Familiar Wife: Episode 7
Joo-hyuk’s jealousy over Jong-hoo’s interest in Woo-jin continues to deepen, and it doesn’t help that the three of them seem to constantly be together, both at work and in their free time. Woo-jin is also experiencing some confusing feelings that she doesn’t know how to deal with, but without the information Joo-hyuk has, she does her best to cope. But a crisis forces everyone’s feelings to the forefront, and Joo-hyuk starts to realize that the life he truly wants might just be the life he left behind.
EPISODE 7: “Memories over love”
Apologizing in advance, Woo-jin puts Joo-hyuk’s hand on the top of her head, then looks up at him. But before she can say anything, Hye-won arrives and finds them like that, and Joo-hyuk stammers a lame excuse that there’s something in Woo-jin’s hair.
Hye-won recognizes Woo-jin’s name, having found Woo-jin’s broken nametag in Joo-hyuk’s car. After Woo-jin leaves, Hye-won tells Joo-hyuk that she assumed the nametag was a man’s, and Joo-hyuk goes overboard, gushing about how Hye-won’s name is so much prettier and more feminine than Woo-jin’s.
Even after making a quick getaway, Woo-jin can’t ignore her heart pounding in reaction to Joo-hyuk’s touch. She goes to Sang-shik’s bar for a drink, where Joo-eun guesses that something is bothering her. Through Woo-jin’s vague answer, Joo-eun correctly reads that Jong-hoo confessed, but Woo-jin has feelings for someone else.
Woo-jin admits that it’s been so long since someone confessed to her that she got flustered, but she refuses to tell Joo-eun who it is she’s attracted to. She says she’s jealous of Joo-eun because she obviously loves Sang-shik (who’s listening from the kitchen, cute) so much. Joo-eun advises her to leave her heart alone, and it will probably settle after a while.
At home, Hye-won asks Joo-hyuk how old Woo-jin is, if he thinks she’s pretty, where she lives, etc. Joo-hyuk is intentionally vague with his answers, and Hye-won orders him not to give rides to female coworkers because it could lead to rumors. Joo-hyuk tells her not to worry.
The following morning, Woo-jin wakes up to find that Mom turned off her alarm while she was sleeping, making her run late. She rushes to work without eating breakfast or washing her hair, and finds Joo-hyuk waiting for her at the door. He asks if she was flustered by his wife popping up yesterday, and Woo-jin says breezily that it’s no big deal.
He starts to ask her something else, but Jong-hoo runs in, also late, and grabs Woo-jin on his way in. He’s thrilled to get extra time with Woo-jin when she’s sent with him to set up accounts at one of the bank’s client companies that afternoon.
Jong-hoo suggests they play hooky from work when they finish the task early, but a call about Woo-jin’s mother sends her straight home instead. On her way out, Woo-jin witnesses an employee berating a delivery boy, but she doesn’t interfere.
Woo-jin’s mom is missing again, having slipped out while her carer thought she was sleeping. The carer complains to Woo-jin that it’s getting too difficult to watch Mom every second and suggests that Woo-jin put her in a nursing home, but Woo-jin says they can discuss it after they find her.
Mom has gone to the bank to bring Joo-hyuk his favorite side dishes, and when she sees him, she loudly yells, “Cha Son-in-Law!” where everyone can hear her. She’s about to mention Woo-jin, but Joo-hyuk grabs her and tries to ushers her out of the lobby.
Manager Byun stops them, assuming that Mom is Hye-won’s mother, and kisses up hardcore. They draw a crowd when Branch Manager Cha joins them and insists that Mom stay for tea. Joo-hyuk is freaking out by the time he finally gets Mom away from everyone, and his coworkers talk about how down-to-earth Joo-hyuk’s (supposedly) rich mother-in-law seems.
Joo-hyuk drives Mom home, unable to reach Woo-jin by phone. He admonishes Mom not to leave the house again without telling anyone because it worries Woo-jin, and Mom complains that she knows, but Woo-jin never lets her go anywhere. She offers to make Joo-hyuk more food any time, and he sweetly thanks her.
She tells Joo-hyuk that she knows Woo-jin isn’t easy to live with because she’s stubborn and holds grudges. But she also says that Woo-jin shows Joo-hyuk her feelings because he’s her husband, and that Woo-jin even said Joo-hyuk was her lifesaver after her father died. She’s clearly talking about the original timeline when she thanks Joo-hyuk for saving her daughter’s life, and Joo-hyuk looks stunned.
Taking a chance, he asks Mom how she can remember him after he changed everything. She says simply says, “I remember you because you’re my son-in-law. Relationships can’t be made or broken like flipping your palm. It’s not like you know every way of the world.”
Joo-hyuk starts to ask her to clarify what she means, but she suddenly lets out a bloodcurdling scream. LOL, she’s just seen an ice cream shop, so Joo-hyuk obediently buys her ice cream. As she eats, he says that he didn’t know she liked vanilla ice cream, and he asks her why there are so many things he doesn’t know.
Back at the bank, Hwan whines when he’s told to distribute several hundred flyers. He flounces out, and it’s not until he’s gone that Team Leader Jang notices that there’s a serious typo on the flyers, making it look like they’re calling their customers a rude name.
They try to call Hwan back, but he doesn’t answer his phone, so Manager Byun goes looking for him. Hwan is slacking off when he spots Manager Byun, so he hurries to pass out a bunch of flyers and look busy. Manager Byun runs over screaming for him to stop and even runs after the people who have flyers, hee, then breathlessly shows Hwan the typo.
Woo-jin finds Joo-hyuk having ice cream with mom and asks how they came to be here together, and Joo-hyuk looks sheepish. He drives Mom home and takes Woo-jin back to the bank with him, and she asks why her mother likes him so much. Joo-hyuk jokes that older women just looove him, so Woo-jin teases that such jokes don’t suit his personality, and that his serious nature is his charm.
He scoffs at that, so Woo-jin tells him that he’s also kindhearted, melting him a little. He counters that he’s not kindhearted, but Woo-jin says thoughtfully that she’s oddly comfortable around him, as if she’s known him for a long time. She adds that he also handles Mom well, seeming very natural around her.
Suddenly, Woo-jin asks if Joo-hyuk was Mom’s son-in-law in a past life, coming so close to the truth that Joo-hyuk slams on the brakes in surprise. He apologizes, stammering that he was distracted.
Back at the bank, everyone laboriously corrects each of the misprinted flyers with stickers. Woo-jin pitches in, but she notices that Jong-hoo isn’t back yet, so she offers to go back and look for him.
Meanwhile, Hye-won runs into Hyun-soo again on the school campus. She starts to say something to him, but as he promised, he walks right past her without a word. He meet up with a female friend, leaving Hye-won huffing indignantly.
When Woo-jin arrives back at the company where she left Jong-hoo, she sees him helping the delivery boy that was being yelled at earlier. As they walk back to the bank, she notices that Jong-hoo scoots away whenever she tries to walk near him, and he confesses that he’s feeling self-conscious because helping the boy made him sweat a lot. Woo-jin reassures him that she has a bad sense of smell, and feeling better, Jong-hoo asks for an answer to his question now (of whether she’ll date him).
Still correcting flyers, Hyang-sook reaches across the table, revealing the tattoo on her side again. Hwan pulls on her top and grumpily tells her to cover up. The women ask why he’s so grouchy when women show way more skin wearing bathing suits, especially when they’re all here because of his mistake.
Woo-jin isn’t quite ready to answer Jong-hoo, so he fidgets on a bench asking how much longer while she tells him “five more minutes.” She asks what he likes about her, and he answers that he likes her smile, her wild side, and that she’s a caring daughter. Hearing that, Woo-jin says she’ll date him.
She admits that she’s not completely sure about this, but that he’s a great person and they get along well, and she has fun with him. It’s enough for Jong-hoo for now, who’s thrilled to get a positive answer (such a bouncy puppy!). He says they can always break up if it doesn’t work out, but he’s confident enough that he asks her to commit to dating for a month, and they agree to keep it a secret at work while in this trial period.
