Twenty Again: Episode 7
I know, you didn’t think it was possible, but the pettiness escalates. And this time, Grumpypants is matched measure for measure by our heroine, who decides that two can play at this game and dishes out just as much sass as she’s getting. If all Nora wants to do is relive her youth, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need college for that—she can just hang out with Hyun-seok all day and they’ll automatically revert to high school, in all its immature, mortifying, youthful glory.
SONG OF THE DAY
한살차이 – “숨길 수가 없어요” (Can’t Hide It) [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Hyun-seok is floored to hear that Nora isn’t dying after all, and grabs her in a giant bear-hug of relief. Nora somehow manages to free herself from his vice grip, and he tells her how hard it’s been for him to be around her, feeling everything from anger to disbelief to pity.
He gets mad at her for not telling him right away that she wasn’t dying, and she rightly points out that he never asked. He agrees that none of that matters now, and she wonders how he found out about her not-cancer in the first place. He starts to explain about her notebook, but she gets called back to work before he can finish.
I love the smile on his face as he just plops down on the sidewalk, still reeling from the news that Nora isn’t dying. He returns to his office to meet with a TV producer, who wants to film him during the pre-production for his stage play. Hyun-seok doesn’t love the idea, but promises to consider it.
Nora spends her shift at the convenience store thinking about Hyun-seok, and now realizes that his sudden turnabout from meanie professor to chummy friend was because he thought she was dying. She chuckles to herself, “Cha Hyun-seok, you must’ve been really shocked.”
Sang-ye asks how things went, and all Hyun-seok can do is sit there and smile like a goof. He says he’ll explain later and heads up for a nap, saying that he suddenly feels the tiredness coming on, now that his anxiety has lifted.
He lies down still grinning, but then he realizes that there are things that don’t add up—why didn’t Nora confront her husband about the cheating if she isn’t dying, and why is she working a part-time job?
Nora clocks out and takes out her phone to call Hyun-seok, but has a better idea and goes home to start cooking. She makes a whole stack of kimbap lunchboxes, and Woo-chul is taken aback when she says they’re for Hyun-seok.
Woo-chul snidely says that she must be very grateful to Hyun-seok for helping her go to school in secret and childishly dressing up like high-schoolers for fun. He reminds her again not to let word get out about their relationship, and reminds her to think about his proposal for the divorce.
He casually asks if one of the lunchboxes is for him, and Nora replies matter-of-factly that he doesn’t eat her cooking. Woo-chul tries to play it off like she would’ve wasted her efforts, then sneaks all the kimbap tails when she leaves the room.
Min-soo contemplates Mom’s campus map and starts to think better of her after their high school uniform run-in at the elevator. He imagines Mom getting caught between him and Dad on campus, but then a giant “Hye-mi” chyron starts bopping Mom on the head, I guess to remind him that he can’t be caught with Mom in front of his girlfriend?
Hyun-seok rides his bike to school and today he whooshes by Nora coldly without a word. Back to Professor Grumpypants so soon? She calls out to him, but he just continues on.
Hyun-seok keeps watching her, of course, and sees her getting ignored by her husband and scoffs that she’s a moron for letting him treat her that way. He gets his own petty revenge by darting out in front of Woo-chul’s car.
Nora stalks her son in the library, then decides that leaving him a lunchbox would be breaking their rules. So she seeks out Hye-mi instead and gives her two lunchboxes to say thank you for telling her about the classroom the other day.
Then she takes to stalking Hye-mi, and chides herself for breaking her promise to keep away from Min-soo. Still, she can’t bring herself to stop now, and tiptoes behind her. Meanwhile, Woo-chul and his girlfriend Yi-jin make a date to meet at their usual bench.
Min-soo marvels at Hye-mi’s kimbap lunch, wondering how her cooking skills skyrocketed overnight, and she says that her mom helped. Nora peeks at them from behind a tree with the sweetest smile on her face, just happy to see Min-soo happy.
She decides that’s enough stalking for today and heads off in a chipper mood, but stops in her tracks when she sees Woo-chul approaching. Nora runs back just as Min-soo is lying down in Hye-mi’s lap, an awfully incriminating position to be caught in by Dad.
