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Chicago Typewriter: Episode 10

What we’ve learned casts a new light on the events of the past, and it’s finally time for people to start facing their demons. It’s good to know that Seol isn’t alone when the newest chapters of the story contain both blissfully happy and painfully terrifying memories, and that the writer penning the tale is prepared to take each step with her to the very last page.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

Hwi-young deepens his kiss with Soo-hyun, and when they’re in the clear, he pulls away. Soo-hyun is still fixated on the idea that he was her masked rescuer, and Hwi-young takes a few beats before replying that he’s sorry to disappoint.

Tucking her hair back in her hat, Soo-hyun returns his pocket watch. He pulls her back to examine her bleeding arm, but she matter-of-factly tells him to ignore it, adding that their kiss wasn’t personal.

Hwi-young returns to Carpe Diem, where Yul reports that “Sapsaree” is fine but suffered an injury. As Soo-hyun sings onstage, Yul says that he plans on settling down with her, and Hwi-young’s face falls. Soo-hyun changes into her disguise following the performance, and she thinks back to her kiss with Hwi-young as she removes her lipstick.

She recalls the club madam warning her that love is not an option for them as freedom fighters because it puts their lives at risk. Hwi-young also recalls the kiss while sucking on a cinnamon stick, explaining to Yul that lighting a cigarette can easily make one into a target.

He then instructs Yul to pretend to be the masked man who saved Soo-hyun’s life all those years ago. While it’s true that Hwi-young was the one behind the mask, he won’t run the risk of Soo-hyun ever finding out that he’s the ringleader of their youth activist group.

Yul argues that Soo-hyun can keep a secret, but Hwi-young believes there’s a difference between withstanding torture when you know the truth, and not being able to talk because you don’t know the answer, and he doesn’t want her to carry that burden. When Soo-hyun joins them, he opts to stick to his playboy act rather than hang out with them.

Soo-hyun chases after him, yelling at him for his love of booze and women, and Hwi-young levels with her: “What are you? What are you to tell someone to give up their hobbies? Are you my wife?”

She gulps and backs away as Hwi-young draws closer to ask if she’s jealous or if she’s taking this personally. He asks if today’s “lesson” stirred any feelings for her, then detects that she’s wearing perfume. He scolds her for trying to act feminine, and she storms out to cry on the stoop.

She’s spooked when Yul speaks to her with his face half-covered. He places a Carpe Diem matchbox in her hand and repeats the same instructions Hwi-young gave her as a young girl.

She brightens and asks if he was her masked rescuer, and Yul confirms it, saying that she’s pretty when she smiles. He takes her on a ride around town on his bicycle and they pass by Hwi-young, who looks on forlornly.

In the present, Se-joo stays up all night to write this installment, and when Jin-oh looks over it in the morning, he asks if this is creative writing or Se-joo’s memories.

Se-joo isn’t entirely sure—he wrote anything that came to his head. Jin-oh remarks that Se-joo’s writing will soon surpass his own memories, which prompts Se-joo to ask who Soo-hyun loved: Hwi-young or Yul?

Yul replies that only Soo-hyun would be able to answer that because they lived in a dangerous time where it was of utmost importance to mask one’s feelings. It seems to him that pursuing love is hard in any generation, noting that people now wish to protect their pride and mask their feelings using the “push-pull” approach.

Se-joo feels like he’s learned an important lesson from Hwi-young’s approach toward love. Reminded that the straightforward approach is best, Se-joo calls to wake Seol, asking her out on an early morning date.

She flies out of bed to meet him at the park, where Se-joo is waiting with a pair of bicycles and says that he just really wanted to ride bikes with her today. She’s reluctant, but when he says they’ll make it a race for original manuscripts of his previous novels, and she grabs a bike and rides off. They’re breathless after a happy and competitive ride, and when she complains that he had the advantage, Se-joo offers to give her the advantage in the next round.

Cut to: an indoor shooting range, where Se-joo declares that the best out of four shots will be the winner. She’s impressed when his first bullet hits the bullseye, calling him a natural: “You’re a total sniper.” And this time it’s Se-joo who asks, “Do you… remember me? We met a very long time ago.”

He fires two more shots and lines up for his final shot, saying they met about eighty years ago. After the last bullet hits outside the bullseye, he turns to her and tells her everything: They were both independence fighters in Gyeongseong (now modern-day Seoul) and she was a sharpshooter.

He admits that he previously didn’t want her to recall her past life, but now he stands firm that whomever it was she shot down as Soo-hyun, it was for the sake of their homeland. That’s a fact she should be proud of, not fear.

He calls her by her codename “Sapsaree” (which also happens to be the breed of dog that Gyeon-woo is) and orders her to take her turn. He looks on with pride as Seol takes four clean shots in the bullseye. He ruffles her hair, and she jokes that it feels like she’s become Gyeon-woo. Afterward, she thanks him for tapping into his own novel as a way to comfort her.

Se-joo says she can think whatever she likes but she mustn’t forget that it’s no coincidence that they met. He instructs her to read the next installment tomorrow because it’s a story that’s about the both of them. He warns that reading the next installment could bring up more memories, but she must tell him everything instead of suffering in silence.

She agrees, then bristles when he tries ruffling her hair again. He promises to give her an original manuscript and first edition of his books for winning their bicycle race, and then gently takes her hand in his. Cute.

Elsewhere, Seol’s mother drops her things when she learns that the novel Chicago Typewriter is extremely popular nowadays, and rushes to read it. Back at the house, Jin-oh marvels at the endless stream of praise from Se-joo’s readers while Se-joo drinks it in, saying that the internet always breaks whenever his writing is published.

He dismisses the readers who are rooting for Yul and Soo-hyun to get together, and Jin-oh says he’ll be in charge of that storyline. At Se-joo’s skepticism that Soo-hyun would fall for him, Jin-oh says they’ll need to ask Soo-hyun/Seol herself, and then it occurs to him that this tale requires all three of their perspectives to be complete.

At the animal hospital, Seol reads the latest installment, realizing that the stories are exactly like her memories. She knows what happened the night of her first mission and how Soo-hyun felt that night. Thinking back to Se-joo’s explanation that they met in their past lives, she realizes that he and Hwi-young share the same face.

She’s spooked when Se-joo shows up just then with his first editions in hand. She nods in confirmation that she’s read the latest installment, and he asks if it brought back any new memories. Noticing her face flush bright pink, he chuckles, knowing exactly which memory sprung to mind.

He follows her out when she tries to get some fresh air, pleased that she didn’t think of anything unpleasant. She can’t bring herself to look at him, to which he threatens to do something “for the sake of their homeland.” Do it, do it!

He swoops in like he might kiss her, and when she gets shy, he smiles to know that his theory has been confirmed. She agrees to have dinner together tonight, unaware that Mom is watching them from across the street, looking terrified at the sight of Seol and Se-joo together.

The publication team celebrates the success of the book at the restaurant where Bang-jin works. Wondering why Tae-min’s mother has it out for Se-joo, they toss around the theory that Se-joo is Writer Baek’s illegitimate child. Ji-seok slams his spoon down to put a stop to their gossip.

Ji-seok is soon called back to his office by Writer Baek, who asks that Fate doesn’t go through its fifth printing because he feels Tae-min is too reliant on the book’s success and that it’s preventing him from writing something new.

Ji-seok promises to follow up with Tae-min, then carefully asks if something happened to Se-joo while he lived under Writer Baek’s roof because it appears his wife is trying to sabotage Se-joo.

Writer Baek immediately confronts his wife about it, but she refuses to stop until Se-joo is ruined and her husband agonizes over his downfall. Writer Baek counters that he and Tae-min are the ones who should be begging for forgiveness for what they did to Se-joo ten years ago. And then it dawns on her that her son stole Se-joo’s work.

A female student hangs back following Tae-min’s lecture to ask him to sign a first-edition of Fate. He freezes when she asks how it feels to sign a book he didn’t write, explaining that her brother — a Se-joo fanboy — told her the truth. Tae-min glowers and demands to know who she is, but she doesn’t answer.

Se-joo finds Jin-oh straining himself to practice bodily possession and wondering why there’s no book on this subject. He tells Jin-oh to write one himself, then heads out for his dinner date with Seol.

Jin-oh shows up in his car, though, and reminds him of the clause in their contract stating that they’ll always stick together. He’s determined to make himself visible to people soon, and sits next to Seol at dinner while she tests Se-joo’s knowledge about their past lives.

Knowing the name of the club isn’t enough, since that appears in the novel, but in unison they name the song she sang on stage, and she finally believes him. He tells her that he began remembering bits of his past life when he saw the antique typewriter in Chicago, which Seol then delivered to his home.

Jin-oh smiles as Se-joo explains that the typewriter and the gold pocket watch belonged to him when he was Hwi-young. Seol marvels at all these connections, then asks about the other man in their group — a tall, handsome man named Shin Yul.

