The straightforwardness of My Lovely Girl (My Lovable Girl) continues to make it the easiest to watch K-drama around, requiring no mental gymnastics nor offering up tons of grist for discussion. It is what it is has never described a drama more aptly. After four episodes of stumbling around finding its footing, all the set up is done and episode 5 sends this story into much more steady territory. Now it’s AnA building up Shi Woo’s solo career, Se Na’s incipient songwriting potential, and Hyun Wook transitioning to an elder agency president with a great ear for talent and some sage wisdom to share. He makes for such a reassuring daddy long legs, but still one without romantic underpinnings when he’s with Se Na.
They are comforting like a warm drink in autumn, not the frisson of excitement that comes from Se Na and Shi Woo’s increasingly kindred banter. There are also moments when this drama is just so very pretty to take in, whether it’s the soft backdrop or the light melodies, the whole thing continues to go down smoothly with me with a side of tasty Shi Woo to amp up the flavor. I don’t know if its possible, or even worth mentioning, that the pairings could be switched up in this story down the road. Perhaps all that will keep me content as a viewer is more Shi Woo and less Jae Young/Rae Heon like in this episode. Se Na can keep floating through the story like the cipher delivering the catalyst to other more compelling story lines along the way.
Episode 5 recap:
Se Na puts on a doggie costume head and goes to cheer up Hyun Wook as Se Na’s friend Dalbok. It’s pretty darn cute actually. Hyun Wook takes off the doggie head to talk to Se Na directly and sees her crying despite claiming to be fine. Hyun Wook teases that Dalbok is a liar so Se Na quickly makes the excuse that sand got in her eyes from the wind. Her blatant denial elicits a smile from Hyun Wook who does seem to perk up. He asks Se Na to pass along to her friend Dalbok that he’s welcome to visit anytime.
Se Na hands him the song she recorded for the competition but declines when Hyun Wook asks to listen to it right now with her. She makes the excuse about being hungry and runs off to go home and eat. Before leaving she tells Hyun Wook that she’s not sure if Dalbok will come by again since he’s quite difficult.
Hyun Wook gets called back to AnA where an emergency management meeting has been called inside, and outside diehard fans of Infinite Power are gathered in candlelight protest. Director Kang explains the situation, Jae Young has got a company to invest in him starting his own agency as long as he can bring IP along. The IP members except Shi Woo have all been offered better contract terms if they go with Jae Young. Another director grouses about Jae Young’s betrayal since he was brought into AnA by Hyun Wook. Others points out what it was conflict with Hyun Wook that led to Jae Young defecting. Another pipes up that Hyun Wook was the one who brought all the IP members in and the entire agency helped to build up the group’s career.
Hae Yoon suggests everyone move past why things happened and focus on what to do next. Director Kang yells for the member’s parent addresses to be located and threaten them for being on the hook with breach of contract if their sons leave AnA. Hyun Wook finally speaks up and says the first order of business is to find Shi Woo and make sure he’s okay. If he does anything stupid that’s even worse news than IP breaking up. He wants Shi Woo found and to plan what to do with him next.
The manager can’t find Shi Woo but his mom is at the dorm looking for him as well. He assures Hyun Wook that all of Shi Woo’s family and friends will be contacted to try and locate him.
Shi Woo is standing on a bridge and flashes back to getting the call about IP breaking up after he left the recording booth. He then watches the press conference where Rae Heon makes it seem like it’s best for the group to disband.
Rae Heon meets up with Shi Woo who asks again if Rae Heon is certain he wants to break the group up? Shi Woo demands to know why he’s been treated this way? Rae Heon reasoning is that the original IP4 worked four years together to create the group only for Shi Woo to come in towards the end and reap the benefits. In a few months Shi Woo took the center spot and after that people claimed that the success of IP was all due to Shi Woo. Rae Heon wants Shi Woo to see how useless he is without the other three members and the Infinite Power name.
