Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Episode 4
Bok-ju is at an interesting crossroads in her life — she’s got the potential to be a professional weightlifter, but she’s at an age where she wants things like love and romance. She’s young and new at all this, and her methods of gaining love may not be the best way to go about it, especially when those methods could jeopardize her career goals. What’s a girl to do when her lifelong dream clashes with her desire for something new?
EPISODE 4: “Her double life”
Bok-ju goes to sign up for Jae-yi’s weight loss program, though it looks painful to let go of that much cash all at once. She changes into a gown, and in her first meeting with Jae-yi, he says she’s already very healthy. He explains that her weight is mostly muscle, and that her weight is pretty normal.
He says that most people look at idols or skinny people, and think that anything else is “fat,” which makes him feel bad as a doctor. Bok-ju talks about a fad diet Nan-hee went on once, and Jae-yi says that those diets nearly always fail. He plans to get Bok-ju healthier slowly and carefully, and she agrees.
He holds out his hand to shake on it, but Bok-ju is self-conscious about the calluses on her hands, so she smacks his hand instead. Jae-yi suggests they move to the bed, which makes Bok-ju sit up in alarm, but he only means that he needs to do an ultrasound. Ha.
She lies on the table, shooting nervous glances at Jae-yi, and stiffens when he needs to touch her stomach. She eventually allows it, though she looks like she’s about to explode. He’s gentle, and even notices Bok-ju’s discomfort, and pulls the blanket up to cover her a little more.
Jae-yi walks Bok-ju out after her appointment, and tells her to change her diet slowly. She remembers that she still has his umbrella and promises to bring it to her next appointment.
Bok-ju walks home in a happy daze, and stops at a street vendor’s table to look at hair decorations. The vendor suggests she try on a red barrette which looks really pretty, so she buys it. She sees the vendor making beaded charms, and wonders if it would be appropriate to give Jae-yi a gift as thanks when she returns his umbrella.
During practice, the rhythmic gymnastic coach rakes Shi-ho over the coals for gaining weight. She despairs that Shi-ho isn’t committed, since she won’t go to Russia for training or maintain her weight, and Shi-ho bites back her frustration and just says that she’ll try harder.
Rival Soo-bin and her two cohorts are in the restroom sneaking candy, and Soo-bin mentions how Shi-ho is acting strange lately, and even barged into the boys’ dorm crying yesterday. They wonder if she’s cracking from not making the national team, and Soo-bin says that Shi-ho is getting too old for the sport and won’t ever return to top form.
She also tells her friends that Shi-ho’s parents can’t afford to support her, but before she can go into detail, Shi-ho comes out of a nearby stall. Whoops. Shi-ho says it’s true that she went to the boys’ dorm, but denies having cried. She tells Soo-bin in an ice-cold voice not to worry about her family business, and leaves Soo-bin shaking in her wake.
Shi-ho angrily buys a soft drink and starts to gulp it down, but stops and throws it away. She runs outside to throw up in the bushes, where Dr. Go sees her and offers her handkerchief. She recognizes Shi-ho and tells her that it’s okay she didn’t make the national team, but Shi-ho just excuses herself back to practice.
Bok-ju makes a wish in the fountain on her way back to the dorm that night, and Joon-hyung sneaks up behind her and scares ten years off her life. She nearly decks him, and he points out that most girls react by cringing, but she comes out fighting.
Joon-hyung sees the bag Bok-ju is carrying, the gift she’s thinking of making for Jae-yi, and she hides it behind her back. He gets a little handsy grabbing for it, then backs off when she yells at him for wanting to see it. He apologizes that he keeps forgetting she’s a woman. Dude, just stop talking.
He follows her back to the dorms, acting like he’s not trying to rile her up every time she whirls to glare at him. She finally tells him that a “friend” borrowed something from a guy, and is giving him a gift to thank him. She asks if that’s okay, and Joon-hyung says it’s fine as long as it’s not something the “friend” made.
Bok-ju asks what’s wrong with handmade gifts, and Joon-hyung explains that they mean the girl was thinking of the guy while she was making it. If the two aren’t close, that can make the guy uncomfortable.
