Monthly Magazine Home: Episode 14
Our real estate tycoon tries to win our heroine back but finds that some things, once broken, can’t be repaired through effort alone. Meanwhile two members of the editorial team get closer than ever when a secret is revealed which shows that sometimes things aren’t quite what they seem.
EPISODE 14: “Meeting the home of your destiny, meeting the person of your destiny”
As Ja-sung drives back to Seoul, he thinks about Young-won’s rejection and admits he deserved it, but resolves not to give up. Back at the office, he texts her begging her for a chance to explain himself and watches from his office as she glances at his message but doesn’t respond.
Ja-sung follows Young-won into the archive to apologize again but she refuses to talk to him unless it’s work-related, and draws a firm line between them by asking Ja-sung not to speak to her casually or use her first name anymore.
Sang-soon brings Eui-joo a hot drink and she immediately gets suspicious at how nice he’s being, but wrongly assumes that he’s angling to reduce the interest on the loan repayments and shuts him down. Eui-joo shows him a house she really likes that she’s using as a reference for an article and Sang-soon suggests she ask her “Rich Man” to buy it for her — he’d seen the text from him offering to buy her a place the night before, and Eui-joo had shiftily told him that “Rich Man” was a distant relative who took care of her financially after her parents died.
Sang-soon’s jealous that Eui-joo has someone who’ll buy her a house, but she says she prefers renting anyway, still insisting that real estate prices will drop and it’ll be a waste of money. Sang-soon argues that paying rent is the real waste of money, but Eui-joo says that he nags her so much anyone would think he was her husband and leaves, annoyed. Sang-soon, stunned into silence by the word “husband”, clutches his chest and resolves to tell Eui-joo how he feels.
Editor Choi is just lamenting to Young-won that he didn’t expect to still be covering puff pieces at his age when he gets a call to say that his son has been taken to the ER. He was supposed to be heading out with Ja-sung that afternoon to do an interview for an article, and Young-won reluctantly agrees to cover for him.
The car ride over is awkward, as Young-won keeps her eyes firmly on her information packet and refuses to be drawn into Ja-sung’s attempts to make small talk. He tries again to explain himself but she instantly shuts him down and tells him that she’d like to keep their personal and professional lives separate, as Ja-sung himself has always insisted on.
Editor Choi calls to let them know that his son will be alright, and apologizes profusely to Ja-sung over the car’s speakerphone for abandoning him in his time of need after everything he said about how there was no joy in his life anymore. After he hangs up, Ja-sung starts to tell Young-won how miserable he was without her but she ruthlessly cuts him off again without even looking up from her notes, reminding him not to talk about personal matters at work.
On their way back from lunch at a restaurant Sang-soon had chosen because it served Eui-joo’s favorite food, Sang-soon shoos the assistants away and invites Eui-joo for coffee, just the two of them. Just then a car pulls up alongside them and an old friend of Sang-soon’s gets out to greet him, but quickly gets distracted by Eui-joo. She eyes him coyly in return and the two of them swap business cards before he leaves, late for a meeting.
Over coffee, Sang-soon is about to confess his feelings to Eui-joo when she interrupts to ask him to set her up with his lawyer friend, who’s just her type. Upset, Sang-soon refuses, telling Eui-joo that his friend has very high standards and wouldn’t be interested in her. She asks what happened to insisting she was a queen and he’d do anything for her and he snaps back that he called her a queen, not a goddess. Frustrated, Eui-joo asks Sang-soon what he wanted to tell her but he sullenly says he’s changed his mind and she leaves in a huff.
Ja-sung and Young-won go to see a modern house laid out in the style of a hanok, with several interconnected buildings grouped around a central courtyard. Ja-sung listens rapt as the owner tells them that he bought it as a gift for his girlfriend to win her back after they’d fought and almost broke up. He explains that he’d made a mistake and his girlfriend had coldly ignored his efforts to win her back, but he couldn’t give up because he knew he wouldn’t be able to live without her.
Young-won eyes Ja-sung disapprovingly as he nods along sympathetically, and asks the owner for a glass of water. While he’s gone, Young-won sharply rebukes Ja-sung for getting distracted by sentimental stories when he should be focusing on the financial side of things and asking questions which will make a profit, as he usually does. She says she’ll take over the interview, and he agrees sadly, shoulders slumping.
Back at the office, Eui-joo is suffering stomach pains from the spicy octopus at lunch and Sang-soon, worried about her, volunteers to take her place on an advertorial shoot that evening so she won’t have to work late. Sang-soon goes to find her some medicine but gets a text from his lawyer friend asking what kind of place he should take Eui-joo to on their date that evening.
Eui-joo staggers into the kitchen clutching her stomach but drops the act when Sang-soon angrily tells her that he knows she’s faking it. Eui-joo says she didn’t think Sang-soon would agree to cover for her if she just asked and he sulkily tells her that she’s right, he won’t. Just as she’s batting her eyelashes at him and attempting to get him to change his mind, she gets a call from the advertiser postponing that evening’s shoot and crows that the heavens are on her side.
Frustrated, Sang-soon drafts a text to his friend asking him to cancel his date with Eui-joo because he likes her, but stops himself before he sends it. Downcast, he sighs and tells himself that he should give up pursuing a woman who has no interest in him.
Ja-sung follows Young-won into the lobby of her building and blurts out an apology at high-speed while she’s waiting for the elevator to descend, but she remains unmoved. Before the doors close, she tells him to stop trying because it’s over between them.
Chan mentions to Gyeom that Ja-sung seems to be having a hard time trying to get Young-won to forgive and Gyeom reminds him that he’s the one who created the whole mess in the first place by telling Ja-sung about Gyeom’s feelings after he was sworn to secrecy. Chan tells Gyeom that he cares about him too much to watch him suffer in silence, and he won’t apologize for that.
Gyeom meets up with Young-won to apologize for confessing to her when he knew she was upset over Ja-sung. She tells him that she can’t return his feelings, and he admits that he knew that in his heart all along.
Gyeom tells Young-won that Ja-sung broke up with her because of him, because he found out about Gyeom’s feelings and could see that their relationship was hurting him. With tears in her eyes, Young-won says that she can understand how Ja-sung felt — but that doesn’t mean she can forgive him. She doesn’t want someone who lets go of her hand for any reason.
As she lies in bed that night trying to sleep, Young-won thinks about her mom staring sadly at a photo of her dad. She’d told Young-won to find someone who would never let go of her hand no matter what, so she wouldn’t end up alone and abandoned like her mother.
The next day, Editor Choi introduces Ja-sung to the new freelance editor, KWON MIN-GOOK (Lee Yi-kyung), who’ll be writing Ja-sung’s puff pieces from now on. Editor Choi assures him Min-gook is very talented but Ja-sung says he’ll be the judge of that, and orders him to draft an article from Young-won’s interview notes by the end of the day. Min-gook is taken aback but Ja-sung tells him working from someone else’s notes shouldn’t be a problem for someone as talented as Min-gook supposedly is.
Before he leaves, Ja-sung tells him that there’s one crucial thing he has to remember to do — Min-gook pulls out his notebook and looks expectant — and that’s use scrap paper for the first draft. Min-gook stares at Ja-sung in disbelief until Editor Choi pulls him from the room, telling him to just go along with it.
The editorial team go out to eat and coincidentally find Min-gook already at the restaurant eating alone, although he’d refused their lunch invitation earlier as he had plans. Joining them, Min-gook admits that he uses his lunch hour to manage his stock portfolio, having caught the investment bug when he tripled his life savings after the economic crisis (although his life savings unfortunately didn’t amount to very much).
Min-gook’s shocked to hear that none of the others invest their money, and quotes his role model Warren Buffett: “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” After he leaves Sang-soon wonders if he should invest his savings, but Editor Choi points out that he should probably focus on paying Eui-joo back first.
On his way out of the office, Ja-sung sees a middle-aged woman loitering outside and rudely tells her to go away if she’s there to sell something, because they’re not interested. The woman introduces herself as Young-won’s mother and Ja-sung apologizes profusely for his rudeness before inviting her out to lunch.
Ja-sung cancels his plans to take Young-won’s mother out to an upscale restaurant, insisting that it’s the least he can do for a family member of an employee he cherishes so much. She’s very complimentary and says that his bride-to-be will be very lucky to have him as a husband and her family will be lucky to have him as a son-in-law, and Ja-sung silently wills her to tell Young-won the same thing.
