Jugglers: Episode 11
It’s amazing how much of romance comes down to timing, and Yoon-yi and Chi-won’s timing couldn’t possibly be worse. It’s hard enough to begin a relationship when everything else runs smoothly, but there are personal and professional storms looming on the horizon. If they’re smart, they’ll look to each other for support, but that’s easier said than done when you’ve just barely begun to put your trust in someone.
EPISODE 11: “Is the past really powerless?”
Chi-won meets up with his ex-wife in the building’s lobby, and she gives him a big hug and a smile. She links arms with him and her father, Vice President Do, and the three head out together. Yoon-yi watches them go, dismay written all over her face.
Six hours earlier.
The older team members are all stiff and sore after their drunken brawl the night before, though nobody really remembers exactly what happened. They do know that Chang-soo started it, but they can’t figure out why, since it’s not like they’d be fighting over a girl. Ha, way off as usual.
Yoon-yi brings tea to Chi-won as he inspects his bruises, and she grins and says that they’re kinda sexy. Flattered, Chi-won tries to roll his sleeves up to impress her with is bare forearms, but fails since he’s still wearing his jacket, ha.
He invites her to come watch him box, but she declines, since he’d have to take his glasses off and she prefers him with them on. She leaves as Chi-won wonders if that was an insult or a compliment.
Chang-soo approaches Yoon-yi in the break room, but his attempts to garner sympathy for his own injuries go unacknowledged. Instead, Yoon-yi snaps at him to stop drinking, because he lets his temper get the better of him when he drinks. To his credit, Chang-soo looks chastened, and he goes to Chi-won’s office to apologize.
He offers to write an apology note, but Chi-won tells him that he should resign. If he doesn’t, Chi-won says that another incident will definitely call for his resignation. He adds an admonishment for Chang-soo not to embarrass Yoon-yi again, or make her ashamed of the five years she spent with him.
Chang-soo goes out to tell Yoon-yi that he apologized, looking for her approval. She rewards him with a genuine smile, then growls at him to get lost.
Yul’s team gossips in the elevator, wondering why Chi-won decided to team up on Yul’s project. They conclude that he’s gunning for the vice president position, which would mean that Executive Director Jo is done for.
After they leave, Executive Director Jo comes out from behind his newspaper where he was eavesdropping. He sees the scrolling sign taunting him with a vicious, “Cut, cut, cut!” The door opens and Chi-won catches him trying to knock it down, hee.
Chi-won says that he’s headed to the vice president’s office, and Executive Director Jo snarls that he’ll become the chairman before too long. He warns Chi-won not to fall while climbing that ladder, and Chi-won says casually, “Oh right, like you?” Oooo, burn.
He finds Vice President Do having porridge for breakfast, and he makes him laugh by asking if his bruises are sexy. Vice President Do mentions his collaboration with Yul’s e-sports project, and the fact that he even went to a team dinner and got in a fight.
Chi-won asks if Vice President Do is stalking him, but Vice President Do says that he’s just showing interest and that Chi-won should show some interest in him, too. Chi-won grabs a spoon and digs into Vice President Do’s porridge, and he looks startled when Vice President Do says that Do-hee, Chi-won’s ex-wife, is visiting today.
Executive Director Jo heads to the basement, where he meets with two informants that we only see as vague shadows. He threatens to “cut” them from his line if they don’t produce a picture of Chi-won and Yoon-yi together, and when they argue that they’re busy with work (in cartoonish squeaks instead of words), he kicks them in the shins.
Jung-ae’s son Gun-woo visits her at work unexpectedly, and she takes him to lunch to get him away from the building. She asks where he was yesterday when she couldn’t find him, and he says that he went to see his grandmother. But when Jung-ae asks if they discussed his father, Gun-woo spits angrily that his father is dead.
She has to go back to work, so she gives Gun-woo the little cash she has and asks if he’s hanging out with a bad crowd. He retorts that she doesn’t care, that she’s just using him as an excuse to pose as Mi-ae the same way his father used him as an excuse to leave, and he storms out.
