My Sweet Seoul: Episode 8
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.)
SONG OF THE DAY
Jaurim – “Drops” [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
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.