Just Between Lovers, Episode 13

TL;DR: So many people having so many messy feelings in this episode.

Things finally blew up in Moon-soo’s family, which is both heartbreaking and a much-needed release. I’m glad that her parents got to yell at each other for the ways they each handled their grief (terribly) and let loose on the resentments that had been festering inside each of them. Right now I think that Moon-soo’s dad is right—it’s far too late for him and Moon-soo’s mother to recover their relationship in the three episodes we have left. I’m still holding out for a cordial relationship between them, but that’s the best probable outcome.

Similarly, I’m glad that Moon-soo got to yell, too. She has spent so much time and energy on being a good daughter, both by taking care of her alcoholic mom and by putting in all the emotional labor to maintain a relationship with her absent father. Her resentment has been building up for years, and in this episode she finally got to ask the question she had been too afraid to ask: did her mom wish that she had died instead of Yeon-soo?

It was an awful, cruel question, but an important one for Moon-soo to get off her chest. Has she wasted literal years of her life taking care of her mother, trying to maintain ties with her father, for no reason? Do they really just resent her for living instead of the pretty, perfect Yeon-soo? It’s no wonder Moon-soo confessed earlier that she thought herself a bad person for being jealous of her sister and for surviving when Yeon-soo didn’t.

God, I hope her mother apologizes for hitting her (again) and for kicking her out; if not, I hope that Moon-soo moves in with Kang-doo (or I guess Wan-jin would be fine, too, but still).

I really enjoyed the progression of Moon-soo and Kang-doo’s relationship in this episode. (Side note: So-mi trying to brainstorm dates for them and being mildly annoyed by their dating style was hilarious.) They really are drawn to one another and constantly thinking about each other. While I generally don’t like the two-men-talk-about-the-worthiness-of-their-feelings-for-a-woman scenes, the one between Kang-doo and Joo-won was sweet because it illustrated just how much Kang-doo has changed. He’s no longer just trying to survive day to day—with Moon-soo in his life, he’s actually curious about the future.

I adored the fact that Kang-doo immediately ran to Moon-soo once he got that phone call, put his coat around her, and gave her a piggyback ride when he realized she was only wearing house slippers. Their little back and forth during that scene was so sweet, especially with the follow up at Wan-jin’s house. Kang-doo is always on Moon-soo’s side because he likes her, and that is a simple and lovely declaration. Even if she hates herself or wants to run away, he likes her and will go wherever she wants to go.

Moon-soo can depend on Kang-doo to comfort and care for her like few other people in her life are willing or capable of doing. It’s no accident that some of Kang-doo’s most swoon-worthy actions are taking care of or fussing over her. I just want these two to be happy, and I’m worried they won’t be. ;_;

Speaking of people I want to be happy, this episode took great strides in showing Yoo-jin’s vulnerability. Episode 12 gave us a genuine smile, and episode 13 gave us her breaking down in tears. I’m glad that we got to see that vulnerability from her, especially those flashbacks we had to interactions with Joo-won in college. I can’t imagine how much it meant for her to overhear that Joo-won thought she was working extra hard to earn the grades it was rumored her professors would have given her anyway. How much did it hurt to remember that he used to stick up for her when she wasn’t around only for him now to be so cold and distant?

Their exchange in front of the elevators was just awful to watch. She tried to let a bit of her vulnerability show, and in return Joo-won just treated her coolly and said it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t want her to go on the blind date (even after she said she’d do what he wanted!) because she would just end up doing what was right for Cheongyu anyway. I half hope that she gives both Yoo-taek and Joo-won her middle fingers at the end of this drama (and takes over the company).

The other half of me hopes that maybe they really can sort out a relationship between them. No matter Joo-won’s poker face, he was still shaken by the conversation at the elevator, and he decided in the end to hug Yoo-jin when she came to him upset. If they are going to become a couple, Joo-won is going to need to be the one to be vulnerable next, because he’s way too good at keeping his emotions under lock and key.

Ma-ri isn’t doing so well in that regard. Like Kang-doo, I’m ready to fight Yoo-taek on her behalf. I’m just upset because it’s clear that she knows that feelings for Yoo-taek are a bad idea, but she’s still having those pesky feelings anyway. There’s far too little time left for Yoo-taek to get any meaningful redemption from me as a viewer, so even if he left his wife for Ma-ri, my cynical side says that won’t last long.

I’m also upset that Jae-young found out what the medication is and that it shouldn’t be prescribed to people with liver problems—which, apparently, Kang-doo has. It makes me wonder if that’s why he keeps saying he can’t drink soju. Does he know the pain medication isn’t something he should be on because of his liver, so he’s trying to reduce the damage to his liver? If so, that’s some excellent and subtle foreshadowing.

In happier news, Wan-jin’s little romance with her assistant is slowly growing on me. I’m glad that he’s shaped up and hasn’t been a jerk to her in a long time. The fact that he was ready to fight that shopkeeper for her earned him a lot of points in my book. I want Wan-jin to have a cute webtoon-worthy romance, so I hope this works out well for her.

Just three episodes left. Please give us a happy ending.

By the Numbers

  • Absent ramps: 1
  • Terrible ramps: 1 (no seriously how does that actually allow Wan-jin to get into her home?)
  • Piggyback rides: 1
  • Moments of petty jealousy: 1
  • Scenes mentioning Sook-hee: 1
  • Bechdel Test: 13 episodes passed

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