Jugglers: Episode 9

I just love how horrifically awkward Chi-won and Yoon-yi are after their little encounter, because it just feels so familiar. Haven’t we all done something extremely ill-advised, then wondered how we’ll ever look that person in the face again? Considering that Chi-won and Yoon-yi still have to live and work together, it’s no wonder they’re doing everything they can to pretend that “it” never happened.

 
EPISODE 9: “They pretended they didn’t”

After their unplanned kiss, the drive home is silent and awkward for Chi-won and Yoon-yi. They both end up in their own rooms wondering what on earth just happened and what they’re supposed to do now.

They wake in the morning still thinking about it, and when they start to leave at the same time, they both make excuses to go back inside. Chi-won sneaks out first, but only because Yoon-yi is peeking to make sure he’s gone. He has trouble with his bike, and rather than run into Yoon-yi again, he just picks the whole thing up and runs with it, hee.

 

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We kissed… now what?

 
Yoon-yi rushes through her morning routine of preparing Chi-won’s office, and when she spots him in the hall, she actually hides under her desk (lol). Chi-won notices that there are three cacti now, and that his pencil cup is full again. He smiles to himself — then he sneezes. Oh no, he caught Yoon-yi’s cold!

Chang-soo brings thirty cans of peaches for Yoon-yi, her favorite sick food. She purposely coughs and sneezes all over him, even wiping her nose and flinging it at him, but he just calls her cute and asks for more. Gross.

Chi-won and Yoon-yi are both obviously sick at the team meeting, so the employees offer to hold the meeting without them and email them the notes later. Unable to think of a reasonable argument, they comply, leaving the team to speculate on why they’re sick at the same time. With their usual sharp insight, they conclude that Yoon-yi must have spit in Chi-won’s coffee.

Yoon-yi brings Chi-won a bowl of peaches, saying that they always make her feel better when she’s got a cold. Spying Chang-soo through the window and remembering that he called Yoon-yi and offered to bring her peaches, he asks where she got them. She fibs that she bought them herself.

Chi-won gives the peaches to Yul, who obliviously enjoys them right in front of his hungry-looking team, joking that his song yesterday made Chi-won love him. They get down to work, discussing whether Yul’s e-sports idea is wise. Nobody is in favor of it, except for Jung-ae, who says that many kids play video games these days, and she thinks it’s a good idea to nurture that interest.

She’s interrupted by a call, and her phone gets stuck in speaker mode, allowing the entire team to hear the caller address her as Wang Jung-ae. She quickly hangs up and says it was a wrong number, but Yul stares at her narrowly, and later he asks if Wang Jung-ae is her sister.

She jumps on the explanation, but he keeps giving her that suspicious glare. He asks, “It’s not your husband, is it?” Horrified, Jung-ae denies it, and Yul instantly smiles his crinkly smile and thanks her for taking his side regarding e-sports. He tells her to come to his house over the weekend so they can start preparing.

Vice President Do introduces Executive Director Jo to an executive from YB’s electronic department. They’re about to release their new smart TV and want to hire Executive Director Jo to handle the PR. Executive Director Jo does another happy dance in his office, knowing this project will make him the top performer in YG Group history.

He gets an idea, and offers to let Bo-na come up with the marketing plan for the smart TV. If it works out, he promises that she can do the presentation for the domestic portion.

Too shy to go into his office herself, Yoon-yi asks Team Leader Gong to take Chi-won a file. He does, then Chi-won has him relay a message to Yoon-yi, pretending his cough is too bad to talk to her himself. They send him back and forth until Team Leader Gong gets fed up and snaps that he should be a carrier pigeon in his next life.

Later, Chi-won is stopped in the lobby by Channel Y’s new correspondent. They go to the coffee shop, and the correspondent asks if it’s true that the new smart TV has a defect. He’s curious why the release date hasn’t been changed and the TVs are still being manufactured.

He tells Chi-won that an informant told him that a rival company is also releasing a smart TV, and that YB Electronics is trying to put their product out first. Chi-won asks to be introduced to the informant.

Yoon-yi finds Ms. Moon in the ladies room, upset after an argument with her husband. She says that Yoon-yi is lucky to be single, and warns her to watch out for men who act impulsive, initiate skinship, then ignore her. That reminds Yoon-yi of Chi-won grabbing her wrist and kissing her, and how he’s avoiding her today.

Back at her desk, she finds a note from Chi-won saying that he’s going straight home from an offsite meeting today. She gets on her advice site, Jugglers, and asks what she should do after kissing her boss. Predictably, the advice is to remember her motto: Boss, teacher, and father are one.

She goes to the coffee shop, but Chi-won is still there, so she tries to slip away without being seen. But Kyung-rye calls out her name, making Chi-won turn and look.

As she’s leaving the building, someone steps into the revolving door with her and makes it stop turning. Yoon-yi turns to see Chi-won right up close, and when he says her name, all she can see is those lips. She snaps out of it, and he says he doesn’t want to feel awkward anymore.

They go home to talk, but Yoon-yi stops Chi-won when he mentions the kiss, and she babbles that she was just being impulsive. Chi-won seems upset that she only sees the kiss as an impulse, and he asks if she wants to pretend it never happened. Yoon-yi hesitates, then ekes out a weak, “Yes…”

With a sigh, Chi-won stands and says that they shouldn’t let this make them awkward or affect their work. Yoon-yi stops him from leaving, telling him that her motto forbids falling for her boss because it’s immoral. Chi-won just says, “Okay,” and Yoon-yi grabs him again, sounding frantic now as she explains that she was once accused of having an affair with her boss.

Again, Chi-won just says, “Okay,” and goes up to his apartment. Yoon-yi whines that it seems so easy for him, but once he’s alone, he starts ranting about the fact that she closed her eyes and didn’t push him away. He kicks off his fluffy panther slippers in a tantrum, grumbling about her motto.

As for Yoon-yi, she berates herself for not asking Chi-won why he kissed her, and why he said he was nervous without her. She flops into bed, screaming in frustration.

They spend the next morning at work trying not to get caught staring at each other. Chi-won brings what he learned about YG Electronics’ plan to release a flawed product to the team meeting, and they ask what he wants to do about it. He says that they have to find a way to stop the promotion of the smart TV.

Team Leader Gong respectfully argues that they’re not a newsroom, but Chi-won reminds him that their job is to deliver news from their affiliates to the company, and Team Leader Gong changes his tune. Chi-won hands out fact-gathering assignments, warning everyone to keep this quiet.

The executive from YG Electronics tells Executive Director Jo about the defective part in the televisions. Executive Director Jo argues that they can’t afford to delay release or he’ll lose his bid for vice president. The executive catches his slip-up, but Executive Director Jo says they can continue with the promotions, and fix the defect before release.

Chi-won and Vice President Do meet up, and Vice President Do says that his daughter Do-hee (Chi-won’s ex-wife) may be coming to Korea soon. Yoon-yi brings them tea, and Vice President Do tries to read Chi-won’s mug, the one Yoon-yi made.

HA, Chi-won slaps his hand over the inscription and eyeballs Vice President Do suspiciously. Yoon-yi says it was a birthday present, and Vice President Do cracks a knowing grin.

His phone rings, and when he sees that it’s Do-hee, Vice President Do hands the phone to Chi-won. He notices Yoon-yi’s curiosity and says it’s his daughter, and she goes back to her desk wondering if Chi-won is close to her.

When Chi-won ends the call, Vice President Do sighs that his feelings are all over the place lately. He says he feels bad for his daughter, but he’s also glad that Chi-won is developing feelings for someone.

With a tiny smile, Chi-won tells him not to feel bad, because he’s not planning to be happy with “his other half,” as Vice President Do put it. Vice President Do tells him to stop being stubborn and just do whatever he wants.

Yoon-yi decides to clean up Chi-won’s email inbox, deleting spam and sorting the important messages. She spots an unread email from Do-hee, recognizing the name from Vice President Do’s phone. She starts to sort it into “personal,” but Chang-soo suddenly leans on her and she accidentally clicks, opening the email.

Freaking out, Yoon-yi tries to sort the email without actually looking at it, but she ends up peeking and reads it. Do-hee mentions their wedding anniversary and says she misses Chi-won, and Yoon-yi realizes that Chi-won was married to the vice president’s daughter.

She slumps to the break room, wondering how she could ever compete with a woman like that. Jung-ae joins her, so Yoon-yi asks if she’s ever impulsively kissed someone. Jung-ae says that she hasn’t, but she did sleep with someone out of impulse, which is how her son was conceived.

Yoon-yi already knows, and she asks if Jung-ae ever regrets it. Jung-ae thinks, then she shakes her head no, because you only act impulsively when you have feelings for the person.

Thinking of Chi-won’s divorce, Yoon-yi asks if married couples can’t get over each other even after they part ways. Jung-ae answers that family isn’t something you just forget, even when you try.

On the bus home, Yoon-yi writes “Boss, teacher, and father are one” in the condensation on the window, telling herself not to forget it. Suddenly she hears a voice say, “That’s enough,” and she looks up to see Chi-won standing over her. He sits next to her and asks why she read his email.

Yoon-yi says truthfully that it was an accidental click, and Chi-won just says, “Okay.” Yoon-yi asks if they’re still close, since they email and talk on the phone, and Chi-won says it’s not like they broke up because they hated each other. Yoon-yi asks why, then remembers his rule about no personal questions, and takes it back.

