The Best Hit: Episodes 9-10
Living in the present proves to be difficult when Hyun-jae learns that his legacy isn’t one most people want to remember. Learning the truth will require digging into the past and getting some help from those he left emotionally scarred. But keeping a star out of the spotlight won’t be easy, especially when the stage is where he shines brightest.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Kwang-jae is up in arms when he returns from the bathroom in time to see Bo-hee being carried away on a man’s back. He flags down the abductor and is floored to see Hyun-jae looking back at him.
They relocate to the park, where Hyun-jae insists that it’s truly him. Noting that his old manager Kwang-jae hasn’t gone bald like he once feared, Hyun-jae understands that seeing him in the flesh after twenty-plus years would leave Kwang-jae in disbelief.
But Hyun-jae is proud to say that he’s back and opens his arms wide for a big hug. Kwang-jae responds by punching him square in the face. HA.
They continue talking at a cafe, where Hyun-jae is sporting a fantastic black eye. Kwang-jae demands concrete proof that he’s looking at the same Hyun-jae he once knew, believing that knowing Hyun-jae’s birth name isn’t enough.
Hyun-jae is hurt that Kwang-jae doesn’t readily accept that it’s him, but Kwang-jae requires more validation. He bends down to check Hyun-jae’s left ankle because the real Hyun-jae would have a star-shaped burn scar there.
Kwang-jae is dumbfounded when he sees the same scar, and Hyun-jae takes his hand and reiterates that he’s the same Hyun-jae. Kwang-jae remembers when he stopped Bo-hee from running away shortly after Hyun-jae’s disappearance in 1994.
Kwang-jae told her that she did nothing to warrant hiding from the world—all she did was have feelings for a man. He was prepared to face the media storm surrounding Hyun-jae’s disappearance and believed that Bo-hee could keep being a public figure if she did as he asked.
“Going forward, I’ll take care of you,” Kwang-jae declared. He told her to hide behind him and promised to fight anyone who would want to criticize her. Asked why he’d bother, he hesitated and then replied, “Because I’m Yoo Hyun-jae’s manager. His business is my business. If there’s something he needs to take responsibility for, I’ll take on all of that responsibility. I’ll take Hyun-jae’s place.”
Back in the present, Hyun-jae opens up his arms at an attempt for another hug. He gets another punch, leaving him with two black eyes. HA.
Next, they end up outside a convenience store where Kwang-jae repeats Hyun-jae’s illogical tale of traveling into the future via wormhole. He thinks it would be far more believable if Hyun-jae reappeared after spending years in isolation.
It then occurs to Kwang-jae that Grandpa’s claims about seeing Hyun-jae were true and that he was in their midst for days. Hyun-jae corrects him—he’s been bunking with Ji-hoon in the rooftop apartment, but promises that Ji-hoon doesn’t know who he is.
But because Hyun-jae believes that Ji-hoon is Kwang-jae and Bo-hee’s son, he wonders when the two of them became an item. Kwang-jae revs up for another punch, but this time, Hyun-jae stops his fist, saying that he won’t get punched a third time. So Kwang-jae headbutts him instead. AHAHAHAHA.
Hyun-jae, who now has two black eyes and a double nosebleed, whines all the way back home while Kwang-jae carries Bo-hee on his back. While he can fathom why CEO Lee would be upset with him for leaving him in debt, he doesn’t get why Kwang-jae is still upset with him.
Even though Kwang-jae doesn’t know exactly how Hyun-jae showed up again, he does have one last thing to say: “Get lost. Stop shaking up people who are happily living their own lives and quietly go back to where you came from. Got that?!”
He heads inside, inadvertently slamming the door in Hyun-jae’s face. Alone, Hyun-jae hollers, “How am I supposed to do that when I don’t even know how I got here?!”
Woo-seung comes out of her room when the front door opens, thinking that it’s Hyun-jae. But it’s Ji-hoon, who denies that he was worried about her. She wonders if he’s late because he’s secretly dating someone, and he defensively asks if he’s not allowed to date.
But before she can get a definitive answer, Hyun-jae returns with Woo-seung’s backpack. He isn’t in the mood to explain his bruised face and nonchalantly notes that Ji-hoon came home late too. Ji-hoon’s irritation makes Hyun-jae wonder why both father and son are mad at him tonight.
Our family downstairs waits expectantly for breakfast the following morning. They grimace at being given fish head soup, but Kwang-jae is the only one who laps it up. Mal-sook (who notably calls Bo-hee “ajumma”) can’t bear to eat something that’s staring back at her, and Grandpa whips up some fried eggs for himself and the kids.
