Recap from dramabeans

160 June 29, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 1

by HeadsNo2

Sweet, funny, and inescapably charming, The Time I’ve Loved You premiered this last weekend on SBS, rounding out a pretty insane viewing schedule for those two days, considering the relative scarcity on the weekday drama circuit. Featuring two longtime friends who seem content to be just that and nothing more (for now, or maybe forever), there’s plenty of character drama to go around. And, if you can believe it, not one chaebol in this whole episode! Imagine that. Instead we get two normal-seeming people who live next door to each other, and a bet based on which of them will get married first. Let the games begin.

SONG OF THE DAY

Kyuhyun of Super Junior – “우리가 사랑한 시간 (The Time I’ve Loved You)” from the OST [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We meet marketing team leader OH HANA (Ha Ji-won) as she leaves work for the day. Her thoughts are heard in voiceover as she strolls home, every sign or store display she passes seemingly coming alive at her presence.

“The seventeen-year-old me imagined the twenty-year-old me,” her thoughts begin wistfully. “The twenty-year-old me imagined the thirty-year old me. Now that I passed my thirties, I keep looking back at the seventeen-year-old me and the twenty-year-old me, and reality sinks in.”

Once home, she takes a peek out her window as if expecting (or hoping) the lights at her neighbor’s house would be on. They aren’t, so she goes through her nightly beauty routine, examining some fine lines she wishes weren’t there.

She’s perfectly happy to pop open a beer in front of the television, but even that only makes her feel older—the home shopping network features a product for thinning hair, causing Hana to sigh that her hair isn’t what it used to be.

To add insult to injury, another program tells its audience that women are more likely to be hit by an atomic bomb than they are to get married after thirty. Hana sighs that she didn’t do anything to warrant hearing that she could die alone, even though she acknowledges that it’s hard for just her to love herself.

Ironically, the song that takes her into the next scene is Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien (No, I regret nothing),” as she surveys the wares at the upscale shoe store she manages.

But she can’t resist the temptation to ditch her designer heels for a pair of high school uniform shoes she finds on the floor, though her smiling reverie is cut brief when the young owner returns to claim them. Hana’s dreams are crushed when the girl calls her “ajumma,” because surely she doesn’t look that old… does she?

Luckily it was just a dream, since Hana shoots up from bed still incensed that the imaginary high school student dared to call her an ajumma. She’s determined to return to sleep to set things straight in the dreamworld, which goes about as poorly as you’d expect it to.

Then she gets a call from a deputy manager at her company with some bad news: The celebrity they hired to endorse a line of their shoes now can’t because of the negative press swirling around her.

Hana springs into action, leaving her parents a bit befuddled by her sudden exit. Again we see Hana’s propensity to want to wear comfortable sneakers, and again we see her reluctantly put on a pair of killer-looking heels instead.

She begs and begs the station’s manager to give her some time to find a replacement actress but he declines, ordering her to remove the hundred thousand pairs of shoes she’d hoped to sell from storage. Yikes.

At least she refuses to be defeated when she returns to the office, vowing to her nosy coworkers that she will find a way to sell the shoes. Since Hana’s in a terse mood, her assistant directs her to the gift of flowers her boyfriend sent.

Hana smiles as she opens the attached letter wishing her a happy birthday, from someone named Ho-joon. Remembering that he knows the director of the department store where he works, Hana calls Ho-joon to ask if he could use that connection to request some space for her to sell her shoes.

He agrees to ask his sunbae, but gets dodgy when Hana asks where she should meet him tonight—apparently they had a date planned already that Ho-joon seems like he’d rather not do.

Hana watches a compilation video on her phone of all her friends wishing her a happy birthday, though most of them make sure to mention Hana’s advancing age. She’s thirty-four after all, which means she’s too old to be of any use to society. (I’m exaggerating that a bit, but only a bit.)

The best part of the video comes when CHOI WON (Lee Jin-wook) bows at the camera and wishes his longtime friend a happy birthday. Unlike the others, he warns her not to get too down in the dumps, claiming that she’ll always be the seventeen-year-old Hana he knew.

Flash back to when the two of them were eighteen-year-old high school students, neighbors, and best friends. They’re equal parts adorable and inseparable, talking about anything and everything under the sun—but mostly about Won’s aspirations to work in the movie industry.

During break, Hana leads her classroom of girls to meet Won and his classroom of boys for the showdown of a lifetime. They play an epic game of rock paper scissors, and when Hana loses, the girls demand a rematch. Won agrees only if he picks the game.

What he picks is like leap frog on steroids, with the men forming an interlocking line that must stay unbroken even as the girls start to pile on top of their backs. Hana and the girls end up winning by employing a heavyset girl to tip the scales in their favor. Hah.

Back in the present, Hana smiles at the fond memories before the too-simple card from Ho-joon brings her back to reality. She immediately calls Won at the airport where he works, and even her longtime friend can’t resist taking a dig at her age.

Hana playfully shoots back that he’s as old as she is, so anything he’s saying to her he might as well be saying to himself. Won disagrees on that point: “A man at thirty-four and a woman at thirty-four are two different things.” He doesn’t need to explain it to her, he claims, since she’ll find out on her own in due time.

Won’s just being realistic, and reminds Hana that no other friend would give her such straightforward advice like him. Hana sniffs that he can’t call her out on age—after all, she has a boyfriend she’s soon to marry.

By comparison, Won hasn’t had a girlfriend in three years, so his lectures are moot. He gives her that point, but then Hana brings up what was really on her mind: Should she be worried that Ho-joon didn’t write “I love you” on her birthday card?

Won is supportive but jokey at the same time, basically trying to downplay her concerns. Maybe Ho-joon is trying to make her think things are going bad so he can sneak a proposal on her, he ventures. That thought certainly excites her.

At work, Won meets the new intern stewardess, a shy but earnest girl named LEE SO-EUN (Chu Soo-hyun). As a steward himself, Won watches So-eun try her best at giving the passengers on their plane the safety rundown, though she has a few hiccups during the routine.

She even tries her best to accommodate a passenger who insists she pat his bald head to bring his fever down (cameo by Hong Seok-chun), but when Won sees what’s happening, he puts a stop to it.

Hana spots Ho-joon shopping for jewelry, and thinking that he might be preparing to propose like Won said, she does a bit of primping before getting a call from him. He has something to tell her, which has Hana all aflutter that this is going to be the moment.

“I’m getting married,” Ho-joon tells her outside. Wait, what?

Hana doesn’t quite register it at first, since they’d promised each other that they’d get married. Why? “I have another woman,” Ho-joon says while kneeling. Bang goes the gunshot into Hana’s heart.

To make matters worse, his other girlfriend is three months into her pregnancy, which means he’d been cheating on Hana from day one. Bang bang.

Ho-joon makes the mistake of inviting her to get angry with him, which is all she needs to stomp the tip of her heel on his. Twice. Now she’s angry, and demands to know who his other woman is.

Cut to: A shoe design presentation given by a younger woman, who Hana glares at the entire meeting. As if Hana hasn’t had enough potshots taken at her age today, the girl Ho-joon was seeing on the side claims the shoes she designed are supposed to capture the beauty of women in their twenties.

But Hana’s opinion matters as team leader, and she shoots the design down. She cites legitimate reasons why it wouldn’t work, but you can bet part of her reasoning is based on the fact that this is the girl Ho-joon cheated on her with.

Won and senior stewardess CHOI MI-HYANG (Jin Kyung) are close, so he asks her to buy him dinner that night. She can’t, because it’s Mir of MBLAQ’s birthday and this noona fan has some celebrating to do. Haha.

This leaves just Won and newbie So-eun, who thanks him for helping her out with that weird passenger. No sooner does he advise her to have more courage going forward that she works up the courage to mention dinner…

…But Hana’s mother calls to tell him she’s made a feast, and he leaves for home without a second thought. So-eun looks disappointed.

Won finds a very drunk Hana outside his home, and can only guess that something happened to her. She begins to imagine a story about the two of them surviving a plane crash and ending up on a deserted island (like the story he pitched in high school), leading to some deliberately cheesy shots of them clinging to each other as their plane goes down.

She slurs as she asks if he remembers telling her the story, and he does. He finishes the tale in voiceover: “And we live on that deserted island together until we die.” Then he flashes back to a young Hana holding out a heart-covered gift to him, standing in the same place.

Of course, Won gets no closer to a true explanation from her when she points at him and says, “This is all because of you! The Oh Hana known for being smart and pretty has been dating jerks and getting dumped by them!”

Flash back to when they were eighteen years old. Hana hears rumors that Won likes her from her friend, but doesn’t believe it. So what if he dotes on her and they hang out all the time? They’re just close. Besides, Hana insists she doesn’t like him like that.

Her friend is happy to hear that, since she’s interested in Won romantically. Hana agrees to help her without reservation, even agreeing to give Won a gift on her behalf—the same one Won saw her holding in his flashback.

Young Won, by comparison, seems to be struggling with an impending decision. He keeps telling himself that everything’s going to be okay. What is?

So Hana hands him the gift, and Won, thinking it’s actually from her, breaks into a story that inspired Hana to retell it in the future. “We’re on a plane right now heading to Venice,” he begins the tale.

He continues the story of how their imaginary plane met turbulence and crashed onto a desert island. Only he and Hana remain alive, and they live on that deserted island until they die. “But I will never date you,” he adds, taking Hana by surprise. “Even if we were on a deserted island, I wouldn’t love you. Ever.” Ouch. What brought this on?

Hana asks why he could never love her, but he just hands the gift back instead. He disappears into his house with Hana calling after him that she wouldn’t love him either, no matter what. Ever!

In the present, Hana cites his harsh words then as the reason she’s cursed with love today. “Why? Why can’t you love me?” she asks. “It’s not that I’d like it if you loved me, but what’s wrong with me that you can’t love me? Why? Because I’m picky? Because I have a strong personality? Because I’m mean? Or am I just unlucky?”

Won sits at the table with Hana’s family for her birthday feast, even though they’re missing the guest of honor. Hana’s little brother OH DAE-BOK (Lee Joo-seung) tells them why, having found out through social media that Ho-joon got engaged to someone else.

Everyone gets awkwardly quiet when Hana shuffles into the kitchen for a drink before shuffling right back out. Once Won returns home, he wishes he’d known about her troubles sooner.

After trying her darnedest to get a word with the maligned actress that was supposed to endorse a new line of shoes, Hana herself can’t bring herself to attend Ho-joon’s wedding alone, but luckily she doesn’t have to—Won’s taken the day off to be her date. He even made sure to look nice so she’d have the most handsome arm candy possible.

“I’ll pretend to be your new boyfriend,” he whispers conspiratorially. Awww, how supportive. Though she’s reluctant to go in and see her ex-boyfriend get married to someone else, Won confidently and cheerfully takes her hand and leads her into the venue.

Hana looks like she’d rather be anywhere else, but leaves Won so she can greet the bride. She gives what sounds like sincere congratulations, though it’s definitely an awkward moment when she’s left alone with her.

Ho-joon gets a frantic call that Hana’s alone with his new bride, unaware that Won can overhear him in the bathroom. He’s not the only one who hears him mutter about Hana either—his future father-in-law does too. Not good.

The bride is unafraid when confronting Hana, and casually says that she knew about her and Ho-joon. Hana falls to the ground in shock, staring up at the bride with wide eyes…

Except that’s just what’s going on in Hana’s mind. Though she refuses to congratulate the bride, she gives her solid advice on how to improve her shoe design. They part amiably.

Ho-joon tells his father-in-law that he definitely wasn’t two-timing, promise. Once he thinks he’s alone he mutters more about Hana ruining his life, at least until Won calls him out.

No sooner does Hana go looking for her missing “date” that she sees him burst out of the bathroom with Ho-joon, the two of them locked in a brawl. Won punches him once and is ready to go in for more, but Hana intervenes.

Ho-joon doesn’t help his own case when he figures out that the man who punched him is with Hana, claiming it’s no surprise that she’d be the root of all this trouble.

Won doesn’t like the way he’s talking to her and grabs him by the lapels, telling Hana to stay out of this. He only lets go when the bride shows up, and Ho-joon calls Hana out publicly for bringing her boyfriend to their wedding for revenge.

The crowd begins to murmur about Hana, with the bride scandalized that Hana came to ruin her wedding. Won grabs Hana’s arm when she apologizes to the bride, but Hana pulls away, asking him to just stop.

She’s mortified and apologetic as the wedding party leaves them there, and Won knows he has nothing to say that can fix things. He just follows her instead, knowing her well enough to guess that she’ll stop three times—but only on the third one will she turn around.

When she does, Won zips around her so that she has to turn around again to be able to see him. He’s just trying to cheer her up, but it’s not quite working. She gives him what-for about the stunt he just pulled, nearly in tears as she explains how she went to try and salvage her pride.

“You embarrassed me in front of all those people!” she adds, hitting Won with her purse. “He’s the one who embarrassed you, not me!” Won defends. Hana maintains that she never asked Won to take revenge for her, at least until Won claims that she didn’t have to ask—if she didn’t want him to, she shouldn’t have cried in front of him because of that bastard in the first place.

So Hana takes that to the extreme and tearfully vows that she won’t ever go to him with any of her troubles from now on. Won leaves her with a piece of advice: She’s thirty-four years old and should act like it. Hana turns around and gives Won the universal signal to go screw himself.

Then it’s time for both of them to act like children, with Won following her into the bus and shouldering her out of the seat she wanted. She spends the ride behind him, finding that she can’t stay mad when he looks so cute trying to sleep on the bus.

They walk in silence to their houses, but Won stops and smiles only to himself when Hana calls him. When he turns around, he tries to act like he’s still mad, which is adorable. “Thank you anyway,” she says with a small smirk. “I felt a catharsis of some sort.”

Neither of them can keep looking angry, and soon enough both of them break into laughter. They agree to go out for spicy chicken feet and practically skip off arm in arm.

Once they have their protein and alcohol, Won says aloud his wish for Hana to find a good man next time. Hana sighs that she’ll make sure to meet a really good guy. Looks don’t matter.

Won commends her on growing up, and a moment passes before she adds, “He has to be an unconditionally nice man. A nice man is the best.” Then she plops down beside Won, puts her arm on his shoulder, and asks inches from his face, “Don’t you think?”

For a few moments it doesn’t even look like Won’s breathing, more like he’s transfixed by their sudden proximity. But before anything happens, Won pushes her away with a tension-breaking joke.

He makes another joke when Hana asks him what kind of woman he’d like to meet by listing celebrities like Suzy and IU. But then he comes up with an idea: “Hana, do you want to make a bet?”

Hana doesn’t have the ability to back down from a bet, so she’s game. She immediately agrees to his wager that whoever marries before turning thirty-five will get money. Won’s initial amount is too small, so Hana raises it to five million won (roughly five thousand dollars).

He balks at that sum, so she says he can back out if he’s chicken. He can’t refuse that challenge, all but preening as he says he’s too popular to be scared of losing.

Flash back to when they were seventeen years old, with a poll among the girls just went to prove how popular Won really was. That day, she’d walked home under an umbrella to find Won soaked to the skin.

At first all she can talk about is how he won the popularity vote, until she notices that something’s wrong with Won. After a long pause, Won says, “I will never love you.”

Confused, Hana asks him what he means. He doesn’t elaborate and just walks past her, though she gives chase and asks him to tell her what’s going on—why is he acting like this?

She doesn’t give up, even when Won pushes her and her umbrella away. “Aren’t you going to stop?” she asks. With his back turned to her, Won grips the gate to his house like he’s struggling with himself.

But he eventually goes inside without a word, leaving Hana out in the rain.

 
COMMENTS

Interesting. Won’s declarations of Not Love, Not Ever seem to coincide with especially bad days he’s having, though the details are deliberately left murky, even to Hana. Or should I say, especially to Hana. The first time he told her that he wouldn’t even love her if they were left on a deserted island to die, he’d spent the day struggling with something unseen, telling himself that everything would be okay.

The second time he looked as though he’d experienced something truly traumatic, enough to have him walking through the rain like a zombie. And the way he said it all of a sudden to Hana sounded as though he’d been thinking of nothing but that, which is even more curious. It makes me insanely curious to know what’s going on with him that he feels the need to shut down any and all hope of them being together, even if Hana gave no indication that she’d been thinking about anything else. Plus, the seriousness with which he said it both times is bizarre—and from what little we’ve seen, pretty unwarranted.

But therein lies the mystery, and one this production team seems competent enough to tease out properly. Things admittedly looked a little rocky coming in, what with plagiarized teasers, a writer swap, and a lost-and-found director. Despite all that, this first episode came out feeling assured, with a soft visual palette that adds a bit of whimsy to the more realistic goings-on happening between characters. It’s just impactful enough without being overdone on any front, and just goes to prove that you don’t need drama to have drama. With characters like Hana and Won that go way back, just their everyday interactions says most of what we need to know about them.

Interestingly enough, the premise for The Time I’ve Loved You isn’t one I would gravitate toward naturally, since I’m a cheap date that can usually be bought with a high concept—even if I usually end up sorry for it. What drew me to this show was its deceptively simple premise, which feels oddly fresh in dramaland—even though I’m fairly positive that setting a story around two longtime friends who aren’t at all involved but someday could be isn’t the reinvention of the wheel.

But the simplicity of the premise can be deceptive, especially with a relationship as complex as Hana and Won’s. What I loved immediately about this episode is that it established both their characters with speed and ease, enough to get us on board with them as individuals and as two sides of the same friendship coin. Immediately it felt like we’d just been dropped in on their already busy lives, and it’s certainly no easy feat to make a world feel so lived-in by its core group of characters. Hana and Won operate as though they really have known each other for most of their lives, which is likely due to a healthy mixture of writing and directing—but most of all, acting.

And though the focus has the potential to switch from the two of them as friends to the two of them as possible lovers, for now I’m really enjoying the dynamic going on between them. The spotlight on Hana’s age feels real, especially in today’s age, because no matter how much people say that thirty is the new twenty, there are still a whole different set of societal demands on someone in their thirties as opposed to their twenties. Plus, it varies very much by gender still, as Won pointed out when he said that being male and thirty-four is different than being female and thirty-four. But then again, he’s the one who brought up the bet in the first place, which can only mean he’s not immune to worrying about his possibly single future.

I came into this show having absolutely no knowledge of its Taiwanese source material In Time With You, other than that it was an incredibly popular and critically acclaimed show. Comparisons are inevitable with any adaptations and certainly welcome, though I’d ask that the general rules for not being a buzz killington apply here. Don’t be the guy who spoils any huge secrets, the ending, or anything else that could potentially ruin someone else’s good time. Because dramas are love, and spoilers are not.

 

175 June 30, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 2

by HeadsNo2

The best kind of friendships are the ones which free you to be your truest self, your most comfortable self, and ideally your best self. We’re only in the first week of the show, yet it feels like we really are watching two friends who’ve known each other for ages—but how well they truly know each other turns out to be another matter entirely. Only time will tell if the addition of new love interests could put a strain on Hana and Won’s relationship, or whether some long hidden secrets may end up doing the job instead.

SONG OF THE DAY

BoA – “Home” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

“The important turning points in our lives can come at any time without warning,” Hana narrates in voiceover as she recalls her botched wedding guest experience.

She feels the ramifications of it at work where her colleagues loom over her disapprovingly, echoing each other that Ho-joon’s bride—the bride whose wedding she crashed—isn’t just anyone, but the president’s niece.

In what’s clearly a dream sequence, Hana then finds herself being backed up toward the edge of the train platform by the same leering faces. She falls backwards, and her only lifeline—one of her coworker’s ties—gets viciously cut by a pair of sharp, gleaming scissors…

And then she wakes up. She calls Won to blame him for her nightmare, which she wouldn’t have had if he hadn’t caused a scene at the wedding. Won’s all, “I already told you I’m sorry, what else do you want me to do?”

As they continue to bicker over the phone, Hana catches the attention of a handsome young man at the coffee shop. Won advises her not to take the office rumors too seriously, and to show her strength in front of her coworkers. “Easier said than done,” she sighs.

The same flower boy from the coffee shop calls out to her, since she forgot a stack of papers inside. “Don’t you remember me?” he asks—and Hana, intrigued, hangs up on Won. His face doesn’t ring a bell for her, though he claims he remembers her.

Hana wonders if she’s being hit on, and smoothes out her hair. He’s insistent when he asks if she really doesn’t remember him, but she thinks it’s just a pickup line, thanks him for returning her stuff, and saunters off with a girlish grin.

Unfortunately for her, she’s reamed at work by her boss, Director Byun, because she hasn’t been able to sell all those shoes endorsed by a now-missing actress. Director Byun hops up and down with rage, cooled only by Hana’s promise that she’ll make the launch show for the shoes a success.

The flower boy from earlier takes a tour of Hana’s office as the new marketing intern before he’s introduced to an extra bumbling version of Hana as KI SUNG-JAE (Infinite’s L).

She recognizes him from earlier, but is all business. Or at least she tries to be, even though Sung-jae catches her rubbing her head where she bumped it and smiles at her.

That spurs on another memory, the one Sung-jae was likely referencing at first—he’d helped her carry a load of shoeboxes in the department store once. He’d looked back at her and smiled that charming smile.

Speaking of interns, So-eun scores points with her male colleagues by bringing them coffee, spurring them all to comment that she’s totally Won’s type.

It’s all about yin and yang they say, and a cynical man like Won could benefit from a bright and thoughtful girl like So-eun. Of course all this is said with the two of them in the room, and Won puts a stop to their conversation before things get too awkward.

On their elevator ride together, Hana brings up the department store incident he’d helped her with and thanks him belatedly. He grins as he admits that he thought she was his age, which is why he tried hitting on her this morning.

He doesn’t want her to feel weird about it now, since he realizes they aren’t the same age, and now that he works under her he promises to do his job diligently.

After watching Hana deal expertly with a dismayed consumer, Sung-jae can’t help but put it into words when they’re alone in the storeroom together: “The more I see you, the more charming you become, Team Leader. I think I might fall in love with you.”

Hana doesn’t have a response, but a tense moment passes when they find each other in close proximity. It ends when he smiles and moves aside so she can pass.

While working late that night she receives a surprise visitor bearing surprise snacks—it’s Sung-jae, worried about her being alone. He promises to wait until she’s done so he can escort her. Aww.

Hana calls Won to tell him about the new intern, and Won is swift to call him a kid when she reveals his age to be twenty-six. Still, Won has to reluctantly admit that the kid has moves, though he’s very interested to hear how Hana responded.

Hana seems surprised that she didn’t scold him the way she’d scold anyone else, and Won feels the need to remind her that there’s no way that intern would see her as a woman. He was clearly just being nice—why is Hana reading so far into it?

“Are you jealous?” Hana asks. Won acts scandalized as Hana calls him out for not attracting his female juniors because he’s too stiff and boring. He’s just jealous that her intern luurves her, right? “I’m very popular!” he defends weakly. Hana: “As if!”

Maybe that conversation is what spurs Won to sit next to So-eun on the bus, while his colleagues give him the thumbs up. She thanks him for helping her out with that rowdy passenger, and nervously admits that she wants to use her gratitude as an excuse to have dinner with him.

Now that Won can’t help but to think about Hana’s diss, he agrees to the date. He’s not really keen on allowing her to hand feed him once they’re there, but her insistence ends up prevailing in the end. Wow, she’s not shy at all, is she?

Sung-jae texts Hana to ask if she made it home okay, and once she responds, he replies: “I’ll see you tomorrow then. ♥” Heart emoji aside, Hana wonders if he’s already talking to her like she’s his girlfriend. The thought makes her smile.

Back at dinner, So-eun asks Won about their Mir-loving boss, Mi-hyang, and finds out in the process that she and Won are cousins. She sighs that it must be nice that he gets to call Choi noona, since she never had any siblings to call endearing terms.

Her next question takes Won completely by surprise: “Can I call you oppa?” That’s some fast moving there, but she sort of steamrolls over any protest he could’ve made by asking with a please.

She takes his silence as a yes, and adds, “Oppa.” Hana calls him then, and when he claims he’s just out with a junior from the airline, So-eun seems to deliberately call him “Oppa” so Hana can hear from the other end.

Hana calls him out on dating at work, though Won claims So-eun was just joking. She’s skeptical, but agrees to pick up their conversation when he gets home.

So-eun asks if he was talking to his girlfriend, and doesn’t quite seem to believe Won when he says she’s just a friend. “Can a man and a woman really just be friends?” she asks, and of course Won says yes.

She freely admits she’s happy to hear it, because if he’s telling the truth, that means he doesn’t have a girlfriend. And if he isn’t, that means he was lying to make her feel better. Won’s figured out that she’ll just think the way she wants, but he likes her optimism.

Hana can’t sleep that night, still incredulous over hearing that girl call Won oppa. “When did he start dating?” she mutters sourly. Meanwhile Won walks home thinking of So-eun’s question about male and female friendships.

Flash back to Won and Hana’s high school days, with both of them preening in preparation for a blind group date that neither of them know the other is going on.

They see each other all dolled up in their 90s finest outside their homes and lie about where they’re going, only to end up at the same place, on the same date. When the rules call for everyone to put one personal item on the table (with the idea that you’ll be matched with whoever picks your item), Hana pulls Won aside to show him the scrunchie she’ll be using.

It’s like a lightbulb goes off over Won’s head. “It’s like taking a test with all the answers,” he says. Now that he knows what she’ll be using, he promises not to take it. “Okay, then we help each other,” Hana says excitedly. “Yes. Since we’re friends,” Won agrees. Both: “Fighting!”

But Won is faced with a dilemma when two nearly identical scrunchies are put on the table, having no idea which isn’t Hana’s. Unfortunately he picks wrong, and both their faces fall when they realize they’re stuck with each other for the evening.

They still manage to have fun, as always, leading to a montage of happy memories from their high school days. As much as they might say they’re just friends, Won’s transfixed look when Hana smiles at him seems to hint at something deeper.

Won smiles fondly in the present, and continues his trip down memory lane by looking at old high school pictures. His smile fades when he comes across a picture of him, Hana, and her friend who had a crush on him.

That’s when he also spots the book we’ve seen before, The Love of the One-Eyed Fish, which contains a poem about longing for companionship and true love. It’s the poem that put him in a mood back in his younger days, though it’s unclear why it makes him so upset.

Ho-joon and his new wife, Yoon Min-ji, are back from their honeymoon, which means Hana will encounter them in her work. Min-ji’s given everyone gifts and Hana tries to play it cool, at least until her assistant comments that Min-ji not only picked a great gift, she picked a great man! Bang.

Hana tries to steel herself so she can stand tall in front of Min-ji, only to end up losing her nerve as she ducks out of view. Then it’s off to actress Gu Yeon-jung’s house now that Hana’s heard she’s back in Korea, since the only way she can redeem herself is to get Yeon-jung to publicly endorse her shoes.

Sung-jae drives her and her assistant, though he ends up staking out the actress’ house alone with Hana once it gets late. As the hours pass and Hana wonders why Yeon-jung hasn’t appeared, Sung-jae says he doesn’t blame her.

He opens up a bit when he explains that he wanted to hide like her when his girlfriend broke up with him, thinking that the world was coming to an end. Hana turns toward him to listen to his heartfelt story…

…And accidentally farts in the process. There’s no mistaking the sound in the silence of the car, leaving both of them at an awkward loss for words. Poor Hana. But still, hahaha.

Sung-jae tries to continue with his story like it didn’t happen, but the smell’s enough of a problem that Hana opens the window, using some excuse about wanting to feel the air. Sure, Hana. Let’s just go with that.

They can’t stake out Yeon-jung’s house all night though, and Sung-jae eventually drops Hana off at home. She can’t get over her embarrassment, but at least she finds it funny in retrospect.

Hana’s enjoying her weekend the way any sensible person would love to do: by watching TV in her pajamas and eating snacks her mom brings her. She’s lost in her own little world, enough for Mom to ask little bro Dae-bok to help set Won up with Hana. Since he’s still single and all.

Companionship isn’t far from Hana’s mind either, as she wonders who she could possibly date. Suddenly, mixed martial artist Chu Sung-hoon appears in her bedroom and bears his manly chest to her. She goes googly eyed for only a moment before sadly realizing he’s way out of her league.

Along comes a dreamy Yoon Sang-hyun (Secret Garden reunion!), who sings her a sweet serenade. But even that fantasy crumbles—not only is he too popular with women, he’s also already married.

Next up is Ohn Joo-wan, who makes a display of showing off and slapping his own bottom in front of her. Haha. She doesn’t like the idea of him being so vain, so away he goes.

The next example is someone a little more attainable: Sung-jae. As radiant as he appears before her, Hana talks herself out of it—he’s eight years younger than her, for god’s sake. Poof.

Last but not least, her final possible suitor, Won, appears on the bed next to her. She’s all but repulsed at the idea, and fervently wishes the thought out of her mind. When she opens her eyes, she’s finally alone.

Of course, she walks downstairs to find the real Won in her living room. Mom and Dad suddenly have somewhere suuuper urgent they need to go, which means leaving Hana and Won alone in the house. Way to be subtle, guys.

Hana and Won just hang out like they normally would, eating on the couch while watching TV. She can’t help but ask about that girl who calls him “Oppa,” and balks when he says So-eun’s just twenty-five years old.

Won goes on the defensive trying to find ways Hana’s being inappropriate with her younger suitor, but since Sung-jae’s still calling Hana by her formal title, it’s not like his current situation with So-eun.

That’s exactly why Hana argues that formality dictates relationships between men and women, and it’s clear she thinks So-eun is a bit too forward for calling her rightful sunbae “Oppa.” Won asks if she wouldn’t allow Sung-jae to start calling her noona. Hana: “Of course not. I’m a woman who clearly separates love from work.”

After going on on a grocery run for Mi-hyang where the two of them just bicker about who’s more saintly for putting up with the other, they end up getting wrangled into Mi-hyang’s plan to make food for her idol, Mir.

While Won is disparaging, Hana supports Mi-hyang’s dreams and her cooking: “If I were Mir, I would marry you.” Even the age difference between herself and Mir doesn’t bother Mi-hyang—age is just a number, after all.

Speaking of age differences, Won helps So-eun at work when she takes it upon herself to carry an old woman’s suitcase for her. (I thought we were going Liar Game for a second there—the last time I saw this grandmother, she was having Kim So-eun help her carry the exact same suitcase.)

Meanwhile, Hana and Sung-jae accidentally touch hands while working with the customers. He follows her into the storeroom and gently takes her wrist in his hand as he offers to do her work for her, and Hana obliges him.

They end up in close proximity again, at first accidentally, but then Sung-jae takes a step forward to shorten the gap between him and Hana. Both of them just stare into each other’s eyes for a charged second before he lets go.

Sung-jae, having taken note of Hana’s foot pain during the day, appears before her after work with a pair of comfortable sandals. Aww, darn. Why does he have to be so cute when we know he’s just a cameo?

He even walks her home that night while carries her shoes for her. She doesn’t notice Won outside his house, but he sure trains his eyes on the two of them.

Hana’s worried that Sung-jae isn’t in the best spot to be advancing in the company, but he’s happy where he’s at—and he’s learning a lot thanks to noona. His use of the endearing term takes her by surprise, though he’s quick to remind her that they’re off the clock. For now she’s not team leader, and he’s not an intern.

Hana doesn’t quite know how to respond, and only when she turns toward her house does she spot Won, who gives them a big grin and a wave. She stops him from saying something embarrassing to Sung-jae by squeezing his arm, leaving the two men to have a stilted but cordial conversation.

The two best friends retreat to their favorite drinking spot afterward to discuss Won’s thoughts about Sung-jae, even though Hana’s still forming her own. She’s almost dreamy as she describes how he called her noona, prompting Won to ask if “that kid” actually moved her.

She denies that it was the noona usage that swayed her, citing that it was Sung-jae’s looks, work ethics, and general care for her that caught her attention. Still, she goes on the defensive when Won calls her out on her feelings, especially when he throws back her earlier declaration that unlike him, she knows how to separate love from work.

But in the end he has to be supportive, though he teasingly wonders whether he can give her the bet money in payments since she’s obviously going to get married first. Cue adorable chokehold fight. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)

Won gets a rare day off when his schedule is cancelled and wants to celebrate with Hana, who doesn’t answer his texts since she’s busy at the store. She doesn’t have the option to avoid seeing her ex pick Min-ji up from work while she’s left without a ride in the rain.

Interestingly enough, she’s ditched her heels for her comfortable pair of sneakers. She doesn’t know Won’s on his way to her so she makes a run for it, but surprisingly doesn’t get drenched—probably because someone’s holding an umbrella over her head.

It’s not Won, who gets held up on his way over by So-eun wanting to share his umbrella. Hana looks up to find Sung-jae standing over her instead.

We flash back to moments in Hana and Won’s past we think we’ve already seen, but from Won’s perspective now. Their chance encounters outside their houses weren’t so much chance as they were Won waiting for Hana.

Hana remained oblivious, even to the fact that Won saved her from falling during their game of steroidal leap frog. On the day they ended up on the same group date, Won had watched her walking away…

…And he definitely noticed the exact color of her scrunchie.

 
COMMENTS

Even though we only have two episodes to go off of so far, I appreciate how this show handles its cliffhangers, which have to rely on smaller emotional beats as opposed to something more traditionally exciting. I remember being tricked last episode into thinking we’d reached the end when we hadn’t, and the same happened here—most dramas would’ve finished on the dual shot of both would-be couples huddled under their umbrellas, but that alone wouldn’t have raised enough compelling questions to last until next week.

So in place of something more generic that would’ve still been serviceable, we got a different perspective on some key scenes of Hana and Won’s past that we thought we already knew. What’s maybe even more interesting than Won’s secret feelings being revealed to us is that we have no idea if they’ve ever been revealed to Hana, though all signs seem to say no. After all, Won made it a point to shoot down any hopes of them having a romantic future together in as blunt a way as he could muster. More than once, even.

Now that we’ve seen that Won was the one deliberately searching Hana out, I’m even more curious to find out what changed with him, and why he was so harsh in telling her he’d never love her. Why would he go out of his way to help her in ways she wouldn’t even notice, unless he’s just that good of a person? Wait, I think I answered my own question. Still, there’s got to be much more to it, and I’m definitely down for this feeling that we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface when it comes to the two of them.

It’d be tragic if Won has relegated himself to the friendzone because he thinks that’s best for Hana, though his visceral reaction to that picture of the two of them and her buddy raised some red flags. Even if I don’t understand his reasoning behind picking her out on the blind date if he wasn’t going to change the status quo, it’s adorable that he acted as though it was all by some bad stroke of luck.

If only he wasn’t the only one holding onto these secrets, since that means Hana will only find out if he chooses to tell her. After almost twenty years of assuming Won never had any romantic interest in her, who could blame her for wishing his apparition away during her fantasy parade of suitors? Then again, the fact that he appeared to her at all says something, even if she doesn’t know—or would rather not think about—what that something is.

 

143 July 6, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 3

by HeadsNo2

Our two best friends branch off to find romance this hour with some glaringly differing results, though their trials and tribulations just go to show how unshakable their bond is and how necessary they are to one another. And that in itself isn’t always a good thing, at least for Won’s game—it’s hard to impress the lady you’re with when you’re constantly worried about the lady you love… as a friend. Just as a friend. Because that’s totally what they are. Orrrrr is it?

No really, it is. For now. Kinda. It’s complicated.

SONG OF THE DAY

Lim Kim – “알면 다쳐 (Love Game)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 3 RECAP

We hear Hana in voiceover as she flashes back to recent memories with Sung-jae. She thinks back to a book she read that claimed special moments can begin as something simple, like when Sung-jae brought her sandals after a painful day spent in heels.

Similarly, we see Sung-jae holding his umbrella to protect Hana from the rain, shortly before he grabs her around the waist and spins her to protect her from getting splashed by an oncoming car.

Hana thinks that this is that special moment—the moment someone makes her feel protected. Her heart beats wildly as she wonders, “Does love have a sound?”

Cue Won giving his two cents on her irregular heartbeat while hanging out on their rooftop: “It’s a disease.” Hah. Hana disagrees, comparing the thrill of being with Sung-jae to the thrill of finding that right pair of heels in the shoe store.

Won asks sarcastically if she’s told Sung-jae that he’s just as special as a pair of shoes to her, but Hana says that’s beside the point—shouldn’t she grab him before the chance slips away? To that, Won gives her a firm no. She’s overreacting over an umbrella, and should wait until Sung-jae makes a move before she jumps right in.

Hana wonders if maybe she was overreacting until she finds a hot cup of coffee and a note from Sung-jae waiting for her in her office. “How can I not misunderstand when he acts like this?” she thinks.

Her gift-giver soon arrives, and Hana finds her heart racing again when Sung-jae has to lean over her to show her sales stats on her computer. She shuffles out awkwardly after, reminding herself not to overreact this time.

But she’s swiftly brought back down to earth when she’s reminded, none too kindly, that others in the company have been able to get ahold of actress Gu Yeon-jung while she’s still had no luck.

Won ends up saving So-eun from another distraught passenger and her distraught dog, though she later ends up getting reamed by her superior for almost giving into the passenger’s demands to let the dog out of its carrier.

He comforts her after by saying that regulations are regulations, but So-eun isn’t that bothered—how else is she going to learn if not through trial and error? Besides, her mother always told her that when you’re scolded, it’s because the person doing the scolding cares for you.

Won just shakes his head as he comments on her optimism, which he’s mentioned positively before. So-eun brightens up and follows after him, “That was a compliment just now, right? Did you just give me a compliment?” Simmer down now.

After following up on a possible lead for Actress Gu, Hana gets a call from her old high school buddy who we’ve seen in multiple flashbacks, KANG NA-YOUNG. Though they haven’t seen each other in almost five years, Hana gets a brief update on her life: Na-young cavalierly divorced her husband after three months of marriage, explaining simply that she did it because “I didn’t know why I got married.”

But Na-young quickly puts the kibosh on talking about her past, instead asking Hana if she keeps in touch with their old friends—she’s ready to start a new life, after all. Something about Na-young strikes me as, I dunno, psychotic? Hana’s comments about her in voiceover are much tamer, comparing Na-young’s unpredictability to that of a bouncing ball.

Flash back to the evening of the group blind date, where Na-young had accused Hana of lying to her about Won—she clearly saw them go out on a date. She also accused her of conspiring with Won so that he’d pick her scrunchie instead of Na-young’s.

Hana had maintained her innocence, so Na-young put it to the test by putting Hana and Won before God and a tape recorder. She’d grilled them both about whether Hana passed on her gift to Won, and whether he refused it because he and Hana were already dating.

Won ends up being the one to break the girls’ bickering over who was truthful and who wasn’t: “I… like someone else.” He won’t say who, but gives a pointed look to Hana before leaving. Hana and Na-young discussed who they thought he liked later, with neither of them guessing that it could be Hana.

In the present, Na-young reveals that she’s becoming an insurance agent to be able to scope out rich men from poor, since they have to write down their income levels when filling out a form. When Hana expresses disapproval, Na-young just calls her uptight.

Hana tells Won about Na-young’s reappearance at dinner that evening, even though he doesn’t remember her until Hana mentions the church interrogation incident. After all, if Won hadn’t said he liked someone else then, Na-young and her would’ve ceased to be friends.

But now that she’s thinking of it, Hana asks him who he liked back then. When Won shrugs that he doesn’t remember, Hana accuses him of keeping it a secret because it was probably a one-sided crush.

Won looks at her pointedly for a brief moment before defending that he isn’t the type to have a one-sided crush—and has proof in the form of So-eun calling him after work. At first he tells So-eun that he’s having dinner with a friend, but Hana seems to be repaying So-eun for calling Won “Oppa” when she says loud enough for her to hear, “Tell her to come over!”

She does, and Hana immediately eyes her up and down to size her up before putting on a bright, if not somewhat forced, smile. Whenever So-eun does something cute for Won, Hana seems to take a drink.

Similarly, when Won and Hana start to bicker about him eating green onions all their lives just because Hana hated them (when even he never liked them), So-eun takes a drink. By the end of the night she’s drunk and has her head resting on Won’s shoulder.

Since she’s got some liquid courage in her, So-eun wonders if Hana doesn’t have a boyfriend because she looks like the type who hold work and friendship above love. Hana seems to look at Won to back her up when she grits out, “Do I look that way?”

Won doesn’t help her out, and So-eun continues, “Men find you to be the really difficult type, don’t they?” She looks to Won to back her up, and he replies noncommittally. Finally Hana says in as sweet a tone as she can manage, “Well, isn’t that better than looking too easy?” Oooh.

Afterward, Won has a drunk So-eun hanging on his arm that he needs to take home. He offers to come back for Hana after dropping her off, but Hana replies with a smile that she’s already got someone to take her home.

Enter Sung-jae, causing Won to shoot a glance at Hana that she seems all-too-happy to meet. She’s one-upping him and she knows it, but gets herself into a situation when So-eun asks if Sung-jae is her boyfriend and Sung-jae replies in the affirmative by taking Hana’s hand in his.

Won shakes his head almost imperceptibly at Hana as So-eun comments on how handsome a couple they are. But she oversteps her boundaries when she accuses Hana of playing coy when she said she didn’t have a boyfriend earlier, and Hana takes her to task her for it—that’s the kind of talk reserved for much closer friends, is it not?

So-eun immediately backs down, and Sung-jae helps diffuse the situation by thanking So-eun for giving him an opportunity for Hana to call him, since he’d just been following her around like a puppy until now. Won comes as close to rolling his eyes as he can.

At least Hana apologizes to So-eun for being terse with her before leaving with Sung-jae, and Won sounds a bit pitiful calling out to Hana, “Call me when you get home!” Aww.

Sung-jae asks who Won is to Hana, being smart enough to guess that he was used to incite jealousy. Even though Hana defends that Won is just a friend, Sung-jae says it doesn’t matter anyway. “If you call me, I’ll run to you any time.”

But someone watches the two of them part angrily—it’s Hana’s unfriendly coworker, who can’t believe what she’s seeing.

So-eun invites Won to have drinks in her front yard, which leads to a rather lavish house. (Does everyone in this show have inordinately nice houses?) She explains that she came to live with her grandma in middle school when her parents passed away, but that she grew up happily nonetheless.

When Won wonders if her grandmother also passed, So-eun just laughs that she’s on vacation. However, she ends up inviting Won inside when he spills some makgulli on his jeans. Dun dun dun.

Later that night, Hana wonders if she wasn’t too harsh to So-eun and calls Won—but when she hears So-eun near him and discovers that he’s at her house, she bristles and just tells him to call her when he gets home. She’s concerned enough about it that she puts her phone on the pillow next to her to wait for his call.

So-eun guesses that it’s Hana who called, and an awkward silence passes before a sultry look overcomes her. So-eun sidles up to him seductively, running her fingers along his jaw and chest before pushing him toward the wall…

…But it was just a daydream on Won’s part. He worries he must’ve drank too much and leaves, hesitating on whether to call Hana despite seeing her bedroom light still on. He eventually decides not to.

Hana’s making some headway on arranging a meeting with the elusive Actress Gu, only to be stopped by Ho-joon, who says word has spread everywhere about her fooling around with the new intern.

Hana uses his full and formal name as she tells him to live his own life without worrying about others (translation: butt out). He has the gall to claim some authority to tell her what’s what as her ex, but Hana doesn’t stick around to hear it.

Instead, she has to overhear it from all the other female employees as they gossip about her. Hana fights back by being overly loud when telling Sung-jae that he’ll be coming with her on a business trip to meet with Actress Gu tomorrow.

So-eun scores points with Mi-hyang by bringing her food that her idol Mir is sure to like, which she knows because a friend of hers works on variety shows. Her mission to integrate herself into Won’s life whether he has a say in it or not is accomplished when Mi-hyang suggests that they switch to an unni/dongsaeng relationship, which will undoubtedly get her closer to Won.

When the subject of Hana is brought up, So-eun admits to Mi-hyang that she felt jealous at seeing how close the two of them are, but Mi-hyang tells her she has nothing to worry about—they’ve always been that way.

Won returns to his house from Hana’s house with her little brother, who takes his report on So-eun back to his parents. She’s pretty much perfect, Dae-bok argues, so they’ll have a tough time trying to beat her by setting Hana up with Won. What gives them the idea that this’ll work after so many years spent platonically anyway?

Mi-hyang asks Won about So-eun later, but when he opts to keep his love life private, her only advice to him is that he not lead her on if he doesn’t plan to date her. It gives him pause when So-eun texts him to ask him out for dinner later, and he doesn’t respond.

Sung-jae drops in on Hana as she’s practicing the speech she’ll give to Actress Gu about breaching her contract—if she can even manage to meet her face-to-face, that is. He helps her along by giving her information that Actress Gu will be walking the red carpet for a film festival, which may give them an opportunity.

In return for him agreeing to an unheard favor from Hana, Sung-jae suggests that they go see the sunrise over the beach if all goes well with Actress Gu tomorrow.

After chasing Won through a store for suggesting she get a much smaller bra than the one she’d already had her eyes on, Won takes issue with the idea that Hana will be going on an overnight trip with Sung-jae.

She’s quick to bring up that he spent the night at So-eun’s place (since he never called her to say he was home), but Won presses back that she needs to be more careful—she can’t just fall for Sung-jae if all he’s doing is tolerating her.

Hana takes issue with the fact that Won’s been acting as though she’s so lacking lately, and argues that she’s not just an okay catch, but a great catch. Won vomits in his mouth a little as Hana goes on that love is simple… and he better get that five million won in bet money ready.

Won ends up eating with Hana’s family that night, since her mother’s prepared an undoubtedly expensive lobster dish just for him. Her parents couldn’t be any more obvious about wanting Hana and Won together, enough to where they’re practically selling themselves on how awesome they’ll be as his in-laws—after all, they’ve been treating him like family since high school.

Even if Won realizes what they’re doing, he still readily agrees with Mom that she’s always been like a real mother to him. Dae-bok can’t help but roll his eyes at his parents’ antics, and Hana pulls a reluctant Won away from the lobster-laden table to take him upstairs. Her parents whoop like they’re going to the make out closet at a party.

Hana complains that her parents still haven’t given up on them even though it’s been seventeen years, but when she turns around, she finds herself almost face to face (at her height more like face-to-chest) with Won. He breaks the bit of tension by being all, Well, I am pretty awesome.

He looks at one of her old photos and then its likeness in his house—only his version is hand drawn. But when So-eun texts him, he closes the sketchbook before replying.

Hana picks up Sung-jae for their work trip, and he asks her all the usual simple things she claimed she liked to be asked about, like what she ate. When she mentions that her breakfast was bread and milk, Sung-jae remembers what happened the last time she ate that combo, and scratches his finger along the seat to replicate the sound of a fart.

“Do you remember?” he asks teasingly. Fart. She claims she doesn’t. “You really don’t remember?” Fart, fart, fart. She grabs him by the throat and threatens to give him one if he keeps on the way he is, and he meekly bows his head in apology…

…But that’s only how Hana wishes she could handle the situation. In reality she just asks him to stop, and he apologizes through laughter. “I’m really sorry. I’m sorry, Noona!” Aww. Who can stay mad at that?

At long last, Hana gets a meeting with Actress Gu (played by Shin Eun-kyung), who couldn’t seem to care less that she’s bowed out of her endorsement deal with Hana’s company.

Hana tries to play hardball like she’d practiced, but when that backfires, she’s ready with another solution: a dress and PPL shoe combo that she can wear to the red carpet of an upcoming film festival. That’s the favor she asked Sung-jae for, and it works when the actress agrees to wear the shoes.

Now that the work is done, Hana and Sung-jae get to play the rest of the day. It’s a montage of scenes from an ideal date that can only exist in the movies, but darn if it doesn’t look like they’re having all the fun.

At the end of the day, Sung-jae takes Hana’s hand in his as they overlook the waves crashing over the beach. Since the day went well, he reminds her, will she go to the beach with him tomorrow morning? Hana thinks briefly about Won’s dating advice later that night, but still decides to join Sung-jae.

Speaking of Won, we find him cooking a meal for Mi-hyang and So-eun that reminds So-eun of the spaghetti she ate when she was first accepted into college. It’s a bit of a strange thing to reminisce about, but it only makes Mi-hyang like her more—it must be a talent to be able to eat all those carbs and still have a body like Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr, she claims.

Hana gets dressed up that night to pay a visit to Sung-jae, and ends up just walking into his hotel room when a staff member leaves it open. She overhears him having a phone conversation with someone whose hospital bills he’s promising to pay for after he becomes a full-time employee.

“I’m getting close to the Team Leader,” he tells the mystery person. “She’ll definitely take care of me. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure it happens—…” He cuts himself off when he turns around to see Hana standing there. Oh no.

Hana recovers from her shock quickly enough to defend herself: “How can you be so certain that we’re close? Did I seem like a woman who would take care of you if I became close to you?” Sung-jae tries to step in, but there’s no room.

“By smiling and doing me favors, the thing you wanted to gain by using someone’s heart was just a full-time position?” she adds a little incredulously. “How urgent must your situation be? How low did you have to be to act like this?”

Sung-jae returns that no one would know as well as her—she knew what it was to feel low when her boyfriend left her for a hoobae. “Weren’t you happy when I appeared?” he counters. “How urgent must it have been for you to hold my hand so easily—…”

She stops him there. And as for seeing the sunrise on the beach, she won’t be joining him.

Hana’s much less composed as she leaves, unable to deny to herself that she thought those moments when Sung-jae treated her well were sincere. And what she can’t stand more than the idea that all those moments were fake is the idea that she let herself get swept up in them. She drops to her knees then, sobbing.

So-eun manipulates Won into promising to cook her another meal before he’s pulled away from the table when Hana calls. Mi-hyang reassures So-eun that they’re just close and not to take it seriously, but it’s obvious by Won’s stance and voice that he’s worried about Hana.

“You were right,” a tearful Hana tells Won. “I shouldn’t have overreacted. Those moments that made my heart race… I thought I was at an age where I knew that they don’t amount to much. Like an idiot, I forgot about that. All that talk about how I felt with someone saving and protecting me… I guess I was just desperate to be loved like that.”

If Won speaks past asking her where she is, his voice isn’t heard as Hana continues on about how she no longer has confidence in herself. She ends up on a beach with tear-streaked mascara, but even that pity party gets rained out. Hana has to watch as all the couples take shelter while she’s left alone and miserable.

Suddenly, she finds herself under some sort of cover—it’s Won, getting soaked himself as he holds his jacket over Hana’s head. “I found you, Oh Hana,” he says with his trademark smile.

He pulls her closer and warns her that she better not get sick after being out in the rain, or she’ll really get it from him. He grins then, and even Hana can’t resist a small smile.

 
COMMENTS

And that’s what friends are for. Hana’s had a pretty rough time with relationships as of late, so it goes without saying that this most recent development with Sung-jae would hit her as hard as it did. Even without having her ex-boyfriend leave her abruptly and uncaringly for his other girlfriend, finding out that the person she’d decided to open her heart to was just manipulating her for a job would be enough to send anyone into mascara-streaking territory.

It doesn’t help that Hana’s having to fight to earn her keep at work every day, and that she was already the subject of gossip because of Ho-joon leaving her to marry Min-ji. Though that’s the kind of scoop that would spread through an office like wildfire, it’s somewhat disconcerting that Hana’s bearing the brunt of the shame when she wasn’t the one who cheated or even the one who got pregnant out of wedlock with a cheater. She was the one who was tricked, so to see her be made a pariah when Ho-joon and his new wife are practically exalted either says everything about modern society or nothing at all.

Her efforts to try and change how others perceive her were then made much more integral to her existence not just on a personal level, but on a professional one as well. This whole bizarre idea that she “lost” her man the same way she “lost” Actress Gu’s endorsement put extra pressure on Hana to prove herself, as if doing so would change her standing around the company water cooler. But as important as that was to her, she was willing to put her already dwindling reputation on the line for what she felt mattered to her—which, in this case, was Sung-jae.

But it’s good to see that despite her somewhat bumbling nature, Hana possesses enough shrewd business sense to prove that she’s earned her title at the office, even if no one there seems to respect it. Unfortunately for her, what happened with Sung-jae didn’t happen in a vacuum, and if she thought they were the talk of the office before… well, if work didn’t already suck for her, Hana’s got some dark days lying ahead.

Won still remains something of a mystery, though there’s a delineation to be made between being somewhat of a mystery and being a frustratingly opaque cipher. He falls on the good end of that spectrum with what little has been revealed of his past, but more and more it seems like his family is left out of any discussion deliberately. It makes me wonder—especially with his cousin mentioning that Won learned to cook for himself from a young age this episode—whether Won’s presumably fractured family life is what caused his “I’ll never love you” proclamations toward Hana. Because if whatever this is isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.


147 July 7, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 4

by HeadsNo2

It just takes one conversation about Won and Hana’s true feelings to throw everything into flux, making us wonder whether our two besties remain so because they’re both equally afraid of what lies beyond. Life around them may change and so may the people they’re with, but all those things can be made bearable when you’ve got that one dependable constant on your side, always waiting with fresh alcohol in one hand to drown your sorrows and a tissue in the other to wipe away your drool and/or jjajangmyeon sauce. You’d have to be crazy to give that sort of relationship up… right?

SONG OF THE DAY

Take – “주르르 (Rainy Day)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

As Hana looks up at Won, she thinks, “That’s right, it’s okay. Whenever I face suffering in life, I have a precious friend who is always there for me.”

That precious friend buys her favorite snacks and beer before joining her in her room, after Hana’s washed away her streaked makeup and dried off. “When I was twenty-four years old,” she muses, “I thought a thirty-four-year-old woman was not a woman.”

Now that she’s that woman, she wonders why she once thought that she’d experience emotions like happiness and sadness differently, only to find out that it’s the same no matter the age.

Won just shakes his head. Sung-jae could’ve hit the jackpot with Hana, but he messed it all up. When Hana doesn’t believe him, Won defends what he said: “You’re capable, pretty, kind, smart, and cute. He’ll never meet someone like you again.”

She’s too keen on celebrating her pity party to take his compliments seriously, and just sniffs like a lost puppy when Won sits next to her and puts his hand to her forehead. If she gets sick from being caught out in the rain, he warns, then she’ll really be a hopeless ajumma.

Hana just sighs that she already got dumped by a kid she fell for, so she really would be overreacting if she were to get sick on top of all that. She can’t tell if she’s more frustrated with Sung-jae or herself, but it’s just too sad for her to bear.

A tear rolls down her cheek, and Won tsks at her as he wipes it away with his thumb. He’s let her wallow in self-pity long enough, now it’s time for a bit of friendly tough love, and high time for her to act her age and stop cosplaying as a tragic heroine.

Taking a dig at her age works at getting Hana up and going, if only so that she can get in some quips about his advanced years too. The two decide to stay up all night drinking, and the ensuing quick cuts run the gamut from being emotionally stirring to downright hilarious.

It’s a night of drinking everyone will have sometime in their life, when you go from laughing one minute to crying the next. At one point in the night Hana starts sobbing and walking toward the window, crying that she has to go to the beach. Won stops her, but can’t keep from laughing. I love them. Love, love, love.

They find themselves in bed the next morning, with Hana sleeping on Won’s arm. Won wakes up first and stares at Hana’s sleeping face before he traces the line of her brow with a smile.

But when she stirs, he immediately pretends to be asleep. He acts like he’s juuust waking up when Hana does, and tells her to get off his arm. Hah.

Hana’s sort of out of it the whole ride home, acting awkward with Won ever since she woke up next to him. Won has to practically remind her how to walk lest she just forget and fall flat on her face. Her change in demeanor doesn’t go unnoticed by little bro Dae-bok when she returns home.

Her paranoia is only further compounded when she remembers a conversation she had with Won the night before while they lied on the bed. They’d discussed what they thought about love with her head resting on his stomach, only to find out that their opinions differed: Hana believes love is about compromise and sacrifice, but Won believes it’s about loving the other person just the way they are.

“The only person who likes me for who I am is you, but you don’t see me as a woman,” Hana confessed. “You’re the one who doesn’t see me as a man,” Won had countered.

Curious then, Hana had peered up at him and asked, “Have you ever thought of me as a woman?” Won looked down at her then, his expression almost pained, but either she doesn’t remember what he said or we don’t get to hear it. She’s mortified that the conversation ever took place.

Mi-hyang has an inexplicable dream about a pig, and wonders if it’s a sign that money could be headed her way. But she ends up resuscitating an old woman who passes out in the bathroom instead. I’m sure they’re trying to sell me something here, I just don’t know what it is.

After freaking out her mom by uncharacteristically cleaning her room, Hana goes out for a sponsored bike ride and ends up crashing when her thoughts drift to waking up in bed next to Won. She goes home with a cast over her wrist.

Won can’t stop thinking about that morning either, and is so distracted that he fails to notice he’s smeared cappuccino foam all over his mouth. It gives his coworkers a chance to mention the infamous cappuccino kiss from Secret Garden, which Ha Ji-won was on the receiving end of.

So-eun calls him out on leaving suddenly the night before, and Won explains that he had to go because Hana needed him. Naturally, she asks if he’d drop everything and go to her if she were to call him in the middle of the night like that.

Won takes a moment before he explains that Hana is like family to him. “So you’re saying that Hana Unni is a friend who’s like family, and I’m your girlfriend, right?” When Won doesn’t respond, she adds onto the manipulation by saying she’ll think positively, since that’s a trait he likes about her. Grah, she’s annoying.

Hana’s parents wonder about their daughter’s odd behavior until Dae-bok sits them down for some earth-shattering news: Won and Hana spent the night together. He claims the business trip was a lie, and that he saw the two this morning looking like newlyweds after their first night together.

Mom and Dad’s reactions are subdued and a little disbelieving, but since they’re for their daughter dating Won, Mom suggests that the three of them go on a vacation to leave Hana and Won all alone together.

Hana gets called out by one of her old high school buddies to celebrate her engagement. Na-young’s also in attendance, and when relationships come up, she asks Hana whether she and Won ever had any skinship moments—they’ve been together for seventeen years, after all.

But Hana adamantly claims they never did any such thing, and that she’s even seen Won naked from the waist up (multiple times!) without feeling a thing. Na-young says maybe she felt nothing, but would Won feel differently if the tables were turned?

Flash back to their high school days, when Won had pointed out the fact that Hana was drooling all over her desk. She’d wiped her mouth and gone back to sleep, and in the present, Hana smiles that they’ve always been like that.

But her friend cautions her that the same actions she thought nothing of before could take on a different meaning in the future, causing Hana to fret about last night’s pillow talk with Won.

Won thinks Hana’s ignoring his messages when in reality she’s just dropped her phone in the toilet, making him worry that she’s gotten so uncomfortable about the night before that she’s purposefully avoiding him.

Hana returns to work the next day and imagines that she sees an encouraging note from Sung-jae, when he hasn’t even shown up for work yet. She has to sit through a meeting where Director Byun takes all the credit for Actress Gu showing up to the red carpet in their shoes, rocketing them to the top of the search engines.

But Hana doesn’t let him get away with it totally unscathed, and uses the opportunity to back him into a corner so he’ll support an initiative of her team’s to break into the Chinese market. At least her team members appreciate and support her.

And when called upon to be the bigger person, Hana proves her worth by giving Sung-jae’s resume to Director Byun and vouching for him. Because of her talking him up, he’ll get a full-time position in one of their branch offices in China.

It’s raining outside again, and once more Hana finds a strange umbrella over her head. A remorseful Sung-jae holds it as he thanks her for the recommendation.

She remains professional and cites that she based her decision on his merits alone, though she cautions him to use his abilities to read women’s hearts in a more constructive way for the future. Then, proving she’s learned, she pulls out her own damn umbrella.

“Because you fell for me, I really thought of being your protector,” Sung-jae calls after her. She keeps walking, and he follows her a ways before he just watches her go. “You’re a much better person than I thought you were,” he adds quietly.

As she leaves, Hana thinks to herself that the truth can be a comforting salve as much as it can be the knife that opens up old wounds. In her case, she’ll use Sung-jae’s sincerity to patch her wounds while she waits for new skin to grow. Time heals all wounds, they say.

Won worries when he still can’t get ahold of Hana, and shoots her a text asking if she broke her arm or something. (Hana: “Funny story…”)

Except at that exact moment, she’s at the repair shop for her phone—but when she finds out that it’ll be a few days, she’s surprisingly unconcerned. She asked for some vacation days anyway, so being off the grid will be a good thing.

She and her brother end up running into So-eun while buying him a pair of shoes, and Dae-bok seems awful quick to declare that he has no allegiance to his sister when faced with So-eun’s long legs.

So-eun invites Hana out for some juice, and ne’er has there been a meeting between first and second leads o’er two cups that’s ended well. Unsurprisingly, So-eun says she’d wanted to speak to Hana anyway, since her relationship with “Oppa” has been concerning her.

But now she claims she isn’t, since Won said Hana was like family and that’s why he always wants to take care of her. Why is it that So-eun sounds patronizing when she says that she’ll take care of Hana too? She didn’t mention the family thing because it actually made her feel better, that’s for sure.

Hana pretends not to be bothered by what So-eun said and replies instead that Won is like family to her too. “If he were to call me, I would have gone too. Don’t worry about what happened that night.”

Her family wasn’t counting on Hana to return home before they’d booked it for a one-night stay at the nearby hot springs, and aw darn, it’s the one trip Hana can’t go on with her arm in a cast. Well, guess that means she’ll be left all alone with Won next door.

So-eun greets Won on his way out, and uses that act as leverage to ask him to buy her a meal. He declines since he’s just heard from her family that Hana hurt her arm, and So-eun chimes in that she saw the cast when she spotted Hana at the mall earlier. She pointedly leaves out the talk she had with Hana by acting all cute and concerned about her.

Hana’s perfectly content to spend her vacation days locked inside her house being her usual clumsy self, but her parents aren’t—they call Won to give him permission to fix a broken lightbulb in their house.

It’s his and Hana’s first meeting since that night, and while he’s totally fine, she’s the one who ends up acting awkward around him. Well, he’s not that fine, because she’s being so weird, but it seems like he’s deliberately testing the boundaries of her uncomfortableness by getting closer than he needs to be.

She jumps and screams to herself once she’s alone, only to later find Won still standing outside her gate. He looks antsy and says nothing before he grabs her for a quick kiss. Hana pulls away and screams, “Are you crazy?!” before punching him with her cast arm. Owwww.

Luckily, that part was only a dream. Won wakes up as though he actually felt the hit, remembering when his “friends” had cornered him in high school, presumably over his relationship with Hana. He’d fought back, but they’d fought harder.

Still, Won didn’t give up, and chased after the leader of the boys. Once he had him on the ground, he yelled, “Why can’t I like Oh Hana?! Why can’t I?!”

After the fight, Hana found him in the library to offer him her class notes. When she started to notice the blood and bruises on his face, Won roughly pushed her away. Hana left, unable to understand the change in his demeanor, and Won just looked after where she’d gone like a kicked puppy. Aww.

Mi-hyang’s pig dream comes full circle when the grandmother she saved in the bathroom turns out to be the CEO of a giant food corporation specializing in pig feet. Mi-hyang gets a pass to eat free pig feet for life, so it’s too bad she doesn’t like them. At least we know what they were trying to sell us.

Hana’s parents return home disappointed to find out that nothing happened between Won and Hana. She finally gets her phone back and reads all the backlogged messages Won sent her, but before she allows herself to feel warm and fuzzy, she remembers So-eun saying that Won thought of her like family.

Neither Hana or Won are aware that they’ve picked the same art museum to visit that day, only Won’s brought So-eun there on a date. So-eun takes issue with the fact that he only takes her to places Hana likes to go, which Won hadn’t even realized he was doing.

But then So-eun lays on the sugar and slips her arm through his, which is how Hana spots the two of them. She makes herself feel better by throwing a little shade in their general direction, to which I say: good for her.

Remember Hana’s friend that just got engaged? Well, the wedding’s been called off, and the would-be bride sobs that she’s more upset over losing her friend of seventeen years than she is over losing a fiancé. This resonates with Hana for obvious reasons.

