How do you keep yourself together when you’ve discovered something that could potentially shatter your world? If you’re our hero, it turns out that you can’t, and it’s much easier to fall deeper and deeper into a pit of despair. As his suspicions about his wife’s infidelity deepen, Hyun-woo finds that there’s no shortage of opinions out there on the touchy subject of adultery and affairs. But whether or not these opinions actually translate to helpful advice — well, that’s another story altogether.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Hyun-woo waits anxiously outside of a wedding hall, all dressed up for his big day. He smiles widely when he sees his bride running towards him, and opens his arms wide. But to his shock, Soo-yeon rushes past him and into the hall by herself, the doors slamming shut behind her. All Hyun-woo can do is look through the crack of the door, where he sees Soo-yeon at the altar with someone else.
Of course, it’s all a dream, and Hyun-woo wakes up on the couch with a start. Soo-yeon greets her husband sweetly and offers to make him coffee, but Hyun-woo eyes her suspiciously. He thinks of all the things he’s seen so far that point to his wife (possibly) having an affair: her fancy clothes, the texts from Michael, and her clasping hands with the man in the car the night before.
But Soo-yeon takes care of Hyun-woo and their son Joon-soo in the exact same way she always has, which not only confuses Hyun-woo, but also makes him more suspicious. When he sees Soo-yeon bring a shoebox into the entryway, he lurks around to get a good look at the shoes, remembering the receipts he found earlier — but they’re just some plain nude pumps.
As he drives to work, Hyun-woo argues with himself about confronting his wife, then curses out loud in frustration. Ha, it turns out that Joon-soo’s been in the car this whole time — Hyun-woo’s so out of it that he completely forgot that he was supposed to take his son to school.
Hyun-woo and his colleagues meet to flesh out the concept of their new show, which just happens to focus on cheating wives. Hyun-woo’s so consumed with thoughts about his own cheating wife that all he does during the meeting is make angry comments and argue with staff. He gets more and more worked up, eventually blowing up and screaming that having an affair is akin to committing a crime.
As the meeting continues, Hyun-woo turns on his phone to discover that someone’s responded to the internet posting he left about his wife. He retreats to his desk to read the responses privately. The comments range from sympathetic to angry to just plain weird, but one comment in particular makes him feel a bit better. It advises Hyun-woo to stay calm, since it’s not clear that his wife has cheated on him yet. Instead, he should focus on finding out who the other man is.
Focusing on the words “be calm,” Hyun-woo returns to his meeting. His hoobae Joon-young sketches out a scenario for their show, the concept of which centers on a detective agency that investigates cheating wives.
Joon-young says they’ll follow a married woman as she heads to a secret meeting with her lover at a motel, then wonders if they’d get to go inside the motel room. The women on the team don’t see the need — the mere fact that the couple is at a motel is enough to signal an affair. The men disagree, countering that it’s not truly adultery unless the couple sleep together, and Hyun-woo finds himself nodding in agreement.
Elsewhere, Hyun-woo’s lawyer friend Yoon-ki is out shopping with his wife, Ara. A saleswoman suggests a lacy top for Ara, which she finds too sexy for her taste, but Yoon-ki lays it on thick, saying it would look elegant on her.
In the office break room, Hyun-woo mulls over the words of the helpful commenter who suggested that he look into the identity of the other man. He’s not sure where to start, but he has a lightbulb moment when he overhears a young woman telling her friend about looking up a potential date on social media.
Cut to: Hyun-woo creating his very own Facebook account. He quickly adds Soo-yeon as a friend, then scrolls through her list of friends for a “Michael.” Of course, he can’t find anyone with that name, so he types “Michael” into the search field, then grumbles about the sheer number of profiles that pop up.
Back at the department store, Ara and Yoon-ki have lunch, and Ara posts a photo on social media gushing about their date. Afterward, Yoon-ki tells his wife to head home by herself, citing a client meeting. Ara drives off, but not before making sure she sees Yoon-ki get in his car.
As soon as Ara leaves, however, Yoon-ki gets out of the car and heads back into the department store, where he tells the same saleswoman from earlier that he’d like to buy the lace top. He leans in close and whispers that it’s a gift; the woman smiles knowingly, then kisses him on the cheek. Ugh.
Joon-young picks up the lunch tab for all of his coworkers, which he apparently does quite frequently. Writer Bo-young wonders if his wife is bothered by his spending, but Joon-young says his wife is cool about it. Bo-young says it sounds more like his wife neglects him, ha.
On their walk back to the office, Bo-young sees Soo-yeon at a café across the street. Joon-young starts to call out to her, but stops when he sees a man run up to join Soo-yeon at her table. Joon-young jokes that the two look good together and snaps a photo, while Bo-young quips that the man has a “nice scent.”
Hyun-woo is still scrolling through all the different Michaels on Facebook when he gets the photo of his wife from Joon-young with the accompanying text: “Your wife is having an affair.” Hyun-woo zooms in on the photo, his eyes widening in horror.
Meanwhile, Yoon-ki and his lady-of-the-moment are getting cozy in a hotel room, but only after Yoon-ki’s done a thorough check for hidden cameras. What a pro, this guy.
Joon-young returns to the office and immediately starts in on how dashing Soo-yeon’s male companion was, jokingly asking Hyun-woo if Soo-yeon’s really having an affair. Having had enough, Hyun-woo walks out of the office in a huff, leaving Joon-young to chase after him.
Outside, Hyun-woo finally shares his secret with Joon-young: Soo-yeon’s having an affair. Joon-young falls to the ground in shock, then the two freak out about what to do. Joon-young says they should just break into the hotel room, beat the other guy up, and throw divorce papers at Soo-yeon. But Hyun-woo pauses at the mention of divorce — he tells Joon-young that they need to approach the situation calmly, since Soo-yeon’s affair technically hasn’t been confirmed.
Joon-young completely contradicts his stance from earlier and insists that affairs are different for women — the mere fact that Soo-yeon let a man book a hotel room is evidence of an affair. He tells Hyun-woo that at the very least, he should hire a detective agency to investigate Soo-yeon’s phone records. That way, they’ll know if Soo-yeon has responded to Michael’s invitation.
At home, Ara lovingly prepares dinner for her husband, setting the table at promptly 6:00 p.m. She waits at the table until it’s well past 8:00 — that’s when Yoon-ki rushes in, blaming traffic. As soon as Yoon-ki heads to the bathroom, Ara springs into action, closely examining his suit jacket and rifling through his bag.
With Joon-young’s words ringing in his ears, Hyun-woo purposefully strides towards a detective agency. But he can’t bring himself to actually go in, instead calling the office from a nearby restroom. The detective who answers immediately guesses that Hyun-woo’s calling about a cheating wife, then tells Hyun-woo to wait inside.
The detective asks Hyun-woo when his suspicions about his wife began, and how long the two have been married. When Hyun-woo tells him they’ve been married eight years, the detective says that’s right around the time when a lot of affairs happen, causing Hyun-woo’s face to fall.
The detective agency uses three tactics for their investigations: tailing, phone tapping, and checking call logs. Of the three, checking call logs is the most popular, and the detective says they can get started on Hyun-woo’s case as soon as they receive his payment.
Yoon-ki’s texting with a girlfriend in his study when Ara interrupts with fruit and tea. Yoon-ki quickly puts his phone away, but his phone dings insistently with new messages. Ara coolly tells Yoon-ki to check his phone, and when he does, his face brightens in relief — it’s just Hyun-woo calling him out to a nearby bar.
Yoon-ki meets Hyun-woo at the bar and makes sure to check their table with his hidden camera detector before settling in. He tells Hyun-woo that he’s been getting weird vibes from his wife lately — almost like she knows something.
It’s clear that Yoon-ki really doesn’t want to get caught cheating, considering the lengths he’ll go to try to keep his affairs a secret from his wife. Hyun-woo asks if that means Yoon-ki still harbors feelings for Ara, but Yoon-ki says he doesn’t — for him, marriage and dating are two completely separate things. He says he married Ara for two reasons: her rich father and her housekeeping skills.
