Welcome: Episodes 5-6
Our resident kitty gets to roam around a bit more freely, slowly learning about human thoughts, actions, and emotions. Meanwhile, our heroine may need to reconsider how much energy she spends on accommodating the people around her.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Hong Jo struts purposefully into the kitchen, interrupting Jae-seon and Sol-ah before they can kiss. Clinging onto Jae-seon, it takes a moment before Sol-ah realizes, “There he is! The village idiot.” She’s creeped out by the fact that he’s in her house after following her the entire day.
When confronted by Jae-seon, Hong Jo tells him, “Get out.” Sol-ah’s incredulous that he’s acting like he lives here, then takes a call from Bang Shil who asks, “Did my son come home, by any chance?”
Her son Guk-bong comes and goes as he pleases, and she’d just received an e-mail that vaguely mentioned “going home.” She describes him as dashingly handsome with milky-white skin, and tends to use the balcony instead of the front door – Hong Jo checks off all the boxes.
Thinking that he’s Guk-bong who apparently doesn’t own a phone, Sol-ah shoves hers into Hong Jo’s reluctant hands. Through speakerphone, Bang Shil asks after him but Hong Jo doesn’t utter a word until the topic of fish comes up. Sol-ah learns that they were born the same year but Guk-bong has an earlier birthday, so she hesitantly calls out, “…oppa?”
Today’s quote is by David Levy. “Comets are like cats: they have tails, and do precisely what they want.”
After Jae-seon leaves, Sol-ah calls Hong Jo “Bang Guk-bong” and he’s suddenly able to speak in a full sentence. “Don’t call me that.” She’s offended by his use of informal language and tells him off for following her around, not introducing himself, and kicking her friend out. He further gets on her nerves by commenting that she and Jae-seon aren’t friends.
Sol-ah remembers Hong Jo was left outside and heads out to find him. While she’s momentarily distracted by the flickering entrance light, Hong Jo transforms back into a cat. Hearing a meow, Sol-ah turns around and sees her furry friend, but “Guk-bong” is nowhere to be found.
The following day at Sonamu, Sol-ah tells Doo-shik , “I think that guy’s a cat,” noting that a lot of people around her seem to be cats. Doo-shik sniffs her jacket and calls her out for smelling funny.
As she was getting ready earlier, the human Hong Jo had used Sol-ah’s iron, hair straightener, and toaster to heat up the dried fish snacks sent by Bang Shil. Heh, he lights up with such happiness when he eats his fish!
Sol-ah shares that her housemate is like a child and she feels responsible for taking care of him. “You’ve always been taking care of your dad, and now you’re going to take care of his girlfriend’s son too?”
Doo-shik cites her sense of need to care for others as the reason why Sol-ah’s surrounded by cats who need her. He subtly gestures towards Jae-seon as he adds that she in turn has nobody to take care of her.
Jae-seon hands Sol-ah the yellow umbrella that Hong Jo had left behind, and she grumbles about him using her things. When she wonders if she should find somewhere new to live, Doo-shik is adamantly against her having to move. He decides that he needs to see this guy in person, inviting himself and Jae-seon over to intimidate her new housemate tonight.
Excited about having Jae-seon over, Sol-ah busies herself with cleaning the house. She notifies Hong Jo that she’s having guests and enlists his help with taking out the trash. Heh, as she vacuums his room, Hong Jo scampers away in fear.
In the yard, Sol-ah explains how to recycle but Hong Jo gets distracted and sits in a cardboard box, extremely pleased with himself. At this sight, Sol-ah awkwardly excuses herself to go grocery shopping, but Hong Jo tags along.
When Hong Jo finds the fish section, he beelines for a tank and, with his bare hands, grabs an enormous live fish. As Sol-ah freaks out, he explains, “Hong Jo likes fish.” He pouts when she returns his catch, then excitedly grabs boxes of pre-packaged salmon…for the cat, of course. They cash out, but he has no money so Sol-ah spots him and mumbles, “I’ll just have to bear with him.”
That night, Jae-seon arrives first and tries to feed kitty Hong Jo a treat despite his allergies. He’d taken medication prior to coming, and Sol-ah scoffs, “That’s true love.” When Hong Jo runs away from him, she mutters under her breath, “I guess we both struggle with love.”
Doo-shik arrives with his chest puffed out and immediately yells for “Guk-bong” to show himself. Sol-ah laughs at his ridiculous intimidation tactic, and has to break it to him that Guk-bong’s not home. He reverts back to his normal self, taking out the bundle of clothes he’d stuffed in his jacket to create an illusion of muscles.
The friends drink the night away and have a ball reminiscing their old memories, watched by a human Hong Jo from the staircase. Doo-shik notices that Jae-seon still wears their high school art club ring, and it reminds them of how much Sol-ah cherished hers. She’d broken her finger while snowboarding once, begging them not to cut her ring and to take her finger instead.
