Was It Love: Episode 11
The truth behind our couple’s breakup is finally revealed in its entirety, and it’s a messy tangle of misunderstandings and manipulations. However, learning the truth doesn’t mean the past can be changed. After fourteen years of hurt and resentment, it won’t be easy for our main couple to get back together again, especially since it’s no longer just about them.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
All eyes turn to Dae-oh as he asks if he’s the father. Having put the clues together, he confronts Ae-jung, but instead of denying it, she asks what he’ll do about it if he is. Grandma realizes who the real father is and grabs a garbage bag to chuck at Dae-oh.
Chaos ensues, but Ae-jung screams at all of them to stop. She says that nothing will change no matter who the father is and orders everyone to keep this a secret from Ha-nee. She tells Dae-oh to never show his face here again and storms into the house. Though Dae-oh tries to follow, Yeon-woo blocks his path.
Ae-jung locks herself in her room and thinks back to 2006. She searched for an abortion clinic in secret and lied to her mom that she would be away for a couple of days to work on a project. Insisting that her daughter eat something before she left, Grandma sat Ae-jung down for a meal, and the sight of seaweed soup nearly brought Ae-jung to tears (it’s a dish that women often eat after giving birth). Later that evening, Ae-jung called Dae-oh, but when he didn’t pick up, she sent him a message, asking to meet.
In the present, Dae-oh wants Ryu Jin to explain why he showed up at Ae-jung’s house, so the actor tells him that he came to take responsibility for Ha-nee. Dae-oh calls him crazy, but Ryu Jin doesn’t see why he can’t. He accuses Dae-oh for being unaware of his own daughter all these years, and Dae-oh finally blows up at that comment, grabbing his friend by the lapels.
Ryu Jin doesn’t back down and tells Dae-oh that Ae-jung saw him with another woman. Dae-oh can’t believe Ryu Jin would say that to him when he knows how much he loved her, but Ryu Jin no longer cares about Dae-oh’s sincerity. He tells Dae-oh to stop whining because ultimately, he was the one who didn’t recognize Ae-jung’s pain.
After their confrontation, Ryu Jin finds CEO Song to deal with her next. Expecting his appearance, CEO Song asks if he finally learned the truth, and Ryu Jin looks over the DNA test result which says he isn’t the father.
She offers to forget about this incident if he takes her hand, but Ryu Jin tells her that he still wants to take responsibility for Ae-jung and Ha-nee. He warns her not to test his patience again since he’s starting to really hate her, and he leaves her seething.
Ae-jung receives a text from Dae-oh and shows up at the park to talk to him. She admits that he’s the father and explains the reason for their breakup. Near the end of their relationship, they fought everyday which was also when she realized she was pregnant. She went to house to tell him the news but found another woman there.
Dae-oh seems to finally remember the incident she’s referring to, but before he can explain, Ae-jung tells him that she decided to raise their child by herself. He asks how she could keep it a secret from him, but Ae-jung takes offense to his accusation because she tried contacting him.
According to Ae-jung, he was the one who ignored her last text, but Dae-oh claims to have never gotten one. Frustrated, she tells him to forget the whole thing because it was her choice to live like this, but Dae-oh points out that Ha-nee didn’t get a choice. She tells him not to get conceited because his presence was never missed.
Grandma informs Sook-hee of last night’s events, so Sook-hee searches up Dae-oh online. Just from his picture, she deduces his personality: pretentious but honest. As the two of them read his profile, they click a link to his book concert and are shocked to see Ae-jung. Even strangers think their argument looks like a “lovers’ quarrel,” and Sook-hee astutely notes how both parties have not fully moved on from their relationship.
In his car, Dae-oh waits at a red light when a pregnant woman crosses the street. He suddenly sees Ae-jung in her place, imagining how hard it must have been for her.
Meanwhile, Ryu Jin is moving out of his apartment when Ae-jung visits him. Confused about Dae-oh’s claim to not get her text, she asks Ryu Jin if he knows anything, and he confesses to deleting the text and call log.
Flashing back, Dae-oh was drinking with Ryu Jin the night Ae-jung called him, but at that crucial moment, Dae-oh stepped out to smoke and missed it. When she texted him afterwards, Ryu Jin grabbed the phone and deleted the message before his friend could see it.