The team invites Chi-won to lunch, but he says he has plans to meet with his landlord. Hee, cute. Yoon-yi gets his drift, and he mock-chastises her for forgetting. A few seconds later he texts her a map to his “hideout,” and when she arrives, she finds him settled in a chair at his favorite comic book store.
He pretends to be offended when Yoon-yi says she was expecting someplace fancier, and he imperiously calls for an employer to bring her “Set A,” which turns out to be ramyun and boiled eggs. As she eats, she asks Chi-won what he likes about comic books.
He says he likes the interesting worlds they portray, so Yoon-yi asks what about Chi-won’s world. He says seriously, “It’s about to get more interesting, thanks to someone.” Then he cringes at his own cheesiness and hides behind his book. Okay, when did he get so precious?
Charmed, Yoon-yi asks what kind of genre he likes — comedy, romance, fantasy, thriller… or maybe an “adult” theme? Chi-won says that he likes office romance comedies, and Yoon-yi agrees.
She asks him to draw her as a character, and though Chi-won objects that he can’t draw, he complies. Yoon-yi is less than impressed, asking how it looks like her, and Chi-won proudly points out her full lips. So freaking cute.
Back at the office, the team are trying to figure out who could have sent the love note addressed to “Mr. Nitpicky.” They work out an elaborate plan to determine the writer and the recipient, until Chang-soo wanders by, recognizes Yoon-yi’s handwriting, and eats the note. HA.
Yul orders two of the coffee shop’s sweetest drinks as Jung-ae stands nearby looking crestfallen. Kyung-rye assumes that her mood is because of Yul, but Jung-ae tries to explain that it was Gun-woo. Yul interrupts and proudly hands Jung-ae one of the drinks, saying that sweets are the best thing when you’re down. Awww, sweet boy.
As they head back to the elevators, a woman recognizes Jung-ae and calls out to her, calling her “Gun-woo’s mom.” Jung-ae hides her face and pounds on the elevator button, and when Yul asks (he thinks Gun-woo is her nephew), she says that she looks almost identical to her sister.
He asks why she ran away from the woman, so she claims a stomachache. He appears to buy her story, blaming the extra whipped cream.
Executive Director Jo happens by Bo-na’s father’s shoe repair shop just as Bo-na is having lunch with her dad. He recognizes him as the man who was in his office the night he yelled at Bo-na, and he makes a call to to the YG security office.
Bo-na answers a summons from Kyung-rye, and she’s not happy to find that it’s a setup to get her and Yoon-yi to talk. Yoon-yi starts by saying that she should have told her about the product defect before they revealed it to the entire company.
She’s shocked when Bo-na says that she already knew Yoon-yi was one of Executive Director Jo’s informants, and that she and Chi-won are dating. She says that she kept quiet to preserve Yoon-yi’s feelings, accusing Yoon-yi of never even thinking about her while everything was going down.
She says coldly that unless they get new bosses, they’re heading in different directions, and she walks away without a backward glance. That’s when Yoon-yi sees Chi-won leaving with his ex-wife, and the double-blow leaves Yoon-yi reeling.
Over tea, Vice President Do tells Chi-won petulantly that he’s using up his sick days before he retires by going on a trip with his daughter, “since you won’t play with me.” He leaves abruptly, stranding Chi-won with his ex-wife. Do-hee tells Chi-won that she can’t live without him, and she wants to reconcile.
Yoon-yi finds reasons to be in Chi-won’s office, and she brightens when she gets a text from him. But all it says is to cancel his appointments for the day, and she resists the urge to ask why, and when he’s coming back.
That afternoon Bo-na gets a text, and she runs out while Executive Director Jo smirks in his office. She finds her father being manhandled by two security guards, who tell her that they’ve been ordered not to let him in the building because a confidential document disappeared after he’d been in an executive’s office.
