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http://www.dramabeans.com/2014/04/witchs-romance-episode-1/

Witch’s Romance: Episode 1

by gummimochi

Ushering us into a new season of spring flings, Witch’s Romance premiered on tvN this week. The lighthearted workplace rom-com is a remake of the hit 2009 Taiwanese drama My Queen, and its wacky, fun-loving (and sometimes sultry) tone just might be the ticket to pull us out of hibernation. What better way is there for a successful 39-year-old gold miss heroine to heal her emotional scars than starting anew with an earnest hero fourteen years her junior?

There’s plenty of charm to cast a spell on its viewers, but this witch’s brew might also need a bit of extra magic to take off. And if magic = kisses in this show, I’m totally okay with that substitute.

EPISODE 1 RECAP

March 14, White Day (a romantic holiday when men give sweets to women, typically as a response to Valentine’s Day). As a camera pans across the cityscape, a radio DJ sends a word of encouragement to all the still-unattached women out there: take heart, for today could be the day when your destiny changes with a new, blooming romance.

She also has some advice for the men: “Don’t anger the women on a day like today. At all.” Because you don’t know how her broken heart will retaliate, after all.

Amidst the bustling streets, we zoom in to see a rather strange sight: a Santa chasing after someone riding off on a bike. It’s our heroine BAN JI-YEON (Uhm Jung-hwa) whose voice-over is filled with determination—she’s never lost a lead in her 39 years of age—and wonders what a Santa is doing in the middle of March. You and me both, honey.

At Spring Santa’s cries for her to stop, she answers in her head: “No, I won’t ever stop.” Not if she wants to get ahead, that is.

In order to understand how we got here, we rewind to three hours ago as Ji-yeon struts down the street lookin’ like a boss, donned in her old school uniform with one pant-leg rolled up. She boasts to her co-worker how her old threads still fit perfectly… which is when a button flies off. Nothing an emergency safety pin can’t fix.

Her co-worker asks if her lead is a sure thing this time, and she snaps at the nickname “Witch,” much preferring the alternative “Antenna,” as she drills the point home that she never loses a juicy story. Thanks to her, this scoop will make the cover of their magazine, Trouble Maker.

 

The gossip certainly sounds troubling, since it involves a beloved, well-respected celebrity (who has no anti-fans!). The actor in question has a pristine image in the public eye, and is scheduled to give a lecture at a high school today.

The interesting twist? His common-law wife is a teacher there and brought their alleged daughter to work today. With just about three hours to obtain solid proof, they head out.

Inside the school, we cut away to a frightened girl pleading with her potential attacker, who whips her around. That’s when she stomps on his foot and elbows him, earning the girl a round of applause from her classmates. Ah, it’s a self-defense class led by our hero, YOON DONG-HA (Park Seo-joon), who teaches the group another defensive move.

Dong-ha is just about to demonstrate when his buddy flinches, and he says reassuringly that he can’t actually hit his best friend. Aw, bromance.

Ji-yeon and her co-worker/photographer slip past the security guard and scale the rooftops to get into prime position to spy on their targets. Right on schedule, their celebrity target arrives to happily greet the little girl, and they start snapping photos.

Sure enough, the conversation inside confirms that the little girl is the megastar’s daughter, who asks why Daddy rarely comes to visit. He sends his daughter off to chat with her mother and his mistress, with whom he drops the respected celebrity act, asking why she brought their daughter her today of all days.

 

It’s been months since their daughter has seen him, she counters, and it saddens her to see their child keep her parentage a secret. But he isn’t in the mood to deal with this, and suggests that she and the child go abroad for a while, which she argues is his way to keep them out of the picture.

He warns her that he won’t let her stand in his way. Somehow Ji-yeon is able to hear or understand this conversation on the rooftop because she curses him under her breath. Can you read lips? Or did you bug the room?

And if we needed any more proof that Pristine Actor isn’t so perfect after all, he slaps one of his men for screwing up—they were supposed to make sure his mistress and child wouldn’t show up today.

 

Ji-yeon and her co-worker marvel over their photographic evidence, but they’re caught up on the rooftop by the security guard, who mistakes them for a pervy couple. She insists that they’re students, but he doesn’t buy it, and demands to check their camera for Peeping Tom photos.

So Ji-yeon keeps the security guard talking long enough to be handed the memory card. Then at the opportune moment, she makes a run for it. She hits a dead-end at the already locked school gates, so her co-worker jumps the guard to buy her enough time to hop over the gates.

Little do they know that the security guard has observed the self-defense classes Dong-ha teaches every week. Recalling Dong-ha’s lessons, the guard puts them into practice, rendering the poor photographer temporarily motionless.

 

Now we’re introduced to our Spring Santa (who’s really Dong-ha in costume), as he cheerily greets a group of children with presents. At the same time, Ji-yeon tries to hail a cab back to the office, to no avail. Noticing the gift-giving event taking place nearby, she pays off the child to swipe the bike, and then rides off.

Which brings us back to our opening sequence as Spring Santa/Dong-ha doggedly chases her through the busy streets. Still, Ji-yeon rides on, swerving around trucks and buses, knocking down cyclists in her path. And yet, all I’m thinking is how impressed I am by Dong-ha’s endurance.

Dong-ha actually chases her alllllllll the way back to her office and loses her at the last minute when she rolls into the elevator. He doesn’t understand when the guard refers to her as “Witch Reporter Ban,” and asks, “Why would I welcome [ban-ki] a witch?”

 

After a mini-celebration in the elevator, Ji-yeon makes it back to her staff meeting, albeit late and out of breath. Everyone is taken aback by her school attire, but she proudly shows off the memory card which holds the top actor’s secrets.

She briefs the staff on her findings—how the popular philanthropic actor’s public image vastly differs from his personal life. Apart from the secret child, rumor has it that he’s preparing for elections next year, which means he’ll need campaign funds. And wouldn’t you know that he’s suddenly been signing himself to appear in more commercials. Bottom line—it’s their job to bring the truth to light.

Her report gets the green light to be featured as the magazine’s cover story, to her fellow Team Leader Byun’s amazement. After the meeting, we see that Ji-yeon lives up to her “witch” title as she orders around the staff, who can hardly let out an opposing squeak. Needless to say, no one in the office (except maybe their publisher boss) likes her.

Ji-yeon heads down to the lobby that evening to see Santa Dong-ha and the kids waiting for her. When they call her a thief, Ji-yeon counters with the rational argument that they accepted money for it, and therefore a deal. Dong-ha argues in their defense, but Ji-yeon isn’t one to be trifled with.

She takes issue with being called “ajumma” and tells him to get to the point already. At his answer for compensation, she sticks her business card in his belt. She’s astounded when he tells her to apologize to the kids, too, and gives a half-hearted one before turning on her heel.

Dong-ha won’t accept that kind of treatment, nor is he satisfied with her blunt and rational apology, and pulls her back. But Ji-yeon is more than willing to shatter the children’s ideological beliefs with the ultimate cynical response: Santa isn’t real. GASP.

 

Pulling off Dong-ha’s beard, she warns the children not to be fooled by adults and educate themselves instead. Enraged, Dong-ha pushes her against the wall and points out that those orphanage children came to meet Santa and receive presents for the first time in their lives. She destroyed those dreams today, he presses.

Ji-yeon replies that growing up without parents should be more reason for them to get a grasp on reality sooner—to know there is no such thing as Santa. Dong-ha: “What about witches then? I saw one today.”

“I’m not a witch,” Ji-yeon answers. “Just like how you’re not a Santa.” Yet the crushed look on those kids’ faces would depress anyone.

 

Back upstairs, Ji-yeon huffs that being a witch is a hundred times better than a naive Snow White. She overhears her co-workers gossip at the water cooler, cackling that the Witch won’t ever get married.

She gets her payback by wrangling the trio into working for her tonight, and when the intern tries to weasel out of working late because she’s got a date, Ji-yeon tells her to go ahead… because there are plenty of people willing to take her place.

Dong-ha is berated by the orphans’ chaperone for ruining the children’s memories (though it seems the kids don’t blame him). He’s denied pay, and to make matters worse, his landlord kicks him out for not making rent again.

 

Ji-yeon returns home that evening, and listens to yet another screaming voicemail message from her mother. She grumbles that she doesn’t pick up since all Mom talks about is marriage anyway, and sighs at her mother’s excitement about seeing another fortune-teller.

Her mother blames all of her daughter’s woes on “that bastard” who disappeared, and starts to mention that tomorrow would have been her wedding anniversary when Ji-yeon shuts off the machine. She stares at a photo of a polar bear before turning the picture over.

Meanwhile, Dong-ha blames his rotten luck today on “that woman” to his buddy over the phone. At the same time, a lone tear runs down Ji-yeon’s face as she listens to music.

 

The singer belts out a sustained note, then the beat picks up and Ji-yeon dances along to the song. I love how she sings and dances around her place like no one is watching.

Her dance break gives us a perfect opportunity to learn more about her though our other characters. Dong-ha’s buddy complains that his neighbor is at it again with the loud music, while her drunk co-workers note that Ji-yeon hasn’t been on a date in the six years they’ve worked together.

Determined to get back at the Witch somehow, the intern comes up with a plan.

 

Dong-ha crashes with his buddy YONG SOO-CHUL (Yoon Hyun-min), and is told that he’s more than welcome to stay longer this time since Soo-chul will be gone to visit his chaebol family at home for a few days anyway.

Ji-yeon wakes the next morning to a news coverage playing on TV, and the anchorman (who is totally Dong-ha’s doppelganger) reports on the latest victims to die alone in their apartments due to loneliness and high stress: Ji-yeon and her goldfish. Aw, I know we’re in a dream, but this is still pretty sad.

 

In the blink of an eye, her place is crawling with police, which is when Ji-yeon sees her own dead body lying on the ground. Another Dong-ha doppelganger reports on-location and mourns over the deaths.

Next thing we know, Anchorman Dong-ha crawls out of the TV à la The Ring, throwing her earlier words back at her that no one can avoid the cold-harsh reality of the world, then laughs in her face. It legitimately freaks her out and jolts her awake in a cold sweat.

But one thing does transfer over from her dreams: her goldfish has gone belly up. She wonders with a sigh: “Did you really die of loneliness?”

 

The good news is that her exposé on Pristine Actor goes viral on both the stands and the airwaves, and Ji-yeon wears a smug look of pride at this achievement.

We get a brief glimpse of Mom, who’s on another one of her shaman visits. And this shaman (Narsha) is the curse-slinging type who freely tells Mom that her reporter daughter is basically the worst. Marriage isn’t the issue right now, she presses, because there are too many people who want to get back at the Witch.

It turns out the intern’s plan is to get a young, handsome man to romance Ji-yeon, and who should they go find but Soo-chul, the rich playboy. The Trouble Maker trio warns that cold-hearted Ji-yeon is no ordinary target, but Soo-chul is confident in his methods to make any woman fall for him.

 

But when Soo-chul’s initial attempt to woo Ji-yeon gets rejected (he sends over an expensive drink, which she promptly turns away), he takes the more forward approach and joins the Trouble Maker family in a round of celebratory drinks.

He certainly makes a suave first impression, saying all the right things to appease both her beauty and brains. He puts out his hand for a handshake, and when she takes it, he holds on firmly for a few more seconds as if waiting for a response. Your signature move?

They’re interrupted when Soo-chul rises to take a phone call—it’s Dong-ha who asks where the hair dryer is—and Soo-chul asks if his buddy wants to come out to score free drinks. He returns to the table to give Ji-yeon a business card (with a fake name, of course).

 

Nevertheless, Ji-yeon is flattered by the younger man’s flirtatious moves… not that she’d give her co-workers the satisfaction of seeing how impressed she is. She does, however, excuse herself to the bathroom to praise her still-sexy self in the mirror.

Dong-ha joins Soo-chul at the same bar and voices his disapproval about his buddy’s new gig. He doesn’t like the idea of making a fool out of someone, even if it’s just some office prank.

Soo-chul is no stranger to Dong-ha’s straight-laced ways, and points out his victim to his friend. Dong-ha immediately recognizes Ji-yeon and turns away.

 

Just then, the bar hosts an event to award the most romantic couple of the evening with an expensive bottle of liquor. The MC opens the floor to the crowd, and Soo-chul raises his hand. Grabbing onto his buddy’s arm, Dong-ha warns him not to, but Soo-chul just smiles and raises his other hand. Pffft, I love Dong-ha’s literal eye-roll at Soo-chul’s self-assurance.

Ji-yeon takes Soo-chul’s inviting hand with some reluctance, and Soo-chul sheepishly admits to the audience that he plans to confess his feelings tonight. He then takes the mic and turns Ji-yeon towards him, calling her his dream girl.

Considering the confession too weaksauce, the MC asks the audience for suggestions. The Trouble Maker rallies the crowd, yelling, “Kiss! Kiss!”

 

Embarrassed, Ji-yeon starts to walk away, but Soo-chul pulls her back and tells her to close her eyes. At those words, Ji-yeon informs us through voice-over that this day—March 15th—has been the bane of her existence for the past six years. Uh oh, that’s never a good sign.

Still, Ji-yeon is a tad hopeful that things might change this year and closes her eyes as Soo-chul leans in to kiss her… but then draws away at the last second and laughs in her face, calling her an ajumma. Oh you asshat.

Soo-chul high-fives Team Leader Byun as the latter jeers that he finally got a jab at the Witch. Completely humiliated, Ji-yeon freezes on stage, fighting back tears as she narrates: “March 15th. In my life, this day is always a nightmare.”

And then a pair of feet walks toward the stage. Eep, it’s Dong-ha! Drawing Ji-yeon close to him, he sighs that she’s a strange woman and that his plans always go downhill because of her.

Then Dong-ha pulls her in for a kiss as Ji-yeon thinks to herself, “Today is March 15th. Is this really a nightmare?”

 
COMMENTS

Judging from that kiss, I’m going to go ahead and say, Likely not. That being said, I generally liked the premiere of Witch’s Romance. Despite never having watched a drama with Uhm Jung-hwa before, I’ve seen the singer-actress in enough movies to find her likable and winning. The same is true in this show, and while the successful and ambitious heroine with hints of a painful past love isn’t anything new in dramaland, Ji-yeon has an extra air of confidence and self-assurance with a vulnerable underbelly that makes me want to root for her.

I personally like her dogged personality to hunt down the truth, and she shows commitment and dedication to her work. She’s proud of being a journalist (and so is Mom!) and without getting too much on a feminist soap box, it is sad that a successful careerwoman is nearly always painted as a witch in the workplace whereas ambition would be praised in a drama hero. For what it’s worth, Ji-yeon is duly rewarded for her hard work, and I’m also not surprised to see such female characterization tropes in a drama adaptation of an older show.

It’s the execution of Ji-yeon’s character arc in both love and career that will make or break it for us as viewers, and so far, Uhm Jung-hwa is doing a fantastic job. The first episode makes me curious as to exactly what happened six years ago on March 15th. Surely it’s no ironic coincidence that her wedding anniversary would have been the Ides of March, right?

As for our hero, I love that he’s the earnest, hard-working guy who holds multiple part-time jobs but barely has two nickels to rub together. Dong-ha’s moralistic character makes him easily likable, and basically an all-around good guy. The same can’t be said for buddy Soo-chul, whose douchey prank drove our heroine to tears. Gah, why is Yoon Hyun-min a carefree jerk in this show, drama gods?! Still, I love Dong-ha and Soo-chul’s friendship, and the two share a great dynamic already. The bromance is strong with this duo.

But what will hopefully keep us coming back as viewers is the noona romance between Ji-yeon and Dong-ha with their electrifying chemistry despite the large age gap. I love that he isn’t afraid to stand up to her and doesn’t stand for people being humiliated or looked down upon. Maybe the Spring Santa can teach the Witch a thing or two about life and love, and he won’t need a love potion to do it.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 2

by odilettante

The show finds its footing in this episode, as it settles into a breezy and enjoyable rom-com, with a pair of leads that sizzle with intense chemistry. Things heat up for Ji-yeon as she deals with the aftermath of her exposé news article, her mother’s desperate desire to see her get married one day, and, of course, Dong-ha’s “white knight” kiss — which she manages to pay back ten-fold.

EPISODE 2 RECAP

 

Just in case anyone forgot the embarrassment Ji-yeon endured from the end of the last episode, this episode begins with Soo-chul doing his “fake-out” confession — and Ji-yeon being saved from humiliation with Dong-ha’s kiss.

After their lip-lock, Dong-ha pulls her into a hug, and discreetly apologizes if he made her feel bad, but it was better than letting her leave the stage alone. Ji-yeon admits to herself that she enjoyed the kiss, but now she’s left wondering if this was just one of Dong-ha’s acts of charity.

The MC declares the two to have won the bottle of wine, and Dong-ha murmurs that this probably would be a good time to leave. But not before Ji-yeon gets a little bit of her pride back.

Stalking up to a now thoroughly cowed Soo-chul, she confidently leans over him and tells him that as much as he seemed to know about her (thanks to info fed to him by her coworkers), he doesn’t know her life’s creed: to not let losers raise her blood pressure, and to not let a chance for revenge slip past her.

For someone who tried to insult her by calling her “ahjumma,” she says that he’s one to talk, because he looks like over-boiled spinach and moldy bread. I love that Dong-ha totally gets a kick out of his buddy getting verbally destroyed.

With her head held high, she strides out of the bar, arm and arm with Dong-ha — but as soon as they’re alone, she shoves him away, demanding to know if he’s always this thorough with his charity. Did he think her so pitiful to be rejected by Soo-chul, that he decided to save her with his “lip service”?

 

Ji-yeon insists that she was perfectly fine without him, and she would have exited the stage with dignity, leaving Soo-chul to be humiliated instead. Dong-ha points out that that Soo-chul was hired by her coworkers to purposefully mortify her. And how much do I love that everyone is now calling him “spinach mold”? Even her coworkers are calling them that as they now insist on a refund, since their plan didn’t work.

When Dong-ha suggests that she reflect on why her coworkers might have gone to such extremes to embarrass her, she finally reaches a breaking point, demanding to know why the world always blames the victims.

This is about more than just a petty office prank, though, as she brings up a situation of a woman being jilted at the altar on her wedding day. “Would you say the same to her? That she needs to reflect on herself?” Angrily, she asks why anyone would reject a woman in such a manner.

Dong-ha doesn’t have an answer. All he can do is explain the reasoning why he chose to save her just now: because he opposes a group of a people that gang up on one person; because there’s no one else around who will help her; and because she probably doesn’t have any friends who will comfort her when she feels miserable and mortified — or help her drink the bottle of wine she won.

Ji-yeon takes offense at this, pulling out her cell phone and insisting there’s thousands of friends listed in there. But is there one who will be willing to join her in a drink right now? Dong-ha agrees to give her ten minutes to find someone, and Ji-yeon scrolls and scrolls through lists of names before deciding on one.

But this friend may not be so friendly after all, since Ji-yeon is greeted by having a bowl of salt thrown on her — or rather on Dong-ha, who takes the brunt of it as she ducks behind him for protection. After the door slams in their faces, Ji-yeon admits it was a hoobae who used to work at Trouble Maker,until Ji-yeon fired her. HA! And this was her first choice of a drinking buddy?

Oh, but wait — it turns out to just be Ji-yeon’s imagination. She shakes off the thought of calling that “friend” and continues to scan down through her list of names. As she does so, her phone rings (caller ID: “Mrs. Choi Jeong-sook”) and she answers with the breezy and informal, “Jeong-sook-ah!”

Only it turns out to be her mother. Hahaha!

 

Mom is understandably confused as, in order to keep up appearances for Dong-ha, Ji-yeon continues to act like she’s on the phone with an old friend. Mom worries that her daughter is on drugs or drunk, before breaking down in tears because it seems the shaman’s prediction that Ji-yeon would go crazy due to loneliness has finally come true.

After hanging up on her poor bewildered mother, Ji-yeon informs Dong-ha that this friend she’s known “since birth” can’t make it tonight. She picks another name on her phone: “Traitor.”

Ji-yeon decides against calling, and instead orders Dong-ha to follow her.

 

They arrive at a small restaurant, where Ji-yeon is greeted with surprise and delight by her old friend BAEK NA-RAE (Ra Mi-ran). Na-rae’s husband, KANG MIN-GOO (Lee Se-chang) isn’t quite as thrilled to see Ji-yeon, and her chilly demeanor towards him makes the feeling mutual.

Ji-yeon critiques everything about her friend’s restaurant, which leads Dong-ha to question if they’re really friends after all. But Na-rae cheerfully informs him that she’s Ji-yeon’s only friend. Ha!

As they chow down on Min-goo’s specially made fish cakes, Ji-yeon continues to belittle him, snarking that he only managed to move from working at a food truck to owning a restaurant because he found the right woman. Dong-ha is a little shocked at her attitude, but Min-goo agrees with her: Na-rae is his muse, the Camille Claudel to his Rodin.

 

Na-rae explains to Dong-ha that Min-goo has always wanted to be a poet, and she wrote novels before becoming a copywriter. Aw, the married couple are super adorable as they affectionately hold hands, and it’s clear how much they love each other.

Dong-ha is charmed by their romance, but Ji-yeon reminds them how broke Rodin was, and how Camille (a talented and successful artist in her own right) ruined her life because of him. Clearly she thinks that Min-goo is not good enough for her friend. But as Na-rae shares stories from their school days, Ji-yeon’s attitude slowly begins to thaw, and soon everyone is having a grand old time around the table. Dong-ha teasingly notes his surprise that she’s actually capable of laughter.

He receives a phone call just then, and bids his adieu to the happy party, adding that if it’s fated, he and Ji-yeon will see each other again. She thoughtfully watches him leave.

 

Later, in the dark at his borrowed apartment, Dong-ha stares at a nearly-dead plant, reminiscing about an (ex?) girlfriend, who had previously chided him for ignoring the plant because he was so busy studying. She tells him that the plant isn’t really dead — it may look like it, but someday a flower will bloom.

In the present, Dong-ha tells his plant that he diligently watered and watched over it everyday, so why hasn’t it come back to life? From the way he phrases it, he could just as well be referring to his past relationship, too.

As she crawls into bed, Ji-yeon watches as the clock on her phone ticks over from 11:59 pm to midnight. Yet another March 15th has come and gone.

At the Trouble Maker office the next day, the team watches the news where Kim Jeong-do, aka Mr. Not-so-perfect Actor, threatens in his charming way to sue the magazine for spreading such lies about him secretly having a wife and child. He makes a promise to expose the truth.

The phones immediately start ringing off the hook, but Ji-yeon heads out to try and confront the common-law wife, who was once Ji-yeon’s university sunbae. She spends a long time waiting at the gate of the house, hoping for someone to show — but no one does.

 

Back at the office, the Trouble Maker trio try to figure out how to get their refund from Spinach-mold (this nickname is never going to get old), while Soo-chul calls Dong-ha to see if he has any sway with Ji-yeon to get them to leave him alone before they ruin his life.

Ji-yeon, having given up on her attempt to meet with her sunbae, tries to come up with a way to prove that Kim Jeong-do is lying. But she and her photographer work buddy are unable to think of a reasonable plan.

Her mother makes a surprise visit at the office, and the rest of the staff eavesdrop as Mom tries to convince Ji-yeon to go with her to visit the shaman so they can break her curse of being unmarried. Ji-yeon refuses, insisting that she’s happy with her life just the way it is.

 

When Mom realizes that not even the “I just want to see you happy because I’m you’re mother” card and the “I had cancer and you promised to do anything I wanted” card are working, she gives her final threat — if Ji-yeon doesn’t leave with her right now, she’ll go to Ji-yeon’s boss and bawl her eyes out, saying that her daughter is the death of her. The embarrassing thought of her mother making a scene in the office seems to do the trick of convincing Ji-yeon.

Dong-ha arrives at the shaman’s house where the lights eerily blink on and off. He cautiously walks through the rooms, calling out that he’s there from the “Part-Time Expert” company — and nearly jumps out of his skin when two arms wrap themselves tightly around his waist. But it’s just our resident shaman, who happily explains she was waiting for him.

 

She chirps that the lighting has been acting up, asking if he could fix it for her. As she shows him to the fuse box, she makes him put his phone in a basket, since phones aren’t allowed in the “sacred place.” He fiddles with the fuse box (as she inexplicably clings to his legs) and gets the lights to work again, but offers to stick around to fix some faulty wiring.

Just then, Ji-yeon and her mother arrive, and Dong-ha ducks out of sight. Ji-yeon is immediately ordered to put her phone in the phone basket as well, and wouldn’t you know — she and Dong-ha have the exact same phone.

The shaman confronts Ji-yeon for living her life the way she has for almost forty years, and then… spits on her? Ha! Needless to say, Ji-yeon is not a willing participant in any of the shaman’s schemes. But she eventually acquiesces to being hit forty times on her back with a stick to expunge her bad luck.

Halfway through the beatings, the shaman gets distracted by her own cell phone (so I guess at least one phone is allowed in the sacred place). She orders Mom to take over while she takes the call.

Mom is so desperate for Ji-yeon to get married, that she’s now willing to hit a daughter that she never used to beat as a child. It’s a tender moment between the two women, as Mom cries that they have to do all this because of that jerk who left her at the altar.

Ji-yeon remembers that day when she stood alone in the church, and she steels herself for the rest of the beating.

She tells her mom to stop feeling sorry and to just get it over with. Mom promises that once they finish, Ji-yeon will be able to forget about “that traitor” and finally be able to live well.

Dong-ha overhears all this, since he’s been periodically eavesdropping (and seems fairly concerned for Ji-yeon, despite his attempt to stay focused on his electrical wiring). He now begins to make sense of her outburst from yesterday, when she demanded to know why someone would jilt a woman on her wedding day.

 

Having been smacked on her back forty times now, Ji-yeon is ready to leave — but Mom wants to wait for the shaman to return, since she was promised an animal amulet. Ji-yeon refuses to wait (and who can blame her), grabbing one of the amulets at random. She then also hurriedly picks up what she thinks is her phone from the basket, but it’s actually Dong-ha’s phone.

The women are long gone by the time the shaman returns, and she immediately notices the amulet is missing. As she pays Dong-ha for his work, she muses out loud why Ji-yeon would take the blue horse, since that means yet another year of misfortune for her.

Later, Dong-ha is out doing one of his many part-time jobs, and answers what he thinks is his phone, only to discover that he has Ji-yeon’s phone instead. Due to the fallout of the Kim Jeong-do scandal, everyone is frantically trying to reach her.

 

Ji-yeon is instead at a pojangmacha, washing away the pain and frustration of the day with spicy chicken feet and soju. She’s well into her second bottle of soju when Dong-ha calls her, using her phone to call his. She blows him off, thinking him a stalker for figuring out her number.

As he’s grumbling at her for hanging up on him, her phone rings. The caller ID shows up as “Traitor.”

Based on what he’s pieced together, he assumes it’s the guy who left her at the altar. He nervously answers the phone, immediately launching into an explanation that he’s not in any sort of relationship with Ji-yeon, either as a boyfriend, lover, or hoobae, and that he just happens to be the person who has her phone. “But because you didn’t show up for the wedding, she’s having a hard time.”

Only the “Traitor” is Ji-yeon’s bestie Na-rae. She recognizes Dong-ha’s voice, and lets him know where he’s likely to find Ji-yeon.

Ji-yeon is on her fourth bottle of soju by the time Dong-ha appears. He finally convinces her that their phones were switched. When she finds out that it happened at the shaman’s, she carefully asks if he saw anything, but he says he didn’t. Aw.

He sees the pain reliever patch she bought to put on her back and his nurturing instinct kicks in. Remembering Na-rae’s warning that Ji-yeon shouldn’t be drinking alone, he decides to stick around. They split a bottle of soju, and by the time they finish it, Ji-yeon is so drunk she can barely stand.

Getting home is an adventure, as Ji-yeon weaves back and forth across the sidewalk, picking a fight with an advertisement banner and then becoming enraptured with her reflection in a safety mirror. (She marvels at how perfectly awesome she looks, then wonders slurrily, “But why do I look kinda fishy today?” You know, because of the fisheye effect of the distorted mirror.)

They finally arrive at her apartment, and Dong-ha realizes that she lives right across the rooftop from where he’s temporarily living. As she opens the door to go inside, he wishes her good night, planning to head back his room. But she growl-yells that he can’t leave yet — he has to have one last drink before he goes. And then she literally drags him inside, ha.

Once indoors, Ji-yeon dumps an armload of beer and snacks onto the coffee table, and happily gulps down a can of beer. When Dong-ha says that he should really be getting home, Ji-yeon messily opens up another can of beer, and they both attempt to rescue the foam spilling over the top by slurping at it.

Their faces are just centimeters apart, and as they realize how close they are, Dong-ha slowly pulls back — and Ji-yeon licks his finger. The little “meow” sound effect perfectly encapsulates the image of a cat stalking her prey as she leans towards Dong-ha, who tries to pull further and further away, flustered at their closeness.

But the prey doesn’t seem to mind being caught. Despite his protests, he’s soon kissing her.

They continue to share sexy smooches as they make their way to Ji-yeon’s bedroom. Dong-ha strips off his T-shirt and removes his wallet from his back pocket, tossing it carelessly on the beside table. Dong-ha is busy gettin’ busy, but Ji-yeon is distracted when she spots his ID card with his birthdate: April 30, 1990.

She quickly does the math in her head, and realizes that he’s twenty-five (Korean age). Dong-ha is completely focused on kissing Ji-yeon as she mentally freaks out over their fourteen-year age gap. She realizes that when she was a teenager, he was a baby crawling on the floor; when she got her first professional job as a reporter, he was ten years old; and when she was thirty, he was…

 

Her imagination takes her to a courtroom, where she stands accused of being a child molester.

She tries to defend herself that they truly love each other, and it was only one night. Dong-ha, in his high school uniform, makes his most aegyo face as he pouts out a “noona.” Pffft.

But the judge harshly reminds her that the defendant is just sixteen years old, sentencing her to two-and-a-half-years of jail time.

Back in reality, Ji-yeon panics and literally kicks Dong-ha out of bed.

 

COMMENTS

Pardon me for a moment while I take a cold shower and collect my thoughts on this episode, because I’m pretty sure all that’s running through my brain right now is a “squee” so high-pitched it can only be heard by the neighbor dogs.

Uhm Jung-hwa is just so fabulous. I’m totally sold on the way she’s portraying Ji-yeon, and I can’t really picture the role being played by anyone else.

Because I also adore Ji-yeon. I love that she’s successful at her job, and so passionate about it that she doesn’t care that the rest of the Trouble Makerstaff doesn’t like her — she just wants to continue to uncover the truth and know her words make an impact. She’s happily independent most of the time, and the few times when she feels pangs of loneliness, she doesn’t try to stifle her emotions like a robot. Instead, she admits them and then figures out a way to remind her how awesome her life is.

Not to mention she’s so much fun as a happy drunk. Despite how her day may have gone, after her four bottles of soju, she’s ready to take on the world — and seduce that cute guy who seems to keep following her around.

Which, ok, ok — let me just momentarily PSA to say that Dong-ha should really have tried harder to make sure Ji-yeon got home safely and left it at that, because taking advantage of anyone who’s drunk is a major no-no, even if the drunk person seems to be pretty conscious of his or her actions.

But.

Watching Ji-yeon dominate the decision-making was pure joy. I loved the way she was the one who initiated the contact, who threw him up against the bookshelves, who paved the way to her bedroom. Even if it was ultimately her decision, I also really appreciated that Dong-ha was 100% there with her, proving that his attraction to her is natural and real.

Which makes the fact that now we’re faced with their age difference all that more exciting, because even though I’m sure they were aware there was somedifference between them, I doubt either anticipated fourteen years. In fact, they’ve felt like they’re on fairly equal footing: Ji-yeon may be successful in her career, but Dong-ha is the one with the relational maturity.

So now I’m really looking forward to seeing how their attraction plays out as they — or perhaps mostly just Ji-yeon — come to terms with a fairly substantial age gap. As someone who hasn’t watched the original Taiwanese version (so don’t spoil me, please!), I’m just going assume based on I know from being a fan of the noona romance in general, and predict there will be not just a lot of internal struggles, but also lots of negative feedback from friends, family and society.

But I’m sure that fate will somehow find a way to intervene — after all, Dong-ha was born in the year of the horse, and Ji-yeon selected the blue horse as her amulet. And as far as amulets go, I’d definitely want mine to be Dong-ha. Just sayin’.

All in all, this is bound to be a fun ride, especially since Uhm Jung-hwa and Park Seo-joon’s chemistry is so natural and intense every time they’re on screen together. I find I just can’t get enough of the two of them.

Or cable-worthy kisses.

RELATED POSTS

Witch’s Romance: Episode 3

by odilettante

Ji-yeon continues to fight against the thought of being romantically involved with a younger man, but fate (or contrivance) intervenes, and she and Dong-ha can’t avoid each other for very long. He’s officially a part of her life now — or for the next three months, as he tries to temper Ji-yeon’s workaholic tendencies with concerns for her safety. But nothing is ever simple in Dramaland, and we also get our first real introduction of a second lead — whose ties to Dong-ha’s fate remain to be seen.

EPISODE 3 RECAP

 

Ji-yeon kicks Dong-ha out of her bed after discovering the fourteen-year age-gap between them. She throws his clothes at him, telling him he needs to leave.

When he asks why, she frantically explains that he’s twenty-five and she’s thirty-nine. Dong-ha wonders what’s so wrong with that, completely confused at her sudden change in attitude. But she continues to shove him out the door, demanding he forget this night ever happened.

As she tries to fall asleep, Ji-yeon frets about drinking so much alcohol that she would get involved with a younger man, but reassures herself that there’s likely no chance they’ll run into each other again. In his own bed, Dong-ha wonders how, in a city as large as Seoul, he ended up being next door to Ji-yeon, and worries over what he’ll do if he sees her again.

In the morning, Dong-ha prepares for all the odd jobs he’s got lined up through his and Soo-chul’s part-time business, but one client after another cancels. Soo-chul bursts through the door, showing him the scandalous article the Trouble Maker trio posted about Master of Part-Time Jobs last night, smearing their name as an irresponsible and careless errand service.

Dong-ha marches into the Trouble Maker office, demanding to know if the trio are the ones who wrote the article and negative comments. When they find out he’s employed by Master of Part-Time Jobs, they assume that Ji-yeon must have paid him to kiss her, outsmarting them from the beginning.

He tells them it was nothing like that — their prank was so childish that he volunteered to kiss her, and they should be embarrassed for not only that prank, but also for writing their trashy article. Soo-chul apologized and returned the money, so why did they still write it? Shouldn’t they be ashamed of their scheming?

 

Team Leader Byun says that compared to everything that Ji-yeon has to done to them, this is nothing. “What did I do?”

At the sound of Ji-yeon’s voice, everyone scatters to their desks, and her eyes widen as she sees Dong-ha standing in front of her. He’s still fueled by anger about the article, and when she asks why he’s there, he says it’s because of yesterday’s “incident.”

She automatically assumes that it’s about their hot-and-heavy make-out session (and never have I been so thankful for a flashback). Pulling him aside, she tries to reason with him, but he’s more focused on what the trio did, shouting that he’ll sue. Ji-yeon says that a lawsuit is a bit extreme — even if she did kiss him first, he’s 25 and “legal.” Bwahaha.

 

At that moment her boss arrives, saying that he understands the situation — he’s already heard all about it. (Ji-yeon, still thinking this is about their skinship, wonders if Dong-ha is some sort of gold-digger. Pffft.)

Director Kwon manages to get the trio to apologize to Dong-ha for their actions. But “I’m sorry” isn’t enough for Dong-ha, who says that not only has everyone canceled this week, but they’ve lost 80% of their clientele. Trust is the most important asset in their line of work, but thanks to that article, Master of Part-Time Jobs has now lost all trust — so now he’s effectively out of a job.

 

A pretty young intern, JUNG EUN-CHAE (Jung Yeon-joo), arrives at the office to deliver documents before her official start date next week. She also has a package for Ji-yeon, given to her by a mysterious delivery man. But before Ji-yeon can open it, Dong-ha notes the blood dripping from the corner of the box onto her hands, and takes it from her.

Everyone is horrified at the sight of blood, and Dong-ha carefully opens the box to reveal a dead bird (ew) and a letter, which reads in cut-out letters, “Ban Ji-yeon, watch your mouth! I’m watching you.” Suuuuper creepy.

Ji-yeon immediately demands more information from Eun-chae, and belittles her observational skills (and future as a reporter) when Eun-chae admits she doesn’t remember any details about the messenger.

 

When Director Kwon suggests that it might be from one of Kim Jeong-do’s fans, Ji-yeon coolly requests that the team take photos of the package to keep as evidence, and after she washes her hands, she will check with security for CCTV footage of the delivery guy.

Once Ji-yeon’s alone in the restroom, she’s not as calm as she appears, and she tremblingly washes the blood off her hands.

Just outside the ladies’ room (and within earshot of Ji-yeon), Dong-ha comforts Eun-chae, who blames herself for not checking the delivery or being able to describe the person who gave it to her. He tells her to not be so hard on herself — not everyone is like Ji-yeon, who doesn’t even flinch at the sight of a dead bird.

At the security office, Ji-yeon watches the CCTV screens — but doesn’t get a good look at the messenger’s face. She returns to Director Kwon’s office, where he and Dong-ha have finally settled on three months of contract employment with Trouble Maker to match what he would have made working for Master of Part-Time Jobs. To fulfill the agreement, he assigns Dong-ha to be Ji-yeon’s assistant.

She immediately refuses: “I don’t want him!” But Director Kwon says that their magazine is more popular than ever thanks to the Kim Jeong-do scandal, and if she’s receiving packages with dead birds, she might be in danger. She protests — after all, it’s not like it’s the first time she’s ever received a threatening letter, and she doesn’t need to be hindered by an inexperienced kid. (Dong-ha: “…kid?”)

 

But Director Kwon says the decision has been made, and Young-sik is happy to fill Dong-ha in on all Ji-yeon’s quirks: how she takes her coffee, what vitamins she likes, how she becomes moody while working if she doesn’t remember to eat, “like now,” he adds, as Ji-yeon glares at them. Ha!

Dong-ha thoughtfully takes it all in, but Ji-yeon is still on the warpath, and orders “Part-timer Yoon” to follow her.

He tags along after her, objecting at her use of banmal, but she says she should be able to speak comfortably to a younger assistant (emphasis on younger).

 

She orders Dong-ha to address her as “Team Leader,” and if he ever brings up what happened between them last night, he’ll be fired. If he has a question for her, he must first ask permission to ask it — and no personal questions. He also must be available 24/7 in case he’s needed for an assignment: No matter where he is or what time she calls, he must come running. If he talks back too much: “Fired!”