In the present, Ryu Jin tells Ae-jung that he loved her, and even now, he doesn’t regret his decision. He says that he didn’t want to see her get hurt by Dae-oh and tries to confess his feelings, but she stops him. As she turns to go, Ryu Jin tells her that he was first and asks if he really can’t take responsibility.
Ae-jung says that she doesn’t need someone to take responsibility for her and tells him not to feel sorry because even if Dae-oh received her text, they were bound to breakup anyways. However, now that she knows the truth, she and Ryu Jin can no longer act like they did in the past.
While Yeon-woo cleans up the school’s field, he notices Dae-oh pacing outside the gates. He asks Dae-oh if he’s here to see Ha-nee, and though he understands his feelings, he berates him for coming here without a plan. Yeon-woo tells him that he can’t force himself into her life just because he’s her biological father and advises him to be mindful of his actions. Dae-oh sighs, recognizing the truth behind his words.
Ha-nee approaches Dong-chan to return the money he gave her and tells him the reason for her frequent transfers: she shoved her classmates’ shoes into the toilet because they pitied and ignored her for not having a dad… which is exactly how Dong-chan is acting. However, she doesn’t want to ruin his shoes because she actually thought of him as her friend. Realizing his mistake, Dong-chan tries to talk with her, but Ha-nee walks away.
Dae-oh decides to leave without seeing Ha-nee, but as he gets in his car, he spots her leaving school. He follows her from a distance, clearly wanting to be by her side but unable to get close. Trailing behind her through the park and a mart, Dae-oh copies all the little things she does, and watches over her until she makes it safely back home. As he turns to go, he runs into Grandma who stares at him with a blank face.
Pa-do sits in his living room, remembering the picture frame that was placed face down, and then notices a strange box with “24K” written on it. He then receives a message from an unknown number, threatening him that his weakness is still the same, and they send him a picture of Ae-jung.
While Ae-jung walks to the office, someone grabs her, but it’s Pa-do. He motions to her to be quiet and looks over his shoulder as a man comes into view. His men apprehend the stalker, but it’s just CEO Wang.
Relocating inside, Hye-jin huffs at their old boss who still acts like he owns the place, and Ae-jung accuses him of betraying her. He shouts at her for being ungrateful since he’s the reason they can make the movie, but to everyone’s surprise, Ae-jung yells at him for causing this mess and making her meet Dae-oh again.
In a café, Grandma ignores Dae-oh’s apology and asks him to not show his face around them since that’s what Ae-jung wants. As Grandma gets up to leave, Dae-oh tells her that he wants to help but doesn’t know how. He loved Ae-jung and wanted to protect her, but in the end, he wasn’t able to protect anyone.
Grandma asks if his love was sincere and admits that her biggest regret was the thought of failing Ae-jung as a parent. However, even if his love was real, it doesn’t take back the years of heartache he caused, and she asks why he hated Ae-jung for so long when he loved her.
At home, Grandma looks at a family album and cries over the pictures of little Ae-jung. She laments the fact that her daughter grew up to be just like her and even fell in love with someone who resembles her dad.
In a daze, Dae-oh enters a bookstore and hands the cashier his credit card to buy all of Cheon Eok-man’s books. He begins ripping out the pages, and though the bookstore employees try to stop him, he cries, “These are all lies!”
Alone in the practice room, Ryu Jin swings around his wooden sword until it finally breaks. Ah-rin comes by to practice as well, but seeing Ryu Jin in a funk, she offers to drink with him instead. While they sit outside, she asks if his relationship with his crush isn’t going well, but he just tells her to give up on Dae-oh before she ends up like him. Ah-rin tells him not to assume things because she’s loved Dae-oh for a long time, and thinks back to the day she came to his apartment.
That rainy evening, Ah-rin pounded on Dae-oh’s door and barged into his apartment. Shocked by her presence, he scolded her for behavior, but she laughed at him for still acting like her tutor. With a sigh, he handed her a t-shirt to change into and then went out to get her medicine. Afterwards, he told her to go home and warned her to not go to a man’s house at night, but in that moment, she grabbed and kissed him.
Dae-oh pushed her away immediately, but instead of backing down, Ah-rin confessed her feelings. Though she knew that he had a girlfriend, she asked if she could be with him, but Dae-oh firmly turned her down. He explained that his feelings for her were just pity because she grew up not being loved and kicked her out. As Ah-rin left his apartment in tears, she passed by Ae-jung’s fallen umbrella.
