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People with Flaws: Episodes 23-24

Around and around we go, with little forward motion and a lot of self-hatred and self-blame. Our heroine is trying to do the right thing and for the right reasons, but she’s going about it in the wrong way. She’s getting a lot of solid advice, but she’s too damaged to take it, which leads me back to my original thoughts — everyone really needs some therapy.

 
EPISODE 23

Seo-yeon says she wants to break up with Kang-woo, using the fact that he’s a rich chaebol and she’s a poor orphan to justify her decision. Kang-woo tries to talk her out of it, but his mother walks in and interrupts.

She pretends not to know Seo-yeon, and Kang-woo defiantly introduces Seo-yeon as his girlfriend. Mom has no choice but to go along with it, but Kang-woo guesses from their fake politeness that Mom must have told Seo-yeon to break up with him.

Mom and Seo-yeon deny it so vehemently that Kang-woo goes along with it, and he even tricks his mother into saying that there’s no reason he and Seo-yeon shouldn’t date. After they leave, Seo-yeon and Mom go to a coffee shop, where Mom says that now Seo-yeon is forbidden to break up with Kang-woo or he’ll know she made her do it.

Seo-yeon says that she had already decided to break up with Kang-woo, and suddenly Mom is all Why, what’s wrong with him??, lol. She says that whether they’re a good match is for their family to decide, and leaves before Seo-yeon can argue any further.

At Seo-yeon’s house, Joo-hee catches Mi-kyung looking for Jang-mi’s suspicious bag, and she tells Mi-kyung that it’s full of cash. Mi-kyung runs into Seo-yeon as she’s leaving, but she’s mad at Seo-yeon for ignoring her now that she has a boyfriend, and for not insisting on walking her home.

Kang-woo can’t get any design work done, too upset at the thought that Seo-yeon could let him go so easily. He wonders how his mother found out about Seo-yeon in the first place, and he naturally deduces that Min-hyuk told her. He’s waiting when Min-hyuk get to work, and Min-hyuk admits that he told Kang-woo’s mother about Seo-yeon, using his inability to lie as an excuse.

Kang-woo tells Min-hyuk that he’s starting to disgust him, but Min-hyuk just says that he’s going to continue being disgusting, since being nice never got him anywhere. Kang-woo tells Min-hyuk not to get ahead of himself, because he’s not going to lose this time.

Meanwhile Jang-mi decides to take matters into her own hands and protect Seo-yeon from Kang-woo. She gets dressed up and goes to see Kang-hee at work, claiming to represent her father’s company. She threatens to have her father stop doing business with Shinhwa Foods unless Kang-hee convinces Kang-woo to stop dating Seo-yeon.

Amused, Kang-hee tells Jang-mi that her father’s company would suffer more from the split than Shinhwa Foods would. She asks Jang-mi if she remembers that they’ve met, when Kang-hee stopped Jang-mi’s mother from hitting her in the hotel restroom. Jang-mi is suddenly very embarrassed, and she snaps awkwardly that Kang-hee still has to stop Kang-woo from dating Seo-yeon, then hurries out of there.

When Min-hyuk sees Seo-yeon again, he admits that he told Kang-woo’s mother about her, breaking his promise not to get between the two of them. Seo-yeon says she’s disappointed in him, and he reminds her that he warned her that he’s not really very nice.

He asks why she’s thinking about breaking things off with Kang-woo. Seo-yeon says it’s none of this business, and after she’s gone, Min-hyuk wonders if he even has a chance with her now.

Won-seok is still worried about Ho-dol after seeing the video online where his classmates outed him as gay. He intercepts Ho-dol on his way to class and tells him to take a few days away and people will forget, but Ho-dol argues that his parents work too hard to pay his tuition for him to skip class.

Won-seok doesn’t buy it, since Ho-dol keeps canceling tutoring sessions and is obviously hiding his face behind a ball cap. Poor Ho-dol looks miserable in his classroom, as his classmates gossip about him and Jung-shik and his horrible friends (the ones who set Ho-dol up and outed him) sit snickering behind him.

Everyone is surprised when Won-seok walks into the room and sits right next to Ho-dol, throwing an arm around him and pulling him in close. Ho-dol looks uncomfortable at first, but Won-seok’s encouraging smile relaxes him, and he even takes off his cap (and awww, Won-seok gets a little carried away fixing Ho-dol’s hair).

After class, Won-seok literally drags Jung-shik to a private place to talk. He’s already seething, but he warns Jung-shik to stop bullying Ho-dol or he’ll really get angry. Jung-shik asks Won-seok, why Ho-dol and not him, and Won-seok tells him coldly, “Find someone who likes your nasty temper and finds it special. I’m not that person.”

When Seo-yeon heard that Kang-woo was at school, she’d tried to call him, but he hadn’t answered. She goes to his house after school, but he doesn’t come to the door, he just sits in the dark, staring morosely at Mr. Potato.

Mi-kyung confronts Jang-mi at Seo-yeon’s house, demanding to know exactly who she is. Jang-mi doesn’t answer, she just asks despondently what Seo-yeon will do now. Mi-kyung runs into Seo-yeon on her way out, and when Seo-yeon lies that she was on a date with Kang-woo, it plays right into Mi-kyung’s fears that she’s being ditched for a guy.

She headbutts Seo-yeon in the stomach and bursts into tears, wailing that she has to hear about Seo-yeon’s problems from Jang-mi, of all people. They go to Mi-kyung’s place, and Seo-yeon says that she wanted to tell Mi-kyung that things aren’t going well with Kang-woo, but she knew Mi-kyung would be upset.

Mi-kyung tells Seo-yeon not to lie to herself, because she does like Kang-woo. But Seo-yeon says that whenever she sees him, she wonders what would have happened if she hadn’t begged her parents to take her to see him that night, or if he hadn’t chosen that day to confess to her.

She admits that she’s scared she’ll end up blaming Kang-woo for her own guilt. Mi-kyung says she could always tell Kang-woo the truth, since her excuse that she’s breaking up with him because of his money isn’t sound anyway. But Seo-yeon refuses to consider it, preferring to have Kang-woo hate her rather than let him feel guilty for something that’s not his fault.

Kang-woo tells Doctor Kim what’s going on with Seo-yeon, and how she’s trying to break up with him because (she claims) his family has money. He says he doesn’t care about the family business and wonders if leaving the family would let him keep Seo-yeon.

Doctor Kim fantasizes about shaking some sense into Kang-woo for complaining about his privilege. More calmly, he advises Kang-woo to stop seeing Seo-yeon for a while and give her some space to think. He asks if she might have another reason for doing this, which gets Kang-woo thinking.

EPISODE 24

Seo-yeon is so distracted at work that she’s literally bouncing off of light poles. Min-hyuk asks Mi-kyung if there’s another reason she’s breaking up with Kang-woo besides Kang-woo’s mother, and Mi-kyung confirms it. She points out that Min-hyuk is also a Shinhwa grandson and asks if his parents would accept Seo-yeon, but he just says that he’s basically disowned them.

Kang-woo shows up to a family dinner with a bad attitude and his clothes on crooked, and starts shoveling food into his mouth as he glares at his mother. After dinner, his dad tells him to hang in there. Kang-woo asks how Dad gave up his love of painting, and Dad says he just buried it in his heart for the sake of his wife and his mother.

Kang-woo says he can’t do that, so Dad tells him to straighten up his clothes because a designer can’t go around looking sloppy. Kang-woo throws a little tantrum that his dad figured out his dream before he was ready to tell his family.

After talking to Mi-kyung and learning that Jang-mi has been lying about having no family, Seo-yeon sits down with Jang-mi and asks her to leave the house. Jang-mi confesses that she does have a family, but that she’s only seen as an asset to be sold to the highest bidder. Seo-yeon relents and says Jang-mi can stay, but she says firmly that Jang-mi isn’t to meddle in her family’s business again.

Jang-mi tells Seo-yeon that Kang-woo has been outside the house for a while now. Seo-yeon runs outside and lights into Kang-woo for not contacting her for days, and when Kang-woo sees that she’s still angry with him, he decides he came too soon and gets in his car to leave. He yells that he’s avoiding her because he doesn’t want to hear her break up with him, then he drives away.

The next day, Kang-hee comes to the house looking for Won-jae. She catches him ignoring her call when he rounds the corner, carrying a bag of snacks and wearing his give-up pants, and he belatedly tries to hide, hee.

Ashamed, he says he’s tired of leeching off of rich women. Kang-hee tells him that she already knows that’s why he initially approached her, but Won-jae says he wants to end their deal because he doesn’t want to use her for money anymore.

When Kang-woo misses a meeting with Hyun-soo, Hyun-soo goes looking for him at home. He finds Kang-woo living off of junk food and wallowing in his own filth. Kang-woo says he’s got everything ready, but when he heads to his studio, he trips and falls, splitting open his lip on his corn dog stick, ha.

As he’s leaving, Hyun-soo almost walks into Seo-yeon, who’s loitering outside Kang-woo’s house. She says that she’s just going to hang out for a while, but Hyun-soo gets in his car and calls Kang-woo to tell him she’s out there. Kang-woo goes to his side of the wall to chase her off, but at the thought that she might break up with him, he chickens out.

He stands on a chair to peek over the wall at her, grumbling that he won’t come out no matter how long she waits. She looks up as if she hears something, and Kang-woo falls off the chair, hurting his foot and stifling a screech of pain.

He hears Seo-yeon say, “Just today. Just let me delay this today. Just for today, I’ll be a shameless daughter,” and he realizes that his time is running short. He lies awake until morning, when he’s reminded of Doctor Kim’s suggestion that maybe there’s more to Seo-yeon’s desire to break up than their different financial situations.

Kang-woo’s father comes to the school to ask Min-hyuk about Seo-yeon. Min-hyuk says honestly that she’s so great that he wants to date her himself, though Dad doesn’t take him literally. He says it’s a shame that Seo-yeon’s family background is so unsuitable, and tells Min-hyuk that her parents are dead and she lives with her stepbrothers., which he didn’t know before.

Min-hyuk goes to Seo-yeon’s office, and she asks him to stop in case the other teachers get the wrong idea. But he says he seeks her out specifically so that the teachers will figure out that he likes her. He gives her an umbrella, saying that he was always jealous of other kids whose parents would bring them an umbrella to school when it rained.

Meanwhile, Hyun-soo pretends to have a younger brother in Mi-kyung’s class in order to talk to her. She marches him out to his car and tells him to leave, but he complains that Kang-woo won’t work because of Seo-yeon.

Mi-kyung gets a call from her mother, and whatever she says makes Mi-kyung go white as a sheet. She asks Hyun-soo for a ride to the bus terminal, and he agrees instantly. On the way, he sees Mi-kyung wringing her hands and opens a hand warmer for her, but she still doesn’t explain.

Another call from her mother has Mi-kyung telling her mother that medical care is very advanced, and that she won’t die. But as soon as she hangs up, she starts wailing that her mother is going to die, which makes Hyun-soo sob along with her.

Kang-woo looks resigned as he ignores another call from Seo-yeon, and moments later he texts her saying that he’s ready to hear what she has to say. Seo-yeon braces herself, then heads to Kang-woo’s house, leaving Min-hyuk’s red umbrella behind.

When she arrives, Kang-woo asks if she’s really breaking up with him because of his money. Seo-yeon admits there’s another reason, but she says something he never expected: “I don’t love you.” She leaves him stunned, but Kang-woo follows to ask why she called him “Kang-woo-yah” if she didn’t have feelings for him.

He says that he still can’t hate her, and invites her to just toy with him if that’s all he can have of her. But Seo-yeon tells him he sounds crazy and walks away. As soon as she’s out of sight, Seo-yeon starts crying just as it begins to rain.

