With the cat out of the bag, it’s now time for our characters to be honest with themselves and one another on everything that has lead them to where they are in the present. It’s not easy and tears will be shed, but it’s what our characters will need to do in order to accept the past and to move forward with the present. It won’t be easy and there will be many difficult conversations, but it’s what will be needed to get to the bottom of things.
Was It Love?: Episode 11 Recap
Things take a dramatic turn when Dae-oh confronts Ae-jung in front of her house about whether he’s Ha-nee’s father or not. All the comments about Ha-nee’s dad “being dead” now makes sense to Dae-oh and he assumes he’s the person they’re referring to. Yeon-woo, Grandma, and Jin are all there and Grandma grows flustered when Ae-jung questions the possibility of Dae-oh being the father. Eventually, the chaos concludes when Ae-jung shouts for everyone to stop. Nothing will change now anyways and no one should mention anything to Ha-nee. Before entering the house, Ae-jung warns for Dae-oh to never appear in front of the house again.
Grandma attempts to get to Ae-jung once inside the house, but Ae-jung locks herself inside of her bedroom. Yeon-woo watches as Grandma bangs on Ae-jung’s bedroom door. The episode takes us back to 2006 where Ae-jung is seen researching online for clinics that provide abortions. Grandma comes barging into the room so Ae-jung quickly closes her laptop and proceeds to packing her bags. She lies that she’ll be out working on her senior project so she’ll be busy for a few days. With that, Ae-jung joins her mom for some breakfast before heading out to the clinic via bus. She attempts to get a hold of Dae-oh before leaving, but her phone call goes through and he doesn’t pick up.
Back in the present, Dae-oh and Jin have a talk after the confrontation. Dae-oh demands for an explanation from Jin about why he assumed he was Ha-nee’s father, but Jin attacks Dae-oh back. Dae-oh never knew he had a daughter for 14 years nor was he aware of just how much pain Ae-jung was in all this time. On the other hand, Jin knew very well of Ae-jung’s condition and he always considered her as the only woman in his life. Jin walks away from Dae-oh and it’s obvious that the relationship between the two has deteriorated even more.
Jin meets once again with CEO Song to discuss the situation. Ae-jung’s answer that Jin is not the father is confirmed once more by the DNA test that CEO Song conducted on Jin. He’s not Ha-nee’s father like how he had assumed this entire time. So with that being said, CEO Song requests for Jin to join hands with her like the old times. They can work together again to revive his career and plans for Hollywood, but Jin declines. He still feels the same way about Ae-jung and Ha-nee and all he can think about is protecting them. He won’t join sides with CEO Song.
Dae-oh pleads for a chance to talk things out with Ae-jung so she reunites with him at the park near her house. Ae-jung starts off the conversation by confirming that yes, indeed, Dae-oh is Ha-nee’s father. She planned on telling him the news back in 2006 on the day of their anniversary, but they got into another fight and it just wasn’t the best timing. In this time of their relationship, all they were doing was fighting and arguing and that’s what Ae-jung assumed was the cause of her deteriorating health at first. However, as she would soon discover, it was because she was pregnant. Ae-jung originally planned on relaying the news to Dae-oh, but she changed her mind the moment she saw Dae-oh with another woman at his house. From then on, she decided to just raise the baby alone. Dae-oh feels betrayed upon learning the truth. Ae-jung shouldn’t have kept the truth away from him.
Ae-jung argues that she did reach out to Dae-oh via text, but he never responded so she just gave up. She suggests that they just leave things the way they are, but what about Ha-nee? What will they do about her? Ae-jung is confident that Ha-nee will be fine. She and Ha-nee had been doing fine for 14 years and they never noticed Dae-oh’s absence. They never missed Dae-oh’s presence. Ae-jung walks away and Dae-oh is left behind dumbfounded.
Grandma explains the situation to Sook-hee at Sook-hee’s bar. Ha-nee still thinks Jin is her father, but Ae-jung doesn’t want to tell Ha-nee the truth just yet about Dae-oh. Sook-hee searches up Dae-oh’s profile and together she and Grandma watch the video of Ae-jung at Dae-oh’s book concert. Based off of the video, Sook-hee assumes that Dae-oh and Ae-jung must still not be over each other even after 14 years. And it seems as if that is true to an extent. While waiting at a traffic light, Dae-oh observes a pregnant lady walking across the street. For a second, he imagines the lady to be Ae-jung and he freaks out. Ae-jung must have gone through a lot raising Ha-nee as a single mother.
A moving company assists Jin in helping pack all his belongings from his current apartment out. Ae-jung stops by to pay Jin a visit so the two have a private talk inside the apartment later on afterwards. There, Jin clears up the misunderstanding that ensued between Ae-jung and Dae-oh. On the night that Ae-jung texted Dae-oh, it was Jin who deleted the text message on Dae-oh’s phone which is why Dae-oh claims that he never received a text from her. Jin had deleted it while Dae-oh was away from his cell phone for a smoke outside. Little did Dae-oh know, it was Jin who deleted Ae-jung’s text message as well as any history of her phone calls on Dae-oh’s phone. Though Jin attempts to defend himself by claiming that it was because he liked Ae-jung first, Ae-jung feels betrayed by Jin’s actions. No, she doesn’t want him to take care of her and Ha-nee. Plus, now that she knows the truth, things have changed between her and Jin. She no longer sees him the same way she used to and even if he hadn’t deleted her messages, she and Dae-oh were on their way to breaking up anyways. Ae-jung walks away.
Dae-oh stops by Ha-nee’s school and peeks through the gate only to find Yeon-woo staring back at him. Yeon-woo approaches the popular author and confronts him about his role as Ha-nee’s father. Ha-nee went 14 years without a father, Dae-oh can’t just show up and expect to fill in that absence so easily. Speaking of Ha-nee, she hands the money that Dong-chan lended to her back to him and expresses her honest thoughts on their friendship. They were real friends at one point and she’s thankful for that.
Dae-oh continues to wait at Ha-nee’s school and secretly trails behind her when he catches her walking by herself. From the school to the grocery store and eventually to her house, Dae-oh secretly follows Ha-nee and watches her every move. Once he arrives at her house, he quietly bids farewell with her only to encounter someone else from the house — Grandma (All my ‘Go Back Couple’ peeps, where you at?!). Meanwhile, Pa-do and his men amp up their game to protect Ae-jung. While walking to Thumb Films, Pa-do pulls Ae-jung aside to protect her from a suspicious man following her. It’s only until Pa-do’s men capture the suspicious man that they finally recognize who the man is: it’s none other than CEO Wang, Ae-jung’s former boss.
The former colleagues talk things out in the Thumb Films office where CEO Wang and Ae-jung lash out at each other. CEO Wang argues that Ae-jung should be grateful to him that she’s even able to work on the film adaptation for Cheon Ok-man’s novel, but Ae-jung blames CEO Wang for doing such a thing. If he had never gotten Dae-oh to sign a contract in the first place, none of this would have happened. Dae-oh and Grandma also meet at a cafe to talk things out. Grandma makes it clear that she too doesn’t like or want to see Dae-oh if Ae-jung feels that way towards him, but Dae-oh lets all his feelings out. He’s been struggling to process his emotions and thoughts. A part of him is aware of the past mistakes that he’s committed, but he wants to still be in Ae-jung’s life. He regrets what he’s done in the past and he apologizes for everything to Grandma. Grandma questions Dae-oh’s sincerity in his feelings for Ae-jung and whether or not he really means it when he says that he misses Ae-jung. Grandma can’t help but feel pitiful and sympathetic for Ae-jung who she realizes grew up to be a lot like her.
Dae-oh heads to a bookstore afterwards and is so disappointed in himself that he tears up copies of his book “Love is Nonexistent” in a section of the bookstore that is dedicated to just him. It takes a few of the bookstore employees to stop him from doing any further damage (sooo dramatic omg lol). Meanwhile, Ah-rin and Jin take a break to catch up with each other and to just chat about their respective love lives. Jin recommends for Ah-rin to give up on her pursuit after Dae-oh. He doesn’t feel the same way towards her and although Ah-rin might feel confident that things will go well, her actions might only make things worse.
