Jieun is tired at work and explains to her boss Jungmin that she’s been staying up late watching cooking videos.
After Jungmin leaves, Jieun gets a call from Sangyeob who asks if she has any plans for the weekend. Jieun says none but sleep since she hasn’t slept well these days, but he manages to wrangle a date out of her anyways. They hang up and Sangyeob applauds himself for being a genius before burning himself with his tea. I get the gag, but feel like it’s a touch overused… Also, it’s not like you can’t be a genius if you forget your tea’s hot.
Jungmin is taking out some cash when she happens to meet Moosung. They walk out of the bank together, which is when I notice that, either Jungmin is staggeringly short, or Moosung is actually a lot taller than I initially pegged him for. Or maybe it’s just because his legs are so long in proportion to his upper body that they reach her chest? Jungmin asks Moosung what he likes to eat. Moosung replies that he loves spicy cabbage soup, but hasn’t eaten it since his aunt moved to America three years ago. Unsurprisingly, Jungmin invites him to her restaurant at night, telling him that she’ll make it (and thus, a love-line I never would have guessed at was born).
Just look at them! They’re so happy together. If this were a melodrama or a noir like Cruel City, I would be betting on at least one of their deaths in the next few episodes. But thankfully, Moosung isn’t Safari in this show (although I feel like he’s betraying Jin Sook somehow…)***
Seems like happy love is the theme of this episode. A nice young man comes into the manhwa room and returns some books. Afterwards, he hands Woohyun a card announcing his upcoming nuptials. Woohyun is ecstatic while Hye-ja and Bohee’s reactions are much more temperate. He wishes the man luck and then makes a heart above his head. Both women are not impressed with him and his aegyo-ing, although I think his enthusiasm is sweet.
After the customer leaves, Woohyun continues to make happy sighs until Hye-Ja and Bohee snap. Doesn’t he understand to feel shame? Here he is, a 47 year old single man who’s been drawing mangas for decades, yet he oohs and aahs over a 27 year old’s marriage, and is in awe over a 12 year old’s drawing ability. Hye-Ja imitates his way of “oohing” and I have to muffle a laugh because it’s mean of her to do so, but her portrayal is spot on.
In his bedroom, Woohyun says to Sanghoon, “His drawings ARE better than mine. That customer IS handsome and lucky. If it’s the truth, shouldn’t I say it?” (Oh, Woohyun… <3) But, he isn’t without pride, either. He finishes up with, “But, if I look at my own drawings, I also think they’re good.” But then he flops onto the ground, “At the same time… it is true that many, many people draw better than me.”
Sanghoon, his stalwart roommate (and also the man who writes the stories to narrate his drawings), pats him on the thigh and says, “Well, I think that your drawings have the most emotion.”
Woohyun pops back up and smiles.
Elsewhere in the night, Moosung is sampling Jungmin’s cabbage soup. The taste is not the same, and Jungmin insists that Moosung get his aunt’s recipe, so that she can reproduce it exactly. “People who can’t eat the things they want will fall ill,” she says (an idiom I’ve never heard of… but will accept.) 🙂
After another long day, Jieun is finally able to collapse on her bed. She waves away her grandma’s offers of dinner and says that she would just like to sleep… until she hears Hyunwoo step in. Then she jumps out of her room, skips across to the kitchen and says that she needs to give the dog dinner.
“I already gave him dinner,” Hye-Ja says.
“Well, supper, then.”
Dog food in hand, Jieun makes her way up to the rooftop, which is where Hyunwoo stays in a little bunk (Ahh… now I see.) She feeds the dog with much clatter and, when that doesn’t bring Hyunwoo out, starts to jump-rope loudly (This girl’s tactics, I appreciate. I see now what other people meant when they said Jieun and Hyunwoo’s initial relationship antics were so realistic. Who hasn’t been that girl in middle school, trying to be in the same place as her crush and draw his attention, even when you’re kind of certain that he likes you already?) *
FINALLY, Hyunwoo pops his head out and asks how long Jieun is thinking of jumproping. “Oh, well, a 1000 times is basic, right,” she tosses out breezily. Hyunwoo steps out and watches her jump rope.
