Hmm, should we retitle this show Kingdom of Love? This week, the cast members of the reality show are front and center and our female lead stays on the sidelines doing her directing job. As a new OTP (One True Pairing) emerges, we’re shocked to find ourselves happy with the development. Join us as we circle the finale of the reality show, and enter back into real life without cameras.
The Red String of Fate
After the haunted house, the cast is all in the van and still tied together by the red string of fate. Jae Hoon learns that Yu Reum stayed behind by herself, so he aggressively rips the string off and goes to rescue her. (More on the OTP interactions later.) Ji Yeon is crestfallen with this and kind of sulks her way through the date-choosing event they have the next day. Like a robot, Jae Hoon picks her, but before they can go on their date, the lawyer contestant makes sure Jae Hoon has that red string back, letting him know that the internet is calling Ji Yeon inferior to him because she likes him more than he likes her.
On their date, he confronts her about this after overhearing the same information from women gossiping about the show. First he does it off camera, but then goes on camera to proclaim that he’s going to start liking her more now and that what everyone is saying about her isn’t true. He ties a braided red string around both of their wrists. He promptly tells her, after the date, that at least in front of the camera, he wants to protect her.
Drama Geek: Jae Hoon is in a tough spot. He’s been clear that he doesn’t have feelings for Ji Yeon, but he also doesn’t want it to seem like she’s pathetic to the audience. I think if the show wasn’t there, he’d be very firm with her, then walk away and not contact her. She is the one who should step up and realize he’s been clear to her and she needs to make things easier for him.
The Maknae: It is REALLY hard to stay positive about this interaction, but it does point out that Jae Hoon is trying his best to be a good guy. He’s making sure Ji Yeon doesn’t suffer in front of the camera, and he’s being completely honest with her behind it. He truly is making the best of a tough situation.
Back to when everyone chose a girl for a date: One of the girls isn’t selected at all and our resident lawyer has two suitors. The General decides he liked the lawyer after their haunted house date, and the hockey player is still after her. She hasn’t really said which one she likes, but I’m pretty sure the hockey player’s lack of English skills makes her cringe a bit and she has a newfound interest in The General. He’s really a pretty decent guy, and fun to be with.
Drama Geek: I’m sure you can tell which guy I’d choose! I really liked that the lawyer came to Jae Hoon and let him know what happened with the red string. She was a bit nosy, but seemed to have their best interest at heart. Her chemistry with The General is pretty great, and I’d be super happy if they coupled up.
The Maknae: I’ve been a fan of The General since his self-introduction at the casting call. It takes a lot of guts to not only accept but OWN a nickname like that, and his affability and ability to get along with almost everyone on the cast makes him seem like one of the good guys. He’s an excellent match for the lawyer, and I’m happy to cheer them on.
When the guys have to select a date to go on, Joon Ho picks Ji Wan. (Have we said how much we hate this guy??) They go out for desserts and Joon Ho unleashes his full slime. He tells Ji Wan he feels like she’s not being that responsive to him because of the incident she told him about on their other date. You know, the one Sang Woo almost lost his job for deleting? Ji Wan is understandably taken aback when he mentions it and says that she isn’t shying away from him because of her sexual assault. PD Kang has what she needs and rushes to edit it into the episode before airing.
A viewer gets especially upset when he sees this segment, drunkenly grabs a knife, and heads off to the super secret filming location. He stumbles into the editing room and ends up attacking Sang Woo, cutting his arm while PD Kang runs out, terrified, to call the police.
The guy with the knife sees the cast in the room where they were viewing the episode and runs in there. He confronts Joon Ho and calls him a con artist and a thief. True to form, Joon Ho pushes Ji Wan toward the attacker and runs outside. Apparently this man invested in Joon Ho’s business, which lost everyone tons of money. He’d taken him to court, but lost.
PD Kang confronts the man wielding the knife after gathering up her courage. She’s able to get him to calm down for a second, but then makes him mad and she charges him. Thankfully, The General and Jae Hoon were already heading toward him and they managed to disarm him without any further injuries.
Drama Geek: Joon Ho is the worst type of person. The fact that he used Ji Wan’s trauma for views is just so wrong. I didn’t really want the guy with the knife to kill him, but I’m pretty sad our dear Sang Woo was the one who shed blood.
The Maknae: I’ll give the episode this — it’s been very, very good at making me hate the bad guys. That’s a positive, right?? LOL. Joon Ho’s true colors have come out, which didn’t shock me, and Kang PD froze in the face of terror, which also didn’t shock me. But I actually adore how much Yu Reum cares about Sang Woo — the fact that her first reaction was to help him stop bleeding showed me how much she wants to make sure he’s healthy and safe. Their sunbae/hoobae (senior/junior) relationship is absolutely adorable.
Move Over Doctor, the Chef is On Call
Chef John stepped UP in these two episodes and really allowed himself to be human. You can tell that during the date selection he thinks about stepping out for Ji Wan. Then he finds Yu Reum and apologizes for the way he treated her. He is very fast to defend Jae Hoon when the other male house members criticize him for his possible relationship with Yu Reum. He’s also the one who is by Ji Wan’s side when she’s upset about them airing her sexual assault information and after Joon Ho tosses her to the wolves. He gets a call–his mom was in an accident–and even though they’re supposed to stay on set, he goes to leave. Ji Wan had just had a conversation with Joon Ho (we see him trying to play off the conman allegations but we don’t see if she believes him) and wants to get away too.
They go eat lunch with his mom, and Ji Wan is able to see that the rich boy is a façade and he’s really just a country boy with a single mom who tried really hard to succeed. They have a lovely conversation along the beach where he rebuffs her for saying she uses the cute voice because she’s not pretty.
Drama Geek: I did not think I would end up liking him, and I really didn’t think the show would pair him with Ji Wan. I really loved their scenes this week and found them both so genuine with each other.
The Maknae: I was reluctant to allow that Chef John was getting a growth arc over these episodes, but now I’m LOVING it. After he apologized to Yu Reum and was leaving where they were sitting, he started SKIPPING and it was ADORABLE. I’m firmly Team Chef John/Ji Wan now, despite my earlier leanings, and I am so glad he and Ji Wan got to connect in his hometown! I loved how she interacted with his mother — I think they could have a very sweet relationship in the future.
Main Lead or PD?
Goo Yu Reum is a bit in the background these episodes. She’s shaken after Jae Hoon carries her through the rain, and through flashbacks we’re reminded of how cute and sweet these two can be. She shows up to the villa after everything goes down with the man wielding the knife and she just kind of goes along with whatever the boss wants for ending the show. Jae Hoon asks her at one point if this is really the kind of show she wanted to produce. She’s very upset about them airing the sexual assault content and a bit of a mess with how the show is ending early.
There are also several times she is saddened by Jae Hoon and Ji Yeon seemingly to get closer. You can tell she just doesn’t know what to do with her life, or the love she obviously has for Jae Hoon. He lets her know that he rented the bottom floor of their house out for her because she won’t have a place to go with show ending early.
Drama Geek: I had a really hard time connecting with Yu Reum and following her journey during these episodes. The writer has put her through the relationship wringer and hasn’t allowed her to process the end to two relationships in a very short time. Her career is on the line right now, which led to some questionable choices last week. This led to her floating around with no real direction this week. I LOVED the flashbacks and they really showed what I loved about her character when the show started.
The Maknae: Yu Reum’s quiet floundering is easier to deal with than Ji Yeon’s one-sided pining has been. Clearly our FL needs some time to sort out where her head is, and she is finally, FINALLY seeing just how much Jae Hoon means to her. F I N A L L Y.
Sweetness Between Friends
Jae Hoon and Yu Reum end up in her empty apartment at the same time, and Yu Reum doesn’t have the willpower to keep lying to herself. She admits to Jae Hoon that she wants him by her side, and he doesn’t waste time moving across the room and kissing her. They move to a bedroom and, with a very still sweetness, finally stop being friends.
Drama Geek: They have great chemistry and I was so happy to see them show it! More of them being the adorable friends-to-lovers we signed up for.
The Maknae: What does Lizzo sing? “It’s about d*** time”? Yeah, that’s it. Their chemistry runs deep, and the soft, slow focus at the end of episode 12 really highlighted that well. It’ll be lovely to see what develops over the next 4 episodes
Until the final couples are chosen,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi