JoAnne: I watched three dads die this weekend in dramas. This was not the hardest one, and I'm glad because I couldn't have taken two like that. I wondered how they would find their way back in to each other and this seems to be the door. Interesting that more than one drama chose the exact same path.
Alright, we're back to Superman meets Marilyn (yeah, there's a slight mix-up in pop-culture icons happening here, but who cares)! He drags her to side to have a nerdy little argument, asking why she is here, fearing people will find out about their relationship etc. - but she came because she was ordered to. Lol, he is so self-centered, he really still thinks she is pursuing him? And double-lol at the constant tugging at the red underpants. A bit too tight there, lovey?
JoAnne; I feel ripped off. Superman basically wore a speedo with a high waist. What is THIS crap?
JoAnne: He usually works with idols.
Oups, but next, they have to do a heart with their arms. Well. it takes them a while to get over themselves, but when they finally get their act together and do it, they look soooooo cuuuuute. See? You can stand side by side and not fight! It's a start!
JoAnne: Am I ever going to be able to look at this man again and not giggle at his cuteness? Is Ten ruined for me before I really even get going? I think I have seen 3 episodes of Season 1 so far. Months back.
Ah, but they're not done! During a small break, Jung-woo talks to Second Lead (who knows that Ae-ra is there with him and doesn't like it at all) about his suffering. He also gets quite self-conscious about his tight little red pants and wonders why she keeps staring at him.
JoAnne: Perhaps you should slow that gif down so we can take our time and try to figure it out.
While Luscious Lips is starting to feel the downsides of being Second Lead (his woman is with the Lead) the superman shoot continues ... with strong wind machines, blow-up globes, and other hilarities.
JoAnne: Poor baby boy! And not even a picture of you to sigh over...
When the wind starts toppling one of the Greek columns. Jung-woo, who realizes that Ae-ra is in danger, drops the world (nooooo, Superman!!!) and jumps to push her out of the way. He shields her body with his as the Greek column crashes down. Wooki down!!!!
JoAnne: Aren't those things made out of styrofoam anyway? Come on.
Jung-woo is rushed to the hospital, a terribly worried Ae-ra by his side. She also stays with him at the hospital, feeling it's her duty since this happened because of her ... and more than that. Luscious arrives too - he heard what happened at the photoshoot site, when he wanted to bring Ae-ra food. He watches her gently wipe Jung-woo's face through the window in the door and I guess, he understands that this is no more intern-CEO relationship.
JoAnne: Double-whammy now, because it's the woman he likes and his dearly beloved hyung; quadruple-whammy later, when he realizes that they were keeping that little tidbit of 'oh, we used to be married to each other' from him. Poor lil puppy baby.
Caring for Jung-woo, who is lying there unconscious, Ae-ra remembers what happened a few years ago ... and we get confirmation that she had a miscarriage. Her friend tried to reach Jung-woo from the hospital, but Ae-ra had just kicked him out of the apartment and he was fast asleep at his office when she called. He never picked up. The flashback is very, very sad .... Ae-ra starts crying again at the memory and leans closer to Jung-woo. Luscious leaves ... hesitantly. Ae-ra stays with him all night, without him knowing.
JoAnne: Do you think she'll ever tell him, or will she just lump it under 'we both suffered.'
Second Lead, who took sleeping pills due to nightmares and therefore didn't hear Luscious' call, rushes to the hospital the next morning. Jung-woo is still out of it. At his bedside, she is nice but firm: Ae-ra is to leave now and go back to work - she will stay. Marking territory I see?
JoAnne: In a big way.
I guess all Korean actors hope for hospital scenes in which they are unconscious, right? Cause that means they get to lie down and maybe even sleep! Wooki looks quite asleep in fact. But when Second Lead touches his face, all worried, he opens his eyes. When he asks whether she has been watching over him all night, she doesn't lie and doesn't say "yes, I have"! Bravo, but she doesn't tell him that is was Ae-ra either. Not Bravo.
JoAnne: I completely understand the temptation for her, and was SO afraid she would lie. The omission is not cool...but I can live with it for now. I mean, we know she doesn't have a chance.
There seems to be a little time jump, because when we next see our Wooki, he is on TV, talking about the features of his service. (quite jarring) All is going really well, especially since they added the new feature. Upstairs, he is in a heated argument with Second Lead over business matters, but the argument ends with her all smiley, because he compliments her and tells her he trusts her. She asks him out for dinner.
For reasons I don't quite understand, Second Lead is extremely (and genuinely) nice to Ae-ra and even takes her to some meetings about luxury items. Ae-ra does really well thanks to her experience as shopping coordinator and the women seem like natural friends. Afterwards, Second Lead takes her rival shopping for a tie ... and Ae-ra remembers the womanly chat they had so many episodes ago about that person that 'only knows work and is really brusque'. She picks a tie for Second Lead that fits such a personality; who tells her what it means if you give a man a tie. It means "I want you". So she is going to confess? Ae-ra is really excited for the other woman and wishes her luck.
JoAnne: Although I think there's an element of 'keep your enemies close' here, I also think she sees that Ae Ra is a genuinely nice person, and every observation she's had of them separately and together indicates they DON'T have a romantic relationship; as well, Ae Ra has been very frank that she wouldn't want to go back to her ex. She has no idea that Second Lead knows who that is. So basically, Second Lead has no reason to mistreat Ae Ra, and she doesn't seem like a bitchy person to begin with. Sadly, she doesn't realize she's in a KDrama and that despite Ae Ra's fervent wish not to get back together, that will all change soon.
They even have dinner together afterwards - at a very expensive place. Cautiously, Second Lead starts asking things about her failed marriage and the wounds the divorce left. Of course there are wounds, Ae-ra says - She may be smiling on the outside, but on the inside, she is crying. They continue talking as Jung-woo comes down the stairs. Oh, vicious, Second Lead! But things don't go exactly as planned, because he overhears what Ae-ra says when Second Lead asks whether they are mortal enemies after the divorce: She answers that they certainly were ... but then, something bad happened to him and even though she hated him so much, she felt very concerned for him when he was harmed. Now she isn't quite sure what she is feeling. He looks really thoughtful at that.
JoAnne: I didn't take it as vicious. I took it as Second Lead making her stand. All the info she has had says he's an available man and that Ae Ra doesn't want him - but just in case, she's going to make it clear that SHE does.
Right then, Jung-woo receives a phone-call from his mother ... doesn't seem to be good news. He tells her he will be right there. Second Lead gets word of it through her Lady Driver - Mr CEO cannot attend the dinner. Of course, she is annoyed ... so yeah, she wanted to show Ae-ra whose property handsome CEO is! When they part at the door, we see that Jung-woo hasn't left yet ... he has waited for Ae-ra and suddenly appears in front of her. She is very surprised to see him, but he tells her she has to come to his parents' place with him; his father is in critical condition.
They are in the car together, all issues between them forgotten. The mood is somber ... his father has been an important person for both of them. What Ae-ra didn't know though is that his father, who always helped and supported her, had a stroke three years ago, turning him bedridden. Jung-woo tells her that he always asked for her when he was lucid - that's why he is taking her to join him.
JoAnne: Christ I better get a box of tissues now because I already used up a box for the dad's death over on another show.
They drive fast, but when they get to the house, it's already too late - his father has passed away. Jung-woo remembers how his father gave him money when he was at the low-point (about the time they divorced), telling him to always follow his dreams ... making his dream possible (also ... not to appear shallow, but I want to say the way they shot the grief-scene is absolutely gorgeous). (Agreed, and can't say anything.)
Jung-woo's sobbing is heart breaking ... and he truly seems to think his father fell ill because of him. Ae-ra sits down next to him, puts her arm around his shoulder and lends hers as support.
JoAnne: The way he leans on her without even thinking...
Everybody (i.e. the company nuisances) is making their way to his parents' place next. There, Ae-ra is helping with the funeral guests a lot, but Jung-woo's mother and sister talk badly about her behind her back (apparently, the MIL never liked Ae-ra, being a MIL and all). They think she is just running back to Jung-woo now that he is successful. She overhears how the sister says that it's good they split up early, before they had a kid. Ouch.
JoAnne: Because it's not a time for focusing on the importance of family, or appreciating the help and caring of friends and acquaintances, or anything shallow like that. You know, with the head of your family lying dead in the next room.
Awkward when her co-workers turn up and find her there already! She called in earlier to take a day off for "personal matters". They suspect she just went there by herself to have a better chance at enticing Mr. CEO and after a quick pause, she realizes that the truth needs to be protected with a lie - and admits to it. Only Luscious feels that something is off ... how did she know how to get here? She gets a convenient cough that doesn't stop.
JoAnne: He even looks better in grown up clothing. I was so afraid that he'd just jump to the wrong conclusions but at every turn, he is thoughtful and mature. Good puppy!
When her former SIL hears that she is an intern at his company, she pulls Ae-ra aside to ask what her intentions are and to insult her in the process. She tells her to disappear from Jung-woo's life, once and for all - quit immediately! But Jung-woo has heard it all and he comes to drag Ae-ra away. His sister implores him to kick her out and implies she is the reason their father collapsed three years ago.
JoAnne: Again, you petty little worm, shouldn't you be focused on other things? I can understand you having these feelings, but on today of all days how do you have room for it?
When they're alone, he apologizes ... for her hearing these kind of things, even though he came all this way just for his sake. But now, she should go back ... everybody is watching and wondering. But she isn't satisfied: what did his sister mean by saying their father collapsed because of her!? Not because of her ... because of him, he adds bitterly. When he heard about the divorce, he collapsed. On that day. Oof.
Oh. That's just terrible ... While our OTP has a moment of sadness together, Second Lead arrives. She hears about Ae-ra's suspicious presence here and gets that greedy Second Lead look on her face again. Behind the house, Ae-ra is crying buckets; she now understands why her ex-SIL was so vicious. And they thank each other again, Jung-woo for coming there and Ae-ra for taking her. They don't quite hug, but Jung-woo touches her reassuringly. Second Lead sees them in that vulnerable moment from the distance.
