[Please join me in giving a warm welcome to jomo, a long time drama friend of mine as well as a delightfully effusive and witty commentator here at the Playground. I think she’s been sucked deeper into the world of this secret love affair than I am, but that’s the power of Yoo Ah In on the biggest acting roll (and role) of his life. We will be alternating episodes going forward, which hopefully will make for more entertaining reading of differing styles and observations. This drama is a work of art made with a surfeit of love from everyone involved and I’m thrilled to debut a new series and new recapper to the blog to share SLA’s genius for all to read! ~ xoxo Koala]
Secret Love Affair captured me heart and soul in this episode. Understanding the floating loyalties and machinations of World Seohan took a lot of effort, but I think it is getting clearer. The first rule of Seohan Fight Club is everyone for themselves. There is no loyalty. The second rule is everyone needs Hye Won to win. She inhabits the lowest level of the totem pole, but that just so happens to be what holds up everyone on the top.
Hye Won is sleek, natural, neutral, she doesn’t have fasteners on her clothes. They stay on by the power of elegance. Everything is controlled. No bumps in her road can take her off course. Forget your skirt? No problem — wear a scarf. A scarf who on most people would look like a table cloth, but not on Hye Won. Her daily life is riddled with small problems and big personalities that she handles with as much aplomb and little expressed emotion? The question is, can her serenity now withstand the arrival of this face? *picture Yoo Ah In giving you his best smolder*
Episode 2 recap:
Hye Won brings Sun Jae into a room with a piano and tells him to sit down.
Sun Jae looks very young wearing his youthful varsity shaped jacket, and quite frightened. When he doesn’t comply, she asks if he knows why he is here, but he only knows it had something to do with what happened yesterday. She plays on his uncertainty by being deliberately cryptic and using words like “You should be punished” to scare him.
She instructs him to play the piano like yesterday. Sun Jae does not understand – he thought the other guy said he could go. Hye Won assures him that she is the one who will decide that and that she will turn him over to the police or forgive depending on if he is good or not. Sun Jae takes an exasperated breath, hesitates. Again Hye Won threatens to take him to the police, which is enough to move him to take off his jacket.
Sun Jae sits at the piano. She tells him she will record this session. Sun Jae checks out extensive sound system and video camera.
She uses the remote to start it, and places herself on the sofa behind Sun Jae.
“Start,” she says, and he agrees to. His pause before playing is long enough for her to force her to ask several questions: what is wrong, if he is going to play.
Yet he waits, or more to the point, makes her wait. We know from the day before that a good instrument is something he cannot resist, so he must want intensely to play. He could be mentally reviewing the piece, or he could have stage fright. She stands, slightly perturbed that this kid is wasting her time. There are a lot of young people out there like him. She heads to the door and says, “Let’s do it by law.” Just before she opens it, he begins.
It is Shubert, the duet from star pupil and professor. She comes closer, affected by gorgeous playing is coming from an unexpected place. He stops abruptly, mid piece, and says that was a far as he played yesterday. When she criticizes him for playing freely and not following the sheet music, he defends himself. He’s just one person playing two parts. We learn he is only playing from memory from the ONE time he heard it.
he never saw the solo arrangement. He demonstrates how he decided what to play from what he heard. Hye Won seems to realize what she has before her – an extremely gifted musical student. Sun Jae speaks assuredly, but humbly about the choices he made.
He wants to play something he memorized, so she goes back to the sofa. With great tenderness and affection, he performs Bach’s Prelude and Fugue, which moves her to tears.
Hye Won sees that he doesn’t use the foot pedals to enhance or change the sound. We get a montage of him playing several movements, masterfully, and more tears from Hye Won, He never hesitates or stumbles through the difficult and lengthy pieces. Hye Won reacts and sways throughout the performance.
Sun Jae’s style touches her – she is continually surprised by the brilliance she is hearing – totally unbeknownst Sun Jae who just keeps playing away.
Da Mi and Jang Ho are hanging out with Sun Jae’s oma in her restaurant kitchen wondering where the boy’s at. Da min is fiddling with the reclaimed Hye Won broken necklace.
Oma breaking a plate punctuates Jang Ho’s joke that Sun Jae must be cheating on Da Mi.
At the foundation, Young Woo flips out because her lackey/maid/BFF took a day off without informing her personally. She confronts the chairwoman complaining that Hye Won is supposed to get approval through her, not the big boss. Everything is a power play. Young woo remarks: “The concubine is defending the court lady in front of the princess.” But Mde Han corrects her. “I’m the queen.” Doesn’t Young Woo know her historical dramas?
Mde Han tells Young Woo to keep her fingers out of the school pie, as it is none of her business to select students, plus they are under a lot of scrutiny. Young Woo points out the Chairwoman has already handpicked eight candidates, but Mde Han says she only recommends. The school and foundation work together to support these students. “Isn’t that our worth and honor?” Mde Han reminds her the strict selection process should prevent any favorites from being admitted over the truly talented, to which Young Woo snorts in derision.
We are treated to Young Woo’s full length 40 year old body dressed in skin tight leopard print slacks, with a half shirt top showing off her bare middle, walking down the hall into a sudden good idea.
This good idea is to show up unannounced at Hye Won’s house. The ahjumma barely slows Young Woo who does not stop to change out of her street shoes.
Barging into the soundproof practice room, she stares at Sun Jae playing a lively piece before Hye Won drags her out. Of course Young Woo accuses Hye Won of having an illicit meeting with the young man and/or taking money from his family to get into Seohan. Hye Won replies that listening to him makes her happy. Young Woo won’t believe her and Hye Won has to shove her far enough away from the room to gain time to lock Crazy out.
This totally pisses her off and here she vows to have the Chairman, Dean, Hye Won and Hye Won’s husband kneel before her. It sounds like an empty threat from an emptier loose cannon, but it worries me.
She makes a call to a possible fellow conspirator to meet her later after he meets with people she is suspicious about.
On the other end of the phone is Hye Won’s husband Joon Hyung. He is meeting the Seohan Music Faculty at a Japanese restaurant to discuss the list of applicant names for the next round of admissions. Before going in, Min makes a call to Mde Han. There appears to be something going on there with them. It’s a super secret meeting with Palace guards posted (OK it’s just the restaurant host but THEY want us to think it’s more exciting.) The three professors and the dean admit the reality of having to accept sub-par students if the parents have enough influence. The girl we saw in the last ep – Jung Yoo Ra – her mother is called Baek, “the Seer” is a financial consultant they use. They claim she isn’t a just like a fortuneteller, she actually is one. She is willing to pay for her daughter to get in. Dean Min allows this to happen since they can admit one or two prodigies to appease the public.
As long as the scary Netizens watching their every move don’t catch them. If they make examples of the talented ones, like Jo In Seo does with Ji Min Woo, nobody will be the wiser. Joon Hyung begs again for his own brilliant student to be put on the list, but Dean Min tells him he wants to see the person first. The professors need to inform all their private students who did not get in, which they are in the process of. Cello teacher and snob laments that her students are as bad as their cheap instruments. Oh this one is a gem. Their biggest annoyance is Young Woo who has recommended far too many kids again this time. Dean Min states they have to stop her tyranny, but, but, but Young Woo’s position as major shareholder makes it difficult to deny her. And she is Cello Snob’s sister in law. While it appears they are on Mde Han’s side, they are actually banding together to stop Young Woo. Reality is there are only so many spots; it isn’t like they can compromise. Joon Hyung texts his wife phone hidden secretly under the table.
Sun Jae is still playing and Hye Won is completely captivated. The performer and audience are connected now.
The music Sun Jae plays has become a third entity in the room that surrounds and holds them. Hye Won drifts around the room, going to the window, but closing her eyes as if that will help her absorb the sound.
From soothing classical room of music, we go to a cheap club with the Princess and the Clown. Young Woo informs him she saw the piano player and his house, but when he asks if the kid is any good, she tells him what does she know – only looks matter to her. He says, “Oh yeah, I forgot that about you.”
Young Woo does add that he the kid was pretty good looking, so she wants to spend time with him. Joon Hyung tells her hands off. The doggone kid is his possible future student.
Young Woo is sorry to tell him that usually Jo Sun Jae wouldn’t even glance at Joon Hyung’s students since they are only admitted because of their connections. Joon Hyung takes insult at the very idea, but Young Woo doesn’t back down. He has been caught.
Mde Han’s man is spying on the pair, reporting that Prof Kang just arrived.
Young Woo with much gravity shows reveals her masterful plan of revenge. She accuses Hye Won of illicit dealings to admit students into the University. Joon Hyung is shocked – absolutely not, Hye Won is not that kind of person.
Young Woo admits she is not really after Hye Won, it’s Mme Han and Dean Min she wants to put in jail. By doing so, she could regain both his and his wife allegiances. All Joon Hyung has to do is give her the list of student’s who got in through connections, parent names and important details. Young Woo will keep his name out of it. Joon Hyung denies the list exists, and rebuts, “Do you keep a list of all your bribes?” Young Woo has proof. Why did Joon Hyung’s secretary delivery that kid to their house? She could coerce his driver into confessing. Joon Hyung smiles ruefully gulping down his drink. She has it all wrong. That kid has neither money nor pull. Joon Hyung’s afraid, really, that it may not be true but Hye Won may soon confirm if finally, Joon Hyung will have a student worth bragging about. Someone with talent who can make him proud as a teacher. He is so earnest when he says that, I want it to be true. Young Woo, always the ambitious one, wonders if he isn’t afraid that Jo will get the Dean title? Joon Hyung shakes his head telling her she doesn’t understand. He calls makes a phone call to the ahjumma since Hye Won isn’t picking up. Hye Won hasn’t left the piano room in hours not even for lunch. Rather than disturb her, Joon Hyung says he is coming home immediately to talk to her.
Young Woo, however, has other ideas and exerts her power, stopping him with a kick to the shins. Joon Hyung is dying of curiosity about the kid his wife has been listening to all day. This must mean he is good. Young Woo throws a drink in his face, then hands a napkin to wipe it.
“You can’t go. We’re scheming a coup here.” LOL Joon Hyung is not impressed. Who would plan a coup with her? She counters that she could leak information to Jo In Seo, and the corruption scandal would bring Joon Hyung down. Young Woo would end up looking like a defender of education battling corrupt Mde Han queen of bribes. Her father may look like he loooves his Han, but it’s only because she is currently on top. She implores him to be on her side, and he won’t be hurt.
While Joon Hyung grabs at the phone she makes a call to Jo In Seo whose wife sees the call coming in at this late hour. Jo dismisses the drunk dial, as it has probably happened before.
Meanwhile Joon Hyung has grabbed the phone out of Young Woo’s hand telling Jo it’s not what it seems. A hilarious battle ensues – Young Woo who bites then slaps him while he puts up his hands in defense. She calls him a snake and a bat. He cries out.
We find out something interesting – that Young Woo permitted Joon Hyung to marry Hye Won because of his claim that she meant nothing to him. Jo and wife who are disgusted overhear all of this. Jo says, “That’s how they like to play.”
The failed coup team continue their partying with karaoke. Young Woo’s boyfriend has joined them, now smashed as she is and they sing a pretty love song to each other.
Awwww, I like them together here. Joon Hyung sits drunk and despondent alone at the table. He recalls Dean Min’s words about admitting enough talented students to cover for the bribing entrants. Ji Min-woo is Jo’s strength because of his talent.
Sun Jae has stopped playing long enough to ask if Hye Won wants him to play more. She stands slowly and stops the recording.
“You can go. You’re forgiven,” and walks to the door. In Hye Won speak that means he played well, but Sun Jae wants to hear with spoken words if he played OK. She repeats that he can go, he’s forgiven. She’s tired from concentrating all this time and needs to rest.
We don’t see Sun Jae’s face since the camera is behind him, but I imagine he is slightly confused.
After all he’s the one who played all day not her. She turns to face him, hands in pocket, and she asks he doesn’t have any idea about himself (his ability) does he? She smiles, searching his face, saying nothing and approaches him slowly. “You really don’t know?” She walks back over to the piano. I don’t know if she just decided to be interested him at that moment, or if she just surrendered to the idea that he is a person worth being interested in. She asks a series of questions about his musical training.
He started at six on a former tenant’s piano. It was something to fill the time he spent locked up in the room while his mother was away working. Formal lessons didn’t begin until middle school, but is mostly self-taught. Nowadays he watches YouTube videos of the best performers to learn style, downloads the pieces, playing each a 100 times in order to memorize them. She realizes how many hours he must spend playing and wonders about injuries. He shares that he did get treated for tenosynovitis – a repetitive stress injury – that helped it go away.
Between the questions, Hye Won takes in his responses; increasingly impressed with the adversity this musical soul overcame in order to play as perfectly as he did for her today. None of which she shares with him. Not that he expects anything from her. When she asks if he wants to know anything else, he requests to play one more piece. She seems to have an “Oh my heart cannot take anymore of this” moment, and turns. “The one from yesterday,” he says with a shy smile.
Returning to the piano room, reluctantly holding up the score, she remarks he probably wouldn’t leave anyway if she didn’t oblige him.
His suppressed grin confirms she was right. Taking control, she orders him to get the chair and what part she chose to play. They sit; she warms up her hands and does a little stretching before beginning.
It begins softly, but has a persistent rhythm, they move in synch. Not only does their playing sound well balanced – a pair who has never rehearsed before – but also they accent the playing with the same body movements. The piece gets more impassioned, she looks at him in rapture, he concentrates on his part, unaware of how she is affected.
They crescendo then climax, followed by a soft echo that ends it, leaves them both breathless and spent. Sun Jae is obviously overwhelmed by the experience and tries to recompose himself and regain his bearings. He can’t even look at Hye Won, who was equally overcome, but gets up to leave without a word. Sun Jae stands and waits for some response from her. Again she keeps her thoughts and face hidden. Until, that is, she looks at him. Mask off, her expression betrays how intimately he touched her and possibly a hunger for more. The force of this moment makes Sun Jae step back in surprise.
He knew how it electrifying it was for him, did she feel the same? The honest moment passes; she puts back on her cool marm face and walks over to him. Still sensitive from their encounter, her proximity shocks his system enough for him to step back again. She smiles, reaches up and attempting to dismiss all adult-like feelings, pinches his cheek.
“This is a special compliment,” and walks out smooth-like.
Slowly she strolls down the hall, the ahjumma asks about the meal she has laid out for them, but Hye Won declines.
“I’m fine, but feed him before he goes.” Nice try, there, Hye Won. That is how you treat visiting help or messengers back in the day to reward them for a job well done and show your charity at the same time. She continues up her floating stairs, basking in the afterglow, touching her neck and smiling to herself.
Once inside her bedroom, she shuts the door and reveals how impressed she is with him and the fact that he figured that all by himself.
Sun Jae literally runs out of the house, refusing lunch/dinner. His adrenaline filled body needs release. He jogs about in the night recalling her compliments and questions.
We go back to the audition conversation. They talk about the use of pedals, which Sun Jae rejects because he thinks it sounds better sans. She chides him – challenging whether it is his preference or interpretation? He defends his choice pointing to the music. It was written to be played with space between the notes. She approves of his interpretation.
Hye Won has made her way back down to the piano room, drinking tea on the sofa, and also recalling that moment happy.
Sun Jae ends up on a bridge looking out at the river. His smile transforms his face.
He brings back a memory – Hye Won asking him to play the coda to the Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 23 Appassionato again. Not because he made a mistake, which was his first thought, but because she just wants to hear it one more time. The joy built up spills out. He closes his eyes and pretending the bridge rail is the piano, he performs the piece, evoking the experience of playing it again for Hye Won.
They cut back and forth between him playing on the bridge and on the piano as the piece climaxes, Sun Jae smiles marveling at these feelings, as he recalls sound of her voice requesting to hear it one more time. What follows is a gorgeous fantasy of the two of them playing the Schubert together on the bridge as the sun dawns.
A cello joins their duet in the soundtrack, as we end up back in his room and in his bed, where he pictures them performing on his piano. Hye Won, it turns out, is still on the sofa in the piano room, reliving their moments, too.
“He’s so beautiful” she sighs luxuriously. Yeah, we know.
Next morning, Hye Won is back to business getting flawlessly dressed and speaking into her cell phone ordering Young Woo about for the day’s events. Her husband (that’s right, she has one!) comes in and pleas with Hye Won to get a spot for Sun Jae on the admittance list from Mde Han. Hye Won tells him there is no need; he will get in on merit – even Jo would approve. The mention of his rival makes Joon Hyung bristle and he pouts.
Hye Won insists there is no reason to ask for a favor but Joon Hyung is still nervous about Joon Hyung’s prospects since the young man hasn’t done any competitions or formal lessons. Hye Won thinks there is enough time to prepare for the audition.
Joon Hyung insists that Sun Jae enroll as his student so he is marked as his. Hye Won objects to her husband dehumanizing the kid. Hye Won ends the conversation saying they can talk about it later and heads off to work. Joon Hyung calls after her, “Get a spot from Mde Han!” And warns her not to one from take one from Young Woo. She heads down the stairs and Ahjumma offers fresh cut veggies to eat. Hye Won chooses one.stalk.of.celery. and smiles, biting into her delicious, nutritious one.stalk.of.celery.
I suddenly don’t envy the tiny figure that can wear small small clothes. She enters their home office and opens the hidden safe, taking out an undoubtedly expensive bracelet. She agrees to meet Mde Han at the salon.
When she arrives, she greets Da Mi in the hall as they pass who seems surprised the woman remembered her name, and guiltily covers her purloined necklace as an afterthought.
Mde Han is already ready to leave. The camera shoots them from behind in the car on the way to the next gig – an interview that they are already late for.
From her IPad, Hye Won shows Mde Han the list of names that will be accepted – which of course can’t exist yet since nobody has actually auditioned. Hye Won agrees to destroy the evidence after showing Dean Min.
The interviewer has been instructed not to ask personal questions but just in case, Mde Han is prepared to reiterate that private interest of her and her husband will not affect the running of school and foundation. Adding that in reality, it is all about her personal interests. They laugh. The secretary hands Hye Won a recording to listen to. Mde Han wonders if Joon Hyung mentioned anything (about their meeting) Nothing other than to leave Young Woo alone. Hye Won listens to the recording without reacting. While the secretary was supposed to edit out the pair “fooling around” she left some in.
We get to hear the of Young Woo’s and Joon Hyung’s conspiracy, plus the part where she slapped him and Young Woo’s cruel mention Joon Hyung considered Hye Won to be nothing to him. Mde Han knows it could upset Hye Won, who claims, actually, to be glad to hear all of it, since it confirms that Young Woo and Prof Jo are in cahoots.
They have to act before Young Woo can use her father-in-law and leak the list to the prosecutors. She asks if the Chairman is having dinner at home that evening. Hye Won wants to be left out of this whole mess, she doesn’t want her name mentioned, and doesn’t have an interest in all the power plays.
Mde Han ribs her and says she’s not interested in the person who played for Hye Won all day then. Hye Won says, but you should be interested in him. He is just what they need right now to get ride of all charges of corruption. That interests Mde Han.
Sun Jae brings DM home on his delivery bike. He is in a good mood.
His mother worried about him since he was missing most of the night. He gives his oma a lovely hug and says, “I love you.” He concedes to Da Mi’s unspoken request by hugging her and whispering, “I love you” in her ear. He goes up onto the roof alone, and re-imagines the cheek pinch of approval from Hye Won.
This time we get to see his frowning reaction – that now a day later makes a huge smile break across his expression. He holds his cheek where she pinched him and laughs contentedly looking out over the street relishing the memory of her approval.
Joon Hyung follows his wife up the stairs to their bedroom, he badgers Hye Won about getting a spot for Sun Jae. Hye Won assures him that indeed, one of Young Woo’s places was secured. Joon Hyung objects but weakly- as if he just doesn’t want to be bothered with her whining.
That evening Mde Han makes her move on Chairman husband, bringing up Young Woo. His reaction – to the mention of his grown-up daughter makes me laugh – “What now?”
We see the fall out of the attempted coup the next day. Han sits at the Chairman’s side while he holds up the list of Young Woo’s list of approved applicants. A guilty Princess sits across from the King, lady-in-waiting Hye Woo at her side. He is angry with his daughter, but complains that Hye Won is at fault for being too soft and not keeping a closer eye on things.
Mde Han takes the blame – she shouldn’t have been so indulgent with Young Woo who looks on incredulous, “How, again, were you understanding?”
Mde Han keeps the charade going lamenting she shouldn’t have bent her own code of conduct but remained true to her principles. After all, the Chairman founded the school, so the admission process should be fair. Hye Won interrupts to remind her that she needs to talk to the press. They leave daddy and daughter alone. Young Woo is shocked that he would believe them, but he drops the phony. He scolds her for losing again to Mde Han when she is supposed to be learning from the fighting. If she wants to be taken seriously for the Dean or director positions, she has to succeed at something, not get embroiled in scandals like these. Learn from the big fox and the small fox.
After the humiliation of the meeting, Young Woo bullies Hye Won again, throwing papers at a fleeing Hye Won. Blame flows downhill, and it is Hye Won’s fault now that she got caught. Hye Won counters saying she could have turned down the requests. But Young Woo defends herself. How does she say no to her boyfriend’s niece.
The word boyfriend irritates Hye Won. “You are married, for God’s sake!” Young Woo brings back the accusation that the young man who played for Hye Won shows that her hands are dirty, too. Hye Won says she wouldn’t recommend just anyone.
Young Woo wonders jus how good could he be? Hye Won replies that he is beyond her imagination good adding he will be glory to Seohan University catching her breath after running around the office.
Sun Jae meets Joon Hyung in a restaurant.
Joon Hyung declares their meeting to be fateful and offers Sun Jae a spot in the University. He just has to audition and pass the first and second rounds. Joon Hyung paints a picture of future glory. If he places in any major competitions, he gets more money, and he will be exempt from military service.
Hye Won is eating dinner with Jo’s wife and the secretary who gave her the recording. They are talking about Young Woo and her boyfriend who will probably leave her once he gets enough money. Young Woo calling her boy toy her boyfriend is ridiculous to Hye Won, but she has to admit YH does fill her empty life with him. Jo’s wife says wryly it ‘s not as if their lives are any better. Secretary begs to differ despite going to the same high school as them, she spends all day kissing Hye Won and Young Woo ass. They play one downmanship: Looks whose salary is higher. Look who’s not married. They decide that Jo’s wife – with four kids to testify to her good relationship – is the happiest of them all. They are the perfect couple. Jo’s wife shares a secret, any time she had the urge to cheat, she “used” her husband to satisfy her. Hye Won tells her she’s fortunate, at least that means they have chemistry. But Jo’s wife claims she would trade lives with Hye Won anytime — how about for a month? They agree she has the best life – she gets to go on business trips and hang with the rich girls and she still has her tiny figure. Jo’s wife would LOVE to go out of the home to work every day. She fantasizes about it.
Oh really? Does she want Kang Joon Hyung as a husband? Hye Won wins this round. Who wants to babysit a husband after all? They laugh at Hye Won’s lot in life. Jo’s wife brings up the drunken fooling around phone call from Young Woo and Joon Hyung the other night. What the heck is that all about? Doesn’t it bother Hye Won?
She claims since Young Woo employed both of them before they were married, they have no choice but to put up with her shenanigans. Prof Jo arrives and eats off his wife’s plate.
They get grossed out because he drinks from the same place on the wine glass – indirect kiss. Jo wants to know about the kid?
Hye Won gets all excited (ahem) and emails the file of the audition over to Jo. The fact that she even told Han about this one means something and makes Jo curious.
Sun Jae goes to his high school teacher to let him know he will be leaving. It wasn’t until Sun Jae calls Joon Hyung on the phone that they believe him.
Even Da Mi has no idea of how good a player Sun Jae has developed into. She looks crestfallen as the teacher prints out Sun Jae’s CV for the application process. Sun Jae is very happy.
Leaving a shop, Joon Hyung and Hye Won stop to buy Sun Jae candy. It’s a tradition to do wish luck to students preparing for college entrance.
The pair arrive at Sun Jae’s apartment after he hurriedly picks up the laundry and other small messes. He goes outside to greet them surprised they are together. Which turns to shock and disappointment when Joon Hyung tells them they are married.
Poor kid is soooooooooooo nervous; he bows repeatedly and frantically to her as the wife now. They think he’s cute, which he hates. They go up the embarrassingly small stairs into his embarrassingly small room. He directs them to his “bedroom” which is just a small space up a level. They look around and remark how incredible that such a talent came from there. He has layered the walls with egg cartons for soundproofing.
His sheet music is all singles as opposed to booklets because he downloads it (illegally)
They decline tea since they came to hear him play. He nervously tells them he will perform Wanderer Fantasie by Schubert, which the google tells me is an extremely difficult piece which could take years to master. Joon Hyung is so impressed he could cry. Hye Won steps on something that attaches to her shoe.
It is a super glue mousetrap from under his bed. The word mouse chases Joon Hyung out of the room into the hall.
He hates them. Meanwhile, Hye Won says her foot is burning. Sun Jae rushes over to help free her – taking her ankle in his hand he tells her that it is going to hurt so she’ll have to just bear it.
She doesn’t like that idea at all. After a couple attempts, he pulls hard enough to pull the trap off, causing Hye Won to cry out in pain.
This brings Joon Hyung back into the apartment to check on her. Hye Won good-naturedly says she’s not ok, but it’s actually funny. Joon Hyung offers to call 911. Sun Jae warns him that the mice come from the hall and to close the door. Fear of rodents overrules concern for wife and Joon Hyung calls out that he will be waiting in the car.
Taking charge, Sun Jae picks up Hye Won to her dismay and princess carries her down the small set of stairs.
Everyone loved the duet as mating dance. It is difficult to describe what goes one between them without stepping into sexual language, although I have to say it was more two souls attracted than two bodies. At least so far. I look forward to your reactions to that. Yes, he dreamed about her from his bed, and yes, she replayed their encounter languidly, but I still think it is currently a meeting of minds.
I am stealing Young Woo’s analogy of the court to describe Seohan Kingdom. Young Woo is the dissolute Crown Princess with delusions of grandeur but who is beloved by King Seo. She is inept at conspiracy, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. Queen Han currently holds the King’s heart, and can influence him enough to get her way in most things. Lady Hye Won works as everyone’s consigliere. Dependable, resourceful, dignified, she holds the family together by keeping them from each other’s throats. This Kingdom has purchased itself respectability like every other country in history, by appropriating culture. In this case, Seo uses his ill gained income to fund an Arts foundation and college. All the King’s players – from the Dean to the professors to the musicians – they work to increase their coffers by currying favor with the wealthy aristocrats. Ones who are also willing to put out money to appear cultured. The problem is everyone in this place is phony. All of them. The corruption is so widespread the People are suspicous. It is only a matter of time before it gets revealed. I must note the exception to the hypocrisy is Princess Young Woo, who grew on me in this episode. She’s a meanie and a jerk, but at least she isn’t hiding anything.
My favorite scene, that I have play and replayed, was when Sun Jae performed the Beethoven on the bridge. Visually stunning, editing perfectly and scored with soul touching music. It made my heart race then brought tears to my eyes because of its innocence and beauty. Yoo Ah In is spectacular as the newly awakened Sun Jae. A poor boy who is completely untainted and untested by the real world where money can’t buy love, but it can get you into an exclusive college. He has lived in a veritable musical cave all his life, yet somehow managed to develop into an exquisite lyrical entity. His arrival into Hye Won’s fakey life has changed her. I can’t wait to see how.
Click here to watch Secret Love Affair.
A new recapper? I think Dramabeans has that too. Why do you keep on copying them?
*munching on popcorn*
Reading a random hater ridicule himself/herself and get attention from the #2 most popular Asian-drama-watching blog may become funny, at times, though not too many. Shortly it gets tiring and bothersome, and after a while one does not pay attention any longer.
You must not know about Jomo or the good relationship between the dramabeans team and koalasplayground. Go do your research before dishing anything out. I’ve been visiting for a long time. It just so happens that recappers have lives and there are simply too many dramas cropping up that they can’t be recapped by one or two people.
I’m sorry Koala unni, I rarely post on here even if I keep visiting (I’m usually a lurker) but this noob is asking for it.
Jomo, loving this drama. Your recaps are amazing. Yours too koala unni. Keep rocking.
Please refrain from using YEH’s name in your ridiculous comments dear. Having additional bloggers on a blog is not a new concept. Dramabeans already had five writers, minimum, before the bootcamp and several of them have their own blogs. Please exercise common sense.
Goodness, why so rude?
How is it “copying” when this concept of team recapping has been long introduced, even before dramabeans?
Please do your research before you make flippant assumptions.
Dude (or chick),
Leave jomo alone. I wish if you had the uncontrollable urge like a bowel movement is oncoming to leave this comment, you would have done so at my About page or one of my posts. It irks me to see you pouring her haterade on jomo’s lovely recap here.
I have no more to add other than: I apologize for copying the use of the English language here, I apologize for copying the concept of writing a blog, I apologize for copying the concept of recapping a drama, and I sure as heck need to apologize for watching dramas. I didn’t invent or start any of this, and good golly the folly of being a copycat. I should slink away in shame but for the fact that I guess that means I’m pretty shameless. To have the gall of inviting my friend to share a mutual love of a drama in doing guests recaps about it is beyond the pale. Since you’re so all-knowing, who should I apologize to in particular for this infraction?
Sorry jomo dearie. Didn’t expect such a brouhaha.
wow! thanks for the great recap! so happy to read jomo’s recap… you’ve been commenting here at koala’s for so long that i’d wonder if i didn’t see your name in an article. great job here and fighting!
you’re not just good in making beautiful headers but recaps as well *thumbs up*
Welcome jomo, I enjoyed reading your recap. I have noticed your name for a while now when I read the comments in blogs, I am glad to finally be able to read your very own recap.Well done.
I am enjoying this drama, love both the lead actress and YAI, this gonna be his best acting role ever! Thank you Ms Koala and Ms Jomo for recapping.
Well done Jomo!
Before I head on to read this recap…a warm welcome Hello Jomo!! And thanks Koala for sharing your site, now I know you’re not exclusive
Welcome, jomo! I enjoyed reading your recap and reliving every detail of the 2nd episode- made me want to watch it again. I agree this episode humanized Young Woo, she’s a brat but I can understand why she’s the way she is.
Lovely recap…my mind is going to be stuck in the kingdom analogy
I forgot to mention JH – court-jester of the sad clown variety?
He is the Princess’s former love whom YW rewarded by bestowing the hand of a beautiful lady’s hand in marriage. I imagine that JH fell in love with HW, but hid it, and was all non-chalant about it. “You know that friend of yours, HW? She’s not ugly or disgusting so I am willing to take her off your hands if you want. It’s not like I think she’s cool or special…or anything…”
Well since they all agree Joon Hyung is the worst husband it’s not good for Hye Won either way
Awesome recap Jomo!
Spot on bout Young Woo in that she, and SJ, are the only ones who only ever say exactly what they mean. They tell the truth, most importantly to HW, who needs to hear it more than anyone in this corrupt world.
As for mating dance, for him it was more than just a meeting of the minds no? It was full on!! Complete with post-coital chest heaving!!
I will concede one thing:
This attraction of musical souls, because really HW didn’t get all weak in the knees over him SJ’s looks, ended up affecting them both physically.
And it wasn’t that she was wowed by his musical prowess. She has taught young good-looking men before. So’s current star learned from her at the beginning. she is probably surrounded by talented musical men.
This other aspect beyond good technical skills is that his playing resonates with her like nobody ever has before. Of all the piano joints in all the towns in all the world, he walks into hers.
Play it Sun Jae.
For her I think it was a matter of the body knowing what the mind doesn’t want, or is not ready to acknowledge. And for him, as you see in the next episode, it was a sexual experience. Actually, I think their minds had very little to do with it at all. Their souls connect and yes, that affects them physically as you said.
I apologize! I misread your comment.
Absolutely – For HIM it was full on. No question.
I read for her…
And, yes, I like the idea that this experience by-passed the brain. It was visceral in the best sense.
Bravo My Chingu Jomo… Bravo
Thanks jomo for adding your voice to this beautiful, moving drama. I am in love and i cant get enough. I loved that scene on the bridge and many others. Like the two impending lovers, i am replaying scenes and images and consumed by thoughts of the drama. I am pretty much in an affair myself.
This second episode in particular brought me back to how i felt a long time ago watching children of a lesser god with marlee matlin and william hurt. The quiet moments, the music, my love for it. The subject matter is different but i am moved to the same extent.
Thanks koala for providing the platform for this drama and for your recaps on it too.
I am now a fan JOMO! thank u for giving attention to “SLA” oh so i want to replay d episodes but reading it gives me a different thrill lol! daebak! we support you!
thank you, Jomo for a wonderful recap. Your help will help Koala’s Playground readers/followers receiving more and continuous book translations and drama updates from Koala. xoxo
Yay it’s up! Thank you, Jomo. Off to read!
Thank You for recapping! There are many subtle nuances to this show and it’s great to read the insights of others to appreciate the show even more.
The leads are smoldering and it resonates and the feelings, oh the feelings. …
One thing that I want to add, since I watched this episode like 4 times already (lol), is that there’s a moment when Lee Seon Jae stops running to catch his breath and cry. It’s one of my favorite scenes in this episode 2. The camera doesn’t pan his face closeup just to show off that he cries, but it just tugs my heartstrings more because it makes me feel like I’m watching a private emotion from afar. Thank you once again for this beautiful recap, Jomo 🙂
That was a wonderful moment, yes. I also like the weird shoes Young Woo was wearing, when she intruded so rudely the house. It’s like she got no real footing in her world, it’s all shaky and we know, that her father lectured her about being a better opponent to the other two women.
So many details!
Looking forward to all the recaps.
Great job jomo. It’s great that you will be sharing your thoughts and insights with us through your recaps. I have been meaning to start this drama but this new project here at the playground, is just the push I need to get started. I just need to catch up with the recaps.
First commentor! Was really pissed by ur whole ‘copying’ accusation. I’ve been a regular at this site and even dramabeans, at times I don’t even bother checking who posts what. Its not copying, it’s a concept that’s quite well known, even on taiwanese drama recapping sites like GiveMeDramas, there are so many guest bloggers, its not new or some recent practice. So get ur facts straight b4 commenting. As a huge fan of ockoala, and my love renewed from always getting new chapters of Lost You Forever, i think you should not taint her good name.
Jomo ur recap is wonderful u rock. Am impress to read it . I enjoy it though I have not watch it . I enjoy reading more than watching because it take my imagination to place that film cant do .That what your recap does . The mating duets was touches especially and how both reacted
Is he really playing those pieces????
I don’t think YAI is really REALLY playing, but the actor playing Ji Min Woo is a real pianist and plays his own parts.
He actually memorized and played the pieces, but the sound is that of a professional pianist. Some close finger shots also belong to that pianist, but when you see YAI plays, he’s actually playing, not just pretending. There’s no computer graphic work involved.
Yes he did playing the piano. On the interview with the PD Anh Pan Seo, he said both YAI and KHA didn’t use substitute actors to play the piano. The music scores were recorded first by professional musicians, but they memorized the scores and did the fingering on the black and white keys exactly following the scores. PD Ahn asked a professional judgment about their performance too. Read in: ooahinsikseekland.wordpress(dot)com/2014/03/19/secret-love-affair-is-number-one-drama-this-week-reasons-to-watch-it/ and yooahinsikseekland.wordpress(dot)com/2014/03/14/photos-full-interviews-adorable-overloads-in-secret-love-affair-press-conference/
jomo, this is a wonderful recap! Thank you for sharing your insight and attention to detail. The mousetrap scene is where I came fully onboard.
KHA’s acting is a pleasure to watch. When HW goes up the few steps to SJ’s bedroom, her eyes flicker to notice his underwear drying on the bannister. It happens so quickly and naturally that I missed it on my first watch. Her acting seems so effortless. SJ later notices his laundry drying in plain view and grabs it in embarrassment. I like how that scene was played.
Beautifully written, Jomo!! YAI is mesmerizing here… the scene where he runs after leaving her place and is overcome with emotion brought tears to my eyes. The bridge scene – the music just made my heart soar! Breathtaking!
Thank you again Koala and Jomo for recapping this wonderful show.
Wonderful recap Jomo! Thanks so much to you and Koala for recapping.
This is such a beautiful drama. I don’t remember the last time a drama moved me on such a cerebral and emotional level. Just perfect. And your recap captured those emotions so beautifully. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Thank you for recapping. This show is simply beautiful, and perfect for marathoning on rainy days. I hope that the show continues to entrance all viewers to the end. I know this show is probably not going to end happily but I hope that we as viewers won’t be crying buckets of tears at the finale.
Rooting for you Jomo even though I don’t watch the show <3.
Jomo, could you write a list of the music Sun Jae played?
The titles, not in order,
1. Mozart – Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310
2. Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, Les saisons Op. 37b, April Snowdrop
3. Paganini – Liszt – Etude no 4
4. Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 23 _Appassionata,Op. 1
5. Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C major, BWV 846, from Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier (This is my favorite.)
6. Schubert Fantasy in F minor for Piano Four Hands, D940
thanks so much!!
Actually, one more request! Do you recognize the piece from the ending credits?
Jomo, I truly enjoyed this recap. I look forward to reading the next one.
Great recap, Jomo! I’ve been a faithful lurker of Koala’s Playground and yobasayo.wordpress for many years.
I look forward to Mondays because of this drama and empress ki. It is a very mature and thought provoking drama and I cannot wait to watch ep 5.
Thank you, Jomo. Well done for a recap debut. This drama really requires a certain outlook and i think you nail it. Your comments in DB and here are always so well thought. I will be enjoying recaps for a while as I am abstaining from starting any new dramas.
aw… Jomo, dear, I love how your recap reflected the sophistication of SLA’s storytelling. looking forward to your and ms.k’s succeeding posts!^_^
Jomo, this recap was spectacular. I just started this drama and I am in love with you and the show. Thank you, koala for introducing me to jomo’s writing. And of course, your wonderful recapping.
I just want to say that I stumbled upon your review, and appreciate the thoughtful, articulate prose. Your review is so detailed and spot-on, and I love how insightful you are. This drama is really a cut above the rest, in acting, cinematography, and writing, and it’s lucky to have such a great reviewer cover it. Love the analogies you make, especially about the entire cast of characters ultimately summing up to a kingdom appropriating culture. Great overview, great insight.
Awwww thank you for recapping this drama and thank you for the collaborative effort. I am just starting to watch this drama and love it so far. I hope it won’t disappoint in the later episodes but this is one damn fine drama – it was shot more like a movie and have this art house feel to it with sensuality. I personally have never seen any K-dramas like this one. LOOOOOVE!
Better late than never. Just starting SLA but taking it very slowly after reading the raves on HITTG forums. Thank you both for the insightful and enlightening recaps. Especially useful for understanding the Court shenanigans that will undoubtedly be important further along.
Just to add one detail that I haven’t seen addressed yet – that fantasy bridge scene reminded me of DM’s request to stop and “insure” their love forever, SJ’s refusal THEN, but his spontaneous pause NOW to relive that sublime experience. Ahhhhh….!
Just HAD to add – ockoala mentioned approaching this drama in “a conscious effort to pay homage…., an appreciation… a recognition of artistic excellence”. I was paying such close attention to the artistry behind this scene that when HW listened to SJ playing all I said to myself was “Oh, look. Is she crying?” I marvelled at how subdued, quietly and silently, she cried. (I would’ve been sobbing and sniffing, blowing my nose!)
Only reading your recap did I cry.
I so love the scene when they played together, it seems like they’re making love thru music. I could only say wow after…
Ahhh KHE and YAI what fabulous acting!! The duet, with the music beginning soft and gentle and then building to a powerful climax, then their breathing, a joyful release for both… yeah, definitely alluding to physical intimacy, whew the feels here! Apologies for not remembering previous commenters’ names but I liked the comparison of Seon Jae on the bridge from Da Mi to Hye Won, an interesting observation! HW’s world depends on her ability to keep secrets so she is not ready to be honest with herself that she is attracted to SJ while he is all emotionally open. YAI, wow; his tears and giddiness after their piano day together, wonderful. I love Yoo Ah In’s smile too, so heart-stoppingly beautiful. Finally the duet on the bridge at sunrise, gorgeous cinematography!