Every dog has its day, so the saying goes. For ‘Bow Wow Time’ – the mobile game that Woong (Ahn Bo-hyun) had been working on – its day finally arrived, gaining enough traction and attention to become the most popular game du jour. On the other hand, Yumi (Kim Go-eun) continues to hold out for her day by persisting in her writing pursuits, even amid endless failures and disappointments, along with fast-depleting finances. To supplement her income, she takes up a part-time job at a bookstore in between attending writing classes.
With her 11th story, ‘My Love Muse’ receiving rave reviews from her writing teacher and bookstore boss alike, Yumi secretly hopes for the best in the latest writing contest, despite telling others (and herself) that she’s not expecting to win. To her disappointment, her story doesn’t get picked again.
Deprived of a highly-anticipated concert by the band Endorphin, the cells take out their frustration on Writer (voiced by Lee Seul). Cheapskate (voiced by Ahn So-yi), in particular, tasks Reason (voiced by Shim Gyu-huyk) to talk to her “very cruelly… so that she won’t be able to endure without having to quit”. Steeling himself up, Reason goes up to an already-devastated Writer, takes a deep breath and bellows at the top of his voice: “You have no talent!” This eventually makes Yumi accept that she simply may not have a knack for writing. Reason wonders out loud: “Is there anything more cruel than acknowledging reality?”
Back at her apartment, Yumi gets a video call from her boyfriend Bobby (Park Jin-young of GOT7), whose life has been on an “upward curve” after getting promoted at work. Since being transferred to the company branch on Jeju Island, both Bobby and Yumi have been in a long-distance relationship – soon to be bridged by her upcoming trip to visit him.
Before her flight the next day, Yumi heads to the Daehan Noodles HQ to meet with Accounting Section Chief Nam Ju-hyeok (Jung Soon-won), after receiving a phone call from him the previous night. Finding out from Yi-da (Mi Ram) that Yumi might have some time on her hands, Section Chief Nam asks Yumi if she would consider taking on a part-time position with the department, as they’re in need of help. The conversation eventually leads to them exploring the possibility of her returning on a full-time basis, much to the cells’ delight.
Unfortunately, her joy is short lived; after touching down in Jeju, Yumi receives a call from an apologetic Section Chief Nam, who had belatedly found out that the position was no longer available. Despite her attempts at putting up a cheery disposition in front of Bobby, Yumi finally lets her disappointment and emotions wash over her, as he comforts her in his arms.
Just then, Yumi receives a text message from the editor-in-chief of a publishing company, who says that her story ‘My Love Muse’ had “left a deep impression” on him, and would thus like to discuss publishing it. This life turning point is marked by the appearance of the aurora in Yumi’s cell village sky, which “briefly opens up a frequency for telepathic communication with the future”. Hunch Cell, who lives alone in the desert, is the only cell who is privy to what happens in Yumi’s future.
Yumi’s good news is met with great cheer from best pals Yi-da and Ruby (Lee Yoo-bi), who pack their bags for an impromptu celebratory trip to Jeju. They also see Bobby for the first time since his work relocation, and after finding out about Yumi dating him (“Do I have to call you ‘brother-in-law’ now?” teases Ruby). The quartet celebrate over drinks and fried snacks at a local eatery, with Yumi happily declaring it to be her treat. A tipsy Yumi sobers up pretty quickly after seeing the preliminary bill, no thanks to an infinite drinker (Ruby), a “hyper glutton” (Yi-da), and a boyfriend with a hearty appetite for the beer/fried snacks combo. She eventually decides to go all out (while satisfying her own appetite), leading to her blowing her budget for the month.
Knocked out by all the merrymaking, the three ladies hit the sack upon returning to their accommodation, without even washing up. Cleanliness Cell may be no match for Lullaby Cell, but Love still triumphs over all, as Yumi awakens immediately when she receives a call from Bobby. A surge of gratitude rises within Yumi as they chat, and she tries to find the words to express how thankful she is to have Bobby by her side, supporting and encouraging her. “I’m thankful for… everything,” Yumi simply says in the end. “Would Bobby be able to understand the depth of what she wants to say?” muses Love. Writer, in turn, says that he would know “because he’s Bobby”.
While on a late-night starlit beach stroll with Bobby, Yumi feels his love permeate every fibre (and cell) of her being, and spontaneously reaches over to kiss him. As they continue locking lips, Bobby gently guides her left hand into his pocket, and she pulls it out to find a shiny new couple ring resting snugly on her finger. “It’s our first anniversary today,” Bobby says with a smile, showing Yumi the ring he’d already placed on his own. As Yumi relishes that perfect moment, the glowing aurora above Yumi’s cell village sky starts fading into a different colour, a foreboding sign that there’s something more in the air.
After sending Yi-da and Ruby to the airport the next day, Yumi spends time on her own as she waits for Bobby to knock off work. When walking back to Bobby’s place from a nearby bookstore, Yumi spots his car in the distance, and a young lady alighting from it. Even as anxiety sets in, she eventually recalls Bobby telling her about giving a ride to an intern in his neighbourhood – except there was no indication of this intern’s gender. Anxiety sets in as Yumi watches the cute, young intern breeze past her, but she does her best to shake off those feelings by reminding herself about her couple ring from Bobby.
The cute intern in question, Yoo Da-eun (Shin Ye-eun), comes over to Bobby’s house with extra charcoal just as he’s preparing to get the grill going for a barbecue. Yumi returns from a quick grocery run to see Da-eun giggling over Bobby’s attempt to wipe soot from his face, which puts her ill at ease, but holds back from unleashing a jealous, emotional outburst. Instead, she greets Da-eun pleasantly, and even offers her a coffee she’d bought along the way. After Da-eun leaves, Yumi (intentionally) mentions how cute the intern is, and Bobby’s response elicits a smile from her: “Da-eun is cute, but Yumi is adorable.”
On another grocery run after dinner, Bobby spots Da-eun walking past the supermarket without her jacket on, as she had left it in her friend’s car. As Yumi waits for Bobby to return, she sees Da-eun walking past the house wearing a familiar jacket – one that Bobby keeps in his car. Objectively, she figures that he’d just lent it to her because she needed one, but this also brings to her mind an previous memory of him offering her his jacket once.
Bobby confirms her rationale when he returns home, but before he could head into the house, Yumi poses a sudden question: when did he start liking her? He takes a while to formulate an answer as this memory gets intercepted by his Reason and Emotion Cells, who prevent Love from making any wrong moves. Eventually, Bobby recalls the moment: it was when he’d spotted her grooving in the pantry while listening to music, a sight that made his heart skip a beat.
The next day, Yumi spots Da-eun through a cafe window as she passes by on her morning walk. After greeting Da-eun at her table, Yumi orders a cappuccino, and decides to get some treats for the young intern to munch on as she studies. “By the way, I think you’re really cool,” Da-eun shyly admits to Yumi, saying how she’d heard about her being a writer, as Bobby has been bragging about his girlfriend being one. “Everyone at work knows that he met his girlfriend at the headquarters,” she goes on to add.
Leaving the cafe shortly after, Yumi feels flattered, but mostly relieved after her conversation with Da-eun. “Why were we so nervous going up against a kid like that?” asked Emotion. Unbeknownst to Yumi, however, Da-eun had nursed the biggest crush on Bobby – first labelling him as the ‘Handsomest Guy in the World’, and then coming to terms with him being ‘Someone So Perfect, That He’s Unattainable’ – particularly after finding out that he has a girlfriend.
Yumi returns to Seoul for her introductory meeting with editor-in-chief (EIC) Ahn Dae-yong (Jun Suk-ho) and her to-be liaison Mi-yeon (Shin Soo-hyun). What Yumi doesn’t realise is that editor-in-chief Ahn is exactly the person she’d talked about with Bobby on the way to the airport, as one bewildering person in her life. In their college days, he was a senior from a different faculty who wanted to find a reason to speak to her. Noticing one day that Yumi was holding a copy of ‘The Magic Mountain’ by Thomas Mann, he also gets himself a copy, but his attempts to read it ends up putting him to sleep instead. He eventually plucked up the courage to approach her, but it was merely to ask if she’d finished the book. As Yumi recalled, she was bewildered as he’d smirked at her and said, “I finished it,” before walking away.
Though initially incredulous that he’d crossed paths with Yumi (and finally knowing her name), the editor-in-chief eventually turns cold and distant when he realises that she doesn’t remember him. Unsure of how to handle such personality types, Yumi is relieved when she finds out that Mi-yeon would be her liaison – until EIC Ahn insists on taking over, since “Writer Kim Yumi’s success is also [his] responsibility”. From his past relationship experience, he decides that keeping her at an arm’s length is the way to go, while his Love Cell gathers up all the kindness he has, so as to release it at one shot in the future.
Yumi is tasked to edit her manuscript within a short amount of time, despite already having plans for the weekend. At a subsequent meeting, she’s inundated by harsh critique from EIC Ahn, including a couple of major rewrites. He makes attempts after that to soften his approach by asking Yumi if she’d like to grab a bite, but she simply draws a professional line. Back at the apartment, Yumi rants about her day to Bobby, but holds back on bad mouthing the EIC as she acknowledges him as being “the saviour that picked [her story]”. EIC Ahn still isn’t quite done with her, as he calls her up later to “update” her on more changes, and then sends her a box of doughnuts through Mi-yeon, telling her to “hang in there”. The latter gesture, however, doesn’t sit well with Bobby.
Thankfully, the comments in the next round are better, and Yumi’s in a much better mood to enjoy a meal with EIC Ahn and Mi-yeon, who takes her leave early to spend time with her newly-wed husband. EIC Ahn’s Love Cell seizes this opportunity to approach Yumi’s heavily-guarded ‘Heart Gate’ and prepares to use the ‘relational tactic’: opening up the Gate simply by relating to the other party more than three times. Though he had made significant progress by relating to her twice, the quest comes to an end when he sees a picture of her and Bobby on her social media page.
EIC Ahn’s Love Cell attempts to launch ‘Plan B’ towards the end of the night (telling her that he had a crush on her), but his Reason Cell eventually knocks sense into him by bringing up his name’s homonym – andwaeyo (안돼요, or “I/You can’t or mustn’t”). As EIC Ahn walks away, he comes to terms with having to let Yumi go in his heart: “Adios, Kim Yumi. Adios, my first love. You’re just my precious Writer Kim now.”
Meanwhile, Hunch and Reason try to narrow down the possible options for a disruptor that’s said to come between Yumi and Bobby, since both Da-eun, and now EIC Ahn have been ruled out. Hunch wonders if he’d misinterpreted the message he’d received through the aurora.
Over a video call the next day, Yumi finds out from Bobby that Da-eun had quit as she’ll be moving to Busan to take up a job there. While on the way to pick up his car from the office, Bobby runs into Da-eun at the bus stop, where they exchange pleasantries and make small talk. While waiting for the bus, Da-eun makes an indirect confession to Bobby, saying how she has feelings for a particular someone who already has a girlfriend. Though Bobby doesn’t show it outwardly, picking up on this nuance causes a tremor in his village, which alarms his cells.
On the way home later, Bobby stops at a crossroad and spots Da-eun at the airport bus stop bidding goodbye to her parents. As she boards the bus and leaves, he ponders his next move – and this causes a greater earthquake in his village.
- Da-eun’s recounting of how she developed her unrequited crush on Bobby is a relatable tale, one that may be hidden deep in the hearts of those who have gone through something similar.
- From having his Love Cell physically carving Yumi’s name and likeness in stone, to his BGM (Background Music) Cell crooning an emotional tune to suit the “destined situation” of his Yumi re-encounter (complete with a karaoke-type scrolling lyrics and a countdown) – editor-in-chief Ahn’s campy, quirky and dramatically over-the-top cells were quite a sight to behold indeed. A refreshing change from the cute cells seen thus far.
- In Yumi’s world, endorphins are characterised as Endorphin, a band adored by the cells, and who are constantly looking forward to rocking out at their concert. In real life, ‘endorphin’ is a popular choice for song titles and band names – a notable one being Endorphine, the now-defunct band from Thailand.
- Both Jinyoung and Shin Ye-eun have a cast connection: they were previously the leads of the 2019 fantasy/mystery drama He Is Psychometric.
Two new episodes of ‘Yumi’s Cells 2’ will be released on South Korean streaming platform TVING every Friday at 4pm KST.