People With Flaws: Episodes 9-10
Who doesn’t love heroes who face their feelings, misunderstandings that actually make logical sense, and surprise flash mobs? As our reluctant lover boy begins to accept the inevitable, he decides to do something about his situation, and the result is as endearing as it is hilarious.
Flustered and more than a little turned on by Seo-yeon’s presence in his house, Kang-woo abruptly says it’s time for her to go and leads her to the door. She asks if he’s acting like this because of what happened back in school, protesting that he didn’t even really like her, he was just confessing to win a bet.
Kang-woo turns to face her, and Seo-yeon crashes into him. She realizes that she can feel his… interest, and it embarrasses them both. Desperate now, Kang-woo tosses Seo-yeon over his shoulder and yeets her out the front door, right into the arms of Min-hyuk, who was coming over to check on Kang-woo.
While Kang-woo sticks his head in the freezer, Seo-yeon explains to Min-hyuk that she and Kang-woo went to middle school together, and that she came here tonight to try and get him to sign off on the track meet budget. Mi-kyung returns with Hyun-soo from their talk, and Min-hyuk grows afraid that Hyun-soo will reveal that Min-hyuk and Kang-woo are related. He makes a big deal about them being friends and gets a little handsy in the process, causing Mi-kyung and Seo-yeon to conclude that Min-hyuk must be gay, too.
After the ladies are gone, Min-hyuk and Hyun-soo finds Kang-woo inside, turtled inside his sweater and refusing to come out. Min-hyuk tells him to sign Seo-yeon’s track budget because she seemed really worried about it, but all Kang-woo can think about is how humiliated he feels.
Later that night, Seo-yeon goes to Won-seok for some gay-brotherly advice. She asks if he ever reacts physically to women, and he admits that under certain circumstances, it can happen. He guesses that this is about the guy that she complained flirted with her, and he asks if she’s sure he’s gay. Seo-yeon says she pretty much heard it straight from Kang-woo.
Of course, that’s not exactly what happened — Hyun-soo told Mi-kyung that he and Kang-woo are dating, hoping to prevent her and Seo-yeon from pursuing them. He feels bad, knowing that Kang-woo would kill him if he knew, but he tells himself that Kang-woo doesn’t hold any prejudices and that he did it for Kang-woo’s own good, so it’s fine.
Meanwhile, Kang-woo can’t sleep because his body keeps reacting every time he thinks of Seo-yeon. He attempts to exercise away the problem, but as soon as he’s back in bed, he imagines Seo-yeon there with him and it starts all over again. Poor guy.
In the morning, Kang-woo decides to just avoid Seo-yeon and wait for the problem to go away on its own. He sacrifices his pride for the greater good and signs off on the track budget, then sends it to her with the beer-spilled shirt she left behind after having it dry cleaned. Seo-yeon, though, interprets both as gestures of goodwill.
Kang-woo is yelling at his hand later for insisting on sketching Seo-yeon’s face, when she calls him to thank him for approving the budget. She acts like nothing happened yesterday, figuring it’s better to let the incident go, while Kang-woo gets upset that she apparently doesn’t even care. He remembers her saying something about a bet, but he has no idea what she was referring to.
In gym class, Seo-joon and Joo-hee get paired up for a game of doubles dodgeball, where the guy is supposed to protect the girl. Seo-joon is so worried about his precious idol face that he acts like a big ol’ chicken, ducking away from the ball whenever it comes their way. Finally Joo-hee loses her temper and makes Seo-joon stand behind her, then proceeds to single-handedly slaughter the other team. They win the game, and secure the highest grades for their performance assessment.
Having given up on Hyun-soo (because she thinks he’s a gay janitor and all of his friends appear to be gay, too) but still wanting to get married soon, Mi-kyung decides to go on a blind date. She instructs Seo-yeon to come to the meeting place and watch from a distance, and if she orders a drink with lots of whipped cream, that’s Seo-yeon’s cue that the date is bad and to call and rescue her.
Kang-woo joins his mother and Chairwoman Han in the same restaurant where Mi-kyung is meeting her date, unaware that they’ve arranged for him to meet a woman. He quickly figures it out, but he agrees to stay for the date in the hopes that dating other women will cure him of his perplexing attraction to Seo-yeon.
When they arrive for Mi-kyung’s date, Seo-yeon splits off to use the restroom, and while she’s in there she hears Kang-woo’s date mention him to someone on the phone. She follows the woman out to their table and watches as Kang-woo’s mother and Chairwoman Han leave them to have lunch alone.
Kang-woo’s date is pretty, but she eats with teeny little bites, which reminds him of they way Seo-yeon shovels food into her mouth like a starving lumberjack. Seo-yeon notices his wistful expression and assumes he’s thinking of Hyun-soo, who she believes he’s in love with.
Meanwhile, Mi-kyung’s date is a huge jerk — every compliment he gives her comes with the condition of “for an older woman” (she’s only thirty!), but he decides unilaterally to date her. Mi-kyung gently points out that he’s not exactly the best physical specimen himself, but he just says smugly that the standards for men are different. Gross.
Mi-kyung has ordered a drink with a massive mountain of whipped cream on top, but Seo-yeon doesn’t rescue her as they arranged. She finally goes face-first into the whipped cream, hoping to disgust the man and get him to change his mind. Unfortunately, he just thinks it’s sexy. Ew.
Seo-yeon finds Mi-kyung in the ladies’ room and explains that she saw Kang-woo on a blind date. She says sadly that he seemed to be having a hard time, and Mi-kyung agrees that since he’s from a rich family, he’ll probably never be able to come out. She tells Seo-yeon that she promised Hyun-soo that they wouldn’t tell Kang-woo that they know he’s gay (which he isn’t), so not to say anything to him.
On his drive home, Kang-woo calls his mother and says that his date was very nice, but he’s not interested in a second date. He imagines Seo-yeon in the car with him and mutters that he’s going crazy. He sees her again when he arrives home, leaning against the door, but when he reaches up to enter his lock code behind her head, he smacks her in the face — HA, she’s actually there.
She shyly offers him a present, a little stuffed potato in a pot that grows grass to look like hair. Kang-woo just blinks at it, so Seo-yeon says she can exchange it, but when she reaches for it, Kang-woo holds it way over her head and refuses to hand it over.
He says he’ll choose one himself, so Seo-yeon takes him to where she got it, but the vendor has packed up and gone already. Seo-yeon offers to take it and exchange it on another day, but by now Kang-woo is in love with it and tells her not to touch Mr. Potato without permission. HAHA.
Seo-yeon teases that Mr. Potato reminds her of Kang-woo in middle school, then mock-complains that he’s gotten too tall, pressing her thumb to Kang-woo’s forehead like she used to do back then. She skips on ahead, grinning, and Kang-woo mutters to himself, “When did you… when did you get so close to me?”
He’s back in Doctor Kim’s office the next day, ready to consider the suggestion that he might, maybe, possibly could be falling for Seo-yeon. He asks Doctor Kim how to know for sure what he’s feeling, so Doctor Kim says that if he misses Seo-yeon, is curious who she’s with and what she’s doing, and feels jealous when she’s with another man, then it’s certain.
On his way out, Kang-woo notices Doctor Kim’s graduation photo and asks why he no longer has that mole under his left eye. Doctor Kim stammers that he had it removed, and when Kang-woo is gone, he wilts in relief. He’s sooo not a doctor. Twins, maybe?
At home, Kang-woo reassures himself that he doesn’t miss Seo-yeon at all since it’s only been 15 hours, 8 minutes, and 23 seconds since he last saw her… then he falls off his treadmill in horror at the realization that he’s counting the seconds, ha. In the shower, he thinks that she can’t be with another guy right now since she’s at work, and he screams that he’s not curious about what she’s doing at all.
In fact, Seo-yeon is currently piggybacking an injured student to Min-hyuk’s office to get a hurt knee patched up. Min-hyuk makes her stay so he can clean up her own scraped knee where she fell, and while he works, he tells her of the first day he visited the school to see if he wanted to work there. He hadn’t been very interested until he saw Seo-yeon piggybacking a student with a bloody nose, and he’d thought Seo-yeon was very cool.
