Trot Lovers: Episode 11
Well, it’s as we feared: That most dreaded and annoying of drama cliches has come to plague our new lovebirds, throwing Joon-hyun and Chun-hee’s relationship right back to the beginning. And rather than learn from her near-fatal mistake, Soo-in somehow manages to sink to even lower levels of horrible behavior, officially making her worse of a villain than her mother. Congratulations, I guess?
EPISODE 11 RECAP
An injured Joon-hyun is taken away in an ambulance with Soo-in accompanying him, having been mistaken for the person who was with him when the accident happened, while Chun-hee futilely tries to follow on her injured leg. She finally collapses, sobbing his name.
Joon-hyun is wheeled into surgery, and Soo-in washes her bloody hands in the bathroom, repeating to herself over and over, “It’s not my fault. I didn’t kill him.” Suddenly a terrible thought occurs to her: Joon-hyun saw her just before she released the rope securing the set piece. If he wakes, he’ll know what she did.
Chun-hee finally arrives at the hospital and sees on the monitor that Joon-hyun is currently in surgery. She stands outside the surgery room door and calls to him, “Jang Joon-hyun! Can you hear my voice? I’ll be right here!” She tells him not to be scared, as she fights off her own terror.
Director Wang informs Soo-in’s mother of the accident, assuring her that her daughter is okay. But he’s got footage of the CCTV at the theater that clearly shows Soo-in releasing the rope and causing the accident. Uh oh.
Chun-hee desperately tries to get into Joon-hyun’s room after his surgery, but two burly security guards are there to make sure he’s not disturbed. Barred from seeing him, Chun-hee can only sit in the hospital hallway and pray for Joon-hyun to wake up soon.
Soo-in is inside, having been appointed Joon-hyun’s guardian, and the doctors tell her that he’ll recover soon since he received excellent first aid (thanks to Chun-hee). As she waits by Joon-hyun’s bedside, Soo-in watches the news stories about his accident, which report that he was injured while saving Soo-in from the falling set piece.
Soo-in falls asleep and when she wakes, Joon-hyun isn’t in the bed. She’s startled to see him standing behind her, and he grabs her and shakes her, demanding to know why she did it. She begs his forgiveness, saying that she hates Chun-hee and didn’t mean for him to get hurt. Because that makes it better? She falls to her knees and begs him to keep it a secret.
She jerks awake, and sees Joon-hyun still laying in bed unconscious — it was only a nightmare. Soo-in’s mother arrives, and they go to the hallway to talk. Joo-hee asks if Soo-in is scared that people will find out what she did, telling her daughter that she saw her on the CCTV. Soo-in asks if she should turn herself in, but her mother says that the situation isn’t too bad yet (seriously?).
Mom says that she and Director Wang have already gotten rid of the CCTV video and spun the story to the press to make Soo-in sound like a victim. If Joon-hyun wakes up, he won’t be able to tell anyone the truth because it would mean also revealing his relationship with Chun-hee, which he can’t do in light of her scandal with the assemblyman.
Loan sharks Yoo-shik and Chul-man manage to distract the guards at Joon-hyun’s room long enough for Chun-hee to sneak in. She holds Joon-hyun’s hand and apologizes for not coming sooner, and pleads with him to wake up so they can go home.
Still unconscious, Joon-hyun imagines himself in a beautiful field with a faceless girl, singing the song he wrote for MJ, “Remember Me.” He hears a voice begging him to wake up, and in the real world, the fingers on one hand start to move the tiniest bit.
The guards catch Chun-hee and escort her from the hospital room, and Soo-in goes back in to sit with him. He wakes up, immediately complaining that his head hurts, and Soo-in frantically apologizes. He interrupts her to ask where the reporters went and asks where the “Medal Meddler” went, saying that he got hurt because of her. Joon-hyun asks if the scandal got leaked and asks to see the newspaper, and is shocked when he sees the date.
A doctor tells Soo-in and Joo-hee that Joon-hyun has dissociative amnesia, and has lost all memories from a certain date in time. He could regain his memories, but Joo-hee tells her daughter not to do anything to help that happen. Soo-in says that all he’ll have to do is get on the internet and find out everything, but Joo-hee says she’s ordered all news relating to him to be erased so that he won’t be able to find out anything. She instructs Soo-in to find Tae-song and get him to keep his mouth shut, but she doesn’t seem to think Chun-hee will be much of a threat because of her scandal.
Chun-hee hears that Joon-hyun has woken up and tries again to get into his room, but the guards stonewall her. Soo-in opens the door to tell her to leave and Chun-hee shoves her way in, accidentally pushing Soo-in down. Joon-hyun rushes to help Soo-in and yells at Chun-hee, calling her Medal Meddler. He treats her as coldly as he did when they first met, and when she tries to tell him that they like each other, he calls her crazy and says that he likes Soo-in.
He has the guards take her out, and reporters snap pictures of her being roughly removed from his room. Geon-woo arrives and gets the guards off her, and escorts her outside. Chun-hee is stunned, saying over and over that Joon-hyun was like a different person, and Geon-woo tries to reassure her that it’s just a side effect of his accident.
Joon-hyun and Soo-in talk, and he says that he’s scared of that Medal Meddler. A fan asks for an autograph and says how much she loves his new song “Remember Me,” which has Joon-hyun frowning in confusion. Tae-song visits, and is surprised when Joon-hyun greets him with a happy “Hyung!”
Joon-hyun asks Tae-song about the song “Remember Me,” and Tae-song thinks he’s upset because he uploaded it online without his permission. He says that Joon-hyun’s song is a hit and that he’ll rise again soon, but Joon-hyun is confused, not remembering that he ever fell. When Tae-song tries to explain, Soo-in interrupts and sends him on an errand.
She takes Tae-song aside and explains about Joon-hyun’s amnesia, and that he only remembers up to hitting his head on the van door after the sex scandal broke. She tells Tae-song not to tell Joon-hyun about his career tanking, or that he dated Chun-hee, pretending to be concerned that Joon-hyun may get upset about Tae-song betraying him and Chun-hee’s scandal.
Joo-hee phones another reporter to make sure the accident story is spun her way, and is shocked to find herself face-to face with Chun-hee’s father. They talk at a cafe, and they clearly have a long history together since they address each other very familiarly, and Joo-hee even seems pleased to see her “Myung-shik Oppa.”
But she immediately starts with the lies, pretending not to know that he’s Chun-hee’s father. Their conversation sheds a bit of light on Chun-hee’s mother, how she became ill after an accident and it took her singing voice. Joo-hee feigns innocence as she asks if he’s ever found the person who caused the accident. Chun-hee’s father says that he hasn’t, but he’s still determined to find and punish that person.
He says that he heard of Chun-hee’s scandal and asks if she’s okay, and Joo-hee says that she’s fine, it’s just how the business is. She promises to help Chun-hee but later when she’s alone, she worries what could happen if he talks to President Jo. Director Wang informs her that Chun-hee’s concert has been permanently canceled, and Joo-hee tells him to spread the rumor that the assemblyman is Chun-hee’s sponsor, determined to ruin her for good.
Geon-woo corners Soo-in at the hospital and asks her to tell him exactly how the accident happened. She says that Chun-hee was meeting Joon-hyun on stage, and that the set fell, but Geon-woo thinks there’s more to the story. He confronts her with the news stories that Joon-hyun was hurt saving her and that they’re dating. Soo-in admits that they’re not, but that she saw an opportunity to help her career.
Later, Soo-in shows Joon-hyun a news article describing Chun-hee’s scandal with the assemblyman, and they laugh together about Chun-hee becoming a trot singer and claiming that she’s dating him. Tae-song comes to tell Joon-hyun that he’ll be released within the week, and Joon-hyun asks him to make sure that Medal Meddler stays away from him. Tae-song agrees but throws uneasy looks in Soo-in’s direction, uncomfortable with lying to Joon-hyun but scared that she’ll tell him that Tae-song betrayed him.
Chun-hee catches Tae-song in the hall and asks if Joon-hyun remembers him, and wilts to find out that he remembers his manager and Soo-in, but not her. Soo-in pulls her aside to tell her to stay away from Joon-hyun, as his song is doing well and she’s under a scandal. How the tables have turned.
