It’s not easy when everything you thought was the truth turns out to be a web full of lies. Sol-Ah has to learn to face and confront her biggest fears and concerns and unlike before, she has to do it alone this time. Will she come out of this stronger or will she give everything up?
Meow, the Secret Boy: Episode 9 Recap
Sol-Ah is taken aback by the call she received from Bang-shil. Unlike what she thought, Guk-bong has already arrived at Bang-shil’s house. If the real Guk-bong is with his mother, then who is the person standing across from her? Sol-Ah grows confused after hearing from Hong-jo that he is indeed not Guk-bong like how she had thought. The intense conversation is interrupted by an announcement for the 11:20AM train that Sol-Ah and Hong-jo are scheduled to go on. Jae-sun attempts to hold Hong-jo behind, but Hong-jo is determined to join Sol-Ah. He’s going to reveal everything to her.
“Poets generally love cats because poets have no delusions about their own superiority.” – Marion Garretty
Hong-jo attempts to explain his identity and situation to Sol-Ah once on the train, but she refuses to believe him. She thinks he’s talking a bunch of nonsense. Hong-jo? A cat who can transform into a human being? That’s impossible! Sol-Ah assumes she must have misheard Bang-shil earlier and that Hong-jo is still indeed Guk-bong. The two find themselves joined by Jae-sun who bought a ticket last minute to accompany them on the trip.
News of Sol-Ah’s new webtoon draws attention in the office. Everyone seems to enjoy her new webtoon. Jae-sun too reviews the webtoon, but unlike everyone else, he’s not so happy with it. Sol-Ah actually went through with drawing about something completely different like how he had advised her to do and that hurts his feelings. Hong-jo is completely fascinated by the beautiful views and scenery outside; he and Sol-Ah make plans to watch the sunset together at the beach near her dad’s new house.
In a private conversation in the back of the train, Jae-sun attempts to persuade Hong-jo to leave Sol-Ah. He’s going to eventually get abandoned anyways, he might as well do it now. However, Hong-jo doesn’t budge. He’s going to stay next to Sol-Ah even though he’s well aware of what the outcomes are. He’s going to stick next to Sol-Ah’s side.
And so our trio head to a flee market in search of a birthday gift for Sol-Ah’s Dad. Jae-sun ends up giving Hong-jo some money for his part-time work which Hong-jo uses to buy Dad a gift. Jae-sun himself plans on also attending the birthday party so his present for Dad is some premium beef. YUMMMM! Upon arriving at Dad and Bang-shil’s town, our trio is picked up by Bang-shil at the bus station. However, Hong-jo transforms into a cat so as to not get caught. Before entering Bang-shil’s car, Sol-Ah overhears two elderly grandmas chatting about Hong-jo’s transformation as a cat. Sure enough, Hong-jo is now in the form of a cat while Jae-sun and Sol-Ah both head with Bang-shil to her house.
Sol-Ah and Jae-sun reunite with Dad upon arriving at the house. They sit around the dining table to catch up with each other. Although Bang-shil and Dad initially assume that Jae-sun and Sol-Ah have a thing for each other, Sol-Ah knocks down the idea pretty soon into the conversation. She’ll explain everything once Guk-bong arrives. But when the real Guk-bong does arrive at the house to join the rest of the group, Sol-Ah grows confused. Wait, that isn’t Guk-bong right? Except it is and Sol-Ah is flustered. She’s also just as confused and she runs out of the house followed by Jae-sun. Jae-sun breaks the news to her that the person who she thought was Guk-bong all along actually isn’t Guk-bong. Hong-jo is Hong-jo – not Guk-bong – and moreso, Hong-jo is a cat. Sol-Ah marches away to get some alone time.
Jae-sun breaks the news to Hong-jo and describes Sol-Ah’s reaction to learning the truth. The two guys roam around the neighborhood in search of Sol-Ah. Sol-Ah sits by a small running river to process everything that she’s learned. Guk-bong is encouraged by his mother to find Sol-Ah and to check up on her. When Sol-Ah receives final confirmation from Guk-bong that he is indeed the real Guk-bong, Sol-Ah breaks down into tears. This entire time, she was building a strong connection and relationship with someone who she thought was Guk-bong. She feels disappointed for being lied to. Meanwhile, Jae-sun and Hong-jo continue in their search for Sol-Ah, but they end up stopping on a bridge located next to the beach. Hong-jo recalls how he was supposed to visit the beach with Sol-Ah and grows sad.
