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Yumi’s Cells: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread

Our heroine must face a big hurdle in her relationship, as ill will that’s long been brewing finally comes to the surface. In addition to the challenges in her relationship, she also encounters a new opportunity at work, and we learn more about our heroine, her long-forgotten dreams, and her deceased Writer Cell.

 
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP

This week’s episodes felt a bit disjointed and (dare I say it) episodic this week — but I can’t hold it against the drama. After all, week in and week out we are seeing little chronological vignettes of Yumi’s life, and being true to life, they come in spurts of change and conflict.

Last week Sae-yi’s manipulative and ulterior motive-y presence in Woong’s life came to the surface for all to see. Sae-yi knows that she’s doing, and Yumi knows what Sae-yi is doing as well — heck, even Woong knows. Perhaps that’s why Yumi gets so incredibly mad at him when he shrugs off Sae-yi’s move to his apartment building.

They have an awkward and mostly one-sided argument that ends with Yumi leaving, an ice storm of anger disabling all of Woong’s cells, and the threat of a breakup looming in the distance.

Yumi’s cells start the 24-hour countdown clock saying that there’s no alternative — if Woong doesn’t contact her 24 hours after their fight, it means they’ve broken up.

We see the night and next day fly by — and then before we know it, days, weeks, months, seasons, and years have flown by. Yumi thinks about Woong every now and then, checking out his social media (he has a baby?!), and has some lingering regrets. What!

Thank God it’s a fake-out, because my brain almost exploded trying to take all this in, and figure out what the heck I was supposed to do with this unresolved breakup.

Back in the real world, the nightmarish scenario fills Yumi with enough energy to confront Woong — which she does in the middle of his office hallway, right when Sae-yi was moving in for the kill. I appreciated that Yumi laid out all of the needling things that Sae-yi has said and done, and in front of Woong, no less. In her cell village, there’s even a trial going on. Yumi has said her peace and come what may; she heads into the elevator, and we pick up in the next scene. Did Woong really let her go just like that?!

What Yumi doesn’t know at the time (but we saw first-hand) is that their fight led Woong to finally confront Sae-yi on her behavior, and her feelings for him, and he drew a strong line.

Thankfully, we travel back to that elevator mic drop moment, and see that Woong actually turned from Sae-yi and ran to Yumi in the elevator to hug her.

That was an awful fight, but it needed to happen. Woong long knew what was up, but didn’t understand how it was affecting Yumi and it needed to be dealt with. But I’m glad this one is water under the bridge now. And I’m not even sorry that Sae-yi finds a new position and moves on. Byeeeee.

The story then scoots ahead past this mess and we start to learn a bit about Yumi’s dreams of being a writer. We saw hints of this, with her social media account, and the mysterious like (revealed this week to be from Bobby).

The entire exposition of Yumi’s writing experience was great, and also painfully accurate. We flashback to Yumi in her youth struggling to write and eventually giving up. We see her believing that she doesn’t have enough talent and burying her desire (and Writer Cell literally goes to the graveyard). And then, in the present-day, we see her struggling under the pressure of a new writing assignment at work.

Despite her self-doubt, Yumi does have talent. After her writing catches the eye of Bobby, it catches the eye of his manager, and soon, with a successful social media post for Daehan Noodle under her belt, she’s given a golden opportunity: transfer to the marketing team.

Everyone is jumping with excitement for Yumi, but the person she hopes to get encouragement from the most — Woong — is the one that doesn’t offer her any. Instead, he talks to her about the comfort of her current job, how she might not like the change, etc. You can see Yumi wilting as he speaks. It’s also quite insightful — it’s true that we often go to people for validation of our own intentions rather than seeking their actual objective opinion.

The episode ends with Yumi’s job offer hanging in the balance, and also a new mystery afoot: Woong tells Yumi he’s home, but when she goes over to surprise him with takeout goodies, his apartment looks all but abandoned. I imagine his company is tanking and he’s now living in the office, but I suppose we’ll have to wait for confirmation next week.

Yumi’s cell village also offered its usual hilarity and insight this week. We saw the cell village react to Yumi’s news year’s resolution: the representative cell quadruples in size and has dominion over the village. This year it’s the Self-care Cell, so Yumi goes out and buys a truckload of PPL sheet masks for her one-pack-one-day intention. The cells are in chaos, but always remind themselves: it only lasts three days. Then everything goes back to normal (hah!).

I also loved the idea of the compliments Yumi receives, and how they’re represented as literal packages delivered to her village. It’s a cute brown box with a thumbs up on it, and the drama really hit the nail on the head with this one — I never thought of it that way, but a meaningful and genuine compliment really does carry the same excitement as a secret package arriving in the mail. It’s easy to see why Bobby’s compliment of Yumi’s writing goes to her head (cells?) quite so quickly — it’s an area where she’s long needed encouragement, and she gobbles it up. Cheers to her, and I hope we get to see more success for her soon.

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Just like what @missvictrix said before, each week I always thought that there must be nothing new the drama could offer to me as its story progressed. And yet somehow, without fail, I found myself finishing each week's story with a handful of lighthearted nuggets of life wisdom.

That little insight on compliment package and how hard it is to get one that has a soul inside it hits me right on the feel. I guess it's true that sometimes you can change people's lives in unexpected ways through small, sincere words.

And then there's the appearance of breakup card earlier this week. It's gratifying to know that Yumi learned something important from her painful split with Ji Ugi. That maintaining a relationship (no matter how precious) at the expense of hurting her own self is never worth it.

I'm glad to finally see Yumi's confrontation with Sae-yi about her behaviour around Woong. It must not be easy for the drama to show us a proper confrontation without making it about petty jealousy or the need to stake claim over Woong. Yumi raised some very good and painfully accurate point about what Sae-yi did all these time. And it's about time for Woong to stop pretending not to notice it (since it never stopped Sae-yi from making her advances, anyway).

As always, even as we enjoy the (sometimes bumpy, but otherwise lovely) progress of Yumi's love life, the writer never forget to develop Yumi as individual. I'm rejoicing at the revival of her writing cell. I have a feeling this will be one of the most important cell in Yumi's future, beyond the unexpected progress her career takes. I'm also enjoying the friendship that bloomed between her, Yi-da, and Ruby. As for Yoo Bobby, let's see where that one particular storyline will bring us.

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This show gets it right every time.

Writer Cell - what creative person can’t relate to every bit of this? The Cinderella Potion that makes you think you are a genius suddenly turns into ‘I have no talent’.

Woong not validating Yumi’s job move - I saw that coming from a mile away and Missvictrix is right, we go to people for validation, not for their opinions—and it’s the people closest to us usually most willing to tell us what they really think.

Yumi confronting Woong and SaeYi - this seemed unrelatable only in the sense that I don’t have a much guts as Yumi does, but I wish this was the norm too. Watching Yumi’s growth throughout this drama puts me in such a good mood.

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First and foremost, the Endorphin concert was AMAZING!! The writing of Yumi’s Cells is ridiculously creative.

Sae-yi is shameless. Do her cells not think she's pathetic? I can't understand why Yumi doesn't confront Sae-yi and ask her point-blank in front of Woong, "Do you like Woong?" and let him reject her once and for all. I know Woong’s nonconfrontational, but when Sae-yi asked, "Aren't we friends?" he should've said, "Yes, we're friends, nothing more and never will be, so don't misunderstand."

I really thought Yumi was going to run into Bobby who would give her back all her courage since they live in the same neighborhood.

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I totally agree! Endorphin's concert was ingenious 😆 🤣 🤘🤘

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🎵Ohhhhh-eh-oh-oh-oh🎵

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Ridiculously creative is an apt description of this show's writing. I'm in awe that even 10 eps in, the writer still managed to surprise me in a good way.

As for Sae-yi, her single-mindedness (as shown by her mind board consisting of only 1 thing) is most probably blinded her of her own pitiful attempts to sway Woong from his true feelings. Besides, I bet she is also a little bit "drunk" on her previous success at driving Woong's many dates away (at least, that's what I gleaned from Chae Ugi's comment in the early eps) that she couldn't fathom the possibility of this confrontation bearing a different result.

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I loved it how Yumi explained facts instead of getting caught up on her emotions. Stating that Saeyi would drive away everyone Wong met - Yumi or any other potential girlfriend - put the focus away from herself, and showed that the problem was Saeyi's dishonesty towards Wong.
I love it how Yumi is learning to speak out, but that she stands her ground without letting Sensitivity Cell (or worse, still, Hysterious) take over, or using swear bombs. Well done, Yumi!

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Endorphin are the coolest! When I'm stressed out, I pick myself up through running instead of spicy food, but I so get it 🤣

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The fake out freaked me out - and it had already freaked me out in the webtoon 😂
I love all the ways this drama shows us how in life it all comes down to choice - :
*Yumi decides to take action instead of following "dating rules",
*Yumi grabs job opportunities even if they take her out of her comfort zone,
*Yumi starts opening up to people (who'd tell that Ruby, the queen of cringey aegyo, could be so helpful?)
And judge cell with her little "I ❤️ Yumi" badge? Genius.

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I'm happy they closed the Snake-Yi chapiter. Woong always knew but it was easier to ignore it until it hurts Yumi.

For his reaction to her new job, I wonder if he reacted like this because of his own situation. He looks like he doesn't have his appartment anymore.

I liked the part of Yumi trying to write and find her "new" passion.

I disliked Yumi trying to act cute. Why?!? Suddenly like this? Woong never showed any interest in this kind of behavior, Ruby's aegyo didn't work on him. I really don't understand. I mean if it was her realy personality to become cute when she dates, ok. But she forced herself!

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The aegyo episode is painful to watch. I mean when Yumi finally developed her own brand of aegyo, it's kinda okay I guess. But at the beginning, massive cringe!!

I think it's a Korean thing, this aegyo. You kind of expected (by the dating rules) to do some aegyo to... idk... show another side of yourself? be more lovey-dovey? because men like it? I just accepted that it's a thing there.

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I guess she was trying to do what she saw couples around her doing. Acting cute seems to be a thing in SK, taking it by the amount of times you see actors and idols being requested to do aegyo in interviews 🤣

Anyways, she eventually finds her own brand of cute, one in which she feels natural, so there's that. In my culture, there's no word for aegyo, but people rely on baby talk and all sorts of childish behaviour with their loved ones (not only romantic partners, family and friends too). Our most respected poet himself, a guy famous for his sophisticated use of language, wrote the cringiest love letters, saying that " if a love letter isn't ridiculous, than it isn't a real love letter".
All this to say that I guess that acting cute is a socially coded way of showing vulnerability, something you can be with the people you love. And Wong does find her extremely cute, just not when she's trying too hard to be cute 😂

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Good point about childish behavior with loved ones. I think it's like this across cultures, though the koreans seem to make it more socially acceptable in public and they take it to higher heights.

There is also the sexy baby voice thing that is supposed to be some seduction play for both koreans and non-koreans, which reminds me of this hilarious bit from one of my fave funny shows (Community):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBDULdX8d7Y&ab_channel=Community
The lyrics get increasingly infantile and cringey.

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i am extremely averse to "aegyo" -- it's childish whining and immature behavior for women or men. makes me gag.

that said, i like how the show is illustrating how ridiculous it is - along with SL conniving women using the friend card and not feeding into the male jealousy thing also.

it is all misogynistic and insulting to normalize such behavior. gosh, this pandemic and political upheaval has just put me in such a foul state of mind, i have little patience for seeing adults display/utilize such childish behavior that a toddler wouldn't get away with in my house...

so i hope that is the show's main intent -- to show that it is unacceptable to be so manipulative in relationships!

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I detest aegyo or any form of infantilization of women however this is a big issue over there so even if Yumi had no reason to try to learn this stupid behavior, at least the drama used the theme to make fun of it.

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First of all, a disclaimer: I'm not educated about what aegyo really means and I'm open to change my mind about everything I'm going to say.

@spazmo, I understand your point of view, but I think there's more to this.
I do realise that feigning incapacity and immaturity as long been used as a strategy by women to get stuff from men, because: patriarchy. But people's interactions are complex, same words and gestures can have totally different meanings according to intention and context.
Performing cutesy/childishly isn't exclusive to women - as I mentioned, where I come from it's just something people do to show affection or intimacy. So, writing off behaving cutesy altogether - by everyone, everywhere, and in every context - as gag-inducing misogynism feels... arsh?

Don't get me wrong: I've had enough of my own local flavour of misogyny and patriarchy to understand your gut reaction. But. It isn't all the same. At least I don't read it like that.
I've lived in different countries, and I do know that some things that strike me as extremely rude or triggering can be just people's normal way of behaving, and I've learned not to read too negatively into what sometimes are just different codes, different sensibilities.
And just to be clear: I do think that the drama is ridiculing Ruby's attitudes, but I took the scenes as Yumi learning how to express closeness and affection towards Wong in a way that she's comfortable with.

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The most common view of aegyo in K-dramas is, yes, its cringeworthy and embarrassing to watch, but there's also a grudging admission that, yes, it does sometimes do the job of softening up its male victim.

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Male victim? Female adults who perform this don't like pretending to be a child, they are taught men expect and like this kind of behavior in order to feel better about themselves and to think these and all women are inferior. Who is the victim in this kind of thing?

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I totally agree lmaoooo. The fact that Ruby's aegyo works on no-one. If you see min-ugi, he was so visibly awkward in the scene. Real life advice girls, do not try aegyo like ruby. Guys know in the least what you are doing and at the worst, get irritated with what you are doing

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Gosh I love this drama and I am slightly mad the ratings are not higher. I always smile when watching this drama.

First, I think Yumi handled the conversation with Sae Yi beautifully ( the fast forward was mean). Yumi was 100% right in what she said. Second, I am glad that Woong and she are still together and he finally put Sae Yi in her place. Next, I am sorry but I am team Babi..

YOO BABI!! YOO BABI!! YOO BABI!! YOO Babi Fighting!!! I am totally apart of his fan club. Yes, its totally because JinYoung is playing the role too. Gosh, he is a beauty isn't he? Good Lord, that smile gets me every time. Anywho, I must admit my Babi is a bit of a smooth operator. My nickname for him is Mr. Steal your girl because he is totally flirting but he seems genuine and patient. Almost, like he is waiting on Yumi ( even though he has a girl himself so that is sketchy, still on his team though). I like that Babi spotted Yumi's talent and I melted when he said that her writing being like her is a good thing and smiled that secret smile of his. I am surprised the guard cell is not picking up on this but one thing people seem to be missing is, I think Yumi is cautious around Babi because she is attracted to him a little ( can't blame her). So it will be interesting to see them unfold.

As for Woong, I still love him too and I totally GET why he didnt encourage Yumi. I think his own situation was coloring his opinion so he didnt want her to rock the boat and be in a bad position. However, he really needs to communicate when he is in trouble to Yumi but he is a proud man so I dont know. Either way, I love the cells!! This drama is great..
BTW that whole New Years Eve resolution with the one cell getting big is GENIUS!! I was cracking up when they said it disappears after 3 days.. I will forever love Cheapskate cell, she is one of the best side characters in the series.

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Out of topic, but "babi" means pig in my country 🤣

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Haha, I feel you, the moment I read his name, i couldn't stop laughing!

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Endorphin cell is a mood 😃

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So many interesting developments in these episodes. The one that is of greatest concern is the amount of time Woong spends now looking at his phone instead of Yumi. It can not all be work related. He always responds to her questions or comments, but he does not really start talking to her first.

Drawing the line with Sae-yi was overdue and, clearly, Sae-yi with her shady scheme was a very unpleasant character. It still reminded me of often seen situations, when a new person comes in between old friends. The newcomer boyfriend or girlfriend can be very jealous of the way old friends know each other and try to cut these links. Woong did feel sad and also guilty about loosing Sae-yi as a friend, even though he understands that he had to make a choice.

Girls using baby voices and acting cute is just terrible! It is so fake! I did not like that Yumi thought she needed to become cute and take lessons from Ruby who Woong thought of as being weird, not cute.

Again, great use of the cells, analysis of compliments, New-years-resolutions that last 3 days and the wonderful Endorphin concert!
Can't wait for the next episodes.

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to be honest, i hate Woong for making Yumi talk to Saeyi to not doing anything towards Woong. its should be Woong who tell her to step back and stop doing everything she did to him but nope he make Yumi to said it. AND i hate it when Yumi's upset about Saeyi being his neighbor, he talked like Yumi's exaggerating things and he has the audacity to actually angry at Yumi for being upset about this whole situation.

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Although I wouldn't say that I hate Woong, I completely agree with you.
I really did not appreciate how Woong told Yumi that he did not tell her about Saeyi being his neighbour because "I knew you would react that way. You are too sensitive". Isn't that gaslighting? It did turn out he knew all along that Saeyi was trying to break him and Yumi up.... Did he even apologize to Yumi?
Also, he needs to stop lying. It's his worst flaw and unless he learns to be more honest and open (communicate), I'll be here hoping they'll break up for good.

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What I found weird is that Saeyi and Woong kept saying that they were long time friends but they really did not seem to be all that friendly. Woong always looked uncomfortable and guarded around Saeyi. All their interactions were stiff. If you add the way Saeyi enjoyed manipulating and toying with Woong as well as how she was consciously trying to sabotage his relationships, there's no way you can consider them friends.

I hope this was not the dramas way of saying man and woman can't be friends. The fact their "friendship" failed has nothing to do with their gender or sexual orientation. It failed because Saeyi is a little snake.

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There was that gag where they gender-swapped the characters to judge if they were acting inappropriately or not. Female Bobby passed the test but male Saeyi didn't.

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My favorite cells this week are New Year Resolution cells. So creative. I don't have New Year Resolution cells but Hobby Cells. They get so big for a few weeks until I actually try it and they shrink and eventually go to the grave yard like Yumi's writer cells. Only Korean Drama Hobby Cells in me now.

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Each episode is better than the last. This show never fails to surprise me. The cells and the stories crafted around them are profound and Go Woong is best boy. Though its Yumi and her cells that I can relate to the most. In her insecurities and embarrassing situations. I get why this manhwa was do famous.

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Does anyone else really really want to see Sae Yi’s cell society? Reason must be in the graveyard…

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Yes, I noticed her village looked deserted. I want to know what happened.

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Hysteria took over her village at some point in her life I would guess.

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