Clean With Passion for Now: Episode 3
Our heroine finally finds a job, but working for a cleaning company doesn’t make her want to go out and celebrate with family and friends. As much as she might want to keep this temporary work arrangement hidden from others though, those pink jumpsuits just don’t lend themselves to discretion. The job isn’t easy either, but that fussy CEO of hers always seems to turn up to help out when she needs it.
EPISODE 3: “It starts with a kiss!”
Seon-gyeol appears stricken by the news that they’ve officially hired Oh-sol at his cleaning company. He drills Secretary Kwon about their hiring practices, but she reports that Oh-sol passed all the tests, and Secretary Kwon is quick to gush about her talents.
Seon-gyeol is reluctant, and his fears seem warranted when he enters the staff room and Oh-sol nearly mauls his face with a floor waxer. Yeong-shik saves the day with a dive for the waxer’s plug, but the new recruits still get a laugh at their CEO cowering on the floor.
Seon-gyeol composes himself and begins their orientation presentation with the question,”What does cleaning mean to you?”
After orientation, Oh-sol and Joo-yeon meet for a mini-celebration. Joo-yeon clucks over the strange fate that seems to keep bringing Oh-sol back to the guy from the accident, though she admits that Seon-gyeol is handsome.
Oh-sol scoffs and declares Seon-gyeol mentally ill, and proceeds to regale Joo-yeon with all of the ways that cleanly Seon-gyeol drove her crazy her first day.
While the girls are at the restaurant, Seon-gyeol shares his own grievances against Oh-sol with Secretary Kwon in his office. For every complaint that Seon-gyeol has about Oh-sol—she sits on the floor, she always dribbles when she drinks, she doesn’t seem to ever wash her hair—Oh-sol has her own set of complaints against him—he washes his hands constantly, he puts down a handkerchief before he sits anywhere, and he behaves like no one is clean but him.
As they each complain, the restaurant and office are shown in split screen, and in a bit of fourth wall breaking, the pair spot each other over their scenes’ edges. Seon-gyeol charges across the split screen into the bar, and he and Oh-sol tangle with one another while Secretary Kwon and Joo-yeon try to pry them apart. You know this is all their imagination, because there’s no way Seon-gyeol would willingly touch anyone in a fight. Eventually he stalks back over to his side of the frame in a huff.
At breakfast the next morning, Oh-sol’s father’s phone is ringing like crazy with congratulations for his daughter’s new job. Oh-sol hasn’t told her family what the company is, just that it’s a good company. Oh-dol has heard that Yeong-shik snagged a job at a cleaning company that pays well, and wonders if he should try to apply for part-time there.
Dad isn’t keen on that job at all, and when Oh-sol points out that he’s in that industry too, he says that’s exactly why he can’t approve of it for anyone. He wants his kids to have easy jobs without all the manual labor.
Her father’s derision is still on her mind when Oh-sol reports to her first day on the job, and she reminds herself that this is all temporary. Oh-sol and Yeong-shik are teamed up with sunbaes Dong-hyun and Jae-min, and Oh-sol is the only one who seems eager to get along in the car ride over to their first appointment.
Seon-gyeol and Secretary Kwon are already at the building the staff will be cleaning, having just finished up a pitch presentation to the company. Secretary Kwon is quick to praise him on his great work, while Seon-gyeol is modest about his efforts.
Yeong-shik is having less success in the bathroom where he attempts to plunge a clogged toilet disaster. Oh-sol hears his bellows of frustration all the way from the ladies room that she is cleaning, and she offers to just take care of the stall in the men’s room as well while Yeong-shik lurches off to dry heave.
But it’s no easier a job for Oh-sol, and her angry cries scare off a guy who comes in to use the urinal. Her screams are loud enough to reach Seon-gyeol in the building, who ducks as if a wild animal is there to attack him.
Finally, the poop goes down and Oh-sol leaves the restroom. On her way out, she spots employees at the company working together in the atrium. She can’t help but admire the scene, and pictures herself as the girl at the center of it all.
Oh-sol’s daydream is interrupted by an employee, who asks her to move so that she can get by (and calls Oh-sol an ajumma, the most ridiculously inaccurate description of Kim Yoo-jung ever). Oh-sol pulls the cleaning cart out of the way, but the woman stumbles as she passes and drops her cup and spills coffee all over the carpet.
The woman snipes for Oh-sol to clean up the spill right away, and also get her a wet wipe for her shoes, and also to wipe all these spots she missed… Oh-sol’s patience only holds out for so long, and eventually she calls the other woman an ajumma in retalliation and asks her to move aside.
As the tension between the two women ramps up, the employee’s supervisor arrives. He hears only the woman’s side of the story, and threatens to complain to Oh-sol’s CEO. Oh-sol bows her head in apology rather than causing a scene. Just as the supervisor departs, however, Seon-gyeol arrives with his trusty secretary.
He’s here not to admonish Oh-sol, but to stand up for her. He hands the wet wipe to the woman and tells her to clean this up for herself, since this area of the building isn’t covered in the cleaning company’s contract. Seon-gyeol turns to Oh-sol and tells her that she doesn’t have to apologize when something is unfair, and that they don’t have to lower themselves just because they are cleaning staff.
Oh-sol can’t help but gloat after Seon-gyeol departs, and calls the woman ajumma one last time as she saunters away, a giant grin on her face.
The cleaning crew and their CEO meet in the boardroom for a final inspection. After finding a single hair on the floor, Seon-gyeol whips out an electronic swab and tests for bacteria. After the swab reads zero, they get the okay with a smile from Secretary Kwon. They’ve passed Seon-gyeol’s demanding standards, huzzah!
Oh-sol celebrates a long day by applying pain pads outside the convenience store, and Choi Gun appears just in time to painfully rip the paper off for her. Oh-sol asks him not to tell her family about this, and when he asks if she did something bad, she retorts, “I’m not like you,” which garners Choi Gun’s signature befuddled look.
Choi Gun points out that Oh-sol is the type to act tough, but is actually vulnerable on the inside. He declares himself a very perceptive person, and Oh-sol recalls the local fortune teller at his apartment recently and asks if Choi Gun is a fortune teller too. When she asks for a prediction, Choi Gun tells her that she’ll meet an important man, tall and good-looking, to the northeast. He prods her to get a phone app to help her figure out the direction, and of course, the compass needle points directly at him, ha.
A long day of physical labor takes its toll on Oh-sol, who wakes up late the next morning. She has just enough time to pat her hair with water and grab some kimbap to go as she dashes out the door, frantically spraying dry shampoo overhead.
She just barely misses the bus, but she’s just in time to spot Seon-gyeol’s car as he starts for work. She leans in to his open car window, food stuck to her face and a bath towel still draped around her neck. Seon-gyeol’s answer to her request to carpool is to roll his windows up and drive away.
Secretary Kwon finds her boss bent over examining the greasy fingerprints on his car windows when she arrives at work. Seon-gyeol asks if women wear makeup on their hair, or if wearing a towel like a scarf is fashionable.
Secretary Kwon is confused as he walks away, but understands when Oh-sol pops up in front of her, hair dusty with unincorporated dry shampoo and a towel flung across her shoulders. Oh-sol tries to fib that she needed the towel from her workout that morning, and Secretary Kwon just laughs.
While cleaning, Oh-sol gets a chance to call Joo-yeon. Joo-yeon reminds Oh-sol not to drink too much at the company party scheduled for that evening, and then warns her that Do-jin has been asking about her and not to answer his calls.
Joo-yeon has to go, because she’s attending Oh-dol’s taekwondo competition. As soon as Oh-sol hangs up, a text from Do-jin arrives, which she promptly ignores. Meanwhile, Oh-dol easily wins his match and nods to the cheering Joo-yeon.
The company party is at a very nice sushi restaurant, complete with a separate and very neatly prepared plate for Seon-gyeol. Oh-sol tries to sit next to, and then across from, Seon-gyeol, but he lets her know he’s more comfortable with her waaaay down the table.
Oh-sol’s happy to drink and make merry with Yeong-shik, Jae-min, and Dong-hyun, but she can’t help but note Seon-gyeol’s slow and deliberate utensil cleaning routine. Likewise, Secretary Kwon praises Oh-sol’s friendly nature, but all Seon-gyeol can see is the sloppy way she eats and drinks.
Soon, everyone is smashed and running around the street. Oh-sol rejects a call from Do-jin, while the boys drunkenly wrestle one another. Secretary Kwon means to make sure everyone is taken care of, but she gets a phone call that her child is in the hospital and rushes off, just barely taking a moment to tell Dong-hyun before she leaves.