Ja-sung has been internally referring to her as Mother all along but slips up while preening and says it out loud too — luckily he’s saved when she gets a call from Young-won. Young-won asks what she’s up to and Ja-sung looks at her expectantly, hoping she’ll say that he’s treating her to a meal and looking after her well so that Young-won will be touched and impressed, but she lies and says she’s eating with a friend.
After she hangs up, Young-won’s mom apologizes to Ja-sung and explains that she’ll have to leave shortly and didn’t want Young-won to feel guilty about missing out on seeing her. She asks Ja-sung to keep their lunch a secret, because she doesn’t want Young-won to feel indebted on her behalf. Ja-sung is disappointed because he was hoping Young-won might be moved that he’d treated her mom well and forgive him, but reluctantly agrees not to tell her.
Young-won is trying to explain to Min-gook how Ja-sung wants his promo article to be written but he keeps getting stock updates on his phone. First his stocks go up and he briefly celebrates, but then tells Young-won that a serious investor never gets carried away by price fluctuations, once again quoting his hyung Warren Buffet.
Then the stocks plummet and Min-gook goes into paroxysms of despair as he asks himself why he didn’t sell while the price was high. As he leaves the room muttering to himself about the temperature of the water in Hangang River, Young-won stares after him disbelievingly and wonders what happened to keeping a cool head.
Eui-joo returns to the office from her lunch date with Sang-soon’s lawyer friend and announces that she dumped him, to Sang-soon’s delight. While they were taking a photo he’d gotten a flirty text from a woman saved in his phone as “First great-aunt” and had tried to convince Eui-joo that his great-aunt was elderly and confused.
Skeptical, Eui-joo had called him and discovered that she was saved in his contacts as “Second great-aunt”, so whacked the cheating scumbag round the head with her handbag. Sang-soon can’t keep the grin off his face as he condemns his friend’s behavior.
While Sang-soon gives a presentation to the team about a man living in a hut in the woods that he’s trying to arrange an interview with, Min-gook complains that their chairs are the most uncomfortable he’s ever experienced in a workplace. Ja-sung is not at all sympathetic — until Young-won says she finds the chairs uncomfortable too. Suddenly changing his tune, Ja-sung orders Editor Choi to replace all the chairs in the office while shooting Young-won a hopeful look, but just gets a glare in return.
As Young-won is finding references for him, Min-gook gets a message from another magazine he freelances for asking him to re-draft an article immediately if he wants to get paid for it. He tells Young-won a sob story about how he needs the money to support his parents and asks her if she can secretly write the Monthly Magazine Home article for him, and of course she’s too kind to refuse.
Mi-ra calls Gyeom to offer him a cup of coffee but he refuses, so she gives it to Editor Choi instead. Editor Choi appreciates her thoughtfulness but Chan, who’s been eavesdropping, butts in to tell him snippily not to feel too touched because that coffee was originally intended for someone else. Editor Choi just looks bemused and Mi-ra glares at Chan before flouncing out.
As she leaves, Chan remarks that Mi-ra shouldn’t keep leading people on and causing them to misunderstand. He notices Joo-hwi studying him and confronts her over it, but is rendered speechless when she tells him she’s looking at a fool who obviously likes Mi-ra but will end up losing to Gyeom.
Ja-sung picks up some documents from Young-won’s empty desk, and notices a partial draft of the article Min-gook’s supposed to be writing on her screen. He tracks Min-gook down and is unimpressed to find him in a toilet stall checking his investment portfolio when he should be working.
Back in the main office, Ja-sung gives Min-gook a severe dressing down and fires him, but Young-won rushes over to tell them that it was her idea to write his article for him because she didn’t want him to feel too pressured on his first day. Editor Choi tells her off for interfering in things that don’t concern her but Ja-sung orders him to leave her alone and gives Min-gook another chance.
Min-gook finds Young-won alone afterwards to thank her for covering for him and apologize for taking advantage of her kindness in the first place. Young-won accepts his apology and admits she often thinks about how she can earn money as quickly as possible herself, but warns him not to invest during work hours again.
Min-gook tells Young-won that she’s a good person and guesses that that’s why Ja-sung cares about her so much, having noticed how concerned he is about her comfort and happiness.
