Chicago Typewriter: Episode 11
I swear this drama aims straight for my heart each and every episode. Protecting one’s emotions will be of utmost importance this hour when revelations hit an emotional bullseye for our main trio and threaten to take the wind out of their sails. But even in the face of constant peril, it will take more than words on a page to shake their resolve and knock the pen out of their hands.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Jin-oh is disappointed when Tae-min doesn’t recognize him since he was hoping they could catch up. He uses his phantom powers to send the Fate manuscript out of Tae-min’s hands, then shoots pieces of paper at the door, trapping Tae-min inside.
Meanwhile, Se-joo rushes toward a distraught Seol at the shooting range, worried that the memory of shooting someone dead popped up again. She nods, and he asks if she saw his face. Recalling Hwi-young looking back at her, she says no.
Se-joo wonders what terrified her then. He laughs when she uses the fallback excuse that he holds her whenever she cries. He obliges, and Seol holds onto him tightly, shedding more tears into his shoulder.
He’s relieved to see her eating so heartily at breakfast, though, and refuses to tell her any spoilers about the novel’s ending. Seol argues that she has a right to know since it’s her past life, scolding him when he claims he doesn’t know how it ends.
Admitting that he has a consultant helping him write the tale, Se-joo promises to tell her everything when the time comes. He notes her concern about him finishing the novel, asking if she doesn’t want to see the story end. She claims she doesn’t want it to end on a tragic note, though acknowledges that Se-joo is contractually bound to complete this series.
Hearing that Se-joo holds that promise with more significance with his consultant makes her jealous. When Se-joo drops her off at home, she asks to meet this elusive person, saying that she wants to know the ending.
Saying it’ll be pretty tough, Se-joo wonders why she’s in such a rush to get to the final page. She mutters she doesn’t know if she can hold out that long, which he takes as words of an impatient reader. He’s confused when she skips away with nary a hug or kiss, unaware that an ashen-faced Seol regurgitates her breakfast inside.
Back at the house, Jin-oh vanishes before Tae-min wakes in bed, disoriented. Tae-min runs into Se-joo downstairs and is led back to the office, where Se-joo hands him the original manuscript of Fate, adding that he promised to give it to him last night.
Se-joo says he no longer needs to cling to the past or turn to anger in order to protect what’s his. He never planned on going public with the truth and it doesn’t matter what Tae-min chooses to do with these pages now. He does, however, advise Tae-min to not give up on his career so easily.
Afterward, Jin-oh is wary about giving Tae-min another chance because he’s certain that Tae-min will betray that trust again. He may not remember every horrible thing Tae-min did in his past life, but there is one memory that stands out.
One night at Carpe Diem, a rowdy drunk man interrupted Soo-hyun’s performance to try and get her to have a drink with him and his posse. Yul and Hwi-young arrived in time to watch her stand her ground, and when the man raised a hand at her, it was Young-min —- Tae-min in his past life — who intervened and threw the man to the ground.
Soo-hyun was taken away while the three men dealt with the drunk man’s posse together. They shared a celebratory drink and exchanged pleasantries afterward; Young-min introduced himself as a struggling poet and recognized Hwi-young by name, taking note of Hwi-young writing for the newspaper.
Soo-hyun thanked him on his way out and nearly addressed Yul and Hwi-young by the usual “hyung-nim” before amending that to “oppa.” That made both men guffaw, but she had the last laugh, chiding them on their clumsy fighting skills.
Young-min took stock of their exchange before slipping out to speak with his lackeys. Knowing that someone hid inside Carpe Diem, he questioned why the club’s reported profits were so low. He guessed that money was going into firearms and was willing to wait to draw the enemy in.
Se-joo nearly chokes at this revelation that Tae-min was a spy for the Japanese in his past life. While Jin-oh isn’t sure if Young-min was responsible for his death, he strongly believes that Tae-min is just as dangerous as his 1930s self.
Conversely Se-joo thinks the past is the past — Tae-min can either choose to burn the manuscript or come clean. He’d rather let Tae-min make that call so he can move on, but Jin-oh solemnly states that unfinished business can’t easily be cast aside and uncorrected faults will only repeat themselves.
“I’ve witnessed someone steal another person’s work and blame the person whose work was stolen from him,” Jin-oh bitterly remarks.
Tae-min bumps into a stranger on his way back to his workspace, causing his bag to spill to the ground. He hurriedly collects his things and heads inside, not knowing that Jin-oh is nearby and magically has the Fate manuscript in his possession.
So when Tae-min frantically searches for a lighter to burn the manuscript, he’s unable to find it. He thinks Se-joo hired the stranger to steal it back and fumes. He then gets a call from that mysterious female college student telling him that her patience is wearing thin, and calls someone to track down who she is.
Seol wakes from a feverish nightmare, still haunted by the memory of clearly seeing Hwi-young’s face turn toward her. She sits in the dark waiting for Bang-jin’s mother to wake with a start, then asks what the medium meant by her recent question of whether she ever carried an urn.
Bang-jin’s mother replies that she sensed a tenacious spirit filled with resentment and regrets, and when Seol shoves a picture of Se-joo at her to get a face reading, she says she already gave him a reading.
She told him that death would frequently knock at his door, spooked when she later learned he was involved in a car accident. Men like him are fated to live a lonely life which is why it’s of utmost importance that they meet the right woman, Bang-jin’s mother continues.
She’s taken aback when Seol asks if her being by his side spells danger for him, then realizes Seol’s anxiety stems from something Mom said. But Seol wants to meet her mother and swings by the restaurant, only to learn that she quit yesterday.
Sitting at a bus stop, Seol decides to leave her decision to be with Se-joo up to fate. She takes out a coin and declares to the universe that heads means “stop” and tails means “go.” She then flips the coin, catches it, and slowly pulls back her hand to check…
Jin-oh and Se-joo are both deep in thought in the office — Jin-oh contemplates how Tae-min can see him while Se-joo worries that Seol is trying too hard to appear cheerful. Both men groan simultaneously, but neither clearly tell the other exactly what they’re worried about.
Seol happens to call Se-joo just as he’s about to leave the house to see her. Remembering that she left him hanging last time, he plays it cool and chuckles to hear that she flipped a coin to make a decision today.
He asks what answer she got from the coin gods, and she replies that they told her to skip work and hang out with him all day today, adding that she mustn’t disobey lest she faces punishment.
The push-pull dynamic continues in the car as Seol marvels at Se-joo’s sweet ride. She smiles when he’s slightly miffed and adds that he’s still better. They spend the day enjoying the warm weather outside, and Se-joo pulls her over to a hat vendor, instructing her to buy two hats so they can continue their date without him being recognized. Lol.
He wears a bucket hat that I think makes him look even more conspicuous, and lets out his inner fanboy to whoop and dance as they watch a girl group perform for a crowd. Heh. They later explore an art gallery, where Seol surreptitiously grabs her camera to capture Se-joo admiring the pieces.
But then Se-joo notices her take the video and strikes a pose, and she skips away. She shakes her head when he wants her to film him donating to a fund supporting prospective authors (though smiles when she turns away).
Seol checks her phone and declares that she has to get going, adding that he has a deadline to keep too. That prompts Se-joo to ask if she’s really okay with him continuing this novel because he thought about closing the Pandora’s box he opened when he said it was a story of their past lives.
He asks if she’ll really be okay regardless of what comes out of that box, and she turns the question back on him. He says he’ll be fine, repeating his own words of advice that fear is merely anxiety of the unknown. He narrows his eyes when she cheerfully says she has to leave, remarking that she’s pushing him away again.
Seol then turns her head and calls out to him. She thanks him for their date, then runs toward him to ask permission to hug him. He worries that someone will recognize him, but then she suddenly wraps her arms around him.
He’s caught off-guard, but Seol holds him even tighter, and as tears well up in her eyes, she says she can feel his heart race. Now we see what answer she got from the coin gods: Heads, meaning “stop.”
Se-joo can feel her body move and asks if she’s crying or shaking. As tears fall from her eyes, Seol says she’s shaking because the longtime fangirl is hugging her idol.
Jin-oh is still trying to solve the mystery behind Tae-min’s sudden ability to see him. But then he remembers that he uttered “Heo Young-min” just before Tae-min turned toward him, and realizes that all it takes to become visible to people is to call them by their names in their past lives.
Seol returns to the animal hospital, where her sunbae worries that she looks like she’s been crying, but Seol swears that she’s quite happy. She then gets a text from Tae-min asking if they can work together in a cafe today, and so she sends her sunbae in her stead.
Se-joo reluctantly takes a call from Tae-min’s mother, who cheerfully asks him to come to her home. She offers to come by his place when he tries to decline, so Se-joo ends up stepping foot inside the Baeks’ home, where Tae-min’s mother greets him warmly.
She sets out a lavish spread for Se-joo and Writer Baek, citing that she prepared everything for Se-joo’s health. She pushes a ginseng dish toward him, and when Writer Baek reminds her that Se-joo hates ginseng, she acts as if she forgot.
But Se-joo remains polite and eats the dish anyway. As Tae-min’s mother pours on the maternal sympathy at how hard it must be for Se-joo, Writer Baek rises from the table, unable to swallow another pretentious word.
Se-joo finally breathes when he exits the house. Seeing Writer Baek outside, he stops to bid him goodbye. Writer Baek explains that his wife is putting on airs because she knows Se-joo has the Fate manuscript.
Se-joo reveals that he gave Tae-min that first draft, not answering when Writer Baek asks if Tae-min sought him out. He advises his former mentor to respect whatever decision Tae-min makes and be at peace.
But the author says he’s unable to because he knows he wasn’t the mentor nor father he should’ve been to Se-joo. He knows he lost his chance and can never be that respectable figure in Se-joo’s life anymore.
Seol packs for another trip away, though Bang-jin worries that her friend may never return. The waterworks don’t work on Seol, so Bang-jin asks her friend to set her up with Jin-oh before she leaves.
Seol gets a call from Tae-min, who asks to speak with her outside. Now the gloves are off and he confronts her for blowing him off. She can sense his boiling rage and asks him to calm down, but Tae-min is beyond reason, reminding her that he wanted them to stay friends: “So why are you ignoring me? Why are you treating me like vermin?”
He grabs her by the shoulders, and moments later, Se-joo pulls up in his car. Se-joo stands between them and asserts that Seol is working for him now — if Tae-min has a problem with that, he can take it up with his lawyer.
Se-joo then leads Seol away, and she later asks in the car how he knew to find her at home. He explains he swung by the animal hospital bearing presents, only to learn that she took a leave of absence.
Realizing that Seol lied to him, Se-joo figured out that today’s happy date was her way of saying goodbye. She asks where they’re headed, and he replies, “The shooting range,” because he thinks that’s where she started lying to him. Smart boy.
She claims she’ll tell him everything now, but he says she’s been given enough time to concoct another lie. Seol confesses, “I… think… I killed you.”
Se-joo immediately pulls over, and Seol repeats herself: “I think I put a bullet in your head in my past life.” She figures this is a horrific memory to come out of the box, and admits she was trying to run away because she can’t withstand this emotional thorn in her side.
Even Se-joo said that it was no coincidence that they met, and now she thinks she knows why. “So I would pay for my crimes,” she tearfully confesses. “So I can my whole life in pain watching you from afar. Even liking you must’ve been divine punishment prepared for me ahead of time, so I would be even more crushed.”
She bids him to take care and find someone who will ensure his longevity, and gets out of the car. He follows suit, but there isn’t anything he can say that will console her anymore.
He can’t tell her that those events strictly happened in her past life because those memories tear at her heart even now, Seol cries. Se-joo argues that she doesn’t know why she killed him — he could’ve been a bad person back then — but even that doesn’t comfort her.
“Don’t you think you’re being a fool? How can you be so sure history will repeat itself?” Se-joo asks. “It’s already happening!” Seol exclaims, adding that he’s already had two close brushes with death since they’ve known each other.
Just then, a motorcyclist zooms in their direction, and Se-joo pulls Seol out of the way. That biker eventually pulls up to a warehouse—it’s that female college student.
Meanwhile, Tae-min hears back from his private investigator and learns that the college student is none other than the younger sister of Se-joo’s stalker-fan who died in Episode 2. The woman’s name is JO SANG-MI, and Tae-min sees footage of her nearly running over Se-joo with her motorcycle earlier that night.
While Se-joo is wheeled into the emergency room, Jin-oh looks at his photo of Seol outside Gwanghamun, wondering if she’ll be able to see him if he calls her Soo-hyun. He waits outside Seongsucheong, matter-of-factly telling Bang-jin that he’s here to see Seol.
Bang-jin is confused when Jin-oh says he’s here to call Seol by name, asking Jin-oh to do that for her instead. Bang-jin’s mother can hear her talking and pops her head out of the gate to order her and the “bastard” she’s with (but can’t see) to come inside.
Bang-jin’s mother sees no one next to her daughter inside (and Jin-oh is hiding behind the door, hee) but angrily points her finger to the space next to her. Bang-jin nudges that Jin-oh is on the other side, saying that it’s rude to not look at his face.
So Bang-jin’s mother sends her daughter out on an errand and speaks into the ether, ordering the ghost to sit. Little does she know that Jin-oh is already sitting down, and he’s told that Bang-jin is unaware of her ability to see ghosts.
She thinks the ghost is showing interest in her daughter, and Jin-oh’s attempts to correct her get interrupted. And then Bang-jin’s mother levels in his line of sight: “You’re a ghost, not a human. Do you know what happens when a ghost pretends to be human? You get fixated on the idea of life. As that obsession grows, you’ll feel sorry for yourself and harbor a deep-seated grudge against the world.”
Jin-oh says he merely wants to become visible to the woman he loves, but Bang-jin’s mother cuts him off again, saying that humans and ghosts should live their own separate ways.
“Don’t bewitch a human’s heart by trying to act human. Don’t harbor false hope in humans, either. It’s easy for you to be nice to them and leave them, but what about the people you leave behind?” Bang-jin’s mother asks. She advises him to make a quiet exit lest he wanders the earth as an evil spirit.
