Early Access: Call It Love Episodes 1 & 2

Hi everyone!

Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1 & 2 notes on Call It Love, because I’m liking it a lot, and I was wondering if you’d like to join me? 🤗

These are my episode 1 & 2 notes, exactly as they appear on Patreon, ie, without screenshots (I’m saving those for the actual review).

I hope you all enjoy, and I hope you’ll consider joining us over on Patreon, for the rest of the discussions! ❤️

Episode notes:

E1. I hadn’t been sure what to expect, coming into this one, because I’ve heard so many people describe it in so many different ways.

Like I mentioned before, I’ve heard people compare this one to Interests of Love, which I didn’t care for (I didn’t even manage to get to the end of episode 1), and I’ve heard others compare it to A Piece of Your Mind, which I really liked.

I’ve also heard people mention it in the same breath as My Mister (which I loved), and some people compare it to Lost (which I really, really liked).

Now that I’ve sampled this show for myself, I’m coming to the tentative conclusion that I’m feeling the similarities with My Mister and Lost, more than the comparisons with Interests of Love and A Piece of Your Mind.

In fact, I have to say that Martina’s remark, that Woo Joo reminds her of IU’s character in My Mister, was really helpful, in that it helped me to come to a quicker grasp of what to make of Woo Joo, with her sometimes contrary behavior.

And, I do feel that similar sense of two lost souls coming into each other’s orbit, and being drawn to each other, like I felt with Lost.

All that to say, I think I’m going to like this one just fine.

I’d worried some, because of the comparisons to Interests of Love, but so far, it doesn’t seem like I’ve anything to worry about. Because, whatever is causing people to compare this show to Interests of Love, mustn’t be the thing(s) that didn’t grab me, when I checked out Interests of Love. 😅

If I understand those folks correctly, it’s the whole idea of two imperfect people coming together, in all their imperfections. I think? (If you see the similarities, do share in the comments, because I’m quite curious.)

For me, the opening voiceover, which turns out to be a radio DJ’s preamble to introducing a song on the air, really set the tone for me.

“There was a poet, who once said the following. That if you wanna understand, if you wanna forgive, and if you wanna love someone… you should observe how they look from the back for a long while.

That if you do just that, you don’t have to unnecessarily try to understand, forgive, or love them because their lonely shadow will have made you cry without you even knowing. It’s true. To understand someone’s loneliness… Well, for me, I think that’s the beginning of love.”

In a nutshell, Show serves up (what I think is) the entire premise of Woo Joo seeking out Dong Jin – and unexpectedly coming to understand and empathize with him, when she sees his loneliness.

That’s very helpful (and grabby!) framing for me, and I felt drawn in to this story, from that voiceover – which is to say, pretty much immediately.

Interestingly, Show introduces us to Dong Jin first, rather than Woo Joo, even though Woo Joo is the one who approaches Dong Jin with thoughts of revenge.

And right away, just from those few moments. I feel like I can see Dong Jin’s wretchedness and loneliness, as he trudges about his day.

Props to Kim Young Kwang, because I feel like I can sense Dong Jin’s emotional exhaustion, which has meshed with his physical exhaustion, on sight.

There’s just something about the way he carries Dong Jin as a character, that just screams wretched and unhappy, even though Dong Jin is a CEO with a supposedly comfortable life.

As I revisit this episode to write these notes, it strikes me that Woo Joo is a very intuitive person.

Her sense of foreboding while playing games and drinking with Yoon Joon, where she predicts that something bad is going to happen, actually comes true, when her father dies soon afterwards (bad thing #1), and his wife then sells the house which he’d bequeathed to her – thus making Woo Joo and her siblings suddenly homeless.

Was it necessary to make Woo Joo “predict” that something bad was going to happen? No, our story would’ve worked just fine without that beat. But the inclusion of that beat does help to frame Woo Joo as a sensitive, intuitive person, who’s more attuned to, well, the universe, than the average person.

I find it interesting that Show makes it a point to let us see that Woo Joo makes a bet with herself – and the universe – before she shows up at her father’s funeral, to make a scene.

It’s almost like she’s asking the universe for permission, isn’t it? Like, if it rains – even though there’s only a 10% chance of rain – then it’s a sign that she ought to cause some trouble for real.

This gives me the impression that she isn’t as tough as she sometimes makes herself out to be.

A more aggressive person wouldn’t care if there was sign or not; they’d just haul themselves over to the funeral parlor and cause a scene anyway.

The fact that Woo Joo doesn’t default to that, and effectively debates with herself (and the universe) before doing it, tells me that this isn’t who she really is, at the heart of it.

And then there’s the way she speaks up for Dong Jin at the restaurant, when the shopkeeper misunderstands that he’d ordered soju, when he hadn’t. This, when she has no idea who he is.

The fact that Woo Joo would speak up for a stranger, and then tell the shopkeeper that the shopkeeper should apologize to Dong Jin, and not to her and Yoon Joon, also makes me think that she’s a kind person with a sense of righteousness.

I felt really bad for Woo Joo, when we see the flashback of what had happened with her father, with him abandoning the family, for Dong Jin’s mother.

