The past is the past, but the past is not easily forgotten. Ae-jung finds her past catching up to her in the present and she comes across several guys who she had special connections and relationships to. People and memories that she might have forgotten about can no longer be ignored or avoided, they must be dealt with.
Was It Love?: Episode 2 Recap
It’s the year 2010. Oh Dae-oh (Son Ho-joon) drags his feet across the college campus while many students observe him and give him weird stares. Dae-oh arrives in front of Ae-jung’s locker and bangs on it. Later on, he meets with friend, Ryu Jin, and announces that he plans on dropping out of college. However, he hands Ryu Jin the packet of the handwritten script to his literary work ‘Love is Nonexistent.’ Maybe this will put Dae-oh on the map and help Ae-jung return to him. Maybe he’ll win her over again with this story.
Fast forward to the present and Oh Dae-oh is now a popular writer under the alias name, Cheon Ok-man. He speaks with his chief editor, Mr. Hong, about the upcoming book concert that Mr. Hong has booked for him. It’s about time that Dae-oh puts a face to his name and reveals his identity to all his fans out there. Although reluctant at first, Dae-oh eventually has no choice but to give into the idea. While Mr. Hong goes on and on about how in demand Dae-oh is and how many film studios are looking forward to working with him, Dae-oh finds the email from Ae-jung amongst the many emails in his busy inbox. He learns from Mr. Hong that a woman named Noh Ae-jung has contacted him from Thumb Films and claims to have the publication rights to Dae-oh’s debut novel. Upon hearing Ae-jung’s name, Dae-oh grows curious and ponders whether it’s the same Ae-jung from college. So with some quick internet
stalking searching and SNS posts, Dae-oh discovers that yes indeed, he does know this so-called Ae-jung from Thumb Films. It’s his ex-girlfriend from college. Bingo.
That’s how Dae-oh came about to agreeing to meet with Ae-jung. When they finally reunite again after 14 years, Ae-jung is in shock and she’s not quite so sure how to react or what to say. Dae-oh is aware that Ae-jung wants to produce a movie based off of his book so he gives her thirty seconds to persuade him why he should agree on the plan. Ae-jung struggles to come up with reasons to justify her plan so Dae-oh keeps his distance. He’s also aware that Thumb Films is going under. However, that’s not what’s important to him. He wants to know how Ae-jung feels to finally see him again after 14 years.
So the episode takes us back to the year 2005 on the night of the retreat when Ae-jung’s shoes got puked all over. It turns out it was Dae-oh who was the one that puked on her shoes. Ae-jung rushes over to the nearby river to clean her shoes as best as possible and Dae-oh joins her not too long afterwards. Ae-jung isn’t happy with Dae-oh, but he couldn’t help himself. Ae-jung was going to kiss Ryu Jin as part of the drinking game and he couldn’t bare to watch her kiss another man. Is there anything wrong with that? Is there anything wrong with Dae-oh liking Ae-jung? Fast forward to the present and Dae-oh expresses his curiosity in how Ae-jung feels about him. More so, he reveals that he won’t work with Ae-jung on the movie adaptation of his book. They’re not on the same level. To wrap up the conversation, Dae-oh hands Ae-jung two pairs of tickets to his upcoming book concert and then leaves. Ae-jung makes one last attempt to persuade Dae-oh to change his mind after she receives a text from one of Pa-do’s men from Nine Capital, but Dae-oh doesn’t budge. He wishes Ae-jung the best of luck.
Ae-jung is baffled at Dae-oh’s behavior. Although both she and Hye-jin are fans of his novel (which Ae-jung tries to deny), they’re going to have to try a little harder to recruit Dae-oh. Dae-oh reunites with Ryu Jin at the actor’s luxury apartment to relay the news about his encounter with Ae-jung. It seems as if the universe is on his side. What were the chances of Dae-oh reuniting with Ae-jung when everyone else’s eyes are also on Dae-oh? He’s excited at the thought of seeking revenge on Ae-jung. He reveals how he handed two of his book concert tickets over to Ae-jung; if she was really desperate, she would attend the book concert to try to persuade him once again. Ryu Jin compares the old Ae-jung to the new Ae-jung and can’t help but think that she’s changed since then. The old Ae-jung would have never gone to such efforts for a thing.
This reminds Dae-oh of his encounter with Ae-jung. After bidding farewell with Ae-jung, she quickly caught up to Dae-oh to return the tickets. It’s been so long since they’ve last met she barely remembers him so she wouldn’t want to attend a book concert of someone who she barely knows. Dae-oh gives back the tickets to Ae-jung and reasons that it’s rude to return a gift that someone’s given you, especially since he remembers her just like it was just yesterday. Dae-oh goes out for a run that night to get things off his chest. He’s stressed over his interaction with Ae-jung that night and how she attempted to cut ties with him. He’s reminded of the moment back in 2006 after Ae-jung had broken up with him. Depressed and heartbroken, Dae-oh ran around the school field on an empty stomach for hours. Thankfully, Ryu Jin swooped in to put a stop to his behavior and to wake him up. If he keeps going at it, he could die. However, Dae-oh wasn’t concerned about that back then. He couldn’t bare to accept the fact that Ae-jung broke up with him because he had no future, money, or connections. At that time, it was just too much for him.
Ae-jung rants to Sook-hee about her encounter with Dae-oh. Why out of all people did it have to be him? Ae-jung is frustrated about reuniting with Dae-oh, but Sook-hee encourages her to keep going and to not give up. Just like the plant that she has housed in her bar, the second chapter to Ae-jung’s life can begin. Life is unwritten so there is no way of knowing unless you go forward. Sook-hee gifts the plant to Ae-jung as a reminder to not give up. While walking home, Ae-jung stops to stare up at a flickering light post. The next thing she knows, she’s held captive and hostage by Pa-do and his men. Since Ae-jung failed her mission to recruit both Dae-oh and Jin, she should face the consequences. Pa-do watches as his men hold Ae-jung down and contemplate on what part of her body she should give up.
Thankfully, it’s all just a bad dream and Ae-jung still has her limbs intact. On her way to work, she comes across Yeon-woo once again. However, it takes a while for Ae-jung to notice Yeon-woo for she’s occupied with a call from Hye-jin who updates her on the progress report that Pa-do wanted from them. Wait, so her dream really wasn’t completely a dream after all? Lol. As Ae-jung is fixed on her cell phone and contemplates on what to text Pa-do, Yeon-woo watches out for her and guides all passerby’s so that they don’t bump into Ae-jung. Eventually, Yeon-woo manages to flag Ae-jung and they sit down for a brief talk. There’s a class meeting that day so Ae-jung makes plan to attend. She feels guilty for not having done much for Ha-nee so she feels as if this is the least she could do for her daughter. However, Yeon-woo is confident in Ae-jung and feels as if she’s done a great job in taking care of her daughter. He also still hasn’t forgotten about her and their first interaction back in the sauna.
So the episode rewinds back to that day when Ae-jung and Yeon-woo first met. Ae-jung was assigned to clean the men’s section of the sauna which Yeon-woo was still hiding in. His friends pulled a prank on him and took away his key so he doesn’t have any clothes to change in. With that, Ae-jung assists Yeon-woo and gives him some of her clothes to change into back in the locker room. The clothes are a little too small and tight, but Yeon-woo is thankful nonetheless. Ae-jung showers Yeon-woo with support and jokes around about how she’ll beat up his friends that pulled the prank on him. Ae-jung loosens up the situation and makes Yeon-woo feel comfortable around with her with a few more light jokes.
Back in the present, Yeon-woo prepares for the class meeting with the parents of the students from his class. Ae-jung is ready for the meeting, but she receives a sudden phone call from Grandma so she withdraws at the last second. Grandma wishes to attend the meeting as well especially with all the talk going around regarding the incident with Ha-nee. Right as Ae-jung steps out to talk to Grandma, she also catches sight of Pa-do arriving at the school. She panics and hangs up on Grandma to confront the man. Using a mop as her weapon, Ae-jung defends herself and assumes Pa-do is trailing her for not completing her mission. However, Pa-do is confused as he’s not at the school for Ae-jung. In fact, he’s greeted by his son, Dong-chan, who comes up to him to speak to him. It turns out Pa-do’s son is the same student that Ha-nee protected from the bully.
Yeon-woo starts his meeting after Grandma makes her arrival (Grandma to the rescue!). He’s opened to any ideas that the parents might have about the usual lecture that they hold every semester. Is there a speaker that they would like to invite to do the lecture? Everyone struggles at first to come up with ideas, but Grandma has someone in mind: writer Cheon Ok-man! It might be a big shot, but it’s worth trying. Back outside, Ae-jung explains that she knows Dong-chan through her daughter who’s friends with Dong-chan. He was kind enough to befriend Ha-nee at school since she’s new. With that, Dong-chan walks away after politely bidding farewell to his father. Ae-jung encourages Pa-do to attend the class meeting with her, but he kindly declines. He has something else to do.
