Answer Me 1997: Episodes 13-14
I was sad about leaving the ’90s behind, but thankfully all it takes is one long-overdue encounter to bring every tumultuous teenage emotion back to the surface, rendering the six years spent growing up and growing apart… totally moot. It’s the pair of episodes where our characters find that they might not be as grown up as they thought, but then surprise us by taking their first huge strides toward adulthood, truth, and maybe love.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Dong-ryul – “Should I Say I Love You Again” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13: “Next Time… No, Now”
Seoul 2005. Yoon-jae answers a call from Joon-hee and says no, he’s not going to the reunion dinner. He hasn’t gone to one before, so why start now? He’s already a judge, which seems fast, but I won’t argue.
A sunbae introduces him to another, the only purpose of which is to catch us up on Tae-woong too, who is famous for having sold his mega-billions company in favor teaching. They laugh that if he hadn’t, Yoon-jae wouldn’t have to work at all.
He heads down to the garage. Is that Tae-woong’s old (S)onata? He climbs in through the passenger seat (the only door that works), and curses the old beater, narrating that the only thing Hyung gave him was his apartment, “and this Onata.”
So the life of a judge, not so glamorous. He also makes a call to someone, asking to eat at home tonight. Hm…
Tae-woong, after making it big with his first internet venture, went on to make it even bigger popularizing mini homepages. But in the past year, he decided to donate his wealth and start teaching again, at a university.
Hak-chan apparently didn’t return in a year as planned, and is studying movies in Hawaii. Though from what we see, he’s pretty much the same—glued to his computer screen, watching porn.
Sung-jae revs up the motor… to his tractor? Haha. He’s working in the countryside, in a public works office. And Yoo-jung is a kindergarten teacher. Joon-hee is a first-year medical intern, and then Yoon-jae sighs as he narrates that the last one… Sung Shi-won… “I don’t know what she’s up to.”
He stops for coffee on his way home, and he narrates that he worked hard over the last six years to avoid Shi-won, and now that he’s forgotten, he doesn’t care at all how she’s doing… “Until I ran into her by coincidence on this day…”
So now we’re caught up to the end of the last episode, and the run-in at the café.
They sit awkwardly at a table, and it sort of feels like Shi-won’s a cop and Yoon-jae’s being grilled for his crimes. She asks what he’s doing around here and notes the lack of his Busan accent, and he asks if she hasn’t fixed hers yet. Shi-won: “Yeah I’m loyal that way.” Ooooh, them’s fightin’ words. I love her sass.
Then she looks him right in the eye and asks, “Do you have a girlfriend?” Pfft, no pleasantries before the interrogation? She just sits back with a calm smile as he says he does, and they haven’t been dating very long.
She nods and takes it in, and then picks up her phone. “Hello, Joon-hee? Hey, does Yoon-jae have a girlfriend?” HAHAHA. Omg, she’s such a gangster. Suddenly Yoon-jae’s sweating bullets and fidgeting. Did you make up a girlfriend?
She just keeps talking, “Uh-huh. Uh-huh,” all while watching Yoon-jae squirm. I love it. She hangs up, and he busts out, “Friends! You know, like guy friend, girl friend… You must have one of those.”
She sneers, “Friend? The hell…” Dayum… the last words he said to her? He’s stumped speechless.
As they sit like that, he narrates that he doesn’t go to reunions because of her, goes down a day early for Parents’ Day, and every Chuseok and New Year’s he comes up with some crazy new illness, every year for the last six years…
Yoon-jae: And how can you just end it all in one blow? Sung Shi-won, you awful girl. To ’96 and the first day of high school… To ’97 and the fountain where we had our first kiss… To ’98 when I cried and screamed like a crazy person… I returned to that winter. I have been reset to ’90s Yoon Yoon-jae.
Love it. He freaks out as he dissects the whole encounter back home with Joon-hee (Yay, they’re still roomies?) and asks how she could’ve thought to call him in that moment. “Does it show, like on my face, when I’m lying? But! I have a poker face!”
Joon-hee continues to ignore the rant. He then blames Joon-hee for not being faster on the uptake—couldn’t he read the situation and have answered better? Joon-hee finally snaps at him that he did answer yes. He totally corroborated Yoon-jae’s story, to a tee.
Pfffft. So he outed his own lie, with his face? Hahahaha. Even funnier. He decides he should just die, and throws a tantrum instead.
Shi-won chuckles to herself at home, and then gets a call. Yoon-jae comes out of the shower to find Joon-hee fully dressed in a black suit. Oh no. He tells Yoon-jae to hurry and get dressed, “Yoo-jung’s father passed away.”
Pretty late into the evening, the funeral hall has mostly cleared out, and Sung-jae tends to everything, sweetly covering Yoo-jung with a blanket. Aw. You’re such a good friend.
He brings her a tray of food and tells her gather her strength. There’s two more days of this left to go. And then he smiles. Yoo-jung turns around… to see Shi-won, Yoon-jae, and Joon-hee standing in the doorway.
Oof, that smile of hers when she sees all her friends show up just turns me into a puddle. Shi-won just holds her hand without a word.
Sung-jae says it’s been a really long time since they’ve seen Shi-won and Yoon-jae together, and they throw awkward looks. He figures at least they all saw each other this way, and says all they need is Hak-chan, though he doesn’t know he got the text message all the way in Hawaii. That gets him a big glower from everyone, and Yoo-jung has to remind them she’s fine and they broke up forever ago.
Sung-jae snipes at Yoon-jae for being a traitor with his Seoul accent, and Yoo-jung wonders if Shi-won will ever try to change hers, and she sighs that she had no chance to, and we get a quick flashback to her college friends who all had accents too. Heh.
Yoo-jung tells them to hurry home to their parents before it gets too late, and when Shi-won protests, she says tearfully, “Be good to them while they’re here, and don’t have regrets like I do.”
She says when she moved up to Seoul to start teaching, she didn’t come down for a whole year, and always got so annoyed at their phone calls, hanging up as quickly as she could.
Yoo-jung: “I didn’t even know my own father was sick. How badly must he have wanted to know—if I was eating, if I wasn’t sick, if the other teachers were good to me…” She wonders now why she couldn’t have just let him ask those simple questions. She says through tears that even on his last day, her father told her to hurry back to work, that he was fine, because he didn’t want her to get fired because of him.
The threesome stand outside in the street. Yoon-jae admits to being a little jealous of Yoo-jung, for even having memories of fights with her dad to regret. He doesn’t have any memories, just the fact that he misses them.
Sung-jae pulls up and offers Joon-hee a ride on his way. Joon-hee leaves them alone and tells them to settle anything they need to now, and stop fighting. He goes back to his hometown accent, “You guys are friends, aren’t you?”
Yoon-jae puts a cigarette in his mouth and Shi-won gapes. He’s like, “What, did you think I was still in high school?” But she yanks it out and steals the pack. They play keep-away and then Mom and Dad pull up to pick them up. Aw it’s like they’re kids again.
Shi-won asks if Dad got a new car, and he says that Yoon-jae bought it for them with his first salary, choosing to pointedly call her “Daughter, Daughter, Dog Daughter.” (Seriously, do you and my dad share a brain?)
She snaps at him for smelling of liquor when he’s a cancer patient, and he reminds her that he’s fully recovered and swears he just had one drink because they won today’s game. But when he complains of the cold, she gives him her jacket, which awww.
I love how Dad’s tone totally softens with Yoon-jae, as he asks about work. Shi-won mutters under her breath out how smoothly he’s suddenly back to his old accent around the parents.
Her phone rings, which she says is probably Joon-hee calling to see if they caught a cab, and she asks Dad to hand her the phone in her jacket pocket. Only… what he finds in his hand is a pack of cigarettes. Oh. Noes.
He grabs her by the hair and FLIPS his lid, swearing up and down and shaking her as she screams. And the even more hilarious part is, Yoon-jae just sits there, frozen in fear, and says nothing. Nothing! LOL.
Dad’s screaming that he’s gonna cut off all her hair again, and Shi-won swears that it’s not hers, and rats Yoon-jae out. She turns to him, all Why aren’t you saying anything?
He’s so scared that it comes out like a stutter, “I-i-it’s mine!” Shi-won gives him the side-eye and he nods at her… but that makes it look like they’re conspiring. Dad’s like, YOU THINK YOU CAN FOOL ME?
Hee. This just gets better and better. Then he grabs the both of them by the hair and knocks them around, screaming and ranting all over again. Among the things he yells: “Oh good, it’s a funeral home! Let’s go hold a joint funeral for the both of you tonight!”
Finally Mom comes back from the bathroom, and Dad cries and hugs her as he delivers the news like the world just ended… and she just drives home like eh whatever. Dad continues the hair-pulling screamfest all the way home.
Back to daily life. Sung-jae returns to his job in the public works office, which is mostly a collection of random errands and grunt manual labor—a thankless job to be sure.
Shi-won calls Tae-woong to thank him for his help in writing up quiz questions for a side writing job she picked up. He asks her to make him ramyun as a thank you, and shows up at her door.
She tells him he should be so cavalier about showing up to a girl’s apartment so late at night, “What will the security ajusshi think? Are you going to take responsibility for me?”
Tae-woong, “Of course I will! That’s my wish in life!” As soon as I think, that’s gonna get you a beating, Shi-won attacks his back, “I! Told! You! To! Stop! Talking! Like! That!” Hehe.
She tsk-tsks that he used to be so innocent, calling him greasy. He says it’s because of her; he has to remind her that he likes her, even jokingly like this. Aw, I hope she hasn’t strung you along for six years.
He asks haltingly if he can try to win her heart for real this time. She gets quiet and doesn’t answer. Her non-answer must be familiar to him, because he smoothes over it quickly and changes the subject.
Shi-won: “Oppa is like a daddy long legs to me—someone who’s always dependable, who always protects me by my side—a good person. That’s the same today as it was six years ago.” Ouch.
1999. The moment he gives her the ring on the keychain. He gives it to her so expectantly, and she says she has something to tell him.
Shi-won: “Oppa, I like you a lot… but my heart doesn’t race or flutter. I’m still young so I don’t know exactly how it feels to like somebody, but my heart now… is beating in a different direction. I’m sorry, oppa.”
His face falls. He hugs her gently. Tae-woong: “I’m not expecting anything right now. I’ll wait. Until you like me a lot… I’ll be your daddy long legs. Like now, always… next to you.” Aw honey, that was your mistake right there. Now I feel terrible for Tae-woong. How many unrequited loves must you take, Universe?
Back to the present. Tae-woong asks if he’s still her daddy long legs now, and she doesn’t answer. “Do you know how Daddy Long Leg ends?” (Hint: It ain’t happy.)
Sung-jae gets busy at work and turns away a grandma who needs help changing a lightbulb for the second day in a row. He tells her to come back tomorrow.
Shi-won gets back to work, and then thinks back to the night after the funeral. She pops her head into her old room, “I know you’re not asleep!” and Yoon-jae comes out. They have a beer in the living room and ask if their scalps are still in place after Dad’s epic fit.
He says he’s actually grateful. Everyone is always so nice to him when they learn that he’s an orphan, whether it’s strangers, friends, even extended family, and their kindness makes him lonelier than anything.
“But the fact that I’ve only ever really felt that way a handful of times in my whole life, is because of your parents. The only people in the world to swear and call me this bastard or that bastard are your parents. That’s the thing I’m most grateful for.”
She laughs that he’s never any help to her existence, and he says, “That’s why I left.” Oof. Shi-won: “Then you should’ve disappeared forever…” He muses that he should’ve.
Shi-won: “You… Do you… still like me?” Omo. She brought it up? SHE BROUGHT IT UP. Answer her! He looks over at her in surprise, but then says, “Next time. Let’s talk next time.” But… but… He gets up and goes to bed, leaving her hanging. Augh!
Sung-jae finally has time to help the lightbulb grandma today, and heads waaaaay into the mountains where she lives.
Shi-won and Yoon-jae wait for Joon-hee to get done with his shift at the hospital so they can head down to Busan again for Yoo-jung. But Joon-hee comes running out to say that he can’t go after all, and they’ll just have to go without him.
So the awkward pair head down to Yoon-jae’s car, where he just about has an epileptic fit trying to open the door that won’t open, and just climbs in the passenger side. It’s an embarrassing car, but now that we know he bought Mom and Dad a new one, it’s all the sweeter by comparison.
She whines that she doesn’t want to go down to Busan in the death trap, and wonders if he didn’t have money to buy himself a new car. He sighs that Hyung refuses to sell this one, “Because it has a lot of memories… with you…”
Um. Awkward. She glances over at him, regretting she asked.
By nightfall, Sung-jae and Grandma are STILL hiking up the friggin’ mountain to her house, and he gapes that she came this distance three whole times before he came with her. She starts to get tired, so he piggybacks her, like the adorable good boy that he is.
He asks about her life and if she doesn’t have family to check in on her, and she sighs that she’s just a burden to them now by staying alive. Sung-jae tells her that’s ridiculous and insists she’s not a burden, to him or to anyone. Aw.
Joon-hee just sits around at his desk, and his sunbae asks what he’s still doing here when’s off duty. Did you send them alone on purpose? Why do you break my heart, Joon-hee? He asks if the sunbae is still looking for a new roommate, and considers it. But what about Yoon-jae?
Shi-won and Yoon-jae drive down, and he fills the silence by blabbering about music, while Shi-won just stares…
We finally catch a glimpse at what she’s looking at—it’s that little scrap of an S that she gave him before exams that we saw him try to throw away, now reinforced and hanging on his keychain.
Shi-won: “Yoon-jae-ya, answer me now. Do you still like me? Do you still like me?” If you don’t answer, I will scream. After a pause, he finally says, “And you? Why are you asking me that? Do you like me?”
Shi-won, without hesitation, says, “Yes.” Eeeeeeeeee! He looks over at her, stunned. She turns to him, “I like you. Not as a friend, but as a man. I like you.” Stop the car! Stop the car!
He pulls over, reeling from the confession. She looks at him, and then in his adorable tone, says, “I answered! Now you!” like she didn’t just blow his freakin’ mind. It’s so funny.
He just takes another breath. She asks it again, “Do you still like me?” He doesn’t say anything, so she turns into her thug self and says through gritted teeth: “Answer me. Right. Now.” Yoon Yoon-jae! If you don’t say something, imma kick you!
Yoon-jae (voiceover): I had forgotten. That if she liked something right now, she expressed the fire of that moment directly, and without hesitation. I could’ve just said: I like you. Be mine. I could say it like that right now. Back then, and even in this moment… I was just hesitating.
Sung-jae changes the lightbulb for granny, and she makes him a meal to say thank you. As he chats the night away with her, Yoon-jae continues:
Yoon-jae (voiceover): There is nothing more urgent than now. Because later might never come. Life isn’t long enough to speak of the next opportunity, rather than the now that’s before our eyes.
Then it’s the day of the funeral procession and burial, and Yoo-jung climbs onto the bus where close friends and family are waiting. She goes all the way to the back of the bus to be alone, and starts to cry.
The door closes and the bus lurches ahead… but then suddenly a hand stops it. Omg, is it? Really? Someone gets on the bus, and it makes Shi-won beam. Sung-jae-‘s jaw drops. Yoon-jae smiles too.
It’s Hak-chan! Yay, you came! He goes straight to the back of the bus, just like the first day he saw her cry, and sits down next to her.
She breaks down in sobs the moment she sees him, and he just puts his arm around her silently. She leans on him and cries. It’s a lovely and poignant reunion that needs no words. He came in the moment she needed him most.
Yoon-jae (voiceover): If you give up on now because of laziness or a lack of courage, there is no hope of another opportunity. If you love now, the best timing is now. You have to go before it’s too late, and you have to confess now. Because you never know what’ll happen later. The next opportunity might never come.
The fact that you’re narrating this, after you failed to confess… is just making me angry! Later Shi-won gets a package: a copy of Daddy Long Legs from Tae-woong. If you let daddy long legs scoop you because you were chicken shit, I will never forgive you.
Yoon-jae gets a text from Shi-won asking to have dinner, and he says he’s too busy. He thinks back to the night she confessed.
Tae-woong checks into the hospital for a surgery to remove a colon polyp. What is with all you people and your surprise illnesses? It’s a simple procedure and he doesn’t seem at all worried about it, though Joon-hee says he should let Yoon-jae know because he needs someone to look after him.
Shi-won arrives for the job, though Joon-hee worries more about her—she’s caught a cold. She worries about Tae-woong catching it from her, and he says she’ll have to take responsibility for him for the rest of her life then.
She scoffs and drags Joon-hee out, “Let’s get out of here. If I give that oppa a cold, my life is over!” They run into his sunbae on the way in, and he asks why Joon-hee still hasn’t moved in yet. He looks over at Shi-won nervously.
He takes her to the stairwell and shows her the Truth Chair, a painting of a chair right on the staircase. Cute. She sits down in it and says she knows what it is: “My mom cried a lot in places like this when my dad was sick.”
She asks what the little warning label on the wall is for, and he says it’s to keep an eye out for people before you start crying. He says it’s weird, but when you sit there, you find yourself being true to your feelings.
Shi-won: “Really? Then… should I try being true to my feelings now?” She hesitates, then starts, “Joon-hee-ya…”
But he says it first: “I know. That you like Yoon-jae too. I know. I probably knew before you did.” She can’t even lift her eyes because she feels so bad, but he says that Yoon-jae still likes her a lot.
She finally looks up at him, “And you? You like Yoon-jae too.” He says it’s time to grow out of his first love, and says that a lot of the fantasy is gone now that he’s lived with him: “You know he really doesn’t lift a finger?” Ha. She says Yoon-jae will still be sad to know he’s moving out, and asks what he’ll say. He asks her for ideas because he still doesn’t know how to break the news.
She sighs, “Joon-hee-ya, I’m sorry. You must’ve had a hard time too. But I only thought of myself. And I’m the only one you told everything to, because you thought of me as a friend. I don’t even know what I’m doing to you right now. I’m sorry.”
He tells her not to be sorry—the heart isn’t something she can control. “You, and Yoon-jae both… it’s enough for me to have you as friends.” Aw, Joon-hee.
He gets paged and heads downstairs, offering to get her some cold medicine, and she follows, saying she’ll call Yoon-jae for coffee while she’s out. She makes the call as they walk out of the stairwell…
And a phone rings in it. Omo!
And there’s Yoon-jae, sitting just half a floor above them, jaw hanging practically three floors down. Holy beans! He finally knows!
He just sits there, mind completely blown to smithereens. I don’t even know how many things he just learned in that one conversation. We cut back and forth between Joon-hee and Yoon-jae as he reels.
Downstairs, Joon-hee gives Shi-won some meds and sends her off. He turns around, and there’s Yoon-jae.
Joon-hee smiles and waves, like normal. Yoon-jae talks to him like it’s just another day, but his face… his face… Aaaaaugh. Don’t you break Joon-hee’s heart!
EPISODE 14: “The Heart Is What Makes You Love”
SONG OF THE DAY
Deli Spice – “Confession” [ Download ]
Sung-jae’s job kind of amounts to being the Village Butler—he gets ordered around by everyone, even the little kid who comes by to report that his school bus is late. He heaves a sigh every time someone calls his name.
But he lights up when Hak-chan shows up with Yoo-jung in tow, ready to go on a hike. He sighs at their instant lovey-doveyness, wondering how on earth they spent six years apart.
He starts to thank Hak-chan for “that movie” that made him the hero at his office, and gets a candy bar shoved in his face to shut him up. Hak-chan tells him to wait after work so they can hang out, and they head up the mountain hand in hand.
Tae-woong spends his time in the hospital working, and Joon-hee shows up to nag him about resting. He gets ready to stick him with the IV needle, and Tae-woong inches back—how can he trust his former student to stick him with a needle? That’s adorable.
To him Joon-hee must just look like a kid playing doctor. But he surprises him with his skill and Tae-woong muses it would’ve been a terrible idea if he had gone into government work like he had planned. Joon-hee says yeah, but “it” would’ve been dealt with sooner though, and doesn’t clarify what.
Yoon-jae sits in his car, still reeling from the discovery. He thinks back to their teenage years, and the times he had asked if Joon-hee liked someone. And the day when he had finally said, “Yes… you,” and Yoon-jae’s laughing response, thinking it all a joke.
Shi-won calls, and he can’t bring himself to answer that either.
Hak-chan and Yoo-jung walk up the trail, and he nervously keeps asking if she needs anything, just filling the silence with chatter while she says nothing in response. Finally after all that’s out of the way, he asks quietly, “Didn’t you miss me?” Her hand falls out of his.
He turns back to face her, “I missed you. I missed you a lot. I’m sorry I came so late.” D’aw. He says he’s a dummy so it took him a long time to graduate—he wanted to show up and be impressive, and at least have a diploma, but it just took too long. She just smiles back.
“I won’t go anywhere anymore. Even if I have to sell bean cakes, I’ll stay by your side. I love you.” Swoon. She tells him to say it again. He looks down at the ground like a kid, mumbling, iluvue.
Yoo-jung: “To my face!” He lifts his head and says it again, this time with confidence. She pulls him by his jacket zipper and plants a kiss on him. So cute.
Tae-woong drops his pen and stoops to retrieve it from under his hospital bed, when a doctor comes into his room thinking it empty and starts to take off her stockings. He gulps. But the potentially sexy first impression takes a left turn when she follows it up with a loud fart.
She’s mortified to discover someone in the room, but he graciously lets her rest there, assuming she’s a tired resident, and steps out. Hm, new love interest perhaps?
At his office, Yoon-jae talks to Sung-jae on the phone about Hak-chan and the latest movies he sent, calling him a genius. Ah, you ARE making porn! He warns Sung-jae to keep it a secret from Yoo-jung. This is not going to end well for any of you.
As soon as he hangs up, Shi-won’s voice startles him, “So that’s what Hak-chan is doing…” Hahaha. That’s how long the secret lasted? Two seconds?
He’s annoyed at the disturbance, saying he’s too busy to play, so she reaches for his laptop to check out these so-called brilliant movies of Hak-chan’s. He leaps up to stop her, and then breathes a sigh of relief that it’s password protected.
But she just smirks, and unlocks it on the first try. Pfft. She reaches for the folder to watch, and he ruuuns over to grab her hand away, agreeing to lunch after all. She beams. He asks how she figured out her password, and she sighs that he’s so easy—it’s the day his parents died.
Tae-woong gets the VIP treatment at the hospital, and he agrees to give a lecture as requested. He just asks that anyone who’s present for his surgery pretend not to know him after the fact, as he can’t really see himself being comfortable giving a speech in front of people who’ve seen his ass.
The doctor assures him he’ll see to it, but it won’t matter anyway, seeing as how it’s not a butt-surgery, exactly. He demonstrates how they’ll go in, saying it’s just like going to see the gynecologist, and mimes feet up in stirrups… and… a fist? Whoa, that’s not like the gynecologist at all. Tae-woong cringes.
The doc says their department head is so good she won’t need much assistance anyway, and Tae-woong cringes again to hear it’ll be a woman getting friendly with his unmentionables…
And in walks Ju-yeon, the pretty young doctor who farted in his room. Ha. Joon-hee’s surprised when she greets him like they know each other, and she says they’re super close—they’ve already farted in front of each other. He actually looks like he might die of embarrassment, right then and there.
He asks Joon-hee for drugs, and Joon-hee prescribes him the Truth Chair instead: “If you go now, you can cry alone.” Hee.
Shi-won digs into Yoon-jae’s food even while sniffling back her runny nose, and he barks at her to stop being so gross. She finally plugs up her nose with a tissue in compliance, saying that she’s taking it because of her crime.
Yoon-jae: “What’s your crime?” Shi-won: “Not knowing whom I liked.”
She breaks the tension by asking the judge what the punishment is for said crime. Yoon-jae: “Life sentence.” She protests, “Did I kill someone or plot a coup de tat? I’m even deeply remorseful!” like she’s actually pleading for a reduction.
But he didn’t mean her—”I’m the one imprisoned forever, because of you. With no end to the term. Alone. Until I die.” Gee, you’re up with people today. He tells her to pay for lunch as payment for her crimes, and leaves her there.
Tae-woong gets a visit from his surgeon, who… asks him out on a date? Should you really be doing that the day before you operate on someone? He turns her down, despite clearly thinking that she’s cute.
I get that they were going for pretty young doctor who would be surprising as the head of a department, but she seems miscast. Oh well.
Yoon-jae sleeps in, and Joon-hee comes to wake him, wearing pink rubber kitchen gloves. He whispers in his ear to wake up, and Yoon-jae tells him to go to work first, but perks up at the mention of breakfast, “Since when do we eat breakfast?”
Joon-hee says if not for breakfast, they never see each other’s faces, and tells him he has something to say. You two are so like an old married couple already.
Joon-hee fidgets over breakfast though, and Yoon-jae suggests they have dinner tonight. He asks about Tae-woong giving lectures at the hospital, and Joon-hee lies that he made the request, not mentioning the surgery.
