Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episode 9 Recap

by: Raine

Now that we’ve fallen down the rabbit hole it’s time to wander away from the explicit instructions of the Wonderland journal. All the looney characters of Cheongdam-dong have come together to either aid or conspire against our OTP. A few side characters get a bit of filling out, Se-kyung finds her soul and Psycho-jo gets cuter. I didn’t think more cute was possible, but this episode is full of it.

“Love Like This”K. Will (from the Cheongdam-dong Alice OST)


episode 9 recap

Se-kyung listens to Psycho-jo’s confession and schools her expression.

Psycho-jo: You must be surprised. I am Jean Thierry Cha. I’m sorry for hiding that.

Se-kyung’s thoughts: For deceiving you, I’m sorry.

Psycho-jo: I am a pathetic person.

Se-kyung’s thoughts: I am a bad woman.

Psycho-jo: I should’ve told you before.

Se-kyung’s thoughts: It would’ve been good if I told you before.

Psycho-jo: I’m always like that. I trust neither my heart, nor others.

Se-kyung’s thoughts: Do you…trust me?

Psycho-jo: I trust now your feelings and my feelings. I like you ,Se-kyung ssi.

Se-kyung’s thoughts: I, too, really like you.

Psycho-jo: *holds the letter* This letter, when I received it from you saying you really like Secretary Kim, I was really happy. Se-kyung, so, what I really mean…

Se-kyung’s thoughts: I’m really sorry.

Se-kyung: It’s all confusing me. You, president, are too above me.

Psycho-jo: Se-kyung ssi! *grabs her wrist*

Meanwhile, Tommy Hong  is watching them and smirking as though he can hear them from far away.

On her way home, Se-kyung passes a church and heads inside to try and lessen the heavy guilt sitting on her shoulder. She remembers kissing him, being mean to him, finding out his real identity and deciding to act like a Candy.

She prays that God let her only bad intention slide, just this once. She won’t hurt him ever again. As much as she hurt him, that is how good she’ll be to him. She begs to continue to like him.

Aw, this is the first sympathy pang I’ve had for her!

Secretary Moon reports that GN Fashion has decided on the place for the preview event of their collaboration – it’s in Royal Group’s complex. Psycho-jo coldly agrees to it.

Inside his office, Dong-wook asks excitedly what happened and finds out that Se-kyung thinks that Psycho-jo as president is too far above her and is confused. He admits that because Han Se-kyung rejected him after finding out, he isn’t nervous.

Awwwww. You like her fake Candyness. *sob*

He grins and says he sees now exactly what he should do, just like after Seo Yoon-joo (Coach Tick) dumped him. After that he vowed success and revenge – he knew he’d be successful, too. There is one difference from back then – his mind was in hell and now it’s not. So what now? Dong-wook asks.

He’s buying soju and off he he goes to buy soju and snacks, asking the cashier for a fighting! He shows up at Se-kyung’s home and bows deeply to the family who is completely baffled by his behavior. He declares that he likes Se-kyung and that he’s not Secretary Kim nor is his family name Kim. The family worries that he lied because his last name could be the same as theirs (Han, which is no longer illegal), but that isn’t the issue. He is a “Cha” (pronounced “Sha”) and the president of Artemis Korea, Jean Thierry Cha. The family looks very surprised.

Psycho-jo promises to tell them everything and asks “eommeoni (mother)” *squee* to set the table for drinking! Se-jin texts Ah-jung to hurry home and bring Se-kyung with her.

Se-kyung walks home and remembers the parking lot confession. She promises to be good to him from now on. She actually smiles, but Tommy Hong shows up and ruins the party, waving her cell in hand.

Tommy takes Se-kyung to a coffee shop and says there were a lot of calls from Secretary Kim, no, President Cha. She must be feeling deja vu at being caught by him in a lie, yet again. He reveals (and smirks) that he heard the entire rooftop conversation before. Her tactics were common, but effective. She feigns ignorance but he threatens to send the texts in her phone to him.

GUH! All you need to do is tell the truth. “I found out earlier and I’m still in shock. I’m glad you told me in person instead of letting me find out through this text.” But no, you’re going to let that smirky-faced, money motivated bastard use you!

But Tommy thinks that her love is fake and tells her to reveal that she already knew and that she pretended to be in love, which is the president’s type. Tommy wonders what Cha would think and mocks the despair and anguish in her eyes. He offers her another way to continue her “journey” without being caught.

Psycho-jo, now fully revealed to the family, explains that it’s true that he lost contact with his father and about studying in Paris. He decided to go to Paris while studying in America. Because of that his relationship with his father was severed. It’s true that he had a hard time in Paris and became successful on his own. Se-jin asks why Se-kyung rejected him and when Psycho-jo replies that she feels he is too far above her, Se-jin mutters that she is crazy. Heh.

And then, pure sincerity and adorableness, Psycho-jo practically shouts that he really did start at the bottom and considers his success in a humble fashion and he sincerely likes Se-kyung. *squeeeee* PUPPY!!!!

“Please help me eommeonim, abeonim!”

Take another recap pause for more *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*

The parentals glance at each other and then dad pours him a drink…and then another…and it begins, the drinking marathon.

Tommy presents an entrance letter to a design school in Paris. (It’s in English – shouldn’t it be in, y’know, French?) He explains that the reason he’s doing this is because he’s arranging the marriage between Jean Thierry Cha and her team leader, Shin In-hwa, and needs to resolve the obstacle in the way of the very high profile marriage. Stuff like this happens all the time.

So Tommy promises to arrange everything for Paris and also to take care of her future when she comes back. Se-kyung sits with the same expression on her face as she had these past few episodes: sadness, shock, incredulity, confusion. At a LOSS. When she tries to reply, Tommy cuts her off, telling her that she’s a person who knows exactly what she wants. If she leaves now, the president will still have good memories of her and when she returns, her status will be upgraded enough so that she can meet someone better than the president.

Guh, you really don’t get it, do you, you smirky asshole?

Tommy warns her not to take too long to decide and then wonders how she realized that there wasn’t much relationship between domestic success in school and success in the real world. It took him nearly five years to realize that, but she knew almost immediately. She’s a scary person – that’s why she’ll succeed.

Uh, thanks?

Tommy watches Se-kyung pull out her phone and check out that text that Ah-jung sent about Secretary Kim’s identity. She broods over what to do on her way home and then hears some VERY drunken singing coming from her place.

She is greeted by dad with Psycho-jo’s tie around his forehead, Psycho-jo singing into a bottle beside mom and Se-jin and Ah-jung taking incriminating photos and videos of them.

Ah-jung explains that Psycho-jo’s been there for over an hour drinking and acting like a drunken fool. He turns and sees her and calls, “Ya! Han Se-kyung! What did you say? I’m too above her.” He asks both parents if he’s too above her and they drunkenly answer “no.” He concludes that he is “totally near.” Heh. Even their favorite karaoke song is the same, #18, My Way. So she knows nothing (and he makes funny flipping tongue noises at her!)

Se-kyung disappears into her room, depressed again while the family and Psycho-jo dance. DAMMIT! She had just started smiling again. Die Tommy Hong! But maybe this will make her come clean sooner than later…probably not. (BTW, Psycho-jo is doing that cute head bobbing dance…)

The next morning dad warns the women not to push Se-kyung because she thinks deeply over things before deciding. Aw, she’s even tricking daddy.

At work, Min-hyuk and In-hwa prepare the staff for the collaboration preview. In-hwa tells them to pay special attention to Jean Thierry Cha. When they get to work, In-hwa asks Se-kyung how she knows the president personally. Se-kyung explains about her boyfriend (In-chan) and that the president overlooked the matter. In-hwa is curious how she convinced the president to do that so that he even invited her. Se-kyung admits it was a letter, handwritten,  and In-hwa latches onto that information. She glides happily into her office and plans to write a letter like a little girl in love.

It’s the first time In-hwa is ADORABLE. Of course, Se-kyung ain’t so happy, but that’s her current modus operandi. That, and she just gave the competition a leg up.

Coach Tick is puzzling over her problems in her husband’s office. He has come to invite her to the preview and wonders why she hasn’t been taking interest in the business; she will be taking over this kind of thing when In-hwa is married. Coach Tick apologizes and says she hasn’t been feeling well. Min-hyuk explains that he wants her there; the president of Royal Group has his hand in the event personally as the host. The Tick’s face falls as she realizes this party is going to be a death trap: Psycho-jo, Daddy Cha, In-hwa AND her husband.

At the collaboration preview, Psycho-jo is ushered in and spots In-hwa, who is busy scribbling her letter. (Is that Park Shi-hoo’s name I see on the front of that letter?! And the letter says: for setting the pace for us to follow, I am truly grateful.)

She stands and greets him. He asks about the cards and she says that they’re for the VVIP guests as a small souvenir.

A side note: she looks AMAZING in that red dress. What a perfect body!

Psycho-jo is impressed by her cards that have drawings on each of them. He likes that it feels like they received a special gift after getting the card. She is happy that it worked and pleased him.

The party gets underway. In-hwa takes his arm for pictures and he is a little weirded out, but too busy looking for Se-kyung to care. Daddy Cha watches the match-made couple with interest. He is greeted by Min-hyuk who introduces his wife. Daddy Cha tersely greets Coach Tick. Then she greets Psycho-jo with a smirk and as she congratulates him, In-hwa notices a strange air between the two. Coach Tick hopes he’ll collaborate with In-hwa in the future on handbags. Psycho-jo notices Daddy Cha watching and it’s just one big ball of tense and awkward.

Min-hyuk comes and pulls In-hwa away, leaving the former lovers. Coach Tick tells Psycho-jo that they’ll see a lot of each other in the future and they should just continue to be friendly. He wonders why they should and she tells him that Daddy Cha is still trying to proceed with the marriage. Psycho-jo wants nothing to do with it. When Psycho-jo walks away from her, Daddy Cha gives her the glare of DOOM.

Daddy Cha meets with Coach Tick in his office. She says she’s fine ‘cause it’s just “business” but that Psycho-jo isn’t fine. Will Daddy Cha keep going anyway? Yup, because it’s business. She laughs and says that’s why he is not compatible with Psycho-jo. It’s not because of her that father and son don’t get along. Psycho-jo ran away from America before he met her. They don’t get along because of what Daddy Cha said at that time; the words don’t leave his head. About Psycho-jo’s mother.

So if the Tick falls, so will the father/son relationship. Daddy Cha wants her to leave so there will be no problem. She has another mini breakdown in the hallway.

Se-kyung, you don’t want to be like her. You’ll cry even more and you’ll make uri Psycho-jo cry.

Assistant manager Kim tells Se-kyung to clean up the rest of the party and when she’s alone she hears  whisper, “Se-kyung ssi, aren’t you going?!”

It’s Psycho-jo peeking out from behind a sign! AWW! She explains that she still has work. He wants to help her finish so they can eat, but she harshly sends him away. He moves to go, but she pulls out her phone and reads her texts that she’s exchanged with him and one says, “I have something to tell you when we meet. So turn around.” He peeks adorably over her shoulder as she reads and she turns around, bumping lips with him.


He looks surprised and she looks shocked. “Did you see that?” he stutters. “We’re totally close. Surrender!” He grins and runs away. Then he stops, turns, and declares that he will NEVER give up. NEVER! Then he starts making hand hearts at her, making hearts over his head and twirling, doing a silly little moonwalky type dance and being the cutest dork in love that ever graced the planet.

I’m rewinding now. And rewatching. And rewinding. And rewatching. Oh yes, somewhere in there I’m screencapping and writing. And rewatching…and rewinding…

Even Se-kyung can’t help but smile at his frickin’ adorably adorableness.

Anyway, he head bobs and dances his way to the elevator, where the door opens and reveals an elevator full of people staring at him. He grins as the door shuts.

Then Coach Tick meets Se-kyung as she comes down from Daddy Cha’s office. They go for drinks. Se-kyung thinks she should cut ties with someone and that must mean that she doesn’t love him enough, right? And has Coach Tick been to church or temple?

She guesses that Se-kyung has been and prayed for something like forgiveness and promised to be a better person. Se-kyung says that she promised to be a good person from here on if God overlooks this one transgression. Tears are streaming down her face and Coach Tick looks ready to cry with her, probably over both her problems and Se-kyung’s.

Coach Tick wonders what they both did so wrong. She admits she lied and took advantage of people and made others cry, but she has also shed those tears. Where did it go wrong? Why are they the only ones who have to cede to their consciences?

She gets up to cry alone and Se-kyung drinks. Then she calls Tommy Hong. She begs him to let her go. He’s been where she is and knows how she is feeling and why she had to do this. He knows better than anyone. Just this once, let her go. He admits that he knows how she is feeling and he’s even begged as she has. But it didn’t work for him either. That’s how the world works. He says that he opened a door for her and she should choose wisely. He hangs up and glances soberly at his phone.

Aw, all the poor designers are in one boat together, sad and hurting everyone.

Se-kyung goes back inside where Coach Tick is drinking again. Se-kyung just throws back shots, trying to kill her liver so it will kill her. Instead, she passes out and Coach Tick tries to rouse her, but is unable to.

Psycho-jo adorably texts Se-kyung a million times, determined to get to her. Coach Tick answers the text, remembering that Se-kyung’s White Rabbit is the Secretary. She tells him that Se-kyung is drunk and needs to be picked up. He gets so excited and rushes to pick her up. When he arrives, Coach Tick is in the bathroom and he SO ADORABLY tries to figure out how to get Se-kyung on his back for a piggyback. *squee*

While he’s doing that, Coach Tick returns and recognizes something about the man. Then she sees his ecstatic face and hers looks like it’s about to melt off with shock and horror.

Instead of driving her home, he piggybacks her just ‘cause he wnats to. He is totally stoked about carrying his drunkenly passed out woman. At one point, she pets his face and he makes her pet him again, grinning. Coach Tick watches him happily run away with Se-kyung and realizes how bad this situation is.

Aw, I feel like this is really up to Coach Tick now. She knows how this situation will turn out for both people in the couple and how the truth will kill Psycho-jo…because of her!

When he arrives at home, he gets yelled at for getting her drunk because she can’t handle alcohol. He explains that she won’t meet with him lately and someone called for him to pick her up. Dad sends him to drop off Se-kyung inside and mom worries that their social classes are too different.

Psycho-jo tucks her gently into bed and says it wasn’t hard at all carrying her (even though he’s panting) and that he almost died carrying Choi Ah-jung. Heehee. Then he sits beside Se-kyung as she sleeps, gently pushes her hair back from her face and says,

Se-kyung ssi, if you’re awake, I hope you continue to feign sleep and hear me out. *he takes her hand and pushes against his heart* My heart is beating really fast, right? I am like this whenever I am with you, Se-kyung ssi. *puts her hand down* Se-kyung ssi you’re sensible, honest and a brave person. But I am very weak. I am stingy, fearful, and timid. Yet, I still told you. I like you, Se-kyung ssi. So, don’t be afraid. *makes her hand into a fist* You can do it! Aja, aja, aja, fighting! Ah…I shouldn’t have done that. She’s probably sleeping, right? Bye, sleep well!

He waves adorably and leaves.

She rolls over and opens her eyes. Aw, finally, I’m pitying her as she cries.

When he leaves, he meets Se-jin and asks for her help. So the next morning, Ah-jung and Se-jin get Se-kyung to agree to go to an art showing for a high school friend after a bit of suspicion.

Daddy Cha drives to Ho-min’s bakery and sees Se-kyung with her dad. Dad gives her some freshly baked bread and tells her that “he” is a good guy who just lives differently. She shouldn’t be agonizing over it – it’s a good thing to be loved. Dad worries that she’s looking down lately. Se-kyung explains that there is a team leader at her company who is basically the perfect woman. The team leader is working hard to win this man’s heart in a way that wasn’t like her. Se-kyung says that she won’t look as loveable as that woman and thinks that it’s commendable for a rich person to love a poor person. But the other way around is ridiculous.

Dad worries over her and then Se-kyung frets over his appearance and they hug while Daddy Cha watches. Is that regret I see?

The dads take a few pictures together. Daddy Cha asks about dad’s daughter and wonders how they’re so communicative when she is that age. Se-kyung’s dad explains that they were talking about eating together and then during that time they’d chat about work and friends. Daddy Cha says that parents do that during grade school, but Se-kyung’s dad says they still do that. Doesn’t Daddy Cha still share meals with his kids?

Do I see envy? And absolute bafflement?

Se-kyung’s dad suggests sharing meals with his kids and talking to them. Daddy Cha wonders if he should have a meal with Psycho-jo.

Psycho-jo nervously paces as he gets ready for the big night he planned with his team: Dong-wook, Secretary Moon, Ah-jung and Se-jin.

What should we call this team? Team Psycho-jo? Team White Rabbit? Team Mad Hatter? Team Mad Rabbit? MAD RABBIT!

Dong-wook wonders if Se-kyung has agreed to come. Smart guy.

Se-kyung shows up at Tommy Hong’s and they sit down over paperwork: admission papers. He also presents her with a contract  between them. It says she’ll relinquish everything Cha Seung-jo (Psycho-jo’s real name, heh) from now on.

She tires to admit that she sincerely loves Psycho-jo, but Tommy cuts her off, saying that those words are ugly because he knows what she was really trying to do. He says love is like a name; there are billions of names. If she wants to call it love, fine, but not in front of him. They’re both players.

Se-kyung is crying as she says In-hwa wants to appeal to the president. Why is it pretty when In-hwa does it and ugly when Se-kyung does it? It’ll be a marriage of convenience for In-hwa, too. Why is a marriage of convenience something that makes her, Se-kyung, a bad person. Why is the person who has to be moral and know nothing about love?

Tommy tells her to stop doing things like this since they both know better. Jerk.

