Was It Love: Episode 12
Our producer barely has time to process the truth of her past before she’s handed another problem to deal with. This time, things go very public, forcing her to step up her game to protect the ones she loves.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
When Dae-oh visited home in 2006, his mom tearfully urged him to return to Seoul while his father resented him for pursuing a non-lucrative profession. Hurt by those comments, Ae-jung’s text filled with appreciation for his craft brought him to tears.
In voice-over, Dae-oh admits that he had many opportunities to tell the truth. He was in a foul mood at work one night when Ae-jung called, upset that she learned about his requested leave of absence from someone else. Dae-oh took his frustrations out on her and barked that he didn’t need her permission, but immediately apologized.
Dae-oh now realizes that Ae-jung’s distrust in him was warranted, and that she needed reassurance from him regarding their relationship. He remembers pulling out a jewelry box that he wasn’t able to give Ae-jung on their anniversary when she stormed off. He was too caught up in his own pain back then, but can see in retrospect that it was only natural that she’d leave him.
Ae-jung cries after hearing his side of the story, taking in his sincere apology. However, there’s no time to dwell on these emotions because as soon as she leaves the restaurant, she learns of an article reporting that “Actor A” and “Noh PD” had a child out of wedlock. There’s even “proof” of the actor visiting his rumored child’s school. Ae-jung and Dae-oh hop into separate taxis, worried about Ha-nee.
Word spreads to the neighborhood ajummas at the bathhouse, and their gossiping alerts Grandma of the scandal. Pa-do’s comparing photos of Tan Zi-yi and Ae-jung when Director Kim interrupts to show him the article, and Ha-nee finds out when her class’s chatroom goes off.
Teacher Jang goes on a power trip to reprimand Ha-nee for using her phone. When she stands up to him, a student mockingly chalks it up to the fact that her dad is famous. The news makes it to Yeon-woo, but by the time he gets to the classroom, Ha-nee’s gone.
As she leaves the school, she gives Ryu Jin a call but he doesn’t pick up. Ae-jung arrives and cautiously asks Ha-nee where she’s going. Knowing that she’s here because of the article, Ha-nee reveals that she knew about Ryu Jin long ago.
This misunderstanding is news to Ae-jung, but she isn’t able to get a word in as Ha-nee fumes that the actor still hasn’t appeared to help them out. Ae-jung claims that he’s not the father, but doesn’t answer when Ha-nee exasperatedly demands to know who it really is then.
Ha-nee declares that Mom’s no different from Ryu Jin. Their choice to keep the truth buried made her the most miserable 14-year-old in the country. She cries that she has nobody to call “dad,” is being accused of approaching the actor with shady intentions, and would’ve been better off not being born. The emotional encounter leaves Ae-jung shaken, and she lets her daughter go.
Dae-oh spots Ha-nee from his taxi and requests the driver to stop. She crouches in a quiet alleyway, disheartened by the messages being left by her classmates. When Dae-oh approaches her with a warm smile, Ha-nee finally breaks down into sobs.
They relocate to a park once she has calmed down a bit, clutching her stress doll. Dae-oh’s clearly a novice at comforting children, putting on a silly face to make her laugh. Ha-nee’s super unimpressed and says as much, hah. He asks how to make her feel better and she answers, “All I need is honesty.”
Ha-nee just needs someone to laugh with her during happy moments and empathize with her during sad ones – don’t hide the truth to protect her like Mom does. She assumes that Ae-jung just didn’t want her to hate her father.
When Ha-nee begins to rant about how irresponsible Ryu Jin is, Dae-oh wants to explain but decides against it. He apologizes when Ha-nee vents that she’s sick of the word “dad,” and although confused by Dae-oh’s reaction, she just pats him on the back and thanks him for comforting her.
Dae-oh follows Ha-nee secretly to ensure she gets home safe, grumbling in disbelief that she entered a bar. Sook-hee sneaks up from behind and explains that Sukey is open to anyone – a place where you enter with worries and leave with a key to resolve your issues.
She comments that although Ha-nee has endless love from Mom and Grandma, it can’t fill the void in her heart. She leaves Dae-oh with some food for thought: would it be better for Ha-nee to have a dad around to reassure her that things will be okay?
Ha-nee tells her puppy Sandeul that “Ha-nee” refers to the warm wind from the west. She doesn’t think she she can live up to her name though, since life feels like a cold, harsh wind.
