Monthly Magazine Home: Episode 10
This episode is all about relationships – and not just the budding romance between our two lovebirds (although it is about that, too). Friendship takes the main spotlight, and one friendship in particular is tested, while others are just beginning. But a sturdy friendship – like a sturdy house – is built to withstand whatever life may throw at it.
EPISODE 10: Long-standing house, long-standing relationship
Ja-sung arrives at the office with sushi for Young-won just as Gyeom and Chan are unloading Gyeom’s car. Ja-sung catches sight of the handbag that Young-won’s admirer bought for her in the back of the car, but before he can get a closer look at it, they rush outside to stop him.
Gyeom asks about the food to distract him, and Ja-sung pretends he brought it for them and didn’t know that Young-won was also there. Gyeom asks Chan to hold onto the bag for him, so no one else can discover it.
Later, Ja-sung drives Young-won home, and she gets a call from a stylist she worked with on another magazine. Hearing her call the stylist by name, he asks if they should also stop addressing each other by professional titles. They both shyly try it out, and he can’t stop staring at her as she gets out of the car and waves. Then they both giggle about it on their own and text each other good night.
A familiar “Stop!” cuts through Young-won’s giddiness as imaginary Ja-sung pops up to berate her for getting distracted with dating instead of focusing on her homeowner aspirations. She promises that she’s still working hard to save up.
The next day, Ja-sung calls Young-won into his office to schedule their next interview. He sighs that he wants to call her by name at work, too, though he promises not to. He asks her to lunch, but she plans to follow the advice of his next video and use her lunch break to survey the kind of neighborhood she might like to live in. He tags along (“Why watch Ja-sung TV when Ja-sung is right here?”) and is impressed by how much she’s picked up from her own research.
Meanwhile, Sang-soon has called out from work today, and sits at home looking morose. His mother gives him a new suit to wear to meet his girlfriend’s family, so he tells her that they broke up, but not the reason. She accuses him of cheating, and he lets her believe it.
Back at the office, Young-won is the first to slip up and accidentally say “Ja-sung-ssi” in front of everyone. Ja-sung, thinking quickly, says that he told her to call him that. In fact, he was about to ask the entire staff to call each other by name instead of title, to build rapport. Of course, they all look at him like he’s lost his mind, but proceed to (awkwardly) address each other by name throughout the staff meeting.
The editorial team is set to do volunteer work tomorrow at a hanok estate that will feature in the magazine’s next issue, and Ja-sung announces that he’ll go before learning that Young-won can’t (she’s meeting with an advertiser). He immediately backpedals, saying he forgot he has an important meeting tomorrow. Editor Choi tries to talk him into going anyway, but the others argue with him until Editor Choi gets fed up with hearing them address him as “Choi Go-ssi” and yells at them to stop.
Young-won and Ja-sung find a moment of privacy, and she apologizes for her mistake. He asks where they should survey tonight, but she wants to go on a date instead, since they surveyed during lunch. She calls it an “up-date,” because she wants to go see a movie, and the last one he saw was so long ago, “that kid Won Bin has a kid of his own now!” Hahaha, that completely dumbfounds him.
At the theater, he admits he feels shy about his lack of dating experience. At his request, they make plans to go to his place after the movie is over, so Young-won can enjoy the furnishings she picked out while she was staying there. Young-won stops in the restroom before the movie, and Ja-sung goes on in to get a seat. And who should he sit next to but Eui-joo. They’re equally shocked to see each other, and he has to frantically motion to Young-won before Eui-joo sees her.
Fortunately, Eui-joo isn’t interested in watching a movie with Ja-sung, and pretends to take a call from Young-won so she has an excuse to rush out of the theater. Despite Young-won’s attempt to hide, Eui-joo catches her outside the door, though she assumes Young-won is here with the “friend” who she made plans with before. (Well, she’s not entirely wrong.) She warns Young-won not to go inside since Ja-sung is there, and drags her away to get drinks instead.
