No matter how “adult” our boys try to be, when it comes to dating and relationships, they’re little boys, too afraid to express how they feel. There’s always that fear of getting heartbroken and ruining your chances, and when you’re a rising star with big ambitions, love proves to be an even greater slippery slope because it can jeopardize your entire career. Can Young-bin have his cake and eat it, too? Or will he have to choose between love and work?
EPISODE 5 RECAP
The boys are getting fitted for bespoke suits at a fancy tux store. Ho-jin maintains he doesn’t need one, but Young-bin answers that there’s reason to celebrate. Ho-jin got promoted as Young-bin’s official manager and Young-bin got War Terminator. Joon marvels at how dashing he looks in a suit, but Turtle jokes that he resembles a waiter.
Turtle gets on Joon’s nerves even more when he brings up the embarrassing erection incident that happened on set. Outside, Young-bin notices a poorly parked car blocking his car’s path. He insists on calling the number on the car to make a fuss, and Ho-jin’s puzzled to find his phone ringing. The boys laugh because the car in question is actually Ho-jin’s brand new car, a gift from Young-bin.
Ho-jin tries to decline the generous surprise, but Young-bin won’t hear it. Joon hops into Ho-jin’s car, and Turtle leaves with Young-bin. Joon marvels at the sweet ride and can’t stop grinning because he thinks he succeeded in upsetting Turtle when he forbid Young-bin from buying artwork for him. Just then, a call comes in and it’s an assistant director of a movie called Angry Men who wants to cast Joon without even a proper audition.
It’s definitely a prank call from Turtle, but Joon is too excited notice. When Joon asks about the role, the assistant director calls the character an “aroused man.” That should’ve been the dead giveaway, but it finally dawns on Joon that he’d been pranked when Turtle pulls up in the car next to them and cackles maniacally.
Next, Young-bin signs the official contract for War Terminator while Eun-gab and CEO Jo agree to let bygones be bygones with as much civility as they can muster. Eun-gab coolly asserts that the director had a change of heart because of Young-bin’s unmistakeable talent. Young-bin asks if any supporting roles have been cast yet, and CEO Jo answers that they’re currently in talks with Kang Haneul.
Young-bin’s face falls, and Eun-gab wonders, “Kang Haneul…is he any good?” HA! After their meeting, Eun-gab finds the potential casting of Kang Haneul fishy; why would a leading actor be interested in a supporting role for a movie featuring the woman he’s involved in a scandal with? Ho-jin can’t wrap his mind around it either, but nevertheless, Eun-gab reminds Young-bin that both he and So-hee are confirmed as male and female leads, which makes Young-bin happy.
Joon nervously asks Eun-gab if there’s a role for him in War Terminator, but Eun-gab replies that he’ll receive flack if they stick him in the cast just because they’re from the same agency. He advises Joon to go on more auditions and fix his unfortunate face through skincare. Their next stop is the set of So-hee’s drama, where the the boys wait in the car while Young-bin heads off to see So-hee, having sent a coffee truck to the set. Turtle volunteers to find Joon a girlfriend, and they finally stop fighting.
Young-bin enters So-hee’s dressing room and is surprised to see her with Kang Haneul. They greet each other stiffly and Haneul shakes hands with Young-bin before leaving. The air feels awkward, and So-hee admits that she and Haneul dated in the past; Haneul wants to get back together, but So-hee says she doesn’t want to get involved in anything until her drama’s over.
Young-bin brings up Haneul’s rumored casting for War Terminator, and So-hee states that Haneul’s interested in the movie because of her. Uh oh. Eun-gab gives his CJ friend a call and is alarmed to learn that Haneul is very interested in War Terminator, and the director likes him, too. Eun-gab enters a meeting and is dismayed to find CEO Kang there; she already started the meeting without him.
She orders him to take a seat and belittles him in front of the other employees, cursing him for not managing his talent better. Eun-gab wonders why an old hag like her is suddenly back in business, and she answers that it’s because he’s doing such a poor job and proceeds to chuck a cupcake at him. Eun-gab, flustered, returns to his office and finds Joey watering his plants.
He takes over because she’s not doing it right, and Joey observes that he treats his plants better than he treats her. He shrieks when she touches his beloved plant named Young-bin, heh. Ho-jin calls Eun-gab from his rickety old car and receives word that Haneul will most likely be starring in War Terminator.
Obviously, Young-bin is not thrilled to hear this. Joon adds that working with costars who are caught in a scandal will be a major headache. But there’s nothing they can do to change this, so Young-bin will have to deal. Joon asks Turtle if he made headway in finding him a girlfriend, but Turtle answers that the women were put off by Joon’s face.
