Business Proposal: Episodes 5-6 Open Thread
Our archaeopteryx decides revenge is a dish best served piping hot, and after discovering our leading lady’s secret identity, he doesn’t hold back on the punishment, intentionally placing her in stressful situations that have her wanting to pull out his prehistoric bird feathers. But it’s hard to keep playing the villain when his romantic urges have him wanting to be her hero instead.
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP
Now that Tae-mu has figured out the glaringly obvious truth, he’s understandably upset by the betrayal — but Tae-mu isn’t a man who typically acts on impulse. So, following a night of plotting, stewing, and shot-putting Hari’s doll across his office, he calmly asks Hari (as Geum-hee) out to lunch, giving her the opportunity to confess her sins before unleashing the full wrath of his psychological warfare. After a series of probing questions, she continues to dodge the truth, and — unbeknownst to Hari — her dishonesty prompts a disappointed Tae-mu to throw down the gauntlet.
While Hari is in earshot, Tae-mu schedules a meeting with her team, forcing her to rush back to the office where the non-public-transportation-taking Tae-mu is already waiting. He orders her to redevelop the white kimchi ravioli recipe and cut the cost of ingredients by a whopping 20%.
Tae-mu is excessively harsh, so much so that Sung-hoon calls him out (rather politely) for “uncharacteristic” behavior, which we all know is K-drama code for, “You’ve got the hots for Hari but don’t know how to express it.” For all his handsomeness and suave hair-slicking, Tae-mu’s flirting techniques haven’t advanced beyond playground teasing and pigtail pulling.
Cue a montage of Hari making various different ravioli recipes and seeking Tae-mu’s approval. He’s increasingly unimpressed, and by the end of it, he’s rejecting her offerings without even tasting them.
Hari reaches her limit, and — forgetting that she’s supposed to be hiding her identity — she gets all up in his personal space and demands he give her and her food the proper respect it deserves. While she fumes and spits fire at Tae-mu, he gets flustered by her close proximity and scuttles away, but not before insisting she continue with her ravioli cooking marathon.
With the GoFood anniversary ceremony fast approaching, Tae-mu amps up his petty revenge by asking the-blind-date-formally-known-as-Geum-hee to accompany him. Hari has a list of excuses for why she cannot attend and be his arm candy, but Tae-mu threatens her with a breach of contract if she fails to appear.
As if the situation wasn’t complex enough, she wins the company Mega Hit Award, which — you guessed it — will be presented to her at the anniversary ceremony, and her whole family has been invited. So now she’s supposed to attend the party as both Geum-hee and Hari. Looks like she’s going to have to pull the ol’ quick change in the bathroom trope and bounce back and forth between being Hari and Geum-hee.
When we cut to the anniversary ceremony, Hari is seated at a table with Tae-mu and Grandpa. She’s keeping an eye on the door, so she immediately spots her family when they enter — not that they’d be hard to miss. Hari’s parents and brother arrive looking like a chaebol family featured in one of Grandpa’s favorite K-dramas (circa 2006). In short, it’s a fashion disaster, and when Hari tries to make a discreet exit, it’s hard to say whether she’s looking for a private place to ditch her Geum-hee disguise, or leaving the party out of second-hand embarrassment.
Covering her face with her clutch, she tries to sneak past her family towards the exit, but her mom HAN MI-MO (Jung Young-joo) recognizes her. Hari averts her face and insists she’s someone else, but the more she struggles, the more Mom creates a scene. And now all eyes are on them. And things just keep getting worse. And oh-my-god-is-she-about-to-get-caught?!
No, wait… It’s all a dream.
Or more like a nightmare, one that doesn’t end when Hari wakes up. She opens her eyes and finds Tae-mu looming over her — living up to his nickname — like a giant extinct bird of prey. He acts all peeved to have caught her sleeping on the job, but when she burns her hand on a pot, he instinctively reacts and has to stop himself from comforting her. (It’s little moments like this that have me squeeing into pillows like a twelve-year-old girl.)
That night, Hari and her co-workers have a team dinner, and Hari drinks her weight in soju, becoming so inebriated that she drunk-dials Tae-mu and tries to beg and plead her way out of attending the ceremony as Geum-hee. Tae-mu tries to remain aloof, but when he hears her let out an alarming yelp and the phone call abruptly ends, he immediately goes into hero mode.
He rushes to her neighborhood where he searches high and low for his intoxicated Cinderella, and after a lot of running around, he eventually finds her at the playground, passed out on a slide.