Kwang-jae sticks to his guns that the soup was delicious when Bo-hee delivers him coffee at the bakery. She delicately brings up how she had the oddest dream last night about Hyun-jae saying that he traveled forward in time to their present.
She agrees when Kwang-jae says it must’ve been a dream, though a part of her felt like Hyun-jae had returned. We cut to Hyun-jae’s face bathed in the morning sun, and as his face comes into focus… he stuffs dried ramyun into his mouth. LOL.
He’s actually in the studio upstairs, wondering why everyone is dressed to go out on the weekend. Once outside, Ji-hoon rebuffs Woo-seung when she asks if he’ll come home late tonight too.
Upstairs, Hyun-jae doodles ideas of what to do with his remaining money in his music notebook. He figures he can buy some clothes (illustrated by a shirt and pants) and thinks of getting his own place (a house) before crossing out that idea with a big “X.” I can’t wait for Young-jae’s freakout when he sees these drawings.
Hyun-jae starts panicking when he hears Kwang-jae outside, but then he remembers that Kwang-jae knows that he’s here. Kwang-jae finds it upsetting to see Hyun-jae speaking so casually with him when he hasn’t aged a day.
Hyun-jae (who’s been picking at his toes, ew) points out that Ji-hoon doesn’t take after Kwang-jae at all, so Kwang-jae changes the subject and suggests that Hyun-jae return to the past. Cut to: Hyun-jae on the edge of the staircase with a plastic sled, wearing a helmet and the same outfit he wore when he first arrived in 2017.
He chickens out repeatedly, dreading falling down the stairs again, but Kwang-jae insists that Hyun-jae going back to the ’90s is best for everyone. Hyun-jae pops up, trying to come up with reasons to stall the inevitable, but ultimately straps himself in for a bumpy ride.
Hyun-jae instructs Kwang-jae to push him on the count of three, but just before Kwang-jae gets to “three,” he stops to make sure that he’s packed the smartphone. Kwang-jae starts the count again, and despite Hyun-jae’s cries that this seems dangerous, he skips ahead to “Three!” and pushes Hyun-jae down the stairs.
Kwang-jae runs downstairs to check, when he sees nothing but the sled, helmet, and goggles, he lets out a victorious cheer: “It worked!” Hyun-jae’s voice responds, “It failed,” and then we see him crawl out from underneath the van and whine that he nearly died.
He balks when Kwang-jae says they should try again. But Kwang-jae drags him back up and they do it again and again and again for hours on end. The torture finally stops when a truck runs over the plastic sled and breaks it into tiny shards, and so they opt to grab a beer.
Kwang-jae wonders why that method didn’t work, but Hyun-jae says there’s no point to him returning to the past when he’ll disappear a year later anyway. He plans on finding out who tried to get rid of him and why, and then leans in when Kwang-jae says he has an inkling as to who that might be.
He sighs when Kwang-jae says, “It’s you,” given Hyun-jae’s track record for going off the grid whenever he didn’t want to face something. Kwang-jae names several instances off the top of his head, and adds that he wasn’t at all surprised when Hyun-jae disappeared in 1994 because that’s just what he always did.
Kwang-jae allows Hyun-jae to stay in the rooftop apartment temporarily and warns him against appearing before anyone else in the family, particularly Bo-hee. Hyun-jae hangs his head, and then cries that he thinks his phone cracked from falling down the stairs so much today.
Woo-seung spots a guy in a hoodie and a mask in the street, and thinking that it’s Ji-hoon, she grabs him in a headlock and demands to know why he’s been so short with her. Behind her, Ji-hoon asks, “What are you doing?” Awkward.
It’s MJ who angrily pops up, and Woo-seung apologizes profusely before running away with Ji-hoon. He picks up the notepad that Woo-seung dropped and flips through the pages in his van. Seeing that her name is Choi Woo-seung (meaning “first place”), he cracks up at the thought of her having a sibling named “Joon Woo-seung [second place].”
At home, Hyun-jae reads up on how MJ belongs to Young-jae’s agency and wonders if his former duo partner had something to do with stealing his song “Come Back Again.” When Woo-seung pops in to remind him of exactly how much he owes her when they visit the bank tomorrow, Hyun-jae mocks her behind her back.
But when they get to the bank, he’s told that the bank that issued these banker’s checks went bankrupt during the 1997 Asian financial crisis (IMF). Naturally Hyun-jae has no idea what that is and wonders, “I am… F?”
