She Was Pretty: Episode 5
The funny thing about lies is, once you tell one, they have a way of multiplying. Pretty soon you’re trapped by them with no way out but to tell the truth… but what if that truth is more painful than the lies? Ha-ri’s got herself in quite a bind and needs to find a way out that doesn’t involve digging herself in deeper. Meanwhile Sung-joon is getting closer to the truth, and tiny doubts start to grow — he won’t be able to ignore them for much longer.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Hye-jin tries to sneak into Sung-joon’s suite to retrieve her phone, and a childhood memory reminds her of his favorite day of the year — International Left-hander’s Day. He’d used the date for all of his combinations, so much that Hye-jin had assumed it was his birthday and gotten him a cake. Sure enough, he’s still using it, and she gets into the suite.
While she grabs her phone she doesn’t notice that Sung-joon is starting to wake from his drunken stupor. He sees her leaning close to his puzzle of “Dance in the Country,” the one missing a piece, and comes up behind her to ask what she’s doing here.
It startles Hye-jin and she knocks the puzzle to the ground, smashing the glass frame to bits. She starts to step back away from Sung-joon and nearly steps barefooted in the shards, but he quickly grabs her and pulls her away from the glass — and very close to himself.
But the moment only lasts a second, and he lets go of her and asks again why she’s in his home. Hye-jin is so flustered that she can only stammer out random words that make no sense, but somehow Sung-joon interprets exactly what she’s saying.
She tries to clean up the mess she made of the puzzle but Sung-joon stops her, and she manages to run out without breaking anything else, though she does accidentally walk out wearing one of his shoes, ha. He just sticks her shoe out the door and Hye-jin’s humiliation is complete.
Ha-ri eyes a fancy pair of shoes and decides to buy them, though they don’t have them in her size. The only pair are slightly too small but she takes them anyway, even when the saleswoman warns her they also run small. But what Ha-ri loves, Ha-ri gets.
After, she goes to her “favorite place,” which turns out to be Hye-jin’s family’s home. Awww. Clearly Hye-jin’s parents see her as another daughter, and she has dinner with them like one of the family. They barely notice when Hye-jin comes in, grumpy that this is supposed to be her Finally Got A Job party and they all started eating without her.
Hye-rin is a real snot, so Hye-jin snipes at her to enjoy being pretty while she can. Wasn’t she about Hye-rin’s age when her looks started to disappear? Furious, Hye-rin fumes that she’ll never look like Hye-jin.
Hye-jin comments that they both take after their father, but Mom defends her husband, saying that in her eyes there’s nobody as handsome. The family banter back and forth while Ha-ri looks a little wistful.
As she flips through an old writing tablet, something falls out of the pages — a puzzle piece, the one from Sung-joon’s puzzle with the hidden lady’s face. She remembers the day Sung-joon left for America, when he’d pressed the piece into her hand and turned to go, then run back for a quick kiss. He’d thanked her for being his umbrella, and promised to be her umbrella the next time they met.
Now we see that on the back of the puzzle piece, Sung-joon had drawn a tiny umbrella. Why does that break my heart a little? Hye-jin muses that all those years ago, they couldn’t have imagined meeting again like this.
On the drive home, Hye-jin gets a call from Seul, the office gold-digger (who I was mistakenly calling So-ri, whoops!). She needs some files from the office but she’s in a very important meeting (a mani-pedi, naturally) and tells Hye-jin to go to the office and email them to her.
Ha-ri fusses at Hye-jin for being too nice but heads to the office, and Hye-jin starts to car-dance to a favorite song of theirs. Ha-ri isn’t charmed and orders Hye-jin to call Seul back and refuse to do her work for her, but when Hye-jin begins to sing along, Ha-ri gets into the cute song as well.
In the now-quiet house, Hye-jin’s mother sends a text to her old friend, Ha-ri’s mother, with a picture of Ha-ri with Hye-jin’s whole family. She tells her that her daughter is just like her, and promises to keep her updated. I had assumed Ha-ri’s mom was dead, but I suppose she’s just gone away?
Hye-jin sends Seul the email and doesn’t even get a thanks for it, and she notices that Sung-joon left the lights in his office on. She goes in and takes a minute to mimic him with his fussy little timer, then breaks the arm off a mannequin.
A phone rings and Hye-jin hears Sung-joon’s voice, and she hides in the closet just before he walks in. He assures the person on the other line in English that Most Korea will not be closing down in three months.
It’s a very close call when Sung-joon slides open the closet door to grab his coat, but he doesn’t open it far enough to see Hye-jin. Except that he did, and he slams the door open, and Hye-jin shrieks and throws the mannequin arm at him. HA, that was great.
