Remember when Mi So’s favorite book said that love doesn’t have to be grandiose, just someone to wrap us in a warm hug at the end of a hard day? I feel like that’s exactly what this show does. In a world of traffic and heat waves and weight gain, there is a guaranteed bright spot on Wednesdays and Thursdays full of heartwarming confessions, goofy side characters, and toe curling kisses. This show loves us.
Breakfast for two
Young Joon smiles the morning after their sleepover, but the former workaholic is ready to take another day off when he sees Mi So enter the room wearing his dress shirt. The ever focused Secretary Kim may like this new, kinder version of her boss but tells him he still has to go to work. They enjoy breakfast and Mi So struggles once again to let Young Joon serve her even a simple salad. After nine years of catering to his every whim, old habits are hard to break. He entreats her to let him take care of her once in awhile but sees she isn’t fully convinced. They arrive at work together and Mi So’s co-workers remind her that she is officially leaving the company in a week. The fact apparently slipped her mind amidst all of Young Joon’s romantic shenanigans. She looks almost hopeful as she wonders to herself if he will try to keep her there again. He has been in bulldozer mode after all.
Young Joon’s other woman
Her doting bulldozer invites her to join him for lunch at a restaurant started by his childhood friend, a chaebol heir who turned down the family fortune to pursue a different dream. Even though Mi So’s been with him nine years, this is someone she doesn’t know. She tries to keep the smile pasted on her face as a beautiful woman runs to embrace Young Joon on the street. He introduces Mi So as his girlfriend to Jung Yu Mi, who takes her hand and remarks how pretty she is with no trace of animosity. She even makes fun of Young Joon’s self-congratulatory habit of pointing out his “AURA” and Mi So looks perturbed that this woman knows about that quirk. Yu Mi jokes with Young Joon over lunch that he proposed to her when they were five, and Mi So attempts to maintain her perfect composure as Yu Mi leaves to serve a customer. Young Joon feels a chill and notices her stiff smile. She remarks how close they must have been if he proposed at five years old. And maybe a bit of a player too, she mutters under her breath. He reminds her that Mi So proposed to him when she was five as her boss finally picks up on the jealous vibe emanating from her very core. They argue again about Mi So letting him take care of her more and Yu Mi chooses that moment to walk over and ask for his help opening a jar lid. Mi So frowns and grasps her fork like a dagger as she watches them comfortably joke around. But lest we think this new woman is just there as a plot device, Yu Mi and Young Joon talk seriously when Mi So leaves to take a phone call. He points out that she seems happy and she confirms that she loves laying down the heavy responsibilities and living a simple life as herself. This comment resonates with Young Joon as he looks in the direction that Mi So left.
You mean all the parents approve?
Young Joon finally meets his future father-in-law when he drops Mi So off at the hospital, and Rocker Dad appears less than impressed with the man sitting in front of him. He brings up the years of overwork that his daughter endured and Young Joon looks at a loss that someone doesn’t automatically think he’s perfect. Dad insists on sticking to formal language even though Young Joon encourages him to speak comfortably, but this flies out the window when Young Joon reveals that he is dating his little girl. Dad jumps up and strongly tells him he’s against the relationship. A well timed phone call rescues Young Joon from this tense situation. Mi So’s father waits for him to leave the room and then sits down and smiles in delight, revealing that he faked his disdain. He wants to make Mi So seem more attractive by making her unattainable. (So let’s get this straight, nobody’s parents are against their union? Is that a first in Dramaland? The writers might get kicked out of the union.) A frown returns to his face when Young Joon returns and he sternly invites him to get a cup of coffee. Even though he’s playing hard to get, he still uses the opportunity to talk about all of Mi So’s sacrifices for her family through the years. Rocker Dad warns him that Mi So says everything with a smile, even when it’s painful for her. Young Joon listens to the advice with a pensive look on his face. He’s seen that same smile many times and this little talk with dad puts his selfish efforts to keep her at the company in a new light. He drives Mi So home and asks her to take a walk before she heads up to bed. Young Joon checks to make sure she still wants to quit and she confirms that she may not have a plan, but she wants to find her dream. Not something she has to do for money, but something she likes. He folds his arms and agrees that she should do that. Young Joon sincerely compliments her for the perfect secretary she’s been and tells her she worked well. But he puts one condition on setting her free, that she must tell him first when she decides what she wants to do so that he can cheer her on.
The secret’s really out this time
Gossipy Manager rushes into the office with earth shattering news to share and his coworkers take this with a grain of salt. But Go Gwi Nam doesn’t know that he always does this and rushes over to listen. Mr. Honey proves the doubters wrong, however, when he says an admin employee discovered the boss and Secretary Kim are dating. Of course, Ji Ah already knew, but the rest gasp in shock. The group worries that crossing Secretary Kim means they could get the ax at any time. Like they would really go against her anyway. This group is silly but loyal which is proven when Manager Bong and Ji Ah hear two envious employees in the women’s restroom speculating about how Secretary Kim got her job. Ji Ah vehemently declares that Secretary Kim is the second most perfect person after the boss and Manager Bong has a mop duel with one of the catty gossipers. Mi So walks in on the ruckus, and the public blow to her reputation bothers her, but she still tries to protect the Vice Chairman from discovering the sordid details, which he finds out anyway.
Right under your nose
Another corporate crisis strikes when news breaks that the company’s computer notebook design has been stolen and released by a UK business. The bigwigs hold an emergency conference and Young Joon rejects the idea of lowering their model’s price and demands power upgrades and other measures to offset the loss. He exits and two panicked directors immediately turn to Mi So for help. She calmly explains how they should mitigate the disaster and make Young Joon happy by preparing a press release. Her suggestions soothe their frazzled nerves and they hurry to follow her orders. Director Park, who’s been observing the whole thing, compares her to a mother who smooths over the rough patch left by the demanding father, Young Joon. This insightful analogy points out how much of a team the two are. Not so much as a boss and secretary, but partners who work in tandem. She returns to the main office and lays out a battle plan for the workers to follow regarding a lawsuit, business reports, and promotional items. She also meets Young Joon and provides everything he might need before he even asks. He sadly wonders how he’ll ever find another secretary like her as he realizes that the reason he could relax so easily in the past was because of her, and he thanks her again. Later, Secretary Kim looks through an old business log containing pictures from the years she and the Vice Chairman worked together. The smile on her face shows a mental shift as Young Joon arrives and offers to give her a ride. He delivers her to her home and urges her to rest, but she says she has something to tell him. She’s decided to stay as his secretary. Now that she has the space to step back and observe her job without the pressure of financial debt, she discovered that she likes it for herself. The Vice Chairman may be willing to let her leave because he loves her, but she’s willing to stay for the same reason. And who can handle him besides her? (For real. Can you imagine poor Ji Ah after Mi So leaves? *shudder*) The two decide to celebrate inside with ramen and Mi So who never had much time for dreaming reveals that she had a desire to cook ramen for her husband after work. The Gentle Bulldozer isn’t about to let that opening pass easily. Young Joon jumps on this as he says he’ll make that dream come true and she can fill his entire body up with MSG. He repeats once again that he wants to marry her (Has anyone been keeping track? What number proposal is this?), but this time she doesn’t object. Unfortunately, her father does as he throws the covers off and raises up in her bed beside cow doll. He yells that he is against this marriage and we are all left to wonder why until the next episode. (I think we can infer from Rocker Dad’s earlier playacting that his outrage won’t last for long. And even if it did, can you really see our stalwart Secretary Kim calling off the wedding because of him?)
What a relief! Secretary Kim is going to stay Secretary Kim. The girl was way too good at her job to just throw it all away. And apart from the catty gossipers in the bathroom, it’s nice to see how many people appreciate her in the company. She’s the glue that holds everything together. Plus this lessens the likelihood of a surprise separation in the last episode. (I recently sort of rewatched Boys Over Flowers. By sort of, I mean that I fast forwarded through much of the makjang to only watch the good parts, but the time jump at the end still annoys me. It’s like an unwritten Kdrama rule that the couple must prove the stability of their love by being apart for a long period of time.) So what exactly is left for the last two episodes? Childhood trauma revealed. Resignation canceled. Marriage proposal accepted. Maybe we’ll get to see the wedding! As long as this show continues to be bottled rainbows and cotton candy, I’m happy.
Until next week. Keep the K-love alive!