Was It Love: Episode 3
Life becomes more complicated for our protagonist as she’s saddled with an enormous debt and tasked with a nearly impossible quest. Her only option is to recruit her ex-lover, but that’s easier said than done. Hounded by a scary yet sexy creditor as well as a revenge-seeking, successful author, our heroine has no shortage of problems or men.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
During that Christmas Eve eight years ago, little Ha-nee learned that thinking of her dad made her mom cry. Ever since, she made the same wish every year: not to be curious of her dad. However, present-day Ha-nee admits to herself that her wish never came true as she clutches a book claiming that the man standing outside her house is not just her homeroom teacher but her dad, as well.
While Ha-nee goes through this crisis at home, Ae-jung meets with Dae-oh. Rather than negotiate their contract, Ae-jung notifies him of her intentions to make the film since this is her story, too. Dae-oh agrees to consider her proposal but has a question for her: “Where have you been?”
Ae-jung uses this as leverage and promises to tell him why they broke up if he works with her. Dae-oh scoffs at her bargaining chip since he doesn’t care about the reason that much. He claims that he’s best-selling author Cheon Eok-man and not the Dae-oh she used to know. He suggests a new angle for her and offers to sign the contract if she earns his pity.
She smiles at his mocking words and throws her drink in his face as her response. Dae-oh yells at her when she tries to leave, but Ae-jung shouts right back. She tells him that she didn’t come here to beg but to make a movie. She points out that his debut story is technically incomplete because it only has his perspective, so if he ever wants to finish it, he needs her help.
Ryu Jin calls his manager to save him since he’s stuck in a public restroom—a crowd of fans waiting for their oppa to return from his poop. Manager Myung asks who locked him up, and Ryu Jin thinks back to Ae-jung and replies, “The one that got away.”
Yeon-woo has dinner at Ae-jung’s house, and throughout the meal, Ha-nee shoots furtive glances in his direction. She tries to find any hints that might indicate his relationship with her mom, but Grandma stops her to ask questions of her own.
When Yeon-woo tells them that he’s still single and looking for a room, Grandma jumps at the chance and offers their spare room for rent. Ha-nee mentions getting permission from Ae-jung first, but Grandma waves aside her comment.
After dinner, Ha-nee chases after Yeon-woo in the streets since he forgot his phone. She asks about his relationship with her mom, which sends him down memory lane. Holding a pair of baby shoes, Yeon-woo pounded on the doors of a closed bathhouse. Smiling at Ha-nee, he tells her that Ae-jung is someone he wants to take responsibility for.
When Ae-jung comes home, both Grandma and Ha-nee inform her of recent events, but she doesn’t hear a word. Ae-jung asks for some space to calm down, and in her room, she screams. Grandma and Ha-nee stare wide-eyed, wondering who made her so angry.
Speaking of whom, Dae-oh looks for his contract with Thumb Film, and during the search, he discovers an old picture. The photo takes him back fifteen years to the day he confessed to Ae-jung.
After hearing his confession, Ae-jung pushed Dae-oh into the stream, and he glumly wondered if this meant she turned him down. She mumbled about not outright rejecting him per se, so Dae-oh put out his hand and asked her to grab him if she accepts. Ae-jung stared at his outstretch arm, looking conflicted, but in the end, she slapped his hand and walked away.
The next morning, the group gathered for a photo, and still awkward about last night, Ae-jung squirmed through the crowd to stand away from Dae-oh. Undeterred, he pushed his way through to be right next to her and said that he’ll grab her hand, instead. Ae-jung stared at him in shock, while from the center of the group, Ryu Jin watched them both.
Though Manager Myung successfully breaks Ryu Jin out of the bathroom, the damage has been done. His “two-hour constipation” incident is plastered all over social media, and “Lucifer” (aka, CEO Song) calls Manager Myung to yell at him for not taking care of their star. Ryu Jin is mortified about everyone talking about his bathroom troubles, but his expression changes when he sees a picture of Ae-jung’s back in one of the photos.
