Drama Recaps
Beethoven Virus: Episode 15
by | November 9, 2008 | 21 Comments

I know, Kang Mae, the manufactured conflict gives me heartburn too.

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Episode 15

Following from last episode, everyone files into the concert hall, only to find that one of their judges is Kang Mae. [Insert drumroll.] The pressure is on.

The judges all receive a copy of the music score – Mouse is playing a Pavane by Fauré. The changed piece is much faster than the original work, which doesn’t go unnoticed, but the playing is great, so no complaints from the other two judges. However, Kang Mae tells Gun Woo that pavanes were used in European courts as a solemn, stately processional kind of dance, and thus their changes to it pretty much erases the purpose of the piece.

Just to make things even worse, he steps up to the platform and demands that Junior hand over the conductor’s baton so he can show Gun Woo what it’s supposed to be like. (This is one heck of a way of fulfilling Ru Mi’s request, btw.)  One of the judges remarks that it should be interesting, watching the teacher give tips to the student – and Kang Mae cuts in and announces that he never took a student in his life, and doesn’t intend to.

Kang Mae goes on to say that if ‘this idiot’ can’t understand the score nor the music itself, then he’ll just have to show how it’s properly done. Poor Gun Woo walks off to the side, all dejected. Wow, okay, Kang Mae isn’t fulfilling Ru Mi’s request after all, because he sends her away for not being able to hear. It’s like they’re in kindergarten and he’s sent them into the corner for misbehaving or something.

(The inner WooMi shipper thinks they look good standing together, but Ru Mi and Gun Woo are both super zoomed in on Kang.)

Once again, the actual tone and pace of the piece comes down to a difference in stylistic interpretation, which the reporter dude rationally points out. However, Kang excoriates Gun Woo for presuming to think he has enough talent and knowledge to just change classical pieces in the blink of an eye. (Well, to be honest, your girlfriend helped too…) Then the man strides offstage, shouting something along the lines of ‘Never shall this orchestra see the light of day!”

Junior pursues his ex-teacher, and while his tone is purely conciliatory, Kang is still at the biting stage. Beyond the basic debate on whether or not it’s okay to completely change a piece based solely on gut feeling, there’s something deeper that’s perhaps poisoning the communication between the two Kang Gun Woos. It used to be that Kang would say ‘Jump’, and Gun Woo would follow up with ‘WTH? How high?’, but now they don’t even understand each other, and it hurts to see such a good relationship fall apart like this.

Despite Kang’s strident objections, since he isn’t an official panelist judge, Mouse Orchestra passes the auditions. When the orchestra hears of this, they’re all puzzled as to why Kang Mae would come and expend all this effort to ruin them.

The maestro under discussion returns to his workplace, where he is greeted by the sight of the mayor-elect telling the city orchestra to help him out. It’s demeaning, because he’s just demanding that they play fanfares and stuff when he makes his speeches. When Kang Mae storms in and tells the man to go the heck away, the mayor tells him that if his opponent Jung wins, their collective geese are cooked. To Kang, it’s all whatever.

Even when he isn’t with them in spirit, Park still thinks about Mouse Orchestra, and sends over snacks. In between the boxes of cookies and crackers (probably stolen from his daughter, lol), Bae discovers an envelope full of money, as well as the contact info for someone who’s looking for an orchestra to record with. Aww.

However, not everyone is doing very well, as Bae has run out of savings and is working overtime to make ends meet. At home, Ru Mi finds Hee Yun sitting listlessly in the living room, worrying over her husband’s probable infidelity. While they’re both there, Hee Yun also tries to talk Ru Mi out of being with such an obvious asshat like Kang Mae. She doesn’t want Ru Mi to make the same mistake she did and sacrifice herself for a man who doesn’t even appreciate what she does.

At the studio, everyone suffers during the new accompaniment job – it’s for a singer who doesn’t have the vocal power to carry over an entire orchestra, but whose mother insists on having a concert anyway. The poor musicians are stretched to the limit and try to play as low as possible. Mass annoyance ensues.

Back in the safety of their warehouse, Mouse orchestra preps for their own practice. Gun Woo hands Ru Mi another piece to adjust (this time it’s a song). She teases him about his favourite conductor and tells him that even such a great conductor as his idol gathers up other people’s partitions and studies them before making his own interpretations of the piece. (In other words, dude, don’t be a stubborn asshat.)

However, the good mood is shattered when everyone hears from a cellphone broadcast (the wonders of technology) that the new mayor is Jung Whatshisface. Ru Mi and Gun Woo look at each other, because they know what this may mean for Kang Mae.

At the same time, Kang Mae and Jung Evilface meet on the steps of the musical village. The conductor is abominably rude, which the undersecretary tries to overwrite, but yeah. The tension, you can cut it into bouillon cubes and make stew.

Jung wants the orchestra to play the national anthem at the ceremony during which he officially becomes the mayor. Kang, however, refuses, especially because Jung Evilface is too controlling. The very public confrontation and subsequent humiliation isn’t doing much to endear Kang to the new mayor, especially as the dominant one (this time) is very much our dear maestro.

He enters his office while fuming, and opens a music file from Ru Mi. She accurately predicts his moods and reactions, and plays a short excerpt of the Liebestraum for him. Yay, Kang has calmed down a bit.

Then the undersecretary runs in, all winded from running around, and he looks like he needs a few bottles of Advil to help him deal with these two figures of power. I think the poor man has given up reconciling Jung Evilface and Kang Mae. Anyhoo, Kang asks him to send flowers to an address he indicates, and goes off to start practice.

Just to recover a bit, Kang takes a nap and dreams of listening to Gun Woo conduct the Liebestraum, but halfway through the piece things stop synching and it’s one giant mess of cacophony – and Kang wakes up in a cold sweat.

Oh dear. It appears that life imitates dream, as Kang loses his grasp on how to conduct a piece, and directly contradicts what he said the day earlier. When he asks the undersecretary about the practice this afternoon, the other man remarks that his conducting has taken a gentle turn. Kang’s sense of unease grows, as they’re talking about Beethoven’s 5th symphony here.

Kang Mae throws a bit of a fit and takes the cab directly to Ru Mi – speaking of whom, is enjoying her flowers. She looks up to see Kang arrive in a cab, and is about to smile at him when he comes and directly begins stomping on the basket. (Oh, those poor flowers, what did they ever do to you, Kang Mae?)

Predictably, Ru Mi is both shocked and distressed. He shouts that his music has changed sounds and become muddy (for lack of a better adjective), and while he tells her that it’s not her fault, his temporary lapse into rage is unsettling.

Away from all this drama, Yi Deun gets ready for school and reluctantly leaves grandpa Kim sitting dully at his chair. She opens the door for Kang Mae and tells him to remind grandpa Kim to eat later.

In fact, Kim had called him earlier in the day and Kang mae probably also came to seek advice. Unfortunately grandpa Kim is no longer able to give any sort of response at all, and Kang asks, sadly, if the place he’s at is nicer than reality.

As the monologue goes on,  it’s clear that Kang Mae also blames grandpa Kim for urging him to be true to his own feelings, as musical confusion is directly related to his real-life one. During the middle of his speech, grandpa Kim regains his usual sharp wisdom and asks what Kang expects him to do.

When Kang is faced with actually talking to someone who ‘matters’, he gets up and attempts to deny everything. Kim cottons on (correctly) that Kang is reluctant to date Ru Mi because a) she’s so much younger and b) she’s somehow lesser than he is. Kang also has hang-ups from his painful breakup, on the day he adopted Beethoven.

In short, he’s afraid. (Which would explain the stomping on of flowers, though I’d been hoping that Gun Woo was starting to influence him musically, because, hello, more interesting.) It’s nice that Kang’s able to be frank with someone, at least.

Kim’s revelation that he had an affair with a harpist at the Seoul Philharmonic during his marriage also parallels Hee Yun’s current dilemma, and the grandpa adds to Kang that it takes considerable courage to love someone all the way till the end, and that cautious people (like themselves) are usually not capable of that kind of passion.

Consequently, Kang texts Ru Mi and tells her to meet him at his house. He throws her a CD recording of Smetana’s String Quartet No.1 (also called From My Life) and tells her to listen to the violin solo in the fourth movement. And then he breaks up with her.


(Also, this happens to be the best way of opening up an entire can of angry worms from Gun Woo.)

Hmm. Ru Mi gets told that she doesn’t matter to Kang, and then right after, he tells her that he can’t afford to let anything affect his music. Which, in my head, contradicts each other, because if she doesn’t matter then she can’t affect his music, um… During the conversation her hearing goes on and off, but she hears enough to understand the gist of it.

In the end, Ru Mi does agree to break it off, if only for his request to preserve his music. She does say that becoming deaf has allowed her to understand him better and leaves.

Kang Mae looks at the closed door with something close to panic, and pats himself in the general heart/stomach area. He goes to work, but he can’t concentrate, so he comes back home.

