Hi readers of cimiart and thank you for checking out my recaps of a new kdrama, Temperature of Love. Each episode is a short thirty minutes, so I plan on recapping two at a time. That’s four episodes a week – I hope I can keep up! Seo Hyun Jin has a long list of successful dramas and movies to her credit, but I especially loved her in Another Miss Oh and Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim. Add to her high-profile actor Kim Jae Wook (our lovable waffle vendor in Coffee Prince among other roles) and newer actor Yang Se Jong, and I am looking forward to an exciting romance drama.
Lee Hyun Soo pours herself a drink. There is a live cooking show being filmed in a mall lobby featuring star chef, On Jung Sun. The director wants Jung Sun to go with something other than what the writer scripted. Hyun Soo walks briskly toward the filming site and shouts, “Stop shooting.” She argues with the director, “Don’t you like what I write?”
She tells the director that he is irresponsible. They argue. Has she written the next script he asks? Why should she when he changes everything she snaps back. “You’re not Shakespeare. We can’t make edits?” he smartly tosses at her. If there are edits, she needs to know about them, she responds sharply. He can’t work with new writers, he shouts. She is equally as agitated and shouts back that she ignored the rumors that he was difficult in order to maker her debut as a writer. She should have known better. He claims that the show has 10 percent viewer ratings because of the changes. It would have 10 percent anyway she yells, angry and annoyed. Clearly these two don’t work well together.
The director dramatically turns to the staff. “Is she right? Anyone?” The staff is uncomfortable with the situation. Hyun Soo looks around. “No one?” she asks. Satisfied that no one is on her side, the director is about to move on, but the chef calls out, “There is one. Me.” He is willing to stand up for her.
Hyun Soo stares as she realizes it is Jung Sun who comes down to the floor. I ran into him again. It had to be at a time when I was acting disgracefully. I never forgot about him for a second. I desperately wanted to see him again even if by chance. My first love . . . that disappeared at the end of my youth at the age of 29.
She turns and runs off. He follows.
Five years earlier ~
Handcuffed in a jail cell with a couple of other women, Hyun Soo’s phone rings. It’s her boss. She calls out, “Detective Kim, can you undo the cuffs?” He jokes that all the other assistants left last night but she stayed overnight. “There are better writers than I am,” she tells him. But she needs to scurry off to work. He unlocks the cell.
Her phone rings again. It’s Hong Ah. When Hyun Soo finally answers, Hong Ah scolds her for making her call three times. But their conversation turns sweet between friends as Hong Ah tells her to hurry and meet her at Kind Soup’s restaurant in Hongdae. Kind Soup is the text name of one of their chat room friends, along with Emergency Doctor and Jane (Hyun Soo’s chat room name). Kind Soup is known for his bad spelling and Jane dislikes that, although she’s never met him in person. They have all joined a running club and Hong Ah wants Hyun Soo to stop by and discuss plans. She can’t; the writers want coffee and she has to pick it up on the way to work. Hong Ah teases that she acts like she has won the writing contest already, but Hyun Soo says she isn’t – that’s why she is working so hard these days. But if she does win, she promises that she’ll dance in the middle of Yeouido. Still, she hasn’t received a call and is worried. Hong Ah cheers her friend on and tells her not to work so hard.
Kind Soup overhears and comments that you have to work hard to accomplish anything. He sets a plate of food in front of Hong Ah and turns to leave, but she wants to talk to him. After all, she can’t call she reminds him; he doesn’t have a phone. Who doesn’t have a cell phone in the 21st century? The message is to come to Gyeongbok Palace later. He abruptly tells her that he is busy. She insists that he join them when he is done. She wants to introduce him to Hyun Soo, uh – Jane – they’ve chatted before. He doesn’t remember. Anyway, he only joined the running club for one reason – to run. He tells Hong Ah that he doesn’t want to socialize. Hong Ah can take his stony personality with a grain of salt and smiles.
As Kind Soup makes his way back to the kitchen, he passes an important looking man seated alone at a table.
Jung Sun enters through the kitchen doors confidently and rolls up his sleeves. The atmosphere is no-nonsense and tense. Jung Sun sears steaks with a flair, but the head kitchen chef isn’t impressed and warns him that if he thinks he’s special because he studied in France and skipped being an assistant, then he has another thing coming. Jung Sun is rather smug, but he does tell the chef that he respects him. As he turns, he runs into someone carrying a hot pot that spills and scalds his forearm. He calls out that he is okay, rinses his arm with water, and says he’ll quickly step out to the hospital and return shortly. Another kitchen worker taunts Jung Sun and asks if he should call his mother. But Jung Sun doesn’t miss a beat and replies, “You must not know her very well. She’s very strong. She’d throw away her kid to a dog.” Everyone in the kitchen galley seems to have a chip on his shoulder.
A stylish woman arrives at the airport. She hands a card to a man with the name On Jung Sun written on it and tells him to find this person as soon as possible. She will pay him well. The man nods and leaves. Mommy dearest is in town. She collides with a stranger and their suitcases topple over. The man politely apologizes and offers to help such a beautiful woman as he loads up their luggage on a cart.
Hyun Soo runs into the office and passes out coffee to the staff. The writers work around a table. They discuss ways that the main character can get revenge on the culprit. Hyun Soo joins them. The head writer asks if she got some insight on how a culprit might feel by spending the night in a cell, but Hyun Soo admits that it really wasn’t a way to conjure up the true emotions one might feel because she isn’t guilty of anything and it’s not the same. The others say off-handed that it was a waste of time. But the lead writer insists that all experiences help one’s writing and compliments Hyun Soo for taking the initiative as a way to get closer to the experience. “I like your spirit,” she tells her. It’s awkward, because the lead writer favors Hyun Soo and the others don’t like that the new girl gets the attention. They give her a hard time for being so polite; maybe since she worked in a large company before she is different from them, implying that Hyun Soo is a kiss-up. But Hyun Soo defends herself and asks them to be considerate when they speak to her.
Park Jung Woo waits for a friend at the restaurant. The friend, Joon Ha, comes running in late as usual, and offers to kneel in apology. Jung Woo tells him not to overreact. They talk; Jung Woo wants to invest in a production company but Joon Ha think he is too naive and gives him some advice: first, get a strong team of writers. In fact, the friend has a writer he can recommend who worked at a large company but now is in a smaller place. He makes a call to her. Jung Woo acts indifferent and doesn’t want to bother to meet her.
On her ride home, Hyun Soo gets a nagging text from Bugger: Pick up some sanitary pads and instant noodles and spring onions. There’s nothing at home. She is annoyed. She gets another text from Joon Ha: Meet me at 3 p.m. tomorrow. I might have some work for you. She texts back a cute imo. When Jung Woo sees it, he is suddenly interested in meeting her.
Jung Sun is busy in the kitchen. The main chef compliments him, recognizing his talent. He also has some advice about getting along with the others: be a bit more approachable and act as a member of the team. Jung Sun says he has no reason to do so. He is fiercely independent and confident and doesn’t play the hierarchy game just for the sake of it.
He stops along his bike ride home to feed a little kitten. Hyun Soo walks past and catches Jung Sun’s attention out of the corner of his eye. As he rides past her we wonder how fate will bring them together.
Hyun Soo arrives home. Her sister, who texted her, walks over and sniffs to see if she detects alcohol. Of course Hyun Soo hasn’t been drinking, but her reputation must precede her. Sister complains that the sanitary pads are the wrong ones and tells Hyun Soo to go back and exchange them. Hyun Soo doesn’t want to but sister has something one her: she hasn’t paid rent. Hyun Soo replies that she does all sorts of chores for her; if she converted her labor into money she wouldn’t owe a thing. Sister reminds her that she hasn’t paid rent in five months. Hyun Soo lowers her eyes and agrees to make the exchange. Sister won’t let it go and scolds that Hyun Soo shouldn’t have quit her job and pathetically rely on her. Adding injury to insult, Sister grabs the corn dog out of her hand and bites into it. “Hey!” she yells, and then opens the ketchup bottle and squirts the contents all over her sister’s face. At least she does so in her mind. But then Hyun Soo remembers that she should go easy on her; after all her sister just got dumped and is taking comfort in food.
Sister, however, knows her well enough to know her thoughts and tells Hyun Soo not to pity her. She isn’t eating because she got dumped. Sisterly ESP, maybe, but neither is extending sisterly love just now.
Choi Won Joon picks up Ji Hong Ah. They are headed to the running event together. He asks if she got a hold of the others (Jane/Hyun Soo and Kind Soup). They act cute together.
Hyun Soo meanders over to the running event and waits for Hong Ah. There is a good-sized crowd gathered. She notices the scar on the arm of the guy warming up next to her. Is that writing she wonders as she studies the long rough scar and the tattoo running alongside it. And his hand is wrapped. “Do I know you?” he asks after noticing Hyun Soo staring at him. “No” she apologizes.
Hong Ah and Won Joon meet up with her. And him. It’s the runners’ club and there is a night run about to happen. Quick introductions are made: Jane – Kind Soup – we’re in the runner’s chat room together. They finally meet in person. Someone announces the layout of the running routes and the large group heads out down the lit streets, weaving in and out of the pedestrians.
Hyun Soo is clearly the weakest of the four friends and quickly falls behind. Jung Sun jogs back to provide moral support to her, referring to himself as the pacemaker. But if Jung Sun is independent, he has met his match in Hyun Soo. He gives her his best pep talk, but she tells him to go ahead; she’ll take care of herself. Won Joon calls out that they will drink afterwards. “Now that motivates me!” she responds enthusiastically and picks up the pace. She tells Jung Sun not to run behind her, she is fine herself. “Okay,” he says bluntly, and takes off. Along the way, Hyun Soo stops to admire a hanok (an old, traditional Korean house) and says, “Does a place like this still exist?” She lingers.
The others worry when Hyun Soo doesn’t round the corner. Jung Sun, who looked back from time to time to check on her, thinks he might know where she is and heads back to where he last saw her.
When Jung Sun gets to the spot where he last saw Hyun Soo, she isn’t there. She wanders in the back alleys oblivious to her whereabouts but her writer’s imagination sparks all sorts of scenarios. There’s a flickering street lamp. “How creepy,” she thinks. She finds a blind spot and thinks aha! after the main character lures the culprit here . . . The streetlight bulb explodes and she is startled back to reality. She takes off running. Jung Sun is getting concerned as he seraches up and down the alleys. Hyun Soo has been wandering around for hours and is exhausted. She is definitely lost. She spots a tiny blooming flower in a stone wall and is delighted. “How did you make your way out? Are you trying to survive? I’ll live just like you. How pretty,” she says out loud.
Jung Sun finally sees her and is relieved. But when he approaches, she jumps and screams, “You scared me.” He scolds her for scaring him more, acting angry that she wondered off. She is the one who got lost and walked in circles for three hours. Neither one bends. When Hyun Soo blurts out, “I was so happy to see you that I almost ran into your arms,” Jung Sun’s heart flutters. He tells her the other friends are waiting, too.
She asks for his phone.
“I don’t have one.”
“Do people not have phones these days?”
“I can’t afford it.”
When Hyun Soo comments on his expensive shoes and watch he replies, “We must disagree on how we use money.”
“I respect others values.”
“Really? Then why did you say that?”
They bicker. But they get each other, too.
It begins to rain as they jog back. He tells her to pick up the pace, but she says that you get just as wet even if you try to dodge the raindrops. She wants him for fall for that logic – she saw it on Curious World so it must be true – because she’s tired and would rather walk. But his logic says that if you get to your destination faster, you are in the rain for a shorter time and therefore don’t get as wet. Nothing is a normal conversation between these two.
When they arrive back at the bar, Jung Sun’s gaze is fixed on Hyun Soo. Suddenly he blurts out, “Do you want to go out with me?” She is taken aback. “Are you crazy? You hardly know me and you are asking me out?” What should he know? Her age? Her alma mater? He offers basic information about himself : he is twenty-three, has already served in the army . . . but Hyun Soo closes her eyes and tells him to stop. He can understand how she might be surprised by such a sudden proposal, but he assures her that he isn’t taking it lightly. This guy is intense.
Hyun Soo asks him what time it is.
She counts from when they met at Gyeongbok Palace earlier and tells him that they have known each other for less than five hours. “It only took a minute for me to choose cooking as my career,” he answers. She tells him that falling in love at first sight is a dangerous thing. He knows, that’s why he takes it seriously. Hyun Soo folds her arms and tells him that he is really good at talking and here she thought she was pretty good.
“I would have fallen if I were a bit younger,” she tells him. “Then fall for it,” he replies. She tries to keep things lighthearted and asks why he wants to date her. “My heart is falling for you,” he tells her with a seriously sincere look. But she feels he is talking down to her. “A younger guy asking me out, do I look that easy?”
“You can’t control age.” Once again, Sung Jun has a quick answer for everything. As she turns, Hyun Soo twists her foot and he catches her (in typical kdrama slow motion). “Do you really not feel anything?” he asks, holding her steady. Just then Hong Ah and Won Joon pull up and tell her to get in. But before she leaves he introduces himself properly, “My name is Oh Jung Sun.” Hyun Soo ends the conversation with “I’m going to refuse the offer you just made,” and she gets into the car.
Sung Jun’s mother puts on lipstick. “Be confident,” she tells herself. She meets the man from the airport at a bar and comments that it is good to be back in Korea.
Sung Jun works out hard. Then he walks through a market and picks up some halibut-only enough, the vendor comments, for one dish.
The writers confer around the table. The lead writer is happy with the main character’s perfect revenge scenario. But Hyun Soo has something to say about the concept – it seems too brutal and it harms the main character. Aren’t they just following the current trend in movies and dramas? There is silence. The lead writer tells Hyun Soo that she won’t make it at this rate; she doesn’t recognize they’re following basic human nature. That’s the point, Hyung Soo insists. Hasn’t the lead writer’s approach been that humanity is fundamentally good? The lead writer argues that it’s not the topic but the character that’s important and reprimands Hyun Soo for being an amateur that she must explain everything to. Hyun Soo realizes her suggestion is causing her boss to become frustrated and replies, “I’m sorry.”
The head chef tastes Jung Sun’s halibut. He suggests more seasoning, but Jung Sun insists that the flavor of the halibut should come through and won’t alter the recipe. It is for VIP customer Park Jung Woo who, as we have seen, frequents the restaurant and dines alone. Tonight he has requested something new.
Jung Sun looks pensively from the kitchen as Jung Woo tastes his new creation. Before he knows it, the head chef drops the barely touched plate on the kitchen counter and gives Jung Sun a most disapproving look. Jung Sun is disappointed and humbled. Jung Woo is about to pay for the meal, but head chef won’t let him. When the VIP customer asks why, the head chef says that he must not have liked the dish since he returned to practically uneaten. But that’s not the case, Jung Woo insists. He liked it very much. And he knew the new chef prepared it. That’s why, he whispers, he couldn’t finish it all like a glutton – it would hurt his pride. He would like to compliment the new chef in person.
Gi Da, one of the assistant writers, gets a call. “What, really?” She jumps up and exclaims that she got nominated for the writing contest. The head writer comes out of her office and with much excitement everyone congratulates their co-worker. When she asks Hyun Soo if she got a call she has to answer no. But then her phone rings.
“Pick it up. Why aren’t you answering it?” they chime in. Disappointingly, it’s only her younger sister who lives to torment her, she tells them.
Hong Ah has a favor to ask Jung Sun. It’s for Hyun Soo: she wants him to make something spicy and delicious to cheer her up since she wasn’t nominated for the Writer’s Contest. But Jung Sun is upset that Hong Ah has called him out from work and reminds her that he is an employee and can’t do whatever he likes in the kitchen.
Hyun Soo’s friend, Joon Ha, who texted earlier that he might have work for her stops by her office. He wants her best script to show Park Jung Woo. Hyun Soo is less then enthusiastic. They are seated and served a drink as they discuss their futures. Joon Ha tells her that she is too polite. She reminds him that’s how she has made it so far and he should practice being polite now that he is about to debut as a director. Worry about yourself he throws back. Just write so she can debut – writers make good money these days. It’s not just writers, but writers and directors together that make a drama, she adds. They go back and forth discussing this and that before someone else adds to the conversation, “I’ve never been so disregarded in my life.” Park Jun Woo has been sitting there all this time and hasn’t been included in the conversation.
“You must like to be precise,” he comments. Hyun Soo says that’s right. He leans forward and suggests that she should work with them. No, just him. “Why?” she asks. Her friend is horrified that she isn’t jumping on the offer and tells her to just accept it. “Just because I’m an assistant writer doesn’t mean that I should accept any offer that comes my way,” she says to the men’s surprise, and gets up to leave. “I have a previous engagement.” Joon Ha can’t believe her stand-offish behavior (doesn’t she know who she just turned down?) and when Park Jung Woo stands to shake her hand, she tells him that she ins’t comfortable shaking hands with a stranger, bows, and leaves. Joon Ha is speechless at her behavior but it is clear that Jung Woo is intrigued.
