It’s heartbreaking when even the truth can’t solve your problems, as our love triangle are quickly coming to discover. Sometimes the truth only uncovers more hurt, and creates more problems in ways that can’t be predicted. They key is honest communication, but what do you do when someone refuses to be honest, even with themselves?
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Sung-joon calls Ha-ri to meet up as planned, and she tells him she’s working and she’ll see him later. But it’s too late, as he’s already there, and he sees her photo on a plaque with her real name.
He confronts her, and calls her by name, “Min Ha-ri. Who are you?” Looking heartbroken, he asks her why she pretended to be Kim Hye-jin. He shakes off her hand when she tries to touch him, so she just ekes out a tiny, “I’m Hye-jin’s friend.”
She explains that she was only supposed to meet him that once, but things got complicated when he bumped into her at the hotel. She was going to tell him the truth today… but he’s not interested. What he wants to know is, is the real Kim Hye-jin who he thinks it is?
Ha-ri confirms that he knows the real Hye-jin and tries again to explain, but Sung-joon is done with her. He walks away without a second thought, leaving Ha-ri crying.
All of the clues seem so obvious now, as Sung-joon thinks about things he’s heard and seen of the real Hye-jin. The past and the present meld together, and he realizes that the woman he’s been looking for has been right beside him all this time.
Meanwhile Shin-hyuk uses his final request of Hye-jin, and hugs her tightly. He begs her, if she can’t go to Sung-joon, then to please come to him. He just wants a chance, but Hye-jin gets a call from Sung-joon before she can answer him.
Sung-joon’s voice catches as she answers, and he says formally, “It’s been a long time, Kim Hye-jin.” He says it again in banmal, and starts to cry as he says he’s missed her. He asks her to meet him, now, and Shin-hyuk tries one last time and asks her with a sad smile not to go. Okay, they’re both breaking my heart!
Hye-jin just tells Shin-hyuk sincerely that she’s sorry, and runs. She and Sung-joon triangulate to find each other, and he sees her first and pulls her around by the arm. Oh, the expressions on their faces — so beautiful. Sung-joon starts to cry again, breathing, “I’ve finally found you, Kim Hye-jin,” and she joins him in tears.
He starts to bark at her, demanding to know why she didn’t tell him, didn’t she know how much he missed her? But he stops himself — it’s not important. He’s only sorry he’s so late in recognizing her, and she just smiles at him. He takes her face in his hands and examines her closely, and finally, finally recognizes his old friend.
They stand for a long time, just taking each other in, and for a moment they feel like their young selves as they join hands and walk together. He hear Hye-jin tell Sung-joon that she did go to meet him that day, but when he walked past her, she lost her confidence. He regrets that his mistake started all this, but they’re both so happy now, it hardly seems to matter anymore.
They ride on a riverboat and Sung-joon wonders how it must have been for her, knowing who he was and not being able to speak up. She admits that the small lie snowballed and got out of control. Sung-joon wonders if their situations had been reversed and he were the more unfortunate one, would she have been disappointed meeting him? He thought that kind of thing wouldn’t be important between them.
He turns serious and takes Hye-jin by the shoulders, and tells her that no matter what her circumstances or how she looked, it wouldn’t have mattered to him. Hye-jin regrets hiding now, but Sung-joon tells her that they’ll not regret anymore, and just look at the present.
She asks if he heard all this from Ha-ri, but he says he’s hearing it for the first time now. She’s shocked he didn’t talk to Ha-ri and runs home early, worried that Ha-ri isn’t okay. Ha-ri makes light of it, saying that she lost her head for a while and should have told Hye-jin sooner.
Hye-jin isn’t ready to accept her apology, reminding Ha-ri that she promised to tell Sung-joon the truth and set things right. Ha-ri says that it just happened before she got the chance, and runs out, claiming to have a date.
Left blinking in surprise, Hye-jin answers Hari’s phone where she left it in her room. She sees a ripped-up latter in Ha-ri’s trash can and puts it together, reading how Ha-ri was going to confess to Sung-joon, and everything he made her feel. Realizing that Sung-joon meant more to her friend than Ha-ri let on, Hye-jin goes looking for her.
She finds Ha-ri crying like her heart is breaking, and she watches for a while with tears in her own eyes. We hear the end of Ha-ri’s letter, where she’d apologized and said she’ll be sincerely cheering for him and Hye-jin, as Ha-ri sobs.
