[HanCinema"s Drama Review] "Hogu"s Love" Episode 13

Apparently Do-hee has always had a problem with refusing to clarify misunderstandings for no good reason. While this is still a terribly annoying character trait, "Hogu"s Love" does get credit here for finally treatingit as a bad thing. The emotional climax of this episode features Hogu giving Do-hee a serious piece of his mind. And whileHogu doesinevitably feel bad for being such a jerk, Do-hee really did need the wake-up call. Saying "you didn"t ask" isn"t an acceptable justification when Do-hee responds tomost questions with either misleading obfuscations or indignant bullying (usually it"s both).

The comedy, thank goodness, has been momentarily separated from the central conflict. The wacky comedic hijinx in "Hogu"s Love" are a lot more bearable when the drama isn"t constantly reminding me that its characters are adults making serious adult decisions with major consequences on other people"s lives. Friends eating fish snacks? Good. Do-hee trying to act unnaturally cute? Good. High school purity candy? Uh...I kind of doubt that even happens, or at least that it happens that specific way. But at least the comedy is sound.

The segregation also extends to Kang-cheol"s gay subplot- aside from the opening portion the drama stops expecting us to laugh at Kang-cheol"s dilemma. And it really is a tonal thing- Kang-cheol is genuinely scared for very good reason. And Ho-kyeong manages some mild character development realizing that, hey, she"s really kind of being a jerk for shutting Kang-cheol out like thishaving spent almost all of her screentime stalking him.

Unfortunately the plot still looms. One short scene exposes a tertiary character as a definite villain, and the preview exposes another. Although for all I know this is just another red herring. It is so utterly bizarre looking at the actual plot of "Hogu"s Love" and realizing it is almost entirely red herrings. For a sense of comparison, "Hogu"s Love" has had more redherrings than "My Secret Hotel". And "My Secret Hotel" was a murder mystery where the presence of red herrings actually made coherent thematic sense.

This was a pretty good quality episode, with the right mix of comedy and heart to consistently be very sweet even there are plenty of misses mixed in with the hits. All the same, it would be very accurate to say that the intermediate portion of "Hogu"s Love" more than squandered all of the goodwill I felt after the first four episodes, and I doubt very much the drama"s going to come out even by the end if writer Yoon Nan-joong is going to insist on giving Do-hee a martyr complex. Still, I appreciate the effort.

Review by William Schwartz

"Hogu"s Love" is directed by Pyo Min-soo, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Park Soon-cheon, UEE, Choi Woo-sik, Seulong, Lee Soo-kyeong-I, Jeong Won-joong and many more.

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tvN Drama

tvN Drama "Ho-gu's Love" Episode 12 Recap

tvN Drama Ho-gu's Love Episode 12 Recap

Surprised at finding Kang-chul leaning over Ho-gu for a kiss, she backs into the wall, making enough sound to catch Kang-chul’s attention. He covers up the near-kiss by slapping Ho-gu on the cheeks, telling him to wake up and go home.

When Gong-mi meets Ho-kyung for dinner with Chung-jae and Tae-hee, and Gong-mi and Tae-hee immediately recognize each other from when he and Ho-gu barged into the office. He pulls her aside, making her promise not to tell Ho-kyung about their visit or the baby.

Ho-kyung notes that they seem to have a connection, and apologizes to Chung-jae because she had originally intended to set him up with Gong-mi instead. But Chung-jae is offended that Ho-kyung, who he has a crush on, would be setting him up with girls. Ho-kyung: “What, should I be introducing you to boys instead?”

A phone call from Kang-chul quickly distracts her. He wants to know if there’s another way that someone could find out if he’s gay that doesn’t involve kissing the guy that makes his heart flutter. Ho-kyung offers to bring all her research and information to a lunch date tomorrow, and after Kang-chul agrees, he wonders why it feels like he’s been lured into a trap.

Ho-gu is reluctant to leave the baby and Do-hee has to practically shove him out the door. But they get distracted by all of Kang-chul’s trophies. Do-hee and Ho-gu are impressed that Kang-chul climbed Mt. Everest last year, and the dates on the certificate make Ho-gu realize that he would have been climbing Mt. Everest around the same time Do-hee got pregnant.

She just rolls her eyes, reminding him she’s already told him that Kang-chul isn’t the father, but with the photographic evidence of Kang-chul standing at base camp, Ho-gu starts to actually believe it.

Despite Do-hee and Kang-chul’s protests, Ho-gu still tries to find a way to cling his belief that Kang-chul is the father (even suggesting that Do-hee went to Everest with him). He can’t get over the conversation he overheard in the hospital, when he thought they were talking about Kang-chul not using condoms.

