Somehow, Antoine is kinda driving me up the wall with its OTP running each other round in circles. And Han Ye-seul‘s oftimes over-the-top acting doesn’t help.
After learning about the possibility of a Part II in the experiment, Hye-rim goes into hissy fit overdrive. Her objective: to turn the tables on Soo-hyun, making HIM the lab rat this time round. However, things don’t go as smoothly as she’d plan…
First hurdle: annoy Soo-hyun with princess-y tantrums until he caves in to a fMRI test. So he does…but unfortunately, he sees Prof Bae’s pic before Hye-rim, which leads his mind to wander in worry about Prof Bae’s health. Ends up, Hye-rim scores the lowest in the fMRI scan, with a measly 11%.
Which leads to: more hissy fits. Hye-rim enlists the help of her sister to set up a pretty lady as Gal B for Soo-hyun. Ironically, she rejects most of the candidates, and even though she finally settles on one gal, Hye-rim is very uncomfortable over it. So while she seems to want Gal B to seduce Soo-hyun, she is at the same time annoyed and upset when Soo-hyun even talks to Gal B. (women…)
Luckily for Soo-hyun, he manages to see through Hye-rim’s set up, and bluntly rejects Gal B’s overtures. Hye-rim is overjoyed and temporarily mollified, enough to call off her experiment on Soo-hyun. She also learns later from Chairman Kim that Soo-hyun met him earlier and wanted to stop the experiment. Lastly, her discovery of Soo-hyun’s journal on the experiment, detailing his angst at having to lie to Hye-rim reinforces her belief that Soo-hyun has really called off Part II of the experiment on her.
As a short break: time to look at other developments.
The case of the week: Soo-hyun meets with an old friend (Kang Tae-hwa) at the latter’s wedding, and learns that Tae-hwa has become the CEO of a large firm. Soo-hyun muses that things have really changed for Tae-hwa, since he only used to like to play soccer during their high school days and had little inclination for studies.
During the wedding ceremony though, Tae-hwa suddenly sees a burly guy in sunglasses, who points a finger gun at him, and mimics shooting. Tae-hwa collapses in fright. The next day, he appears at Soo-hyun’s clinic for anxiety disorder consultation…but when Soo-hyun temporarily leaves to bring coffee, Tae-hwa snoops around the room and starts snapping pics. (hmmm)
At home in the evening, Tae-hwa photoshops those pics he has taken in Soo-hyun’s clinic, and changes the name on the certificates, etc to his own.
Even eerier: the next few days, Tae-hwa accepts book offers (and cash advances for them), TV interviews, etc under the name of Soo-hyun. Initially, Soo-hyun is puzzled by publishers calling him on his mobile bugging him to adhere to the publishing deadline. But when TV and radio stations also start to call him, he gets suspicious. More so, when a common friend informs him that Tae-hwa had mentioned he is actually working for the Korean spy agency, and is used to living “double lives”.
Soo-hyun and Ji-ho decide to investigate this fake “Dr Choi” that has been using Soo-hyun’s name to get money. They made a trip to the TV station, and Soo-hyun manages to identify himself, asking the PD to hold Tae-hwa in the interview room as long as possible. However, Tae-hwa catches wind that something is off, and makes his escape. Soo-hyun does manage to find out that Tae-hwa is behind this when one of the TV crew shows him a pic of the “Dr Choi” they have taken.
Thinking back to his friend’s remark that Tae-hwa claims to be working for the spy agency, Soo-hyun texts a message pretending to be an officer from the agency wanting to meet Tae-hwa. Tae-hwa does turn up at the meeting place, and from his pov, we see him arguing with the burly guy who “shot” him at the wedding…only to realize (when the pov is swopped to Soo-hyun), that there’s nobody there. Tae-hwa tries to escape when he realizes Soo-hyun has tricked him, but the police (who are already on the case due to lawsuits filed against Tae-hwa from other people he has stolen their identities from) manage to capture him.
Soo-hyun arranges another counseling session with Tae-hwa before the police charges him in court. Prior to that, he pays a visit to Tae-hwa’s widowed mother, who only spoke in glowing terms about her son who has “managed to do so well on his own”. During the consultation however, a different picture is painted. Tae-hwa breaks down and sobs that he feels stressed for having to live up to his mum’s affection and adoration. Once when he failed his exams in high school, he doctored the results and his mum had no inkling of it…neither did she question why his scores sky rocketed when all along he had been at the bottom of the class.
After that incident, Tae-hwa begins to take on other people’s “successes” as his own, and becomes bolder at creating his “second identities”. So much so, he becomes fully delusional and manages to explain away his behavior by creating a fake “spy identity” for himself. When Tae-hwa’s mother hears this for the first time in the one-way glass enclosed room, she breaks down and blames herself for her son’s illness.
