BV tends to err on the side of the predictable, but it’s an enjoyable watch, nonetheless.
Que l’amour est beau!
As always, many thanks to Luv for lending her screencaps.
SONG OF THE DAY
Loptimist – “Ghostwrite” [ Download ]
Well, everyone’s joy at hearing the orchestra formally established vanishes like dust up a vacuum when Kang explains that he’s decided to only hire professionals to play for his new orchestra. Not only that, but he also belittles the members’ contributions to the success, and literally takes all the credit for the city council’s decision to have an orchestra in the first place. He leaves behind a group of very angry people.
Ru Mi is more disappointed than angry, however, and asks him to at least let them audition. Kang tells her that this team is really just not strong enough for his tastes. There is also a long monologue about how he is the honest one, as opposed to Jung Myung Hwan, who will coat the news in sugar but drop them nonetheless. I think he’s trying to rationalize his decision as the general gist of his speech to Ru Mi points out that an honest bastard is better than a lying nice guy. (Maybe, but it’s still not the done thing.)
In addition, Kang marks her out as the worst of the lot, having gone deaf and all that. He’s hiding his concern for people under a tough coat again, as he suggests snottily that she should go see a doctor. Ru Mi is in the valley of Denial, so he sends her to an ear expert who’s a friend of his for a checkup. (He has friends?!)
The next day, she goes through a few scans, and though we aren’t told the diagnosis just yet, her reaction (crouching in the middle of the street and covering her ears) seems to indicate that it isn’t good.
That night, at a roadside eatery, Bae, Hee Yun, Kim and Ru Mi sit together and drink their share of alcohol. Gun Woo ducks in out of nowhere, and tells everyone he went to the police station to tender his resignation. Upon hearing this, Ru Mi, already three sheets to the wind, pats Gun Woo on both cheeks and calls him a pitiful boy.
Gun Woo, on the other hand, seems to be completely at peace (besides being a little disturbed at Ru Mi’s current mental state). The others grumble about not hearing a single thing from Kang about auditions, and down more alcohol. This being Gun Woo’s night to shock people, he tells them that Park, the double bass player (double bassist, double bass-er?) got a phone call from Kang and has an audition.
This is the last straw for Bae, but he stops shouting when he hears that Kim has also received a call – however, the old man knows he has Alzheimer’s and has told Kang that he will consider it. Everyone surreptitiously checks their cellphones, making sure that Kang hasn’t called them – and then Gun Woo’s phone rings.
It’s from Kang – who tells him that this call does not mean, in any way, shape or form, that Gun Woo will be guaranteed a spot. It’s just that his bravery in resigning and deciding to pursue music has touched Kang – and he’s throwing out a pity line for Gun Woo. (Yeah, right, pull the other leg, Kang, we no longer believe in your cold-blooded asshattery.)
Gun Woo is rendered very speechless and can only repeat Kang’s instructions mechanically. Also, Kang makes Gun Woo promise not to tell Ru Mi the location and time of the auditions. (Thus guaranteeing Gun Woo certain death at her hands, lol.)
The chummy atmosphere disappears and congeals into general gloom as Bae keeps going on and going about how hard he worked as a member of the orchestra Gun Woo abandoned – Gun Woo is guilty enough to think of not going to the auditions. Thankfully, Kim talks him out of that insane idea.
Bae leaves in a cloud of alcoholic fumes, and Ru Mi chases after him. They both know that it’s a great chance for Gun Woo – who caves and texts them the date of the audition (next Wednesday). He doesn’t know where either. Everyone will get a text message on where the audition is Wednesday morning.
Ru Mi decides to get the location out of Kang. Instead of asking him face to face – he would totally refuse – she texts him with various friendly messages asking to see him. The man is still in the office, being a workaholic of the nth degree, but he texts her back, saying that he’s at dinner with some instrumentalists.
Then Kang hears a bit of a disturbance in the offices next to his room. It’s Ru Mi, flipping through the trash and folders with a flashlight in hand. He moves to call security, but only as a ploy to get her to admit the real reason she’s trying so hard to join the new orchestra. To Ru Mi, this is a chance to do what she wants, and she doesn’t want to miss it like she did with other chances in the past. Her desperation strikes a chord in Kang.
He remarks cryptically that if she does pursue it this time she may lose everything, but he writes down the audition date and location on her had anyway.
Ru Mi looks down at her hand like it’s been turned to gold. 😀
Rapid change of scene to Park’s house, where there’s a celebration going on, with people from work. It’s for a younger colleague of Park’s, who has just been promoted to section chief. Kang texts Park with the location of the audition, but Park is talking to his colleague in his daughter’s bedroom, so his wife brings the phone to him.
Unfortunately, Park’s colleague is really drunk and he makes a few passes at Park. (Either that or my brain is due for its annual bath of soap.) It’s more about humiliating Park than actual affection, since the colleague was promoted at Park’s expense. His wife watches as the colleague-turned-boss insists on putting his dirty socks on the clean coverlet of their daughter’s bed.
Later, she brings up the topic of joining the orchestra with Park, very tentatively – he loves the job, why not go to the audition? However, the salary is half of what Park makes now, and he’s quite undecided. He yells at his wife, who’s been taking a lot lately (along with being pregnant), and tells he that he refuses to go.
Hmm. At an internet cafe, Yi Deun is basically prostituting herself – her friend tells her that it’s a fast way to make money. (Well I’d tell the friend to stick her head in water and never talk to me again.) She meets with an exceptional ‘buyer’ online, but it turns out to be Kim using an alias ID. He drags her away (if an old man can drag her away then she’s really skipping out on the food) to the grocery store – one of the many places Yi Deun is part-timing at.
Kim sits her down at a table outside and gives her the money he promised. However, she’s not getting away with it until she gives Kim a satisfactory answer for her recent downward spiral. As it happens, Yi Deun is deluding herself about dreams of riches and setting up a scholarship fund for music students in need. Kim tries to make her realize that it’s a pipe dream by asking her to sell her flute to him, and then asks her if it’s alright if he destroys it.
What he doesn’t anticipate is Yi Deun one-upping him by taking her flute and slamming it against a nearby pole. Not done being dramatic, she flops down on the ground and starts crying.
Kim takes a pamphlet out of his pocket and crouches down next to the girl, explaining that there is an annual musical contest for talented music students who, for whatever reason, are not able to support themselves. If Yi Deun is willing to take three months off and focus on her music, Kim believes that her skill will let her take the scholarship. And he’s not just saying this to make her feel hope – he’s actually judged at these kinds of competitions and knows what it takes.
Aww. He tells her not to give up so easily, and the two stay crouched beneath a lamp-post.
Wednesday morning, audition time!
Park goes in, and passes without a hitch – Kang tells him that should he be chosen for the orchestra, he is expected to quit his current job and put all his energy into playing the double bass. The conductor doesn’t want him running off two days before a concert again.
Out in the hall, all the instrumentalists sit in hushed little huddles, except for the concert members, some of whom are here to cheer their fellow members on.
Gun Woo arrives at last, apparently everyone’s been waiting for him. Anyhoo, the last batch of instrumentalists are called in with him. The actual playing isn’t a problem (the auditions seem almost perfunctory, like Kang has already made up his mind). However, Kang does ask Gun Woo about what he thinks classical music is. (Thus bringing the events of the past full circle.)
Being put on the spot, Gun Woo answers that he doesn’t know much about classical music, but he does know that their orchestra was happy together. Kang deadpans that this answer is too broad and stupid, then tells him to drop by the office later to pick up the practice schedule. (Omm, that was fast.)
The old orchestra members watch as a succession of really talented instrumentalists audition in front of Kang. At least half of them leave in the face of the newcomers’ talent. Ru Mi stays, as does Bae. (Hee Yun is outside having vapours. Ouch.)
At the end of the day, Kang reads out their scores to them – the average of the newcomers is 7.2, while the rest of the old orchestra average about 2 points.
To make herself feel better, Ru Mi stuffs herself at dinner, and I hope it’s Gun Woo who pays, because she’s eating a lot more than her civil servant salary can probably pay for. It’s epically cute that Gun Woo actually takes noodles and food from his own bowl to give to her.
The restaurant seems to be empty (also rather improbable, but whatever), which is probably why Ru Mi is eating the way she is.
Gun Woo tries to encourage her by telling her to look for other classical ensembles. Ru Mi dismisses one by saying that the annual audition date is too far away, which mystifies Gun Woo. He demands an explanation, and Ru Mi gives it to him.
In four months, she may lose her hearing permanently.
Gun Woo is so appalled I doubt he would look worse if someone killed a baby in front of him. Ru Mi seems pretty resigned to her fate, and mentions that her frequent headaches are the result of a tumour in her brain. Cue panic and concern on his part – he wants to drag her to a hospital right away, though she insists on finishing their meal first.
