Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episode 5 Recap

by: Raine

This show keeps getting better. Se-kyung’s emotional palette widened, she opened up more to “Secretary Kim,” there was some serious hilarity and we got to see how sweet Psycho-jo really is. I’m really falling in love with the show because I love how quirky and off-kilter Park Shi-hoo’s character is and I love that our female lead is severely, severely flawed. While I’m waiting for In-hwa to beef up a little more as a character, Coach Tick (Yoon-joo) is an awesomely layered baddie.

Gimme MOAR!

episode 5 recap

(The paper clips in his pocket make rabbit ears! I forgot to mention it last episode.)

Psycho-jo leaves a confused, soy sauce drenched Tommy Hong and searches for Se-kyung, but he can’t find her. And Tommy Hong tries to do damage control at his party. Skeezy Chairman Jang wonders if Tommy has lost his touch, which, of course, sends Tommy to his office to pout. His secretary scolds him for misjudging Se-kyung because Se-kyung’s appearance and style didn’t give off the “I’m looking for a sponsor” vibe. And he’s usually such a good judge of character.

Se-kyung returns to Tommy Hong’s place, knowing that she lost the best White Rabbit and that she has to make amends. He’s scoffs when he sees her and is shocked to hear her ask for his apology.

That’s right, girl! You ask for that apology!

She tells him that he could’ve rejected her as a recommended designer and had that be the end of it. But she was treated so badly she feels like she deserves a formal apology.

I feel like she does, too!

Tommy tells her that he noticed all of her movements: waiting at the entrance, knowing everyone’s profiles and was most conscious of him the entire time. If she was being sponsored by Artemis’ president, she wouldn’t need to look good in front of him, so why was she doing that? Se-kyung can see he doesn’t feel apologetic and turns to leave, but he stops her. He finally understands and apologizes for misunderstanding: what she really wants is to enter Cheongdam-dong. But she’s been discovered by him. He smirks and she asks what he sees in her eyes.

Greed, he says.

Anger. Devastation, she corrects.

Se-kyung leaves and Tommy says to himself that he didn’t misjudge her. She reminds him of someone.

On her trudge home, her heel breaks and she walks home on one heel and one tiptoe, freezing. When she sits, Psycho-jo sees her. He approaches her and mumbles that she should stop turning off her phone. Kekeke. Was he looking for her? she wonders. In turn he tells her that his president is nuts to make him keep “doing these things.” He takes her inside, gives her some fancy footwear to replace her busted heels. He starts going through the president’s clothing, shirts, jackets, shoes, accessories and also gives measurements and favorite fabrics and colors. She is very confused by the sudden inundation of information, until he continues the monologue with the president’s name. The person she is to style.


The president read over her profile and portfolio, heard about today and wants to help her out. Psycho-jo, still acting like Secretary Kim, has NO idea why the president wants to help her.

This ruse is getting more amusing by the second. I smell hijinx coming.

Secretary Psycho-jo tells her she’ll have to run around, but as a stylist, and learn to have a discerning eye. Se-kyung is hesitant because she doesn’t want to stain the president’s rep. Psycho-jo wonders why she’s turning down the once-in-a-lifetime help. Is there something wrong with her? Why does she think something like this can’t happen to her?

Then Se-kyung remembers she needs a new White Rabbit. Hrm…

(Yes, he’s flapping like a chicken. Pfffft. Bawk, bawk!)

Both go to their respective homes and brood. She thinks over everything that happened and read’s in Coach Tick’s journal that she should seize each opportunity without giving herself away, but still show her sincerity. She has to remember the White Rabbit is a person and to catch his heart.

Aw, I see heartbreak in the future.

Se-kyung meets “Secretary Kim” and accepts the offer. They set work hours and he tells her that her first job is to style him for a Christmas Party, the first event that the president will be attending since his appointment to president. The concept of the party is Paris. But when she wants more details, he gets flustered because he doesn’t know. He jokes that it’s dynamic Paris and starts waving his hand and saying “Hi!” She gets annoyed that he’s not being as serious as she is about her first opportunity. She wants all the information he can get. He nods his head. Of course she wants that information – she’s a “clucking” type of person. And proceeds to cluck happily.

She interrupts him and asks when she can meet the president – he says never. Her hopes shatter and she wonders how she’s supposed to style someone she’s never met (and make him her White Rabbit.) “Secretary Kim” says the president hates meeting people, and public exposure, that’s why Kim has his job. He can answer all her questions. All she has to do is follow Kim’s instructions – he knows more about the president than the president.

Heh. I’m sure you do “Secretary Kim.”

He tells her to look up the president if she doubts him. She does just that and her friend, Ah-jung, assures her that she won’t find anything. Remember, Ah-jung is the internet stalker. Ah-jung also tells Se-kyung that the president is known as ‘the devil’ at work because of the ridiculous sales figures he demands.

Psycho-jo asks Secretary Moon what the specific theme of the party is and Moon says “just Paris,” like Psycho-jo said to Se-kyung. In a typical outburst of temper, Psycho-jo demands to know how it can be “just Paris.” What KIND of Paris? he asks, stealing Se-kyung’s words. Moon explain that it’s Paris and fashion history. There will be an “Art Talk” as well.

Psycho-jo wants all the information on the party and the profile on the guest speaker. Moon wonders why the sudden interest in the party when he was so against it before. Psycho-jo scares Moon again with his moodiness and then grins.

How adorable is he? He loves being crazy!

Ah-jung visits Se-kyung’s house because Se-kyung’s mom wants to store the furniture at Ah-jung’s place, but it’s too much to fit. Dad doesn’t want Se-jin to bring all her bags and shoes. Heehee.

Ah-jung pops into Se-kyung’s room and is insulted that Se-kyung is looking up information on Jean Thierry Cha when she already told her that there is none to be found. She has to be patient. Something is bound to crop up soon. Ah-jung then gets suspicious as to Se-kyung’s reasons for looking up President Cha after she did all the research on Tommy Hong, but Se-kyung avoids the question.

Psycho-jo visits Dong-wook at his office and tells him about hiring Se-kyung as his stylist. He’s helping her out by giving her work and improving her discriminating eye to become a designer. It’s his version of noblesse oblige. Dong-wook laughs and asks if this is “healing” because Psycho-jo is looking good. But Psycho-jo is on a different train of thought: he wants to know about himself.

He’d been closed off, but now he’s slowly opening up. He wants to know how far his heart will open.

Se-kyung is reading Coach Tick’s Wonderland journal. It’s explaining that the hardest thing is to gain a person’s heart and trust, which comes from communication and being sincere.

I love that Coach Tick is ruthless, but she understands the basics of human interaction. It’s what made her good at what she does. These are things that Se-kyung does naturally. I wonder how she will fare with having to do these things intentionally.

Se-kyung wonders how she communicate and be sincere and all that without meeting President Cha.

Tommy Hong has a meeting with Daddy Cha and tells him about Jean Thierry sponsoring a girl, which Daddio doesn’t believe. Tommy wonders why Daddio wants to know about Jean Thierry and the woman. The reason: he wants Jean Thierry to submit before him.

Tommy heads to his office to ponder over what that could mean. His shrewd secretary wonders if it’s because Daddio’s company, Royal Group Department Store (RGDT), was trying to bring in Artemis and the deal fell through. But Tommy doesn’t think it makes sense because RGDT was turned down by all three brands it wooed. The secretary says Jean Thierry is an eccentric character and Tommy wonders if there is a connection from the past. He remembers that Cha Il-nam’s company had been unsure who would take over the presidency and orders secretary to dig up info on that.

Psycho-jo takes Se-kyung to a store and explains the styles to her as she diligently takes notes. He teases her for being old-fashioned and writing things down instead of using a voice record and also for her out-dated phone. Most women max out cards buying the newest phones; this is why her discriminating eye is poor.

Or is it? He thinks to himself and then smiles; it’s great.

Again, she thinks he doesn’t understand her sincerity and he starts clucking at her, imitating her with some adorable clucks and flapping arms. She gets annoyed and demands to meet the president. It’s impossible for her to do her job properly without seeing him. Besides, it’s insulting to her profession. Psycho-jo promises to take the measurements for her because the president is very, very strange.

Se-kyung, do you hear these clues? Who else is very, very strange, hrm?

Psycho-jo gets a tape measure and asks her to teach him out to do it. He is thrilled when she starts measuring him because she has to touch him, and stand close to him and, well lookie there, they’re within kissing distance:

Yeah, the boy is fidgety, and awkward and just too damn cute for words.

Is it getting hot in here? Or is it just me?

She pulls away and it takes him a moment to recover. He goofs around, measuring her and then adorably pretends he wasn’t doing anything when she notices. *squee*

He tries to prolong their meeting, but she leaves him touching his neck happily.

Coach Tick is put in charge of In-hwa’s marriage by her mother-in-law. Mom reminds her that she’s not going to inherit GN Fashion and that she doesn’t really like her. Of course not, what k-drama in-law does?

In-hwa reports to her brother, Min-hyuk, and they’re going to try to get an interview about the collaboration going, although it’s dubious because of President Cha’s aversion to publicity.

Then Min-hyuk asks what she thinks about the marriage with President Cha. In-hwa replies with disinterest – she the launch comes first. She meets Coach Tick in the hallway and congratulates In-hwa on the marriage and informs her that she will be handling the preparations.

The Tick tells Min-hyuk she will be taking care of the marriage and meeting with Tommy Hong. She is super excited

Time for an elevator meeting with Se-kyung and laughs when she hears that Se-kyung got hit with soy sauce. She had heard that Tommy Hong got hit with it. Must’ve been someone else who did it.

Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! I know who did it!!!!!!

Coach Tick tells Se-kyung that her part is done and that she will no longer help. It’s all up to Se-kyung now. Except for one bit of advice, since they’re such great friends and all: she will face three crises.

Just before the Tick leaves, Se-kyung asks who the Tick’s White Rabbit was.

We see that the Tick’s White Rabbit was Daddy Cha.


Six years ago, she returns the $30,000 he offered her to leave Psycho-jo. Instead, she has two suggestions: she wants to finish studying and she wants a letter of recommendation to get into the upper echelons of Korean society.

The conversation between the Tick and Se-kyung moves to her brother’s cafe. The Tick got recommended to a boutique frequented by the powerful and wealthy. People only enter and are hired by recommendation. The Tick quietly worked for a year observing style, hobbies, relations and everything between the madams. She learned to know what they wanted without them even saying it. Then she pick-up and delivered for one madam who had a son.

Yup, her current husband.

It wasn’t easy after that, but the recommendation started it all. It’s hard to meet people like that.

The Tick realizes that Se-kyung must’ve found a White Rabbit if she’s wondering how to move him. She did, Se-kyung admits, but she can’t meet him or see him. He gave her a job related to him because he somehow favors her and she can only see the secretary. Coach Tick is back to coaching and tells her to get the secretary on her side and to attack emotionally. A person like the president, who doesn’t want to meet, is someone who’s been hurt by others.

Hrm, this gets more and more interesting. And vicious on the Tick’s part. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing to Psycho-jo. What a fun wench you are!

Coach Tick instructs her to steadily, slowly seep into the president’s life without becoming a burden. She also offers to help if she knows the person, but Se-kyung declines. The journal says if a person isn’t 200% on your side, don’t open up to them.

Coach Tick smirks, impressed.

This whole plot is sick and twisted. I love it!

The next day when “Secretary Kim” invites her to eat, she offers to buy and he grins. In the car she asks him to have the president fill out a one hundred question questionnaire. She wants to know everything so she can style him perfectly. She also wants pictures of his closet. Psycho-jo is impressed with how meticulous she is.

He wonders where they’re going to eat and she directs him to Eunhwa Women’s College. He gets excited and starts messing around, pretending he’s driving all crazy-like and making swooshing sounds.

Is he the male me? Seriously, Psycho-jo. You are so much fun and you act as weird as I do. I have single-woman dance parties, and goof off in the car and make funny noises. That’s it. My destined match is found.

Tommy Hong’s secretary discovered that Royal Group’s son disappeared at twenty and was rumored to be a junkie or in an institution. So Daddy Cha needs a new son and daughter-in-law to succeed him.

Coach Tick visits Tommy Hong with a painting as a gift. Her mother-in-law has high expectations for the match. And then the Tick finds out who is intended for her dear, dear sister-in-law.

None other than Psyho-jo.

Cue horrible acting and a teacup drop. I was totally digging So Yi-hyun’s acting until just now. But I’ll let it slide since she’s doing a commendable job with the layerings of her character.

Coach Tick runs to her brother’s cafe and tells him everything. Ho-min is just as shocked as she is. He worries that Psycho-jo will play with her and then call off the marriage last minute. He wonders why they keep getting entangled with the Cha family. He didn’t say anything before, but a few days ago Daddy Cha came and got the first baker for the Royal Group’s charity shindig to work there.

Ooooooooh, you mean Se-kyung’s daddy?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cue entrance of Se-kyung’s daddy who complains about the bread being improperly displayed. Coach Tick is horrified for the second time that day and tells Ho-min who’s daddy that is.

Heehee. Sucks to be you!

In-hwa visits Tommy Hong.

I just have to say this: the chemistry between Kim Ji-suk and Kim Yoo-ri is lightening hot. Damn, the way they look at each other.

He asks her to be shown into the club, but In-hwa barges in. He’s taken by her and she gets to the point: she wants him out of the marriage between her and President Cha. He is confused because it’s a good match. She says President Cha is just a businessman and she wants a more reliable distribution channel. He wonders if a department store owner would be good and she agrees.

Don’t you love the inextricably woven social world of k-drama?

In-hwa hands him a card, smiles prettily and tells him to keep this meeting between them. She tells Tommy to tell her mother that Cha declined the match so that the collaboration can continue. Just before she leaves, he gets a fax confirming that the son of Royal Group is Jean Thierry Cha. They agree to go for it if Tommy can for sure prove Jean Thierry is the son of Royal Group.

After she leaves, Tommy pulls out the cards of Daddy Cha and Jean Thierry and wonders if Jean Thierry is Seung-jo. (Seung-jo is Psycho-jo’s real name…heehee. Just in case you don’t remember.)

Psycho-jo wonders why they’re at a college and gets more than he expected when she tries to sneak him in. He’s having fun sneaking around until he gets distracted by a vending machine. (He’s so easily distracted, heehee.) Of course, she shoves him into hiding and they are in close proximity. He smiles, she doesn’t seem to care.

Finally, they make their way into a classroom where Se-kyung does all her work – she even made the president’s bracelet there. She goes to a table where there are little rabbits dressed in suits. They are emotion dolls that she made for the president. She wants him to use them to keep track of his mood so she can put it into her styling.

A bit strange, but okay. I’ll go with it. They had to get more rabbits in there SOMEhow.

She picks several up, mimicking the emotion on each rabbit’s face and looking all around cuter than cute. Then, she wonders if it’s a good idea. Psycho-jo likes that she’s putting emotion into styling. He will let her know the president’s emotions. She picks up the sad one and says, while making it dance in front of her, that it’s probably not possible for him to hear the president’s moods for herself. It’s adorable. He thinks so, too.

He asks if he can drink the water stacked on the side  table and she absently says yes, only to realize that it’s benzene. EEK! But he’s already had some.

They’re rushed to the hospital and he gets his stomach pumped. She has no idea what his first name is and calls Secretary Moon, who is confused until she mentions meeting at the jewelry store. He freaks out when he hears that Psycho-jo is in the ER. A nurse recognizes Psycho-jo and informs Dong-wook that his friend is in the ER.

Meanwhile, Psycho-jo’s phone rings and it’s Tommy Hong. Then a text message comes. It’s also from Tommy Hong, the guy who was hit by the soy sauce. Se-kyung starts to put two and two together, realizing that “Secretary Kim” was probably the one who doused Tommy in soy sauce.

Psycho-jo wakes up and freaks out that she gave him benzene. HA! He demands to know if he’s okay and she says she’ll ask the doctor who is coming: Dong-wook.


Pyscho-jo rolls off the bed screaming, “Aigooooo!” and makes a huge hullabaloo about how he is Secretary Kim, Jean Thierry Cha’s secretary and Dong-wook is Cha’s acquaintance. Dong-wook doesn’t understand what he’s insinuating until Psycho-jo introduces Se-kyung. Psycho-jo laughs awkwardly and they use jondae with each other. So weird. So funny.

To make matters worse (and therefore more hilarious) Secretary Moon runs in and Psycho-jo quickly calls his name, also using jondae, and scaring/confusing the shit out of Moon.

Flippin’. Hysterical. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Se-kyung, the straight woman to Psychojo’s very funny man, seriously says that she called Moon because she didn’t know Secretary Kim’s given name. Moon is still confused and Psycho-jo goes on this rant about how nice it is for Moon to come all the way to the hospital JUST for him, “Secretary Kim.’

Park Shi-hoo, I never knew you could make such goofy faces. I’m totally in love. ❤

Dong-wook volunteers to register “Secretary Kim” as Psycho-jo explains the situation to Moon. Moon tries to tell him something but Se-kyung comes over. Pyscho-jo bows formally to Moon and sends him off, looking very, very, weirded out and confused.

And THEN the real Kim comes to pick up the president, who is now mumbling like a madman and trying to get rid of all his subordinates who would blow his cover. Se-kyung watches with mild curiosity and Psycho-jo turns around and can barely walk straight. But he won’t go home until he picks up the rabbits made by Se-kyung.

He packs them tenderly, all smiles, and she says she could’ve brought them tomorrow. She watches him pack them while enjoying how happy he seems. She finally sees the life and joy in Psycho-jo as he smiles and packs away the rabbits; he’s not just a cooky guy anymore.

After a long moment, she asks what his name is. He gives her his real given name: Seung-jo. And then says he’s “Kim Seung-jo.”