Suddenly an umbrella opens over her head and she looks up hopefully — but it’s Min-hyuk, not Kang-woo. She sobs at him that she likes Kang-woo, but that she’s alone, and he says he knows, because he likes her all by himself, too.

Down the street, Kang-woo had come out with an umbrella for Seo-yeon, and he watches as Min-hyuk gets to her first.

 
COMMENTS

Normally, at the point in a show where one partner is trying to break up for some easily resolved reason, I’m anxious for the couple to have a good honest conversation, work their issues out, and get back together. But People with Flaws has been so good at setting up a plausible reason for Seo-yeon to break things off with Kang-woo that in this case, I agree with her that it’s not a good idea for them to be dating right now. She made a lot of sense when she told Mi-kyung that she knows her parents’ accident isn’t Kang-woo’s fault, but that she can’t stop wondering “what if,” and she thinks it’s better to let him go before she starts irrationally blaming him and hurts him even worse. I’ve said this before, but Seo-yeon really needs some therapy to work through her guilt over her parents’ deaths, and as long as Kang-woo is all tangled up in that, it’s a bad idea for them to be in a relationship.

But… I also think that Mi-kyung was correct when she said that Kang-woo deserves to know the real reason Seo-yeon is breaking up with him. It’s not fair for him to be kept in the dark, when Seo-yeon is making a decision that so profoundly affects them both. The solution isn’t to lie to Kang-woo and break up with him forever. The right thing to do would be for Seo-yeon to be honest with him about her feelings and her fears, and give him the choice whether to wait for her while she gets some help. He has the right to know what’s really going on, and to make his own fully informed decisions in the matter.

I appreciate how Kang-woo and Seo-yeon’s story is playing out in a realistic and believable way, but I also find myself wishing that the show would spend more time on the side romances. I love Seo-yeon’s brothers, and one or two short scenes per episode for their love stories isn’t enough! I wish the show lingered longer on the way Kang-hee is teaching Won-jae to be a man who stands on his own two feet, and how tsundere Won-seok is falling for a guy who’s so far out of his regular “type” and it’s just the cutest thing ever. I even wish we got to see more of Seo-joon and Joo-hee together. I just think that the brothers are all going through major changes, and it would be fun to get to explore more of that. And I especially want more Mi-kyung and Hyun-soo… they’re both so hilarious and so under-utilized!

I don’t have a whole lot more to say after this episode that I haven’t already said, since most of what we got in this hour was Seo-yeon and Kang-woo circling around an inevitable breakup. I do think they will break up, and I think it’s sorely needed, since most of their interactions since they reconnected have been full of miscommunications and misunderstandings. I’m not sure where the show is going right now, but my hope is that Seo-yeon and Kang-woo will get some distance, do some personal healing, and try again, this time approaching the possibility of a new relationship with a lot more honestly and a lot less anger and guilt and blame. I’m not sure if that’s what we’ll get, since dramas tend to work on the premise that love itself is enough to heal everything, but if these were real people, that would be my advice if they’re ever to have anything resembling a healthy relationship.

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Thanks for the recap and the comments. I agree with you in everything!

I have said before I find KangWoo annoying and I'm not a big fan, but I felt sorry for him in this episode, as I believe he needs to know the truth as it would be the only way form him and SeoYoon to find some healing. The "what if" is something both of them will have in mind, al least at this point, and I agree that if they stay together now it may ruin their future.

Best moment for me was that big smile in Won Seok's face while seating by HoDol in class. WonSeok is always the serious guy, with the straight look, playing the "bad boy" role (he called himself that), and the way he looked at HoDol... Awwwwwwwwwww he's falling for that boy, who as you said, is so different from all the guy's he's been with before, and he is realizing that he is not just being protective, that he feels something more, and he shows.

I also wish we could see more of the Joo siblings. They are amazing together.

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Noble idiocy, week 1! I was not looking forward to it, sadly (mini-spoiler) it continues in week 2.

