“Soulmate” episode 19 recap


Dong Wook is absolutely thrilled with his engagement to Yu Jin.

Side dish: The magical moment between Dong Wook and Soo Kyung at the park would have been complete with some food. A Korean Doshirak (도시락) Lunch would have been perfect. Korean American Mommy provides an entire menu with instructions, and even leaves out kimchi to keep smells down.

Episode Recap

In the aftermath of Dong Wook’s  (Shin Dong Wook) very public proposal to his girlfriend, Yu Jin (Sa Kang), he admits to his buddies that he had no choice. Dong Wook could not embarrass Yu Jin in front of all her family and friends. Yu Jin enters the gym at that moment, and after disparaging his friends, she gets back into their good books with plane tickets to Malibu. Suddenly, Dong Wook’s friends are practically pushing him to the altar.

Soo Kyung (Lee Soo Kyung) is woken up by her brother, Joo Ho (Joo Ho), alarmed that she was crying in her sleep. She admits she dreamed about Dong Wook. Joo Ho tells her that she must marry whoever she dreams of or else he will die. Soo Kyung rightly guesses that Joo Ho just wants the way cleared for him to date Yu Jin.

Dong Wook has a formal meeting with Yu Jin’s parents in their home. Initially, it appears that the well-connected in-laws could boost Dong Wook’s professional success. Then, it is revealed that Yu Jin’s parents intend to first send the couple abroad to study, with Dong Wook’s main responsibility being to keep Yu Jin shielded from reality. Dong Wook is then treated to the sight of a creepy family hug followed by a music recital.

Meanwhile, Joo Ho is playing an acoustic guitar and singing with Soo Kyung on the roof. Joo Ho is thinking about Yu Jin, and Soo Kyung advises him not to obsess about someone who is already taken. Joo Ho asks if she would give up her soul mate just because he was taken. Soo Kyung reluctantly says she would, but she continues to debate the question in her mind.

Yu Jin brings Dong Wook to meet her aunt who owns a boutique. While she tries on her engagement gift, Dong Wook receives a call from his mom who is already talking about buying a house, and meeting the future in-laws. Dong Wook is feeling railroaded when Yu Jin suddenly appears in a wedding dress. Dong Wook is speechless, because he is thinking of how little say he has in a rapidly developing wedding.

Dong Wook escapes Yu Jin’s wedding dress fitting to relax in a park when Soo Kyung comes across him while walking her dog. Soo Kyung is impressed that Dong Wook dotes on her dog, even after learning that the dog is male, unlike her ex-fiancé, Phillip. When Soo Kyung attempts to leave, Dong Wook feigns a head ache that requires cradling in Soo Kyung’s lap. Soo Kyung offers to call Yu Jin, and Dong Wook suddenly feels better. Dong Wook then tries simply asking Soo Kyung to sit with him for a little while, and she agrees.

It is already dusk as Dong Wook and Soo Kyung discuss their shared love of nature. Soo Kyung admits to being very content, and Dong Wook shares his ear buds with her for the perfect soundtrack. Dong Wook stares at Soo Kyung, remembering their previous encounters before returning his gaze to the lake.

Dong Wook comes home to find Yu Jin and his mother waiting for him with dinner. The table is covered in mackerel, because Yu Jin heard that it is one of the ten super foods recommended for Koreans. Dong Wook looks aghast as his mother encourages him to hurry up and get married.

Soo Kyung is at a bar with her boss, Mi Jin (Kim Mi Jin) and they are busy correcting practically every word uttered by airhead, Joo Hee (Ha Joo Hee). Joo Hee is perceptive enough to know that this is an awkward social mix, but it is in celebration of Yu Jin’s engagement. Yu Jin enters the bar with Dong Wook who looks uneasily at Soo Kyung as she tentatively congratulates them.

Joo Hee has just made a failed attempt to come on to Dong Wook when Min Ae (Jang Mi In Ae) arrives on Ryohei’s (Otani Ryohei) arm. Yu Jin looks shocked, because she did not invite her; it turns out Joo Hee did. Dong Wook hears Soo Kyung’s unspoken horror that the woman who her fiancé left her for is friends with Yu Jin, and she is not with Phillip.

Everyone sits in awkward silence until Min Ae attempts to make nice with Soo Kyung. When Mi Jin wonders how they are acquainted, Joo Hee pours gasoline on the fire by revealing all, hoping to taint Min Ae for Ryohei. Mi Jin loudly upbraids Min Ae while Soo Kyung remains mute.

Dong Wook looks on in frustration wishing Soo Kyung could hear his thoughts the way he can hear hers. Soo Kyung finally speaks in order to give a weak excuse for beating a hasty retreat. She stops and returns to stand before Min Ae. She tells Min Ae not to pity her, and that Phillip’s feelings are genuine. Dong Wook smiles then pretends to go to the restroom.

Dong Wook catches up to Soo Kyung who is outside crying. Soo Kyung had hoped that Phillip would find happiness with another woman, because her grudge against him would help her survive. Dong Wook tells her how awesome she was back in the bar, then takes her home.

Comment

It is kind of refreshing not to have a scene where one character humiliates another in front of an audience, which seems to be standard fare in K-dramas. Dong Wook rightly decided that turning down Yu Jin’s marriage proposal at her birthday party was not an option. Soo Kyung chose not to pour water onto Min Ae’s head, but instead, guilt trip her with sincerity and turning the other cheek.

Unfortunately, Dong Wook has not had the courage to turn Yu Jin down in private either, or even to take issue with her manipulative use of her birthday party to force his commitment. This has been to my benefit, because I found the look on Dong Wook’s face as pressure to marry Yu Jin mounted, hilarious. The writers also seem committed to transforming Yu Jin from a naive Pollyanna to a rich weirdo, what with the parade of plastic surgeons who attended her birthday party, and her stiflingly close relationship with her parents.

The park scene was the first time Dong Wook and Soo Kyung were able to just hang out and talk with each other. I think their mutual love of nature is a pretty superficial basis for the soul mate angle. Rather, their normalcy and morality seem to make them a natural fit, because it would be painful to see them with any other character on the show.

Frankly, there just is not enough time left to the series to fully develop a relationship between Dong Wook and Soo Kyung, because the writers were so busy showing how their relationships with others do not work. Though, I suppose watching a well-functioning relationship between two normal people would be boring, and possibly gag-inducing, to watch. Fortunately, there are still many hurdles to cross before Dong Wook and Soo Kyung can be together.


Soulmate (소울메이트)

 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 || series review
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