Level Up Episode 9
Riding Mi Ja’s bike, An Dan Te (Sung Hoon) chases Joseph Lee. Dan Te sees a collision, calls out, but Joseph Lee gets hit and end ups on the ground.
Dan Te returns to Mi Ja’s eatery. Shin Yeon Hwa (Han Bo Reum) rips into Bae Ya Chae (Kang Byul) for blocking girl band Artemis’s arrival. Dan Te tries to explain what happened to Ya Chae. She slaps him in a fit of anger and leaves. Dan Te doesn’t explain to a shocked Yeon Hwa, Mi Ja and Kwak Han Cheol (Baro). He does say Joseph Lee is in the hospital with Artemis
Turns out the car that hit Joseph Lee was Artemis’s van. Joseph Lee’s mask is broken and we see his face glowing with joy as Artemis surrounds him concerned. When everyone realizes his ankle is badly twisted, it’s off to the hospital. He’s in heaven surround by Artemis. Dan Te is pleased and when Yeon Hwa arrives he tells her that Joseph Lee will be reporting to work in the morning.
Outside the hospital Dan Te tasks Yeon Hwa to bring Joseph Lee up to speed. Yeon Hwa asks about Dan Te’s cheek (referencing Ya Chae’s slap). She realizes it’s none of her business. Flustered she decides to leave. Dan Te surprises her when he reports Ya Chae and he spoke about Yeon Hwa. Naturally she wants details.
Han Cheol is prompted by Manager Park to reveal his true position. Han Cheol reports Manager Park is the chairman’s son. Manager Park isn’t happy that his importance is only genetic not performance. Ha! Manager Park, Han Cheol and Mi Ja discuss Ya Chae’s slap of Dan Te. Manager Park reveals that when Dan Te took over the entertainment company that Ya Chae worked at, she was a team leader just like Yeon Hwa. Things didn’t get romantic between them. But Dan Te did recommend Ya Chae be promoted to CEO when he vacated the position. Mi Ja guesses that Ya Chae was upset and felt betrayed by Dan Te. Manager Park explains this is a one sided love.
Dan Te tells Yeon Hwa that the condition of NOT seeing her outside the office was a bad condition to agree to. Yeon Hwa realizes why Ya Chae looked at her with disdain. She gets upset and accuses Dan Te of using her. He counters that Ya Chae’s feelings are one-sided. She counters he accepted the condition. He admits that wasn’t wise. She tries to leave. Dan Te grabs her wrist. Yeon Hwa slaps him. She declares she may be a low ranking employee, but she won’t be used. She leaves. Dan Te can’t believe he got a double slap in a single day.
Manager Park sends Han Cheol home and cajoles Mi Ja back into the eatery for one on one time.
Yeon Hwa and Han Cheol talk on the phone. He can tells everything isn’t okay.
Dan Te’s step brother, Kang Hoon, and YouTube student, Sang Mi, celebrate 500 subscribers. Dan Te is not happy with the noise when he returns home. Sang Mi promises to keep the noise down. Dan Te tells her to go home. She reports 500 subscribers mark. Dan Te counters that 500 people are wasting their lives. Ha! He can’t believe it when Sang Mi suggested he install a sound proof booth for them. He kicks them out.
At the store, Kang Hoon promises to introduce Sang Mi to Ya Chae.
Yeon Hwa explains the situation to her father over snacks. He surmises that Yeon Haw is considered a threat by Ya Chae because Dan Te has feelings for her. Yeon Hwa discounts that idea. Her father asks why she got upset about the situation, when they are showing she’s important. That makes Yeon Hwa feel awkward. He encourages her to apologize to Dan Te. Yeon Hwa isn’t excited about that.
Dan Te broods. Ya Chae broods. Yeon Hwa broods.
The next day at work Joseph Lee receives a warm welcome. He declares the game engine that NexViper won’t let them used was based on his code. He offers his new game engine. They set a 60 day timeframe to get the game developed. Everyone groans but gets to work.
Yeon Hwa’s teammate reveals to a former employee that works at NexViper that Joseph Lee is working for them. Yeon Hwa warns her not to share further company secrets to a competing company. No reason to trust and regret it.
Dan Te asks to speak with Yeon Hwa.
Sure enough the former Joybuster employee reports to NexViper leadership that Joseph Lee is working for Joybuster.
Yeon Hwa points out that Dan Te shouldn’t be talking to her outside the office building. Dan Te apologizes for not discussing Ya Chae’s condition with her. Irked, Yeon Hwa counters that Dan Te should apologize for accepting the condition. Dan Te counters that if he hadn’t Ya Chae would have misunderstood the situation and assume he had feelings for Yeon Hwa. He clarifies an assumption they were flirting mutually would have been made. This doesn’t please Yeon Hwa. Dan Te wants to make things right between them. Yeon Hwa tells him not to bother, she can live with awkward and walks away. Dan Te sighs, that didn’t go as he hoped.
Manager Park notices Dan Te is distracted. He takes him outside and suggests that Dan Te buy the woman in question a gift to apologize.
Dan Te asks Han Cheol what Yeon Hwa likes. Han Cheol realizes he doesn’t know.
The NexViper CEO isn’t happy to learn Joseph Lee is working at Joybuster.
Dan Te asks another employee about what Yeon Hwa likes. He reveals there is a limited edition game that she wants. Dan Te covers his interest in Yeon Hwa by asking what the employee likes. Ha!
Yeon Hwa tells Han Cheol about the limited edition game she wants but can’t find. She surprises Han Cheol when she says he likes her. She smiles and declares it a joke. Han Cheol knows it hit the mark. He decides to find the limited edition game.
The next day at work Dan Te and Han Cheol pursue the limited edition game. When they find a buyer in response to one of their posts, they enter a bidding war for the game, though neither is aware they are bidding against each other. They buyer cuts the bidding war short and tells them to get the game, first come, first serve. Dan Te stands and declares he has a personal matter to attend to. Han Cheol says the same. Han Cheol asks Dan Te for a ride to town. Neither will reveal what their personal matter is.
At the park, Dan Te and Han Cheol spot each other. Suddenly they both realize they are there to buy the same limited edition game. They rush to the seller and argue who got their first. The seller order them to each pay half and work it among themselves.
When they go to negotiate for the game, they admit the game is for Yeon Hwa. Dan Te won’t reveal why he wants to give it to Yeon Hwa, calling that a private matter. Han Cheol openly admits he likes Yeon hwa. Dan Te is taken aback. Han Cheol declares that Dan Te should concede to him because he doesn’t have personal feelings for Yeon Hwa. He asks if Dan Te likes Yeon Hwa. Dan Te states he must get along with Yeon Hwa and this game will smooth things between them. Han Cheol asks if Dan Te has feelings. Dan Te won’t admit or deny. Han Cheol points out that Dan Te has the power position and shouldn’t use it to win the limited edition game. Dan Te counters that the gift is a way of showing feelings. No one can be forced to dislike or love. He tells Han Cheol to follow his own feelings and path. Dan Te states he’ll do the same. Dan Te suggests a round of rock, paper, scissors for the game. Surprisingly Han Cheol tells Dan Te to keep the game. He says he’ll figure out another path. He leaves.
Outside Han Cheol encourages himself to find an alternative solution.
When Dan Te arrives home he looks at the limited edition game. Kang Hoon sees the game and notes Yeon Hwa has wanted that game for a long time. Sang Mi guesses that Dan Te likes someone. Dan Te tells her to go home. Sang Mi worries that Ya Chae isn’t the woman Dan Te likes.
Manager Park calls and gets Dan Te to admit he bought the gift. Manager Park tells Dan Te to give it to the woman at a lunch he’s arranged tomorrow. He assures Dan Te the woman will come at 1pm. Manager Park chortles that Dan Te will be thanking him next time they speak.
The next day Dan Te waits at the eatery with the limited edition game in a box in pretty gift bag. Dan Te tells the waiter his date will arrive at 1pm. He can’t believe it when Ya Chae arrives. They discuss matters. She spies the gift bag. He tries to retract it but she snatches it. She tells him that Manager Park already told her that a gift would be waiting. trapped and unable to retrieve the gift, Dan Te implores her to open it at home, not now. Intrigued, she agrees to wait to open it. Dan Te takes a break in the bathroom unable to believe the situation he finds himself in because Manager Park assumed he liked Ya Chae.
At a park, Manager Park brags to Mi Ja that because of him, Dan Te will get what he wants..Ya Chae. He’s surprised when Dan Te calls him. He asks Dan Te if things are going well with Ya Chae. Dan Te tells him “I’m dead”. Manager Park misunderstands and assumes Dan Te is dying of happiness. He and Mi Ja resume their date.
Dan Te walks Ya Chae to her car. She informs him, she’ll be out of the country touring with boy band Jay for a month or so. Dan Te wishes her a safe trip. Ya Chae teases that he’ll miss her. She thanks him for the gift and kisses his cheek. Dan Te can do nothing but watch her drive away with Yeon Hwa’s limited edition game.
Unable to wait, Ya Chae opens the gift and find the game. She doesn’t understand why Dan Te gave her this.
Dan Te decides Manager Park must know he just made his life a royal mess. Dan Te goes to the park and finds Manager Park. Reading Dan Te’s body language, Manager Park tries to flee but Dan Te tackles him with a flying leap.
FINALLY we have a romantic comedy. Writer Kim Dong Kyu bounced back and penned a episode with two men vying for the same woman. There were humorous moments. We knew Han Cheol likes Yeon Hwa but now we have indicators that Dan Te has feelings for her that aren’t strictly work-related. Never thought I’d see the day. I’m happy to see it.
An Dan Te (Sung Hoon) got slapped twice. Ya Chae slapped him. Yeon Hwa slapped him. That was a double shot he didn’t want. Dan Te listened to Manager Park’s advice to made amends by getting the woman a gift. Dan Te pumped Han Cheol for information. Han Cheol realized he had to make a gesture to Yeon Hwa. Both men pursued purchasing a limited edition game. I had to chuckle when they out bid each other on-line. I laughed when they spotted each other in the park, realized they were competitors and broke out into a run for the prize. I was surprised when Han Cheol walked away from the game, leaving it to Dan Te. The icing on the cake was when Dan Te believed Manager Park set up lunch with Yeon Hwa but it was Ya Chae arrived. The shock, the attempted retraction of the gift, created the perfectly awful situation for Dan Te. Will Ya Chae realize the gift was for Yeon Hwa NOT her? Will her trip abroad give Dan Te time to get closer to Yeon Hwa? Do you think Dan Te has more than professional feelings for Yeon Hwa? Didn’t he admit private feelings to Han Cheol? Didn’t he tell the waiter that the woman was his date?
Shin Yeon Hwa (Han Bo Reum) didn’t realize two men were vying for her. She felt bad when she reflected on slapping Dan Te. Subconiously she realizes that Han Cheol likes her, because she said so. Recall the adage “Many a true word is spoken in jest”. Has Yeon Hwa moved Han Cheol out of the friend zone? Does consider Does she like Dan Te more than a friend? She doesn’t appear to realize romantic feelings are lurking in her, if they are.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My rating chart is below: