The Best Hit: Episodes 17-18
It’s the string of humor followed by lovely contemplative moments offered in every hour that often makes me feel that The Best Hit could go on forever. But time waits for no one, making it the most valuable commodity for our characters to spend. Opportunities will be swift and unforgiving for everyone—if they wait too long, all they’ll be left with is a bowl of bloated noodles and regret.
EPISODE 17 RECAP
Ji-hoon confesses his feelings to Woo-seung, adding that these aren’t recently developed emotions—he’s liked her for a long time now. He’s not looking for an answer right away because he knows she needs time to process this information, but Woo-seung cuts him off and backs away, ready to give her answer now.
“Sorry, Lee Ji-hoon, I don’t think of you as a man,” she replies, believing that it’s best to be upfront. She heads for the door, but when she opens it, Hyun-jae tumbles outside, hides the bowl of jajangmyun behind him, and says he didn’t mean to eavesdrop in on their conversation. She steps inside anyway, and Ji-hoon lets out a dejected sigh.
While Woo-seung pulls her hair in frustration over Ji-hoon’s confession in her room, Hyun-jae also mulls over the confession and digs into the now solid block of bloated jajangmyun that was meant for Woo-seung.
Afterward, Hyun-jae spots Ji-hoon curled up on his bed. He turns to leave Ji-hoon alone, but then whips around to admit that he’s terrible at doling out comfort because he’s never been rejected by a girl before. Eep, not helping.
He tries giving Ji-hoon the ol’ speech that “there are plenty of fish in the sea,” but those words hurt more than they help, and Ji-hoon closes the divider in Hyun-jae’s face. Tonight’s confession keeps the boys and Woo-seung up all night, and in the morning, Woo-seung quietly slips out of the apartment (and ha, MC Drill belts out Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips” in the bathroom).
She’s spooked when Ji-hoon happens to return from his morning jog just then, and he asks if she’s decided to avoid him by leaving early this morning. She denies it and bluntly reminds him that he was the one who was rejected. She feels bad when he admits that’s true, but Ji-hoon declares that he plans to do as his heart tells him from here on out.
“I won’t give up on you,” he clarifies. It may have been Woo-seung’s prerogative to reject him, but he’s free to keep liking her. To that, Woo-seung acknowledges that he has a good eye for women, but as friends, she believes there are boundaries that should never be crossed.
But Ji-hoon no longer wants to settle for being friends—it took him eight years to tell her how he feels, so he won’t give up that easily. He heads inside where MC Drill stands on the other side of the door and asks him if everything he overheard is true.
While Woo-seung is distracted at work, Ji-hoon catches Hyun-jae trying to sneak into Woo-seung’s room. Hyun-jae pretends to be exercising on the steps and asks why Ji-hoon is still at home.
Hyun-jae stops in his tracks upon hearing that Ji-hoon quit the trainee life. Thinking that Ji-hoon has succumbed to Dad’s opposition than leading his own life, he asks how Ji-hoon’s biological father would feel knowing that his son chose to live in frustration. “Wouldn’t he tell you ‘please get a grip’?” Hyun-jae huffs.
Annoyed at hearing Hyun-jae speaks of his late father, Ji-hoon replies in an acerbic tone, reminding Hyun-jae that he’s just a burdensome amnesiac. Insulted, Hyun-jae throws his towel to the floor, where a cockroach crawls at their feet.
Both Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon freak out and jump on the bed. Neither of them notices that the force pushes the missing broken watch out from under the bed, but they do hold each other for a few moments gripped in terror before breaking apart.
The boys are screaming at each other on the bed when Mal-sook comes in looking for Ji-hoon to help her with her homework. The frightened pair of oppas point to the cockroach on the floor, so she immediately kills it with her workbook and picks up the dead insect with a tissue.
Now that the danger has passed, Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon’s bravado returns and instructs her to throw out the bug. While Ji-hoon helps Mal-sook outside, Hyun-jae opts to check his online fan cafe and sees that the last internet search query was “how to get out of the friend zone.”
Just then, Ji-hoon rushes inside to hurriedly close the laptop, calling this an invasion of privacy. Hyun-jae scoffs at Ji-hoon’s lie that this search query wasn’t his, adding that Ji-hoon doesn’t need to rely on the internet for an answer when he’s got a dating expert sitting here before him.
Now it’s Ji-hoon’s turn to scoff, but he acutely tunes into Hyun-jae pinpointing that the problem is that Ji-hoon and Woo-seung are too comfortable as friends. According to Hyun-jae, what Ji-hoon needs to do is create an opportunity for natural skinship. Or shall we say cheesy ’90s-style skinship, and he uses Ji-hoon to demonstrate his first tip: point out “What’s that on your lip?” and use a thumb to wipe the girl’s lips.
Ji-hoon sputters in disgust, but Hyun-jae immediately moves on to his next move: literally knocking a girl off her feet and catching her in a dramatic dip, topped off with a wink and the line “Be careful, or you’ll fall.” His point is that all it takes is one suave move to make a girl fall in love with him and that physical closeness leads to romantic interest.
Ji-hoon thanks him for the unhelpful advice and leaves to help out at the bakery. Once he’s alone, Hyun-jae’s smile fades, and he wonders aloud with a tiny sigh: “I suppose it’s good to help those two get together.” Oh?
Kwang-jae is both surprised and disheartened to see Ji-hoon working at the bakery, since his last advice was for Ji-hoon to pursue whatever he wanted to do with his life. Ji-hoon reassures him that working here is what he wants to do right now and ushers Dad out to take a break.
Moments later, the trio of MJ’s fangirls enters the bakery. They happily recognize Ji-hoon and sadly conclude that his presence here must mean that he didn’t make the cut. But they do admire his good looks and secretly snap a few photos of him to upload online.
Meanwhile, Hyun-jae enters Woo-seung’s room and sees the doll he won for her from the claw machine on its head on her desk. After putting it back upright and cleaning up her desk, he hunkers down to peel back the flooring to reveal the hidden safe.
He forces the hatch open and looks inside and gasps… to discover that it’s empty. Kwang-jae isn’t surprised when he learns from Hyun-jae at the convenience store later that the money is gone. He figures Other Hyun-jae spent it all because he knows of Hyun-jae’s past spending habits all too well.
But Hyun-jae is convinced that his other self couldn’t have burned through all that cash in a year. His gut tells him that the money must be someplace else, and Kwang-jae leans in and tells him that his gut instinct is useless now.
Over at Star Punch, Young-jae yells at MJ’s manager for not keeping a sharper eye out on the pre-debut team. Evidently, one of the members was arrested on drunk driving charges and now they have an open spot to fill. He refuses to pick from the trainees who didn’t make the final cut and wonders if they can bring in a trainee from a different agency.
Remembering how Woo-seung’s ideal vacation was to kick her feet up in a hammock on an island, Ji-hoon sets up a hammock for her on the rooftop. He declines Hyun-jae’s help when the latter sees him struggle, wanting to do this on his own.
Curiosity eating at him, Hyun-jae asks why Ji-hoon likes Woo-seung so much. He doesn’t believe Ji-hoon’s answer that there is no particular reason, but he does accept Ji-hoon’s forthrightness that he likes Woo-seung, period.
Hyun-jae shoves him aside to help him hang up the hammock, and when Ji-hoon bosses him around, he starts to wonder who Ji-hoon takes after before dropping the subject.
At the office, Woo-seung and her boss prepare a powerpoint presentation on MJ’s next album concept and connects her laptop to the projector prior to the meeting. But her messenger app is still on during the actual meeting and a desktop notification from Hyun-jae pops up on screen for everyone to see.
Woo-seung tries to be discreet, but Hyun-jae—who is saved as “Thumbs Up” in her contacts—sends another message asking if that jerk MJ is still treating her like an underling. Cue the “Underling” aka Ji-hoon, asking her to call him after work because he has something to show her.
Embarrassed, Woo-seung closes her laptop while MJ guesses that she must be in a love triangle with “Thumbs Up” (dda-bong) and “Underling” (kko-bong). The common syllable the nicknames share makes him think of “ssang-bong” or “double-stick,” and he stows away that lame pun for future use. Back at home, Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon wonder why Woo-seung hasn’t replied.
He approaches Woo-seung after the meeting, asking if she acts nice to him to his face while bad-mouthing him behind his back. He drops his phone on the desk and warns her that she’s doomed if she’s lying to him, so she admits she did make a few negative comments about him.
He instructs her to clean up later because he plans on taking a short nap here, and as soon as he’s out of sight, his stern expression turns into an amused smile. Woo-seung scowls and picks up the phone on the desk, thinking that it’s hers.
MC Drills stops her on her way out of the conference room to bark that he won’t dare to see things work out between her and Ji-hoon. He can’t bear to see his buddy give up on his dream and ruin his life over a girl, then orders her to follow him up to the roof, but Woo-seung walks away from him instead.
She returns home to find Ji-hoon waiting for her with an array of tropical fruit and the hammock set up outside. She takes a seat and sweetly tells him, “‘Ji-hoon, I had no idea you would care for me this much. Seeing this hammock makes me like you!'” before matter-of-factly telling him that better not be what he was expecting to hear.
Ji-hoon masks his disappointment and reiterates that he won’t hide his feelings for her anymore, but Woo-seung knows that all this lovey-dovey behavior makes him feel embarrassed and shy.
He says that’s not true, but then he sees a trickle of watermelon juice spilling down her chin. Recalling Hyun-jae’s tips on skinship, he reaches over to wipe her chin, but the touch startles Woo-seung, and she spits up watermelon seeds on his face.
She demands to know who taught him that tacky and dated pick-up line: “It was Thumbs Up, wasn’t it?!” Hyun-jae, who happened to witness that moment from the slightly ajar door, rushes back inside. Woo-seung points out how awkward that forced move makes her feel and asks if they can’t continue being good friends.
She sighs when Ji-hoon refuses, and he urges her to try out the hammock. He helps her in and catches her when she slips. She immediately swats him away, saying to act like he normally does, then asks for her bag to use as a pillow to settle in.
Satisfied, Woo-seung admits that the hammock is comfortable. Seeing her so happy makes Ji-hoon smile.
MJ swings by Young-jae’s empty office and wonders why his agency CEO is almost always absent. He settles into Young-jae’s chair and charges what he think is his phone, only to discover that it’s actually Woo-seung’s. He calls his manager to track down her address.
That’s how MJ ends up outside the nearby World Agency building, which he remarks is so close that he could’ve walked here. He heads up to the roof just as Ji-hoon steps outside to tell Woo-seung to “shower first” (which is typically something couples tell each other before sexy times).
He awkwardly asks if this is a bad time, and Woo-seung climbs out of the hammock and stammers defensively at MJ that this isn’t what it looks like. MJ recognizes Ji-hoon from Star Punch and learns that Ji-hoon has quit the agency.
He then declares that his business here is to get his phone back, and Woo-seung is about to return his phone when MC Drill marches in. Guessing that MC Drill is the notorious “Thumbs Up” and Ji-hoon is the “Underling,” MJ uses his lame “double-stick” joke.
Inside, Hyun-jae peruses photos of MJ, wondering how he’ll ever get to hear his side of the story when it’s near impossible to approach a star like him. He surmises, “Should I just barge into Young-jae’s office?”
EPISODE 18 RECAP
Woo-seung starts up the job search, believing that her internship at Star Punch will soon come to an end. Hyun-jae appears with a can of beer he swiped from MC Drill’s secret stash, and they toast.
He takes a few steps before noting that Ji-hoon seems to like her a great deal, and when she says she likes Ji-hoon as a friend, he says there’s no such thing as friendship between a man and a woman.
She sighs that it must be nice for Hyun-jae to have a simple-minded perspective on life, but Hyun-jae counters that it’s her and Ji-hoon who are making their own lives complicated. He doesn’t understand why Woo-seung rejected Ji-hoon so coldly, and she explains that Ji-hoon is all she has left and doesn’t want to risk losing him by going out with him.
She tells Hyun-jae to find his way home soon because she shared too much with him, and then shuffles back inside. Hyun-jae admits to himself that those were hurtful words before shaking himself out of those thoughts.
The next day, Woo-seung hands over her camera to Ji-hoon as collateral until she can pay him this month’s rent. She declines his leniency, believing that they should set clear boundaries especially when things are awkward between them. So Ji-hoon accepts and snaps a photo of her to test out the camera before she heads out.
Downstairs in the bakery, Grandpa is busy trying to persuade Kwang-jae to apologize to Young-jae and accept his standing offer to lend them the money they need. But Kwang-jae stands firm on his refusal to accept a dime from Young-jae, arguing that he’d rather take out a private loan instead. Knowing that this conversation is going nowhere, Grandpa walks away in a huff.
Neither of them is aware that Bo-hee has overheard their entire argument, and Grandpa heads up to the roof to drink away his disappointment. He polishes off the bottle and drunkenly climbs into the hammock to take an afternoon nap.
Hours later, Mal-sook comes up to collect him and her jaw drops at Grandpa’s half-sunburned face. He later worries about his appearance in the bathroom because he’s promised to officiate a wedding.
Bo-hee sits down with Young-jae in his office, where he makes a big deal out of serving her fancy tea, only to learn that he already consumed it all.
