TL;DR: Things got really awkward, really fast.
I am extremely unhappy that Kyu-min continues to lurk around in this story, but I’m hoping he gets the final boot in the next episode. His pathetic attempts to get Jin-ah back after cheating on her would be laughable if only he didn’t believe that she had cheated on him, too. It is very important to me that everyone significant (her parents and brother) walks away from this awkward evening understanding that Jin-ah didn’t cheat because she didn’t. She went along with Joon-hee’s rescue outside the office because it got her out of the first awkward confrontation with Kyu-min. Any feelings that might be developing? Happened after the breakup, which means she’s got a clear conscience while Kyu-min is still filth.
(Side note #1: I am very happy that Jin-ah’s mom and dad were immediately on her side when they realized that Kyu-min had cheated on her, even though her dad had, at one point, cheated on her mom. Not something I think I could personally get past, but it seems all was forgiven and they’ve built a good marriage since. Just so long as they find out that Jin-ah didn’t cheat and neither of them try to get her back together with Kyu-min–using their own relationship as evidence that it can work–I’ll be happy.)
That said, I’m not entirely sure Jin-ah is telling the truth about liking Joon-hee. From my perspective, it’ll go one of three ways: 1) Jin-ah was lying in order to rile up Kyu-min and get him out of her life for good; 2) Jin-ah was telling the truth but will backpedal hard, thinking that she was really just doing #1; or 3) Jin-ah was telling the truth, realized it in that moment, and will try to forget it ever happened and lie that she was doing #1 to save face. We can’t possibly have the main couple together by episode three, can we? Then again, she started acting increasingly jealous this episode. Like, half the reason I love noona romances is the extended pining, so I’d be a little worried if she returned his feelings already.
Meanwhile, life at Coffee Bay just sucks in general. I was so pissed off by Jin-ah and Ye-eun’s conversation about the harassment they have to endure from their higher-ups, and to make it worse, the three women that escaped having to entertain their bosses at karaoke got chewed out at the office for “not caring” about company morale. I’m sorry, since when is putting on a smile while your boss gropes you good for everyone’s morale? Oh wait, I forgot, the ladies’ feelings don’t matter. /sarcasm
(Side note #2: Did I see correctly that Se-young actually slipped in earplugs before she went into the office to get undeservedly yelled at? It cracked me up.)
On a logistics front, what kind of operation are they running that it makes sense to send section chiefs out to staff a franchise? Surely they have better things to do than make coffee. Why don’t you just call a nearby franchise or two, get the numbers for staff that aren’t on shift, and ask them to staff the store? Why don’t you call that franchise’s employees and ask them to come in, regardless of what their boss told them? You can send one section chief if you must to open, manage, and close the store—but five of them? What a phenomenal waste of resources, and what a pointless temper tantrum on the director’s part to threaten his section chiefs with being fired for a franchise owner’s pettiness.
But things aren’t entirely terrible at Coffee Bay. Young-in is currently the only higher up I don’t want to set on fire, and I was pleased that she tried to get the company to pay for the promotional material instead of having it come out of Jin-ah’s pocket. I cheered when Young-in politely made Ho-kyun squirm at lunch with the director by calmly agreeing to investigate where the error with the promotional material occurred. Her reaction to these events makes it clear she’s fully aware of how the corporate bullshit game is played and does not intent to be caught off guard.
Thank god she’s a woman who keeps excellent records. While it may be more immediately satisfying for her to go straight to the director with the proof that Ho-kyun was the one who screwed up, that would have burned a major bridge without guarantee that he would be fired. She made the smarter decision to compromise with Ho-kyun: let him save face with the director and keep Jin-ah from unjustly having to pay for his mistake. Please continue to care about the women at the company, Young-in, and make sure you have your documentation in triplicate.
(Side note #3: Ye-eun is adorable. After her drunken declarations of liking and loving Jin-ah, part of me wishes that those were romantic feelings. The rest of me says I should know better, but she was just so cute when Jin-ah told her she would pay for dinner.)
We’re slowly getting more of Joon-hee’s personality, though he’s still 90% focused on making adoring faces at and/or teasing Jin-ah. I’m glad to see that he and Seung-ho are friendly, as it gives him more of a connection to the rest of the cast, but he still feels like the bland one in comparison to Jin-ah. (Whoops.)
What I’m concerned about right now is how he yanked Kyu-min out of Jin-ah’s home. Is he going to care more about the possibility of Jin-ah liking him, or will he care more about her reputation and her not being labeled a cheater? He knows they weren’t together when he rescued her from Kyu-min the first time—will he be able to swallow his pride and admit that, or is he going to bluster in front of Kyu-min again?
Mostly I’m just worried that the way he continues to play up his playboy/carefree image is going to make things worse for Jin-ah. This equally unrequited love snarl is unlikely to cause him any serious problems, but Jin-ah could find herself having some serious difficulties. If you’re going to adore her from afar, please demonstrate concern for how you are affecting her life.
By the Numbers
- Umbrellas: 1
- Times Jin-ah ran in heels: 3
- Cost of silence: ₩2.42 million
- Women forced up front during karaoke: 2