Drama Recaps
My Sweet Seoul: Episode 8
by | July 11, 2008 | 12 Comments

Episode 8 was cute, meditative, and full of quiet little moments. Lee Seon-kyun lovers, brace yourselves! He’s pretty adorable here, even if I can’t get over the nagging feeling that Young-soo is way too good for Eun-soo. (I’m trying REALLY HARD to like her, peeps. It’s hard. But Episode 8 did a decent job of it.)


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The episode deals with a motif I’m sure we can all relate to: the unringing telephone. The long-awaited call that never comes. Particularly when you’re the one in the wrong, hoping with bated breath that the other party forgives you and makes contact.

The little animated segments are getting cuter, with stick-figure Eun-soo holding up the huge cell phone on her back (metaphorically representing its burdensome weight upon her), dragging it along for fear she’ll miss the call from Tae-oh. It doesn’t come, and finally she gets fed up with her own dependence on the phone and leaves it behind when departing for a business trip to Jeju Island.

Young-soo adorably looks forward to seeing Eun-soo, in high spirits, smiling whenever he catches a glimpse of her red umbrella. Alas, his cheeriness fades as some other, oppressive thought occurs. Abruptly his good mood vanishes, replaced with a somber one instead.

Young-soo pulls over and calls in to say he can’t make the business trip after all (his co-workers go on without him), and instead heads over to a cemetery to pay his respects to an unidentified person.

So Young-soo sits alone at the grave site all day, while Eun-soo remains in her own gloomy mood (she’s disappointed at Young-soo’s last-minute cancellation, but more lost in thought over Tae-oh).

Including facts gleaned from a later conversation with his hyung, here are the facts of Young-soo’s undisclosed past: He feels responsible for something that occurred fifteen years ago. That feeling intruded upon his happy thoughts of Eun-soo. His hyung encourages him to forget “it,” that “it” wasn’t his fault, and that it’s time for him to move on. Based on those points, my speculation is that Young-soo was married young (he’s 38, so that puts his previous relationship at age 23) and feels responsible for his wife’s death. But that’s just my guess.

Eun-soo broods, thinking of all the things she hadn’t done with Tae-soo, like visit the beach together. She thinks, “This is a love that may be beautiful but must end at some point. But… why? Tae-oh, where are you?”

It appears Tae-oh’s doing his best to forget her and move on as well, albeit with some difficulty.

Young-soo surprises everyone by showing up on Jeju Island after all, his mood seemingly much lightened. He joins in with the rest of his employees and Eun-soo as they take a look at the green-tea crop. (It’s also apparently the first time his employees have seen him wearing short sleeves in more than ten years.)

Young-soo intends to take Eun-soo to a particular restaurant to eat, but gets lost along the way, missing a turn and stopping multiple times to get directions. It’s cute how he obviously feels really bad for losing his way and keeping her hungry, despite her assurances that it’s all right.

While standing by the road to ask for help, they are approached by a senile old lady who tells them in a childlike manner, “Want jajangmyun. Hungry.” They end up ordering the cheap noodles and eating with her, laughing embarrassedly when she assumes they’re married. She nods her hearty approval at their match, not registering their attempts to correct her, and continues congratulating them and mentioning their children.

While Eun-soo generally manages to be upbeat around Young-soo, her mood occasionally lapses back into anxiety as she checks her messages and finds that Tae-oh still hasn’t called. Young-soo notices her mood dips, but doesn’t (yet) venture to comment on it. After watching some kids in a playground, they bring up the various kiddie games they played when they were younger, like freeze tag, which leads to some game-playing on the beach.

Young-soo mentions her gloomy mood in a roundabout way, offering to play a round of freeze tag in which he’ll “unfreeze” her from her blues. Eun-soo plays along and “freezes”; Young-soo taps her on the arm lightly and tells her, “Unfreeze! Blues over.”

In a playful mood, he strikes his own frozen pose. Eun-soo asks what has him frozen — “I have to know what kind of freeze to free you from” — but he’s firmly in character and remains still until she taps him. Young-soo breathes in mock relief, and answers her question (“What kind of freeze was that?”) by saying, “Everything. Didn’t you unfreeze me from everything just now?” Eun-soo plays along and agrees, just as Young-soo tells her forthrightly, “I like you. I think I have feelings for you.”

That surprises her into silence. Without knowing how to respond, she doesn’t say anything, and he doesn’t press. He simply asks her to send him a text message when she gets home. Still shocked, she manages to nod okay.

When Eun-soo arrives home, she checks her cell phone, and finds she’s gotten plenty of messages from everyone but the one she’s waiting for: No Tae-oh message. She does text Young-soo a simple “I arrived home,” but that alone is enough to make him smile. Aww.


Back home, Eun-soo’s mother meets with her… uh… other man? (She calls him “oppa” and while there’s a comfortable vibe between them, I’m not sure if you’d call it an outright affair. She IS hiding his identity from everyone, so that indicates she feels guilt over it. But while she’s engaging in what you might call an “emotional affair,” it’s unclear if they’re physically involved or just, uh, “dating.” Not to downplay her actions — I’m just trying to be accurate.)

In any case, she decides it’s time to end the relationship, and tells him they should stop seeing each other. She then goes home and finally stands up to her husband, telling him she wants a divorce. He, as usual, merely ignores her and pretends not to hear, finally grumbling in annoyance, “Whatever, do whatever you want!” I know his attitude is common in the older generation, but still: What an insufferable man. And I do have a lot of respect for her mother for finally deciding not to live in limbo and wanting to cleanly cut ties. The fact that she asked for a divorce AFTER ending her relationship indicates that she truly does need the divorce for herself.

Girls’ night at Jane’s new fancy place. It’s interesting how Jane doesn’t even try to hide her less-than-wonderful marriage, announcing that her home is fantastic — without her husband around, that is. (She’s speaking lightly, but it’s pretty clear that she’s not just joking.)

This time, the gathering is good-natured and without tension (the past few girls’ nights have elicited uncomfortable results). Eun-soo even makes a tacit apology to Yoo-hee when she tells Jane not to call Yoo-hee’s hated boyfriend “Nicotine” anymore. Eun-soo also confides in her relationship troubles with Tae-oh (to which Yoo-hee honestly tells her that she was in the wrong). Eun-soo knows this, but is too afraid to call him, and is instead glued to her phone waiting for him to call her. Jane chastises her, saying she only called him once — if she tried calling more, of course he’d pick up. Eun-soo mumbles that she’s afraid, and again I’m feeling impatient with her wishy-washiness. (I understand that she’s a self-professed “coward” but that doesn’t make me like her.)

Yoo-hee and Eun-soo beat a hasty retreat when their fun times are intruded upon by Jane’s disapproving mother-in-law, who enters and censures Jane for (1) smoking and (2) behaving in a generally unladylike manner. Jane takes the scolding quietly, but I do really admire her for speaking up to ask that her mother-in-law hand over the apartment key (as if to say, “This is my home and you are a guest, not a resident”), even though the mother-in-law haughtily ignores her and storms off in a huff.

When Eun-soo confides about Young-soo’s admission that he likes her, Yoo-hee follows her disbelief at Eun-soo’s two-timeyness by asking what she’s going to do. She advises Eun-soo to let go of Tae-oh (because, as Jane had pointed it, it was a relationship that was going to eventually end anyway) and pick Young-soo. But Eun-soo’s still more emotionally connected with Tae-oh and is reluctant to give him up. She tells Yoo-hee, “I’ll take care of it and end things,” to which Yoo-hee asks, “Which side?” Eun-soo doesn’t know the answer.

Meanwhile, Yoo-hee’s relationship takes a big step forward as she meets Chan-seok’s daughter, Bom. The meeting goes well, and Bom seems like a happy, well-mannered kid. Chan-seok is obviously a proud father, and the encounter seems to stir some kind of deeper emotion within Yoo-hee which we’ll have to wait an episode to address.

Eun-soo broods some more, lost in thoughts of Tae-oh and memories back to happier times. As she walks down the street, a posted flyer catches her eye, upon which is written a poem: “Don’t cry. We’re people because we feel lonely. Living means enduring loneliness. Don’t wait for a phone call that won’t come.”

Tae-oh, meanwhile, is busy with work, but when he goes over footage from the short film Eun-soo had helped out with, his depressed mood eventually lightens as he remembers their better times together, too.

And so, he’s sitting in her apartment when Eun-soo comes home from work at the end of the day, just as she’d been about to give up waiting.


I’m really trying not to flog a dead horse, so I am determined to refrain from Eun-soo-related criticisms unless they are new issues. As most of my Eun-soo issues are continuations of previously mentioned points, I won’t belabor them here.

Otherwise, Lee Seon-kyun continues to be charming, although I wonder at his current status as the perfect man. For that reason I’m glad to see this episode give him a hint of something deeper, which we haven’t really seen before and which will hopefully give him added layers. I doubt it’ll make him dark or tortured, per se, but anything bringing further complexity to an already endearing character is a welcome addition.