Joon and Turtle complain about the uncomfortable ride in the back, but Ho-jin wanted to take his beloved first car for one last ride before selling it. Young-bin recalls going on auditions in this car, and Ho-jin insists there’s still a little life left in it, but then the car rumbles to a stop and dark smoke swirls out.
The boys watch as the lemon gets towed away, and Ho-jin admits that it feels like parting with a girl. Turtle affirms that it’s a feeling Joon knows all too well since so many women have turned their backs on him. The mood lifts when Lee Eun invites the boys to a lingerie fashion show, and Joon is overjoyed to hear that she has a friend interested in him. But she tells him to focus because the woman she has in mind for him is the marketing head of this lingerie brand.
Turtle cracks a joke about how the woman interested in Joon must be crazy, but the joke doesn’t land with Young-bin since he’s got War Terminator on his mind. Joon tries to make conversation on his blind date, but the woman barely pays attention to him. She mostly inquires about Young-bin, and it’s clear that Joon is not the one she’s interested in.
Back home, Joon complains about his horrid date and blames Turtle. Turtle suggests they post Joon’s online profile on a dating app; surely some woman would want to date a former boy band member. Ho-jin’s against the idea because it seems like a bad career move, but Joon thinks it might work. He reminds Young-bin about Ha Jung-woo’s art exhibition that he has to attend tomorrow, but when he points out that So-hee will also be there, Young-bin doesn’t react in his usual cheery manner.
He’s steps out for an evening walk to clear his mind. A hooded figure taps him on the back and startles him. It’s Ho-jin, and he suggests they speak to Eun-gab, So-hee, or the director, and explain that Young-bin can’t do the movie with Kang Haneul. But Young-bin isn’t keen on that idea. Ho-jin understands his discomfort though; working alongside the woman you like and her ex is awkward.
Ho-jin adds that Haneul is abnormal for wanting to do a movie just because of a girl, and Young-bin scoffs because he was like that, too. Although he won’t be okay with Haneul in the picture, Young-bin decides to tough it out. Ho-jin can’t help but snicker because Young-bin sounds so professional for once.
At Ha Jung-woo’s art exhibition, Young-bin and Ho-jin run into street photographer Koo Young-jun, who admits that the art didn’t quite impress. Young-bin spots So-hee and eagerly strides toward her, but halts when he sees her with Haneul. Upset by the sight, he turns around and leaves. Ho-jin calls Eun-gab in the middle of a parent-teacher meeting, and despite his wife’s warnings, Eun-gab takes the call.
Ho-jin asks Eun-gab if Haneul is confirmed for War Terminator, and Eun-gab replies that he’s not, which makes him feel uneasy. Ho-jin says the problem isn’t Haneul, but So-hee: Young-bin likes So-hee, and Haneul does, too. Young-bin overhears Ho-jin divulging all this to Eun-gab, while Eun-gab hollers at Ho-jin for not telling him sooner; had he known, he wouldn’t have pushed Young-bin to do the movie.
Joon and Turtle are back at Lee Eun’s lounge, only this time Joon’s here for date #2 with a woman who responded to his online dating profile. His last online dating experience failed because his date was too hot and came on too strong, but this time he’s ready.
The date starts off well; Joon’s physically attracted to her, and she’s complimentary about his career and appearance. His phone rings in the middle of the date, and she eagerly asks if the caller is a celebrity. Uh oh. Joon takes the call and it’s his actor friend Kim Ki-bang, and he invites Ki-bang to hang out at the lounge. Joon stops by Turtle and Lee Eun’s table to update them on his date; he’s giddy because it’s going well, and he thinks he’ll seem like more of a catch in the presence of grizzly Kim Ki-bang.
But… he’s wrong. The woman shifts her attention to Ki-bang, and Joon is practically invisible to her. She marvels at Ki-bang’s biceps and even touches his chest. Joon drinks away the pain at Turtle and Lee Eun’s table. Turtle can’t believe he was upstaged by Ki-bang, and reassures Joon that the woman has a thing for celebrities.
Joon hears odd noises coming from the room he was in, and he’s startled to find Ki-bang and the woman just going at it. There’s lipstick all over Ki-bang’s face, and the two frantically flee, leaving Joon too furious for words.
Back at home, Young-bin gives Ho-jin the silent treatment after he blabbed about Young-bin’s crush to Eun-gab. But Ho-jin defends what he did; as a concerned manager, that was the only plausible move, and because Eun-gab is in the know, he’s already devising a solution. He knows Young-bin will struggle for months if he has to be on set with Haneul. But Young-bin’s still hurt because a good friend wouldn’t have spilled the beans. Young-bin accuses Ho-jin of being on Team Eun-gab all of a sudden, siding with him on everything.
