Love is complicated. There is no denying that for San-hae who finds himself in a constant battle between his wants and his beliefs and for Seung-ah who can’t quite seem to give up on the person that has taught and given her so much.
Dae Jang-geum is Watching Episode 13: No Wonder You’re So Confused
After coldly turning Seung-ah down, San-hae returns to his bedroom where he finds Jung-sik rummaging through his clothes. When asked about the suit that looks awfully similar to the one that Seung-ah had purchased, San-hae lies that the suit was bought by himself and not by Seung-ah. Why would a newbie like Seung-ah buy him something? Jung-sik grows relieved at the response and deletes any concerns he had about his brother being the person that Seung-ah likes. Once Jung-sik leaves the room, San-hae is left alone, but he clearly still cares about Seung-ah. His rejection towards her doesn’t translate to his actual feelings: he hopes that she is doing okay. However, Seung-ah is not okay. Long after San-hae is gone, she still is shedding tears at the playground that they had met at earlier that evening.
It’s New Year and Jung-sik and Jin-mi are up to continue their annual family tradition of making dumplings on the first day of the new year. However, San-hae isn’t with his siblings because he’s too busy completing a puzzle and thinking about Seung-ah. Speaking of Seung-ah, she wanders outside after receiving no luck in getting her cold and broken apartment fixed. There is no luck outside either as the restaurant she planned on eating at is closed on New Year’s Day. Thankfully, Seung-ah is warm and cozy thanks to a street flyer that influenced her to attend a tarot card reading session.
The tarot card reader is able to convince Seung-ah to spend more money on him as he provides her with generic hints about her love life. Though the card she selects informs her that there are three men in her life, two out of the three are serious about her. Though the two contrast in personality, the man destined for Seung-ah makes her feel secure and full and is also tall and stylish. Of course, this doesn’t do much for Seung-ah as all these hints apply to both San-hae and Jung-sik, but the last single hint that the reader provides seals the deal for Seung-ah. The man of her dreams will enter through a white door so Seung-ah should keep a close eye on whoever enters a white door.
The Han siblings eventually all make some dumplings together as a part of their family tradition. Thanks to Jung-sik, the siblings are able to celebrate the new year with some delicious dumplings. Of course, Jung-sik makes enough to gift Seung-ah some and for Jin-mi to feed Min-hyuk some as well.
Min-hyuk and Jin-mi spend some time together on the first day of the New Year. Because Jin-mi’s nose bleeds often in front of him, Min-hyuk has some rolled up tissue paper already prepared ahead of time to help her in times of her nosebleeds. Aww, they’re the cutest. Meanwhile, Seung-ah has no choice but to spend her New Years alone back at her freezing cold apartment. While feasting on some ramen noodles, she receives a surprise visit from Jung-sik who has come to deliver some of the dumplings he had made for her. He volunteers to check out the boiler for the apartment as well and manages to turn the heater back on. Eventually all is well and Seung-ah is rescued! Not only does Jung-sik fix Seung-ah’s boiler, but he also cooks her some delicious dumpling soup. While cooking her the soup, he overhears Seung-ah’s conversation with her mother over the phone about her mother’s surgery appointment.
Jung-sik checks in with Seung-ah after he finishes cooking the dumpling soup and worries about her state of condition. Seung-ah admits that she hasn’t been feeling the best the past few days, but plans to get back on track thanks to Jung-sik’s delicious food. She repays him for his kindness with some coffee. Jung-sik himself is occupied with a photo of Seung-ah with her mother laying in Seung-ah’s studio apartment and takes a photo of the photo frame itself.
Jin-mi and Min-hyuk continue their daily routine of eating lunch together at the convenience store. While eating some delicious ramen with dumplings, Min-hyuk delivers a top-secret revelation to Jin-mi: he’s making his idol debut at the end of the month. Jin-mi is elated in response to the news and appreciates how honest Min-hyuk is with her except that he hasn’t been all that honest with her about everything (such as the anti-smoking campaign that they did together thanks to Min-hyuk’s connections). Nonetheless, Min-hyuk and Jin-mi celebrate the good news together.
The next day at work, all of Seung-ah’s coworkers notice that Seung-ah is the last one to arrive in the office which is unusual of her. Seung-ah eventually shows up to the office in a fragile and sick state; she’s caught a cold and doesn’t feel or look too well. She attends the meeting that morning with the rest of the office where Manager Lee discusses about a two day business trip that she is obligated to attend. When deciding on who to go on the business trip with, she eventually selects Won Bin and Seung-ah as her candidates. However, with Seung-ah’s illness, San-hae eventually steps in for her and volunteers to go on the business trip as her replacement. Shortly after the meeting, San-hae and Won Bin learn of Seung-ah’s situation with her mother who is arriving in Korea that day for surgery.