It’s a pretty record-scratching moment, in the sense that in the flashback before that, he’d seemed like a perfectly loving father. And yet, in that moment when he leaves with Dong Jin’s mother, there seems to be no apparent wistfulness for the kids that he’s leaving behind.

Then again, it’s also true that love/lust can make you act, think and feel in crazy ways, so I suppose it’s not that hard to believe that someone would forsake his kids without blinking an eye, because he’s crazy about someone new in his life.

I really feel for Woo Joo, when she sits on those steps, after being knocked over by that random passerby, and starts to cry.

“I tried so hard to hold myself together so my dad wouldn’t see these tears. And now if they see me here… they’ll think I’m broken ’cause of his death and that’s not why.”

Aw. Poor Woo Joo. There’s so much complicated emotion in that statement, I feel like.

Even though she doesn’t admit to it, some of those tears are because of her father, I believe; not because he’s dead, but because he’d abandoned her and the rest of the family, without looking back.

And then, on top of that, there must be feelings of anger and betrayal at her father, for bequeathing the house to the woman he’d forsaken them for, even though he must have known that they were still living in the house.

And of course, on top of that, there’s fury at Dong Jin’s mother, listed as Hee Ja, for being so heartless, in selling the house and kicking them out, when they have no money to get a new place.

The injustice and humiliation of it all, to be thrown out of the family home, by the very woman who had stolen their father from them.

Of course Woo Joo’s got tears to shed – angry, betrayed, sad tears – in the face of all of this.

And then, in true melodramatic fashion, of course Hee Ja uses the money from the sale of the house, to bail out Dong Jin, when he admits to her that he’s having financial trouble at the company.

Which, of course, would eventually just make Woo Joo target Dong Jin as revenge, yes?

I like the matter-of-fact, “surprise!” way Show introduces the fact that Woo Joo’s now working at Dong Jin’s company, at the end of the episode.

Ha. I was just as surprised as CEO Choi, to hear that she was a member of the staff, since Show doesn’t give us any insight just yet, of how she managed to join his company.

In fact, it feels like quite the twist, to have Dong Jin confront Woo Joo about stalking him, when we’ve only just found out that she’s working at his company.

Color me intrigued; I definitely want to know what happens next, and how Woo Joo might wriggle out of this tight spot – because surely Show won’t scuttle her revenge plans this early in our story?

E2. We get more background on how Woo Joo got a job at Dong Jin’s company, this episode, and while it seems like a longish shot, logically speaking, that they would pick her among all the candidates that they must’ve had available to them, I do like the idea of them being in the same office.

It gives me My Mister vibes, in that sense – and Woo Joo’s sullen temp office assistant persona, where she won’t run errands for other people if they aren’t polite in asking, absolutely does remind me of IU’s character, when she was working as a temp office assistant. 😁

I do like the idea that while Woo Joo’s got a crazy, “psychotic” streak to her, which Show helpfully informs us of, by having Yoon Joon and her siblings remember specific incidents as examples, this episode, it’s clear that Woo Joo’s not as great of a stalker as she’d like to be, and she’s also a more soft-hearted, empathetic person than she’d like to let on.

I also like that when Dong Jin asks her why she’s following him and trying to go through his mail, she doesn’t lie outright; instead, she tells him something that’s technically true – that she has a lot of interest in him.

And I also like that it’s really not very long, before Woo Joo apologizes, saying that when she panics, she tends to get aggressive, and that she’d been out of line. This sounds honest to me too; I do believe her when she says that she tends to get aggressive when she’s panicked.

I’m curious about the door banging that Dong Jin hears while he’s in the shower; he assumes it’s Woo Joo, because she’s the last person he’d talked to, but we see that it’s not Woo Joo. I wonder what that’s about?

In the meantime, though, I’m just really glad that Woo Joo’s got Yoon Joon to help her and her siblings out.

I find it very heartwarming that they’re now living with him, in what looks like an annex at his house.

It may not be fancy, but the idea of them being able to pop in on Yoon Joon at any time, is cozy to my eyes. It feels like Yoon Joon’s literally part of the family now, and that thought makes me smile.

On that note, I just wanted to say that I really like the friendship between Woo Joo and Yoon Joon.

He’s always there for her when she needs him, and when that customer tries to hit on Yoon Joon, and Woo Joo arrives, she falls into step with him without missing a beat, in pretending to be his girlfriend.

I would love for this friendship to go the distance without Yoon Joon being shown to have hidden feelings for Woo Joo, but if drama convention holds, it’s more than likely that Yoon Joon’s been holding a torch for Woo Joo since their school days. But, maybe Show will surprise me, by NOT holding to drama convention..? 😁

I mean, as an alternative, I feel like we’re already seeing a potential loveline between Yoon Joon and Hye Seong, coz Hye Seong absolutely looks like she’s got a case of the flutters, when Yoon Joon wipes off the eye muck off her.

I actually wouldn’t be opposed to that loveline, if Show were to push it, I think, so let’s see.

As for Dong Jin, it’s becoming clearer, that he’d been very hurt when his ex-girlfriend had broken up with him, and he’s still living with the wounds, in the present.

He’s so drawn and pale in the present, like he’s been drained of life, but in the flashbacks that we see this episode, we see glimpses that he’d used to have a brighter personality. And, in that class reunion, we do see him trying to muster up that brighter personality, for appearances’ sake.

We’re not told yet, what had happened, but circumstantially, it seems that his ex, Min Young, had betrayed him (perhaps by cheating on him, if that shot of her talking brightly on the phone is any indication), and that’s scarred him in a big way.

It seems that Dong Jin’s not over Min Young, so now that Min Young’s back in Korea, I’m curious to see how things unfold for Dong Jin, when their paths eventually cross.

I feel bad for Woo Joo when she gets accused of being a spy, and of sending that email from Manager Kang’s account, because, honestly, up until Show reveals that she hadn’t done it, I’d thought that she was guilty too.

I blame Show for messing with my perspective, by giving us that scene of Woo Joo logging in to Manager Kang’s account, after hours.

I like how Woo Joo speaks up for herself, when Dong Jin finally confronts her about it, and I do think that her insight is spot-on and sharp, when she remarks that Dong Jin wants it to be her, because if he’s betrayed by someone he barely knows, it’ll hurt less.

Bingo. And, ouch. Because that’s exactly what’s going on with Dong Jin. I believe that that’s the thing that drives him to fire Woo Joo – the fear of being betrayed by someone he trusts – rather than a true belief that she was guilty.

I do think that Dong Jin deserves some credit for calling Woo Joo out to apologize to her and offer her the job back, when he manages to determine that it had been Manager Cha, who had sent that email.

I feel like someone lesser, would’ve just swept the incident under the carpet – after all, what’s the wrongful dismissal of a temp staff, to a CEO, right? – but Dong Jin doesn’t.

We see that even though he says that he has no interest in other people’s personal affairs, he’d been listening to everything that Woo Joo had said about her situation.

The way he looks Woo Joo in the eye and tells her that he needs her at the office, is honest and vulnerable, and really quite appealing. There are no airs here – not that Dong Jin ever had any before, to be clear – just matter-of-fact honesty and humility.

Perhaps that’s why Woo Joo finds herself instinctively pushing aside that dude who comes at Dong Jin, making to hit him.

To my eyes, it looks like a reflexive action that Woo Joo hadn’t thought through; she just instinctively wants to protect Dong Jin, in this moment – and I find that very interesting indeed.

I definitely want to see more of how this connection develops, between Dong Jin and Woo Joo. It’s all so complicated, but they are clearly kindred spirits, in how wounded they each are. I’m already rooting for them to realize that they have solidarity in each other.

All in all, a very strong pair of opening episodes – I’m looking forward to more of this drama world, and soon.

*This show is being covered on the Ultimate Early Access (US$25) Tier on Patreon*

To view episode 1 & 2 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!

You can find my Patreon page here, where episodes 1 through 6 notes are already available. Just look for the tag “Call It Love” or click here.

Episodes 7 & 8 notes will be out on Wednesday, 5 April 2023! I’ll then be on a break, but will come back with episode 9 & 10 notes the following week, on Wednesday, 19 April 2023.

I hope you’ll consider joining us!

It’ll be a way to have fun, and support me at the same time? ❤️

PS: For more information on what the Patreon experience is like, you might like to check out my Patreon update post for April, which you can find here!

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8 months ago

I am far ahead at episode 12. I wasn’t sold in the early episodes, but the show improves, a lot! In fact, if it sticks the landing, it has the potential to be one of the great romantic melos. So glad you’re covering.

8 months ago

Glad you’re watching this one. I think it’s my favorite show this year so far. Maybe will be my favorite one all year. I have a humongous soft spot, more like a soft lunar crater for Kim Young Kwang’s acting. I just love him in everything — even his scarier, psychopathic murdery characters.

This show is just amazing. I like how subdued the writing is and the way the lines are delivered— so understated, raw, emotional. And I saw the similarities between My Mister and this immediately. I might like it more.

Hope you keep enjoying this one.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ally
8 months ago

For me, Call It Love is a very good show. Every time I log into Disney+ though, I have to change from the dubbed English version to the subbed version. The dubbing just doesn’t sound right when you know how the actors do sound and express themselves!

As much as I like the two leads, the scene stealers are Kim Ye Won’s character (the older sister) and Nam Ki Ae as the evil step mother. I want to see Hye Seong end up with someone who cherishes her. As for evil step mum, she may find peace, eventually.

In the beginning, with Woo Joo turning up at her father’s funeral, I found it very reminiscent of Seok Hee in Graceful Family and the ode to the passing of the Koi 😂

Overall, show is worth a good look.

8 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean – I am watching One Dollar Lawyer over on Hulu now (I am enjoying it) and if I can get access I will start on this next. Nam Ki Ae is so versatile – she can do anything.

8 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Phl, I’m so glad you are watching $1 Lawyer. As for Nam Ki Ae, I guarantee you will be throwing a slipper or two at your screen 😝

8 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl