Monthly Magazine Home: Episode 8
Everyone is feeling things, from confusion to attraction to anger to despair, and everyone is trying to avoid those feelings. Our protagonists in particular are trying to avoid saying their feelings out loud, but their actions speak volumes.
EPISODE 8: “House + Love = Home”
A drunk Ja-sung returns home after visiting his parents at the columbarium. Young-won comes out of her bedroom to greet him and Ja-sung staggers forward, then falls into her arms. She holds him up in a comforting hug. Ja-sung murmers, “Thank you. For being home. For being by my side.”
The next morning, Young-won goes to check in on Ja-sung and he emerges from his room bleary-eyed and confused. He’s surprised she’s there instead of at her mom’s house and doesn’t seem to remember last night. Young-won wilts and he asks if he did anything wrong, but she brushes it off and leaves for work. On the bus, she chides herself for taking meaningless drunk talk seriously.
The office is abuzz thanks to Young-won and an anonymous gift sent to her by a male fan. Gyeom explains that a man claiming to be a fan of Young-won’s asked him to deliver the designer handbag from the bazaar auction as a gift. Eui-joo thinks the fan must have feelings for Young-won, why else would he send her such an expensive gift? She tries to ask Gyeom his opinion, but Ja-sung asks why they’re making a big deal of it and to get back to work.
Young-won sighs, and Eui-joo correctly guesses that she’s uncomfortable with receiving such an expensive gift. As Eui-joo looks over the bag, she finds a note for Young-won tucked inside. In the bathroom, Young-won compares it to Dragon’s messages and the wording is pretty similar. She messages Dragon, asking if he actually went to the bazaar and gave her the gift. In his office, Ja-sung scoffs before reminding her that he said he couldn’t go. He grumbles about her goofing off during work hours.
Young-won unfortunately walks by his office just as he opens his door. She tries to say she was just in the bathroom, but of course he knows she was messaging Dragon. He lectures her to stay focused and not to neglect her work because she’s distracted by the gift.
He then needles her about some work assignments, and when Choi chimes in, he snaps that if Editor Choi had trained her better this wouldn’t have happened and flounces into his office. Young-won apologizes for the mistake, but Editor Choi isn’t bothered, he’s just confused at Ja-sung’s worsening temper.
Back in his office, Ja-sung’s attention wanders to Young-won and the bag. He reminds himself that as long as she does her job, her personal life is none of his business.
In Gyeom’s studio, Eui-joo and Gyeom go over the pictures he took at the bazaar. Eui-joo realizes that Gyeom must have taken a picture of the man who bought the bag. They scroll through, but Sang-soon is in the way in every shot. Eui-joo is just about to leave when Chan interrupts—didn’t Gyeom have other pictures? He takes over and sure enough, there’s a clear shot of Young-won’s fan. Eui-joo is excited, but Gyeom’s vaguely panicked reaction doesn’t go unnoticed by Chan.
Editor Choi and Eui-joo fuss over the photo, asking Young-won if she thinks he’s handsome, but she’s completely uninterested. Editor Choi sees Ja-sung coming and starts dramatically scolding Young-won for looking at pictures during work hours. When Ja-sung asks what’s wrong, Editor Choi says he was scolding her as part of work training. Ja-sung wipes the smile off his face by pointing to the clock. It’s officially lunch time. Oops. Ja-sung says if Young-won does her job, she can do whatever she wants and her personal life is nobody’s business, least of all his.
At a coffee shop, Chan smugly (and correctly) guesses that Gyeom was the one who gifted the bag to Young-won. Gyeom admits it and says he got help buying the bag from someone he met at the bazaar to cover his tracks. Chan thinks it’s only a matter of time before Gyeom gets busted.
Sang-soon’s dance routine for the apartment subscription is completely ignored by the staff— they’re over it all. He won’t tell anyone what his psychic told him to do except Editor Choi and whatever it is, Editor Choi is scandalized, telling Eui-joo it’s better not to know.
Ja-sung’s hot-and-cold behavior continue to bother and confuse Young-won as they drive to the next house. He scolds her for being lost in thought, repeating his latest mantra: Separate work and private life matters.
In a discussion with the homeowner, Young-won says a home is a place that feels comfortable even after one day. Even that gets her a scolding and Ja-sung tells her to stick to talking about work when she’s on the job. He sends her out to the car to grab a copy of their magazine for the homeowner. While he’s alone he takes a call from his apartment management office, and gives permission for Young-won to come in and out without alarm…which is when the homeowner comes in. Slightly flustered, Ja-sung tells him she’s just a tenant of his who had nowhere to go while repairs were being done to her apartment, but the owner clearly doesn’t believe him.
