“Secret Love Affair” episode 15 recap

The guy to the right has a better view of this excellent kiss than we do.

Side dish: I recently opened my kitchen cabinet to find I have 5 jars of Nutella. If you have the same problem as me, here’s a simple and delicious recipe for Nutella cookies from Kirbie’s Cravings, perfect to eat while you watch “Secret Love Affair”.

Episode Recap

The episode begins with an exhilarated Oh Hye Won (Kim Hee Ae) riding on the back of a scooter driven by her lover, Lee Sun Jae (Yoo Ah In). In the last episode, a hard drinking Hye Won was deciding whether to meet up with Sun Jae, who was waiting outside her home. I suppose this answers last week’s cliffhanger.

Hye Won asks where they are going, and Sun Jae says to get caught, to which Hye Won laughs and shouts her approval. I doubt the happy couple realize that the Chairman’s men are actually tailing them, and reporting back to the Chairman’s son-in-law, Lawyer Kim.

Meanwhile, the Chairman (Kim Yong Geon) is being kneaded by his wife, Han Sung Sook (Shim Hye Jin). Sung Sook complains about the Chairman’s lack of trust in her, but the Chairman refuses to be plied into telling her anything. He dismisses her by telling her to go see Lawyer Kim.

Sunk Sook gets more bad news from Lawyer Kim. He is recommending that they give up trying to catch Hye Won and Sun Jae in the act of adultery.

Hye Won and Sun Jae walk hand in hand down a busy retail street. Hye Won scoffs at Sun Jae’s claim they are going to get caught, since the expectation is more lurid evidence than their current actions. Sun Jae claims that this rather wholesome scene is hotter, and they display the casual attitude of a longtime couple, which is more scandalous. They amuse themselves by imagining simpler alternate identities for each other.

Hye Won asks Sun Jae if he is scared of the hurdles they will face. Sun Jae doesn’t answer her; instead, he proposes they walk off the alcohol. They luxuriate in the simple pleasure of ambling together. Hye Won questions Sun Jae about the depth of his love, and as usual, Sun Jae freely admits to his feelings. Sun Jae encloses Hye Won in a hug, and tells her to just be his girl. Being referred to as a girl amuses Hye Won greatly. Sun Jae grabs Hye Won in a kiss that is possibly the best one of this whole series, because there is no sad desperation nor hiding; just a giddy couple engaging in a prolonged public display of affection.

Meanwhile, in the Chairman’s home, Lawyer Kim is trying to entice him and Sung Sook to disclose their dirty secrets before they are legally compelled to. Sung Sook denies that there are any bodies in her closet. The Chairman asks that his daughter, Young Woo’s (Kim Hye Eun) scandalous personal life doesn’t become an issue. Since Lawyer Kim is married to Young Woo, this is a given.

Speaking of Young Woo, this drama’s contender for most entertaining character is smacking her boyfriend around. The couple are screaming at each other and in the process of breaking up when the door bell rings. They abruptly stop in fear, since the only person who should know where to find them is Hye Won.

Young Woo looks through the peep hole then silently waves her boyfriend away, before frantically tidying up the living room she just tore apart. Young Woo smoothes the crazy out of her appearance before opening the door for her husband, Lawyer Kim.

Young Woo claims she was resting due to a headache, but Lawyer Kim is clearly used to her weak lies. He tells Young Woo that her affair is providing ammunition to Hye Won since the boyfriend could become Hye Won’s ally. Young Woo shouts her denial that her boyfriend would align himself with Hye Won, before visibly regretting her outburst. Lawyer Kim simply warns her to be prudent then turns to leave. Lawyer Kim’s calm distaste for her drives Young Woo to start screaming about their marriage of convenience. Lawyer Kim looks at his watch, mumbles and leaves. Young Woo collapses against a bar stool.

As Sun Jae stands by, Hye Won wheels and deals with Sung Sook over text. Before  stepping into a waiting cab, Hye Won and Sun Jae fortify each other with words of support.

Back home, Sun Jae loses himself at his piano. Hye Won stages her home office, placing her tablet and laptop in plain view. Wearing practical clothes and a backpack, Hye Won quietly leaves her home just in time to avoid her housekeeper.

Hye Won sits by the side of the river, and covertly slides damning electronic devices out of her backpack and into the water. Keeping her hood on, Hye Won gets up and walks away.

Back home, Hye Won carefully cleans up the toiletries that her husband, Kang Joon Hyung (Park Hyeok Kwon) had shoved onto the floor, while he sleeps soundly mere steps away.  Hye Won’s appearance is soon as neat and polished as her makeup table.

