I loved this episode! It marked a turning point in the story, and I felt the balance in the character relationships shift dramatically. What comes after this is competely up in the air, but ho boy, is it going to be a doozy. I can just feel it.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Loveholic – “오 그대는 아름다운 여인” (Oh, Beautiful Lady). This song reminds me of Elliott Smith, and a little like the Beatles. Which makes sense, since Elliott Smith always reminds me of the Beatles. [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 13 SUMMARY
After hearing Eun Soo’s news that she intends to marry Joon Hyuk, Tae Joo goes through with his own engagement ceremony with Hye Rin.
I thought Tae Joo looked reasonably comfortable getting engaged — which surprised me at first, but then I thought, he’s doing his best to convince himself he can live this 80% existence, and for what it’s worth, it’s not a horrible life that he’s chosen. Not all weeping and gnashing of teeth, that’s for sure. If he doesn’t have to confront the choice he left behind all the time (which is becoming harder and harder for him to avoid), Tae Joo just might be able to live comfortably in denial… or so we can practically hear him think to himself.
Joon Hyuk informs his parents he plans to marry Eun Soo. They don’t find her a suitable match, but he tells his father he isn’t asking for their permission, but rather merely alerting them to his intentions. President Cha takes offense, and still more when Joon Hyuk says that he isn’t his true son, so he will marry according to his own wishes.
Eun Soo tells her family of the marriage plans, to their astonishment. Aside from not even knowing who the fiance is, for once her mother is right on the mark when she tells her: “It doesn’t matter if we like him! What matters is your feelings!”
Ji Soo pries further, wondering what’s up with Eun Soo: “Why are you suddenly marrying someone you don’t even like?” Eun Soo tells her she’s wrong — she’s had feelings for Joon Hyuk for a while. Ji Soo: “So, do you love him?” Eun Soo: “I like him a lot.”
Joon Hyuk and Eun Soo talk on the phone about how their respective announcements went over with their families — and whether or not this was intentional, this juxtaposition eloquently demonstrates how Eun Soo and Joon Hyuk are equally lonely.
Eun Soo tells him she keeps feeling she’s doing something wrong, that her actions might be harmful to Joon Hyuk, but he assures her that he’s happy. She’s making him happy, so she should just think of the future.
At the office, Hye Rin invites Eun Soo to have coffee together, and they exchange pleasantries and congratulations for their upcoming marriages. I can’t get over how much I like Hye Rin these days — it’s not that she’s become a wonderful person overnight, but perhaps because her previous self was so consumed with jealousy and calculation, this is a stark, refreshing change. Also, of the foursome, Hye Rin’s acting most true to herself (probably because she’s the only one who really has what she wants). In any case, Hye Rin gives Eun Soo some friendly advice, saying Joon Hyuk’s a lonely person, and she hopes that Eun Soo can offer him some care, and make sure he doesn’t get hurt.
Tae Joo takes Eun Soo aside for another talk, where he asks — practically begs — her not to get married. She shouldn’t rush headlong into it, because it could be harmful to her. Eun Soo spits back his words at him, that he called her life one without a future. She tells him she’s going to pursue a life where she can see her future, because it’s better than the alternative.
Like Joon Hyuk used to do, Tae Joo plays chess (badoohk) with Hye Rin’s father, who tells him to look into Joon Hyuk’s affairs: “Why do you think I placed you to work under him?” Tae Joo asks why he’s checking up on someone who’s like a son to him, and the President answers that you can’t trust anyone.
Tae Joo meets with Joon Hyuk to discuss business, but hedges and asks about Eun Soo as well. Joon Hyuk says he loves her, and that’s all there is to it. Tae Joo: “Are you sure it’s not for any other motives?” If Joon Hyuk is using Eun Soo to undermine Tae Joo, then he should stop: “Leave Eun Soo alone. Even without all this, she’s had to face enough difficulties.”
Joon Hyuk: “Do you know how ridiculous it is, you worrying over Eun Soo? You’ve made your decision, and so has she. Why are you disregarding her choice? She’s a lot stronger than you think. And a lot more lovable. Don’t concern yourself with her anymore.”
In marked contrast to the antagonistic power play between these two in the past, Tae Joo seems at a distinct loss here — his pride isn’t the issue, but rather Eun Soo’s well-being. This is part of the shift I mentioned feeling, which will present itself more later…
Eun Soo’s mother runs into more trouble when the apartment she was going to move into (using Tae Joo’s money) won’t allow her to back out. The real estate firm refuses to return her deposit — either she move into the apartment, or she give up the money. That is a huge problem, as it’s Tae Joo’s money, and the whole point of not taking the apartment was so they would not be indebted to him.
The problem has her distracted through the family dinner where Joon Hyuk is introduced to Eun Soo’s mother and sister. The mood is pretty chilly, as Ji Soo doesn’t feel particularly friendly and her mother’s busy being worried over the deposit.
At home, Eun Soo presents her mother with money and the news that she made an official deposit in their current apartment, so they can stay there another two years. Although Eun Soo will be married and living with Joon Hyuk, she took out an employee loan to provide a home for her mother and Ji Soo. She also cashed in her savings to pay for Ji Soo’s hospital bill, so her mother should make sure to pay back Tae Joo with the deposit from that other apartment.
Finally, Eun Soo’s mother can’t hold back any more — she likes Joon Hyuk well enough, and she knows that with all the trouble she’s caused, she has no right to demand anything of her daughter… but this marriage is wrong. Can she marry into that household? Can she live as one family with Tae Joo?
Eun Soo tells them to trust her; she has the confidence to live well and be happy.
The matter of the apartment deposit has Eun Soo’s mother on edge, and finally, she does the only thing she can think of — it’s not completely responsible, but it’s the best she can do. She calls Tae Joo to the real estate office and hands him the lease to the apartment, as well as the money she’d received from him earlier. She tells him, “There, I’ve returned everything. You have to tell Eun Soo I returned it all,” then rushes off. Tae Joo’s left with the matter of the nonrefundable deposit, but he tells the real estate officer dully that he’ll give it up. The man can’t believe he’s just going to lose that money, but Tae Joo doesn’t care.
Meanwhile, Eun Soo intercepts a phone call from the real estate office looking for her mother, and goes to take care of the problem. Of course, she arrives to run into Tae Joo, dealing with his lease.
They go to a cafe to discuss the deposit, which Eun Soo insists she’ll repay eventually. Tae Joo tells her to forget it — he started the mess, so it’s his responsibility. Eun Soo keeps insisting, despite Tae Joo’s repeated assurances that she doesn’t have to worry about it, and finally he tells her, “Fine, then pay it back.”
Tae Joo apologizes for telling her not to get married, acknowledging that he was out of line:
Tae Joo: “It’s not that I hate the idea of you marrying. More than anyone, I want you to meet a good person and live happily. A bastard like me may be as worthless as a piece of gum stuck to the ground — but I hope you’ll meet someone who truly loves you. I know Shin Joon Hyuk is a good guy. But you’re acting too hastily. Date longer, make sure your feelings are completely settled, and marry when you’ve confirmed you truly love him.”
Eun Soo: “Then, do you love her? Is that why you’re marrying her?”
Tae Joo: “You and I are different.”
Eun Soo: “There’s a lot you don’t know about me. Although it was only a short time, I learned so much from you. I loved for the first time… and learned how wonderful and sweet a thing that is. And though I’d thought love could only be a good thing, I also learned how in one moment, it could so completely rip my heart apart. Such a cruel, and horrible, and mean thing… I won’t ever do it again. I can depend on Joon Hyuk — he’s steadfast. He makes me feel safe. It’s much better than love. Isn’t it enough that I’ve found something better than love? I’m confident that I’ll be happy.”
Despite the sadness of this scene, I freaking loved it. Because this is the moment I felt Tae Joo’s transformation was complete. Before, when he felt out of control at the thought of losing Eun Soo, he spiraled into drunkenness and self-hatred. All throughout Episode 9, I felt like Tae Joo was a ticking bomb just about to explode into self-destructiveness. He may have been acting out of love — but it was jealous, angry, damaging love. It was about possession — in a word, selfish. Now, however, Tae Joo feels just as powerless and out-of-control, but can only think for the sake of Eun Soo’s happiness. Tae Joo’s finally motivated by something other than selfishness. It’s just a little heartbreaking to see him failing still… With this newfound version of Tae Joo — genuinely concerned and caring for Eun Soo, without being sidetracked by his own desires — rather than erupting into violence as before, I almost expect to see him at any moment melting down into nothingness.
A minor song note, but one that made me perk up, is the use of Gotan Project’s “Vuelvo al Sur” in this scene. I love this group, French-based but Argentina-influenced and incorporating tango into its electronic-techno-World beats. [ zShare download ]
Anyway. Tae Joo calls his hyung to drink, as he wonders, like a lost little kid, “What have I done? What the hell have I done? What have I done to Eun Soo?” Even his hyung looks discomfited at Tae Joo’s plaintive distress — like he’s uncomfortable witnessing something so private — as Tae Joo continues: “Why’s she become like this? What do I do about our Eun Soo?”
