Welcome: Episodes 1-2
If cute animals are your thing, then this is the show for you. KBS’s newest webtoon adaptation is a fantasy rom-com that dives into the world of one very special cat and his caretaker. The impossible happens when the two are together, and our feline friend is going to have to learn how to navigate his new world.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
Various pet owners are interviewed, sharing their adoption stories. Their circumstances were all different – some didn’t initially intend on raising the dog or cat themselves – but they all ended up adopting and now share a deep bond with their pets.
One snowy night, a woman, KIM SOL-AH (Shin Ye-eun) asks a man, LEE JAE-SEON (Seo Ji-hoon), to hand over the cat that he’s holding. He refuses, reasoning that she doesn’t like cats. She confirms her distaste but ends up bringing the kitty home. Sol-ah undresses while the feline hides under her bed and as she showers, she angrily declares, “I hate guys who are like cats.”
Unbeknownst to her, a human hand reaches out from beneath the bed and grabs her bra from a pile of clothes. A quote by poet Jean Burden fills the screen: ‘A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem.’
15 hours ago. Sol-ah groggily wakes up to someone pounding on her apartment door. It’s her friend and co-worker, GO DOO-SHIK (Kang Hoon), who showed up with breakfast and way too much energy.
Sol-ah narrates that there are two types of people. Some are like dogs – like Doo-shik, with his wide grin and puppy-like eagerness to share exciting news. It’s not exciting for Sol-ah though, who shuts her door in shock when she learns that her “Beodeul Love” has returned. He’s referring to Jae-seon, and she continues to narrate, “And there are jerks that’re like cats.”
Doo-shik chirps through the door that Jae-seon’s newly single. Sol-ah shoos him away and gets ready for work, pretending to be unaffected. Before leaving, she fusses over her father KIM SOO-PYUNG (Ahn Nae-sang). Categorized as a Persian cat, Soo-pyung’s a poet who’s often found sitting by the window. He’s not interested in much, despite Sol-ah’s best efforts to find him a hobby.
Sol-ah wants dad to get out there and do anything, so she’s excited when he reveals that there’s something he’s interested in. …It’s marriage. She begins to object but he cuts her off, “I’m talking about myself.” Soo-pyung instructs her to move out, leaving her to sigh that cats are difficult to read.
At Nalsaem Design, Doo-shik is startled by coworker EUN JI-EUN (Yoon Ye-joo) who silently crept up on him with a pink sticky note. It’s a short message, but she’s already returned to her seat before Doo-shik finishes reading it. We’ve got ourselves another cat!
Sol-ah arrives with coffee for the team and cheerily rushes over to Ji-eun, attempting to get her to join the rest of them. The others discuss Ji-eun’s tendency to stick to herself even during lunch, and laugh that they’re better off without her because she eats slowly like a cow. However, they belatedly realize that Ji-eun is standing there and overheard everything.
Feeling unwelcome, Ji-eun retreats to her desk. Sol-ah learns that Ji-eun got hired through connections with the president. The others gossip, “Why else would the vice president care about someone who’s so unsociable?” Vice President Park waltzes in right then and coolly advises the crew to only say good things behind people’s backs.
Ji-eun hands Sol-ah a green note: “I’d appreciate if you weren’t so kind to me regarding things irrelevant to work.” Avoiding eye contact, she returns the coffee to Sol-ah, who pouts that there’s no benefit to being nice to cats.
After work, Sol-ah updates Doo-shik on her father’s marriage plans. Happy for Soo-pyung, he claims it’s Sol-ah’s turn to find love now. He gushes that Jae-seon’s new cafe “Sonamu” must be named after her, since it sounds similar to “Sol-ah.”
Sol-ah’s indifferent attitude confuses Doo-shik, who notes that she didn’t react like this when Jae-seon previously dated. He tricks her into thinking Jae-seon is behind her, and she whips around so quickly that it’s obvious she actually wants to see him. Doo-shik suspects that something happened between his two friends.
She gulps, recalling a time when she was sketching in her usual spot at a park. Jae-seon had given her a drink and joined her on the opposite end of her bench, facing the other way. It seems to be something they did often, and Sol-ah looked completely smitten. He’d cracked a tiny smile when Sol-ah spoke, and she’d worked up the courage to ask, “What am I to you?”
Hah, Doo-shik unknowingly quotes her word for word, but dismisses the possibility that she’d say something like that. When she gets defensive, Doo-shik suggests her to ask Jae-seon now, waving at him behind her. Thinking it’s another joke, Sol-ah imitates Jae-seon’s stoic greeting, unaware that he’s really there. (She was spot on!) Turns out they’re standing right in front of Sonamu, and she scuttles away in embarrassment when she sees him. PFFT.
She walks past a window where a white cat is sunbathing. The cat narrates that he dreamt about (what he thinks is) his first memory ever. He was once a young, human boy, watching a single leaf flying through the sky on a snowy day. Someone had wrapped a red scarf around his neck and although he can’t make out their face (it’s Sol-ah!), their encounter left him smiling. When we pan back to the window, the cat is nowhere to be seen and a man is lying there instead.
Meanwhile, Sol-ah sounds out her name and compares it with “Sonamu.” It triggers another memory of that day at the park. Jae-seon had answered, “To me, you’re Kim Sol-ah.” He teased her for blushing, then went in for the kiss.
However, Sol-ah now fumes that he never called her after that and instead, fell in love with a rich girl. She talks herself out of visiting the cafe, but of course, ends up sneaking a peek and is promptly dragged inside by Doo-shik.
She’s miffed at how curt he’s being with her but Doo-shik says it’s just an act – Jae-seon’s been waiting for her this whole time, staring broodily out the window. They both watch as Jae-seon continues to wait, and Doo-shik realizes that his assumption was wrong.
He tries to get to the bottom of this and when Jae-seon vaguely says the person he’s waiting for probably won’t come, Doo-shik assumes it’s his ex-girlfriend, Lee Rubi.
However, the handmade wallet that Jae-seon wants to gift the person has the initials K.Y. LEE. It’s for his father, who he hasn’t seen since he quit law school to learn leather crafting 6 or 7 years ago.
In his home, the white cat scratches at the front door, musing that he’d be able to open it if he were human. When his owner returns, she scolds him for ruining her furniture and takes him outside. The owner is Rubi, who drops him off at Sonamu with nothing more than “My future in-laws hate cats. Take it.” Wow.
That night, Sol-ah, Jae-seon, and the cat wait outside Doo-shik’s parents’ restaurant as he tries to convince them to take it in for a few days. Doo-shik’s father GO MIN-JOONG (Jeon Bae-soo) is fine with it, but mom SUNG HYUN-JA (Kim Yeo-jin) has the final say. No.
Doo-shik and Sol-ah watch as Jae-seon walks away, dejected. Doo-shik guilts Sol-ah into offering to take care of the cat since Jae-seon can’t do it himself. Knowing him, he won’t be able to ask anyone else for help.
Jae-seon ends up at their bench, where Sol-ah’s already waiting. She learns that the cat is named Sergei (after composer Sergei Rachmaninoff). She scoffs and looks at Sergei, asking if Rubi named him.
Instead of responding, tears roll down Jae-seon’s face. Sol-ah can’t believe he’s crying over a woman, but… he’s actually just allergic to cats. Pfft. This brings us back to the beginning of the episode, where she asks him to hand over the cat.
We now see that after reaching for the bra, a man emerges from underneath Sol-ah’s bed while she’s showering. He releases each of his fingers as if he’s learning how to use his hands. Looking in the mirror, he realizes that he’s become a human, and that his dream was real.
We’ll eventually know him as HONG JO (L), and his first order of business as a human is to open a door, since he couldn’t as a cat. Sol-ah exits the bathroom the moment he successfully opens the door to her room. To avoid being discovered, he somehow transforms back into a cat before she notices. She tells Hong Jo not to get comfortable – he’s only staying until someone adopts him.
He jumps onto her bed and but she throws him off, getting scratched and annoyed during their little scuffle. When Sol-ah turns around to sleep, it’s human-Hong Jo who’s sitting on the floor.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Hong Jo cautiously attempts an escape, but the loud noises outside have him so spooked that he retreats, slamming the door. Soo-pyung wakes up to check out the noise but doesn’t see anything – Hong Jo’s in cat form.
Still half-asleep, Soo-pyung drinks some water but becomes alert when he feels a presence. Hong Jo’s shadow looks ominous, darting around behind Soo-pyung and into his room. When Soo-pyung heads inside, Hong Jo jumps out and causes him to fall, spilling water all over himself.
The next morning Soo-pyung complains that Sol-ah didn’t mention bringing home a cat. It proves to Sol-ah that he didn’t even bother to look at her when she came home last night, since she’d gone to his room to show him Hong Jo.
A couple shows up for an apartment viewing, and Sol-ah learns that dad is planning to sell his place and move to the countryside with his fiancée. She accuses his partner of being a gold digger and is frustrated that she wasn’t consulted before he made any decisions.