Hong Ah meets with Hyun Soo at the most popular place in Hongdae – her treat – to cheer up her friend. She feels bad that she didn’t hear back from the Writer’s Contest. Hyun Soo fusses that the restaurant is too expensive and although Hong Ah reminds her that her family is rich (how could she forget?) Hyun Soo says she wants to treat her when she becomes a writer. They end up at a soju bar, much more their style, and eat spicy food and drink. Hong Ah has a date, though, and it’s time for Hyun Soo to go home. Jung Sun sees them as they’re leaving; it’s kind of messy. Hong Ah points Hyun Soo in one direction but a tipsy Hyun Soo turns and asks, “Isn’t it this way?” Hong Ah tells Jung Sun that she is terrible with directions and leaves her with him as her date honks.
Which way home? Hyun Soo points this way, no – that way and is a bit belligerent when Jung Sun follows her even though they end up at the wrong bus stop. “I’m sorry,” she says pitifully. As they sit on the bench she begins to ramble, “When I quit my job I thought I would become a writer quickly. I underestimated life.” Jung Sun listens.
“I love Yeouido. I said that I will dance in Yeoudio Park when I win the screen writers test. However, I don’t think I’ll have that chance.” By now tears are streaming down her face. She confesses her inner thoughts to Jung Sun. She wants the chance to go into the fire knowing that she will get burned and die. Jung Sun takes her hand and pulls her to her feet.
Mother has a conversation with the man who is tracking down her son. She is happy to hear he has found out some information. “Speed up the process. I miss my son,” she tells him as she looks out the window of a hotel room. Airport man is asleep in the bed.
“Practice the dance you’ll do when you win the contest,” Jung Sun tells Hyun Soo. He has taken her to the center of Yeouido Park. His smile is so infectious that Hyun Soo can’t help but smile at the spontaneity of it all.
- I may have gone overboard in writing two shorter episode recaps together, but there is so much fun stuff going on! I love Hyun Soo, our hardworking single woman who has, for reasons unknown, quit her job and is working as an assistant writer in a smaller company. She has lots of bright ideas and is energetic, but her co-workers and boss keep her at bay. She is also beholden to her younger sister who doesn’t let her forget it. Unable to pay rent, Hyun Soo must endure the harsh criticism and irritating behavior of a sister who is at least working a respectable job as a teacher.
- If her co-workers and sister are pains in the neck, at least she has a fun group of friends. She is in a “running club” with girlfriend Hong Ah, Won Joon, and Kind Soup who she meets for the first time at a night run event. He is a budding chef who is difficult to get along with in the kitchen because he is so confident that he can’t bother with niceties and other social skills. Still, his talent speaks for itself and the head chef recognizes that. But we have to remember that the show opened with a present day scene of Hyun Soo running into Kind Soup/On Jung Sun at a filming set. She is shocked that she has run into her first love who disappeared. With that, we are thrown back five years earlier to the time when they first met. Knowing the end from the beginning is a hard thing on us viewers!
- I also have a soft spot in my heart for Park Jung Woo played by actor Kim Jae Wook who I first met as the waffle vendor in Coffee Prince. He is charming as always and I wonder if he will cause second lead syndrome. (Why isn’t he the lead, I wonder?) He is looking particularly handsome in a suit as the VIP who frequents Kind Soup’s restaurant and wants to invest in the world of kdramas and movies. How did he earn his wealth? I love how assistant producer Joon Ha is the link between Jung Woo and Hyun Soo. He believes in Hyun Soo, but for some reason she is aloof toward him. They must have worked together in the past – maybe at the job she quit? He has done good in bring the two of them – investor and writer – together. Park Jung Woo isn’t put off at all by Hyun Soo’s blunt dismissal; in fact, he sees it as an asset.
- Hyun Soo is well spoken but polite; still she stands up for herself as a professional. How is it that she meets up with a confident chef, Jung Sun, who can talk circles around her to her surprise, although she is impressed by that? They get each other even though they bicker like adolescents and when push comes to shove, Hyun Soo feels comfortable enough (with the help of a few shots of soju) to reveal her inner desires and disappointments. Confidence is a good thing but it can also put up walls, as in the case of Jung Sun. Not to mention that he has been rejected by Hyun Soo. I love that he is able to seize the moment and grab Hyun Soo’s hand and take her to Yeouido Park. I think he knows how to keep a dream alive when it seems like everything else is saying it’s gone.
- Then there’s Mother dearest, the person her own son said would throw her child to the dogs. I don’t anticipate a happy reunion between them.
- I could say a lot more, but there are 38 more short episodes ahead. What are your thoughts about this new fall krama? Please cheer me on in being able to keep up!