Woo-seung can’t believe that Hyun-jae has never heard of IMF and bragged about having worthless money. He cries over the meaningless pieces of paper, and she asks how he expects to pay her back now, showing him the video he recorded on her phone.
He vows to get her money back somehow, asking how she can be so distrustful of people. But Woo-seung says it’s money she can’t trust, not people, and then we see her recording a new video of him reading aloud a promise to pay her back every single cent he owes her, or he’ll act as her slave for the rest of his life.
She grabs his long belt and states that she has no interest in knowing who he is—all she wants is her money back.
Ji-hoon and MC Drill are taken aback when Hye-ri unexpectedly joins them at lunch. She asks what they plan to do now since the agency won’t assemble a new boy group for a few years, and they’ll eventually face enlistment. MC Drill shifts uncomfortably.
Hearing that both boys plan to keep at it, she takes one of Ji-hoon’s sausages, but doesn’t eat it because she can’t. MC Drill quietly texts Ji-hoon to ask when he and Hye-ri became so close, and just as Ji-hoon is about to respond that he’s just as flustered, she reads the words aloud. She tells him to eat, adding that she just didn’t want to eat alone today. MC Drill mouths that he’s scared.
Hyun-jae searches the digits that appeared on his beeper, but the search results don’t indicate a phone number. His phone runs out of juice, and then his eyes fall upon the laptop, remembering that Ji-hoon also used it to search online.
He opens it up and marvels at the screen with his catchphrase “Thumbs up!” He presses a few keys and brings up the web browser, then he looks up his own name.
One result regarding his mysterious disappearance catches his eye, so he clicks the link and stumbles upon a members-only fan forum. He clicks the sign-up option, which then prompts him to answer a question about himself: “What is the only food Hyun-jae can’t eat?”
Knowing that he can eat practically anything, he types “nothing.” A pop-up window tells him that he must not be a true fan of oppa because it’s wrong. Heh. Hyun-jae: “I’M that oppa!” He thinks and tries out different answers, but they’re all wrong, so Hyun-jae closes the laptop, frustrated.
Later, Hyun-jae throws Kwang-jae notes from the roof asking for some bread. Kwang-jae tries waving him away to stay out of sight just as Bo-hee steps outside, so he hands her a box while he runs upstairs to deliver food to Hyun-jae.
Hyun-jae believes the heavens sent him to 2017 in the hopes that he’ll solve his mysterious disappearance in 1994. He asks if Kwang-jae is still in contact with Young-jae.
He’s amused by the idea that things turned out the exact opposite of what he’d hoped: that Kwang-jae would’ve made it big and Young-jae would’ve been penniless. Kwang-jae just says that Young-jae got lucky, and shuts down the idea of going to see him.
When Hyun-jae asks if Kwang-jae knows what food he can’t eat, Kwang-jae doesn’t have a clue. Just then, they hear Ji-hoon’s voice outside, so they stuff themselves in the closet while arguing that they don’t both need to hide.
They both end up in the cramped closet together, and Hyun-jae squirms because he has to pee. Kwang-jae just tells him to hold it in. Ji-hoon eventually falls asleep, which is when the two dads are finally able to crawl out of the closet.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Woo-seung studies quietly at her academy, thinking to herself, “At one point, our goals have turned from passing an exam to escaping this place. We study not to become something, but we fear that we won’t become anything. We study not to gain something, but because we don’t want to lose anything anymore. We study not to pass an exam, but because this is the only thing we know how to do.”
A neighbor passes her a passive-aggressive note, complaining that her stomach is too loud.
Her night gets worse when she loses her part-time gig at the noraebang because it’s going out of business, and she returns home with bagfuls of beer. MC Drill teases her for being great at being fired, and she fires back that it’s better than having nothing to do, like him.
He offers a gesture of peace when he hears that there’s beer, though, and that word also lures Hyun-jae outside. The foursome feasts over beer and snacks from Woo-seung’s ex-part-time jobs, and Ji-hoon wedges himself in between Woo-seung and Hyun-jae, forcing Hyun-jae to sit on the other side.
When Woo-seung wallows in self-pity, MC Drill suggests that they drink and make it a real party tonight. They hang up decorations, and Ji-hoon makes sure to secure his seat next to Woo-seung again.
MC Drill drunkenly diverges that Woo-seung has failed the civil service exam thrice, and Woo-seung blames Hyun-jae for the third time. All she wanted was to get a job and live an average life like everyone else—was that so terrible?
