Do Joon Young: Captain of the Ship

As mentioned in Part 1, Do Joon Young and Ji An spend a lot of time together. For someone who says, “What man would eat and drink with a woman he doesn’t like?” he meets up with her quite often. He even has her over to his house a couple of times. If only the Managing Directors knew about that!

Tracing the progression of Do Joon Young’s relationship with Ji An, we see how and when things start to turn against him. At first he believes (understandably) that Ji An is working with him to fire Park Dong Hoon. Then as he attempts to use her to trap Dong Hoon further, he starts observing troubling things about her — she seems to have feelings for the loser engineer! Suspicion turns to confirmation, confirmation turns to fear as Ji An starts working against him, and finally what he thought was a win-win situation crumbles.

By the end, Do Joon Young is our disgusted shipper in the show, the one that drives Ji An more into Dong Hoon’s orbit and then names the love between them. He had tried to pair them off to create a scandal….but his plan comes back to bite him.

Let’s take a look:


In Episode 2, Ji An comes up with the plan to get both Park Dong Un and Park Dong Hoon fired. At this point Do Joon Young can trust her because she’ll do anything for money.

Director Park Dong Un is disgraced and demoted by Episode 4 and Ji An takes her first 10 million won payment. Do Joon Young seems alarmed at how quickly and brutally she can do the job. He intructs her, “Discuss it with me before you do anything, and only move after I give my permission.” He feels he can still control this; he can still control her.

In Episode 5, Ji An experiences Dong Hoon’s kindness to halmeoni and later watches Dong Hoon get humiliated at the company dinner. After the dinner, she asks Do Joon Young why he’s having an affair and records his answer. She is still on his “side” — she did tip him off about the phone records earlier in this episode — but we can see she’s growing attached to Dong Hoon.

Do Joon Young talks to Yoon Hee In Episode 6 and we see how callously he’s using Ji An:

It was the kid who was working on getting sunbae Dong Hoon fired.
Is she the kid you asked me to do a background check on?

When Yoon Hee is worried that Do Joon Young hired someone so dangerous to do the job, he replies:

It’s not a normal task, so how can I ask someone normal to do it?
I just have to take care of this kid quietly.


In Episode 7, Ji An meets Do Joon Young in his car and plays a recording of Dong Hoon asking the phone company to remove the phone booth. She says Do Joon Young missed his chance to fire Dong Hoon and asks, “So is the scam over now?”

He tells her to keep listening:

Keep listening. He could get completely drunk and blow up.
If he acts weird, then call me right away.

She balks at this. “Must I sit around listening to this ahjussi’s daily life all day long?” It seems Ji An is ready to stop plotting against Dong Hoon, but Do Joon Young gives her an envelope of money and promises to keep giving her one million won a week to keep up the wiretapping. He knows she needs the money.

Then suspicion enters his mind for seemingly the first time. He questions why she hasn’t mentioned overhearing the fight at the campsite. She responds she didn’t want to embarrass him. He also questions why Ji An didn’t tell him Dong Hoon was researching payphones. When she says she didn’t know Dong Hoon would be waiting in front of Yoon Hee’s office all day, Do Joon Young gives her a look and says: “You’d better be more careful.”

He’s not too suspicious to stop using her, though. Episode 8 is key as Do Joon Young has the brilliant idea to pay Ji An to date Dong Hoon. “Keep wiretapping him. Monitor who he meets, who he speaks to, what he speaks about. And you date him, too.” He’s doggedly determined to keep Ji An in Dong Hoon’s orbit, which, looking back, is ironic and very funny.

Ji An is disbelieving at first: “What man would be crazy enough to like someone like me?”

“Just eat and drink with him.”

“Eat and drink. Does that mean he likes me?”

“Yes. It means he does. What man would eat and drink with a woman he doesn’t like?”**

Ji An isn’t convinced:

Don’t a lot of them do that? When they want something?

Earlier we established that Do Joon Young and Dong Hoon have a history of over 20 years. Because Do Joon Young knows Dong Hoon so well, Ji An takes his next words seriously:

“Not Park Dong Hoon. If he eats and drinks with you, he likes you.”

He finishes with, “And he also can’t deny it, either.” Do Joon Young is that certain about what he’s saying.

A new idea is introduced in this episode. Do Joon Young is consistently baffled that women like Dong Hoon. It seems Dong Hoon is an affront to his own standard of masculinity and ambition.

Dig at Dong Hoon #1: “A lot of girls used to like him. It was so weird. I didn’t know what they saw in a guy like him.”

Ji An leaves the bar in a daze, shocked that her feelings for Dong Hoon could be reciprocated since they’ve already eaten together a few times.

She subsequently misses her metro stop in Episode 9. Dong Hoon waits for her. As they walk toward Jung Hee’s bar, Ji An is adamant that Dong Hoon get promoted as she wants to see Do Joon Young collapse in misery. As she says this the 10 million won Do Joon Young just gave her is in her very pocket! But her loyalty seems to have entirely shifted after getting to know both men better, and because ahjussi hates Do Joon Young she hates him, too.

Meanwhile, our CEO has a lot of faith in his plan to have Ji An date Dong Hoon. He tells Director Yoon, “I think if we just let those two be, something will come out of it.”

Let’s find out what he [Dong Hoon] would or wouldn’t do.

However, suspicion fully blooms in Episode 10 as Do Joon Young learns just how close Ji An and Dong Hoon have become.

First, he’s surprised Ji An doesn’t know how many times she has met with Dong Hoon.

You ate with him even before I told you to, right?
That’s why it’s vague for you. Because you’re not sure where to begin counting?

He pressures her to have some results in two days.

Bring me some progress by the day after tomorrow.

This leads Ji An to confess her feelings for the first time to Dong Hoon.

Hit me. End this.

Second, the photos from the private detective show Dong Hoon fought Kwang Il and offered to pay back Ji An’s debt. There’s also a photo of Dong Hoon carrying halmeoni down the stairs. The detective says their relationship is extraordinary.

This old woman is the girl’s grandmother.
So these two, their relationship is quite extraordinary.

Do Joon Young meets with Ji An later. “You already knew, right?” he asks her.

That Park Dong Hoon went to a loan shark to pay off your debt and got into a fight.
So you were moved, huh?

Ji An hid from Do Joon Young the extent of her friendship with Dong Hoon and he knows it.

That’s why you hid it from me, right? Thinking I would harm Park Dong Hoon with it?
What managing director would pay off a female employee’s debts and take care of her grandmother, too?

Ji An tries to talk her way out of it, saying that because he and she lived in the same neighborhood, compassionate Dong Hoon took pity on her and halmeoni. She says, “He’s never called me before, and we’ve never texted each other. So what kind of relationship do we have? Did we hold hands? Did we hug each other? How are you going to twist this?”

This makes Do Joon Young even more skeptical. “Why are you talking so much today?”

“Did you develop an affection for him after wiretapping him every day?”

This is the first time he’s using a term like affection. We know she admitted to liking Dong Hoon back in Episode 8 because we heard her own words to Kwang Il, but Do Joon Young can tell just by observing her. Ji An tries to play off her answer, but Do Joon Young is too keen to buy it. He paid her to date Dong Hoon, but he sees the friendship they share and the sincere admiration she has for Dong Hoon.

In Episode 11, Do Joon Young summons Ji An to his house and forces her to share the wiretap of her confession to Dong Hoon at the train tracks.

Ji An: It sucks wondering why you won’t wear the slippers I gave you.

He hears Dong Hoon hitting her, which I assume makes him suspect even further that Dong Hoon has feelings for her. And he realizes Ji An really does like Dong Hoon.

Dig at Dong Hoon #2 : “Why do women like Park Dong Hoon?”

Dig at Dong Hoon #3: Among men, he’s really nothing much.

Then he asks Ji An:

Why do you like him?

It’s the first time he’s asked it so clearly. Previously Ji An had played things off, but now she has to lie to him, saying she wants to ruin good people like Dong Hoon. Do Joon Young is the only one she lies to when asked about her feelings for Dong Hoon.


Yoon Hee confronts Do Joon Young on the rooftop in Episode 12 and tells him to stop scheming against Dong Hoon. She brings out Ji An and instructs her to stay away from Dong Hoon and quit her job. Ji An refuses, saying it would put Dong Hoon at a disadvantage.

Once Ji An leaves them, Do Joon Young plants a seed of truth in Yoon Hee’s mind:

Do you think that girl just approached Park Dong Hoon because she was paid to do it?
She deceived me, too.

He also throws in Dig at Dong Hoon #4: “Why are all the women around Park Dong Hoon all like this?”

Why are all the women around Park Dong Hoon all like this?

(Does anyone else think the petty way he insults Dong Hoon is obnoxious but so hilarious?!)

After this conversation Yoon Hee calls Ji An and hears for herself that Ji An likes Dong Hoon.

So far, then, Do Joon Young has:

  • Paid Ji An to keep listening to Dong Hoon, monitor him, and date him.
  • Told Ji An that if Dong Hoon eats and drinks with her it means he likes her.
  • Heard the extent of Dong Hoon’s actions and suspects he might have feelings for Ji An.
  • Pressured Ji An to make something happen with Dong Hoon within the following two days, leading to her first confession.
  • Implied to Yoon Hee that Ji An likes Dong Hoon.

A short time later, Ji An is interviewed for Dong Hoon’s promotion and our CEO knows definitively he’s been screwed over by the love this girl has for Dong Hoon (feelings Ji An admits herself during the interview).


In Episode 13 Ji An and Do Joon Young openly fight for the first time. He sees Dong Hoon walking Ji An home and he asks her:

“So he even takes you home? That’s the kind of relationship you two have?”

Then he hits her*** and uses the phrase love games.

Do I need to see you two play love games at the company, after all I’ve been through?

He says he’s a victim.

You caught me for adultery and threatened me, and you offered to get Managing Director Park fired and demanded money for it.
You took my money to get Park Dong Hoon fired, and now you’re trying to get me fired?

Ji An challenges him by playing a recording of his plotting back to him. Then she says:

So when Park Dong Hoon is offering to release you from your position like a gentleman, quietly leave…
before I reveal everything, from the beginning to the end.

Her true colors are out. She wants Dong Hoon promoted and Do Joon Young fired.

His true colors come out, too. He threatens her.

So you’ve decided to die, huh?

Then we see two showdowns in Episode 14, one with Ji An and one with Dong Hoon.

Ji An runs away but visits Do Joon Young’s house, saying she’ll keep running until he’s safely fired. However, if she happens to get caught she won’t tell the cops about the affair.

Do Joon Young is struck by this.

Why? Because Park Dong Hoon’s reputation might take a hit?
That he will be publicly humiliated as a cuckold?
[Wow…] so you two are passionately in love, huh?

“Never mind…”

I’ll just be the disgusting jerk who fooled around with his sunbae’s wife.

Exposing the affair is better for him after all, because:

I can’t stand to see Park Dong Hoon get away without getting hurt.

(Did we mention that Do Joon Young really hates Dong Hoon?)

At this point Ji An starts looking around the house, focusing on the knives in the kitchen.

I will kill any bastard who dares to touch Park Dong Hoon.

Meanwhile, Dong Hoon has been searching for Ji An, saying goodbye during their phone call, and downright missing her. When he learns of the wiretapping, one of the first things he does is confront our CEO in the parking garage.

Interestingly, at this point Do Joon Young knows more about Ji An and her whereabouts than Dong Hoon does, and he is a key player in helping Dong Hoon make sense of what’s happening: “She’s going to run like crazy. Because if she gets caught, she will have to explain what started it all, and you will be humiliated like a dog. And she knows that is what you fear most, so do you think she will tell?”

Once again Do Joon Young nails it. That’s exactly what’s happening with Ji An, and Dong Hoon realizes the depth of Ji An’s love for him.

Do Joon Young continues:

Who is the biggest victim here? She ripped me off for money
and betrayed me. Then she takes your side?
So I’m the only vulgar one here, huh?
And what about you? What about you two?

An emotional Dong Hoon hits Do Joon Young multiple times in the garage over Ji An. (He only hit him once over Yoon Hee.)

Hearing Do Joon Young explain the truth – that Ji An started out against him but ended up for him – plays directly into Dong Hoon’s own confession in the shack: “Thank you….you listened to my miserable life and still ended up on my side.” Things were more insidious than Dong Hoon could have ever imagined, yet Ji An loved him so deeply she was willing to give up her livelihood and go into hiding to protect his promotion and his reputation.

By Episode 16, Ji An has re-appeared and is under the cover of Yoon Hee’s legal help. During police questioning, Do Joon Young ridicules Ji An:

you’re just doing this to me because I gave your beloved Park Dong Hoon a hard time. Am I wrong?

As always Ji An is the master at challenging him:

you keep saying “you like him, you like him,”
but why do you say it in a mocking tone?
I guess when you like someone, you become really mean.
Do you even know what it means to like someone?

The Netflix subtitles say, “I guess you act really cheap when you like someone. Do you even know how it feels to like someone?”

We’ve come to the end of their interactions together, but I think this whole exchange with Ji An in the police station is crucial to understanding Do Joon Young: he thinks of love as a weakness. As Yoon Hee asked him in Episode 8, “What have you risked? What dangers have you endured?” As we know, he didn’t endure any hardships in liking Yoon Hee nor did losing her affect him all that much.

Contrast this with Dong Hoon and Ji An, who act for the good of each other, readily sacrifice and fight for the other, and are in anguish when they lose each other. When Do Joon Young sees the pure love between them, he mocks it because that kind of thing is foreign to him.

Nevertheless, he recognizes and calls out what he sees even if it’s so different from himself; he names the love Dong Hoon and Ji An share. He’s not a happy shipper but he’s true to what he perceives. Without him, Ji An wouldn’t have known that eating and drinking together was significant, and Dong Hoon wouldn’t have known how far she was going to protect him from humiliation. Our CEO doesn’t realize his words actually confirm to Dong Hoon and Ji An that their love for each other is evident — and real.

Also, scheming with Do Joon Young proves to be deliverance for Ji An as she can finally pay off her debt.

To review, then, during our story Do Joon Young:

  • Pays Ji An to keep listening to Dong Hoon, monitor him, and date him. This money fulfills her debt, freeing her to live a stable and comfortable life.
  • Tells Ji An that if Dong Hoon eats and drinks with her it means he likes her.
  • Hears the extent of Dong Hoon’s actions and suspects he has feelings for Ji An.
  • Pressures Ji An to produce results soon, leading her to make her first confession to Dong Hoon.
  • Implies to Yoon Hee that Ji An likes Dong Hoon.
  • Tells Dong Hoon about the original plan to fire him, and about Ji An being on the run so Dong Hoon won’t be humiliated. This leads Dong Hoon to keep looking for Ji An and make his own confessions. He’s also willing to expose his deepest secret (his wife’s affair) to save Ji An from a lifetime of hiding.

Look at the active role Do Joon Young has taken in bringing Ji An and Dong Hoon together! If he were an actual matchmaker, he would be overjoyed and proud of himself.

@actionscript from Soompi writes, “It was his money that paid off all of Ji An’s debt. We shouldn’t really be hating him, no? Imagine if not for his 10M advance to Ji An to date Dong Hoon, Dong Hoon might have paid it on Ji An’s behalf… And should Dong Hoon pay a portion of it, the more he would feel it inappropriate to pursue a relationship with Ji An. Joon Young is in every sense indeed the ‘master of the ship!’ Now the more I look at it, he’s slowly turning into a hero in my eyes.”

Kudos to Kim Young Min, who does a fabulous job playing Do Joon Young. His subtle facial expressions make Do Joon Young’s smarm, anxiety, and pitifulness all come through. He plays the role to perfection.


* Thanks to Soompi My Mister veterans for coining the phrase “Captain of the Ship” to refer to Do Joon Young :).

**Note that almost every time Ji An and Do Joon Young meet up, whenever Ji An is eating, Do Joon Young is not. Whenever he’s drinking, she is not. In their final showdown at this house, neither is eating or drinking.

*** Kwang Il, Dong Hoon, and Do Joon Young all hit Ji An. It’s disturbing to think about.


25 thoughts on “Do Joon Young: Captain of the Ship”

  1. “A lot of girls used to like him. It was so weird. I didn’t know what they saw in a guy like him.”
    Is this dialogue means DH is popular with girls?
    It sounds like DH is very cute.
    He is so popular but still shy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I understand, yes, I think Dong Hoon was popular in general back in college, and particularly with the ladies :). Like Jung Hee says, he’s like Mark Darcy, shy and cool.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an epic post. I’ve been waiting for someone to write about Do Joon Young since the drama ended. Thank you! As to your question “Does anyone else think the petty way he insults Dong Hoon is obnoxious but so hilarious?!” Yes, 1000 times. DJY can never not be “endearing” in my book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sadie, and thanks for the idea and your help making it happen :). DJY *is* endearing…he needs someone pure and good to come into his life and make him want to be a better person.


  3. Another great post! I was about to continue our previous chat (KYH/DJY vs LJA/PDH) in your last post, but you pretty much have everything covered in this new post. Not sure if I have anything to add.

    Yeah DJY does recognise the love between LJA/PDH. But he mocks it because he really thinks it’s the same (ie like himself and his affair). It’s just way beyond his understanding.

    To him, relationships are only means. He married up (apparently for the money and status, but got kicked out shortly). He has an affair with KYH, because it’s safe and convenient, and (more importantly): finally conquering his college dream girl and *humiliating PDH* who not only looked down on him but also made him a dwarf in college (for the reasons you mentioned above).

    KYH’s understanding of love (and marriage) seems to be more about romance/desire. But seeing how LJA loves PDH (and protects him with her whole being) gives her a chance to rethink love and marriage (in particular, a sharp contrast to her own affair and her efforts to get PDH fired, despite knowing PDH a decent man). Finally, after her redemption (helping LJA), this proud woman leaves and starts a new life. (PDH sees her as the kid’s mom ie a family member like his brothers. This is not what she wants and no point to stick around.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 🙂 And I think you’re so right about Yoon Hee, wanting her husband/lover to fulfill her desire to be cherished (which isn’t wrong, just different from what Dong Hoon values). You point out an important contrast between LJA and KYH: Yoon Hee didn’t protect her husband or fight for him, and Ji An did. And the ways Dong Hoon tried to serve Yoon Hee (laundry, cleaning, offering to buy things) went over her head, whereas Ji An was always moved by DH’s desire to serve and care for YH. With the evidence in the show that YH and DH have gotten a divorce, now Ji An and Dong Hoon can serve and love one another in ways that fully speak to each other :).


      1. Hi The Sweetroad, I see the loveline and no need to convince me^…. The LJA/PDH story has been intentionally written as a very unconventional pair which has even caused uproars. (“Modern Taboo”). Well, some people just can’t understand it (like DJY mocks it)*, and some refuse to see it due to their own circumstances. After all, a REBIRTH is a choice and takes immense efforts (rather than doing nothing).** Those who dare to fight are (1) strong-willed (brave and determined), (2) deeply in love (not merely a romance/crush), (3) confident, and (4) financially rock solid. ***

        * DJY doesn’t understand it till the end. LKI initially fails to categorise it and also mocks it, but at the end he gives his blessing. KYH witnesses from LJA a type of love which is very different from her own understanding: deep, pure and selfless; nothing romantic but still passionate. Then she offers her blessing to LJA through her legal work and her own departure.
        ** Well, there are some others who are lucky/happy and thus don’t need a rebirth.
        *** The time jump of LJA/PDH are mainly for fixing (3) and (4), as well as ending PDH’s broken marriage while also giving LJA time to see the world.
        ^ i had my own fight three decades ago, so I see no reason LJA/PDH can’t be together. They should be together. Period. What’s ironic is that I still gossip when I see other unlikely couples. Shame on me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can’t convince those who, due to their own circumstances, refuse to see (or simply do not understand) the unconditional love/forgiveness or hold up against LJA/PDH ending up together. I can think of a few different types:
        (i) the happy folks (Rebirth? Why rebirth?)
        (ii) DJY and his kind
        (iii) those don’t dare to fight (ie lacking (1), (2), (3) and/or (4) mentioned above)
        (iv) those who are dependent on their spouses (financially, in particular) *
        (v) young and unestablished men **
        (vi) men mistaking themselves as PDH but actually DJY at heart; AND, sadly, the poor ones they leave behind
        (vii) “Modern Taboo” uproar folks

        (*) if KYH is not a high income professional, she would get stuck too. She wants to leave because of her pride and her shame. (Her redemption a ticket to say goodbye and start a new life, mainly for her own interest). This decision feasible because of her financial position.
        (**) in east Asia, many young (and unestablished) men unable to compete with the older (and more accomplished) men. When young I felt the same^
        (^) Now, at PDH’s age, you would ask yourself: a) a real love? b) any future? and, most importantly, c) “Am I really that good/outstanding? Will the young girl regret 10-20 years down the road after she has seen the world?”… Now that she admires you, maybe only because you started your life/career much earlier, ie a life cycle time gap. Are you confident you will not look mediocre 10 or 20 years later? (when people of her age in their prime while you are in decline)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. (viii) Audiences too busy reading the subtitles and thus missing the subtle performance and details (body language as well as micro facial expressions) of the characters or storylines. (including myself, getting pretty confused after my first watch)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Woah! Mind-blowing post, @thesweetroad! It made me realize practically the entire journey of Ji An and Dong Hoon was coursed through DJY. He was like a canvas in which the entire story was painted on. He was the prime mover of how the story began (having an affair with Yoon Hee and hiring Ji An to fire Dong Hoon), the central figure of all the political machinations at Saman, the necessary antagonist every story requires, the financier (whose payments to Ji An wiped out all her debt), the matchmaker (indirectly bringing Ji An and Dong Hoon together), the explainer (he made Dong Hoon understand everything), and of course our favorite role – the master shipper! And as you mentioned in part 1 of this post, his character is the only one that didn’t have a redemption arc. Quite ironic! Well, perhaps the fact that he can be seen as “endearing” is his redemption. 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. @UnlikelyCouple1970s Not sure why I can’t reply directly to your comment above but thanks for these insights as well! Like you, I love how the show portrays how DH and JA took action and dared to fight.


  6. Under the post “DONG HOON & YOON HEE: DID THEY DIVORCE OR NOT?” … I tried post to the following comment (tried a few times but failed).

    KYH/PDH were college-sweethearts getting married early, before each of them actually learns about themselves and what she/he truly wants out of life: In particular, their values and expectations of an ideal family/couple/spouse… Their views turn out to be completely different (largely mutually exclusive ie no middle ground).*

    KYH spells out she’s waiting for a divorce when PDH finally realises that their marriage/love is dead (instead of because of DJY).

    Likewise, the drama does not want to send a wrong message.** It is a beautiful story about life & struggle, love, family/community, healing, redemption, rebirth and well-being.*** (The previous barriers btn PDH and LJA and the ending “allow for the further development of their relationship at the right time”. Yet, too obvious a happy ending could be somewhat distracting.)

    * that’s also the key reason PDH has to let go of the young LJA to Busan, to cool down and figure things out for herself.
    ** PDKim and Writer Park tells a story of unconditional love and forgiveness. But have to carefully avoid some audiences may merely see it as a story of an older/accomplished man achieving happiness via forming a new family with a young girl…. That’s not the story!
    *** it also emphasises self-scarifying not the solution.


    1. I tried to post it as a “test” and it worked. Please let me know if you want it to stay up there, or here, or both :).


      1. Thank you very much the sweetroad. Shall we keep both if it doesn’t bother you (having a long and irrelevant piece up here)? [By the way, I just made a few other testings (comments under other old postings) and all Ok. No idea what went wrong yesterday.]

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Adding on what you already mentioned above (DJY questions LJA with the photos from the private investigator. She pushes back saying “What’s our relationship? We didn’t hug or hold hands. How will you make it scandalous?”):
    Does this exchange foreshow/parallel the hug as well as the long and irregular/scandalous handshake (handholding)? … And a conclusion of their relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

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