Destined With You: Episodes 7-8
Our show reaches its halfway mark this week, with no concrete resolution as of yet in the romance department. But why focus on romance when we can have jealousy, affairs, stalkers, and black magic, right?
After Shin-yu’s declaration of love for Hong-jo, Jae-kyung remains unfazed and both men resume their bickering. Hong-jo is forced to tell Jae-kyung the truth about the love spell, but he doesn’t believe in spells. “Aren’t you guys old enough to tell reality and fantasy apart?” Jae-kyung chides them. And he’s right, because Shin-yu has reverted to his default “I’m in love with Hong-jo because I’m under her spell” setting. Tsk. Jae-kyung calls Shin-yu out on his use of the spell as an excuse for the interest he has always had in Hong-jo. And once again, Jae-kyung is right but I don’t like his tone.
To prove the efficacy of spells, Hong-jo uses the Fair Skin spell on herself, but there’s no difference between before and after, and that’s all the confirmation that Jae-kyung needs to disprove their theory. Since the spell theory has been proven to be false, Jae-kyung tells Shin-yu to stop messing with Hong-jo — and this time, he’s not speaking as Hong-jo’s neighbor or a colleague, he’s speaking as the man who regrets turning her down. Nevertheless, both men put their rivalry aside for a minute to inform Hong-jo that Joong-beom (a.k.a. Garden Man) has been spotted hanging around the neighborhood. Hmmm.
Now that Shin-yu no longer has the spell excuse for his feelings, he does the next best thing: seek medical opinion. The doctor tells him what he wants to hear: his feelings are a result of neural coupling — a condition where the brain hears a story, and reacts in the same patterns as the speaker’s brain. In Shin-yu’s case, this story is about the generational curse in his family and the spell book, and the speaker is the owner of the spell book (Hong-jo). Pfft. Shin-yu will really say and do anything except accept the fact that he’s genuinely in love with Hong-jo.
Meanwhile Hong-jo has gone further and tells Jae-kyung about Shin-yu’s illness. And when Shin-yu confronts her, she says she did it to protect his pride because it sounds better if he believes in spells due to his illness rather than because of love. But that’s not your call, sis. You just made Shin-yu appear even more pathetic to Jae-kyung.
Anyway, Shin-yu isn’t one to back down, and he puts Jae-kyung in his place with a “Don’t act like you’re anything to Hong-jo.” Jae-kyung replies with a “I think I might become one.” But you aren’t at the moment, so stop thinking rubbish thoughts.
Word soon travels around City Hall about Na-yeon and Shin-yu’s relationship, and Hong-jo’s colleagues take her out for sympathy drinks. Hong-jo runs into Shin-yu in her drunken state, and I lol-ed at the way Shin-yu saved her number on his phone: Civil servant (haunted house). This is exactly how I save people’s numbers!
A worried Shin-yu buys Hong-jo a hangover drink, and Hong-jo finds the gesture absurd. Why would he worry about her? Is it because he’s under a spell or because of neural coupling? What’s his excuse this time? She tells him not to confuse her any further, and then notes that he no longer calls her. “You told me not to,” Shin-yu replies, sadly. And I’d give him a comforting hug, but I’m not about to join his harem.
Na-yeon, on the other hand, has conspired with Shin-yu’s dad to fix their wedding date, and her prospective groom is the last to find out about his upcoming wedding. But Na-yeon’s happy bubble bursts when she receives several suggestive pictures of Shin-yu and Hong-jo from a burner phone. Lawyer Shin-yu is more concerned about the anonymous sender of the stalker-like photos, but all Na-yeon sees is her fiancé and her “friend” about to lock lips in the picture.
Na-yeon heads to Hong-jo’s to register her displeasure with a slap, and Hong-jo maintains that there’s nothing going on between her and Shin-yu. “Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not that there’s nothing going on. You’re nothing,” Na-yeon retorts, and it’s her hypocrisy for me. The nerve of her to be upset about her fiancé’s affair when she’s having an affair of her own with Hyun-seo. Ha! I was kidding last week, but it looks like Hyun-seo won’t mind being the mayor’s son-in-law after all.
Na-yeon’s slap is the final straw, and Hong-jo returns the wooden box to Shin-yu. As the king of excuses, he should have come up with an excuse to his girlfriend. Why would he admit to being swayed by her? “Because it’s true,” Shin-yu replies. “You swayed me and are still swaying me.” Gah! Is it the raw honesty in his words or the pining in his eyes? This moved me more than any of his previous confessions. But I wish I could say the same thing about the subsequent kiss.
