Drinking Solo: Episode 11
Jung-seok tries to make sense of his newfound feelings, but will he be too late? In fact, Jung-seok isn’t the only one discovering new things about himself, as nearly all of our players come to terms with the fact that they have some changing to do. Change can be frightening, but if done with a willing spirit it can bring on a lot of good things, so bring on the change!
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Hana tosses and turns late into the night, unable to shake the memory of Jung-seok hugging her and saying he likes her. She can’t understand why he would say that, when he left her on the bridge just a few days ago for teasing him about liking her, and she brushes it off as just drunk-talk.
The next morning, Jun-seok decides that as an adult, he should own his own feelings. So he accepts that he likes “No Geu-rae,” then smiles to himself, thinking she must have saved the country in a previous life. Of course he would see this as Hana’s great fortune, to have him like her.
Even so, he’s terribly cute with his bedhead and impish expression, thinking about how Hana must be freaking out after his confession. But then he worries that she might write it off as drunken rambling, and decides that it’s only good manners for him to make sure she knows he was sincere.
He calls Hana, who immediately says that she knows he misspoke because he was drunk. She assures him that she’ll pretend it never happened and hangs up, leaving Jung-seok gobsmacked. HA, seeing him so confused by her lack of excitement is really gratifying. Hana does wonder if Jung-seok could have possibly meant his confession, but she reminds herself that she promised to stop pining over him.
She’s got the day off, but she left some files on her work computer, so she heads to the academy to retrieve them. She happens to see Gong-myung across the street, walking and studying his notes at the same time, and grins when he sidesteps a pedestrian in a move that would make Master Chae-yeon proud.
Gong-myung turns to cross the street, but a motorcycle courier comes out of nowhere, and Hana can only watch helplessly as Gong-myung is hit. He goes down, head smacking the pavement hard.
Director Kim is very nice about giving Jin-woong all the time off he needs for his mother’s funeral, and assures him that he’ll take care of everything at school. Jin-yi feels bad for him — he got divorced a year ago and now he’s lost his mother, leaving him all alone in the world.
Jung-seok seems a bit disappointed when he learns that Hana is off work today. Director Kim presses him for the details on his failed date, but Jung-seok gets all prickly and defensive and refuses to tell him anything.
Jung-seok is completely preoccupied by Hana’s hanging up on him then not coming to work, and he stops by her poster in the school hallway. He decides she must be playing hard to get and says he’ll play along. Heh, he even mimics her pose in the poster, and gives her a saucy little grin.
Jung-seok is the furthest thing from Hana’s mind — she’s at the hospital with Gong-myung, who thankfully just has a mild concussion. He looks perfectly fine, and he asks Hana not to call his hyung about this: “He’s a complete jerk, I’d rather be alone!” I’ll say.
Hana ignores a call from Jung-seok and tells Gong-myung that she has no classes today, and he gets a mischievous look on his face. He says he’ll be okay alone, but when she goes to leave, he pretends that his arm is paralyzed. Hana reminds him he was using that arm a minute ago, and suddenly the pain is in his leg. Or his head, or something. Hee. Hana is totally onto him, but she stays with him.
Dong-young makes a visit to the little boys’ room, and finds himself without any toilet paper or his phone to call for help. Jung-seok comes in to wash his hands before class, and Dong-young recognizes his voice and asks for some paper. But the other stall is out too, and Jung-seok uses the last two paper towels to dry his hands then just coldly abandons Dong-young to his fate.
Chae-yeon texts Gong-myung to meet her after class to go over his homework, then checks herself out in her locker mirror. She pulls out a lip gloss and spiffs herself up, then heads to class. She’s disappointed when Gong-myung answers that he can’t see her today.
Chae-yeon runs into Ki-bum, who looks positively thrilled when she approaches him, but shows her his usual grumpy face. She asks if Ki-bum knows why Gong-myung isn’t at school today, and Ki-bum assumes he’s just slacking off.
Ki-bum makes fun of Chae-yeon for wearing lipstick, though she says defensively that her lips are chapped. She stomps off to class, and Ki-bum grins when she’s gone, thinking that she looks really pretty today.
Dong-young arrives late to class and gets dressed down by Jung-seok, and the poor kid can only grumble under his breath that it’s his fault he was late. Ki-bum notices that Dong-young is only wearing one sock, and Dong-young admits that “Premium Trash” forced him to use it to wipe himself. Ewwwww.
Hana brings Gong-myung’s lunch, and refuses when he urges her to eat some of it. He worries when she yawns and admits she didn’t sleep much last night, and he orders samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) for Hana to eat.
Hana feels bad that he got hurt while studying, but he says that he has to study hard so he can pass the exam and become her boyfriend. Hana is upset to hear his reason, and says that she’d rather he studied hard for himself, but Gong-myung smiles and tells her not to feel pressured.
He says that he knows she only made that promise to get him to study, but that this is his way of showing her that he’s serious about her. So in a way, he is studying for himself, just not exactly in the way she means.
Ki-bum and Dong-young run into an acquaintance, JO KWON (cameo by Jo Kwon of kpop group 2AM), who’s moving into their gosiwon to study for the civil service exam. He seems like a meek, soft-spoken guy, and he’s a bit disheartened that they’re all studying for the same levels (thus competing for the same jobs).
Director Kim makes the joint-class schedule for the next month, and Jung-seok objects to Jin-yi getting his coveted Monday morning class slot. It’s his class, so he demands the best spots when the students are most rested and alert. Jin-yi argues that she’s getting the short end of the stick, but Jung-seok basically terrifies Director Kim into giving him the class times he wants.
Gong-myung enters his hospital room to find Hana sleeping with her head on his bed, and he sits next to her and lays his own head down. His eyes drift to her lips and he leans close, then closer… but just before he kisses her, he thinks better of it and sits up. Good boy.
Ki-bum picks up a workbook (and a girly magazine) at the bookstore, then runs into Kwon. He checks out Kwon’s books, which are the wrong ones for their level, and Kwon says that he decided to switch areas of study. He prefers to study social work, which is much less competitive.
Ki-bum recalls that Kwon hates competition, so much so that he even dated the least-attractive girl at their school. Ha, Kwon blissfully recalls that nobody else wanted her.
Ki-bum trips and falls down the stairs, and wails that he thinks he broke his tailbone. He begs Kwon for a piggyback ride to the gosiwon, which Kwon does reluctantly, and Ki-bum quips that he’ll be a terrible social worker if he whines that much about helping someone.
Hana wakes later in Gong-myung’s hospital bed, having been tucked in by him. HAHAHA, he’s written “radiant” and “most beautiful woman” on her cheeks, and she rushes out to get more water, drawing amused looks from the other patients.
Luckily she spots the words on her cheeks, and she’s busy washing them off when Gong-myung comes looking for her. He laughs even harder when he sees that the couple of words still on her face now spell “madwoman,” and when Hana raises her hand to threaten him, she sees that he’s drawn a ring on her left hand. Cheeky.
Ki-bum and Dong-young run into Kwon again later, only now he’s carrying the workbook to learn real estate. He says that Ki-bum was right, he’d be an awful social worker, and Ki-bum and Dong-young both glare at his fickle ways.
They see him yet again later, stepping out of a police car, and Kwon says that he got lost looking for the gosiwon so the cops brought him home. Dong-young recalls that Kwon used to get lost all the time in school, and Ki-bum says that real estate agents need to be able to find their way easily. Kwon agrees, and says that he’s decided to be a police officer instead. OMG this guy.
Ki-bum sneers that a wuss like Kwon could never fight criminals, then taunts Kwon and running off. Kwon gives chase, while Dong-young rolls his eyes at both of them.
Kwon hilariously runs out of energy within a minute or so, and Ki-bum says that he’ll never be able to chase criminals when he can’t even run. He capers in front of Kwon, egging him on to chase him again, and skips and dances down the street while Kwon lags behind.
Dong-young finds Kwon taking a break, and Kwon gasps that he’ll never be a good policeman. Ki-bum says there’s nothing Kwon is good at and Kwon agrees, but Dong-young tells him that very few people have a passion they can make their career.
They consider the options again (and HAHA, Kwon spits in his drink when Ki-bum tries to sneak a sip — he’s definitely not generous enough to be a social worker), but Kwon is too discouraged to make a decision today. He gets up to head back to the gosiwon, and Ki-bum has to point him in the right direction.
Gong-myung calls Dong-young for his class notes, but tells his friends not to bother visiting him since he’ll be home tomorrow. Hana is still taking care of him, and when Gong-myung leaves the room, she takes off her Mickey Mouse watch to finish washing her hands. His mother calls, and Hana tentatively answers.
Jin-yi’s boyfriend hasn’t called her in a while, and she gets angry, wondering if he’s breaking up with her. She peels out of the school parking lot, narrowly missing Jung-seok, who of course assumes he’s the reason she’s upset. He does a hilariously dead-on impression of her whining that Hana wouldn’t like a man like him, but then wonders why Hana hasn’t called him all day.
He texts Hana that very question, ordering her to stop playing games and call him. Oh, that’s gonna go over well. He does get a call right away, but it’s not Hana — it’s his mother, with news that Gong-myung is in the hospital, and to fuss at him for not paying enough attention to people around him.
Jung-seok heads to the hospital, just as Gong-myung is escorting Hana out so she won’t run into his brother. He walks her all the way out to the parking lot, and Hana complains that he took care of her all day instead of the other way around. She turns to go, and Gong-myung gathers his courage — then strides to her and wraps her in a backhug.
Hana doesn’t seem entirely comfortable, but she doesn’t shake Gong-myung off, either. He thanks her for spending the day with him, and heads back inside, skipping like a little boy. Hana wonders how he can have these feelings for her, and wonders if she could be happy with him.
Gong-myung’s thrilled smile fades when he finds Jung-seok in his room, and Jung-seok immediately complains that he’s only here because their mother made him come. He gripes at Gong-myung for causing trouble, and Gong-myung hops into bed and plays the pitiful patient.
Ki-bum walks in just then, and gapes to see Jung-seok in Gong-myung’s room. Jung-seok tries to pretend he’s here for his student, but seems to realize that nobody will believe it, and their secret is out.
Ki-bum wonders how two brothers could be so very different, and when Dong-young joins them, he reports that he saw “Premium Trash,” too. Ki-bum gives him the stink-eye, silently urging him to shut up, but Dong-young tells Gong-myung about Jung-seok’s nickname and what it means.
Gong-myung just listens calmly, and grins when Ki-bum yells that Premium Trash is his brother. He assures them that he hates Jung-seok as much as they do, and laughs at the funny nickname, calling it appropriate.
While Jung-seok waits in Gong-myung’s room, he notices the Mickey Mouse watch that Hana accidentally left behind. It makes him suspicious, but Gong-myung re-enters and grabs the watch, saying it’s his future-girlfriend’s. Jung-seok sneers at the idea.
Dong-young and Ki-bum come in to say goodbye to “Hyung-nim,” and Jung-seok winces and declines the honor. He says it’s bad enough having Gong-myung as a brother, and asks them not to tell anyone at school about their relationship.
Once they’re gone, Jung-seok rounds on Gong-myung, asking why he’s hanging out with those losers and getting girlfriends instead of studying. He calls Gong-myung pathetic, which makes Gong-myung angry, and he asks if Jung-seok has ever really liked anyone. He answers his own question in the negative, snapping that Jung-seok only cares about himself, and yells, “This is why people call you Premium Trash!”
The nickname is news to Jung-seok, and Gong-myung explains that everyone calls him that because his qualifications are quality but his behavior is trash. Oof, that looks like it stung, and Jung-seok has to work to keep up his veneer of disinterest. He says that since he’s Premium Trash, there’s no reason to keep pretending he cares about his brother, and he leaves.
Chae-yeon is distracted from her studies by thoughts of Gong-myung, and she reminds herself to keep focused. She regrets agreeing to tutor him now that she’s having feelings for him, and she calls to tell him that she’s not willing to tutor him anymore.
Ki-bum overhears the call and sneers that she’s scary — he blames Chae-yeon for Gong-myung’s accident, since he was walking and studying as she taught him. This is news to Chae-yeon, and she goes to the gosiwon roof. Gong-myung calls her, and asks if she’s angry he couldn’t study with her today.
Chae-yeon asks why he wasn’t honest about being in an accident, and her voice quavers as she apologizes, feeling responsible. Gong-myung insists he’s fine, that he’s even studying in the hospital, but as soon as they hang up, Chae-yeon bursts into regretful tears.
