Drinking Solo: Episode 4
Our resident grumpypants instructor is softening a little when it comes to Hana, and that may turn out to be a slippery slope for him. But misunderstandings and hurt feelings can get in the way of real communication, and it’s becoming clear that when it comes to Hana, Jung-seok’s solitary defense mechanisms aren’t going to work.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
We see Jung-seok savoring yet another solitary meal, always making sure that his blood alcohol level never reaches .o8% so as to get the most enjoyment from his accompanying drinks. He tells us again that this is his healing time, after the long days of teaching.
Hana checks out Jung-seok’s latest dining pictures on social media, feeling all warm and fuzzy now that he’s let her into his joint class. She arranges her crackers to look like his meal and pretends she’s enjoying the same delicacies, then cracks open a beer. She pretends to be toasting with Jung-seok, now that they’re teaching colleagues.
Jung-seok arrives home to find Gong-myung watching Hana’s teaching videos and drinking his fancy wine. He warns his brother never to touch his wine again, then grows even angrier when Gong-myung lies down to sleep on the couch without cleaning up after himself.
So Jung-seok starts to clean up, muttering that Gong-myung sure will have a hard day at the orchard tomorrow, and that gets the kid jumping up and cleaning after himself, ha. Jung-seok tells Gong-myung that he’ll be out of town for the next couple days for work, and threatens to send him to the orchard if he gets up to any shenanigans while he’s gone.
Jin-yi exposits for us about the work weekend — the teachers are traveling to a new academy in Yeosu, to give lectures and promote their academy. Any teacher who attends is eligible for bigger bonuses, and Hana wishes she could lecture, too.
Hana invites Jin-yi for a little drinky hile they wait at the train station, but Jin-yi turns her down. She thinks she might be pregnant, which excites her because it means her boyfriend Min-ho will finally propose. She hasn’t seen a doctor yet, but her period is late and she’s sure her boobs have grown.
Director Kim arrives, and Jin-woong shows up last, dressed as Lee Byung-hoon from Inside Men. They’re all embarrassed for him, but I love how he’s always so committed to his characters. They decide not to wait for Jung-seok, since he’s such a loner they figure he can get himself there.
They make their way to their train seats, but Director Kim realizes that he left his laptop charging in the cafe. He needs it for their lectures, and Jin-yi volunteers Hana to run back for it, recalling that she was the fastest runner in their school. Hana protests, but she’s the newbie in the group and there for support, so she’s forced to run for it.
She makes her way back to the cafe without incident, and grabs the laptop. She has some trouble getting back to the train, losing a shoe at one point, and she arrives at the top of the stairs and sees the train still there. But it pulls away just as she’s about to reach the door, leaving her behind.
Unfortunately all the trains are booked, so Director Kim calls Jung-seok and asks him to let Hana ride with him to the academy. Jung-seok’s answer is a firm NO, and he hangs up on Director Kim.
But he ends up driving her anyway, with Hana apologizing profusely for being such a bother, though Jung-seok admits that it’s Director Kim who’s the nuisance. He asks Hana why she didn’t tell him the truth, that she didn’t make Gong-myung hand out the wet wipes, or try to bribe Jung-seok.
But lest we think he’s being nice, he demands an apology from Hana for not being honest, HA. He makes himself out to be the injured party, since he looked like the crazy one with wrong assumptions, so Hana offers a very confused apology.
She asks if he let her into the joint class because he felt bad for yelling at her, but Jung-seok says that he just saw a sliver of potential in her. That makes Hana’s entire day, and she’s so touched she nearly cries, while Jung-seok rolls his eyes and tells her to stop overreacting.
The come to a rest stop, and Hana offers to get Jung-seok coffee while he rests in the car. He refuses since she makes so little money, but Hana wants to show her thankfulness for letting her into the joint class. Jung-seok backs down, and even smiles a little when she skips off and loses a shoe.
