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Jealousy Incarnate Episode 17 RECAP

A deal is on the table, and these three are ready to jump into it, each with their own agendas. Na-ri tiptoes across the unstable balance beam that is her love life, as the boys continue to try to win over their crush. It’s not even the first time they’ve battled over the same goal, and we get a peek into Hwa-shin and Jung-won’s past. It’s almost like history is repeating itself, except with higher stakes, a very open relationship, and petty hijinks. Let the games begin.

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

Na-ri proposes that the three of them live together and quickly takes it back. She tries to shake the thought out of her head, but she glances at both guys before getting out of bed.

She kisses Jung-won on the cheek and tells them that only she’ll be allowed skinship (physical affection). Then, she walks over to a shocked Hwa-shin and gives him a peck on the cheek as well, effectively shaking both men. Rain begins to pour and lighting strikes as we experience this dramatic birth of this three-way cohabitation.

She tells the guys that this is the one rule for their cohabitation and a violation will result in ejection from the house. Jung-won jumps on board and offers his house as the location, and they look to Hwa-shin for his final word. Hwa-shin’s envy quickly overcomes his bewilderment as he realizes that the two may live together without him if he doesn’t agree to this set-up. Omg, this is happening.

The storm continues to rage outside, and Na-ri goes to Nurse Oh to request a pill for her stuffy chest. Hwa-shin and Jung-won both realize that Na-ri’s proposal is her attempt to break up with both of them for good, since she can’t choose between the two friends. Hwa-shin refuses to take part in her plot to alienate their attraction for her, but Jung-won suggests that they both play the game, since they can determine the end result.

Na-ri takes the pill, and speaking in metaphor, she explains that she swallowed something she can’t handle. “This is how to end things quickly. This way, we can decide quickly.” She’s determined to work hard, and Nurse Oh gives her an encouraging smile.

The next morning, Hwa-shin finds Na-ri sleeping at his bedside and glances over at Jung-won’s empty bed. He reaches out to touch her head, but a voice instructs him to stop. Jung-won walks over and grabs Hwa-shin’s hand, reminding him that skinship is off limits. Jung-won vows to get married to Na-ri within a month, and Hwa-shin vows to finish things within ten days.

Doctor Geum announces her entrance to “granny” as she escorts a new patient into the hospital room. Poking her head through the curtain, she asks “granny” how she’s doing. Hwa-shin does his best granny imitation and asks when he can start moving his arms again. Doctor Geum approves his discharge but, much to his frustration, instructs him to keep his arm still for another day and ask Na-ri for help.

In the broadcast station elevator, PD Oh offers Sung-sook and Ja-young tickets to a movie. He only has two, so he asks either one of them to accompany him. His lack of preference means that neither of them want to join, and he asks his next elevator buddy, Announcer Uhm. But the tickets are for a movie titled “Dear, Will You Stay By My Side,” and Announcer Uhm isn’t interested in watching this with PD Oh.

Na-ri walks in on Hwa-shin changing into his shirt with his bra on, so she stands off to the side to update him about his discharge. She offers to help him change, but Hwa-shin refuses because he doesn’t want to be treated like a patient. He confirms with her that their living situation will last a month, and he vows to himself that he’ll finish it in ten days.

Na-ri goes shopping with Jung-won for their month-long cohabitation, and afterwards, he brings her to his shop for tea. He purposely invited Na-ri over, knowing that his mother would be present. Jung-won announces to his mother that he’s going to marry Na-ri and proceeds to peck Na-ri on the cheek in front of his mother. Stunned, both Na-ri and Madam Kim remain silent.

As Na-ri angrily walks away complaining about Jung-won’s extra forward approach, Jung-won explains that he likes that she’s provoked the competitiveness and rebellious side of him. He wants her to treat him harshly, and she grants that wish by telling him to get out of her way. He stops in front of her to offer his limitless credit card, and Na-ri takes it, only to throw it in pile of boxes on the side of the road.

Before she leaves home for the next month, Na-ri cooks up side dishes for Chi-yeol and leaves him a note explaining that she’ll be spending the next month at the station. She tells him not to worry about his laundry and food, since she’ll be coming back on the weekends to take care of that. Aww.

Na-ri’s announcer partner arrives for the morning news broadcast wearing sweatpants with a suited up upper body, to which Announcer Uhm shakes his head at PD Oh about the youths these days. Hwa-shin arrives on set and watches at Na-ri with gaga eyes. Na-ri jokes about her announcer sunbae’s sweatpants, and he reacts with disdain that a contract worker like her could say that to him. Na-ri bows her head in apology, and Hwa-shin looks upon with disapproval.

Hwa-shin looks through his pile of mail and finds a wedding invitation sent from his ex-girlfriend, Soo-young. Sung-sook snatches it out of his hand, and he asks what this invitation means. She suspects that it’s the girlfriend trying to provoke him, but Hwa-shin just looks bemused.

Jung-won also receives that same invitation and asks Secretary Cha what it means to receive a wedding invitation from an ex-girlfriend. Aha, so these two really do like the same women. Secretary Cha presumes that she means to send the message: “I’m getting married, you jerk.” As they go about their day, both guys wonder what this invitation could mean.

The inaugural night of their cohabitation, Hwa-shin picks up Na-ri and loads her luggage into his car. He asks Na-ri if Announcer Park (sweatpants sunbae) belittles her and tells her to inform him if that’s the case, but Na-ri insists that he treats her well. Hwa-shin prepares for takeoff to hell, but Na-ri expresses worry that rumors will spread about them living together. Hwa-shin finds this rumor more fatal than the fact that a man has breast cancer, and they both seem ready to be done with this month-long cohabitation already.

When they arrive at Jung-won’s house, Na-ri gets right to business and pays Jung-won for the month-long rental. Hwa-shin assures Jung-won that he’ll pay rent, and Jung-won proceeds to explain their living situation. He suggests that Hwa-shin take the open space and leave the two rooms upstairs for him and Na-ri. Hwa-shin isn’t too keen on letting that happen and challenges Na-ri to decide.

But Na-ri is already fed up with these two bickering and walks away for a breather. We trace the boys’ rivalry back to their high school days in a flashback. Hwa-shin and Jung-won are on a double blind date with Soo-young (the ex-girlfriend getting married) and her friend, but they show strong interest for Soo-young only. Soo-young gets set up with Jung-won because she picks his white baseball cap over Hwa-shin’s glasses, and while Jung-won’s ecstatic, Soo-young looks back at Hwa-shin with some regret.

On their double date, they ride the disco pang pang carousel, and Soo-young holds onto Jung-won’s hand, telling him not to let go. Then, she slips her hand under Hwa-shin’s and holds his hand too. They secretly enjoy their little affair, but it becomes clear who she’s holding onto when the bumpy ride flings Jung-won and Hwa-shin’s date off the seats.

Hwa-shin and Soo-young hold onto each other tightly, much to Jung-won’s dismay. But when the ride flings them off, Soo-young ends up in Jung-won’s arms, leaving Hwa-shin to fumble on the ride alone.

On a snowy day, Hwa-shin greets Soo-young outside his house and seems doubtful that she came to meet him, not Jung-won. He brags about his test scores and declares that he’s going to Seoul University, to which Soo-young responds that her wish is to kiss a Seoul University student. She admits that she picked the baseball cap because she thought it belonged to Hwa-shin and confesses that she likes Hwa-shin more.

She’s fishing for a kiss, as she mentions that your first love comes true if you kiss them on the first snow day. Hwa-shin hesitates and comments that it snowed yesterday (ha!), but when she starts to walk away, Hwa-shin stops her. He gets close and closes his eyes to kiss Soo-young and make her wishes come true.

Back in the present, Hwa-shin and Jung-won give Na-ri the same choice of the white baseball cap and glasses to decide who will use the second floor with her. Na-ri picks Jung-won’s baseball cap, much to his delight, and Hwa-shin whines about how Na-ri didn’t know that he wore glasses even after three years of crushing. Jung-won leads Na-ri upstairs, leaving Hwa-shin to let out his rage on the table that’s too heavy for him to flip.

Na-ri gets settled in her room, and Jung-won knocks on her door to chat. She asks if he can actually marry her and teases him about being a momma’s boy. She wishes that she could just marry Jung-won without his baggage, and Jung-won asks if she’s implying that he’s better than Hwa-shin. Na-ri has no response.

Jung-won asks if Hwa-shin also received the wedding invitation from Soo-young, and Hwa-shin confirms with Jung-won also dated Soo-young at the time. They know that she was two-timing between them without their knowledge, and Hwa-shin says that he’s going to attend the wedding with Na-ri. He’s confident that two-timing sunbae Soo-young will choose him over Jung-won and intends to pass that knowledge onto Na-ri so that she can save time in making her decision.

Chef Rak meets with Pal-gang to finally give her Dad’s letter, and he tells her to make the decision for herself, since he sees both women as suitable mothers. The letter states that Ja-young will raise Pal-gang, but Pal-gang doesn’t reveal the letter to her mothers. Sung-sook enters Pal-gang’s room to offer her movie tickets, and Pal-gang agrees to meet her at the theater. Sung-sook leaves the room pleasantly surprised and runs into Ja-young, whose betrayed face shows that she’s overheard the conversation.

Right before the morning news broadcast, Announcer Park orders Na-ri to get a cup of coffee for him. She rushes out and gets warm water instead and explains that coffee will dry his mouth and hinder his pronunciation, but her well-intended gesture only incites complaints. Announcer Park chastises her for disobeying orders, and Hwa-shin steps in to offer his cup of coffee.

That fulfills his immediate needs, but he continues to be an ass to Na-ri when she tries to practice their opening lines with him. He tells her that a woman should just stay in her place and reminds her that she’s the one who needs to improve. As they begin to divide up their lines, he takes all of them for himself, and Announcer Uhm shakes his head in disapproval of the assholery and history of sleaze. Hwa-shin looks quite unsettled and holds in his anger, as does Na-ri until she lets herself cry in the bathroom stall.

After Hwa-shin concludes his news broadcast, Hwa-shin asks Hye-won if Announcer Park was an ass to her when they were paired up together. He doesn’t care to hear an answer, and as he leaves the station, he receives a call from his mother about Hye-won. She doesn’t believe him when he tells her that Hye-won likes him, but he assures her that he’ll bring home his woman in ten days.

Before he enters his car, Hwa-shin spots Hye-won kissing another man in her car. He seems thrown by her actions, and Hye-won sees his shaken expression after this man leaves. She pulls up in front of his car and rolls down the window to insist that she’s still not giving up on Hwa-shin. She blows him a kiss and drives away, leaving Hwa-shin stunned.

Sung-sook anticipates seeing Pal-gang at the movie theater, but she’s disappointed when she see Chef in her seat. She cries throughout the movie, and Chef offers her a handkerchief to wipe her tears. When that doesn’t soothe her disappointment, he wraps her in a hug, and she’s shocked that he’s capable of this physical affection.

Hwa-shin barges into Na-ri’s room and climbs into bed with her, worried that Announcer Park will call her for drinks and harass her more. He wraps his arms around her, unwilling to let her leave, and Na-ri clarifies that Hwa-shin’s the one harassing and bothering her. He tries to persuade her to leave this place and go home, but she’s unwavering. He then tries to convince her to sleep with him just once and suggests that they go down to the first floor. Na-ri nods and accompanies him to the door, only to push him out and lock it behind him. Ha, nice try buddy.

Later that night, Jung-won wakes up to answer the door while the other two sleep and is met with drunk Soo-jung, here to fulfill her promise. She begins to reveal what Na-ri used to do when she crushed on Hwa-shin, but Jung-won doesn’t want to hear it. She leans on him and claims to know Jung-won’s wilder past in the States, and Jung-won doesn’t know what to do with her.

The next morning, Hwa-shin asks Na-ri out to lunch in the elevator, and he brings her to Soo-young’s wedding. He greets Soo-young in the bride’s room and introduces Na-ri to her. He says that he’ll forgive her for two-timing and remember her as his beautiful first love if she answers one question: Did she like Jung-won or him more?

