Witch's Romance - Episode 3 (A SqueeCap)

During the hiatus last week, I watched My Queen. I liked it. But I did not LOVE it the way I love this version. Ethan Ruan and Cheryl Yang did a great job and sold us a really convincing relationship when all is said and done and if you like the story it's well worth the watch - but so far, this Korean version is hitting all the right notes HARD for me. And yes, those notes would be Puppy, chemistry, giggles, Puppy, chemistry, story, Puppy. PuppyPuppyPuppyPuppy. I admit it. Something about that boy just crackles, and this noona WANTS.
kakashi: Hear that crackling? It's somebody's panties. They are on fire.

Episode 3

We open on the scene that has puzzled every female viewer in existence for more than a week now - the one where she kicks him out of bed. There is just no freaking WAY anyone in their right mind would do that. It's not a RELATIONSHIP, girl. It's sex! Free, unencumbered sex with what appears to be a VERY eager and fairly competent Puppy of Major Hotness. Go get it! Sigh. But no. She rushes a very confused Dong Ha through getting his clothes back on and pushes him out the door after confirming that he's 25 and she's 39. Like the REST of the sane world, he doesn't see that as a problem, but she's insistent that This! Can! Never! Happen! Whatever. Send him to me. I've got some doggy toys with that Puppy's name written all over them.
kakashi: Well, I'm a tiny little bit on her side. I think it's good to think about ... things. Before doing ... THAT stuff. Also, checking the age of Korean hotties? Highly advisable. It's the first thing I do, really, before I get into someone.
They both toss and turn all night, which makes me awwww for him because clearly, she's already under his skin. For her, I say serves you right! Pabo. And she still doesn't know he lives next door, which makes me giggle.
kakashi: Also, they seem to think it's more embarrassing if you don't sleep with somebody. Which ... well ... not really.
At work the next morning the Three Stooges are gloating over the response to an article they wrote trashing the odd-jobs business (Masters of Part-Time) run by Dong Ha and Moldy Spinach (I'm sorry Cutie Soo I'm sorry! And his real name is Seok Ki, I guess. Like I'll ever remember that - nope, it's not. It's Yong Soo Chul --> CUTIE SOO! Seok-ki is the dude who tires to be funny but really isn't). As they are known to do, netizens have jumped on the bandwagon to share their own 'bad experiences' and the end result is that every job the boys have is cancelled.
kakashi: The Three Stooges annoy me to hell and back. I want to do really bad things to them. But not that kind of bad things, if you know what I mean. 
It's no secret that the TroubleMaker article is behind the bad news so Dong Ha rushes off to do battle (after a VERY, very short appearance by Cutie Soo, sorry, baby). The Stooges are amazed to learn that he has a connection to Moldy Spinach and immediately suspect a counterplot by Ji Yeon. Dong Ha clears that up quickly; he acted on his own. The Stooges pounce in triumph: Then they're right! His business DID ruin their plan, and anyway, they HAD to do it and BESIDES that it was nothing compared to everything Ji Yeon has done to them. At which point we realize Ji Yeon has arrived at the office, and Ji Yeon realizes that Dong Ha is there.
The Stooges scatter and Ji Yeon starts to lose her mind a little bit when Dong Ha explains that he's there because of yesterday's 'incident.' We are treated to a lovely replay of their make-out scene as guests of Ji Yeon's self-centered brain. She drags him out to the hallway where the misunderstanding continues hilariously as he says there's no way he can stand for it and he's going to sue.
kakashi: Hahaha, love this. The sexy time is really all she can think about, right? We too, darling, we too!
Dong Ha catches on quickly to the miscommunication but he doesn't share that information with Ji Yeon, so when the boss shows up and Ji Yeon's assistant claims to have told him 'everything' the look on her face is pretty hilarious. Before they can resolve all the issues, though, we cut to a building lobby and focus on a nondescript man carrying a packaged wrapped in blue paper, and a vacuously smiling young woman in a yellow coat. They ride the elevator together and when the woman confirms that she is headed for the TroubleMaker offices, the man gives her the package to deliver to Ban Ji Yeon.
kakashi: She smells like a female second lead to me! Pure and lovely, a little bit naive ... that would make her First Lead material, but since we already have a Lead ...