When she sees him, she assumes that she’s dreaming — because there’s no way the real Tae-mu would come to her rescue — and confesses to “dream” Tae-mu that she’s Geum-hee. The vengeful beast inside Tae-mu is tamed upon hearing her genuine — albeit soju induced — apology, and when she lays her head on his shoulder and snuggles into his warmth, he’s an absolute goner.
The next day, Hari wakes up hungover and with a text from Tae-mu that says she’s been relieved of her duties as his pretend girlfriend. Hari can’t believe her eyes, so she calls Tae-mu and he confirms that she is, indeed, fired. Woo hoo!
Not only did Tae-mu release her from their relationship contract, but he also decided to accept her original white kimchi ravioli recipe! The latter should have ticked her off a little bit, but she’s too busy celebrating her freedom to care that she wasted a lot of time and effort cooking up a bazillion ravioli recipes.
Unfortunately, before Tae-mu left the country on a business trip, he forgot to tell Grandpa that he “broke up” with Geum-hee, and Grandpa dearly misses his future granddaughter-in-law. He’s able to track down Geum-hee’s phone number — but… but… how? — and invite her out to dinner.
Hari hesitantly shows up at the restaurant, but Tae-mu intercepts her at the door. She assumes he’s mad and explains that she didn’t know how to reject Grandpa’s invitation, but Tae-mu is focused on the phone call that he just received from Sung-hoon: Young-seo found a camera in the lamp from her neighbor, and Sung-hoon chased down the Perverted Peeper on her behalf.
Rather than waste time trying to explain the situation to Hari, Tae-mu tells her to come with him, but — Oh snap! — he calls her by her real name. She’s shocked, but Tae-mu doesn’t give her a lot of time to process before he whisks her away to the police station, where she and Young-seo watch the footage captured by the Perverted Peeper. Feeling violated, they are justifiably uncomfortable that the culprit’s only punishment will be a small fine.
Not on Tae-mu’s watch! He buys the company Perverted Peeper works for just so he can fire him. I thought chocolate abs were sexy, but — dayum — that’s a flex far more seductive than popping muscles.
The rise in Tae-mu’s protective instincts makes him acknowledge the undeniable truth: he has developed real feelings for Hari. And now that he’s acknowledged his crush, he decides to go all out and dive right into the deep end by planning an elaborate confession. Except his plan backfires.
Hari is completely unaware of Tae-mu’s budding affection, so when he asks to meet for a private one-on-one after work, she assumes he’s about to fire her. Before he can give her the ax — or confess he wants to date her — she hands him her resignation letter and a presentation detailing all her professional accomplishments.
She says he can either fire her and lose one of his best employees, or keep her and utilize her skills. Tae-mu is flustered by her obliviousness — did she not see the cake and string quartet, or did she think they were part of an elaborate firing ceremony? — but he says he will consider her business proposal.
Instead, all he can think about is his failed dating proposal. Unable to see past his own ego, Tae-mu cannot understand why she doesn’t have romantic feelings for him.
So Sung-hoon spells it out for him: she still hasn’t healed from her crush on Min-woo and needs more time before she can open up to someone else. Plus, you know, you’re her scary boss. Sung-hoon concludes his Ted Talk by advising Tae-mu to create romantic moments that will leave her viewing him as a man, not her employer.
While Tae-mu plots to win Hari’s heart, Hari has lunch with Young-seo, Min-woo, and some of their friends. She keeps anxiously checking her phone, on edge and waiting to be fired, but Yoo-ra and her fangirls assume she’s messaging her boyfriend.
Before she can deny it, Young-seo jumps in and confirms that Hari is texting her super hot, extremely tall, and unbelievably rich boyfriend. And Hari’s perfect boyfriend is the reason she can’t join a jealous Min-woo, insecure Yoo-ra, and their meddling friends on their upcoming trip to Busan.
As they walk home together, Hari scolds Young-seo for lying, but Young-seo couldn’t help it. She wants Hari to date Tae-mu and squash the uppity Yoo-ra in a competitive game of “Who’s Boyfriend is Better?” but Hari’s too concerned about her job to play games.
Young-seo excuses herself to use the nearby restroom, but once she’s in the stall, she imagines eyes watching her everywhere. Although she acts tough, she’s affected by her earlier run-in with Perverted Peeper, and now she finds public restrooms triggering.
She begins limiting her water consumption and ignoring nature’s call so she can avoid being exposed and vulnerable in a restroom. But her tactics quickly bite her in the bladder, and she finds herself on the verge of peeing her stylish dress pants while in Sung-hoon’s presence.
As awkward as the situation is, he still demonstrates his hunky manliness by busting down a locked restroom door so she can take care of her personal business. After the whole ordeal Young-seo is too embarrassed to look him in the eye, which is a pity because he really deserved a dramatic swoon and a “My hero!” for that rescue.
While Sung-hoon saves the day one bathroom emergency at a time, Tae-mu summons Hari to his office. She’s surprised — but immensely relieved — when he rips up her resignation letter and tells her that he will be taking her up on her offer and putting her to work, starting with some international marketing research (i.e. a private VIP screening of a movie about a character with a job loosely related to their professional field).
But this wouldn’t be a comedy without something derailing Tae-mu’s well-laid plans. And that something appears in the form of Eui-ju and Kevin, who unknowingly crash Tae-mu’s private movie screening and force their boss to crawl, unseen, out of the theater.
After the failed movie date, Hari joins Tae-mu on a “company trip” to Sokcho, where he says they will check out some restaurants and research some recipes. Unbeknownst to Hari, he’s found her social media profile and has planned a food tour catered to her taste buds. He even arranges for a particular food truck to be parked on a deserted part of the beach, just so they can serendipitously encounter it after their walk along the ocean.
When Hari’s out of earshot, the food truck chef asks Tae-mu why he doesn’t tell her that he rented out his truck for the day, and Tae-mu responds, “It’d be tasteless if I bragged about it.” Dawwww! He just wants to make her happy. The way Tae-mu gazes at Hari is downright adorable, but — no lie — I think I’d rather have a man look at me the way Hari fawned over that burger menu.
As they eat, Hari opens up about her reasons for becoming a food product researcher and what her goals are for the future. Frozen meals were her comfort food as a child, and she hopes her recipes can evoke similar emotions among their customers. Tae-mu listens intently, and when he stoops down to tie her shoe — mimicking their fake anniversary date — Hari is clearly affected by his attentiveness.
But Hari isn’t the only one whose heart is fluttering. Young-seo has another random encounter with Sung-hoon, and many bottles of soju later, she confesses that she’s been avoiding him because she’s attracted to him and wants to step over the professional line he established.
He catches her when she stumbles, and she tells him to let go or else she will cross that boundary and kiss him. She slowly counts down her warning, but he doesn’t let go…
She kisses him, and at first, his reaction is about as bland as flour. But then — Bam! — he goes for it, grabbing her around the waist, bringing her close, and smooching her breathless. (Is it, uh, hot in here?)
Riding high on Young-seo and Sung-hoon’s kiss, we switch to our other happy couple, who are driving back to Seoul. Hari is stuffed from all the food, and Tae-mu playfully teases that she didn’t burst out of her clothes this time. While Hari may not be crushing just yet, the work date appears to have successfully established a friendly rapport between them. But then it starts raining.
Tae-mu’s reaction to the weather is almost instantaneous, and it’s apparent — to us, at least — that Tae-mu’s aversion to the rain goes far beyond him not wanting to get his perfectly coiffed hair wet. He pulls the car over and gruffly tells Hari to get out, leaving her at a bus stop so he can find somewhere private to park and suffer through his anxiety attack alone.
While Tae-mu is bombarded with flashbacks of his parents’ car accident, Hari’s phone dies and she hikes to a nearby hotel so she can recharge it. She dries off in the lobby bathroom and grumbles, speculating that Tae-mu probably ditched her in the rain as part of his revenge plot.
But her ranting slows as she remembers he mentioned that he hated the rain. It warms my heart that Hari is emotionally intelligent enough to read the situation and figure out that maybe, just maybe Tae-mu might have a reason — other than being a jerk — for his actions.
Hari retrieves her charged cell phone from the front desk, and — Surprise! — she runs into Yoo-ra and her gossip crew. Min-woo’s filming was conveniently moved from Busan to Sokcho, and the nosey ladies immediately ask about Hari’s rich boyfriend. Hari’s about to confess that she’s single, but she’s interrupted mid-sentence when Tae-mu calls out to her affectionately.
Hari and the other ladies turn to watch his slow-mo strut across the lobby, and when he reaches Hari’s side, he lovingly caresses her cheek. Dumbfounded, Hari can only stare up at him with her mouth hanging open as he introduces himself to the gawking women as her boyfriend.
And so Business Proposal sets the stage for one of my all time favorite tropes: the Boyfriend Bluff. I especially love this trope when it’s used to take catty/jealous characters like Min-woo and Yoo-ra down a peg or two.
It’s the kind of theatrics that I’m sure Grandpa would have a lot to say about, and I hope we get another drama-within-a-drama scene that mirrors Tae-mu’s Boyfriend Bluff so we can hear Grandpa’s play-by-play. Waiting to find out what happens next is going to kill me!
Ugh! Is it Monday yet? (Words I never thought I’d utter.)