Soo-young hesitates for a moment, and Hwa-shin tries to persuade her that she liked him more, right? She admits that she obviously like Jung-won more because she’s materialistic. Na-ri then asks why she broke up with Jung-won, and Soo-young explains that Jung-won’s a dutiful son. He’ll always be a devoted son, and that’s not the best situation for women.

Hwa-shin claims that he’s not a dutiful son (does that make you better, bruh?), but Na-ri’s more interested in why Soo-young broke up with Hwa-shin. She explains, “Because he’s selfish. He doesn’t know how to give love, and he’s only used to receiving love. He’s more jealous than women, bad-tempered, and just claims to be a man.”

She adds that he’s pretentious, germophobic and a picky eater. She couldn’t imagine living with him and having to match his standards. She also reveals that the day she sent him off to army, she cried fake tears to assuage his proud declaration for her not to wait for him and went directly to the club to celebrate her freedom. The shrinking of Hwa-shin’s ego makes Na-ri laugh, and Soo-young says that she has more if they want to hear it. Hwa-shin accusingly asks why she invited him to her wedding, and she claims that she wanted to brag about her husband and rip money off him. That’s it. Haaa.

Jung-won cooks up a hearty breakfast for Na-ri and Hwa-shin before they leave for work. He asks Hwa-shin how Soo-young answered his question, and the silence is enough for Jung-won to know her answer. He teases Hwa-shin for possibly being the only go to attend an ex-girlfriend’s wedding. He tells Hwa-shin to attend an ex-girlfriend’s wedding again when he and Na-ri get married.

Chef asks Pal-gang if she’s made her decision, and Pal-gang nods that she’s always obeyed Dad. Chef realizes that Pal-gang set him up with Sung-sook because she thought that the other mother would be lonely, which is sweet of her. Sung-sook tapes the movie ticket into her notebook and labels it as her first gift from her daughter with extra hearts. Ja-young gasps finds the open notebook later and stifles her cries.

Hwa-shin calls Na-ri at the end of their day, and she says that she’s busy with a morning news team dinner. He worries and becomes even more suspicious when Dong-gi isn’t at the dinner. He calls Announcer Park, who quickly hangs up claiming that he’s busy, and Hwa-shin knows something is up. He’s right — sleazy Announcer Park is currently alone with Na-ri at the bar.

Announcer Park and Na-ri both take a drink, and he tells Na-ri that they haven’t had a chance to bond yet. Na-ri agrees and says that she’ll share everything she’s felt wronged by. Meanwhile, Hwa-shin searches through the nearby bars looking for Na-ri.

Na-ri and Announcer Park get drunk, but the camera zooms out to show that it’s actually a morning team dinner — they just haven’t invited Dong-gi. Na-ri starts the karaoke with “Wrongful Meeting” (the only song to sing ever), and Announcer Park stumbles out to the bathroom in his drunken state.

Hwa-shin spots him and follows him to the bathroom. He immediately throws a punch and holds Announcer Park hostage in a corner, criticizing him for treating Na-ri unfairly. Hwa-shin throws Announcer Park into a stall and kicks him while preaching that a real reporter should be weak to the weak and strong to the strong. He then flings a cigarette at Announcer (which he borrowed a few episodes ago) and tells him to be good to his wife.

After giving Announcer Park an unfair beating, Hwa-shin enters the room and finds Na-ri having a grand time with her morning news crew. She waves at him in excitement and invites him inside. He cracks a smile in relief and bops to the beat of the song.

Hwa-shin lugs drunk Na-ri home and carries her into her room. Na-ri smiles at him from her bed and says that he looks extra attractive today. She starts to question who Soo-young really liked and suspects that it was Hwa-shin. He offers to take off Na-ri’s socks, and she readily takes that offer.

As Hwa-shin takes her socks off, Na-ri lies in bed and explains that Soo-young still remembers everything about Hwa-shin and still seems to have lingering attachments to him. Soo-young even imagined how married life with Hwa-shin would be like, so she must have really liked Hwa-shin more. But Hwa-shin is only half listening to Na-ri’s explanation and comments that Na-ri’s feet are pretty.