In the office, everyone is gathered around a table and the Stooges are confirming to their boss that they deleted the article and the malicious comments. After they apologize, the boss asks if there's anything else and Dong Ha points out that all his work for the coming week has been cancelled, 80% of their membership has unsubscribed, and their good reputation has been destroyed. Boss asks Ji Yeon what should be done and she is quite happy to declare that of course, compensation should be made - but since it is not a company issue, the Stooges themselves should be held responsible for it. Papa Stooge (He really brings out the worst in me. I used to torture some dolls that I hated. I want to torture him, too. The not-kinky type, if you know what I mean) complains that they got permission to publish the article, which sparks a rant from the boss which is ultimately interrupted by the appearance of the girl in yellow carrying that blue box. She announces herself as a TroubleMaker intern beginning next week and hands the box to Ji Yeon. Dong Ha is quick to notice blood dripping from the box and grabs it out of Ji Yeon's hands. He opens it and then slams it shut almost immediately when everyone realizes that it contains a dead bird. Everyone pretty much freaks out, but Ban Ji Yeon seems only faintly alarmed to read the note enclosed, which spells out a warning for her to keep her mouth shut.
kakashi: Yikes. That's creepy! And totally NOT suspicious ... who else would threaten her but the stupid actor? 
Suspicion amongst the TroubleMaker staff immediately turns to Kim Jeong Do, the actor with political aspirations whose secret family Ji Yeon outed in earlier episodes (yeah, exactly). It's probably one of his fans, the boss decides (I'm sure it's the douchebag himself). Ji Yeon instructs her assistant Young Shik to take a photo of the scene while she goes to check the CCTV. Ahh, but she makes a private detour to the ladies room, where her overly enthusiastic handscrubbing makes the real situation clear: she's quite shaken up, and it was only her professionalism that allowed her to maintain her composure in front of everyone else.
kakashi: She does it well, playing the tough iron lady in one scene, and then going into highly vulnerable mode in the very next. I constantly feel sorry for her.
Before she leaves the room she has an opportunity to overhear Dong Ha comfort the intern, who is crying in the hallway. He's kind and considerate to the girl, and Ji Yeon seems to take particular note of the fact that he thinks she herself is pretty tough. His pep talk is interrupted by Papa Stooge who says that the boss would like to see him.
kakashi: Dong Ha = what women want. 
Once he leaves, Ji Yeon approaches the intern with some advice based in reality: a reporter must be bold. If ever anyone realizes that a reporter has lost their confidence they're as much as done for, so if she's going to cry every time something like this happens she should look for another job. You'd almost think she was being bitchy, but we've seen Ji Yeon in a more vulnerable moment: this is sincere advice from a sunbae. Still, you can see why people might think she's unfeeling.
kakashi: Yes ... I'm not convinced she is ALWAYS feeling though. Sure, she has great wounds and she has this very vulnerable side, but when she is at work, she rally IS tough. And she really IS bitchy. Does she think she needs to be that way to be accepted as a boss? Many women make that mistake. 
Ji Yeon's review of the CCTV recording is interrupted when she receives a call asking her to go see the boss, but the recordings weren't shedding much light anyway. When she arrives Dong Ha and the boss have just finished negotiating his compensation for the damage done to the Masters of Part-Time. (Let it be noted here that Puppy has strong negotiation skills. Combine that with his willingness to work, and it bodes well for his future success!) Much to Ji Yeon's consternation what has been negotiated is this: for the next 3 months, Dong Ha will serve as Ji Yeon's assistant. I think I might have fainted here for a minute, to tell you the truth. And Kakashi might just get that fanfic she's been asking for. Because Viki might translate it as assistant but I can tell you that in the original version, he was her BODYGUARD. Yep. Let those thoughts roll around in your happy noona brains for a bit. Feeling faint? Thought so.
kakashi: Hehehe, he was quite eager to get close to her and stay there, right? 
