I Need Romance 3: Episode 7

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Whoa. Brace yourselves for impact, because we’re about to dive headfirst into a sea of angst. I can feel it coming a mile away even though this episode isn’t exactly angsty just yet. Episode 7 builds up on Joo Wan’s revelation in the previous episode about where Joo Yeon’s feelings lay, but it also gives a lot of hope to those rooting for Team Wan.

Episode 7: It’s Not Your Body that’s Suffering, But Your Heart

 

Though Joo Wan would very much like for Joo Yeon to be at his side listening and singing along to his music, she has no time for that. She’s a very busy woman with little time to eat or sleep and constantly on the go. Because she is so focused on her work, Joo Wan has become her housemaid (heh!) and she doesn’t even realize that she’s in love with Tae Yoon.

But her tears for Tae Yoon stop almost as suddenly as they started. Joo Yeon’s hunger overtakes her sadness and soon she’s munching happily on an apple. Soon she’s already foretelling her Monday. Once she’s in, she’ll have a new nickname: “200,000 won a piece.” It references to the price of her product divided by the length of her segment to come up with how much the piece was basically worth to the company. And guess who came up with the tradition of embarrassing people by mocking their worth? Tae Yoon. Joo Yeon never had to undergo such embarrassment – until now.

 

Joo Wan wants to know more about his “rival” so Joo Yeon describes him as a tough mentor who taught her everything she now knows, and yet somehow is the person she’s most comfortable with. She has a lot of respect for him, and the only weakness she can see in him is the fact that he used to date Oh Se Ryung. That’s news to Joo Wan, too.

Back at the office Tae Yoon pops open a champagne bottle to celebrate Se Ryung’s first sold out show. Woo Young and Hee Jae are feeling a little guilty joining in on the festivities, but they were part of Se Ryung’s team. One of Se Ryung’s team members notices that she’s wearing her lucky necklace – the very same necklace that Tae Yoon gave her many years ago. Se Ryung only says that someone whom she loved very much gave it to her, and she realized how much she loved him after he broke up with her.

 

Tae Yoon walks off, disturbed by Se Ryung’s casual comment about him. She hunts him down in his office to invite him out for drinks at their special bar, but he doesn’t want anything to do with her. He’s disgusted with her behavior because she doesn’t seem to treasure their love and memories together. Instead she just wants what she wants, when she wants it. Se Ryung is hurt by his words but still finds comfort in the fact that he seems to still care for her.

 

He leaves first, and then Hee Jae confronts Se Ryung with her blazer. Se Ryung must have given her that blazer to plant an idea in Joo Yeon’s head that it would be sellable. It’s a bit of a stretch, and Se Ryung admits that she did it even though it’s clear she didn’t by the look on her face. Tae Yoon overhears the accusation and defends Se Ryung, and then takes her away with him.

He scolds her for not telling the truth about how she didn’t try to sabotage Joo Yeon but Se Ryung doesn’t exactly care about her reputation. As long as the important people, including Tae Yoon and Joo Yeon, know the truth then it doesn’t matter who else thinks wrongly of her. Hee Jae still feels really guilty about Joo Yeon’s failed segment, so Woo Young suggests they go celebrate alone instead of with the rest of Se Ryung’s team. But Hee Jae rejects him. Twice. So he goes home. Hee Jae thinks he’s giving up too easily because he should have asked a third time, but Woo Young stopped out of respect for her boyfriend.

 

Back at home Joo Yeon runs outside in the cold air around the park, venting her anger and envy over Se Ryung’s successful segment. She peps herself up with a random rap (hah! Kim So Yeon rapping!) and then starts running again. Even though he’s freezing his butt off Joo Wan can’t help but be amused.

Joo Yeon reinforces to herself that she can’t rely on anyone else and having the right perspective can change her life. She chooses mind over heart, which Joo Wan disagrees with. By living her life using only her brains, she forgets her own feelings and eventually may never truly know herself.

 

Joo Wan isn’t spouting some nonsense he read in a book either. He actually experienced it soon after immigrating to the States. During junior high he flunked out of his classes and caused a lot of trouble for his busy parents. He was going through different emotions, eventually letting them take over and ruin his life for a year. But doing so led to a certain clarity. He realized the one thing that was important to him: Joo Yeon. And because he remembered that promise to come back, he got his life back together.

Joo Yeon notes that him coming back has been good for her because now there’s someone who feeds her, cleans up after her, and talks to her when she needs a friend. Hah! That’s not exactly why Joo Wan wanted to come back though! He hates being her slave! And he doesn’t like the fact that Joo Yeon is too comfortable around him because she should be seeing him as a man, and not as some pesky younger brother. He sees her as a woman that he’d like to be romantically involved with, and so he leans in really close in order to get her heart racing again. Hehehe.

 

They go up to his attic and Joo Wan plays some tunes that she played for him when he was younger. She doesn’t remember any of them though, nor understand what he means when he asks, “How does that song make you feel?” It’s like she forgot all the emotions she taught him because she herself is now an emotionless crustacean. But the one song she does understand is the song of sadness. That is the one song she connects with.

Just as Joo Wan starts playing the song of love, Joo Yeon falls asleep leaning on his shoulder. He carries her to his bed and tries to unfurl her fists so that she doesn’t have to sleep in such a tense position. Instead, she ends up holding his thumb and refuses to let go.

 

Tae Yoon and Se Ryung go to their special bar and greet Eve. They play with her for a little bit, counting on the fact that they can get their allergy medicine later. Preferably at Tae Yoon’s house. He pretends that he doesn’t have any, but Se Ryung flirtatiously offers to look for them. After all, she knows where he might have kept them.

They head home together, and it’s pretty obvious they missed each other and still have the hots for each other. Cue make-out session!

 

The following morning, Joo Yeon stirs and finds herself in bed with Joo Wan. He can feel she’s awake but keeps his eyes shut, bracing for the impact of a pillow when she surely throws it his way. But instead, she sits up and brushes the hair from his forehead. Instinctively Joo Wan bolts upright and says nothing happened between the two of them so she shouldn’t hit him. He just didn’t want to carry her down to her room because she’s too heavy.

 

But Joo Yeon isn’t mad! Instead, she’s surprised that she had the most peaceful night sleep for a Saturday night. And since he’s just “Sweet Potato” to her, she doesn’t mind sleeping with him like this. That’s not exactly what Joo Wan wants to hear, but he’ll take it. At least she’s not mad! He gives her a huge back hug and suggests they sleep together every night since both got such a restful night’s sleep.

 

Tae Yoon and Se Ryung wake up to hives on their faces, and Tae Yoon playfully won’t let Se Ryung take any of his medicine because he finds her “cute” with the hives. Uh, weird? As the two of them run around the house, so do Joo Yeon and Joo Wan, chasing each other for another hug. In a voice over, Joo Yeon notes that this could be considered a happily ever after ending as both couples have found their match and seem happy. But that’s what would have happened in a drama. And their lives are not a drama. Hah. So meta. It’s very insightful at the same time since no one’s life ends at that moment.

Joo Yeon returns to work to deal with the massive amount of inventory leftover from her failed sale. Hee Jae also relays her suspicions that Se Ryung might have sabotaged them on purpose. With so much work to be done, Joo Yeon will need Min Jung’s help.

 

Min Jung – the free girl that she is – visits her OB-GYN and discovers that she’s… wait for it… pregnant! It’s a near miracle considering that she is going through early menopause, but it’s happened. Her doctor says that it’ll probably be her first and last pregnancy, and that she has a high chance of miscarriage. It makes Min Jung feel that much more fragile because she has a tiny life in her that may be her last shot at being a mother. If she even wants to be a mother.

Min Jung returns home to find Joo Yeon waiting at her front door. Before they can even exchange greetings, Min Suk comes out of his apartment. Min Jung grabs Joo Yeon and drags her inside before Min Suk can see her. Hehehe. That’s the baby daddy you’re hiding from! Min Suk is a bit frustrated that his neighbor won’t come out to meet him when he has a package that he signed off for her.

 

Next thing he knows, the door opens and Joo Yeon steps out! She pretends she’s Min Jung and flirtatiously accepts the package. “I heard that you’ve been calling me an ‘old maid’?” she purrs. Min Suk, taken aback by Joo Yeon’s beauty, denies it and promises to let others know that she’s not an old maid at all, but a “captivating single woman.” (Min Jung’s words, not anyone else’s.)

Joo Yeon goes back in and hands the package to Min Jung: “I did as I was told so you have to come back to work tomorrow. Heh.”

 

Turns out the package contains books written by Min Suk. He really does seem to be a good catch, being a scholar and all. Min Jung then drops the bomb that she’s pregnant. Before she can say any further, Joo Yeon stops her. She doesn’t want to know anything more about Min Jung’s personal life because she’s not going to know what to say or how to help her. It’d be better if they keep business separate from personal. Joo Yeon hands Min Jung a cake and hopes that she can return tomorrow to work.

As soon as she’s home Joo Yeon unloads her troubles on Joo Wan. Min Jung’s words made her feel very uncomfortable because there’s no logical way for her to handle it. It would cause a lot of trouble for both of them emotionally if they both knew about the baby, and Min Jung might get ostracized at work for being a single mother. Joo Wan becomes exasperated with her; it’s not about being practical but being a good listener. He thinks Joo Yeon should have just heard Min Jung out instead of interrupting her, and then say that she would have been there for her whether or not she really would.

 

He scolds her for being insensitive, which really bothers her. So the only solution is for her to text an apology! Joo Yeon types it out but it feels so insincere for her that she can’t send it. So Joo Wan sends it for her! And when Min Jung sees it, she’s actually more creeped out by Joo Yeon’s message of support than her reaction earlier in the day. Haha!

Min Jung does return to work the following day and faces a crisis that’s already at hand. A lot of the customers that purchased Se Ryung’s outfit are calling to return it. They don’t understand the asymmetrical style and want a refund. That means both Joo Yeon’s and Se Ryung’s segments are failures. Joo Yeon’s coworkers revel in her failure and offer up some time during their segments out of “pity” to help her. They mean it in a snarky way, and Joo Yeon bravely faces their snide remarks with a refusal for their help. She’ll get rid of the inventory her own way.

 

And her own way means hosting a small stand on the street with their products. It’s a little demeaning but a bit more creative for their team to resolve this issue. No one is really interested in buying their products until Se Ryung and her team make a sudden but fabulous appearance. While Joo Yeon and her team are bundled up in winter coats, Se Ryung and her team are wearing shorts over tights and fashionably thin wool coats. Are they cold? No! They’re professionals!

The sight of Se Ryung is enough to make all the women on the street stop and pay attention at Joo Yeon’s stand. And next thing they know, everything starts selling out.

 

That evening both teams go out for dinner to celebrate. Se Ryung points out that she kept her promise in helping clear out the inventory, and Joo Yeon replies that she’s thankful since it’s mostly Se Ryung’s fault that both segments failed. Clearly Joo Yeon blames Se Ryung for the “Blazer Incident.” Se Ryung scoffs. Is she so great that she could predict so accurately that by giving Hee Jae the blazer Joo Yeon would definitely try to sell it?

Min Jung is aghast at what a rude person Se Ryung is, especially when they go into a war about speaking formally versus informally at each other. But Se Ryung points out that Joo Yeon’s employees grumble more about what a bitch she is than her own employees. In fact, all of Se Ryung’s employees love her. As they say this, the pork skin on the grill pops from the fat, punctuating their sentences. It also makes me think that the pork skin is yelling at Se Ryung’s employees, “Liar! Liar! Liar!” Or is that wishful thinking?

 

They leave the restaurant and see Tae Yoon pull up in his car. Joo Yeon presumes it’s for her since he said that he was going to congratulate her. But nope – he’s actually here for Se Ryung! He wraps her coat around her shoulders and guides her to his car with barely a glance in Joo Yeon’s way. Joo Yeon realizes that they must be dating again, and suddenly she gets an attack of chest pains.

 

Thinking that it’s because of acid reflux she heads to the pharmacy before going home. Joo Wan is completely worried about her but when she takes a pill and feels no relief, he asks her what happened. Once he hears that Tae Yoon and Se Ryung are dating again, he realizes that she’s not feeling chest pain because of acid reflux. He hesitates in telling her, but then remembers one of the most important things she told him when they were younger about love: “Love is laughter, brightness, sunshine, and no lies.”

No lies. Joo Wan tells her that she’s feeling pain in her heart because she’s in love with someone. Joo Yeon: “Who am I in love with?”

Thoughts and Comments:

Will he tell her?! I think he will, and I think above all Joo Wan is going to want a fair fight for Joo Yeon’s heart. It’s going to be a matter of what Joo Yeon will now do because she can act on her supposed feelings or shun them because they’re not “rational.”

I really enjoyed the scene where Joo Yeon talks about how fairy tales would end at the moment where both couples were happily paired off. If this were a typical romantic comedy that started eight episodes earlier, that’s definitely where we would have ended it. It’s a bit self-referential but I also appreciated that it’s not going to end that way necessarily. While we might end up with these two pairings we need to see all the characters’ journeys first as they change and grow and learn to deserve one another. I really felt like I heard the writer’s voice in this monologue because of an interview the writer had about the series. It was very revelatory to see what her point of view was when it comes to writing about love and dating in reality versus fantasy. It would be easier if we had someone like Joo Wan tell us whom we were in love with in case we were too blind to see. But we don’t. We don’t have a scriptwriter penning our lives as they happen, a la the film “Stranger than Fiction” (with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson). Life is as messy as J.K. Rowling suddenly revealing that Hermione should not have ended up with Ron seven years after the fact (hah! that dratted lucky number).

In a way I wonder whether Hee Jae’s reaction to Woo Young’s advances is her dalliance with fantasy. It appears that she fantasizes a possible romance with Woo Young because he’s clearly interested in her, she might be interested in him, and they both work together and thus share the same experiences. But she’ll have to realize that what may seem good with Woo Young may not actually be good for the long term. She might go through Se Ryung’s pain at not having realized that she actually had it good, but is willing to throw all of it away for greener pastures. I worry about this girl.

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