It’s finally the turning point! It’s hard to believe that there are only three more episodes to go because it’s gone by so fast. Any Kim So Yeon drama goes by really fast for me… But it’s about time that Joo Yeon tries to understand her own heart. We have several conflicts that we’ll need to resolve somehow, stat, and this episode starts resolving them.
Episode 13: Without Even a Promise to Return
Joo Yeon goes on her movie date with Tae Yoon but spends the entire time trying to figure out what to say to him to explain her hugging Joo Wan. There are so many things she can’t tell him, from him saying he loves her to her sleeping on his bed every so often; from them cuddling up together to Joo Wan being the man she fell in love with with just one kiss. She ends up staring at Tae Yoon awkwardly every so often that he finally tells her to just spit out whatever it is she wants to say.
She’s curious as to why he hasn’t mentioned the hug. Tae Yoon admits it bothers him but has decided that it’s an issue she needs to resolve by herself. He’s just going to wait and trust her to make the right decision… which in his mind means kicking Joo Wan out of the house. Joo Yeon isn’t ready to let Joo Wan go, but the two decide not to fight about the matter any more.
Joo Yeon returns home and the first thing she says is, “Joo Wan I’m home!” It’s super telling that the first person she looks for is Joo Wan, and even she realizes it. She goes up to his room and finds him asleep, and she naturally brushes the hair from his forehead. The action is so natural that she is happily surprised by how close they’ve become. Joo Wan stirs and kisses her hand, which startles her and breaks her reverie. Suddenly she shies away from his touch, remembering that she’s actually dating Tae Yoon.
Joo Yeon warns Joo Wan to stop touching her like that or saying things like, “I love you.” She doesn’t see him as a man and so she doesn’t want him distracting her from her current boyfriend, who just might be her last shot at love. She really wants it to work with Tae Yoon so she pushes Joo Wan away, just short of actually kicking him from the house.
Tae Yoon later texts Joo Yeon asking what she’s doing. She starts to lie, pretending that she’s cleaned the place and watered the plants. Pfft! The lies! Joo Wan catches her in the act and freaks out when he discovers that she watered his plant that doesn’t need to be watered! He’s so mad that Tae Yoon actually believes Joo Yeon is a good cook or a good housekeeper because in reality, he’s the good cook and housekeeper!
Now awake, Joo Wan goes to prepare rice for the following morning. Joo Yeon sidles up to him and cutely thanks him for preparing the food. He pushes her away this time; if she doesn’t want him touching her affectionately then she shouldn’t either. If she wants him to give up on her, then she needs to stop leading him on.
Suddenly, Joo Wan gets an idea. Is she super comfortable around him because possibly she likes him too? Is this one of those instances where her heart leads before her mind, and she hasn’t realized that she likes him yet? Doesn’t she realize that she acts strangely only around Joo Wan?
Awkward! Joo Yeon runs off to her room instead of admitting anything, but she does ask Stuffed Giraffe why she acts strangely around Joo Wan. Meanwhile Joo Wan is super happy that he’s got a fighting chance!
The following morning, Min Jung and Min Suk bump into each other while getting rid of the recyclables. He notices her empty soda cans and pizza boxes, and scolds her for not eating healthily enough for their baby. He even scolds her for wearing high heels while pregnant. Min Jung tells him to butt out since he didn’t want to be involved with the baby anyways. But she does wonder if he has a stronger sense for responsibility than she gives him credit for.
During a mid-day walk, Joo Yeon asks if Min Jung ever considered raising the child with Min Suk. Min Jung is unsure, especially since she doesn’t want to depend on a guy. She doesn’t even feel confident enough that she could lead a simple life with a man. Her past experience has made her so suspicious of every good guy that comes long; she believes that sure enough, each one will reveal a fault.
Joo Yeon realizes that she and Min Jung are the same, and that Joo Wan would say their past experiences have damaged them to the point that they are bitter and cynical when going into any relationship. Joo Yeon wonders if it’s possible for that fairy tale romance of “happily ever after” to exist because in a way that is what is happening with her and Joo Wan. Perhaps their cynicism might prevent them from seeing a good guy when he comes along and miss the opportunity for a happy, simple life.