Kang-woo made it to school, and he witnesses Seo-yeon and Min-hyuk talking together. He blows up at Vice Principal Park for teasing him about coming to work, and he realizes that he feels jealous like Doctor Kim said. Man, he’s toast.
So, Kang-woo resolves to accept his feelings for Seo-yeon, and he gets so into it that as he walks down the street, he imagines a flash mob forming around him to celebrate his new love. He even participates in the dancing, and it’s the best thing ever.
He heads back to school with a giant bouquet of roses for Seo-yeon, but the closer he gets to her, the more he remembers all the mean, angry things she’s said to him. Suddenly chickening out, he flings the roses out the window and beats a hasty retreat.
When Kang-hee gets off work that evening, she’s reminded of Won-jae’s admonishment to be polite to employees, and she actually makes eye contact with her valet. As she’s driving away, she accidentally runs over a remote control car. She doesn’t recognize the nerdy bespectacled owner of the toy car as Won-jae in disguise, though she goes give him a look like he seems familiar.
On his way home, Won-jae crows that his plan is foolproof. He tells himself that women like men who are alpha at night but beta during the day, so that’s the persona he’s going to present in order to reel in Kang-hee. He’s feeding a stray cat in their alley when Won-seok comes home sick from work, and Won-jae says that Seo-yeon went to the bar with medicine and porridge for Won-seok’s cold.
Kang-woo happens to be there having a glass of wine to relax, and Hyun-soo is surprised to see him, having come looking for Seok-min. Kang-woo hilariously thinks that this is just a bar for famous people, and Hyun-soo decides not to burst his bubble. He joins Kang-woo for a drink, so when Seo-yeon arrives with Won-seok’s medicine, she sees them being all affectionate and sighs that they make a cute couple.
Back home, Won-seok gets out of the shower and to his surprise, he finds the awkward college student, Ho-dol, in the kitchen. Apparently, Ho-dol is Seo-joon’s new tutor. Ho-dol quickly leaves, consoling himself that there’s no way Won-seok could recognize him from their one encounter at the bar.
From an apartment across the street, the strange rich girl, Jang-mi, snaps pictures of Ho-dol and wonders how he got invited into Seo-yeon’s house. She’s got photos of Seo-yeon and her family all over the walls, and she adds Ho-dol’s picture to the collection. Okay, this is getting super creepy.
Kang-woo sits at home contemplating his Mr. Potato, which is growing some grass hair. He asks Hyun-soo what kind of men that women like, and what makes women happy. Hyun-soo points to the TV, which is playing the scene from What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim where Young-joon buys out an entire amusement park to impress Mi-so.
The next day, Kang-woo approaches Seo-yeon after practice and notes that she really loves track. She says a little sadly that without track, she’d have been lost. She gives Kang-woo a tip on how to be a good runner: Imagine that there’s something you want very badly at the finish line, and run while focusing on that.
Thinking of his (assumed) inability to come out to his family, she tells him to run to his finish line and not worry about what others think, though he interprets her advice in an entirely different way. As she walks away, he sees her as her younger self, which makes him feel like his younger self. He watches Seo-yeon grow up, then he, in turn grows up. Kang-woo imagines Seo-yeon at his finish line as he calls her to say, “I’ve decided to run. Like you said, I’ll only focus on that.”
He asks Seo-yeon to meet him at a mall that evening, but when she gets there, it’s dark and deserted. Suddenly the lights all come up at once, and she sees a huge display of athletic clothing and equipment. Kang-woo steps out and says he thought she’d like this more than an amusement park, and that all the equipment is for her track team. Okay, that’s so perfect.
Kang-woo gets all shy, but he powers through a pretty amazing confession. He tells Seo-yeon that he’s only recently realized his true feelings, and that she’s the only woman he’s ever needed in his life. He asks her to stay by his side, because she’s the only person he can truly be himself with.
His words are so sweet, but Seo-yeon hears them through the filter of her assumption that he’s gay, and what she hears is him asking her to be his fake girlfriend so that his family will stop sending him on blind dates. She asks if she’d be getting in between him and Hyun-soo, and Kang-woo thinks she’s saying she has feelings for Hyun-soo.
They hold a whole conversation in half-sentences, each meaning one thing but coming across as another:
Seo-yeon: “I’m sorry, but Hyun-soo…” told me everything.