Jin-oh meets Bang-jin on his way out, saying that he doesn’t think he needs to see Seol anymore, and that they won’t see each other again either. She worries that he’s leaving her too, and tearfully asks if it’s so wrong that she likes him, a man she spent days thinking of, whose name she only recently learned.
Seol likes someone else, but Jin-oh keeps asking for someone who claims to have never heard of him, Bang-jin continues. When she finally lets herself cry, Jin-oh takes out his handkerchief and dries her tears with it.
He says he’s not right for her, but before he can explain why, they’re interrupted by Seol calling from the hospital.
Secretary Kang reassuringly informs Seol that Se-joo suffered a mild concussion. Noting that Seol has been waiting outside, she entrusts her to watch over Se-joo.
Seol enters the room and sits by Se-joo’s bedside. She points out that he nearly died because of her again and asks to sit here for a little longer, at which point, she’ll flip another coin and see what the gods say then. If they tell her to leave, she will.
Meanwhile, Ji-seok and Secretary Kang learns that the video footage capturing the motorcyclist has been destroyed. At the same time, Tae-min calls Sang-mi, ready to strike a deal.
Se-joo eventually comes to and smiles to see Seol sleeping by his bedside. She too stirs awake, and when she makes a move to leave, Se-joo grabs her arm, saying, “You were wrong.”
Pulling himself up, he clarifies, “I didn’t almost die because of you, but in those moments of danger… you saved me. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve been shot dead or have died in a car crash, or have been fatally run over by that motorcycle. And my writing career could’ve been lost.”
Seol turns to him, a tear rolling down her cheek. “I said it was no coincidence that we met. Now I think I know the reason why,” he says. “What is that?” she asks. He replies, “You’re supposed to protect me in this life because you couldn’t save me in our past lives.”
“And…” he utters, “I think I loved you in my past life. Nevertheless, I think I closed off my heart so I could date you to my heart’s content when our country was liberated. This isn’t paying for your crimes; this is an acquittal. An opportunity.”
“So today, I’m going to do something for the sake of my homeland,” Se-joo smiles and swoops in to kiss her.
Just lovely. I was floored by the passionate kiss between Hwi-young and Soo-hyun last week, but I downright adore this sweet kiss here. Watching the present-day romance bloom has been a real treat ever since Se-joo embraced Seol, telling her that there were only two of them present. As much as I loved the comedy that his over-the-top crazy reactions brought in the beginning of the series, I very much welcome his character’s development into an emotionally stable rock for Seol to lean on in her time of crises.
I was worried when Seol lied to him at the top of the hour, thinking that we’d entered a possibly endlessly cycle of noble idiocy on her part to protect Se-joo. Her happy goodbye date is another trope we’ve all seen in past dramas, but as it turns out, I had no need to worry because Se-joo figured everything out, pinpointed the moment when the lies began, and called her out on her attempt to run away from her fears. He refused to give her an opportunity to come up with another story, and in that moment of confrontation, Seol came clean about her fears and the pain they caused her.
Her fears that simply being around him will put him in danger is understandable, but the more she believes that she may have shot Hwi-young, the more I’m inclined to think that the victim wasn’t him or that there were crossed wires in the mission’s transmission to shoot him. We know that Young-min was a spy for the Japanese, so it’s possible that once he learned the truth behind Carpe Diem and Yul and Hwi-young’s involvement (remember that Hwi-young said he wrote for the paper?) he submitted the wrong article for the young activists to read.
My heart still breaks for Seol whenever she talks as if the whole weight of the world is on her shoulders and that her being in Se-joo’s sphere of influence alone puts him in constant peril. I could sympathize with her helplessness when it came to her decision of whether or not to stay by Se-joo’s side that she would let the universe decide for her via coin toss. But while she’s busy leaving those decisions up to chance, Se-joo is busy taking active decisions by learning from the past and leaving those same feelings behind to instead move ahead in the future. He gave Tae-min that chance at redemption regardless of who Tae-min was in the past and reminded Seol that it was her courage that saved him so that they could continue to live together day by day.
Speaking of living, it saddened me to think that Jin-oh would consider giving up on his quest for Seol to see him. While Bang-jin’s mother words may hold true in this world that life is for humans to live and not for ghosts to envy, I really do hope Jin-oh will get his shot at a reunion with Seol in the present. Because nothing will bring me more happiness than to see the ol’ gang together again, no matter what time period they’re in.
- Chicago Typewriter pre-empted this weekend
- Pre-emptions in store for Chicago Typewriter, Rebel, Tunnel, Whisper
- Chicago Typewriter: Episode 1
- Persistent fangirl meets crabby writer in tvN’s Chicago Typewriter
- Old friends reunite 80 years in the future in Chicago Typewriter
- Novelist Yoo Ah-in barters in hearts for Chicago Typewriter
- Chicago Typewriter’s star writer, ghostwriter, and anti-fan go for a spin