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The Spies Who Loved Me: Episode 10

Three may be a crowd but it’s the reality when our designer’s husbands are forced to team up. For now, the three of them all seem to want the same outcome but it’s only a matter of time before her husband’s many lies threaten to bring everything crashing down. Her ex-husband is doing his best to ignore his feelings but he’s clearly distracted, which can’t be good in his line of work.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

Hidden by the fountain, Ji-hoon watches Derek with Ah-reum and pledges to protect her even though it hurts to see her with someone else.

3 Days Ago

After breaking the news to Jin-min that Ah-reum’s husband is a Helmes agent, the chief complains about her luck with men. Seeing that Ah-reum’s offer to use Derek to bring down Helmes makes sense, Jin-min cackles, “She was the key that connected everything.”

When Ah-reum meets with Jin-min, Ji-hoon watches from behind a two way mirror. He listens as Ah-reum explains how her two marriages differ, “People say I divorced Ji-hoon because…we were naive…(but) I just gave up on him back then…I saw the rough future we would have together.”

This time, Ah-reum believes that Derek is the one who will suffer and Jin-min guesses, “You must love him very much.” Ah-reum confesses, “I hate him…But I still want to try my best,” and admits it’s because she didn’t try hard enough with Ji-hoon.

After hearing how perfect Derek is (he takes out the trash without being asked!), Jin-min complains that men like him aren’t easily controlled. Ah-reum begs for his help anyway and Jin-min warns her not to trust her husband, “That’s the only way you can be on our team.”

The meeting with Ah-reum over, Jin-min finds Ji-hoon who has serious reservations about Derek. Jin-min tells him, “I never said you had to trust him. Just use him.”

In the present, Ji-hoon shakes Derek’s hand and whispers, “Your cover is blown.” Stunned, Derek pulls his hand away and recalls decoding a message as a young boy while a woman (his mother?) explained its meaning, “Derek, don’t let anyone know who you are.”

Another flashback shows an adult Derek donning a latex mask and wig to disguise himself as an older man which he later removed it in small public bathroom. As Derek faces Ji-hoon, he thinks, “I’ve been trained for this since Day 1 of being a spy…But I was…exposed by the worst possible person.” Glancing at Ah-reum, Derek realizes, “Spies become blind when they are in love.”

When Jin-min informs the team that Derek is a Helmes agent, he shares his plan to use Ah-reum to peel away his layers. They pretend they’re busy when Ji-hoon walks in to ask Young-gu to get the polygraph ready.

Jin-min and Ji-hoon join Derek in the interrogation room and confirm Derek’s story that Harrison Young recruited him to be a spy after tapping him to translate a document into Japanese while in Sicily. Jin-min realizes that Derek is talking about the Shirabu case from 2013.

Derek insists, “…Harrison Young used that against me…He started asking me to leak simple documents…that led to bigger demands.” Jin-min reasons that Derek can set things straight by cooperating with Interpol and promises to keep Derek’s identity a secret so he can return to both his career and his family. On his way out, Jin-min hands his clipboard to Ji-hoon with the note, “Torture him.”

When Jin-min joins the rest of his team, Seo-ra reminds him that Ji-hoon was in Italy to work on the Shibara case. As Ji-hoon hooks Derek up to a polygraph, Seo-ra concludes, “Those two were meant to meet one way or another.”

Ji-hoon begins with simple “yes” and “no” questions before asking Derek, “Have you looked at other women when you were with your wife?” Derek vehemently denies it but his wildly fluctuating wave says otherwise. Behind the two-way mirror, Tae-ryong sees Derek’s fancy suit and complains, “…doesn’t he (Ji-hoon) have anything better to wear?”

Ji-hoon asks, “Have you murdered somebody before,” and when Derek answers, “No,” his polygraph wobbles for a few seconds before returning to normal. Annoyed, Derek threatens to withdraw his cooperation and Ji-hoon shares his honest opinion about why Derek became a spy, “You simply enjoy lying to people. You get a kick out of stabbing people in the back. Even if it’s your beloved wife.”

Maintaining his composure, Derek baits Ji-hoon, “Can I really trust you…After all, Sophie was your informant, too.” Because his team is watching him, Ji-hoon retaliates by revealing, “You were there that day…Can you prove you didn’t kill her?”

