Was It Love: Episode 8
When love’s involved, one can either watch passively or take action. As a third suitor suddenly ramps up his game to make his feelings known, our producer feels more pressure than ever at work.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Back in 2003, Ae-jung enthusiastically introduced herself during the Department of Theater and Film’s welcome dinner. Ryu Jin arrived just as she shared her dream of becoming one of the country’s top film producers in ten years, watching her fondly as she voiced her desire to be in a relationship.
Ryu Jin narrates that not only was he the first to meet Ae-jung, but also the first to fall for her. He once was a nervous wreck right before an important audition and it was Ae-jung who’d come to cheer him on. Worried, she’d fed him a “magic pill” to calm his nerves.
As he continues that he was the first to love and even the first to get his heart broken by her, we see that eventually, Dae-oh won her over and Ryu Jin congratulated the lovebirds while they remained oblivious to his feelings. “In every aspect, I was always the first,” Ryu Jin finishes as he arrives at Thumb Film, stopping Dae-oh from waking Ae-jung.
Off to the side, Dae-oh pours his friend a cup of coffee. He’s taken aback when Ryu Jin tells him to stop having feelings for Ae-jung. Although Dae-oh seems to understand what that means, he’s hopeful that the actor is just joking.
Their conversation comes to a halt when Hye-jin phones Ae-jung, announcing that she’s on her way to the office with Ah-rin. Manager Do is concerned about Ryu Jin’s presence, but Ah-rin grins because it means that Ae-jung and Dae-oh aren’t spending time alone.
There’s tension in the air when they arrive, but Ae-jung thanks Ah-rin for the fried chicken delivery. The actress fishes for a compliment from Dae-oh, who thanks her for coming. He glances at Ryu Jin and says that things could’ve become awkward if she arrived any later.
Ryu Jin greets Ah-rin reluctantly and after a moment’s hesitation, she returns the greeting as if they’re close. Ae-jung cluelessly gushes that it’s a relief that they’re already acquainted.
The top stars head to the roof to discuss their little secret. Eight years ago, Ah-rin stopped along an empty country road for a smoke break when something caught her eye amongst the tall, grassy meadow.
Ryu Jin sweats as he recalls that moment. Crouched in an empty field, he’d unrolled some toilet paper after doing his business when a thud made him turn around. He met the gaze of a very disgusted Ah-rin and if that weren’t bad enough, he’d waddled a few steps forward… only to fall onto his back. Oh no.
He reminds his co-star that she’s able to continue as the face of an anti-smoking campaign thanks to him keeping her smoking habits a secret. She definitely has the upper hand though, pointing out that his secret is way worse.
In fact, due to this incident, Ryu Jin was forced to give up his lead role in a film and convinced the director to change the script so that Ah-rin got the part instead. This role shot her to stardom, but she claims that it wouldn’t have been successful had he been the lead. She assures Ryu Jin that she’s not joining this project to torment him; she’s too busy pining for someone else.
While setting up dinner, Dae-oh asks if Ae-jung overheard them earlier, unsure whether to believe that she didn’t. Hye-jin notices that the top stars aren’t here and puts Manager Do on high alert when she gossips about their “special relationship.”
Hye-jin was an extra on set once, where it was rumored that the famous movie Catch Her was originally Catch Him, starring Ryu Jin. She muses that the fate of the two actors changed and the manager “accidentally” drops a mug to prevent anything else from being said.
Ae-jung leaves to grab a broom and once she has a moment alone, she sighs. Turns out she was awake for Ryu Jin and Dae-oh’s conversation.
It’s morning by the time their meeting ends. Ah-rin and her manager head out first, and she’s confident that Ryu Jin won’t spill the beans. Manager Do warns her to be careful around Hye-jin the blabbermouth. When the rest of the crew joins them outside, Ah-rin invites Dae-oh to breakfast.
He turns her down, but offers Ae-jung a ride home. Ae-jung declines both his and Ryu Jin’s enthusiastic offers, ultimately deciding to ride with Ah-rin instead. When they drive off, the men shuffle away to avoid having to drive Hye-jin. She’s been nothing but sweet, shame on them.