Ryu Jin discovers multiple missed calls from Dae-oh and Ha-nee while Manager Myung paces around nervously. The manager practically loses it when he learns that Ha-nee isn’t Ryu Jin’s daughter. Ryu Jin refuses to deny being involved with Ae-jung, since it’s because of him that she and Ha-nee are suffering (I…don’t understand his logic).
Ae-jung wades through a horde of reporters and bursts into the practice room to talk to Ryu Jin. Having heard that the story was leaked by him, she explodes, “This is wrong. You can’t do this to an innocent young girl!”
Later, Ryu Jin storms into Ssong Entertainment to confront the manipulative CEO. She’s unaffected by his anger and matter-of-factly states that she decided to ruin him because she knew that he won’t return to her. He should know by now that he doesn’t have the power to protect the mother and daughter.
He vows to reveal her lies, but CEO Song laughs — he’s the one who assumed he was a father and ruined her business. He wants her to tell the truth, but she remarks that a ruined reputation isn’t something that can be fixed so easily; the public will always be prejudiced against him. CEO Song sneers that this is the result of loving someone without having the ability to protect them, so he only has himself to blame.
Ae-jung doesn’t pay much attention to her surroundings so when somebody bumps into her, the contents of her purse tumbles onto the ground. Her journal lands on a page where she keeps a picture of her happy family.
It brings her back to the day she waited alone at the hospital for her abortion. She was surrounded by pregnant women and was so antsy that she dropped everything onto the floor. She’d flipped through her “To My Future Baby” project and read the letter addressed to her future child, vowing to protect them no matter what.
Ae-jung was reminded that she already decided on her future baby’s name and dissolved into tears thinking about her promise. She recalls that same promise now, apologizing to the photo of Ha-nee in her notebook.
Ah-rin follows Bo-hye around an art gallery and brings up Ae-jung. Bo-hye’s relieved that the father has appeared, offended when the actress points out that Yeon-woo’s one of the many men involved in Ae-jung’s messy love life.
Yeon-woo visits Bo-hye and the pair settle down at a café. Unable to read the room, Bo-hye joyfully quips that Ae-jung won’t be able to hinder his future now that she’s with Ryu Jin. To her shock, Yeon-woo kneels and begs her to use her money and influence to deal with the false reports.
He promises to do anything she asks, desperate enough to move back in, and she’s upset that Ae-jung’s important enough for him to agree to something she’d always begged him to do. He shakenly tells Mom that hearing people criticizing Ae-jung breaks his heart. Yeon-woo doesn’t even care who the dad is, he’s just concerned about how painful this is for her and Ha-nee.
Yeon-woo was once a star basketball player with a legion of fangirls, but his dreams of playing professionally were crushed when he suffered a career-ending knee injury. He became reclusive and was only glad to have Ae-jung visit. However, he still didn’t see the point in living if he couldn’t play basketball.
Ae-jung scolded him for not considering his options as such a talented individual. She left him an university guidebook for physical education, attached with a note pointing out that his athleticism and kind-hearted nature would make him a great teacher.
Ah-rin finds Yeon-woo moping outside and asks why he likes Ae-jung so much, believing that he could do much better than a single mother since he’s quite a catch. Yeon-woo answers that Ae-jung is someone who helped him through his toughest days. She may not choose him, but he’s okay as long as she’s not hurting. He tells Ah-rin that Ryu Jin isn’t the father before leaving.
The TV is on when Ha-nee gets home, and the program hosts report that Ae-jung allegedly used her own daughter to make a deal with the doctor. They also speculate that she asked the star for money, which infuriates Ha-nee. Grandma’s one step ahead. She phones the broadcast station and demands them to stop reporting groundless rumors.
Grandma is outraged that they’d make Ae-jung out to be someone who’d sell out her own daughter and emotionally cries that she’s someone who sacrificed herself for the sake of her child. Not wanting to cry anymore, Ha-nee steps outside for some fresh air. Ae-jung finds her there and simply asks, “Did you eat?”
Ha-nee happily digs into her dinner and updates Mom on her achievements at school. Ae-jung gushes that she recognized her artistic and athletic talents years ago, reminding Ha-nee that she scribbled something on par with Da Vinci’s work at the young age of three. Ha-nee proudly declares that it’s because she took after Mom.
She apologizes for acting out despite knowing that this incident was equally painful for both of them. Ha-nee recognizes that she misspoke in a fit of anger but Ae-jung wants her to get mad and speak her mind. Ha-nee insists that if anyone should be punished, it should be Dad.