Sang-soon offers to take Eui-joo to the movies that night to make up for his friend’s behavior, but she refuses as she has other plans. Just then she gets a message from “Rich Man” cancelling their dinner that evening and tells Sang-soon despondently that she can go with him after all, but he’s left wondering why she was so disappointed not to see a distant relative.
As Ja-sung’s editing Min-gook’s article, he notices Min-gook furtively using his phone again and snatches it off him, scolding him for looking at his stocks during work when he was just reprimanded for that. However it turns out that Min-gook was actually using a recording app because he couldn’t take notes as he’d forgotten his pen and was afraid Ja-sung would tell him for being careless.
Ja-sung is taken aback that Min-gook thinks he would be so unreasonable and finds him in the archive later on to apologize for assuming he was still looking at his stock at work. Min-gook insists that he understands completely why Ja-sung wouldn’t trust him anymore after what he did (quoting Buffet-hyung again).
Min-gook explains that he grew up in poverty and making money on the stock market is the only way he can see to get out of it. Ja-sung says that he was that desperate to make money once himself, but his single-mindedness blinded him to the other important things in life. He advises Min-gook to look after the people he loves, because if you lose money it’s easy to earn it back, but you may never regain someone’s heart.
When Min-gook gets back to his desk, he announces that he’s decided to make Ja-sung his new role model, having realized that underneath that cold-hearted exterior he’s actually warm and caring. In fact he respects Ja-sung so much that he wants him to be his brother-in-law, and decides to set him up with his sister, a famously beautiful news anchor.
The team are very impressed, and when Editor Choi asks Young-won, who once interviewed her, if she thinks the news anchor would be a good match for Ja-sung she reluctantly agrees, a strained smile on her face.
Min-gook and Editor Choi head into Ja-sung’s office to offer him the chance to go on a date with Min-gook’s sister, but he keeps refusing despite their cajoling. His attention is caught however when he hears that Young-won thought they’d be a good match, and he goes to find her in the archive to ask unhappily if she’d really have no problem with him dating another woman.
Angry, Young-won asks if he really thought they were going to get back together. She tells Ja-sung that life may seem easy to him because he’s always achieved everything he’s set his mind to, but there are some things you can’t get no matter how much you want them or how hard you try, and stalks out after accusing him of trying to push his feelings onto her.
Young-won’s mom asks to meet, and explains to Young-won that the rental contract on her store is up and her new landlord has decided to increase the security deposit massively. She can’t afford it and came to Seoul to see if she could borrow money from one of her acquaintances but has had no luck.
Young-won’s mom wants her to ask Ja-sung for a loan, convinced that he’d be willing after everything he said over lunch about Young-won being a treasured and trusted employee. Young-won refuses point-blank, too proud to go to Ja-sung for money.
Eui-joo gets a call from “Rich Man” while Sang-soon’s buying their movie tickets, and Sang-soon overhears her on the phone talking about how angry his wife would be if she found out they were speaking and arranging to meet at a hotel at the weekend. Shocked, Sang-soon confronts her over having an affair with a married man, particularly after everything she said about how much she hated cheaters.
Upset, Eui-joo tries to leave but Sang-soon catches her arm and pulls her back. She tells him that her life is none of his business and asks him why he cares, but before he can confess that he cares about her because he likes her, Eui-joo tells him that “Rich Man” is her dad, leaving Sang-soon speechless.
Over drinks, Eui-explains that her mom got very sick when she was a teenager, and her dad took up with another woman while his wife was in hospital. Less than a month after her mom’s funeral he got remarried, and Eui-joo decided he was dead to her too and cut off all contact with him. That’s why she hates cheaters so much, and doesn’t believe in marriage.
After a while though, she thought that perhaps she’d made it too easy for him to start his new life with his new wife and new daughter, and decided to demand that he pay her rent for her so that every month he’d be reminded of his old family and hopefully feel guilty for what he’d done.
Eui-joo doesn’t want her dad to buy her a house because she’s afraid that, if he doesn’t have to make those monthly rent payments, he won’t think of her at all. Sang-soon moves to sit next to Eui-joo, and holds her as she cries.
That night Young-won tries to look into commercial contract law on her mom’s behalf but struggles to understand, and resorts to posting on the Home Ownership Cafe for help. She soon receives a DM from Dragon, who reassures her that her mom has nothing to worry about. If the landlord didn’t renegotiate the terms of her rental agreement before the renewal date, then the contract was implicitly renewed with the original terms, even if her landlord has changed.
Young-won lets her mom know that her landlord can’t legally raise her deposit so she doesn’t need to worry about being kicked out, and she cries with relief. As Young-won puts her to bed she thinks about how much her mom must have suffered all alone, and it strengthens her resolve to find someone who’ll always be by her side so she’ll never be in that situation herself.
While leaving some papers on Ja-sung’s desk, Gyeom notices the Home Ownership Cafe open on his screen, which Young-won had previously told him she used. Just then a notification pops up, and Gyeom reads through Young-won’s most recent post about how some people are just destined to be together, in the same way that you can just see a house and know that it’s perfect for you.
Sometimes you’ll know it at first glance, sometimes it can take a while to realise that you’re meant for each other, and sometimes you’ll realize that you’re mistaken. As we see Sang-soon stare wistfully at a tearful Eui-joo, and Ja-sung at a restaurant waiting for his dinner-date to arrive, Young-won’s voiceover tells us that one day she hopes to meet the person destined for her, who’ll never let go of her hand.
Young-won had told Gyeom about Dragon, her online friend who always supported and encouraged her, so when he recognizes the username on Ja-sung’s account he’s shocked. Gyeom immediately calls Young-won and tells her Dragon was really Ja-sung all along, and she rushes out to find him.
When Young-won arrives at the restaurant she sees Ja-sung having dinner with another woman and, assuming he’s on a blind date with Min-gook’s sister, interrupts to ask how he could see another woman after everything he said to her. However, it turns out that the woman is not Ja-sung’s date but a client, and Young-won apologizes to her profusely before leaving, embarrassed.
Ja-sung catches up to Young-won outside, hopeful that her anger at seeing him with another woman means that she still has feelings for him, and she asks him why he didn’t tell her he was Dragon. The two of them embrace in the middle of the street, as Young-won tearfully tells Ja-sung that he never let go of her hand after all.
Sang-soon hikes into the remote woods to petition a man living in a hut in the wilderness for an interview but leaves empty-handed yet again. As the man watches him go, we see Young-won’s family photo on a shelf — revealing that he’s actually her father.
I had an inkling that “Rich Man” would turn out to be Eui-joo’s dad, partly because of the way she seemed so unhappy looking at his family photo and partly because sugar babies/daddies seemed slightly too scandalous a topic for an otherwise reasonably light-hearted rom-com. I know Monthly Magazine Home has its more melancholy moments, but the emotional and moral fallout from that mess would have been on another level. I very much liked the way Eui-joo’s backstory was revealed though. It was told very simply but it explained an awful lot about Eui-joo’s behavior and why she is the way she is, from her living situation to her views on marriage, loyalty, infidelity and men. Her heartbreak was plain to see, and I really appreciate the way that Sang-soon just sat quietly and listened as she opened herself up to him, and held her as she cried. It’s clear from his face that he’s fallen hard, and although individually they’re both very flawed characters, I think they’re a good match for each other.
We had an interesting role reversal this episode when our leads went to view a property together. Ja-sung identified with the owner and got sentimental over his story, while Young-won remained cold and professional. Young-won is sometimes too nice and a little bit of a pushover so it was great to see her be so assertive this episode, even if I did feel sorry for Ja-sung at times (Kim Ji-suk does a wonderfully dejected kicked-puppy look). Ja-sung has a very forceful personality but Young-won stood her ground and laid down and enforced her boundaries. We’ve spoken before about the massive power imbalance between the two of them, so I’m really glad she pulled him up on how inappropriate and manipulative it was for him to keep trying to apologize to her at work where she was restrained by professionalism.
I’m so glad that Ja-sung helped to resolve Young-won’s mom’s problem with good advice and not money! He supported and reassured Young-won, rather than going over her head to solve her problem for her. I had visions of him secretly paying the difference in the deposit or even discreetly buying her building and taking over as her new landlord or something else well-intentioned but deceitful and manipulative. Ja-sung himself said in this episode that there’s more to life than money, so it was nice that they followed through with that sentiment and showed that there’s more to Ja-sung, and to his relationship with Young-won, than just his finances. I think the revelation that he was Dragon showed Young-won that he really did care about her happiness above his own, because he supported and encouraged her even when he personally had nothing to gain.
- 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