Secret Love Affair: Episodes 9 and 10

curtains photo curtains_zps7d9b9d65.jpgWell! The board has changed completely! Some motivations have become gloriously clear, while others have sunk deeper into murky. And that’s just the view from Hye-won’s head! We’re heading into the second half of the drama with the plot nicely thickened and I have no idea where we’re going to go from here. Pretty sure I’m going to love it, though. Even if it hurts. Spoilers for eps 9 & 10 below…

First the clarity: I loved, loved, loved Hye-won’s letter to Sun-jae. It was so beautifully shot, with Hye-won making her way up to Sun-jae’s place — all eagerness and trepidation — as she narrates the letter…
climbing photo climbing_zps85832dcf.jpg

and then cutting to Sun-jae’s reaction as his heart pretty much explodes from all the feelings she’s giving him.
the feels photo TheFeels_zpse92c4fe2.jpg

I loved that she was so straightforwardly honest in telling him how deeply she loves him, but also unflinching in laying out that this is something that must, must, must be kept a secret.

And I love that Sun-jae gets it. He’s got a purity (or maybe “clarity” would be the better word?) to him but he’s not an idiot. So he recognizes the danger Hye-won especially is in and, refreshingly, he doesn’t resent her for it. I think it’s his own clarity — his strong sense of self, his strong sense of what is important to him — that enabled Hye-won to be so open with him. And that openness means Sun-jae is a full partner in their relationship. (Such a contrast to the games and resentments and polite little lies Hye-won and Professor Kang use to manage their relationship.) together photo together_zpsb335832d.jpgThey may be lying to the world (badly, bless them) but they don’t lie to each other.

This is why I was so happy with their fighting in the previous episodes. Hye-won’s words weren’t always honest, but her emotions definitely were. Probably a first for her. Sun-jae provided a place where she could safely crack open her shell. And of course the first thing to spew out was incoherent, fear-fueled, panic and anger. (What formed her shell in the first place.) But once that was gone, she was able to show him her true self. And so we get that wonderfully honest letter.

In a very cool — and I’m going to say deliberate — way, Da-mi mirrors Hye-won. That she was second in command to a money-driven gangster… that’s the back alley version of Hye-won’s job. And it was seeing herself through Sun-jae’s eyes that pulled Da-mi out of that world. DaMi(That she was the second — that little detail is what has me convinced the storytellers mean for us to see the parallel.)

One big difference: Da-mi is a very linear and straightforward thinker (no subterfuge, ever) while Hye-won is circular and complex with layers upon layers into infinity. (Except when it comes to committing adultery. At which point Hye-won thinks to get two phones, and then constantly loses track of her legit one. A hilariously nerve-wracking habit.)

Also, while I adore Hye-won, I kind of don’t like Da-mi. I feel bad about it, though. She’s actually a good person and she’s doing right by her friends as best she can. I mean, it’s not fair to expect her to recognize that Hye-won and Sun-jae are OTP4EVAH! and should have 10,000 babies and ride off into every sunset ever while unicorns prance and puppies and kittens frolic and rainbows cover the earth.

room kiss

unicorns prance!

backstage kiss

puppies and kitten frolic!

backstage kiss (take 2)

rainbows cover the earth!

bliss

…10,000 babies?

As far as Da-mi knows, Hye-won has lied to her and might be manipulating Sun-jae into a sordid affair for her own twisted reasons. But I fear she’s going to straightforwardly expose them (like she did with Jang-ho), so I just can’t warm up to her.

Someone I do like, that I worry I shouldn’t, is Madam Han. Well — Madam Han and Chancellor Min. Those two make for an interesting pair. Both are as corrupt as the day is long, but they’re not asses about it. (Unlike Professor Kang or Young-woo… or her smirky boy-toy, for that matter.) And… okay, I’m totally shallow. Chancellor MinI’m pretty sure their working together to make Hye-won Sun-jae’s primary teacher has everything to do with my liking them. (Kneeing the Chairman in the groin back in ep. 8 probably helped, too. Not going to lie.)

I’m sure Madam Han and Chancellor Min are up to their own game and I’m confident they’ll sacrifice whomever to win whatever it is they’re after. (Control of the Art Foundation?) But I also get this sense that they’re on Hye-won’s side. Or, not on her side, but they recognize and value Hye-won’s abilities at least. Far, far more than Young-woo or Professor Kang. And possibly even more than the Chairman. (Who recognizes Hye-won’s talent but, in using it to prop up his daughter, devalues it.)

So I’m not as worried about them figuring out Hye-won and Sun-jae’s relationship. Which also means, I’m not angry at Hye-won’s friend admitting her suspicions to Madam Han when asked. Madam Han(I doubt Hye-won would feel betrayed; I suspect this kind of thing is par the course. It’d be nice if the friend gave Hye-won a heads-up, though.)

It is too bad that they’ve shaken up Professor Kang. I think he was willing to turn a blind-eye to Hye-won and Sun-jae’s closeness (I’m not sure he thought it was a full on affair — but he could tell Sun-jae preferred Hye-won as a teacher) as long as he got the public praise. But with Chancellor Min and Madam Han taking him off primary teacher duty, his motivation for turning a blind eye is disappearing.

Sun-jae’s a tiny bit too obvious he looks to Hye-won for instruction, and people are talking about her being his “real” teacher. Professor Kang wants to keep the glory of being Sun-jae’s teacher to himself. sneakAnd I worry he’s thinking that discovering the affair will help him do it… somehow.

He must have had some strong suspicions as to what they were up to when he went looking for them after the concert. Maybe he thinks he can separate Hye-won from Sun-jae if they’re discovered? Or cow Sun-jae into following him? Anyway, he came terrifyingly close to discovering them — because sneaking is his actual gift — and that can only be a bad thing. Because Professor Kang is a mess and doesn’t really know how to play the game. (He has his position because of Hye-won. I’m pretty sure he’d be flailing without her.) I don’t trust him with secrets.

And then came the Prosecutors and this is where things get murky. Hye-won knew they were coming. She didn’t warn Young-woo, for obvious reasons. But I’m not sure she warned Madame Han, either. Which is a much less obvious choice. (Or was it even a choice? Was she distracted?) And then she took that long, lingering look around her office before heading out. lingering lookDoes Hye-won have a move planned for just these circumstances? How dirty is it? Would Sun-jae approve? Does this new Hye-won — deeply in love with Sun-jae — approve? Am I reading waaay too much into a lingering look?

I have no idea. My drama-predicition-meter broke after the second episode with this show. I just know things have shifted and the path forward is hard to see and I’d really like episode 11 now, please and thank you. The countdown to Monday has begun. Again.
and so his watch begins...

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21 thoughts on “Secret Love Affair: Episodes 9 and 10

  1. This drama is the undoing of me really. I am listless unless i get to watch it or read about it. My own world is feeling colourless. It’s terrible. I am forced to try to find some inferior loves to ‘forget’ temporarily, or at least till the next monday rolls along. When will i be normal again??!,

    • I forgot to say that i am much more suspicious of mdm han’s intent thatn you are. She is a very sharp lady and will not let personal warm feelings prevent her from using information that eill be useful to her.

      And HW. Goodness, couldnt she at least have bought different looking phones for the task??

      • Oh my gosh, Enz, I totally recognize the listlessness you describe! It’s part of the reason I’m barely watching any other dramas. (The other part being limited time.) I feel like anything else would pale to SLA!

        And I do agree with you and Soulsentwined that Madam Han is not to be trusted… I just can’t help liking her! She’s a sharp cookie and I like that in a character. But… yeah, she doesn’t have Hye-won’s best interests at heart. I just… hope her interests and Hye-won’s interests intersect. (Wishful thinking, I suspect. 😉 )

        And yes, Hye-won is hilariously bad at this cheating thing. Made doubly funny by her extreme competence with everything else. Does task the nerves though!

  2. Great connection you made between Da Mi and Hye Won (hopefully) leaving the dirty work behind due to Sun Jae.

    The last look around her office felt like a good-bye. Although my very first thought was ‘Is she looking for hidden cameras? Could their cuddling have been recorded?’. Paranoid much? On second thought is was more like ‘She’s going to lose/quitt all this.’

    Because I’m willing to bet Hye Won will leave this world behind, she’ll leave it to be with Sun Jae. Just like Outside Seoul so brilliantly observed: The soup ahjumma said, if she had liked the chairman she would have paid to be with him. I agree, Hye Won will pay to be with Sun Jae aka she will leave the rich world behind to go home.

    • Thanks, Newbie! 🙂

      I would love for Hye-won to get out of the ugly little world she’s currently swimming in. The pay just doesn’t seem worth it. All the things she has, none of it makes her happy. I hope she’s able to do it without getting too scarred up in the process. Da-mi’s success is maybe a positive foreshadowing? It did feel like she was saying goodbye, or closing a chapter somehow. I just wonder what that chapter was specifically… and if this is part of a long-term plan. I have no idea but I am so, so eager to find out!

  3. Great recap as always 😀

    Unicorns and puppies are absolutely an inseparable part of this otp, I hope Da Mi will see the light someday. I wouldn’t want them to have 10k babies though, god knows they’ve got enough baggage as it is lol

    • Thanks, km! 🙂

      I would love it if Da-mi swung in behind Hye-won and Sun-jae. Because she’s really not a bad person, much as she has me grumbling. And her earlier friendship with Hye-won was kind of sweet.

      (Also, yes — 10,000 babies might be a bit much at the moment. XD )

  4. Hyewon’s long look around the office.
    A. looking for cameras
    B. checking that SunJae didn’t leave anything behind
    C. making sure she didn’t leave evidence for the Prosecutors

    HW has been the little fox for a while so I hope she has some sort of safety net or backup plan if things with the SAC shady dealings hit the fan. Obviously being involved with SunJae has thrown her off her game but she seems like a long range planner and she was given advance warning about the Prosecutors coming.

    Husband, I feel a little sorry for him. Even if it is not a love marriage it is still embarrassing to be cheated on with the guy half your age that you discovered and introduced to your wife. Plus professionally he is very reliant on his wife, everyone knows he is incompetent and talks about him behind his back. He is using SJ and HW to advance his career, if he lets both of them go he will still be a professor but will not get to the next level career wise. To me that is his motivation to not reveal the affair. His anger is because he worries people will find out and judge him as well as his jealousy of not being SJ’s real teacher.

    • Of those three choices I lean more towards C. Or maybe looking to make sure all the parts she has ready to roll are in place. Because yes, she is a little fox and she had to know this day would come. So I strongly suspect she’s had a plan in place (or various plans based on various contingencies) because, as Madam Han pointed out, a crisis can become an opportunity and it’d be foolish to not take advantage.

      But then came Sun-jae. And I wonder if some of her hesitating moments (she had a whole slew of them! the office, the car, the hallway before meeting with Madam Han, the hallway after…) aren’t her wondering if she really wants to get this dirty.

      Ah, dear Professor Kang… I don’t feel that sorry for him. Though there’s certainly a large amount of pathetic to him. I agree with you that his anger is selfish. It’s more caused by Hye-won “seducing” his student away and the sting to his personal pride than anything else. And! He’s a bad teacher. Or at least, he’s not taught Sun-jae a thing though he postures like he did. (Which is where the pathetic really comes in. It’s embarrassing to watch him lie about Sun-jae in front of Sun-jae. So much need in those lies. Meanwhile, Hye-won says nothing. Because she doesn’t need the praise.)

  5. I’ve given up on trying to predict the trajectory of the story. It never goes where I think it will, so… I’m just enjoying watching a lovely drama that engages me fully, letting the flow of the story to carry me along. SLA is a total feast to the senses, which is why I can never write a proper post like this. 🙂 My ramblings are all just about dem feels now. LOL!

    That said, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop as everyone seems to be ‘on the know’ now, at least on some level. The loverbirds have not done a very good job at hiding their true feelings. Guess they are too overflowing to put behind lock and key properly. I’m pretty sure there would have been gossip and speculation anyway, even if SJ and HW had been just a normal student/teacher pair. It’s just that in this case the hunches of all and sundry happen to be true.

    • I love, love, love how much I can just let go and trust this drama to tell its story! Because yes — it doesn’t follow tropes so there’s no easy prediction here. At least, I’ve not figured it out. 😉

      The gossip with Mrs. Baek and the cello professor was pure speculation. Probably fueled a tiny bit by the cello professor’s resentment of Hye-won. (Which I think is there because she’s a shady teacher and she’s on Professor Kang’s and Young-woo’s side.) But that she was right… Yeah, that’s a shoe that is ready to drop. Because Madame Han… I don’t think you can slide a relationship past her. And Hye-won totally looses her poker-face when it comes to Sun-jae. Argh! So eager for Monday! 😀

  6. LOVE…LOVE…. your recap….with the 10,000 babies and kittens and puppies and unicorns. Thank you for helping me get through this week without SLA.

  7. Hye-won and Sun-jae are OTP4EVAH! and should have 10,000 babies and ride off into every sunset ever while unicorns prance and puppies and kittens frolic and rainbows cover the earth.” <<< AMEN SISTAH, AMEN!

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