The Best Hit: Episodes 29-30
Time has never been a friend to Hyun-jae in this series, but it’s been a real treat for us to watch him grow into a caring and generous individual to those around him in that time. Turns out those happy times are only the calm of the storm as we enter the final week of The Best Hit and Hyun-jae is faced with the difficult choice to either preserve the past or protect the future.
EPISODE 29 RECAP
Following a tender reunion on the rooftop, Hyun-jae walks Woo-seung back home, hand in hand. He complains about the short walk, and she teases that she’ll move far away next time. Unwilling to part ways so soon, they bicker about who should leave first—Hyun-jae insists on seeing her walk inside before leaving whereas Woo-seung doesn’t find that necessary in this day and age.
She laughs, saying they could argue about this all night, so they finally exchange goodbyes. Just as Woo-seung inputs the passcode to gain entry into the building, Hyun-jae rushes forward and presses all the keys on the keypad like a child.
Piqued, he wonders how she knows less about modern dating than he does and why she doesn’t use the popular pick-up line people use nowadays. Ha, ya mean being invited upstairs for “ramyun”?
He finds her total ignorance about this subject nettlesome and walks away looking sour, only to run back and blatantly ask, “How do you not know something like, ‘Do you want to come up for some ramyun’?”
When Woo-seung takes those words at face value, he literally sinks and bemoans her failure to comprehend the double entendre. He grumpily takes her up on her offer for literal ramyun, though, which Woo-seung instructs him to cook.
The bickering continues in Woo-seung’s apartment, where she and Hyun-jae playfully disagree over how to cook said ramyun such as having chewy vs. bloated noodles or whether or not to add an egg. Amused, Hyun-jae points out that their different preferences supports the concept that “opposites attract,” and then gravitates his head to hers like a magnet. Ha.
Once they sit down to eat, Woo-seung admits Hyun-jae’s addition of the egg isn’t bad, and then addresses the elephant in the room, asking him where he planned to go. He admits he didn’t have a destination in mind; he simply thought he outstayed his welcome here: “It’s enough that I made one mistake. I didn’t want to hurt people again.”
He’d figured that his departure would mean a happily ever after ending for everybody else. Woo-seung disagrees and asks if he has a place to stay tonight Seeing through his false claims that he does, she instructs him to stay here tonight, claiming that she might get nervous if he suddenly disappears again. Hyun-jae smiles at that and feeds her a piece of kimchi.
Back at the rooftop apartment, Ji-hoon finds the box containing the smart watch on his desk. He marvels at it, then finds a written note from Hyun-jae, apologizing for not being the person Ji-hoon thought he was, but thanking him for everything: “Time doesn’t go in reverse. I hope we can share a time we don’t regret.”
Neither Woo-seung nor Hyun-jae can sleep that night, so she turns toward him and wonders why he went missing twenty years ago. He replies that he doesn’t know, but finds the idea that someone back then really wanted to make him disappear troubles him.
Considering Hyun-jae to be an innocent party in his own disappearance, Woo-seung tells him not to blame himself. He scoffs and decides to continue the search for the culprit tomorrow. He then switch topics, and with a small growl, he remarks on how trusting and brave she is for letting a hot-blooded young man like himself stay the night.
She smiles, pulls out a frying pan from under her pillow, and sweetly cautions, “Sweet dreams, Thumbs Up.” Pulling his arms toward his chest, he answers, “You too.” Heh. But while Woo-seung eventually zonks out, Hyun-jae is unable to fall asleep.
In the morning, Kwang-jae sits down with Ji-hoon and MC Drill to bring out their upcoming single. At MC Drill’s amazed reaction, Kwang-jae makes sure to nip any of his brown-nosing attempts in the bud, and then plays the song for them.
The melody sounds familiar to Ji-hoon’s ears, and a flashback teaches us that Hyun-jae stumbled upon the sheet music in Ji-hoon’s notebook. Impressed, Hyun-jae made some tweaks which then resulted in the guide version Ji-hoon and MC Drill are listening to now.
Ji-hoon correctly guesses that Hyun-jae wrote this song and learns that he also created the choreography. MC Drill gasps to hear that Hyun-jae had some musical talent.
Over at Star Punch, Young-jae already anticipates the impending media splash over losing MJ. However, he believes they can spin the story to their advantage and instructs his staff to frame the story like a tell-all from a songwriter claiming that MJ never wrote any of his own songs.
