Business Proposal: Episodes 7-8
Insecurities are poison for relationships — even fake ones. Our archaeopteryx does his best to prove his feelings are genuine, but our leading lady is faced with a lot of opposition, and she struggles to find the confidence she needs to date him for real.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
Even though Yoo-ra and her Gossip Gals didn’t get a whole lot of screen time last week, they left enough of an impression that we know they aren’t good people. With friends like them, who needs enemies, right? So when Tae-mu strutted across the hotel lobby and smiled oh-so-perfectly at Yoo-rah and her sidekicks, I was ready for him to show up and show out. And boy, he does.
Over dinner, Tae-mu is cheesier than mozzarella sticks, and the Gossip Gals, who are clearly not lactose intolerant, eat up every line. When Tae-mu professes that his love for Hari is as limitless as his credit card, their approval meters start glowing pink, and the more Tae-mu lays on the charm, the more the ladies want to live vicariously through Hari’s fairytale relationship.
Tae-mu books a suite for the night in order to maintain the ruse, but after a brief fight over who gets to sleep on the couch, Hari worries about the long-term effects of their lie. After all, Tae-mu will have to encounter Min-woo regularly, due to his involvement with their newest product line. Won’t that be awkward for Tae-mu?
But Tae-mu wonders if she’s more concerned with how their fake relationship will be perceived by Min-woo. Surprised that he figured it out, Hari sheepishly admits that she’s over her one-sided crush, and Tae-mu “jokes” that he’s glad his (fake) girlfriend doesn’t want to date someone else.
After a mostly sleepless night, Tae-mu and Hari greet her friends wearing matching outfits. Initially, their plan for the day was to drive back to Seoul, but Tae-mu cancels his meetings when Min-woo has the audacity to suggest that he leave Hari behind to enjoy more time with her friends. Pfft, as if Tae-mu would give Min-woo the opportunity to have one-on-one time with Hari.
Next we see them, they are all marveling as Grandpa’s yacht pulls up to the dock — Take that, Min-woo! — and once they’re onboard, Hari’s friends are eager to hear how the couple met and fell in love. Tae-mu draws upon his real feelings and experiences with Hari to answer all their questions, and while Hari secretly marvels over his acting abilities, Yoo-ra and Min-woo stew in their jealousy.
Min-woo eventually corners Tae-mu for a private confrontation, acting like Hari’s protective big brother whose job it is to scare away the evil rich man toying with her heart. But Tae-mu quickly puts Min-woo in his place. Why can’t Tae-mu’s feelings for Hari be genuine? Does Min-woo think so little of Hari — his friend — that he believes the only reason a wealthy and handsome man would want to date her is because of some elaborate joke?
Unfortunately, the boys are too busy with their pissing — I mean, fishing — contest to notice that Hari is growing increasingly miserable. Her legs buckle from her sea sickness, and Tae-mu, feeling guilty for his obliviousness, insists on driving Hari back home.
It’s very apparent — to us, at least — that Tae-mu’s primary love languages are quality time and acts of service. The crazy workaholic repeatedly rearranged his schedule in order to spend time with her and help her save face around her friends. So when Hari continues to apologize for taking up his time and causing him to miss work, Tae-mu has to spell it out for her: he canceled his meetings because he likes her. He understands that his feelings probably come as a surprise, so he tells her he will give her time to think and respond to his confession.
But instead of winning Hari over with his Boyfriend Bluff, Hari grows more and more doubtful of their compatibility. As fun as it was — from an outsider’s perspective — to watch Tae-mu flaunt his wealth, his actions only reinforced her fear that he was too good for her, and that they live in separate worlds. It was very telling that the moments she seemed the most relaxed and attracted to him (e.g. when he suggested they wear matching outfits and when he revealed he knew her love of dolphins) were moments when he was being just a man, not a flaunting his chaebol CEO status for her friends.
While Hari agonizes over Tae-mu’s confession, photos of their time in Sokcho wind up in Grandpa’s hands. He storms the company castle to confront Tae-mu, who Grandpa assumes is cheating on Geum-hee. Rather than tell the truth and resolve the misunderstanding quickly, Tae-mu fibs, claiming he broke up with Geum-hee. Hoo boy! Grandpa is not happy to hear this news.