Dae-oh holds a special lecture at a college and tells the students that understanding emotions is key to good writing. As he goes through the different types of emotions, the scene changes to Ae-jung who puts them on display. She thrashes around while looking for part-time jobs that barely make a dent into her large debt, and hangs her head at the bank when her loan request is denied.
During the lecture, a student asks about his debut work but then throws a curveball by questioning him about the female’s emotions. She mentions the lack of insight on her character, which reminds Dae-oh of Ae-jung’s claim that he needs her to finish the story. Afterwards, Dae-oh is still irritated by the last question and drives to go see Ae-jung with his contract in hand.
Meanwhile, Pa-do waits outside Thumb Film with his right-hand man, Director Kim, who tells him that Ae-jung was kicked out by the owner because of missed rent payments. Pa-do thinks back to his encounter with Ae-jung at the hospital, which triggers an older memory of the woman who looks just like her. Not only are the two similar in appearance, but the mystery woman told Pa-do the same thing as well: she’s on the brink of collapsing.
Ae-jung grumbles while on her way to meet Pa-do, but as soon as she sees him, she forces herself to smile and greets him with enthusiasm. She suggests moving to a café when Dae-oh saunters onto the scene and gives Pa-do the stink eye. Pa-do recognizes Dae-oh as Writer Cheon and introduces himself.
At school, Ha-nee asks Dong-chan if he would recognize his dad if they suddenly met out of the blue, but Dong-chan doesn’t know how to answer because he already lives with his dad. Ha-nee clenches her teeth in exasperation, and explains to her unimaginative friend that she’s looking for her dad. In need of more objective data, Ha-nee creates a “paternity checklist” disguised as a tenant questionnaire and hands it to Yeon-woo to fill out.
Ae-jung sits at a café with her creditor across the table and her pain-in-butt author/ex-boyfriend next to her. When Pa-do asks if the terms have been negotiated, she tells him that she isn’t going to make Writer Cheon’s movie. Dae-oh objects to her wording since she technically cannot make it because he’s going to sue her.
Turning to Pa-do, Dae-oh asks what their relationship is, so Pa-do explains everything, including the 1.05 billion won debt she owes him. Ignoring Dae-oh’s shocked face, Ae-jung promises to pay Pa-do and storms out of the café.
Now that Dae-oh is all caught up, Pa-do asks him about his relationship to Ae-jung. Dae-oh calls himself someone closer to her than Pa-do, but the loan shark adds, “Though not enough to trust her.” Before he leaves, Pa-do tells Dae-oh that Ae-jung lost a lot of things because of him.
On her way home, Ae-jung finds an illegally parked bicycle outside her house and barges inside to inform the others. She stops at the doorway at the sight of a pair of strange shoes, and soon discovers the owner of both: Yeon-woo.
Ae-jung holds a family meeting and scolds Grandma for letting in a tenant without her approval. Grandma was hoping to play matchmaker, but Ae-jung cries about the rumors this will cause. All the while, Yeon-woo listens with a crestfallen face, and he is unable to say anything when Ae-jung apologizes to him and leaves the house.
Ae-jung turns to Sook-hee for solace, but without a proper outlet, she lets her anger out on her for allowing this to happen. However, after hearing Sook-hee’s explanation—their rent is overdue and Ae-jung has bigger money issues—she realizes her mistake and apologizes for the outburst. Sook-hee seems to accept her apology as she moves next to Ae-jung and lets her cry into her shoulder.
Dae-oh sits at his desk, still bothered by Pa-do’s words, and wonders why Ae-jung is not living happily after marrying a rich man. Suddenly, Editor Hong comes into his house screaming and announces a new offer from Hollywood for his debut work.
While Dae-oh hears some good news, the same can’t be said for Ryu Jin’s side. Apparently, his team jumped the gun when they bragged about his casting because instead of the lead role, Ryu Jin got the part of “bodyguard number three.” Definitely, not the same as the bodyguard.
CEO Song yells at her employees for messing up, but Ryu Jin makes a grand entrance and defends them. He claims that even small parts are meaningful and tells the CEO not to scold the staff since the problem can’t be fixed… even by her.
Taking the bait, CEO Song reminds him of who she is, so he challenges her to make things right if she’s that confident in her abilities. Ryu Jin leaves the office amidst whispers of praise, but once he turns the corner, he crumples to the floor and cries.
Ae-jung spots Grandma folding laundry in her room, and feeling guilty about earlier, she joins her as if nothing happened. Grandma scowls at first, but lets out a sigh, unable to stay angry. She feels somewhat responsible for her daughter’s situation—wondering if her fate as a widow went to her as well—but Ae-jung calls it nonsense.
Grandma tells Ae-jung that her stuff was moved out of the attic, and in her room, Ae-jung looks through her box of memories. She takes out an old poster of her graduation film festival, and remembers the time she produced a film with Dae-oh as the director and Ryu Jin as the lead actor. The three of them planned to go to Hollywood with their movie, and Ae-jung smiles as she watches her younger self in the behind-the-scenes video.
Speaking of Hollywood, Ryu Jin shoves his face with pudding—clearly not over the snub—while Dae-oh shares his doubts about his second Hollywood offer. He wonders if he would be a fool to give up this chance, but to Ryu Jin, his worries sound like bragging.
When he hears the project is “Love Doesn’t Exist,” Ryu Jin asks Dae-oh if he’s over Ae-jung. Dae-oh says that he is, firmly believing that she’s the one who’ll regret losing him, but Ryu Jin disagrees. Just like Ae-jung, he calls the debut work incomplete, which means Dae-oh will be the sorry one in the end.
Bloody and bruised, CEO Wang begs for his life, but the thug leader orders his minions to drag the CEO out into the ocean. Right then, headlights blind the group, and in slow motion, Pa-do walks towards them with Director Kim at his side.
Director Kim announces their duty to protect their borrowers until full payment, but the thug leader laughs and pulls out a knife. Pa-do intervenes and quickly disarms the thug before launching himself at the rest. As Pa-do singlehandedly defeats the thugs, the leader grabs another knife and charges at him. Pa-do grabs the blade without a moment’s hesitation and flips the thug over his shoulder.
CEO Wang witnesses the entire event, and seeing his chance, he runs away. Pa-do stops his right-hand man from pursuing, which makes Director Kim wonder if it’s because of Ae-jung. While bandaging Pa-do’s wound, Director Kim comments on his strange behavior, but Pa-do doesn’t answer and just smiles.
With so many people telling him that his first work is unfinished, Dae-oh weighs his options as he stares at his old college photo. In the end, he balls up the picture and throws it in the trash.
In the morning, Ae-jung looks up at the clear sky and kicks the ground since nothing about her predicament has changed. She runs into Yeon-woo who’s out on a run, and he offers to buy her a drink. As they sit outside the corner store, she apologizes for the other day, but Yeon-woo tells her not to since his actions were careless.
Wanting to cheer up her up, Yeon-woo tells her about his good dream last night and hands her a candy. After they part, Ae-jung sits alone at the bus stop, lost in thought. Eventually, she gathers her wits and eats Yeon-woo’s candy before heading off.
Dong-chan notes Yeon-woo’s high score on Ha-nee’s paternity test, but she still feels like something is missing. Since she can’t ask him directly—it would be too embarrassing if it turned out to be false—Dong-chan suggests getting a real DNA test, but those are too expensive for a middle schooler.
A lightbulb goes off in Ha-nee’s head, and after school, she brings Dong-chan to her house to act as lookout. Ha-nee finds her mom’s old cellphone, and from there, she discovers a number in the call history. She checks to see if it’s Yeon-woo, but it doesn’t match.
Having a meltdown, Ryu Jin pops candies into his mouth until Manager Myung rushes to his side and stops him. He tells Ryu Jin the good news—CEO Song is flying to Hollywood to sort this all out—but it’s not enough to completely calm the actor.
While Manager Myung leaves to buy him some medicine, Ryu Jin receives a call from an unknown number. He picks it up, thinking that it might be a reporter, but the caller hangs up. Instead, they send him a text message, and it’s from Ha-nee, introducing herself as Ae-jung’s daughter.
Dae-oh meets with a potential Hollywood buyer who wants to draw up a contract as soon as possible. They talk about grabbing some drinks, but Dae-oh’s attention turns to Ae-jung who just walked through the hotel lobby.
Ae-jung meets with a couple of studio executives who want to buy her copyright contract of Writer Cheon’s work. They argue that Ae-jung is too inexperienced for this project, but she shouts back, “I can do it!”
She asks if they can buy her instead of the contract, but the studio president doesn’t even know her name. Interrupting their conversation, Dae-oh appears behind Ae-jung and ruffles some feathers when he calls the other studio a “no-name.”
The president asks who this random stranger is, but soon regrets her words when Editor Hong comes looking for Writer Cheon. He asks Dae-oh what he’s doing, and he replies, “Signing a contract with Producer Noh Ae-jung.”
Grabbing her wrist, he pulls her out of the café, but once outside, Ae-jung frees herself. She asks if he’s playing a game and accuses him of tormenting her for revenge. Dae-oh tells her that it’s none of those things. He genuinely wants to her to produce this movie if she can really finish his story as she claims.
He tells her to work with him if she’s confident and extends his hand, just like he did when he confessed all those years ago. However, unlike back then, Ae-jung reaches out and takes his hand. As if to signal their new relationship, the fountains go off, and from a distance, Yeon-woo watches them. Unaware of their audience, the ex-lovers smile at each other as water pours down on them.
According to an interview with the writer of Was It Love, the purpose of this show is to bring jollity and laughter to those who are living hard lives. It’s a moment of “luxury” and escapism for viewers as they watch Ae-jung rekindle her love life with four potential suitors who each have their own distinct charm. In this sense, I think the show fulfills what it sets out to do, and for those who need a light watch, this is the show for them. There are many faults with this drama—most of them stemming from the writing—but despite all its shortcomings, I must admit that there’s an addicting quality to the show. If you can get past some of the problems, the show is actually quite entertaining.
Granted, I won’t be the first to defend Was It Love as a great (or even good) drama, and for the most part, I agree with the criticisms lodged at it. The acting can be awkward at parts, and the scenarios feel a bit stale (do we still need romantic leads wrist grabbing their ladies?). However, there’s a certain charm to a show that doesn’t care about being realistic and completely owns up to its cheesiness. Since everything is a bit over-the-top and predictable, there’s an endearing quality to it all once expectations are adjusted. Overall, it’s a breezy watch with a plethora of male characters to appeal to a wide range of tastes. Is loan shark with a heart of gold your catnip or are noona romances more your cup of tea? Fear not, this show has both! Though fair warning, not all ships will sail because, let’s be honest, we all know who the end-game is.
Though romance is at the core of the show, my favorite parts so far have been about family and friendships. Ha-nee and Dong-chan are adorable, and their little side-story to find her dad is cute. I like how Ha-nee acts like she’s so mature but her ideas are just as silly as Dong-chan’s. Besides the middle school students, I also love the friendship portrayed between Ae-jung and Sook-hee. They don’t get a lot of screen time, but that quiet moment at her bar in this episode really made me wish that they did. While all the men in her life are causing her headaches at the moment, Ae-jung is able to confide with and find comfort in her friend. On paper, it’s an odd relationship (a tenant and her landlord), but clearly, there’s mutual respect and understanding between the two women that allows them to sit comfortably in silence as the other cries. It’s a nice reminder that friendships can be as (or even more) fulfilling and worthwhile as a romantic one.
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