Episode 3 is a pure OTP PERFECTION! I’m simply in awe of the way each episode keeps slowly building up the tension and attraction between SJ and HW as it feels like an intimate crescendo that will culminate in a dazzling climax. What is not to love about a show that starts with its male lead kneeling at woman’s feet?! It almost appears as if he lays there happily, ready to serve her and fulfill her every wish. Be still my heart!
When SJ is ready to clean HW’s feet you can see his genuine worry about HW’s well-being which is something that probably never happened to her with KJH in the 20 years of their marriage. He is so flustered and embarrassed that this elegant distinguished woman has to be stuck in his run-down bathroom. At first glance, she doesn’t belong there, yet, she is still there smiling at him. Look what pains he takes to arrange her expensive shoes that probably cost more than he earns in months – he even wipes his palms before touching them like he thought himself not worthy to touch it (On other note, someone is developing a feet fetish here) – it’s such a small, simple gesture but reveals so much about his feelings towards her. The undisguised longing in his eyes when he fully registeres her bare, dainty foot, the show of sexual frustration, the sideway, furtive glances…Awwwww
“Why am I your teacher?” – HW
“It’s because…It’s because…When I first met you, Teacher, it was decided that way, by fate.” – SJ
The way SJ calls her “teacher” in utter reverence it sounds more like an endearment than a politeness. He keeps fidgeting and stuttering the whole time as he fights his awkwardness to grasp for words in which he could express himself so she would understand him because he wants her to see how important and irreplaceable she is for him, what she means for him. She is the first person that truly saw him, the real him, his hidden desires and longing for acknowledgement and appreciation. She cared for a complete stranger and truly noticed him, she didn’t overlook him or judge him for his cheap clothes or run-down apartment.
In almost every recap or review I’ve read about SJ’s awkwardness and innocence but the truth is that the only time he appears innocent or awkward is around HW. He doesn’t have any illusions about the world and he knows that people are ready to trick or scorn him for his poor backround, nor does he believe in romantic love judging from the way he rebuffed DM on that bridge. However, HW is an exception for him. It’s as if all his preconceived notions and defences are thrown out of the window whenever he’s near her.
I love this moment to bits – when SJ calls their meeting fate HW hiccups at the mention of such an old-fashioned notion.
My feels! Those questioning glances SJ gives HW whenever he looks at her like she were some sort of unfathomable puzzle he can’t solve or how to deal with it. I really hope SJ’s fetish with HW’s feet will continue because it’s both adorable and damn hot. Is it too much to wish for a scene where he would kiss her bare foot? Please, kdrama gods, make it happen!
I think HW realised only after she told him to unzip his waistband the implication of it considering what she learned from the chat which is clearly still on her mind, even though she is trying to forget about it. I guess my mind is even deeper in the gutter than I previusly thought because when SJ asked so innocently whether he would get beaten I hiccuped at all the innuendos and possible NC-17 scenarios. That happens when you’ve read too much yaoi. The way the scenes in SLA are so meticulusly written reminds me of a theater play – everyone gestures, every touch and every word has its own purpose (it’s a real delight to re-watch it analyse it as you always find something new). I’d love to know what goes through SJ’s mind when HW’s touches him because we know it can’t leave him cold. I bet his heartbeat rates must have shot up over 120. However, what really strikes me the most about this scene is the hint of the future dynamic of this threesome – the clueless man so blinded by his selfish thirst for success that he can’t see what’s in front of him – that his wife is falling in love with a another man.
Episode 3 & 4 were definitely the ultimate set-up for the real drama to start. I feel that the last four episodes have been only a titillating prologue of incredible quality, a teaser from the writer to wet our appetite. It introduced the characters in an intriguing way, subtly laying ground for the future build-up, showing us their secret desires, weaknesses, motives. The the die has been cast.
While I don’t think SLA is a perfect drama (sometimes I feel that some scenes including all the SAC staff can get lenghthy and draggy), it’s groundbreaking on so many level no matter how it ends: the student – teacher relationship, 20 years age difference, older woman-younger man, adultery and all of them are basically taboo themes in Kdramaland until now. The universe of the story is filled with believable, complex and fascinating leads.
