Sunbae, Don’t Put on That Lipstick: Episodes 13-14 Open Thread
Our wonderful couple gives me the butterflies big time, but those butterflies are under threat when our heroine is faced with a major life decision. Indeed, broken hearts seem to be the theme this week, as many of our characters are faced with disappointment, betrayal, and breakups.
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP
It seems all the praise I’ve heaped on this drama for its drama-less couple might have been a little premature. This week, they hit rocky waters. And I’m not a happy camper.
Although Song-ah has already brushed off an outside job offer, and the early invitation to head to the Europe office, this week her mentor is back and Song-ah is clearly yearning to take the Europe offer this time. Why? She already received this offer in the past, and decided to stay in Seoul. Now, some time later, she’s in a different place — a better one. She has the world’s squishiest and most devoted boyfriend at her side, she’s repaired her relationship with her mother, and she’s a success at work. So she’s… more ready to leave than ever? Song-ah, we need to have a serious chat.
Sunbae has done a nice job of showing us how Song-ah’s ambition, competence, and hard-working spirit are some of her best qualities. I’m cool with this. But at this point in the story, her decision seems completely callous to me. Leave everything behind for an amazing five-year opportunity at the Paris office? Or stay in Seoul in a job you already love and enjoy a loving relationship with a man whose equal you’ll probably never meet again?
I understand ambition and the need to grow personally and professionally, but I myself have a strict Humans Over Corporations policy. Jobs can disappear in an afternoon. People matter way more. And so, I might sound like a ranting teen, but I’m really not okay with her decision to leave.
To his eternal credit, Hyun-seung is a champ. He’s mature and steadfast; he puts Song-ah’s needs before his own — even she sees and acknowledges that. But at the same time, because he gives her this space, Song-ah is allowed to “be selfish” (her words, not mine). She decides to go. They scramble during their last month together to get the most out of each other’s company, but already we’re seeing Song-ah’s commitment to her job taking precedence.
It’s not that she doesn’t feel bad about leaving Hyun-seung for five years — it’s that she does it anyway, and that’s the part that really bugs me. Are the guilty misgivings we see Song-ah suffer signs that she will change her mind at this last minute? I admit, I was holding out in every scene for this to happen. I’ll even take a runaway airport moment at this rate. But no, instead we have the dreaded three-year time jump.
I dislike a time jump generally, and I particularly dislike this one. It’s always so hard to get reoriented into the story, and though Sunbae does a nice job of showing us how the KLAR team has grown (and baby Hyun-seung is now a manager!), I still feel lost.
What happened in all that blank space? Did they date long-distance like they promised? Did they have a million lovers’ trysts in Paris like they should have? It doesn’t seem like it. As our episodes close this week, three-year-later Hyun-seung spots Song-ah across the street. It’s a charged moment. It looks like he might run to her and kiss her in the street like the poster promises. But no. Instead, he quickly turns around and walks away from her as fast as he can. This is painful in so many ways, I don’t even want to count them.
As mentioned earlier, heartbreak abounds this week, as our side characters also suffer. Jae-shin has a conversation with Jae-woon, and that bromance/unbromance is rather cruelly broken up. Jae-shin also finally meets with Hyo-joo and cuts that relationship off too. (Thankfully, Hyo-joo seems to grow from the experience, and becomes less of a manipulative brat, and instead learns something about fortitude.)
The other sad bit is with Yeon-seung, her husband, and the fallout with the chef. Though we’ll have to wait till next week to see how the couple fared three years into the future, what we see this week is pretty rough.
Though they finally talk, it’s hard for any truth to get through. Woo-hyun insists that he loves Yeon-soo and is not gay, and even explains what once happened between him and the chef — but this is almost a case of “thou dost protest too much.” Woo-hyun wants a divorce, promises to give her everything as penance for the betrayal, and eventually Yeon-seung acquiesces while urging him to truly look into his own heart (it’s so touching!).
What a week in this drama! I’ve not been concerned about the pacing until this point. All was quiet on the western front, and unfolding so gently, so this final stunt with Song-ah really caught me off guard. I don’t think it was necessary for our couple at all, but I’ll take it at face value for now. Perhaps they can tie it all together next week, and make me believe it was a worthwhile plot choice?
I can only think they did this in order to balance out the relationship dynamics. Hyun-seung has always sought Song-ah so strongly, while she only fell in step with him. Does this new story arc mean it’s Song-ah’s turn to pursue Hyun-seung before they can finally meet on even ground? That’s the only part of this that would make sense to me. And, I suppose, as long as they do meet on that even ground, I’ll be able to forgive Song-ah for her selfishness, and the drama for being so sneaky about this final maneuver.
- Premiere Watch: Sunbae, Don’t Put on That Lipstick, Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce)
- New stills for JTBC’s Sunbae, Don’t Put on That Lipstick
- Kim Ro-woon relentlessly, romantically pursues Won Jin-ah in new JTBC office drama
- Kim Ro-woon is a swoony noona-killer Sunbae, Don’t Put On That Lipstick teaser
- Script reading for Sunbae, Don’t Put on That Lipstick with Won Jin-ah, Kim Ro-woon
- Won Jin-ah, Kim Ro-woon confirm new JTBC drama