Nora grabs Hye-mi and makes a run for it, leaving Min-soo stunned. But two seconds later, Dad arrives behind him. Then it’s Woo-chul’s turn to be scared, while his girlfriend Yi-jin sees what’s happening and spins on her heels. Ha, it’s awkward lies from everyone as Woo-chul and Min-soo casually part ways.
Min-soo is on pins and needles waiting to see what Mom said to Hye-mi, but is pleasantly surprised when Hye-mi says that the unni just saw that she had some buttons undone on the back of her dress, and wanted to fix them for her. He breathes a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile, Woo-chul and Yi-jin each return to their offices embarrassed and terrified, and text each other excuses for why they couldn’t meet.
Nora meets with Soon-nam and Seung-hyun for their theater group project, and laughs to see them shoveling their faces with kimbap as if they’ve never tasted any before. Soon-nam says he’s never had any this tasty, and Seung-hyun says it’s just been so long since she’s had home cooking.
Min-soo surprises her with a text asking where she is, so Nora goes to meet him, darting her eyes back and forth on the way. He asks if she’s known all this time about Hye-mi, and Nora says she happened to witness their public fight in front of the library.
He’s stunned to realize that Mom knew about his relationship before he caught her going to school, and that she saw him when he caught her with her dance club. He asks why she didn’t say anything to Dad about his girlfriend, and why she protected him today at lunch.
Nora knows that Dad would ship him off to army if he found out about his girlfriend, and she says that it made her so happy to see him with Hye-mi. It doesn’t matter to her if it’s Hye-mi or another girl—she just likes seeing Min-soo dating. She says that all she wants for him is to live according to his age, doing all the things he can because today will never come around again.
Min-soo just gapes and asks when Mom became so articulate. He asks why she didn’t bring up Hye-mi when she knew he’d tattle on her to Dad, but Mom reacts as if it’s blatantly obvious that she wouldn’t want him getting caught. It’s like he sees for the first time that Mom doesn’t even think twice about putting him first, and looks at her with awe.
As Nora walks away, she thinks to herself, “My loving son, my college friends, all living their youth while studying and dating. My old true friend who’s thankful that I’m alive. It’s a lovely day. I’d like it to always be like today.”
Nora arrives at Hyun-seok’s place for her last kimbap delivery of the day, but he receives her coldly as he sets the table for a party. He says it’s with his “real friends” that he ignored while he was wasting his time with her (ouuuuuch). He tells her not to come back here anymore since he just pretended to need her help because he felt sorry for her. Augh, Hyun-seok!
He says it was all a show because he pitied her, and doesn’t even let her call him by name anymore. He tells her to call him professor, and not to acknowledge him outside of class anymore. Nora’s hand balls up into a fist and she says it doesn’t make sense—no matter the misunderstanding, they spent all that time together. “We’re friends. We made up,” she entreats.
She asks why he’s acting like this, but he just tosses back, “Why do I have to make you understand? Do you think I understand you?!” He gets angry at her for all the time he wasted on her, and screams at her to return to her precious home and her husband because he doesn’t want to see her anymore.
Nora takes this in with a stricken expression and walks out solemnly without a word. But she’s only two steps out the door before her anger mounts, and she storms back inside to argue right back: “What are you to tell me to come and go?” I love the look of shock on his face when she dishes it back to him.
He stands there stunned as she yells at him for doing all this stuff that no one asked him to do, then raising a big stink about it now. Nora: “You were so sensitive and petty in high school! As if that would change! Cha Hyun-seok is Cha Hyun-seok!” LOL.
Then she gets just as childish and petty, insisting that she REALLY doesn’t like him, and she HATED it when they met again, his class sucks, and she was dragged to the movies against her will. She says he deluded himself, put on a show, and is acting like an ass about it now.
It stuns him speechless, and she whirls around so that he can’t see her crying. She storms out and he calls out after her just to get the last word in, that she’s the careless one who dropped her notebook. He finally notices Sang-ye standing there, and says it’s true—Nora isn’t dying.