Joo-hyuk has dinner at the bar, ignoring calls from Hye-won because, he tells Joo-eun, he’ll have to leave immediately if he answers. He’s not very happy when Jong-hoo and Woo-jin arrive together for dinner, and he chokes on his food when Joo-eun notes that they look like a dating couple. He glares at them, and they adopt not-at-all-innocent expressions.
At the news, Sang-shik pours congratulatory beers while Joo-hyuk looks like he feels sick. Jong-hoo pouts at him, asking if he’s not happy for them, and he somehow manages to eke out a congratulations.
Sang-shik mentions that he booked a vacation house in Jebudo for his and Joo-eun’s anniversary next weekend and invites everyone to come along. Joo-eun suggests they not bring Hye-won since she’ll ruin the mood. Jong-hoo says that Woo-jin probably can’t go, but she says her mother is visiting her aunt that weekend.
As he drives home, Joo-hyuk recalls a day back when he first knew Woo-jin, right before her college entrance exams. He’d been more nervous than she was, and had given her some snacks to bolster her energy. She’d asked him to feed her, then bitten his fingers when he complied, ha.
Later, Joo-hyuk had been with Woo-jin when she learned whether she got into the college of her choice. His face had fallen when he saw that she wasn’t accepted. She’d ended up comforting him, saying that at least they could spend the next year together, but he’d refused to be consoled.
One day, some time later, Woo-jin had begged off studying early, saying she didn’t feel well. Sang-shik had stolen Joo-hyuk’s books so he couldn’t study and made him go to a party at a bar., and he’d found Woo-jin working there, looking totally busted.
Joo-hyuk had dragged her into the alley and yelled that she wouldn’t get into college if she didn’t study harder, but Woo-jin had argued that unless she worked, she couldn’t pay for college anyway. Angry, she’d asked what gave him the right to get mad at her, when he’d said he didn’t have feelings for her. He’d asked if their relationship was so shallow that he couldn’t get mad at her, so Woo-jin had tearfully demanded that he clearly define their relationship.
When he didn’t answer, she’d sniffled that they didn’t have any relationship at all. She’d turned to go back inside, but Joo-hyuk had stopped her, pulled her close, and kissed her. Joo-hyuk had leaned back and seen her shocked face, so he’d pulled her hoodie over her head with a sweet smile, then kissed her again. This time, she’d returned the kiss.
Hye-won ends up going on the group vacation after all, and Joo-hyuk tries to manage her expectations in advance, saying that this might not be like the vacation homes she’s seen on TV. Joo-eun told her that Woo-jin and Jong-hoo are dating, and she says that Woo-jin is pretty bold, getting a boyfriend almost as soon as she started working at the bank.
Joo-hyuk says that’s not necessarily true, and Hye-won asks why he’s defending Woo-jin. He huffs that he’s not, looking wistfully back at Sang-shik’s car, where everyone else is enjoying snacks and jamming out to music. Woo-jin asks how Sang-shik and Jong-hoo got to be friends, and Joo-eun tells her that Joo-hyuk brought Jong-hoo to the bar, and he was soon absorbed into their close-knit group.
Jong-hoo says that he feels like the others will always be on his side, no matter what. Sang-shik barks that nope, if Jong-hoo ever fights with Joo-eun, he’s taking his wife’s side, no matter what. Joo-eun decides that if Sang-shik and Joo-hyuk ever fight, she’s taking her brother’s side, no matter what. So cute, these guys.
As expected, Hye-won looks a little horrified at the vacation house, which is small and has no showers. She asks Joo-hyuk if they can stay at a nice hotel instead, but he tells her to just put up with it for one day. She whines loudly that their room stinks, and Joo-eun yells at her for being so picky on their first trip together.
There are only two bedrooms, so everyone wants the girls in one room and the guys in the other. Hye-won points out the living room and suggests they split up by couples, but Joo-hyuk vehemently protests, since Woo-jin and Jong-hoo aren’t married. Hye-won asks why he’s being so old-fashioned, but Joo-eun snaps that Hye-won is the one acting strange.
Joo-hyuk volunteers to get supplies just to get away from the awkward situation. On his way back from the store, he runs across Woo-jin, who’s checking in on Mom by phone. They walk the rest of the way back together, and Woo-jin confesses that she’s gone five days without bathing before, joking that even mosquitoes wouldn’t bite her.
