I absolutely loved watching Sungjoon bond with Hyejin in ep 7. Not because she’s his first love, or is drop-dead gorgeous or any other well-worn drama trope, but simply because she’s a crazy awesome, crazy fun sort of person and they’ve similar minds and interests. It’s too bad we didn’t get to see him root through cow dung, but the simple fact that he did it shows that Sungjoon is not without conscience. He’s actually quite the sweetheart, not one of those Byronic, eternally brooding, egoists that populate romcoms.
I mean, look at this moment (and Shinhyuk’s face).
He’s hilarious petty, and watching him whack Shinhyuk on the head was ridiculously fun. But look at this.
That was utterly gorgeous. Their wide smiles, and the fact that he reached out first even though he didn’t have to. And just look at their interactions here
They relate to each other in the most visceral ways and are such crazy goofballs at heart. Remember Sungjoon’s singing? They clearly enjoy each other’s company, and would have talked the night through if the restaurant didn’t have to close. So what the HELL is up Sungjoon’s ass for episode 8 to have happened?
That was actually partially rhetorical. Let the analysis begin!
[I’d like to emphasize that this is going to be a very logical analysis. I’m not trying to shrug aside his strange behaviour. I love this character, and I want to believe that the writer knows what she is doing and is hinting at something that we have yet to see]
Let’s look at what we know so far. Sungjoon is a workaholic. Despite having a seriously sweet personality, he has no friends. But even though he’s a sweet heart, he can’t seem to go two seconds without blowing a fuse when in a professional environment. He doesn’t eat and is really hung up on the past.
Now let’s try and build what this show has yet to tell us.
Sungjoon is strangely stressed about this whole magazine thing. From the three chances, he has (why three? don’t you usually get one?), to wanting to get the magazine back up no matter what, there’s something a little strange about the level of mania he ascends to whenever this magazine is involved. The more pressure he gets from the American headquarters (as seen in ep 8 when he was warned that he only had two chances left) the more short-tempered and stressed he gets. Everyone has seen how abrasive he is, and unlike most dramas where the male lead’s harsh behaviour is glossed over, I believe that we will be getting an explanation for this behaviour because this show has made sure to show us how sweet he is at the same time.
So what is up with Sungjoon and the MOST?
Theory 1: His career is riding on this, he has to pull the magazine to the top or risk losing his job. But that doesn’t fit in with the Sungjoon we know. So nope
Theory 2: The magazine has some sort of sentimental connection to him. Perhaps his mom worked here or owned it. Perhaps Sungjoon is the chaebol that Seul’s been trying to find this entire time. This would make sense because Sungjoon clearly has severe trauma with regards to his mother’s death and would go to any length to make sure that the magazine she owned/was a large part of, remained in circulation. Him not eating, his anxiety attacks, and his confusion with regards to Hyejin and “Hyejin” augment his stress. Theory 2 looking good.
Theory 3: As I mentioned in my review of the first six episodes, there are times when the words he’s yelling sound as though they’re coming from someone else. As though he’d heard them before or been on the receiving end of them. Perhaps this was the sort of treatment he was given in America, and he simply knows no other way to head a team than this. I do find this somewhat plausible given that Sungjoon clearly has hangups with regards to the past. But it doesn’t feel as right as Theory 2, and isn’t that great if it’s true, because you would think that he would treat his employees differently from how he was treated. Believe me, I’ve had to deal with abrasive teachers and professors before and they just condition you to behave a certain way. You sit more stiffly, you get more jumpy and the sweet-natured fella singing (terribly) at the top of his lungs doesn’t seem like the sort of person who would want to inspire that in people. Theory 3’s a likely miss.
Theory 4: Sungjoon flips out when and because he can’t handle pressure. Makes sense but I’m looking and hoping for something emotionally complex here. Dear writer-nim, this has better not be the answer. Because it’s just shitty and devalues a wonderful character. It can be a tiny part of the answer but not all of it.
And there are honestly no other theories I can think of, so Theory 3 looks more and more possible. Why? Because we haven’t delved into the who-what-when-why-how of the car accident, because we know next to nothing of Sungjoon’s family, because he seems to know Kim Rara and because the only two mystery names that have popped up in this show are ‘the chaebol’ and ‘TEN’. (I’m betting good money on TEN being Shinhyuk, btw)
I know that we’re going to be given a reason for his behaviour and I hope this is it. Because while his professional behaviour hasn’t been commendable, this would make him understandable. It won’t exonerate him, but no one’ll be able to hate him. This is my headcanon at the moment and I am pleading with God for it to be canon.
But let’s go onto his other issues (boy has so many, I’m surprised he hasn’t developed multiple personality disorder *winkwinknudgenudge*)
The Zeigarnik effect is strong in this one. I’ve seen a lot of people wondering why the hell he can’t seem to figure out that Hari isn’t Hyejin but it’s actually pretty simple. Put yourself in his shoes. People can change over the years, Hyejin thought that he had, and he thinks that Hyejin has. Perhaps she outgrew saying “it’s a go” people don’t consistently maintain the same habits or behaviour when they’re 27 as they do when they’re 10. What’s throwing him off here is that there’s someone with those habits whom he’s attracted to, who isn’t Hyejin. He has no idea of the relationship between Hari and Hyejin and is understandably really confused. Hari pulls out the puzzle piece, Hyejin talks about her frizzy hair. On top of this identity crisis, is the fact that he’s falling for the wrong one. He’s clearly a sensitive person. If we take Theory 2 as gospel, then I’m surprised Sungjoon hasn’t collapsed already with the wealth of emotion he’s dealing with. So I have no problems with him on that front.
But what I want to see at this point isn’t for him to figure out that Hyejin is that Hyejin but to toss the whole first love bit and identity crisis away and date Hyejin because of who she is. I want him to step up and fight for her respect, her friendship and her love, because unlike Shinhyuk, he has yet to prove that he’s fully worthy (rummaging in cow dung aside) I’m still not sure if ep 8 was a fake-out and if he’s really realized that she’s that Kim Hyejin or merely made the association that she was similar to his first love. But regardless, I don’t want angst that could be solved just by them talking to or listening to each other. I want honest, heartfelt, spontaneous action.
And there’s no one better at that than Shinhyuk
Siwon is killing me in this role. Shinhyuk is honestly such an angel. I could go on forever on how wonderful he is, but really all of you know that so let’s just get to the screencaps and gifs, yes?
Respecting privacy and all the people involved (okay, maaaaaaybe not Sungjoon’s privacy but who cares so long as we get to see them bicker over undies?)
Doing anything for a meal with Hyejin
Doing his best to cheer her up, being a jokester and the world’s most adorable greasy cheeseball
I mean, how could you say no to this?
Wondering why he feels jealous for all of two seconds before dismissing it
Confessing straightforwardly upon realization that he likes her
Happily yelling it to the world
His groan at realizing the depth of Hari’s deceit
Grasped the situation in a single glance. One seriously clever fella, though he doesn’t show it at all. Not that he’d hiding his intelligence but he’s just one of those rare people that don’t even see themselves as such. Without artifice, this guy.
Confessing to Sungjoon with this incredible earnest, soulful stare
He just has me like
He’s respectful, caring and doesn’t treat Hari with like dirt but gently breaks the truth to her. I ship him with Hyejin so hard at times, but she clearly doesn’t have any romantic interest in him. Which is a shame seeing as he is precisely the sort of person you would want to date. Someone you can talk freely and honestly with. But Hyejin has that with Sungjoon too, there’s just a whole bunch of knotted misunderstandings, and false identities, and unrevealed reasons for Sungjoon’s behaviour that have been thrown in there as well. Because Hyejin and Sungjoon get each other too, and we’ve seen him quite gentlemanly and respectful of boundaries when he’s with “Hyejin”. Hari’s the oddball here. I have little to add on her character than I’ve mentioned in my review besides the fact that she is sinking low here. It doesn’t matter if she’s only going to date him for two months or if she really does love Hyejin but doesn’t think she’ll find someone as warm and supportive as Sungjoon again. She’s being damn selfish here and though I can understand her crippling loneliness and the void in her heart, I can’t condone or like what she’s doing to fill it.
A few words on Hyejin’s makeover. No, it wasn’t necessary but I love that she’s doing it for herself. This isn’t about her ego, or Sungjoon or showing the MOST team that she’s amazing because they all already know it. That heartrending phone call with her dad showed her that she was part of a team, and was damn good at her job. She was part of a premier magazine, she had a title to live up to here. So she fully takes charge of it. She is going places with this job and let’s face it, you can’t show up for a meeting with executive in jeans and a baggy shirt. I hate straightening my hair and going through such a hassle getting ready for class presentations but I do it anyway, because all eyes are on you and, regardless of how much you love yourself, you feel your best when you look your best and you’ve done your best.
It’s a shame that Sungjoon left just as she entered but we sure can count on a hell of a reaction from Shinhyuk! Seeing him on the receiving end of a surprise ought to be a hoot!