With his head resting on the tabletop, Tae Joo mumbles that he wants to go home — his home. So his hyung drags him to his old apartment, where he sleeps it off until morning (and recalls the first time he asked out Eun Soo, at the end of Episode 4).
He’d taken the day off work to go on a weekend trip with Hye Rin, but when he arrives home (Hye Rin’s parents’ house), she’s annoyed and doesn’t want to go anymore. Instead, she goes into work, where she drops by to give Joon Hyuk some advice. Things are rocky with him and her parents, but he should put in an effort to smooth things over before they’re messed up beyond repair. She advises Joon Hyuk to start by bringing Eun Soo by to make a formal introduction.
So later that evening, Eun Soo and Joon Hyuk arrive to pay their respects, with Joon Hyuk making sure to prepare her well in advance that the occasion could turn very unpleasant. No matter what she may think on the inside, Hye Rin’s mother does treat Eun Soo nicely, asking her questions politely. The President is still upset, and merely tells Joon Hyuk to do whatever he wants; he doesn’t care.
Tae Joo awakes from his day-long nap and stumbles in, surprised to see Joon Hyuk and Eun Soo there. He joins them but stays stubbornly silent, while Hye Rin does her best to act as peacemaker, assuring Eun Soo that President Cha won’t stay upset forever. She offers to take care of Eun Soo’s wedding dress, since she knows of a good design shop, and offers Tae Joo’s event-planning skills to find them a good location. Tae Joo resists, curtly saying he doesn’t have the event-planning connections anymore, and Hye Rin tries to persuade him as he just stares ahead.
Hye Rin helps the couple look for a wedding dress, while Tae Joo evades the outing by working late at the office. Hye Rin gets upset, telling Tae Joo it looks bad — like he’s deliberately using work as an excuse to avoid participating. Everyone else is trying to get along, but he’s making this awkward by being stubborn. She tells him to come out and join them…
…and Tae Joo arrives at the shop in time to see Eun Soo happily trying on her dress, and Joon Hyuk telling her how beautiful she looks in it.
The four of them go to dinner, where Hye Rin comments that going to Japan seems kind of odd for a honeymoon. On the contrary, Eun Soo thinks it would be romantic — elegant and intimate. Mostly silent throughout the meal, Tae Joo only speaks up to say he feels the same way as Eun Soo — he understands how she feels (implying the others don’t).
Tae Joo goes back to the office after dinner, but can’t focus on work, thinking instead of Eun Soo in her bridal gown, so goes to Eun Soo’s apartment building. Waiting until she arrives home, he asks her, “What should I do? What do you want me to do?” And then: “Don’t marry that guy. Don’t.”
He grabs her by the arm to take her to the rooftop, for this final scene that I LOVED for giving me the chills—
Tae Joo calls Eun Soo out for something I’d wondered about — that Eun Soo’s enjoying seeing Tae Joo squirm, that she’s deliberately throwing her relationship with Joon Hyuk in his face to give him a hard time. He demands: “Is it that fun, seeing my face while being by his side? Do you enjoy it? You and I… why the heck are we doing this to each other?”
Tae Joo: “Can you look clearly at my face, from another man’s arms?”
Eun Soo: “Yes. I can see your face properly, whenever I want. Because I want to see. I want to see with my own eyes how wonderfully your future unfolds. I’ll see for myself how happily, how well you live your life.”
Tae Joo: “Han Eun Soo. You’ll only ruin yourself.”
Eun Soo: “I’m not afraid. There’s nothing left to ruin anyway.”
Tae Joo: “So you’ll take this to the very end?”
Eun Soo: “I’m saying I’ll take the path I’ve chosen — no matter what you say, no matter if you die from the pain.”
Tae Joo sneers… and then firms with resolve:
Tae Joo: “Fine. Let’s go. Let’s take this all the way. Let’s check for ourselves what lies at that end. I won’t be like this anymore, either. Because I’ve suddenly become very curious…. to know how you’ll do this, in what manner you’ll live out this decision. I’ll wait and see clearly for myself.”
And all of a sudden I have goosebumps from the awesomeness — and ominousness — of this last scene! I don’t buy into the whole What Happened In Bali comparison, but all the same, I’m suddenly afraid of what lies ahead… but really, really looking forward to it.