Seung-ah recovers from her sickness while staying at a health clinic. She dreams about Manager Lee, Won Bin, and San-hae while sleeping. It’s San-hae who she cares about the most and clings to in her dream. She pleads for him to stay with her, but San-hae has plans to leave. Seung-ah just can’t seem to quite understand why San-hae is treating her this way as it’s obvious that he likes her too. The two eventually hug and lock lips with each other.
The dream is too good to be true though. San-hae is actually with Manager Lee and embarks on their two day business trip together along with Won Bin. However, San-hae disrupts the road trip by turning the car around to take care of something that he needs to get done. Manager Lee grants his request and San-hae drives back around.
Meanwhile, Jin-mi is caught up in some business of her own. While taking a break from dance practice with her group, they find out through news articles that Min-hyuk is the nephew of their agency CEO. That means Min-hyuk must have used his connections to help a specific trainee get into his uncle’s entertainment company and it doesn’t take long for Jin-mi to realize who that special trainee is – herself.
Seung-ah eventually wakes up to find herself alone at the clinic. She immediately remembers about her mother’s surgery and calls her mother in concern about her mother’s whereabouts. However, Mom reassures Seung-ah that she’s at the hospital resting just fine thanks to a man who picked Mom up from the airport and transported her to the hospital. Seung-ah reunites with Mom at Mom’s hospital room and awaits the arrival of the person who took care of Mom for Seung-ah. The white door to Mom’s hospital room eventually opens and Seung-ah waits in nervousness and excitement with her eyes locked on the white door. Who is Seung-ah destined to be with? Who exactly will be walking through that white door?
The ending poem for the episode recites:
The white door is opening / You are coming inside / I knew you were my destiny at first glance / You seem familiar for some reason / I’m excited / You stole my heart
I can’t take it! I can’t take it! The drama always teases us like this and although most of the time it actually amounts to nothing or is just for jokes and fun, I still fall for these kind of traps every time! I’m really hoping it’s San-hae who’s going to walk through that white door, but I have a feeling it’ll just end up being Manager Lee or someone else completely random. The drama loves to pull these type of comedic and anti-climatic tricks on us I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case.
In contrast to pretty much the past episodes, it seems like the upcoming episodes will be difficult for Jin-mi and Min-hyuk who I think has had a relatively smooth relationship so far. They have always been an adorable and compatible couple with little to nothing affecting their relationship. However, now that the cat is out of the bag and Jin-mi is aware of the two secrets that has lead her to where she is now, there’s no saying just how much longer her relationship with Min-hyuk will last. She’s obviously going to be hurt, confused, and frustrated by this whole situation. Min-hyuk and Jin-mi have been such a cute couple together so far and it’s going to be heart-breaking and odd to see them not be that in the next episode. But as sad as this will be, the two will have to confront and address these concerns. It’s not something that they can just avoid or ignore.
Gosh, Seung-ah’s dream at the clinic killed me for one reason and one reason only: whether she’s awake or dreaming, she still feels the same exact way about San-hae. She still wants him and is still so utterly honest with herself on the situation between the both of them. She’s aware that San-hae still has feelings for her and I think that’s what makes everything so heart-breaking. Seung-ah knows that San-hae still likes her which makes his rejection of her all that much more difficult for her to cope with and heal from. How can she simply forget about the person who she has developed romantic feelings for her and has so much appreciation for and who she knows really doesn’t want to give up on her? How can Seung-ah give up on San-hae when she knows that even he doesn’t want to? This false sense of hope is killing me, but it’s also what is also keeping me going at the same time.
The drama manages to maintain the same level of comedy as it had originally did all along which is what I appreciate about it. However, the drama has also added a few hints of sadness and melodrama in there which also keeps me invested because I enjoy watching that stuff. ‘Dae Jang-geum is Watching’ is such a simple drama that includes common types of tropes and themes seen many times before in K-dramaland, but I enjoy the drama because of its simplicity and form. I know that things will turn out alright for San-hae and Seung-ah and that the two will eventually find their way back to each other because their destinies are tied together by the string of fate, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t enjoying this roller coaster ride that the two has been going through. Sometimes some things involve a heavy amount of pain and emotions, but they are also what makes everything that much more worth it in the very end.