Meanwhile, Ru Mi practices the Smetana solo and cries on her violin.

When Kang Mae comes in, Gun Woo asks him for permission to look through his partitions, because he wants to know the traditional interpretations of the pieces he’s working on. We know that Kang Mae isn’t stable right now, so the stuff he says isn’t reliable, though Junior doesn’t. (The writers say, MOAR ANGST.)

Kang tells Gun Woo to stick to his more modern interpretations and then completely lies about not calling the former mayor to stop the construction work. Hearing that Kang was jealous enough to attempt to sabotage him, Junior doesn’t take the compliment from the statement, and instead cries out of a sense of betrayal.

Junior walks away and cries in his room (like an emo teenager, sorry, I do have sympathy, just not for overdramatization). Kang’s trying to cut ties with everyone he cares about, though in this case it’s more like he doesn’t want Gun Woo to be negatively influenced by his own fall from grace.

To help himself fall asleep after a very difficult day, Kang takes a few sedatives and literally crawls into bed. (I think you know what’s going to happen.)

The next day Kang Mae is late enough to practice that they send Park off to look for him at the house. Gun Woo is off being emo, and no one answers Park’s repeated calls. Beethoven, however, is barking in distress at his master, who is feverish and unconscious.

Park calls in the members of the Irregulars, who set up rotations to take care of the maestro, though Gun Woo still refuses to see his former teacher. Junior stays alone overnight at the warehouse, notating his new partitions.

(Um, is he trying to get sick too?? Baka.)

The next day, Kang seems completely recovered and goes back to his normal self. It really helps that he knows the Irregulars took care of him last night. 😀

Mouse Orchestra is still being tortured by the rich mother and the daughter who cannot sing. Finally the mother comments one too many times about the orchestra’s inferiority, and Gun Woo snaps. He frankly tells her to push her daughter off a cliff a few times to enhance the strength of her voice, and that their experience is more valid than the type that has to be bought.

Despite all that, Gun Woo is still in a crap mood.

And while Kang seems to have recovered from that bout of doubt, the mayor has decided to fire him in favour of someone more malleable.

End episode.


– Writers, please, do not hammer the points in, the viewers are capable of reading in between the lines. If they keep telling me (and not showing) about stylistic differences I may throw something at my com screen. Atm Ru Mi’s worldview seriously aligns better with Junior’s. I wonder how they’re going to play that out.

– Btw, for those of you who are worrying about how on earth they’re planning to finish the series in one episode, don’t – there’s been a two-episode extension handed out, and BV will end with 18 episodes. Which sort of reminds me of my 2 episode backlog… *headdesk*



21 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. imusonata

    this is so good. thank you for writing these.
    does anyone else realize that Du Ru Mi sounds like Do Re Mi (musical conotation here)?

  2. Evange

    Haha… A bad pun i would say.

  3. Bee

    Mmm… I think that the breakup-segment is part of their original concept, as it’s a turning point for KangMae. His realisation of how his conducting gets influenced and his consequential panicky escape are not fabricated… unlike the conflict in the previous episode.
    Of course, one could argue that the conflict between KangMae and Junior alone should be suffivcient to send KangMae on the run. I loved KangMae facing his ugly jealous side and feeling disgusted with himself.

    What I thought was an interesting image was how KangMae left the house after being sick. His dress code and the sunglasses are just like when he arrived first, as if to signal that he has fallen back to square one…
    Nice imagery there.

  4. michi

    Oh, they broke up? Were they officially a couple? Ah, ok…from the hugging-on-the-hilltop — episode 11, was it?

  5. Xy

    ~I was hoping you’ll mention the ring….( I have the same in my pinky)
    >I also crossed my fingers for the ” I never said I love you” line but it never happened…gah.

    >Jung Evilface…(~_~) [episode 16 ; Cage; win]

    >I’ll never take anything Junior does seriously because of the faces he makes whenever he conducts,be it awesome angst. Sorry.

    ps. KangMi for the ending!!

  6. innocentsteps456

    thanks for the summary… just hoping that there isn’t some really obscure ending to this wonderful series…

  7. chajjye

    it’s ending soon…. *angst. haha.

    rumi also deleted kang’s number from her phone.

    at least this episode starts to show that the irregulars cares also for their kang mae. it may be late but it’s good to show that they are finally understanding him. 🙂

  8. ji

    thanks so much for the summaries Sevenses. is Lee Ji Ah ever in drama where she is paired with a guy who isn’t way older than her? i like Kang Mae but dang.

  9. Sevenses

    ^ Considering that Lee Jia has been in only Legend and Beethoven Virus, it’s probably too early to tell.

