The Best Hit: Episodes 19-20
Hearts will be broken when denial and misunderstandings take center stage this hour, and every generation will be faced with a dilemma that requires a choice to either act or do nothing. Putting off their worries will seem like a desirable choice when getting through the daily grind is hard enough for some of our characters, but when the past threatens to rear its ugly head, they’ll have no choice but to act now.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Waiting alone in the dark, Woo-seung picks herself up and hops gingerly down the steps, careful not to put any weight on her injured ankle. Each step she takes is harder than the last, and when she falters, an arm grabs hers—it’s Hyun-jae, who asks if she’s okay.
Breathless, Hyun-jae acknowledges that he didn’t originally plan on coming to fetch her, and when she gripes over why he didn’t come sooner, he squawks that he came as fast as he could. Seeing her hobble away from him, he bends down in front of her and instructs her to climb on his back. She protests at first, but he insists that her ankle looks worse than she claims, so she hops on.
On the way down, Hyun-jae sets her straight on trying to do everything on her own because it’s more admirable to accept help from others. When she asks if she’s heavy, he bluntly says, “You’re not light, to be honest.” Ha.
Annoyed, Woo-seung yelps that she’s lighter than the average girl and gets even more worked up when he laughs at that. He hikes her up higher on his back, and she thanks him for coming to get her. Not too far behind them, Ji-hoon sees them together, having arrived two steps too late.
When they’re finally out of the woods, Woo-seung says she can walk from here. But Hyun-jae doesn’t let her down, saying that it’s a bad habit to overexert herself… and then her stomach growls loudly. Snorting, he asks if she’s hungry and calls her a “food goblin.”
They stop at a nearby restaurant, where Woo-seung calls Hyun-jae out for staring at her while she eats. She’s caught off-guard when he answers, “Just because,” but then he adds, “I’m wondering where all that food goes.”
He offers her a tissue to wipe her mouth, and when she asks if isn’t hungry, he replies that he’s full just from watching her eat. So Woo-seung polishes off her bowl of ramyun (and sets it down gracefully on his side of the table, ha) before digging into his portion. As he watches her slurp the noodles, his disapproving expression melts into a smile.
It isn’t long before Hyun-jae detects his own happy reflection in the mirror, and then he suddenly bolts up in his seat and stammers that he needs some fresh air. Once he’s outside, he tells himself to keep it together: “You have to go back someday. Plus, she’s the girl your supposed son likes! Why do you go crazy whenever you see a girl? She’s not your type anyway!”
He tells himself that he’s just lonely, and when Woo-seung turns to look outside, she sees him doing jumping jacks in place. Her attention is quickly diverted when she’s given some free food, which makes her break into a happy dance and yelp Hyun-jae’s catchphrase: “Thumbs up!”
Ji-hoon heads straight for bed when he returns home, and MC Drill wonders if his buddy failed the audition tonight.
After setting the Star Punch contract in her room, Bo-hee runs into Kwang-jae in the hall, where he offers stilted congratulations about her moving to a bigger agency. He feels there’s no need for her to be sorry because she’ll be doing him a favor if she finds success again.
They end the conversation on an awkward note, and Kwang-jae retires to his room where he takes out the ring he bought for Bo-hee. With a long sigh, he tells himself, “This is enough,” and tucks the ring back in the drawer.
Kwang-jae’s idol girl group stops at the bakery during Ji-hoon’s shift to comment on how much brighter the bakery has gotten since he started working here. They head out when Hyun-jae comes to collect them, and he hangs back to lecture Ji-hoon about not coming to pick Woo-seung up last night when he laid the groundwork for him.
Turning toward him, Ji-hoon asks outright: “Do you like Choi Woo-seung?” Stunned, Hyun-jae sputters in response before settling on a firm “no,” adding that his standards are too high to like a girl like her. The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.
In any case, Ji-hoon isn’t interested in any more of Hyun-jae’s dating advice and thinks it’s high time for Hyun-jae to move out. He takes Hyun-jae’s non-response to mean “yes,” and heads out, leaving Hyun-jae to wonder why he’s acting so coldly.
Grandpa waits for Mal-sook at the pre-school van drop-off location, where she shows up holding hands with a boy. Aw, is he the one she had a crush on?
Grandpa is offended by the boy’s ill-mannered greeting of a slight nod without breaking eye contact, but Mal-sook apologizes on her grandfather’s behalf and pulls the boy away, who turns back to send Grandpa a smirk.
After being told that there isn’t anything out of the ordinary regarding Woo-seung’s behavior at work, Young-jae orders his secretary to hurry up on closing the deal with Bo-hee. He panics upon hearing that his wife is on his way to the office right now, then whines when he’s told that she seemed angry.
Woo-seung spends her day meticulously fixing a typo on a stack of Star Punch flyers. She’s startled when MJ shows up out of seemingly nowhere and asks her for her help in putting together a large jigsaw puzzle he claims a fan sent him.
He disagrees with the idea that this falls outside of her job description, arguing that an intern should help out the agency’s artists. He cajoles her into helping him anyway and agrees to tell everyone that this was work-related.
He’s impressed when she assembles the edges rather quickly, which she says there’s no other way to go about it. That prompts him to ask what someone should do with a puzzle whose pieces never fit from the start, and she pragmatically replies that person should tear the whole thing apart and start all over.
Her answer gives him pause, and he wonders, “Should I just do that?” We’re not talking about the puzzle anymore, are we? She notes that the image appears to be a photo and he coyly replies, “Should I call it a beautiful face?” I’ll be really impressed if that’s a photo of Woo-seung.
But then that “beautiful face” becomes all too clear when Woo-seung lays down one of the final few pieces… as MJ. LOL. And then MJ lays his head on the table to match the image.
At home, Grandpa’s memory appears to be getting worse because he can’t even recall the word “hat.” There’s an awkward moment when Grandpa asks Mal-sook not to attach a flower on the paper hat she’s decorating and learns that this hat is meant for her new boyfriend.
He bitterly remarks that he doesn’t like that boy and slyly asks if she’ll keep seeing him, to which Mal-sook says that’s up to them, the couple.
Turns out Young-jae’s rich wife Cathy is upset for offering Bo-hee a contract without her knowledge. She doesn’t let her husband change the subject and doesn’t believe for a second that it’s strictly business because she knows that Young-jae had feelings for Bo-hee.
She orders him to call it off immediately, threatening to show him how angry she’ll get if he doesn’t. She’s ready to storm out, but Young-jae grabs her arm, whips her around, and tells her to look into his eyes to see that she’s the only woman he loves.
The cheesy line mollifies her for the time being, and after she leaves, Young-jae decides that he’ll sign Bo-hee and claim the World Agency building anyway.
On the way to another gig, the idol girls scold Hyun-jae for referring to their boss Kwang-jae by name. They sigh over how tough things are for Kwang-jae, who is about to lose the World Agency building in a matter of days because he’s in the red.
However, the girls agree on his deep sense of loyalty, given that Kwang-jae lived with people who aren’t his blood relatives for years. Hyun-jae is surprised when he hears that Kwang-jae stopped working soon after Hyun-jae’s disappearance to spend years searching the country for him.
Speaking of whom, Kwang-jae seeks out a former colleague to ask for a job at his entertainment agency. Unfortunately, he’s turned away and told that he can’t even compete with the many entry-level candidates who hail from elite universities and speak multiple languages.
Woo-seung is too tired to talk to anyone when she returns home from work. But Hyun-jae counters that she’s the first person he’s seen all day, and is miffed when she trudges toward her room.
He does open the door to her room a bit later, wondering how she has the strength to study after her long day. She asks to be left alone and closes the door, only for him to open it again. She isn’t interested in lending an ear to whatever’s on his mind, though, and slams the door in his face.
But Hyun-jae won’t be shut out and gripes that he’s desperate, so she begrudgingly agrees to hear him out. He makes sure to preface that this story is absolutely not about him before setting her up with a hypothetical: What would she do if she traveled forward in time by 20 years and the people she knew weren’t living their lives the way she expected and needed help?
He expounds on the idea that she couldn’t necessarily tell those people the truth lest they think she was crazy, so would she stay low and wait until she could go back to her time or take the risk and help that person in need? He jumps on her reply of “Go back,” but then she barks in clarification: “Go back to your room!”
Woo-seung doesn’t consider Hyun-jae’s worries to be a real crisis when she’s irritated enough because MJ treats her like his servant at work. She promises to hear his absurd-sounding time travel story later, refusing to hear another word. She pushes him out of the room, and he tumbles down the steps.
Hyun-jae picks up a triangle kimbap at a convenience store to lift his spirits, and then spots Kwang-jae drowning his sorrows away in soju outside. Amused, Hyun-jae makes sure to capture this rare moment of a tipsy Kwang-jae, and then he pours him a glass because it’s unlucky to fill one’s own glass.
He asks if Kwang-jae is torn up over his looming debt and asks how much that is. Kwang-jae doesn’t see the point revealing the amount when Hyun-jae barely has two pennies to rub together, but he does admit that he thought of the settlement money when Hyun-jae made his sudden reappearance.
He realizes it was CEO Lee’s fault for not writing up a formal contract with Hyun-jae, and then concedes that Hyun-jae was the rightful owner of the bagfuls of cash he took because he did do the majority of the work. He recognizes that he can’t ever match Hyun-jae in both talent and success and believes that people are born into their destiny: “I, Lee Kwang-jae, can’t ever be like Yoo Hyun-jae even if I were to die and be reborn. No matter how hard I try, I can’t…”
Kwang-jae knocks out right then and there, so Hyun-jae carries him on his back. He fondly remembers the time he got plastered not long after his debut and Kwang-jae had to carry him back to the studio. “You might not believe it… but this isn’t what I wanted,” he admits.
In his drunken stupor, Kwang-jae murmurs, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that to you. I’m sorry.”
Back at home, Woo-seung hops down to the bathroom, only to come face to face with Ji-hoon when she opens the door. He asks if she doesn’t need to go get her injured ankle checked out, but when she quips that it’s nothing, he leads her away to treat her ankle with a cold compress.
She’s impressed, but Ji-hoon doesn’t consider it a big deal since he’s seen plenty of sprained ankles among the trainees. She asks what he plans to do now that he’s quit the music industry, and though Ji-hoon isn’t sure what his next steps will be, he does know one thing for certain: “I won’t give up anymore.”
Out in the rooftop, Hyun-jae thinks of Kwang-jae’s current financial situation and his woes of never being able to match Hyun-jae in anything no matter how hard he tries. Sighing, Hyun-jae resolves, “I guess there’s no way for me to quietly go back [to my time] anymore.”
EPISODE 20 RECAP
At the Star Punch building, MC Drill stops by the lounge for a drink. He gets an eerie feeling and is scared half to death when he looks up to see Hye-ri approach him like a ghost. She asks after Ji-hoon and learns that he lost his last potential shot at the debut team. She has MC Drill arrange a time for her to meet Ji-hoon when he’s feeling better, and MC Drill beats himself up for obeying her.
Grandpa schedules a doctor’s appointment over the phone and happens to see Mal-sook pushing her new boyfriend on the playground swings. He takes issue with how the boy bosses his granddaughter around, but Mal-sook motions at her grandfather to leave.
Mal-sook doesn’t see anything wrong with what happened at the playground when Grandpa confronts her about it later. He points out that the girl is typically the one who’s on the swing and compares her budding relationship to Chun-hyang and her servant girl Hyang-dan.
But Mal-sook doesn’t get the folktale reference and thinks he means Cheongyang County, which is famous for their scallion pancakes. Furthermore, she objects to traditional gender roles in her relationship and barks at her grandfather to butt out of her love life.
Hyun-jae checks himself out in the mirror and collects the few bills he’s hidden underneath his sheets when he spies the broken watch peeking out from under the bed. He puts it on and heads to the Star Punch building, asking to see the CEO. Although he doesn’t have an appointment, he’s sure that Young-jae will want to see him when he hears his name.
Meanwhile, Young-jae sits down with the architectural firm who will renovate the World Agency building once the bank seizes the property in the next few days. Just like his other meeting with his music producer, he speaks in vague terms to sound like he knows what he’s talking about, though all that does is confuse his audience.
He’s annoyed when his secretary interrupts the meeting to announce that he has a guest claiming to be Yoo Hyun-jae. Cue Hyun-jae sauntering into the office with a smile, “Park Young-jae, it’s been a long time.” Young-jae gapes in surprise.
The former Jay-2 members take their conversation up to the roof, where Young-jae has a hard time believing that the man standing before him is actually Hyun-jae. He then remembers the time he saw Hyun-jae through his telescope and asks for solid proof.
Hyun-jae doesn’t think that’s necessary since he can tell that deep down Young-jae knows the truth. He’s willing to oblige him with information only they know to make his case, though he understands that Young-jae will need some time to accept the current situation since it was the same with Kwang-jae.
But Hyun-jae isn’t here to talk on that subject and notes that Young-jae has made quite a fortune off of his music notebook. He asks point blank, “You have it, don’t you?”
Young-jae’s blustery response confirms his suspicions. Hyun-jae says he knows Young-jae has released his original compositions under MJ’s name, but he isn’t here today to collect everything that’s rightfully his—he’s willing to settle for some money and a job at Star Punch. Lastly, since he can’t risk using the name Yoo Hyun-jae in this era, he shares his alias, Da-bong.
Grandpa sits down with Mal-sook’s bossy boyfriend at a cafe and scoffs at the boy’s low level of taekwondo expertise. He then employs the popular drama trope of chucking a money envelope (or in this case, gift vouchers, heh) at the boy, ordering him to accept that in exchange for ending things with Mal-sook, whom he raised himself.
The little boy carefully weighs his options and accepts the envelope. He says he’ll tell Mal-sook himself, and Grandpa ensures the boy will follow through with a clean breakup. Once the boy leaves, Grandpa beams with pride.
Kwang-jae gets pulled into sharing Mal-sook’s story when one of the idol girls asks about the girl’s mother. Mal-sook’s mother was CEO Lee’s only daughter, who fell in love and ran off with one of the old man’s lackeys. She tried asking her father for forgiveness some years later, but CEO Lee didn’t budge.
She gave birth to Mal-sook shortly afterward, but then died in a car accident on her way home. Thus, Grandpa never got a chance to patch things up with his daughter, and as Kwang-jae tells this sad tale, we see Grandpa meet a gloomy-looking Mal-sook at the playground and pushes her on the swings. Aw.
The bank calls to inform Kwang-jae that his debt has been paid off by Young-jae, which makes Kwang-jae assume that Bo-hee has signed with Star Punch after all.
In reality, Young-jae has been coerced into complying with Hyun-jae’s demands. Hyun-jae, who is now Star Punch’s newest executive director, marvels at the state-of-the-art equipment in the recording studio. Still not willing to believe that this Hyun-jae is the same man he once knew, he has his secretary verify his identity. If that weren’t bad enough, he’s ordered to meet his wife at the department store.
Later that night, Woo-seung takes issue with MC Drill working out inside the tiny apartment, but he has a bone to pick with her too. He heard that Ji-hoon threw away his last shot at the debut team because of a certain someone, and she howls, “Me?!”
Now that Woo-seung knows that Ji-hoon ran to pick her up in the mountains last night, she waits in the hammock for him until he comes home. Ji-hoon listens to how much she enjoys this hammock and says they should go inside, and so Woo-seung asks if he went looking for her last night.
Ji-hoon lies that she was gone by the time by the time he arrived, but she thanks him for coming for her anyway. She feels bad for being the reason he lost his chance with the agency, but he cuts her off, saying that they’ll probably call again if they need him.
Before he can head inside, she asks if they can’t go back to the way things were, as good friends. She makes light of his amorous feelings for her, teasing that he probably can’t even kiss her…
…And then Ji-hoon marches forward and swoops in for a gentle kiss. “I can do it,” he says, adding apologetically that he can’t settle for being friends anymore. He walks away and cringes with embarrassment before heading inside.
While Grandpa fails in his attempts to console Mal-sook over her recent breakup, Woo-seung is unable to get her mind off of Ji-hoon’s kiss, so she stomps out of her room and slaps him upside the head.
Whereas Hyun-jae and MC Drill don’t understand where that sudden reaction came from, Ji-hoon explains that he deserved that slap, but doesn’t regret anything.
Hyun-jae buys a drink at the Star Punch lounge and accidentally leaves his phone behind. He doesn’t know that it’s Woo-seung when he doubles back to retrieve his phone since her hair covers her face while she picks up her things.
Elsewhere, Grandpa orders an ice cream to-go for Mal-sook, though he seethes when he sees her bossy ex-boyfriend flaunting his newfound money to treat another girl to dessert. He exacts his revenge by swiping the boy’s ice cream and cackling gleefully, but he ends up looking like the bad guy when the boy cries and pins him as the mean grandpa who stole his ice cream.
Grandpa struggles to describe his symptoms to his doctor, but attributes his recent memory loss to age. Concerned, his doctor recommends that they run another test.
Young-jae jumps a foot when he returns to his office to find Hyun-jae sprawled out on his couch. Hyun-jae comments that he deliberately chose to work in this space since it’s the most spacious room in the office, so Young-jae decides to see himself out.
A production crew takes up space in the Star Punch lobby to film a music video. This means Woo-seung has to wait for the crew to take a break, but when the director calls “Cut!” another employee bumps into her and her foot gets caught in one of the cables.
She trips and a production lamp crashes between her and one of the idol girls. Everyone rushes toward the idol girl and the director makes a huge fuss over her tiny scrap, ignoring the deep cuts on Woo-seung’s arm.
Learning that Woo-seung is an intern, the director berates her for putting his star in harm’s way, and then a voice nearby cuts him off. It’s Hyun-jae, who barely lets the director introduce himself before bending down to check that Woo-seung is okay.
Now it’s Hyun-jae’s turn to rebuke the crew for their disorganized cables and asks, “Who will take responsibility for injuring one of our employees?” The director issues an apology, and Hyun-jae grows angry at the cuts on Woo-seung’s arm.
He confirms that he now works at Star Punch and that part of his memory has returned. He helps her up and asks if she’s able to walk. Woo-seung nods, and he leads her away by the hand, saying, “Let’s go, Part-timer.”
Grandpa receives an official diagnosis that he’s suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. His doctor recommends exercises to help him stay mentally active, and tells him to write down the things he wants to make sure to remember. So Grandpa does just that, and that night he falls asleep next to Mal-sook with a marker in his hand. The camera pans across a stack of children’s books and an open workbook where Grandpa has written one thing over and over: “My granddaughter Lee Mal-sook.”
I’m not crying; for your information, there’s an inflammation in my tear gland. Oh, who am I kidding—that final shot broke my heart into a million pieces. Suffice it to say that I’m a huge sucker for gruff paternal figures who reveal a soft emotional underbelly for their loved ones, so it’s no surprise that I adore the subplot with Mal-sook and her grandfather.
These two already captured my heart even before we heard how and when Grandpa took her under his wing, and I cracked up when Grandpa pulled all the classic drama clichés on her bossy short-lived love interest to protect his precious girl. Even as precocious a child Mal-sook can be, her arguments with Grandpa in regards to her first love (and breakup) were all to be expected, and now I worry how she’ll cope once she finds out that her grandfather—who is trying his damnedest to prevent his brain from forgetting the most important person in his life—may fail to recognize her one day. My eyes are welling up with tears just thinking about it.
So let’s move on to a different topic, like Ji-hoon’s declaration to never give up again and taking a bold step to express his feelings for Woo-seung. It was easy to guess that he wouldn’t make it in time to come for Woo-seung, though I found it admirable of him to confront Hyun-jae on whether or not he had feelings for her. I doubt that Ji-hoon fully buys Hyun-jae’s answer of “no,” and can only presume that he might throw that answer back at Hyun-jae when the latter does profess his feelings for Woo-seung down the line.
To be frank, I’m not thrilled about Hyun-jae and Woo-seung being our OTP in this show, since I would prefer Hyun-jae and Ji-hoon duking it out over anything else, such as music or dancing or who Ji-hoon’s father is. How I personally feel about the pairing doesn’t change the narrative trajectory of course, and there’s plenty of other things that The Best Hit offers for me to enjoy. What I hope the show can avoid going forward is using a contrived romance as a crutch to sustain the plot until we get to unravel more of the main mystery.
Which brings us to Kwang-jae, whom I never considered a prime suspect in Hyun-jae’s disappearance in 1994. His drunken ramblings cement the idea that he thinks he’ll never be as important a presence in Bo-hee’s life as Hyun-jae was, though I would argue that he isn’t giving himself enough credit for creating his own family and living with them under one roof. It saddened me to see him close the door on his decades-long crush on Bo-hee as well as his fruitless attempts to get any job in the hopes to save his family.
I’m not sure what he’ll think when he finds out that Hyun-jae agreed to let Young-jae keep his success in exchange for paying off their debt, since neither Hyun-jae nor Kwang-jae are aware that the CEO still plans on nabbing that building for himself. But now that Hyun-jae has wriggled his way into Star Punch, it means we can expect more hijinks between him and MJ. Next Friday can’t come soon enough.
- 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