The Liar and His Lover: Episode 4
Music overshadows everything in Han-gyul’s life, and even when he can see how it affects the people around him, he can’t abandon the pursuit of the perfect song. For a man like him, it’s hard to focus on the woman behind the beautiful voice that inspires him. So when fate — and one determined bassist — intervenes, Han-gyul and So-rim might finally get a chance to know each other beyond the music they love.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
So-rim stands on the roof of Sole Music and thinks of Jin-hyuk’s offer to cast her without her friends. In another part of the building, Jin-hyuk asks Han-gyul to produce So-rim’s group, pointing out that he can’t work exclusively with Crude Play forever.
Not knowing that he’s talking about So-rim and her friends, Han-gyul refuses. When pressed for a reason, he asks what Jin-hyuk intends to do with them. Jin-hyuk is pretty open about wanting to exploit the young band, which makes Han-gyul scoff.
Then Jin-hyuk asks if another version would suit him better. He tells Han-gyul that the band is talented but unformed, and he needs someone trustworthy to mentor them at this crucial point in their career. At the arrested look on Han-gyul’s face, he smiles and says that they should just stick to this version of his intentions.
As Han-gyul walks away, disgusted, Jin-hyuk calls out that he’ll regret not listening to the girl’s voice.
Chan-young comes up to the roof just as So-rim begins to sing. She stares out at the city, while Chan-young stares at her. Chan-young thinks of what Jin-hyuk said as he looks at her: “Her voice is high and beautiful. Its purity is unforgettable. Anyone who makes music will fall in love with that voice.”
Then, So-rim stops with a sigh and turns to leave. Her eyes fall on Chan-young (who’s still staring at her), and she unthinkingly gasps out, “Seo Chan-young!”
He laughs at her reaction, then blocks her way as she tries to shyly walk past him. He asks if she’s a trainee at Sole Music, and she nods. Then she hurries away, giggling to herself. Chan-young watches her run off with a smile.
So-rim is ushered into Jin-hyuk’s office, where he asks for her decision. She politely asks that her friends be included in her debut. Jin-hyuk agrees but makes one last point:
“Think about when you’re thrown to the public. What will happen? I’m not talking about audience’s response. They will have to face themselves in front of the audience. What if it turns out to be more disappointing than they expected?”
He asks if she will be all right with them blaming her, but she insists that they have to try. Jin-hyuk smiles and gets the two boys in. He offers a contract to all three, then immediately sizes them up by marketability.
Jin-woo is tall and Gyu-sun is “chubby,” so he tells them to stand close together to make Jin-woo more attractive to female fans. Ugh. Their story, he tells them, is of three clumsy, normal teenagers finding sudden success. The only real thing they need, he adds pointedly, is So-rim’s voice.
So-rim shows the Sole Music brochure to Grandma and tells her that Jin-hyuk wants to meet her next week. She teases her about how amazing her granddaughter is, but then sobers when she notices her Grandma tearing up.
She tells So-rim that she always knew her granddaughter would find a way to sing all her life. She suggests that they visit So-rim’s parents’ memorial the next day, and So-rim nods.
Alone in her room, So-rim considers calling Han-gyul, then remembers him saying that he doesn’t like girls who sing. She collapses on her bed in frustration.
Chan-young visits Jin-hyuk in his office to ask about the new band. Jin-hyuk admits that he’d asked Han-gyul to produce them, but he turned him down. Chan-young asks if he can fill in for Han-gyul, just like he filled his bassist position in Crude Play years ago. “It’ll be Seo Chan-young’s debut as a producer,” he says with a grin. “I think it’ll be a hit.” Jin-hyuk’s smile falters.
In the Sole Music offices, the staff wonder how they can debut a new band so quickly. One girl wonders what she should research, and when the manager suggests looking up school bands, she gets on the internet. Almost the first thing that comes up is a video by “The Real Crude Play.”
The video focuses on the instruments, cutting out the heads, but the girl recognizes one of the guitars. She takes out her phone and checks out an old recording of a band playing on a school stage. She gasps as she realizes who the copycats are. Are those the actual Crude Play boys?!
So-rim and Grandma visit the memorial, and So-rim tells her mother about the new changes in her life. As Grandma walks away to give her privacy, So-rim wonders aloud what she should do to stay happy with her friends and the person she likes. In her absence, says So-rim, all she can do is trust that her mother is watching over her.
On the way back, she texts Han-gyul to ask if he’s very busy. Han-gyul’s been pulling all-nighters, so on a short break from recording, he decides to take a nap. Shi-hyun covers him with a blanket and notices the buzz of the text, taking note of So-rim’s name.
Back in school, all their classmates descend upon Gyu-sun and Jin-woo to find out how their audition went. They act like nothing is decided, but one girl overhears them talking about their casting. It’s the one who secretly likes Crude Play.
She pretends to drop her pencil box, and as Gyu-sun picks it up for her, she grabs his hand and smiles at him. He’s clearly taken aback but also flattered when she asks him to help carry her stuff home. Jin-woo notices the exchange and frowns.
Chan-young walks into an office to find Yoo-na waiting for her appointment with Jin-hyuk. When he mentions her love triangle, she ruefully admits that with the way the Crude Play boys reacted, she felt like she broke up with all of them, not just Han-gyul.
Chan-young promises that he just likes to watch these emotional dramas from afar. He also mentions that knowing what inspired Han-gyul’s latest track made this all the more interesting. When Yoo-na asks what he means, he casually drops the bomb: “You didn’t know? Han-gyul creates a masterpiece every time he gets dumped.”
After that bit of meddling, Chan-young visits the studio where So-rim is doing test recordings. As she sings with her usual happy abandon, both Jin-hyuk and Chan-young watch her with a smile. Jin-hyuk mentions that Han-gyul would never have given up the band if he’d heard So-rim’s voice.
His smile falling away, Chan-young says darkly that while that is true, Han-gyul was the one to say no this time. Jin-hyuk notes the tone with a wary look on his face.
Chan-young’s words ring in Yoo-na’s ears until she changes course and walks into Han-gyul’s studio. He wakes up to hear his song playing and sees Yoo-na standing at the console. He stops the music and points out that it’s unprofessional to listen to a colleague’s unfinished song. Hiding her tears, Yoo-na apologizes and leaves.
Chan-young and So-rim walk out of the studio together. Noticing her fixed gaze on his face, he teases her about it, and So-rim admits that until recently, the closest she ever thought she’d get to him was at a sold out concert she couldn’t attend. Smiling, he ducks close to her, and So-rim laughs in fangirl glee.
Yoo-na stops Han-gyul as he leaves the studio and apologizes for ending things badly. Han-gyul pretends indifference and tells her that she didn’t mean enough for him to need a pleasant closure or fond memories.
As he walks to the building exit, she stops him again and asks about the song. “Didn’t you write it thinking of me?” she asks. He looks at her steadily and asks if that would make her come back to him. At her silence, he turns and walks out of door.
So-rim is standing outside, and as Han-gyul walks out, she hears Yoo-na call after him. Yoo-na notices her and turns quickly to hide her face. So-rim only glimpses a woman’s back before Han-gyul takes her away from the building.
As the two leave, hand-in-hand, Shi-hyun arrives in a car and observes the pair. He connects the dots and realizes that this girl must be So-rim from the phone texts.
They walk some distance before Han-gyul stops and looks at her. He asks if she’s free to hang out, and she agrees. They walk around together, trying on silly hats, listening to street musicians, and trying their luck at the claw machine with Crude Play merchandise. So-rim walks close enough to bump hands, clearly wanting him to hold hers, but it just makes him laugh. They flirt adorably, but whenever So-rim looks away, Han-gyul’s smile begins to die.
Inside a shoe store, Han-gyul notices one of Yoo-na’s ads and abruptly leaves the shop. So-rim comes out and studies his face as he asks if she wants to eat next, and she asks if he’s even hungry. As he stares at her, she asks if he genuinely wanted to spend the day with her.
With Han-gyul silenced, she says she doesn’t know what to do in this situation and begins to walk away. He stops her and asks what situation she means. “One where someone I like keeps lying to me,” she answers. He suggests that she should get angry, and So-rim guesses that that’s what people usually do.
She declares that she won’t be like everyone else he knows and smiles. Then, his stomach growls, and Han-gyul points out that he at least wasn’t lying about being hungry.