Just as Joo Yeon is coming around to the possibility, Min Jung has to shoot down the dream by pointing out that they’re not princesses. They’re regular managers who need to work hard every day and have less opportunity to dream like that.
They return to the office, still talking about Min Jung’s pregnancy. As they pause by the kitchen, they don’t notice Woo Young and Hee Jae crouching over a broken mug that Hee Jae accidentally knocked over. They also didn’t notice Woo Young kissing Hee Jae just moments before to help “get rid of her hiccups.” Uh-huh. Suureee. Kisses get rid of hiccups…
Anyways, Woo Young and Hee Jae overhear Min Jung’s plans to take a month off after she gives birth instead of taking the full three months’ maternity leave. She’s currently interviewing a bunch of live-in nannies who could take care of the baby and help do some housekeeping. Suddenly Hee Jae lets out a hiccup, alerting Min Jung and Joo Yeon to their presence. Outed, the two juniors stand up sheepishly and admit to hearing everything.
And then Tae Yoon appears behind them and demands to speak with Joo Yeon in his office. He heard everything too, and frankly he’s not pleased that she promoted a single, unwed mother to the position of Team Leader. No matter what her skill set is, the company is still very patriarchal and traditional. No one would approve of her being a single mother, and Min Jung might not even get maternity leave granted to her. He suggests that Joo Yeon send out fake invitations to a wedding and have Min Jung take vacation to make it seem like she got married. Joo Yeon can’t believe what she’s hearing. If she does that, Min Jung will have to keep up that lie for the rest of her time in the company. And every employee should have the same rights and privileges.
Tae Yoon: “That’s the position you now are in as a ‘director.’ Sometimes you have to say things you don’t want to say.”
Joo Yeon emerges from his office with a long face, and with just one look at Min Jung, both understand what happened in the meeting. Not wanting to confront the situation just yet, Joo Yeon escapes to the rooftop and considers calling Joo Wan. After all, during hard times she’d seek Joo Wan out for his advice. However as soon as he picks up, she hangs up. She needs to stop depending on him!
Joo Wan calls her right back and teases that she must be thinking about him a lot while at work. Hehehe. She hangs up on him and angrily texts Tae Yoon for not being more considerate of her as his girlfriend when he gave her “that talk.” At that moment, Tae Yoon comes out with a cup of coffee for her, a sort of peace offering. She immediately regrets her text and forgives everything because of the coffee. Ugh. UGH. He suggests they grab dinner, only to remember that he needs to work overtime because her New Brand Team is neck-to-neck in performance rate as his Fashion Department. He can’t lose to this tiny department just yet!
Meanwhile, poor Min Suk is agonizing over the fact that he’s going to be a father and he wants Min Jung to take better care of herself, but at the same time doesn’t want to keep interfering since he said he didn’t want to bear responsibility. Just at the supermarket he’s torn on whether to buy Min Jung strawberries or formula milk.
Joo Yeon asks her team if they’ve made any progress on securing another stylist. Her team is surprised to hear that she didn’t beg Se Ryung to continue working for them. Se Ryung is equally surprised at why Joo Yeon has not contacted her because she knows the New Brand Team doesn’t have a new stylist. Se Ryung tries to fish information from Joo Wan, but he’s keeping mum. He only points out that sometimes winning isn’t everything, and that Se Ryung might find herself more at peace if she just concedes “defeat.” Se Ryung doesn’t want to because if she gets a taste of losing, and sees how easy it is, she might always choose to “lose.” Right now she hates Joo Yeon for both ditching her and for stealing Tae Yoon, so even though she’s a total mess both professionally and personally she will not go begging Joo Yeon for a job.
Later that evening Joo Wan tells Joo Yeon that Se Ryung cried in front of him. He suggests that since she is the one holding all the cards, perhaps she should extend a hand to Se Ryung. Joo Yeon doesn’t want to. She hates that Joo Wan makes her seem like the bad guy all the time, and she doesn’t want to be the bigger person when she’s the one who finally has the upper hand. Okay, well if Joo Yeon wishes too… Joo Wan tries to snuggle up with her in her bed instead, and they end up in a cheek-pinching war that helps ease the tension between them.