Eui-joo tells Young-won about breaking up with her boyfriend because she didn’t want to marry him. When Young-won asks if she’s okay, she brushes it off and says she’s more worried about Sang-soon. Young-won spots a pack of cigarettes in her bag, and nags at her for picking up the habit again after having quit because of bronchial issues.
After the movie ends, Ja-sung goes home to mope over the interrupted date. Young-won calls to apologize, and he tells her it wasn’t her fault. He’s looking forward to being together tomorrow, but she has more bad news: the advertiser asked to reschedule, so she’ll have to go with the editorial team instead. Ja-sung tries to tell himself he can handle spending one day apart…
But, of course, he shows up at the estate the next day. When Young-won pulls him aside to ask why he came, he says he missed her, and they smile at each other until the others notice they’re hanging back from the group. They almost get caught linking arms, and Ja-sung overcorrects again, yelling at Young-won for more made-up problems, to which Eui-joo quietly urges her to stand up for herself. They all go on a tour of the estate, a gorgeous Joseon aristocratic residence, and Ja-sung can’t help stealing adoring glances at Young-won – which he quickly turns to frowns whenever someone notices.
Sang-soon helps Gyeom and Chan set up a photoshoot. He seems oddly composed as he tells them he won’t let his personal life interfere with work. But then the stereo they’re photographing reminds him of his ex, and he struggles to contain himself. He flips back and forth between telling them not to date because it’s too painful and saying that it isn’t love if it doesn’t hurt, all while maintaining an eerie calm that just trembles on the edge of a breakdown.
Editor Choi divides the volunteer team into pairs, and Young-won volunteers to work with Ja-sung, since Editor Choi had complained to her that no one else wanted to. Ja-sung puts up a show of protest, but says he’ll accept… but Eui-joo has had enough. She claims Young-won as her partner instead.
Later, Ja-sung pauses to watch Young-won work and admire how pretty she is, and then scowls again when Eui-joo unintentionally blocks his view. He’s helping Editor Choi move giant storage jars, but gets stuck doing it all himself when Editor Choi hurts his back.
The photography team breaks for lunch, and Sang-soon appears to have gone totally numb. When his spoon falls into his soup, he reaches into the boiling hot bowl to fish it out, terrifying the other two with his apparent indifference to the pain. Sang-soon: “What use is my hand to me if I can’t hold my Cutie Pie’s hand?” He has the same response to knocking the entire bowl onto his lap, telling them this pain distracts him from the emotional pain.
Ja-sung tries again to get time alone with Young-won by volunteering the two of them to go buy groceries, but Eui-joo inserts herself again instead. Ja-sung spends the entirety of the shopping trip glaring at her behind her back, and she finally confronts him about criticizing Young-won so much. He tamps down his anger and says he’ll keep her words in mind.
Having finished their photoshoot, Gyeom, Chan, and Sang-soon head to the hanok estate to join the others. On the way, they realize that they input the wrong directions into the GPS, and that sets Sang-soon off on a spiral of where things went wrong in his relationship. He decides that being born was the first mistake, and then yells at Gyeom to stop the car. When he takes off running towards a nearby lake, they sprint after him, fearing the worst. But it turns out he just needed a restroom, and he asks (sounding almost upbeat again) if they have any toilet paper.
They finally arrive at the estate, Sang-soon trudging behind the other two. But as soon as Editor Choi asks if he’s okay, the floodgates open. He runs into Editor Choi’s arms and sobs, and Editor Choi tsks that he must have been working so hard to keep his emotions in check around the others. (Chan: “He was holding it in? I had no idea.”)
Young-won brings Gyeom snacks while he’s taking pictures of the grounds, and they sit for a while. She says she’d love to live in a place like this, and he says she can, since she’s working so hard. She says it’s not as easy as she thought, so she’s starting over again.
He asks if she’s still holding off on dating, and she stumbles for an answer before saying she might change her mind if someone really wonderful came along. He smiles, thinking he might still have a chance.
