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To the Beautiful You: Episode 12

Funny how all it takes is three simple words to change your world. At least they’re enough to bring you out of a daze just long enough for another declaration to throw you for a loop. Tae-joon learns that nicety can only get you so far and Jae-hee realizes that perhaps she can still be useful after all. Can a friendship sustain this kind of love triangle?

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EPISODE 12 RECAP

Eun-gyul musters all the courage he has to utter three simple words: “I like you.”

Jae-hee’s in disbelief but she tells him to stop kidding around as if that will undo whatever he just said. You can see the disappointment and hurt on his face as he tells her that he’s serious, “I really like you.”

You sure are popular lately, Jae-hee. But before she can respond, Tae-joon walks up to them, acting surprised to see them together. Well, this isn’t awkward or anything.

Jae-hee clarifies that she went to Eun-gyul’s house because she was worried and they came back together. The roomies head inside and the door closes on Eun-gyul.

Once they’re alone, Tae-joon asks what they were talking about earlier. It takes a few nudges before Jae-hee breaks out of her daze. She admits nothing but her flushed cheeks suggest otherwise.

She brightens when she hears that Tae-joon will be spending the night in the dorm and Tae-joon teasingly reminds her who the owner of this room is. Jae-hee: “You.”

They smile and Tae-joon hesitantly clarifies that he and Hanna aren’t in “that kind of relationship.” Tae-joon, haven’t you learned that Jae-hee needs to hear things loud and clear? Metaphors and vague answers don’t penetrate through that dense head.

She does seem to start to make a connection and in the bathroom, Tae-joon wonders if Eun-gyul confessed his feelings for Jae-hee. Somebody ought to by now, don’tcha think?

Recalling Jae-hee’s hesitancy after he confessed his heart, Eun-gyul gives himself a little pep-talk, “You did well! You did the right thing!” He sinks into his chair the next moment, however, doubting himself.

Uh, did you just tell your hot roommate not to take off his shirt? I understand that you feel uncomfortable about it now but what about the rest of us? Eun-gyul asks his roommate to be a sport (grumble) and Hyun-jae looks at him like, Whatever, dude.

Eun-gyul tilts his head as Hyun-jae strips down and realizes that just because he thinks he might be gay doesn’t mean he’s attracted to every guy. He says aloud that Hyun-jae must not be all that attractive and gets a shirt thrown at him in response.


What? These are for references, I swear. You can decide if he’s Min Hot-jae or not.

Jae-hee finds herself unable to sleep, her thoughts distracted by Eun-gyul’s confession. She calls Tae-joon and asks, “Are you sleep?” He retorts, “Would I have picked up if I were?”

She jabbers on about how it must have been hard on Tae-joon to suddenly get a roommate who nagged him and how tiring it must have been to carry her. And you’re totally positive he has no idea you’re a girl, right?

Tae-joon listens with a smile and teases that yes, she was heavy. “But… there was never a time when I found it tiresome.” Now that he thinks about it there was never a time he thanked her, “for making me jump again.”

She beams.

She sticks her head out to tell him to repeat his words to hear it in person. But he answers all, ‘S not a big deal but what were you talking with Eun-gyul about?

Jae-hee stammers and then abruptly hangs up their phone call.

All that training has paid off as he clears the 2.28m mark. Coach Baek is proud to see him back in tiptop shape, commenting that at this rate, he’ll have no trouble qualifying for the Olympics.

Which makes his following remark cut that much more, wondering why Hyun-jae always seems to do well in practice but breaks down under pressure during competitions. He reminds Hyun-jae that, “high jumping is a battle of willpower.”

It’s brains over brawn and Hyun-jae tenses.

Things are especially strained when the two of them are back in the locker room and Tae-joon’s words sound like mockery to his ears. Hyun-jae scoffs over Tae-joon’s concern – he’ll take care of his own future thankyouverymuch.

Tae-joon attempts to apologize but Hyun-jae’s already tuned out by now, so he gives a quick apology if he offended Hyun-jae at all. Once he’s gone, Hyun-jae slams and kicks his locker to let out his frustration.

We get a glimpse into the source of his stress through an earlier conversation with that snakelike endorser from Episode 1. He’d offered Hyun-jae an opportunity to team up with them and was pleased to hear that Hyun-jae was more willing to cooperate than Tae-joon.

And all Hyun-jae has to do to honor their deal is to beat Tae-joon in an upcoming competition. Instant stardom.

Jae-hee drops by the hospital bearing flowers and Hanna is none too pleased by her visit. She asks a final time if it’s true Jae-hee’s not living with Tae-joon because she likes him. Hanna: “Can I believe that?”

Jae-hee insists that she can though her eyes betray her words. Hanna takes them at face value and agrees to keep her secret from the school. Hmm, are you being genuine or have another card up your sleeve?

That surprises Jae-hee since that wasn’t the reason why she came by to visit. Placing a hand over Hanna’s, she says, “Don’t you ever give up on training. Because Seol Hanna’s prettiest when she’s doing rhythmic gymnastics.”

Eh? Jae-hee, are you an agent of motivation? Inspiration Fairy? Hanna seems genuinely touched by her words and Jae-hee has one more mantra to give in the form of a note before she leaves with a smile.

Hanna opens it and reads, “A miracle is just hard work by another name.”

Jae-hee is looking up tickets back to LA when Tae-joon returns from practice. She shuts her laptop in surprise which just makes it seem like she was caught red-handed and Tae-joon teasingly asks if she was watching porn.

They bicker back and forth all, I didn’t do it! Sure I’ll pretend you didn’t! *wink wink* When Jae-hee leaves for a moment, her phone goes off and Tae-joon peeks to see it’s Eun-gyul calling.

But before he can peer any longer, Jae-hee returns, snatching it away. She retreats to the bathroom as it continues to ring.

Seung-ri fusses with his hair to look perfect for that oh-so-casual bump-in with Hanna in the hospital corridor. He lists all the times they’ve met and now it’s such a coincidence that they’ve landed in the same hospital. And coincidences turn into destiny, don’tcha know.

He formally introduces himself, hoping that they can at least be acquaintances. Hanna remains relatively polite (at least for her) until he mentions that he’ll drop to banmal since she’s younger than him and all.

Her expression reads, Excuse you? Dude, you’re pushing it. She shrugs it off and then Seung-ri awkwardly switches back into jondae.

Then to make things worse, a nurse comes up to him saying that it’s about time he should fart or he won’t be getting any better. Which is when he involuntarily lets one rip and it’s a stinker. HA.

Tae-joon places a replacement to the moisturizer that broke earlier with a smile. Then he hears the shower running which makes his heart go thump thump. Well it was about time.

So he releases all that pent-up ki through pull-ups and push-ups. And Jae-hee comes out of the shower and gives an approving nod at his dedication to exercise.

He looks up to see her smile, which makes his heart thump even louder and he works out even harder. HA.

She notices the moisturizer on her desk and Tae-joon blusters that it came with the cosmetics he bought “at that place.” Jae-hee comments that she vowed that she would make sure the other one lasted for 500 years so she’ll make sure this one lasts for a thousand.

Thankfully she recalls when Tae-joon initially bought her the gift and then Eun-gyul’s confession. She suddenly gets up to leave but not before Tae-joon affixes a hat on her.

I love how Doc’s like, “I’m off-duty” when Jae-hee comes bursting through his door. He stays and after he’s filled in, he tells her that he’s been single for 8 years now. “Do I have to give you relationship advice too?”

Eun-gyul is a close friend whom she doesn’t want to see hurt. Doc: “Because you like Tae-joon?” He still thinks she’s a guy and that makes her feel guilty. Doc: “So that’s why you’re going to run away from it?” Does she any romantic feelings for someone here?

Jae-hee answers that she knows she’s not supposed to have those feelings under the guise of a male student. Doc is glad that she knows at least that since he wouldn’t have let her stay if she did.

He reminds her that more people will find out eventually and she’s lucky that she’s lasted this long. There’s not much time left and she may find that leaving may be harder than when she came in.

Eun-gyul finds Tae-joon fixing the broken light outside on his way back to the dorms. When Tae-joon asks about last night, he says that it was nothing.

Then when Tae-joon turns away, Eun-gyul admits, “I confessed my feelings for Jae-hee. I told Gu Jae-hee that I like him.”

Tae-joon tells him that Jae-hee’s a guy and Eun-gyul doesn’t blink an eye. “Whether he’s a guy or girl… all of that doesn’t matter anymore.” He’s going to see it to the end though he doesn’t know where that end will be.

Jae-hee walks back, both Doc and Hanna’s words resonate in her head. She steels herself that she can’t be swayed when she gets a text from Doc about a solution if she still feels awkward around Eun-gyul. She notices the fixed light and smiles since the darkened pathway spooked her before.

Doc asks Teacher Lee if she’s free in the weekend which makes Coach Baek’s ears perk up. Teacher Lee’s plan to play hard-to-get backfires on her when Doc says it’s too bad. She pouts even more when she learns that it’s work-oriented rather than a date.

They’ll be going somewhere with the kids early tomorrow morning so the more chaperones the better. Coach Baek tags along as well.

Tae-joon finds Eun-gyul outside the door contemplating whether or not to go inside. He calls Eun-gyul out on it to which Eun-gryul huffs, “I’m going in!” and charges inside.

He hands Jae-hee some milk, placing a hand on her shoulder. She slowly slides out of it and he laughs awkwardly that he can deliver her milk every day, like A Dog of Florence.
Tae-joon: “You mean Flanders.”