Do-hee has no idea what he’s talking about, but Kang-chul looks a little shifty as he orders Ho-gu to go home. Ho-gu refuses, and when Kang-chul reminds him yet again that he’s not the father, Ho-gu says that’s why he can’t go home — he can’t leave Do-hee alone with another man.

In a happy voice, he says to himself: “My name is Ho-gu. Kang Ho-gu.”

After they finally convince Ho-gu to leave, Kang-chul wonders how they’ll keep the real father a secret. Do-hee begs him not to tell Ho-gu the truth, and Kang-chul reassures her he won’t. After all, he’s not a high-priced lawyer for nothin’ — he knows how to keep client confidentiality.

The next morning, Ho-gu makes an important decision — a hair-cut. As the barber snips off those adorable curls, he says that Ho-gu must be about to confess to a women. Ho-gu, very seriously, answers “yes.”

Sporting his new ‘do, he marches with purpose to Kang-chul’s apartment building. He’s determined to ask about Do-hee’s relationship with Kang-chul and the baby-daddy — as Geum-dong’s “hyung” and the fact he was her guardian in the hospital, he has the right to know. But when he sees Do-hee walking to the bus stop, he quietly follows her.

Unnoticed, he gets off at the same stop as her, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. He continues to follow her to a cemetery, where she greets an older couple, and it’s apparent that they’re all there for a memorial.

Ho-gu returns to Kang-chul’s apartment, where an annoyed Coach is surrounded by dirty diapers as he struggles to get a fresh diaper on Geum-dong. Ho-gu quickly takes over, asking about Kang-chul and Do-hee. They’ve gone to meet potential adoptive parents.

Aw, Kang-chul is the one who interviews them while Do-hee hides a few tables away, listening in. She shakes her head when Kang-chul asks her about them, but it’s the last couple they had lined up as Geum-dong’s prospective parents. He sighs that they’ll have to find another place to look, as well as figure out more selective criteria.

Curious, Do-hee asks him why he’s working so hard to help her. He tells her it’s because she promised him a huge fee when hired him as the lawyer to oversee Geum-dong’s adoption. He swears it’s not because he has any feelings for her, it’s just…

Do-hee asks if it’s because he’s sorry because he didn’t use “that thing” originally. Hesitating, Kang-chul quietly admits that if he had filed a complaint for her, it would have made her life even more difficult. She confesses she really resented him because of it, but the more she thinks about it, the more she agrees with him. Especially for Geum-dong’s sake.

Kang-chul is back to business when he reminds her not to forget to pay him for his services, and after he leaves, Do-hee grumbles that a woman is about to cry and all he can do is leave: “It’s no wonder he can’t get a date.”

Ho-gu watches over the sleeping Geum-dong and remembers earlier in the morning, when he saw Do-hee at the cemetery. He had greeted the other couple as they waited at the bus stopm (sans Do-hee), and the woman had explained that Do-hee and their deceased child were close friends.

He wonders if their son was the baby’s father who died in an accident, since it would make sense — both why she should seek out Kang-chul for legal advice as well as her statement that both she and the baby’s father made a mistake. Not to mention her breakdown, wondering if she’d ever be able to love again.

Even so, Ho-gu can’t back down from his purpose today. He came to ask her some important questions (and even cut his hair!). Kang-chul and Do-hee arrive home, and pfffft, when Kang-chul sees Ho-gu, he sighs that they really need to change the passcode.

When Do-hee notes that Ho-gu got a haircut, he screws up the courage to tell her why he got it cut — because it’s a hindrance when taking care of babies. Buhhh? Holding out the “babysitter needed” notice Kang-chul had posted on the apartment community board, he tells them that he’s Geum-dong’s new babysitter.

Do-hee pulls him aside, demanding to know if he’s being serious. Ho-gu swears he is, and Do-hee asks if he’s really not curious about the father or how Kang-chul is involved. Ho-gu admits that it doesn’t matter to him anymore. All he cares about is Geum-dong.

Even if she broke off the potential relationship she might have had with him, he asks Do-hee to at least promise not to break apart the relationship he could have with Geum-dong. They agree to write up a contract that will allow him to babysit and keep their relationship professional.

The doorbell rings, and Kang-chul answers it, annoyed that the video screen isn’t working so he can’t see who’s at the door. Surprise! It’s Ho-kyung (with her hand over the camera). She’s there to give him the information he’d asked for last night.

Kang-chul’s trying to hustle Ho-kyung out the door, and she teases him that he must be hiding a girl when suddenly Do-hee appears. Ho-kyung is ready to face-off and defend her turf when Ho-gu arrives with the baby. The twins are surprised to see each other, and Ho-kyung is even more shocked to see the baby. Do-hee cooly tells Ho-kyung that, yes, it’sher baby.

The men can sense the tension as they slowly back away, and Kang-chul tries to explain that it’s not his baby. But Ho-kyung curses him out as she kicks him in the face, giving him a bloody nose and sending him sprawling on the sofa.

Ho-gu tends to the dazed Kang-chul as a furious Ho-kyung tries to talk sense into Ho-gu (while Do-hee once again insists that Kang-chul isn’t the father — this assumption seems to run in the family). She wants to know why her brother is caring for a baby that isn’t his, especially when he said his fling with Do-hee had ended. So why is he still here — is he dating Kang-chul, or what?

When Ho-gu realizes how close his face is to Kang-chul’s, he slooooowly slides away. But Ho-kyung is putting together all the clues and figuring out why the atmosphere is so weird — is the story Kang-chul told her about his client actually his? Is Kang-chul gay? Is thatwhy Ho-gu is here with him?

Kang-chul scrambles up, insisting that’s not it, and sputters out that Ho-gu is actually the babysitter. Congrats, Ho-gu — you’ve officially got the job.

Ho-kyung follows Ho-gu home, trying to talk sense into him. How can he be taking care of a baby when he also has be working on the webtoon? He tries to bribe her to go along with it (and not tell Mom, heh) by promising her he’ll help her get in with Kang-chul’s good graces, but when that doesn’t work, he threatens to show Kang-chul her pre-cosmetic surgery pictures, instead.

Thus Ho-gu begins his career as a babysitter. During the day, while Do-hee trains, he watches Geum-dong. When Do-hee returns in the evening, she takes care of the baby while Ho-gu works on the webtoon. In the meantime, Kang-chul interviews potential adoptive parents (and vainly tries to tolerate a messy baby in his apartment).

Even Ho-kyung gets in the act, stopping by to visit Kang-chul but getting put on baby duty so Ho-gu can do some chores. When Do-hee returns home, she finds Ho-kyung napping next to Geum-dong. She warns Do-hee not to seduce her brother. This is just another source of charity for the kind of guy who takes in all the neighborhood stray cats.

Do-hee says that it’s not about her, but about Geum-dong. When Do-hee admits that she’s using Ho-gu’s goodwill to have someone take care of her baby, Ho-kyung marvels that Do-hee isn’t the “nation’s mermaid,” but rather the “nation’s bitch.”

But Ho-kyung’s found her match in Do-hee, who pointedly reminds her that Ho-kyung’s been speaking informally to her when she’s supposed to be Do-hee’s dongsaeng. Ho-kyung scoffs, saying that Do-hee shouldn’t be so presumptuous — if she keeps acting like that, she’ll be abandoned by the baby’s real father.

Do-hee gives her the death glare as she asks if Ho-kyung knows who the father is. Ho-kyung gulps and says she doesn’t, then smiles, adding honorifics for her “unni.”

When they meet in the elevator, Kang-chul pitches a fit that Ho-gu’s wearing the wrong cleaning gloves to take out the trash. But Ho-gu just ignores him and as they ride up together, instad asking if Do-hee sought Kang-chul because the baby’s father died in an accident.

As a lawyer, Kang-chul can’t answer that. But as a friend, he admits that Do-hee came to him, asking for help, but he turned his back on her. He swears he’d do the same again, though, even though he knows he’d be called a selfish bastard.

But Ho-gu admires him because Do-hee considered Kang-chul someone dependable enough to ask for help, and is relieved that Kang-chul was her ex-boyfriend. Kang-chul is just amazed that Ho-gu found out about the accident.

Ho-gu’s mother intercepts a delivery for Ho-gu, surprised that it contains baby diapers. She tracks him down to Kang-chul’s apartment, where Professor Mok is also there to see her son. The women side-eye each other, since their style is so opposite — Ho-gu’s mother with her colorful, bohemian ensemble, and Professor Mok with her subdued, fashionable outfit.

But both women are equally astonished to see Do-hee leave the apartment with Geum-dong, and they retreat to a coffee shop to get over the shock. Hahahaha! The moms think their children are dating and had a secret kid together, as they assume Do-hee must be the other’s daughter. Ho-gu’s mom is excited to call each other in-laws while Professor Mok bursts into tears.

Kang-chul is meeting with another national athlete from Do-hee’s company, NO KYUNG-WOO (Kim Hyun-joon), who wants to sue whomever started the rumor that he’s gay. When Kang-chul tells him it seems pointless to sue for such a minor thing, Gong-mi pipes up that in many Korean companies, if it’s found out that you’re gay, you automatically become an outcast, potentially ruining your career and reputation.

Kyung-woo adds that’s why the company told him to seek out Kang-chul — they said he’s the best in this field. Kang-chul, having become progressively anxious throughout the meeting, suddenly demands to know who told Kyung-woo that he’s the “gay expert.” But Kyung-woo just meant that Kang-chul is the best at defamation cases.