Nora gets down to the street and declares that acting like perfect strangers suits her just fine. She takes another look back at his building and calls him a jerk.
Sang-ye asks why Hyun-seok is so angry when he should be relieved that Nora isn’t dying. He scoffs at that, and flashes back to last night. So his curiosity did get the better of him, because he shows up to Yoon-young’s dance studio to pick a fight with her.
She admits to having some fun with him, and doesn’t see what’s so bad about a little misunderstanding when they all got to enjoy a trip down memory lane. She says that he saw Nora’s bucket list and must’ve noticed how it was filled with such small, everyday things. Nora had to skip out on her youth, and Yoon-young just wanted to help give some of that back to her.
Hyun-seok just gets mad and asks why Nora lived that way then. Yoon-young points out the obvious—that she became a mother at 19. Hyun-seok argues that that was then, but why is she continuing to live with a man who doesn’t let her go to school, makes her work a part-time job, and didn’t even know when she thought she was sick.
Yoon-young: “Because he’s Nora’s universe.” She says that Woo-chul has been her entire universe since 18, and she’s lived for twenty years only looking at him. She adds that Nora even went to college for Woo-chul, and Hyun-seok stews even more thinking that all of this was for Woo-chul.
He asks angrily if she’s going to just continue living that way, thinking in his head, “even if he’s cheating on her,” but can’t say it out loud. Yoon-young almost says something about the divorce but bites her tongue, and just tells Hyun-seok not to think he can judge Nora because he hasn’t lived her life.
He heads home and scoffs bitterly at his list of things to do with Nora, and rips the page out and crumples it up. Back in the present, he tells Sang-ye to send his finished report to Woo-chul so that he can wash his hands of the couple for good. Sang-ye notes that he and Nora seemed like high-schoolers when they were arguing earlier, and he acts like it’s Nora’s fault for bringing out his childish side.
Nora studies at home, still fuming over her fight with Hyun-seok. She mutters, “What, does he think I’ll die without him?” and vows to live even better without him in her life.
Hyun-seok has his theater friends over for dinner, where they all rib him for not calling lately. He says he was busy doing something pointless, and acknowledges Sang-ye’s hard work in helping him. They all tease him and Sang-ye for seeming like a couple, and encourage them to date already.
Hyun-seok arrives at school the next morning seemingly fueled by newfound pettiness, and marches right up to Nora at her locker and demands that she get her stuff out. She makes a face at him and asks if he can’t see she’s already doing that, and he actually gets mad that she beat him to the punch. Ha.
The only thing he can do is yell at her to hurry, and she kicks the door shut with her foot before hauling her mountain of books away with a hmph. He goes to the locker and finds her phone inside, and gleefully gets his revenge by locking it in there and stealing the key. You ridiculous manchild.
Nora goes to dance practice, and Soon-nam meets with the club officers to discuss the upcoming performance at the campus festival. The groups were already arranged before Nora joined the club, and he worries about her feeling left out (awww).
She overhears them and assures the guys that she’s cool to help out behind the scenes this time. She’s just happy to be part of a club at all, and tells Soon-nam not to worry about her. He runs to help her with her books and says that she’ll at least get to enjoy the festival this way.
She bows respectfully to all her sunbaes as they leave, and Soon-nam bows back, calling her “hoobae-nim” in jondae. He whispers to the club president that it’s kind of cute how she does that, while the prez finds it super uncomfortable and would rather her just use banmal. Soon-nam says absolutely not—they can’t break the club rules. Oh, just admit that you like her!
Nora finally realizes that she lost her phone, and manages to track it down inside her locker. The problem is that she no longer has the key, and Hyun-seok isn’t in his office. She chases him out to his car, and he purposely slows and starts over and over so that she’ll keep chasing him.
He refuses to go back to his office to give her the key no matter how much she pleads, and she asks him to bring it to class later then. She gives his car a kick as he drives away, and he gets worried for a second that she could’ve been hurt, only to see her flip him off in the rearview mirror. Hee.
He fumes and gets even madder that she’s able to get mad at him, but can’t say a thing in front of Woo-chul, who actually deserves the hate. Yeah but you deserve a little of it too.
Woo-chul arrives to his meeting with Hyun-seok and argues that his proposal isn’t anything like what they discussed. But Hyun-seok points out that he never said he’d accept any of Woo-chul’s suggestions. He makes it clear that it’s just a formality and he never intended to actually work together on this.
Woo-chul asks if this is because of Nora, and calls Hyun-seok out on being interested in his wife. Hyun-seok says that he isn’t anymore, and Nora can live a nice long life with her husband like she wants to, because he doesn’t care.
Nora eats on her usual bench and remembers the porridge that Hyun-seok brought her back when he thought she was dying, and instead of finding it sweet, she regrets eating it. And all throughout class that day, Hyun-seok and Nora are busy exchanging angry glances at each other.
She chases him down after class to ask for her phone back, and he doesn’t even try to hide the fact that he accidentally-on-purpose left the locker key at home during lunch. She asks if Sang-ye will be there so she can go pick it up, but he says that she’s not even allowed to step foot in there anymore, and that Sang-ye will drop it off to her tomorrow.
Nora is so hurt by his coldness that she cries in the bathroom—not a sad cry, but a petulant cry after a petty fight with a friend. She wails that he’s so mean to her, and Yi-jin happens to overhear her and comments aloud that a man isn’t worth crying over.
Nora peeks her head out and the two women are both embarrassed to have been overheard by the other, and Yi-jin scurries away, leaving her phone behind in the process. Nora finds it and chases after Yi-jin to return the phone, just as “Cousin Oppa” is calling.
Of course “Cousin Oppa” is Woo-chul, who freezes when he sees his wife talking to his girlfriend fifty feet away, and runs in the other direction. At the same time, a flower delivery boy matches Nora to the picture of her on his phone and hands her a ginormous bouquet red roses.
Nora has no idea who they’re from, and Yi-jin is super curious too, guessing that Nora isn’t married if she doesn’t know who sent her flowers. She opens the card, which just reads, “To the person I wanted to watch over.” Does someone have a secret admirer?
A minute later, Hyun-seok gets a text on his phone that his flower delivery has been completed. He freaks out and asks in a panic, “Sang-ye, did you not cancel that flower delivery?!” Hahaha. It was you! He gets all mad at Sang-ye for coming up with the idea, when really he’s just utterly mortified.
Yi-jin watches Nora leave with her arms full of roses and follows behind her with a heavy sigh, suddenly feeling a little jealous at the public display of affection that she can’t have. Woo-chul hides behind trees watching the two women with a terrified look on his face, wondering how they know each other.
Nora looks down at her flowers and thinks back to all her birthdays, when Woo-chul would thoughtlessly give her mall vouchers year after year. She puts the flowers in a vase at home and sighs that they’re pretty, and leans in to smell them.
Woo-chul meets Yi-jin at a gallery for their date, and they reminisce about their first meeting here. She had nearly fainted in front of a painting once because she was so moved by it (pffft), and he caught her. These two. I’m glad they’re at least really funny.
They sit at the same table now where they sat for nearly four hours the first time they met, and Yi-jin sighs that it’s been four years but they still can’t hug and kiss in public. Woo-chul reminds her that he has a contract, and by June it’ll all be over.
He can see that she’s upset and asks if anything out of the ordinary happened today, and Yi-jin says that she has an older student in her class who got a bouquet of flowers at school today.
Woo-chul struggles to hide his reaction at the news that Nora is in Yi-jin’s class. He heads home that night and hovers by Nora’s bed as she sleeps, trying to hypnotize her into quitting school by repeating, “Quit school” over and over. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.
Hyun-seok and Sang-ye get buried in applications, and he tells her to find someone to help her out. She points out Nora’s phone that’s been ringing all morning, and says he’s taking it too far.
He sees that Woo-chul has been calling repeatedly and asking to have lunch with Nora, and Hyun-seok feels a tinge of remorse, wondering if this is the husband’s attempt to patch things up. He gets all swept up in the guilt, wondering if Nora might miss her chance to make up with her husband because of him. Aw, it’s nice to see that you would do the right thing in the end.