Executive Director Jo waits a few minutes then heads downstairs, flubbing his dramatic coat-flip. He arrives in the lobby as Bo-na struggles to free herself from a guard’s wrist-grab, and he clamps down on the guard’s arm in a hilarious parody of Chi-won’s dramatic rescue of Yoon-yi at the noraebang.
He threatens the guard, who lets go of Bo-na, while Bo-na looks at him admiringly. He leads her to his office where he promises to straighten everything out, calling her an admirable daughter whose father should be proud. He mentions that she could be the vice president’s assistant soon, sending her emotions into a tailspin.
Yoon-yi offers to handle some paperwork for Ms. Moon just for the excuse to call Chi-won. He’s driving when he answers, and he says stiffly that he doesn’t know when he’s going back to the office. Suddenly a woman’s voice cries out, calling him “oppa,” as he nearly rear-ends another car.
Chi-won hangs up when Yoon-yi asks who’s with him, saying he’ll call her later. She sits at her desk obsessing about that female voice, then she goes to the break room to gulp down an entire bottle of water. Chang-soo sneaks up to talk to her, and sneaks right back out again at the fierce look on her face.
After thinking about it, Bo-na goes to Executive Director Jo and tells him that she’s with him. Grinning triumphantly, he shows her a photo of Chi-won and Yoon-yi outside the house and says that he needs something more incriminating to prove that they’re living together. True to her word to think only of herself from now on, she agrees to help.
As she walks home that night, Yoon-yi is still seething over that feminine “oppa.” Suddenly, she sees Chi-won and Do-hee, just as Chi-won is telling his ex that it’s over between them. He says he’s seeing someone, but Do-hee refuses to accept it, and she pulls him close for a kiss.
Yoon-yi screams, “NOOO!” and runs over, but oops, it’s just a random couple. She walks away still ranting about Do-hee and why she’d come back to confuse Chi-won. She works herself in to a frenzy, and by the time she’s done, she’s calling Chi-won a wishy-washy loser and snarling that she hates him, ha.
She arrives home to find her brother Tae-yi lying around in the middle of a mess, and she directs her fury at him. He tells her that Chi-won was considered a “legend of legends” in his army unit because he had a gorgeous girlfriend who always sent letters and gifts.
He yammers carelessly that someone with such an incredible girlfriend could never be satisfied with her, until she screams profanities at him and kicks him out into the cold.
Chi-won is still with Do-hee, and they end up at the hospital, where Vice President Do is sleeping in a patient room. When he wakes, Vice President Do says that the doctors found something that might be cancer, so he’s here for tests.
Upset, Chi-won yells that he’s told Vice President Do to stop smoking and drinking, and take better care of himself. He gets choked up at the thought of something happening to Vice President Do, who he’s calling “uncle” now, and Vice President Do jokes that he’s already trying to send him off before they even know if he’s sick.
Later Do-hee finds Chi-won in the lobby, and they try to reassure each other that Vice President Do will be okay. Do-hee says that she’s less afraid with Chi-won here, but he asks if he was ever really someone she could rely on. She says he was, but that he also made her lonely.
Chi-won checks his watch, and when Do-hee asks if someone is waiting for him, he just tells her to go rest and relieve him in the morning. She correctly guesses that his changing the subject means there’s a girlfriend waiting. She admits that hearing that hurts because she doesn’t want to lose him to another woman.
Chi-won stays at the hospital all night, watching over Vice President Do as he sleeps. He tucks Vice President Do in when he shucks off his covers, smiling as he asks wistfully, “When did you get so old?”
Worried sick, Yoon-yi stays up all night, and she rushes out when Chi-won finally arrives home in the early morning. He teases her about the dark circles under her eyes, and she blasts him for making her worry by not calling like he promised.
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Who can’t forgive those eyes?
When she finally stops for breath, Chi-won knows she’s not finished, and he asks, “And?” Yoon-yi asks why his ex-wife was at the office and why he hugged her in front of everyone. Chi-won just hugs her tightly, not letting go when she struggles, then he backs up to look her in the eyes as he says sincerely, “I’m sorry.”
They go upstairs and lie face-to-face on Chi-won’s bed as he tells her that he was at the hospital. He admits that he feels bad for never playing with Vice President Do when he asked, saying that he was having so much fun with Yoon-yi that he forgot about his friend.
He explains that that’s why he felt too guilty to call her while he was at the hospital with Vice President Do. Yoon-yi tells him to make time for Vice President Do from now on, and Chi-won touches her face and says sleepily that he wants to keep looking at her but he’s too tired. Before he falls asleep he promises to do everything Yoon-yi wants to do tomorrow.
Jung-ae goes to Gun-woo’s room to tell him that she has to work today, but he hides under the covers and refuses to speak to her. She gets a call from Team Leader Baek, asking her to stop by Yul’s house on her way into the office, since he hasn’t shown up and isn’t answering his phone.
Executive Director Jo stakes out Yoon-yi’s house wearing the worst fake mustache ever. He aims his camera at the gate, crooning for them to come out. But Yoon-yi’s idea of having Chi-won do whatever she wants all day is to stay in while he cleans her house, hee.
He’s confused, having assumed that she’d want to go on a date. Yoon-yi lounges around eating snacks and playing on her phone while Chi-won whines about the filth. This is the best.
She offers to cook for him and starts grabbing ingredients from the fridge. Chi-won notices that everything has expiration dates from over a decade ago, and he understands why her cooking is so bad. He slams the food down and says, “Yoon-yi, let’s…” She looks nervous, but he finishes with “… go out to eat.” HA.
Yul dresses in his nicest suit and lays out a tiny tray of food, placing his puppet on the tray. He says, “Mom, it’s not much, but eat a lot.” Oh, how sad. Yul frowns at the puppet and chides his mother for not leaving behind at least one photo. His chin wobbles as he adds that if his mom wants a better memorial offering, she should send him a nice girl to be her daughter-in-law.
When Jung-ae arrives, she sees the scant offering and asks Yul if he’s okay. He pastes on a smile, pretending it’s no big deal. She prepares a warm meal for Yul to share with his mother, and he looks shaken for a moment before asking her to eat with them.
She sets herself a place and joins him, and Yul starts to cry. He fibs that he’s just tearing up because the food tastes so good, but then he starts sobbing in earnest. Jung-ae rubs his back as he wails for his mother like a lost child.
Jung-ae tells him gently, “If a mother sees her son crying so sadly, she’ll be more heartbroken. So cry today, and be strong again starting tomorrow.” Yul sniffles and asks her not to tell anyone he cried, and she agrees that it’s their secret.
Outside, Yul’s father’s minion shows up and sees Yul and Jung-ae eating together. He makes a call and tells the other person that their relationship seems suspicious, advising them to “make the announcement now.”
After lunch, Yoon-yi and Chi-won each get a different flavor of steamed bun and split them, and Yoon-yi says this is the best part about having a boyfriend. Always practical, Chi-won says that she could just eat two, making Yoon-yi grumble that he’s got no idea how dating works.
She asks if he did things like this with his ex-wife, and when he says Do-hee didn’t eat much, Yoon-yi protests that she was only making herself eat for his sake, ha. But Chi-won interjects that he likes women who eat a lot, and Yoon-yi starts stuffing her face again.
Suddenly she stops, realizing that she left her phone at home. She misses an SOS message from Tae-yi alerting her that their mother is in town and warning her not to get caught with Chi-won.
Mom arrives at the house to find Executive Director Jo still lurking in his car, having fallen asleep and missed Chi-won and Yoon-yi leaving together. She confronts him, and when he tells her to buzz off, she loses her temper and starts shaking him through the car window. She rips off the mustache and sees his face, and he drives away in a panic as she chases him on foot.