Jin-oh looks to be on the brink of tears watching Seol explain that Yul was the first face from her past life she saw clearly, though she only recently learned his name thanks to the novel. “She remembered me first,” Jin-oh states.

She remembers how kind Yul was when he taught her how to shoot, and wonders if he’s also been reincarnated. The moment is interrupted by a bitter Dae-han, who adds that Bang-jin is on her way.

Jin-oh starts to panic since Bang-jin is the only other person who can see him. He tells Se-joo (who’s on his phone to avoid looking crazy) that he can’t disappear because he’s spent too much time away from the typewriter.

Se-joo orders Jin-oh to leave, though Dae-han mistakenly thinks that those words are directed at him. So Dae-han sends Seol on an errand so he can have a minute alone with Se-joo.

Meanwhile, Jin-oh fails in his attempt to disappear, so he’s forced to engage in conversation with Bang-jin outside the restaurant. He accidentally calls her by name, and when she wonders how he knows that, he awkwardly replies that Seol told him. She prevents him from vanishing like a ghost, asking for any kind of identifiable information on him, like a full name.

He asks her to loosen her death grip on him, and when she does, he gives her his pseudonym, Yoo Jin-oh. As she lingers on the name, Jin-oh makes his escape.

Inside, Dae-han has a stare-down with Se-joo and loses. Ha. He claims to have known Seol, his “signorina,” for much longer than Se-joo has, to which Se-joo counters that he’s known Seol for about eighty years.

So when Seol returns, Se-joo pointedly calls her “Sapsaree” and leads her away. He drops her off at home, and when she pouts from his simple goodbye, he pulls her back to embrace her. He reminds her to tell him if she remembers anything else from their past and leaves.

Bang-jin happens to catch the tail end of that exchange and congratulates her friend on her new relationship. Little do they know that Bang-jin’s mother is hollering at Seol’s mom inside, astounded at her gall to show up after leaving her daughter twenty years ago.

Mom claims to have something urgent to tell her daughter, but Bang-jin’s mother screams at her to leave before Seol arrives. But that’s when the girls enter, and Mom turns to face her daughter.

Seol and her mother sit together in the bedroom, albeit with some physical distance. Seol wonders why Mom has sought her out now after so many years have passed, barely able to keep her bitter resentment from spilling over.

She thought perhaps her mother would show up at her father’s funeral, that Mom would take her in again because they were all each other had. She’d resolved to resist once before following her, but Mom never came for her.

Mom sheds tears of apology, but it’s too little too late and Seol asks her mother to leave. “Do you still see events of your past life?” Mom ventures. She remembers how much it pained Seol to speak about how she took someone’s life.

Seol can’t believe her ears when she’s asked if she remembers anything else, asking if Mom intends to be a part of her life again if she’s free of those memories. “No,” Mom answers, “I’m here to tell you the real reason why I left… I also have memories of my past life.”

She explains that she left because she was afraid that their ill fate they share in their previous lives would spill over to the present, and that Seol would remember more horrific memories she shouldn’t.

Seol demands to know what that was, and when Mom’s eyes fall on a photo of Se-joo, she warns her daughter from getting involved with him. Mom can’t say why and warns her daughter from letting history repeat itself and tells her to forget everything about her past life.

Se-joo and Jin-oh return home, where Jin-oh laments at being unable to become visible to Seol. Evidently, his ghostly powers are tied to the typewriter. But Jin-oh finds hope in Seol remembering his face from her past life. The doorbell rings just then, and Jin-oh comments that the doorbell is always followed by something unpleasant.

It’s Tae-min, who drunkenly stumbles over to Se-joo for a hug. After Se-joo pushes him away, Tae-min falls to his knees asking for the rough draft of Fate. He knows he can’t find success again if he has to start all over and can’t bear to face public scrutiny. Cry me a damn river, you creepy plagiarizing pet abuser.

But Se-joo agrees just as Tae-min passes out. After tucking him in, Se-joo heads back downstairs where Jin-oh sternly warns him against trusting Tae-min. He confirms that he recognizes Tae-min from the ’30s and knew him to be a duplicitous person then, but he waited to say anything because it was possible that Tae-min could’ve been a decent man in this life.

There were two people Jin-oh wanted to meet in order to figure out how he died. Tae-min was one of them… and the other was the club madam at Carpe Diem—Sophia, aka Seol’s mom.

Speaking of whom, Mom wakes later that night and sheds tears watching her daughter sleep. She apologizes to Seol, unaware that her daughter is awake, and slips out. But Seol follows and calls out to her, vowing to herself to never see her mother again if she leaves without a word.

