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To the Beautiful You: Episode 13

Yay! We finally get some rich character development in this series. Better late than never, right? You’d be dead wrong if you think that you’ll find progress in either of our leads. No, no – this episode is full of epic win for Hyun-jae who learns that some things in life like friendship, love, and forgiveness are far better and more satisfying than winning.

SONG OF THE DAY

TVXQ – “왜” (Keep Your Head Down) [ Download ]

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EPISODE 13 RECAP

Jae-hee stares blankly at Tae-joon’s big “Stay with me” confession until the door slides open, interrupting them. Eun-gyul clucks at Jae-hee for not answering him and returns her phone. Tae-joon shoves himself out of there, leaving Eun-gyul to silently glance at Jae-hee to check if she’s okay.

The two arrive back at school the following evening and Tae-joon ushers Jae-hee to clean up first, adding that they’ll chat about “a secret” afterwards. Jae-hee wonders to herself, “Did he catch on that I’m a girl?”

On the other side of the door, Tae-joon resolves, “I’m not going to hide my feelings anymore.” By… not telling her how you feel or that you know she’s a girl? Let me know how that works out for you.

Doc can’t shake off his suspicion after he sees Tae-joon voluntarily carry Jae-hee’s bags in so he sends Jae-hee a text to be more careful because “not everyone is an idiot like you.” Man after my own heart.

Only, he mistakenly sent it to Tae-joon instead. Doc panics.

He meets up with Tae-joon and tries to play dumb, explaining away his mistake. Then his jaw drops when Tae-joon asks if Doc already knew that Jae-hee’s a girl.

Tae-joon has suspected for some time but knew for sure when he overhead Daniel. But then he’s silent at Doc’s next question of why he kept it a secret if he’d known for so long. Doc’s eyes grow wide in realization, “You really think of her… as a girl, don’t you?”

Tae-joon admits it and says that he’s going to come clean because there’s no reason to hide how he feels any longer. Doc questions this line of logic, wondering if that’s best for everyone. If Jae-hee becomes aware that Tae-joon knows, won’t she feel like she has to leave?

Tae-joon glosses over his earlier mention to chat when he returns to the dorm. Surprisingly, Jae-hee asks what Tae-joon meant last night in regards to Eun-gyul. He replies that he meant just that – for Jae-hee not to think of other people when she’s talking to him.

Then what about America? It’d be annoying to get another roommate. Jae-hee takes it all at face value and starts to walk away, disheartened, when Tae-joon stops her by the arm. He says, “Don’t think of anything else and stay by my side.” Wait – that doesn’t answer anything!

He repeats himself with added weight to his words when she nods along. So Jae-hee assures him that she’ll stick to him like a piece of gum which gets him to smile.

Morning. Now Tae-joon smiles warmly at Jae-hee’s notes and even leaves one for her, thanking her for the drink and telling her she drools when she sleeps.

He’s even in prime condition at practice, and gets caught smiling at Jae-hee who watches from the door. The same can’t be said for Hyun-jae, who fails to make it, and it’s an extra hit to his pride when Coach asks Tae-joon to show him how it’s done.

Coach Baek comments that it’s good that Hyun-jae is aggressive but there needs to be a push and pull – he can’t just charge forward of his own volition. He sternly reminds Hyun-jae that Nationals are just around the corner and that Olympic qualifications are on the line.

In the locker room, Hyun-jae ponders over the endorser’s business card, contemplating what to do.

Jong-min entertains a small crowd with his tarot cards and reads a much enthused Eun-gyul’s fortune. As expected, he scowls at the last card, Love: “Do you like someone?” Eun-gyul: “No comment.”

He’s even less inclined to read Jae-hee’s fortune but does so at Eun-gyul’s request. She picks the Death card and Jong-min reels in horror – she has a darkened aura and had better be careful.

Afterward, Eun-gyul tells Jae-hee not to worry about it – who would trust Jong-min to read someone else’s future? She tells him it would be nice if his fortune about making a goal in his debut national team match came true.

Eun-gyul shakes his head – he’s going to rely on his skills, not some silly fortune. They take a turn on his souped-up scooter and Eun-gyul shows Jae-hee a preview of his goal ceremony and bends over like a soccer ball. Aw, is that a ‘Gu’ for Gu Jae-hee?

Later that day, Jae-hee comes out of class and notices Hyun-jae hanging out by the railing, who fidgets nervously. She doesn’t think much of it and spots Tae-joon in the distance. She calls out his name and he stops, just as a rogue flowerpot crashes to the ground, missing him by mere inches.

As they eat lunch, Jae-hee wonders if Hyun-jae harbors any animosity towards Tae-joon but he dismisses that notion. No one got hurt and it was just coincidence – no big. I’m so glad you cherish your safety that much, Tae-joon.

But the Death card plagues Jae-hee’s thoughts and she warns him to be careful anyway.

We jump to the hospital where Hanna is conducting an interview. She chirps that she’ll be going into rehab, to which the reporter comments that Tae-joon must be a great source of support.

Director Jang snaps at this violation of privacy but Hanna breezes that they broke up, confusing everyone. She hilariously shrugs that Tae-joon was too boring so she was the one who dumped him.

Who can stay away from this juicy headline? The reporter asks for permission to run the story and both Director Jang and Hanna answer, “Yes!” “No!”

Her cheery attitude is a different story once she’s alone, and Hanna lets out a deep sigh. She tosses Jae-hee’s note aside and stares at her injured leg.

Right after Tae-joon heads inside the dorm, Hyun-jae sneaks up to his bike, intending to cut a wire. Oh no, Hyun-jae – don’t do it! He gets caught by Jae-hee mid-cut and runs back to his room, breathing hard.

Only there he’s further spooked by Eun-gyul who hands him a gift – wasn’t it his birthday some time ago? Aww that’s sweet. Hyun-jae thinks so too… until he pulls out his birthday gift: BB cream. HA.

I’m afraid he’s going to pulverize his roommate but Eun-gyul aegyo singsongs, “Why were you born?” It gets him to crack a smile but not even the gag gift is enough to lift his spirits.

Jae-hee tries her best to deter Tae-joon from riding his bike in the morning and resorts to taking his bike and riding off on it to prevent him from getting hurt. Now you’ve voluntarily and knowingly endangered yourself.

And you’re worried that you’re making Tae-joon late to practice? She figures there’s nothing wrong because she luckily rode 100 ft without injury and then gets back on the bike. You… I… *headdesk*

Are you really that surprised the cord finally snaps? Jae-hee panics and screams bloody murder. Eun-gyul hears her desperate cries and catches up to her on his scooter. He skids in front of her and pulls Jae-hee off of the rogue bike seconds before it crashes.

Jae-hee thanks Eun-gyul for literally saving her life and she comes out of the entire incident without a scratch. Eun-gyul insists that he’s fine too but he sports a bloody ankle and then hops on his good leg towards his scooter.

Bad news bears. Eun-gyul’s injury will keep him from playing in his debut game next week. Eun-gyul remains optimistic about the situation and Jae-hee asks why he put himself at risk to save her. I’d like to ask you that very same question, Jae-hee.

Eun-gyul chirps that it’s a given in his head, just like how water floats above oil, he’ll be protecting her. (He mixes it up but it’s still adorable.) He sends her off with a huge smile like always and then finally succumbs to the extent of his pain once she’s gone.

Gah, it kills me that even though he’s clearly in pain, he keeps telling himself that it’s a relief that Jae-hee isn’t hurt.

Jae-hee finally confronts Hyun-jae and scolds him about the consequences for his sneaky behavior, “It’s your fault Eun-gyul got hurt!” Well no one told you to ride the defective bike either, hon.

Hyun-jae grabs her by the collar, calling her accusations utter nonsense. Jae-hee retorts that she hopes that it’s unfounded or else she’ll look into it.

Eun-gyul whirls Hyun-jae around and asks what Jae-hee means by her accusation. Was he responsible for messing with the bike? Hyun-jae is rendered speechless.

The boys relocate and Eun-gyul rips into him that Jae-hee – er, someone could have seriously gotten hurt. He demands Hyun-jae for an answer or even an excuse, but all Hyun-jae can mumble is a genuine, “Sorry.”

Eun-gyul voices his disappointment and shoves him out of the way. By the by, can we get this boy some crutches?

Tae-joon burst into the classroom after he belatedly hears the news about the bike. He worriedly asks if Jae-hee’s okay and frowns at the news of Eun-gyul’s injury. He asks what happened to his bike and why Jae-hee ran off with it but she remains silent.

Seung-ri scours the hospital for Hanna and finds her on the rooftop staring blankly into space. He’s seen the headlines and sympathizes with her about her injury. In fact, after he was in a serious car accident three years ago, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to recover. But he proved the doctors wrong and won the 1500m national title.

He turns around to show Hanna his scar and she shrills, “Why are you sticking your butt at me!” He shouts back, “It’s not on my butt!” HA.

Seung-ri suggests that they become friends and promises to make her laugh whenever they meet. Aww. She declines but then adds that hospital life is boring so he can entertain her like a cheap magazine.

Seung-ri beams. Have some pride, good man!

News about Hanna and Tae-joon’s split breaks and Jong-min makes a dig at Tae-joon for getting dumped. Jae-hee tries to come to his defense but Jong-min’s like, Headlines don’t lie… Tae-joon’s Grandpa Style! and then breaks into the horse dance. Can’t escape the power of Psy.

Coach Baek enters to whip them back into order and finds Hyun-jae’s absence from class strange. And Tae-joon finally starts putting the pieces together that Hyun-jae might be the culprit behind the strange attacks.

Dad drops by the school and is introduced to Jae-hee through Coach Baek. Dad confides in her that he has no idea what Tae-joon is thinking since he keeps Dad in the dark.

Jae-hee asks if he doesn’t believe in Tae-joon enough but Dad answers that there’s no parent who doesn’t believe in their child. Dad shares that it was him, not Tae-joon who made the mistake because, “…he still thinks his mother’s death is because of me.”

Dad sadly notes, “He’s not wrong about it either…”

Seriously, can we get this guy some crutches? He hobbles along campus, thinking over how he was scolded by his coach for squandering this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and how apologetic Hyun-jae was.

He spots a young girl looking for Tae-joon in front of the school. He assumes she’s Tae-joon’s little sister and when he doesn’t pick up, he tries to send “little Tae-joon” away. She snaps, “I don’t wanna!” HA – this one be feisty.

He decides to cart her into the room and the girl pops up out of the bag, “I thought I was gonna die in there!”

Jae-hee is ecstatic to meet Tae-joon’s little sister, at which point the pint-sized squirt pipes that’s she’s not. She clarifies, “Tae-joon oppa’s my lover and my brother’s name is…” They’re interrupted by Coach Baek who’s looking for his high jumpers, both of whom are nowhere to be found.

Once he’s gone, she pops out of her hiding place again and tells them who her older brother is: Hyun-jae.

Speaking of whom, he’s in the gymnasium, looking over a withdrawal form that states his reason for quitting the track and field team as “personal reasons.”

Coach Baek finds Tae-joon in the locker room and asks if he’s heard any news on Hyun-jae. Though Hyun-jae’s numbers keep falling, Coach Baek is relieved that Tae-joon is improving. He mentions that Dad came to visit and seemed especially worried about his son. Tae-joon’s smile disappears and he excuses himself.

Hyun-jae returns to his room and his sister, Hyun-ji, jabbers on about how Oppa never comes home and how he’s best buds with Tae-joon. Both Jae-hee and Eun-gyul swoop in, confirming that the two are BFFLs and Hyun-ji lights up at the mention of getting her idol’s autograph.

When Hyun-jae drops off his sister at home with some snacks, she frown that Oppa’s leaving without staying longer. She mumbles, “You always do that.”

She asks when Hyun-jae will win a gold medal, reminding him that he promised that when he does, they can finally be together as a family. He tells her to wait just a little bit longer.

Hyun-ji assures her brother that she’ll be fine on her own – she’ll keep the TV on until Mom returns from work. They do the cutest little handshake before he leaves.

Back at the dorm, it’s Hyun-jae who breaks the silence by thanking him for taking care of his sister. He won’t ask to be forgiven for what he did to sabotage Tae-joon. As for why he did it in the first place, Hyun-jae admits, “Because I had a reason to win. Because I only thought about winning.”

“I believed that there was nothing in the world you couldn’t do as long as you worked hard. It felt euphoric to jump over a wall you thought you couldn’t jump over. So I don’t know if that’s why I chose high jumping. Because it’s like you’re jumping over yourself. But after watching Tae-joon, I realized for the first time that that didn’t work. All my hard work pales in comparison to his natural talent. Kang Tae-joon was a wall I couldn’t jump over.”

Hyun-jae holds back his tears, ashamed, and Eun-gyul tells him that there’s no such thing as fruitless effort. He doesn’t know if Hyun-jae will be able to beat Tae-joon but his hard work is bound to pay off. “As much as you try, I mean.”

Hyun-jae pulls himself together and owns up to his behavior – he’ll take responsibility for it. Eun-gyul struggles to get up and puts a hand on Hyun-jae’s shoulder. Of course he’ll take responsibility for it… because he’s going to be Eun-gyul’s slave until he gets better. HA.

Omg, Hyun-jae looks like he’s going to cry but yay for bromance!

Jae-hee drops by the gym while Tae-joon practices his jumps and comments that everyone seems to be working so hard except for her.

She grows uncomfortable as Tae-joon asks if it was Hyun-jae behind the bike incident and if she rode off on it so he wouldn’t get hurt.

She walks away, placing a hand on the bar when Tae-joon suddenly pulls her into a backhug. He thanks her but adds, “But don’t do that again. You getting hurt because of me… I’d hate that even more.”

Jae-hee stands there, frozen, and Tae-joon plays off the moment, asking if it’s the first time she’s ever been hugged by someone. They leave the gym together as Jae-hee jabbers on about how cute Hyun-ji is.

Hyun-jae meets with Tae-joon later and admits fault to his misdeeds. He stutters that he knows that he should quit the track and field team but he can’t bring himself to do it. But if Tae-joon says that he should, then he’ll quit.

Tae-joon simply asks if something happened and Hyun-jae scoffs in response. Surely Tae-joon must have heard about what he did. But Tae-joon plays dumb which surprises Hyun-jae.

There’s not a lot of time left until Nationals and it was Hyun-jae who said that one shouldn’t be so lax before a competition. Tae-joon is training because he doesn’t want hear people say that he didn’t work hard enough.

Tae-joon ignores a call from Dad (How much do I love that Darth Vader pops up?) and at Jae-hee’s question of why he doesn’t visit home often, Tae-joon answers that he finds it bothersome. Jae-hee mutters that his father probably waits for him to visit.

That pings on Tae-joon’s radar and he asks if Jae-hee met up with Dad. He takes her stammered response as a yes and grows increasingly annoyed as she says that he should make amends with Dad.

Jae-hee keeps going, saying that there’s a big misunderstanding surrounding his mother’s death but Tae-joon has heard enough, “If you don’t stop… I’m leaving.”

Tae-joon sits outside with Sangchu who lends a sympathetic paw. He thinks aloud, “I know too… that’s it’s not Jae-hee’s fault.”

We flashback to when Mom was alive – it was her birthday and Dad sent some flowers as an apology for his absence. Then Tae-joon came back from school one day to find Mom collapsed at home and Dad came back later that night, smashed.

Another flashback teaches us that Mom had a cold that Dad disregarded. Then after the funeral, Tae-joon asked why Dad lied about how sick Mom was and Dad gave a blunt apology.

Fighting tears, Tae-joon told him that if only Dad took her to the hospital sooner, if only she got surgery, if only Dad had a care about Mom… Tae-joon: “You’re the one who killed Mom.”

Tae-joon’s phone rings again and this time, Jae-hee picks up. She runs outside looking for him and the music swells, signaling to us that this will be Something Serious.

She’s out of breath when she runs into Tae-joon and delivers the news, “Your father… just collapsed.”

Tae-joon stares back in shock.

 
COMMENTS

Because it wouldn’t be a kdrama unless someone collapsed and went to the hospital. I understand that the drama’s intention was for us to feel the oomph so that we the audience might think, “Oh no! What if Tae-joon loses both of his parents?” But don’t you worry. Drama won’t get rid of Dad just yet.

I know that we threw logic out the window halfway through the series but for this episode, we really have to bring it back. Ultimately it was Hyun-jae’s fault for trying to sabotage Tae-joon and it was a constant struggle and the consequences of his actions continued to eat at him. This is what sets him apart from some of our other characters because hey, no one got hurt from a falling flowerpot, right? No big. Sigh.

What annoyed me, however, was Jae-hee’s confrontation that it was Hyun-jae’s fault that eventually Eun-gyul got hurt. Jae-hee, your line of logic is: (1) See Hyun-jae cut wire of Tae-joon’s bike. (2) Stop Tae-joon from riding on said bike. (3) Let’s ride off on bike to show that everything’s okay! (4) Oh that faulty wire must have been a figment of my imagination. (5) Oh no! No brakes! (6) Eun-gyul’s hurt = Hyun-jae’s fault.

This could have been easily avoided if you: (1) Not got on the bike. (2) Not got on the bike. (3) Not got on the bike. (4) Just rolled the bike away from Tae-joon. (5) Not got on the bike. (6) Not got on the bike. Get the picture?

So you knowingly endangered yourself by a poor lack of judgment and then blamed Hyun-jae so that he would have a stack of crimes against him. And then you turned his roommate against him to buoy your stupidity. Girl, consider yourself lucky that those boys made up that quickly.

What I love about Hyun-jae is that he feels so much more complex compared to our other characters. He has a motivation (his poor family) and is tempted by money and fame to achieve success. I will point out that I found it particularly unfair to Hyun-jae that his epic speech about hard work is overshadowed that effort can never jump higher (hur) than natural talent. And then he gets made out to be the bad guy because of it. WUT.

At the same time, it was a nice turnaround for Tae-joon to tell Hyun-jae that he’s working hard despite his natural affinity for high jumping because he understands that success also means hard work. It’s easy to twist those words to mean something selfish, but I’m more inclined to believe that Tae-joon doesn’t mean it in a malicious tone.

Oh and Tae-joon, you can NOT say that you’re going to be true to your feelings, then say you won’t admit them, and then do this. It’s just not fair.

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