Heya! I’m trying my hand on this recapping biz again. Sorry if this is weeks late though. Hope you’d still appreciate it and fangirl with me. Also, if I get lazy as I get through this post, it just might turn into an opinion-cap and not a detailed recap. We’ll see. Here goes!
(All of the gifs courtesy of my dear friend Charlie!)
We open the the pilot episode inside a club where a handsome and confident guy enters and strides around cockily, with all the girls looking at him. One even approaches him but he dismisses her and continues walking. This is CHA JIN-WOOK (played by Sung Hoon). A girl in her worksuit comes inside the club too, complete with large glasses and a ponytail to really drive home the point that she. is. awkward. This is LEE YOO-MI (played by Song Ji-eun).
Jin-wook meets a friend and comments on how crappy the music is and apparently, it’s because the DJ left. He goes to the DJ booth and his friend asks if he knows how. He tells his friend that he fooled around with a DJ when he was in Spain and he learned a bit from her. Player? Check.
Meanwhile, Yoo-mi meets her friends who ask if she’s the Grim Reaper with her black work outfit inside the club. They dance and leave her drinking (and drinking and drinking) on their table. At this point, Jin-wook gets the audience hyped and dancing with his DJ-ing. (Sung Hoon is actually a DJ irl HOLD ME.) Yoo-mi removes her glasses and lets down her hair and struts towards the dance floor and dances, attracting a hot guy.
All of this is her daydream though. Reality isn’t as good as she stumbles her way to the dance floor and dances clumsily and weirdly. Which attracts someone weird too. She takes off for the restroom and sees Jin-wook touching a girl’s face in a corner. She then imagines what they’re saying, inspired by the romance novels she reads.
In reality, Jin-wook is actually telling the girl that it’s too obvious that she got her eyes, nose, and lips done. She dismisses the girl but the girl won’t let him go easily. He then tells her that he needs to feed his cat. Which got the girl in hysterics. HAHAHA
We get to know our leads better the next morning. While Yoo-mi’s dragging her hungover self to the convenience store, we get treated in the first 10 minutes of the drama with Sung Hoon’s abs. I mean, Jin-wook goes swimming, which is interrupted by his father, Director Cha, asking for him. We now learn that Cha Jin-wook is the heir to The Daebok Group (chaebol alert!) and photographs of his “secret love affair” with the girl he left for his cat were taken and are now in tabloids. His father is visibly upset about this (and it doesn’t help that Jin-wook even makes him more irate by being condescending to his father’s company) and tells him to go to one of their resorts and learn about the company.
Meanwhile, we see Yoo-mi cooking and burning whatever she’s cooking (they look like patties). Apparently, Yoo-mi has already failed twice in this cooking academy and her teacher warns her that if she fails again on her third try, she should find another school. She even tells her to consider a different career path. (Major B is what I’m saying.) Yoo-mi’s apartment lease is also expiring in 30 days, coupled that with her mother calling her to remind her to attend (she doesn’t want to) her getting remarried in the Gangwon province. Girl is definitely having a bad day.
Secretary Jang takes Jin-wook to the bus station. Jin-wook laments that he can’t even take his own car and that he has to ride the shuttle bus per his father’s order. Secretary Jang is hilarious as he quotes and even exaggeratedly reenacts what Chairman Cha told him, which is to cut Jin-wook off from everything. Jin-wook throws leaves at Jang and tries to get away but the secretary is great at his job and he tickles him towards the bus. Off you go, Jin-wook!
Yoo-mi gets on the bus, with a bulky bag she’s hugged to herself and one of her romance novels. She ends up unintentionally hitting Jin-wook with her bag and lo and behold, of course the only free seat is beside him. Her book (The Boss’ Explicit Taste) falls on Jin-wook’s nose much to his irritation. The bus also brakes suddenly before Yoo-mi was able to sit that she ends up on Jin-wook’s lap. HAHAHA I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF THIS SCENE
Both are asleep upon arriving at the resort. Jin-wook thinks of waking up Yoo-mi but ends up not doing so. Yoo-mi then rolls over her baggage at Jin-wook’s shoes and he comments that until the very end, she’s very clumsy. Secretary Jang informs Jin-wook that he has to be a bellhop at the resort, which of course Jin-wook is incredulous about. I love how Secretary Jang doesn’t take Jin-wook’s bullshit. Left without a choice, Jin-wook struts around the resort as a bellhop and even gets tasked by a fellow bellhop to clean. Of course he doesn’t lift a finger and he just lounges around in his shades while a fellow bellhop does everything. This bellhop doesn’t know he’s the heir to the Daebok group and is baffled why he won’t work. Jin-wook just plays a game on his phone and even asks a lady (who know he’s the heir and is eager to please him) to bring him a drink. I’m sure that’s not what Daddy envisioned for you when he made you work, bb.
Until the head of the resort (I assume) catches him and berates him for not working. They’re hosting a wedding later and he needs to move and work his ass, stat. He tries to get out of it but a threat to tattle on his dad gets him going. Ha!
Walking in the lobby, Jin-wook overhears Yoo-mi on the phone, where she’s informed that she failed. She can’t believe it since she felt like they loved her during the interview but it is what it is and Yoo-mi accepts it resignedly. Jin-wook thinks it’s pathetic and muses that he really needs to get his car back.
The wedding is of Yoo-mi’s mother (played by Nam Gi-ae) and it’s her second one. Yoo-mi’s mother is happy that she came (despite telling her she can’t go) although disappointed at her outfit more befitting a funeral than a wedding. She’s also not particularly happy that Yoo-mi didn’t bring a date but she looks on the bright side and tells Yoo-mi she can snag a date at the wedding. Where Yoo-mi is shy, her mother is vivacious and direct.
We get a makeover montage to an increasingly distressed and uncomfortable Yoo-mi. Her dress feels tight on her and she requests to change back to her clothes. Her mom won’t have any of it and then she brings out the missing piece, the most important one, “the source of her confidence”: BRA INSERTS. Haha! She then manhandles Yoo-mi and puts it on her. HAHAHA kdrama moms
The ceremony goes on and Yoo-mi keeps on asking the bellhop/waiter to refill her plate. Said bellhop wonders aloud how can she eat all of that when he notices Jin-wook just standing there and asks him to refill the plate. Of course, Jin-wook doesn’t. Jin-wook hides behind a wall corner when he spots Secretary Jang, who instructs a bellhop to empty the gas tank of Jin-wook’s car. Secretary Jang intones never to give the car keys to anyone. Meanwhile, in the wedding, an AVP was shown of the married couple. Which shows a sexy photo of Yoo-mi’s mother, during her heyday of being an erotic actress. It stirs up school memories in Yoo-mi, where she was gossiped upon and bullied because of her mother.
Jin-wook is caught doing nothing by the boss lady a while ago and he intercepts another lady who’s rolling a cake and tells her he’s got it. He ends up not looking at his path, while Yoo-mi runs out of the wedding blindly. They end up in a collision and he ends up catching her before she falls, and they have a charged slow-mo moment, looking at each other’s eyes.
Until physics takes its course and the cake falls on Yoo-mi’s face, and they both fall to the floor. HAHAHA This show just makes me chuckle with delight. Boss Lady then reprimands Jin-wook and how he even endangered a guest. Jin-wook tries to charm his way but Boss Lady is strict and does not take his bullshit too. She tasks him to apologize to their guest and threatens to fire him if he doesn’t and what would happen to him then? I love how Jin-wook can’t do anything but obey HAHAHA
Yoo-mi calls her mom and rants that she shouldn’t be so proud of being an erotic actress. She almost tells her mom about how she was bullied because of it but stops. Which makes it a great premise because all this time, Yoo-mi’s been carrying this burden all alone. Her mom doesn’t even know she caused her grief growing up. And she doesn’t want her to know, probably don’t want to blame her for working so hard and providing for her.
In her room, Yoo-mi cleans up. Jin-wook asks the bellhop who emptied his car’s gas tank to give him his keys. Threatening to fire him, the bellhop gives him his keys. He even asks him to give him his clean bellhop uniform because his is smeared with cake. He rings Yoo-mi’s room with complimentary wine and food, while Yoo-mi rejects it and asks him to leave. Jin-wook tells her that she wouldn’t refuse the wine if she knew how much it was. Yoo-mi is adamant for him to leave and Jin-wook tells her that he went here to apologize. Yoo-mi sasses that then he should do it immediately because she doesn’t hear him apologizing.
Jin-wook tells her that she should actually apologize first and Yoo-mi incredulously asks why. Jin-wook invades her personal space, which results to Yoo-mi hiccuping at him too close. Jin-wook reminds her of the bus incident and Yoo-mi feels bad, but not for long because he tells her that she’s also the one who ran to his cart like an enraged bull. Offended, they bicker a bit and Jin-wook leaves her room.
Jin-wook realizes that his keys fell in Yoo-mi’s room. Yoo-mi’s pacing, replaying the event, and is severely annoyed at Jin-wook. She then brings wine inside the restroom to enjoy (“I’ll forgive him this time because this wine is delicious”) but slips on the floor, immobilized. The wine glass breaks and she looks kind of bloodied, with all the wine in her white robe and on the floor. Jin-wook rings the doorbell again and again for her room and Yoo-mi asks for help. Jin-wook hears it and opens the room, looks for his keys, and gets it. He then sees Yoo-mi on the bathroom floor with all the “blood”. Yoo-mi fakes being unconscious because she’s too embarrassed and shy. Jin-wook carries her out of her room, looking all so worried, while Yoo-mi still fakes being unconscious.
There are paramedics outside the building and Jin-wook tries to make Yoo-mi decent by covering her thighs as much as he can with her robe. The EMTs tickle her and she ends up kicking one and the EMT goes down. That’s some kick you have in you, Yoo-mi!
Yoo-mi feels embarrassed about it all and hits her head on a wall, still in her robe by the lobby. Jin-wook is with her, asking and yelling at her why she’s on the bathroom floor. He reprimands her and tells her that she should have told him that she was okay when he carried her out instead of feigning unconsciousness. He says that he gets that she’s embarrassed, but she could have acted better then. LOL. He feels humiliated in front of all those people. She answers that why did he even get inside her room without her permission and he softly says that it was because she asked for help. She couldn’t argue with that so she complains that why did he even bring her that cart, which kind of started all of this.
She then kind of talks to herself and rants why is everything not going her way? She can’t bathe in peace, she can’t make Korean meatballs properly, she can’t do anything right. He becomes gentle at that (!!!) and asks her if she’s alright. He gives her his bellhop uniform jacket and tells her to try and enjoy her stay here. WHAT IS A GIRL SUPPOSED TO DO WHEN YOU DO THAT, JIN-WOOK?
Jin-wook drives around with his car the next day and goes to a porridge restaurant with flowers. He looks inside and leaves the flowers by the door, and immediately leaves when she spots a group of aunts coming towards him. A certain lady stops by and sees the flowers with the card that says happy birthday. Jin-wook watches it behind a corner wall. ANGST ALERT! MOM ALERT! THIS-IS-WHY-I-AM-PLAYFUL-AND-IMMATURE-AND-A-BRAT-BECAUSE-I-HAVE-MOMMY-ISSUES ALERT!
Yoo-mi takes Jin-wook’s advice and enjoys her stay in the resort, taking selfies while looking around. She waits by a bus stop, about to eat a kimbap, when a sports car passes and backs away swiftly. It’s Jin-wook and he’s in a banter-y mood. Yoo-mi tells her not to pick a fight with her today and he even compares her to Blackey, “a friend I feed every day”. Yoo-mi thinks he’s a bellhop so she’s curious how he’s gotten a car that fancy. Did he perhaps rent a car? Or maybe stole a customer’s car??? Jin-wook tells her she doesn’t know him and that he’s not an average person. He tells her that he’s the chairman’s son and she doesn’t believe him, thinking he stole the chairman’s son’s car. He asks her if he wants a ride and she doesn’t want to be an accomplice to car theft. Jin-wook tells her there are no buses anymore and Yoo-mi immediately goes inside the car. HAHAHA
He tells her that she looks like a secretary in her outfit and that that dress suits her better. What a player, still. Haha! He also teases her about her romance book, saying it sounds explicit. She defends herself and says it isn’t. The gas alarm rings and he asks to loan some money from Yoo-mi to get gas. Meanwhile, Secretary Jang reports this to Director Cha, Jin-wook’s father, and his father tells Secretary Jang to just let him go, telling him that he might have to be somewhere. He then muses after the phone call that Jin-wook might get his act together after he sees his mom. SO IT WAS HIS MOM! CONFIRMATION ALERT!
Jin-wook drives to the beach and Yoo-mi complains that she thought they were driving back to the resort. She doesn’t believe him when he says he’s paying her double for the gas money and Jin-wook gets irritated at that, telling her he doesn’t go back on his word. He gets a bottle of wine from the backseat and tells her that he’s staying there for a while so she can take the bus or hitchhike if she wants to leave. Or just drink with him, that works too. YES, JIN-WOOK, I WILL DRINK WINE WITH YOU BY THE BEACH.
