Secretary Kim is a flirt. The show, not the character. It reels you in with sweet situations and a little skinship. Then thrusts you away with a flourish. Well I have one word to say to you, Show. More!
Made ya look
Another fake out. The last time our main couple got horizontal ended with a quick scramble and a nap. But the reaction this time is a little different. For one thing, Secretary Kim looks shocked but isn’t in a hurry to go anywhere. It’s Young Joon who plays it off by claiming he was quoting from the romance book she had on her desk. Bad Vice President! You shouldn’t mess with a girl’s heart like that! And I’m not just talking about Mi So. Her backpedaling boss may have dined and dashed that night, but he’s back the next morning. Ready for more. He opens her car door, insults her outfit, then provides a gourmet breakfast. Back and forth like that viking ride at the amusement park. It’s a wonder Mi So isn’t dizzy. If Young Joon weren’t so endearingly clueless, we might assume he was a player. But he really IS just stupid when it comes to love. He’s figuring everything out for the first time and we’re watching with bated breath as we root him on.
The Dog-Bird Couple
Secretary Kim’s sister shows up after the couple’s late night ramen bonding and starts to meddle again. She accuses Mi So of liking her boss and then proceeds to throw cold water on her sister’s newly sprouted, romantic hopes. If a dog loves a bird, how is that going to work? People should stick to their own kind! I get that the woman is coming from a place of love, not wanting Mi So to get hurt. And after watching her sister devote nine years of her life to her high maintenance boss, you can understand why she would be pessimistic. But it annoys me that her main argument against the romance is that he’s rich and she’s poor. How classist can you be? Actually, the two have quite a bit in common. They both are driven individuals with perfectionist tendencies. They both like to win. They have unexplained childhood traumas that still bother them. And they both have absolutely no experience with how love really works. I love Mi So’s response to her sister’s objections. She acknowledges her good intentions but declares that it’s her business. You go, girl!
As Shakespeare said, “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” Lee Tae Hwan is doing a great job as the smiling, other brother. He’s such a layered, confusing character! We see him having the same kind of cobweb house nightmare as Young Joon which leaves us with all sorts of questions. Was he kidnapped too? Or is it a guilty conscience for his role in whatever Young Joon experienced? Mom and Dad dote on his successful sibling as he guards the family legacy, and it’s obvious how it wounds Seung Yeon to be passed over. And yet, there’s that calculating look in his eye when he keeps asking if Young Joon is afraid he’ll take Mi So away from him. The fact that Young Joon rushed to keep his secretary away from his brother in episode 4 is telling. Does Seung Yeon have a history of stealing his girlfriends? He can’t claim ignorance to Mi So’s importance because his mother told him at the disastrous family dinner that she was the only person that his brother could trust and depend on. Stealing somebody like that would be downright heartless. You can’t tell if Seung Yoon is truly evil or just neglected. Or both! Whatever he is, he’s got an agenda. Time will tell how far he’s willing to go to make his brother suffer.
Funny wingman for the win
In the past, this wingman seemed more like a hostage friend, having to tag along with Young Joon whether he wanted to or not. He barely manages to keep a straight face as his “owner” tells him all about his cousin’s college friend’s bumbling attempts to romance his ramen girl. But the guy proves his worth when he pushes his boss to make a move and later delivers some harsh truths when the man messes up with Mi So. He rightly insists that Young Joon should say he’s sorry. Even if it’s unfamiliar and difficult. If he doesn’t, be prepared to lose the person he cares for. I don’t know if the proud Young Joon would have managed to get the words out without this extra push.
It’s adorable to watch our self-centered hero start to focus on someone outside himself. He falters and stumbles like a baby trying to take his first steps, but he keeps on trying. One particularly big spill happens when he discovers Secretary Kim with his brother and finds out she has been in touch with him. He blows up at her and ruins what they had both hoped would be a special evening. I feel like another show might have dragged out the tension longer, but our main couple is too savvy for that. Young Joon realizes he messed up royally and searches for a way to apologize. And Mi So is already primed to forgive him when she realizes that Morpheus is the dastardly, older brother that her boss had mentioned. I literally clapped my hands like a proud parent when Young Joon got the words “I’m sorry” out. His attempts are bumbling but sincere. The way he shortens his steps to match Mi So’s so that she doesn’t have to hurry beside him in her heels. (May I just say that I appreciated not being spoon fed that scene with a flashback. The director trusted us to recall the previous reference to Secretary Kim matching Young Joon’s lengthy strides.) Our earnest hero even manages to make unromantic things heart fluttering. I never knew the words “Papers are dangerous” could make me squeal with glee. But Young Joon’s not the only one taking a step forward. It looks like Mi So is finally open to the idea of a romance with her boss. The fond way she watches him eat ramen with kimchi for the first time, or the delight she takes in setting up the library book signing as a surprise for him show just how much she already cares. It doesn’t matter if it’s two steps forward, one step back with these two, just as long as they keep moving closer together.
Once again we ended with our main leads in a romantic situation, but this time they showed us how it didn’t work before the ending credits rolled. We only have to wait one day to find out why Young Joon pushed her away at the critical moment, and I have faith that our infant lovers will work through it without too much angst.
Until then, keep the K-love alive!
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi