“Secret Love Affair” episode 9 recap

20140416-090700.jpg No secrets, but much kissing.

Side dish: I bet when Hye Won was huddling in that cold shed, scared out of her wits by a feral cat that she wished she had a BeaverTail to munch on. It would have provided warmth and comfort, and if she got the Killaloe Sunrise (brown sugar and lemon), she could have used the citrus to scare the cat away.

Episode Recap

It’s the morning after the night before, as Oh Hye Won (Kim Hee Ae) waits for a cab outside Lee Sun Jae’s (Yoo Ah In), apartment. Just as she gets into the car, Sun Jae comes running out onto his balcony, and watches her drive away.

20140416-091016.jpgSun Jae looks sad, but when he gets back inside, he finds the world’s longest text message from Hye Won on his phone. It’s a love letter, and we flash back to the night before as he reads it. Hye Won describes being scared as she came to his apartment by herself, worried about  how she would explain herself if she was injured on the wet stairs. She describes how going through the dark and narrow hallway made her happy, since she was going to arrive at his place.

Hye Won almost cried as she entered, since his place felt like a home, one where she belonged. Sun Jae tears up as he reads about Hye Won’s gratitude to his mother. Hye Won goes on to write that since she’s an expert liar (oh, self-delusion), that she’ll take the burden of lying about their relationship onto herself, rather than make him a liar, too.

20140416-091330.jpgHye Won writes that she helped herself to his instant ramen and ate it on the roof, so as not to disturb his sleep with her slurping. It was so delicious that she finally understood what he meant about enjoying music (and life) to the fullest. Given her strange life, Hye Won can’t say that she loves Sun Jae’s house, or him, but she tells him that he’s infinitely bright, despite his lack of German and English. Even though it’s adultery, Hye Won repeats that she’ll handle the messy part of the relationship, and that he should take care of himself. Sun Jae looks tearful as he saves her phone number under a different name. In the backseat of the cab, an equally tearful Hye Won applies makeup.

20140416-091819.jpgBack at their home, Hye Won’s husband, Professor Kang Joon Hyung (Park Hyuk Kwon) gets dressed, glancing at Hye Won’s obviously undisturbed bed. As he sits down to breakfast, he asks the housekeeper if Hye Won has already left, and she confirms that Hye Won had texted her to say that she was having breakfast at Hannam-dong. Joon Hyung sips his coffee contemplatively.

Hye Won is having breakfast at the house of the SeoHan Arts Foundation’s Chairman (Kim Yong Gun) and CEO, Han Sung Sook (Shim Hye Jin). As Hye Won walks into the kitchen, she greets Sung Sook’s assistant, who notices that she’s wearing the same clothes as yesterday. Hye Won unconvincingly mutters something about running late and grabbing the first outfit she saw.

As the Chairman and Sung Sook walk in to the breakfast room, Sung Sook waves a ring at Hye Won, saying it’s a surprise gift from the Chairman. It’s hard to see, but it looks a lot like the ring that was rejected by his former mistress. Sung Sook asks Hye Won how it looks, and Hye Won replies diplomatically that both Sung Sook and the Chairman look magnificent.

As they eat their breakfast, Sung Sook brings up her stepdaughter and Hye Won’s crazy boss, Seo Young Woo’s (Kim Hye Eun) company. She asks if the SeoHan Arts Foundation could invest in Young Woo’s company a little. Obviously, Sung Sook is looking to get a foothold in it, and Hye Won smoothly puts her off, as the Chairman looks annoyed at Sung Sook’s sneakiness.

20140416-092113.jpgSun Jae, meanwhile, cleans up the above mentioned dark and narrow hallway to his apartment, changing the light bulbs and washing the stairs. As he gets ready to go to school, he flips through a book that Joon Hyung gave him to study, but puts it back, electing instead to search something on the internet. He gives that up, too, and leaves.

In the car, Sung Sook and Hye Won discuss the details of Young Woo’s company, which the Chairman has set up to receive foreign investments, specifically from a company in Singapore. This sounds to me like a tax dodge, but neither of them says this out loud. With this information, though, Hye Won is back in Sung Sook’s good graces. On her tablet, Hye Won shows Sung Sook the channels she suggested for bringing in the investment funds, and Sung Sook approves. Sung Sook pinches Hye Won’s leg, instructing Hye Won to give her real-time reports on the company, and Hye Won replies that she’ll leave the communication lines open.

20140416-092347.jpgSeemingly at random, Sung Sook asks when Sun Jae’s results would be available (referring to international competition), and Hye Won answers that it might be up to three months before the competition. Sung Sook suggests getting Sun Jae double eyelid surgery in advance, leaving a panicked Hye Won sputtering for an answer. Neither Sung Sook, nor her assistant in the front seat are convinced by Hye Won’s half-assed explanation that Europeans will find Sun Jae’s Asian charms more appealing. Especially considering that it looks like Sung Sook was watching Hye Won’s reaction to the suggestion.

20140416-092534.jpgAt the spa where she works, Sun Jae’s girlfriend, Park Da Mi (Kyung Soo Jin) gets a text from Sun Jae’s friend, Son Jang Ho (Choi Tae Hwan), reporting that Sun Jae’s professor’s wife comes to her spa. He sends her a website with more information, and Da Mi looks perturbed as she recognizes Hye Won’s face.

20140416-092733.jpgIt turns out Sung Sook was on her way to the spa, while Hye Won continues on to the Foundation for work. As Sung Sook walks in to the shampoo room, she makes a call in front of Da Mi, leaving instructions that Sun Jae’s training should be left entirely to Hye Won, rather than split between Hye Won and Joon Hyung, since there’s a better chemistry there. As Da Mi washes her hair, Sung Sook compliments her on her massage skills, wondering why she hasn’t seen her before.

Back at the Foundation, Joon Hyung meets with Dean Min (Kim Chang Wan), who is watching a recording of Sun Jae’s audition. Dean Min compares Sun Jae to Jackson Pollock, since he has a rough style. After some chitchat, Dean Min gets around to informing Joon Hyung that he thinks it might be better for Sun Jae to be taught entirely by Hye Won. Joon Hyung has the presence of mind to ask whose idea this was, but Dean Min lies, telling him that he thought of it. He appeals to Joon Hyung’s ego to smooth it over, telling him that Sun Jae’s playing style is closer to Hye Won’s, and that Joon Hyung is too busy to devote much time to Sun Jae. He’s not entirely successful, but Joon Hyung can hardly argue, and accepts the decision.

Joon Hyung goes back to his office to tell a waiting Sun Jae that he’ll be supervised by Hye Won from now on. He plays it off like it was his own idea, and Sun Jae blurts out a thank you, before he thinks better of it and apologizes, running from the room.

20140416-093000.jpgHye Won walks into her own office, and plugs in a cell phone to charge, hiding it from her assistant. Outside of Sung Sook’s office, Hye Won asks Sung Sook’s assistant why she’s been called in, and she’s told the news about taking over Sun Jae’s training. Hye Won is taken aback, but goes into the office to officially hear the news from Sung Sook, who explains she’s doing this for the good of Sun Jae’s performance. She instructs Hye Won to only pretend to help Young Woo with her company, and she’ll give Hye Won less work herself. Sung Sook’s smile is creepy as she asks Hye Won to pass on the message to Joon Hyung that she still cherishes him. But then, Sung Sook’s smile is always creepy.

As Hye Won leaves, she pauses in the corridor outside Sung Sook’s office then continues, under the watchful eye of Sung Sook’s assistant, who looks nonplussed. Back in her office, Hye Won confirms with her own assistant that there is no sound source for the orchestra accompaniment of Paganini’s concerto, then checks her hidden phone. There’s a message from Sun Jae, telling her he’s on his way.

20140416-093209.jpgHye Won is in the practice room when Sun Jae comes in. They’re both smiling ear to ear, and he points out that they’ll have to meet every day now. She asks if Joon Hyung got angry at the news, then laughs as he tells her how he accidentally thanked him. She reminds him that they should keep their distance since there’s a camera in the practice room, but before they can start, he runs out to the security booth. He requests from the security guard that the camera be turned off, and after checking with an amused Sung Sook, the security guard complies.

It looks a little like a preteen date, as they sit on opposite ends of the sofa. Hye Won is impressed with Sun Jae’s resourcefulness in getting the camera turned off, and he points out that he’s just making use of what little power he has. She asks if he was touched by her letter, and he admits that he’s in some turmoil because of it. She’s obviously pleased, but she pretends that it wasn’t her intention to shake him up, then whacks him with a pillow when he calls her letter a life confession.

20140416-093446.jpgSun Jae tells Hye Won not to touch him as he hands the pillow back, because he may explode. Curious, she asks him what will explode. Fidgeting, he avoids the question, but she persists, asking him to respond in detail. Sun Jae is frustrated that he can’t hug her even without the camera, since it’s adultery. At this, Hye Won bursts out laughing at their ridiculous situation, while he just looks uncomfortable. She has her own frustrations, though, that she may be perceived as a sugar mommy, which finally gets half a smile out of him.

They both fidget on their respective ends of the couch, until Sun Jae remembers to give Hye Won back a bottle (of lotion?) she forgot at his apartment. Hye Won looks disappointed that she can’t leave something of hers there, but she dodges him when he tries to take it back, and tells him to start practicing. Sun Jae tells her about a book called Aimez-vous Brahms, which he once read believing it was about music. Instead, he discovered that it was about an unmarried woman living with her lover. Hye Won’s flirty mood is over, though, and she tells him to get to work. She gives him a recording of herself playing the accompaniment to his piano part; she’ll play with him every other day, and the rest of the time, he can use the recording to practice. With that, she leaves him to it. Alone, he listens to her recording of the accompaniment, smiling to himself.

Back in her office, Hye Won calls Joon Hyung to invite him to dinner. He questions her motives, but agrees to come home, looking less than happy about it.

20140416-093707.jpgAt home, it looks like a feast with Hye Won making a beef stew, while the housekeeper cracks open crab legs. Hye Won comments that it makes the house more like a home to cook, and indeed, she looks very domestic as she goes upstairs in her apron to ask Joon Hyung about wine. At the dinner table, the two of them amicably discuss Sun Jae’s reassignment to her, and she comes up with a smooth lie when Joon Hyung asks about Sun Jae’s take on the situation. Joon Hyung finishes off the bottle of wine by himself.

Later in the evening, Hye Won looks from Joon Hyung’s sleeping form to the label on a pill bottle. She goes to her office to call the doctor to ask about the change in Joon Hyung’s prescription. The doctor seems to have reassured Hye Won, because she settles down to her laptop to work, going through a list of names and account numbers. She’s interrupted by a text on her secret phone (yes, she has two!), and goes outside to find Sun Jae on a moped. She briefly admonishes him, but she gets on the bike, and he drives off.

20140416-093931.jpgAs they ride, Hye Won suggests that they go to Sun Jae’s place, and he readily agrees. And why not? Because, the moment they walk in the door, he kisses her passionately, and pulls her off-camera. sad face

On the rooftop, the two of them sit together, as Hye Won worries that she’ll make a habit of going to Sun Jae’s place. Their tender moment is interrupted by Jang Ho calling out Sun Jae’s name. In a panic, Hye Won runs to find a hiding place, and Sun Jae goes downstairs. He puts away her coat and shoes before he opens to door to let in Jang Ho and Da Mi, who have come with food and drinks. Meanwhile, Hye Won hides in a shed on the rooftop where she’s frightened by what sounds like a feral cat. Equally frightened by the noise, Da Mi sends Jang Ho out to the roof to chase the cat away, while Sun Jae ineffectually calls him back. Hye Won cowers in the shed as Jang Ho chases the cat off, and goes back down.

20140416-094134.jpgJang Ho and Da Mi are sitting comfortably with beers and snacks, when Sun Jae makes an announcement. He tells Da Mi what she already knew, that he’s not attracted to her. Jang Ho couldn’t look more uncomfortable at being included in this private moment, and tries to make light of it, but the other two ignore him. Da Mi agrees, but tells Sun Jae bluntly that she’ll screw things up if he has another woman. Jang Ho is obviously privy to all the details, because he defends Sun Jae, saying that he hadn’t done anything he needs to take responsibility for (i.e. that they hadn’t had sex).

20140416-094308.jpgDa Mi tells Jang Ho to stay out of it (poor guy), and explains to Sun Jae that she can’t let him go, because he was the reason that she was able to wash off her gangster past. She reminds him of the moment their eyes first met in the midst of her beating someone up. Embarrassed, Da Mi tried to get Sun Jae to go away, but he refused to leave, mesmerized by the spectacle of her in action. It was tough times back then, being the number two in a gang, but Da Mi changed that very day. She decided that Sun Jae was the man for her, and she needed to repay him for changing her life. Unfortunately, she discovered that the only thing she could do for him was to love him determinedly.