On the way to Ae-jung’s, Ah-rin learns that the producer is actually a single mother and Manager Do commends her for being an admirable working mom. Ae-jung confirms multiple times that she isn’t interested in dating before Ah-rin finally smiles in relief.
Yeon-woo joins Ha-nee at the dining table and she lights up when he suggests making breakfast for Ae-jung. Ha-nee thinks it would’ve been nice if Yeon-woo were her dad and he agrees that he would’ve loved a daughter like her.
When Ae-jung returns, Grandma (who’d been watching their interaction) whisks her away and shows her the previously trashed notebook. Ae-jung takes a moment to process Grandma’s observation that although Ha-nee seems mature, she’s just a kid who yearns for a father.
Dong-chan whimpers in his sleep and dreams of a woman in a pink dress. It seems to be an old memory where a young boy hides in a closet, terrified at the sight of the woman lying in a pool of blood. A man hovers over her and the boy makes eye contact with him right when a gun fires. Although the man isn’t in focus, he looks a lot like Pa-do, which scares Dong-chan awake.
Pa-do takes out some cash to put into a box where Dong-chan’s allowance goes, but the money inside looks untouched. Dad hands him his allowance directly but Dong-chan tosses it aside, not wanting the money that Pa-do earns.
Dad asks, “Why do you hate me so much?” but is only met with the question, “What did my mother look like?” Dong-chan presses on despite Pa-do’s silence, wanting to know why she died. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get his answers because Director Kim interrupts with some urgent news.
In his office, Pa-do watches a news report about four men found dead in Incheon, all with neck tattoos. Director Kim suspects that they’re the same men they released, and Pa-do orders him to keep Dong-chan safe. An old photo on his desk confirms that the boy in the dream really was Dong-chan.
At school, the kids take turns doing sit-ups and Ha-nee announces that she’s going to take revenge on the “no-good actor,” whom she’s certain is her father. She looks up at Yeon-woo’s smiling face and comments that Ryu Jin is nothing like him.
Bo-hye waits nervously in her office until Yeon-woo shows up, berating him for not calling after his disappearing act at the event. Although upset, she’s eager to meet the girl he’s been seeing. His voice hardens as he says “no,” asserting that there’s obviously a reason for his actions.
Dae-oh takes a closer look at the photo from their retreat and notices that Ryu Jin is staring at Ae-jung. It puts Ryu Jin’s past mentions of Ae-jung in perspective, but Dae-oh heads to his friend’s place in disbelief.
He wants confirmation that Ryu Jin said everything out of concern as a friend. Ryu Jin admits that he’d always liked Ae-jung, which breaks Dae-oh. He tearfully asks why Ryu Jin stayed with him during his most painful days. “You should’ve kept it a secret to the end.”
Ryu Jin apologizes, saying he shouldn’t call him hyung anymore, and Dae-oh’s devastated about being cast aside. The actor replies that he’s in too deep so Dae-oh leaves, muttering that Ryu Jin shouldn’t have helped him in the first place.
Back when Dae-oh was courting Ae-jung, he’d asked Ryu Jin for help as a last-ditch effort. Enticed by Dae-oh’s resolve to give up on her if it doesn’t work, Ryu Jin agrees to pass along a drink. He approached Ae-jung at the library with Dae-oh watching from afar.
Ae-jung didn’t need to be told who the drink was from, because the note addressed to “my ball of sunshine” was enough for her to know that it was from Dae-oh. Ryu Jin urges her to give him a proper answer this time.
He’d noticed the pleased look on her face and grew silent before confessing, “I like you. At first, I found you fun. Afterward, I found you beautiful. Now, I miss you even when you’re in front of me.” Dae-oh and Ae-jung were both relieved when Ryu Jin lied that it’s what Dae-oh wanted to tell her. He’d walked off with a stony expression without acknowledging his friend.
