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Temperature of Love: Episodes 39-40 (Final)

Is love something that’s written in the stars and guided by Fate, or is it a choice you make when you find the one you want to spend your life with? Jung-sun and Hyun-soo have traveled a rocky road to find each other, but they’ve repeatedly chosen each other, for good or for bad. While I’ve enjoyed Temperature of Love for its great acting and sweet love stories, I do wish we’d taken more time to explore this theme more thoroughly, but at least we do in this final hour before we say goodbye.

 
EPISODE 39 RECAP

Hyun-soo shows Jung-sun the ring on her thumb and asks him to wear it, and she also asks for the ring back that he tried to give her once. She asks if he knows what the ring means, and with a giant smile, Jung-sun takes the ring to put it on.

Hilariously, it won’t fit over his first knuckle no matter how hard he tries. Eventually he just wears it halfway on his finger, saying that this is the style these days anyway. She laughs appreciatively.

We see that Hyun-soo had purposely sized it for her own thumb, going by the saying that if a ring fits the girl’s thumb and the boy’s ring finger, then they’re destined for each other.

But Hyun-soo isn’t upset that the ring doesn’t fit, because now she understands that her love wasn’t destiny, but her choice. She smiles down at Jung-sun as he naps in her lap, refusing to get up when it’s time to go back to work and adorably pouting like a child.

When she gets home, Hyun-soo finds her mother waiting for her with some side dishes, though she’s sorry she couldn’t make them herself. Hyun-soo is sad that her mother doesn’t have as much energy since getting sick, and her mom acknowledges with a smile that a lot has changed for her before getting sick and after.

Jung-sun sits down with his mother to ask her seriously if she wants to open a flower shop. She says that she knows it will be hard, but that she truly wants to do something with her life. Jung-sun says that if she takes care of the flowers for Good Soup for a while and does a good job, then he’ll invest in her shop.

His mother pouts that he’s not just giving her the money, unhappy about starting out in debt, but he warns her that he hasn’t even agreed to invest yet. He tells her to write up a business plan, and he’ll think about it.

Jung-sun’s mom calls Hyun-soo to tell her the exciting news, though she’s worried because she doesn’t know how to write a business plan. Listening in, Hyun-soo’s mother comments that Hyun-soo calls the other woman “mother” easily. She’s obviously jealous, though she says she’ll support Hyun-soo’s decisions because it’s her life.

Hyun-soo agrees to help Jung-sun’s mom get started with her research, and since there are so many flower shops near Good Soup, she advises Jung-sun’s mom to come up with a unique concept. They go over everything that’s needed to open a shop, but Hyun-soo tells Mom that she’ll need to do most of the work herself since her drama starts soon.

Downstairs, Hyun-soo tells Jung-sun that his mother wants her to help with the legwork, but he advises her not to since she doesn’t have time. She talks him into helping his mother out, even though he protests that he and Mom will fight. Hyun-soo points out that fighting is okay between them since they can’t break up.

Jung-woo finally gets a meeting with the nasty food blogger, who isn’t happy that he’s the one who showed up. He informs her that she’ll be sued for defamation if her negative article is published, but she refuses to back down. Instead, Jung-woo tells her to think of it as negotiating a deal, which gets her attention.

Director Min is up to his old tricks, and Hong-ah hears that he’s planning to shoot in a location that’s not in the script. She orders him to the office for a chat, and when he arrives, she plays him the recording she made of their conversation back when they decided to work together.

In it, Director Min had promised not to change anything in her script. Hong-ah tells him she’s even had the recording notarized, which makes it legally binding. Director Min laughs ruefully and mock-proposes to Hong-ah, saying that he wants her legal protection for himself too, and he has to give her the victory.

Joon-ha meets Kyung at a convenience store and swipes her ramyun, joking that it tastes better that way. He gives it back when she says she hates people like that, making her tease him for caving in so quickly. She pushes the ramyun back to him and whines that she can’t go home because Jung-sun is over.

She says that seeing Jung-sun and Hyun-soo makes her want to be in love, though she states emphatically that she doesn’t want to date. Joon-ha points out that they’re already dating, though he’s not sure about the love part, and Kyung steals her ramyun back.

Meanwhile, Jung-sun feels bad that Kyung leaves every time he comes over, but Hyun-soo says that he shouldn’t because Kyung uses it as an excuse to see Joon-ha. She says they see each other all the time but don’t date and grins that it’s love, though she doesn’t think either of them knows it.

Jung-sun asks if that’s possible, and Hyun-soo says that the world is full of diverse people. They mention themselves, and Hyun-soo’s parents, and even Jung-sun’s mom. He thanks Hyun-soo for accepting his mother, and hugs her gratefully.

Three months later.