Hyun-seok bolts up and runs out the door to go return her phone, and runs smack dab into Nora on her way in. He gives her the phone and tells her about the missed calls, and when she hurriedly answers the next incoming call, he mistakes it for excitement.
Woo-chul uncharacteristically takes Nora out to a nice lunch, and she asks warily why he’s being like this. He says he gives up, and that he had no idea how much Nora wanted to stay together.
She asks if this means he’s okay with her going to school, but it’s the opposite. He takes out a form for her to drop out of school, and offers, “Drop out of school. Then I’ll cancel the divorce.” What? Oh so you can stay married and keep your mistress?? What the?
He says that school is his work life, and he’d rather stay married to her and see her at home than to see her at school. She makes him repeat it just so they’re clear, and he says—as if he’s being magnanimous, by the way—that he’ll drop the divorce if she drops out of school.
But to his utter shock, Nora says tells him to go ahead… and notarize the divorce papers, because she’s staying in school. YESSSSSSS.
Part of me is sad that Sweet Hyun-seok has left the building (you’d better come back, ya hear!), but it’s pretty hilarious to watch him and Nora in this new dynamic, where they’re so caught up in the game of one-upping each other that it doesn’t even matter that what they’re mad about makes no sense. Hyun-seok knows full well that he created this whole drama and misunderstanding in his head and has no one to blame but himself, but he’ll never admit that what he’s really mad about is Nora loving a guy like Woo-chul.
And in this case, he’s not that different from us, watching Nora with increasing frustration as she endures this seemingly unbalanced relationship at the cost of her liveliness and what makes her her. I can’t hate him for that, even though he’s totally taking it out on her the stupid wrong way. But Yoon-young was right to say that it’s not Hyun-seok’s place to judge when he didn’t have to make the sacrifices that Nora did, and it made sense the way she saw it—that Woo-chul became Nora’s entire universe at 18, and she’s led a very sheltered life. Clearly the idea of divorce terrified her because it would’ve separated her from the only two people she has in the world.
But I love where we are now with her character, after she’s experienced a little more of the world, reassessed her life, found friends, and reclaimed a little of her old self. She’s now confident enough to choose school over marriage, essentially choosing herself over Woo-chul. And THAT puts the biggest smile on my face, to see her putting herself first. It’s especially gratifying because Woo-chul doesn’t see her worth and has been putting her down for twenty years, and it’s a complete reversal for her to tell him she values her education over being married to him. I like that Woo-chul made it an active choice to have one or the other, because it sets her up for the perfectly empowering I-choose-me moment. *fist-pump*
And really, it’s the only answer that would’ve been satisfying in that moment, because this is obviously Woo-chul’s way of having his cake and eating it too. He either figures he can maintain his relationship with Yi-jin on the sly if Nora isn’t on campus, or he intends to push the divorce on her in June anyway, even after she drops out. It’s insulting that he thinks this is a real offer, just because he assumes he’s kept the affair a secret. At least Min-soo is showing some signs of change, because that kind of treatment from her husband is fine if it pushes her to divorce, but she deserves better from her son. He has a lot of snottiness to make up for, but he seems to at least have an inkling now that Mom is actually the cool one, and that she might have some things to teach him about life.
It’s so nice to see Nora enjoying her day-to-day life so much, and truly appreciating every little moment with her new friends. It’s too bad that Hyun-seok is pooping on the party with his grumpiness, but I find it pretty adorable that they’re now both obsessed with letting the other know they’re mad, and trying to win their childish fight. I don’t even know how you win—more snazzy comebacks? Because if winning is not caring, then Hyun-seok already lost ten times over. I don’t know how he’s fooling himself when his entire day still revolves around Nora. But hey, the longer he remains in denial, the more petty antics we get, and that suits me just fine.
- Twenty Again: Episode 6
- Twenty Again: Episode 5
- Twenty Again: Episode 4
- Twenty Again: Episode 3
- Twenty Again: Episode 2
- Twenty Again: Episode 1
- First love trauma gets reawakened in Twenty Again
- First love and husband reunions in Twenty Again
- Frowns and frolicking for Twenty Again
- Laughter and dimples at Twenty Again’s script read