Doo-shik drunkenly heads upstairs looking for the bathroom, accidentally entering Guk-bong’s room and coming face-to-face with human Hong Jo. He apologizes and leaves, but on second thought, opens the door to confront him. He only sees the cat this time, and is left confused.
Downstairs, Jae-seon agrees with Sol-ah that they’re the only people who can make him laugh this much. She asks why he ran away if he was going to come back, bringing up the day of their kiss in the park.
Post-kiss, Jae-seon had told her to go to work, and that he’d pick her up from her place later that night. They were both happy and acknowledged that something was happening between them. She’d waited for him in the cold but he never showed, and didn’t even read her texts.
Jae-seon apologizes, but Sol-ah calls him out for sounding so indifferent. She asks if his indifference is why he keeps running away from things, but thanks him anyway for coming back to her side, shyly wondering if something will happen between them again. He finally speaks up and reaffirms that to him, she’s Kim Sol-ah.
Hong Jo (who’s been eavesdropping) is reminded of Doo-shik finding this answer meaningless, but Jae-seon explains to Sol-ah that titles like “friend” or “lover” can work for anyone, but only she can be “Kim Sol-ah.” He looks in her eyes and says, “There’s only one of you.”
Hong Jo concludes that the human language helps people understand each other, but it also causes misunderstandings. Sol-ah hums happily after the boys leave, concluding that Jae-seon meant she’s the only one for him. Watching her from afar, Hong Jo thinks, “He means that you can’t be anything more to him.”
Later that night, Sol-ah contemplates whether or not to upload the first chapter of her webtoon, Helpless Beodeul Love. She grabs her lucky art club ring and explains to Hong Jo the cat that she’d won a drawing contest wearing it. With her ring on, she posts the chapter and wonders if Jae-seon will see it, hoping that nobody she knows will read her story.
While she fawns over her ring the next day, Doo-shik announces that he read her webtoon. He knew she was the author because the title was a dead giveaway, so he’d sent it to his entire family to increase Sol-ah’s views.
At work, all of their coworkers are reading Sol-ah’s webtoon. She pulls Doo-shik aside to chide him for sharing – what if Vice President Park finds out and thinks she’s planning on quitting? They notice Ji-eun reading the chapter and she makes eye contact with Sol-ah, seemingly wanting to say something.
Ji-eun gives Sol-ah a look before heading downstairs for coffee with Vice President Park. Freaking out that Ji-eun will tell on her, Sol-ah drags Doo-shik with her to stalk the ladies.
They approach Ji-eun once she’s alone to explain that Sol-ah only works on it after work, but Ji-eun’s focused on Sol-ah’s ring. When asked if she told Vice President Park about the webtoon, Ji-eun asks, “Why would I tell her? Because I was given a job? Is that what you think?” She makes steady eye contact like a fierce cat and intimidates Sol-ah, the whimpering puppy.
Doo-shik and Sol-ah discuss what her words could’ve meant, but it’s difficult to understand “cat language.” Sol-ah blames Doo-shik for telling everyone, and is horrified to learn that he also sent Jae-seon the link.
Sol-ah heads to Sonamu that night to ask if Jae-seon has read it, but before he can answer, he sees Hong Jo in cat form inside the café. He sternly tells her that it’s dangerous to leave her window open, and she leaves feeling bad about being scolded.
As she works on another chapter at home, Sol-ah asks aloud, “Why did he suddenly shut the door to his heart?” When she falls asleep, a human Hong Jo scrolls through the webtoon where its protagonist sits outside a locked door, wondering, “Why won’t he open up?” Hong Jo is unsure what this means.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Hong Jo takes a private Hangeul lesson from Dae-sung, the young boy from the fish-shaped bread stall. Dae-sung takes Hong Jo around the neighborhood to practice reading store signage, but Hong Jo stops and is mesmerized by the grilled fish at Doo-shik’s parents’ restaurant.
Having no money, Hong Jo proudly asks Dae-sung to “bear with him,” remembering that Sol-ah used this phrase when paying for their groceries. Little Dae-sung bluntly says, “You should learn manners before learning the alphabet.” Pfft. He explains maturely that it’s rude to ask people for money.
Dae-sung must be the neighborhood baby, because he’s invited inside for a meal by Doo-shik’s parents and teaches Hong Jo that this is what it means to look out for your neighbors. Doo-shik’s mom learns that they study the alphabet and basic manners together, and she and her husband assume that the teacher in this relationship is Hong Jo. Heh.
At the office, Sol-ah’s disappointed by the abysmal number of views on her webtoon. Doo-shik and Sol-ah hear Ji-eun shaking her leg nervously from her side of the desk. She’s playing with her bangs (and wearing her art club ring), and when she glances up at the friends, Doo-shik thinks it’s because she caught Sol-ah slacking off. He decides to get on her good side by offering her a coupon for a free coffee at Sonamu.