Rae Heon checks his watch and heads off to catch a flight to Bali for a vacation. He leaves Shi Woo with one more dig that he’s not going with Ra Eum, and clearly Shi Woo was right in that Rae Heon only made a play for Ra Eum to upset Shi Woo. Ugh, Rae Heon needs to be punched in the face.
The manager drives Shi Woo’s mom home and advises her not to talk to reporters or open the door to fans. Mom is worried that her son was ostracized by the group and doesn’t understand why since he’s such a good boy. The manager doesn’t want to say more and asks Mom to go inside to rest and call him immediately if Shi Woo comes home. Mom pleads with the manager to take good care of her son.
Shi Woo has come home but watches his mom from around the corner. She sinks to her knees in the driveway and Shi Woo calls her without coming out to see her. She answers the phone and calls him “Ryong Bok” and he reminds her not to call him that name. Mom is just worried about Shi Woo but assures him that she’s doing fine and urges him to come home. Shi Woo lies that reporters will be staked out at the house so he can’t come home. Mom worries if Shi Woo will be fine going forward? Shi Woo points out that Mom believes he’s the best member of IP so even if the group splits up he’ll be just fine. He urges Mom to hurry up inside since she’s not wearing a lot and it’s cold outside.
Hyun Wook stares at the picture Jae Young sent him of his dad posing with the young woman and the child. He angrily tosses the phone on his desk. Hae Yoon comes to deliver the update that Shi Woo called his mom but after that turned off his cell. She then offers up Jae Young’s address and Hyun Wook wonders if she means for him go beg Jae Young to come back or leave Infinite Power with AnA? Hae Yoon points out that they are good friends but Hyun Wook says they haven’t been friends since three years ago? Hae Yoon asks if it’s because of Yoon So Eun which is when Hyun Wook shuts her out and dismisses her. Hyun Wook then remembers the song Se Na handed him and takes it out to listen.
Se Na heads to work plucking petals off as she wonders if he listened to the song or not? She arrives at AnA and sees reporters outside asking for statements about Shi Woo and the break up of Infinite Power.
The trainees are discussing whether AnA will be over with this big calamity and what a betrayal on Rae Heon’s part to leave like this. Another trainee brings up that it’s all about money and with enough money some people have no qualms about leaving.
Se Na walks into the practice room and is immediately confronted by the rest of the trainees. She sits down to practice in front of a keyboard and wonders why the trainees think she’s so all powerful that she can get Jae Young to leave and to break up Infinite Power? If not then stop claiming that this all happened because of her. She didn’t get to stay because she won, she won because Jae Young quit the competition. The trainees huff off while Se Na tries to focus on her work.
Se Na goes up to the roof with earphones on listening to her song and humming it. Hyun Wook walks up and takes off her earphone and teases that Dalbok really is a major liar, he said Se Na was hard at work but she’s clearly slacking off. Hyun Wook reveals he listened to the song she handed him and Se Na eagerly wants to know what he thinks. Hyun Wook is surprised she would do this type of song for IP but it’s got a nice melody but needs lots more work. He sends her off to clean it up.
Se Na goes to the mixing room and finds the technician depressed and without appetite thinking about how Jae Young deserted him just like that. She buys him a macaron ice-cream and the two munch on it and discuss their own woes, Se Na on how to make her song better and the technician on how to get revenge on Jae Young.
Hyun Wook’s dad is on the phone ordering that this information cannot be leaked to the public otherwise AnA is over. He ends the call and is startled to find his wife standing behind him with a glass of music. He lies that the information he was talking about was over a new manager. His wife acts like she doesn’t suspect anything but asks to use his car today since she almost got in an accident in her car the other day.
Hyun Wook’s stepmother goes to see Hyun Wook and demands to know who his dad’s other woman is? Hyun Wook admits there is such a woman but he doesn’t know anything about who she is and where she is. Hyun Wook’s stepmom plans to find out herself and once it’s all over then his dad won’t be coming back to the company so Hyun Wook will need to run the company from now on.
Hyun Wook’s stepmom gets into the car and calls her lawyer. She wants to know how long car dashcam footage is kept and how to retrieve text message records, explaining that she needs it for her divorce petition.
Hyun Wook is driving when he suddenly gets a headache and starts swerving all over the road but thankfully doesn’t get into an accident.
Hae Yoon goes to confront Jae Young about whether he stabbed Hyun Wook in the back over Hae Yoon? If so then Jae Young is really pathetic but he can’t go far with IP since the Infinite Power trademark belongs to AnA. Jae Young brings up Hyun Wook being in a tight spot right now because Jae Young has evidence of a scandal involving his dad so Jae Young will win in the end. Hae Yoon points out that Jae Young doing this won’t make her like him, and in fact he’s doing this because of his hatred of Hyun Wook and his own insecurity. Jae Young worked twelve years to get to where he is but Hyun Wook is called a genius and can disappear for three years and waltz back as Jae Young’s boss just because Hyun Wook’s dad is the company president. Jae Young can’t accept that and he doesn’t care if Hae Yoon hates him for what he did.
The AnA management team meet with the company lawyer to discuss the lawsuit filed by the three Infinite Power members to cancel their contracts. The directors are ready to fight back with big guns blazing but Hyun Wook walks in and decides that the company will not fight the lawsuit and will let the members go. He doesn’t care if the company pays the penalties because the company will simply need to make money back.
The directors all rebel and want to know what President Lee will do? Hyun Wook calls his dad and puts him on speaker to ask if he agrees with Hyun Wook’s decision to let the former IP members go while keeping Shi Woo and developing his career. Hyun Wook’s dad agrees to do what Hyun Wook wants which reluctantly mollifies the other directors.
Hae Yoon brings up having Hyun Wook come back as the lead producer which will also generate great positive news for the company. Hyun Wook takes Hae Yoon outside to talk in private and Hae Yoon suggests Hyun Wook let Jae Young release the scandal on President Lee since he doesn’t run the company anymore so the hit on AnA won’t be that bad. She doesn’t want to see Hyun Wook bested by Jae Young over something he can’t control. Hyun Wook is angry Hae Yoon knows about the scandal and asks if his dad consulted her on his romantic dalliances at work? Hyun Wook tells Hae Yoon to watch her place at work and not overstep her bounds, here she is just an employee. Hae Yoon cries to be treated this way by Hyun Wook.
Se Na and her roomies receive a delivery of musical equipment sent by Hyun Wook. Se Na calls Hyun Wook who tells her to keep learning the ropes so she can quickly get up to speed, and not to feel bad about getting this stuff since it’s like the company paying for her room and board if she lived in the dorm.
Se Na sets up the equipment before taking a selca in front of the set up to send a text to Hyun Wook. She ends up deleting the text and goes to the corner market to buy two ice-cream cones before walking over to Hyun Wook’s place. She remembers all the times Hyun Wook encouraged her to follow her musical dreams before sitting down to wait for him.
Hyun Wook is currently out drinking with Sang Jin who mentions seeing Hae Yoon earlier and she had been crying. Hyun Wook explains the earlier confrontation at work but Sang Jin instead brings up how Hae Yoon has been in love with Hyun Wook long before he started dating So Eun. Sang Jin wishes that if Hyun Wook were to love again it would be with Hae Yoon. Hyun Wook counters that love can’t be forced.
As Se Na waits for Hyun Wook to come home, she gets a call from Shi Woo who is surprised she doesn’t immediately recognize his voice and know who is calling. She asks if he’s fine? Shi Woo isn’t fine and needs her to come immediately to the hotel to bring him a hat, and also a pizza. He teases trainee Se Na to do whatever sunbae asks immediately.
Se Na drops off the hat and pizza for Shi Woo who just heads inside and starts wolfing down the pizza like he hasn’t eaten in days. Shi Woo admits he hasn’t eaten since he couldn’t order room service and let people know he’s hiding out here. Shi Woo asks if the news is still buzzing and is upset since the group splitting up wasn’t even his decision. Se Na wants Shi Woo to pay her for the pizza so she can be on her way but he just ignores her.
Se Na notices Shi Woo already has a hat so why did he make her bring another one? Shi Woo claims to want the other one and then admits he’s really frustrated right now. Since he became an idol the only people around him are workers and fans and he doesn’t want either to see him like this. He hands money to Se Na but grabs her hand so she doesn’t give him back change, asking quietly for her to bring him the change when she visits him another day.
Se Na walks through the reporter crowds all trying to get information about Shi Woo’s whereabouts. She finds Hyun Wook and the manager discussing the latest Shi Woo sighting and decides to tell Hyun Wook the truth about where Shi Woo is? Hyun Wook is surprised Se Na knows where Shi Woo is when even his manager doesn’t know? Se Na reveals Shi Woo called her here last night.
Hyun Wook rings the doorbell and Shi Wo opens expecting to find Se Na. Hyun Wook storms in and starts yelling at Shi Woo for pulling the disappearing routine and how everyone has been worried about him. Hyun Wook orders Shi Woo to leave with him since reporters and fans are all waiting for him. Shi Woo admits he’s scared, he’s scared of facing people right now and doesn’t know how to respond. Hyun Wook advises Shi Woo not to let the three member who deserted him or Jae Young who betrayed him win and feel happy to see Shi Woo so brought low. Hyun Wook’s plan is to take this set back and win bigger through honest competition like music.
Shi Woo asks if Hyun Wook plans to give him a solo career? Hyun Wook is but after working on Shi Woo’s talent. Shi Woo reminds Hyun Wook that he once said Shi Woo didn’t have what it takes to make it? Hyun Wook still stands by that but Shi Woo can work hard to build up his skills to make it. He did okay singing Se Na’s song but that song wasn’t hard to sing. It’s up to Shi Woo to decide now if he wants to go solo or give up his music dreams. Either decision Hyun Wook will respect and if he wants to quit then the company won’t waste anymore time on him. Shi Woo asks for time to decide and Hyun Wook gives him two day to make up his mind.
Se Na leaves with Hyun Wook who tells her to listen patiently if Shi Woo calls her again because he’s stressed and needs someone to listen to him vent. Se Na admits she knows that already by the way Shi Woo talked to her last night. Hyun Wook pauses to wonder how Se Na and Shi Woo got so chummy all of a sudden? Se Na admits she’s not close with Shi Woo and probably they are on better terms after he recorded the demo for her. Hyun Wook sighs before ordering Se Na to take Shi Woo’s calls but not come by the hotel in case reporters catch her.
Hyun Wook barks at Se Na for an update on using the new musical equipment and she immediately sends him the text from yesterday. He smiles to see the selca and is even happier that she went by his house to tell him.
Hyun Wook’s dad gets an update from the lawyer on how much AnA will need to cough up in this contract dispute with Infinite Power. To come up with the money, he wants to sell more of his stake in AnA. The lawyer advises against it since 5% of AnA shares was given to Jae Young as a retention bonus when he worked there so if Hyun Wook’s dad sells more shares now he might not have enough to maintain majority ownership and thereby lose a controlling interest in managing the agency. Hyun Wook’s dad calls Jae Young a dog bastard for what he did. The lawyer then reveals that Hyun Wook’s stepmom called another junior lawyer at the firm and revealed she was planning to file a divorce petition.
Hyun Wook’s dad is gardening when his wife and Mina comes home. He assures Mina that things will be fine at work with him and Hyun Wook holding down the fort. He sends Mina inside and confronts his wife on stabbing him in the back especially during a time when the company is in crisis. His wife blames his philandering for the reason the company is in the danger in the first place. Jae Young must have some serious dirt on him for him not to attack back. She refuses to hold back for Mina and won’t let this go.
Hae Yoon takes all the trainee out to eat and encourages them to all work harder during this difficult time at the company. With what is going on, the trainees may each have an earlier debut opportunity. Hae Yoon also asks the trainees to get along with Se Na since she’s the only left in the songwriting group. She reminds the trainees this is their last outing before the month end trials so they better enjoy it while they can. Se Na notices Hae Yoon not eating and also ignoring a call, which we see is from Hyun Wook.
