She was pretty - English Recap by Dramabeans

190 September 16, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 1

by javabeans

Surprisingly affecting for a madcap romantic comedy, She Was Pretty starts off strong with a first episode I really liked. But more than that, I absolutely LOVE the characters, and have a feeling they’ll be a winning combination. I’m relieved that the first-love story is more poignant than trite, but that’s nothing compared to the awesome girl bonding we get between our two leading ladies, which is sadly so rare in dramaland as to be a real anomaly. Ratings may have started off disappointingly low (4.8% for the premiere, against Assembly’s 5.4% and Yong-pal’s 21.5%), but I’m so encouraged by how much I responded to the first episode that I already don’t care.

 
SONG OF THE DAY

Park Bo-ram – “예뻐졌다” (Became prettier)Download ]

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We follow a man whose face remains unseen as he puts together a puzzle of a Renoir painting, which is missing one piece. Then he looks up someone online—the name is KIM HYE-JIN, and we can surmise from the stack of handwritten letters in his keepsake box that she was a childhood friend.

But those letters were all returned to sender, leaving him without a clue. He must be the sender, JI SUNG-JOON (Park Seo-joon), who’d mailed those letters to Hye-jin in Seoul while he’d lived in New York.

At a trendy pool-slash-nightclub, a party rages on around the leggy birthday girl. She’s MIN HA-RI (Go Jun-hee), and she calls her friend to complain about not being here yet. Her friend is busy working at a bar, though she lies that she’s on her way.

The friend is frizzy-haired and ruddy-faced (Hwang Jung-eum), and she serves popped corn to a table of disgruntled men who’d much rather be served by the pretty other waitress, which they request directly to her face. She’s got a positive attitude and admirable bounce-back, agreeing that the other girl’s nicer to look at; she assures them that the other girl will bring them their order.

This is the elusive Hye-jin, and she hurries to Ha-ri’s party afterward, finding her surrounded by rich oppas vying for her attention with pricey gifts. Ha-ri can hardly contain her boredom, but perks up considerably when Hye-jin arrives, squealing at “Wifey” to join her. Aw, they’re cute.

One oppa marvels that Ha-ri could have “that kind of” friend, which earns him a swift stiletto to the foot. Dig that sucker in, girl. Ha-ri returns the expensive necklace he gave her and tells him to get lost.

Ha-ri’s all set to ditch everyone to eat dinner with Hye-jin, but Hye-jin insists the birthday girl return to the party. As she eats by herself, Hye-jin gets a text reminding her of her upcoming student loan payment, and takes a wistful look around at all the free-spirited people here. But she only lets herself feel down for a moment, bucking up right away.

Ha-ri trips in her heels and falls into the pool, triggering a whole wave of rescue efforts by all the men. Hye-jin leaps up too, but when she gets knocked into the pool, nobody comes to her aid. As she sinks, she thinks, “One day, the thought occurred to me, that it wasn’t only in movies or dramas where protagonists existed.”

But when Hye-jin’s feet touch the bottom of the pool, her eyes pop open and she simply pushes herself back upward. Good girl.

As she surfaces, she continues, “Just as popped corn gets shoved aside for the main order at a bar, in reality, some people are treated like main characters while others live as supporting cast members. Then I might only be the heroine’s Friend 3, or an extra with no presence, who never receives or even suits the spotlight.”

All the attention centers on Ha-ri, and Hye-jin trudges home, soggy and glum.

In the morning, we find that the friends are also roommates. Ha-ri gets up in a mist of soft lighting and breakfasts on one apple, while Hye-jin jolts awake and scarfs down a full meal, to prepare for a big job interview today. She’s in the thick of employment-hunting, all of her energies focused on securing that holy grail of the full-time job.

Once at the office, Hye-jin gets on the elevator, only to be pressured into stepping off when the weight capacity buzzer sounds. Another woman boarded later, but she’s prettier, so off Hye-jin goes. Then to her surprise, the doors reopen as the pretty woman is instructed to leave, making room for Hye-jin instead. What, you’re not gonna show us the face of the guy responsible? Fine, be a tease.

The interview is for an intern spot at a magazine, and Hye-jin’s middling credentials earn smirks from the more qualified candidates. To rub salt in the wound, upon her exit she’s hit with loose trash flying in the wind and raindrops from a sudden storm.

Arriving in her neighborhood, she sees roommie Ha-ri making out in a convertible and scolds her for the public display of affection, and with a guy she isn’t even sure she wants to date yet. She asks if Ha-ri’s ever been in love with any of her guys, and Ha-ri asks what that true love is. I think that’s your answer. Hye-jin waxes poetic about romantic things, while Ha-ri scoffs at the idea, preferring to just date whomever interests her, for as long as he interests her.

Ha-ri adds that all men are basically the same, so there’s no need to split hairs. She advises Hye-jin to abandon her old-fashioned ideals and just date. Hye-jin points out that nobody wants her, not that she doesn’t have her plate full with other concerns.

Hye-jin is pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Ji Sung-joon, which is full of questions about what she’s up to and ends with a request to meet when he arrives in Korea. Ha-ri remembers him as a chubby loser who’d moved into her house after her family moved to Japan, and was shocked when she later heard Sung-joon and Hye-jin had become best buddies.

But Hye-jin is thrilled at his request to meet, smiling to recall Sung-joon as a sweet, innocent boy.

On the day of their meeting, Ha-ri drives Hye-jin and lends her her cell phone (Hye-jin’s broke in the pool dunking), though she’s at a loss as to why her friend would be so eager to see Chubbo again. Hye-jin says he was her friend and first love, which Ha-ri can’t believe.

As Hye-jin arrives, we linger on two men also arriving in the same parking lot. One’s chic and sleek in a nice car, and the other’s a leather-clad bad boy on a motorcycle.

The chic one enters the museum first, just as a teacher explains a Renoir painting (the same one in the puzzle, “Dance in the Country”) to a group of schoolchildren. He’s our hero Sung-joon, and he interrupts to correct her assumption that the dancers in the foreground are the main characters, suggesting that there’s another way to read the scene.

Then Mr. Motorcycle arrives—he’s KIM SHIN-HYUK (Choi Siwon), and he introduces himself as a feature editor here to write about this exhibition.

Sung-joon smiles when Hye-jin texts that she’s arrived, while outside, she waits with nervous anticipation. She spies a fat man sitting alone eating a pastry and grabs his hands enthusiastically, squealing that it’s great to see him again, which of course doesn’t go over well when he huffs that he’s not Sung-joon.

Then Sung-joon calls to confirm that she’s near the fountain, and heads over waving in her direction.

She’s stunned at the transformation… and then he walks right past her to the pretty woman behind her. Hye-jin gasps in horror, remembering, “There’s one important fact I’d forgotten while I was so busy earning money! The Kim Hye-jin that Ji Sung-joon remembers looks like…”

Flashback to their school days, when Hye-jin was a gorgeous girl (Jung Da-bin) who’d cause fights between the boys who all wanted to sit next to her. But she was super nice, too, and when students would taunt Sung-joon, it was Hye-jin who shoved them away. (It’s Ding-Dong!)

Sung-joon realizes he’s approached the wrong woman just as Hye-jin hangs up on him. She runs out of sight and rejects his call, and a glimpse of her reflection causes all the recent painful slights to rush back to her. Snubbed for her looks, rejected for her specs.

She tells us that after Sung-joon immigrated to the U.S., her wealthy family was ruined, and the pretty looks she inherited from her mother were overpowered by her scraggly father’s genes.

So Hye-jin chokes back tears as she finds Ha-ri, telling her friend why she left. The beautiful Hye-jin in his memory had completely vanished, and she’d been afraid of looking even more pathetic in his eyes.

Ha-ri exclaims that Hye-jin’s totally fine and should meet him anyway, but Hye-jin counters that on top of the looks are her sad status as a 30-year-old unemployed loafer. She’d rather preserve the first-love fantasy.

She sighs that she wishes she could borrow Ha-ri’s appearance just for today… and that sparks an idea.

A short while later, it’s Ha-ri who shows up at the fountain where Sung-joon’s still waiting. He lights up while she awkwardly says hello, and then he pulls her into a hug. “I missed you, Kim Hye-jin,” he tells Ha-ri.

Flashback to Hye-jin and Sung-joon’s first meeting. She had dropped by his house soon after he’d moved in and introduced herself. He’d been so startled he’d run away, only to show up in her class.

The next time she dropped by, he was working on that Renoir puzzle, and Hye-jin had seen the small face in the background. Ah, that’s the missing piece from the first scene. Sung-joon had shared his opinion that the lady was looking at the man in the foreground, nursing a one-sided crush. Hye-jin had called the lady a hidden picture, easy to miss entirely if you’re not searching for it.

Now in the present, Hye-jin watches her first love hugging her best friend, thinking, “On that day, in front of my first love, I became a hidden picture.”

The couple heads to a restaurant for dinner, while Hye-jin eavesdrops from a nearby table. Sung-joon is clearly bursting with curiosity but asks questions slowly, while Ha-ri fidgets uncomfortably, replying according to the instructions Hye-jin had issued. She sticks to vague comments, but missteps when asking after his mother, which causes Hye-jin to leap up and signal madly that Mom’s sleeping in the sky. Thankfully, Ha-ri smooths it over and he doesn’t think too strangely of it.

Sung-joon explains that he came across a box of their old letters recently, which made him want to see her again. He asks why she stopped writing, and she gives the pre-planned answer that her family moved to Japan and she lost his information.

Sung-joon says that he also found the puzzle, but Ha-ri doesn’t even know what a “puh-joo” is and stalls while Hye-jin scribbles a note. She has no idea what “hidden woman” means, but mentioning her makes Sung-joon happy.

Then Hye-jin imagines herself in Ha-ri’s seat as he says earnestly, “Before I met you, I thought being alone every day was obvious. But I realized for the first time after becoming friends with you… that if you have even one friend with you, the world isn’t lonely. It could be fun. And to have the friend with me be a cool girl like you—it was so fortunate. Thinking that, I suddenly felt grateful, and wanted to find you. Meeting you now, I’m glad I found you.”

Ha-ri forces a smile, and Hye-jin slumps a little, sighing, “I’m glad I hid.”

It’s clear that Sung-joon wants to meet again, but as the date winds down Ha-ri follows Hye-jin’s instructions and gives him her excuse. He’s floored when she says she’s leaving to study in England tomorrow, but he regroups and figures they can keep in touch and meet on his work trips to England, which happen several times a year.

But he can’t let things end just like that, and asks her to wait five minutes. He races to a shop and returns with a box, saying she can use it to avoid “the disliked thing.” He offers a handshake that he can’t quite let go of, and then hugs her goodbye.

Around the corner, Hye-jin blinks back tears.

The gift is an umbrella, which stirs a specific memory. Flashback to a school trip on a rainy day. Sung-joon suddenly gets up and asks the driver to open the doors, and Hye-jin watches in concern as he steps off the bus alone, shaking in the rain. Sung-joon whimpers about his mother and being scared of the rain, but suddenly Hye-jin is there with him, holding a shirt over their heads.

He’s still stuck in a bad spell as they sit there, so she sticks an earbud in his ear. Playing is the Carpenters’ “Close to You,” and it immediately calms him. Hye-jin promises, “I’ll be with you now. I’ll be your umbrella.”

When he’d left for the States, he’d given Hye-jin that puzzle piece of the hidden woman, so they can finish the puzzle when they meet again. Then he’d kissed her before running off to make his flight.

Now Hye-jin selects all of her emails from Sung-joon—there’s a whole page of them as they’d planned their reunion—and deletes them, thinking, “Goodbye, my first love.”

On the upside, Hye-jin gets hired as an intern at a magazine, and she shows up for her first day full of enthusiasm. Even when minor hiccups arise (like ripping her slacks on the way in), she brushes them aside with her eternal optimism.

Also heading inside is editor/bad boy Shin-hyuk, who looks cool, but is actually much less cool than he thinks. He tosses a piece of gum in the air and misses his mouth, and when he bends over to retrieve it, he trips Hye-jin, who faceplants on the pavement.

She wails in pain, thinking the gum is her front tooth. Shin-hyuk offers assistance, but she bolts up and dashes inside lest she be late on her first day.

The company has hired two interns in their management support department, and the other one is a fashionable young woman with a distinct air of snootiness about her. The internship will last three months, at the end of which they’ll be up for full-time employment. Hye-jin is given her first task and races around madly running errands, while the other intern sits around.

Still, Hye-jin tackles her work with alacrity, super excited to finally have a job. In the following days, she takes on every assignment efficiently and competently, and her boss crows that he was right to hire her… because it would have been a productivity-killer to only hire attractive women—they just make the men slow down and then quit to get married. He wanted someone who would never get texted by a man or resist working late because of dates. Barf, you stupid little man.

Then he gives Hye-jin the task of dropping off a box with another department within the company, The Most magazine’s editorial team. She heads to the flashy Most office and makes the delivery, only to be mistaken for someone else and given another errand.

She leaves that box with a Most editor outside, hurrying away before recognizing him as motorcycle-riding Shin-hyuk. He recognizes her vaguely, but can’t quite place her.

Somehow Hye-jin gets roped into even more work for Most—ha, they mistake her for the new freelance copy editor, and she’s given stacks of papers to proof. Hye-jin attempts to ask why she’s being assigned this work, but everyone at Most just cuts her short and issues directives, so Hye-jin finds herself making coffee runs to a fashion shoot on top of everything.

She’s exhausted by the time she finally makes it out, and then the Most team realizes the mixup when the real freelancer shows up. The editors wonder who Hye-jin was, noting that she did all her work perfectly.

The next day, Hye-jin is transferred to Most on a temporary, three-month assignment. She isn’t keen to return there, but Most has the most pull within the company, and what they want, they get.

So off she goes, where she’s shown her seat and once again eyed by Shin-hyuk, who continues trying to figure out where he’s seen her. Heh, if he can’t think back two days, I fear he may never know.

Hye-jin’s voiceover cuts in to tell us, “Reality is when suddenly one day, without any warning, it escapes our expectation.” That’s when Sung-joon arrives at the office building, and a passing employee recognizes him as the guy who kicked her off the elevator. (Aw, I knew it.)

“That’s why in life, you can’t let your guard down,” Hye-jin continues. “Expectations don’t work.”

Sung-joon enters Most’s office, and the editor-in-chief introduces him as their New York transfer, now their deputy editor.

Hye-jin gasps in shock just as Shin-hyuk remembers where they met. Hye-jin narrates, “None of us expected this.” Sung-joon joins the voiceover to say, “This is the beginning of our hidden picture search.”

 
COMMENTS

These characters! I luff them! It’s very early to be loving anything without qualification, but they really won me over with this foursome. I’d expected to like Hwang Jung-eum and Park Seo-joon together, having seen them acting together before, and I expected to like Siwon since he’s the best cocky doofball around, but Go Jun-hee was a surprise. Which speaks to the writing of her character, since she’s normally got a cooler, less friendly vibe. I did like her as the little sister in What’s Up Fox, but that doesn’t compare with Ha-ri here, who makes a great counter for the bubbly heroine.

Hwang Jung-eum’s brand of indefatigable pep really works to the character’s advantage here, and that’s not something I can say of all her characters. (I think she’s a good actress, but I dearly wish she would sometimes turn her energy dial down a notch. Not everything has to be emoted at 11!) But because Hye-jin’s energy is put on, it comes off as a bravado meant to protect, to cover up how much it hurts that people treat her like crap because she doesn’t fit their idea of pretty.

As to the whole prettiness point—that was the part that had me the most worried about this drama going in, especially when it was promoted using the words “ugly gene” and calling her “bomb woman” (slang akin to eyesore). It’s a potentially tricky premise to base a show around someone being valued for their looks, but the show’s approach is to focus on the effects of her ugliness. We’re not making value judgments about the ugliness itself, but portraying how less attractive people are disregarded by the entire social order, and that’s something that resonates.

Also, Hye-jin’s fear of being a disappointment rings very true; I thought that entire exchange around their reunion was played in a lovely, heart-tugging way. I appreciate that Hye-jin’s not so down on her looks that she ties up her self-worth in it; it seems like she’s largely disregarded it and rolls with the punches as gracefully as she can. But combined with insecurity over not becoming anything in her life yet and the potency of a first love fantasy—well, I totally get her. I loved her as a child for being sweet to Sung-joon and not thinking anything of his appearance, but you grow up and can’t expect the same open mind of the world, sadly.

(This is why, as much as I hate Hwang Jung-eum’s hair—always the hair with her!—I really don’t want the show prettying her up, because the answer to the conflict can’t be that she overcomes it by becoming conventionally pretty. I… don’t actually know if the show will accomplish this. But I’ll go into it with optimism.)

As for Park Seo-joon… omg why is he so hot? I’ve thought he was hot before, but man does he really do it for me as Sung-joon. It was almost painful watching him with Ha-ri, knowing what he didn’t, but that’s the kind of angst I always think hurts in a good way. He already feels something’s off about Ha-ri, but we’ll have to see how long the fantasy can hold up to the reality in front of him… and how long it’ll take him to recognize the real Hye-jin. I simultaneously want him to figure it out immediately and very very slowly, and can’t decide which is better. But at least the anticipation is a good thing.

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185 September 19, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 2

by LollyPip

She Was Pretty continues its strong start with a second episode that’s as good as the first, giving us a little more information about our characters and their frustrating situation. Sung-joon and Hye-jin get off on the wrong foot at work, creating a lot of frustration and misunderstanding. It doesn’t help that Sung-joon has a secret of his own, causing him to behave out of character and confusing Hye-jin even further. He’s not the sweet first love she remembers, so maybe it’s best for now that he doesn’t know who she truly is.

EPISODE 2 RECAP

Sung-joon speaks on the phone in English to a man who warns him that he only has three months, and only “three shots” at… something. We discover that he’s back in Korea for the first time in fifteen years, and he tells his cabbie vaguely that he has some things to do, and one thing he has to find — his umbrella.

We get a flashback to the elevator incident, when someone had shoved Hye-jin off in favor of a pretty girl. The pretty girl gets tapped on the shoulder, and simpers when Sung-joon asks if she’s busy, assuming he’s asking her out. Instead he invites her to go find her conscience since she’s not busy, HA. She’s pushed out, and it’s a grinning Shin-hyuk who invites Hye-jin back onto the elevator while Sung-joon melts into the background.

Sung-joon is introduced to the Most staff as the new deputy editor, and Hye-jin nearly swallows her tongue in surprise. She tries to hide under her desk, but Sung-joon’s words that he’s glad his friend turned out to be a cool person echo in her head.

All the girls in the office swoon over Sung-joon (who can blame them?) except Elevator Girl, who’s horrified to recognize him. Her name is HAN SO-RI, and she hilariously tries to hide behind her hair during introductions. Only Shin-hyuk notices Hye-jin making a run for it as she heads for the stairs to catch her breath.

She’s so shaken up she can’t even form complete sentences, and when Ha-ri calls, both girls freak out that Sung-joon would show up at Hye-jin’s work, of all places. Hye-jin worries that he’ll recognize her after all — surely there’s something about her that still looks like her old self? Somehow Ha-ri’s assurances that she was sooooo pretty back then and there’s absolutely nothing the same now, aren’t very comforting.

Of course there’s her name which will at least catch his attention, but Ha-ri reminds her that her name is pretty common… besides, he thinks he’s already met his first love as an adult, so it shouldn’t occur to him to look twice at this Hye-jin. I think they’re severely underestimating Sung-joon’s intelligence.

Hye-jin is still nervous to death, so there’s only one thing left to do — ask for her transfer to be canceled. But no matter how much she screams and begs, even laying on the floor kicking and crying, the Most editorial department has too much clout and there’s no way out of it.

As it turns out, the eccentric Chief Editor Kim is the chairman of the company’s sister. She pretty much does nothing but shop all day, but as the chairman’s sister, she gets whatever she wants. And she requested Hye-jin, so if Hye-jin wants out of the department, she has to resign.

She goes back to the Most headquarters and peeps in the door, looking for Sung-joon, and nearly scares Shin-hyuk half to death. At least he remembers her now, asking about her tooth and welcoming her to the Editing Team.

Hye-jin asks if he’s the one who requested her transfer to his department, which he confirms in his roundabout way. Hye-jin isn’t as grateful as he assumes, and starts to ask him to cancel the transfer, but she’s interrupted when the hard-nosed Reporter Cha asks to see her privately. (It’s hilarious how Shin-hyuk keeps calling Hye-jin “Michael Jackson” because of her white socks and black shoes, hee.)

Hye-jin finally gets a glimpse of Sung-joon from the editor’s office, so she’s distracted answering Reporter Cha’s questions about her near-perfect editing job. There’s a twentieth-anniversary edition of Most coming out in three months, so they’d like her to stay and work until then. Hye-jin tries to decline but she’s refused, even when she flat-out calls herself an idiot.

Hye-jin panics when Sung-joon walks right into the office, first jumping under the desk then just fleeing the area. Sung-joon barely seems to notice her, but Shin-hyuk does, wondering if she’s got stomach issues.

Hye-jin hides in the restroom and overhears the girls from Most going gaga over Sung-joon’s looks. She texts Ha-ri that begging for a transfer cancellation failed, so now she’s hiding, so Ha-ri dispenses some tough love… get out of the bathroom and stop being such a chicken.

So Hye-jin girds her loins and marches herself confidently back to the Most room — until she spots Sung-joon, and goes right back into flail-and-panic mode. She finds herself alone in the elevator with him anyway, so of course the elevator malfunctions, and Hye-jin gets so frantic that Sung-joon finally grabs her wrist to calm her down.

He does notice her name from her badge, but he doesn’t make an issue of it and only asks her not to damage the elevator door. Hye-jin twitches and gasps while they wait for help, making more of a spectacle of herself than if she just waited patiently. She’s so freaked out that she forgets how to breathe and nearly passes out, so Sung-joon assumes she’s claustrophobic.

As Hye-jin kneels gasping for air, Sung-joon silently puts an earbud in her ear and she hears “Close to You,” the same song she used to calm him down all those years ago. It works and her breathing slows, and Sung-joon softly tells her that someone taught him this trick. Is it too early to swoon? Because I’m swooning so hard right now.

For just a moment we see little Hye-jin and little Sung-joon in the elevator, looking at each other and smiling, then the doors open and Sung-joon calmly goes back to work. Hye-jin is left frozen in place.

Ha-ri is at work too, where she declines a call from “That Woman,” then looks up to see the caller standing in front of her. The woman, whom I’m assuming is Ha-ri’s mother, tells her to answer her calls from now on, and the two speak to each other in that tone that’s so chillingly polite that it circles right back around to rude.

Sung-joon meets with Chief Editor Kim, whose eccentric behavior seems to irritate him, and he insists on sticking to discussing work. She basically admits she’s gotten this job through her connections and informs him that his job is to also do her job, but he’s already well aware of this situation.

Sung-joon has his own condition for doing this job, which must be kept secret from the rest of the team. We don’t hear what it is, but I assume it’s got something to do with that mysterious phone conversation from his cab ride, where he was told he has “three shots at it.”

Later Sung-joon observes a photo shoot, thankfully unaware that Hye-jin is morosely observing him. She’s called to bring the models some water but, unfamiliar with the set rules, she accidentally makes scuffmarks on the photo set with her shoes.

Sung-joon angrily lights into Hye-jin for this breach and yanks her off the photo set, only now recognizing her from the elevator. At least Reporter Cha takes responsibility for not telling Hye-jin the rules, but when Sung-joon asks if she’s a regular team member and hears that she’s not, he says coldly that it’s a relief. Ouch.

Hye-jin is scrubbing the floor when Chief Editor Kim makes her entrance (I have a feeling she always Makes An Entrance wherever she goes) and summons her. Somehow Hye-jin’s hair is making Chief Editor Kim nauseous and her fuzzball-covered clothes are objectionable as well, and she tells Hye-jin to look “more Most” in the future. Interesting how Sung-joon perks up when Hye-jin mentions her “malicious curls.”

After a long day doing grunt work around the photo shoot, Hye-jin finds herself at the bus stop next to a huge “Most” poster, and stares at the beautiful model longingly. Ha-ri finds her there and immediately knows something is wrong, but just seeing her best friend worry about her cheers Hye-jin up a bit.

On the drive home Hye-jin despairs that the next three months are going to be like today, when she couldn’t even breathe right around Sung-joon. She hangs out the car window for fresh air and Sung-joon pulls up next to them, but a scooter carrying flowers pulls between them and neither sees the other.

Sung-joon works late into the night until it begins to rain, triggering his memory of young Hye-jin using a shirt to shelter him from the rain. The humidity had caused Hye-jin’s hair to snarl into a ball of frizz, and she’d had to go to her stylist to have it straightened. She’d told young Sung-joon that she inherited her father’s “maliciously curly” hair, which explains why adult Sung-joon looked around at that phrase earlier today.

Little Sung-joon had gotten his hair curled too but he hadn’t liked it, though Hye-jin told him it looked good. She’d asked him to keep her frizzy hair a secret, and adult Sung-joon smiles at the adorable memory.

Depressed, Hye-jin asks Ha-ri if she really should resign, but when she turns to her computer to start job-hunting she shrieks to see an email from Sung-joon. It’s a sweet little “thinking of you” message, and he asks if the frequent London rain doesn’t bother her, since she hates the rain.

Luckily, Ha-ri has been to Europe, so she sends a message back with a photo of herself in London. Now he really will think Hye-jin is in London, and even the coincidence of working with another Kim Hye-jin won’t raise any red flags. Hye-jin can go to work and relax that he won’t figure out who she really is.

She marches into work the next day confident that Sung-joon won’t recognize her, until he stops right in her path. He calls her by name and gets in her face, insulting her education from a no-account school and asking if she thought she could get away with hiding forever. He says that if she was like this (gesturing at her hair and face), she should have stayed hidden and not gotten caught. Augh, his disdainful expression is just so hurtful.

Ohthankgoodness, it was just a dream. I didn’t want to believe Sung-joon would really look at Hye-jin that way. But it’s enough to prompt Hye-jin to write a resignation letter, though Ha-ri catches her with it and gives her a stern lecture about giving up.

Hye-jin explains that her friendship with Sung-joon was something special that she’s not willing to ruin, even if it means quitting her job to avoid doing something that will fracture those memories. Ha-ri pretty much calls bullshit on that, and takes Hye-jin’s resignation letter away.

Hye-jin doesn’t expect Ha-ri to understand, but every time she sees Sung-joon she feels like her holey sock — like she’s poor and damaged and needs to hide — and she doesn’t want to feel that way anymore. Ha-ri looks hurt to hear that, but she can’t argue with Hye-jin’s feelings.

Hye-jin drops off her resignation letter the next day, then wanders over to the Most office to work her final day, where it’s Shin-hyuk’s turn to scare her to death. She blames him for this situation and snarls at him, taking offense to his using banmal with her, but he just teases her some more and gives her an expired triangle kimbap. He’s so adorably weird.

Hye-rin happens to be wearing a knockoff of the designer sweater So-ri is wearing today, and So-ri gets twisted out of shape when a coworker thinks they’re wearing the same outfit. Sung-joon calls a mandatory meeting and Hye-jin is assigned to take the minutes, so she tells herself to just endure it for today.

It’s a planning meeting to discuss articles for the twentieth anniversary edition of Most, and the team are startled when Sung-joon actually uses a timer to make sure nobody talks too long. He nixes every single team’s ideas, then calls on Hye-jin for her opinion.

She’s taken aback, unprepared to answer questions since she’s only here to take notes, but her hesitation gives Sung-joon an opening to be mean to her again. He insults her several times and says that if she’s not here to help then she should leave. Even though Shin-hyuk takes up for her, Hye-jin quietly goes.

Sung-joon continues the meeting by tearing up copies of Most, informing them that of all the countries in which Most is published, Korea is the only one where it’s not the top magazine. Tomorrow there will be another meeting, where he expects to hear their solutions for fixing the problem.

Hye-jin mopes over Sung-joon’s callous treatment of her in front of everyone, while in his office he softens when he looks at the picture of Ha-ri in London. But he turns harsh again when he catches the team playing a game to determine who buys lunch, and he slaps his credit card down and says to have lunch on him if it will cut down on the wasted time.

Chief Editor Kim shops and talks on the phone to her nephew, the company chairman’s son. who apparently also works secretly at Most. Whatever he reports to her ruins her mood, and she doesn’t realize that So-ri was nearby and heard every word.

Hye-jin takes delivery of a package in the company parking lot and runs smack into Sung-joon, who does the swoony slow-catch… then drops her. He leaves her there on the ground, which makes it even more delicious when he’s so absorbed in his tablet that he walks into a glass door. HAHAHA. You deserved that.

Hye-jin has had it with Sung-joon’s treatment of her and catches up to him to give him a piece of her mind. She apologizes for her mistake at the photo shoot, but tells him clearly that she’s newly here on Most’s request, so that meeting was a surprise to her. She tells him firmly that he has no right to insult her like he’s done without knowing her circumstances.

Too bad that was all in her head and she chickens out once she’s face-to-face with him. She tries again in the elevator but she’s so nervous she ends up making no sense, stammering so badly that he asks if she has a disability. Whoa, what a jerk.

Hye-jin is so shocked, she just asks why he hates her so much. Sung-joon lists her bad work skills, her unprofessional behavior, and most of all, “That somebody like you is named Kim Hye-jin. It’s a name that’s too good for you.” Oh wow. Wow.

Hye-jin goes to the restroom to splash water on her face, but she can’t stop his harsh words echoing through her mind. She thinks to herself that this isn’t the sweet, innocent Sung-joon she knew, and tells herself that precious memories won’t feed her or pay her bills. She renounces him as her first love — he’s now just a stranger with the same name. She’ll never give him the satisfaction of firing her!

… which is when she remembers the resignation letter she left on her boss’s desk this morning. He’s out of the office until two o’clock, and it’s nearly two now, so Hye-jin runs to his office. She sees him just picking up her letter, and screams at him to stop, rushing over and tearing it up.

So-ri is eaten up with curiosity over who on her team is the chairman of the company’s son, eyeballing each of the men suspiciously. Of the three men named Kim, she dismisses the slovenly Poong-ho right away, but thinks it’s possible it could be Joon-woo or Shin-hyuk. Whoever it is, she decides to figure it out quickly and snap him up.

Chief Editor Kim wants to have a party to welcome the new deputy editor, but Sung-joon makes it clear that he’s going to be too busy for a party, ever. He leaves for a meeting and the beauty team girls gossip at his rudeness, and Hye-jin adds that he’s got a terrible personality.

She gets on a roll and doesn’t notice when everyone starts to wave frantically that Sung-joon is right behind her, and when she does see him she can only scream and stammer. He retrieves the file he came to get (that she’s sitting on) and leaves in silence, to Hye-jin’s dismay and Shin-hyuk’s amusement.

Chief Editor Kim took Sung-joon’s rejection of a party in stride, but she’s more serious later as she thinks over his earlier revelation, the one she’d promised to keep secret: in three months, Korea’s Most will be discontinued. That is, unless they can reach the top spot in the industry in that amount of time — and he’s here to make that happen.

In his opinion it can be done with the current team, and he intends to push them to their utmost potential. He had asked her to let him have free reign to accomplish it whatever it takes, because he knows that if such a long-running magazine were to be cancelled, the team working on it when that happens would never work in the industry again. His own job is also on the line, so he’s committed to making sure that doesn’t happen.

Sung-joon goes to a meeting at a hotel, which happens to be the one where Ha-ri works, and they narrowly miss running into each other several times. But as he’s driving away he glances in the rearview mirror and sees Ha-ri, and he rushes back to the hotel. Calling out, “Kim Hye-jin!” he grabs Ha-ri’s wrist and whirls her around, and they both stand in surprise to see each other.

COMMENTS

So much fun, I’m just loving it to death. I was hoping for a sweet and happy drama with She Was Pretty, and I would have been satisfied with that… but I’m so happy that that’s not all we’re getting. It’s not just a show about a girl who grew up unattractive and her friend who grew up handsome — it’s about the value judgments that society places on people, and how it’s wrong to assume that someone’s attractiveness gives or takes away their worth as a person. It’s a beautiful message, and I’m already deeply moved and we’re only two episodes in. I can’t wait to see where this show takes us, and the messages it has to deliver.

I mostly love the characters, and their capacity to strongly care for one another. Hye-jin and Ha-ri’s friendship is a lovely thing to see in a genre that so often has women pitted against each other, vying to be The Prettiest (and therefore the one who matters most). But Hye-jin and Ha-ri have a wonderful loving relationship, where just seeing the other can brighten their day. I adore them, and I adore that their looks, on opposite ends of the attractiveness spectrum, mean absolutely nothing to their love for each other.

The thing I love most about Hye-jin is her refusal to let her looks (or rather, the way society responds to her looks, because her actual looks aren’t that bad) get her down. She knows she’s a person of value and worth, that she deserves a good job and a happy life. I went into this show expecting her character to have low self-esteem because of her looks, and it’s the thing I’m appreciating the most about her, that she grew up with her self-worth intact. A portion of it may be bravado, but hey, don’t we all cover up our insecurities with a bit of bravado sometimes? Hye-jin does too, but thankfully not to an unhealthy extent, and she seems to accept her current looks with dignity.

So it’s hard to see her self worth being broken down now with Sung-joon’s appearance as an unexpectedly-hot guy. She wasn’t scared to meet him when she thought they were on the same level looks-wise, because she approached the first man, the one who looked as she expected Sung-joon to look, with all kinds of excitement. But the real Sung-joon’s transformation threw her for a loop… in that one moment when Hye-jin saw how handsome he’d grown, then watched him walk right past her as if she didn’t exist, Hye-jin’s confidence that she deserves good things took a nosedive. I can’t really blame him for expecting her to be pretty any more than she expected him to be a big man in glasses, though — they both went into the meeting with preconcieved expectations based on the person they remembered.

But I hate that Hye-jin let her disappointment lead her to making a bad decision to have her friend pose as herself, especially since it’s so clear to us that Hye-jin and Sung-joon’s friendship means as much to Sung-joon as it does to Hye-jin, even now. We know that no matter what she looks like, Sung-joon wouldn’t care and would cherish their bond as much as he did back when he was the ugly duckling. What I want for Hye-jin, more than anything, is to have faith in that bond they shared, to feel confident that he would care for her just the same. If he was so special back when they were kids that she was able to see who he truly was, then he’ll be the same person now and won’t care what she looks like.

Of course, he’s not helping his case by showing his most hard-assed self on the job, though I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn’t that way in his personal life. Clearly he’s here to make sure the serious problems Most is having are fixed, and there’s no room for making friends when he’s got such a hard job to do. Not to mention, Hye-jin is pretty flaily and distracted around him at the office, so I can’t blame him for being annoyed with her. I can’t even get mad at him for being harsh with her (though some of his hateful comments went too far), because her actions at the magazine have been pretty ridiculous and from his point of view, she’s not contributing much to the magazine’s success. He has a limited amount of time to get this magazine to the top spot, and he can’t afford any dead weight. In his mind, not only is she dead weight on the team, but it seems more personal to him because she shares the same name as his perfect first love, and that’s causing him to turn anger on her that she doesn’t deserve.

I don’t condone it, but I can see why Sung-joon would feel that way. I can also see how Hye-jin would interpret his frustrated reaction to her at work as an indication that he would dismiss her on a personal level as well, if he knew her true identity. From her point of view, when he grew up and grew handsome, he let it go to his head. She has no way of knowing that the magazine is floundering and that he’s under pressure to get it fixed in a very short period of time. All she sees is that her old friend and first love is a jerk now, and she’s probably feeling glad that she hid her identity from him.

But I also love that Hye-jin immediately hated feeling like she had to hide herself, and decided to take action. She didn’t just accept that she should be concealed — she knows that if this situation makes her feel that way, then it’s wrong. I wish her answer to the problem wasn’t to quit, but to go in there and blow them all away with her abilities, which we know are considerable or they wouldn’t have requested her in the first place. I just want her to want Sung-joon to know that about her. But even though she didn’t come to it on her own, I’m glad that his behavior towards her at work finally caused her to get angry, and I hope that rather than give up, she decides to show him how awesome she can be. Because I want him to like her for who she is now as well as who she was then, and Hye-jin is in the perfect position to make that happen.

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147 September 25, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 3

by LollyPip

Our heroine dives into her new job with commitment, determined to make it work, while her best friend gets caught in a tricky lie. Nothing goes quite as planned for either friend, but all is not lost — Hye-jin could find herself making new friends at the office, whether she likes it or not.

 
EPISODE 3 RECAP

Sung-joon sees Ha-ri at her hotel and follows her in, calling her Hye-jin and looking hurt that she lied about leaving the country. Thinking fast, Ha-ri pulls Sung-joon into a hug before he can see her name tag — she tosses it over her shoulder, hitting a coworker in the head with it.

When the coworker tries to return it, Ha-ri yanks a confused Sung-joon outside, and they go to a cafe to talk. Ha-ri’s aegyo is useless in the face of Sung-joon’s upset, so she tells him that she did go to London but was called back for the hotel job. She’s super-twitchy, and Sung-joon doesn’t look like he’s buying any of this.

He finally decides to believe her and relaxes, and tells her that she should have called him when she came back. Ha-ri claims she was going to call him later today, which mollifies Sung-joon for now.

Ha-ri slips up and mentions his job, which he never told her about. She has the worst poker face ever, so it’s lucky for her that he’s just so glad to see her that he seems to be choosing not to look too closely into her behavior. He says they can see each other often now, since their workplaces are close, and Ha-ri looks like she wants to crawl under the table.

When she gets free Ha-ri calls Hye-jin, who’s away from her desk, so Shin-hyuk answers. He blandly offers to give Hye-jin a message as long as it’s an interesting story, hee, but Ha-ri just hangs up, confused even more because she thought Hye-jin was tendering her resignation.

Between Ha-ri’s freakout over seeing Sung-joon again, and Hye-jin’s freakout over his treatment of her at work, Sung-joon has worked both roommates into a tizzy today. Hye-jin comes home hollering that he’ll never make her quit her job, but Ha-ri is confused at Hye-jin’s anger since she claims she and Sung-joon had such a special relationship.

Hye-jin tells Ha-ri what he said about not deserving the name Kim Hye-jin, but Ha-ri can’t believe that the sweet gentle man she met would say such a thing. Hye-jin says it’s a good thing they told him she was moving away, so he shouldn’t ever find out that she’s his Hye-jin, and she plans to just work hard and ignore him.

She forbids Ha-ri to ever speak of him again, so Ha-ri pretends she can’t remember what she was going to say. She decides that telling her friend about running into Sung-joon again would only upset her, vowing to handle it herself.

I wish I knew what was on Sung-joon’s tablet, because he’s so focused on it the next morning that he accidentally drinks the water in his table’s centerpiece. He smacks into another glass door on his way out, still reading, and heads to the street corner.

When the signal changes and everyone starts to walk, a woman’s voice rings out, “It’s a go!” Something about it snaps Sung-joon out of his absorption in whatever he’s reading, and he’s reminded of himself as a child, walking down a street with young Hye-jin. She’d also called out, “It’s a go!” when their light turned green.

It was Hye-jin at that light, walking ahead of him to their building, and Sung-joon doesn’t see her. But it’s Shin-hyuk who wishes her good morning and offers her a bite of his triangle kimbap, which, ew.

Still standing at the light, Sung-joon calls Ha-ri who’s still home getting ready for work. He starts to ask if she remembers their long-ago conversation at the crosswalk, but he stops himself and says he’ll call her later. Ha-ri asks him to set aside some time later to talk.

So-ri begins her campaign to identify and snag the secret office chaebol by making all three potential candidates coffee and giving them her best aegyo, to their universal confusion. Of course, when one of the other female employees says she’d like coffee too, So-ri tells her to go get some fresh air to wake up. Way to be subtle, So-ri.

The office instant message system blows up once Sung-joon arrives at work, and he immediately calls a meeting. Hye-jin bolsters her spirits by reminding herself that three months isn’t so long, but she crumples in fear once the meeting starts. It doesn’t help that she’s not up on magazine lingo and really has no clue what anyone is talking about.

She’s so worried that she’ll make a mistake that she grabs the wrong remote control when asked to turn on a video, instead shining a laser pointer right in Sung-joon’s face. He holds his temper today, only reminding her that he hates wasting time.

Hye-jin is a bundle of nerves by the time the meeting is over, and Shin-hyuk hangs back to tease her about how jumpy she is around Sung-joon, when she’s pretty competent otherwise. He says she acts like someone afraid of getting caught, which is way too close for comfort, and Hye-jin’s over-the-top reaction only increases his suspicion.

Sung-joon is expecting the meeting notes from Hye-jin, but she still has no idea what much of the discussion was about. Nobody has time to explain things to her, so when she takes the notes to Sung-joon he’s frustrated at her again. She tells him that she got the job honestly though her abilities, but he wonders why she’s here when she doesn’t even understand basic terminology.

She explains that she was transferred here suddenly and hasn’t had time to learn, and there’s nobody to teach her. Sung-joon says that she can’t wait for someone else and should do it herself. He only works with pros and doesn’t care about her history, and he’s willing to let her go if she can’t keep up. He literally throws the meeting notes back at her and dismisses her.

Hye-jin is sent to help So-ri organize cosmetic products, but she’s unfamiliar with the brands and has difficulty reading the labels. So-ri laughs that she’s never used common cosmetics before, which of course is when Sung-joon walks by and sighs at her uselessness again.

Later Hye-jin is walking past Director Cha and Sung-joon, and she’s put on the spot when Director Cha asks for a particular jacket and she has no idea which one it is. Shin-hyuk catches her banging her head on her desk (and uses the opportunity to slide his bag of dry ramyun under her forehead to break it up, heh) and wonders who is frustrating her so much.

She goes back to the management team office and starts working like she belongs there, and her boss has to physically drag her back to the Most office. He tells her that her three months will be over in a flash, but he sighs that she looks like an animal going to slaughter.

Hye-jin is immediately grabbed and put right back to work, and manages to hold it together for the rest of the day. She’s exhausted and falls asleep on the bus home, but she still gives up her seat for an elderly ajumma who boards the bus.

The jerk who insulted Hye-jin at Ha-ri’s birthday party is waiting on the doorstep when Ha-ri gets home, but there’s no way she’s ever going to forgive him. A young girl sees him calling after Ha-ri and comments that he must have screwed up pretty bad for her sister to be so angry.

She offers to tell the man how to get on Ha-ri’s good side if he’ll treat her to dessert, and luckily Hye-jin arrives home in time to warn the guy that she’s a con artist — she’s actually Hye-jin’s sister, KIM HYE-RIN (played by Jung Da-bin, who also plays young Hye-jin — cute twist). She apparently has a habit of pretending to be Ha-ri’s sister to get stuff from the men Ha-ri dates, ha.

Hye-rin calls Hye-jin ugly and runs off home — these are no loving sisters, as they both seem inclined to scream and argue. Hye-jin goes inside and collapses in the doorway, exhausted from her long work day. She spends the evening complaining about her job and wailing that she didn’t show Sung-joon how awesome she is like she’d vowed to do.

Ha-ri points out that every field of work has terms and phrases that you have to learn, and she doesn’t agree when Hye-jin calls it “showing off.” Of course she would get scolded when she doesn’t even know the basics. She asks if Hye-jin has tried to learn, or if she was too busy thinking of Sung-joon. Touché.

Hye-jin stomps off to bed but she can’t stop thinking of Ha-ri’s words, unable to deny that she had a point. Finally she gets up and finds some old magazines in storage, and a note from Ha-ri stuck between the pages. She wrote that she was right but she doesn’t like to see Hye-jin scolded, and offers to explain anything Hye-jin needs to know. Best. Friend. Ever.

Hye-jin spends all her free time studying old fashion magazines, and Ha-ri teaches her everything she knows about fashion trends and makeup, which mostly seems to consist of learning the English terms for everything. Soon Hye-jin is impressing her coworkers and even Chief Editor Kim with her newly-acquired knowledge.

At the next staff meeting Hye-jin’s fingers fly as she types up the notes, exulting internally that she understands what people are talking about. But she still manages to draw negative attention when she gets so excited that she cries out, “Yee-hee!” Of course Sung-joon snarls at her, but Shin-hyuk thinks it’s hilarious.

Sung-joon can’t find any fault in her notes this time, but still Hye-jin manages to ruin her grand exit by knocking a stack of files off his desk. At least this time he doesn’t yell at her, but she still beats herself up for ruining her own triumphant moment.

Shin-hyuk sidles over to her desk to ask her to take him out for ddukbokki as she promised, but she doesn’t feel like it today. He decides to flip a coin and she wins the toss, but he claims she didn’t and they get in an argument over which side of the coin is heads.

Shin-hyuk goes through this long explanation of why the number side is actually heads, managing to confuse Hye-jin so much that she stops arguing. He tells her they’ll go eat after work, and when he gets back to his desk, he smiles the most adorable smile ever.

Ha-ri spends her day trying to think of what to say to Sung-joon, forgetting that it’s her father’s birthday today. She calls Sung-joon to ask for a two-hour delay to their plans, so he goes back into the office.

Hye-jin is sent to return some books to the office library, and takes some time to look through the shelves. She finds a children’s book from her father’s publishing company and flips through it happily, unaware that Sung-joon is right around the corner. Shin-hyuk calls to ask when they’re going to eat and she runs out after putting the book away.

Sung-joon wanders over and sees the same book, and stops to look through it with the same expression of nostaglia that was just on Hye-jin’s face. Awww.

Ha-ri’s mother starts in on her the moment she walks in the door, but her relationship with her father seems a lot more friendly — she probably avoids home because of Mommy Dearest. Her father takes a call during dinner leaving Ha-ri and her mother alone, and Mom immediately starts harping on Ha-ri again.

Mom knows about the celebration on Ha-ri’s birthday and basically calls her a slut for partying with men. She says she prefers moderate behavior, and Ha-ri shoots back that she should have been moderate with the Botox. Ouch. Mom sighs out that her looks and personality are just like her mother’s, and ooooooh, now the animosity makes sense. This isn’t Mom, this is Stepmom.

That’s a low blow, and Ha-ri says she won’t stand for her mother being spoken of that way. Dad comes back just as Ha-ri raises her voice and he slaps her hard, so hard that even Stepmom is shocked. He demands Ha-ri apologize, so she stammers out the words with a shaking voice, and leaves.

Once outside she calls Hye-jin, but she’s eating with Shin-hyuk and doesn’t answer. Shin-hyuk is eating Hye-jin out of house and home, and she mentions that she only ever sees him eat cheap junk food like this. He claims it’s a bachelor thing, then spills hot soup all down her front. Then he tries to help her wipe off, basically groping her, HA.

Hye-jin is so busy managing Shin-hyuk that she misses Ha-ri’s texts, and Ha-ri ends up drinking alone in a bar, completely forgetting about her plans with Sung-joon. Eventually she remembers and calls him, and he forgets his annoyance when she tells him where she is.

Once Shin-hyuk walks Hye-jin to her bus stop and heads home himself, she finally sees the messages from Ha-ri. She tries to call her back but Ha-ri is sleeping on the bar, so the bartender answers and tells Hye-jin where to find her.

Meanwhile another customer in the bar is sizing up the drunk Ha-ri (cameo by Kim Sung-oh, and OMG that hair), and he wanders over to strike up a conversation. She rolls her eyes at his awful pickup lines and tells him to get lost, having seen his wedding ring.

She stands and tries to leave and the guy grabs her arm, jerking her around, and thankfully Sung-joon arrives to rescue her. Not that she needs it, as she grabs a decorative pineapple and whacks the letch over the head with it, HA.

A few minutes later the jerk is nursing his wounds in the bathroom, and Sung-joon walks in and slaps down his three-minute timer. He calmly tells the man he has three minutes to go apologize to the lady, but of course the guy refuses.

The three office gossips chat about Sung-joon vetoing all of their ideas in the meeting, but one of them says that she thinks he will approve some of their ideas. She notices something during the meeting – something about his forearms. When he decides on something, he rolls up his sleeves.

In the bar bathroom, the jerk’s time is running out, and Sung-joon starts to roll up his sleeves. A few minutes later he goes out to check on Ha-ri, who’s managed to skin up her hand badly wielding her pineapple bludgeon. Sung-joon starts to lead her out, and neither of them see Hye-jin as she arrives looking for her friend.

HAHA, she gasps when she sees the jerk sporting a bloodied nose and a woeful expression, but Ha-ri is nowhere to be seen. The bartender tells Hye-jin that Ha-ri was picked up by a man, but Ha-ri dates a lot so Hye-jin has no way of knowing which man it could be.

Sung-joon takes Ha-ri to the doctor and sees her sign in with her real name without thinking. He offers to fill out the forms for her and the nurse points out a wound on his face, which Ha-ri hadn’t noticed.

Ha-ri’s hand is bandaged up and they leave, and she asks why he’s not asking her about missing dinner or why she was drinking alone. Sung-joon says he could tell something bad happened and he didn’t want to bring it up, and takes her for some hot comforting soup.

As they eat, Sung-joon brings up his weight as a kid, and Ha-ri forgets herself for a moment and insults him by saying he was really fat. He lets it slide and says that his mother fed him this soup all the time and he hated it, but since she passed away he’s been trying to find a place whose soup tastes like his mother’s. Awwww.

He stops himself and says that he sure is talking a lot about himself lately, but it’s been a long time since he’s been around someone who made him want to talk this much. Ha-ri seems a bit stunned, and when he asks her what she wanted to talk about, she falters.

In Ha-ri’s hotel, a coworker finds her note to herself where she’d written several excuses not to see Sung-joon again. Her fiance wouldn’t like it, she’s moving to Jeju Island, etc. At the restaurant Ha-ri is unprepared for Sung-joon’s question, and her hesitation causes him to comment that she seems bland.

As she watches him eat, Ha-ri thinks to herself that he got hurt tonight because of her. Telling him the truth today would be hurtful, so she’ll just tell him next time. I dunno, I don’t like the way her expression seems to be softening towards him.

Worried, Hye-jin paces outside their little cottage waiting for Ha-ri to come home. When she does, Ha-ri says she just fell and hurt her hand. She sits in her room feeling conflicted, especially when Sung-joon texts her to make sure she’s okay.

In voice-over, Hye-jin muses that you only see as much of the world as you know about it, and the same could be said for people. The more you get to know someone, the more clearly you see who they are… just like Ha-ri that day with Sung-joon.

In the morning Sung-joon is at the coffee shop engrossed in his tablet as usual, but this time the barista takes the flowers before he can drink them, ha. He starts to leave but gets a call that has him sitting again, and he accidentally sits on a notebook that someone left in the chair.

He hears a familiar voice telling him that the notebook is hers, and looks up to see young Hye-jin, looking exactly as she looked the last time he saw her — or more accurately Hye-rin, who is a dead ringer for her older sister at that age. Hye-jin walks in at that moment looking for her sister, sees Sung-joon smile at her sister, and goes straight into panic mode.

COMMENTS

Bravo, Show — what a clever way to throw our hero into turmoil, by putting him face-to-face with his first love’s sister, who looks identical to the girl he remembers. This adds a whole new dimension to the love triangle/deception switcheroo that Hye-jin and Ha-ri are playing on Sung-joon, especially since he’s starting to see the cracks in Ha-ri’s claims to be Hye-jin. And as much of a loose cannon as Hye-rin seems to be, I have no doubt that she’s not going to make keeping her secret easy for her noona.

Aside from noticing a couple of minor but confusing editing choices, I’m really enjoying the show as it settles a bit further into it’s groove. It still feels a little like we’re not done getting all of our players to their starting positions, but I kind of like that there’s no hurry and that we’re getting to know the characters naturally. The show is a bit wackier in places than I expected, but I find the simple love story very endearing and I love the strong focus on friendship while we slowly approach the romance. And I know that it’s a drama and that means drama, but I can’t help wishing the show wouldn’t make Ha-ri fall for Sung-joon, though it seems that’s where things are going. The girls’ friendship is one of the best things about this show, and I would hate to see Ha-ri hurt her friend that way, even unintentionally.

There’s been a lot of criticism of Hwang Jung-eum’s acting (in this as well as her previous dramas) and I thought I’d weigh in on that while it’s still early days. I’ve seen her in several dramas, and I think she’s a talented actress who is capable of playing the subtler emotions quite effectively. For that reason, I’m looking forward to the part of the show where she and Sung-joon spend more time together, because goodness knows the actors have proven that they have chemistry like whoa, and I expect her hysterical behavior to simmer down once that chemistry kicks in. I do agree that at times she goes a little too far with the shrieking and overwrought behavior, and this drama is no exception. It’s especially strange to see her younger self portrayed as being so poised and well-spoken, then see Hye-jin lose the ability to form a sentence just because she’s nervous. People don’t really act like that.

BUT — this is a rom-com. The overall feel of the show is a little zany, and I don’t think any of the characters are meant to be like people you would meet in a real office setting. Several other people in the Most office are also over-the-top, larger than life caricatures and behave in ways that regular people just don’t behave at work. I think that Hye-jin’s tendency to be very loud makes her character seem worse when really, she’s not the only Most employee who acts bizarre, not by a long shot. And I’m hoping that as she settles into the job and her relationship with Sung-joon gets less antagonistic, the screaming will calm down, as already seems to be happening. So for me, I’m willing to just go with it for now… if she’s still freaking out and shrieking a few weeks from now, we’ll talk again.

Speaking of over-the-top characters, Shin-hyuk is killing me dead. This role is tailor-made for Choi Si-won, who seems to shine more the goofier he’s allowed to be. I was honestly expecting basically the same character he played in King of Dramas, which would have garnered no complaints from me because I adored him as Hyun-min. But I’m happily surprised (and further impressed by Si-won’s acting ability) to find that Shin-hyuk is a whole different flavor of quirky, not to mention whip-smart despite his first impression as the office clown. He’s already onto Hye-jin and I have no doubt he’ll be the first to figure out her secret, though he seems like a good guy and I don’t expect him to use the information against her. In fact, he would make a pretty amazing co-conspirator, if Hye-jin can bring herself to trust him. I rarely suffer from Second Lead Syndrome, but I sort of love the way Shin-hyuk looks at Hye-jin already. I almost hope they keep things firmly in the Friend Zone or my poor heart may not make it.

As for Sung-joon, he’s a bit of an enigma. I’m a huge (huge) fan of Park Seo-joon’s ever since Witch’s Romance, but I’m finding this character less immediately accessable than Dong-ha — or even Ri-on, whose whole persona was based on being mysterious. I don’t find any fault with Park Seo-joon’s portrayal, but it’s just how the character is written. I think a lot of viewers are put off by Sung-joon’s ability to compartmentalize his work persona and his personal life, and for now we’re seeing more of him at work where he’s got to be a hardass in order to save the magazine. He has good reason, but I can’t wait to see more of the Sung-joon that’s been carrying a torch for a girl who could see through the chubby little boy to the sweet soul we know is in there. Deep down. Somewhere.

It’s different from the usual jerk-meets-girl-and-becomes-nice story, because we already know the hero is a nice guy and the jerk behavior is just for professional reasons. We’re seeing glimpses of the true Sung-joon as he reconnects with his old friend, or thinks he does, and the way his eyes become soft when he talks about his childhood make me think that the sweet little boy is still there, he’s just built up some armor as he grew older. As he said himself, he hasn’t had anyone he felt safe to be himself around in a long time. I appreciate that Sung-joon’s journey won’t be about changing who he is, as happens in so many dramas, but about reminding him of the person he’s always been. It’s just that he hasn’t found the person who will be able to do that for him just yet, but when he and the real Hye-jin finally reconnect, I think we’re going to be in for a real treat.

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215 September 26, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 4

by LollyPip

Secrets only get harder to tell the longer you keep them, as Hye-jin and Ha-ri are finding out. The pressure starts to get to them, leading to uncharacteristic behavior from both of the best friends. And as we start to learn more about all of our main players, it starts to seem as though the ladies may not be the only ones keeping very old, very serious secrets.

EPISODE 4 RECAP

Sung-joon sees Hye-rin in the cafe and smiles, seeing how much she resembles the Hye-jin he remembers. The real Hye-jin comes in looking for her wayward sister, sees the two of them meeting, and hurriedly rushes out. She watches from behind a sign as Sung-joon tells Hye-rin that he knows her sister.

She makes her escape and calls Sung-joon, hoping to get him out of there before Hye-rin says anything to give away Hye-jin’s true identity. Her story that Chief Editor Kim wants to talk to him works, and after he leaves she scurries in to confront her sister.

Luckily Hye-jin got there fast enough, and Hye-rin didn’t tell Sung-joon anything personal about her, such as where she really works. She tosses some money at Hye-rin for food and rushes back to work.

Sung-joon scares the daylights out of Chief Editor Kim, who didn’t really call for him, and Hye-jin has to quickly apologize to Sung-joon for her “mistake.” Chief Editor Kim notices that Hye-jin still looks unkempt, and asks her to try to look a little more Most-like.

Sung-joon is frustrated by the messy reports he’s given by the team, and he decides that from now on, the three-minute rule applies to project proposals as well. What’s this guy’s obsession with three minutes?? He shoots down anyone who tries to defend their current system, until Shin-hyuk asks how he expects anyone to offer honest opinions in this kind of environment. That’s what I’m sayin’.

Sung-joon barks that if he wants to be comfortable, he can stay home. He throws out all of the proposals and asks Reporter Cha if she’s contacted James Taylor for the collaboration, insulting her when she says she hasn’t been able to reach him. He takes the project from her and sails out, and Hye-jin wonders what happened to Sung-joon in America to make him like this.

Sung-joon must be more unsettled than he’s letting on, because he listens to “Close To You” in the car later that day. He notices that the sky is particularly beautiful today and takes a picture, while at the office, Hye-jin notices the same pretty sky outside the building window.

She pulls out her own phone, but her shot gets photobombed by Shin-hyuk, hee. He watches her take pictures of the sky and smiles at her, and remembers seeing her on the bus recently. He’d smiled at her then, too, watching her head loll as she fought sleep. He’d seen her give up her seat to the elderly ajumma, and the expression on his face is a mixture of amusement and admiration. So cute.

Back at the office, Shin-hyuk watches Hye-jin take pictures of the sky and repeats her words as he studies her face, “That’s right. It’s pretty.” Oh ~swoon~.

Ha-ri sees a family celebrating a birthday in her hotel, and remembers when her own mother was alive and her family was happy. She ignores a call from her father, still upset over his slap the other night, but she smiles when Sung-joon texts her the picture of the beautiful sky.

That night she asks her date if he noticed the sky today, but he’s annoyed that she interrupted his groping. She admits that those kinds of girly things aren’t like her and disappoints him by leaving without allowing any skinship.

Hye-jin scolds her for her short skirt, but Ha-ri says it’s her body, her life, and she’ll do what makes her happy. Sing it, sister. Later Hye-jin tells her about Hye-rin’s near slip-up with Sung-joon, and she’s confused when Ha-ri seems more upset at the idea of being caught than she is herself.

The girls play listlessly on the playground while Hye-jin natters on and on about hiding from Sung-joon, and how she’d be so humiliated if he knew that the person who he looks down on is his old friend. Ha-ri asks what she thinks would have happened if she’d just gone and met him herself that first night.

Hye-jin isn’t sure, but she does know that it would have been awkward if they’d met, then found out they were working together. She admits it’s probably better this way, still thinking that Sung-joon thinks she’s gone. Ha-ri starts to tell her that she’s seen Sung-joon again but Hye-jin cuts her off — he doesn’t like her anyway, so it’s probably best to stop thinking about him so much.

The next morning Hye-jin recalls Chief Editor Kim’s request to be “more Most-like,” wondering exactly what she means by that. She takes some time to try a few new things with her hair, but when she gets to work and runs into Sung-joon, he asks if she’s playing a joke. Damn, he’s so mean.

Okay, to be fair, when we see how much makeup she’s slathered on I can see his point, but the hair isn’t so bad. Not any worse than her usual frizzy mop.

Jun-woo yells in excitement that Sung-joon got the meeting with James Taylor. It’s only for an hour at the airport between flights, so Reporter Cha mutters that he’ll never get him to agree to collaborate in that small amount of time — just as Sung-joon walks in. Awkward. He barks at her to let him handle it.

He says that he’ll need a driver to the airport later so he can review on the way, and everyone hunkers down and hides. Shin-hyuk whispers to Hye-jin that she’s got a hole in her shirt, and when she raises her arm to look, it looks like she’s volunteering to drive, HA.

He actually had a reason to do it — the way she’s so nervous around Sung-joon, he thought it would help them get closer so she could relax. But when Sung-joon realizes who’s driving he’s not at all happy to see her.

He settles in to read while Hye-jin drives, and the silence makes her nervous. He ignores her weird attempts at small-talk, he finally asking her to stop talking so he can concentrate. The problem is, he concentrates so hard that he doesn’t hear her ask if they’re going to Incheon Airport, so she just assumes and heads that way.

It’s the wrong airport, of course — they should be going to Gimpo. And once you’re on the road to Incheon it’s very difficult to turn around, and there’s only one place they can get off the road, so Sung-joon urges Hye-jin to drive fast. Naturally, they hit traffic.

Sung-joon calls Reporter Cha to meet James Taylor at the Gimpo airport, but she’s gone to an event. He tells the office to send whoever can get there fastest, but falters when Hye-jin jumps out of the car and appears to be buying food from a streetside vendor.

But instead she practically drags him out of the car, grabs his wallet out of his pants, and gives a man on a scooter some money. She plunks Sung-joon onto the scooter and screams at them to GOGOGO, and she’ll meet him at the airport when he’s finished. That was pretty quick thinking.

Hye-jin arrives at the Gimpo airport just as Sung-joon is leaving, but he’s on the phone and ignores her when she asks if he got here in time. He tells the person on the phone that the meeting was successful, causing Hye-jin to bounce with excitement.

Despite Hye-jin’s save and the fact that it’s not her fault they went the wrong way, Sung-joon starts to berate her, asking if she’ll take responsibility if the project fails. He’s yelling by the time he’s finished and refuses to listen when she tries to say that she asked him where to go. He snarls that people who work hard but have no accomplishments are pathetic. Like her.

Fed up, Hye-jin gets her things out of Sung-joon’s car and says she’ll find her own way back to the office. But she stops him and offers to tell him the kind of person she hates the most — people who don’t listen to others and who look down on those who aren’t as skilled as they are. Like him.

She says that she asked him several times which airport to go to, and it was him who didn’t listen or answer her. She tells him this wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t ignore and belittle her at every turn. Good girl.

Ha-ri’s father comes to see her at work, and she looks wary but joins him for dinner. He apologizes for the slap, but when his wife calls Ha-ri notices that he doesn’t say he’s with her. Dad says that Ha-ri should apologize to her stepmother but she interrupts him — she was taught that the person who was wrong first should apologize. Dad says that Ha-ri should make the first move, and that’s enough to make Ha-ri stand and leave.

After work Hye-jin texts Ha-ri to meet for drinks, and sighs at the pouring rain. She watches as Sung-joon also leaves but jerks back out of the rain, and they both stand awkwardly, reluctant to step out into the downpour.

Hye-jin finally opens her umbrella, and it’s the same one that Sung-joon bought for Ha-ri/Hye-jin the night they met. It’s very distinctive, with a print of the Renoir painting “Dance in the Country” that reminds him of Hye-jin. Ha-ri had given it to Hye-jin, its rightful owner, and she only realizes that she’s using the umbrella from Sung-joon after she walks out into the rain. She turns back, but he’s already gone back inside.

She stops at a pojangmacha to wait for Ha-ri, but Ha-ri is swimming laps at the gym. She stops in the middle of the pool and slowly sinks to the bottom, curled into a tiny ball of hurt. On her way out she runs into Sung-joon who just joined the same gym, but she’s in no mood to talk. She starts to walk to her car, but Sung-joon pulls up and asks her to hang out a while. She tries to decline but he begs, so she finally relents.

Shin-hyuk apparently loves the rain, skipping through puddles and singing on his way home. He spots Hye-jin at the pojangmacha and joins her. She’s pretty drunk and attacks him for getting her stuck with the driving duty today.

Ha-ri notices a set of rackets in Sung-joon’s car, and he takes her to a grassy area to play. She tries again to tell him she’s not in the mood to hang out but he doesn’t listen, so she hits the ball with him.

Ha-ri drops the ball several times and complains that she’s at a disadvantage in her short skirt, so Sung-joon wraps his jacket around her waist. His close proximity seems to affect her, but he doesn’t make any other moves and they continue playing.

Later, Sung-joon mentions that he met her younger sister. Ha-ri plays along and even agrees to go out to dinner some time, the three of them, but the reminder that she’s not the real Hye-jin deflates her mood again.

Sung-joon finally asks why she was crying earlier — he could tell from her face. Ha-ri says it was nothing important, but when they see a happy little family walk by, Ha-ri asks what Sung-joon remembers most about his mother. He says he remembers her cutting his fingernails, which he still struggles with since he’s left-handed.

Ha-ri says softly that it must have been difficult not to have his mother, especially when he was young. He says that it helped that a nice girl named Kim Hye-jin was with him at that time. He smiles at the memory, but Ha-ri looks guilty.

Hye-jin is well and truly drunk by now, and she slurs to Shin-hyuk that she’s drinking because of that crazy Sung-joon. She stomps on the umbrella he gave her and vows to “tell him everything,” which prompts Shin-hyuk to note that she talks like she’s known him a long time. Hye-jin hollers that she does know him, but she passes out before she can say how.

Dying of curiosity, Shin-hyuk follows her as she staggers home, bellowing about Sung-joon all the way. She dumps out her entire purse on the ground looking for her phone, determined to call him right now and tell him the truth.

When Sung-joon takes her back to her car, Ha-ri tries one more time to come clean, but she ends up fibbing that she’s engaged. His face falls when she says she can’t see him anymore, but he suddenly asks when she’s taking him out for dinner, since she lost a bet on their game. Ugh, he doesn’t ever listen. After he leaves Ha-ri tells herself that she can just tell him the truth next time, but it seems to be getting harder for her to justify delaying it.

Hye-jin finds her phone and drunk dials Sung-joon, and she slurs at him in banmal while Shin-hyuk tries to keep her from falling over. He really should take her phone away, but he’s curious to hear what kind of past she has with their boss. She yells down the phone to Sung-joon that she’s Kim Hye-jin… THE Kim Hye-jin. He’s so shocked he has to pull over, and tells her to repeat that.

Hye-jin has the hangover from hell in the morning, and she doesn’t remember a thing from the night before. Ha-ri tells her that she came home making a loud scene and that she threw up all over Shin-hyuk, who took her all the way home. Ha-ri hadn’t quite seen his face as she’s wrestled with the flailing Hye-jin.

Hye-jin heads to work still feeling awful and takes a call from her mother, who tells her they’re having a little party to celebrate her employment. When Hye-jin hangs up and sees her call history, she’s horrified to see that she called Sung-joon last night. She suddenly remembers telling him that she’s the true Kim Hye-jin, and when Shin-hyuk walks past her, she asks him if she really called their boss last night.

He says that he does remember something, but he assures her that she didn’t say all that much. We see that she’d just yelled her name several times, which didn’t sound like much to Shin-hyuk, but he took her phone away when she started slinging insults. He’s still curious and digs for information, but now that she’s sober Hye-jin just tells him that she did it because Sung-joon is so mean.

Sung-joon sees them bickering and remembers the call last night, but of course all he heard (because he doesn’t listen) was Hye-jin calling him names. He’s cornered in the Most office by Chief Editor Kim, and tries to decline a party celebrating his collaboration success with James Taylor, but she says that she has something important to tell him.

For some reason she specifically tells Jun-woo that he has to come, which makes So-ri think that he’s the secret chaebol. She decides to focus her gold-digging on him from now on.

Hye-jin is told to take some files to Sung-joon, and she gathers her courage and apologizes for last night. He just says that she made a drunken mistake, and that he’ll pretend that nothing happened. He adds curtly that they’ll forget the airport incident as well.