Sol-ah trips when she gets home because the entrance light has gone out. Holding a mirror, she tries to inspect her injury. She asks Hong Jo the cat if he’s showing concern for her, but he speeds away and chases the light deflected from Sol-ah’s mirror. She chuckles as they play together and muses, “No cat would hug someone who’s in pain.”
Doo-shik invites Sol-ah to Sonamu later that night, since he’s taking their coworkers to check it out. She trips again before leaving the house, which Hong Jo notices. The Nalsaem Designers head into Sonamu, but fail to see Ji-eun who’s already sitting in the corner, having visited to redeem her coupon.
Jae-seon joins the designers and they talk about their art club days. Doo-shik brags that Sol-ah and Jae-seon received bronze and silver medals respectively in the national art competition. He and Sol-ah can’t quite recall the other person who’d won a prize from their school.
Nodding towards Ji-eun in the corner, Jae-seon smiles, “She’s right there.” The designers are all shocked that she’s been there all along, and are floored when Jae-seon reveals that Ji-eun was also in their club.
They assume she won gold, but she timidly squeaks that it was actually the grand prize. Back in high school when Doo-shik had criticized Sol-ah for drawing Beodeul Love again, Ji-eun was sitting right behind them. She joins them at their table now, and Doo-shik asks why she didn’t say anything. “I did.”
We see recent events from Ji-eun’s point of view. After reading the webtoon, she was trying to convey to Sol-ah that she knew what Beodeul Love was. She’d known what Sol-ah’s ring had meant so when she was playing with her bangs earlier in the day, she was silently willing Doo-shik and Sol-ah to notice her ring, trying to tell them, “We were in the same art club.”
Happy to reconnect with their fellow classmate, Doo-shik wonders how Jae-seon was able to recognize Ji-eun. Sol-ah lovingly narrates that this is why she likes him. “He seems cold and indifferent, but he’s watching everything, even things that other people overlook. Like a cat.”
She wonders again if Jae-seon has read her webtoon, and right on cue, her coworkers ask why Beodeul Love suddenly closed the doors. Not knowing it’s based on Sol-ah’s own love story, they start to discuss and end up bashing the character for being annoying, continuing to bother him despite being rejected.
Doo-shik notices how uncomfortable Sol-ah is with the situation. “I like a woman who looks after me,” he declares. Ji-eun immediately tries to offer him a macaron, but he’s already grabbed one for himself. Aww.
Jae-seon thinks that Sol-ah is too obsessed with the story of Beodeul Love and hopes that she’ll be telling a different story. Sol-ah’s disheartened, and meekly disagrees with her coworkers that it’s a cliché damsel-in-distress tale. Doo-shik attempts to change the subject by announcing that her view count went up, but the comments are harsh and with tears threatening to spill, Sol-ah excuses herself to head home.
She notices that mirrors have been placed strategically around the house to reflect light to the entrance and finds the human Hong Jo reading her webtoon. Snatching her laptop, she calls her webtoon a cliché fantasy about a man saving a woman.
Hong Jo disagrees, saying that it’s actually Beodeul Love who was saved. The girl knocked on his door everyday to save him from being locked inside. Sol-ah’s touched that someone finally understands her story, and suggests to grab a drink. (Heh, Hong Jo gets milk and hesitates to drink it, but gulps it down upon hearing that it’s lactose-free.)
Sol-ah wonders how Hong Jo got the idea to reflect light in the doorway, and chuckles that he’s just like her cat when she sees him sporting a milk mustache. Hong Jo correctly guesses that Jae-seon is who Beodeul Love is based on.
Jae-seon reads the webtoon in his workshop, feeling bothered and thinking back on the day of their kiss. He’d been on his way to meet Sol-ah that night, smiling happily with a handcrafted present in hand. However, he came across something that gave him pause and cut communication with Sol-ah, who waited endlessly for him in the cold.
Sol-ah tells this exact story to Hong Jo, who wonders why she likes someone who keeps disappearing. She defends Jae-seon – he always comes back – but Hong Jo asks, “Isn’t it you who came back?” She likens herself and Jae-seon to planets that can’t stay away from each other, but Hong Jo introspectively notes that it means they can’t get close to each other either.
Affected, Sol-ah says that she’s a dog. She gets left behind by Jae-seon but always returns with a wagging tail, waiting to be let in. Hong Jo comments that Jae-seon isn’t thankful for that, and his words must’ve sparked something within Sol-ah because she ends up at Sonamu to confront Jae-seon.