Ae-jung comes home and finds Grandma sleeping with an empty bottle of soju by her head. As Ae-jung cleans up, Grandma reveals that she’s been awake, and tells her that she’s upset because it feels like Ae-jung is suffering by herself. Sitting up, Grandma offers to carry some of Ae-jung’s burden since that’s a mother’s duty, and Ae-jung finally cries, admitting how terrified she is.
She wonders if she should tell Ha-nee the truth but doesn’t know how. Though having Ha-nee was her choice, Ae-jung realizes that this life wasn’t Ha-nee’s decision. As Grandma listens to her worries, she holds her hand and tells her that Ha-nee will understand because that’s exactly what Ae-jung did for her. Unable to respond, Ae-jung lowers her head and cries into her mom’s lap.
Ryu Jin wakes up naked in his bed and freaks out when Ah-rin enters. He seems to get the wrong idea (again), and Ah-rin scoffs at his delusions. She asks if he recalls what happened, and the sight of his ruined jacket jogs his memory. Ah-rin dragged drunk Ryu Jin across the floor as he screamed for more alcohol, and when she brought him to his room, he puked all over her.
He grimaces as he remembers everything, but last night’s events trigger another memory. This time, Ryu Jin remembers what happened the night Ae-jung asked him to forget, and just like with Ah-rin, he made a mess in his apartment, which Ae-jung cleaned up.
Ae-jung gets a call from the police station and goes to pick up Dae-oh who was arrested for ripping up books. After getting him out, they go to eat breakfast, and Dae-oh tells her that he did it because his stories were all lies. After hearing everyone’s side of their breakup, he finally figured out what she saw all those years ago.
Dae-oh explains that every day was a struggle back then and finally admits his family troubles and financial constraints at that time. He didn’t want to burden her with his troubles, but in the end, his decision only made her lonely.
He apologizes for realizing his mistake too late and the downward spiral it caused for their relationship. By the end of his apology, both of them are in tears, and Dae-oh asks if he can have another chance. Ae-jung tells him that no one is to blame, but she still doesn’t want to start a relationship with him. Right now, Ha-nee is her everything, and for her sake, she would rather not see Dae-oh again.
Ae-jung leaves the restaurant in tears when Hye-jing calls her about an emergency. Meanwhile, Manager Myung receives a call from a reporter, and his face falls. One by one, everyone involved receives the news: all the headlines are talking about Actor A’s secret child, and rumors has it that it’s Ryu Jin.
Dae-oh runs out of the restaurant to catch Ae-jung, but she’s already leaving in a taxi, her face etched with fear. In the midst of this panic, CEO Song looks over her handiwork without a hair out of place. As for Ryu Jin, he pushes past his manager to go help Ae-jung, but reporters have already surrounded his practice room, forcing him to retreat.
The news has also broken out at school as the other students whisper about Ha-nee being Ryu Jin’s daughter. Ha-nee is bombarded with notifications from their class chatroom, but when she checks her phone, Teacher Jang catches her and punishes her for breaking school rules—even though the others are on their phones, too.
When Ha-nee fights back, another student calls her “an actor’s daughter” and the others laugh except for Dong-chan. Fuming, Ha-nee grabs her backpack and leaves the classroom despite her teacher’s warnings to come back. As Ha-nee marches out of school, Ae-jung frets in her taxi, and not too far behind, Dae-oh chases after her.
We finally get the truth behind Ae-jung and Dae-oh’s breakup, and for the most part, it’s unsurprising. Ryu Jin and Ah-rin are both responsible for creating the misunderstanding between the couple, but as the show pointed out, cracks were already showing in their relationship before the second leads meddled. In the end, it was their lack of communication and trust that separated the two, and I’m glad Ae-jung realized that neither of them should take all the blame for their breakup.