Ho-kyung’s gives Kang-chul documents to help support Kyung-woo’s case, including an assessment for Kyung-woo to take to prove that he isn’t gay. She convinces Kang-chul to go with her for some drinks, and when he insists that he won’t drink alcohol, she pops open a bottle of soda for him.

But when the bottle cap hits him on the forehead the same way that “Ho-gu” had opened the bottle of beer back in high school, he begins to wonder. After Ho-kyung excuses herself to use the restroom, he reaches for the gay assessment test.

Do-hee meets with CEO Park, who has a new concept image to present to her — a sexy photo-shoot. Do-hee’s a little hesitant and CEO Park reassures her it shouldn’t be too awkward since she’ll be doing it with fellow swimmer, Kyung-woo. The sound of his name makes Do-hee even more determined not to do it. But CEO Park tells her that they can dispel all those childbirth rumors with this photo-shoot — it’s not a request, it’s an order.

At the restaurant, Kang-chul is totally drunk now, and he tipsily asks Ho-kyung why she likes him. He cutely tells her that she shouldn’t like him, though, because he’s… he lowers his voice… gay. She laughs it off, but he repeats it, yelling: “I’m gay! Gay!” until he passes out drunk at the table. She spots the crumpled up assessment next to him.

When Do-hee returns home, she sees Ho-gu to the door. But Ho-gu notices that she’s looking tired, and offers to hug her — when someone in his family is having a rough day, they give each other a hug, no questions asked. She agrees, and he comforts her, telling her she’s doing great, working hard to make money to pay for diapers.

She smiles as she hugs him back, telling him he’s also doing great, working hard to change those diapers. As he pulls away, she stares at him a moment, then… kiss!

Do-hee bids him good-night, and Ho-gu calmly walks out of the apartment, only to go all rubber-legged once the door closes. Awww, Do-hee also falls to her knees as she wonders what she just did. She spots the old sketchbook that Ho-gu gave her, and then she starts to cry as she remembers finding it and seeing the story of the girl who was a mermaid.

Ooohhhh, it turns out that Do-hee actually recognized Ho-gu on the street corner before he first saw her in his camera; that she immediately knew he wasn’t the waiter (aw, the smile she tries to hide when she sends him off for more chips is adorable); and when she walked away from him in the crosswalk, she’d sighed that he was as clueless as ever.

Do-hee clutches the sketchbook to her chest, and with a hankie over her eyes, cries as she remembers their night in Yeosu. At the sound of Geum-dong crying, too, she turns to comfort him. She’s still weeping as she apologizes to Geum-dong, telling him that she’ll pull herself together — she’d tried so hard to hold it in. But she breaks down, sobbing even harder after she admits that it’s her first love.

CEO Park is astonished to discover that Do-hee had the baby, wondering who Do-hee is dating. But her assistant says that Do-hee isn’t dating anyone — it was sexual assault. Ooof.

As Do-hee comforts her baby, she looks at the sketchbook and smiles. “My name is Ho-gu. Do Ho-gu.”

Via: Dramabeans


tvN Drama

tvN Drama "Ho-gu's Love" Episode 11 Recap

tvN Drama Ho-gu's Love Episode 11 Recap

Ho-gu breaks down in great sobs at the thought that they may have sent Geum-dong away with bad people, as Do-hee hides her tears and Kang-chul sits stone-faced. Ho-gu grabs Coach and drags him out of the apartment to help him find Geum-dong, refusing to give up. Do-hee asks Kang-chul if he thinks those were bad people, but Kang-chul just asks in return if his answer would change anything.

Out in the street, Coach admits that he didn’t really know the adoptive parents, that he just met them at a cafe. Is he saying that he sold Geum-dong?? He tells Ho-gu that it wasn’t a physical cafe, but a website, and Ho-gu goes to an internet cafe to do some research.

He’s horrified to find that the website is basically a place for unwed mothers to sell their babies to the highest bidder. The mothers post about their situations, and potential “adoptive” parents choose which child they want and make a monetary offer. As Ho-gu digs deeper, he finds posts where the biological parents are concerned about the motives of the adoptive parents, wondering if they can get their babies back.

Coach had told Ho-gu that Do-hee chose which internet cafe to use, so Ho-gu goes back to Kang-chul’s place to confront her. With dead eyes and a flat voice, he asks if Do-hee just sold Geum-dong. She swears she didn’t accept any money, only asking the parents to raise him well and saying she had no other choice.

Kang-chul comes to Do-hee’s defense, saying that in order to adopt her baby out legally, she’d have to go on record as having a baby. Even after adoption, Geum-dong would have been on Do-hee’s family register, and her secret would be out.

Ho-gu doesn’t understand, saying that they’re the adults in this situation and even if there are consequences, they still should have done the right thing by Geum-dong. At the end of her rope, Do-hee yells that he’s her baby, and that it’s her right to decide how to handle the situation. Ho-gu screams that Geum-dong may be her baby but she’s no mother, and Kang-chul neatly puts him in his place.

Ho-gu agrees — this is not his house, and Geum-dong is not his baby. It’s none of his business. He wipes his tears, tells them it’s their business and to do whatever they want, and leaves. He wanders the streets, thinking of Geum-dong but admitting to himself that he really has nothing to do with him. It’s hard to admit, as he remembers cutting the cord and Geum-dong’s tiny hand gripping his finger.

When Ho-gu gets home he finds his mom feeding the stray cats, and she asks him the name of that little gold kitten. He says it’s “Geum-dong,” and Mom says she hasn’t seen Kitten Geum-dong in a while.

Gasping for breath, Kang-chul and Do-hee jump in his car and he asks for the last time if she won’t regret this. She says she won’t, for now, and suddenly Geum-dong’s adoptive parents run up and pound on the car windows. Kang-chul peels out, and holycrap they just kidnapped Geum-dong, didn’t they? They did!! AWESOME.

Kang-chul asks what Do-hee plans to do now, wondering what she was thinking, but she says there’s nothing to think about. It was the only thing she could do. Despite being her getaway car, Kang-chul marvels at her audacity, but she reminds him that she’s a badass single mom and she’s not scared of anything. HAHA, Kang-chul’s all, “Are you seriouslybragging right now??”

Meanwhile Ho-gu calls for Kitten Geum-dong from his bedroom window, who he can hear mewing but can’t see, and pleading with him not to cry. “My name is Ho-gu. Kang Ho-gu.”

Ho-kyung comes down the next morning and runs to call Ho-gu to breakfast, sure she’s about to catch him with a woman in his room. Instead she finds him alone in bed, wide awake and staring at the ceiling. She demands the truth about him and Do-hee, but poor Ho-gu only moans that he wishes there was no such thing as morning, and turns his back.

They go to the manhwa shop to talk, and Ho-gu tells Ho-kyung that there’s nothing to tell about Do-hee — it’s been over between them for a long time (wait, does that mean there used to be something?). She asks why he was crying, but he just says it was about someone else. Crying again, Ho-gu says he thought he really had something with that person, and leans into his sister for a sweet, comforting hug.

Tae-hee and Chung-jae see Do-hee on television doing a press conference, and figure she really did give her baby up for adoption. When Ho-gu wanders in to work, he wilts to see Do-hee promising her fans that she’ll win an Olympic gold medal.

At his home watching Geum-dong, Kang-chul frowns to see all of the baby stuff (not to mention, the actual baby) taking up space on his precious furniture. He gripes at his housekeeper for using the same gloves to clean the kitchen as she used to clean his trophies, which is an impressive new level of nitpicky, sheesh.

Kang-chul’s parents come to see him again, Dad swearing to break open the door if necessary to get inside. They run into Do-hee in the elevator, and obviously Dad is a fan, since a huge smile breaks over his face and he starts to fawn over her (while Mom glares daggers at him, hee).

Dad is so goofily thrilled to meet Do-hee that it’s embarrassing, and he even digs in his wife’s purse for paper for an autograph. He hands Do-hee his business card, offering his services as a lawyer if she ever needs it, and they all get off at the same floor (Do-hee’s face is hilarious!). Kang-chul’s parents screech to a halt to see the famous athlete Do Do-hee going into their son’s apartment, and can only stare open-mouthed.

Kang-chul orders Do-hee to get a babysitter, since his housekeeper is making mistakes because she’s too busy looking after the baby. He thinks Do-hee is rich, but she says all her money goes towards paying off her parents’ debts. Kang-chul is chastened, but mutters that she should use the money she’ll get for a recent CF she made to get a babysitter.

Do-hee lights up like a Christmas tree when the doorbell rings, but wilts again when it’s just the housekeeper looking for her scarf. Awww, she misses Ho-gu. Kang-chul clocks her behavior, but Do-hee strongly denies it when he asks if she’s waiting for Ho-gu.

Ho-kyung waits outside Kang-chul’s building, wondering over some things Ho-gu said to her that morning. He’d said he would have held onto the person he cares about more, if he’d known he’d have to send them away like this. She wonders who the new woman is that displaced Do-hee, which leads her thoughts to Do-hee and Kang-chul. She refuses to accept losing, and takes off after Kang-chul when he comes out for a jog.

Ho-gu also thinks over his talk with his sister, who’d reminded him of his own words that a heart is like paint — you have to use it or it hardens. She’d said that she still has a lot of paint, but when the person you want to draw goes away, you have to wash away the paint quickly.

Ho-gu takes out Geum-dong’s discarded belly-button, and seems to come to a decision. He goes to the bank and stops the automatic payments he’s been making to a children’s charity, asking the bank employee to stop when she laughs at his name.

Ho-kyung pretends it’s a coincidence that she just happens to be biking in the same place Kang-chul is jogging, and the incredulous look on his face is priceless. He doesn’t stop, pointedly mentioning that he likes to exercise alone. When he refuses her offer to get something to drink, she skids to a stop in front of him, forcing the issue.

Next Ho-gu goes to Kang-chul’s place, surprised to see that Do-hee is still there. He stops her when Do-hee starts to talk, and gives her a photo of the Tibetan child that he’s been sponsoring. He says that sponsoring the child made him proud and happy, but that he stopped that sponsorship on the way here.

Ho-gu says that he realized that that happiness was pointless, because a one-sided love isn’t love. He tells Do-hee that when he stopped the sponsorship, he also let go of his feelings for Geum-dong. He gives Do-hee Geum-dong’s belly-button which he had made into a seal stamp, and Do-hee asks if this isn’t a bit strange.

Ho-gu insists that he’s totally done with caring about Geum-dong, and says he feels soooofree now. In fact, he realizes how much trouble babies are, and the amount they poop is just gross. Do-hee just calmly turns and says, “Geum-dong-ah, Ho-gu made you a seal stamp and says you’re nothing but trouble.”

Ho-gu’s head whips around so fast it gives instant lie to his insistence about being over Geum-dong, and he gasps to see Geum-dong laying right there on the couch. Do-hee stops Ho-gu from going to him — you know, since he’s so annoying. She picks up Geum-dong, and Ho-gu is so overcome he can only run and hug them both. He wails that he missed Geum-dong so much that he wanted to die, and kiss-kiss-kisses the baby’s head while Do-hee smiles.

Ho-kyung gets Kang-chul to sit, and even manages to maintain her sweetness-and-light demeanor when he gulps a drink down and tries to go. She drags him back down onto the bench, denying that this meeting was anything but an accident, and swears that she heard him when he said he’s not interested and only wants to be friends.

In fact, Ho-kyung reminds Kang-chul that she’s a psychology major and that he may need her help in his future cases, but he starts to leave anyway. He stops and asks if she’s ever heard of someone’s sexual preferences changing, and suddenly their talk looks more like a therapy session.

Ho-kyung uses pickled radish as a metaphor — some people eat it, and some don’t. But some people are like her, who likes pickled radish alone but picks it out of kimbap. So, is she a person who eats pickled radish, or a person who doesn’t?

Kang-chul wonders, what does pickled radish have to do with sexual preference? She says there’s a deep connection, and wheedles him into going somewhere more comfortable before she’ll tell him. They sit down with some ramyun (and pickled radish, naturally), and Ho-kyung says that liking pickled radish actually IS like sexuality, in that there’s more than two simple and distinct answers.

Claiming that a man came to him for legal advice, Kang-chul asks how you can kiss someone of the same sex without knowing your sexuality, and without permission at that. But Ho-kyung wants to know, who asks permission? Asking breaks the mood.

Ho-kyung asks how that man felt when the other man kissed him — was he shocked, and did his heart pound? Kang-chul says that he was shocked at first, because the other man just came at him, and that now every time he sees the man his heart pounds from the trauma. Ho-kyung says that it’s not trauma — the man is gay.

Kang-chul’s voice squeaks on the word “gay,” and he insists that it’s not true, his “client” is NOT gay. But to Ho-kyung, if your heart pounds when you see a certain person, it means you like them. And if that person is another man, then you’re gay. She tells Kang-chul to advise the “client” to kiss the other man again, and if his heart pounds again, he’s gay.

Ho-gu can’t stop grinning at Geum-dong, even turning his back on Do-hee, his possessiveness over Geum-dong making her smile. Ho-gu asks how this happened, and we see that after he left Kang-chul’s that night, Kang-chul had asked Do-hee if this was all over, sighing in relief when she said it was.

Oh but by the way, Kang-chul mentions, he got the adoptive parents’ license plate. He asks Do-hee one final time if this is really over, and apparently her answer changed. Back in the present, Do-hee says that it was Kang-chul who’d found out where the parents lived and taken her to get her baby back. He’d even climbed a wall to get to Geum-dong. MELT.

Kang-chul innocently comes home just then, and Ho-gu relinquishes the baby to Do-hee so he can tacklehug Kang-chul at the door (as an instrumental version of I’m Your Ladyswells in the background, HAHA). He yells that Kang-chul should have called him before doing something so dangerous, but Kang-chul doesn’t register Ho-gu’s words over his suddenly racing heart.

