Was It Love: Episode 9
Stranded on an island, there’s no place to hide for our producer as she’s forced to come face to face with her past. However, it’s too difficult for our main character to address her old wounds, so in order to protect herself, she lashes out instead. Despite her attempts to keep everyone at bay, emotions are a hard thing to control.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Ae-jung remembers Dae-oh from their university days—his dreams, passion, recklessness, smile, and naivety—and narrates, “I remember them all… the many reasons I loved you.”
As Dae-oh leans in for a kiss, Ae-jung closes her eyes as if to reciprocate, but at the last moment, she pushes him away. He falls to the ground, scraping his hand, and Ae-jung immediately regrets her actions. She helps him up, but Dae-oh sourly asks why she pushed him in the first place.
Ae-jung shoves Dae-oh and yells at him to stop misinterpreting everything she does. As the air between them turns awkward, an announcement from the village head plays over the speakers, calling for Ae-jung to return.
Ae-jung rushes back to the village head’s home but stops in her tracks when she finds Ryu Jin, Yeon-woo, and Pa-do waiting for her. They each try to escort her off the island, but the village head stares at them quizzically: How are they leaving when there’s no boat?
After seeing the closed docks with their own eyes, the group realizes their predicament and asks the village head if there are any places to sleep for the night. He tells them that his house has a few spare rooms, so Dae-oh uses his charms to ask for some lodging—minus the other men, of course. Heh.
The village head almost agrees but then shakes his head. He tells Dae-oh that he didn’t give them permission to film since he needs to ask the other residents as well. Ae-jung yields to the head’s wishy-washy argument and asks what they can do to change his mind.
On cue, the village head brings the group back to his house and hands them some spare clothes. Everyone hesitates at first, so the village head threatens them, asking if they don’t want to film on their island. That gets Ae-jung to comply, and she scolds the others to do the same.
Dong-chan brings Ha-nee to his home after school, and she marvels at his large house, wondering what his dad does for a living. Ha-nee notices him clam up at the question, so she quickly changes topics. As the two of them run inside, Dong-chan stops at the entrance and looks at the box where he keeps his allowance.
Carrying snacks, Dong-chan returns to his room, but Ha-nee isn’t there. He searches for her around the house and ends up in Pa-do’s study. His curiosity getting the better of him, Dong-chan steps inside and enters the backroom. After turning on the projector, he spots the framed picture of Tan Zi-yi and freezes.
Dong-chan barely gets a few seconds to process the picture when Ha-nee calls for him. He finds her roaming the halls, and she jokes about his house being too big that they ended up playing hide-and-seek. She asks what he was doing in the room, but Dong-chan blocks her path.
Distracting her from the study, he pulls out his allowance and gives her the wad of cash. He calls it a loan since she won’t accept it for free, and tells her that he’s curious about her dad’s identity, too.
Later at home, Ha-nee looks over her notes on possible dad candidates and wonders how she’ll get a sample of Ryu Jin’s hair. Right then, she gets a call from an unknown number and is surprised to hear Ae-jung’s voice.
In the kitchen, Grandma gets a message from Yeon-woo, telling her that he won’t be coming home. While she wonders about the text, Ha-nee comes out to tell her that Ae-jung won’t be home, either, and it’s just enough information for Grandma to get the wrong idea.
Meanwhile, Ae-jung and her suitors have changed into comfortable clothes, and the village head tells them that he has just a few tasks for them… then pulls out a two-page to-do list. Ae-jung helps him divide up the chores, and Pa-do is tasked with prepping food since he looks like he knows how to handle a knife. As for the others, Yeon-woo is in charge of making a fire, and Dae-oh gets the hardest job: chopping wood.
All that’s left is grocery shopping, which is perfect for Ryu Jin since the store owner is a big fan. Thinking fast, he asks for a manager because he’s a top star (pfft), and the men shoot daggers at him, clearly seeing through his ploy.
Unsurprisingly, Dae-oh is terrible at chopping wood, so Yeon-woo lends him a hand. Watching Yeon-woo split the logs with ease, Dae-oh tries to puff up his chest, asking if he feels bothered by him. Yeon-woo denies it, and tells Dae-oh that he can never make Ae-jung happy because he doesn’t even know what he did wrong.
Dae-oh doesn’t respond since there’s some truth to his words, but it only fuels his desires to be with her even more. He asks the village head where the store is, but the head tosses some logs to the ground and berates him for cutting corners. Startled, Dae-oh promises to chop the wood first before finding Ae-jung.
Pa-do calls Director Kim to let him know that he’s alright and asks him to tighten security around Dong-chan. Thinking back to the mysterious attacker, Pa-do pulls out a blade and hides it in his sock. Though he has bigger worries, even Pa-do can’t escape his chores, and the village head’s wife sits him down to explain how to clean and cut a fish.
