Monthly Magazine Home: Episode 4
Our heroine makes a series of unfortunate blunders in this episode, which her boss refuses to let her forget. But as she struggles to find her financial footing, she learns that when it comes to her photographer colleague and her boss, appearances are not all they’re cracked up to be.
EPISODE 4: “If I could renovate my life…”
Young-won sits in a happy daze on the bus–but her grin turns into a grimace. During drinks with Ja-sung, she did ask if he likes her and it seemed as though she got her response in the form of a kiss…but it turns out the kiss had been Young-won’s imagination running wild.
In reality, Ja-sung was shocked, then insulted that she would even think he’d like someone like her. So why pay her way all those times? It was simply because he pitied her. Ouch.
While Young-won rides the bus home, Ja-sung is so out of sorts that he accidentally calls for a taxi instead of a chauffeur service like he meant to. He moans about the “mental damage” Young-won’s inflicted on his perfect self and how he’s wasting money, time, and emotional energy.
The next morning, a horribly embarrassed Young-won runs into Ja-sung just outside the office. She puts on a cheerful front and pretends she was far too drunk to remember anything from the night before.
Ja-sung looks at her skeptically and then tells her they need to split the bill because it came out much higher than he expected. She’s shocked at the figure and rattles off all the things they drank and ate, certain that the bill would add up to less–and blowing up her lie in the process.
Ja-sung smirks triumphantly and Young-won apologizes once more, but he refuses to accept and storms away.
At work, Editor Choi angles to get free coffee from Young-won, but his actual target is Ja-sung since he’s figured out that Ja-sung will cover for her. Editor Choi makes a beeline for Ja-sung’s office, expecting to get praised but Ja-sung huffily refuses to buy coffee for anyone.
Editor Choi returns from his mission saying that Ja-sung told him Young-won should buy, and he’s closely followed by Ja-sung himself. He loudly states that he regrets buying coffee before and requests the most expensive coffee available. Eui-joo saves the day and picks up the tab, sparing Young-won the financial hit.
Eui-joo is more convinced than ever that Ja-sung has feelings for Young-won, despite Young-won saying she’s wrong. Eui-joo advises Young-won to take initiative and ask him directly what his feelings are but she simmers down when Young-won admits she’s already asked him.
At a staff meeting, Eui-joo presents “Change,” a special feature of their magazine that involves renovating the homes of marginalized people. The latest beneficiary is a single mom living in a studio apartment. Ja-sung shuts it down and tells them to switch the client and feature the vacation pension he’s invested in instead. He doesn’t see the value in spotlighting the interior design of a studio.
No one and nothing can persuade Ja-sung to keep the single mom client, despite the fact that their feature is focused on helping people. Eui-joo suggests that he’ll feel rewarded after he’s helped someone but nope, Ja-sung is done doing charity work because of a recent bad experience. Lasers practically shoot out his eyes as he says, “I helped out a disadvantaged person, but instead of feeling rewarded I was misunderstood.” Young-won cringes.
Eui-joo follows her into the bathroom afterwards, asks her if that comment was directed at her, and chides her for asking about Ja-sung’s feelings. Since this was Eui-joo’s idea, Young-won is ruffled, but Eui-joo is affronted that Young-won even listened to her advice and flounces away (oh man, Ja-sung is not the only immature person on staff lol).
Young-won inadvertently catches a few people gossiping about her apartment and finally learns the whole story from the doorman: her unit’s former tenant committed suicide in her apartment. Every tenant afterwards has left within a month complaining of ghosts.
Now, Ja-sung’s generosity makes sense–he couldn’t rent it out, so he offered it to her to collect rent. Young-won is irritated at his calculation, but shakes it off and says there’s no such thing as ghosts, anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
But now everything feels spooky. As she goes to bed, she keeps seeing something out of the corner of her eyes and hearing things. Thoroughly freaked out, she runs out of her apartment. But as she’s going down in the elevator, she finds a piece of fuzz in her hair—that was what was blocking her vision.
Still a bit nervous, she goes to a convenience store and runs into Gyeom. She tells him all about the former tenant and her plan to kill time until morning so he offers to take her to his “second house,” a tent by the Han river. They marvel at the view. She notices that all the people around them are eating, but scolds Gyeom for wanting to order food and spend money. So they have a pretend feast with cheap snacks instead. Cute!
The next day, Ja-sung and his assistant Secretary Hwang visit a dilapidated neighborhood. Ja-sung states he has business to attend to and Secretary Hwang cryptically asks if he’s found “that woman” but gets no answer.
Ja-sung knocks on a door that’s covered with past-due notices. The door opens but we don’t see who Ja-sung is visiting.
At work, Eui-joo’s landlord calls and wants to do away with their current arrangement (a jeonse system, where the tenant pays a very large deposit in exchange for no monthly rent). The landlord wants to do a “half” jeonse, which involves a smaller deposit plus monthly rent. Sang-soon and Editor Choi offer advice on cheaper places to live, but she waves them away, uninterested in any place but her current home.
Gyeom meets with Ja-sung and asks why he gave Young-won an apartment with a ghost, and Ja-sung brushes him off at first. When Gyeom refuses to let the topic go, Ja-sung hesitatingly says, “The woman died because of me…”
Meanwhile, Young-won tells Eui-joo about her apartment. Eui-joo is shocked on her behalf and tells her to confront Ja-sung and ask for a discount on rent.
After discussing the new client for “Change,” Young-won works up the nerve to ask Ja-sung to include the single mom in the feature too. He refuses, and when she asks if he made the change because of her, he responds with a question, “Do you think I can’t separate my work life and my private life?” (Are you sure you want us to answer that?)
Young-won concedes and apologizes again but Ja-sung adds another dig about poor people misunderstanding his “pure” intentions. She finally blows up, saying that his intentions with the house weren’t pure at all and that he just wanted to get money out of his haunted apartment. She demands a discount–and he demands she move out. Shaken but unwilling to back down, she requests time to find a new place. After she leaves his office, Ja-sung looks baffled about what just happened.
As if her day couldn’t get any worse, Gyeom tells her the truth about the apartment. The tenant was addicted to online gambling and massively behind on her rent and was about to be evicted. She had a massive grudge against Ja-sung so she staged a suicide so the value of the unit would drop and she’s been on the run from the police ever since.
Eui-joo decides to accept the half jeonse because she likes her place so much. She’s already spent lots of money decorating it and the location is close to all her favorite stores, restaurants, and bars. Sang-soon and Editor Choi can’t understand how she affords her lifestyle. They speculate on how she can afford her place—a rich family? Two jobs? A rich boyfriend?
Horrified at misreading Ja-sung again, Young-won approaches Ja-sung and apologizes profusely, again. And once again, he rebuffs her saying that sorry doesn’t cut it for her “two” insults of arrogantly assuming he liked her and accusing him of only caring about rent.
Sang-soon nags Eui-joo about how much money she spends, but Eui-joo blows up at him for acting like her dad and says he should just worry about himself.
Back at her apartment, Young-won seriously considers quitting, but imaginary Ja-sung appears, saying this all happened because she doesn’t own a home. If she’d had a home, she would never have been pitied and ended up as Ja-sung’s tenant and would never gotten swept up in the false ghost rumor.
Reminded of her goal to have her own house, she watches another of Ja-sung’s videos, where he talks about splitting her paycheck into three accounts: 50% for savings. 30% for living expenses, and 20% for a special gift for yourself.
At his apartment, Ja-sung reads text after text from Young-won apologizing and he seems awfully pleased by it all. He decides he should forgive her now…until he reads her post on the homeowner forum that her 20% is going to pu pad pong curry in Bangkok. Scandalized, he stops following her posts. After all, someone who’s actually sorry wouldn’t be thinking about food at a time like this.
