Relationships are complicated and messy, but they can also be one of the most beautiful things in life. Ae-jung, Ha-nee, and Dae-oh continue to navigate the complicated situation they’re stuck in as they reflect on their painful past. How exactly will our small little family of three pull themselves out of the dark hole they’re in and how much are they willing to risk to solve it all?
Was It Love?: Episode 12 Recap
It’s December of 2006. Dae-oh returns to his parent’s house to find his parents in a bad physical and emotional state. Dad once again yells at Dae-oh for following his dreams of becoming a writer while Dae-oh grows upset at Dad for never supporting him. As he walks away, he receives a supportive text from Ae-jung who compliments one of Dae-oh’s scripts. The aspiring author breaks down into tears upon reading the text message and it’s Ae-jung who continues to support him through all of his troubles. However, Dae-oh’s personal issues eventually affects his relationship with Ae-jung and the two begin to grow further and further apart the more Dae-oh distanced himself from her. Now it all makes sense to Dae-oh 14 years later and he understands why Ae-jung lost her trust in him over the years.
Fast forward to the present and Ae-jung rejects Dae-oh’s request for another chance to work things out. Right as she steps out of the restaurant, she receives a phone call from Hye-jin who updates her about a news article claiming that Jin turned down a career in Hollywood because of his suspected daughter who’s in middle school. From Ae-jung to Jin to Dae-oh to Pa-do to Yeon-woo to Ha-nee and even Ha-nee’s classmates, gossip about the news article spreads like wildfire and Yeon-woo attempts to check in on Ha-nee at school. However, she’s stepped out of the classroom and attempts to get in contact with Jin while walking out on campus. When he doesn’t pick up, Ha-nee encounters her mother who arrives at her school right at that moment. Ae-jung encourages Ha-nee to go home with her so that they can talk things out, but Ha-nee refuses. She wants to know the truth then and there. She’s already aware that Jin is her father and how the news article has stirred everything up, but Ae-jung tries to relay to Ha-nee that things aren’t like what they seem. Ha-nee grows frustrated and upset with her mother and how people now perceive her. Ha-nee feels as if she’s being pitied by others. Maybe things would have been better if she wasn’t born in the first place.
Ha-nee retreats to a nearby neighborhood and begins to cry upon reading text messages from her classmates about Jin being her dad. Dae-oh – who had witnessed Ha-nee walking in the neighborhood – joins the middle school student and they have a brief chatting session. Ha-nee starts off by saying that all she wants now is the truth. She understands that her mother hid the truth to protect her, but her father should also take responsibility for all of this mess too. Ha-nee is so fed up with everything she’s even now exhausted of the word “dad” and wants nothing to do with it. Upon hearing Ha-nee’s honest thoughts, Dae-oh lets out an apology. Although it’s evident as to why he’s sorry, he doesn’t give an explanation to Ha-nee. All he can say is he’s sorry. Aww.
Dae-oh watches as Ha-nee enters Sook-hee’s bar after their talk. Sook-hee sneaks up from behind Dae-oh and puts out the suggestion that maybe, just maybe Ha-nee wants a father figure in her life. There’s still a void in Ha-nee’s life that Ae-jung nor Grandma can completely fill and maybe that void is the longing for her father. Dae-oh gives Sook-hee’s words a thought. Inside Sook-hee’s bar, Ha-nee spends some quality time with her adorable, little puppy. Jin breaks the news to Manager Myung that unlike what they thought, Ha-nee is not his daughter. Although shocked and surprised at first, Manager Myung suggests that they go out and clarify all the rumors from the news article as a result. However, it’s too late and it might only do further damage to both Ae-jung and Ha-nee. Speaking of Ae-jung, she stops by the practice room where Jin and Manager Myung is located and confronts Jin about the news article. Even if it wasn’t necessarily them who released the article, it was still wrong for such an article to be released, especially since it really affected Ha-nee.
Jin visits CEO Song afterwards to address the news article, but CEO Song stands her ground until the very end. This is what has happened as a result of the falling out between her and Jin. This is what happens when Jin loves a woman who he has no ability to protect. Now they’re all in hot water and they’re all affected by the news article. While waiting at a traffic light, a pedestrian bumps into Ae-jung, causing her journal to fall out of her bag. It opens up to a page of a photo with Ae-jung, Ha-nee, and Grandma which reminds Ae-jung of when she was at a clinic to check up on her pregnancy. She was alone and the only thing she had with her was her bag, including the parenting notebook that she and Yeon-woo wrote in for their class. In the present, Ae-jung feels guilty for not being able to keep her promise of protecting Ha-nee and making sure that nothing happens to her. She apologizes while shedding some tears on the street.
Mama Yeon-woo and Ah-rin also talk about the news article and Jin’s connection to Ae-jung when Yeon-woo approaches his mother with a request. He gets down on his knees and pleads for his mother to help with the situation regarding Ae-jung and Ha-nee. He too is stressed out about the news article and would like his mother to utilize her money or resources to eliminate the news article. Doing so would help improve the situation tremendously. Mama Yeon-woo is in disbelief upon seeing her son get on his knees and beg her for help. She’s been practically pleading since Yeon-woo was young for him to return to her so she grows flustered at the sight of her son begging for her help. And especially for Ae-jung who she isn’t the most fond of. Mama Yeon-woo is uncertain and conflicted on what to do. Yeon-woo reflects on the time back in high school when Ae-jung helped him reevaluate his goals and purpose in life. Just when he thought he lost his motivation in life due to an injury that caused him to give up on basketball, it was Ae-jung who encouraged him to look elsewhere and to pursue a profession in teaching. And for that, Yeon-woo is forever thankful.
Ah-rin has a talk with Yeon-woo shortly after his meeting with his mother. Ah-rin questions why Yeon-woo seems to have such strong feelings for Ae-jung in which Yeon-woo responds that Ae-jung helped him during some of the darkest moments in his life. It doesn’t matter whether or not Ae-jung chooses him per se; he’s okay with everything as long as she isn’t hurting. Yeon-woo also communicates to Ah-rin that Jin isn’t Ha-nee’s father. Sooner or later, the truth will prevail and everyone will know who the actual father is. When Ha-nee returns home from school, she finds a TV program discussing all the rumors regarding Jin and Ae-jung airing. She also overhears Grandma talking on the phone with the producers from the TV program and trying to disprove the rumors that the hosts are talking about on the program. Ae-jung would never use her daughter to get to Jin and is not like what people say about her.
To alleviate their stress, Ae-jung and Ha-nee go out for some food. There, Ha-nee apologizes for the comments she made earlier that day to Ae-jung at school. She was caught up in the moment and was releasing all her anger and frustration out on her mother. Ha-nee realizes that Ae-jung must have gone through a lot to raise her so it’s not her fault at all. If anything, it’s Ha-nee’s dad’s fault. He should be the one to blame for this situation. Ha-nee shows Ae-jung’s old phone from college to her mother as well as her own personal notebook detailing Jin’s involvement as her father. Ha-nee still believes that Jin is her father based off of these details, but Ae-jung tries to tell her the truth. However, Ha-nee assumes her mother is lying to her to protect her from getting hurt and is confident that Jin is her father. She’s 14 years old now, she can afford to know the truth.
Ae-jung revisits Ha-nee’s hints about Jin being her father and the fact that it was Ha-nee who invited Jin to guest lecture at her school. Now it all makes sense to Ae-jung. She also checks the text messages that Jin sent her regarding CEO Song’s involvement with the news article and how Ae-jung was targeted simply for the fact that Jin had feelings for her. Grandma enters Ae-jung’s bedroom to find Ae-jung not looking so well. She worries for her daughter, but Ae-jung reassures Grandma that she’s going to get to the bottom of things. She’s going to make sure that she will be able to be honest and truthful with Ha-nee about everything.
Dae-oh meets with a lawyer to discuss the news article and the options available in taking down the article. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many options to go with. To disprove that the article is false, Dae-oh would either need for Jin to do a DNA test to provide evidence or Ha-nee’s actual father (aka him) would need to show up. After the meeting with the lawyer concludes, Dae-oh comes across Jin at Thumb Films who stopped by to check for Ae-jung. However, only Dae-oh is at the office and the two bicker on how they plan on individually protecting both Ae-jung and Ha-nee. It’s a lot more challenging, difficult, and complicated than they thought. Right at that moment, they both receive a text message from Ae-jung who demands for a meeting at Thumb Films the next morning.
The next morning, Ha-nee is hesitant on going to school especially with all the recent chaos from the news article. Even Dong-chan’s text message checking in on her isn’t enough for her to want to attend school. However, Grandma reassures Ha-nee that everything will be resolved by the end of the day. Ae-jung is set with a plan and she knows what she needs to get done to solve the mess. With that being said, Ae-jung heads to Thumb Films where she holds a meeting with Pa-do, Jin, and Dae-oh. Since they each are involved with the film adaptation, it’s crucial that they all work together to take down the news article and the person behind it — CEO Song. After drawing connections between everyone, Ae-jung concludes that CEO Song must have scored a deal with the writer of the news article, Mr. Na. He lives off of advertisements for his websites so he’s willing to write up articles as long as he receives advertisement deals in return. Our team assumes that’s what must have happened with CEO Song and how she was able to get Mr. Na to write up the news article about Jin.
Pa-do plays his part in helping by asking one of his clients to assist in removing all the advertisements from Mr. Na’s website. Doing so would trigger Mr. Na to automatically blame CEO Song and cause him to assume that it was her who broke their deal. Ae-jung’s former boss, CEO Wang, would then swoop in and pretend to be a fake advertiser to serve as bait for Mr. Na. So while CEO Wang works his magic and acting skills on Mr. Na, Ae-jung and Dae-oh wait outside in the hallway where CEO Wang and Mr. Na are having lunch. Dae-oh is curious as to how Ae-jung was able to forgive CEO Wang so easily when he originally scammed her, but Ae-jung has a forgiving heart. Sure, he betrayed her, but he also gave her a second chance at pursuing her dreams which she’s thankful for. Eventually, CEO Wang is able to secretly capture a confession from Mr. Na about the deal that he struck with CEO Song about the news article. Dae-oh threatens Mr. Na with the recording shortly afterwards and puts Mr. Na in his place. Bingo.
Ae-jung stops by CEO Song’s office to also put her in her place. Ae-jung makes it clear to CEO Song that she messed with the wrong person. After twisting CEO Song’s arm and nearly injuring it, Ae-jung warns CEO Song not to ever mess with her or her daughter ever again. With Ae-jung gone, CEO Song checks on Mr. Na’s latest article exposing her as the person behind the original news article regarding Jin. Mr. Na writes that she was the person behind the news article due to the fact that Jin didn’t want to renew his contract with her. Exposed! So with the newest news article, Jin announces his plans to take legal actions against whomever continues to spread rumors about him and Ae-jung’s family. As Ae-jung exits out of CEO Song’s office, she watches as Jin makes his announcement about taking legal action and her legs nearly give up on her. Dae-oh arrives just in time to provide her with some support and they both exit from the building with each other. When asked what her response is in regards to his request for another chance, Ae-jung remains silent. Instead, she receives a phone call from Yeon-woo.
Ha-nee protects herself at school when the school bully confronts her about the news article. Dong-chan even jumps in this time to assist his best friend and together, Ha-nee and Dong-chan fight against the school bully and his group. Eventually, they’re called into the teacher’s office which was why Yeon-woo contacted Ae-jung. The school bully’s parents aren’t happy with Ha-nee fighting their son once again and even belittles Ae-jung when she arrives at the office. The school bully’s dad brings up the news article as well as criticizes Ae-jung for not having a good reputation. Ha-nee stands up for her mother and tugs at the school bully’s dad’s neck which doesn’t sit well with Mr. Jang who stands nearby. Eventually, the brief altercation comes to a stop when Dae-oh steps in. He demands for Mr. Jang to let go of Ha-nee’s wrist and when asked who he is, Dae-oh boldly and sternly declares that he’s Ha-nee’s father. Ae-jung and Ha-nee turn their heads to stare at Dae-oh while Dae-oh keeps his eyes focused on Mr. Jang. He’s loud and clear. He’s the father.
