Drinking Solo: Episode 7
As hard as all of our teachers and students try to maintain their safe little emotional walls, they can’t keep up their defenses forever, and tiny cracks are beginning to show. Loneliness has become a habit, and they can try to convince themselves that solitude is their choice, but eventually their true feelings will demand to be heard. Lucky for us, that means lots of childish bickering, and a whole ton of jealousy and pettiness.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
After Jung-seok’s obligatory fancy dinner, we’re treated to a lovely display of male musculature, which turns out to be Gong-myung just out of the shower. Whoa, Puppy is ripped. He knows it too, and beams at himself in the bathroom mirror.
He heads downstairs, only to have the toll receipts from his unauthorized road trips tossed in his face by Jung-seok. Jung-seok shoves Gong-myung’s head several times, telling him to buy his own car if he wants one, but then Gong-myung surprises him by grabbing his hand.
Jung-seok actually looks impressed with little bro’s strength, and Gong-myung shows him the guns and says he’s not a little weakling anymore. Jung-seok apologizes, offering his hand, but when Gong-myung takes it he finds himself in a choke-hold. Hee. Jung-seok growls that if Gong-myung acts up again, he’ll be on his way to the orchard.
Gong-myung goes out, and finds Hana hard at work dragging her belongings outside to dry. He ignores her fussing and stays to help, reminding her that he doesn’t do that studying thing. He gives her mattress a huge yank, making her somersault over it and pop up right under his nose. They both look a little flustered, though Gong-myung recovers first and compliments Hana’s gymnastic form, ha.
They head inside to mop the floor, and when Hana starts to lecture him for not studying, he says he’s already been nagged enough today by his hyung. He complains that they just don’t get along, and that his hyung constantly talks down to him, admitting that it’s hurtful. Hana agrees that words can sting, thinking about Jung-seok’s criticisms after she passed out in class. They don’t realize they’re talking about the same person.
Gong-myung gets the idea to mop with their feet, and Hana joins in. She hits a slick spot and does the splits, and Gong-myung snickers that she’s showing off her flexibility today before helping her up.
Later, they take a break for ice cream, and Gong-myung admits that he came today because he was worried about Hana. She promises him she’s fine, and that she intends to find a ton of new students for her class, save money, and move out of the basement apartment.
Gong-myung gives her this adoring look (I just simply can’t when he does that) and says that his goal is to be her boyfriend. He tries to put his head on her shoulder, but she shakes him off and tells him to go study.
Gong-myung pouts that he can’t find the motivation to study, so Hana promises to do something for him if he passes the test. Gong-myung wants them to date if he passes, and even makes Hana record her promise on his phone. She alters the promise to say that she’ll consider dating him, and Gong-myung accepts it as close enough.
After he goes inside, Hana wonders if she should have done that, having no intention of dating him. She figures that once he passes, he won’t think about his old teacher, anyway.
Jung-seok tries to enjoy a solo meal, but a touchy-feely couple nearby disturbs his tranquility, and it reminds him of calling Hana and hearing a man answer the phone. He grouches to himself that Hana and that guy are probably all gropey with each other too, and grumbles that she’s shameless to ruin his class then go out dating.
Hana loses a shoe again while she and Jin-yi are walking to school, and when she stops to retrieve it, she’s nearly run over by a car. The window rolls down and it’s Jung-seok, who gives Hana the stink-eye and yells at her for her mind being elsewhere. Wow, overreact much?
Later, Hana tells her phone that Jung-seok is super angry with her, and Jung-seok wanders out in time to hear Hana thanking her phone for consoling her. He naturally assumes she’s talking to her boyfriend, and he hangs out to eavesdrop with this adorably sour look on his face. OMG, he’s so jealous. This is the best.
Hana eventually sees him there and runs over to apologize again about ruining the joint class. Jung-seok snarls that her mind is somewhere else, and Hana wonders what he means by that.
Dong-young goes to Ki-bum’s room to borrow some toothpaste, and he’s impressed to see Ki-bum hard at work studying. Ki-bum says he wants to be a grandson his grandmother can be proud of, hardly even looking up from his books, and Dong-young congratulates him and slips out.
Once Dong-young is gone, Ki-bum grows distracted by the mess on his desk. He stops to straighten up, but then he notices the mess on his bed. He makes the bed, then sits back down to study… only to realize his nails need trimming.
Dong-young goes to the kitchen for a snack, and finds Ki-bum shoulders-deep in the fridge, cleaning like a mad person, HA. Ki-bum complains that he can’t concentrate with such a mess, and Dong-young mutters that he’s just procrastinating. Ki-bum only now realizes that’s true, since cleaning seems like fun compared to studying.
Jin-yi reaches for Jin-woong’s tissue box when she smudges her lipstick, causing Jin-woong to inexplicably yell at her. Oh, he’s doing another character, it’s just so obscure that even Jin-yi can’t guess it (neither can I…).
Jung-seok frowns at Jin-woong’s weird ringtone, which he explains is his mother’s favorite song. Jung-seok complains about the song lyrics and orders Jin-woong to change his ringtone — wow, someone’s in a real snit today.
Hana overhears students snickering at her as she walks to class, and she gives herself a little peptalk for luck. Her face falls when she sees that her formerly packed classroom is down to maybe twenty students, and she apologizes to those who are left, for passing out during the first class.
Later she passes by Jung-seok and Director Kim discussing her empty class, and learns that most of the students decided to take a different class. Director Kim waffles between yelling at Hana and placating Jung-seok, and he orders Hana to take over another teachers’ web broadcast this afternoon to make up for it.
Apparently these web broadcasts are for the instructors to promote themselves, and the students get to ask them questions. Director Kim tells Hana to use this chance to change the students’ minds about her, no matter what it takes.
Ki-bum falls asleep during Jin-woong’s class, and both Gong-myung and Dong-young glare at him. Gong-myung tells Dong-young that he’s planning to study hard now, too, and asks for Dong-young’s notes. HA, he was too busy making a study plan to actually take notes.
Chae-yeon enters the classroom for the next class, and as she’s getting comfortable at her desk, someone out in the hall (who we don’t see) takes her picture.
In the office, Jin-woong commiserates with Hana about the students dropping her classes, and Jung-seok helpfully says that they were right to drop it since she didn’t try her best. Seriously? She was sick. He tells Hana that she has to be willing to put her life on the line to teach if she wants the students to trust her, and she fights back, saying that she’s giving everything she has.
Jung-seok sneers that her mind is somewhere else, and Jin-yi asks why he keeps saying that today. Jung-seok peevishly tells everyone that Hana is busy dating, and when Hana vehemently denies it, he says that she was out with her boyfriend the night she passed out in class.
He says that he even called her and the guy answered, and Hana checks her call history. She swears that the guy who answered her phone is a student, not her boyfriend, and Jin-yi remembers her mentioning that the student helped when her basement flooded.
Jung-seok is flustered, but he barks that it’s inappropriate to be drinking with a student, then flounces off to his office. When he sits at his desk it hits him that she doesn’t have a boyfriend after all, and the cutest triumphant smile creeps over his face.
He looks up to see Hana glaring at him and quickly closes his blinds. He opens them again and she’s still glaring, and he shuts them again, hee. He says to himself that it’s her temper keeping her from having a boyfriend… and then, you guys, he actually giggles.
Gong-myung goes to the school computer room to get some studying done, but he barely logs onto the internet before he’s distracted by baseball news. He reminds himself to focus and study, then an article about how to get a woman’s attention catches his eye.
Dong-young finds him later, and though it looks like Gong-myung is studying hard, he’s actually watching videos of baby pandas on a slide. Dong-young chokes Gong-myung and checks all the open windows on his computer, and not one is the least bit related to studying. Gong-myung looks like a cornered rat when Dong-young finds an article about attracting an older woman, pfft.
Hana goes to Jin-yi for help with her online class, since she’s been given no time to prepare. Jin-yi shows her an old online class of hers which focused on yoga stretching. Jin-woong shares his old course where he did cooking lessons, but Hana still doesn’t have any ideas for her own class.
Jin-yi says that having a more experienced instructor do the class with her would help, but they have a dinner planned with Director Kim, so neither she nor Jin-woong can help that way. Jung-seok walks through the office and Jin-yi asks him to be a guest at Hana’s online class, but he turns her down flat.
Gong-myung sends Hana a selca of himself studying, and Hana decides to ask him what students would like to see in an online class. Then he texts that he’s hard at work when there are so many other things he wants to be doing, so Hana decides not to distract him, but she gets another idea.
Gong-myung listens to Hana’s recording saying that she’ll think about dating him if he passes the civil service test, and it sends him into a daydream. He fantasizes about passing the exam, then crashing a class she’s teaching with flowers and a proposal, and of course his Fantasy Hana eagerly accepts.
He resumes his studies with renewed energy, but he’s distracted by Ki-bum, who sits at a nearby desk clicking his pen. Ki-bum isn’t studying either — instead he daydreams about being the most popular civil servant in his office, with all the citizens fighting over him.
Dong-young runs into Chae-yeon in the stairwell, and she roughly shoves him aside. He heads through a doorway, and from below, someone takes pictures of Chae-yeon as she goes on her way.
Hana starts her online class with enthusiasm, and her theme is that she’ll do anything the students watching want her to do. The first request is for some aegyo, which Hana is so bad at that several students leave the chat room right away, hee. The next request is for Hana to eat pork and beer, so she places an order for delivery.
Director Kim, Jin-yi, and Jin-woong watch as Hana’s online class tanks hard, and Jin-yi complains that it’s all Jung-seok’s fault for refusing to help her. They figure he must be eating and drinking alone somewhere, and they’re absolutely correct. He decides to check out Hana’s class, and cringes as he watches her load up a lettuce wrap on her students’ request, then shove the entire huge thing in her mouth.
Soon after, she gets a request to sing, and her terrible performance has students leaving the chat room in droves. Director Kim tells Jin-yi to call Hana and shut it down, but Jin-woong suddenly gasps as Jung-seok enters the shot and sits down next to Hana. Awww, he showed up to help!
Hana gapes at him, and suddenly the online classroom is filling with students again. One asks why Jung-seok decided to do an online class when he’s never done one before, and Jung-seok replies that he’s doing it to help Hana, who unfortunately fainted in class but is truly a talented teacher. I think my heart just melted.
He brings conversation back to the theme, and asks what the students want them to do. A student wants to see Jung-seok smile, and he does, and it’s freaking adorable. Comments of So cute! flood in, and Jung-seok actually looks bashful, and after that the ice is broken. Jung-seok complies with all of the student requests, making finger-hearts (Hana has to show him how) and even agreeing to go to the fireworks festival tonight with Hana and post pictures, if the viewer count reaches five hundred.
Jung-seok balks when a student asks them to dance, but soon enough, both of them are dancing their hearts out. I can’t stop laughing, this is the best thing EVER. Jung-seok gets the biggest grin on his face, watching Hana get excited as their viewer count climbs towards five hundred, and he dances even harder. They hit their goal and end the class, Jung-seok reminding the students to show up for Hana’s class tomorrow.
Jin-woong’s alarm goes off and he heads out, despite Director Kim and Jin-yi trying to physically hold him back. Director Kim wonders if Jin-woong’s wife is that scary, but Jin-yi says he’s not scared of her — he obviously loves her. She sighs that she wants to meet his wife someday, to see the woman that inspires such loyalty.
Jin-woong doesn’t go home — he goes to a hospital, where the nurses seem to know him well. As the nurses sigh over Jin-woong’s devotion, never missing a single day of visiting, he heads to a particular door. He stops for a moment, looking at the name on the door, “Kim Mi-kyung.” He looks profoundly sad, but by the time he goes inside, his usual cheerful mask is firmly back in place.
Ki-bum and Gong-myung build little forts out of folders around their study spaces, shooting eye-daggers at each other any time they make a sound. Dong-young finds them whisper-arguing over whose fort is stronger, then they start whacking down each other’s constructions.
They grab each other’s hair, and Dong-young gets fed up and leads them both outside by the ears. He fusses at Ki-bum for cleaning instead of studying, then at Gong-myung for procrastinating after saying he has a reason to study now. He tells them both that they have to study extremely hard to even hope to pass the test, and both boys renew their vow to buckle down and get serious.
A loud BOOM overhead signals the start of the fireworks festival, and Gong-myung and Ki-bum drag Dong-young to the roof to watch. Chae-yeon is also up there, for once looking relaxed and even smiling, and all three boys notice her. Ki-bum sighs that she looks really pretty, then his eyes grow wide and he swears he was talking about the fireworks. Riiiight.
He grumbles at Chae-yeon just to prove that he doesn’t like her, and she snarls back and heads downstairs. She bumps into someone and drops her phone, and as she bends down to pick it up, a hand creeps out of the crowd to snap a picture of her.
Jung-seok and Hana drive together to the school to take pictures at the fireworks festival, as they promised their viewers. Hana expresses her surprise when Jung-seok showed up to help, but he grumps that he just did it to benefit his own class. Okay grumpypants, whatever you say.
They find a spot on a bridge and Hana starts taking pictures, even coaxing Jung-seok to smile for their students. He’s ready to go after a couple of shots, but Hana pouts and he relents, letting her stay a bit longer. Jung-seok tries to keep up his usual stoic face, but he takes teeny little peeks at Hana whenever she looks away.
She decides to take a video, but people keep walking in front of her and ruining her shot. She sees a father holding his son on his shoulders nearby, and Jung-seok only hesitates a moment before kneeling in front of her and telling her to climb on. He insists this is just to make his joint class better, but I don’t believe him anymore.
Back at the gosiwon, Dong-young watches the fireworks, and wishes that he passes the test soon so he can watch with Joo-yeon next year. Gong-myung also says he’d like to watch the fireworks with someone he likes, but Ki-bum is busy playing with his phone.
He suddenly perks up, and calls Gong-myung over to take a look. He shows him the picture that Hana posted of herself and Jung-seok, and Gong-myung is upset to see the woman he likes with his brother.
Hana gets a great video from the vantage point of Jung-seok’s shoulders, and soon he tells her to wrap it up and come down. But a little boy bumps into Jung-seok and overbalances them, and Hana starts to fall backwards.
She over-corrects, throwing herself forward over Jung-seok’s head. Her head whips down and their lips lock, and their eyes fly open wide at the unintentional kiss.
As silly as that is, it’s probably the most unique first kiss I’ve ever seen in a drama! Okay, I take back everything I said about not being able to see Hana and Jung-seok as a couple. Once he had a chance (or shall we say, an excuse?) to relax around her, and she around him, they amped up the cute factor so high I forgot all about Puppy Gong-myung for a minute. It was smart writing to have them go from zero to sixty together in one fell swoop like that, because I think I’m not the only one who was starting to wonder why Jung-seok was even in this story, while Gong-myung has been pushed forward so strongly as a contender for Hana’s heart that it seemed Jung-seok could never catch up. But to have Jung-seok suddenly show himself to have a sense of willingness and fun around Hana made me fall for him all at once, and now I’m so conflicted I don’t know what to do with myself.
I just feel so bad for Gong-myung, because he’s already been friend-zoned so hard, and he doesn’t even know it. His adoration of Hana is the sweetest thing, and I love that he likes her for all the right reasons — her spirit and intelligence. There’s no real reason they shouldn’t date once he’s out of school, except that Hana just doesn’t see him as anything more than a student. Gong-myung sees that as something that can be overcome, but Hana has never seen him as a man, no matter how forward he’s been with her. I can see it coming — Hana will fall for Jung-seok, and Gong-myung is going to feel like he’s been thrown over for his brother. But the truth is that he’s never been an option for Hana, while she’s always had a bit of a fascination for Jung-seok, even if it started out as simple hero-worship. She’s not choosing one brother over another, but Gong-myung isn’t going to see things that way.
I do hope that having the fun experience with Jung-seok doing the online class lets Hana relax around him a bit more from now on, because I really, really need her to stop cowering like she’s afraid he’s going to hit her. I understand that she’s the new guy, and unsure of herself, but behaving like a meek little mouse isn’t going to earn her the respect and confidence she so badly wants. She can give herself all the fist-pumps in the world, but when she immediately shrinks the moment Jung-seok even looks at her, it’s really hard for me to watch. I just want her to get angry, to tell him (or even Director Kim) that she’s trying her best and to stop treating her like a doormat. But at least maybe now Jung-seok will soften up a bit to Hana, if nothing else.
After last week, and again during this episode, somehow Jin-woong has gotten about a thousand times more interesting. Seeing that he lives alone and visits someone in the hospital every single night has changed him from a rather one-dimensional goofball to someone with hidden, fascinating depths. Who is he visiting? His mother? His grandmother? Does he have a wife after all, who’s confined to the hospital? I find his little slips of expression where his true loneliness shines through, to be absolutely heart-ripping, and I don’t even know what he’s struggling with yet. He seems to be a lot deeper than I gave him credit for, and I want to know his story.
In fact, all of our characters seem to be grappling with some sort of loneliness, whether they know it or not. Even the silly trio of boys all have some secret that they are trying to run from, whether it’s a breakup or family issues. Everyone in this show claim to enjoy their alone time, but they all have times when they would rather have company than be adrift, trying to make peace with the fact that they don’t really want to be alone. There’s nothing wrong with being by yourself when it’s what you truly want, but these people use that to deflect from the fact that what they really want is to connect with someone. There’s only so long you can tell yourself that you prefer being alone when it’s not true, before you start to unravel at the seams and it all falls apart.