But Chi-won tells her that his ex-wife was too good to him, but he had nothing to give back, so he felt bad. He adds there’s always one person in any relationship who loves more, and that person starts to feel resentful, while the one who loves less feels sorry. Eventually the one who cares less feels guilty, and they break up.

When they arrive home, Chi-won asks Yoon-yi to have ramyun with him. She thinks he means “have ramyun” and protests that she’s not that kind of girl, but he meant it literally, and she finds herself sitting in a ramyun restaurant feeling sheepish.

She orders the spicy ramyun, saying that the capsaicin is good for fighting colds and stress. But she regrets her choice with her first bite, and Chi-won asks if she often acts impulsively then regrets it later. He switches bowls with her, giving her his mild ramyun, muttering that he’s not impulsive like someone.

That weekend, Jung-ae spends time at Yul’s house working on his e-sports plans. He works harder than she’s ever seen now that it’s something he’s interested in, and Jung-ae says that he seems like a different person.

She tells him that if the board would help him if they could see his enthusiasm, but he says that he only needs someone who believes in him and not his money. “Someone who won’t betray me, that’s all I need. Like you.”

Later, Yul wakes from a nap on the couch to find himself alone. There’s a note from Jung-ae that she finished the documents and made him a meal. As he settles to eat, he notices that the puppet that sits on his table has had his ripped sweater repaired.

Jung-ae had seen it earlier and asked about it. Yul had told her that his mother made the puppet and used it to coax him to eat when he was little. Aww. After he eats, Yul sends Jung-ae a cute video of the puppet, thanking her for the food and asking her to cook for him again. So cute.

Yoon-yi is surprised when her mother decides to move her brother Tae-yi into her house. Her mom says that since Yoon-yi won’t answer her calls, she needs Tae-yi here to report on Yoon-yi’s dating activities, and Yoon-yi threatens to murder her little brother.

Mom orders Tae-yi to get Chi-won, so he goes up to warn Chi-won to evacuate immediately. He tells a confused Chi-won that he’s on his side and gives him another copy of his resume. HA.

A few seconds later, Mom comes storming upstairs, Yoon-yi in tow. Mom tells Chi-won that he has to move out because she and Tae-yi are both moving in. Chi-won refuses, threatening to demand she pay him damages if she breaks his lease. Mo clutches her neck, and at a tiny nod from Chi-won, Tae-yi leads her back downstairs.

Yoon-yi hangs back to ask Chi-won why he said he won’t move, when he recently told her she makes him uncomfortable. Chi-won is practically smirking as he says that he doesn’t care anymore if he’s uncomfortable.

Later, Jung-ae is having dinner to Kyung-rye, Bo-na, and Gun-woo when she gets a call. The caller introduces himself as an investigator from a life insurance company. Jung-ae meets with him (ha, it’s Yoo Ji-tae in a cameo as his character from Mad Dog), and he tells her that her husband Jun-pyo opened multiple life insurance policies on himself in the months before he went missing.

He says that Jung-ae is the beneficiary, and that they’ll be opening an investigation soon to check for possible fraud. Jung-ae remembers that before Jun-pyo disappeared, he’d told her he was leaving the country. He’d confessed that he has another family, and that he was choosing them.

He’d told Jung-ae of his plan — she would report him missing, then collect on the insurance policy to pay for Gun-woo’s college. In return, he would take all the money they had at the time. Jung-ae had begged him not to go, sobbing and promising to be a better wife. He’d left her there with only the life insurance policy, which she’d torn to shreds.

Back in the present, her friends console Jung-ae as she cries again at having been abandoned. Gun-woo goes to his room, throws away a picture of himself with his mother and father, and crawls into bed.

At the office, Executive Director Jo gets an email that someone is looking into the new smart TV’s defective component. He calls Chi-won to his office and accuses him of deliberately looking for ways to sabotage him. Chi-won just says that liars often talk too much and asks him to keep it short, ha.

Executive Director Jo snarls that business is about making money, asking if Chi-won understands how big that contract is. Chi-won says that he does, but that the company’s reputation is worth more. Executive Director Jo yells that they’ll fix the defect before the TVs are released, and Chi-won affably says he’ll check to see if that’s even possible.

Executive Director Jo lunges, fist raised, but he stops himself at the last second. He smiles at Chi-won, saying that they’re family. Chi-won calls him “hyung,” then says not to do that because he’s grossing him out. HAHA. After he leaves, Executive Director Jo vows to destroy both Chi-won and Yoon-yi if things go wrong.