12 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. q

    i want to watch this for the 2 male leads when i have time. but the lead girl doesn’t seem entertaining enough. i read somewhere, i don’t remember where but someone said this is like Dalja’s Spring but boring. the girl looks kinda different from the promotional photos.

  2. javabeans

    q, i’d say it’s like Dal Ja’s Spring with a lesser focus on Prince Charmings and a greater focus on reality and personal insights. So yes, there’s less DRAMA, and Dal Ja is more fast-paced; My Sweet Seoul has a lot more breathing room and clever, thoughtful moments.

    I wouldn’t say it’s boring at all, but i know some people don’t enjoy indie films, and if you need constant stimulation, it might not be for you. But it’s still a really quick watch (the episodes are a bit shorter than the norm, usually about 50 min). I’d watch it for the directing alone.

  3. cartman

    oh my god! at the last part, my heart stopped 😐

  4. nixxochick

    i am really enjoying this drama but i REALLY dont like the Eun-soo character…. its pretty sad when the supporting actors are way better then the main one, i just hope theres a change in her storyline

  5. shro

    i agree. not only do i not like eunsoo but i just plain out dislike choi kang hee.

  6. bluelime

    thanks for the recap. =)

  7. djes

    thank you for your recaps. I’ve watched up to 2nd episode, and decided to wait a little longer to come back.
    I like Lee Seon Kyun – of course the voice is one of the reason – eventhough he’s not typical idol that you would crazy about.
    And yes this drama is kinda slow, but not in boring way.

    In the meantime, until I get the newer episodes, I’ll enjoy your summaries. You’re great, you know? 😉

  8. docmitasha

    I just watched my very first ep while editing episode 6, and I really enjoyed the directing style and the acting. There’s an ease and reality to the show, atleast it seemed that way, and the scenes roll very comfortably. All the characters seem likable, though I understand your annoyance with Eun Soo’s attitude at some points (I couldn’t related to how she could advocate Jane’s marriage, for one thing, with such a weak argument). But overall it seems like a really well-made show and the entire way it flows and is put together is attractive. I think I’ll go back and watch this one from the beginning 😀

  9. amy

    I used to be a big fan of Choi Gang Hee and I don’t know if she’s just playing the character out so well but I’m starting to dislike her, I guess for the character. Gah.. Eun Soo acts oh so pure and innocent (maybe it’s just because she’s played by CGH) but the way she thinks and the things she does are so selfish… Eun Soo seriously needs to grow up cause she acts like she’s still in elementary school or something.

    But anyhow I love the directing and overall acting of the main actors, except for Ji Hyun Woo… I don’t think he’s too good at conveying the feelings of his character because in sad moments, in my head I think I should feel sad for him, but in my heart I don’t because when I see him acting in those moments it seems like he could care less about the situation and I don’t think he intentionally does that. I feel like Ji Hyun Woo didn’t fully become Taeoh quite yet and I don’t know if he ever will be.

  10. 10 Nea

    Thanks for the recap. And I’m not sure that many like Eun Soo. I do have to say that I love Young Soo and from the onset I knew that he would be a character with many layers. I agree that he’s too good for Eun Soo and I think the writers know this as well. My thoughts are that these two characters need each other for emotional growth and nothing more. I seriously doubt they could be in a “satisfied” relationship.

  11. 11 julier

    I’m so addicted to this show now! You can count me as an Eun Soo fan. I do understand the complaints, but I like her and relate to her. I love her always trying to find her cell phone. Oh that is so me! I understand her wanting Tae-oh, but trying to keep him hidden at the same time. There is so much to love about him, yet so many issues to deal with. It is not right what she was doing, but I think real. Regardless, I loved the energy and chemistry of their new love. Tae-oh is adorable. And, up until the walk in the rain in ep 7, I can understand why she didn’t hold back on her feelings for Tae-oh because of Young Soo. Prior to that, he was cool, but if the work relationship had ended, she probably wouldn’t have seen him again. Jane…I feel so sorry for her character. I agree- it was bad advice to go ahead with the marriage. javabeans, I love your summaries! Thanks so much for your blog.

  12. 12 lichee

    I totally agree with you about the Eun Soo character. I really don’t like her at all. She tend to pist me off for some odd reason. There are times I just wanted to drop the drama because I can’t stand her, I more interested in with the Young Soo character. He seems really mysteries and whenever he’s in the picture I get more interested in the scene.

    One of the reason why I am watching this series is for Lee Sun Gyun. I really enjoyed him in Coffee Prince.

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