An Offer She Can Refuse
Episode 14 of Now, We Are Breaking Up opens with Do-hoon presenting Olivier’s offer to Young-eun. It’s an attractive one – Young-eun would manage DPHP’s luxury brand, Duchamp, in Paris and would be provided with an apartment, car and sales incentives. The Paris dream she gave up for Soo-wan is now within arm’s reach.
Later at The One, Young-eun votes for taking Hills’ new and improved contract, wanting to pave the way for other domestic brands. CEO Hwang gives her the go ahead.
Young-eun spends her lunchbreak at Jae-guk’s studio and notices that Jae-guk is fully booked for the next two days even though he should be preparing to return to Paris. Jae-guk shrugs off Young-eun’s concerns, ready to stay a little longer even if he misses the opportunity.
Do-hoon sits in CEO Hwang’s office relaying the terms of Olivier’s offer to Young-eun. CEO Hwang shows fatherly warmth towards Young-eun’s career progression and wants Do-hoon to fatten the offer for her if he can.
Chi-sook catches Do-hoon leaving CEO Hwang’s office and has a flashback to Jimmy telling her that CEO Hwang met Do-hoon alone. It doesn’t help that Do-hoon won’t tell her why he was in CEO Hwang’s office.
Filled with doubt, Chi-sook meets with Jimmy, and he pulls out photo proof that CEO Hwang and Do-hoon met. Chi-sook defends Do-hoon’s honour until Jimmy mentions that CEO Hwang increased the retainer fee to 15%.
Taek-soo sneaks into Jung-ja’s room while she’s washing her hair and reads through her letter. In it, she worries that her resentment will grow until she’s left with nothing else. Taek-soo finally begins to understand Jung-ja and tries to apologize and tell her he loves her. Unfortunately, he gets her attention by annoying her and his words fall on deaf ears.
After a long day at the studio, Jae-guk has a flashback to that morning when Do-hoon told him about Olivier’s job offer. His mind then takes him back to lunchtime with Young-eun when he asked her if there was anything she wanted to tell him. She wasn’t forthcoming and he picks up the phone to book a flight to Paris.
At that moment, Young-eun goes over the terms of Olivier’s offer with Do-hoon. He explains that she would be contracted for a limited number of seasons and, based on the results, contract renewal would be on the table.
Do-hoon also tells Young-eun about Jae-guk’s opportunity to have his own exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris – a dream scenario for any photographer. Do-hoon wants Young-eun to accept Olivier’s offer so that Jae-guk will stop hesitating.
The next day, Chi-sook confirms that Jimmy was telling the truth about Vision PR’s new contract with The One. She goes to Mi-sook’s apartment and cries so much that Mi-sook even calls Young-eun over to help calm her down.
The trio have the apartment to themselves again because Mi-sook has sent Soo-ho clothes shopping for Ji-min with Min-kyung. Chi-sook and Young-eun are shocked and Mi-sook explains that she is breaking up with her regret, hope, and greed before she can waver and hope for more.
Soo-ho gets home after Young-eun and Chi-sook have left, confused about why Mi-sook keeps dragging Min-kyung into their family matters. Mi-sook makes it obvious that she’s known about his affair for quite some time. Though she has assessed Min-kyung positively, she asks Soo-ho to only love her while she’s still around. Soo-ho gets on his knees, devastated and begging for forgiveness.
Jung-ja finds her house empty of Taek-soo. She gets ready to write that he has been sleeping out in her letter but finds a sticky note on top that reads, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
Chi-sook barges into Do-hoon’s office and accuses him of using her to get closer to CEO Hwang. Do-hoon stands his ground, maintaining that he won the new contract with hard work and that anything else would have been an insult to his employees. He goes a step further to say that it was even harder because of their relationship, since he had to do a good job to avoid unfair accusations.
Meanwhile, Young-eun tells Jae-guk that she won’t be going to Paris. She’s unwilling to let her designs be dictated by the need for high sales to ensure her contract is renewed. Though this means they will part, she says that she’s not letting go of Jae-guk but her regret and greed.
Do-hoon returns home to find Jae-guk drinking in the dark, torn between understanding Young-eun enough that he knows he shouldn’t ask her to reconsider and feeling like he’ll go crazy if he doesn’t ask anyway.
The following day, after Young-eun formally rejects Olivier’s offer, CEO Hwang asks to meet her. Young-eun explains that she couldn’t imagine living life without Sono and the meaning it gave her. CEO Hwang confesses that he thought she was motivated by money and is now ashamed to have been so wrong.
Moved by Young-eun’s sincerity, CEO Hwang wants her to establish Sono as a separate company under a licensing agreement. She would run it as a personal brand with profits split down the middle. Overwhelmed by the unexpected opportunity, she needs some time to think it over.
Word spreads like wildfire and Seo-hyun from Nouvelle Vague soon asks for another – more appreciative – interview with Young-eun. Jae-guk agrees to take the pictures for the magazine spread.
Chi-sook and Do-hoon give each other the cold shoulder until they end up in the hallway together at The One. She feels that he gave her reasons to doubt him while he expects more trust from her. Chi-sook suggests that they end their relationship. Do-hoon, whose mind never strayed there, is mad enough to take her up on it.
Young-eun’s interview takes place in the Sono office space. When asked about Sono’s name, Young-eun tells the story of the unknown photographer and casts a meaningful glance at Jae-guk.
Young-eun also clarifies that she rejected Olivier’s offer because her definition of success has changed – rather than a glitzy Paris adventure, she wants to remove the prejudice standing in the way of domestic brands and let her passion echo out. Seo-hyun comments that the photographer must be proud and asks if Young-eun has anything to say to them. Young-eun looks right into Jae-guk’s eyes and thanks him.
Leaving the office after the interview, Jae-guk reveals to Young-eun that he booked his flight to Paris and pulls out two tickets. One has Young-eun’s name on it. Jae-guk wants her to forget about their jobs and families, determined to make a decision as his lover, asking for her to come to Paris.
The Episode Review
The world’s longest breakup continues to rehash the same tired script wrapped up in pseudo-poetic concepts that can be boiled down to, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Mi-sook’s insistence on playing matchmaker between her husband and his mistress greatly distracts from a character arc that has attempted to explore the complexities of saying goodbye to loved ones. Though Soo-ho betrayed her trust first, her actions are strangely manipulative and play on his grief in destructive ways. Of course, this could have been an interesting angle, but it’s not given any meaningful attention.
We got a lot of scenes with the Sono team interacting this time around, almost like the drama was mocking us with what could have been. A breath of fresh air that never rolls into a breeze, they are only brought out to provide superfluous exposition on Young-eun’s work life.
Stretching this paper-thin narrative for two more episodes will be a feat in itself…
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|