Laughing, Joo-hyuk blurts out, “I know,” then has to backpedal when it sounds too much like he was there at the time. He asks Woo-jin if she really likes Jong-hoo, and she tells him that Jong-hoo is handsome and has a good personality. She says she never feels lonely when she’s with him, because he’s interested in her and talks to her.
When they get back to the house, Hye-won has moved on to moaning about the air conditioning. She turns up the air, which makes Woo-jin cough, so Joo-hyuk asks Hye-won to turn it back down a bit, but she selfishly refuses. Joo-eun tells Hye-won to come help in the kitchen, rolling her eyes when Hye-won turns out to be prissy and practically useless when the food isn’t mostly pre-prepared.
Over dinner and drinks, Jong-hoo tells everyone about an online community he’s a member of, where office workers post stories about office life. Joo-hyuk adds that some employers read the site and learn about rumors in their companies that way, and sometimes employees get in trouble.
Woo-jin coughs again, and this time she blames it on the smoke from the grill. Jong-hoo playfully accuses Joo-hyuk of aiming the smoke at Woo-jin, and Sang-shik pours her a straight soju on her request. It seems to make Hye-won jealous, how easily Woo-jin has been accepted by the group, so she asks for soju, too.
Joo-hyuk is confused, since Hye-won only drinks wine and claims that she can’t drink soju, but she says that that’s just by choice. They all watch while she drinks, then grabs the bottle and offers to do a shot with Woo-jin. It looks friendly on the surface, but makes everyone a little uncomfortable.
Before long, Hye-won is passed out snoring, and Joo-eun notes that Hye-won seems to see Woo-jin as a rival. She says that Hye-won is one of those people who need to be the center of attention, but Woo-jin thinks Hye-won is kind of cute.
Joo-eun asks if Woo-jin is happy with Jong-hoo, and she says she’s happy, but not “happy to death.” Joo-eun decides that it’s wise to marry someone you don’t love completely, since you see the worst of each other when you’re married. But Woo-jin sighs that she still wants to marry someone she loves a lot, even if she gets hurt.
Sometimes in the night, Joo-hyuk gets up for a drink of water, and he runs into Woo-jin, who looks extremely ill. He barely manages to catch her as she passes out, and he wakes the house calling for help. They get Woo-jin back to bed, where Jong-hoo hovers over her, worried that her fever isn’t going down.
Joo-eun says that she gave Woo-jin a fever reducer, but Joo-hyuk suddenly remembers that there’s only one kind that works for her. He slips out of the house and drives into town, but he can’t find a pharmacy that’s open this early. A local man finds him banging on the doors of one store and asks what’s wrong, and Joo-hyuk blurts out, “My wife is burning up…”
He stops, then says it again: “My wife has a high fever and she can only take a certain medicine.” The local murmurs that he must love his wife very much, then points Joo-hyuk to the home of the pharmacy owner. Joo-hyuk wakes the owner and convinces him to sell him the medicine, but when he gets back to the vacation house, they’re loading Woo-jin into the car to take her to the hospital.
Joo-hyuk tries to tell them that he got medicine that will work, but Joo-eun overrides him and sends Jong-hoo to the ER with Woo-jin. She asks where he’s been so early, so Joo-hyuk hides the medicine and says he just went for a walk.
At the hospital, Woo-jin’s fever finally goes down, and she wakes to find Jong-hoo feeling guilty for giving her drinks last night when she wasn’t well. She croaks that she didn’t want him to stop giving her drinks, so she purposely didn’t tell him she was sick.
She flashes a weak little smile, but he still seems uncomfortable. She asks if he’s changed her mind about dating her, and he asks for time to think about it.
Jong-hoo eventually drives Woo-jin home, and she’s asleep when they arrive. He looks at her face for a long moment, brushing a lock of hair off her forehead, then gently unbuckles her seat belt. He freezes when he finds his face very close to hers.
Joo-hyuk steps onto the porch and spots the car, and all he can see is the back of Jong-hoo’s head — and it looks like he and Woo-jin are kissing. Joo-hyuk whirls around to face the other way, gasping for air.
Back in the city, Hye-won notes that Joo-hyuk has been quiet on the drive home, and she grumbles that Woo-jin was a nuisance before getting out of the car. Joo-hyuk bangs his head on the steering wheel, seeing what looked like Jong-hoo kissing Woo-jin replaying over and over in his mind.
All of a sudden he sits up and dumps all of his loose change into the passenger seat, frantically looking for another 2006 coin. He can’t find one, so he lets himself into the closed bank and digs through the coins from the vault. He finally finds a 2006 coin, and outside, thunder cracks loudly.
Awww, that was hard to watch. Even though the breakdown of Joo-hyuk’s marriage was in large part his fault, and it’s all his fault he’s stuck in a timeline where he’s married to Hye-won but falling back in love with Woo-jin, I still feel bad for him. It would be different if any of this was a result of malice or meanness on Joo-hyuk’s part, but the poor guy genuinely had no idea of his responsibility in how badly his life was going. I feel awful for him, that he’s feeling so much regret but there’s nothing (for now) that he can do to fix anything. Hopefully, finding a coin will give him the chance to make some different choices, but at least he knows now that he wants to make them.
I’m definitely feeling a lot of Second Lead Syndrome on Jong-hoo’s behalf, because you can see that he genuinely likes Woo-jin, and for all the right reasons considering what a short time they’ve known each other. On the surface they seem like such a perfect match, being at the same place in their lives at the same time, and they even have similar silly senses of humor. Even Woo-jin can tell that she should like Jong-hoo, because he’s got everything going for him — he’s got a good stable job, he’s handsome, he’s very much into her, and best of all, he’s single. But I think her heart somehow remembers Joo-hyuk and how he was her white knight at a very difficult time in her life, so it’s difficult for her to develop real feelings for Jong-hoo when she’s so drawn to Joo-hyuk.
We got another glimpse into what made Woo-jin so unhappy when she confessed to Joo-hyuk that she never feels lonely when she’s with Jong-hoo. I think that was her main problem in the original timeline — that even though she was married to Joo-hyuk, and she loved him deeply, he made her feel alone and lonely. His worst sin was just being inconsiderate… I still don’t believe he was a bad husband, or knowingly mean, he was just complacent and self-absorbed. But there’s a saying that it’s better to be alone, than lonely with someone else, and Woo-jin is a good example of how horrible it feels to be lonely with someone. Joo-hyuk just didn’t realize that he was the reason Woo-jin was so miserable, which is, yes, partly her fault because she never told him how his behavior was affecting her. She screamed and threw things, but she never sat down and just talked to him about how his neglect, benign though it was, made her feel alone in their marriage.
But he’s realizing it now, when it seems to be too late to go back and fix anything. He’s got everything he ever thought he wanted… the beautiful wife that “got away” in the first timeline, money, a nice house, respect at his job. But none of it is anything Joo-hyuk actually earned, so even if Hye-won wasn’t such a spoiled rotten brat, I don’t think he would have been happy once he understood that everything he has now is because of her, and her money, and her family connections. Seeing Woo-jin as a happier, more emotionally healthy person has been a huge wake-up call for Joo-hyuk, and he’s remembering how much he really loves her and how her moods directly relate to the way he treated her. And now that she’s dating Jong-hoo, his jealousy is just pushing everything right over the edge.
Joo-hyuk seems to finally be accepting that his love for Woo-jin was based on a real connection that they nurtured and developed over time, rather than the shallow “gosh she’s pretty” feelings he had for Hye-won. Hye-won looks better on paper, but her spoiled, selfish, nasty behavior and critical comments only serve to highlight that while Woo-jin turned into an unhappy person, Hye-won is naturally entitled and judgmental. No amount of money is worth being stuck with a wife that Joo-hyuk’s own family can’t stand to be around, and now that Joo-hyuk remembers how much he genuinely loves Woo-jin for the funny, quirky, wonderful woman she is deep down, I hope that his desire to go back to his real life means that he’s decided to fix what he’s done and start treating her better, helping her out, and most importantly, listening to her.