Now, I’m not normally a fan of conflicts that can be resolved with some simple truth-telling and communication, but as long as the drama’s misunderstandings keep resulting in laughs — like the scene of Grandpa chasing Tae-mu around the office so he can cane-slap some sense into his grandson — then I guess I’m fine with it.
Speaking of misunderstandings…
Young-seo slept with Sung-hoon. But there’s… uh… just one small problem: she was so drunk that she can’t remember her passionate night with the hunky chief secretary.
And holy hot flashes, Beanies! If those blurry split-second scenes are the only memories that remain of her hot and steamy jaunt between Sung-hoon’s bedsheets, then I can’t say that I blame her for being extremely disappointed in her crappy memory. But in her embarrassment, she bolted from Sung-hoon’s apartment and left him feeling rejected and used. Poor guy, he deserves an explanation.
Thankfully, Business Proposal doesn’t do us — or our second lead couple — dirty and drag out the misunderstanding for long. A few time-skipped days later, Young-seo has a chance encounter with Sung-hoon in their building’s parking garage. He gives her the cold shoulder, but Young-seo follows him to his apartment and admits that she shamefully can’t remember their night together. Sung-hoon is relieved she reciprocates his feelings, and with a stare steamy enough to fog my glasses, he promises Young-seo that he’s not going to let her forget this time — me-ow.
A week passes, and Hari still hasn’t given Tae-mu a response to his confession. For his part, Tae-mu does his best to respect her boundaries, but he really, really regrets telling her to take her time instead of giving her a deadline. Unable to stay away, he decides to pop down to view the filming of the latest promo of her team’s product, hoping he can just catch a glimpse of her from afar. Much to his displeasure, though, she is on set, acting as Min-woo’s assistant.
Sung-hoon latches onto Tae-mu before he causes a scene, but his presence in the crowd unnerves Hari, and her distracted onion chopping leads to an accident. Hari yelps, and blood squirts everywhere! But… it turns out to be a false alarm. Instead of her finger, Hari stabbed a sauce bottle. Whew!
Tae-mu can’t wait any longer, and so he corners Hari, forcing her to voice her rejection. She tells him to go on more blind dates and explains why they could never have a successful relationship, but the more Hari protests, the more her real feelings show. She wants to date him, but she’s afraid.
Tae-mu promises that he won’t let her fears become reality and holds her gaze, determined to get her to believe his earnestness. As she stares back, it’s clear they’re on the precipice of something spectacular, and Hari lets herself fall, leaning forward to kiss him. Much like the first kiss between Young-seo and Sung-hoon, this kiss starts off a bit awkward, but then Tae-mu goes for it. (Yessss!)
But, of course, my celebration was premature. Hari has instant cold feet and calls the kiss a mistake. (Nooooo!)
Our other couple, however, is settling into the cute — but awkward — beginning stage of dating. They’re like babies learning to walk — constantly stumbling and picking themselves back up as they learn more about each other. Young-seo nearly kills Sung-hoon with her first-ever attempt at cooking, and Sung-hoon mistakes his posh girlfriend for Sporty Spice and takes her hiking.
The hiking trip dissolves into a round of bickering after their mountain top discussion turns to the topic of Hari and Tae-mu. Eternally loyal to Hari and unaware of Sung-hoon’s childhood relationship with Tae-mu, Young-seo is annoyed that Sung-hoon takes Tae-mu’s side. She pouts, and stomps off into the woods, where she twists her ankle. Sung-hoon carries her down the mountain, and his chivalry and He-Man strength are enough to placate Young-seo’s earlier ire.
Meanwhile, Tae-mu decides he’s not going to let Hari kiss and run. If she wants to pretend the kiss was a mistake, then he’s going to treat it like a failed business deal, and she must pay his penalty fee — with dinner. Of course, this is all just a ruse for him to spend more time with her and, hopefully, convince her his feelings are earnest.
And his plan appears to be working. Not only does she find herself staring lustfully at his lips when he takes bites of his dessert, but he puts on a piano performance that reminds her of his perfection. But he knows one dinner and a show isn’t enough to conquer her insecurities, so he pays for their meal and recants his earlier offer. Instead of dinner, Tae-mu says, he wants her to repay him with something more valuable: her time.
So for their next date/business transaction, he has her meet him at an indoor theme park, where they check off a few rom-com tropes and buy matching headbands. As cute as those moments are, though, their relationship progresses more, once again, over a shared meal.
When he was seven, Tae-mu’s parents brought him to the same theme park, and now that memory is tied to the taste of corn dogs. Instead of reacting to his story with pity and shallow platitudes, Hari understands that the memory is rooted in happiness, and Tae-mu appreciates her reaction, revealing that he can’t even talk about those memories with Grandpa.
Sadly, their bonding is interrupted by an urgent phone call: Hari’s parents are in the hospital! While Mom only sustained a minor grease burn, Dad had to have an emergency appendectomy.
Tae-mu has them moved to a VIP suite, but instead of properly introducing their handsome benefactor as her boss and wannabe suitor, Hari says he’s her coworker. They assume he’s Kevin, which leads to some fun dramatic irony as they complain about Hari’s new boss who makes her work a lot of overtime.
As Tae-mu escorts Hari home, she apologizes on behalf of her parents and their unkind words. He’s forgiving, but he teases that he’s disappointed she would talk about him behind his back. And to think, he gave her a discount for stealing a kiss!
He claims he’s revoking the discount and the full debt of her stolen kiss must be repaid with another kiss. On the surface, Tae-mu’s words sound a pushy, but there’s also a playful undertone. It’s hard to say if Hari is reciprocating his brand of flirting because, in the middle of protesting, Min-woo swoops in and — unnecessarily — tries to save her.
Thanks to some accidental-but-also-kinda-on-purpose snooping, Min-woo discovered Hari was in a contract relationship with Tae-mu. So when he sees them bickering, Min-woo immediately assumes Tae-mu is abusing his power and comes to her defense, punching Tae-mu in the face. Before they attract the attention of the passing police car, Hari deescalates the situation and drags Min-woo away, leaving poor Tae-mu to look after them like a kicked puppy.
When they’re alone, Min-woo claims he’d have saved her from Tae-mu’s evil clutches if he’d known about the contract earlier. Instead of reacting positively to his protectiveness, Hari counters that it’s none of his business who she fake-dates. When Min-woo realizes that her defensiveness stems from her genuine affection for Tae-mu, Min-woo metaphorically kicks her self-esteem, telling her that it would never work out between her and Tae-mu. (Ugh, what a massive underwear stain he is.)
Luckily, Hari’s able to blow off some steam at the company field day, but as much as she’d like to forget Tae-mu, the universe won’t let her. The MVP for the day’s activities will win a dinner with Tae-mu, and Hari overhears her female coworkers gushing about how wonderful it would be to win the prize and share a meal with their handsome boss. Hari’s jealousy is instantly ignited, and she goes Super Saiyan, wiping out all her competition.
Her victory is short lived, though, because the field day is followed by a company dinner, and Tae-mu is noticeably absent. According to Kevin — who knows all the hot company gossip — Grandpa set him up on a blind date with Young-seo’s competitive cousin JO YOO-JUNG (Seo Hye-won). As news of Tae-mu’s blind date sinks in, Hari’s jealousy takes root, and she can’t ignore it.
She hails a cab with the intention of crashing Tae-mu’s dinner. On her way there, she calls him and demands that he ditch his date, and she releases her feelings in a stream of verbiage. When she’s done, Tae-mu reveals that he’s been parked outside her home all night, waiting for her to come home.
They rush to meet each other and wind up on opposite sides of a pedestrian bridge, where he warns that she shouldn’t come any closer unless she’s prepared for him to never let her go. She confidently strides towards him, and she grabs his lapel and brings him in for a kiss. And another…
And I’m sorry, MeloMance, I can’t hear your outro over the sound of my squeeing.
Although this week’s ending left me feeling giddy and satisfied, I did find Episodes 7 and 8 slightly lacking in the drama’s earlier charm. Tae-mu was a bit pushy with the whole kiss repayment plan, but I can empathize with his frustration. The biggest roadblock between him and happiness was Hari’s doubts, and it’s hard to prove he’s sincere when the object of his affection would rather avoid him than trust him. At the same time, I’m glad they addressed Hari’s internal struggle, as it was very important for her character development, and I respect that she was appropriately cautious about starting a relationship with her boss.
But, as much as I appreciate that our leading couple addressed the disparities in their socioeconomic and workplace statuses, I really could have used some more Grandpa to offset the seriousness. The fact that I didn’t get a drama-within-a-drama Boyfriend Bluff scene was also a huge letdown. But are these minor disappointments enough to completely turn me off from Business Proposal?