Hyun-woo looks appropriately disturbed by this, but he can’t pass up the chance to mine Yoon-ki’s depth of knowledge in this area. He asks if a woman’s decision to cheat automatically leads to divorce. Yoon-ki responds that the state of the marriage depends on whether or not the wife chooses to stay with her family, then adds that women are braver than men when it comes to giving up things they already have. At that, Yoon-ki leaves to meet with yet another woman, reminding Hyun-woo to serve as his alibi for the night.
Hyun-woo finds Soo-yeon in the living room folding clothes when he returns home. He pauses in the entryway, wondering when she became so brave.
After washing up, Hyun-woo notices Soo-yeon on the couch, glued to her phone. He’s immediately suspicious and asks who she’s talking to, but she’s only texting with the other mothers in Joon-soo’s class about an upcoming birthday. Hyun-woo casually mentions that Joon-young saw her today at the café, but Soo-yeon isn’t fazed at all. She tells Hyun-woo that she was having a business meeting with a colleague about a new work project — an answer that strikes Hyun-woo as vague.
So he takes another route: He tells Soo-yeon that he’s got a filming on Saturday (the supposed date of Soo-yeon’s secret hotel rendezvous), so she’ll need to pick Joon-soo up from school. To Hyun-woo’s surprise, she agrees, saying that her scheduled work meeting will end by 6:00 p.m. Hyun-woo asks where her meeting will be, and Soo-yeon says her client is supposed to pick the location.
Suddenly, Soo-yeon seems to remember something and leaves the room in a hurry, and Hyun-woo can only stare after her. Later, he checks in on his sleeping son, his face heavy with worry.
The next morning, Hyun-woo’s at work bright and early, looking as depressed as ever. He doesn’t pick up when Soo-yeon calls, then changes her name on his phone from “Pretty Wife” to just “Wife,” heh.
As his colleagues filter into work, they each stop and ask after Hyun-woo, who looks pale and exhausted. From the next desk over, a red-eyed Joon-young answers his colleagues’ well-meaning questions with angry outbursts like a protective guard dog.
Hyun-woo heads outside to meet with the CEO, who asks how the proposal for the new show is going. He asks Hyun-woo to do a good job, promising to support Hyun-woo in whatever he wants to do next. Hyun-woo says he’ll have the proposal done by the end of the day.
When Hyun-woo rejoins his team for yet another meeting, his colleagues tell him that the meeting’s not going particularly well. Haha, it’s because Joon-young keeps bursting into tears as they discuss the new show. Afraid of his cover being blown, Hyun-woo drags Joon-young outside for a chat. Joon-young wails that he can’t possibly do the show now given what Hyun-woo’s going through. Hyun-woo assures his hoobae that he’s okay, but then threatens to kill him if he keeps being so obvious about what he knows.
Back in the conference room, Bo-young reminds Hyun-woo that he’s supposed to meet with Director Park that afternoon to break the news about the cancellation of their previous show. Hyun-woo agrees, but then is distracted almost immediately by a text from the detective agency, confirming receipt of payment. Hyun-woo wonders if he’s doing the right thing, but doesn’t get a chance to ponder further, as he receives a phone call from his sister-in-law. It turns out that today is Hyun-woo and Soo-yeon’s anniversary — and Hyun-woo had forgotten all about it.
He ends up at a store with Bo-young, who’s picking out a gift for Director Park. Hyun-woo can’t think of anything else but Soo-yeon though, and he lingers over a star necklace, recalling a time when he and Soo-yeon looked up at the stars together. He asks Bo-young to take the meeting with Director Park in his stead.
Soo-yeon leaves work in good spirits, telling her coworkers she has a lot to do for a family gathering that evening. She stops by a candy store and picks up a gift.
Meanwhile, Hyun-woo drinks alone at a restaurant, scrolling through more comments on his internet post. It seems the whole world is weighing in on Hyun-woo’s situation: men, women, old, young, and everyone in between. He sighs and wonders why Soo-yeon would plan her secret meeting the day after their anniversary, of all days.
