Just Between Lovers, Episode 7

TL;DR: I was so ready to stab Joo-won in this episode. *eyes him but sheathes knife*

First of all, I’m really happy that Moon-soo and Kang-doo opened up to one another about part of their connection to the mall collapse. Neither of them have said that they were there, but now at least they both know they lost loved ones in it, and I am all about love interests bonding over shared trauma. Even if they’re still keeping each other at a distance.

At first I was very happy that Moon-soo took Kang-doo’s hand when he offered to help her up off the bench, and then I was devastated when she didn’t seem to remember the kiss. Then I came full circle when Moon-soo remembered Kang-doo putting his jacket on her—how did I miss that detail!—and maybe that means she remembers the kiss, too. God, I hope so.  But even if she doesn’t, the more important scene to me was how they met up for ice cream (after the awkwardness of each going to the other’s home) and talked. Moon-soo got to talk to both her mother and Kang-doo about Yeon-soo, and that was both very difficult and also something akin to healing. Maybe.

My heart ached for her when she compared her and her mother’s feelings to the worn out parts on the boiler—shouldn’t they have worn out by now, too? (Someone remind me to write about the portrayal of long-term grief in this show, okay?) Maybe. Regardless, it was good to hear Moon-soo admit that she hadn’t always been the nicest sister, and to have her and Kang-doo joke about it and how Yeon-soo was definitely the prettier of the two. I wish Kang-doo had opened up about his dreams to be a soccer player, but I can’t have it all.

Moon-soo and Kang-doo are currently in the cute stage of their relationship—you know, the intense looks, the insistence that they don’t like each other, how they still watch out for each other and totally melt when they think no one’s looking. I love how protective Moon-soo is of Kang-doo, from going to his place to check up on him when he’s hurt to looking for him when he disappeared at the party.

It seems to me as if Kang-doo is starting to break under the burden of his trauma and grief. He continues to study Moon-soo, and every time she bring up something that he originally told her during the mall collapse, he looks startled and then maybe envious. Her head injury and memory loss wiped at least part of her slate clean, and the fact that he’s still plagued by hallucinations of Sung-jae makes me wonder just how long it will take him to collapse himself.

Moon-soo is basically the only living person in the world who could truly understand what he went through—but she remembers none of that. And even if he’s a little jealous of that, he’s still mostly concerned about her welfare. A petty man would have lashed out at her by now and gone against the medicine seller’s advice to let her have a less tormented life by leaving her in ignorance. Instead, Kang-doo asks her repeatedly if she’s okay, and when she confirms that she is, he asks her why. Why is she okay? And when she has no answer to that (because she doesn’t understand the  questions he’s really trying to ask), he clings to her like she could be the one to save him. It was a perfect echo of when she ran into him in the stairwell at Cheongyu Construction, and now I ship them even more.

Joo-won, unfortunately, got dangerously close to NOTP territory when he showed up at Yoo-jin’s home drunk. That was bad enough, but his comment about already seeing everything (aka, confirming they used to bang) made me grit my teeth. What made me hiss, though, was how he pushed her up against the wall in what seemed like retaliation for her (rightfully) calling him on his shit re: his hurt feelings over his mother truly being in love with her father. I was ready to set him on fire when he went in for that kiss—

But lucky for him, he backed off when Yoo-jin turned her head away. I am immensely proud of Yoo-jin for calling Joo-won on using her even in that moment. We’ve seen repeatedly that she has feelings for him—that she wants him, desperately—but she also has a solid grasp of her own boundaries. She not going to let him fuck her to make himself momentarily feel less miserable. She’s only going to accept him if he misses her as much as she missed him, not if he’s lonely and she’s convenient.

At least Joo-won had enough shame to admit that showing up at her place was a mistake. That look of self-loathing he gave himself in the mirror was a small acknowledgement of his own bad choices, and I choose to believe his illness in this episode is just the universe’s way of smacking him upside the head since I can’t reach through the screen myself. Shape up, Joo-won, cuz you’re getting too close to dethroning Yoo-taek at the top of my shit list.

(Small side note: My apologies, Yoo-taek, I forgot that it was one of your underlings that beat the room salon lady, and not you specifically. You just paid to smooth things over and have her slap Kang-doo for your own amusement, so I still hate you. Thanks for that correction, ninjaeyecandy.)

As for all the rest of the little secondary plots, several of them took steps forward in this episode. I continue to be extremely uncomfortable with Wan-jin’s relationship with aggressive-netizen-turned-assistant(?). I’d love for Wan-jin to have a cute romance but ANTA isn’t exactly inspiring much in the way of cute. Just go away until you feel less entitled to demanding a woman’s time and energy, okay?

The politics on the construction site aren’t exactly inspiring me. I hope this little tiff with the site manager (aka, Yoo-taek’s brother-in-law) is over quickly because it’s boring me. W’ve already reiterated repeatedly that Joo-won’s not going to repeat his father’s mistake of compromising on the building’s construction. Can we fire/demote the site manager soon so we can move on?

And Ma-ri. Oh, Ma-ri. You really can’t be developing feelings for Yoo-taek, can you? Of all the people in this show, does it have to be the man who is thus far the scummiest of all? You’re are madam, you know exactly how this story can play out. Protect your heart and get all of the cash you can and then never see him again when it becomes too much of a hassle. Okay? Please?

In the meantime, the medicine seller has a brain tumor, and while Jae-young has implied it’s possibly treatable (or not so bad they can’t treat her to extend her life), she seems way too stubborn to get treatment right now. You’re cranky and I love you and I don’t want you to die before the end of the show. Please listen to Jae-young and go get treatment. If not, I bet you that Jae-young’s going to spill the beans, and then you’ll have an angry (maybe even crying) Kang-doo to contend with.

By the Numbers

  • Ice cream cones: 2
  • Awkward family meetings: 1
  • Sick and/or injured people: 3
  • Minutes until soup is ready: 3
  • Bechdel Test: 7 episodes passed

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