Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 7
Looks like I’m in this one for the long haul after all, and I’m glad because for a show that’s light on plot, Uncontrollably Fond still has me captivated with its sweet, melancholy storytelling style. Everyone’s emotions are becoming more confusing and entangled, causing some to become blunt and others to run away. But Joon-young is quickly running out of time, and he’s going to have to step outside of his comfort zone if he’s to get what he wants while he still can.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
As Joon-young hides alone on the island, he thinks back on the night before, when he’d watched over Eul as she slept. As it turns out, he’d brought her here to take her to that island, but he decided to go alone instead. “If I take you, I’ll want to hide you there so that you won’t be able to go to anyone else. So don’t ever appear before me. If I ever see you again, I’ll take you away.”
When Eul had shown up on the island and started yelling at him, Joon-young hadn’t been arrogantly dismissing her — he’d been so overcome to see her there he hadn’t been able to move. He’d stood and tried to walk away, thinking to himself, “One.” But Eul had stopped him again, telling him it’s not a dream, and he’d thought, “Two.”
She’d waved her hand in his face when he hadn’t responded… “Three.” Then he’d told her to go, and never show her face to him again. He’d left her there, wondering what she did so wrong, swearing she’ll never drink like that again.
But Joon-young hadn’t gone far, and Eul joins him again and offers him a yogurt drink. Heh, she’s so nervous she accidentally pokes him in the mouth with the straw. She apologizes for the night before, telling Joon-young that she can’t remember what she did, and he thinks, “Four.” Eul whines that she really wants to apologize but she has no clue what to apologize for, and Joon-young gets to “Five.”
Eul picks up when Ji-tae calls, and Joon-young’s expression grows wary even though he doesn’t move a muscle. Eul lies that she’s not with Joon-young, then immediately admits that she is. She tells Ji-tae that she made a huge mistake she has to make right, just as Joon-young sees the ferry and heads down to meet it.
Ji-tae is calling from work, so he shakes off his disappointment (with effort). But his assistant hands him some photos of himself with Eul and Joon-young after the concert, and the assistant says that he’s sure Jung-eun saw the photos. It’s a problem, especially since Ji-tae lied to Jung-eun about being at the concert, and because the assistant adds that it looks like she’s ordered a background check on Eul.
Joon-young is still ignoring Eul on the ferry, while she keeps complaining that she can’t remember anything about the night before. He thinks, “Six,” and walks away from her again.
Before he gets to his car, Eul jumps in front of Joon-young and admits that okay, so she does remember getting drunk and throwing a fit. She berates him for holding a grudge, but Joon-young holds his tongue, and thinks, “Seven.” Eul braces herself and invites him to hit her, anything to make him talk to her, but he just pokes her in the face. “Eight.”
Joon-young just rolls his eyes when he finds Gook-young sleeping in his car, and Eul jumps in quickly before he can lock the door. At his glare, Eul says it’s his fault she got drunk in the first place, and straps herself in stubbornly when Joon-young mutters for her to get out. “Nine.”
So Joon-young gets out of the car instead, prepared to take a taxi back to the city. Eul follows and says that she really really doesn’t remember much, and she has no idea what she did to make him this angry. As she lists the things she does remember, Joon-young counts, “Nine and a half. Nine and three quarters. Nine and a half and a quarter and an eighth.” Eul admits that she even remembers him helping her change clothes, but Joon-young manages to hail a taxi and drive away.
Eul wakes Gook-young and the two drive back to Seoul. Gook-young asks Eul what in the world she did to Joon-young, but she’s still wondering that herself. It must have been terrible, but she really doesn’t know, and Gook-young bops her in the head to help jog her memory.
In his taxi, Joon-young only now remembers that he threw his phone in the ocean to prevent Eul calling Ji-tae again. He lowers his scarf to ask to borrow the driver’s phone, and the driver recognizes him.
Ajusshi catches Joon-young’s mom stress-eating and takes the food away, knowing she has a sensitive stomach. Despite herself, she’s visibly relieved when Joon-young calls her from the cab driver’s phone, though she yells that he has the wrong number and hangs up.
Mom lies that it wasn’t Joon-young, so Ajusshi calls the number back to check. Awww, Joon-young’s wide happy smile, thinking his mother is calling him back, falls painfully when he hears Ajusshi’s voice instead. Ajusshi fusses at Joon-young for worrying his mother, and in the background Mom yells that she wasn’t worried at all.
But Joon-young smiles, and says that he knows his mom is worried about him. Ajusshi asks how he got tangled up with a gold-digger (what everyone in the press is calling Eul), reminding him how Gook-young got hooked in by a gold-digger, lost everything, and went to jail. That’s when Joon-young bailed his friend out with his front money from the agency.
Joon-young says Eul isn’t a gold-digger, and Mom snatches the phone back, asking how he could have such bad taste in women. Joon-young smiles beatifically and tells his mom that he likes that girl, that he recently realized that he loves her.
Mom is stunned silent, and Joon-young continues that that’s why he’s running away. He didn’t know what he’d do if he kept seeing her, so he’s running away from her.
Gook-young tells Eul that from what he’s seen, Joon-young sincerely cares for Eul — he wasn’t joking when he confessed. Eul has a hard time processing this, thinking Joon-young must be insane to like her. Ha, Gook-young is all, I know, right??
Gook-young wonders if Joon-young is sick, having noticed that he doesn’t look well lately, and Eul tells him that’s enough: “I’m sitting right here!” She wonders, if Joon-young wasn’t joking and really does like her, what she should do about it.
Joon-young has the cab driver take him home by the back door, since his house is swarming with reporters. He checks in with Pororo, then suddenly his head starts to ring and his vision blurs. He makes it inside as the pain intensifies, and he collapses on the floor smacking his head, trying not to pass out.
Ji-tae’s mother learns from a hospital contact that Joon-young is very ill, possibly dying — it’s a brain stem glioma, a cancer known to be very aggressive and highly deadly. Ji-tae’s mother asks if Joon-young’s mother knows about it, and she’s told that he’s keeping it secret for now.
Ji-tae’s father is in a meeting, arguing that it’s time to let one of their political partners go, since he’s been caught for embezzlement and tax evasion, among other things. Assemblyman Yoon, Jung-eun’s father, counters that they’ve all made mistakes and that politics is about helping each other. Ji-tae’s father disagrees, but Yoon just laughs in his face.
Haru is upset about the negative articles discussing Joon-young, and she tells her maid again that she plans to marry Joon-young (someone please tell this girl he’s her half-brother). The maid just tells her to get out of the bathtub and stop fussing, but Haru can still smell garbage on her skin and refuses to get out.
Jik goes looking for Ji-tae where he claims to have lived for the past two years, but the building owner has no idea who he’s talking about. Ji-tae calls and has to think fast when Jik says where he is — he says he moved, and offers to meet Jik at his workplace.
He shows up dressed in his Hyun-woo clothes, and Jik sits down to explain what he wants. He tells Ji-tae that Eul used to have a crush on Joon-young back in school (he knows because he read her diary — bratty little brothers…), but she gave up on him because he was dating her friend. So Jik is worried now that Eul will fall for Joon-young again if he shows interest in her.
Ji-tae is unsettled, but he brightly says that it might be a good thing if a star like Joon-young liked Eul. Jik says that they live in different worlds now, and he wants his sister to meet someone closer to her own level. Specifically, he wants Ji-tae/Hyun-woo to date Eul.
Joon-young wakes from his episode covered in sweat, exhausted and disoriented. He takes some painkillers, and goes to the living room to find Eul in his kitchen cooking dinner. She burns her finger, and without a word he grabs her hand and runs cold water over it, and they both seem unsettled to be so close.
Eul tells Joon-young that Gook-young let her into the house, and he thinks to himself, “Nine and a half and a quarter and an eighth and a sixteenth.” Heh. He drops Eul’s hand and walks out, leaving her grumbling that she’ll just eat all the food herself. She wonders why Joon-young is so determined to avoid her, and he comes back into the room and shuts all the blinds and turns off the lights.
His agent tells his reporter contact that Joon-young isn’t home, and that the lights turning off and on are just an assistant there to feed Pororo. He says that Joon-young is with his manager, reflecting on how he did wrong by confessing to a girl in front of his fans, and definitely not with Eul.
He even lies that Joon-young already has a girlfriend, his recent drama costar Yuna (the actress whose party he sang at a little while back). He claims — while throwing things at the objecting Gook-young — that this whole thing with Eul is really just a ploy to draw attention from Joon-young’s real relationship.
Jung-eun primps for a date with Ji-tae, and tears up the photo she has of him with Eul at Joon-young’s concert. She accepts roses from him and asks for a kiss, uncaring that they’re in a public place. Ji-tae doesn’t object, but when Jung-eun leans close, he says that he knows she saw the picture of him.
He rattles off everything he knows about Eul in this emotionless voice, saying that now Jung-eun doesn’t need to do a background check. Jung-eun angrily asks what his relationship is with Eul, but that’s the one question he won’t answer. “If I answer that question, I won’t be able to keep my promise to you.”
