Shim Woo Joo’s plan of revenge failed when she fell in love with the one she was supposed to take revenge against. Dong Jin and Woo Joo found comfort and happiness in each other in “Call It Love,” but their family’s past was going to be an obstacle to their relationship. When Woo Joo told him the truth, Dong Jin wasn’t angry or upset, but just sad that he would have to break up with the woman he loved because of the past he wasn’t responsible for. A relationship that was forbidden from the beginning couldn’t be stopped, but it changed Dong Jin and Woo Joo’s lives.
‘Call It Love’ Season 1: Story Recap
Shim Woo Joo, the middle child among her three siblings, lives with them in Seoul while their mother lives alone in Tongyeong. Her father abandoned them to live with another woman, and it ruined their happy family. Woo Joo was a high school student when their father left them, and since then, she has been waiting for his demise. Woo Joo gave up on her dream of becoming an archer and took responsibility for her family. She didn’t study further and had only been working part-time jobs for 13 years. Her older sister, Hae Sung, a bank clerk, is the only one with a full-time job, while her younger brother, Ji Gu, is preparing for the civil service exam. When her father dies, Woo Joo goes to his funeral only to humiliate him and his wife, Hee Ja, by dressing up in partywear and calling out their affair in front of others. However, soon after, Hee Ja kicks Woo Joo and her siblings out of their house by claiming that their husband gave it to her before dying. After many tries, when Woo Joo can’t get their house back, she starts a battle of revenge against Hee Ja and her son, Dong Jin.
Woo Joo starts working at Hee Ja’s son, Dong Jin’s, company because she believes Dong Jin helped his mother get the house. However, Dong Jin really doesn’t know about it. He doesn’t talk with his mother, as she has abandoned him a lot of times for many men. Dong Jin is a lonely and timid man who gets stepped on by others just because he doesn’t fight back. He ignores his rival company instead of taking measures against its CEO, who constantly tries to sabotage his company. Woo Joo wants to ruin Dong Jin’s company to get her revenge but soon finds out that Dong Jin is nothing like his mother. Rather, she feels that he is just like her, enduring the pain given to them by their parents. Initially, she sides with his rival, but she ends up helping Dong Jin. As her perception of Dong Jin changes, Woo Joo finds herself getting attracted to him. She tries to resist, but Dong Jin starts feeling the same way toward her. However, only Woo Joo knows that they cannot be together. Two lonely and broken people find comfort in each other, but their circumstances won’t allow them to stay together for long.
Who Reports Hee Ja To The Police?
Woo Joo knows that Hee Ja has their father’s will, but she is unsure if she should report her to get their house back. She tells her mother that she doesn’t want to hurt Dong Jin, so she is not going to report his mother. At the same time, Dong Jin comes looking for her and hears her talking. He feels relieved when he hears Woo Joo says that she wants him to be happy. He gives her the will and tells her that he would be happy only if she was happy. When Woo Joo shows the will to save Hae Sung, she cries out loud. She had been holding her feelings hidden because she had to take a firm stand as the older sister. She was struggling but couldn’t speak to anyone. She feels that she cannot hate her father anymore, which confuses her. Meanwhile, Dong Jin meets the people who are going to buy the house and agrees to pay back their money. Woo Joo, Hae Sung, and Joon consult with a lawyer, who tells them that the fastest way to get the house would be to file criminal charges against Hee Ja. They are skeptical about filing criminal charges, so Woo Joo decides to talk with Dong Jin about it. Before Woo Joo could say anything, Dong Jin himself said that he would try to persuade his mother, and if she still didn’t leave the house, they could file charges against her. Woo Joo’s mother comes back from Tongyeong and goes to meet Hee Ja right away. She doesn’t pity herself anymore and wants to let the past go. She asks Hee Ja to let go of the house and end this matter peacefully. She doesn’t forget to mention that she won’t report her only because of her son, Dong Jin, whom she finds pitiful.
Woo Joo’s mother knows that a court trial is emotionally and physically tiring, which is another reason she doesn’t want her children to file a report against Hee Ja. However, someone else does that. Hee Ja’s ex-boyfriend submits an audio recording of Hee Ja to the police and reports her for fraud. Hee Ja has no choice but to leave the house now, and she moves in with Dong Jin for the time being. Despite everything, Dong Jin still helps his mother and tells her that it is not too late for her to live a better life. Dong Jin has quit his company and is going to move out after finishing the legal matter with his mother, but he hasn’t informed anyone other than Seon Woo. Woo Joo’s mother has always liked Dong Jin, and that feeling hasn’t changed. If anything, she has understood how much better a man he is than she thought. She asks Woo Joo to call Dong Jin over for a meal as if she wasn’t the one who opposed their relationship. Amidst this chaos, a good thing happened. Yoon Joon confesses to Hae Sung that he has feelings for her but is too afraid to accept them, but now he wants to go further with her.
