A Star’s Lover: Episode 9
I’ll admit that there were a few moments in the episode where I felt things were getting a bit repetitive with familiar conflicts and setups. But, as it’s somehow done thus far, the drama managed to keep the story going just when it felt like it was slowing down.
SONG OF THE DAY
Belle Epoque – “달에 숨다” (Hide in the moon) [ Download ]
EPISODE 9 RECAP
More than the kiss itself, afterward there’s a nice moment after Chul-soo and Mari pull apart, staring intently at each other
The moment is cut short, though, as bystanders notice the couple and recognize Mari. Cell phones come out, photos are snapped, and fingers are pointed at the movie star.
Mari turns away at the unwanted attention, but Chul-soo glares at the gathering crowd and demands, “Is Lee Mari your friend?” He grabs Mari’s hand and leads her away.
Once alone, Chul-soo’s mood turns tense(r than usual); he mutters, “Sorry.” (Note that he finally talks in banmal, dropping the formal endings of his sentences to be more casual.)
He fumbles to explain what prompted him to kiss her, blaming it on her crossing the line. Mari points out, “You were hoping I’d cross the line.” Did he really expect her not to? Chul-soo responds that nobody’s done so before.
Chul-soo insists this was a mistake, and, understanding that he’s trying to backtrack, Mari fills in his pause: “Because you like your girlfriend?” She takes on a blasé attitude, as though his words don’t hurt. When he tells her, “Let’s stop. It’s a mistake,” she returns, “Sure.”
He leaves with one last “Sorry,” and Mari grumbles, “Why is he talking in banmal now?” (He’d refused to use it before, since one typically uses banmal with friends and intimates.)
In the wake of the alleged ghostwriter stepping forward, Mari’s book scandal grows even more frenzied. Reporters hound Tae-seok’s management company and stake out the entrance to Mari’s home.
Receiving warning too late, Mari is unprepared to deal with the media hubbub. Her car is spotted as she drives up, and soon surrounded.
Meanwhile, Chul-soo has second thoughts about calling his actions a mistake. He rushes to find her; when he arrives, she is stuck in her car with cameras and reporters harassing her. Seeing him in the crowd, Mari exits her car, and the two reach for each other’s hands through the crowd — but not unlike the underwater sequence in Episode 4, they can’t quite connect.
Black-suited men come on the scene and push the crowd away from Mari, followed by their boss, Woo-jin, who moves to escort Mari inside. The reporters catch wind of another scoop and snap photos eagerly. Chul-soo remains on the side, held back by Woo-jin’s bodyguards, until Mari calls out to him (pretending annoyance), “What are you doing over there? Aren’t you going to drive? What kind of manager are you?”
Taking that as his cue, Chul-soo steps forward and takes the driver’s seat. Mari thanks Woo-jin and gets into the car — leaving Woo-jin to watch their departure grimly, which attracts Byung-joon (The Idiot)’s curiosity. Uh-oh. You don’t want Byung-joon getting any ideas. He can hardly handle the ones he already has.
Mari asks Chul-soo to drive “far away,” which takes them to remote lodgings outside the city. Chul-soo first checks to see if the old lady proprietor has heard of Lee Mari. The woman shakes her head no, so they take the room.
Back in Seoul, Eun-young reads the latest reports online, her anxiety compounded when photos of Mari with her latest suspected boyfriend (Woo-jin) also show Chul-soo in the background.
Woo-jin also broods, having received information that Mari and Chul-soo have settled in for the night together.
Ye-rin wonders if Chul-soo was the one who leaked the information to the press, but Jang-soo, knowing Chul-soo better, says that he’s not that kind of guy. It does seem that Tae-seok is the likeliest culprit, and Seung-yeon certainly thinks so, suspecting that this is retaliation for Mari turning down their contract renewal.
However, Tae-seok’s anger seems real, and he vows to find out who’s responsible. He adds grimly, “If anyone ruins Mari, it’ll be me!” I admit, there is a psychotic logic to that.
It turns out the landlady lied about not knowing who Lee Mari was, because she brings along her neighborhood ajumma friends to have a look at the star. Chul-soo lies that his wife is often told she resembles the actress, and sends the women away. Mari finds it funny; she offers to “reveal” her identity as the real Lee Mari AND his wife — they can say that they hid the marriage for her career’s sake. (She seems game to go through with it, since grannies don’t spend much time online.)
Noting that Chul-soo has reverted to polite speech, Mari tells him to be more consistent — he keeps switching between banmal and formal speech. Mari figures he uses banmal when he’s feeling close to her, like he did after their kiss. At that, Chul-soo recalls, “The mistake…”
A bit disappointed, Mari says, “Right, the mistake.” But Chul-soo finishes his thought: “It wasn’t a mistake.”
His explanation doesn’t make her happy though — he says he kissed her because she was the first to ever cross the line. Mari admits that she had promised herself not to see him anymore, because he’s in a relationship. But ironically, now they’re here together, because he’s the only one she can talk to.
Chul-soo asks if they could reveal the truth. It would cause problems, but he’d prefer to get everything out in the open. Otherwise, things will continue to crop up, and she could find herself stuck with Tae-seok.
That upsets her: “Are you telling me to give up everything I have?… What do you know about the world I live in?” He doesn’t see that as giving up: “But you have so much!” She shouts back, “That’s why! How can I give it all up?”
Now he’s upset too: “Do you know what you’re saying? You’re talking exactly like Seo Tae-seok!” He accuses her of merely saying she wants to be free of Tae-seok while still engaging in the same kinds of practices.
Fighting tears, Mari replies, “I know you don’t like me much, but do you have to talk like that right now, like a stranger? Fine, let’s say I do as you say and admit everything. After everything collapses, what will I have left? It’s not like you’ll stay behind. Can you stay with me? You wouldn’t. You can’t.”
Mari starts to leave. He holds her back, tells her not to go, but she says, “Now this really seems like the end. To be honest, when I went to the hospital, I was going to say we should stop seeing each other. Let’s stop for real now.” Otherwise Chul-soo will continue to think she’s just like Tae-seok, and “I really don’t want you to see me like that.”
Mari steps outside and sees Woo-jin standing by, having found her and intending to take her back to Seoul.
Chul-soo watches them drive off. When Eun-young calls, he tells her he’s with Mari although she’s already gone, and asks to meet the next day to talk. Eun-young senses what’s coming, and tells him to come right away. She’ll be waiting at his place.
Mari admits to Woo-jin that Chul-soo isn’t her manager, but a friend. He takes her to his hotel and gets her the suite next door. When she asks why he’s being so nice, he replies that she can think of him as a friend if it makes her uncomfortable. Mari answers, “I don’t have any friends. I don’t trust anyone.”
With chagrin, he says, “That’s like me. But do you know that those words are more telling than a confession? You said that man was your friend.” At Woo-jin’s admission that he likes her, Mari finds that hard to believe, since they hardly know each other.
Woo-jin contradicts her: “They may call you the actress Lee Mari, the star Lee Mari, or the goddess Lee Mari, but to me, you’re simply that little girl who cried when her doll was taken away.” Because he knew her in their troubled childhoods, he asks, “Isn’t it okay to have one person in the world who knows your true self?”
Mari admits, “I wanted to hear those words. But I’m sorry, you’re not the one.” Woo-jin is disappointed, but takes that as a temporary rejection, not a final one.
Chul-soo arrives at home to find Eun-young shivering in the cold outside. Concerned and feeling sorry, he ushers her inside to warm her up. She ignores that and grabs him in a back-hug.
Though regretful, he removes her hands from around his waist and tells her, “Eun-young. I don’t think I can see you anymore.”
Eun-young asks if he likes Mari, taking his silence for assent. She tries to convince him he’s wrong, insisting that Mari doesn’t like him: “She didn’t say she liked you. She doesn’t like you.” Chul-soo wonders what that means, so she confesses to meeting Mari.
I really do like Chul-soo’s reaction, because rather than getting angry at her for going behind his back, he buries his face in his hands, saying with regret, “I’ve really wronged you, to make you do that.”
Eun-young reminds him that Mari’s a star, and he’s just her writer. Trying to convince him that a relationship with Mari is hopeless, she concedes that while they may have bonded by going through hardship together, it’s not for real.
Chul-soo: “I thought she was fake, too, but she keeps crossing the line. No matter how I try to draw that line, she keeps coming over. But I can’t push her away. I don’t like seeing her in trouble; it worries and angers me. This is a first for me, not being able to think of anything. I’ve always stuck to only thinking about things.”
Eun-young cries that this is too much, too unfair. He can only say that he’s sorry.
Tae-seok tries a new approach to winning back Mari — he offers to clean up this whole situation, and save Chul-soo to boot, knowing how she hates seeing others hurt because of her. She wants to know what the catch is. He only has one condition: Don’t meet Chul-soo again.
Mari asks why he cares so much about Chul-soo, and he answers, “Because you like him, and because of that, you keep changing.”
Tae-seok tells Mari to go abroad for a month while he settles everything.
On the way out, Byung-joon The Idiot joins Mari and Jang-soo in the elevator. Arriving in the lobby, they are confronted with a crowd of demonstrators, carrying signs, shouting, and decrying Mari as a fraud. They hurl eggs at her, and though she isn’t hit directly — they’re blocked by Jang-soo and Byung-joon — Mari looks disturbed that others are being hurt on her account, as though driving home Tae-seok’s point.
Byung-joon fills Chul-soo in on the incident later, explaining how Mari’s stock has dropped perilously in recent days — fan clubs have even shut down and her anti-fans have increased.
Thus Mari sends Chul-soo’s luggage back to him and decides to take off on that month-long trip. She doesn’t know where she’s headed yet, but she surprises her team by packing a stack of books to take with her.
Seung-yeon guesses a lot of the truth about her relationship with Chul-soo and wants to meet him, but Mari says that she won’t be seeing him anymore.
Woo-jin drops by at Mari’s request (bearing her favorite arrangement of roses), and takes the news of her departure well. He’s disappointed, naturally, but thinks it’ll be good for her.
Mari tells him frankly that she’s running away, and that she wanted to say goodbye and thank him for his help. Her tone is one of goodbye, but he ignores that implication and tells her to have a nice trip.
Eun-young visits Chul-soo at school to ask him for some more time to deal with her feelings — she can’t come to terms with their breakup this way. It’s hard for her to accept this situation because this isn’t the Chul-soo she knows; she can’t see him falling for someone like Mari, and it feels like a lie.
Chul-soo answers, “It’s not a lie.”
Recalling what he said about Mari crossing the line, Eun-young regrets the past, wishing she’d done the same when he drew the line for her. She asks, bitterly, “Was it wrong of me to respect your feelings?”
Tiredly, he replies, “That’s not what’s important. I’m a bad person.”
She can’t accept the situation as it is — not when their reunion was achieved with such difficulty — and says she’ll talk to him later. Chul-soo receives a call from Mari, and leaves saying, “I’m sorry.”
Mari wonders if he has any last send-off words for her, like “Have a nice trip” or “What are you going to do?” Or, she adds, “You could say not to go.”
He returns, “If I said not to go, would you? Then don’t go.” But he knows that’s not realistic: “Don’t you have to leave anyway? Didn’t Seo Tae-seok already handle everything and pack you off abroad?”
He is surprised she called, because he figured she wouldn’t want to talk to him after what he’d said. Mari figures that he’s trying to apologize — not for being wrong, but for being harsh — and says that she might not be able to contact him after she returns. He tells her not to.
Tone becoming more serious, Chul-soo says, with growing emotion: “Because this is the last time, can I just say one thing? Truthfully, back then, I was going to tell you that if you really wanted it, I would stay with you.”
At that, Mari tears up. With a catch in his voice, Chul-soo tells her goodbye and hangs up.
A press conference bodes ill for the future, as the center off attention is the supposed “real ghostwriter” of Mari’s book. He announces that he was the true writer, adding more fuel to the neverending scandal.
Meanwhile, Mari arrives at Chul-soo’s family’s place — luggage in tow — and asks three very shocked aunts for the way upstairs. Realizing that Mari The Movie Star was the mysterious woman formerly staying in Chul-soo’s apartment, they point the way, stunned into speechlessness, then follow her upstairs.
After that goodbye, it’s with obvious surprise that Chul-soo finds Mari back in his place. Chul-soo sputters, asking why she’s here. With puppy dog eyes, Mari turns to the aunts and says in a pathetic voice, “He told me he’d stay by my side.”
Once the aunts leave and they’re alone, Mari’s playfulness turns more serious. Referring to his last words, she asks, “You said you’d stay with me, didn’t you? Was that a lie?” Cautiously, she says, “I don’t ask for more, but can’t I just be with you as a friend, or an accomplice?”
She tentatively reaches for his hand, but Chul-soo grabs it first, and tells her, “No.”
Dismayed, she asks, “Why not?” (because he LUBS YOO, silly billy!) — and he yanks her suddenly toward him in a hug.
One thing I like about Mari — she’s not wishy-washy. She’s always been bombarded from all sides by besotted men, but she doesn’t (seem to) lie about her feelings. For someone lacking intellectual depth, Mari is pretty in tune with her emotions, and I liked that she never led Woo-jin on. He’s been constructed to be the person most likely to break through Mari’s aloof shell (the touching childhood friendship, the dashing romantic figure), but she doesn’t feel drawn to him and she says so. Because this is how she also treated Ha-young (although she had to be colder to him because he never got the point and kept pushing), I’m going to assume that she’s been equally forthright (if cold) in all her failed relationships.
I’m not feeling too much love for Eun-young’s character, but Cha Ye-ryun is doing a good job — she’s a great crier, and doesn’t wail or exaggerate or try to cry too prettily. I understand her position, and although I don’t hold his feelings against him too much, Chul-soo’s more to blame than she — which is why he accepts that blame and calls himself a bad person.
On the other hand, Eun-young is misguided, I think, in her understanding of Chul-soo, and therefore I’m inclined to believe their relationship wouldn’t have made it in the end anyway. She can’t understand this new side of him — and that’s not her fault, since he can’t quite understand it either — but it isn’t merely that he’s changed, it’s that she hasn’t been able to inspire that kind of emotion in him. She misses the point when she says she should have crossed the line with him, because I don’t think he would have reacted the same way with her. Crossing the line doesn’t make Chul-soo love you; rather, crossing the line forced him to act out his true feelings, and with Mari, that means all his suppressed romantic tension.
- 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
- Seoul University opens its gates for A Star’s Lover
- A Star’s Lover press conference