Jae-sun is disappointed with himself. Maybe all of this could have been prevented had he just done something about it the moment he knew about Hong-jo’s real identity. He rips the necklace/collar off of Hong-jo and threatens to throw it away into the ocean. With the necklace gone, Hong-jo will no longer have anything that belongs to Sol-Ah and he’ll have no choice but to return to being a cat.. but this time, he’ll be abandoned and alone. Sol-Ah will forget about Hong-jo and maybe she’ll return to Jae-sun. Hong-jo encourages Jae-sun to throw the necklace into the water; he’s prepared for it. However, Jae-sun can’t bring himself to do it so he throws the necklace back to Hong-jo. But Hong-jo has butterfingers and the necklace slips out of his hands and eventually falls over the bridge. OMG, NOOOO. LOL. With the necklace now gone. Hong-jo immediately transforms into a cat.
Sol-Ah wraps up her conversation with the real Guk-bong. Unlike Sol-Ah, Guk-bong isn’t too startled or surprised upon hearing that Hong-jo is both a cat and a human being. After traveling to many different countries and places, Guk-bong has heard it all. He doesn’t think too much about it as he’s heard many other ridiculous stories, such as how a cat fell in love with a mouse. Love can be miracles, too. Meanwhile, Jae-sun manages to finally find Hong-jo’s necklace that was stuck on a small tree next to a huge boulder. He presents the necklace to Sol-Ah who is seen walking by herself in the neighborhood.
Sol-Ah is bombarded with many more details about Hong-jo’s identity. Jae-sun had known about it for a while now, but he just couldn’t bring himself to say anything. Furthermore, he proves Hong-jo’s identity as a cat by showing Sol-Ah the necklace that Hong-jo wore with him everywhere. The only reason he was able to transform back and forth from cat to a human was because of Sol-Ah. In other words, Hong-jo needs Sol-Ah. Upon hearing that, Sol-Ah yearns to meet with Hong-jo and is confident she knows where he is.
So she travels alone to the beach where she does indeed find cat Hong-jo staring at the sunset. All the memories they’ve created over the course of the past few months flashes in her mind as she slowly approaches him. With Sol-Ah now present, Hong-jo transforms into a human being and sits down on the sand while watching the sunset. Sol-Ah is close to shedding tears upon finally witnessing with her own eyes Hong-jo’s transformation. Everything finally makes sense to Sol-Ah. When Hong-jo told her before that he was Hong-jo, he really meant it. He wasn’t lying or joking around with her. Hong-jo simply nods his head in response to Sol-Ah’s comment, but it’s obvious he seems happy to be with Sol-Ah while watching the sunset like how they had originally planned.
After work that night, Ji-eun finds herself at the same bus station as Doo-sik. She hides herself to be out of his sight, but she seems happy just to be at the same bus stop at him. Since they live near each other, they hop on the same bus to go home together. Once inside the bus, Doo-sik sits in front of Ji-eun, but he can’t stop turning around to
stare talk to her. He proposes they grab some dinner since he’s feeling hungry. So they make a stop at none other than his parent’s restaurant! Hahaha, omg, I’m loving this. Doo-sik’s parents freak out at the sight of their son bringing Ji-eun to the restaurant so they pay close attention to her — maybe a little too close. They stand right next to their table as Ji-eun and Doo-sik eat and asks Ji-eun a bunch of questions about her and her family. Ji-eun eventually cracks a joke during the conversation, but Doo-sik’s parents struggle to understand Ji-eun’s sense of humor. Doo-sik sort of finds it adorable though. Hehe.