Outside, she recoils at being chauffeured around on his scooter, and he snidely remarks that it’s faster than the bicycle she stole from an orphan. She warns him if he brings that up again, he’s fired. Dong-ha just sort of shrugs: “I’m fired no matter what I do.” As if to prove his point, she climbs on the back of his scooter, with the warning that if they fall over: “Fired!”

As they drive (or scoot?) along, Dong-ha spots a car following them. He tries a few maneuvers to lose the car, but only gets smacked on the back of his head by Ji-yeon for driving like a maniac. They arrive at Kim Jeong-do’s mistress’s home, and this time when Ji-yeon rings the doorbell, Soo-jung actually answers, inviting them in.

Dong-ha offers to play with Soo-jung’s daughter so she and Ji-yeon can speak privately. Ji-yeon says she never meant to hurt Soo-jung — all she wanted to do was reveal Jeong-do as a hypocrite. She just wants Soo-jung to acknowledge that Jeong-do is no good, to stop waiting for him to return to her, and to move on with her life. Soo-jung says that this is the life she’s chosen, just like Ji-yeon chose to wait for Shi-hoon.

 

Defensive, Ji-yeon says that she’s different from Soo-jung — at least she didn’t give up on her life. As she leaves, she tells her sunbae that the reason she visited was to warn her that she’s going to do all she can to bring Jeong-do down, even if it brings Soo-jung pain.

Dong-ha and Ji-yeon return home, and as he’s parking the scooter, he notices a mysterious figure lurking around the corner. He quickly chases after him, but isn’t fast enough to catch up — but he does manage to confirm that it is the same glasses-and-hat guy who has been following them all day and was responsible for the dead-bird package.

Ji-yeon dismisses Dong-ha since she no longer needs his services, and is annoyed when he walks up the stairs with her. He tells her that he’s not following her because he wants to — he just happens to live next door.

She immediately finds that suspicious, calling him a stalker and wondering if there’s a wire tap in his apartment. Dong-ha exasperatedly points out that’s crazy, and slips into his apartment, making sure she can’t follow him. (But he does remind her that if she needs anything, to give him a call and he’ll come running within seconds. Aw.)

Back in her apartment, she gets serious when she sees the polar bear picture — which takes her to a happy flashback when she was marveling at similar photos taken by NOH SHI-HOON (Han Jae-Suk), as he gave her a loving back-hug.

Ji-yeon turns away from the photo to crank up the music, and starts her stress-relieving dancing. But the thought that Dong-ha might be listening causes her to suddenly shut off the music.

In his apartment, Dong-ha (who had indeed been happily grooving to her tunes) hears the song cut out, and stands up in concern, worried something happened to her. He rushes over to her apartment, where she greets him with surprise (and toothbrush in hand), as he rushes around, checking to make sure everything is okay.

Ji-yeon snickers when she sees his shoes: one house slipper and one sneaker. “You really must have been in a hurry!”

Just as she’s reassuring him everything is fine and she doesn’t need him, the wind blows against the blinds and startles her. She ducks behind him, revealing how nervous she truly is, despite her words. She insists she’s fine and he can leave (as she clings to his arm, ha!), but Dong-ha the boy scout says he’ll stay a little longer.

She begins to offer him something to drink, adding that she has beer — but that only reminds them of her drunken invitation from the night before (which lead to their super sexy fun times). Ji-yeon turns on the TV instead, and it’s one of the kiss scenes from I Need Romance 3. Ha. Both of them shift uncomfortably in their seats, and she quickly switches the channel — to yet another sexy scene. HAHAHA!

Deciding the radio would be safer, they soon get involved in a quiz show (where Ji-yeon imagines the announcer in her living room). Or at least Ji-yeon does, as her competitive streak means she yells out answers before the question is even finished — and half the time she’s wrong, much to Dong-ha’s amusement. He teasingly asks if she’s the type who hates to lose. Ji-yeon: “How would I know? I’ve never lost.” Hee!

Music plays on the radio, and they soon reveal the generation gap between them as Ji-yeon mentions songs from popular singers from the 1980s — but Dong-ha only recognizes the songs because they’ve been remade by contemporary K-pop artists.

In one last effort to connect, she starts singing her favorite song, “Sunset Glow,” and is delighted when Dong-ha immediately starts singing along with her — but then he adds in the chorus from the version he knows by Big Bang, which is not the original Lee Moon-se version that Ji-yeon is singing. Even so, it’s just so cute how they happily manage to meld both versions together.

 

In the morning, Ji-yeon’s mother rolls up with a suitcase and rings the doorbell to Ji-yeon’s apartment. Ji-yeon is sprawled out asleep on the sofa, and Dong-ha is sleeping in a nearby chair. After she wakes up and realizes it’s her mother at the door, she and Dong-ha hurriedly try to figure out how to hide him (and no, just throwing a blanket over him isn’t going to work). She ends up shoving him into a closet, despite his protests.

Mom is there to drop off some homemade food before she leaves on a trip to Jeju, but she also has another reason for visiting — she signed Ji-yeon up for a matchmaking service.

 

She’s lucky that Ji-yeon is still only 39, because once she turns 40, the fees are more expensive, so she really needs to find a husband this year. Ji-yeon refuses the thought of going on blind dates, saying she’s happy just the way she is. But Mom is determined to marry her off.

The sound of Dong-ha shifting in the closet gives Ji-yeon an idea, and she sweetly calls to him: “Darling! Come out!”

He stands at attention with his adorable bed head as Mom inspects him, as, to his surprise, he’s introduced as Ji-yeon’s boyfriend. But he goes along with the it, thanks to a little encouragement (by way of a painful pinch on his arm) from Ji-yeon.

The two pretend to be a happy couple (and Ji-yeon’s overboard aegyo is hilarious), when Mom interrupts their “lovey-dovey” moment to tell him that he shouldn’t feel obliged to stick around since he’s so busy, and nearly calls him “son-in-law.” Hee! It looks like Mom totally approves of Dong-ha. Can’t say I blame her.

At an orphanage, Eun-chae dresses a cute little boy as her mother, OH MI-YEON, hands over an envelope of cash so Eun-chae can buy clothes for her new job. She sweetly tries to give it back, saying she has lots of clothes, because “Unni has at least a truck load’s worth.”

 

At the mention of her older sister, Mom is clearly affected, and Eun-chae tries to brightly cover up her faux pas by inviting her mother to come visit her at her new home.

Mom smiles as she waves good-bye to Eun-chae, but the smile doesn’t linger.

Dong-ha is at the orphanage as well, having just fixed one of the windows — but instead of accepting payment, he hands over his own envelope of cash. As he does so, he asks after “Young-chae’s mom,” learning that she’s been doing a lot better, especially now that her daughter from the U.S. is here. Dong-ha is surprised to discover she has another daughter.

 

As Eun-chae waits at the bus stop, the twinkly-music and slow-motion wind of fate passes by — or it’s just Dong-ha on his scooter, who pulls up and stops, recognizing her as the intern from Trouble Maker.

In her apartment, Ji-yeon is reading (and rocking out to Big Bang’s version of “Sunset Glow” — aw, why so cute?), when her phone rings. We don’t know who’s on the other end, but her face becomes serious as she says that she understands, and prepares to leave the apartment.

When Dong-ha discovers she’s no longer at home, he tries calling her — but she ignores his call because she’s having dinner with actor Kim Jeong-do. Eeeek! Dong-ha told you stay put for this very reason!

 

Jeong-do says that if Ji-yeon stops pursuing her article, he’ll withdraw the lawsuit. But Ji-yeon’s not backing down: She points out that he’s the one who should be more afraid of public opinion, reminding him that in politics, every vote counts. She asks him if he hired someone to follow her, “but you wouldn’t be that awful, now, would you?”

Oh, but he would, because after she leaves, Jeong-do tells his flunky that if they can’t reach her with words, they’ll have to “show her” instead. This can’t be good.

While Dong-ha is busy frantically running around trying to track down Ji-yeon, she returns at her apartment. Seeing that the front door is slightly open, she cautiously enters her home.

It’s a scene straight out of a horror film: Shadowed in darkness, her apartment is completely ransacked, and hanging up is one of her dresses with an ax and blood dripping from it. She gasps and steps back — only to have the arm of the mysterious glasses-and-hat guy break through the window of her French doors and grab her around the throat. Gah, why so scary?!

Ji-yeon manages to fight back by biting his arm, and then reaches for a fireplace shovel. He easily rebuffs her attack and flings her across the room, where she knocks herself out as she lands head-first.

Before the creepy glasses-and-hat dude can do anything else, Dong-ha arrives to tackle him to the floor. The two men exchange some pretty vicious punches, and glasses-and-hat dude swings a chair at Dong-ha, who blocks it with arm. Ouch. Glasses-and-hat guy rushes off, and Dong-ha hurries to Ji-yeon’s side, desperately asking if she’s okay.

 

She’s unconscious and lost in a memory: Shi-hoon gives her the polar bear picture (the one we see in her apartment), adding that he and Ji-yeon should go see them together sometime, because polar bears are at the end of the world, “and I want to go to the end of the world with you.” Written on the back of the photo: Would you marry me?

In the hospital, Ji-yeon slowly flickers in and out of consciousness, and as she does, she thinks she sees Shi-hoon’s face smiling down on her, calling her name. In a voice-over, she says that the end of the world wasn’t the North Pole after all — instead, for her, the end of the world is where love stopped.

 

Shi-hoon’s face is replaced with a concerned Dong-ha as she continues her voice-over:  “To have a new beginning, there has to be an end. But I don’t even know how to start.”

After Dong-ha checks to make sure she’s come back to her senses, he sits back and sighs in relief. He chides her for ignoring his calls, saying that she’s starting to make him actually worry and care about her.

As a tear rolls down her face, Ji-yeon wonders if she’ll ever be able to love someone again.

 
COMMENTS

It’s official: I love this show. Everything about it delights me — the characters, the script, the pacing, the editing, the visual style. Everything. It has humor and intrigue and characters who treat each other with respect.

Particularly the leads. I adore them. Uhm Jung Hwa and Park Seo Joon have convinced me already that Ji-yeon and Dong-ha belong together forever and forever, just based on the natural chemistry between them. Dong-ha totally won me over when he was so confused as to why she was freaking out over their age difference — he didn’t see it as an issue. But he also respected the fact that she did, and, really, Dong-ha just seems to respects Ji-yeon, even if he doesn’t always understand her. Oh, sure; he’s not totally incapable of getting in a little snarky comment here and there, but he treats Ji-yeon like a person, and not as a conquest or something to boost his ego. Or even a hindrance that he’s stuck with and will have to learn to like.

No — despite their flashes of annoyance with each other, it’s plain to see they both share a mutual (if at times grudging) attraction and genuine affection for each other.

My favorite moments in this episode were when they were hanging out at her apartment — at first glance, the fact that Dong-ha was more apt to recognize “Balloons” as being a DBSK song instead of a Five Fingers song should prove their wide age gap. But in reality, the two of them were able to overcome it with a shared love music that has managed to bridge that gap. Ji-yeon was sharing some of her favorite songs, something that is very personal and meaningful for her, and instead of shrugging it off because he didn’t know the singer, Dong-ha was happy to find a way to connect.

That is probably the main why I love these two — they connect. Despite their differences in both age and general temperament, they seem like two puzzle pieces perfectly suited to fit each other.

Which is why I’m not too keen on a secondary love interest popping up. Eun-chae seems sweet and thoughtful, and yes, she’s closer to Dong-ha’s age — but Dong-ha and Ji-yeon don’t need an outside interference to create hurdles in their burgeoning relationship. Ji-yeon’s insecurity over dating someone younger (and what I imagine will be people’s reactions to such a relationship) are hurdles enough. Not to mention it seems like Eun-chae’s older sister, Young-chae, is Dong-ha’s previous girlfriend — and from the way her mother was acting (and from what Dong-ha was saying to his plant in the previous episode), it seems like Young-chae has passed away.

I don’t know about you, but falling in love with the man your dead sister was in love with just doesn’t seem kosher. (What am I saying, this is Dramaland — anything goes.) But such a scenario seems more suited to a melodrama than a light and breezy rom-com like Witch’s Romance.

Really, is it too much to ask to spend the rest of show watching Ji-yeon do her best Lois Lane impression as she does anything and everything to reveal the truth about unscrupulous hypocrites, with Dong-ha tagging along as some mix of Clark Kent goody-two-shoes superhero and Jimmy Olsen adorable-errand-boy? Dong-ha can move into Ji-yeon’s apartment (since she’s the one who made him lose his old one), and there can be forced-cohabitation shenanigans as they spend their evenings sharing their favorite music with each other.

And kissing. Because there definitely needs to be more kissing.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 4

by LollyPip

Hi everyone, it’s LollyPip, back for more recapping fun with Witch’s Romance. I’m loving this show so much and I’m very excited to get a chance to recap it with odilettante. I hope you have as much fun with this show as I know we will!

A lot happens in this episode, on the career front as well as in our leading couple’s relationship. Dong-ha’s feelings seem to be shifting from responsibility towards Ji-yeon to actual caring, and while her feelings are still a bit more hidden, she’s not immune to his insightful and caring nature. But most importantly their friendship is growing stronger, and I could watch them just drink wine and talk together for hours.

EPISODE 4 RECAP

 

We revisit Ji-yeon’s memories of her ex-fiance’s proposal. She wakes up in the hospital and thinks she sees Shi-hoon standing over her, but it’s Dong-ha looking adorably worried. When she wakes up enough to recognize him, he’s relieved enough to fuss at her for going off without him and not answering his calls.

Dong-ha tells Ji-yeon that she has a slight concussion from the knock to her head, and she goes unconscious again, making him panic a bit. A nurse tells him it’s just the sedatives they gave her and that they’ll give her a CT scan when she wakes, and then Ji-yeon can go home.

The Trouble Maker Trio plus Young-sik come running into the ER, but they freak out because the blanket is pulled up to look like the person in the bed has died. They wail and cry and shake the “body” until it sits up, and it’s the shaman, HAHA.

 

The shaman spits and curses at them (which I’m starting to think is just her way of saying hello), and explains that a light bulb fell on her head. She threatens to do damage to the part-timer who let this happen, then throws the blanket back over her head and lays there hissing to herself. I love her.

Dong-ha returns after getting his arm looked at and the Trouble Maker Trio accost him with questions about Ji-yeon’s condition. Considering that they were just loudly mourning her supposed “passing,” they seem awfully disappointed that she’s fine and can go home (and back to work) soon.

They tell Dong-ha that Ji-yeon isn’t in the ER anymore, and he runs all the way back to her house to find her. Poor boy, the age gap won’t matter for long because he’s going to prematurely age with all this running around after Ji-yeon!

 

Dong-ha finds her sitting on the floor in the middle of her destroyed apartment, and starts to fuss again. She doesn’t answer, and just sits there holding the photo of the polar bear while her fingers bleed from the broken glass. She finally looks up at him with tears in her eyes, which immediately deflates his anger.

Dong-ha notices a black jacket in the middle of the mess and remembers tearing it off the intruder during their scuffle. He picks it up and finds a business card in the pocket for an employee of Blue Eye Entertainment, Kim Jeong-do’s management company.

He takes Ji-yeon to his place and bandages her cut fingers while chiding her for touching broken glass, clucking like a mother hen. She quips that she chose a good assistant and they bicker over whether she actually chose him, and that she’ll just fire him if he keeps sassing her.

Dong-ha asks where she went earlier when she wasn’t answering her phone, and she admits she went to see Kim Jeong-do. She tells Dong-ha that Jeong-do promised to drop the lawsuit if she stops the article. Dong-ha asks what Ji-yeon plans to do, and her face sets in resolve as she says she’ll take this to the end.

 

Dong-ha tells her that he’s taking her back to the hospital for the CT scan she still needs. He goes into the bathroom to doctor his own wound, and when he returns Ji-yeon has fallen asleep on the couch, still holding the polar bear picture. He takes it from her and reads the message “would you marry me” written on the back, only now realizing that the story she told him about the woman who was left at the altar was Ji-yeon herself.

In the morning, Ji-yeon wakes up still on Dong-ha’s couch, though she’s alone. She finds a note from him to stay where she is until he comes back, along with breakfast.

Dong-ha has gone to confront the man whose business card he found in the intruder’s jacket. He denies everything but Dong-ha isn’t buying it, listing all the terrible things the man has done to Ji-yeon. The Blue Eye employee shoots back a question: Is Ji-yeon making up lies about Kim Jeong-do? After all, writing lies is what she does for a living.

 

Dong-ha lunges across the table and grabs the man by his shirt, so furious he can barely speak. He tells the man that he’d better not come near Ji-yeon again or else, but the man doesn’t look too intimidated as Dong-ha storms out.

Na-rae helps Ji-yeon clean her apartment and invites her to stay with her and her husband for a while, but Ji-yeon declines. Dong-ha barges in, upset that Ji-yeon has again gone off without telling him, after he instructed her to stay at his place.

Ji-yeon asks why he’s so upset (maybe because he liiikes you) but Na-rae interrupts before he can formulate an answer. She immediately susses out that this is the “hoobae” that Ji-yeon told her she stayed with last night, and tells him that she invited Ji-yeon to her house but she insists on staying with him. Na-rae makes a fantastic wingman.

 

Dong-ha insists on taking her back to his place, since he’s tired of her getting into trouble on her own. She follows him while accusing him of mutiny against his superior, but he’s not intimidated. He gives her back her polar bear picture, shyly explaining that he took it from her so she wouldn’t crumple it in her sleep, since it seemed important to her.

Ji-yeon asks if he saw the proposal on the back and he admits that he did. She sighs that the picture isn’t important, but Dong-ha knows that it’s the reason she left the hospital. Ji-yeon tells him that it was a long time ago and she should get rid of it, but he says that remembering a precious person isn’t a bad thing.

He changes the subject and brightly says that it’s his first day at his new job, and he shouldn’t be late. At the office, Eun Chae brings Ji-yeon some flowers and words of encouragement, but Ji-yeon just tells her that if she has time for this, she should be working instead.

 

Eun-chae dejectedly takes her flowers away, but Dong-ha stops her and asks for the flowers loudly and pointedly while shooting eye-daggers at Ji-yeon. He keeps glaring while making loud comments about how pretty the flowers are, obviously trying to teach Ji-yeon a lesson about being a nice person, but she just ignores him.

There’s a meeting of the minds between Ji-yeon, Dong-ha, and Young-sik to discuss the business card that Dong-ha found and his conversation with the card owner. Unfortunately a business card doesn’t prove anything, but there’s a fundraiser in a few days and Ji-yeon thinks that Jeong-do may announce his political candidacy then.

Ji-yeon decides that the fundraiser is their D-Day, but Dong-ha wants to find some evidence before then. The Trouble Maker Trio wanders in to dump some negativity on their theories, but Ji-yeon isn’t deterred.

 

The two teams face off, and Team Leader Byul declares that if she gets any breaking news on Kim Jeong-do, he’ll wear Superman tights to work. But if she doesn’t, Ji-yeon has to cosplay a girl’s idol group. Dong-ha points out that it will be fun for her even if she loses, since she dances in her apartment every night anyway. PFFT.

Soo-chul is home from his trip, and has brought a ladyfriend with him. But when she turns on his bedroom light she sees Ji-yeon’s suitcase, jumps to the wrong conclusion, and dumps him. He calls Dong-ha to crow that he’s finally rid of that girl thanks to the lingerie. Dong-ha tells him that the lingerie belongs to a friend, but Soo-chul just congratulates Dong-ha on his choice of women given the size of the bra. Can I slap him? Please?

 

Dong-ha nervously confesses who the things belong to, and Soo-chul isn’t so happy anymore. He immediately asks if something is going on between them, and Dong-ha’s denial is just a little too shrill to be believable.

Ji-yeon, Dong-ha, and Young-sik sit at Soo-chul’s place and watch an interview given by Kim Jeong-do and his wife about the recent scandal. Soo-chul tries to sneak past them but Dong-ha stops him, remembering that his family owns the venue where Kim Jeong-do’s fundraiser will be held, and Ji-yeon only has to crook a finger to terrify Soo-chul into helping them.

 

The team obtains Kim Jeong-do’s DNA by having Soo-chul impersonate a crew member on his drama set and getting him to drink from a water bottle. He also secures an invitation to the fundraiser at his family’s resort. But a wrench is thrown into their plans when they hear that Kim Jeong-do’s mistress and daughter are leaving the country.

We see Soo-jung and her daughter get into a van and drive away, while Kim Jeong-do’s lackey (the one Dong-ha met with) reports that they’ve left. But Soo-jung notices that they’re not going towards the airport, and we see in the rear-view mirror that the driver is Soo-chul. He tells the pair that they’ll just be making a quick detour first. When the car stops, Ji-yeon is there, waiting to talk to her sunbae.

 

And so, Dong-ha visits with daughter Yoon-ji while Ji-yeon and Soo-jung have their talk. He gives Yoon-ji a book, and tells her that she can have her mom read it to her on the plane. He offers to throw away her drink trash, and now they have the daughter’s DNA too. Smart! Ji-yeon gives Soo-jung plane tickets for the next night, and asks her for just one day to give Ji-yeon a chance to reveal the truth.

Ji-yeon and her boys brainstorm over how to get the DNA test, since labs won’t do it unless you’re a parent. But it turns out that Dong-ha was a medical student, and can run the test himself.

Dong-ha and Soo-chul take Ji-yeon to get a dress for the fundraising event, and their dumbstruck faces when the pretty is revealed are priceless. Dong-ha ain’t too shabby himself in his all-black suit, which Ji-yeon definitely notices.

 

At the fundraiser, there’s an announcement about a “special presentation,” and there’s Dong-ha onstage. He gives a small speech, drawing a comparison between magicians and actors. Dong-ha plays the magician as Ji-yeon comes onstage, and she gets into a box and he covers her with a curtain. He calls Jeong-do onstage to assist, and it’s obvious Jeong-do knows this is a Very Bad Idea but he can’t refuse in front of an audience.

The two men pull back the curtain to reveal an empty box. Dong-ha invites Jeong-do to get in next. He does, and asks Dong-ha under his breath what’s happening, but Dong-ha just tells him not to be nervous because his wife is watching.

 

Dong-ha puts the curtain down, and next invites Jeong-do’s wife onstage. They each take a corner of the curtain and pull it back, and the box is empty again. Jeong-do is now in a room with Ji-yeon, who cuts right to the chase and tells him that she knows it was him who’s been threatening her. Isn’t he ashamed in front of his daughter? He denies having any daughter, but adds that it’s a good thing they’ve left the country so nobody can prove it. Sleazebag.

But Ji-yeon has the upper hand because she has the DNA test results proving that Yoon-ji is Jeong-do’s daughter. Jeong-do starts to lose his cool veneer and says that he’ll never be brought down by a woman.

But just then there’s a voice behind him, and it’s Soo-jung. She’s heard everything. She tells Ji-yeon that she’ll do the interview, which makes Jeong-do panic so badly that he promises to get a divorce for her.

Which is just the moment when his wife enters the room. This is so satisfying. Soo-jung tells Jeong-do that if her daughter ever sees him again, even in a movie or on TV, she’ll tell the world everything. His wife declares that he had better never let that woman be revealed. His career is over.

 

Dong-ha calmly tells Jeong-do that it’s time to go back to the party. Soo-jung congratulates Ji-yeon on getting over her ex-fiance, and that Dong-ha seems like a good man (Dong-ha pretends not to hear but puffs up a bit, so cute).

Back at the party, Jeong-do takes the podium and announces that he has some health problems, and that he’ll be halting his career to focus on treatment from now on.

After Yoon-ji and her mom leave, Dong-ha tells Ji-yeon that she did well today, and invites her out for a drink… Oops, but she stopped drinking because of her “fits,” he teases.

Ji-yeon’s mother calls to tell her that the dating service that she signed up Ji-yeon for has arranged a date for tonight. Dong-ha overhears and creeps closer to eavesdrop. Ji-yeon reminds her mother that she has a (fake) boyfriend, and Mom says that he’s okay but he seems poor and dresses shabbily. Dong-ha’s miffed reactions to all this are hilarious.

Ji-yeon’s mom threatens to move in right this minute and nag her until she gets a husband if she doesn’t go on this date tonight, so Ji-yeon agrees. She hangs up, and snaps at Dong-ha that he should have worn better shoes, ha.

Dong-ha says she’s dressed way too nice for a blind date since it will probably just be some fat ajusshi, but he agrees to drive her. He drops her off but stays to watch her greet her date (cameo by Lee Jae-yoon), grumbling to himself that the guy probably stutters or something. Her date seems nice, and asks her out again, but she doesn’t look very enthused.

Dong-ha pouts around the house waiting for Ji-yeon to get home, getting more and more antsy at how late she’s staying out. She’s actually at Na-rae’s restaurant complaining about how awful her evening turned out.

Her date had answered a call from his grandmother during dinner, speaking to her in this awful aegyo baby voice. He even pout-wiggled and told Grandmother not to go to sleep until he gets home because he wants to sleep touching her boobies. WHAT. Ji-yeon’s face says it all.

 

Na-rae asks what Dong-ha thought about her date, but Ji-yeon insists it’s not like that. Na-rae doesn’t believe her, but she reels when Ji-yeon reveals Dong-ha’s age. Except she’s reeling with happiness; Ji-yeon is so lucky!

By now Dong-ha has relocated his pacing to the street; but he spots Eun-chae first who’s come to bring something to Ji-yeon, and they sit on a bench to wait. Ji-yeon arrives home and is annoyed to see Dong-ha and Eun-chae laughing together. Dong-ha starts right in with the nagging, noticing that her date didn’t even walk her home. Eun-chae hands off whatever she brought, and stands there grinning.

Dong-ha and Ji-yeon’s combined awkward silent glares aren’t very welcoming though, so she bids them goodnight, and Dong-ha offers to walk her to the corner since it’s not safe for a woman to walk alone at night, hint hint. She declines but he’s making a point to Ji-yeon now, saying that Eun-chae’s waaaay too pretty to walk alone.

 

When he gets back to Ji-yeon, he nags her again for staying out so late. He oh-so-not-at-all-casually asks if she’s going to see that man again, but she tells him never to mention that weirdo. She softens him up by offering to share a drink to celebrate their victory over Jeong-do, and he mutters about her drinking again but it works.

Ji-yeon asks how he knows magic, and he says that he did it to get closer to the children during his pediatric rotation in medical school. She asks why he quit medical school, and he says it was because he discovered that doctors can’t really save lives. Ji-yeon tells him that she thinks he would have made a good doctor.

 

Dong-ha pulls out his phone to play some music, and it’s one of the old-school singers that Ji-yeon mentioned she liked (how sweet is he to download music for her?). He points out his favorite line about wanting a woman who’s never been on a blind date, HAHA. Ji-yeon asks if he means her, but he’s all big innocent eyes as he says no, because the song is about meetings (casual blind dates) and she went on a mat-seon (marriage-minded blind date). Ji-yeon turns it around on him, singing along to the woman’s line that all she needs is a man who looks good with a great woman.

Dong-ha invites her inside, and takes off his shoes to offer to her since he noticed she was limping on her high heels (swoon). She accepts and takes his arm as they turn to go in, but he winces and cries out in pain. She didn’t know he’d been injured in the break-in, and doctors up his arm for him.

 

As she’s putting away the first-aid kit, Ji-yeon picks up his dead plant and asks about it. Dong-ha’s mood switches in a flash, and he grabs the plant from her and yells at her not to touch it. She apologizes, but he’s not in the mood to accept.

At the office the next day, the Trouble Maker Trio are celebrating their victory over Ji-yeon, gloating that she was no match for Kim Jeong-do. Young-sik almost spills the beans about what really happened, but Ji-yeon stops him as she walks in, dressed like a Girl’s Generation nightmare.

Eun-chae enters, dressed exactly like Ji-yeon (to support her) and Dong-ha again points out how very pretty she is, earning a glare from Ji-yeon. Eun-chae passes out snacks, but Ji-yeon leaves and orders Dong-ha to follow her (and he looks pretty happy to obey).

They go to the airport to nab an interview with a gambling comedian, and Dong-ha whines that it’s not fair that she got demoted. He goes to get Ji-yeon a snack, which is when the comedian shows up and the reporters go crazy. Ji-yeon tries to at least get a picture with her camera, but Dong-ha comes back with news that what’s happening here is a decoy: He overheard someone saying that the comedian will be in the parking garage in ten minutes.

They head that way, but Dong-ha has left his lens behind. He runs back to get it, and Ji-yeon sits to wait for him. He calls to her from a few feet away, but when she looks over she sees not Dong-ha but the man sitting on a bench near him… It’s Shi-hoon, her ex-fiance.

 

COMMENTS

I cannot sing this show’s praises enough. It has heart, it has humor, and it has characters that make me care so much about them even though it’s still early in the show’s run. A lot of that is the casting: this show is about as perfectly-cast as a rom-com can be, with all of the actors playing their roles so thoroughly that I find myself watching scenes more than once, just to watch each character’s reactions and expressions to whatever the main focus is doing or saying. Park Seo-joon is especially brilliant at this: he is never not “on,” and there’s not a moment when Dong-ha isn’t reacting and responding to what’s going on around him. This is my first time seeing him in a drama, but it certainly won’t be my last.

Uhm Jung-hwa is also playing Ji-yeon fantastically, giving her a depth and sincerity that I rarely notice in a heroine of this kind of rom-com. You can almost tell what she’s thinking without her having to say a word, just by looking at her eyes. A good example is the scene where Dong-ha gives Ji-yeon her polar bear picture and she says she will throw it out, but he tells her not to. You can see sadness, surprise at Dong-ha’s sensitivity, and then gratefulness all cross her face without her even needing to speak. Again, this is my first experience with Uhm Jung-hwa (other than Running Man, where I also found her endearing and hilarious) but I will definitely make a point to watch some more of her work.

I love how the show seems to zip along, introducing characters and conflicts with speed but also throughness, making it feel like we’ve seen much more than only 4 episodes but never feeling rushed. Emotions are already coming into play; I’m pretty certain Dong-ha is well on his way to being head-over-heels in love, if his mothering and worrying and jealousy are any indication, but it doesn’t feel too soon. Ji-yeon is a bit behind in that regard, but she’s definitely attracted if not actually starting to fall for him yet (though a solid case could be made). I like that they have a good solid friendship already, and seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company, so that when they do fall for each other it will feel natural.

But first we have to have some conflict, and how better than to introduce an old flame? Especially one with whom you never had closure and whom you still aren’t over. Ji-yeon’s ex-fiance showing up is going to throw a wrench into her growing feelings for Dong-ha, though I’m pretty sure they’ll only accelerate his growing emotions. If he can get that twisted up over one blind date, how will he act out when faced with a real love rival? I’m not so much looking forward to the conflict, but I’m definitely anticipating some (more) cute antics on Dong-ha’s part.

And he’ll have his own admirer to deal with, though I wasn’t very excited about it at first glance. On her own, Eun-chae seems to be a sweet girl, but rather bland and boring as second leads go. Then some clues in Episode 3 led me to agree that she’s quite probably the younger sister of Dong-ha’s old girlfriend. She was talking with her mother of her unni as if she’s gone (or probably dead), and a woman at the orphanage mentioned someone named Young-chae to Dong-ha, who seemed to know Eun-chae’s mother. Not to mention that comment that “Young-chae’s mother” has a daughter recently returned from the US, which we know is true about Eun-chae. It’s probably, since the drama world is tiny, that Young-chae is Dong-ha’s old girlfriend who has passed away (and his talk of not being able to save lives could be another clue) and that he’ll find out that the new intern is in fact her younger sister.

This would certainly add a layer of complexity and angst to Dong-ha and Eun-chae’s relationship. While at first I thought we didn’t really need a female second lead because there was already enough going on to make a full story, I do think that encountering his old flame’s sister could be an interesting way to have Dong-ha work through any lingering baggage he’s carrying. And I do suspect that baggage is going to be mighty heavy.

I’m a little concerned about the entrance of the love rivals and backstories of our leads, because I love the light and breezy tone of the show as it is, and bringing in dead-ex-drama could potentially turn things dark. I could honestly watch 12 more episodes of cute and funny and just forego the exes and second leads altogether, but I have a feeling that this honeymoon period is soon coming to an end. Let’s hope that the show can maintain it’s well-balanced structure, and give us plenty more chemistry and friendship between Dong-ha and Ji-yeon (and the rest of the hilarious gang) , in between the angst and conflict on the horizon.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 5

by odilettante

Dong-ha and Ji-yeon continue to struggle with their growing attraction to each other as shenanigans ensue on a work-related getaway. Eun-chae finally learns how to stand up for herself, Soo-chul surprises everyone by settling into his role as the Voice of Reason, and Dong-ha is forced to decide which is more important to him — a dead plant given to him by his first love, or a living-and-breathing Ji-yeon.

EPISODE 5 RECAP

 

Soo-chul discovers Dong-ha putting Ji-yeon’s polar bear proposal photo in a new frame, and suspiciously asks if he likes “that noonim,” complaining that he never sees Dong-ha anymore because he’s always with her. He teases Dong-ha about spending the weekend with Ji-yeon (and oh I hope there will be some passionate goings-on), but Dong-ha grabs his buddy in a headlock as he insists that it’s just a work retreat.

A phone call saves Soo-chul, and Dong-ha worries over the news that Dong-joo (who is in junior high, so a younger brother, perhaps?) is going to have surgery, and frets about the expenses associated with such a medical procedure. Ji-yeon has been eavesdropping from the hallway, but bustles out into the living room with her suitcase, ready to go as though she hadn’t heard a thing.

 

The Trouble Maker staff are in high spirits as they leave for their workshop retreat (except for perhaps Eun-chae, whose coughing fits catch Dong-ha’s attention). Director Kwon pulls up in a snazzy charter bus and starts the workshop off with an announcement of how Trouble Maker has been on a roller coaster ride, what with one week being more popular than they ever have been with the Kim Jeong-do scandal, and the next week hitting rock bottom in sales due to Team Leader Byun’s lackluster article. Ha.

So this retreat is important for everyone to rally together and, of course, prepare for a “sexy” second half of the year (oh, Director Kwon and your obsession with the adjective “sexy”). As an incentive, he’s prepared his usual cash bonus for the team that wins the sports tournament this year. Dong-ha discreetly asks Young-sik how much the bonus is, and Young-sik cheerily says it doesn’t matter, because thanks to Ji-yeon, they’ve never won any of the games before.

Dong-ha is the last to get on the bus, and he’s faced with an array of seat choices as Rin-ji tries to flirt her way into getting him to set next to her, and Eun-chae silently looks up at him with hopeful eyes. But of course he sits next to Ji-yeon, who ignores him.

Most of the staff are asleep on the bus when Dong-ha gets another phone call about Dong-joo, and this time Ji-yeon ventures to ask if someone is sick — but Dong-ha smiles and says it’s nothing.

Once they get to the hotel, Ji-yeon notes that Eun-chae is still coughing and offers her some medicine, advising her to rest and opt out of the sports competition if she feels sick.

 

Then when Rin-ji tries to claim one of the single rooms for herself, Ji-yeon snatches the keys from her hand, saying that Rin-ji will have to share since Eun-chae has a cold and needs a room to herself. Aw, she may act tough, but she still cares. (Of course, that other single room goes Ji-yeon.)

As Dong-ha is helping Eun-chae with her luggage, a mysterious handsome guy sees them walk across the lobby. He murmurs to himself: “Cindy?”

Game on! The tournament is set to start, and it’s best two out of three between Ji-yeon’s team (consisting of Young-sik, Dong-ha, and Eun-chae), and the rest of the Trouble Maker staff, led by Team Leader Byun.

 

Young-sik is bewildered by Ji-yeon’s enthusiasm and determination to win, but she tells him that they need to so that Dong-ha can get the money for Dong-joo’s surgery. She makes him promise to keep it a secret that they’re doing this for him.

It turns out Young-sik isn’t the only one perplexed by Ji-yeon’s fierce determination to win, because past experience shows a very different Ji-yeon: one who’s more concerned about breaking a nail, who purposefully steps on the jump rope (with her heels, pffft), making her team lose just so she doesn’t have to exert herself.

But today she’s a fierce competitor. Even so, the other team wins the first game (“protect the queen” dodgeball) when she gets momentarily distracted by the sight of Dong-ha literally throwing himself on top of Eun-chae to protect her. While they prep for the next game (group jump rope), Ji-yeon reminds Eun-chae that if she’s not feeling well enough to play the next game, she should just sit it out — but Eun-chae is determined to do her best, and the team ends up winning the final game (ladies’ arm wrestling), taking home the cash prize.

Dong-ha has been concerned about Eun-chae’s energy level throughout the tournament, and when Young-sik and Ji-yeon happily bounce over to where she’s resting so they can share the prize, he chides Ji-yeon for being more concerned about winning than the health of their teammate.

Young-sik is about to intervene to tell him why she was so determined to win, but she interrupts to coolly point out that she’s just naturally more competitive than others. What’s the point of playing a game if you don’t win? Dong-ha says that winning is all fine and dandy, but she should be more focused on the welfare of her teammates, and he helps poor sick Eun-chae back to her room.

 

Later that night, Ji-yeon is on her way to dinner when the mysterious pretty boy from earlier stops her, asking if she came with “Cindy,” which he clarifies is Eun-chae’s English name. He says that he went to school with her in America, and that they used to date, but lost contact, and he needs to apologize about a misunderstanding they had right before she left for Korea.

Ji-yeon is won over by his sincere puppy-dog eyes and says she’ll try to see if Eun-chae will meet with him. The rest of the Trouble Maker staff are happily giving toasts, and before Ji-yeon has a chance to mention Eun-chae’s “friend,” he looms up at their table. His demure attitude is replaced with a cocky swagger and Eun-chae’s eyes widen in fright when she sees him.

 

The pretty boy reveals his true colors as he bullies Eun-chae, blaming her flirtatious ways for turning him into a stalker and ruining his chance to get into the college of his choice. Oh, you ass.

Eun-chae flees, and before he goes after her, Dong-ha angrily asks Ji-yeon if she really thought this jerk was her friend. Smirking, the pretty boy asshat thanks Ji-yeon for letting him meet with Eun-chae, and saunters off.

The Trouble Maker staff gossip about Eun-chae/Cindy, assuming she’s some sort of brazen hussy. Ji-yeon hustles after Pretty Boy Asshat to confront him, saying that he lied to her about wanting to apologize to Eun-chae. He thanks her for her gullibility in believing his earlier story, and then calls her “ahjumma” as he warns her to stay out of his life. Oh no he didn’t.

Pretty Boy Asshat leans menacingly in as he tells her that she shouldn’t mess with him, and to “go ask Cindy” if she wants to know what kinds of terrible things he’s capable of. Ugh. Can we just punch him in the face now, please?

Ji-yeon runs into Dong-ha, who’s been frantically searching for Eun-chae, but she’s nowhere to be found. He’s still angry that Ji-yeon let the asshat see Eun-chae, and she asks if he’s now Eun-chae’s guardian angel, having changed his life goal from being a doctor to becoming Superman. (Oh, hey, I already called him that last week!)

 

She yells that his “rescue mentality” confuses people, and he yells back that she’s the one who’s confusing to people. In a tone of total disappointment, he adds that even though Ji-yeon acts mean, he thought she at least knew how to be considerate to others. As he leaves to find Eun-chae, Ji-yeon sighs in frustration: “Yeah, that’s right: I’m the bitch.”

Dong-ha finally finds Eun-chae out in the woods, where she sought some solitude while she cried. He joins her on her rock outcrop, and she explains that Pretty Boy Asshat was actually the one who ruined her life — when she rejected him after he hit on her, he bullied her and spread so many vicious rumors that she was forced to leave school.

 

The next time she meets him, Dong-ha advises that instead of running away, she should stand up and fight him. He even recommends using English curse words, because Korean swears aren’t strong enough for him.

Meanwhile, Ji-yeon is also out in the woods looking for Eun-chae, but she loses her footing and rolls down an embankment, spraining her ankle. She sees Eun-chae and Dong-ha making their way back to the hotel (but doesn’t call to them, for whatever reason). Her phone also has no service — she’s stranded.

Once Dong-ha and Eun-chae return, the Trouble Maker crew apologize for their assumptions about Eun-chae, and escort her safely back to her room, all one big happy family. Young-sik is concerned because he hasn’t heard from Ji-yeon, and tells Dong-ha that even if everyone else thinks that she brought Pretty Boy Asshat over to their table on purpose, Dong-ha of all people should know better. After all, Ji-yeon tried so hard to win the tournament so that she could give the prize money to him.

Properly chastened, Dong-ha goes off to search for Ji-yeon, who is currently near a breaking point by being stuck in the scary woods with no cell reception. She’s annoyed that no one has come to look for her yet (grumbling that Dong-ha is too disloyal, considering they now live under the same roof). The thought of being attacked by a wild boar causes her to try and army crawl her way back to the hotel. When someone suddenly lifts her up, she shrieks in terror.

But it’s only Dong-ha, who offers to carry her on his back. Ji-yeon continues to be stubbornly independent, insisting she’ll walk on her own — but shrieks once more at a strange animal sound in the woods, burying her face in Dong-ha’s chest. He chuckles that this is why he can’t stop being worried about her, because instead of a witch, she’s really just a big ol’ scaredy cat.

As he stops to check on her ankle (good thing he was once in medical school), he tells her that Eun-chae is back, and Ji-yeon is relieved to know that the misunderstanding has been cleared up. She teasingly adds that he if tells anyone about finding her crawling on the ground, he’s fired.

Dong-ha gets serious and asks why she has so many secrets, pointing out she’s hiding the fact that they now live together, as well as the truth behind Kim Jeong-do’s scandal — not to mention their sexy smooches (which causes her to promptly reach over and cover his mouth, reminding him if he brings it up one more time, he’s fired). He then mentions another secret: her determination to win the tournament so he could have the prize money.

 

She’s annoyed that Young-sik tattled on her, but Dong-ha thanks her, explaining that Dong-joo is an orphan who doesn’t have much money, and every little bit helps. Ji-yeon calls Dong-ha a good boy as she reaches over to ruffle his hair, but he grabs her hand to make her stop. The sudden skinship makes them to freeze, and they are very aware of the short distance between them. Dong-ha: “Don’t tempt me.”

He ends up piggy-backing her to her room (aw), and after he deposits her at her door, he teases her that his body is totally numb from carrying her. They laughingly joke about how embarrassing it would have been for everyone to see her army crawl back to her room, and she ruffles his hair once more — only for him to grab her arms, pulling her in close.

The sexual tension makes it hard to breathe as they stare intently into each other’s eyes. Dong-ha quietly reminds her that he warned her she shouldn’t tempt him. They go their separate ways, but both are definitely affected by what could have easily been a kiss.

Ji-yeon stops by to see Eun-chae, who’s resting in bed. She apologizes for what happened with Pretty Boy Asshat, and advises Eun-chae that the next time she sees him, she shouldn’t run away (reminding us of her mantra that one should never pass up a chance for revenge).

 

Eun-chae says that Dong-ha encouraged her to do the same thing (and she clearly has stars in her eyes for him), but she’s happy to reassure Ji-yeon that she’s determined to be confident no matter the situation.

The next morning, everyone is eating breakfast (and aw, the Trouble Makerfamily is now so considerate of Eun-chae). Ji-yeon sits down across from Dong-ha, and as she reaches for her water glass, he leaps back like she’s about to rip his shirt off. HA.

They notice that Pretty Boy Asshat is sitting on the other end of the dining room, and if looks could kill, he’d be dead six times over.

Revenge games are afoot as Director Kwon walks by and slaps Pretty Boy Asshat hard upside the head, and then fake-apologizes because he looks just like a jerk he knows. Then Director Kwon literally tag-teams in Rin-ji, who smashes ice cream all over the asshat’s shirt, saying in a sweet voice that’s she’s “sorry for doing it on purpose.” Pffft.

This time it’s Ji-yeon’s turn as she dumps her iced coffee all over him. But she tells him that she’s not the one he should be fighting, and Eun-chae gets to deliver the final blow: If he dares to try and retaliate against her, her first article at Trouble Maker will be a revealing tell-all about how this chaebol does drugs and hires thugs to beat up people. Forget dodgeball — revenge is the best team building sport ever.

 

Now Eun-chae is the one with lots of seating choices on the bus back home, and she ignores the other guys to ask to sit next do Dong-ha. Even though it seems like he was saving that spot for Ji-yeon, because he’s such a nice guy (sigh), he lets Eun-chae slide in next to him.

During the ride home, the small aisle between Ji-yeon and Dong-ha seems so much wider as they assiduously try to ignore each other. But once they return home, Dong-ha manages to break Ji-yeon’s stubborn silence by carrying her bag for her, and they’re soon back to their normal bickering cuteness.

Shi-hoon is busy setting up his art gallery when his assistant reminds him that he has a press interview. The journalist knows him as the internationally renown photographer Phillip Noh, but when she asks why it’s taken him so long to return to Korea, he admits he needed some time to prepare. He wanted to return to Korea not as Phillip Noh, but as Noh Shi-hoon.

Back at their apartment, Dong-ha presents Ji-yeon with her newly framed photo. She tries to shrug it off, saying she was just going to throw it out, but he says it seemed like an important photo for her and she should keep her memories. Still — she’s not keeping it for revenge, is she?

 

Ji-yeon admits that, because Shi-hoon left without a word and never returned, she should take her revenge if he ever comes back. After all, she wasted six years because of him.

Dong-ha tells her that if he was “that polar bear” and he knew she waited six years for him, he would return: “Because you’re worth more than that.” He pensively adds he’s envious that she might be able to get revenge, because there are some people who can never return.

At the hospital, Dong-ha hands over the money for the surgery fees, and Soo-chul pesters him with questions about how far he got with Ji-yeon. He tries to change the topic, but Soo-chul won’t be deterred, and Dong-ha finally sputters out a lengthy and technical explanation that his constant need to rush out and make sure Ji-yeon is okay is just a biological reflex, nothing more.

 

Soo-chul refuses to be distracted and persists in pointing out that he knows Dong-ha is attracted to Ji-yeon. The big goofy grin on Dong-ha’s face as he remembers those sexually charged moments (when he told her not to tempt him) seems to confirm this assessment. The boy is a total goner, and Soo-chul is happy to crow about the fact he’s right, adding that Dong-ha should ask Young-chae about it tomorrow.

Dong-ha is floored to realize that, due to being so preoccupied with Ji-yeon, he forgot about Young-chae’s memorial anniversary. The next morning, he sends a message to Ji-yeon telling her that he won’t be in to work due to a personal matter.

So she calls up good ol’ Spinach-mold since he knows what’s going on with Dong-ha. But he sees his chance to get spoiled, and refuses to tell her anything until she gets him a drink and makes him ramyun. Finally her limit is reached, and she grabs his ear, telling him if he doesn’t want to make this his last meal, he better tell her everything.

Soo-chul explains that today is Young-chae’s memorial anniversary — she died of a heart complication three years ago. The last gift she gave Dong-ha was a potted hyacinth, and Ji-yeon realizes that’s the dead plant Dong-ha is so protective of. Soo-chul tells her that after the first blossom died, Young-chae promised it would blossom again a second time — and when it did, Dong-ha would know why she gave it to him. But, of course, it hasn’t bloomed since she died, and Dong-ha is still obsessed over figuring out the puzzle she left him.

As Ji-yeon decides to seek advice on how to revive a dead hyacinth, Dong-ha somberly places flowers at Young-chae’s urn. He tells her that when her heart stopped, he thought his did too. But lately it keeps beating again — but not for Young-chae. Instead, it’s starting to beat for someone else.

 

Eun-chae’s mother is also there for her daughter’s memorial, and she tells Dong-ha to stop coming. She no longer resents him for what happened to Young-chae, but she doesn’t want to see him anymore because he constantly reminds her of what happened to her daughter. Dong-ha struggles with his heartbreak as he drives back home.

Using the knowledge gained from a wacky botanist she visited (who was more interested in telling Greek myths surrounding hyacinths instead of how to actually take care of one), Ji-yeon replants Dong-ha’s dead hyacinth into a new pot with fresh soil, and then cuts off the old flower. She smiles at her handiwork as she thinks about the message Young-chae wanted to give to Dong-ha:

Forget about the first blossom. Cut out the scar and the flower will bloom again. Live a new life.

However, when Dong-ha arrives home, he sees that she’s repotted his precious plant and cut it into two. He angrily reminds her that he told her never to touch it. Shouting, he asks why she did it, and she blurts that it’s because he keeps weighing on her mind; she keeps thinking of him. Every time she’s in danger, he comes to save her, so she’s started to lean on him.

Dong-ha: “Do you think that I’ve fallen for you?” He admits that maybe he did feel something, but he can’t forgive her for ruining his personal things. Furious, he smashes the newly potted hyacinth against the ground.

 

COMMENTS

Thanks a lot, show; you’ve made me cry.

I understand Dong-ha’s anger and frustration. Not only is he struggling with the guilt because he almost forgot Young-chae’s memorial day, he also was told that he’s no longer wanted by her family. He’s losing his grasp on the woman that he was so devoted to, and all he really has left to tie him to her is that plant. So when he sees that Ji-yeon has put it in a new pot and chopped off the old dead flower, it’s just more proof that Young-chae is being cut out of his life.

I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that the hyacinth represents Dong-ha’s heart (because that does seem to be the anvil of symbolism the show is beating into our heads). Which means he now has to face that his love for Young-chae has passed — that first-love has blossomed and died, and now it’s time to wait for a new love to bloom. And of course that new blossom is Ji-yeon. But it’s such a hard thing to face, even if he’s been slowly realizing how much he cares for Ji-yeon.

I also can’t blame Ji-yeon for taking matters into her own hands and repotting the hyacinth without Dong-ha’s permission. First, because that’s just her take-charge personality; and second, she genuinely cares and wants to do something good for him. He’s the one who’s always managed to swoop in and save her (hello, Superman!), and now she finally sees a chance to give him back something meaningful — only to have him throw it away.

Ji-yeon is an incredibly caring person, but because she was rejected by Shi-hoon, she’s built this cold, “bitchy” wall around her as protection from getting hurt again. However, she’s allowed herself to be vulnerable with Dong-ha, even admitting that she’s beginning to care about him, and wanting to find away to return all the favors he’s given her. Now that he’s rejected her gift by smashing it on the ground, I can only imagine is a slap in the face as she feels she personally is being rejected once more. I’ll admit I have a slight fear she’ll close herself off from Dong-ha, as a way to protect herself. And I’m not really looking forward to that.

As ridiculous and over-the-top so many elements in the show are (the supporting cast are essentially one-note caricatures; the over-saturated color palette; the delightfully comical sound effects), what brings me back over-and-over again is just how genuine and natural the interaction is between Dong-ha and Ji-yeon. Not only do I believe in them as a couple, I believe in them as people. Which is why I’m so invested in them and their future (and why the show made me tear up at the end, because oh my heart).

I’m clinging to the fact that this show has been excellent in not letting any misunderstanding linger very long (I mean, we got rid of the Pretty Boy Asshat misunderstanding within the same evening, which I think is a record for Dramaland). Still, this is Dramaland, which means I’m worried that we’ll be forced to linger on a misunderstanding because it provides a handy venue for drama — and we are getting close to middway, which is when all the angst typically begins to take root.

But Dong-ha is too thoughtful and understanding to be mad at Ji-yeon for very long, right? Right?

 

Even so, I’m glad that we’re addressing Young-chae now (and hopefully to leave her to rest in peace as a memory), because I can only handle one of our leads struggling over a past love at a time. When one struggles, I need the other one to support and comfort the other. And I’m assuming it will be Young-chae first, because apparently Ji-yeon doesn’t know that Shi-hoon is back in Korea.

Apparently.

Because, wow, talk about some perplexing editing choices. Considering the cliffhanger from last week, where I was sure we were going to get a confrontation at the airport, I was genuinely bewildered when Episode 5 started and there was no mention of Shi-hoon. For a moment, I was convinced I had somehow skipped an episode because I couldn’t believe the show would just ignore the fact Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon were sitting just feet from each other, looking in each other’s direction, and didn’t see each other.

Maybe it’s just one of those “hands of fate” things — she didn’t see him, he didn’t see her, ships passing in night, etc. But it’s so bizarre, because why bother to have them in the same spot at all? We could have easily been introduced to Shi-hoon returning to Korea without involving Ji-yeon (or Dong-ha). Then we would be anxious over how they would eventually run into each other, and Ji-yeon’s wry little “maybe if he ever comes back, I’ll get my revenge” would have more impact because we wouldn’t be wondering in the back of our minds if she did or didn’t see him at the airport.

Still, despite the confusing editing choice, I love this show to bits. It has everything I could possibly want in a drama — humor, characters with depth, leads who genuinely care about and respect each other (and other people!), friendships between the leads, the possibility that Ji-yeon will be a support and mentor to Eun-chae (the lead and second lead actually becoming friends is always my secret hope), the awesome friendships between just about everyone (who knew that moldy spinach Soo-chul would be such an awesome supporter of the Ji-yeon/Dong-ha OTP?), and, well, just about everything.

The only thing that’s lacking right now are the kisses. I swear, if we don’t get some resolution of the ridiculously strong sexual tension between Dong-ha and Ji-yeon soon, I will fly to Korea and smash ice cream all over the writer’s shirts.

I’m warning you, show: don’t tempt me.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 6

by LollyPip

Everyone hold onto your tissues, because this episode is a roller coaster. It seems like any other drama episode; sweet and cute and funny…and then the last fifteen minutes just go right for the gut, ruthlessly yanking at your emotions. Not that this is a bad thing, in fact it’s a very good thing. I just hope you guys are ready, because I certainly wasn’t.

EPISODE 6 RECAP

Dong-ha comes home to find Ji-yeon just finishing her re-potting and trimming of his hyacinth. Frantic, he yells at her for touching his possession, and she admits that she did it because the way he’s treated her has made her care for him. He replies that his feelings towards her may have wavered for a moment, but he can’t forgive this, and he smashes the pot and hyacinth on the floor.

 

Ji-yeon has had it up to here and she tells him that he’s behaving like a child. She starts to tell him the secret of the hyacinth, but he only screams at her to stop talking about it. He then turns ice-cold, and says that he never wants to see her again. She needs to leave the house immediately.

Dong-ha goes on a ride on his moped, and ends up at a hiking point that he remembers visiting with Young-chae. It was their one-year anniversary, and Young-Chae had wanted to make a wish at the top of the mountain. They didn’t make it to the top because of her weak heart, but Dong-ha told Young-chae to make her wish anyway and that he would do anything she wanted.

 

Young-chae said that her wish was for Dong-ha to become a great doctor and cure her heart problem. Dong-ha’s wish was that she stay by his side until he becomes that great doctor. He gave her a bracelet shaped like an arrow, and he had even gotten one for himself, like couple-bracelets.

Back in the present, Eun-chae walks up the same mountain, remembering that her unni told her that she needed to visit that place when she was back from the U.S. When she arrives at the gazebo in the picture her sister sent, she finds Dong-ha there, still in mourning clothes.

 

We confirm what we already suspected: that Dong-ha’s deceased girlfriend was Eun-chae’s older sister. Eun-chae holds out her hand to show that she’s wearing Young-chae’s arrow bracelet because it helps her feel close to her unni, and Dong-ha shows that he still wears his. They leave the mountain and Eun-chae takes a bus home, saddened and confused now that she knows the man she likes was in love with her sister. She asks out loud, “Unni, what do I do?”

At Dong-ha’s house, Ji-yeon packs her things to leave. We see that she’s put the hyacinth back in Dong-ha’s pot, with a note apologizing for ruining his precious possession and thanking him for everything.

Dong-ha comes home to find Ji-yeon gone and his plant back in its place with the note. Soo-chul comes home and immediately susses out that something is wrong. Dong-ha just says that Ji-yeon is gone and that he doesn’t know where she went.

 

He tells Soo-chul that he kicked Ji-yeon out because she cut his hyacinth, and Soo-chul is all, “So?” He tells Dong-ha that he told Ji-yeon everything about him and Young-chae, and how she cried with worry for him. Dong-ha yells at him but Soo-chul, in a blaze of awesome-yet-uncharacteristic clarity, tells him that Young-chae won’t come back just because Dong-ha mopes around forever, and that he was dumb to kick Ji-yeon out over a dead plant. Thank you, someone had to say it!

Dong-ha goes to the fishcake restaurant, but when Na-rae tells him that Ji-yeon isn’t there he plays it off that he only came here because he missed the food. He drinks sake by himself and gets so drunk he starts to hallucinate, seeing Ji-yeon everywhere. By the time he turns around and sees yet another Ji-yeon walk into the restaurant, he’s in a near-terror and the restaurant is full of imaginary Ji-yeons. PFFT.

The real Ji-yeon is busy checking into a hotel since her apartment is still being cleaned up. She somehow gets drawn into a misunderstanding between a cheater and his girlfriend who’s caught him in the act, when the girlfriend mistakes Ji-yeon for the “other woman.” The cheater doesn’t help things by going along with it in order to protect the real other woman he’s here to see. The girlfriend calls the police and stops Ji-yeon when she tries to leave.

At the restaurant, Na-rae gets a call that Ji-yeon has been arrested and is at the police station, and Dong-ha overhears. When they get to the station it looks like Ji-yeon gave as good as she got, since the cheater and his girlfriend are both as beat-up as she is, ha.

Na-rae rushes into the station and immediately starts insulting the girlfriend. The two of them have this hilarious non-fight — they’re throwing punches and kicks but not actually hitting each other — and Dong-ha just calmly sits next to Ji-yeon as if they’re all alone. It’s a sweet little beat in the middle of all the chaos.

Na-rae, Min-goo, Ji-yeon, and Dong-ha all convene at the restaurant later that evening. It’s funny how Min-goo is a little bit scared of Na-rae now that he knows she’s a brawler. The two of them start to put clues together — Ji-yeon checking into a hotel, Dong-ha drinking alone — and conclude that the two had a fight. They vehemently deny it, in unison, but methinks they doth protest too much.

 

Dong-ha and Ji-yeon head back to the building, and Dong-ha pretends to be soooo tired and sits on a bench, throwing pointed looks at Ji-yeon until she sits with him. He apologizes for yelling and for kicking her out, but Ji-yeon counters that he was right. She shouldn’t have cut his plant after he asked her not to touch it, and she apologizes too.

Dong-ha admits that he overreacted because he had forgotten it was Young-chae’s memorial day today and he was angry at himself, not Ji-yeon. He says that he feels like he’s forgotten Young-chae after only three years, but Ji-yeon stops him. She reminds him that he faithfully watered and cared for the hyacinth plant for three years, and thought of Young-chae every day.

 

Dong-ha sighs that the flower never did bloom, but Ji-yeon assures him that it will. She tells him that you have to cut the old flower for a new one to bloom (and I know this metaphor is heavy-handed but it’s still sweet).

This revelation hits Dong-ha hard, and later he tells the hyacinth that he’s found the answer. He understands now what Young-chae was trying to tell him. “That’s right, dummy,” says a vision of Young-chae from behind him. She gently scolds him for keeping a dead plant around for three years and not moving on.

Vision Young-chae takes Dong-ha’s hand and tells him that she’s the one who didn’t keep her promise, not him. She assures him that now that he’s figured out the hyacinth’s secret, it will bloom again soon, and Dong-ha breaks down as he finds himself alone.

 

The next day, Ji-yeon’s mother shows up at Trouble Maker but is stopped by an employee before she can go up to Ji-yeon’s office. Apparently she lied to him about who she was last time, and he got in big trouble. Director Kwon shows up to handle the problem, and the Chimes of Troo Luv sound when Ji-yeon’s mom hears his sexy voice. HAHA.

As Director Kwon is taking Ji-yeon’s mom up in the elevator, there’s a momentary loss of power and the lights go out. When they come back on, she’s grabbed his arm and he’s holding her hand, and the accidental skinship seems to affect them both. Director Kwon calls maintenance and yells at them for scaring the lady, and Ji-yeon’s mom decides right then that she wants this man.

Everyone sits down to eat the lunch that Ji-yeon’s mom brought, and Ji-yeon’s coworkers tell her she’s lucky to have a mom who is such a good cook. But she knows that Mom has an ulterior motive, and demands that she tell her why she’s really here. Mom says that she has another blind date tonight, and Ji-yeon had better go or she’ll just show up at work with more food tomorrow. Hey, that’s blackmail!

Ji-yeon goes on the date, and complains to the waiter about pretty much everything on the table. She has another blind date and this time she goes on a tirade about his alma mater and everything wrong with it.

After the second date Ji-yeon, Na-rae, Min-goo and Dong-ha sit at the fishcake restaurant while Ji-yeon complains that none of these men are asking her on a second date. After all, she’s a great catch! Dong-ha asks grumpily why she’s going on so many dates, and she admits that it’s her mom’s blackmail. Na-rae tells her to bring one of those dates to their school reunion the next weekend.

 

Na-rae hands her phone to Ji-yeon to show her the invitation, and it’s a video of Ji-yeon at the last reunion, drunkenly yelling at a statue for being disrespectful to a noona. Na-rae tries to stop her but it just causes Ji-yeon to flail and knock the um… manhood off the statue, HAHAHA.

Na-rae tries to put the broken piece back on the statue while Ji-yeon yells at it some more for being weak like all men. She drunk-hollers to her friends that she’ll bring someone much better than Noh Shi-hoon to the next reunion. If she doesn’t, she’ll send them all on a European vacation!

Back in the present, Dong-ha asks if Ji-yeon has any more blind dates. She says she has one more, and she’ll make sure it’s a good date and bring him to the reunion. Na-rae says that she should just take Dong-ha, who doesn’t seem unwilling but Ji-yeon says she’d be too embarrassed by the large age gap.

 

Back at Dong-ha’s place, he offers to go to the reunion again. He’s adorably shy about it, but plays it off by explaining that he’s pretended to be her boyfriend before in front of her mother. She says that her friends are too smart to fall for it which makes Dong-ha pout that he’s a good actor. He asks if it’s because he’s too young, and something in his face makes me think he’s not talking about pretending to be her boyfriend anymore. But Ji-yeon misses his subtext, and says that he can’t keep helping her or she’ll get dependent on him.

Later, Dong-ha bounces this situation off Soo-chul, who says that he can’t blame Ji-yeon for creating some distance since Dong-ha did kick her out (when did Spinach Mold become the voice of reason?). Dong-ha admits that that was a mistake and starts to kick Soo-chul, who blocks it and says to be nice to him since he’s about to be a business owner again soon.

 

Ji-yeon and Na-re get their nails done and have the exact same conversation as the guys. Ji-yeon says that Dong-ha is too young, but Na-rae points out that since she and Dong-ha have feelings for each other, age isn’t a good reason to reject him. She asks if Ji-yeon sees Dong-ha as a man, which causes Ji-yeon to become suspiciously quiet. Na-rae can tell that she does, because it’s written all over her face.

Meanwhile Dong-ha and Soo-chul list all the reasons that Ji-yeon should take Dong-ha to the reunion. Dong-ha asks again if he’s too young, and Soo-chul pounces on his fixation on his age as evidence that he must really like Ji-yeon. Soo-chul changes the subject to his store’s grand opening, but Dong-ha just asks again if he’s too young. His worry is so cute.

Later that night, Dong-ha arrives home and Ji-yeon tells him she’s ordered chicken and beer. Lots of it. He says he’s not hungry but that’s okay with her, she’ll just eat it all herself. Cut to: Dong-ha stuffing his face with chicken. Pfft.

 

He asks if she’s prepared for her next blind date, and reminds her not to just pick apart her dates. She retorts that it’s not like she was wrong, and talking about true things is better than talking about superficial things. Dong-ha sighs that she needs a man’s advice to succeed on her date, and decides to help. He demands three extra days off if she succeeds based on his advice, and offers three days as part-time labor if she fails. It’s a bet!

Rule #1 for a successful date is to be positive and flattering, instead of critical and harsh. This backfires hilariously when Ji-yeon practices complimenting Young-sik at work and accidentally hurts his feelings.

Rule #2 is to be approachable and feminine. Dong-ha uses her purse as an example, since everything she carries is something she uses for work. It outs her as a woman who focuses on work more than relationships.

 

They take a break to buy snacks, and on the way back home Dong-ha grabs Ji-yeon’s hand and explains that when on a date, she can’t just run ahead. She needs to remember that she’s with someone. By the way he’s smiling, I call shenanigans — he just wanted an excuse for skinship.

Back to work with Rule #3: eye contact. They face each other on the couch and try to maintain eye contact, but Ji-yeon’s eyes keep wandering off. The third time it happens, Dong-ha hisses and holds her face still… Did it just get hot in here? Dong-ha says softly that making eye contact is how you feel a person’s sincerity, and he starts to lean in ever-so-slowly as he adds breathlessly that this is how to make someone fall for you.

His eyes fall to her lips, and he forgets this is a lesson and goes in for a real kiss, but she breaks contact and says that she understands the rule. He stammers that she should do well on her date if she remembers the three rules.

Ji-yeon hurriedly wishes Dong-ha good night and flees to her room, holding her chest and gasping for air (you and me both, girlfriend). Dong-ha knocks and tells her through the door that if she does fail on her date, he’ll go to the reunion with her. GAH, just tell her you really want to be her date and that it’s not pretend!

 

Ji-yeon shows up for the date and whaddya know, it’s the botanist who taught her how to revive the hyacinth. Dong-ha sits at the bar, ready to direct Ji-yeon if she needs help, though he’s doing quite a lot of glaring in the meantime.

He motions to her to start with compliments, and she says to the botanist (his name is Bong-soo) that he has a baby face and looks young. Bong-soo points out that Ji-yeon is older than him and at a gesture from Dong-ha, rather than blast him as is her instinct, she smiles and asks him about his work. Another signal from Dong-ha reminds her not to talk work on a date, so she just cutely says that she likes flowers.

 

This gets Bong-soo waxing poetic about flowers and Ji-yeon starts nodding off out of boredom. Dong-ha gives her the signal to hold eye contact. She goes ahead and asks if Bong-soo would like to go to her reunion with her, and he accepts.

We cut to a(n oddly placed) scene of Shi-hoon taking pictures in the park. He remembers a day years ago when he and Ji-yeon camping out in a tent, pretending to be in Alaska to see the polar bears to prepare for their honeymoon. Ji-yeon crows about how jealous her friends are going to be when she sees them at the reunion, after making fun of her for dating Shi-hoon for ten years and never getting married.

 

Jiyeon and her date show up at the present-time reunion, which is at the same restaurant as the last one (and HAHAHA, the previously violated statue is now sporting a leafy codpiece, and a waiter jumps to stand in front of it when Ji-yeon shows up). She introduces Bong-soo to the group, and Na-rae shows off her wingman skills again by pointing out, in front of their school friends, that she heard he’s a botanist.

One of the women asks if Ji-yeon and Bong-soo will be getting married, and he confidently says that they will, soon. He says that Ji-yeon would be lucky to marry him, with his professorship and his young face and with her being older and all. When her friend asks if he will make much money as a professor, he says it’s of no matter because Ji-yeon can support him. It’s the least she can do for such a great catch! Ji-yeon’s face is like, what in the WHATnow?!

 

She starts to lose her temper, and Na-rae tries to calm her down but fails. Next thing you know, Na-rae’s calling Min-goo (as Ji-yeon chases the botanist with a broom in the background) to tell Dong-ha that Ji-yeon is out of control, and to come down and help.

The waiters escort Bong-soo out of the restaurant and into a cab as he loudly threatens to sue them all. Ji-yeon is calmer now, but her “friends” nastily point out that she was so hot in college, so why can’t she find a man now? Na-rae tells them all to stop it (best friend ever) but they keep picking at her.

 

Finally Ji-yeon whirls to them and yells they’re right, she doesn’t have a man. She has a bad personality and she’s old, so of course no man likes her! Then we hear a voice from behind her: “I’m so disappointed.” It’s Dong-ha coming to the rescue and let me tell you, he looks gorgeous.

One of Ji-yeon’s friends snarks that this must be another fake boyfriend, and Dong-ha tells her that he’s not Ji-yeon’s boyfriend, but only because he hasn’t confessed to her yet. Oh swoon. Are you going to confess now, in front of everyone?

He is. Right there in front of all her friends, he says to Ji-yeon that he doesn’t own anything, and he’s taking a break from school, and he only has part-time jobs. So when she goes on these blind dates he can’t even tell her that he hates it. He says that he likes her, and the fourteen-year age difference doesn’t matter to him.

 

He tells her not to push him away just because of his age. Even if she does push him away, he won’t go anywhere. He takes both of her hands, looks in her eyes, and tells her that even though he likes her more than she likes him now, he’ll make sure she falls for him too.

He asks if Ji-yeon accepts his confession and, speechless and teary-eyed, she nods. They hug as her friends applaud and Na-rae squees to herself with happiness.

At lunch, the ladies all pepper Dong-ha and Ji-yeon with questions that Dong-ha answers smoothly, but Ji-yeon is in this sort of half-daze and doesn’t speak or eat. All she can do is think to herself, “This is a dream. I forgot how to start loving someone.” She can’t believe she could get so excited over a man again. Dong-ha urges her to eat, but Ji-yeon is way too nervous and excited. He finally offers her a bite of cake, but she hesitates.

“The Ji-yeon I know doesn’t like cinnamon powder,” says a voice, and Ji-yeon freezes. The women all look over to see Shi-hoon walk up to the table and greet Ji-yeon. She stands to face him, her face a stony mask, betraying no emotion whatsoever.

 

COMMENTS

This show is going to kill me. Just kill me dead. How does it know how to yank my emotional chain so well? The last 15 minutes were so intense that I’m still reeling, hours after having watched it. The emotional setup with that insanely hot almost-kiss, then the one-two punch of Dong-ha’s wonderfully sincere public love confession and Ji-yeon’s tearful acceptance. Then right when I think all is puffy hearts and rose petals, it goes in for the TKO with Shi-hoon’s showing up at the reunion. I can’t handle my feelings being jerked around like this, Show! Why do you want to hurt the one who loves you so much? My poor shipper heart can’t take much more of this.

Now that that’s out of the way — how great is it that our leads are so honest and open with each other? I love that Dong-ha and Ji-yeon were able to talk about what happened with the plant, and I love that Dong-ha is mature enough to listen and realize when he’s wrong. That’s a good quality that anyone who wants to be with Ji-yeon should have, as she’s so honest and forthright and her sense of right and wrong are so defined.

It’s one of my favorite things about Witch’s Romance, that misunderstandings are handled swiftly and maturely by the characters. Nobody mopes for days, or refuses to listen when the other wants to explain or worse, refuses to do the explaining when they have a good reason for their misunderstood actions. I felt like cheering when Dong-ha and Ji-yeon sat on that bench and hashed out the hyacinth issue, because it takes a lot to admit you’re wrong, especially when it’s to the person for whom you’re developing feelings. I wanted to hug Dong-ha when he actually got it, that in order to move on and grow a new “flower” he must let the old dead flower go. It’s not the most subtle of metaphors, but I like it. I can’t wait to see their new “flower” grow and bloom.

Now I have to address the elephant in the room…where has Shi-hoon been for two whole episodes? Are we supposed to pretend that Ji-yeon’s seeing him in the airport at the end of Episode 4 didn’t happen? Because Ji-yeon certainly looked in this last scene like she was seeing him for the first time since before their wedding day. Not that I’m sorry that we got two more episodes without second-lead drama to deal with, but I think we can all agree that it’s very strange. I know I’m not the only one who started watching Episode 5 and thought I was watching the wrong episode. I’m still hoping for some sort of explanation, but for now I’m just mightily confused.

Regardless, it looks like we’re going to have to deal with him now. I have a sinking feeling (based on not much more than a hunch from having seen way too many dramas) that his explanation for six years’ worth of silence is going to be some sort of illness. He’s probably been off in the States getting his Obligatory Drama Cancer cured or something, which is going to make it difficult for Ji-yeon to tell him to take a hike. Nothing short of something truly life-threatening could get our stubborn heroine to forgive such a sin as deserting her on the eve of their wedding and not contacting her for six years. Ji-yeon is not the most forgiving of women, and I think she would have no problem showing Shi-hoon the door if his excuse were anything trivial.

So I close with this message to Dong-ha: be strong. It looks like you have quite the fight ahead of you, but I believe you can live up to your promise to Ji-yeon not to go anywhere even if she pushes you away. Your flower just started blooming again, don’t let it wilt and die a second time!

RELATED POSTS

Witch’s Romance: Episode 7

by LollyPip

Having to deal with fallout is never fun, especially when it means facing your long-buried feelings of heartbreak and abandonment. Ji-yeon spends this episode coming to grips with the fact that the man who disappeared six years ago has returned, while the man who wants to love her now struggles between respecting her choice, and his desire to fight for her.

EPISODE 7 RECAP

The episode starts with Dong-ha snazzing himself up to meet Ji-yeon at her reunion, adorably shirtless nervous as he practices his confession in the mirror. After the confession, everyone eats while the ladies ask questions, which Dong-ha fields with charm and tact. He starts to feed Ji-yeon a bite of cake, when a voice is heard from across the restaurant: “The Ji-yeon I know doesn’t like cinnamon powder.”

Shi-hoon approaches the table and asks if the women have been well, as if he hasn’t been gone for six years. The women seem to have selective memories because they flock to him and coo over how good he looks, but Ji-yeon is frozen in shock. Only Na-rae demands to know what the heck happened and why he hasn’t contacted Ji-yeon in all this time (seriously, best friend ever).

 

Shi-hoon approaches Ji-yeon and greets her, but she’s still as a statue while Dong-ha holds her hand and quietly reassures her that he’s here. Ji-yeon stands to face Shi-hoon, but it’s Dong-ha who walks over to him and introduces himself as her boyfriend. Dong-ha, you are so awesome.

Na-rae invites everyone to sit and talk and Ji-yeon finally speaks, but only to say that she has nothing whatsoever to say. She walks out, and Shi-hoon starts to follow her but Dong-ha stops him. He tells him that this is none of his business, and follows Ji-yeon out of the dining room.

Ji-yeon has found a secluded spot outside and is saying all the things she wanted to say to Shi-hoon while in the restaurant, getting angrier and angrier. As she speaks, she starts to grow hysterical and begins to sob. She gets herself together and gives a pep talk to herself next, declaring that it’s all in the past.

Shi-hoon finds her and says that she hasn’t changed, that she still looks for a place to be alone and breathe when she’s upset. He asks if Dong-ha really is her boyfriend, noting how young he looks. Ji-yeon defiantly says that yes, he is her boyfriend. Regardless of his age, he’s a person she can depend on. Hint hint.

Ji-yeon starts to leave but Shi-hoon stops her again, asking if she’s been well. She whirls around and cries that she waited for him back then, even after being hospitalized multiple times from collapsing. Of course she wasn’t well! Six years ago her dreams disappeared and she was left with nothing to live for but her work.

Shi-hoon says that he’d like to clear up the misunderstanding between them, but Ji-yeon scoffs that there’s no misunderstanding. He didn’t show up to their wedding and never contacted her in six years — that’s simple truth, and there’s nothing to misunderstand.

 

In answer, Shi-hoon invites her to his exhibition in a few days because there’s a picture he would like her to see. Ji-yeon tears up the invitation and says that she’s doing fine now, and will be fine in the future. Dong-ha finds them and adds that he’s taking care of Ji-yeon now, so Shi-hoon can just stop being interested in what happens to her. He takes Ji-yeon’s hand and leads her away.

When they’re out of sight of Shi-hoon, Ji-yeon drops Dong-ha’s hand. She thanks him for all his help today and insists on getting herself home. She starts to walk home, looking from behind as if everything is fine, but Dong-ha runs after her and when he turns her around, she’s sobbing again.

 

She again insists on being alone and grabs a taxi before he can protest, and as she drives off Dong-ha thinks to himself that he wasn’t helping her — he was telling her his sincere truth.

Ji-yeon has found another place to be alone, and she remembers back to a month before her wedding to Shi-yoon. He left on a trip to Europe for business, but had promised to be back a week before the wedding. Back in the present, she takes a call from her mom, who can tell something is up by her shaky voice.

Ji-yeon asks tearfully if her fate really is that bad, and Mom understandably assumes all of this is work-related and goes on the offensive, saying they’ll hire a lawyer and sue whoever is upsetting her baby. This makes Ji-yeon laugh, and Mom tells her that no matter what, her mother is on her side and always thinks she’s the best. Aw, Mom. ~sniffle~

 

At his office, Shi-hoon sets out to get drunk but his assistant stops him. She asks if he met the person he was looking for, and if he told her why he didn’t come back six years ago. He admits that she didn’t give him a chance to explain. The assistant insists that he had a good reason for not showing up to the wedding, but Shi-yoon just sighs that he can’t blame Ji-yeon for how she feels.

