Twenty Again: Episode 8
Are we friends today? You never know at the start of the day whether our leads will be mortal enemies or bestest friends forever, but at least it’s fun to watch them seesaw. And because they’re both good kids at heart, they might be quick to fight, but they’re pretty quick to make up too. It helps that Hyun-seok hasn’t quite given up being Nora’s fairy godmother despite himself. Don’t fight it, Hyun-seok. Be one with your inner Santa.
SONG OF THE DAY
Pinokio – “사랑과 우정 사이” (Between Love and Friendship) [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Nora shocks her husband by saying that he can go ahead and file their divorce, because she has no intention of dropping out of school. She rips up the university dropout form to make her point crystal clear.
Woo-chul can’t comprehend it and repeats the offer to stay married to her if she drops out. He threatens to take Min-soo and move out, and Nora counters that he’d have to move out alone: “Did that woman say she would take Min-soo in too? When you’re not even divorced?” Kerpow! One point, Nora.
She finally says it out loud—that she knows Woo-chul has a mistress—and he’s so taken aback that he can’t speak for a moment. He calls it preposterous and acts like she’s just grasping at random theories, but she describes his theater date with Yi-jin in perfect detail.
She says that Yoon-young saw them together, and his meager defense is that he went to the show with some colleagues. But he has no excuse for the purse-holding, nor the handholding.
She gets up and walks out on him, so Woo-chul has to chase her down the street. He simply returns to scolding her like a child though, and says that she’s mistaken for thinking that he wants to divorce because of another woman.
He says that IF he were to meet a woman… then changes his position mid-sentence to say that he did meet a woman. But he says it’s only been two months, and it happened after their living-as-divorced arrangement was inked. Well that’s just a flat-out lie, butthead.
Nora just nods and agrees in a perfectly nonchalant I-couldn’t-care-less way, and cuts him off again to say that in any case, she’s not dropping out of school. She jumps on her bus before he can get another word in, and Woo-chul stands there wondering why she didn’t say anything all this time if she’s known since the theater. On the bus, Nora wonders what she just did.
Meanwhile Hyun-seok is dying of curiosity, as always. He can’t understand why Nora would want to stay with a bastard like Woo-chul, and decides that she must just be brainless. He wonders why Woo-chul called Nora so many times today, and Sang-ye catches him saying all this out loud.
She asks if he’s not more worried about Nora, and thinks that she might get the brunt of Hyun-seok’s fight with Woo-chul. He acts like he doesn’t care, but the worry starts to niggle at him.
Woo-chul tries to wrap his head around the situation and determines that Nora doesn’t know that Yi-jin is his girlfriend. He still doesn’t get why she’d be willing to divorce just to go to school, and thinks back to Nora’s questions about why they couldn’t stay married and have an open relationship.
Hilariously, his conclusion is that Nora has no intention of divorcing him, and is so in love with him that she’s willing to let him date around to keep him. He wonders if he’s that hard to let go of.
Nora calculates her monthly pay from the convenience store and sees that it hardly makes a dent in her tuition. She realizes now why Seung-hyun runs so many part-time jobs all week long just to make ends meet.
She comes home to find Woo-chul sitting on her bed, contracts in hand. He asks her to just forget their lunch conversation, and says that they’ll stick to their original agreement to end things on June 2. Boo, I thought we were going to speed up the divorce train.
Nora reiterates her stance on school, and he’s suddenly very compliant. He just reminds her that if she doesn’t meet the June 2 deadline, she’ll lose the store in the divorce.
Hyun-seok waits in his car until he sees Nora arriving at school, and calls her madam like you would to a professor’s wife. He asks how her date went yesterday, and if she got permission to go to school. He’s still dying to know why she’s working a part-time job, and she just says it’s to experience every single facet of being a college student.
He mentions dissolving his collaboration with Woo-chul, but gets no reaction out of her. Nora guesses that Hyun-seok is the one who sent her the flowers yesterday (a hundred of them, apparently), and muses that they must’ve cost a lot. He scoffs, “What flowers? Am I crazy? Why would I send you roses?”
Nora: “I never said they were roses.” Pwahaha. She leans in and taunts him, turning “professor” into the least respectful banmal version she can (like “hey you, professor-dude”) as she asks why he’s speaking to her when he’s the one who told her to stay away.
