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Run On: Episode 5

Our translator and athlete face some hard truths about each other, but will that be enough to counter the magnetic pull that keeps bringing them into each other’s orbit? As Sun-kyum tries adjust to life after running, Mi-joo needs to decide if her very strong feelings for him can outweigh her fears about having someone like him in her life.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

It turns out Assemblyman Ki’s chief of staff is the one who tipped off Sun-kyum about the bribe, neglecting to mention that Mi-joo returned it, and painting her as a two-faced villain. Sun-kyum tells Mi-joo that he’s always been embarrassed by his father, but he wants to know why she took it—what if it left her at a disadvantage?

Mi-joo replies that she’s been getting paid off since she was young, precisely because she’s already in a position of weakness. She tells him to be disappointed in her, to hate and forget about her, but he doesn’t want to. Even if her words and consolations were all fake, they were meaningful to him.

Mi-joo says that will only make her miserable—she’s always accepted money easily, but for the first time, he made her feel guilty, like she could be a good person and she’s failing. She wants to go back to being strangers, but he refuses, holding her gun hostage, so she gives in resignedly and leaves. Both of them spend a lonely evening, she with sleeping pills and him with alcohol.

The next morning, Sun-kyum calls a baffled Young-il and tells him he drank last night, but couldn’t sleep in and ended up going for his usual early run. He called Young-il because he has no friends to talk to. Aw.

Meanwhile, Sun-kyum’s parents are on a performative repentance tour at their church. His mother Ji-woo runs into a fellow parishioner, Ms. Dong, and her daughter Ye-chan. Ms. Dong assures Ji-woo that things will be all right with Sun-kyum, but Ji-woo admits that she has a hard time getting close to her kids—being an actor is far easier than being a mom.

Sun-kyum takes an enormous pile of gifts to the kids he’s promised to coach. They’re excited to see him, but they ask him if he really hit someone, and why. He replies lightly that they shouldn’t ask why, and just think of him as a bad person.

They urge him to apologize and start over, but he muses that he’s unsure whether he’s at a starting line or a finish line right now—if this is the beginning or the end.

As expected, a teacher apologetically tells Sun-kyum that he won’t be able to mentor the track and field team anymore due to the scandal. He promises to continue to sponsor them financially under a different name. He says he’s fine with it, but his eyes are in full sad puppy mode as he drives away.

Mi-joo confesses to Mae-yi that she took money from Assemblyman Ki, but returned it for Sun-kyum’s sake. Now that Sun-kyum has found out, she’s most worried that Ki told his son about her underprivileged background: “I’m scared that he might have found out I’ve got nothing to offer, despite how confident I was acting.”

Mae-yi points out that Mi-joo never hid that in the first place, but Mi-joo says she’s embarrassed and feels like a loser. Mae-yi observes that Mi-joo’s clearly still interested in Sun-kyum, despite her protestations, and Mi-joo stays stubbornly silent.

Dan-ah’s father sends her a list of potential grooms, with Sun-kyum included. She asks Mr. Jung to schedule a meeting with the chairman.

Young-hwa, easygoing and well-liked on campus, admits to his friend Ye-joon that he’s into someone cool, unlike the cute girls he knows at school. Someone so high up that he can’t reach her—he wants to drag her down.

Mi-joo finds out that her director ex-boyfriend has been going around telling people that they used to date, implying that’s the only reason she got the job to translate his film. She’s soon distracted from her anger by an invitation to lunch at the hotel where Sun-kyum lives—which she is definitely not attending, she insists repeatedly to Mae-yi. As she dolls herself up.

Lunch with her rich friend turns out to be an exercise in humiliation, as the woman manages to criticize Mi-joo for not getting married and look down on her for being poor and a foster child in the space of a couple of minutes. Ugh.

Mi-joo ducks out of the lunch early, finding some cigarettes planted in her bag by Mae-yi and isseriously tempted to smoke just one despite how hard it was to quit. Sun-kyum finds her asking a disapproving staff member for a light and says to follow him.

She realizes he was sitting near her earlier in the lounge, but he didn’t overhear the conversation, to her relief. Sun-kyum says that Woo-shik wants to treat them both to a meal. She’s uncomfortable with Sun-kyum being there, but asks him to send her Woo-shik’s phone number.

As Mi-joo walks away, Sun-kyum says that he saw her movie playing, the one she’d said they had to see before it left theaters. Mi-joo admits that was an excuse to get him to stay. Sun-kyum says he’s doing the same right now—finding an excuse to keep her from leaving.

She shuts him down, politely but completely, but also asks why he told her to follow him earlier. He was going to lead her to a smoking area, he says, and she finally laughs and says she likes this aspect of his personality. “I thought you hated it,” he responds, and oh, he looks so quietly forlorn that I want to cry. She tells him she feels better now, and thanks him sincerely for not asking what’s wrong.

Young-hwa is surprised to find out that Ye-joon’s mother works for Dan-ah, and tags along when the friend needs to stop by there on an errand for his mom. Oh! His mom is Ms. Dong, Yook Ji-woo’s friend, and Ye-chan is the girl Young-hwa is tutoring. Ms. Dong introduces the two young men to Dan-ah, whose first question is about their age. HA.