Hye Won is reading the newspaper over breakfast when Joon Hyung comes downstairs. Joon Hyung quietly asks if Hye won is still indecisive, and she dryly asks why she should go to the trouble of going to them. Joon Hyung is surprised by this response then further unnerved by the arrival of the prosecutor’s office.

Joon Hyung is forced to standby and watch as men in suits take his bedroom apart. They are surprisingly respectful of the baby grand piano, choosing only to shine a light on it. The tablet and laptop that Hye Won carefully placed on her desk are also taken away.

Hye Won sits grimly on the sofa as Joon Hyung begins to lose his cool, shouting at the prosecutor’s agents to stop searching, and protesting his innocence. Joon Hyung storms out of the house, as Hye Won texts instructions to her assistant to follow orders at work, then secure Sung Sook’s documents and records. Later, after the agents have left, Hye Won surreptitiously removes a USB key from the inside one of her speakers.

Joon Hyung is in Dean Min’s (Kim Chang Wan) office asking if it is too late for him to file a suit against Hye Won citing adultery. Dean Min advises patience, because nothing has changed regarding Joon Hyung’s bid to become Dean. However, Joon Hyung will have to file for divorce first in order to charge Hye Won of adultery. Dean Min tells a befuddled looking Joon Hyung to ask him if he needs direction, and Joon Hyung obediently agrees.

Sun Jae is practicing with the disavowed students when the evil cello teacher, aka Lawyer Kim’s sister, interrupts with a sharp rap on the door. She cryptically tells Sun Jae that now is not the time for him to be practicing with the students. She smiles with satisfaction at Sun Jae’s confusion before leaving.

Sun Jae quickly steps out of the practice room, but finds himself unable to reach Hye Won by phone. He rushes to the elevator, only to come face to face with Hye Won being escorted by Joon Hyung’s assistant.

After the assistant steps away, Sun Jae expresses his worry while Hye Won acts nonchalant. He then escorts her back to the practice room where he introduces Hye Won to his new friends who freely admits to being THAT Hye Won. The students eagerly play Dvorzak for the notorious Hye Won who listens appreciatively.

Joon Hyung’s assistant is updating Hye Won’s assistant on the latest happenings when the Chairman’s assistant, Wang makes a surprise entrance into Hye Won’s office. Wang smiles like a predator as she directs Hye Won’s assistant to clear out Hye Won’s office and the assistant obeys. Wang wonders how long it will take for her name plate arrive. She is happy to hear that the turnaround is one day.

As Hye Won’s downfall is circulated throughout the Seohan Arts Foundation, Hye Won continues enjoying the students’ performance. Afterwards, she walks to her car in the garage with Sun Jae in disbelief at how calm she is. She asks about her cell phone, and Sun Jae reveals its hiding place in his apartment.

As Hye Won is about to step into her car, Sun Jae shouts a challenge to anyone spying on them. Hye Won laughs, then asks with concern about the disavowed students, only to hear that they will all be going their separate ways.

Hye Won arrives at Sun Jae’s apartment and retrieves her phone. She is delighted to find music sent to her by Sun Jae. Hye Won then makes herself comfortable, eating some food then brushing her teeth.

Ms. Baek, Sung Sook’s shady financial advisor, is aghast at how open Hye Won has been about her affair with the student. Sung Sook’s appears uneasy and is quick to pick up a call on her cell phone.

Hye Won wakes up to find Sun Jae watching her sleep. They are both relaxed as Hye Won settles back to sleep and Sun Jae decides to go to the restaurant downstairs for dinner. Joon Hyung bursts into the apartment as Sun Jae opens his front door. Sun Jae tries to hold an angry Joon Hyung back along with policemen behind Joon Hyung. Hye Won screams at her husband for this low blow.

Rich girl, Jung Yoo Ra (Jin Bo Ra) walks in on the disavowed students taking a break in the practice room. She smugly informs them that Joon Hyung has filed a suit against Sun Jae and Hye Won for adultery. The students are in a state of disbelief as Yoo Ra makes herself comfortable at the piano, taking Sun Jae’s place.

At the police station, Joon Hyung is arguing with the policeman who informs him that Sun Jae needs to confess his adultery to the police in order for the confession to serve as evidence. Sun Jae and Hye Won are decidedly silent as Joon Hyung shouts at them until the policeman shushes him. The policeman then lists, in a bored tone, the need for visible bare lower extremities of the adulterous couple to bring about a criminal charge.