That morning his regular barista had told him that when he’s focusing on something, he doesn’t hear or see anything else. Now he remembers Hye-jin saying that she asked him multiple times which airport and he didn’t answer her.

At the party that night, Chief Editor Kim notices that Sung-joon isn’t drinking, but he says he has things to do and needs to leave soon. She insists he have one drink before he goes and, annoyed, he kills it in one shot and leaves.

Shin-hyuk follows Hye-jin out when she gets a call from Ha-ri, so they both witness Sung-joon collapse like a rag doll. Shin-hyuk piggybacks him to his hotel, complaining the entire way, and whines for water when Hye-jin just wants to get out of there. She’s surprised to see nothing but water in his fridge.

Shin-hyuk somehow ends up with Sung-joon’s card key but decides to give it back to him later. Hye-jin is concerned with seeing only water in the fridge, realizing that she’s never seen Sung-joon eat. Shin-hyuk bounces around her trying to get her attention, and Hye-jin finally blows up at him.

She wails that he jokes all day and even got her in trouble by joking around, and he looks chastened as he stammers that he thinks of her as a little sister. She firmly tells him that she does NOT think of him as an oppa, and Shin-hyuk apologizes. Okay, puppy Shin-hyuk is annoying, but kicked-puppy Shin-hyuk makes me want to give him a hug.

Hye-jin continues, telling him to go bother his own little sister and leave her alone. She begins to storm off, and a small voice says from behind her, “She died. When she was six years old.” Oof.

When Hye-jin turns back around, Shin-hyuk smiles and says it’s nothing, and turns to go. Hye-jin is desperate to apologize but she can’t find her phone, and remembers that she set it down up in Sung-joon’s kitchen. The key card is in Shin-hyuk’s pocket so Hye-jin is reduced to trying random key codes on Sung-joon’s door, with no luck.

She gets a sudden idea and tries the date for International Left-handers’ Day, and it works. She creeps in and quickly grabs her phone, but knocks the glass from Shin-hyuk’s water off the counter. Moving fast, she catches it in midair.

Ha-ri is working late, and a coworker notices that an MP3 player that was reported lost was never claimed. She decides to return it to the customer’s room herself. On the way to the customer’s room, Ha-ri sees a man in sloppy clothes shuffling down the hall. She assumes he’s homeless and hustles him out, but a coworker sees her and tells her to apologize immediately — this is the long-term guest from the room that Ha-ri was just heading to.

Ha-ri realizes her mistake, and we only now see the man’s face… it’s Shin-hyuk! He doesn’t hold her slip-up against her and just takes his MP3 player back, but before he goes he comments that her voice sounds familiar.

In voice-over, Hye-jin says that when two people first meet, an intersection is created between them. At some times, those intersections are hard to see clearly — you can’t predict that a person’s existence will make things more complicated in the future.

In Sung-joon’s suite, Hye-jin notices his framed puzzle of “Dance in the Country” with the one missing piece. She leans down to gently touch the puzzle, but Sung-joon suddenly comes up behind her and demands to know what she’s doing. In surprise, Hye-jin knocks the frame off the table, shattering it and the puzzle inside.

She whirls around to find Sung-joon standing very close, and she starts to step backwards — into the broken glass, with her bare feet. Sung-joon quickly grabs her and yanks her forward, right into his arms.

COMMENTS

Shin-hyuk is still killing me, especially now that we’re learning a bit about him personally — this guy is just the sweetest thing. I love how he already likes Hye-jin so much, just exactly how she is. He seems to find her more endearing the quirkier she is, which is fantastic and wonderful because it means he sees who she is and appreciates her. He doesn’t need her to change in order to like her, not like SOME people, and I love how he seeks her out so often. It speaks highly of the person Shin-hyuk is under all that silliness and immaturity, though I’ll admit that that childlike, carefree air that he has about him is a big part of what makes him so adorable. Now I’m ready for Hye-jin to see it, and stop thinking of him just as that weird guy at work, which I hope this misunderstanding will accomplish. Ooooh crap, there it is — the Second Lead Syndrome. It’s got me.

I’m getting a little less tolerant of Sung-joon’s treatment of the Most team, who really seem like a talented and nice group of people. I know that his strategy is to push them hard to do their best because he believes they can, but it’s making me uncomfortable how abusive he can be (though I believe it’s supposed to, for reasons I’ll explain soon). Constructive criticism is one thing, and being a tough boss is sometimes necessary for the sake of success, but calling people names and refusing to even read their reports if it takes longer than three minutes isn’t the way to motivate people. I was willing to let him slide for a few episodes thinking that we’d see him relax a bit once he’d settled in at Most, but he really doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Shin-hyuk has a point and I’m glad he voiced it — how are they expected to feel comfortable enough to do their work in such an atmosphere?

But Sung-joon’s biggest fault, that’s already driving me crazy, seems to be that he doesn’t listen — not to his employees, not to Hye-jin, and not even to Ha-ri. She’s made several huge slip-ups that would make anyone wonder if this was really their childhood friend, and he’s just not hearing her. Even when she tried to tell him multiple times that she didn’t feel like hanging out, he ignored her wishes and did what he wanted anyway (and I don’t think it makes it better that she eventually relaxed and enjoyed herself — the lady said no, more than once, and he should have respected that). He didn’t listen when Hye-jin asked where she should drive him and it nearly caused a huge problem at work, then he didn’t listen when she tried to explain. He’s got a bad habit of ignoring people, even putting himself in danger by blocking out the world (he’s going to break his nose if he doesn’t stop walking into windows), and he’s not going to ever make a connection with anyone until he breaks that habit and starts to engage with others.

I’m starting to think, especially with the few little hints we’ve had, that something terrible happened to Sung-joon in America (not to mention possibly developing an eating disorder). We know he’s a sweet person deep down, because he was such an adorable little dude when he was a kid and seemed quite sensitive, so seeing him grow up to be this man who seems to have no compassion whatsoever just feels wrong. We see him soften around Ha-ri, so that side of him isn’t completely gone, but I’m guessing that he had something happen to him while he was away that made him put up all these walls. It sounds mean but I actually hope that’s the case, because he’d better have a damn good excuse for the way he treats his coworkers, and especially Hye-jin. I want him to be wounded, because without some really extenuating circumstance, if I see him being hateful to people much longer I’m going to have a hard time forgiving him later. He’s lucky that he does have that history with Hye-jin because I think that, by the time he realizes who she truly is and wants to make amends, that history is going to be the only reason she’s willing to give him the time of day.

I’ma bit disappointed that we have four episodes under our belt but our main couple still hasn’t done much besides yell at each other. They’ve spent more time with the second leads at this point, especially Sung-joon and Ha-ri. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the show was going in totally different directions with the pairings, and I hope that Sung-joon and Hye-rin’s relationship kicks in soon. Sung-joon does seem to be at least thinking about how he treats Hye-jin, which is good. But not much has happened plot-wise since the first episode, and we aren’t any closer to Sung-joon discovering the truth about Hye-jin and Ha-ri than we were three episodes ago. It’s to the show’s credit that I almost didn’t notice there’s been very little forward plot-movement, because whatever faults it may have, the show is just so darn cute that I’m enjoying it anyway. But as Shin-hyuk just learned, cute only gets you so far, so I hope that next week we start to see something actually happen to bring Sung-joon and Hye-jin together.

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127 October 2, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 5

by LollyPip

The funny thing about lies is, once you tell one, they have a way of multiplying. Pretty soon you’re trapped by them with no way out but to tell the truth… but what if that truth is more painful than the lies? Ha-ri’s got herself in quite a bind and needs to find a way out that doesn’t involve digging herself in deeper. Meanwhile Sung-joon is getting closer to the truth, and tiny doubts start to grow — he won’t be able to ignore them for much longer.

EPISODE 5 RECAP

Hye-jin tries to sneak into Sung-joon’s suite to retrieve her phone, and a childhood memory reminds her of his favorite day of the year — International Left-hander’s Day. He’d used the date for all of his combinations, so much that Hye-jin had assumed it was his birthday and gotten him a cake. Sure enough, he’s still using it, and she gets into the suite.

While she grabs her phone she doesn’t notice that Sung-joon is starting to wake from his drunken stupor. He sees her leaning close to his puzzle of “Dance in the Country,” the one missing a piece, and comes up behind her to ask what she’s doing here.

It startles Hye-jin and she knocks the puzzle to the ground, smashing the glass frame to bits. She starts to step back away from Sung-joon and nearly steps barefooted in the shards, but he quickly grabs her and pulls her away from the glass — and very close to himself.

But the moment only lasts a second, and he lets go of her and asks again why she’s in his home. Hye-jin is so flustered that she can only stammer out random words that make no sense, but somehow Sung-joon interprets exactly what she’s saying.

She tries to clean up the mess she made of the puzzle but Sung-joon stops her, and she manages to run out without breaking anything else, though she does accidentally walk out wearing one of his shoes, ha. He just sticks her shoe out the door and Hye-jin’s humiliation is complete.

Ha-ri eyes a fancy pair of shoes and decides to buy them, though they don’t have them in her size. The only pair are slightly too small but she takes them anyway, even when the saleswoman warns her they also run small. But what Ha-ri loves, Ha-ri gets.

After, she goes to her “favorite place,” which turns out to be Hye-jin’s family’s home. Awww. Clearly Hye-jin’s parents see her as another daughter, and she has dinner with them like one of the family. They barely notice when Hye-jin comes in, grumpy that this is supposed to be her Finally Got A Job party and they all started eating without her.

Hye-rin is a real snot, so Hye-jin snipes at her to enjoy being pretty while she can. Wasn’t she about Hye-rin’s age when her looks started to disappear? Furious, Hye-rin fumes that she’ll never look like Hye-jin.

Hye-jin comments that they both take after their father, but Mom defends her husband, saying that in her eyes there’s nobody as handsome. The family banter back and forth while Ha-ri looks a little wistful.

As she flips through an old writing tablet, something falls out of the pages — a puzzle piece, the one from Sung-joon’s puzzle with the hidden lady’s face. She remembers the day Sung-joon left for America, when he’d pressed the piece into her hand and turned to go, then run back for a quick kiss. He’d thanked her for being his umbrella, and promised to be her umbrella the next time they met.

Now we see that on the back of the puzzle piece, Sung-joon had drawn a tiny umbrella. Why does that break my heart a little? Hye-jin muses that all those years ago, they couldn’t have imagined meeting again like this.

On the drive home, Hye-jin gets a call from Seul, the office gold-digger (who I was mistakenly calling So-ri, whoops!). She needs some files from the office but she’s in a very important meeting (a mani-pedi, naturally) and tells Hye-jin to go to the office and email them to her.

Ha-ri fusses at Hye-jin for being too nice but heads to the office, and Hye-jin starts to car-dance to a favorite song of theirs. Ha-ri isn’t charmed and orders Hye-jin to call Seul back and refuse to do her work for her, but when Hye-jin begins to sing along, Ha-ri gets into the cute song as well.

In the now-quiet house, Hye-jin’s mother sends a text to her old friend, Ha-ri’s mother, with a picture of Ha-ri with Hye-jin’s whole family. She tells her that her daughter is just like her, and promises to keep her updated. I had assumed Ha-ri’s mom was dead, but I suppose she’s just gone away?

Hye-jin sends Seul the email and doesn’t even get a thanks for it, and she notices that Sung-joon left the lights in his office on. She goes in and takes a minute to mimic him with his fussy little timer, then breaks the arm off a mannequin.

A phone rings and Hye-jin hears Sung-joon’s voice, and she hides in the closet just before he walks in. He assures the person on the other line in English that Most Korea will not be closing down in three months.

It’s a very close call when Sung-joon slides open the closet door to grab his coat, but he doesn’t open it far enough to see Hye-jin. Except that he did, and he slams the door open, and Hye-jin shrieks and throws the mannequin arm at him. HA, that was great.

Hye-jin haltingly explains that she was just here to turn off the light, more interested in how much of his phone conversation she understood. She picked up enough to know that Most is in danger, so Sung-joon tells her that if anyone from the team learns this, he’ll assume the information came from her and hold her responsible.

As Hye-jin scurries out her purse catches in the door, and she assumes it’s Sung-joon stopping her. She repeats that she won’t tell anyone, then realizes to her mortification that she’s talking to a door, and Sung-joon is just nodding his head like he expects this kind of thing from her by now. She wrenches free and runs, not noticing when the missing puzzle piece falls out of her purse.

Sung-joon runs into Ha-ri at the gym again, and though she’s already finished her workout, she says that she just got there and joins him. She struggles to keep up, and Sung-joon definitely notices. As they leave she offers Sung-joon a ride home, but he declines since she seems so tired.

She wears up and down that she’s not the least bit tired and heads for her car, but Sung-joon stops her to point out an eyelash on her face. He leans in close to get it for her and tells her to make a wish and blow it away — something they used to do as kids. Ha-ri can’t think of a wish so Sung-joon makes one for her. Nearby Joon-woo comes by with his bike and sees Sung-joon and Ha-ri, surprised that the boss apparently has a girlfriend.

During the car ride there’s a bit of a tangle of arms because of Sung-joon’s lefthandedness, and he gets excited when a song he likes comes on the radio. He sings along in this horrible screech, evidently completely tone-deaf, which is simultaneously hilarious and adorable. Ha-ri gets the giggles at Sung-joon’s hideous singing, which just prompts him to sing louder. Aww, I love this playful side of him.

At home Hye-jin comments on how long Ha-ri’s workout took tonight, and Ha-ri again doesn’t take the opportunity to come clean. Hye-jin mentions that Sung-joon was at the office when she got there, making Ha-ri even more uncomfortable.

The next day at work Ha-ri sees Shin-hyuk leaving for work, and wonders why someone would live at a hotel for nearly a year. The hotel just assumes he’s a chaebol, but nobody knows anything about him.

He startles Ha-ri by popping up right in her face, recognizing her as the employee who thought he was homeless. He pretends to have been really hurt by that, but declares them even since she found his MP3 player. He even high-fives and fistbumps her, and she thinks he doesn’t seem much like a chaebol.

At the street corner, Sung-joon is surprised out of his engrossment in his reading by Hye-jin’s chirpy, “It’s a go!” again this morning. This time he sees her in the crowd and frowns in confusion. They end up in the same elevator again and give each other weird side-eyes, both wary of the other.

Sung-joon notices a bandage on Hye-jin’s hand, knowing she cut herself on the broken glass at his place. She catches him looking at her and it makes him unaccountably skittish, and he starts to ask about the glass but he’s saved when the elevator doors open. Ha, he dashes out of there so fast.

It’s only now that Hye-jin realizes that she doesn’t have her puzzle piece anymore, and knows immediately that she must have lost it when she was wrestling with Sung-joon’s office door. She crawls through the office and finally locates it under a cabinet. She pushes it out with a ruler but Poong-ho kicks it, under the glass and right into Sung-joon’s office, where he steps on it and it sticks to his shoe.

Since he’s in there she needs an excuse to go in, so she grabs the mail and hand-delivers it to Sung-joon. Crawling under his desk doesn’t work so she tries a different tactic, offering to shine his shoes for him, but he turns her down (and gets stuck shining Poong-ho’s shoes, which she somehow catches on fire).

Sung-joon finally leaves his office and the puzzle piece unsticks from his shoe just as he’s walking past Hye-jin’s desk. He feels something strange and stops, but as he’s turning around, Shin-hyuk flies over and grabs him in a dramatic hug, HAHAHA.

Shin-hyuk smoothly slides the puzzle piece under his own shoe while Sung-joon flails at him, and when Sung-joon breaks free, Shin-hyuk says it was for an article he’s writing on bromance. OMG, I’m dying. He tries for another hug but gets smacked away.

Shin-hyuk shows Hye-jin proudly that he saved her puzzle piece, then slides it back to his desk with him. He makes her take him to a pojangmacha before he hands it over, explaining that he overheard her asking the cleaning lady about it.

Shin-hyuk asks if she’ll be found out as Sung-joon’s first love if he sees the puzzle piece, which shocks Hye-jin into silence. It turns out that the night she got so drunk and yelled the truth down the phone to Sung-joon, the call was disconnected, but she’d hollered out the whole story before collapsing.

Hye-jin actually relaxes, glad to be unburdened of her secret to at least one person. Shin-hyuk assumes she’s keeping the secret because of the boss/employee imbalance, but she says she’s not the popular, smart, beautiful girl Sung-joon remembers anymore.

When she tells him she used to be pretty, Shin-hyuk says in a quiet voice, “You still are, now.” Hye-jin assume she’s being kind though he insists it’s true, and she apologizes for what she said about his little sister. He’s just so cheerful all the time, she didn’t think he’d have that sort of sorrow.

She tells Shin-hyuk that from now on he can think of her as his little sister, and she’ll treat him as an oppa. She addresses him as “orabeoni,” the formal version of “oppa,” which makes him grin with happiness, and how are you two so cute??

Sung-joon happens to drive past just as Hye-jin is feeding Shin-hyuk a lettuce wrap, and watches them for a long moment with a strange expression. He drives away looking unsettled, while Shin-hyuk asks what Hye-jin will do if Sung-joon recognizes her. She tells him that won’t happen, because Sung-joon thinks his first love is someone else.

Today at the gym Ha-ri watches the door, hoping that Sung-joon will show up while she’s there. After she goes to the convenience store and runs into Shin-hyuk, who’s short on change, and pays for his items as well. They sit on a bench outside while he eats his ramyun, Ha-ri watching hungrily.

Soon she’s slurping down his ramyun, and she takes a call from Hye-jin. She calls her “wife” as usual which gives Shin-hyuk the wrong idea about her sexual preferences, so she explains that it’s just a pet name. They walk back to the hotel, Ha-ri berating herself for eating so much, and Shin-hyuk tosses her some gum and a blinding smile before going inside.

At work the next day Hye-jin picks up some dry cleaning, and in the pocket is a reciept with a cute little cartoon of her on the back. Cartoon Ha-ri is yelling, “Disgraceful, disgraceful!” like she did when she beat up the pervert in the bar, and she knows it’s from Sung-joon and smiles.

She goes on a date that night with a random suitor, wearing her new shoes that are a bit too small (but so pretty!). She doesn’t feel like doing the usual things, and asks her date to take her to the Han River to play speedminton like she did with Sung-joon.

Her date takes it to the dirty place, offering more fun ways to sweat if that’s what she wants, and Ha-ri grows annoyed. Can’t he just take her for a nice meal and talk? She turns on the radio and hears the song that Sung-joon sang for her, then at a crosswalk she looks up to see him crossing the street.

Ha-ri jumps out of the car and follows Sung-joon, and as she runs she remembers Hye-jin telling her that true love is when you miss a person, and you’re happy when you’re with them. You want to do everything with them, and you see them even from a distance. But her too-small shoes pinch, and Ha-ri has to stop while Sung-joon walks on.

The next morning the shoes are in the garbage, and Ha-ri finds Shin-hyuk to ask him to do something for her. She doesn’t want to be greedy for “the wrong shoes” anymore, and asks for his help. We don’t hear her request, but later we learn that she asks him to come with her tonight to meet a man, and pretend to be her fiance.

It’s lunchtime at Most, and the whole office goes out together — without Sung-joon. Hye-jin feels uncomfortable not even inviting him, but she bows to peer pressure and goes with the group. She spends the whole meal worrying about Sung-joon alone at the office, with no friends and nobody to eat with, while Shin-hyuk watches her closely.

Joon-woo tells everyone that the boss has a girlfriend, and they all wonder how that’s possible with his prickly personality. Hye-jin droops as he goes on about how beautiful the “girlfriend” is, and Shin-hyuk argues that just because they were together doesn’t mean they’re dating.

Ha-ri calls Sung-joon (who’s having coffee for lunch, and now I’m really concerned) to ask him to meet up tonight. He goes back to the Most office, and overhears Seul bragging on the phone to a friend that she got the stupid new intern to do her work for her over the weekend, and he doesn’t look pleased.

On the way back to the office, Hye-jin grabs a sandwich for Sung-joon, which is so sweet. She leaves the food on his desk, and it’s the first thing he sees after hearing that Seul took advantage of her. He hears Seul giving Hye-jin another task that should be hers, but he snaps the blinds closed when Hye-jin sees him watching her.

That night Seul follows Joon-woo when he heads home, looking predatory and reminding Hye-jin that she has to finish the project before she can leave. Reporter Cha spills her coffee in her haste to get to a meeting so Hye-jin offers to clean it, but her cut finger stings when the hot coffee hits it.

She looks up to see Sung-joon watching her, and he gets upset that she’s always offering to do things for everyone else. He tells her to get a new bandage, framing it as if she’ll soil things by touching them with an old bandage. She doesn’t know where the fresh bandages are which annoys him even more, and he drags her over to the first aid kit, complaining nonstop.

She fumbles with with the packaging with her sore finger so he pulls her back to him by the hoodie, and shows her how to open it. She screws it up again (it’s hard to put a bandage on a finger on your dominant hand!) so he fixes it, groaning that she can’t do anything right, but with the cutest look of concern on his face. He’s such a mother hen right now.

It’s raining again when Hye-jin finally heads home, and she covers her head with her hoodie and runs out into the rain with a rebel yell. Meanwhile Sung-joon is driving home and passes a terrible accident, and he’s riveted by the sight of an injured woman still in the overturned car.

He remembers an eerily similar accident when he was a child, when it had been his mother in that car. Back in the present, adult Sung-joon starts to have a panic attack, and he stops to get out of the car to try to get some air.

On her bus heading home, Hye-jin sees Sung-joon collapse in the middle of the street. She goes to him but he’s practically catatonic by now — Hye-jin sees the nearby accident and knows exactly what’s happening. She takes off her hoodie and holds it over both of them, telling Sung-joon to look at her and not the accident. She soothingly repeats that it will be okay, and Sung-joon finally turns his face to her. Oof, he looks so lost.

While Ha-ri and Shin-hyuk wait awkwardly for Sung-joon to show up, Sung-joon kneels in the street staring at Hye-jin. He remembers this exact situation when they were children, when Hye-jin had promised to be his umbrella from now on. He reaches up to caress her face, whispering, “Hye-jin-ah…” and Hye-jin’s eyes widen.

Lost in each other, neither Sung-joon nor Hye-jin notices the truck barreling down on them.

COMMENTS

What a sweet moment, if it weren’t for the imminent mortal danger — though I’m sure Sung-joon and Hye-jin will be fine. I’d love it if Sung-joon really realized that this is his Hye-jin, but it feels like he’s not really seeing her right now, but the Hye-jin from his memory. I don’t think Sung-joon is in this moment at all, and that he’ll soon wake up and go back to thinking Ha-ri is his Hye-jin, but it’s a lovely tease for when he does finally learn the truth.

I’m glad that Ha-ri has decided to do something about her growing crush on Sung-joon, because I’m getting worried about her continued lying that she’s Hye-jin. Let’s be honest, the best thing about this dramaverse so far is her and Hye-jin’s friendship, not to mention how Hye-jin’s family has taken her in as one of their own, loving her like their own daughter. This betrayal could blow up not only the close bond between Ha-ri and Hye-jin, but it could very well cost Ha-ri the only healthy familial relationships she’s got. I can certainly understand why she’s intrigued with Sung-joon, because he’s probably the first man to treat her like a person rather than arm-candy and something to fondle at the end of the night. He doesn’t even push the moment the couple of times they’ve gotten physically close — he always backs away immediately. He’s respectful of her, which she probably hasn’t experienced from a man she’s dating in quite some time, if ever.

That’s why I’m glad she’s finally met Shin-hyuk, because he would also treat her as a person and not an accessory. He’s not immune to her looks — he’s mentioned them several times — but he’s also not influenced by them. He talks to her like a normal person instead of a conquest or a goddess to worship. And it’s obvious that Ha-ri likes him already, at least on a personal level, because that smile on her face after eating ramyun with him could have outshone the sun. She certainly hasn’t smiled like that with Sung-joon, because she knows deep down that he thinks she’s someone else, and doesn’t really know her at all. He’s interacting with her as if she’s Hye-jin, and while Shin-hyuk may not know her very well (yet), he does know who she truly is.

I know that the general consensus is that Sung-joon and Ha-ri match each other better than Sung-joon and Hye-jin, but I think that they’re actually too alike to work out long-term. They’re both very internal people, keeping their true selves hidden, and that could spell trouble if both halves of a couple aren’t able to share easily. In that vein I think that Hye-jin is a much better match for Sung-joon, because she’s so open and dynamic, she could pull him out of his shell (and you could say the same thing for Shin-hyuk and Ha-ri).

I’m finding Sung-joon more likable now that he’s not being so outright cruel to Hye-jin… he’s still not being nice, or even neutral, but at least he’s not hitting below the belt anymore. It’s definitely been frustrating to watch him acting so mean to her, and the rest of the Most team, when I still believe that he’s that nice kid underneath. It’s telling that he’s starting to watch Hye-jin and notice her, and even gets upset when he feels she’s being taken advantage of. It’s not love yet, but, baby steps.

You can already start to see the little subconscious connections that Sung-joon feels to Hye-jin, though he’s totally unaware of them right now. The way he completely understood her gibberish when she was trying to tell him that he passed out and she took him home is a great example. Then when Hye-jin immediately knew that Sung-joon was in trouble and why, and what to do, is another great example of how their connection as children carries through to the present. I appreciate that this isn’t just a rehashing of the old “they met as children once, so they’re fated to be together” trope, but that Sung-joon and Hye-jin’s history together actually has meaning and depth that carries through to the present day. In addition to informing who they are as adults, it also will help frame their current relationship once all the identity secrets are out. They “get” each other, though they don’t know it yet, and it will be fun seeing that play out once Sung-joon knows she’s the real Hye-jin.

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199 October 4, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 6

by LollyPip

There’s nothing better to spark a romance than a healthy dose of jealousy, and poor Sung-joon never even sees it coming. Even worse when the person making him so jealous wants nothing more than to be his new bestie. He’s also starting to feel that something about this whole Hye-jin situation is terribly wrong, but one person’s bad decision could halt his discovery of the truth in its tracks.

EPISODE 6 RECAP

Kneeling in the rainy street, Sung-joon cups Hye-jin’s face gently — and they’re nearly mowed down by a giant truck. Hye-jin hustles the stricken Sung-joon to a nearby bus stop and fusses over him, wondering if she should take him to the hospital.

Sung-joon gathers his wits enough to tell her she can go, but he’s clearly not well enough to get himself home. She notices his balled-up fists and gets him a driver, asking them to take good care of him. Awww.

Ha-ri is still waiting with Shin-hyuk for Sung-joon to show up, so she calls him, but the driver answers his phone and tells her he’s sick and being taken home. She runs out leaving Shin-hyuk complaining about getting dressed up for nothing, but he takes advantage of the moment to take some selfies. Because of course he does.

Ha-ri pounds on Sung-joon’s door, which he eventually answers only to collapse in her arms. She gets him to the sofa and destroys his kitchen trying to make soup, and he recovers enough to join her and ask how she came to be here. He apologizes, looking pitiful and weak, and asks why she wanted to see him. She fibs that she just wanted to return his jacket.

Hye-jin dries her hair, wondering why Sung-joon touched her face and looked at her that way. She gets a little dreamy thinking about it (well, who wouldn’t?) and wonders if she looked pretty. She knocks sense back into herself and wonders if Sung-joon caught a cold, obsessing over whether she should take him some medicine.

She gets a call from Shin-hyuk, who invites his new dongsaeng out. She says she has something to do and nearly asks him a favor, but she backs down, which has him curious. He teases it out of her but busts a gut when she asks him to take Sung-joon some medicine, so she quickly backpedals.

Shin-hyuk is annoyed that nothing is going right today, but he’s mostly frustrated on Hye-jin’s behalf. He mutters to the empty room that even if she goes to Sung-joon, nothing good will happen. He can’t stand it and calls her back, saying that he’s not the kind of person to run other people’s errands, but he’ll do this for her. Okay, you are TOO sweet.

He’s not doing it for free though — he never does — and asks what she plans to do for him, demanding three favors from her in exchange for this one. Hye-jin knows it’s not a fair trade but she hastily agrees when Shin-hyuk threatens to hang up, and he makes her swear an oath. Ha, that’s going to bite her in the butt later.

Meanwhile Ha-ri finishes her cooking, but Sung-joon’s fallen asleep on the couch. She watches him sleep for a moment then leaves, running into Shin-hyuk in the elevator, and they both gape in surprise to see each other here. They’re both vague about why they’re here, and leave each other with an awkward high-five.

Shin-hyuk gets no answer at Sung-joon’s door, though he hilariously tries calling him differently each time he knocks (~knock knock~ “Deputy Chief Ji?” ~knock knock~ “Ji Sung-joon?” ~knock knock~ “Sung-joon-ah!”). He remembers that he still has Sung-joon’s key card and lets himself in, seeing Sung-joon still sleeping on the couch. He notices the puzzle (now unassembled in a glass jar) and figures this is the puzzle that matches Hye-jin’s lone piece.

He tells Sung-joon the truth about Hye-jin even though he’s asleep, then sees the soup that Ha-ri made, on the table waiting to be eaten. It smells completely inedible, so he switches it out with the good porridge that he brought. He gets Sung-joon a cool towel for his forehead, clucking like a mother hen.

Before he knows it, Shin-hyuk is spoon-feeding Sung-joon, grumbling the whole time, which is just the sweetest thing ever. I love this guy.

Sung-joon wakes the next morning and hears someone in the apartment with him, immediately thinking, “Hye-jin!” What a shock to turn and see… Shin-hyuk in his robe. HAHA. He immediately figures out that Hye-jin sent him and gripes about her meddling, but he’s shocked again when he realizes that Shin-hyuk is also wearing his underpants. OMG.

He tells Shin-hyuk to take them off right now, then takes it back when Shin-hyuk is only too happy to oblige. Sung-joon is all Don’t take them off, don’t return them, EVER, hee. Shin-hyuk starts breakfast with a saucy little butt-waggle, while Sung-joon can only stare in horror.

Hye-jin is sneezing at breakfast, and Ha-ri asks if she “also” has a cold. Hye-jin wonders who else Ha-ri knows who’s sick, so Ha-ri fudges that a lot of people are sick right now, and rushes to pack Hye-jin a healthy lunch.

Shin-hyuk texts Hye-jin to tell her that “dongsaeng’s first love” is feeling much better today. At the same time, Ha-ri gets a text from Sung-joon apologizing for falling asleep, and thanking her for the porridge. That’s strange, since she made him soup, but she brushes it off.

Shin-hyuk follows Sung-joon to work, singing the praises of his fantastically comfortable American knickers, even begging for a few more pair. Sung-joon loses his temper, and I’m dying seeing him yelling, “Panty! Panty!” in the lobby of his workplace.

He growls at Shin-hyuk to shut up, and Shin-hyuk whines that they should be closer now that they’ve spent the night together. Sung-joon looks like he’s in a living nightmare as Shin-hyuk chases him (did he just grab his butt?) to the elevator.

Sung-joon ends up following Hye-jin into the office, triggering memories of his panic attack the night before. He only now recalls touching her face and startles himself, feeling awkward in front of her, and covers his nerves by fussing at her for sending Shin-hyuk to his place.

Just as he’s winding up a good rant, Hye-jin sneezes right in his face. She tries to wipe the snot off him with her sleeves and he bats her away, and Hye-jin starts yet another work day in humiliation. Shin-hyuk finds Sung-joon still in the hall and cozies up to him just to see him get nervous, giggling that he’s fun to tease.

Hye-jin sneezes all over her coworkers and they all treat her like she’s plagued — nobody has time to get sick with their looming deadline. Shin-hyuk stands up for her until she nearly sneezes on him, then he hides behind the copier, ha.

Sung-joon hears her sneezing and sees everyone wearing masks and spraying the air, and awwww, he goes out to buy medicine for her. It’s hilarious how he tries to get it to her without anyone noticing him being nice, having to swerve and hide whenever someone comes near.

He’s sniped by Shin-hyuk, who brings Hye-jin medicine, a mask (aww, he drew a puppy face on it), and a cold pack for her forehead. When he leaves, Sung-joon thunders HEY INTERN at Hye-jin, but when she looks at him wearing that puppy mask he nearly loses his train of thought. He sternly asks where those notes are, and Hye-jin wonders what he’s talking about — there was no meeting today. Whoopsie.

He claims he meant yesterday’s minutes and she says she left them on his desk, and it’s hilarious watching him struggle to hold onto his poker face. He finally leaves, and Shin-hyuk comes back to tell her the cold medicine may make her drowsy. I love how Hye-jin smiles that he’s taking care of her now that they’re friends.

Sung-joon heads out of the office and makes it to the elevator when Shin-hyuk coming blazing down the hall, and he quickly pushes the “close door” button, ha. He gives Shin-hyuk a snarky eyebrow and giggles on the way down, then takes a call from Ha-ri.

She tells him to lunch at the same soup place he took her before, since she always feels better after eating there, and he invites her to join him so he can repay her for the porridge. It’s raining again when Ha-ri leaves to meet Sung-joon, and she remembers happily playing in the rain as a child with her mother. Sung-joon finds her and complains about the rain, but frowns when he notices that she seems to love it.

He’s confused, and mentions how she used to hate the rain, and she just says that she feels different now. The light changes and Ha-ri says, “It’s a green light!” and starts across. But Sung-joon is troubled, because he knows that Hye-jin always said, “It’s a go!” when the light changed.

Back at the office, Joon-woo is excited over news of an anticipated new book’s release. They talk about the author, who writes in English but is rumored to be a Korean ajumma. That sparks a discussion about pen names, which seems to make Shin-hyuk thoughtful about something.

Hye-jin finds an onion on her desk, which Shin-hyuk claims is a million-won Italian onion they’re going to use in a photo shoot. Hye-jin falls for it and he laughs at her gullability. Hye-jin takes Sung-joon’s mail to his office (why is it always so dark in there?) and notices the website he’s got pulled up on his computer, which outlines a folk remedy of leaving an onion nearby when you’re sick to lesson the severity of the illness. She realizes Sung-joon must have left the onion, and smiles.

The office is empty when Sung-joon returns, but he sees the onion in a glass of water on Hye-jin’s desk, complete with a cute smiley-face drawn on it. He smiles at it, but frowns again when a flash goes off in his face. It’s Chief Editor Kim, crowing that she’s finally seeing his beautiful smile for the first time.