Hye-jin haltingly explains that she was just here to turn off the light, more interested in how much of his phone conversation she understood. She picked up enough to know that Most is in danger, so Sung-joon tells her that if anyone from the team learns this, he’ll assume the information came from her and hold her responsible.
As Hye-jin scurries out her purse catches in the door, and she assumes it’s Sung-joon stopping her. She repeats that she won’t tell anyone, then realizes to her mortification that she’s talking to a door, and Sung-joon is just nodding his head like he expects this kind of thing from her by now. She wrenches free and runs, not noticing when the missing puzzle piece falls out of her purse.
Sung-joon runs into Ha-ri at the gym again, and though she’s already finished her workout, she says that she just got there and joins him. She struggles to keep up, and Sung-joon definitely notices. As they leave she offers Sung-joon a ride home, but he declines since she seems so tired.
She wears up and down that she’s not the least bit tired and heads for her car, but Sung-joon stops her to point out an eyelash on her face. He leans in close to get it for her and tells her to make a wish and blow it away — something they used to do as kids. Ha-ri can’t think of a wish so Sung-joon makes one for her. Nearby Joon-woo comes by with his bike and sees Sung-joon and Ha-ri, surprised that the boss apparently has a girlfriend.
During the car ride there’s a bit of a tangle of arms because of Sung-joon’s lefthandedness, and he gets excited when a song he likes comes on the radio. He sings along in this horrible screech, evidently completely tone-deaf, which is simultaneously hilarious and adorable. Ha-ri gets the giggles at Sung-joon’s hideous singing, which just prompts him to sing louder. Aww, I love this playful side of him.
At home Hye-jin comments on how long Ha-ri’s workout took tonight, and Ha-ri again doesn’t take the opportunity to come clean. Hye-jin mentions that Sung-joon was at the office when she got there, making Ha-ri even more uncomfortable.
The next day at work Ha-ri sees Shin-hyuk leaving for work, and wonders why someone would live at a hotel for nearly a year. The hotel just assumes he’s a chaebol, but nobody knows anything about him.
He startles Ha-ri by popping up right in her face, recognizing her as the employee who thought he was homeless. He pretends to have been really hurt by that, but declares them even since she found his MP3 player. He even high-fives and fistbumps her, and she thinks he doesn’t seem much like a chaebol.
At the street corner, Sung-joon is surprised out of his engrossment in his reading by Hye-jin’s chirpy, “It’s a go!” again this morning. This time he sees her in the crowd and frowns in confusion. They end up in the same elevator again and give each other weird side-eyes, both wary of the other.
Sung-joon notices a bandage on Hye-jin’s hand, knowing she cut herself on the broken glass at his place. She catches him looking at her and it makes him unaccountably skittish, and he starts to ask about the glass but he’s saved when the elevator doors open. Ha, he dashes out of there so fast.
It’s only now that Hye-jin realizes that she doesn’t have her puzzle piece anymore, and knows immediately that she must have lost it when she was wrestling with Sung-joon’s office door. She crawls through the office and finally locates it under a cabinet. She pushes it out with a ruler but Poong-ho kicks it, under the glass and right into Sung-joon’s office, where he steps on it and it sticks to his shoe.
Since he’s in there she needs an excuse to go in, so she grabs the mail and hand-delivers it to Sung-joon. Crawling under his desk doesn’t work so she tries a different tactic, offering to shine his shoes for him, but he turns her down (and gets stuck shining Poong-ho’s shoes, which she somehow catches on fire).
Sung-joon finally leaves his office and the puzzle piece unsticks from his shoe just as he’s walking past Hye-jin’s desk. He feels something strange and stops, but as he’s turning around, Shin-hyuk flies over and grabs him in a dramatic hug, HAHAHA.
Shin-hyuk smoothly slides the puzzle piece under his own shoe while Sung-joon flails at him, and when Sung-joon breaks free, Shin-hyuk says it was for an article he’s writing on bromance. OMG, I’m dying. He tries for another hug but gets smacked away.
Shin-hyuk shows Hye-jin proudly that he saved her puzzle piece, then slides it back to his desk with him. He makes her take him to a pojangmacha before he hands it over, explaining that he overheard her asking the cleaning lady about it.
Shin-hyuk asks if she’ll be found out as Sung-joon’s first love if he sees the puzzle piece, which shocks Hye-jin into silence. It turns out that the night she got so drunk and yelled the truth down the phone to Sung-joon, the call was disconnected, but she’d hollered out the whole story before collapsing.
Hye-jin actually relaxes, glad to be unburdened of her secret to at least one person. Shin-hyuk assumes she’s keeping the secret because of the boss/employee imbalance, but she says she’s not the popular, smart, beautiful girl Sung-joon remembers anymore.