I think SJ is a relevation for HW, a sad realisation, a proof and a reminder of what she had never allowed herself. There are things that she never allowed herself to think about, she knew about the imprefections of her life but chose to overlook them for the sake of her peace of mind. Now, her “youth” is gone and she spent it chasing after some preconceived notion of perfect comfortable life lived in an semblance of functional marriage but considering of what we know about her past – how she literally became an obedient high class servant of SW and the Han family from the moment her hand was injured – we can see that she has never stolen anything to feed her heart only her ambition. However, the heart has its needs as well and she denied them for too long and now, it is starving for affection, for passion she never had. They are so similar in that regard with SJ, the only difference is that he didn’t have the time nor the means to pursue his desires. I have no idea how the whole SJ&HW romance will turn out, however, I’m certain this won’t be the rosy love portrayed in countless kdramas but something more substantial and deeper.
“It was the climax, itself. Not that I would know how that feels, since I’m still a virgin. Even if I were to do it, it couldn’t be more than that. I gave all that I am to the goddess. Would the goddess know that?”
Please, kill me because I can’t handle this level of perfection! Fetch my smelling salts! SJ called HW HIS GODDESS!!! MY HEART! It’s more than a simple endearment, it’s a reverence – he’s just promoted her to a celestial being. And it’s no wonder – whenever he looks at her or talks about her you can feel like he is worshiping her with mind, (body, later) and soul. It brings back to my mind when he knelt at her feet and looked up at her in his bathroom. We learn so much from this sentence alone – in a retrospect, we get an inside look to what really went through SJ’s mind during their duet, something I was dying to know. And we get confirmed in words what we only speculated about until now – that it was not only our imagination that the scene looked like a mating of heart, body and soul despite the fact their bodies didn’t even touch. Now, we know what that interlude truly meant, what meant that expression of rapture on SJ’s face after they finished. That moment might have seemed like a fantasy but was painfully real for both of them.The ecstasy when their reached the climax and the disbelieve on SJ’s face during the aftermath. This explains it all – HW’s attempt to escape the situation, SJ’s insecurity, his desire for acknowledgement. He wanted to know what she felt, whether she was as affected as him, he wanted to know whether he satisfied her, whether he was good enough. How can you resist a man who gives you his all, calls you a goddess and, what’s more, treats you like one? HW pretends so hard she is not affected but the opposite is the truth.
It reminds me of the time HW called SJ „beautiful“, though, in her case the hidden meaning belied the simplicity of – it revealing emotions she couldn’t quite name, pinpoint or understand. However, SJ is more concrete, more eloquent with his emotions as he seem to recognize them for what they really are and thanks to his youth has no inhibitions to voice them.
OMG! Our virtuoso from the slum is a virgin! This show can‘t possibly get any better than this. Did I spot a gleeful looked in HW’s eyes there? It’s almost as if I heard her saying in her mind „the cute innocent puppy“. An OTP where the man is the virgin but the woman isn’t got to be another first in Kdramand and it actually has a justification in the narrative as it isn’t another plot device since SJ is so young and HW has been married for 10 years.
“Should I say that I’m a captured soul? A soul? No, my body and heart, all of it. Completely.”
I don’t remember an OTP which had such an explosive, burning chemistry that even transcended cyberspace! They are in opposite parts of Seoul, yet it’s as if they were exchanging sultry seductive looks and illicit caresses. Maybe that’s the reason why it feels so clandestine and painfully intimate as if you were intruding on a private moment between lovers. This all is thanks to YAI and KHA who know how to use their voices to express urgency, appetence and HW’s curiosity that makes her continue the conversation against her better judgement, the temptation and the call of the forbidden fruit is so overpowering.
“She has an impressive CV (curriculum vitae).But what’s even better is her charisma.It’s my first time seeing a woman like that. She’s scary, wild, and fun, yet elegant. I’m completely blown away. Worse yet, even her feet are pretty.”
Omo! He even searched her up online! What is not to love about a male leads who gushes over you in cyberspace?! Who sings praises about you has an obsession with your feet and scent? In my opinion the attraction between SJ and HW is both equally emotional and physical. Many kdrama OTP has that, the mind-blowing connection, however, unlike other shows which almost exlusively concetrate on the emotional part, SLA isn’t afraid to adress the physical part equally and in more concrete terms, without reluctance or any pretense of false modesty. I admire that since they are both equally important.
“You are driving me crazy!” – SJ to HW
I feel you, Seon Jae! Well, you are driving me crazy, too, show! You have no right to be this epic and rob me of my sleep! How am I supposed to survive 16 more episodes of this schorching, explosive chemistry?! In these cases, a slow descend to insanity is really the only option. The thing is that we don’t get to see the actual kiss (henceforth I shall call it the invisible kiss), however, the few seconds leading into it undoubtly belong amongst the most intimate and intense moments in the history of Kdralamand. I have probably 60 HQ screencaps of it alone and each of them is hotter than the next. Be it during the kiss or the foreplay HW’s reaction and emotions are left ambiguos to the viewers, yet, the fact that she let it happen, that SJ gave her enough time to refuse him and stop him, reveals that she longed for him as well. It almost seems that deep down she willed it to happen when she first initiated the physical contact.
I have already sung odes about KHA’s sublime performance but YAI keeps astonishing me every episode with his deep understanding and grasp of SJ’s character but even more with his ability to bring the pure essence and rawness of the jittery emotions to the screen in such a commanding assured fashion worthy of seasoned, award-winning actor. It’s a great credit to his acting prowess that his every grimace, every expression comes as genuine and guts you. He is mesmerizing in these moments where he shows us SJ’s sheer agony – as if he were breaking down from the inside. The memory of her has been haunting him ever since they last saw each other and now it consumes him and draws him to her like a siren’s call.
The way SJ pulls closer and closer making the space between them smaller and smaller just gives me goosebumps. The attraction between them is so magnetic, that sort that penetrates body and soul. It seems like nothing could keep them apart any longer – as if they were meant to collide. Even though, we can really see the kiss we can judge from the way they react that it‘s torrid and urgent coming together between two people who appear to be polar opposite but are so similar in the way they yearn for affection and starve for love.
“I feel bad towards Professor Kang. I’m normally not interested in another man’s woman… I made a big mistake. And I wasn’t even drunk.” – SJ
“You don’t need to tell me. I don’t know anything about it.” – HW
Such an emotionally charged scene! Important things full of ambiguity and innuendos are said out loud, however, even more momentous are things that are left unsaid. How great is the moment when HW takes her time to collect herself, to calm her jittery nerves and then we see how difficult it’s for her to hold a reign over her emotions as she hesitates before the door? SJ is the one who is left waiting and guessing. It guts me to watch his face so desolated by her obvious lies and refusal to acknowledge the fragile connection between them that is growing more precious and important to him with each passing day. YAI really showcases his acting range here – thanks to his emotive eyes you immediately recognize the moment when the realisation dawns on him what HW is about do and then you can see how he stiffens and resigns himself to the reality. Then he physically steels himself against the impact as he puts up that sarcastic smirk and retorts with those vicious, biting, yet brutally honest remarks that hit their target.
I love the push-and-pull game between HW and SJ which reminds me of an intricate, seductive dance. Right now, it appeal as if HW is in control, however, she is wavering far more than she lets on in front of SJ. He doesn’t know it yet but he is already seducing her with those brutal, unconcealed truths and the frank exposure of his feelings. I wonder what he will do after he realises that he holds as much power over her as she does over him because right now, he sees HW as someone beyond his reach. She already refused his desperate and misjudged attempt at physical contact but he seems to miss the fact she didn’t stop him from kissing her either. I think that in the upcoming episodes will be interesting to watch because HW will go hot and cold with SJ and the poor boy won’t know how to re-act to this he doesn’t know how to play these sofisticated games with his straightfowardness, however, I think it will be his straightfowardness and unpretentiousness which will disarm her.
Words fail me to describe the utter brilliance of this moment! I’m a huge fan of hurt/comfort and angst and this is angst at its best! The moment HW learns SJ is in prison she doesn’t hesitate a second and heads there immediately and then she waches him through the bares without him knowing about her while he keeps himself sane thinking about her!!! Shippiest and angstiest thing ever!
It’s so overpowering to realises that the piano, HW and his memories of them are SJ’s sancturay, an escape from the harsh reality. They make him sane and happ and he NEEDS them both to be functional. Right now, SJ needs HW more than she needs him – she is the only person he shares a connection with on an emotional level, someone he is able to share his innermost thoughts with. This is pure need – vital, indespensable and essential.
She is deeply affected and disturbed by the sight of him behind the bars, so lost and lifeless without his vivacity and ebullience – it’s like watching a caged wren that cannot fly. However flying is his nature, his essence and without it he’d all ail and grief himself to death.
Got to love the little moment where HW stands in front of the cash machine, contemplating her options. She is THIS close to personally getting him out of the prison. Only her reason stops her from it.
I think that out of the original instrumental OST the piece that is playing during this scene is my favourite – simple, haunting and romantic. I admire the way the PD films HW&SJ scenes with the camera looking through obstructions – it gives it a distinctive atmosphere, a documentary-like feeling to it that makes it seems as if you are a voyeur, intruding on deeply private and intimare moments.