Ho-jin asks if Young-bin wants a good friend or a good manager, and Young-bin answers, “Both!” Ho-jin warns Young-bin to choose between love and work and to be conscientious with whatever he chooses. Young-bin counters and wonders how Ho-jin would feel if he told the whole world about Ho-jin’s crush on Ji-ahn. Ho-jin interrupts him because Ji-ahn’s still in the house, and she happens to walk into the room just then.
Ji-ahn is finished up for today and is about to leave when Young-bin suggests they all have dinner together; he gleefully adds that it was Ho-jin’s idea. Ho-jin knows Young-bin’s doing this to torture him and prove a point, but he has no choice but to silently play along. Ji-ahn mentions that her mother wants to have dinner with Young-bin. Young-bin’s down for dinner and even convinces Ji-ahn to join since Ho-jin looooves having her around.
As soon as Ji-ahn leaves, Young-bin smacks Ho-jin and Ho-jin smacks him back. And flings a sandal at him, heh. Later, Joon furiously cleans out the fridge, still fuming from his bad date. Turtle informs Young-bin and Ho-jin that Joon’s blind date left Joon for Kim Ki-bang. Joon calls Turtle a big mouth, and Young-bin makes sure Ho-jin knows that the term “big mouth” applies to him, too.
Ho-jin tattles that Young-bin ran away when he saw So-hee and Haneul together. And Young-bin adds that Ho-jin told Eun-gab about his crush on So-hee. But Joon and Turtle concur that Ho-jin made the correct decision, and Young-bin scoffs, incredulous.
Young-bin invites Joon to join his dinner with CEO Kang, but Joon isn’t interested. He’s more concerned about how Turtle will make this up to him, and Turtle declares that he has one more idea up his sleeve: “sensitive camping.” Per Turtle, single men and women bond over the campfire surrounded by nature, and romance ignites.
Joon and Turtle arrive at the camping ground the next day, which is filled with single men and women, as promised. Turtle recommends that they set up camp far away from everyone else and closer to the mountain so there’s plenty of room for the ladies to assemble. Over-the-top epic music plays as Joon and Turtle trek across rugged terrain, lugging all of their gear. They finally stop when they’re out of breath, and Turtle orders Joon to quickly set up the tent before it gets dark. Then Turtle posts photos on Instagram to attract women to their tent.
That evening, Ho-jin and Young-bin have dinner with CEO Kang outside her beautiful home. She even picks apart fish with her hands and places the meat on top of Young-bin’s spoon, saying that she always wanted to treat him to a home-cooked meal. Young-bin appreciates her hospitality and adds that even Ho-jin feels comfortable here, like he’s dining with his mother-in-law.
Ho-jin chokes at that line, and Young-bin grins. Ji-ahn arrives late, and Young-bin volunteers Ho-jin to help her out in the kitchen, heh. Inside, Ji-ahn asks Ho-jin if the dinner is awkward for him, and Ho-jin answers that it’s not because of the delicious homemade food. Ji-ahn chirps that she’s also a great cook and says she’ll cook for him one day. Ho-jin thanks her and smiles, absolutely smitten.
Outside, CEO Kang and Young-bin chat over drinks. She tells him that from the moment she first met him, she knew he’d be a star; even though Eun-gab takes credit for “raising” him, she says she always believed in Young-bin. Young-bin expresses his gratitude for Eun-gab, and she praises Young-bin’s sense of loyalty.
She observes that Young-bin has already been with her agency for four years, and projects that on his sixth year, he’ll be heading to Cannes and earning big bucks. She pours him some liquor and scorns Eun-gab for being boring and refusing to drink, then asks Young-bin if they should drop Eun-gab, so the two of them can work together. Um, what?
Her suggestion puzzles Young-bin, but she laughs and insists she was joking. Woman, you’d better be joking. Meanwhile, Eun-gab sits with his glass of water at a cool bar with a shark tank. CEO Jo takes a seat next to him and they discuss Kang Haneul. He makes it clear that he doesn’t approve of Haneul’s casting. Because he and So-hee are dating, it’ll be an awkward shoot for everyone involved. But CEO Jo quite likes Kang Haneul.
Eun-gab notes that Haneul’s agency invested in her company, which is why she’s been agreeing to all their terms. Ooh. She wonders what’ll happen if she refuses to drop Haneul. Eun-gab answers that So-hee’s agent and his CJ colleague are waiting nearby; together they’ll approach the director and convince him to drop Haneul from this movie.
Eun-gab observes that the shark in front of them has dead eyes, and CEO Jo begrudgingly relents; Haneul will be dropped from the movie per Eun-gab’s request. She tries to rattle him by calling him a boring teetotaler, but Eun-gab looks at the shark again, and wonders if it’s female and if he should pluck her eyes out. Eun-gab: 2 CEO Jo: 0
Eun-gab happily updates Ho-jin on the axing of Haneul from War Terminator, but immediately throws a fit when he learns that Ho-jin and Young-bin are having dinner with CEO Kang at her house. He asks if she served them fish with her hands and made bean paste stew, and Ho-jin’s shocked by how he guessed that. Eun-gab immediately drives over to CEO Kang’s house, but by the time he arrives, the boys have already left.
Eun-gab suggests they talk inside since he’s visited her home several times, but CEO Kang points out that he stopped visiting as soon as his ego grew. He slides a bag of her favorite rice crackers across the table, but she answers that she no longer eats them. He notes that she’s changed, but she counters that he’s the one who’s changed with his condescending and disrespectful manner towards her.
Eun-gab says they have different opinions, and she believes that their perspectives have become too distinct. Her voice rises in indignation when he asks her why she met with Young-bin. Eun-gab replies that she should’ve given him a heads up or had him join, too. He points out that she poached actors from other agencies by inviting them to dinner at her house, feeding them the same meal. Ooh.
Eun-gab asks, “What are you thinking these days? You tried to sell the company, you joined in on meetings, and you secretly met with Young-bin. What is it? Tell me.” CEO Kang: “Do you think the company is yours?” Eun-gab: “No. It’s ours. You laid down the foundation, and I’ve been working like a dog to grow it, so it’s ours.” CEO Kang looks him straight in the eyes and corrects him: “It’s mine.” Eun-gab reels from her unexpected answer.
On the drive home, Ho-jin notices Young-bin looking drained. Young-bin admits that it’s not easy for him and knows that the dinner was uncomfortable for Ho-jin, too. Young-bin feels uneasy after CEO Kang’s odd question and Haneul’s dismissal, and instructs Ho-jin to cheer him up. Ho-jin complies impassively, and Young-bin remarks that he sounds like a manager.
Young-bin gives Turtle a call, assuming he and Joon are busy having fun camping, but it turns out they’re all alone, with no women around them because they set up camp too far. Young-bin encourages them to come home, but Turtle and Joon struggle to find their way out of the wilderness in the dark, and decide to spend the night on the mountain and return home the next morning. It’s a cold and frightful night inside the tent for the two goofs, but they end up spooning and rubbing their legs together for warmth.
Eun-gab’s wife finds her husband watching TV late at night. He says he can’t fall asleep and asks about her dog, the one who became aggressive as she aged. Eun-gab muses that “she” changed because she got older and tried to bite him today. He wonders if he should bite back. Eun-gab’s wife doesn’t know that he’s referring to CEO Kang, as he tries to rationalize his mentor’s behavior.
The next morning, Eun-gab treats Young-bin and Ho-jin to barbeque. Young-bin thinks it’s because of yesterday’s dinner with CEO Kang, but Eun-gab denies it. He says CEO Kang tries to win everyone over with her homemade meals. Eun-gab shyly offers a lettuce wrap to Young-bin, but it’s such an uncharacteristic gesture for him that the boys stare and he ends up eating it himself, heh.
Joon and Turtle arrive, and they’re looking weary and disheveled after their unsuccessful camping trip. They’re cranky, too, because they’re embarrassed by how closely they held each other last night. Pftt. Ho-jin remarks that they went camping to make girlfriends and ended up shooting Brokeback Mountain, angering them even more.
Eun-gab updates Young-bin on So-hee, who was hospitalized this morning due to overexertion. He explains that he’s only informing Young-bin so he doesn’t visit her. A mass of reporters will be present, so he advises Young-bin to send flowers instead. He speaks to Ho-jin outside and orders him to keep an eye on Young-bin, but they both know that Young-bin will try and see her anyway.
Eun-gab also reminds Ho-jin to keep him in the loop for any future dinner meetings. Ho-jin asks Eun-gab if he hates CEO Kang, and he answers that he doesn’t; after all, she is his mentor who groomed him and taught him how to do his job. But then Eun-gab answers a call from a lawyer and inquires as to how he can dismiss the co-CEO, ha. Eun-gab explains to Ho-jin that it’s a hypothetical inquiry.