Behind her, Dong-young watches her cry, astonished. He runs into Ki-bum on his way down, and when Ki-bum says he’s looking for Chae-yeon to apologize for being too harsh before, Dong-young lies that she’s not on the roof.
When Gong-myung finds Hana’s watch on his nightstand, he texts her about it. He asks if the ring he drew on her hand has washed off yet, and sends her a selca of himself showing off the matching ring he drew on his own finger. He jokes that they’re couple rings, and Hana actually smiles at that.
Hana finally sees the demanding texts from Jung-seok, and on his end of the messages, Jung-seok sees that she’s read them. She responds angrily, accusing him of still making this all about him — she repeats that she never heard his confession, and tells him not to call her again.
On his day off, Jung-seok goes to the park to fly his drone, another hobby he does all alone for “healing time.” But he can’t enjoy it today, his mind replaying Gong-myung’s revelation that everyone calls him Premium Trash, even though he tells himself that he doesn’t care and he’s alone by choice, not because people don’t like him.
He has to tell himself that several times, looking less convinced with each repetition. He pulls out his phone and re-reads Hana’s frustrated messages from last night, and admits to himself that he used to be content alone, but now he wants to be with her.
He wonders why she’s so closed-off, but he already knows the answer, as he remembers all the hurtful words and insults he’s thrown Hana’s way. He’s forced to admit to himself that Hana has good reason to shut him out, and he wonders what he can do to win her back.
Hana steps out of her apartment, reminding herself to just act like nothing happened when she sees Jung-seok. But she’s shocked to hear a voice call out, “No Geu-rae-sshi!” and to see Jung-seok standing right next to her, a tentative smile on his face.
Okay, now we’re talking! As I suspected, rather than Jung-seok realizing his feelings for Hana and humbling himself to be worthy of her, he instead saw his attention as something Hana should be grateful for. The great Jin Jung-seok stoops to like a lowly woman such as herself, so she should thank her good fortune! I was afraid it was going to take more than a disastrous date to make him stop being such a high-and-mighty egotist, so in a way I was glad to see that Hana very earnestly turning him down seemed to land pretty strongly for Jung-seok.
The first step to change is admitting you have a problem, and he’s finally admitted that it’s his own damn fault Hana doesn’t want anything to do with him, and that he’s going to have to work to earn her affection. I wanted very badly for Jung-seok to truly realize he’s not all that, and to have to really grovel to get Hana to look at him as someone worth her time, so I’m happy to see him waking up to the truth. And he’d better get to work, because Gong-myung’s steadfast adoration is beginning to affect her.
And why wouldn’t it? For someone with Hana’s low self-esteem, to have a man see her as Gong-myung sees her has got to get to you at some point. He adores her and makes sure she knows it, he thinks she’s beautiful and smart and wonderful. He’s completely open about his feelings, and he’s showing that he’s willing to better himself in order to deserve her. It was pretty moving when he honestly admitted that studying is his way of proving his devotion, and it’s no wonder Hana was affected. I don’t think she’s falling for him, but I do think that his sincerity is starting to get her attention. That kind of devotion would turn any woman’s (or man’s, for that matter) head, to have someone so obviously adore everything about you. But I also like that Gong-myung isn’t afraid to be himself, to cut up and play jokes on her, though even his jokes have an undercurrent of “we’d make a great couple,” such as the couple rings he drew on them both. Gong-myung may be young and have a lot to learn, but he’s not a child (he’s only a few years younger than Hana), and he’s stepping up his game. Hyung needs to catch up before Little Bro snatches the girl right out from under his nose.
At least, learning about his “Premium Trash” nickname seemed to get through to Jung-seok, and I’m hoping it’s the beginning of him realizing that the way he treats people is unacceptable. Even if he does have great educational qualifications, a good job, and (mostly) excellent taste, it doesn’t give him the right to act like he’s better than everyone, much less to say so right to their face. But when Gong-myung explained that everyone thinks Jung-seok acts trashy, it seemed to genuinely hurt. Hopefully he gives it some thought, and starts to pay attention to how he talks to others and judges them as being less than. And I don’t just mean Hana — he needs to start treating everyone with a lot more respect and consideration. It’s going to take some serious work on himself before Jung-seok is anywhere near deserving of Hana’s feelings, and maybe this will be a good start.