She asks Jae-seon not to lead her on with his actions. “If you’re sick of being Beodeul love, then don’t act like Beodeul Love.” Jae-seon invites her inside to talk, but tears are brimming as Sol-ah says he shouldn’t have confused her by saying that she’s the only Kim Sol-ah.
Jae-seon claims that she’s really special, and wants to return to how things were before. She says no this time, realizing that he runs away because she’s always there for him. He denies this and she cries, “Then why can’t it be me?”
He hardens, asking her about her scarf. It seems completely out of context to Sol-ah, who assumes he’s changing the subject. He turns away from their conversation but she doesn’t let him off easily this time, sobbing that she wants to understand why they can’t be together. She cries, “Your silence used to comfort me, but not anymore,” and heads home, vowing to no longer be a dog.
Jae-seon notices Hong Jo sitting outside and approaches him. “She abandoned you.” The night of their date, he’d found Hong Jo on a chair, wrapped in Sol-ah’s scarf. On the chair was a sign that said, “Take it if you need it.” He’d declined Sol-ah’s call and picked up the kitten, leaving the present he’d made her behind.
In the present, Hong Jo runs away from Jae-seon’s touch and enters the house to find Sol-ah sobbing in the entryway. She reaches for the cat and Hong Jo slinks away, quoting her earlier statement that no cat would hug someone who’s in pain. He returns to her side in his human form, and she allows herself to sink into his shoulders, comforted by his embrace as she sobs. Hong Jo thinks to himself, “A human can hug.”
Many, many years ago, a nun had found an abandoned baby outside a church with nothing but a blanket and a note. In his workshop, Jae-seon now reads that exact note with a heavy heart.
I thought there would be a twist as to why Jae-seon disappeared, but it was as we’d predicted – he had assumed Sol-ah had abandoned a kitten. I have a few problems with this, but after seeing the final scene, I can understand why he was so deeply affected by it. He has lived his entire life knowing that he was left on a doorstep with just a note, so I get that he’d find someone who is willing to abandon a kitten to be appalling.
What I don’t understand is how he came to the conclusion that Sol-ah was the one who abandoned Hong Jo. As viewers, we can see how sweet and caring she is. As one of Sol-ah’s closest friends (and someone who fell in love with her), he should know even better than we do that she would never abandon a kitten like that. Doo-shik pointed out in this episode that Sol-ah is always getting involved in helping others. It’s obviously a huge character trait of hers, and I can’t wrap my head around the fact that he saw the scarf as evidence and didn’t think that there were many other reasons how that could’ve gotten there.
My second problem with his disappearing act is that he didn’t give her a chance to explain. Even if she DID abandon a kitten cruelly in the cold, why didn’t he call her out on it? Why not communicate that what she did was wrong, in which case she would’ve explained the situation clearly? I’m just so frustrated with his brooding silence all the time. Unless he starts to communicate with her more, I cannot root for him. It seems like Jae-seon still has lingering feelings for Sol-ah so I’m hoping that similar to how Hong Jo sparked realization in Sol-ah, he can help Jae-seon as well.
I really do love Doo-shik and Sol-ah’s friendship. He’s attentive to her needs, knows her inside out, and is as supportive as a person can be. (Get you a friend who will send your webtoon to all his friends and family!) He is just as sweet as Sol-ah is, and honestly, I think he and Sol-ah would make an adorable couple. It stood out to me that he wanted Sol-ah to stand her ground and not back down when she contemplated moving because of her new housemate. She’s always the one adjusting herself to others, Jae-seon especially. What I want is for Sol-ah to be able to express herself to her partner without being on edge that he’ll disappear at any given moment.
Although Hong Jo did a really good job dissecting Sol-ah’s current situation, I feel that his language skills are quite inconsistent. He seemed to only be able to say what he has heard before, copying mannerisms like using informal speech and using phrases that he remembers (like when Sol-ah says that she’ll have to “bear with” him). That makes sense to me, because he’s been living life as a cat. But then he’s suddenly able to read and understand the deeper meaning behind her webtoon, and I find that quite hard to believe. He even somehow knows that orbiting planets don’t touch? That cat sure has a high IQ! I know that it’s a show, and more-so, a fantasy drama that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but I find myself wondering how he’s able to know all of these things instead of focusing on the storyline itself.
I think to thoroughly enjoy this show, we must just throw logic out the window. We just have to view Hong Jo as a being, primarily a cat, that loves his owner and wants to help her in any way he can. If it’s through his human form that can communicate and get through to her, and comfort her when she’s sad, then so be it! That being said, I enjoy Hong Jo most when he’s not being a stalker man-cat who watches Sol-ah in human form without her knowledge. He’s great when they interact (that supermarket scene had me cackling!!) and is absolutely wonderful when he’s with Dae-sung. I’m hoping that he starts to get out of the house more with his cute little life mentor and Sol-ah, because those are the moments that make me look forward to seeing more of this show!
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