She blames him for missing a call about a second part-time job she was hoping to get, and though he pretends not to care to her face, he seems to worry about it later.
Nora sits in the back at Bounce practice today, because they’re practicing the routine for the festival. Her feet are itching to join in, and she imagines her teenage self dancing with them way up in the front.
Soon-nam joins her and says she can practice with them, but she doesn’t want to disrupt the festival routine. She tells him that he’s a good choreographer, and asks if that’s what he’s going to pursue after college. Soon-nam says it’s hard to make a living that way, and plans to become a civil servant instead. Nora nods in understanding, but sighs that he’s good at choreography.
One of the dancers twists her ankle during practice, and Nora is quick to treat her. Soon-nam notes that she’s really good at this, and Nora muses that she must not have forgotten everything about being a dancer. He tells her that the body automatically remembers technique.
Hyun-seok pops in on Yi-jin to drop off the latest script for his play, and is surprised to hear that Woo-chul didn’t update her on the fact that he’s no longer collaborating on the project.
Sang-ye pops in on the ddukbokki store to pick up a portion for Hyun-seok, and his friend Dong-chul asks how long Sang-ye is going to nurse her crush on Hyun-seok and just wait for him. She doesn’t deny it, but says that she’s by his side because she respects him as a director.
She brings the ddukbokki back to his office and he groans at the mountain of work they have piling up. He decides that they should take next semester off from teaching, and Sang-ye gets really excited at the prospect.
He stares at the ddukbokki and suddenly darts out with it, and then waits outside Nora’s class to hand it off to her as trash. You are so transparent, it’s adorable. She looks at it and says it hasn’t even been opened, and Hyun-seok says he threw it away, so he doesn’t care whether she eats it or throws it away.
Then he adds that she’d regret it if she didn’t eat it… not that he cares. At all. She takes it to her bench and eyes the ddukbokki suspiciously: “Did he poison it?” She carefully takes a bite, and then her eyes light up in surprise. She eats another to be sure, and is amazed that it tastes just like her grandmother’s ddukbokki.
She calls Hyun-seok to ask where he bought it, but he refuses to tell her and hangs up. He warns Sang-ye not to tell her either, because he doesn’t want Nora knowing about that ddukbokki place.
He thinks back to all the time he spent with Grandma, eating with her in her little shop and asking for more stories about her granddaughter, while pretending not to know that it was Nora. Aw, when Grandma learns that Hyun-seok’s mom passed away and his father remarried and left, she shares her dinner with him like a real grandma.
Nora runs to his office to ask for the ddukbokki place, but Hyun-seok refuses to tell her. She gets mad and says he must know what that ddukbokki means to her—it’s why he gave it to her. But he asks coldly if she even has the right to miss Grandma’s ddukbokki, and how someone like that could not show up to her own grandmother’s funeral.
That stuns her, and she asks Yoon-young if Hyun-seok was at Grandma’s funeral. Yoon-young says he was there all three days. In flashback, we see him there crying, and he gets mad as he asks Yoon-young how Nora could just not show up and leave the whole thing to her.
Nora realizes now that Hyun-seok must’ve known Grandma well, and that he had a reason for being mad at her from the very start.
Min-soo gets upset when he sees another guy offering Hye-mi a coffee with his phone number, and they get into a ridiculous fight about her not wearing skirts anymore. At least Hye-mi has the sense to challenge his warped logic, and asks what he’ll do if she keeps getting attention while wearing pants.
Dad calls Min-soo away for lunch and says he’s doing his best to get Mom to drop out, but needs Min-soo to step in and convince her. But to his surprise, Min-soo says he’s okay with it if Mom keeps going to school.
Yi-jin asks Woo-chul why he didn’t say anything about being pushed out of the theater project, and explains that Hyun-seok told her directly because he has a little crush on her. Ha. Woo-chul scoffs that that isn’t possible, and quickly amends his statement to say that Hyun-seok couldn’t dare look at someone at her level.
Woo-chul has washed his hands of Hyun-seok’s project, but Yi-jin is insistent that he has to participate somehow—it’s the best way to get his name on her father’s radar, and show that he’s got marriageable merit even as a divorced father.
Min-soo starts to enjoy clubbing and says he didn’t know he’d love dancing this much. It’s in your genes! On their way home, Hye-mi asks why Dad has such a hold over him, and he explains how much he respects and looks up to his father. He says that Mom used to be really frustrating, but lately that’s changed.
Woo-chul sits in the dark wondering if he’s supposed to bend his pride to go work on Hyun-seok’s project, then decides he can’t do that and starts to change the university name on Hyun-seok’s proposal. Uh-oh, what’re you up to?
Nora trims her roses and sighs that they’re already wilting when they were so recently beautiful, like a lie. She’s grateful that she received them, thanks to Hyun-seok, and goes to check that one off her bucket list.
She realizes that she’s done a lot of these things, and as she circles them one by one, it dawns on her that Hyun-seok made them all happen: the midnight movie, the street food, the flowers, the high school friends, clubbing. She pauses at the latest one—Grandma’s ddukbokki—and circles that too.
The next morning, Hyun-seok is stopped in his tracks when Nora calls out his name cheerily like an old friend. She’s standing up above on the walkway waiting for him to arrive, and smiles at him brightly.
She shouts down at him: “Thanks for showing me the midnight movie! Thanks for lending me the locker! Thanks for putting on a show with Min-soo’s dad so that I could go to school!” He tells her to stop it, but then she says the next one in a shaky voice: “Thank you for going to my grandmother’s funeral!”
He’s stunned, and she continues: “Thank you for taking me back to high school! Thank you, so much, for being my friend! Thanks for returning as my friend for a short while, even if it was pretend, even if it was because you felt sorry for me, even if it was pity—I’m thankful for that heart. I was really happy, though you might not know it.”
She says that she knows now why he hated her, and that he has every right to. She’s going to treat him solely as a professor from now on, and says one last goodbye to Hyun-seok as a friend before waving at him. He agrees and says it feels great to be rid of her, but certainly doesn’t look happy about it.
He storms into his office in a snit, repeating the frustrating situation that Nora is in. But this time his anger is directed inward, as he wonders aloud why he’s so petty. He knows better than anyone how hard things must be for Nora, and he berates himself for making her life even harder.
He sighs that he forgot about the debt he owes Nora, and tells Sang-ye about her recognizing his talent and believing in him back when no one else acknowledged him.
So that night he shows up unannounced to Nora’s part-time job and grabs the crate she’s carrying right out of her hands. The manager just stands there stammering as Hyun-seok introduces himself as Nora’s friend and keeps carrying crates in.
He tells her to quit this job and come work for him because he needs more people and the pay’s way better anyway. Oh, you. He says it’s his way of making it up to her for holding her phone hostage and making her lose that other job. Nora says it’s not necessary, and points out that he’s the one who wanted to be strangers.
He tries to be all nonchalant as he grouses, “What, do friends just not see each other anymore because of one fight?” Pfft, smooooooth. He tells her boss that she’ll be quitting (dude, not your decision!) and leaves so she can finish her shift.
Nora follows him out to ask if he needs her, and he asks warily what that means. She says she doesn’t want his pity if that’s what this job is about, and he assures her that he really does need more help in the office, and she can check with Sang-ye if she likes.
She asks why he’s not mad at her anymore, and he mutters, “If you keep making me think about it, I’ll die of embarrassment from the stuff I did, so let’s not.” Lol, at least you know it. Nora tries to hide her smile, and agrees to work for him.
He offers his hand out for a shake and she takes it, then cutely asks how much he’s going to pay her. She tells the convenience store manager that she isn’t quitting her job, because she plans to work both jobs and earn lots of money. Good for you.
Sang-ye is shocked to hear that her new assistant will be Nora, and isn’t too keen on the idea of having an older assistant that she can’t freely boss around. She was happy to help her out when she thought Nora was dying, but calls this overkill. Hyun-seok knows but says that Nora’s his friend, and asks Sang-ye to go with it for his sake.
Nora meets with her theater class group and notices Seung-hyun’s dark expression. Seung-hyun says that she had to quit her waitressing job recently because she hurt her wrist, and the manager there cheated her out of pay by cutting hours here and there. Apparently this happens to everyone there, and there’s nothing anyone can do about.