Hae Yoon leaves the restaurant and finds Hyun Wook outside waiting for her. She tries to ignore him and then chews him out for what he said the other day, telling her not to cross the line with him at work. Hyun Wook apologizes to Hae Yoon and admits that he was overly sensitive the other day. He then reveals he suffers from severe ringing in the ears and when an episode hits it can last for hours. That’s why he can’t write songs even if he wants do. Hyun Wook admits he hasn’t been able to tell this to anyone until now which is when Hae Yoon steps forward and hugs him with tears in her eyes. Hyun Wook lets her hug him before patting her on the back. Se Na steps out of the restaurant and sees the hug.
Se Na goes home and tries to practice on the keyboard but she’s distracted and teary-eyed. Hyun Wook walks Hae Yoon home and she thanks him for sharing this secret with her. She’s also sad thinking that she won’t be able to listen to Hyun Wook’s songs from now on. He’s not that pessimistic and suggests that there could be a cure one day. Hae Yoon puts her hands over Hyun Wook’s ears to transfer her energy to him wishing that he will get well soon. Se Na flops down on her keyboard totally depressed.
Shi Woo paces his hotel room and thinks about Rae Heon dismissing him as totally worthless without Infinite Power. He opens the curtains and looks down over Seoul and thinks about Hyun Wook’s encouragement that just because he doesn’t have good cards doesn’t mean he’ll lose the round. Shi Woo turns on his cell phone and reads messages from Se Na telling him to call if he needs anything, next time she’ll remember to buy thin crust and he can treat. Shi Woo smiles to reads her texts.
Joo Hong and her boyfriend are in the living room flirting when they hear Se Na’s cell phone ringing but she doesn’t pick it up. Joo Hong walks inside and takes off Se Na’s ear phones and asks why she’s working this hard without a break? Se Na assures her that she’s fine. Her phone rings again and she answers the call from Shi Woo asking for sushi. Se Na can’t run his errands as she’s songwriting and wants to finish it up soon because she wants someone to hear it. Shi Woo thinks that person is him because he’s the one who is going to sing it. He tells her to bring the song and sushi over but Se Na hangs up on him.
Shi Woo stares at his phone in bed until he gets a text from Se Na with the song attached. He opens the file and listens to the song. Shi Woo finally walks out of the hotel and calls Se Na, hearing that she’s headed to the company and telling her to wait for him there because he’s coming as well.
Hyun Woo and Hae Yoon meet with Ra Eum to ask her to start her public activities soon for the company. Ra Eum refuses since she wants to plan her new image makeover first before she starts working again. She suggests Shi Woo would be better suited to start activities for the company and wants him back otherwise she’s the only one carrying the burden of the IP fallout. Hyun Wook asks how things are going with Rae Heon but Ra Eum refuses to answer. After she walks out, Hyun Wook tells Hae Yoon to comfort Ra Eum since it’s clear from her attitude that things likely ended with Rae Heon.
Hyun Wook goes up to the roof to stare at the beautiful sunset when Se Na walks out to join him. She pulls out her phone and tells Hyun Wook that she did the homework he gave her and made the song better. They share a set of ear buds to listen to the remixed song. Hyun Wook has a pleased smile on his face while Se Na stares at him listening to her song while remembering their times together. She’s totally fallen for him already. Shi Woo rides in a cab on his way back to the company and thinks about recording the demo for Se Na. He wanders through the company and looks around all the usual places for her.
Hyun Wook finishes listening to the song and compliments Se Na that the song can touch people’s hearts. Se Na asks for more feedback but Hae Yoon interrupts to ask what they are doing? Hyun Wook explains that Se Na came on her day off to bring her competition song. Hae Yoon wants to listen to it but Se Na asks to share another time before walking off.
