I’ve honestly enjoyed every minute of Who Are You? so far (and been pretty surprised at how much I like this heart-warming, seriously laugh-out-loud drama), but imho, today’s episode was the first real standout. Fantastic episode, on multiple fronts.
(Man, I am SO BUMMED we don’t get another ep this week.)
SONG OF THE DAY
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Seung Hyo arrives and wants Young In to go eat with him. Caught off guard, Young In stammers that she isn’t hungry, so he tells her, “Then don’t eat, just watch me eat.” She asks if he’s making a confession (that he likes her), which he denies. He calls her strange and keeps protesting, “Why would I make that kind of confession to you?”
Jae Ha says pointedly, “I was anxious for nothing. I thought he was confessing to you too. Well, as a confession it was rather forceful, without consideration or care.” He tells Seung Hyo to eat alone, and Young In, disappointed, turns to leave. To stop her, Seung Hyo blurts, “Then consider it a confession. All right? Since I’ve confessed, come eat with me.”
But his earlier refusal was strong enough that Young In, smarting from his knee-jerk protests, turns him down and leaves him standing alone on the rooftop. He says (aloud, but to nobody since she’s gone):
Seung Hyo: “Don’t go. Just… stay with me.”
Joined by Il Gun on the rooftop, Seung Hyo asks in a hypothetical scenario how Il Gun would feel if a parent suddenly appeared one day and turned out to be a criminal or low-life. At least Il Gun never had to face that.
Seung Hyo: “Does anything change once you’ve seen your parents? Why do you have to know, have to meet them? I lived not knowing without any problems — why can’t I live the rest of my life not knowing? What’s so remarkable about that relationship for a parent to turn up after decades, crying and carrying on? Why are you doing all this even as you’re dead?”
Young In remains preoccupied with Seung Hyo all the way to the police station. Once there, she waits outside while Jae Ha talks to the police officer about reopening the case of Il Gun’s death. The cop is weary of that question, which prompts Jae Ha to ask who else has been asking. The cop identifies Seung Hyo’s associate, currently walking down the hall. Because of new circumstances brought to light, Seung Hyo is pressing for reinvestigation. The cop can’t disclose the circumstances to Jae Ha, who takes in this news with nervous displeasure.
Young In runs into Mr. Yoon outside, who’s come for the same purpose as she has. She asks why Seung Hyo would ask for reinvestigation; while Seung Hyo hasn’t explained his reasons, Mr. Yoon’s impression is that Seung Hyo sympathizes with Young In, who’s now all alone in the world: “He knows better than anyone the fear of being all alone. You’re all alone at 20, but he experienced that at age 4.”
Il Gun asks why Seung Hyo came here, and why he asked Young In to eat with him. Seung Hyo blusters, “I was just hungry. I didn’t want to eat alone, and your daughter happened to be in sight. That’s all. Plus I’d hardly ask Shin Jae Ha to eat with me.”
Il Gun sighs in relief, because he was afraid Seung Hyo had designs on his daughter. Seung Hyo then gets defensive: “What’s so bad about me? I’m tons better off than Young In.” Il Gun reaffirms that Seung Hyo is no good for his daughter — he’d better stay away.
Il Gun: “Even if [Manchester United soccer player] Park Ji Sung were to approach, I’d have to think it over… and probably consent in the end, but I’d have to think about it! Who are you, huh? You’re not right for her, never!”
Seung Hyo: “Look here, Sohn Il Gun. What can Park Ji Sung do that I can’t? I can play soccer too… a little.”
Il Gun laughs at him (Park Ji Sung is SO way cooler) and Seung Hyo leaves in a huff, muttering about how he has no interest in Young In and won’t see her anymore. And turns and sees her.
Young In asks if he was waiting for her. Immediately, he denies it, about to go off on how very much he was NOT waiting for her, thank you very much, but then stops himself and admits that he was.
At that positive sign, she asks if he’s still hungry and suggests going to eat. He asks what she thinks of Park Ji Sung — does she like him or not? Young In answers, “I like him,” and Seung Hyo’s face falls. But she continues, “But I like Lee Young Pyo better” and he perks up. Because, as he tells her, “Lee Young Pyo’s married, right?”
Cheered, Seung Hyo smiles and opens the car door for her, causing her to smile too.
In a hilarious scene in the car, Il Gun frowns disapprovingly in the backseat, berating Seung Hyo for pursuing his daughter. Seung Hyo likewise frowns back at Il Gun, but he can’t say anything without seeming suspicious. He attempts to mutter under his breath, “Get out of the car,” but Young In hears and asks if he changed his mind about eating. Seung Hyo hurriedly assures her he was just talking to himself (Young In asks, amazed, “You talk to yourself in the honorific?”), so Seung Hyo picks up his cell phone, pretends to make a call, then growls at Il Gun to get out. Then, to prove his point to Il Gun, he asks her:
Seung Hyo: “If a person were to fight with a spirit, who do you think would win?”
Young In: “What?”
Seung Hyo: “Let me change the question. If a spirit were fighting with a person, who would you root for?”
Il Gun: “The spirit! Say the spirit!”
Young In: “I’d root for a spirit… not as much as the person.”
Il Gun warns Seung Hyo that he’ll get him back tomorrow (he’s used his three hours today). So Seung Hyo responds by grabbing Young In’s hand — not to show his affection so much as to provoke Il Gun. Young In asks if he’s really confessing his feelings for her this time, and he sends more mixed signals:
Seung Hyo: “Don’t misunderstand. Is eating together a confession, and holding hands a confession? Just think of it like a handshake. This is just a part of the process of going to eat together. I’m not holding your hand because I want to. This is battle.”
(“Handshake,” ha! I’m totally using that one. No honey, I’m not cheating! Our groins are just having a handshake.) By this point, Young In is just confused.
The standoff continues at the restaurant, and Il Gun appeals to Seung Hyo logically — she’s eleven years younger than him. “Don’t confuse her. Don’t touch a hair on her head, and simply send her off after eating.”
In response, Seung Hyo gets up, grabs Young In’s arms, and leans toward her…
At first alarmed, Young In then closes her eyes and waits for the kiss. Seeing that, Seung Hyo’s expression changes, like he’s remembered that this is about Young In more than it is about winning an argument with Il Gun. He lets her go.
He excuses his behavior by telling her to switch shampoos because this one doesn’t smell so great — and his backpedaling causes her mood swiftly plummet into irritation. She tells him angrily not to mess with her emotions because she’s distracted by thoughts of him (the phrase she uses doesn’t have a perfect translation, but it means something that preoccupies your thoughts against your will).
Jae Ha worries about Seung Hyo’s involvement in the reinvestigation. He acknowledges that he’d underestimated Seung Hyo and made a mistake with the cigarette stub. He snarls at Ho Joong — because of Ho Joong’s reckless actions, Jae Ha is now committed to this course of action. Even if he wanted to quit, he couldn’t.
Ho Joong responds that Jae Ha’s being too roundabout. They could just use the girl to force the orphanage director to give up the paintings… unless Jae Ha wants something else.
Jae Ha thinks back to earlier that day. Eager to get going, he was prepared to take Young In to the beach, but Young In, preoccupied with thoughts of Seung Hyo, changed her mind. She’d thanked him; and while he took it well, he’s started to feel hurt at the rejection.
Although Jae Ha is clearly up to no good, this is the first time I’ve felt for him the character (separate from Jin Yi Han the actor), probably because this is the first time he’s seemed vulnerable. It’s also the first time I buy that Jae Ha is developing feelings for Young In.
Seung Hyo drops Young In off at home. Like most of their recent encounters, neither is eager to part ways but they lack an excuse to stay together. So Seung Hyo suggests a walk to prolong their date.
Young In: “Why do you raise turtles? You could have dogs, or cats.”
Seung Hyo: “They’re quiet, and not bothersome. And they’ll live longer than me. If they try to run away, they walk slower than I do, so I’d never lose them. Even if they left, they’d go to the sea, and I’ll know where to look and wait.”
He says this without self-pity or any particular meaning, but Young In is struck with this insight into his character.
He speaks honestly and straightforwardly:
Seung Hyo: “I’m someone who can’t hide things well, so I’ll talk frankly. You occupy my thoughts too. Yes, I keep thinking of you. But this is what I don’t like — it’s uncomfortable and annoying, to have someone appear and interfere with my space and my order of things. I’m really awkward at meeting and separating, leaving someone or sending them away. If I confused you, I apologize. Plus I’m eleven years older than you.”
Young In: “What difference does age make?”
Seung Hyo: “It makes a difference. Age is always an issue. I can’t handle you, and you can’t handle me. You should stop thinking of me, and find someone who suits you. Because I don’t think I’m right for you.”
Both go home and spend some time in depressed reflection.
Time to catch up on some of our other storylines. Jae Ha is upset because an interview with his mother announces that U Gallery is planning an exhibition of Sohn Il Gun’s paintings by the end of April. He berates his mother for saying something that irresponsible — they don’t even have the paintings yet — and reminds her of the uproar that would ensue if the public got wind of the fact that she deliberately kept news of the huge Sotheby’s auction from the artist to gain the rest of his paintings cheaply.
Ha Young steps in with a pleasantly threatening tone, holding a copy of Il Gun’s contract. She’s figured out what happened — Jae Ha’s mother paid the artist off with a measly $10,000 intending to make $200,000. On top of that, the daughter is still in the dark. Jae Ha doesn’t like his girlfriend’s interference and takes her aside. He tells her he appreciates that her hard work made the gallery what it is now, but she’d better write her resignation.
Secretary Yeo has heard from the other secretaries that an executive is scheduled to arrive — and the implication is that Seung Hyo will soon be replaced. Whisperings of his unstable mental condition have started to spread.
At home, Seung Hyo looks over his father’s file (noting the existence of a stepmother and half-brother) when he receives a call from Young Ae. She’s prepared Il Gun’s favorite foods and asks to claim her first of ten dates today, since it’s the weekend. In a move that shows growing restraint on Il Gun’s part (and respect for Seung Hyo’s body), Il Gun doesn’t possess Seung Hyo and instead tells Seung Hyo how to respond — coaching Seung Hyo how to sound more friendly and pleasant on the phone.
Il Gun directs Seung Hyo to decline due to his busy schedule, but Young Ae’s disappointment has him come up with a compromise — what if they combine her wishes for a family picnic (with Young In) with a trip to the orphanage? Young Ae happily agrees.
Young In receives the invitation with excitement. She’s a little confused at the change of heart, because just last night he’d told her to forget about him. Sook makes sense of the situation:
Sook: “In his position, it’s natural for him to worry over the situation. Think. If someone eleven years younger than you, a 9-year-old kid, came up to you and said, ‘Noona, I can’t stop thinking about you,’ would you go ahead and date him? Of course you’d worry.”
Sook helps Young In dress up for her date and sends her off. Young In sees Seung Hyo waiting for her and starts feeling faint:
Young In: “I must be crazy. Why’s my heart pounding so quickly? Stop it, I’m already feeling dizzy.”
She greets him, and for a moment we’re not sure which guy it is — while on one hand he doesn’t speak goofily like Il Gun, on the other hand he’s not as brusque as the normal Seung Hyo. Although it’s not immediately clear if this is Seung Hyo or SeungHyoDad, the more he talks, signs point to it being Dad (he makes a corny joke and seems to take Young Ae’s side when Young In’s mood abruptly turns sour, seeing the Hated Girlfriend in Seung Hyo’s car).
Young In jumps to the wrong conclusion, feeling hurt and betrayed:
Young In: “Did you call her to show me that I wasn’t the one for you? Do you mean to show me how much of a kid I am compared to that woman? … You said age difference is always an issue. If I won’t do because I’m eleven years younger than you, why is she okay at eleven years older?”
He merely says that’s not it; Young Ae tries to smooth things over and explain in more detail, but he cuts her off strongly and tells her not to say more.
Young In: “You said my father was a thousand times better looking to you than this man. You can’t do this to my father. You can’t do this to me.”
Young Ae: “It’s not like that.”
Young In: “Then why were you sitting in his car? Why did you ask for ten dates? I really hate the idea of fighting with you again over the same man. You said he wasn’t the one for you — but he is for me. I like him. I’ve developed feelings for him!”
Seung Hyo looks at Young In in surprise — and the camera PANS OVER TO IL GUN.
(We’re meant to believe this was SeungHyoDad — and they do a credible job of conveying that impression — and I’d felt a twinge of disappointment that Seung Hyo was missing out on this scene. So it’s a welcome shocker to see that it was in fact him all along.)
Starting to break down, she turns to Seung Hyo:
Young In: “I want to be by your side, instead of your turtles. I’ll live longer than your turtles. I’m eleven years younger than you, so I can live longer. I won’t leave you to be alone.”
Seung Hyo wipes away the tears from her eyes, looking at her with a few in his own.
AHHH, seriously, great episode, right?
Regarding the last scene (which I LOVED), I personally interpret the Seung Hyo–Il Gun similarity in a non-creepy way. That is to say, I don’t see it as Seung Hyo turning into Il Gun. Rather, I think it’s more that his strange relationship with Il Gun and Young In is slowly turning Seung Hyo human, and therefore less like his prior, cold self.
Part of the charm is that this drama’s treatment of the developing romance is a little different from the typical scenario, where two people fall in love and are kept apart through external means — third parties, fatal illnesses, undisclosed sibling relationships (or all three if you’re Autumn Fairy Tale). But here, we have two people stumbling along in an awkward courtship — their greatest obstacle their own selves — and there’s something really endearing about that.