Nora is appalled and offers to go back there with her to try and get the rest of her pay, but Seung-hyun doesn’t seem optimistic. Soon-nam arrives a few minutes later, and Nora asks if he owns a suit. Oh, this is gonna be good.
Then suddenly the three of them are at Hyun-seok’s place, with Soon-nam in a suit and Nora dressed to the nines like a rich society wife. Hyun-seok stares at them curiously as Nora swears that she’s a good driver, and plucks the car key out of his hand.
Woo-chul arrives just as Hyun-seok’s car pulls away, and he assumes that Hyun-seok has a new girlfriend. Woo-chul saunters into the office unannounced and says he’ll be participating in the project after all. Basically he plans to take credit for it either way, whether Hyun-seok lets him help or not. He’s followed the project’s progress online enough to know that auditions will be held soon, and says he’ll be there.
Team Nora pulls up to the bar, and Soon-nam gets out of the driver’s seat to open the door for Nora like a bodyguard-driver, complete with earpiece. Nora makes quite the entrance, all blinged out and looking chic, and demands to speak to the owner immediately.
She tells the driver to check and see how long the lawyer and reporter will be, and demands the rest of the pay that’s owed to “our Seung-hyun.” The owner asks if madam is Seung-hyun’s mother, but Nora just cuts him off and says she’s not here to chitchat with the likes of him: “Shut up and bring me your ledger.”
Soon-nam says that the lawyer and the reporter will be here in fifteen minutes, and the owner tries to call it an accounting error, while sweating bullets. Nora asks if he raises his own children by stealing his employees’ salaries, and Soon-nam and Seung-hyun marvel at Nora’s ballsy performance.
Next thing you know, the three of them are walking out with money in hand. They do a giddy cheer when they’re in the clear, and Seung-hyun thanks her. Soon-nam asks where she learned how to do that, and Nora says she learned it from dramas.
They say their goodbyes there, and suddenly Soon-nam calls after her, “Noona! Nora noona! See you at school!” He gives her a huge smile and a thumbs-up. Ermagerd, he’s so cute.
Nora spends the coming days busily cramming for her midterms while working her part-time jobs, and studying all day in the library with Seung-hyun. Midterms come and go, and then it’s time to celebrate with the campus festival. Nora spots Min-soo and Hye-mi together and beams, but makes sure to stay out of sight as she passes them.
Hye-mi convinces Min-soo to sign up for couple games with her onstage, which he agrees to because he doesn’t know that Dad is stopping by the festival with Yi-jin and their colleagues. They play the Peppero game with churros and become finalists.
Nora does her part to help Bounce set up for their performance, and cheers them on brightly before taking a look around the booths. At the same time, Min-soo and Hye-mi are just about to win the couple game, when Min-soo spots Dad at the back of the crowd.
He reacts quickly enough to spin Hye-mi around so that their backs are to the audience, and just narrowly misses being discovered. And at the back of the crowd, Yi-jin gets a little daring and holds Woo-chul’s hand, though Woo-chul quickly disengages.
Nora sees her classmates running a food booth and cooking everything badly, and decides to help out. Hyun-seok takes a group of students and stops at Nora’s booth to eat, and looks plain stupid-happy at the sight of her.
Soon-nam has a dance crisis when he notices that the girl who twisted her ankle was lying about her recovery, and overworking her injury all day to practice. He checks her foot and sees that it’s still very much injured, and glares at the group for letting this happen.
He runs like a madman over to the booth where Nora is (and where Hyun-seok has spent the afternoon just staring at her), and runs off with noona, holding her by the hand. Hyun-seok watches curiously.
Soon-nam pleads with Nora to take the girl’s place in the routine, which she says she can’t possibly do. He knows she knows all the steps, and begs her to help him out because this is his last performance as a college student. But Nora insists that she can’t do it, and runs off in fear.
She runs right into Hyun-seok, who’s already overheard their conversation like a proper stalker. He asks why she’s not doing it when dancing onstage is on her bucket list. She says that was when she thought she was dying, and he asks if living somehow negates the thing she wanted to do.
He eggs her on to do it and stop having regrets, and she admits that she’s embarrassed to be older than the other students, and thinks she’ll be made fun of if she gets on that stage and makes a fool of herself.
She says by way of dismissing the idea that no one would want to see her dance, but Hyun-seok asks, “Can’t you dance for me?” Awwww. Do eeet! Dance for Hyun-seok!