Ji Yeon fusses but her boss is firm, and Dong Ha's first assignment is to take her home since she's had such a shock. Ah, the bickering commences immediately, yay! He corrects her when she calls him a part-timer, saying that he's a contracted worker of 3 months duration. Exactly, she says. His full-time job is to be a part-timer. She goes on to lay down the rules. He must call her Team Jang-nim. He must immediately forget the events of the night prior. If he mentions one word, he's fired. He will immediately answer any question asked. If he wishes to ask a question, he will first ask permission to ask a question, and if it's related to her private life, she will decline. He will be on call at all times, and will respond to her immediately. If he back talks, he will be fired.
kakashi: Hm. Kinky. 
When she turns and flounces off he calls out to her. Team Jang-nim! May I ask a question? She grants him permission. He puffs air up into his bangs and then smiles at her. Will she buy him food? Then he blinks his eyes and the sound effect is that buing buing noise and he is so cute I just want to BITE him. Not hard. Just a nibble. She doesn't commit and when she turns away he mutters that witch! that dictator! I hope she trips! Then he plasters the smile back on his face and hurries after her. Man I love them together already.
kakashi: His million faces! D'awwwwwwwwwz! 
Outside, she's shocked that he wants her to ride on his scooter (hmm .... if YOU say something like this, it could mean something else, right?). He points out that it will be faster than the bike she rode before (I swear I heard broomstick, didn't you?) and she informs him that if he brings up the bike again, he's fired. He puts one of his jackets on her, and a pink helmet (aww, for girlfriends? - duh, every scooter-person has a second helmet. It's just for passengers) and gets on the scooter. She tells him if they fall over he's fired, and by now he's just laughing at her. He announces their departure like a train conductor (seems to be a habit, d'awwwwwwwwz) and she informs him that she needs to make a stop on the way home. They end up at her sunbae's house, the one who has the love child with Kim Jeong Do. She chastises him for going in a roundabout way, but the reason was Dong Ha noticed a car following them and he was trying to lose it. (He didn't. It's waiting at the corner as they have that very conversation.)
kakashi: And I get the feeling he really likes to be held by her - so maybe, he took an extra few roundabout bouts.
Sunbae lets them in, and while the two women talk we get to swoon over Dong Ha with the young daughter, who heartily approves of our puppy (his million voices, d'awwwwwwwwwz). The two women have a tense conversation in the living room. It's clear that Ji Yeon understands what her actions have done to her sunbae's life and that she doesn't feel good about that, but it's also very clear that she'd do it again if she didn't have another way. Kim Jeong Do is not a good person, and in her role as a reporter, she feels an obligation to tell the truth. The other woman doesn't seem angry with Ji Yeon at all. Just like she waited for Shi Hoon, Jeong Do's woman made a decision to wait for her man, and she's not going to regret it now (oh but you should, he's an ASS.) Ji Yeon acknowledges that silently, but she does point out the one difference: she didn't put her life on hold while she waited. Actually, I'd say that's not true Ji Yeon, but ok - because you do have a valid point when you say that this guy is a hypocrite who doesn't deserve the trust the public places in him. Ji Yeon seems regretful to her sunbae when she ends with a declaration that she will not allow this to happen, even if it hurts her friend in the process.
kakashi: I don't entirely see the point of this lengthy visit in terms of dramatics. Is it important for the future story that the actor's mistress is not only annoyingly phlegmatic but also ready to believe in the good of the man she loves and has a child with? Or does it matter that we see Ji-yeon in a different mode, the "I am serious and competent without being bitchy" one? Ah, no, now I get it: it's really about Dong-ha reading that story with the sparrow.  
As they drive off, Dong Ha and Ji Yeon are followed by that car from earlier. When they arrive at the townhouses (it's now suddenly dark and/or Seoul is very, very big and it took them hours to get from that house to this house), we see a man in dark clothing, a hat, and glasses watching them from the shadows. It's the Bird Man! Dong Ha is aware, and feeling anxious about the safety of his charge. Without telling her what's happening, he takes off to confront the Bird Man. Ok so let's see. He's kind, hardworking, smart, sexy AND brave? Just kill me now.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Kakashi he runs GOOD.
kakashi: Yay! We have ourselves a good runner!!!! 