(There’s a Korean movie that’s a satire of the original novel where the dog helped deliver milk.)

Tae-joon notices her packed things and Jae-hee explains that she’s helping Doc out with a volunteer event this weekend. Tae-joon says he’ll tag along and not one to lose, Eun-gyul says he’ll go too. After all, he’s the Volunteer King or in his words, “The King of… volunteering.”

He and Tae-joon engage in a round of one-upmanship as Tae-joon asks how many times Eun-gyul has volunteered (3 or 4) versus Tae-joon (since he was young). They put an end to it and as Eun-gyul leaves to pack his things, he whispers, “Gu Jae-hee, if you go, I’m going too.”

Tae-joon picks up on Jae-hee’s hesitancy and tellingly asks, “Do you not want him to come with us?” Jae-hee dismisses it and walks out.

He gets a text from Director Jang to check his e-mail and he stumbles upon a page open on Jae-hee’s computer that indicates she’s been looking into plane tickets back to LA.

At the hospital, Director Jang absolutely fumes – when was it that they told her that they were dating? She asks Hanna if they fought but Hanna cries, “I got sick and tired of him so I dumped him!”

Hanna cries and Director Jang hands her a tissue for her tears. And not too far off, we see Seung-ri smile at the news – this means Hanna’s available again.

The crew arrives in the countryside and Eun-gyul and Jae-hee hang back from the pack. Eun-gyul broaches the topic about his confession. He knows that he must have caught her off guard but he wanted to be true to his feelings.

Before Jae-hee can answer, he cuts in if it’s too much to ask to go back to the way things were, that is if she doesn’t completely hate him for liking her. Nothing has changed for him and he likes her just as much as he did before.

Jae-hee doesn’t answer and Tae-joon, who’s been walking along ahead turns back towards them.

The trio explores the house and smiles at a portrait. An elderly woman identifies him as her husband and says that despite appearances, he was a troublemaker. When they ask where she is now, she replies, “He’s gone to a better place.” and they grow silent, realizing he might be dead.

Jae-hee is reluctant to change while the boys are still around so Tae-joon nudges to Eun-gyul that they’ll go for a walk, much to Eun-gyul’s confusion.

Alone now, she fixes herself up and readies herself to work. She gives herself a pep talk through Sangchu that she should at least enjoy the time she has left here.

Everyone gets to work and the boys do their best to carry the heavier loads for Jae-hee. Then later, Tae-joon asks that she hose down his back and she’s like, What?  Hey, it won’t drive the plot but I ain’t complainin’.

They chitchat about the work they did today and Tae-joon thinks of asking if she’s really planning to leave before stopping himself. While drying himself with a towel, Jae-hee notices his ripped pants. “Take them off.” Rawr.

She means to mend them and then uses the excuse that she learned how to sew from Dad.

Which means we get to see Tae-joon. In colorful pjs. Priceless.

Jae-hee snaps a shot, saying she wants to save it as souvenir and Tae-joon notes that she sounds like someone who’s leaving. Jae-hee doesn’t answer.

At the hospital, Seung-ri spots Hanna looking longingly at a photo of Tae-joon. He recalls how he overheard that she broke up with Tae-joon and then sees her reach over the railing. He mistakes this as a heartbroken suicide attempt and dramatically holds her back.

Hanna screams for him to get off of her and when he doesn’t, she sends an elbow straight into his gut. But that doesn’t stop him and he’s grabbing her by the leg now – doesn’t she know that there are plenty of other guys out there besides Tae-joon?

Turns out Hanna was just trying to reach the photo that slipped out of her fingers and then Seung-ri starts bleeding through his ruptured stitches.

As they wheel him to the operating room, he grabs Hanna’s hand and barely ekes out that she should meet a better man… like him. LOL.

The trio dig in at dinner and Eun-gyul teases Tae-joon for his picky eating habits when he says doesn’t eat chicken. Then Tae-joon scowls as he watches the other two laugh about how they complement each other’s eating preferences.

As they’re getting ready for bed, Eun-gyul notices that he and Tae-joon have the same phone. Even setting up their bedding is a competitive task between them. pulling the blanket back and forth. (They end up ripping it in half.)

Suddenly, Eun-gyul asks Tae-joon, “What is Jae-hee to you?” A friend? A roommate? To him, they don’t seem like just friends. But Tae-joon should tell him if he’s mistaken and there may be nothing going on.

Jae-hee steps outside and hesitantly asks for Tae-joon to accompany her to the outhouse since it’s dark out. She freaks out at the bugs and Tae-joon shoos them away for her. He then laughs when she tells him to stay at a safe distance.

On their way back, he asks if Jae-hee is really planning to go back to the States. She admits that she originally came here to see Tae-joon jump again. Now that he’s started training again, there’s nothing for her to help him with anymore.