The next morning he makes a big show of walking away when she approaches him, and she thinks to herself, “I wouldn’t want to see me either.” Gyeom drives as they head to photograph the new client for “Change.” Young-won falls asleep in the car, and Ja-sung grumbles at the audacity. Gyeom parks at a service center to let her sleep, but Ja-sung childishly slams the door, waking her up.
She gets out and apologizes for sleeping, but he bullies her for it anyway and says she doesn’t seem repentant. Gyeom pulls him away and confronts him for being petty, assuming this is all because Young-won believed the ghost rumor. Ja-sung haughtily says she makes him shudder in horror.” Gyeom replies, “You make me shudder in horror.” While Gyeom takes a call from Jang Chan, Ja-sung tells himself “Stop,” and wonders why he’s getting so worked up over Young-won. He decides to stop caring and wasting his emotions on her.
They pull up to the pension and it’s gorgeous and modern, with a swimming pool, moving bookcases, and a remote-controlled bed that drops down from the ceiling.
Gyeom notes that Young-won looks tired and asks if she lost sleep because of Ja-sung. She replies she felt so bad and her upcoming move is making her anxious. This is the first Gyeom is hearing about this and he says making Young-won move out is a new low for Ja-sung. She tells him it was her fault and that he shouldn’t worry.
The homeowner talks with Ja-sung and suggests they stay overnight in order to capture the sunrise. Ja-sung agrees to ask Gyeom and starts to look for him, only to discover Young-won cracking chestnuts. Supremely irritated, he tells himself not to waste emotions on her and turns on his heels. And makes a beeline for Young-won. He snaps at her for slacking instead of working, and doesn’t let her get a word in edgewise.
This backfires when Gyeom returns and announces that she is working; they both thought cracked chestnuts in the foreground of a picture of the house would look great, so that’s why she’s cracking away. Ja-sung scrambles to hold onto his dignity and he somehow manages to become more pompous as he insists Young-won is the one actually in the wrong. As soon as he’s far enough away, he full-body cringes at the humiliation of it all.
Back at the magazine, Eui-joo isn’t at work because she’s taking the day off after completing a shoot that lasted all night. At her home, Eui-joo relaxes, thinking she can’t give up this great place no matter how expensive it gets. She gets a call from someone asking her to meet them at a hotel. She then heads to a salon and gets her makeup and hair done.
Gyeom and Young-won cut vegetables together, and Young-won shares that she stayed behind to try to make things up to Ja-sung because she feels so bad about everything. She asks him to tell her what Ja-sung’s favorite food is so she can cook it for him. Gyeom tells her she doesn’t need to and that Ja-sung will get over it eventually.
From a distance, Ja-sung creeps and spies on the two of them, wondering how Young-won can laugh at a time like this. If she were really sorry she’d be crying, not laughing. He groans at himself for caring again and tells himself “Stop!” as he tears himself away.
Later that night, Young-won presents a pot of kimchi jjigae that she cooked herself but Ja-sung won’t have any. When Gyeom insists and hands him a bowl, Gyeom spills it all over him. Ja-sung blames Young-won, yelling that he didn’t even want it and if she hadn’t made it Gyeom wouldn’t have spilled it. Is food all she thinks about?
Young-won excuses herself to the bathroom to compose herself. This is pushing her limit, and she almost walks out to tell him she’s quitting, but imaginary Ja-sung urges her to hold out. Young-won can’t be certain she’ll find another job and then all of her work would go to waste.
Back at the table, Ja-sung muses that Gyeom is paying an awful lot of attention to Young-won these days. He says he gets it, it must be because Gyeom “pities” her, just like he did. (This man does not understand feelings.)
Ja-sung warns Gyeom against being nice to Young-won, saying she’ll stab him in the back. Gyeom is amazed by how far Ja-sung’s holding onto this grudge but Ja-sung wants to talk real estate instead. Is Gyeom really going to pass up the house they looked at last time?
Gyeom says he wants to buy it after all, and he’s going to let Young-won live there for free, chiding Ja-sung for forcing her out when she has nowhere to go. Ja-sung tells him to grow up or he’ll never be able to handle his dad’s multi-billion business. Gyeom yells that he doesn’t want it, which is right when Young-won comes back. Gyeom says he can explain but Young-won just retreats.
All their past interactions run through her mind in a new light. Gyeom chases her down and tries to apologize again, but Young-won tells him she’s not angry, she feels humiliated. She spent all that time lecturing a rich man about saving money. She chokes out, “I thought we were partners. But did you think of me as entertainment?” Why did he go along with it all?
“Probably because he took pity on you,” remarks Ja-sung, strutting onto the scene and taking this chance to insert his own perspective on Gyeom’s actions.
Gyeom ignores him and apologizes again to Young-won. That prompts Ja-sung to say that Gyeom’s done nothing wrong. The person who misunderstood is at fault. Ja-sung just has to keep rubbing salt in the wound and he has carries on, saying that being nice to Young-won will end up with betrayal. That’s the last straw for Young-won. She yells at him to stop and shoves him and Ja-sung lands in a bowl of chestnut burrs. Thoroughly hurt by both men, Young-won leaves.
Eui-joo meets up with an older gentleman and by all appearances it looks like “rich boyfriend” was the correct answer. He answers a call from his wife and tells her he’s at the office.
Young-won takes a taxi home. Imaginary Ja-sung appears to lecture her on saving money, but she’s too furious to care, saying begging or starving is her life. But when she sees how quickly the fare is going up, she squeaks and tells the driver to pull over.
Limping down to his car, Ja-sung thinks he can’t help wasting emotions on her when she shoved him onto chestnut burrs. When he finally runs into Gyeom, he comments on how shameless she is to leave like that. Thoroughly fed up, Gyeom tells him how she couldn’t sleep because of her guilt and asked what Ja-sung’s favorite food was so she could cook it for him.
As if his evening couldn’t get any worse, Young-won’s doorman calls Ja-sung and lets him know that Young-won typed up a message telling the truth about the former tenant and posted it on every door in the building. She spent all night working on it. Young-won’s sleepiness and actions throughout the day run through his mind in a new light.
Young-won waits at a bus stop and posts on the homeownership forum:
“A thought suddenly occurred to me. If I could renovate my life, as you’d renovate a place. If I could get rid of the things that went wrong, if I could fix my life like fixing broken parts. If I could do it over like painting over walls, just like interior designs that have a before and after. If my life that seems stuck at “before” could turn to the glamorous “after,” that’d be great.”
Gyeom sits alone, trying to think of what to say to apologize. Eui-joo sits at home and gets a text from her gentleman friend saying he’ll cover her rent.
Ja-sung pulls up at Young-won’s bus stop. Of course, he’s his usual prickly self and doesn’t mention that he was looking for her. He pretends it’s all a coincidence and that he just happened to be on his way back to Seoul for business. He offers her a ride back since the buses aren’t running. She refuses the offer until he says he’ll forget she pushed him into the chestnut burrs if she agrees and will press charges if she doesn’t.
In the car, Ja-sung actually apologizes for being too harsh earlier. He calls them even, and says they should start with a clean slate. And she doesn’t have to move out.
He starts to lecture her on leaving so late, but she’s already fast asleep. Just how hard she worked hits him again.
He pulls over, quietly getting out to move Young-won’s seatback so she’s more comfortable. But he suddenly freezes at their proximity, staring at her until Young-won snorts. It breaks him out of his daze, but he’s a little flustered when he starts driving again.
This time, he drives very slowly with his hazard lights on, ignoring all the cars that are honking at him.
Flashback to the house Ja-sung visited on his own. It turns out, it’s the home of the single mom who was supposed to be featured in their magazine. He introduces himself and says, “You requested a renovation for the interior design special article, “Change,” right?” She confirms and asks what brings him by.
Okay, Ja-sung was kind of nice to Young-won at the end of the episode. But before we talk about Ja-sung, poor Gyeom. It’s not the first time someone has lied to get closer to their crush, and it’s no surprise that Young-won was hurt when she learned the truth. I’m just glad the show didn’t drag the deception out. Gyeom’s lie clearly hurt Young-won badly, and I suspect it may take a while to earn back her trust and forgiveness. Then again, she accepted Ja-sung’s apology immediately, so who knows? Also, I know that Gyeom is this free-spirited nice guy and that Ja-sung is his hyung, but I kept wishing that Gyeom would confront Ja-sung more forcefully.
And Ja-sung. Oh boy. During the entire episode Ja-sung was petty and childish, and he clearly can’t draw a clean boundary between his private life and work life. Ja-sung spent most of his time twisting everything Young-won said and did into a meaning different from her intentions, and shoving her embarrassment in her face at every opportunity. It was honestly really hard to watch. Not to mention the reason he was so offended wasn’t because he was uncomfortable with being accused of liking someone, but because someone would ever think he would date with someone of her status and money. I understand that dire poverty could be traumatic but his treatment of Young-won went too far. It does seem that he thinks that people are poor purely as a result of bad habits, and that logic could lead him to a sense of distaste at associating with someone who doesn’t have a high net worth or a home. But the problem is that Young-won isn’t poor because of her bad choices, she’s poor because life dealt her a bad hand. Ja-sung’s one saving grace right now is that Kim Ji-seok is great with the facial expressions and nails every smirk, eye roll, and horrified expression. But there have been little glimmers of a different side of Ja-sung, and maybe the visit to the single mom that we saw at the end of the episode will let us see a bit of depth to the man beyond his financial fixation.
Why did Young-won, for the most part, just take everything that Ja-sung dished out? After realizing the haunted apartment rumor was false and up till the kimchi jjigae incident, any time Ja-sung blamed her for something, she genuinely agreed with him. Confronting someone about their feelings only to find out you were wrong? Horribly embarrassing, for both parties. Believing a rumor that makes sense but is still wrong? Again, horribly embarrassing and I can see the guilt factor there. It wouldn’t feel great to realize that you accused someone of being a money-grubber only to find out that he really had just helped you out. But it’s not deserving of constant verbal abuse. Then, the moment he extends an olive branch, she forgives him immediately and apologizes again! But one push into chestnut burrs does not equal a day’s worth of insults in my book. As @Branwen pointed out in the last recap, the power dynamic in this relationship is skewed horribly in Ja-sung’s favor. He’s her boss, her landlord, giving her financial advice, and secretly her Dragon. How is this relationship going to shake out? I’m glad that Gyeom’s lie was uncovered so quickly and I really hope that Dragon’s identity is made public soon.
Interestingly enough, while Young-won is attempting to pull herself out of poverty, everyone around her except Ja-sung is struggling to make a home of their own. Sang-soon still lives with his parents but wants his own place so he can get married. Editor Choi lives in a rundown apartment that he wants to move out of and isn’t fully welcome in. And Eui-joo has to get funding from outside sources in order to pay rent. Ja-sung may be able to practice what he preaches, but not everyone can become a real estate mogul or even a homeowner. And while the romance has an almost impossibly long way to go, I am looking forward to the insights into the other parts of everyday life. Because what this drama has sold well is that a home affects every part of your life.
- Premiere Watch: At a Distance Spring Is Green, Monthly Magazine Home, Hospital Playlist 2, Nevertheless, Voice 4
- Boiled pork and falling books bring Kim Ji-suk and Jung So-min together in Monthly Magazine Home
- 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