When she tells him she used to be pretty, Shin-hyuk says in a quiet voice, “You still are, now.” Hye-jin assume she’s being kind though he insists it’s true, and she apologizes for what she said about his little sister. He’s just so cheerful all the time, she didn’t think he’d have that sort of sorrow.
She tells Shin-hyuk that from now on he can think of her as his little sister, and she’ll treat him as an oppa. She addresses him as “orabeoni,” the formal version of “oppa,” which makes him grin with happiness, and how are you two so cute??
Sung-joon happens to drive past just as Hye-jin is feeding Shin-hyuk a lettuce wrap, and watches them for a long moment with a strange expression. He drives away looking unsettled, while Shin-hyuk asks what Hye-jin will do if Sung-joon recognizes her. She tells him that won’t happen, because Sung-joon thinks his first love is someone else.
Today at the gym Ha-ri watches the door, hoping that Sung-joon will show up while she’s there. After she goes to the convenience store and runs into Shin-hyuk, who’s short on change, and pays for his items as well. They sit on a bench outside while he eats his ramyun, Ha-ri watching hungrily.
Soon she’s slurping down his ramyun, and she takes a call from Hye-jin. She calls her “wife” as usual which gives Shin-hyuk the wrong idea about her sexual preferences, so she explains that it’s just a pet name. They walk back to the hotel, Ha-ri berating herself for eating so much, and Shin-hyuk tosses her some gum and a blinding smile before going inside.
At work the next day Hye-jin picks up some dry cleaning, and in the pocket is a reciept with a cute little cartoon of her on the back. Cartoon Ha-ri is yelling, “Disgraceful, disgraceful!” like she did when she beat up the pervert in the bar, and she knows it’s from Sung-joon and smiles.
She goes on a date that night with a random suitor, wearing her new shoes that are a bit too small (but so pretty!). She doesn’t feel like doing the usual things, and asks her date to take her to the Han River to play speedminton like she did with Sung-joon.
Her date takes it to the dirty place, offering more fun ways to sweat if that’s what she wants, and Ha-ri grows annoyed. Can’t he just take her for a nice meal and talk? She turns on the radio and hears the song that Sung-joon sang for her, then at a crosswalk she looks up to see him crossing the street.
Ha-ri jumps out of the car and follows Sung-joon, and as she runs she remembers Hye-jin telling her that true love is when you miss a person, and you’re happy when you’re with them. You want to do everything with them, and you see them even from a distance. But her too-small shoes pinch, and Ha-ri has to stop while Sung-joon walks on.
The next morning the shoes are in the garbage, and Ha-ri finds Shin-hyuk to ask him to do something for her. She doesn’t want to be greedy for “the wrong shoes” anymore, and asks for his help. We don’t hear her request, but later we learn that she asks him to come with her tonight to meet a man, and pretend to be her fiance.
It’s lunchtime at Most, and the whole office goes out together — without Sung-joon. Hye-jin feels uncomfortable not even inviting him, but she bows to peer pressure and goes with the group. She spends the whole meal worrying about Sung-joon alone at the office, with no friends and nobody to eat with, while Shin-hyuk watches her closely.
Joon-woo tells everyone that the boss has a girlfriend, and they all wonder how that’s possible with his prickly personality. Hye-jin droops as he goes on about how beautiful the “girlfriend” is, and Shin-hyuk argues that just because they were together doesn’t mean they’re dating.
Ha-ri calls Sung-joon (who’s having coffee for lunch, and now I’m really concerned) to ask him to meet up tonight. He goes back to the Most office, and overhears Seul bragging on the phone to a friend that she got the stupid new intern to do her work for her over the weekend, and he doesn’t look pleased.
On the way back to the office, Hye-jin grabs a sandwich for Sung-joon, which is so sweet. She leaves the food on his desk, and it’s the first thing he sees after hearing that Seul took advantage of her. He hears Seul giving Hye-jin another task that should be hers, but he snaps the blinds closed when Hye-jin sees him watching her.
That night Seul follows Joon-woo when he heads home, looking predatory and reminding Hye-jin that she has to finish the project before she can leave. Reporter Cha spills her coffee in her haste to get to a meeting so Hye-jin offers to clean it, but her cut finger stings when the hot coffee hits it.
She looks up to see Sung-joon watching her, and he gets upset that she’s always offering to do things for everyone else. He tells her to get a new bandage, framing it as if she’ll soil things by touching them with an old bandage. She doesn’t know where the fresh bandages are which annoys him even more, and he drags her over to the first aid kit, complaining nonstop.
She fumbles with with the packaging with her sore finger so he pulls her back to him by the hoodie, and shows her how to open it. She screws it up again (it’s hard to put a bandage on a finger on your dominant hand!) so he fixes it, groaning that she can’t do anything right, but with the cutest look of concern on his face. He’s such a mother hen right now.
It’s raining again when Hye-jin finally heads home, and she covers her head with her hoodie and runs out into the rain with a rebel yell. Meanwhile Sung-joon is driving home and passes a terrible accident, and he’s riveted by the sight of an injured woman still in the overturned car.
He remembers an eerily similar accident when he was a child, when it had been his mother in that car. Back in the present, adult Sung-joon starts to have a panic attack, and he stops to get out of the car to try to get some air.
On her bus heading home, Hye-jin sees Sung-joon collapse in the middle of the street. She goes to him but he’s practically catatonic by now — Hye-jin sees the nearby accident and knows exactly what’s happening. She takes off her hoodie and holds it over both of them, telling Sung-joon to look at her and not the accident. She soothingly repeats that it will be okay, and Sung-joon finally turns his face to her. Oof, he looks so lost.
While Ha-ri and Shin-hyuk wait awkwardly for Sung-joon to show up, Sung-joon kneels in the street staring at Hye-jin. He remembers this exact situation when they were children, when Hye-jin had promised to be his umbrella from now on. He reaches up to caress her face, whispering, “Hye-jin-ah…” and Hye-jin’s eyes widen.
Lost in each other, neither Sung-joon nor Hye-jin notices the truck barreling down on them.
What a sweet moment, if it weren’t for the imminent mortal danger — though I’m sure Sung-joon and Hye-jin will be fine. I’d love it if Sung-joon really realized that this is his Hye-jin, but it feels like he’s not really seeing her right now, but the Hye-jin from his memory. I don’t think Sung-joon is in this moment at all, and that he’ll soon wake up and go back to thinking Ha-ri is his Hye-jin, but it’s a lovely tease for when he does finally learn the truth.
I’m glad that Ha-ri has decided to do something about her growing crush on Sung-joon, because I’m getting worried about her continued lying that she’s Hye-jin. Let’s be honest, the best thing about this dramaverse so far is her and Hye-jin’s friendship, not to mention how Hye-jin’s family has taken her in as one of their own, loving her like their own daughter. This betrayal could blow up not only the close bond between Ha-ri and Hye-jin, but it could very well cost Ha-ri the only healthy familial relationships she’s got. I can certainly understand why she’s intrigued with Sung-joon, because he’s probably the first man to treat her like a person rather than arm-candy and something to fondle at the end of the night. He doesn’t even push the moment the couple of times they’ve gotten physically close — he always backs away immediately. He’s respectful of her, which she probably hasn’t experienced from a man she’s dating in quite some time, if ever.
That’s why I’m glad she’s finally met Shin-hyuk, because he would also treat her as a person and not an accessory. He’s not immune to her looks — he’s mentioned them several times — but he’s also not influenced by them. He talks to her like a normal person instead of a conquest or a goddess to worship. And it’s obvious that Ha-ri likes him already, at least on a personal level, because that smile on her face after eating ramyun with him could have outshone the sun. She certainly hasn’t smiled like that with Sung-joon, because she knows deep down that he thinks she’s someone else, and doesn’t really know her at all. He’s interacting with her as if she’s Hye-jin, and while Shin-hyuk may not know her very well (yet), he does know who she truly is.
I know that the general consensus is that Sung-joon and Ha-ri match each other better than Sung-joon and Hye-jin, but I think that they’re actually too alike to work out long-term. They’re both very internal people, keeping their true selves hidden, and that could spell trouble if both halves of a couple aren’t able to share easily. In that vein I think that Hye-jin is a much better match for Sung-joon, because she’s so open and dynamic, she could pull him out of his shell (and you could say the same thing for Shin-hyuk and Ha-ri).
I’m finding Sung-joon more likable now that he’s not being so outright cruel to Hye-jin… he’s still not being nice, or even neutral, but at least he’s not hitting below the belt anymore. It’s definitely been frustrating to watch him acting so mean to her, and the rest of the Most team, when I still believe that he’s that nice kid underneath. It’s telling that he’s starting to watch Hye-jin and notice her, and even gets upset when he feels she’s being taken advantage of. It’s not love yet, but, baby steps.
You can already start to see the little subconscious connections that Sung-joon feels to Hye-jin, though he’s totally unaware of them right now. The way he completely understood her gibberish when she was trying to tell him that he passed out and she took him home is a great example. Then when Hye-jin immediately knew that Sung-joon was in trouble and why, and what to do, is another great example of how their connection as children carries through to the present. I appreciate that this isn’t just a rehashing of the old “they met as children once, so they’re fated to be together” trope, but that Sung-joon and Hye-jin’s history together actually has meaning and depth that carries through to the present day. In addition to informing who they are as adults, it also will help frame their current relationship once all the identity secrets are out. They “get” each other, though they don’t know it yet, and it will be fun seeing that play out once Sung-joon knows she’s the real Hye-jin.