Do I want to keep watching Lie to Me? The answer is yes. Do I think it’s good or has the potential to be a solid drama? The answer is, sadly, no. How do I reconcile these seemingly contradictory things? By shucking all remaining expectations out the window (bye bye) and start with a brand new premise. Lie to Me is like an elementary school play, one which I had hoped was of much higher caliber, but I was wrong, so now I need to sit back and enjoy the cute and smile at the winsome.
Episode 4 was much better than episode 3, but it was still chock full of draggy pace, extraneous scenes, and plot points veering so close to the ridiculously inane I simply have no heart to mock it. I’ve decided to make peace with what LTM has turned out to be, rather than bemoan what could have been. It’s time to just take away the one thing about LTM that lived up to my expectations – the pairing of Yoon Eun Hye and Kang Ji Hwan is as electric as I had hoped it would be.
Episode 4 Recap:
Ah Jung stares at Sang Hee like he just sprouted horns, when really all he said was that he could help her continue to be pretend married to Hyun Ki Joon. It’s totally not preposterous at all. Ah Jung asks what time it is, and finds out that it’s a little past six in the morning. She runs out of the suite, mentally slapping herself upside the head for wasting an entire month’s salary for a one night stay.
Well, if she had gotten into some sexy fun times in that suite with either Sang Hee or Ki Joon (since I’m not feeling particularly attached to either guy for Ah Jung right now), then perhaps it would have been worth it. Ah Jung stumbles down the hallway, telling herself there must be a solution somewhere. She bangs her head against the wall, and the pain reminds her that she is not dreaming. Sang Hee grins as he thinks Ah Jung is just so amusing.
Ki Joon gets a call from Park Hoon that Ah Jung has checked out. Hoon can’t help but gossip that Ah Jung left the room with a strange man. Ki Joon chides Hoon for invading a guest’s privacy and tells him not to discuss this any further. Hoon pouts a little since he thought Ki Joon would want to know this latest development. After hanging up, Ki Joon tries to go back to reading his newspaper, but his mind processes what he just heard further. Ki Joon says “a man?”, and calls Ah Jung a ridiculous woman who has a boyfriend and yet asked Ki Joon to pretend to be her husband.
Suddenly the doorbell rings, and Ki Joon opens the door to find himself face-to-face with his errant younger brother Sang Hee. Sang Hee cracks a joke and the two brothers smile at each other. At the Ministry, Ah Jung’s boss is upset to hear that Ah Jung called asking for a couple days off this weekend. Ah Jung is sitting in her dad’s law lecture. She tries to get her dad’s attention, but he’s too intent on his teaching.
Ah Jung and her dad have lunch, and she asks him to try and make his lectures more interesting, since half his class was asleep or zoned out. She’s picking at her food, which leads dad to ask if she’s on a diet. No, she’s just got no appetite. Dad calls her an errant daughter who stayed out all night, and Ah Jung reminds him that he was the one who claimed to not care if she stayed out for thirty nights in a row.
Ah Jung pretends to ask for legal advice on behalf of her “friend”, who pretended to be married, to a man she didn’t even know. Dad wonders who would do such a thing, and Ah jung explains that it wasn’t on purpose. Now the friend is getting sued, since the man is very rich. Dad tells her to have the friend go apologize and beg forgiveness, asking once again if Ah Jung is in trouble. Ah Jung continues to deny that it’s her.
Aunt goes to have lunch with Ki Joon, arriving only to find Sang Hee present at well. Sang Hee wants to hug Aunt, who instead starts walloping him and calling him a good-for-nothing bastard. Ki Joon also gets a kick for lying to Aunt that today’s lunch was to introduce a girlfriend to her, but instead he brought Sang Hee to upset her. After letting it all out, Aunt smiles at her two nephews, happy to see Sang Hee back.
The family sits down to eat, and Aunt worries that Sang Hee looks like he lost weight. Aunt has Sang Hee’s room prepared, but he doesn’t want to live at home yet, intending to keep crashing with his art school sunbae for awhile longer. Aunt thinks that Sang Hee has been too spoiled for too long, asking how much longer Sang Hee is going to keep rebelling because of Oh Yoon Joo? This kills the conversation at the table, which is when Ki Joon gets a call and needs to leave.
Ki Joon is informed that Chairman Chun (the president of the Shanghai company that World Group is hoping to go into business with to enter the Shanghai market) has cancelled his reservation at the hotel for his upcoming visit to Korea and is instead staying at the Great Hotel. Ki Joon wonders if he’s being courted by Great looking to steal away this potential partner? Or maybe the Chairman wants to keep World nervous about the venture? Ki Joon tells Hoon to pickup the Chairman tomorrow and take him to the Great Hotel.
Ah Jung’s dad and Ae Kyung finally go on their aborted movie date, and afterwards he asks her if this means she’s not upset with him anymore? Ae Kyung doesn’t answer, so dad suggest taking her out to dinner as well. As Ae Kyung heads to the ladies room, Ah Jung’s dad runs into Jae Bum in front of a display for the movie Thor. Jae Bum greets Professor Gong, congratulating him on his daughter’s advantageous marriage to Hyun Ki Joon. Ah Jung’s dad freezes and quietly accepts the well wishes.
Ah Jung’s dad comes home to find Ah Jung doing work on her day off. Ah Jung gripes that she always gets the worst vacation days in her group, because the other folks all spend it with family and kids. Dad asks if this is why Ah Jung lied that she was married, and to the President of World Hotel? He calmly asks why she did it, and Ah Jung says that it was just something that slipped out. She goes to her room, not wanting to discuss it further with her dad.
Ki Joon gives his driver the rest of the night off, telling him he wants to go for a drive today. Ki Joon drives to the same apartment Sang Hee went earlier, which is the now dark apartment where Yoon Joo used to live. Ki Joon imagines Yoon Joo coming out to the balcony and forgiving him even though he stood her up. Ki Joon thinks that it’s been so long, but he wishes her a happy birthday.
Ki Joon goes home to find Sang Hee sitting on the steps outside waiting for him. Sang Hee brought alcohol over, and Ki Joon tells him to bring it on. The brothers drink and reminisce about how they used to stay out all night drinking only to come home and have Aunt almost beat them to death. Ki Joon asks if that is why Sang Hee used to run away, to which Sang Hee says that it was fashionable to run away, and a model student like Ki Joon would never understand.
Ki Joon worked at the hotel even when he was still a high school student, and Sang Hee thanks him for taking up the hotel mantle so that Sang Hee can enjoy so much freedom. Ki Joon sighs that it’s no sacrifice, he’s content with his life. Sang Hee quietly confesses that he was surprised Ki Joon and Yoon Joo never got married. Sang Hee doesn’t know how to feel, to realize that Ki Joon gave up Yoon Joo for Sang Hee’s sake.
Ki Joon tells Sang Hee not to over think it, the breakup with Yoon Joo had nothing to do with Sang Hee. But Sang Hee doesn’t buy this bullshit, he knows it has everything to do with him. Sang Hee thinks that Ki Joon is very hard-hearted, to be able to end things just like that. Ki Joon downs his drink in one gulp, thinking back to the confrontation with Sang Hee.
Sang Hee cries, saying that he’s loved Yoon Joo since they were kids and shared the same table at school. Even if she ends up with someone else, how can it be with Ki Joon? How can he endure it if Yoon Joo became his sister-in-law. Sang Hee gets down on his knees and sobs to Ki Joon, asking him how he is expected to handle this pain?
Ki Joon wakes up the next morning, finding Sang Hee still in the house. He went for a walk and is back ready to cook Ki Joon some ramyun for breakfast to help the hangover. Ki Joon asks Sang Hee to come back home to live, but Sang Hee declines because he wants to maintain his freedom. Ki Joon gets a call about the lawsuit, and he tells the lawyer to expedite it if possible.
Ah Jung’s dad asks her how she is planning to resolve matters, now that the other person is intending to sue her. Ah Jung declines his help, insisting that she’s can handle it herself. He calmly asks her why she did it, and Ah Jung doesn’t really know. She’s at a marriage age but she isn’t married, but her friend is. Ah Jung has her positive attributes, maybe even more than her friend, but simply by being unmarried, Ah Jung somehow feels less than worthy. Ah Jung hates feeling this way. Her mind knows this is irrational, but her heart can’t help feeling inferior.
