What’s Up: Episode 13
For anyone wishing to get Byeong Gun and Do Sung’s backstory, you get your wish in this episode! While Do Sung’s is told quite quickly, his story is heartbreaking enough that I’d rather see him move on, than try and resolve the issues of his past. Mothers can be so damn ruthless. They’re ruthless about your appearance, your future, the state of cleanliness of your room, when you’ll be home for dinner, when you’ll be home so we can continue another drama marathon…
I digress. Gah.
Tae Hee may not know how to put on makeup, but she sure does take forever on picking what to wear. She even confesses to her father that she likes Jae Hun, then squeals in her room, jumping around like a little bunny. Aww… As she tries on one outfit after another, poor Jae Hun’s nose gets redder and redder in the cold, waiting. He practices introducing himself, but at the sight of Tae Hee taking out the photo, he quakes, and asks if he can just speak to Mr. Park via mental communication rather than say everything aloud.
Tae Hee: “Dad, he’s a bit of a macho guy. Macho, macho maaaan~”
Just as she’s about to take out that photo frame for the hundredth time, her phone rings. It’s Min Woo. Tae Hee says she finished all her training, and her schedule was free, so she already has other plans. However, Min Woo ends up strolling right up to the both of them. He’s picking her up personally to bring her to the CEO, a.k.a. his dad. Because his father is always abroad working, Min Woo had to wrangle a time slot to show his father that he has been working, and has been cultivating a new artist.
Tae Hee is torn, not wanting to go but understanding that this is very important to her career. Luckily for her, Jae Hun understands its importance and lets her go. She just needs to pay him back threefold. To Min Woo, Jae Hun tells him to take care of Tae Hee; “Her curfew is at 10pm. I’m going to be watching you.” Waaaah~ he and Mr. Park would have gotten along so famously, if only it weren’t for that incident…
Jae Hun suddenly gets the bright idea that he’ll take Mr. Park to the musical instead. Tae Hee hands over the photo frame, warning him to not get on her dad’s good side or else he’ll have to sing. HA! So cheesy. Oh these young ‘uns…
But when he finally takes a look at the photo for the first time in the privacy of an empty hallway, his foolish grins turn upside down. No way… It can’t be… Suddenly all the clues start fitting together – everything Tae Hee told him about her father passing away starts to make sense. Jae Hun wipes the frame, as if hoping he can erase the father’s face. It’s a face he can never erase from his memories after the accident.
He drops the frame, and the glass cracks. And Jae Hun huddles against the wall, staying as far away from the photo as possible.
Do Sung and his uncle, Dong Joon, drive into a private apartment building, with the pesky reporter on their tails. To get through the parking security agent, the reporter “bribes” him with some food as gifts, but he doesn’t get through the lobby security. Do Sung and Dong Joon run up to the apartment, trying their damndest to get their first, but mommy dearest is already waiting for them in the living room.
She bids them to come sit down closer to her, instead of speaking so far away, but it’s not like they are any closer sitting down. After a few niceties, she gets down to business – why did Do Sung lie to her about his school and major? She thought his school would be in Seoul, so that he could always come back home to this private apartment, but instead he’s in the dorms. On top of that, he’s a musical major, which indicates to her that he wants to become a musical actor and be famous.
Oh – and how did she know that he lied to her? Because she found out the pesky reporter was digging into her family, and the bread crumbs led to Do Sung at Haneul. We also find out that Do Sung is listed as his grandfather’s son, and therefore his mother and uncle’s youngest sibling. Oh God – the lengths this woman went to hide his parentage…
Do Sung apologizes, but his mother says he has nothing to be sorry for. But if he is sorry, then how could he do this to her?! Shouldn’t he be thinking of her? (Whoa – selfish much? What’s more ingratiating is her condescending tone, as if she were talking to a 5-year old who colored outside the lines than a grown 20-year old.) Do Sung insists that he won’t become famous. He just enjoys being around friends who love music just like he does. But Selfish Mom steamrolls right over his comments and tells Dong Joon to put the house up for sale. With its prime location, they can get a mansion anywhere in the world and find a new school for Do Sung.
Flashback to when he was younger, when his mother first abandoned him at that playground. Selfish Mom had claimed that she’s leaving for his benefit; she will go and become a famous star while he stays with his grandparents and act like their son. If she wants to survive in the entertainment industry, she needs to hide him, and she leaves without answering when she’ll be back for him. Selfish Mom went on to become the wife of a famous politician, completely abandoning him to the care of his uncle/”brother.” Dong Joon had even brought him to his mother’s new home for a sneak peek at his mother’s new life.
Dong Joon tried to cheer Do Sung up, most likely feeling bad about this poor kid’s situation. He says that they have to be careful about being around her, since she might enter the political world herself, but that she still thinks of him. She still buys him a lot of stuff – but as we all know, material goods does not equate to love.
Back to the present, Selfish Mom is chattering on about how living in Seoul would be oppressive, and how her son should go live freely abroad. Do Sung snaps back to his senses, and refuses to leave Seoul and his school. Selfish Mom thinks he’s being rebellious; Do Sung says he knows his mother doesn’t love him.
He’s had a taste of love, y’see. At school, there’s a girl he likes, but she likes his roommate. And though he’s sad, he’s also glad because this roommate is a great guy who doesn’t live in hiding like him. (Wait til he finds out about Jae Hun killing Tae Hee’s father…) Do Sung has a good inkling that he’s in love, because he puts the girl’s happiness before his. And because his own mother puts her happiness before her own son’s, it means she doesn’t love him. Even Dong Joon is quiet, knowing that Do Sung’s words are the truth despite how much it hurts.
But here’s the thing, Do Sung loves his mother still and he’s willing to do anything for her to protect her happiness. Just let him stay in school, and continue to learn about how music can help express what is in his heart. Selfish Mom: “You’ve changed. What happened to my son?” Your son grew up and grew a spine, that’s what happened. You spiteful, selfish woman.
As she leaves the building, she makes the unknowing mistake of looking back, and her face is caught full on by the reporter, snapping away.
Back at school, Byeong Gun dashes off to the Department of Electronic Data Processing and begs the teacher’s assistant to help lie for him. If anyone comes in asking for him, the T.A. is to say that Kim Byeong Gun is definitely in the department, he’s doing well, and that he has no idea where he could be found. The T.A. looks like he can’t be bothered with this crap, but grudgingly agrees.
EXCEPT! Byeong Gun’s brother is standing outside the door of the office. CAUGHT!
Sitting at a cafe, Byeong Gun tries to send his brother away, who’s a lawyer and should be too busy to visit. The brother’s never remembered his birthday it seems, as Byeong Gun finds it weird if this brother does anything “family-related.” The brother thinks Byeong Gun isn’t serious about musicals, as he’s changed his majors several times already, year after year. It’s like a hobby, and it clues us in that Byeong Gun is a lot older than he acts or looks. The brother even finds it laughable that Byeong Gun wants to sing in front of an audience, especially when in high school he couldn’t sing in music class.
Byeong Gun tries to send him off, but the brother insists on staying for dinner – in fact, he’ll sleep over too! (I love this brother already – if anyone wants to torture a younger sibling, this is the way to do it! :D)
As they walk through the school, a couple of classmates remind Byeong Gun that he’s got a private session with Myung Hwan and Sun-Man. The two professors are trying to get Byeong Gun to sing while rolling a water bottle between his hands, but he can’t get his voice any louder or stronger. He drops the bottle, thus losing his focus. Myung Hwan is super frustrated, so Sun-Man takes over with his tactics. That includes making Byeong Gun hang his tongue out like a dog. (HAHA!) Apparently, this should help unblock his vocal chords. I think this is just for everyone’s amusement.
Then Sun-Man has him envision an entire audience before him, and to greet them in a loud voice. He doesn’t have to sing it, he just has to say it really loudly, and amplify his voice. Byeong Gun does it successfully, getting stronger each time he repeats it. But when Sun-Man suggests he sing a line, Byeong Gun loses all nerve. He thinks too much before he sings, thus proving (again) that his fear is all psychological.
Outside the room, Byeong Gun’s brother is watching – just thinking, and not at all mocking…
Jae Hun lurks outside the stage production studio and asks the lighting director Young Jin for some glass and a glass-cutter. A little while later, she wonders if Jae Hun needs help, as he’s been sitting there unmoving for some time now. He’s already done cutting the glass though, but he hasn’t assembled the frame back together. Jae Hun asks her for another favor (much to her disgruntlement) – can she put the frame back together, and then deliver it to Tae Hee’s room? He can’t do it himself because he’s too scared of the photo. And then he runs off.
In Doo Ri’s room, Doo Ri and Ji Eun are eating a plateful of pig’s feet. Ji Eun had put whatever acting skills she used on her mother, lying about feeling dizzy from lack of food, and KABAM! Her mother sends over extra money so that she can buy more food. Tae Hee returns, and at the sight of pig’s feet she dashes over and stares with wide eyes. Ji Eun offers her some, but Tae Hee slowly shakes her head; her agency forbade her from eating after 6pm.
She collapses on her bed, tired from singing all day. It turns out that singing isn’t as fun as it used to be for her anymore. When she sang in front of the CEO, he was on the phone the entire time. So she sang to another guy, but he ended up talking to his secretary the entire time. Tae Hee now feels a little insecure, that perhaps her singing isn’t really good because she can’t even capture their attention.
That’s when she notices that the photo of her father is back next to her bed, and she runs out the door. Ji Eun becomes confused – are Tae Hee and Jae Hun dating?
Doo Ri: Which side do you want to be on?
Ji Eun: Huh?
Doo Ri: Side number one: you can spread all the rumors that they’re dating, then make up 12 rumors on why they fought and spread that, and then spread rumors that they broke up, if they do. Or side number two: Just eat pig’s feet.
Ji Eun: (pause) Number two.
Doo Ri: Me too.
YAYYY – if these options were presented to Chae Young, she’d pick number one, but instead of just spreading rumors, she’d take on the additional work of actually making them true.
Byeong Gun finally shows his room to his brother, which is a complete and utter mess. The brother is surprised that Byeong Gun can handle all this dirtiness. Byeong Gun throws a random book across the room: “I’ve gotten tougher!” Suddenly Soo Bin sits up from under his covers and throws pillows at both men: “Can you leave me alone?!”
I forget that one of Soo Bin’s hobbies is to just sleep.
Byeong Gun goes down to the lobby area and sees Tae Hee, her face smushed up against the windows, waiting for Jae Hun. Byeong Gun takes a seat and enters a yoga pose – he’s going to meditate and find The Way. (LOL!)
That’s when Do Sung appears after a long absence. He asks how the musical was, and she said that she ended up not going. She’s waiting for Jae Hun to apologize properly, but he’s not picking up his phone and he’s not in their room. Byeong Gun invites the both of them to meditate with him.
He reveals his background to them: his father is the head doctor at a hospital; his mother is a Life Sciences professor; his eldest brother is a surgeon at the same hospital; and his second eldest brother is a lawyer. But instead of opposing his decision to be a musical major, they actually don’t know because Byeong Gun never told them – he was afraid they would laugh.
Tae Hee and Do Sung try to offer their sympathies, but Byeong Gun doesn’t think they can understand him. It’s not easy to just sing whenever he wants, despite all the private lessons with Myung Hwan and Sun-Man. Tae Hee gets up, nods her head to a silent melody, and opens her mouth to sing… except nothing comes out. Byeong Gun thinks she’s mocking him, but the fear in her eyes indicates that it’s much more serious than that.
At the same time, Jae Hun knocks on Sun-Man’s door – drunk as hell. As a remedy, Sun-Man throws Jae Hun a bottle of water and tells him to just sleep wherever. Jae Hun starts confessing. He never thought he did so many bad things in his life. When he stole wallets, he’d take the money and then drop the wallet off in a mailbox to be sent back. If he stole a car, he’d take it for a spin and then put it back exactly where he found it. Sun-Man starts complaining; no where in his professorial contract does it state he needs to be a counselor to drunk students!!
Jae Hun: “It was just an accident. You know what an accident is? Something you have no control over…Why is this happening to me?” He cries out why, of all the people in Korea, it has to be Tae Hee that’s standing in front of him to love.
Sun-Man: “So what did you do?”
That was a weird ending, mainly because the Tae Hee-Jae Hun storyline remained mostly unresolved. I thought we could try and get through most of the angst, but I guess it’s being drawn out for the remaining episodes. One thing resolved: he now knows the truth about Tae Hee and her father. Their story moved quite slowly in the span of one evening, when compared to Do Sung and Byeong Gun, so much seems to happen to them in the same amount of time.
I’m glad Do Sung stood up to his selfish mother. Boy is listening to her talk a pain; she sounds so motherly when she’s actually being condescending, and it pisses me off. Now that we know his backstory, it’s time we move forward with Do Sung facing off against Soo Bin, and perhaps facing off with the reporter. While I hate the mother, I don’t actually wish for everything to be exposed by the reporter; I hope the reporter fails because his articles will be equally harmful to Do Sung. I can’t foresee what good will come out of this except for his mother’s reputation being harmed, but there won’t be any real satisfaction for Do Sung. It’s not like he hates his mother; he just no longer wants to hide, and hopes that the both of them can achieve their happiness without oppressing the other’s.
As for Byeong Gun, we now get a clearer view of his family situation, and perhaps why he’s so insecure about singing in front of other people. When you have a family full of high standards, and your dream doesn’t match up to that standard, you’d rather keep it inside than be out and proud with it. After holding it in for so long and keeping his dream from others, it’s likely that Byeong Gun just solidified his fear of singing to a crowd. I thought his brother was going to scoff at Byeong Gun and drag the kid home, but he ended up being surprisingly neutral. I think it’s pretty obvious where the character of the brother is going…
I know this is very late to say, but I just had to throw it out there: Everything just has to happen to Tae Hee, huh? Her aunt dies – no thanks to Sun-Man – and her father dies – no thanks to Jae Hun. And these two men end up feeling indebted towards her and take care of her in their own ways. She’s also the one who gets the agency contract, the one who loses her voice, the one who gets the guy. I don’t begrudge her for it, mind you, but it’s just jarring to suddenly think, “Oh yeah, in a typical K-drama, Tae Hee would be the main female lead,” because this entire time I’ve been treating the entire cast as the lead. They’re all leads of their own stories, but Tae Hee’s story is taking the most conventional K-drama route.