She’s torn but it’s not like she can stay here forever and Tae-joon hints that it might become more uncomfortable for her and she should think it over.

Suddenly a mysterious figure stalks towards them and Jae-hee nudges Tae-joon, “Isn’t… he dead?” Tae-joon jumps back in terror and shouts, “G-g-ghost go away!”

Back at the house the totally not-dead grandpa scolds the kids for assuming that he’d passed on. “Am I a corpse that came back to life?”

Doc attends to Teacher Lee, who’s suffering from indigestion. Coach Baek reasons that some plum extract might help and he goes outside, taste-testing the various jars and reeling, “That’s salty!” or, “That’s spicy!”

Eun-gyul finds Jae-hee sitting outside, unable to fall asleep. He pinpoints that something’s on her mind and asks if she’s familiar with the terms, “bamboo forest” or “The king has donkey ears!”

(He refers to a folktale [there are several retellings] where the gist is a man was entrusted with the king’s secret that ate at him until he had to yell it out in the forest.)

Eun-gyul assures her that he’s a great listener and offers to be her bamboo forest. So Jae-hee leans in and whispers, “Cha Eun-gyul is…” and then shouts,” …a big idiot!” Eun-gyul does the same and they laugh as Tae-joon looks on.

Poor Coach Baek. He finds the plum extract in the fridge and then smiles when Teacher Lee thanks him. He places a hand on her forehead to check for a fever but she recoils, “Your hand smells… like the bathroom.”

Coach Baek sniffs and declares that it’s just fermented soybeans not that other thing. (what, poop?) But she and Doc just stare back at him with a look of disbelief.

Good news for Eun-gyul. Coach calls the next morning to inform him that someone else has pulled out which means he’s made the national team. Eun-gyul listens in shocked silence and has to be pinched to believe that it’s not a dream.

He immediately shares the happy news and they celebrate in a round of hugs.

Later that evening, Tae-joon sits outside and recalls the times he saw Eun-gyul be nice to Jae-hee all the way to his admission that he likes her.

Eun-gyul packs his things to meet with the coach tomorrow and sincerely thanks Jae-hee – this is all thanks to her. He belatedly realizes that he’s grabbed the wrong phone and backtracks but Jae-hee’s nowhere to be found.

She’s in the kitchen trying to reach for a bowl on her tippy toes. She’s too short and a hand silently retrieves it for her: Tae-joon.

She asks if he’s looking for something and Tae-joon replies, “I came to see you. Because I have something to tell you.” Gah, are you actually gonna say it this time?

They hear Eun-gyul’s voice outside, calling for Jae-hee, and when she makes for the door, Tae-joon blocks it with his hand.

Looking at her, he says in a serious tone, “Don’t concern yourself with Eun-gyul when you’re with me. I’m not going to send you away to America. Stay by my side.”

Jae-hee: Derp.


 

COMMENTS

Is she surprised/expectant/excited/slack-jawed/sad? Mm, hard to tell because in these past two episodes all of those expressions look pretty darn similar. So I think it’s okay that I take some creative liberty to tag a word that best describes that moment. Some scenes are harder than others.

It was a bit of a disappointment for me to watch this week’s episodes when we were gaining so much momentum last week. We were right around the point where angst is introduced to keep our main couple apart but really the only thing barring them is each other. In fact we could have avoided this whole, “I don’t want to go back to America” “I don’t want to go to Canada” conflict all together several episodes ago.

Why you ask? Because a little birdie told me this week that if Tae-joon went to train with Coach Holton and Jae-hee returned to the States, why they’re only a hop and a skip away! Yes, they’re still in different countries but Tae-joon could have still pursued high jumping and Jae-hee wouldn’t have to keep her secret for much longer. But hey, I’m not writing this drama and we need the Angst!

The scene where Hyun-jae was talking to that sleazeball endorser made me particularly nervous for Hyun-jae’s trajectory. We see time and time again that he’s not such a bad guy: he works hard, he cares for his friends, and a boy who needs someone to remind him that it’s his birthday. At face value, it seems like the writers are setting him up to be a sellout but I’m holding out for a much nobler reason behind his decision. It’s a classic drama trope but maybe Mom’s dying or he has 7 siblings to take care of. If anything his character deserves a good explanation why he felt he needed to resort to going corporate when he was so against it in the first place.

It took you forever and a day to act on your feelings and actually say something about it, huh Tae-joon? You sure are lucky that this girl’s only got eyes on you or she could have been scooped up by two other (potentially) more deserving men. By the time he said, “I have something to tell you” several times, the other suitors were fully confident to protect Jae-hee and made sure they have her best interest at heart.

Actions are great, don’t get me wrong, but a girl needs to hear those words – especially when it comes to this girl. Tell us why she should stay by your side, Tae-joon. She might not get it right away, so pinch her cheeks if you have to.

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