Jae-sun and Sol-Ah return to Dad and Bang-shil’s house with cat Hong-jo. While cat Hong-jo is asleep, Jae-sun takes the opportunity to make amends with Sol-Ah. He first reveals to her that the little boy she gave her red scarf to was Hong-jo. That’s how he disappeared from her sight and that’s eventually how Jae-sun discovered kitten Hong-jo with Sol-Ah’s red scarf and, therefore, came to misunderstanding her. Now that she’s aware of this, Jae-sun brings the conversation back to him. He wants to turn back time and make things right this time with Sol-Ah (*cues ‘Make It Right’ by BTS*).
Ji-eun wraps up dinner with Doo-sik at his parent’s restaurant, but Doo-sik isn’t quite done spending time with her just yet. They go on another outing, but this time to an arcade. Ji-eun surprises Doo-sik by excelling in a shooting game at the arcade, but things still doesn’t feel right between the both of them by the end of the night. Doo-sik spent the entire night with Ji-eun in an attempt to break down her walls and to get her to be more outspoken, but Ji-eun clarifies that she won’t be able to do any of these things. This is just how she is and this is her personality. She’s not going to speak up or be energetic and loud all of a sudden. But hey, if Doo-sik wants to keep talking to her, they can keep talking.
So the two head to a library out of all places to talk. LOL. Ji-eun explains the reason as to why she fell for Doo-sik dating back to when they were in high school. Although it might not have meant much for Doo-sik back then, him helping Ji-eun with the school’s vending machine meant a lot for Ji-eun. He probably didn’t recognize her back then in high school, but it’s Doo-sik’s slow-witted personality that made her fall in love with him. Aww.
To make things right with Sol-Ah, Jae-sun shares with him a secret that he feels is appropriate to tell Sol-Ah. He’s an orphan who has been abandoned four times ever since he was an infant. He was afraid of being abandoned by Sol-Ah too the moment he assumed that she had abandoned kitten Hong-jo so he pushed her away as an excuse. However, seeing how Hong-jo stayed with Sol-Ah even though he was abandoned has now inspired Jae-sun to do the same. He wants to stay by Sol-Ah’s side. She doesn’t have to accept him back if she doesn’t want to, but he just feels like he should let her know how he feels about everything. Human Hong-jo listens in on their conversation quietly from the other side of the wall.
Doo-sik confesses to Ji-eun using some sticky notes. Just like how she’s been quietly watching him and focusing on him all along, he’ll do the same to her now. He wants to also watch her do things such as play shooting games at the arcade or eat some more food at his parent’s restaurant. The two finally decide to leave the library in order to properly talk to each other. Kekeke. Hong-jo and Jae-sun celebrate Dad’s birthday by the time night arrives. The mood is cheerful and upbeat. Dad is Hong-jo’s number one fan as evident by all the comments he writes about her webtoon. Aww, too cute.
After celebrating Dad’s birthday, Sol-Ah steps outside for some fresh air. She’s joined by human Hong-jo shortly afterwards who had been listening to all the laughter and celebrations that was taking place inside of the house. Now that Sol-Ah is aware of Hong-jo, everything begins to make sense to her. The little lost boy who she discovered and gave her red scarf to turned out to be the same person sitting next to her at the moment. She’s relieved in a way to find out that he ended up safe and okay after suddenly disappearing from her sight. Upon hearing this, Hong-jo attempts to place his hand over Sol-Ah’s, but she hesitates. Both her cat and the guy who she liked this entire time is too unfamiliar to her. She’s not sure as to how to process all of this; Sol-Ah needs more time to think things over.
Right at that moment, Dad also steps out to get some fresh air so Hong-jo transforms into a cat and runs away. The two sit down to have a talk with each other as father and daughter. Upon bringing up the topic of her cat, Dad encourages Sol-Ah to leave cat Hong-jo with him instead. Having a pet is a big responsibility and he doesn’t want Sol-Ah to be tied down because of her pet. Hong-jo debates as to whether or not to leave cat Hong-jo with Dad. Meanwhile, human Hong-jo listens in on the conversation not too far away and grows somber upon hearing Dad’s suggestion.
Don’t do it Sol-Ah, don’t do it! Don’t abandon Hong-jo! Take him with you and keep him please!
Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done and I can understand why Sol-Ah feels so conflicted about everything. I can see why she’s even considering Dad’s suggestion in the first place. She’s lost her trust in Hong-jo after learning the truth to everything all at the same time. Sure, the puzzle pieces are now connected and everything makes so much more sense to her, but at what expense? Was it worth it? Was there more damage done than good? Sol-Ah went through a lot in this episode and she was put up to endless tests throughout the duration of the trip. She even feels betrayed in a sense by both Hong-jo and Jae-sun who kept things from her even though they were aware of Hong-jo’s real identity. Can she trust Jae-sun when he claims that he wants to make things right with her? Can she trust Hong-jo whose actions contradicts with his words?
Although I’m not the biggest fan of how Sol-Ah found out about everything in one entire episode, I do appreciate that she didn’t rush her feelings or that she forced herself to process things as soon as possible. I liked that she requested for more time to think things over before making her decision as to whether or not to continue things with Hong-jo. I’m glad the episode didn’t rush things and that we were able to witness Sol-Ah’s confusion and frustration with everything. I loved seeing the conflicting thoughts and sentiments eat her up inside. Yes, she fell in love with a complete stranger (who can also happen to transform from a cat to a human being), but she was also lied to and that hurts. Sure, she developed a really strong and great connection with Hong-jo, but it was under different circumstances. Now that the truth is out, it makes Sol-Ah question whether their relationship ever genuine in the first place. Should Sol-Ah even like Hong-jo after all that she’s learned? What are his intentions with her? Was he playing around with her the entire time? There are so many questions roaming around in Sol-Ah’s mind and I can see why she doesn’t want to jump to conclusions too fast. Yes, she doesn’t want to continue things with Hong-jo right away, but she also doesn’t want to give away him so quickly either. She needs time to recollect herself and to evaluate her options.
I don’t really have a lot to say about Jae-sun other than that it’s too late for him and that any chances of him resuming things with Sol-Ah is close to none. Of course, I think a part of him remains optimistic about things and wants to believe that maybe things will work out between him and Sol-Ah. But I think the other part of him just wanted to spell all these things out to Sol-Ah because he knows that he won’t get the chance to in the future for Sol-Ah will choose Hong-jo over him. He’s slowly warming up to his reality and the idea that things are not the same between him and Sol-Ah any longer, especially not after the intervention of Hong-jo who Sol-Ah obviously enjoys being around. For Jae-sun, he has a little bit of hope that he will make amends with Sol-Ah, but the bigger part of it is that he knows his time with Sol-Ah has ended so he wants to tell all to her now before he never gets the opportunity do so in the future.
Doo-sik and Ji-eun remain ever so adorable with each other and I have to admit that I’m enjoying the slow but cute relationship development between the both of them. I’m still not a fan of how he treated her at the beginning of the series, but I do think he’s slowly making up for some of it by being so cute with her now. I’m also glad that Ji-eun was able to advocate for herself and explain to Doo-sik that she’s never going to change. Her shy, quiet, and reserved personality is just who she is and Doo-sik is going to have to put in work if he wants to see more of her. Whereas before Ji-eun was always quiet even after hearing the many comments that were made about her, she made sure to be loud and proud in front of the man who she has such passionate feelings for. I’m loving this character development!
Sol-Ah has a lot of thinking to do, but I ultimately believe she’s going to stick with Hong-jo like how he’s willing to do with her. Sure, they will have a lot of work to do in order to start anew and Hong-jo is going to have to put in extra work to earn Sol-Ah’s trust again, but things will not be impossible if they both want it bad enough. If they truly do want to be with each other, they will put in the effort to do so. Sol-Ah and Hong-jo will have to sort these misunderstandings and confusing feelings out with each other first before they can determine how they want to move forward from the surprising truths. Regardless, I know that Sol-Ah’s feelings for Hong-jo were genuine from the start. She fell for him without even really knowing who he was. She still showed up to watch the sunset with Hong-jo even after finding out about everything. His personality and his actions were what caught her attention and her heart. Whether it was before or whether it will be after all of this, Sol-Ah will still want to be with Hong-jo – flaws, transformations, and all.
Many pretty extra screenshots from the episode~