He doesn't catch the Bird Man, but he does get a good look at him - enough to realize that he fits the vague description given by Intern Girl, anyway. When he returns to Ji Yeon he fills her in and instructs her to lock her doors and call him immediately if anything happens. He starts to walk her to her door but she tells him she can go from there on her own. When he doesn't leave, but instead continues to climb the stairs, it soon comes out that they are neighbors. Ji Yeon, predictably, assumes it's a cover story so that he can stalk her. He looks at her like she's crazy, which is reasonable, but when she starts running down all the coincidences it DOES seems odd and I laugh because I wonder if this is the writer making fun of rom-coms in general.
kakashi: It's perfect. I love these interactions between the two. So far, he is outsmarting her all the time, but in a cute kinda way. 
They tussle at the door since Ji Yeon wants to follow him inside and inspect for wire-tapping equipment, and yes, everyone is right - he really does make the best faces. But even with his frustration at its highest point, he is aware of his responsibilities. He sticks his head back out the door and tells her to be sure and call him if anything happens.
kakashi: And she goes, Ha! I knew it! You're a stalker! But she is kinda pleased that this guy is looking out for her, though she might not yet admit it to herself.
Back at home, Ji Yeon stares at a framed photo of a polar bear as she thinks back to her sunbae's words about the mysterious 'Shi Hoon.' In a flash back, we see a happier Ji Yeon in a large work room with a man she seems very close to. He's hanging up lots of newly developed photos of polar bears and teaching her facts about them. They seem very much in love.
kakashi: I don't like the man. It's instant dislike. Happens. And I really love to hate people in KDrama. The polar bears are also starting to piss me off.
Back in the present, a sad Ji Yeon tosses her bag on the chair and turns on the tv. The moment the music starts she begins to dance. So is this her nightly routine? Yes, it must be - next door, Dong Ha sits on a couch tapping in time to the music and smiling. Right on schedule! Ji Yeon, though, suddenly remembers that her 'stalker' is next door. She stops the music and the dancing and wonders aloud if he's listening to everything.
kakashi: Very much aware of each other, indeed. Good. Continue. 
Which he is, of course, and when the music cuts off suddenly he becomes alarmed and races over to her. Awwwww. Dong Ha is at the door pressing the buzzer and calling out Team Jangnim! in an increasingly anxious voice - she can't hear him at first because she's using an electric toothbrush - so when she finally lets him in, suspicion written all over her face, he's nearly frantic with worry and races past her to inspect the entire apartment.
kakashi: Oh my gawwwwwd, look at him. So tasty when he's worried! 
He tells her that he heard the music stop abruptly, and when she complains about the poor construction he points out that if she's going to play music that loudly everyone will hear it no matter what. She immediately assumes he's come to complain, but he corrects her: he came because he was worried. The tension between them breaks when she looks down and realizes he was in such a rush that he only managed to switch out one slipper for a shoe and they share a moment of laughter. Suddenly, a loud noise makes them both jump. Ji Yeon grabs tight to Dong Ha (do NOT blame you one bit, girl) and hides behind him. The noise is easily explained, though, since she herself had opened the window where the blinds are rattling. Dong Ha takes notes of her tight grip on his arm even as she's telling him he can go now, and he looks at her tenderly and says he'll stay for a bit. Yes, I swoon a little. I love this Puppy a lot.
kakashi: This really does it, right? He is so incredibly kind! Maybe that's also his weakness though? Maybe he is too kind, and doesn't take care of his own heart? Somebody needs to help with that. 
Ji Yeon is happy to agree, but stumbles as she plays hostess. Offering beer reminds them both of the previous night, as does the drama showing on the television (I think that was OppaNotOppa on the screen, but it wasn't BotC showing - it's I Need Romance 3 and that's Namgung Min doing the kissing) She changes the channel but the next drama is only worse. I think whatever was showing should be recognizable to a Korean audience since they linger on the music for a minute, but I can't place it.
kakashi: It involves people lying on top of each other. Maybe not a drama. 
They turn off the tv and agree to listen to the radio, which is playing a trivia game. Puppy gets the first one right and this brings out Ji Yeon's competitive streak. He gets the next one as well, to her visible discomfort, and grins in her face adorably. The last one goes to Ji Yeon. Please, help me here. What the hell is Zibiah? Anyway, cue the cute banter between the world's most adorable bodyguard and one very lucky Team Jangnim.
kakashi: Zibiah. That one famous drama from Shakespeare's Lost Years!