Hong Jo watches and thinks, “I got kicked out only to end up with someone who’s about to get kicked out.” Soo-pyung clutches his chest after Sol-ah storms out and tries to sit in his usual seat by the window. It’s occupied by Hong Jo though, so the two have an intense stare-down to fight for rocking chair rights. Hong Jo wins, haha!
Dong-shik believes Sol-ah should be more understanding of her dad. Soo-pyung didn’t say anything out of consideration of her feelings. Sol-ah doesn’t feel the same, so when Ji-eun sticks yet another sticky note on Doo-shik’s desk, she sarcastically coos that someone’s being silently considerate to him too.
Ji-eun’s note asks him to change the color on a logo from hot pink to another shade – something that could easily have been said directly to him. Upset, Dong-shik confronts her in front of everyone else. “How much must you dislike me to not want to talk to me?”
HAH, he’d thought his breath was the problem, so he went to the dentist and even gargled mouthwash for hours. A startled Ji-eun explains that this is how she organizes the many messages she has to relay, but he feels personally attacked by her request. “You dislike hot pink because you dislike me, don’t you?”
It was actually Vice President Park’s orders, so Doo-shik quiets down and gets to work. He defends the color hot pink – there’s no uncertainty behind how nice and bold the color is. It just screams, “I LIKE YOU!” Suddenly, he’s entranced by Ji-eun’s pink sticky notes and sees them in a new, positive light.
Meanwhile, Hong Jo explores the house and finds a stash of canned tuna. He tries squeezing, elbowing, and even biting the can before successfully opening it. He adorably stuffs a few cans in his pockets for later.
During lunch, Sol-ah asks if anyone is interested in adopting a cat, but is met with hard no’s. She explains the reasons why she hates cats. “They don’t come to me when I call them like dogs do, and just do as they please.” They’re loving one moment, then disappear suddenly the next, so she can’t trust them. Hmm, are we still talking about the animal, Sol-ah?
She continues, “They’re too suspicious and are always spying on you.” At home, Hong Jo’s about to escape but upon hearing a thump from Soo-pyung’s room, he curiously goes to check it out. Sniffing around, Hong Jo opens the door to find that Soo-pyung has collapsed and has no reaction despite being nudged.
To Sol-ah, cats think of humans as servants. She’s heard of dogs saving people, but believes cats are too selfish to protect anyone. We see Hong Jo hesitating as he sticks his head out the door to leave the apartment. Aw! He has Soo-pyung on his back, and brings him outside where the security guard sees them.
The guard asks if Hong Jo has called an ambulance. He shakes his head no, and when the ambulance arrives, they can no longer find the guardian… just a pair of slippers and a trail of tuna cans on the floor, leading to where cat-Hong Jo is.
Sol-ah rushes to the hospital and finds dad awake and reading. She notices a woman’s purse by his side. It belongs to dad’s fiancée BANG SHIL (Jo Ryun), a sweet lady with a happy disposition. She recites a cheesy poem that she wrote in Soo-pyung’s poetry class (they met as teacher and student at the culture center), and it’s absolutely adorable how much she makes him smile.
Bang Shil’s not only kind, but also knowledgeable. Soo-pyung has a heart condition called Bradycardia, which means his heartbeat is slower than normal. Thanks to her, the conversation with the doctor goes quickly and smoothly, with arrangements made for Soo-pyung to get a procedure done the next day for a pacemaker. Sol-ah feels anxious because she has no idea what’s happening, but Bang Shil assures her that it’s a simple procedure.
Before leaving that night, Sol-ah eavesdrops on the couple as Soo-pyung settles into his hospital room. He’s quite talkative with Bang Shil, and he wonders how the security guard knew to call an ambulance when he had no recollection of leaving the house. “I just remember a cat.”
That night, Hong Jo’s still in cat form, hiding underneath a dumpster. He’s confused when he suddenly transforms into human-Hong Jo, then notices Sol-ah walking by and follows her. Doo-shik texts to ask if she’s okay, and she warns him not to send Jae-seon to comfort her.
Hong Jo takes a seat on the opposite end of Sol-ah’s bench, facing the other way, which is why Sol-ah assumes he’s Jae-seon. She hides her tear-streaked face and pretends that she’s okay, rattling off details about Bang Shil and Soo-pyung.
She tells him to go since she’s fine, so Hong Jo is about to take off when Sol-ah’s words, “You’re just like him. You’re a cat,” stops him. She’s referring to how Jae-seon and Soo-pyung both disappear wordlessly like cats do. Dad was going to move to the countryside for health reasons, but didn’t tell Sol-ah to avoid burdening her.