Why Does Dong Jin Leave Seoul?
Woo Joo’s mother assures Dong Jin that she doesn’t have any hard feelings against him and tells him that she will cook a meal for him any time he asks. Meanwhile, Hee Ja is trapped on all sides, and she gets scared when she hears that she might get imprisoned. Hee Ja didn’t think about the consequences when she made her mistakes. She needs a non-punishment letter from Woo Joo’s family if she doesn’t want to get imprisoned, and to do that, she has been pestering Woo Joo’s aunt for her contact number. Woo Joo’s aunt won’t give it to her, but when Hee Ja doesn’t move away from her shop the entire day, she calls Woo Joo to inform her. She didn’t expect Woo Joo to actually show up, but she went there to talk to Hee Ja for the last time. Woo Joo confesses to Hee Ja that she hated her because she couldn’t hate her own father, but now she wants to leave the past behind. She agrees to write her a non-punishment letter and wishes her a good life. Hee Ja is a tough person, but it breaks her when Woo Joo tells her that she is being kind because she is in love with Dong Jin. Dong Jin also tells her that he loves Woo Joo too and that she is the only person who makes her happy. Hee Ja feels ashamed and guilty that her son cannot be happy because of her. The next day, Dong Jin meets Woo Joo at her request because she wants to have closure on their relationship. That becomes the last day they meet as Dong Jin moves out of Seoul, and Woo Joo also goes back to her old house.
Another year passes, and Hae Sung and Joon are now in a happy relationship with each other. Yoon Joon, who never wanted to get married, proposes to Hae Sung because he cannot imagine a life without her anymore. Woo Joo works at a fair company as a full-time employee, and she is happy with her life. However, she still finds herself going to the places where she has memories of Dong Jin. Dong Jin works at the camping site that his uncle runs and usually travels to other camping sites. Whenever he goes back to Seoul, he goes to the noodle shop that Woo Joo frequented, hoping to run into her someday. Both of them have let go of their pasts and the burdensome feelings attached to them. They are happy doing what they want. Especially Dong Jin, who lived miserably while only focusing on his work. When they met for the last time, Dong Jin had promised Woo Joo that he wouldn’t live a boring life anymore, and he kept his promise. He is happier than ever, as Woo Joo wished for him, and his posture doesn’t look boring anymore, as Woo Joo had pointed out in the past. It is all thanks to Woo Joo, who showed him that he deserved to live a happy life.
‘Call It Love’ Season 1: Ending
Hae Sung can see that Woo Joo is still not over Dong Jin. She doesn’t usually act like the older sister, but she plays the role whenever it is necessary. She sits next to Woo Joo, who is working late at night, and tells her that their mother never seemed to hate Dong Jin and even offered to cook for him anytime, so she shouldn’t feel guilty anymore and go back to him. Woo Joo likes her thinking, but Hae Sung doesn’t know that no one knows where Dong Jin lives now. Ji Gu has been listening to their conversation, and he feels like he should do something. Dong Jin treated Ji Gu like his own brother, and they still kept in touch secretly. Dong Jin has promised to attend Ji Gu’s gig one day, and Ji Gu thinks it is the right time to invite him.
The gloomy and slow “Call It Love” ends on a happy note, as it should. All that forbidden, slow-burn romance and yearning for each other finally came to fruition. Woo Joo’s youngest brother, who was a nuisance most of the time, acted as cupid for the lovers. Woo Joo and Dong Jin reunite at Ji Gu’s gig, and Ji Gu is more elated than the two of them. He knows how much his sister struggled, and her happy face with a happy smile is what he wanted to see. As Dong Jin and Woo Joo come closer to meeting each other, the setting brightens up, just like their shining eyes. This final moment is the only frame in the series where a bright tone is used. As much as the story, the acting, and the direction have been impressive; the impactful cinematography and art direction have to be appreciated. In the final episodes, there was less dialogue and more visual language.
The actors have done a commendable job of portraying grief-stricken characters in an engrossing way. They did justice to how the story was proceeding and perfectly showed their acting skills according to the changes in the characters’ lives. From deeply depressed and lonely to slowly becoming happier and eventually finding peace after letting go of the past, Body language and expressions were important to do justice to the story, as visual language was a crucial element throughout the series. Apart from the main characters, the placement of other characters didn’t feel like an unnecessary existence. Overall, this isn’t your typical K-drama with many heart-fluttering moments, but it is enough. It won’t make you jump with exciting moments, but oddly, it will calm you down. It is recommended to those who specifically enjoy slow-burn romance, some slice-of-life, and the meant-to-be lovers trope.