She asks what happened to make him so happy — is he dating? He denies it but she’s not buying it, and he just coughs nervously and flees to his office, denying that he smiled. Ha, he points to Onion Head and warns him not to smile, either.

Everyone heads home at the end of the day except Hye-jin who, despite being sick, is given a project to complete before morning. She remembers the medicine from Shin-hyuk and takes some, and soon she’s nodding off at her computer. I know that feeling.

She tries chewing gum to stay awake, which works for about five seconds, and Sung-joon leaves his office to see her head lolling back and forth. She starts to tumble out of her chir and he catches her head on reflex, holding veeery still so as not to wake her.

Ah-reum comes in wearing a skin mask like something from a horror movie, and when she speaks it scares Sung-joon so badly he drops Hye-jin. He whirls around and sees Ah-reum, gets scared a second time, and sits in Hye-jin’s lap. He swears he wasn’t scared at all, and Hye-jin has to poke him to get off her, hee.

Hye-jin heads home, nodding off again while waiting for the bus. Sung-joon sees her from his car, struggling to stay awake and coughing miserably. Her bus arrives, but she falls asleep again on her seatmate’s shoulder.

She gets a new seatmate at the next stop, and her head rolls onto his shoulder too. This time there’s no objection, because it’s Sung-joon, here to make sure she gets home safely. She never realizes it’s him, and she makes her drop off while he wonders where he is.

On his way home Sung-joon makes a call to what sounds like a therapist in the States. He asks about old trauma returning under stress, and is advised to avoid the stress at all costs.

He mentions that a stranger seems to keep overlapping with someone he used to know, while the person he thought he knew feels like the stranger. The therapist says it’s normal for a person to change as they get older, while we’re treated to a broody shower.

The therapist says that being hung up on your first love is a form of Zeigarnik Effect (experiencing intrusive thoughts about something gone unfinished). It’s not Fate, or because he still loves her, but just that he never got to see the relationship through to the end. He’s advised to move out of the past, and live in the now.

Ha-ri finds Hye-jin resting on a swing at the park, and the two friends get a little exercise. Hye-jin tells her friend the secret about Most, that it may be discontinued in a few months if they can’t raise their sale numbers. Ha-ri asks what will happen to Sung-joon but Hye-jin doesn’t know.

Shin-hyuk snacks on sausage sticks and beer, staring at his phone, wondering if he should call Hye-jin to check on her. His beer is swiped right out of his hand by Ha-ri, and she sits and tells him that she needed his help because she’s been lying to someone. It’s someone she shouldn’t see, but she’s falling for him.

Shin-hyuk asks if he’s married or a convict, or maybe underage? Ha-ri denies that so Shin-hyuk doesn’t see the problem, and tells her to just keep seeing him. Love is crazy, so don’t make it so complicated and just go for it.

Ha-ri goes back to work looking for her discarded metaphor shoes, and luckily (or unluckily) the maintenance woman rescued them since they were so new. Ha-ri thinks to herself that she may get hurt, but she wants to give this a shot.

At home Hye-jin contemplates her puzzle piece, and we see that when Sung-joon caught her head when she toppled over, she’d woken and seen his face reflected in her mirror. She’d feigned sleep to avoid an awkward moment, and now she presses her hand to her chest, feeling her heart pound.

In his suite, Sung-joon makes his own Onion Head, grinning at it adorably. During the meeting the next day he can scarcely concentrate for staring at Hye-jin, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Shin-hyuk.

Sung-joon finally snaps out of it and asks about an upcoming business trip, which was supposed to be prepared by him, Reporter Cha, and Ah-reum. Ah-reum has to bow out for a photo shoot, and Seul doesn’t want to, so she suggests sending Hye-jin. But Cha decides to take Joon-woo, and suddenly Seul wants to go too. You’re so not subtle.

Ha-ri sees the puzzle piece that Hye-jin left on her dresser, and remembers the night she met Sung-joon when he mentioned the puzzle. She recalls how emotional it made him and contemplates the puzzle piece, and don’t you even dare. She and Sung-joon have a date that night, and Ha-ri’s stepmother happens to see them and wonder why that man calls Ha-ri, “Hye-jin.”

Ha-ri shows Sung-joon the puzzle piece, saying that she just found it, and the umbrella on the back proves it’s the same piece. Sung-joon is stunned, having just started to suspect that this isn’t his Hye-jin, but the puzzle piece seems to contradict that. He actually looks a little disappointed to see the puzzle piece in her possession.

Ha-ri is confronted in the restroom by her stepmother, who comments on her lying to a man about her name. She asks if she’s lying about anything else, and wonders what kind of man Sung-joon is to necessitate lying.

Ha-ri just says there’s a good reason for it, and to pretend she didn’t see her. She even begs, and we don’t hear Stepmom’s answer, but Ha-ri suddenly runs out and asks Sung-joon to come with her, now.

Stepmom is right behind her and cryptically says to Sung-joon that they seem to suit each other, and that she’ll see him again. Ha-ri storms out with Sung-joon chasing her, and he asks who that woman was. She tearfully tells him not to call her “Hye-jin,” resting her head on his shoulder and asking him to just stay here for a minute, and not to ask her anything today. Sung-joon feels awkward, but pats her back sweetly.

The real Hye-jin is at home, daydreaming about catching Sung-joon staring at her during the meeting, when Ha-ri comes home. Hye-jin fusses over her like a mom, which makes Ha-ri smile at the same time as she feels guilty over what she did tonight.

At bedtime Ha-ri asks to sleep with Hye-jin, and they end up in a cute tickle fight. Later Ha-ri asks Ha-ri why she’s more quiet than usual, knowing her well enough to know she has something to tell her. Ha-ri admits that she does, but says she’ll tell her everything later.

That night Sung-joon puts his puzzle back together and reframes it, but he no longer looks happy about it. He throws away his Onion Head, and goes to bed.

He storms into the office the next morning all business, and Chief Editor Kim makes her daily Grand Entrance after him. Hye-jin takes her some papers to sign, and Kim asks her how long until she becomes more Most-like. Ha. Hye-jin says she’s been making an effort, but Kim tells her to have a better sense of style.

Shin-hyuk decides to use one of Hye-jin’s promised favors today, saying that he’ll go easy on her for this first one. He wants dinner tonight, to which she readily agrees… I KNEW he was going to use this to wrangle dates out of her.

Something comes up for Reporter Cha, so she tells Hye-jin to go on the business trip in her place. They’re meeting right now to leave, but Hye-jin didn’t pack anything and she’s completely unprepared. Reporter Cha gives Hye-jin her suitcase and sends her off (with Shin-hyuk calling weakly after her about his whelk dinner, hee).

Seul talks Joon-woo into riding alone with her, which makes him wary but he complies. It also leaves Sung-joon to ride alone with Hye-jin. Sung-joon takes the situation with a resigned air, but Hye-jin is horrified to be stuck in the car alone with him.

COMMENTS

Oh Ha-ri, I truly thought better of you. I’m genuinely shocked that she would steal the puzzle piece and use it to prove she’s the real Hye-rin. I can’t believe she would throw over her lifelong best friend for a man she just met, not to mention a man she knows her friend has a past and a present connection with. It’s awful enough that they work together, but this is someone that she knows has a “first love” experience with Hye-jin, and yet she’s willing to lie, and even steal a treasured possession, to get what she thinks she wants. I still don’t believe Ha-ri has any malicious intent, and that she truly loves Hye-jin. I don’t even think she’s genuinely falling for Sung-joon, but is only being swayed by the attention of a man who seems to really care about her, which is a novelty for her. But she’s forgetting the part where he doesn’t actually care about her, he cares about the real Hye-jin.

I do feel badly for Ha-ri and her loneliness, but I also feel that it’s mostly self-inflicted. She chooses to only date shallow men (I have a hard time believing that no man of quality has ever been interested in her), which is nobody’s fault but her own. And yes, she has a sucktastic home life, but she also has a wonderful second family who considers her a daughter. But again, she’s just going to risk all that for this man she’s known for what, a month at most? And it’s not as if this can last, because she is lying about who she is, and eventually she’ll have to come clean. She’ll lose Sung-joon then, anyway. I do hope she spends more time with Shin-hyuk, and soon, because he may be weird but he speaks the honest truth. He’ll tell her what’s what, once he learns what’s happening, and make no bones about it.

I love the ongoing rain motif as a catalyst of emotional forward motion, because everyone in the drama reacts to the rain differently. To Sung-joon, obviously, it’s a reminder of the most traumatic days of his young life — but also one of the most meaningful days, when he made his first friend. Hye-jin doesn’t like rain either but to her, it’s a reminder of her childhood, when life was easy for her and she was able to give comfort to someone in need, something that is an innate part of her personality. And to Ha-ri, it reminds her of her lost mother, which must be a bittersweet feeling… she had a good relationship with her mother, but for some reason, she lost her. I feel sure the rain will come to mean many more things to our lovers as time goes on.

I’m growing to love Hye-rin more and more, the more we see her interact with Sung-joon. He brings out the caretaker in her, who sees what he really needs and makes sure he gets it, even if she can’t do it openly. She sees him not eating and gets him a sandwich… honors his wish for her to leave after his breakdown but makes sure he has a safe ride home… sends someone to bring him porridge and medicine when he’s sick. It kills me that she has to do these things from the shadows, but it makes me love her even more, that she prioritizes his comfort and well-being even if she can’t do it herself. It’s a good lesson to Sung-joon that I hope he realizes at some point — true caring for a person doesn’t need recognition, just seeing your loved one safe and happy is its own reward.

I’m so glad that Sung-joon is finally softening towards Hye-jin, because their interactions are just so cute. We’re finally getting that chemistry we all came here for, even when they aren’t onscreen together, which bodes well for the future when they do finally start spending time together. Just seeing Hye-jin worry for Sung-joon’s health, then him grouchily returning the favor, is so sweet. The whole bit with the onion slays me, because with him leaving it for her, then her decorating it, they’re beginning to see that the other just might be someone who regards them as worthy. They could even get along and actually like each other. It’s cute that each knows exactly what’s going on with the other, but still denying it when face-to-face, like nervous teenagers with their first crush. Which makes sense, since they are each other’s first crush, though only one half of the pair knows it.

Though I appreciate, for once, the drama addressing the whole fated-first-love trope and how it’s really not Fate, but unfinished business. How refreshing to see a show take the scientific approach, using the overdone trope to spell out that there’s really no such thing as first loves being fated to be together. Especially since the misguided belief is getting poor Sung-joon all twisted up, since he feels that something is off but he just can’t let go of the idea of belonging with “Hye-jin,” even when it feels wrong. Conversely, he’s feeling himself drawn to the real Hye-jin and is struggling with wanting to get closer to her, but being held back by the notion that he should be feeling this for the woman he knows as Hye-jin. Of course, we know that the person he’s beginning to feel attracted to IS the real Hye-jin — but for once it’s not because of a trope, or because he thinks Fate has decreed it, but because he truly finds her compelling. He’s meant to be with her not because they knew each other as children, but because they care for each other as mature adults. Of course we know all this, but it’s going to get so much better once Sung-joon figures it out for himself.

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188 October 9, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 7

by LollyPip

Sung-joon and Hye-jin get stuck with some alone time together in the name of business, and the unexpected opportunity alarms more than just the two of them. Everyone’s feelings are starting to get in the way of their rational thoughts, emotions run high, and at least one of the foursome hits a new low.

EPISODE 7 RECAP

Hye-jin and Sung-joon are forced to ride to the business meeting together, and the drive is awkwardly silent. Every time Hye-jin tries to make conversation or lighten the mood, Sung-joon shushes her, even shooting looks at her when her stomach growls. She wonders, and rightly so, what happened to the nice guy who gave her the onion.

He does at least stop so she can eat, and he even orders a pricey steak dish. HAHA, the restaurant owner is the same actress who plays Chief Editor Kim. Sung-joon repeatedly assures Hye-jin that it’s okay because he’s paying for the food, but oops, we see that he left his wallet on his desk back at Most.

He’s so fussy that he wears an apron to protect his clothes from oil splattering off the grill, but Hye-jin declines — it’s only her employee ID that needs protection. She just slings it around to the back, and digs in.

Sung-joon belatedly realizes the apron he’s been given has a cartoon body of a woman in a bikini on it, but it’s worth it to keep his clothes nice, hee. Hye-jin can’t stop giggling at how he covers the bosom on the apron as they eat. He gets revenge though, pettily shaking the chilly water off his lettuce at her.

Poor Sung-joon realizes he’s without his wallet, and looks like he’d rather die than ask Hye-jin to pay after insisting on the expensive beef. He finally ekes out the request — but Hye-jin’s account has insufficient funds.

The restaurant ajumma assumes they plan to split without paying, so Sung-joon offers to leave his scarf as collateral and pay when Joon-woo and Seul arrive. It’s a collector’s item worth much more than their bill, but the ajumma only sees a rag like the many she already has, and threatens to call the police on them while Sung-joon calls Seul.

But Seul, sly fox, has been driving in the complete opposite direction by “accident” as a ploy to get more alone time with Joon-woo. She says she’ll turn around, but is obviously in no hurry.

Hye-jin calls Ha-ri to send the money, but her phone goes unanswered, and the restaurant ajumma looks ready to fillet her and Sung-joon. Sung-joon doesn’t have anyone to call for help, which Hye-jin thinks is sad.

Next Hye-jin tries to call Shin-hyuk but he’s away from his desk, so Reporter Cha answers his phone. The restaurant ajumma tells her to send money to cover Hye-jin’s bill, but Reporter Cha thinks it’s a scammer and hangs up on her, then forbids anyone else at Most to answer calls from Hye-jin’s phone.

Left without options, Sung-joon and Hye-jin are forced to don ajumma pants and work off the bill. The restaurant owners also have their own cattle farm, so they’re set to shoveling manure. Sung-joon is particularly prissy about the idea, hee.

The two get in a fight while working over whose fault this is, and they end up bumping tushes and knocking each other into the manure. Sung-joon goes into a full-on freakout at touching cow poop, but he sobers up when he sees the ajumma glaring at him. They’re working so hard, Hye-jin doesn’t notice when her treasured employee ID comes off and is left in the dung.

Back at the office, the Most employees order soondae (blood sausage made with intestines) and Shin-hyuk makes faces at it. He’d done the same when he and Hye-jin ate at that street stand, but remembering how much she enjoyed it, he gives it a try now. And promptly spits it back into the bowl.

Sung-joon and Hye-jin hit their stride and get the whole barn clean, and they even almost high-five, ha. As they rest, Sung-joon asks Hye-jin to keep the fact that he cleaned up cow poop a secret, and she agrees just because it would bother him.

They both lie looking at the sky quietly, then both notice the same pretty cloud and frame it with their hands. They don’t notice that they’re doing the same thing, because the ajumma comes to tell them they’ve paid off their bill. But this is when Hye-jin realizes she’s lost her employee ID.

Sung-joon thinks she can just get another one, but it means too much to Hye-jin to just leave it. She runs off to look, but can’t find it anywhere and dejectedly changes back into her own clothes. But when she comes out, Sung-joon hands her the ID, which he says was on the ground.

That must be a lie, because when Hye-jin kisses her ID in relief, he nearly horks. The restaurant ajumma comes by to ask why Sung-joon ransacked the manure pile, and Hye-jin realizes what he did to find her ID, though he stubbornly sticks to his original story.

On the next leg of the trip, Hye-jin explains that this is her first good job, and that she’s always admired people with an ID like this. Every time she looks at it, she feels thankful and proud, and like she belongs. She figures she’s probably overreacting, but Sung-joon has the cutest grin on his face right now.

He says that everyone has something like that, that has special meaning only to them. She asks what his special thing is, and he tells her that it’s “the thing you broke,” meaning his framed puzzle. He holds out his hand, and she tentatively takes it, thinking they’re having a moment… only for him to demand money for the broken frame. HA.

She starts to write down his account number to send the money later, and Sung-joon grins that she’s so gullible. She insists on paying, until he tells her it’s worth about a thousand dollars, then she’s all I’ll take it as a joke, sir! We all saw that giant smile, Sung-joon, don’t try to hide it.

Joon-woo and Seul also stop to eat at a food court, where Seul claims that all the (immaculate) chairs are dirty so she can sit next to Joon-woo. She thinks over her plans to pretend her car has broken down, fake calling for a mechanic, and canoodle under the stars after dark. The heir to Jin Sung Group will be hers!

Sung-joon and Hye-jin arrive at their destination, and Hye-jin goes flying across the beach excitedly, before catching sight of Sung-joon and remembering his admonishment that they’re not on vacation. Awww, he flings his arms out like she did and calls, “Ah, it’s nice!” in this awkwardly adorable voice.

Hye-jin offers to have some money transferred ahead of time for dinner, worriedly asking Sung-joon if he’ll pay her back and causing him to offer an annoyed IOU. HA, this time she was pulling his leg.

Sung-joon takes a call from Ha-ri, but he reminds her he’s on a business trip. She gets a call on the other line from Hye-jin asking for a money transfer which she easily agrees to, but she’s not happy to hear that Hye-jin is on the same business trip with Sung-joon.

Joon-woo is starting to catch onto Seul a bit, wondering why they’re just driving on country roads, when she gets an upset stomach. They see an outhouse in the middle of a field, and Seul about dies of embarrassment to have this happen in front of her conquest. It’s even worse when she has to ask him to bring her some toilet paper.

She finishes up and determines to make the best of it, except that Joon-woo decides to use the restroom before they go and is bowled over by the odor. She tries to run back to the car and trips and falls, and by the time Joon-woo gets to her, she’s having a meltdown. She also hurts her leg which renders her unable to drive, and Joon-woo doesn’t have a license.

Joon-woo gets a call from Shin-hyuk and tells him that they’re stuck, and that they haven’t caught up to Sung-joon and Hye-jin yet. Shin-hyuk realizes that this means Sung-joon and Hye-jin will be spending the night alone together, and doesn’t like the sound of that one bit.

Sung-joon sits at the beach and makes some concept sketches while Hye-jin watches, seeing it come to life on the beach in front of her. His concept is of a single-person vacation, and Hye-jin suggests adding some paper on the table — when you want to share the feeling of this place with someone, you’d want to write a letter.

We see it play out as if Sung-joon were the lonely traveler, sitting on the beach near a bonfire and drinking tea. He writes a letter to the person he would have liked to bring here with him, saying that next time he’ll bring her. Hye-jin says that by adding a connection with someone else into the concept, it would make the vacation idea seem less lonely.

She snaps out of her reverie, but Sung-joon just smiles. He says that he’s had times like that, when a letter excited him, and we see little Sung-joon in America, being bullied by bigger kids. But he’d always gotten letters from a friend in Korea, and being able to write to her had given him the strength to endure.

He says that eventually she stopped writing, and he had a hard time for a long while after that. But he thanks Hye-jin for her good idea, and gives her a real high-five this time. She runs off to play while Sung-joon takes photos, and he smiles every time she’s not looking his way.

At sundown, Sung-joon says it’s time to go, and Hye-jin suddenly stares at him strangely — he called her by name for the first time. He realizes that he’s always called her “Hey Admin,” but asks if that’s not better than how she’s called him “Bullshit Sung-joon.” Touche.

At dinner, Sung-joon fussily picks the peas out of his rice, and Hye-jin laughs, remembering little Sung-joon doing the same thing. She plays with a Rubik’s cube that’s on the table and crows when she gets one side matched, so Sung-joon takes it and says he’ll solve it in thirty seconds. His hands fly, and he slams it down — completely undone, HA.

He says he’s usually great at games, especially Tetris, and he and Hye-jin go nuts together over how much they love it. They get into a good-natured argument about how the music in the game goes, and suddenly the conversation flows easily.

They talk about everything from music to dramas, discovering that they have nearly identical taste (they both love You From Another Star, hee) until the restaurant closes and they have to go. They head to their hotel, both walking as slooowly as possible.

Sung-joon realizes that he never thanked Hye-jin for saving him when he had his panic attack in the street, and tells her about his mother’s death, unaware that she already knows. He wonders why he’s telling her all this, and doesn’t see how deeply moved she seems.

They marvel at the stars, and Hye-jin thinks to herself that he hasn’t changed as much as she originally thought. But her old friend is still in there, and now she regrets hiding from him that first night when they were supposed to meet. She thinks that today, she could maybe tell him the truth.

Joon-woo checks in with Sung-joon to let him know that he and Seul won’t make it to the meeting. When he hangs up, all of Seul’s antics during the day come back to him and he smiles, thinking that she’s kind of cute when she’s off-balance.

Hye-jin decides to come clean and warns Sung-joon that this may shock him. She mentions the saying that memories are more beautiful when left frozen in time, and that she believed it until today. She starts to tell him —

— and hears Shin-hyuk’s voice hollering, “HEY DONGSAENG!” He saunters up to them grinning ear-to-ear and playing Hye-jin’s recording promising to do three favors for him, and demands she produce her promised dinner of sea snails. Okay normally you’re a cutie-pie and I love you, but go away.

Shin-hyuk claims he’s here to take Joon-woo’s and Seul’s place since they couldn’t make it, and Sung-joon doesn’t look happy, he’s allowed to stay. He growls that he doesn’t drink when Shin-hyuk wants to go back out, but when Shin-hyuk says he’ll just drink with Hye-jin, suddenly Sung-joon is all Non-alcoholic drinks are pretty good these days.

They sit on a gorgeous balcony, and Shin-hyuk says that he had to come so fast, he didn’t pack any underwear — does Sung-joon have some he can borrow? HAHAHA. Shin-hyuk whines that if he has to wash and dry his overnight, he’ll have to sleep in the nude… is that supposed to be a bad thing?

Shin-hyuk makes a point to call Hye-jin “dongsaeng” and himself “orabeoni” as often as possible in front of Sung-joon, and Sung-joon gets so flustered he downs a real alcoholic beer. He turns a bit mean again, saying that Hye-jin makes a habit of pretending to be close to people.

Shin-hyuk casually hands Hye-jin the fake spider he’s been trying to scare people with all day, and she finally give him the loud reaction he’s been looking for. He takes it back and holds her hand a lot longer than necessary, until Sung-joon gets fed up and conks him on the head, hard.

They realize that Sung-joon is starting to droop and slur his words, after just a few sips of beer. He mumbles that Shin-hyuk looks sleazy, then nearly topples right out of his chair and they’re left to carry him to bed, again.

Shin-hyuk fixates on Sung-joon’s “sleazy” comment, but reassures his reflection that he’s every handsome, yes he is. He looks through Sung-joon’s camera to see what work ideas he got today, but he frowns at the pictures he sees of Hye-jin. Many pictures of Hye-jin.

When Hye-jin arrives home, Ha-ri wastes no time asking if anything happened with Sung-joon. Hye-jin smiles that it wasn’t uncomfortable, and in fact they became closer because of it. She rushes off to work, saying that there’s a deadline this week and she’ll probably not be around much.

On her way into the office, Sung-joon makes a point to greet her with a smile and call her by name. He seems a friendlier with the rest of the Most team too, even giving them a Fighting! and making them wonder if he’s getting scarier. Hye-jin is all smiles as she greets Onion Head, completely unaware of Shin-hyuk scowling at her.

Sung-joon is too busy to talk when Ha-ri calls him and practically blows her off, but he sends Hye-jin the cutest smile when she leaves food on his desk again. And again, Shin-hyuk sees their silent exchange and looks disappointed and confused.

The Most team works through the night, but in the morning just as they think they’re finished, Sung-joon announces that there’s been a schedule change and the cover shoot will be moved up. Later Hye-jin brings Sung-joon his mail and asks him for some time after the cover shoot — she wants to buy him dinner to pay him back for the broken frame, and she has something to tell him.

She takes Shin-hyuk out to the pojangmacha for dinner, and he asks her what she talked to Sung-joon about earlier. She tells him about the dinner, and he stares at her unnervingly. She assumes she’s reminding him of his little sister and he goes with it, saying how similar they are.

As he’s paying, Hye-jin sees a picture of an adorable poodle in his wallet, and Shin-hyuk casually tells her that that’s his little sister. What now?? Oh you are in so much trouble, mister. Understandably, Hye-jin is not pleased that the “little sister” she so closely resembles is a dog. He defends himself saying he never actually said his “little sister” was a person, so Hye-jin goes nuts and tries to bite him. HA.

She’s calmer later, and asks why he lied to her about his little sister dying. He thinks about it for a long time, then says all confused, “Jackson. I think I like you.” He explains that he didn’t like it when she said she’s going to tell Sung-joon the truth, that it made him worry they would like each other.

He’d wondered why he was acting like this, but now he knows — he likes her, a lot. Hye-jin looks into his earnest eyes for a long time, then cracks up. She almost fell for it! Shin-hyuk swears up and down that he’s dead serious, but she just storms off, angry at him for teasing her that way.

Sung-joon takes Ha-ri out and starts to tell her about the cow poop, but stops himself. When she pushes, he tells her about the intern who shares her same name, and his face lights up when he talks about how fun she is.

Ha-ri turns serious and asks him right out if he’s only hanging out with her because they’re childhood friends. She wants to know why he hangs out with her, and how he feels about her. Sung-joon looks taken aback and starts to speak, just as Hye-jin walks nearby with Shin-hyuk hot on her heels.

Ha-ri steps in close and kisses Sung-joon, and Shin-hyuk just happens to see them from the corner of his eye. He remembers Ha-ri talking about the shoe that doesn’t fit, and Hye-jin telling him that Sung-joon thinks someone else is his Hye-jin.

He groans as he suddenly understands the full situation, and Hye-jin turns to see what he’s looking at. To stop her, Shin-hyuk whirls her around and into a back hug.

COMMENTS

Well, that escalated quickly. A lot has changed in the last few episodes, but since it felt for a bit like the plot was spinning its wheels, I’ll take quick forward movement over brooding at angsty shoes any day. And I’m glad that Sung-joon finally got a chance to get to know Hye-jin, the real Hye-jin, before Ha-ri pushed him into physical contact. It was sweet to see them connect so quickly, which actually makes sense now that Sung-joon is loosening up around Hye-jin. I think he’s already feeling his connection with Hye-jin and I definitely think he knows that Ha-ri isn’t all she claims to be.

Can we all agree that Nice Sung-joon is absolutely precious? I knew he would be, but the way he was so hateful early on, I was worried. He was so cute, making sure Hye-jin had a nice meal, then shoveling dung and finding her lost ID card despite having a complete meltdown about the dung earlier. His teasing her and wanting to spend as much time talking with her as possible was really sweet, and I’m glad he’s relaxing around Hye-jin so soon after seeming to give up on his interest in her. I was worried that would drag on for a few episodes, but this show is getting better at not lingering on anything for too long. Seeing Sung-joon relax and do nice things for Hye-jin, just to see her smile or get a rise out of her, is making me feel better about him and their potential loveline. I do still hope he explains himself for the horrible things he said about her when they first met at work, though, because they were pretty bad and I don’t think he should get a pass just because he eventually came around to liking her. Just making a point to call her by name isn’t enough — he owes Hye-jin, and the rest of the Most staff, a huge apology.

But it’s even more telling that he’s starting to open up to her, and tell her some pretty personal things. I think that deep down, she at least reminds him of his childhood friend, and the only person he’s ever been close with. He feels safe with her, and therefore he’s able to be vulnerable with her. That’s even more important than the jokes and smiles, because it shows that he feels a true sense of connection. A connection that he doesn’t feel with Ha-ri, and is coming to realize more and more, though I expect him to be stuck in his Zeigarnik Effect for a while longer yet.

On the other hand, I don’t really feel, yet, that Hye-jin’s interest in Sung-joon is romantic. Or if it is, it’s still buried underneath her desire to just have her old friend know her again, and I think she doesn’t even let the possibility of romance with Sung-joon enter her head at this point. She may be spunky and smart, but I don’t think she sees herself as someone a man would find attractive. I’m sure she’s feeling something, especially when Sung-joon told her about his mother and his childhood best friend as if it were the first time and she seemed very touched. But I think that right now, Hye-jin would just be happy if he knew who she was and they resumed their friendship. I think she’s going to be as surprised by her own romantic feelings, as she will be by his.

I can’t quite figure out Shin-hyuk, because he’s such a joker all the time, it’s hard to figure out what he’s really thinking. I think he does like Hye-jin a lot, but sometimes I wonder if that “like” is really romantic at all. He really is very older-brother-like with her, the way he follows her around pulling her pigtails, but I’m not convinced that he truly has romantic feelings for her. But for now anyway, he thinks he likes her, and that’s going to complicate everything a lot. Hye-jin still doesn’t even know if she likes him as a friend all the time, much less as a dating prospect. But I will say Shin-hyuk has an edge over Sung-joon in one way, and that’s that he’s liked Hye-jin from the moment he met her. As mentioned, Sung-joon still has a lot to make up for, and I hope he doesn’t get a pass from Hye-jin just because he’s her old friend. That doesn’t excuse some of the things he said about her.

But regardless, once both men realize their true feelings and recognize each other as rivals, I have a feeling the resulting competition is going to be fierce. These are two very strong alpha-males, and neither of them is going to give up without a fight. Though I can’t help but hope that they manage to end up friends in the end, because the few little hints of bromance have been so cute. Let the games begin!

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320 October 10, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 8

by LollyPip

As Sung-joon spends more time getting to know Hye-jin, it gets harder for him to ignore the little doubts that crop up whenever she reminds him of his childhood friend. But with the beautiful Ha-ri insisting she’s Hye-jin, it’s no wonder he’s so confused that he starts to fall apart. He’s already carrying some pretty big professional and personal baggage, and his conflicted feelings aren’t making his life any easier these days.

EPISODE 8 RECAP

Shin-hyuk spies Ha-ri kissing Sung-joon, and spins Hye-jin around to fold her in a backhug so she won’t see. She breaks his hold right away so he tells her someone is drunk and urinating in the street, and hustles her away quickly.

Meanwhile Ha-ri continues her confession, telling Sung-joon that she wants to be more than his childhood friend – she wants to be his girlfriend. She asks for an answer and he thinks about it for so long, she assumes he’s not interested, but Sung-joon comes to a decision and leads her away.

Hye-jin is still annoyed with Shin-hyuk for letting her think the family dog was a real little sister, but he has more serious things on his mind. He asks if her roommate is the same friend she considers her other half, guessing they must be very close.

Hye-jin tells him that they’ve been friends since birth, because their mothers were friends. She says that when something good happens to her, Ha-ri is the only person who’s truly happy for her. Shin-hyuk just rolls his eyes at that, knowing better, but he looks at the pictures of Ha-ri on Hye-jin’s phone to humor her.

He grumbles that she’s way prettier, only Hye-jin assumes he’s teasing her again. Torn between wanting her to know the truth and not wanting to ruin her image of her best friend, Shin-hyuk lets it go for now.

Sung-joon takes Ha-ri to a wall where he once carved a cartoon of himself and the real Hye-jin. They’d agreed to come back here at junior high graduation, but he’d moved away. Now Sung-joon finds it still there, but Ha-ri asks if they can stop talking about the past anymore — the present is more important to her.

Sung-joon takes out a pen and makes another drawing on the wall, of the two of them as adults, and agrees not to talk about the past anymore. Ha-ri uses her lipstick to draw a heart around his doodle. But when she drives home, she doesn’t look happy, and just lays her head on her steering wheel.

The guy she sometimes dates is waiting for her and asks why she doesn’t return his calls anymore. She tells him he’s out, so he insults the guy she must be dating now, and she nearly knocks his block off.

She rounds the corner and finds Hye-jin, who overheard that she’s dating someone. Ha-ri seems about to come clean until Hye-jin grabs her in a hug, excited for her friend. Hye-jin remembers Ha-ri saying she would never fall in love, because she couldn’t handle a man leaving her like her mother did.

Hye-jin is curious about this amazing man capable of making her friend change, but Ha-ri doesn’t say a single word as Hye-jin chatters. Hye-jin runs off to get some celebratory beers, and calls back to Ha-ri that she’ll be cheering on her love. Ha-ri thinks to her friend that she’s sorry, but she just wants to be with him for the two months that he’s here.

Sung-joon arrives home to have the life scared out of him by Shin-hyuk, who’s let himself in again and is now going through Sung-joon’s closet. Boundaries, dude. He’s here to get the underwear he wore and left here the day he ended up in Sung-joon’s, and I swear I’ll never get tired of Sung-joon crying, “Panty, panty!” in that frustrated tone.

Shin-hyuk asks if he was out on a date, saying that there’s a rumor he’s got a beautiful girlfriend. He wonders how much Sung-joon knows about her — not everything is as it seems. Shin-hyuk admits that there’s something he’d like to tell Sung-joon, but he hasn’t decided if he has the right so for now, he leaves without saying anything. Once he’s out of the apartment his cheerful mood falls, and he seems very conflicted.

Hye=jin catches Ha-ri on the phone with Sung-joon making date plans, and calls out a congratulations for Ha-ri’s new guy to hear. Ha-ri quickly hangs up, and clutches her stomach as if she’s not feeling well.

When Hye-jin gets to work she finds the Most staff frowning at the concept board, unable to decide between two dresses, but they’re interrupted by Chief Editor Kim. She has them quickly pick between two Chinese food dishes on their gut feeling, then has them do the same for the concept. She says that whatever comes out when you’re not thinking, even when your head and heart disagree, is what you really want.

Shin-hyuk helps Hye-jin carry some items to storage when the sole comes off her shoe. He offers her a piggyback which she declines several times, and his pants rip when he crouches down. He tells her to get on his back quick, though I fail to see how that covers up the rip.

On the walk to the storage facility, Shin-hyuk asks if Hye-jin has told Sung-joon the truth yet. She says she was interrupted by him when she tried, but she’s got plans to tell Sung-joon soon. He quietly asks if she’s just looking to reconnect with her old friend, or if she expects something more. Hye-jin hadn’t thought about it that way, but she remembers Chief Editor Kim’s words that what our heart says when we’re not thinking, is the truth.