He says that he’s never had the chance to actually see her dance on a stage outside of school, and reminds her that he missed out on their poolside performance because his father died then. She still hesitates, but he complains that this is nothing compared to all the stuff he did for her. Hyun-seok: “If you’re doing something you want to try, what difference does it make if you’re twenty or thirty-eight?” Hear, hear!
She seems to seriously consider it, and he doesn’t waste any time getting an answer. He just unties her apron (pretty much hugging her to do it) and leads her back to the tent.
Min-soo wants to stop by and see the Bounce performance, and Hye-mi is surprised that he’s interested in the hip-hop dance club. Are you being a supportive son? Of course Yi-jin and Woo-chul stop by too, because it wouldn’t be fun otherwise.
Nora takes to the stage with her club, and at first she blends with the rest of them, but then the music changes and she’s center stage leading the show. Hyun-seok smiles, and Min-soo gapes to see Mom dancing like that.
Hye-mi recognizes her as the unni in her department, and Yi-jin recognizes her too, just as Nora flips her hat off and struts down the stage, to Woo-chul’s utter shock.
And as Nora dances, everything seems to go in slow motion for Hyun-seok, who looks up at her suddenly feeling very differently.
Aaaaaah, he lurves her! I mean, he’s obviously been obsessed with Nora this whole time, but I think now he finally realizes that it’s a problem. He feels feelings, and he thinks she’s happily married to the love of her life. And to complicate matters even further, I wonder if that’s just surprise on Woo-chul’s face, or if he’s falling for Nora all over again too. That performance that Hyun-seok missed when they were eighteen is the one where Woo-chul saw Nora dancing and fell for her instantly, and it would be an interesting development to have those feelings rekindled too. I’m not too worried about that though, since Nora is a different person now, and he has Hyun-seok to contend with. I mean, how can you compete with the guy who pushes her to be the best version of herself, and encourages her to be fearless?
I just about died when she said no one would want to see her dance and he asked her to do it for him. And because the characters really sell the emotional beats, we understand right away how much Nora shines when she’s on a stage, like it’s where she truly belongs. When she was young dancing was all she ever wanted to do, which makes me even sadder to think how long she spent denying herself the one thing that brings her joy. I knew I’d love seeing her dance with Bounce, but this was even better because everyone else in her life got to see it too, and it felt vindicating for her to show off her awesomeness. It makes me wonder how much more she could accomplish with someone like Hyun-seok by her side, shutting down her self-doubt and daring her to chase after what she wants in life.
It’s so rewarding to see Nora spread her wings at school, and make real friendships with Soon-nam and Seung-hyun beyond just getting along at school too. I love their little trio and how every little adventure melts Soon-nam little by little, until he’s just noona’s number one fan. And how could he not be, really? Her snobby act to get Seung-hyun’s pay was so hilariously endearing. It also goes to show how much I just see Choi Ji-woo as Nora, that it feels weird to see her dressed like one of her other drama characters.
What really got me in the heart today was her thank-you speech to Hyun-seok. I like that no matter how much they argue and do childish things to each other, both Nora and Hyun-seok are good people at heart and have a decent barometer for when they’ve gone too far. And though it’s always after having been really immature for one reason or another, they do try to make up for it in real ways, by being a good friend when it counts. Nora must’ve had a reason for not making it to her grandmother’s funeral, but that guilt is clearly something she carries with her, and she understands right away that Hyun-seok would’ve been hurt if he loved Grandma too. It’s telling that rather than explain herself, she’s just grateful that he went to Grandma’s funeral and was there for her. I just wish he’d consider Nora’s pain at losing her grandmother instead of being mad about it.
It’s gratifying to have Nora acknowledge everything that Hyun-seok did for her, and big of her to thank him so sincerely when he’s been a jerk to her lately. But it was actually moving for her to thank him for being a friend to her even if it was out of pity, because she just loved having friends again that much. I just wanted to shout at him, Hurry up and tell her it wasn’t pity, stupid! But he was quick to make up with her and be friends again, so he’s forgiven. Plus, he’s clearly got some romantic angst coming his way, so he has my sympathies. I mean, everybody’s gonna be in love with this girl now, right?
- Twenty Again: Episode 7
- 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