responded, she’d been so excited that she’d begged her parents into taking her to his home right then. They hadn’t wanted to leave the house so late, but Seo-yeon hadn’t taken “no” for an answer, so they’d left Won-jae in charge of watching Seo-joon as he slept and had both gone with Seo-yeon.
They’d been hit by a drunk driver, and it looks like her mother died instantly, but her stepfather had stayed alive long enough to get Seo-yeon out of the car so she could run for help.
In the morning, Kang-woo wakes up and looks at his picture first thing, saying again that he’s not going to lose his second chance with her. Meanwhile, Seo-yeon tells Won-jae and Won-seok that she remembers that night, and how she’d asked their parents to take her to see Kang-woo. She says that their parents died because of her, and as she sinks to the floor, she thinks, “There is no second chance for us.”
Well, I predicted that that’s the way things happened, but I can’t say I’m happy to have been right. Seo-yeon asked her parents to take her to see Kang-woo that night, and she ended up blocking the whole day from her memory because she blames herself for their deaths. Of course it’s not her fault (and it says a lot of good things about her stepbrothers that they’ve always known the truth and never blamed her), but Seo-yeon’s inner child believes that if she hadn’t pushed for a ride, her parents would still be alive today.
I’m glad that Seo-yeon realized her feelings for Kang-woo and agreed to date him before recalling the details of that terrible night, because I’m scared that she’s now going to try and pull back, erroneously believing that her feelings for Kang-woo caused her parents’ deaths. But Kang-woo has shown himself to be patient, understanding, and also very tenacious, and now that he knows she cares for him, he’s not going to just let her stay mired in the past. Even if it were her fault her parents died (which it is not), there’s no reason, fifteen years later, for Seo-yeon to deny herself love just because he’s the same boy she wanted to talk to that night.
I really appreciate how People with Flaws pulls deep=seated emotional issues out into the light and shows them as a normal part of life, something to be treated the same way you’d seek treatment for a physical illness. Kang-woo suffers IBS whenever he’s around a certain girl — he finds a therapist. Seo-joon is terrified of the dark due to childhood trauma — his siblings get him back into therapy. Won-seok is openly and unashamedly gay, and he and Ho-dol are not only shown as normal, but they’re actually getting a mutual loveline, which I don’t think I’ve seen in a Korean drama before (I could be wrong, but I usually see gay characters with doomed crushes on straight characters). Even Mi-kyung talk sabout her idea of marrying Seo-yeon if they’re still single when they’re forty as a real, viable plan. Most of the characters in this drama are pretty messed up, for very valid reasons, but there’s no stigma attached to their traumas — it’s just a hurdle to conquer so they can live their best lives. I really love that.
- Premiere Watch: People With Flaws, Chocolate
- Frolicking in pink fields with Oh Yeon-seo, Ahn Jae-hyun
- First look at teachers Kim Seul-gi, Goo Won in People With Flaws
- Oh Yeon-seo is out on the track field for People With Flaws
- People With Flaws holds script reading with Oh Yeon-seo, Ahn Jae-hyun
- Casting news for beauty-oriented rom-com People With Flaws