Age of Youth 2: Episode 13
It’s almost time to bid farewell to our favorite housemates, and I’m not at all ready to let them go. In our short time together, the Belle Epoque ladies have become a source of laughter, heartbreak, relatable mortification, and friendship—and that’s only to name a few. From first love to first heartbreak, from bickering to dating, from lost to found memories, our housemates have been through it all. And as Ji-won finally confronts her reclaimed memories, we know we can depend on our housemates to stand by her side.
EPISODE 13: “I saw myself” #allbeautifulwords
Eun-jae waits nervously on a park bench and silently stands when Jong-yeol arrives. He sits on a separate bench and curtly asks why she called him. Eun-jae bravely apologizes for the night of their break-up and explains that she’ll probably continue to be sorry for a lot of things because this is her first relationship and her first break-up—she’s experiencing these emotions for the first time.
Jong-yeol’s eyes soften as Eun-jae continues by thanking him: “Thank you for showing me how it feels to be loved, for showing me how it feels to like someone.” She asked to meet because she wanted to relay her gratitude, and Jong-yeol looks like he’s holding in some tears.
Crying, Eun-jae turns to Jong-yeol and makes some requests. She asks him not to call any other girlfriend by her nickname, to wait a little longer before dating someone else, and not to treat her too well so that she doesn’t get confused about her emotions again.
She tells him, “I’m glad you were my first love.” Jong-yeol apologizes, and Eun-jae smiles through her tears as she finally walks away from her relationship. But once she turns the corner, she lets the floodgates loose and crouches down, devastated. Jong-yeol looks a bit shaken and lingers on the bench.
The rest of the Belle Epoque ladies are busy preparing for something, and Eun quickly shoos Jang-hoon away when he arrives at their door. Jin-myung notifies them when Eun-jae enters the building, and they all pop streamers and greet Eun-jae with cake when she arrives, congratulating her on her first break-up. Aww, how cute.
Eun-jae breaks into a smile and blows out the candle on her break-up cake, and her unnies ask if she said everything she prepared. Eun-jae pulls out her notebook and says that she forgot to tell Jong-yeol to be happy even though he becomes irrelevant in her life. Ji-won jokingly asks for the notebook as reference for her future first break-up, but Eun-jae holds her notebook close.
The ladies pop some champagne and say cheers to their maknae’s first break-up. Ye-eun lightly teases Eun-jae for her swollen eyes and reveals that she was worried for a moment during her break-up process. Eun agrees and says that Eun-jae was getting to be a borderline stalker.
Jin-myung looks surprised that they noticed Eun-jae’s difficulties, but when Ji-won interjects that she had no idea, Jin-myung simply pats her back and nods at Ji-won’s expected obliviousness. Then, Ji-won gets a call and steps into her room to answer it. Over the phone, she writes down an address.
Ji-won walks through an unfamiliar neighborhood and overhears a small child complaining to her mother. The mother notices Ji-won, who asks if the house belongs to artist Han Kwan-young.
Ji-won sits on the couch in a house full of framed art as an elderly man makes tea. Through conversation, we learn that this elderly man was her former elementary school art teacher, Teacher Han. He apologizes for not remembering her and blames his old age for his lack of recollection. Ji-won asks about a couple other classmates, and Teacher Han doesn’t recognize any of them. And when Ji-won casually asks about Hyo-jin, he shakes his head again.
Teacher Han’s daughter interrupts the conversation to tell her father that she’s prepared food for him before leaving. Ji-won asks about his wife, and he says that she passed away two years ago. Ji-won nervously sips her tea and politely says that it tastes good.
Teacher Han sees Ji-won out as she leaves and watches her walk away with an unreadable expression. Ji-won immediately gets into Sung-min’s car and says that she can’t recognize him at all. She says that he just seems like a typical grandpa and that he was different from what she expected. She takes a camera out of her bag, revealing that she had filmed their whole interaction.
Sung-min asks what Ji-won was expecting, and Ji-won responds, “I thought he’d be a lot more…” Then she stops and doesn’t seem to know what she was expecting. She turns to her camera and skips to the part where she mentions Hyo-jin. Ji-won seems convinced that Teacher Han is reacting suspiciously, but Sung-min isn’t sure. She replays the clip for him, but he isn’t convinced.
Ji-won says that she has her memory as proof, but Sung-min says that it could be fabricated. He says that they need objective evidence, and as frustrated as she seems, Ji-won agrees. So she sets out to research more about Teacher Han.