Tears fall from her eyes as Seol asserts that she doesn’t believe anything Mom has told her. Unlike her mother, she won’t leave the people she loves because of something that happened in a past life.

“I’m not at all scared. I’m not at all afraid. Because I’m not alone; we’ll overcome it together. What I really can’t forgive is how you didn’t have the slightest desire to overcome the past with me. Look at you now, you’re trying so hard to run away,” Seol continues.

She believes that destiny can change and vows never to live like her mother did, and heads inside.

Se-joo sits in his bedroom the following morning, thinking back to his conversation with Jin-oh, who didn’t remember much about Tae-min and Madam Sophia apart from their faces and names. He was certain that they were key figures in solving the mystery of his death.

He gets a call from Seol asking him to meet up, and Tae-min wakes in time to overhear Se-joo leaving the house. Sneaking into Se-joo’s office, Tae-min immediately starts searching for the Fate manuscript, to no avail.

He has no idea that Jin-oh is standing in the corner, glaring at him. He finds the pages in a drawer and laughs. Jin-oh remarks, “Still living like a rat, I see, Heo Young-min.”

And then Tae-min turns to him, asking, “Who are you?” Oh shit, he can see him!

Jin-oh is just as surprised, thinking, You can see me?

Seol is at the indoor shooting range, thinking of her mother’s warnings as she fires her gun. She gets glimpses into her past, and one memory sticks in her head: the one where she bursts into the room as Soo-hyun, her gun trained on the back of a man’s head.

And this time, the head turns slowly to reveal… Hwi-young. A shot rings out. Seol lets go of her gun and crumples to the floor, clutching her chest.

This is how Se-joo finds her, and he asks if she’s okay. Her mother’s warning about bad fates still ringing in her ears, Seol begins to cry.

 
COMMENTS

Arrrrrrgh, Mom! How dare you show up after ghosting on Seol for years and show up just to warn her not to let history repeat itself! We’re not told exactly when Mom started seeing glimpses into her own past life, I can’t believe that it was this fear that led to her decision in putting distance between them. Look Mom, if you really thought it prudent for your daughter to stay away from certain people in her life, then you really could’ve done a better job at well, I don’t know, staying to protect her.

What annoys me more is how her words got into Seol’s head because even if she was a terrible mother, she is still Seol’s mother. Thinking back now, we were clued in pretty soon after Mom’s first appearance as Madam Sophia, when Bang-jin’s mother mentioned that one’s enemies from a past life are born as their children (which then leads to the question: What kind of grave crime did Writer Baek commit that he’d get Tae-min as a son?). Seol was well on her way to overcoming the trauma of her past life—with Se-joo at that—and now everything in her world is spiraling around her because she also saw Hwi-young’s face in that last flashback. But until we see a bullet in a man’s head, I refuse to believe that the fragmented memories are the whole truth.

I thought we’d seen nearly all there was to the past in Episode 9, almost having forgotten that there was still the overarching mystery of Jin-oh’s death and that Soo-hyun had shot someone dead. I’m not surprised Tae-min is another reincarnated soul—one with a villainous past, at that—since he didn’t offer much to the story past his inferiority complex. But what scares me now is that he’s the third person in this dramaverse who can see Jin-oh—is it pure coincidence that this ability came to fruition after he got his hands on Fate? It was fair of Jin-oh to try and give Tae-min’s reincarnated soul the benefit of the doubt, but what will happen if he becomes visible to more people? Tae-min’s crazy mother has nothing on him when it comes to violent tendencies, and I honestly fear that it’s only a matter of time before Tae-min also starts remembering things from his past life and goes after Jin-oh. Stay away from our ghost!

Even in Seol’s darkest moments now, I’m still so proud of her for reaching out to Se-joo and keeping her word to rely on him when things get tough. Ever since Se-joo realized his own feelings for Seol, he has taken it upon himself to take the lead. I loved that he felt it was important to be honest with Seol and encourage her to own her fear. He didn’t push her to remember more than she already did, instead offering to be with her whenever her next memory would come to mind. That kind of support is admirable, and so nice after watching Seol be his constant cheerleader during his writer’s block. It appears that Seol’s fear of shooting a gun is one of the biggest roadblocks in letting history repeat itself, but that doesn’t mean that things won’t come dangerously close as they unlock the past. But you know what? Screw the goddamn consequences, I’m sticking to my guns that Sapsaree can change the future.

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