“I Need Romance 3” episode 9 recap

It’s agreed: we’re both terrible people.

Side dish: Wan creates a sleeping (or dead?) Winnie The Pooh out of rice for Joo Yeon’s lunch. Everything tastes better when it’s cute so buy a rice shaper. You’ll find a selection at J Box.

Episode Recap

Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) has passed out after a good cry about her boss, Kang Tae Yoon (Namgung Min) using her to hurt his ex-girlfriend, Oh Se Ryeong (Wang Ji Won). Joo Wan (Sung Joon) is enjoying the moment when Joo Yeon’s cell phone rings. It’s Tae Yoon calling about an emergency meeting that requires Joo Yeon’s immediate attention. Wan cuts him off stating that Joo Yeon gets little sleep as it is, and he is not about to wake her up after the difficulty she had falling asleep due to crying. Wan feigns ignorance about the reason for her tears, hangs up on Tae Yoon and turns off Joo Yeon’s cell. Tae Yoon looks shocked, then robotically begins typing on his computer.

Joo Yeon is in a panic at 6am, having read her email about the emergency meeting that morning. She runs into Wan’s room to berate him for answering her phone then turning it off. Joo Yeon crashes through the house, while Wan calmly prepares her breakfast to go and a cute lunch, then offers to drive her to work.

As Joo Yeon jumps into Wan’s car, he is fretting about her slipping on ice and her irregular eating habits. Joo Yeon has a tantrum about Wan’s obsession with her eating and tosses his lovingly made meals to the back seat. Fortunately, there are limits to Wan’s sainthood, and he angrily points out that he woke up just to make her meals and drive her in the cold with no socks on. Joo Yeon sheepishly apologizes, but laughs to herself, which is fitting, because Joo Yeon is ridiculous.

However, it’s back to status quo when they arrive at the home shopping network. Joo Yeon leaves the car staring at her tablet, without saying a word to Wan. Wan is miffed by her lack of gratitude then worries about her safety.

Before driving away, Wan realizes that Joo Yeon has forgotten her purse and lunch. He is reluctantly on his way to deliver the items when he runs into Tae Yoon. There is an awkward moment before Wan unloads Joo Yeon’s bags onto Tae Yoon, warning him not to eat the food. Tae Yoon stares pointedly at Wan’s sockless state, before leaving silently with the bags. Wan is flustered and wonders aloud if Joo Yeon likes Tae Yoon’s silent treatment when Wan actively chooses not to be that way.

It turns out that Tae Yoon stayed up all night finishing the report that Joo Yeon failed to do. Joo Yeon is perplexed by Tae Yeon’s unusually supportive behaviour then is further confused when Tae Yoon drags her to a hearty breakfast. Tae Yoon’s unnatural kindness is just a set up to cure his robotic curiosity about whether something about the night before caused her to cry. Joo Yeon defends her recent return to emotions by pointing out that everyone cries at some point. Tae Yoon’s response is to call her a cry baby. Joo Yeon now realizes their relationship has changed, and being with a robot covered in human skin makes her uncomfortable. She decides to hide her continued inexplicable attraction to the evil robot.

Meanwhile, Wan and Se Ryeong, the two other corners of the love square, are having a meal together. Se Ryeong rightly surmises that Joo Yeon likes Tae Yeon, and that she is likely ignorant of her own feelings. She tells Wan to stop Joo Yeon, but Wan makes her look bad by stating that he’ll support Joo Yeon in whatever she pursues, then labels Se Ryeong’s feelings as jealousy and possessiveness, not love. Undeterred, Se Ryeong states that she knows how to stop Joo Yeon from pursuing Tae Yoon.

The emergency meeting has begun at the home shopping network, and Tae Yoon is defending his decision to launch Joo Yeon’s higher end clothing line online in the aftermath of the clothing line’s broadcast failure. Joo Yeon can only sit silently on the sidelines, looking worried.

