I really love how endearing this show can be. It can veer from outrageously funny to really touching in minutes. In any case, a baby is born!
Okay so Do Hee’s water broke. What to do?! First, run out in the middle of the street and grab a cab. Second, freak out because a woman in the backseat could give birth any second now and figure out how to deliver a baby in a cab. Third, get stuck in a red light because that just makes the men more anxious. And fourth, listen to the angry lady in the backseat because she knows her body better than anyone else.
Like the fact that her contractions are twenty minutes apart and therefore there’s no reason to freak out. The cab driver still has time to get her to the hospital.
Finally Do Hee settles into her bed and waits for the time to come to deliver the baby. She lets Ho Goo go, reassuring him that her husband will arrive soon. But when he passes by a nurse in the hallway, she tells him that the husband is overseas, and that she’s actually all alone right now. The nurse also thinks she has a striking similarity to the champion swimmer Do Do Hee, which makes Ho Goo even more suspicious. He follows the nurse back to the room and checks the name on the bed: Do Hee changed it to Elize Do, naming herself after the comic book she borrowed from Ho Goo.
Outside the room, he overhears Do Hee saying that no one is coming for her, and that she’s all alone. That’s okay, isn’t it? It makes Ho Goo feel even worse to leave her alone in the hospital, but just then he gets a frantic call from Tae Hee – they’re in trouble!
Their manager handling their webtoon informs the three of them that he has to discontinue their webtoon. It’s just not making enough money and garnering enough views. Chung Jae and Tae Hee start begging for leniency, but Ho Goo can’t bother with them. He tells Tae Hee separately that he needs to go to Do Hee’s bedside, as he’s worried about her. But Tae Hee tells him that he needs to get over Do Hee. His responsibility is to be with his friends and colleagues right now, not with a pregnant woman who broke his heart six months ago.
Ho Goo sticks around for a little longer but can’t stop thinking about Do Hee. He now understands why Do Hee was so desperate to get rid of her fetus with just some secondhand smoke, or was trying to wish the baby away. She’s scared.
He gets up, apologizes to his friends, and runs back to the hospital – this time carrying some warm socks, a thermal bottle, and extra towels, all supplies that he had looked up in her pregnancy book. He admits that he’s really curious as to why she gave a fake name and what her baby looks like, and is suspicious that she really didn’t get married. But instead of pestering her with questions, he will simply stay by her side as a friend and help her get through the birth. He can do that as a friend, can’t he?
Do Hee finally relents, especially when the nurse comments at how well prepared Ho Goo is with all the supplies. As the nurse goes to get some extra blankets so that Ho Goo can stay over, he goes off to buy some maternity pads and snacks for Do Hee.
So just how close are Ho Goo and Do Hee? Yes, they knew each other in high school, but it didn’t seem like they interacted much right? Well, here comes the handy-dandy flashback…
Ho Goo and Tae Hee have become the bullies’ little minions, getting snacks and drinks for whatever they wish. At one point, the leader, Young Bae, describes to his friends about a semi-erotic dream he had of Do Hee, where she emerges from a swimming pool wearing nothing but fins. Do Hee has become every boy’s fantasy, ever since she ran around in kickball revealing her sports bra. So because Young Bae treasures this image so much, he wants Ho Goo to draw it for him.
Though skilled with the pencil, Ho Goo hesitates about drawing it. Tae Hee passes on the message that if he doesn’t draw it for Young Bae, they’ll both be killed. That leaves no choice then, and Ho Goo sketches out Young Bae’s dream.
The following morning, the sketch is everything that Young Bae dreamed of and a fight ensues among all the boys in the school to grab that little piece of paper and look at it. The sketch goes flying from hand to hand until finally it lands on Do Hee’s feet. When she sees the sketch, she barges angrily into Ho Goo’s classroom to find out who drew her naked body.
The boys, despite harboring a huge crush on her, cower at the mere sight of her as well. They quickly out Ho Goo as the culprit and Do Hee immediately rails against him for drawing her breasts too small! Haha! That’s Do Hee for you: proud, strong, and incredibly arrogant.
The nurse comes in to check on Do Hee; she’s still dilating so they won’t be able to deliver the baby just yet. Do Hee begs for a C-section, as she can’t deal with the pain. The nurse pretends to go find out if they can do the surgery, but tells Ho Goo that there’s no real reason to have a C-section. Instead, she suggests that Ho Goo try and comfort her. Thing is, Ho Goo has no idea how to help her because he doesn’t understand how much pain she’s going through. (It’s definitely worse than menstrual cramps, apparently.)
