Can’t Lose: Episode 12
This show finally made me cry, but not in an angstfest, like a normal drama’s twelfth episode might. I appreciate that about this show – it takes its time with characters and moments, until you feel with them. I like that the emotional pull isn’t about some crazy plot machination, but about the bond between people – teacher and student, husband and wife, mother and child, friends, and brothers.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Professor Go announces that he’s taking his divorce to trial, and that Hyung-woo and Eun-jae are taking his case, and that’s that. He then spends the day dragging them around town but not remembering why.
He’s either suffering from dementia or just messing with them on purpose, but they don’t think it’s anything other than him being a grumpy old man.
They wonder what they should do to stop his divorce, and the Hope staff calls them out for being hypocritical – how can they tell someone not to divorce when they’re doing it themselves?
Speaking of which, it’s time to file the divorce, and Eun-jae offers to do it together, but Hyung-woo tells her he’ll do it alone, since it’s nothing pleasant. She doesn’t argue.
Eun-jae spends her evening going through Hyung-woo’s checklist, even if it’s in a cursory way. It’s cute that she’s finally decided to listen to him, even if it’s after their marriage is over.
Hyung-woo meanwhile becomes a zombie over at divorced-bachelorville, and watching Gogi dote on his pregnant wife doesn’t help any. I on the other hand love watching Gogi be the adoring husband to Young-joo, fetching her porridge after porridge at her whim, for their “peanut.” So cute.
Eun-jae’s doorbell rings that night, and in comes Professor Go, bag in hand. He’s staying here, apparently, because he’s either crazy or he really means business with this whole divorce thing.
Either way, he doesn’t give Eun-jae much choice, and announces that he’s hungry. She scrambles her way through the kitchen and manages to make him a modest meal, and then calls Hyung-woo in a panic.
She tells him that she made him dinner and he’s sleeping, and Hyung-woo gasps in shock: “You COOKED?” Hahahaha. I love that this is the thing that shocks him the most.
He rushes over to the apartment, where the professor is dozing off on the couch. He gets up and tells Hyung-woo that he was right to divorce Eun-jae because she didn’t even feed him properly, and then when Hyung-woo suggests he stay at a hotel, he snaps that Eun-jae ought to meet a better man. Ha.
He’s apparently been couch-hopping from student to student for some time. He requests CNN on the tv, not because he understands English, but because he’s a fan of the anchor. I love that it’s totally plausible that he’s crazy or sane, pretty much equally at this point.
Eun-jae tells Hyung-woo that he’s staying here because she can’t deal with this alone, and so the three of them have a sleepover. They fall asleep on the professor’s shoulders, on either side of him, and he sighs, “You idiots.” Aw. Is he doing this whole thing to get them back together?
They wake up the next morning, having fallen asleep in the living room on top of each other. Professor Go is gone, so they go right back to bickering. She kicks Hyung-woo out and in the light of day he notices that she’s turned all of their wedding pictures around, and his heart sinks.
She asks if he filed their divorce and snarks that he suffered greatly, being married to her until now, and he just bites back. They run into each other again at Young-joo’s restaurant, and Hyung-woo leaves so she can eat in peace.
She pretends to be totally over it already, and asks Gogi to set her up with some of his single friends. Gogi: “My friends are Hyung-woo’s friends. How about Soju?” She sneers.
Hyung-woo gets a call from Mom wanting to have dinner, so he shows up… and finds himself on a blind date. Ugh, moms and their terrorist tactics. He quickly makes his apologies and leaves, and confronts Mom.
She tells him that he needs to cure his pain with someone new, and he alerts her to the fact that he’s not the one who was hurt – Eun-jae was. He finally tells her that Eun-jae wanted out of the divorce, but he pushed for it in the end.
Mom doesn’t understand why, and he tells her that she’s the one who knows – what it’s like to be married to a man like him. Hyung-woo: “I didn’t divorce her because I don’t love her. She was having a hard time, so I let her go.”
He heads over to see HotBar, but finds Eun-jae there. Oh yeah, you two will be over each other in no time. Same friends, same restaurants, same bars, same brother?
She immediately gets territorial, wondering why he’s here, and Hyung-woo tells her that he and HotBar have decided to be hyung-dongseng. She darts a look of death at Tae-young, who nervously tells her that Hyung-woo really really likes having a little brother and insisted on it.
She laser-eyes Hyung-woo: “Are you trying to steal my brother?” Heh. There’s just something so funny about these two, never having fought over division of assets even ONCE during their divorce case, and now fighting over Little Bro rights like children.
They bicker back and forth, talking to HotBar but really arguing with each other, and HotBar’s eyes just glaze over. He finally notices something, and asks what the hell they’re doing, sitting there acting like a couple, still wearing their couple rings.
That stuns them into silence, as they both hide their wedding-ringed hands from each other awkwardly.
That night they both angst over whether or not to take off their rings. Eun-jae tries taking it off and stares at her hand, and puts it back on right away, unable to face it.
The next day she takes on a new case involving a car accident survivor incapacitated by his guilt. Gogi goes with her, and speaks to him like he’s familiar with the circumstance, and Eun-jae notes it curiously.
Her mom packs a bunch of food and drops it off with her building’s security guard without a word, and Eun-jae is surprised at the gesture of warmth from her normally cold mom. She stares at the mountain of food and calls everyone in her phone to see if anyone’s free to help her eat it.
She finally dials Hyung-woo, and he flips out when he sees it’s her calling, because he’s got his boxing gloves on and he can’t answer. He fumbles hilariously for a while in a panic, finally screaming at Soju to answer it for him… but he’s too late.
Eun-jae can’t believe he’s ignoring her call, and turns her phone off in a huff. Aw, they’re back to dating games!
She ends up bringing some of the food over to Woo-shik’s place anyway, but Hyung-woo nearly catches her outside the building, so she hides until he passes her, and tiptoes away behind him.
Only she’s about as subtle as a moose in a tutu, so he turns around and tiptoes after her, scaring her to death. They head up to Woo-shik’s place together, and end up ruining Professor Jo’s surprise birthday party, which he makes clear is not okay.
Eun-jae saves the day with her mom’s food though, which makes the professor light up. Hyung-woo walks her out (all the while doing adorably boyfriendy things like giving her his jacket and petting her hair) and they decide to hit up a pojangmacha for some drinks.
Eun-jae marvels that he never once did this with her while they were married, and they both agree that not being together makes some things easier.
She admits that sometimes she feels lonely, though she says it like you would feel the loss if you cut your hair or lost a tooth or something. He tells her that she’ll get used to it, which is not what she wanted to hear.
She finds herself smelling his jacket and wearing it to sleep, and then calls Young-joo over for some girl talk. Eun-jae: “I’m so annoyed! Yeon Hyung-woo… ever since we split up… I like him!”
Young-joo gasps, understanding fully what a hit to her pride it is, to have feelings for him after all that. It’s really cute the way they talk about it like they’re fifteen and she has an inconvenient crush.
Eun-jae tells her that he’s doing that bad boy thing, slightly tending to her, and then pulling back – basically he’s playing her hot and cold. Young-joo can’t deny that it makes all women crazy, and Eun-jae admits that it’s what made her fall for him in the first place, and now it’s happening all over again.
Eun-jae: “All his attractive traits, the ones that disappeared after we got married… I keep seeing them now!” Hehe. Young-joo tells her to be strong and not to show it, and Eun-jae holds her head up high, swearing to keep it together.
They go to meet Professor Go together before his 80th birthday party, and he sits them down to make sure they’re taking his divorce case. Finally Hyung-woo just agrees that they’ll represent him, and tells him that they’ll tell his wife at the party.
Eun-jae flips out that he’s caving, but Hyung-woo makes it clear that it’s just a ploy to get their stubborn teacher to his own birthday party. They wait while he goes to the restroom, but start to worry when he takes a while.
They search, but he’s already long gone. He ends up being a no-show to his own party, and Professor Jo rips them a new one for failing to bring the guest of honor. They all sit down with the professor’s wife, who tells them it isn’t their fault.
It turns out he does have dementia, and his insistence on divorcing her was to try and distance himself and not become a burden to her. Aw. She tells them that he’s been visiting all his former students one by one while he still had control of his brain, so that he could say goodbye in his own way.
She guesses that he didn’t show up to the party because he didn’t want to be found out. Hyung-woo tells her that he had mentioned a few places that day when they were driving him around town, and she says that’s where they met, and he proposed to her.
The professor’s wife tracks him down the next day, and Hyung-woo and Eun-jae rush to meet them. He stops to tie her shoe on their way without a word, and she looks at him lovingly.
They come up to the older couple, in the middle of an argument. Professor Go doesn’t recognize his own wife, and asks the lady if his wife sent her, then he’s not going. She asks if he hates his wife that much, and he says that he’s very sick, and it’s hard on her.
*waaah* This is the only kind of noble idiocy that really gets to me – when love and senility are at odds. Eun-jae and Hyung-woo pause to look at each other, the reflection of their own conflict not lost on them.
The professor has almost fully reverted to a childlike state, as he plays with puppies and then drags the couple away to secretly put a candy in each of their hands. He tells them that he’ll stand between them (like a bridge), and they fight to hold back their tears.
They walk down the mountain silently and in step, each thinking about the other’s words in a new light – why she asked him to hold on and try, why he insisted that she was better off without him.
Hyung-woo’s mother comes to see Eun-jae, and apologizes for misunderstanding her. She tells her that she doesn’t hate Eun-jae’s mother, and in fact has developed a bond with her, after all that fighting.
Eun-jae cops to her fault in the whole mess, and Mother tells her that Hyung-woo is in the wrong too. “He thinks this is best for you, but he’ll come to find out later, that a married couple feels pain together. That’s why they’re family.”
She adds that this is Hyung-woo’s way of taking care of her, of thinking of her. She sighs at how frustrating it is to watch the two of them. “Time will fix all of this. Why don’t you know that?”
Then Mom goes to see Eun-jae’s mom, and confesses that she’s lonely. She asks if they can be friends, even if their kids split up, adding that they ought to do something to keep hope alive. Aw. Why am I happier that the moms made up? They’re so cute.
Hyung-woo stops by the office, and Eun-jae is happy to have some help with her current case. She passes over pictures of the car accident, and Hyung-woo flinches. Gogi quickly moves them aside out of his view, and Hyung-woo gets up abruptly to leave.
She accuses him of ditching her as soon as she asks for help, and he storms off. She’s angry at first, but then his actions give her pause, especially when she considers Hyung-woo’s comments when they went to Misari, and Gogi’s familiarity with this kind of case.
She asks Gogi for the truth, and he finally tells her about the accident that killed Hyung-joo. Mom collapsed from shock, and then didn’t remember, so all this time, Hyung-woo’s been pretending that Little Bro is still alive, for Mom’s sake.
Eun-jae tries calling but he doesn’t answer, and she asks if Gogi knows where Hyung-woo goes when he’s having a hard time. She berates herself for not even knowing that about her own husband, saying that she deserves to be divorced. Aw.
He’s boxing, of course. (I don’t know why Gogi wouldn’t know that, but maybe he keeps his bromances separate to temper potential Soju/Gogi jealousy?)
When he comes home, he finds Eun-jae waiting outside. He tells her that he wasn’t angry with her. She takes his hand in hers and sighs that she wants to pretend not to know, but she can’t.
She tells him that they’re not family anymore, so if there’s something he can’t tell his family, because they’re family… well then he can tell her now.
“Your brother’s accident…wasn’t your fault. How hard was it for you, all alone?” His defenses go up and he tries to pull away, scared to death of the words about to come out of her mouth. But she doesn’t let go.
Instead, she grabs him in a hug. “You probably didn’t even get to cry properly, because you were worried about Mom…” Urgh, I can’t stop the tears.
She pats his back gently and as a tear falls from her eye, she tells him that it’s okay, that just once, he can let it all out. He trembles as he finally gives in and starts to cry in her arms.
“I… because of me… my brother… how could he go like that?”
Aw, this show finally sucker-punched me into tears. I didn’t expect the side story with Professor Go to be anything but a convenient plot device, and though it was, it also resonated on an emotional level. But what really got me was Eun-jae’s insistence on being there for Hyung-woo when she found out the truth about his brother.
There was finally nothing to stand in her way – no pride, which is a first for her. She was just there for him in a completely unselfish way, offering herself up as a friend and nothing more, which is the beauty of the gesture.
I love that she feels like he’s playing her hot and cold like their dating days, when he’s actually just confused, not being a bad boy. He’s conflicted because he still loves her, but thinks that giving her space is what’s best for her, so he ends up doing the very thing that makes her crazy for him – playing her hot and cold, totally unwittingly.
Perhaps they’re destined to feel the opposite of their current situation. So no matter which side of the grass they’re on, the other side is always greener. These two are really better to each other when they’re not married, which makes me think that the problem isn’t the pairing, but their idea of marriage. Perhaps they should just date each other for the rest of their lives. They might get better results that way. What’s a piece of paper when your eternal happiness is at stake?