MIL and SIL meet Second Lead shortly after and are smitten right away: so pretty! so kind! so supportive! So rich! Ae-ra steps up outside and signals to Jung-woo that she is now leaving ... They lock eyes ... he just stares at her. She isn't staring, but seems a bit embarrassed by the intensity of his sad face ... and then looks at the whole scene with big eyes. Behind her, Luscious turns up - and sees Jung-woo staring. And then, Second Leads turns her head too ... and sees Ae-ra staring.
JoAnne: Ahhhh, Jung Woo: your cat is definitely out of the bag now.
Before things get even more awkward, Luscious grabs Ae-ra by the hand and drags her away. In the quiet of the parking lot, he confronts her: Does she like CEO Cha?! She doesn't answer, but is angry he is bothering her! But our cutsie-pie is also bothered: because she is bothered. Because she keeps swallowing her pride and gets insulted in the process. But right when he wants to explain why it is so bothersome to him to see her having a hard time (awwwwwww), that one co-worker who is supposed to be funny interrupts to tell them they're leaving and Ae-ra takes the opportunity to slip away.
JoAnne: Poor, poor puppy. And you know, this kid is relatively inexperienced (debuted last year, two prior roles under his belt) and yet he delivers a nicely layered performance that speaks well for his future.
While she rides back to Seoul with her colleagues, looking thoughtfully at Luscious, Jung-woo sits on the porch, lost in his own thoughts. The one person on his mind is Ae-ra and how she said goodbye to his father earlier ... a very moving scene he witnessed from behind the door. He looks up to the sky and heaves a heavy sigh.
JoAnne: He has a really big head, doesn't he?
We are reminded again and again that Second Lead is heavily traumatized. Why? And we see her prosthesis in this episode. Why? So that we feel pity for her? I don't think that's needed ... she is doing pretty well as a decent human being that realizes the man she has secretly loved for many years is in danger of being taken away, and starts acting on it. So far, all her actions are in line. Of course she would try to establish that he is "hers". Sadly, she is mistaken ... a point her father also points out to her. The less additional family is in the drama, the better it is. The writers seem to know that, family appearance is thankfully short.
JoAnne: Yeah, that dad is unbearable, although they seem to be trying to make emotional comparisons between the various lives. He also seems to love someone who does not love him back, and it appears never did - it made him kind of mean. He's trying to warn his daughter off that course, but she seems to think it won't have the same effect on her. The leg thing...I dunno. I'm going to say she hasn't fully dealt with the loss of her husband, being that she latched on to Jung Woo pretty quickly after, and has used him as a blanket over these years. That's not love, so maybe she'll realize it and cheer at the OTP reunion.
This was a tough one to watch, the hilarity of Superman aside. We all suspected she had a miscarriage, but seeing how it happened and how heartbroken she was over it really hurt. He never found out about it, which is sad as well - so he was robbed of the opportunity to be supportive, to lessen her pain, and to mourn together. That way, her reasons for divorcing him seem utterly selfish to him - and that is why he was so much hurt. Her reasons go much deeper, however: It's quite clear that losing the child made asking for the divorce so much easier ... maybe she even read it as a sign; and maybe she hated him over it, even blaming him for it at the time (or still? who knows).
JoAnne: Being raised in the family that she was, with a no-good dad and useless brother - all she wanted was a husband she could count on, a warm and loving home, and a family to raise. She loved him because she believed they could have those things together. She did what she said she would, and continued to be supportive even after the disappointment of him quitting his job without talking to her and disrupting their plans. It was his dream to do something big. It was not hers. She worked hard to pick up his slack in those early years and the implication is that worry and stress caused the miscarriage. She could lay that final straw squarely in his lap, in that case. It's not simply a case of her bailing on him when they got to the 'worse' part of 'for better or worse'. She left because he basically lied to her, and that lie even cost her a child.
The scene at the hospital was really strong also for showing us how much she still cared for him - something she had not admitted to herself before. She was so genuinely worried, so deeply concerned ... if it's not love, it's at least very deep friendship. His concern for her at the photo shoot that led up to the accident also was very genuine, a gut-reaction. Maybe we can say that's how he truly feels about her - still. All that was needed to remove those petty issues between them after that was a common pain. Another strong scene was the one in the car, when they talked to each other like adults for the very first time.
JoAnne: Yes, it was all very nicely done.
And then, finally, his father's death and the link to their break-up, entangling them both for good again. They share a guilt now, the guilt that their divorce caused a loved person terrible grief. After this episode, both have realized that their feelings for each other are by no means gone - but also that their actions have hurt others (themselves included). Of course, now the complications will start, because Second Lead Female is definitely very much aware of their re-awakening feelings and will try to prevent them to act on them. That's pretty standard 2nd half KDrama stuff, but maybe we will get some interesting variations? We can always hope, right? Second Lead Male typically wants to protect First Lead from getting (more) hurt. It will be interested to see what he is going to do ... since the other party is his hyung and teacher. That's also pretty standard, but in Luscious' case, I expect something interesting.
JoAnne: So do I, since nothing he's done has been really as expected.
On we go into what typically is angst-territory ... the second half of a drama! Woohoo~