Bok-ju goes home and opens the beading kit she bought, glad that she didn’t just make a huge mistake. So she keeps it simple, and just writes a note to include with the umbrella, per Joon-hyung’s suggestion.
Shi-ho comes into their room while Bok-ju gets a text confirming her next appointment, and notes that Bok-ju looks pretty happy. Shi-ho thinks Bok-ju must be dating someone, though Bok-ju denies it.
Bok-ju hears from her friends Nan-hee and Seon-ok that Shi-ho went to the boys’ dorm, but Bok-ju is more surprised to hear that Shi-ho used to date Joon-hyung. Her friends point out that he’s cute and popular, but Bok-ju says a guy should be mature.
Their sunbae Sang-chul yells at them for talking instead of working out, and for not cleaning the equipment after using it. Team captain Woon-ki breaks up the argument and takes responsibility for not training the girls better. Sang-chul takes offense to him letting them off so easily, and gets even angrier when Woon-ki runs off to take a call while he’s still talking.
Bok-ju scarfs down her lunch in order to make it to her appointment with Jae-yi in time, while her friends vent about the sunbaes cracking down on them. She runs to her room to look for something to wear that isn’t black or grey, and runs to the clinic excitedly. She stops and puts the red barrette in her hair, then goes in.
Bok-ju gives Jae-yi the umbrella back, and she’s thrilled when he notices her barrette and says it’s pretty. She’s disappointed when she hasn’t lost any weight yet, but Jae-yi assures her that it’s still early.
He asks her major, but she doesn’t want to tell him she’s a weightlifter for fear he’ll think her unfeminine. She sees a statue on his desk of a man holding a cello, and blurts out that she’s a cellist. Jae-yi guesses that’s how she got so muscular, carrying around such a heavy instrument.
He chatters excitedly about how much he loves classical music, and Bok-ju is saved from having to answer questions by her phone. It’s her dad, who says he’s bringing some chicken to her dorm, so Bok-ju quickly excuses herself and rushes out.
She runs as fast as she can, scared that her dad will run into her friends and find out where she’s been. She nearly collides with Joon-hyung on his bike, and begs him to give her a ride back to the dorm. He teases her about her barrette, pleased as punch to have her asking him for a favor, and agrees to take her.
He can barely pedal with Bok-ju flailing and whacking him in the back, and struggles to manage both their weights. He makes it to the dorm where she jumps off and runs inside, and from a little distance away, Shi-ho sees them together and looks surprised.
Bok-ju intercepts her dad in the dorm lobby and stops him, and he doesn’t understand why she’s so adamant that he doesn’t go to her room. She grabs the chicken and sends him on his way, relieved.
Joon-hyung has his first therapy session, and his therapist says his test results show that he’s under a lot of stress. He asks about the symptoms that Joon-hyung experiences on match days, and Joon-hyung says that his heart pounds, and everything around him gets muffled. Eventually he can’t hear anything, as if the world is muted.
He says that it usually happens during matches, but lately it’s happened during practice a few times. The therapist asks about any shocks or traumatic experiences, thinking it could be a panic disorder. Joon-hyung says that he can’t think of anything shocking, though something about his answer seems too casual.
The therapist notices too, and notes that Joon-hyung doesn’t like exposing his vulnerabilities. Joon-hyung says he’s not that complicated, but the therapist thinks that’s just denial, and says that patients like Joon-hyung are the hardest to treat.
Joon-hyung sits outside later, and thinks about what came to mind when the therapist asked about his first symptoms. He remembers being small and his mother drying his tears with her handkerchief, the postcards she sent from Canada, and then blank postcards he found in a drawer in his aunt’s desk. Awww, is his aunt sending the postcards?
Jae-yi joins him and asks how his session went. Joon-hyung says the doctor is very good, and Jae-yi gives him some encouragement and offers to give him a ride home. Joon-hyung sees the umbrella in a pretty bag in the car, and Jae-yi explains that he lent Joon-hyung’s umbrella to someone who returned it.