They both agree that Tae-woong is impressive no matter what he does, and Joon-hee says he seems destined for greatness. Yoon-jae: “I think so too. That’s why I like him… and why I’m afraid. Hyung never makes a wrong decision, whether it’s work… or love.”
Joon-hee looks up, and then hits the nail on the head: “Is it because of your brother that you’re not accepting Shi-won’s feelings? Because Hyung chose Shi-won? Liking someone is not a matter of choice. It’s something the heart makes you do.”
He says that both the brothers liked her all on their own, with no regard for her feelings. So why should she suffer for that now? That’s what I’M sayin’!
He asks what Shi-won did wrong—that she didn’t know how much Yoon-jae liked her or for how long? He says that’s not her fault. “She could have not known. There are times in life when you don’t know… that someone likes you.” Oof. Heart. Break.
He says that Yoon-jae likes Shi-won. “Then the game’s already over. No matter how much you think it over, there’s no answer. You already like her. So what choice is there? What decision to make? Don’t regret it later. Don’t use Hyung as an excuse. Do as your heart tells you.”
Slow clap, Joon-hee. Slow clap.
Yoon-jae just remains slackjawed the entire time, not saying a word. Joon-hee gets up to say this isn’t what he was intending to say, but anyway, he should answer Shi-won’s call. “She’s following her heart. She’s better than you.” Yoon-jae looks down and gapes at his ringing phone, not knowing what to do.
Shi-won and Joon-hee look after Tae-woong, who’s still asleep after his operation. Ju-yeon comes by to check on him. When she sees Shi-won she asks if she’s Tae-woong’s girlfriend in a sharp tone, but Shi-won stares her down, “No, I’m his little sister.” Ju-yeon immediately softens, calling her pretty.
Shi-won nags Yoon-jae to come over and pick up some oranges Mom sent: “You know her! There’re three boxes!” He’s busy and tells her to give them to Hyung instead then. She sighs that Tae-woong can’t eat anything because of his surgery… whoops.
Yoon-jae: “Surgery?!” Cut to Yoon-jae watching Hyung sleep in the hospital, glowering at Joon-hee and Shi-won in turn. They each try to explain that it’s really no biggie, and that goes about as well as can be expected.
Ju-yeon asks in her nosy way who he is, hoping he’s not Tae-woong’s son. He says brother, and then she goes over it again, pointing to Shi-won: “younger sister, younger brother…” Yoon-jae just looks over at Joon-hee, like Who’s this weirdo? I love that he gets tongue-tied saying hyung-soo…, meaning to say “the doctor doing Hyung’s surgery,” but it also happens to be the word for brother’s wife.
The doctors leave and Shi-won tries to make a stealthy exit too, but Yoon-jae grabs her by the backpack like a stray puppy, and she cringes. I love these two.
She takes him to the Truth Chair and says he’ll be true to his feelings if he sits there. Please yes, by the powers of all magical staircase painted furniture! Though in his case, we need it to be a Talking Chair more than anything. She swears Tae-woong’s surgery went without a hitch and that she’d have told him if it were something to be worried about. He thanks her, which is a surprise, and says that Hyung must still be more comfortable with her.
He says shakily that Tae-woong still likes her. “He’s still waiting right now. For you to come back.” Shi-won: “I know. But… what about you? Not hyung, but you.” She says she’s sorry to Tae-woong, but he doesn’t concern her.
Shi-won: “Tae-woong oppa is the closest person I have in my life, as much as you. But the person who concerns me most… is you alone.” She asks again what HE feels, without any other excuse or explanation: Do you still like me?
He just sits there like a lame duck, KILLING ME. Finally she decides to just threaten him instead: “If you don’t answer me in three seconds, I’m going to kiss you on the cheek ten times!”
He beats her the punch, swooping in for a kiss. YESSSSSSS! FINALLY!
She smiles and passes him the cold medicine in her pocket. “You take it. I’m alllllll better now.” Love it.
He takes it and smiles bashfully. And then he kisses her again, and again, holding her hand. Swoon.
Later that night Yoon-jae meets Joon-hee for dinner, listening to his terribly stilted lie about pairing interns with sunbae doctors and forcing them to be roommates. Joon-hee blathers on and on nervously, saying he knows it’s ridiculous.
It’s so adorable how bad he is at lying. He just digs his hole further, I know, it sounds like a lie, but it’s not! Yoon-jae just breezes, “Okay.” Joon-hee’s shocked that it goes over so well, but then gets kind of disappointed that he’s not sadder.
Yoon-jae scoffs, “What, are you not going to see me when you move out? Even if you say you never want to see me again and avoid me, I’m going to follow you around for the rest of my life, just so you know!” And back in his Busan accent, “We’re friends, aren’t we?”
Yay, just yay. And then Yoon-jae coughs, starting to feel the effects of his cold.
The next day Joon-hee gets a call from Shi-won and he says the roommate conversation went well, saying that Yoon-jae is surprisingly dumb sometimes. I think it’s funnier that you think he believed your lie.
He sits down in the Truth Chair as they chat, and she tells him about the kiss. He congratulates her, saying “I told you so” about Yoon-jae liking her.
He asks if it’s been eight years between their first kiss and their second, laughing that he knows about the first ’cause Yoon-jae tells him everything. He gets up to answer another call, and we pan up the staircase… oh no…
And there’s Tae-woong, having overheard. Ouuuuch. I think we’re gonna have to rename that thing the Spill Your Guts All Over Everyone Chair, because “truth” doesn’t really cover the pain part.
2012 Reunion. Dad calls Shi-won to complain about the measly allowance she sent him, insisting it’s not the money, but the principal of it all, and demands to speak to “Yoon suh-bang.”
She hands over her phone… and then both Tae-woong and Yoon-jae stand up, getting an earful from somebody over the phone. They smile at each other.
Really, still playing that game? Okay fine. Baby daddy still unconfirmed, though at this point, we’re just waiting for the final seal of approval. I’m really glad they pulled out the confession by the end of Episode 14, because I nearly disowned Yoon-jae for being so dumb and not answering her when she asked so directly whether he still liked her. I know, in comparison, he suffered a lot more and she never knew how he felt. But I’m with Joon-hee on this: That hurts, but it’s not her fault either. If she has the balls to confess the second she gets the chance, then she didn’t do wrong by her love. She just took a lot longer to know it.
What’s great about her confession is how easy it is for her. You can actually see it on Yoon-jae’s face, the How do you just DO THAT look, like it’s beyond his understanding. Because he’ll never in his entire life be that person. He’s the overthinker, the guy who hashes and rehashes so hard that his thoughts have thoughts and their thoughts have thoughts, until he has eighteen generations of thought-grandbabies, and nothing makes sense anymore.
But Joon-hee is the one who knows him best and says the one thing that finally gets through: there IS no decision to be made, no arguing yourself into or out of anything. Your heart just does what it wants to, and thinking is useless. Could there be a better blow to Yoon-jae, who’s done nothing but think about his love for the better part of a decade? Joon-hee saved this ship in the eleventh hour, because I was seriously starting to get cranky. I’m just glad that Shi-won is such a straight-shooter and cuts through the brother crap. Because yes, it sucks, but she’s not going to start loving someone just because he confessed first. It’s not finders keepers, and I’m so glad she gets Yoon-jae to see past all his guilt and just answer her goddamn question.
Joon-hee had some stand-out character moments in these episodes. When Shi-won tells him that she likes Yoon-jae, I thought it really touching that she apologizes and acknowledges his feelings, and doesn’t discount them just because Yoon-jae will never love him back. I just LOVE that about her. To her, it’s equal. Joon-hee loves him too, and she feels bad about moving in on his crush, like a true friend would. And then of course Joon-hee returns her friendship in kind when he pushes Yoon-jae to face his heart and stop with the excuses. That he does that for both of them despite his own breaking heart is the best resolution to his first love that we could have. But the winner today is Yoon Yoon-jae, who treated his best friend the same, the day after and the day before he found out that Joon-hee liked him. And that is why we love you. Sometimes. When you’re not being a doofus.
- Answer Me 1997: Episodes 11-12
- Jung Eun-ji and Seo In-gook sing duet for 1997 OST
- Answer Me 1997: Episodes 9-10
- Answer Me 1997: Episodes 7-8
- The Answer Me 1997 love keeps growing, along with ratings
- Answer Me 1997: Episodes 5-6
- Answer Me 1997 draws praise and strong ratings
- Answer Me 1997: Episodes 3-4
- Answer Me 1997: Episodes 1-2
- Character introductions for Answer Me 1997