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Human Disqualification: Episode 12

Our protagonists enjoy some time away from their worries but know this little escape can’t last forever. While they ponder things lost along life’s way, our ex-writer’s husband learns another of his wife’s secrets that sheds light on some of her recent behavior.

 
EPISODE 12: “Lost items”

Kang-jae stares at Bu-jung silently for a few moments after she asks if she can touch his face. Then he readily gives her permission. Bu-jung hesitates before reaching up and gently stroking his face.

He closes his eyes as her hand traces the lines of his face. After a minute, Bu-jung pulls her hand back and looks on the verge of tears. When she shifts away, Kang-jae turns toward her and asks why she’s sad. “Every time I see you, you’re sad.” What is she thinking?

Bu-jung realizes he’s right that she’s sad, not angry. Everyone always assumes she’s angry, so she believed it too. They see her and think, “She’s always angry, so be careful.” Kang-jae argues her father doesn’t think that, and neither does he.

She admits that Kang-jae’s words that everything about this time and place will disappear frightened her. Before that disappearing, she wanted to touch his face. When he agreed so quickly, she got scared. It’d been so long since she’d touched someone’s face, and she didn’t have the confidence.

“Thank you for saying I’m sad,” Bu-jung says. Slowly, Kang-jae reaches over and lightly brushes Bu-jung’s hair away from her face. She turns toward him, letting his hand rest against her face. They cautiously inch toward each other.

Kang-jae slowly wraps his arm around her and pulls her closer. They lie there, faces all but touching. When Kang-jae leans his face in, close enough to kiss, Bu-jung clutches his shirt in a death grip and turns her face.

She doesn’t pull away, but she puts a slight distance between them. They stay like that for several moments. Finally, Kang-jae gets up and goes outside for some air. Bu-jung stays unmoving.

Elsewhere, Ddak-yi searches for somewhere to buy bedding in the middle of the night but has no luck. Min-jung tells him to give it up – she’s been to enough markets at this hour to know bedding stores aren’t open. He wonders why she came with him, then. “I was curious where a good, honest person goes with his girlfriend at dawn.”

Min-jung knows he’s not the type to go to the typical late-night places like motels. He’d probably treat her like she’s precious, which she’s never experienced. Ddak-yi is quiet for a while and then asks the taxi driver to turn around.

At home, Woo-nam gets up in the early hours while Soon-kyu is still sleeping. He creeps into the kitchen and takes photos of the tea set, likely to buy a replacement cup for the one he broke. Woo-nam about breaks the rest of them when Ddak-yi walks in and startles him.

Ddak-yi doubts Woo-nam is the one who really broke the cup. Didn’t his ex get angry and throw it at the wall? Woo-nam denies it, but Ddak-yi saw the tea splattered on the wall. He cleaned it up so Soon-kyu wouldn’t see and tells Woo-nam to just buy Soon-kyu a new tea set.

After packing up some food from the fridge, Ddak-yi says he’s headed out again but acts cagey when Woo-nam asks where he’s going. Ddak-yi gets Woo-nam to sneak into Soon-kyu’s room and swipe some blankets while Min-jung waits outside.

Woo-nam catches Ddak-yi grinning and waving at Min-jung. He’s amazed at Ddak-yi’s brazenness and keeps trying to sneak a peek at Min-jung through the window. Ddak-yi thinks Woo-nam has lost his mind when he says she resembles Soon-kyu.

Woo-nam peeks through the curtains at Ddak-yi and Min-jung outside. He’s startled when Min-jung spots him and bows in greeting.

At the campsite, Kang-jae stands outside and catches his breath, touching his shirt in the place Bu-jung had gripped so tightly. Bu-jung comes out shortly after and brings him a blanket. He points out the line of people nearby photographing the night sky and says he exchanged numbers with someone who can send him some of the beautiful shots.

When the couple who lent them the tent passes by, Kang-jae amusedly shares that they were worried they’d have to wake him and Bu-jung since they needed their tent back. Now that it’s nearing sunrise, everyone is rushing to get back in time for work.

Kang-jae says that for his job, “I ride the pumpkin carriage many times a day.” He becomes a friend, a lover, or a family member, and then his client returns to reality while he remains in a fantasy.

Bu-jung asks if he’s ever thought of quitting. He has at times when he does something he shouldn’t or doesn’t want to get off the carriage. We see his interactions with Bu-jung and when he saw her mirage in the elevator. But then he gets on another carriage because it’s all he can do, because he needs the money, and because he’s lonely.

As they watch the sunrise, Kang-jae says it’s too late for him to go to college or get a regular job. Bu-jung argues he’s still young, but Kang-jae doesn’t want to compete and lose. Kang-jae calls himself a coward and asks if Bu-jung could be friends, rather than a client, with someone like him.

Meanwhile, Jung-soo checks the mail and sees a letter from the police department to Bu-jung. After some deliberation, he opens it. It’s a notice of Ah-ran’s lawsuit withdrawal. He thinks of how Bu-jung told him to turn off Ah-ran’s interview and other strange behaviors which now make sense.

At home, Chang-sook looks everywhere for his sock only to realize he put both socks on the same foot. In frustration, he takes them both off.

As Ddak-yi and Min-jung make their way back to Kang-jae’s apartment with the bedding, Min-jung asks if Kang-jae ever texted back. He didn’t. She finds it strange that he took off with no word while they were at his place.

Min-jung looks taken aback when Ddak-yi holds the elevator door for her, letting her go first. He offers to call Kang-jae, but Min-jung says she could call herself if she were that curious. She was just worried Ddak-yi hadn’t checked because of her since he thinks she likes Kang-jae. She knows he’s conflicted, and she is too. “Because you two are soulmates.”

When she corrects that she actually did know you could scatter ashes legally in the sea, he asks if she’s the type who hates losing. Bu-jung swears she’s telling the truth, but he grumpily says he doesn’t believe her. She grins as he walks ahead.

He wonders what her response to him talking about going to the mountain, the sea, and then home meant. Most people ask why they went there, but she just said it was a relief he returned home.

Kang-jae waves down a van and smiles triumphantly at Bu-jung as he opens the door for her. As they ride back, Bu-jung narrates that she did truly feel relieved because many people never make it home. Bu-jung looks over and sees Kang-jae dead asleep. She gently guides his head onto her shoulder, and soon they’re both asleep.

Meanwhile, Ah-ran gets the news that she’s being accused of plagiarizing her newest book. They took down the post from the book review site, but it’s already been up for a week. No reporters have gotten wind yet.

Apparently, Bu-jung was translating a Russian author’s essay to publish herself, but when she quit, the credit was given to someone else. A paragraph from that translated essay is in Ah-ran’s book, and it featured heavily in the promotional materials.

They’re interrupted by a staff member who informs Ah-ran the shoot in cancelled because Ji-na is hurt. She’s been hospitalized for cracked ribs and psychological trauma. Ah-ran immediately asks if it was Jin-seob. Their silence says it all. Irate, Ah-ran hurls her book across the room.

Soon-kyu gets her hair done at the salon and is embarrassed when the hairdresser sees her reading an article on sex life troubles. Just then, Min-ja shows up. She wants to look good for brunch with her friends.

While Chang-sook is out collecting boxes, he sees Min-ja walking by with her friends. He tries to hide, but Min-ja spots him. She pretends not to know him in front of her friends, and Chang-sook goes along with it.

Min-ja sneaks off to call Jung-soo, aghast to learn that Chang-sook is collecting boxes. Jung-soo says he does it for the exercise, but Min-ja doesn’t buy that. Do they give him an allowance? When Jung-soo says Bu-jung handles that, Min-ja reminds him that Bu-jung no longer has a job. How can she give her father anything?

Jung-soo berates her for not telling him about Bu-jung’s situation sooner. Min-ja angrily says that fine, everything is her fault. She gets a meal to go from the restaurant and goes back to look for Chang-sook. His boxes are still there, but he’s gone.

Meanwhile, Kang-jae and Bu-jung arrive at the bus station after their nap. Kang-jae observes there are two buses: one to Seoul and one to the sea. He plans to go visit his dad at the sea. Does she want to join him?

Before she can answer, Bu-jung gets a text from Jung-soo asking if her father is okay. Bu-jung tells Kang-jae she probably should go home. They both look disappointed, but Kang-jae smiles reassuringly.

Inside the little terminal, Bu-jung looks at the lost and found cubbies. She notes that if Kang-jae and his mom had come here, maybe they could’ve found the food she left on the bus. He’s amused when she says it’s regrettable. Bu-jung knows it’s silly, but she can’t help feeling the loss seeing the lost items.

When Bu-jung’s bus arrives, she and Kang-jae stare at each other regretfully. He watches her bus pull away and smiles at her through the window.

On the bus, Bu-jung fights tears. Back at the terminal, we see that Kang-jae did visit this station before and checked the lost and found with no success. Now Kang-jae boards his bus alone.

 
COMMENTS

And they reluctantly head back to their respective realities. It was nice to see them both smiling and relatively light-hearted. For a while, they got to be somewhere else and take a break from their burdens. But the escape can only be temporary, as Kang-jae knows full well. His Cinderella analogy was enlightening about how he sees his life. He lives every day playing different roles for his clients who have a life to get back to while he merely moves into the next role. The roles may temporarily ease his loneliness, but in the end, it only makes the loneliness worse. It’s sad that he’s already given up on his life, assuming he’ll lose no matter what. Kang-jae’s fear of taking risks keeps him stuck in this cycle, and his fatalism gives him an excuse to not even try.

It’s amazing how simple things can have a major impact. Everyone has been treating Bu-jung as if she’s angry for so long that she believed them. Having someone see her sadness for what it is and not treat her like a ticking time bomb deeply affected her. People are always expecting Bu-jung to explain herself, so I can see why being around Kang-jae – who never asks that of her – brings her relief. Clearly, Kang-jae feels that sense of relief around her too. Although their escapist day can’t last forever, hopefully they can figure out how to bring some of that peacefulness to their regular lives.

Bu-jung might really be needing that peace soon in light of this new plagiarism issue. Ah-ran knows Bu-jung didn’t have anything to do with the accusation, so I don’t think she’ll court trouble there. It sounds like the publisher stole Bu-jung’s work on that translation, which might just free her from this scandal. Did Bu-jung even know they used it in Ah-ran’s book?

I understand that Jung-soo doesn’t want to push Bu-jung to talk about something she’s not ready to share, but I don’t think staying silent about everything he knows is helpful at this point. He’s learned about her job and now the lawsuit. If Bu-jung hasn’t mentioned anything to him by now, she probably doesn’t intend to do so at all. Pretending these issues don’t exist won’t help anyone. I hope he brings it up (gently) because they need to air things out between them. Their secrets are driving them further apart and stressing them both out.

For now, their marital issues might take a backseat because of Chang-sook. I was worried we were going the Alzheimer’s route, and it seems like that’s the case. Poor Chang-sook’s forgetfulness appears to be getting worse. Is he already aware of what’s happening? He mentioned going to the doctor’s several episodes ago, so maybe he’s known for a while. Although Min-ja made me mad by pretending not to know Chang-sook, I do think she cares about him. Her pride is the problem – she’s way too concerned with image. I have no doubt, though, that the family will rally around Chang-sook if he’s ill. If there’s one thing they have in common, it’s that they all love Chang-sook.

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I wish they had been able to go to the sea together. The momentum is building with all of the other characters. I'm wondering if a big disaster will come out of this build up or if it will all fritter away to nothing more than shackles to hold back our two leads. What they have together is so precious and so fragile. I want it to develop.

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Yeah me too. They have a tenderness with each other that is heartbreaking and addicting. And their staring match is a league of their own because holy moly. And how affected Bu-jung was after the nearly kiss - the focus was on her hands, her face and her breathing.

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Him, standing there....

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If Bu Jung was either unceremoniously canned or let go during her miscarriage, it’s possible whoever took over her work had a loose enough draft that they mixed up pages. Or even that Bu Jung was so taken with the Russian essay that she clipped some of it and put it in her manuscript for inspiration, never having the intention of plagiarizing it. But the good thing here is that it’s hard to imagine it was a malicious act, since after her firing she really wouldn’t have had the access to the draft manuscript or influence over its final form. Though who knows if the publisher and Ah Ran will try to pin it on her anyway, given the other ammo they’ve got on Bu Jung.

I love whatever exists between Bu Jung and Kang Jae. It’s hard to pinpoint, because it could be siblings, it could be lovers, it could be friends - but it might actually be more like soulmates. Ddak is compatible with Kang Jae, but Bu Jung’s level of intimacy with him is a whole other thing where they seem to recognize a deep resonance with each other.

I really like this show. I even like the mother-in-law, who is absolutely terrible and cloying and exhausting but hey, those people do exist and you sometimes have to deal with them. The actress is doing a good job there of creating a character who feels real but gets RIGHT under my skin and makes me want Bu Jung to get a divorce just to get away from that woman.

I really like Min Jung as well. I know there’s not a lot of depth to the character, but I also think that’s the point. She’s a chameleon, and doesn’t have much of a core personality, which gels with my interpretation of how idol trainees get processed into little cookie-cutter robots who then (if they’re lucky) get assigned a personality shaped by a marketing department. Her curiosity about Ddak is almost anthropological, and she’s kind of like a kid playing with an electrical outlet - she’s fascinated and suspects she’s going to get zapped but can’t quite stay away. I don’t think she’s going to end well; it feels like conceptually she wants to be a “regular” person like Ddak, but I think she’s been a chameleon for so long that a normal life would feel fake to her and she’d prefer something fake and exciting to something fake and normal.

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OMG, them hugging in the tent was the most stunning display of intimacy that I have seen in a while. It was so well done, the tension, sexual and otherwise. Perfect. Their entire interaction from the police station where he literally doesn't look at her for most of their time to the parting where he stares at her as she drives away. They free each other from the shackles of their lives. They were able to just breathe and live. The weight was lessened once again. I love this drama so much.

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This a thousand times.

And their smiles. It was so nice to see them both wide smiling, having a break from the sadness that rules their life. I hope both of them find the path back to enjoying life.

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Yes yes yes! Everything was so beautiful and sad and heart warming... all together!