    I didn’t want to post everything I had to say about this episode at the end, as I have a bad habit of rambling – but yes, I do think the break is temporary, and that his attempt to re-don the armour of Maestro Kang will not work this time.

  10. 10 Don'tShootMe

    Am I the only one watching this show and noticing (and enjoying, in a creepy way) sexual tensions between Kang (maestro senior) and Gun Woo (maestro senior)? Those two have more tension between them and more scenes of longing and attachment and separation and anxiety and caring and loving and hatin’ and growlin’ than the supposed love triangle. Seriously, am I only one noticing this?

  11. 11 RE:

    ^ haha, me too – it’s one of BV’s guilty pleasure! probably a lot of it has to do with them touching on older gender archetypes (i’m thinking of…the lone wolf, top shooter but emotionally taciturn cowboy who appears on the ranch once in a while. he brings free livestock for the ‘po family he can’t bear to see starving. among them is a budding, “golden” and beautiful daughter with a special talent to reach out to the emotionally wandering. & they have a love/hate bond because of irreconcilable differences (baking meatloaf vs. killing people?) but they kinda switch the roles? kangmae shuts his emotional door so gun woo thaws him out…gun woo’s pride steels him to be a “tough guy” while kangmae softens behind scenes to help him in every way.

  12. 12 stupidfan

    Sorry for being dumb but why is Maestro called Kang Mae now ? Isn’t it that his name is Kang Gun Woo as well?

  13. 13 Sevenses

    @10 & 11: LOL! I had the same problem all throughout the later episodes of Hong Gil Dong. This time I don’t really see it as a sexual tension thing as much as a father-son rebellion thing. (Though if you throw in the UST in addition to the father-son tension we’ve got one messed up dynamic right there.)

    @12: That’s not dumb at all! You probably just missed it when everyone nicknamed the conductor as Kang Mae(stro). Get it? 😀

  14. 14 Don'tShootMe

    @11 : Ah ha! You’re totally right on the lone wolf grizzled older dude-pretty younger talented (girl) guy love connection. Every time those two fight and then make up and then fight, I go, Kiss already and get it over with! Do it!

  15. 15 amanderina

    um…okay- I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea- but am I the only one who thinks Kang Mae is dreamy? in a pissed-off-repressed-grumpy-old-man kind of way? LOL. Like Hugh Laurie in House. Whenever Kang Mae verbally reams someone out I’m so happy. LOL.

    maybe I’m just attracted to older men. LOL. Not that Gun Woo Junior isn’t completely hot…..

    ….I know, I know. TMI. LOL.

  16. 16 Anonymous

    yr ht

  17. 17 Anonymous


  18. 18 eRL

    heart-breaking episode. I somehow could feel the pain kang mae felt when i watched this. and i have to say that the script is so real. it’s almost impossible to change someone who has lived for 42 years with that kind of attitude into someone different. his inability to accept change in his life is not unreal. it happens to people in the real world., unfortunately. yet as a human being, he also longs to love. but to love means you have to be ready to be hurt. and he is just not prepared for it. thus, deny himself from loving. poor kang mae =(

    anyway i enjoy your review =) looking fwd for eps 17-18 although i have watched it haha… been looking for someone sharing my sentiment ;p

  19. 19 OMG

    Did no one else notice that when Junior was scolding the rich old lady, the fact that he sounded just like Kang Mae? I found that so funny. He even added the little accent thing at the end, when he said: “at least we don’t stink ofmoney like you”. There’s a hint of Kang Mae’s accent there, just like when Gun Woo was imitating him while playing poker… lol JGS is so cute ( man, sound so fangirly)

  20. 20 Flo

    I really enjoyed your recaps of this drama. I am really late in jumping into this band wagon. I only watched this because of JGS after I found that he was awesome in YAB. In fact I think he picked up some of the mannerism of Kang Mae !

    I was able to understand this drama better with these recaps since I don’t understand Korean. I find that your descriptions of some of the scenes are hilarious. I enjoyed these recaps as much as I enjoyed the drama itself. Thanks !

  21. 21 Laura

    So much to gush about this episode!
    I loved when Mae Kang forced the politicians on the step to move out of his way. Only him. 🙂
    The scene between him and Gramps was really sweet. Gramps always has a trick up his sleeve!
    I also loved when Junior took his last advice “You need to be meaner” and dished it out to that lady. And when Yongki said CRAP. I died laughing.
    The break-up was sad to see…I hope it’s not the end between them…
    Anyways, good episode!

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