The verdict is in: It’s OK, That’s Love is a keeper.
If Episode 1 hinted at a smooth blend of the comedic and the dramatic, Episode 2 firmly clarifies the series’ intent. From what I can gather from the second installment of this series, it’s more dramatic than comedic…and a highly stylized and sophisticated form of drama that’s oddly refreshing in its directness.
Let me be upfront with you. This is definitely not my usual cup of K-drama tea, but somehow, I’m intrigued…intrigued enough to keep tuning in for more. Shall we take a look at what I found so compelling?
You can watch the English-subtitled episode here.
Jae Yeol discovers that his girlfriend of three years has literally plagiarized his latest mystery novel. To add insult to that injury, she also publicly announces to all and sundry that her trust was betrayed and that Jae Yeol stole from her.
Ever the sharp observer and possessor of a keen memory, Jae Yeol puts the pieces together and realizes that his trusted publisher, someone whom he considered a dear hyung, handed over his manuscript to Pool Ip (Yoon Jin Yi), his girlfriend who’s been trying to establish herself as a writer all these years. Her explanation when he confronts her? She wouldn’t have had to stoop to such depths had he simply just read her manuscripts and given her feedback. Really? Did she really just try to put the blame on him?! Jae Yeol, maintaining his calm through the entire conversation, tells her that his not reading her manuscripts and discussing them with her was his way of showing her some modicum of consideration since all of her manuscripts were plagiarized versions of other people’s works. Ouch~!
After losing his ever-present cool in one fantastic display of righteous rage, Jae Yeol then coolly calls his publishing company and tells the lead publisher to withdraw the lawsuit against Pool Ip, recall all copies of his newest release, and make preparations for his next novel.
Just like that, he moves on.
Meanwhile, Hae Soo discovers from a misinformed Jae Yeol that her boyfriend “deep kissed” her dongseng friend (aka her boyfriend’s work hoobae). Of course, Jae Yeol just thought that the homemates practiced a loose lifestyle of love and friendship, never once thinking that his little revelation would unleash a torrential storm of punches and kicks.
But unleash it he does…even earning himself a kick in the pants and a period of ostracism from his homemates Soo Kwang and Hae Soo. Wow…they regressed into grade school tactics?
In the course of the episode, we learn clearly why Hae Soo has hangups about relationships as she flashbacks to seeing her mother kissing someone other than her father, a man completely paralyzed and unable to take care of himself much less engage in a romantic relationship with his wife. Traumatized by her mother’s life choices, Hae Soo finds it difficult to have a normal relationship with any man and oftentimes takes her anger at her mother out on her patients’ mothers. Hmm…anyone seeing transference here? So deeply entrenched is her pain from those childhood memories that her sunbae commands her to go seek psychiatric counseling for herself from none other than Dong Min, who can’t get anywhere with her due to her thick wall of sassy comments and sharp wit. She’s got that great of a fortified wall of protection.
The episode ends with Jae Yeol offering Hae Soo a consolatory glass of wine. After all, he reasons that he’s just suffered the loss of his friend/publisher, girlfriend, and his latest mystery book and she’s discovered her boyfriend has cheated on her.
Of course, Hae Soo wants nothing to do with him and throws a very FULL glass of wine right at his face.
Adhering to his code of ethics–turnabout is fair play–Jae Yeol returns the favor.
And his parting comment to her as he leaves? “As a homemate, let me give you some advice. You get dumped by men because of your temper.” When Hae Soo yells at him, he turns back with a taunt that’s oddly also an invitation: “Are you wanting some wine now?”
The above nutshell doesn’t do much in the way of indicating the chemistry between the two leads and the complicated inner workings that motive these two. But it is what it is…Hopefully, you were able to catch at least a brief glimpse of the private demons that gnaw at them and drive them to be what they are. Jae Yeol demands absolute order in his life–immaculate room and strange bathroom with all his hangups–while Hae Soo applies that type of clinical order to her personal life. In essence, he’s the ying to her yang…or vice versa.
If Hae Soo has her issues with her mother to contend with, Jae Yeol also has his fair share. His mother lives a “simple” life, indicating to the viewers that she may be dealing with some sort of medical condition. In addition, his big brother continues to insist that he’s been unjustly convicted, paying for a crime that his little brother committed. How deep is this threat? Judging by the phone call to Jae Yeol, Jae Beom promises Jae Yeol that when he’s released in about 100 days, he won’t be coming at Jae Yeol with a fork in the shoulder this time. He’s thinking something in Jae Yeol’s throat would be more appropriate as compensation for being framed by his little brother.
We don’t know exactly what’s true or how much of what’s been revealed is true…yet. Jae Yeol is surely intelligent enough to have framed his older brother for a crime. His televised discussion with Hae Soo about what man is capable of certainly lends support to the idea that Jae Yeol may have potentially committed some heinous crime. On the other hand, Jae Yeol is so matter-of-fact about his brother’s accusation that one wonders if his big brother is simply suffering from delusional thinking.
Whatever may be the case, the series gives us a small peek inside the private lives of these two characters, and what I saw today makes me want to see exactly how these two are going to learn and grow together, helping each other combat the various hurts and pains of their respective pasts and now the present that they share together.
More than anything else, though, what pulls at me is how they’re evenly matched.
Tit for tat. Push for pull.
Jae Yeol doesn’t back down and neither does Hae Soo. And in a refreshing twist on television’s “attempt” to equalize the playing field between men and women, Jae Yeol has no qualms about giving Hae Soo exactly what she gives him. If that means a glass of expensive wine in the face, so be it.
Equality on these unorthodox terms doesn’t seem too bad right now. Hmmm…I’m not sure if my musings are coming across quite as articulately as I had hoped, but you get the gist of what I’m saying, right?
In essence, Jae Yeol and Hae Soo have layers to their personalities, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the writer peels each of those layers for us. And if in the process of this journey, I get to experience a highly stylized form of storytelling, all the better. 🙂