She hands him a knife, but with one look at the blade, Pa-do puts it away and pulls out his own. He deftly handles the fish while asking her questions about any strangers on the island and as well as the location of the store. After creating a beautiful platter of sashimi, Pa-do gets up to leave, but the wife grabs his arm since there’s still a bucket of fish left to prepare. Heh.
At the store, Ryu Jin smiles as the owner compliments his acting and piles items into his arms. He eventually crumbles under the weight but pretends he put down the food to give the owner an autograph. His signed handkerchief earns him a free delivery, and he happily poses for pictures.
CEO Song calls Manager Myung to ask about Ryu Jin’s whereabouts, and he lies that Ryu Jin is home. She enters the star’s empty apartment and finds the gifts he bought for Ha-nee. Unaware of her presence, Manager Myung continues lying for Ryu Jin and is caught red-handed.
On their walk back, Ae-jung and Ryu Jin laugh about their outfits, and she tells him that it’s nice to be by his side without people misunderstanding their relationship. She explains that back in university, her classmates would give her the stink eye, though their disapproval diminished a little once Dae-oh joined them.
Ryu Jin stops smiling and says that he regrets becoming friends with Dae-oh, and his connotations aren’t loss on Ae-jung. Though she thanks him for treating her the same after all these years, she asks him to not cross that line. He tries to explain himself, but a tractor drives by at that moment and his response is lost to the void.
Ryu Jin tries again, but this time, Dae-oh appears on a bike and nearly crashes into them. Ae-jung wonders why he’s here, and Dae-oh points at Ryu Jin. He’s angry at the actor for treating their producer as his personal manager, but before things escalate, Ae-jung tells them both to stop. While they might have been a trio back in school, currently they’re business partners, which means setting aside personal feelings.
The three of them walk back to the house looking glum, but their jaws drop at the sight of the party. Though the village head calls it a “meeting,” it’s clear that they were tricked. When he asks for another favor, Dae-oh steps in to negotiate, but the sight of his rival helping Ae-jung spurs Ryu Jin to act. He agrees to sing and sign autographs if they’re granted permission to film, and the village head accepts his terms.
The sun has set by the time Ryu Jin finishes up signing autographs, and from the sidelines, Dae-oh complains about the actor getting all the credit for his hard work. Pa-do peels fruit besides him and points out that this entire mess happened because Dae-oh brought Ae-jung here.
While they fight about who’s at fault, Dae-oh slaps Pa-do in the arm, claiming that there was a mosquito. Pa-do glares at the director and reaches for his knife as Dae-oh keeps criticizing him, unaware of the danger.
With Ae-jung nowhere in sight, Dae-oh decides to find her, but as he leaves, he looks over at Pa-do and freaks out. Not only can Pa-do slice up a fish, but he’s excellent at cutting fruit as well. Heh.
Ae-jung is still cooking for the party when Yeon-woo appears with a cup of hot chocolate. He learned the recipe from Ha-nee and muses about getting tips from her to win Ae-jung over. She ignores his last comment and tells him that she’s always grateful towards him because she can’t give him anything in return.
Rejoining the party, Ae-jung continues taking care of others until Dae-oh pulls her to a table. He hands her chopsticks and tells her to eat since she’s been working this entire time. While the others dance to Ryu Jin’s song, Dae-oh finally gets some alone time with Ae-jung, and uses this moment to ask about their past.
He wants to know why she left and still hates him after all these years, but she refuses to answer. Their voices get louder and grab the other’s attention, but the music still drowns them out. As their fight reaches its peak, the village head turns off the music, and the everyone hears Dae-oh shout at Ae-jung, asking why they broke up.
She stares at him with hurt eyes and leaves the party, so Dae-oh chases after her. Alone again, Ae-jung tells Dae-oh that they can’t take back the last fourteen years. Though she admits to feeling a flutter of excitement because of him, it’s not enough to heal the scars she has. Back then, she only had two choices: die or leave. In the end, she chose to leave him, and begs Dae-oh to remain a dead man in her heart.
Sitting alone, Ae-jung recalls Dae-oh’s questions and thinks to herself that if telling him was easy, then she would have said something a long time ago. She sighs, “If it was that easy, then I wouldn’t have left you… and I wouldn’t have hated you.” Ae-jung hangs her head, and from a distance, Yeon-woo keeps her company.
Ryu Jin stumbles across Dae-oh sitting in a daze outside the house but walks away since they’re no longer friends. However, Dae-oh asks him to stay because he has no one else to talk to, so Ryu Jin sighs and offers to listen.
Dae-oh admits to being ignorant about Ae-jung’s pain, only now realizing that she was just as hurt as him. His words bring back memories to Ryu Jin of that rainy evening with Ae-jung, and he asks Dae-oh why he’s telling him this.
When Yeon-woo returns to the house, Pa-do asks him about Ae-jung, which makes Yeon-woo wonder why he’s so concerned about her. Pa-do tells him that she resembles someone he couldn’t protect, and unlike the others, he doesn’t have a history with her. While he does feel jealous about their long relationships, he mentions how sharing a past isn’t always a good thing.
Ae-jung gets ready to sleep when the village head’s wife tells her that their secret is safe on this island. Though she claims to be tight-lipped, it doesn’t mean she isn’t nosy, and the wife asks Ae-jung about her past relationship. Ae-jung ignores the intruding questions, pretending to sleep, so the wife just tells her that being angry is a sign of lingering feelings. That night, all five of them stay awake, lost in thought.
The next day, Ae-jung learns that Dae-oh left on the first boat, and the others catch her fallen expression. At the office, Hye-jin finds Dae-oh sleeping in the meeting room with papers scattered all over the table. She’s worried about him overworking, but Dae-oh mumbles about wanting to exhaust himself so he’ll stop thinking.
Ah-rin continues calling Dae-oh to no avail, and Manager Do suggests that she stop fretting over him. It’s easier said than done, but when the time comes, she puts on a smile for the cameras since she’s a professional. While she volunteers at a food pantry, a couple of homeless men praise Ah-rin, but someone scoffs: it’s Ae-jung’s old boss, CEO Wang.
CEO Wang brags to the others about his glorious past, so they ask if he knows Ah-rin, too. When he doesn’t deny it, they wonder if he knows Ryu Jin and shows him the newspaper announcing their upcoming movie. He recognizes the name Cheon Eok-man and remembers the contract he made with Dae-oh.
In his apartment, Ryu Jin apologizes to his manager, but a few words aren’t enough to appease him. Manager Myung tells him about CEO Song’s sudden appearance and how she saw the presents. Luckily, he told her that it was for his son, but Ryu Jin pales: those gifts weren’t appropriate for a three-year-old boy.
Director Kim hands Pa-do the items he found near the temple, including a photo of the party with Zi-yi. Apparently, Director Kim is as clueless as us about his boss’s past since he asks about the woman who resembles Ae-jung, but Pa-do doesn’t answer him.
Meanwhile, Dong-chan hangs out at Ha-nee’s house, but all he asks about is Ae-jung. She wonders why he’s asking such random questions, so he lies about using Ae-jung to figure out Ryu Jin’s home address. Ha-nee scoffs at his suggestion but then realizes that he might be on to something.
They head out to the film studio and run into Yeon-woo on their way there. As they greet him, Yeon-woo notices Ha-nee’s untied shoelace and bends down to tie it for her. From a distance, Bo-hye witnesses the entire scene, but stops herself from approaching them.
Grandma smiles when Yeon-woo comes home and tells him that she isn’t worried about him since he’s trustworthy. Clasping his hand, she thanks him for always looking at Ae-jung fondly, but Yeon-woo doesn’t share her enthusiasm. Instead, he asks to rest, and Grandma looks concerned by his response.
Once Ae-jung returns to the office, the first thing she does is ask about Dae-oh. She waves at him as he exits his room, but he ignores her. Even during their meetings, Dae-oh avoids making eye contact with Ae-jung and keeps his replies curt. Hye-jin notes his odd behavior and asks Ae-jung about their director, wondering if he got his heart broken.
In the break room, Ae-jung tells Dae-oh that everything ended well at the island but turns silent when she sees his stern expression. He asks if he’s doing the right thing because it’s taking him so much self-control to hold back from asking her questions. He doesn’t want her to leave him again and asks for one more chance. Forgetting his own scars, he promises to help heal hers.
After hearing his confession, Ae-jung leaves work, but she’s clearly bothered by his words as she bangs her chest. Meanwhile, Ha-nee and Dong-chan arrive at the office too late, so she shows her friend around the place, instead.
Dae-oh finds the kids at Ae-jung’s desk and asks if Ha-nee brought her boyfriend. Ha-nee denies it, but Dae-oh has too much fun teasing them and wonders why Dong-chan looks gloomy. After seeing a photo of Ae-jung and Ha-nee together, Dong-chan asks to leave and runs away.
Before Ha-nee can chase after her friend, Dae-oh stops her and offers to buy her a meal. At the restaurant, Dae-oh asks if she’s still concerned about Dong-chan, and she accuses him of making her friend uncomfortable.
He comments on how similar she acts to her mom, and Ha-nee finally loosens up after hearing that they were classmates. She asks him if Ae-jung and Ryu Jin were close, and her sudden questions about Ae-jung’s love life leaves him speechless. He makes up an excuse to leave the table, and Ha-nee grumbles to herself that Dae-oh is useless.
