Yay, we’re back on track! Last week was a weird week in that it was the New Year with a pre-emption, giving us fewer episodes than normal, but it was also a rare week that didn’t really speak to me. Considering that the show’s been on the air for months and it was the first week to do that, I’d say it’s pretty impressive.
In any case, I love the movement we get this week, for multiple couples and storylines. This show just has so much heart.
SONG OF THE DAY
Sweet Sorrow – “그대에게 하는 말” (Words Said To You). I did just post Sweet Sorrow recently, but this song is played in Episode 88. [ Download ]
EPISODE 85 WEECAP
Music teacher Yoon Gun is still upset with Ha-sun for pushing him out the window (to prevent him from talking about her living situation), so she seeks him out and explains about the housing scam that led Julien to move into her house.
Yoon Gun is edgy because he’s working on a new song, and Ha-sun encourages him to give the teachers a preview. But he gets offended when everybody only pays half-attention, storming out and calling his song trash. Ha-sun is the only one caught up in the song, and she assures him that it’s beautiful — it was like hearing his soul.
Jong-seok reels from the discovery that Ji-won likes Kye-sang, and seeing them chatting together chafes further. Therefore he lashes out releases her from tutoring duty. He ignores her calls repeatedly as he takes out his frustrations on basketball.
Ji-won finds him at the pool hall, tipped off by a meddling Seung-yoon. She urges him to resume tutoring and gives him one last chance, counting down to five. When he doesn’t relent, Ji-won gives up and leaves.
Ha-sun’s encouragement sticks with Yoon Gun so much that he finds himself unable to concentrate, which he blames on her. He meets with her to explain in his confusing way how she’s messed everything up for him — by being so nice. He never associates with the other teachers, holding himself apart and calling them hyenas eating rotting meat. Yet because Ha-sun appreciated his song and encouraged him, he’s happy now: “I can’t write sad songs anymore!” He fumes that she should have hurt him instead.
Jong-seok drinks at a pojangmacha that night, only explaining to Seung-yoon that a guy like him has no shot at winning. Kye-sang runs into Jong-seok in the street and tries to steer his drunk butt home, but Jong-seok insists he doesn’t need help.
And then he squints at his uncle and slurs, “You’re not even that good-looking. Plus you’re shorter than me.” Ha. He challenges him to a race and runs off, leaving Kye-sang looking after him worriedly.
Jong-seok ends up outside Ji-won’s house and shouts up to her window, demanding that she not ignore him. What starts out sounding angry shifts to earnestness as he insists that although she may think he’s a loser now, he’s young and his future is bright. “Can’t you see my pounding heart?” He declares that he’s healthy and athletic and even good at English — which prompts him to recite the English conversation he learned for study group — about why he likes her. Aww, that is so sweet.
Too bad Ji-won doesn’t understand what he’s doing and hushes him. He continues yelling, “Nobody can know what I’ll become! I have endless potential! So, Kim Ji-won! Be nice to me. I won’t collapse over something like this!” And then he falls over drunk. Haha.
Ji-won rushes to help him, and he mumbles, “Just wait and see. I haven’t even begun.”
In the morning, a hungover Jong-seok remembers his display last night, mortified. Ji-won arrives for tutoring and gives him five seconds to join her, and this time he does.
Ha-sun explains to Ji-seok what happened (while eating ice cream cones in the bathroom, ha) and he gets upset on her behalf. The next day Yoon Gun demonstrates how he can only write cheerful songs now; music used to be his friend when he was lonely, but now he wants to call her and talk to her. I love that Ji-seok immediately guesses that Yoon Gun must like her, but the man himself can’t make the connection and just treats it like an affliction needing curing. Ji-seok drags him off and offers to show him some pain.
Ha-sun hopes that Ji-seok didn’t hit Yoon Gun to make him stop bothering her. Ji-seok says he only used nice words, and they hear Yoon Gun working on a new song. It’s beautiful and sad, and he sheds a tear as he plays.
EPISODE 86 WEECAP
Ji-seok and Ha-sun’s relationship is progressing happily, and he wonders if it’s time to tell other people that they’re dating. Ha-sun assures him that she’s not embarrassed of him but wants to tread carefully, so for now they continue sneaking around.
Ji-seok hides his dating status from sharp-eyed Yoo-sun, but he can’t help from puffing up in pride when she calls Ha-sun perfect bride material.
During tutoring session, Ji-won has trouble with a math problem and asks Kye-sang for help. He solves it for her and she marvels at how smart he is, which ruffles Jong-seok’s feathers. And then Kye-sang sees that Ji-won’s nursing a bit of a cold and gives her medicine.
So that night, Jong-seok dreams that he’s the all-knowing doctor Ji-won looks up to, and his uncle is the slacker loser. HAHA!
Dr. Jong-seok is chic and smart, and Ji-won gives him due respect. What’s particularly funny is that while the men have swapped places, their age relationships are still the same — so Jong-seok is still the nephew, and Kye-sang is the uncle who’s been trying to get into college for the past fifteen years.
Seung-yoon finds the old hockey fan cafe and reads some of the gushing praise for Ice Prince Jong-seok. The club disbanded in a previous episode when the girls found out he’d been held back a year and Jong-seok dismisses it, saying that’s all in the past. But Seung-yoon tells him he’s still the same guy — he’s still cool. Plus, he’s the type of bad boy all girls love.
That revives Jong-seok’s flagging self-esteem, and he gives himself a pep talk in the mirror, saying he’s just as cool as his uncle. And then he holds out his fist to the mirror for a self-bump. HAHA. He’s so cute.
At school, Ji-seok and Ha-sun sneak away for a private lunch, and Ha-sun even feeds him a bite. But when a couple of teachers enter their room, Ha-sun overcompensates by faking anger and storms off. She later apologizes and offers to cook him dinner at her house since everybody will be out, and he happily heads over.
Too bad Julien and Jin-hee come home earlier than expected, so Ha-sun panics and shoves Ji-seok in a cupboard, left to munch on raw radish in the dark instead of dinner. She feels so bad that she gives him a kiss, and that wipes away all of his disappointment.
When Kye-sang gives the kids some allowance money, Jong-seok glares and tells himself not to be discouraged: He’s taller, he has a better voice, and a more charismatic laugh. Ha, I love Jong-seok’s self-help commentary.
So when he finds Ji-won baking cookies for Kye-sang in thanks for lending her books, Jong-seok takes her up on the offer to sample some cookies… and eats the whole batch. Except… Ji-won has baked two batches, so his stomachache is all for naught.
Ji-seok decides that the safest place to meet with Ha-sun is the tunnel, and to alert them to passing traffic, he rigs up a new tunnel lid with a bell tied to it.
EPISODE 87 WEECAP
The thought of Kye-sang leaving for Rwanda in March has Jin-hee sad, but she tells herself to enjoy the time left before he leaves. He only has a couple days till he has to re-contract with the clinic for another year, so he’ll have to make his plans concrete soon. Jin-hee takes extra-special care with Jin-sang the plant.
Nae-sang becomes a local official for their neighborhood, kind of like a village leader, and jokes that he’ll be moving upward on the political ladder soon. Determined to do a good job, he makes the rounds to visit people at the senior center, and brings Yoo-sun along. Soon she’s earning special treatment and praise for her looks and for Nae-sang’s budding good reputation, and she enjoys the first lady treatment.
Kye-sang organizes a sledding day for the employees as a bonding activity, but two nurses cancel so it’s just him and Jin-hee. They have a blast, and on their way back he stops to meet with a contact about his Rwanda trip. The person there now wants to stay longer, so perhaps Kye-sang can go in a few months, or even a year.
Nae-sang heads to the community center for a meeting with other local neighborhood council members. He has a few minutes with the computer and checks his email, one of which is sent from a friend and contains a porn video… which he opens. Oh, buddy, you’ve just earned whatever is coming your way…
Unsurprisingly the computer freezes, and Nae-sang panics and pulls the plug. The employees call in an IT specialists, who declares that porn was the culprit, and they wonder who used the computer last. They’re all willing to buy Nae-sang’s denial, but when they decide to check the security camera to find out who it was, Yoo-sun sees her husband’s nervous reaction and blurts that she did it. Aw, that’s so sweet.
Of course, she lets him have it when they’re in private, thoroughly peeved to have her good named ruined. Especially since now the neighborhood ajummas gossip about her as the porn-watching lady with that poor husband.
Jin-hee, meanwhile, is thrilled at Kye-sang’s probable delay. Then as they’re walking along, she spots the gangsters who were chasing her in the first week of the show and hurries to avoid them. Kye-sang goes with it and picks her up to speed their escape, since she twisted her ankle, and then insists on piggybacking her home.
She wonders if she’s dreaming, because she has found that all good things end up being dreams. What a heartbreaking thought. That night she can’t sleep and goes out for a late-night walk as our narrator explains that she wants to enjoy this day, which would later be remembered as a happiest time amidst a difficult period in her life.
EPISODE 88 WEECAP
When Nae-sang asks for Yoo-sun’s citizenship ID number, she balks that he doesn’t even the most obvious thing about her after two decades of marriage. How can he have so little interest in knowing things about her? He says the same of her, and Soo-jung proposes they settle this with a quiz.
Yoo-sun scores well on the couple quiz, while Nae-sang keeps getting questions wrong. But this makes him see his wife in a whole new light, and he marvels at her — was she always this pretty? He stays up that night analyzing her face from different angles, seeing her through fresh eyes.
On the other end of the couple spectrum, Ji-seok and Ha-sun go out on a date and ask each other questions to get to know each other better. For instance, what does Ji-seok like about Ha-sun? And when did she like him?
Ji-seok asks about Ha-sun’s first love, and that kills her smile for a brief second before she waves it aside, saying it’s boring and she’ll tell him later.
She runs into a college sunbae soon thereafter, however, which spins us off into a flashback:
Ha-sun had first met Yoon Shi-yoon at university, where he’d been her sunbae. Immediately attracted to him, she’d joined his rock-climbing club and spent her days sneaking looks at him, too shy to make a move.
One day he’d given her an mp3 player and told her to take a listen, but she’d lost it before getting the chance, and when he asked about it she’d lied and said she listened to it.
Soon after, Shi-yoon had headed off to army duty, and during the two years he was away Ha-sun had thought of him often. When he returned, she resumed her longing from afar — until the day she found the mp3 player while the clubroom was being cleared out.
Only then did she realize that Shi-yoon had recorded a message, conveying his feelings to her via song, Yoo Jae-ha’s “You in my arms.” Ha-sun had run after him, catching him just before he’d boarded a bus for a climbing trip to Mt. Jiri. She’d admitted that she’d lost the player before and only heard the message now.
Shi-yoon had smiled in relief and promised they’d talk upon his return, sending her a text message thanking her.
Except… he’d died — he’d fallen on his climb. Shortly thereafter Ha-sun had received a letter in the mail with a photo Shi-yoon took from the mountaintop, enclosing a note he’d written on his Mt. Jiri climb.
Shi-yoon: “Have you ever stood in front of the twilight in winter? Whenever I did, I thought of you, smiling and blushing, and those short memories got me through my two years in the army. At the bus terminal, my heart felt full and I thought, Ah, I didn’t wait in vain all this time. When I get back to Seoul, let’s see the sunset together. From Mt. Jiri, Shi-yoon.”
Now in the present day, Ha-sun tells her college sunbae that she’d once thought she’d never forget Shi-yoon, but now as time passed, she found that the hurt eased, little by little.
Ji-seok arrives at the cafe to see her crying as she talks to her sunbae, so he guesses her mood on the drive back. A song on the radio — the one Shi-yoon had sung for her — prompts Ha-sun to offer her story of her first love, but she has trouble calming her emotions. Ji-seok recalls the words Ha-sun had said when she initially rejected him — that love might not last, and beautiful things tend to end quickly.
So now he tells her that it’s okay, that she doesn’t have to share, because knowing more about a person doesn’t mean you love them more: “Even if I don’t know you perfectly, I feel confident I can love you perfectly.”
EPISODE 89 WEECAP
Nae-sang throws out his back and takes a trip to Kye-sang’s clinic, where he’s taken with the pretty Nurse In. He compliments her and talks up his job in showbiz, making it sound like he’s a bigshot, and offers to hook her up with contacts if she ever wants to act.
Ha-sun and Ji-seok arouse suspicions from their co-workers because of their coupley behavior, and their exaggerated denials only make them more suspicious.
So Ji-seok suggests inventing signals to talk to each other rather than texting all the time (and getting suspicious looks from Ji-sun). He spends all night working on them, chuckling privately as he makes signs for coffee (fist to mouth), thank you (touch your nose), and I love you (tap chest twice with a fist).
Nae-sang and Seung-yoon go on a short shooting trip to China, and when they get back Nae-sang brings Nurse In some tiger balm, again talking himself up. To be fair he’s not really sending cheating signals, but he’s definitely enjoying feeling like big and important, using the pretty nurse to stroke his ego. Even though she’s not that impressed with him.
Ji-seok eagerly shows Ha-sun his new sign language, but she thinks it’s probably more conspicuous than texting, which disappoints him. But when Ji-won accidentally brings home the wrong notebook from tutoring session, Ha-sun sees how much work he put into making the signals and is touched.
Seung-yoon mentions the tiger balm to Yoo-sun, who’s nursing a tired wrist, and when she asks her husband for it she realizes he gave it to Nurse In. He makes lame excuses about how much she helped him, etc etc, but she’s got a sharp bullshit meter and calls him on his behavior. He apologizes and begs for her to let it go, and she agrees — if he gets the balm back.
It’s humiliating, but less humiliating than letting this get even more out of hand, so Nae-sang goes to the clinic with head bowed and asks for it back. Problem is, he gave her two jars, and she already sent one to her parents in the countryside.
Yoo-sun refuses to let this slide, though, telling him that this kind of behavior is exactly the kind of thing women hate most in husbands. Gotta say, I’m with her on this one.
Ha-sun is being given a teaching award tonight, and Ji-seok skips out of a training seminar early to bring her flowers. He arrives as she takes the stage for an acceptance speech — so she intersperses her thanks with little gestures meant just for him. AW.
First she thanks him, then wiggles her shoulders to mean, “I’m happy to be with you.” Adorably pleased, Ji-seok signals, “I love you” and she signs back, “I love you too.”
That gets him so excited he jumps up right there in the audience to repeat the message, beating his chest like an adorable, excitable monkey.
And Nae-sang takes the bus to Nurse In’s parents’ house in the countryside, wondering where things went wrong.
SO much great character movement! How great was Jong-seok’s “I am full of potential!” speech? It stirred something in my heart, in the way that you look at youthful dreams with a mix of despair and hope, both afraid of the future and eager to meet it headlong.
Jong-seok’s trajectory has been one of my favorites of this series (although there are so many good character arcs), because it’s so full of passion and heart, but also willing to take a lighter approach and let Jong-seok be silly, too. I’m so relieved that they’re allowing the nephew to challenge the uncle in this High Kick, even if the uncle doesn’t know he’s being challenged.
Dont get me wrong, I absolutely loved Jung Il-woo’s storyline in Unstoppable High Kick, where he never challenged his uncle to claim his crush, mostly because his crush was never going to happen, being that it would have been illegal for him to date his teacher. But the fact that it was never going to happen sort of tore your heart, especially when he did something thoughtful for her and went underappreciated. At least in this scenario, they’re allowing Jong-seok to be petty and angsty and immature. It’s appropriate and relatable, but also dulls the pain of him being disappointed in romance.
His drunk declaration to Ji-won particularly struck a chord with me, because it was as much about claiming himself as it was about wanting Ji-won. I don’t think that Ji-won and his future are conflated into the same goal, and I wouldn’t even say that Ji-won inspired Jong-seok to be better. He’s always wanted to be better, but didn’t have the means. Rather, I see them as compatible, simultaneous goals, which is why I loved his university dream a couple weeks back, where his bright future and a relationship with Ji-won fit so smoothly together.
So when Jong-seok feels inferior next to the smart, handsome, confident uncle (who’s always going to have him beat in maturity, because let’s face it he’s never going to catch up on the age front), he feels that dream slipping away. His pep talks were both amusing and poignant, and when he insists to Ji-won that he has worth, gahhhh. It kills me.
Yoon Shi-yoon! As I mentioned previously, I was worried that his cameo might be a waste, or awkward like Shin Se-kyung and Jung Bo-seok’s cameos. But Yoon’s was on par with Jung Il-woo’s; it fit into the overall narrative, was well-acted, and broke your heart a little.
I thought Yoon was pretty good in Baker King, but it was Me Too Flower where I was really impressed with his acting, and he’s definitely one to watch. Aside from his performance, though, I appreciate that this cameo gave us a deeper glimpse of one of our regulars, and Ha-sun (as always) knocked it out of the park with her ability to be emotionally present at all times.
The cameo storyline also had a lovely resonance with the main storyline as her relationship with Ji-seok really gets going (they said “I love you”!!!). It shows us why she was so hesitant to enter into the relationship, but her reaction to the flashback also signals that she’s ready to move on now, and put herself wholeheartedly into the new relationship.
It was great to see her taking the initiative with Ji-seok, too, like feeding him sushi or kissing him in the cupboard. I’ve never been frustrated that Ha-sun hasn’t been more proactive because I understood her nature, but let’s just say it’s about time that she stepped it up. It’s also so pleasant to watch her dates with Ji-seok, where they both are clearly giddy in love with each other, equally — a refreshing change after all the awkward one-sided dates that characterized the first half of the show.
Of course, she did mitigate the forward effect by promptly shoving Ji-seok aside or pretending she was angry with him, and that’s a little frustrating because at this point in the story I’m not sure it makes any sense for them to be sneaking around. I hold out hope that there’s a good reason for it, though. Perhaps now that she’s let go of that earlier fear — and the sign language display announced their relationship to their co-workers — we’ll get to see them come out into the open.
- High Kick 3: Episodes 82-84
- High Kick 3: Episodes 78-81
- 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