“That’s not a dream,” Hyun-jae replies. He believes dreams should be greater things than trying to earn a living, and asks why she’s working so hard to become a boring police officer. When she calls him a freeloader, he drunkenly mutters that she has no idea who he is, but sticks to his usual amnesiac excuse.
MC Drill brings the party mood back by suggesting that they play a drinking game. They play Categories and take turns naming dramas. While Ji-hoon, MC Drill, and Woo-seung name dramas within the past decade, Hyun-jae names titles from the 1980s to 1990s (The Tree Blooming with Love, Under the Same Roof, Jealousy).
He even sings the Jealousy soundtrack, but none of them recognizes it since that aired before any of them were even born. With time running out, Hyun-jae pulls out his final card: the 1993 Taiwanese TV series Justice Pao.
As expected, the timer runs out on his turn, and Hyun-jae is forced to drink. Later that night, Woo-seung kicks MC Drill off of the keyboard to play her own composition. MC Drill comments that it’s been a while since Woo-seung has tickled the ivories, and Ji-hoon shares that she was a songwriter in a high school band.
Ji-hoon warns that Woo-seung should be cut off from drinking because her drunken habits have “a beginning, a development, a turn, and a conclusion.” The beginning is aegyo, which Hyun-jae observes with a deadpan expression. Ji-hoon looks at her with hearts in his eyes.
The development is inexplicable anger, wherein Woo-seung takes her anger out on a bag of chips before hurling the pieces at MC Drill, who catches a piece in his mouth. The turn is Woo-seung speaking in a Jeolla-do accent even though she’s never stepped foot in that region. Ha.
Last but not least, the conclusion: Woo-seung passed out. Ji-hoon tucks Woo-seung in while MC Drill starts another live broadcast that has zero viewers.
The boys eventually leave Woo-seung to sleep outside, but later, someone in an orange plaid shirt scoops her up and brings her to her room. He carefully removes her glasses and plants a soft kiss on her cheek.
Woo-seung open her eyes and sees the back of that someone leaving the room, whose exit is captured on MC Drill’s phone.
While Ji-hoon is unable to find his broken watch the next morning, Young-jae learns the name of the convenience store part-timer who knew about MJ not writing his song: Woo-seung. Speaking of whom, MJ spots her on the street and pulls over to use his lame “Is your younger sibling named ‘Second Place’?” line. He tosses back her notepad and sends her a wink before driving off.
Kwang-jae is about to head out for a meeting when Bo-hee asks him where all the peanuts have gone. She knows it couldn’t have been Ji-hoon because he’s allergic, and Kwang-jae answers that it must’ve been Grandpa and his recent obsession with nuts… and then he realizes there’s someone else with a nut allergy.
Kwang-jae throws a bagful of leftovers at Hyun-jae, reminding him of the one food he can’t eat: peanut butter, an answer he once gave in an interview.
Ji-hoon waits for Woo-seung outside of study hall, hoping that she can help him pick out a birthday present for Dad. She’s too distracted by his lips, however, and imagines him as her midnight visitor in the orange plaid shirt, tucking her in bed and kissing her cheek. She quickly snaps out of it when he asks why she’s staring.
Over at Dongdaemun, Kwang-jae instructs Hyun-jae to meet him in one hour. Hyun-jae says that his watch is broken, distracted by the shiny stores.
He roams around the shopping center, unknowingly passing Ji-hoon and Woo-seung in a store. She disapproves of Ji-hoon’s tastes and tells him to give her cold hard cash on her birthday.
Hyun-jae is all smiles with his shopping bags (where did he get the money?), and he doubles back to read a poster for a singing competition, where first place prize is a brand-new phone.
After buying a pair of sneakers for Dad, Woo-seung and Ji-hoon walk over to watch the singing competition. When the host asks for another competitor, Woo-seung volunteers Ji-hoon, agreeing to treating him to grilled pork belly if he wins.
They run into Hyun-jae by the registration table, where he comments on Woo-seung’s drunken spectacle last night. He admits to a drunken habit of his own—kissing just about anyone—but that hardly gets him into any trouble, he says.
Now Woo-seung imagines Hyun-jae bringing her back to her room last night, puckering up in several attempts to kiss her on the cheek. He’s confused when Woo-seung angrily hits him with her backpack, and he declares that he’ll use her name in the competition.
