This episode Tae-joo really shines. He acts selflessly and puts Kang-shim's interests before his. One of the many positive things about the leads not knowing their feelings is that their actions are done semi-unconsciously. Tae-joo helps Kang-shim not because he wants to woo her but because his heart compels him to contrary to what he thinks.
We see a more vulnerable Kang-shim this episode, but in terms of their relationship, she hasn't been given much growth yet in comparison. Hopefully, we'll see more of Kang-shim's growth in future episodes, but luckily this episode served a healthy does of awesome and feisty Kang-shim.
Tae-joo thinks back to an unexpected guest he had earlier that day. A man from the bank stopped by to inform him that the officetel was used as collateral for a 200 million won loan. Since the loan wasn't paid back, the bank will seize the officetel and put it up for auction. Tae-joo asks about his security deposit, but the man tells him it'll be hard to get back. Sitting in his room, Tae-joo seems awfully worried about these turn of events.
Kang-shim goes to the bank to work things out, and Tae-joo stands behind her as she hears the details from the same bank man who came to see Tae-joo. He informs her that the bank has no fault, and that unless the loan is paid, the officetel will go up for auction. She says that she was scammed, but the banker tells her that it would be hard to prove since she has no evidence, and technically speaking, the previous owner sold it legally. She should have came to the bank and got the approved documents herself which was the crucial mistake on her part. Kang-shim leaves the bank completely shattered and falls to the sidewalk. Tae-joo is caught off guard and tries to help her. His voice softens as he calls out her name and watches the usually tough and perfect Kang-shim devastated.
Back in the office, Kang-shim sits at her desk lost in thought. Tae-joo leaves to go to his meeting and notices a dazed Kang-shim. He closes his door again to get her attention but to no avail. He walks over to her and not until he calls her name does she register his presence. She asks where he's going, and he reminds her of his meeting. She completely forgot about it and didn't make the necessary copies. She hurries over to the copy machine which happens to be out of paper. Kang-shim rushes with a new stack but drops them on the floor. Tae-joo helps pick them up and stares at her with concern. She apologies profusely, and Tae-joo says, "You don't have to apologize to me. You don't have to pretend that everything is alright in front of me."
Kang-shim replies with another apology and turns around trying hard to keep everything under control.
Tae-joo raises his hand to comfort her but stops short. His hand dangles in the air between them, an invisible line seemingly separating the two from getting any closer. He pulls back and tells Kang-shim that he'll go to the meeting first. Once she's done copying, she can send over the documents through another secretary. He tells her to go home early and rest. She declines his offer and says that she'll do it. Tae-joo bursts at her stubbornness and tells her to listen for once; she's in no condition to be working.
She turns around at his remark, and Tae-joo apologies for suddenly yelling.
"What I'm trying to say is, today will probably be tough for you to concentrate on work, so go home for now and rest..."
She says she understands and that she'll ask for Secretary Gong's help for today. She apologies again for not fulfilling her duties, and Tae-joo is visibly hurt and frustrated at her distancing and probably at his own powerlessness to help her.
Once he leaves, Kang-shim lets her tears fall, and she simply stands there crying while muffling her cries. My heart... it aches for Kang-shim. Yes, it wasn't like her to be so easily scammed, but nevertheless, the devastating heartache that comes from having your dreams crushed is not lessened.
Tae-joo stands outside the office for a moment before he makes a call to a private detective agency. He tells them that he's looking for a real estate scammer. Booyah! Get revenge for Kang-shim, Tae-joo! That scumbag made her cry. Show him what a man in love is capable of!
In a dark alley, a group of men file out of what looks like an illegal gambling den, probably horse races. In the crowd is our scammer, and just around the corner, Tae-joo hides waiting for the man to come closer. I must admit, seeing Tae-joo in his suit against that wall was really funny because it was so out of place. I can't believe he didn't wear comfier clothes! He's really going to chase down a scammer in his suit? Good luck with that our dense friend!
The scammer is surprised by Tae-joo who jumps out to confront him. Tae-joo tells him to stop, but the scammer makes a run for it. I seriously think Tae-joo might be book smart but has no sense of street-smarts because he literally stands there and tells the escaping scammer to stop. Yeah... like the man who just scammed you is really just going to stop because you told him to.
Tae-joo finally decides to give chase, and the two hilariously go around in a circle jumping fences back and forth. Wow, Tae-joo is lucky that this scammer is as dumb as him! Also, they're both pretty athletic. Kim Sang-kyung always seemed somewhat athletic, but it surprised me how easily he jumped that fence. Dang, like I needed another reason to love him.
Kang-shim is depressed and walks home. Daddy Cha sees her and stops her. Meanwhile, Kang-shim's ex-boyfriend is in the tofu shop and looks surprised to hear her name. However, he doesn't move, and Kang-shim shuffles into the house.
The chase must have continued for a while because now both men are wheezing and walking as supposed to actually giving chase. They walk down a flight as stairs both taking mini breaks along the way (yes, I caught you leaning against that wall Tae-joo).
Seeing his chance, Tae-joo makes a leap at the scammer but misses which has him crumbling to the floor. Due to pure exhaustion, Tae-joo manages to grab the scammer since both are too tired to continue. Out of breath, Tae-joo asks him to stop and begs that they stop running. It's moments like these that I love Tae-joo. He's such a dork; it's cute.
The scammer gasps that he doesn't have proof to throw him in jail. Tae-joo says that jail isn't his intentions. The scammer looks at him perplexed, and Tae-joo explains that he has other plans. He wants the scammer to follow him and do as he says. Okay, I'll admit, Tae-joo looked sexy all sweaty and firm. Reminded me of Kim Sang-kyung's detective roles. Oh man, I'm swooning...
At home,Kang-shim plops on her bed, but Young-sul pops in to ask about her gift from her sister-in-law Hyo-jin. Kang-shim whines and kicks her out of the room. By herself, Kang-shim laments that she's the poorest and most miserable chief secretary in the whole world. Just then her phone rings and she answers it as if everything was alright. Oiy, she might be a mess at home, but she's definitely a professional when it comes to work.
Tae-joo must have told her about catching the scammer because Kang-shim perks up in bed and asks if he really found him. She quickly runs over to where he is, and Tae-joo is waiting with the most expectant face ever. Sometimes I think that they do have a mother-son relationship because Tae-joo looks like an excited son who's about to show his mom something special and wants to be praised.
Kang-shim is so thankful she takes his hands and can't express how grateful she feels. Tae-joo gets flustered and the director does his trademark over-the-top animation.
At first, the director's choice of animations and sound effects was off-putting. It was more of a love-hate relationship in the beginning, but I've definitely warmed up to it now. I just accept the exaggerations as part of the storytelling, and now find them charming in their own way. This couple is dumb and cute, and the visual and sound effects just add to their quirky charm. Plus, we won't be seeing a lot of red-faced male leads with steam shooting from their ears in kdramas anytime soon, I suppose. Might as well embrace the silly and go with the flow!
Continuing, Tae-joo stumbles on his words trying to tell Kang-shim to go inside and confront the man. As she leaves, he stares at his hand, mouth agape. Seriously, if he doesn't come out of denial after this, I don't know what will!
Here, enjoy the scene in its full glory!
Some Final Comments
I said it in the beginning, but Tae-joo really stepped up his game this episode. Even though he was also scammed and lost his money, he kept worrying about Kang-shim. He didn't think about his own loss but her hurt. It's his single-mindedness and transparency that makes Tae-joo, despite his immaturity, quite an endearing male lead. In addition, we don't know what Tae-joo is planning, but I'm going to venture a guess that he'll pay the loan but pretend the scammer is paying it off. I'm sure Kang-shim will figure it out in a later episode which will make her realize his feelings for her, and in turn, she'll have to confront her own feelings towards him.
I was a fan of Kim Hyun-joo before, but she's wonderful as Cha Kang-shim. She's beautiful, capable, and smart, but she also has a temper and isn't pushed around easily. Kim Sang-kyung is adorable, and I've fallen in love with him all over again (as if that wasn't already obvious from the disproportionate amount of pictures/gifs of him). His Tae-joo is such an endearing loser.
I think it's how different yet alike Kang-shim and Tae-joo are that make them so cute and perfect for each other. They both have flaws, and they both have things they are good at. However, when they're together, they bring out the best in each other despite the bickering and fights. I can't wait for the introduction of Kang-shim's ex because it's going to stir up emotions, and I'm anticipating how our couple will react with this sudden intrusion alongside their budding attraction.
Comments on Other Stuff
I have to make a quick comment about Seo-wool this episode. I was a little mean, but I couldn't help laugh at her suddenly fainting at that cafe. Yes, it could happen, and if it does, it would be very serious. However, let's be honest. How convenient and ridiculous was it that Seo-wool happened to feel super sick and cough a lot after she realized she forgot her medicine at home? If I didn't know better, I would think she was the one who had some terrible illness and not Kang-jae's ex-girlfriend. Anyways, props to Nam Ji-hyun. She's doing a fine job playing the character despite some flaws in the writing. No worries, though! She's nowhere on my aggravating characters list for this drama. That list is for Eun-ho and his mom, Hyo-jin's parents, and Cha Kang-jae. Hopefully the writer will somehow redeem Kang-jae, at least for Daddy Cha's sake. The poor man, bless his heart!