Fight My Way: Episode 13

Love is a beautiful gift, but it doesn’t solve all of your problems and can even create brand new ones. As some of our villa residents are discovering, loving someone can be the very reason you can’t be together, because no amount of love can make your dreams for the future align. Thank goodness for good friends to help you drown your heartbroken sorrows.

 
Round 13: “Nam-il lives in Namil Villa”

Having established that they love each other, Ae-ra and Dong-man soon go back to arguing about whether he should fight Tak-soo. Ae-ra says that it’s because she loves Dong-man so much that she doesn’t want him to fight.

Dong-man counters that he’s willing to try even if he loses, otherwise he’ll just regret it for another ten years. But Ae-ra says that everyone online thinks he’ll lose, and that it won’t just be a loss, but a massacre.

Upset, Dong-man asks if Ae-ra, who knows him better than anyone, thinks he’ll lose to Tak-soo. Ae-ra says that it’s good that he’s fighting again — she only objects to him fighting Tak-soo. Almost pleading now, Dong-man tells her that his heart is finally racing after spending so many years with his head down. He asks Ae-ra to trust him, and she sighs heavily.

At their doors, Dong-man suddenly grabs Ae-ra’s wrist and pulls her into his apartment. He feeds her ddukbokki, saying that that conversation was work, and now is their personal time. Ae-ra grumbles that he’s never listened to her since they were kids, wondering out loud why he kisses her and says he loves her if he’s not going to listen.

Dong-man laughs at that and moves to stand in front of Ae-ra. She refuses to look at him, muttering that he’ll regret it and will end up singing his woes in a noraebang when she breaks up with him, heh. Dong-man just pulls her face to his and asks cutely, “Are you really going to dump me?”

He gives her little kisses while she snarls at him to get lost. She vows to teach him manners, starting with the fact that his ranking is way below hers. Dong-man just pulls her into his arms and asks if her stomach hurts, then gives her a real kiss. RAWR.

After a minute Ae-ra taps out, and Dong-man asks if he’s still “down there” (ranked below her). HA, she can barely construct a coherent sentence after that kiss.

Joo-man gets caught in the act of leaving a pink stuffed bunny on the stoop when Seol-hee arrives home from work. He awkwardly gives her the bunny, then notices the paper she’s holding. She confirms that she’s looking for a new place to live, saying that it’s awkward to live so close after dating for six years.

She adds that she’s also looking for a new job, wanting to make a clean, quick break. The news hits Joo-man hard, but all he can do is sigh her name before she goes inside.

Ae-ra and Dong-man snuggle on his bed, though Dong-man warns Ae-ra not to fall asleep, since it would be awkward if Seol-hee found out about them. Seeing that she’s falling asleep anyway, Dong-man asks Ae-ra to sing him the song she sung in Daecheon.

She remembers the song that her father sung for her when she was a child, guessing that her mother taught it to him, and her face falls. Dong-man snuggles closer to comfort Ae-ra, though she says she’s okay because it’s been a long time, and she had him and Seol-hee. Ae-ra says that she doesn’t really miss her mother since she’s never met her, though she seems wistful.

The following morning, Joo-man’s mom visits to do laundry and bring him food, though his fridge is already full of food that Seol-hee left behind. She doesn’t know about the breakup, and she mentions that Seol-hee asked for an invitation to Joo-man’s sister’s housewarming party. Joo-man yells that they probably only invited her to make her do dishes.

Downstairs, Seol-hee’s mom is also visiting, and she notices the pink bunny from Joo-man that Seol-hee has posed with its arms up. Seol-hee just says it’s being punished, ha. Mom asks if she and Joo-man had a fight, saying that men are basically the same, so Seol-hee should be contented that at least Joo-man doesn’t cheat. Ouch.

Joo-man and his mom run into Seol-hee and her mom on their way out to work, and it’s horribly awkward as the moms try to make small talk. Joo-man’s mom mentions that the families should meet, but Seol-hee’s mom says there’s no hurry. Joo-man’s mom reminds Seol-hee about the housewarming party, but Joo-man breaks in and says she’s not going. Suddenly, he blurts out, “We broke up,” and both moms gape at him.

He and his mom talk privately a bit later, and his mom says that it’s for the best, since he wasn’t really that into Seol-hee. But Joo-man says that he hadn’t married her because he couldn’t make Seol-hee live in a tiny studio apartment.

He reminds his mother that he said that he’ll never get married unless it’s to Seol-hee, but he thinks the breakup is best for Seol-hee. Sadly, he sighs that he’ll never meet another girl like her, but she’ll always be loved no matter where she goes. Mom asks why they broke up, seeming genuinely upset, but Joo-man just says, “Because I’m trash.”

As Seol-hee sees her mom off, she says that she’ll be fine. Mom realizes now why Seol-hee hadn’t mentioned Joo-man when he’s all she talks about normally, and she begs her daughter to start thinking of herself first.

Just as Mom is about to leave, Landlady Hwang drives up, and Seol-hee brings her mom over to be introduced. Landlady Hwang tries to hide behind her giant sunglasses, but Mom stares as if she recognizes her. They pretend they’re strangers, but Mom’s accidental greeting (“How have you been?”) gives away that they’ve met before.

Ae-ra did fall asleep at Dong-man’s, and he kicks her in the rear for trying to sneak out of his place. HA, he keeps saying “We didn’t do anything!” like he’s irritated by the fact. Ae-ra insists that she didn’t fall asleep, and Dong-man just wipes the drool off her chin, hee.

Landlady Hwang sees them together and fusses as usual. She starts upstairs and stumbles, so they help her to her apartment as she explains that she just had eye surgery. Ae-ra asks why Nam-il isn’t there to help her, but she snaps that she doesn’t need anyone.

They follow her inside to find that her apartment is neat, but sparsely furnished. Dong-man notes that she sure dresses fancy for someone whose home is so empty, and Landlady Hwang says cryptically that a person’s home becomes like the person. A photo catches Ae-ra’s eye, of a young Landlady Hwang holding a little boy on her lap. It seems to make Landlady Hwang nervous.

Meanwhile, Seol-hee’s mom calls Dong-man’s mom to tell her that Hwang Bok-hee is living in the villa. Dong-man’s mom asks her husband if visiting Dong-man was the real reason he recently went to Seoul. She demands to know if he saw anyone else, but he’s shocked to hear the name Hwang Bok-hee.

The boy in the photo looks familiar to Ae-ra, and curious, Dong-man goes over to see the picture. Landlady Hwang grows even more nervous when he says that a younger picture of Landlady Hwang looks familiar to him. A quick flashback shows Landlady Hwang crouching in front of young Dong-man. Oooohh… this is getting interesting.

To distract them, Landlady Hwang asks them to make her some cup ramyun before they go. Ae-ra notices the posters about breast cancer prevention on the kitchen walls. Dong-man whispers that despite her glamorous appearance, Landlady Hwang seems like a lonely old woman.

They run into Nam-il on their way downstairs. Ae-ra snaps at him to take better care of his mother instead of gallivanting around eating fried chicken, which she smells on his clothes. Nam-il retorts that he worked all night at the chicken place that he owns. Oops.

Once Nam-il is gone, Dong-man asks Ae-ra if she’s told Nam-il that she has a boyfriend who’s a fighter. Ae-ra preens, bragging that Nam-il does look at her a certain way. Dong-man pretends to be offended, then points to her face, all, “Are you sure he’s looking at you?” Cheeky boy.

Dong-man’s dad hides in the bathroom to call Ae-ra’s dad about Hwang Bok-hee. Ae-ra’s dad is just as upset, and oddly, both men clench their right fists.

Upstairs, Nam-il notices Landlady Hwang’s mood and tells her to stop thinking about “that kid.” She starts to blow him off, but he says with difficulty that he knows that the real Nam-il lives in Namil Villa. She doesn’t answer.

Joo-man is a mess at work, distracted and making mistakes. He thinks to himself that the only thing missing is Seol-hee, but his whole life is falling apart.

In the meantime, Seol-hee goes to get her nails done, asking for fancy artwork and the most expensive jewels. She’s also bought a new pink phone, the latest model. She spots intern Chan-ho a few chairs away, also getting his nails done, and he shyly avoids her eyes.

Over at Tak-soo’s gym, Dong-man’s former teammate Byung-joo listens in as Tak-soo discusses Dong-man with Tae-hee and Coach Choi. Tae-hee assures Tak-soo that Dong-man is only training with Coach Hwang, so he’s probably not learning very good ground skills (wrestling on the mat).