Suk Bong is sketching for a group of ladies outside the café, and Ae Kyung comes out wondering why Suk Bong is not manning the kitchen and out flirting. Ae Kyung tells Suk Bong that he must be thrilled so many people adore his drawing talents. Suk Bong realizes that Ae Kyung must be feeling a twinge of jealousy.
Ki Joon and Sang Hee go visit their parents graves. Sang Hee brought soju, but is reminded by Ki Joon that their dad never drank it when he was alive. Sang Hee apologizes to dear departed dad for bringing Sang Hee’s favorite beverage instead. After paying their respects, the boys sit down to realize they have been orphans for twenty years now. Ki Joon thanks Sang Hee for coming home, and then he gets on top of Sang Hee and the two brothers have a friendly tussle, happily letting off some steam.
Ki Joon tells Sang Hee that he has to go to airport to pick up the prospective Chinese business partner. It’s a big step forward for World Group, and everyone is watching to see if Ki Joon succeeds or fails. Sang Hee offers to drive the car on the way home. Sang Hee pulls into a rest stop and asks Ki Joon to go down and buy some local produce from some old grannies. Ki Joon gets out of the car. Sang Hee calls Ki Joon gullible and then takes off in the car, ditching him.
Ah Jung is at the bank closing out her account when she gets a call from Sang Hee. He asks her to come meet him right away, with a threat that if she doesn’t come he’ll tell all her friends that she lied about being married. Ah Jung arrives at the playground, and gives Sang Hee a few kicks and thwacks for good measure. He tells her to hurry and pushes her into Ki Joon’s swanky Mercedes.
Ah Jung confesses to Sang Hee that she needs to take out all her available money to use to settle with Ki Joon or pay her for legal expenses. The amount of money Ah Jung thinks she can gather is pretty paltry for someone like Ki Joon, and Sang Hee mocks her for thinking she can settle with that amount.
Ki Joon is calling Sang Hee but getting his voicemail. He calls Park Hoon and reminds him to pick up the Chairman at the airport and not to fail in this endeavor. A nice halmoni sitting next to Ki Joon on the bus gives him a snack, and gently asks why a youngster like him is traveling with so many bags (of vegetables). Is he taking it to Seoul to sell? Ki Joon seethes some more.
Park Hoon arrives at the airport (with his trusty Chinese dictionary and practicing his Chinese greetings), and Ah Jung and Sang Hee arrive right behind him. She demands to know why she has to meet some Chinese people? Sang Hee tells her to trust him, just say a few greetings and leave the rest up to him. Ah Jung tries to wack Sang Hee a few more times.
Park Hoon is writing down the Chinese name of the Chairman, and so is Sang Hee. Ah Jung is surprised that he speaks Chinese, and Sang Hee confesses that he grew up well off and knows quite a lot of stuff. Yoon Joo walks out of the arrival terminal but does not see Sang Hee. Park Hoon sees her and tries to follow her, but loses her.
The Chairman and his wife arrive and are pleased to have someone here to pick them up. Sang Hee introduces Ah Jung as the wife of President Hyun Ki Joon. The Chairman and his wife are surprised to find out that Ki Joon has a wife. They tell Sang Hee that this trip is their second honeymoon. The Chairman and his wife leave with Sang Hee and Ah Jung, just missing Park Hoon. When Sang Hee is loading luggage into the car, he barely misses seeing Yoon Joo get into a taxi.
Ki Joon arrives back at the hotel, disheveled from his trip. His employees wonder what has been going on recently? Ki Joon hears that Park Hoon didn’t manage to pick up the Chairman and is furious. He asks that the Chairman whereabouts be determined immediately. Hoon is about to tell Ki Joon that he saw Yoon Joo, but he stops himself when he sees how busy Ki Joon is trying to deal with the situation.
So Ran is waiting for Jae Bum, who is shocked to see her waiting for him, They pretend to be all lovey dovey when a neighbor comes by, but drops the act once they are alone. Yoon Joo comes home and takes all her cloth coverings off the furniture. She notices a red wine stain on the rug, which leads Yoon Joo to a flashback of her break up scene with Ki Joon.
Yoon Joo thinks Ki Joon is just joking that he wants to end his engagement with her. But then she realizes that he is serious, especially when Ki Joon says that Sang Hee is missing. Yoon Joo tries to reason with Ki Joon, that she doesn’t love Sang Hee, who always puts his own feelings about others. Ki Joon cries that Sang Hee is Ki Joon’s only brother, the only family he has left since their parents died. Yoon Joo begs him to consider her, what about her? But Ki Joon doesn’t waver in his decision.
Ki Joon wakes up from a nap, clearly having the same trip down memory lane. Park Hoon comes in with news that they haven’t located Sang Hee yet. Sang Hee and Ah Jung have taken the Chairman and his wife to go digging for clams. Ah Jung is grumbling about why she needs to keep the guests company. Sang Hee tells her to consider this a fun outing. Ah Jung manages to grab a mud fish.
The Chairman is so happy to have a clambake on the beach, which reminds him of his hometown which had a beach and he used to go digging for clams as a kid. He tastes the clams, saying that the taste hasn’t changed. The Chairman’s wife says that the scenery is so beautiful, and Ah Jung takes a look, saying she’ll remember this moment and the beautiful view.
Ki Joon is at a meeting to discuss the expansion plans. His hotel manager slips him a note that the Chairman and his wife have just checked into the World hotel. Ah Jung is having tea with the wife in the same suite she stayed in, leading Ah Jung to mutter that she’s going to grow attached to this room. The Chairman’s wife asks Ah Jung not to feel bad that they initially booked another hotel, because she didn’t want her husband to discuss business during this trip to Korea. Ah Jung doesn’t understand Chinese so she keeps smiling and nodding her head.
Sang Hee calls her, asking that she make an excuse to leave right now. Ah Jung makes an excuse and leaves, but not before the Chairman’s wife gives her a couple of hugs. Ah Jung walks down the hallway, which is when she sees Ki Joon walking towards her. Ah Jung turns her head and tries to cover her face, but Ki Joon clearly identifies her.
Ah Jung tries to sneak into the elevator, but Ki Joon comes back to talk with her. He asks if she is really a civil servant who never receives any bribes, since repeated stays at this hotel seems mighty lavish on her meager salary? Ah Jung says that he shouldn’t be asking why a guest is spending money at his hotel. Ki Joon follows her into the elevator. He asks her why she is asking to marry him if she already has another man?
Ah Jung denies that she has a man, whereas Ki Joon insists that he is being used as a sacrificial lamb in this mess. Ki Joon keeps follows Ah Jung, who loudly proclaims that he is a stalker. Ki Joon grabs her before she gets into a taxi, asking her to tell him everything, and he will deal with it suitably. Ki Joon demands to know who the other man is? Is it someone he knows? Ah Jung gets into the taxi and leaves, but not before telling him to discuss everything with her lawyer in the future. Ki Joon wonders if perhaps she doesn’t have a man?
Sang Hee calls Ki Joon to tell him that he returned the car, with a note saying thank you. Ki Joon sits down to eat with the Chairman and his wife, who tell him that it was sweet of Ki Joon’s wife to pick them up at the airport and spend the day with them. The Chairman’s wife is especially fond of her. Ki Joon’s face freezes when he realizes what is happening.
The Chairman’s wife now thinks Ki Joon is a good man because of the woman he married, Ah Jung. The Chairman tells Ki Joon that his wife is now Ki Joon’s public face. The Chairman’s wife specifically asks that Ki Joon bring Ah Jung next time, she would love to spend more time with her. Ki Joon smiles and promises that he will bring his wife next time.
Ah Jung is at the OB/GYN, but she’s just accompanying So Ran for a checkup to make sure everything is fine with So Ran. Ki Joon finds Ah Jung at a café with So Ran, who is thanking Ah Jung for accompanying her since her mom is out of the country and Jae Bum is busy with an upcoming trial. Ah Jung tells So Ran to stop with the acting, and just tell her what she really wants. So Ran claims to really want to be friends with Ah Jung, asking when Ah Jung will introduce Ki Joon to her?