At the art gallery, Psycho-jo (wearing a hideous, furry black coat) waits for Se-kyung with Team Mad Rabbit. The girls report that Se-kyung isn’t anywhere to be found.

Then she calls and says she knew he’d call her out, but she can’t go. She tells him that they cannot happen. He tries to stop her, but she hangs up.

Driver Kim runs in with a beautiful bouquet. (Apparently he’s part of Team Mad Rabbit, too.) Secretary Moon tries to shush the ecstatic newcomer, but Dong-wook cuts through and says Se-kyung at least needs to see all this before she turns Psycho-jo down. He worked hard and should at least hear “thank you.” Psycho-jo says nothing goes right with han Se-kyung. Dong-wook says Psycho-jo needs to try and show her. If she still says no after seeing all this, then he can respect her decision. Or even try further. He just has to try now. Team Mad Rabbit supports Dong-wook.

So they track her phone and head out, four of Team Mad Rabbit squished in the back of Psycho-jo’s car. They search the area where the phone tracker says she is.

Psycho-jo finally finds her and runs up to her, pulling her into a tight hug. She tries to push him away, but he won’t let her. He begs her not to go. He says he was going to confess to her in a really cool way, like in a movie. He describes the cheesy way he’d confess. But it’s not like him. He’s a coward. His mom left him when he was young and he’s haunted by it. He sometimes turns the lights on because he’s so scared. He’s not a president or a prince who will rescue her. He’s just an ordinary man who loves her…to the point of being annoying. He asks her to decide if she can love him and instead of running away, could she please rescue him?

Aw. He’s so cute.

Then we see that Team Mad Rabbit is watching them. Heh. Se-kyung asks him to wait for one hour and runs all the way to Tommy Hong’s office. She bursts into Tommy’s office. So Tommy thinks love is a name like the thousands and thousands of other names in the world? Her feelings for Cha Seung-jo are ugly. But ugly love is still love. So from now on, she will call it an ugly love for Cha Seung-jo. So TOMMY should give up. She will never give up her ugly love.

She slaps the contract papers onto Tommy’s desk and stares him squarely in the eye.


I hope the truth doesn’t sit ‘til episode 15. I hope Coach Tick gets her hand in things and starts to make reparations for all the crap she’s pulled. I’ve been saying that this whole time. Now let’s get it done!

I mean, Coach Tick has made the mistakes and won her miserable prize. She should now try to stop Se-kyung from being miserable and stop her from making her White Rabbit miserable. Now she knows that it’s Psycho-jo, it’s even more pressing that Coach Tick steps up. I think Se-kyung is too weak right now to do it.

That said, I’m really pleased that Se-kyung’s character is starting to develop again. Mopey Se-kyung got old within 15 minutes. We’ve had 9 episodes of it pretty much? When she smiled I literally cheered aloud. And when she told Tommy off, I danced in my seat.

As for Tommy, he’s finally starting to round out…a LITTLE. We saw it at the end of the phone call where Se-kyung called to beg him to leave her alone. Although he said he wouldn’t, we got a two-second peek into the humanity of Tommy Hong. It’s a miniscule glimpse, but enough to make him much less annoying as a villain.

I also really liked how this episode showed how Se-kyung’s journey to the dark side is affecting her family. She’s tricking them as well and they are worried about her seriously muted moods. Then we throw earnest Psycho-jo into the mix and it really becomes a mess.

The father/daughter moment really made me happy. I love seeing family moments, because those are real love, too. I think Daddy Cha might have that lesson in his future: family is more important than business.

As for uri Park Shi-hoo as Psycho-jo, he is SO endearing. I mean, I knew he was a great actor, but this is a whole other range to him that we’ve never seen. He’s a natural comedian. And I like his character, too. The man is capable in real life as he’s made his way from rags to riches. But he is also emotionally damaged and acknowledges it. He’s a lot stronger than he gives himself credit for. And then his silliness is amazing. Not just for comedic value, but because I LOVE being silly in my life. It’s how I have fun. A man who can do the same and still be handsome and capable is just the hottest thing ever. And if he’s played by Park Shi-hoo…yeah, I’m a goner.

I’m a little worried what will happy to Team Mad Hatter when the secrets start coming out or when Tommy goes on the attack, because we know he will. He has an Olympic sponsorship on the line. He needs to get Psycho-jo and In-hwa married. That, and In-hwa wants to get married, too.

I wonder what the Wonderland journal has to say about all of that…not that it much matters. We haven’t really been following it, have we?

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

Character introductions.

Cheongdam-dong Alice Episode 9 Screencaps.

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