Just then, Bo-young catches sight of Hyun-woo from outside the restaurant — ha, he’s busted. She makes herself comfortable at his table, then tells him that she didn’t meet with Director Park after all, as he’s on a trip with his wife to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.
Hyun-woo marvels at getting to twenty-five years, and Bo-young tells him that each anniversary has a special name, starting with the first “paper” anniversary. As the years go on, the names go from things that are soft, like paper and cotton, to sturdier things like silver and gold — representing the way a marriage gets more intimate as time goes on.
As the two leave the restaurant, Hyun-woo asks Bo-young what the eighth wedding anniversary is called. She says it’s rubber, which she interprets to mean a couple that can’t be separated. She then tells Hyun-woo that there’s still plenty of time to buy his wife an anniversary gift. This earns her a rare smile from Hyun-woo, and he thanks her.
Hyun-woo heads straight to a bakery to pick up a cake, then calls Joon-young to give him an update: He’s decided to have an honest conversation with Soo-yeon after they celebrate their anniversary tonight.
Bo-young returns to the office and sees Joon-young in the break room. She asks if he’s having trouble with his wife, but Joon-young denies it. He says he and his wife don’t fight — they respect each other, so they don’t get caught up in each other’s business. Bo-young thinks that sounds like indifference, not respect, and tells Joon-young to go home and be good to his wife.
Yoon-ki’s plans to meet up with one of his girlfriends are foiled by his new secretary, who’s taken to reporting his every move to Ara. When it becomes clear that the secretary has no plans to leave before him, he makes a break for it, avoiding her watchful eyes and lying that he’s meeting with some PDs next door.
Yoon-ki takes refuge in Hyun-woo’s office, telling Bo-young and Joon-young to continue their meeting and not worry about him. But it doesn’t take long before Yoon-ki jumps into their conversation, offering up his expansive knowledge on ways to catch a cheating spouse.
Yoon-ki warns the duo that phone tapping and hidden cameras are illegal, and it’s hard to capture useful information from black boxes. Instead, he offers three other methods: checking the odometer to see if it matches up with the alibi; checking the license plate area of the car, which will be the only perfectly clean area of a car that’s been made dusty by a motel parking lot (since motels cover up plates for their customers), and checking for pebbles stuck to car tires, as apparently, all motels cover their parking lots with said pebbles.
Wowed by Yoon-ki’s expertise, Bo-young and Joon-young wonder if they could get someone to talk about these kinds of things on the scene for their show. Yoon-ki quickly volunteers himself.
Cake in hand, Hyun-woo picks up some festive red balloons before heading home, looking hopeful. He thinks to himself that Soo-yeon must be cooking up a delicious meal for their anniversary, as she always does. Calling himself and Soo-yeon a “rubber couple,” he resolves to reconnect with his wife and be happy again.
Sadly, when Hyun-woo gets home, the apartment is dark and empty. He spots a note from Soo-yeon on the coffee table, which says that Soo-yeon and Joon-soo are at a birthday party for one of Joon-soo’s classmates, and they’re planning on spending the night.
With dismay growing on his face, Hyun-woo immediately calls Soo-yeon. She’s perfectly chipper on the phone, and tells him that she’ll be home before breakfast the next morning. Hyun-woo can’t get himself to mention their anniversary to her, and after they hang up, he thinks to himself: “My wife forgot our wedding anniversary.”
While Soo-yeon and Joon-soo enjoy their party, Hyun-woo sits alone at home and blows out the candles on his sad cake for one. “Rubber couple?” he says out loud. “Forget it. Intimacy? Forget that.” He sends his cake flying to the floor in a fit of anger, shouting, “I can’t talk to her even if I want to!”
Just then, he gets a text message from the detective agency, telling him they’ve emailed him the results of their investigation into Soo-yeon’s call logs. Trembling, he opens up his email and thinks to himself, “Okay. Let’s end this today.” But his finger hovers over the document, and he’s unable to bring himself to open it. In the end, he hits the “delete” button on the email instead.
Hyun-woo heads to the claw machine with a bottle of soju, determined to get the teddy bear this time. After a few tries, he gets close, but the bear gets stuck at the opening to the drop box. Incensed, Hyun-woo yells and kicks the machine repeatedly, setting off its alarm and attracting attention from nearby pedestrians.
When the owner of the machine shows up, Hyun-woo drunkenly pleads for the bear, whining that he’s a regular customer. He says he’s been coming here for eight years; he’s worked hard, and spent a lot of money on this machine. The owner tries to lead Hyun-woo away, and that’s when Hyun-woo starts yelling. “You can’t do this to me,” he says, over and over again. “Why are you doing this to me? What did I do wrong?”
Once he’s back home, Hyun-woo submits a new online post, asking whether or not his wife will cheat on him today. He plans on catching her at the scene, and beating up the other man. “My actions are justified, right?” he asks.
Poor, poor Hyun-woo. While he’s depicted as a frustrating character of sorts, paralyzed with indecision on what to do about his wife, I totally understand where he’s coming from. On one hand, he’s dying to find out the truth about who Michael is, and what his relationship to Soo-yeon might be. On the other hand, he’s reluctant to pull the trigger and actually get confirmation on whether or not it’s really an affair — it’s like he wants to hold onto this sliver of hope, a tiny bit of faith that he still has in his wife. No wonder he’s so stressed out!
Given all that he’s shouldering, I’m glad that Hyun-woo finally decided to confide in someone (in real life) about his suspicions. Though Joon-young is quite possibly the least helpful friend ever, especially in this type of a crisis, at least Hyun-woo has someone to unload on, and someone who’s on his side. Even if Hyun-woo’s the one having to talk Joon-young off the ledge, I find it cute how devoted Joon-young is to his sunbae, his lack of a filter and irrational emotional outbursts aside.
Though we haven’t gotten too much into Bo-young’s story just yet, the conversation she had with Hyun-woo about wedding anniversaries was a surprisingly lovely and honest moment. Even though Bo-young doesn’t know anything about Hyun-woo’s current marital situation, her simple observations about marriage helped spur Hyun-woo to action, which is no easy feat. And the fact that it spurred him to do something he should have done earlier — actually talk to Soo-yeon — was even better, and stands in contrast with some of the other advice he’s gotten so far. It’s just too bad the conversation between Hyun-woo and Soo-yeon didn’t actually happen — but I suppose if it did, we wouldn’t be in the beginnings of a K-drama, would we?
The show’s doing a pretty good job so far of looking at the decidedly unfunny topic of adultery through a comedic lens, but doing so without trivializing Hyun-woo’s situation and feelings. This probably has a lot to do with Lee Seon-kyun’s performance — his sad sack portrayal of Hyun-woo is genuinely funny, especially in the way he reacts to the absurdities brought on by characters like Joon-young and Yoon-ki. But he also imbues the role with a deep sadness and agony that’s heartbreaking to watch, and entirely appropriate for a man who’s suddenly found his life crumbling to pieces around him.
It’s clever that the show is using Hyun-woo’s job and his show within the show to add another level of commentary on adultery. For now, the show continues to perpetuate the double standard that men and women don’t have affairs in the same way: For men, cheating is purely about sex; for women, it’s about love and emotions. While the Yoon-ki/Ara couple fulfills the stereotypical roles of the philandering husband and jilted wife, I hope the show will go on a different path when further exploring Soo-yeon’s potential affair.
I’m on the same page as others in not being quite convinced of Soo-yeon’s infidelity as of yet. I think that whichever way the story goes, it would certainly be more interesting to see stereotypes subverted, and I wouldn’t mind a more realistic exploration of why men and women might cheat, whether they actually do or not. But until we get more details, I’ll continue to enjoy the many, many facial expressions that Lee Seon-kyun has to offer as he delivers his performance, as they’re all so entertaining to watch.