Yumi (Kim Go-eun) greets a brand new day at her balcony window, a warm drink in her hands. As she takes a sip, she thinks back to the night before when Bobby (Park Jin-young of GOT7) proposed to her in his apartment. Smiling at the memory, she looks up and gazes into the azure sky. “The sky is pretty,” she murmurs as she lifts up her left hand and takes a picture of the couple ring now snug on her fourth finger.
She uploads the photo on her now-restored social media account, and almost instantly gets a call from Yi-da (Mi Ram). “Hurry up and come clean,” presses her friend, “something good happened, didn’t it?” Smiling shyly on the other end of the line, Yumi confirms she’s now engaged.
Over at Ku Woong Games HQ, self-proclaimed “dating expert” Control-Z/Con-Z (Pyo Ji-hoon, or P.O) lays out yet another ‘foolproof’ plan for Woong (Ahn Bo-hyun) to be close to Yumi. Just as he does so, he receives a call from girlfriend Ruby (Lee Yoo-bi), who happily informs him about Yumi’s engagement – unaware that she’s on speakerphone. The atmosphere in the office changes almost immediately. Completely caught off guard, Woong remains fixed in his seat, his eyes reddening as he lets the news sink in.
Back at her apartment, Yumi gets a call from Bobby while putting together a lunchbox for him. He asks if they can go out for lunch instead, and Yumi sits up a little straighter when Bobby suggests meeting his father (Jeon No-min) at his snack shop. Despite Bobby’s injured leg, the couple slowly make their way to the eatery at lunchtime, a visibly worried Yumi unsure of what to expect.
“He looks scarier [in real life] than his picture,” points out Reason Cell (voiced by Shim Gyu-hyuk), as Yumi meets Bobby’s father for the first time. Bobby’s father curtly informs them that there isn’t any food left except for tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), since they had turned up unannounced. Yumi gratefully accepts the offer with a big smile.
According to Etiquette Cell (voiced by Sa Moon-young) and Chef Cell (voiced by Eom Sang-hyun), the most polite thing to do is to “eat everything deliciously” without leaving a morsel behind. Yumi and Bobby are taken aback, though, when Bobby’s father presents them with a huge plate of spicy rice cakes, fit for at least three to four people. But when Bobby steps out to run a quick work errand, Yumi is left to fend for herself as the lone ‘food fighter’.
Almost immediately, Hunger Cell (voiced by Lee Jang-won) swings into action, particularly as wheat rice cakes – which Bobby’s father uses – are his specialty. “When it comes to tteokbokki, I still don’t know my limits,” the cell declares with a glint in his eyes. Yumi begins to have her very own mukbang, expressing her delight through non-verbal actions, such as the ‘foot bounce’. Bobby’s father is particularly heartened to see her do the ‘sauce sweep’, considered the ultimate praise within the tteokbokki industry.
Yumi later excuses herself for a quick bathroom break, and wonders how she can break the ice with Bobby’s father. Reason decides to effect a temporary ‘Transformation’ where Yumi becomes able to embody a particular cell’s characteristic for a short period of time. Naturally, Etiquette is the cell for this occasion, accentuating Yumi’s courteous side. Aside from Yumi’s hearty appetite, Bobby’s father is also won over by her shyly addressing him as ‘Father’. Besides inviting Yumi to visit him at any time, the older man also hands her some spending money, much to the couple’s surprise. “His nickname is ‘Old Man Scrooge’,” Bobby lets on to Yumi much later. “Know that you’re the first person to ever get money from my father.”
While at a pharmacy a few days later to pick up some cold medicine for herself, Yumi receives a text message from Woong, asking to meet for coffee in her area. As Woong waits for Yumi to arrive at the cafe, he mentally runs through possible responses about her engagement, despite not exactly feeling congratulatory. Though it wasn’t easy for Woong to muster up the words, his well wishes eventually take Yumi by surprise. “Thank you,” she says to her ex-boyfriend, “I didn’t think you’d say that to me.” They continue to make small talk after, with Yumi teasing Woong about his “childish” ways (“Do you have to get married to that guy? Can’t you marry some other guy instead?” he’d asked with a pout).
Woong offers to send Yumi home since she’s unwell, but she declines as her apartment is just around the corner. After expressing his biggest regret to Yumi (“It’s when I couldn’t answer when you asked about getting married”), Woong gingerly asks if she loves Bobby. Yumi holds back on answering; this is due to the absence of her Love Cell (voiced by Ahn So-yi), the only cell with the authority to respond. Emotion (voiced by Park Ji-yoon) decides to answer in her stead, and Yumi offhandedly tells Woong that he’s asking the obvious. In a final text message to Yumi shortly after, Woong gives her his blessings and wishes her well.
Yumi’s cold doesn’t improve, and she ends up bedridden with a high fever for the rest of the day. Feeling a cold compress on her forehead, she awakens from a nap to see Bobby by her bedside. He whips up some chicken porridge as she continues to rest, and Bobby’s father even sends some of his tteokbokki over after hearing about her feeling unwell. “Is sweetness hereditary in this family?” exclaims Emotion, touched by the Yoo men’s thoughtful gestures.
When unwell, Yumi feels everything twice as much. She feels twice as loved when Bobby suggests having a small wedding in Hawaii, which she’d always dreamed of. On the flipside, she feels twice as upset when she spots an incoming call on Bobby’s phone from ex-intern Da-eun (Shin Ye-eun).
Eight months later, Woong returns to Korea from an overseas business trip. While in the car en route to deliver an opening speech for an event, he’s handed a stack of mail of mostly wedding invitations, much to his chagrin. As he sorts through the envelopes, he comes across one from Yumi. “The day has come,” his Reason Cell (voiced by Eom Sang-hyun) says dejectedly, as he joins hands with Emotion and a (still) heartbroken Love (voiced by Jung Jae-hyun). While Woong has done his utmost to accept this outcome, he’s still unable to bring himself to even open the envelope to look at the invitation.
On the way home after the event, Woong is driven past his old neighbourhood, and he asks to be let off at the bus stop. He takes a walk through the area and ends up at Yumi’s apartment block. It is then that he discovers that she’s moving out, as he sees her furniture being carried out bit by bit. Woong goes up to the apartment to say hi, but Yumi is nowhere to be seen.
Later, as Woong walks through a different part of the neighbourhood, he hears someone calling out to him – this turns out to be Yumi, who’s just leaving her realtor’s office. He congratulates her on her wedding, but becomes confused when he finds out that she’d “taken out a big loan” for it. Woong has more to say about this arrangement, but holds himself back.
Before they part, Yumi confirms that Woong had received the wedding invitation, to which he replies that he’s looking forward to seeing Yumi in a wedding dress. This elicits an equally confused look from Yumi, which Woong puzzles over as he departs in a taxi. He finally decides to check on the wedding invitation – to his shock, he discovers that it’s for Yi-da’s wedding instead. Woong gets the driver to reverse all the way to where Yumi was still standing, so that he could clarify what they’d talked about before. Yumi then sets the record straight: she’d taken out a loan to purchase the apartment she’d been renting, and her own wedding was no longer happening, as she and Bobby had broken up. This news is met with muted surprise and consolation from Woong, who hides how happy he is to hear this.
Yumi thinks back to the night she’d discovered the phone call from Da-eun (which turned out to be a drunk dial), and how neither of them brought it up even the next day. Yumi wanted to break up not because of the call or the fact that Bobby still had Da-eun’s number still saved in his phone. Instead, “even though [she] had seen that [happening], [she] was still calm”. “How can someone in love be this calm?” Yumi wondered to herself back then, slipping the couple ring off from her finger.
With the sequel of her web novel My Love Muse gradually approaching its end, Yumi begins to feel the pressure of having to finish it up well. Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law happens the night before Yumi’s due to submit her manuscript: not only had she misplaced her laptop, there isn’t a back-up version of the written chapters. This unforeseen setback shocks Writer Cell (voiced by Lee Seul), who (naturally) deems it impossible to rewrite 60 pages overnight. Later, she succumbs to the overwhelming pressure and runs away, relinquishing her position as Prime Cell.
The next day, Yumi attends the wedding ceremony of Yi-da and her editor-in-chief, Ahn Dae-yong (Jun Suk-ho), whom she had briefly introduced to each other. “I found out later that they were dating without me knowing,” she tells her ex-colleague Bon-hui, who also points out that Yumi had ‘set up’ Ruby and Con-Z too. As the two women approach the reception table with their congratulatory money in hand, one envelope catches Yumi’s eye: Bobby’s. Noticing this, Bon-hui tells her that Bobby is unable to attend the wedding as he’s scheduled to leave for Singapore, where he’d been assigned to by the company.
While on the way to the airport at that moment, Bobby receives a call from his usual cafe, informing him that Yumi had left her laptop there. He makes a detour to pick up the laptop and attempts to deliver it personally to Yumi at the wedding hall, but ends up stuck in traffic.
Yumi’s mind wanders during the wedding ceremony as she works out a plan to deal with her current predicament: cutting off all contact and escaping to her parents’ home. Thankfully, there’s no need for her to execute it as she receives a message from Bobby about her laptop, adding that he had to leave the laptop in an airport locker, due to circumstances out of his control. This good news puts her mind at ease, and she’s able to truly enjoy her best friend’s wedding.
After arriving at the terminal, she locates the locker, punches in Bobby’s usual code, and pulls out her precious laptop, much to her relief. Noting that his flight would have already taken off, Yumi decides to send Bobby a text message to thank him for his help, but is confused when she notices how fast it’s been read. Just then, she hears a familiar voice calling her name, and she turns to see Bobby standing before her.