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That tent episode. It was too personal. I felt things. There wasn’t even a kiss but the level of intimacy was so intense. and both the actors were brilliant here. I had to rewatch it because I wanted to see their little micro expressions after every moment, every touch, every move. Phew.

Like you said, I hope they can go back to their lives and feel the burdens feel a bit lighter. That they can find little moments in their life that makes them a little happy or make them smile a little bit.
The trip really felt liberating. For both of them.
I hope they make a trip to that ocean someday.

Poor dad. Breaks my heart. That socks scene was Rough. He knows. He knows what’s happening to him. sigh.

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Me tooo... I had the same impression with you at the tent scene.. It was so intense, and i had to re-watched it. and I feel like Bu Jeong tried to restrain herself so hard by putting her hand between their faces.... And Kang Jae knew it, that's why he decided to take some fresh air outside. I'm really curious with the tent scene though. They showed the BTS, but only the outside the tent...

It's super breakingheart with the Father.

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The number of times I've rewatched that tent scene is questionable 😂.

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And all we can do is wonder what a visit together to the sea would have been like. I think she did want to go and he was disappointed that she didn't, but as they say, it is what it is.

I really felt for Kang-jae as he was explaining his loneliness to Bu-jung. He's always someone to his clients but nobody is someone to him in real life. Except for Bu-jung .... she's definitely someone to him and he can feel it. It's that intangible connection between them that can't easily be labeled. My only fear is that, as precious as this bond between them is, it just might be fragile enough to break. I don't even want to think of what that would do to both of them at this point.

Those few minutes in the tiny tent were everything. What came across the screen during that scene was amazing. From the acting to the directing. What a fabulous episode.

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When he said the tent was like a pumpkin carriage, it made me sad. Sad that they know this can disappear any moment. Like you, I worry what it will do to them if you take them out of each other’s lives.
As much as I want BJ to heal and face her life and her husband/relationship honestly, I also want her to have these moments that make her feel acknowledged and happy.

And Kang Tae. Sigh. She is right. He is young and he can still make a change to his life. He can afford to have failed and start again.

I feel the drama will end where they both return to their lives (but BJ might end her marriage) having healed. let’s see what the writers have in store for us.

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Thanks for the recap! I dropped watching this drama because it makes me sad but am still interested to know the story. I hope this story is one of those inspiring stories in the end. L

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A lot of kdrama couples don't even have half the chemistry that KJ and BJ have together. That tent scene. I literally had to fan myself. I still don't know if I wanted them to kiss or not. I dont know where this is going but i am along for the ride

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I liked it this way. The kiss would be ‘normal’. But what happened was more personal, more intimate, more raw. It felt true to their feelings. It was honest.
And yes, these two are scorching the screen by just looking at each other.

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I just wanted BuJung to tell KangJae she's not a client and they can be friends. They both need a friend. Those smiles were real. The intimacy was real.

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There's an old Whitlam's song called No Aphrodisiac and watching this show is starting to remind me of it. The lyrics talk about the weird and wonderful ways that loneliness starts to express itself.
It's a song about sadness and emptiness and the sometimes frenetic activity we use to cover those emotions.

&#9835&#9835 A letter to you on a cassette
'Cause we don't write anymore
Gotta make it up quickly
There's people asleep on the second floor
There's no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Truth beauty and a picture of you &#9835&#9835

I don't know, the way in which the characters are sad and empty and the way in which the show expresses that by embodying sad and empty just doesn't kind of work for me like it does for others. Maybe I'm in the wrong mood. Maybe the whole thing has just stretched on for too long and 12 hours (16!) is too much time to walk around in a fog of depression.

I said it last week as well, I admire quirkycase for wresting recaps from this because everything is still like mist.

Probably the only thing I took away from this episode was Kang-jae's adorable idiotic babbling where all his pent-up everything gushed out of his mouth the second he thought he'd made a real connection with somebody. I do this and it's about as embarrassing for me as it was for him.

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And... that html text didn't work.
Just imagine notes with your MIND

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I wonder if Bu-jung has always been a person who was able to say no without elaborating on why or if the situation changed her into being more closed mouthed about whatever is going on. Maybe because I wished she had voiced that she wanted to go to the sea and continue the pumpkin ride but she was worried about her father.

Agreeing with that there becomes a point when its healthier to speak about what is going on than leave it be.

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Thank you for the recap! I loved reading and living again those scenes. I really wanted for them to go to the sea together, but at the same time I felt like if they were to go everything would be over. They wuould have had a precious perfect memory... like a talisman to use to get back to their lives and really change them. They would have felt like that trip was enough.
But with Bu Jung leaving and breaking the moment, I think they can start from those precious moments and still build something together. Or at least I hope so. I really have no idea at this point of how this story will end. It makes me a bit scared...

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