This drama’s no fairy tale, but there is a certain analogue to be drawn with Chi-soo the corporate prince, shut up in his lofty tower. The fairy-tale scene in this episode played for some humor and some foreshadowing, but the symbolism works beyond the most obvious: Chi-soo can’t and won’t find his way out of his gilded cage, and if he doesn’t want to spend his life lonely — but fabulously dressed in his unwrinkled, pristine outfits — he’d best find a way out. Or at least, to meet his princess halfway.
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Flower Boy Ramyun Shop OST – “이야기” (Story) [ Download ]
EPISODE 15: “Nothing Happened”
A fairy-tale princess runs toward a castle, chased by soldiers. Up in the castle, her prince calls down to her to run toward him, up the tall staircase. She trips over her gown and falls, asking her prince to help her.
Prince Chi-soo raises an arm toward her…to wag his finger at her, saying he can’t. His clothes will wrinkle. So Princess Eun-bi is dragged away, with a sad ballad (from Secret Garden) marking the moment.
Eun-bi wakes up in her man-pile, except the two rival-brothers are nowhere to be seen. She looks around but can’t find Chi-soo, because he and Kang-hyuk have relocated to a cafe to discuss the business proposal Chi-soo found, which his father is using as a threat against the ramyun shop. The message: Chi-soo breaks up with Eun-bi, or the shop goes kaput.
Chi-soo says he’ll take care of it, all cool confidence in his ability to counter Daddy’s play. He even scoffs at Kang-hyuk for worrying over “a little thing like this.” Oh, I foresee some word-eating in somebody’s future.
Eun-bi’s still rattled from her dream (and Chi-soo’s lack of assistance) and takes another dose of stress-relieving medicine. Then she’s called to meet with Daddy Cha again, where he offers the bribe: Leave Chi-soo alone, and he’ll give her a full-time teaching position at the school. It’s sad that even though he’s doing the typical Overbearing K-Drama Parent manipulation, coming from this dad it seems based more on misguided logic than classism: “If you have stability, then you can take care of yourself. And then you won’t need Chi-soo.”
Eun-bi confesses her dream to Daddy Cha, telling him that Chi-soo didn’t help her, and when she woke up he was gone. She’s been looking for him all morning to no avail, and strangely, “Without Chi-soo by my side, I felt afraid. That I might not see him again.”
Dad concedes that she’s probably gotten attached to Chi-soo, but she says that’s not what it feels like. “Having held in my hand the thing I’m supposed to give up, I learned one thing for certain: I can’t push Cha Chi-soo away anymore. I want to go forward with Chi-soo — I want to date him.”
She walks out of the Cha Sung building feeling free… just as Chi-soo walks in to see his father, just missing her in the revolving doors. Auuugh, damn you, symbolism!
Eun-bi races back to the ramyun shop and approaches Kang-hyuk, her decision made. He can sense it and deliberately keeps the topic mundane, but she grabs his hand and dives in, telling him that she did see him as a man, and that he made her heart flutter. She didn’t want to let go of him or his warm hands, knowing he was a good man.
“But Chi-soo is like magma,” she says — hot and unpredictable. So no matter how much she tried, she calls herself Chi-soo’s yang-eun-nem-bi (silver pot): “Even if you try to cool it, it keeps boiling.”
Kang-hyuk asks what she’ll do if it turns out that heat is a fire pit that burns her all up. She answers that she still wants to go (to) there.
Chi-soo confronts his father with an easy attitude, ready to wheedle him into ending this standoff. He starts to say the he just wants to date Eun-bi for a while, but gets cut off by his father angrily throwing a cup and getting stern, for once. Daddy Cha says he didn’t let Chi-soo refer to him as “President Cha” to cultivate a lack of respect, but to remind him that he would inherit the company. He says that Chi-soo had be prepared to watch how his decision shakes out, like it’s an ominous threat.
Dad’s secretary presses something into his hand as Chi-soo leaves, asking him to return home. They’re two coins, for the subway, but even more hilarious is that Chi-so has absolutely no idea what to do with them. He watches everyone zip through with their subway passes, and hesitantly holds up his hand to the sensor — holding the coins, of course — but no go.
While the ramyun crew unpacks a Christmas tree to decorate, Kang-hyuk gets called away and lies (poorly) to get away. It’s the subway station, because Chi-soo has been detained for throwing a fit when he couldn’t get through the gate, yelling, “Why am I the only one who can’t get through?!” and shouting at the security cameras, “I’m CHWA!” Hee.
On the bus ride home, Chi-soo asks Kang-hyuk what his father’s redevelopment project means. Kang-hyuk asks if he wants the answer for youthful ears, or the one for an adult. I don’t know why, but it breaks my heart a little that Chi-soo asks for the youth-directed answer; either because he knows the answer and wants some optimism, or (in my opinion more likely) because he knows he isn’t ready to handle the truth.
So Kang-hyuk tells him that the redevelopment means a cleaner result, because they’ll be replaced by new buildings and roads. But then Chi-soo asks for the adult version, and Kang-hyuk replies, “It means a cleaner result — because everything will get swept away, leaving no trace.”
Kang-hyuk advises Chi-soo not to tell Eun-bi about the redevelopment plans, because she might end their relationship? Chi-soo wonders if Kang-hyuk’s actually worrying about him, and Kang-hyuk lies (awkwardly), “W-why would I worry about you? I’m worrying about Wifey.”
At home, Eun-bi practices her aegyo-face, preparing for how to tell Chi-soo her decision, even throwing in a High Kick “puing-puing” for good measure. (HA!) But no, aegyo is not her forte, and she figures that a sudden outpouring will just make him cranky and suspicious. So she turns to the internet for advice, naturally.
The first reply to her question? “One IU song will do the trick!” Haha. There’s an invisible caveat to that, though — you should probably be able to carry a tune, and Eun-bi’s dragging it along by the hair at best.
Chi-soo catches the tail end of her warble, and Eun-bi hurriedly grasps for composure. Just as she starts to ask for a moment with him later, they’re interrupted by the boys. Ba-wool storms in, takes a deep breath, and then fires a volley of literal words at Chi-soo (“You disappear without a cent or a car and come late at night…”), which hilariously bounce of Chi-soo’s head.
Even more hilariously, Hyun-woo bats at the them like they’re ping-pong balls, which alternately the wackiest thing he’s done so far and incredibly cute. Hee! I love this drama’s flair for manhwa whimsy.
They head down to dress up the tree, having waited for Chi-soo, and add decorative balls on which they’ve drawn themselves. Can they be any cuter?
Apparently they can, because Ba-wool complains that they’ve left Chi-soo off and draws him an ornament, too. He draws a basic happy face wearing a lopsided hairdo and labels it CHWA.
Kang-hyuk watches as Eun-bi approaches Chi-soo a bit awkwardly and asks for a chat later, knowing what she means by that. So moments later when a foul smell wafts through the air, he feigns innocence as he holds up his socks, saying a tree can’t forget its Christmas stockings. HAHA. Oh man, it’s too sad when you’re being mature and thoughtful, but when you’re being petty and immature, I’m in love.
The crew takes a moment to be sentimental about the tree, feeling a sense of familial togetherness that they hadn’t expected to find this year. Chi-soo pokes at their reactions, but Hyun-woo says it’s because he’s so happy — if not for this ramyun shop, he would’ve been caught by dad’s loan sharks and probably illegally divested of a few internal organs. Chi-soo drops an ornament, the implication not lost on him.
Then Ba-wool adds that he would probably have slept in subways, gotten dragged off, and forced to join a circus. Then the news reports of Cha Sung’s redevelopment plans, showing buildings being demolished, and Eun-bi clucks in sympathy for the people displaced as a result. Chi-soo loses his hold on the tree and almost causes it to tumble, but Kang-hyuk keeps it from falling. The words aren’t lost on him as Ba-wool exclaims, “You could’ve destroyed it!” Hyun-woo adds, “If not for the boss, we would’ve been in trouble!”
Eun-bi goes out looking for Chi-soo, but he’s off on his own, writing down a list of all the things he’d lose: credit card, cell phone, and Woo Hyun-woo. Flashing back to recent conversations, he adds two names: Kim Ba-wool and Onion.
Turns out he’s holed up in the bathroom to work out his pros-and-cons list, and when he emerges Ba-wool and Hyun-woo are in a panic to use the toilet. (They assume it’s a constipated noona inside, haha.)
Chi-soo keeps to himself as he works out the problem, but all he finds are dead ends. His lawyer can’t fight Cha Sung, and urges him back to his castle; “Princes outside their castle are public disturbances.”
Without bus fare home, Chi-soo calls So-yi — he can’t ask the ramyun crew to borrow money, and he’s afraid of Eun-bi finding out that he’s been cut off. He asks So-yi why she dated him, and she admits freely that she liked his nice car, nice clothes, and expensive presents. He asks if she would’ve dated him if he were just a normal high schooler, and she laughs, “Why would I? I would’ve just dated Ba-wool then.” Oh, okay then. Is that supposed to make me feel better about our Ba-wool being wasted on you?
She wonders if he’s afraid of Eun-bi not liking him without all those things, but it’s the opposite: “I’m afraid she will.”
Eun-bi spots him at the cafe, though, and sees So-yi leaving. She instructs him to meet her at the gym later — heh, so you can seduce him with your volleyball uniform?
But at the ramyun shop, a crew of black-clad men pull up, ready to hear Chi-soo’s decision. Will he go with them, or will they begin demolition? Hyun-woo adorably takes cover behind Ba-wool, while Kang-hyuk greets the men as expected guests and invites them inside for ramyun. Chi-soo tells them he’ll be right back, and heads off to meet Eun-bi.
She shows off her serve, while Chi-soo thinks of all the reasons he can’t be with her — like how son-of-god Hwanung can’t date a mortal, how Kang-hyuk worries for Eun-bi, how Dad is threatening to bulldoze over the shop.
Eun-bi stops her spike demonstration to tell him that she practiced volleyball for five years, weathering the bruises and injuries, unable to stop “Because when I held the ball, my heart raced. So I’m going to hold onto you now.” She surmises that it may take five years for them to settle into their rhythm, and that things may get tough down the road. But she takes his hand anyway.
Only, it’s Chi-soo who pulls away, saying he came here to break up with her.
She chases him out, and now it’s an echo of that other night, only their situations are reversed. He points out all the difficulties she just described, and reminds her of the advice to think of what he’d be losing. Well, he wrote a list, and he’s dozens of losses to one gain, and Eun-bi’s the only thing in that pro column. “To gain you and spend my life riding subways and buses — I don’t know if I can do it.”
This is all so sudden, and she can’t understand. Holding a hand to his chest, she says, “You’re still burning hot, here.”
He pulls her hand away and says in a hard voice that he doesn’t like her anymore. Putting a hand to his heart, he says, “Nothing happened here, and nothing will in the future, either. So come to your senses and return to your place.”
As he leaves, he presses something into her hand — the nametag she’d given him the last time they were in this situation.
Chi-soo concludes his surrender with his father’s henchmen, and heads toward their car. Kang-hyuk stops him to say that there are other solutions, adding, “You’re not alone. There are five of us.” Aw.
Chi-soo rejects his attempt to help, saying that he’s leaving because he’ll turn to poop if he stays. Kang-hyuk asks what he’ll do about his “other poop” (Eun-bi — how strange it is that a slur became a mark of quasi-affection), and Chi-soo tells him to take care of it.
Both brothers fling around the “Why are you doing this? You don’t care about me” question, but Chi-soo gets in the last word: If he doesn’t want to turn Eun-bi into their mother, let him go.
Eun-bi drinks with Dong-joo and assures her that nothing’s the matter, that nothing happened. Chi-soo returns home to Dad, who confirms that nothing happened with him, either. The phrase, which serves as our episode’s title, doesn’t literally mean that nothing happened but speaks to the end result: The game has not changed, the settings are back at default, order is restored.
Eun-bi stumbles home drunk and is met by Kang-hyuk, whom she refers to as “Pillar Husband” now. She says that being dumped by Chi-soo is what she deserves for dumping Pillar Husband, and tells him about her dream. She laughs about it drunkenly, wondering how her dream could’ve been so accurate: “Today I held out my hand like this to Cha Chi-soo, but he shoved it aside.”
She sinks to the ground, starting to cry, holding her heart: “I felt like this was tearing.”
She’s not alone in that, of course, and Chi-soo deals with his own torn heart. Eun-bi cries that her heart is still in turmoi, “But that guy says nothing happened for him.” And he sits soothing his own heartache, telling himself over and over, “Nothing happened.”
Chi-soo, a Rapunzel? Aside from an attachment to his hair, who’d'a thunk it? Normally in these kinds of stories you argue that the Exalted One’s separation from the lowly citizenry is for the safety of the shut-in — he’s too precious to mingle with the plebes, he can’t risk danger because he’s too important. I think the lawyer makes the keen point, though, that this is a prince who can cause trouble to others just as much as he could find himself the victim of it.
A sad thing to hear, but now that Chi-soo’s starting to see the world outside and realize he can’t do anything now, as the powerless pawn of his father, it’s something to consider seriously, because there’s truth in it. Completely fatalistic, but true. Ish.
Of course, what that fails to take into account is people’s abilities and desires to change, or to claim agency over their own actions, which I don’t suppose lands on Daddy Cha’s radar as a possibility, given his own inability to deviate from the script. The world told him he was caviar and that he couldn’t eat rice, and when his attempt live outside his comfort zone ended badly, he basically gave up trying and shut himself up into his Cha Sung bubble. It’s why he’ll mourn his wife till the day he dies, but probably would make the same mistakes all over again because in his mind, life is what it is. You can’t fight fate, so you may as well accept your part in the play and act it out as best you can.
This is why I find myself rooting for Chi-soo to break free, not (merely) to win his love but to claim himself. If you’re going to be an asshole by choice, fine, go ahead. It’s your prerogative. But if you’re going to play the part of one because somebody told you you had no choice in the matter, then you’re basically a puppet and you’ll never be able to cut the strings. I just want Chi-soo’s journey to enable him to cut the strings.
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