It turns out that Bobby’s flight had been delayed, which worked out for the better as he’s able to see Yumi before leaving. Bobby asks about her novel, and gives her a confidence boost as always by encouraging her. They also ask about each other’s dating status; Yumi shares that she doesn’t have time to date, while Bobby tells her that he’s “seeing someone”. On the plane, however, Bobby’s accompanying colleague tries to find out why he’s been turning down his blind date recommendations. Bobby casually answers that he’s “not sure either”, but has a faraway look in his eyes that says it all.
It’s one thing for someone’s presence to be noticed; it’s another for one’s absence to be felt. In Yumi’s cell village, the absence of Love continues to be strongly felt, even while Yumi was still dating Bobby. Now back to being single, Yumi occasionally feels her heart flutter during brief encounters with men. This excites the cells to no end, being a potential sign of Love’s return, though many of them end up being false alarms.
Christmas Eve comes round once again and this time, Yumi has a very important deadline to meet: completing the final chapter of My Love Muse’s sequel. However, she faces writer’s block and the dreaded “deadline syndrome”, which causes her to binge eat and procrastinate.
Yumi is nearly defeated by her writer’s block, until a phone call with Ruby gives her some much-needed inspiration. This sparks idea after idea in Yumi’s mind, and her fingers fly across the keyboard as she brings her story to a close. “When writer’s block finally clears, it’s extremely thrilling,” as Reason puts it – and the cells get to relish this moment through a highly-anticipated Endorphin concert. As for Yumi, she does a little celebratory jig herself once the manuscript is in her publisher’s inbox, and finally takes the time to enjoy the view of falling snow from her balcony.
Over at the cell village, the cells gather for the one-night only ‘Yumi Awards’, an annual ceremony held in recognition of their hard work over the past year. There’s a buzz in the air as they await the results of the Best Cell Award – and to their surprise, it’s Bobby’s cells that clinch the title. This does not sit well with Writer, who insists that she deserves the award as she “made Yumi a writer, and the web novels a success”. Reason, however, points out that credit should be given where it’s due, as it was through Bobby’s encouragement and support that Yumi was able to go down her current path as a writer.
Later that day, Yumi visits Woong’s office to return a laptop that he’d sent her, after finding out that she had misplaced hers. She had tried to get him to take it back, but he stubbornly (and playfully) refused. After running into Woong’s right-hand man Louis (Joo Jong-hyuk) at the lobby, she’s brought up to Woong’s office to wait. While looking around, she accidentally discovers that Woong had been the one leaving her encouraging comments daily without fail, for an entire year. This revelation leads Reason to suggest having both Bobby’s and Woong’s cells jointly receiving the ‘Best Cell Award’ for the year. In hindsight, Yumi says of her past loves: “I’m starting to realise these days that a breakup does not mean the end of a connection with them.”
Yumi has a grand time at her publishing company’s Christmas eve party that evening as she celebrates the end of ‘My Love Muse’ with her closest friends and supporting team. It is there that she’s also introduced to her new liaison for the coming year as her current manager Mi-yeon (Shin Soo-hyun) prepares to go on maternity leave.
After returning home, Yumi lays in bed, unable to fall asleep. In the cell village, both Reason and Emotion are alerted to a strange rustling sound in a nearby alley, and are shocked to discover that Love has finally returned. The former Prime Cell recounts her eventful journey: her outer space banishment, being sucked back through a wormhole, and taking time to cross the desert as she’s no longer able to fly. News of Love’s return spreads quickly through the village, and all the cells are elated to have her back in their midst.
This begs the question: did Love return because of Bobby, or Woong – or because of someone new? “Whatever the reason, it’s good,” reckons Reason, “Because Love has returned, and Yumi is ready to be happier.”
The next morning, Yumi receives a text message from an unknown number, asking if she had returned home safely. The person then identifies himself as Yumi’s new liaison, whom she was introduced to the night before; however, she’s unable to recall his name. As Yumi goes on to busy herself in the kitchen, a reply pops up on her screen. “My name is Shin Sun-rok,” the message says – marking the start of yet another new chapter for Yumi – in life, and just maybe, in love.
- The incredulous look on Bobby’s father’s face when Yumi addresses him politely as ‘Father’ in episode 13 – a rather effective way to break the ice
- Woong’s unceremonious fall as he rushes to his office to meet Yumi in episode 14. “Even though you’ve become the CEO, you’ve not changed one bit,” she tells her ex-boyfriend
- The ‘Yumi Awards’ – it would have been fun to see an extended version of this ceremony, and to see what other awards would have been given out
- Seeing how both Yumi’s exes were willing to help her in times of need; this may not be the case for everyone, but indeed, a break-up doesn’t necessarily mean having to burn bridges
- The cells being by Yumi’s side on Christmas Eve: a show of solidarity, and a representation of how Yumi’s at peace with herself and her life situation – thus Reason’s observation of how Yumi’s now “ready to be happier”
‘Yumi’s Cells 2’ is available on South Korean streaming platform TVING.