He’s no longer interested in signing MJ again even if the singer comes crawling back to the agency and guesses that leaking this information on a Friday will allow the news to spread over the weekend. His staff is concerned that MJ will point the finger of blame at him, but he believes MJ will have more to lose in this battle, and they should be prepared to fight dirty.
Later, Young-jae climbs into his car and lines up a private meeting with a reporter. Once he hangs up, he asks his driver why they aren’t moving, and a familiar voice tauntingly calls, “Young-jae-ah.”
It’s Hyun-jae, who is here to ask Young-jae something because he “doesn’t have much time to live.” Saying he isn’t afraid of anything, Hyun-jae slams down the accelerator, which effectively momentarily spooks Young-jae until he realizes that the car is still in park.
“Nothing will happen as long as you’re honest with me,” Hyun-jae warns. Young-jae calls this a threat, and when Hyun-jae asks him if he knows anything about his disappearance in ’94, he claims he knows nothing and climbs out of the car.
But Hyun-jae won’t let him off that easy and follows him out of the car. He points out that Young-jae is in possession of his music notebook and that would logically make him a prime suspect. To that, Young-jae gets on the defensive, claiming that he wouldn’t resort to extreme measures like orchestrating Hyun-jae’s disappearance over a notebook.
He claims to be a victim too, because he thought Hyun-jae ran off with the large sum of money. He had to perform at nightclubs to make end meets following their disbandment, and it was only after he met Cathy was he able to build his success. Getting choked up, he notes that Hyun-jae never treated him with respect.
His sob story tugs at the guilty strings in Hyun-jae’s heart, and Hyun-jae issues a belated apology, explaining that he wasn’t great at expressing his feelings back then. He offers Young-jae a napkin to wipe away his tears.
And then Young-jae drops a bombshell: He was there at the same lake the day Hyun-jae went missing and saw him with another person. He was too far away to make out the face, though, so he naturally assumed it was Kwang-jae.
Back at home, Kwang-jae finds Grandpa looking at a photo of his daughter Mi-young, which was tucked in his address book. Grandpa refuses to visit his deceased daughter on her upcoming death anniversary, though he chuckles that she was beautiful. He asks Kwang-jae how things are going with Bo-hee, and is told to assume all is well.
Now that Hyun-jae knows he wasn’t alone the day he disappeared, he reads a post on his online fan cafe written by a fangirl who grew up to be a surgeon. A thought pops into his head, and he reaches out to her, asking to meet.
Just then, he gets a call from Ji-hoon, who asks where he disappeared off to. Surveying Woo-seng’s apartment, he assures him that he’s fine and asks how practice is going. Ji-hoon says he called to thank him for writing the song, knowing that Hyun-jae did more than some tweaks of his baseline melody.
Even so, Hyun-jae is happy to hear that Ji-hoon likes the song and choreography since he was worried that he’d fallen behind the times. He disagrees with Ji-hoon’s idea of getting a vocalist for a feature verse on the argument that Ji-hoon needs to command the attention of his audience instead of trying to play to the crowd.
Ji-hoon is open to getting pointers from Hyun-jae over the phone and is about to thank Hyun-jae for the watch before thinking otherwise and thanking him for all his help.
Woo-seung gets frustrated at work when she can’t get through to Hyun-jae because he’s on a call. Her co-worker wonders if she’s seeing someone, and she shyly denies it.
In the taxi, Hyun-jae listens to a radio DJ warning her listeners about a typhoon whose projected path is similar to the one that hit Seoul in 1993. He’s told by the taxi driver that they could use the rain in this drought, and they listen to the report that this typhoon named Danas (the Austronesian verb for “to experience”) may evolve into a twin typhoon.
In the World Agency office, MJ asks for Kwang-jae’s permission in coming clean with the truth about his songs as soon as possible. He understands that fulfilling this request may mean Kwang-jae losing his hard-earned investments and asks if he should wait.
With a sigh, Kwang-jae replies, “Let’s do that then.” MJ takes that to mean that he should wait, but Kwang-jae clarifies, “No, let’s tell the truth.” MJ smiles, prepared for the public backlash that will follow.
Hyun-jae meets his fangirl-turned-surgeon at a cafe, where she confesses that he looks so much like Yoo Hyun-jae that she’d believe him if he’d claimed that he was the same person. She’s taken aback when he puts those words to the test, asking,”What if I said that I really was? How much are you willing to believe me?” and then divulges that he’s the only doctor he knows who can provide some insight into his inquiry.
Now we learn the contents of the page Hyun-jae found in the security deposit box, in which he’d written: “This is an illness that cannot be cured through modern medicine anyway. I don’t want to be remembered as a sick man in the end. That’s not Yoo Hyun-jae’s style. I want to be remembered as a star to you all until the very end. A brilliant ending, like a star. They said there’s nothing more they can do, even though it’s my body. I had no idea.” WHAT.
Hyun-jae thinks back to his earlier conversation with the doctor, who confirmed that the illness he mentioned was incurable in the 1990s, but a cure was discovered in the early 2000s. Now considered a lifestyle disease, most patients are cured through medication. Hyun-jae looks at his beeper which displays the date June 9th at 1:20 AM. Is this the time he died?
Kwang-jae grows worried when Grandpa leaves for a meeting over drinks that night. Grandpa assures him that he’ll be fine, but later, we see him dozing off at a bus stop. He wakes up without any knowledge of where he is or where he’s headed. He removes his blazers, places it on an outdoor ashtray and leaves it behind with his phone. Oh no.
He’s wandering down the road while we hear Hyun-jae’s voice asking where Grandpa has gone, worried that he might be exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Kwang-jae isn’t worried, believing that Grandpa will outlive them all.
Kwang-jae has more pressing concerns like knowing that Hyun-jae moved out of the rooftop apartment and that Hyun-jae has something on his mind. Hyun-jae levels with him, saying that he feels like the past is trying to connect with him through incoming messages on his beeper.
He theorizes that the past they currently know will change if he decides not to return to the ’90s, leading to a butterfly effect that ripples into the present. According to that logic, Kwang-jae realizes that Ji-hoon’s entire future is at risk since Hyun-jae traveled through time before having a romantic relationship with Bo-hee.
“So don’t you have to be in the past in order for Ji-hoon to exist?” Kwang-jae asks. ‘S what we’ve been sayin’!
Afterward, Hyun-jae sits outside, where he gets a text from Woo-seung asking why he hasn’t come home yet for dinner.
EPISODE 30 RECAP
In her apartment, Woo-seung worries that the food will get cold when Hyun-jae arrives. He’s amazed by the spread she’s prepared, and when she says he’s lucky he came in time to eat, he jokes that he has better luck with girlfriends, meaning her.
Just as he’s about to wash up for dinner, he whips around and shoots a volley of love bullets at her. She scoffs, only to mimic his actions seconds later. She doesn’t know of the thoughts weighing heavy in his mind since Hyun-jae keeps up pretenses at dinner as they shoot love bullets and arrows at each other. It’s only when Hyun-jae steps out for some fresh air alone that night does concern wash over his face.
News of MJ’s confession goes public the next morning, much to Young-jae’s surprise. He can’t believe that MJ beat him to the punch and is immediately bombarded with calls. He’s told the netizens are split in opinion, but MJ’s fans were moved by his bravery. Knowing that they’ll be flooded with calls, Young-jae relays the company statement that MJ acted alone.
Meanwhile, Kwang-jae learns that Grandpa never came back home last night. Remembering Hyun-jae’s recommendation to get Grandpa checked out, he tries calling, but it goes straight to voicemail.
That’s because Grandpa doesn’t have his phone on his person and is completely lost, walking through the streets looking haggard and missing a shoe. He mistakes a random woman for Bo-hee and even climbs into a stranger’s car, asking the man to take him wherever he’s headed because his feet ache.
But the stranger takes him for a crazy old man and pulls him out of the car. Thirsty, hungry, and lost, Grandpa uses a plastic bag to cover his blistered foot. This is too hard to watch.
Not only is Kwang-jae worried about Grandpa’s whereabouts, the investments for World Agency hasn’t come through following MJ’s admission. He assures all the boys not to worry, though Ji-hoon hangs back to make a suggestion: What if he and MC Drill made their debut online? Perhaps through MC Drill’s internet broadcast.
Dad feels sorry for making Ji-hoon worry, but the latter knows that Dad has worked harder than anyone for their debut. Dad admits it’s more difficult dealing with outside investments, but assures Ji-hoon that things will get better.
Hyun-jae waits for Woo-seung to get off work to ask her out on an impromptu date. They go bowling and beat another couple in a game by a small margin, get a tarot card reading, visit a comic book store (where Hyun-jae cries over the ending of the Slam Dunk series), and ride on a tandem bicycle through the park.
They end up sitting beside a lake, where Hyun-jae says she made him temporarily forget who he was, where he came from, and how he lived his life. “Now that I think about it, you’re the only one I have in the 21st century,” he muses. He wears a smile when he looks at her whilst appearing troubled when he looks away.
