First time we hit 0 Celsius this winter, and it has to be with strong wind and snow. Shame that trick-or-treating tends to involve kids in full-blown snow suit intervention. Speaking of which, what are you planning to do for Halloween?
I will start referring to the first orchestra (Hee Yun, Yi Deun, Kim, Bae etc) as ‘Kang’s Irregulars’, because they really are.
He cooks, cleans, is relentlessly nice and has innate musical talent. If this was craigslist, Gun Woo would be so taken.
SONG OF THE DAY
David Usher – “St. Lawrence River” [ Download ]
There is hugging on the hill, though far away there is also the sound of Junior’s heart breaking.
Ru Mi and Kang make their way down, with the conductor in front. Now that the emotional high is over, Kang goes back to being his cranky self. He hurries her to the train station without lunch because he wants to get her back with the now-fired musicians and practice for the music festival.
The sunset at their backs is quite beautiful, but neither notices. Ru Mi feels super guilty for landing everyone in this mess in the first place. The conductor gruffly tells her to start practicing her violin instead – and promptly finds a multitude of faults in her playing.
The other Gun Woo had dinner all prepared and laid out for his teacher, curiously flipping through the partitions spread all over Kang’s table. He spots Ru Mi’s scribbled ‘The Best’ on the cover of one of them, and quickly drops the books back in place again.
On the train, Ru Mi droops off into sleep (her head literally dangles like a big sunflower), bumping against Kang’s shoulder accidentally. She apologizes and shifts to sleep on the window, but Kang orders her to sleep on his shoulder, because it’s better than cold glass. (Kang Mae, I am sleepy too! Lend me your shoulder!)
Concerned by his long absence, Gun Woo calls Kang and interrupts the moment. Assured that his beloved teacher isn’t lying dead in some gutter, he goes up to his own room and practices conducting, assembling toy trucks and the like as his pretend orchestra.
Kang arrives home to find Gun Woo in his epileptic expression of conducting (seriously, his conducting is even worse than LJA’s violin mimicry, though this time it’s intentional).The conductor orders him to the living room to do standard arm movements while he makes himself a cup of coffee. While sipping at the cup (it seriously looks more like… say, Coke or very concentrated tea), Kang slips in the fact that he went out to meet Ru Mi, and that she’ll be joining the Irregulars.
Gun Woo takes this news calmly, and tells Kang that his teacher (ahem – Kang) is more important than Ru Mi. (All the slashers who perked up, raise your hands, lol.) Kang looks at Junior with an unfathomable expression in his eyes, especially when he remembers the elaborate supper spread junior’s prepared for him.
Aww, the boy is so sweet. I want to be like him when I grow up! (Except I would have totally made a leap at Kang Mae by now, so maybe it wouldn’t have worked out.)
Of course, the cheerful front is just that, a front.
The new practice location isn’t the best, but the Irregulars make do with the best they have. Ru Mi comes, and receives a warm welcome from everyone except the newbies and Hee Yun. Things are awkward, as neither the nephew nor the aunt will talk to her like they used to.
In the midst of all this awkwardness, Park runs in with the news that they are not qualified to register in the festival. They petition the registration office in person, but are turned out because the rest of the competitors are of such high caliber it would be pointless to pitch a beginner orchestra against them.
After some strenous begging, the newly founded ‘Mouse Orchestra’ is given a chance to come up with a demo that will impress the selection committee. Junior goes home and tells Kang about the virtual impossibility of it, though Kang’s rather unsympathetic and tells them to rely on their strength.
Kang is being his usual abrasive self, vetoing all of Junior’s piece selections, but Gun Woo takes this harder than he should. (And Kang Mae’s comments are constructive, if you dig through the five feet of insults first.) Gun Woo agrees to the piece that Kang suggests – Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto, commonly known as the Emperor Concerto (the last one Beethoven wrote, and has the advantage of not needing a huge amount of backup outside of the string and piano solo sections).
When Kang tells Junior that he’s annotated the partitions, Gun Woo looks like he just swallowed the cherry of cruelty from the sundae of misery. (JGS is getting really good at angsting silently. This is apparently a useful skill in kdrama.) When he flips through the partitions, all he sees are signs that Kang doesn’t think he’s capable enough. I go for the glass-half-full approach and want to point out how much time and care Kang went through for them, to find the piece best suited to their limited members, and then notating all the necessary nuances.
Both Gun Woos are in the same house, but they call each other via cellphone instead of talking.
The auditions for a piano soloist goes badly until the last moment, when a middle-aged woman on crutches walks in. Her warm-up consists of poking at the keys, but then she astounds everyone with her skill. (She actually is a famous Korean pianist in real life.)
Well! As it happens, Kang was the one who asked her to go and help junior. She praises his sharp ear and unerring sense for classical music while Kang goes all smiley at hearing his student being complimented. Still, he swears the pianist to secrecy.
Things at the orchestra are looking up, though Ru Mi and Gun Woo still aren’t talking to each other. In typical Irregular fashion, the violin sisters organize a roster of people to work at odd jobs so Gun Woo doesn’t have to field the rental fees by himself. (In secret, because they know how proud he is.)
As if she’s done something wrong, Ru Mi sneaks off after practice to meet with Kang Mae, whose idea of a date is… to sit in a library and read about western music. (This is coming from a girl who practically lives at the bookshop, but um, that’s a really boring date.) Ru Mi tentatively brings up the suggestion of activities that are more ‘fun’, and is immediately shouted down by Kang, who wants to cultivate a love for reading in her.
Well, he’s not doing a really good job of it himself, as he hasn’t flipped a page in all the time he’s been there. Ru Mi drags him outside for a walk – it’s a beautifully sunny day. Kang just can’t bring himself to admit that he’s enjoying being outside, and ends up following Ru Mi around the park just like a puppy.
The Irregulars play at a restaurant, a business arrangement courtesy of Bae. Unfortunately for them, Kang just happens to have Ru Mi drive him there (he’d heard from the mayor’s undersecretary that it was a good restaurant). A flaming row ensues. People not in on the know wonder why Ru Mi is with Kang, but the bigger crisis is Kang’s blooming temper.
As expected, he is seriously displeased that they would betray their music this way (yo, we don’t all survive on nobility), Ru Mi stalks off (speak up, girl, you’re possibly the only person who can rival him in a shouting match) to sulk somewhere, and everyone else acts awkward. Just to make things worse, Kang throws money at them all.
This effectively ruins both the new job and everyone’s moods. They go back to the warehouse, where the girls annoy Hee Yun by excessive gossiping and Park takes Gun Woo to task for not accepting money. Don’t kick the boy when he’s already down from seeing Ru Mi and Kang together, dude.
On the other side of the city, Ru Mi confronts Kang in his office for being way too harsh, and tells him that Gun Woo did this all for him. Kang says that this must mean Gun Woo is crazy but he looks like he’s reconsidering what he did.
Just to add to the big pile of drama already floating around, at practice, Ru Mi is openly asked by both Yi Deun (who is curious) and Hee Yun (who is hostile) about what’s going on with Kang Mae. Well, put on the spot like that, especially after some rather stinging comments from Hee Yun, Ru Mi strikes back and says some harsh things about Gun Woo’s inferiority. (Ouch. That’s one thing I didn’t want her to learn from Kang Mae.)
Practice starts, and you can practically cut the tension with a knife.
The formal orchestra ends practice early, and an annoyed Kang Mae finds Kim Gab Yong wandering around. Unfortunately, he’s completely lost in the past, and when Kang brings him to the Irregulars, he doesn’t recognize any of them. The others all agree to humour Kim as long as they can, with Yi Deun fighting all the way.
Here, Kang shows his nicer side as he spins a story for Kim, and reassures the old man over and over that he is where he should be. (And this is the guy who told Gun Woo to learn how to be cruel.) Bae, Yi Deun and the undersecretary drive Kim home.
Of course, Bae doesn’t realize that by doing this, they’re effectively leaving Kang with the orchestra.
At Kim’s house, while looking for ways to contact the oboist’s family, Bae and Yi Deun find a portrait of the real Young Joo, who happens to be Kim’s daughter. She refuses to be forgotten and tries to remind Kim that she isn’t Young Joo.
At the warehouse, Kang promptly undermines all of Gun Woo’s authority by stopping the orchestra at a place where he thinks they’ve missed a crescendo. He demands to see the score, and throws a fit when he reads ‘sempre piano’ in place of ‘crescendo’.
I can has wall to bang head against?
Kang goes on to rant about Gun Woo’s arrogance to presume that he can conduct after a few months of raw learning. When he looks around at the angry (or scared) musicians, Kang Mae also realizes that this is probably not the best place to say what he wants and calls Junior outside. He demands that Junior clear his brain and conduct according to Senior’s written directions. (You know, in negotiations, the first rule is to never demand something that’s impossible.)
True to form, Gun Woo refuses. He cites a difference of style between himself and Kang. The conductor takes this opening to bring up the issue of him playing cool with Ru Mi, and pours salt over his wounds by calling him uselessly proud, competitive, and an ignorant babe. Kang wants Junior to conduct with his feelings out in the open.
Gun Woo agrees, and quietly asks Kang to not interfere from now on. He asserts to a chagrined Kang Mae that this is his own orchestra, and he will conduct as he sees fit. (Sing it, Gun Woo.)
– Does anyone else find the Kangmi dynamic very much tipped in Kang Mae’s favour? And does anyone think this is disturbing, or at least annoying? She just scurries around without saying anything, it’s like all of a sudden we have a Ru Mi clone who forgot how to stand up for what she believes in. It shouldn’t continue, not if they’re to have a healthy relationship.
– I’ve been watching Bad Family, which is a really good show (both Thundie and Javabeans agree, btw, don’t just take my word for it), and Kim Myung Min’s love interest there is also called a ‘fighting rooster’ by their housemates. Coincidence? I think not. Though, imho, Nam Sang Mi’s character fits the epithet much better.
– Screencaps credit to Luv and sayroo.
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 11
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 10
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 9
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 8
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 7
- The Current Drama Landscape: An Overview
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 6
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 5
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 4
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 3
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 2
- Beethoven Virus: Episode 1
- “Wind” and “Virus” off to a neck-and-neck start
- Beethoven Virus takes its opening bow
- Beethoven Virus, not the DDR song