When the robots form Skynet, Wan will lead the resistance.
Side dish: You’ll need comfort food to get through this episode, and since they attempt to make curry at some point, you should attempt to do the same. Here’s a nice Japanese-style chicken curry recipe from Cooking with Dog, the greatest cooking show on Youtube.
The episode opens with Kang Tae Yoon (Namgung Min) the robot ending the least romantic confession date ever by unromantically letting his subordinate and new girlfriend, Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) walk home alone. Joo Yeon flashes back to his proposal that they date from the last episode (see episode 10 recap), but her creepy smiling is cut short when she gets a text from the only man who truly loves her, superstar DJ/music producter, Joo Wan (Sung Joon) asking when she’ll get home.
As she walks up to the house, Wan hands her a bouquet of flowers to commemorate the 100th day of his arrival in Korea and to thank her for living with him. She accepts them, but moments later tells Wan that Tae Yoon and she are now dating. He reacts as predicted, bemoaning Tae Yoon’s lack of flowers, rings or I-love-yous. She responds that she had that kind of thing in the past and she was disappointed, so she has no expectation left. He tells her that he loves her, which she laughs off, because she’s emotionally stunted.
In voiceover, Wan tells us the obvious, which is that he wasn’t okay with the situation, that he wanted to ask her why it wasn’t him, and whether she was okay with Tae Yoon’s robot love.
The next day, she comes home half frozen, because Tae Yoon took her for a walk in the park and she wasn’t dressed for it. When Wan complains, she explains that it was bearable. He asks her if she even mentioned that it was cold, and she responds that Tae Yoon doesn’t like whining.
Wan finally says what we’ve all been thinking, that the two robots, Tae Yoon and Joo Yeon are meant for each other, but she shrugs it off and smiles. He finally breaks and asks her what’s so good about Tae Yoon. She flashes back to a meeting with him at work where he randomly told her she looks pretty.
Wan hits the nail on the head when he says that she doesn’t like Wan, because he’s always nice to her, and promises to play hard to get. Joo Yeon explains that what she likes about Tae Yoon is that he makes her uncomfortable. Wan pouts to find his discomfort=love formula turned against him. He tries to randomly compliment her as they do dishes, and she laughs at him.
Wan contemplates his weakness at love triangles as he poses on his bed (sadly with his shirt on). He wonders how he’s going to make it through this. I wonder the same thing.
Back at work the next day, the team is busy with their successful online shopping mall. Youngest team member Jung Hee Jae (Yoon Seung Ah) mentions that she missed going to the jewelry fair, but Joo Yeon tells her that Tae Yoon went. He arrives right after and sneaks a jewelry box to Joo Yeon, who opens it to discover earrings. Before she can put them away, Hee Jae grabs the earrings out of her hand, and whines until Tae Yoon agrees to give them to her, since he can’t say they were a gift for Joo Yeon.
Joo Yeon interrupts oldest team member Lee Min Jung’s (Park Hyo Joo) nap on the toilet when she knocks at her stall door. Joo Yeon asks if she was sleeping again, and Min Jung complains of her tiredness. After checking for eavesdroppers, Min Jung tells her that she’s realised since becoming pregnant that humans are slaves to their bodies.
Joo Yeon asks if she’s made a decision, and Min Jung says that she’s decided to have the baby, since she discovered that Friday Hookup was such a sincere guy, and could produce nice kids (WTF). Joo Yeon encourages her to discuss it with him, since he’s so nice, but Min Jung doesn’t listen.
As she leaves, Joo Yeon gets a text from Tae Yoon, chastising her for letting Hee Jae steal the earrings from her. He asks her if she wants to work late at his house tonight, and she gets excited when she assumes he means sex. Instead, Tae Yoon’s intention is to help her with her presentation for the employee seminar.
As Joo Yeon pouts, Tae Yoon finally clues in that she thought it was a date, and invites her to see a movie instead. She turns him down, and he teases her by pinching her cheeks. I would have punched him at this point, but she acts shy and they laugh together. She muses in her voiceover that the transition from boss and subordinate to dating will take some work. He holds her hand on the drive home.
They continue to hold hands as they walk up to her house. She thanks him for helping her on her speech, and he apologizes that it wasn’t a date. She imagines that he wants to kiss her and instead of saying something, she flashes back to her work colleagues talking about first kisses. Min Jung waxes rhapsodic about the anticipation of the kiss. Hee Jae chimes in that she gets “effing mad” if he doesn’t go for it, while male team member Lee Woo Young (Park Yoo Hwan) mocks her. He asks why the guy has to initiate, but they all agree that the woman can’t initiate the first kiss. The flashbacks ends as Woo Young responds that the woman should give the man a hint so he takes courage.
As the two of them stare into each other’s eyes, Joo Yeon explains in voiceover that she has a technique for making kisses happen and imagines trying it with Tae Yoon. She gives him a light peck, then pulls back and smiles like a little kid. Tae Yoon becomes so inflamed that he goes for it, and they kiss passionately right then and there. Instead of that happening, he drops her hand and sends her inside, confused. She flashes back to another conversation with her work colleagues, where Min Jung explains why a man might not kiss on the first date: he’s being polite. On the second date, it’s because he’s timid, says Hee Jae. And, if he doesn’t do it on the third date, says Min Jung, pounding the table for emphasis, he must be gay. Woo Young gets defensive as everyone looks at him, insisting he kisses on the second date, annoyed that no one knows how manly he is.
Joo Yeon can’t think of a reasonable explanation since Tae Yoon is not gay, and then compares Tae Yoon to Sweet Potato (aka Wan) who kissed her on their first date.
It’s like High Noon outside Joo Yeon’s house as Tae Yoon runs into Wan, who is carrying a stuffed giraffe. Tae Yoon points out that Joo Yeon won’t like the giraffe, because she’s not a kid, but Wan explains that it’s connected to their shared memories. They argue back and forth about who’s going to get Joo Yeon, and whether Wan should leave Joo Yeon’s house. Tae Yoon dismisses him as a competitor, and leaves, laughing. Wan wonders if they kissed.
Joo Yeon sits at her computer agonizing over the lack of a kiss, then complains how she’s back into the hell of dating. As if in response, Tae Yoon texts her, telling her to close her eyes next time he drops her off, because he can’t kiss her if she’s looking at him. Joo Yeon takes heart as Wan bursts into the room with the giraffe. Joo Yeon is about to take the giraffe when the newly insecure Wan demands to know if it’s childish and if she likes it. When she’s pleased with her gift, he jumps on her like an excited puppy.
Tae Yoon gets home to find his ex-girlfriend and Joo Yeon’s frenemy, Oh Se Ryeong (Wang Ji Won), tipsy and waiting outside his apartment. He tries to send her home. She tells him that she understands he’s tired of her, but that he’ll end up in the same kind of heavy relationship with Joo Yeon eventually. Will he still stay with her then? He says that he’s thinking of taking that chance, and tells her to go home. She starts crying outside his door as he closes it behind him. He hesitates inside, but doesn’t come back out.
Budding lovers Woo Young and Hee Jae walk back to her house. He announces that he’ll start picking her up in his car starting tomorrow, which she reluctantly agrees to. Then he says that he’s going to kiss her. Before he can, she remembers her ex-boyfriend, and runs for it instead. Woo Young gets “effing mad”.
The next day, Joo Yeon presents at the employee seminar, while Tae Yoon looks on encouragingly. The senior director shows up to ask him if he’s not worried that Joo Yeon will overtake him, and advises him to put her in her place. Tae Yoon looks unconcerned. In the meantime, we’re treated to an 80s-style montage of the team’s successes as Joo Yeon finishes up her presentation.
Back in Wan’s studio, Se Ryeong is approving outfits for the idol band whose debut he’s producing. Wan asks her if he can change his look from preppy to dark and manly. She threatens to dress him in hot pink, and he threatens to change his stylist. Se Ryeong’s assistant tells her to call her lawyer about the contract with the home shopping network. She does and asks the lawyer to look into when she can get out of it, and when would cause the biggest loss to the shopping network. Wan looks sad as she announces her revenge plans to him, and tells her it hurts his heart to see her become vicious.
Even though it’s winter, Wan and Se Ryeong go for a drive in his convertible with the top down, and pretend like it’s fun. He pulls over under a bridge near the Han River, and they sit on a convenient bench, where he puts a blanket over her knees. Se Ryeong tells him that Joo Yeon is stupid for picking Tae Yoon over him. He breaks up their nice moment by telling her not to mix up her emotions in her work, and to put the relationship aside. She tells him that she would rather break things than give them away, and mentions how nice it would have been if she’d been born kind like him.
Tae Yoon and the team are discussing the online shopping mall, with Min Jung complaining that they need more people. Woo Young and Hee Jae walk in with a fishbowl and invitations to Se Ryeong’s company party. Woo Young passes the fish to Tae Yoon, saying it’s from Se Ryeong. Min Jung points out that it matches his own fish, and wonders why they’re trading gifts. Woo Young asks if it’s a couple fish while Joo Yeon looks worried.
Later, Joo Yeon stands staring at the fish. Tae Yoon comes up and asks her to work late, meaning to go on a date. They go back to his place to make curry, and have a cute argument about putting in broccoli versus carrots; even robots have food preferences, I guess. After dinner, they awkwardly start making out. He makes a move to unbutton her shirt and she stops him, so they stick with kissing.
Meanwhile, Min Jung’s Friday Hookup (Yoo Ha Joon) is looking at Min Jung’s mailbox wondering whether to complete his leap into stalkerdom, and look at her mail. He does, and discovers she’s getting a lot of mail about babies. Min Jung catches him, and he says he’s doing it, because he’s curious about her. He spots the bracelet he gave her on Min Jung’s wrist and gets excited.
She plays it down and tells him not to be a stalker or she’ll move. He tells her he can always find her at work then drags her to his apartment so that they can talk, threatening her with outing her sluttiness to the neighbours. They argue back and forth; he can’t understand why they can’t date, and she doesn’t want to tell him she’s pregnant. As she leaves, he flashes back to the baby-related stuff in her mail.
It’s Se Ryeong’s party and the whole team’s there. Hee Jae, Woo Young and Min Jung are impressed by Se Ryeong’s accomplishments, while Joo Yeon, Tae Yoon and the senior director are networking another stylist, who spots a newly arrived Wan. Tae Yoon looks bored as the senior director sucks up to Wan. Se Ryeong arrives and greets the senior director, who remembers that Se Ryeong had mentioned that there was someone at the home shopping network she liked. Se Ryeong admits that it’s Tae Yoon, and the director starts teasing him for it. Everyone else looks uncomfortable.
One of Se Ryeong’s poker buddies shows up and remembers Tae Yoon from the poker night that broke them up (see episode 8 recap). He tells him that poker night was not such a big deal and they just meet for fun. Se Ryeong smiles as everyone else looks uncomfortable again.
Tae Yoon runs into Se Ryeong as he comes out of the washroom and confronts her. She says that she’s taking revenge by putting him in her shoes, i.e., making him the subject of rumours that taint his relationship. Joo Yeon and Wan come up behind Tae Yoon, and Se Ryeong uses the opportunity to ask him why he’s dating such a boring woman, who is obviously not his equal. Wan stops her, thus alerting Tae Yoon to their presence. Se Ryeong continues spitting venom about Joo Yeon, who looks shell-shocked as Wan tries to drag her away. Tae Yoon grabs Joo Yeon’s wrist and tells her to act more like a robot, and that she has to stay at the party since it’s for work. Se Ryeong walks away, smiling an evil smile.
Wan finally drags a shaken Joo Yeon away. Wan and Joo Yeon walk away hand in hand when he remembers that he didn’t bring his car. Joo Yeon says she has to go back to the party anyway, since Tae Yoon was right. They struggle, and Wan finally loses his temper. He tells her that Tae Yoon’s a bad guy, and he doesn’t want to lose her to a jerk like him. The episode ends as she finally looks up at him.
If this is meant to be a fun look at contemporary adult relationships, I’m a little worried, because nobody’s acting like an adult, much less a contemporary one.
I can’t even deal with the main characters right now, so let’s talk about Min Jung and Friday Hookup. I get that to him, the breakup is inexplicable, but his behaviour is on another level. He showed up at her workplace, he went through her mail, and got her to talk to him by threatening to out her “slutty” behaviour to the neighbours. She keeps calling him a stalker, and yet, she decides to have the baby on the basis that he’s a nice guy with sincere feelings. Am I expected to believe that stalking is just his way of showing his interest in her? Did I miss something here?
As for the whole situation with Wan, Joo Yeon, Tae Yoon and Se Ryeong, I’m just glad Wan finally got angry, even if it was misdirected. Maybe he’ll move out while he’s at it.
I Need Romance 3 (로맨스가 필요해 3)
I love this show but it is getting a little loony (though all this writer’s shows seem to be a little like this in the end) but I totally agree with your “complaints”. Very funny 🙂
I like the tone of the series (and definitely the clothes), but the characters are beginning to drive me nuts. I heard good things about the first I Need Romance, by the same writer. Should I give that one a try?