Human Disqualification: Episode 4
Our escort attempts to put personal feelings aside as he contemplates the job offer, but that proves difficult when he keeps running into his new ex-writer friend. A kind gesture and word from her bring him comfort on a challenging day, deepening the pull between the two of them. But they’re not the only ones deepening connections. A certain sighing husband struggles to forget his determined ex and starts lowering his defenses.
EPISODE 4: “Person friend”
Ddak-yi looks through the search history on the computer Kang-jae was using and sees Bu-jung’s name. He feels it’s familiar but can’t remember why. Min-jung pops up behind him and asks what’s going on. When Ddak-yi is evasive, she says close friends shouldn’t keep secrets.
Min-jung overheard Kang-jae’s comment about something having nothing to do with him and supposes he’ll be taking that job. In his building’s elevator, Kang-jae sighs as he again looks at Bu-jung’s photo on his phone.
He steps out of the elevator and comes face-to-face with Bu-jung. Startled, Kang-jae returns her bow and tries to hurry away, but Chang-sook calls out to him. Bu-jung looks like she wants to crawl under a table when her dad goes up to Kang-jae and introduces himself and Bu-jung.
Kang-jae blinks in surprise when Chang-sook asks, “Do you want a piece of cake?” Ha. Bu-jung grows even more mortified when her father tells Kang-jae to wait here with Bu-jung and proudly shows off the cake she got as a reward.
Once he’s gone, Bu-jung tells Kang-jae he can go; her father’s acting like this for no reason. Kang-jae thinks Chang-sook seems to have his own reason and congratulates her on whatever earned her a cake. Bu-jung is silent and awkward as usual.
Kang-jae notes that they should exchange numbers now that they’ve met again. He promises not to text her a lot and holds out his phone. Bu-jung hesitates before taking it and entering her info. He calls her so she’ll have his number too.
Chang-sook comes running back with a slice of cake for Kang-jae to take home with him. How cute. Inside his apartment, Kang-jae stands in the doorway and stares at the cake until his motion sensor lights go out.
Outside, Bu-jung wonders why her dad gave Kang-jae the piece of cake. Chang-sook says he got angry and quips they’ll see if Kang-jae ignores them now that he gave him cake. PFFT. He only gave him a small piece since he doesn’t like him. Oh my gosh.
Bu-jung jokes that she must’ve gotten her mean streak from her dad. Rather than denying she’s mean, Chang-sook just says they’re both not that bad. And now Kang-jae won’t ignore her anymore. Bu-jung asks what her father plans to give Kang-jae next if he ignores her. Ha.
Elsewhere, Min-ja calls Jung-soo from the salon. She loudly calls Bu-jung “Writer Lee” so the other ladies will coo over her successful daughter-in-law and says she wanted to let her know that Ah-ran is on TV right now.
Jung-soo cautions his mother not to let Bu-jung hear her use the name “Writer Lee” since she hates it. He scolds his mother for dropping by again without calling and complains that the kimchi she left for him is too salty.
Bu-jung arrives home and finds Jung-soo watching Ah-ran’s interview on TV. She switches it off but Jung-soo whines that he wants to see it, so she tosses him the remote. He turns it back on and tells Bu-jung to come watch with him – Ah-ran has just started talking about the book.
When Bu-jung tells him again to turn it off, he wonders what’s going on. Her and Ah-ran used to be close. Did they fight? Bu-jung doesn’t respond.
Jung-soo sees the cake on the table and complains about its quality, thinking she bought it for her father. Those cheap cakes are full of bad ingredients. Bu-jung grabs a fork and digs into the cake since he won’t eat it.
She yells at him for being so disdainful. What if her father had bought it with his hard-earned money? Jung-soo then blames her for not telling him where it came from sooner. She always stays quiet and then makes him the bad guy.
Seeing her cry, Jung-soo apologizes and says he’ll eat it, but the damage is done. Bu-jung says he doesn’t need to bother since her dad didn’t buy it. She tosses the rest of the cake into the trash and shuts herself in the laundry room to cry alone.
Bu-jung narrates another message to Ah-ran. Once again, Ah-ran barged into her thoughts and dragged her back to the hell of her memory from the rare, sweet dream she was having.
Kang-jae gets an immediate client request and prepares to leave. He then gets a bank notification; his mother wired him the money complete with interest. She texts to ask if he ate seaweed soup for his birthday. Kang-jae sends her a photo of the cake. Aw, what good timing.
Bu-jung wonders if she’ll ever be able to live carefree again. When she can’t even love herself, will she be able to start over? Mi-sun texts “I love you” but erases it and sends “Congrats!” instead. Kang-jae cancels his ride to meet his client and heads to his mom’s place instead.
While Min-ja brags to a friend that Ah-ran’s last book was so successful because her daughter-in-law wrote it, Bu-jung wonders when this hell will end. Ah-ran is still lying about her nonexistent happy family and the book she didn’t write.
Ah-ran sits alone at Akira, watching her interview. Knowing Ah-ran lives in fear of when it’ll all come crashing down gives Bu-jung the courage to keep going. “So please live more dangerously, more miserably, and more hollowly.”
Jong-hoon brings Ah-ran a large bouquet so she can post a picture on social media of the pretty flowers her husband sent her for their 10th anniversary. Ah-ran shares that Writer Heo has yet another young girlfriend. “Jong-hoon, should we die together?”Jong-hoon declines, saying he wants to live a long, average life.
Kang-jae taps on his mom’s window, waking her up. She eagerly invites him in and fixes him some instant seaweed soup. Mi-sun had planned to order him better food, but he came so late. Kang-jae sees Chang-kyu sleeping and remarks that being a caregiver is a tiring job.
Mi-sun wants to hear about his birthday. Did he come after having a party? Kang-jae fibs that he partied at a club in Gangnam. Mi-sun loves Ddak-yi and asks if he was there.
Kang-jae shares that Ddak-yi thinks their birthdays are on the same day. When Ddak-yi invited Kang-jae to his birthday party in grade school, Kang-jae lied that it was his birthday too to get out of buying a gift. He never corrected the lie, and they still don’t exchange gifts. HA.
He tells his mom to keep this a secret if she ever happens to see Ddak-yi. He’s fragile and it’ll traumatize him. Heh. Mi-sun fondly tucks Kang-jae’s hair behind his ear as he eats, startling Kang-jae.
Mi-sun says she’s reminded of when he was younger. She could smell the scent of the soap Kang-jae uses the moment he stepped through the door. Even though they all used the same soap, only Kang-jae had that fresh scent.
Seeing his long face, Mi-sun can tell he doesn’t like talking about the old days. She changes the subject and asks who bought him cake. Kang-jae says it was a neighborhood friend. When his mom asks if it’s a female friend, he sighs it’s just a “person friend.”
Bu-jung sets up a mat to sleep in the laundry room, ignoring Jung-soo’s offer to sleep on the couch and give her the bed. She saves Kang-jae’s number as “Handkerchief” but then switches it to “Last Unit.”
As Kang-jae leaves his mom’s, he gets a rather long text from Bu-jung. She thanks him for all his help and says she’ll leave his handkerchief in his mailbox. It’s been a while since she added a new contact who wasn’t a colleague or family member, so she wanted to text him.
Kang-jae finds the handkerchief neatly folded and wrapped in plastic in his mailbox. Although Bu-jung wrote he didn’t need to text back, she seems to be hoping for a reply – she keeps checking her texts throughout the day, although he never responds.
Woo-nam invites himself to tag along to a wedding Min-ja invited Soon-kyu to attend. He argues everyone expects them to go together anyway since the whole neighborhood thinks he and Soon-kyu are sleeping together.
Soon-kyu shushes him, protecting her precious little brother Soon-joo’s ears. Ah, so that’s Ddak-yi’s real name. Woo-nam informs her Ddak-yi already left. She criticizes Woo-nam for not measuring up to her studious little brother who spends all his time at the library.
Kang-jae, Ddak-yi, and Min-jung get all dolled up and head to what I’m guessing is the same wedding venue. Min-jung booked the job and explains they just need to sit at the friend table, be friendly, and eat at the buffet.
Bu-jung calls Jung-soo to tell him she’ll meet him at the venue. She had a last minute work thing come up. He cautions her not to be late since his mom is excited about this event and will flip out if Bu-jung isn’t there on time. She hangs up on his nagging.
On his way out of work, Jung-soo spots Kyung-eun shopping but she doesn’t see him. He keeps his distance but stares after her.
Bu-jung enters the rich young woman’s apartment and hears her yelling about how something went missing after Bu-jung cleaned. When Bu-jung arrives, the woman quickly closes her bedroom door but not before Bu-jung sees Ah-ran’s husband Jin-seop sitting on the bed. Oh-ho.
Meanwhile, Jung-soo sees Kyung-eun walking down the street with an armful of bags. He sits conflicted but then ends up offering her a ride to the hospital. After that nagging, now who’s going to be late?
In the car, Jung-soo asks if the food she bought is for her husband. Kyung-eun explains that her husband can’t eat anymore – this is for her. She then childishly starts copying whatever he says like she thinks it’s cute. I can’t with her.
She gets excited when he worries if she’s sick, but her smile drops when he calls her a problem. “You’re right, I’m the problem,” she admits and slams the car door as she leaves.
Bu-jung and her colleague search the woman’s apartment for the purse she lost. Bu-jung remembers looking at the purse and thinking that it’d be better to just have the money rather than buy an expensive purse like that. Her colleague agrees and laughs that their hearts have taken the shape of money.
Apparently, Jin-seop bought the woman – a young actress – the purse and thinks she sold it like she did his last gift. Bu-jung doesn’t share the man’s identity but says he looks older from the glimpse she got.
They find the purse, but the actress shamelessly blames Bu-jung for supposedly moving it. While her colleague smooths things over, Bu-jung peeks inside the cabinet at the front door. She takes photos of a suitcase with Jin-seop’s name on it, as well as a few pairs of men’s shoes.
Jung-soo exhaustedly listens to his mother’s gripes about Bu-jung being late. He tells his mother to go easy on her. Bu-jung is worryingly thin lately, probably because she’s so busy working on that new book.
Min-ja complains about how Jung-soo has no sympathy for her and then complains some more about Bu-jung. Jung-soo reminds her they each promised to take care of their own parents when they got married, so his mom should stop expecting so much from Bu-jung.
Suddenly, Min-ja notices a perfume scent in the car and asks if Jung-soo gave someone a ride. He denies it and hurries his mom out of the car.
Jung-soo is surprised to see his colleague Joon-hyuk at the venue, although they’re attending different weddings. When Min-jung and the boys arrive, Joon-hyuk instructs them on where to go. He vaguely tells Jung-soo, who is struck by Min-jung’s beauty, that he met Min-jung online.
Bu-jung arrives at the venue feeling like a mess and wanting to go home. She runs into Soon-kyu in the bathroom who recognizes her as Min-ja’s daughter-in-law. Soon-kyu lends Bu-jung her lipstick and says Min-ja has been bragging about her pretty, smart daughter-in-law all day.
Bu-jung has no idea how to handle small talk and apologizes for being awkward. Soon-kyu kindly says she’s like that too, although the opposite seems to be true.
Outside, Kang-jae grumpily complains about having to blow up balloons and such when they were supposed to just come here and eat. Min-jung is happy to do it for the extra money, though.
When Ddak-yi steps out for a moment, Min-jung takes the opportunity to ask Kang-jae what’s up with that job. He’s prickly, as usual, and wonders why she needs to know. Min-jung says she’s curious just in case he’ll need her help. Kang-jae assures her he won’t.
