Episode 2 “Ugly Duckling” …
During episode 2 we alternate between the quiz battle between Chan Soo and Choi Dal Po (Lee Jong Seok) and flashbacks to the relationship between Dal Po and Choi In Ha (Park Shin Hye). Dal Po decided he hated In Ha after he found out her mother was the cruel reporter Song Cha Ok (Jin Kyung). Reporter Cha Ok pestered and shamed his mother, older brother and him with insinuations about his father’s alleged fake death and their alleged complicity. Recall his father was presumed killed fighting a fire with 9 other colleagues who died. A local with the Pinocchio syndrome (cannot lie without hiccuping) claimed he saw Dal Po’s father AFTER the fire. In Ha never knew why Dal Po’s feelings for her changed suddenly.
Again the back story does not interest me. Dal Po and In Ha have a history of pretending not to care about each other when the opposite is true. Multiple instances of one of them taking care of or helping the other (sometimes without the other’s knowledge).
In the end, Dal Po purposely loses the quiz battle. When the producer asks him why he intentionally lost, Dal Po vehemently declares he lost so he would not have to come back to the TV studio. Dal Po spits out that TV studios are full of people that report facts that are merely opinions or speculations. The producer (who was present when Dal Po’s older brother found the suicide note from his mother near sea rocks) agrees with him.
Dal Po’s older brother (Yoon Gyun Sang) is merely existing shadowed by his father’s alleged escape from death. He finds a wanted poster with his father’s face and is relieved the when expiration date on pressing charges is near. In the rain he watches the local (with the Pinocchio syndrome) who claimed to see his father after he was supposedly dead. We see a skull in the area around the building where the fire took place. Is it their father’s skull?
The best part of the episode was the last couple of minutes when Dal Po returns from the quiz show to find In Ha waiting for him. After gazing upon a sleeping In Ha he admits “I like you.”
The umbrella In Ha brought is broken much to his amusement. In the best use of a traffic cones ever, they don them as rain hats. He stares. She stares. She wonders…does he like me? He defuses the situation by telling her there are no feelings between them. But internally he tells himself “I should have left” and then recognizes he would have taken any “excuse to stay by her side”.
* The back story again does not grip me. I’m curious about his father and the life his brother is leading but not riveted.
* I felt Park Shin Hye overacted a couple of times, minor quibble.
* The clever moment of the episode was the shout out to I Can Hear Your Voice when In Ha imagined being a prosecutor and the murder suspect was no other than Mom Murderer from that show. Even the music played during that fantasy segment was from the show. Well done writer and production team!
* The cinematography is pleasing, the lighting and scenes compositions are easy to watch.
* The episode hooked me when Dal Po and In Ha met in the rain. The scene when Dal Po admits to himself he likes In Ha…top notch from emoting from Lee Jong Seok. In that moment, Lee Jong Seok displayed his magic.
* Awesome use of traffic cones…absolutely loved the unique use of that prop.