Next up is a music program, where predictably their 14-year age difference results in different memories. She remembers the first versions of songs, but he only knows their remakes - and doesn't even realize there were earlier versions. Some of the music is a little familiar to me, but I know and love the last one by heart - it's Sunset Glow, an early hit for Big Bang (2008) and one of my favorites. I did know that it was originally sung by Lee Moon Sae in 1988 already so I feel totally Korean right now, of course. They sing along happily to their own versions of the song and I squee at how obviously pleased they are to find some common ground.
kakashi: Loved that scene. But it's also somewhat honest about their age difference. It really is the popular music and TV dramas etc. that make us part of a certain age group, aren't they? 
The party must go on all night because they both end up asleep on neighboring pieces of furniture and wake to her mother banging on the door. Cue Puppy hiding in the closet, cue Mom embarrassing Ji Yeon with talk of a dating service, cue a desperate Ji Yeon calling Puppy out of hiding to act as her new boyfriend, cue thrilled Mom who thinks Puppy is adorable and almost immediately slips and refers to him as Yoon Seobang, which makes me giggle. He reminds her not to go anywhere without contacting him and then makes a quick exit, but not before the combined aegyo in the room makes me throw up a little bit.
kakashi: OMG but look at this incredibly CUUUUuuuuuuuuuute boy. And of COURSE, he would help her immediately, playing boyfriend without more than 2 seconds pause. 
We move on to Intern Girl visiting her mother at 'Love House', which appears to be an orphanage. They talk about clothes and her new job and there is a hint of something tragic related to an unni (uh-oh). At the end of their visit, just as mother turns back into the yard after saying goodbye to Intern Girl, we see that Dong Ha is there, too. At first it sounds like he's been there just to do some odd-jobs, but then he hands the woman he's talking to (doesn't he later say he went to see his mother? Not sure I get it) an envelope of money, too. He asks about someone (the mother of 'Yong Chae') and is pleased to hear that it sounds like she's doing a little better than before.
If we assume that this is the same woman we just saw, then Yong Chae must be that 'unni' they were sad about, and Intern Girl just arrived here from the States. Interesting - as he drives off on his scooter, we see that the woman turned away when she noticed Dong Ha and is hiding her face as he leaves. She looks sad, but the actress playing this role ALWAYS looks sad to me, so I'm not sure it has any particular meaning. Well, I am sure, because I know the story. But there's nothing here that would have let me know for sure if I didn't.
kakashi: So. Intern girl-Second Lead is Dong-ha's dead (I assume) ex-girlfriend's sister, is that it? Something tragic happened and Dong-ha still gives money to her mother and that is why he has quit university and is part-timing all over the place. 

Intern Girl is smiling at the bus stop, enjoying the sunshine and the breeze as Dong Ha scooters past. Her hair flips and glitters in the breeze he generates and we hear that tinkly magical music that signifies a girl just fell in love. Second Lead, confirmed. He turns and comes back, recognizing her from the TroubleMaker offices. They do not connect the dots about the orphanage.
kakashi: She is really nice. It's going to be hard to hate that one, that's for sure! 
At home, Ji Yeon is listening to Big Bang's version of Sunset Glow while she reads a book titled 'News'. I can't be sure, but my assumption is that this is one of those compendium volumes with little blurbs about the big events of a particular time period. Awwwww. Is she cramming for him? She gets a phone call and rushes out. She does NOT call Dong Ha to let him know.
kakashi: Oh, is that what that News book is? Sweeeeeet. 
Of course, his first stop on returning home is her house, and he's understandably alarmed when she doesn't answer the door. He calls her phone, but she's in a restaurant with Kim Jeong Do and rejects the call. Cue Puppy freak out. Yay! The meeting doesn't go well for Jeong Do and after Ji Yeon leaves he instructs an assistant to 'show her something' since she can't be reached with words.
kakashi: Oh my, I really love this actor but he is really despicable in this role. 
Ji Yeon visits her friend's restaurant, where business is booming. She's insulting at first but her true feelings come out when she shouts at a customer she believes is taking advantage of her friend. She's rushed out before she starts a brawl, so she's not there a little later when Dong Ha rushes in panic-stricken at his inability to find Ji Yeon. The friend assumes they've had a lover's quarrel, but she does share that Ji Yeon was headed home so Dong Ha rushes off.
kakashi: In terms of KDrama friends, this particular one is also quite endearing. This drama is full of endearing people on the one hand and really hateful people on the other. 
