The Best Hit: Episodes 5-6
Pitch perfect. The Best Hit is hitting all the right notes for me with its zippy humor, heartfelt characters, and inspiring poetry. Surviving the digital age will be an ambitious endeavor for our displaced time traveler who is busy trying to catch up to the times. While Hyun-jae gets acclimated to this new century, he has no idea that there are people who are still clinging to the past and others who are busy trying to carve out their own future.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Hyun-jae returns to his rooftop studio where Woo-seung trips over her own two feet and inadvertently plants her lips on his. She jumps back in alarm a second later and wipes her lips before angrily grabbing him by the collar and calling him a thief. Having beef of his own, MC Drill pushes her aside to interrogate him about his precious car.
Hyun-jae shoves him away, only for Woo-seung to grab a fistful of hair while MC Drill clutches his leg. Ji-hoon intervenes, trying to detach the two leeches off of Hyun-jae, but then they all crash onto the floor.
Cut to: Everyone sitting outside where Hyun-jae claims he’s suffered a bout of amnesia ever since their first encounter when they nearly ran him over. Neither Woo-seung nor MC Drill buy that excuse, so Hyun-jae blusters defensively, “If you only knew who I was…!” At that, Ji-hoon asks if he remembers who he is.
Of course, Hyun-jae sticks to his story that he doesn’t. The trio asks how he knew where they lived, Hyun-jae cites that the phone told him, an absurd-sounding answer to their ears. Once again, he emphasizes that they have no idea who he really is, only to be reminded that he doesn’t know either.
Woo-seung is convinced that Hyun-jae is trying to pull a fast one on them, and rises to her feet to point out that he’s speaking familiarly to all of them. Flabbergasted, Hyun-jae stresses that he’s the oldest one here, and when Ji-hoon asks if he remembers his age, he blusters that he thinks he’s much older.
Although Woo-seung can see the holes in Hyun-jae’s story, they first need to verify Hyun-jae’s identity. So they head to the police station where she smirks at Hyun-jae’s old-fashioned real name, Yoo Bong-jae.
His official record stating that Hyun-jae was born in 1971 and presumed dead in 1994 boggles their minds, and Hyun-jae says the name Bong-jae doesn’t ring a bell. A flashback teaches us that then-World Agency CEO Lee wanted him to use a stage name carefully selected for him by a fortuneteller, citing that all the famous older celebs like actress Hwang Shin-hye, and singers Na Hoon-a and Tae Jin-ah, did the same.
But Hyun-jae chose his own stage name, inspired by a quote on the back of a VHS copy of Dead Poets Society: “Carpe Diem! Seize the day [present]!” (Hyun-jae = present.)
Hyun-jae is relieved when the officer assumes an error in their records and says that it’ll take some time to verify them .He asks if Ji-hoon and Woo-seung have reached a settlement with their respective victims.
As the group munches on triangle kimbap, Woo-seung sighs at her recent string of unfortunate events. In regards to Hyun-jae, Ji-hoon suggests that they let him stay with them until his memory recovers; plus they’re too poor to pay for a settlement. Then they all watch Hyun-jae struggle with the kimbap packaging and roll the seaweed and rice into a ball. Ha.
Once they return to the studio, Hyun-jae claims the bed, insisting that he can’t sleep anywhere else. Ji-hoon questions if knowing his sleeping preferences means he remembers something, and Hyun-jae takes a beat before saying that he thinks that’s the case.
Pointing out that this cramped space can’t house all four of them, Woo-seung suggests that they leave it up to chance. Next thing we know, Ji-hoon is holding out a cup holding game suggestions, but they still need an impartial judge.
There’s a sudden knock at the door, and the deliveryman (cameo by Kwon Ki-jong, the lighting director referee from 1N2D) is happy to oblige. He announces the game: a forehead-flicking battle, wherein they’ll go in a round attacking the person to their left. Whoever squeals, loses.
Ji-hoon lines up his target at Woo-seung’s forehead, only to not-so-accidentally slip, leaving her unscathed. MC Drill is prepared for Woo-seung’s attack, or so he thinks because she swipes his forehead without notice. The force sends him to the floor, his forehead steaming.
That elimination (signified with classic 1N2D sound effects) is followed by Hyun-jae, who calls himself a legend in this game and lands a solid thwump on Ji-hoon’s forehead. But Ji-hoon doesn’t even flinch and remarks, “Did a mosquito just bite me?” Damn.
