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Mad for Each Other: Episodes 4-9 (Series review)

What a fun little drama this has become! It gives me what I want in the zany rom-com department, but there’s an emotional depth here that continues to impress. As we dig into the middle half of Mad for Each Other, we learn more about our characters, and watch how their relationship evolves.

 
EPISODES 4-9 REVIEW

The middle chunk of our drama is about getting to know each of our main characters separately, and then together, because no matter how hard he tries, Hwi-oh can’t seem to get Min-kyung out of his hair.

Soon, though, that struggle to avoid one another becomes an impulse to be in each other’s company, and these two quickly become known throughout their apartment complex as always hanging out together.

But first, more fighting! Min-kyung is distraught and frantic when the dog she rescued disappears, and Hwi-oh brushes her off. But, because he’s basically got the softest heart around, pretty soon he’s using his investigative skills and the complex’s CCTV footage to find her dog for her.

This incident gives both Hwi-oh and Min-kyung a bit more insight on each other — perhaps the other is not as crazy as they think? But just when we think they might find an understanding, or at least lessen their antagonism, there’s more crazy.

Even though Hwi-oh has been temporarily dismissed from his job, his determination to catch the drug dealer known as “Yang,” has not subsided. When Hwi-oh pretends to be a woman online and sets up an op to catch him, he heads to the apartment’s crossdresser for help (points for how this drama pulls its tangents and details together so well).

Hwi-oh is more than a little ridiculous in his sequins and stilettos, and the operation doesn’t get far — unless you’re counting Min-kyung running into him on the street and freaking out, thinking he’s the flasher that’s running wild. These two wind up at the police station again, and it’s at this point that we realize not only how well-known Hwi-oh is as a cop, but that despite his issues, he’s well liked and respected.

Min-kyung finally turns the corner when she sees Hwi-oh in action — her fear of him turns into awe as she watches him chase and pin down the actual flasher. He’s tough and uncompromising. It’s clear how he earned his nickname at the precinct.

Min-kyung’s perspective of Hwi-oh is slowly shifting, and we see the same happen for Hwi-oh. He might be a total hothead, but he’s so very observant and aware of what’s going on around him. He picks up on Min-kyung’s terror when the elevator opens to reveal a man in a black helmet, visor down; he jumps in to play her boyfriend and protect her during the elevator ride.

Creepy helmet man turns out to be a loving father play-acting for his kids, and it’s a perfect example of how Mad for Each Other uses these tense emotional moments to bring our characters closer together, but then also undercuts them with humor and hijinks. It’s entertaining and fun to watch, but there’s also something very affecting in these moments.

Perhaps it’s because for a few moments, the story invites us into Min-kyung’s world. They do this so, so well. Min-kyung never seems like a stereotype. Instead, we see her vulnerabilities, those moments when panic sets in, the ways that certain fears are triggered and how she reacts. There’s a surprising amount of insight in the way the story handles Min-kyung; it feels extraordinarily personal, and even relatable, whether you’ve been there yourself or not.

The drama does a nice job showing us why Min-kyung behaves the way she does, and where her anxiety and paranoia came from. After being played by a married man, and humiliated and abused, she doesn’t know how to cope with the fear and pain. So, she turns it inwards. She blames herself.

Min-kyung eventually erodes her own trust in herself so much that she can convince herself of anything — that she knew he was married (she didn’t), or that she didn’t turn the stove off (she did). Hats off to this great writing. It makes us feel for, and with, Min-kyung. We see how her mind gets away from her in an effort to protect herself. It’s so well portrayed that you feel it in the pit of your stomach in certain moments.

As Hwi-oh learns her story, he not only becomes empathetic towards her, but also protective. We see this with the elevator scene, but also in several other situations — he lets her take his old sneakers so she can make it look like she doesn’t live alone. He teaches her self-defense moves. He gives her a whistle to blow in case of an emergency.

Hwi-oh might have his own healing to do, but at this portion in our story, he really serves as an anchor for Min-kyung. He makes her feel safe. His fire keeps her from drowning in her own mind. He also gives her a new perspective on life, which is shown so nicely in the scene where he buys her sunglasses with rose-colored lenses to replace her black ones.

For all the depths that this drama is able to plumb, it also keeps up its humor and hijinks, so we never get stuck in the moments of darkness or psychosis for too long. And our couple has so many cute moments, and so much bonding, hilarity, and growing attraction, that it’s hard to sum it all up except to say how fun it is to watch.

What ties it all together, though, is how these two just accept each other at face value. They know each others’ struggles and flaws, but rather than judgement, they wind up helping each other — intentionally, or not.

Hwi-oh finds someone that needs his protection, and she becomes an anchor for his righteous anger, while Min-kyung needs someone who’s pure-hearted and willing to do anything to keep her safe. Because Hwi-oh understands Min-kyung’s vulnerabilities, he’s able to build her up. And seeing Min-kyung open up again gives Hwi-oh someone to be a hero for.

Their blossoming romance works on so many levels.Though they’re both damaged souls, the story never lingers on it, and instead, their romance is full of sweetness and hope. So, in Episode 9, when the two come to an agreement to be on each others’ sides no matter what — and seal it with a handshake, and many photographs of said handshake — it’s as satisfying as it gets.

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Nice. Thank you missvictrix, for your recap. You make it sound like a lovely full romance.

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I love Hwi Oh and Min Kyung. They just complement each other so perfectly. I love that they just accept each other for who they are. Plus MK is opening up more and getting more courage with the help of Hwi Oh.

And I love that the ladies of the Women's Association got MK's back as well. I can't wait to see what antics they are up to while all dolled up.

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Loving this show! The writing is superb to come with such unique characters. In addition to Hwi Oh & Min Kyung, I'd love to mention about Samantha (Sang Yeop) and Su Hyun (Deborah) interaction since the skincare shop, bar, supermarket, then the busking place. Even Deborah said it's better to pretend "not knowing", her "knowing" finally cleared the Woman Association's understanding toward Min Kyung. I just love episode 9 when Min Kyung has more people on her side to trust her and support her. And scene when they imitated Leon and Mathilda got me... :D.

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To me, this show is just like a hangover soup after hard liquor like Beyond Evil and Mouse.. :D

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I loved the moment between Samantha and Su Hyun in the convenience store. Now they also have 'someone on their side' and it makes for a great friendship

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This is one Amazing of a show. With good writing, acting, character and story developments.
Everyone is so good written.
Amd hijinks, cross dressings, communication between different characters makes it so fun to watch and makes laugh alot. 😂
More power to whole cast and writer nim and director nim!

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I utterly love this show. The writing is great - going from funny to heartbreaking and back again - and the leads are killing it. At some moments the electricity between them is so strong you can almost touch it.

And then there are the hilarious little touches. For example, she's got him stored in her phone as 'Dog' and he's got her stored as 'Dog Owner'. Well, he's got that right.

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If I could, I'd hire one of those political campaign trucks to promote this show. It's one of the best dramas I've watched in years and should be required viewing for kdrama writers. I also think this series would be a brilliant drama to onboard newbies into dramaland.

One of my favorite little touches are the codas ending each episode. It was something I loved from Crash Landing on You and it's used here to great effect. (The flasher dancing in the rain made me absurdly happy.)

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I really look forward to the episodes each week. I was not expecting to like this one as much as I do. The characters are complex, and the show loves to play with it’s tone, luring you in with something funny only to crush you shortly thereafter.

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This drama is both hilarious and deep - it's amazing how consistently they are pulling off that balance. Aside from the much-photographed agreement handshake (his face! I was in stitches!), I also loved the scene at her door where she tells him she walks the dog every day at 4pm. And then just looks at him. Repeats it. And then suddenly: Ding! the bell goes off in his head. I was laughing so hard - so well played by Jung Woo. 🤣

But probably my favorite thing about this drama is that it reminds me that we make snap judgements about people all the time based on very little knowledge of them. I couldn't stand Min-kyung in the first two episodes - in fact, that's why I stopped watching. Over the course of half an episode I went from incandescent about Min-kyung's mother to grudgingly putting her on probation. In ep 9, I was furious and condemning of the Women's Association - now only to be practically on my feet in anticipation of ep 10. It's humbling - if I keep doing this in a drama, imagine the judgements I'm making in real life, too. So perhaps the question it makes me ask myself is, How can I be a bit more kind and show a bit more grace to people? After all, don't I need some of that from others, too?

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Your insightful introspection ❤️

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I feel silly admitting it, honestly, because it's just a drama, but sometimes I think it's good that there are things out there that do make me stop and think.

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There are many sides - good and bad- to people. I was also furious at the Women's Association, and they are still judgmental busybodies and will irrevocably hurt some young woman one day. But they're also capable of listening and changing their stance; they are not too prideful. If they like you, you will have the fiercest protectors ever seen. I can't wait to see them take down the evil ex's mom.

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I'm reminded of the drama 'Touch You Heart', in that insertion of an obligatory K-drama 'bad guy' story line was an unwanted distraction from the primary fun of watching the two leads falling for each other. I'm (almost) grateful there are only 13 episodes here so they can't drag out the 'bad guy' story for very long.

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Except in this drama the 'bad guy' actually serves a key function - he's the reason Min-kyung is the way she is, and how traumatic both what happened and the ongoing situation is for her. In Touch Your Heart, I agree, that plot point was entirely superfluous.

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Am I correct that this is Lee Suhyun's first acting experience (outside of music videos)? I just looked her up, apparently she was in a two episode Netflix web series back in 2017. Otherwise she's a newbie. She's doing a good job as the temp worker.

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This drama is so good! I'm impressed with how sensitively it is handling the characters and how wonderfully it is building the relationship between Hwi-oh and Min-kyung. A handshake has been the sole skinship yet there is so much chemistry, so much intimacy and vulnerability between the characters.

I went from hating to loving Min-kyung as the layers were peeled away, and we learned what happened to her in the past. Hwi-oh is flawed, but he is such a great male lead: Supportive and accepting. I also like how Samantha and the part-timer have been weaved into the story. It cracks me up when the part-timer shows up at yet another job.

Some of my favorite moments this week: Hwi-oh buying Min-kyung the rose-colored glasses, Hwi-oh's conversation with Min-kyung's mom, the 4 p.m. dates, Hwi-oh running when he heard the whistle, the handshake with photographic evidence, Hwi-oh letting the Women's Association have it. Okay, basically I loved everything.

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3 eps in and im enjoying learning the back story of our main couple. one thing i hate in dramas when there is a cheating spouse, the spouse never gets blamed, even when it is clear the girl didnt know anything and she suffers the repercussions of the guy being a horrible person.

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This drama is so oddly endearing. I'm glad the yelling stopped. Also I cackled at the ahjumma squad in full Kentucky Derby gear ready to take on that awful woman.

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full Kentucky Derby gear

My God, I love this.

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i also really like how the drama enforces that these are all real people and they shouldn't be ashamed. Also i am pleased that our ML does not mis gender "samantha" when dressed as a woman. you get the other characters still saying "him" when in the other persona. I am glad that k dramas are becoming more sensitive and less stereotypical.

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Other beanies have touched on so many of the things I love about this drama, I will skip over those and just say that Jung Woo has such an expressive face, his expressions really add a lot of depth and nuance to every scene.

I am always waiting for the next episode, and I'll be sad when this drama is over. The bite-size episodes are just right for my busy life, and because the show is so well-written and well-acted, I never feel like I am wasting my time.

I guess I will add one more thing -- it was horrifying how easy it was for that nasty woman to have Min-kyung humiliated and ostracized, and it seems like this is meant to be a reflection of reality in Korea. How often does one person, like Hwi-oh, have the guts to take a stand and call out the lie? How often do well-meaning people, like our trio of ladies, get caught up in what they think they know and pass judgment accordingly? I wish that message would hit home, and I'm glad to see the ladies turn the situation around.

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Thank you, missvictrix! Your review really captured how wonderful this drama is and all the nuances that would otherwise get lost in a plain old recap. The drama hits me in the feels every episode. The episodes are short, but you can feel the characters growing and changing without any sort of rush.

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After Vincenzo, this is for sure my 2nd favorite show of the year. I really love it. The pacing is good, the build up is good, casting is good... it's all just so good! I can't wait to see what the last four episodes have in store for us.

Aw... four left. Only four to go... that actually makes me sad. I am loving this little series so much. Sigh.

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A few years back, Oh Yeon-Seo and Kim Ji-Hoon were in a drama together and a Korean magazine did a photo shoot of the two. I wanted to share a link that shows some of those photos from that magazine because the photos are really stunning and Oh Yeon-Seo looks beautiful. (Well, so does Kim Ji-Hoon for that matter) http://couch-kimchi.com/2014/04/26/singles-may-2014-issue-teems-with-kim-ji-hoon-oh-yeon-seos-hot-love-affair/

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Scorching!

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Also, I love seeing Kim Ji Hoon's hotness has been rediscovered. Long hair does wonders for him.

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Jang Bo-ri was a wonderful drama. 52% ratings and she won numerous awards for that role.

2014 7th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Actress Award Jang Bo-ri is Here! Won
MBC Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
MBC Top Excellence Award Actress in a Serial Drama Won

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I love the part where they both agreed that OTHER people are the crazy ones and they are normal.

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Thank you missvictrix for your wonderful recap. Excellent drama and flawless acting. I hope this little gem is recognized on all fronts.

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I love this show so much, I wake up like at 5am in the morning CTD, so I can catch the new episode on Netflix. I binge watch twice each episode, picking up on all the nuance. The last time I've rewatched the episodes as the show airs was It's Ok To Not Be Ok (well, except crazy mom scenes.)

The only downside of this drama - it's only 13 episodes! Why, drama gods, whyyyy?!

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I wonder how they're going to end the series. I don't mean plot-wise. They're airing 3 episodes a week and the series is going to be 13 episodes. Next week I assume we'll get 10-11-12. Then the final episode 13 is just dangling there all by itself.

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I didn’t really know what to make of this drama because loud and nosy characters in kdramas can usually be off putting to say the least, but wow! this drama is such a gem, that I’ve never wanted the episodes to be longer so desperately. The writer has organically developed Hwi young and Min kyung’s relationship and I can see them turning romantic as I watch each episode. Whilst I came for the zany comedy and short episodes, this drama ended up being so heartfelt and wholesome with fun supporting characters and side stories to boot. Probably the best kakao tv drama thus far.

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