Ah-rin wants Manager Do to call Dae-oh and tell him she doesn’t like the revised script, even though it’s good. She’ll do anything just to see him. Ah-rin waits in anticipation as he makes the call, but someone else picks up and they wind up at a restaurant where Dae-oh’s passed out, drunk and alone.
Yeon-woo finds Ae-jung sitting outside of the house, flipping through the pregnancy diary. He tells her that Ha-nee asked about the project the other day and Ae-jung is saddened to hear that Ha-nee still thinks about her dad. She’d always thought she did a good job making sure Ha-nee wasn’t lonely.
Yeon-woo assures Ae-jung that it’s not a matter of loneliness, and that she’s doing a terrific job. If Ha-nee still needs a father though, he doesn’t think it should be the guy that hurt her. Fourteen years ago, Yeon-woo was too young and helpless to support Ae-jung but he now has the confidence to be there for her and Ha-nee.
Before Ae-jung can respond, their attention is diverted to the noise outside the gate. Ae-jung is surprised to find Ah-rin and Manager Do supporting a very inebriated Dae-oh, who’d directed them to her neighborhood instead of his own. Ah-rin recognizes Yeon-woo but everyone’s attention falls on Dae-oh when he steadies himself using Ae-jung’s shoulder.
“Is it Ryu Jin or me?” he slurs, asking Ae-jung to choose one. She attempts to keep it professional since Ah-rin is watching. When Yeon-woo steps in, Dae-oh adds him to the equation too, wanting to know who it’ll be.
Yeon-woo flings Dae-oh off of Ae-jung but he just bounces back and cries, “For me, it’s you.” The impact of his words seem to reach her, and she looks conflicted when Yeon-woo separates them. He hands the director off to Manager Do, asking him to bring Dae-oh home.
Dae-oh’s actions confirm his interest in Ae-jung, which Ah-rin isn’t happy about. Manager Do lays Dae-oh down on the couch and gives Ah-rin some time alone to reminisce.
2005. Ah-rin was a prospective Hankuk University student looking to study fashion. She’d curtly confessed her love for Dae-oh during a tutoring session, yelling it louder when he didn’t respond. She grinned proudly to herself, but Dae-oh was just amused and didn’t take it seriously.
Ah-rin didn’t understand his lack of interest when she’s got the looks and whipped out a mirror to admire herself, pfft. She’d pestered him about who he finds pretty, listing SNSD members as options. He caved and answered, “Noh Ae-jung,” which wiped the smile off Ah-rin’s face.
She gazes at his sleeping figure now, eyes reddening as she realizes that although time has passed, he still doesn’t have eyes for her.
Ae-jung pours herself an entire glass of soju, deep in thought about Yeon-woo’s words and how Ryu Jin told Dae-oh to stop liking her. She downs the drink when she recalls Dae-oh’s drunken outburst, not realizing that Yeon-woo’s secretly keeping her company on the other side of the wall.
Meanwhile, CEO Song’s still concerned about Ryu Jin’s appearance at the school. She receives a call and asks if they looked into what she’d asked about.
The next day, Dae-oh nurses a hangover and is embarrassed about how he acted. He tosses out all the Ryu Jin-branded beverages in his fridge and turns on the TV. The program explains that a group of male birds will fight until one remains to win over a female. The only thing more important than winning is the instinct to run to the female when she’s in danger.
The village chief of an important filming location suddenly rescinds permission to shoot, not wanting the island to become overcrowded and dirty. Since Director Cheon insists on that location, Hye-jin and Ae-jung haphazardly make their way to the bus terminal with tons of gifts in hand. Ae-jung goes on ahead while Hye-jin claims to have an upset stomach due to nerves.
Once alone, Hye-jin calls Dae-oh who smiles widely when he hears that she didn’t get on the bus like they’d planned. Ae-jung messes up her makeup when she realizes that the bus has left without her co-worker.
Grandma asks Sook-hee to speak to Ae-jung, worried she’ll be single forever. Sook-hee compares Ae-jung to a stiff, dried up tree. As someone who hasn’t been with a man in the last fourteen years, Ae-jung is going to remain unmoved unless someone waters her and gets her sunlight. Simply put, Grandma needs to look externally since Ae-jung won’t pursue anything.
As Yeon-woo changes a lightbulb at home, Grandma begins to tell him about the arboretum that opened up recently. She hints that it’s a great place for couples to go on dates and because she’s so insistent, Yeon-woo promises that he’ll check it out. Grandma asks expectantly, “With who?”
Pa-do pays his respects to the late Tan Zi-yi and thinks about Dong-chan’s question regarding her death. He asks, “Can I tell him now?” wondering if Dong-chan will be able to understand him. He scans his surroundings when he receives an anonymous text with Ae-jung’s photo attached, commenting that she looks just like Zi-yi.
He follows a suspicious looking hiker, but lets him go because he has no tattoo. When another man passes by, Pa-do calls out, “Wait a second!” in Cantonese. The man reacts, blowing his cover, and Pa-do pins him down easily.
At the mention of Zi-yi, Pa-do warns, “Didn’t I tell you that I’d kill you if you ever showed up again?” Looking a bit crazed, the man vows that even if he dies, others will appear. Pa-do started this war when he killed their boss, and they want him to return and kneel. The more he opposes, the worse it’ll be for those around him, Ae-jung included.
When Director Kim arrives, the man uses Pa-do’s moment of distraction to make his escape. With urgency, Pa-do orders him to figure out where Ae-jung is. Our producer is on a boat when she finally gets a hold of Hye-jin, who apologizes for missing the bus. She’s about to tell her the truth, but Ae-jung phone runs out of battery.
Ryu Jin texts Ha-nee to meet up, but he becomes anxious when Dae-oh notifies him that he’s confessing to Ae-jung today. Dae-oh can’t bear to lose both of them, so he’s not going to give up on her.
When Ryu Jin is unable to reach either of them, he contacts Hye-jin. Manager Myung barges into his apartment just then and is tossed onto the couch by an apologetic Ryu Jin. He grabs his key and declares that he’ll regret it if he doesn’t leave now.
Yeon-woo drops by the office and chats with Hye-jin while taking a look at the Seonja Island travel guide on the coffee table. He figures Ae-jung must be busy since he can’t reach her, and Hye-jin comments that a lot of people are looking for the producer today. Unfortunately, she’s on a business trip with Dae-oh, and Yeon-woo bolts when he learns that the two went to the island alone, and neither can be reached.
While Yeon-woo, Ryu Jin, and Pa-do race against the clock to find Ae-jung, Dae-oh spends his day calmly peeling onions and collecting clams on an open field. The three men arrive at the pier at the same time. Since they have a common goal, Yeon-woo suggests forming an alliance until they get to the island.
Bo-hye is still obsessed with figuring out the identity of the mystery girl, and rants to Ah-rin about her unrequited love with her son. She doesn’t even know what his new address is, and the actress has a moment of realization. Bo-hye pouts until Ah-rin spills that she saw Yeon-woo last night at Ae-jung’s place.
Ha-nee deletes Ryu Jin’s text, unwilling to let him off so easily. She searches for a part-time job, telling Dong-chan that she’s worried she’ll run into someone again while distributing flyers. Besides, that job won’t help her earn enough to afford a puppy and a DNA test.
Her revenge plan is to get proof that Ryu Jin is her dad, then take as much money as possible for child support. Dong-chan starts thinking about how he can help and gets an idea.
Ae-jung arrives at a traditional-style home to look for the village head (cameo by Ahn Seok-hwan). She’s surprised when he returns home with Dae-oh by his side, completely won over. He welcomes Ae-jung warmly because Dae-oh has been telling him about her, and is more than happy to let them film on their island.
Meanwhile, the other three suitors successfully find their way onto a boat. The captain sends intel to the village head that the famous guy who’s on all the drinks is on board. The actor welcomes the breeze with open arms until he keels over with sea sickness. Yeon-woo doesn’t do so well either, so Pa-do goes back and forth patting them on the back, pfft.
Out on a stroll, Dae-oh compliments himself for doing an amazing job. “Everything works out once I get involved.” He notes Ae-jung’s lacklustre response and turns her to face him, wanting to know what the problem is this time. He didn’t expect gratitude, but was looking for a compliment at the very least.
Ae-jung vents that this was her job, and he crossed the line by doing it himself. He asks why that’s a problem, reminding her that he likes her. He emotionally says that he wants to make up the fourteen years that they’d lost, and she sighs that he’s driving her crazy. Looking torn, she yells, “Why would you stir up my heart after all these years?”
Dae-oh doesn’t let her walk away from their conversation. “I’ve been missing you like crazy,” he breathes. He takes a step closer, gazing deeply into her eyes, and waits until she closes them before bringing his lips closer to hers.
With the maybe-kiss teased at the end (I fully expect Ae-jung to snap out of it and yell at Dae-oh again), I’ve concluded that I can’t feel much chemistry between Ae-jung and her suitors. There have been an abundance of electrifying couples in dramaland this year, which makes the lack of sparks here all the more obvious. Perhaps a lot of it has to do with the character’s reluctance to jump into a relationship because I generally find the college campus couple scenes cute. With each passing episode, I’m more concerned about Dae-oh’s happiness and am less invested in who Ae-jung ends up with. If Ae-jung has no intention to open up communication and talk about their past, then I sincerely wish that Dae-oh would just move on from this relationship that has consumed him for such a long time. He’s such an all-or-nothing type of guy that it seems unlikely, though.
I realize that we’ve reached halfway point of the show’s run, yet not much has really happened plot-wise. On the bright side, this must mean the second half will be much more interesting! There are so many storylines I’m excited to explore – Ha-nee’s relationship with whomever her father is, the actual filming and production of the movie, Pa-do and Zi-yi’s mysterious backstory, and Dong-chan’s relationship with his dad. The biggest shock of the hour was Dong-chan’s nightmare. It’s no wonder the boy avoids Pa-do so diligently. Now that his underlying trauma is surfacing, it’s another sincere conversation that our characters need to have. I doubt Pa-do did anything to hurt Zi-yi, but with just fragments of memories, it must be difficult for Dong-chan to understand the events of that night. I really hope that the awkward dad can get through this hump and create a meaningful relationship with Dong-chan.
Ryu Jin is officially bottom tier on my list. The entitlement is strong with this one; he has no “right” to be policing how others feel about Ae-jung. Two. Whole. Years. He had two entire years to make a move before Dae-oh came into the picture. I don’t feel sorry for him at all, and I don’t appreciate how he considers himself a victim that lost his chance because his friend was more proactive. He can definitely regret not taking action, but he can’t do whatever it is he’s trying to do right now. Ryu Jin should fight for her heart fairly by showing her everything he has to offer rather than wasting his time trying to control his rivals.
His treatment of Dae-oh really irks me because he was there when Dae-oh was depressed post-breakup. He knows how important Ae-jung is to him and still had the audacity to tell him to stop having feelings. If I had a drink with his face on it, I’d take a page out of Dae-oh and Ha-nee’s books and toss it too. I did enjoy the reveal of his history with Ah-rin though. It was all so silly, but they act like sworn enemies because of it. Ah-rin is harmless but kind of bratty in an endearing way. She’s so easy to please and leaves no room for misinterpretation when it comes to her feelings. Maybe the two stars can get over their differences and be their funny, immature selves together. This show is best when it doesn’t take itself seriously – that boat scene where Ryu Jin wiped his mouth with the handkerchief that Pa-do cleaned his shoes with was so random but hilarious. More ridiculous antics, please!
- Premiere Watch: Men Are Men, The Good Detective, Was It Love, Graceful Friends, Train
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- Song Ji-hyo to be romanced by Sohn Ho-joon, Kim Min-joon, Gu Ja-sung, and Song Jong-ho in JTBC’s Begin Again
- Song Ji-hyo courted for upcoming JTBC romance drama Begin Again