After the meeting, Joo Yeon expresses her guilt about causing trouble for Tae Yoon, who she knows suffers from stress-induced gastritis. Tae Yoon cannot reassure her with approval of her project, but promises to support her in any endeavour. Joo Yeon is thrilled by this statement, completely forgetting the death stare Tae Yoon gave her right after her broadcast failure. She promises to provide Tae Yoon with a list of foods to treat gastritis, to which Tae Yoon jokingly asks if Joo Yeon likes him. Joo Yeon laughs this off, then promises not to let him down again. Se Ryeong walks in on this cozy moment, and turns it awkward for everyone.

To promote the high end clothing line, Joo Yeon and Se Ryeong are being interviewed and having their photograph taken for a magazine. Joo Yeon’s smile is frozen like rigour mortis as she suffers the sham of camaraderie. Se Ryeong appears to have an easier time recounting how their friendship started in high school, leaving out the part where it ended shortly thereafter.

When Joo Yeon expresses her distaste at Se Ryeong’s overly enthusiastic lying, Se Ryeong insists that she truly considers Joo Yeon a friend. Rather than laugh in her face, Joo Yeon regards Se Ryeong with uncertainty as Se Ryeong smiles winningly.

Returning to the conversation between Se Ryeong and Wan, Se Ryeong reveals that she will keep Joo Yeon away from Tae Yoon using friendship. She is relying on her instinct that Joo Yeon would never date someone who a friend expressly likes. Recall that Se Ryeong justified her friendship destroying theft of Joo Yeon’s boyfriend, because she had expressed interest in the boy and Joo Yeon had ignored her claim. So, either Se Ryeong believes that Joo Yeon has become a better person or Se Ryeong is a boyfriend stealing liar. Wan asks Se Ryeong not to manipulate Joo Yeon’s feelings, but Se Ryeong is comfortable doing anything to get what she wants, and she welcomes Joo Yeon to do the same.

Back to the conversation between Se Ryeong and Joo Yeon, Se Ryeong is working the friend angle by apologizing for past wrongs, before mentioning that she and Tae Yoon have a tempestuous relationship, but they always come back to each other. Hint hint.

Joo Yeon accepts Se Ryeong’s extended hand with a smile. She casually mentions that her dream is to become a director at the home shopping network, and her goal hinges on the higher end clothing line. Se Ryeong promises to do her best to make Joo Yeon’s project a success. It appears that a deal has been struck between the frenemies.

In other news, Joo Yeon’s work colleague, Lee Min Jung has changed her cell phone number in an attempt to evade her regular Friday hook up, whose baby she is unexpectedly carrying. Friday hookup goes through the three stages of rejected suitor turned stalker. He is shocked to find out that Min Jung’s number has been disconnected. He then stares sadly at the sparkly bracelet that he bought for Min Jung. Finally, Friday hookup creeps Min Jung’s social media profile and does internet searches to piece together her true identity.

Meanwhile, Joo Yeon’s other female colleague, Jung Hee Jae is in need of a sanitary napkin. When neither Joo Yeon nor Min Jung have one to offer, the lone male team member, Lee Woo Young reveals his secret stash of pads. It turns out that he is fully aware of his female colleagues’ menstrual cycles. After Woo Young steps away, Joo Yeon and Min Jung speculate whether their male colleague is gay, which Hee Jae vehemently denies then scurries away before she is asked to explain herself.

After Joo Yeon has a cute text exchange with Wan about dinner, Min Jung casually observes how nice it must be to have a menstrual cycle. It is definitely Min Jung’s attempt to broach the subject of her pregnancy, and not misguided period envy. Joo Yeon falls back on tight lipped and unhelpful, telling Min Jung to do whatever she wants.

Poor Min Jung is so desperate for a friend that she continues, confessing that she doesn’t know what she wants, and whether she should keep the baby. Joo Yeon continues being a cold hearted bitch by advising Min Jung not to rely on others. Min Jing finally snaps at Joo Yeon about her cut and dried view of the world. This jolts Joo Yeon into belatedly remembering Wan reprimanding her for her previous failure as a friend to Min Jung. Joo Yeon follows his advice and sulkily tells Min Jung that she’ll listen to and support her. Min Jung asks Joo Yeon if she is on drugs.

