Secret Love Affair: Episodes 5-6

back hugThis show is killing me! In the best possible way! Every single time I think I know what’s coming, it throws a curve ball. Not in a gimmicky way, though. Instead the show insists on portraying its characters as actual people living in the world, not as archetypes marching through a drama. Spoilers for episodes 5 and 6 below…

I know I said I thought Hye-won was going to cheat like a boss and that I admired her efficiency in bringing Sun-jae into her home. And at that time (end of ep. 4) I totally felt that way. But seeing Hye-won founder when she’s in complete control over every other aspect of her life, seeing her stumble her way into a relationship with Sun-jae — I love it!! I wince at her getting caught — but I really do love that she’s bad at this.

Because of course Hye-won isn’t a smooth cheater — this isn’t how she operates at all. Despite the chilliness of her marriage and her indifference (at best) for her husband, Hye-won never took a lover because that would be crazy. It’d open her up to all kinds of trouble and it be hard to manage. It just wasn’t worth it. Until Sun-jae.

And everything she’s done with Sun-jae — everything she’s done beyond her recruiter/teacher role — has been despite her training and discipline. But she can’t force herself to stop. It is so obvious that she is getting swept up by her emotions here. joyI’d say she was in love. (I feel she’s in love.) And I think it’s a good thing — their joy when they’re together, it’s hard for me to say that’s bad — but it’s obviously a very dangerous road for Hye-won to take.

And now her husband knows. Which is so frustrating! They barely got started and he already knows?!? I have no idea what he’s going to do now. Nothing good, I’m sure. He’s obviously unhappy. I suspect teacher-jealousy is tangled up with sexual-jealousy — maybe even outweighing it — but his pride has been stung. And Professor Kang doesn’t deal well with blows to his pride. So that he hasn’t come out swinging immediately is interesting. And it’s got me thinking…

There’s a strange sort of battle going on over Hye-won’s loyalties. Madam Han and Young-woo are fighting over her. (Young-woo is going about it all wrong — but that’s Young-woo for you.) Professor Kang is constantly accusing Hye-won of putting Professor Jo above him. So I’m halfway wondering if Professor Kang might not use what he knows to get Hye-won working fully for him (and also Young-woo). caughtWhich isn’t the usual way cuckolded husbands respond but… they’re not in a usual marriage. I think it’s always been about power for them.

There is that cello professor though. I believe she’s Professor Kang’s sister. (I think? I’m not sure but they are connected somehow.) And it seems like she’s involved in some kind of shady instrument selling scam if I followed all that correctly. So, maybe she’ll be a way Hye-won can fight back? (I am clinging to the possibility of a happy ending here. I am not ashamed! Also, I’m trying to figure out why we keep having scenes with the cello professor. I’m sure there are reasons.)

But enough about seedy politics, onto the important stuff! I love how this drama is covering all aspects of love — from the sublime…
Sun-jae plays

to the carnal.

Hye-won loves Sun-jae and the way he plays the piano, his interpretation and emotion and skill. But she was also totally checking out his body while he scrubbed the floor for her. And her imagination went into overdrive while wondering how Da-mi gave him those scratches.

(Da-mi is an interesting character. I love that she didn’t let Mrs. Baek’s daughter walk all over her. I hate rude customers and that was pretty badass. I’m not that thrilled with how she beats up Sun-jae. It’s teetering on, if not tipping right into, abuse.)

And… I might be overdriving my own imagination but… Sun-jae was aroused when he went in for the hug after the Liszt piece, wasn’t he? I mean, why else would Hye-won glance down and then sort of freeze in shock?
HyeWon notices

And he glanced down too…
SunJae notices

And they were really pressed together when they hugged and the camera focused in on that and…
Pressed together

Anyone else notice? Just me?

There is such an interesting balancing act going on with the two of them. Hye-won keeps trying to maintain her distance by keeping to the teacher role. But when they play together, they play as equals. And, in some ways, they’re reacting to their emotions in similar ways. Sun-jae, overwhelmed by his feelings, expressed them with his forced-kiss. A couple of episodes later, overwhelmed by her feelings (triggered, I think, by Sun-jae saying her name — which he managed to do quite cleverly, I thought), Hye-won expresses them by giving him a forced kiss.

(Which gets followed up by the most epic back hug ever. lady in redAfter that all attempts by Hye-won to deny her feelings… no. And then they play piano together and the sheer joy they’re having… so much love. And after all that, Hye-won finally breaks out of her monochromatic color scheme and wears some rich red.)

And Sun-jae is fascinating character. Endearingly guileless but not stupid, quiet but no pushover, he’s devoted to Hye-won but he’s not blindly devoted. He insists on being heard — even if it takes him time to figure out the words he wants to use. Even if he has to use music to get it across. It’s pretty awesome because Hye-won is smart enough and clever enough to get her way when she wants it. SunJae speaksBut Sun-jae won’t be maneuvered. He won’t let her lie. (Though, I think he’s not yet aware of how deeply she cares for him. I don’t think he fully realizes how dangerous her world is.)

He’s going to add an interesting twist to the school’s power plays. Right now everyone’s seeing him as a pawn. But his talent is huge enough I suspect he’ll have more pull than anyone realizes. And… I feel like he won’t be afraid to use it, but in his own way. Which is where my prediction brain fizzles. Which is awesome!

I am aching for the next episode. What will Sun-jae say when he sees Hye-won’s head wound? Where are they driving off to for the two hours Hye-won asked for? Will there be kissing? And when will Sun-jae’s audition finally happen and get him to the damn school already?!? (I seriously want to see him interacting with some of the other characters.) In the meantime… I wait.


31 thoughts on “Secret Love Affair: Episodes 5-6

  1. I’m quite faschinated by all of these people – the good, the bad and the ugly. 🙂 This whole world is so rich and textured and full of subtle nuances. I love it! Of course I’m not able to profess my love as elaborately as you do. I always seem to lack proper words when I need them, damn it! XD

    I wrote in my first (I think it was the first…) SLA post that Sun Jae is a catalyst. His arrival to the scene will shake up the fake world of both the foundation and the school. There are so many bent up emotions floating around that the bust up may be quite spectacular. That’s my prediction anyways. I could be wrong of course, you never know with this drama. With SLA it’s always ‘expect the unexpected’. 🙂

    Waiting for the next episodes is SO hard!

    • Just like in “A Wife’s Credentials” they could totally make dramas focused on other characters’ lives — which is just like life, isn’t it? So, so good. 🙂

      Ooh… Sun-jae as catalyst — I like it! Because he’s also exactly what the school says they’re there to serve — talented but unprivileged students. He’s the real deal and doesn’t have to fake anything and he’s getting thrown into a place where so much is fake… Oh, I’m eager to see him at the school!! (I was hoping for previews that showed whether it’d happen or not. Thwarted! 😦 Which weirdly makes the wait even harder.)

      • They could probaly make several spin-offs with these two dramas. It’s really rare you see so many well drawn out characters in one drama, let alone two. Even most of the bit parts have enough meat around the bones to make you curious about the characters. It IS life like.

        It just struck me early on that Sun Jae’s arrival to the scene is going to set things in motion. He is the stone dropped in the bond, sending ripples all around and breaking the still surface that’s hiding all sort of muck under the fake calm. And that’s enough of metaphors for today, LOL!

        • I officially love this director. I’m so looking forward to watching “End of the World” when SLA is done and out of my system. (Which might take a while, I admit.)

  2. Oh you’re not the only one that noticed how HW glanced down, not just once, with the frozen look on her face before the hug. I’ve seen a lot of people making a note of that in Korean websites. No confirmation from the production team or anything but I think the scene was definitely crafted to be viewed in a few different ways.

    • Oh, I’m glad to hear that, nab! 😀 I thought I was the only one who noticed. And then I started questioning myself… But she seriously looks right at his crotch and freezes. What else was I supposed to think? 😛

      I’m totally fine with the production team not confirming, though. I like it when scenes can be viewed in different ways. Especially if it helps people maintain their comfort level. 🙂

  3. Welp, I see we were all having the same thoughts. I thought it fleetingly while watching that part but immediately said……nahhhh. Pull yourself together. But that hug was just so fraught with physicality. It wasn’t about accepting his hug. It was about accepting and responding to his desire. That’s what all that heavy breathing was about and the tentative hand to his waist. Great googly moogly how thick are Yoo Ah In’s thighs in that still? I do not objectify people, I swear. I’ll give myself a time out.

    • Hee! I did the “pull yourself together, this is a korean drama, girl!” stern talking to, as well! 😀 And then I re-watched and I was like, “no, she is seriously staring at his crotch right there,” and then with the deer-in-headlights look… And now I can’t un-see it. 😛

      And yes! Accepting his desire — not just his admiration and respect, but his desire “as a man” as they say. Two adults entering into an adult relationship. Something I think Hye-won has no experience in, really. Not on the emotional level at least. So to give herself over to it… It’s such a huge move on her part.

      And you will not be alone in that time-out corner! The entire production crew will be right there with you — what with their shots of Yoo Ah-in scrubbing the floor. Talk about female-gaze! (Which makes for a nice twist on the usual male-gaze…) And then, of course, there are all us viewers. A very crowded corner, indeed! 😀

      • I’ve been SO amused with all these ‘weeeelll, what have we here!’ moments over the blogverse. Especially as it didn’t register for me at all. Guess my ‘pervy-pass’ has been revoked. 😀 I have noticed YAI’s marvellous thighs though. He’s one fine spicimen of a healthy, young male. Mmmmm….. XD

  4. Bwahhaha Betsy! You know your reading of that hug is causing quite the stir, and I haven’t re-watched it because I barely made it through the first time round. But hey, with these two, anything it plausible. I’m just gonna take it as every time they listen to music is code for foreplay, and every time they actually play is code for doing the nasty. Until they actually get round to doing the nasty…which I’m not sure how I’m going to handle that coz this if there ever was a kdrama that could make me feel inadequate about my love/sex life it would be this one.

