Welcome: Episodes 17-18
The bigger the lie, the harder it is to accept when the truth comes out. Our heroine has a lot of feelings to sort out by herself, and much-needed candid conversations are had.
EPISODE 17 RECAP
Sol-ah doesn’t understand how Guk-bong’s already in the countryside when Hong Jo’s standing right in front of her. His confession that he’s not Guk-bong is interrupted by the train’s departure announcement, so they hop on board and he promises Jae-seon that he’ll explain to her on the way.
A quote by Marion Garretty claims, “Poets generally love cats because poets have no delusions about their own superiority.”
After getting settled, Hong Jo reiterates that the real Bang Guk-bong is someone else, and that he’s actually Hong Jo. Sol-ah scoffs in disbelief so he reminds her, “You felt it too…that I’m Hong Jo.”
Jae-seon makes his way towards their seats, having decided to tag along because he’s worried about Sol-ah. Her immediate concern is that her cat will be home alone, but Hong Jo chirps, “I’m right here.”
Thinking that she’s being fed absolute nonsense, Sol-ah challenges him to transform in front of her. Of course, he can’t because of all the people around them, so Sol-ah says that he should’ve come up with a more believable lie. She’s content that he’s here though, smiling that she doesn’t care who he is.
Vice President Park arrives at work without greeting the others, emanating such a forceful aura that it startles everyone. Doo-shik notices Ji-eun looking down and approaches with some words of encouragement, surprised when she snaps her head up with a smile.
Ji-eun gushes about Sol-ah’s new webtoon so he bends down to take a look. His close proximity causes her to pull away, but Da-som saddles up next to her too so she’s shyly (but happily) trapped between the two as all the designers approvingly discuss the webtoon.
On the train, Jae-seon also reads the chapter and deeply regrets telling Sol-ah not to be so hung up on the Beodeul Love story when the Nalsaem designers had gathered at Sonamu.
Looking out the window in awe, Hong Jo takes in the views with wide-eyed wonder. Sol-ah shares that she loves watching the sunset by the sea. Caught up in the excitement, Hong Jo promises to join her for the sunset before realizing his mistake.
Sitting close by, Jae-seon motions for Hong Jo to follow him. He wants them to get off at the next stop together, reminding Hong Jo, “You promised to leave.” He objects, not wanting to run away like Jae-seon.
“What if Sol-ah runs away?” Jae-seon challenges. He suggests that Sol-ah may be resisting the truth because she doesn’t want to believe what she’s hearing. Hong Jo expresses that he can’t help it if he’s abandoned, but remains firm that he won’t leave Sol-ah just to protect himself.
The two excited lovebirds explore a traditional market to search for a birthday gift while Jae-seon trails behind. Jae-seon pulls Hong Jo aside, who already knows that he can’t meet the parents but wants to buy a gift anyway. Having no money, he demands to be paid for his labor.
Sol-ah asks if Jae-seon’s going to be okay tagging along since he’s shy around others. He claims that he wants to celebrate with her dad, and she mutters that Soo-pyung’s shy too. He buys some premium quality beef since he can’t show up empty handed.
At a bus stop, Sol-ah asks two grannies for directions and Jae-seon warns Hong Jo, “You can’t go any further than this.” The elder’s instructions aren’t helpful, but Bang Shil arrives just then to pick them up.
Sol-ah shyly announces, “We came together,” but Bang Shil thinks she’s referring to Jae-seon, whom she assumes is her boyfriend. Hong Jo’s nowhere to be seen so Sol-ah wonders where ‘Guk-bong’ went, and Bang Shil tells her that he’s off taking photos.
She’s confused but gets in the car, overhearing one of the grannies noting, “A person turned into a cat.” They drive off as a white cat watches from behind the trees.
Jae-seon joins the family for a tea, and Dad gruffly inquires whether Jae-seon visits Sol-ah often since they live across from each other. Jae-seon quickly denies it, but Soo-pyung asks, “Why not? You should check in on my daughter.”
Jae-seon’s flustered when he’s asked if he still gives Sol-ah a hard time. Sol-ah’s surprised because she’d never told Dad anything, but he’s just the type of person who pretends not to know although he’s aware of everything.
Dad practically whispers, “You should date someone who makes you feel comfortable,” and Bang Shil defends Sol-ah – daughters tend to fall for men who are similar to their fathers. She accurately observes, “Jae-seon may seem cold on the outside, but I’m sure he has a warm heart on the inside.”
Sol-ah reluctantly agrees, but announces that she’s no longer interested in him. Soo-pyung looks at Jae-seon with pity, “You’re trying to flag down a bus that already left.”
Sol-ah says she’ll explain when Guk-bong arrives. The real Guk-bong joins them and she can no longer deny the truth when Bang Shil refers to him as her son. Unable to hold her composure, she runs outside and Jae-seon follows, explaining that the ‘Guk-bong’ she knows is Hong Jo. Unable to process this news, she walks off, wanting to think alone.
Jae-seon returns to the bus stop where Hong Jo’s waiting in human form, updating him on what happened. Hong Jo immediately looks for Sol-ah, chiding Jae-seon for not being by her side. They both search for Sol-ah, but it’s Guk-bong who finds her.
The boys end up by the sea, and Hong Jo marvels at the sight. Jae-seon realizes he shouldn’t have just stood by without taking action, pulling the collar off Hong Jo’s neck.
The step-siblings sit side-by-side and Sol-ah confirms his identity. She cries as she confesses that she has no idea who the person she’d lived with was.
Back at the bridge, Jae-seon says that he could easily throw the collar away and leave Hong Jo here, far away from Sol-ah, to live as an ordinary cat. Hong Jo muses that when people abandon pets, they take them as far away from home as possible so that they can’t return.
Hong Jo decisively tells Jae-seon to do it, “I met Sol-ah and got to spend time with her. I owe that to you.” If Jae-seon hadn’t saved him back then, he could’ve died on the streets, so he has the right to leave him behind.
Jae-seon looks affected by his words, but wonders if tossing the collar will bring Sol-ah back to him. Hong Jo genuinely advises him not to run away this time, and to not be afraid of being abandoned.
Though he tries, Jae-seon can’t bring himself to throw the collar away and tosses it back to Hong Jo, who fumbles it and sends it flying off the bridge. By the time Jae-seon turns around in disbelief, he’s in the company of a cat.
Sol-ah calms down after going through an entire pack of tissues, so Guk-bong asks if she’s crying about Hong Jo, whom he met last time. She hesitantly asks if he’s referring to a cat or a human.
She opens up to Guk-bong, asking if it makes sense for a human to actually be a cat. Guk-bong doesn’t find her claim to be unbelievable, having heard and seen many things during his travels. He says that a cat can even fall in love with a mouse and muses, “Love is a miracle.”
Jae-seon searches the beach for the collar, but can’t find anything. He suggests turning back, but he can’t resist the kitty eyes that Hong Jo sends him and continues to look. He tells Hong Jo to pull his weight and look around too, if he’s unwilling to leave the ring behind.
By the time Jae-seon finds the collar hanging off of a branch, Hong Jo’s already gone. Jae-seon heads back to the house and finds Sol-ah, who’s coming to terms with the truth. She still has a difficult time believing that her housemate is Hong Jo, though she understands now that he isn’t Guk-bong.
Jae-seon hands her Hong Jo’s collar, explaining that he’s roaming around somewhere in cat form. She doesn’t understand why he needs her to transform, but nobody does. “Maybe it’s magic or fate,” Jae-seon says, which reminds Sol-ah of Guk-bong’s claim that love is a miracle.
Knowing where Hong Jo is, Sol-ah sets off towards the beach. She finds her pet cat by the shore and tears stream down her face as she thinks about their shared memories. By the time she’s next to him, Hong Jo’s in human form.
Sol-ah takes a seat next to Hong Jo, who comments that it’s colder than he expected despite the sunset looking so warm. He didn’t know she’d come, but had figured that he should at least experience it for himself. He gently confirms that she turns him into a human and Sol-ah finally comes to term with the facts.
EPISODE 18 RECAP
After work, Ji-eun sees Doo-shik at the bus stop and hides but sneaks some glances and smiles to herself. She heads towards her bus when she thinks the coast is clear, only to come face-to-face with Doo-shik waiting for her with his signature grin.
They hop on board and Ji-eun ignores his invitation to sit next to him. Undeterred, Doo-shik sits in front of her and teases that she must really enjoy looking at him from behind. She says they don’t have to commute together just because they go in the same direction, but he swings around to ask if she’d like to. It’s so obvious that he’s interested in her too now!
Doo-shik drags Ji-eun to his restaurant for dinner, but she’s unable to eat with the way his parents are lingering nearby. They pester her with personal questions, which Doo-shik reprimands them for.
Ji-eun shares that she’s been living alone since she graduated high school, and that her dad wasn’t at home growing up. The Go family freezes and defends single-parent families, but are relieved when she explains that he was just busy working on a boat.
Doo-shik’s parents hype him up, saying that he must be strong and healthy, only to learn that his health deteriorated…because of alcoholism. This leaves the family twiddling their thumbs, and Ji-eun quietly says, “It was a joke.” Nobody understands her humor, but Min-joong laughs anyway, pretending that it was funny.
