High Kick 3: Episodes 78-81
Yessss! Finally, some major developments on one front! It’s pretty much what we all expected, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying when it happens. The teasing was drawn-out, but the pay-off sure is satisfying.
(Four episodes this week, due to a pre-emption.)
SONG OF THE DAY
Sweet Sorrow – “첫 데이트” (First Date) from Episode 80. [ Download ]
EPISODE 78 WEECAP
During a tutoring session, Ji-won gets milk on her upper lip. As Hyun Bin so emphatically informed us, the foam-on-your-lip maneuver is clearly an invitation for a kiss, and that mental association is enough to distract Jong-seok from the lesson. For days. It’s adorable.
Jin-hee wonders why Ha-sun keeps the cheap necklace Young-wook gave her, since it gave her such grief with the metal allergy. Ha-sun tells her that after a while the metal stopped bothering her, but this conversation sets off her suspicions when she later sees another necklace in Ji-seok’s room. Putting two and two together, she realizes he must have swapped out the chains.
The teachers go out for dinner, and Ji-sun urges the men to set her and Ha-sun up with blind dates. She wants a guy who isn’t flashy but quietly looks after you, warm and dependable, and Ha-sun doesn’t miss the fact that Ji-sun has basically described Ji-seok as the perfect boyfriend.
After dinner Ha-sun suggests a walk, and although she starts to ask him about the necklace, she cuts herself off at the last minute. They stop to hit a few balls at a batting cage, with Ji-seok showing her how.
Over the next few days, Jong-seok finds himself grinning goofily over his crush at random moments (so cute), like when he walks by a bus stop with a milk ad plastered over it. The song “Holding Hands and Humming” (posted below, in the Comments) plays, doing double-duty as thematic narration as the lyrics go, “As I wait for the bus…I’ll take the hand you hold out to me.”
Soo-jung watches mixed martial arts on TV and discovers that Julien knows some moves. (Trivia! Julien’s real-life older brother, Denis Kang, is an MMA fighter.) He demonstrates the guillotine choke, which she eagerly tries out on various men in her family, only to have them easily disarm her. Jong-seok tickles his way out, while Kye-sang easily turns the hold around on her.
Frustrated, Soo-jung goes back for pointers, and this time Ji-won joins in on the chokehold lesson. So in the next lesson when it’s clear that Jong-seok is yet again distracted, Ji-won declares that she’s got to punish him — and pounces to grab him in a chokehold.
But the hold doesn’t have the effect on him that she intended, and it’s adorable how enthusiastically she applies her hold while Jong-seok blushes furiously and makes absolutely zero effort to work his way out of it. As a result, he passes out from lack of oxygen. Hee.
Kye-sang has the results of a physical exam Ji-seok took, and says that a polyp showed up, which they’ll have to remove in a simple surgery. When Ji-seok takes a sick day, Ha-sun wonders at the cause, and hears about the surgery he’ll be undergoing.
Worried, she checks online for information, seeing that it’s a very safe procedure with a low death rate, but she can’t shake off her fears. Then at the convenience store, she hears that the woman who usually works there passed away during heart surgery, hammering in the fear that people can die without warning.
She runs to the hospital right then and there, and finds Ji-seok in the hallway, pre-surgery. Ha-sun tells him she knows about her necklace, which he apologizes for. She tells him she’s not angry, and says in a confused string of broken phrases that she doesn’t even know what she wants to say.
Ha-sun: “Since you’ve always been by my side, I thought you’d always be with me, that we could be like yesterday, hitting baseballs together. But to think that you could suddenly leave without a word — since nobody knows what will happen tomorrow — why am I feeling this way? They say your surgery is a safe one, but still, if you leave my side, then… I… really…”
Ji-seok tells her that he’ll be fine and assures her again that he’ll wait by her side. Brushing away her tears, he promises, “I’ll always be with you, no matter what happens.”
And then, he kisses her. Finally!
EPISODE 79 WEECAP
Ji-seok wakes up from a successful surgery to worried family members, who tell him he slept longer than expected. His first question is about Ha-sun, but his siblings haven’t seen her around.
He’s up and running in no time, and when he runs into Ha-sun outside their houses he tells her he missed her and goes in for a hug. She shoves him away, though, completely offended — she’d told him she just wanted to be friends!
Startled, he reminds her of the hospital kiss, but she says he must have dreamed it up. WHAT? She leaves in a huff, and Ji-seok’s heart sinks as he realizes that must have dreamed everything that happened around surgery-time.
This makes things awkward between them, even though he apologizes. Then Ha-sun gets a call from her father in the U.S., because her mother, who suffers from weak health, has been ill again. She prepares to visit her parents immediately, but Dad adds the suggestion that perhaps she move to the States to live with them permanently.
After some thought, Ha-sun decides to make the move, putting in her resignation with the school and discussing with Ji-won what to do about her future plans. This worries Julien and Jin-hee, who may soon find themselves without a home. Jin-hee tries to convince Ha-sun not to move, and when that fails, she turns her attention to Ji-won, arguing that she’ll need companionship in this big empty house. Too bad for her that Ji-won decides to follow Ha-sun to the States.
Ji-seok hears the news with alarm and asks Ha-sun to meet, taking her to the spot by the river where he was supposed to meet her for dinner, all those months ago. He gives her a bouquet of red flowers, telling her he’d planned to give her flowers then and confess his feelings that night (when, instead, she’d fallen into the water and Young-wook had come to her aid).
Ji-seok explains that he doesn’t want to be left with regrets, like he was back then, and asks her earnestly not to go. Ha-sun gets a little choked up but she stays firm, telling him she’s sorry.
Ha-sun packs her things up and readies to leave, with Ji-won planning to follow next month. Everyone comes by to say their goodbyes, except Ji-seok. At the last moment, he changes his mind, though, and speeds to the airport, wanting to make one last-ditch effort to keep her from leaving.
He races to the terminal, calling her name, but she doesn’t hear. He calls her on his cell while running, but in his hurry he isn’t able to dodge a car and gets hit, falling to the asphalt near the curb. So Ha-sun heads into the terminal without seeing him, and Ji-seok lies in the road, watching her go. His phone lies out of his reach as Ha-sun answers his call, only to get silence on the other end…
And then, Ji-seok wakes up. In a mirror of the opening scene, Ji-seok wakes from surgery and it takes him a moment to register that he hasn’t died. AHH, High Kick, you big tease! I knew we weren’t getting rid of Ha-sun and her departure did seem awfully swift so I’m not entirely surprised — but I swear I was thisclose to yelling profanities at the “It was all a dream” turn. Thankfully, it was all a dream… within a dream.
A short while later, he runs across Ha-sun in their neighborhood, and she’s happy to see him. Weighed down with the emotion of his dream, Ji-seok silently pulls Ha-sun into a hug and tells her, “I was so scared I wouldn’t see you again.”
He thanks her for staying with him, and they stand there in the street, holding each other.
EPISODE 80 WEECAP
With their feelings confirmed, both Ji-seok and Ha-sun get used to this shift in their relationship. They’re adorably bashful, in that giddy way of new lovers, as Ji-seok confirms that she’s really his girlfriend now, and she nods shyly. To mark the moment, Ji-seok asks her out for their first official date, and even belatedly offers to re-ask the question properly later (aka, not in the bathroom sticking out of a hole in the ground). Hee.
On the other end of the relationship spectrum are Yoo-sun and Nae-sang, due to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary tonight. Yoo-sun is expecting him to take her out, so she’s miffed to realize he forgot. But worse is the way he dismisses the day, telling her to let this year slide since he’s remembered so well every other year.
Yoo-sun blows up at Nae-sang, saying should’ve been especially mindful this year, after all the suffering they’ve been through. When he gives in and agrees to go out, it’s too late and Yoo-sun rebuffs him with annoyance.
By contrast, Ji-seok stays up late looking up date spots, and even picks out jokes. The next day he gets ready for the big date, trying on multiple outfits, changing his mind at the last moment and swapping jackets. So cute. Yet also so sad, because he forgets to swap his wallet out of the jacket pocket. Oh noes! I cringe for you already and nothing’s happened yet. You know you love the characters when you almost don’t want to finish the episode, just because you don’t want to witness their embarrassment.
Kim Dong-ryul (of Exhibition) – “취중진담.” [ Download ]
He tries to be the perfect date when he picks Ha-sun up, although he doesn’t quite pull it off. He pulls her hair when trying to help with her seatbelt, and his corny pun-jokes fall flat. He turns on the radio to cover the silence, only to have Kim Dong-ryul singing, “It’s so awkward, I can’t look at you in the eye…” (It’s “Truth in Wine” or “취중진담,” posted here.)
At their lunch at a fancy Western restaurant, Ji-seok suggests changing the names they call each other. They’ve gotten used to calling each other Teacher Yoon and Teacher Park, but that’s a bit formal for a dating couple.
Just then, a nearby couple cute-gush to each other with their pet names jagi and aegi (honey and baby), which is too lovey-dovey for comfort. They decide to go with Ji-seok-sshi and Ha-sun-sshi.
Ji-seok belatedly registers his cash problem, and with deep chagrin he tells Ha-sun that he left his wallet at home. Without hesitation she offers to pay, cheerily turning down his insistence that he’ll pay her back.
They watch a movie (Wonderful Radio, it looks like), and Ha-sun laughs so loudly she snorts. Ji-seok snorts to cover up her embarrassment, but that annoys the other theatergoers. She spills her soda in his lap accidentally, and tries to pat at the spill, realizing too late where her hands are (ha, and rawr).
An annoyed viewer yells at them to quiet down, and Ji-seok’s temper rears its head as he defends “my girl” and all but challenges the guy to a fight. Ha-sun has to drag him away, and the date ends with embarrassment and awkwardness on both sides.
Yoo-sun stays peeved throughout a drama shoot, where she acts as one of the extras at a wedding ceremony. They’re short on men so Nae-sang takes the seat next to her, and she mutters at him through gritted teeth that it’s his attitude that ticked her off, not that he forgot.
She shoots eye-daggers at Nae-sang all throughout the shoot, at one point almost ruining things by getting too heated. But then a character gives a wedding speech, and his words strike the warring couple as he describes how falling in love is easy, but that staying together and loving each other for a lifetime is “a miraculous thing.” Marriage, he says, is about the joy in growing old with someone who remembers your youth.
That softens the mood, and then in the reception scene, the song choice makes a strong impression. It’s the same song that played when Jong-seok was born, when Nae-sang had sat at his exhausted wife’s bedside and told her she’d never been more beautiful.
They keep dancing even after the shoot ends and the song cuts out, hearing the music in their memories.
Ji-seok heads out to drown his first-date woes in soju at a pojangmacha, and Ha-sun spots him in passing. They’re both dressed in comfy clothes and out of their stiff date demeanors, and Ha-sun suggests that they continue acting casual with each other. Officially dating doesn’t mean they have to suddenly try too hard or stick to formalities.
He agrees, and they toast with a comfortable, unremarkable shot of soju as
Jung Yong-hwa’s “Banmal song” (aka “For First-time Lovers,” from We Got Married) plays, describing the awkwardness of a new couple gradually melting into familiarity.
EPISODE 81 WEECAP
At the clinic, Kye-sang overhears Jin-hee calling a plant “Kye-baek,” taken from their names (Kye-sang, Baek Jin-hee). That’s the name of the famous general (and MBC drama), so it has connotations of strength and vitality. He counters that a different arrangement of their names is better, Jin-sang, and gives a long-winded, convoluted explanation of the metaphor. Jin-hee doesn’t entirely understand, but agrees to it.
The next day is the Lunar New Year, and that means traditional morning rice cake soup, bowing to your elders, and (for the younger generation) receiving lots of spending cash. Kye-sang gives his employees New Year’s gifts, although they’re hard-pressed to hide their lack of enthusiasm for the canned tuna set. Oh, fish, yay. I love that he thinks it’s a nice gift, and they’re about as impressed as if it were… well, cans of tuna.
Soo-jung has her eye on a coat, which she’ll pay for with the loads of cash she’s anticipating getting with her New Year’s bows and aegyo tricks.
However, Mom finds out that Soo-jung took tuition money for her academy lessons and blew it on a ski trip, which means both parents are in no mood to pay out any allowance money. She manages to outrun Dad through the neighborhood, then takes refuge next door.
Jong-seok sends her a gloating text showing her all the allowance Ji-seok gave him, adding that Mom and Dad are gonna kill her if she comes home now. She’s not going to let that stop her, so she enlists Ji-won’s help — and asks her to deliver her New Year’s bows to Uncle Ji-seok, by proxy. HAHA.
So Ji-won dutifully goes next door and conveys the message, using Soo-jung’s exact words and mannerisms. Ji-seok calls it ridiculous and sends back the message that proxy bows are invalid. Soo-jung then sends him a video clip, but he counters that it’s gotta be in person. Trying to find a technicality, she then tells him to look out the window and bows from the street, which he also declares null. It’s gotta be face to face, within 2 meters, and for 5 seconds. Otherwise no allowance money.
New Year’s Day also happens to be Jin-hee’s birthday, and her housemates surprise her with seaweed birthday soup. She’s in for a backup shift at the clinic despite the holiday, and Kye-sang offers to take her to a nice lunch since it’s “a good day” for her. Ji-hee wonders if he found out it’s her birthday, and eagerly anticipates his birthday wishes.
A lunch, she finds a ring in her soup, which spins her off into a brief fantasy of Kye-sang telling her that it’s another one of his metaphors, indicating her deep heart. To her disappointment, it’s just the restaurant ajumma’s ring, accidentally swept into the pot.
Jin-hee then sees a gift box on Kye-sang’s desk and tries to figure out if it’s for her. Yet he makes no indication of knowing about her birthday, and eventually Jin-hee deflates, figuring he’s just not going to say anything.
She can’t help herself from perking up when he calls her to make a last-minute request for her to go back to the clinic to take care of something he missed, though, and she fantasizes about him surprising her with a cake and balloons.
Alas, the clinic is empty and Kye-sang is nowhere in sight. Sigh.
As it turns out, Kye-sang gives that gift box to his friend for his child’s dol birthday, and explains that “good day” is in reference to the New Year’s bonus.
Soo-jung vows to claim her New Year’s money and sneaks home through the tunnel, making it to Ji-seok’s room undetected by her family. She fulfills his requirements and bows for a full five seconds… only to have Dad grab her by the ear and haul her away for punishment.
Soo-jung cries bitterly, angry at Ji-seok for turning on her and alerting Dad. He comes to give her the cash as promised, though, saying that she deserved her punishment but also fulfilled the bow.
Soo-jung sniffs in disdain at the cash, saying she can’t be bought… but as she counts the cash, her resentment fades, and around 10 bills into the count her anger is entirely gone.
That night, Jin-hee glumly thumbs through all the text message birthday wishes she receives from her friends. She doesn’t want much from Kye-sang, just one word of congratulations in acknowledgment. It’s a little sad but true to life that she likes him so much that despite the outpouring of love from her friends, the absence of that one person totally dulls the day for her.
So when she gets a last-minute text from Kye-sang, one minute before midnight, she cheers up considerably.
He says he dropped off a gift for her, and she races to find it, although the sight of all those tuna cans is mighty puzzling. Assuming this is for her birthday and not for New Year’s (not that it makes it a better gift), she wonders if this could possibly be another of Kye-sang’s convoluted metaphors (HAHA). What could it symbolize? Love? Travel? Youth? Marriage? Totally confused, she turns to the internet for help.
Ha-sun and Ji-seok, finally!
I actually don’t mind the time it took for us to get here (although that fake-out episode really cut it close), because the relationship has been developed well and I’ve understood it at every point. In a miniseries we’re mostly dealing with heightened emotions and a lot of chemistry/charisma to drive the relationships, just because we’re limited with time. It’s in the longer-running shows that we get to watch a relationship unfold almost in real time, watching the characters go through thought processes that are more true to life.
So I think it was realistic for Ha-sun to pull back, to let herself draw away out of fear and worry before something jolted her into realizing her feelings. And given how she takes her time in puzzling things out, it makes sense that she wouldn’t immediately realize her feelings for Ji-seok upon his confession; she has to come to it on her own, and that happens on its own timetable.
Thankfully, Ji-seok’s patient enough to give her time, which I appreciate about him. There were a few times when I thought he could’ve eased off a little, but he did manage to withdraw before he applied too much pressure — unlike, say, Young-wook who pushed her into things at every step before she was ready (albeit unintentionally — I don’t blame him unduly since she contributed to it, but it marks the difference between the two courtships).
It was a nice touch to juxtapose the two storylines in Episode 80, contrasting Ji-seok and Ha-sun’s first date with Yoo-sun and Nae-sang’s twenty years. It’s sweet in their differences (the giddy nerves versus the familiarity, the awkwardness of knowing what to say versus the bickering), and sweeter in how they align — one couple has made their lifelong commitment and re-realizes that in a touching way, while the other one’s still fumbling along on that path but hopefully headed in the same direction.
The first-date stumbles made me cringe in sympathy for them, though it wasn’t too bad because these two are on the same page and you have faith they’ll work out the kinks eventually. With Young-wook, the dating missteps hurt because you knew the affection only flowed in one direction, but here it clearly goes both ways, and that makes everything all right.
Last but not least, I’ve noticed for a while that High Kick has great music choices, and this week was no exception. It’s not that they choose terribly obscure bands or make any new discoveries, and most of the selections are pretty well-known hits. But it’s the diversity of the choices and the range that I appreciate, as well as the little witty usages of lyrics to add a cute moment of resonance with the story points.
재주소년 (Jaeju Boys) – “손잡고 허밍” (Holding hands and humming) from Episode 78.
[ Download ]
- High Kick 3: Episodes 73-77
- High Kick 3: Episodes 68-72
- High Kick 3: Episodes 63-67
- High Kick 3: Episodes 59-62
- High Kick 3: Episodes 54-58
- High Kick 3: Episodes 49-53
- High Kick 3: Episodes 45-48
- High Kick 3: Episodes 40-44
- High Kick 3: Episodes 35-39
- High Kick 3: Episodes 30-34
- High Kick 3: Episodes 25-29
- High Kick 3: Episodes 22-24
- High Kick 3: Episodes 18-21
- High Kick 3: Episodes 14-17
- High Kick 3: Episodes 10-13
- High Kick 3: Episodes 5-9
- High Kick 3: Episodes 1-4