Playful Kiss: Episode 11
This episode was sort of low-key, but had some sweet moments and a bit of development. It didn’t have as many “exciting” moments as some other episodes (not that you can really use the word “exciting” with this drama), but there is the implication at the end of the episode that makes up for that.
SONG OF THE DAY
BeBe Mignon – “키도 작고, 예쁘지 않지만…” (Although I’m not tall, or pretty…)
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EPISODE 11 RECAP
The morning after is less romantic than Seung-jo’s declaration last night might have suggested. Ha-ni turns out to be a disruptive bed-partner, manhandling Seung-jo while unconscious and stealing the blankets. He sighs with frustration while she remains blissfully asleep.
Ha-ni awakens slowly, remembering happily that she and Seung-jo slept in the same bed. Eyes still closed, she reaches out to feel for him, but he’s already up and a little disgruntled as he tells her about her horrible sleep habits.
Breakfast is a cutely domestic scene, which Seung-jo prepares and Ha-ni revels in. Seung-jo makes nothing of eating together, or getting dressed for the day, or walking out together like the junior version of the happily married couple walking ahead of them, but in my opinion therein lies the sweetness — that comfortable attitude treating this all like it’s mundane. Like you’ve already arrived here naturally in your relationship.
In contrast, Ha-ni doesn’t even try to hide how much she loves it, and jumps to play the part of a wife, picking out a red checked shirt for him to wear. He dismisses the choice and picks another, but I’m betting that red shirt makes a reappearance at some point. (It had better!)
At school, a crowd has gathered in front of a sign. Ha-ni’s jaw drops at the embarrassing declaration, courtesy of Joon-gu:
“Baek Seung-jo at last ♥ Oh Ha-ni. They spent a night of love together! Oh! Ha-ni will definitely be wearing the same clothes as yesterday!”
OMG. Mortifying to the nth degree, no?
The students cast knowing looks at the couple in question, and one of them — Mom in disguise as a nerd, lol — prods Seung-jo to explain what happened. Exasperated, he pulls his mother aside and asks her to cut it out.
School is abuzz with the latest rumors, but Ha-ni has nothing to report to Mom or her friends. Nothing happened.
Even He-ra is uneasy about the gossip, and she makes a roundabout reference to the news, trying to get Seung-jo’s reaction. I dearly wish he’d let her stew in her insecurity, but he cheers her up by saying that she ought to know nothing happened with Ha-ni.
In all the excitement of the night before, Ha-ni has forgotten what she did with her chocolates, which she was never able to give to Seung-jo. She laments the loss, but wouldn’t you know, the box is safely back at Seung-jo’s place.
He opens the box and reads her cute handwritten note:
These are chocolates I made myself, thinking of you. I hope you’ll enjoy them~~ ♥
He smiles at the note and takes a bite of a chocolate… and spits it out. In true Ha-ni fashion, they taste awful. But our little Robot Boy is learning that it’s the thought that counts, and he gives a little laugh.
With exams approaching, Ha-ni tries to study, but realizes that it’s spreading herself too thin to try to prepare for all her subjects. Instead, she’ll focus on English, which is the only class she shares with Seung-jo. (Ergo, she can’t drop out of it.)
She spends late nights studying, and when she shows up on test day, Seung-jo notices her wan expression with some worry. He-ra’s feeling mighty self-confident after being assured that nothing happened between them, so she once again falls back on her hateful habit of masking insults as cheery comments, saying that Ha-ni should probably repeat this level next year.
Ha-ni stares at Seung-jo dreamily through the first half of the test session, marveling and how handsome he looks. To her surprise, he reaches back and swaps papers with her — giving her his finished sheet and taking her empty one.
Best of all is the smile he flashes, which sends He-ra into a tizzy. No, I take that back — best of all is that pissy look on He-ra’s face at Seung-jo’s unexpected gesture. I was a little confused — was he actually helping her on an exam so she could join them next year? But perhaps this is just Ha-ni’s deluded daydreaming… (Note: The editing is rather choppy and confusing in this episode.)
Joon-gu is devastated about the latest development with Ha-ni and despairs that he’ll have to give her up. But he gets some unexpected advice from Kyung-soo sunbae (who sees him looking miserable and gives him some suggestions), and resolves to give it another try, starting with a proper confession of his feelings.
He finds Ha-ni after her test and gravely begins his speech, explaining that he’d almost given up, but decided to stick it through. When her head drops forward, he assumes that she feels guilty, not knowing that she’s actually fallen asleep. Lol.
But no matter, because Ju-ri and Min-ah inform him that nothing actually happened between Ha-ni and Seung-jo, which revives his optimism.
Ha-ni’s in for the shock of her life when a strange student comes up to her during tennis club and asks her to go steady. She doesn’t even know him, much less know how to respond to that, and gapes silently as he talks with Kyung-soo.
This is Kim Ki-tae, who has taken a year off school and is about to re-enroll, making him a sunbae. He tells Ha-ni that he’s known since high school that she likes Seung-jo, but figures he has a chance with her because they’re not officially dating. His self-assured demeanor is not at all shaken at her perplexed reaction, and he asks her on a date this weekend.
Ha-ni’s never been asked out before — she’s always been the pursuer — so after the idea sinks in, she starts to warm to it. Oh, she doesn’t like Ki-tae, but it’s a flattering idea, and she enjoys the attention.
Ju-ri and Min-ah hasten to tell Seung-jo, thinking to light a fire under his indifferent butt, only to get the cool response, “Really? So what?” They say that he might find Ha-ni snapped up by that other guy, but Seung-jo scoffs, “Is that so? I’m not worried.”
But since you happen to say that as you’re wearing your Ha-ni-approved, red-checked shirt, I’m deciding I don’t believe you, NOT ONE BIT.
Mom frets over the possibility of Ha-ni falling for the new guy, bemoaning the day when Ha-ni gets “stolen away,” blaming Seung-jo for his lack of action. This will not do.
Officially in courtship mode, Ki-tae treats her with friendly interest, finding her at school and swinging an arm casually over her shoulders. She stiffens and scoots away, but he doesn’t take offense and follows. It’s interesting how he can do that and not come across sleazy.
Ki-tae explains that at first he was provoked by Seung-jo — that hoobae who does everything so well. Ki-tae had first fixated on his pseudo-rivalry with Seung-jo, but in the process he started to notice Ha-ni, since she was always following Seung-jo around. He found her tenacity attractive, and asks her again to date him — she shouldn’t waste her youth waiting for Seung-jo.
He-ra catches sight of their cozy tete-a-tete, and immediately sizes up the situation. She’s thrilled — that takes Ha-ni away from Seung-jo — and enthusiastically pushes the two toward each other. She even skips away in glee.
Mom does recon, spying on Ki-tae, and admits that he’s much cuter than Seung-jo. Ha-ni assures her not to worry, because she’s only interested in Seung-jo.
That thrills Mom, but she jumps to prevent Ha-ni from rejecting Ki-tae right away. Now that her fears have been assuaged, she wants to take advantage of this scenario to stir Seung-jo’s jealousy. After all, he’s feeling too complacent with Ha-ni always around; he needs a little kick in the pants. Rock on, Mom.
I don’t think Seung-jo is jealous, per se, but he doesn’t love this development, either, and it makes him a little more cutting than usual. When He-ra pushes Ha-ni to date Ki-tae, Seung-jo chimes in: “How lucky for you. They say that if one person throws something away, there’ll be another to pick it up.”
Pride stung, Ha-ni retorts that Ki-tae’s just as smart and good-looking as him, PLUS he treats girls much better! Which is, of course, when Ki-tae steps in, pleased at her vote of confidence. He asks Seung-jo to let Ha-ni come to him now, and Seung-jo replies that Ha-ni’s not his, so he can do whatever he wants.
Seung-jo’s comments tickle Ha-ni’s ire, and with a flash of anger she thinks that she may as well go ahead and have a relationship with Ki-tae. (Cutely, she uses the words “have an affair,” as though dating Ki-tae would be cheating on Seung-jo. God, Seung-jo, can’t you just own up to your feelings already? You totally don’t deserve her devotion.)
At the restaurant, Seung-jo is his usual sarcastic self when he takes Ha-ni’s order, thinking she’s going to spend another day waiting around for him. However, she declares that she’s here to meet someone else, which is when Ki-tae arrives. I have to say I love that little look of surprise on Seung-jo’s face when he realizes Ha-ni’s on a date.
Ha-ni pulls back when Ki-tae slings his arm around her shoulders, but that’s when Seung-jo comes around with their drink order, so she ignores him and reacts enthusiastically to Ki-tae’s date suggestions. Seung-jo pointedly interrupts to deliver the drinks, and sets them down a lot slower than he could. Oh, you.
As soon as he leaves the table, however, Ha-ni deflates and drops her cheerful act.
It’s too bad she doesn’t have any interest in Ki-tae, because he’s pretty much the textbook ideal for a kind, attentive date. He looks after her every comfort and makes sure she’s having fun, and she admits that it’s been a while since she enjoyed herself like this.
Hearing that her crush on Seung-jo dates back four years, Ki-tae tells her that he doesn’t expect her to suddenly get over that and like him, but all he wants is for her to think of him a little. At the end of the date, Ha-ni looks around disappointedly, having secretly hoped that Seung-jo would show.
While looking at Seung-jo from afar in the library, Ha-ni decides things can’t continue like this, because she doesn’t want to use Ki-tae. Time to end it.
Ki-tae, on the other hand, urges her to forget Seung-jo, ignoring her attempt to talk to him. He pulls her aside (grabbing her by the neck, aie!), ironically taking the same stance Seung-jo had with the wall kiss as he leans in… and at the last moment Ha-ni squeals, “No!”
That’s when Joon-gu makes his appearance, throwing a punch and telling him to stop pestering Ha-ni. Ki-tae punches back, and this leads to a full-on fight right there amidst the bookshelves while Ha-ni watches in horror and tries to urge them to stop.
Enter Seung-jo, who tells them that there’s no use fighting over Ha-ni. He grabs her shoulder and pulls her close as he points out, “Even so, I’m the only one Ha-ni likes.” With that, leads her along with his hand still on her shoulders.
HA! He can pretend he doesn’t care, but the fact is that he uses the hand-on-shoulder move purposely to signal the guys to back off, because once they’re alone together he drops the hand. She’s feeling miffed at his ego — how confident he must be to declare that he’s the only one she likes. Seung-jo tells her frankly that she and her mother are so transparent.
They have dinner with the parents that night, after which Dad takes Seung-jo aside to ask about his future plans. He suggests that Seung-jo take over his game company, but Seung-jo answers curtly that his father has planned out his whole future without his input.
After that, Seung-jo drops out of sight for a while, and Ha-ni notes that he quits his restaurant job and has stopped coming to tennis club. It takes a while, but she tracks him down to his new job (tipped off by Kyung-soo) as a groundskeeper at a mountain villa.
He’s exasperated with Kyung-soo for telling everyone where he went — in particular He-ra, who pulls up just moments after Ha-ni. Kyung-soo sees this group outing as his chance to make inroads with He-ra, and proposes that he and Ha-ni team up to keep He-ra and Seung-jo apart.
Ergo: couple games, in which he pairs himself with He-ra. Seung-jo sits this one out, leaving Ha-ni and a disgruntled Eun-jo on the same team.
The task is a scavenger hunt wherein the couples must find all seven stamps that have been placed in the forest. There are a couple of funny moments with the He-ra/Kyung-soo pair, not least because He-ra goes hiking in the woods in four-inch heels. At one point Kyung-soo tosses an object in her direction and yells that it’s a bug, which sends her clutching him in fear.