But a call from Tae Yoon totally breaks the mood. He just got out of work and is parked outside of Joo Yeon’s home because he wants to see her face for just a moment. Even though Joo Yeon goes, she gripes that she doesn’t like men who appear on her doorstep so suddenly when she hasn’t even had ample enough time to pretty herself.
Joo Wan tries to stop her from going out. They already see each other all day at the office so why must they see each other off-work hours? He thinks that because Joo Yeon has to put up a facade of who she is, they must not be having a real relationship at all. Joo Yeon still insists on going out to see her boyfriend so Joo Wan finally presents the ultimatum: “Is it me or Kang Tae Yoon? Imagine one of us disappearing from your life forever. Which one of us will it be?”
Joo Yeon pauses, and then (disappointingly) says she would rather have Joo Wan disappear. After all she’s lived so many years without him, surely she can go back to a life that is Joo Wan-less. You don’t mean that, do you? Not really, right?
She then heads over to Tae Yoon’s car, and he suggests taking her home to his place. Immediately Joo Yeon declines, but then she comes up with the excuse that she has to finish up work at home. See! Excuses! The signs are blaring that Joo Yeon doesn’t really want to be with Tae Yoon for that long!
They go for coffee instead, and the topic of Joo Wan in her house comes up again. Joo Yeon assures Tae Yoon that it’s a temporary situation because Joo Wan will only be in Korea for a year. Tae Yoon laments that she’s not a very obedient girlfriend, and I find myself restraining myself from punching his face (my computer monitor) for his somewhat chauvinistic views on male and female roles in relationships.
Meanwhile Min Jung gets a late night visitor in the form of Min Suk. He’s disappointed to find her eating pizza again and unpacks a large box of healthier Korean food, vitamins, and a yoga workout video that he got her, all in the name of financially supporting her. Min Jung shyly asks if he wants to see the ultrasound pictures, but he doesn’t want to. Seeing those pictures might wreak even more havoc on Min Suk’s emotional state right now, since he’s already at crossroads on what he should do about the baby.
Tae Yoon brings Joo Yeon home and he leans in for a good night kiss. Just then Joo Wan comes barging through demanding that Joo Yeon pick one of them, and to stop playing the both of them all the time. No matter what Joo Yeon says, Joo Wan asserts himself as a romantic rival to Tae Yoon. He claims that he cannot live without Joo Yeon, and so Tae Yoon – who might be able to – should just leave.
Tae Yoon: Joo Yeon, I think you should kick him out of the house. And then let’s wait and see if he dies without you. No one in this world would die because of not having someone in their life. The fact that you could say that is proof that you’re still immature. Go on and live your life after breaking up with someone, and then see how pathetic that unrequited love of yours really is. Then you’ll know how pathetic you are.
Wow, Tae Yoon’s speech is so wrought with pain as it’s clear his words come from his own experiences with Se Ryung.
Back at home Joo Yeon starts yelling at Joo Wan for what he did. He was the one who suggested she go and date Tae Yoon in the first place, so why is he stopping her now? If he keeps up these “antics” she’s going to kick him out for real. If he touches her, or comes to close to her, or messes with Tae Yoon, he’s out of the house.
The next day, Woo Young and Hee Jae are on a shopping trip scouting for new trends that would help their team. I find them really strange because they seem to be a great working team, but really awkward lovers. Anyways, Hee Jae sees a bag and immediately is taken by it. A quick glance at the price forces her to put it down though. She doesn’t want to regret buying it now and then the bag goes out of style by the next season. Woo Young tells her to stop holding back. She needs to buy what she wants to figure out what she likes. If she knows what she likes, then she’s one step closer to figuring out her dream. And with that, Woo Young tells the saleslady that Hee Jae will be buying it.