On his way to a date with Ha-ri, Sung-joon sees Shin-hyuk piggybacking Hye-jin slowly down the street. He’s so busy looking at them that he rear-ends another car, and it makes him miss the movie. Ha-ri makes a big deal about the accident, worried that he could have gotten hurt, and Sung-joon pulls her into a grateful hug. He apologizes for doing things that could worry her, and promises to get his head on straight.

Back in his office Sung-joon goes through his photos from the beach trip, and pauses when he comes to the ones with Hye-jin. She brings him breakfast but he’s short with her, and tells her to take it away. Hye-jin is confused, but gives Sung-joon space. He sees Hye-jin looking at him sadly through his window, and he looks purely miserable — but he shuts the blinds against her anyway.

That night Sung-joon surprises Ha-ri by taking her to a small theater that’s still showing the movie they missed. But he’s distracted during the show, not even responding when Ha-ri locks arms with him. Ha-ri can feel his distance, and after the movie he doesn’t even remember a key scene, and it’s obvious he wasn’t paying attention.

Hye-jin buys the latest edition of Most just to see her name on the credits page, and her family are so proud. In the morning she ends up at the crosswalk near Sung-joon again, and her signature, “Oh, it’s a go!” catches his attention. He runs to her and grabs her wrist, with an unreadable expression on his face.

Oblivious, Hye-jin reminds him of their dinner plans tonight and chirps happily over her name in the magazine, then runs off to work. Sung-joon gets a call just then from Ha-ri, but he’s still frozen and doesn’t answer.

This month’s edition of Most has catapulted them to second place, but Sung-joon is reminded that they need to get to first place with only two months left. Hye-jin sees Sung-joon looking stressed out and asks if he’s okay, but he just ignores her and leaves.

At the cover shoot, the Most staff is going gaga over a James Taylor original dress, but Sung-joon suddenly hollers at them to delete the pictures they’re taking immediately. He’s correct that they can’t risk this design being leaked before the twentieth anniversary edition, but he’s unnecessarily mean about it.

When one girl tries to take the dress to the dressing room, Sung-joon snatches her hand away and yells at her for wearing dangling accessories that could damage the clothing. He kicks her out, and again he’s not wrong, but he makes her cry.

Shin-hyuk and Hye-jin observe Sung-joon’s meltdown, and Shin-hyuk says that today isn’t really a good day to talk to him. She’s given the job of taking the dress to the dressing room and watching over it, but Seul pulls rank and sends her to move her car.

Ha-ri gets stomach pains again at work, and doesn’t notice Shin-hyuk glaring at her in the lobby. He finds her in her office and gets right to the point: “You stop it first.” He admits that this isn’t his place, but he can’t stay silent anymore. He tells Ha-ri that Sung-joon and Hye-jin are meeting tonight and that Hye-jin plans to tell Sung-joon the truth.

He points out that if she’s going to be found out, wouldn’t it be better to tell the truth herself, first? That would cause the three of them the least hurt, and allow them to manage the fallout.

Hye-jin comes back from moving Seul’s car with her hair even fluffier than usual from the rain. She makes her usual “viciously curly hair” joke which Sung-joon overhears, and this time he can’t deny that she’s the one who said it. That, along with the other clues like her “It’s a go!” joke and the way she sheltered him from the rain with her jacket, all fall into place and he stares at her, incredulous.

But as he’s having his epiphany, the model comes out in the James Taylor dress and a snag is discovered. They can’t do the cover shoot with a torn dress, and Sung-joon can’t take any more. He screams out a demand to know who was in charge of the clothing.

Hye-jin comes forward and Sung-joon just gives her this… look. He asks, “You again? Why is it always you?!” In front of everyone he yells that she’s always getting on his nerves, looking like he could burst into tears at any moment. We know that it’s because he finally realizes who she is and that she and Ha-ri have both been lying to him, but she doesn’t, and she’s humiliated.

Hye-jin apologizes for not being careful, but Sung-joon growls at her to get out. He’s going nuts with her always around, and tells her never to show up in front of him again. She’s fired.

After she leaves, another model comes to Sung-joon and tearfully confesses that she tore the dress. Sung-joon wearily lets her go, but Reporter Cha asks what he plans to do about Hye-jin. He doesn’t answer, but sends everyone home.

Ha-ri leaves work in a rush and tries to call Sung-joon, determined to tell him the truth before he hears it from someone else. He sits at the studio in a daze, ignoring her calls. Hye-jin calls Ha-ri to tell her that Sung-joon fired her, so Ha-ri rushes to meet her.

Hye-jin tells her friend that during their trip she and Sung-joon became closer, which made her think he was still the same boy she knew. She was going to open up and tell him everything, but today she learned that to him, she’s just someone he can fire without a thought.

Teary-eyed, Ha-ri lays her head on Hye-jin’s shoulder and says she’s sorry. Hye-jin teases her, thinking she’s crying because she got fired, and says that this is a good thing — she won’t have to keep feeling so conflicted when she sees Sung-joon.

The next morning, the Most team are very vocal about how much Hye-jin is missed — they only now realize how much work she was handling. Even the managerial team, Hye-jin’s original department, wishes they could hire her back for themselves but they don’t have the authority.

Sung-joon is back to his old grouchy self at the next staff meeting, angry that nobody has a good concept for their twentieth anniversary edition. Shin-hyuk finally suggests a movie theme with a twist — focusing on the supporting characters, like the Broadway show “Wicked” did with the wicked witch.

The team take this and run with it, excited about the idea, and Sung-joon starts to roll up his sleeves like he does when he likes something. He suggests they broaden the concept — if you change your point of view, the world looks different. Shine the light on the supporting characters, and the story can completely change.

Later Shin-hyuk brings Sung-joon a notebook full of movie-twist ideas, and Sung-joon realizes this whole concept was Hye-jin’s. Shin-hyuk respectfully suggests that if theyr’e going to use her concept, they ought to bring her back.

Apparently Reporter Cha already asked Hye-jin back and was refused, but Shin-hyuk thinks that if the person who fired her asked, she would return. But Sung-joon balks at apologizing to an intern, and Shin-hyuk notes that Sung-joon seems awfully emotional when it comes to Hye-jin. Almost as if he feels something for her?

He has one more question for Sung-joon: If a different intern made the same mistake, would he have reacted the same way? He insists on an answer when Sung-joon hesitates, and repeats Chief Editor Kim’s words that when your head says one thing and your heart another, that’s when you hesitate.

That hits a nerve, and Sung-joon demands to know why Shin-hyuk is getting so involved in Hye-jin’s life. Shin-hyuk says honestly that it’s because he likes her, and leaves.

Shin-hyuk hangs around Hye-jin’s house, pretending to just be in the neighborhood, and begs her to come back to Most. She declines so he offers to hire her as his personal assistant for a day… but she refuses that too, and he uses his second request to lock her into it.

So she follows him around while he takes pictures, her only job to hold his water bottle, hee. They stop at a flight of stairs and Shin-hyuk tells her she gets a wish if she can hop all the way down the stairs on one leg, so she does it, shrieking her wish to get a job with every hop. Of course Shin-hyuk takes pictures, and dies laughing when she realizes he was teasing her again.

They ride out to the country on his motorcycle and take goofy selcas together, but Shin-hyuk looks at Hye-jin sadly when she’s not paying attention. They go for a walk and Hye-jin admits that Shin-hyuk was right when he asked if she was thinking of reconnecting with Sung-joon as more than a friend.

But she says it’s like there was a one-way mirror between her and Sung-joon, because she could always see him but he never saw her. That’s why this has been so painful for her, but she thanks Shin-hyuk for his help getting through it. He just grins that if she’s so thankful she should go out with him, making her smile.

Sung-joon finally looks through Hye-jin’s concept book, reading one passage she wrote as if from the Little Mermaid’s point of view. She wrote that she only saved the prince because he was in need of help, and she never lied on purpose. He reads further mini-stories from the less-famous fairy tale characters and smiles, enjoying the different point of view.

Hye-jin’s old managerial department supervisor calls to meet with her, and he offers Hye-jin a job at a relative’s company. She happily accepts and heads home, unaware that Sung-joon is trailing behind her carrying her notebook.

He’s so nervous that he jumps like a cat when her phone rings, and ends up hiding in the jungle gym. He’s forced to climb through it to avoid her seeing him, and embarrassingly slides down the slide headfirst to land right at her feet.

He tells her he’d like to use her idea for their anniversary edition and asks her to come back, and she gives him permission to use her concept but turns down the job. Sung-joon admits that he was too sensitive the day he fired her, and went too far. He apologizes quite sincerely and asks her again to come back, but she declines again. Hye-jin says that it’s uncomfortable working with him, but she does thank him for coming to talk to her personally.

The next day, the first thing Sung-joon notices is Hye-jin’s Onion Head on her desk, which has now sprouted. Hye-jin waits to hear about the new job, but when she calls her old manager, he tells her that there’s no job after all. She thinks back on Sung-joon’s offer, but she’s determined not to go back.

She goes to her dad’s print shop to see him but he’s out, so she decides to hide and scare him. But instead she overhears a conversation between Dad and a customer, where Dad’s late on an order because his machine is broken again. The customer says to ask his big-shot daughter with the fancy new job to buy a new machine, and Hye-jin starts to rethink her refusal to go back to Most.

She sneaks out and calls her dad, and he lies and says that everything is going well. Hyejin starts to choke up and ends the call, pretending she’s hard at work. She steels her nerves, berating herself for turning down Sung-joon’s job offer, but before she can call him she gets another call from her old manager. The job offer with his family member is back on the table.

She gets a text from Sung-joon just then with a picture of Onion Head, now with tears drawn on his face, and asking if she’s going to leave him there alone. It’s not hers, which Sung-joon has left untouched, but she doesn’t know that.

The next day the phone rings at Most, and a strange woman answers the phone. But she introduces herself as Kim Hye-jin, and the whole office looks up. It’s Hye-jin, back to work with a brand-new, very Most-like look.

COMMENTS

Well, I’m conflicted about Hye-jin’s makeover. One the one hand, she looks amazing. On the other hand, I didn’t think she looked bad before, just a bit unkempt at times. But the curly hair wasn’t so terrible, other than needing a bit of styling, and her freckles and rosy cheeks were downright endearing. I’m sort of frustrated with her for buying into the whole makeover idea, though I can’t really fault her for it, because people weren’t taking her seriously. She never required them to, and just let them walk all over her, but that’s a different complaint. I suppose I just should wait for her explanation as to why she did this now, since I don’t really understand what motivated her to do it at this point in the story. But… she does look gorgeous.

More than that though, I’m getting really frustrated and I’m ready for people to start talking. Thank goodness Shin-hyuk is an open book or I’d be ready to give up on all of them, because there are so many secrets being kept for no good reason. I don’t mind when a character holds back information for a valid purpose, like that the truth would put someone in danger. But just keeping vital information to themselves for no reason other than that it’s awkward (or let’s be honest, to prolong the story) is frustrating. It’s downright infuriating that Ha-ri was ready to tell Sung-joon the truth until she found out about his and Hye-jin’s falling out. Just when I thought she was going to do the right thing, she got an excuse to keep doing the wrong thing and ran with it. I used to really love her character, but now, I’m just glad that Sung-joon’s figured out the truth, because it’s clear that she was never going to tell him on her own.

On the other hand, my favorite thing about Shin-hyuk is his to-a-fault honesty — if he has something to say, he says it, and if he has a question about something bothering him, he asks. He may be a jokester, but he doesn’t mess with a person’s feelings. I liked that it was Shin-hyuk who confronted Ha-ri, and he did it so gently. He did it mostly because he doesn’t want to see Hye-jin hurt, but he’s also compassionate to Ha-ri’s feelings, and gave her a chance to end this in a mature, adult way. And I love that he’s willing to help Sung-joon and Hye-jin mend their friendship, even though it means he’ll probably lose her. He’s really the most mature, honest character in the show, despite his initial goofball impression.

I’ve been frustrated with Sung-joon for some time now, because you know he felt something wasn’t right with Ha-ri. He’s known something about her was off for a long time. When she told him she didn’t want to talk about the past anymore, that should have been a huge red flag, because someone you knew as a child wouldn’t just say, “Let’s never mention our childhood friendship ever again,” for no reason. I would find that extremely strange at best, a giant flashing neon SOMETHING IS WRONG ABOUT THIS PERSON sign at worst. And yet Sung-joon didn’t even question it, and just went along with her. At this point he’s actively sabotaging himself, because that should have caused him to start asking questions about her again like he did before. Even his own therapist warned him against this, but he’s just going against good advice and his own instincts. Being tricked and lied to unknowingly is one thing, and I’m sympathetic to him on that front, but willful ignorance in the face of some pretty glaring inconsistencies is another thing entirely. All for the sake of a memory.

On the other hand, he’s under a tremendous amount of stress, which would be hard for anyone. But we know that Sung-joon isn’t eating properly on top of facing responsibility for how many hundreds of jobs among the Most staff, not to mention his own. It’s not the time to be thinking about dating at all, much less when you suspect that the woman you’re dating may not be the person she claims to be, literally. But at least he finally figured the truth out on his own and didn’t need someone else to tell him, and I’m glad the story let him put the clues together himself. He’s too smart of a man not to know, in the face of so much evidence. So I’m torn between being very frustrated with him, and sympathizing that he’s trying to do the best he can under the weight of so much professional pressure. I don’t even blame him for firing Hye-jin, because allowing a one-of-a-kind designer dress to become ruined is something worth losing your job for, in their precarious situation. But Sung-joon reacted emotionally, and fired her in the most humiliating way possible, and Hye-jin didn’t deserve that.

I just hope that this new, repentant and apologetic Sung-joon sticks around, because now that he knows, he needs to show Hye-jin how very sorry he is. In this sense I wouldn’t mind if he kept it to himself that he knows she’s hisHye-jin, because it would be nice to see him make it up to her without her thinking he’s only doing it because she knows who he is. She deserves to be treated well for who she is, and not for who she was — so I do hope Sung-joon keeps this to himself until she forgives him.

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252 October 17, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 9

by LollyPip

Hye-jin’s makeover heralds a shift in her attitude, and while the changes mostly meet with approval from her peers, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who miss the old version, too. Meanwhile Sung-joon’s perfect facade begins to crack, and he needs his old friend more than ever — will they find each other in time?

EPISODE 9 RECAP

Hye-jin visits a professional stylist to do something about her “vicious curls,” and though the cost makes her gasp, she goes for it. Next she goes shopping for new clothes, and gets a professional makeover. When she strides into her building full of confidence and looking like a million bucks, the management department employees don’t even recognize her.

The Most staff are so shocked at her new polished appearance that they can’t do a single thing but gape at her. She announces that she’s back, and how much do I love the pounce-hug that Joon-woo gives her? Hee, Shin-hyuk tries to object, and Seul actually pulls Joon-woo off her jealously.

Sung-joon just smiles at Hye-jin from his office, which she acknowledges with a small bow.

Poor Shin-hyuk looks like he wants to cry when he sees the changes in Hye-jin, calling her freckles “Jackson’s best feature.” He whines that the old Jackson was much prettier, which just makes me love him even more.

Seul even makes a point to tell Hye-jin how nice she looks, calling her “unni” for the first time. She seems to regret that her actions (sending Hye-jin to move her car) nearly got her fired.

Hye-jin notices that Onion Head has been growing while she was gone, and figures someone must have been watering him. She notices the sad face that Sung-joon drew on the back side, and bows to him again in thanks for taking care of her little friend. Sung-joon smiles at her again, and she tentatively smiles back. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Shin-hyuk.

Chief Editor Kim doesn’t even recognize Hye-jin, but when she introduces herself, Chief Editor Kim finally tells her she looks “very Most-like.” Success!

Shin-hyuk hustles Hye-jin out for coffee, where he learns that Sung-joon personally asked her to come back to Most. She tells Shin-hyuk that she has a goal — to replace her father’s printing machine. He offers to help her, and stay right by her side.

Sung-joon calls Ha-ri, who’s been avoiding his calls, to ask her to make some time for him today. He offers to come to the hotel, but Ha-ri forbids him from coming there, ever. She offers to meet him after work, but when she hangs up, she clutches at her stomach again in pain.

The Most team have a meeting to plan the twentieth edition anniversary event. They’re expecting people from other Most publications, as well as famous models, designers, and artists, so they want to make it large and luxurious.

Reporter Cha notices that both Sung-joon and Hye-jin seem preoccupied, and Hye-jin admits that she thinks that having an extravagant celebration is too cliché. It doesn’t go with her concept of highlighting secondary characters from famous stories.

Sung-joon agrees — the concept is about looking at the world from a different point of view, so he thinks they should do something different. Hye-jin suggests doing something the opposite of brilliance, and Sung-joon says they should focus on the people behind the scenes. Reporter Cha points out that that’s everyone in this room — they are the people behind the glamorous magazine.

For the first time, the entire Most team is energized and inspired, and they bounce ideas off each other excitedly. Shin-hyuk makes a point to let everyone know the idea was Hye-jin’s, and the team applauds her while Sung-joon smiles softly.

Later in his office, Sung-joon returns Hye-jin’s idea sketchbook and admits that he read every page. He even added some ideas, and he compliments her on her “cozy” way of seeing things. He’s not finished, and presents her with a gift of her employee ID, now in a lovely leather holder. He grins at her not to lose it again., calling it his “welcome” gift. He stops her one more time, saying that he forgot the most important thing: It’s great that she’s back. Awww.

That night Ha-ri watches Sung-joon as he waits for her in a coffee shop, too nervous to go in. She claims that something came up when he calls her, and that she has to go out of the country. He’s disappointed, and just asks her to call him when she comes back.

Ha-ri ends up collapsing in a convenience store, in too much pain to even walk, and thank goodness Shin-hyuk is there eating and takes her to the hospital. It turns out that Ha-ri is making herself sick from stress — she clearly hasn’t eaten or slept in days.

Shin-hyuk stays until Ha-ri wakes, knowing this is all because she can’t bring herself to tell Sung-joon the truth. He reminds her that she knows Sung-joon and Hye-jin are each other’s first love, but Ha-ri cries that Sung-joon is her first love, too.

Late that night, Ha-ri finds Hye-jin cooking for her, and asks if she’s stressed — she knows Ha-ri gets stomachaches when she’s stressed. It’s been happening since she was young, and her stepmother would only throw money at her to buy medicine. It was Hye-jin who would bring her porridge and take care of her. Ha-ri had tearfully promised to live with Hye-jin forever, and always treat her well.

Now Ha-ri watches while Hye-jin fusses over stew and offers to sleep with her tonight to make sure she’s okay. She gives Hye-jin a grateful backhug, saying that she’s the real medicine. Hye-jin is alarmed at her tears, but Ha-ri just hugs her again and says that she’s fine.

Hye-jin looks nice at work the next morning as well, and her coworkers ask why she didn’t do this sooner, if she knew how. She claims she was paying off student loans.

There’s another meeting to plan the twentieth anniversary celebration, but when Ah-reum comes in late because of car trouble, Sung-joon berates her in front of everyone. Guess he hasn’t changed that much after all.

Shin-hyuk notices Hye-jin’s new ID case and complains even more about how much she’s changed. He laughs when Hye-jin says it’s a gift from Sung-joon and that she hopes they can be true colleagues now, spitting A ‘welcome’ present, HA, how absurd, HA!!. He’s so cute when he’s jealous.

Shin-hyuk even follows Hye-jin’s bus that night, hollering, “Jackson! ‘Welcome,’ HA!” He’s certifiably nuts, this guy. She jumps off the bus and he presents her with a gorgeous new bag, as his welcome gift. He even makes a fuss over how much bigger it is than Sung-joon’s welcome present, hee.

Hye-jin tries to refuse, but when Shin-hyuk threatens to give it to a passing dog, she can’t let such a pretty bag go that way. She does manage to ward off his adorable aegyo as he begs her to take him to eat, though I don’t know how she does it.

The Most team get ready for their anniversary celebration, and Sung-joon practices the speech he wrote in English to welcome their overseas guests. We get a whole lineup of famous guests, including UEE, Seo In-gook, Park Hyung-shik, and even Lee Jun-ki. (Footage was taken from the recent Seoul Drama Awards.)

But Sung-joon isn’t there yet, and the Most team start to get worried. When the MC arrives (another cameo by KIM JE-DONG) he mentions that he was running late because of rain and traffic, and Hye-jin’s worry for Sung-joon intensifies.

Reporter Cha decides to delay the start of the event to wait for Sung-joon, but Kim Je-dong can’t quite hear the instructions through his headset and he misinterprets that they want him to give a speech. He starts the event early, and the Most team start to panic.

Knowing that Sung-joon has trouble riding in cars when it’s raining ever since his mother died, Hye-jin watches nervously for him at the front door. Meanwhile a video plays for the guests, of all the Most employees hard at work (or not, ha), and it’s a big hit. But after the video it’s time for Sung-joon’s speech, and he’s still not there.

Luckily, Reporter Cha remembers that Shin-hyuk also speaks English, and tells him to go make the opening speech. Shin-yuk balks but eventually starts to head onstage, then stops to see that Chief Editor Kim, dressed more outrageously than ever before, has beaten him to it.

She proceeds to tell the entire audience that, while they were probably expecting an extravagant event, what they have instead is a disaster. It’s ugly, not beautiful, and absolutely un-Most-like. She actually calls the event shit, and her team crazy.

Sung-joon is currently pulled over on the side of the road, sobbing in his car, frozen in fear. Hye-jin is beside herself, but she gets a text from Reporter Cha to get herself to the event hall, just as Chief Editor Kim is now calling the entire editing team shit, and saying that they looked like human zombies during the planning of this event. ~cringe~

But she changes her tone and says that to her, they’re all beautiful. They are the darkness that allows the stars to shine, and they do this every month as publication deadline approaches. The Most team start to tear up as Chief Editor Kim wraps up with a simple, “I love you.”

Sung-joon finally shows up just as she’s wrapping up her speech, pale but okay. He sees that the event is underway and leaves the event hall, looking deeply disappointed in himself when Chief Editor Kim finds him. She asks him what happened, but he can only repeat, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Hye-jin finds him still there later, and sits near him without a word. He doesn’t acknowledge her presence, but he doesn’t send her away, either.

Back at work, Ah-reum snarks about Sung-joon being late to the anniversary event when he gave her such a hard time about being late to one meeting. They all make fun of him, until finally Hye-jin speaks up. She says they’re being too harsh when they don’t even know him, which makes them all wonder what she knows.

Before she can do more than deny it, Sung-joon calls her aside to ask why she spoke up for him. She says they made her angry and gets all worked up again, and Sung-joon just stares at her for a long moment, then chuckles. He says that even though she’s overreacting, it’s nice to have someone on his side.

He admits that they’re right to criticize him, because he did make a mistake. Regardless of personal issues, he created a problem and it’s his responsibility. But he thanks her anyway, and remarks that giving her that gift was worth it. Awww.

Later, Reporter Cha asks Hye-jin if she would be interested in writing an article. Since the storybook concept is hers, they want her to write an article on fairy tales. She tells Hye-jin to give it a shot — if it’s not good, they won’t print it, so there’s no harm in trying.

Hye-jin still declines, though both Shin-hyuk and Sung-joon overhear the conversation and make mental note. Shin-hyuk urges her to at least try, then calls out to Reporter Cha that she’ll do it. HA.

That night Shin-hyuk runs into Ha-ri again, and she asks him for a favor — a ride on his motorcycle. She urges him to put on some speed, and they ride through the streets whooping and hollering.

At her bus stop Hye-jin sees a poster with “Dance in the Country” featured, and smiles at it. Sung-joon stops to look as well, neither of them noticing the other right away. Sung-joon asks if Hye-jin likes Renoir, and she admits that she doesn’t know much about him, but looking at this painting makes her feel good.

Sung-joon suddenly morphs into his younger self in Hye-jin’s eyes, and tells her that Renoir only drew happy moments, because he wanted to treasure those moments through his art. That’s why you feel happy when you look at his paintings. Hye-jin giggles at chubby little Sung-joon in his turtleneck and holding his coffee… so cute.

Sung-joon leaves, then bounces right back to sit with Hye-jin until her bus comes. Just because the weather is nice, you know. He’s so transparent. Out of nowhere he asks if she’s heard of the god of opportunity and shows her another painting of a naked man from his phone, and the first thing Hye-jin notices is his “pepper” (Korean slang for a man’s… manhood). HAHA, Sung-joon hides it with his thumb and tells her to look at his face.

He explains why the man only has hair at the front of his head — when opportunity comes close, it’s easy to grab it. But once it passes, it can’t be caught again. Sung-joon says it just popped into his head, and Hye-jin’s bus arrives so she’s left to wonder what that was all about. It’s only after she’s boarded that she realizes that Sung-joon knew which bus was hers.

Ha-ri and Shin-hyuk finish their ride, and she thanks him for helping her. It’s time she put things back where they belong. He gives her a high-five, then asks her not to talk to Hye-jin about him for a while. He doesn’t want her knowing he lives in a hotel, and his puppy-dog face convinces Ha-ri to keep his secret.

Ha-ri goes home and writes a letter to Sung-joon. Hye-jin lies in bed thinking about Sung-joon’s god of opportunity, and she gets up to look through her box of childhood keepsakes again. Her old awards for writing give her confidence, and she goes to work the next day determined to try writing that article.

Reporter Cha gives her some materials she’d compiled to help her, sure she was going to give the article a shot after all, and Hye-jin is bolstered by her confidence in her abilities. She sits at her desk and sees Sung-joon watching her, and they both mime grabbing their forelocks — taking hold of opportunity when it comes.

Shin-hyuk helps Hye-jin carry some children’s books up from the library for inspiration, offering his help on the article if she needs it. He brags about how amazing he is and how other magazines are constantly scouting him — then trips and falls flat on his face, scattering books everywhere. Yep, he’s smooooth.

But later he complains that she’s working so hard, that she doesn’t have time to go eat or talk to him anymore. Still, he watches her work with admiration in his eyes.

Hye-jin works late into the night and falls asleep at her desk, waking up later to find that someone left an energy drink for her. She doesn’t notice Sung-joon watching her from the hall, and smiling.

The next day she leaves to interview a children’s author, and runs into Sung-joon in the parking garage. He warmly wishes her luck on her first assignment, and sends a little Fighting! her way as she goes.

Hye-jin thinks she’s borrowing Reporter Cha’s car, but she took the wrong keys and ended up driving Ah-reum’s car to her interview — the car that still isn’t working well. Her coworkers figure out what’s happened and worry about her driving an unsafe car, and for good reason as the car begins to smoke and falter on the road.

Shin-hyuk rushes out of the office, and a few minutes later when Sung-joon calls in, he overhears people worrying over Hye-jin in the background. He hears that she accidentally took an unsafe car, then sees a news article pop up on his tablet about a woman Hye-jin’s age, critically injured in a car accident in the town she was traveling to.

He goes into instant panic mode, and runs out of the coffee shop, right past Ha-ri who was coming to meet with him and give him her letter. Sung-joon and Shin-hyuk both race to find Hye-jin, and of course it begins to rain.

Sung-joon’s mind races with all the moments he’s spent with Hye-jin, from the big ones like her sheltering him during his panic attack in the road, to small ones like his helping her put a bandage on her finger. He thinks about Shin-hyuk asking him if he has feelings for her, and guns the motor even harder.

Sung-joon arrives at the scene of the accident first and, terrified, asks about the driver. He screams at the policeman to tell him, but he hears her voice calling him from the side of the road — whew, she’s okay.

Sung-joon doesn’t even hesitate, just pulls Hye-jin into his arms, relieved beyond words. From across the street, Shin-hyuk stands and watches.

COMMENTS

Okay, I feel better about Hye-jin’s makeover now that we know she did it for herself and for her professional persona. I’m not a fan of the makeover to get a man, or even worse, the makoever BY a man, in order to make a heroine acceptable dating material. But for Hye-jin to take charge of her life and do something nice for herself? You go, girl. (Though, I’m a leeeetle annoyed at her coworkers for being niceer to her after the makeover. How you treat someone shouldn’t be contingent upon how they look.) Nevertheless, it’s nice to see Hye-jin coming into her own, and finding something that she loves and excels at. Her problem has never been her looks, but lack of confidence, and watching her rebuild that confidence through her actions, and not her appearance, is just wonderful to see. Her improved appearance is just the outward manifestation of her inner confidence starting to shine again.

I was mistaken about Sung-joon figuring out that Hye-jin is HIS Hye-jin, though I’m not terribly disappointed about it, because I would rather Ha-ri fess up and apologize for what she’s done to him. But while I want her to confess and take her medicine for lying, I also want Sung-joon to figure it out himself. It does make me wonder — what will it take for this guy to figure out the truth on his own? He has so many clues that prove that Hye-jin is his childhood friend: the “viciously curly” hair joke she makes, her “It’s a go!” chirp whenever a light turns green, not to mention how comfortable he feels around her when he’s usually so prickly around people. I suppose it’s that damn puzzle piece keeping him from truly putting the pieces together (no pun intended) because remember, he still doesn’t know that Hye-jin and Ha-ri even know each other. If he knew that, it would be simple to figure out that Ha-ri took Hye-jin’s puzzle piece. But without that one piece of information that ties them all together, Sung-joon has no choice but to believe that only his Hye-jin would have the missing piece of his puzzle.

But as frustrated as I am that he hasn’t figured it out himself, I’m mostly glad he still doesn’t know, because it’s allowing him to come to like Hye-jin without those trappings of the past getting in the way. He’s coming to appreciate her for herself, and for how she cares about him. He’s starting to realize that she genuinely likes him despite how he’s treated her in the past, and she’s showing him in different ways that she’s got his back… even if all she can do is sit with him when he’s screwed up, so that he’s not alone.

It was a bit sad, but also telling, when he said it was nice to have someone on his side for once — he’s such a lonely person, and always has been. I get the feeling he was isolated as a child because of his appearance and his nerdlike tendencies, but he’s isolated as an adult by choice. He’s not interested in getting people to like him, and ends up pushing them away. I’d be curious to know whether that’s because he’s just used to living his life that way, or if he has a deeper reason. But he’s finally beginning to understand that first loves aside, who a person is now is what matters. He’s becoming willing to lose the person he thinks is his first love, and the girl he’s been thinking of for nearly twenty years, for a woman he cares about now. The truth that they’re actually one and the same is a lucky bonus, but I’m glad he’s getting to learn that important life lesson before he finds out who Hye-jin truly is.

On the flip side, even though Hye-jin does know the truth, it feels as though she’s learning to like Sung-joon in the same way — as the person he is now, rather than the kid he used to be. Even though she’s the one who knows of their past, she’s put that behind her and is getting to know the Sung-joon that is here now. Lucky for him, she does have that knowledge of their connection that allows her to see past the prickly exterior and give him another chance when he behaves like an ass. She’s not letting the past get in the way, but it does help Hye-jin understand Sung-joon now. It does seem as though her feelings for him now are entirely new — that she’s let go of the past, and that her growing affection for the adult Sung-joon is something all it’s own.

I’m also happy that Ha-ri took some time to reflect on her actions, and is ready to do the right thing. I don’t think she really loves Sung-joon — they barely know each other! And she never seems happy round him, because she’s so busy trying to be Hye-jin that she can never be herself. On the other hand, when she’s with Shin-hyuk she positively lights up, and I think that’s where her true future lies. She can be herself with him, and he’s astute enough to see through her facade to the person she really is. I just hope she gets over her own heartache over Sung-joon soon, because Shin-hyuk is realizing that he’s losing and chance Hye-jin, and Ha-ri is going to have one sad puppy on her hands very soon.

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216 October 23, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 10

by LollyPip

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Sung-joon to hide his feelings — the question is, what is he going to do about it, because it’s beginning to mess with his head. And he’s not the only one who can’t hide his feelings anymore, as everyone in our little love-square realizes that the lying and hiding has to stop. Unfortunately, telling the truth will be a lot harder than they think.

EPISODE 10 RECAP

Hye-jin accidentally takes Ah-reum’s broken-down car to her interview, which breaks down on her. It begins to rain and she looks for a sign of where she is so she can call for help, and comes upon an accident in which the driver was badly hurt.

Sung-joon rushes to find Hye-jin when he reads of the accident, scared she was the one injured, and not even the rainy conditions frighten him as badly as the thought of her being hurt. Hye-jin sees Sung-joon yelling at the first responders and calls out to him, and his expression of relief is heart-wrenching. He runs to her and enfolds her in a desperate hug.

Sung-joon yells a little about Hye-jin’s carelessness, but she’s more concerned that he drove in the rain. Aww, she’s every bit as scared for him as he was for her. Sung-joon just stares at her, and says dazedly, “I didn’t know it was raining.”

Shin-hyuk watches from across the street, having also rushed to find Hye-jin, but he’s too late. He sees how utterly absorbed Sung-joon and Hye-jin are in each other, and he leaves without saying anything. He’s limping, and we see that he crashed his motorcycle in his hurry to find Hye-jin.

Safe in Sung-joon’s car, Hye-jin checks in with work while Sung-joon shoots her tiny nervous glances. He gives her a blanket (overriding her protests that he needs it more), and the drive back to town is filled with an awkward, hyper-aware silence.

Hye-jin turns on the radio but can’t find a station that isn’t playing a song about holding someone, so she turns it right back off. Sung-joon doesn’t seem to want to let her out of the car at her place, but all he can think of to say is that he’ll see her tomorrow.

She thinks about all the times when he seemed to care about her, and thinks to herself that when we want to tell the truth, we can hesitate from lack of courage. And in that moment of hesitation, it can become impossible to tell the truth. She comes to a decision and turns back, but he’s already driving away.

She takes a cab to his hotel, and sees him in the lobby. He calls out “Hye-jin-ah” — but he’s not looking at Hye-jin. She watches in shock as he approaches Ha-ri, calling her by Hye-jin’s name. In voiceover, she says that even if we muster up the courage to reveal the truth, some truths make us feel worse than the lies.

Hye-jin stares as her best friend pretends to be her, and Sung-joon apologizes for not keeping his promise again. He asks if he can beg off their date and rest, and Ha-ri agrees, but doesn’t give him her letter tonight, either.

Sung-joon watches her leave, and apologizes to her silently — he’d vowed not to do things to make her worry, but he thinks he may not be able to keep that promise.

Feeling betrayed, Hye-jin realizes how strange Ha-ri has been acting every time her new boyfriend is mentioned. She walks right into traffic, unaware of her surroundings, and rides the bus in a daze until it’s last stop.

Shin-hyuk calls her, and picks her up at the bus depot, having left the hospital where he was being treated for his accident injuries. He asks what she plans to do now — fight with her friend? Or tell Sung-joon the truth first?

Hye-jin sighs that she’ll wait for Ha-ri to talk to her, since she asked for time. She figures her friend must have a reason for lying to Sung-joon, just as she did back in the beginning. Shin-hyuk says he’s jealous of Ha-ri, enacting a hilarious bitch-fight like most women would do, saying that he wishes he had a friend like Hye-jin.

But Hye-jin just says that this is her friend, and Shin-hyuk offers her a ride. She notices he’s not on his bike, but he deflects her questions and takes her home. She thanks him, glad to have a friend like him at times like this.

He kids like usual, but does turn a bit serious as he asks if she plans to go to Sung-joon when this is all straightened out. She admits for the first time that she likes Sung-joon, sure that he feels the same about her, and that she’d like to be with him. This stings, but Shin-hyuk accepts it and throws her a little fistbump and a “Fighting!”

Hye-jin goes inside to find Ha-ri gluing the soles back on her damaged shoes, but they fall apart anyway so she offers to buy Hye-jin new ones. Hye-jin accepts her offer, which is unusual, but she just tells Ha-ri that of course — she’s her friend.

Home alone with his thoughts, Sung-joon says to a photo of his mother that this is the first time that he’s driven in the rain and not thought about the day she died. Hye-jin is also feeling contemplative as she sits in bed, pondering her puzzle piece.

The next morning, there’s an awkward moment when they run into each other outside the coffee shop and wonder what to say. Sung-joon takes the direct route and offers to buy her coffee, and doesn’t accept her no for an answer. He’s a lot calmer than she is, especially when he admits that he couldn’t sleep because of what happened last night.

Hye-jin spots Shin-hyuk on his way to work and claims to need to speak to him, rushing out of there like her butt’s on fire. She wails to Shin-hyuk that Sung-joon wants to talk but she feels like she’s going nuts, so he pretends to be talking with her as Sung-joon watches them suspiciously. They’re not fooling him one bit.

Of course, Hye-jin still has to work with Sung-joon, and she balks when she finds him in the meeting room when she needs to go in. She hides behind her coworkers when they head in for the meeting, terrified to be alone with Sung-joon even for a moment.

During today’s meeting, Sung-joon’s gaze bores holes in Hye-jin’s head, while she tries (and fails) to pretend she doesn’t notice. After the meeting he tells her to bring the minutes to him as soon as possible, and as soon as she does, his hug from the night before plays through her mind in romantic slow motion. Several times, ha.

She tries to scoot out of there but he tells her to stay until he’s done reading, and when her chair sits too low, he comes around to raise it for her. Of course, this requires him leaning in very close and touching her shoulder, and Hye-jin shakes so hard she looks like she’s going to explode. HAHA, he raises it all the way, so that she’s sitting higher than him.

Sung-joon starts to bring up last night, but Hye-jin jumps up, claiming that Shin-hyuk needs something from her. She tries to escape and is foiled by the door, and Sung-joon has to help her again — by opening the other door. How embarrassing. But when she leaves, Sung-joon heaves a sigh like he’s experiencing the same nerves Hye-jin is having. So cute.

Chief Editor Kim comes to remind Sung-joon about a dinner meeting tonight with a designer, giving him a particular suit of theirs to wear. HAHA, she tries to make the meeting sound like a date between them, but Sung-joon just gives her his “I don’t think so” face.

The mysterious novelist Ten posts a message that they’ll be meeting with fans in three weeks, to coincide with the release of their new book. Ten’s publisher wants Most to review the new book, titled “Memory,” which is Shin-hyuk’s wheelhouse. He complains, saying that Ten is too famous, and it’s no fun reviewing famous writers’ work.

Chief Editor Kim swans through the room speaking French on her phone, and the Most team discuss how she’s actually a lot smarter and more capable than they originally thought. They wonder about her true identity, but I don’t think she’s nearly as deep as they think, hee.

Everyone heads out for lunch, but Shin-hyuk is missing so Hye-jin hangs back to wait for him. But when she calls him, a woman answers and refers to him as “the patient,” and Hye-jin finds him outside heading back from a follow-up at the hospital. She pesters Shin-hyuk to tell her how he got hurt, but he just wants to go eat.

Sung-joon gets a call from Hye-jin’s younger sister Hye-rin, and he treats her to lunch indulgently. He laughs at her ordering like a tiny little adult, and marvels over her resemblance to her sister at her age. Hye-rin is offended, insisting that she’s much prettier than her sister, though she allows that Hye-jin is strong and has a good personality.

HA, Shin-hyuk whines and moans over his hurt arm at lunch, demanding that Hye-jin feed him. He still won’t tell her how he was injured, but he’s so adorable begging to be fed that she can’t stay angry at him.

After lunch, Shin-hyuk finally admitsthat he crashed his motorcycle. Hye-jin demands he hand over the keys, declaring it too dangerous and forbidding him to ride it again, but he just laughs at her. He half-jokes that she shouldn’t ask that if she has no intention of dating him, because it gets his hopes up. Aww, his mouth is smiling but his eyes are so sad.

Ha-ri helps a foreign hotel guest find a new tie after spilling coffee on his, and he mentions how touched he was to her boss. She’s told to expect a reward for going above and beyond to make the guest happy.

Sung-joon goes home for the weekend, leaving the suit Chief Editor Kim told him to wear behind at the office. She enlists Hye-jin to take it to him at home, so she tries to drop it off at the desk of his hotel, but he sees her and blows her cover.

He invites her in for tea but she declines, and he asks if he makes her uncomfortable. She doesn’t want to admit it, so she’s roped into having tea before she goes. She gulps down the hot tea (ouch!) and gasps, but she just wants out of there badly.

Sung-joon has something to say, but Hye-jin tries to write last night off as him just being worried for a colleague. He says blandly that he wouldn’t do that — he came running because it was her. Okay, awwww.

He softly tells her that at first he was annoyed by her, but at some point, he began to like spending time with her. But caring about her made him feel like a bad person, so he tried to dislike her. But after last night, he can’t deny it anymore, and acknowledges that something about her shakes him up. With trembling hands, Hye-jin proceeds to pour tea all over herself, so Sung-joon brings her a sweatshirt to change into.

She puts on the sweatshirt (which hilariously says COURAGE) but then she’s too nervous to go back out there. Sung-joon calls her out, and they both seem to realize the intensely intimate fact of her wearing his clothing. He grabs her wrist when she tries to walk past him, but only so that he can roll up the long sleeves for her. Sweet.

He apologizes for making her uncomfortable, and says that he didn’t admit his feelings so that they could do something about it. He just wanted her to know. He says that she reminds him of something that he’s known a long time. Somehow, when he’s with her, he becomes honest to a fault.

He tells Hye-jin that she makes him want to show his true self, and talk about himself, but he stops when he notices her eyes welling up with tears. She tells him that he didn’t say anything wrong, and he offers her a ride home. But when he goes to get his keys, she slips out.

When Shin-hyuk finds out that Hye-jin was sent to Sung-joon’s place on an errand, he shows up at Sung-joon’s with a giant smile, looking for her. He grabs a beer that he left in Sung-joon’s fridge, but Sung-joon smacks it out of his hand and demands to know why he’s following Hye-jin around.

Shin-hyuk says he’s sort of her guardian oppa, and turns the same question on Sung-joon. Is he her black knight who rides through the rain to save her? Sung-joon counters that at least he doesn’t make his feelings into a joke like a coward, and Shin-hyuk takes his leave. But in the hall, he drops the smile and his eyes go hard.

Joon-woo and Seul go to dinner, though she internally complains about always going to the same hole-in-the-wall restaurant. He notices her struggle with the spicy food and says he’ll have to come with someone else from now on, but she insists she loves it.

He cleans up food she’d spit out while she protests that it’s dirty, but he just says it’s not dirty, because it was hers. She asks if he likes her, and he’s all Yeah, you didn’t know? When he confirms that they’re officially dating, she wants a kiss, so he tosses her a little peck. HA. These two are adorable.

Shin-hyuk and Ha-ri talk over a beer at their convenience store, where he asks her if he can meddle in her life one more time. He tells her that Hye-jin knows everything, and that she’s waiting for Ha-ri to tell her the truth first. Ha-ri goes home, but she’s too ashamed to go inside, where she knows she’ll have to face Hye-jin.

When she finally goes inside, Hye-jin is there, looking at the shoes Ha-ri tried to fix for her. Ha-ri tells her friend that tomorrow, she’ll go back to where she belongs, asking for just one more day. She thanks Hye-jin for waiting for her, and for letting her tell her herself.

Hye-jin finally interviews the children’s book author, who notices that she knows a lot about fairy tales. Hye-jin admits that when she was young she wanted to write children’s books, too. The author encourages her not to give up and gives her a copy of her book as a gift.

Hye-jin reads the book, and as she walks, she sees that there’s a Renoir exhibit nearby. She stops in and finds “Dance in the Country,” smiling at the little hidden girl. Suddenly she’s joined by Sung-joon, and they both smile to see the other here.

Some schoolchildren come by and one comments that Sung-joon is wearing the same scarf they wear with their uniform, and he takes it off, embarrassed. But Hye-jin champions him and says that he’s very stylish, and he puts it back on with a smile. The kids tease that she must loooove that ajusshi, making both of them look around nervously.

A couple asks Hye-jin to take their picture posing as the dancing couple, and offer to take one of her and Sung-joon in return. Hye-jin waves them off but Sung-joon whips out his phone, HA.

He offers her a ride home on his way to his meeting, but she’s headed back to the office to work on her article. She says she’ll see him tomorrow, but it’s Sunday — “But even so, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

On the drive to his meeting, Ha-ri calls Sung-joon to ask him to meet tonight. He says his meeting will run late and starts to offer to see her tomorrow, but he stops and agrees, even if it’s late. He also has something to talk to her about.

Hye-jin sees Shin-hyuk in the elevator when she gets back to the office, but only Poong-ho is in the office when she goes upstairs. He mentions that Shin-hyuk went after her when her car broke down, which is news to her. She realizes that this must have been when he crashed his motorcycle, and runs out to find him.

She catches him outside and asks if he came to find her and had his accident, and he just gives her the saddest look. It’s a struggle to paste on his trademark grin, but he does, and admits that that’s what happened. He asks if she feels burdened, and says good, she should feel sorry towards him. He wants her to be worried about him, too. Dammit, he’s breaking my heart right now.

He plays her promise to grant him three requests, and decides to call in his third favor. He grabs her in a hug and tells her, serious this time, that he doesn’t think of her as a friend. He doesn’t ever want to be friends.

Sung-joon wraps up his meeting and calls Ha-ri, but she’s gone to work for a bit and offers to meet him later. She finishes up her work and starts to call Sung-joon, but he’s already there, right behind her. And he’s just heard her boss call her by her real name.

In voiceover, Hye-jin repeats that when we’re about to tell the truth, we can end up hesitating. And sometimes, that hesitation costs you the chance to tell the truth.

Sung-joon walks up to Ha-ri looking stricken, and says her name, “Min Ha-ri. Who are you?”

COMMENTS

Well, I can’t say that I feel bad for Ha-ri exactly, because it’s true that this is a situation of her own making. I think even she understands that. But Hye-jin’s words are so true, that her hesitation when she decided to tell the truth resulted in her being caught and not given the chance to come clean on her own. It’s going to make the fallout that much worse, because you can say all day that you meant to tell the truth, but it rings false when you’re caught out while still perpetuating a lie. She’s had several opportunities to give him that letter and at least come out of this holding her head up that she did the right thing eventually, but now, I don’t think she’s going to get out of this so easily.

As for Hye-jin, it’s so like her to find out that Ha-ri has been lying to Sung-joon and to her, and to trust her enough to come to her in her own time. As outsiders looking in, it’s hard to understand that kind of trust… but knowing Ha-ri and Hye-jin’s lifelong relationship, I can understand why Hye-jin is willing to give Ha-ri that chance. She knows her better than anyone — she knows that Ha-ri wouldn’t do something like this lightly, and she also knows that she won’t be able to sustain it. She trusts their friendship, and that Ha-ri loves her enough to come to her when she’s ready to confess. And she was right, though it’s a shame that Ha-ri waited a little too long.

I’m glad Sung-joon finally knows for real, at least as much as that Ha-ri isn’t his Hye-jin. It was difficult to watch him feeling like he was betraying his first love, by falling for someone else. Of course we know he’s falling for his real first love all over again, but he doesn’t know that, and the guilt he feels seems so painful that he can’t even enjoy the fact that he truly is falling in love. He’s been so attached to the idea that he was going to find Hye-jin and be with her, which really hasn’t been a healthy thing for Sung-joon emotionally. But I can’t help but look forward to the moment when he discovers that he’s actually gotten what he’s wanted his whole life — to make his first love, his last love.

But in the meantime, I adore how he treats Hye-jin now that he’s confessed that he has feelings for her. Just the simple act of rolling up her sleeves was so sweet and tender, and somehow vulnerable. For a closed-up guy like Sung-joon to not only admit feelings for a woman that even he’s surprised affects him so much, but perform even that tiny service for her, is a very moving thing. I appreciate that he’s admitted that the way he treated her before was wrong, and I’m happy to be seeing some personal growth on his part. Nobody is perfect, and Sung-joon is under tremendous pressure from multiple sources, so I can forgive him now that he’s genuinely apologized. It’s interesting that the woman he thinks is his first love makes him even more closed-up… but without even knowing the truth, it’s the woman who truly is his old friend who makes him soften, and want to be better. So for Sung-joon’s emotional health, I’m happy that he now knows that Ha-ri is not his old friend, and he can move forward with Hye-jin without guilt.

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301 October 24, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 11

by LollyPip

It’s heartbreaking when even the truth can’t solve your problems, as our love triangle are quickly coming to discover. Sometimes the truth only uncovers more hurt, and creates more problems in ways that can’t be predicted. They key is honest communication, but what do you do when someone refuses to be honest, even with themselves?

EPISODE 11 RECAP

Sung-joon calls Ha-ri to meet up as planned, and she tells him she’s working and she’ll see him later. But it’s too late, as he’s already there, and he sees her photo on a plaque with her real name.

He confronts her, and calls her by name, “Min Ha-ri. Who are you?” Looking heartbroken, he asks her why she pretended to be Kim Hye-jin. He shakes off her hand when she tries to touch him, so she just ekes out a tiny, “I’m Hye-jin’s friend.”

She explains that she was only supposed to meet him that once, but things got complicated when he bumped into her at the hotel. She was going to tell him the truth today… but he’s not interested. What he wants to know is, is the real Kim Hye-jin who he thinks it is?

Ha-ri confirms that he knows the real Hye-jin and tries again to explain, but Sung-joon is done with her. He walks away without a second thought, leaving Ha-ri crying.

All of the clues seem so obvious now, as Sung-joon thinks about things he’s heard and seen of the real Hye-jin. The past and the present meld together, and he realizes that the woman he’s been looking for has been right beside him all this time.

Meanwhile Shin-hyuk uses his final request of Hye-jin, and hugs her tightly. He begs her, if she can’t go to Sung-joon, then to please come to him. He just wants a chance, but Hye-jin gets a call from Sung-joon before she can answer him.

Sung-joon’s voice catches as she answers, and he says formally, “It’s been a long time, Kim Hye-jin.” He says it again in banmal, and starts to cry as he says he’s missed her. He asks her to meet him, now, and Shin-hyuk tries one last time and asks her with a sad smile not to go. Okay, they’re both breaking my heart!

Hye-jin just tells Shin-hyuk sincerely that she’s sorry, and runs. She and Sung-joon triangulate to find each other, and he sees her first and pulls her around by the arm. Oh, the expressions on their faces — so beautiful. Sung-joon starts to cry again, breathing, “I’ve finally found you, Kim Hye-jin,” and she joins him in tears.

He starts to bark at her, demanding to know why she didn’t tell him, didn’t she know how much he missed her? But he stops himself — it’s not important. He’s only sorry he’s so late in recognizing her, and she just smiles at him. He takes her face in his hands and examines her closely, and finally, finally recognizes his old friend.

They stand for a long time, just taking each other in, and for a moment they feel like their young selves as they join hands and walk together. He hear Hye-jin tell Sung-joon that she did go to meet him that day, but when he walked past her, she lost her confidence. He regrets that his mistake started all this, but they’re both so happy now, it hardly seems to matter anymore.

They ride on a riverboat and Sung-joon wonders how it must have been for her, knowing who he was and not being able to speak up. She admits that the small lie snowballed and got out of control. Sung-joon wonders if their situations had been reversed and he were the more unfortunate one, would she have been disappointed meeting him? He thought that kind of thing wouldn’t be important between them.

He turns serious and takes Hye-jin by the shoulders, and tells her that no matter what her circumstances or how she looked, it wouldn’t have mattered to him. Hye-jin regrets hiding now, but Sung-joon tells her that they’ll not regret anymore, and just look at the present.

She asks if he heard all this from Ha-ri, but he says he’s hearing it for the first time now. She’s shocked he didn’t talk to Ha-ri and runs home early, worried that Ha-ri isn’t okay. Ha-ri makes light of it, saying that she lost her head for a while and should have told Hye-jin sooner.

Hye-jin isn’t ready to accept her apology, reminding Ha-ri that she promised to tell Sung-joon the truth and set things right. Ha-ri says that it just happened before she got the chance, and runs out, claiming to have a date.

Left blinking in surprise, Hye-jin answers Hari’s phone where she left it in her room. She sees a ripped-up latter in Ha-ri’s trash can and puts it together, reading how Ha-ri was going to confess to Sung-joon, and everything he made her feel. Realizing that Sung-joon meant more to her friend than Ha-ri let on, Hye-jin goes looking for her.

She finds Ha-ri crying like her heart is breaking, and she watches for a while with tears in her own eyes. We hear the end of Ha-ri’s letter, where she’d apologized and said she’ll be sincerely cheering for him and Hye-jin, as Ha-ri sobs.

The next morning, things are a little awkward as Ha-ri lies about her “date” last night. But Sung-joon is excited to see Hye-jin again, and smiles at his own version of Onion Head at his place. Shin-hyuk can barely bring himself to get out of bed, poor guy.

Hye-jin takes advantage of Sung-joon’s absorption in his tablet at the street light to look her fill at him, then cutely gets a little annoyed that he doesn’t see her there. But when she does get his attention, his happy smile is just glorious.

He tries to take her hand to cross the street, but she whips it away, claiming to be stretching. He invites her to go to their old neighborhood for dinner tonight and to see their old haunts, but for some reason, she claims not to remember buying him that cake for Left-Hander’s Day.

In the elevator Hye-jin asks what she should call him now and natters on about his life in America, but he’s sort of over her antics. He doesn’t let her leave the elevator and hits the button for the top floor, and takes her to the roof to talk.

He’s hurt that she’s pretending to have only connected with an old friend and nothing more, but she says they should keep their personal and professional lives separate. He asks if that’s all he is to her, an old classmate, and his voice catches when he brings up the way they were last night, which felt to him like more.

Hye-jin thinks to herself Ha-ri likes you, but she just says that that “first love” stuff is so old-fashioned. Sung-joon doesn’t hide his disappointment, mentioning how much he’s been hoping all this time that it was more between them. He asks why she’s being like this, but she just says he’s too serious. Sung-joon says sadly that he guesses he was alone in thinking this was something special, but he must have been the only one who didn’t want to waste more time. He gets her point and leaves, and she sighs to herself sadly.

Hye-jin runs into Shin-hyuk on her way to the office, and gives him some money to repay him for his hospital bill. He pastes on his smile, which just looks weary now, and tells her not to bother.

Poong-ho notices the strange atmosphere, and asks Hye-jin what’s up between her and Shin-hyuk. Sung-joon overhears her loudly deny anything, and leaves the office in a huff.

Seul overhears Joon-woo talking to his father on the phone and calling him “president,” figuring it’s proof that she’s landed the true hidden chaebol. But she’s disappointed when he tells her his father was appointed president of his soccer club, and that he owns a dry cleaning business. At least it’s in Gangnam?

Meanwhile Shin-hyuk is driven somewhere in a fancy car with a driver, and tells the nicely-dressed older man in the car with him that he doesn’t need to bother calling him later. Iiinteresting.

In his office, Sung-joon remembers Shin-hyuk’s confession that he likes Hye-jin, and when Hye-jin delivers the meeting minutes he tells her that she doesn’t need to bring them to him personally anymore. He’s all business as he dismisses her, but he can’t keep it up. When she turns to go, he says breathlessly, “I can’t do it, Hye-jin-ah.”

He says to her back that he can’t just be her classmate, or keep their business and personal lives separate. He can’t, and he doesn’t want to. Reporter Cha interrupts them before Hye-jin can answer him, and he’s left hanging. Back at her desk, Hye-jin turns her Onion Head around to the crying side, which Sung-joon notices.

Shin-hyuk conducts his interview with a director, who asks him when he got so boring. He only agreed to this interview because Shin-hyuk is fun, but he was boring today. Shin-hyuk perks up and makes an effort, though it really seems like an effort now.

Afterward, he makes a call (in English, interestingly) promising to see someone soon, saying that he misses them. He wonders to himself if it’s time to leave.

Hye-jin arrives home that night in time to catch Ha-ri going out with a new man, whose name she doesn’t even know. Hye-jin is frustrated, but Ha-ri says it’s not like she doesn’t know her, so Hye-jin yanks her inside to talk.

She yells at Ha-ri, telling her to act upset if she’s upset, and not to pretend she’s fine. She tells Ha-ri that she saw her crying, but Ha-ri says that the one of them who’s truly pretending to be fine is Hye-jin. She yells that Hye-jin should be mad at her, and finally Hye-jin screams that yes, she’s very angry.

But it’s not because of Sung-joon. She holds herself responsible for this situation, but it’s Ha-ri’s attitude that infuriates her. She tells Ha-ri to stop avoiding her, but Ha-ri says that this is all she can do. She says that maybe it’s time they stop all this, and offers to disappear.

But Hye-jin is the one who’s been living at Ha-ri’s place, so she argues that she should go. She starts to pack right away, but Ha-ri just leaves without argument. So Hye-jin goes to her parents’ home for the night, annoyed when everyone asks after Ha-ri.

Sung-joon tries calling Hye-jin (who’s saved in his phone as “My Umbrella,” awww), but Hye-rin answers her phone. He finds out where her parents live and shows up there, and they all remember him from when he lived next door and fawn over the handsome man he’s grown into.

He makes no bones about the fact that he wants to date Hye-jin, which excites everyone but Hye-jin herself. Despite being such a lightweight, Sung-joon drinks Dad’s homemade wine when it’s offered, and immediately passes out on the table. HAHAHA.

Ha-ri’s night isn’t much better, as she comes home from her date to find her mother waiting to see her. Her mother asks her to forgive her, and both women cry wordlessly.

Hye-jin can’t sleep knowing that Sung-joon is in the house, and hee, both of her parents are watching him sleep and wondering about his feelings for their daughter. They happily go when Hye-jin shoos them back to their room, telling her to have a nice time. OMG, they’re so cute.

Hye-jin can’t help but smile as she watches Sung-joon sleeping, and he wakes up and catches her. She asks if he’s okay, but he tells her that no, he’s not, and it’s her fault. They go outside to talk, but she still won’t tell him why she’s acting so strange. He’s pretty sure of her feelings, so he doesn’t want any silly misunderstandings.

She tells him that maybe, just being his first love is special enough. She tries to explain but he interrupts, and says that back then, she took the place of his mother who wasn’t there. It was special because she was his only friend.

But that’s not why he likes her now — he likes her for who she is in the present. Even if they’d never met, he would still like her now. He asks her one last time if she’ll tell him why she’s acting like this.

Hye-jin finally admits that it’s because Ha-ri likes him a lot, and to her, Ha-ri is more than a friend. She’s as precious to Hye-jin as her family and Sung-joon are. If she’s with Sung-joon, Ha-ri will be hurt, which will hurt Hye-jin in return.

Sung-joon crouches in front of Hye-jin and forces her to make eye contact, and says, “The one I like, is you.” When they were kids, it was her, and when he didn’t know who she was, it was her. Now, and in the future, it’s her. Well, ~swoon~.

He says softly that he won’t push her, and he doesn’t want anything from her. He only asks that she not run away. He smiles when she sighs, saying that she’s even nicer now than when they were young, and that he’s happy she hasn’t changed.

The big news at work the next morning is Shin-hyuk — he’s rumored to be going to work for New Look, Most’s biggest rival magazine. He’s been scouted many times before, but he’s never left them. Of course Seul thinks this disqualifies Shin-hyuk as the hidden chaebol, and the only option left is… Poong-ho. Ha.

Shin-hyuk does show up for work though, bemused at his coworkers’ barrage of questions about his changing jobs. But he seems to confirm that he’s leaving, so Hye-jin follows him out of the office to ask if it’s true. He says he’s not going to New Look, but he is going — he just doesn’t know where, yet.

But it’s not all bad news today, as Most’s recent edition broke sales records. They’re not first place yet, that honor still belongs to New Look, but they’re getting close.

Sung-joon doesn’t join in the excitement, but Chief Editor Kim offers them her credit card to go out and have dinner on her. She does say ominously that next time she expects them to be Number One, which reminds everyone of how Sung-joon talks.

Ha-ri’s mom visits Hye-jin’s mom, her old friend, and shows her the jewelry that she’s been designing. Ha-ri’s mom says that she’s successful because she had the courage to leave a man she loved, but who didn’t love her, but that she regrets hurting Ha-ri. She’s been afraid to see her daughter until now, but she feels strong. She wants to take Ha-ri to live with her, but Ha-ri won’t even talk to her.

She texts Ha-ri to tell her that she’s leaving the country again in a few days, asking to see her before she goes. Ha-ri calls her back, and asks if she still makes that crab porridge she loves.

Hye-jin works late, until it’s just her and Sung-joon in the office. She makes some tea and asks him why he doesn’t discuss Most’s ranking with the team, and ask for their help. She’s concerned that he’s shouldering all the worry himself, so he angles for a hug to make him feel better. That makes Hye-jin nervous, and he backs off.

Later he searches Shin-hyuk’s employee file, and goes to the hotel where Shin-hyuk is staying. He sees Shin-hyuk leaving and the two go out for a drink, and Sung-joon asks why Shin-hyuk lives in a hotel.

He also asks if Shin-hyuk plans to go work for New Look, but Shin-hyuk doesn’t know either. Sung-joon asks him flat-out to stay at Most, even though he used to annoy him, because they need him. He tells Shin-hyuk that Most Korea is in danger of being shut down, so they need him to stay.

But Shin-hyuk doesn’t come to work the next day either, and everyone assumes he’s abandoned them. He doesn’t answer when Hye-jin calls him, and a strange man calls her right back and asks for her by name. He’s looking for Ha-ri, who suddenly turned in her resignation this morning.

Hye-jin rushes home, but all of Ha-ri’s personal things are gone. There’s a to-do list on her bed, outlining that she’s quitting her job, selling her car, and closing her accounts. Hye-jin remembers Ha-ri saying that she should disappear, and a neighbor confirms that she left today with all her things.

Hye0jin takes a cab to the airport, but can’t find her friend anywhere. She remembers a time when they were children, and Ha-ri had pushed an injured Hye-jin home in a shopping cart. Hye-jin had told her to leave her there and go get her mother, but Ha-ri had refused to go anywhere without her friend.

Distraught, Hye-jin calls out that Ha-ri can’t leave her like this. Crying her heart out, Hye-jin sits in the middle of the airport, and thinks to herself, “Ha-ri left me.”

COMMENTS

I love that there are so many different love stories in this show, and not all romantic ones. Yes, there’s the main love story between Sung-joon and Hye-jin, spanning the majority of their lives, but it’s also a friends’ love story. The love between Hye-jin and Ha-ri has just as many ups and downs, disappointments and betrayals, confessions and forgivenesses as any love between a man and a woman. More, in fact, than Sung-joon and Hye-jin, because they’ve literally spent their whole lives together. They even live together, and have been each other’s sole emotional support (and even financial support) for most of their lives. When Hye-jin says that Ha-ri is more than a friend for her, I believe her, and it makes sense that she’s Hye-jin’s primary priority. Sung-joon is an old friend too, and a first love, but there have been a couple of decades since they last saw each other. They don’t have the same kind of deep bond the two women have.

It’s touching that, when Hye-jin found out that Sung-joon didn’t talk to Ha-ri that night, the first thing Hye-jin did was run home to check on her friend. Even in the midst of reconnecting with her first love, her love for her friend carried just as much weight with her — more, in fact. And no matter how it can be argued that Ha-ri created her own heartbreak, she is heartbroken. She needs her understanding, loving best friend more than ever right now. It makes things that much more tragic that, even having that unconditional love and support from Hye-jin, Ha-ri can’t accept it out of her own feelings of guilt for betraying her friend.

But on the flip side, it’s sad that Hye-jin is willing to deny what she wants for her friend’s sake. I can see why she feels like she’d be taking the man her friend likes, but there’s such thing as being too selfless. After all, Sung-joon was her friend first, and her first love, first, not to mention how he feels about this and who he loves. And it seems like an extra slap in the face to find Ha-ri going back to her casual-dating ways so soon, when Hye-jin just hurt the man who loves her for her friend’s sake. It’s no wonder they fought, and it’s good to see that Hye-jin does have a threshold of what she’ll accept. Interesting that what she was upset about wasn’t what Ha-ri did with Sung-joon, but the way she acted like it was no big deal that she was in pain.

As for Sung-joon, I adore him for his honesty, and how he won’t accept anything less from Hye-jin. It’s not necessarily a strength all the time — it’s what made him say such hateful things ot her when they first met. Complete honesty can be a bad thing sometimes, but when he turns it on for a good purpose, it’s pretty powerful. It’s wonderful how he knows that Hye-jin isn’t being honest with him about why she’s backing away, and he doesn’t stop until he gets an honest answer in return. He’s not even pushy or intrusive about it, just gently insistent that he deserves the truth. His biggest fault can also be his greatest asset, and it’s wonderful to see a drama hero say No, we’re not doing to have misunderstandings or secrets, we’re going to talk about this like people who care about each other.

It’s so sad to see that, instead of solving all the miscommunication and confused feelings issues, the revealing of Hye-jin’s true identity has only created more problems. Luckily, two of the three people involved have a history of being honest and willing to talk things out, so surely they’ll be able to straighten out this mess before long. If only they can stop Ha-ri from running away, again.

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141 October 30, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 12

by LollyPip

Nearly every relationship in our story is marked by a shift, to wildly differing results. Luckily all four of our main players are ready to be honest and discuss their issues, which helps, though the honesty can be sometimes painful. But better a painful truth than false hope — and sometimes watching the person you love be happy, even with someone else, can be fulfilling in its own right.

EPISODE 12 RECAP

Hye-jin runs through the airport looking for Ha-ri, collapsing in tears when her best friend is nowhere to be found. She collects herself and sits staring at Ha-ri’s to-do list, not even registering when Ha-ri just casually walks past her.

Hye-jin is thrilled, but Ha-ri seems oddly mystified by her friend finding her here. Hye-jin yell-sobs at her for leaving her without saying goodbye, but Ha-ri is all, Where am I going? She just came to see her mother off to Japan — she’s not going anywhere. Why would she leave after doing something so awful to Hye-jin? She has to stay and make up for her behavior.

Back at home Ha-ri tells Hye-jin that after talking to her mom, she now understands why she left her. All of her things are gone because she decided after what she did with Sung-joon that she’s immature. So she cut up her credit card, got rid of all the things her father handed to her, and deleted all the random men from her phone. She even quit her job, which her father got for her.

She admits that, because she always had things given to her without effort, she got greedy about something that didn’t belong to her. She apologizes sincerely to Hye-jin, who easily accepts her apology.

Sung-joon wakes in the office with a start, working late after having spoken to his US contact, who isn’t happy that the magazine only came up to second place. Nothing less than first place will do, and they have one more chance or Most Korea is done for. They’re really putting the pressure on him to make it happen.

Ha-ri tells Hye-jin that she plans to take some time off, even though the hotel seems to want her back. Hye-jin gets a text that Sung-joon is nearby, asking her to come out, but for some reason she tells Ha-ri that she’s running to the store. Aww, and you guys were doing so well with the honesty.

She meets Sung-joon in the park, who tells her to wait ten seconds, then just stares at her. He’s ready to go after that, saying that he only wanted to see her and get energized. Hye-jin senses something is off, asking if it’s worth it to wear himself out to make Most first. But Sung-joon says with a brave smile that it’s not just about him, admitting that he feels responsible for the Most team members, too.

Hye-jin complains that it’s too hard to do by himself, so Sung-joon asks for a hug. He immediately chastises himself for pressuring her when he said he wouldn’t, and leaves with a smile — though Hye-jin looks unsettled.

When Sung-joon gets home, it’s a minute before he notices a smiling and mostly-naked Shin-hyuk is already there, having used his shower. He hilariously falls right off the couch when he finds himself face-to-abs with Shin-hyuk, and he’s so startled he can’t even form a complete sentence. Rewind, replay!

Shin-hyuk even ordered delivery, but when he turns to answer the door his towel falls off, giving Sung-joon an unwanted eyeful. Shin-hyuk apologizes for shocking him so badly, then giggles to himself. This is the best thing ever.

Later when everyone is dressed again, Shin-hyuk brings up his real reason for being here — his two days off have given him some great ideas for the magazine. Sung-joon asks if this means he’s coming back, and Shin-hyuk confirms it. Hooray!

But when Sung-joon looks through Shin-hyuk’s ideas, he has a reason to nix or alter every one. Shin-hyuk marvels at his vast knowledge, but Sung-joon only asks why he’s changed his mind about leaving. Shin-hyuk says he got motivated when he heard the magazine might be shut down, which makes it seem fun, like a game. He has no intention of quitting without even trying.

On his way out, Shin-hyuk catches sight of Sung-joon’s Onion Head, cocks an eyebrow and gives it an encouraging smile, then goes. Cute. On his way home he calls whoever-it-is that he speaks to in English and says that he can’t make it this time, that something’s come up. Whoever it is, he seems to feel warmly towards them, telling them he misses them.

Ha-ri fusses over Hye-jin on her way to work in the morning, making sure she looks nice. Shin-hyuk pulls up next to Hye-jin’s bus on his motorcycle and smiles at her, and meets her at the crosswalk. He smiles at her sweetly while she bops to music on her MP3 player, then knocks her knee out from under her. Back to his old self, I see.

She squeals to hear that he’s back, and he does a little happy dance for her — but he’s sobered to think that she doesn’t know the real reason he left. Hye-jin flounders, and he can’t resist laughing at her discomfort… then admits it’s true that he left because he was rejected. But he yells that it’s fun again, and heads into the building.

Hye-jin asks why it’s fun again, but he just answers that it ain’t over ’til it’s over. The entire Most team greet him with excitement and hugs, then they all smack him for leaving in the first place. Even Sung-joon, watching from his office, smiles as he gripes that it will be getting noisy again.

They get right back to work, discussing a fashionista named Leonard Kim that they’re trying to land for a featured interview. Unfortunately, he never gives interviews so they want to go with their second choice — but Shin-hyuk says they should go for it and take the risk. Sung-joon also thinks they should keep trying, and he and Shin-hyuk are suddenly in complete sync as they give a tandem pep talk.

Sung-joon startles everyone with a sudden nosebleed, and Shin-hyuk hilariously screams like a little girl and runs for cover. Sung-joon waves off everyone’s concern, but Hye-jin can’t stop herself from shooting him glares through his office window. She knows he’s overtired, and he looks pale.

She hovers when she brings him the meeting notes, worried about him, but he swears he’s okay. He even teases her by pretending to pick up his desk to prove it, hee. He says softly that it’s nice that she worries about him, which makes her go all formal on him. Poor guy, happens every time. He’s disappointed, but awww, she left a note on his tea that it’s good for nosebleeds.

Joon-woo texts Seul to invite her to their spicy noodle place for dinner, but she turns him down claiming not to feel well. He immediately runs to her in person, worried that she’s ill, and she has to internally steel herself not to flutter at his attention. Give up girl, he’s adorable and you’re sunk.

When Reporter Cha has to postpone her meeting with Hye-jin regarding her fairy tale article, Shin-hyuk is quick on the draw to volunteer to read it for her. Hye-jin is nervous around him so he flips a coin to decide, but this time when he wins with heads, she screams that he swore that was tails last time. But he’s serious as he gives her some tips on writing, and she soaks it all in like a sponge.

He basks in her admiration, musing that she must find his knowledge and professionalism very sexy, making her nervous again. But he says he hasn’t shown her what kind of man he is yet, repeating that it ain’t over ’til it’s over. She tries to let him down easy but unfortunately, he deliberately misinterprets her words as saying that she likes him.

Okay, Joon-woo is the cutest thing ever — he ran to the store to buy a thermometer and just about every kind of medicine for whatever might be ailing Seul. He leaves for a meeting and she wails at how nice and lovable he is.

Later that day, Hye-jin notices Sung-joon in his office with the lights off and his head down, cringing every time the staff holler at a game they’re playing. She gives them her credit card and bustles them off to eat, her treat, and relaxes when Sung-joon settles down to sleep.

She nearly attacks Chief Editor Kim when she wanders in singing opera, but it works and Sung-joon doesn’t wake. She sneaks into his office to cover him with a blanket, which Shin-hyuk witnesses, and droops. When she comes out, he grabs her to do something fun, and takes her for coffee.

The barista calls Hye-jin Shin-hyuk’s girlfriend, but he tells her, “She’s not my girlfriend… yet.” Hye-jin determines to be honest and tells him she doesn’t like him that way, but Shin-hyuk is pretty stubborn and insists on misunderstanding her. He makes her laugh with stupid faces, as though delaying the inevitable will make it not true.

Hye-jin gets home that night to find Ha-ri having pizza with Hye-rin, and she overhears Hye-rin tell Ha-ri that there’s a man chasing her sister. She’s horrified when Hye-rin laughs at her playing hard to get, and says that that oppa must have bad eyes. She tries to get Hye-rin to stop talking about Sung-joon by shoving food in her mouth, but of course that doesn’t work.

Later Ha-ri surprises Hye-jin with the new shoes she promised, a gorgeous pair of silver heels. Hye-jin turns them down, saying they’re too pretty and more Ha-ri’s style, but Ha-ri reminds her of a saying — good shoes will take you good places. She entreats her to take the shoes, and go where she wants to go.

Ha-ri warns Hye-jin to be careful at first, because it will feel uncomfortable, though soon they’ll be so comfortable she won’t even notice them. But she’s not talking about shoes anymore, though Hye-jin is so dense she has to spell it out: “Go to Sung-joon!”

Hye-jin insists she’s fine being just friends with him, but Ha-ri knows that he’s the kind of person whose heart went to Hye-jin even when Ha-ri tried to hold him. Waiting for her will be hard for him. Ha-ri says she’s not lying about being okay anymore, that she really is okay, so Hye-jin can go be with him.

Sung-joon works late into the night, then wanders past Hye-jin’s place again. He starts to call her but her lights are out, so he contents himself with just looking. Meanwhile she’s contemplating the shoes, and remembering his promise not to push her as long as she doesn’t run away. Sung-joon spends a long time hanging around outside, staring at her window and coughing loudly, just in case. Just when he gives up, Hye-jin turns her light on and opens the window, but they miss each other.

Sung-joon walks past a small store where he once watched Hye-jin talking to the resident dog, Princess, and stops for a little canine conversation. He tells Princess that waiting is harder than he thought. He goes home to mope at Onion Head, looking deeply lonely and tired.

In the morning, Hye-jin puts on her new shoes and steels herself for her day. She says hello to Princess and notices she’s wearing a jaunty new scarf… and realizes that Sung-joon was here recently. She tells Princess that she’s not going to run away anymore, and heads to work.

Ha-ri finds her at the bus stop and offers her once last ride — she’s selling the car. She sends Hye-jin to work with a double thumbs-up and yells that the shoes look great on her.

Sung-joon isn’t at work, having come in for an early meeting then left again, saying he had another meeting to go to. Hye-jin snatches up his scarf and runs out, but he gets in the elevator before she catches up.

Jon-woo brings everyone coffee and mentions seeing the photographer that Sung-joon’s meeting at the coffee shop, so Hye-jin runs out again. But she’s just missed Sung-joon again, so she zooms back outside — just as Sung-joon leaves in his car. ARGH. Back in the office Hye-jin hears Reporter Cha talking to Sung-joon on the phone, reminded that he’s going to Jeju Island and that he’ll be back tonight after six.

Later, Shin-hyuk finds Hye-jin asleep in the meeting room, and sits to watch her. He softly whispers, “Jackson. Look at me, too.”

Poong-ho asks Hye-jin to get something from Sung-joon’s office, and in the pile of folders on his desk, she finds a sketchbook with a picture he’s drawn. It’s of her, tasting the seaweed on the beach from their business trip. And another, with the bandaid stuck to her lips when he had to help her with her injured finger. The entire sketchbook is filled with drawings of her cute and embarrassing moments, and Hye-jin tears up looking at them. It’s telling, that she looks absolutely gorgeous in every sketch.

She’s too distracted to work and can only stare at his scarf and pine, but she finally comes to a decision and jumps up. She grabs the sketchbook and runs out, full of anticipation. She waits at the airport for Sung-joon to come back, and holds up the sketchbook where she’s written, “Welcome Ji Sung-joon.” But she was so busy writing the message, she didn’t see that he’s already gone.

On his way out of the airport, Sung-joon nearly collapses, barely catching himself on the door. He’s dizzy and exhausted and it finally catches up to him — he passes out, while Hye-jin waits inside.

When he doesn’t show, Hye-jin grows worried and heads back to the Most office, where she finds out from Reporter Cha about Sung-joon’s collapse. She runs right past Shin-hyuk, who follows her out and offers her a ride, even when she says she’s going to Sung-joon.

He takes her to the hospital and sends her in, telling her it’s okay when she tries to apologize. She feels bad for doing this to him, saying that he’s a good person and kind, and that being with him is fun. He stops her, calling her “my kind-hearted Jackson,” and offers to flip one last coin — heads and he walks away, tails and he holds onto her so she can’t leave.

He flips the coin and catches it, but stops to look at Hye-jin, standing with tears in her eyes. He puts the coin away and tells her to go. He thanks her for hesitating, as his eyes go red and he looks like he’s fighting tears. After Hye-jin runs in, he pulls out the coin, and his face finally crumples as he sees that it would have been heads after all.

Hye-jin finds Sung-joon in his room, asleep and pale. She reaches out to touch his hair, which rouses him just enough to pull her down and onto the bed with him. He opens his eyes and asks weakly if she was worried, but she says no… she came to give him that hug.

Hye-jin hugs him for a long time, her tears falling and trailing down his face, then she pulls back and they lay there, staring into each other’s eyes. And then Sung-joon can’t wait anymore, and he kisses her.

COMMENTS

Well, it’s about time! And what a sweet moment for both of them, with Hye-jin coming to support Sung-joon just when he needs her the most. She’s always watched over him and taken care of him from the background, even before he knew who she was, and this is just an extension of that. The one thing he’s needed from her, for some time now, was just a simple hug — but it meant so much more to both of them than just a hug. It would mean that she was accepting him and his feelings, and admitting that she returns them, and that’s a big step for Hye-jin. She’s never doubted that she cares for him, but making it official has been frightening for her on several levels.

So it’s wonderful that Hye-jin came to Sung-joon all on her own, without pressure or manhandling from him, as so many drama heroes are wont to do. He’d promised to wait for her, even though the poor man has been waiting most of his life, and he actually followed through and let her come on her own time. I love that about Sung-joon — yeah, he can get ugly in the face of professional pressure, but once he makes a promise, he keeps it. From the moment he started feeling something for Hye-jin, he’s never been anything but kind and gentle with her, and even more so now that he knows she’s his Hye-jin. I’m willing to forgive his early slip-ups considering the pridigious pressure he’s under from his mysterious American employer, and the fact that Hye-jin was pretty useless when he first met her. But they’ve both changed, and it’s obvious how precious he considers her, so I’m considering that water under the bridge.

In the other direction, Ha-ri’s revelation and attempts to change her life are really impressive. It takes a lot to give up an easy life and start fresh, but she did it without heistation. It shows that she was more horrified by her behavior in pretending to be Hye-jin than anyone else, and I respect that she had a serious talk with herself and decided to do something about it. And the thing is, Ha-ri laready has everything she needs to be successful in her own right. She’s smart, capable, and clearly a hard worker as evidenced by the accolades she was given at the hotel. Even without her beauty on top of everything else, she’s completely equipped to take care of herself, and do it well. She doesn’t need Daddy’s money or connections, and it’s good to see her realize that and strike out on her own. Not to mention, how happy-making it is to see her truly and sincerely cheer on Hye-jin with Sung-joon… and now that she’s getting her life in order, her own love story will come soon enough.

Shin-hyuk, on the other hand, became really frustrating this episode. I get that he’s a free spirit and kids around a lot, but using that to keep Hye-jin off-balance and confused isn’t cool. She was trying so hard to finally be honest with him and he wouldn’t let her, which came off not so cute anymore, and bordering on disrespectful. Making a girl laugh with dumb walrus impressions isn’t how you get her to like you… not past middle school, anyway. And he knows about Hye-jin and Sung-joon’s past together, and about how they feel now, so to see him continue to try to get in the middle of that is maddening. He needs to take a note from Ha-ri’s page and do a little growing up before he’s ready to date anyone. At least he let her go with grace when it mattered, and he saw with his own eyes how much she cares for Sung-joon.

But I’m happy to finally see Hye-jin getting her confidence back and believing that she’s worthy of love. I think her (perceived) looks held her back because of the judgment she received from society, but all she ever needed, more than a makeover, was confidence. Sung-joon certainly didn’t care how she looked, and all she really needed was just to look a bit more professional at work. Now that she has, and shown that she’s a valuable and valued worker, it’s good to see the confidence coming along with it. With that confidence she can finally be with the man she loves, and move forward with her life.

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261 October 31, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 13

by LollyPip

Just because one conflict is resolved doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing from here on out. Despite finding happiness in one quarter, we’ve still got more obstacles in store, and important lessons still to be learned — like knowing when to shoulder burdens alone, and when to lean on others.

EPISODE 13 RECAP

Lying in Sung-joon’s hospital bed, Hye-jin finally gives him that hug he’s been asking for. He caresses her face, gently wiping away her tears… and he kisses her.

Hye-jin complains about Sung-joon working himself into collapse, but he claims to be fine. He notices she’s wearing his scarf, the one he left on the dog, and Hye-jin asks when he came to her neighborhood. He admits hovering near her place last night, but that he restrained himself from waking her.

But he says that he won’t restrain himself anymore — not from liking her, or missing her, or wanting to hug her. Hye-jin goes in for another long hug, and Sung-joon’s expression looks peaceful for the first time.

Suddenly, a shrill voice rings out — it’s Chief Editor Kim, dressed like a cowgirl today, come to fuss over Sung-joon. By the time she enters the room he’s sitting up in bed alone, reading a book, while Hye-jin hides in the closet, heh. But her nervous habit of clacking her teeth nearly gives her away, until Sung-joon pretends it was him, having a chill.

That just makes Chief Editor Kim want to hold him to warm him up, so he claims to have a hot flash, and then she tries to strip him. She calms down and tells him not to work himself to death — Most will be fine, and she’ll support him. She nearly gives away her nephew who works there, but stops herself just in time. She gives Sung-joon the most awkward kiss ever, tells him his hospital gown is un-Most-like, and leaves with a lascivious wink.

Sung-joon finally frees Hye-jin, remembering that this isn’t the first time she’s hidden in his closet. He gets that look in his eye and leans in as if to kiss her, but stops to giggle at her face when she squinches her eyes closed in anticipation. He teases her, gasping in mock horror that she thought he was going to kiss her, calling her a kissing maniac.

When she cries that she totally was not thinking that at all, he gives her a quick peck anyway, and one on the forehead, and the cheek. It disarms her, and they smile at each other adorably.

The next day Hye-jin invites Ha-ri to dinner at her parents’ house — it’s their wedding anniversary. But Ha-ri’s former coworkers are throwing her a farewell party, and she can’t make it.

Hye-jin finds herself in the elevator with Shin-hyuk at work, where he seems back to his old self. He makes a fart noise in the full elevator and blames it on her, twice, and he’s happy when she yells at him — he wants them to be friends like this. Awww, he doesn’t want to lose his dongsaeng. He tells her to let him know if Sung-joon doesn’t treat her right, and he’ll scold him like a true oppa.

Downstairs, Sung-joon is absorbed in his tablet and walks into the glass elevator door, landing right on his butt. He grins when he sees Hye-jin already at work, and wishes everyone a hearty Fighting! for the first time ever. The staff all wonder what’s up with him, and it’s Poong-ho who says that Sung-joon acts like someone who’s dating.

Hye-jin drops the clothes she’s arranging when they speculate on what kind of woman would date him. She takes Sung-joon his mail and shuts the blinds, warning him to be discreet — people are onto him. He’s not worried about them finding out about the two of them, but he asks her how he should act.

She tells him to be snotty and rude, and get mad at people a lot, and he pouts that his little feelings are hurt. Hye-jin leaves, reminding him not to drink too much coffee, and to be rude, and not to drink too much coffee. She’s adorably bossy, and Sung-joon snickers at her back. He’s a total smitten kitten.

Hye-jin admires Sung-joon during the daily meeting, remembering that he was bad at speaking to groups as a child. She sees the young Sung-joon studiously rolling up his sleeves and tee-hees out loud, and he tells her to focus. Well, she did tell him not to be too obvious.

The whole office think that Hye-jin acts like she’s dating, especially since she’s the obvious one with all the skipping and singing she’s doing. She congratulates Sung-joon on throwing people off with his fake scolding, but he seriously says that he did it because she deserved it. She snarls at him, and again he snickers at how cute she is.

Poong-ho gets a copy of mystery writer Ten’s new book, which everyone is dying to read. He agrees with Joon-woo that the author must be a forty-year-old Korean ajumma, since the book is set in Korea.

They speculate on why the author goes by the pen name Ten, but Chief Editor Kim has an interesting thery. She thinks it’s meant to be a phrase that means “here it is” in Spanish, which makes everyone wonder how she knows so much about it.

In the restroom Chief Editor Kim calls her nephew and agrees to meet him that afternoon, which Seul overhears. She waits in a cafe across the street to see who the mystery nephew is, but her coworker Ah-reum catches her and drags her back to the office.

The nephew shows up, but of course he’s hidden from our line of sight by a potted plant. Kim mentions that he’s to be made Director and wonders if that means he’s coming back to live at home.

Sung-joon pretends to collapse again when he hears that Hye-jin can’t go to dinner because of a family obligation. He offers to at least drive her, and they linger outside the print shop, holding hands and playing the “you go first” game. Sung-joon pulls out his best pout, until Hye-rin sees them holding hands and shrieks to her dad and the world that Hye-jin and that oppa are dating.

And so Sung-joon is invited to dinner, and is immediately adopted into the family. They all push the choicest bites on him, until Hye-jin finally barks to leave the poor guy alone to eat. The attention seems to make him a little uncomfortable, but he plays along, even when they invite him to be in the yearly family picture.

After dinner he assures Hye-jin that he had a good time, and he sends her back in with a sweet kiss on the forehead. He turns to go, and finds himself face-to-face with Ha-ri for the first time since finding out that she’s not Hye-jin.

He asks to talk, and she apologizes for everything she did to him. In turn, Sung-joon apologizes for not staying to listen to her that night that he found out the truth. He sends her in to see Hye-jin’s family, seeing her off with a handshake, and says that maybe they could have been friends if things had been different. Ha-ri tells Hye-jin about seeing Sung-joon, and their talk.

Sung-joon calls Hye-jin while she’s brushign her teeth, and decides to do the same thing while they’re on the phone. She tells him that Ha-ri stayed at her parents’ for a few days, and they continue to talk about everything and nothing as they putter around doing homey chores.

While still talking, the doorbell rings, and Hye-jin opens the door to find Sung-joon there on her doorstep. He notices her clean face without the covering makeup, but she forgets her embarrassment when he brings her the red bean pastries she was craving earlier.

They snack in his car and talk some more, and listen to their song, “Close to You” by the Carpenters. They both fall asleep in Sung-joon’s car, and wake to realize that they’re late for work.

They manage to make it to the office, and today Hye-jin goes to visit her old admin services coworkers. They ask if she’s coming back in three weeks as originally planned, excited to be getting her back, though Hye-jin isn’t happy at the reminder.

Back in the Most office, Joon-woo finds proof that Ten is Korean — they confirmed it in response to a fan’s question. But they’re interrupted by a serious-looking foreign man looking for Sung-joon, who tells Sung-joon that he’ll be considered a failure if Most goes under. Sheesh, no pressure, ya big meanie.

Sung-joon tells the team that that was just his superior from the main office, making a courtesy visit. He tries to play it like it’s nothing, but he snaps at Reporter Cha when she asks if they should give up on getting an interview with filmmaker Leonard Kim. He pulls it back, and says that they need that interview to catch up to New Look.

Sung-joon silently freaks out in his office, and Hye-jin texts him to confirm that the man was here to discuss discontinuing Most. He assures her that things will be fine.

Shin-hyuk brings Sung-joon a USB with a short film that Leonard Kim made while in school, and tells him to come talk to him after seeing it. The movie should help Sung-joon when approaching him for an interview. Sung-joon admits his concern, and Shin-hyuk offers his help in whatever way he can give it, to the end.

There’s a rumor going around the office that Most will be shut down if they can’t reach number one with this issue, which causes the entire staff to semi-panic. Reporter Cha goes straight to Sung-joon for the truth, and he confirms it. She asks why he didn’t tell them, and he says simply that he thought it was the right thing to do.

But Reporter Cha is beyond understanding, asking what she’s supposed to do if the job she’s spent her youth on suddenly disappears. She feels betrayed that he’s been there three months and never let on how high the stakes are, not giving them a chance to prepare or work their hardest to save the magazine. She’s not wrong — she calls him arrogant and leaves the office.

The whole office is disappointed in Sung-joon, but Shin-hyuk says he was just doing what he though tbest. He urges them to all try their hardest, but almost everyone walks out in disgust. Later Hye-jin assures Sung-joon that the team is just shocked, but Sung-joon asks, with difficulty, to be alone today.

Sung-joon has another meeting with a different executive, though the woman doesn’t seen encouraged by his proposal for the anniversary episode. Even Chief Editor Kim expresses disappointment in Sung-joon, blaming him for the staff disappearing on him. If he had trusted and relied on them more, this might not have happened.

Sung-joon stays late at the office, plagued by regret. He finally goes to his car, only to find Hye-jin there, offering to drive him so he can rest. He turns her down, but she says she’s too worried he’ll collapse again to leave him alone. She knows the weight of his worries, and how hard of a time he must have been going through, and tells him not to carry the burden alone anymore – they can do it together.

Faced with the one person who isn’t blaming him right now, Sung-joon starts to cry. He pulls Hye-jin in for a long, grateful hug, and she tells him it’s going to be okay.

In the morning, both Shin-hyuk and Hye-jin mope into the office, expecting another long day of working alone. But they find the entire Most team there, bustling around, working their hardest. Reporter Cha says she came back because she felt wronged, but figured she would feel less wronged if she saw this through to the end, and the rest of the team agree.

Sung-joon walks in and calls a staff meeting like there’s nothing unusual going on, which confuses Hye-jin. But everything is forgotten when he announces that Leonard Kim has agreed to an interview. Everyone celebrates except for Shin-hyuk, who’s uncharacteristically sober.

In voice-over, Hye-jin says that there’s a Law of Luck, that says that the amount of luck you get is equal to the amount of misfortune you experience. The law reminds you not to despair, but remember that when bad things happen, good luck is coming.

The Most team goes out for a celebratory dinner, and Joon-woo notices that the upcoming Leonard Kim interview has been posted on their website and is already garnering lots of attention. Reporter Cha is impressed by Sung-joon’s landing the interview.

Shin-hyuk asks how everyone decided to come back at the same time, and Poong-ho says that Sung-joon came in person to beg him to come back. Apparently he did that with everyone, and they all vow to do their best and make the magazine number one.

Sung-joon goes to the office to work on the weekend, and finds a packed lunch with a note from Hye-jin sitting on his desk. The food is still warm, so he runs out to catch her, and yells at her through a glass wall to wait there for him. He asks her to stay and eat with him, and they go to a pretty park for a picnic.

He pretends to be distressed that she’s a cooking maniac on top of being a kissing maniac, and she spends the whole picnic making sure he eats well. When he goes to load the car, he takes his eyes off Hye-jin for only a moment, and when he looks again, she’s gone.

Before he gets too worried, Hye-jin sneaks up behind him, but he doesn’t laugh at her prank. She immediately feels bad, and reassures him that she has no intention of disappearing on him. He watches her while she takes pictures of the lake, and stares at her long enough that she notices.

She takes his hand shyly, and tells him not to run so hard — he’s almost there. When she sneezes from the cold wind coming off the water, Sung-joon wraps her in his coat while he’s still wearing it, and he says he wants to tell her something.

He admits that he’s impatient, and probably crazy… but he promises to save Most, and then he plans to propose to her. He pulls the hood of her jacket up to warm her face, and when she says that she wishes for him to save Most and be successful, he goes in for a kiss.

In their happiest moment, the Law of Luck kicks in in reverse, and back at the office Sung-joon’s forgotten phone begins to ring. It’s Leonard Kim.

COMMENTS

As happy as I am that Sung-joon and Hye-jin have finally found each other and are together (and they are perfect together), it’s a bit concerning to have the main romantic conflict of the show seemingly wrapped up so soon, and with three episodes to go. Can they really string out the whole Will Most be shut down? storyline for three episodes? That seems to be where the show is heading, and while it’s not a boring storyline in my opinion, it’s not really enough as it stands now to carry us through as satisfying ending. We all came for the romance! Hopefully, some new dramatic tension will spring up between Sung-joon and Hye-jin and give us something to watch besides a two-week tutorial on how to put out a successful magazine.

But meanwhile, smitten Sung-joon is just so cute, he makes my teeth ache. I like the way he teases Hye-jin, which feels very different from the way Shin-hyuk does it — Sung-joon never makes her feel bad, but teases just enough to get a cute reaction from her. And it’s good to see him letting her support him, because as much as I’m sure he’d like to, he can’t save Most alone. No matter how hard he tries, and how much he’d like to keep that responsibility firmly on his own shoulders, there’s just no way one person can make a magazine number one all by himself.

And it’s finally backfired on him. Though I agree it was a monumentally stupid choice, I can actually understand why he kept the secret from the Most team — he didn’t want them working in panic mode, trying too hard and changing things for the worse by accident. But in trying to do it all himself, he robbed these people, who have all worked for the Korean edition of the magazine for much longer than he has, of the ability to have a say in their own futures. They have a right to know the truth, and to know that even if they fail and Most is shut down, they did everything in their power to save it.

I think that despite his outward appearances, Sung-joon is pretty insecure, and he wanted to be the white knight on his steed, riding in and fixing everything by himself. Add in the immense pressure he’s under from his boss (which seems out of proportion… it’s all threat and no encouragement, and I wish they’d explain why it has to be first place or utter failure) to that desire to make Most successful singlehandedly, and this whole situation was prime for disaster. There was no way the Most staff was not going to take Sung-joon’s silence on their potential loss of their jobs badly, and feel hurt and betrayed. He didn’t even give them a chance to fight for their jobs, though one could argue that they should be putting in their best work all the time, anyway. But still, they should have been given the respect to know the truth, and be allowed to give it their all.

So for that reason I’m glad that they found out in time to at least give success a shot, knowing the stakes at hand. And I’m happy that Sung-joon is letting Hye-jin support and encourage him. It was an interesting callback to the time that he missed the twentieth anniversary party and completely blamed himself, facing the shame all alone — so that now when it happens again and he finds himself responsible for a terrible situation, he tries again to push Hye-jin away and go through it alone. But he’s not alone anymore, and Hye-jin said all the right things… that she understands him, and that he can lean on her. He may still make bad decisions in the future, who doesn’t? Thankfully, Sung-joon does have someone who believes in him, now that he has Hye-jin.

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125 November 4, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 14

by girlfriday

Well, they keep saying it’s not over till it’s over, so I’m gonna take their word for it, even though I could swear that the plot has run its course. But hey, I’m not about to complain if we get heaps of cuteness, am I? I’m pretty sure no one’s watching this rom-com to find out what happens to the magazine, that’s for sure. Thankfully there are some developments on multiple romance fronts, and a nice character arc for our scruffy ace reporter.

Oh, and I’m just popping in for an episode to help lollypip out; she’ll be back with the final two episodes shortly!

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

With his arms around Hye-jin in a backhug, Sung-joon tells her that after saving the magazine, he’s going to propose to her. He says that he still carries the memory of losing her, and that he’s been missing her for fifteen years.

Sung-joon: “I’ve found you after fifteen years. I don’t want to lose you again. The next fifteen years, and the next, and the next, and if time permits, then the time after that too—I want to be with you.” Uh, that sounds a lot like a proposal to me.

He realizes his own nervousness and says that he’s just never been so sure of his own heart before, and wanted to tell her how he feels. He pulls Hye-jin’s hood up so that she doesn’t get cold, and she tells him that she’d like it if he succeeded. She breaks into a big grin, and he pulls her in for a kiss.

But that niggling feeling of foreboding wasn’t for nothing, because Sung-joon returns to the office to discover that his big feature interview has been canceled due to their subject’s impending drug scandal. Shin-hyuk hears the news from another source at the same time and races back to the office, and Sung-joon confirms it.

The rest of the team is just as deflated when they hear that their next issue will be missing its 12-page cover feature, and they scramble for ideas. None of the possibilities sounds all that promising until Poong-ho suggests an interview with Ten, the mysterious mystery writer who wrote the hit crime novel that they’ve been passing around the office.

They wonder if someone as secretive as Ten would agree to a photo shoot and interview, but Sung-joon suggests doing it without the photo shoot—if they can get Ten, they might not even need pictures at all. Editor Kim watches from her balcony office and notes that Ten is their next target.

Sung-joon meets with Ten’s book publisher, who says that he only communicates with the author via email. He promises to pass along the request for an interview, but tells Sung-joon not to get his hopes up.

Hye-jin greets Sung-joon on his way back by sticking her face right in his face, with no explanation. She remembers him saying that just looking at her gives him strength, so she tells him to look all he wants and get his fill. That’s cute.

She tells him not to worry because everything will work out, and gets him to smile. They stand there holding hands in the hallway for a while, just giggling like fools.

In a different hallway, Joon-woo confronts his girlfriend Seul about her weird avoidy behavior lately, and she shocks him by suggesting that they reconsider their decision to date. He clearly wasn’t expecting that, and she leaves him reeling.

Meanwhile, Ha-ri comes home to find Dad waiting outside for her, having heard that she quit her job at the hotel. He doesn’t seem mad, but just asks if she got tired of it and wants a new job. I’m seeing now why she ended up a spoiled princess.

But Ha-ri sticks to her guns and says she’s figuring out what it is that she can accomplish on her own. She says that she won’t be accepting Daddy’s help anymore, and adds that he should say no if she ever goes running to him in a moment of weakness. He chuckles and still offers to help her out whenever she needs it, and Ha-ri notes with a smile that he’s not hiding her from his wife anymore.

She berates herself the moment he leaves though, wondering what possessed her to act so confident when she actually has no idea what to do with her life. She rallies together all the optimism she can and gives herself a pep talk, scaring the downstairs café ajusshi in the process.

The Most staff reaches the end of their potential interviewee list with nothing but rejections. Reporter Cha adds with a sigh that there’s a rumor going around that their company is getting a new vice president—the chairman’s son—next week. Shin-hyuk complains that the pattern is so typical, and everybody’s a second-generation chaebol nowadays. Pfft, everybody if they’re you.

Seul panics that she only has a week left to seduce the chairman’s son, and looks back and forth between the last two candidates: Poong-ho and Shin-hyuk. She decides to start with Shin-hyuk and asks if he wants to have dinner on their way out, but he stops her mid-sentence to tease her about her nose hairs poking out, much to her horror.

Sung-joon hears that Ten hasn’t even read the email that he sent, and he sends his team home early that night instead of having everyone sit there waiting in defeat. It’s looking pretty dire, and the others wonder if Sung-joon will return to New York if Most goes under.

Shin-hyuk notes Hye-jin’s worry and reminds her that it’s never over until it’s over. He says they’ll find a way, and prompts her for a fist-bump before heading out.

Joon-woo chases after Seul as she’s leaving, and holds his phone up to ask if he should go on a blind date. She tells him to go ahead, so he calls to make the date on the verge of tears, then starts crying as he runs away from her in hilariously dramatic slow-motion.

Seul takes out her phone to call Shin-hyuk, but then starts to remember all the sweet things Joon-woo has done for her, and how much she likes him. Then it’s her turn for a dramatic slo-mo run as she chases him all the way to the bus stop.

Joon-woo’s already on the bus when he sees her running toward him, and asks for the bus driver to stop. The ajusshi refuses, saying that this isn’t a taxi, and Joon-woo whimpers, “They always stop in dramas.” Hee.

He sticks his head out of the window and yells for her to meet him at the next stop, and she runs all the way there to declare that she doesn’t want him going on that blind date. She says she’ll only have eyes for him from now on because she likes him so much, and he beams.

Seul demands a kiss, and another, and another, and Joon-woo complies happily.

An abrupt cut takes us to Sung-joon, who takes a call from Hye-jin as he goes for a run. She surprises him by showing up with a basketball and challenging him to a game, and they play a ridiculously adorable game of kiss-cheat-steal-the-ball that vaguely resembles basketball.

After exhausting themselves with piggyback rides and stealth kisses, Hye-jin sits down to cut Sung-joon’s nails because she’s noticed he doesn’t have the time for it lately. She tells him that he did the best he could to save Most, and not to blame himself too much. He admits that he always thought his way was right, but he learned this time that maybe that’s not always the case.

At the staff meeting the next morning, Sung-joon announces that they’re giving up on the feature spread, and instead they’ll just fill the rest of the pages with articles and other content that they’ve always wanted to do. Everyone worries about not having a big feature, but Editor Kim agrees with Sung-joon and tells the staff to just enjoy what might be their last issue.

Though it’s bittersweet, the entire staff rallies and puts together the final issue. Hye-jin even gets her article approved for publication, and Shin-hyuk smiles proudly. Sung-joon commends Reporter Cha on a job well done and apologizes, and she counters that it’s not over yet—they could still be in first place.

Sung-joon offers to take the final issue to press himself, and when he suggests a night out with the staff, they all look at him like he grew a second head. They eagerly confer about what expensive thing to eat, and Hye-jin is alone in suggesting cheap alternatives.

Everyone parties at a noraebang while Sung-joon drops off the final issue and requests that the printers take extra care with this one. When he rejoins the team they make him sing a song, and instantly regret their move when he busts out a really embarrassing love ballad sung off-key.

Hye-jin is the only one who isn’t horrified, and she just clasps her hands and sways to the music thinking it swoony. They say love is blind, but apparently it’s also tone-deaf.

While Shin-hyuk gets everyone dancing again, Hye-jin sees Sung-joon slip away to the office on his own. He stands in the empty office and remembers the staff chatting away about how excited they were to start working at Most, and how proud they were to tell people about it. Poong-ho says he swears every issue that he’ll never do it again, but come next month, he’s always back for more like it’s an addiction.

Back at the party, the staff gets pretty drunk and Joon-woo asks Editor Kim if her nephew can’t save Most from being shut down, but she says she’s just a salaried employee like the rest of them and has no power.