That leaves Seon-gyeol alone with a very drunk Oh-sol. She swaggers up to him and asks him to go for more drinks and food. Seon-gyeol tries to call Secretary Kwon, but Oh-sol won’t stay put and he gives reluctant chase. Oh-sol runs into a pole, stopping her, but then a couple of strange men turn up to take advantage of the drunk girl, and Seon-gyeol scares them off like a good white knight.
Seon-gyeol somehow manages to get Oh-sol into his car, his latex gloves on the entire time. He keeps trying to tilt her head back on to the part of the seat covered in plastic. His eyes widen in panic when Oh-sol asks for a plastic bag to throw up in. He tells her that she has to hold it in, no matter what, and somehow, she manages to keep from vomiting, but the vomit turns into a burp that smells just as bad. Poor Seon-gyeol heaves as he desperately rolls down the window.
Seon-gyeol finally arrives at Oh-sol’s neighborhood and walks behind her up the hill to her house. Oh-sol tries to convince Seon-gyeol to come in for more drinks, and that’s when Do-jin turns up on the street.
Do-jin grabs Oh-sol’s hand to walk her home, even against her angry protests. Seon-gyeol hesitates for a moment, and then reaches out and clasps Oh-sol’s other hand. Two men are officially fighting over Oh-sol, tug-o-war style.
Oh-dol and Choi Gun discover this scene on the street as they walk home from the store. Seon-gyeol isn’t comforted to hear Oh-sol greet “the rooftop pervert” as the boys approach, and the x-rated comics clutched in Choi Gun’s arms are not reassuring, so he blocks Choi Gun from leaning in to Oh-sol.
Seon-gyeol confirms that Oh-dol is Oh-sol’s brother, and leaves her in his care. Seon-gyeol removes his gloves, finally free, while Oh-dol waves a fist at Do-jin when his sister calls him a jerk. Oh-sol doesn’t want to let Seon-gyeol leave without a thank you though, so she blindly grabs from Oh-dol’s ddeokbokki bag.
She races back down the hill after Seon-gyeol and shoves the food into his jacket pocket before he can protest. As she scampers back home, Seon-gyeol freezes, and then reaches into his pocket. He throws the bag to the ground, not ddeokbokki, but blood sausage. The texture and smell are too much, and Seon-gyeol screams into the night sky.
The next morning, Oh-sol grins over breakfast when she hears two men were fighting over her. Choi Gun wonders where their blood sausage went, and we cut to Seon-gyeol, trying to relax after the ordeal. He listens to a guided meditation that encourages him to, “…cleanse others’ flaws, and not hate others’ faults.” But when the meditation insists that he “walk the path together,” he tries to stop the audio, and instead gets it stuck in a repeating loop.
Heading to his office, Seon-gyeol’s mind is still on blood sausage, until he discovers his mother and her boyfriend waiting for him. His mother hopes to get her boyfriend to invest in Seon-gyeol’s company, but Seon-gyeol curtly turns her down. While Seon-gyeol continues to speak with his mother, Oh-sol arrives at the entrance to his office and gapes.
Seon-gyeol’s mother begs her son to let her help him, and Seon-gyeol accuses her of “playing” at being a mom, after abandoning him in his childhood. His mother seems earnest as she shouts that she feels bad for the past and wants to make up for it, but Seon-gyeol stalks away. He’s surprised to find Oh-sol there, a witness to the argument, and Oh-sol is just able to squeak that she’s sorry about the previous night before Seon-gyeol steps into the elevator.
Oh-sol receives a text and goes to a restaurant to meet its sender, Do-jin (this guy just doesn’t know when to quit). Do-jin asks to hear about Oh-sol’s new job and tells her that he’s sad to think they’ll never talk again. Oh-sol stands firm and tells him to never contact her again. Do-jin asks if the guy from last night was her boyfriend, and Oh-sol neither denies nor confirms. With that, she asks him again to leave her alone and departs.
Seon-gyeol washes at the sinks at home, and he recalls a moment when he was a child. Geum-ja finds him in the bathroom, his face rubbed bare from washing over and over again. He tells Geum-ja that his mother promised she would come home if he stays clean.
On her walk home, Oh-sol runs into Seon-gyeol, out for an evening walk himself. Oh-sol takes the moment to explain her presence at his office and apologize for overhearing the argument. She also can’t help but mention that parents can’t always remain with their children, and that Seon-gyeol’s mother seemed to really care about him. But Seon-gyeol shuts down her advice quickly.
The next morning, Oh-sol calls Joo-yeon as she works to catch her up on the Do-jin drama. And speak of the devil, Do-jin walks by and spots Oh-sol in her Cleaning Fairy overalls. Do-jin scoffs at Oh-sol and her job. He sneers as he asks if she met her boyfriend at the cleaning company, and this time Oh-sol says yes, and that her boyfriend is the CEO. Do-jin says that he doubts a CEO would be interested in Oh-sol, and that’s when Seon-gyeol conveniently appears around the corner.
Oh-sol calls out to her “boyfriend,” and Seon-gyeol’s jaw hangs open at her greeting. Do-jin laughs at the awkwardness as Seon-gyeol pulls away at every attempt Oh-sol makes to touch him. “Let me borrow them just this once,” she says, and then before Seon-gyeol can pull away, she grabs his head in her hands and leans in for a kiss.
Over the last few days, it seems that Oh-sol’s compass has been pointing right at tall, handsome Seon-gyeol all along. First at the doorway to Seon-gyeol’s office, and later at the company party, the compass kept swinging his way. Then it’s back to the present, and the epic kiss where Oh-sol has trapped Seon-gyeol.
Oh wow, we’re moving fast now, and somehow, we slipped into fake-relationship-for-reasons territory. You’d think with the episode title I would have expected that kiss, and yet I was still completely surprised. I’m afraid to find out how Seon-gyeol plans to disinfect his lips in the next episode.
I’m glad that the show is willing to fully break the fourth wall, because I feel like anyone coming in assuming they’d get any ounce of realism would be sorely disappointed. The split screen scene felt like the best way to communicate that things will get out of control, not everything is based in reality, and the big emotions of these two leads is going to lead to some unreliable narration as their feelings exaggerate every beat of the story.
I like that the show is willing to get a little gross, a little raunchy even, and the actors are really diving into those aspects. There is so much acting going on in both Kim Yoo-jung and Yoon Kyun-sang’s faces. The two of them get so much done in a scene with their expressions alone, and then add in the body language and there’s so much great comedy.
Oh-sol is reduced to terrifying child when drunk, which is not my favorite kind of drunk, but it feels like it plays into the bigger-than-reality world they’re living in. Not to mention that as unrealistic as it seems, it was a lot of fun to watch Oh-sol tumble around the streets. I felt like Yoon Kyung-sang had to hide a few smiles in those scenes to struggle to stay in character. I get that same feeling every time Secretary Kwon is in a scene with Oh-sol as well. Secretary Kwon is a joy and I want so much more of her encouragement and cheer.
Seon-gyeol swooped in to save the day several times in this episode, and some were more effective than others. On the one hand, his interception in the confrontation with the office worker was, while cheesy, completely rewarding to watch. Seon-gyeol is a great boss. He’s fair, he expects a lot from his employees, and he will defend them all, even if it’s their first day and they’ve previously thrown garbage all over his car and tormented him with elephant undies.
But then there’s that bit of tug-o-war over a drunken Oh-sol, and here Seon-gyeol doesn’t look any better than Do-jin. Sure, there’s a big moment here where Seon-gyeol decides to touch her hand even though all of his fear tells him not to. But still, there are too men glaring at each other while they swing a girl between them, and it’s not great at all. But let’s be clear, Do-jin is pure trash, while Seon-gyeol made a mistake while deploying his white knight instincts. I believe that he’ll do better.
It’s interesting, Seon-gyeol doesn’t seem to know what to do with other people until he has the chance to come to the rescue. As soon as Oh-sol needs some saving, his entire demeanor changes. He becomes more confident and doesn’t back down. It seems that Seon-gyeol has learned a lot about fighting injustice in his life, but just isn’t prepared to interact with other humans on a personal level yet.
At a shallow level, Seon-gyeol’s problems with his mother seem like non-issues. His mom is here now and wants a good relationship, so he should just go with it and build the relationship now. But it’s not just that Seon-gyeol’s feelings were hurt as a child. His entire way of life is established around the pain he suffered from his mother’s absence in his life. The man has installed multiple sinks and a sanitizing hallway to accommodate the effects of his childhood trauma. This doesn’t seem like something that can be fixed quickly, with a hug from Mom and a quick investment from her boyfriend.
I can’t imagine Seon-gyeol agreeing to play along with a fake relationship, not if it means hand-holding and piggyback rides and more kissing. But Do-jin seems oddly persistent about being in Oh-sol’s life, either to use her or abuse her, so Oh-sol will have to figure out a way to keep the charade up.