They get lunch at an inexpensive restaurant, and So-rim gifts him one of the miniature microphones she won at the arcade game. She gets some sauce on her lips, and just as she’s about to tell him about her audition at Sole Music, he leans forward to wipe it off. She changes the subject, then asks if he was visiting Sole Music to get a glimpse of celebrities like Yoo-na.
He flicks her forehead and reminds her that he doesn’t like girls who sing, and that sufficiently douses her desire to tell him about her debut right away.
Later, they eat ice cream and walk by a stream. She asks if he feels better, guessing that he spent the day with her because he felt down. He asks how she knew that, and she laughs that she doesn’t know how. Han-gyul tells her to forget about the entire day, but she tells him that it’ll stick in her memory forever.
Han-gyul remarks that she’ll forget all about him once she meets a good guy. She lets him walk a few steps ahead and then slowly asks if he can just stay where he is. She says that she will do her best to get to where he is. He warns her that he’s not a good guy, and So-rim admits that she’s already noticed that about him.
But, she tells him, the more she gets to know him, the more she likes him. Han-gyul wonders how she can be so honest. So-rim answers that she knows the happiness of being able to say what’s in her heart.
Gyu-sun walks his classmate home. She’s clearly angling to be his friend now that he’s signing a contract with a major label, but Gyu-sun is just bemused at her friendliness. As they walk past Grandma’s shop, she notices Han-gyul walking So-rim home and asks if he’s So-rim’s boyfriend. Gyu-sun says that it’s just someone they know and hurries her onward.
Han-gyul gets home and is testing out his tiny pink microphone when Shi-hyun texts and asks about his date with So-rim. He calls Shi-hyun to ask how he knew about the girl, but Shi-hyun is too busy teasing him about dating a school girl to answer.
Han-gyul hangs up on him and immediately gets another text. This one is from Jin-hyuk, asking him to listen to an attached recording of the new band. He ignores it and opens a new project file on his laptop. He thinks of So-rim asking him to wait for her and names the new song, “‘Waiting for You’ by Yoon So-rim.” (He’s writing a song for her!)
At home, singing in her own microphone, So-rim thinks of the woman who had called out to Han-gyul. Her lean, tall body sticks out in her memory and she gets up to examine her own. Aloud, she wonders who she was.
The three friends go in for their recording at Sole Music and are met by Chan-young at the lobby. The boys are surprised at the familiar way he addresses So-rim and by the way he leads her into the studio by her hand. Inside the recording room, the friends argue about whether Chan-young is handsome, unaware that he and Jin-hyuk can hear them on the other side of the glass.
Grinning, Chan-young tells Jin-hyuk that he’s writing a song for So-rim. Jin-hyuk smiles and says he’s looking forward to it. As the trio start their recording, Chan-young gets involved in showing them the ropes of recording in a studio.
Jin-woo and Gyu-sun walk back home while So-rim stays back to practice more. Both friends agree that So-rim is amazing in the confident way she sings in the studio. Then Gyu-sun brings up their contract, wondering if they’re taking advantage of So-rim by tagging along with her. Jin-woo argues that Jin-hyuk must have seen some potential in them too, and Gyu-sun lets himself be convinced.
While dropping So-rim back home, Chan-young asks her if Jin-woo is her boyfriend. She tells him that he’s just a friend and that her style is different. He asks if there is someone specific she likes, and she admits that there is someone. At his grilling, she tells him that he’s a musician.
Hearing her hesitation, he remarks that he knows people who claim to be musicians but are just dreamers in reality. So-rim defends Han-gyul by telling Chan-young that she’s heard his music and he’s very good. In the ensuing silence, she unthinkingly begins to hum Han-gyul’s song.
Surprised, Chan-young veers suddenly towards the pavement and parks the car. He asks how she knew that song, saying that he would like to meet the talented creator. So-rim tells him Han-gyul’s name, and failing to observe his stunned look, bids him goodnight. Alone in the car, Chan-young lets out a disbelieving laugh.
CEO Yoo is having a dinner party. As she sits down at the table with her first guest, HAN YOO-SEOK, he asks her not to get too angry that evening. As if on cue, there’s a knock on the door, and In-woo is shown inside. He’s welcomed in warmly by Yoo-seok, but CEO Yoo looks completely taken aback.