Joo Yeon heads out early to meet with Se Ryung. Min Jung tags along, stating that as the Team Leader she should assist the Director on this. As soon as they sit down for dinner they get down to business. Se Ryung needs money, and Joo Yeon needs a stylist. But neither are here to beg each other to come join them.
So Min Jung does the kneeling. She will beg Se Ryung to join them. After all, is kneeling such a big deal? She calls Se Ryung and Joo Yeon out for being so ridiculous because kneeling down to each other wouldn’t make them pathetic. She herself is the most pathetic out of all the women in the room because she’s having a baby out of wedlock!
That’s news to Se Ryung, but Se Ryung doesn’t judge Min Jung. Since they’re trading secrets now, she says that she broke up with Tae Yoon… and that Joo Yeon is the one who’s dating him. That‘s news to Min Jung. Now both ladies demand Joo Yeon spill a secret from her own lips. Joo Yeon: “I… kind of like this little party we have here.” Heh. And with that, it becomes a girls’ night out!
Back at home, Joo Wan cleans the house one last time and starts packing up his stuff. He leaves a demo of his new song “Love is to Smile” on the dining table, which is reminiscent of Joo Yeon’s explanation of ‘love’ long ago. Just as he puts his bags away in the trunk, Joo Yeon arrives home.
She informs him that things are now better between her and Se Ryung, which Joo Wan is happy to hear of. He comes over to her, and she stops him, sticking by her words that she’ll kick him out if he comes too close. Well too late.
He grabs her waist and pulls her in close. She’s going to have to kick him out now, because he’s going to kiss her.
She resists at first, but he only holds her in tighter, and she finally gives in. And then when he pulls away, he says, “Take care, Shin Joo Yeon.” And drives away.
Thoughts and Comments:
I feel like this episode is full of growing pains as Joo Yeon tries to figure out her own heart. This time she has no Joo Wan to help her because he can’t help her decide to choose him. He’s clearly the better option now, especially with Tae Yoon becoming more off-putting with each episode.
Honestly though I found myself feeling a tiny bit of pity for Tae Yoon in this episode. His speech about not being able to live without someone is full of his own wounds from his relationship with Se Ryung. She hurt Tae Yoon so much that he has become jaded about relationships. He wants the easy way out, a love that’s based on mutual love and respect but also has no complexities. It’s a boring kind of love, but perfectly safe, and I found myself pitying him for not wanting to be adventurous anymore. It’s not a bad thing to want that kind of love, but he’s clearly not a good fit for Joo Yeon, who seems to want love that’s a bit more exciting. Though she is also jaded about relationships, it’s not to the same level as Tae Yoon is. I think she would still look for excitement and the possibility of a fairy tale romance, but is just more pragmatic about what may happen at the end. Tae Yoon is not even looking for excitement anymore.
On another note, I find the plot with Woo Young and Hee Jae really strange. It feels as if the writer doesn’t know what to do with Hee Jae. She had a really compelling story in the beginning but ever since she broke up with her boyfriend she’s gotten boring. I guess she’s just floating around because she doesn’t know what her dream is, and the writer did say that she wants Hee Jae to discover her dream. However, I don’t like how she’s latched on to Woo Young and they have this weird, pseudo-love-working-relationship. I don’t like how she’s relying on Woo Young as if he’s her fairy godfather. I don’t like how he’s taken up the role of being her adviser, her conscience, and her guide to life. His role is similar to Joo Wan’s in that he does nothing but give his leading lady advice. But if we have Joo Wan already, why do we need another guy like that in the drama? Why must Woo Young be so perfect, giving us two perfect guys in the drama that act in similar ways? Why can’t he make some mistakes like Min Suk?
Woo Young is just as young as Hee Jae and has not shown evidence of being a reliable source for advice. True, Joo Wan is young as well but at least we saw where he’s coming from with his flashbacks. We saw that Joo Wan formed the opinions he has now thanks to Joo Yeon, and that gives some credence for the advice he gives. With Woo Young, he really acts like a fairy godfather to me. This subplot has become a bit disappointing for me since I was hoping for something far more passionate and full of mistakes as is fitting for a young woman like Hee Jae.