As Young-won and Ja-sung leave the house, Secretary Hwang calls him about an urgent sale in their area. Young-won says not to worry about her and she’ll stay in the car but Ja-sung cuts her off. He chides her about wasting time and orders her back to the office so she can do her job. She gets out of the car, walks around to the driver’s window, and demands his company card. After all, work and private matters must be separate; why should she use her own money for a work matter? He gives her the card without much protest but she’s clearly upset as she walks away.
Ja-sung stops at a traffic light, and he does a double take when he sees Young-won in the car next to him–in a taxi. He calls her, horrified that she took a taxi on the company dime instead of the bus. When she sees him, she calmly states the bus will take too much time and that she needs to return to the office quickly to do her job faithfully.
At their studio, Chan waltzes up to Gyeom, but before he can lay out his opinion again, he realizes Gyeom is typing up an email asking Young-won to meet. Gyeom says he thinks it’s best to tell the truth before he gets busted.
Young-won discusses the email with Eui-joo, wondering why the fan would ask to see her. Eui-joo thinks it’s obvious, he either fell for her at the bazaar or has been in love with her for a long time. Young-won is skeptical about that and turns down Eui-joo’s offer to go with her. As they giggle together, Ja-sung is a few bookshelves down, boiling with anger, having heard everything.
As he stews in his jealousy, Young-won comes into his office with the first draft of the promo article. She goes to leave so Ja-sung tries to delay her with more work, but she’s already completed everything he throws at her. He sarcastically remarks that if he knew that taking a taxi, he would have sent her on a plane. She cheerfully, announces, “Okay, I’ll take a plane next time,” and leaves. He tries to tell himself that it doesn’t matter if she does her job, but he sees something in the draft that makes him furious.
He yells for Young-won, saying her draft was sloppy and she made a fatal mistake. The confused editors don’t see a mistake until he points it out: she didn’t print on scrap paper. When he sees their looks of disbelief, he says the mistake reflects her state of mind. She’s never made this sort of mistake before but now she’s engrossed with her fan and if they start dating she’ll mess up the promo articles. But Eui-joo says he doesn’t have to worry.
Gyeom has a bouquet ready as he wait for Young-won in a cafe. But he gets an email from Young-won. She’s grateful, but she can’t accept such an expensive gift and she’s returning it to him. His note of encouragement was gift enough. Gyeom rushes out, but he’s missed her.
Eui-joo calls Young-won and tells her what happens in the office, adding that when Eui-joo told him she was returning the gift, he calmed down completely and let it go. Eui-joo is convinced he was jealous, but Young-won thinks she’s off the mark.
The rest of the office gets ready to leave, but Sang-soon is still refreshing his house subscription page. Suddenly he falls backwards out of his chair in a dead faint. They all panic trying to revive him and Eui-joo attempts to loosens his belt to help him breathe. Editor Choi stops her, saying he’ll do it.
She doesn’t understand why it matters who does the loosening until Editor Choi tells them Sang-soon is going commando—that was what the psychic told him to do in order to succeed in the housing subscription. Before they can completely recover from this, Sang-soon wakes up. He whispers, “I got it,” and points to the computer. He won the apartment! They all congratulate him, aw. Sang-soon flips up, fully invigorated, and announces that he’s going home to propose to his girlfriend.
At home, Young-won watches more of Ja-sung’s videos, but is distracted by Ja-sung’s odd behavior. He comes back home, and in an echo of the other day, she greets him at the end of the hallway, using the same words. He walks towards her and says he remembers what he said to her.
When she tries to brush it off as drunk ramblings, he cuts her off, saying he meant it. He repeats his words about her being home and leans in towards her. She closes her eyes…but instead of a kiss, he whispers, “That’s the end of today’s video. Have you not liked or subscribed to today’s video?” Ha, it was all a dream. She tells herself she’s going crazy and goes back to sleep.
Gyeom goes to the magazine office, and notices that the blinds to the library are pulled down. He can see movement, and then the lights turn off. He goes into the room to investigate, and we see his surprised face as he asks someone what they’re doing there.
The next morning, Young-won wakes up to find Ja-sung in the kitchen ready to go out. She apologizes for the scrap paper incident, but he cuts her off with a question. “What are you doing today?”
Their destination? A furniture store. Ja-sung tells Young-won that he wants to fill his house and she should pick the furniture. And that’s exactly what happens. Every time she tries to pick something practical, he interrupts to ask if she likes the item. Whenever she says yes, he buys it. In one of the rooms she has trouble closing one of the bookshelf doors, and he comes up and closes it for her. They’re suddenly very close to each other, until a store clerk interrupts them, asking if they’re newlyweds. After they awkwardly correct her, he asks if the assumption made her uncomfortable. When she hesitantly says no, he says it didn’t make him uncomfortable either. Holy swoon, what just happened?
After the shopping spree, Ja-sung’s house is fully furnished. When Young-won worries that the new look might not be to Ja-sung’s taste, he says it’s fine as long as she likes. He calls back to what she’d told the homeowner on their last visit and says he wants her to be comfortable while she’s there. He asks if he can bring out the potted plant she gave him and gives her a little smile. She’s pleased but confused, wondering again if he likes her.
She notices a frame that needs adjusting on one of the shelves in the living room and climbs up a ladder to fix it. Ja-sung comes back with the plant, and just then, she loses her footing and falls backwards. He runs to catch her and she full-on clings to him like a monkey. There’s a moment of tension and they pull back and stare at each other before Young-won jumps off of him. They have a charged moment before Young-won escapes to the bathroom.
Editor Choi, Sang-soon, and Eui-joo meet up at a little jokbal (pigs’ feet) restaurant in Editor Choi’s neighborhood. Sang-soon offers to buy since he won the subscription and tells them there will be wedding bells soon. Strangely his phone rings constantly, but he ignores the calls.
Back at Ja-sung’s apartment, he’s getting ready to go out on another survey even though it’s a Saturday. Young-won had assumed he’d be home and she had planned to cook lunch for Ja-sung. As Ja-sung is taking in the situation, a call comes in from Secretary Hwang saying he’s arrived at Ja-sung’s place. Ja-sung has a fake conversation, telling Secretary Hwang to take the day off since he’s “sick” and poor Secretary Hwang is so confused that he wonders if he is sick after all lol.
Ja-sung ends the call and tells Young-won that he’ll have to stay home after all because Secretary Hwang’s come down with something. Young-won lights up and runs out the door to grab a few more groceries. Once outside, she spots Secretary Hwang calling someone asking what people do on the weekends. She overhears that this is the first time in years he’s had the weekend off and Ja-sung suddenly told him he was sick and gave him the day off. A thrilled Young-won finally concludes it’s not overthinking—he totally likes her.
Ja-sung eats her meal, and Young-won nervously hopes everything tastes okay. He lets her know it’s the best home-cooked meal he’s ever had. It’s also the first home-cooked meal he’s ever had, aw. And when Young-won says that it’s bothersome to cook, but it’s two, three times more delicious. He tells her she’s wrong–it’s actually two hundred, three hundred times more delicious. She starts kicking her feet in happiness.
Back at the restaurant, the newest lunchmate is one of Editor Choi’s former neighbors. He moved to Gangnam back in the day but he’s back to pick up some jokbal and to throw a few insulting comments Editor Choi’s way. With each comment, Editor Choi’s anger build and he finally threatens to leave. The man pretends to pacify him and leave first, but keeps needling Editor Choi.
Editor Choi’s patience runs out when his former neighbor says the apartment building should never be reconstructed so as to preserve the restaurant. In a fury, Editor Choi grabs a giant bone, and throws it at the man. It soars and hits Sang-soon square in the face. His nose starts bleeding and he passes out.
Gyeom keeps calling Ja-sung but there’s no answer. Chan asks where the camping heater and sleeping bag are, and it turns out Gyeom’s given them to Mi-ra. She’s been sleeping in the office and Gyeom gave them to her to keep warm. She texts a thank you for taking care of her and for keeping her secret.
At the restaurant, Editor Choi apologizes for throwing the bone. His phone rings; his wife needs him to come home now and fix the Wi-Fi router so his kids can attend their online classes. But he’s very drunk and can’t walk, so Sang-soon walks him home. Sang-soon left his phone behind and when Eui-joo takes a peek at his phone, she’s shocked.
Young-won turns on the giant projection screen TV (which Ja-sung didn’t even know existed), saying they should take a break on the weekend. She asks what movies he likes, but the few movies he names are all at least ten years old. She says he can take a nap if he wants to, but he haughtily tells that a nap is a waste of time. Cut to an hour later and he’s sound asleep on the couch. Young-won smiles at him, then works on cleaning up the interview recording from the beach house.
As she listens to the recording, she thinks that a home must be comfortable and cozy, especially for days off; a place where you can be with someone dear to you. As she thinks about all the things they did together that day, she thinks, “I hope this home was such a place to him today.” A flashback shows that the frame she fixed on the shelf said “House + Love = Home.”
She tunes back into the recording and catches the conversation Ja-sung had with the homeowner. The homeowner didn’t believe him when Ja-sung said he didn’t like Young-win. Ja-sung tells him Young-won needs a stable residence to work hard—it’s more profitable for him. The homeowner says things might change if they live together, she might knock down his defenses but Ja-sung resolutely tells him that will never happen.
When Sang-soon returns Eui-joo confronts him about the dozens of missed calls. They’re all from his girlfriend. It turns out that Sang-soon had gone to propose the day he won the housing subscription. He’d waited outside her hagwon to surprise her but he’d seen her walking away, hand-in-hand with another man.
Eui-joo asks if he’s going to break up with her, but Sang-soon says he’s just going to pretend he didn’t see. It must have been hard for her to wait so long. When she knows about the apartment, she’ll change her mind. Why ignore her calls? “In case she wants to break up,” he replies. He starts crying there in the restaurant, saying there’s no point in an apartment he can’t share with her. Aw, no.
Ja-sung wakes up from his nap and is shocked that he, Dragon Ja-sung, took a nap, hehe. He’s covered in a blanket, but Young-won has disappeared. She’s just outside the apartment building, upset at misunderstanding him again. She ignores his calls and starts crying.
Ja-sung finds her, very worried, and tries to fuss over her. She yells at him to stop being nice to her; she’s foolish and will keep misunderstanding him. She tries to walk away from him, but he says she didn’t misunderstand. He remembered what he said to her that night, and even though he’s tried to push her away, he likes her.
Finally! The confession! I find it interesting that, while both Young-won and Ja-sung have been asked if they like each other, they’ve both hotly denied it and haven’t really acknowledged their own feelings even to themselves. They may not have said it in so many words, but they’ve shown their feelings from very early on; Young-won and Ja-sung’s emotional reactions have been very telling. That excitement when they see each other, the power of compliments to each other, and the strength of their reactions when they were angry at each other were all signs that they were going to end up this way.
To be honest, while I am happy the couple got together, some of my favorite parts of the episode were when Young-won, used Ja-sung’s his logic to reclaim some agency and express what she’s feeling. For example, when Ja-sung told her to go back to work, she did–on his company card. When he berated her in the office, she didn’t get angry or rise to the bait. Finally, and most importantly, when she was receiving mixed messages from Ja-sung, she left and told him to stop being nice to her. She defended her boundaries better than she has in this entire series. And I appreciated that not only because she was protecting herself and evening out the power dynamic, but because it forces Ja-sung to finally confront his own feelings.
Ja-sung’s feelings have always been pretty clear, even if he never has a kind word to say and finds expressing his emotions difficult. His actions and compulsions lead him back to Young-won, finding ways to treat her kindly and spending more time with her. Even his negative reactions, like jealousy, are overreactions from not understanding his positive feelings toward her. And when she finally demanded different behavior from him, Ja-sung was quick to declare his feelings honestly and without reservation. Hopefully, now that both sides are on more equal footing outside of the work space, they can progress to a healthier relationship with themselves and each other.
Speaking of couples, poor Sang-soon. I’ve been quietly rooting for this adorable oddball (I may have also cheered when he finally got his apartment) and to see someone he so obviously cares about betray him like this is just awful. Right now he’s denial, and unwilling to acknowledge that someone he loves deeply betrayed him. He just directly goes to hoping that his apartment is good enough she’ll take him back. It especially stings that he was goal for an apartment of his own was specifically so he could marry her and be “worthy” of the marriage. It’s not just that she cheated on him, all of his dreams were focused on a home and a life with her, and now it’s all gone up in flames. No matter how deep in denial Sang-soon may be right now, when there is a break in trust, the relationship cannot be the same as it once was, and I don’t think it will take long for Sang-soon to realize that.
And then there’s Gyeom. I find Chan a bit too smug, but he was proven correct–Gyeom was just a little too late. It doesn’t help that, other than being friends with Young-won and dealing with his crush on her, Gyeom doesn’t carry a lot of narrative heft. We haven’t seen much of his home, which is the theme of this show—he obviously moves a lot, but we don’t know why exactly he prefers a nomadic lifestyle. I find myself liking Gyeom more than Ja-sung because he’s a lot nicer, but he doesn’t add a lot to the general story or Young-won’s story. He’s just a sweet second lead, and I’m not sure what they’re going to do with him now that the main couple have made their attraction to each other clear.
Either way, I’m looking forward to next week to see how Young-won and Ja-sung handle being in a relationship. They still have a lot of hurdles to get over (and we’re only on episode 8), but Ja-sung has shown with his actions that he is willing to let her in, to turn his houses into a home. So with time, a willingness to be vulnerable, and a bit of kindness, this could be the beginning of something sweet.
- 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