Side dish: When I went to a jjimjilbang for the first time, I couldn’t wait to get the boiled egg and crack it open on someone’s forehead. It tasted nutty. If you can’t make it to a korean sauna, you can still experience a slapping good time by following this recipe from My Korean Kitchen.
You know that change is afoot when we begin with Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) vacuuming; a task that would normally have been done by her former house mate, Joo Wan (Sung Joon). The change probably began with Joo Yeon breaking up with evil robot, Kang Tae Yoon (Namgung Min) and now, Joo Yeon admits that she needs to go to Wan.
Instead, Joo Yeon communicates with Wan by leaving anonymous questions on the listener message board of his radio show and via texts. She reports that she’s doing all the things he used to do, and she has broken up with Tae Yoon. But, it’s not enough for Wan who is waiting for Joo Yeon to say ‘I love you’.
Joo Yeon’s break up with Tae Yoon was as passionless as the relationship. Tae Yoon accepted it without question, except to ask if she was going to go to Wan, which Joo Yeon admits to. There is a montage of breakups and tense scenes involving Joo Yeon, Tae Yoon, her ex-boyfriend from episode 1, and his ex, Oh Se Ryeong (Wang Ji Won). Past relationships infringe on current ones and it’s one big mess, so says Joo Yeon via a long winded voice over.
At work, Joo Yeon consults with her team leader, Lee Min Jung (Park Hyo Joo), and junior team members, Jung Hee Jae (Yoon Seung Ah) and Lee Woo Young (Park Yoo Hwan), but they can offer nothing new. None of them have said ‘I love you’ to anyone recently, and Hee Jae echoes Joo Yeon’s theory about dating. For instance, Hee Jae’s previous boyfriend prompted her to date her current boyfriend, because he is the exact opposite. This is news to Woo Young, who is the current boyfriend, unbeknownst to the two other colleagues. After Joo Yeon and Min Jung unknowingly label him a coward for not saying ‘I like you’ to Hee Jae, Woo Young ends up revealing that he is the boyfriend. Everyone is delighted.
After Hee Jae and Woo Young run away to avoid any more embarrassing questions, Min Jung tries unsuccessfully to get Joo Yeon to discuss her current situation. Min Jung acknowledges that they are both hot messes, but relationships are what redeem people. This actually convinces Joo Yeon to ask Min Jung to be her friend, and apologize for failing to be a friend to her in the past. For Min Jung, they have been friends ever since Joo Yeon texted her a promise of unconditional support. That was actually a text sent by Wan, but Joo Yeon only smiles and basks in an unearned friendship.
Min Jung asks if Joo Yeon wants to see something funny, and accesses the web cam in the apartment of her baby daddy. Baby daddy is struggling with a fake baby, but is persistent and good natured about it. Unfortunately, Min Jung is convinced that he will run for the hills when he finds out that she’s having twins.
Joo Yeon drives to the hotel that Wan is staying in, and is busy worrying about the inappropriateness of dating someone six years her junior when he drives up. As Wan walks by, Joo Yeon ducks behind her steering wheel. Of course, this does not work, and Wan texts her with the ultimatum that if she leaves without seeing him, she’ll never see him again.
When Wan opens his door to Joo Yeon, she claims that she came to drop off stuff he left behind. The most that she will relent to is enjoying the music on the CD he left for her. Wan relieves Joo Yeon of the box and closes the door in her face.
Wan takes pity on her arrested development, and returns to the door, but forces her to say what she has to say as succinctly as possible, outside. Joo Yeon begs Wan to return to her place, to give her time to decide, but Wan does not want to be treated like ‘Sweet Potato’ again. Joo Yeon raises all the concerns she has about dating Wan, and Wan adds to the list, because they are endless for Joo Yeon, who doesn’t have the courage to proceed. Wan closes the door in her face again. Inside, Wan admits to Joo Yeon’s childhood photo that he was harsh, but he no longer wants to be taken for granted.
At the supermarket, Min Jung is horrified when she runs into her baby daddy wheeling around the fake baby in a stroller. He is horrified by her lack of commitment. Later, Baby Daddy finds out that Min Jung is an only child, and an orphan to boot. Without family support, Min Jung proposes that Baby Daddy stay in the apartment next door to help raise the child. Baby Daddy’s fear is that he will prove to be a coward, though Min Jung has enough faith in him to reveal that she is having twins. Baby Daddy has a fit, but does not throw the fake baby to the ground, so Min Jung may be right.
Joo Yeon continues to contemplate her cowardice at home when she realizes that the furnace has gone out. She texts Wan to ask how to relight the furnace, prompting Wan to worry, then call to release a a tirade. After Joo Yeon disconnects without warning, Wan can’t help but return to Joo Yeon’s house only to find out that she has decamped to a jjimjilbang. He ends up following her there, and quickly crumbles in his resolve not to talk to her. They end up spooning while Wan tells her that he’ll give her one last chance and he loves her.
At the home shopping network, the director has found out that Se Ryeong is in talks to work with the competition, and wonders how her supposed boyfriend, Tae Yoon, and purported friend, Joo Yeon, did not know. Outside the director’s office, Joo Yeon finds out that Tae Yoon is having stress-related health issues again. Initially, it appears that he is back to his robotic self, but Tae Yoon admits to Joo Yeon that he is affected by the breakup, and touches her on the shoulder like a human being.
At lunch with Se Ryeong, Joo Yeon’s team are sucking up, but Se Ryeong is playing hard ball. The rival shopping network has offered her twice the pay of Joo Yeon’s company. Se Ryeong demands that Joo Yeon’s company offer her even more then walks out. Joo Yeon runs after her and suggests an afternoon drink.
Joo Yeon is surprisingly open with Se Ryeong, saying that she had hoped that their partnership was just beginning after their amicable dinner with Min Jung. Se Ryeong tells Joo Yeon that she should have started the discussion in this open manner instead of assuming that she had to bargain with Se Ryeong. They both admit to being jerks, and everything is hunky dory between the two frenemies.
Hee Jae and Woo Young text each other, worried that the work crisis will prevent them from getting away together for the weekend. Unfortunately, they were corresponding over a group chat that included Joo Yeon, and Min Jung, who notifies them of this via the group chat.
Joo Yeon is showing Se Ryeong the couple’s gaffe when another text message for Joo Yeon arrives from Wan. Se Ryeong finds out that Joo Yeon is going to Wan’s hotel suite and she demands an explanation.
Hee Jae and Woo Young are in the car on their way to their weekend getaway. She feeds him snacks she made, because she couldn’t sleep, and he plants his cell phone so that she sees that she is labelled ‘Girlfriend’ in his contacts list. They arrive at what looks like a suburban house and eat more home prepared food and BBQ. Then, Hee Jae plays a ukelele. Later that evening, Woo Young dreams of a future with Hee Jae, but Hee Jae is reluctant to do the same for fear of being let down. Woo Young reassures her and they kiss. I guess Hee Jae and Woo Young are the consolation prize for viewers.
Joo Yeon overcomes her fears and arrives at Wan’s hotel suite. When Wan opens the door, Joo Yeon says, “I love you”, which Wan makes her repeat. After she does, he hugs her, and they kiss. This all seems too easy.
In the next scene, Joo Yeon and Wan are in bed with clothes scattered on the floor. I have my doubts they did the deed until Joo Yeon says she is hungry and that she enjoys feeling hungry after sex (!). They decide to discuss what they like, and apparently, they both like having sex when some sort of precipitation is happening. I gag. Joo Yeon and Wan then discuss what they dislike, and they end up describing each other, then they start bickering. It ends with cute pouting, and Joo Yeon stating that dating hell has begun again.
I am surprised at how relatively painless this episode was. After 14 episodes of of head slapping frustration, I suppose viewers have earned this reprieve. Sadly, the physical intimacy of Joo Yeon and Wan still feels wrong, so I did not enjoy what the writers probably hoped was a payoff.
What I did enjoy was the brief half episode of Wan putting his foot down and expecting more of Joo Yeon. Too bad that didn’t last.
Onto the final episode!
I Need Romance 3 (로맨스가 필요해 3)