Once Ms. Dong and Ye-joon leave, Dan-ah comes close to him with the comment that he smells of varnish, and he asks why pretended not to know him. Dan-ah responds that there was no need, and he’s disappointed by the realization that she only acknowledges people when she needs them. He pays her the 500,000 won (about $500) she said he owed for her broken bracelet, which he describes as “a lot of money.” Dan-ah laughs at this.

Dan-ah runs into her older brother Myung-min on her way to meet her father. He nastily tells to quit trying to compete for the company and quietly get married to a suitable man—wasn’t her coming out as a lesbian just a ploy to avoid marriage anyway?

She gets in his face and snaps that if they’re going to compete with dirty tricks, maybe she should expose that he’s illegitimate and younger than her to boot. She storms out of the building, no longer in the mood to meet the chairman. Myung-min violently takes his anger out on Mr. Jung like the A+ human he is.

Later, Dan-ah stands studying Young-hwa’s painting at her regular coffee shop. The artist passes by and, seeing her through the window, stops to sketch her, though he quickly puts it away when Ye-joon arrives, making an excuse not to go inside. He takes Dan-ah’s bracelet to a neighborhood jewelry store to get it fixed, but the owner says she can’t fix it. She recognizes the brand right away and tells him it’s worth about ten million won.

Mi-joo and Sun-kyum both show up at a restaurant to eat with Woo-shik, who “cancels” at the last minute—he’s trying to get them to make up. Mi-joo and Sun-kyum awkwardly catch up over their meal, Sun-kyum sharing that he’s been fired by the school track and field team.

He tells her that runners are born being able to run a certain speed, but it’s a matter of training kids at a young enough age so they can reach their full potential; South Korea hasn’t won the gold because they don’t have a nurturing environment for young athletes to grow.

Mi-joo points out that he’s been doing that, with his coaching and with his support for Woo-shik, comparing him to Jerry Maguire. Sun-kyum says that’s not really what agents do—they’re more like representatives for their players. The closest thing he has is Dan-ah, who scouted him, manages him and acts like a human shield to protect him. Mi-joo point out that he does all that too, but Sun-kyun says that he failed.

Mi-joo asks him why he doesn’t consider failure to be part of the process—even Jerry Maguire hit rock bottom before he succeeded. When Sun-kyum shows no sign of recognition, she even acts out a bit of the iconic “Show me the money” scene. Sun-kyum promises earnestly to look it up and watch it later.

Mi-joo praises his habit of asking questions, saying he’d have been a good student, and he wonders if he should go back to school now that he’s unemployed. She smiles at him like he’s the cutest thing she’s ever seen and tells him to call her when he’s bored. He grins tipsily and asks her to re-enact the movie again.

As they leave the restaurant, Sun-kyum thanks Mi-joo for helping Woo-shik. She tells him that when she was Woo-shik’s age, she met Mae-yi and her life got much better thanks to her—Woo-shik must think of Sun-kyum the same way.

After they part ways, Mi-joo sees that Woo-shik’s interview has finally been published, and she runs home and spends all night translating it into Korean. She posts her translation and the original article to every forum she can think of, telling her gaming buddies to share it widely.

We hear Mi-joo’s translation of Woo-shik’s words in voiceover, describing how the two older boys started abusing him when he joined the track and field team in high school and never stopped. How he’d accepted it as normal until Sun-kyum became the first person to tell him the violence was unconditionally wrong. Woo-shik describes Sun-kyum as his inspiration and the only person on his side.

The story causes enough of a stir on social media to become headline news in the press. When Sun-kyum sees it he tries unsuccessfully to reach Woo-shik. As Sun-kyum runs around in the rain looking for him, we hear the most heartbreaking part of the interview: Woo-shik has decided not to return to sports after his rehabilitation. (Love how the interview switches from Mi-joo’s voice to Woo-shik’s here, as we go from translation to flashback.)

Drenched, Sun-kyum finds Mi-joo and asks why she didn’t tell him that Woo-shik was quitting running. She replies that Sun-kyum did all this so that Woo-shik could continue his career; she knew it would break his heart.

When Sun-kyum protests having to find out this way, she calls him out for being considerate to everyone else, but not expecting that Woo-shik would want to do the same. “No one is born used to enduring pain,” she tells him. He doesn’t need to pretend to be okay.

She pulls him under shelter so he’s not getting rained on, and into a hug, patting him on the back. Mi-joo makes sure he knows what this is, and he confirms, “Comfort,” and leans into her.

COMMENTS

I’m jumping in on these recaps from Episode 5, so I want to first say that I am loving this drama to the nth degree, and that Shin Se-kyung and Im Shi-wan have completely stolen my heart! Sun-kyum is scooping out my innards and walking all over them with every quietly devastating declaration, and Mi-joo is deeply weird, capable but underemployed, and constantly frustrated by life in a way I find delightfully authentic. This episode takes the protagonists into a new stage in their relationship. If the first four episodes were about them meeting and falling for each other, even if they didn’t admit it out loud, the moment when Sun-kyum confronted Mi-joo about taking the bribe, that initial rosy glow around them shattered.

If they want to build a relationship now—and I think both do, even if in Mi-joo’s case it’s despite herself—they’ll need to start over with this new knowledge between them. I don’t believe either of them really had illusions about the other; one of the things I find so refreshing about their dynamic is how honest they’ve been from the beginning, even in situations where most people would find that much frankness uncomfortable. That’s why they clicked so quickly when they first met, because neither of them shies away from unpleasant truths, and for the first time they’ve met someone else who doesn’t get awkward in response to that bluntness. But now they’ve found a truth that directly affects their relationship—an ugly one.

I was confused at first when Mi-joo not only rejected Sun-kyun’s forgiveness, but left out the important fact that she returned the money. She only confessed that part to her best friend—but that conversation with Mae-yi was so enlightening. The obstacle that lies between them isn’t the fact that Mi-joo took the bribe, even temporarily, but as she explained to Sun-kyum, that she’s the kind of person whom society sees as being vulnerable to them.

Their class difference isn’t something that will be solved by an apology or explanation from Mi-joo, and I totally understand her frustration at feeling so deeply sympathetic towards someone so materially privileged that he has no concept of the difficulties she’s gone through. That hotel lunch must have brought all of that viscerally home for her—it’s no wonder that she cut off his attempts to be friendly. She likes him so much, and she really wants to never have to talk about any of this with him. And yet he is pitiable, and cluelessly earnest, and good, in a way that easily brings down her walls no matter how hard she tries to keep them up.

We see this class difference with Young-hwa and Dan-ah, as well. I’m not quite sure where that storyline is going given that he’s totally crushing on her and she’s into women, but I find Dan-ah herself fascinating in every scene. She does have that typical chaebol heir storyline, with a family whose high expectations and zero regard for her personal agency have twisted her personality, but there’s a lively yet melancholy sharpness to Dan-ah that makes her stand out. This drama is full of lonely people, not just the leads but Dan-ah, Ji-woo, even Eun-bi, who despite her bubbly manner avoids her family as much as Sun-kyum does.

In particular, Woo-shik’s interview underscored how alone he was, how unable to reach out for help, but that having one person acknowledge and stand up for him was enough. It puts the ugly cycle of bullying and abuse we see with Woo-shik and Sun-kyum into context as something that doesn’t just happen between people, but a systemic problem that has to be tackled at the roots. Sun-kyum understands that, which is why he’s so committed to coaching kids, and was so devastated when he was fired. And I loved how Mi-joo brought the whole thing full circle by pointing that the system is the people in it, so Sun-kyum’s individual efforts were absolutely meaningful. Such a smart reminder of the truth that institutional and personal injustice are two edges of the same poisonous knife.

That hug at the end was really lovely, but I was even more moved by Mi-joo’s unwillingness to let Sun-kyum continue to ignore his pain for the sake of others’ feelings. He’s been conditioned to do that by a lifetime of his father’s abuse and his mother’s neglect, and it’s painful to witness. Watching him hear for the first time that he doesn’t have to just endure being hurt, that he has a right to show his pain and seek comfort, made my my heart hurt. Sun-kyum is a deeply considerate person, but his matter-of-fact manner causes most people to think that he doesn’t have feelings, so they lash out at him without guilt. Mi-joo truly sees him though. Maybe it’s because she’s a little bit the same—she tries to put up an unruffled front, but we saw how anxiously she kept checking for the article to be published, and poured her heart into translating it as quickly as she could. I’m so glad she insists on making him confront his own self-sacrifice. It’s such an important step for Sun-kyum to finally break free of living someone else’s life, and claim his own.

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@laica are we sure that Dan-ah likes women? I couldn't tell if it was something she said to get rid of unwanted men. I'll be let down if she's into women and the writer uses a man to change that.

Fingers crossed this drama manages to stay this engaging and true to it's quirky main characters.

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I agree. It will disappointing if it's really being treated as an excuse. That's just poor writing. It'd be great if she is actually bi. That would be the sensible resolution to this otherwise random "insert".

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I've just rewatched the scene just in case I didn't get it right the first time, and I don't think DanAh is into women. It is the brother who says that she came out to avoid dating and I felt her surprise was real, and then she points out that it is him the one outing her in from of a third party (Sec. Jeung), and considering MM is not a very sharp guy, and when she tells him she also likes women, I think she's teasing him.
But yes, having a bi character would be fantastic.

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That was my impression too - that she was surprised when her brother said it.

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oh okay that saves a bit of mess then!

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Bi would actually be fun.

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Sorry for the delayed reply, DB was eating comments yesterday :(

It was hard to tell when I was writing the recap, because Dan-ah played it earnestly, and the only one who accused her of making it up to avoid marriage is her ghastly brother whom I frankly don't trust. But I rewatched her earlier conversation with Mr. Jung, where she wonders if her crappy matchmaking partners are a "punishment for lying", so you guys might be right that she did make it up.

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I was also reacting to that scene where she was complaining about the matchmaking. I also do not trust the brother, so perhaps we should wait and see. But to me the crucial point is that the pressure on Dan-ah to marry is at an order of magnitude higher than it would be for an ordinary Korean lady. Which is why she might resort to such an extraordinary lie- if indeed it is a lie. The fact that she is obviously intrigued by our budding artist suggests that it could be a lie but we really do not know yet.

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Thank you for the recap, @laica. I'm glad that the article about Woo-shik is out. Maybe this will help Sun-kyum decide what to do with his life next. I hope he gets back the coaching job - I think it will suit him well. As for Dan-ah, has anybody noticed that she sips her coffee but never gets her lips moist? What wonderful lipstick she has!

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Thanks for the recaps!!

I absolutely love the leads. They are honest, brave, ok to be vulnerable and are mature. I don’t remember the last time I loved the leads as individuals and as a couple. They feel so real.

It’s really hard to see SK’s struggle. And I am so glad he feels comfortable enough to confront MI joo In person. I was so happy he did not endure the pain alone by himself. He went to her. Angry or disappointed, he still chose to go to her.

That’s what I like about the leads. They face each other and talk about what’s bothering them. I hope this will be the core that will build their trust and keep them going in the long run. It’s not going to be easy.

P.s we need more dinner dates and drunk smiling ISW :) 🥰

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My love for them is getting closer to my love of SeRa and Gong in Memorials. They are as honest and as lovely weird as them.

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Exactly what I've been thinking too!! The key difference though is that I feel ITR had a better ensemble cast than here?

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I think that in ITR we had a better idea of what the plot was. As you pointed out in other comment, we still don't know (and it will be episode 7 this week) why certain characters are there for (Young Hwa, DanAh little brother...), and that's something never happened to ITR, imo.
Not that I'm not utterly enjoying this one, in any case.

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Yes that sounds like it. The supporting cast actually had a role and something to do, rather than being just there.

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" I loved the leads as individuals and as a couple. They feel so real." -< this, so much! I enjoy my romance drama much more when the leads have their own life and are their own people.

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Thank you for the recap.

Mi-joo comforting Sun-kyum was lovely. I liked their conversation in the restaurant too. I hope Sun-kyum can find a way to nurture young athletes, as a coach or in some other capacity. He would be good at it.

Mi-joo's reluctance to pursue her interest in Sun-kyum is understandable. They've had such honest conversations to this point, I hope they can have an honest conversation about this too.

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“Sun-kyum is scooping out my innards and walking all over them with every quietly devastating declaration“

That’s me! Especially when our OTP are talking. It hurts SO GOOD! I love them! What other words should I use so I won’t sound so repetitive every recap about how much I love them?? It doesn’t help that ISW & SSK has amazing chemistry and their portrayal of SK & MJ are perfect!

At first, I got confused as to why Mi-joo left out the fact that she returned the money. But looking at the big picture, no matter what decision she makes, it’ll never change that she did accept it. Her reasons of accepting were real too.

How cute was SK trying to make excuses just to keep MJ in front of the hotel?? Typically also, when a male lead finds out the truth, they usually ran & lash out at the female lead for keeping things... but here, we get to see a male lead, calmly asking why and realising that he too needs to be comforted. 🥺

I do have a tiny little quibble with the show, was part of Sooyoung’s audio dubbed? Those part kinda broke the momentum while watching. The random transitions too, but the cast and writing really makes up for it.

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That’s what I liked about her. She did not defend herself. She was honest. She might accept money again if she is in another Situation. BecAuse that’s how the system is built. If she refuses to take the money, it would be a confrontation.

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Yes. If she did, it'll sound like an excuse and she knew that.

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That was some great dialogue about how refusing=confrontation. I was wondering why she didn't mention returning the money, but it made sense why she didn't. It didn't change the fact that she did She may feel a bit guilty, but objectively there was nothing to defend given that this was a depressingly familiar situation and it was the most peaceful way to handle it. It was also obvious that while she had taken the money, she wasn't bought off. She translated everything Sun-kyum said to the media and incurred his dad's wrath. And I liked how she encouraged Sun-kyum to be disappointed.

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I like how he reacts to things: calmly, taking the time to process. Too many male and female leads in dramas tend to fly off the handle upon finding out stuff. But SK takes the time to process and ask people about stuff, like a grownup should.

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Am loving the non-prolonged-angst, matter-of-fact way show decided to deal with the "infamous white envelope". Was thinking that Mi-joo feels like she did actually accepted it, even when she changed her mind later. It was frustrating, but you have to give it to her that she has a principle and is holding on to it. And apparently, two-faced jerks stick together, because dad's secretary is as much as a snake as he is.

Now that show reveals more about Dan-ah and Yong-hwa, am wondering how these two are supposed to end up together. Not only big divide in economic situation and age, Dan-ah doesn't even like guys..? Hope she won't hurt our bubbly boy too much... I feel his pain when she gave that condescending laugh about the $500 bracelet repayment, it wasn't as bad as her brother kicking Secretary Jung, but in principle, it's kinda the same "you are beneath me" treatment. (Totally wishing an awful wedding for Me-joo's b*tch of a "friend".)

The hug at the ending made me clutch my heart. It feels like all this time, he's been really stretched taut trying to keep emotionless and even smiling when he felt the opposite, and in that hug, he can finally relax and lean on somebody else.

I hope Woo-shik's story doesn't end here, surely there's still a way he can keep doing sport T_T And yay for his matchmaking! That last screenshot of tipsy Sun-kyum is just so much aaw...

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What an insightful re-cap. The FL has an absent family replaced by fosters. The ML has a famous family who should have been replaced. Perhaps they will fill in each other's gaps to make a whole person/couple. Thinking this may be the formula for every happy relationship. I did not expect to relate to this show as much as I am so doing. Run On :)!

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I have been a silent reader here since 2005, when I watched my first live series Secret Garden. I have never felt compelled enough to express how much I like a series till this one. That's how much it has affected me:) It is such a pity for those who cannot get into it. I know how it feels. No worries. There will always be another & hopefully, one so good that it does the same to you as this did for me.

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Welcome and enjoy the recaps!!

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Thank you! :D Have been checking back almost every other hour for ep 6 recap haha

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I forgot. Thank you so much for recapping this. Deeply appreciated :)

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Thank you for your take on this episode, @laica! I so enjoyed reading it! I’m totally into all the relationships here. So many broken individuals trying to become unbroken. How much do I want to take Sun-Kyum home with me and give him a real family? And Mi-joo too? Agh! And then there’s episode six.

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The thing I like most about the drama it does not rely on common tropes or even if they are there, they try to subvert it.
The relationship between lead pair is refreshing. (even though they technically qualify for Chaebol-Candy romance)
I quite like Young-haw as well. His habit to convert any expensive thing into chicken is hilarious. I like how easy going, friendly and oddball he is.

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Yes! That's what I realized too! it's basically a candy-chaebol trope but Sunkyum doesn't entirely fit into the chaebol archetype and Mijoo is not entirely a clueless I'm-poor-but-I'm-happy candy either. Which is something obvious for an interesting story but I don't think it's so easy to achieve such a beautiful and fun balance and complexity to typical characters.

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I love how Young-Hwa outcrazies everyone he meets. You thought Dan Ah's brother and Sunkyum were odd? Here comes Young Hwa

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I love him! His smile and his cheerfulness are such joys to behold. I find myself smiling like crazy whenever he's on-screen.

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It's impossible not to love him, yet... why is his character there? I mean, we still don't know what's his part in this story.
Not that I complain. Let he keep counting chickens and smiling and I'll be happy.

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(Is Young-hwa the real Candy?!)

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True. Although I like him, I keep wondering what the role of his character is. He could be taken out entirely at this point and it would have zero bearing on the plot.

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Thank you so much for your comments @laica! Your points about the class conflict in the OTP's relationship really made me think - it's *such* an interesting tension to have MJ really like SK as a person, but be so aware of the way he clashes with her feelings of being at ease with someone else. Such a great growth point for MJ as she works through that.

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It's so rare seeing a drama in which its characters doesn't feel like a player being engineered to do specific things or or make specific decision to move the story, so when I see one it stands out for me. I started this because of Sooyoung and wasn't actually that fond of both Im Siwan and Shin Sekyung, but if a drama character can overturn my liking towards actors, it's Run On. Also, Sunkyum throwing straightforward and blunt signs of attraction here and there HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO NOT GET SWOONED BY THAT?

On the other hand, now I REALLY don't know what are they bringing to Dan Ah and Yeonghwa's table. Dan Ah as a character and a protector of some sort to Sunkyum and frenemy to Mijoo fits so well in the story. But idk how Yeonghwa fits into out story now, moreover that they dropped hint about her coming out (?) and liking women (?). Their poster definitely hinted something romantic but idk how that will play out with the information we have right now. Did she really do that just to a void being forced into marriage? Because... I don't think that's a very good decision on the writing part......... And also the illness part??

Ugh I just hope they don't butcher Dan Ah's character or even Yeonghwa's for a filler side couple not knowing what to do with it

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I think she used the coming out bit to avoid getting married. She could also be bi.

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I am loving this drama ❤️

That part with woo shik being abuse and bullied was very very very hard to watch but I guess was a necessary part in the drama. Can’t wait for the next episodes!! Im shi wan and shun se kyung are killing this together. I personally think this is being best performance to date! I love the offbeat feeling of the drama which somehow makes it even more endearing than it already is!!
I was so glad when they didn’t postpone the broadcast like other stations did for New Years shows!

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Highest compliments to the show and the recap because reading the recap also made me into a puddly mess. T_T
This is the one show right now that's close to my heart and I cannot wait for Wednesdays and Thursdays so I can squee over the OTP and live in the world these characters inhabit.

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*It puts the ugly cycle of bullying and abuse we see with Woo-shik and Sun-kyum into context as something that doesn’t just happen between people, but a systemic problem that has to be tackled at the roots*

This is absolutely central. I loved that Mi-joo identified that Seon-gyeom was so used to abuse that he didn't even recognise when he was being abused.
1. The dating rumour that "explains" how she got her job is another example of abuse.
2. The fact too that people recognised Mi-joo as someone who would take a bribe is so humiliating and also a form of abuse.
3. On top of that the lunch date with the bride-to-be was straight out bullying. Interestingly, Mi-joo strikes back and refuses the abuse, but this doesn't mean she doesn't get hurt.
4. The worst example this week was the way the brother behaved both to Dan-ah and Mr Jung. Emotional and physical bullying. So disgusting.
5. Then we get the fully story of abuse in athletics. My subs were "It's common for athletes to get beaten up." So bullying and physical violence is normalised in the sport.
6. Finally, I love that MI-joo says, "No one is born able to endure pain from the start, so don't try to seem okay." Also it was a moment of enlightenment when Sun-kyum says that he forgot to like himself.

It looks like they are going to be good for each other and will break through the abuse and arrive in a better place. Here's hoping.

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Abuse is one of the themes of this drama.
How we normalize it, another.
Abusers can't abuse if we look aside.
Whether it's a big or small abuse.
It happens the same with misogyny. It's both the terrible big things everyone can see (killing a woman because she is a woman), to the lightest things we don't seem to notice (like that stupid comment on the length of your skirt).

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I loved how she identified that he was so used to abuse that he didn't recognize it.

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On paper these characters are very typical.
1. A chaebol with family issues
2. A candy with no parents
3. A chaebol struggling to be the heir
4. A young unrestricted guy who falls for a noona
Seen it many many times.
But what really makes the difference are the minor details that make these people human rather than charcters.
SK is a chaebol but not a tsundere chaebol. He surprisingly grew too well in an unhealthy environment.
MJ is a candy but one who puts in the work and speaks her heart out.
DA is a very capable and witty chaebol who does not go around belittling people for her riches.
YH is essentially a noona boy but one who is hella odd.
So I can tell that the writer did not put much effort in deciding the characters but a lot in making them different in a way that they all are endearing.

For now my favorites are SK and DA. They are very unique and rarely found in dramaland.
However, I enjoy the scenes of DA and YH the most, they are electric.
I think MJ is the most boring character for me rn but the character goes well with SK.
That said, this show heavily relies on characterisation and good dialogues. Which is a red herring for what's to come (since we already have a dad who will most probably throw a fit on SK liking MJ).

But this show has taken the unconventional route and is subverting the tropes on their head(much like Spies ❤️) so I am optimistic that when it goes the atypical route, it will still come out fine.

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Well put. I want to see them all break through the cycle of abuse. It's too much to ask that these toxic patterns disappear, but I want to see them call them out for what they are, expose them, and rob them of their power. MJ is the one closest to doing that.

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Aw, "he surprisingly grew too well in an unhealthy environment" really fits Sun-kyum well. Have been wondering how he can grow up to be someone so sincere in a very fake household...

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I'm enjoying this a bit too much, and yes, it has me worried for that reason! I like your list of how the characters are typical but have been turned on their heads. I sincerely hope it stays this way!

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I love the show. I'm saying this just in case I haven't said it enough. I love the drama and I love the leads, and I'm dying of cuteness and I'm totally under Im ShiWan and Shin Se Kyung's spell.

And I love Secretary Jeong. I find his loyalty to DanAh remarkable. He probably is the one person she really trusts. His scene with MyeongMi was painful to watch. I know MM plays the abusive chaebol who thinks every single person should bow before him, but then again we see the abuse, which seems to be a recurring theme in the drama: from WooSik, to MiJoo, to Mr. Jung, we learn how privileged people abuse non-priviledged.

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Love Secretary Jung (and his gangster sunglasses ><) much! Not only he does his job well, he does it with a lot of kindness. If there's no Yong-hwa, I'll be totally shipping him with Dan-ah...

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Yes to the alternate ship! I love how Secy. Jeong is as deadpan as the leads. That seems to be the theme of the show, everyone is straightfaced, but still so layered!

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I can’t say enough times how much I love this couple. I love their honesty and they feel so real… I’m totally under ISW and SSK’s spell.

I wanted to point out how abuse is being a theme throughout the series. From WooSik being bullied and beaten by his colleagues, to MiJoo being looked down on because she lost her parents when she was too young, as if it was her fault, to SeonGyeom abusive father and neglecting mother, to Secretary Jeong receiving physical punishment by an angry Myeong Min who feels entitled to kick him just because he is a chaebol and can do whatever he wants. Even DanAh, as much as I like her, is a bit of an abusive, or is it better to say she’s despising others (Young Hwa in this case) by the simple fact of not knowing the worth of money. When Young Hwa tells her that 500.000 won is a lot of money, she laughs and I get it, it’s not a lot of money to her, but it is a lot of money (or chickens) to other people.

A final mention to cute meow kitty Young Hwa.

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Yes. You're saying everything that I wanted to say but was blocked yesterday. It's all about the many forms of abuse, both physical and psychological. I love it for that.

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It was frustrating yesterday. I fact I tried to post so many times my comment that finally I had to delete some because they were all published.

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Kang Tae Oh's smile is dazzling. But tbh, I still don't see why he's there, other than to smile.

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He's there to give us chicken equivalents! LOL

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Fried chicken as a currency seems feasible in South Korea ><

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I don't know either, but I don't complain at all.
Maybe he's there to show DanAh that there are more things on Heaven and Earth than chickens, money and having a company of her own.
I'm also wondering why DanAh little brother is there. His smile isn't dazzling and the way he's obsessed with his sister is a bit creepy.

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DanAh's idol bro seems disturbed, basically. I also don't really get the purpose of Eun-bi, though she hasn't appeared as often. Same with the cafe owner. There are a lot of random characters who seem unnecessary to the plot who are just sprinkled around, and show wastes time by putting them on the screen or giving them dialogue.

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Thank you so much for your comments @laica! Your points about the class conflict in the OTP's relationship really made me think - it's *such* an interesting tension to have MJ really like SK as a person, but be so aware of the way he clashes with her feelings of being at ease with someone else. Such a great growth point for MJ as she works through that.

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Love the interaction between our 2 couples so far. Seon Gyeom and Mi Joo actions keep surprising me, which is make this drama enjoyable. We can't predict their reactions.
Really curious about Dan ah, what will make her adore Young Hwa? Because here i already am 😍😍😍.

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What a gret recap!! Your insightful comments made me love the drama even more. I'm currently rewatching the 5 and 6 episodes. I get why mi joo did'nt clarify on returning the bribe but because of the recap now I know what she is actually going through. Im shi wan continues to be swoony with his excuses to make mi joo stay. And the hug at the end is so awesome. The hug itself looks very comforting. Ahh wish I have a Sun kyum/Im shi wan to hug. Either of them is okay with me.

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So true about the comforting hug, just melts me into a puddle...

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Everyone needs to watch this show ;;; Started binging it in the New Year and am all caught up now-- it's such a strong show with lovable characters, witty dialogue and good pacing. I particularly appreciate how the budding romance between the leads is portrayed, everything feels so natural and not contrived. ISW is simply magnetic (heart eyes) but SSK and Sooyoung are also impressive with their performances this time.

Looking forward to the secondary romance picking up (is Dan-ah lesbian or not?!) and the backstory behind Dan-ah and her younger brother's strained relationship~ Thank you for the recap <3

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thank you, @laica for your comment at the end, it really put things into perspective for me. not only this drama is soooo good, it also reminds me of my ol' childhood dream of becoming a translator myself. mijoo's action of translating as quick as she can is admirable ;-;

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Thanks, @laica, for a great recap and insight into our characters. I also really like the multi-faceted nature of the characters in the show, especially the OTP and Dan-ah. I find Mi-joo's dilemma of liking Sun-kyum despite herself very relatable (the struggle is real). Wrapped up in this is her visceral understanding both of the class difference, as well as the vulnerability that will be required of her in order to reveal more of her story to a man that she is starting to care for more and more.

It occurred to me the other day that SK is more comfortable standing up for others, and MJ is more comfortable standing up for herself. It's interesting to watch the dynamics of their relationship cause them to both better take care of themselves and want to help and connect with each other. I also really enjoy the blend of straightforward and awkward. They're still mapping out the relationship and I like that they seem to accept the discomfort of the unknown terrain as they explore it together. The show isn't shying away from the difficulties that people from "other worlds" can encounter when they come together.

I'm more and more curious about Dan-ah; she and Mi-joo are similar in many ways, save for the one big difference of course that girlfriend grew up chaebol. But I do feel that whatever is supposed to happen with her and Young-hwa has stalled a bit. I hope they kick that into faster gear soon.

It feels like there are a lot of orphans in this show, honestly, and a lot of loneliness. It isn't romanticized nor dramatized - it's just this quiet thing that makes the knitting of these connections feel both fragile and hopeful.

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I think Mi-joo is used to standing up for herself because there was no one to stick up for her in her after her parents died and before she met May. There are no pictures or flashbacks of her parents, so I'm guessing they died when she was really young. And even after she met May, there are always people using her orphan status against her. I'm reminded of a favorite scene in Hwayugi where the male lead was trying to convince the female lead to give him her life so that he can get more powerful. After all, she's pathetically alone. But she shot back that she may not have loved ones, but she loved herself and was proud of all that she was able to accomplish in spite of it all. I think that applies to Mi-joo.

While Sun-kyum's dad is abusive, he had a sister who cares for him. His mom is neglectful and concedes to her husband, but she's at least fond of Sun-kyum. I feel like if someone outside the family were to smack Sun-kyum in the face, she would defend him. His family has a housekeeper/cook who makes him japchae. I think in a way, he feels so blessed that he doesn't realize that just because you're blessed with some things, it doesn't mean you have to accept being abused. It's like those idols. Just because they can buy entire buildings doesn't mean they should accept abuse.

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My only worry with this drama: since they mentioned La La land I've been worried that they do a La La land on us and the couple separates at the end.

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well, there was also a Psycho poster! We also had The Graduate ; )
its a kdrama, so I am pretty sure the show won't go there!

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Oh when did Graduate show up? I was trying to keep track of the cinema references, but have not been too diligent

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I'm squeezing my brains.
I watched last wee BTIMFL and The Graduate is mentioned, but then I knew I had heard the mention elsewhere in Run On...

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Tagging you on this reference elsewhere, because it would be a spoiler for this episode otherwise.

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Lovely recap!

I also agree that SK and MJ are melting my heart, they're exactly what the other person needs in their life right now. Their chemistry and banter is just so refreshing to see.

So my understanding from the convo between DA and her half-bro is that she's not actually into girls, but she pretended to be so that she wouldn't have to go on blind dates or get married to some guy her dad picks. Maybe I got that wrong, but otherwise idk how she and YH are supposed to work out - I thought they had a loveline too and she does seem to show some interest towards him.

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That was some awesome analysis, @laica. Thank you for sharing! My love for this show keeps on growing with every episode. Yeong-hwa is turning more and more interesting and, meow, cute. Nice to see he'll fit in right there with the weird in his own little niche.
My heart broke a bit there at the end for Sun-kyum, he looked so defeated when he sought out Mi-joo, all drenched and elf-like. ;_;
I swear, he only lacks some large pointy ears.

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I like main leads, second leads, lines and new occupations in K-drama but this drama seems to have too many coincidences...
Now Young-hwa's friend's mom is works for Dan-ah...
I understand dramaland has to have coincidences but it's a little too convenient?

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Thanks for the recap @laica.

This is such a great pairing. At first I was unsure of whether the leads would be a good fit for each other, but they are. It's nice to see two offbeat people, each of whom is weird in his and her own way. Usually we get one quirky character and a 'normal' character who finds their personality adorable or interesting. But it's nice to see here that they're both equally weird (good weird, that is).