Jin-wook tells Yoo-mi that they’re both not feeling good so they should recharge and not to worry because he’s not hitting on her. Yoo-mi finds a coin made on the year she was born and thinks it’s her lucky day. Jin-wook scoffs at that, how can it be her lucky day after all the shit she went through? Yoo-mi, ever a Candy, muses that even if a hundred bad things happen, when one good thing happens, that day is a lucky day. She then gives Jin-wook the lucky 500 won as a gift to wish him luck as he seemed sad the whole day.
It turns into night and these two are drunk. Yoo-mi even dances! Yoo-mi loses her filter and says thank you to Jin-wook. Nothing has been working for her these days and she’s so lonely and having a hard time. No one ever asked her if she was alright and Jin-wook was the first to do so. She knows it’s not a big deal but his words comforted her and for that she’s truly grateful. Jin-wook tries to make the air light and tells her that he’s just so charming. She’s not the first to cry because of him but she’s the first to cry because he asked if she was okay. And promptly tells her that she’s the first woman he thinks is pretty when she cries.
Yoo-mi gets into a hiccup fit again with that line and tries to leave and stands up too abruptly and OF COURSE, Jin-wook catches her and Jin-wook finds her hiccups cute.
Enter a slow-mo, charged moment and Jin-wook kisses Yoo-mi. She pushes him away and Jin-wook feels sorry for misinterpreting the signs and the air but Yoo-mi steels herself and finds courage and grabs him by his coat’s lapel and kisses him. They look at each other and Jin-wook asks a wordless question and Yoo-mi nods her answer. HELLO, SEXY TIMES. HIHIHIHI
First, let me share the first song in My Secret Romance‘s soundtrack: Same sung by Song Ji-eun and Sung Hoon. I’m obsessed now with the song, after hearing it so many times while writing this recap and it’s actually fueling me right now. Love the usage of the song and the timing, especially the kong kong kong parts.
And here are my thoughts AKA trying-to-be-coherent-but-are-only-actually-squeals.
The epilogue! Honestly, I always look forward to the epilogue because they are probably my favorite scenes. The first screencap of Jin-wook with his cat, Blackey (yes, he was comparing Yoo-mi to his cat), is from the epilogue. As he goes home, Jin-wook looks around his big house and is that a look of loneliness on his face? YES, I WILL READ THAT AS LONELINESS. And I’m betting that blanket’s from his mother or something. Also, why is he sleeping on the couch in his own house?
Anyway. While no one’s gonna win awards for their acting, both Sung Hoon and Song Ji-eun deliver and portray their roles so well. Sung Hoon has really mastered being an immature and arrogant brat but with a heart. He also has such good comedic timing. His facial expressions make me laugh and he’s able to deliver laughs while still being in character. No overacting and trying too hard. And then when he brings on the sad eyes, OH HOW MUCH I WANT TO HUG JIN-WOOK.
Song Ji-eun is doing good with Yoo-mi. I like how Yoo-mi’s shy and easily embarrassed but she’s also feisty and she fights when it’s getting too much. Or when she just can’t deal anymore. I like her story arc too, both her and Jin-wook’s.
As for the shots and the cinematography, it’s nothing spectacular but it serves the drama well. There are A LOT of slow-mo moments to indicate that it’s a charged moment but I couldn’t care less because they are really charged ones. Then they’d bring the laugh. I mean, it was so common for the hero to catch the heroine if they end up colliding but a cake falling on the heroine’s face? Them falling on the floor still? I was laughing out loud.
My Secret Romance is nothing groundbreaking or new but it sure does make me feel good. I like the characters, their story arcs, the humor. More importantly, I care about the characters and this early on, I want them to be together already. That’s saying something because lord knows how many dramas took their time for me to ship the ship. Sung Hoon and Song Ji-eun’s chemistry is there and it’s growing every minute the show is on.
Nothing much happened in the first episode and we don’t even see the basic premise of the show yet, which is them working together after a three-year time jump from this one-night stand. And yet, I find myself not caring? I usually want the plot to be there and established right away but in this case, I like how it took its time, which means we definitely KNOW now our characters because the drama took its sweet time introducing them to us, while making us laugh too.
I AM SO EXCITED TO RECAP THE NEXT EPISODE IF ONLY TO MAKE YOU WATCH IT AND SPAZZ WITH ME