Hye Won quietly asks for a lawyer then calls Lawyer Kim, and surprisingly, he agrees to help her out of her current predicament. She only identifies Lawyer Kim as the husband of a friend to Sun Jae. In the meantime, Sun Jae has Hye Won switch seats with him, providing a buffer between her and Joon Hyung. This new seating arrangement enrages Joon Hyung when he returns. The policeman informs Joon Hyung that he places himself at a disadvantage by talking too much. This hilarious scene fades to black.

Young Woo is drinking tea at her clothing store while the store manager informs her that her boyfriend stopped by earlier and took new merchandise with him. Young Woo then informs the manager that her boyfriend is no longer the company chairman. She asks the shocked manager to file an insurance claim for the stolen merchandise. Young Woo perks up after receiving a call, and runs out of the store presumably to witness Hye Won’s downfall at the police station.

Hye Won is offering to share the Chairman and his wife’s files with Lawyer Kim, and it becomes clear that both she and Lawyer Kim want to target the Chairman. However, Hye Won refuses to ally herself with Lawyer Kim except in her current predicament. Lawyer Kim apologizes for Joon Hyung’s naiveté, and promises to fix the problem. Sun Jae watches from down the hall with trepidation as the two adults appear to shake hands.

Young Woo, Hye Won’s assistant, and Hye Won’s friend, Ji Soo watch on as Lawyer Kim requests that the case against Hye Won be closed, and the policeman is in agreement. Joon Hyung protests that he had already filed a divorce proceeding, and Lawyer Kim disdainfully encourages him to proceed as planned. Joon Hyung appears dumbfounded at the failure of his maneouvring. His female counterpart, Young Woo is also disappointed at the lack of drama.

As the entire party leaves the police station, Joon Hyung attempts to defend himself to Lawyer Kim, explaining that he was only following the advice of Dean Min. Lawyer Kim brusquely dismisses Dean Min, saying that he does not know everything. Young Woo takes this opportunity to taunt Joon Hyung.

Trailing behind everyone else, Sun Jae expresses his disappointment to Hye Won that she has had to resort to scheming again, seemingly entrenching them in the world of the Foundation once again. Hye Won denies this, but is cut off by Lawyer Kim telling everyone to go home. Hye Won instead proposes a divorce celebration, which causes Young Woo to exclaim in shock. The entire group are then treated to the sight of Sun Jae giving Hye Won a prolonged embrace. Joon Hyung walks away in frustration, as Hye Won whispers in Sun Jae’s ear her encouragement that they be honest about their relationship to others.

Young Woo murmurs to herself about how strongly Sun Jae and Hye Won must feel about each other, before her husband drags her away. Ji Soo and Hye Won’s assistant continue to watch the couple with sad eyes.

At home, Joon Hyung is bitching to his sister over the phone, and receiving advice on how to proceed with his marital problems. He hurriedly hangs up as Hye Won enters the bedroom, and stops her in order to unload a guilt trip about his mother’s health problems.

Joon Hyung then makes it clear that he plans to ask for alimony for his suffering. Hye Won tiredly condescends to this demand as far as she can afford. Joon Hyung takes issue with Hye Won’s proviso, and Hye Won points out that his shoes and clothing alone cost $30,000 per year. It is symptomatic of the lavish lifestyle that he has enjoyed since they married. She scoffs at the idea that she will have any money left after paying for his alimony.

Joon Hyung desperately suggests that Hye Won will earn more in the future. Hye Won walks out with contempt at Joon Hyung’s ignorance of her wheeling and dealings. Out in the hallway, Hye Won recalls Sun Jae’s concern that she was making deals with the devil again. In their respective homes, Hye Won and Sun Jae look listless and pensive.

At the Chairman’s home, Lawyer Kim warns the Chairman and Sung Sook that they are now both at the mercy of Hye Won. Both the Chairman and Sung Sook claim ignorance, but Lawyer Kim informs them that as additional slush funds are revealed, a reprieve on the Chairman’s sentence becomes more unlikely. In fact, Sung Sook is likely to be arrested as well. Hye Won will retain her position at the Foundation in the meantime. Sung Sook states her refusal to vacate her position before marching away. The Chairman also leaves soon after with an air of defeat. Young Woo, who was interjecting smug commentary in between her husband’s words, suspiciously questions her husband’s loyalties, to which Lawyer Kim politely tells her to shut up.

Hye Won returns to her office with her assistant to find Wang standing behind her desk. Wang hides her premature name plate behind her back. She sheepishly reassures Hye Won that most of the office equipment remains. Hye Won dismisses a cowed Wang back to her old position. Hye Won’s assistant can’t help but smile as Wang slinks away.

Wang returns to her reception desk outside Sung Sook’s office. She regards her name plate longingly before putting it away.

As her assistant returns her name plate to the desk, Hye Won is on the phone with Sung Sook, acidly assuring her that she will take care of everything to relieve Sung Sook of her concerns. She bids Sung Sook to take a good rest.

On the other end of the line, Young Woo taunts Sung Sook from across the dining table, asking if she left everything in Ms. Baek’s hands. Young Woo is extremely satisfied as a nervous Sung Sook rushes out of the room and calls Ms. Baek. However, Ms. Baek and her spoiled brat of a daughter, Yoo Ra have taken flight. Yoo Ra texts Sun Jae to inform him of their sudden departure, under orders from Hye Won. Sun Jae looks up in concern as Yoo Ra calls Hye Won “scary”.

Lawyer Kim receives the unwelcome news of Ms. Baek’s escape via text from Hye Won herself. Ms. Baek’s shady dealings soon become public knowledge.

Sun Jae is in Professor Jo’s (Park Joong Hoon) office, confessing that while he is relieved at how things have turned out, he is not happy. Sun Jae breaks down into tears just recalling how Hye Won had to resort to her cunning to save them.

Professor Jo accompanies Sun Jae to the practice room with the disavowed students. The professor informs them that his former classmate graduated at the top of his class and excelled beyond school in spite of having the cheapest instrument of all his peers. Professor Jo proceeds to read them an email from his former classmate reassuring the students that the musician’s passion is what makes the difference, and not the quality of his/her instrument. The students appear more determined as they return to practice.

Hye Won meets Lawyer Kim privately, and the lawyer assumes that Hye Won is ready to divulge information and assign blame. He expresses displeasure with the escape of Ms. Baek. However, Hye Won is unapologetic, and even hints at being uncooperative. Hye Won is still sore about the tactics used against her, and dismisses Lawyer Kim’s assistance at the police station as one of convenience for him.

Hye Won gets down to business by asking Lawyer Kim point blank what he wants. Lawyer Kim is willing to give the Arts Foundation over to Hye Won while having his camp retain the Foundation School. Hye Won smoothly explains that the Arts Foundation and the School are inseparable, financially and systematically.

It becomes clear to Hye Won that Lawyer Kim is angling to make his sister, evil cello teacher, the Foundation School president. The two former allies of convenience stare each other down as Hye Won informs Lawyer Kim that she has no intention of letting go of the School.

Meanwhile, back at the School, Sun Jae plays with his fellow students, blissfully ignorant of the escalating conflict that Hye Won is now fully engaged in.


Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: If “Secret Love Affair” had been like Episode 15 in the majority of the previous 14 episodes, I think I would have enjoyed this series a lot more.

Only 만: What? You mean with stuff actually happening?

중국어 캐나다: Right, and with Hye Won actually on the offense instead of acting like a lovesick mess. I have to say, I’m surprised at the quick turn around from said hot mess last week to her competence this week.

: Well, I think she was meant to be waiting for the right timing to make her move, until Joon Hyung forced her hand. That said, the last two episodes wrung out all the emotions from the situation; it was a long, sad pause in the action. It seems we’re back on track now.

중국어 캐나다: Saying the story is back on track would indicate that the story was at this satisfactory level previously, which is not true. This is the best Hye Won we have ever seen in action.

: That’s fair. Though, Sun Jae didn’t seem to like it. This is the most unhappy he’s seemed about her actions.

중국어 캐나다: I feel like Sun Jae is now suffering from the black and white thinking that used to plague Hye Won. Her current attempt to save them both still falls under unattractive scheming for him, so he is unhappy in spite of the fact that self-empowerment has brought Hye Won back from the brink of an emotional breakdown.

: This is what’s weird to me. He knew what she was and what kind of a world she lived in, and yet, he seems upset that she has to do these things to save herself and him. How does he want her to get out of the situation? I guess we’ll find out in the next episode, since the show could easily have ended in this one.

중국어 캐나다: Sadly, I think Sun Jae wanted Hye Won to simply walk away from it all, as unrealistic as that is.

: That said, she made a conscious effort to keep him out of what was going on. It’s entirely possible that Sun Jae thinks walking away is a valid option, but the reality is that if she stops fighting here, she goes to jail. Is that what’s coming? The preview seems to be hinting at it.

중국어 캐나다: Yes, I saw the prison uniforms that Hye Won, the Chairman and Sung Sook were sporting. Amazingly, Young Woo escapes unscathed. I wonder where Young Woo got the balls this week to turn on not just her stepmother, but also her father. She used to suck up to her father and rely heavily on him.

: I guess now that she’s not trying to hang on to her younger boyfriend, she has no need to. Young Woo was a bit sad this episode. When she asked her husband if he’d ever liked anything about her, I almost pitied her.

중국어 캐나다: Still, Young Woo is surprisingly resilient. Moping about her ex-boyfriend stealing merchandise one moment, then running to catch a good show at the police station the next. The weird thing is that Young Woo appears to be equal opportunity when it comes to finding entertainment in the misfortune of others.

: It’s true. I admire her consistency; she’ll gleefully watch anyone’s downfall.

중국어 캐나다: Also consistently pathetic is Joon Hyung. I really enjoy that idiot. It was during the police station scene that I began to have hope that this show was about to transform itself into a black comedy. Too bad they waited until the second last episode to make this bid a strong one.

: Between Joon Hyung’s outrage that he didn’t catch them in the act, Young Woo’s voyeurism and the jaded cop, that scene really did play like a black comedy. It is a shame they left it so long.

중국어 캐나다: The way Joon Hyung bungled his way to the police station was about as fantastic as Wang’s premature name plate.

: Ah, Wang. She never fails to amuse. When she came in to Hye Won’s office and asked for it to be cleared out, I laughed so hard. It was obvious it wasn’t going to end well.

중국어 캐나다: It’s true. This episode actually brought much joy in my day. And, not just because of the evil idiots. I sincerely enjoyed the kiss between Sun Jae and Hye Won on the busy streets of Seoul.

: That was a great kiss. Finally, some interaction between them I could enjoy without worrying who was going to catch them.

중국어 캐나다: I guess after the tension they generated with their secret shenanigans previous to this, it did not stress you out to have them publicly display their love to a society that would not approve of the 20 year age gap?

: I can’t remember any secret part of this love affair, but yes, I get your point. No matter how weird society finds it, it’s still not as bad as the possible consequences from earlier on.

중국어 캐나다: I have frequently been as dense about the scheming as Joon Hyung, so I was surprised that the Chairman and Sung Sook were so easily maneuvered into a corner by Hye Won. They never considered she might have retained a copy of damning evidence against them?

: I guess they thought she knew her place, and would stay in it. Maybe the most subversive thing she’s done isn’t having an affair with a younger man, but rebelling against the confines of her class.

Here are some bonus shots of the entertaining, and ultimately pitiful, Wang:

Secret Love Affair (밀회)

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


  1. I concur this was FINALLY a good episode. Regarding Sun Jae being unhappy, per my recap I think he sees Hye Won as loving power MORE than she loves him. He loves HER more than anything. That disconnect puts him in a desperate powerless position. No wonder he is sad.


      1. I agree that Sun Jae feels her pain. Not sure Hye Won feels his.
        Her husband is a leech. Enjoyed the detective and lawyer squashing his ego.


  2. Thank you for the recap. Finally the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Hye Won & Sun Jae out in the open like a real couple. I agree, that kiss was the best kiss of this whole series. I love how Sun Jae just freely kissed Hye Won without a care in the world and how she responded with as much affection. I was a bit surprised how things took a nose dive for the Chairman and Sung Sook, but whatever they’re evil so they deserved to rot in jail 😛

    Joon Hyung and Wang just made me laugh, especially Wang. The moment when Hye Won walked into her office and Wang was trying to smoothly make her exit was totally awesome lol.

    I think Sun Jae was frustrated with himself for not able to do anything to help the woman than he loved. He hated the wheeling and scheming that Hye Won had to do, but I think he knows by now that it’s probably the only way Hye Won could do to save herself from going to jail and possibly to save him from losing his academic future as well. I think Sun Jae is frustrated that he lacks any kind of power to help her and that’s why he cried. But that’s just my opinion

    I can’t wait to see the last episode. Hopefully Hye Won and Sun Jae will be able to find happiness together despite this whole ordeal 🙂


      1. Oh I still haven’t watched the final episode (still waiting for the Eng sub version to come out) Judging from your comment I’m guessing it’ll turn out okay. I can’t wait to see it! ^^


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