Jung-eun asks if he likes Eul, raising her voice, and he confirms that he does. Jung-eun throws her glass of wine in his face, and spits that the meaning of the Christmas roses he gave her is that he has nothing to give her. Ji-tae agrees, and Jung-eun warns that she’ll make him regret this moment.
After she leaves, Ji-tae sits with wine still all over his face, and finishes off the glass. He pours himself another glass, filling the goblet to overflowing.
In his dark house, Joon-young tells Eul that the reporters are still outside. If the lights are on, they’ll think he’s home. He figures they’ll be gone in a couple of hours, and Eul can leave then. She tells him a spooky story, trying to scare him, but Joon-young just calmly says there’s a ghost right behind her.
Eul looks and screams — it’s just his manikin, but she hides her face in the couch cushions. “Nine and a half and a quarter and an eighth and a sixteenth and a thirty-second.” Joon-young smiles a little, and sits next to Eul after turning the lights back on now that the curtains are down.
He says in this deadpan voice that he did that because he wanted to make fun of her, and Eul pushes him over and straddles him to shake him. But Joon-young’s mood changes… “Ten.” He says that he tried to run away, counting to ten to help steady himself, and he suddenly sits up, making Eul rear back.
He says again that he tried his best to run away, but “You’re the one who decided to stay.” He reaches up to tenderly brush the flour off Eul’s nose, and there’s a long charged moment (in which I notice Eul doesn’t even try to get off his lap), but then he brightens. “I’m hungry. Let’s eat.”
Dinner is pretty fancy, with wine and candles, and Eul asks why Joon-young’s attitude changed so quickly. He pretends he has no idea what she means, and eats her food with relish even though Eul knows it’s too salty. He checks her burned finger and hops up to get some medicine for her blister. While he’s gone, she tastes the food, and it’s so salty she has to spit it out.
Awww, Joon-young is really rushing to the bathroom to throw up (I guess those acting skills just came in pretty handy), but he manages to keep the food down. He laughs to himself over how terrible it tastes, and heads back to the table to choke down even more. That’s so sweet.
It’s interesting how Joon-young is back to his old charming self, but he seems to have lost the sharp edge that his expressions and tone of voice used to have. Now his teasing just seems playful instead of slightly malicious, and Eul is understandably suspicious of his sudden change in attitude.
She says that someone who changes so quickly is usually about to die soon — she means it as a joke, but it hits close to home. Joon-young only falters for a second, then he shakes it off.
Ji-tae meets with Eul’s roommate Na-ri, and it’s cute how she’s gotten all gussied up in case there were reporters waiting for Eul outside their place. She tells Ji-tae that Eul isn’t home, and her phone battery is dead as well.
He makes an educated guess and goes to Joon-young’s home, and sees the reporters packing it up for the night. His father calls to invite him out for a drink, promising he won’t get drunk this time. For once Ji-tae declines, and he tells his father to go home and spend time with Mom. But Dad takes out the card from Madam Song, and goes to see her instead.
Apparently this is a regular thing — he goes to see her, and just looks at her while she sits quietly. He doesn’t talk to her or even touch her, but just drinks. Madam Song knows that he’s here because she looks like an old love of his, and asks about her.
Looking haunted, Assemblyman Choi admits that he loved her a lot, and that he did her wrong in a lot of ways. Madam Song is impressed, and asks Assmeblyman Choi’s permission to like him, but he doesn’t give it. He refuses to let any more women in his life.
Ji-tae’s mother waits at home for her husband, and her assistant calls to report on Assemblyman Choi’s whereabouts. Over at her restaurant, Joon-young’s mother is lost in thought, and at Joon-young’s house, Ji-tae rings the doorbell.
While Joon-young stares at Ji-tae on the security camera, Eul tosses Pororo a sausage, apologizing for making him stay out in the cold. She promises him that she’ll take medicine next time, which, awww. She wonders if she’ll be able to continue filming Joon-young’s documentary, now that all his fans are out to get her.
When Joon-young doesn’t answer the door, Ji-tae just talks to the camera instead. He says that the reporters are gone so he can let Eul go now, growing angry, and Joon-young quickly turns off the screen when Eul comes inside.
Joon-young quickly says, “Rock paper scissors!” and Eul reflexively throws out paper, losing to Joon-young’s scissors and getting stuck with the dishes. Na-ri calls her now that her phone is charged and asks if she’s seen the news, yammering that Joon-young must be crazy.
Joon-young goes outside to talk to Ji-tae, who is now banging on the wall to try to get Eul’s attention. Joon-young says, through the wall, that he’s not letting Eul go, that he plans to keep her. Ji-tae says that Eul isn’t a thing, but Joon-young continues that Ji-tae let go of her hand, so he needs to stop regretting his choice and stay away from her.
Ji-tae agrees that he doesn’t deserve her, but Joon-young is even worse than he is. Thinking about what Joon-young did to Eul, how can he even look her in the eye and say he likes her? He’s referring to Joon-young causing Eul’s accident and nearly killing her, and Joon-young knows it.
Eul comes outside and calls to Joon-young, unable to see Ji-tae on the other side of the wall. Ji-tae listens while Joon-young lies that he reporters are still here, but Eul wants to talk about Joon-young’s supposedly dating Yuna.
This is the first he’s heard of this, and Eul tells him that the story came straight from his agent and that she’s supposedly just a tool to deflect attention from his real girlfriend. Joon-young denies it, but Eul believes the story, thinking there’s no way he would really like her.
She doesn’t listen to Joon-young’s continued denials, and reverts to her old tricks, demanding money for her emotional trauma. She starts to storm off and Joon-young stops her, telling her to listen to him and not anyone else. He stops her from walking away again, and looks her right in the eye: “I love you. I love you, Eul-ah.”
But she still doesn’t believe him, blaming his acting skills for his ability to say such a ridiculous thing. With tears in his eyes and voice, Joon-young repeats himself, but though Eul looks as though she badly wants to believe him, she remembers that Jik warned her to be careful around him.
Crying, she repeats her brother’s words that they live in different worlds now, and that she shouldn’t get confused by his attention. She yanks her arm from Joon-young’s grasp, and yells that she’s the crazy one.
Unable to hold back anymore, Joon-young grabs Eul’s face and kisses her.
Wow, I was expecting that, and yet I wasn’t. I didn’t think Eul was ready for that, and I fully expect her to make Joon-young pay for that kiss. I find it interesting though, that as glib as Joon-young is normally, once he was faced with something that truly mattered he spent the whole episode not speaking, almost as if he was afraid of what he might say. That more than anything convinces me that what he feels for Eul is real, because she’s the only person that render his speechless with fear that he might push her away.
While I agree that Joon-young’s actions in trying to make Eul fall for him are supremely selfish, given that he’ll be dying soon and will leave her grieving, somehow I can’t really blame him. It’s like he’s being the opposite of the Noble Idiot — he’s grasping at any chance of happiness he can before he dies, wanting to experience love just once while he can, even if it hurts Eul to fall for him then lose him. At least we did see him try to shake her off, and give her a chance to run away, but in Joon-young’s defense Eul did keep coming back to him.
In the same vein, I can’t exactly condone Joon-young’s mother’s treatment of her son, but I can also sort of understand why she’s so upset. As a single mother, she’s faced years of ridicule and social exclusion because of her son, and all she wanted was for him to become a prosecutor and give back to society. That way, she could say to herself and others that it was worth raising her son alone, without a father. In Korean society, being an actor isn’t exactly a prestigious career despite the fame and money, especially when Mom has no idea why Joon-young suddenly gave up a good education to go be an actor. It’s obvious she loves her son, but she can’t help feeling that if she disapproves loud enough and long enough, he’ll comply with her wishes. We all know that nothing she does will either cause him to change his choices or stop loving her and trying to gain her acceptance, but she’s from an older generation, and she can only do what she thinks is the right thing.
I wonder if she knows how Joon-young’s father feels about her, that he truly loved her back then and he still loves her now. I’m so conflicted about him, because Assemblyman Choi really does seem like a good person — he’s loyal to his wife, he’s a good attentive father to his children, and he seems to have integrity in his political dealings. At first I thought he was a bad person, the way he manipulated the truth about Eul’s father’s death and ignored her attempts to talk to him about it, and there’s no doubt that what he did back then was despicable and unforgivable. But now that we know more about him, I tend to think that wasn’t an indication of who he is in general, but a one-time mistake that he’s probably still regretting. I’m not making apologies for him, but I definitely think he’s not some big evil politician out for only himself. That role seems to be filled by Assemblyman Yoon, who was the one who talked Choi into lying about his daughter’s involvement in Eul’s father’s death in the first place.
That’s what I really love about all of the characters in this show, in fact — they are all very real, flawed people. Joon-young is a grade-A asshole, and Eul is a liar and shamelessly uses people when she needs something from them. Ji-tae also lies about who he is entirely, and all of the parents do wrong to their children in multiple ways. Yet none of them are bad people, they’re just very human, who do their best but make mistakes and screw up royally sometimes. Sometimes we can understand why, and sometimes we’re mystified as to why they would behave that way to each other. But I sort of love them all for that, because it makes them relatable.