    And Da Mi!! I’m just waiting for an all-out bare knuckle fight involving hairpins and broken bottles. I mean, DAMN. The sudden eruptions of violence in this drama just kill me! I love how all the women in this drama are so much more interesting than the men. The men are side dish triflings compared to these women who are all kinds of awesome. Scary awesome. Like, do-not-want-to-meet-them-in-an-alley-at-night kind of awesome.

    • Hee! I was lurking over at Soompi and saw that. (Surprising and flattering!) Who knows if I saw what I wanted to see, or if I saw correctly — I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one. It’s always awkward being the lone perv. 😛

      I agree with your coding. Completely. And that they were laughing through their last time playing together… gah. I loved that. And now I’m officially wanting a happy ending with the two of them together. Might not happen, but I’ve decided they’re meant for each other, age gap be damned. I have decreed! 😉

      The women are so powerful here! And so complex and layered, with motivations and dreams and weaknesses and desires of their own. And the broken beer bottle!! I’d forgotten about that! So maybe Hye-won wouldn’t be easy meat for Da-mi. (Forewarned is forearmed?) I’d say I was looking forward to their clash but… I kind of like how much Da-mi likes Hye-won. I know it’s built on a false foundation but I don’t want to see Da-mi hating Hye-won. Pretty sure it’s going to happen, though. And it’ll be everything it needs to be and more.

  5. Has anybody noticed in episode 5 when SJ was sleeping after playing piano the whole night (around 30 min.), that he was dreaming about kissing – I’m not joking, he was kissing the pillow 😀

  6. I just had to rewatch that boner scene because I was skeptical.
    ….YOU WERE RIGHT. It’s not even very subtle, the sexual implication’s definitely there and it was handled in such a clever and tasteful way. I hope we’ll get more of that in future episodes (along with more butt shots of Sun Jae, of course).

    • One more for the “he’s happy to see her” team! 😀

      The sexual side to their attraction has been handled so, so well. From Sun-jae’s blunt honesty to Hye-won’s increasingly weakening denials and they way they both approach it… And yet, it doesn’t overshadow their emotional connection. Not an easy balance, but the show makes it look effortless. (All that and butt shots! They are too kind. 😀 )

  7. I’m so head over heels for this drama. I’ve watched these episodes on DF and on Viki but I’m going to watch a third time cause I missed the pillow kissing and glances at SJ’s crotch. I feel like I miss these details because I’m so focused on reading subtitles. I really love the music and the camera work. It feels like the audience is getting a glimpse at a forbidden world.

    • Since you’ve watched this drama on both DF and Viki, which do you think has the better translations? I prefer Viki because it’s fast and the comments are interesting, but, if DF has better subs, I’ll watch it again so as not to miss any nuances.

      • I think Viki is better, there are a few lines that just flowed better and had more nuance in the Viki subtitles than the DF.

        • I’ll second the Viki-rec. (Which is ironic because I watch more on DramaFever. For some reason Viki freezes up on me with unfortunate regularity.) DramaFever has improved quite a bit, but Viki brings the nuance. Plus, DramaFever made a stylistic choice to not use titles (like Unnie, or Hyung, etc.). Which loses a lot of nuance. (Sometimes it clarifies a relationship by how the two people address each other.)

    • Having to read subtitles does distract, I agree. (I swear, I’ve picked up my speed-reading skills from all the k-drama! 😉 ) Ah well — an excuse for another re-watch!

      And so, so much agreement about the soundtrack and camera work. This is such an intimate feeling drama because those aspects are so skillfully used.

  8. “Also, I’m trying to figure out why we keep having scenes with the cello professor. I’m sure there are reasons.” This! Why do we keep getting these scenes? If they don’t eventuate into anything, I’m… not going to care particularly much, but still! They’re so pointless at the moment, they must mean something eventually.

    • I think when the corruption gets exposed HW will be in trouble because she opened accounts in her parent’s name. The cello professor is YW’s sister in law so she can use that against YW and the Chairman if they try to make her take the blame for everything.

    • I trust the storytellers enough I’m confident it’ll all make sense in the end. 🙂 I think as soulsentwined implies — she’ll be tied to the school’s corruption. I’m not sure if she’ll be someone Hye-won can use (an obviously corrupt professor), or if she’ll be someone used against Hye-won (throwing the blame onto Hye-won not managing the school correctly). I fear the latter, especially after that gossip session in the spa implying Sun-jae slept his way into the school.

  9. Pingback: Secret Love Affair: episodes 11 and 12 | Creating Volumes

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