Just Between Lovers, Episode 12

TL;DR: I’m going to pretend I didn’t see the preview and just bask in the cute instead.

One of the things Just Between Lovers has always done well is the way it shows the quiet moments of connection between Moon-soo and Kang-doo. I absolutely adored the moment when Moon-soo pulled her hand away so she could wrap her arms around Kang-doo and he could finally cry, and how he returned that moment of caring when he saw she was drifting off and he caught her. It was great their evening together ended after Moon-soo said that as long as he was nice to her, she can stay.

Niceness, real niceness, not Nice Guy-ness, is incredibly important in a romantic relationship, especially for me as a viewer. Kang-doo made up for a lot of his previous less-than-nice(/self-hating) moments in this episode by his care and consideration toward Moon-soo. How he was constantly thinking about her, how he walked her home, how he worried about her when she was sick, and how that drove him to do the one thing he thought he could to ease her suffering: scaling pipes up to her room to hand-deliver ice cream.

(Kang-doo, you need to be about eighty billion times less reckless than you are. It’s cute now cuz you’re young, but you’re going to break your neck one of these days.)

The kissing—well, I had a small gripe about  Moon-soo shaking her head before the second one, even though it was clear to me (and Kang-doo) that the head shake was a no, you shouldn’t risk getting sick and not a no, I don’t want you to kiss me head shake. I’d prefer no ambiguity about kissing whatsoever, though she closed her eyes, and in dramaland that’s the “real” green light, especially since she kissed back and actually leaned into it. Still. It bothered me enough as a viewer that I’m mentioning it—but otherwise the whole sequence was cute enough that I’m with Moon-soo on the cover-her-face-and-squeeing-about-it-afterwards moment. I’m going to pretend that the rest of this drama is going to be nothing but non-stop coat sharing, goodnight waves, cute phone calls, and doting on one another.

I’m really happy that we got to see what Kang-doo did with the money he got from selling Sook-hee’s land. It was super cute that he went and got him and Sang-man a makeover—two men! wanting to look dashing! so a girl will admire them!—though of course I burst into tears over his conversation with Sang-man at the fishcake stall. I’m glad that Kang-doo has gotten rid of his debt, finally, and a small part of my heart is hoping he has presents for Ma-ri and Jae-young, too. Money won’t solve all of Kang-doo’s problems, but it’s still lovely to see the little bits of joy it can buy him.

On the other hand, I’m very concerned about Kang-doo being back on the construction site. What happened underground with Sung-jae is still a major unresolved plot point, as the episode was so kind to remind us. The pills he’s taking are also worrying me, and I hope that Jae-young finds out soon why he’s taking them. Maybe it’s just ill-advised self-medicating in order to cope with his PTSD flashbacks? That would be preferable in my book to whatever that ominous nosebleed was about.

I softened a little towards Joo-won last time, and now I’m reconsidering the wisdom of that. Does he really blame Moon-soo’s father so much for his own father’s suicide? While Moon-soo’s words were certainly callous, it makes me wonder if there is a deeper story, beyond the fact that Joo-won’s father served as the fall guy for Cheongyu. (Though that, certainly, is reason enough to bear a grudge against Yoo-taek and Yoo-jin, it seems a bit weird that a lot of his negativity is half angled at Moon-soo via her dad. Then again, her dad is probably just a representative of the mounds of hate his dad got for publicly accepting responsibility.)

Speaking of grudges, I’m a little surprised that Ma-ri accepted Yoo-taek’s business again—but business is business, and it looks like his utter inability to take responsibility for himself and his feelings did a good job of reminding her that he’s just a client who needs to be separated from his money. Take all of his money, Ma-ri. And then ignore him when he’s penniless.

The fact that both Moon-soo’s mother and father got emotional screen time in this episode (her remembering her daughters in the bathhouse and going to the construction site, him recognizing Yoo-taek and kicking him out) makes me think that one of the goals of the last quarter of this drama will be to bring Moon-soo’s family some semblance of resolution/peace. Not that this means they’ll be moving in together as one happy family, but more in the sense that they’ll have accepted Yeon-soo’s death and acknowledge the ways in which they failed one another in the aftermath. (Especially how they each failed Moon-soo, please acknowledge that.)

I don’t really have anything to say about Yoo-jin in this episode, other than she looked genuinely happy/pleased in this scene, so here’s a pretty picture of her smiling.

(P.S. This show did not let me down, and I’m very happy that we had more scenes with/mentions of Sook-hee. Please keep them coming.)

By the Numbers

  • New suits: 2
  • Contracts signed: 1
  • Scenes with hand-holding: 3
  • Scenes mentioning Sook-hee: 3
  • Bechdel Test: 12 episodes passed

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