Derek huffs that he already denied killing anyone but Ji-hoon isn’t convinced. Derek then tells Ji-hoon, “You are just an incompetent policeman who got your own informant killed…Maybe it wasn’t the first time either.” When Ji-hoon pulls Derek to his feet by his collar, Young-gu and Tae-ryong run in and drag Ji-hoon away.

At Areumdan Dress, Ah-reum takes Sophie’s USB from its hiding spot under her sewing machine to place it in a travel-sized atomizer that she can keep in her purse.

Later, Ji-hoon is still angry when he meets with Ah-reum who’s worried that he doesn’t trust Derek. Ji-hoon reminds Ah-reum, “I’m running out of time here,” and assures her that everything will go her way before announcing that he’s leaving first.

At the garage, Tinker tells Peter, “I can’t trust Derek anymore,” prompting Peter to confess that he hasn’t trusted him for some time. After Peter mentions a retired Korean policeman in L.A., Tinker annnounces, “I think it’ll lead to something.”

Peter wants to be informed about the L. A. situation along with Derek, “So…he won’t do things his way,” and Tinker readily agrees. When Derek walks in, he’s surprised to see Peter. He explains he was called in after the hacker incident and asks Derek, “How are you going to calm Kim Dong-taek down?”

Derek takes the broken pen from Peter and calls it a toy but when he examines the tip, he’s reminded, “Careful, you’ll die if you get stabbed.” With a smile, Derek returns the pen to Peter, who makes a point of handing it to Tinker.

When Tinker leaves with the pen, Peter looks at Derek and remembers the video of him at the amusement park. Tinker returns with another pen and Peter notes, “At least, I won’t die from something like this.” As Peter leaves, Tinker follows him out and when he winces, Peter asks, “Did you hurt your leg?”

At Areumdan Dress, Du-rae and Ah-reum agree that Sophie’s killer must be someone from a rival gang. Holding up a slashed dress, Du-rae tells Ah-reum, “…you’re becoming the very core of this case…You should take responsibility!”

Unable to pay their bills, Du-rae asks Ah-reum, “Do you want to eat jajangmyun while crying again?” A flashback shows Ah-reum moving her things out of a small store while Du-rae counted the few bills she had left after paying all their bills.

When jajangmyun was delivered, the girls savored the treat since its scent prevented them from eating it around the dresses. When Ah-reum started to cry, Du-rae reminded her that they were the daughters of successful businesswomen. In fact, Du-rae’s mother was going to fund their effort to get on their feet again which prompted the partners to shout, “Let’s do this!”

In the present, Du-rae urges Ah-reum to beg Dong-ran for forgiveness. Ah-reum complains that after bumping into each other at the hospital, Dong-ran dislikes her even more. Du-rae explains that as the mistress, Dong-ran’s mother can’t attend her own daughter’s wedding and Ah-reum gets an idea.

Ji-hoon finds a new suit waiting for him when he returns to Gulliver Publishers and Tae-ryong urges him to try it on. Seeing Ji-hoon in the suit, Tae-ryong marvels, “You look better than 007.” Ji-hoon wistfully remembers that Tae-ryong also bought his wedding suit.

Tae-young regrets convincing Ji-hoon to give up his job as a sniper trainer, “It was stupid of me to talk you into this.” He looks at Ji-hoon’s reflection and advises, “You feel like you’re all alone, don’t you? Well, in the end, everybody is alone. Don’t feel down.” While Tae-ryong fetches some hair gel, Ji-hoon smiles at the photo of Tae-ryong’s wife and kids.

Summoned by Du-rae, Ji-hoon is in Ah-reum’s office when Derek arrives. When Derek demands to know why he’s there, Du-rae explains that she invited Ji-hoon and orders both men to follow her.

Du-rae shows them the dresses that were slashed when an intruder broke in and the men call the attacker a human butcher. Du-rae reports that Ah-reum slashed them with her scissors when she fought off the intruder, “She bragged that she slashed his thigh.” Derek is immediately reminded of Tinker’s injured leg.

Du-rae then shows the men Ah-reum’s soju stash and explains that whenever they show up, Ah-reum works all night so she can drink. When Du-rae leaves, Ji-hoon catches Derek glancing at the camera in the chandelier.

After arriving at the garage, Derek checks on the camera in Ah-reum’s office just as a masked intruder turns it off. Derek tries to call Ah-reum and when she doesn’t answer, he grabs a knife and runs out the door.

At Areumdan Dress, Derek has the knife ready when he opens the door to Ah-reum’s office. After attacking a mannequin in a tux, Derek sees a note on the chandelier, “Are you happy?” Just then the lights go on and the intruder asks, “Are you happy,” and almost gets sliced by Derek’s knife.

The men fight but eventually the intruder gets the upper hand and Derek is both surprised and relieved when Ji-hoon pulls down his mask. Ji-hoon berates Derek for secretly recording Ah-reum but he insists that he only did it to protect her.

When they hear Ah-reum talking on the phone as she enters the store, Derek and Ji-hoon head for the secret room. The bolt of lace on the top shelf unrolls and Derek is forced to hold it in place so it doesn’t fall.

After Ah-reum hangs up, she sees all of Derek’s calls and calls him back. Because Derek is holding up the bolt, he can’t reach his phone so Ji-hoon has to get touchy-feely with him as he searches for it.

Following Derek’s instructions, “Back pockets…Deeper. Deeper,” Ji-hoon eventually finds it. I seriously can’t stop laughing. As soon as Ah-reum is gone, the men relax and when Ji-hoon admits that he didn’t want Ah-reum to know he was there, Derek exclaims, “Finally we’re on the same page.”

The men agree to forget about their fight and when Derek blurts, “I’ll be really good,” Ji-hoon agrees that he’ll be good too. But when Derek and Ji-hoon try to leave the storage room at the same time, they get stuck in the doorway, proof that they’re not ready to work together just yet.

Alone with Seo-ra at Gulliver Publishers, Young-gu mentions Derek’s deception and vows that when it comes to love, he plans to be honest. When Seo-ra isn’t listening, he sees that she’s reading the Shirabu file.

In a flashback to Sicily, 2013, a younger man spilled coffee on an older man and as they both wiped up the mess, they skillfully exchanged handkerchiefs. The older man then ducked into a bathroom to retrieve a chip from the Italian’s handkerchief.

Seo-ra explains that Ji-hoon was assigned to that case because he speaks Japanese and Shirabu was a member of the Japanese royal family. When Interpol arrested Shirabu and the Italian official, Shirabu’s double watched from afar.

Shirabu claimed he knew nothing about the stolen information but the Italian official blamed him for ruining his life and killed him. Two months later, an American pharmaceutical company released the stolen technology which is why Young-gu and Seo-ra buy Derek’s story that Harrison Young was behind the theft.

That case supposedly marked the beginning of Derek’s spy career and Young-gu considers it lucky that Derek has a chance to clear his name and leave Helmes, but only if he can manage to work with Ji-hoon.

Dressed in his new suit, Ji-hoon meets Derek on a rooftop to ask him to help catch both Dong-taek and Helmes’ boss. When asked about the mysterious boss’ communications, Derek admits that Tinker handles all of them.

At that very moment, Tinker appears on the laptop in front of the boss and the bracelet on the boss’ wrist definitely looks like it belongs to a woman.

When Ji-hoon points out that Derek and Tinker seem close, he agrees, “I was close. But after the good times end, the bitter goodbye comes as well.” Derek informs Ji-hoon that Tinker will be leaving for Japan in a few days and when Ji-hoon meets with the team, he announces that Tinker won’t be in the country during Mission Kim Dong-taek.

The Interpol team plans to have Derek lure Dong-taek with the news that he has Sophie’s research. Jin-min really wants to catch the Helmes boss but Young-gu hasn’t been able to find a trace of the boss’ phone calls.

Seo-ra suggests the boss may have his own communication network and Young-gu remembers using abandoned networks after his mother refused him permission to play online games. Young-gu explains, “You can only use it for 3 minutes max, but it’s very possible,” and Jin-min tasks him with finding the hidden network. Turning their attention back to Dong-taek, Ji-hoon reports that Dong-ran’s wedding will give them the perfect opportunity to catch him.

