Okay, so here’s Episode 13 in a nutshell:
- Tae-seok: “Give up Mari!”
Chul-soo: “You can’t make me!”
- Eun-young to Chul-soo: “I just want you to be happy. And published.”
- Fans and Anti-fans: “OMG it’s the big movie star! We love you! Also we hate you! You guys are horrible human beings! Can I have your autograph?”
- Chul-soo: “I’d never break up with you.”
Mari: “This is hard.”
Chul-soo: “Should we break up?”
- Tae-seok: “Time to use the ace in my pocket. Old bygone lover, come back!”
SONG OF THE DAY
Sung Shi-kyung – “사랑하는 일” (“Act of loving,” or just “Loving”) [ Download ]
Sometimes I get rankled comments that I’m nitpicking a drama or a scene too much and should just sit back and enjoy. The thing is, when you’re doing recaps of a series, you can’t skip the boring scenes or fast-forward to the good stuff — I have to watch every scene and pretty much listen to every line of dialogue, because if I didn’t, I might make a huge error or jump to the wrong conclusions. And when you’re watching every single scene closely, well, the flaws are pretty hard to ignore.
I mentioned tiring of the drama, but I do want to see it through the end. To offset my growing weariness with the plot, however, I’m going to try making shorter recaps. Since making that decision, watching Episode 13 was much less tedious than it would have otherwise been.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Although the article is pretty bad, neither Chul-soo nor Mari (nor Eun-young) believes that Byung-joon actually wrote it. Mari suspects Tae-seok. On the other hand, Woo-jin warns that everyone will see it as truth — it’s close enough to reality to be believable. Meanwhile, The Idiot vows to uncover the person who put his name on the slanderous piece.
Eun-young overhears Tae-seok making a “proposal” to Chul-soo. Warning that he has the power to make things better or worse for Mari, Tae-seok attempts to strongarm Chul-soo into some sort of noble sacrifice by identifying himself as a mercenary gold-digger: He is to announce that he doesn’t love Mari, used her, and demanded money for the ghostwriting. Afterward, he can disappear overseas.
That threat doesn’t scare him off, but when Chul-soo finds Mari, she’s badly shaken, feeling guilty that it’s her fault Chul-soo is being made into the bad guy and fearing that he’ll want to break up with her. He assures her that he never had that thought: “Why would we quit just because it’s hard?” Mari: “So it is hard?”
Chul-soo tells her he won’t leave her: “It’s because we won’t break up that things are so difficult.”
Next, Mari officially cuts ties with Tae-seok, giving him a stack of bills (hundreds of millions of won) as payment for breaching their contract. With this clean break, she will also be retiring.
Tae-seok goes to Woo-jin thinking they can work together. On the other hand, Woo-jin doesn’t want to be the person who splits up the lovebirds, and tells Tae-seok that he isn’t interested in working with TS Entertainment if Mari isn’t a part of it.
Mari asks Chul-soo’s family to accept her, but even though they like her as a person, everyone opposes the relationship. The eldest aunt tells Mari regretfully that they can’t easily accept her and would prefer the couple split up. Mari doesn’t back down, and gets on her knees in a supplicating gesture, saying she won’t give up. Chul-soo’s family is all he has, and she has no family, so it’s important that they accept her.
Chul-soo arrives to see Mari humbling herself before his unsympathetic family. Disliking the scene, he takes her upstairs, where she makes herself at home, saying, “It feels like this is mine.”
When Mari tells him of her intent to retire, Chul-soo bristles — it sounds like she’s giving up. He refuses to give up in the face of difficulty and doesn’t want her to do so, either.
Yuri’s loyalties lie with Eun-young so she asks Mari to break up with her brother and not come by anymore. She knows Mari isn’t a bad person but she just can’t bear to see her. Mari answers ruefully that she can’t promise that, because she cares for Chul-soo and will probably be coming back.
Eun-young meets with Mari for two reasons: (1) To give her Chul-soo’s novel, which is very good — it would be a pity if Chul-soo could never be published again, and (2) To tell her what she overheard between Tae-seok and Chul-soo. Mari acts like she’s surprised that Tae-seok would stoop to this, although really, shouldn’t she know better by now?
Chul-soo’s senior professor tells him that his writer friend (Eun-young’s father) is compiling a short-story collection. Lest he think this is a pity gesture, the professor says he’s read Chul-soo’s work before and thinks he’d be suitable. Chul-soo thinks melodramatically, “I haven’t got the right to write anymore,” but his professor answers that anyone has the right.
Eun-young assures Chul-soo that she didn’t ask her father to take special consideration with him. Also: “I don’t ask for more, but please consider yourself first, and don’t sacrifice yourself for someone else.”
Mari arrives on campus, worried because Chul-soo hasn’t been answering her phone calls. He’s merely been unable to hear them with his phone in his bag, but he sees how anxious Mari is and guesses, belatedly, that she must have been scared he’d disappear like her first love.
With nowhere to go, Chul-soo suggests a date. He feels like going out and doing normal-people things, like shopping and eating on the street and seeing a movie. Yes, the public is tearing us apart, so let’s go out in public! I thought Chul-soo was supposed to be the smart one.
They manage to avoid being accosted for most of the day, but the tone turns ugly when they’re spotted browsing a streetside stall. The response is a mix of curiosity (“Look, it’s the star!”) and finger-pointing (“God, that guy is such a jerk”).
Chul-soo and Mari speed away to avoid the mob, taking temporary refuge in a cheap motel. (You know it’s kinda seedy because the clerk asks if they’re going to be renting by the night or by the hour, although the question is asked euphemistically as, “Will you be sleeping here, or just resting?”)
Tae-seok turns to Seung-yeon for help: Woo-jin wants to merge their companies, but only if Mari’s part of it. Tae-seok thinks with his brand of bullheaded, empty confidence that this is possible, but Seung-yeon warns that Mari’s different now, and Chul-soo’s different from Mari’s first love, Seo Woo-jin.
But Tae-seok has one last card up his sleeve, which he puts into play by calling Seo Woo-jin back from abroad. And look! It’s a Yonsama-wannabe!
In their motel room, Mari insists through her tears that she’s fine, but Chul-soo can’t bear to see her crying. He asks, “Do you want to break up?”
A FEW LOOSE PLOT THREADS
I don’t think there’s anything blatantly wrong with A Star’s Lover, per se. The directing is fine, the acting remains solid, the music is still well-chosen and appropriate. The problem is that this drama does not get to the point.
I was thinking as I watched Episode 13 that this would have been such a great series had it been ten episodes long, because I remember some really wonderful scenes from earlier. (Like, say, the boat-jumping scene in Episode 4. That sequence — and its music, filming, ambiance — sticks out for me as the most memorable thus far.) Back then, I felt the slow pacing was part of the charm, because the story still felt like it was moving steadily toward a goal.
Now, however, the point is obvious to all of us and yet they aren’t actually making it. It’s so clear what’s going to happen that it’s a little odd that the characters are surprised at what occurs. I doubt the plot is surprising to those of us still watching, and when a drama has lost all sense of dramatic suspense, it makes it very dull to watch, even when the acting and aesthetics are still strong.
- Yonsama lookalike in A Star’s Lover
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 12
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 11
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 10
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 9
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 8
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 7
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 6
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 5
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 4
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 3
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 2
- A Star’s Lover: Episode 1
- From the set of A Star’s Lover
- A Star’s Lover press conference