Overall, I am really enjoying this show and appreciate the casting, but I think I’m having a problem with Su-in (or is the issue with Lee Hana?). I haven’t decided whether it’s purely a character thing or an acting thing, but if Su-in were one of the seven dwarves, she’d be Mopey. But at least the rest of the cast makes up for it with their natural, joking dynamic and refreshing ease with one another.
SONG OF THE DAY
짙은 (Zitten) – “곁에” (By my side). This is not my favorite 짙은 song, but it’s the one played in the opening scene. [ Download ]
EPISODE 4: “Gala Show”
After Hwal punches Hyun-tae, he drives off in anger, but can’t tamp it down and returns to face Su-in. Although she meets his return with a hopeful face, that fades quickly as he demands, “Do you enjoy playing around with men?” He calls her shameless and a liar, and while she admits to the first, she defends herself against the latter.
Hwal tells her to live however she wants: “And keep me out of your life”
I think it’s adorable how Haru practices various ways of saying thank you in return for the skates (and the puppy), only by the time Hwal comes home, she’s fallen asleep under the desk (still clutching her skates).
As he takes her to her own room, he encounters Hyun-tae in the hallway. The air is awkward for a moment, until Hwal apologizes for hitting Hyun-tae, who guesses that Hwal and Su-in know each other.
Hae-yoon waits in the lobby of a movie theater for Sang-hee, who fails to show. He finds her at the bar, and is irritated to see Sang-hee enthusiastically entertaining a group of young hockey players (students, I believe).
As she closes up later, Sang-hee suggests that Hae-yoon could help her, but he’s not feeling generous at the moment and reminds her that she’s not his girlfriend. She points out that she’s a friend, and he says he’s never slept with a woman and become (just) friends afterward. As with many of their interactions, this one isn’t angry or even upset; Hae-yoon tends to go between treating Sang-hee with boyfriendy affection and resignation when she flakes on him.
As Su-in waters her yard that night, still smarting from Hwal’s reaction, she notices the basketball hoop that has been set up but doesn’t know where it came from. (Hyun-tae had previously wondered if he looked cool playing basketball and had dragged over a hoop to her yard.)
She gets a joking text message from Hyun-tae to cheer her up; the message reads, “Head-butt queen, do you like raccoons?” Su-in has to laugh-cry at that — and while I think Hyun-tae is rather forward, I think her reaction shows that she isn’t totally UN-interested in him. (The timing’s bad, and she doesn’t really think of him in the way he thinks of her, but I think there’s hope for him despite his unsuccessful attempts to draw her out.)
In the morning, Haru continues brainstorming to figure out how to show Hwal her thanks. I think she’s lovable and plucky, but she does have a history of accidents, so my immediate reaction to her exclamation “I got it!” was a cautious “Uh-oh…”
Thankfully, the task is simple: She washes his car. And Wal must be the most well-behaved puppy ever because it’s a wonder that he sits patiently as she washes the car while holding him.
Haru finds tufts of dog fur in the car, which confirms that Hwal was the one who brought Wal back home. She wants to hear him say it, though, so when he walks by, she prods, “Oppa, some really strange things happened yesterday! My skates appeared, and so did Wal. What do you think happened?”
Hwal is a bit embarrassed to admit he did that for her, so he ignores her and changes the subject. Haru isn’t daunted, knowing he cares even if he doesn’t want to admit it, and grabs him in a hug. She pledges her loyalty from now on.
The new company suffers a setback, however, when Hwal gets a call from Manager Park of the beer company reneging on the deal. Now that he’s had time to think, he concludes that they were both overreaching their capabilities, and feels uneasy about the fact that the ad company is so new and small. When Hwal tries to understand what prompted this change of heart, Manager Park blows him off and doesn’t offer much of an explanation.
Sang-hee realizes she’d flaked on their planned date and apologizes to Hae-yoon. He’s feeling down from losing out on the ad account, and she cheers him up, telling him how fantastic their company is and assuring him that they’ll get back on their feet.
Maybe it’s what he needs to hear, or maybe her supportive speech is the kind of thing a girlfriend would say, but it does the trick in lifting Hae-yoon’s mood.
Hyun-tae again waits outside to catch Su-in on her way out from coaching practice. She’s pretty tired of him showing up unexpectedly and tries to ignore him, but her car has trouble starting up, and he takes it upon himself to fix it.