Still, when Won catches her outside her house and finds out she hasn’t eaten, he buys them jjajangmyeon to eat in front of the TV. He gives her a fork when she can’t open her chopsticks single-handedly, and wipes her mouth when it’s dripping black bean sauce. Adorable.

A moment passes before Hana asks Won if he’ll visit her often when she inevitably ends up in a nursing home after a life spent alone. She knows that’s how it’s going to be when she works all the time and still doesn’t have a boyfriend.

Won can’t help but agree that Hana doesn’t have an eye for good men, but he also agrees to be there for her until he dies—even if it means hanging out with her in a nursing home one day. But when he asks if she’d do the same for him should he end up alone, Hana teases him by saying she’ll have to think about it.

Not long after, Hana calls Won to celebrate her getting her cast removed. They agree to meet for their favorite treat that night while Won thinks to himself, “Hana, I wish that you’ll always be okay.” Meanwhile, Hana thinks that Won is the only person who knows her e-mail and phone passwords.

Then the two of them think at the same time: “Let’s be together until we die.”

At the airport, Won seems to recognize star pianist CHA SEO-HOO (Yoon Kyun-sang) while he’s on his way to a sound check.

Once there, Seo-hoo switches from playing rapid and complicated notes to playing the scales. But the sequence is incomplete because he can’t help but think of a voice from his past—Hana’s voice—confessing giddily that she liked to play her scales that way.

Won sees Seo-hoo again outside Hana’s house, looking mournfully up at her window. Immediately Won looks guilty and tries to hide the things he’s brought for her, but Seo-hoo doesn’t pay him any mind.

Instead he watches and smiles just a little when Hana appears like a ray of extra-cheerful sunshine. She doesn’t see Seo-hoo, but Won never takes his eyes off him.

Flash back to high school, when Won had put books under Hana’s head as pillows when she’d fall asleep in the library. He’d affectionately touch her hair and smile only when she was asleep, and act as though he’d just woken her up to point out her drooling problem if she caught him.

As always, Hana would buy his excuses. But only when Won was out of sight would he let out the breath he’d been holding and smile to himself.

 
COMMENTS

Now we’re getting hints that things may not have been so one-sided for Won, which sure does complicate things, doesn’t it? What is clear is that there have been a lot of mixed messages, misunderstandings, and things left unsaid—though some of that seems to have been purposeful on Won’s part, which gives events in their past another dimension entirely.

It’s interesting to see how the pieces are beginning to fit together, even if the finished picture is the furthest thing from complete. I’d been curious to know if there were external forces keeping Won from pursuing a romantic relationship with Hana, but I never would have guessed that there was some nefarious plot against him dating her going all the way back to high school. We literally saw him get beaten up because he liked her, and because he never wanted Hana to worry, he’d sooner push her away than let her know what was really going on.

That tendency of his to keep Hana out of the loop for her own protection is its own double-edged sword, and it’s frustrating to see him hide his feelings behind longing looks and stolen touches. I want him to just be open and frank with her, though that should also go both ways. At the same time, this episode showed quite clearly why he might be inclined to keep to the status quo of their friendship, especially if he doesn’t want to risk losing Hana should things not work out between them romantically.

Based on how Hana retreated into herself after their drunken conversation, it’s not hard to see why Won wouldn’t have been the most forthcoming up until now. I wonder if something’s being kept from us regarding that conversation, or if Hana was just so wound up because she’d asked the question and received no answer. And Won’s answer in that moment, or lack of it, would go a long way toward telling us whether he’s purposefully keeping Hana in the dark out of a lack of trust, or whether she’s not recognizing the clues he’s leaving for what they are.

And then there’s So-eun, who brings a different set of complications with her. Setting aside the fact that she’s all but engineered to be unlikable as the interfering second lead, we can’t really say she’s doing that much interfering. (Yet.) Sure, she’s been pushy and emotionally manipulative, but she hasn’t put Won in a situation that he couldn’t get himself out of. Which is to say, he’s a grown man making a conscious decision to be with her, even though he also maybe-sorta-kinda likes Hana and has for seventeen years. Y’know, just the usual baggage.

 

93 July 13, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 5

by HeadsNo2

An old love comes sauntering back into Hana’s life like he didn’t completely screw her over, sending her emotions into a tailspin they really shouldn’t be in if this guy is as bad as he seems to be. Even his present self is no prince charming, leaving us to wonder what it is that Hana liked about him in the first place—but if she has no self control when it comes to him, let’s hope that Won can help her see reason. Even if that doesn’t seem to be working out too well for him so far.

SONG OF THE DAY

Jung Seung-hwan – “너를 사랑한 시간 (The Time I’ve Loved You)” from the OST [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

Looking at Seo-hoo in the present takes Won back to the past, where Hana had been absolutely crazy for him when they dated. She’d even skipped her own promotion party because Seo-hoo had made sudden plans to come back into town, and Won had watched them kiss from a safe (and sad) distance.

Once the reverie is over, Won pays Seo-hoo little mind except to keep Hana from seeing him. Seo-hoo doesn’t try to make himself known.

Hana talks about her friend whose engagement just got broken off, only to find out that she and Won have different views about relationships that have ended—he’s on the more cynical side, while she believes that this hiccup could make her friend and her fiancé stronger in the end.

She has no idea that Won’s worried about Seo-hoo’s reappearance when he asks, hypothetically, if she could start over with a man she broke up with. Hana thinks about it before replying that it would depend on how deep their relationship was, and not necessarily how they broke up.

Won’s worried that means she would resume a previously broken relationship, but Hana doesn’t know he’s talking about her and Seo-hoo. Instead he tries distracting her by asking her out for different fun dates, but Hana can’t ignore his text messages and checks his phone instead.

Hana informs him that it’s So-eun asking for a date, but Won doesn’t even seem to be listening. Instead he pesters her to go on a fun date with him and forget all her worries.

Seo-hoo doesn’t allow for incompetence or excuses when it comes to his work, and is to the point with his employees when he’s displeased with something. He listens to the concerto he’ll be playing as his thoughts drift to Hana… and Hana with Won.

So-eun surprises Hana outside her house to invite herself to her and Won’s bike ride, since Won didn’t invite her himself. Both Hana and Won share a look like, “Well?”

We flash back to So-eun grilling Won on why he hadn’t responded to her texts, and when he tells her it’s because he already had something planned with Hana, So-eun invites herself along. Won tried to tell her then that he thinks of her just as a hoobae (so, non-romantically), but So-eun responded that she thinks of him as someone she wants to date seriously.

She then claimed that it didn’t matter to her if he thought of her as someone he wanted to date or not—but she’d continue to do what she wanted with her heart. Won thought about that and asked if she should be more considerate of others’ feelings since it’s not just her heart involved.

And now that she’s invited herself anyway, I guess he has his answer on how considerate she really is. So-eun even glares at Hana so she gets to sit shotgun instead of her. Whoa, someone needs to tell this girl to pump the brakes.

Because So-eun claims she doesn’t know how to ride a bike, she rides a tandem bicycle with Won. He even asks her why she came when she doesn’t know how to ride, and she just laughs.

When they sit down to the lunch So-eun’s prepared, she hands him a serving of red ginseng, only for him to hand it over to Hana. Despite Hana’s concerns that she became the third wheel on their date, it seems like that’s fallen to So-eun instead.

So-eun makes a deliberate comment that the two of them seem more like siblings, but they almost seem to be playing up the cutesy angle in front of her on purpose. Again though, So-eun seems to be the one reminding them that they’re friends… right?

After a shoe-selling interlude with Dae-bok, we return to Three’s Company at a batting cage. So-eun sees that Hana doesn’t want to play when Won urges her to, so she eggs her on deliberately just to make her more uncomfortable. I hope Won is noticing all this.

As expected, Hana absolutely sucks at batting. But it doesn’t go the way So-eun wanted when Won enters the batting cage with her, positions himself behind her, and helps her learn how to swing. So-eun tries to get him to teach her the same way he taught Hana (for the close contact), but he just offers her advice instead. Burn.

Won has to cut the day short because he received a call from his mom, which he doesn’t seem too happy about. So-eun keeps up her cheery facade and acts like she’s had a great day, emphasizing that she will see Won at work tomorrow.

While driving, Won makes funny faces at Hana to make her smile. But when he does, Hana thinks of the day she figured out what that expression of his meant before she turned twenty.

It was also the same day that Won’s mother left him with just a note saying: “Son, you understand your mom, don’t you? I love you.” Hana had found him then, and saw the same expression on his face. Instead of being sad, Won had talked about unrelated things while acting completely unaffected.

Mi-hyang knows Won’s in a mood because his mother called, and has no sympathy for the woman who left her son because she found love elsewhere. Won reminds her that she’s still his mother, but she claims that he hasn’t found love because of his complicated relationship with his mom.

Won says she’s not one to talk when she’s obsessed with an idol, but Mi-hyang explains that loving an idol is safe and easy—they love to be loved, and she can’t get hurt that way. (I’d disagree there, as a fellow idol lover.) But she makes sure to slip in a comment about how Won’s just like his father, since his dad would always take his mom’s side too.

While Hana enjoys a family dinner with her thoughts never straying too far from Won, Won’s room is filled with colorful lights. A call from Hana reveals that she’s the source, using a projector out of her window to spill into his room across the way. Aww.

Hana has to pay for a mistake her assistant made in ordering the wrong shoe size for a model, resulting in the model wearing a different pair of shoes for her CF. As Hana gets scolded and sees her assistant in tears, she thinks to herself, “There was a time when tears were my weapon. But now that I’m thirty-four and a team leader, tears equal incompetence, and words are just excuses.”

Seo-hoo pays a visit to Won at work, despite the fact that only employees are supposed to be allowed where he is. The meeting is tense, and it soon becomes clear that neither of them like the other very much. Or at all.

“I just wanted to confirm one thing,” Seo-hoo says dispassionately. “You and Hana are still just friends, right?” Won refuses to answer him on principle, because he doesn’t answer to him.

But he does grab Seo-hoo by the shoulder to warn him against playing with Hana’s emotions, to which Seo-hoo replies that if she wavers because of whatever he does, that’s her decision.

“Listen carefully, Cha Seo-hoo,” Won all but growls. “I’m not going to let a guy like you toy with Hana ever again.” Seo-hoo looks at him with derision and asks if he even has the power to stop him, with both of them seeming to know that he doesn’t.

Hana receives an anonymous gift of a big stuffed bunny at her office, but doesn’t seem to question who it came from all that much. Won would rather her dispose of it, guessing that it came from Seo-hoo, but she likes it—it’s the first time someone’s ever given her a stuffed animal.

Won does his best to keep Hana out, not wanting her to go home to find Seo-hoo waiting. After keeping her out for as long as he can he finally returns her home with her stuffed animal, but makes sure to walk her to the gate. He keeps a sharp eye out for Seo-hoo but doesn’t see him lingering nearby.

At home, her parents sigh about their single daughter, inevitably bringing up how torn up she was after she broke up with Seo-hoo. At least her father seems to have not-so-fond memories of Seo-hoo, since he asks his wife why she’s bringing “that bastard” up again. Plus, he’s more for Hana living how she wants rather than Hana living only to get married. (Go Dad!)

So-eun scores points with Mi-hyang by serving her her favorite alcohol, though it’s a bit creepy that she found out what she likes by doing research. At the same, she has to ask Mi-hyang about what kind of girls Won likes, what hobbies he enjoys, etc.

Mi-hyang knows she won’t like the answer, since the only girl he’s ever talked about is Hana. The food he enjoys most is whatever Hana’s mother cooks for him. His hobbies are eating chicken feet with Hana and making bets with her. She’s right—So-eun doesn’t like what she says.

But she adds that Won likes a girl who he can take care of and protect, and his original dream was to become a movie director. He had to give it up to face reality, though. So-eun repeats the part about him liking a girl who won’t ever leave him in a way that makes me think she’s totally misinterpreting what that means.

Seo-hoo visits Hana at work (does he have a key to the city?) to surprise her, and it doesn’t seem to be a happy one on her end. He managed to get some time with her by telling her superiors he wants to wear their brand of clothes and shoes, and Hana has to be the one to pick them out for him.

He takes Hana out of the office by the hand, which sends her coworkers into a gossiping frenzy. Once they’re alone Hana pulls her hand from his, but he seems to tune out her protests by commenting on how pretty she looks, and how she’s lost weight. Pushy, isn’t he?

Hana pushes his hand away when he reaches for her face, causing him to laugh that she hasn’t changed. She tries hard to get him to actually listen to her but he still steamrolls over her, this time by saying, “I missed you. A lot.”

He reveals that he’s the one who sent her the bunny, and asks her to remember why he would’ve send that to her before leaving her just like that. This guy seems… unsafe.

Won still wonders why Seo-hoo would’ve given Hana a bunny as a present instead of jewelry or clothes, and asks his coworkers what they think. “That means he’s not putting a price tag on his love,” one notes. “He wants to start their love on a good note. Either he’s a master player or he has zero sense.”

After calling Won, Hana disappears into her own reveries. Looks like she was once engaged to be married to Seo-hoo, and Won was in attendance at her wedding party. When she wakes up from her dream world she finds Won standing over her.

“Seo-hoo came back,” she sighs. “He’s still just does what he wants to do. He’s selfish, arrogant.” Then she tells him about how Seo-hoo barged into her office without considering her feelings, said what he wanted to say, and left.

“You can’t be with Cha Seo-hoo,” Won says firmly. Hana just saying she knows isn’t enough for him—he’d told her before that Seo-hoo was no good. She only admitted it after he threw her away three years ago, as evidenced by the flashback where her wedding guests are all gone, and only she and Won remained.

Hana retreats to her room after her parents display concern over whether she’ll become an old spinster who only talks to her enormous bunny stuffed animal, and she makes a promise that she won’t do as Seo-hoo said and think about why he gave her that gift.

Won thinks back to when he’d hung out with all his and Hana’s old high school buddies, who were all talking about how hung up Hana was over Seo-hoo. It was then that he got a call from Hana saying she was suddenly free—Seo-hoo had an important meeting to go to, and that he’d encouraged her to go hang out with her friends.

She’d thought that was terribly thoughtful of him, but while she was on the phone with Won, Won saw Seo-hoo walk into the bar he was in with another girl on his arm… before joining more girls, and even giving one a gift. Yikes.

Hana pays special attention to what she wears the next day, opting for flashier heels over her more comfortable flats. She pays for it though, and slouches over in pain when she’s alone. Such is a woman’s life.

She looks around to see if she has any special visitors and finds none—instead there’s a flower arrangement waiting on her desk with a note from Seo-hoo that reads: “I’ll come pick you up for dinner tonight.” Hana asks her assistant to throw the flowers away.

So-eun suffers from some mystery illness that she makes a show of, and when Won brings her vitamins to take, she asks, “Oppa, can’t you just keep taking care of me? Then I’ll take care of you.” Oh, is she doing this because of what Mi-hyang said?

Won shuts her down with his answer that he was just a sunbae taking care of a hoobae, but that he does genuinely hope she feels better.

Hana skips out on the company dinner, seemingly waiting for Seo-hoo. When Won texts her to ask her out for a movie, she thinks about declining, and fishes Seo-hoo’s invitation to dinner out of the trash. She actually wants to go?

She doesn’t know what time Seo-hoo wants to take her to dinner, so she ends up saying yes to Won. No sooner does she do that that Seo-hoo texts her saying he’ll be late, but has something he really needs to tell her. She waffles in indecision.

Flash back to her wedding party, where she’d slowly lingered with her dwindling guests until no one but her was left. And Won, of course. In voiceover we hear her say, “I left the important things someplace important, and I’d completely forgotten where that was. I’ve buried the most splendid love and terrible wounds somewhere [where it cannot be found], and I’ve lived my life having forgotten them.”

Hana ends up staying at the office to wait for Seo-hoo, leaving Won to watch the movie alone. Both of them end up getting fed up with being alone at the same time and leave, but when Won calls Hana, she deliberately lets the phone keep ringing. Whyyyyy.

He starts running then, and makes it to where Hana is. He asks her why she bailed when she said she was coming, then guesses that she was waiting for Seo-hoo. He thought she knew better after going through all the hurt she did.

She says that she knows Seo-hoo is a bad person, but she couldn’t help but wonder what he wanted—needed—to tell her. “So you’ve been waiting like this again because of something that bastard said,” Won says, completely frustrated.

Hana knows, but explains that she didn’t get to hear anything when Seo-hoo just left her before. “I want to at least hear an apology, or even an explanation,” she says. It’s like she doesn’t listen to Won when he asks what she plans to do after hearing all that.

“I want to ask why he sent the rabbit doll,” she goes on, and that’s the last straw for Won. Convinced that there’s something bad inside the doll, he takes her by the wrist to her house with plans to rip the darn thing up and show her.

But they run into Seo-hoo waiting outside her house. Though he apologizes for being late, Won pulls Hana behind him protectively and tells Seo-hoo to get lost, in no uncertain terms.

 
COMMENTS

There’s been a lot of talk about protection in this show when it comes to Hana and Won, though there’s a key difference in what that word means to each of them: Hana wants to be protected and is drawn to men who can give her that feeling, while Won—as Mi-hyang put it this episode—wants a girl he can protect.

Hana fell for Sung-jae because he gave her that feeling of protection, and during their last conversation, he admitted that he’d entertained the idea of becoming her protector. Won likes to be that shield for Hana, and now that So-eun’s found that out, she seems keen on manipulating that preference of his for all it’s worth.

So-eun had flashes of being that second lead before, but I was a little surprised at how that aspect of her personality came front and center all of a sudden. I used to feel sorry for her when Won was sending her mixed signals, but it was strange that he was waffling about in indecision before this hour came along and changed everything. Why did he lead So-eun on so long only to draw the line now? I wonder what changed? Well, besides the writer. Again. (I swear, either I’m the curse or I’m cursed when it comes to shows with production woes and sudden writer switches.)

Either way, now that he is trying to be clear about what he and So-eun are to each other, it makes So-eun’s efforts less pitiable and more conventionally unpleasant. But Won’s mind is a mystery to most, it seems—he does his job as Hana’s protector but at a certain cost to her. He does his job so well that he doesn’t feel the need to include her, and has kept her in the dark about a lot of things through their lives, mostly in relation to his feelings. What I’m curious to know is whether he saw Seo-hoo messing around with other women before the wedding and never told Hana about it. If he didn’t, I’d seriously re-evaluate his best friend status.

At the same time, the fact that he was willing to step back and allow Hana to be happily married to someone else says something about him. Either he was content enough to stay as her best friend, or he’s repressed his romantic feelings to the point where he couldn’t bring himself to intercede before her Wedding That Wasn’t. But now that he is stepping back into the protector role when it comes to Hana and her inability to stay away from a man who not only left her at the altar without a word, but who still displays the exact same oh-so-swoonworthy charms she initially fell for, I can’t help but hope against hope that Hana will find the strength to become her own protector.

 

146 July 14, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 6

by HeadsNo2

This is an hour of persistent second leads who don’t seem to understand the word no, and the effect they have on our two best friends. (Or are they?) Unfortunately for Hana, she’s drawn to what’s bad for her like a moth to the flame, which is all the more upsetting when she’s got a perfectly good companion in Won who wants nothing more than to make her happy. Even if his idea of making her happy is to hide things from her that might make her unhappy. I’m not sure if the logic works, but intent matters, and Won has nothing if not a heart of gold.

SONG OF THE DAY

OKDAL – “내 사랑의 노래 (My Love Song)” from the OST [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

Though Won would rather get Hana away from Seo-hoo as quickly as possible, Seo-hoo treats him more like a pest, claiming his business is with Hana. As Won begins to lead her into the house, Seo-hoo stops her by asking, “Weren’t you waiting for me?”

It’s true, but Hana refuses to give him the satisfaction of knowing that. Did he think she’d wait around because of the note he sent her? “Why? Who do you think you are, Seo-hoo? Who are you for me to wait for you? Don’t ever come near me again.”

She turns toward the house, but Seo-hoo grabs her by the wrist. “Did you wait long?” he asks, more tenderly this time. She pulls her hand away, and Won leads her inside. Seo-hoo grips his chest over his heart as he remarks, “You’ve become a lot stronger, Oh Hana.”

Only when they’re in Hana’s room does she realize Won’s been holding her hand and slowly moves away. Won looks at the stuffed bunny in her room and thinks back to the way she just told off Seo-hoo while Hana gathers her strength to face him and talk about what happened.

All she has to do is say she doesn’t want the bunny around anymore for Won to take it for disposal. But he stops at the punching bag hanging from her wall and asks if she doesn’t want to get rid of that too.

Flash back to when Hana had been wallowing in depression after being left at the altar, with neither her mother or Won being able to rouse her. He’d come back with the punching bag, installed it, and opened up her curtains to let the light in.

Encouraging her to use it to vent her anger, he’d challenged her to practice on it for a week before going head to head with him in an arcade punching game. Whoever loses would have to buy chicken feet for three years.

It had been enough to get her up and out then, and they return to the same punching game in the present. Won wins, which means Hana has to buy him snacks, which she’s not happy about. But it’s good to see that Won can get her out of a funk.

They bicker together cutely on their way home about whether strength is affected by age, and Won challenges her to start exercising with him tomorrow morning. Whoever’s late has to buy chicken feet.

Before Hana goes into her house, she spots the bunny and punching bag Won put in the garbage for her. “The reason why you look back on things you’ve thrown away,” she muses to herself, “is not because you don’t know why you threw them away. It’s because you wonder if you’ll need them again one day. You never know when that day will come.”

The next morning, Won smiles to see that the bunny and punching bag have been taken by the garbage man. (Hopefully she didn’t bring them back inside when he wasn’t looking.) He’s full of energy for their morning run while Hana struggles behind, acting like she’s never walked a day in her life.

So-eun notices how bright and cheerful Won is at work the next day, but he just attributes it to the weather. He’s even kinder to the passengers on the plane.

Hana gets to present her new project at work regarding their expansion into the Chinese market via a company named Jumei Group, which is received well by her team.

But seeing a public display of affection outside makes her think of when Seo-hoo had joined her in an airplane bathroom. She’d been worried about someone seeing them, which is why he’d chosen such a private and intimate spot. There they stayed, just holding each other. She smiles at the memory.

So-eun ends up picking Seo-hoo’s concert album in a real live bookstore, unaware that the artist himself is standing right behind her. They realize that they share the same taste in music before So-eun turns around and recognizes him—she’d seen him leave Won’s office the other day.

When asked how he knows Won, Seo-hoo just says they go way back. He asks her the same question and she answers that she’s Won’s company hoobae. But then she adds ruefully, “I think he prefers friends over lovers.”

Seo-hoo instantly knows she means Hana, and though she’s surprised that he knows her, she listens closely when he asks her to do him a favor. Uh oh, are they teaming up to separate Won and Hana?

Mi-hyang’s noticed that Won seems much more upbeat lately and asks him to tell her what’s causing it—unless it’s Hana. When Won doesn’t answer because it is about Hana, she begrudgingly gives him the go-ahead to tell her anyway.

“I’m proud of Hana these days,” Won says with a smile. There was an issue that worried him, but she overcame it better than he thought she would. Mi-hyang just sighs that he should just marry Hana when they’re older if he likes her so much, but seems surprised when Won replies, “Should I?”

Hana rushes off to work the next morning for her big presentation, and Won gives her a call to cheer her on. She invites him to multiple movies, but he cites her age and brings her down to just one—with beer afterward. Call!

They go to the movie and have a blast, both of them laughing obnoxiously loud in the theater. But when the movie gets sad and Won looks as though he’s about to cry, Hana just looks at him with an unreadable expression. Pity? Understanding?

Seo-hoo sends Hana a a text that he’s outside her house, but she doesn’t get it as she and Won head out for something to eat. They drink to her new project and have a rollicking good time.

After a few drinks, Hana notes that Won never got close to any of her past boyfriends. But it goes both ways, since she was never close to any of his girlfriends either. Won guesses that it was because, as an outsider, they could see things that they wouldn’t be able to see while inside the relationship.

“You’re blinded when you’re in love, so you can’t see things clearly for yourself,” Won explains. The person in the relationship can’t see what’s ahead, but the person who’s one step behind can. Hana picks that time to point out that she thought all his past girlfriends were awful, and Won acknowledges that none of his girlfriends liked her all that much either.

But when she sends him a look, Won concedes that he won’t date any woman she doesn’t like from here on out. They share a laugh and more drinks, but Hana drills in that he can’t see any girl without her prior approval.

Seo-hoo waits until he can’t anymore, and sends Hana a text that he’ll just see her tomorrow. Kthxbai.

At a work lunch the next day, So-eun asks Won who his ideal woman would be. He claims that the idea of an ideal woman only exists when you’re young, but So-eun presses him on a different topic: “What is Hana Unni’s ideal man?”

Won thinks about this, and remembers asking Hana the same question during their high school days. She’d said that she’d find her ideal man through a kiss, which had bewildered Won—don’t women normally look at things like looks?

But Hana disagreed, saying instead that if she didn’t feel a deep enough connection to kiss her prospective partner on the first date, then it’d be an automatic no-go. If they were to pass that test though, she’d date the guy who would make her heart pound and her head feel hazy.

Won had interjected to say that she reads too many romance novels. And besides, the kind of love she’s talking about is damaging—not just to her, but to the people around her who’d have to watch her lose herself. Despite his warnings, Hana had said dreamily, “Someday, I want to experience that kind of crazy love.”

In the present, Hana resorts to deleting Seo-hoo’s text messages before she gets another call from So-eun inviting her out. Ugh. Has she not learned her lesson? Is she a glutton for punishment?

So-eun’s set her up on a blind date, and doesn’t listen when Hana declines and gets ready to leave. It’s then that So-eun reveals it’s not such a blind date after all, since the man in question knows her, and So-eun was curious to know what kind of relationship they had. Oh, So-eun. Now you’ve gone full Second Female Lead, haven’t you?

Of course, it’s Seo-hoo who shows up for the date. He explains that he asked So-eun for the favor because he just had to meet her, and asks if she’s been avoiding him because Won told her to. Hana doesn’t answer that and instead asks him to get to the point: What could he possibly want from her after all these years?

Seo-hoo: “I realized something I didn’t know before: that I’m always thinking about you. Whenever I’m walking by myself or driving, whether it’s snowing like crazy or the sun is shining, I think of you. Even when I would hear someone talking in Korean in the heart of New York, I wanted it to be your voice. I think I’m losing my mind. Then I realized why. You were the one I wanted most in my life. The memory of the time we spent together was so passionate and profound that I couldn’t erase it no matter who I dated. I wanted to see you again. I needed to see you. That’s why I came back.”

So-eun reports to Won that Hana’s with Seo-hoo like she wasn’t the one who set up that meeting, clearly looking to drive a wedge between the two of them. Ugh. Just ugh.

Hana leaves, but Seo-hoo follows her out. He knows it was hard on her, but asks her to think about how hard it was for him, too. Oh yeah, it must’ve been awful for you to walk out on your own wedding and not contact your would-be bride for three years. Quick, strike up the band of small violins!

When Hana says she doesn’t want to talk to him any further, he asks if it’s because she’s afraid her feelings toward him will waver. “You’re using all your strength to push me away. I can see everything, Hana.” That’s when they hear Won calling her name, desperately looking for her.

Seo-hoo makes a comment about Won following Hana around like a dog, and when she turns to leave he calls after her, “Don’t think you know everything!”

Hana doesn’t go to Won, and Won has no luck calling her cell. He finds Seo-hoo instead and grabs him by the lapels, demanding to know why he keeps appearing in front of Hana.

Seo-hoo asks if Won ever thought that he shouldn’t be acting like this for Hana’s sake before adding that had it not been for Won, he and Hana wouldn’t have turned out this way. “If you didn’t hurt Hana, things wouldn’t have turned out this way,” Won growls back.

But Seo-hoo disagrees, claiming that Won stole his opportunity to care for Hana. Won fires back that it was Seo-hoo who abandoned her, only for Seo-hoo to answer, “I didn’t abandon Hana. And you’re still getting in between our relationship. I’m telling you this again, Choi Won. You don’t have the right to block me.”

Won isn’t cowed by this at all. “You’re wrong. You’ll never get to Hana. I’ll stop you with everything I’ve got.”

So-eun goes running to Mi-hyang to tell her she’s never seen Won so mad before, she finds out that Seo-hoo and Hana used to date (I think her surprise here is false). Meanwhile, Hana falls asleep to memories of her almost-wedding day and wakes up late for work the next morning.

After getting a talking-to at work for the damage she caused by being late, Hana goes out for drinks with her old high school buddies. And then another. And another. At Na-young’s urging, a drunken Hana invites Won out to where they are, but he doesn’t answer.

So-eun apologizes for telling Won about Hana and Seo-hoo, and acts all innocent when she asks who Seo-hoo is to him, even though she’s lying because Mi-hyang already told her. She notes that whatever it is going on between Seo-hoo and Hana seems to have him worried.

And though she doesn’t know what’s going on, she sees it as a chance to get closer to Won, which is her top priority right now. (Take. A. Hint!) When Won asks wonderingly how it is that she just blurts out everything she’s feeling, she replies, “If I hide my feelings, then the other person wouldn’t know my heart. Because then there’s a chance I might lose that person.”

That gets Won, the reigning King of Repressed Feelings, to thinking.

Though the trio of girls were expecting Won to come, instead it’s Jung-mi’s ex-fiancé, who immediately drops to his knees to say he’s sorry and wants to start over. He’s welcomed back into the fold, and Hana watches their reconciliation almost a little too closely. Noooo, Hana. Don’t even think about it!

But she does think about it in voiceover: “If you find out something you didn’t know before, would it be possible to turn back the clock on love?” She specifically thinks about Seo-hoo telling her that she didn’t know everything, and how Jung-mi’s fiancé came around because he realized something he didn’t know before.

Director Byun gives a presentation on an upcoming collaboration between their shoe company and top star Cha Seo-hoo (since when did he earn celebrity status?), projected to take three months. Hana will be in charge of the project at Seo-hoo’s request, and there’s nothing she can do to get out of it.

Dae-bok manages to get Won to agree to provide tickets for his parents’ anniversary next week, and arranges to get some gift certificates from Hana so he can buy their gifts with them.

Hana finds out from her assistant that Director Byun is going on a business trip to China with the design team only, which means he’s purposefully leaving out Hana’s team. She confronts Team Leader Hwang from the design team about the trip, only for the snooty woman to tell Hana it’s all her fault—whenever she dates, her work life suffers.

She brings up the incident with Won fighting the groom at Min-ji’s wedding, the scandal with Sung-jae, and now her “famous” boyfriend who’s been poking around the office.

“Everyone at work knows that you can’t maintain a clear line between professional and personal matters,” she all but sneers. “Stop distracting yourself with your dating problems and get your head on straight, Team Leader Oh Hana.”

“It wasn’t that I didn’t know, but that I forgot that even a small crack can let in a wind that could destroy everything. What the thirty-four year old me has to take responsibility for is more than heartbreak and love,” Hana thinks to herself after.

Won and Hana’s father end up crossing paths, so they go out for drinks so Dad can drown his sorrows about Mom’s incessant nagging ever since he spent a night out late. Won laughs and admits he’s jealous that he and his wife even get to have fights over love.

That’s when Dad tsks, “You kids are still like this even after turning thirty-four. How come you two have never changed from your school days?”

Won thinks about those words on his rooftop later, which brings him back to his high school days. After Na-young had grilled the two of them in a church, she’d played a game of truth or dare with Hana. Won wanted to know what she was asked, and Hana said it was the same question as before—what does Won mean to her?

He was eager to know the answer, so Hana told him exactly what she told Na-young: “Until I die, Choi Won is someone who will be more important to me than my boyfriend, husband, or family. I hope we’ll stay that way. That’s my honest answer.”

Won had been beaten up for liking Hana shortly after, and had finally admitted to Hana that she was the reason he got hurt. She wondered if they picked a fight because he was her friend, and pre-empted what she was sure he’d say next, since he’d said it before: “I’ll never love you.”

She never gave Won a chance to rebut what he didn’t even say before she added defeatedly, “Don’t worry, Choi Won. I won’t love you either.” But that’s not at all what Won wanted to hear, as he says in voiceover:

“If you knew back then the secret I couldn’t tell you, would you have been happier? All the times you were heartbroken and the difficulties you faced, would I have been able to stop that? If you knew the secret even now, if you found out everything you didn’t know about, will I be able to protect you?

“If it’s not too late… would it be okay if I started loving you?”

Flash back to Won spying on Hana reading one of her cheesy romance novels in the library, shortly before the lights cut out. They’d found their way to each other in the darkness, and when Hana turned around, her lips bumped into Won’s.

 
COMMENTS

For the love of all that is dramatically holy, what is this big secret Won’s kept to himself for so many years? What could be so earth-shattering that he couldn’t bear to tell Hana? More importantly, how deeply rooted is this secret that Won allowed himself to suffer all these years in silence?

It’s a noble idiot move in a way, but I hate to use that term when Won’s so far displayed far more nobility than idiocy. But it’s starting to toe that line, where I’m concerned that he took on all the pain himself so that Hana wouldn’t have to suffer any. Suffer from what, exactly? Who knows. We certainly don’t. (Yet.)

There are still more questions than answers when it comes to Won’s past and how his high school experience seemed to relate directly to whether he could or couldn’t love Hana. When he’s having to scream “Why can’t I like Hana?!” to a bunch of kids beating him up for liking Hana, there’s got to be more going on beneath the surface than just a random encounter, or boyish jealousy. It’s almost as if someone was deliberately working to stop Won from pursuing her, but since we so far haven’t seen any sign that Seo-hoo attended the same high school, it’s hard to say from what little we know.

And since everyone but Hana seems to have secrets that cannot be shared with her under any circumstances ever, now we have Seo-hoo, who acts as though there was more to leaving Hana at the altar than, well, leaving Hana at the altar. I’m sorry, if you’re going to shout at the girl you abandoned for three years that she doesn’t know the whole story behind why you abandoned her, then that whole story better be apocalyptic in scale. I’m talking scorched earth, you were thrown into a dungeon furnished with one piano and a bucket and were released just days before re-entering Hana’s life sort of story. And I somehow doubt it’ll be anything close to that.

What’s also curious is that Seo-hoo seems to blame Won for what he did to Hana, and how he seems to take no personal responsibility for it. Heck, he even admitted to Hana that he dated in the three years they’ve been apart, so I hope she doesn’t take it as a compliment that none of those girls could surpass her in his mind. Even if Won did interfere, which seems unlikely given that he was a guest at the wedding, what could have been so bad that Seo-hoo had to leave without a word? I’m all for Hana finding true love, but unless the two male prospects in her life start to actually trust her with all their angsty secrets and give her a say in things, maybe she’s better off on her own.

 

80 July 20, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 7

by HeadsNo2

Hana decides she needs some space to sort things out for herself and her career, which is a good move in theory, but doesn’t seem to work out so well in practice. It’s tough when your job description is flexible enough to include becoming an indentured servant to the concert pianist whose choice of shoes for his next performance will decide whether the nation’s fashion economy will live another day, but I guess it also doesn’t help when that pianist is your ex-fiancé. And also that he’s kind of a douche. Or worse—a misunderstood douche.

SONG OF THE DAY

Gavy NJ – “여자사람친구 (Just A Friend)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

Won and Hana’s family start to get worried about her when none of them can find her, either by reaching her on the phone or at the office. Hana calls her mother to say that she’ll be sleeping over at a friend’s, but when Dae-bok shows Won the file Hana left in her room about her upcoming project with Seo-hoo, Won understands why she’s being evasive.

Hana’s checked herself into a hotel for the night to treat herself, and attempts to will away all thoughts of Seo-hoo that keep popping into her head. She’s unsuccessful, and tells herself that she’ll exclude men from her life until she can set her work life straight again.

No wonder Mom looked nervous when she received that call from Hana—she knew Hana wasn’t staying at a friend’s house, but had to lie to everyone else that she was. Instead she visits her daughter at her hotel room to lend emotional support, but not without a little scolding first.

Mom joins Hana in her pity party, as she rails against the fact that she lost the Chinese market project she’d been working on for a year to Team Leader Hwang. When Mom says she should’ve just quit, Hana acknowledges that she thought about it, but it’s all just so unfair.

She goes into how she worked hard to become a professional in her career, and how she dedicated herself solely to that project to the point where she lost sleep and didn’t even date properly for a year. What’s worse, she adds, is that her coworkers treat her as if she’s so desperate to date that she gets blinded by men.

So in the end, she cries, she’s been made an idiot because of men. “Everyone made me a fool, there’s no one next to me,” she sniffles. Mom takes offense to that—she’s right here, after all. Hana apologizes and hugs her mom, thanking her for being there for her.

“And… you have Won,” her Mom mentions. “You have Won right by your side.” Why is it that Hana seems surprised to hear that Won spent all day looking for her? Mom adds that she can’t understand why Hana hasn’t grabbed onto Won when Won is one in a million. “You have a diamond right in front of you, why are you looking elsewhere?”

“Honestly Mom, why wouldn’t I see Won as a man?” Hana confesses before adding, “But you should give up on Won.”

Flash back to the days of the 2002 World Cup, where Won had taken his then-girlfriend to a party only for Hana to show up. All the girls present hated her, and Won’s girlfriend had deliberately snuck grass into her food before spraying her in the eyes with makgulli in a jealous rage.

The girl, unable to believe that Hana and Won were just friends and now believes the rumors are true, had yelled at Hana to just admit she’s “maintaining her aquarium” or get out of Won’s life. (The aquarium saying is a common way to refer to someone who strings people along and toys with their feelings as if they like them, when in reality they don’t.)

Of course Won had stayed with Hana, where she worried later that she’d never be able to get married if rumors about her were already spreading. “You’ll have to take responsibility for me,” she told Won, which we all know means “You’ll have to marry me.”

And though Won replied that he would take responsibility for her for the rest of her life, he made sure to add: “As a friend.” Hana huffed and puffed, “Do you really not see me as a woman?” To Won, it didn’t matter if he did or didn’t, since he promised to take care of her forever anyway.

That only irritated Hana further. “Why would you be responsible for me? My husband should be responsible for me!” All the better for him, Won replied playfully, since it’d mean he’d have less of a job to do.

In the present, Hana tells Mom that’s why she has to stop pushing the idea of her and Won together, and Mom accepts. They fall asleep facing each other, a perfectly supportive pair. It’s always nice to see mothers who aren’t awful in dramaland.

Neither Seo-hoo or Won can reach Hana that night, and Won changes his work schedule the next morning so he can keep looking for her. So-eun’s with Mi-hyang when she finds out (of course), and definitely wants to know what caused Won to miss work.

Won tries looking for Hana at work to no avail, and wonders if she could be with Seo-hoo. He overhears Team Leader Hwang talking nasty about Hana and considers calling Seo-hoo… but ends up meeting him at the company elevator anyway.

When Seo-hoo callously asks where Hana is, Won’s at least gratified to know that it means she hasn’t been with him. “Nice to see you, Cha Seo-hoo,” Won says in a way that makes it clear it’s not nice to see him at all. “Stop looking for her. Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Seo-hoo takes that to mean that Won doesn’t know where Hana is either, and warns him to hurry up and find her—or else he’ll find her first. Won accepts the challenge, sure that he’ll win. And maybe he will, since Hana calls him moments later.

But Seo-hoo uses Hana’s boss to put the pressure on her to show up for work or else, so he may win after all. Then he flashes back to their engagement party (sorry I mistook it for a wedding folks, but to be fair, the flashbacks are pretty vague here), where he’d run all the way to Hana’s house after missing the ceremony…

…Only to find Won bringing her home, and Won being the one to console her. He thought to himself that he’d lost again to two people who were like oxygen to each other.

Every time he’d try to draw near to her, he’d been blocked by the invisible wall she and Won built around themselves: “That day I saw for myself that there was something within their hearts that they weren’t even aware of.” He never made his presence known to either of them.

Hana shows up at home like nothing happened, and reacts like a child when Won scolds her for worrying him like she did—she didn’t even show up for work or call him, how did she think he was going to react? “I wanted to call you last night,” she calls after him. “But I didn’t. On purpose.”

On their rooftop (where day has instantly turned into night), Hana explains that when she had her office troubles the day before, she realized the only place she had to go was either home or to him. When Won asks why she didn’t call him then, she admits that she was embarrassed because she’d bragged about the project she was working on to him and lost it because she apparently loses her mind when she’s around men.

“I’m going to put some space between us,” she says decidedly. “All this time, I think I’ve been depending on you too much. Whenever I’m having a hard time, you’re always there. It’s become a habit, so now I can’t solve anything by myself. I get swayed easily, which is how I’ve lived so far, so now I’m going to practice being independent. And for the time being, I’m not going to have men in my life.”

Won looks at the bright side, and asks if that means she sees him as a man. Hana doesn’t really answer that insinuation but says he’s still counted as a man who needs to be counted out for the time being. Though he doesn’t betray his feelings out loud, Won thinks, “Why does it have to be now, Oh Hana?”

Hana explains her reasoning as being professional—since she’s known around the office for being involved with men, she wants to fix her image so she can be judged fairly based on her capabilities. So that means Won can’t go looking for her in the office anymore, which he says he won’t do. But he’s still mad.

That gets fixed in no time at all when Hana makes enough aegyo faces at him to last a lifetime, and he can’t help but give in. Besides, it’s not like it changes the fact that they’re a package: Hana plus Won (“Hana” means one in Korean, and Won sounds like the number one in English, so it’s one plus one.)

But Won warns her against disappearing again without a warning, because then she’ll really see him angry. They turn to playing like their old selves while we hear Hana say in voiceover, “Behind my pain and frustration, there always lies a chance, hidden like a treasure, for me to start over again.”

Later that night Won also thinks to himself, “The thirty-four-year-old Hana is still growing up. As part of her learning curve, she chose for now to put men aside for work. My heart’s decision must also be put aside for a while to support Hana’s decision.”

In order to make up for her failure at work, Hana’s told to put all her efforts into her project with Seo-hoo. Seo-hoo looks quite happy to have her working with him, while the opposite seems true for her. “Where were you?” he demands to know. “It was a personal matter,” Hana replies coolly.

Since Hana has to please Seo-hoo to keep her job, he takes advantage of that by making her haul around the posters she has to get cleared from him all the way back to his hotel without lifting a finger to help her.

But then she grows uncomfortable when he sits next to her and lays down the law on personal and professional boundaries, which Seo-hoo seems to accept without issue.

After a cradle-robbing interlude with Assistant Hong and Dae-bok, we return to find Hana struggling to keep Seo-hoo on task. She’s trying to do her job, but when he interrupts her to not to ask her out to dinner, but to ask what she wants for dinner since he arrogantly assumes she’s going to eat with him, she loses her temper.

She still keeps herself in check and remains formal, but reiterates that she’s just with him to do her job. But she gets a reprieve when Seo-hoo’s teacher shows up, and calls Won to check if he’s still going to some gathering they’ve got later. She can tell just from his voice that he’s still angry with her.

Flash back to when Hana had tried to set Won up with a friend of hers, only for him to flatly refuse her and ignore Hana’s efforts. He’d been angry at her back then for taking a stranger to their rooftop, and she’s reminded of it now as she tells him how she spent three days that time trying to make things right.

“Of course,” he remembers. “But you know I don’t let go of my anger just because three days have passed, right? You have to work harder.” It’s worth noting that he’s clearly teasing her here, though maybe he’s still got a little grudge he’s holding onto.

Things are awkward when Won returns to work, and So-eun attempts to clear things up by calling him aside for a private chat. It’s good because he’d been wanting to talk to her too, and clear some things up.

But it’s not the kind of news she wants to hear, since he keeps it short and sweet and says: “From now on, I hope there won’t be a reason for me to hurt your feelings.” She’s been shot down, albeit kindly, though Mi-hyang does find her sobbing later and gives her a shoulder to cry on.

After attending a drinking party with their old high school buddies, Hana and Won retreat to their rooftop. (I guess she’s not distancing herself from him after all?) She comes clean about the project she has to do with Seo-hoo since she felt that not telling him was dishonest, and though Won already knew about it, he appreciates her loyalty.

He tells her he’ll be gone for three days for a flight to the United States, and Hana jokes that she wants to go with him—but doing so would really mean the end of her job. “Should we go on a date when I come back?” Won asks suddenly.

“A date?” Hana repeats. Then she replies, “Sure.”

In a short exchange with his manager, Seo-hoo seems nonchalant about the fact that he wants to cancel his European tour so he can come back to Korea faster, claiming that he performs better when he chooses how and where he works.

“What I’m hearing is that you would perform better if you’re with that person,” his manager quips back, clearly referring to Hana.

Won goes on his flight and sends Hana a text, which Hana explains in voiceover as being something he does every day when he’s on a long-distance flight.

“Having been together for a long time,” she says in voiceover, “it’s not about how much we know each other, but how big the emptiness is whenever we’re apart.”

She’s unhappy when Seo-hoo picks her up the next morning, and shows as much when she refuses to say more than absolutely necessary on their car ride to the concert hall.

He wants her to watch him practice, something she doesn’t want to do since she feels it’s unnecessary for her job. He convinces her to stay by saying it is necessary, since she needs to know everything about his performance to do her job. Oh, because it makes total sense that she’d need to match shoes to the concerto he’ll be playing and not just to his clothes—only designers with a death wish would do something like that.

When he starts playing, Hana’s face seems to lose all its color. She knows this piece because she helped him pick it when they were together. She’d even asked him to play it for her at his next performance, but he’d refused, and instead offered to play it at a special performance just for her.

Which is what he’s doing now, at last. Tears spring to Hana’s eyes as she watches him play, but when he finishes and looks up, she’s gone.

She’s gone to Director Byun to ask to be removed from the project with Seo-hoo unless her role in it is revamped, because as of now she’s being treated like his secretary and is getting dragged around like one. In the end they’re just his sponsor, so there’s no reason for Hana to be Seo-hoo’s slave.

Seo-hoo looks through his various books of sheet music to find all the little notes Hana used to leave him inside, like which piece made him look the coolest, which was the first he let her listen to, etc. He smiles to see them now.

Hana greets Won’s return with a huge hug, and they follow it up by playing arcade games like they used to do when they were little. But when he doesn’t divulge anything after she asks if he has anything to say to her, she finds it suspicious—after all, they promised that they wouldn’t have secrets from each other.

Won argues that he never made such a promise, and besides, she wouldn’t even understand a man’s problems. Hana says to try her: “This noona will listen to all your worries.”

So Won finally opens up, and asks, “Do you know what the most important thing is? Timing.” But his timing goes wrong when Hana gets an emergency call from work and has to leave their playdate early.

Only when she’s gone does Won take out a ring-shaped box and tells it, “You’ll have to wait a little longer.” Omo. Is that…?

But the emergency turns out to be a carefully orchestrated event to get Hana back in the same room as Seo-hoo, since he’s invited the entire marketing team out for a night of drinking. She knows the trap she’s been caught in, so she’s not about to refuse the drinks sent her way.

Meanwhile, Won heads over to Hana’s house to play video games with her little brother, only to find out that Dae-bok saved the bunny Seo-hoo got Hana from the garbage. Won’s not happy that it’s back in the house, and therefore back in Hana’s orbit.

Hana tries to leave the bar on her own, refusing to acknowledge her drunkenness to Seo-hoo. He insists on taking her home, but she stops him: “No! I hate you! I’ll say it clearly: I. Hate. You.” And besides, he’s a year younger than her, and should be calling her noona.

That’s when Won arrives, and Seo-hoo mutters under his breath that of course Won’s here. Won totally ignores him as he takes Hana’s purse and kneels down so she can climb on for a piggyback ride.

Hana seems to ignore him too, even when Seo-hoo repeatedly and pitifully says her name to try and get her attention. “Hana. Hana…” He’s left to watch them leave with reddened eyes wet with unshed tears.

Flash back to Hana apologizing to Won for bringing an unauthorized person to their rooftop hideout by inviting him to a tent fort she’s prepared, along with a watermelon where she’s carved the word miahn (sorry) for him.

And then their watermelon seed spitting contest soon devolves into them just running around and chasing each other, as happy as happy can be.

 
COMMENTS

I’m sure it’d only be to Seo-hoo’s benefit to stop beating around the bush and just have a real conversation with Hana, but the same can be said for Won too. If that’s an engagement ring he’s waiting to give to her, then he’s sure changed a lot over a relatively short span of time—is it really just the re-emergence of Seo-hoo that’s got Won thinking he has to tie Hana down for good? But if it was just that he was jealous, wouldn’t he have acted when Hana was with that awful ex of hers? Or Sung-jae?

Whatever the case, Won’s feelings have changed and Hana still has absolutely no idea. At this point I can’t really blame her, because Won’s been pretty firm about keeping her in the friend zone all these years despite his feelings for her. Every time he’s had an opportunity to hint that there could be something more, he’s shut the very idea down, so unless Hana’s a mind reader, it’s not her fault that she doesn’t see Won as even a remote possibility.

She seems more okay with that idea than he is, so I wonder if it’ll come as a surprise to her if/when Won ever works up the courage to pop the question. He’s right about timing, but he always seems to be on the right end of that spectrum when it comes to Hana, at least in comparison to Seo-hoo. In an ideal world where answers exist, we could feel just a little bit bad for our angsty piano player, but it’s hard to muster up empathy when he allowed three years to pass without ever giving Hana an explanation and now expects to be welcomed back into her life with open arms.

It’s all the more bizarre when he doesn’t get what he wants and turns into a sad puppy, because he’s not the spurned lover in this situation, no matter how he’s fixed the narrative in his mind. If he was a no-show for the engagement party and saw his understandably upset fiancée being consoled by her best friend, then it was his job to step in and explain himself. But this slinking back into the shadows business while being secretly sad about Hana and Won’s closeness? Not cutting it. Not cutting it at all.

Plus, he’s not exactly earning points by ordering Hana around like an unpaid intern. It’s clear he’s jumping through a whole lot of hoops just to get himself back in her orbit again, but my biggest question isn’t just why, but why now?


109 July 21, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 8

by HeadsNo2

If timing is everything, then the two men vying for our heroine’s affections seem to be in desperate need of an intelligent alarm clock to tell them when it is or isn’t a good time to say their piece. And if the person coming clean isn’t going to be among any of our leads, then this tangled web of crossed wires, mixed signals, and incredibly belated quasi-explanations is just going to get worse for everyone involved—especially if Hana remains unaware that she’s got a second (and arguably more worthy) suitor right under her nose.

SONG OF THE DAY

Mamamoo – “Piano Man” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

We rewind a bit to the company bar scene, where Seo-hoo doesn’t seem to be trying too hard to mask the fact that he’s doing this performance for Tandy because of Hana.

He has a reason to perform well this time, he says, making direct eye contact with her as he does so. He sings Hana’s praises to her boss and coworkers, knowing exactly what to say to get Director Byun to order Hana to concentrate only on Seo-hoo’s project from here on out.

Afterward, as Won piggybacks a drunk Hana home, he remembers doing the same for her once in their younger days. Only then could he work up the courage to say, “Hana, I like you.” But she’d been too drunk to listen.

In the present, he tucks her into her own bed and brushes her hair away from her face, as he always seems to do whenever she’s asleep. He remembers when he told her liked her, as well as how she’d told Seo-hoo she hated him right before he picked her up.

“Don’t make me worry too much, Oh Hana,” Won says fondly, as he smiles down at her passed out form.

Meanwhile, Seo-hoo makes it clear to his worried manager that he’s not going anywhere until he does this charity performance, no matter how high the demand is elsewhere. “No matter what happens, I’m not going to give up this time,” he says. Methinks he’s not talking about the concert.

Hana wakes up to find her family standing around her bed, all of them ready to tsk at her for coming home so plastered last night. “There’s no one who can take responsibility for you except for Won Hyung,” Dae-bok sighs. Dad agrees with him.

Won offers to drive Hana to work the next morning, convinced that she’s still a little bit under the influence. She doesn’t seem to remember much of him carrying her home the night before, but finds out that her assistant had been the one to tell Won where he could find her.

Despite what Min-ji did to her, Hana still gives her advice on how to proceed with the Chinese market project that was taken away from her. She makes it clear, however, that she’s not doing it for Min-ji, but because she wants to see the project she started turn out well.

Won gets a surprise when Mi-hyang congratulates him for being selected for overseas training—she’s even jealous of him. But Won can’t help but fixate on the fact that it’s two years abroad, and even though it’d certainly mean a promotion, he needs time to think.

When passing by a truly excessive number of posters for Seo-hoo’s upcoming concert, Hana grips her chest and steels herself for her meeting with the man himself.

No sooner does she walk into the room that Seo-hoo gives her a litany of orders: She’s to be with him a set amount of hours each day until the performance, she has to make any adjustments in his schedule accordingly, and must be available for him to contact her 24/7.

Some of the wind gets knocked out of his sails when Hana simply agrees to everything, since he was hoping for her to put up more of a fight against what he knows is a ridiculous schedule.

Hana just sighs that she doesn’t have the time or patience to humor him before adding, “It’s painful enough just being with you.” “This isn’t fun,” Seo-hoo says disappointingly. Of course it isn’t fun when you’re being a turd.

She spends the day doing chores for him as promised, and ends it by watching him practice playing until he’s dripping with sweat. Only when his manager comes to sit by her does she reveal that she’s been watching him practice for five hours straight.

Manager Yoon wonders why she’d watch for so long, and she replies that it’s because she’s looking forward to an amazing performance. It becomes clear that Seo-hoo is where he is because he’s a perfectionist, so when he hits the wrong key and starts all over again, Hana continues to watch as if transfixed.

She receives a call from Won later asking her out to dinner, and she says yes despite being tired and very, very foot-sore. She agrees to meet him after she leaves work, but suddenly finds her legs picked up and placed in Seo-hoo’s lap so he can massage them. “Who said you can rest?” he asks harshly.

Hana hangs up on Won and struggles to free her legs from Seo-hoo’s grasp, but he asks her to just stay still for this one moment. When he realizes she’s really not into it, he apologizes—he was just playing around.

She tells him to stop playing around, because she doesn’t like it. He smiles as she walks away, while she mutters that he’s so arrogant for being one year younger than her.

After The Three Stooges at work comment on how So-eun went from crying to smiling and laughing eerily quickly, So-eun finds Won thinking to himself about the overseas training offer. He just nods at her in acknowledgment, and she says to herself once he’s gone, “He won’t even give me a chance.”

Dae-bok refuses Assistant Hong’s offer to date as well as her tickets to see Seo-hoo’s recital, the latter being for personal reasons. Meanwhile Seo-hoo stops Hana from leaving by grabbing her by the wrist, before expecting her to be okay with him accompanying her to work.

She isn’t, even though Seo-hoo convinces her that she has to stick by his side because he’s her work now. He smiles when she storms off, and I gotta admit, he’s really starting to worry me.

So-eun questions Mi-hyang about Won’s overseas offer, and at first, Mi-hyang thinks that So-eun’s enthusiasm for Won to take it means that she’s really gotten over him.

It’s just the opposite—she just wants him to be far from Hana. At least Mi-hyang seems to be realizing that So-eun’s not as nice as she’d like people to believe. Or she could just be thinking that So-eun’s got a point, it’s hard to tell.

Seo-hoo uses every excuse possible to keep Hana by his side, and this time, he has her helping him try on shoes. Of course none of them are the right pair because that’d mean she’d have to stop kneeling and putting them on for him, which is what Won sees when he approaches the storefront.

Won calls her to tell her to come out after she’s done working, and though she doesn’t see him, Seo-hoo does. His face immediately falls.

Both she and Won are in a sour mood when they finally go out to eat, and end up turning every little thing into a fight. While Won’s away, Mi-hyang finds the ring-shaped box in his room… only it’s not a ring, but a necklace.

Won keeps up his nagging until Hana can’t take it anymore. She turns on him to ask what on earth is his problem, and doesn’t take his weak defenses into account.

“You’re always like this,” Hana says angrily. “Whatever the problem is, whatever you’re not happy about, whatever you really want to say… why can’t you just say it directly? How am I supposed to know what you’re thinking? Even though I’ve known you for seventeen years, I really don’t know how you truly feel.”

As she walks away in her painful heels, Won says to himself, “I don’t know either.”

Mi-hyang confronts Won about the necklace she found when he gets home, wondering if Hana’s the reason why he doesn’t want to take the overseas training position. She thinks a little time apart from Hana would do them both some good, and besides, he needs to think of his priorities first.

Won calls Hana when he gets up into his room, and though she asks what’s up with him for him to be acting the way he is, she says okay to his offer to take her shopping tomorrow. Won looks at the necklace box with a smile—is he planning on giving it to her?

The first thing he asks when they meet up is whether they’re going to forget about yesterday’s tiff. “Did something happen yesterday?” Hana asks innocently. Won grins and shoots her approving finger guns. He likes her style.

They’re shopping for her parents’ thirty-four year anniversary, and while Hana thinks that being together that long means that things are probably stale but comfortable between them, Won thinks differently. How could she think that her parents have grown tired of each other? “They’re the happiest when they’re together,” he counters defensively.

It’s a PPL-fest when Hana and Won give gifts to her parents, including a trip to Jeju Island that Won supplied for Dae-bok to present. They all know it was Won’s doing anyway, but it’s the thought that counts?

Won elbows Hana into admitting that he’s an awesome friend after, since he’ll drive her parents to the airport for their trip. “I think I like your mom and dad too much,” he admits. “I feel this every meal, but I’m so happy that I can eat and laugh together with the whole family.”

Hana knows what he means, since her parents find the dinner table lacking whenever Won’s not there. That’s when Won brings up that he got an opportunity to train overseas, which Hana is overjoyed about—it’d be a great thing for him. He has her full blessing to go.

But when he asks her how she’ll live without him for two years, she admits she’ll probably be bored, and will miss having someone to call in the middle of the night. She’ll miss him for sure, since the only other time they’ve been apart for more than a year was when he was in the army. And even then, she visited every chance she got.

“Don’t worry about me and just go,” she says, and means it. If it’s going to be a good thing for him, she’ll be okay being bored for a little while. Won shakes his head knowingly, and when she asks why he’s nodding as if he knows something, his sly reply is that he knows everything.

While Won drops Hana’s parents off at the airport and takes some photos with them (shoes and cameras and plane tickets, oh my!), Hana gets an earful from Na-young about working with Seo-hoo.

Though her other friend argues that he may have had a reason for being MIA for three years, Na-young echoes my own sentiments by being all, “Reason? What reason? Did he break his legs in an accident or something?” But Hana defends that he’s her job for now, and she just has to deal with it.

Manager Yoon calls Hana to come to the theater, since there’s a problem with Seo-hoo’s upcoming recital. She finds Seo-hoo with his stern-faced teacher, who chastises him for trying to branch off while being heedless of his sponsors, since it’ll reflect poorly on his own name.

Even though he threatens Seo-hoo’s career, Seo-hoo sticks by his decision to play when and where he wants—hasn’t he earned it after doing every performance his company and sponsors demanded of him so far?

Apparently not. By the time Hana’s brought into the conversation (except not really), Seo-hoo’s teacher says this is just like what happened three years ago. Seo-hoo all but begs for him to stop talking, but his teacher refuses as he scolds Seo-hoo for wanting to go to a measly engagement ceremony instead of his scheduled performance.

Hana confronts Seo-hoo about what his teacher said about him going to the engagement ceremony once they’re alone. “It’s as you heard. I went,” he answers. “You looked pretty. It would have been better if I saw you before you cried.” In utter disbelief, Hana asks again if that means he actually showed up to the ceremony. Seo-hoo: “Yes. Even though I was late.”

You were late?” Hana all but stutters. “How can you say that now? This is unbelievable. You should’ve said why you were late that day. You should have explained it clearly! ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong.’ You should have begged and begged! Whether it was the next day or the week after, you should have told me that you didn’t leave me that day, that I wasn’t abandoned!”

“I’m sorry, Hana,” Seo-hoo finally says. Not enough. Hana asks if he came back to apologize, but he didn’t—he came back to gain the right to get back together with her, to never lose her again. Hana just looks at him with tears in her eyes. “Looking back, it would have been better if you never even came that day.”

Won spots her on her way home and follows her in silence, but when she turns back to see him, she smiles as though everything’s fine. Just seeing his face is enough to turn her terrible day around, she says.

She tells him what she just found out, about Seo-hoo coming to the engagement ceremony late because there was a problem with his performance. “There was a problem with his performance, so he didn’t show up at the engagement party and didn’t say a word for three years. Does that even make sense?” he asks her.

She knows it doesn’t, but she’s so shaken up by the fact that he showed up, however late. It makes her feel like the last three years she spent hating him have been wasted somehow. Won remains the voice of reason and asks why Seo-hoo didn’t explain himself even though he came late, which Hana doesn’t have an answer for.

Now it’s as though everything she’s built is falling down around her, she sighs. Won asks if he shouldn’t go to his overseas training then, but Hana won’t let him stay for her. It’s enough to make her wonder though, if he’d stopped her from going to Paris for training, would she not have met Seo-hoo then?

“If you were there next to me, would I have known sooner how much of a bad guy he is?” If he’d scolded her when she first met Seo-hoo, would things have been different?

“If I told you not to go, would you have stayed?” Won asks in all seriousness. A tense moment passes between them, which Hana breaks when she jokingly says that he never would’ve done that anyway. Won’s expression seems to suggest otherwise, but as always, he doesn’t voice his true feelings.

He does tell Mi-hyang that he won’t be doing the overseas training after all, even though he knows it’s a good opportunity and that he’s being foolish for not going. Mi-hyang couldn’t disagree with him any more, but Won asks her to respect his decision.

News breaks that Seo-hoo’s recital has been cancelled, which has Director Byun worried that their collaboration with him will suffer if his image goes down the drain. But Manager Yoon corrects him on that, claiming that Seo-hoo had nothing to do with the cancellation—it was his agency’s decision.

Hana finds Seo-hoo alone in the concert hall and asks if the cancellation was his doing. “Do you think I’m that powerful?” he quips back ruefully. It was the decision of people bigger than him who think they have the power to ruin him.

But since she came to see him, he wonders, does it mean she was worried about him? Hana says she was only concerned on behalf of the company, which has him disappointed. Regardless, their collaboration will continue.

“I’m not going to make things hard on you because of my problems. Never again,” he adds with conviction. “More than that, I don’t ever want to lose you again. That’s the reason I came back.”

While Won tries to prepare the perfect way to give Hana the necklace at their rooftop spot, Seo-hoo leaves her with some of his sheet music and tells her to come back when she remembers. Remembers what, exactly? Only she’ll be able to find that out.

Sigh. If we’re watching the photo slideshow and present Won’s prepared for Hana, that means Hana never will, doesn’t it.

And so it happens that she sees the note she left Seo-hoo in his sheet music, which had been a drawing of a rabbit she claimed looked like him. He’d also given her a rabbit charm. Cue sunny memories of their happiest days as Hana remembers everything, and Seo-hoo did tell her to return to him if she did…

…So while Won waits for her on the rooftop, Hana runs back into the concert hall.

 
COMMENTS

Auuuuuuugh. It’s fine if they’re going to force Seo-hoo down our throats as a romantic contender, but what’s a girl gotta do to get some straightforward answers up in here? Sure, it’s a huge revelation that Seo-hoo showed up to the engagement ceremony at all, but why is Hana less concerned about the fact that he waited three years to tell her than she is about the fact that he showed up and never told her?

Not only did he let Hana think she’d been cruelly abandoned on that day of all days, he had three freaking years to explain himself. That’s 1,095 days he could’ve used just one of to call her up and tell her that his being late was out of his hands. That’s 26,297 hours he wasted for apparently no good reason before randomly coming back to tell her he never wants to lose her again, when the reason he lost her at all was because he wasn’t willing to walk twenty yards to tell her he’d been held up by forces beyond his control.

I just don’t understand. It doesn’t help that Seo-hoo is all over the place as a character, running from hot to cold to just plain weird in any given scene without much warning or reason. I get that he’s coming up with all these contrivances to keep Hana by his side, but what outdated operating system is he running on if he thinks that being insensitive and needlessly forceful will win her over when he could just try, I dunno, being nice instead? The kind of tricks he’s pulling would work better if he was a maladjusted chaebol in another drama where he hadn’t been engaged to the heroine and left her without explanation, but this is not that drama, and his actions should ideally follow accordingly. Or—and I’m just spitballing here—he could try using words.

To his credit, I guess he did come clean on a few things, though I doubt that he would’ve ever brought up the engagement ceremony if Hana hadn’t conveniently crashed that conversation with his teacher. Hana tore into Won about not being able to read his mind, yet she’s not holding Seo-hoo up to the same standards. And why did no one seem to question why Seo-hoo could come to Korea and set up a collaborative concert before someone in his Big Bad Agency noticed and forced him to cancel for… what, again? Unless he’s working for SM and has spent the last three years locked in their basement, is he supposed to be a (literally) tortured artist, forced to perform only when his masters say so?

It’ll really suck for Won if, after all this time, he ends up losing his chance to tell Hana his true feelings because Seo-hoo kept a post-it note. Except he’s had seventeen years, and only recently decided that he did have real feelings for her. It does make me wonder when and how Won changed from “I’ll never love you” to “Never mind I love you,” but I guess that’d mean people in this show would need to start talking turkey. Gobble gobble, The Time I’ve Lied To You. Gobble gobble.


132 July 27, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 9

by HeadsNo2

It’s a rough episode for Hana, what with all the decisions she has to make regarding what her heart truly wants. The only thing that’d make things easier for her is if she didn’t have to make any of those tough choices at all, almost as if those decisions could be made for her, maybe even against her better and more informed judgement. But that’d just make things worse, wouldn’t it? Does the part of being an addict where you admit you’re an addict matter if you’re not going to do anything about the addiction?

SONG OF THE DAY

Vanilla Acoustic – “니가 궁금해 (You Were Curious)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

Before Hana goes storming back into the concert hall, she finds time to send Won a text saying she won’t be able to make it tonight. Won is understandably disappointed, since he set up a grand romantic gesture that Hana won’t get to see.

Seo-hoo assumes that she finally remembered if she’s back, but Hana throws the sheet music back at him and asks what she’s supposed to remember. “The memory of us being in love? The memory of you hurting me? Or the memory of you being completely fine after hurting me?”

He doesn’t seem to register her words as he mentions the bunny keychain he gave her that she loved so much. Hana tells him there’s no use remembering those things now, even though Seo-hoo says he’s never forgotten their moments of happiness when she was with him.

“I’ve forgotten all of them,” Hana replies defiantly. “I have no happy memories of being in love with you. In my memories, you’re just a wound that’s healed over. I don’t ever want to open that wound again.”

She turns to leave, but Seo-hoo grabs her wrist and says that they can just start over—no need to bring the past to the surface again. “This time I’ll make sure I don’t hurt you,” said no well-meaning guy ever. Hana pulls her hand out of his grasp and marches home, untouched by the weather currently plaguing Won.

The next day, Hana has to convince her boss that Seo-hoo will go through with their collaboration, and promises to take full responsibility if the project fails. She can’t get ahold of Won by phone, since he’s suffering in bed with a fever from the rain last night.

Despite the threats made by his Big Bad Agency to ruin his domestic activities within Korea should he not fall in line, Seo-hoo would rather focus on what’s important to him.

And for the moment that unfortunately means Hana, since he shows up to her office to see how the project’s going. To maintain his delusional fantasies, he looks at the slogan Hana’s created and comments that whoever created it must have a lot of affection for him. Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude.

Hana finds Won still in bed sick later that day, and after giving him medicine, she feeds him handmade porridge to help his recovery. It tastes terrible, and no amount of additives seems to spice it up any—instead he demands that she make a different kind of porridge for him.

Having no idea how he got so sick, Hana continues to tend to him through the night. Won wakes up the next morning to find her asleep on the floor by his bed, along with all the evidence that she played nurse while he was ill.

He eats her cold, awful-tasting porridge with gusto now, and imagines her chopping vegetables next to him with a smile as he cleans up the mess she made from cooking. That’s literally it.

While the Three Stooges at work gossip about whether So-eun will start pursuing Won again now that she’s heard he’s sick at home, Hana wakes up to find the kitchen clean and her porridge gone. Won lies that he threw it all out, and again when she asks what he wanted to give her on the rooftop yesterday.

“Nothing important,” he says dismissively. He urges her to go to work, since he’ll need another day to fully recover at home. She does, but finds bad news waiting: for no discernible reason, Director Byun has decided to take her off the collaboration project with Seo-hoo.

The media was expecting an exclusive interview with Seo-hoo at a charity soccer event (what this has to do with their collaboration and shoes, I don’t know), but it’s up to Hana to explain to them that she has no comment on the collaboration right now.

Cue Seo-hoo, who saves the day by giving the interview anyway, even if he’s doing it just to impress Hana/save her job. It works since she wants to keep on with the collaboration, and because he tells the media that there was a time when someone cared about what shoes he wore—because if his feet were comfortable, then his piano playing would be that much more comfortable.

It’s all schtick to sell shoes and to endear himself to Hana, since she was clearly that person who cared so much about his feet. In front of all the flashing cameras, Seo-hoo goes up to Hana for a high five after he scores a soccer goal with the kiddies. When she doesn’t, he just pats her hair instead.

After a quick scene with Hana’s parents coming home after their Jeju Island trip, we return to Hana as she finds Seo-hoo sitting alone after the game and sits nearby. Seo-hoo’s just happy she wants to be in his orbit, and suggest they eat together outside. Hana doesn’t look too happy, but she doesn’t protest either.

In what’s becoming pathological, he latches onto any little thing she says and construes it to mean something positive about their future, i.e. when she says that it’s the “first time” she’s seen him play soccer, he starts thinking of all the other “firsts” they could do together.

He asks her to go to a recital with him tomorrow, and muses that the albums he recorded while he was with her were still his best. “You’re the one who saved me this time too,” he adds. “You always seem to help me become my best. You’re touched, aren’t you?”

Hana gives a noncommittal reply before Seo-hoo continues that what’s more touching is that everything he’s saying is true. Okay, but what about all the time you had to say it? Still nothing on that?

Meanwhile, Won eats a proper meal made by Hana’s mom, since her parents know how terrible a cook Hana is and want their practically adopted son to actually get better and not worse.

Seo-hoo’s manager seems to be the only one concerned for him right now, since Seo-hoo even admits that once he gets an idea in his head, he obsesses over it (Hana) at the expense of everything else (his career). Someone important from his Big Bad Agency will be flying in soon, but Seo-hoo’s not afraid to face him.

Mi-hyang knows something’s up with Won besides being sick, and when he admits he didn’t get to give Hana that necklace, she finally breaks her silence on the matter.

He’s been acting weird ever since Seo-hoo came back, she says, and it’s clear as day to everyone but Hana that he looks at her as more than just a friend now. She thinks Won should do something about his feelings one way or the other, but by the way Won changes the subject, I guess that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Won and Hana exercise the next morning by jogging in the park, but since she told Seo-hoo that she normally exercises in the morning, he shows up to crash their workout party. The shrug Won gives Hana when Seo-hoo’s not looking is just priceless.

While running together, Won confronts Seo-hoo over him buzzing around Hana all day every day, and whether he thinks that he’ll actually win her heart that way. “No,” Seo-hoo admits. “It’s that I’ll only survive if I see Hana all day long.”

He says he’s sincere whether Won believes him or not, and it’s because Hana trusts Won more than him right now that he’s putting in the extra effort. (He says it like he doesn’t understand why Hana wouldn’t trust him.)

When Seo-hoo says that he doesn’t want them to be enemies, Won tells him to save his breath—he won’t like him no matter what he does. The only way for them not to end up as enemies is if Seo-hoo doesn’t hurt Hana, Won adds.

Seo-hoo demands to know what Won’s relationship to Hana is, and gets frustrated when Won doesn’t answer since that’s so typical of him. Crazy McCrazerson: “I’m going to start over with Hana again, but you’re still coming between us.”

Won claims that whatever relationship they have doesn’t interest him, but Seo-hoo knows differently. “You should ask why I didn’t show up at the engagement ceremony three years ago. What you saw that day was me not showing up to the ceremony. What I saw was my fiancé crying in another man’s arms.” Yeah, because you didn’t show up.

“It seems you’re misunderstanding something,” Won replies. “The reason Hana doesn’t trust you… do you think it’s just because you didn’t show up that day? Cowardly bastard. From the beginning, you had no right to be by Hana’s side.”

Seo-hoo just warns Won that if he’s going to be Hana’s friend, he better make it clear and stay in that role, because he’s going to be more than just a friend to her. I have an idea—why don’t the two of you present these options to Hana and let her decide?

At work, So-eun invites Won to a recital, and tries steamrolling over Won before he has the opportunity to say “No” outright. But when she says that they can just go next time, Won shuts her down by saying that there won’t be a next time. So-eun invites Mi-hyang instead, and it turns out the recital is for Seo-hoo’s teacher.

Hana complains about being forced into the project with Seo-hoo only to be forced back out of it, while her friends think the frustration lies more with Seo-hoo than work. Hana still resolves to see this project through, since failure is not an option.

In a conversation with Mi-hyang later, Hana fake-complains about how Won bossed her around while he was sick. Mi-hyang finds that strange since Won doesn’t normally make a deal of being sick, and figures it’s just because he was with her.

Hana also mentions how he hides his feelings, like how he has that one grin that always means something’s really wrong. Mi-hyang takes the opportunity to ask whether Hana knows why Won decided against his overseas training, sounding a bit passive-aggressive in the process.

It’s news to Hana that Won isn’t going, and Mi-hyang lies that she doesn’t know why either. But of all the people who should know, she claims, Hana would be at the top of the list.

Hana tries to think about the reason while Won thinks about Seo-hoo and his cousin telling him that he needs to make his friendship with Hana clearer than he is now. But those were both people who wanted him to continue just being friends with her.

So when Hana calls him out to ask about why he didn’t take the overseas training opportunity, Won hearkens back to when he’d once told her he’d be able to hang out with her forever, though he’d meant it specifically as a friend then.

Now he says he won’t be able to do that, and reneges on the promise he made back then: “I’m saying I can’t be your friend forever.” He opens his hand in front of her so the necklace he got her dangles from his fingers. “I think my opportunity is right here. Sorry I can’t be on your side.” Huh?

If you’re hoping for some clarification on that vague statement from Hana, hope elsewhere—she just goes home with the necklace and broods.

Though Director Byun gave no reason for wanting Hana off the collaboration project, he’s hopping mad that she allowed Seo-hoo to give an interview… even though she explains that canceling the event the day-of would’ve looked bad for their company. (And would’ve made no sense.) Luckily for her, the public is responding positively to the article and their company.

Hana accompanies Seo-hoo to his teacher’s recital, where Mi-hyang and So-eun are also in attendance. Mi-hyang can’t shake the feeling of familiarity she gets watching him play, while So-eun spots Hana and Seo-hoo together with interest.

Afterward, Seo-hoo takes Hana to congratulate his teacher on his performance and introduces her as the girl he likes. His teacher, despite spewing vitriol at him one episode ago for not bending to the company’s will, acts friendly now and says Seo-hoo’s never introduced someone to him before… except he knew that he was engaged before and chastised him for wanting to go to his own engagement ceremony rather than play a recital.

When he asks her what she thought of the concert outside, Hana says that he hasn’t changed—especially when it comes to his habit of asking her questions he already knows the answer to. “Was I like that?” he wonders.

“You were always like that,” she answers.. “Even though it was obvious that you knew I was mad, you still asked why I was mad. After making me wait several hours, you would ask if I had waited long.” She tries to hail a cab, but Seo-hoo stops her on the basis that they still have more to do today.

He doesn’t actually need her to help pick out which photos of his will work as an advertisement, but he claims he does. Hana says she’d rather do it tomorrow until she suddenly changes her mind and agrees to help him today.

Rain starts falling, and Seo-hoo protects her with his hand until he can get her to his hotel. He places a hot cup of coffee in her hands after she says no, and sets to drying her off without asking for permission first. She just goes silent when he turns her toward him and stares at him as he keeps touching her hair, claiming that he’s taking care of her so she won’t get sick.

That’s when she finally stands and says she’ll pick the photos out later. She doesn’t even make it to the door before Seo-hoo grabs ahold of her and turns her toward him, inching one hand up to cup her face. Again she says nothing before eventually letting herself out.

Mi-hyang’s found a new idol obsession in Seo-hoo’s teacher, and while Won works out his feelings on the basketball court, Hana ends up outside her house staring into space. Seo-hoo’s words about not wanting to lose her and coming back (after three freaking years!!) just for her keep echoing through her mind.

Won finds her there, and she claims she has something important to tell him. Slowly, she explains that Seo-hoo was never a choice for her, but more like a compulsion. She thought that she’d be able to make an informed decision when he came back, but now finds she can’t exercise control when it comes to him.

“I… can’t choose again,” she admits. “I… can’t push Seo-hoo away.” In response, Won just smiles gently as he tells her that from now on, their friendship will change if she’s with someone else. He’ll need time to accept whomever she loves, and she’ll need time to manage without him as a constant presence.

It’s when he acts all fine and talks about taking a vacation that Hana’s tears start to fall, because he’s giving her that “Everything’s okay!” smile that usually means everything’s not okay. And it probably isn’t, even as Won pulls her into a hug and tells her it is.

As for the necklace, he adds, she can think of it as an award for their seventeen years of friendship. He walks away from her as she cries, and only when he’s out of her sight does he let his own tears fall.

One month later.

Seo-hoo joins Hana at the bus stop and on the bus, spending most of the ride smiling at her before he rests his head on her shoulder and tells her to wake him up when they arrive at their destination.

While walking to the office, he constantly walks backwards just to catch more of a glimpse of her before he takes her hand in his. She accepts the gesture and they walk together like that, which I guess means they’re an item again. Woohoo.

Hana attends her friend’s wedding later, and is about to text Won to see if he’s coming before he appears, fresh off whatever vacation he took. His smile broad, he walks up to Hana and just says, “I’m a bit late, aren’t I?”

Flash back to all the things Won had said and all the actions he took that should’ve clued Hana in to his true feelings as she says in voiceover, “We’ve been together for so long that I couldn’t recognize that his expressions were changing. Perhaps it’s because he thought he’d be found out that he may have never looked me in the eye.”

 
COMMENTS

It’s pretty terrible when the only person in this show who isn’t being mind-numbingly vague about their feelings is Seo-hoo, especially considering that his directness actually got him everything he wanted. Does that mean the moral to this story is just that being honest will get you the girl even if you’re an undeserving douchebag? And that it’s okay as long as you’re a douchebag with feelings who can exercise an intangible hold over said girl by forcing your way back into her life?

If so, it makes me increasingly uneasy about where we might be headed, even though I recognize that we’re not even halfway through the series and conflict has been in short supply. It’s also legitimate that working through her feelings for Seo-hoo could be part of Hana’s character arc, but it’s equally legitimate to point out that her needing what will likely be a lot of time to realize something she already knew (that Seo-hoo’s no good) sounds like the exact opposite of fun. Those who might argue that being fun isn’t the point would presumably also argue against puppies, freedom, and/or good television.

It’d be a different deal altogether if Hana made her choice to be with Seo-hoo while she was of sound mind, but what makes it annoying both as a viewer and fellow human is the idea that she’s shirking responsibility for her decision by saying that she has no power over the decisions she makes regarding Seo-hoo. Just like that, she told Won that she never had a choice with Seo-hoo before—and even now, even after all this time he didn’t use to open a line of communication with her, she still can’t seem to stop herself. She recognizes this, and yet she’s powerless to change it.

I get that this is a Thing that happens, but it’s still a really, really frustrating thing to have happen for your story’s heroine. Hana hadn’t exactly been the stuff of dreams before, but this takes things to a whole new level and gives me a headache every time I try to wrap my head around it. It’s not like Seo-hoo re-entered her life riding a white horse of apology, or explanations, or even any sort of regard for her feelings. She cried at her engagement ceremony because he didn’t show up, but instead of looking inward and realizing that he was the cause of her tears, he focused on the fact that she took comfort with her best friend. And then said nothing about it to her. For three years.

And still counting, since he hasn’t actually told her that her relationship with Won was the reason why he didn’t feel the need to talk to her on the day of the ceremony or for an unexplainable crapload of time afterward. Then again, Won’s not much of an improvement when it comes to giving Hana the information she needs to have agency over her decisions (even if she’d just turn around and hand that agency to Seo-hoo), since he treated the love confession she missed as being his Only Chance in Seventeen Years to tell her how he felt. When she missed that, instead of just telling her how he felt later, he changed the entire way he thought about her. Or so he claims—if our chances of being able to read his thoughts are about as high as Hana’s chances are of carrying her own umbrella, then we’re in trouble.

 

162 July 28, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 10

by HeadsNo2

Get ready for less of the relationship we might’ve once cared about for the one that no one wants or understands, least of all the two people directly involved. It’s an hour where Hana has to defend her unholy union to those who actually love and care about her with very mixed results, culminating in a tidal wave of red flags that she’s very likely picking up on but ignoring nonetheless. Because nothing, not even sanity, is going to stand between her and lo—…ts of mistakes.

Ratings-wise and without listing every other weekend drama, The Time I’ve Loved You has consistently been in last place and clocked in at 5.5% this episode.

SONG OF THE DAY

Suzy – “왜 이럴까 (Why Am I Like This)” from the OST [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

Won arrives at the wedding after enjoying a flight where he’s waited upon as opposed to the other way around, and afterward attends a party with Hana, Na-young, and their other high school buddies.

Immediately, the others pick up on the strange vibe between Won and Hana, wondering if they’ve been in a fight. Both deny it, but Won handles the deflection much smoother than his counterpart.

Even when Na-young confronts him with the knowledge that Hana is dating Seo-hoo again, Won acts like it’s no big deal and jokes as he would if Hana were in any other relationship. Na-young takes the opportunity to half-jokingly suggest that Won can date her now if he likes.

Though Hana doesn’t notice, Won watches her interact with Seo-hoo when he calls to ask where she is and how long she’ll be—you know, the usual controlling boyfriend stuff.

Hana looks at Won and flashes back to when he’d hugged her before leaving on his vacation, and said: “No matter what happens, I’m always going to be on your side as your friend.” Which really throws me for a loop because he’d made a whole point of saying he couldn’t be on her side before and that things between them would change. I guess that’s that?

“How are things with Cha Seo-hoo?” he asks her, trying to be nonchalant and friendly. “Good,” she answers curtly. She asks him about his vacation spent being ascetic, and notes that he’s changed a bit from his month away—he seems manlier now. And healthier.

She’s being totally serious, so Won seems to be copying her intonation when he says he’s also noticed something different about her… she’s a lot shorter than he is. Leave it to Won to turn every serious moment into a joke, leaving Hana at a loss for words.

Mi-hyang pouts that Won never called her once from his trip as they enjoy sponsored facial masks and sponsored beer, asking what he thought about while he was all by his lonesome. He just says he looked at his life and tried to sort out what he should dispose of and what he should keep.

While Won receives a commendation for being the most caring flight attendant at work, Seo-hoo calls Hana to ask if she regrets not taking him to the wedding party yesterday. She stalls awkwardly and claims it’s because he doesn’t know her friends very well, but he says she’ll come to regret it…

…As he appears at her office door. He later explains that he likes working with her, because it means he can see her anytime and watch her work anytime. She tries to focus him back on the job at hand, but he definitely didn’t come here just to work.

She stops him from doing anything physical at her workplace, and attempts to focus him again. But her words may as well be a foreign language to him, since all he can focus on is her lips as they move as his own form a lascivious smile.

He gets upset when she receives a text from Na-young that makes her smile, because it contains an official photo taken of Won for his Best Employee award.

He’s very concerned about who she’s talking to and why, and when she says it’s just Na-young, he demands that they go out with her later. “I need to know why you’re laughing,” he explains. For the love of womanhood Hana, please wake up and realize he’s a controlling asshat. Please.

Won goes out with his buddies to celebrate his commendation, and ends up singing the soulful lyrics to Kim Bum-soo’s “I Miss You” when he’s drunk. It’s pretty clear who he’s missing.

Speaking of, Hana walks in on Seo-hoo during a practice session, and he wastes no time pulling her into his lap on the piano bench. It’s really discomfiting that she looks so uncomfortable, yet she says nothing in protest as Seo-hoo pulls her in for a kiss.

While in the car, Hana broaches the topic of Seo-hoo going to their main office in China to please their overseas investors, and he says anything’s fine as long as he’s with her. But not anything, since her phone rings and he orders her not to answer any calls when she’s with him.

She does anyway, but it’s too late and she misses the call. Her mother worries about her not answering, and voices her concerns to her husband: “What if she’s dating some weird guy again?” What if indeed.

After a kind warning by Min-ji that the design team is taking a renewed interest in the Seo-hoo collaboration now that things are looking up, Hana crashes their office to remind them that she’s in charge—and anything they come up with needs to go through her. They’ve already stolen one project from her, she won’t let them take two.

When Seo-hoo sends her a text that he’ll come pick her up after work, Hana calls to tell him not to bother—she’ll be working late anyway. Seo-hoo’s got other problems too, since his manager notifies him that his Big Bad Agency will be suing him for breach of contract in light of all he’s doing with Hana’s company.

Seo-hoo’s glad about the lawsuit even though it unsettles his manager, since he can use it to air his grievances against his agency and end his slave contract with them. Because that always works.

Won ends up training all the newbies while So-eun watches intently, and afterward she finds him sitting alone. Even so, he doesn’t want to sit with her. “Your love is also one-sided, isn’t it, Sunbae?” she asks suddenly.

She tells him that she saw Hana and Seo-hoo together, and I love that Won tells her to get to the point. “If you’re staying next to Hana Unni as a friend, then I want to do the same. Staying by your side as a hoobae, please let me do that.” Won shakes his head and tells her not to do something like that. Well, at least he’s clear with someone.

Won finds Hana wandering the grocery store with an empty cart, which means there must be something wrong. She says it’s nothing, but when she finds out that Won took the last bottle of wine she wanted, she play-fights with him to try and steal it for herself.

It feels a bit like old times when they move venues to something that will cover them from the rain with beers in hand. Hana quickly changes subjects when Won asks her how things are going with Seo-hoo (fine, as usual), and mentions how badly she wants to eat chicken feet with him back at their rooftop hideout.

“I think I’m getting old,” she sighs. Won: “You just realized that now?” Hah. She mentions that she used to like the feeling of having her heart flutter so much so she couldn’t think of anything else, but now it’s too draining for her.

She feels like she’s at the proper age for her heart to start getting a little more numb, but adds that it isn’t easy. Won reminds her that having a beating heart is a good thing, but she says she’s just trying to keep going forward without looking back.

Won supports this side of Hana, the side that pushes onward until the bitter end. He’s a bit surprised that she never went to their rooftop while she was away, but only gets a few moments to say it before they go running in the rain.

Using only the newest and best appliances, Won makes his cousin a dish he ate while traveling abroad. She advises him to try dating, though she realizes that while he can, he’s deliberately choosing not to.

Then she asks how easy it was for him to suppress his feelings for a month-long vacation before coming back to just be friends with Hana again. “Am I making it look easy?” he asks ruefully. “It’s not easy. I’m just trying my best.”

Hana leaves for a one-night business trip, and Dae-bok finds out that she’s going with Seo-hoo while on one of his dates with Assistant Hong. She finds his concern for his sister admirable, and Dae-bok puffs up his chest to say that he’d be the most liked male figure in the family… if it wasn’t for Won.

Since Mi-hyang’s decided to start fangirling over Teacher Park, she waits in line for an autograph only for him to ask if she’s not headed over to the bathhouse today.

Horrified, Mi-hyang now knows why she thought he was familiar-looking—she’d encountered him before while on her way to a bathhouse, and the two had bickered since he’d accidentally hit her while jogging. Whoops.

Why Hana should be surprised to find that Won is the flight attendant for her and Seo-hoo’s flight back from Somewhere (because that trip already happened) when she knows the airline he works for isn’t clear, but he maintains a professional air for the flight while sneaking the occasional smile to Hana.

But it’s all a front, since it’s hard for him to bear seeing the two of them together. Nor does Hana make it any easier for others to discern her feelings, since she goes from looking acutely aware and uncomfortable with Seo-hoo to smiling and laughing with him later.

Seo-hoo wants her to invite him out with all of her friends including Won, which Hana is hesitant about. “I love you Seo-hoo, but don’t think all the people around me will accept you.” Yes, because they know he’s the worst.

He takes offense to that, acting like he doesn’t need to be accepted, though Hana points out that he wouldn’t have asked to meet her friends otherwise. “It’s because I want to know all about what you do and the people you know,” he defends before adding, “I’m putting this effort in for you.” Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

“Then try to wait for me,” Hana says. “I’ve changed since the last time we were together. I hope you would have changed too.”

Seo-hoo drops her off at home, which gives Mom her first glimpse of him since everything happened. She reacts as expected and drags Hana inside to face her father, who asks if his daughter’s gone out of her mind.

Hana knows she’s in trouble, but tells her mother that she’s decided to trust Seo-hoo again. Despite her mother telling her exactly why that’s a terrible idea, Hana says that Seo-hoo is really trying this time, and so is she. Mom doesn’t know what to do, and who can blame her?

Seo-hoo stops to talk to Won outside his house, and bluntly says that they need to become friends before adding sarcastically, “You understand what being a friend means, don’t you? Friends, just like what you and Hana are.”

Won picks up on his tone and doesn’t like it, but Seo-hoo continues that he’d like to experience the kind of close friendship that Won and Hana so clearly share. “You only ever think about yourself,” Won grits out.

Seo-hoo can’t deny that, so instead he just warns Won that he doesn’t want to be the third wheel in his and Hana’s relationship. Won has to reassure him that he has no interest in their relationship.

Dad calls Won out for drinks, and to ask him if he knew about Hana seeing Seo-hoo again. Won nods. “Then you should have told me, or tried to stop her,” her father sighs exasperatingly.

He likens this feeling of disappointment with Hana to when it happened once before, which was the day she gathered all her friends for her engagement ceremony without the consent or blessing of her parents. It turned their lives upside down, only for her to return from said ceremony and lock herself in her room for days without eating.

Now thinking about that, there’s no way Dad can allow himself to consent to her current relationship. Won attempts to defend Hana by saying that it must have been a difficult decision for her too, to which Dad aptly asks why she made it at all then.

He turns his ire onto Won for not stopping her sooner. “You and Hana have been stuck together for years. What were you doing that you couldn’t even win Hana’s heart?” Won seems to be trying to convince himself as much as Dad when he says that she’ll be alright, but Dad doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t want Won coming around the house anymore, either.

Hana finds her dad drinking alone in the living room, and he sits her down for a talk. He says he still remembers the little girl who loved her daddy so much she wanted to marry him like it was yesterday.

“For me, even if the man you choose is the best man in the world, it would still be a loss to give you to him. No matter how rich or powerful he is, if he makes my daughter shed even one tear, I would be against him. Because my daughter is the best in all the world,” Dad says emotionally.

It’s enough to bring tears to Hana’s eyes as she says she’s sorry, that she did wrong, and that she’ll do better. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Seo-hoo pops up to bother Hana at work again, and her telling him she actually has work to do doesn’t stop him from sitting across from her and staring at her while she does it. She also has to make a concerted effort to keep his hands off her in a public setting.

He wants to take her for a drive that night, but she declines by saying she has work and she can’t be home late. He figures out that things are weird at home because of him, but instead of giving her space, he just promises not to get her home too late.

Hana almost gets frustrated enough to tell him something, but, psych!

Instead, she waits to tell him what time it is when he uploads a picture of them on social media. She chastises him for not calling her before showing up at her office and even now for not asking her before uploading the photo.

“I tried to understand you no matter what you did before. Because I loved you, I just let it all go and thought it was okay. But I feel differently now. I wish you could be more considerate of me,” she says. Seo-hoo seems legitimately dumbfounded and unable to cope with the idea that Hana just talked back to him.

Won hangs out with newly married buddy Chang-soo, who brings up the ridiculous fact that Won and Hana had two different graduation photos. Cue flashback of Hana telling Won she wanted them to take their college graduation photos together, even though they’d end up graduating at different times with Won going to the military.

Even so, Won made it to her graduation in his army fatigues just so he could take a picture with her. Likewise, Hana had to make a special trip when he graduated so she could be in his picture.

Hana calls Na-young after her tiff with Seo-hoo, and Na-young’s no help to her since she only speaks sense. Though Hana claims that she won’t allow herself to be hurt this time, Na-young asks her to seriously examine whether she believes people can change.

Still, Hana wants to have her cake and eat it too, so she asks for Na-young’s support even though Na-young says she’s the one who chased her own luck away.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, Hana sees the picture Seo-hoo posted on social media and pulls a 180 on how she feels about it. She texts Seo-hoo: “What a pretty picture. Should we go out tomorrow?” Are you f*cking kidding me?

Because of her work on the collaboration with Seo-hoo, the Chinese company Hana had originally courted for her project contacts her company wanting to work with her. That means the project that Team Leader Hwang and the design team stole from her gets returned to her, effectively putting her back in charge.

While all this is going on, Mom slips and hurts her back at home, and Dae-bok calls Won over to help out.

Seo-hoo’s been unable to get ahold of Hana for ten whole minutes, so when she finally does pick up the phone, he’s not happy. But at least he perks up when she tells him that she got the Jumei project back. She has to call him back and tell him she can’t see him that evening when Dae-bok calls to tell her about Mom.

Won and Dae-bok work together to sell cleaning products help clean the house since Mom can’t, and it seems like all’s forgiven with Dad since he’s soon sharing meals again with her family.

While Hana walks Won out and laughs when he gives her a whistle to use whenever she’s in trouble, her family ends up facing Seo-hoo, who’s come on his own to kneel before them.

Flash back to Won’s graduation photo day, where Hana jokingly admits she had to give up her overseas training opportunity in Paris in order to attend. Her next opportunity wouldn’t come for three years, which is where she met Seo-hoo.

In voiceover, Hana says, “The choices we made in order to stay together then have become the reasons we can’t be together now. How could we have known better then?”

 
COMMENTS

I’m sure that Seo-hoo appearing before her parents isn’t out of a need to be accepted by them as much as it’s driven by his need to control Hana’s life—and so far, the only place where he hasn’t had permission to do that has been her house. Judging by the fact that he can’t stand the idea of her being away from him for longer than ten or fifteen minutes at a time, this move seems in keeping with his character. I just hope that Hana’s parents don’t buy any of his schtick.

Otherwise, this was an episode where forward plot and character development went to die. I’m honestly a bit mystified as to how we just saw an hour of moving shapes and colors on a screen that did nothing to progress any agenda but that of the show’s sponsors. And if you think about each scene independently and even as a whole, there are maybe about three which could have existed without the sole focus being on what was for sale.

I’m not against PPL as a necessary evil to fund any given show, but watching a plot that has all but ceased to be about its characters and exists instead only by virtue of being propped up and written around whatever product is being pushed in that moment is kind of like watching everything wrong with dramas in one concentrated dose. This has been an issue with The Time I’ve Sold Myself in the past, but it took over so completely this hour that it was just absurd enough to be frustrating without being unintentionally funny enough to turn itself into a parody.

Out of those few scenes which could actually stand on their own, two of them centered around Hana’s father—first when he talked to Won about what he did or didn’t know, and second when he tried reminding his daughter that self-worth exists. The only interesting revelation this hour was that Hana never even had her parents’ blessing for the first time around with Seo-hoo, because it makes you wonder if she was willing to abandon everything she knew and loved for him even then.

Hana has officially passed beyond my realm of understanding, and I’m genuinely confused about the signals she sends through her body language versus the few words that come out of her mouth. She never looks happy to be with Seo-hoo, whom she now openly claims to love. There were multiple moments where Seo-hoo’s tyranny wasn’t lost on her, but she used only one of them to actually tell him how his actions have been inconsiderate—which is a really nice way of putting it—and to reiterate how she’s supposedly changed from the person she was when they first dated.

And that moment might’ve legitimately been able to hold water and act as just the tiniest glimmer of progress if she hadn’t sent him that text about the picture and effectively negated everything about the stand she took against him. It’s like taking no steps forward and ten steps back into the black hole otherwise known as Cha Seo-hoo.

 

72 August 6, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 11

by HeadsNo2

Awww yeah, these two are definitely where the action isn’t. Get ready for more of the same this hour with some minor variations, though it’s already an improvement over last week since things actually happen… slowly. If there are two constants that can be said of this show, it’s that you always know what they’re selling even if you don’t know what they’re saying, and that Seo-hoo’s still the worst.

This week’s recap delay brought to you by Dramabeans, KCON, and copious meat consumption. Regularly scheduled programming will resume next week.

SONG OF THE DAY

Every Single Day – “너와의 거리 (Our Distance)” from the OST [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Dae-bok sends Hana a text for her to come back to the house since Seo-hoo’s there, and while Dad would be content to not give him the time of day, Mom lets Seo-hoo say what he’s come to say.

“I’m sorry. This time I won’t disappoint you,” Seo-hoo tells her family before adding, “I will marry Hana.”

They barely get time to react to that bombshell before Hana drags him out of her house. It’s interesting how she caters to him even though she’s upset with him, and him just confronting her on the issue seems to get her to back down. (Seo-hoo: “Did I do something wrong?” Hana: “It’s not something you did wrong, but…”)

She tries telling him that he should’ve consulted her first before bringing up marriage in front of her parents, and Seo-hoo obstinately defends his actions because he’s really going to marry her.

Hana sighs that the problem isn’t whether they get married, and asks him to try considering her position. He asks whether her dragging him out of the house was her “position” before that he’s trying his best, and he’s going to get very angry if she fails to acknowledge that. How dreamy.

Dae-bok texts Won to tell him that Hana dragged Seo-hoo out of the house, and he finds her sitting alone in a nearby park. He debates whether to call her but just texts instead, acting like he doesn’t know what really happened. Hana doesn’t volunteer any extra information.

They continue on that way via text for the rest of the evening, with Hana remaining unaware that Won is the only other human being around.

She goes home to find her parents’ door closed, while Dae-bok offers his two cents on the matter: he’d honestly thought his sister had Dissociative Identity Disorder when she came back from Paris after dating Seo-hoo there.

He admits that seeing her change so much so fast was scary, but seeing her after her breakup with Seo-hoo was worse. Therefore, he can join the club of people who are against her getting back together with that “rabbit jerk.”

Later that night, Hana thinks about how upset her whole family is over Seo-hoo, but remembers how he promised he was trying his best. I guess that’s enough for her.

Hana goes out with Na-young and newlywed friend Jung-mi, who both give her differing opinions on the whole Seo-hoo situation. Jung-mi sees the bright side of Seo-hoo, and thinks that Hana shouldn’t have dragged him away in front of her parents—after all, he was there to talk about marriage.

Na-young is the voice of reason, stating simply that she doesn’t like him after he left for three years, came back, and told Hana’s parents he was going to marry her. Hana’s kind of stuck on the matter herself, and just sighs that she wishes Seo-hoo was more cautious, while Na-young warns that she doubts he’ll ever think before he acts even if he were to come back from the dead.

Brief cut to Hana at work, where she sees a pamphlet for their company’s collaboration with Seo-hoo and texts him: “I know you’re trying. Thank you.”

Won has a needlessly extended scene where he does nothing but teach the newbies how to properly open champagne and wine on flights, and Mi-hyang notes that his enormous one month trip certainly seemed to make him more charismatic.

The president of Seo-hoo’s Big Bad Agency is arriving soon, which Seo-hoo takes to mean that he should play hard until she gets here, since she’ll take up most of his time.

His manager sighs that the only reason why Seo-hoo doesn’t want to be busy is because of Hana, and uses her name to double as the number one (since hana means one) when he says sarcastic things like: “Of course. It’s really important to never lose the one.”

Hana runs into Won while getting some snacks for her mom, and Won figures that she and Seo-hoo must’ve had a fight if she’s alone. After a lot of small talk, Won finally works up the courage to ask how she’s been, which Hana calls out as a necessary question that came pretty belatedly in their conversation.

Still, she says she’s doing well at work and with Seo-hoo. When Won asks if she’s bragging that her relationship is going well, Hana claims to know that what he really wanted to ask was whether Seo-hoo is giving her a hard time.

“I’m telling you now that I’m fine and everything’s going well,” she adds, a bit too emphatically. As if to prove she’s trying to convince herself more than Won, Won stops walking with her just to watch her instead, and she fails to notice.

Hana brings her loot home to Mom that evening, and only after an unrelated apology does her mother note that Hana has had a lot to be sorry for lately. “Then what should I do? I like him,” Hana says.

Mom isn’t happy about it, which prompts Hana to ask why she hasn’t said they can’t ever date. And that’s because Mom knows that saying something like that would change nothing—besides, she knows how stubborn her daughter is, and if it was something Hana would give up just because she said so, she wouldn’t have done it in the first place.

But, she warns her daughter, falling in the same place twice (so, breaking up with Seo-hoo again) would be pathetic. Hana doesn’t seem to register any of the risks, and instead asks how Dad’s been taking things.

After another quick cut to Won at work, this time preparing a bus that’ll give food to the needy on behalf of their airline, we cut back to Hana meeting Seo-hoo at his new apartment.

He claims he got it because she wasn’t comfortable at the hotel, causing Hana to remark, “You really are the same.” She flashes back to a similar situation when he’d gotten a new apartment and gave her the keys on a sparkling rabbit keychain.

“This is where I’ll be living now, and where you’ll be,” he’d said with a smile. Hana blinked before asking if she was being proposed to just like that, and he pulled her into an embrace by way of answer. In the present, he shows her a closet he’s also stocked with purses and shoes just for her.

Won’s airline hosts an outdoor event giving out free food and even haircuts to country ajummas, which Won jokingly claims to know how to do because of his time in the army.

So-eun earns points with the ladies by speaking in their dialect, and actually manages to grab Won’s attention without meaning to this time.

Hana and Seo-hoo go on a sponsored trip to a fine sunglasses boutique, where she helps him pick out the perfect pair. He seems visibly shaken by a call he pointedly ignores—must be the president from his Big Bad Agency.

She tries on his pair and he goes back to being normal (or his version of it), as he looks her in the eye and tells her, “Have I told you that I like you because you’re pretty?”

Things get a bit awkward in the car when Hana tells funny stories about her friends only for Seo-hoo to dryly remark that he can’t find her anecdotes funny unless he knows the people she’s talking about. But then he gets a call from President Min of his Big Bad Agency, which cuts the date short.

Manager Yoon meets with Director Byun to talk about options should the benefit concert be postponed (no one mentions that it was outright cancelled before), before checking in with Hana. He tells her that Seo-hoo’s agency president is coming into town, and that he didn’t tell her because hd didn’t want to concern her.

But he’s telling her now because there could be problems with the collaboration because of it. Hana calls Seo-hoo without luck, and only starts putting the pieces together when she remembers how strange he’d been acting around his phone lately.

Mi-hyang’s autograph from Teacher Park included an invite for a date, so she gets all spruced up just to go to a little restaurant that serves messy gamjatang, or pork bone soup.

Teacher Park is much more nonchalant about the date than she is, though he wants them to meet often like this for food and tea. He doesn’t really respond to Mi-hyang playing coy—after all, they’re past the age for that, aren’t they?

Hana happens upon Won at their nearby corner store and sits down for a beer with him, though she keeps the talk to work and not personal affairs.

After telling him that she got the Jumei project back at work, he tells her that their newlywed buddy Chang-soo missed his honeymoon flight. I’m guessing the small talk is because they don’t want to address the elephant in the room.

Dad is your typical dad when he doesn’t address the topic that’s been putting distance between him and his daughter, instead acting like nothing happened at breakfast the next morning.

Seo-hoo picks President Min up from the airport, and seems visibly uncomfortable when his boss slips her arm into his and suggests he take her sightseeing. Won’s brows furrow when he sees the two of them getting into a car together.

Seo-hoo unenthusiastically asks if President Min has come into town just to stop him from doing what he wants to do. “Do what you want to do,” she says with an easy smile, “except for what I say you can’t do.”

Reminding him that he wouldn’t be anything without her, she tells him that he’ll be leaving in a few weeks for a schedule in Venice that’ll take two years. He tells her he has no plans on leaving Korea, and picks up on her not-so-veiled threat that she’ll leave Hana’s company alone… for now. She knows that he’s dating, and probably knows that Hana’s working on his collaboration.

While Mi-hyang blames Won for making it difficult for her to accept a date with Teacher Park (now that she knows Seo-hoo was his apprentice), Won gets schooled by one of the Three Stooges for being too cold to So-eun at work.

Assistant Hong tells Dae-bok that there was a scandalous relationship between President Min and Seo-hoo, before pouting that he only ever wants to hear about Seo-hoo, and not about her.

To soothe her worries, Dae-bok kisses her on the cheek and then on the lips. I know, I know—he was born in 1989, but he still looks indecently young next to her.

Hana finally asks Seo-hoo if there’s something going on with his agency, and he responds that it’s just normal stuff, like contract issues. When she asks if he’s really okay, he jokingly asks if she’s worried about him or the collaboration project before assuring her that there’s no reason to worry.

Seo-hoo finally gets to meet Hana’s two girlfriends like he wanted to, resulting in an awkwardly stilted dinner. Both girls become visibly uncomfortable when Seo-hoo grabs Hana’s hand and holds it under the table on his thigh, and if he picks up on it, he doesn’t do anything about it.

He manages to say somethings that win Jung-mi over, like how he never got to meet them initially because he was in and out of Korea, and wasn’t able to meet them recently because he was too busy dating Hana. Na-young mutters under her breath, “Then why didn’t he show up for three years…”

Hana wants to avoid that question, and Seo-hoo kind of does and doesn’t by saying he had “circumstances” which prevented him from coming the past three years. “That’s why I’m being careful right now,” he claims. “I won’t make the same mistake twice.”

Her friends are under the impression that Won isn’t at the dinner because of work, when in reality he’s lying alone on a park bench brooding. When the subject of him having met Won is brought up at dinner, Seo-hoo comments on Hana and Won’s closeness in a way that says he isn’t really a fan.

Then he drops the same bombshell on her friends as he did with her parents: “Even if I marry Hana, they’ll still be close, right?” There’s silence between Hana and Won on the car ride home until she tells him they should talk.

Won switches to brooding at home, where Mi-hyang confronts him over Hana dating Seo-hoo again—what else would explain his mood lately? When she finds out for sure, she chastises Won for his terrible, terrible timing and mentions that the last time she ended up this distressed about him and Hana was when Hana first started dating Seo-hoo.

But through her complaints, Won is able to figure out that she’s pining over someone and asks if she’s in a relationship. “I was thinking about it, why?” she barks defensively. She’ll have no more talk on the subject, since she’s embarrassed as is.

Hana and Seo-hoo go for a very slow walk to discuss their problems, most notably with Hana wondering why they keep getting into uncomfortable situations when they just got back together. Seo-hoo: “We got back together and I said I want to marry you. What’s the problem?”

She tries to placate him by saying that whatever the reason for his three year absence, she’s back with him and trying her best. He doesn’t like the word “trying,” even though she puts it in the context of her trying to forget the past and think only about loving him.

What he wants to know is if she’s acting this way because of Won, which seems to come out of left field. She doesn’t understand what Won has to do with their problems, causing Seo-hoo to angrily wonder why she hasn’t asked why he was gone for three years. Why haven’t you just told her?

“What difference would it make if I knew that? I thought if we met again then our past has to be forgotten, because it will hurt us if we bring it up,” Hana returns, once again proving that she’s not the brightest crayon in the box. “I’m trying to say nothing happened before and forget about it.”

But he can never forget that she was crying in Won’s eyes that day, and even smiling at him despite the pain he caused. Tears spring to his black shark eyes as he adds, “When I said I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, I meant I won’t lose you ever again. Whether it’s because of Choi Won or not.”

There must only be one road to get to everything around their houses, since Won bumps into Hana brooding on a park bench on his way home. He knows she’s upset about something, and thinks back to Seo-hoo getting in the car with President Min. Is this going to be another case where he sees something suspicious he should report to her but doesn’t?

He asks her what’s going on, because he can tell something’s wrong by looking at her face. She insists it’s nothing still, and it’s because she knows their relationship is one where they can just look at each other and know, she doesn’t want to discuss things further.

But Won stops her by the wrist and tells her as comfortingly as possible, “Oh Hana, I told you I’ll be your friend. Didn’t I tell you that I’d be on your side?” Hana: “I know. That’s why, because you know too much… because you know everything… I can’t say anything to you. Our relationship now has to be that way.” She pulls herself free from his grasp, and leaves.

Hana runs into President Min at work the next day, and the tension between the two turns weirdly confrontational when Min compliments(?) her on her work with Seo-hoo’s project. Alone. “Please take good care of our Seo-hoo,” she says with a manufactured smile.

Won’s thoughts drift toward what Hana said last night while someone else conveniently spouts all the wonderful features of their aircraft, and he gets the same housewarming invitation for the newlywed couple as Hana.

But Hana encounters more gossip at work, this time about the scandals Seo-hoo had with his sponsor/President Min while overseas. It doesn’t ease Hana’s worries when she calls Seo-hoo and receives no answer, or when Assistant Hong notices that Seo-hoo’s not coming around the office the way he used to.

Hana and Won both end up buying toilet paper as a housewarming gift for Chang-soo and Jung-mi without knowing it, and are accused of doing their gifting in a “buy one, get one free” sort of way. Besides, toilet paper is considered a good housewarming gift since it’s said to bring luck and long life to the couple.

The old friends talk about Won’s last serious girlfriend in college, though Hana denies their claims that she hated that girl. But then they figure out that Hana’s trip to Paris—and her subsequent relationship with Seo-hoo—happened because she moved the dates to take graduation pictures with Won.

Na-young’s all, “So you met Seo-hoo because of Won?” She also notes that their destiny must be really off-kilter if they were meant to be lovers, which Won awkwardly laughs off.

Later, when Hana comments on how the two newlyweds just act like best friends because that’s what they were first, Won mentions that their relationship is nothing to sniff at either. “Don’t you think our relationship is something great? After all this time, what don’t we know about each other?”

Even she acknowledges that they know everything about each other, which is exactly his point. He doesn’t want her claiming she can’t tell him something and that that’s how their relationship has to be.

“Let’s not get to where we can’t even be friends,” Won says with a smile. “Let’s go back… to that place where we had fun and were happy.”

 
COMMENTS

Does he mean their super secret rooftop? I’d say that they haven’t gone there since Won’s hotly contested confession, but that’d mean that whatever he said to Hana in that park was a confession, and that people cared enough to hotly contest it. I don’t think either of those things happened. Some words were said, verbs were included, and both of them left that conversation more confused than when they started it.

But then Won’s magical one month trip happened, which seems like such a bizarre span of time to use when he’d just decided against a two year overseas training opportunity for Hana. He’d plainly told her that their relationship wouldn’t be the same if she dated someone else, only to come back a whole thirty days later and say instead that nope, everything was going to stay the same—he’s always going to be her friend, and he’ll always be on her side.

Even though Won is about as cryptic as everyone else is in this show about their true feelings, I alternated between feeling sorry for him and being angry at him for his inaction this episode, which I guess is a step up from feeling nothing when he got five whole minutes of screen time last week. I can understand shifting the focus to Seo-hoo as a romantic rival if it was meant to highlight Won as being that much better for her, but instead this whole ordeal is making Hana look worse and Won look almost simple with his inability to just say something.

So it’s something of a step forward that he did finally say something at the end, even though all his confrontations with Hana are probably a lot less direct than she actually needs right now. He’s a lot less direct than she actually needs right now, which is where I can kiiiiind of see where Seo-hoo wins her over by being creepily confrontational even if that doesn’t make him any more honest. But at the same time, if Hana’s so wooed by being ordered around and controlled, why are we even wasting our breath here?

It bothers me that Won sees the forest for the trees when it comes to Hana and Seo-hoo but says nothing, since this’ll mark the second time (that we know of) where he’s seen Seo-hoo engage in suspicious behavior with other women without telling Hana about it. I get where he might not want to interfere with her relationship and otherwise influence her decision-making at all, to an almost detrimental degree—… wait. Y’know what, I don’t think I get him after all. Or Seo-hoo. Or Hana.

On second thought, especially Hana. If history exists for us to learn from our mistakes, then it’s not something to forget. Forget throwing us a bone, I think it’s more important that she throw herself one first.

  • 89 August 7, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 12

by HeadsNo2

After all this time, some major problems the show set up for itself are finally addressed—though the conveniently timed pseudo-explanations may (nay, will) leave you with more questions than answers. But at least there’s some forward progress with Won, even if it took seventeen years for him to just change his mind. At the end of the day, it comes down to honesty and openness, of which no character has in spades. Or even in travel size. Or at all.

SONG OF THE DAY

HISTORY – “난 너한테 뭐야 (What Am I To You)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Now that Won wants them to go back to being the way they once were, Hana mentions how she felt like she’d lost him as a friend when he went on his endlessly long thirty day trip. But then she worried that she was being selfish by wanting to be that close to him again.

Won smiles at her and says that just because they’ve spent seventeen years together doesn’t mean that they have to become lovers or anything. “I think it has a deeper meaning to it than that,” he adds.

“As friends?” Hana clarifies. “As friends,” he replies, then takes her by the hand. She jokes that she’ll support his relationships in the future, and he jests back that supporting isn’t enough—she has to refrain from judging his girlfriends too harshly.

Cue Seo-hoo, who’s seen some of the exchange and breaks things up by grabbing Hana’s hand. “Whether you two are friends or not, I won’t tolerate you being close to Hana,” he growls before dragging his girlfriend away.

Seo-hoo tears into Hana once they’re alone for going straight to Won after they fought, and this time, Hana actually defends herself and tells him he should’ve asked her why she was with Won before jumping straight to being angry with her.

Won is her friend, she adds emphatically, just like he was the day Seo-hoo left her and today. He doesn’t believe her, which only rankles her more—why doesn’t he believe her? Why did he leave her three years ago without saying a word when he could have just confronted her like this? And didn’t she not care about this one episode ago?

“Despite what everyone said, and even though my family didn’t approve, I chose you over my longest friendship. Because even the memories of being hurt by you didn’t matter at all to me. Because you are someone I can’t push away,” Hana says.

Seo-hoo pulls her into an embrace then and says he’s sorry. Hana’s anger instantly melts away, while Won is left to wander home in sadness.

Hana has a frosty meeting with President Min at work the next day, since she won’t just lie down and take it when the agency woman casually tells her to leave the collaboration project, since the benefit concert she’s been planning with Seo-hoo might be cancelled.

When asked whether she’s discussed this with Seo-hoo, President Min simply says that she’s the one who represents the company. If that’s so, Hana replies, then her job is to take care of her artist’s reputation—and how is she going to do that when she keeps canceling his scheduled events?

President Min takes offense to this, since she’s not used to being criticized. “I’m not criticizing you. I simply don’t understand,” Hana clarifies. She doesn’t take President Min’s answer that there will always be things in this world she can’t understand, and says that’s not an excuse in the world she lives in.

She calls Seo-hoo for clarification, but he just tells her not to take President Min seriously and to continue on with the benefit concert as planned.

On one of his flights, Won recognizes one of his old high school teachers and asks if he remembers him. The old man does, and flashes back to when he’d spotted a freshly beaten Won staring forlornly out the window.

He’d looked outside and saw Hana there, and drew the inevitable conclusion that Won liked her, though Won vehemently denied it. He’d admired Won for his writing talent back then, even though he’d cautioned Won not to become a writer, or else he’d end up hungry.

In the present, his teacher wants them to meet again, since he still has the script Won wrote in high school. Then he takes Won by the hand and adds that he should live every moment without regret. So-eun watches the exchange and sighs that Won really is something special.

Seo-hoo holds a fan signing event for Hana’s company as he promised, which President Min watches with a sour expression.

Meanwhile, Mi-hyang goes on a date with Teacher Park at a jjimjilbang, which she is not happy about. But no matter how much she complains about wanting to break up already, Teacher Park takes it all in stride and just says he’ll call her even after she says it’s over.

Hana brings groceries home to make a meal for her family, and when Mom is all, No no, you don’t have to cook, it’s because she really doesn’t want Hana to cook. No one does since she’s awful at it, which send Dae-bok running over to Won’s for help.

Of course, Won is the only one who would defend Hana’s cooking, even though he’s tasted its terribleness before. But when Dae-bok shares what he knows about Seo-hoo’s scandalous relationship with President Min, Won remembers seeing them together at the airport.

The faces of Hana’s family mirror the sad face on her shirt when she presents her homemade dinner to them, only for them to be surprised when it’s actually good.

Won is devastated to receive word that the teacher he recognized on the flight has passed away from cancer and attends his funeral. Hana and their other high school buddies are also in attendance, and find that their late teacher left files for his former students by year.

One of their old classmates notes that this is only the second funeral he’s attended for someone in their high school—the first being for a kid named Dae-yoon, who was a close friend of Won’s. He looks uncomfortable when Dae-yoon’s name is then brought up to Hana, who remembers him vaguely, but had no idea he liked her.

The files left behind by their teacher are full of photos of each of them (it’s less creepy than it sounds, I hope), including one he took of Won when he was staring out the window at Hana. But in Won’s file he’s also included the script scenario he wrote, which he’d rather hide from Hana.

President Min pays an unwelcome visit to Seo-hoo, acting the part of the chaebol mother with how she gloats about being able to control Seo-hoo’s dating life. Seo-hoo wants to end their contract, saying that he only made the agreement because of Hana.

So of course, President Min makes the jump in logic to justify getting rid of Hana in order to keep Seo-hoo bound to her by contract. She threatens him with telling Hana the real reason why he couldn’t go to his engagement ceremony three years ago. (Writers v3.0: “Great news, guys! He’s not an asshole, he’s just a misunderstood noble idiot! Please like us now. Please, please like us.”)

She just has one more thing to ask before she leaves: Why Hana? She doesn’t need his answer though, since she smiles slyly that she always did like his immature side.

Seo-hoo goes running straight to Hana and pulls her into his arms before she can even ask what’s happening. But even when she does, it’s not like he’s about to tell her anything even remotely resembling the truth.

He takes out his angst on the piano, and even though it’s clear something’s wrong, he refuses to open up to Hana. She mentions that he didn’t even ask about her teacher’s funeral today, and he asks about it robotically. How can she still be surprised that he’s so inconsiderate?

Won pays a visit to the aforementioned late friend Eun Dae-yoon’s grave, and remembers how his friend had entrusted him with love letters to give to Hana that he never delivered because of his own feelings for her.

“I’m not going to be sorry anymore for failing to deliver your letters back then,” we hear Won say in voiceover, as tears stream down his face. “Now I can finally be honest with my heart’s true feelings. I’ll leave the immature and childish boy who couldn’t confess his feelings back then here with you.”

Won finds Hana walking home dejectedly after such a hard day, and she appreciates having him walk ahead of her, since it means she doesn’t have to worry about her facial expression. Won, similarly, finds the same benefit walking where she can’t see his face either.

She’s her usual dismissive self when he asks whether she sorted things out with Seo-hoo, but she gets an unusual reaction out of Won when she asks to read his script scenario. He stops in his tracks, and any attempts to talk her out of seeing it don’t work, so he just has to agree instead.

The Three Stooges want to do something for Won’s birthday coming up, and all cheer in unison when he agrees to take them out instead. So-eun brings the boys coffee, which Won accepts gratefully before bowing out quickly. Not the effect she was going for, I’m guessing.

Despite her earlier protests, Mi-hyang joins Teacher Park for a much fancier date, though she’s not prepared for the guests he’s invited: Hana and Seo-hoo. Hana’s also taken by surprise, and awkwardly lets her hand drop from Seo-hoo’s grasp in front of her.

When they get a chance to talk in private, Hana’s first reaction is to apologize to Mi-hyang, even though Mi-hyang doesn’t see a reason for her to be sorry. “I understand Won’s feelings, but I understand yours too,” she claims.

Relieved, Hana plays the strength-based arcade game outside her and Won’s local corner store. Won knows something must be up when he spots her, so he takes her to a spot where they can drink beer and talk. Whatever happened to their rooftop hideout, anyway?

Hana sighs that she doesn’t understand why she feels anxiety even when everything in her life seems to be going well, though Won claims that sometimes it’s more stressful to deal with everyday things rather than extreme situations.

Going to their teacher’s funeral reminded Won of when his father passed away after being ill for so long, and he’s specifically reminded of the last moment they shared staring into each other’s eyes before he died.

Hana remembers that moment in his life and how Won cried, which seems to surprise him: “Even in those days, you were there.” Of course, Hana replies—that’s the history of their loyalty to each other.

To honor that history somehow, Won offers himself as a human punching bag instead of the arcade game. Hana gives it a go, but he catches her fist before it can hit his face, totally shocked that she was actually going to punch him if he hadn’t stopped her.

Mi-hyang feels like she has to tell Won that she ended up going to lunch with Teacher Park, Hana, and Seo-hoo, but his reaction is practically a non-reaction aside from him wanting to meet the man she’s dating. He reassures her that she has no reason to feel guilty for liking who she likes.

The next morning, Hana leaves Won with some healthy cookbooks addressed to “the friend who dodged my punch” on a post-it. Assistant Hong finds Dae-bok at his part-time job and asks why they can’t make their relationship common knowledge, to which he replies that it’d look bad for her to be dating her boss’s brother.

Until he can get his own big time job, he’d rather keep things quiet for now. Assistant Hong is so enamored with him that she’ll do anything he says.

Won visits his old high school to do a special alumni presentation, where he takes questions from the class about his job and life. He admits that his original dream was to be a movie director and not a flight attendant, and that he gave up on that dream because he didn’t have enough talent.

He says all of this very positively, but gets caught off guard when a line of more personal questioning ends up with one student asking him if he also gave up on making his friend-who-is-a-girl into his girlfriend.

It gives Won pause, enough to admit to the class that he shouldn’t have used the term “give up” in the first place—especially with youngsters who are still new to the whole concept of having dreams and goals.

“Rather than saying I gave up, I think I should say I’m waiting for something better to come along. Even though I’m a flight attendant now, if a chance arose, I could become a movie director. In the same way, a friendship has a chance of turning into love,” Won tells the class in a moving monologue.

Walking the same path he and Hana used to walk together, Won remembers hiding his script scenario (entitled Summer Day) from Hana back in high school. In the present, he calls himself a fool.

After a messy cut in and out of Hana’s office where Director Byun tells her that the benefit concert will be canceled, Hana meets with President Min to ask why she’s so insistent on canceling the concert when it’ll be the second time they’ve canceled a domestic concert.

If you thought President Min got her position because of her business savvy, think again—the only reason she gives for canceling two concerts is that Seo-hoo will choose her over Hana.

The speech that follows has been said by every generic chaebol mother ever, all “Settling down with a girl would waste his talents” and “You can just date and then break up with him.” The only difference is that President Min isn’t Seo-hoo’s mother, but the dynamic is the same old, same old.

Visibly shaken, Hana calls Seo-hoo to ask him to come to her—only she won’t tell him where she is. “Just come and find me,” she sniffles. “There aren’t that many places for me to go. Honestly, I’m not even sure where I am right now. I’ll be waiting. Come find me.” I solemnly swear that I made none of that up.

Seo-hoo finds her at the only park she ever goes to, because it was the last place they had a fight. He kneels down to break the news to her that he’ll have to go to Austria for just one week to sort out the performance dates President Min committed him to without his consent.

When Hana finds out that he’ll be going with President Min, she begs him not to go. It’ll really be over between them if he leaves this time, even though he tells her it’s because of work and he’ll be right back.

“If you really have to go, then don’t come back,” Hana all but cries. “I don’t have anything else to say besides that.” Except she does, because she tells him that she’ll imagine bad things during the time he’s gone. When he asks what kind of things, she answers in such a vague way that I’m not even sure she knows what she means.

She’s so adamant about not wanting him to go that Seo-hoo asks if something happened, to which Hana’s only answer is, “Just don’t go. Just stay! Can’t you do that?” He reminds her that it’s just one week, and she drops her head. If he’s already decided, there’s nothing she can do but whine.

Dad’s suddenly changed his mind about liking Seo-hoo, and the irony isn’t lost on Hana as she says in voiceover: “I wanted to be able to talk to my family comfortably about starting this relationship over again. But I never thought that those kinds of casual remarks would make me so sad.”

Then she buries her face into her pillow and sobs uncontrollably.

Won makes the Big Decision to let Hana see his high school script scenario by leaving it in her mailbox (“To my friend with a strong punch”). At work, he sees Seo-hoo and President Min before their trip together and likely figures out what’s going on.

Hana doesn’t respond to a text Seo-hoo sends her to remind her that he’ll just be gone a week, and that he’ll be able to do the benefit concert once he returns. Instead, she sits down to read Won’s script from beginning to end, unable to put it down.

Won thinks about what his late teacher said to him about not living with regret as well as the high school student who asked him whether he’d given up on love with his best friend like he gave up on his dream.

Hana finishes the script looking like she’s about to cry, and rushes out of her office…

…Only to find Won already waiting for her. He knew she’d be walking home alone because of Seo-hoo, and came to escort her. With his script in her hands, Hana says, “Long ago, when you said that you would never love me… I believed that until now.”

 
COMMENTS

It’s rather convenient that Won just happened to run into his old high school teacher who just happened to have kept a script that just happened to say everything he couldn’t say over seventeen years because he just happened to finally forgive himself for the guilt he felt toward his friend who just happened to like Hana in high school and who just happened to have died for reasons unknown, isn’t it?

All this time spent wondering why Won said the things he did back then, and we get less than five whole minutes to not only address the problem, but also to come up with a solution? Talk about much thunder but no rain. If we’re to follow Won’s short and mostly silent journey this hour, then the only reason he distanced himself romantically from Hana was because he didn’t deliver letters from his friend to her before said friend died? I was at least expecting a traumatic death, or more than just a passing mention about how close he and Won were.

But it feels like a detail shoehorned in at the last minute when we find out in just one episode that Won not only had a friend who liked Hana and died, but that he’s been holding himself somehow responsible all these years and decided somewhere off screen that he was finally going to stop doing that. Why now? I get how his teacher’s death could have reminded him of his friend, but if his friend was the only thing holding him back from pursuing Hana, then it’s not like he’d ever forgotten in the first place. And simply because it’s been over a decade of severely repressed feelings, I have a hard time buying that he just snapped out of it because his teacher told him to live without regrets. Or because someone mentioned that he might’ve given up on Hana the way he gave up on his movie career.

It would’ve been different if these were things he maybe knew in the back of his mind but never acknowledged, if not for the fact that everyone in his life but Hana seemed obsessed with reminding him that he needed to just do something already. So maybe something someone said just finally stuck, and/or this was a point the writers wanted to be at by now so they had to rush things along.

That feeling of sudden and jolting forward movement in what was previously a vacuum felt a bit like being in a car that keeps stopping and starting, only the stops take hours and the starts are just brief sputters from a dying engine. Because it’s just bizarre that Hana was like a brick wall until now, enduring the disapproval of everyone she knows and even risking her relationship with her own family (for the second time!), because she didn’t want to leave Seo-hoo. But out of the 18930238902 red flags she could’ve and should’ve picked from to make her stand, she suddenly and arbitrarily decides that this trip will be the deciding factor in their relationship? That everything she was willing to give up before is nothing compared to how she feels right now, and that him going on this trip is somehow worse than him leaving her without explanation all those years ago?

Trust me, there is no universe where I’d be on Seo-hoo’s side, but I want so desperately to be on Hana’s side that it’s upsetting when she makes that so impossible. It’d be different if she was threatening to end things with Seo-hoo because of all the crap he’s put her through, but instead she made everything vaguely hinge on one trip after an equally vague conversation where we can only hope she was being coy when she said she didn’t know where she was—because I’d rather believe that than the alternative scenario, in which she could’ve just, y’know, used her eyeballs but didn’t.

 

46 August 10, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 13

by HeadsNo2

Only friends can get away with throwing each other belated birthday parties, even if they should’ve been the ones most on top of said friend’s birthday in the first place. Hana and Won come to some sort of agreement about where their friendship stands in relation to the revelations posed by his confession(-ish) this episode, but good luck trying to suss any of that out. To say it’s complicated would be putting it mildly, I don’t know what these two are. But I can definitively say, with some degree of certainty, that they are in fact something. At least there’s that.

SONG OF THE DAY

B1A4 – “10년 후 (10 Years Later)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

Reading the script for Summer Days sends Hana into flashbacks of her high school days, since the dialogue mirrors what she’d once said to Won about how she’d know who her ideal man was through a kiss—not to mention how the two characters in the script share an accidental kiss much like the one she and Won shared in the library.

She begins to realize the story in the script is their story, and remembers how her heart had beat furiously after the accidental kiss. Won, in his usual way, had acted like nothing happened.

But then she comes across the page where Won’s character attends the funeral of his friend, which happened in real life when Dae-yoon was struck by a car on his way to meet a friend (likely Won). The reason those kids beat him up was because they saw his liking Hana as a betrayal to Dae-yoon’s memory.

And that’s when Won had attacked his attackers to demand to know why he couldn’t love Hana. All this Hana reads now, only realizing through Won’s character that he was beat up because of her but never told her at the time. Handwritten at the end of the script is Won’s infamous high school refrain to Hana: “I will never love you.”

Now we’re back to where we ended the last episode, as Hana asks Won why there’s no ending to the story. He says something came up, to which Hana says she remembered Dae-yoon as someone who studied with her and was close to Won. But why didn’t he ever tell her?

“Back then, you weren’t a friend to me,” Won explains in a vague way—does he mean that he thought of her as more than a friend then? Or that they weren’t as close as they are now? Regardless, he explains that Dae-yoon’s death took a toll on him, which is why he told her he’d never love her.

As if she’s talking about the weather, Hana says she’s relieved to finally hear the reasoning behind those words, even if they scarred her in the past. That’s why she resigned herself to only be his friend, but she resolves to think back on their past more. They part without any more acknowledgement than that.

Unaware that Seo-hoo ditched President Min at the airport at the last minute, Hana commiserates with her girlfriends that she lost that fluttering feeling with him the day before he was supposed to leave, and that his leaving wasn’t what sealed the deal.

Now she wonders if she was really in love with him, or whether she just fooled herself into thinking so because of the memories they shared. Na-young, however, is preoccupied with Won’s script(ed) confession, because all it means is that he took forever and caused a lot of pain in the meantime.

Hana admits she couldn’t say anything to Won after reading the script, and that she feels bad for starting over with Seo-hoo when Won had to muster up so much courage to confess his true feelings for her. Being friends with Won has become like a habit for her, so she thinks staying as friends is best for them.

Until she knows for sure what Seo-hoo means to her, Hana adds, she’ll step lightly when it comes to Won and their longtime friendship. Na-young complains about what a complicated situation this all is, but both friends promise to back Hana no matter what.

When asked how he feels now that he’s shown Hana his all-in-one Confession Script, Won says he does feel some relief, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Really, he just wanted her to know why they couldn’t be more than friends, and more that he couldn’t say.

A little drunk and a little broody, Hana decides to take out her angst at the batting cages. She doesn’t realize Won is also there until he points out her bad form jokingly, before he coaches her in earnest so that she’ll hit a home run.

He’s picked up on her penchant for hitting things when she wants to think, and Hana just says that it’s become a habit. Her saying, “I’m more comfortable with things I’m used to” is probably about more than just the things she hits.

Won doesn’t much like the word “habit,” so Hana proposes a bet: they’ll avoid the places they’re both familiar with for a week to see whether their bumping into each other all the time is a habit or not. He agrees. Is no one going to mention that other bet they made?

While Won’s work colleagues throw him a birthday party, Hana only seems to remember that it’s his birthday when group texts start pouring in about it. Whoops.

Instead of taking a cab like her other colleagues, So-eun asks Won to walk her a ways before she snags one while wearing suit scraps from the nearest fashion school’s garbage bin. She asks him how Hana’s doing and admits she thinks about her often. “Who is Hana Unni to you?”

Before he can even answer, she admits to realizing that since he and Hana have been together so long, it’s likely they’ll be together in the future too. Won is amazed by her honesty as always, but despite being weirdly honest just now, So-eun claims she knows now that her honesty could make others uncomfortable.

In light of that, she wants the two of them to be comfortable around each other. Won readily agrees, and So-eun hands him her gift before she goes. Won looks at his phone dejectedly to see if Hana’s joined in the group text wishing him a happy birthday. She hasn’t.

He doesn’t know she’s busy at work handcrafting him a last-minute present, which he only sees waiting for him the next morning. It’s a passport holder with the word “one” on it (referencing the 1+1 deal with their names). He’s literally giddy over it, which is kind of adorable.

Hana spots Won taking another way home per their bet, and reveals herself only when he has a super, super random run-in with a kid on a bike. But that still means they bumped into each other despite trying to avoid it.

Even though it’s no longer his birthday, Hana celebrates like it is when they finally go to their rooftop hideout. Despite loving the gift, he tells her that the needlework on it was a mess, which brings back memories of other birthdays she messed up by being bad at baking, and especially bad at sewing.

She’d once sewn him a shirt that was supposed to have the name he used when flying abroad, “Loney,” but with the way she misspelled it, the shirt ended up reading: “I’m Lonely.” She’d also hit him in the head with a champagne cork on accident, though none of that mattered. He was too happy then to care.

In the present, he thanks her for the gifts over the years—he remembers all of them fondly. His taking care of her every need causes her to ask if he’s this friendly to everyone, to which he replies that he’s only like this to her.

She’s so surprised she doesn’t know how to react, and for the first time in his life Won actually reiterates what he said to make it clearer: “I’m only like this to you, Oh Hana.” But he’s the one to break the tension like nothing strange was said in the end so that Hana can stop feeling awkward.

Won goes home to all the post-it notes Hana’s ever left him, which he’s arranged in a notebook. He stops at one that simply says “I like you,” which sends him back to when he’d been heartbroken over losing his college girlfriend.

She’d left him that note with a book, and had taken on “Operation: Overcoming Heartbreak” in order to get him feeling better. But when she’d ask if he’d like to try dating her seriously, he’d accused her of joking. “You’ll regret this later, Choi Won!” she’d said then. How right she was.

In the Confession Script, which has transmuted onto his computer, Won deletes the “I will never love you” line and changes it to something we don’t see.

Hana is surprised to see Seo-hoo at work, since she’d assumed he was out of the country. He assures her that there’s nothing going on between him and President Min, but she’s angry that a week has passed without hearing a word from him.

“Let’s get married,” Seo-hoo blurts, like that will solve all their problems. Now that Hana’s randomly decided to use her brain, she asks if he expects her to just wait quietly and greet him happily every time he leaves and comes back.

So Seo-hoo has to downgrade his big plan from “Let’s get married” to “Let’s just prepare for the concert.” Hah.

After Mi-hyang brags to Won that she may not come home tonight (insinuating that she might stay out with Teacher Park), we get a shot of just products being put onto shelves when we cut to our resident sponsored side characters, Assistant Hong and Dae-bok.

She freaks him out a little by saying she wants to get married quickly, but then gives him intel on the benefit concert: since the venue was already canceled, they’ll have to start the planning over from scratch. As for getting married, Dae-bok looks at his meager bank account and sighs.

Seo-hoo takes Hana to a prospective concert venue, but it’s impractical when it only holds fifty people. “It doesn’t matter, the benefit performance is for you,” Seo-hoo claims.

They’ll leave together right after the concert even, prompting Hana—who somehow recovered her long-lost spine somewhere—to ask him if he ever takes anyone but himself into account when making decisions. “I need time to seriously think about us,” she stresses.

Meanwhile, Mi-hyang goes on a tandem bike ride with Teacher Park, eventually culminating in a picnic. She doesn’t like all the healthy decisions he makes and the way he seemingly treats her like a friend, until she finally blows up and asks, “Do you even see me as a woman?”

Won cooks with his buddies and considers stabbing them when they talk badly of Hana’s cooking, while Hana’s parents ask her about her relationship with Seo-hoo—is she really going to marry him?

Hana’s unusually quiet on the topic, causing Mom to note that if she entered this relationship after everyone told her no, there should be some progress by now. Dad’s okay with the idea of his daughter living happily without getting married, but Mom thinks happiness lies in getting married.

Later that night, Hana takes Na-young to the hospital when her friend calls complaining of severe stomach pain. It’s just kidney stones (as opposed to cancer, which Na-young was concerned about), so Hana agrees to stay with her until her surgery in the morning, after which she’ll go to work.

She tells Na-young about Seo-hoo missing his trip and how he asked her to marry him all of the sudden, causing her to sigh that she thought he changed, only to realize he’s the same. I would literally pay money right now to find out what about him she thought had changed in the first place.

Hana’s been thinking about why she started dating Seo-hoo again, and how her heart had nearly beat out of her chest when he reappeared after disappearing for so long. She even admits that she could only remember the good times with him as opposed to the bad, but that the emotional scars he left her are still there.

So despite saying repeatedly that she’s physically and mentally unable to push Seo-hoo away, now Hana says that she can’t help but push him away. Na-young says that’s just her self-defense mechanism kicking in to tell her that she’s more important than love—it’s something that happens after multiple heartbreaks.

Hana forgets that Seo-hoo texted her an updated meeting time to discuss a new concert venue, and misses his calls the next morning while she tends to Na-young post-surgery.

When she finally makes it to the office she finds the meeting has ended, and Seo-hoo really lets her have it about being irresponsible over something so important. Which totally makes sense coming from a dude who was so cavalier about switching venues to a tiny courtyard because he only wanted to play for Hana anyway. These problems matter.

Won calls Hana after her hard day, able to clearly hear the fatigue in her voice. He advises her to just go to bed, but she complains that she can’t without removing her makeup first, but is too tired to get up. Finally, something I can actually identify with.

He innocently asks how she removes her makeup then, and she’s too tired to think much on it as she gives him detailed instructions while half-asleep. Won takes those instructions and sits next to her on the bed to perform the tasks, meticulously going down the list from her eyes, to her lips, and then her whole face.

With loving attention to detail, Won massages her face with sponsored cream, and Hana sighs that it’s so nice having someone else do this for them. But then we see Won back in his room, so was the makeup-cleansing scene just a dream on Hana’s part?

He sits down to rewrite that final line of his Confession Script, which he changes to “The time I’ve loved you.”

After working out a deal for an outdoor concert venue, Hana asks Seo-hoo to meet her in the conveniently empty concert hall where she’d seen his back after he found out the concert was cancelled and realized she never forgot about him, and that she wanted to be with him again.

Seo-hoo thinks this is the prelude to her saying yes to his not-a-marriage-proposal, when in reality she looks at him tearfully and says, “I’m sorry, Seo-hoo. I don’t think I can do this anymore.” Seo-hoo asks uncomprehendingly, “Do what? What can’t you do?”

In a choking voice, Hana tells him that they’d just continue to fight and hate each other before they’d get tired of it all. “That’s why we should end this now,” she adds. They should break up now so they can remember theirs as a love that made their hearts flutter, which, huh?

But Seo-hoo grabs her in an embrace and says that he will not break up with her. She just has to change her mind. “I’m sorry, Seo-hoo,” Hana cries.

While walking home numbly, Hana trips when one of her heels breaks. In voiceover, we hear her say that the passionate fever-like love she experienced with Seo-hoo has come to an end. She trades her broken heels in for some sandals and treks on.

As she readies for the benefit concert, the coordinator tells her that Seo-hoo will be arriving soon as a surprise for her and stealth advertising for the concert.

Hana seems to shrivel up when Seo-hoo’s hands come clapping down on her shoulders all of the sudden, but if he notices he says nothing, instead shooting her a smile before heading up to the stage. He surprises the patrons by playing as if he were at the concert already, but the publicity he garners can only work well for Hana’s company.

That’s when Won sends her a text that he’s begun working on the script that ended-but-didn’t with “I will never love you.” He time skips in the script seventeen years to the present day, and sends the page to her where he describes the times he’s found her crying while flashing back to them simultaneously.

“Wherever you are, if you’re crying, I can find you. I was always by your side even during the moments you can’t remember.” And then, “Aren’t you curious what will happen in the next part of the script I’m writing?”

Her phone rings. It’s Won. “Do you want to go make another bet to see if we meet as a habit or not? Come to me,” he says over the line. Hana looks up to Seo-hoo, who watches her with a concerned expression, then she starts to say Won’s name…

 
COMMENTS

This feeling of confusion is eerily reminiscent of the last episode, when Won made a sudden about-face regarding his feelings toward Hana and got the luxury of just changing his mind after seventeen years spent in a headspace we neither knew or understood until it was given a passing mention. And when you bring up and resolve a problem in the same breath, it’s not even like we’re getting a lack of payoff to all the build—it’s a lack of both, which is what makes the emotional beats feel so unearned.

It’s the same with Hana this episode, because while she speaks sense now sense regarding her dysfunctional relationship with Seo-hoo, I’m left wondering how we got from one end of the crazy spectrum to another in such a short amount of time. It’d be different if Hana’s resentment toward Seo-hoo’s treatment of her was built up and mapped out properly, but instead of being a culmination of all that came before, her outburst over him leaving for his trip felt way more arbitrary than it should have been. Because, by her own admission, Hana was okay with forgetting the past wrongs Seo-hoo committed against her.

Which all led to a breakup conversation that just made no sense for their relationship, since Hana wasn’t using any reasoning that had actual relevance to them. Instead she opted for Generic Breakup Reason #547, the ol’ “Let’s break up now before we ruin our relationship by fighting and hating each other.” Which just… what? Out of all the solid reasons you had to break up with him, that’s the one you go with? The one that still absolves him of any wrongdoing and sounds more like you love him so much that you’d rather preserve what you have now than see it go down the proverbial toilet?

If only Hana could’ve at least given us the satisfaction that she’s learned a valuable lesson instead of just changing her mind, but then again, I’m stuck in the same position with Won too. Part of me is upset that he spent so long feeling like he couldn’t love Hana when he could have done what he did last episode literally any amount of years ago, all things considered. We’ve only been told that he and Dae-yoon were close, but even if it had been his brother who died with the sole contents of his will stating that Won could never ever love Hana, seventeen years would still be an unnecessarily long amount of time to get over something like that. There’s just no excuse.

Then again, I suppose being somewhere is better than being nowhere, so even if Won and Hana’s separate revelations could’ve been finessed into making an impact, at least they had revelations at all. It’s kind of a miserable state to be in when we have to accept whatever the show is giving us as long as it vaguely resembles progress, but that’s just how the cookie’s crumbling with this one. The only burning question I’d actually be eager to have answered at this point is why oh why Seo-hoo bowed out of his trip with President Min—knowing that’s all Hana wanted from him—only for him to disappear anyway and then not make a deal of telling her that he didn’t do the thing she threatened to break up with him for doing. What was the whole point of that exercise if nothing was going to change? Alternatively, could we just finish out the series with Hana giving Won gifts so he can keep smiling like this?


58 August 11, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 14

by HeadsNo2

Feelings get sorted out on all sides this hour, giving previously irrational characters a sudden sense of—well, sense—in an hour that feels way more like a finale than it probably ought to. Still, for anyone who’s been waiting patiently for more Hana and Won action, then this is the episode for you. Who next week’s episodes will be for is literally anyone’s guess.

Ratings-wise, The Time I’ve Loved You saw a small but meaningful uptick to 6.1% after weeks of declining numbers. To its credit, it’s not easy competing as a miniseries against long-running and highly rated weekend family dramas.

SONG OF THE DAY

ZIA – “울어본 적 있나요 (Have You Ever Cried)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Seo-hoo looks up from his impromptu concert to find Hana gone. He runs after her, but she’s gone to meet Won, who waits patiently for her with a huge grin on his face.

While Seo-hoo’s held back by a traffic light, Hana finds Won at the park playground, proving that they don’t even need to tell each other where they are—they just know it intrinsically.

Likewise, Won is able to pick up on the fact that something’s up with Hana without her needing to say anything. Since she can’t hide anything from him, she just decides to come clean: “I… broke up with Cha Seo-hoo. So I need some time.”

Seo-hoo laments to his manager that he shouldn’t have given Hana time to think, even though he never had to worry about coming or going in the past since he knew Hana would always take him back.

But now things are different, and he’s the one constantly worried about whether or not she’ll answer his calls or avoid him. His manager sighs that if he’s feeling that distressed, he should take President Min up on her mysterious offer.

Hana breaks the news to her family about her breakup, claiming that she only thought it was important that she like Seo-hoo before, but now understands that it’s equally important that he be able to get along with her family and friends. “Someone who can not only make me happy, but also everyone around me.”

Her family notes that she’s matured as she’s aged, which kind of doesn’t make sense when she’s just one month older than she was when she made the decision to date him despite the resounding disapproval from her family and friends.

But we’ll just have to take it from them that she’s somehow grown up at warp speed in that one-month span, since her dad tells her not to feel sorry that she’s disappointed them—she was in love, she made a decision, and he’s sure that it was enough for her to make such a difficult choice in the first place.

The Three Stooges try to get Won to go on a blind group date with them, only for him to decline on the basis that he likes someone. It drives them batty that he won’t tell them, though they speculate it could be So-eun when Won invites her out for a meal in front of them (as a thank you for his birthday gift).

Manager Yoon gives President Min a call when he finds that Seo-hoo’s fallen asleep waiting to hear from Hana, while Hana sells cleaning products cleans her room. Her parents are just glad she’s relieving stress productively instead of lying in bed all day.

Hana also jogs her stress out, and muses that only after becoming single does she get to really feel what love is, especially when faced with all the couples roving the park.

She’s envious, but knows that she won’t be one of these lovey-dovey people for a while yet. “Right now, it’s time for me to empty the space within my heart.” This sounds an awful lot like that time she swore off dating for five whole minutes.

Hana takes sponsored gifts to Na-young and buddy Jung-mi in the hospital. They talk about how Hana’s doing much better after her second time breaking up with Seo-hoo as opposed to the first time, which prompts Jung-mi to complain about her marriage.

Because she’s known Chang-soo for seventeen years, she sighs that there’s just no anticipation or tension between them anymore. This resonates with Hana for obvious reasons, as she notes that a long-term relationship certainly has its difficulties, but love at first sight is no picnic either.

Dae-bok thinks he’s sharing a big scoop with Won when he tells him that his noona broke up with Seo-hoo, citing the reason that she gained a new perspective on love. Dae-bok wonders if that means she had a change of heart, which Won says is quite possible.

More importantly though, he thinks Dae-bok should stop poking around his noona’s love life. Dae-bok is still surprised that she broke up with Seo-hoo, musing philosophically that love must be an ever-changing thing. He’s having such Deep Thoughts now because of his relationship with Assistant Hong, which Won instantly picks up on.

Dae-bok was fine with taking over his father’s store before meeting Assistant Hong, but now he knows it won’t make him enough money to marry and take care of the woman he loves. Won remembers that he had a great passion for drawing, and encourages him to follow that dream.

Won visits Hana bearing gifts of fried meat and beckons her over with a leg, but any attempts to feed her fail when she insists on doing things herself. He pouts that he’s trying his best and shoves chicken in his face. This is some PPL I can get behind.

Over a beer, Hana admits that she had to resist the urge to go straight to him the day he sent her the script he was working on again. “You should have come right away then,” Won says simply.

But now that Hana’s recently started to think before she acts at the ripe age of thirty-four, she admits that she spent the whole walk asking herself what feelings were driving her to go to him. “Why do I feel this way?” she’d asked herself. Won asks in return if she found the answer.

Hana says that there have been times where her heart has fluttered because of him, and she’s happy when she’s with him. She knows he feels the same way, but also knows that because they’re friends, they have to tread carefully.

At the same time, she says her feelings for him aren’t the kind that makes her heart beat wildly in her chest enough to make her feel like she’s losing her mind, nor is it the kind just reserved for close friends. That’s when Won intercedes to tell her that they can work on finding the answer together, by asking their hearts instead of their heads.

He leaves just like that, and only when he’s outside does he give himself his own rallying cry: “Work harder, Choi Won!”

Hana is given an unexpected opportunity to work at one of her company’s branches in Paris for a year, and doesn’t quite know how to respond to it yet. Even though her dream has always been to become a global marketer and this would give her a better shot at it, she needs time to think first.

Meanwhile, Seo-hoo has a very short conversation with Teacher Park to discuss the possibility of them performing together for the benefit concert as well as the complicated status of his relationship with Hana. That sentence probably ran longer than that scene.

Hana flashes back to a time when she and Won were watching television on her couch, and things had gotten a little awkward when the two on-screen characters shared a kiss.

Well, not so much for Hana—she seemed totally unaware that Won’s inability to focus was because he couldn’t stop looking at her lips. She’d asked him if he’d given up on his dream to become a movie director, because if he didn’t, she promised to use her marketing skills to make him super famous.

She only made things worse for Won when she asked him to look at her closely while asking him to trust her with his dream, which she’d make into a reality. Even then, she wanted to be in global marketing, which is probably why she’s remembering this moment in the first place.

Won surprises Hana on her way home in the present, and just nods dutifully when she admits she was lost in thought about her future. But then he switches topics to tell her that if she makes a decision to keep him as a friend or lover, he can change his reactions accordingly.

For instance, he says, he can act as her lover by walking next to her and interlacing their fingers together, which he tries out. Or, he can act as her friend, and just walk next to her without contact.

But if it was up to him, he’d go for the third option, and demonstrates by slipping Hana’s hand through his arm and holding it there. His grin stretches from ear to ear before Hana pulls away, weirded out by the change in his behavior.

Won’s already figured out that she’s worried about something without her needing to say anything, so Hana just fesses up that she was offered a position as a marketing director in Paris. It’d put her closer to her dream of becoming a global marketer, which Won is all for, until she says she’ll be gone a year.

Even then, Won swallows the news and still puts on a happy face. He wants her to take the job. This conversation seems intended to mirror the one they had when Won had his opportunity to go overseas, with Hana even saying that she doesn’t know why she’s hesitating and dragging her feet when faced with such a great opportunity.

She’s looking at Won for answers, but he just says it like she once did to him—the separation will be sad for him, but it’ll be good for her. She should take the job.

Mi-hyang goes on a date with Teacher Park, and gets annoyed when he mentions going to Seo-hoo’s concert as well as the fact that he doesn’t drink soju.

In response to her downing a whole glass, however, Teacher Park does the same before asking Mi-hyang to stay the night with him. She’s elated that he finally asked instead of just sending her home… but then he passes out from the soju.

Hana discusses her work opportunity with her parents, who are supportive but cautious at the same time. She’s worried that she could be missing something (Won) even though it’s such a great opportunity, and at least Dad backs her up by noting wisely that just because the opportunity is overseas doesn’t necessarily make it good.

After hearing Chang-soo talk about his marriage, Won makes a mental note of the importance of independence when it comes to both parties in a relationship.

So-eun invites him to lunch the next day, where she tells him about sending her grandmother on an overseas flight (while sneaking in the safety features of their airline) without worrying. It’s that attitude that allowed her to give up on him without causing a fuss, she claims. Uh huh.

“I don’t want to live being weighed down by things I know and worrying about things I don’t. I think life is too short to even just enjoy my own life,” she adds magnanimously. Won just nods.

Like she did for his birthday, Won makes Hana a banner that reads “Good luck” and gives her a cake as a sort of going away party. He’s all for her taking the opportunity, and promises to schedule his flights so he can visit her every two weeks.

He takes a bunch of photos of her to tide him over though, and smears icing on her nose for an impromptu selfie. While foiling her attempts to do the same to him, Won says in all seriousness, “Just know this before you leave. I’ll always be in favor of something that’s necessary for you.”

The supportiveness of that statement and the moment they share after still doesn’t stop her from eventually smearing icing on his face, which they both share a good laugh over.

Hana officially takes the position, giving her a chance to smile victoriously at Team Leader Hwang and her group of sour-faced minions (Min-ji, bless her small part, is the only one out of them who cheers for her). Assistant Hong will get a promotion and take over her job while she’s gone, so it’s good news for everyone.

And that even includes Seo-hoo and President Min, since it was Seo-hoo’s request and Min’s muscle that got Hana the opportunity in the first place. Ah, so he gets Hana away from Won and President Min gets Hana away from him. It’s a win-lose.

She’s happy because it means Seo-hoo is indebted to her now, and when he says he only asked this of her because he needed it, she makes sure to ask if she’s included in his needs as well. Seo-hoo just says what she wants to hear.

President Min meets with Hana next to discuss putting her on future projects with their company as well as any Seo-hoo related concerts while she’s doing her Paris appointment. The reason she likes Hana now is because she broke up with Seo-hoo: “Let’s be professionals who put work before love.”

Hana gets the feeling that something’s not right, and asks President Min whether Seo-hoo had a hand in her overseas opportunity. After some hesitation, Min reveals that Hana’s appointment was the condition Seo-hoo set for renewing his contract with her.

Hana confronts Seo-hoo about his hand in all this and asks why. Seo-hoo: “Because if we work together in Paris, where we first met, then I’ll be able to make you take back what you said about ending our relationship.” That’s… almost sad if he actually thinks that way.

He tries to convince her that it’ll just be like an extension of the work she’s already doing with him, even though her whole point is that she doesn’t want a position that’s been given to her. Seo-hoo’s adamant that it was her talent that got her in while he just made the recommendation, but Hana knows as well as anyone that no one will see it that way.

Even though she’s managing all the marketing for his concert, he tells her that he’ll be performing with Teacher Park like it’s just an afterthought. Hana just nods and says that this concert will be the last time they work together. She’ll also give up the overseas opportunity.

After fretting over how he’ll provide for Assistant Hong despite how supportive she is of whatever he does, Dae-bok frets to his parents about not knowing what he wants to do in the future. That’s when he finds Won’s Confession Script in his sister’s room.

Won sets up a projector in his window and bids Hana to open hers, so that the slideshow he made out of images from their past can play on her ceiling. This is his way of seeing her off, since he won’t be able to do it the day she’s set to leave.

Then, staring at her from his window to hers, Won tells her: “Remember. Don’t forget even a single moment.” She sniffles her gratitude, and Won jokingly threatens to jump from his window if she’s crying, which she insists she’s definitely not doing. (She is.)

In voiceover, Hana says that the way to get over the regret of a missed opportunity is through the comfort of those closest to her, and through realizing that the little things she may have once overlooked are indeed very precious. And, of course, through waiting for the next opportunity to arise.

President Min catches Seo-hoo smiling at Hana on concert day, and reminds him that this’ll be his last day of freedom before he starts his next slave contract with her.

She stops Hana next to tell her that she’ll be handling much bigger projects than this in the future, only for Hana to say that she’s not taking the job. President Min takes it as Hana not wanting to be associated with Seo-hoo, but doesn’t try to change her mind.

Won puts in a request with Mi-hyang to be put in charge of training new recruits in Paris, which is all because Hana’s being transferred there. He knows he’ll miss her too much, so he wants to shorten the time they’re away from each other. Oh noooo. He doesn’t know she’s rejected the offer, does he?

For all the hubbub that surrounded the benefit concert, we don’t even get to see it, and just skip to the afterparty instead. Teacher Park notices that Hana’s absent, but Seo-hoo quickly changes the subject to his relationship.

Teacher Park smiles over at Mi-hyang nearby and tells his pupil that things are going well. (She’s not going home tonight, either.) Seo-hoo can’t escape being reminded that he’s to leave the country soon, and calls Hana up for a meeting.

In one last-ditch effort, he tells her he has two plane tickets ready and waiting for them, but isn’t all that surprised when Hana tells him she’s not going. He wants to know if she would’ve taken the job had he not been involved, to which she honestly replies, “Probably.”

With tears in his eyes, Seo-hoo confesses that he saw always saw her smiling at other people, but she never directed her smiles at him. That’s what made him realize he shouldn’t make things difficult for her any longer.

“Do you know how much I loved you?” he asks shakily. Hana, her eyes glistening, replies: “I also loved you very much.” They share a silent moment before Seo-hoo takes his final leave.

One week later. Yes, you read that right.

Dae-bok hands Hana the sequel to Won’s Confession Script entitled Summer Days: And After That… She flips to the last page to find that he hasn’t continued the story, but instead left her an assignment to write her own scenario while he’s out of town.

Hana rushes over to Won’s house, only to hear from Mi-hyang that he’s already gone to the airport. Apparently, Hana had the whole week to tell him she wasn’t going to Paris but didn’t, so now she has to rush over to the airport to try and stop him before he leaves for Paris first. He’d planned it so he’d be in Paris before her, which, aww.

She can’t get ahold of him by phone, and gets flooded with memories of Won being supportive during her drive. Though Won and Seo-hoo spot each other at the airport, they don’t acknowledge each other.

But the second Won sees that he’s missed so many calls from Hana, he starts running for the entrance. She spots him across the throng of travelers and blows on the whistle he gave her so he can find her. “You’re not going to Paris?” he asks.

“I’m not, so don’t go either,” she says with a smile. Then she adds that she thought of the first scene for her scenario…

…And pecks him on the lips. While he’s still in shock, she says that the first line of dialogue is: “I like you.”

But she doesn’t get to tell him what the second line is, because Won swoops in for a real kiss. The fact that they’re in a busy airport doesn’t seem to matter one bit.

 
COMMENTS

Interesting. This has never been the show to hinge on big questions or high stakes, but it seems like something of a bizarre move to answer the only question that probably still matters to anyone two episodes before the finale. What’s more is that the show could’ve just ended on this note without offending anyone—unless there’s a large constituency of viewers who’re watching just for the tiny side romances and need absolute and total closure, that is.

Honestly, the side plots would be better served ending on this note, where they’re already established couples with issues to face, but nothing so insurmountable that we actually need to see it play out. It’s enough sometimes to know that there’s a future ahead and to be able to guess at its contents, rather than the neatly packaged alternative that’s undoubtedly on the way with two(!) more(!) hours(!) of programming to fill.

I’m really just mystified as to why anyone would write themselves into a hole like this, because it pretty much guarantees that next week will be a frustrating mess of recycled conflicts. Alternatively, it could turn out to be an unnecessarily long epilogue, and I wouldn’t even know which option would be worse. Or maybe the whole point wasn’t the will-they-or-won’t-they, and instead is about the how-will-they-when-they. Who knows. No, seriously—who actually knows? I’m legitimately concerned.

It’s nice to see Won finally being forthcoming with his feelings after so many years of repression, though it’s probably because he spent so many years being repressed that this turnaround is still a bit hard to swallow. Still, he sells it, and I’ve always been able to buy the attraction coming from his side of the relationship. Hana, not so much. The problem is that even if she’d resigned herself to just being his friend after being told there’d never be anything more between them, it still doesn’t explain how she’s always depicted as being completely clueless when it comes to his feelings for her.

The flashback from this episode is a perfect example of that, since it showed Won becoming acutely aware of their proximity while Hana carried on without thinking anything of it, treating him like a genderless friendbot. Which is fine when they’ve been together for so long, but then you’re saddled with the monumental task of showing how that kind of perception could change to her actually seeing Won as a man, and skipping that resulted in a kiss from Hana that came off feeling forced.

So while Won has had episodes to agonize over his feelings for Hana even before he decided to act on them, we’ve had very little indication that Hana was ever that conflicted over how she felt for him. Her more immediate obstacle was Seo-hoo, but again, it wasn’t as if she broke up with him because she realized she loved Won instead. I really do wish I could feel more satisfied with this kiss and what it means, and the me who enjoyed the underlying romantic tension of the first four episodes might well have. But the me who’s sat through all the episodes of Hana being Hana since then needs more incentive and a lower bar.

 

90 August 17, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 15

by HeadsNo2

Welcome to the beginning of a two-episode epilogue, replete with our two friendbirds learning how to navigate the transition between seventeen years of platonic togetherness and a newly formed relationship. But to those seeking conflict, you might want to look elsewhere, because who needs that taking up valuable screen time when those scenes could be better served by selling valuable things to us?

SONG OF THE DAY

Younha – “우리가 헤어진 진짜 이유 (The Reason Why We Broke Up)” [ Download ]

 
EPISODE 15 RECAP

After their airport kiss, Hana seems a bit taken aback that Won is still going to leave for Paris, since she obviously doesn’t want him to leave. If only there were a way she could have told him earlier that she wasn’t leaving, something like a letter or telegraph…

Hana sighs that she rushed over here since he was leaving, but didn’t really think of what to do past this point. “We got to find out how we feel about each other. That’s enough,” Won says optimistically. Hana still calls him a jerk for leaving.

She produces the necklace he once gifted her, saying she was never without it, and he fastens it around her neck. He pulls her into an embrace by way of goodbye, and she asks, “Will we be able to make it?” “Yes,” he replies. “Whether we’re near or apart, we’re always together.” As he walks away, he makes a heart shape with his arms.

Two months later.

Despite her having turned down the transfer option from Jumei Global, the company still wants Hana to handle their affairs domestically. It’s a lesson in English, since we see also see Won giving a work presentation in English, Korean, and French to airline trainees.

When questioned by a French couple on what he’s going to be doing this evening, he tells them he’s got a video chat scheduled with his girlfriend in Korea. The long-distance aspect of it doesn’t matter to him, he says, since “I’m going to love only her until the end.”

Won and Hana have their video chat after he gets off work, which is early morning for her in Korea. She tells him about Jumei wanting to work with her again, while he tells her how he’s been doing so well in Paris that they want him to extend his stay.

Hana is not having that, so Won just says he’ll come back home as soon as possible. She falls asleep despite her best efforts in front of her computer, and Won smiles as he tells her sleeping form, “I love you.”

At work, So-eun wonders if Mi-hyang is pregnant, because she’s suffering indigestion and a high sensitivity to scent. Meanwhile, Hana finds out from Assistant Hong that she’s been dating her brother this whole time since Hong hasn’t been able to get in contact with him.

Hana does cosmetic repairs on her and Won’s rooftop hideout in anticipation of his return. She remembers when she’d first brought him to the rooftop as a place for him to cry as much as he wanted, unaware that he was crying back then over the letters he never delivered for his friend.

It’s here, where Won could cry to his heart’s content, that became their hideout. A place where she could comfort Won after his mother left, and where she could spend time alone when he was gone. Then, Hana muses in voiceover, it’s here where she realized how deeply rooted Won is to her, and how stupid she was for not figuring that out sooner.

“I miss you, Choi Won,” she cries to herself. Then she adds in voiceover that he also made her realize she can cry just because she misses him, even if she’s not sad.

She goes over to Mi-hyang’s house to see if she’s heard from Won recently, since she hasn’t been able to get ahold of him for days. That’s when a thoroughly freaked out Mi-hyang shows her a positive pregnancy test.

Hana has to talk her off the ledge, and Mi-hyang tries to talk herself into this as she proclaims that she’ll show the world that women in their forties are still women and are capable of being loved and having children. Hana backs her up all the way, and feels better about aging herself when faced with Mi-hyang’s tenacity.

But since Mi-hyang shared a secret with her, Hana shares one in return, though it’s hard to understand through her girlish giggling: “Won and I are dating.” She admits she’s worried because they’ve been friends for so long, and doesn’t know what will become of them if they were to stop dating. Would she lose a friend?

“Won is important to me both as a friend and a man,” she adds. She can’t take the thought of losing him in either capacity, to which Mi-hyang says to stop worrying and just go for it. Mi-hyang supports them fully, and guesses rightly that Won must be over the moon about all this.

Hana hears Won’s voice outside, but assumes she’s just hearing things because she misses him… only to turn around and see Won standing there in the flesh. He opens his arms as wide as his grin, but Hana kicks him in the shin. Does he know how worried she was these past few days?

He said he wanted to surprise her, and came back because he missed her too much. Hana gets over her anger and hugs him, but they separate when her father comes out of the house. He doesn’t know they’re dating, but invites Won over for dinner anyway.

Won plays that he’s hurt because Hana separated from him so fast, only for her to point out that he took his hands off first. It’s only when she calls him jagi (honey, darling, sweetheart, etc.), a term of high endearment reserved for the most serious of relationships, that Won totally melts into a gooey puddle of happiness. He wants her to call him that all the time now.

Mi-hyang tells Teacher Park that she’s pregnant, and of her fears that her complexion and body will get ruined in the process, not to mention the fact that she’ll have to take off work.

Still, she’s resolved to have the baby, and Teacher Park says he’s all for it in his usual dry manner. But they’ll have to find a house first, which makes Mi-hyang do a double take—is he proposing to her right now? He nods, and they embrace happily.

Won and Hana out themselves as a couple to their high school buddies, who aren’t even surprised. When one of them asks how far they’ve gone, Won jokingly shushes them before fake-kissing Hana in front of them.

After telling the Three Stooges at work that being in Paris was extremely difficult (due to this long-distance relationship with Hana), Won is invited out for beer with So-eun.

She knows things are going well between him and Hana, and says that she doesn’t regret liking him, but will keep it as a good memory instead. Disregarding the fact that they already had this conversation, Won at least says that while he found her feelings burdensome at first, he learned from her that he needed to express his feelings.

While Dae-bok comes out of seclusion after finishing his comic master work, Mi-hyang gives Won the contact information for his mother, who called when he was in Paris.

She’s in a nursing home nearby, and Won goes to visit her with Hana. Won asks her why she didn’t tell him she was this sick, but Mom says she feels bad—she’s a bad mother who abandoned her son, after all.

But she remembers Hana, and is happy that she’s still by Won’s side and hopes that she’ll stay with him in the future. “I will,” Hana promises. Hana must know more about her own son than she does, Mom admits, but she’s happy with the man she’s with and that she’ll leave this world knowing that.

Won says there’s no reason for her to talk like that when she’s still healthy, but Mom knows her time is coming. She didn’t want to meet Won in her last moments, but rather like this, when she’s still able to talk and smile. A few tears leak out when she says she doesn’t need a funeral—it’s what she deserves for not being there for Won.

Regardless, Won takes his mother by the hand and assures her that he’ll come to visit often. “I’m sorry, but I did love you in my own way,” Mom confesses. “I’m so glad… that I got to see you.” The man she loves sends them off, apologizing for not contacting Won sooner because his mother didn’t want him to.

Won reminisces to Hana about how he couldn’t understand his mother leaving him as a child to find a new love, using the excuse that she missed his father so much after he passed away. Now he realizes that she’s the kind of person who was very lonely and needed to be loved.

The man she’s with isn’t the kind she would’ve once gone for, but Won comments that those requirements become less important as you age. Which has him thinking… didn’t Hana say she could find her ideal type through a kiss? How does he measure up?

She takes him back to their first kiss in high school, which is when she’d confirmed her feelings. He’d made her heart flutter, just like she claimed her ideal man would do, though she doesn’t admit as much to Won and lets him fret instead.

Assistant Hong is angry with Dae-bok for going off the grid to finish his work, but he confronts her with a flower and a roll of toilet paper. Since the Hanja for flower is hwa, which is also the word for anger, he tells her to let go of her anger by unrolling the toilet paper. And before you ask, no, there’s no deeper meaning here. They just had to sell some toilet paper.

Won takes Hana to a grassy hill he normally goes to when he feels frustrated, but now he wants to make new memories there with her. They walk through the grass barefooted, and Hana takes pictures of their feet as she makes jokes about Won’s toes. Won has no jokes about her feet, because they’re perfect the way they are.

“We’ve been friends for so long, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about each other, isn’t there?” Hana muses. Won says it’s going to be exciting every time he learns something new about her, though nothing will ever be an unwelcome surprise because he loves her so much.

Speaking of which, he mentions how much they called and texted each other while he was away, but she never told him she loved him or sent him heart emojis. Hana says she didn’t because it’s embarrassing (but wasn’t when she was telling Seo-hoo she loved him), but that’s not an excuse to Won.

“I told you I like you,” Hana says, but Won points out that “liking” him and “loving” him are two completely different things. Is she retaliating against him because he said he’d never love her? Hana bizarrely changes the subject to ask if he met another woman while he was away, turning their dinner into a bickerfest of epic proportions.

She tells him later that he gets upset too easily, to which Won fires back, “What? I can’t do that?” To answer that question, Hana says she’ll need to ask her friend, and dials a number…

…Shortly before Won’s phone begins to ring. She talks to him as she would when they were friends, telling him about the new guy she’s dating and how he’s always picking fights during their dates. Won acts like he’s giving unbiased advice as he tells her that her boyfriend probably just wants her to open up to him more.

“He must like you more than you like him,” Won adds. Usually those people are the kind that makes mistakes. “How can you be sure that he likes me more than I like him?” she asks. Then she adds that sometimes she misses him as a friend, to which he returns, “Should we go back to being friends?”

That’s not what Hana wants either. But, she continues the fake-call and asks if she can vent to him about her boyfriend sometimes, to which Won jokes that he’ll even go beat him up if that’s needed. He likes it a little rough anyway.

Despite all the drama surrounding his slave contract that would take him out of Korea forever, Seo-hoo returns to his homeland for a special concert. He can’t help but think about Hana as he plays the scales on his piano, and Teacher Park advises him to translate that feeling into his music instead.

He gives Director Byun tickets to the concert on account of how much their collaboration helped his career, and passes by Hana’s currently unoccupied office in the hopes of catching a glimpse of her.

Mom and Dad are elated that Won and Hana are together now, even though Mom is trying to figure out how to adjust to treating Won as Hana’s boyfriend as opposed to her friend.

Dad hints at marriage, only for Won to say that they’ve only just begun to date, and he wants to date Hana properly before living with her. Mom begins to threaten them should they ever hurt each other, but then backs down to defer to their better judgment—they’ll be able to work whatever disagreements they have among themselves. She’s just happy they’re an item.

Mi-hyang pulls Won into her office to tell him that she’ll be taking a break after their next flight because she’s pregnant. She’s considering it the last bit of good fortune in her life—meeting the man she loves, having a baby—so she warns Won against ruining it for her.

He’s surprised, of course, but happy for her nonetheless. She promises to introduce him properly to the father of her child and smiles sheepishly.

Won waits nervously for Hana at the movie theater, and she shows up looking like she’s about to go to a cocktail party. She’s late, but Won doesn’t have the brain cells to focus on that. All he can see is how pretty she looks and the necklace he gave her around her neck.

He doesn’t let her eat popcorn because it’s too fattening, and lifts the armrest between them so he can hold her hand during the movie. Hana just smiles and pops her straw into his drink, so they can share the same cup. Won smiles like he just scored a home run.

Won protects Hana from a crowded elevator by walling her in with his body, which is when she notices a thread loose on his button. She pulls at it, but the whole button comes off instead, opening his shirt up. Won: “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”

Once they’re at his house, they find themselves in an awkward situation as Won starts to take his shirt off in front of her so she can sew the button back on. She starts to go downstairs, but Won wrist grabs her in what’s supposed to be a romantic move and pushes her against the wall…

…A bit too hard though, since she lets out an audible “Ow!” He’s apologetic, but tries to keep up the mood as he tells her that there’ll be a different tension with her coming into his room now as opposed to when they were just friends.

She slips out of his grasp and stands closer to the bed, and Won approaches her much more carefully now to kiss her deeply. They stay like that a while, and look into each other’s eyes when they pull away.

A moment passes before Hana playfully shoves Won down onto the bed before joining him, and the rest is history. Hana’s the first to wake up the next morning, and smiles softly as she brushes Won’s hair away from his face.

He wakes up and does the same to her, smiling as he asks if she slept well. He pulls her closer and tells her not to go to work, and tries to cover them up for a bit of fun before she has to go, albeit unsuccessfully.

Later, he gets a call that stops him dead in his tracks, while Hana presents another project at work. For no other reason than that we’re nearing the end, she and Team Leader Hwang bury the hatchet, as does her terrible ex and his now-pregnant wife Min-ji.

The call was about Won’s mother, who was in critical condition earlier but is now stabilizing somewhat. A passing nun gives Won the rosary his mother carried with her, worn from years of praying and inscribed with his name.

Hana shows up to give him moral support, and tells him that she’ll be praying for his mother to recover quickly. She takes his hand and holds it so they can share a silent moment of prayer together.

Won goes up to their rooftop hideout alone to cry, only for it to light up like a Christmas tree. In lights on the wall, Hana’s written “My One,” and reminds him that he can cry all he wants here.

Through his tears, Won tells her that he thought he’d forgotten about his mother since it had been so long since he’d seen her. But he must have missed her, because he feels bad about not knowing she was sick.

“I’m worried I won’t be able to see her again,” he cries. “I’m scared I’ll really be alone.” “But I’m here for you,” Hana says comfortingly. “I’ll stay by your side. I’ll never leave you. This must be what love is to me.”

And then, “I love you, Won.” She spreads open her arms again, and he leans into her embrace, his tears overflowing. Hana just holds him as he cries.

 
COMMENTS

Won’s right about one thing: he’s way more into her than she is into him, and boy does it show. There’s something decidedly off about their chemistry, which was doomed from the start with the vastly different trajectories Hana and Won have had. Hana’s transitioned straight from relationship to relationship while Won has had none over the course of the series (So-eun doesn’t count), so it makes it difficult still to buy that she could switch gears almost instantly from Seo-hoo to Won.

What’s more is that she had to go through so much more to be with Seo-hoo because that’s what she suddenly wanted and was going to get no matter the cost, so by contrast, it seems like she sort of dispassionately walked into a relationship that was already waiting for her with Won. It’s hard to pin why they’re just not working or throwing sparks off in every scene, and while I’d credit most of that to a writing failure in regards to Hana’s character, there’s also something to be said about body language—what I’m guessing is supposed to come off as coquettish behavior reads more forced and uncomfortable than seems intended.

Aside from that, this episode feels like the beginning of a long epilogue, which is exactly what I was afraid of last week. Won and Hana address some issues that needed addressing, sure, but it was all so sapped of weight or dramatic heft that it was really hard to care. It already feels like they’re on the home stretch of their relationship, and nothing they bring up now is going to fundamentally change anything—not because their bond is that strong, but because there’s just not enough time left.

The emotional beats are still lacking, and it kind of sucks that Won is always the one stuck with fly-by-night backstories that come back to haunt him. First it was his buddy Dae-yoon, whose conflict was introduced and resolved in one episode, and now it’s his mother. Obviously the need for a mother figure is a universal thing we can all understand, but the show seemed to go out of its way not to mention Won’s parents or how their absence affected him, so now the sudden introduction of his dying mother feels out of place and just a little purposeless.

It’s good that Won is getting some closure on an issue we didn’t know needed closure before, but again, it’s all so general. I can’t even say it’s conflict for the sake of conflict because it’s not actually conflict, and while it’s an issue that would mean something to any person/character, I wish the show could’ve given us literally anything else that would somehow feel at all unique to Won. But then again, I’ve wished a lot of things for this show, and that’s been working out swell so far.

163 August 18, 2015January 23, 2016

The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 16 (Final)

by HeadsNo2

There’s nothing that’ll surprise anyone here, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following along. But alas, we’ve finally reached the end of a road with way too many unnecessary detours for its own good, one where the destination is so padded and fluffy (and two hours long!) that it theoretically should make up for the journey, and whether it does is or not is up to you. If nothing else, there’s at least plenty of Hana and Won—but you know what they say about having too much of a good thing.

SONG OF THE DAY

Taeyang – “Eyes, Nose, Lips” [ Download ]

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

After showing off some shoes and their features, Hana is the last to leave work after a long day. She calls Won on her walk home and asks if she can see him tomorrow instead—she’s too tired today.

The next day, Won finds that he has a parasitic attachment in the form of Hana, who clings to his back as a form of support so she can spend less effort walking.

He turns around so he can hold her in his arms instead, which turns into them falling onto the couch giggling and kissing… until Mi-hyang walks in. Hana’s mortified after she goes, but Won is all, Let’s just pick up where we left off!

Hana, unimpressed, jokingly throws a pillow at his face. Won stops her from leaving by enveloping her in a bear hug that succeeds in getting them back on the couch.

Teacher Park caters to Mi-hyang’s every whim when it comes to her pregnant appetite, and offers his house for them to live in after she complains about finding Won and Hana in her house. Mi-hyang thought he’d say that, and already prepared the moving van.

Remember when Dae-bok stole Won’s Confession Script from his sister’s room? Thanks to a link sent from Na-young, Hana finds a webtoon entitled “I Will Never Love You” written and drawn by none other than Dae-bok. It’s almost a frame-by-frame likeness of Hana and Won’s high school days, but in cartoon form instead.

Hana takes her brother to task for it when he gets home, though he claims the webtoon is super popular and that the people really love her and Won. (At least someone does.) Their parents don’t openly say they’re proud of their son, but they become absorbed in reading the comic online nonetheless.

Won is the next one to read the webtoon, but he’s proud of Dae-bok for chasing his dreams and not at all upset that his story was stolen. What does upset him is that Hana’s suddenly become a workaholic, and it’s interfering with plans they’ve made together.

She continues that fight into the next morning, claiming that there’s nothing wrong with her being dedicated to her work. He says she’s always complaining that she’s tired, and while he’s not telling her to stop working, he thinks that a little moderation would be good for her. Besides, they haven’t spent any time together recently.

Hana defends that she’s only getting so much work because she’s responsible, only for Won to shoot back that if she was so responsible, she wouldn’t be changing their plans all the time. “What’s your priority, exactly?” he asks.

She sputters that she always spends the weekends with him, but Won counters that it doesn’t really count as time spent together when she’s just working int he same room as him. This isn’t something they’ll resolve today, so they huff and puff and part angrily.

At work, Hana’s idea proposal for a new project is passed over in favor of Assistant Hong and Min-ji’s idea. Since Team Leader Hwang is now pro-Hana, she tries to cheer her up by saying that her team members flourished only because she’s such a good leader.

Na-young calls Hana to recognize that it must’ve been hard for her to see her hoobaes take the limelight away, to which Hana asks her, “Am I being too childish?” Yes.

Won worries to one of the Three Stooges that his fights with Hana are just going to get more frequent, since he can’t seem to stop himself from fighting over minor things with her.

His coworker tells him to keep at it though, since it’s a fight for dominance Won has to win. Watch this be the one piece of advice his coworkers give him that he actually applies.

Hana works late again, and thinks of Won when she sees her ex and Min-ji being all cute and cozy. Meanwhile, Won’s mother sends him a pair of traditional wedding hanbok—one for him and one for Hana.

Mi-hyang tells Won that she’s going to move in with Teacher Park, give birth to her child, and then get married. Won is surprised by her progressive stance, but Mi-hyang makes it seem more like she’s old and may as well do what she wants.

Hana goes over to Won’s house when he doesn’t call her after getting home from work, and it’s clear by his one-word answers to her questions that he’s upset. She turns up the aegyo as she tells him that she gave what he said some thought, and realized she has been working a lot.

At the same time, she was passed up by her hoobaes, when she wants to be recognized for her work too. Won scoffs that thanks to that, he’s becoming less of an interest for her, and when she pouts to the contrary he adds tersely, “Just don’t forget that there are a lot of things more important than work.”

She knows he’s still angry, so she calls him up to tell him to go to his window. While staring at each other from their rooms, Won can tell Hana’s feeling sorry, so he wants her to apologize. She does.

Then he wants her to say the magic words he wants to hear, which are: “My number one priority is Choi Won, not work.” His anger eases a little, though his smile seems to give away more.

So-eun gets asked out to a movie by one of the Three Stooges, and even when he’s rebuffed, he tells her he’ll wait for her regardless. When she asks how long he’ll wait, he says an hour, maybe two—but she tells him it’ll be at least a year’s wait. He still clings to that little shred of hope.

Won goes over to Hana’s house for dinner, and is given one minute to visit Hana in her room by her father (no funny business). He brings her the hanbok-inspired dress his mother sent before enveloping her in a back hug and asking what’s in her room that reminds her of him.

She points to an alarm clock he gave her, and says the rest aren’t as visible—the necklace, the whistle, the script, and some eye cream. Won vows to do more to increase his presence in her room by giving her more things, even though Hana insists that he’s already given her the gift of being by her side.

Hana comes down to dinner wearing the dress Won’s mother gave her, and though the style is more classic than she’s used to, she twirls in it and loves it all the same.

All of a sudden, Won tells her father, “I want to live with you.” To her mother, he says, “I love you.” Then he holds Hana’s hand for them to see as he declares that he wants to grow old with them as their son and Hana’s husband.

As to whether he’s proposing to her family or to her, Won says he’s proposing to both of them. If Dad is the person he wants to live with, and Mom is the person he loves, then what does that make Hana? “Hana is… just mine,” Won replies. He turns to her for verification. “You’re mine, aren’t you?”

She agrees, even though she’s still a bit taken aback by the suddenness of it all. That’s when Dae-bok bursts in to say that his webtoon is in talks for a movie deal now, but in order to assuage his noona’s anger for taking her story, he promises her eighty percent of the sales when they get married.

“Then give it to me now since I’m getting married,” Hana blurts before she realizes what she’s saying. Everyone picks up on the way she said she mentioned marriage so easily, which serves as her acceptance of Won’s proposal.

On their rooftop hideout later that night, Hana admits that she never once thought they’d get married, only for Won to say that he first had the thought in high school. She’d helped him so much after his mom left that he knew then he wanted to live with her. And then didn’t do anything about it for seventeen years.

He’s shocked that she never considered it, though she replies that she didn’t need to when she knew she’d always have him by her side regardless. But of course he naturally doesn’t take it well when she tells him she’s going on a business trip, and even though he’s acting childish, he childishly asks Hana if she still likes him.

Of course she does, Hana says with a smile. Cue him grabbing her in another bear hug and loads of laughter.

Manager Yoon arranges a meeting for Hana and Seo-hoo, since he’s come back to Korea for a concert. Their meeting is amicable, with Seo-hoo noting how nice it is to see Hana smiling. Hana, in turn, says he’s changed too—he has the air of an accomplished musician now.

“I tried really hard,” Seo-hoo admits. “I have to succeed that much in exchange for losing you.” He didn’t say that to make her feel bad, and Hana doesn’t take it that way. Instead, she says that he’s best with a piano on stage, and any fan of his music would think the same.

Seo-hoo asks if that means she’s a fan, to which Hana nods. He tells her his hopes that they can meet comfortably like this should they ever run into each other again in the future, and Hana agrees. They both smile.

While flying to her business trip destination, Hana is given a flower from a steward who claims it’s free. Then a ring box is presented to her by a steward who says he thinks she dropped it while boarding…

…And she looks up to see none other than Won. He wasn’t set to work today, but changed his schedule so he could escort her to her destination. He kneels in front of her, opens the box, and asks if she’ll hang out with him for the rest of their lives.

The passengers start chanting for her to accept his proposal, and Hana takes the rings in her hand before giving her reply: “Fine, I’ll hang out with you forever.” Their special moment is commemorated with in-flight pictures.

Now that Dae-bok is famous for his webtoon, Hana and Won are interviewed, since it’s their story. The interviewer thinks they’ve been through quite a journey and asks Hana to describe her feelings about her upcoming marriage.

Hana smiles before she says it’ll be like living with her friend at her friend’s house for the rest of their lives.

It’s their wedding day, and Hana gets dressed with the help of her friends in her room. Mom comments that she and Won are amazing, since even married couples would be tired of each other after spending as much time together as they have.

Her father’s only advice is that loving is easy, but living together is hard. Unlike Mom, he’s not upset over the small wedding Hana’s chosen to have, which takes place on the street outside. It’s cute that they’ll be coming from their own houses and meeting in the middle.

Everyone they know is in attendance as Dad walks his daughter down the modified aisle, where Won waits with an enormous grin. As Hana passes by guests holding up pictures from her and Won’s past, she thinks back to all the times they’d hurt each other because they couldn’t be honest.

At the same time, Hana realizes that without those hurdles, they wouldn’t be where they are now. That’s when her father gives her to Won, who happily declares, “Let’s go to the house you’ll live in!”

As they walk down the improvised aisle, we hear Hana say in voiceover that they didn’t need anything fancier than this. They follow the path Hana says they’ve both taken countless times up to Won’s house, which will now be her new house. And with that short jaunt, their little wedding has come to an end.

Won elatedly promises their small group of guests that they’ll live well before kissing the bride in front of them. I’m guessing they already signed their marriage licenses since no wedding ceremony actually takes place. No vows? Nothing?

In an effort to make his familiar house look a little different for her, Won decks out the place with heart balloons and other decorations. There’s an awkward moment where he hugs Hana for a long time before breaking off and whooping, “I’m married to Oh Hana! Manse!

Hana has to stop him from his balloon-punching energy spree to set some ground rules: if there’s ever a time where they’re angry at each other, the person who committed the wrong has to do their best to comfort the other with presents, aegyo, and free coupons.

And, she adds, they’ll have to allow each other time alone—but Won finds that thought repugnant. Maybe in ten years, he allows. But for now, he presents their wedding bands and says the “Will you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband” ceremonial words in a much more intimate setting.

Hana gives her “I do,” then asks the same of Won. Will he cherish and love her until the day he dies? He gives his “I do” before taking it a step further: Will she love him until death, and then when she’s reborn again? “I promise,” she says. Won: “Me too.”

They kiss in their new home as Hana says in voiceover, “In this very familiar place, we have to try our hardest to fill our lives with new moments of happiness.”

Eight months later. Summer.

In a house filled with pictures of their wedding, Won annoys Hana in the early morning by singing Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips” loudly in the shower. If Hana’s going to complain about how she’s not getting her quiet time in the morning, then Won feels free to complain about waking up with cramps from her sleeping with her legs slung over his at night.

But of course, no one’s really complaining, so Hana can only get so frustrated. Won is like a puppy following her around during her morning routine, happy enough just to watch her put on makeup and shoes so the paying public can watch her put on makeup and shoes.

Quick cut to Hana doing well at work, and then to Dae-bok drawing a webtoon version of Assistant Hong at her request. That’s really all there is to it.

Once at home, Hana takes a look at her calendar and realizes something’s amiss. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking—she’s pregnant. Despite all the work she’s mired in, she reveals this to Won, who’s over the moon at the prospect of becoming a father.

Mi-hyang has a healthy baby girl with the support of Teacher Park, and while she says the baby is ugly at first, she eventually takes to it. I’m trying here, but I literally can’t add anything that will make any of these scenes seem like more than they are. It’s just so boring.

While looking at pictures of Won’s new niece, Hana reveals some thoughts she’s been having about their future to Won. She envisions holding hands with their child, who’ll be holding one of Won’s hands. At the same time, she envisions a baby on Won’s back, and a baby standing in front of him.

“So how many children is that?” Won asks wonderingly. Hana adds that since he wanted her to prove her love for him, she’ll prove it by giving birth to children who look like them.

Still, she cautions that the future is about to get a whole lot more chaotic, and she may not always be able to hold her anger in. “I’m still afraid, and everything’s vague,” she says, but Won envelops her in his arms and tells her that he’ll help her with everything. “Thank you, Hana. Thank you.”

They buy a sponsored set of wedding bands for Hana’s parents in order to butter them up for the news that she’s pregnant. Mom’s upset at the bit of trickery, but Dad isn’t, and happily places one of the bands on Mom’s hand. “Thank you for marrying me and living with me,” he tells Mom.

Hana hands the reins for one of her big work projects over to Assistant Hong and Min-ji, who wonder what’s come over their boss. She reveals that she’s pregnant and will be focusing on her new life now, but she’ll still support their work.

After a brief cut to So-eun dating the coworker who liked her, we make it back to Hana as she opens the invitation for Seo-hoo’s upcoming recital. Oh come on, he did not take eight months off his European tour to do a domestic concert when all that fuss was made over canceling every domestic concert he had. And if this is a different concert, then it makes all that hubbub even more moot than it was before.

Hana sends him flowers and a note wishing him the best for his performance, and Seo-hoo vows to do better than his best just for her. He smiles despite looking like he’s about to succumb to a wasting disease.

Meanwhile, Hana has to contend with Won, who’s angry at her for missing their dinner date the night before because of work. But that’s just one of many complaints he has against her, prompting Hana to retort back with her own list of Won-related complaints.

Since there’d be no end to the things they could whine about, Hana packs her suitcase and takes it all the way to her parent’s house next door. This must be a common thing, since neither Mom or Dad blinks an eye as she carts her suitcase upstairs, before Won comes to help her cart it back down to his house.

They make up after their argument, and Won tells her that he signed them up for lamaze classes so she can learn how to help herself through a natural birth. Won’s all excited about the idea of filming the process too, but Hana’s not for lamaze classes and definitely not for a straight-to-DVD horror movie.

“We went from being longtime friends to being a married couple, and we fought and made up countless times. We hated each other and then we loved each other, repeating the cycle over and over again. You must give as much love as you receive. We learned to put that into action so we can maintain our love,” Hana says in voiceover.

We find her leaving work for the airport, where she holds up a sign for Won reading: “I will miss you every day and wait for you. I love you, One To One!” She has to explain how their names both mean “one,” and when Won gets it, he kisses her and laughs.

As they walk away arm in arm, Hana gives one last voiceover: “That magic that turns everyday life into something special thanks to a certain someone. It happens in me and in us every day. Because we love [each other].”

 
COMMENTS

No no no, you don’t get to cop out with that last line, The Time I Waxed Philosophical. You don’t get to act like you were an innocuous slice of life drama that made magic out of those small, everyday little moments. You don’t get to act like you were just shining a meaningful light on the special snowflake that is our shared human experience by telling an overly simplistic yet somehow confoundingly convoluted story about friends turning into lovers. Yes, magic can exist in the smallest places sometimes, but this show was not one of those places.

Still, there was never a point where I didn’t want to care about these characters, and that has never been made clearer to me than in this episode. I wanted to care so badly that I started getting angry that I just couldn’t anymore, even as Won and Hana professed their love, got married, got pregnant, and had stupid arguments for the sake of having stupid arguments because the writers thought that it’d make their relationship seem more realistic. (It didn’t.) There were things happening on-screen that, in some alternate universe, should have mattered—but somewhere before or near the midpoint the show just lost its way and took any emotional investment I might’ve had with it.

I know that people can change in relationships, but who knew Won would transform from a guy who supported Hana wholeheartedly in everything she did—even when she was with an absolute douchebag who he saw being super shady with other women (twice!)—into a guy who gets easily annoyed at every little thing? Were there hints of this needy, whiny version of Won before that I totally missed? As soon as his relationship with Hana became official, he got way too close to becoming another Seo-hoo for my liking. It was probably supposed to be cute(?) that he didn’t want to be away from Hana long enough to give her personal space or to let her work without making her feel guilty about it. Right?

And really, while we can point to a myriad of factors that contributed to the show’s decline, it all seems to source back to the writer switch that took place after the first two weeks. It’s hard to say whether the show would’ve stayed on track had it kept its original writers, but there was an undeniable sort of charm about those first four episodes that went extinct over the course of the series, turning what was supposed to be real life and real people into pantomimes instead. Motivations would change at will because the only time a character really stuck to their guns was when Hana decided she’d start over with Seo-hoo, until she just decided to stop doing that one day.

It’s kind of a shame, because if she’d handled the breakup differently, or if we felt at all like her reasons for breaking up with him were because she’d finally realized what a dirtbag he was, maybe she could’ve brought us back into her world. Everyone makes mistakes, and her turning into a black hole void of personality could’ve just been chalked up as a big one—but then everything revolved around the Hana who sucked while she was with Seo-hoo without spending any time on the Hana who broke up with him. It was all setup and no payoff, so much so that I still don’t think Hana ever realized internally that Seo-hoo was bad for her, probably because she never realized internally who she was or what she wanted.

That same trend of spending too much time on the problem and not enough on the solution can be traced back to the show’s early stages, which is why the payoffs we did get ended up feeling so unearned. Motivation means everything, and when that’s not properly laid out, the rest of the story falters. At the same time, deciding to spend two episodes on Won and Hana’s court-mandated happily ever after doesn’t count as a solution, because the transition from Won and Hana as friends into Won and Hana as lovers failed somewhere along the way.

But that’s neither here nor there at this point, since a book could (but really, really shouldn’t) be written on how this show went went awry, and also how there is zero historical precedent for a show that’s switched writers out and actually gotten better. All you can do is learn from this, dramaland. Learn from this.

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