At the office the next day, Ji-yeon is uncharacteristically quiet and wears her sunglasses all day. The next item on the Trouble Maker‘’s agenda is the Hannam Gallery exhibit, which just happens to be where Shi-yoon’s photography will be displayed. The reporters talk about the fact that Phillip Noh (Shi-hoon’s professional name) is notoriously hard to interview, and Ji-yeon just sits stone-faced while Dong-ha shoots worried glances her way.

 

Director Kwon puts his very best reporter on the case, which of course means that Ji-yeon is expected to get the elusive interview. She tries to decline but Hannam Gallery is the Trouble Maker’s biggest advertiser, and only their best reporter will do.

Soo-chul brings lunch to the office to promote his new restaurant and hilariously fails when he tries compliment Ji-yeon on her new “style.” Eun-chae comes into the room and with one casual flip of her hair, Soo-chul is instantly besotted.

 

Ji-yeon takes Young-sik with her to interview Shi-hoon, and Young-sik can’t stop fangirling over how awesome Phillip Noh is, and how he wants to be just like him when he grows up. Ji-yeon tells him to stop worrying about what the artist will think of him, but gives herself away by asking if her own eyes are swollen.

Ji-yeon is cool as a cucumber when finally faced with Shi-hoon, and he has the gall to call her out for being rude, as if he’s doing her a huge favor by consenting to this interview. Really dude? She retorts in a voice like ice that she’ll just stop wasting his precious time then, and walks out.

 

Young-sik is on the verge of insulting his sunbae as he yells at Ji-yeon for leaving and crushing his dream of meeting the great Phillip Noh, haha. He asks if she isn’t even curious why he would have an exhibit in Korea after all this time.

Ji-yeon goes back in and starts the interview, but keeps up the cold demeanor. Shi-hoon refuses to answer her questions because he’s answered them in other interviews, so she just asks what he had for breakfast, scandalizing Young-sik again.

Shi-hoon tells a story about how he was almost killed by a lion, and his guide had to shoot the lion to save his life, but he got the photo so it was worth it. He tells another story about an alligator who swallowed him whole but spit him back up again, but admits that one is a joke when Young-sik falls for it.

 

On Young-sik’s urging, Shi-hoon then talks about how he got shot once, and Ji-yeon is clearly moved by how much danger he’s been in. She pulls herself together to ask one final question: Is there anything he will never photograph? He says that there is something but it’s personal, and Ji-yeon ends the interview.

Later, Ji-yeon gets a call from Na-rae that has her rushing to the fishcake restaurant. Her mother is there, peppering Na-rae and Min-goo with questions about Ji-yeon. She drags her mom out of there with excuses about needing help fixing up her place.

Mom starts asking questions about Director Kwon like whether he wears a toupee, and Ji-yeon says that he’s a total fashionista but it’s too bad he’s so ugly. HA. Mom just says a man’s face isn’t that important, and Ji-yeon looks worried at her mom’s interest.

Eun-chae’s mom makes her a feast to welcome her back to Korea with some homemade food, and accidentally makes Young-chae’s favorite dish. Eun-chae gently reminds her that she can’t eat it because she’s allergic to shellfish. Eun-chae asks her mom if she ever met Young-chae’s boyfriend, which causes her mom to become nervous and change the subject.

 

Meanwhile Dong-ha fills in Soo-chul on the fact that Eun-chae is Young-chae’s sister, back in Korea from studying in the US. Soo-chul wails that the first goddess he’s met in his life had to be Young-chae’s sister, and Dong-ha just makes a face at his exaggeration. He teases him for calling Eun-chae a goddess, since in the past he’s apparently met a fairy, an elf, an angel and so on.

Soo-chul grabs him in a headlock and points out that Dong-ha is in love with Ji-yeon, and Dong-ha concedes and taps out. I love these guys. Dong-ha admits that he thinks he’s the only one with feelings, but valiantly defends Ji-yeon when Soo-chul asks if she rejected him for having no money.

 

Ji-yeon sends her mom home in a cab and sits on a bench to process her day. Dong-ha joins her and asks how her interview went, and she tells him that Phillip Noh is Shi-hoon. Like the supportive friend he is, Dong-ha starts saying all kinds of bad things about him, but Ji-yeon just quietly starts to cry.

She tells Dong-ha that Shi-hoon had promised to be back a week before their wedding, but he never showed and didn’t even contact her for over a month after their wedding date. Then she had gotten a call from his assistant saying that he regretted proposing to her, and that she was in the way of his professional dreams. Oh you complete ass.

Ji-yeon says that she sent the wedding ring to the assistant to return to Shi-hoon so that he would know she was fine. She says that it was news to her that he wanted to be a war correspondent –- she had always thought that they shared the same dream.

 

Dong-ha gets on his knee in front of Ji-yeon, and softly tells her that not all men are the same. He promises that he will never reject her. She thanks him for making it possible for her to walk away from Shi-hoon yesterday with her pride intact. He seems about to tell her that his confession was genuine, but Soo-chul calls them back in and breaks the mood. As they walk back in, Ji-yeon quips that Shi-hoon’s big dream was getting attacked by lions and eaten by alligators. Dong-ha says he wouldn’t trade her for all the wildlife on the Serengeti. Sweet boy.

That sweet boy was so confident in front of Ji-yeon, but alone in bed his insecurities get to him. If that “polar bear” is over 40, then shouldn’t he be fat and bald? And it’s annoying how he smiles with his eyes. Surely he must have some negative attributes!

 

Soo-chul is just closing up his restaurant when Eun-chae stops by after having worked late, and he invites her in for dinner. He’s so over-the-top attentive that it makes her uncomfortable. He says that he knows she’s Young-chae’s sister, and claims that he and Young-chae were super-close and invites Eun-chae to call him Oppa.

Back at the Trouble Maker office, Director Kwon tells Ji-yeon that her article isn’t good enough, as it’s only about the Hannam Gallery exhibit and not the artist. He reminds her that the paper’s vision is making trouble, which is her specialty. She says the artist’s story isn’t really very interesting, but he doesn’t buy it since the title of the exhibit is “One’s Beloved.”

They all speculate over who Phillip Noh’s beloved could be, and Young-sik says that he heard even famous models were after him when he was abroad because he’s so handsome (which earns a snarl from Dong-ha). The Trouble Maker Trio start scheming possible ways to find out the juicy story, but Ji-yeon cuts in to say she’ll do it.

 

Young-sik asks for Dong-ha’s help retrieving some files that he left behind at the interview the day before. Dong-ha resists, but eventually Young-sik wears him down.

Ji-yeon’s mom shows up at the office, and Director Kwon tells her she just missed her daughter. She admits she’s not really here to see Ji-yeon and gives him a little tomato plant (because he appreciated her home-grown tomatoes once before). He declares it a “sexy” gift, explaining that he uses the word sexy when he’s excited about something. Well, that explains a lot. Ji-yeon’s mom thinks to herself that this man is sexy.

 

Dong-ha arrives at the studio to retrieve Young-sik’s files, just in time to catch Shi-hoon before he leaves to pick up a special picture he had printed. Shi-hoon says that even though Dong-ha said he was Ji-yeon’s boyfriend, he can see that they just work together, but Dong-ha insists they’re an office couple.

Shi-hoon leaves, and the assistant asks Dong-ha if he would mind waiting for a moment while she talks to the curator, then she’ll help him find the files. He wanders around, noticing that Shi-hoon has a copy of the same framed polar bear photo that Ji-yeon keeps. He also finds a prescription for codeine and morphine, both strong narcotic painkillers. Only someone in terrible pain would need both of those medications.

Dong-ha looks up and sees a pair of wedding rings hanging from a chain. He remembers Ji-yeon telling him that she sent the rings back to Shi-hoon after she heard from his assistant why he didn’t show up for their wedding.

Ji-yeon comes home later to find that Dong-ha has painstakingly lined the entire walkway and staircase with tiny colored votive candles, and is waiting on the patio with food and wine. Every time I think he can’t get more perfect… Anyway, she asks if it’s a special occasion and he says it’s a farewell party, which has Ji-yeon looking concerned and asking if Dong-ha is going somewhere. He says the party is for her since she’s moving away soon. Aaaalll the way over there, next door. PFFT.

He gives her a gift in a nice jewelry box, but it’s a safety alarm in the shape of a pink heart. That way if she needs help, she can just activate it and he will hear and come running. He reminds her of his promise not to go anywhere, even if she pushes him away.

 

Ji-yeon says that that was all just an act though, to help her out in front of her friends. Dong-ha tells her that it was not an act for him, that he meant what he said. He says that he was going to wait longer to say so, but the “polar bear” is more threatening than he thought he would be, and tells her that she doesn’t have to give him an answer now. He’s so nervous, it’s just precious. Then he makes a joke about the wine and pig’s feet going together even though they seem not to fit (and he can’t resist slipping in a “just like us!”) and breaks the ice, and they enjoy a nice relaxing meal together.

On the day of Shi-hoon’s exhibit, Ji-yeon hesitates outside the Hannam Gallery, too nervous to go in. Suddenly Dong-ha shows up and takes her hand, there to support her today just as he always is. It’s sweet that she lets him be there for her, even ducking behind him when Shi-hoon is introduced to give a small press conference.

 

One reporter asks about the name of the exhibit, “One’s Beloved,” and asks if it refers to love of mankind. He says that on the contrary, it’s a love message to one person, and Ji-yeon tries to bolt but Dong-ha wants to stay and hear what Shi-hoon has to say.

The reporter asks if the person the message is for is still his lover, and Shi-hoon has the nerve to say that to him, she is. Ji-yeon really starts to leave this time, but Shi-hoon stands and calls out, asking if they have any questions (as reporters). Dong-ha has a question: Did he consider that his past lover might feel uncomfortable about this? Did it occur to him that someone else might be in her life now?

Shi-hoon admits that may be possible but he believes some things never change, and he thinks that his heart and hers are two of those things. Dong-ha has had enough, and he takes Ji-yeon’s hand without a word and they leave.

Outside the gate, Ji-yeon stops but Dong-ha says there’s nothing for them to see here. Ji-yeon says that all this time she wondered why Shi-hoon left her, and the answer may be back inside the gallery. She lets go of Dong-ha’s hand and goes back in.

Inside the exhibit, there is a large picture at the far end of the room attracting all the reporters’ attention. As Ji-yeon approaches, she sees that it’s a picture of her, made of hundreds of tiny photos that Shi-hoon has taken over the years. Shi-hoon asks Ji-yeon, just as Dong-ha comes back in the room: “Ji-yeon-ah. Let’s start over.”

 

COMMENTS

Where do I start? Let’s start with the big fat NOPE I’m feeling over that confession of Shi-hoon’s. And it’s not just because I love Dong-ha -– I have real issues with the way Shi-hoon is going about… well, everything. He is my least favorite kind of second lead. You know the type: They make all sorts of fancy promises, up to and including marriage promises, then just disappear without a word for years on end. Then one day they decide to come back and think they have the right to just pick up where they left off, as if they didn’t leave confusion and heartbreak and years of emotional damage in their wake. What is that about? Do people in Dramaland not realize that when you disappear off the face of the earth for years without even a word, that that not only makes you an EX-boyfriend or -girlfriend, it also makes you a gigantic jerk?

And I don’t buy illness as an excuse, because my hunch was correct and Shi-hoon is clearly sick. Nobody needs that many painkillers without something being seriously wrong (well, at least not in dramas). But it’s still no excuse to disappear, and even less excuse to reappear and expect Ji-yeon to take him back. Why didn’t he call? Or write her a letter? Nobody is THAT busy for six solid years, even if they are busy being eaten and regurgitated by alligators for some of that time.

I will make this one small concession… I strongly suspect that the phone call Ji-yeon got from the secretary a month after the wedding date, telling her that she was holding him back professionally, was not initiated by Shi-hoon. I would not be the slightest bit surprised if the secretary acted on her own there, because she seems a bit more concerned in him than is necessary for her job. She was also mighty nervous during their interview, and when she saw Ji-yeon at the press conference, which could be interpreted as her being afraid they would say something that might get her in trouble. From what small flashbacks we’ve seen of Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon before things went south, he did care about her and I don’t think he would have his secretary call and say hurtful things. It’s just another hunch of mine, but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough if I’m right.

Regardless, a photo compilation of yourself does not six years’ worth of grief erase. Being abandoned that way creates a bone-deep hurt that can’t be fixed with a press conference and a huge picture. I don’t think for a second that Shi-hoon has a chance of getting back together with Ji-yeon, but she’s going to need to forgive him so she can move on. If that’s going to happen, he’s going to need to drastically alter his approach.

Speaking of moving on, I’m so proud of Dong-ha in this episode. He has his flashes of insecurity and what-do-I-do moments, but when it comes down to it he’s keeping his promise to Ji-yeon to be there for her no matter what happens. I love how he’s just there when she needs him, quietly strong, being her friend and support system. I think on her part she is getting used to that – you can see that when he’s around, she’s more relaxed and not so prickly and independent, and that’s a very good sign.

I continue to be impressed with Witch’s Romance when taken as a whole, despite a few weaknesses such as odd editing choices and one-dimensional supporting characters. Events happen at a quick and satisfying pace, without feeling rushed or glossed-over. It feels like we’re much further into the story because of this, instead of less than halfway through, which is great because it means there’s lots more interesting story to look forward to.

 

I’m really starting to see some nice character growth at this point, too. Most notable of course is Dong-ha, who took his revelation that he must let go of his first love in order to let another love in with maturity and grace. He didn’t pout and flounce around whining about it like so many drama characters have been known to do…he listened to Ji-yeon, he cried a bit in the letting go, and then he manned up and moved on. He immediately committed to starting a new relationship with Ji-yeon with his whole self, and is following through. He’s a good man.

Even Soo-chul (AKA Spinach-mold) is showing some interesting development. He’s gone from a sleazy womanizer who was willing to take money to publicly humiliate someone, to a guy I’d want to go to for advice. He’s surprisingly insightful when it comes to other people’s relationships; he was the one who noticed Dong-ha’s growing attachment to “Noonim” before Dong-ha even admitted it to himself, and he’s the one who consistently calls out Dong-ha when he’s fooling himself about his feelings. We’ll see if he can maintain that insight when it comes to his own relationship, if he and Eun-chae start something.

But I feel that Ji-yeon has shown the most growth as a character, in that she’s allowing Dong-ha to become essential and letting herself lean on him. It’s telling that she only lets herself cry in front of him, when she doesn’t even let her own mother know when she’s crying…it shows that she’s willing to let him see her when she’s weak and in need of comforting, which is a hard thing to do for a strong woman like Ji-yeon. She’s used to taking care of herself and not needing anyone, much less a man, to take care of her. She hasn’t admitted to herself yet how attached she’s becoming to Dong-ha, and I’m looking forward very much to that moment when she realizes not only that she loves him but more importantly, that she needs him.

Keep up the good work, Show.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 8

by odilettante

It’s an emotional roller coaster as Ji-yeon finds out the truth of what happened six years ago, and why Shi-hoon never showed up to their wedding. She struggles with reconciling the pain of the past six years to the realization that Shi-hoon never stopped loving her, and it’s not an easy journey for anyone. There’s lots of tears, but there’s lots of awesomeness as Shi-hoon’s six-year disappearance is addressed, instead of just swept under the Dramaland rug of plot convenience. Dong-ha and Mom duke it out to be the favorite of the episode, for being both adorable and a voice of reason to help Ji-yeon navigate her confusion.

EPISODE 8 RECAP

 

Prior to the press conference, Shi-hoon reveals the portrait of Ji-yeon to his assistant. He surprises his assistant even further when he admits that he decided to put it up because he felt like it would be the last time to confess, since he plans to go back to the U.S. after the exhibition. Even though Ji-yeon ripped up the invitation to the opening, he’s confident she’ll at least see the image in the newspapers.

But as Shi-hoon is making his grand confession during the press conference, the assistant recognizes Ji-yeon and hurries to the exhibit hall, furiously insisting the curators take down the collage before the reporters arrive.

But it’s too late: The reporters are here, and so is Ji-yeon. The cameras flash endless pictures as Ji-yeon stands frozen after Shi-hoon’s “Let’s start over.” Just as Dong-ha is rushing forward to save her from the situation, Shi-hoon grabs her hand and they run out of the exhibition room together, with the rest of the reporters in hot pursuit.

They hide out in the work room, where their breathless proximity unnerves Ji-yeon.

Meanwhile, the assistant is angry with Dong-ha because he allowed Ji-yeon to attend the exhibition. (Like anyone could “permit” Ji-yeon to do anything.) She says that Shi-hoon is leaving next week, so Dong-ha should make sure Ji-yeon doesn’t make a fool out of Shi-hoon, like she just did in front of all the reporters. Dong-ha points out that it was actually Shi-hoon who confessed — and besides, what kind of person does that when he knows he’s leaving in a week?

 

The assistant insists that this is better for everyone, because obviously a world-renowned photojournalist shouldn’t be pulled down by some tabloid reporter. Ji-yeon is a stumbling block to Shi-hoon, just like she was six years ago. The assistant is all crazy eyes as she insists that this was the reason why Shi-hoon never attended the wedding.

Dong-ha wonders if that’s really how Shi-hoon felt, or is it just the assistant’s biased interpretation. After all, why would Shi-hoon still have the ring Ji-yeon returned all those years ago? She awkwardly clutches the envelope she’s holding, and Dong-ha snatches it from her, revealing the contents to be the wedding rings and a photo of surgical instruments. On the back is written “Somalia” and the date: March 15, 2008.

 

Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon have managed to escape their sudden paparazzi onslaught, and she demands to know what the deal is with that picture of her — did he think she would be touched by it? She tells him that she only went into the exhibition hall to see exactly what it was that he deemed more important than her. For six years she wondered what it is she did wrong to cause him to abandon her. If she’d known, she could have fixed it.

Shi-hoon tells her that she didn’t do anything wrong, and that she’s perfect. Maybe so, but while he was off taking his super important photos, she had a very painful and difficult six years. She can never forgive him for that, which is why they won’t start over.

Meanwhile, the assistant continues to insist that she’s made Shi-hoon into the important, famous photographer that he is today, and that no one else cares as much as she does for him, not even Ji-yeon. Dong-ha is pained as he points out that she’s the direct cause of years-long suffering for both Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon.

She argues that if Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon resolve their misunderstanding, then Dong-ha loses his girlfriend, and she loses the only man in her life (not to mention the future she’s worked so hard for). Dong-ha, disgusted, says that he’s different from her, and walks away.

He shows up to where Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon are, and surprises Ji-yeon by showing her the old engagement rings. But since she doesn’t like Shi-hoon, they must not need them anymore — and Dong-ha chucks them into the pool.

 

As Ji-yeon reels from the knowledge that he’s kept the rings all this time, Shi-hoon angrily grabs Dong-ha’s collar before letting go, determined to fetch the rings out from the pool. Dong-ha lays down the truth about what really happened: The assistant lied to Ji-yeon when she said that Shi-hoon regretted ever getting engaged, and that Shi-hoon was shot in the leg and unable to attend the wedding due to the surgery.

Ji-yeon escorts Shi-hoon back to his office after he waded into the pool, concerned after learning about his getting shot and the fact that being the water could make his condition worse. She carefully tends to him, making sure he’s okay, while Dong-ha waits impatiently on a bench outside the apartment. He tries to shake off the thought that he’ll lose Ji-yeon now that they know the truth about Shi-hoon.

 

Shi-hoon explains why he never showed up for the wedding: He was sent on a last-minute assignment to Somalia, and was set to leave the day before the wedding, but war broke out. She tears up when he describes how was in a coma from his surgery for three months, and when he woke up, he saw she had returned her ring.

The next morning, Ji-yeon has a lot to think about as she sits outside on the same bench Dong-ha where had waited for her last night.

At the office, the Trouble Maker staff is pouring over news articles about Shi-hoon’s exhibition, in disbelief that the woman in the photo could be “the witch” Ji-yeon. Young-sik is the only one happy at the news as he fanboys that his two most respected sunbaes are actually a couple.

 

Director Kwon is delighted at the turn of events, gleefully plotting ways they can capitalize on this popularity. He suggests a tell-all article: “Phillip Noh and his Beloved Girl,” but Ji-yeon refuses. She isn’t even persuaded when he threatens to get Team Leader Byun to write the article and promises they’ll hide her face.

Ji-yeon ignores the multitude of calls that flood the office, even turning off her phone as good measure. She instead goes to visit with Na-rae for some girl-talk to try and figure out what she’s going to do. After all, Shi-hoon didn’t even try to contact her for six years, and Na-rae wonders why Dong-ha would have volunteered to tell them the truth about the misunderstanding, since it wouldn’t be to his benefit.

Watching a make-over show with her ahjumma workout friends, Ji-yeon’s mother is horrified at how painful it must be to go through so much plastic surgery. She thinks a person should just be happy with however they look naturally. But hearing the ahjummas talk about the benefits seems to change her mind and the next thing you know, she’s sitting nervously in a plastic surgeon’s office. HA. As he’s explaining some simple procedures to make her look ten years younger, she suddenly feels faint.

She’s taken to the hospital due to malnourishment for exercising on an empty stomach, but because Ji-yeon can’t be reached, Dong-ha is the one who rushes to the hospital to make sure everything is okay. All the other women in the ward are jealous of Dong-ha’s caring attentiveness (and pretty face), and Mom just lets them continue to think he’s her son-in-law. Dong-ha totally goes along with it. Aw.

 

Mom thinks he’s the perfect guy, except for the fact he’s just an assistant — until one of the doctors recognizes him as one of his hoobaes. Dong-ha admits that he was in medical school but hasn’t yet graduated, and Mom practically swoons at the thought that he’s a potential doctor.

When Ji-yeon rushes in to the hospital room, ready to kick up a fuss, Mom guilts her into seeing Dong-ha off.

They awkwardly stand side-by-side as they wait for the elevator. Dong-ha does an adorable and exaggerated lean to see her face and then smiles, glad to know that she’s not avoiding him any more. She tells him she was just troubled, and he snorts — it’s been hard for him, too, seeing her make the front page with “that polar bear.”

 

But apparently the polar bear is exactly who he wants to see, as Dong-ha visits Shi-hoon at his office. He’s there to return the wedding rings (Dong-ha fished them out of the pool instead).

Shi-hoon asks Dong-ha why he bothered to clear up the misunderstanding between him and Ji-yeon, and Dong-ha says that even though he may regret it a little, he did it because he hoped it would help Ji-yeon have some closure and free her so she can be with him without any regrets. After all, just because she now knows what really happened, that doesn’t negate the struggle of the past six years.

 

Shi-hoon admits those were six difficult years, but he and Ji-yeon also had ten wonderful years together, and that can’t be forgotten. Dong-ha says they’ll just have to wait and see who she’s with in ten years.

Back at the hospital, Ji-yeon is giving her mother grief for dieting instead of taking better care of herself at her age. Mom: “Do you think I was born your mother?”

She points out that a woman wants to look good at any age. Suspicious, Ji-yeon asks if she’s dating anyone, and Mom neatly dodges the question, turning the attention instead to Dong-ha. She mentions all the merits of “Mr. Yoon” and how, if he’d just finish medical school, he’d be the perfect guy. I love that Mom’s totally Team Dong-ha now.

 

Eun-chae, Dong-ha, and Rin-ji are cleaning up the Trouble Maker meeting room when Dong-ha gets a call from Soo-chul and rushes off. Eun-chae totally has puppy eyes as she watches him go, which does not go unnoticed by Rin-ji. She sits Eun-chae down to give her a little-heart-to-heart, telling her she should snap him up as soon as she can.

Particularly since it seems like there’s something fishy going on between him and “the witch.” Eun-chae’s eyes narrow at that news.

Director Kwon stops by the hospital to check on Ji-yeon’s mother, and she’s adorably flustered at his appearance. She tells him that it’s nothing serious — she just overworked herself by exercising too much because she gained some weight recently.

 

He surprises her by insisting she looks good just the way she is (since she thought he was only attracted to pretty models), and that more women should be beautiful by being healthy, like she is. Aw, I can’t blame Mom for finding him even more handsome after saying that.

The next day at the Trouble Maker office, Ji-yeon ponders the news articles about Shi-hoon and his “mysterious love” before going to the director and telling him she’ll write the article. Her only stipulation is they can’t use her photo at all, which Director Kwon agrees to.

 

Shi-hoon shows up unannounced at Ji-yeon’s mother’s house, and it’s like seeing a ghost. Voice shaking, she yells at him for daring to call her “mother” when he’s been gone for six years with no word. She spent months acting like a crazy woman, trying to track down any trace of him, but it was like he had disappeared into thin air.

He gets down on his knees as he informs her that he never once forgot Ji-yeon for a single day during those six years, and Ji-yeon’s mother once thought of him as her own son, so please give him another chance. Mom’s voice suddenly becomes much calmer as she agrees: Yes, she treated Shi-hoon better than she would her husband if he was still living — but Shi-hoon needs to “wake up” because Ji-yeon forgot about him years ago.

With that parting shot, she goes into the house — and collapses in shock after she closes the door. She weeps as she wonders how he could say that after being away for so long, her heart grieving for her daughter.

 

Suddenly wondering if Ji-yeon knows that Shi-hoon’s back, she hurries to Na-rae’s restaurant (where she thinks Ji-yeon has been staying). But Na-rae and Min-goo’s awkward attempts to cover for Ji-yeon lead to outing the fact that Ji-yeon is living at Dong-ha’s, and Mom rushes out.

Soo-chul preps for a night out clubbing when he goes to answer the door — and it’s Mom. She’s ready to storm in and yell at “Mr. Yoon” but is stopped by the sight of Soo-chul: “Who are you?”

Ji-yeon gives up on her attempt to hide (and also subtly makes it clear that Soo-chul should high-tail it out of there, ha). Mom yells at her for being an unmarried woman living with men, even wondering if she’s got more guys hidden around the apartment. Hahaha!

Dong-ha is on his way back to the apartment, but Soo-chul stops him, warning him that Ji-yeon’s mother is there, and it’s best he stay away. But that only prompts him to hurry up the stairs. He steels himself for the confrontation as he opens the door, but as soon he walks in, he hears them talking about Shi-hoon, and he stops in the entry way.

Mom is angry at the way Shi-hoon jilted Ji-yeon at the altar and then disappeared without a word for six years, but Ji-yeon explains the situation regarding his accident. Mom insists that he still could have contacted them.

Ji-yeon’s all fired up as she agrees: Even if it wasn’t six years ago, why not five? Or three? Or even last year? Good questions, all of them.

The two women take turns calling him names, and as Mom is ready to unleash more fury on Shi-hoon, she looks over to see Ji-yeon’s face crumpling as she starts to cry.

 

Ji-yeon sobs as she admits that her heart still hurts. Mom also tears up and pulls her daughter into a tight hug as Ji-yeon repeats over and over through her tears that her heart hurts so much. Having overheard everything, Dong-ha quietly slips unnoticed out of the apartment.

Team Leader Byun drags Young-sik into the Trouble Maker restroom (which is probably the coolest unisex bathroom I’ve ever seen), bribing him with promises of blind dates if he’ll take some pictures for him. At first Young-sik is adorably loyal to Ji-yeon, but is eventually persuaded.

Shi-hoon is at coffee shop, and when he sees a couple laughing as they huddle over a laptop, he remembers earlier days when he and Ji-yeon would spent their time in similar ways.

She was studying for an entrance exam for one of the newspapers so that she and Shi-hoon could fulfill a dream of traveling the world, sharing important stories — she would write them, and he would take the photos. I have to begrudgingly admit they made a pretty adorable couple back then, all smiles and playful banter. (It’s also super cute how she keeps protesting when he takes her picture, but she still poses anyway.)

Back in the current day, Ji-yeon arrives at his table, where he shows off that he not only remembers how she takes her coffee, but that she also doesn’t like cooked carrots, she squeezes the toothpaste tube from the middle, and she likes to kiss when she gets drunk. (Pretty sure Dong-ha knows that last one, too. Just sayin’.)

 

But this isn’t a friendly date — it’s an official interview. Ji-yeon tells him that with her article, she’ll bury all the other ones about the “Once Beloved” photograph.

Across the way from the coffee shop, Team Leader Byun and Young-sik have been taking photos of Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon (Team Leader Byun marveling that “the witch” is capable of smiling like that). It’s laughable the ridiculous way they’ve tried to hide themselves behind a newspaper and a magazine, so Ji-yeon notices them right away.

She walks straight over to them, and Team Leader Byun runs away, but at her command Young-sik stays and, with additional threats (and a smack upside the head), hands over the SD card of all the photos he took.

Soo-chul, Eun-chae, and Dong-ha meet up for their three-way date at Na-rae’s restaurant, and even though Soo-chul is at his charming best, Eun-chae only has eyes for Dong-ha.

 

Na-rae notices this right away, calling it an “ominous gaze” as she worries for poor Dong-ha. She also worries because he’s drinking more than usual. Dong-ha takes shot after shot of soju, until he eventually agrees that it’s time for him to head home, telling Soo-chul to take care of Eun-chae.

When Eun-chae says that they should go, too, Soo-chul tells her (out of concern) that it won’t work with Dong-ha — he can only ever be just an oppa she knows.

Dong-ha lies down on the benches outside the apartment, thinking back to when Ji-yeon cried about how her heart hurts, and laughs to himself as he says the polar bear is too strong.

Ji-yeon waits in the apartment with suitcase open, and any time she hears a noise she pretends to be focused on packing — but once she realizes that it isn’t Dong-ha, she sighs and takes out all her clothes. Aw, why so cute? But eventually she can’t figure out how to stall any longer, and she paces the apartment with her suitcase fully packed until Dong-ha finally arrives home.

She pretends that she just “happened” to catch him as she was on her way over to her apartment, glad she gets a chance to say “goodbye.” Dong-ha is slightly confused (and, y’know, still tipsy), because they’ll continue to live next-door to each other, not to mention see each other at work every day. But he still offers to carry her suitcase over.

 

Back in Ji-yeon’s newly renovated apartment, Dong-ha volunteers his services to help her unpack, and when she says she’ll take care of it later, he tells her she should use him while he’s here. She offers him a drink (beer? Maybe? Yes? Please?), but just then her phone rings and, sigh, of course it’s Shi-hoon.

Dong-ha’s face falls as she retreats to the kitchen to have a private conversation with Shi-hoon. He turns around to reveal the book he’s been hiding behind his back (Paulo Coelho’s The Magic Moment). Flipping through the pages, he reads one of the passages to himself:

 

True love sincerely wishes the other person to be happy. Life is short. So if there are any words you’ve been holding in your heart, consider this your last chance and try saying them today. The moment of magic you’ve been waiting for is, without delay, today.

On the title page of the book, Dong-ha has written: “Would you stay with me?”

He slides the book on the shelf as Ji-yeon returns with his drink (aw, just OJ), and when she turns towards the hallway, he hurries after. Pulling her into a back hug, he asks: “Can you not go back to him?”

 
COMMENTS

Ahhhhhhh! Talk about your cliff-hanger. Even though I totally want her to say she’ll stay with Dong-ha (where they will of course drink beer as they set up her apartment, which would hopefully lead to — ahem — other things), I also can understand her confusion right now. I may not like it, but I understand it.

Honestly, this was a hard episode for me to recap, because so much of it was dwelling in Ji-yeon’s pain and confusion over what really happened with Shi-hoon, and trying to figure out she feels now that she knows the truth. I’m still totally on board with Shi-hoon sticking to his promise of leaving after his exhibition and never coming back, but Ji-yeon never really got to have the closure she needed from that relationship. There’s no doubt she loved him. She was going to marry him. He was an important, vital part of her life — and then suddenly he was gone.

She may have managed to move on and live her life, but that pain was somehow always there. She always expects, for example, that the anniversary of their non-wedding is going to be one of the worst days out of her year. The first item she was desperate to save from her apartment was the polar bear proposal photo. So to suddenly be confronted with the fact that he’s returned from out of the blue and still loves her as much as he ever did, her world has been turned upside down.

Which is why I think the most moving scene was when she and Mom were in the apartment, and Ji-yeon goes from calling Shi-hoon a bastard to bursting into tears. That was such a real moment — she knows that it’s ridiculous he’s spent all this time away without bothering to contact her even once, and she knows that it would be best to cut him out of her life, like she’s been used to for the past six years. But her heart is suddenly reeling from having what was thought to be a scarred-over wound now suddenly opened up fresh and new. It’s frustrating, of course, because we all want her to just be with Dong-ha (like, yesterday), but this is important because we need her to officially move on through her own free will, and not just because he’s suddenly no longer there.

As painful as it is, I really appreciate the writers for giving us a very real and accurate struggle of what it feels like to encounter an old ex that you thought you were over, and you know you should be over, but something still tugs at the heart, whether you like it or not. Which is why I (yet again) admire Dong-ha’s emotional maturity because he knows that this is a something Ji-yeon needs to work through, even if it means risking that he’ll lose her to Shi-hoon. But unlike that awful assistant (who Shi-hoon should seriously fire, because she’s crazy-pants), Dong-ha loves Ji-yeon to a point where he wants to make sure she’s happy, even if it’s without him. Even so, he’s not going to go down the path of noble idiocy and give up without a fight.

Even though I’m still worried that she’ll brush him off because she needs more time to figure out how she feels about Shi-hoon. Sigh.

But how about some happy thoughts? Like Mom — she totally gets MVP of the episode. How awesome is she? I love that we have a Dramaland mother who feels like a real mother and not just some two-dimensional character that just slides an envelope of money across the table so she can protect her chaebol son from some undesirable poor woman.

Yes, she wants Ji-yeon to get married and is totally willing to force her into going on blind dates, but mostly she wants to see Ji-yeon happy. She’s willing to fight for her daughter’s happiness, whether it’s spending her time and money trying to track down Shi-hoon when he first disappeared, or ordering him to get out when he reappears, knowing seeing him again will totally crush Ji-yeon. Not to mention how she saucily teases her daughter, pointing out just because she’s a mom, doesn’t mean she can’t have her own life and love (and aw, how cute a couple does she make with Director Kwon?).

When it comes right down to it, the reason I love Ji-yeon’s mother (and not just because she was totally the voice of reason) is that their mother-daughter relationship feels so real to me — I can see my own relationship with my mother reflected in it. I’ve mentioned before that Dong-ha and Ji-yeon impress me with how they are able to genuinely connect with one another, and this ability to connect is something I see spreading throughout the entire show. Characters that seemed to be plot devices at first glance are now given more depth and sincerity (not all of them, of course, but I find I keep becoming more and more surprised that there’s more to other characters than I originally gave them credit for).

A rom-com that gives me character growth also gives me hope, since now that we’re at the half-way point, I figure we’ll still be dealing with unpacking the rest of the emotional baggage that’s been sitting around for six years as Shi-hoon’s been off having surgeries and other adventures. While I would normally sigh at the promise of more angst, I’m actually hopeful that this means Ji-yeon will be able to move on and return to Dong-ha with clear heart.

And also some kisses. (Seriously, show. There needs to be more kisses.)

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 9

by LollyPip

Such a sad, tear-filled episode. Ji-yeon makes a decision and the consequences are heartbreaking for all concerned. Dong-ha does his best to handle the situation with maturity, but even a man with the patience of a saint has a line you can’t cross without doing permanent damage. I’m concerned that Ji-yeon is pushing Dong-ha awfully close to his line – I only hope that they can recover their ability to be honest and open with each other in time to repair the heart that’s been broken.

EPISODE 9 RECAP

Ji-yeon and Dong-ha each get ready for work in their separate apartments for the first time in a long while, both of them remembering how comfortable and fun it was when they were living together. We don’t see how things ended when Dong-ha backhugged Ji-yeon and asked her not to go back to Shi-hoon, but things at work are definitely awkward.

Young-sik is worried that Ji-yeon is angry with him for taking pictures of her and Shi-hoon together, and she assures him that she definitely IS angry with him for betraying his sunbae. She punished him by giving all his week’s assignments to Dong-ha. Aw, is that your grumpy way of making sure you get to work with him all week?

Young-sik, being oblivious to everything around him, shows Dong-ha the photos he took of Ji-yeon with Shi-hoon. He says that in the five years since he’s worked with her, he’s never seen her laugh like that. This makes Dong-ha understandably cranky and he barks at Young-sik to just give him the material he needs to do his work.

 

Shi-hoon’s assistant (okay she has a name, even though she doesn’t deserve one, it’s HONG CHAE-HEE) talks on the phone with someone — she tells them that she sent them the materials she promised, that she’s leaving the country this weekend, and to please release the “report” as soon as possible. Shi-hoon finds her and reminds her that he’s fired her, though she leaves him some information on a children’s relief fund in Africa.

Shi-hoon tells Chae-hee again that she should stop worrying about what he’s doing, but she says that after six years thinking of nothing but him, it’s not that easy. She starts to get upset, saying that nobody will take care of him like she does, and certainly not Ji-yeon who didn’t even accept him back after knowing that his assistant lied about him wanting to break off their engagement.

Ji-yeon’s mom tries to let herself into Ji-yeon’s apartment, but the code has been changed. She calls Ji-yeon for the passcode so she can go in and make dinner, swearing that noooo, she didn’t buy much food at all. Don’t try to look innocent Mom, we see those two huge bags you have there.

At the Trouble Maker office, Eun-chae has been given her first interview assignment and comes to Ji-yeon for advice. To her credit, Ji-yeon gives her a thorough course in How To Conduct an Interview. As Eun-chae bounces off in excitement, Ji-yeon smiles to remember how she used to be that way when she was new to reporting.

Team Leader Byun takes his pictures of Ji-yeon’s meeting with Shi-hoon to Director Kwon, trying to convince him that this is the best scandal ever and that they should write an article about it, but Director Kwon smacks that idea down fast.

 

Byun even uses the buzzword “sexy,” but Director Kwon says it’s not sexy — it’s perverted to betray your colleague. Byun decides that it’s all Ji-yeon’s fault that he’s in trouble, and that she’s used her witchy powers to sway Directer Kwon to her side.

Ji-yeon arrives home to find that Mom has cooked enough for an army and then some. She wonders who’s going to eat all that food, when Dong-ha and Soo-chul show up bearing housewarming gifts and goofy grins. They all sit to eat, and it’s cute how the boys shamelessly kiss up to Mom, Soo-chul even going so far as to “accidentally” call her Noonim a few times, HA.

 

Like good boys, Dong-ha and Soo-chul offer to clean up while Ji-yeon and her mom rest. Mom starts to talk up Dong-ha and everything she likes about him, even comparing Shi-hoon to him (apparently Shi-hoon doesn’t measure up –- tell us something we didn’t know). Suddenly Mom gets up to leave Ji-yeon with the guys, because Mom is no fool. Soo-chul also decides he’s got something else to do -– Na-rae isn’t the only great wingman in this drama.