We then cut to Ho Kyung doing an experiment on pain to a bunch of observers at the lab. As she explains to the crowd about the seven levels of pain, a volunteer screams out as he suffers the pain of his finger or toe getting cut off through electrodes attached to his stomach. The volunteer begs to be set free before Ho Kyung can set the pain of childbirth on him. Using him as an example, Ho Kyung warns the couples in her group that if they don’t practice safe sex (and use the condoms that her school just so happens to be giving out), the girlfriend will get pregnant and they’ll have to bear the pain and responsibility of having a child.
Yep, everyone’s going to want those condoms now.
Her professor, Mok Gyeong Jin, is impressed with Ho Kyung’s work. She can’t help but also wonder if Ho Kyung is the reason why five of her male research students also dropped out of class. When she gives Ho Kyung the reimbursement for her research, she pulls out the big question: “Are you currently dating someone?”
Ho Kyung recognizes this as a tactic to find out her relationship status, and she guardedly answers all of Professor Mok’s questions. Their exchange gets played out like a martial arts duel, and Professor Mok “attacks” Ho Kyung with questions of whether she cheated on any of her four students with another, thus causing them to drop out. Ho Kyung denies any responsibility for them dropping out or cheating on anyone: “The word ‘transfer’ is in my vocabulary, but I don’t board two trains at the same time.” (I’m just going to tuck that line away in my memory for use one day…)
Once satisfied with Ho Kyung’s answers, Professor Mok presents a proposition. She would like Ho Kyung to date her son. Give him a taste of what it’s like to date for real. Her son has done nothing but work and achieve his ambitious goals, so she wants a pro like Ho Kyung to help him develop this necessary social skill.
Yep – Professor Mok’s son is the very same Byun Kang Chul – the guy who is just so absorbed with himself! And it turns out that his secretary is also Ho Kyung’s friend, the one who feels obligated to ‘like’ all of his pictures. Now we know why…
That evening when Kang Chul returns to his perfectly spaced and clean home, he is surprised by the presence of his mother. It’s Christmas after all, and she wants them to eat together as a family. Eating together is an awkward affair though, as the mother sits in between the father and son who are too engrossed by their phones to talk to each other: the senior playing games on his phone, and the junior checking the number of likes on his selfies.
After some research on Kang Chul, Ho Kyung texts Professor Mok that she’s willing to accept the challenge and date Kang Chul. Yippee! Now the mother has something to share at dinner! All the father cares about is whether or not the girl is pretty; I’m surprised that the father ends up being so shallow and simple-minded. Perhaps he’s given up on actually raising his son? He even tells the disinterested Kang Chul that if he dates the girl his mother chose for him, and they marry next year, he’ll give his son an additional 100 million won for the wedding.
Money! That’s all Kang Chul wants, and so he readily accepts the blind date.
Meanwhile, Ho Goo’s parents return from their trip to Donghae early on Christmas day because Yong Moo had a bad dream relating to Ho Goo. He was so worried he didn’t want to go far. While washing the dishes after dinner, he calls up Ho Goo to warn him to not go near any “strings” today.
Ho Goo lies that he’s at work (when in reality he just got tortured by Do Hee, who’s screaming for an epidural). He asks his father for some advice on what could calm a woman down, and Yong Moo bluntly says it’s nearly impossible to comfort a woman who is either pregnant or just caught her husband having an affair. But in his case, he managed to calm down Ho Goo’s mother by promising to do the dishes for the rest of his life.
Hence, the washing of the dishes after dinner.
So Ho Goo returns to Do Hee’s room, wondering what could possibly soothe a woman like her. He then remembers back in high school when he saw Do Hee head to a sports center the day she found his drawing. He follows her, hoping to apologize for what he did, but ends up being entranced and watches her entire swimming practice. Watching how she races against her own body’s constraints and the water around her, he realizes that it’s possible for someone to fight without uttering a word.
Ho Goo then asks her what she thinks about while swimming, and she truthfully answers that she thinks of nothing. She keeps her mind clear and merely endures the swimming as much as she can so that she can win the gold medal. There is only the gold medal or bust.
Back in the present, Ho Goo relays this analogy to Do Hee to calm her down as she prepares to give birth. Since she can’t use drugs or have a C-section to relieve her pain immediately, she needs to endure. Giving birth is just like swimming: she has to endure the pain her body is signaling to her brain for the sake of getting that gold medal, or in this case giving birth to the baby.
And it works! For a guy who doesn’t seem to know Do Hee very well, he understands her completely. Do Hee calms down and is eventually wheeled to the OR so she can give birth. She suddenly remembers that she needs her goggles. She can’t “swim” without her goggles, and it will help her focus through the birth. If she doesn’t make it through, she also bequeaths her silver medal to Ho Goo.