Our OTP is nowhere near having a rewarding kiss, and I’m glad that Hong-jo pulled away. It’s so hard to root for these two with Na-yeon’s shadow hanging over them. “What about you? Can you say you never wavered when you saw me?” Shin-yu asks Hong-jo. But that’s not the point, you frustrating pillar of handsomeness! For all of Shin-yu’s reluctance to push through with the wedding, I don’t see him firmly putting his foot down with his dad and Na-yeon. Instead, he’s in this emotional affair with Hong-jo, and that’s why I cannot wholeheartedly support their romance.
The wooden box goes back to shaman Eun-wol, and she tells Shin-yu that the only way to properly end things is to bury the box in the exact place it was found. Cue: our OTP on a hiking trip to the demolished haunted shrine. Hong-jo trips and loses her hold on the box, and it breaks to reveal a secret compartment where a black magic spell book is hidden. Alone in the mountains with a book of black magic? This is the part where I’d have abandoned the mission and ran for my dear life. But our OTP carries on to the ruins of the shrine.
Like in every good horror movie, an eerie sound comes first. Next, they see a straw doll wearing the pajamas that were stolen from Hong-jo’s house last week — and there’s a paper with Shin-yu’s name on it nailed to the chest area. (Are those bloody letters?) Damn! Garden Man, is that you? Have you graduated from stalking them to cursing with black magic now?
Garden Man is also our OTP’s number one suspect because he’s no longer trying to hide his creepiness. After unnecessary skinship, Hong-jo had to report him to Eun-young, and as City Hall’s legal representative, Shin-yu paid a warning visit to the man’s greenhouse. But it looks like someone didn’t get the memo to back off, and things have taken a more serious turn.
As a result of the unexpected events on the mountain, the wooden box lives to see another day in the sun. Shin-yu equips Hong-jo with pepper spray and a stun gun, and nags about the poor security of her house. He even tries to get permission from Jae-kyung to install a CCTV in front of the house, but Jae-kyung insists on taking charge of the installation. *Rolls eyes* It’s not the time to flex overly protective muscles, bro. Your neighbor is in danger for goodness sake!
In the meantime, Shin-yu and Hong-jo follow the How to Lure Out Your Stalker manual: they go on a fake date — the dress up, fancy lunch, and spending the whole day together type of date. Cute. At the end of a fun day, Shin-yu confesses that he doesn’t want to believe in temporary feelings, but he can’t control himself when he looks at Hong-jo. In reply, Hong-jo says she doesn’t want to steal someone else’s boyfriend. “Let’s just stay as colleagues. Let’s not get any closer.” Honey, y’all are way past that point, but okay. For what it’s worth, it’s another full moon.
Their stalker doesn’t show up on the date, but Shin-yu visits Garden Man’s greenhouse anyway, and he sees some straw scattered on the floor. By the way, the fearlessness of K-drama male leads should be studied, because why is Shin-yu visiting a suspicious man’s place at night to interrogate him without backup? Garden Man shows up looking more menacing than ever with his garden shears, and next thing you know, Shin-yu is on sick leave. What the hell happened to him?
The Park Maintenance Team prepares for an upcoming festival, and of all times to check out the location, Hong-jo chooses to go at night. The lights suddenly go out, and an unknown number calls her phone. A hooded shadowy figure trails after her as she hastily makes to leave, and as the shadow grows closer, ominous music plays… sigh. I have no words. I absolutely refuse to be worried about an OTP that has zero regard for their safety! *Panics*
While our main romance is yet to have a breakthrough, romance is blooming for our side characters and new relationships are being formed. Mr. Gong has an upcoming blind date, but for some reason, Eun-young is not as enthusiastic about it. Jae-kyung has been more upfront about his intentions towards Hong-jo, but his dead jokes have already sunk that ship.
Finally, there’s the iffy case of Shin-yu’s mom and his best friend KIM WOOK (Lee Tae-ri). First, Wook was Mom’s almost-divorce lawyer, and now they’re stargazing together? That whole “I’m full of love, but there’s nobody to receive my love” and “I want to receive lots of love, but nobody gives it to me,” exchange made me feel super uncomfortable, but I want to trust that the show won’t go beyond a mom-son relationship when it comes to them. Because if I see one more affair in this drama, I will riot.
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