The two find a seat on a nearby fountain. The operation on the tumour will result in her losing her hearing, so she wants to do the most she can with her ears before operating. Gun Woo is nonplussed at her acceptance (well, she can’t do anything about it either, dude, stop stressing yourself out).
Ru Mi tells him that she tried to be sad, but it didn’t work out. (Yay alcohol.) She compares her reaction to being poked with something sharp – one doesn’t feel it at first, and the pain becomes obvious only when blood starts flowing.
Gun Woo doesn’t know what to do with an attitude like that, and settles for hand-holding. She’s glad that he’s worried about her, then swears him to secrecy.
(Dammit, this returns JGS right back to Angsty Prince Chang Hui territory.)
Well, he’s still sharing a house with Kang (ahh, it must be convenient having a friend who’s at a never-ending conference in San Francisco), so the first thing Gun Woo does after coming home is to request that Kang allow Ru Mi on the orchestra as a substitute, since the older man is definitely unwilling to have her as an official violinist.
(He also tells a huge lie about the tests coming back normal for Ru Mi, but why dwell on plot details that will destroy Kang a few episodes later?)
However, Kang’s idea of a substitute is someone who stands while the orchestra practices all year round – and who doesn’t get paid. (- Insert eyeroll – I can just see people flocking to the job already.) Gun Woo’s not too happy with that, but Kang cuts him off and exits the room.
Gun Woo seems to be the liaison for the old orchestra and the new, as they all meet for dinner again. Everyone grumbles except for Ru Mi, who is happy to be near music for the four months she has left.
At his workplace, Park is again being picked on by his boss, who is a lot younger than he is and seems to be holding this against Park. He ends up at having to stay really late at work. When his boss comes back, his temper reaches breaking point and he lets loose with what he’s been wanting to say for weeks. Now that he’s made up his mind to join the orchestra, Park feel free to disparage the pompous, lazy man for what he is.
Gun Woo is outside waiting for the bus when Bae follows him to give him a muffler for his trumpet. Aww. He did this because Gun Woo doesn’t have one and sort of needs it if he wants to practice without waking every dog, cat, parrot and human in his neighbourhood.
The young man is extremely touched and flashes back to his times with the old orchestra. (Cue MV.)
The next day, Kang begins the first practice of the new city orchestra. He notes that Gun Woo isn’t here – and his expression here is more of surprise than anger when the old orchestra members come walking through the door.
They’re so cheerful and happy to be here, while Kang looks like he just tasted something particularly unpleasant. He remembers his offhand comment to Gun Woo, and orders the young man to take his seat. However, to everyone’s surprise, Gun Woo stands with the substitutes.
His explanation: I belong here with them.
– THEY USED THE BRAIN TUMOUR PLOT? WHUT? DO NOT BE STICKING WITH THE PASTICHES, PLSKTHXBAI. I know they want to link Ru Mi with the title, given that Beethoven also suffered from tinnitus before losing his ability to appreciate music, but gosh, could they have gone with something less hackneyed and overused? (I have had enough of cancer/tumour shows, thank you.) I suppose the rest of the show will be about Ru Mi’s struggle to stay active in music without being able to hear it. Fighting Ru Mi! (I think I may be hallucinating, but I do believe Kang also calls her Ludwig von Ru Mi? Subtle is the way to go, writers.)
– You know what, I give up trying to figure him out – Kang is a softie with a granite shell two feet thick – and I will leave it at that. He’s got a nasty mouth on him, but he sends Ru Mi to a checkup when she would totally not have gone, and he gives Gun Woo a chance in a formal city orchestra even if he doesn’t have classical training (contrary to popular belief, talent isn’t everything). At least Gun Woo and Ru Mi actually push his limits in return for his kindness.
– On the love triangle front: Gun Woo seems to be moving into the rather worrying position of Mr. Nice Guy, the one who listens to the girl about her problems and then doesn’t end up with her. Very well documented phenomenon, mainly due to the guy not speaking up (or doing it too late) or not telling her in very concrete ways. With the hand-holding, however, there seems to be hope.
– Have I mentioned that I love it when people’s cellphones ring in this show, because they’re all classical mixes? ROFL. Also, Kang Mae’s nickname for Ru Mi is ‘Fighting Rooster’, which out-cutes the very subtle love triangle they have going on. (Nothing dramatic, thank you, Drama Gods.)