Ah-reum reaches the rooftop after being summoned by Ji-hoon and she’s surprised to see that Derek is there too. She’s stunned when both men turn towards her, perfectly backlit. Ji-hoon shares his plan for Ah-reum to get Derek into Dong-ran’s wedding and she has to break the news that she’s not working that wedding after all.

Derek gets jealous when Ji-hoon teases Ah-reum about being scared and places his arm around his wife. Ji-hoon offers to buy them dinner and Ah-reum is surprised when Derek accepts.

As their food is served, Ah-reum confides that Derek can’t eat anything spicy and Ji-hoon quips, “Since you don’t hang out with real men, you don’t know how to eat real food.” Ouch. To show how manly he is, Ji-hoon shoves his steaming food into his mouth with his fingers and to Ah-reum’s dismay, Derek does the same thing.

The next day, Ah-reum shows Dong-ran a dress and she complains, “It’s so 90s. My mom would like it.” Ah-reum explains that’s exactly who the dress is for, “It’s so touching to see a mother and a daughter dressed up together for pictures.”

Dong-ran has a real soft spot for her mother and she can’t resist taking a picture of the dress to send her. By the time Dong-ran tries on the wedding dress that Ah-reum designed for her, Ah-reum is back in her good graces.

Her attendance at the wedding secured, Ah-reum asks for an invitation for Derek as well, explaining that the one Dong-taek promised never arrived. Dong-ran hasn’t been able to reach Dong-taek either but she’s confident that he’ll attend her wedding rather than risk getting on their father’s bad side.

The night before the mission, Jin-min finds Ji-hoon alone on the rooftop. When Ji-hoon asks permission to return to the U.S., Jin-min guesses that Ah-reum is behind his request and warns against running from his feelings. In the end, Jin-min agrees to Ji-hoon’s request.

Asleep at her worktable, Ah-reum wakes up when Ji-hoon texts her. Wearing his new suit, Ji-hoon waits among the wedding dresses and when Ah-reum shows up, they go over where she’s to plant cameras and recorders for the mission.

When Ah-reum thanks Ji-hoon for helping Derek, he assures her that Jin-min will take care of them. Ah-reum worries, “You sound like you won’t be here to see that happening,” but Ji-hoon just smiles sadly.

Seeing his tie, Ah-reum guesses that a man picked it out and she moves closer to remove it. Staring at Ah-reum, Ji-hoon imagines slowly leaning in for a kiss. Before Ah-reum can get Ji-hoon another tie, he tells her to keep it as he leaves but he ends up lingering just outside the door.

On Dong-ran’s wedding day, Jin-min’s team takes their places as he reminds them that the venue is tricky because it was designed to prevent unwanted pictures from being taken. Since DDK built it, Dong-taek knows the location of every exit so they have to be sure to keep him from escaping.

After Dong-ran is given upsetting news, she mutters, “How dare you not show up to my wedding.” Dong-ran immediately sends a text and and an assistant reads it to Dong-taek, “I want to have your blessing…You’ll be there, won’t you?” Dong-ran is infuriated when Dong-taek texts back, “I hope I never have to see you again.”

Dong-ran sends Dong-taek some unflattering photos of him with various women that she can share with the reporters covering her wedding if he doesn’t show up. Just then, Derek calls Dong-taek and announces, “I got what you asked for…I’m on my way to your sister’s wedding. Hurry up and meet me there.”

When he arrives at the venue, Derek passes Ji-hoon and reports, “Dong-taek will arrive by two.” While Dong-ran visits with friends in the bride’s room, Ah-reum slips out to place a tiny camera in an empty suite.

Derek heads for the suite just as Dong-taek arrives. Jin-min reports that their target just showed up and everyone hurries into position. After getting a phone call, Dong-taek gets back into his car and orders his driver to take him to the airport and Jin-min worries, “Did our information get leaked?” When Ah-reum confronts Ji-hoon, he shares Jin-min’s suspicion that there was a leak just as Derek joins them.

 
COMMENTS

It’s tough to watch Derek manipulate not only Ah-reum, but Ji-hoon and his team to achieve his goal of saving his marriage. We see that Derek wasn’t tricked into becoming a spy, he’s been training to become one since he was a child. What does that say about his mother, who we still haven’t met? What exactly has the unsuspecting Ah-reum stumbled into? Derek has told nothing but lies his entire life, I seriously doubt he knows who he really is at this point. The only thing that seems certain about Derek is that he does care for Ah-reum as evidenced by the fact that he raced to her store when he thought she was in danger, knife at the ready. But there’s lots more to love than protecting someone.

With Ah-reum committed to staying by Derek’s side, Ji-hoon is ready to leave for the States. Who can blame him? Having to be around Ah-reum and Derek must be not only painful but exhausting. Ji-hoon has to swallow his feelings time and time again and he’s decided to force himself to move on. What Derek thought was his final meeting with Ah-reum was made even sadder by the fact that he couldn’t tell her that he was leaving. Because of all the pain that Ah-reum endured while they were married, Ji-hoon is determined to take on all of the pain with they part again. Too bad Derek isn’t worth that sacrifice.

In spite of the tension that bringing Ji-hoon and Derek together has caused, there were also both funny and touching scenes in this episode. I already mentioned Derek’s final meeting with Ah-reum, but there’s also the continuous competition between Ji-hoon and Derek. Jammed into a doorway? It’s a given with these two but I loved it anyway. Hiding in that storeroom just inches from each other as Derek was forced to hold that bolt of lace in place above Ji-hoon’s head? That scene was made even funnier when Ji-hoon had to push his hand into Derek’s pocket to pull out his phone. Oh my. I may need to watch that again when I need a good laugh. And then there’s Tae-ryong’s gift of a new suit for Ji-hoon coupled with an apology for recruiting him as an agent for Interpol. He knows Ji-hoon is hurting and even lonelier having to see Ah-reum with Derek. Tae-ryong gives Ji-hoon advice that only a fellow agent can give and it at least offers a sense of camaraderie.

I mentioned at the beginning of Spies that this is my first experience with Eric and I’m enjoying the chemistry he has with, well everyone. He and Yoo Inna are terrific together but he’s just as good with Im Joo-hwan. I think I’m going to have to check out one of his other dramas and I’m hoping for some good suggestions. In the meantime, I’m enjoying him so much in Spies.

Another aspect of Spies that’s surprised me is that the pacing has been so good that I haven’t noticed that mid-drama slump that other dramas sometimes suffer from. There’s always some new development that keeps me guessing. While we still don’t know the identity of the boss or who killed Sophie, there’s now a potential mole on Ji-hoon’s team. Derek was raised to tell lies and to be a spy from a young age. What? I wasn’t expecting anything like that. Now there’s a case from Ji-hoon’s past where Derek played a major part, meaning that Derek and Ji-hoon have a connection that precedes Ah-reum. That’s what I like about Spies, it keeps surprising me.

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@teriyaki

I discovered Eric in my first Kdrama "Que Sera Sera" with Jung Yu-Mi and since he had a special place in my heart :p

Their second one together "Discovery of Love " was nice too.

His chemistry with Seo Hyun-Jin in "Another Miss Oh" was incredible.

For this episode, Derek and JH are hilarious together. I like the humor touch in those serious feelings. The actors are doing a great job as serious spies being childish together.

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Thanks for the detailed recap @teriyaki! I am also appreciating the various layers they're peeling back on this onion - and it's also nice to see such a solid cast working and playing off each other so well.

I love how Ah-reum is written as a woman with grit and agency, making her own choices and taking action of her own volition. It would have been so easy for them to make her a "poor little thing" to be pitied because of her husbands' antics, but that's not who she is - and Yoo In-na is giving really giving her life.

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Yes! I love that Ah Reum is a problem solver and making her own choices. I really do hope that the writers will keep this trait of hers consistent all throughout the end of the drama. I'm tired of seeing strong female leads start off and then towards the end of the drama, they become a damsel in distress waiting for the guy to save her. I would like to see her work as a partner with Ji Hoon and Derek. Yoo In Na has really improved her acting over the years and I hope this character she plays will open up more doors for her. She is also a beautiful crier so I would love to see her in a melodrama one day. Also, like @teriyaki said, I love that the drama hasn't really experienced a slump. It feels pretty consistent throughout the series and every episode keeps building and building momentum for the big reveal and all the secrets to spill out.

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She's definitely not a candy but what I like more is that she isn't a stereotypical badass woman either. She isn't immaturely making badass moves but she's calculative, smart, mature, fallible but especially humanly vulnerable. As I said before, it seems like the writer has observed real women while writing Ah Reum rather than simply writing an ideal one (either the ideal be a candy or a badass woman).

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You're spot on. Her character is written really well as someone who is smart but can be vulnerable, making her very relatable. She has her flaws, sure, like marrying two spies, but very self-possessed. I love seeing that since it's so rare in k-dramas.

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“After hearing how perfect Derek is (he takes out the trash without being asked!)”
The bar for men really is a tavern in Hades

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I'm dying. 🤣

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Thanks for the recap, @teriyaki! I agree that Ah-reum will stay with Derek because of loyalty and Ji-hoon will sacrifice his 'family' again because he thinks she will be happier. I feel Derek is really trying to be human but his upbringing/training really gets in the way. I love how Ah-reum manipulated Dong-ran with the wedding dress.

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noooooo.... i want her to go back to jihoonie!!! i'm still destroyed by Start Ups ending.... my sweet dimples man.........

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These are two very different marriages, and I think the show is doing a good job of showing us that. This is my take: Ah-reum married Ji-hoon because she was madly in love with him, but she married Derek because he offered stability and dependability - two things she didn't get from Ji-hoon and dearly wanted. A sort of "sadder but wiser girl," she knew what she was getting into the second time and went with eyes open. The problem is (again, this is my take): she likes Derek and is fond of him, but she still loves Ji-hoon - or at least her feelings for him aren't yet resolved.

I really appreciate that she is acknowledging that she's grown and changed since her first marriage, and that this time she wants to give her best and try to do better. I also admire her loyalty to her current marriage. But I don't think she really loves Derek (and I also don't think he'll be able to stop lying, though I do believe he sincerely loves Ah-reum).

Like you, I am 100% Team Ji-hoon, but I'm 1,000% Team Ah-reum.

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Yes 1000% Ah Reum. A part of me thinks she doesn't even need any of the guys. When she is done saving both, she can live on her own terms, either as single or find someone else but Ah Reum deserves better than both of them.

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Absolutely agree! She's demonstrating more and more that she most definitely doesn't need either one of them. And she deserves to choose one, or neither, or someone else, or no one ever again because she is Ah-reum and badass as-is (honestly I would totally want to be friends if I met her in real life).

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Thanks for the recap! I also noted that this drama isn't suffering from a slump, or from inconsistencies, or even from a dash to the safety of a trope or two. It just keeps revealing layer upon layer of people's personalities and backstories, which means you have to re-assess people all the time and are kept guessing about what our end point is going to be. Well written, and well acted.
Also, I laughed at how they did a reprise of the lace-between-the-faces scene. When it was Ji-hoon and Ah-Reum, it was a sexually-charged reintroduction of their awareness of one another. Then, as if making fun of an old drama meme, it happened again only between Jihoon and Derek, and while yes there was surprise there was also horror, lol. Then the phone bit was the capper - I laughed so hard!

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This show does a great job of giving us a whole array of emotions - charged tension, uncertainty, sweet and funny. It all seems to change on a dime and, combined with the layers they're peeling back ep after ep as you mention, this keeps it really interesting.

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You always put my feelings in a much better way in this drama's comments. Safety was the word I was looking for. This drama or writer never chose the safety of any trope. Instead she dived deep into what is sth better that we can make out of this situation. I hope she keeps writing dramas as she's a film writer and that shows.

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Thanks for the recap @teriyaki. Recaps are more fun when the recapper enjoys as much as you. I think all of us here agree that the show has not suffered a slump at all. And as @skelly put it above, not even inconsistencies or choosing safety. I think I'll keep saying this till the end that it's a pity not many are watching this. Every episode surprises me because it's wholesome and unique and I have not seen that in kdramas from a very long time.

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