Hyun-soo’s drama was a huge hit, and in an interview, she talks about how the main character was loosely based on herself. Hong-ah’s drama was also very popular, and she tells a reporter that she deserved it for working so hard. Even Jung-woo has benefited, as On Entertainment signs a contract with an international production studio.

Hong-ah and Director Min are at Good Soup, waiting for everyone to arrive for a small party. They’re still bickering, but they clearly respect one another and agree to work together again. Hong-ah spots Won-joon and Soo-jung talking and laughing together, and it upsets her so much that she runs out.

Hyun-soo arrives at the same time as Kyung and Joon-ha, and she teases them for showing up together. They stammer conflicting excuses then stand there looking awkward, amusing Hyun-soo.

She goes to the restroom where she finds Hong-ah crying. Hong-ah sobs that she thinks she really did like Won-joon, then corrects herself: “No, I loved him.” She wails that everyone says she’s great but she still feels the same as before her success, and Hyun-soo says gently that Hong-ah already knows what she needs to do.

Jung-sun’s mother has opened her flower shop, and when her ex-husband comes to see her, she complains that he’s a week late for the grand opening. He gives her some money as a gift and asks about Jung-sun, and his mother brags that he has a Michelin star now, does advertisements, and even gives lectures.

Jung-sun’s dad says that his daughter loves Jung-sun and keeps up with his news, and that she told him everything. Jung-sun’s mom chides him for being distant with his son, then offers him tea. He asks why she’s being nice and she says that he looks old, which makes her feel better, ha.

Everyone sits down at Good Soup to celebrate the success of their dramas, and Jung-woo announces that both shows have been invited to the Asian Drama Awards. Jung-sun joins them after the food is served, grinning at Hyun-soo.

They make googly eyes at each other, so Jung-woo ask if they fought, joking that they’re acting close in front of others to cover up a fight. They deny it, and when Hong-ah teases them, Hyun-soo shuts her up by threatening to tell everyone what happened in the restroom, heh.

After dinner, Jung-sun talks Hyun-soo into letting him walk her home instead of taking her car, since they haven’t seen each other in a week. She complains the whole way about the cold, making Jung-sun joke that she’s getting old since she didn’t complain last year.

Hyun-soo glares at him and reminds him that they weren’t together last winter, demanding to know what girl he was with and how he could get them confused. Jung-sun laughs, amused at her jealousy.

At her apartment, Hyun-soo goes in first, then immediately runs back outside giggling. Jung-sun asks what she saw, and she just laughs, “Something good!” She leads him away, and we cut to Kyung and Joon-ha inside, both looking shocked and sporting matching cappuccino foam mustaches. HA, only Kyung’s drink has foam.

Joon-ha recovers first and gives Kyung a kiss on the cheek. She hides her face in her mug, getting even more foam on her lips, which Joon-ha tries to kiss away again. So cute.

Hong-ah lingers at Good Soup, and she finds Won-joon alone in the dining room. He asks what she’s doing and she says she’s staring at him from afar, since he probably doesn’t want her coming any closer. Won-joon stands frozen for a long moment, then says softly, “You can come closer.”

Hong-ah takes a couple of tentative steps towards him, and he asks how she’s been. She says she hasn’t been well because he wasn’t there, starting to tear up. In a wobbly voice, she says that she can’t forget him, but that he shouldn’t feel pressured and should do what he wants.

So Won-joon does exactly that—he swoops in for a kiss. They’re still kissing when Hyun-soo and Jung-sun return, and when they see what’s happening, they both grin and silently slink upstairs.

Up in Jung-sun’s apartment, Hyun-soo wonders what’s going on tonight, and Jung-sun announces that whatever it is, they should do it too, hee. Hyun-soo dodges his kiss, so he chases her across the room. So cute.

Later, Hyun-soo complains that she can’t go home because Joon-ha is probably still there. Jung-sun invites her to sleep at his place, then he suggests that they move in together since it would save time instead of having to go back and forth. Hyun-soo gives him the stink-eye, asking if that’s his only reason. He glares playfully and asks if she really thinks that, and she admits that she just wanted to hear him say it.

He points out that they rarely saw each other when she was working on her drama, and she’s beginning the next one right away. Hyun-soo says she doesn’t want a wedding, suggesting that they just invite their families to a dinner instead. Jung-sun agrees to do whatever she wants, since all he cares about is getting to live with her.

The next morning, Hyun-soo arrives at Jung-woo’s office building and sees him waiting for the elevator. He crankily tells her to take the next one and hits the “close door” button, and Hyun-soo asks if he really wants to do that considering what their meeting is about.