Eun-jae gathers her memories of Jong-yeol into a box but seems hesitant with her stuffed toy monkey. She carries it out to the kitchen and asks Ye-eun if the monkey can be recycled. Ye-eun says that it can’t and needs to go in the trash, and Eun-jae seems a little sad about that. She wishes that there were a place to store memories until you were ready to throw them away.
Eun comes out of her room and Eun-jae forewarns her not to receive any large gifts from Jang-hoon, since they’ll be hard to get rid of. Eun scoffs at the suggestion, and Ye-eun adds to the warning, saying that she’s no exception to the pitfalls of love—she and Eun-jae both thought that love would last forever, but look at them now. Eun just scoffs and starts to head out for her date.
Ji-won comes out of her room and stops in her tracks when she sees Eun in a dress. Her mouth drops, and she points at Eun, who’s definitely not looking like General Jo today. Neither Ye-eun nor Eun-jae mirrors the reaction, and they say that Eun has worn a dress before, at the apple orchard. Ji-won had no idea and wonders where Eun’s going in that dress.
Ye-eun says that she’s probably headed out to see Jang-hoon, and Ji-won wonders why. Ye-eun lets her put the pieces together, and Ji-won experiences another shocking epiphany that the two are dating.
Eun’s first stop is actually her mother’s hair salon. She tells her mom about Eun-jae’s break-up party and offers to throw a party for Mom too, when the time comes. Mom pretends not to know what she’s talking about, and as Eun leaves, Mom says, “It doesn’t suit you.” Eun stops at the door, and Mom clarifies that Eun’s shoes don’t suit her dress.
Eun visits her father next, and she finds him in his hospital bed accompanied by her little stepsister. Little Sister compliments Eun on her pretty dress and calls her a princess, and Eun grumbles at the flattery. She nags Dad to take care of his health, and he asks about school and her house. But when he asks if she has a boyfriend, she takes that as a cue to leave.
Eun affectionally pats her sister on the head before leaving, and once she leaves, her little sister tells Dad that Eun cried last time. She explains very slowly and clearly that Eun cried after messing up her hair, but Dad doesn’t seem to understand. Little Sister puts her head down in frustration at dim Dad.
When Eun comes home, Jang-hoon scolds her for wearing pretty clothes out without showing him first, and Eun gets all grumbly-giddy. He tells her to twirl around to show off her dress, and she does so with pseudo-reluctance. Then he tells her to come sit next to him and she does, again with giddy grumbly reluctance.
They take a couple of cute selfies on his phone, and when he faces her, he notices the very close proximity of their faces. Eun turns to him and doesn’t budge, smiling slightly. But Jang-hoon ruins the moment by saying that he forgot something. He nervously runs away into his room, leaving Eun grumpy and alone on the bench.
Ye-eun and her parents head to a family dinner for her grandmother’s birthday, and in the elevator, Mom scans Ye-eun’s outfit and tells her to change her lipstick color. Ye-eun obediently goes to the bathroom and does as told before they head to their table.
At dinner, Ye-eun’s cousin asks why she took a leave from school, and Mom lies that Ye-eun was getting work experience to build her resume. Her mother continues to deflect questions and answers their relatives instead of letting Ye-eun speak.
The birthday cake for Grandma arrives, and everyone begins to eat except for Ye-eun, who just picks at her food. Grandma tells Ye-eun that she looks thin, and when Mom tries to answer for her, Grandma redirects the question to Ye-eun. She asks about school, and Ye-eun happily responds that everything is well.
Ye-eun uncomfortably watches everyone eating and excuses herself to throw up in the bathroom. When she comes out of the stall, she checks the group chat with her housemates, and Ji-won asks her to bring home any leftovers from her fancy family dinner that day.
When Ye-eun returns to the table, she musters up the courage to admit that she didn’t take a leave from school to get job experience. Her mother tries to stop her, but she continues. She tells them that she did have a boyfriend of three years, but she experienced date violence.
Ye-eun’s mother tries to save face, but Ye-eun bravely explains that she took a break from school to focus on counseling and recovering. She admits that she’s not fully recovered but is doing better now. But after hearing this, Grandma just sighs and returns to eating. Mom twitches in humiliation, and the rest of her family silently returns to eating, providing no words of encouragement.
Even in the car ride home, her parents remain silent. They drop her off at Belle Epoque and don’t say a word as they drive away.
When Ye-eun arrives, her housemates are busy doing work or playing games. She stands near the doorway alone for a moment, just watching them. And when Eun-jae notices her standing silently, she plasters on a smile and goes right to the fridge and asks who wants food. All hands are raised except for Ji-won’s, who’s furiously researching Teacher Han. So far, she’s only found praises about him.
Heimdal sings Panic’s “Bus Stop” in the morning, and Jin-myung takes a moment to admire his vocals. He brags that he was a former idol star and notifies her that he’s leaving for his hometown next week. She seems a bit surprised that he’s leaving so soon and suggests that they plan a dinner along with a farewell performance before he leaves.
Jin-myung rushes out to work, but her promise for a farewell performance seems to linger with Heimdal, as he breaks out into a smile. When Jin-myung arrives at work, the two remaining Asgard members at Oh & Park greet her and thank her. They just heard from Heimdal that she promised a farewell performance for them, and she slowly realizes that Heimdal misunderstood her promise as a collective, large-scale farewell performance for Asgard.
Throughout the day, Jin-myung runs into even more problems. She struggles with a dead computer, a jammed printer, a broken coffee machine, and then as she leaves for the day, she trips on her heels. But her biggest headache happens when she comes home to all the Asgard members practicing in front of the house.
The housemates have no idea what’s going on but happily cheer on the handsome idols while Jang-hoon watches Eun disapprovingly. When Jin-myung arrives, Heimdal tells her that they’re practicing for their farewell performance, and the rest of the members sincerely thank her for this opportunity.
Jin-myung tries to stop Heimdal to tell him the truth, but he assumes that she’s stopping them because it’s too late to practice loudly outside. Jang-hoon offers his living room space for them to practice, which is a win-win, since he’s shielding them from Eun’s sight. Asgard heads inside, and the housemates need to hold back Ji-won, who can’t contain her excitement about the boys.
Jin-myung tells her housemates about her dilemma and clarifies that the “farewell performance” meant a small karaoke party to bid Heimdal farewell. The housemates agree that this has already blown out of proportion and tell Jin-myung that she needs to clear the misunderstanding sooner than later.
After the rest of the Asgard members leave from their practice, Jin-myung confronts Heimdal about the farewell performance. But she doesn’t have the heart to tell him the full truth, and Heimdal just assumes that they can expect a humble venue. He says that all they need is a stage and microphones. He gives her a fist-bump, and Jin-myung sits on the steps in defeat.
The next day at work, Jin-myung asks her colleague about stage costs, which is way out of her budget. The farewell performance seems even further out of reach the more Jin-myung tries to find some way to keep her promise.
After class, Eun tries to approach Ye-ji again and apologizes for lying to her. Eun asks if she wants to go read comic books that weekend, but Ye-ji says she’s tired and rejects the offer.
Deflated, Eun shows up at Jang-hoon’s door and asks to come into his room. Jang-hoon lets her in, and she tells him that Ye-ji doesn’t do anything anymore—she’s just become distant. Jang-hoon asks if they made a pact when they were younger that they would only be friends with each other, and Eun says that they did because they had fun just with each other.
Jang-hoon points out that it’s probably worse than a romantic break-up if they were friends for 12 years. Eun admits that she was annoyed when Ye-ji was too clingy, but now she’s annoyed because Ye-ji is too distant. Jang-hoon offers her a drink, and they cheers to her 12-year friendship.
Jang-hoon tells her that no relationships are eternal and that her relationship with Ye-ji was too exclusive. Whether it’s love or friendship, he says that exclusive relationships are difficult on both parties. But then he notices Eun getting all flushed from the tiny sip of beer she had and he gets a little flustered.
He starts a serious conversation on their own relationship and says that he’s cautious about taking their relationship too far just before enlisting in the military. He doesn’t want her to doubt his intentions and genuine feelings for her, which is sweet… if Eun were sober enough to understand him.
Three sips in, Eun’s cheeks are bright red and she says she feels itchy. Jang-hoon realizes that she has an extremely low tolerance and smiles at how cutely drunk she is.
He helps her get home, and her housemates accuse Jang-hoon of getting Eun drunk. He honestly claims that she only had three sips, so they look at Eun curiously to ask what’s going on. She’s sprawled out on the couch and throws her shoes on the ground as she shares that she broke up with Ye-ji.
Eun says that they may have been broken up already, but now it’s official. Ye-eun seems underwhelmed by the reason, but Eun says that people don’t understand their relationship. She’s known Ye-ji for two-thirds of her life and feels closer to her than her parents. She slurs, “Ye-ji was once everything to me. So should I be sad or not?”
Ji-won affirms Eun’s sadness and tries to coax her into her room, but Eun won’t have it. She’s mad at her housemates for not throwing her a break-up party, like they did for Eun-jae. Grumpy Eun sits back on the couch, demanding streamers, and Jang-hoon watches her adorable tantrum with a smile.
Eun-jae brings out the remaining streamers from her break-up party and distributes them to congratulate Eun’s break-up with Ye-ji. Only when they pop the streamers does Eun finally break into a smile. She twirls in the streamers and happily heads to her room to sleep.
Ji-won starts to comment on Eun’s drunken behavior, but lovestruck Jang-hoon declares that drunk Eun is cute. The housemates look at him with blank stares, but he’s smiling from ear to ear as he leaves. But in her room, Eun has dropped her façade and droopily accepts the reality of her break-up in tears.
After cleaning up the streamers, Ji-won looks through her mail and finds an invitation to an appreciation event celebrating Teacher Han’s teaching career. She looks at it curiously and calls the number.
Teacher Han’s daughter picks up the phone, and Ji-won asks how she knew her address. Teacher Han’s daughter looks up her information and informs Ji-won that she provided it to them when she visited in the spring. The mention of last spring sets off red flags, and wheels start turning in Ji-won’s head.
Jin-myung knocks on Jang-hoon’s door and asks for Heimdal, but Jang-hoon says that he’s out buying outfits for their final performance. Jin-myung looks even more guilt-ridden as she heads back home, but Ji-won seems to have an idea. As Ji-won rushes out of the house, she tells Jin-myung to hold off on breaking the bad news to Heimdal because she may have a solution.
In the night, Ji-won runs over to Hyo-jin’s old apartment and digs through her mail. She’s caught in the act by her boyfriend, the captor, who accusingly asks what she’s doing. Ji-won puts the mail back into the box and cautiously asks if he received any invitations addressed to Hyo-jin. The captor just ignores her and walks inside.
As Ji-won leaves, she hears the door open behind her, and he comes out with an invitation letter. Ji-won looks at it urgently, and the captor infers that this Han Kwan-young was the person who ruined Hyo-jin’s life in the third grade. Ji-won doesn’t respond, but her fearful look confirms his inferences. He quickly walks off and pushes Ji-won to the ground when she tries to stop him.
When the captor arrives at Teacher Han’s house, he’s confronted by Sung-min, who sped over upon Ji-won’s order to stop him. The captor pushes Sung-min aside, hits him repeatedly, and slams him against the wall, but Sung-min continues to stand in his way and blocks him from getting to the house.
Just as the captor holds Sung-min in a chokehold, Ji-won rushes at them and grabs the captor’s arm, begging him not to act rashly. The captor wants to kill Teacher Han, but Ji-won argues that this is not what Hyo-jin would have wanted.
She knows that Hyo-jin wanted her there when she confronted Teacher Han because she wrote down Ji-won’s name for the appreciation event invitation. The captor still insists on doing this his way, but Ji-won stops him by saying that if he does what he wants, then Ji-won can’t fulfill Hyo-jin’s wishes.
Ji-won admits that she’s also considered killing Teacher Han, and she knows that Hyo-jin would have considered this option as well. But she also knows that Hyo-jin wanted to address this differently: She wanted to go to the appreciation event with Ji-won. But for some unknown reason, Hyo-jin killed herself and now Ji-won needs to carry this out alone.
She pleads that he let her do this, and finally, the captor relents. He throws the letter at her and warns her that she had better take care of it properly.
Inside the house, Teacher Han looks out the window because he heard an argument outside. His daughter tells him that his granddaughter just barely fell asleep, and they lightly argue about where she got her fussy sleep habits, making him seem just like a regular old grandpa.
Ji-won tends to Sung-min’s busted lip, and he tells her that nothing has gone right ever since he met her. She apologizes and says that she had no one else to reach out to in that moment. He looks at her with a worried look as she sighs and says that it’s almost over. Whether or not she herself will be okay, she’s going do what Hyo-jin wanted—she has no other choice. She pats Sung-min’s injured shoulder and tells him not to worry, and he winces in pain.
The next morning, Ji-won dresses in all black and takes both invitations with her. As she walks past the park, a toy airplane lands in front of her, and she looks contemplatively at the children playing. She narrates: “In her youth, what kind of life did that child dream of? To be an ordinary person? To be a famous person? Did she dream of adventure or love?”
We see young Hyo-jin drawing in the dirt as Ji-won continues: “I mourn too late. I mourn for that child’s broken dreams. I could not remember nor forget my friend, Moon Hyo-jin.”
As Ji-won watches the children on the playground, she hopes, “Today, I pray for those children—to not experience a storm, to not experience a helpless situation. Even though it may be frustrating or boring, I pray that these children experience calm lives. And I pray that if they experience a helpless situation, they will overcome it, face their fears, and move forward.”
Ji-won arrives at the event and signs the guest book with two names side by side: Hyo-jin and herself. She thinks, “I pray that they will, with all their strength, become the person now that they dreamt of being then.” She picks up Hyo-jin’s nametag and her own, and moves onward.
We play a game of “Whose child is this?” as we see a young girl sitting on the Belle Epoque bench eight years later. Eight years? As in 2025, when one of the housemates is supposed to die, according to their tombstones?
The girl is in a white dress, eating an apple, with monolid eyes, a pink bow in her hair, and long legs. Her dad walks out of the house and takes her hand. Is that… Sung-min’s voice? As they walk away, she asks if this was the house her mother lived in. He responds yes, and she looks back at the house curiously.
I can’t wait for Ji-won to finally confront and reveal the truth. It’s taken a while, but there’s no better way to end this show than to see Ji-won avenge her friend’s struggles in the way that she believed would protect her friend’s last wishes. Though we don’t know the full story, I think we’ve been given enough clues about the helpless situation that these young girls experienced, and I appreciate that we’re exploring the situation with an emotional sensitivity that seems very fitting to the tone of the show—mysterious, but just apparent enough to hit us emotionally. This show does an incredible job of tapping into our emotions while also eliciting curiosity, and I think Ji-won’s narration and overarching story perfectly exemplified the show’s strengths.
There’s something so tragic and relatable about how Ji-won is overcoming her guilt, but I’m amped that she’s taking initiative instead of wallowing in misery. I loved seeing fierce and fearless Ji-won blocking the captor from committing an irreversible deed that would disrespect Hyo-jin’s life. She had so much resolve, and though we don’t quite know the full story and truth, I fully support Ji-won in whatever she does. And so does Sung-min, who is clearly too invested in Ji-won’s life and looks at her for a few seconds too long to be just a friend. Come on, show—you’ve got one episode left. Those lingering gazes must mean something, right?!!
Each Belle Epoque housemate has her own story, and but the show does a wonderful job in stringing together seemingly disparate stories into a collective one about our ladies supporting each other as they try to get through life. One of my favorite moments has to be that break-up party, because it highlighted an individual feat that was acknowledged and celebrated by all our housemates. Go Eun-jae for being so honest and vulnerable in front of Jong-yeol. Even though it wasn’t the most ideal break-up, I love that she owned up to her own flaws and had her unnis to hold her hand when she needed it. All healthy break-ups should be celebrated like that—with streamers, cake, champagne, and friends.
I found it adorable that Eun demanded that she get her own break-up party, and though her break-up was a bit different, I thought it was fitting and relatable. Sometimes friendships dissolve, whether it’s intentional or not, and can be as heartbreaking as any break-up. I think her reaction to her broken friendship revealed a lot about Eun as a loving person who cares so deeply about her relationships. Just another reason for Jang-hoon to be more smitten with her.
Though Ye-eun has slowly been transitioned out of the spotlight, I think her growth throughout this season has been the most gratifying. I found my mind lingering on her confession scene at the family dinner, which showed how much Ye-eun has come into her own, escaping her mother’s grip. And while it was a huge step for Ye-eun to speak honestly about her trauma, I think the dinner confession conveyed that Ye-eun is now fighting a personal battle. Ye-eun had always looked outward for affirmation and encouragement, and I think that’s what she was seeking when she told her family the truth—she wanted and deserved more than blank stares of ignorance for her courage to speak up for herself. Thankfully she’s always had the support of her Belle Epoque housemates to make it through her battles. But to really address her insecurities, I think she has to start by embracing herself—with all her flaws and insecurities—instead of first looking outward for validation. She’s getting there, little by little.
There is so much I love about this show—the writing, the cast, the characters, the cheeky editing—and I think it’s the combination of all these components that make this show so magical. This show is such a rare gem, one that makes me jump for joy when there’s an extension, another season, or simply another episode. Though there’s only a slim chance that there will be another season, I want to believe that next year around this time, we may just have another quick peek into the lives of our lovely Belle Epoque housemates.
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