Night has fallen and Soo-pyung paces outside “for some fresh air,” not admitting that he’s worried about his daughter. He’s relieved when she returns with Jae-seon by her side, confused at the sight of Hong Jo.
Inside, Jae-seon prevents Sol-ah from waking Hong Jo up. He explains that Hong Jo remains in cat form while he sleeps, only able to transform when he’s well rested – his time is limited.
The pair move to another room to chat, and Jae-seon asks if Sol-ah knows when she first met Hong Jo. She puts the pieces together herself, realizing that he was the young boy she’d given the scarf to. Jae-seon confirms this and says, “I know it’s late, but I want to turn things back.”
Doo-shik apologizes on his parents’ behalf after the meal, explaining that they consider their behavior friendly. Ji-eun doesn’t blame them at all. He notices that she seems to have an upset stomach and claims to know of an effective digestive medicine.
She finds herself at an arcade where Doo-shik says the best way to cure indigestion is through karaoke. At her reluctance, he suggests playing a shooting game instead. She pulls her hair back, so you know she means business. Easily beating the game, Ji-eun leaves Doo-shik so mesmerized that he stares at her, speechless.
She walks out without a word and Doo-shik follows, explaining that he’d just wanted to break down the wall between them. Ji-eun says she’s often scolded for keeping to herself, but it’s just the way she is.
Doo-shik realizes that he was being inconsiderate, apologizing that he did it to hear her voice – he just wanted to talk to her more. Ji-eun’s down to talk, so she brings him somewhere quieter…the library.
Feeling a bit offended, he asks, “Who’s stupid enough to make noise at a library?” He vents that she must’ve brought him here to avoid talking to him, proclaiming that he catches on to these things quickly. He learns that she wasn’t responding to him because the librarian was asking them to be quiet.
Ji-eun stalks off and he follows her like a puppy, claiming that he’s usually quick-witted. Fed up, she tells him that he’s not, but because he’s slow-witted, he seems more genuine and that’s why she likes him.
Back in high school, Ji-eun’s drink was stuck in a vending machine. Doo-shik helped her retrieve her drink and happily gulped his down, running off before she could thank him. He didn’t even know who she was but was still nice to her, which she was grateful for. “So…just keep being slow-witted,” she concludes.
Jae-seon finally opens up to Sol-ah about his past. He shows her the “I’m sorry” note that his birth parents left with him, saying that if they were truly apologetic, they wouldn’t have made it impossible for him to track them down. He’s most upset about not being given the chance to resent or forgive them.
He figures that since he was abandoned once, people must’ve thought that it’d be okay to abandon him again. That’s how he ended up being adopted three times. Jae-seon tells Sol-ah that seeing the kitten made him afraid that she would abandon him, because it reminded him of his younger self.
Sol-ah says she spoke too harshly when she accused him of running away from relationships without knowing his background story. Jae-seon says she was right, he was too ashamed to open up to her.
Jae-seon shares that Hong Jo made him feel bad because while both were abandoned, Hong Jo chose to stay with her while Jae-seon disappeared. When he looks back on his life, he realizes there were more happy memories than bad ones.
When he was left at the orphanage, a kitten had stayed with him all night, nestled into his blanket to keep him warm and alive. Sol-ah calls the kitten sweet, and Jae-seon says she did the same thing for him.
He promises to do that for her now. He’s not asking for her to accept him; he just wants her to know that he’s by her side. “If that makes you feel just a little warmer, that’s enough for me.” We pan out and see that Hong Jo has been listening this whole time.
Ji-eun reads alone, but is interrupted by Doo-shik. He sticks a series of notes into her book: “Did I ask you to look at me? You’re around me at work and at home. If someone keeps looking at me, of course I’d be bothered.” Ji-eun scrambles to say that she understands, but Doo-shik sticks a final note into her palm: “So now, I’ll look at you as well.”
Out loud, he says that he wants to look at her – the way she eats, the way she shoots in the arcade, and how she looks like a pill bug when she slouches at her desk. “It’s cute,” he whispers. Aww!
She happily bursts out, “No way,” and this time the librarian shushes her. Doo-shik crouches next to her and says that the library’s a nice place to chat after all, since he can hear her voice. He takes her hand and they head outside, and she doesn’t forget to take her sticky notes with her.
Guk-bong has already jetsetted off to Bolivia, but left a nice gift behind for Soo-pyung. It’s a computer, and Bang Shil exposes the fact that Dad’s going to use it to read Sol-ah’s webtoon. Doo-shik had sent him the link and Dad has been leaving comments this entire time.
The four of them have a good laugh about Soo-pyung writing supportive comments using slang that made Sol-ah think that her number one fan was a child. Seeing Jae-seon enjoying himself, Soo-pyung keeps him on his toes and teases him.
While they enjoy the birthday celebration, Hong Jo listens in on them alone, knowing that he can’t join them. Later, Sol-ah makes her way outside and he joins her, sharing that he was listening to the sounds of laughter and singing by himself. Sol-ah asks if he hid like this all the time. “I found it strange that you knew me so well. You were watching me all along,” she realizes.
She tells him that she used to think about the young boy sometimes, wondering if he was okay, but now, he’s next to her as a grown adult. Hong Jo reaches for her hand but she instinctively pulls away, which hurts him. She apologizes, not knowing how to accept him now that he seems so unfamiliar to her. Sol-ah asks for some time, but the conversation is cut short when Dad comes out to join her.
Soo-pyung pretends that he came out because it was hot, although it’s cold outside. He thanks her for the shirt, but she says that it was a present from a cat. She consults her father for advice, but can barely make out the words, “A cat…” without tears forming.
Soo-pyung thinks she’s unable to care for Hong Jo, telling her to leave him in the countryside and not be tied down by him. “Leave it here and get on with your life,” he advises, while Hong Jo listens from afar.
I’ve got to say that I was getting a little frustrated with how dismissive Sol-ah was being to all the signs that pointed to the truth. Sure, hearing that the guy you like is actually a cat is pretty unbelievable, but she has this tendency to bulldoze through things on her own accord. I guess a huge part of it is just being in denial, which Jae-seon touched on during the episode. Acknowledging that ‘Guk-bong’ is actually Hong Jo changes things drastically, and she probably wasn’t prepared to deal with the consequences of what that meant.
I hope that this is the last of the moping around that Sol-ah will be doing, now that we only have three episodes left. We’ve spent enough time watching her worry about being left behind, and watched her be in denial for an entire episode. I totally feel for her, because this is life-changing news, but like @teriyaki, I’ve also never been more against the main couple of a show. She realized that Hong Jo has been watching her without her consent, but her takeaway is that it explains how he knew her so well, and didn’t find it creepy? Sometimes, I really worry for her safety. She accepted that Hong Jo was Guk-bong without needing much proof, she never realizes when she’s secretly being watched, and didn’t even question it a few episodes back when she found a stranger (real Guk-bong) standing in her living room. She just makes assumptions on her own to explain everything, and that really stresses me out.
Despite not liking the romantic pairing, I do like Hong Jo. I think he’s quite mature with his thoughts, and always has Sol-ah’s best interests in mind. He always seems ready to leave or spend the remainder of his life as a cat, as long as that means Sol-ah will be happy. I’m unsure how he’ll interpret Soo-pyung’s words from the final scene. Will he just get up and leave, thinking that he is tying Sol-ah down?
He and Jae-seon have an interesting dynamic where it SEEMS like Jae-seon is the alpha, but Hong Jo is actually the one who’s in charge. While Jae-seon takes Sol-ah’s words at face value, Hong Jo knows what she needs. He showed that when he criticized Jae-seon for leaving Sol-ah alone to deal with the aftermath of the truth, knowing that she needed someone by her side at that moment. I’m glad it was Guk-bong who’d found her, because it was nice to see the step-siblings bond and he is such an impartial third party to the situation that his opinion helped Sol-ah sort through her thoughts.
The highlight of this episode had to be Ji-eun and Doo-shik. They’re shaping up to be a great couple and I love that she’s gotten a little more direct with him so that he understands her. I didn’t exactly enjoy watching Doo-shik treat her coldly after finding out about her feelings, but am invested in this pairing now that he’s intrigued by her and resolved some misunderstandings. He actively tries to connect with her since he knows she won’t make a move. He’s like a puppy that keeps coming back for more, and that whole library sticky note scene was just so cute! He’s trying to communicate using the methods that Ji-eun uses, and that’s a great step towards developing a healthy relationship. Ji-eun’s deadpan humor is difficult to read and she got me as good as she got Doo-shik’s entire family. She is such a sweetheart and I’m just so happy that her love is being reciprocated!
- Premiere Watch: 365: Repeat the Year, A Piece of Your Mind, Welcome, A Couple’s World, Unique Chef Moon, Rugal
- Cat-human L falls in love with puppy-eyed Shin Ye-eun in KBS’s Welcome
- First script read for fantasy rom-com drama Welcome
- Seo Ji-hoon to join L, Shin Ye-eun in KBS fantasy rom-com Welcome
- L confirms role in upcoming KBS fantasy rom-com