Welp, the truth is out! The truth is out, folks! Sure, it might not have been the most ideal way to break it to Ha-nee that Dae-oh is her father, but hey, it is what it is and now all that’s left is to wait and see how Ha-nee will react.
I’ll admit, this episode was a lot better than episode 11 in general and I’m glad this was the case. I think the part that I enjoyed the most from this episode was the fun adventures and shenanigans that Ae-jung and our boys took on to get back at CEO Song for the news article. All the talking and gossiping wasn’t that fun to watch per se, but the part when Ae-jung actually stepped up to do something about it made for a great watch. I don’t really want to watch our characters wallow and cry and stress out over a situation that has gone out of control. I want to watch them do something about the situation to keep it under control and that’s exactly what our team did in the latter half of this episode which was entertaining and great to watch.
I like how it was ultimately Ae-jung who came up with a solution to resolve the situation. She was the one who brought the guys together, she was the one who came up with the game plan to loop CEO Wang in to trick Mr. Na, she was the one who confronted CEO Song and gave her a taste of her own medicine. Her fear and concern that she wouldn’t be able to protect Ha-nee went out of the window the moment she held that meeting with our three guys and it was refreshing to watch her do something about her circumstance and ultimately enact some change. Ae-jung really did step up in this episode and I have to give her some credit for standing up for both her and her daughter, but primarily for her daughter. People can do and say all these things about Ae-jung, but it’s different for Ha-nee. Ha-nee is where Ae-jung draws the clear lines.
There’s nothing too new to say about this episode that I didn’t already express. Like I mentioned in my last recap, I just hope to be able to see more bonding moments between Ha-nee and Dae-oh and the two of them not only spend time getting to know each other as father and daughter, but watching them bond as father and daughter after 14 years of being kept in the dark about it. It’s one thing for Ha-nee to find out that Dae-oh is her father, but to find out that Dae-oh was her father whom she never suspected at all this entire time is a different story. Ha-nee already knowing that Dae-oh was her father but Ae-jung merely preventing the both of them from seeing each other would be one thing. However, Ha-nee never even thought or considered Dae-oh as her father at all so there’s going to be so much more healing and unhurting that’s going to take place between our lovely family.
There’s going to be so many talks and difficult conversations that Dae-oh, Ae-jung, and Ha-nee are going to have with each other in order to fully heal from their hurtful and traumatic past. I really just want to watch more of Ha-nee and Dae-oh spend time together and be able to form that father-daughter relationship that 1) Ha-nee had been craving and curious about all along and 2) Dae-oh missed out on as a result of not knowing that he was the father to a kid. There were many things that both Dae-oh and Ha-nee missed out on for the past decade and I hope the two get the time to catch up on all of this and be able to live a life where they can comfortably interact with each other. It’s going to take a lot of work and it’s not going to be easy at all, but hopefully they will both feel comfortable enough to take that first step in forming that father-daughter relationship. It’s clear that Dae-oh feels sorry and understanding enough to want another chance; it’s obvious that Ha-nee wants her father in her life after growing up forcing to act like she never had one. I hope the two are given that space and opportunity to connect with each other without being reminded of their past or without feeling guilty about their actions.
Dae-oh will for sure carry that guilt with him (as he already has been doing), but I hope he doesn’t linger onto it for too long and doesn’t let it affect him too much. Sure, there could have been things that he could have done to prevent things (as if in communicate with Ae-jung about his family situation back in college and whatnot), but Ae-jung too kept things away from him that she necessarily shouldn’t have. Dae-oh shouldn’t feel so guilty for what has transpired as a result of his past actions. Rather, what matters is the present and how much he’s changed and how much he wants to be in both Ae-jung and Ha-nee’s life and how far he’s willing to go to earn their trust. As we have seen the past two episodes, Dae-oh is fully committed to being the father that he is and it might not be all good and smooth at first, but over time, I think we’ll see him slowly transition into becoming the best father that he can be for Ha-nee and being the type of father that Ha-nee needs.
Extra screenshots from the episode~