Ja-sung and Eui-joo return with the groceries, and Ja-sung goes to put them away alone, refusing even Young-won’s help. Eui-joo explains to Young-won that she told Ja-sung to leave her alone, and Young-won pretends to be grateful. She texts Ja-sung about it, and he asks if they can tell Eui-joo about their relationship. She agrees it might be a good idea, since Eui-joo will feel betrayed if she finds out later.
As the team sets up for dinner, Eui-joo learns that her ex-boyfriend already has a new girlfriend, and gets all worked up in anger, wondering if he was cheating on her all along and saying she ought to just kill him – and any other couple she should happen to see today.
Young-won calls Ja-sung to tell him they can’t tell Eui-joo today after all, but then sees him walking with Gyeom, and not on the other end of the phone call, even though someone definitely answered his phone. She shakily asks who it is, but they hang up without a word.
Young-won tries anxiously to figure out who it could have been. Not Gyeom, since she saw him with Ja-sung. Not Editor Choi or Chan, since she heard their voices in the background of the call, and not Sang-soon, because he was inside resting. She can only hope it was one of the assistants and not Eui-joo.
As Young-won rejoins the group, Eui-joo pulls her away to talk, still looking angry. Young-won trembles as Eui-joo asks how long she was going to keep “it” from her. Young-won says she was going to tell her at a better time, and Eui-joo says there won’t be a better time… so why did Young-won change rooms without telling her?
Turns out, they were supposed to be roommates here, but Mi-ra had asked Young-won to room with her instead. Ja-sung happens upon the conversation just as Eui-joo is saying that Young-won should have told her sooner so she wouldn’t make a fool of herself. She feels betrayed, and tells Young-won that she won’t allow it. And Ja-sung barges in, saying she has no right to say the two of them can’t date.
As Young-won tries in vain to shush him, Eui-joo stares from one to the other and then storms off. Just then, the owner of the estate brings Ja-sung’s phone, explaining that he picked up Young-won’s call and then the battery died. He tells her with a wink that she’s lucky he answered it and not someone else. Young-won is mortified, despite Ja-sung’s assurance that it’ll be okay.
They find Eui-joo and apologize again with hanging heads, and she laughs at how ridiculous she must have looked, constantly getting in their way without realizing. She isn’t happy, though – she’s offended that they let her make a fool of herself. They ask her to keep it a secret, but she refuses to make any promises.
Over dinner, Eui-joo glares at them and makes passive-aggressive comments at their every attempt to placate her. Sang-soon is staring off into space again, and Editor Choi does his best to lighten the frosty mood. He suggests writing anonymous comments to each other, which they do via chatroom with one “receiver” at a time.
When it’s Ja-sung’s turn to receive comments, Eui-joo “accidently” sends a sarcastic congratulatory message under her own name. When the others ask what it’s about, she’s all, well, I was asked to keep it a secret, but I really want to tell… Ja-sung quickly says that a residence he invested in rose in price.
Then, during Young-won’s turn, Eui-joo writes: “Isn’t it nice to be loved? Your unni is very jealous.” She protests that she didn’t give her name this time, but since she’s Young-won’s only unni here, it’s obviously from her.
Everyone is getting pretty uncomfortable, but Ja-sung insists Eui-joo take a receiving turn before they stop. He spams the chatroom with praise over how great an editor Eui-joo is, but it’s Young-won’s sincere message of “Thank you, and I’m sorry,” and remorseful expression that gives Eui-joo pause.
Later, Young-won finds Eui-joo sitting outside and apologizes again. Eui-joo asks if Young-won really likes Ja-sung that much, and when Young-won says yes, she accepts it. She clarifies that she’s letting them off for Young-won’s sake, and says if Ja-sung hurts Young-won, she’ll kill him. They smile, and Young-won goes to get more drinks to share. Eui-joo pulls out her cigarettes, only to find that Young-won has swapped them for candy ones, and laughs to herself that it’s not Young-won who’s lucky to have her, but the other way around.