At the house, Ji Yeon realizes immediately that something is wrong - her door is ajar. She enters a ransacked apartment and soon realizes that the intruder is still there. It's pretty scary, actually - the apartment hasn't just been torn apart. They've made a very creepy display of a bloody dress with an axe, and warnings written in 'blood' as well. Ji Yeon is choked and thrown across the room, hitting her head and falling unconscious to the floor. Before anything else can happen, Puppy arrives!
kakashi: Hot damn, that WAS terribly scary. Me don't likes!! I'm such a sissy when it comes to tension in movies and stuff. I usually hide behind pillows. 

Ok, he's not that good at fighting (why do you say that?! He is doing well! He is no Jung-tae, you know!). But he does manage to get the jacket off the intruder, and he does chase him away, and even though he appears to be seriously injured his only thought is for Ji Yeon, still unconscious on the floor and not responding to his urgent pleas.
Fade to an earlier time, when Ji Yeon was first given that framed photo of the polar bear. Awww, it was actually part of a marriage proposal. Poor girl. She regains consciousness in the hospital, where she imagines Shi Hoon calling her name. In a voiceover, she thinks that the North Pole wasn't the end of the world, but the place where love ended? For her, that place was the end of the world. We see that it's faithful Dong Ha calling her name as her eyes flutter open, and we hear her thoughts continue: to have a new beginning, there must be an end. She looks at Dong Ha as he fires anxious questions at her, and thinks that she doesn't even know how to start anymore.
kakashi: So beautiful ... she is already ready to start anew, but she also knows that you have to end old things first for this to be possible. That is why I love mature characters. No virginal quibbles. 
'Part-timer,' she says, acknowledging that she hears him. He scolds her with worry written clearly over his face. 'I told you to stay home. You don't answer my calls or tell me you're leaving! Why are you like that? You keep causing me... to care.' he finishes slowly, the worried look on his face replaced by something perhaps a bit more tender. Ji Yeon wonders to herself whether she'd be able to love someone again, as a tear slowly trickles down her temple.
kakashi: And the drama ends beautifully with a sense of heart-ache among all the cute, heart-ache bygone and heart-ache still to come. 


Oh, I am in LOVE. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: This show is funny but it's also touching AND apparently a bit scary at times. That works for me. I like the way they use the editing to ADD to the cleverness, I like the general brightness and styling, the use of music, the casting of side characters, all of it.
kakashi: The mixture is quite unique, yes. It's really all about the Witch's character: this touching mixture of strong and weak.

Uhm Jung Hwa is very good at presenting women who are both strong and vulnerable, and it's really easy (thanks to her) to see why Ji Yeon could be considered a bitch by someone who only knows her from work. Whereas we (and Traitor Friend, and Puppy) are privy to more of her private side, and so we see the moments that could be bitchy, and they don't seem that way to us because we can see more of what's driving her. She's tougher on herself than she is on others. She's trying to be a good daughter, she's dedicated to her work, and she sees her role as a protector of society more than anything else. How can you not like that?
kakashi: I think she has a hard time to show her vulnerable side, which is normal for people who have been hurt a lot (or very severely). She protects her soft core by lashing out at people. Dong-ha, who has seen her at her most vulnerable several times, is helping her get back in touch with that side of her. And it will make her a better person, of course. 

And Puppy. Oh my goodness, the puppy. I haven't seen Park Seo Joon in anything but that regrettable Dream High 2, where he was completely wasted and practically unused. I am rectifying that immediately because I need to know: is it the actor that I'm swooning over, or the character? His charm and warmth just LEAP out of the screen for me, and Dong Ha is that deadly combination of cute puppy/capable man that just slays me every time.
kakashi: STOP. Do.Not.Watch I Summon You, Gold. Do NOT. 

And the electricity between them? Nuts. Just nuts. This is going to be awesome. For the record, I will say that right now this has the potential to be way better than My Queen ever thought about being, simply because (Ethan Ruan or no) the chemistry between this couple is so much more intense than it was in My Queen. I am prepared for months of squee!
kakashi: If only there were more sexksy times ....