Jung-woo quickly stops the doors and begs her to get in, hee. She sulks on the ride up and says she’s not signing the renewal contract. Jung-woo actually aegyos at her, then he asks if she’s gotten a better offer, and she snaps that she’s gotten better offers in the past, too.

She’s really got him worried by the time they get to his office, since all she’ll promise is that she’ll look over the contract. Jung-woo asks if he did something wrong, and Hyun-soo says that she’s just wondering if it’s smart to only work with one company.

On her way out, she runs into Hong-ah, who’s also here to sign a renewal contract. Hong-ah tells Hyun-soo that she’s planning to sign as long as the conditions are good. Hyun-soo can’t stop herself from smirking, and she says with utter gravitas, “I know what you did last night.” LOL!

She heads to her parents’ house to find her father unpacking some old stray boxes. They give Hyun-soo a package that was with her sister’s belongings before she got married, and she sees that it was sent to her from Jung-sun years ago, just after he got to Paris.

She opens it at home, and finds a card from Jung-sun congratulating her on winning the writing contest. Inside the package is a beautiful music box, with a tiny man and woman dancing in a park. It reminds Hyun-soo of the night she’d cried that she wanted to win a writing contest and dance in Yeouido Park, so Jung-sun had taken her there and urged her to dance for practice.

 
EPISODE 40 RECAP

Jung-woo attempts to get Jung-sun to convince Hyun-soo to sign the contract with him, but Jung-sun refuses to pressure her. Jung-woo sighs that Jung-sun would feel differently if he knew everything he’s done for him.

Jung-sun says that he knows Jung-woo took care of the blogger, as well as most of the things Jung-woo thinks he’s doing behind his back. He says he’ll do anything for Jung-woo that involves himself, and Jung-woo tells him to remember that he said anything.

Hyun-soo arrives, and Jung-woo rolls his eyes and complains peevishly that he doesn’t want to see her. He snaps at her to do whatever she wants about the contract, and she teases that it’s too bad he just made her change her mind because she was going to sign with him. Aww, they’re so cute when they’re childish.

Won-joon calls Hong-ah as she’s getting ready for a date with him, to tell her that he has to go grocery shopping for Jung-sun. He braces himself for her tantrum, but instead she offers to go with him. They’re adorably shy as he gets in her car, and she even tries to buckle his seatbelt for him.

Exhausted, Won-joon nods off on the drive to the store, so Hong-ah turns the radio up in an attempt to wake him. When he does, she snarls at him for falling asleep, and he pouts that he’s tired since they have so many customers these days. Hong-ah nearly falls back into her old self-centered ways, but she stops herself, turns the music down, and urges Won-joon to rest while she drives. He smiles and calls her cute.

Hyun-soo’s parents invite Jung-sun and Hyun-soo for dinner, and Jung-sun wonders if they should tell them they’re getting married. Hyun-soo says they’ll just want to make things all formal, and she convinces him that it will be better not to tell them ahead of time.

She asks about his parents, and he says that his mother won’t really care. But he’s concerned about his father, so Hyun-soo suggests that they go see him before the big day. Jung-sun is hesitant, but he agrees that it needs to be done.

Before dinner with Hyun-soo’s parents, Jung-sun admits that he’s nervous, but Hyun-soo reassures him that she’s right by his side. Her mother is anxious about cooking for a chef, but Jung-sun says exactly the right thing—that what matters is the care she put into the meal. Then Hyun-soo accidentally outs her mother for buying one of the side dishes, heh.

Hyun-soo’s mother says they should do this often in the future, and Jung-sun cautiously tells them that he’s planning a future with Hyun-soo. Her parents smile at that, and Dad jokes that they shouldn’t wait too long since it’s great to live together when you’re young, making Jung-sun blush.

Jung-sun’s mother quickly becomes popular in the neighborhood, and all the male shop owners come out to see her arrive at work in the mornings. One day, Daniel walks into her store, apologizing and saying that he’s missed her.

She says she’s missed him too, then looks him in the eye and says, “Daniel. Get lost.” He’s shocked, since she just said she missed him, and she confirms that she hoped she’d see him again—but only so that she could be the one who dumps him. Go Mom!

Jung-sun and Hyun-soo go to see his father, and Hyun-soo gives him a bluetooth speaker so he can listen to music while he’s working, which he loves. Hyun-soo carries the conversation with Jung-sun’s father, charming him by asking him questions about himself. When he has to leave, he just looks at Jung-sun, who’s been too nervous to talk.

In the car, Jung-sun tells Hyun-soo that that’s the most he’s ever seen his father talk about himself. She says that when she interviews people, she’s surprised at how many want to talk about themselves. She thinks that they don’t usually do so because they want to be asked, and Jung-sun guesses that they’re afraid that people won’t like them.