It’s true that Dong-man has nobody to spar with besides Coach, but Coach promises to find Dong-man someone to teach him ground skills. Dong-man says not to bother, knowing it would cost a fortune. As they argue, the door to the gym opens dramatically, and a hooded figure with a suitcase walks up to them.

Tae-hee dismisses Byung-joo, then tells Tak-soo that he tried bribing the RFC’s new representative, but it didn’t work. Tak-soo says to just offer more money, and Coach Choi releases a huge, annoyed sigh. He tells Tak-soo to either win or lose, but to do it honestly.

Just as annoyed, Tak-soo reminds Coach Choi that he works for him. Coach Choi invites him to fire him if he wants, then walks away. Tae-hee thinks that Tak-soo should fire Coach Choi, but Tak-soo says that Coach Choi is irreplaceable. When Coach Hwang won a silver medal in the Olympics, it was Coach Choi who won the gold.

Coach Hwang and Dong-man stare as the mysterious man removes his hood. They see by his tattoo that he’s one of a famous family of Brazilian UFC fighters, and that he’s related to the man that Tak-soo hired to beat up Dong-man in his first fight. He hands Coach a letter from Dong-man’s former opponent, which explains that he fought that shameful fight because he was desperate for money.

Karl offers up his nephew, John (Julien Kang), to train Dong-man as a way of paying him back. John just happens to be a UFC legend, and Coach Hwang looks like he’s in the presence of a god, hee. Dong-man says to Coach with awe, “I just might win.”

Intern Chan-ho finds Seol-hee taking pictures of her new fancy nails, and he says shyly that he gets his done now and then after a fungus made him embarrassed to shake clients’ hands (“It’s all gone now!”). Seol-hee barely notices him until he asks her to pinky swear not to tell anyone, so she does.

Chan-ho tells Seol-hee that her nails are pretty. In fact, he says she’s pretty all over, and that it makes him happy that she even remembers his name. Seol-hee asks if he really thinks she’s pretty, and Chan-ho is surprised that she has no idea how pretty she is.

From a distance, Joo-man sees Chan-ho flirting with Seol-hee, as well as her pleased reaction. He wanders to the elevator, which reminds him of flirting with Seol-hee where the cameras couldn’t see them.

Ye-jin joins him and starts to apologize for that night when they got caught. Joo-man interrupts to ask her out for a drink. Noooo, Joo-man, what are you doing?

It quickly becomes clear that John is a beast who won’t go easy on Dong-man. When Dong-man tries to tap out, John yells that there’s no tapping out with him (Dong-man: “Yes tap! Owww, yes tap!” LOL). Dong-man whines that John’s going to kill him, but Coach just says to complain to John in English if it’s that bad. John tells Dong-man that he’s going to teach him to master three techniques while he’s here.

Over drinks, Ye-jin states boldly that she’s willing to wait for Joo-man. But he says that a long time from now, he may meet someone other than Seol-hee, but it won’t be her. He adds that he could never date Ye-jin because she’d only remind him of Seol-hee.

He clarifies that he was swayed by Ye-jin because of Seol-hee. He tells Ye-jin of all the times she did something that reminded him of Seol-hee, so he couldn’t just ignore her. He apologizes and says that he has no intention of dating Ye-jin, and it finally sinks in that it was never her that he liked.

After practice, Ae-ra joins Dong-man and John for dinner at Coach’s soondae cart. Adorably nervous, Dong-man tells Ae-ra that the date for his fight has been set, and that he wants to do this before he turns thirty next year. She decides to try something and unleashes her aegyo attack, whining about how much she hates the idea.

Dong-man just gives her a dead-eyed stare, then launches into a perfect imitation of Ae-ra’s cringe-worthy aegyo. He ends with a big frustrated raspberry, and OMG, John’s face is hilarious. Joo-man shows up already half drunk, so Ae-ra stomps off in a huff.

On the way home, she gets a text letting her know that she passed the second round of interviews for the KBC announcer job. She’s confused, since that’s the interview where she talked back to the interviewer.

She runs into Kyung-ku, who seems to be waiting for her. He stammers that her address was in his GPS because he was going to mail something to Dong-man, but Ae-ra informs him that Dong-man won’t go on his show. He tries to give her a basket of fruit, saying that it contains strawberries, which he knows she likes.

The gesture triggers a memory of Kyung-ku holding a styrofoam box that appears to be splattered with something red. Ae-ra says that ever since that day, she doesn’t eat strawberries. Kyung-ku says that he’s not that guy anymore, but she just retorts that she doesn’t believe people change and orders him never to come back.

After she leaves, Kyung-ku says to himself that she’s making him very mad. He calls someone and tells them to push for the broadcast, and he’ll take care of it.

Joo-man looks like he might cry, and not even Dong-man’s threats to make fun of him help. He complains that it feels like his diaphragm is gone since he can’t breathe, and Coach dramatically sympathizes. Dong-man stage whispers that Coach has never had a girlfriend and has no idea, ha.

Ae-ra ends up at Dong-man’s again that night, with him still bugging her to support him. She says that the idea of him fighting Tak-soo makes her queasy, and she can’t understand why he’s bent on fighting when he’d forgotten all about it for years.

Dong-man says that he never forgot, not for one day — he just pretended to forget. He tells Ae-ra that everywhere he went, he was in that fight, losing every time. He describes his days like going in circles in a fish tank, pretending he wasn’t thinking. He quietly begs Ae-ra to let him fight.

The next day, Ae-ra tells Seol-hee to quit her job and that she’ll take care of her, and Seol-hee says that she wishes Ae-ra were a man, hee. She tells Ae-ra that she and Dong-man shouldn’t date or they’ll become like her and Joo-man, just as Ae-ra gets a text from Dong-man telling her to hurry back to his place.

He lies on the bed all cute, arms flung out wide for Ae-ra to join him. She does, and he curls up around her before asking if Seol-hee is okay. Ae-ra says she isn’t, and they agree that they can’t tell their friends about their new love yet.

Ae-ra asks what he’s going to do about Kyung-ku, and Dong-man says sleepily that he’ll decline to be on his show. She asks about Tak-soo next, but Dong-man just kisses her then asks about her MMA announcer interview later. Ae-ra tells him not to change the subject, warning that there will be no more dating or kissing if he fights. Lucky for her, that just triggers a kiss-attack.

On her way to her interview, Nam-il surprises Ae-ra by offering her a ride. When she asks why, he says that he’s interested in her, though he admits that it’s annoying. She tells him that her boyfriend is a fighter and he just nods, but her claim that she’s a psycho makes him cough-laugh.

Ae-ra sneers that she hates handsome, rude men, and of course he’s all, “You think I’m handsome?” She says that regardless, she’s not interested, but Nam-il says cryptically that she could very well end up seeing him forever.

Joo-man lies in bed despondent, until a text from Seol-hee reminds him to pack up her things. He does, though everything reminds him of happier times with Seol-hee. Eventually, he collapses to his knees and lets himself sob, narrating that small things made Seol-hee happy, but that her sacrifice for him was anything but small.

He pounds on Seol-hee’s door later, demanding that she explain why this tiny box is all he has when she practically lived with him. He’s worked himself up to a frenzy, furious that she only wore his old clothes and used tiny sample products, which made him want to get promoted so she wouldn’t act so poor.

Seol-hee says that never mattered to her, but Joo-man bellows that it mattered to him. Joo-man says that she’s the reason he always pursued big clients with popular items, but Seol-hee just snaps that she must have been quite a burden. She asks if that’s why he delayed marrying her for six years, but Joo-man says that he knew he couldn’t give her the best, so he wanted to at least give her the average.

It’s humiliating for him to admit, but Joo-man says through gritted teeth that after six years, even a yearly lease is too difficult. He trudges heavily back upstairs, leaving Seol-hee blinking back tears.

Dong-man and Ae-ra order jjajangmyun delivery, and Ae-ra notices the empty plate outside Hye-ran’s door. The delivery guy says that Hye-ran orders delivery every day, adding that he never sees her because she pays through an app, but she hasn’t ordered anything for the past few days.

Landlady Hwang goes through a box of old photos, which include pictures of Dong-man, Ae-ra, and Seol-hee as children. She puts away the box when her doorbell rings, and she’s surprised when she opens the door to find Ae-ra’s father standing there.

He asks angrily why she’s here when she said she’d never come back. Landlady Hwang retorts that she didn’t intend to, so he can imagine how bad things must be. The doorbell rings again, and this time, it’s Dong-man’s father standing outside.