As she returns home, Joo Yeon reflects on the ways Wan has changed her life. She can cry, someone is at home with dinner prepared when she returns, and that person can help her unbutton her blouse with his eyes closed…what?!

Over dinner prepared by Wan, Joo Yeon asks if he has had contact with his mother. Unsurprisingly, Wan’s mother is as neglectful as she ever was. Joo Yeon tries to comfort Wan by complimenting him on having grown up well, but Wan is offended by Joo Yeon’s infantilization of him.

Wan and Joo Yeon share a nice moment where they listen to his music, and compare conflicting memories of their childhood. Joo Yeon promises to finally take Wan on a long promised trip to the zoo, and is successful at identifying the emotion in a song Wan plays for her. Joo Yeon is on a roll, feeling happy and at peace. She falls asleep on Wan’s shoulder, completely relaxed.

The smiles continue at the home shopping network where Joo Yeon and Se Ryeong are working well together on the online store. Even junior team member, Hee Jae is hard at work after shedding bitter tears over news that her ex-boyfriend passed the civil servant exam and has a new girlfriend to enjoy the fruits of Hee Jae’s long time support.

With Se Ryeong’s golden touch, the online sale of Joo Yeon’s high end clothing line is a smashing success and sells out. Joo Yeon’s team is ecstatic when the high volume of visitor traffic causes the system to freeze, because they care nothing about customer service.

In spite of the success of her project, Joo Yeon looks troubled. She abruptly leaves the broadcast floor, and arrives at Tae Yoon’s office remembering Wan’s advice to follow her heart. Joo Yeon breathlessly reports her latest success, and tells Tae Yoon that she did it for him. Tae Yoon takes this rather personal admission in stride, and asks what she wants in return. Joo Yeon asks him to spend Sunday with her, which Tae Yoon correctly identifies as a date, and Joo Yeon does not deny. Se Ryeong is listening around the corner, looking deflated; her strategy has failed.

Back at home, Joo Yeon can only focus on her triumph over Se Ryeong. Wan’s eyes widen in alarm as Joo Yeon admits to knowing about Se Ryeong’s ulterior motive for offering friendship. Now, Joo Yeon has secured a date with the man Se Ryeong loves, with the intention of hurting Se Ryeong. Wan manages to come up with a non-judgemental response, advising Joo Yeon’s to focus on her positive feelings for Tae Yoon rather than her hate for Se Ryeong. Joo Yeon defensively insists that her actions are the way of the world. Wan calmly disagrees; patience and love are what drive the world. He points out that Joo Yeon has not only become the woman she hates, she is worse than Se Ryeong, because she cannot acknowledge how monstrous her actions are. Wan leaves Joo Yeon with a warning not to make him regret coming back to her.


This episode clearly established how all-consuming Joo Yeon’s hatred of Se Ryeong is. Even with Wan’s loving support on the home front and professional success helped along by Se Ryeong, Joo Yeon cannot resist the chance to wound her rival.

I begin to question at what point the writers intend to make Joo Yeon a worthy recipient of Wan’s patient and selfless love. She has shown little progress in terms of compassion for others, including friends, and now, she has twisted Wan’s advice to serve her petty need for revenge. The arrested development of the female lead is inexcusable considering Wan’s rather quick transformation from immature and creepy younger man to moral compass and source of solace for Joo Yeon.

Tae Yoon appears to be the model for Joo Yeon’s more psychopathic tendencies, and thus, another failure on the part of the writers to create a character that viewers can care about. As terribly selfish as Se Ryeong is, you can’t help but feel sorry for her whenever she tries to regain the affections of this robot.

If we follow the story arc that the writers seem intent on, Tae Yoon and Joo Yeon deserve each other, Se Ryeong should find love elsewhere, and Wan can come out of our dreams to cook in my kitchen.

I Need Romance 3 (로맨스가 필요해 3)

 1 – 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 || series review

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