Drama Recaps
Triple: Episode 13
by | August 26, 2009 | 27 Comments

Only three more episodes to go…

I was watching this episode, again really pleased with the visual palette, the acting of Lee Jung-jae and his interactions with Min Hyo-rin, the cute and resilient Poong-ho, and the lovely music. And those attributes just irritated me even more with the story, because Triple really, really deserved a better plot. It has everything but story, but unfortunately, that’s really the only one thing that’s essential.


Triple OST – “Feel Alright” by Zitten [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

EPISODE 13: “Step”

As Haru comes home, she’s surprised to see Hwal back, carrying several bags out of the car and into the house. She opens this episode with narration about the theme (“Step”), saying that people cheer on a baby’s first steps… “but when that turns into the second, third, and fourth step, that happiness fades.”

I suppose that correlates to her immediate gladness to see Hwal at home again, which soon fades as the implication of his return becomes clear.

Hwal tells his friends that he and Su-in broke up again, which Hyun-tae takes particularly hard. His frustration probably makes sense because he’s dying to be with Su-in but can’t, and it upsets him to see that Hwal gave it up just like that. But it still annoyed me to no end that his first response is to demand, “How could you do that to her?” — how could he leave her when she’s going through an already difficult time with her mother? (Hwal is clearly unhappy and has been Hyun-tae’s friend for seventeen years; you’d think he’d show a little concern for his friend first.) But at least he tacks on the afterthought, “Are you having a tough time too?”

How’s this for some manufactured drama? Hae-yoon and Sang-hee are all set to move into their new apartment in a day’s time, until Hae-yoon receives an upsetting phone call from home. His younger brother has gotten into some trouble and they are calling on big bro to pick up the slack and come up with the money to fix it — this nebulous, unspecified “it” that they don’t bother defining, whose only purpose is to throw a wrench in Hae-yoon’s life.

Without any great savings stowed away, Hae-yoon has to use the money he was going to use as their apartment deposit, and asks Sang-hee to understand about the delay. She takes it well, although she’s disappointed and had been looking forward to life as a non-married, living-together couple.

When Hwal checks on Haru, she asks if his breakup was because of her — it was because he was with her that he missed his anniversary. Hwal answers that she had nothing to do with it, and if his relationship had been steady in the first place, they would have been fine regardless of anyone else.

With both unable to sleep, they both turn to stargazing, leaning back and looking up at the sky. Hwal mentions having seen a comet once before, and comments that Haru would have liked it. He adds, “I’m sure we’ll see one together someday.”

They sit for a while and eventually fall asleep. Hwal wakes first in the morning, and Hae-yoon comes upon them while Haru is still sleeping. He jokingly comments on finding them together, but Hwal’s expression is decidedly grim, and he ignores his friend’s questions as he leaves the room.

Hae-yoon follows him, teasing him about Haru, and prodding, “It can’t be, right?” Yet the more he teases, the more grave Hwal becomes, and Hae-yoon catches on to his mood. His joking turns into disbelief, and finally he arrives at the conclusion we have already made, that Hwal has feelings for Haru. Throughout this all, Hwal doesn’t answer — it’s like he can’t confirm them, but he can’t lie and say it’s not true, either.

Another surprise arrives in the form of Sang-hee, who has come bearing her own luggage, announcing she’s moving in, too. It’s only for a short while, until they can move out to their own place as planned.

Everyone’s startled, particularly Hae-yoon, who is more frustrated than happy. It seems that he’s feeling guilty about not telling her exactly why they can’t move in right away, because he’d love to move in as planned, too. But it’s a private issue, and he doesn’t want to air his family’s dirty laundry, either.

Today, when Poong-ho greets Haru at the ice rink (he’s playing a game of “freeze” and asks her to unfreeze him), Haru tells him honestly that she still has feelings for Hwal. Poong-ho’s face falls, but per his normal upbeat personality, he accepts this and tells her that’s fine: “You can keep liking him, since I keep liking you.”

Haru sighs that it must be nice for Poong-ho, because he can keep liking her and approaching her despite her feelings for someone else. In contrast, she feels stuck with Hwal — she can’t leave, nor can she approach.

Hwal picks up Haru from the rink after practice, and as he waits outside, Su-in spots him as she exits the building. After gathering her nerves, she approaches with a friendly smile.

She keeps her tone light but it’s still awkward between them, and Haru senses Hwal’s heavy mood on the drive home. Haru tries lightening the atmosphere by enthusiastically breathing in the fresh, rain-damp air and suggesting a detour.

Thus Hwal and Haru stop for a while instead of heading straight home, walking barefoot on the wet grass while the rain comes down in a drizzle.

Haru brings up her training and her current difficulty in finding ways to express emotions through her skating. As Hwal has done in the past, he gives her some practical, common-sense advice: all she has to do is recall times in her life that evoked those emotions, and let those specific emotions come to her as she skates.

When they pull up at home, Poong-ho is waiting and asks for a word with Hwal. He tells him straight-out, “Do you know that Haru has been through a lot of tough times because of you? There’s something I want to ask you — do you like Haru?”

Rather than give a straight answer, Hwal smiles (almost to suggest this is such a ridiculous question that he has to laugh) and asks, “And if I do?” Poong-ho asks, a bit ticked off, “Do you think that you can feel that way, as her oppa?” Hwal says with another smile, “Of course not.” He advises Poong-ho to spend his time hanging out with Haru rather than asking him things like this. Hwal is friendly in a brotherly sort of way, but the way he responds has the effect of dismissing Poong-ho’s concerns as ridiculous and unfounded.

After Poong-ho leaves, Haru apologizes for him. Hwal tells her that when time passes, her feelings will change, and says that if she wants to go to Canada, he’ll send her. She understands that it’s another rejection of sorts, and feels slightly hurt.

Meanwhile, Su-in is starting to miss Hyun-tae now that he’s so completely removed himself from her life. When some neighborhood boys let a basketball roll onto her balcony, she’s reminded of the hoop that is no longer in her yard, and looks through the amusing text messages Hyun-tae had previously sent her.

For a second, she dials his number, but nervously hangs up mid-ring. However, the call goes through and alerts Hyun-tae, so he texts her a message, and what follows is a simple chain of short messages between them. The texts are nothing special, but the mere act of exchanging them leaves both feeling slightly giddy. The message exchange goes thus:

Hyun-tae: “Why did you call?”
Su-in: “I dialed the wrong number. I’m sorry.”
Hyun-tae: “I understand.”
Su-in: “How have you been?”
Hyun-tae: “How have you been?”

Haru tentatively asks Hwal to drop by practice if he has time, wanting to show him something. She half-expects a curt rejection from him, so she’s excited when he agrees.

Once there, she shows him the routine she’s been putting together using his advice. As she goes through each movement, she tells him what the basis is for the emotion — the butterflies she felt from liking him, the uneasiness that he would push her aside again, the happiness at being able to skate, and to be with him. At the end of this, she faces him and says, “Staying by your side because I like you must be difficult for you. I don’t want to do that to you. I’ll think about Canada.”

Su-in comes upon them as she arrives at the rink, and sits down for a talk with Hwal. It’s still uncomfortable between them, but they both admit that it’s not as bad as they thought it would be. Su-in feels more comfortable now than she did before, admitting that it’s a little lonely without him around, but she’s getting better.

It’s partly true and partly bravado, I think, because I think there’s a hint of fear or hope (or both) in Su-in’s eyes when Hwal calls out to tell her one last thing. He says, “You’re a woman with many good qualities.” She thanks him, and tells him likewise, “You’re a really good person.”

Hyun-tae and Su-in run into each other at the supermarket, and this time their interaction is warmer than in the past. The mood is lightly teasing, and they linger outside for coffee and a chat.

Again, their conversation is pretty ordinary, but it’s the company they enjoy as they sit together.

That night, Hyun-tae faces Hwal with a serious face, and Hwal guesses that he met up with Su-in. Hyun-tae answers yes, “because I thought I should tell you.” Hwal answers, “Why, do you want my approval to date her?”

I suppose he does, and Hwal gives it (sort of) in a roundabout way, admitting, “Thinking about it now, I wonder if I felt as strongly for Su-in as you do.” It’s not like he doesn’t have lingering feelings for her, because it’s natural that he does, “but I don’t know that I can tell you and Su-in whether or not to date. I don’t know about you, but I want Su-in to be happy.”

And lastly, Poong-ho returns to the house in the morning, having thought long and hard about Hwal’s dismissal of him the day before. Now he announces, “As you said, I’ll spend my time enjoying being with Haru. Even if she says she likes you, I won’t give up on my feelings. And whether you like her or not, whatever your feelings for her, I won’t let go of mine.”

Of course, in steps another plot contrivance of the day, as Coach Nam — in town for an undisclosed reason — overhears this last part and flips out. What?? Haru and Hwal like each other? Sputtering and shocked, he grabs Haru and drags her away.


Ah, the plot contrivances.

Certain plot inevitabilities are fine; telegraphed endings are bearable; clichés are endured. A drama will usually have some points that we viewers feel are familiar, but if the rest of the story moves things along, we don’t necessarily mind. (It depends on the circumstances, but I know that I’ll forgive a lot when a drama is entertaining.)

However, Episode 13 felt so obvious in its manipulations that it seemed annoyingly desperate to me. What, you couldn’t think of a better reason to inject real, organic conflict into Hae-yoon’s relationship with Sang-hee, so you had to invent a wayward sibling to create an unexplained problem? (And then you didn’t bother to tie up the plot contrivance neatly and explain the whys or wherefores, but felt that we would just swallow your last-ditch plot-bump without complaint?) And you couldn’t think of a better way to “out” Haru and Hwal’s attraction other than to bring in a tertiary character from out of town to coincidentally overhear a damning conversation?

Clumsy, clumsy, clumsy. Or maybe the better word is lazy.

I have nothing against a foreshadowed plot point. What I find irritating is that this shows a lack of inventiveness?skill?trust? with the relationships that have been established, a lack of faith in one’s own stories and conflicts. For instance: Hae-yoon and Sang-hee’s relationship is so fraught with issues that they could have easily found a more logical reason to delay their move, one that comes from an organic place and reflects on the characters, instead of a simple phone call from a random outside party. Urg.


27 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. t riplefan

    i wish more people liked this drama. it definitely was one that made me feel conflicted-the relationship with haru and shin hwal and the one with hyuntae and suin. i always loved poongho but lee jungjae had that beautiful smile…

    and the music was great. i loved that jiteun had new music out.

  2. Anonymous

    I skipped out on Triple and think I’ve made a wise decision.

  3. TRIPLE!

    OMG I’m so thankful you did this! I always keep checking back for your TRIPLE updates! Please do not stiop, since only 3 episodes left. It might not be a great drama for all, but I definitely love it to bits! The whole show & the characters are all awesome!

    Please continue recapping dramabeans!

  4. langdon813

    I absolutely agree with every single word of this recap! This episode bugged me more than any other. I admit to FF’ing every scene with Hae-yoon and Sang-hee; they just do NOT work as a couple for me. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d FF through anything with The Voice, but I am now. I just couldn’t stomach Sang-hee any longer once she moved into the house (and please, WTH was that about, anyway?).

    The best interactions for me in this episode were between Poong-ho and Hwal. What a shame that the boy has the courage to do what the man cannot, which is to shout his feelings for Haru to the rooftops, loving her openly despite any obstacles.

    It seems like there has been so much time wasted in this show that could have been better spent on backstory. Why was Hyun-tae such an obsessive stalker? Why is Hwal so shut-down emotionally? Is it because of Su-in’s affair? As to that, how could such a passionless person have an affair anyway?

    It’s frustrating to see so clearly what this drama COULD be, but sadly isn’t. I don’t hate Triple, I’ve actually been glued to every episode, but I think I just keep hoping it will turn into the drama I want it to be.

  5. ransack

    Javabeans, don’t worry about Coach Nam. It doesn’t have ANY effect on the plot.

  6. ransack

    Anyways, it’s unfortunate how javabeans recaps are scaring away potential viewers from watching this gem. It’s honestly a pretty good drama. Eh, it’s your loss.

  7. sue

    it’s funny, because as i read your recaps now, i agree with every word you say about the plot contrivances and how the story isn’t developing “organically.” but for some reason i had no complaints while watching the episode (long before). i wonder why?

    but in other news, because i got used to LJJ’s 90’s hair in feelings!, it’s awkward to see him older and with shorter hair in these pictures haha!

  8. Anonymous

    This drama just didn’t interest me. It’s funny how it is a “gem” to some people and is a waste of time to some. May have been a loss by not watching it; may have be great use of time by not watching as well. I chose to watch other dramas instead.

  9. ransack

    I think what’s even funnier is that some people actually have to annouce that they won’t watch the show.

  10. 10 js

    No problem here to state the show is just not interesting enough for me to watch. Period.

  11. 11 mcjayjay

    i actually really love this drama =)

  12. 12 MEIKO**** ^-^


    All my frustrations and anger on this series came rushing back( I had given quite a lot of “love” and high hopes on this series, that am soooo mad that the last few eps were…”WTH?!?!!!!..to the point i wanted to rant with a sharp knife pointing and swirling at the director and/or writer for a lousy job!..)…..that’s why am glad you finally came back to do the recaps on Triple coz I need someone, with clear mind, to analyze what these last episodes are all about(am hoping to clear some of these frustrations..) ….

    ok… let me think..regarding this ep:
    ….I agree about Hae-yoon and Sang-hee… *sigh* it’s a pity that LeeSun Gyun’s character is such a bore… LSG has so much potential…. and SangHee, well, i never liked her in the first place, and her hair too….wrong character? or bad acting? I dont know…

    …Haru…. am still rooting for Haru-Hwal…..but I REALLY REALLY have to, still, say that she does still look like 13-16 years old….to the point that i will find myself mumbling, “ok, ok, ok, why would Hwal like Haru again?!” ….bad acting..wrong actress…i dont know…

    I watched this movie Schoolgirl….and that’s when i exclaimed, “now, why cant Haru be like that!!! all highschool-ish but doesnt make the guy look like(or make the viewers feel like the guy is) he’s way tooooo old and/or corrupting a minor”

    HyungTae and Su-in….aahhh…they seem better off together…. really…

  13. 13 MEIKO**** ^-^


    i share most of your sentiments….


    i kinda understand why Hwal is so restrained…but… but…ggrrr
    *me frustrated*…
    am beginning to not like Haru….
    PoongHo….the sunshine!!! and He’s the only one in the whole entire cast….kinda weird…

    thanks JavaB…will wait for the next ep

  14. 14 TRIPLE!

    I agree with you ransack! (:

  15. 15 Selly

    I think theyre biological siblings but it was kept secret

  16. 16 ockoala

    Triple feels like an adolescent. It’s about an adolescent, Haru, but even the adult characters are unable to act and react to emotional matters in a mature way. And that’s why it’s so frustrating for me to watch. I am annoyed, the same way I would be annoyed when a teeanger chatters on about all her very superficial woes with so much dramatic flair. Yes, I love emotional uncertainty, but I hate emotional copouts. I lay the blame 100% with the scriptwriter, for creating the characters and plot – the acting and direction was lovely. Triple was a triple dose of disappointment for me, but I can watch any scene with Lee Jung Jae, he can read the phone book to me.

  17. 17 stee

    Thanks for the recap, JB; I’m glad you’ve stuck with Triple.
    I think episode 13 was the lowpoint of this drama for me. Nothing just seemed to really move anywhere (well okay, of course it did – at least in little things or Hyun-tae’s and Su-in’s relationship – but a drama has to have more life/movement) and I was frustrated by the crude plot contrivance with Hae-yoon and Sang-hee, too.

    However, I still really like Triple (and I certainly liked the last episodes more than this one). The point/idea of it is venturous in it’s difference from mainstream and thought-provoking for me. I think it portrays life beautifully; in all a lovely change of a drama. I do understand those who are frustrated with it, deem it too slow or feel it offers too little. But I agree 100% with those who find it a gem. It’s evidently a sort of drama that can’t be liked by everyone and that needs a lot of thought. But this is probably a talk best suited for the last episode 🙂

    *** Thinking more about this particular episode and what they wanted to convey with it: I think it’s the point where the characters can no longer ignore/not notice what’s between Hwal and Haru, also, the relationship between Su-in and Hyun-tae starts to change. But whether it’s because this wasn’t put across very well or that the ep didn’t have enough depth, it was just too feeble for me.

  18. 18 CrimemasterGogo

    I’ve said it before, the plot sucks, the direction is great, the writing is decent, the music is awesome but the plot is lame. Its slow, draggy and just uninteresting. Hopefully the next drama by Lee Yoon Jung will be better.

  19. 19 Jacq

    I found this quite boring as well…..

  20. 20 Peggy

    First and foremanst the ONLY reason I am still watching this drama is to gaze at Lee Jung Jae. Even with that short hairdo his face is a wonder and when he smiles…heaven. I have loved this man for a very long time.

    Now I also like the Voice just because of his voice… and he is such a good actor. He does show his romantic emotions in the most believable way. I do really believe he loves that ratty looking girl who should be on a US morning show getting a ‘Hair Makeover’. He is too sophisticated to be with such a girl I think.

    I do not like the pairing of Hwal with Haru or with his separated wife. Neither one of them has any rapport with him as an actor… and I am sure never in real life. So that washes away any chance of believability.
    I don’t think I have seen the actress who plays Haru but she is clumsy in her role. There is no ‘fit’ there at all. Regarding the skating…it should be the lynchpin holding this plot together but it is used as just a slight backdrop to get the characters from A to B. These actors are mis cast and wasted on a story that is not well put together..

    Just Lee Jung Jae keeps me watching.

  21. 21 bd

    The thing is – “Triple” had a story, primarily, the changing relationship btwn the “brother” and “sister.”

    The problem was (aside from the yuck factor) that the basis for and the change in their relationship was done in a really poor, and thus, unbelievable manner.

    Compounding this was the poorly written (and frankly boring) dialogue, the large amount of “filler” time where nothing much happens and the total predictability of pretty much everything (one could skip watching 3-5 episodes and really not miss a thing).

    Not only was the changing relationship btwn the “brother” and “sister” unbelievable, the other two relationships were either unbelievable (a guy’s close bud/co-worker/housemate basically stalks his wife – even after he finds out that they are husband and wife; the wife let’s the stalker get away w/ his behavior and then turns to him for comfort when she finally gets dumped by her husband)

    or totally predictable (girl not interested in a relationship b/c she is a “free spirit”; girl eventually agrees to a relationship and even moving in together but has a phobia about getting married; girl, however, gets all jealous when the guy’s ex is back in town; girl gets pregnant; etc.).

    Even the relationship btwn the two skater was totally unrealistic (I couldn’t buy at all the fact that the hotshot speedskater was totally devoted to Haru even after she disclosed to him that she had feelings for another, esp. after he founds out who the “other” is).

    Considering who the director was, this was a MAJOR disappointment – but it just reaffirms that even a very good director can’t save a hatchet job of a script (can’t say that I found one character interesting, endearing or believable – well, maybe the old coach).

  22. 22 wait a minute...me too i wanna

    i agree that these sort of posts should be expressed at the END of the drama, but since everyone else is chipping in, i might as well too.

    It seems some people really dislike the step sibling relationship (i call them muslims and nazis :DDDD), and that just totally ruined the experiance. I actually had no problem with the idea since the show didn’t sexually stylize Haru’s innocence (like what you’d see in american television). It was protrayed very naturally and real, i actually found the whole thing weirdly beautiful (and the girl protraying haru is adorable too).

    what some fail to understand is that Haru has always liked Hwal. something that should be cleared up.

    Triple is like a good book. it starts off slow, but it gradually picks up.

  23. 23 MEIKO**** ^-^


    lol! at the last two sentences!!!

    mmm…. i guess you are right…bad scriptwriting… but i have to add bad acting of some of the actors…

  24. 24 Mara

    I have only watched eleven episodes, and I am surprised I have gotten that far. This show can only be described as underwhelming. 😛

  25. 25 pabo ceo reom

    The story seems rushed right now.

  26. 26 tonia

    Having read all of your recaps and comments for this series you really got me curious and so I started watching this and I must admit I am liking it. I am only in the 1st episode but I love the interaction of the 3 male leads. I find MHR cute and adorable but I must say I was let down because when I saw her in her music videos I thought she was pretty but with little to no makeup it turned out not to be so. But I agree for a 1st timer she is giving a very decent performance. I love Lee Jung Jae and so everytime he is on the screen I just fall in love with him. He may not be the easiest person to really like but even in the 1st episode I just felt that I will be rooting for him until the end. Hope will continue with recapping this series…..I love reading your comments, I find it honest and refreshing. Thanks. ^____^

  27. 27 maez

    Thank you for the song. I’ve been looking for it forever.

Add a Comment

Stay civil, don't spoil, and don't feed the trolls! Read the commenting policy here.

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.