Ha-ni and Eun-jo are both bummed to be stuck in this game without Seung-jo, but Ha-ni tries to make the best of it. A misstep sends her slipping over a small cliff, and she lands in the ditch below. She’s not hurt, but that leaves her unable to climb back up to the main level. Worse yet, they think they hear the howl of a wild animal, which worries them as nighttime approaches.
Joon-gu also works his way through the forest, intent on sticking by Ha-ni’s side at all times. He spots the hat she lost when she fell, and tries to reach for it — and that sends HIM into the crevasse below with an injured leg. He shouts for Ha-ni, and ironically, it’s that sound that makes her cower in fear.
Without a cell phone signal, Eun-jo and Ha-ni settle down to wait for help, and thankfully Eun-jo has come prepared. He shares his blanket with her, and, seeing her shivering, he holds her hands to warm them. It’s cute.
What’s even more adorable, however, is when they think they hear the wild animal approaching, and Eun-jo tells Ha-ni to take cover behind him. Aw! He’s a little boy with the heart of a man.
Seung-jo has remained behind to work, but he’s tipped off that something’s wrong when He-ra and Kyung-soo wearily trudge back and are surprised that Ha-ni’s not back yet. Alarmed, Seung-jo takes off for the forest at a run, knowing something must have happened.
Finding Ha-ni and his brother, he helps them back to safety, and then also finds Joon-gu stranded in the ditch and helps him as well. Joon-gu’s reluctant to accept his help, embarrassed to be at his mercy, and vows to repay this debt.
The next morning, Ha-ni takes a stroll outside, taking a seat at a bench. Seung-jo joins her there, where he tells her, “You should’ve come alone.” He points out, “I thought you liked me and all that. Don’t you know how I feel?”
She starts to say, “I know you wouldn’t think of someone like me…”
He stops her by putting a hand on her shoulder, and then — OMO OMO! — leans down to kiss her.
Only… that’s when Ha-ni wakes up from her daydream, having nodded off on the bench. OH YOU FAKERS. How dare you do this to me and my heightened expectations?
Ha-ni realizes the kiss was just in her dreams, and wishes she’d dreamed a little longer.
But something feels a little different, and she touches a finger to her mouth as she muses, “Still, somehow my lips feel…”
And the camera pans away to reveal Eun-jo, standing at a distance, reacting in shock to something he perhaps didn’t expect to see…
So the big question: DID HE OR DIDN’T HE?
Also, the little question: That “he” is Seung-jo, right?
At first I wondered if we were supposed to think it was Eun-jo who kissed Ha-ni, based on his reaction — he looks nervous and is breathing harder than usual. We DID see him softening toward Ha-ni when they were stuck in the woods together, but still, I don’t think that makes that much sense. Plus, the ending teddy-bear image shows Eun-jo Bear watching Seung-jo Bear kiss Ha-ni Bear… so there’s that.
This episode (and this entire series, really) made me think how curious it was that you could have a drama without any angst that is still enjoyable. Because, let’s face it: there’s nothing in this drama to worry you, to give you that feeling of suspense or anxiety for the characters. Even if all romantic comedies are a foregone conclusion (boy and girl find love), conflict and narrative tension keep things interesting on their way to achieving Happily Ever After. But in this drama, it’s even more obvious than usual (if that’s possible) how it’ll end, so I feel no suspense, and none of the “complications” are really very complicating.
And yet, despite that, I still find it really entertaining and heartwarming to watch. Hm. It’s interesting.
The relationship between Ha-ni and Seung-jo is developing at a snail’s pace, and I’ll admit there are moments where it gets close to being wearying. Yes, Ha-ni likes Seung-jo. Yes, he likes her back but refuses to admit it. I think it’s time for use to get a little more than that same old, same old — or at least bigger expressions of affection on his part. They haven’t lost me yet, but I do think it’s about time for the couple to be making greater strides as the drama’s finish approaches. I look forward to that.