Kang-woo: “Since when…” do you like Hyun-soo?
Seo-yeon: “When we first met again, I saw you together and guessed…” that you two were dating.
Kang-woo: “Then from the start…” I never had a chance?
Seo-yeon: “Yes. From the start…” I knew you were dating Hyun-soo.
Kang-woo rushes home and beats the crap out of Hyun-soo, wailing that Seo-yeon likes him. From Kang-woo’s stricken expression, Hyun-soo quickly figures out that Kang-woo likes Seo-yeon, and he decides she must be nuts for liking him when she thinks he and Kang-woo are together.
Things are awkward between Seo-yeon and Kang-woo at school the next day. That night she tosses and turns, unable to sleep because she can’t figure out why Kang-woo looked so devastated (back in middle school and now) at her rejections when there’s no way he could really like her. She ends up going to his house, and she tells him she’s decided they should date.
He asks about Hyun-soo, and Seo-yeon says she’s sure he’ll understand. Of course, she thinks she’s agreeing to a fake relationship, but Kang-woo doesn’t know that, and he nearly bursts into happy tears that she’s agreeing to be his girlfriend.
In a soft voice, Kang-woo says that it kills his pride to admit it, but he feels like he might die of happiness. He gives Seo-yeon a big hug and promises to be good to her, and a bit nonplussed, she says she’ll treat him well, too.
Kang-woo further confuses her by reaching up to gently brush her cheek with his knuckles. He leans in to kiss her, and her eyes go wide with surprise.
Oh man, this is just fantastically embarrassing, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. Kang-woo thinks that he and Seo-yeon are actually dating now, while she thinks they’re in a fake relationship to keep his family from sending Kang-woo on blind dates, because he’s gay and in a relationship with Hyun-soo. It’s just so awkward and hilarious and I’m ALL IN.
Normally I’m easily annoyed when a drama relies on misunderstandings to forward the plot, especially when those misunderstandings would be so easily cleared up with one conversation (or for those involved to just complete their sentences, lol). It feels like a shortcut to shoehorn in conflict where it would probably never happen in real life, where people generally say what they’re thinking. But in this case, there have been so many fibs and mistaken but understandable assumptions, that everyone has a different wrong understanding of the situation, and at this point it’s going to take a miracle to get everything straightened out. Somehow, instead of being frustrated, I’m finding the whole situation extremely funny, especially the way someone will say one wrong word and just make everything a thousand times worse.
I’m feeling a bit better about the idea of Kang-woo getting into a relationship while he’s still relatively stunted and immature, in large part because he’s seeking therapy (well, he believes, anyway), which means that he recognizes he has a problem that needs dealing with. He’s also showing a lot of growth by accepting the reality of his feelings for Seo-yeon, once he finally identified what they are. He confronted his feelings, tested them to make sure they’re genuine, put a name to them, and owned them like a boss. I loved how Kang-woo saw Seo-yeon as her younger self, then as she is now, indicating that he accepts her as her own person and lets go of the young, immature girl she was, and in turn he grew up himself. Then, not only did he own his feelings, but he actually did something about them. That is tremendous growth for Kang-woo, especially since he’s planning on putting himself right back into the same vulnerable spot (and with the exact same person) that so hurt and traumatized him in the first place. I’m looking forward to the missed cues that are bound to happen for a while, but I have to give Kang-woo credit for tailoring his confession perfectly to Seo-yeon’s interests — once they’re on the same page, his seduction game is going to be lethal.
The show has made an almost complete turnaround in storytelling style from the first couple of episodes, and while I didn’t hate the slapstick-style comedy, I love what we had now so much more (more flash mob dancing, please!). It’s thoughtful and insightful, and still funny but in more subtle ways. And the best part is that this tonal shift is allowing Kang-woo and Seo-yeon to calm down and their friendship to slowly resurface, and it turns out that they have some pretty ridiculous chemistry. I’ve always thought of Ahn Jae-hyun and Oh Yeon-soo as actors who are versatile in that they can pull off comedy or romance, but I’ve never considered them particularly strong actors, if that makes sense. But I think that if the show continues down the path it’s taking now, they might both surprise me in all the right ways.
- 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