Bringing out the old phone and her tiny notebook, Ha-nee explains how she learned about Ryu Jin and contacted him to get revenge for Mom. Ae-jung says that Ryu Jin isn’t her father, but Ha-nee asserts that she shouldn’t continue hiding things under the guise of protecting her – she’s old enough to know the truth now.
Later that night, Ryu Jin sends Ae-jung an apology. He explains that CEO Song was out to get him and targeted Ae-jung due to his feelings for her. Grandma enters the room to check on her daughter.
Ae-jung laments that she never seems to be progressing while everyone else seems to be living just fine. She realizes it’s because she’s been carrying her unfinished business around like a ball of tangled yarn, when she should’ve dealt with it long ago by cutting or untangling it. She decides to tell Ha-nee the truth after she takes care of it.
Meanwhile, Dae-oh consults a lawyer friend to see if there’s case for legal action. He’s advised against it, since it would take too long and irreversible damage would already be done.
At the Thumb Film office, Dae-oh’s lost in thought about his friend’s comment that conducting a paternity test or having the real father show up would be fastest. Ryu Jin enters the office to look for Ae-jung, spinning around to leave when he only sees Dae-oh.
Dae-oh asks how Ryu Jin plans on protecting Ae-jung and Ha-nee when he can’t even control these articles. The actor indignantly asks if he should post DNA results and announce that someone else is Ha-nee’s father, when she still believes that he’s her dad. He flips the accusation back on Dae-oh and says that he’s powerless, too. They simultaneously receive a message to meet at the conference room at 8AM sharp.
Ha-nee wakes up to texts from her classmates ranging from requesting autographs to asking to be introduced to celebrities. Only Dong-chan has been worried. He apologized for how he’s been acting, so she responds that she won’t be going to school today.
Grandma makes her go though, because Ha-nee shouldn’t hide when she did nothing wrong. She tells her granddaughter not to be embarrassed, and assures her that Ae-jung will take care of everything today. She has a nasty temper and will crush anyone who messes with her.
Ae-jung struts to work with full confidence in a trench coat and a bold lip, ready to take on the world. Her audience consists of the investor, the actor, and the director of the movie. She apologizes for the setback in filming, and decides to take partial responsibility.
They’ll need to join forces to get rid of the problem, so Ae-jung explains her plan. The target is Reporter Na, the journalist who wrote the false article. Familiar with the name, Ryu Jin explains that he writes anything as long as he gets an advertisement contract. He probably struck a deal with CEO Song.
Pa-do confidently says he’ll get rid of the advertisement deal (Dae-oh: “By illegal means?”). Pa-do offers to write off the advertiser’s debt with Nine Capital on the condition that they pull their ads from Reporter Na’s website.
Once those ads are removed, the reporter will suspect CEO Song of breaking their deal. Understanding the plan, Dae-oh accurately guesses that they’ll need someone to act as a fake advertiser.
Enter professional conman CEO Wang, who meets with the angry Reporter Na under the pretense of being interested in advertising on his news outlet. He baits the reporter into talking about the deal that fell through and animatedly takes his side while Dae-oh and Ae-jung stake out nearby.
Dae-oh asks why she forgave CEO Wang after his betrayal, worried that she went too easy on him. Ae-jung remains grateful that CEO Wang took a chance on her when she was 23, so she decided to give him a second chance. The former CEO stumbles out of the private dining room acting convincingly drunk, and hands over a phone.
Tagging in, Dae-oh introduces himself to Reporter Na as the famous Cheon Eok-man, a bit irked when the reporter doesn’t know who he is, pfft. Dae-oh takes out the phone and plays a recording of Reporter Na admitting to making a deal with CEO Song.
Ae-jung plays her part, confidently showing up at Ssong Entertainment. She demands to know why CEO Song had to drag her into this mess, and the CEO drapes her arm around Ae-jung to say that she’s the center of the incident, not Ryu Jin.
Irritated, Ae-jung twists the CEO’s arm behind her back and seethes that she shouldn’t have touched her daughter. Ae-jung tells her that she should be punished for harming the innocent, and suggests her to check the news.
Reporter Na wrote a new article, detailing how Actor A’s former agency was responsible for spreading false rumors as revenge. Ae-jung leaves the office, satisfied to hear the sound of CEO Song’s scream.