When Ae-jung returns to the class meeting, she finds that it’s already finished and that Grandma has recommended Cheon Ok-man as the speaker for the lecture. Ae-jung is perplexed at the announcement. She has to try to recruit Dae-oh for both work and school? Ae-jung complains about the workload, but Grandma reasons that it’d be a good way for people to start viewing both Ae-jung and Ha-nee more positively. Dong-chan and Ha-nee watch as Ae-jung and Grandma battle it out. Just minutes before, they were eating some bread peacefully together and discussing about their parents. Dong-chan’s mother passed away when he was younger while Ha-nee feels the same way about her dad who’s no longer alive in her life. With Ae-jung gone, Ha-nee watches as Grandma interacts with Yeon-woo. He properly greets himself this time and similar to Ae-jung, Grandma’s memories of Yeon-woo resurface. She remembers him too.
Ae-jung heads into the office after the class meeting. Hye-jin is thrilled at news of Cheon Ok-man’s upcoming book concert and expresses interest in attending. She and Ae-jung are going, right? Ae-jung is still contemplating on whether she wants to attend or not. To sort of persuade Ae-jung, Hye-jin brings up how the female character in Cheon Ok-man’s “Love is Nonexistent” reminds her of Ae-jung. They have similar habits and even the title of the book is a word play off of Ae-jung’s name. Hye-jin quickly changes the subject after reading Ae-jung’s unimpressed face expression and she steps out to grab them some coffee. Lol.
So Ae-jung puts the comparison to the tests and she checks whether she does have some sort of resemblance to the main female character in Dae-oh’s novel. She opens up the book again and re-reads the lines where the female character warns the hero not to hold the sword with his left hand for it’s dangerous when he wields his sword. Ae-jung is reminded of the moment back when she and Dae-oh were taking photos at a cherry blossom trail. After sneaking shots and photos of each other, Ae-jung mentioned how she was taught to look into the camera lens with her left eye as the left eye is closer to her heart so it’s easier to put her heart into the photo. Similar to what the hero in the book responded about his sword swaying in front of the female character, Dae-oh follows up to Ae-jung’s comment that his heart flutters when he’s with Ae-jung. The similarities between the novel and Dae-oh and Ae-jung’s relationship is definitely there.
Ae-jung confronts Mr. Hong about it the next day. She doesn’t plan on cancelling the copyright contract for Cheon Ok-man’s novel anytime soon so they shouldn’t expect anything different. Mr. Hong warns Ae-jung that the contract is outdated and old and that it was a simple contract that Dae-oh signed when he was unknown. It holds no meaning. Mr. Hong brings this up to Dae-oh’s attention as he’s preparing for his book concert. Dae-oh instructs Mr. Hong to book a meeting with Ae-jung so that he can teach her a lesson. With that, it’s time for his book concert.
Hye-jin is excited to be at the book concert, but Ae-jung reminds her that they haven’t yet recruited Dae-oh so they should remain realistic and cautious for now. Eventually, Dae-oh is introduced onto the stage once his book concert starts and everyone welcomes him with shouts and an applause. Our popular actor Jin is also there, but he stays hidden under his cap. The book concert starts off with Dae-oh’s reveal after many years of hiding behind his books. It’s great to put a face to a name and he comments that he should have revealed himself earlier to his fans — maybe he might have met “her” much earlier too (as if in Ae-jung). Dae-oh continues to make references to Ae-jung who he spots in the audience. His upcoming book “Love is Nonexistent” is loosely based on a relationship he had with a woman he loved 14 years ago (AKA Ae-jung). Of course, this stands out to Ae-jung and it’s obvious that she’s the woman who Dae-oh is referring to. It also doesn’t help that Dae-oh is directly staring at Ae-jung as he’s mentioning this.
He goes on to talk about the introduction to the novel, reciting, “She vanished. She left out of the blue. Because of the woman who took everything from me, I had fallen sick.” Because of the break-up, Dae-oh didn’t eat or drink and he ran nonstop for days. However, the break-up was also what prompted him to become an author and it lead him to write a novel out of it. He’s also curious as to whether his ex-girlfriend has read his novel and what she might be thinking as she’s reading his novel. He then decides to put his curiosity to the test with Ae-jung in the audience. Of course, Dae-oh isn’t explicit about who his ex-girlfriend is, but he selects Ae-jung specifically to voice her thoughts on his novel.
If Ae-jung was in the shoes of the hero in the novel, how would she feel? Ae-jung struggles to come up with an answer at first so others in the audience volunteer to be put on the spot. However, Ae-jung eventually garners the courage to answer that they would feel horrendous — not the hero, but the heroine. The heroine would feel horrendous. Dae-oh mentioned earlier that his ex-girlfriend took everything away in his life, but Ae-jung begs to differ. What if he was the one who took everything away from her? Everyone is speechless, including Dae-oh, and Ae-jung exits the concert after answering the question. Jin attempts to chase after her, but he’s caught by his fans so he runs back inside the building. When the book concert concludes, the host follows up with Dae-oh on Ae-jung’s comment. It seems as if she was his ex for her to say such a thing to which Dae-oh lies and denies. However, it’s clear he’s affected by what Ae-jung mentioned during the book concert.
Ae-jung too is affected by what happened at the book concert and she’s reminded of the moment when Dae-oh disappeared from her life. It was a rainy day and Ae-jung was standing outside with her yellow umbrella, looking through the window of a bedroom. She argues that Dae-oh was the one who left her first. He was the one who vanished first. As Ae-jung drags her feet carelessly through the streets, she crosses the street and finds herself in front of a speeding car. She falls over and goes unconscious. Thankfully, Ae-jung is okay and she wakes up in the hospital with Pa-do next to her. He was in the car that was coming at her so he’s willing to compensate her. Of course, Ae-jung is still concerned about the debt that she has to pay him back so she questions if the compensation could include the debt that she has to repay. Eventually, Ae-jung settles with Pa-do by having him pay for her hospital bill and she leaves for her meeting with Dae-oh. Pa-do does want his money back, right?
Back at the house, Ha-nee grows suspicious of Grandma’s relationship with Yeon-woo after witnessing the two catch up with each other at school earlier that day. While eavesdropping on their conversation, Ha-nee overheard Yeon-woo saying how he waited for Ae-jung back then, but she still can’t pin down what he was specifically talking about. That evening, Ha-nee asks Grandma about it, but Grandma brushes it off. She reasons that she and Yeon-woo used to live in the same neighborhood. Ha-nee is then instructed to go up to the attic to find some plates that Grandma’s going to use for dinner that night that she’s invited Yeon-woo to. Once in the attic, Ha-nee knocks over a box full of photos and items from Ae-jung’s college days. Ha-nee also finds a poster of a film that Ae-jung worked on with Dae-oh and Jin.
Ae-jung rushes to the cafe where she is scheduled to meet with Dae-oh, but Dae-oh never appears. Instead, he decides to cancel the meeting with Ae-jung after his booksigning event because of another appointment. So Ae-jung finds out on her own about the meeting cancellation and she sits down on the steps of stairs outside of the cafe, hopeless and devastated. Back in the attic, Ha-nee continues to search through her mom’s boxes of college memories and items. She stumbles across a journal with the names ‘Dad: Oh Yeon-woo’ and ‘Mom: Noh Ae-jung’ written on it. Out falls a copy of the sonogram of Ha-nee which shocks Ha-nee even more. Why is Yeon-woo’s name written on the journal? What does it mean by ‘Dad: Yeon-woo’?
Speaking of Yeon-woo, he arrives at their house for dinner and grows nervous but excited. Meanwhile, it begins to pour, but Ae-jung doesn’t budge from the stairs she’s sitting on. She sits and drowns herself in her emotions of sadness and uncertainty. Everything is happening to her all at once and she’s not so sure how to handle it all. Ae-jung is soon accompanied by someone who covers her with an umbrella to protect her from the falling rain. Confused as to who this person could be, Ae-jung looks up to find Dae-oh staring right back at her while he hovers his umbrella over her head. They meet again.
WHAAAAT? Yeon-woo as the baby daddy? Already?! We’re going to reveal who the baby daddy is so early into the drama? A part of me feels as if it’s a false lead and that it’s not what it seems like. Grandma and Ae-jung is warm and kind to Yeon-woo while they harbor resentment towards Ha-nee’s father so I doubt Yeon-woo is Ha-nee’s father. If he was, I don’t think he would have been invited over to their house for dinner. I feel as if the journal that Ha-nee was holding with Yeon-woo and Ae-jung’s name on it was either a script for Ae-jung’s Theater and Film department or something not related to Ha-nee. Yeon-woo and Ae-jung have a connection with each other, but I don’t think they were romantically involved because Ae-jung was in her relationship with Dae-oh which is a whole new topic with and of itself.
It’s so interesting learning more about Dae-oh and Ae-jung’s relationship from both of their perspectives. Instead of the drama just showing us what happened to them 14 years ago, it’s giving us small hints here and there by providing insight from Dae-oh and Ae-jung’s perspectives. Dae-oh blames Ae-jung for leaving her and for ending their relationship. Their break-up and separation even inspired him to write a novel about it. Meanwhile, Ae-jung feels the opposite in that she claims he was the one who left and vanished first. He was the one who hurt her first, and it’ll be interesting to see what exactly happened that caused these misunderstandings to ensue. A part of me dislikes Dae-oh for seeking revenge on Ae-jung; it just feels so petty and childish to go to such lengths to get back at Ae-jung for a break-up that happened more than a decade ago, but it obviously had a big impact on him so I wonder why he can’t seem to let go of his past. At the same time, I do admit that I am sort of enjoying the Ae-jung vs. Dae-oh fight that the two are holding out against each other. It does break my heart a little to see the two go at it considering that there were many misunderstandings and that they never got the closure to their break-up that they wanted. However, it also provides me with a sense of relief knowing that their reunion will maybe and finally allow that to happen. They can maybe discuss about it if they choose to and will be able to confront their complicated history that they had suppressed.
I’m also loving the whole comparison between Ae-jung and Dae-oh’s relationship to the relationship in Dae-oh’s novel. The characters are fictional and the setting is during a different time period, but the conversations and emotions in the novel is true to how Dae-oh felt during his break-up with Ae-jung. Their relationship is reflected in the book through the characters and the resemblance between both relationships is definitely there. He wrote a book that is loosely based off of his relationship with Ae-jung who he loved 14 years ago and the book was written from his perspective. It was a good wake-up call for Dae-oh when Ae-jung mentioned during the book concert that things could have been the other way around as well. She was the one who got everything taken away from her because of Dae-oh which wasn’t something that he necessarily thought about. He always blamed her for their separation and for what happened back then, but what he didn’t think about was the pain and hurt that he caused Ae-jung just as much. She was also sad and heartbroken and hurt over their separation and she too suffered as a result of their break-up. Dae-oh is clearly enjoying his revenge scheme against Ae-jung and is taking advantage of her desperation for his own advances, but hopefully more light will be shed on what really transpired in his relationship with Ae-jung from 14 years ago. Hopefully, Dae-oh will learn in the process of all of this that things might not have been like what he thought they were and that Ae-jung too has her side of the story to things.
I appreciate that the drama gave us more insight on their relationship through the book concert scene. I actually really enjoyed that scene as it was really that first opportunity that allowed Ae-jung to express her thoughts on her past with Dae-oh. It allowed her to open up and to be indirectly direct with Dae-oh on how she felt about their break-up. While Dae-oh was never really subtle about it (clearly given that he wrote an entire novel based on their relationship), Ae-jung was able to speak up about it for the first time which was nice to see. The way that Dae-oh memorized and recited the lines from the book (with the historical music playing in the background) to Ae-jung not shying away from being honest about her feelings — that book concert scene was one of the highlights in this episode for me and I enjoyed it.
I’m still liking Pa-do’s storyline and his strange relationship with Ae-jung. She doesn’t see him other than the scary and intimidating guy who’s after her for the debt that her former boss made her responsible for. However, it’s becoming more and more clear that she means much more to him and that, in a sense, he does care for her. It might not seem like it, but he does have some sense of humanity inside of him and he feels for Ae-jung. Of course, he just doesn’t express it and he might have trouble showing or saying how he feels, but he does care for her. This could stem from his past history with Ae-jung and how they’re somehow connected, but it’s obvious that he’s still interested in her in the present. Nothing much has changed for him either.
Son Ho-joon continues to be spectacular in this drama and he definitely has a knack at comedic timing. He’s so funny without even trying and I’m enjoying his reactions to when he gets things his way (such as the way he was trying to be discreet during the book concert or when he told Jin about how he reunited with Ae-jung). Even Ha-nee is proving to be such an interesting character. Although young, she’s mature and she’s seeking answers to relationships and connections that she’s curious about. Ha-nee wants to know more about how her teacher is connected to Grandma and after seeing what she discovered at the end of this episode, it might also prompt her to launch her own investigation as to who her father is. She’s been told this entire time that he’s “dead” and that he’s no longer alive, but what will happen when Ha-nee finds out that her father could potentially be someone who she knows? What will happen when she learns that her father might be someone near her? I too want to know who Ha-nee’s father is as well and it’ll be fun to watch the journey as it unfold in front of our eyes.
Extra screenshots from the episode~