Downstairs, Ae-ra tells Dong-man that she got callbacks for the KBC job and the MMA announcing job, but both interviews are on Friday. She says that she’ll have to think about what to do as she puts together a plate of food to take to Landlady Hwang.

Landlady Hwang leads Dong-man’s father inside, where the two dads regard each other suspiciously. Before anyone can say a word, the doorbell rings a third time, and when Ae-ra calls out, they all go into panic mode.

The dads hide in the closet while Landlady Hwang tries to keep the kids out, but Dong-man barrels in with the food. They hear a noise, which Landlady Hwang blames on Nam-il, but that proves to be a lie when Nam-il walks in the front door, ha.

Dong-man shushes everyone, whispering that someone is here, then he picks up a golf club to check out the source of the noise. Everyone freezes as he slowly approaches the closet, reaching out a trembling hand to throw open the door.

Epilogue.

The night that Ae-ra swore she never fell asleep, Dong-man was kept up all night listening to her snore, hee. She’d cuddled up to him as he complained that she should have gone home instead of sleeping here and torturing him.

Back when they were kids, Ae-ra had once fallen asleep outside, and little Dong-man had kept watch over her, swatting away the mosquitoes. He’d tried waking her up to send her home, but his efforts were unsuccessful. He’d been stuck there, protecting her from mosquito bites.

 
COMMENTS

Nice reversal, Show! I’ve never felt like Landlady Hwang could be Ae-ra’s mother because it seemed too easy, but I never thought she might be Dong-man’s mom. But that certainly seems to be what the show is teasing, and if it’s true, it’s quite the surprise. Dong-man has always had the security of a family, though it was sometimes rocky, so finding out that his life may not be what he thought will be a shock — especially when it seems as though every adult involved with the three friends knows the truth.

I wonder if Dong-man’s mom’s accusations were implying that his father had an affair with Landlady Hwang, which would make him Dong-man’s biological father. And I wonder why she left, and if it had to do with the breast cancer literature in her apartment, or if that’s the reason she’s back. But mostly I’m curious if it’s Dong-man who is the real Nam-il, and if so, then who is the man everyone calls Nam-il now?

It’s strange how I’m about ten times more interested in Seol-hee and Joo-man now that they’re broken up. Their relationship was so stagnant, but I’m enjoying seeing Seol-hee trying on new things, looking at herself to see who she really is and finally putting herself first. Even if she finds out that she’s not much different than before, having that knowledge because she really tried to get to know herself will be so much more valuable than falling into it by default.

I’m not generally a proponent of jealousy as a way of getting a couple together, because it feels like the emotions are at risk of not being genuine when they’re brought about just because the guy sees the girl with someone else. But in this case, and at this point in their relationship, I think it was good for Joo-man to see that Seol-hee is a beautiful woman whom men see as attractive and desirable. He’s taken her for granted for so long that she’s become “furniture,” as someone said earlier. I think that he’s always loved Seol-hee, and that he never intended to cheat with Ye-jin, she just tugged at that same part of him that Seol-hee tugged so he couldn’t say no to her.

Maybe now with some distance and perspective, Joo-man will be able to look at Seol-hee in a new way and realize that just because she’s quiet and puts others before herself, that doesn’t mean that she’s plain and boring. Whether or not they ever get back together, it’s good for Joo-man to realize what he lost in Seol-hee. He still needs to get over his hang-up about wanting to give her material things, because all Seol-hee ever wanted was to have a family and they can do that if they just work together.

I’m a little concerned about Hye-ran’s lack of appearance after moving just to be closer to Dong-man, though it’s actually been very nice to have a few episodes without her. But it’s Kyung-ku who really concerns me and is making me actually fear for Ae-ra. He seems so whiny and ineffective, and Ae-ra does such a great job of cutting him down, that I also think it makes him easy to underestimate. But that short glimpse of him holding a box that appeared to be covered in blood? Okay, maybe it was just strawberry juice, but Kyung-ku looked downright unhinged and now I’m kind of terrified. I do hope this doesn’t lead to some scenario where Dong-man has to choose between fighting Tak-soo and rescuing Ae-ra, but I’m choosing to believe that the show will do something more creative and intelligent than that as we head towards the end of our story. Fingers crossed.

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