She admires his success and cuts to the chase, asking him to lend them the money they need to prevent the bank from seizing the World Agency building. Young-jae hems and haws for a bit, then tells her that he’ll just give her the money instead.
It’s only when Bo-hee thinks back to that conversation during dinner do we learn what Young-jae’s offer was: he’ll give her the money if she signs a contract with Star Punch.
But Bo-hee isn’t the only one with something on her mind at the dinner table—Mal-sook confesses that she has a crush on a popular boy at school and asks, “What do you think love is?”
Mal-sook describes her emotions like a pain ointment slathered over her heart, and when Bo-hee empathizes with that feeling, she asks if Bo-hee gets that same feeling. She dejectedly says she lost her appetite before chomping down on her food, which makes Bo-hee softly laugh.
Hyun-jae is lying in the hammock when his beeper notifies him of the same incoming message as the previous time. He presses a button to see the date and time and notices that both messages arrived at 1:20 AM—the same time his watch stopped.
Grandpa notices his granddaughter Mal-sook is in low spirits when she helps him apply cucumber slices on his half-sunburned face. He encourages her to share her woes and even agrees to let her use his phone if she tells him, but she grumbles that Grandpa won’t be able to understand and turns to Bo-hee instead. Bo-hee agrees to let Mal-sook play with her phone and unlocks the keypad with the digits: 22198.
Woo-seung is passive-aggressively persuaded to join the Star Punch employees on a hike today. She complains to the boys about giving up her free day like this, but declines Ji-hoon’s offer to accompany her.
Hyun-jae points out that her sneakers aren’t ideal for a hike, and she snaps back that he can buy her some hiking boots then.
Hyun-jae finds the bakery bustling with customers, and when a pair of high school girls ask when the other handsome part-timer starts his shift, he shoots back a joke at them. The girls mutter in abbreviated slang at how lame his joke is.
Upstairs, Ji-hoon is confused when he answers a call and hears the voices of excited fangirls on the other end. His phone number must’ve gone public because there are countless messages from fangirls who wish to meet him, and then MC Drill calls to share the happy news that Ji-hoon is internet-famous.
Apparently someone uploaded a series of photos of Ji-hoon on social media, which has since gone viral online. His fans have even given him the nickname Part-timer “Oppang” (a play on words of “oppa” and “bread” aka bbang), and Ji-hoon hangs up to check the photos for himself.
Woo-seung works up a sweat on the hike with the other employees, struggling in her sneakers and sneaking in time to study her notes. But on the way down, she slips and twists her ankle. She urges the employee willing to help her to go on without her, and she takes a short break before continuing the journey down the mountain at a gingerly pace.
Kwang-jae looks for Bo-hee in her room, and although she isn’t there, he discovers the Star Punch contract. He waits in the living room until she returns to confront her about it, asking how she could make him feel so small about their debt by meeting with Young-jae behind his back. But Bo-hee says the meeting was for her and announces that she’s moving agencies.
That’s even harder news for Kwang-jae to swallow, and Bo-hee says Star Punch has promised to produce an album for her right away. Infuriated, Kwang-jae storms out to confront Young-jae, and Grandpa remarks that Kwang-jae always creates trouble whenever he sees red.
Kwang-jae stares up at the Star Punch building for a few minutes before storming into Young-jae’s office and interrupting his putting green practice. Alarmed, Young-jae asks him what this is about, and a few seconds pass before Kwang-jae says, “I’m begging you.”
Young-jae wonders if Kwang-jae is here asking for money again, but that’s not what Kwang-jae is here for: “I’m talking about Bo-hee. Please take good care of her.”
His voice breaking and on the brink of tears, Kwang-jae admits that Bo-hee’s talents are being wasted at World Agency and pleads with Young-jae to ensure Bo-hee a successful comeback.
Woo-seung parts ways with the Star Punch employees, reassuring them that she’s waiting for a friend to pick her up. She picks up her phone and contemplates calling Ji-hoon, but then changes her mind and calls Hyun-jae instead, offering to erase the rest of his debt if he picks up her up in the mountains.
Hyun-jae is on the road with the idol girl group when he picks up, and after he drops the girls off at their destination, he realizes that this is an opportunity for Ji-hoon to sweep Woo-seung off her feet.
He tries calling Ji-hoon, saying,”Your dad is going to back you up.” But when Ji-hoon doesn’t pick up, he sends a text telling him to go pick up Woo-seung waiting in the mountains with an injured ankle.