Ji-hoon is called up to the stage and he announces that he’ll be doing a dance routine. Kwang-jae happens to tune into the event going on downstairs, while Ji-hoon impresses the crowd with his moves.
He looks like a shoe-in to win it all, until Hyun-jae introduces himself. The host teases him for his throwback ’90s fashion and announces that their final competitor will be performing Jay-2’s “Say It.”
Hyun-jae looks at home singing his own single and the upbeat tempo gets the audience to groove to the melody. Even Woo-seung is impressed with the performance and says he really looked like Yoo Hyun-jae out there, while recognition passes over Ji-hoon’s face.
Hyun-jae is declared the winner, and he can’t hide his delight at his new phone. He runs over to Woo-seung to show off the fancy camera settings, and she invites Ji-hoon over to take a group selfie.
Ji-hoon grumbles but he joins in. That’s when he sees the watch on Hyun-jae’s wrist and accuses him of touching his possessions again. Hyun-jae protests that this is his watch, and complies in taking it off so Ji-hoon can see for himself.
He points out that the inscribed initials (Yu H.J.) aren’t Ji-hoon’s, and Ji-hoon says the watch was a keepsake from his late father. Dumbfounded, Hyun-jae repeats, “Your late father’s keepsake?” And that’s when Kwang-jae shows up to confront them.
At the rooftop beer party, MC Drill puts on Hyun-jae’s orange plaid shirt to keep himself warm. Hyun-jae gets upset when he spills some beer on it and takes it back. But then he tosses it to Ji-hoon to keep warm when he gets up to buy ramyun. Later that night, we see that Woo-seung’s first guess was correct, as Ji-hoon gently tucks her in and leans in to kiss her cheek.
Even if Kwang-jae doesn’t fully believe that Hyun-jae came here straight from the ’90s, I really love that Hyun-jae told him the whole truth. He may be adjusting to the present well enough, but what he needs most is a trusted ally to help him straighten out the circumstances surrounding his presumed death in 1994. I’m glad that Hyun-jae is making key connections so quickly, like how Young-jae must’ve nicked his songs, because zipping through those moments leaves us to enjoy much more of the character relationships. Kwang-jae has plenty of reasons to feel bitter toward Hyun-jae, including but not limited to: leaving Grandpa and World Agency in crippling debt, and the deep sense of abandonment felt by practically everyone he left behind, especially Bo-hee.
I can’t help but wonder if Kwang-jae’s first idea of trying to send Hyun-jae back to the past was his way of working out some deep-seated resentment (though I was in stitches watching him force Hyun-jae to try and try again). I’m sure he means well by keeping Bo-hee in the dark about Hyun-jae’s return, but I do get a little nervous with every little lie he drops, especially since I loved how he stepped up to fill the void Hyun-jae left behind. The longer Hyun-jae stays and doesn’t see Bo-hee, the deeper the resentment she could feel toward Kwang-jae for not telling her sooner. My worry stems from just how sweet I find their interactions together, and the yearning that Bo-hee will one day see Kwang-jae as a man, not just her manager.
Which brings me back to the family dynamics at home, and at this point, I’m convinced that Bo-hee is Ji-hoon’s biological mother. Seeing as Hyun-jae isn’t jumping to seek Bo-hee out in the present, I’m inclined to think that her feelings for him were deeper than his. It’s quite possible that Bo-hee got pregnant during a whirlwind romance and never got a chance to (or decided not to) tell Hyun-jae that he was the baby’s father. And then there’s Mal-sook, whose parentage I still haven’t quite figured out.
As for the young romance, I thought it was pretty obvious that Ji-hoon was the one who brought Woo-seung back inside and kissed her. His watch, the mark on his hand, and his gentlemanly behavior were telling, particularly since we haven’t seen enough of Hyun-jae treating Woo-seung the same way Ji-hoon treats her. If anything, I was more curious as to how and why he was wearing Hyun-jae’s shirt, which was explained in the epilogue. I could see why the show wanted Woo-seung to be confused, and I thought that the reveal of Hyun-jae’s drunken habit of kissing people came too late, especially since that imagined scenario looked nothing like what actually happened.
So seeing that epilogue made me feel sadder for Ji-hoon more than anything. I thought it would’ve been a hilarious twist if MC Drill happened to be her midnight knight, but it appears that her third suitor will be MJ with his super cheesy jokes. I actually don’t see MJ having much of a chance compared to Ji-hoon or Hyun-jae, but if his interactions with Woo-seung give us more dorky and hilarious moments from the diva idol, then I’m all for it.
- 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