Se Na runs into Shi Woo at the door to the roof and he’s calling her so he asks why she’s not answering her phone? Shi Woo then smiles at Se Na and says “Why do you always make a person’s heart flutter?” Cue stares all around.
Thoughts of Mine:
It’s nice to have an entire episode of comparative down time and calmness for all the characters. I complimented Se Na for not being a shrieky or prone to overreacting leading lady, but I noticed that by and large the same is true for all the characters here perhaps with the exception of Jae Young. Even when he, and occasionally Hyun Wook, will explode the alpha males quickly move on. The rest of the time everyone faces down new challenges and keeps on chugging ahead. Hyun Wook’s stepmother overhears her husband’s infidelity and in this episode swiftly and calmly handles her matters so she can divorce his cheating ass. Nicely done, and the completely lack of histrionics or sinister undertone was very welcome. The story continues to move swiftly without being bogged down, Jae Young can’t stand Hyun Wook’s return so he leaves just like that. Rae Heon can’t deal with Shi Woo in the group anymore so he jumps ship with Jae Young. Both of these moves are self-serving and also double down in leaving the other side in a lurch with a big chance to fail. It’s an effective strategy which only seems pointless because we’re told Shi Woo is hardworking enough to succeed on his own and Hyun Wook is savvy enough to revive AnA without Jae Young and Infinite Power. Still not sure where Se Na fits in other than as the secret weapon of sorts, except one with so little impressive work product I’m actually with the other trainees in wondering why she gets so much help.
Hae Yoon suddenly went from annoying second female lead to someone who actually could work with Hyun Wook. Not sure if it was a deliberate attempt on the writing to warm audiences up to her character, but so far she’s only shown herself to be professional at work, competent at her job, cute in trying to woo Hyun Wook, and completely loyal to Hyun Wook. If the mere possibility that she’ll grow to hate on Se Na if Hyun Wook likes Se Na makes her unlikable, then it’s too early to give her that badge of dishonor. She was a strong character in this episode even if I never can warm up to Cha Ye Ryun. It’s also interesting that good friend Sang Jin made an appearance just to have drinks with Hyun Wook and share his personal wish that Hyun Wook will start over with Hae Yoon. He’s not wrong in that sentiment since by all accounts Hyun Wook and Hae Yoon complement each other. Whereas Se Na and Hyun Wook, there is nothing aside from his guilt to help her and their supportive interactions that make me think they are compatible in the long run. Maybe I’m thinking too much into it, but Hyun Wook’s entire reason for being around Se Na just feels too heavy with the death of So Eun hanging over them. This drama has a light tone most of the time and Hyun Wook and Se Na’s interactions are often sweet in a fluffy way but I still feel the overarching connection between them comes across as too much baggage.
Shi Woo and Se Na continue to be beyond cute and it’s starting to get to the point where their scenes are the only ones I anticipate. I like Hyun Wook and overall the story is interesting enough, but it’s mostly Shi Woo’s arc that gets me. Since a lot of his scenes involve Se Na and their bickering remains so entertaining, she also starts to shine more around him. I’m not a fan of the way Se Na is around Hyun Wook, a bit like she’s wanting his approval, or the way she is starting to moon over him when she’s alone. The only time Se Na remains more herself is around Shi Woo, and in his presence she’s starting to see a kindred spirit struggling in the same life stage problems as her. I find their unexpected friendship the most satisfying connection in this drama because we see them go from strangers to same company colleagues to friends who can speak candidly with each other. A lot of Hyun Wook’s issues are from the past that we’re told about or haven’t even really touched upon, so he comes across as just a walking hunk of emotional scars. Shi Woo and Se Na fit better as characters in a drama like MLG when it’s about struggling to make it in the music world and touching people through music. Perhaps Hyun Wook and So Eun’s romance three years earlier would deliver the same feels as watching Shi Woo and Se Na connect now, but unfortunately the drama is mapped out that way so the viewer is left with puzzle pieces that would fit better in a different assemblage except this isn’t a reader pick your own ending book.
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