But Ji-hoon doesn’t get that message because he’s turned his phone off to stave off the endless calls and messages he’s been bombarded with all day. This means MC Drill has to seek him out in person to tell him the happy news that Star Punch has gotten wind of Ji-hoon’s internet fame and wants to see him.
Pulling him into a hug, MC Drill says this could be Ji-hoon’s last chance. Ji-hoon is on his way out to the agency when Hyun-jae arrives home, and he thinks Hyun-jae is talking about MC Drill’s news when he’s asked if he “got the message.”
It doesn’t help when Hyun-jae calls it “an opportunity” and urges him to hurry. Hyun-jae huffs when Ji-hoon leaves without thanking him for creating this great opportunity to go get Woo-seung. He sighs, then tells himself again that it’s good if things work out between Ji-hoon and Woo-seung. To make matters worse, Woo-seung’s phone dies while she waits in the mountains. She worries if Hyun-jae is on his way, then carefully hobbles down the steps.
Later that night, Hyun-jae finds MC Drill praying for Ji-hoon, explaining that he’ll be part of the debut team if he passes his final audition. Realizing that means Woo-seung is still waiting, Hyun-jae runs out.
Over in Young-jae’s office, MJ’s manager comments on how the stars aligned for both parties: just when they needed to fill an empty spot, Ji-hoon became internet-famous. He advises Ji-hoon to show Young-jae all of his talents tonight, and Ji-hoon says he has a few songs saved on his phone.
So when the manager steps out to grab Young-jae, Ji-hoon turns on his phone and belatedly reads Hyun-jae’s message about Woo-seung waiting for him in the mountains. He runs out of the office as Hyun-jae runs through the streets, and Woo-seung waits for anybody to come for her.
Grandpa follows through to officiate that wedding he worried about, where he speaks of duplicitous nature of man. He advises the couple not to be two-faced to one another, but his own half-burned face frightens a little girl in the audience, who cries in her seat.
As someone who would’ve been perfectly happy without a main love triangle, I’m honestly unsure of how I feel about The Best Hit pitting Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon as rivals in love. But this hour and the cliffhanger drills in the notion that these two characters may soon be dueling it out for Woo-seung’s attention (and perhaps even affection), even if one of them doesn’t know it yet.
I’m wary about extrapolating the threads of Hyun-jae’s reactions of playing Cupid for Ji-hoon and Woo-seung and attributing that as Hyun-jae trying to bury any growing feelings for her because those moments alone aren’t enough for me to draw that conclusion. If anything, I might be disheartened if Hyun-jae does fall for Woo-seung in 2017, not because of any weirdness of a same-age dad liking the same girl as his alleged son, but because I’d prefer that Hyun-jae’s purpose and influence in the present extend further than a traditional romance.
So while Hyun-jae is harder to read at present, Ji-hoon remains open about his feelings for Woo-seung. I thought Woo-seung’s straightforward rejection made her a good friend, but I was even more impressed by Ji-hoon for calling her out on her behavior toward him the following morning. I can’t blame Woo-seung for not being a better friend by moving out because she honestly doesn’t have the financial means to do so. And while I sympathized with her fear of abandonment if she risked her friendship with Ji-hoon if she ever went out with him, I have to wonder if that fear, whilst understandable, is keeping her from actually taking the next step with him.
But if there’s one lesson that this episode wanted us to learn over and over again is that timing plays a crucial role when opportunities are at play. Wait too long and you’ll miss the golden window (like Ji-hoon’s confession and subsequent rejection) or sometimes the circumstances have to align for another chance (like Ji-hoon’s shot at the debut team). But then there are times when one must take a chance at that very moment, like Ji-hoon abandoning his audition created by his fifteen minutes of fame to go after Woo-seung.
Then there’s Kwang-jae and Bo-hee in the older generation. I was fully prepared to watch Kwang-jae fly off the handle again and give Young-jae a piece of mind for trying to steal Bo-hee away. But it takes a greater amount of courage for him to step aside and let Bo-hee accept an opportunity he knows will hold a brighter future for her than spending any more time trying to fulfill a promise to her he’s tried decades to see through.
Speaking of Bo-hee, my mind is still trying to process how her keypad lock is an exact match to the digits that appear on Hyun-jae’s beeper. We still don’t know what supernatural force is at work that allows the beeper to even work in this century, but that’s not the only mystery that’s hanging over Hyun-jae’s head because now a large sum of money has officially gone missing. Would it be too much to hope that another clue will magically appear in Hyun-jae’s music notebook?
- 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