That’s a bit of a scary thought, but for Do Hee it’s either gold or bust. She’d rather die than have to settle for second or third place. In this instance, she wants to successfully give birth to the baby or else she’d just give up on life. That’s how extreme of a person she is.
Meanwhile, Yong Moo tells his wife and Ho Kyung about his dream. He saw Ho Goo climbing up a tree and then grabbing a rope. Except the rope snaps, and as he falls a bunch of peppers also fall on him. Ho Kyung wonders if it means Ho Goo is questioning his sexuality (Haaaa!), but how could he if he’s still a virgin and doesn’t know what he likes? So perhaps, does it mean someone he knows will die soon?
Cut back to the OR and Do Hee faints. Is she okay?!
Yes she is, because then the nurse comes out to grab Ho Goo. He can now cut the umbilical cord! Instead of symbolizing how Ho Goo could cut ties from Do Hee, it only seems to symbolize that he’s entangling himself more and more into her life. A baby boy is presented to Do Hee’s arms, and she encourages Ho Goo to greet her son.
Ho Goo reaches out his hand towards the baby, saying, “Hey there.” The baby takes ahold of Ho Goo’s finger and doesn’t let go. I’m about to cry as Ho Goo starts bawling in the OR, not letting go of the baby and overwhelmed with emotion.
It is Christmas after all.
That evening Kang Chul sends a text introducing himself to Ho Kyung, which delights her because it means he’s totally playing into her game. He gets a text message back – but it’s not Ho Kyung. It’s from ‘X’, and that person just says:
“Shouldn’t you be spending Christmas with your family? I think a new member of your family has just been born right now.”
Dun dun dun!
Part of what makes this series so great is how the editing plays a big role in how the story is told. I love how the scenes cut in and out between the different characters, with transitions overlapping one another through lines or visual cues to signify parallel events or thinking. For example, when Ho Goo is trying to figure out what kind of pain Do Hee is going through, instead of her being able to explain it we cut to Ho Kyung explaining different levels of pain that people can go through. It’s like her scene is defining Ho Goo’s scene so that we can understand what Do Hee is going through without added exposition (or wasted screen time) as well as learn more about Ho Kyung. I have to admit I was a bit confused about what Ho Kyung did for a living, but clearly she’s a researcher on human habits. That scene then also segued into a scene with Professor Mok, so that you clearly understood Ho Kyung’s job, and then introduced her into the existing love triangle between Ho Goo, Do Hee, and Kang Chul.
The show is predictable because you know exactly what is going to happen, but the deft editing really helps make it feel less predictable because it doesn’t waste time by giving you the information in a clear expositional way. It explains what is going on through another scene, giving you that exposition while also revealing another facet of another character. It also makes recapping sometimes hard, because I want to go in a linear fashion as much as possible without jumping back and forth between the scenes so much. But if I don’t jump back and forth, you also kind of ruin the surprise and the build up of tension between the cutting of the scenes.
The rapid cuts also allow for hilarious moments to live side by side with very touching scenes. I loved how the father’s dream then shows up side by side with the umbilical cord. How the father explained the dream got me laughing because I knew it had to do with the baby, and yet his sister was questioning her own brother’s sexuality. And then seeing Ho Goo nervously cut the umbilical cord – a job usually reserved for the father – was really touching because it signified how he was going to be deeply involved in Do Hee and the baby boy’s life.
I think with the basis of the love square now set up, I can safely list out some expectations I have for the series. For one, I hope Ho Goo continues on his current path of growing and becoming a better person. In the last recap I had mentioned how Ho Goo seems to be trying to reaffirm his own identity. While that may be somewhat true, I had forgotten one major detail: ho-goo also means ‘pushover’, or a ‘fool’. Hence the drama’s title. He constantly finds himself as a fool, doing things for Do Hee’s sake and at one point existing just for her. But slowly, I am hoping that instead of him saying, “I’m a fool,” what he’s really saying is, “I am Kang Ho Goo… so don’t mess with me.”
I would also hope that Ho Kyung leaves some of her prejudices about dating behind and adopt some of her brother’s more idealistic notions of romance. At the same time, I would hope that Kang Chul stops being such a self-involved pain in the ass. It’s hilarious seeing Im Seulong be so self-absorbed, but at the same time it’s making me mad that Do Hee actually slept with him and had his kid. While I don’t think Kang Chul could ever be a good father to the kid by the end of the series, hopefully he can learn to be little kinder and understanding to others’ feelings and situations.
And as for Do Hee, I think she’s slowly learning that Ho Goo is someone to rely on. I feel that she definitely pegged him early on as a good guy. But I hope that she can learn to be more trusting and be ready to lean on others rather than relying on herself so much. Life isn’t like swimming, where it’s just you and the gold medal.