Though Ae-jung might be right when she said her relationship with Dae-oh was bound to end, Ryu Jin and Ah-rin’s actions were still a big part of the couple’s ultimate demise, and I found both their actions reprehensible. Ryu Jin was selfish to delete the text and call log to keep the couple apart, but it was his lack of remorse that really irked me. He stayed by Dae-oh’s side after the breakup, even though he knew Ae-jung reached out to him at the end. Even if deleting the message was done in the heat of the moment, his actions that followed were deliberate. He kept Dae-oh in the dark and never tried to defend Ae-jung whenever Dae-oh talked about getting revenge. Furthermore, he uses Ae-jung as an excuse for his behavior which is despicable. He says that he kept the two apart because he didn’t want to see her get hurt, but everything he says just sounds selfish. Ultimately, he only thought of his feelings and ignored his friends’ wellbeing. As mentioned by others, being “first” doesn’t give Ryu Jin the right to date Ae-jung nor should she feel obligated to like him back. Also, if we follow his logic, since he was “first,” he had more chances to ask Ae-jung out than Dae-oh, so instead of blaming his friend for taking away the girl he loved, he only has himself to blame for not being honest with her about his feelings. Also, he knew how much Ha-nee missed her father, so when he says that he doesn’t regret his actions, he’s also implying that he doesn’t care about how much he hurt Ha-nee by taking away the chance for her to know Dae-oh. He claims to want to take “responsibility,” but I don’t think he even understands what that truly means. I never really thought Ryu Jin was strong contender for Ae-jung’s affection, but I found his character comical and mostly inconsequential. Despite my misgivings, I really hoped he wasn’t going to turn out to be terrible, but unfortunately, the story has been nothing but predictable so far.
As for Ah-rin, while I liked the present-day character, what she did in the past was wrong, even if she was still young. She knew Dae-oh had a girlfriend yet she showed up at his apartment at night when she thought he would be alone. Then, after he clearly turned down her feelings, she tried to kiss him. Her actions were harassment at that point, and her unwelcome requests and inappropriate physical contact made Dae-oh feel angry and uncomfortable. The only silver lining about the incident was that Ah-rin gave up after that night and didn’t bother Dae-oh again unlike Ryu Jin. However, she doesn’t get a pass in my book, either, because her current actions don’t show repentance. She doesn’t seem to recognize what she did wrong since she acts in a similar manner in the present as well, and as mentioned in the episode, she’s just turning into Ryu Jin 2.0.
After hearing Ae-jung’s story, I will admit that I can’t fully blame her for keeping Ha-nee a secret from Dae-oh in the past because she tried to talk to him twice about it. She probably felt alone in that situation, and since their relationship was falling apart, she probably thought he was dumping her (not the other way around). One of Ae-jung’s biggest flaws is to bottle up her feelings and struggle alone, so while it does make me frustrated that Ae-jung doesn’t share anything with anyone, the show does portray this characteristic as something she should fix. It’s not depicted as an admirable quality, and the show doesn’t make Ae-jung a martyr for being a single mother. In the beginning of the episode, I was frustrated with Ae-jung for trying to keep the truth from Ha-nee and denying her daughter the possibility to have a relationship with her biological father, but Ae-jung realizes that she may be wrong about this issue and shares these concerns with her mom. (I love Ae-jung’s mom, and Kim Mi-kyung is absolutely killing it with the little screen time she has.)
However, I’m starting to doubt if Ae-jung will ever change because she’ll talk about something but never really act on her words. She tells Grandma that she might be wrong to keep Ha-nee in the dark, but then she tells Dae-oh to never show his face to her again. How is she giving Ha-nee a choice, if she makes all the important decisions for her before even discussing things with her? I understand that Ae-jung is worried about Ha-nee getting hurt, which is a legitimate concern, and it is hard to bring up this conversation so I get why she’s struggling. But if Ae-jung loves her daughter, then she should be communicating with her instead of acting like an authoritarian figure. She is so painfully unaware of her daughter’s struggles, and it made me cringe when she told Dae-oh that Ha-nee never missed him. In many ways, Ha-nee is very much like her mother in that she hides her pain from those she loves, but since Ae-jung is the adult in this relationship, I want her to reach out to Ha-nee first. Now that she had her conversation with Dae-oh, Ae-jung needs to talk with Ha-nee and finally give her the chance to heal as well. Though Ae-jung might have done her best to give Ha-nee a life full of love, not having a father has still affected Ha-nee a lot, so it’s only selfish of Ae-jung to keep her daughter in the dark. It’s a hard conversation to have, but it’s one Ha-nee deserves.
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