Ae-jung takes some medicine for her chest pain, but Sook-hee hands her glass since alcohol is a better treatment. Ae-jung reminds her friend of the advice she once told her: there is always a price for love that comes from the heart. She vows not to make the same mistake twice, but Sook-hee points out that Ha-nee isn’t that price. Sook-hee asks why she’s really hesitating, and Ae-jung can’t answer.
CEO Song goes through her phone and looks at the pictures of Ryu Jin from the time he was at the hospital with Ha-nee. She clenches her jaw and heaves a sigh.
Ae-jung walks home with Sook-hee’s last words swirling in her head. She stops in the middle of the road and suddenly remembers Dae-oh asking for another chance. Turning around, Ae-jung runs back and ends up in front of his apartment.
She convinces herself that she’s only here to talk, and gathering her courage, she rings his bell. No one answers at first, but after a few more rings, the door unlocks. However, Ae-jung’s eyes widen as the door opens: standing in front of her isn’t Dae-oh but Ah-rin.
Ah-rin tells her that Dae-oh isn’t home yet and suggests dropping by another time. She smiles as she says farewell, but Ae-jung catches the door before it closes. No longer flustered, Ae-jung tells Ah-rin that she needs to talk to Dae-oh tonight.
Hopefully the ending of this episode is a sign that Ae-jung will confront her feelings and talk with Dae-oh about their past. It’s taken them fourteen long years to get to this point, and an honest conversation between these two is long overdue. Just as Dae-oh needs to learn about her side of the story to get closure, it seems that Ae-jung needs this talk just as much as him to move on from their failed relationship. Whatever happened between them needs to be resolved first if they want to rekindle their feelings for each other and start anew. It’s still too early to assume that Ae-jung will give Dae-oh a “chance” because she is still wrestling with how she feels about him, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Ae-jung cares for him. Once he backed away, she felt his missing presence and reached out to him first. Though he’s doing what she asked and keeping their relationship professional, she misses his antics and warmth even if she might not be fully conscious of it. It makes sense that Ae-jung seems indecisive because emotions are complicated, especially ones that have over a decade of baggage attached to them. However, that doesn’t mean Ae-jung has the right to give him mix messages, so in the coming episodes, I really hope she’ll finally be honest with him and herself.
The show has been teasing its viewers about Ae-jung and Dae-oh’s breakup, and we’ve gotten even more clues about it now. According to Ae-jung, something happened that made her want to die or run away, and I’m left scratching my head over her statement. If something that terrible did happen, how can she love Dae-oh again, unless he wasn’t the direct cause of her pain. Also, since Dae-oh doesn’t know about the hurt she’s been through, I’m guessing that she didn’t talk to him about the problem back then. The other option is that she did tell him about him, but he ignored her and is such a callous jerk that he forgot about it and blamed her for their breakup all these years. Either way, this represents a communication problem between the two characters, and so far, I don’t get the impression that they solved this issue. I’m not convinced that if these two started dating, a similar problem wouldn’t cause them to breakup again, so while Dae-oh’s love seems genuine, I have to side with Ae-jung that a moment of excitement isn’t enough to overcome their problems. However, that isn’t to say Ae-jung is the only one who suffered. While it’s good to see Dae-oh realize that he’s not the only victim of their breakup, it doesn’t mean his scars are less important than hers. I don’t think Dae-oh should have to beg for a “chance” to start again and go so far as to ignore his own scars in order to make amends. If Ae-jung does fall in love with him, I hope that both of them understand how much pain they caused the other and use this as an opportunity to grow.
It’s clear who Ae-jung likes even though this episode cemented the fact that all four suitors have feelings for our producer. She politely declined both Ryu Jin and Yeon-woo’s advances, and both men seemed to get the hint (though I doubt this means they’ll stop trying). Only Pa-do hasn’t “confessed,” but I think that’s why I like him best out of the secondary male leads. He cares about Ae-jung but doesn’t expect more from their relationship. He simply helps her when he can, and their relationship has stayed professional for the most part. I also like how he’s awkward in everything he does—so unlike the cool aura he always has around him—and a man who can make a beautiful arrangement of fruit is always a plus in my book. Besides that, I find Pa-do the most interesting character because he has a side-plot outside of his relationship to Ae-jung. While all the others are completely tied to our main character, Pa-do doesn’t have a shared history with her which allows him to bring in his own questions and mysteries to the story. Sometimes his scenes feel tangential to the plot, but despite that, I’ve grown curious about him and his relationship with Dong-chan. Now that his son has also begun a “who’s my mom” hunt, it doesn’t feel like it’ll take too long before some of Pa-do’s secrets are revealed.
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