Gong-myung calls Ki-bum to see if he wants to go for a joyride in hyung’s car, and they make arrangements to meet. Ki-bum reaches for the last package of ramyun, but Chae-yeon — who lives in the same student hostel — snags it first. Ki-bum tries to take the package, but Chae-yeon sticks it down her shirt and claims victory.
Ki-bum yells that she thinks she’s so hot because guys throw themselves at her, but he thinks she’s ugly. Chae-yeon doesn’t really care what he thinks, and sneers that he should study more instead of going for drives.
Ki-bum decides to raid Dong-young’s ramyun stash, and he spots a letter on his friend’s desk. It’s a goodbye letter to Joo-yeon, his family, and his friends, and the bleak tone (especially the last line saying that he’ll be eternally sleeping in the ocean) has Ki-bum worried.
He remembers that Dong-young recently woken him up to give Ki-bum his favorite t-shirt, then hugged him. Ki-bum had objected, saying that Dong-young was just going to Yeosu for a part-time job, which Ki-bum now remembers is near the ocean. He realizes that this must be a suicide note and that Dong-young is planning to throw himself into the sea.
Hana arrives back at the car with the coffee, and sits in the passenger seat — right in Jung-seok’s lap, ha. Jung-seok tells her to drive since he’s tired, and Hana hesitates, worried about driving his expensive car. But she’s not willing to lose his tiny shred of respect for her, so she agrees to drive.
She drives super slow, and Jung-seok grumps that they’ll never make to to Yeosu at this rate. So Hana punches the gas, and now Jung-seok yells at her for trying to kill them. He accuses her of driving like this to torment him, but Hana insists she’d never do that to her mentor.
The word “mentor” surprises Jung-seok, and Hana continues that he’s like her Manager Oh from Misaeng. Jung-seok declines the dubious honor of being her mentor, though he has to physically wipe the tiny grin off his face.
Gong-myung and Ki-bum speed to Yeosu in Jung-seok’s other car, Ki-bum wailing and begging Dong-young to stay alive until they get there. Gong-myung is more worried that his hyung will catch him with his car, and Ki-bum reads him Dong-young’s goodbye letter again in an attempt to get Gong-myung worked up.
But it just sends Ki-bum into more tearful whining, and he starts listing all the ways in which he could have treated Dong-young better (like letting him poop in his bathroom when Dong-young’s was out of order, hee). Gong-myung begs Ki-bum to stop crying, seeming on the verge of tears himself.
Hana and Jung-seok finally arrive at the academy, and Jung-seok tells Hana to park the car while he goes inside. She worries because she’s not good at parking, but she wants to make a good impression, so she says that people with potential like her can do anything.
The one open space is blocked off by another car, so Hana jumps out and starts pushing the other car out of the way. Jung-seok watches from a distance, muttering to himself that she’s a sucker for compliments if the word “potential” makes her work this hard. This time he even lets himself smile.
Jin-yi is surprised that Jung-seok actually let Hana ride with him, and Hana says that he’s no longer “High-Quality Trash,” but her Quality Savior. She tells Jin-yi that Jung-seok said she has potential, and Jin-yi congratulates her.
Jin-yi clutches her tummy, saying that she thinks the baby is upset from the long train ride. She calls the baby Cherry after the hotel it was conceived in, heh, then it’s time to go give their lectures.
Jin-yi goes first, and her lecture is again all about sexy poses and suggestive double-entendres. At least the male students are impressed. Jin-woong goes next with his Lee Byung-hoon act, and his clever tie-in jokes to Inside Man go over well.
Jung-seok enthralls the room with his straightforward, no-nonsense style, and Hana is impressed with his charisma when he’s teaching. It makes her that much more excited that he said she has potential, and she vows to herself to do a good job from now on.
There’s an autograph-signing event after the lectures, and the line for Jung-seok’s signature is out the door. Jin-yi has a few male admirers, but poor Jin-woong can’t get anyone to ask for his autograph even when he grabs one student and gives him a shoulder-massage.
This also turns out to be Dong-young’s part-time job for the weekend, and Ki-bum and Gong-myung burst in looking for him. They split up, but Gong-myung quickly hides when he spots his brother.
Then he sees Hana being sent to get Jung-seok more water, and breaks into that adorable crinkly grin. Hana collides with a worker carrying a large box, and falls and scrapes her knee — Jung-seok sees it happen, but he doesn’t make a move to help.
Ki-bum finds Dong-young innocently packing the mics after the lectures, and the boys attack him with kicks and headlocks. When they ask about his suicide note, he just calmly says that he has no desire to live without Joo-yeon. But he’s not irresponsible, so he came to do this job before throwing himself into the ocean.
Jung-seok predictably declines to go out drinking with the other teachers that evening, preferring to drink alone even on vacation. The new academy’s director comes to talk to Director Kim, and they discuss another instructor who had planned to come, but resigned.
She was also supposed to join Jung-seok’s joint class, teaching the same course that Hana teaches (Korean language), but her husband was transferred. Jin-woong assumes out loud that this is why Jung-seok offered Hana the class — because his first choice wasn’t available. Hana is shocked and disappointed to hear this.
The boys lead Dong-young to a restaurant, refusing to leave him alone to drown himself. Ki-bum orders the most expensive sashimi dish in an effort to entice Dong-young to live. Dong-young shakes his head, saying that it won’t work, then proceeds to gobble down all the food once it comes, heh.
Ki-bum tries to cheer him up, saying that there are lots of women in the world besides Joo-yeon. Dong-young refuses to consider anyone else, and orders more food. He requests it non-spicy, and Gong-myung blows up, upset that he’s worried about his sensitive stomach when he’s about to end it all.
They go for a drive later, and Dong-myung whoops it up in the convertible they swiped from Jung-seok, saying that it’s the last car ride he’ll ever enjoy. Ki-bum keeps trying to convince Dong-young to change his mind, but Dong-young is firm in his decision, and yells to God to forgive him for what he’s about to do.
Gong-myung is distracted by Dong-young’s hollering, and they nearly sideswipe another car. Dong-young is almost thrown from the car, and he plops down in his seat and screams at Gong-myung, “I nearly died!!” Frustrated, Gong-myung reminds him that he wants to die.
Hana mopes around her hotel room that afternoon, dejected to think that Jung-seok only let her into the class because there was no other Korean language teacher. Jin-yi is furious on her behalf and curses him out, then reminds herself that she shouldn’t speak like that while pregnant. She laments that she can’t drink with Hana, though she doesn’t look all that sad about it.
She runs off to the restroom, leaving Hana to curse out Jung-seok. Then a wail from the restroom brings Hana running, and Jin-yi stumbles out, crying that she’s not pregnant after all.
They go out with Director Kim and Jin-woong, and Jin-yi looks determined to drink all the alcohol in the place by herself. Jin-woong’s alarm goes off even though it’s only 6pm, and they’re all surprised that he’s so whipped that he’s going home tonight.
Director Kim gets a call from a local friend, and he also runs off to play, leaving the ladies alone. Jin-yi cries that men are all after young, pretty women, deciding that her Min-ho hasn’t proposed yet because he wants a younger model.
The boys sit on the beach listening to Dong-young moan about missing Joo-yeon, and Gong-myung, straightforward as usual, tells him to pull himself together, and get revenge on Joo-yeon by living well. But Dong-young says he just wants to leave the world, then snatches the last snack from Ki-bum.
Ki-bum points out that he sure is greedy for a guy who says he wants to die — he even buckled his seatbelt after his near-accident. Gong-myung agrees that Dong-young isn’t really planning to kill himself, so Dong-young decides that he’ll show them, and runs into the water.
Gong-myung and Ki-bum just watch him, until Dong-young starts to scream like he’s drowning. They jump up and go to rescue him from the two feet of water he’s flailing in, HAHA. They tell the doofus to stand up, but he has a cramp, and they reluctantly lift him back to the beach.
Hana listens as Jin-yi complains that she’s been dating Min-ho for five years, so he should have proposed before now. She keeps drinking, not even caring if it makes her sick, then suddenly a steaming clam pops open and squirts her in the eye. She screams that Min-ho should be the one drinking and crying over clams.
She cheers up a little when Hana says that she’s sure Min-ho loves her, and teases her for bragging about having a boyfriend in front of single Hana. Jin-yi thanks her friend for comforting her, and brings up how weird it is that Jung-seok prefers to drink alone when it can be so cathartic to drink with friends. Hana agrees, though she actually totally gets it.
They go to a noraebang, but Jin-yi only gets a few lines into a song before she starts to cry again, and Hana has to take her home. Jin-yi can barely walk, and Hana has to pay for their taxi.
Jung-seok somehow manages to make even a pojangmacha meal fancy, appreciating that he doesn’t have to put up with any of the kind of nonsense Hana is dealing with — the benefits of drinking solo.
Hana gets Jin-yi into bed, thinking that she’s just as upset as Jin-yi is tonight. Gong-myung calls her out saying that he has a question, and she’s surprised that her student is here in Yeosu.
He says that he has a study question for her, then looks cornered when she asks what the question is. He admits that he’s really here because he saw her hurt her knee, and he slides her some ointment and bandages. Hana is really touched, and Gong-myung preens to see that he made her so happy.
He asks if she has a boyfriend, and when she says she hasn’t got time, he counters that a boyfriend would give her something to look forward to on busy days. He pretends to have brought someone to fix her up with, then introduces himself.
His intention seems pretty clear, but Hana thinks he’s playing a joke, and threatens to smack him. Gong-myung leeeeans down close, inviting her to smack him, asking eagerly how she’ll do it. Oh you naughty, cheeky boy.
Hana gets flustered and turns on her teacher voice, telling Gong-myung to go back to Seoul and study. She runs off, leaving him giggling at her reaction.
Hana has several beers and groans into her phone, angry that Jung-seok lied about why he invited her to his joint class. When her phone suggests she eat some octopus, she takes it up on the idea, and staggers to a pojangmacha.
She sees Jung-seok sitting there and plunks herself down across from him, saying that he looks pathetic sitting here alone. She insists that he have a drink with her, and she orders octopus. The ajumma says that they’re out of octopus and suggests the squid.
When the squid comes, Hana talks to it, telling it that it wasn’t her first choice. She informs a very confused Jung-seok that the squid deserves to know the truth, and tells the squid not to get excited about being a replacement. HAHA, this is hilarious.
She finally bursts into tears, and says to Jung-seok that the squid reminds her of herself, telling him that she knows the truth of why he invited her to the joint class. She calls him a jerk and starts yelling his real name, Jin Sang, which sounds like an insult.
Jung-seok tells her to just quit if she’s that upset, and gets up to leave. Hana traps his legs with hers, then looks embarrassed when she realizes how silly she looks. She lets him go and apologizes for her behavior, saying that she’s still glad to be in his class.
She gets stuck in a deep bow, then collapses in her chair, passed out cold. Jung-seok starts to leave, then gets offended when the ajumma assumes he’s leaving his drunk girlfriend behind. He says she’s nothing to do with him, and turns to go.
Cut to: Jung-seok piggybacking Hana back to their hotel, hee. He notices the bandage on her knee and mutters about her lack of quality, and Hana rouses. She assumes this is a dream, and tells him that she was happy that he chose her, even if it didn’t last. She says that she’s been having a tough time in Noryangjin, and she felt good that someone recognized her potential. Jung-seok looks simultaneously moved and frustrated by her words.
He gets her back to her room and drops her on the bed, and she whines that she’s cold.- Jung-seok tosses a blanket on her, which she promptly kicks off. He would leave her like that, but she complains of the cold again, so he throws the blanket on her. And again, she kicks it right back off. She moans in her sleep that she’s not just a replacement, and Jung-seok wonders what she heard.
We see what really happened with the other teacher — Jung-seok had called her about her application for his joint class, and turned her down. She’d mentioned that she was moving anyway, and had asked which teacher he chose. He’d told her he picked Park Hana, saying that she has enough potential to join his class.
But now he’s frustrated and annoyed, and tries to leave. Hana whines again of the cold, and he puts the blanket on her one last time. He stands over her, watching her sleep and muttering that she looks good when she’s sleeping: “She’s a woman after all.” Unfortunately for him, standing there puts his family jewels right in the line of fire when Hana kicks the blanket off a third time. Ouch.
Jung-seok doubles over in agony, and drops to the bed next to Hana. He opens his eyes, and finds her just inches from his face.
Jung-seok, you big old marshmallow, you. I was glad to see that Hana was his first choice for the joint class after all, though I think it will be good for him to have to untangle her hurt feelings about this. He needs to see how his gruff behavior affects others, and realize that someone like Hana needs more than just a “sliver of potential” explanation. The compliment made her very happy, it’s true, but it’s vague and unclear and that can lead to misunderstandings when the rumor mill starts to grind. Part of the problem is definitely people like Jin-woong, who mean well but just don’t have all the information. Not to mention Hana’s innocent way of believing whatever she’s told and reacting emotionally. She could definitely stand to learn that she needs to go to Jung-seok and just talk to him, instead of working things into more than they really are in her mind. If Hana expects Jung-seok to be honest with her, she’s going to have to give him the same courtesy.
That being said, I honestly didn’t expect to see Jung-seok softening towards Hana this much, this soon. As unbending as he seems to be on a regular basis and with everyone he knows, it almost feels too soon, but those little grins of his are so cute I hate to complain (and can we have a moment of appreciation for that dimple, please?). But as I said before, I do like that what gets through to Jung-seok isn’t looks, or begging or bribery, but seeing Hana put forth real effort and enthusiasm towards being good at her job. He’s a guy who respects dedication and hard work above all, and if there’s anything Hana possesses, it’s dedication. So it’s natural that Hana’s work ethic is the thing that makes Jung-seok sit up and take notice of her.
And of course, she’s so adorable and quirky that it only follows that he’ll eventually see her as an attractive woman, and I’m betting that Jung-seok falls hard before Hana even realizes he’s a man. She’s very focused on making sure she establishes herself as a good teacher, not to mention her family financial issues, so I don’t expect her to be looking for a partner any time soon. She definitely notices the void, but like she told Gong-myung, she’s got too many other things to worry about, and no time for a man. But the boy was correct when he said that having someone waiting to spend time with you at the end of a long day is a good thing, and Hana could stand to have someone take care of her for a change. And she’s too pretty, and too much in his face, for Jung-seok to avoid the truth for long — he’s even already admitting that at times, she’s very attractive. I love it most when the guy falls for the woman first, and I can’t wait to see Jung-seok’s pride taken down a peg or ten by falling for a woman who doesn’t even know he exists other than as a mentor.
And yet again, I just love the boys and their adorable friendship so much. The way Gong-myung and Ki-bum ran to Dong-young’s rescue was so sweet (Ki-bum’s tears, awww), but they’re also good enough friends to tell him he’s being selfish by planning to kill himself. They’re the perfect blend of supportive and ass-kicking, which Dong-young needs right now. Losing love hurts, and can make you want to give up on life, but his friends are right when they say that Dong-young would do best by picking himself up, brushing himself off, and acing that test. It might even get him his ladylove back, but even if it doesn’t, he’ll have a good stable career and can find another woman to love if that’s what he wants. But he’s already got the best thing in the world — friends who will do anything for him, whether that’s feed him, commiserate with him, or take care of him. And only the very best friends will tell you when you’re being a stupid idiot.