Han-gyul takes a break from work to rummage through a trunk of old cassettes. He picks out one with the label, “Waiting for Han-gyul to be born.” He listens to a few strains of his father’s voice, then childhood memories of watching his father’s song be credited to Yoo-seok invade his mind. He shuts off the music.
Yoo-seok seems to have left CEO Yoo and In-woo alone for a moment. They sit facing each other, and CEO Yoo makes it clear that she doesn’t trust him. In-woo simply says that there’s nothing he can do if she’s made up her mind. Frustrated by his cheerful facade, she snaps that Yoo-seok stole his song, so does he intend to play at his concert now? Or maybe, she adds, he wants to ruin it?
In-woo says that he simply wants to enjoy music with old friends. CEO Yoo scoffs that he still says such things today, and then she asks if he’s really here for money. At this In-woo grows a little serious. He says that he dislikes how she dismisses anything she doesn’t trust. He holds her stare, a wealth of history between them, but then she looks away.
Jin-hyuk arrives as Yoo-seok reenters, and CEO Yoo introduces In-woo as Yoo-seok’s old bandmate. But Jin-hyuk recognizes In-woo as Han-gyul’s dad, and they exchange greetings.
Chan-young visits Han-gyul at the bar where Crude Play originally debuted. It used to be run by In-woo but is owned by Shi-hyun now. Chan-young clearly knows the history of the place and tells Han-gyul that he enjoyed In-woo’s music. Han-gyul dismisses the handful of songs his father wrote, but Chan-young also mentions the songs that were stolen from him.
At Han-gyul’s surprise, Chan-young tells him that he knows a lot of people in the industry. He explains that he didn’t get into music to get into a band, and he feels uncomfortable about being Han-gyul’s stand-in in Crude Play, even today. He points out that Crude Play exists to bring Han-gyul’s music to the world and tells Han-gyul that he wants to mentor the new band so he can have such a vessel for his own songs.
Han-gyul, looking half-guilty, wishes him the best of luck. He assures him that he has no desire to train rookies. But then as Chan-young gets up to leave, hiding a triumphant smile, Han-gyul observes that the rookie band must be very good for him to make all this effort. Chan-young just tells him that he’s not going to let Han-gyul hear them, then leaves, smiling.
Han-gyul walks home listening to So-rim’s rendition of his song. The next day, after school ends, So-rim gets a call from Han-gyul. As she clears her throat before answering, Han-gyul walks up to her and asks if she’s planning on ever taking the call.
He gifts her a box of ice cream, then tells her that it’s a bribe for a favor. He wants her to sing a song he’s writing for her. But So-rim recalls him saying that he doesn’t like girls who sing, and with an almost hurt look, tells him no. She starts walking away, but Han-gyul stops her and asks why.
He argues that she first become interested in him because of his music, so she should be thrilled at his request. Seeing his bewilderment, So-rim asks for time to think before leaving.
Jin-hyuk discusses songs for the new band, and the manager speaks enthusiastically about the one Chan-young had written and sent him. But since Jin-hyuk hasn’t heard it, he decides to put in Han-gyul’s songs instead. When Chan-young comes by the office, he gets a look at the list and realizes that most of the songs are by Han-gyul and that his own is absent.
He calls up Han-gyul and asks if he’d properly refused Jin-hyuk’s offer of producing the new band. Han-gyul repeatedly tells him that he was clear while declining the position, but Chan-young shouts at him to stop being evasive, because Jin-hyuk still thinks that Han-gyul will change his mind.
Chan-young brings So-rim, Jin-woo, and Gyu-sun to the studio and lets them hear his song. They are clearly impressed by it. Then Chan-young tells them that he wants to produce them and asks for their trust. When So-rim asks why he chose them, he says that they give him hope that he can have a path away from Crude Play.
Han-gyul thinks over Chan-young’s words and decides to help him. He goes to the studio and tells Jin-hyuk that he’s listened to the recording he sent him, but he still doesn’t want to do it. Jin-hyuk gets angry as he tells Han-gyul that this could be a chance for him to grow in a way he couldn’t with Crude Play. Jin-hyuk finally seems earnest about something, but he’s cried wolf one too many times. Han-gyul thinks he’s manipulating him again and leaves.
Shi-hyun, In-ho, and Yoon meet up in their practice room and look over the views on their videos. Shi-hyun wonders if the lack of vocals is keeping the videos from going viral. They set up the camera to keep their faces out of view and start recording another Crude Play song.
When Chan-young visits Jin-hyuk’s office again, he’s finally told that he’ll get to produce So-rim’s band. Delighted, Chan-young calls up So-rim. Learning that she’s on the rooftop, he heads up to tell her in person.
Meanwhile, Han-gyul walks through the Sole Music office and is spotted by Jin-woo. Just then, the manager calls Han-gyul “K” and starts talking about his song for Crude Play. Despite trying to hide his face, Jin-woo rounds on him and shouts, “You’re K?”
As Chan-young finds and tells So-rim the good news on the roof, the manager scolds Jin-woo for being rude to a star like Han-gyul when he’s just debuting. Han-gyul’s eyes widen as he realizes that Jin-woo is contracted with Sole Music — then, even as the dots connect, Gyu-sun arrives and he asks weakly, “So-rim too?”
So-rim is delighted that Chan-young will produce them and says, “I never dreamed that Chan-young from Crude Play would produce my album! I just dreamed of singing K’s songs.” Chan-young’s smile falters just a little at that, but then she makes him laugh by executing a deep bow of thanks.
Han-gyul finds out that So-rim’s on the roof and races up the stairs. Chan-young asks So-rim to put music before everything else for the next three years, even before the people she likes.
When she grows quiet at that, he promises to put her before everything else in his life as well. He tells her that when she’s a singer, she’ll find that people around her and people who listen to her songs can be very cruel. He vows to be by her side through it all, even offering to quit Crude Play if she wants.
So-rim is discomfited at his seriousness, but he tells her that he’s going to give this gig everything he has for the next three years. Promising to not let her get away, he smiles at her, and she smiles back.
Han-gyul reaches a terrace below the main roof and looks up to see So-rim standing with Chan-young. He moves to head up, but stills when Chan-young extends his hand to So-rim. Smiling shyly, she shakes it with both hands. Han-gyul just stares up at the two from below.
That is a lot of crossed wires for Han-gyul to untangle, but I’m glad it happened. While we all want So-rim to sing Han-gyul’s music someday, they need to base their relationship on something more tangible than his love for her voice. There’s also Chan-young’s palpable enthusiasm for producing this band. I’m curious about his past now, since he made it clear that playing in a band was never his dream. He seems to want the life Han-gyul has — that of a songwriter and producer. But clearly, Jin-hyuk has never given him a chance before this.
I can understand his frustration at being overshadowed by an established talent and forced to remain in a box. It’s the same frustration that’s driving the Crude Play boys to play their own songs and put it up on the net. That came as a real surprise to me and made my heart ache. Here was a group of young boys who wanted to play music for the love of it, but the pursuit of perfection has stripped them of their agency. At some point, they became puppets in their own show and this was their way of trying to regain some dignity and worth.
I don’t know whose situation is more tragic — the band’s for how they are treated by their own label, or Han-gyul’s for knowing what he’s doing, yet being unable to stop himself. That he listened to Chan-young and visited Jin-hyuk to make his refusal clear spoke volumes about how much he wishes things could be different. When he advised Jin-hyuk to keep the new band together, he said that it would be hard. I wonder how much he had to give up emotionally to keep Crude Play together. He’s single-handedly ensured the success of his friends, who might individually never have attained the same heights. But I wonder if he realizes how badly his friendships have been tattered over time.
Jin-hyuk clearly does. His questions to So-rim showed keen awareness of what happens when people with average abilities succeed on the tailcoats of more talented friends. He’s likely witnessed the resentment, frustration, and disillusionment many times over. And this is what makes Jin-hyuk fascinating to me. In one moment he’s a ruthless manipulator, and yet in another, a bit of earnestness seeps out of him. His treatment of Jin-woo and Gyu-sun made my blood boil, but I also suspected that he was trying to prepare the three for how the industry would perceive and use them in the future. By So-rim’s expression, I think she did realize what he was saying.
I’m thoroughly invested in this story of young musicians struggling to retain friendships and choices in the face of fame and expectations. I love So-rim and Han-gyul, but I’m watching this show for the entire cast — and that is highly unusual for me.
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