The next morning, things are a little awkward as Ha-ri lies about her “date” last night. But Sung-joon is excited to see Hye-jin again, and smiles at his own version of Onion Head at his place. Shin-hyuk can barely bring himself to get out of bed, poor guy.
Hye-jin takes advantage of Sung-joon’s absorption in his tablet at the street light to look her fill at him, then cutely gets a little annoyed that he doesn’t see her there. But when she does get his attention, his happy smile is just glorious.
He tries to take her hand to cross the street, but she whips it away, claiming to be stretching. He invites her to go to their old neighborhood for dinner tonight and to see their old haunts, but for some reason, she claims not to remember buying him that cake for Left-Hander’s Day.
In the elevator Hye-jin asks what she should call him now and natters on about his life in America, but he’s sort of over her antics. He doesn’t let her leave the elevator and hits the button for the top floor, and takes her to the roof to talk.
He’s hurt that she’s pretending to have only connected with an old friend and nothing more, but she says they should keep their personal and professional lives separate. He asks if that’s all he is to her, an old classmate, and his voice catches when he brings up the way they were last night, which felt to him like more.
Hye-jin thinks to herself Ha-ri likes you, but she just says that that “first love” stuff is so old-fashioned. Sung-joon doesn’t hide his disappointment, mentioning how much he’s been hoping all this time that it was more between them. He asks why she’s being like this, but she just says he’s too serious. Sung-joon says sadly that he guesses he was alone in thinking this was something special, but he must have been the only one who didn’t want to waste more time. He gets her point and leaves, and she sighs to herself sadly.
Hye-jin runs into Shin-hyuk on her way to the office, and gives him some money to repay him for his hospital bill. He pastes on his smile, which just looks weary now, and tells her not to bother.
Poong-ho notices the strange atmosphere, and asks Hye-jin what’s up between her and Shin-hyuk. Sung-joon overhears her loudly deny anything, and leaves the office in a huff.
Seul overhears Joon-woo talking to his father on the phone and calling him “president,” figuring it’s proof that she’s landed the true hidden chaebol. But she’s disappointed when he tells her his father was appointed president of his soccer club, and that he owns a dry cleaning business. At least it’s in Gangnam?
Meanwhile Shin-hyuk is driven somewhere in a fancy car with a driver, and tells the nicely-dressed older man in the car with him that he doesn’t need to bother calling him later. Iiinteresting.
In his office, Sung-joon remembers Shin-hyuk’s confession that he likes Hye-jin, and when Hye-jin delivers the meeting minutes he tells her that she doesn’t need to bring them to him personally anymore. He’s all business as he dismisses her, but he can’t keep it up. When she turns to go, he says breathlessly, “I can’t do it, Hye-jin-ah.”
He says to her back that he can’t just be her classmate, or keep their business and personal lives separate. He can’t, and he doesn’t want to. Reporter Cha interrupts them before Hye-jin can answer him, and he’s left hanging. Back at her desk, Hye-jin turns her Onion Head around to the crying side, which Sung-joon notices.
Shin-hyuk conducts his interview with a director, who asks him when he got so boring. He only agreed to this interview because Shin-hyuk is fun, but he was boring today. Shin-hyuk perks up and makes an effort, though it really seems like an effort now.
Afterward, he makes a call (in English, interestingly) promising to see someone soon, saying that he misses them. He wonders to himself if it’s time to leave.
Hye-jin arrives home that night in time to catch Ha-ri going out with a new man, whose name she doesn’t even know. Hye-jin is frustrated, but Ha-ri says it’s not like she doesn’t know her, so Hye-jin yanks her inside to talk.
She yells at Ha-ri, telling her to act upset if she’s upset, and not to pretend she’s fine. She tells Ha-ri that she saw her crying, but Ha-ri says that the one of them who’s truly pretending to be fine is Hye-jin. She yells that Hye-jin should be mad at her, and finally Hye-jin screams that yes, she’s very angry.
But it’s not because of Sung-joon. She holds herself responsible for this situation, but it’s Ha-ri’s attitude that infuriates her. She tells Ha-ri to stop avoiding her, but Ha-ri says that this is all she can do. She says that maybe it’s time they stop all this, and offers to disappear.
But Hye-jin is the one who’s been living at Ha-ri’s place, so she argues that she should go. She starts to pack right away, but Ha-ri just leaves without argument. So Hye-jin goes to her parents’ home for the night, annoyed when everyone asks after Ha-ri.
Sung-joon tries calling Hye-jin (who’s saved in his phone as “My Umbrella,” awww), but Hye-rin answers her phone. He finds out where her parents live and shows up there, and they all remember him from when he lived next door and fawn over the handsome man he’s grown into.
He makes no bones about the fact that he wants to date Hye-jin, which excites everyone but Hye-jin herself. Despite being such a lightweight, Sung-joon drinks Dad’s homemade wine when it’s offered, and immediately passes out on the table. HAHAHA.
Ha-ri’s night isn’t much better, as she comes home from her date to find her mother waiting to see her. Her mother asks her to forgive her, and both women cry wordlessly.
Hye-jin can’t sleep knowing that Sung-joon is in the house, and hee, both of her parents are watching him sleep and wondering about his feelings for their daughter. They happily go when Hye-jin shoos them back to their room, telling her to have a nice time. OMG, they’re so cute.
Hye-jin can’t help but smile as she watches Sung-joon sleeping, and he wakes up and catches her. She asks if he’s okay, but he tells her that no, he’s not, and it’s her fault. They go outside to talk, but she still won’t tell him why she’s acting so strange. He’s pretty sure of her feelings, so he doesn’t want any silly misunderstandings.
She tells him that maybe, just being his first love is special enough. She tries to explain but he interrupts, and says that back then, she took the place of his mother who wasn’t there. It was special because she was his only friend.
But that’s not why he likes her now — he likes her for who she is in the present. Even if they’d never met, he would still like her now. He asks her one last time if she’ll tell him why she’s acting like this.
Hye-jin finally admits that it’s because Ha-ri likes him a lot, and to her, Ha-ri is more than a friend. She’s as precious to Hye-jin as her family and Sung-joon are. If she’s with Sung-joon, Ha-ri will be hurt, which will hurt Hye-jin in return.
Sung-joon crouches in front of Hye-jin and forces her to make eye contact, and says, “The one I like, is you.” When they were kids, it was her, and when he didn’t know who she was, it was her. Now, and in the future, it’s her. Well, ~swoon~.
He says softly that he won’t push her, and he doesn’t want anything from her. He only asks that she not run away. He smiles when she sighs, saying that she’s even nicer now than when they were young, and that he’s happy she hasn’t changed.
The big news at work the next morning is Shin-hyuk — he’s rumored to be going to work for New Look, Most’s biggest rival magazine. He’s been scouted many times before, but he’s never left them. Of course Seul thinks this disqualifies Shin-hyuk as the hidden chaebol, and the only option left is… Poong-ho. Ha.
Shin-hyuk does show up for work though, bemused at his coworkers’ barrage of questions about his changing jobs. But he seems to confirm that he’s leaving, so Hye-jin follows him out of the office to ask if it’s true. He says he’s not going to New Look, but he is going — he just doesn’t know where, yet.
But it’s not all bad news today, as Most’s recent edition broke sales records. They’re not first place yet, that honor still belongs to New Look, but they’re getting close.
Sung-joon doesn’t join in the excitement, but Chief Editor Kim offers them her credit card to go out and have dinner on her. She does say ominously that next time she expects them to be Number One, which reminds everyone of how Sung-joon talks.
Ha-ri’s mom visits Hye-jin’s mom, her old friend, and shows her the jewelry that she’s been designing. Ha-ri’s mom says that she’s successful because she had the courage to leave a man she loved, but who didn’t love her, but that she regrets hurting Ha-ri. She’s been afraid to see her daughter until now, but she feels strong. She wants to take Ha-ri to live with her, but Ha-ri won’t even talk to her.
She texts Ha-ri to tell her that she’s leaving the country again in a few days, asking to see her before she goes. Ha-ri calls her back, and asks if she still makes that crab porridge she loves.
Hye-jin works late, until it’s just her and Sung-joon in the office. She makes some tea and asks him why he doesn’t discuss Most’s ranking with the team, and ask for their help. She’s concerned that he’s shouldering all the worry himself, so he angles for a hug to make him feel better. That makes Hye-jin nervous, and he backs off.
Later he searches Shin-hyuk’s employee file, and goes to the hotel where Shin-hyuk is staying. He sees Shin-hyuk leaving and the two go out for a drink, and Sung-joon asks why Shin-hyuk lives in a hotel.
