Side dish: Joo Yeon is so tired from work that she loses her appetite and must have black sesame porridge fed to her by Wan. This episode made me lose my appetite. I need Sung Joon to follow this recipe and come over right now: Black Sesame Porridge.
We open on a scene that is suspiciously cozy: Joo Wan (Sung Joon) is strumming on an acoustic guitar while Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) sings along. Of course, it is pure fantasy. The reality is played out showing Joo Yeon alternating between frantically running out the door or passing out at home. All the while, Wan plays nurse and house maid.
We return to the present in which Joo Yeon is crying over her boss, Kang Tae Yoon’s snub, and Wan realizes that the woman he loves is in love with another. However, Joo Yeon is the master of head over heart, and quickly wipes away the tears. She is even able to fondly remember the abuse she suffered at the hands of Tae Yoon, which mirror the tactics she uses on her own team members. Like a Stockholm syndrome sufferer, Joo Yeon admits to being very comfortable with Tae Yoon. When Wan digs for his rival’s weakness, Joo Yeon names her frenemy, Oh Se Ryeong.
Se Ryeong is at the home shopping network office, celebrating her sold-out show. Boss, Tae Yoon congratulates the team then beats a hasty retreat to his office, but Se Ryeong follows in hopes of reconnecting with her ex. Tae Yoon angrily accuses her of wanting what she can’t have. After six episodes of taking crap with a smile, Se Ryeong finally sheds tears, but vows to find a way to win him back.
The opportunity comes mere minutes later when Joo Yeon’s junior team member, Jung Hee Jae, accuses Se Ryeong of planting an inferior product to precipitate their failure. Se Ryeong blithely takes the blame, but Tae Yoon steps in to defend Se Ryeong, and help her escape.
Tae Yoon asks Se Ryeong why she must always play the villain, to which Se Ryeong responds that she only cares what those who matter think about her. Sensing an opportunity, Se Ryeong goes in for the kill with a hug.
There is a brief check-in with Joo Yeon’s junior team members, Jung Hee Jae and Lee Woo Young, who previously shared a drunken kiss. He proposes they go out for a drink, she turns his offer down, because she has a boyfriend, he quickly accepts her answer, she is miffed that he was not more persistent, he considers it being respectful of her difficult situation.
Meanwhile, Joo Yeon is jogging and giving herself a pep talk, using her head to bring her pesky feelings under control. Troubled by Joo Yeon’s total disconnect from her emotions, Wan recalls hitting rock bottom as a teenager in the US. By connecting Joo Yeon to the love and care that he was sorely missing, Wan was able to motivate himself to work his way back to her.
Joo Yeon lowers her guard and admits that their living arrangement has been very comfortable for both of them. This prompts Wan to immediately make the situation uncomfortable by leaning in, denying the incestuous undertones of their relationship, and talking about being a real man. Joo Yeon falls back on wide-eyed and flustered, before remembering that she is a 33-year-old woman, and pushing Wan back while calling him a brat.
Having exhausted the creepy strategy, Wan takes Joo Yeon to his keyboard, and proceeds to play the songs that he remembered her using to teach him about feelings. Unfortunately, Joo Yeon remembers none of it, and having disconnected from her emotions, cannot even guess what feeling each song might be referring to, with the exception of ‘sadness’. The song about love puts Joo Yeon to sleep.
We are treated to intercuts between Wan placing Joo Yeon in his bed and watching her sleep, and Se Ryeong and Tae Yoon falling into bed together after Tae Yoon admits to missing Se Ryeong. It is obviously too early for happy endings, so we’ll leave it at that.
When Joo Yeon wakes up in Wan’s bed and arms, he is already awake, and expecting screaming and pillow violence. But, Joo Yeon is amazed that she slept so soundly, and dismisses Wan with her nickname for him, ‘Sweet Potato’. Se Ryeong and Tae Yoon have a similarly happy morning after, though Tae Yoon’s transformation from bitter ex to loving boyfriend happened so suddenly that I’m fully expecting Tae Yoon to announce that what they shared was revenge sex before kicking Se Ryeong out.
Joo Yeon’s former colleague, Lee Min Jung, who had quit work after all her so-called friends failed to show any concern for her early onset menopause, is back with a doctor, and she’s pregnant. It’s a miracle! Now, the show won’t need to deal with the serious issue of menopause, and instead, play out the more cheerful baby plot line.
Min Jung returns home to find Joo Yeon ringing her doorbell with the intention of recruiting her back to work. Any argument is cut short by the arrival of Min Jung’s neighbour, who also happens to be her regular Friday hookup. Friday fling knows Min Jung by another name and age, and is unaware of their close proximity all week long. Joo Yeon pretends to be Min Jung to get rid of the neighbour, and Min Jung agrees to return to work.
Min Jung then makes the mistake of thinking Joo Yeon cares, and reveals her pregnancy, which will likely be her one and only. Joo Yeon cuts her short, making it clear that she has no interest in discussing Min Jung’s personal matters. Joo Yeon then takes her leave as Min Jung cries silently.
Back home, Joo Yeon attempts to justify her sociopathic behaviour to Wan. Joo Yeon is then schooled by a man seven years her junior and prone to inappropriate behaviour, on how to be a friend. When Joo Yeon is compelled by Wan to send Min Jung a text of apology and support, it sends a shiver through Min Jung.
Back at the home shopping network, Joo Yeon must contend with colleagues gleeful at her unprecedented failure. Joo Yeon vows to become the best at getting rid of leftover inventory. Cut to Joo Yeon and her team trying to sell the unwanted inventory on the street. Their humiliation is complete with the arrival of Se Ryeong and her design team. Lucky for her, Se Ryeong is in charitable mood, and her presence instantly brings hordes of customers.
With Se Ryeong’s asistance, Joo Yeon sells out her leftover inventory, then calls her boss, Tae Yoon for acknowledgement, and an apology, which Tae Yoon laughs off. Having taken credit for this success, Joo Yeon tries to unload responsibility for the entire fiasco on Se Ryeong. Se Ryeong counters by pointing out how much Joo Yeon’s team hates her behind her back, whereas she is loved by her design team.
Se Ryeong then proves how popular she is when Tae Yoon comes to pick her up while failing to even acknowledge Joo Yeon’s presence. As the happy couple drive away, Tae Yoon feels a pain where a heart would normally reside.
Joo Yeon returns home to Wan complaining of acid reflux, but after some questioning, it becomes clear to Wan that Joo Yeon is suffering heartache. The episode ends with Wan about to reveal to Joo Yeon who she is in love with, even if it is to his own detriment.
Are the writers intent on making viewers dislike Joo Yeon? I suppose they are trying to emphasize the character’s disconnection with her emotions, so that Wan can help reconnect them with his love. That’s already a storyline that I dislike. However, there is a point of no return for an unsympathetic character, and Joo Yeon is quickly approaching it. Her failure to provide any emotional support for her colleagues is unforgivable, given that they came to her home late at night bearing gifts and offering company in the aftermath of her being dumped by her boyfriend.
Professionally, she is also demonstrating a lack of credibility by failing to unload the unwanted merchandise in spectacular fashion as she promised. In contrast, her rival, Se Ryeong fulfills the promise she made to help with the unwanted merchandise, and actually succeeds in doing so.
Wan’s creepy assertion that discomfort is actually excitement is a passing annoyance in comparison; his patience and love for the sociopath that is Joo Yeon is turning him into an object of pity.
I Need Romance 3 (로맨스가 필요해 3)