Later that night, Kwang-jae follows up on his missing person report with the police regarding Grandpa. He claims that Grandpa is healthy and is told to wait for a call. After contemplating whether or not to borrow money, he searches through the drawers and discovers Hyun-jae’s letter addressed to Grandpa.
Remembering that Hyun-jae mentioned that he’d apparently sent money to World Agency sometime in 1994 after their fallout, Kwang-jae opens the envelope. Inside is a letter and a stock certificate from Hyun-jae, saying that he bought stock equal to the cost of expenses the agency invested into him.
Evidently, Hyun-jae bought 500 shares into an electronics company which has since turned wildly successful. Kwang-jae does the mental math and gasps because these shares are now worth 1.3 billion won.
Grandpa is wandering in a park when he sees an empty bench and imagines his deceased daughter Mi-young sitting there. A spotlight shines on them as he sits in a neighboring bench and apologizes for coming to see her so late. She doesn’t mind and notes how much her once handsome and popular father has aged.
He asks how long she’s been waiting, and she replies that she waited for him to come see her. Seeing the many people walk past made her feel nostalgic, and Mi-young apologizes for not being a daughter he could be proud of and marrying a man he didn’t approve of.
Tears in her eyes, she says time wasn’t in their favor—he would’ve understood her if they had more time together. “I’m sorry too. I was too stubborn, ” Grandpa admits. Mi-young knows her father acted that way because he cared about her and denies that she ever resented him for it.
He tells her that there was never a moment when he wasn’t proud of her, because she was the best thing in her life. She thanks him for raising little Mal-sook on her behalf, and Grandpa is on the verge of tears as he shares how Mal-sook was instructed to draw her mother’s face at school, but ended up drawing his face.
Sobbing, he asks his daughter to forgive him. She says there’s no need between family and calls him the best thing in her life. Grandpa sheds more tears, then looks over in her direction, only to find the bench empty.
He walks into a police station, where he flags down a police officer and laboriously explains that he’s lost his way home.
As Hyun-jae and Woo-seung stroll down the street, he asks if there’s anything she wants to do. He’s disappointed when she can’t think of anything, calling her a small dreamer, but she doesn’t think that having dreams are that important anyway. He comments that he always feels like he’s running out of time whenever they’re together, and she advises him to take it slow since they have more days ahead of them. If you only knew.
She calls him out for staring at her while she’s studying at home later, citing that he’s a distraction. He says he’s trying to memorize her face so he can later imagine what she looks like with his eyes closed.
She shows him the goosebumps forming from his cheesy line, and he grumbles that she doesn’t get his sincerity. Moments later, the doorbell rings—it’s Ji-hoon and MC Drill, and Hyun-jae hurries to find a hiding space.
Woo-seung sticks Hyun-jae in the wardrobe with his shoes, then lets Ji-hoon and MC Drill inside. Aw they brought her housewarming gifts. She awkwardly leans against the wardrobe doors and tries to act natural when MC Drill asks for a drink.
MC Drill mentions that he thinks Woo-seung accidentally took one of his t-shirts because it went missing when she moved out. She promises to find it and return it to him later, and she scolds him when he makes his way to her closet.
But MC Drill insists on taking a quick look and moves her aside. He’s unable to open the doors (because Hyun-jae is resisting on the other side), and though Woo-seung claims the doors get stuck frequently, Ji-hoon gets up to fix the doors for her.
Ji-hoon forces one of the doors open and sees nothing but clothes and a blanket (which Hyun-jae is hiding under, ha). Woo-seung intervenes before MC Drill can take a closer look, calling it rude of him to try and look in a girl’s closet. Ji-hoon agrees, but then spots something in his line of view.
She gulps, but Ji-hoon plucks MC Drill’s shirt off the rack and hands it back to MC Drill. Ji-hoon tells his buddy that they should get going to avoid the impending storm. Once the boys leave, Woo-seung hurries back to free Hyun-jae from the enclosed space. Outside, we learn that Ji-hoon had seen someone hiding in the closet, but didn’t mention it.
After picking up Grandpa at the police station, Kwang-jae wipes away his tears on the drive home, asking why he didn’t mention his condition earlier. Grandpa apologizes for being such a burden and asks him to look after Mal-sook because he thinks he doesn’t have much time left.
Mal-sook is the one person Grandpa worries most about, but he admits he feels better now that he’s with Kwang-jae. Aw.
As Woo-seung and Hyun-jae lie down to sleep as the rain pours outside, she wonders where this underlying sense of anxiety is coming from. She leans over to pluck the sticker picture they took together off of the doll Hyun-jae won for her, then grabs his hand and sticks the picture on his forearm.
She calls this sticker a compass, explaining, “So you won’t get lost wherever you may go.” She yawns and lies back down on her bed and asks him to make her breakfast tomorrow. Hyun-jae agrees, but later that night, we see that he’s changed clothes and he watches her sleep.
He gently tucks her in and caresses her hair before placing a soft kiss on her forehead. He walks out of the apartment, and the camera zooms in on the breakfast he’s prepared for her.
Hyun-jae returns to the rooftop, where he flips through the group photos he took with his rooftop friend while the typhoon rages around him. He touches Woo-seung’s face in one of the photos, then checks the time: 1:19 AM.
He looks up, and the storm comes to an abrupt stop. He tucks the photo inside his bag and grabs the red sled before looking up to the sky, where the eye of the typhoon reveals a full moon. His sticker picture with Woo-seung still stuck to his arm, Hyun-jae heads for the stairs and closes the door behind him.
We hear a whoosh and see the red sled zoom out of the end of the staircase, empty.
We rewind to the moment Kwang-jae storms into the police station looking for Grandpa, who drowsily calls out to him. Kwang-jae unwraps the plastic bag on Grandpa’s foot and is troubled when he sees the blisters. Grandpa remembers that he took off his shoe, but doesn’t recall anything that happened afterward, and he apologizes for not calling.
Kwang-jae is asked to sign a release form, and then he takes off his own sneaker for Grandpa to wear. Grandpa bids the entire station farewell and almost leaves with a police cap instead of his own hat. He and Kwang-jae leave the precinct, holding hands.
Before we get to anything else, there’s something I need to get off my chest: REALLY?! The Incurable Disease That Shall Not Be Named trope?! After all this time, spending nearly two months wondering about who was responsible for Hyun-jae’s disappearance, you’re trying to tell me that Other Hyun-jae pulled the ultimate Noble Idiot move and left everyone because he was secretly dying?! You have got to be kidding me. I thought we’d seen every drama cliche there was to see in this series, so I feel foolish for have fallen prey to the mother of all tropes. No wonder Hyun-jae considered that a stupid reason when he read the note. *breathes deeply*
I’m really hoping that note was written when Other Hyun-jae only thought that he was dying because he kept that note and banker’s check in a security deposit box with a passcode only he and Bo-hee knew. But you know what, now I’m just mad that very note was why Hyun-jae started making his round of farewells to everyone around him. I realize that this makes me sound like I’m looking for someone to blame aside from Hyun-jae for the circumstances of his disappearance in ’94, but now Hyun-jae has traveled back to the past to save the people in 2017 from emotional pain, and to a time where his alleged disease is incurable.
Even with this flurry of mixed emotions in this eleventh hour, I almost want to give Hyun-jae the benefit of the doubt and believe that he has a greater plan in mind for his return to the ’90s than to simply repeat the past. I understand how Hyun-jae believes this his prolonged presence in 2017 puts Ji-hoon’s existence at risk, but will his return open up an alternate timeline or will he pick up right where he left off in 1993 and have a relationship with Bo-hee because he believes that he is Ji-hoon’s biological father? We saw him pack a few important memories with him, but did he pack medication that would supposedly cure his unnamed disease? And wouldn’t bringing back trinkets from the future also lead to consequences in the past?
Bo-hee was mysteriously absent this hour, which leads me to believe that either there was a filming schedule conflict or the writing is holding onto all of its answers for the finale. Not including her perspective seems like a poor choice by this point, since her answers can contain heartache and that any relationship torn apart by the truth can still have a shot at reconciliation. I was bummed that we didn’t get a follow-up on her and Kwang-jae either since that was a relationship that was slowly building over the course of this series. So now we’re left to assume that things are going fine?
If there was one storyline that stirred my heart today, it would be watching Grandpa and his longest memory lapse to date. I could barely watch him wander the city for days until one foot was raw, and can only imagine how painful it will be when he isn’t able to remember his own name. His imagined conversation with Mi-young at the park was both worrisome and wonderfully cathartic since he was finally able to face his deep-seated guilt. It pains me to think that his condition will only worsen from here on out, and that Mal-sook will soon find out. Only time will tell how Hyun-jae’s next moves in the past will affect the present we’ve come to know and love. I’ll be frank—I don’t know if The Best Hit is going to pull the rug out from under us in the finale. Is it too late to wish for time to go in reverse so we can hold onto adorable Hyun-jae?
- 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