He says she’s just a patient, and swears he’s too professional to fall for a client. But Joon-hyung doesn’t believe him and asks if the girl is pretty, and Jae-yi admits that she is with a sheepish grin.
Joon-hyung’s roommate Tae-kwon notices the bag with the umbrella, and finds the card that Bok-ju included, unsigned. Joon-hyung reads it and sighs that Jae-yi has mesmerized another college girl.
Up in their room, Shi-ho tentatively asks Bok-ju how she knows Joon-hyung. Bok-ju says they went to the same elementary school, and confirms that she knows he and Shi-ho dated. Bok-ju sees Shi-ho stretching, and determinedly does her own exercises.
Team captain Woon-ki doesn’t show up for practice, so Sang-chul is instructed to lead the morning run. Coach Choi wonders what happened, and why Woon-ki would skip practice without calling her.
Bok-ju takes smaller portions than usual at lunch, then Joon-hyung swoops in and steals her lunch tray for himself. He makes a big deal out of her normal-sized portions, and plays keep-away with her tray, holding it up above her head while she jumps and screeches. He clearly enjoys the fact that she keeps bumping into him, but his fun stops abruptly when Shi-ho approaches them.
Shi-ho clamps onto Bok-ju’s arm as if they’re besties, and informs Joon-hyung that they’re roommates. She invites herself to eat with them, resulting in the most awkward meal ever. Shi-ho makes a show of putting food on Joon-hyung’s plate like a doting girlfriend, which annoys him so much that he leaves the table.
Shi-ho follows him outside, and asks why they can’t even share a civil meal. He says they can, he just doesn’t want to make the others uncomfortable. He calls her selfish and starts to walk away, but she stops him, saying, “Let’s get back together.”
Joon-hyung looks at Shi-ho like she’s lost her mind, and she agrees that it seems ridiculous since she broke up with him. She blames the pressure she was under at the time, with the national team trials coming up, and she wasn’t improving in her gymnastics.
In flashback we see that Shi-ho’s coach had berated her for her bad form and balance, and had yelled at her in front of the entire gymnastics team. She’d broken up with Joon-hyung that same day, saying that she wanted to focus on her training and didn’t have time for him.
Now Joon-hyung tells Shi-ho that she had her reasons, but he had just been disqualified from an important competition and was having a harder time than she was. He’d already felt like killing himself, then she’d broken up with him with no remorse.
Shi-ho admits that she was too impatient to comfort him and selfish, and apologizes. She promises that things will be different this time, but Joon-hyung says coldly that he’s not that easy, and walks away.
Bok-ju’s friends wonder what that was all about between Shi-ho and Joon-hyung, but Bok-ju’s too busy thinking about her next appointment with Jae-yi to pay attention. They spot Woon-ki heading back to the training room, and decide to lay low in case the coaches are angry with him.
It’s not the coaches that are upset, but the other sunbaes, especially Sang-chul. Woon-ki apologizes and asks them to let him talk to the coaches first, but Sang-chul accuses him of blowing them off, and yells that he owes them an explanation for skipping practice without notice.
Woon-ki says his reasons are personal, but Sang-chul thinks he’s been offered a spot on a semi-professional team, and his jealousy bubbles over. He calls Woon-ki a traitor, and grabs his phone away when it rings. Woon-ki finally explodes, and the argument escalates to shoving and yelling.
The coaches break up the fight, and force the entire team to hold push-up positions on the mat. Urgh, that looks painful. Coach Yoon is so furious that he has to leave the room, leaving Coach Choi to watch over them.
They hold the position for what looks like hours, until Coach Yoon comes back and releases them. They’re told to come outside, where they find that Coach Yoon has set up a huge picnic and is cooking mountains of meat for them.
Coach Yoon tells the team that he has diabetes, and isn’t supposed to eat meat. He does anyway, because he’d rather live a happy life than a healthy one. He tells the team to live that way too — do what makes them happy, rather than what will win a gold medal.
His words land solidly with the team, and both captain Woon-ki and sunbae Sang-chul humbly apologize. Coach Yoon adds that he knows the seniors are worried they won’t be offered spots on semi-professional teams when they graduate, but reminds them that the game isn’t over yet.
Later Woon-ki approaches the coaches in private, and says that he needs to leave again. Coach Yoon tells him to go, asking if everything is okay. Woon-ki assures them that things are fine, and Coach Yoon tells Coach Choi that they have to trust their team members.
All this makes Bok-ju late for her appointment with Jae-yi, and she rushes over as fast as she can. It’s pouring down rain, but she gave back the umbrella, so she’s soaked to the skin by the time she arrives at the clinic.
Jae-yi is playing classical music in his office, and he congratulates Bok-ju on losing a little weight since last time. He leans over her to explain her test results, and she goes starry-eyed to have him so close. He eventually notices that she’s not paying attention to what he’s saying, and Bok-ju fibs that she was listening to the music.
That gets Jae-yi yammering excitedly about music, and Bok-ju somehow manages to sound as if she knows what he’s talking about. She dries her face with a tissue, and Jae-yi leans in very close to pluck a piece of wet tissue off her face, flustering Bok-ju all over again.
Nan-hee and Seon-ok walk home in the rain, assuming that Bok-ju is out doing deliveries for her father. Seon-ok feels bad for eating so much fried chicken at Bok-ju’s father’s expense over the years, so they decide to head over to the restaurant and help out for a while.
Business is slow tonight, and Uncle Dae-ho is also wondering where Bok-ju is these days. Dad says that she’s training for a competition coming up, so he’s surprised when Nan-hee and Seon-ok show up without Bok-ju. At Dad’s confusion, Nan-hee fibs that Bok-ju said she was going to a sauna. She drags Seon-ok out, calling Bok-ju a sly fox.
They’re waiting when Bok-ju tries to sneak into her dorm room, and they demand to know where she’s been sneaking off to lately. Bok-ju stammers that it’s embarrassing, and Nan-hee stares at Bok-ju’s butt as she asks if she went to see a doctor for “it.”
They think her hemorrhoid has flared up again, HAHA, and Bok-ju decides to let them think that. They reassure her that it will get better soon, and Bok-ju cringes to herself, noting how easily the lies are coming to her now.
Safe in her dorm room, she pulls up the song Jae-yi was listening to in his office, and Shi-ho expresses surprise that Bok-ju likes classical music. She abruptly mentions Joon-hyung, saying that he’s charming and caring, but Bok-ju says she hasn’t noticed those things about him.
Shi-ho says that she wants to get back together with him, but that she broke his heart so he’s not open to the idea. She asks for Bok-ju’s help, saying that she seems close to Joon-hyung. Bok-ju insists that she isn’t, but by Shi-ho’s calculating expression, I don’t think she believes her.
Coach Yoon admits to Coach Choi that his speech to the kids was mostly bluff — he’s actually very worried they won’t get any offers to join semi-professional teams after graduation, and will end up unemployed. Coach Choi says that there are only a few competitions left for them to prove themselves, and tells Coach Yoon that she has an idea.
Aww, as it turns out, the reason Woon-ki missed practice is because his wife had a baby. Coach Yoon calls him with Coach Choi’s idea, which is to increase his muscle mass and compete in a higher weight class. Woon-ki says he’ll think about it, and Coach Choi has another idea.
They go to see Bok-ju’s dad with the idea that Bok-ju should also increase her weight class. It would make it easier for her to win a medal since there isn’t much competition in the higher weight class, and also allow the older girls in her current weight class a chance at medaling. Dad sighs, knowing that increasing weight is hard.
What Dad doesn’t know is that Bok-ju is trying to do the opposite and lose weight instead of gain it. Jae-yi offers her a reward for losing more weight, and tells her to think about what she wants as her reward. Bok-ju giddily runs out to change, and as she’s smiling at herself in a mirror, she hears from behind, “What are you doing here, Chubs?”
She turns in horror to see Joon-hyung standing there glaring at her accusingly. He realizes by her clothing that she’s a patient, but before he can get a coherent sentence out, Jae-yi joins them. Joon-hyung calls him “hyung,” and Bok-ju’s eyes grow huge as she realizes that her crush and her tormentor are related.