Young-bin and Ho-jin hide behind a pillar at the hospital where So-hee is recuperating. To avoid the reporters, Young-bin disguises himself as a flower deliveryman by wearing a helmet, and successfully enters So-hee’s room and surprises her with a bouquet. So-hee admits that she and Haneul broke up and suggests they celebrate Ho-jin’s promotion over drinks after her drama ends. As Young-bin’s about to leave, he lingers for a second before facing So-hee and telling her that he has something to say.
Young-bin returns to the car and reveals to Ho-jin that he confessed his feelings to So-hee.
Okay, now we’re talking. Some pretty significant stuff happened in this episode, stuff that I actually cared about! Admittedly, Young-bin’s success in nabbing War Terminator was a letdown because the director’s sudden change of heart wasn’t believable for me. Sure, they bonded over Tarkovsky, but I wasn’t convinced that campy Flowers of Evil may have impressed Tarkovsky-loving Lee Jun-ik enough to cast Young-bin in War Terminator. This is why I’m glad another wrench was thrown in this episode with the possible casting of Kang Haneul, and not simply because it was nice (oh so nice!) to see handsome Kang Haneul and his amazingly coiffed hair, but also due to the fact that Young-bin’s hohum victory was very quickly followed by a conflict that seemed like it would actually affect Young-bin emotionally and detrimentally. And it did; it got a small albeit discernible rise out of him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Young-bin so reactive until now. Now we know how to push his buttons — threaten his chance at love! As annoying as Young-bin is when he argues with Ho-jin about what he wants, he’s way more interesting when he’s bratty. I loved when he and Ho-jin began hitting each other after Ji-ahn left; it was so petty and immature of them, but so funny!
The antics of Turtle and Joon don’t always succeed in making me laugh, but the speed at which the two argue and reconcile ad infinitum is pretty amusing. The exaggerated music during some of their scenes augmented the humor really well. The tracking shot of Joon and Turtle in the mountain, gingerly stepping across rocks while lugging all their bags, paired with such loud and dramatic music was hilarious. And the gloomy instrumental music that played during their emotional exchange right before they embraced and rubbed their legs together for warmth highlighted how ridiculous and dim the boys are. However, the running joke of Joon having such an unattractive face never works for me, and it’s tiring to hear it so often because it wasn’t funny in the beginning and isn’t funny now, several iterations later.
It should probably come as no surprise that the strongest, most moving scene in this episode involved Eun-gab. I was so engrossed in the banter between him and CEO Kang that took place in her backyard. I loved the way the scene began, with Eun-gab passing her the crackers she used to love, sort of like an olive branch, and CEO Kang rejecting it. Already, there’s a tangible divide between the two because they’ve changed and not merely in their appetites. It seemed like every time Eun-gab said something, CEO Kang took it, adjusted it to reflect her truth, and threw it back at him, clearly showing us that the two of them are no longer on the same page. Each instance Eun-gab tried to calm the waters, CEO Kang responded by delivering angry ripples to disrupt any semblance of harmony that may have stuck around from the past. The escalation of the scene occurred so naturally, that by the time CEO Kang uttered those two piercing words “It’s mine,” I felt as gobsmacked as Eun-gab did when he learned that “our” suddenly became “mine.”
I think it’s too early to determine why CEO Kang became covetous. She always defends her sudden participation in company affairs by pointing to Eun-gab’s poor performance, but is he really failing like she believes he is? I don’t think so. I thought the string of disses were just her way of busting his chops. Young-bin clearly isn’t his only client, and Eun-gab’s scary good at his job, however duplicitous his methods may be. Could it be a case of jealousy? Does CEO Kang feel threatened now that her protege has reached her level? Throwing the very person you groomed for years under the bus seems harsh and unwarranted even though it’s not unheard of in the entertainment world, but what does she have to gain by losing Eun-gab? I would think they’re stronger together.
We’ve seen Eun-gab throw hissy fits all the time, but when he couldn’t fall asleep and inquired about his wife’s dog in an attempt to rationalize CEO Kang’s behavior, it reminded me that behind the booming voice and intimidating presence, he’s still a man with feelings and more than capable of getting hurt. He may call CEO Kang crazy, but he cares enough for her to believe that there’s a plausible explanation for her acrimony. As evidenced by his conversation with Ho-jin, he hasn’t forgotten that CEO Kang is his invaluable mentor.
This episode was a welcome change of pace, thanks to the conflict between Eun-gab and CEO Kang. This wasn’t a perfect episode, but it was definitely an improvement from what I’ve seen so far. Finally, there was real drama that I cared about, and I hope this means Entourage will get better as it progresses. If it aims for the magnificence of Kang Haneul’s hair, it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out.