Director Kwon wanders into the fishcake restaurant and tells Na-rae that Ji-yeon recommended it. After he sits and orders, Ji-yeon’s mom comes in to drop off some food for Na-rae and Min-goo. As she turns to leave, she hears a familiar voice call her name, and she freezes. Director Kwon asks her to join him and he orders the most expensive item on the menu. Na-rae and Min-goo can barely control their giggles watching the two older cuties share a drink.

 

After finishing cleanup, Dong-ha peruses Ji-yeon’s bookshelves for the book he left there. He asks if she’s read all the books and she says that she has, so he tells her she should dust them occasionally (as he keeps touching the book he left, hoping she’ll notice it’s new). They make small talk about being tired — Dong-ha even makes a joke about Ji-yeon’s age, brave man — and she walks him to the door, but he nearly collides with her in an uncomfortable reminder of the backhug. After he leaves, Ji-yeon notices he left his sweater behind.

The next day, Ji-yeon gets a call from Chae-hee telling her that Shi-hoon is leaving for Africa in a few days. She asks Ji-yeon to let him go so that he can come to her. Ji-yeon says that after what she did to them six years ago, she has no interest in anything Chae-hee has to say and hangs up on her.

 

Young-sik runs in with the news that Phillip Noh is leaving for Africa, and everyone in the office hears him. Team Leader Byun can’t help but gloat that Ji-yeon’s being jilted again, but Dong-ha looks concerned for her. Director Kwon shows her a news article stating that Shi-hoon is leaving, and tells her to alter her article to reflect this latest news.

After the crowd disperses, Young-sik pouts to Dong-ha that he was hoping for Ji-yeon’s happiness, but Dong-ha doesn’t like that thought –- who says she’d be happy with Shi-hoon? Young-sik says that when she was with Shi-hoon she didn’t look like a witch, she looked like a woman. Dong-ha protests that someone who comes and goes as he pleases could never make her happy.

 

But it looks like the article about his leaving is news to Shi-hoon too, because he yells at Chae-hee for releasing information to the press when he hadn’t agreed to cover the children’s relief fund. Chae-hee tells him that Ji-yeon isn’t going to come back to him anyway, though he obviously doesn’t believe her. She tells him that she knows he doesn’t care for her, but she still wants the best for him, and leaves him a plane ticket and asks him one last time to get free of Ji-yeon.

Ji-yeon visits Na-rae to talk about this latest development. She feels bad that she hated and blamed Shi-hoon for six years, but Na-rae rightly reminds her that she didn’t know what had really happened to him. Ji-yeon just wonders if she can go back to living without him now that she knows the truth.

 

She goes to see Shi-hoon and when she sees his ticket, she asks him flat-out if he’s going to Africa. When he doesn’t deny it, she launches into a lecture, calling him selfish for doing what he wants no matter who might worry about him. She cries that he hasn’t changed –- he says he cares about her but really only does what he wants.

He says that he was going to talk to her, but she asks when. In three years? Five years? She turns to go but he grabs her wrist and says that if she tells him not to go, he won’t go. She yells that she won’t believe him, and he asks if not, then why is she here screaming at him? Obviously she does it because she worries about him.

Ji-yeon’s anger deflates and she can only repeat through tears, “Don’t go. Don’t go.” Shi-hoon holds her while she cries it out.

 

Later Ji-yeon walks home and sits on the bench outside her apartment, thinking. Dong-ha comes out to check on her and she says she wants to talk to him. I don’t like the look on her face.

She tells him that she wants to answer his question, and you can see his face change as he realizes the answer before she says a word. He tells her not to say anything, but says that she can tell him her answer after Shi-hoon leaves for Africa. He says she’s confused now and they can talk later.

Dong-ha gets up to go back inside so she says to his back, “He’s not going to Africa.” She tells him that she asked Shi-hoon not to leave, and GAH, the look on Dong-ha’s face is heartbreaking.

 

He puts on his happy mask (though you can see exactly how difficult it is) and turns back to her. He says that it’s good that they worked out their misunderstanding. He even manages a smile when he repeats that it’s a good thing, but the smile doesn’t reach his eyes. Ji-yeon says that she’s sorry, but Dong-ha brushes that aside — he knew he was confessing on his own.

They each go inside and think about the other, remembering words they said to each other. Dong-ha valiantly manages to keep in the tears but if you ask me, for a woman who should be elated that she just got her long-lost love back, Ji-yeon looks awfully sad as she spends her evening thinking of another man.

 

Ji-yeon shows up to work the next morning to find Shi-hoon there and the whole staff congratulating her. She’s mystified until Director Kwon explains that Shi-hoon is publishing a photography book through Trouble Maker and Ji-yeon will be writing the article about it. They all excitedly discuss logistics, and Ji-yeon is the only one who notices when Dong-ha slips quietly out of the room.

Director Kwon suggests that Ji-yeon take the day off and go on a date with Shi-hoon, who leads her out of there before she can object. She tells him that she knows he only thought of doing the photo book with Trouble Maker in order to work with her, but he remembers that his photos and her writing was always their dream together.

 

Rin-ji sidles up to Eun-chae to casually ask about Soo-chul, and is excited to hear that Eun-chae sorta kinda is friends with him. She peppers Eun-chae with questions about him like whether he has a car and what kind of women he likes, but Eun-chae gets out of there before she can be drawn into too much girl talk. Rin-ji doesn’t even notice she’s left talking to herself, ha.

Shi-hoon walks Ji-yeon home that night, and she invites him in since he’s never been here before. She goes to make coffee, and Shi-hoon finds the heart-shaped alarm that Dong-ha gave her, accidentally setting it off and losing the pin. The alarm screams as they search for it, and of course Dong-ha hears it from next door and comes running, bringing him face-to-face with Shi-hoon in Ji-yeon’s apartment.

 

Ji-yeon awkwardly explains that the alarm was a gift from Dong-ha which is why it brought him here, and he turns to go. He sees his sweater that he left behind and takes it with him, while Shi-hoon seems to be taking all this in and processing that Dong-ha and Ji-yeon were closer than he thought.

As they drink coffee, Shi-hoon asks about Dong-ha and why he gave Ji-yeon an alarm. She explains about the break-in and that Dong-ha gave it to her to feel safe. She tells Shi-hoon the story about how she and Dong-ha stopped Kim Jung-do with a magic show, and she looks happy for the first time all day.

When he leaves, Shi-hoon finds Dong-ha in the courtyard and thanks him for all the help he gave to Ji-yeon. Dong-ha counters that he didn’t do it for Shi-hoon, he did it because he wanted to. He rebuffs Shi-hoon’s outstretched hand and turns to leave.

Dong-ha goes to the fishcake restaurant, which is packed with customers. He jumps in to help wait tables, and Na-rae says it hurts to watch him pretend to be okay (tell me about it, sister). The next night Ji-yeon shows up, but leaves when it’s too crowded for her to get a table. Na-rae and Min-goo note that she looks sad, which is strange since she’s the one who dumped Dong-ha.

Jiyeon carries a large box to her apartment, and Dong-ha finds her and offers to carry it for her but she doesn’t let him, and walks to her apartment alone. This is the rejection that seems to hit home with Dong-ha as he stands alone in his dark apartment.

The next day Dong-ha hands in his resignation, even though there’s still a month left on his work agreement with Director Kwon. He assures the Director that there’s no problem with the job, it’s strictly personal, and that he won’t reconsider.

 

Dong-ha hands off his work in progress to Ji-yeon, and oof, it’s so hard to see how he looks anywhere but at her. He announces that he’s quitting and Ji-yeon pulls him aside to talk privately. She tries to talk him out of it, but he says that he can’t keep pretending nothing has happened.

When he goes back inside, the whole Trouble Maker staff rallies around Dong-ha, assuming he’s quitting early because Ji-yeon made him miserable. He assures them that he has personal reasons, and Young-sik backs him up that Ji-yeon treated him well. Surprisingly, it’s Rin-ji who is the one who figures out that Dong-ha is leaving because Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon got back together.

 

Soo-chul and Dong-ha meet up at a bar and again Soo-chul proves that he’s not as dumb as he’d like people to think. He points out that this is all Dong-ha’s fault really, because he’s the one who let this happen by playing fair and telling Ji-yeon what he knew about Shi-hoon’s assistant. His selflessness worked against him this time. He’s sure Dong-ha must regret it, but Dong-ha just sighs that he can’t because Ji-yeon deserved to know the truth.

Now that Dong-ha isn’t working, Soo-chul proposes that they start working their part-timer business again. He even promotes Dong-ha to CEO, ha.

Ji-yeon works late, and Shi-hoon picks her up to take her to their favorite restaurant. When she starts to walk in ahead of him, he grabs her hand and reminds her that she’s not alone anymore, that he’s beside her now. But Ji-yeon doesn’t look like hearing this makes her happy -– instead she remembers when Dong-ha was giving her dating lessons, and he walked beside her holding her hand and told her that there was someone beside her now. Her smile when she was with Dong-ha looked a lot less forced than the one she gives Shi-hoon now, is all I’m saying.

 

In the restaurant, Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon remember when they used to come here and joke about how much it’s changed. When the talk turns to wine, Ji-yeon again checks out as she remembers when Dong-ha played music in the courtyard for her and they shared a bottle of wine, and when he made her a meal of wine and pig’s feet to celebrate her moving back to her apartment.

Soo-chul takes Dong-ha to a club, saying that this is the best way to get over a woman, and literally drags Dong-ha inside. Soo-chul quickly finds some women to talk up but Dong-ha is more interested in drinking, and when Soo-chul looks for him again Dong-ha has gone.

Dong-ha has wandered alone to the bus stop and drunkenly takes offense at the way a poster of Shi-hoon is looking at him. HAHAHA. He tells Poster Shi-hoon that he’s a much better man than it is because he’s never made Ji-yeon cry and only made her laugh sooooo much. Kind of like he’s doing to me right now.

He sits and giggles to himself about how pretty Ji-yeon is when she smiles, then goes right back to being angry at Poster Shi-hoon for thanking him for taking care of “his” Ji-yeon. He tries to fight the poster, knocks his head pretty hard and calls a Time Out.

Soo-chul calls Ji-yeon when he can’t find Dong-ha, and tells her that he’s worried that Dong-ha is wandering drunk and alone. He’s not above laying on the guilt when she asks how much Dong-ha drank, telling her he drank as much as his heart is broken. Next she gets a call from Dong-ha’s phone, but it’s the police because they’ve found him passed out on the bus stop bench. By the time they manage to wake him up, Ji-yeon has arrived to take him home.

On the way home he walks behind her like a chastised child, but gets snippy when she reminds him of his assertion that he doesn’t get drunk and act out. She asks if he’s hungry but he says he just wants to go home, and they keep walking like that. Ji-yeon remembers another time he reminded her to walk slowly and took her hand as they walked home, being completely silly together.

As they reach the courtyard Ji-yeon takes a call from Shi-hoon, and Dong-ha passes her and heads to his place. She asks why he drank so much, and he says that drinking is all he can do. He can’t blame anyone for Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon getting back together. Should he blame God for not letting him meet her sooner?

He turns to go again but she asks if he really means to quit his job at Trouble Maker. He says that she doesn’t need him anymore now that the polar bear can protect her. Ji-yeon tries again to talk Dong-ha out of quitting but he can’t take it anymore, and his voice tightens as he asks what he means to her. Is he just a part-timer? A brother? A plaything? He yells that he can’t keep seeing her every day as if everything is fine.

 

Ji-yeon tells him that he’s still young but he can’t accept that it comes down to something as trivial as age. She asks what’s wrong with him and Dong-ha says that he’s upset because he never even got his chance to start with her before Shi-hoon came back. He admits that he’s been pretending to be okay, but he’s not.

He tries to go again but Ji-yeon takes him by the arm and stops him. She asks him to stay and talk but he just yells that she has to stop, because if he turns around right now, he doesn’t know what he’ll do. He’s barely holding in the tears as he begs her not to call him anymore.

Slowly, Ji-yeon lets go of Dong-ha’s arm, and he leaves her standing outside alone.

 
COMMENTS

This show is going to kill me. That last scene is one of the rawest moments I’ve ever had to watch in a drama. Dong-ha’s anguish was so palpable, it was all I could do not to burst into tears myself watching him struggle to hold onto his dignity. I think we’ve all been there, in that moment in time when you’re losing something precious and all you want to do is forget you have pride and beg someone, anyone, to make the pain stop. I could feel every bit of that feeling in Dong-ha’s valiant attempt to hold himself together and not just lose control.

Okay I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again for a different reason…I do not like Shi-hoon. This time though, it’s not so much because of him, but because I don’t like who Ji-yeon has become when she’s around him. He’s very assertive, almost controlling with her (and I don’t mean that in the abusive way, more in the I’m-used-to-always-getting-my-way way), and she just seems to shrink into this meek little mouse the moment he shows up. So now I dislike Shi-hoon for new reasons; not only has he ruined what was shaping up to be a wonderful friendship and perfect romance between Ji-yeon and Dong-ha, but because of what he’s taken away, both from Dong-ha and from Ji-yeon herself.

I miss the Ji-yeon from the first few episodes, the Ji-yeon who was brash and ballsy and danced in her apartment with no inhibitions. I liked the Ji-yeon who kissed strangers in crowded bars and got drunk and seduced handsome young men. I liked the Ji-yeon who terrified her coworkers and did whatever it took to get the story and also justice if it came to that. The Ji-yeon we’re seeing these days is an empty shell of a person, a person who doesn’t speak up for herself and what she wants anymore, who is so stuck in the past that she can’t see what’s happening in the present.

I’m no psychiatrist but I’m guessing that Ji-yeon’s extreme personality change comes from an abject fear of being abandoned by the same man twice. Now that she’s gotten him back, she’s so terrified of having chosen wrong that she’s practically frozen emotionally. She’s so afraid of losing something that reminds her of love, that she’s about to lose a man who loves her enough to let her go at the cost of his own heart, in favor of a man who never even bothered to contact her once in six years and say “Hey, maybe we should talk about what happened.” I’m so afraid that she could lose the real love of her life because she’s so busy holding onto a shadow of a love from the past.

Now, I know that this is Dramaland and we’re only halfway through our story. And I know that this is a remake and the endgame isn’t really a surprise, unless the writers decide to really throw us for a loop. But it’s a testament to the quality of the writing and the excellence of the characters that, even though we know where this is almost certainly going to end up, we are so invested in their journey that we feel in our guts the heartbreak that our leads are feeling right now. Knowing how this will most likely end up doesn’t temper the distress that we as viewers feel when Dong-ha puts on a brave face and tells Ji-yeon that he’s glad she and Shi-hoon are back together. We still feel the full impact of what it means for Dong-ha to beg Ji-yeon to let him go because he no longer has the strength to do it himself. The way this show makes us feel about it’s characters is something special that doesn’t happen very often given the mostly-predictable way that dramas work. I’m really appreciating how much this show is able to draw me in and make me care, even though I know this is just temporary.

But it’s not all drama and angst, and there was plenty of cuteness in this episode too. I think we all needed that scene of Dong-ha drunk at the bus station to make us smile and remember what we love about him, namely his youthful sense of silliness and how he sees all the good things about Ji-yeon that most people miss because of her witchy persona. I loved the parallel between that scene and the scene in Episode 1, when Ji-yeon got (literally) staggering drunk and had a while conversation with her reflection in a mirror. It’s scenes like this that remind us that despite all their differences, Ji-yeon and Dong-ha are really the same on a deep-down level. They are both people who feel and love very deeply, and who are loyal and honest to a fault. Now if we could just get them on the same page about how they feel about each other, I could rest easy knowing that their future is filled with fun and laughter and love.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 10

by odilettante

Dong-ha continues his dark descent into drunken depression (how’s that for some alliteration?), while Ji-yeon struggles to reconcile what it means to have Shi-hoon officially back in her life. Neither of our leads is very happy this episode, except for when they get to momentarily forget everything except each other, and then they practically glow brighter than the sun. Until Shi-hoon invariably shows his pretty face, and then we’re back to doom-and-gloom. On the plus side, our supporting characters get to experience buckets of ridiculous cuteness as just about everyone gets a love interest, and, oh yeah, there may — or may not be — some kissing.

EPISODE 10 RECAP

 

The morning after Dong-ha and Ji-yeon’s emotional confrontation, Ji-yeon sees Shi-hoon waiting for her outside her apartment, having sacrificed his dislike of early mornings to give her a ride to work. Dong-ha is also on his way to work, and as he and his scooter pull up to the same stoplight, he looks over to see a smiling Ji-yeon as Shi-hoon’s passenger.

At their restaurant, Na-rae and Min-goo prep their fishcakes (and she thinks they’re spoiled, but Min-goo tells her that her sense of smell must be off). She tells him that Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon will be stopping by later, and threatens her husband with bodily harm if he lets on that she used to live with Dong-ha.

 

Ji-yeon tries to get Dong-ha’s attention as she’s looking for a file, but he pointedly ignores her. Rushing in, Young-sik informs Ji-yeon of a juicy news tip, and as they prepare to leave, she gets a text from Shi-hoon letting her know he’s waiting out front. Much to Young-sik’s astonishment, she tells him that he’ll have to go and take pictures on his own, since she has to leave.

Shi-hoon and Ji-yeon arrive at Na-rae’s restaurant (and aw, Ji-yeon says that Min-goo is a talented cook — even if his looks leave something to be desired, pffft). The two couples enjoy a meal together, and when Na-rae asks about Shi-hoon’s adventures in Africa, he admits that he really liked living there and would be happy to stay there the rest of his life.

 

Ji-yeon warns him if he keeps bringing up Africa, she won’t leave him alone. He teasingly admits his surprise that Ji-yeon never acted in that forceful way before with him, but he’s beginning to like it. (And Min-goo is fascinated with the idea that she wasn’t scary before, pfft.)

Noting something off about Na-rae, Ji-yeon asks after her health. But she shrugs it off, thinking it’s just because their restaurant has been so busy that she hasn’t had time to take care of herself properly. At the suggestion that they should hire a part-timer, Min-goo gets excited when he remembers that Dong-ha will be out of a job soon. Aw, Min-goo being on Team Dong-ha is just the cutest.

But he’s the only one at the table who’s happy at the thought of Dong-ha, and Na-rae gives him the “be quiet, my beloved idiot husband” look as she tries to cover the awkwardness.

 

Speak of the devil, Dong-ha is on his way to the restaurant to eat dinner with Soo-chul and Eun-chae (who just “happened” to show up at Soo-chul’s restaurant just as he was closing up, uh-huh, sure), but when he sees through the window a happy Ji-yeon with Shi-hoon, his face falls. He gets Soo-chul and Eun-chae to agree to go somewhere else, and they end up in a noisy, crowded club.

When Eun-chae excuses herself to go to the restroom (with Soo-chul shouting warnings about how all men are wolves), he asks why Dong-ha, of all people, would want to come to a club. Dong-ha says it’s the only place he could be sure he wouldn’t run into “those two.” Soo-chul cheerily admits that’s true, and encourages him to enjoy the nightclub atmosphere (especially the pretty young women dancing around them).

But Dong-ha is still in a somber mood when they leave, and when Soo-chul is busy retrieving his car, Eun-chae asks Dong-ha if he’s had his heart broken. He sighs that it’s something like that, but before she can press any further, two skeevy guys who had been hitting on her earlier show up. They continue to pester Eun-chae, and Dong-ha steps in, insisting that they should leave her alone and ordering them to get lost.

The skeevy guy grabs Dong-ha’s collar, and Dong-ha just smiles, saying he’s been waiting for someone to mess with him — and then punches the guy in the face. He’s ready to continue the fight with a few kicks to the defenseless dude on the ground, but Soo-chul arrives just then and pulls Dong-ha away.

As Shi-hoon walks Ji-yeon back to her apartment, he promises that he’ll take her to work again tomorrow morning, but she teasingly asks him how long that will last (knowing how much he hates early mornings). Her phone rings, and it’s Young-sik, excited to report that the embezzling businessman she had ordered him to track has just been arrested. The reporter in her is delighting in all the ways she’ll be able to reveal his scandal as Shi-hoon gives her a ride to the police station.

Young-sik meets her out front with confirmation that he got the photos, and she hurries inside to get the attention of a detective, who breaks free from the reporters surrounding him to meet privately with her. Clearly this isn’t the first time he’s been her anonymous inside source, and he agrees to give her access to photos of the evidence so she can get the scoop over the daily papers.

 

Inside that very same police station (oh how convenient!), Dong-ha sits stoically while Soo-chul argues that the nightclub guys were the ones who started the fight. But the police officer says Dong-ha is still responsible for an assault case, due to giving the guy injuries that will take at least three weeks to heal.

A distinguished older man walks in, declaring himself “this bastard’s father,” and hands over a business card (which says he’s the director of One Light Medical Center), informing the policeman that their lawyer will be in soon with a settlement agreement.

Dong-ha doesn’t acknowledge his father (or even blink!) when he angrily asks his son if, after quitting school and leaving home, all he can do now is fight. From the hallway of the police station, Ji-yeon looks on with concern, and when the detective returns with her evidence photo, she asks him to look into the situation with Dong-ha.

As they leave the police station, Dong-ha’s father asks him if he’s ever going to back to school, or just live his life like this. Dong-ha cuts him off, saying he doesn’t want to talk about it. Dad asks if he still resents him for “the incident,” but Dong-ha interrupts once more, saying that he never asked his father to worry about him, and that he’ll pay back the settlement fee as soon as he can.

In the police station, the detective informs Ji-yeon about the assault case, adding that the perpetrator is the son of the director of the hospital where the victim got his injuries checked out, and so the hospital lawyers managed to get a settlement within minutes. He marvels at the power of money as he asks Ji-yeon if it’s anyone she knows, but she denies it.

Papa Yoon gets into his car (chauffeured, of course) with one final remonstrance that Dong-ha is wasting his youth, but Dong-ha continues to stare straight ahead, not once looking at his father.

Ji-yeon follows after Dong-ha, calling out his name. She tells him she was at the station for an interview, asking if he’s on his way home.

He ignores her and continues walking, before spinning back around, wanting to know if she’s following him. She points out that they live in the same direction, so he turns and starts heading the opposite way. She continues to follow him, and this time when he turns around to ask her why, she says, “Just because.” Aw.

But he’s not too happy about it, and furiously demands to know if his words mean nothing to her, reminding her that he’d asked her to stop paying attention to him.

This time she’s the one who anxiously paces back and forth in the courtyard of their apartment complex as she waits for him to return — and then goes scurrying off to hide when he arrives. Soo-chul is also waiting for him like a mama hen, and when Dong-ha grabs a beer from the fridge, he snatches it away and gives him some water instead. Aw, true friendship.

 

He insists that he didn’t call Dong-ha’s father, and as he babbles on about how scary Papa Yoon is, Dong-ha retreats to his bedroom to brood.

The next day, Ji-yeon notes that Dong-ha isn’t at work, and asks Eun-chae if she’s seen him. Eun-chae bravely confronts Ji-yeon, asking if she’s being a little too hard on Dong-ha. He’s been going through so much lately, but Ji-yeon seems to not even care.

Troubled, she messages him, asking if he’s coming to work, then bombards him with a dozen other texts (“Are you sick? Did something happen to you?”). She’s like a nervous schoolgirl as she literally bites her nails, watching the texts be confirmed as read, but still receiving no reply.

Later, at the restaurant, Na-rae can’t believe that Dong-ha beat someone up, but Ji-yeon can’t believe he ignored the thirty text messages she sent him. Ha!

Na-rae points out that it makes sense — after all, Ji-yeon rejected him, and then he didn’t exactly show his best self at the police station. Ji-yeon is still worried that he continues to stay out late, drinking — but sighs as she says that he’s still young, so he’ll forget her soon and meet someone better.

A text message pops up on her phone and she frantically opens it, and then tosses her phone aside in disgust when it’s just an automated message (instead of the anticipated text from Dong-ha).

 

Since Na-rae found out earlier that her health issues were due to pregnancy, Ji-yeon leaps up to help Min-goo serve a few patrons (and tells them instead of asking for a refill on their soup, they should just order another item off the menu, ha). She defends her desire to help, saying that Na-rae has to be extra careful to not over-exert herself, and she argues with Min-goo that they should really consider hiring someone part-time to help out.

But Na-rae gets them to call a truce by pretending “the baby” needs peace and quiet, and Ji-yeon leaves after saying a sincere good-bye to “the baby.” Ji-yeon is totally going to be the cool aunt.

Returning home, she stops at Dong-ha’s door instead of going straight to her own. He tries to ignore her persistent ringing of the doorbell, until he finally calls through the intercom that he has nothing to say to her, so she should just leave.

 

Offended that he’s home and won’t speak to her face-to face, she pulls out the emergency alarm he gave her. He can’t ignore that high-pitched noise, even though he tries. She lets herself in the apartment, dangling the alarm in his face, saying she wouldn’t have had to use it if he’d answered the door in the first place.

She then asks why he wasn’t at work today and ignored all her texts. Even if he’s only working there for a few more days, she was still worried about him. She adds reluctantly that Eun-chae was worried about him, too, and trails off as she describes her as being pretty, with a good personality.

Dong-ha asks in disbelief if she’s trying to now hook him up with Eun-chae or push him towards any random person instead. Since she’s happy, he guesses she can’t care about how he feels.

Ji-yeon protests that she’s just concerned about him, since he’s been a walking time-bomb ever since Shi-hoon returned. She’s worried he’s headed in the wrong direction, but every time she tries to say something to him, he just gets angry and yells at her to get lost.

 

She starts to cry as she says she doesn’t want to be doing this with him, but what can she do — should she just move? After she storms out out of the apartment, Dong-ha says to himself that he never asked her to worry about him — she should just live happily with the polar bear.

Ji-yeon’s mother pays Na-rae a visit, having now learned about her pregnancy, and sighs, wondering when Ji-yeon will ever get married and give her a grandchild of her own. Na-rae assures her that it will probably be soon, and Mom admits that she thinks “Mr. Yoon” is a pretty good choice (and Na-rae and Min-goo exchange pained glances).

At the Trouble Maker office, Ji-yeon panics when she realizes she somehow lost the article she’d spent all day working on, and Young-sik isn’t there to fix it for her. But Dong-ha breaks his silence to go over and help her find it on her computer, and Ji-yeon is very, very aware of the way he leans over her, placing his hand over hers so he can move the mouse.

She’s totally focused on her work as the hours pass by, and Dong-ha silently hands her a necessary file and fresh cup of coffee as needed. Eventually she stops to stretch and realizes he’s still there. He gasps in mock horror at how late she’s made him stay on his last day of work, and tells her she at least owes him dinner.

They end up at a fancy restaurant, and Ji-yeon marvels at the array of dishes that fill their table, wondering how he can possibly eat it all. He says that since it’s the very last meal she’ll buy for him, he’ll eat until he explodes. Ji-yeon’s competitiveness rears its head as she says they should see who can eat the most. Dong-ha asks if she has to be the first in eating, too, and she reminds him that he’s never seen her lose.

Dong-ha suddenly says that the loser pays for the second round, and quickly digs in. Ji-yeon hurries to catch up, grumbling about his cheating head-start. They can’t help but laugh as they inelegantly stuff their faces and try to block the other from taking bites. Hahaha!

 

After a while, Dong-ha surrenders, and Ji-yeon cheers her victory. As they laugh at the ridiculousness of it all (and their overstuffed bellies), Dong-ha admits that the first time he saw her, he thought she was a witch with no blood or tears. She says that the first time she saw him, she thought he was a crazy Santa. Who would have thought that Santa would fight a suspicious thug to save an evil witch?

They head to a nearby bar for a second round of drinks, and Dong-ha wonders about their fate: If their phones hadn’t been switched, if she hadn’t been followed and attacked in her apartment, if he wasn’t the Master of Part-Time, if she wasn’t the witch — would they be standing here today? Internally, Dong-ha asks himself if that means he wouldn’t have ended up liking her, and she asks herself if that means their kiss would have never happened, either.

 

As they stare at each other over their wine glasses, the MC announces a surprise event — the most romantic couple in the bar will win a bottle of champagne. Remembering back to their first kiss, Dong-ha and Ji-yeon get the giggles (and I have to wonder if this couple-competition is super trendy, or if they need to start going to a new venue). The MC notices them smiling at each other, and pulls them out for special attention.

The bar patrons (and the rest of the viewing audience) start chanting “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” and Dong-ha pulls Ji-yeon in close as he repeats that every time he gets entangled with her, it seems to come to this. Then leans in for a kiss on the lips…

…before pulling back slightly to give her a gentle kiss on her forehead.

The bar patrons and MC (and the rest of the viewing audience) are disappointed with Dong-ha’s gentlemanly restraint. He takes the microphone to announce to Ji-yeon actually has a really great boyfriend, and that he hopes she’ll be happy with him from now on. But he sure doesn’t seem thrilled to be giving Shi-hoon his blessing.

Speaking of whom, Shi-hoon is lurking in the courtyard of their apartment, all ready to be a party-pooper to Dong-ha and Ji-yeon’s comfortable familiarity as they return home. Dong-ha excuses himself to go home first, and Ji-yeon invites Shi-hoon into her apartment.

 

She tells him he should have called first, and he says he did, but she didn’t answer. He admits he’s jealous that she and Dong-ha are so close, and she takes the safe route by teasing him, saying she didn’t know it was possible for him to be jealous.

Mom happily barges into the apartment, thinking that Dong-ha is there because she saw a pair of men’s shoes at the door — but is shocked to see that it’s Shi-hoon instead. She reminds him that she told him never to see Ji-yeon again, and he begs for her forgiveness. But she coldly tells him that she doesn’t like him: “I still hate that you never called during all that time, and you appeared only now.”

 

She then turns to Ji-yeon, fighting back tears as she reminds her daughter how much time she spent resenting and hating Shi-hoon — did she think those years would be so easily erased? Even though she would prefer it if they stopped seeing each other, she admits in defeat that they’re both adults who are capable of making their own choices. Her only request is that, if they really love each other, to get married by next year.

Shi-hoon immediately kneels in gratitude (and Mom still refuses to look at him), but Ji-yeon’s face seems awfully sad and pensive for someone who knows that she’s going to be marrying her first love.

 

The Trouble Maker office throws Dong-ha a farewell party at Na-rae’s restaurant, and he cheerfully helps out even though he’s the guest of honor. Ji-yeon tells him that he’s worked hard, and pauses a moment before adding, “I’m sorry.” When he asks about what, she vaguely replies, “For this, that, everything.” They toast each other, and her phone buzzes.

She walks away to answer it — it’s Shi-hoon, asking if she’s finished with the party yet, but she tells him she’ll be late and he can just go on home. Dong-ha watches her as he gulps down glass after glass of alcohol. The rest of the Trouble Maker staff are ready to continue their party at another establishment, but Dong-ha drunkenly passes out at the table.

Soo-chul drives them home (with Eun-chae tagging along, of course), and Ji-yeon tries to stagger her way to the apartment while supporting Dong-ha’s unconscious body. Eun-chae discovers that Ji-yeon left her phone in the car, and that her boyfriend is calling. Soo-chul deduces that it must be “the polar bear.”

In the courtyard, Dong-ha sleeps on one of the benches with his head in Ji-yeon’s lap, and she quietly muses that normally she’s the one who specializes in getting drunk, but today it’s Dong-ha. She wonders out loud what would have happened if they had met under different circumstances — would things have turned out differently?

Gently, she shakes him awake and he groggily sits up. Just as she’s getting up from the bench, he grabs her wrist to pull her back down, and then slowly leans in for a kiss — and this time, it’s on the lips.

COMMENTS

So we finally get a kiss. Yay? Somehow, it’s not very satisfying. Not just because it’s a one of those “dead fish” kisses more suited to the main broadcast stations than for cable, but also there’s a sense of desperation from Dong-ha and emptiness from Ji-yeon. I want my kisses to sizzle, and this one just felt sad.

It doesn’t help that they had more chemistry earlier in the episode, from the sexual tension leading up to the forehead kiss (now that could have been an awesome kiss, particularly since you could see in Ji-yeon’s eyes that she was totally willing for it to happen), to the way he “accidentally” caressed her hand with his thumb as he fixed her computer.

Speaking of chemistry, how amazing is it that Ji-yeon goes through the entire episode declaring Shi-hoon as her boyfriend, and yet they hardly seem to touch each other. There’s always this barrier between them, be it a table or car or telephone or just three feet of air. I’m choosing to think this is a directorial choice, because it also emphasizes just how much Ji-yeon (whether knowingly or not) tries to separate Shi-hoon from the rest of her life. It’s like she’s giving him a second chance in theory, but not in reality.

She’s offended when he shows up, unannounced, to the Trouble Maker offices to try and become a part of the team; Mom only finds out they’re dating because she just happened to show up at the right time; she only introduces him to Na-rae who, yes, is her only friend, but is also the only person who really knew the Shi-hoon from ten years ago; whenever he calls, she slips away from whomever she’s with to quietly have a conversation with him. These are not the actions of a woman who is happy to have her first love back in her life.

Not only that, but Shi-hoon just seems to suck the joy out of her. Dong-ha may be a little distressed when he sees her smiling when she’s with Shi-hoon, but that’s nothing like those gloriously beaming goofy grins she has when she and Dong-ha are together. In fact, she seemed happier when she has the chance to track down breaking news about the embezzling business man than she did on her entire date with Shi-hoon (and, let’s face it: she had more chemistry in two minutes with her detective buddy than she has had with Shi-hoon so far).

If the show is trying to convince us that Shi-hoon is a viable threat, it’s failing spectacularly. I know LollyPip touched on a lot of issues surrounding Shi-hoon (and second leads) in the last recap, so I won’t repeat them here, except to say if he thinks rides to work and cups of coffee are enough to make up for the complete heartbreak and utter lack of communication for six years, well, he’s clearly delusional. Yes, they have “history” together, but Ji-yeon’s made her own history with Dong-ha, too, even it has only been for a few months. But those couple of months are just as important and viable because they are new and fresh, versus a longer history that has been dead for six years.

Speaking of history, I’m not sure how I feel about Papa Yoon making an appearance. For some reason, probably because of all the ties he has to the orphanage, I had it in my head that Dong-ha was an orphan himself. So I was a little thrown when I realized he’s yet another chaebol-type. I think I preferred him as the guy who worked like crazy to get into med school without any hint of assistance from a parent. Even though I’m sure “the incident” will be important (and probably has to do with Young-chae), it’s a backstory that seems unnecessary.

Because this story isn’t about the history the two of them have had independently of each other (which is why, again, Shi-hoon just doesn’t seem to fit). It’s about the two of them, today, figuring out a relationship that goes against societal norms and also challenges them on a personal level.

Although, thank goodness each episode seems to focus less and less on their age difference, because that’s never felt like a real stumbling block in the first place (especially since practically everyone in their world seems to approve of the two of them together; well everyone but Eun-chae and Shi-hoon). No; the only stumbling block right now is Ji-yeon’ s insecurity in figuring out how she truly feels about the men in her life.

But if the guy you’re trying very hard not to date manages to have more skinship (and shared laughter!) than the guy you supposedly will one day marry, well, that seems to be the answer right there.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 11

by LollyPip

The cute is back! Well mostly back, as we get an episode that reminds us of the fun, silly, lighthearted Witch’s Romance we fell in love with at the beginning. Our leads still have a lot of issues to work out, which isn’t helped by the fact that they aren’t having their trademark honest talks like they used to have. But some steps are taken that could lead them back together, if only they can begin to trust each other again like they used to do.

EPISODE 11 RECAP

Ji-yeon sits on the bench with Dong-ha’s head in her lap as he sleeps off his night of drinking. She quietly wonders to herself if things would have been different between them had they met sooner. She finally is able to rouse him but when she tries to stand, he stops her, and leans in for a kiss.

Soo-chul drives Eun-chae back to Ji-yeon’s place to return her phone, but when she gets to the courtyard she sees Ji-yeon and Dong-ha mid-kiss, and freezes. Soo-chul finds her and pulls her away silently and they drive off.

In the car, Soo-chul reminds Eun-chae that he warned her before that she can’t have feelings for Dong-ha, being his first love’s younger sister. She says that she understands but she can’t help how she feels.

At the same time, Shi-hoon arrives to visit Ji-yeon, and sees her supporting a very drunk Dong-ha up to his place. She gets him to his door and he nods that he can get himself inside, but just crumples to the ground as soon as she lets go of him. Poor brokenhearted puppy.

Ji-yeon guides him the rest of the way inside and tucks him into bed. After she leaves Dong-ha opens his eyes, revealing that he wasn’t as incoherent as he was pretending to be.

 

Soo-chul shuffles over to Ji-yeon’s place to give her phone back and, judging by his face and entire-body language, it’s obvious she’s on his Hit List right now. She asks why he’s looking at her funny and he snaps that it’s because she kissed Dong-ha. He stomps out, kicking his slippers off and into the wall, HA.

Ji-yeon checks her messages to see five missed calls from Shi-hoon. It’s awfully telling that instead of calling him back, she sits and thinks about Dong-ha’s kiss instead.

In the morning Soo-chul is still in a snit, and gives the stink-eye to Dong-ha when he wakes up. He’s mad that Dong-ha doesn’t remember what happened last night, and refuses to tell him when he asks if he made a mistake at the party.

Meanwhile, Shi-hoon visits a jewelry store to pick up an engagement ring that he designed. Though after what he saw the previous night, he doesn’t look very happy either.

Ji-yeon heads out to work and stops to wistfully stare at Dong-ha’s door. She jumps like a startled cat and runs down the steps when the door suddenly opens, but it’s Soo-chul. He stops her with a loud “Noonim!” but just snubs her with a huff and a snarl when she asks where he’s going. I love him so much right now.

 

Ji-yeon steps out to find Shi-hoon waiting to take her on their date, only today his smile is gone and he can barely raise his eyes to hers. The car ride is quiet and awkward as they talk around the events of the previous night. Ji-yeon is honest about Dong-ha getting drunk and her losing her phone, though she leaves out the most interesting part of her night.

They see a musical performance of Bonnie and Clyde, and Shi-hoon relaxes to see Ji-yeon enjoying the show. In the lobby after the show, a man bumps into Shi-hoon hard, which sets off Ji-yeon as she yells at him to apologize.

Shi-hoon is inclined to let it go and is surprised at Ji-yeon’s aggressiveness, saying that the Ji-yeon he knew would have hidden in fear rather than yell at a stranger. Ji-yeon says she was just trying to look good in front of him which again, is a big hint that she wasn’t comfortable being herself around him in the past OR the present. Just sayin’.

 

Dong-ha runs into Ji-yeon’s mother on her way out of her daughter’s apartment, and she catches him with a bag of convenience store food for dinner. She takes the bag from him and leads him to Na-rae’s restaurant for a real dinner. Aw, I love Mom.

Mom asks after Na-rae’s pregnancy, and muses whether Ji-yeon will have “good news” soon when she gets married. Cue the crickets as Dong-ha’s, Na-rae’s, and Min-goo’s smiles all freeze at the uncomfortable conversation topic.

Dong-ha hesitantly asks Ji-yeon’s mom if Ji-yeon is really getting married, and she says that she is, and soon. She asks if Dong-ha has a girlfriend and says that if she had another daughter, she’d want him as a son-in-law. She admits that she really wanted him and Ji-yeon to get together and laughs, but the look on Dong-ha’s face as she talks is crushing.

 

Dong-ha blurts out that he actually does like Ji-yeon, shocking Mom. He talks mostly to himself as they listen, and wonders how things would have been different had he confessed sooner or Shi-hoon hadn’t come back. He says it’s too late now, and Mom and Na-rae both look like they want to cry.

Mom asks why he had to fall for Ji-yeon, who is older and bad-tempered, when there are so many pretty young girls to date. She takes his hand and apologetically says that she can’t think of anything to say, and he just sweetly smiles at her.

While that’s happening at the fishcake restaurant, Shi-hoon and Ji-yeon have coffee at his place and look at photos of homes he’s seen all over the world. She asks if his next art concept is architecture and he says yes, though I don’t think he’s talking about photography anymore.

Later that evening, Shi-hoon brings Ji-yeon a book he’s put together of all her favorite photos of homes and pets, to represent their future. He tells her that his dream is to make a life with her, and presents her with the ring he designed. (And again I notice that Ji-yeon’s reaction is really more of a non-reaction. If a romantic proposal and a ring don’t even make you smile and actually make you look kind of miserable, why are you here?!)

Dong-ha walks home alone, thinking of Ji-yeon’s mother’s words that he’s young and will meet someone else and forget Ji-yeon. He had responded that it’s possible that could never happen and he could never meet someone he cares about as much as he does Ji-yeon. He had asked Mom what he’s supposed to do if he can’t forget her.

There’s a meeting at the Trouble Maker office, and Director Kwon announces that due to an article written by Ji-yeon, they’ve had their highest magazine sales ever. He gives her a bonus and, ever the freeloader, Team Leader Byun asks if she’s going to use it to take them all out. I love how Ji-yeon is all, “Nope!”

 

Director Kwon also introduces Ji-yeon’s new assistant, Jae-woong. Young-sik shows him around the office and they have a hilarious back-and-forth when Young-sik tells him Ji-yeon’s coffee preferences and mispronounces “venti” to sound like “panty.” Ji-yeon’s eyeroll is priceless. She calls him simply Geoje Island (for his hometown) and snaps at him to follow her downstairs.

On his way out he talks to Ri-ji and Eun-chae, and Ri-ji sighs that he looks so boring after having Dong-ha around. Mention of Dong-ha makes Eun-chae look depressed, and Ri-ji asked if she confessed to him. Eun-chae denies it, and Ri-ji warns her not to go after Soo-chul just because she can’t have Dong-ha.

 

Jae-woong catches up to Ji-yeon outside, who gives him the rundown of how it’s going to be around here: She’s to be called Team Leader, he’s do to whatever she asks, he must be on standby at all times, and he has to ask before asking questions. Even Ji-yeon seems a bit surprised when he just agrees to everything.

Mom stands outside the Trouble Maker office calling Ji-yeon, who isn’t answering her phone. She muses that if this were a drama (ha), the object of her affections would show up right about… now. Which is when Director Kwon calls her name and scares the life out of her.

Director Kwon invites Ji-yeon’s mom to wait upstairs and sits with her in his office. She notices he still has the tomato plant that she gave him and he tells her a story he heard about how cherry tomatoes are also called the “fruit of love.” He gives her his phone number and when she goes to take the card from him, he takes the opportunity to pull her in close. RAWR.

 

Ji-yeon finds the two of them in full-on flirt mode, and practically manhandles her mom out of there. She gives Director Kwon a “don’t you dare date my mom” look, and he totally loses the stare-down.

Mom goes to the unisex bathroom and gets another fright when Team Leader Byun and Young-sik both walk in. Did one of them just fart? DYING.

Mom sits in a stall texting like a tween, and Ji-yeon yells at her to hurry up in there. Mom sends a text to Director Kwon so that he’ll have her phone number, and asks him out for the next night. He thinks, while looking directly into the camera, “I got her.” Why so cute, you two?

 

Dong-ha stops by his and Soo-chul’s place to change clothes for a part-time job, and catches Soo-chul dressed for clubbing instead of work. Soo-chul denies it and tells Dong-ha to work on their website while he’s gone. He leaves as Dong-ha wonders who he’s trying to impress.

Ji-yeon takes some fresh fruit to Na-rae, and orders a beer. When Min-goo asks if she didn’t quit drinking recently, she says she wants to celebrate and flashes the bling. She tries to look happy but admits that she mostly feels strange since Shi-hoon proposed.

 

Now we find out why Soo-chul got all gussied up as he walks Eun-chae home after work. She asks why he’s so nice to her, and he deflects by saying it’s because she’s Young-chae’s sister and he feels responsible.

Eun-chae’s mom comes out, and says that Soo-chul looks familiar to her. He tells her he was a classmate of Young-chae’s, and she asks how he knows Eun-chae. He says that he met her at his restaurant, and that it must be Fate that she’s Young-chae’s sister. After he leaves, Eun-chae’s mom notes that he’s cute and funny, and it doesn’t look like she believes Eun-chae’s denial that nothing is happening between them.

 

Ji-yeon tells Na-rae about Shi-hoon’s wooing of her, and by the number of empty bottles on the table, she’s got to be pretty drunk by now. I know I keep saying this but for a woman who is telling her best friend about the supposed love of her life returning to her, there’s an awful lot of sighing and sad-face-making. Na-rae is a great friend though, and lists all of Shi-hoon’s good qualities.

Ji-yeon half-passes-out on the table, and Na-rae shakes her awake. Na-rae asks Ji-yeon to take her home, but Ji-yeon just threatens him with bodily harm if he ever makes Na-rae cry. Na-rae offers to call Shi-hoon but Ji-yeon forbids it because she doesn’t want him seeing her drunk. So Na-rae drags her out to get a taxi as Ji-yeon and Min-goo yell, “I hate you!” “I hate you too!” at each other in English. Drunk Ji-yeon is just my most favorite thing ever.

 

She barely manages to stagger up the stairs to her building, but can’t get the door to unlock. She finally gets it to work and lets herself into… Dong-ha’s apartment. Whoops. It’s hilarious how she just talks to Dong-ha (who can only stand and stare) like she’s been living there this whole time. She kicks off her shoes, shuffles down the hall, and climbs into Dong-ha’s bed.

Dong-ha tucks her in and starts to brush her hair off her forehead, but stops just before he makes contact. You can feel how much he wants to touch her as his hand hovers, shaking, above her head. Instead he leaves her to sleep it off.

 

When Soo-chul gets home, he immediately notices the women’s shoes in the hallway and thinks Dong-ha has a girl in the house. He congratulates Dong-ha on getting over his heartbreak, but Dong-ha just sighs that the shoes belong to Ji-yeon.

In the morning Ji-yeon wakes to see Dong-ha in bed with her, and she asks why he’s there. He says she took his bed and that she should go to work. Instead, she just smiles and snuggles deeper into his arms.

DAMMIT, I knew it was a dream. Ji-yeon wakes up for real this time as Dong-ha hollers from the doorway for her to wake up. My goodness, isn’t she a pretty pretty princess when she’s hungover? She’s horrified to find herself in Dong-ha’s bed and rushes out, forgetting her purse.

Ji-yeon runs out of the house and right smack into Shi-hoon coming up the stairs. Dong-ha follows her and screeches to a halt when he sees Shi-hoon, who only glares at them both. Awkward.

 

Shi-hoon does give Ji-yeon a chance to explain when they get to her place, to give him credit. She says that she lived with him and Soo-chul while her place was being repaired which explains why she’s comfortable there. She tells him that she got drunk and was confused.

Dong-ha is in the middle of one of his self-pep-talks about what happened the night before, when Soo-chul runs up and flashes him point-blank. I guess to snap him out of it? Ah bromance, it’s a beautiful thing.

In the car on the way to work, Shi-hoon wonders out loud why Ji-yeon felt like she needed to get so drunk that she crashed in the wrong apartment. Meanwhile I have my first flattering thought about Shi-hoon’s ability to read a situation.

Ji-yeon gives Jae-woong some pointers as the new guy but slips into a memory of when Dong-ha was new at the Trouble Maker. She remembers how he used to nag her about putting herself in danger to get a story.

As the guys work out their part-time job schedule, Soo-chul worries that Dong-ha is taking on too much. He lends Dong-ha his car for a big job. On his way out, Dong-ha trues to walk past Shi-hoon on his way in, but Shi-hoon stops him.

 

Looking like he’d rather be anywhere but here, Dong-ha tells Shi-hoon to mind his own business, but Shi-hoon actually came to talk to him. He says that he understands that Ji-yeon got drunk and mistakenly went to his place since she was used to his helping her, just like Dong-ha got drunk a few days ago and she helped him.

He says that he’s going to marry Ji-yeon, and he came to warn Dong-ha: Don’t do anything else to make Ji-yeon worry about him. Dong-ha points out that Shi-hoon seems to be the one who’s worrying, and Shi-hoon owns it since she’s his to worry about now.

Ji-yeon and Na-rae have a girls’ day out of shopping and end up at a spa. Ji-yeon mentions that she has a working date with Shi-hoon for his photography book and Na-rae points out how she sounds more professional than personal about having dinner with him. That’s what I’m saying.

Dong-ha arrives to deliver some supplies to the spa, and runs into Ji-yeon in the hallway. Shi-hoon arrives to pick up Ji-yeon for dinner, and she grabs Dong-ha and shoves him into a storeroom. He protests that they didn’t do anything wrong to hide, but Ji-yeon doesn’t want two awkward confrontations in one day.

 

They hear Shi-hoon and Na-rae outside the door looking for Ji-yeon, and when they open the door, Ji-yeon yanks Dong-ha into a side-room this time. They end up nose-to-nose with Ji-yeon looking uncomfortable, and Dong-ha looking like he can’t think of anything else but kissing her.

Ji-yeon backs away and Dong-ha asks “Why? Are you afraid I’ll kiss you again?” She’s surprised he remembers kissing her when he was drunk, but he asks what man would forget kissing the woman he loves. She starts to leave but he gently pushes her back against the wall.

Starting to sound desperate, he says it’s not fair that he has to hide when he hasn’t done anything wrong. He asks if she feels guilty being with him, and in a flash his lips are an inch from hers. They stay that way for a long moment, looking right into each other’s eyes, then Dong-ha backs away. He tells her to stay for another minute, then leaves.

Na-rae sees Dong-ha leaving, and when she finds Ji-yeon she asks if she saw him. Ji-yeon tells her that she sees Dong-ha everywhere and hears his voice all the time. She fesses up that she hid with Dong-ha earlier and thinks she must be crazy, considering that Shi-hoon proposed to her.

 

Na-rae tells Ji-yeon that what’s important isn’t the proposal, but what’s in her heart. She says that Ji-yeon needs to figure out which man is in her heart. She begs off her date with Shi-hoon and goes home instead.

Young-sik calls her and asks to borrow a book, and while she’s looking for it she knocks the book that Dong-ha left her onto the floor. It doesn’t look familiar so she leafs through and finds his inscription: “Would you stay with me?” She remembers that night and how he awkwardly kept talking about her books, then hugged her and asked her not to go to Shi-hoon.

Meanwhile, Dong-ha comes home and sits outside, trying to get up the courage to talk to Ji-yeon.

Ji-yeon thinks over all the times that Dong-ha gave her support and encouragement, and how he said he would never abandon her. She turns to a page that’s bookmarked, and on the page are these words: “Life is short. If there’s something you’re holding in your heart, know that this is your last chance. Do it today.” Tears start to fall and she recalls Na-rae’s words that she needs to figure out where her heart lies.

More happy memories of time spent with Dong-ha flood her mind, and Ji-yeon can’t sit still anymore. She drops the book and runs to the door, hesitating only a moment before opening it… to see Dong-ha standing there.

 

COMMENTS

I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.

First off, I know it seems like every week I’m fussing at someone, and I apologize but this week is going to be no different. I have some bones to pick with Ji-yeon. I love her, but how can someone be so utterly clueless when it comes to their own feelings? I know, there was a lot that was left unresolved when Shi-hoon left, and when he came back it was a shock and having him ask you to marry him again has got to sound like the perfect happy ending. But I’m angry that she’s just letting six years of nothing from him slide without even asking where the hell he’s been and why he never tried to contact her? We’ve already talked about how lame it is that he hasn’t even tried to explain why he never once tried to contact her, so today I’m focusing on Ji-yeon’s obvious disconnect between what she says and what she obviously feels.

I mean we can all see it, the dead look in her eyes when Shi-hoon comes up in conversation and the lack of any emotion whatsoever in her voice when she talks about him. Everyone sees it! Her mom has noticed, her best friend, even Shi-hoon lets slip that he knows something is wrong when he wonders why she drank so much that she slept in another man’s bed. She’s not even ambivalent about him…when Shi-hoon is the topic of conversation, Ji-yeon looks downright depressed. I know she’s having some sort of crisis over him returning and wanting her back, but the damage he caused by disappearing on her must be much deeper than I thought for her to agree to marry him when just talking about him looks like it makes her miserable.

And on top of that, there’s her obvious feelings for, and physical attraction to, Dong-ha. I don’t think I’ve seen two drama leads with so much chemistry in a very long time – whenever Dong-ha and Ji-yeon get within 5 feet of each other, the air between them practically snaps with energy and my heart pounds. That scene in the spa when he challenged whether she feels guilty being with him was so intense, it leaves me wondering how this woman can possibly not realize that she doesn’t want to be with Shi-hoon, and that everything in her is screaming to be with Dong-ha? I could understand it if her conflict was Dong-ha’s age and/or societal pressures, but that’s not really a point of contention anymore. Nearly everyone in Ji-yeon’s life has made it clear that they would support a relationship between Ji-yeon and Dong-ha. She just plain doesn’t seem to realize what they have between them, and I’m finding it hard to keep believing that, week after week, considering that she’s otherwise a very smart and self-aware woman. All I can say is, her responses to the two men are at such opposite extremes, it’s getting a bit difficult to suspend disbelief as a viewer that she doesn’t realize which man she really wants to be with.

That said, I’m so happy the cuteness is coming back! I’ve missed the light silly moments of the first few weeks of the drama, and there were a lot of times in this episode that I laughed out loud like I did in the beginning. Soo-chul flashing Dong-ha for no apparent reason, Mom and Director Kwon’s text-flirtation, Ji-yeon getting drunk and belligerent…give me more of that! If I could make some requests, I’d love to see Soo-chul stop pretending to be an Oppa to Eun-chae and start sweeping her off her feet. I know he can do it! I want some Mom/Director Kwon dating shenanigans. Most of all, I want Dong-ha and Ji-yeon laughing together as they bet who can eat the most, or play along with radio contests, or drink beer together and forget everything but loving each other. Can I have some of that soon, Show? Please?

 

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 12

by odilettante

Ji-yeon struggles through her confusion about her upcoming marriage to Shi-hoon and, thanks to the support of friends and family who aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions, is forced to ask herself if being married to Shi-hoon will truly make her happy. Dong-ha decides it will be easier for Ji-yeon if he removes himself completely from this bewildering love triangle (but as we all know, fate often has other plans than the ones made by idiots, even at their noblest). Shi-hoon begins to realize that maybe he isn’t the leading man of this show after all — and decides to take matters into his own hands.

EPISODE 12 RECAP

 

Crying as she reads the book (and the message Dong-ha wrote in it), Ji-yeon makes a decision and hurries to the door, only to find that Dong-ha is standing just outside. Startled by Ji-yeon’s tear-stained face, Dong-ha asks in concern if everything is okay. She steps outside, and as she wipes the tears from her eyes, he can’t help but notice the engagement ring on her finger.

Before she can say anything further, he apologizes for his actions earlier when he pushed her against the wall at the spa. Promising that she won’t need to worry about him any longer, he tells her that he’ll be moving out as soon as he can find a new place, so they’ll no longer be running into each other.

When she starts to protest, he takes a deep breath and says that he’s going to forget her. After all, he’s still young, so he should focus on growing his business and meeting other people. He leaves with a friendly “hwaiting” and an offer to give her an exclusive interview if his company becomes successful. Ji-yeon silently watches him go as she fights to control her emotions.

Back in the apartment, Soo-chul does his own cornering of Dong-ha as he insists that he can’t leave. Dong-ha affectionately says he’s overstayed his welcome, and tries to deflect the attention by joking about Soo-chul’s string of girlfriends. But Soo-chul is on to his buddy’s tactics, and demands to know the real reason why Dong-ha is moving out.

Dong-ha momentarily gets serious when he says that Ji-yeon is getting married, which baffles Soo-chul as he later muses to himself: “But what about that kiss [in the courtyard]?”

 

Early the next morning, a sleepy-head Ji-yeon lets her mother into the apartment, and is horrified when she sees that Shi-hoon is also there, embarrassed to let him see her in her “just woken up” state of disarray. She scurries off to get dressed, and once she’s properly coiffed and attired, Ji-yeon discovers that Mom’s morning visit was with a purpose: to set a wedding date.

She’s already got a few dates and available venues picked out for next month (because “why wait?”), and even though Ji-yeon clearly seems uncomfortable with the speed of the wedding preparations, she can’t protest the logic behind it.

Ji-yeon sits in distracted silence as Shi-hoon drives her to work, until he gets her attention so they can talk about their upcoming meeting with the wedding planner. She promises to double-check her work schedule, before she goes back to silently staring out the window. The awkwardness between them is just so unbearable.

 

Dong-ha is busy apartment hunting, and despite the landlord’s devotion to his “inspiring” wallpaper, Dong-ha is a bit horrified by the dingy little room. But it’s within his price range and available ASAP, so he says he’ll consider it.

In perfect contrast to Dong-ha’s hole-in-the wall dump of a room, Shi-hoon visits a spacious and luxurious condo where he plans to live with Ji-yeon for their first year of marriage, which he seems to have already planned out.

Meanwhile, Ji-yeon leaves work early, stating exhaustion as an excuse, and delegating assignments to her team. As she hands over a file to Rin-ji, the younger woman’s eyes bug out when they see the flashy engagement ring on Ji-yeon’s finger. Looks like the Trouble Maker office found some new gossip.

 

Returning home, Ji-yeon recognizes Dong-ha’s father ringing the doorbell at Soo-chul and Dong-ha’s apartment, but no one answers.

When Ji-yeon later invites Soo-chul over to give him some homemade food Mom made for the boys (aw, she’s the best!), she convinces him to stay for a cup of tea. He congratulates her on her upcoming marriage, admitting that he had originally hoped she would have gotten together with Dong-ha. Join the club, buddy.

But he reassures her that Dong-ha is doing much better now, focused instead on making money — even though Soo-chul refuses to believe that Dong-ha could willingly move out. That is, until Ji-yeon mentions that she saw Dong-ha’s father earlier that evening, and Soo-chul is hilariously shocked and panicked as he tries to figure why Papa Yoon would be there.

 

When Ji-yeon tries to get him to spill the beans about Dong-ha and his father, Soo-chul seals his lips, saying she won’t get the information out of him like she did when she found out about Young-chae.

Na-rae has been pestering a normally eager-to-please Min-goo with random pregnancy cravings, only to push them away because the scent makes her sick. So when she disappears upstairs to deal with her nausea, Min-goo is relieved when Dong-ha arrives to help out at the restaurant.

After closing up, Min-goo presents Dong-ha with a dinner comprised of all the rejected delicacies that Na-rae had originally craved. He vents his frustration at how Na-rae sends him on all these errands to get her food from all over area, and he does so willingly and cheerfully, but her only thanks is to reject it because she says it smells horrible. It’s reached a point where whenever she calls out his name, he wants to run away.

 

The true runaway, however, is Na-rae, who overheard everything Min-goo said. She shows up unannounced at Ji-yeon’s, where she plans to stay a few days. She tells Ji-yeon that Min-goo won’t even miss her while she’s gone, since apparently she was such a burden to him.

As to be expected, the Trouble Maker office is buzzing with the news of Ji-yeon’s engagement. Young-sik follows her around like the excitable puppy he is, asking about all the details of how his hero Phillip Noh proposed (trying to figure out how it could top the portrait he made of her), but she blows him off when she finds out about a new scandal brewing: It’s about a woman who died while being transferred to a new hospital, because the doctors at the original hospital were too preoccupied with a VIP patient.

After meeting with the wedding planner (a meeting that Ji-yeon had to skip in order to interview one the doctors at the hospital), Mom hands over a box that she was planning to give to Ji-yeon directly, but thinks is best coming from Shi-hoon. He opens it to reveal the pretty shoes that Ji-yeon had bought for their original wedding, six years ago.

Mom tells him how Ji-yeon would try on the shoes each night, months before the wedding, so excited about wearing them — but all I can think about is the superstition that if you give shoes to your lover, she’ll run away from you (which also makes me wonder if this is Mom’s genius and sneaky way of breaking them up).

But then she admits that, considering all that happened in the intervening years, it seems like a miracle of fate that he and Ji-yeon have been given a second chance. He promises her that he’ll do his best to live well and be happy.

 

As Shi-hoon is showing Ji-yeon around the condo he’s selected, she wonders if perhaps they’re rushing their wedding. After all, they’ve just started seeing each other again. Shi-hoon gets straight to the matter: “Is this about Dong-ha?”

He admits he knows Dong-ha likes her, and adds that he understands she’s concerned about Dong-ha because they used to recently work and live together, whereas he was gone for six years. When she hesitantly admits she’s still confused about how she feels, Shi-hoon takes her hands in his, promising that he won’t let her feel anxious anymore, and reassures her that as time passes, everything will be all right.

Soo-chul intercepts Eun-chae as she’s on her way home, and when she asks him straight out if he likes her, he stutters his astonishment at her audacious question — and then is adorably offended that she’d try walk away before he could answer. She sweetly informs him that she only sees him as an “oppa” in the brotherly sense: someone who is comfortable and dependable.

 

A depressed Soo-chul returns home, flopping over the side of the sofa. Dong-ha tries to leave, but Soo-chul stops him and asks Dong-ha if he ever felt like Ji-yeon (who he calls “noonim”) was like a real older sister. He answers his own question, saying of course not, because you can’t have romantic feelings for a blood relative. As Dong-ha tries to snap him out of his depressed reverie, Soo-chul refuses to be considered as just a “brotherly oppa.”

Ji-yeon returns to apartment, horrified at the mess Na-rae has made as she apparently tried to eat everything in Ji-yeon’s kitchen. Happily slurping down the mangoes Ji-yeon bought her (by biting through the skin instead of cutting them up, which, ew), Na-rae admits it’s amazing that her appetite is back. Ji-yeon is just totally grossed out by her friend’s messy ways — I’m thinking this is one shared living arrangement that won’t last long.

As the women settle into bed, Na-rae says Min-goo hasn’t bothered to call. She assumes he’s too busy living the high life without her, and warns Ji-yeon to rethink getting married, “since all men are the same.” Ji-yeon updates her friend about the condo she looked at with Shi-hoon, and Na-rae asks if this means things are now totally over with Dong-ha. Ji-yeon wonders how something can be over when it never even started in the first place.

Returning to her role as Voice of Reason, Na-rae points out that the only reason Dong-ha decided to move on was because Ji-yeon never confessed her true feelings to him. But Ji-yeon says that since he’s decided to move on, she wants to support that decision; she doesn’t want to be selfish and hinder him on his fresh start. Oh, the double-edged sword of noble idiocy.

But Na-rae finally asks the question we’ve all been dying to know for weeks now: How does Ji-yeon feel about Shi-hoon? She says that he’s a good person, and she’s getting a second chance to marry the same man — shouldn’t she be grateful for this chance as she leaves her thirties? Is it really true that, after time passes, everything will be okay?

The next day at work, Ji-yeon is astonished to see that the news about the hospital patient dying has grown even hotter, so she orders her team to track down more information, but pulls Eun-chae aside for a private debriefing. Turns out that the hospital that had denied the patient service is the one run by Dong-ha’s father.

 

Eun-chae, who knows about Papa Yoon because of her sister, promises that she won’t reveal the connection with Dong-ha. (Let us take note that, once again, Ji-yeon tries to quietly protect Dong-ha.)

She blows off yet another wedding planning session with Shi-hoon to focus on the story. He’s suspicious, though, when he sees her get into a taxi after telling him she’s stuck in a meeting — but he doesn’t pursue her. Instead, he heads over to her apartment to drop off some wedding catalogues, and Na-rae is happy to let him in.

As he’s filing the catalogues away on her bookcase, he oh-so conveniently spots the Paulo Coelho book Dong-ha left behind, and sees beneath the “Will you stay with me?” note, another message: “I’m sorry… for being so late…” with a tear splotch in the middle of the ink.

 

But Shi-hoon doesn’t let any emotion across his bland expression, so who knows how he feels as he shelves the book to instead focus on Na-rae, who deals him an extra blow by telling him that men tell lies to protect themselves, but women tell lies to protect the other person. She’s referring to the fact her husband isn’t her first love, even though Min-goo assumes he is — but it looks like Shi-hoon is finally realizing just how much he truly doesn’t understand about Ji-yeon’s relationship with Dong-ha.

Ji-yeon stops by the restaurant, letting Min-goo know how much Na-rae misses him. He rushes out to go and get her, leaving Ji-yeon to mind the restaurant while he’s gone. She promises to scare off the customers for a couple of hours, but it looks like she won’t be doing it alone as Dong-ha shows up for his part-time shift.

 

They sit in uncomfortable silence on opposite ends of the bar, until Ji-yeon ventures to ask him how Master of Part-Time Jobs is going, and she matches his less-than enthusiastic reply of “so-so” when he asks her how her marriage preparation is going.

The awkwardness begins to dissipate — as does their physical distance — when Ji-yeon tells Dong-ha all about her new assistant. He’s determined to find a weakness, and is unsuccessful until he finally discovers the new assistant doesn’t know how to drive. When Ji-yeon points out that now he’s being the competitive one, he insists that he’s just a sunbae looking out for a hoobae (yeah, because having a job two whole months makes you an expert). But the important thing is they’re back to being all adorable smiles and teasing banter.

 

After dinner celebrating Na-rae’s return home, Ji-yeon and Dong-ha slowly walk up the steps to their respective apartments, where Dong-ha breaks the news that he will be moving out next week. She tells them they should have a party before he moves out, like he and Soo-chul gave her when she move back to her apartment. He reluctantly agrees.

As Mom preps her hanbok (for the wedding photo shoot, I presume), she worries if Ji-yeon is okay with getting married. She admits that she wanted Ji-yeon to marry so she wouldn’t be lonely, and would have someone she could depend upon and lean on, to live happily live forever with someone who cherishes her. But she doesn’t want Ji-yeon to get married just for the sake of being married.

Finally, she asks the vital question: “Are you sure the person you want to be with forever is Shi-hoon?” Six years ago, Ji-yeon couldn’t stop talking or thinking about her marriage to Shi-hoon, but now Shi-hoon is the one who takes care of all the wedding details.

 

Ignoring Ji-yeon’s explanation that she’s just been busy, Mom points out that she’s only ever wanted her only daughter to live well, and not worry about other people — to be happy and joyful. Ji-yeon’s mother starts to tear-up as she pulls her daughter into a hug, and I do, too, because she’s the best Mom ever.

On the day of the wedding photo shoot, Ji-yeon’s face is inscrutable as she gazes at her reflection, finally seeing herself in her wedding dress. She tries to force a smile, but it doesn’t quite seem to stick. Na-rae is the mood maker, though, as she cheerfully rushes into the wedding boutique in her bridesmaid dress, and the two are super cute as they pose for selcas.

But as they drive to the photo shoot, Na-rae experiences shooting pains in her abdomen and starts to panic. Ji-yeon immediately directs the driver to reroute to the hospital.

Min-goo is practically on the verge of a nervous breakdown as he and Dong-ha arrive at the hospital, and Ji-yeon shows him in what room he can find Na-rae. But Dong-ha is frozen in place, captivated by the sight of Ji-yeon in her wedding dress. His face is exactly the awe-filled, totally stunned expression a bride would want to see from her groom on their wedding day.

The two of them wait together, sitting side-by-side, tense to hear word about Na-rae. She returns to the waiting room with a big smile on her face, happy that her abdominal pain turned out to be nothing more than just gas. After Min-goo and Na-rae leave to get another exam, Ji-yeon stumbles in relief, the shock wearing off.

Dong-ha catches her in his arms — and that’s when Shi-hoon rounds the corner, having recently discovered about Na-rae’s emergency rush to the hospital when he was trying to get in contact with Ji-yeon, but her phone was in Na-rae’s purse.

He watches as Dong-ha gently (and with great concern) guides Ji-yeon to a seat, and he seems fully aware of the way Dong-ha is unable to take his eyes off of Ji-yeon. Quietly, Shi-hoon slips away, unnoticed.

When Min-goo apologizes for disrupting the photo shoot, Ji-yeon suddenly remembers Shi-hoon and runs out of the hospital, hoping she won’t be too late to the studio — and Dong-ha stares after her with his sad puppy-dog eyes.

 

She finally arrives at the studio two hours late, but no one is around except for Shi-hoon. She apologizes for ruining everything, and he reminds her that he’s a professional photographer.

But before they can take their photos, he gives her the old wedding shoes, placing them gently on her feet. (She’s totally going to run away now, right?)

He sets the automatic timer on the camera, and Ji-yeon sits stiffly in the ornate chair as Shi-hoon stands next to her. The camera flashes over and over as they pose for their wedding photos.

Dong-ha packs his suitcase, officially accepting that Ji-yeon is marrying “the polar bear,” and, with one last look around at the apartment they used to share, promises to start his life anew.

Back in Shi-hoon’s house, he and Ji-yeon look through the wedding photos they took. As he selects a favorite photo to take with him, he tells her he thinks that she was right — they rushed their wedding and the rekindling their relationship. She keeps missing their appointments, and he’s always left waiting. As he pours himself a glass of whisky, he muses over the fact that she spent six years waiting for him, but he got tired waiting just two hours for her at the photography studio.

Ji-yeon apologizes again for not calling him earlier, but Shi-hoon tells her that the words he’s heard most from her since he’s been back is “I’m sorry,” and it’s become annoying. Shi-hoon thought that they would be able to get along just like old times, but he was deluded: “I like you, but not to the point where I can endure everything.”

Tears and confusion fill Ji-yeon’s eyes as Shi-hoon deals the final shocking blow, declaring that they should call off the wedding, pretending their marriage plans never happened.

 

COMMENTS

Oh, Shi-hoon; you ass.

I don’t think anyone has been particularly convinced that Shi-hoon was actually going to be the end-game in this drama, just because of the way they’ve made it so clear that Ji-yeon and Dong-ha are pretty perfect for each other (not to mention, hello, a little thing called “chemistry”).

But I admit I wasn’t expecting that. Maybe I was expecting too much, actually, since I’d been hoping that Ji-yeon would finally make her own decision about Shi-hoon, and break up with him by her own agency. Not being forced into another break-up just because he made that unilateral decision without checking with her first.

Then again, has he done anything where he made the decision to check in with her first? I mean, this is the guy who returned to Korea to publicly express his feelings for her with that ridiculous portrait, which, if she hadn’t gone to the press conference, she would have found out from the newspapers. This is the guy who plans their first year of marriage, and overrides any serious concerns she might have with a “it’ll be okay, don’t worry.”

I’d like to think that he’s actually doing this out of some bizarre sense of “noble idiocy” because he can clearly see that she and Dong-ha have a thing together, something that he will never be able to have with Ji-yeon as we currently know her, and is stepping aside to allow her the freedom to pursue Dong-ha with a unfettered heart. Except, he’s not stepping aside so much as he’s brutally smashing any option she might have wanted to consider, just because of how it makes him feel. He’s metaphorically slapping her in the face by saying, “You might have cared enough to start things up again with me after six years of never hearing from me, but I can’t handle two measly hours waiting for you.” (At least, I felt like I was punched in the gut when he said that. Pretty sure my gasp could be heard across town.)

I’d totally be willing to consider that maybe he’s actually trying to be an extra-huge jackass so that Ji-yeon will never have lingering feelings or “what-ifs”, and will instead remember him as the jerk who broke her heart, again. Or maybe that’s his true personality — maybe he’s really that awful and selfish. I can’t really tell, because the character is so bland and boring that I have no idea what his true personality is really like (all I know is he makes everyone around him cry, which is not exactly a selling point). Sometimes I wonder if he really exists, or if he’s some faded memory of Ji-yeon’s past that she’s somehow projected into reality, so desperate is she for need for closure.

But what woman in their right mind would choose to be dumped like that?

I suppose that’s the important word here: “choose.” Because I feel like Ji-yeon hasn’t been able to choose much lately, and that bothers me. Seeing her so insecure and conflicted, when I know she’s much more capable of figuring out a path and a solution, saddens me. I was so happy to have a glimpse of that “Lois Lane” take-charge reporter again, because that’s the Ji-yeon that sparkles and is vibrant, who is happy and joyful, who lives her life and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. To spend the rest of her life with someone who will cherish her for who she his, crazy bed-head and all. (And can I get another shout-out for an awesome drama-Mom who fully supports her child, and just wants the best for her?)

I felt it was symbolic that the first time Dong-ha sees her in a wedding dress (even though it isn’t for him), she’s bathed in a ray of lovely sunshine. For Dong-ha, Ji-yeon is light. Their whole interaction at the hospital, a place where a woman should feel out of place in a wedding place, felt so right, like they were in cathedral instead of a waiting room. They were surrounded by lovely bright pastels, back-lit by the perfectly situation rays of sunshine. It felt so light, airy and romantic — just how a wedding should feel.

Contrast that to when she finally arrives at the photography studio, where the lights are out, everything is dark and dreary and depressing. Ji-yeon looks uncomfortable in her surroundings, her glow is gone. The mood is hushed and sombre. Instead of taking a wedding photo, you would think they were prepping for a funeral.

Considering the fact that we still have two weeks left, I do have hope that we’ll see the return of the original Ji-yeon, the “witch” Ji-yeon. I have hopes that she’ll use her investigative powers for good and help figure out the truth behind Dong-ha’s father and “the incident,” perhaps getting them to reconcile, and maybe Dong-ha can move on with his life without being stuck in his million dead-end jobs.

And also find a way to convince him that she loves him as much as he loves her, and truly wants him to remain in her life forever (with, of course, lots of kissing — because, y’know, we can never forget the kissing).

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 13

by LollyPip

Breakups and comebacks and parties, oh my! A lot happens in this episode, all the better to bring our two leads closer together again after so many weeks of estrangement. And not a moment too soon, as I was starting to worry that we’d never see Dong-ha and Ji-yeon smile and have fun together again. And best of all — the Witch is back!

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

 

Ji-yeon slowly walks home after Shi-hoon breaks off their engagement, so dazed that she doesn’t even see Dong-ha standing in their courtyard next to his suitcase. He stops her and asks her why she always cries when she’s been with Shi-hoon. She doesn’t answer and just goes upstairs.

She goes inside and sits, remembering how Shi-hoon broke things off. He says for her to consider that their engagement never happened, and she finally shows a spark of life. She surges to her feet and calls him shameless for making her wait six years, then not even being able to wait a few hours. She calls him selfish and a bastard (cheer).

Shi-hoon won’t even look at her, and just asks her to leave. Ji-yeon grabs one of her wedding shoes and throws it at him, screaming his name. She asks why he’s pretending to be the bad guy when she’s the bad one (so she does understand he’s playing the Noble Idiot card), but he insists that he’s bad for trying to hold onto her.

 

He picks up the shoe and says that her mother told him that she was happy when she used to try them on, but that now she only looks nervous. Shi-hoon says that she’s in the future he imagined, but that if she’s not happy in that future, then it’s not a dream he wants. Ji-yeon sobs that he’s in the future she dreamed too, but he just tells her that she was beautiful today and thanks her for wearing the dress for him. Back at her home, Ji-yeon sits in shock, then begins to cry giant, gasping sobs.

The next day, Dong-ha shows up at his new apartment to find a strange man already there, claiming to be the new tenant. The landlord tells Dong-ha that since he was late signing the lease, he rented the place to someone else. The other guy refuses to leave and Dong-ha is forced to head back to Soo-chul’s apartment.

 

Soo-chul is there pouting at Dong-ha’s suitcase, but perks up when he hears that Dong-ha lost the apartment. He says it’s Heaven telling Dong-ha to stay, calling him a coward since he knows he’s only leaving because Ji-yeon is getting married. Soo-chul insists that Dong-ha stay, and Dong-ha caves in the face of the childish nagging. Hooray!

The next day, Ji-yeon doesn’t show up for work or answer her phone, which gets the whole team worried and speculating over her whereabouts. They assume she’s gone on a lover’s retreat with Shi-hoon, but Director Kwon says that she’s never been gone from work a single day and orders them to find her.

Young-sik calls Dong-ha who’s out running errands, but the news that Ji-yeon didn’t show up for work worries him and he races home. He rings her doorbell and calls her name, and inside the house a very sick-looking Ji-yeon can’t even muster the energy to get out of bed to answer the door.

 

Dong-ha lets himself in and finds her barely holding herself up against a wall, and when she sees him she slumps to the floor. He gets her back in bed and wonders to himself why she’s all alone like this with no Polar Bear to take care of her.

He nurses her while she sleeps, and when she wakes up she asks weakly why he’s here. She asks why he keeps showing up in her dreams (interesting) and he says it’s not a dream, telling her to go to the hospital or at least call someone when she’s sick like this.

Dong-ha stares at her intently, saying that he’s curious about two things but will only ask about one, and asks if he really shows up in her dreams. His face is so guardedly hopeful, it kills me. Ji-yeon denies it, but she can’t look him in the eye when she tells the lie.

 

Right then Ji-yeon’s mom lets herself in and Dong-ha goes to greet her. He tells her that Ji-yeon is very sick, and she goes rushing to see her daughter. Ji-yeon manages to sit up but still looks terrible, and Mom asks if she’s exhausted from wedding planning. Ji-yeon says in a tiny voice, “Mom. We’re not getting married.”

Outside the door, Dong-ha hears this and skids to a stop mid-step. A strange look crosses his face, and he leaves in a hurry. Mom asks Ji-yeon what happened and she takes the blame, saying it was her fault. She stammers that her heart has changed, and starts to cry.

 

Mom goes to see Shi-hoon, who looks pretty terrible himself. He apologizes for not going to see her himself, but he was too ashamed. Mom tells him that she always thought of him as a son, not a son-in-law, and that’s why she was so angry with him. He says that he knows, and she hugs him goodbye.

Ji-yeon goes to work the next day and deflects everyone’s attempts to show concern. (Random side note: does Rin-ji only own that one red skirt?) At the staff meeting, Team Leader Byul proposes an interesting story, one about a ghost that supposedly haunts One Light Hospital’s emergency room. Director Kwon remembers a story about a patient who died after being transferred because there was no doctor to treat them.

 

The Trouble Maker has already covered this story in the past, but Team Leader Byul claims to have new information from someone in the hospital’s housekeeping department. A familiar foxy look comes over Ji-yeon’s face as she challenges his information-gathering methods, and it’s enough to get Director Kwon to assign the story to her instead.

Ji-yeon assigns jobs relating to the hospital to each of her team, and it’s clear that the Witch is back! She’s fiery and bossy and takes no backtalk from her assistants. It’s great seeing her in her element again, strong and capable and in charge.

Soo-chul and Dong-ha check their website for errand requests, and find an errand specifically requesting Dong-ha, who frowns when he sees the address. It’s Shi-hoon’s address, and Dong-ha goes but he looks decidedly unhappy to be there. He says that a delivery service would have been faster, but Shi-hoon says that he particularly wanted Dong-ha.

 

Shi-hoon asks why he came if he didn’t want to do the job, and Dong-ha says it’s because he was curious about the errand. Shi-hoon hands him Ji-yeon’s wedding shoes, asking him to deliver them to her.

Dong-ha asks if it’s just a delivery, and Shi-hoon asks him to tell Ji-yeon that there’s no need to be sorry. He wants her to know that he was the one who was too late, but looks Dong-ha in the eye as he says that it’s not too late for Ji-yeon. It almost feels like he’s giving Dong-ha his blessing. Dong-ha sees Shi-hoon’s passport and a plane ticket on the table, and he turns to leave without a word.

Soo-chul shows up at the Trouble Maker office to deliver juice that Rin-ji ordered. Rin-ji gives him one of the juices, flirting as hard as she can, and I swear if she flips her hair one more time she’s going to wrench her neck.

 

Soo-chul smoothly says he can’t drink sour things and gives the juice to Eun-chae. Rin-ji tries one more time and asks what Soo-chul is doing that night, but he says that he has to walk his “sister” home, shooting meaningful glances at Eun-chae (whose bland expression is hilarious). He leaves, and Rin-ji snatches her juice right out of Eun-chae’s mouth, HA.

Ji-yeon breaks the news of her canceled wedding to Na-rae and Min-goo that night. Na-rae has clearly entered the weepy stage of her pregnancy as she blames herself, wailing that it’s because she made Ji-yeon miss her photo shoot.

Ji-yeon assures Na-rae it’s not her fault, and reminds her that she was the one who urged Ji-yeon to discover who was in her heart. Na-rae whines that Dong-ha must be in her heart, and breaks down again.

 

Min-goo asks how things are going with Dong-ha, and Na-rae completely switches off the tears and says matter-of-factly that it’s too soon for Ji-yeon to turn to him yet. Ji-yeon says that Dong-ha needs to live his life, which sends Na-rae into another round of tears. Ji-yeon hightails it out of range of the Crazy.

Dong-ha shuffles home, wondering to himself what Shi-hoon meant when he said it wasn’t too late for Ji-yeon and wondering what’s in the bag he’s delivering to her. He’s all business as he makes the delivery, but his voice softens as he passes on Shi-hoon’s message to Ji-yeon. Dong-ha asks if something happened between them, but Ji-yeon just says they had a fight, not knowing that Dong-ha already knows about the broken engagement.

 

At work the next day, Jae-woong tells Ji-yeon that he found a case from three years ago at the One Light Hospital that’s similar to the current scandal there. A girl with heart disease went to the ER, but died before having surgery. Oh no, it was Young-chae, wasn’t it? He says that her mother refuses to give any interviews about the incident.

Meanwhile Dong-ha and Soo-chul head to the hospital on a work errand to deliver flowers and a gift to a girl from her friends, and don’t they look handsome in their suits! Turns out the “self-defense oppas” are the gift, and they pose for selcas with the girl.

On their way out, they see a small but loud protest in progress, one man screaming about the hospital not having enough doctors to treat patients and having to turn ill people away. A car pulls up, and Soo-chul stops the driver from letting the passenger out while Dong-ha slides into the backseat — it’s his father.

Dong-ha tells his father that he saw the news, but Dad denies the accusations, saying he’s always kept to his principles. He starts to get out of the car and Dong-ha stops him with a hand on his arm, the contact making them both aware of the tension between them. Dad says he has nothing to hide and steps out, right into a small storm of protesters and reporters.

Ji-yeon calls Eun-chae’s mother and begins to ask questions about something that happened at One Light Hospital three years ago, but Eun-chae’s mom refuses to discuss it and hangs up.

Ji-yeon’s mom and Director Kwon go on the cutest date ever at the fishcake restaurant. Kwon solicitously sets up Mom’s utensils and pours her drink, but he notices that something is bothering her. He guesses it must be about Ji-yeon and praises her, which is just the perfect way to a mother’s heart. He also impresses Mom with his knowledge of cooking, and in their enthusiasm they end up nose-to-nose, both thinking, “This man/woman is perfect.”

Na-rae calls Ji-yeon to tell her about her mom and her boss on a date, and Ji-yeon is predictably horrified. Na-rae also asks Ji-yeon if she can borrow some books, and as she’s looking through her bookshelf she sees some wedding books and a wedding planner that she didn’t know were there. Na-rae tells her that Shi-hoon left them there for her since she was too busy for wedding planning.

Ji-yeon pulls out the wedding magazine and her mouth starts to quiver, and she drops it to the floor. She takes out the book that Dong-ha left for her and turns to the page where he wrote “Would you stay with me?” She remembers the message that Dong-ha delivered from Shi-hoon that it’s not too late for her, and clutches the book to her stomach while crying Shi-hoon’s name. It feels like she’s finally letting go of him.

 

Soo-chul and Dong-ha share chicken and beer to celebrate a rise in business for Master of Part-Time. Dong-ha pontificates that it was the change in CEO that caused the sales to increase, and Soo-chul threatens to call a board meeting. These two are so cute.

Soo-chul comments that considering all the drama with his dad’s hospital and with Ji-yeon, Dong-ha’s doing better than he expected. Dong-ha drops the bomb that Ji-yeon isn’t marrying Shi-hoon, and Soo-chul’s jaw drops. He pulls the cutest aegyo face and says that Dong-ha must not be moving out now, then pouts when Dong-ha continues to insist that he’s overstayed his welcome. Sweetie, when the guy who owns the place is literally begging you to stay, you haven’t overstayed your welcome!

Dong-ha goes to the Love You House the next day to bring some money, and Ji-yeon is there trying to speak with Eun-chae’s mother in person this time. She’s kind and gentle with her questions, but Eun-chae’s mom denies any wrongdoing by the hospital. She begs Ji-yeon not to dig up old incident that hurt so many people — but Ji-yeon wonders how, if nothing wrong happened, “so many people” got hurt. Eun-chae’s mom simply leaves.

 

Ji-yeon turns to go and sees Dong-ha leaving at the same time. He gives her a ride back to the Trouble Maker office and jokes that they’re probably not doing very well without him. He asks what she’s doing after work, saying that he wants the farewell party she offered him. Her face falls to hear he’s still moving and she says today is not a good day. He grumbles that he knows she’s just pretending to be busy, and leaves.

In the office, the whole Trouble Maker team is planning a wedding shower for Ji-yeon. When she walks in they scatter, and she knows something is up but Young-sik expertly turns her attention to the hospital story.

He shows her some pictures he got of the protesters, then says he got one shot that’s strange. He has another photo from an angle that shows Dong-ha sitting in the hospital director’s car. Young-sik wonders out loud what connection Dong-ha has to the hospital director, then realizes that they share the same family name.

 

In a stroke of luck, the Trouble Maker team called Master of Part-Time to help set up the wedding shower, so Soo-chul lets Dong-ha know that disaster is eminent. He says that he turned the job down and switches a job with Dong-ha so that he can go head off Ji-yeon.

At the office, Young-sik is doing a terrible job of being subtle as he throws out every reason he can think of for Ji-yeon to come back to the office that evening. She’s definitely suspicious, saying that he usually never works this hard.

After she leaves, the crew pull out supplies and decorate the office, complete with huge poster of Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon made up to look like a magazine cover with cutesy fake articles. (Random Side Note Follow-Up: Rin-ji totally only owns that one red skirt.)

 

Meanwhile Ji-yeon meets her detective friend at a cafe, where he delivers records from a car accident from three years ago. He wonders why she’s so curious, since there was nothing unusual about it. He describes the accident as a car hitting a bus from behind, but only the car driver was seriously injured.

Later though, a passenger from the bus was having seizures, and she was taken to One Light Hospital where she died. There was some disagreement over whether the passenger died from her chronic condition or whether the bus accident caused her death. A specialist determined that her illness was the ultimate cause of death and the driver of the car avoided criminal charges.

Ji-yeon reads in the report that the passenger who died was Jung Young-chae. Finally we know how she died. She reads on that the name of the person who called 119 when she seized was Dong-ha. As I don’t remember her ever hearing the name of Dong-ha’s lost love, this must be quite a shock.

Ji-yeon walks back to the office, putting the pieces together of what happened three years ago. Young-chae, the girl who died after the accident, was Dong-ha’s girlfriend. When she went to the hospital in distress, the doctor in charge was performing surgery on the driver of the car that caused the accident. She wonders if the doctor in charge was Yoon Se-joon, Dong-ha’s father. That would certainly explain…well, pretty much everything.

She arrives at the office with Dong-ha just a few steps behind her but manages to get in the elevator before he reaches her. Young-sik and the office crew all hide in the dark, waiting to jump out and surprise her. When they do, she just glares and asks what’s going on. She lectures them on wasting time at work and spending money on useless things, getting more and more worked up and angry.

 

Team Leader Byun gets angry back at her and soon they’re shouting in each other’s faces. She drops the bomb that she’s not getting married and Byun shouts that of course she’s not because nobody would marry the Witch. Ji-yeon has had it up to here and pops him a good one right in the nose. Good for her — he’s been asking for that for thirteen episodes!

But it’s all just in Dong-ha’s head as he imagines the worst if he doesn’t reach Ji-yeon before she gets to the office. He runs up the stairs and manages to intercept Ji-yeon in the hallway just in time, telling her that the “meeting” is a lie and dragging her out with him. This leaves the Trouble Maker crew huddled in the dark complaining about cramping and needing to pee, HA.

 

Dong-ha hauls Ji-yeon out of there practically kicking and screaming, but he just shushes her and tells her to get on the scooter with him. He takes her to a playground and finally explains that her colleagues were planning a wedding shower for her and that it’s better she not go since she’s not getting married. Ji-yeon asks how he knows that and he fesses up that he heard her tell her mother.

They sit on the swings and Ji-yeon wonders how they could be throwing her a party when not long ago they were hiring part-timers to publicly humiliate her. She demands to know why Dong-ha brought her here since it would have been better to get the embarrassment out all at once. Dong-ha chides her for pretending to be so strong and for getting sick and not asking for help.

Dong-ha says that he’s curious about two things but he’ll only ask her one, echoing his words from when he nursed Ji-yeon back to health. He deadpans, “Are you hungry?” and makes Ji-yeon laugh. They banter about nothing as they walk home, their old familiarity back.

 

Dong-ha carries a box into her place for her and she goes to the kitchen for juice. He heads to the bookshelf to see if she’s seen his book yet and finds it in the same spot where he left it. He opens it to the page where he wrote “Would you stay with me?” and is shocked to see the note she has written under it, stained with her teardrop: “I’m sorry… for being too late…”

When Ji-yeon comes back in the room, Dong-ha hides the book behind his back, but then gathers up his courage and places it on the table in front of her. She says they’ll talk about it later and starts to get up but he stops her and says again, “There’s something I’m curious about. By any chance, it it because of me? The reason you and [Shi-hoon] broke up?” The pleading in his voice for her to say Yes is killing me.

Ji-yeon can’t look at him as she lies that it’s not because of him, and turns to walk away. Dong-ha takes her arm and spins her back to him, pulling her into a hug. “I’m not a fool — it’s not too late for us,” he says. They pull apart just enough to look deeply into each other’s eyes.

 
COMMENTS

What? How can you stop there??? It’s not fair! There’s going to be a kiss, right? Right?!?! Okay I guess I’m not getting a kiss today. Show is a tease.

A lot happened in this episode and all of it for the better. I feel like Ji-yeon got to grieve for her broken engagement appropriately, instead of just rushing out of one relationship and into another, which was my fear when we were getting so close to the end with them still planning on getting hitched. But it feels like she’s closed that chapter and is ready to get on with her life again, both personally and professionally. I literally cheered when she gave Byul that little sneer in the staff meeting, because we hadn’t seen that side of Ji-yeon since Polar Bear showed up again, and I missed her! I much prefer the snarky, sly, kickass Ji-yeon who will throw anyone under the bus to get the story, even her own teammates.

At first I thought that Shi-hoon hiring Dong-ha to return Ji-yeon’s wedding shoes was another passive-aggressive asshat move on his part, but I think in reflection that he was actually doing a very difficult thing. This show leaves a lot of the characters’ motivations for us to interpret on our own, which can be frustrating (such as not making it clear why Ji-yeon let Shi-hoon get away with six years of no-contact) but also lets us assign our own conclusions to the characters’ actions as we understand them. My interpretation of Shi-hoon’s motive in that moment is that he was letting Dong-ha and Ji-yeon know that he had no hard feelings, and was giving his blessing to them should they choose to be together. His message that it’s not too late for Ji-yeon was pretty clear to me: Be happy with the man who loves you and who you love in return. I think Shi-hoon knew that Dong-ha loves Ji-yeon much more than he does, considering that he didn’t even really know her but loved a memory of her. And that memory wasn’t even the real Ji-yeon either, because even she admitted she was always doing “image management” when she was with him.

What Dong-ha and Ji-yeon have is so much more real and honest than what she has with Shi-hoon. It’s interesting to me how their age difference has ceased to be an issue at all, because it’s so obvious that they’re made for each other. They truly know and understand each other and don’t try to be someone they aren’t. They’ve seen each other at their drunken worst, their angry worst, their sick worst, and it only brings them closer together. Best of all, they always tell each other the truth even if it’s difficult to say and hear, and that level of trust is truly rare. There’s only one thing left that they need to do to become a true couple, and I trust that that’s coming soon. Very soon. Right, Show? Can we stop withholding the kisses now?

 

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 14

by odilettante

The cute is back with a vengeance! And not a moment too soon, as I was beginning to fear we’d never return to the fun, zippy episodes of yore. Dong-ha gets most of the attention this time as Ji-yeon tries to help him reconcile with his father. She also finally remembers that she’s the ace Trouble Makerreporter as we turn our attention back to the workplace — but not too close attention, because Director Kwon is busy being adorable with Ji-yeon’s mother as they vie to become the show’s cutest couple.

Oh, and there may finally be some kissing. Finally.

EPISODE 14 RECAP

 

Dong-ha arrives at Ji-yeon’s apartment the next morning to give her a ride to work on his motorbike. Wait, so we don’t get to see what happened after the hug? There’d better be some flashbacks or I’m going to pout. Especially since he gets all googly-eyed at a couple in the car next to them who are sickeningly lovey-dovey (which makes him pull Ji-yeon’s arms tighter around his waist, ha).

At work, Ji-yeon’s got her witch-face on as the Trouble Maker staff bombard her with questions about why she never showed last night, and she tells them something came up. Thanking them for their efforts, she points out that they shouldn’t waste their time and money on something like a surprise party again. Then, almost as an afterthought, she drops the bomb that she’s not getting married, before spinning on her heel and marching confidently to her desk.

Everyone is appropriately stunned, but poor Young-sik is bewildered (and not a little broken-hearted) that the two people he idolizes have broken up. Ji-yeon cuts off his questions by reminding him she doesn’t talk about her personal life at the office, and instead focuses her team on the work at hand: the scandal at Dong-ha’s father’s hospital.

Dong-ha sits in his apartment, thinking back to the previous night (and oh thank goodness, a flashback): After he pulled her into the hug, he then told her that he saw the book, asking if what Polar Bear told him (that Ji-yeon shouldn’t be sorry, and that’s it’s not too late) is about them. Then we’re back in the present, where pensive Dong-ha now is grinning like an idiot. Clearly that was not enough of a flashback, because I need to know what Ji-yeon’s answer was. And if there was kissing.

 

Ji-yeon sends off her term to work on the hospital story when Team Leader Byun sashays up to her desk. He marvels at the fact she’s focusing on interviewing the bereaved family instead of digging up “sexy” dirt, asking if she’s lost her mojo since the wedding has been called off.

Ji-yeon coolly reminds him that a witch without blood or tears (which is what he called her earlier) wouldn’t be affected by something so frivolous as that. He scoffs that of course she wouldn’t feel anything about her wedding being called off — it’s “Phillip Noh” who’s the pitiful one. But Ji-yeon threatens that if he brings up that name in front of her again, she’ll reveal his secret. We don’t get to hear what she’s got on Team Leader Byun (darn it!), but apparently it’s enough to send him scurrying off, flustered that she remembers such a thing.

 

Just then her phone rings, and speak of the devil: It’s Shi-hoon. He’s on his way to the airport but stopped to give her a call because the twelve-hour flight seems intimidating (and I’m not sure I should be relieved or worried that he decided to call her from the Han river, since we know nothing good happens there). He gives her a bunch of advice that’s supposed to show how much he cares about her, but all we really care about is that he’s finally gone, and hopefully this will be the last time we see Ji-yeon cry.

After Ji-yeon fills her on about the phone call, Na-rae sighs as she says Shi-hoon came in like the spring breeze and went away like the wind again. I’d argue he came in like a typhoon and went away like a hurricane, but close enough, I guess. The point is he’s gone, and Ji-yeon feels like it was all just a dream. Na-rae (and the rest of the viewing audience): “Wake up!”

 

She reveals how depressed and mopey Dong-ha was while Ji-yeon was trying to make things work with Shi-hoon, and how sad it was to see him declare to Ji-yeon’s mother how much he still cared for Ji-yeon. Even Min-goo admits he thought he was going to die because Dong-ha was so pitiful. This only makes Ji-yeon sigh even more. Sigh.

Back at the apartment, Dong-ha’s father rings the doorbell, and this time, he answers. Papa Yoon skips the pleasantries and immediately asks that Dong-ha return home — he’s had three years to do whatever he wanted and now it’s time to grow up.

 

His father says everything’s prepared so that he can return to medical school next semester, but Dong-ha refuses to go back, either home or to school. He starts to ask if Dong-ha’s like this because of “a dead woman,” but Dong-ha angrily cuts him off, telling him not to bring up Young-chae. Calling him a “useless bastard,” his father leaves, but not before one last shot as he tells Dong-ha he can’t bear to see his sone living like a loser.

Ji-yeon arrived home just in time to catch all this, and Dong-ha greets her and tells her goodnight, clearly not in a good mood after the altercation with his father. With tentative hope, she asks if he’s eaten yet.

She’s so adorably happy to serve him dinner, but he grumbles that it’s just ramyun — so she takes back his chopsticks and spoon, saying that he doesn’t need to eat, then. Ha. He snatches his utensils back, and the two happily slurp down their noodles.

Over a blatant product-placement after-dinner coffee, Ji-yeon tries to get to the heart of the issue between Dong-ha and his father, asking why he left home. He doesn’t want to talk about it, though. Dong-ha asks if he seems like a loser without a future to her, too.

Soo-chul waits for Eun-chae to get home, and when he sees that she has a lightbulb out, he offers to change it for her. After all, he is the Master of Part-time Jobs, and lightbulb-changing is his specialty, apparently. He charms her into offering a snack as repayment, except she only has kiwi — but that’s ok, because he tells her he loves kiwi.

Dong-ha and Soo-chul listlessly lounge on their sofa, lost in their romantic woes. Soo-chul reveals that he’s actually allergic to kiwi and now suffers from a swollen tongue, which totally serves him right after the way he charmed his way into Eun-chae’s apartment. Dong-ha wonders what he’ll be doing in ten years.

They talk past each other as they figure out how to handle the women in their lives: Soo-chul frets that Eun-chae hasn’t called about a clogged toilet (since he stuffed it with tons of toilet paper, which doesn’t seem the brightest way to woo a woman, but this is Moldy Spinach we’re talking about). Dong-ha muses over how he could be a man worthy of Ji-yeon.

At the hospital, Ji-yeon is trying to get an interview, but to no avail. Until she brings up Young-chae — that gets Papa Yoon’s attention.

 

He seems more curious about how she knows Dong-ha than giving her an interview, and she admits that she overheard their conversation from last night. She doesn’t know what happened three years ago, but she does know that if he knew how Dong-ha has been living the past three years, he wouldn’t think his son was a loser. She leaves him the contact information for Young-chae’s mother.

At the Trouble Maker office, Director Kwon stealthily tries to sneak out, but Ji-yeon catches him, demanding to know where he’s going. He says it’s to meet with a vendor, but she’s still suspicious. She immediately calls her mom, asking where she is — only to have Mom insist that she’s meeting with her friends to dispel any rumors about Ji-yeon’s broken engagement. But Ji-yeon’s sure something’s up. And she’d be right, because Mom and Director Kwon have a dinner date. Aw.

After dinner, Director Kwon and Mom continue their date by going to the batting cages. Mom is pretty much horrified at the balls that keep hurtling towards her, but Director Kwon is more than happy to show her a proper batting stance (and little excuse for skinship, I’m sure!). With his help, she manages to hit a “home run.” As he celebrates her victory, he holds her hands and promises that he’ll never let her go.

When Eun-chae realizes that Ji-yeon has been investigated the case from three years ago, she reveals that she’s Young-chae’s younger sister. Ji-yeon is stunned to discover this, and Eun-chae explains that her mother stays at the orphanage because her sister used to volunteer there, and so it feels like she can still be close to Young-chae.

Ji-yeon arrives at Na-rae’s restaurant with a delivery of fruit juice “for the baby,” and is surprised when Dong-ha shows up just then, too. But Na-rae and Min-goo have decided to play Cupid in order to get the two of them to confess to each other, knowing they’re both too polite (Dong-ha) or stubborn (Ji-yeon) to do it on their own. Na-rae hands over her present: a set of the most ridiculous and delightful couple tees ever.

 

Just then, Mom and Director Kwon walk in, and they look like guilty teenagers caught out past curfew as Ji-yeon chides them for the lies they told her earlier. She demands to know where they’ve been all night and what sort of relationship they have, and Dong-ha leaps up to intervene, practically dragging Ji-yeon away.

Back at home, Dong-ha convinces Ji-yeon to wear the couple tees, and she steps outside, embarrassed at Na-rae’s elaborate designs. Dong-ha wears his proudly, and has a camera all set up to take photographic evidence. He takes photo after photo, and the two of them are so adorably giggly and smiley I’m not sure I can handle it.

Getting serious, Dong-ha asks her if she thinks he’s lacking as a man. He admits that he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life — he was so focused on staying in the past, he didn’t have much desire to look to the future.

As he tells her to go inside and get some sleep, he suddenly grabs her and plants a kiss on her forehead, because apparently when you wear a couple tee, you have to say good-bye with a kiss (can we have them wear couple tees forever and ever, then?). Before he rushes back to his apartment, he kisses her on the forehead again, and she’s totally smitten.

 

The next day, Ji-yeon chases down Director Kwon, demanding to know about his relationship with her mother. He deflects her by saying that he just promised to treat her to a meal, since she’s so often brought lunch for the staff. Even though Ji-yeon puts on her best witchy glare to stare him down, he avoids her eyes and calmly holds his ground — and then laughs to himself after she leaves. I love that Ji-yeon and Mom make the men in their lives so giggly.

Dong-ha’s father observes Dong-ha cheerfully go about his part-time jobs. It seems he’s taken Ji-yeon’s words to heart and is trying to see how his son has lived the past three years.

 

Dong-ha shows up at the Trouble Maker office to immediately whisk her away on a midday ice-cream date at the playground. When she teases him about going to the playground again, he tells her that he’s just waiting for it to get darker and all the kids to go home, because then — he makes a kissing face in her direction, but she instead shoves ice cream in his mouth.

The fun and laughter subsides as Dong-ha admits that his father is a principled man who never liked that he had dated Young-chae, and after her death, Dong-ha could never forgive him. He goes into detail about what happened on that day with Young-chae, when he brought her to the hospital after the bus accident. He’d gotten down on his knees, desperately clinging to his father’s legs as he begged him to save Young-chae, only to be brushed off as his father entered the surgery for another patient.

When one of the other surgeons emerged to inform him and Young-chae’s mother that she didn’t make it, the two of them collapsed into heart-breaking and gut-wrenching sobs of grief. Dong-ha says that if his father had worked on Young-chae instead of the other patient, she could have lived that day. So he walked away from the hospital and his father, never looking back.

Dong-ha still blames himself for Young-chae’s death, because it was his fault they were on the bus in the first place. He especially feels guilty because Young-chae’s mother now must daily live with the fact her daughter is no longer alive, which is why he couldn’t in good faith return to medical school and the life he had before, pretending like nothing had happened.

 

He takes a deep breath as he tells Ji-yeon that, to his father, he’s just a wimpy loser who dropped out of school and rebelled after leaving home. Ji-yeon tells him that if his father knew how he’s been living all this time, he would be proud of his son.

She ruffles his hair, teasingly asking him if there’s ever been such a “cool loser” before. He protests her touching his hair, and the two of them get all giggly and adorable again as they try to muss up each other’s hair. I’m just disappointed we don’t get more kissing, because I still remember Dong-ha’s warning the last time she played with his hair. I mean, she’s clearly provoking him.

 

Soo-chul paces in the apartment, wondering if he didn’t put in enough toilet paper to clog up Eun-chae’s toilet. He calls her up and they meet for a coffee date, where he nearly spits out his drink when she tells him she unclogged it herself. Yeah, because she’s not totally helpless.

She asks him what Young-chae was like at school, and he lists off all of her attributes, saying she was the #1 ranked woman on campus. Everyone was surprised that she chose to be with Dong-ha. Then he says that he was the #1 ranked male, which, pffft. Returning home with stars in his eyes, Soo-chul joins Dong-ha on the sofa of love as the two of them continue their “talk past each other” conversation about the women they adore, until they they grab the sofa cushions to muffle their literal squees as they giggle at each other.

Dong-ha is on another part-time job — this time being a cute tiger as hosts a birthday party for one of the orphans. He spots his father meeting with Young-chae’s mother, who tells him how devoted Dong-ha has been about volunteering at the orphanage and donating money whenever he could.

As Dong-ha’s preparing to leave at the end of the day, she calls him over, letting him know that his father visited her. She tells him that his father was curious as to how he’s been living these past three years, since he hasn’t seen his son once in all that time.

 

That made her think of how she’s been living without Young-chae all this time and how much it must hurt his father, not knowing what his son as been up to. She counsels him to return home and go back to studying, since it would break Young-chae’s heart to know he gave it all up.

Director Kwon calls a staff meeting to let everyone know that he’ll be deciding on the editor-in-chief position soon, and who it will be all depends on what kind of articles Ji-yeon and Team Leader Byun write over the next month.

The two practically have an Old West standoff as they challenge each other, until she brings up the fact she knows his secret, which gets him to blusteringly back-off. Except now the rest of the office is curious about this “secret,” ha!

Dong-ha meets with his father, and while he’s stiff and formal, Papa Yoon appears relieved and delighted to see him. He apologizes for not calling his father after all this time, and says that he knows his father isn’t responsible for Young-chae’s death. He says that he’ll continue with the work he has right now, but he’ll think about going back to school.

 

His father suggests that they should have a meal together sometime, and Dong-ha agrees. When his father asks him to pass along his thanks to Dong-ha’s “magazine sunbae,” Dong-ha is surprised to learn that Ji-yeon met with him.

Ji-yeon’s apartment is an explosion of paper as she focuses on trying to track down the best article to beat out Team Leader Byun to become editor-in-chief. Dong-ha stops by to offer her chicken and beer, but since she’s busy, he’ll just eat it with Soo-chul. Not so fast — with her trademark “Stop!” and finger-gun, she gets him to stay, declaring that no chicken that entered her house has ever left with its meat intact (a sentiment I can totally get behind).

As she happily munches fried chicken, Dong-ha looks through all the research she’s done so far. He’s reminded of the work they did on the Kim Jeong-do article (that they never got to publish), and she suddenly gets the bright idea to see if Dong-ha is willing to become an exclusive part-timer for the next month. Ji-yeon’s desperate to totally crush Team Leader Byun, and Geoje Island just won’t cut it, assistant-wise.

She promises him double the pay if they make the front page, and a bonus if she gets the editor-in-chief position. He agrees on the condition of not only the double pay, but also a trip to Jeju Island for four days and three nights. She immediately agrees, and only then does he reveal the catch: She’s to join him on that vacation. Which she totally agrees to, despite her laughing protests. (We better get some footage of that vacation by the end of the show, or else.)

 

Dong-ha then admits he actually came to see her for another reason. He passes along his father’s thanks, saying that thanks to her, the father-son misunderstanding has been resolved. He adds his own personal thanks, and they toast with with their beers.

The next morning, Ji-yeon can’t hide her giggly smiles as she remembers Dong-ha dressed in his couple-tee, waiting for her to leave her apartment just so he could give her his homemade breakfast sandwiches. The rest of the Trouble Maker staff is understandably alarmed at the suddenly cheerful and friendly attitude of the witch.

 

Dong-ha takes a long moment to stare thoughtfully at his medical school textbooks. He’s totally going to re-enroll, isn’t he?

Later that night, Ji-yeon and Dong-ha arrive at Na-rae’s restaurant for their dinner date (where she’s determined to continue their “who can eat the most” competition). She’s a little confused why the restaurant is so dark and empty, until Soo-chul spins around from behind the counter, mic in hand, to announce a competition to find the most romantic couple. The prize is a “2014 vintage homemade fish cake stew,” and Na-rae and Min-goo pop up with to cheer along while waving the prize certificate.

 

The call-back to the first episode (and the first time Dong-ha and Ji-yeon kissed) is pretty adorable, but not as adorable as their trio of friends who continue with the program as seriously as they can. Soo-chul asks if there’s anyone here with the courage to confess (and Min-goo excitedly raises his hand, ha) until Dong-ha says that he would.

Turning to Ji-yeon, he looks her in the eyes, and says, “Starting today, let’s date.” He hands her a large bouquet of flowers and leans in to put a gold necklace around her neck. She’s been silent throughout the whole event, and he asks why she won’t answer his question: Will she agree to be in a relationship with him?

Ji-yeon: “Yes; even if you push me away, I won’t go anywhere.”

Soo-chul, Na-rae, Min-goo and the entire viewing audience cheer in delight, and then Dong-ha swoops in for a kiss.

COMMENTS

Finally, a kiss! An honest-to-goodness kiss!

Not a forehead kiss. Not a dead-fish drunken kiss. But a passionate kiss on the lips that’s made all the better because Ji-yeon kisses him back with no restraint.

The whole “event” Dong-ha set up was adorable, too — even though it made me shiver from the cheesiness of it all, I really do think Ji-yeon and Dong-ha needed something like that to cement their relationship. Something light and happy that also made it abundantly clear that he was serious about how he felt about her, and that he wanted to be in a relationship with her. No hiding behind words written in a book that might not be seen, or letting there be any confusion that it’s just an act put on to impress her friends.

But Dong-ha also needs the clarity — he’s known (and we’ve known) for some time that he likes her, but he hasn’t heard it from her. Even though he can see past all her bluffs, he needs to know, with a clear “yes” or “no,” that she wants to be with him.

Thank goodness she does!

And thank goodness for awesome friends who will do anything and everything to support them. Which makes me think that no matter whatever hurdles the two will face as they figure out their relationship, they have such an amazing support group. Really, I’m happy for just about every relationship on this show (now that you-know-who is gone) — I think I squeed for Mom and Director Kwon as much as I flailed over Dong-ha and Ji-yeon. I’m still giving Soo-chul the side-eye over his attempts to insinuate himself in Eun-chae’s life, but I have a feeling that she’s a “witch-in-training” and will be able to sift through his nonsense. Or at least I’m hoping she can, because I actually really do like them together.

I also love all the non-romantic relationships, such as the mentoring Ji-yeon continues to give Eun-chae, and the fact that Young-chae’s mother has finally forgiven Dong-ha, and the ever-adorable bromance between Dong-ha and Soo-chul, and — the kicker — Dong-ha and his father. Considering how much Shi-hoon practically ground this show down to standstill, I’m a little dazed that we suddenly got resolution with Dong-ha and his father in just one episode. I would have actually liked to have spent a little longer on it, at least enough for me to better appreciate the emotional beats. But I can’t complain too much, because I did enjoy how everything has handled, despite feeling a little rushed.

Really, I can’t complain about much of anything about this episode. Except for the lack of focus — I mean that literally. I don’t know if it’s just a result of live-shooting and the production crew is hurrying to put out episodes, but it was a little distracting to see some totally out-of-focus shots and some shots that looked like they were focused improperly (or focused on the wrong person).

But that’s really my only quibble about the episode. I can’t even do my weekly complaint about no kissing. Although I can always hope that the last week will be filled with nothing but adorable fluff as Ji-yeon and Dong-ha work together again on another investigative piece (“Lois Lane” Ji-yeon, I’ve missed you!).

With, y’know, lots more kissing.

RELATED POSTS

Witch’s Romance: Episode 15

by LollyPip

This episode really delivers on the kisses and cuddles, almost making it worth such a long wait! But although all the large obstacles in Dong-ha and Ji-yeon’s path to couplehood have been laid to rest, there’s still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to learning how to actually be a in a relationship on a day-to-day basis. It’s easy to say age doesn’t matter, but when life continually throws it in your face, we have to hope that their ability to communicate and be honest with each other is enough to overcome some new-relationship insecurity.

EPISODE 15 RECAP

We see again Dong-ha’s confession and Ji-yeon’s acceptance, and their friends cheer their happiness. Walking home together later, Ji-yeon asks Dong-ha to forget their agreement for him to help her with the competition for the editor-in-chief position at Trouble Maker, saying she feels bad for “Geoje Island.”

Dong-ha is no fool, and he knows that she doesn’t want their relationship known at the office. He doesn’t take it personally though, and asks if she has confidence that she can get exclusive scoops with just Jae-woong and Young-sik to help.

 

The next morning while getting ready for work, Ji-yeon recalls Dong-ha’s confession and smiles in the mirror. At the same time, Dong-ha’s first thoughts on waking are of Ji-yeon’s acceptance, and he squees to himself and hugs his pillow. Ji-yeon waits for Dong-ha to come out and see her off like usual, but he doesn’t show.

She meets with her team and ouch, she’s in a grouchy mood. She snaps at each of her team members for not bringing good story ideas, and gives them two hours to come up with five more story items each, and stomps off.

She hears Dong-ha’s voice in the hallway and thinks she’s hearing things, but he’s there talking to Team Leader Byun. He brightly says that he’s been explaining their relationship to Byun, which horrifies Ji-yeon and she yanks him aside to talk privately.

 

Dong-ha is all innocence as he says everyone in the office knows about it anyway, but Ji-yeon is upset. Of course she’s happy that they’re dating, but she only just broke off her engagement and she doesn’t want everyone knowing her private life. Dong-ha says they’ll talk later and impishly whispers that her necklace is pretty before going back to talk to Byun.

Of course, Dong-ha had meant that he was telling Byun they aren’t connected anymore, since Byun left a part-time job request on his website for an assistant. And since Ji-yeon let him out of their agreement, he accepted the job. She storms back to her team fuming over Dong-ha’s betrayal, taking her frustration out on poor Young-sik’s head.

Na-rae and Min-goo prep for dinner service and figure Ji-yeon must be very happy today after such a cool confession by Dong-ha. They wonder to each other whether they’ll get married, since Ji-yeon is older but Dong-ha is young yet for marriage.

Ji-yeon’s mom visits them, and I love how she’s always bringing food to the couple who owns a restaurant. She brings extra for them to pass along to Ji-yeon, saying that she’s ashamed in front of her for dating someone when her daughter just broke an engagement. Min-goo slips up and says that Ji-yeon at least has Dong-ha now, which prompts Mom to loudly demand information.

 

Team Leader Byun holds a meeting with his team, and even Dong-ha facepalms over the badness of his story ideas. He takes a phone call and leaves the table, only to catch Ji-yeon skulking around wondering what he’s telling Byun. She calls him a traitor, but Dong-ha just laughs at how cute she is.

Walking home that night, Ji-yeon talks to Na-rae on the phone, making her squeal over how sweetly Dong-ha is treating her. Ji-yeon laments that all she can think of all day long is Dong-ha (honey, not one of us blames you).

When she walks in her front door, she finds Mom, Dong-ha, and Soo-chul all sitting down to a huge home-cooked meal. Ji-yeon snarls at Dong-ha for leaving the office without saying goodbye, and he just explains that Mom was cooking and he couldn’t refuse.

 

Mom barely tries to hide the reason for this meal, and launches right into questioning Dong-ha about his age, making him and Ji-yeon both stiffen when she assumes he’s in his early 30s. Dong-ha, honest to a fault, reveals that he’s 25, which brings dinner to a screeching halt as Mom does the math. Soo-chul can’t get out of there fast enough.

Mom asks how they can date when he’s so young and Ji-yeon will be 40 soon, since Ji-yeon should be looking for someone to marry, not just date. She works herself up to a lather, and Dong-ha starts to say that he’s serious about this. Mom asks him straight out if he’s thinking of marriage, but Ji-yeon assures her that she’ll handle things herself.

 

Soo-chul takes Eun-chae out, but he’s suspicious since she came so easily without protesting. She says she just wanted to, which flusters him (so cute) and she breaks the happy news that her mother agreed to come live with her. They’re joined unexpectedly by a girl who knows Soo-chul from the clubs, and she asks if he’s with his girlfriend. He says she’s just a “younger sister,” which gets a raised eyebrow from Eun-chae. Oh, might that have stung a bit?

The girl says he must be single then and asks him to call her, but he shoos her off quickly. Eun-chae inquires as to what style of women he likes, and he asks why she wants to know. Eun-chae plays it off like Rin-ji was curious, but she’s just fidgety enough to betray the lie.

Dong-ha and Ji-yeon walk home together, and he tries for some skinship but she grumpily brushes him off. He knows it’s because he’s working for Team Leader Byun and moans that she doesn’t understand his heart. She tells him he has no right to be upset, since he’s the one who stabbed her in the back.

 

Dong-ha seriously informs her that he only took the job so he could work near her again, AWWW. Ji-yeon pouts that if he wants to be any closer to her he’ll end up making Byun the editor-in-chief, so he assures her that she’s the only person for the job and tries to aegyo her out of her bad mood, but she’s not moved. She says that all her bravado and tough image and hard work is an act in order to be taken seriously and be the best reporter, but inside she still worries.

After all that, for Dong-ha to still go work for Team Leader Byun and claim she’s his girlfriend, makes him a traitor. Dong-ha just leans in and plants a big kiss on her, saying that she talks too much. He admits he was wrong to take the job and promises to quit.

 

Ji-yeon and Na-rae have another phone call all about Dong-ha and how much of a “pro” he is, to use physical affection to get on Ji-yeon’s good side. Na-rae rightly points out that Ji-yeon’s pretty affectionate when she drinks so it’s not just Dong-ha’s age making him that way. Ji-yeon sighs again about how all she can think of all day is Dong-ha. I honestly don’t see why this is a problem…

Dong-ha and Soo-chul have a beer and Soo-chul warns Dong-ha not to be manipulated by Ji-yeon’s innocent act. Dong-ha says it’s not an act, that what you see is what you get with her. Soo-chul whines that he’s totally besotted by an innocent face himself these days but won’t say who it is, which has Dong-ha suspicious. He tries to dramatically exit, and farts in Dong-ha’s face when he stops him. Boys. Gotta love ’em.

 

The next day at the Trouble Maker, Director Kwon tells Ji-yeon that she’s been nominated for the Global Change Reporter Exchange Program, but she takes it in stride as she’s been nominated before and never won. Kwon says that this year her stories were stronger, and she just reminds him to remember that when choosing an editor-in-chief.

Director Kwon takes Mom out to dinner and a movie, and proposes that they do this often. He spills food on his shirt and tries to clean it off but the stain stays, and he’s so bothered by it that he cancels the movie part of their date.

Dong-ha and Team Leader Byun work late, and Byun brags about how he’ll totally crush the Witch. Dong-ha asks why Byun hates her so much, but Byun just says vaguely that she gave him a “scar that won’t wash away.” He says that Dong-ha must know about it, since it happened to him too: the Witch’s Seduction and Curse.

 

Byun tells Dong-ha how he fell for Ji-yeon when she first started working at Trouble Maker. He claims that he was a hot reporter full of great ideas, but the flashback shows us that all of his ideas reminded Ji-yeon of being jilted, like stories about polar bears and women being jilted at the altar.

By the time he worked up the courage to confess during a drunken work outing, Ji-yeon hated his guts and let him know it in no uncertain terms. Her breakdown of how much he disgusts her is hilariously reminiscent of her doing the same thing to Soo-chul. She guessed that he’d never once had a girlfriend, which must be his embarrassing secret. She “cursed” him to remain alone forever, and he’s been single ever since.

 

Dong-ha wanders up to Ji-yeon’s work area, thinking about what Byun said about her “witch’s temptation,” and has the bad luck to walk in just as Young-sik brushes a stray hair off Ji-yeon’s face. He looks over to see Jae-woong appearing to ogle her legs (and she does have great legs) in her high heels and short skirt. He freaks out and yanks her out of there, taking her to a clothing store and grouching about all the short skirts she wears.

Ji-yeon hilariously doesn’t get angry, but takes him up on his offer to buy her some clothes and warns him not to regret it. He vetoes all her choices for being too sheer, too short, or too low-cut, but eventually they’re both laughing at how ridiculous he’s acting out of petty jealousy.

 

As Ji-yeon pays for the clothes they picked out, the cashier comments on what a handsome younger brother she has. She gets upset and takes her clothes to leave. When Dong-ha comes to the register the girl tells him his older sister left, but he says she’s not his sister and yells loudly as he chases after her, calling her just about every nickname for a girlfriend there is, including “yobo” for a wife.

He catches up to her and she asks what else they should do as long and they’re playing hooky. They go for ddukbokki and Dong-ha feeds Ji-yeon, even going in for a Lady and the Tramp kiss over a rice cake. Later he buys her about fifteen bracelets from a street vendor, declaring them the “handcuffs” binding her to him.

 

He takes a call from Soo-chul to find out that a high school friend got discharged from the army, and insists that Ji-yeon join them to catch up. Their old friend also brings a girl with him, who at 19 looks like an infant next to Ji-yeon, making her feel insecure.

Ji-yeon excuses herself to call Na-rae and complain that she feels out of place, and Dong-ha finds her and asks to leave since “the kids” are so immature. Sweet.

At home, they sit on their Bench of Honesty in the courtyard and Dong-ha gets quiet. He reminds Ji-yeon that she promised not to go anywhere even if he pushed her away. Ji-yeon asks if he’s worried she’ll go somewhere, and he says that when she left the store and the restaurant by herself today, it made him uneasy.

 

She says that she feels uneasy too, but Dong-ha assures her that his heart won’t change. She says that she knows hearts do change, referring to her own change of heart regarding him. He promises that if she gives him time, he’ll prove that his heart won’t waver from her, and pulls her into a hug.

In the morning, Dong-ha waits outside staring at Ji-yeon’s door, looking like the most lovestruck fool ever born. Soo-chul tells him to stop staring like that because it makes him jealous. They head out for the day and Soo-chul asks bluntly how far he and Ji-yeon have gone.

Dong-ha punishes him with two fingers up his nose (and I have flashbacks to my own father doing that exact thing to me, yuck) but admits that Ji-yeon is pretty busy lately so, well… they haven’t done much. Soo-chul calls that out as a lame excuse, and I have to agree with The Spinach.

Dong-ha eats with his father for the first time in three years, and tells him that he’s decided to go back to school. He also tells Dad that there’s a woman he likes and that she encouraged him to go back to school, and that he wants to be a person who deserves someone like her. All of this makes Dad very happy, and he tells Dong-ha to bring the woman to dinner next time.

Soo-chul surprises Eun-chae by showing up to help her mother move in. His impression of her mentioning her mother’s move is spot-on, haha. He charms the pants off her mom when they pick her up at the orphanage, and props to Eun-chae for not letting him do all the “man’s work” and doing her part. She offers to buy him jjajangmyun to thank him for his help, making him swoon.

 

Na-rae downs a mountain of food waiting at a restaurant for Ji-yeon to join her, and orders two more meals just for herself, ha. She notices that Ji-yeon looks tired and listless, and wonders if Dong-ha hasn’t “progressed” things any further than casual contact. Ji-yeon thinks it’s just been too long since she dated and she’s lost her dating mojo.

She admits that all she thinks of is Dong-ha and would text him all day like a stalker if she could, but Na-rae doesn’t see the problem since he would probably like it. She advises Ji-yeon to just knock him over if she has to, but stop putting off the romance! Have I mentioned before that she’s the bestwingman ever?

Soo-chul still refuses to tell Dong-ha who his crush is, even as he’s chirping that she bought him jjajangmyeon, and that he’s thinking of hiring her to replace Dong-ha when he goes back to school. He changes the subject and literally shoves Dong-ha towards Ji-yeon’s door, telling him that he’d better get things going romantically if he wants her to keep seeing him as a man.

 

Dong-ha goes home and takes a shower instead, while Ji-yeon reads a self-help book about dating younger men. She makes sexy poses in front of a mirror (in her raggedy pajamas, which is hysterical) until Dong-ha walks in and scares the life out of her. She offers him a drink and he not-at-all subtly asks for a beer. I see what you’re doing there, sneaky boy.

He sits on the floor in exactly the same spot he was sitting for their first overflowing-beer kiss, and Ji-yeon carries in a whole twelve-pack. Someone’s a little overeager, and even Dong-ha looks shocked.

He asks her why she dislikes Team Leader Byun, and tells her again not to wear short skirts to work anymore. His jealousy is so cute. She tells him to just drink a beer and pops the top and wouldn’t you know, it overflows and they find themselves in a very familiar pose.

This time when she licks beer off his finger, he licks hers right back. RAWR. After a long tension-filled moment Dong-ha literally tackles Ji-yeon to the floor where they kiss and smile at each other and laugh. But just when things start to get serious, Mom lets herself in the front door. DAMMIT MOM.

By the time Mom makes it to the living room, they’re both vertical if a little disheveled, but Mom is too upset to notice. She plants herself on the floor between them and opens a beer which explodes in her face, and she asks who shook up the can, HAHAHA.

 

Mom starts ranting about younger men (as Ji-yeon fixes Dong-ha’s hair behind Mom’s head) and declares that her relationship with Director Kwon is finished because he’s so immature. Dong-ha tries to leave but Mom yells at him to sit himself down, asking if he likes causing trouble then leaving Ji-yeon alone to handle it. Poor Dong-ha looks equally terrified and confused, though he can’t resist sending Ji-yeon adorable grins over Mom’s head.

Ji-yeon puts an exhausted Mom to bed later, and Dong-ha heads home. Ji-yeon offers to walk him to the door, admitting that she’s disappointed. This clearly tickles him pink, and he makes silly kissyfaces at her. He gives her one last kiss and leaves, and Ji-yeon giddily collapses to the floor. So cute!

The next day, Ji-yeon frantically runs through the hospital looking for the EKG room. Mom is getting some test results from Dong-ha’s father who says she’s normal, but she asks why she’s having heart palpitations and feels depressed and feverish. He says that those can be symptoms of stress, and they both admit that they have a child who causes them stress sometimes.

 

Dong-ha finds Ji-yeon waiting in the hall, and she says that her mom wasn’t feeling well but she thinks it’s just lovesickness. She notices how handsome he looks in his white lab coat, and he tells her that he’s thinking of going back to school. He says he’ll be a lot busier but she says that’s okay, that he’ll make a great doctor someday.

As they leave the hospital, Ji-yeon asks her mom what she likes about Director Kwon. She says she likes his voice and his manners, though he’s too fussy. Mom asks her not to tell anyone at the office about her hospital visit.

 

Director Kwon calls Ji-yeon to the office to tell her that she was chosen as the Global Exchange Program Exchange Reporter, which means that she’ll be spending a year in England working for US Weekly. He says that he’ll appoint a temporary editor-in-chief until she gets back. She’s excited and proud of herself, but then she hears Dong-ha’s voice reminding her that she promised not to go anywhere.

She calls Na-rae as she’s walking home and catches her up on things with Dong-ha, and tells her that she ordered a bunch of new sexy lingerie. When she gets home, Dong-ha has already found her package and offers to carry it in for her. She goes to change out of her work clothes and he slips a couple of matching angelfish into her fish tank, which has been empty since her last fish died. He even makes up names and a meet-cute backstory for the fish.

He says he’s really curious about all these packages she gets and goes to peek in the box, but she grabs it and tells him it’s none of his business. That makes him even more curious and he chases her around the house and into the bedroom, finally cornering her on the bed and getting the box away from her. He holds it over his head and the box comes open, spilling lingerie all over his head, HAHA. His face is priceless.

Ji-yeon shoves everything back in the box, and Dong-ha sidles up next to her and asks if she didn’t buy all that to show him anyway. She denies it but he’s not buying what she’s selling, since there’s no one else she’d show those things to. He chases her around the bed, pouncing on her and kissing her, and the lights go out one by one until it’s completely dark.

COMMENTS

Finally! The show feels like we’ve come full-circle back to the cute, fun, sexy, kissy Witch’s Romance we all fell in love with at first sight (or at least I know I did)! I’m so happy, because the magic in this drama has always been the ridiculous amount of chemistry between Dong-ha and Ji-yeon, and I think it’s gotten even stronger as the show progressed. You can practically see the energy pulling them towards each other when they’re onscreen together.

I’ve appreciated, for a long while, that the age gap between Ji-yeon and Dong-ha was not a huge issue in the bulk of the story. I think not making that a primary focus of conflict let the characters feel out their emotions and relationships without age concerns getting in the way and cluttering up the storytelling with too much background noise. But it’s interesting to see it start to creep back in now that the two are finally officially dating. Because let’s be honest…14 years is quite a large age gap for two people in a romantic relationship. Especially when the woman is older and possibly is ready to settle down (as Ji-yeon’s mom pointed out), and kids are something that need to happen sooner rather than later if they’re to happen at all, but the man still hasn’t even finished school yet. That’s not holding people up to ridiculous societal “rules,” that’s just facts of life. Add in Ji-yeon’s strong focus on her career, and we have a real conundrum. Can this relationship withstand the fact that it’s players are in very different stages of their lives?

Truthfully, I think it can. The show has made such a strong case for Dong-ha and Ji-yeon truly belonging together, age and careers be damned, that I think they can handle the fact that the relationship may not be their main focus for a while. They may not see each other much for a time, they may even have to be apart for a year while Ji-yeon takes advantage of the fantastic career opportunity she’s been offered, but I do think they can get through it and come out stronger. If that’s where the finale takes us, and I do think it will, I’m not dreading it like I usually dread a forced separation (one of my most-hated drama tropes). I trust that Dong-ha and Ji-yeon love each other enough to make it, no matter what.

Speaking of things I’ve really appreciated about the show, I also want to mention how skillfully I think the show has been able to subvert the drama tropes we’re all familiar with, which I’m guessing is a big reason we’ve all loved this show so much. Yes, it gave us a lot of the usual situations, but it also gave us characters who didn’t react to those situations in ways we expect. The biggest example of this is how, every time there’s been a misunderstanding or hurt feelings, Dong-ha and Ji-yeon sit down and talk it out. I think when you’ve seen enough dramas, you’re so used to watching characters sulk around each other for episodes at a time over the smallest misunderstanding, and it’s been such a breath of fresh air to see leads who just…talk! Wonder of wonders. Even situations in which you would normally brace yourself for a big fight, such as Dong-ha’s jealous fit over Ji-yeon’s clothes, instead become a source of fun for the couple as they laugh at how ridiculous they’re acting.

I’ve also enjoyed how, other than Polar Bear in a very vague sense, there really wasn’t a “villain” in the story. Shi-hoon walked a fine line, the way he was a little too controlling and a little too unconcerned with what Ji-yeon was going through, and he most definitely handled breaking up with her in just about the most insensitive way possible. But mostly I think he was less of a “bad guy” and more of a clueless guy. I was worried for a while there that Eun-chae would turn into the typical bitter jilted second lead, but she really took Dong-ha’s lack of attraction to her with grace and maturity. Soo-chul started out insensitive and mean, willing to publicly humiliate a stranger for money, but he’s really turned out to be a rock-solid friend to Dong-ha who actually gives pretty darn good advice.

Mostly, what’s made Witch’s Romance so special for me has been it’s characters. From the absolutely amazing leads, to the hilarious and wonderful best friends and parents, and even all of the Trouble Maker employees, there’s not one character I didn’t enjoy getting to know throughout the run of the show. I truly think that no matter what happened within the drama, and whatever story it chose to tell us, I would have watched these characters do just about anything and enjoyed it immensely. It’s rare to see a drama with characters that make us love each and every one of them so much, and I for one am going to miss them a lot.

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Witch’s Romance: Episode 16 (Final)

by odilettante

It’s time to say good-bye to the adorable Dong-ha and the delightful Ji-yeon — but I’m not ready! Can’t we keep them around just a little longer?

Thank goodness, then, the final episode is brimming with cute ‘n’ fluffy moments of our favorite couple getting to actually fully enjoy being a couple. Of course, there are a few more hurdles they need to cross — such as whether or not Ji-yeon will decide to stay with Dong-ha or go to England to fulfill her dreams as a reporter. But those are mere details in the grand scheme of things. What’s most important is that everyone in the show gets to have their own moment of “happily ever after.” (Which may or may not include a wedding. Okay, it totally does.)

FINAL EPISODE RECAP

The next morning, a sleepy Ji-yeon wakes up to Dong-ha smiling at her as he holds her in arms. She’s momentarily confused as to why he’s there, but he’s more than happy to remind her with a cute growl (and she’s more than happy to be reminded, if you know what I mean).

Then, because he’s the best boyfriend ever, he makes her breakfast in bed. But as he’s balancing the tray, he accidentally knocks over her bag, spilling its contents all over the floor. He hurriedly tries to put everything back, but the Global Challenge Program acceptance letter catches his eye.

 

Instead of going straight to work, Ji-yeon stops to meet with Na-rae, who congratulates her: not for all the sexy-times she had last night (and apparently this morning), but for winning the exchange program competition. (I’m pretty sure the sexy-times deserve some congratulations, though.) She’s surprised that Ji-yeon isn’t as excited as she thought she would be, since she’s apparently wanted to be a part of this program ever since she became a journalist.

Na-rae quickly realizes that Ji-yeon is instead thinking of Dong-ha, and what it would mean to be gone for a year (and return a year older). When she tells Ji-yeon to talk it over with Dong-ha, she says he’s busy enough with his school and part-time job — she doesn’t want to add another worry to his plate.

But too late, because he already knows, and he’s lost in thought at his part-time job in the hospital laboratory. He makes a quick call to Young-sik, where he learns how competitive the Global Challenge Program really is, and how much Ji-yeon has been eager for years to win it. Dong-ha doesn’t explain why he’s interested, but Young-sik is mighty suspicious about his interest.

Ji-yeon meets with Director Kwon, informing him she won’t do the exchange program. She tells him it’s because she’d prefer the opportunity to become editor-in-chief, and didn’t want to pass up a chance for promotion. Even though he seems doubtful that this is the right decision, he agrees to it.

 

While Dong-ha continues to ponder the Global Challenge Program and what it means to Ji-yeon, Soo-chul goes a-wooing at the Trouble Maker office. He delivers a juice order to Eun-chae — and even though she didn’t actually order it, when Rin-ji hurries over to flirt with Soo-chul, Eun-chae immediately takes the drink with a sweet, “Thank you, oppa!”

She even gives a cute wink when she hands him the other drink, just so Rin-ji can’t take it. Soo-chul floats from the office on cloud nine — leaving a stunned Rin-ji holding the now empty drink carrier. Ha.

Ji-yeon’s mother sadly wanders through a flower garden, sighing as she recites Han Yong-un’s poem, “My Beloved’s Silence”:

My beloved has left
Ah, my beloved, whom I love, has left
I am deaf to my beloved’s fragrant voice
Blind to my beloved’s flower-like face

But Director Kwon suddenly appears, and continues the poem:

Just as we worry about leaving when we meet,
I believe that when we part, we will meet again

Then he busts out a passionate rendition of “You are so beautiful to me!” as he reveals the bouquet of flowers he’d been hiding behind his back.

 

But Mom isn’t so quick to forgive him for being such a neat freak that he’d bail on a date, so he drops to his knee. Still proffering the bouquet, he tells her that she shouldn’t be quick to forgive him, and should take all the time she needs, because that means they can continue to meet. Well played, Director Kwon; well played.

She begrudgingly snatches the bouquet from him, unable to resist his pleading puppy-dog eyes. The look of pure joy on his face is just too adorable.

Once Ji-yeon returns home after work, Dong-ha tells her he knows about the Global Exchange Program. He adds that he’s a little hurt that she didn’t tell him about it, since they’re supposed to be honest about everything in a relationship (his tone may be lighthearted as he says it, but he’s definitely serious).

 

She didn’t tell him because she decided not to go. It was hard enough for them to get even this far in their relationship — what would happen between them if they were apart for so long? She admits the program is an important opportunity — but he’s important to her, too. So she decided to stay. At a loss for words, Dong-ha pulls her into a tight hug.

As he walks her to her apartment, Dong-ha tells her that his father wants to have dinner with them. Ji-yeon’s a little panicked at the thought of meeting with him since she knows how intense and intimidating his father can be, but Dong-ha reassures her that he’ll love her (all his father knows right now is that Dong-ha has a girlfriend, but not exactly who it is).

But when Dong-ha says goodnight, his smile disappears after Ji-yeon enters her apartment.

 

At the office the next day, Ji-yeon and Young-sik overhear Team Leader Byun counseling Rin-ji over an error she made in one of the magazine’s articles. Rin-ji’s near tears as she worries about the subject of the article suing for defamation, but Team Leader Byun reminds her how they go about making corrections, and even gives an example from his past about an embarrassing error in print he once made.

Reassured and able to smile again, Rin-ji promises to make sure she won’t make a similar mistake again. Ji-yeon looks on thoughtfully, no doubt as impressed as I am that this show manages to humanize the side characters even up to the last minute.

Dong-ha and a nervous Ji-yeon wait for his father to arrive at the restaurant. As he’s shown into their private room, Dong-ha’s father shows just a flicker of surprise to see Ji-yeon standing there — but he seems mostly surprised that such a successful reporter would want to stick with someone who’s going to be in medical school for at least eight years.

 

But Ji-yeon surprises him when she says she won’t wait for Dong-ha. Instead, she’ll walk alongside of him. She has her own work and goals to focus on as she encourages him to complete his goals. Papa Yoon is charmed by her answer, teasingly asking if she’ll be okay with such an immature kid. Even though Ji-yeon reassures him that Dong-ha is trustworthy and dependable, she jokingly admits he can be a little immature.

That seems to be all his father needed to hear, because with all the smiles and laughter, it seems he approves of Ji-yeon and her relationship with his son. And I approve of the show giving us a father who trusts his son’s judgment when it comes to relationships, and is just delighted to be a part of his life.

But Dong-ha can’t help but be a little annoyed at how quickly she agreed he was immature, and playfully fusses at her as they walk home. They find Eun-chae waiting in the courtyard, and at her surprise seeing the two of them together, Dong-ha takes the chance to tell (and show!) her that he and Ji-yeon are officially a couple. (Even asking her to spread rumors at the office, heh.)

 

Soo-chul tries to sneak by with Eun-chae, but Dong-ha pulls out the trademark “Stop!” and confronts his friend, suspicious at the clothes and cologne he’s wearing. He asks if Eun-chae is the mysterious woman he’s been seeing lately. Soo-chul silently answers with a nod and a kiss to Eun-chae’s hand (plus an adorable kiss-by-proxy as he gently puts his hand to Eun-chae’s lips and then his own. Oh, you charmer).

Double date! The two couples go out for a coffee, and Dong-ha reaches across the table to grab Soo-chul’s shirt, demanding to know why he didn’t tell him he he liked Eun-chae. In return, Soo-chul grabs Dong-ha’s ears and says he couldn’t tell him, because Dong-ha would tell Ji-yeon and then everyone would know. Eun-chae: “Know what? That you followed me around because you like me?”

 

Ji-yeon gets a call from Young-sik about an article they’re working on, so she rushes off. When Soo-chul marvels at her passion as a reporter, Eun-chae says that Ji-yeon told her that her dream is to be a “brand” reporter: someone whose articles can be trusted just based on who wrote them. Once again, Dong-ha looks thoughtful at hearing how much Ji-yeon’s career means to her.

Late that night, she finishes writing the article. She gives the Global Exchange Program award one last look before she shuts it away in a drawer, and readies to leave the office. As she walks down the stairs, she notices a slideshow playing the conference room — it’s pictures of her as a little girl.

A recording of Dong-ha narrates over images of her as a reporter and copies of her articles, describing how from birth she’s grown into someone who is considered the queen of breaking news stories as she attempts to bring justice to the world.

 

The slideshow ends, and Dong-ha steps around the corner. He tells her that he’s really proud that Reporter Ban Ji-yeon is his girlfriend, and that she should continue to be a passionate reporter to expose all the bad people and release exclusive articles. Which means she should go to England.

Parroting her words from earlier, he says that he has the confidence to walk along side her, cheering her on. She gets a little choked up, but fighting back the emotion, she distracts by asking him how he put the slideshow together. She’s surprised to discover that Team Leader Byun is such a wealth of information, since Dong-ha relied on his encyclopedic knowledge of every article that had been published to find her most influential ones.

Dong-ha gets himself invited in “to check on the fish” (yeah, uh-huh, sure). He promises to look after them when Ji-yeon goes to England, and also to visit her mother once a week for dinner and a game of Go-Stop. Seriously. Best boyfriend ever.

He then “innocently” asks her if she’s received a package lately, and if there’s anything she wants to show him (he’s referring to the box of lingerie from the previous episode, in case you’re wondering). They end up chasing each other around the coffee table, and we are left to our imaginations as to what happens next. Darn it!

 

The next morning, Director Kwon announces the new editor-in-chief, based primarily on Ji-yeon’s recommendation. Team Leader Byun throws a fit, saying it was supposed to be a fair competition between them — and then is stunned speechless when Director Kwon tells him he’s got the job. Ji-yeon sincerely congratulates him, saying that it wasn’t a recommendation out of pity since she’ll be going to England. She truly believes will do well since he cares so much about all the details of Trouble Maker and his kind to his staff. Aw. She also recommends he get out and date, ha.

Mom is busy helping Ji-yeon pack by providing the important things, like roasted brown rice for tea and seaweed chips. She grumbles that Ji-yeon will be forty when she gets back (Ji-yeon: “Like I don’t know that already!”) and Dong-ha will have found someone younger to date in the meantime. But Ji-yeon assures her he’s not that kind of guy, and convinces her mother to stay up all night talking on Ji-yeon’s last night in Korea.

Dong-ha drives her to the airport the next morning, holding her hand as they make plans on how to keep in touch while she’s overseas. And, ha! Soo-chul is happily wedged in the backseat, actively listening in. I feel like he’s just a package deal with these two.

A year later…

The hyacinth blooms in its new pot.

Dong-ha has just completed his finals, and Soo-chul begs him to go on a weekend retreat with him and Eun-chae. Oh-ho, so things have progressed well in that relationship! Dong-ha reluctantly agrees, not thrilled to be the third wheel, especially since it has been ten days since he’s heard from Ji-yeon. Which is unusual, because not a day would go by without some sort of contact.

 

Over dinner, Soo-chul and Eun-chae are sickeningly adorable in their couple-tees (and couple-shoes!), and as Dong-ha watches a besotted Soo-chul feed Eun-chae, he’s reminded of when Ji-yeon did the same for him. He checks his phone — but still no call from Ji-yeon.

He’s quickly abandoned by Eun-chae and Soo-chul, and is feeling sad and lonely when he returns to his room. But, surprise! Ji-yeon is there, with cake, candles, and wine — all the elements of a big romantic event.

But Dong-ha is having none of it. Angrily, he asks her what she’s doing there — why did she make him worry for ten days with no contact, and then show up without warning? Her face falls…

…and then he pulls her into a hug, all smiles that she’s really there. Both of them are practically glowing in delight at being able to hold each other again, but before Dong-ha can say much more, Ji-yeon interrupts him. For a good reason: “I love you!” She explains that she’s only ever responded to him when he’s said those words — she wanted to be the first to say them, this time.

Later, they sleepily snuggle in bed as they get caught up on their lives. When he notices that Ji-yeon has fallen asleep, he murmurs that he wanted to be the one to say it first: “I love you.” Aw.

Ji-yeon meets with Director Kwon, thinking it’s about returning to Trouble Maker — but it’s actually to meet with Director Kwon and Mom. She gives them the third degree about their relationship, and the two are so adorably bashful as they tell her that they’ve started seriously dating again.

 

When she later meets up with Na-rae (aw, and her cute li’l baby!), she’s exasperated that her mother is dating her old boss. But Na-rae reminds her that she had to support Ji-yeon growing up — it’s time that she got to pursue her own life. She’s not just a mother, she’s a woman, too. But Ji-yeon’s just stuck on the fact it has to be Director Kwon.

At least he won’t be her boss any longer, because she has no plans on returning to Trouble Maker. There are plenty of other magazines that are eagerly scouting her after her experience in England and the Global Exchange Program.

As she confidently leaves an interview with one of the other magazines, she narrates that for so long, she only sprinted ahead while looking forward. In order to be ahead of everyone else, she couldn’t waste a single second. But now she’s able to slow down and see the beauty of the world, and feel the happiness in life.

Over dinner with his father, Dong-ha is a little surprised to hear his father counsel him about marriage, reminding him that now that Ji-yeon’s back, her family will probably start to push for a wedding. Dong-ha stutters that she’s only just returned to Korea and is busy with her own life. But Papa Yoon points out that women like relationships that are stable.

In bed, Ji-yeon and Dong-ha try to out-aegyo each other — only to be interrupted by the furniture salesman who politely informs them they can’t do that here. HA!

They continue to explore the department store, checking out the electronics (3D televisions!) and housewares. Dong-ha shows off a pot he’s selected, and Ji-yeon pulls out a couple of mugs she considers to be too tacky, until she reaches for a cute little bride-and-groom wedding topper. In her best aegyo-voice, she asks how much it is.

Sometime later, Ji-yeon sits solemn before a vanity mirror, wearing a pretty pink lace dress. Mom enters the room, also lovely in a pink dress, and they both coo at how beautiful they look.

Then they share an emotionally charged moment as Ji-yeon tells her mother she needn’t worry about her anymore, and to instead just focus on living out her life they way she wants, and to be happy. In return, Mom tells her that there wasn’t a time since Ji-yeon was born that she wasn’t happy — seeing Ji-yeon living well is her happiness.

 

The two women hug and cry. And then I cry, because this is the last mother-daughter moment we’ll get in a show that had one of best mother-daughter relationships ever.

After Mom leaves, Dong-ha pops his head in the room, and then jokingly apologizes because he was sure he had the wrong place because the woman in it is too beautiful. Hey, you’re not looking too shabby yourself in that spiffy tuxedo. He gives her his arm as they leave the room.

And it’s a wedding! With everyone there! Min-goo, Na-rae, and baby; Soo-chul and Eun-chae; Rin-ji and Beggar Island; Team Leader Byun and the new lady in his life; and of course Young-sik, who rushes around taking pictures of everyone. Team Leader Byun is the MC for this wedding, and as the camera focuses on Ji-yeon and Dong-ha standing at the end of the aisle, he announces the arrival of the bride and groom.

But fake out! It’s actually Mom and Director Kwon who are tying the knot today, with Dong-ha and and Ji-yeon as their attendants.

 

Soo-chul serenades the happy crowd as everyone applauds and throws rose petals. Director Kwon throws the bouquet, and Dong-ha catches it. Hee! Of course he would.

Ji-yeon and Dong-ha, still in their wedding finery, take a walk along the a pretty garden path (and he’s still holding the bouquet, aw). He suggests they go on their four-day trip to Jeju Island while her mother is away on her honeymoon, but Ji-yeon just teases him that he’s always talking about Jeju — until she finally promises that they can go.

He then asks when they’re going to get married. She reminds him that he’s still a student, and he protests that there’s no law that says a student can’t also be married. Besides, what kind of woman refuses a marriage proposal three times?

 

She corrects him — she didn’t reject his proposals, she merely postponed them. Once he graduates, then they can get married. When he chides her (with a smile) that she’s too mean, she asks: “Did you forget? I’m a witch!”

As the two walk along the path, side-by-side, their voice-overs intertwine:

Dong-ha: “I am going to protect this woman forever: a person who’s not ashamed of her own dream. That person is the person that I love.”

Ji-yeon: “Right now, I am dating this man. Now I am no longer afraid of love. Maybe our end won’t be marriage, but I don’t care. Right now, we are doing our best to love each other and are happy enough.”

COMMENTS

What a delightful ending to a delightful show. And how awesome was that wedding fake-out?

I really appreciate the fact that Ji-yeon has grown from being a woman who was so bound up by the fact she was jilted at the altar she expected that anniversary date to be nothing but bad luck, so someone who is content and confident with not only who she is to be able to “postpone” Dong-ha’s proposals until he graduates. She doesn’t feel a pressing need to be married just to be married, either because of her age or that’s just because of what society expects of her.

She’s even totally fine admitting that she’s not sure if it will ultimately end in marriage, but she’s gone from a place of being afraid to love again to trusting that Dong-ha won’t dump her just because she’s determined to marry at a later date, if at all.

And he, the ever-perfect boyfriend, agrees to this. He loves her so much that he respects her decision, even if he still wants to remind her that he will continue to be here, and won’t stop wanting to marry her. Unlike certain other people who shall not be named, he won’t try to force her to marry him — he’ll wait until she’s ready.

Really, though, I love Ji-yeon’s last line: “Right now, we are doing our best to love each other, and are happy enough.” So much more fulfilling than “and they all lived happily after,” because you get the sense that after the two of them spending years being broken and depressed over their lost loves, they are finally able to be happy.

Which means I have no complaints that we got to pretty much spend the last couple episodes just enjoying all the cuteness, fluff, and tying up of loose ends — mostly romantic loose ends, as it seems everyone is paired up now. (Except for poor, earnest Young-sik. Aw, I’m sure someone would snap him up, especially after he’s spent so long working with Ji-yeon!)

I don’t even mind the time-jump (which normally makes me go “grrr”), because not only is it practically Drama Law, but it didn’t actively hurt the relationship. They kept in constant contact, so none of that “we’ll break up before you leave, and if we’re meant to be when you come back, fate will bring us back together” nonsense. There was no fear that their affection for each other would decrease because Dong-ha and Ji-yeon are loyal to a fault. The only real complaint is that we had to muddle through an extra few minutes that didn’t have their cuteness, but Soo-chul did his best to make up for it with his adoration of Eun-chae.

As secondary romances go, I’m rather pleased with how the show ultimately handled Eun-chae. She was all set to turn into the standard petty and conniving second lead, but the show either respected her (or realized there was no way she could compete with the insane chemistry between Uhm Jung-hwa and Park Seo-joon) enough to allow her to grow out of her crush on Dong-ha and be fully aware of what she was getting into with Soo-chul. I love that she’s another “witch” in the making.

Really, I love that this show was able to take many of the standard rom-com tropes and just slightly subvert them. So many times I would be expecting a scene to go a specific way, just based on years of drama-watching experience, and be delighted when it defied expectation. Such as Dong-ha’s father being awesome and supportive and not even blinking at discovering his son is dating a woman fourteen-years older. (Seriously, best Dramaland parents ever.)

There could have been so much focus on the hyacinth finally blooming (because how many shoes love their little symbolic trinkets?), but we just get a time-lapse glimpse of it growing during the “one year later.” Which I was relieved to see the show actually remembered (and to be fair, it was perfectly symbolic of Dong-ha and Ji-yeon’s relationship growing during that year, despite the fact they were on opposite sides of the world).

But that does bring me to the show’s flaws: sometimes characterization seemed to be totally dropped for another story-line (as with Eun-chae), and it was hard to tell if it was on purpose or merely convenience. Sometimes the editing could be confusing, since I sometimes wasn’t sure if something was a flashback, or how much later in the day it occurred, or, y’know, if she ever saw Shi-hoon at that damn airport. The pacing was a bit off, too — most notably with how everything suddenly dragged to an abrupt (and frustrating) halt with the appearance of Shi-hoon. And let’s not even talk about the minor technical flaws, like the “Grobal” Exchange Program.

But all the faults are so easy to overlook because of the amazing cast and characters. Park Seo-joon definitely has made his name as a noona killer, and proved himself capable as a leading man. But for me, the true delight was Uhm Jung-hwa: she made the show for me. I can’t imagine anyone else in this role — at least not someone who would be as effervescent, with the right balance of the comedic (hello, drunk Ji-yeon!) and serious emotion (those mother-daughter scenes are always like a punch to the gut). Not to mention she always had the best lighting, which made all her features that much more beautiful and expressive.

Of course, the chemistry between Park Seo-joon and Uhm Jung-hwa is what will be the most memorable. Because it was insane. Sometimes in dramas, you just have to accept on faith (or what the script tells you) that the two leads actually are attracted each other, but not here: I think you could live on the moon and still totally see that Dong-ha and Ji-yeon are meant to be together.

The sincerity in the relationships are what I’ll remember most, long after I’ve forgotten the awkward editing. This is a show that sticks with you based on the power of its characters.

Because I would love to be plopped into Dong-ha and Ji-yeon’s world, to be a friend or sister or daughter. I want to gossip with Na-rae and eat Min-goo’s fishcakes; I want to cry my heart out as Ji-yeon’s mother holds me; I want to hear all about Soo-chul’s dates with Eun-chae and have him hmph when he stays up late to make sure I got home safe from my own date; I want Ji-yeon to mentor me in becoming an awesome witch like she is; and, if it isn’t too much to ask, can I have a Dong-ha clone?

So not a perfect drama, no; but one so satisfying I wish I could still linger in it just a little bit longer.

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I understand what you're saying but Jiyeon never expresses any interest in having children of her own in the show. Never. Even when Shihoon made the scrapbook for her with things I assumed they talked about wanting for their future (with the treehouse and the dogs), there are no pictures of children or anything child-related. The show made it clear that Jiyeon wanted to get married if she fell in love with the right person but it never had her say anything about children of her own. Only her mother brought it up and her mother is from a different generation and wants grand kids. Also when Narae got pregnant, she was super happy for her and supportive but she doesn't express any jealousy or longing.

There are lots of people who want or at least are open to the idea of getting married but have no desire to have children. There are lots of married couples who are child free by choice. No, it's not the norm but there's nothing wrong with that and their desires are just as valid as those of people who want to be married parents or people who don't want either.

Plus if being a biological parent was a major life goal of Jiyeon's, would she have let go of that dream because she couldn't have it with Shihoon? Possibly not. There are lots of women out there who REALLY WANT to be married and have kids who will walk away from a good relationship if they feel like their partner is dragging his feet on the marriage/kids front when their "clock is ticking". Because for them, getting married and having kids is a major life goal that they don't want to compromise on. I don't get the impression that Jiyeon feels so strongly about either of those things and we really have no inclination (except for an assumption that almost everyone wants to be parents once they're adults) that she wants children at all. DongHa and Shihoon also never mention kids, btw. And even if she wants to have children, surrogacy and adoption are still options. All is not lost just because she can't have children naturally. There are lots of young women who can't have children naturally and if having kids is super important to them, they try other options.

I'm sorry if I'm coming across a bit harsh but as a woman whose version of 'having it all' does not include falling in love, getting married or having children and who actively does not want any of those things to happen, it really frustrates me when people act as though it's a given that these are all things that everyone wants. Some people would really just be happy with good friends, family and a successful career. Not everybody wants to go the love, marriage, baby carriage route and those people also matter. Just because that's what you hope for doesn't mean it's what everyone wants and that's okay cause variety is the spice of life.

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