They have one person left to visit—Jung-woo. Jung-sun goes to see him alone, bringing the ingredients for a fancy pasta dinner. While they’re cooking, Jung-sun asks Jung-woo to make some time next Tuesday, because everyone is coming to Good Soup for lunch.

Jung-woo jokes, “Why, are you getting married?” Jung-sun says, “Bingo,” and Jung-woo only pauses for a second before turning to look at him. His face softens, and he tells Jung-sun that he’s done well.

On the day of the lunch, Jung-sun directs the kitchen staff on what to do, then he and Hyun-soo go to greet their guests. Everyone is surprised to find a small stage set up at one end of the dining room, and awww, Jung-woo is asked to sit with their parents. Jung-sun’s father also comes, and he even brings his wife and Jung-sun’s two half-sisters.

Outside, Kyung and Joon-ha pause before going inside, because Kyung is worried that Hyun-soo will misunderstand if they arrive together. Joon-ha doesn’t see the problem since they aren’t dating, but Kyung looks at him like he’s nuts and says she’d be crazy to be like this with him if they weren’t dating. She grabs his hand boldly and he’s shocked as he asks if this is okay, and Kyung makes him smile by saying that he’s had it rough because of her.

Everyone enjoys their meal, but they can tell that something is up. Soon Jung-sun and Hyun-soo step up to the stage to address their guests. Hyun-soo says, “Today, Jung-sun and I will promise to walk our lives together.”

Everyone stares, and it slowly dawns on them that this is a wedding. Hyun-soo’s dad starts to clap, and soon the entire dining room erupts in applause (all but their moms, who are adorably huffy). As scenes from their relationship flash across the screen, Hyun-soo says in voiceover:

Hyun-soo: “Jung-sun and I have recorded the history of our love for the past six years. We made mistakes, and through those mistakes, we drifted apart and became close again. The woman who thought love was a choice, and the man who thought love was Fate, decided to live together.

Now I believe in Fate, but we have to keep making choices within that Fate. Our love is destined, but breaking up is our choice and our responsibility. The history of our love will continue to be written.”

 
COMMENTS

I actually really love the ending thoughts, that love isn’t Fate or choice, but a combination of both. I like it so much that I wish it had been a more obvious theme throughout the drama, because I think that the differences between Fate and choice would have been interesting to explore more openly. As it was, the themes were there but never specifically addressed, and I think that was a sadly missed opportunity.

All of our couples found themselves faced with Fate and choice, and I thought it was interesting how each of them handled their situations so differently. Jung-sun and Hyun-soo met by Fate, but they also made choices, some good and some bad, and now they’ve committed to choosing each other every day for the rest of their lives. Won-joon broke his Fate of loving Hong-ah when it hurt too much to continue, then when he saw that she truly cared for him, he made the choice to love her again. Jung-woo chose to stop loving Hyun-soo when that love became impossible, and he also chose to continue loving Jung-sun despite everything that happened between them.

In a strange way, it’s like this whole drama was about how to be in a relationship with someone that doesn’t suit you at all. Everyone was just wildly mismatched, so it’s good that they learned to overcome those differences and choose each other anyway. There’s nothing wrong with opposites attracting—my only complaint is how badly most of the couples treated each other right up until the end. I just wish we’d seen some change in everyone sooner, as there was certainly enough time to show them coming to realize that the heart wants what the heart wants, and that if we want to be with someone badly enough, we have to just make the choice to make it work.

It fits well with the joke that the ring Hyun-soo got for Jung-sun didn’t fit, because she sized it for herself and not for him. That could have been seen as a sign that they weren’t meant for each other, but instead it became a symbol of their choice to love each other despite their differences and to make it work. The ring didn’t fit Jung-sun’s finger, so just like he accepted Hyun-soo as she is, he chose to accept the ring as it is and simply wear it in a different way. I do like this theme, that it’s better to accept people and love them as they are rather than try to make them fit your idea of how they should be. I just wish, as I’ve said, that it had been explored more openly instead of thrown in at the very end of the show.

Recapping Temperature of Love was a learning experience for me, because I had very high hopes going in, and at first, it really lived up to my expectations. I still feel as though the production quality stayed high, as did the actors’ performances, and in that sense I enjoyed the drama as a whole. But it’s also a good example of why I believe that romances really don’t need to be more than 16 episodes (or 32 half-hour ones), because while all dramas go through a bit of a slump as they hit that last third of the story, when that last third consists of 5-6 episodes, it can reeeeally drag. When all there is to your story is the romance and the relationships, trying to fill so many hours only results in a lot of unnecessary manufactured angst, leading your characters to act in incomprehensible ways. Fewer episodes means a tighter story, and I would always rather see a good strong story with fewer episodes, than more episodes with very little substance to fill them.

 
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