Chun-hee asks why Soo-in is doing this now, when just recently she was helping them get together. Soo-in says that she was confused, but when Joon-hyun got hurt she realized that she cares for him. She says that Chun-hee took her place temporarily, but it’s time to go back where she came from.
Chun-hee doesn’t believe that, and calls Soo-in on her lies — they both know that Joon-hyun got hurt saving Chun-hee, not her. Soo-in just smirks that that’s what Chun-hee wants to believe, and walks away.
Byul walks down the hall at school, and the same brat that objected to her winning the cooking contest bumps her and causes her ukelele to be damaged. Bratty says that Byul got it by lying anyway, and Byul insists that that Ahjussi is her family. Bratty snarls that her mom said Byul is a liar, and that her sister is a liar and worse, and gets her whole Mean Girls posse to gang up on Byul.
Coach Bang calls Chun-hee crying that Byul is missing, and they both search the school and the neighborhood, but Byul is nowhere to be found. Finally they find her, alone and crying, and Chun-hee is so relieved that she yells at Byul about how worried she made her.
Byul cries that she’s sorry, and Coach notices that she’s got cuts and bruises on her face and asks if someone hit her. Byul, ever the spitfire, fires back all, Yeah well, you should see the other guys! She says the other kids insulted Chun-hee so she beat them up, but starts to cry again because the other moms might come complaining to Chun-hee. OMG, this kid. Love her so much.
Chun-hee hugs her sister and says it’s okay, even if Byul hit the other kids really hard, which is so sweet. Both of them cry out their frustrations, glad to at least have each other.
That night at home, Byul asks if people don’t like Chun-hee now, and will stop listening to her songs. Chun-hee assures her with that Big Sister “everything’s great” smile that this will all be over soon. She tells Byul that she’s paid off Dad’s debt, and he’ll be home soon, and they give each other their trademark finger guns. So cute.
Joon-hyun is released from the hospital, and Tae-song has somehow arranged for him to go back to his old apartment, since he’s still unaware that his scandal got him evicted. He gives him a new phone with his same number, saying that his old one was destroyed in the accident — I assume to cover up any pictures and text histories with Chun-hee. Joon-hyun immediately looks for his guitar, which of course is now at Chun-hee’s place, and Tae-song pretends not to know anything about it.
The next day, Joon-hyun and Soo-in meet with Joo-hee, who tells them that the company cleaned up any problems and that they should just concentrate on their singing. She warns Joon-hyun not to tell anyone of his memory loss, since his song is doing well.
Joon-hyun and Soo-in run into Chun-hee in the hall, and it’s heartbreaking to see Joon-hyun flinch as if Chun-hee could attack him at any moment. He’s surprised to hear that Chun-hee is a singer at Shine Star, and he coldly shoos her away when her sorrowful expression bothers him.
Joon-hyun goes to meet with Geon-woo, which is so awkward since he thinks it’s their first meeting. He assumes that Geon-woo’s astonishment is because he’s such a big star, which just makes Geon-woo laugh.
Geon-woo is amused as he fills Joon-hyun in on why he’s here instead of his father, but his face falls when Joon-hyun sneers that he must have signed “that girl” because he knows nothing about music. He thinks Chun-hee joined Shine Star in order to stalk him, and says mean things about her until Geon-woo cuts him off and says that he’ll take care of her. There’s a funny meta moment when Joon-hyun leaves the office and grumbles that that guy looks like a psychopath, HA.
Chun-hee thinks of Joon-hyun as she and Byul tend to Byul’s lettuce, and later as she reads their dating contract. At the same time, Joon-hyun shows hints that he hasn’t completely lost everything that he picked up while living with Chun-hee, surprising Tae-song when he knows how to do laundry and asking him to buy a fan.
Having decided to keep to their dating contract whether Joon-hyun remembers it or not, Chun-hee leaves some balloon flower tea for Joon-hyun in his practice room. It’s both sweet and heartbreaking how she pats her own forehead the way Joon-hyun always does when he’s proud of her.
She tells a picture of him that this is all she can do, and she’ll bring tea for him every day, and pats the photograph’s forehead. She goes to her practice room, sadly thinking of the time when she and Joon-hyun played piano together.
Later Joon-hyun finds the tea and assumes that Soo-in left it there, which she denies. She takes it from him and pours it out, saying that they don’t know who left it there or what could have been put in it. Joon-hyun seems confused, but willing to follow Soo-in’s lead.
Chun-hee talks with Coach at the restaurant, deflecting Coach’s concern over her. A couple of customers notice Chun-hee and gossip about the rumor of her trying to get between Joon-hyun and Soo-in, and her scandal with the assemblyman. Coach jumps up to give them a piece of her mind, but is interrupted by a loud “Hey!” from Pil-nyeo.
Pil-nyeo aggressively confronts the gossiping customers, asking what proof they have of any scandal — did they actually see it? The customers leave and Pil-nyeo apologizes to Coach, who just says she did great.
Pil-nyeo brings Chun-hee an energy drink and they sit outside, moaning about their bad luck. They don’t talk about anything of importance, but it’s so great to see someone getting Chun-hee’s back when she needs it most. I’d never have guessed it would be Pil-nyeo, but I think they both could use a friend.
Chun-hee sits on the bench outside her home and sings while President Jo listens, and he says that he knows she’s been having a hard time. He tells her that he used to work in the music business (I forgot that she doesn’t know exactly who he is!), and reminds her that he once told her of a trot singer he used to like. He says that when things got hard, he let her quit music, and that he’s always regretted it.
Chun-hee asks if the singer also regretted giving up singing, and he guesses that she probably did. Chun-hee says that her mother also regretted giving it up, and President Jo just looks at her thoughtfully.
The next morning Chun-hee meets with Geon-woo and says that she wants to work, even if it means a small stage. She smiles like a champ, but finds herself singing for a group of unappreciative listeners, who throw things at her and jeer as Geon-woo watches in frustration.
He finds Chun-hee after the show and they both put on a smile as if it’s all fine, and Chun-hee says she’s got another show after this. He tells her that it was canceled, and asks her to hang out with him instead. They ride a swan boat where he lets her do all the pedaling, claiming it’s because exercise is good for relieving stress. HA.
They go to a club for ice cream sundaes, and Geon-woo suggests they play the dagger game they played before. He wins again and Chun-hee laughs, but it soon changes to tears, though she makes a heartbreaking effort to keep smiling even while telling him how much her heart aches. Oh, sweetie.
At a loss, Geon-woo just gets on his knees and hugs her, comforting her as best he can. Just then he sees Joon-hyun and Soo-in sit at a nearby table, and when Joon-hyun watches them curiously, Geon-woo gives him a glare that makes me worry that he’s going to ask after Joon-hyun’s health.
Geon-woo goes onstage and announces that there’s someone he wants to cheer up, and sings “Boiling,” a song that’s both ridiculously silly and a thinly-veiled confession, complete with embarrassing dance moves. It’s the cutest thing ever. Chun-hee watches and tries to cheer up, unaware that Joon-hyun is there and can’t take his eyes off her.
He muses that the Medal Meddler finally managed to seduce a guy, but that guy would probably date anyone, which upsets Soo-in and she leaves. Chun-hee finally sees Joon-hyun there, and he suddenly gets jumpy and follows Soo-in out.
Geon-woo takes Chun-hee home early to rest, but immediately gets a call from Soo-in. She’s at the same bar where they once drank together, and he finds her already well on her way to drunkenness again. She says that she blames him for everything, because if he liked her then she wouldn’t have felt like she needed to do all these horrible things. Because your ability to make good decisions depends on whether a guy likes you. What are you, twelve?
Soo-in cries that she doesn’t know what to do now, or how to get out of this situation. She feels trapped by her actions and knows that they’re keeping her from getting close to Geon-woo, and supposes that she’s being punished. Geon-woo just drinks and says nothing.
When Geon-woo gets home, he’s startled to see his father already in the house. President Jo asks about Chun-hee’s scandal and Geon-woo assures him that she wouldn’t do that kind of thing. President Jo asks why Joon-hyun isn’t doing anything and is shocked to hear he’s got amnesia, and Geon-woo just throws his hands up and makes a face like, “I don’t even know,” exactly like I did at the beginning of this episode.
The next day, Chun-hee drops off more balloon flower tea in Joon-hyun’s practice room, only this time he enters and sees who’s been leaving the tea. It only reinforces his belief that she’s stalking him, and he leans in close to ask what she put in the tea. Chun-hee takes a drink to prove it’s safe, but Joon-hyun isn’t convinced.
He cruelly says that this may work on Geon-woo and the assemblyman, but it won’t work on him, and pours out the tea. Chun-hee looks wounded and leaves, and Joon-hyun seems disconcerted by her reaction.
He takes a call and goes to the jewelry store where he ordered the medal necklace that he was going to use to propose to Chun-hee. He takes out the necklace and sees an “MJ” woven into the chain, which the salesgirl assumes must be his nickname for Soo-in. Joon-hyun stands in confusion, sensing that something is wrong but enable to remember the truth.
So, my instinct is to just go off on a long rambling rant about lazy writing, tired old drama cliches, and wasting a great premise and an amazing cast. But I think it’s safe to assume that we’re all thinking the same thing, so I’m going to do us all a favor and not do that. I’m going to keep it to a short rant about lazy writing, tired old drama cliches, and wasting a great premise and an amazing cast.
First and foremost…AMNESIA? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?! I think we all saw this coming when Joon-hyun was carted off in an ambulance with a head wound at the end of Episode 10, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was holding out hope that the show would pull a twist on us and NOT do that. Sort of like odilettante‘s excellent example of Dream High, when Sam-dong was hit in the head and instead of getting amnesia, lost his hearing. That would have been great… take that trope and twist it into something clever and supportive of our story. But no, we got generic amnesia, which just feels like a cop-out, as if the writer ran out of ideas and just wrote the first thing they could think of. I’ll admit that it’s kind of interesting to have Joon-hyun actually remember Chun-hee, but only as that insane girl who tried to steal his marathon medal. It makes their interactions after he recovers a bit more frustrating that he actually does know who she is, but he only remembers hating her.
But still, I’m mostly just disappointed that this was the best the show could do. And I’ll admit that a lot of my disappointment is because I was so, so looking forward to this show before it started. I have counted Ji Hyun-woo and Jung Eun-ji among my favorite actors since I first saw them in Queen In-hyun’s Man and Answer me 1997. I was so excited to see Shin Sung-rok play a role completely opposite to murderous Jae-kyung. I was thrilled to be seeing these fantastic interesting actors in a drama about music, one of my very favorite things in the world.
But instead of getting a drama all about quirky characters navigating the music business, what I got was the same old show about the Candy and the arrogant rich guy who hate each other, then like each other, then get torn apart, and so on. The whole music business overarching plot could be anything and it wouldn’t matter, because the things the characters are doing and experiencing could be done and experienced within any theme at all. And while I still appreciate that the show is fast-paced and doesn’t bog down in any one trope for too long, it’s frustrating because each time we get out of one drama cliché, it only leads to another. There’s just nothing new, and it makes me sad.
I know, the show isn’t over yet. I can’t help but be the optimist that I am, and hope against hope that the writer does have a plan and is actually going to make all this worth it. And I have to clarify that I still don’t think this is a bad show — in fact I still enjoy it for what it is, which is a cute drama with mostly cute characters and an OTP that I can cheer on as they try to find their way to (and back to) each other. I still enjoy the quick pace and the music the show does give us. It just could have been so much more, if it had just tried a little harder. It has all the right ingredients, but is failing to use them. But we still have 5 more episodes, and who knows, the show could surprise us.
But in the meantime I’ll lower my expectations and try to enjoy the show I got, instead of wish for the show I had hoped I would get. And maybe afterward, when it’s all over, I’ll revisit Boong-do and Shi-won and reminisce about the good old days.
- Kolorful Palette: Second first kiss [Trot Lovers]
- Trot Lovers: Episode 10
- Trot Lovers: Episode 9
- Trot Lovers: Episode 8
- Trot Lovers: Episode 7
- Trot Lovers: Episode 6
- Trot Lovers: Episode 5
- Kolorful Palette: Loving Trot Lovers
- Trot Lovers: Episode 4
- Trot Lovers: Episode 3
- Trot Lovers: Episode 2
- Trot Lovers: Episode 1