Do-hee is waiting in the courtyard when Chi-won and Yoon-yi arrive home, using the excuse of returning the scarf he left behind at the hospital to see him again. She notices that he’s holding Yoon-yi’s hand, and Yoon-yi tugs his hand closer defensively.
Chi-won tells Yoon-yi that he’ll talk to Do-hee privately and then come inside. He lets go of Yoon-yi’s hand and turns to lead Do-hee to the street, but Yoon-yi grabs his hand back and says, “No. You said you’d do everything I want today. Just stay with me. I… I won’t let you go.”
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Don’t let go
On the night Chi-won stays at the hospital, Vice President Do admits that even though he wants Chi-won to be happy, seeing him with Do-hee is giving him ideas. He asks if it’s too selfish of him to want Chi-won to call him “Father” again, but Chi-won just stares at him.
I found the title of today’s episode, “Is the past really powerless?” to be particularly meaningful considering the timing of events in Chi-won and Yoon-yi’s relationship. They’re so new and fragile, at that stage where the slightest misunderstanding could send everything crashing down around them. A person’s past strongly shapes who they are in the present, so you can’t really have a meaningful relationship with someone without taking their past into account. But when you’re Yoon-yi and you’ve just barely acknowledged your feelings for Chi-won, having his ex-wife pop up will naturally be more threatening than if she and Chi-won had been dating for a while and were more confident in where they stand.
Yoon-yi only knows what Chi-won has told her — that his marriage broke up because one of them loved more than the other. She doesn’t know which one loved the other more, and for all she knows it was Chi-won, and that he still has unresolved feelings for Do-hee. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case, because it’s obvious that Do-hee is the one still hanging on, but Yoon-yi has no way of knowing that. I don’t necessarily agree with her asking Chi-won not to speak with his ex, because ultimatums rarely lead anywhere good, especially this early in a relationship. But Yoon-yi wasn’t demanding or possessive, she just calmly asked Chi-won to keep his promise and choose her over his ex today, and I can’t really blame her for wanting to him to show her that she comes first, now.
I’m starting to think that Yul is onto Jung-ae and her lies about her age. He’s shown himself to be whip-smart and scarily observant, though he hides it behind his easygoing, affable nature, and I’d be more surprised if he wasn’t at least suspicious. But I wouldn’t put it past him to know the full truth already, because whenever he shows curiosity about the inconsistencies in Jung-ae’s story, he seems to accept her flimsy explanations much too easily. I may be reading too much into it, but I think Yul already knows. As much as trust and loyalty mean to him, I think that he’s just waiting to see when (or if) she’ll trust him enough to tell him the truth.
But as intelligent and insightful as he is, in a lot of ways Yul is still that lonely little boy without a mother. Not gonna lie, I was sobbing right along with him as he cried for his mom. I feel so bad for him, because he doesn’t really remember his mother, and what’s worse, he doesn’t even know what she looked like. He can’t truly mourn someone he’s never known, and I believe that what he truly mourns is the fact that he never had a chance to know her. It’s heartbreaking to see him cry over something he’ll never have, especially knowing that nobody in his life takes him seriously or treats him with respect for who he is, and not just because of his name. It’s why I’m so glad Yul has Jung-ae now, because what he needs most is someone who takes care of him and genuinely cares about him, and supports him no matter what.
We’re seeing a lot of character growth lately, particularly with Chi-won. I really appreciate that, while Chi-won and Yoon-yi’s relationship is definitely a contributing factor, it’s not the reason they’re changing into better people. Of course they’re having a positive effect on each other, but neither of them is changing because they think it’s what the other person wants. They simply see the example the other is setting in certain situations, and it makes them think about how they are and whether they want to be better. Yoon-yi is learning to be more careful in how she interacts with others, as she’s learning that her good intentions aren’t always seem that way by others, and in fact can be unintentionally hurtful. And Chi-won isn’t becoming more outgoing because Yoon-yi wants him to, but because watching her has shown him that being social and forming connections with people isn’t intrusive, but a way of caring for others.