Ah-rin argues that she knew Dae-oh first so she won’t give up so easily. She knew him way before she became Ah-rin and the episode takes us back to 2006 on the night when she visited him. Ah-rin bangs at Dae-oh’s door and she’s dressed in a black slim dress with heavy make-up on. She invites herself into his apartment and confesses her feelings to Dae-oh. Eventually, Dae-oh has her change into some more comfortable clothing and steps out to get her some medicine. When he returns, Ah-rin emphasizes her feelings for Dae-oh once more by lunging at him for a kiss which he stops immediately after. He demands for Ah-rin to leave after hearing her confess to him again. Ah-rin exits from Dae-oh’s place afterwards and runs past the yellow umbrella that Ae-jung was carrying with her that night. Ae-jung witnessed Ah-rin and Dae-oh kiss and left immediately upon seeing the incident.
In the present, Ae-jung returns home to find Grandma laying down in her bedroom with a bottle of soju near her. Grandma’s upset and apologetic towards Ae-jung who she knows is struggling. So with that, Ae-jung lets out all her tears and emotions and she cries to her mom while expressing her fears. She’s afraid as to how Ha-nee is going to react when she learns the truth. Ae-jung knows that Ha-nee should eventually know everything, but she’s also uncertain as to how Ha-nee will feel. Grandma reassures Ae-jung that Ha-nee will understand. Ae-jung too came around to understanding Grandma when Grandma was raising her as a single mother. Ha-nee too will do the same and she understands just how much her mom has had to sacrifice to raise her.
Jin wakes up the next morning with a fuzzy memory and a hangover. He panics upon seeing Ah-rin enter the same room as for him and for a second he assumes they spent the night together. However, he slowly begins to recover his memories and recalls Ah-rin helping him get to his room after a night of drinking. This then prompts him to recall the night back in college when Ae-jung did the same exact thing to him. He and Ae-jung never had a one-night stand this entire time like how he had assumed; just like Ah-rin did to him in the present, Ae-jung was busy taking care of a drunk Jin on that one night. Simple as that (JIIIIIN!).
Ae-jung is called into the police station to bail Dae-oh out of prison after the bookstore incident. They grab some food afterwards and Dae-oh finally has a better understanding of everything now. He’s pieced everything together and he now understands what it was that Ae-jung saw that night of their break-up (AKA, Ah-rin and him kissing). He also apologizes for his behaviors back then for he was in a tight situation with his family who was suffering financially due to a scam that his father got caught in. He didn’t want to share the burden with Ae-jung so he just kept quiet and took responsibility for his family’s situation, but doing so only caused the rift in his relationship with Ae-jung to grow even bigger. Dae-oh now understands just how much Ae-jung had to go through raising and taking care of Ha-nee alone and he wishes he could have been there through all of that. However, he was selfish and he apologizes. Ae-jung too breaks down into tears upon hearing Dae-oh’s apology, but she doesn’t give in. Even though Dae-oh pleads for another chance, she refuses to let him into both her and Ha-nee’s life. It’s all in the past now and the best thing they can do moving forward is to just stop seeing each other.
A news article about Jin possibly being the father to a daughter in middle school and, therefore, turning down his career in Hollywood is released and it spreads like wildfire. Everyone, including Ae-jung and Ha-nee, learns about it and Ae-jung makes her way over to Ha-nee’s school while Dae-oh follows behind her closely in a taxi. Even Jin is confronted by reporters about the article while practicing for his role in the upcoming movie adaptation and he’s swarmed by a bunch of reporters waiting for him. Ha-nee and her classmates are also aware of the article and many of the students begin to spread rumors that Jin is Ha-nee’s father. Upset and flustered, Ha-nee storms out of her classroom and walks out alone. She won’t put up with anyone’s behavior. Of course, the person behind all of this is none other than CEO Song who’s still set on her ways to seek revenge on Jin.
To be completely honest, this drama has been a tiring watch for many different reasons. However, it has become especially tiring after watching this episode and I don’t even know where to start or begin.
It’s unfortunate that the drama dragged out the whole ‘who’s-the-daddy’ issue and investigation for a lot longer than it ever should have and now we’ve finally reached the point where the baby daddy was revealed. However, by the time we actually found out, I really didn’t care anymore. This sub-plot within the drama was never one that I was completely invested and interested in in the first place (I preferred watching them work on their film adaptation more) and it was also quite obvious who Ha-nee’s father was from the beginning. Therefore, when the reveal finally arrived, it didn’t come as a surprise and the aftermath in this episode felt underwhelming and frustrating. To simply put it, I just wished Ae-jung and Dae-oh would have been honest and truthful with each other from the start because there were obviously many misunderstandings that ensued between the two that lead them to their current situation. Why did they just barely decide to have a conversation about it now 14 years later after everything that happened? Why couldn’t they just talk things out much much earlier when their relationship was dying back in college? If they weren’t ready for it back then, why couldn’t they had just talked things out when they first reunited after 14 years? Why did it take so long for the two to finally sit down, be adults, and have a full-on conversation about their past and their present? Why did Ae-jung leave both Ha-nee and Dae-oh in the dark about the truth this entire time?
I never really felt one way about Ae-jung hiding the truth from Ha-nee about her father, but now that I actually devoted some time to thinking about it, I can see why some people find Ae-jung faulty in her approach towards the complicated situation. Sure, seeing Dae-oh and Ah-rin kiss was painful and devastating and heartbreaking and I felt for Ae-jung when she saw that, but still, I don’t think it was right of her to deprive Ha-nee of having a father figure in her life. That’s not to discredit Ae-jung for the way that she raised and took care of Ha-nee because she did a great job (with the support of Grandma) and she raised Ha-nee to be a confident, haughty, and independent girl, but Ha-nee also deserves to know the truth to everything. If Ae-jung and Grandma already knew that Ha-nee was showing interest in finding out who her real father was, shouldn’t that have been a sign that maybe, just maybe they should have told Ha-nee something? Ha-nee might not be the little girl who Grandma gave piggy-back rides to anymore, but she is still a kid who craves for some fatherly love and who wants to know the truth about her father. I get why Ae-jung is hesitant in telling Ha-nee the truth, but it was her decision this entire time to not tell Ha-nee anything and to pretend as if Ha-nee’s father was dead. Now that they’re in this situation, Ae-jung needs to face the consequences to her decision and have the courage to be honest with Ha-nee and to sit her down and to tell her the truth too. Hiding things from Ha-nee even longer and prolonging the entire situation is only going to make things worse and much more hurtful. The phrase ‘better late than never’ definitely applies in this situation and Ae-jung needs to take that first step in telling Ha-nee that 1) it was Ae-jung’s fault in preventing Ha-nee from having a father figure in her life and 2) Jin is not her father like how he assumed all along. There is no knowing in how Ha-nee is going to react, but Ae-jung will have to face it when that time comes.
I feel as if the drama is executing everything on such a surface level basis which is so unfortunate and shameful. If the drama actually took some time to just branch out on our characters and the storylines and the relationships and really invest on giving us more on each of these components, I think I would at least have understood why our characters behaved the way they did. Instead, we’re left with two parents barely talking things out 14 years later with both the father and the kid being left in the dark the entire time, Then you have a popular actor who thought he was the baby daddy the entire time when really he wasn’t as well as a guy who wishes to be the baby daddy even though he really isn’t. I mean — the drama has no trouble in exposing its faults which is ultimately that it focused way too much on the ‘who’s-the-daddy’ investigation and our four guys pushing themselves into Ae-jung’s life without really providing any sort of explanation. Why are Jin, Dae-oh, and Yeon-woo so hung up on Ae-jung (again, excluding Pa-do here because his reasons for approaching Ae-jung is different from the rest of the guys)? What was it about her that they were okay with giving up almost everything in their life for her? Why did Jin and Dae-oh end their decade long friendship over Ae-jung? Why did Dae-oh and Yeon-woo physically fight over Ae-jung when they didn’t even know each other that well or the truth behind everything? There are so many aspects to this drama that I find faulty and bothersome and it’s starting to truly shed light now that the drama is showing us the aftermath to all of this mess.
I wished the pacing to this drama could have been better. I wished everything that happened in episode 10 had happened in episode 8 so that we got more time to watch and process everything that unfolded afterwards. I feel as if the drama is purposely holding things out longer than it needs to be because it doesn’t know what it wants to do, doesn’t know the direction that it wants to take, or because it’s just bored and confused and clueless and is just doing whatever. If the drama truly knew what it was doing in the first place, we would have received more Ha-nee and Ae-jung mother-daughter bonding moments. We would have gotten faster explanations to everything and things wouldn’t be dragging out like it is now. We still have to wait for Ha-nee to find out the truth and her reaction when she discovers that Dae-oh (and not Jin) is her father (also, poor Ha-nee will probably feel so betrayed. Her mother hid the truth from her the entire time and then she was mislead to think that Jin was her father when really he isn’t).. Then we still have to wait for Ae-jung to talk things out with Ha-nee, and then we still have to wait and watch how everything will unfold afterwards with Dae-oh and Ae-jung.
And of course, there’s still Ha-nee and Dae-oh’s relationship itself that I’m also super interested in seeing. The two have interacted a few times before, but I’m really curious as to how things will be between Dae-oh and Ha-nee once Ha-nee learns that Dae-oh is her father. Will she open up to him or will she close both him and Ae-jung off from her life because she was lied to this entire time? Will Ha-nee even want a father figure in her life anymore at that point once she knows the truth? There are so many questions and not enough answers at this point and I’m not entirely sure if the drama is ever going to give us these answers. I’m afraid that the drama is going to rush things and not give us the ample amount of time needed to explain everything plus show the aftermath to all the mess and chaos. I would hate to go through all of this only to find our characters suddenly act as if nothing had ever happened or as if all has been solved with just a few talks. Healing and difficult conversations are not easy and linear and I wish the drama will show us everything in the next 5 episodes instead of just talking about it.
I’m not even going to mention the talk at the restaurant between Ae-jung and Dae-oh that really tested my patience for this drama. Ae-jung basically got what she wanted all along from Dae-oh and yet, she chose not to even bat an eye when he asked for another chance. Look, if Ae-jung doesn’t want to give Dae-oh a second chance, that’s fine. That’s her decision for her life. But for Ae-jung to reject Dae-oh from having another chance with Ha-nee? Now that is where I draw the line. Ae-jung is Ha-nee’s mother, but Ha-nee is her own person who is fully capable of making her own decisions. Ae-jung just can’t assume she knows what is best for Ha-nee because as we have seen, she clearly doesn’t. What Ae-jung should do is reach out to her daughter, tell her the truth, and check to see what it is that Ha-nee wants moving forward. Ae-jung just can’t keep making decisions that she assumes is best for both her and her daughter.
No Ae-jung, what you want and what you think is most fitting for you is not what is best for your daughter. Obviously, Ha-nee has been craving to find out the truth about her father so Ha-nee should be able to have some kind of relationship with her father. Ae-jung is still preventing that even after Dae-oh’s acknowledgement of his wrongdoings, mistakes, and regrets. Dae-oh finally had the understanding and courage to let everything on his chest out in such a genuine, sincere, and honest way only to be turned down once again because Ae-jung decided to place her selfish feelings first. Ae-jung can make whatever decisions she wants for her life, but she shouldn’t do the same for Ha-nee who obviously wants different things from Ae-jung. Ae-jung doesn’t want Dae-oh to be involved in Ha-nee’s life, but Ha-nee wants to know who her father is. The mother and daughter pair are not on the same page and that’s not something that Ae-jung understands or is denying to understand. And then for Ae-jung to claim that she’s afraid of how Ha-nee will react when her daughter finds out the truth? C’mon Ae-jung, you can’t wiggle your way out of this. You have to confront it full on.
*sigh* Oof, now that I’m editing this post, I realize that more so than this being a commentary, it was really just a ranting session for the disappointment and frustration that episode 11 was (but you guys know me and my honesty lol). It’s unfortunate because I truly think ‘Was It Love?’ had so much potential to be a lot better if the drama had just taken some more time to dive into things and give us more context about everything. It’s clear that the drama has remained surface level and two dimensional and is following classic tropes or arcs that we’ve seen plenty of times before in K-dramaland. ‘Was It Love?’ remains predictable and stagnant even up until this point and I don’t have that many expectations or hope at this point in the game. I just hope that things will be solved as smoothly as possible (in a way that makes sense of course) and that Ha-nee will eventually come around to learning the truth and get some time to bond with her father like how she had been curious about this entire time. Our little Ha-nee deserves that much at least.