She can’t help tearing up, calling Jae-seon out for disappearing when he wants, but trying to comfort her now. Hong Jo stays still, contemplating what she’s saying and Sol-ah is comforted by what she thinks is Jae-seon’s presence. “He’s really back, my Beodeul Love.”
They used to sit like this even in high school, smiling shyly and enjoying each other’s company in silence. She even had the same red scarf on back then. In the present, she notes, “You don’t leave when I tell you to go. You never came when I waited for you.” She sadly asks if he left because of a reason he couldn’t disclose, like Soo-pyung.
By this point, Hong Jo’s exhausted and rubs his eyes. Sol-ah thinks that the silence is just Jae-seon being his typical quiet self, so she’s thoroughly surprised when she receives a call from him. She turns around and finds cat-Hong Jo sitting next to her.
Jae-seon’s been in his workshop all day and is calling to see if “Sergei” is okay. Worried by how she’s answering, he decides that Sol-ah shouldn’t be taking care of him. She thinks he feels bad about having her taking care of his ex’s cat, but that isn’t it. “I’m uncomfortable leaving him with you.”
He instructs Sol-ah to keep her doors locked, since cats can slip off in an instant and she’ll never be able to find him. Feeling bad, she holds Hong Jo but tells Jae-seon to find an adopter soon. He’s working on it, and asks for a favor before hanging up. “Don’t abandon [him] this time. ” Rightfully confused, Sol-ah scoffs that she should be the one saying that to him.
Sol-ah grabs Hong Jo by the cheeks (so cute!!!) and asks if he saw the person who was sitting next to her. He doesn’t react, so she pokes his nose. “Will you make a sound if I press here?” It’s the same thing she’d said to him as a young boy, when she’d found him lost in the park.
She’d given him her scarf and bought him fish-shaped bread as a snack. She took her eyes off him for just a moment, and little-Hong Jo disappeared, chasing after a leaf. Sol-ah looked for him but didn’t notice that the fish-shaped bread had fallen on the floor and her scarf was wrapped around a tiny white kitten.
At home, Sol-ah tells Hong Jo that they can’t stay anymore, but admits that she doesn’t feel as lonely being kicked out with him. She initially pushes him off the bed but when he jumps back on, she’s too tired to kick up a fuss and falls asleep. Observing Sol-ah up close, Hong Jo realizes, “It’s her. She makes me turn human.” Sure enough, lying next to Sol-ah now is human-Hong Jo, carefully taking in every detail of her face.
That was such a fun premiere episode! It was light and breezy, and I’m already heavily rooting for our heroine. Though she expresses herself a bit clumsily, you always know how she truly feels about something. Despite declaring that she hates Jae-seon/cats/her dad getting married, she’s easily won over and is a big ol’ softie. Watching Sol-ah attempt to include Ji-eun with such a huge smile was all I needed to see to know that she’s the sweetest!
The cat-like versus dog-like personalities are quite nicely summed up by the Jean Burden quote from the beginning of the episode. Generally speaking, what you see is what you get with the dogs. You know what they like and dislike, and that’s clear as day with Doo-shik. If he wants to say something, he’ll say it.
Meanwhile, you have to read between the lines to understand the cats. They’re typically more reserved and get a bad reputation for being not being affectionate but if you take the time to get to know them, they’re loyal and loving too! I’m hoping that the show will expand past the stereotypical dog/cat attributes and use them in creative ways to tell the story down the line. We already saw that Sol-ah’s reasons for hating cats aren’t applicable to all cats with the way Hong Jo acted in order to save dad.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that this show isn’t going to ultimately pair Sol-ah with Hong Jo. (I didn’t read the webtoon, so I have no idea what’s going to happen!) He’s a cat and his human form apparently ages as quickly as his cat form does, so I just don’t know how that will all work out. Then again, it IS a fantasy rom-com so it’s entirely plausible that they could be endgame I guess.
Based on what we know about the timeline, Jae-seon and Sol-ah’s kiss happened just before he left and started dating Rubi (which should’ve been about 10 months ago). Sol-ah’s outfit during the park kiss was the exact same as the outfit she was wearing when she met little-Hong Jo. Although the park was filled with beautiful fall foliage in her memory of the kiss and the trees were bare in Hong Jo’s memory, I have a feeling that this all happened on the exact same day. The more I think about it, the more questions I have – so I think I’ll just sit back and enjoy the journey that this show takes us on!
Something I really enjoyed are the adorable cartoon animations that were popping up throughout the episode. I find myself constantly looking forward to more! It seems fitting, especially since Sol-ah is an artist and designer herself. All in all, I found this to be a breath of fresh air and a breezy rom-com couldn’t have come at a better time, with spring on its way!
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