But, let me fawn over Won-seok as this week's Knight in shining armor to poor Ho-dol. So confident, so hot! I was not initially convinced that there would be a loveline btw those two (I thought it might become a mentor-mentee relationship, which would have been great), but it feels really gradual and natural, so I really like it! I appreciate how Won-seok, under his rough cold demeanor, is very considerate of Ho-dol: he doesn't fight his battle for him, but comes to offer support until Ho-dol is able to remove his cap on his own and held his head high again (and he confronts jerkface because jerkface was after him indeed). Won-seok is maybe the character which requires the least personal growth among the Jo siblings, since he is already the most mature of the bunch, but I love seeing him losing his cool a little - just to savor better his blossoming relationship.

Like Lollipip and everyone, I wish there were less main leads and more everyone else! Hyun-soo has finally done something which touches Mi-kyung, and, as expected, it was just a matter of offering support at a time of need, and noticing the little things (the cold hands). And I want to see more of Kang-hee telling Won-jae to stop stressing Antoinette out! 😁

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I am so done with the self-blaming and "noble idiocy" of the main leads 🙄🙄. It shouldnt have taken more than 2 episodes to get resolves. I think the show is stalling with this and it's kind of frustrating. Thank you for the side characters whose story make up for the lack of plot among the main leads. I love Won seok, Won Jae, and the little brother and I am interested in Joo Hee but i dnt get enough. Am so surprised by Won Seok' story with the tutor, i think it's my first time seeing this is a kdrama. Min Hyuk and Jang Mi are just annoying to me me at this point and I think the plot would have been more interesting without them.

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There was no lack of plot between the main leads, these people had been avoiding any real romantic relationship with anyone and they had to deal with this. The last thing they needed was some twist of fate. It was so refreshing drama actually dared to address the reason she didn't feel anything when they kissed and then writer simply forgot how to keep it real.

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@lexyk,
You might want to take a gander at the excellent family drama LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (2010, SBS). It has one of my all-time favorite OTPs, portrayed by Song Chang-eui and Lee Sang-woo. Tae-sub and Kyung-soo are the bee's knees. Kim Hae-sook and Kim Young-chul play the parents of a family that runs a guest house on Jejudo -- with Yun Da-hun (Kang-woo's dad) as rambunctious "Little Uncle." Don't be scared off by 63 episodes. For me, it was cracktastic.

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@pakalanapikake, thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely give it a try and let you know what I think, though I have to admit I have nvr watched anything with more 24 episodes so I might get scared before even starting, lol -:))

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@lexyk,
If the Won-seok and Ho-dol story has captivated you, I think you'll be hooked on LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. It is such a lovely examination of family bonds, and a bunch of truly memorable characters. The relationship between stepmom Kim Hae-sook and her eldest boy and his significant other is heartwarming to the max.

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Okay, I have added it to my wishlist. I am a fan of family stories, particularly the way it's told in K-drama, so i'll give it a try!

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*I meant my watchlist!

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Thanks for your recap and comments, @lollypip. I keep reminding myself that the title of the show is PEOPLE WITH FLAWS, and that it is delivering precisely that in spades, so it's not like I wasn't warned. On the other hand, the OTP's maladaptive tail-chasing has become a colossal waste of time when I consider all the other characters I would much rather be watching, such as Seo-yeon's brothers. I especially appreciate Won-seok's back story this week, and Kang-hee's pursuit of Won-jae.

Burning question: Will we ever get to see Antoinette? I have a feeling that she'll turn out to be like Harvey the invisible 6-foot rabbit. ;-)

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"The OTP's maladaptive tail-chasing has become a colossal waste of time when I consider all the other characters I would rather be watching..." this is so well-said, you wrote perfectly and exactly how I feel abt PWF at this point.

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We need Antoinette in the house to join the Joo family, but I don't know it we'll ever see her, considering MinHyuk is the only one who can get near her.

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Lee Min hyuk is just so f*ckng annoying. He was just like a snak waiting to strike his prey ant anytime.

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