Kang-chul staggers to his office, clutching his chest and gasping for air. Desperate, he texts Ho-kyung to meet with him tomorrow to talk. When he gets himself together and goes back out to the living room, he’s startled to see Ho-gu and Geum-dong, sleeping beatifically together on the floor.

Kang-chul asks Do-hee how she and Ho-gu got to be friends, and a strange smile comes over her face. She remembers back in high school, going to class early one day and finding Ho-gu’s sketchbook in her desk. She finds the naked picture he drew of her, only now she’s clothed in a beautiful colored dress.

She flips through the sketchbook and her smile grows wider and wider — it’s entirely filled with amazing manhwa-style drawings of her. The pictures tell the story of a girl who goes to the sea and is drawn into the water, swimming deep and meeting amazing sea creatures. Slowly the girl’s legs change into a beautiful tail, and she transforms into a mermaid.

It was the same day that Ho-kyung had worn Ho-gu’s jacket to school, and we see the twins screaming at each other over it at the family’s manhwa store. Do-hee comes into the store while Ho-gu is working, chooses a couple of books, and asks Ho-gu hesitantly if the girl turns into a mermaid every time she goes into the water.

Ho-gu misunderstands and thinks she’s asking about the girl in the manhwa books she chose and corrects her, since Elize is a warrior. Annoyed, Do-hee pays and leaves in a huff, but Ho-gu realizes what she meant and goes after her. He calls out that the girl was a mermaid from the beginning, which is why she’s happier in the water and isn’t comfortable around people.

After that, Do-hee had visited the manhwa store often, initially turning down Ho-gu’s tentative gifts of fruit. Slowly she begins to accept the tangerines, and eventually they’re comfortable enough to sit knee-too-knee and silently share fudge pops. That is so freaking adorable — it wasn’t a one-sided love!

But one day, Ho-gu and Tae-hee go to a restaurant, and Ho-gu’s face falls to see Do-hee and Kang-chul eating together. He watches as Do-hee asks if Kang-chul looked in the book she returned to him, disappointed that he hasn’t mentioned the four-leaf clover, and unaware that Kang-chul doesn’t even know it was from her.

Turns out, Do-hee brought Kang-chul here to ask him if she can use the pool at the club he belongs to, since the pool is regulation-size. He flatly refuses her, citing the high dues for members, and says they can’t just let any loser use the pool. Do-hee’s temper flares, and she splatters ddukbokki sauce on his hand and leaves.

Kang-chul uses the sketchbook that Do-hee had with her to wipe his hand, which has Ho-gu (who’s still watching for a couple of tables over) rising from his chair in horror. He leaves with Tae-hee right behind him, so they miss Do-hee coming back for her things. She sees the sauce smear on the sketchbook, and her loud threats have Kang-chul’s hands shaking violently.

Unaware that Ho-gu witnessed her conversation with Kang-chul, Do-hee goes to the manhwa store with snacks as usual, but Ho-gu isn’t in any mood to hang out. He shuts her down so Do-hee leaves, but Ho-gu only watches her go.

Back in the present, Do-hee leaves Ho-gu napping with Geum-dong, but before she goes she asks Kang-chul why Ho-gu had earlier mentioned a fast food restaurant that had been outside their school. Kang-chul just reasons that Ho-gu is abnormal, ha.

Do-hee goes to a cemetery with flowers, though we don’t see who she’s visiting. She apologizes to the person for not coming in a long time, and cleans up the grave while saying the person’s parents should visit more often. No, she should come more often, but she’s been busy, hiding and looking into adoption while also trying to make a comeback.

Do-hee’s smile falters as she says that she got “our” baby back (although in Korean, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything other than a term of endearment). She asks if she did well, and starts to cry in earnest: “I miss you. I really miss you.”

Chung-jae waits nervously for Ho-kyung in a cafe, adorably dressed in a suit, but she shows up in her ratty old tracksuit. He tells her he likes her, and even presents her with flowers and a song, but gets no reaction whatsoever. She bounces up when Gong-mi enters the cafe, leaving him hanging mid-note.

Kang-chul watches Ho-gu sleep all day, and finds the sketchbook that Do-hee is still carrying around with her. He lays on the floor to get a closer look at Ho-gu, remembering Ho-kyung’s words that if your heart pounds for someone, it means you like them.

Kang-chul searches Ho-gu’s sleeping face, looking simultaneously worried and fascinated. Softly he asks, “Kang Ho-gu… do I… like you?” He thinks about Ho-kyung’s advice to kiss the man again and see if his reaction is the same, and he reaches out but stops short of caressing Ho-gu’s face.

Kang-chul slowly leans down, determined to see if another kiss with Ho-gu will make his heart pound. Just before their lips touch, Do-hee comes home and sees Kang-chul leaning over Ho-gu, and claps her hands over her mouth in shock.

Via: Dramabeans



[HanCinema"s Drama Review] "Hogu"s Love" Episode 12

The mystery behind the parentage of Do-hee"s baby is fully unveiled, and with that the narrative function of her character can now be easily identified. Do-hee is a melodrama protagonist. She"s a basically good person who has run into some outrageous misfortunes. Do-hee is trying to do the right thing even if her self-confidence is trying. It would appear that all of the scenes we"ve seen so far of Do-hee"s emotional vulnerability were not the woman acknowledging her own flaws, but rather Do-hee just being too hard on herself in the face of emotional crises.

While it"s nice to have this all spelled out, I can"t pretend that I"m happy about these confirmations. As a melodrama protagonist Do-hee can"t really experience character growth, because what happened to her could have happened to any of us. Do-hee"s circumstances are not a result of her own personality. While UEE has certainly done good work giving Do-hee a vulnerable, human face, in the end I honestly just can"t stand her abrasive attitude. Do-hee is conveniently surrounded by men with no other apparent purpose in life except to help her for no reason, and time and again she looks this gift horse in the mouth.

To be clear, while "Hogu"s Love" is a melodramatic narrative, it most definitely does not have a melodramatic tone. This discordance is, I see now, the main reason why I"ve grown to dislike this drama so much. Actual melodramas clearly explain the situation at the beginning to build empathy with the characters. "Hogu"s Love" has been using these narrative points as plot twists. And as for the jokes...

I don"t find anything funny about Kang-cheol freaking out because people might think he"s gay. I don"t find anything funny about Ho-kyeong behaving like a stalker. I sort of find Hogu funny because he"s just such a dogged gopher, but increasingly, "Hogu"s Love" is explicitly saying that all its characters are, in one way or another, dorks on Hogu"s level. They"re all stumbling around rather stupidly, and at this point I"m just sick of it all.

As long as a production has a decent moral heart, I have a pretty good tolerance for ridiculous plot points. The issue with "Hogu"s Love" is that it"s characters are realistically enough written and portrayed that script contrivances should not be necessary to move the story forward. Instead of character growth, we get this weird fantasy situation that lacks any of the urgency and stress serious life issues like this should have. Is the cliffhanger supposed to make me feel worried, that this bubble is finally going to pop? I don"t know...but more importantly, I really just don"t care.

Review by William Schwartz

"Hogu"s Love" is directed by Pyo Min-soo, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Park Soon-cheon, UEE, Choi Woo-sik, Seulong, Lee Soo-kyeong-I, Jeong Won-joong and many more.

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[HanCinema"s Drama Review] "Hogu"s Love" Episode 11

The opening of this episode is in a completely serious mode. Hogu has figured out how Do-hee located the adoptive parents, and promptly calls her out for believing in an obvious scam. It"s a fairly strong scene. Do-hee"s forced to come to terms with her own hopelessly wishful thinking, and Hogu is attacked for having such a high emotional stake in a situation that really doesn"t concern him. Then, in a scene so short you"ll miss it by blinking, they get the baby back.

I was kind of expecting the entire episode to be about getting the baby back. The fact that this plot point is resolved so quicklyjust begs more questions about what Do-hee is supposed to dogoing forward. And also Hogu does more moping around before finally crawling back again to discover that Do-hee has apparently decided not to act selfishly. And also Ho-kyeong is still stalking Kang-cheol. And also Kang-cheol is still possibly gay.

It"s just...I feel like we"ve been over all of these plot points multiple times already. "Hogu"s Love" has an awful lot of drama but little to no resolution. While it"s nice for a story to whet viewer interest with questions, after a certain point the lack of explanation just gets to be suffocating. If Kang-cheol"s not the father, then why is he willing to accept such a personal stake in this? What is Ho-kyeong even trying to accomplish? How can these characters share so much backstory while knowing so little about each other?

The main problem I have with "Hogu"s Love" at this point is that the story"s too allegorical. The characters only really make sense as ciphers for abstract concepts. But every strong emotional moment in this drama has impact because of who they are as actual people. I have to simultaneously accept Do-hee as both an impulsivewoman whodemands obedience while offering nothing returnand asa person with a tragic past we shouldn"t judge.

The way all of this gets conflated is just really tiring. I"m never sure whether the conflict is supposed to be about character flaws or the external situation. The former points are all right, but the latter ones involve convolutedplot machinationsabsurd enough that they frequently breakthe willing suspension of disbelief. The next episode might or might notdevelop thisinto coherent detail. The preview does offer some optimism, although I"m certainly not going to hold my breath for it.

Review by William Schwartz

"Hogu"s Love" is directed by Pyo Min-soo, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Park Soon-cheon, UEE, Choi Woo-sik, Seulong, Lee Soo-kyeong-I, Jeong Won-joong and many more.

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Note : due to licensing, videos may not be available in your country