20140416-094507.jpgSun Jae thanks her for her feelings, but tells her to stop, since it’ll break up their friendship if she gets hurt. From the look on Da Mi’s face, it’s too late, but he goes on to tell Da Mi and Jang Ho that he can’t lose their friendship. Da Mi reluctantly agrees, and Jang Ho is as shocked as I am to find that things are resolved so easily. Of course, nothing’s really resolved, and when they leave, Da Mi asks Jang Ho to take her drinking.

Sun Jae goes running back to the rooftop to rescue a shaken Hye Won. As Hye Won cleans herself up, Sun Jae asks if this is what getting caught is like. Hye Won informs him that this is child’s play, and makes the doom-laden prediction that hell’s gate has opened. She asks Sun Jae to call her a cab while she uses the washroom, and as he opens her bag, he’s surprised to find two identical phones.

20140416-094738.jpgThe next morning, Hye Won walks into her office, only to have her assistant send her to the spa to give Young Woo the financial documents for her company. As she looks in her bag, she realizes that she’s left one of her phones with Sun Jae, and runs back out the door. Her assistant raises her eyebrows and goes back to work.

20140416-094931.jpgHye Won finds Sun Jae in the practice room, and he’s already got the phone ready to give her. She leaves again as soon as she has it, and he goes back to practicing a mournful tune on the piano.

At the spa, Hye Won gives a report to Young Woo, who is getting a massage. Hye Won tells her they’re waiting on seed money from a venture capital firm in Singapore, but dodges the question of who owns the company by answering that it’s the shareholders. Annoyed, Young Woo demands cash immediately, but Hye Won simply refers her to the Chairman. Young Woo threatens to cut off Sun Jae’s funding, but Hye Won informs her that his funding has already been secured. Deflated but undeterred, Young Woo instructs Hye Won to get her and her boyfriend tickets to Milan and Switzerland, and Hye Won complies. Massage over, she instructs Hye Won to manage Sung Sook’s assets carefully, until she exposes her. She walks out, leaving Hye Won alone in the room with a newly arrived Da Mi.

20140416-095652.jpgFaced with Da Mi, Hye Won starts stuttering (there’s that expert lying again), and her agitation only gets worse as Da Mi thanks her for helping Sun Jae, whom she continues to call her boyfriend. Da Mi reveals that she knows Hye Won’s identity, as Joon Hyung’s wife, and a director at the SeoHan Arts Foundation. Da Mi is clearly not intimidated by Hye Won’s position as she smilingly informs her that they’ll be seeing each other again. A thoroughly rattled Hye Won nervously agrees, and the episode ends as Da Mi leaves the room.


Only 만: I got the impression this episode that Hye Won was too busy revelling in her love with Sun Jae to notice the sharks circling around her. We’re watching her make any number of stupid mistakes that seem entirely out of character.

Jung-gug-eo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: Now that we have established that Hye Won and Sun Jae did indeed have sex, I suppose it is to blame for Hye Won losing her self-control?

: I understand that she’s having an emotional awakening, but we’ve established in previous episodes that she’s a master of strategy. I’m obviously joking, but I refuse to believe that she can make blind mistake after blind mistake after doing it with a virgin.

중국어 캐나다: Ha! Speaking of the virgin, it does not seem that sex has had any effect on Sun Jae. He is as awkward in his overflowing love as he was before.

: On the other hand, he seems to have a better handle on himself. Hye Won, for her part, seems to have lost her grip entirely. Take the scene in the back of the car with Sung Sook, for example. Sung Sook obviously baits her with the suggestion of eyelid surgery for Sun Jae, and Hye Won flips out. Even worse, she doesn’t realize what kind of mistake she’s made. You can almost see Sung Sook’s fangs come out.

중국어 캐나다: Yes, even Sun Jae realized he made a mistake right away when he thanked Joon Hyung for giving him up to Hye Won.

: Exactly. And he understood that he could ask for the camera to be turned off in the practice room. He seems to be better at navigating Hye Won’s world than she is at the moment.

중국어 캐나다: Da Mi is creepily calm about her breakup with Sun Jae. Joon Hyung is desperately trying to reassure himself that a fortune teller knows better. So, between Da Mi and Joon Hyung, who do you think will become a bigger threat to the affair first?