He also asks if Shin-hyuk plans to go work for New Look, but Shin-hyuk doesn’t know either. Sung-joon asks him flat-out to stay at Most, even though he used to annoy him, because they need him. He tells Shin-hyuk that Most Korea is in danger of being shut down, so they need him to stay.
But Shin-hyuk doesn’t come to work the next day either, and everyone assumes he’s abandoned them. He doesn’t answer when Hye-jin calls him, and a strange man calls her right back and asks for her by name. He’s looking for Ha-ri, who suddenly turned in her resignation this morning.
Hye-jin rushes home, but all of Ha-ri’s personal things are gone. There’s a to-do list on her bed, outlining that she’s quitting her job, selling her car, and closing her accounts. Hye-jin remembers Ha-ri saying that she should disappear, and a neighbor confirms that she left today with all her things.
Hye0jin takes a cab to the airport, but can’t find her friend anywhere. She remembers a time when they were children, and Ha-ri had pushed an injured Hye-jin home in a shopping cart. Hye-jin had told her to leave her there and go get her mother, but Ha-ri had refused to go anywhere without her friend.
Distraught, Hye-jin calls out that Ha-ri can’t leave her like this. Crying her heart out, Hye-jin sits in the middle of the airport, and thinks to herself, “Ha-ri left me.”
I love that there are so many different love stories in this show, and not all romantic ones. Yes, there’s the main love story between Sung-joon and Hye-jin, spanning the majority of their lives, but it’s also a friends’ love story. The love between Hye-jin and Ha-ri has just as many ups and downs, disappointments and betrayals, confessions and forgivenesses as any love between a man and a woman. More, in fact, than Sung-joon and Hye-jin, because they’ve literally spent their whole lives together. They even live together, and have been each other’s sole emotional support (and even financial support) for most of their lives. When Hye-jin says that Ha-ri is more than a friend for her, I believe her, and it makes sense that she’s Hye-jin’s primary priority. Sung-joon is an old friend too, and a first love, but there have been a couple of decades since they last saw each other. They don’t have the same kind of deep bond the two women have.
It’s touching that, when Hye-jin found out that Sung-joon didn’t talk to Ha-ri that night, the first thing Hye-jin did was run home to check on her friend. Even in the midst of reconnecting with her first love, her love for her friend carried just as much weight with her — more, in fact. And no matter how it can be argued that Ha-ri created her own heartbreak, she is heartbroken. She needs her understanding, loving best friend more than ever right now. It makes things that much more tragic that, even having that unconditional love and support from Hye-jin, Ha-ri can’t accept it out of her own feelings of guilt for betraying her friend.
But on the flip side, it’s sad that Hye-jin is willing to deny what she wants for her friend’s sake. I can see why she feels like she’d be taking the man her friend likes, but there’s such thing as being too selfless. After all, Sung-joon was her friend first, and her first love, first, not to mention how he feels about this and who he loves. And it seems like an extra slap in the face to find Ha-ri going back to her casual-dating ways so soon, when Hye-jin just hurt the man who loves her for her friend’s sake. It’s no wonder they fought, and it’s good to see that Hye-jin does have a threshold of what she’ll accept. Interesting that what she was upset about wasn’t what Ha-ri did with Sung-joon, but the way she acted like it was no big deal that she was in pain.
As for Sung-joon, I adore him for his honesty, and how he won’t accept anything less from Hye-jin. It’s not necessarily a strength all the time — it’s what made him say such hateful things ot her when they first met. Complete honesty can be a bad thing sometimes, but when he turns it on for a good purpose, it’s pretty powerful. It’s wonderful how he knows that Hye-jin isn’t being honest with him about why she’s backing away, and he doesn’t stop until he gets an honest answer in return. He’s not even pushy or intrusive about it, just gently insistent that he deserves the truth. His biggest fault can also be his greatest asset, and it’s wonderful to see a drama hero say No, we’re not doing to have misunderstandings or secrets, we’re going to talk about this like people who care about each other.
It’s so sad to see that, instead of solving all the miscommunication and confused feelings issues, the revealing of Hye-jin’s true identity has only created more problems. Luckily, two of the three people involved have a history of being honest and willing to talk things out, so surely they’ll be able to straighten out this mess before long. If only they can stop Ha-ri from running away, again.