Hye-jin finds Sung-joon at the office, and he lies down with his head in her lap, suddenly feeling very tired. She pats him on the head and tells him that he did a good job and that it’s not his fault, her tears spilling onto his face as she says it. Shin-hyuk comes by the office looking for his phone, and walks out when he sees them together.

The next morning, Hye-jin is surprised to see that Ha-ri spent the night looking for a new job. Ha-ri complains that there are endless careers out there and none that suit her, but Hye-jin sees that she’s crossed off every single job on a list except for one: hotelier.

Shin-hyuk calls to say that he’s coming by to say something really important to Hye-jin, and gets her into the car like it’s an emergency. His tone gets serious as he makes her promise not to tell a soul about what he’s about to say. She swears, so he says, “The truth is… … … I’m so bored.” Hahahaha.

He says he’s awfully bored and has no one to play with, and whines for her to play with him for a day. She gets angry that he made her worry and orders him to pull over, so then he gets serious again as he adds that there is something really wrong… “I’m hungry.”

He takes her to a fancy buffet, where he embarrasses her by shouting when the expensive beef comes out, or requesting pickled radishes and then making her toss-feed them to him. He’s adorable, but actually dating this guy would be exhausting.

When Hye-jin tries to cut the day short after lunch, Shin-hyuk complains that she’s ditching her oraboni just because she has a boyfriend now, and insists that they have to do especially exciting things because he’s especially bored today.

So next up is the amusement park, where he gleefully drags her from ride to ride as she screams in fear. She asks him what’s so special about today, and all he tells her is that she’ll find out tomorrow. He stops to pick out a hat that he likes from a street stand, and informs Hye-jin that she’ll be paying for it. Heh, one last freebie for the road?

Over coffee at the end of the night, Shin-hyuk says he’ll take back the thing he said about them not being friends, because he can’t deny that they’re really good friends. Hye-jin confirms it: “We’re really, really good friends.”

He whines that HE should’ve been her classmate first, which would’ve made him her first love, or that he should’ve at least kissed her when he confessed his feelings. We know he’s serious, but he covers up with jokes, as usual.

His tone changes when he gets up to say goodbye, and he tells her to be well like he’s not going to see her again. He turns back to say, “Have I told you that I really like you? Beyond liking someone as a woman or a man—just as a person. The person Jackson, no, the person Kim Hye-jin… I liked you a lot. Thank you.”

He says that he felt excited because of her, and says goodbye one last time. He high-fives her and gets in the car, and tears finally spill out as he drives away.

The day of the new vice president announcement arrives, and Editor Kim is dressed uncharacteristically in a suit and fedora, wondering mysteriously if today is the day. At the same time, the printers receive a call asking to stop the presses on Most’s latest issue, and they call Sung-joon to ask what’s going on.

He’s just as surprised and says he’ll look into it, and then receives an email from Ten agreeing to the interview if Sung-joon comes alone this afternoon.

Both Poong-ho and Shin-hyuk are conspicuously absent from work today, and Editor Kim twirls a fountain pen in her hand as she rides the elevator somewhere.

The company assembly starts, and the new vice president is announced. The Most staffers all gape as a pair of feet take to the stage, and elsewhere another pair of feet (plus twirling fountain pen) arrive at a fateful meeting.

The new vice president and chaebol heir turns out to be… Poong-ho?! No way. Ha, he even wears his corsage on his backscratcher. His teammates are floored, and his aunt Editor Kim arrives in the auditorium and looks on proudly.

Meanwhile, Sung-joon arrives at the hotel for his interview with Ten and announces himself. A well-dressed man stands at the window and turns around to face him… and naturally it’s the only person left in our mysterious trio: Kim Shin-hyuk. (Sans beard!)

Sung-joon stares agog, and Shin-hyuk says with a smile, “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Ten.”

 
COMMENTS

I like the twist, since I fully expected Shin-hyuk to be our chaebol vice president, and for Editor Kim to be mystery author Ten. It was a nice misdirect to make Shin-hyuk seem like a bored rich kid rebelling against his strict chaebol family, which I guess could still technically be true, even if he made his money on mystery novels. In any case, I prefer the twist to the straight version, which would’ve bored me. Honestly, Shin-hyuk is the only reason I cared about this storyline in the least, because Siwon plays him with such boyish charm and manic energy. His character is so lovable and pivotal to the heroine’s development, and his life outside of Most was the only one I was ever curious about. It must be the way he covers up all his pain with jokes that just wrings my heart.

The one thing that leaves me curious is the way he said goodbye to Hye-jin in this episode, confirming that they were friends and acting like everything would change from here on out. It’s the kind of thing that might make sense if he were to show up as her boss the next morning, but I don’t think it affects her greatly if he outs himself as a mystery novelist. Perhaps we’re just supposed to read it as him letting her go for good in a romantic sense and moving on. I’d like to think that he agrees to the Ten interview because of the entire Most team (or my personal hope—his budding bromance with Sung-joon), but it’s probably all for Hye-jin in the end.

Frankly, I do feel my excitement for the show waning in recent weeks, namely because the romantic tension was quashed so early in the game, which took the show from crack addiction levels to just sticking it out for the cute moments. It just feels like they ran out of conflict, or mistakenly thought that the magazine storyline would hold the same interest. I love our lead couple, but I really wish they hadn’t sorted out (or glossed over, really) all of their issues quite so easily. I mean, is Hye-jin never going to take Sung-joon to task for having been such an ass at the start? Does it not bother her, the things he said when he didn’t know she was Hye-jin? And I’m still convinced he doesn’t eat, by the way.

And what does saving Most have to do with proposing, anyway? If it’s simply a way to tie the two remaining storylines together until the finale, it’s just an artificial condition. (Never mind the fact that telling a person you’re going to propose later is, in fact, proposing.) If there’s actually a practical concern—say, he’s afraid to be jobless—then I think they should’ve made him poorer, so that we feel the stakes a little more. It would just be nice to feel some pressure, to make us care more about whether or not the magazine survives. Or reintroduce conflict into the central romance to carry us through the end. I know, I know, I’m an angstmongerer. I’m not saying I want them to be unhappy—I love the cute, but I just want to be excited again! Yunno, I think Shin-hyuk is onto something here. Make it fun again, Jackson! Surely there’s enough story left for two more episodes, right?

 
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205 November 7, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 15

by LollyPip

With Most’s survival and Hye-jin and Sung-joon’s future on the line, there are some crucial decisions to be made. Most importantly, when do you cling to the one you love, and when do you let them go for their own happiness? When you truly love someone, there’s really only one answer, and they’ve fought too hard to find each other to lose each other now.

EPISODE 15 RECAP

Shin-hyuk shaves off his scruffy beard and dons a sharp suit in anticipation of revealing himself as Ten. He presents Sung-joon with an mp3 player that he claims has everything he needs to know on it — who he is, and why he lives like this. With this information, Sung-joon can write a feature article for the twentieth anniversary edition of Most.

Sung-joon seems skeptical that Shin-hyuk is really a world-famous author, and asks if he’s the one who stopped the issue going to press. Shin-hyuk just repeats that he can write an article based on the information on the MP3 player, and even offers to pose for some photos.

Still utterly serious, Sung-joon wants to know if he’s doing this to save Most from cancellation. There must be a reason for keeping the secret for so long, and breaking his silence now. Shin-hyuk only sighs that nothing stays secret forever, and the timing couldn’t be better.

He chides Sung-joon for hesitating – his professionalism is the reason he decided to reveal himself to him. In fact, he intended to tell Hye-jin first, so he warns Sung-joon not ot be offended when he listens tot he audio.. he thought he was talking to Hye-jin and spoke in banmal. Heh.

He explains that he didn’t pick Hye-jin because knowing his secret would have burdened her too much, and she wouldn’t have been able to reveal it. Sung-joon hesitates one more time, but Shin-hyuk begs him to do this. He wants to save Most. Sung-joon asks if it won’t change Shin-hyuk’s life too much to reveal that he’s Ten, but he just breezes that it will be crazy for a while, but he’ll make it through.

The Most staff go back to their office, reeling at the news that their own Poong-ho was the hidden heir to the company. Hee, Seul grins that she’s the only one who doesn’t feel bad at the news. Chief Editor Kim makes her usual loud entrance, now flanked by her nephew, who announced himself formally and makes everyone cringe in horror. But he’s only teasing, and they all ask if he can’t use his influence to save Most. But he already asked and was denied.

Hye-jin calls Sung-joon while he’s driving back home, to gleefully break the news that Poong-ho is the new vice-president. Sung-joon agrees wearily that there are a lot of surprises in this world.

He listens to the recording, seeming deeply troubled. We don’t hear Shin-hyuk’s words, but the longer Sung-joon listens, the more upset he becomes. When he’s finished, he calls the press crew and informs them that there will be no additional article for this edition of Most.

The next morning, Ha-ri takes an aptitude test and wails in despair at the results: she’s best suited to be a hotelier. She whines to Hye-jin that she quit that business because she was embarrassed, only to find out it’s what she’s best at. Hye-jin reminds her that she was embarrassed because her father got her the job, not because of the job itself. Ha-ri admits that she actually liked the job.

Sung-joon arrives at work to find the new edition being delivered, and his eyes grow huge to see the feature story – an exclusive interview with Ten. What?? He calls the printer but it’s too late, the magazines are already on the shelves. Apparently, Shin-hyuk could tell that Sung-joon was unsure, so he brought the article to the printer himself.

The Most staff are stunned to see that their own Shin-hyuk is Ten, and Hye-jin remembers how Shin-hyuk acted like their fun day together was the last. Shin-hyuk can’t be reached, having moved out of his hotel room, but he does send Sung-joon a text apologizing for the shock and saying goodbye.

Shin-hyuk’s identity as Ten is all anyone can think about, and even Ha-ri calls Hye-jin to tell her the news. Hye-jin only now finds out that Ha-ri knew her friend. She runs out of the building, running into Sung-joon on her way out, and asks what they should do now.

Sung-joon tells her it’s no use going to his hotel — he’s gone. He hands her the mp3 player and tells her that on it are Shin-hyuk’s last intended words for her.

This time we hear what Shin-hyuk says on the recording as Hye-jin listens. He tells her that he was adopted in America when he was twelve, and that he grew up loved by good parents. We see Shin-hyuk skyping with his American parents, and it’s obvious there’s a lot of love there on both sides.

He goes on to explain that he began writing online in high school, and caught the interest of a publisher. They wanted to publish a book, but they used the fact that he was an adopted Asian kid as a bookselling gimmick. They wanted to control him and change his writing, until soon his writing didn’t feel like his anymore. So he hid his identity, and began writing as Ten.

He laughs at the irony that the only way to write freely was to hide, but he emphasizes that he chose this way of life.

Then the seriousness is over, and Shin-hyuk teases Hye-jin by screaming into the recording, and singing her a silly song. Hye-jin laughs, but her eyes fill with tears.

Joon-woo finds a laptop on Shin-hyuk’s desk and opens it, which starts a video playing on their large screen. Everyone gathers to see Shin-hyuk’s farewells to them, and the noise even draws Sung-joon out of his office. He has a message for each and every person, and he particularly apologizes to Sung-joon for the surprise (and complains that he never gave him any of his “panties,” hee).

Just as everyone notices that he didn’t leave a message for Hye-jin, Shin-hyuk jumps back in front of the camera. They all breathe a sigh of relief, but he came back to ask Chief Editor Kim what she thought of his last gift. He wishes them all a happy life, and goes for real. Awww.

The anniversary edition is a success, and Most earns the number one spot, saving itself from cancellation. Somehow, it’s just not the same without Shin-hyuk, and the team mope around the office, missing him. They ask if Hye-jin is going back to the management team as planned, and she confirms that this is her last day, so they decide to throw her a farewell party.

Poong-ho gets lonely in his vice-president office, and decides to come back and work in the Most office on a regular basis. They all whine that it will be strange, now that he’s their boss, but they change their tunes when he offers to pay for Hye-jin’s party with his company gold card. Ha.

Sung-joon talks to his boss, who congratulates him on his success and tells him to prepare to come back to the States. He seems relieved to have the pressure off, but not happy at the thought of leaving.

He walks Hye-jin home after her farewell party, and he sends her to the park to wait while he gets them something to drink. HAHA, she slides down the slide and lands at his feet, just as he did once, making him laugh.

Sung-joon tells Hye-jin that he’s been recalled to Headquarters and offered a promotion. But he doesn’t feel right about being rewarded, because the success of the anniversary episode was due to Shin-hyuk, not himself. So he plans to refuse their offer.

He reminds Hye-jin that he was going to propose to her after making Most number one, wishing to be with her at his best moment. But he’s disappointed, because it’s not the moment he wished for. He tells her that he has to go back and wrap things up, and that he plans to start over from scratch.

He may not be able to give her that “best moment” as soon as he’d hoped, and Sung-joon asks Hye-jin a very serious question: Will she come to the States with him? She doesn’t even need to think about it, and promises to go with him. Sung-joon hugs her with a giant smile, but makes sure to tell her that this still isn’t the real proposal.

The next day, Hye-jin packs up her things to head back to the management team. The entire Most staff pout at her leaving, and she even gets a hug from Joon-woo (and Sung-joon pulls him off of her when the hug goes a little long, hee). Even Chief Editor Kim comes out to blow Hye-jin a kiss goodbye.

Back in the management office, she’s sent home at six pm, which is a big change from staying up half the night working at Most. Walking to the bus stop, Hye-jin thinks she sees Shin-hyuk walking into a pojangmacha, but it’s not him. She’s flustered, certain she saw Shin-hyuk. She starts to walk again, but she’s grabbed from behind — it IS him!

She immediately starts lecturing him for leaving so suddenly, and complains that she was the only one he didn’t say goodbye to. He says that’s why he came to say it in person, and pulls her in for a big bear hug. He holds her for a long time, as if he knows it’s the last time. He whispers something in her ear that makes her laugh, then backs away slowly, smiling, watching her for as long as he can.

Ha-ri realizes that she’s almost gone through all of her money, and she’s run out of things to sell. She says she’s glad that she and Hye-jin will have more time to spend together now that she’s not on the Most editing team, though Hye-jin seems to miss it already.

Ha-ri decides to go back to school to study hotel management. She’s decided that she enjoys that profession, and wants to study it properly and do it on her own. Good for her.

The children’s book author that Hye-jin interviewed for her article calls her, having read her article and thought it was wonderful. She’s disappointed to hear that Hye-jin isn’t on the editing team anymore, but invites her over some time if she wants a break. She starts to say something else, but we don’t hear what it is.

Whatever she said, it has Hye-jin heading to her town to see her now, and she calls Sung-joon on the way. They agree to meet for dinner later.

Hye-jin arrives at the author’s workplace, where her colleagues are working on a collaborative creative project for the next year. The author invites Hye-jin to join them — she feels like Hye-jin should consider revisiting her childhood dream of becoming a children’s author before her current job becomes too much of a habit. Hye-jin is terribly flattered, but she tells the author that she’s moving to the States soon, and probably getting married.

But at dinner with Sung-joon that night, she can’t stop talking about how wonderful it felt to discuss writing with those women. Sung-joon smiles and makes all the right supportive noises, and he asks if she wants to do that, too — he remembers her childhood dream of being a writer. When Hye-jin says that she can’t because she’s going with him to the States, he looks troubled.

Ha-ri studies hard at her new classes, making Hye-jin smile at her friend’s newfound passion. She tells Ha-ri how pretty she looks, all excited about her new life goals, but when she sees her own reflection, she doesn’t have that same glow. She looks at her signed copy of the author’s book, in which she’d written for Hye-jin to keep following her dreams.

Sung-joon invites her to his hotel for dinner, and looks at the ring he bought to make his third (and hopefully, finally official) marriage proposal to Hye-jin. But when he opens the door, Hye-jin’s first words are a desperate, “Let’s get married, Sung-joon-ah.” HAHA, his shocked face is the best thing ever. Hye-jin even bought rings, and puts them on them both with shaking hands.

But Sung-joon knows what she’s doing when she asks him to wait a year… she wants to be a part of that creative writing team, but she’s trying to let him know that she still intends to marry him. That’s so cute. Luckily Sung-joon completely understands, because of course he does.

He even says that he was worried she would give up her dream for him, so he’s a bit relieved. He doesn’t want her to come to America with him and have regrets. Hye-jin simply says that when someone is doing something they really want to do, that’s when they look the most beautiful, and she wanted to look beautiful to herself.

Sung-joon is completely supportive, though he joke-whines that he had his proposal all planned out. Hye-jin wants to see it and pouts when Sung-joon is all Let’s do a puzzle! Can’t blame her… show me the ring!

Hye-jin makes faces at Sung-joon the entire time they put the puzzle together, which of course is their favorite painting Dance in the Country. She tries to aegyo him into telling her how he was going to do it, but he keeps waving her off. Why do I feel like the puzzle is the proposal?

Sure enough, when Hye-jin leans over to pick up the final piece off the floor, Sung-joon puts the ring in the empty space. He says that this is how he was going to do it, and that he was going to say that before he met her, he didn’t know it was possible to be so happy. He would have said that he wants to make her as happy as she makes him.

He asks if she’ll marry him in a year, and of course Hye-jin accepts, and slides his matching ring on his finger. They giggle that they have two sets of engagement rings now.

Hye-jin gets ready to go later, but Sung-joon stops her and asks her to stay. She comes up with a million excuses, because apparently she’s out of her mind, and he agrees to take her home. But he forgets his car keys so she jumps in a taxi instead.

He sits up in his room grinning at his rings like a lovesick doofus, and jumps up when the doorbell rings. It’s Hye-jin… she changed her mind and wants to stay. She’s so nervous, it’s adorable, and Sung-joon just yanks her inside and kisses her cross-eyed. There’s a good boy.

Later, Hye-jin gets ready to move to the small town where she’ll be working for the next year. It makes Ha-ri cry, and she says it’s the first time they’ll be separated since the time her family lived in Japan. That sets off Hye-jin, and both girls wail about how much they’ll miss each other. And then they go nuts, drinking and dancing late into the night.

Sung-joon takes Hye-jin to her new place, and she asks him what time his flight to the States is tomorrow. He asks her if they can not have a teary airport goodbye, but just say farewell here. She wants to see him off, but he admits that he’s worried he won’t be able to handle it. So sweet.

He tells her that he’ll try to visit, and promises to call and email constantly. Reluctantly, he lets go of her hand, and walks away. Hye-jin watches him for a minute, then turns to begin her new life.

But Sung-joon runs back to Hye-jin, because he’s got one more thing to say: “I love you. I love you, Hye-jin-ah.” She sends him off with a teary, “Me too. I love you, too.”

Some time later, curly hair flying and cheeks glowing with health, Hye-jin bikes through the small town whooping with joy. A friend calls out to her, asking where she’s going, and she yells that someone has come. Smiling and happy, she nods and greets all her friends as she rushes to see her visitor.

COMMENTS

I had hoped that Sung-joon’s proposal to Hye-jin didn’t hinge on Most’s success, but I can understand why he wanted to ask Hye-jin to share her life with him at the best moment of his life. I have to say though, I’m disappointed in his reasoning for postponing his proposal. I think it’s a self-involved and immature of him to decide not to propose just because the magazine didn’t succeed entirely because of his efforts. I had thought that we’d already seen Sung-joon learning that no man is an island and that it took the whole team to make Most a success, so to see him decide not to propose just because it was Shin-hyuk’s article that propelled Most to number one is kind of disappointing.

The point is, the magazine DID make number one, under Sung-joon’s management, and in large part because he learned that lesson and asked each and every staff member to come back. So I’m confused that Sung-joon seemed to have a moment of forward motion in learning that he needed all of them to make this happen, then stalled out and pouted that he couldn’t propose to Hye-jin just because the magazine’s success wasn’t entirely because of him. But at least he finally did do it, and he supported Hye-jin’s decision to follow her dream instead of following him to America as if there was never a question that she would go. I do like about his character that he’s human — he makes bad choices and behaves badly, sometimes. But it doesn’t make him a bad person or unworthy of Hye-jin’s love, and he can still have her best interests at heart.

Interestingly, this is a story in which I feel that the forced-separation trope is being put to good use. Too often it’s used as a flimsy tool to stretch out the romantic tension another episode or two, but we all know the couple will find each other again and live happily ever after, so it never really works for me as a viewer. But in this case, I can agree that both Sung-joon and Hye-jin have things they need to do before it’s time to settle down together. Hye-jin is only just now rediscovering her passion for writing and realizing that it’s not really that crazy of a dream. And Sung-joon needs to wrap up his life in America and decide what he wants to do with himself, since let’s face it, he’s not very good at managing people. Hopefully he can do something with his love of art. So in this one case I’m willing to go along with the trope, because this way Hye-jin and Sung-joon can start their life together both having realized their dreams and supported each other through the journey.

I’m happy that Hye-jin and Ha-ri’s relationship not only survived this situation, but grew and become more mature. I have always loved their friendship, but it seems deeper now, and more mature. I think they both learned what their relationship means to them, and that they can make it through any hardship together, but they don’t have to be each other’s be-all-end-all like they’ve always thought. They can have independent lives and loves, and yet still be each other’s safe port in a storm. We should all be so lucky to have such a good friend in our lives.

Just as I suspected, Shin-hyuk broke my heart. I’m so glad he came back to say goodbye to Hye-jin, and yet I’m equally glad he kept it short and sweet. He was able to leave her to remember him with a smile on his face, and I’m not ashamed to admit that he left me crying in that moment. He was a trickster and a goofball, but he truly loved Hye-jin, and this is one of those cases where I think that if it hadn’t been for Sung-joon coming back into her life at just that time, she could easily have loved Shin-hyuk back. But in the end he wanted her happiness, and he didn’t cling to her or leave her feeling guilty for not loving him. And their goodbye was made that much more bittersweet knowing that Choi Siwon will be going to the army soon — we’ll miss him, and wish for him to come back safely and grace us again with his incredible talent. Hopefully next time, he’ll get the girl.

This episode really felt like it could have been a finale — I could go away happy at this point, knowing that everything will be fine. Sung-joon and Hye-jin will get married and have a long happy life together, Ha-ri will find her happiness in her career, and everything will turn out fine. It feels like the story is finished, and this could have been a cute, fun way to end the drama. So I’m equal parts curious and apprehensive to see what next week’s actual finale has in store. I know there have been some rumors that things may not end as we expect — and yes, it’s all just speculation at this point, but it does worry me a little that we could be in for a nasty surprise. I don’t normally say this, but if the drama gods are listening… just this once, I’d be happy with a finale that’s all filler. And maybe some more sexy against-the-wall kissing.

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158 November 12, 2015January 23, 2016

She Was Pretty: Episode 16 (Final)

by LollyPip

Life as a supporting character isn’t all that bad… and sometimes if you pay attention, the supporting characters have the best stories of all. We all get to choose whether or not to be the supporting characters in our own story, or if we aspire to be more. And that’s really what She Was Pretty has been about all along — learning to play the leading role in your personal life story, and living your life in your own spotlight.

EPISODE 16 RECAP

A young Hye-jin gives a presentation in school, all about her dreams of being a writer of children’s stories. Adult Hye-jin says in voiceover that people ask you your dreams when you’re young, but as you age, fewer people ask. Holding onto your dream until you become an adult isn’t easy.

But before she forgot her dream entirely, she was given a wonderful opportunity — to join a group of writers on a year-long project. She’d left her job and pursued her dream, though it meant leaving her best friend Ha-ri and her fiance, Sung-joon, behind for a while.

The writers are very accepting of her, and love her fresh ideas. She keeps in frequent touch with Sung-joon as he wraps up his business in the States, and they even eat “together” through video calls. They miss each other terribly, but their love stays strong through their separation.

Slowly, as it stops being necessary to maintain a professional image, Hye-jin stops covering her bright complexion with makeup and her vicious curls grow back in. She gets a call that someone has arrived in town, and rushes on her bike to meet them. Aww, I was hoping it was Sung-joon, but it’s Ha-ri, taking a break from school to see her friend.

Ha-ri notices how happy and at peace Hye-jin is here, though Hye-jin gives Most all the credit. Without having worked at Most, she wouldn’t have met her mentor and gotten this offer.

A pickled radish makes Hye-jin smile sadly — for some reason, she thinks of Shin-hyuk and their final goodbye, when he’d hugged her and whispered in her ear. He’d asked her to think of him… not all the time, since Sung-joon would get jealous, but whenever she sees a pickled radish. Hee, that’s so Shin-hyuk.

After seeing Ha-ri off, Hye-jin tries to call Sung-joon but his phone is turned off. She tries to video chat him that night, but he’s still not answering, which isn’t like him. She tries texting him, worried that the little cold he mentioned earlier is more serious than he let on.

In the morning she’s still gotten no reply, and by now she’s worried sick. She spends the day distracted, calling Sung-joon’s phone repeatedly, but it stays turned off. She’s sent to pick up the illustrations for their book, and on the way her over-active imagination kicks in. She imagines Sung-joon with a terrible fever, passed out and alone, or stuck in his car in the pouring rain with a panic attack.

She tries calling Sung-joon one more time, and finally he answers. Hye-jin peppers him with questions, but he just says that her pink sweater is pretty today. Wait, what? And then he’s there in front of her, and Hye-jin runs through the rain to hug him, not caring that she’s getting soaking wet. She literally climbs him like a tree, as he grins happily.

They find shelter in a cafe, and Sung-joon says that he felt like he was dying from missing her, so he decided to surprise her with a visit. Even better, he’s gotten all of his business settled and is back for good. He jokes that he just couldn’t be cool enough to wait a whole year, so he’ll wait here for her to finish her project.

When she asks about his job, he says with shifty eyes that she’ll have to support him. Why do I think he’s pulling her leg? Freaking out, Hye-jin does some quick calculations, but Sung-joon was pulling her leg, and he says that he already has a place to stay and a job lined up while he looks for a permanent home.

Awww, he’s the new Chief Editor of Most! The team are thrilled to have him back, and further shocked to hear that former Chief Editor Kim is getting married. HAHAHAgasp, she’s found herself a hot young Italian model — that’s awesome, especially when he calls her “noona” in his Italian accent.

Seul and Joon-woo are still dating, and they go out for a little coffee and PPL. At mention of Sung-joon, Seul pouts that she’s jealous, clearly angling for a proposal of her own. Joon-woo is endearingly dim as usual, but he cheerfully agrees that of course they’re getting married. Within the year, in fact. It’s cute that suddenly it’s Seul who wants to keep things small (and inexpensive).

Back at school, Ha-ri has been kept busy fending off a younger man, but he continues to contact her and bring her coffee while she’s studying. Aww, he’s adorable.

Hye-jin prepares to go home to see her family for the night, and tells her mentor that it’s a very important day — today is the day she keeps a promise to herself. When she gets home she hears that Dad went to the bathhouse, and gapes when he’s followed in by Sung-joon. HAHA, this is where he’s staying?! Sung-joon is all wide-eyed innocence as Hye-jin’s whole family defends him from her fury for keeping this secret, and he jokes that he had to stay here, because he always obeys his elders.

During dinner Hye-jin gives her father a bank book, saying that it’s money she saved to buy him a new printing machine. Her parents tell her to keep it for her marriage, but Sung-joon sweetly says that she doesn’t need to bring anything to their marriage but herself. Hye-jin persists until her father reluctantly accepts the money.

Sung-joon watches Hye-jin do the dishes adoringly, and pats her hair and tells her she’s pretty. He kisses her forehead, and the both dissolve in giggles at the idea of kissing in her parents’ house. When Sung-joon waggles his eyebrows and talks about feeling “that newlywed feeling,” Hye-jin hip-bumps him clear into the next room. So cute.

Hye-jin sleeps on Hye-rin’s floor while Sung-joon takes her room, but she scoots over to slide the door open between the rooms — to see Sung-joon on the floor right in front of her. They get all giggly again and hold hands through the doorway, and go to sleep like that.

Sung-joon drives Hye-jin back home the next day, and she finds that her parents slipped a different bank book into her purse with a note. It says that they couldn’t help her pay for college, so they’ve been saving for her marriage for ten years.

Awww, they had the money for a new printing machine all along, but her marriage was more important to them. Hye-jin bursts into tears, and Sung-joon says how happy he is to be joining her wonderful family.

Sung-joon hasn’t changed much, and walks into Most reading his tablet and tossing out a distracted “good morning.” He goes into his old office out of habit, where Reporter Cha — now Deputy Editor Cha — has to kick him out of what’s now her office.

The bright-eyed new intern asks if Ten was really a part of their team, and Joon-woo assures her it was true. They all miss Shin-hyuk, and wonder where he is now.

We catch up with him, busily working on a new novel in a hostel somewhere in Europe. He still wears the knitted beanie he conned Hye-jin into buying for him. A fellow traveler recognizes him as Ten, but Shin-hyuk pretends he’s not, and tosses his rubber spider to the guy just to see his reaction. Never change, Shin-hyuk… never change.

Hye-jin is called “Writer Kim” for the first time, and decides she likes the sound of that. Their book is published and we see the title: “The Story of a Peeping Girl.” It’s a throwback to her first meeting with Sung-joon as children, where she’d seen the peeping girl in the puzzle he was working on, and now she nearly cries to see her name listed as one of the authors.

Sung-joon really hasn’t changed, and terrorizes his team during their meeting. They all snarl behind his back, but then he passes out wedding invitations, and everyone gasps in surprise. But if it’s shocking that he’s getting married, it renders them speechless to see that the bride is their own Hye-jin.

Ha-ri invites Hye-jin out for dinner on the eve of the wedding, and jokes that someone might get mad if she keeps calling Hye-jin “wifey.” Ha-ri has her own news — she got a job at a nearby hotel, all on her own merits. After dinner, Ha-ri presents Hye-jin with a garland and bouquet of flowers that she made herself, and they take pictures together.

And then it’s Sung-joon and Hye-jin’s wedding day, and they both look nervous and happy. They walk forward into their future together with love and confidence.

Some time later, we see Hye-jin hard at work in a little mini-library, surrounded by notes and books. She’s still working for the writers’ group, and Sung-joon comes in looking for a little attention. She’s too deep in concentration to do more than throw him a tiny kiss, and he complains that she’s not his “kissing maniac” anymore.

He slowly leaves the room whining loudly about how loooonely he is, and finally Hye-jin grins and closes her laptop. Sung-joon gets a mischievous glint in his eye, and drags her out of the room for some marital shenanigans.

Shin-hyuk’s newest book is published, which Hye-jin reads, and sees that it’s dedicated to “My best friend, Jackson.” She recalls him saying that he thinks they’re really good friends, and she cries happy tears thinking of their friendship.

Sung-joon and Hye-jin hurriedly pack a picnic lunch, and rush out the door. He makes her laugh at his horrible singing in the car, as in voice-over she repeats her original thought that some people are meant to live life as supporting characters.

But now she thinks that maybe it was herself who decided she was a supporting character, and that she gave up too easily and let life dictate her path. People say that life is not a fairy tale, but what’s wrong with dreaming of a life that is like a fairy tale?

Hye-jin and Sung-joon sit on a gorgeous hillside for their picnic, where he continues teasing her, this time about her cooking. Hye-jin continues that, if you don’t turn off your own spotlight, and don’t give up on your dream, then something that’s very like a fairy tale could happen. Such as finding a first love, and fulfilling a childhood dream.

The two lovers walk through the trees, and stop to kiss and cuddle while Hye-jin reads her latest children’s book out loud.

A few years later, a little girl skips through the rain in bright yellow galoshes, followed by her father carrying a very familiar-looking red umbrella. The two stop at a red light, and when the light turns green, the little girl crows happily, “It’s a go!” She has her mother’s ruddy cheeks and viciously curly hair, and it’s obvious that in her daddy Sung-joon’s eyes, she’s the prettiest little girl in the world.

COMMENTS

While I still think that Episode 15 could have been a nice open-ended finale, this actual finale episode was full of the cute and sweet closure I was hoping we’d get. There was some concern among viewers of twist endings or even tragic loss, but I’m happy that none of those things happened — instead we got to see all of our characters find their own little happy endings.

It’s strange because usually I feel a bit of a let-down when a show wraps things up a bit too neatly, but in this case I’m happy to see everyone get the ending they deserve. I try to avoid reading any articles or information about a show while I’m recapping it, so as to keep my perspective free from outside influence, but in this case I couldn’t help but hear some of the theories and become worried. So just this once, I’m giving the show a pass for giving us the slightly saccharine ending, because at least nobody died, am I right?

There were quite a few loose ends in this show that never were addressed again, though now I think that possibly, as a viewer, I was just giving the show more gravitas than it intended. Things like Sung-joon’s hinted-at eating disorder – which I suppose, in the end, wasn’t an eating disorder but just an extension of his tendency to forget to take care of himself when he’s focused. I mean, the guy drinks out of vases and walks into doors when he’s distracted, so it’s not hard to think that he’s just too preoccupied to go shopping. It’s a bit disappointing because I think the show could have been… more. But in the end, it was what it promised to be, and it delivered a sweet and lovely story about a pair of old friends how found each other again and found love. I can wish that the story had been deeper, and explored darker themes, but I can’t complain that we didn’t get exactly what we were promised.

I do admit that I’m happy that Hye-jin went back to her original look, because one of the best things about She Was Pretty was the message that pretty isn’t just on the outside, it’s also on the inside. Hye-jin didn’t need her childhood beauty or a fancy makeover to attract not one, but two good men to fall in love with her. Her inner beauty, her positive spirit and generous and loving nature, were what made her pretty to the people who could see beyond her (really, not that bad) looks to the woman inside who was completely deserving of love and adoration. And one of my favorite things about Sung-joon was that not once, not one time in the run of the show, did he make mention of her looks. Not when she got her makeover, and not when she went back to her curly hair and freckles. All he ever said was that she was pretty, which is the thing that proved to me that he was the right man for her. In his eyes, she was pretty, because he was never looking at her external looks, he was always seeing the beautiful person on the inside.

There’s not a lot to discuss plot-wise that hasn’t already been said, but I’m leaving She Was pretty feeling satisfied, and with a happy and contented afterglow. Sung-joon and Hye-jin’s love story was lovely to watch and fun to discuss, and I’ll remember them — and that adorable little moppet their love created — with a lot of fondness.

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