Offering to show them a real forehead-flick, Ji-hoon cocks his finger-gun and shoots it. As Hyun-jae’s head flies backward, Ji-hoon blows away the imaginary smoke.
Upon hearing Hyun-jae’s elimination, Woo-seung coquettishly praises Ji-hoon, who lets out a hearty laugh.
Suddenly, the room lights up and the music starts as samba dancers come pouring in to celebrate Ji-hoon’s victory. Ha, this imaginary sequence is amazing. In actuality, Ji-hoon is knocked out on the floor, still thinking he’s won. And then the ref announces his elimination.
This means the final round is between Hyun-jae and Woo-seung. She deals the first painful blow, and he doesn’t hold back either. The two masters volley back-and-forth delivering forceful flicks, while snippets of professional sports matches serve as metaphorical references.
Ji-hoon is brought back from the brink when he hears Dad’s voice and stuffs everyone except the deliveryman behind the room divider right before Dad pops his head inside to call him down for dinner. Lol, the occasional thwumps remind us that the battle is still raging behind them.
Dad can hear the noise too, but leaves when Ji-hoon insists it’s nothing. Hearing Ji-hoon call Kwang-jae “Dad,” Hyun-jae thinks, “Then he’s Kwang-jae’s son?” Unfortunately for him, that momentary distraction costs him as Woo-seung swipes at his forehead… and he breaks. Ref: “Out!” Woo-seung revels in her victory.
Hyun-jae has a hard time believing Ji-hoon could be Kwang-jae’s son, though mentally notes that he and Ji-hoon are both 23. Ji-hoon points out his casual tone with him, then hangs on Hyun-jae’s mention of Dad before he’s told to speak freely too. He does and tells Hyun-jae to let him know if he remembers anything. Hyun-jae marvels at how Kwang-jae has a grown son.
Ji-hoon admits to his buddy that Hyun-jae looks awfully familiar. Poor MC Drill (who repeatedly calls him “Woo-seung” in this exchange, still dazed) sports a bump on his head and snuggles up to his friend.
Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon mirror each other in their sleeping positions and habits that night, while Woo-seung stays up studying.
Grandpa catches Bo-hee searching her own name on the internet the next day and tells her nothing good will come out of reading more negative comments. He’s about to leave for a managers’ meeting before remembering that he had a favor to ask of her.
That turns into an impromptu quiz game, and this time Bo-hee gets the correct answer of picking Mal-sook up from nursery later. Once he’s gone, Bo-hee checks the news, and as it happens, the netizens loved her radio appearance and her dim-witted variety persona, so she likes all those positive comments.
Meanwhile, Ji-hoon and MC Drill worry about Hyun-jae keeping a low profile in the apartment. He remembers catching Hyun-jae having the time of his life playing with his smartphone and reiterating the rules to stay invisible.
MC Drill declares that their CEO will be attendance at their upcoming monthly evaluation. Problem is, their potential debut hinges on this event, which is open to the entire company, and he’s still trying to get over his stage fright.
On the roof of the agency, Ji-hoon overhears hotshot trainee Hye-ri hotly complaining to her mother over the phone. He then watches her pull a chair up to the ledge and climb up with her shoes off. She leans forward, and Ji-hoon runs toward her and holds her from behind, thinking that she’s about to jump and end her life.
He tells her to live and become a star, but she shoves him off and threatens to tell the company about his actions. Recognizing him as the oldest trainee in the company, she reminds him that her debut is imminent while his is still a faraway dream and asks which of the two of them would be more suited to dying. That’s harsh.
While Woo-seung eats at a cheap buffet (and eats a dropped egg off the floor), Star Punch’s CEO Young-jae drops by the bakery. He lingers outside the entrance and is startled when Kwang-jae announces his presence from behind.
Young-jae has heard through the grapevine that Kwang-jae’s in debt, but Kwang-jae says it’s none of his business and pesters him to move his fancy car. That’s when Bo-hee gracefully walks out, leaving Young-jae stunned by her beauty. She says she’s off to her workout, and all he can do is gape dumbly.
Then Young-jae runs back to his office and tells his secretary that he’s in a super-important meeting, only to spy on Bo-hee doing yoga on the rooftop through a telescope. Dude, that’s just creepy.
She plays one of her old songs to exercise to, and the sound of the melody prompts Hyun-jae to peek out the door. Seeing her on her mat on the rooftop, Hyun-jae guesses that Ji-hoon must be her son with Kwang-jae.
What follows is another glimpse into the past: Hyun-jae and Bo-hee were running from a pair of gangsters in a club, and he instructed her to stay hidden. She told him to be careful and kissed him, much to his surprise.