On her way back with the drinks, Young-won takes in the scenery and thinks, “The more time passes by, the more radiant an old estate becomes. Relationships are like that too.” We get shots of several different friend groups – Young-won and Eui-joo drinking and laughing, Chan and Gyeom sitting together while engaged in different pastimes, and Sang-soon putting heat packs on Editor Choi’s back – as Young-won continues, “The longer the relationship, the stronger it becomes. You can even tend to each other’s wounds. I hope our friendship will last for a long time, just like this old estate that becomes more splendid as time goes by.”
Young-won goes to tell Ja-sung that Eui-joo isn’t mad at them anymore, and he gloats that it was all through his effort. She just smiles to herself and lets him think that, and suggests they head back in for bed. He pouts, not ready to say goodnight just yet. She stands on tiptoe to give him a kiss on the cheek, and then bashfully turns to go… and he pulls her back around for a real kiss.
We’re slowly getting to see more of Ja-sung’s softer side. While it creates a bit of whiplash at times, I think it also helps me understand him better. Like his outbursts at Young-won to cover up their secret relationship, his harsh and cold attitude is also just that – a cover. That’s not to say I don’t think he sometimes has a hard time relating to other people or seeing things from other perspectives, but it does paint him as not nearly so unfeeling as he often presents himself.
The thing about Ja-sung is that he’s generally sincere, if oblivious. His openness with Young-won about his vulnerabilities – like feeling clumsy as a boyfriend – was refreshing to see, as was his desire to remove professional barriers when speaking to each other. And it’s not just about calling each other by name instead of title – there’s been a definite shift in that he takes her opinions much more into account instead of always putting himself in authority. When he does overstep, it feels more like an honest mistake than an attitude of superiority. For example, he gets so adorably proud of himself every time he thinks he’s saved them from getting found out. I can kind of understand why Young-won just laughs and lets him take the credit.
I am glad, however, that Eui-joo so fiercely stood up for Young-won, because Ja-sung’s constant nagging at her needed to be pointed out. Even when she knows he doesn’t actually mean it, it’s uncomfortable to see Young-won cringe at being yelled at in front of everyone. I just wish Eui-joo had called him out on it sooner, before the criticism was fake. Because now it’s easy for him to brush it aside as Eui-joo just not knowing what’s really going on, instead of taking it to heart and realizing that he’s unintentionally hurting Young-won.
It will be interesting to see how the secret relationship dynamic plays out now that Eui-joo is also in the know. I don’t imagine they’ll be able to keep it from the entire staff for much longer, though I expect we’ll get some time where it’s the opposite of this episode: instead of Eui-joo accidentally getting in the couple’s way, she’ll be helping them make excuses to the others. Although I’m guessing she’ll be busy with her own relationship soon enough.
I have a huge weakness for ensemble casts with various degrees of friendships among them, so I’m loving every new layer we get to see of how these characters interact with each other. I really appreciated the pairing of Sang-soon with Gyeom and Chan this episode, because it showed just how deep the friendship is between Sang-soon and Editor Choi. Even though the other two obviously care a lot about him and want to help him through this hard time, it says a lot that Sang-soon couldn’t totally let his emotions out until he heard Editor Choi’s voice.
Something I’ve come to love about this show is the way it pairs the “house of the day” with whatever is going on between the characters, and I especially liked this episode’s comparison of a long-standing friendship with beautiful old buildings that have stood the test of time. Like a building, relationships of all kinds require maintenance and care, or they’ll deteriorate. But the longer they last, the more beautiful and valuable they become.
- Premiere Watch: At a Distance Spring Is Green, Monthly Magazine Home, Hospital Playlist 2, Nevertheless, Voice 4
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- Jung So-min, Kim Ji-suk showcase their homes in Monthly Magazine Home
- Jung So-min and Kim Ji-suk confirmed for new JTBC housing drama