Episode 3 of Love in Contract begins with Sang-Eun at work. He’s not a criminal profiler as we predicted, he’s actually a lawyer. He was there overseeing all of Sang-Eun’s divorces through the years – six times in 2 years to be precise. He notes that she always took responsibility every time. Even then, Ji-Ho became curious about her, and it signifies the start of their bond.
We cut to the present, where Ji-Ho prepares for his final meal with Sang-Eun. It’s almost time for her thirteen divorce. Before he does, Ji-Ho points out that he’s a family court judge. The reason he had those photos was because he wanted to take a closer look at the murder he was investigating and working with. This explains his behaviour as it’s clear he’s not a murderer after all.
Ji-Ho takes Sang-Eun’s hand and leads her inside, pointing out that their private life is none of Hae-Jin’s concern.
Their last dinner together is a very different affair to normal. They both open up, discussing their past and their own insecurities. “The thing is, I’m not good at getting close with someone,” Ji-Ho admits. He also goes on to reveal he likes having someone infront of him that smiles often.
Sang-Eun notes that time is moving faster than usual and inevitably, the pair say their goodbyes. Now, we found out earlier that Ji-Ho was aware of her going abroad and made the first move to make that a reality for her.
When she leaves his apartment though, Ji-Ho can’t help but feel bad. Still, he works on his social skills at work, deciding to make an effort with his colleagues, which is certainly a first for him. He’s also given tickets by his superior to try and help him get closer to his workmates but it all ends in hilarious awkwardness.
Meanwhile, someone snaps photos of Sang-Eun when she leaves Ji-Ho’s place, hiding in the bushes. Who could this be? Well, this is immediately followed up by a scene of a strange woman breaking into Hae-Jin’s apartment, wearing yellow and checking that he’s still breathing. It’s clear from this, and flashes to the past, that Hae-Jin has had a troubled childhood.
In the morning, Hae-Jin wakes up and realizes that this woman is actually his mum, arriving to check up on him. She notices him taking pills and worries about what this could mean.
Back home, Sang-Eun begins clearing out her things, including all the old wedding and relationship rings. The final one left is Ji-Ho, of course, and they haven’t actually got divorced yet.
Outside the courthouse, Sang-Eun begins filling out the paperwork. Just before she leaves though, she runs into her old client Choi Sang-Hyuk, the one with the daughter at kindergarten. It’s an unnerving encounter but ends without incident, thankfully.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for an incident that occurs that night. Sang-Eun is cornered by a strange motorcycle-helmet wearing crook who holds her captive. It seems like it could be a previous client holding a grudge, but it’s unclear right now. Anyway, just before he looks set to hurt her, Hae-Jin shows up and saves the day, scaring him off.
Sang-Eun heads back to his place, where he borrows one of his shirts and gets patched up. He’s still suspicious over her connection with Ji-Ho. She eventually tells him that she’s actually working as a “traveling housekeeper”.
Hae-Jin breaks the ice and tells her that they know each other from the past, when she used to be known as Jamie. Unfortunately, she ends up having an allergic reaction to Jamie the cat. Her sneezing causes her to bump about upstairs, which gets Ji-Ho’s attention. He’s jealous when he learns that Sang-Eun is upstairs, believing they’re all lovey together; awkwardness ensues when they both bump into each other in the hallway.
The pair decide to head out for something to eat, where Sang-Eun reveals that someone attacked her. Ji-Ho deduces that it’s someone attacking her regarding work. He points out that a lot of her clients probably have strong feelings toward her. For now, it’s kept a mystery so we’ll have to wait and see what the future episodes have in store for us.
After Gwang-Nam picks her up and they head off together, with Sang-Eun’s roommate gushing over how good looking Ji-Ho actually is. As for Sang-Eun, she heads home with the envelope but realizes that it actually includes that classical music concert tickets. She’s confused, ringing Ji-Ho and trying to find out what the purpose of this is.
Ji-Ho shrugs it off though as he has more important matters to attend to. He works with the police to try and find the traffic camera footage of the motorcycle helmet guy. And he finds it too.
It’s here we find out that the guy snapping pictures and checking out Sang-Eun is actually Hae-Jin. He’s hired someone to spy on her and find out about her history. “She’s really something.” He says, oblivious to the fact that he’s showing all sorts of red flags here, not to mention making Sang-Eun feel uncomfortable.
Ji-Ho appears at the door like a knight in shining armour, pointing out that he knows who tried to assault Sang-Eun… and they’re connected to Hae-Jin.
The Episode Review
Hae-Jin’s decision to stalk and have someone snap pictures of Sang-Eun in secret is… questionable, to say the least. I’m not sure if the intention here is to make him unlikable but damn, that’s a really sleazy move. Given he’s an actor and should be used to this sort of stuff himself, it’s odd to have him project this sort of behaviour onto Sang-Eun.
By comparison though, Ji-Ho is really growing on me. He’s definitely the conventional “cold” male lead but he’s also got some layers to him and learning to be more social at work helps to grow his persona over time. It’s clear that Sang-Eun is going to be the one to help him out through this and their connection is slowly starting to warm.
This is going to be one of those love/hate dramas and there are definitely some contrivances here (Sang-Eun didn’t notice the same judge across all 6 of her divorces?) but there’s enough here to look past that and get invested in the story all the same. Tomorrow’s episode should be quite the intriguing watch!