Young-jae admires at how graceful Bo-hee looks from his angle, but then we cut back to find out that her bowels are acting up. She runs to the bathroom, leaving her phone behind, and Young-jae is shocked to see Hyun-jae sneak out of the apartment and pick it up.
Young-jae’s rich wife shows up and notes that he looks like he’s seen a ghost. She wonders if he’s being voyeuristic again, and gives him a new set of clothes to wear to his event tonight. He protests, but all it takes is a threat to deprive him of his CEO position to make him meekly comply.
Hyun-jae sneaks back inside the apartment with Bo-hee’s phone (which is still playing music) and vows to himself to bring a smartphone back with him to the ’90s. He jumps when he accidentally opens up the camera function and is amazed by how he can see his own face on the screen.
He unintentionally takes a few photos of himself, and then drops the phone and hides when he hears footsteps approaching. It’s Bo-hee, who finds it mildly odd that her phone is here.
Woo-seung is unable to take a day off of work despite her civil service exam being a day away. Meanwhile, Ji-hoon is singled out at dance practice and repeats the same routine and doesn’t finish until late that night.
He leaves the dance studio late that night and happens to see Hye-ri placing a fabric hanging from the ceiling around her neck. Alarmed, Ji-hoon flies into action again, thinking it’s another suicide attempt. He holds on to her legs and reminds her to live up to her Dok Hye-ri (Tough Hye-ri) nickname.
Annoyed, Hye-ri says she was about to do flying yoga. She barks at him to leave, completely ignoring the fact that he’s technically her sunbae.
In his office, Young-jae copies off of Hyun-jae’s old music composition notebook. He struggles to read the writing and even complains about how Hyun-jae’s messy handwriting makes it hard for him to plagiarize it.
He then buzzes his secretary, and as usual, his chair dips to the floor. LOL, I’ll never tire of this running gag. Remembering how he saw Hyun-jae through his telescope lens, he wonders if work stress is causing him to hallucinate.
Back in the studio, Hyun-jae doodles his yearning desire for a cell phone. His stomach grumbles but there’s no food in the house, and he wonders why anyone isn’t home yet. And then his eyes land on a piggy bank. Heh.
He knows he shouldn’t, but hunger is a powerful beast, and the next thing we know, that piggy has been gutted. He pulls out a long black coat from the closet and admires a magazine cover featuring Reaper. Cue the Goblin soundtrack.
Bo-hee admires her youthful features while getting ready for bed. She snaps a few selfies and scrolls through her photo gallery, which is when she stumbles upon a blurry picture. The first is too blurry to make out, but then she finds another and zooms in. She drops her phone and gasps, “Hyun-jae?”
EPISODE 6 RECAP
With the agency building on the line, Kwang-jae reaches out to ask all of his contacts for a loan, but gets rejected. Grandpa saunters into the bakery, drunk and aggrieved that another of his former colleagues has passed away. He then heads up to the roof to fish for his hidden stash of cigarettes and pleads with Hyun-jae up in heaven to take him away soon.
Grandpa struggles getting his lighter to work, then gets an eerie feeling nearby. He’s alarmed to see a pair of feet peeking out under a blanket hanging from the laundry line and approaches with caution.
He pulls the blanket away to reveal a more frightening sight: Hyun-jae donned in all black à la Reaper. Thinking Hyun-jae is the grim reaper here to take him away, Grandpa yelps, “I can’t go! Those were just words!”
Grandpa orders Hyun-jae to stay away and runs downstairs to the bakery. He exclaims that he saw Hyun-jae and that he’s here to take him away. Kwang-jae thinks this is just a drunken rant.
Hyun-jae is roaming the streets for food when he runs into Woo-seung taking out the trash at her noraebang job. A nail rips through one of the bags, though, and he’s disgusted by the mess. She’s too annoyed to deal with him right now, and Hyun-jae is happy to be on his way.
She remembers how he looked at her with big puppy eyes when she took her phone away from him earlier that night, and promises to give him her phone if he helps her clean up.
That gets Hyun-jae to comply while she keeps studying. He tells her that it’s pointless to work so hard at life, and she kicks back a can in reply. Hah.
Woo-seung treats him to some triangle kimbap afterward, though, even teaching him how to properly unwrap it. He’s blown away when he successfully pulls it off, and is momentarily perplexed by Woo-seung’s use of abbreviated slang before asking why she and her friends always eat these.
Woo-seung says they’re cheap eats and doesn’t get why an amnesiac would forget something that should be muscle memory. He asks if she can buy him another one, but in a different flavor. Lol.
To Ji-hoon’s surprise, they return home together, where Hyun-jae proudly states that he can unwrap a triangle kimbap now.
The following day is the day of both Woo-seung’s civil service exam and the boys’ monthly evaluation. Ji-hoon searches the whole apartment for his lucky bracelet while Hyun-jae is glued to the phone.
Grandpa wonders if he imagined seeing Hyun-jae last night while Bo-hee stares at the blurry photo on her phone. At breakfast, the family takes turns wishing Ji-hoon luck today, giving him objects that allude to him passing the test—a fork means to “poke” the right answers, a bandage is to “stick” his test, and a roll of toilet paper is to “unravel” the questions.
Grandpa is the only one who instructs him to not feel pressure, but then tells him that if he can’t think of an answer, he need only think of his father working day and night and their house growing rundown—that should prompt him to think of the answers. Sure, no pressure. Then Mom Bo-hee sends him off with a snack and Dad hands him some cash.
Hyun-jae provides his own form of encouragement by offering his last candy bar to Woo-seung. She ends up at the same bus stop as Ji-hoon, who accompanies her to the testing center.
He gives her his lucky bracelet before she heads inside for her exam. He practices on the Star Punch building rooftop where Hye-ri pops outside to eat her paltry lunch of fruits and veggies.
Asking if she plans to starve to death this time, he gives her his packed food, unaware that there’s a handwritten note of encouragement from Mom, which Hye-ri assumes he wrote for her.
Woo-seung sweats in her seat, struggling against her bowel movements. Oh no, was it the energy drink she had or the candy bar? Words like “explosion” and “spill” grab her attention, and the exam administrators note her odd seating position.
She tells herself to keep it together to the end, but her digestive system rebels. She gets up to ask to go to the bathroom, and the administrator warns that there’s no re-entry. Nodding, she gently scuffles out of the testing room.
Afterward in the bathroom, Woo-seung sheds a tear I think isn’t related to her tear-duct condition. It’s only when she reaches for the dropped candy bar wrapper Hyun-jae gave her does she see the 1993 expiration date.
At the Star Punch monthly evaluations, CEO Young-jae scoffs at the boys’ lack of improvement whilst enjoying the girls’ performances. Once it’s Hye-ri’s turn to perform, he’s generally impressed, and MC Drill slips into the room in time for his turn.
He steps up to perform, but then the stage fright kicks in and he can’t bring himself to get past the first few words of his rap. Oh no. Young-jae sighs, disappointed, and cuts off the music. MC Drill doesn’t get a second shot.
Later, it’s Ji-hoon’s turn and he barely gets two steps into his routine before the panelists ask him to show them something new. Young-jae is dissatisfied when he says he can do things with practice, and questions whether he can perform anything spontaneously with talent alone.
MJ, who’s been engrossed in his phone, pipes up to note that Ji-hoon has never rapped before, so he suggests that Ji-hoon rap freestyle. Ji-hoon freezes as the beat booms around him until Young-jae tells him that his turn’s over.
Ji-hoon pulls up his hood and then starts spitting verses that cut through the silence. Those words turn lyrical, speaking of his struggles and hard work over the years while fixating his eyes at the light at the end of the tunnel.
His words are accompanied by a montage of his hard-working peers: MC Drill rapping on his own, Hye-ri dancing until her heels bleed, Woo-seung studying for her exam during work, and all the other trainees and youths of their generation aspiring to achieve their dreams. It’s an impressive and meaningful performance, but the evaluation panel remains stone-faced. Hye-ri smiles, though, and gives him due credit.
Hyun-jae, meanwhile, struggles to get a solid Wi-Fi signal at home. He finds the best connection in the attic storage closet, where he finds a box filled with his old fan mail and a magazine featuring Jay-2.
Young-jae and the other panelists confer on which of their trainees to push for an upcoming debut. Ji-hoon’s name is mentioned as a possibility, but MJ likes a Korean-American trainee whose father is a successful businessman. So despite Ji-hoon’s impromptu rap performance, he’s passed over yet again.
Poor MC Drill is curled up into a ball at home, and Ji-hoon waits outside for Woo-seung. It isn’t until much later that he spots her sitting alone on the steps, sipping a box of soju.
He parks a seat next to her and asks how her exam went. She says it was so-so, and Ji-hoon says his evaluation went the same way. They tell each other that they worked hard, and he accepts her offer to share her soju.
She denies that anything went wrong today and wipes away her tears. He tells her to get her tear ducts checked out, but judging from the way he’s looking at her, he knows something else is going on.
Woo-seung does her best in keeping her sobs at bay, and Ji-hoon gently guides her head into his shoulder so she can cry. Hyun-jae steps out for some fresh air and sees them on the steps. He suddenly hears a beeping sound nearby… which is coming from his beeper. Whaa? That still works?
Grandpa gets up in the middle of the night for some water and sleepily passes by Hyun-jae, who’s come downstairs to use the bathroom. It doesn’t register to Grandpa who it is until the bathroom door is closed, however, and with mounting fear he sneaks up to the door.
Bracing himself, Grandpa opens the door… and sees that the bathroom is empty. He doesn’t know that Hyun-jae is hiding behind the bath curtain, and Grandpa sobs. Cut to: Grandpa clinging to an irritated Kwang-jae in bed, swearing that he definitely saw Hyun-jae this time.
I admit I was really looking forward to this series living up to its “variety-drama hybrid” marketing byline and was a bit disheartened to learn that our first week took on a more traditional drama format. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see the show take more freedom with incorporating some variety elements in this hour, like the forehead-flicking battle complete with the unmistakable da-da-dum da-da-dum sound effects. I find the revolving door of cameos a fun guessing game since practically everyone in the industry stepped up to do Cha Tae-hyun a favor and it looks like they’re having the time of their lives.
I really love the pseudo-family dynamics in Grandpa’s household because they share such normal interactions. I love how they all rallied together to cheer Ji-hoon on, even though I knew they had no idea that he was off to his trainee evaluation instead of a civil servant exam. It’s going to be a tough day when they learn that Ji-hoon dreams of being onstage than working for the government. In that same vein, I’m enjoying the developing relationships within our four friends. Not only are they a hilarious group, they all have their individual pains and struggles they have to deal with.
Speaking of which, I thought the true highlight of this hour was when Ji-hoon busted a spontaneous rhyme about his generation and the difficult journey and sacrifices they must make in order to achieve their dreams, whether that’s in a cutthroat music industry or trying to break into the job market or just keeping one’s head above water to make ends meet. They’re powerful, inspiring words reminding us that each era faces their own struggles and hardships, and that sense of yearning and passion is present for anyone in their 20s. I felt for Woo-seung when she knew she couldn’t complete the exam she studied so hard for and MC Drill when tried to psych himself up to pull himself together and not give in to his stage fright. It really did suck to see Ji-hoon being passed over because his straitlaced appearance didn’t appear marketable and he didn’t have any affluent connections, especially since he was challenged on the spot to break out of his comfort zone.
But at the same time, his delayed debut allows him to spend more time with our youths. I also hoped we’d be able to unravel the father-son mystery between Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon on our own since seeing the similarities only reinforce a point we already know. Still, I hope that the writing will use this key piece of knowledge to its advantage, because I can see Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon learning from one another. Not only could Hyun-jae step up as a sunbae in the music industry, but I can also see Ji-hoon knocking a sense of maturity into Hyun-jae. (Even though I really enjoy seeing Yoon Shi-yoon pout.)
Which brings us to Hyun-jae, a character Yoon Shi-yoon is doing a pitch-perfect job playing. Yoon carries an infectious energy into the screen that makes Hyun-jae an enjoyable watch, even when he’s engaged in some sketchy deals. I find his smartphone obsession hilarious, since it’s so on point for his character introduced to the digital age, and a nudging reminder that so many of us are glued to our phones as well. I’m torn between worry and relief over Young-jae and Grandpa both thinking that they’re having hallucinations about Hyun-jae, but it’s only a matter of time before the accidental time traveler sheds his grim reaper attire and leaves it in the afterlife.
- The Best Hit: Episodes 1-2
- Premiere Watch: My Sassy Girl, Seven Day Queen, Best Hit, Duel
- Yoon Shi-yoon shows off his idol genius in The Best Hit
- Cha Tae-hyun brings in several high-class cameos for The Best Hit
- Retro fun at the world’s hottest attic room in The Best Hit’s new posters
- ’90s idols and accidental kisses in KBS’s The Best Hit
- Lee Kwang-soo makes cameo appearance in The Best Hit
- Carefree twentysomethings of idol variety-drama The Best Hit
- Cha Tae-hyun joins variety drama The Best Hit as actor and director
- KBS variety drama The Best Hit casts Yoon Shi-yoon, Kim Min-jae