: Right now, my money’s on Sung Sook. I think it will depend on which of the two of them she decides to make use of. I think Sung Sook is giving Hye Won enough rope to hang herself by handing over Sun Jae’s training to her.

중국어 캐나다: After two opportunities for some heat between Hye Won and Sun Jae, should I be resigned to the fact, that their love sounds are the most we will get?

: Sadly, yes. But I’ll be happy with a good story, too.

Some bonus shots of Hye Won and Sun Jae’s awkward date on the couch:



Secret Love Affair (밀회)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 || series review


  1. I agree with you that sung sook is creating situations for them for potential future self benefits. She is too sharp and there was an almost imperceptible reaction when HW protested in less than the mildest manner about SJ’s plastic surgery. Then, on the phone, she said something about better harmony, be it in music or other matters. And finally, allowing SJ to have the camera turned off. I am not so sure if that wasnt another strategy on her part.
    Yes, HW is being too reckless to be completely beievable but for the sake of the story, i guess we have to play along. There iis more than enough to keep me satisfied for now. I think i watched both 9 and 10 with my heart in my throat!!


    1. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether Sung Sook wants Hye Won out of the picture or if she wants to get her entirely on her side. I wonder if she’s just looking to hold something over her head, so she can use her against Young Woo?

      As for Hye Won, I get that she has to slip up at some point or there’s no story, but given that she’s supposed to be a master tactician, I’d rather see her fight back than alternate between nervous and oblivious. Like you said, I guess we have to play along in the meantime.


  2. I’m not thinking it’s the sex or love that’s throwing her so completely off her game. She is really seeing her gross life for the first time. She’s always just been so busy doing everything that she never looked around and saw how gross SHE’S become through each little decision that chipped slowly away at who she thought she was. She’s been becoming a robot without really ever deciding to be. And now that she can see herself — It’s disarming her. She feels good and better with Sun Jae so that is all she can really see until she gets over the shock. She needs to get past the shock quickly though because everyone (even her “best friend”) can smell the blood in the water. 😦


  3. Hi only, not only is HW the master strategist, she and SJ has already had one scare in his house and there was all that talk ( and text) about hiding this well etc. I guess the writer must want to emphasize how out of her element she is now to continue to be so unmindful so many times. Honestly, it seems improbable that both she and SJ could miss after party without some suspicion being roused surely.

    As for sung sook, my instinct says that she wants soemthing to hold over HW’s head should the need arise. She has been a little dubious of her loyalties and this is back up.


    1. I think you’re right about Sung Sook: she’s trying to get Hye Won under her thumb, but if it doesn’t work, she may well decide to get rid of her. I’m a little nervous now that Sung Sook and Da Mi have been in the same room… nothing good can come of that, especially for the oblivious Hye Won.


  4. “Jang Ho is obviously privy to all the details, because he defends Sun Jae, saying that he hadn’t done anything he needs to take responsibility for (i.e. that they hadn’t had sex).”

    So, Jang Ho knows that Sun Jae has a girlfriend? Does he know it’s Hye Won?


    1. Hi, Tiny! I meant that Jang Ho is privy to all the details of the relationship between Sun Jae and Da Mi, that they hadn’t had sex. I’m reasonably sure he knows nothing about Hye Won… yet. Sorry for the confusion!


      1. Thank you for clearing it up!

        I feel like my head is about to burst from analyzing this show. The way it has multiple symbolisms and zero throwaway lines.

        Looking forward to more of your recaps and insights.


  5. I love the pic of YAI that you are using as a background pic. How do i get me one for my phone please? I NEED it :). Thanks in advance


  6. Thanks for recapping this drama! I love your bantering comments and analysis. As for the side dish…I was scratching my head about this reference to a Canadian treat….it was before I scrolled up I realized that Noonas Over Forks were ‘two hungry Canadians who watch Korean dramas’. Nice to find two Sunbaes just like me… 🙂


  7. I sooo love your blog and choices of words. Thank you so much for the reviews, it helps me understands the drama. I feel like im reading a novel while reading your reviews. Stay healthy 🙂


  8. “Preteen date” — that’s a perfect description of their behavior on the practice room couch! 😀 I loved how much they were obviously holding back from touching. So sweet. And scary, because yeah — eyes are everywhere…

    Thanks for the recap!


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