Chi-won arrives back at his office to find his team beaming at him, then they all grab him in a group hug. He shoots a desperate look to Yoon-yi, who shrugs knowingly. Later she tells him that she gave everyone year’s-end gifts, saying they were from Chi-won. She explains that she was just doing her job as his assistant and starts to apologize, but he stops her and thanks her.

Yoon-yi heads out on New Year’s Eve for an overnight trip with her friends. She runs into Chi-won in the courtyard, who says shyly that he’s just staying home and eating ramyun. He gives her a bag, having noticed that Yoon-yi didn’t get herself a years-end gift, and tells her to open it later.

She waits just long enough for him to get upstairs before peeking. Oh, he didn’t… it’s a pair of white fluffy bunny slippers to match his panther slippers. I’m dying.

Yoon-yi doesn’t open the card that came with the slippers until she’s in the car with her friends. When she does, she reads that Chi-won has written, “For being by my side, thank you.” She yells for them to drop her off and grabs a taxi to the ramyun restaurant.

Chi-won isn’t there, and Yoon-yi wilts in disappointment. She steps outside, where it starts to rain, and she futilely shields her eyes with a gloved hand. Suddenly she notices an umbrella over her head, and she turns to see Chi-won. He stares curiously for a long moment, then shifts the umbrella to cover her better.

Chi-won smiles a tiny smile, and Yoon-yi steps into his arms. She nestles her face into his chest as his arms encircle her, and he breaks into a genuine, uninhibited grin.

 

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A rainy reunion

 

Epilogue.

On the night they rode the bus home together, Yoon-yi had nodded off after Chi-won told her about his divorce. Seeing that she’d written “Boss, teacher,a nd father are one” on the window, Chi-won had reached across her and wiped the words away.

He’d gone back to the work he was reviewing, and Yoon-yi’s head had flopped onto his shoulder. He’d stared for a minute, then smiled to himself.

 
COMMENTS

Awww, so sweet, these two. I love Chi-won’s uninhibited smile there at the end, because it feels like it shows his feelings for Yoon-yi much more than an impulsive kiss ever could. Their relationship is based in friendship, and trust, and being there for each other, so when she chooses to see the new year in with him, it’s just another example of Yoon-yi making the conscious decision to be by his side.

I’ve talked before about how it says a lot about how much Chi-won trusts Yoon-yi to let her in like he’s doing, even slowly and reluctantly, but I think it’s also taking a lot of trust on Yoon-yi’s side. She’s only ever had one serious boyfriend that we know of, which seems to have ended pretty badly after Yoon-yi being taken advantage of for years. And she gave a lot of trust to her former boss, Director Bong, in that she compromised her own personal morals to help him cheat on his wife, even lying to his wife’s face, only to have him use her to further his own career. It must be difficult for Yoon-yi to trust Chi-won, both as a boss and as a man, enough to let him know she has feelings for him.

I thought that Chi-won’s answer as to why he and his ex-wife broke up was extremely interesting. He said that she gave too much, and that he felt bad when he couldn’t match it. I can understand that he felt inferior to his chaebol-daughter wife, and how that could sour a marriage, and why Do-hee would still want him back if she was the one who loved more. And it also makes sense now why Chi-won didn’t want an assistant to fawn over him and do everything for him, because it would make him feel the same way — like someone was doing more for him than he could reciprocate. Being a man who avoids personal entanglement as much as possible, it’s totally in character for him to run away from a relationship where he feels unequal. I hope that Yoon-yi was paying attention, because Chi-won revealed more about himself in that one conversation than he did answering a hundred personal questions.

As far as the romance goes, I’m very much enjoying the fact that Chi-won is taking the reins in letting Yoon-yi know that he’s interested, since he’s the one who was always pushing her away before. I think that, between her moral stance of not getting involved with her boss and her previous accusation of having an affair, Yoon-yi would have never made any first moves in that direction even though she was feeling the same way. So when it comes to the growing romantic side of their relationship, Chi-won was going to have to step up or nothing was ever going to happen.

However, they still have a lot to think about — Chi-won is Yoon-yi’s boss, and that makes any personal relationship between them tricky at best, and grossly inappropriate at worst. Any time two people in a situation like this become involved, the power differential has the potential to become a serious problem. Yoon-yi’s rule about keeping bosses at arm’s length is an excellent one, because there are all sorts of problems with dating someone you work with, much less someone in a position of power over you.

But at least the show hasn’t conveniently forgotten that, and in fact seems to be giving that issue a lot of careful thought. So instead of seeing it as a plot hole or a moral failing that Chi-won and Yoon-yi are developing feelings for each other, I expect it to become a major plot point going forward. Since it seems that the whole point is how they will find a way to reconcile their personal feelings with their work relationship, I’m not letting it bother me, and I’m willing to sit back and see how the show handles things now that they’ve acknowledged their feelings for each other.

 
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