Oh, this is about to get very complicated. Bok-ju likes Jae-yi, who does seem to at least acknowledge that she’s pretty and interesting. But as her doctor it would be highly unethical for him to date her, at least while she’s enrolled in his program, which I’m sure Bok-ju doesn’t realize. Plus, he’s about to find out that this is the girl his cousin likes, and I have a feeling that Jae-yi is the sort of man who would never go after the girl Joon-hyung likes in a million years. He feels badly enough about Joon-hyung’s difficult life, and I know he’d never do anything to cause Joon-hyung pain. He’s a good guy that way.
And poor Joon-hyung is going to be crushed to realize that Bok-ju likes Jae-yi. I still don’t think he even knows that he has feelings for her, because the way he reacts to her is so different than his relationship with Shi-ho. It’s like Bok-ju throws him back to his elementary school days and he can’t stop teasing her like a kid with his first crush. But as cute as Joon-hyung is when he’s giving her a hard time, Bok-ju clearly doesn’t appreciate it, and for that reason alone I’m ready for him to grow up a little when it comes to her. So maybe this will be the wake-up call Joon-hyung needs to start treating Bok-ju like the girl he cares for, instead of the “Chubs” he feels comfortable tormenting.
I’m very happy to see the show handling Bok-ju’s weight loss in a healthy manner, and that Jae-yi isn’t treating her as if she’s just overweight. A weightlifter would be mostly muscle, and require a very personally-tailored weight loss program, and it’s good that the show isn’t just acting as if Bok-ju is unhealthy and unattractive. Jae-yi repeatedly stressed that she’s already very healthy, and I loved how he even said that he hates that people see models and think that’s how they should look. The show is taking a very realistic but open-minded approach to the issues of weight and health, which I really appreciate.
In that vein, I do think that we’ll soon find out that Shi-ho probably has, or will develop, an eating disorder. Rhythmic gymnasts are universally very thin, and it’s a reality of the sport that athletes are often pressured about their weight to an unhealthy degree. We’ve already seen Shi-ho respond to stress by eating in an unhealthy way more than once, so I won’t be surprised if she goes off the deep end. It should be interesting to watch the contrast between Shi-ho and Bok-ju, as Shi-ho turns to unhealthy eating while Bok-ju is learning to eat and exercise in a balanced and safe environment.
I do think Shi-ho is starting to show her claws, now that she’s seen Joon-hyung and Bok-ju together. I still think that she doesn’t so much want Joon-hyung back for himself, but because he reminds her of a time when she was the queen of all she surveys — top gymnast at school, on the fast track to the national team, dating the popular hotshot swimming star. She seems as though she’s unraveling, and grasping for anything to bring back those days when everything was right in her world. Getting Joon-hyung back is one of those things. So it’s bad enough that he’s drawing a pretty clear line of refusal without any outside influences, but when Shi-ho sees that he actually likes someone else… well, it ain’t going to be pretty.
It was pretty brilliant of her to ask for Bok-ju’s help getting back with Joon-hyung — she simultaneously staked her claim, and put Bok-ju in a position where she’s helping Shi-ho rather than trying to get together with Joon-hyung herself. It would be a pretty effective way to stifle Bok-ju if she were interested in Joon-hyung, because now she’s sworn that she doesn’t see him that way. Later on, if Bok-ju does realize she likes Joon-hyung, she’ll remember that Shi-ho likes him and (Shi-ho hopes) not act on her feelings.
But right now I’m most worried about the conflict of interest that Bok-ju is about to face in regards to her personal and professional goals. It makes perfect sense to have her increase her muscle mass and move to a higher weight class, so that both she and the smaller girls have a better chance at winning. But she’s trying to lose weight for personal reasons, and she’s going to have to make a choice between her career, and her goals as a young woman who wants a guy to like her. It’s not going to be an easy choice, and everyone is going to pressure her to make the decision they feel is best. But it’s Bok-ju’s decision, and at this point I have no idea what to expect.
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