Jieun holds out for 6 minutes before stopping, which I really have to applaud her for. A long day with no sleep the night before, and then 6 minutes of jump-roping, all to stay in the same breathing space as your crush? It’s not like jump-roping puts you at the most flattering angles, either, what with all the jiggling. I’m thinking Jieun’s about to collapse, when the girl one-ups me and says, “Wow. 1000 skips really goes by quickly, better do 3,000!” Which she does… When she finishes 3,000, Hyunwoo suggests she sleep, but Jieun says that the night sky is so beautiful, she wants to stay up longer. She sits down, ready for the long haul and tosses out, “But if you’re tired, you should go in.”(Slow clap, Jieun, slow clap for that bit of nonchalance. I know it took you a lot.) Luckily for her, and for me because I’m so invested in her plight, Hyunwoo decides to stay.
If Hyunwoo didn’t like her one jot, I would be cringing in secondhand embarrassment, but since we all know this is the OTP, I’m just swooning at the power of LURRRVVEEE, because, tell me your heart didn’t break a little when Jieun announced she was going to skip rope 2000 times more just to be with Hyunwoo. Puts a new spin on Vanessa Carlton’s “I’d walk a thousand miles just to see your face.” Jieun can’t even see his face! I feel like every paragraph of my recaps are going to end like this. (Oh Jieun… <3)
In the morning, Woohyun is enjoying a veritable breakfast feast of banchon and enjoying himself thoroughly. He takes a sip, wiggles in delight, and makes some humming noises. See below for his delighted eating face. This will go down as his everything-is-delightful-and-so-is-this-soup face.
Until,of course,he sees Hye-Ja, who gives him a look that she uses so much in this episode I’ll have to give it a name, too, like Hye-Ja’s Stone-wall Look of Disapproval.
See below for his toned-down eating face, to be used in the company of Hye-Ja.
But, as soon as she’s out the door, it’s back to…
And more happy contentedness.
Don’t change, Woohyun, don’t change.
As he clears away the dishes, he gets a call from a middle school classmate, who’s in Korea for business and wants to see him. His classmate is impressed to hear that Woohyun lives in Cheongdamdong (the wealthiest zipcode in Korea), although we, the viewers, all know that the actual circumstances are less than what one would expect.
Meanwhile, Sangyeob is driving with Jieun in the passenger seat, nodding off as a result of not getting any sleep once again. I feel sad for Sangyeob, who’s so clearly lost the battle at this point. He asks her if she didn’t get any sleep again, and she wakes up in confusion, shouting at the person who dared to come in. He’s surprised and then does a double take as Jieun wipes her mouth carelessly and then begins to vigorously slap herself on the cheeks to wake up.
Sigh. This is the face of a girl who is not trying to impress anyone.
And this is the face of a man who’s so far gone in the Land of Liking that he thinks aforementioned face is still cute.
Oh…. my heart is twinging already. We cut to Woohyun with his middle school friend and two other buddies. Everyone is wearing a casual suit except for Woohyun, which indicates trouble off the bat. The waitress puts down a dish and Woohyun does his usual “Woooooooo,” breathing and guffawing with happiness. One man, hitherto called Smarmy Bum, says derisively that Woohyun seems like he’s never eaten such good things before, but his old classmate cuts him off, saying that at a time when he was eating scraps, Woohyun’s family was the kindest to him. His classmate tells Woohyun that this restaurant is famous for its delicacies. By his side, Smarmy mutters if Woohyun even has the palate to appreciate it. Woohyun starts to look a bit downcast.
They chat for a bit longer and it turns out Smarmy is an equal opportunist in the Land of Rude, as he’s rude not only to ill-kempt Woohyun, but also to Woohyun’s commercially successfully classmate. This comforts me. Be a jerk if you must, but don’t get selective about it. See photo evidence of Smarmy’s distasteful mug below.
