Drinking Solo: Episode 5
Confidence is a tricky thing, especially when our heroine is in a position of disadvantage to almost everyone around her. It can be difficult to respect someone who doesn’t respect herself, but it’s nice to see that some people around her are starting to care how she’s being treated, and more importantly, how she sees her self-worth.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Tonight Jung-seok enjoys his solitary beer and meal on a pretty terrace overlooking the city. His peace is only broken for a minute when a nearby woman begins wailing about her boyfriend breaking up with her, but he doesn’t let it ruin his “healing time.”
Meanwhile, Hana watches on her phone as Jung-seok posts pictures of his food on his social media account, whining that she’s stuck home eating junk food while her colleague is out living the high life. She asks her phone what she should do — she made a huge fuss when Jung-seok invited her to his joint class, then found out that she only got the placement when his first choice quit her job.
Hana’s been avoiding Jung-seok since her humiliating drunken tantrum, but there’s a photo shoot tomorrow for posters for the joint class, and she’ll have to see him. Her phone again misunderstands her question, and starts talking about the summer solstice.
Jung-seok arrives home to find Gong-myung watching dramas — ha, he’s watching Bring It On, Ghost, specifically the scene where Bong-pal piggybacks Hyun-ji home when she gets drunk. Jung-seok watches for a minute, remembering how it felt to piggyback drunk Hana. She’d talked about having a hard time in Noryangjin, and how happy she’d been to be invited to his joint class.
Now he wonders to himself if he should have told Hana the truth, that she was his first choice for the Korean class because he truly thinks she has potential. But he talks himself out of it, telling himself not to worry about a woman without quality. Every time I start to like him…
The morning of the photo shoot, Jin-yi invites Hana to get their hair done together. Hana is happy for the treat, but she can’t get over her trepidation about seeing Jung-seok today. Jin-yi is supportive, blaming Jung-seok for not telling Hana that (she thinks) she was only his backup choice, and causing her to get drunk and chew him out.
Hana is also concerned because she remembers everything up to yelling at Jung-seok, but she has no memory of how she got back to her room that night. She wonders if she should apologize, but Jin-yi tells her to just forget it, stand her ground, and move on.
The ladies head over to the photo shoot, where Director Kim hilariously tries to compliment Hana’s stylish looks today, but just ends up insulting her everyday style. Jin-woong arrives next, dressed like comedian Seo Kyung-seok, earning himself another lecture to work on his classes more and his impressions less. When Jung-seok finally shows, poor Hana can’t even look him in the eye.
The individual photo shoots go off without a hitch, though when it’s Jung-seok’s turn he’s treated like a celebrity, causing the others to complain. Hana stays silent, still too embarrassed to make eye contact with Jung-seok, and he notices and wonders why she made such a fuss if she was going to be so ashamed later.
Ki-bum worries that Dong-young is going to off himself again and ransacks his room for a note, and when Dong-young returns from the showers, Ki-bum complains that he can’t even call to check on him because he lost his phone. Dong-young swears he’s not suicidal anymore — that he remembered his family obligations, and decided he’s going to study hard and get Joo-yeon back.
Relieved, Ki-bum invites Dong-young to go get some beer and meat, but Dong-young shocks him when he says instead, “Ki-bum, let’s stop being friends.” He explains that he needs to focus all his time on studying, and that Ki-bum is the biggest drain on his time. Wow, ouch.
He instructs Ki-bum to give Gong-myung the same message, but Ki-bum grabs his collar and tells him to be a human before he’s a civil servant. His yelling makes Dong-young’s neighbor pound on the walls, so they continue their argument silently, which is hysterical. But still, poor Ki-bum!
It’s time for the group photo session, and Director Kim requests that Jung-seok be the focal point, so the others are arranged diagonally behind him. The photographer tells Hana to stand directly behind Jung-seok, which confuses Jin-yi (who sees the spot right beside him as a status symbol), but apparently Hana is more photogenic so the switch is made.
Of course, standing right next to Jung-seok is super-awkward for Hana, but soon they break for lunch. Jin-yi refuses to eat, preferring to sulk, and she snaps at Jin-woong when he urges her to eat, throws magazines on the floor, and storms out.
Hana follows Jin-yi to the bathroom, and Jin-yi cheerfully swears she’s totally fine. She does make a point to remind Hana that she looks so photogenic today because Jin-yi paid for her hair and makeup, then she goes into a stall and starts bawling loudly.
Hana offers to switch places with Jin-yi just to smooth things over, but Jin-yi opens the stall door and denies that she was crying (with mascara smeared under her eyes). But she does cheer up at Hana’s offer, and they go back to the break room.
Jin-yi pretends everything is fine, and she prods Hana to tell Director Kim that she wants to change places. Director Kim agrees, buying Hana’s explanation that she’s camera-shy, but Jung-seok takes in Jin-yi’s mascara-streaked face and figures out that Hana is just placating her friend.
In class, Dong-young tells Gong-myung that he’s decided not to be friends with him and Ki-bum anymore. Ki-bum is still fuming, and he and Gong-myung head to the cafeteria to discuss the situation. Chae-yeon sits at the next table and complains about their noise, then rudely turns down her cute suitor when he asks her on a date.
Her friend asks if she’s just not interested in men, but Chae-yeon says that she used to like the kpop group SHINee. Ki-bum grows still, and Gong-myung remembers that he went to school with SHINee’s rapper, Min-ho. Chae-yeon overhears that and smiles, saying that Min-ho was her first love. PFFT.
Ki-bum gets all huffy, saying that Chae-yeon has low standards because Min-ho was a total thug back in school. He even claims that he taught Min-ho to dance, and stands up in his chair to prove it, doing the most awkward flailing version of the Lucifer choreography ever. I’m literally crying over here. He’s so wrapped up in proving his dance superiority that he doesn’t even notice that Chae-yeon left.
Jung-seok takes control when the teachers arrange themselves for the next part of the photo shoot, and insists that Hana stand next to him. It would be a nice hero moment if he didn’t say that it’s because Jin-yi has an “old vibe,” and he’s afraid he’ll also look old standing next to her.
Jin-yi argues that Hana is camera-shy, but Jung-seok reminds everyone that Hana teaches in front of a camera every day. He tells Jin-yi that this affects the whole group, and it’s his good name on the line. Hana balks when Jung-seok calls her over, so he takes her by the wrist and pulls her close, which flusters both of them.
Jin-yi, Jin-woong, and Hana drive back to school together for afternoon classes, and Jin-woong wonders out loud what Jung-seok’s problem was today. He noticed how he seemed to favor Hana, but Hana nervously insists that he just felt bad because she knows she was just a replacement.
She apologizes to Jin-yi, who waves her off and swears she’s not at all upset. Then Jin-yi is cut off by another driver, and puts on an impressive display of road rage peppered with vulgar language. Not upset, my butt.
Ki-bum is still grumbling about Min-ho when it’s time for Hana’s class, and Gong-myung asks why he hates Min-ho so much. Min-ho’s has a reputation for being a pretty cool guy, and Gong-myung even points out a photo of him online donating money to charity.
But Ki-bum remembers Min-ho very differently — when they were in school, Min-ho used to bully Ki-bum mercilessly. He would force Ki-bum to dance in front of the class, and even stopped him from using the restroom once and caused him to have an accident. The idea of Chae-yeon liking a guy like Min-ho just grates on Ki-bum’s nerves.
Ki-bum vows to show Chae-yeon Min-ho’s true colors, and he goes online to write a diatribe on what an awful person Min-ho really is. He reveals how Min-ho stole money and food from other students, and says that he re-invented his image after he became famous.
Back at the university, the teachers run into the Korean instructor that Hana thinks was Jung-seok’s first choice for his joint class. When Jin-woong tells Hana to thank her for turning down Jung-seok’s offer, she’s surprised and tells them the truth. Jung-seok turned down her application in favor of Hana, and he told her that he chose Hana because she has potential.
Hana is now even more embarrassed for getting drunk and yelling at Jung-seok, now that she knows she was wrong about him. Jin-woong wonders why he was so supportive of her at the photo shoot, if it wasn’t out of guilt after all. He figures Jung-seok should be feeling like the injured party, but instead he was nice to Hana.
Jin-woong comes to the conclusion that the potential Jung-seok sees in Hana is “girlfriend potential,” though Jin-yi argues that his standards are way higher than that. What… wow. Luckily, Hana doesn’t hear the not-so-veiled insult and just agrees that there’s no way Jung-seok likes her.
Hana goes to Jung-seok to apologize, confessing that she heard the true story about his choosing her for the joint class. She asks why he didn’t correct her, and he reminds her of how much she overreacted when he said she had potential the first time, so he let her think otherwise to avoid her doing it again. Ha.
Hana insists she’ll never overreact again, then immediately has to rein in her enthusiasm, lol. Jung-seok tells her not to lower herself that way again (the way she caved to Jin-yi’s pressure at the photo shoot), because he prefers her bluntly honest. He advises Hana to be confident, and not to just do what everyone says all the time.
Hana is thrown by Jung-seok’s supportive words, and she concludes that Jin-woong must be right — Jung-seok likes her. She tells her phone that Jung-seok is being “tsundere,” acting cold on the outside when he’s actually warm on the inside, and her phone understands for once. Hana smirks, feeling smug that even her phone agrees that Jung-seok has a crush on her.
A group of schoolgirls are swooning over Min-ho’s latest donation, when their friend runs in to show them Ki-bum’s post slamming the idol. They vow to make that crazy punk pay for defaming their Min-ho.
Hana is so fixated on Jung-seok’s supposed crush, that she structures her class lecture around a story about a man who loves his wife but doesn’t outwardly show it. She gets all giggly while she’s teaching, and Ki-bum wonders what’s gotten into her while Gong-myung just watches the cute with the most adoring look on his face.
Ki-bum is unaware that the schoolgirls are systematically tearing him apart online, criticizing his spelling and threatening to make him regret badmouthing Min-ho. He’s too busy sending angry glares and gestures at Dong-young in the back of the class, still angry at his friend’s betrayal.
Gong-myung catches up with Hana after class to give her some medicine for her throat, and he comments on her good mood. He says that he notices everything because he’s interested in her, but Hana still thinks he’s just being sassy (can’t it be both? It’s totally both) and tells him to go study.
Ki-bum finds Gong-myung, who invites Dong-young to have lunch with them. Dong-young pretends he has no idea who they are, and Ki-bum growls that they should never speak to him again. He rants, as online, the schoolgirls continue to shred him for insulting Min-ho.
Gong-myung is the one who sees all the replies to Ki-bum’s post, and he’s highly amused. Ki-bum is upset that his post didn’t get the reaction he was aiming for, and he starts to write a scathing response only to have Gong-myung correct his spelling. HAHA.
Later, Gong-myung approaches Dong-young in the study room and holds up a notepad, Love Actually-style. The notes tell Dong-young to stop being an ass and come get a drink with them, because Ki-bum could use the support.
But Dong-young just holds up a note of his own: “Who are you? I don’t know who you are.” Ki-bum slaps a sticky-note to Dong-young’s forehead, which turns out to be a drawing of a middle finger. PWAHAHA.
Jin-yi declines when Hana asks her to dinner that night, and Jin-woong asks in his usual clueless way if she’s still mad about the photo shoot. Jin-yi snaps that she has plans, but her reaction seems a bit strong for someone who claims not to be angry.
Gong-myung and Ki-bum go for drinks without Dong-young, though Ki-bum is too preoccupied with his new online battle to worry about their ex-friend. Gong-myung looks up the responses again, which have blown up since Ki-bum’s latest rant-attack — the schoolgirls have figured out Ki-bum’s identity, and are publicly posting his personal information.
Suddenly Gong-myung dissolves into helpless laughter. The girls have posted a high school picture of Ki-bum (which is Key’s actual high school photo, lol), and Ki-bum blows his stack. He orders Gong-myung to find out who these people are — this is War.
Hana stays late prepping for her joint class, and she gets lost daydreaming about all the nice things Jung-seok has said to her. All lumped together, they could be interpreted that he kinda likes her. Heh, Jung-seok looks up from his desk while Hana is mooning at him, and shuts his blinds.
When Jung-seok leaves his office for the evening, Hana invites him to dinner as an apology. He coolly turns her down, but Hana just grins to herself, assuming that he’s being tsundere again.
On his way out for snacks, Dong-young is stopped by the building attendant, who hands him a brand-new smartphone. He says that Ki-bum asked him to give it to Dong-young since he’d lost his phone. Awwww, that’s so sweet, and Dong-young feels like a total heel.
Ki-bum staggers home drunk, still grumbling about Min-ho (“If I were in SHINee I would be a hundred times better!” HAHAHAsnort), and doing an even funnier drunk version of the Lucifer choreography. He hears a voice calling his name, and looks up to find himself surrounded by angry schoolgirls. Uh-oh.
He slurs at them that this isn’t nice, but the girls have a plan. They grab him, kicking and slapping him, then they tape him to a post (extra-funny, as the Lucifer lyrics go in part: “If you tie me down and trap me, then the love is also tied down”). They hand him a phone and order him to delete his slanderous post immediately.
Dong-young comes on the scene, and when he sees Ki-bum surrounded by girls, he tries to step in. Predictably, this just gets him beat up as badly as Ki-bum.
Hana sends her mother the poster with her standing right behind Jung-seok, and smiles at her mom’s warm congratulations. She decides not to go home and ends up at a game room, singing in a music booth, hee.
Gong-myung is there playing video games, and he recognizes Hana’s voice. She looks so funny with her hair over her face that he has to collect himself before he opens the door, and Hana tries to pretend she’s someone else, pfft. But he says again that he notices everything about her, because he’s interested in her.
Gong-myung teases Hana’s singing, and she nags at him for not studying and tries to leave. But he makes her stay and finish her song, and watches her for just a minute with that besotted look in his eyes. OMG STAHP.
When Hana’s finished, Gong-myung walks her to her bus stop, and she warns him not to tell anyone about the singing. He says he’s just happy to see her celebrating something, since she looked so sad in Yeonsu over the weekend. Hana notices that Gong-myung is always there to comfort her, and she says he’s her favorite student.
Gong-myung runs with it, asking if he can be her boyfriend instead, even offering to quit studying so he won’t be her student anymore. Hana just pulls out her teacher voice, but Gong-myung isn’t intimidated and reminds her that she’s only a couple of years older than him.
Their silly bickering is interrupted when Hana’s bus arrives, and Gong-myung grabs her by the hand and runs to stop the bus from leaving. Hana jumps on and waves at him through the window, and Gong-myung does this adorable bouncy-puppy goodbye wave. I can’t stand it.
Jung-seok takes himself out for sushi and sake, and he savors the way the solitude helps him appreciate his food and drink that much more. Jin-yi goes to a wine bar and texts her boyfriend Min-ho to meet her after work, but he doesn’t respond to any of her messages, even when she texts that she wants to quit her job and marry him.
Ki-bum also has a solitary beer on the roof of his gosiwon, face scratched and bloody from his encounter with SHINee’s rabid fans. Dong-young joins him, just as beat up, and silently starts putting ointment on Ki-bum’s wounds.
He apologizes for saying he doesn’t want to be friends anymore, and tries to give the expensive phone back. But Ki-bum gruffly says to keep it, then bursts into hurt tears. It makes Dong-young cry too, and the two boys sob together and hug it out.
From home, Hana watches Jung-seok posting his dinner photos online as she enjoys her nightly beer. While Jung-seok eats, he can’t stop thinking about Hana talking to her squid the other night, and how hurt she’d been to think she was only a replacement.
He sees that Hana posted a comment on his photo, offering to treat him to dinner next time. He frowns and puts the phone down, but picks it right back up again, and curiously checks the photos on her account. They’re all cute selcas, and Jung-seok can’t help but smile.
Hana wonders why Jung-seok doesn’t reply to her message, chalking it up to him being tsundere again. She wonders to herself if he really likes her, then decides that he must since she’s so very attractive. The idea that he might actually ask her out tickles her, and she gets so excited that she tips her chair over backwards.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I have to be totally honest — I can’t decide if I like Jin-yi or not. She seems like such a good supportive friend, as long as being a good supportive friend makes her look good. Things like getting Hana the job at the academy, paying for her photo shoot — those are all very nice things to do, but they have the added benefit of making Jin-yi herself look like the magnanimous, selfless friend. But the moment something happens that isn’t to Jin-yi’s benefit, she completely changes. She throws a tantrum until Hana backs down and gives her advantage back, like having to stand behind Hana on the poster, or when her class poster was taken down to make room for Hana’s poster.
I do believe that it’s Jin-yi’s intent to be a good friend, but it falls apart so easily once she loses her footing. It doesn’t help that Hana’s usual reaction is to lower herself to make Jin-yi look good again, which just reinforces Jin-yi’s attitude that she’s better than Hana. It’s great to be a friend when things are going well for you personally, but I’m concerned about what she might do if Hana really does achieve something that Jin-yi can’t immediately turn back to her own benefit. I have a feeling she might drop Hana like a hot potato the moment Hana appears more successful than Jin-yi, and isn’t willing to back down.
On the other hand, these boys and their rock-solid selfless friendship, I just can’t with them. Ki-bum is just the sweetest thing ever. I love how he wears his heart right on his sleeve — good or bad, you always know where you stand with him. It was so obvious how hurt he was by Dong-young’s decision to stop being friends, and he had every right to be angry and upset, the way he looks after Dong-young like a mother hen. Even his reaction to Chae-yeon’s crush on Min-ho, I think, was more about being hurt that she doesn’t like him — you’ll never convince me that he’s not half in love with her — than about her former crush on his former schoolmate (and how funny was that whole SHINee/Min-ho meta-trolling??). Ki-bum tries so hard to be tough, but underneath he’s just so squishy and tender, I just lurv him. I’m happy that Dong-young finally realized that Ki-bum’s friendship goes deeper than just someone to hang out with, and that they had a good cry together.
But guys, we have a serious problem. I’m usually pretty good at holding off Second Lead Syndrome, but I think I’ve got it bad for Puppy Gong-myung. I can’t help but compare him to Jung-seok and he just comes out ahead in pretty much every category — he’s attentive, he listens to Hana, he thinks she’s smart and capable, and he obviously adores her already. And that’s before we even get into his giant squishy grin whenever he sees that he’s flustered her, how he looks after her health, how he actually tells her that he’s interested, or the way he looks at her with so much admiration and respect. I love that Gong-myung doesn’t just think Hana is pretty, but he likes her as a person first and foremost, and doesn’t feel the need to put her down to make himself feel better or feel inadequate because she’s in a position of authority over him.
But it was when he took her by the hand to catch her bus that I felt my heart go splat, because it just showed how much he sees her as an equal, and not someone to pull around by the wrist (*side-eyes Jung-seok so hard*). I’m not looking forward to seeing Gong-myung’s sweet little heart crushed when she chooses another man, especially his own brother. Normally I’m pretty zen about second leads, letting myself love them while keeping in mind that they’re going to lose out in the end, but this is one of the very rare cases in which I really, really hope the show balks tradition and the puppy ends up getting the girl.
Not only that, but I really like Hana about a thousand times better when she’s around Gong-myung. Her status as his teacher and noona gives her confidence, and she’s not afraid to be her true spunky self around him. She smiles and jokes and gets frustrated with Gong-myung (and I love that he respects her all the more for it), unafraid to show her true feelings. But when she’s near Jung-seok she just shrinks, her voice gets shaky and small, and she’s constantly apologizing for every little thing she feels and says. I don’t like the effect he has on her — even knowing that her character arc will probably have her learning to be confident around Jung-seok, and his will have him softening and being kinder to her, right now I just don’t like them together. At least Jung-seok is showing glimpses that he can change, such as when he advised Hana to be more confident and stand up for herself. I think right now he doesn’t respect her because she doesn’t respect herself, which I do admit is fair (and is exactly why Gong-myung does respect her, because she’s more confident around him). Hana needs to find her confidence and stop lowering herself to boost others, and when she manages that, Jung-seok really will be able to admit his feelings for her.
- Drinking Solo: Episode 4
- Drinking Solo: Episode 3
- Drinking Solo: Episode 2
- Drinking Solo: Episode 1
- Raise a glass (or eight) to Drinking Solo’s drink enthusiasts
- Ha Suk-jin, Gong Myung join tvN’s Drinking Solo
- Let’s Eat spinoff Drinking Solo lines up its drinkers
- Let’s Eat spinoff Drinking Solo comes to tvN this fall