It’s a beautiful moment, both revealing and hiding himself. A first name is a very personal thing.

They say goodnight but she stops him before they part. She starts to ask about the soy sauce and then shakes her head. She stops him one more time. He’s curious why she keeps stopping him and she finally tells him she’s really thankful.

Finally! His smile is so sweet.

He asks why she’s thankful and she says for everything.

They smile at each other.


Wow. Just wow. That ending was poetic and sweet. It lays ground for so much potential plot action and at the same time, brings the end of the episode to a beautiful close.

Let’s just get to the comedy first, shall we?

How much do I love the straight man/funny man routine going on between Psycho-jo and Se-kyung? It’s so GREAT. I am dying to see the NGs and behind-the-scenes. Park Shi-hoo looks like he’s having the time of his life and I have to hand it to Moon Geun-young and everyone else for holding a straight face. But especially Moon Geun-young. A good straight man only makes the funny man’s antics even better, and Geun-young ssi is a FANTASTIC straight man, er, woman.

Psycho-jo’s antics are meant to make us laugh, but they also show us what a free-spirited and fun guy he is. Some of the obsessiveness comes from his past hurts, but the cute little things like clucking, making whooshing noises while driving and playing with the rabbits just display his inner child. I really love that about this character. He has this wonderful innocence about him despite the fact that he is actually quite jaded. He’s a big ol’ contradiction in a very, very sexy body.

Se-kyung. I like that we see her move away from her wounded poor girl routine and starting to take things into her own hands, even if the method she’s using is less than admirable. I’m sad that the reason she opens up more to Psycho-jo is because of the Wonderland journal, but at the same time, because she is trying to win his trust, she finally allows herself to notice his charm.

At this point in the game I think she’ll be angry with him for lying to her about his identity, but it won’t be an endall.  If it continues any longer and she gets more emotionally invested in Psycho-jo as Secretary Kim, then we’ll see some problems. That is where it’s probably headed.

On the flip side, do I think Psycho-jo will be angry with Se-kyung for trying to work her way into Cheongdam-dong? I don’t think that particular fact will get him too much because he’s watched her and HOW she’s gone about doing it. What I think will get him is knowing that Coach Tick guided her. The two women he cares/cared about doing the same thing. Not good.

Now for Tommy Hong. 1) Get that ridiculous smirk off your face. 2) I need more depth from him, like, yesterday.

I thought I saw some in him last episode. He is a domestically-trained designer who had to work really hard to keep his social standing and his behavior, although despicable, was understandable. Give me more of that to round out this character. PLEASE.

Finally, we start pushing In-hwa to true second lead-dom. She’s gonna want uri Psycho-jo for business, and we’ve seen what a shrewd, hard-headed wench she can be. It should be interesting.

Am I happy with this show? Yes! Onto episode 6!

Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 (final)

Character introductions.

Cheongdam-dong Alice Episode 5 Screencaps.

4 responses to “Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episode 5 Recap”

  1. I completely forgot that you would be recapping this, OF COURSE!
    I stopped by to see and I am soooo happy. When I get home I will “back read” – not a word, but you understand…

    PS I also just finished Dalja’s Spring and really loved it!

  2. Great chemistry together! This episode? No words!! The scene in the closet with the measuring tape? WHO EVER thought that would make a HOT scene!! I love this drama!! It is living up to my expectations!! We are love with this couple!! And Sec Moon and Se-kyung’s BFF (still learning names) too!! I WANT ONE OF THOSE RABBITS!!!

  3. I’m so glad you noticed the bunny-eared paper clips too! And I realized that the Tick’s journal also has a pocket watch and a key for charms. Now all we need is a bottle that says drink me (please don’t say that was the benzene) and an eat-me cookie.

    I agree with you about the Tick’s crazysauce eyeroll. I generally like her acting, but that was just so over-the-top and melodramatic in the theatrical sense of the word.

    I also want more depth from Tommy Hong and In Hwa, but I definitely think that’s coming. I also agree about Psycho Jo not having a big problem with Se Kyung’s goals, but that the real drama will be when he finds out about the Tick’s influence. Man, I love this show!

  4. Thank you, Raine! I am already deeply in love with the show … And I fully agree. The two characters that don’t have my full support (yet) are Tommy Hong and So Yi-hyun. Another thing that slightly bugged me was the editing mistake they made before the school break-in. We see PSH at night, then they step out together (bright daylight), then back to night, when they go to the school (and before that, they are in front of the stone lion, where they had the incredibly sweet thank-you scene)

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