I wonder if the show will do a take-out regarding Dan-Ah's sexuality, but I suppose time will tell.

Can't wait for episode seven.

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*fake-out

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Chime-ing in with the rest on how i enjoy this drama. Thanks laica for the recap and thoughtful comments/analysis. I am also enjoying the beanies' take on matters and characters. ISW,SSK, you both rock! You grew on me unexpectedly. writer-nim, "show me you got this".

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I love the cute+sizzling energy between the two couples!

Thank you for the recap, Laica! I like your examination about the class difference issue and that tension between financially privileged (privileged enough to not even hesitate to drink alcohol from the hotel room mini-fridge! the upcharge!!) and earnest that makes Sun-kyum a frustrating, yet lovable person.

I love how Mi-joo was able to get Woo-shik's story go viral. For that montage, she was the most powerful person in the city. I wonder if we'll even meet her gaming buddies in real life!

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Love how she pretty much has her own network to make Woo-shik go viral! Guess we'll meet her buddies if she ever needs to buy another gun >< (although still not sure that last one she bought isn't a real one...)

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I love the loneliness theme you picked on @laica. It's a reminder that however many people you have in your life, ultimately you are all alone, and you have to fend for and look after yourself, for no one else really will. Mijoo learnt this early because of her circumstances, and Sun-kyum kind of knows it but hasn't fully embraced it.

In a meta-sense, it's the notion that the only "true love" in this world is the love you have for yourself.

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Laica, unless I misunderstood, Dan-a isn't really into women- her 'coming out of the closet' was fake. Dan-ah and Sun-kyum are both in rebellion against their families. Dan-ah has used an unusual tactic in order to deflect her family's demand that she marry- and do so to someone who advances her family's interests.

I could be wrong, of course, but do you not find it odd that she never takes any interested notice of any woman? Or have I missed something? On the other hand I also note that it was her nasty, older bastard half brother who is challenging her assertion that she has 'come-out', and I would be the first to say that this may not be a reliable source.

Dan-ah is a really fascinating character to me. I love our main couple but her story looks like it will be very interesting indeed.

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I agree with you.
In fact, I it was the brother who said that she said she liked women to avoid the dates, and she looked really surprised and replied "are you outing me right now?". I have the feeling she said something different and her brother just understood whatever he wanted (or he could as he doesn't seem to be very sharp).

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I think you're right - as I noted above, and as you said, I was unwilling to take her nasty brother's word for it, but after I rewatched the earlier conversation with Jung in her office, I'm leaning toward it being a lie.

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I also reacted to that scene where she was complaining Jung about the matchmaking- that she was being punished for lying. I also do not trust the brother but her comment that he was 'outing her' (as straight) leads me to lean towards her having lied to avoid being pushed into marriage.

I do see Young-hwa headed for heartache- What if Dan-ah's next move to avoid a 'dynastic' marriage is to insist that she will only marry this young flower boy artist? He gets his heart crushed by her family and runs away (and in normal a normal romcom trope this results in Dan-ah realizing she has fallen for him....). He seems to be a really nice guy who is being set up in this story for just this purpose.

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@OldLawyer, I agree with your thoughts about Young-hwa's trajectory. I think Dan-ah sees something very valuable in his work and would like to develop it. She obvs. knows how to increase the value of his paintings. Upon meeting him she gets intrigued by him as a person as well as an artist. She is doing her research by asking for a new painting and checking the provenance of the honey (ha, very efficient as expected).

I hope that if their relationships goes forward, she is completely honest with him about her sexuality and her medical condition. If they go as far as a marriage, it benefits him and her equally. But I can also see that she will keep her condition secret from her competitive brother and family so they don't take her away from her position.

Her 'idol' half brother is a strange , damaged and potentially violent character and I think he will function as a deal-breaker in future episodes. He needs her affection but she won't even pretend to tolerate him. I wonder how their relationship got so bad?

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I have been trying to figure out the purpose of her seemingly de-ranged half-brother and you may be right. My best explanation for the damaged relationship is that Dan-ah's mother dumped all sorts of resentment on her when she was growing up because of her father's philandering. Most likely the half-brother at the company was subjected to similar treatment by his mother. The younger idol brother seems to have another mother than either of the two- his behavior seems to be a desperate attempt at acceptance.

To say that their father is a real piece of work would be a vast understatement.

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I hope the writer has a more creative use for Young-hwa!

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I would like to be in sinc with my emotions the way Mi-joo is. How can she know so well how she feels and be so honest with herself?

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Their casual dinner talks and of course tipsy KSG is what i look forward too the most.
And can we just acknowledge how well put together slice of life dramas are now a a days. Back in the day, slice of life dramas were just told with unnecessary drama. Now a days, its more heartwarming and romantic🤩🤗

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@laica thank you for this amazing review. I fell in love with this drama and the characters without knowing why, but thanks to your review, now I know why. You've managed to articulate my thoughts on this drama. On a separate note, Im Si Wan is, in my opinion, a great actor to portray Sun-kyun. Not that I know his personality in real life, but, he seems to have a unique personality from what I can tell from his interview for Life Bar - pensive, thoughtful, curious, and honest, just like Sun-kyun in this drama. This drama may seem like any other kdrama rom com, but it addresses a lot of issues, just like you said. Looking forward to the next episodes.

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