Ah Jung is about to leave, telling So Ran that she won’t fall for her tricks, when Ki Joon walks into the café. He looks around, and when he sees Ah Jung, he breaks into a smile, waving at her and saying “honey, I’m over here!” He walks up to Ah Jung and introduces himself to So Ran, who eagerly asks him to sit. So Ran claims that Ah Jung was just boasting about Ki Joon, which leads Ki Joon to pointedly raise his eyebrows as he turns to look at Ah Jung, murmuring a “really?”, while Ah Jung quickly denies doing any such thing.
Ki Joon declines politely, reminding Ah Jung they have somewhere to go. Ah Jung tries to demur, saying she hasn’t seen her friend in awhile, but Ki Joon grips her shoulder and asks So Ran if she can spare “his Jung Jung” for a little while. So Ran hears the sweet talk and says sure with her sour face. Ki Joon takes Ah Jung’s purse and helps her up, walking away with his arms around her. So Ran continues to stew in her jealousy at how Ki Joon refers to Ah Jung. Ki Joon’s fake plastic smile melts away and Ah Jung’s face breaks into a grimace at the thought of what Ki Joon may want with her.
Ah Jung demands to know what he wants and why he is following her. Ki Joon says he is driving her somewhere quiet to talk. Ah Jung recognizes the scenery and realizes Ki Joon has driven her to the lake with the swan paddle boats. Ki Joon is all business as he tells her to get out of the car. He walks over to the boat and puts on a life jacket, asking why Ah Jung isn’t getting on? He asks if she is scared?
Ah Jung and Ki Joon paddle out to the middle of the lake. She wonders why it’s only the two of them? Ki Joon asks if she wants to know why? Ah Jung has a slight daydream that he is leaning in to kiss her, and when she snaps out of it, she asks Ki Joon to repeat it again. Ki Joon repeats it again – okay, let’s get married.
Thoughts of Mine:
This script really is a piece of crap – taking 4 episodes to do what normally 2 episodes (and could even be done with 1 episode) would suffice. I genuinely am upset on behalf of the wonderful actors, who are the only reasons I am sticking with this drama. I think I see the break in the clouds and the sun peeking out now that all the ridiculous-even-for-a-drama set ups have been completed and Ki Joon and Ah Jung are going to get pretend married. With how middling the first four episodes have been, I’m pretty certain the drama can only get better, especially now that Ah Jung and Ki Joon will be spending more time together to keep up pretenses.
I continue to find Ah Jung much more bumbling than I expected, and other than the occasional quiet emotional moment, I don’t really connect with her yet. Ah Jung is written oddly, at times a total zany slightly floozy girl, other times mature and self-reflective, and the two sides aren’t currently blended very well.
I kind of feel bad for second female lead Oh Yoon Joo, played by Jo Yoon Hee. She has had less than 12 minutes combined screen time in the four episodes, and is such a wallflower of a character the production might as well replace her with a bona fide cardboard cut-out. While I really don’t like Sang Hee’s personality, at this point he’s the only with a genuine personality, and not prancing around like dramatic constructs of how a certain character ought to behave.
Episode 4 finally gave Ki Joon some backstory, and a chance to loosen his tie a little and show some emotion other than uptight anger and controlled frustration. I know deep down I only like Ki Joon because he’s being played by Kang Ji Hwan, otherwise he’s a character straight out of the K-drama chaebol president handbook 101. What Kang Ji Hwan does is give this character a lot of tiny flourishes, facial twitches here and there, and convey the expectation that he has more layers and depth than we are currently seeing.
I do find the story takes an immediate upswing anytime Ah Jung and Ki Joon have a scene together, which was especially true in this episode. I am genuinely excited to watch them fall in love, which would be all the more ironic when it happens due to Sang Hee’s active manipulating to get them into the pretend marriage, since Sang Hee was the reason Ki Joon gave up the last girl he loved. It’s almost like karma that Sang Hee ends up being the driving force giving back to Ki Joon the true love of his life, Ah Jung.