Fortunately for me (because I just can’t take it when Woohyun’s being abused), the men find a point to bond over: women. Woohyun gets a call from Bohee, who yells into the phone that he needs to haul his butt back home right now, and so on and so forth. Her nagging sounds like a stereotypical wife’s so everyone at the restaurant assumes Bohee is Woohyun’s wife. Seeing that their opinion of him has been raised with the assumption that he managed to snag a girl, Woohyun doesn’t have the heart to correct them.
Meanwhile, Jungmin gets the recipe from Moosung’s aunt and Moosung is amazed, telling her that it’s exactly right. He sighs happily that he hasn’t tasted this soup in three years. (At this point it occurs to me that Moosung is pretty incompetent for not having tried to make this soup earlier if he’s been pining away for it. It’s soup, not a nuclear weapon, man, just follow the recipe.) Jungmin goes back into the kitchen to get Moosung some water, telling one of her staff, “Is it truly possible that Mom’s cooking is the best? Can all Moms be the best cook? Of course not, it’s just that they’re used to it.” Meanwhile, Moosung literally howls in enjoyment. This show is getting to me with its food appreciation.
*Small storyline with Hye-Ja is that she found a book about a man who picks up abandoned dogs and sells them. For some reason, it’s really moves her, and she goes to lengths to get the author’s phone number so she can thank him personally for writing such a great story. The other characters so far have been given such good storylines that I feel like Hye-Ja’s being underused.
Back at the restaurant, the conversation has turned to children, which is when Woohyun gets a call from his roommate Sanghoon. Sanghoon cries into the phone that Moosung beat him up, and Woohyun says, “Don’t cry, don’t cry,” and then admonishes Moosung to treat his dongsaeng better. In Korean, calling someone your younger brother can apply to anyone younger than you. When Woohyun gets off the phone, his old classmate says that his children must be young, for them to still be crying like that.
Later, his classmate then attempts one more time to contact a famous writer that his company has been trying to nail and the other dinner companions scoff that he is trying to impress them by taking the phone call in front of them. Finally, the dinner ends and Woohyun plods home dejectedly, the meal having taken its toll on his spirit. Elsewhere, Sangyeob turns the car around and drives Jieun home, seeing as she’s so tired she slept the entire car ride. But, he’s excited to get a reason to see her again when he realizes that she left her phone.
Oh… sigh. I knew something sad was going to happen. It’s like this show thinks I’ll survive if it pads the first half with happiness galore and then beats me around like an emotional punching bag for the second half.
Before Sangyeob enters the manhwa room, he hears Jieun laughing hysterically. Through the window, he watches her and Hyunwoo laugh and laugh, all traces of her former lethargy gone. If you look carefully, you can see his dejected little mien in between the two posters.
What makes this so sad is the reversal; her sleepiness was originally a source of cute for him. Each time he saw her head nodding about in the passenger seat, he would smile. Only now, he realizes that her lethargy is nothing to be happy about. In fact, it’s a reason to feel threatened that his place in her heart is not secure at all.
At night, Woohyun goes up to the roof and is petting the dog when he gets a phone call from the famous writer, the same one that his classmate had been trying to contract and that Hye-Ja had admired (of course, because in kdramas, Chekhov’s gun is used without fail). The writer tells Woohyun that at a time when he had thought about giving up the profession, Woohyun had saved him.
27 years ago, the writer had left a manuscript on a table in the manhwa room. Woohyun had picked it up and the writer watched Woohyun as he read it. Woohyun laughed and cried and bounced around in his chair; he was so engrossed in the plot. It was from that moment that the writer felt there was truly something noble in the profession of writing. He then asked Woohyun if he could put his name in the book’s dedication. Woohyun began to cry then, and he said repeatedly, “I’m so happy, so, so happy that you’ve succeeded.” (Oh, Woohyun…)
We close the episode on his smiling face.
But, finally, just because I can, here’s a big, honking picture of Hyunwoo from the previews for Ep 103, where, apparently, an old girlfriend from Hyunwoo’s past pops up. So far, the drama hasn’t fallen into any tired tropes, which is why I’m hoping that they won’t make this ex-girlfriend a cliche.
Till next time, compadres.
**Think Moosung is the lovable, soup-drinking uncle you never had? Watch him in Cruel City.