Second case of the week (unresolved one) has to do with Chairman Kim’s daughter. Chairman Kim finally agrees to let Hye-rim meet his daughter, but Hye-rim, who suspects that young Ms. Kim may have a psychological problem, enlists the help of Soo-hyun to counsel her. Unfortunately, the session doesn’t go well. The moment Ms. Kim learns that Soo-hyun is a psychiatrist, she gets defensive. She blames her father for causing her to “be like this”, and calls him a “murderer”. Hye-rim is shocked, when Ms. Kim accuses her dad for “killing” her mum, her aunt and her uncle. She also claims her amnesiac-like sleep walking incidents are a result of her father’s evil deeds.
Well, when Chairman Kim learns that Soo-hyun has seen his daughter for counseling, he isn’t pleased. In fact, he becomes so agitated with Hye-rim for going against his wishes, he almost wants to strike her. (methinks HE has a problem)
A look at the other couples in Antoine:
Ji-ho finally realizes that his thumping heart = love for Yoo-rim. He gets disturbed nightly with dreams about Yoo-rim ditching him and marrying another guy. Hye-rim learns of it, and encourages him to confess to Yoo-rim. And so, Ji-ho spends the entire day practicing “I like you, Yoo-rim-sshi”, only to get tongue tied when Yoo-rim appears in front of him. 😛
Prof Bae’s secret is no longer a secret, as Ji-ho happens to overhear Hye-rim tell Soo-hyun about Prof Bae’s bucket list. And when Seung-chan detects that everyone seems to be acting strange around him and Prof Bae, he targets the one who is most easily bullied to spill the beans — aka Ji-ho. When Seung-chan learns that Prof Bae’s attention isn’t “innocent”, he feels…disgusted. And decides to actively avoid Prof Bae for the time being.
An important character also enters the screen in eps11/12 — Soo-hyun’s mum. In order to see her son, she pretends to want need counseling, claiming that she has severe insomnia. She reasons that because she had previously lost a son in a divorce, she had become paranoid of losing her new family. (which rings true, actually) As the weeks go by, she becomes closer to Soo-hyun, and it is clear that the mother-son share a lot of similarities in terms of food preference and living habits. However, Hye-rim is puzzled when Soo-hyun’s mum accost her and starts prying into Soo-hyun’s private life.
Back to our OTP:
Juz when things appear to go really smooth for them — Soo-hyun even agrees to Hye-rim’s last ridiculous request to wear a flower in his hair (connotes madness in Korean culture) while declaring his love for her in public. The flower-in-hair tactic is one of the condition in Soo-hyun’s experiment (Part II), a fact which Hye-rim learns from Ji-ho. Another condition is to have the Subject record a YouTube video declaring her affection to the whole online world.
Even though Soo-hyun is mentally prepared to give up on the experiment entirely, reminders from Prof Bae on his commitment to the psychology circle (he is to publish a journal study on it) causes him to re-think his decision. (yawns)
And thus, he proposes to Hye-rim, asking her to shoot that YouTube video “in return for his flower-in-hair declaration”. As expected, Hye-rim flies into a rage, and proposes a break up.
Oh man, can our silly OTP wake up and stop assuming that lying to each other (whether white lies or not) isn’t harmful to the relationship? On one hand, Hye-rim refuses to own up that she knows all about the experiment, wanting to give Soo-hyun a “chance” to confess on his own. Soo-hyun prefers instead to skirt around the issue, pretending the experiment doesn’t exist, and getting torn between trying to give it up and continue it. (make a choice!!!) [kooriyuki: It’s getting way too annoying, our OTP.]
At this moment in Antoine, the only reason why I am still watching is to see how the other couples turn out. I’m quite sure Yoo-rim will eventually forgive Ji-ho for his earlier insensitive (and dumbass) remarks [kooriyuki: I ❤ robot Ji-ho!], but Prof Bae and Seung-chan make a more…interesting study. Tbh, the initial reaction I had was “ohmygod…ew” — after all, Prof Bae is like 40 years Seung-chan’s senior (she is already a grandma herself). If it’s a role reversal, where the male is 40 years older the female — it may border on pedophilia or sexual predation.
However, Prof Bae doesn’t crave a physical relationship. She is ok to juz quietly love her crush from afar. And she also understands that the age gap between her and Seung-chan works against any idea of a romantic relationship. Her very dignified and earnest approaches to her crush on Seung-chan stir up quite a bit of respect and sympathy from me. And that got me reflecting on my initial response. Does it mean if a person is old s/he loses the capacity for love? Even if the object of love is a much younger man/woman?