While Ddak-yi scrambles for an explanation for what he’s doing at the venue when he runs into Soon-kyu, Kang-jae makes his way inside the building. He wanders around and again coincidentally comes face-to-face with Bu-jung.
They stare at each other across the hall. As he watches her, he thinks to himself that he’s also thankful toward Bu-jung. “Thanks to you, I had a really good birthday for the first time in a long time.”
Kang-jae walks forward but ends up turning to the side at the last minute to avoid her. Right when Bu-jung takes a step toward him, Jung-soo calls her over. Kang-jae watches Jung-soo lead her away. Since she said Kang-jae didn’t need to reply to her text, he didn’t. But he wishes her well.
Bu-jung looks back and tells Jung-soo she left something in the bathroom. She walks purposefully down the hallway. Catching sight of the balloon Kang-jae was holding, she follows it up to the second floor.
For once, Bu-jung is taking the initiative. First, she sent Kang-jae that honest text – saying more than she’s ever said to him in all their meetings combined – and now she’s actively seeking him out. Kang-jae has been the one reaching out and consoling her, but she got to provide the comfort this time, albeit unwittingly. Between her text and the cake, Kang-jae seems more conflicted than ever. He’s seemingly trying to avoid her, but all these coincidental meetings make that kind of impossible. At this point, I’m not sure whether or not he’ll go through with the job.
That whole cake thing was hilarious. I love Chang-sook. His kill him with kindness approach was simultaneously petty and adorable since he just couldn’t stand the idea of someone ignoring his daughter. I almost want Chang-sook to witness Kang-jae ignoring Bu-jung again just to see what his next move will be. Poor Kang-jae just thought his neighbor was being nice and was moved that he got to have cake on his birthday. If that was the best birthday Kang-jae has had in recent years, what in the world have his other birthdays been like? He avoids anything that reminds him of happier years when his dad was alive, which has created a distance between him and his mom. She clearly loves him but hesitates to be too affectionate lest she push him away; she couldn’t even write “I love you” in a text. Mi-sun seems to want to talk about things, but Kang-jae shuts down all emotional conversation. Like Bu-jung, he keeps things bottled inside.
The fact that Bu-jung has been able to hide both being fired and hired in a different profession a secret from her husband speaks to how little they communicate. Almost every time we see them talk, they’re arguing. I hated seeing Bu-jung’s rare happy mood over helping that woman come crashing down when she got home. I don’t think Jung-soo is intentionally insensitive, but he’s woefully unintuitive and doesn’t know what to do with Bu-jung’s emotional state. We know things started to go really wrong about a year ago, so I’m guessing that’s when her depression started or significantly worsened. If so, she likely changed quite a bit, and I think Jung-soo is at a loss. That doesn’t excuse his insensitivity or selfishness, but he seems more clueless than callous. One thing I do appreciate is that he always stands up for Bu-jung when his mother badmouths her. He seemed genuinely worried about her when talking to his mom, and I do think he cares about her. He and Bu-jung both just seem exhausted in their marriage. I wonder if they ever were happy together or if they both settled.
I’m surprised Bu-jung has managed to keep her cleaning job a secret for so long, but there’s no way she’ll be able to hide it forever. Her family thinks she’s working on Ah-ran’s current book, so they’re going to find out when the book is released. I shudder to think how much more awful Min-ja is going to be after learning Bu-jung was fired. She already treats her like garbage even while boasting to everyone she meets that her daughter-in-law wrote Ah-ran’s book. And I’m pretty sure she’s not allowed to say that anyway, given that Bu-jung was a ghostwriter. The bragging rights of Bu-jung being a writer is the only thing she appears to like about having Bu-jung in the family. Image is important to her, so I imagine she won’t handle Bu-jung’s new work as a house cleaner well. I doubt Jung-soo will either, for that matter, especially if she continues hiding what happened between her and Ah-ran.
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