Triple: Episode 7
I am really liking this drama. I wonder if those who are disappointed in Triple were expecting something more trendy, something more Coffee Prince-ish. It doesn’t have the angst or intensity of Coffee Prince, but I’m not disappointed with Triple at all.
Rather than comparing to CP, I get more of a My Sweet Seoul vibe from Triple — it’s refreshing, thoughtful, prettily shot — only with a lead character I don’t hate. Win-win!
SONG OF THE DAY
Do You Know that Robin is a Rabbit? / 로빈이 토끼란 사실을 알고 있었나 – “어떡해” (What Do I Do) [ Download ]
EPISODE 7: “Edge”
This episode opens with another nice play on a skating metaphor (if a little overdone with the blood), as Haru practices her routine and grabs hold of one blade as she holds one leg in the air, musing about the importance of the edges on the skating blade, and how it’s important to distinguish between the inside and outside edges. As she narrates, “Sometimes we get hurt,” she notices that she has cut her hand holding the skate.
This brings us back to the scene that ended the last episode, as she peers at Su-in’s phone, hesitating for a moment before picking up the call. She hears Hwal’s voice and hangs up, frozen in surprise.
After practice, Haru remains deep in thought as Hyun-tae (fresh out of his beginners’ class) talks to her. Haru wonders why Hwal would call Su-in, asking why his profile was labeled “Husband.” Hyun-tae knows the answer, but hides his reaction and glosses it over, since it’s not his place to tell. Instead, when they arrive home, he tells Hwal that Haru has found out that he’s married, and advises him to explain it to her.
Hwal is taken aback, not used to Haru ignoring him, but today she’s in a dull mood and she walks by without speaking to him. That evening, he looks through his things and finds a photo of his wedding day.
He drops it on the breakfast table the next morning, and Hae-yoon picks it up curiously. At his reaction, Hwal says simply, “I got married.”
Hae-yoon laughs in disbelief, but clocks the non-reaction from the others (Hyun-tae and Haru continue eating silently) and joshes Hwal for telling the others and leaving him in the dark. Hwal explains, “We’re separated now, and we don’t know how things will happen in the future. Don’t ask more than that.”
Hae-yoon remembers that Hyun-tae likes Su-in, and now the reason for Hyun-tae’s reticence becomes clear. Oy, what a mess this is.
During the drive to the ice rink, Hwal asks whether Haru is surprised he’s married. Not knowing that Haru is starting to develop feelings for him, he assures her that there’s nothing to be surprised or worried about, since “nothing will change.”
Haru breaks her silence to ask why and when he got married. He answers that they’d met a year ago in Vancouver, and Haru lets loose with a barrage of questions — how did it happen? Was it love at first sight? Who fell for whom first? And perhaps most importantly, “What does it mean to be spouses?” She’s trying to grasp the extent of Hwal’s attachment to Su-in by parsing each component of their relationship, and frustrated because she doesn’t understand.
At the rink, Su-in is startled when Haru treats her normally in front of Haru (as in, he doesn’t hide that they know each other). He informs her that the cat is out of the bag now, and Haru knows the truth. Su-in feels abashed for pretending they were strangers, and Haru keeps her distance.
After practice, Su-in offers Haru a ride home, since none of her three ajusshi-oppas is picking her up today. Still aloof, Haru declines the ride, and Su-in apologizes for not telling her the truth. Haru answers (though unconvincingly), “At first I was shocked, but it’s not something that involves me anyway.”
So when Haru changes her mind and asks for a ride, Su-in is eager to comply — although Haru doesn’t want to go home. Instead, they arrive at Su-in’s house, where Haru asks all the questions she’d asked Hwal (which had gone unanswered) — how they met, fell in love, how their first kiss happened. Haru asks, “Do you love him?” Su-in nods and says, “Things ended up this way because I wronged him. But we started over, so things will improve now.”
Realizing that she’d forgotten to buy milk (they’re baking something in an exercise of girl-bonding), Su-in steps out, telling Haru she’ll be back right away. Haru looks around the room idly, spotting a videotape labeled “Asking for Choi Su-in’s forgiveness.” This piques her interest and she plays it, only to find it’s a homemade clip of Hwal and Su-in. In it, Su-in tosses out ideas for a skating program using Haru’s program music — Hwal had made the music with Su-in in mind.
Glumly, Haru leaves the house without waiting for Su-in to come back, and walks back home. She finds Poong-ho (SO CUTE — I should just nickname him that to spare myself the trouble of shouting it every time he appears) waiting outside for her.
Poong-ho has a competition coming up that will take him overseas, and tells Haru not to be too sad or miss him too much since he’ll be back soon. Haru scoffs, “Ha, sad? Why don’t you stay a few months while you’re at it?”
Poong-ho does that dawdling thing where it’s obvious that he wants to linger, but has no excuse to stay because Haru dismisses him. He wants a goodbye kiss, but as Haru doesn’t take his hint (or seem inclined to favor him with a kiss), he looks around and picks her up like last time, ready to plant one on her anyway…
…at which point a water bottle lands on his head. It’s been tossed down from the wall above, where Hwal is watching. Hehe — Poong-ho’s reaction is adorably flustered, as he tries to bow to his elder while still holding Haru. Immediately contrite, Poong-ho puts her down and hastens away.
As Hwal and Haru head toward the house, she asks about her skating music, now that she knows where it came from. She wonders, isn’t it ridiculous to have her skate to it when Hwal made it for Su-in?
Hwal agrees, but not for the reason Haru is hinting. He quips that it suits Su-in, who is tall and graceful, while Haru is short.
Hospital. Su-in’s mother tells the couple not to remain separated for too long and urges them to have children, because she wants to be a grandmother before she dies.
Her mother smells something funny and wonders if it’s coming from her clothing. Su-in sniffs and assures her mother that nothing is amiss, but when she and Hwal leave, she worries that her mother is starting to smell odd, not the clothing.
They share an elevator with an old, sickly man, and I’m fairly certain this is foreshadowing Su-in’s mother’s impending death. I have a feeling this may become one of those really obvious storylines, contrived as a way of keeping the couple together, and I confess to having little patience for it. I hope it will not last long.
Hae-yoon has been suffering from Sang-hee withdrawal, keeping away from her since their last falling-out. He doesn’t acknowledge that he misses her, but Hwal sees through him plainly — it’s pretty obvious that he’s distracted and bummed when he cooks with dishwashing soap instead of oil. Hwal calls Sang-hee to tell her to take care of Hae-yoon because he’s “sick” (he means lovesick, but doesn’t clarify that to her), prompting her to call him to check in.
Having ruined his food, Hae-yoon is hungry and they’re out of ramen, so he asks if Sang-hee has any and heads over. At first, Hae-yoon doesn’t look happy with Jae-wook joining them at the table, but he laughs it off and the mood lightens. Hwal and Su-in drop by the bar — this is Su-in’s first time meeting his friends — and join the party.
Sang-hee calls Hyun-tae to urge him to join in, thinking it’s big news that Hwal’s wife is there, but he declines. He and Haru are in the same boat, their curiosity over Hwal and Su-in’s date battling their distaste over their status as a happy couple. In the end, Haru pushes them to go.
It’s a little awkward to have everyone together with all the conflicting emotions in play, as we see when Haru comes upon Hwal outside on the deck as he’s finishing up a phone call.
Haru tells Hwal sadly, “Today you really seem married.” She reaches for his hand and starts to cry, “It’s strange. It’s too strange.” I love that she grasps hold of one finger and not his entire hand, which parallels the tentative way she’s reaching out to him, conflicted, afraid to confront things head-on but afraid to back away for fear of losing him.
Not understanding the source of her emotions, Hwal wipes her tears away and asks what’s wrong.
Sang-hee and Hae-yoon talk while clearing out the bar at the end of the impromptu party, and he apologizes for being a nag. Sang-hee’s just glad he’s not mad at her anymore and thanks him for that.
He brings up an instance a while back when she was dumped and had gotten completely drunk. They laugh over the memory, and he says, “I don’t know if my embrace is as wide as your father’s, but I’ll try.” Sang-hee grabs him in a hug and thanks him. He tells her, “Don’t make my heart hurt.”
This scene is probably my favorite in this episode, and I think it’s the mood that I like — it’s a meaningful exchange, but not acted too seriously or too heavily. Hae-yoon and Sang-hee are playful and affectionate, but their words are sincere. Lovely, downplayed scene.
The others leave the bar separately, but Hyun-tae’s motorcycle pulls up alongside Hwal’s car at a red light. The two men’s eyes meet — Hwal’s gaze is a little uncomfortable, Hyun-tae’s merely sad — while Haru turns away, and then the two vehicles take opposite paths and go their separate ways.
Her unhappiness growing, Haru tells Su-in that she wants to switch songs for her program. Clearly the associations are too strong for her, and she doesn’t want to skate with those strings attached. She explains that she can’t feel the music anymore.
Su-in doesn’t know the underlying reason for Haru’s adverse reaction to the song, and merely interprets this as a common case of nerves. In any case, it’s too late to switch the music now that the Euro-Asia competition is approaching fast.
Advertising firm. The Bond Factory guys have gotten Bok Man Chicken onboard for a television commercial, but the president is dissatisfied with Hwal’s proposed ideas. Those concepts are too common, and too similar to competitors’ ads. The president wants more than mere product promotion; he wants a really memorable ad as a proclamation that the company he worked so hard to build has become a success.
To honor the president’s wishes, Hwal decides to recruit the best commercial director they can find. He seeks him out on a commercial set and introduces himself, but is only able to give him a business card before the super-busy director is called away.
Thus he’s forced to try again, approaching him on another day. Hwal entreats the director for just one minute of his time, handing him the ad material. He presents his case and asks him to consider it. The director takes a liking to Hwal’s demeanor (respectful but assertive) and tells his assistant to keep the Bond Factory card handy. It’s not a promise, but the gesture shows that he’s considering it.
When Haru walks out of practice to see Hwal picking her up today, she perks up and runs excitedly to the car, but stops when Su-in gets there first and starts talking to him. Hwal offers a ride to Su-in, who accepts happily since she took the subway today.
Mood souring, Haru declines the ride, making the excuse that she has an errand to run. The two adults don’t get her change of attitude and urge her into the car, so Haru suddenly turns and runs the other way to keep them from following.
I confess I was loving the episode until this next scene, because I JUST. DON’T. GET. IT. Hwal drops Su-in off at home, where they are both disgruntled to find Hyun-tae playing basketball. (Hyun-tae, you are adorable but what the hell?)
Hwal has to figure out a way to nip this thing in the bud (too late for that?) and proposes a one-on-one game: winner gets one wish granted by the loser. Su-in shakes her head and withdraws, leaving the men to their game.
Hyun-tae wins, and as they sit to catch their breaths, he asks what Hwal would have asked for if he’d won. Hwal answers that he would’ve told Hyun-tae to remove the basketball hoop from Su-in’s yard. And now for Hyun-tae’s wish: “Give up Su-in to me.”
Hwal scoffs, saying that’s a ridiculous joke, and Hyun-tae relaxes (it was a joke), pointing out that Hwal probably felt a momentary lurch at his request. What if he’d been serious? For his real wish, Hyun-tae asks for leave from work this weekend, so he can act as Haru’s guardian for her skating competition. (Hwal understands that this means Hyun-tae wants to spend the weekend near Su-in.)
That night, Hwal hears Haru come home and checks in on her. She’s still feeling morose and asks, “Why did you get married? Why did you lie?” He replies (not getting why she cares so much), “What does that have to do with you?”
Haru agrees, “You’re right, it doesn’t. It shouldn’t mean anything to me.” She pauses, then starts again:
Haru: “I… like you. I like you so much, my heart… it hurts. Even though it hurts, I keep liking you. What do I do?”
Hwal is so taken aback that he doesn’t know how to react, and leaves abruptly after saying good night. He’s rendered nearly speechless, but by the next morning he seems to have recovered: When Hae-yoon wonders what’s with her these days, Hwal answers candidly that she confessed she likes him.
Hwal and Hae-yoon head to the commercial shoot, which puts the Bok Man president on a mini-obstacle course against a bluescreen. The hotshot CF director is dissatisfied with this model — he’s used to slick, good-looking promos — and the guys intervene to keep the situation running smoothly.
With his weekend off, Hyun-tae arrives with Haru and Su-in at the Euro-Asia Championship (and is put to work as baggage handler).
My irritation meter once again shot up when Hyun-tae calls Su-in out that night, forcing her to meet him by threatening to publicly serenade her if she doesn’t. She’s amazed at the audacity of his overtures — why her? “You know I’m your friend’s wife. How can you do this?”
Hyun-tae continues blithely along with his picnic and answers, as though this explains his behavior (my opinion: it totally doesn’t): “Because I fell for you at first sight. Is that possible? All I know is, if I think of you, my heart aches. Were we ill-fated in a past life?… If I’m with you, I don’t know why time goes so fast. Every minute, every second is precious.”
While Su-in is outside with Hyun-tae, Haru looks around the room they’re sharing, and sees some CDs. One is labeled, “I like you!” and turns out to be Haru’s skating music; a few seconds into the familiar song, Hwal’s voice comes on: “I made this thinking of you. Whenever you hear it, think of me. I love you, Choi Su-in.”
Haru stops the disc and angrily snaps it in half, throwing the pieces over the balcony.
In the morning, however, the competition’s copy of Haru’s music has a glitch, so Su-in goes to retrieve her back-up copy… but the disc is no longer in the case. Puzzled, Su-in figures she must have left it at home and tries to figure out a solution, and ends up calling Hwal. He finds another copy and drives to the competition to deliver the CD to Su-in, who breathes a sigh of relief. She invites Hwal to watch, but at the continued tension emanating from Haru, he declines and heads back.
With all her emotions in a knot, Haru’s performance at the competition is a big question mark, but surprisingly, it goes very well. She lands her jumps and skates smoothly despite the music… until she looks over and catches a glimpse of Su-in’s face. Her expression is happy and proud at Haru’s clean skate, but it makes Haru flash back to the video she’d seen of Hwal and Su-in.
With those images playing in her mind, it’s no wonder she falls on her last jump. Hyun-tae calls Hwal to let him know that Haru has been injured.
Haru remains lying on the ice until the medical staff comes out to help her, but the pain is more internal than external, and this fall is both symbolic of her feelings (recall the jumping and falling metaphor of Episode 6) and the catalyst to get her to realize where her true pain lies:
Haru’s narration: “When the body is injured, our bodies wisely turn all of our energies into looking after it. But injuries to the heart are easy to neglect. Is it that we’re clumsy at looking after our own hearts? Is that why we don’t even know that our hearts are injured?”
Like I said, I’m really liking Triple.
The only aspect I’m actively disliking is the Hyun-tae storyline. The love triangle in and of itself isn’t the issue. What IS problematic is how one-sided (er, two-sided?) this love triangle is — it’s like the world’s acutest isosceles triangle with Hyun-tae being the super-short leg. By this I mean that they’re not doing a very good job of giving us a way to sympathize with Hyun-tae, and believe me, I want to. (Yoon Kye-sannnng!) In making his actions so outrageous, we have to take Hwal and Su-in’s side(s), but in so doing we get no logical explanation for Hyun-tae’s side. No matter how strongly in love he thinks he is, he has no claim on Su-in, and worse yet, she’s happy with Hwal. (At least, for now.) He makes no sense and I want him to start being relatable.
Aside from that, I like how things are developing and seeing a different side to Haru The drama isn’t about bold plot twists or dramatic confrontations, but gives me a rather jjan-han feeling. The translation is sort of hard to encapsulate in one word, but it’s like the dull ache brought on by a whole host of mixed emotions rather than a sharp pang of any single emotion. It’s both hopeful and despairing, lovely and awful. It’s *jjan.* The last drama to make me feel that was (the first half of) The Return of Iljimae, and as I mentioned up top, My Sweet Seoul had traces of that as well, although I think Seoul was breezier and less about pathos.
What PD Lee Yoon-jung has such a talent for isn’t particular shots or stories, but creating an atmosphere, which gives the drama an overall cohesion and flow. And Min Hyo-rin! What a nice surprise. Seeing her acting here makes me think she was woefully promoted as a singer, because she attracted a good share of derision as the “luxury nose” girl, and none of her ebullient charm came through.