Hwa-shin gets up to leave, but Na-ri asks him to stay. He refuses, knowing that she’ll treat him like a pervert the next morning. Na-ri clarifies that she’s not asking him to sleep with her, and that drives him up the wall. She has one request from him — that he wear his glasses in front of her — but he flatly refuses to do so and leaves.

He comes right back into the room and slips into bed with Na-ri. He tells her not to worry, since he doesn’t touch drunk women and says that he’ll just stay until she sleeps. Na-ri finds the warmth comforting, since it almost makes her forget her hellish day. She asks why Hwa-shin liked Soo-young and asks if he slept with her, but he doesn’t answer her questions.

Na-ri remembers Hwa-shin’s seroma and asks if she can see his chest. He jokes that she never asked before but says that she can’t today. He assures her that he’s getting treatment, and she reminds him not to drink alcohol, smoke, or eat dairy products. She says that she’ll die if anything goes wrong with him. Hwa-shin gets close and tells her that she’s draining the willpower out of him.

Unable to resist, he says, “Sleep with me.” Hwa-shin strokes her hair, and Na-ri doesn’t respond, so he leans in to kiss her.

 
COMMENTS

This show is chock full of surprising humor, but there’s so much in the details that I can’t express, or else this recap would never end. That’s the beauty of a show that’s meant to be a show — when you can really express the essence of the humor and characters with just words, you know the show is doing something right. I’m trying, but there’s honestly so much in the subtle humor that would take too many words to explain. You just need to watch the subtleties unfold.

I find it hilarious that the guys think they determine the relationship when really, Na-ri is the one in control here. It’s funny how they entered this cohabitation deal with the determination that they can change their fates to end up with Na-ri. It’s just not true. They can fight all they want, but she’s ultimately the decider of their fates. She’s the one with the power to decide. Not that Na-ri is planning to fall for either of them. I think she really wants to dump the guilt and burden of her two hearts and show these guys that they’re just not compatible with her. But the laws of cohabitation simply do not allow for the absence of affection, no matter how hard you try.

It’s a fine line that Na-ri is balancing — between two-timing and openly trying out both relationships. She’s not taking advantage of Hwa-shin and Jung-won because they’ve all agreed to a very open relationship. There’s some aspect of the open relationship that still seems very unfair to Jung-won because the longing in Na-ri’s heart leans towards Hwa-shin. We see that in the last scene, we see it in the hospital, and we see it in Na-ri’s complete comfort with him. I think Jung-won is still in it but barely holding on. No doubt, his sweet demeanor, kind soul, and beautiful face are very attractive. He’s just not as interesting and charming as Hwa-shin, who you can’t help but love and hate.

I like how this show doesn’t paint women as the villains in the relationships, even though that’s the easy way to explain the complications. I’m a big fan of all the women in this show (including Hye-won, who’s underrated in this show). It’s quite refreshing to have the story on the side of the women who shamelessly care and cared for both guys. Both Soo-young and Na-ri have reasons for liking both men, and they’re given a chance to justify both choices with complete accuracy. I loved how Soo-young described Jung-won and especially Hwa-shin because she described them to the tee. I get the impression that the boys (mainly Hwa-shin) think that being more loved and being “better” makes them the perfect man for Na-ri, but that’s not the case. They both have their imperfections, and these imperfections are what caused Soo-young to leave them.

Watching Hwa-shin’s ego shrivel in live time was such pleasure. Soo-young had some heavy baggage to unload, and I’m sure Na-ri appreciated the complete honesty and the lack of nostalgia’s rose-tinted perspective. I love how Soo-young speaks to her as a woman to another woman because it cuts out all the bullshit that Hwa-shin and Jung-won have been proselytizing about themselves.

I miss the other storylines and characters that don’t get enough screen time because of this hilariously messy love triangle. Trust me, I do thoroughly enjoy the hijinks, but I feel like we could get a break from them from time to time. Pal-gang’s storyline with her moms was a good break, but it feels kind of contrived and stuck in there for the sake of it. There’s a beauty to her growing maturity and understanding of her moms. I want to see more of it, in conjunction with the whole building coming together. But maybe that’s just another drama. Ain’t nobody got time for that when you’ve got a trailblazing love triangle.