Drinking Solo: Episode 8
What does a man do when his heart and his mind want two different things? If he’s Jung-seok, he just lies to everyone, even himself. But lies can’t hold up forever, and Jung-seok isn’t the only one about to find his deepest darkest secrets threatened.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Today, Jung-seok visits a less-fancy restaurant than usual, enjoying a huge plate of shrimp and a simple beer.
The evening after helping Hana with her online class, he’d come home to find Gong-myung watching the dancing portion of the class with a dejected look on his face. He’d asked Jung-seok what kind of relationship he has with Hana, and Jung-seok said they’re just coworkers.
Gong-myung asks why the guy famous for caring about nobody but himself went on her web class, and even watched the fireworks with her. He demands the truth, but he backs down when Jung-seok insists he just helped her out to keep her from lowering the quality of his joint class. Gong-myung breathes a sigh of relief, no longer worried that he’ll have to compete with his brother for Hana’s affections.
Jung-seok goes to his room, where he finally lets himself think about his accidental kiss with Hana. He’s horrified that someone as lofty as himself could kiss a low-quality woman like her. I can’t wait for him to regret those words.
Hana checks out the website where she posted the picture of herself and Jung-seok at the fireworks show, and she beams at all the happy comments from students. She’s also cringing from the kiss, however, wondering how she’ll face him tomorrow.
She flops down on her bed, and her giant teddy bear falls forward and kisses her the same way she kissed Jung-seok, hee. The bear gets a fist in the face, and Hana and Jung-seok both lie in bed, flailing in horror.
They end up in the same elevator the next morning, and it’s hilariously awkward the way they try not to look at each other. Hana brings up last night first, and Jung-seok hilariously pretends to have no earthly idea what she’s talking about, ha. That forces Hana to clarify, and Jung-seok is all Oh, right! That thing that happened! Ha ha!
He says it was so insignificant that he forgot about it, like a fruit fly, and when Hana’s face falls he has to backtrack that he wasn’t calling her a fruit fly, and OMG just please stop talking.
He comments that it seems to be bothering Hana, almost as if he’s hoping it is. Hana says that she forgot all about it too, and awww, Jung-seok looks disappointed. When the elevator door finally opens, the poor guy can’t flee fast enough.
Jin-woong’s impression today is from VJs on the Scene, and Hana gets it on the first guess. He and Jin-yi both congratulate Hana on her web class, amazed that Jung-seok showed up and even danced, and Jin-yi wonders if he really does like Hana. Hana denies it, clarifying that he was just helping her.
The teachers overhear Director Kim asking Jung-seok who he plans to take with him to a special lecture this weekend. Hana is assumed to be disqualified since Jung-seok just helped with her web course, but when Hana agrees that she’s not qualified anyway, Jung-seok gets this odd look on his face.
Jin-yi and Jin-woong both want the chance to do a special lecture, but Jung-seok huffs off, determined to decide for himself. He watches Hana delivering coffee and grumbles that she’s too damn nice, and goes through some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to convince himself that he wants to invite her because of business reasons, not personal.
Ki-bum and Chae-yeon exchange insults after class as usual, and Gong-myung tries to smooth things over by asking Chae-yeon to tutor him. She just snarls a no, lumping him in with Ki-bum since they’re friends, and sails out. Dong-young asks why Ki-bum hates Chae-yeon so much anyway, but he barks that he just does, okay?! Oookay buddy.
Hana finds Jin-yi face-down on her desk, upset that she wasn’t chosen for Jung-seok’s special lecture. Hana is surprised to learn that Jung-seok picked her, though his reasoning is obviously just to improve the quality of his joint class. But Jin-woong sees this as proof that Jung-seok likes Hana.
Hana inspects Jung-seok’s poster at the bus stop, wondering if he really does like her. But she shakes her head, remembering how embarrassed she was the last time she thought so.
Gong-myung joins her, calling her “my woman,” which makes Hana sneer at him. She tells him to go study, and he jokes that she just wants him to pass the test quickly so they can date. She grabs him in a headlock, which just makes his entire day.
He spots his brother’s poster, and tells Hana not to get too close to Jung-seok. He says that something about Jung-seok just bothers him, but Hana defends Jung-seok, but says he’s way out of her league anyway.
Ki-bum runs into Chae-yeon on his way down from the gosiwon roof, and he teases her for taking a break from studying to exercise. He heads inside, then the door cracks open again, and someone takes lewd pictures and videos of Chae-yeon while she stretches.
In the morning, Hana feels prepared for her special lecture today, and picks out something cute to wear. She tells her teddy bear that she wants to look good in front of the students, not Jung-seok, but the teddy bear looks skeptical.
Jung-seok offers Hana a ride, but only because she’d be late if she took public transportation. When Hana comments on the nice view he lowers the convertible roof, saying that she’ll give a better lecture if she’s relaxed. He’s really starting to stretch for excuses to make her happy, hee. He tells her to focus on her lecture, and Hana promises that she’s extremely prepared this time. She even stops talking with him to review her notes, and Jung-seok smiles to himself, impressed.
Unfortunately, they arrive at the lecture location to find that it’s been canceled due to electrical problems. Hana is particularly disappointed, since she was looking forward to showing Jung-seok a great lecture.
Dong-young sees that the ramyun stash in the gosiwon kitchen has been replenished, and he starts stuffing the packages down his pants, ew. A couple of male students come in and Dong-young starts to slink out, but he stops when he hears them discussing pictures of Chae-yeon being passed around.
He shows the pictures to Gong-myung and Ki-bum, all of them of her stretching, or walking up stairs wearing short skirts. They’ve been uploaded to a site where boys post upskirt pics of girls, with a caption saying that they’re the uploader’s revenge on Chae-yeon for rejecting him. Gong-myung is properly horrified, but Ki-bum looks uncomfortable. Just as Dong-young wonders if they should tell Chae-yeon, she shows up and yanks the phone out of his hand.
Jung-seok drives Hana to a wine cave they passed earlier, to cheer her up after having their lecture canceled. Aw, you big marshmallow! Of course he grouches that he’s just trying to keep her from being in a bad mood and bringing down the entire joint class, but sweetie, your excuses are starting to look pretty thin.
Hana is thankful anyway, which makes Jung-seok smile even as he calls her excitement tacky. He explains that the cave keeps the wine at a consistent temperature, and he hands over his jacket when Hana comments on the chill. He even steps close to button it when Hana just wraps it around her shoulders, and the closeness flusters them both.
Jung-seok claims the jacket was bothering him, but he shivers violently the moment Hana turns her back. She turns back to him, and he utterly fails at looking suave while he’s freezing, hee.
Later, Chae-yeon demands Ki-bum’s phone, accusing him of being the pervert who uploaded her pictures, since he has the same model of phone as the one that took the photos. Ki-bum points out that it’s a popular model, and his friends jump to his defense.
Gong-myung mentions that the person who took the photos obviously has a grudge since she rejected him, so it can’t be Ki-bum. Chae-yeon says that she did reject Ki-bum once, in a big way, and Ki-bum cringes in embarrassment.
We flash back to last year, when Ki-bum obviously carried a huge torch for Chae-yeon. He’d stopped her one day after class and given her a note declaring his feelings. But it was the scantron test with “I ♥ U” spelled out in tabs that caused Chae-yeon to sneer that he’s a slacker, and she’d tossed both in the trash. Another student had found the note and posted it on their class forum, and though Ki-bum’s name wasn’t mentioned, he was humiliated to see his feelings, horrible misspellings and all, posted for everyone to read.
Ki-bum had gotten sloppy-drunk and confronted Chae-yeon, wrongly assuming she was the one who posted the note on the forum. He was practically in tears, and hearing that Che-yeon didn’t post the note, but threw it away, doesn’t make him feel any better. He’d sworn to hate her forever, and when Chae-yeon had apologized for making him Noryangjin’s Idiot, he’d begged her to keep this a secret.
But now his secret is out, and Ki-bum is humiliated all over again in front of his friends. He shows Chae-yeon the pictures on his phone to prove he didn’t take the shots of her, and pfft, they’re all selcas. Chae-yeon isn’t convinced, and insists on taking his phone to the police station to have it restored.
Jin-woong and Director Kim go on a hike together, because Director Kim needs an excuse to get away from his in-laws. He tells Jin-woong that they helped him start up the school, and now they live with him and nag him about it all the time. He sighs that Jin-woong wouldn’t know what it’s like, and Jin-woong gets a strange, almost wistful look on his face.
When they stop for a rest, Director Kim complains about his in-laws again, then he asks why Jin-woong isn’t impersonating anyone today, Jin-woong says he needs to rest on the weekends, and offers to wait here while Director Kim climbs the rest of the way up the mountain. Director Kim berates him for never finishing anything, and just being at peace with mediocrity. Jin-woong pops up and promises to follow Director Kim all the way.
When Hana tastes a wine she particularly likes, Jung-seok uses an app to translate the name of the wine. Hana muses that she usually likes sweet foods, but she doesn’t care for sweet wines. When Jung-seok says he likes dry red wines, Hana holds up a hand for a high five, and he totally leaves her hanging, ha.
But then Jung-seok tentatively high-fives her, and Hana can’t help but grin. How is that so cute?? Hana wants to buy a bottle of the vintage she likes but declares it too expensive, then heads off to the restroom. Jung-seok checks the price and wonders how she thought that 30,000 won (less than $30) is expensive.
He mutters that it just proves how low-quality Hana is, but when they’re ready to leave, he hands her a bag with a bottle of the wine inside. Awwww! Naturally, he says he didn’t get it for her, but because if she keeps thinking about it back in Seoul, she won’t be able to focus on the joint class. This is just getting silly now.
Hana gives Jung-seok his coat back, and asks him to drink with her tonight. She uses his own argument against him, saying that it’s for the joint class, not her personally, because she’ll feel unappreciated if he doesn’t let her take him out. Smart girl. Jung-seok narrows his eyes at her, and Hana rescinds her offer. But then he says, “Let’s go have a drink,” conceding that she has a good point.
Ki-bum mopes, wondering how he’s going to clear his name of Chae-yeon’s accusations. He catches Dong-young smirking at him, a bit starstruck at finally meeting “Noryangjin’s Idiot.” Ki-bum swears he’s innocent, but Dong-young keeps teasing, and Ki-bum jumps over the table to throttle him.
Chae-yeon notices that boys keep staring at her, and she tells herself to just study and pass her test, and get out of here. Gong-myung approaches her and she snaps at him, then storms off to the stairwell when the elevator is full. Gong-myung gets in, but he changes his mind and follows Chae-yeon.
Its a good thing he does, because her stalker is taking more pictures of Chae-yeon going up the stairs. Gong-myung punches him, and they fight for a minute before Gong-myung gets the upper hand and pins the pervert against the wall. Chae-yeon comes down and whips off his hat, and whoa, it’s her cute suitor from before.
After their hike, Director Kim and Jin-woong stop at a pojangmacha for dinner and makgeolli. Jin-woong seems unusually subdued, and he gets griped at for not saving Director Kim’s favorite part of the chicken. He looks even more hurt when Director Kim complains about his class’s low attendance and his annoying impressions.
Director Kim says yet again that Jin-woong wouldn’t know what it’s like to feel like he’s working on weekends, and Jin-woong explodes. He says that he does know, that he’s so upset he feels like crying — but he says it in a character voice, which confuses Director Kim.
Jin-woong smiles, saying that he felt like he was working today so the impression just came out, but he corners of his mouth quiver like he’s trying not to cry for real. His alarm goes off and he leaves quickly, leaving Director Kim alone.
Hana takes Jung-seok to a small restaurant, where they share a beer and a plate of steamed shrimp. Oh, it’s the meal Jung-seok was eating at the top of the episode! Why does that make me feel all squishy inside?
Hana chirps that it’s an honor to drink with the man who only drinks solo, says she likes to drink alone too, then gets excited when he says he’s seen her Instagram photos. They bond for a minute over their shared love of drinking alone, though Hana says she’s not a master like Jung-seok. She admits that she’s too shy to drink alone in a restaurant, because she worries what people will think of her. Jung-seok asks why that matters, and Hana resolves to learn how to do it properly from him.
Hana fumbles with her shrimp, unsure how to eat it. Jung-seok deftly de-shells it for her, then says he’s only helping her so she doesn’t hurt her fingers and become unable to write on the class board. Hana practically simpers in delight.
Gong-myung and Chae-yeon deliver the pervert to the police, and Gong-myung mentions that she can hire someone to delete the photos online. Chae-yeon crouches and bursts into tears, alarming Gong-myung, and admits she was really scared.
She says that she’s still scared, and worries that she won’t be able to study and pass her test. Gong-myung notes that she seems more approachable now, and he tells her to be nicer to guys because they’re just lonely, so she can at least reject them in a gentler way. Chae-yeon thanks Gong-myung, but he says he’ll settle for her apologizing to Ki-bum.
Ki-bum is glad to hear he’s been cleared of suspicion, though he’s still angry with Chae-yeon for accusing him. In the restroom he overhears two students talking about Chae-yeon’s body, bragging that they sent her pictures to all their friends. Ki-bum’s face goes dark and he leaves, then comes back and flings a bucket of water on the boys. He says in this scary voice that what they’re doing is a crime, and that they will delete the photos now.
Jin-woong goes back to the hospital, and he has to compose his bleak expression again before going inside. He approaches the woman on the bed, calling her “Mom,” and teases her for not recognizing her son. Oh, my heart is breaking.
His mother says that she misses her daughter-in-law, but Jin-woong reminds her that he got a divorce. Then he brightly says that it’s probably better not to remember that, and gently lays his mother down to massage her legs. Just for a moment his cheerful expression slips, showing the pain underneath.
Hana goes to the ladies’ room and talks to herself in the mirror, wondering why Jung-seok is being so nice to her and blaming it all on the joint class. She wonders if he really does have feelings for her (she says she’s no drama character who wouldn’t even notice, hee), concluding that it must be true.
Out at the table, Jung-seok thinks about how he likes to drink alone at the end of a hard day, because it’s like a spell that can make you forget the bad things, or make you feel like you have a friend. We see Chae-yeon, Ki-bum, Jin-woong, and even Director Kim all drinking alone, but it doesn’t seem to be making them feeling any better.
Hana walks back to their table and another diner bumps into her, and she nearly faceplants into Jung-seok’s lips again before catching herself. She chatters that they almost kissed again, and Jung-seok gives her this look, then says it’s okay to make that mistake again. What??
He walks over behind her, and puts his hands on Hana’s shoulders. He says that it might have been an accident to Hana, but he meant it, and leans down to give her another upside-down kiss. What?? HAHA, it was just a fantasy, and Hana opens her eyes to see Jung-seok looking at her like she’s lost her marbles.
They get a designated driver to take them home, and the guy offers to take Jung-seok’s “girlfriend” home first. He vehemently denies that Hana is his girlfriend, and Hana, who’s very drunk at this point, asks why he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
Jung-seok says he has to focus on his teaching, and forbids Hana to date while she’s in his joint class. She just smirks that he was jealous when he thought she had a boyfriend, and calls him out for lying when he says he was just managing his joint class.
Hana grins smugly, saying that he was really trying to manage the woman he likes, and that he was doing it again today. She says boldly, “You like me, don’t you?” and Jung-seok actually stammers when he tries to deny it. That just makes Hana even more convinced, and next thing you know, Jung-seok is kicking her out of the car.
He’s intending to prove how much he doesn’t like her, but he goes overboard with his denials as the driver pulls away. He barks this demented laugh, trying to convince himself he doesn’t have feelings for Hana.
Hana ends up on the same bridge where they watched the fireworks, slugging the wine Jung-seok bought for her and screaming her humiliation. She yells at herself for being over-confident, wondering if she really thought he’d say he likes her. She wonders if she actually likes him, and her eyes grow wide at the thought.
Who knew that of all the characters in this show, it would be Jin-woong who made me cry? Now that we know his full story — that his mother is ill with a fading memory, and he’s divorced and lives alone — I feel like his impressions are all a shield, like he’s afraid of showing his true self and disappointing people. But I find that I like him much more when he drops the act and is just himself, because he really seems like a sweet, sensitive guy. It’s no wonder that Jin-woong is content to just get by on a professional level, because on a personal level, his life is so empty that even mediocrity must seem pretty good to him. I really hope that he and Jin-yi fall in love, because I think Jin-woong would happily give Jin-yi all the attention she craves, while Jin-yi’s capacity for loyalty would fill up the loneliness in Jin-woong. They’d be so perfect together.
I admit it, I’ve completely jumped the Gong-myung ship and am firmly on board with Jung-seok and Hana now. How cute are these two together? And somehow I much prefer Jung-seok’s more mature, uncertain flailing to Gong-myung’s youthful confidence — I think it’s because Gong-myung has been cheerfully ignoring all of Hana’s big flashing Not Gonna Happen signs from the beginning, which is starting to look less like self-assurance and more like immaturity and lack of experience.
I actually don’t think that Gong-myung is being too pushy, because if the girl he was pursuing returned his affections I wouldn’t find his behavior out of line at all. But when Hana keeps making those faces every time he flirts, and reminding him that he’s a student and should be studying, his persistence just feels like he’s not grown up enough to catch her hints and respectfully back off. I’m worried she’s going to have to be mean to Gong-myung to get him to understand that she’s not interested, not now and not after he passes the test, not ever.
On the other hand, Jung-seok’s twitchy uncertainty is so adorable, and I actually like that his feelings are making him uncomfortable. He’s being faced with his own nasty prejudices and having to come to terms with the fact that he actually likes someone he sees as “low-quality” (and I find it veeery interesting that he calls her that all the time, but he got his fur all ruffled when she said it about herself). He’s going to have to do some real changing and understand that different doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and get rid of some of that arrogance that’s keeping him from connecting to anyone, much less Hana. Luckily she’s a very forgiving, sweet woman, and she’ll let him off the hook pretty easily. I just hope he doesn’t let himself off the hook so easily, once he realizes what an ass he’s been in the way he perceives her. He needs to suffer a little.
In the meantime, it’s sweet the way Jung-seok keeps finding ways to do things for Hana while telling himself that really, he’s being selfish and it’s not about her at all. Inviting her to the special class, taking her to the wine cave, giving her his coat, even peeling her shrimp — he’s having to come up with more and more twisty excuses why those things are really just for the joint class, but he’s definitely not fooling Hana. She may not be the most worldly woman, but she knows when a man is attracted to her, even when he continues to deny it. I love that she’s not some typical drama heroine who doesn’t see the giant flashing neon HE LIKES YOU signs, and that her instincts are telling her that he’s attracted even when he denies it. And I’m finally getting my wish — knowing that there’s something more to Jung-seok’s attention is giving Hana confidence, and she’s starting to look him in the eye and even call him out on his little self-delusions. More of that, please!