The final cog in the wheel is Ryu Jin, who holds a press conference threatening legal action upon anyone who continues to spread rumors. Ha-nee reads this at school and finally realizes, “So he’s really not my dad?” The other kids start to look at her with pity and wonder if she lied, and Chan-young taunts her with her weakness – her mom.
Before she can land a punch, Dong-chan whips a carton of milk at the bully and declares to the class, “If you guys say another word about Ha-nee again, I won’t sit still.” Chan-young attacks Dong-chan, so Ha-nee steps in to grab a tuft of the bully’s hair. His friends try to do the same to Dong-chan, but he has no hair for them to pull at, HA.
Ae-jung’s legs give out as she watches Ryu Jin declare on TV that he’ll be suing anyone who continues to spread this false narrative. Dae-oh kneels next to her and helps her up, then offers to give her a ride home. She insists that she’s fine now that everything has been resolved. Dae-oh asks, “Is your answer still the same?” but she’s saved by a phone call from Yeon-woo.
The kids are being reprimanded again for fighting with Chan-young, whose father threatens to escalate it to the school board. Yeon-woo points out that Chan-young started the fight but Teacher Jang butts in to defend the boy, stating that everyone’s curious about Ha-nee’s family circumstances.
Ae-jung arrives and goes straight to Ha-nee and Dong-chan. The bully’s mom accuses Ae-jung of not learning from last time, pointing out Chan-young’s injuries (he’s clearly exaggerating). Ae-jung asks Ha-nee to recount the events, instead of apologizing profusely like she did before.
Ha-nee’s had enough when Chan-young’s father puts the blame on Ae-jung for having a bad reputation. She shoves the man and demands an apology, unwilling to watch her mother be disrespected like that.
Teacher Jang jumps in and grabs Ha-nee’s wrist, and Ae-jung places a hand on his arm in warning. Dae-oh appears out of nowhere and demands the teacher to let go, powerfully squeezing his wrist until he releases Ha-nee. All eyes turn to Dae-oh when Teacher Jang asks who he is. “I’m her father,” he answers confidently.
Although not the best time nor place for Ha-nee to finally learn the truth, I’m glad it’s at least out there. I don’t blame her for not believing Ae-jung whenever she denied that Ryu Jin was her father. There were many openings where she could’ve corrected Ha-nee’s false assumptions, but instead, she allowed her daughter to continue to believe that Ryu Jin abandoned her for success. When their lives are being scrutinized so publicly, there’s no time for Ae-jung to slowly unravel her ball of yarn before telling the truth. If she was so against revealing the father’s identity, she could’ve at least told Ha-nee that she’ll fill her in later but that Ryu Jin is 100% NOT her father. I’m left shaking my head, wondering what her plan is. Speaking of plans, what would Ae-jung have done if Ryu Jin didn’t know about Reporter Na’s love for advertisements? What if Pa-do were not generous enough to write off an entire loan to get the advertiser on their side? Her game plan wouldn’t have succeeded without the input and contributions of her suitors. It just seemed odd to me that the show presented it as if Ae-jung were the mastermind, when in reality, it would’ve made more sense to show her asking for help. That being said, she was super cool confronting CEO Song, and I was satisfied watching that showdown.
It also baffled me to hear that Ryu Jin was against publicly stating that he doesn’t have a kid. He claims that he wants to take responsibility because he’s the reason they’re in this mess, but the easiest way to get everyone out of the mess is to prove that they’re not related. He worried that Ha-nee would be affected to learn this while still thinking he’s her dad, but this just all stems back to one thing – honesty. Tell the girl the truth before shocking her with a surprise press conference! Why is that so hard?! I’m so frustrated with the decisions that these adults are making, that end up negatively affecting Ha-nee’s life.
Dae-oh may be clumsy at expressing himself and doesn’t know how to deal with kids, but he treats Ha-nee like an equal. I like that he directly asked Ha-nee how to cheer her up when she expressed that his tactics weren’t working. One thing Dae-oh does really well (at least in the present) is that he tries to open the floor up to conversation. He asks questions and tries to understand where the other party is coming from. His presence was enough for her to let go and cry, and it’s clear that she’s comfortable sharing her worries with him. It’s like she instinctively knows that he’s the father she’s been longing for, and thinking about that gives me all the feels. There’s likely some more angst to get through but…from now on, can we just focus on Ha-nee bonding with Dae-oh, and being sweet with Ae-jung?
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