As he works, Su-in broaches the subject of the run-in the night before, wondering if Hwal explained everything to Hyun-tae. She admits that she messed everything up, but doesn’t explain further. Hyun-tae doesn’t know the full story yet, but he says that he couldn’t sleep that night because he was preoccupied wondering about her. Despite her irritation with his pushiness, Su-in is a little touched to hear him say he came to see her today because he missed her.
Haru invites Hwal to see her next performance (which is also a chance for her to repeat the test she failed in Episode 2). He notices how she had time to wash his car today because she skipped the school picnic, and asks if she’s a loner at school. He already knows she’s a loner at the rink because he saw her being pranked, and it’s sorta sweet to see him worry about her, even if he won’t admit it. Haru isn’t concerned about not having friends, though, and instead chatters on about her improved jumping levels.
There’s a hilarious moment when Hwal looks over to see that Haru is standing on a tilted chair in order to reach the curtains, and is balancing perfectly on the back two legs. After she leaves, he eyes the chair and attempts the trick himself, but struggles — which is when Haru pokes her head back in and catches him mid-attempt.
In the morning, Hwal is revved up about work and determined to give things another try. He’s not about to let one failure stop him cold.
Hyun-tae’s working on a plan of his own, but he doesn’t let his friends know what it is just yet. He does ask Hwal for presentation tips, however, and takes to heart the advice, “Don’t take your eye off your opponent.”
The head of Bokman Chicken is a friend of his father’s, and now Hyun-tae attempts to present his ad ideas in a bid to get their account. His idea is good, though the execution a little sloppy — he tosses one ball at the president, who catches it. He then starts launching a barrage of balls at the men as an analogy to demonstrate how merely throwing ads and ideas at the consumer is an ineffective technique. The president finds the concept interesting, but it isn’t quite developed enough yet. Hyun-tae has to return in defeat.
Hwal gets to work trying to woo another client, and has his sights set on a brand of “kiddie juice” called Kokoma juice. Hae-yoon is the least enthusiastic about this idea because it’s a tough gig (and most of its ad campaigns have met with crushing failure), but Hwal says that if the guys can find another project, they can do that instead.
Despite knowing Hwal is angry at her, Su-in calls him for a little support when her mother is admitted to the hospital for a chronic (and seemingly terminal) illness. Her mother either doesn’t know or doesn’t accept that Su-in’s marriage is over, and grumbles at how it’s rude for her son-in-law not to visit. (I’m not quite sure if Hwal and Su-in are divorced, or still married and estranged.)
Hwal seeks out the president of the kiddie juice company at the gym, coming on assertively (but respectfully) with his pitch. After seeing a mother’s reaction to the juice in the supermarket, Hwal recognizes that the juice has a branding problem, and suggests that the company redesign their bottles to change its image. Hwal asks to be included in the competition to bid for the account, and gets his wish.
Hyun-tae returns to pitch to the chicken company boss again, and soldiers on through his presentation even though the man doesn’t seem to be paying attention. He’s prepared five approaches to market the brand, and when he presents the last idea, he readies himself for defeat. Contrary to his expectation, the president takes a liking to the tactics presented, and tells Hyun-tae he’s brilliant for thinking of a way to market all five ideas in one ad. Hyun-tae unsuccessfully starts to correct him — they were five separate ideas! — but is ignored, and gulps nervously.
One of the hockey players from the other night returns to Sang-hee’s bar, and Hae-yoon (who’s working upstairs in her private room) does not look favorably upon the new guy. His name is Jae-wook and he’s a little goofy, impressing Sang-hee with tricks like stuffing multiple cookies into his mouth.
In his jealousy, Hae-yoon interrupts their conversation several times by dropping (on purpose) a pen and papers and getting Sang-hee to retrieve them for him. So immature, but hilarious.
With her test/performance coming up, Haru wants to beef up her program and try more advanced elements, like the sort of things Hye-jin does. She entreats her coach several times, invoking Hwal’s words that she won’t know if she can do it or not until she tries for herself. Su-in says those are nice words, but they’re also dangerous because she’s putting herself at risk by rushing into things; she thinks Haru is reaching beyond her capabilities and tells her no.
Since his advice was only half-effective, Haru goes back to Hwal to ask for clarification, because her coach told her that it was rash advice. Hwal retorts that sometimes without rash actions, one cannot achieve great progress, and Haru likes that answer.
In her excitement, she tosses a toy basketball at the wall, where it knocks over a picture frame and breaks the glass. She’s immediately contrite, but I suppose Hwal is used to her accidents by now and sighs that he’ll clean it up.
Haru wants to catch up to Hye-jin’s level of skating, so she follows the other girl when she attempts a triple combination jump. After Hye-jin falls, Haru tries the same combo, and falls as well. Although Haru’s intentions are good, Hye-jin is annoyed at her for following her, and slaps her.
I suppose you could see Hye-jin as a snooty bitch character, but her actions are given more explanation later, when she and Su-in watch Haru on the ice. Su-in finally relents and tells Haru she can attempt the jump — as long as she doesn’t regret it if she fails — and now Haru is busy working on them. She falls down but gets up laughing, which strikes Su-in as remarkable.
Hye-jin grumps, “Honestly, I can’t understand. You’re all strange.” But Su-in sees through Hye-jin’s attitude and commiserates, saying she knows that the rink seems like hell right now. Hye-jin’s face starts to contort in tears as Su-in gives her advice: “Don’t be afraid you won’t meet up to your mother’s expectations. Don’t try to become the skater that other people want you to be. Be the skater you really want to be, and then this hell-like rink will become a lot better. It might even feel like heaven.”
The guys are feeling particularly lethargic on a rainy day (and the rain becomes sort of a centerpiece for this episode), not able to come up with any good ideas.
Hwal wanders over and notices something near the window: the paper with the painted footprints (Haru’s) mark a spot on the ground, and when he steps on them, his face looks out of a rectangle toward the shed, framing Haru’s goofy painting of Hwal. It’s Haru’s response to breaking his photo frame the night before, and Hwal has to smile.
Hwal calls over the guys, and they laugh at the sight, their lethargic mood uplifting. Jokingly, they hold up colored plastic sheets to the frame to add a tint to Hwal’s portrait — which gives Hwal an idea.
Haru appears at the window to prod Hwal to come jogging with her.
Haru’s energy is infectious as she dances around Hwal, running in the rain. Even when he jerks her to a stop by pulling her hood over her head (saying, “You’ll catch a cold”), Haru takes that as encouragement, saying, “Are you worrying about me?”
When Hwal returns from his run, he’s invigorated and armed with a new idea for the juice presentation — and it centers around Haru.
As I said, the rain is something of a centerpiece for character developments in this episode, bringing a measure of clarity to the relationships. Hae-yoon calls Sang-hee out to reclaim their missed date, and sit outside drinking wine, enjoying the rain.
Hyun-tae plays basketball in his yard, while Su-in looks outside at her own front yard.
Now getting down to business, Hwal recruits Haru for a part in the presentation. Not one to let opportunity pass her by, Haru tries to strike a bargain — if she helps him, will he come see her performance? He isn’t willing, so she starts to walk off, and he grudgingly agrees to her terms.
As he explains her role, Haru gives him a long look, and it’s here that we start to see the suggestion of something more developing between them. But it’s just for a brief moment, and she shakes it off saying it’s good to see this (nicer) side of him.
When it’s time to give the presentation, it starts with Haru entering the room, carrying an umbrella and strolling in to the strains of “Singin’ in the Rain.” The mood is light and easy, but suddenly changes to an action-movie vibe as the lights change, and she launches into an acrobatic sequence that mimics the sequence — you know, that one — from Entrapment.
When Haru completes her gymnastic bit, Hwal takes over, explaining that kids like the juice but there’s an image issue with the colors, which give it an unhealthy image. They’ll turn that perception around and use the colors — vibrant, energetic, healthy — as a key point in promoting the drink.
The presentation is a hit, and the guys can all feel that they’ve done a fantastic job. The response is so good that the call comes immediately, and the president congratulates them for a job well done.
However, he explains that his son — who is in advertising — recently came to him and begged him for the job. While the son has never been particularly talented, the president can’t turn down his own child, so he proposes that the two groups work together. While the words make it sound like “collaboration,” Hwal understands that this means that the president wants to use their idea and let his son take credit for it. Regretfully, he turns down the offer.
Hwal lies moping in bed when a knock sounds at the door, and a note slides underneath. He opens it and finds a message from Haru:
Haru’s note: “Oppa. Since living with you, I’ve been learning lots of things, and I learned something this time, too. Thanks, oppa. I’m competing today. You don’t have to come. I’ll wear the skates you bought me and work hard like you do.”
That, of course, prompts Hwal to get out of bed and head over to the rink. He watches as Haru performs — and lands her jump, to her own joy and Su-in’s excitement. He claps for her, approval mixing with pride.
Haru steps off the ice in tears of joy at landing the jump, which intensify when she looks up and sees Hwal watching. He waves, and gives her a thumbs-up.
Meanwhile, Hyun-tae once again comes to the rink to see Su-in, but this time, he doesn’t approach. He tells himself that he just wants to see her, nothing more, seemingly having decided to give up on her. However, at the last moment, he decides he can’t just leave like this and follows her car.
Su-in heads to the hospital, where she finds Hwal visiting her mother; Mom had called him to tell him to drop by. Su-in is mortified and apologetic that Hwal felt obligated to come, and tells him not to worry about anything her mother might say.
The two head outside after visiting, and they stop and stare for a moment when they see Hyun-tae waiting outside. He’d taken up a spot on the bench to await Su-in. The two guys look at each other for a long, wordless beat; Hyun-tae marks the moment with a wry half-smile.
And finally, sometime later that night, Haru assists Hwal to his room, his dragging feet and slumped posture suggesting he has gotten drunk.
She tucks him into bed and watches affectionately as he sleeps, and falls asleep next to him.
As I mentioned, I’m not really feeling Su-in that much. I want to like her, but she is so… gahhh. Down. Gloomy. Energy-sucking. The scenes with the three guys are enjoyable, and Haru is a burst of energy. I’m on the fence about Sang-hee but she has her cute moments. Yet Su-in is just… blah.
Please, Lee Hana, can you drink a Red Bull or something or otherwise find a way to amp up that energy level? I have liked her in the past, but I think she’s wrong for this role and I don’t see a lot of chemistry with her and any of the actors. Min Hyo-rin, the utter newbie, has a lot more chemistry with everyone.
I think Su-in’s lackluster quality also drags down Hyun-tae, and makes his actions seem even more dissonant with reality than they actually are. He’s an endearing guy, both actor and character, and while I definitely wish he’d back off a little, he’s harmless enough. He’s open and honest and totally up-front about his intentions, but watching him trying to court Su-in begs the question, “Why?” It’s a little like trying to woo a brick wall. The brick wall seems hard and unmoving, while the adorable guy trying to win it over looks foolish for the attempt.
I was thinking back to all those other kdramas that feature women who return after leaving their men and want reconciliation, and it’s a hard thing to pull off successfully. They are characters you’re meant to like less than the main heroine, and her reason for leaving the hero has to be pretty bad for him to have been so hurt by her. But since these women are meant to stick around all series long, they should still be sympathetic on some level, otherwise you’re watching a cartoon and she’s merely the Evil Bish. I think Lee Hana has to be added to the list of misfires with these types of characters, in addition to those like Park Shi-yeon in My Girl, Cha Soo-yeon in The World They Live In, Byun Jung-soo in Last Scandal, Park Han-byul in Fantasy Couple, and so on.
The only instance I can think of where the returned ex-girlfriend worked is My Name In Kim Sam-soon, and that’s because Jung Ryeo-won was given a chance for her character to show her friendly, warm side before we discovered why she did what she did. Chae Jung-ahn in Coffee Prince sorta worked in that I came around to her character, although I never fully warmed to her and liked her mostly because Lee Seon-kyun’s character was so in love with her.
Meanwhile, the hint of something more developing with Hwal and Haru is… while not totally surprising, a little unexpected. I had wondered whether they’d pair up when the drama first started, but the appearance of Song Joong-ki (so cute!) as the speed-skating Poong-ho seemed to suggest he’d be the age-appropriate love interest for Haru. And they’re so cute together that I’m rooting for them.
On the other hand, Lee Jung-jae is fabulous at giving his character depth — if you’re picky, you might say he’s the only one who is doing that — and it’s meaningful how much Haru has already changed him. I’m not icked out by the age difference — Yoon Kye-sang and Go Ara were fine in Who Are You — or the pseudo-sibling thing because they barely know each other, in addition to sharing no blood. (It’s like Cher and Josh in Clueless, which I never had an issue with.) Plus Min Hyo-rin is 23 and Lee Jung-jae 36 in real life, which is not an unheard-of age gap. But maybe with BOTH aspects working at once, it feels a little weird. I dunno. But I’m open to it, so we’ll see what happens.
- Triple: Episode 3
- Triple: Episode 2
- Triple: Episode 1
- Triple press conference
- Forget Partner, let’s look at Triple
- Half of Triple’s ad team
- Newest addition to Triple completes main cast
- First stills from Triple
- Lee Hana added to Triple
- Kang Ji-hwan drops Triple, Lee Jung-jae steps in
- Triple to follow Cinderella Man
- Min Hyo-rin takes to the ice