Unlike previous episodes which were more relationship-focused, this episode had a different pace and tone to it, seeming almost like an action-thriller, which was a refreshing change from the previous episodes.
The whole stalker taking revenge storyline is very well done, beginning tensely with someone typing mysterious in the dark that he has traced that the wife is a graphic designer. This stalker’s first strike is amazingly staged. In the scene before, we see Hyun-Woo selecting flowers, his fingers going over a huge basket of flowers and asking whether he can include a card. The scene switches then to Soo Yeon’s office, where we see the deliveryman walking up the stairs with the baskets and passing it over to her. We are filled with anticipation and hope (if we haven’t watched the trailers, that is) as her staff all wow at the flowers and ask if it’s from her husband. It’s even a possible moment of redemption for her, given the gossip that’s been spreading about her separation. As she smiles to herself and opens the card, she realises to her shock and horror (and ours too) that the card contains a harsh and vengeful hand-written message, saying “I can’t ever forgive the one who betrayed her family. Your husband might have forgiven you, but I can’t forgive you.” It’s a shocking and chilling message, and Soo Yeon’s expression is immediately overcome with fear, while her colleagues around her wonder what has happened.
Following that, a tight and tense sequence of events unfold with Hyun Woo trying to stop the stalker from revealing Soo Yeon’s identity. The editing is deft and sharp, with events unfolding in a fast and furious manner. Hyun Woo pleads with the stalker to not do anything, but he’s insistent. Soo Yeon then reveals herself as a final resort to stop him. It seems like the stalker is going to reveal who she is, then Hyun Woo’s computer shuts down and upon restarting, we realise the forum community has rallied around him and flooded the forum with postings about how they’ve forgiven her. At the sidelines, the couple on the verge of divorce put their computer geekery to great use (which leads to very cool sequences of coding and hacking). They eventually identify the stalker’s location and pass the IP address to Hyun Woo. He tracks the stalker down and it turns out to be his boss (!), who is taking revenge because he is now suffering as a result of divorce (seriously, is there anyone in this show who isn’t divorced?). I had earlier expressed dissatisfaction that Soo Yeon let Hyun Woo off so easily for revealing their story online, so it was nice to see the consequences being explored. This consequences go beyond just Hyun Woo and Soo Yeon and we see how other forum users also use this incident as a way to move ahead in their own lives, whether it’s to reconcile with their spouses or to reflect on life choices.
The Yoon-ki and Ara storyline also takes a somewhat “action-packed” route this week with the key scene being the fight between Ara and the florist, which I honestly found disturbing. I have lost interest in the storyline, but I do appreciate that we no longer see Yoon-Ki philandering without consequences and divorce is on the cards for him, which at this point seems almost too easy.
Looking at both the Hyun Woo-Soo Yeon and Yoon-ki-Ara storylines, it’s clear that the show is taking predominantly the husband’s perspective in exploring both. The wife is largely silenced for most of it; their thoughts and emotions get little air-time compared to their husbands. More seriously, their emotions are presented rather simplistically, with Soo Yeon expressing mostly guilt and Ara now being angry and seeking revenge. I really would have wished we had more time to hear from them, especially to understand what was going through Ara’s mind and why she endured Yoon Ki’s philandering for so long. Actually, if we look at Joon-Young’s marriage, his wife’s perspective is completely silent – in fact, we don’t even hear a word from her this week and the news of him divorcing her is merely presented to us through him telling Bo Young. It’s so deliberately done that I’m left wondering why the women’s journeys are so under-explored in this series. While I respect the writers’ choices, there is definitely amiss when we don’t hear the other side.
As the episode comes to a close, we have a heartfelt conversation between Hyun Woo and Soo Yeon. He apologises to Soo Yeon for not noticing how much she has done over the years and for leaving her alone. He shares how he was always proud that they had not fought for over eight years; however, the truth was that were so many things he didn’t know. Soo Yeon apologises too for leaving a big scar on Joon-Soo and him. He then tells her that they should forget everything and moves forward to hug her. And as he hugs her, the memories of her with the other man flash in his head and he pulls back. He tries again, but the memories overwhelm him – forgiving may be easy, but forgetting isn’t. I admire the show for being brave enough to resist the easy way out by sweeping everything under the carpet. Even at episode 10, we still aren’t aware if they are going to get back together and this reflects the real difficulty of rebuilding a marriage after trust has been lost. It’s not something that an apology or even, repeated apologies will resolve. It often takes years to even regain that trust.
The episode closes with a scene of Boo Young discovering that she’s pregnant, which comes to me as a real shocker as I was enjoying the relative simple, problem-free romance between her and Joon-Young. It’s also surprising because we’re entering the final two episodes of the series and I wonder how it can tie together so many loose ends. While the show has certainly been a refreshing in the way it approaches a difficult issue, I’m left wondering and even worrying about the kind of message that will emerge at the end of the show. I’m hoping that the show at the very least manages to do justice to Soo Yeon’s character and we see some growth for her in this marriage.