Thirty But Seventeen: Episodes 25-26
The race is here, but is Chan more focused on rowing, or winning Seo-ri’s heart? The only one she has eyes for is Woo-jin and it looks as if their romance is off to a good start. In fact, Seo-ri’s life is finally coming together but as everybody’s paths finally converge, what will that mean for our budding lovebirds?
EPISODE 25: “Death and a girl”
Woo-jin and Seo-ri confess that they like each other and share a tender first kiss. Once their lips part, Seo-ri scoots away, worried that Woo-jin will hear her pounding heart. It’s her first kiss but she’s shocked when Woo-jin shares that it’s his as well.
Woo-jin grabs her hand and as they walk away, it turns out that she’s not the only one who was affected by the kiss. Woo-jin has to take a deep breath to calm his pounding heart.
Seo-ri asks,”I was wondering if you could do that one more time…,” so Woo-jin assumes she wants another kiss and pecks her on the lips. When she asks again, he kisses her lightly so Seo-ri clarifies, “I was wondering if you could show me that drawing one more time. Dot, dot, dot.” Embarrassed, Woo-jin echoes, “Dot, dot, dot,” and Seo-ri laughs that he’s foolishly cute.
The next day, Seo-ri thanks the team at the office since her job officially ended with the festival. Hee-soo spreads out a handful of business cards from new clients, thanks to their classical stage design.
Hee-soo offers Seo-ri a full-time position and throws in a company cell phone as part of the deal. She concludes the meeting with an announcement that the team is on a week long break.
Seo-ri and Woo-jin hold hands while she gushes about her full time job and her phone. Seo-ri sees the old woman on her usual bench in the park and apologizes that she can’t play her violin until its broken string is repaired. The woman notices Woo-jin and observes, “Your husband is very handsome.” Woo-jin thanks her for the compliment and then mutters, “I’ll be your husband one day anyway.”
Seo-ri and Woo-jin walk by the display of banners and he suggests, “How about trying everything you can?” When Seo-ri hesitates, he reminds her, “Someone told me, ‘You never know what’s going to happen.'”Woo-jin reasons that since Seo-ri’s aunt and uncle used to live in that neighborhood, someone might have information.
Woo-jin and Seo-ri visit the banner store and when the owner advises them to start with flyers, he readily agrees.
After the stop at the banner store, Woo-jin finally asks Seo-ri why she was hospitalized for so long. Seo-ri tells him what she knows, that she was in a car accident and even though it wasn’t serious, she was severely injured.
Seo-ri confesses that there’s something about that day bothers her — she saw her uncle in the neighborhood even though her aunt thought he was out of town. She wonders if that lie could be behind their disappearance.
Back at home, Woo-jin searches online for information about Seo-ri’s uncle. After he discovers that the uncle’s company went bankrupt, Woo-jin calls his father for a favor.
Seo-ri resumes her violin practice in the park while the old woman listens. As thanks, she sends Seo-ri home with some fresh corn to share with her “husband.”
Woo-jin comes downstairs just as Jennifer is about to leave. A photo falls from her purse and Woo-jin is surprised by the image of a smiling Jennifer. In flashback, we see that on the memorial day, the young woman handed Jennifer the photo with the explanation, “He’d want you to smile like this again.”
Woo-jin didn’t recognize Jennifer in the photo since he’s never seen her smile like that. She tells him, “Smiling when you’re happy, and crying when you’re sad…I don’t have that right.”
As she turns to leave, Woo-jin calls out, “I didn’t think I could either…I don’t know what happened to you, but that day will come. You’ll be able to smile like that again.” His words cause Jennifer’s eyes to fill with tears as she walks out the door.
Woo-jin joins Seo-ri on her walk home and when he takes the corn from her, she happily shares that it’s the first time she’s ever been paid for a performance. Seo-ri bubbles with excitement as she tries to decide what to perform next and Woo-jin is thrilled to see her so happy with her music.
Woo-jin thinks of the house’s sale documents that his father provided, proving that Seo-ri’s aunt signed away the house even though her uncle was her legal guardian. Woo-jin stares at Seo-ri and wonders, “What on earth happened?”
In no time, the banner shop has flyers about Seo-ri’s aunt and uncle posted throughout their old neighborhood.
It’s the day of Chan’s race and Jennifer sends a small sign and a finger heart with Woo-jin and Seo-ri, since she can’t be there. With a serious look on his face, Woo-jin promises to deliver her message. On the way to the race, Seo-ri teases Woo-ji with the flashing lights on Jennifer’s sign until she sees a flower shop and asks him to drop her off.
At the race, Ri-an runs towards Chan but stops when she sees Woo-jin. Afraid that he’ll recognize her, she plops a paper bag over her head and walks away.
Woo-jin finds Chan, who’s anxious about Seo-ri’s whereabouts, but he’s assured that she’s on her way. Woo-jin then awkwardly presents Jennifer’s sign, along with her message, and poor Chan has to endure it.
Woo-jin assumes that Chan must be nervous but he’s actually calm and confident after all of his training. He warns his uncle to be prepared to congratulate him and after a hug, Chan walks away while Woo-jin wonders, “When did he get so big?”
Chan searches for Seo-ri, convinced that he needs to see her for extra energy. He tries to run up some stairs but the pain in his ankle stops him and after he sees how discolored it is, he breathes, “This is bad.”
Chan signs for some painkillers at the first aid tent but before he can take them, Seo-ri calls out his name. Relieved, Chan forgets about the medication and runs to her, leaving the painkillers behind.
Chan’s team calls for him so he asks Seo-ri for a high five. He wraps his fingers around hers and promises, “I’ll make sure I win,” and they share a final, “Don’t think. Feel!”
Seo-ri’s aunt returns to her flower shop and notices a notebook on the counter. Her assistant explains that it was left behind by a customer but she drops it when she sees Seo-ri’s name. Shaking, the aunt picks up the notebook and falls when she sees the photo of Seo-ri’s youth orchestra, sending a vase crashing to the floor.
Chan is with Deok-soo and Hae-bum when his rival, (cameo by Jung Jin-woon), approaches and taunts him. Unruffled, Chan tells him, “You look nervous.”
In the water, Chan glances over at Jin-woon in the next lane as he waits for the race to begin. Chan looks down at his ankle and tells himself, “I just need to endure it for seven minutes.”
Once the race starts, Chan fights for the lead with Jin-woon but the pain in his ankle causes him to slow down. Woo-jin and Seo-ri cheer from the stands while Deok-soo and Hae-bum are on the sidelines, along with a strange girl with a bag over her head.
With Jin-woon in the lead, Chan remembers telling Seo-ri his goal, “I have something I really want to do after I come in first place in the national race.” It gives him the strength he needs to gain on Jin-woon in the final meters of the race.
After a close finish, the judges announce that Chan won and his friends and family erupt in cheers, but Woo-jin cries. Still in his boat, Chan looks as his ankle and figures that the pain would be worse without the painkillers. When his coach signals a thumbs up, his victory finally sinks in and with a fist pump, Chan yells out, “I won!”
With the first place medal around his neck, Chan asks Seo-ri, “Did you see me win?” She presents him with her flowers while Woo-jin pats him on the back and Seo-ri whispers, “Your uncle cried.”
Woo-jin calls for a celebration but Chan already has plans. When Seo-ri pulls out her phone for a photo, she realizes that she left her notebook at the flower shop so Woo-jin offers to retrieve it.
Alone with Seo-ri, Chan reminds her to meet him at the park. She reminds Chan that he said that he’s busy and he confirms, “I am. With you.” He runs off with the promise, “I’ll see you later.”
Seo-ri’s aunt is knocked down by some students in the parking lot and Woo-jin helps her up. He sees Seo-ri’s notebook and realizes that the woman is from the flower shop but when Seo-ri calls out to him, she runs away.
Woo-jin explains that someone from the flower shop returned her notebook but Seo-ri wonders why someone didn’t just call her. Woo-jin get an idea and after the race, he drops Seo-ri off at home and explains that he needs to meet someone.
Seo-ri gets a call and goes to a meeting of her own, with Tae-rin. Tae-rin is about to go abroad to study and confesses that she changed her plans because she was jealous of Seo-ri. Tae-rin wants to enjoy her music and admits that her approach until now has been all wrong. In unison, the two women describe Tae-rin’s new venture as an intermission.
Tae-rin gifts Seo-ri with a violin pin for her case and tells her, “I hope you continue to pursue music, no matter what it takes. And, I’m sorry.” Before she leaves, Tae-rin asks to perform Concerto for Two Violins with Seo-ri when they meet again. As she walks away, Seo-ri notices that Tae-rin’s violin case has a pin just like the one she gave her.
Chan waits for Seo-ri with a rented scooter and tries to calm himself with the reminder that he’ll be a salary-earning adult in a few months. The scooter surprises Seo-ri but she laughs when Chan puts on a waist brace to keep her from tickling him, so that she can hold on comfortably.
Chan and Seo-ri enjoy their ride until the navigation program instructs him to make a turn. He misses it and then runs over a nail. Unused to the navigation program, Chan misses multiple turns but the panicked boy assures a worried Seo-ri, “It’s okay. Just trust me.”
EPISODE 26: “I did nothing wrong”
Seo-ri’s aunt returns to her flower shop and finds Seo-ri’s phone number. She starts to call but calls the rehabilitation hospital instead. The aunt asks if Seo-ri woke up but when the nurse explains she can’t give out information without identification, Seo-ri’s aunt hangs up.
Woo-jin is outside when Seo-ri’s aunt leaves and he calls out, “GOOK MI-HYUN.” He asks if she’s Seo-ri’s aunt but she denies it. Woo-jin tells her that Seo-ri misses her and asks about her uncle but Mi-hyun ignores him and drives away.
Woo-jin looks down at a business card which lists the florist’s name as Gook Mi-hyun. As she drives, Mi-hyun insists to herself, “No. I did nothing wrong,” but she’s forced to pull over to cry.
It’s dark by the time Chan realizes that he’s completely lost and that his phone is dead. The front tire has gone flat, so the scooter wobbles and falls over, dumping Chan and Seo-ri onto the street. Chan’s upset that Seo-ri scratched her elbow and a look at the flat tire has him unsure about what to do next. A police car pulls up and Chan sighs as his dream date turns into a certifiable nightmare.
Woo-jin picks up Chan and Seo-ri at the police station and when he starts to scold his nephew, Seo-ri insists that the scooter was her idea. Chan stumbles on his way to the car and when Woo-jin checks his ankle, he’s shocked to find it wrapped with a bandage.
Chan’s day goes from bad to worse when he ends up at the hospital. Chan’s ankle is so badly sprained that he needs a cast and has to be monitored to determine if it will need surgery. Woo-jin chases after the doctor to explain that Chan is an athlete and is assured that with rest and treatment, he can expect a full recovery.
Seo-ri helps Chan get around on a crutch when Hyung-tae calls out her name. Chan pushes him away when he hugs Seo-ri and recognizes him as the doctor who visited their house. Hyung-tae exclaims, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” just as Woo-jin joins them and demands an explanation.
Seo-ri doesn’t recognize her old friend and is surprised to hear that he became a doctor. He examines Seo-ri and asks about her health until Chan pulls him away and angrily reminds him not to touch her. Seo-ri confirms that Hyung-tae is her friend as she stares at him in disbelief.
Seo-ri and Hyung-tae sit outside and she tries to understand how the boy she knew ended up as a doctor. He’s concerned that she’s using formal speech with him and regrets that they didn’t meet when he went to her house.
Seo-ri wants to know why and when her aunt and uncle abandoned her. The question reminds Hyung-tae of the day that Mi-hyun left the house with a suitcase. We see that he called out to her uncle from the house’s gate, to no avail, but in the present he tells Seo-ri that they didn’t abandon her.
Seo-ri argues that they left behind her dog and their belongings but Hyung-tae points out that someone paid for her hospital stay all of these years. When Seo-ri wonders why they haven’t looked for her, Hyung-tae tells her that they went abroad.
Seo-ri next asks about Su-mi and Hyung-tae lies that she moved away and promises to find her. He urges Seo-ri to agree to an examination but she insists that she’s fine and looks around for Woo-jin and Chan.
Hyung-tae reminds Seo-ri to drop the formalities but she confesses that he’s more like a stranger than a friend. Hyung-tae insists that he’s just thankful that he found her and suggests that they take things slowly.
Woo-jin waits impatiently for Seo-ri in her room while Chan fumes, “I don’t care if he’s her friend. How dare he hug her!” He has a mini-tantrum with his crutch and is about to look for Seo-ri until Woo-jin warns, “Your ankle. Are you going to quit rowing?”
Seo-ri returns and runs to Woo-jin’s side while Hyung-tae tells him, “Thank you for taking care of our Seo-ri until now.” Hyung-tae explains his plan to admit Seo-ri for a thorough examination, just to make sure that she’s fine.
Hyung-tae tells Seo-ri that she can go to his place after the exam since he’s always at the hospital but Woo-jin protests that she’s fine at their house. Hyung-tae explains, “That was when she didn’t know anyone. Now that she’s found me, there’s no reason for her to stay there anymore. I’ll take care of Seo-ri from now on.”
Seo-ri can speak for herself, “I’ll just stay at my house with my family. That’s more comfortable for me.” Woo-jin and Chan look triumphant and Hyung-tae agrees to discuss it later.
When Hyung-tae is about to sign the admission paperwork for Seo-ri, Woo-jin appears and identifies himself as her guardian and boyfriend. Hyung-tae asks to talk and when they’re alone on the roof, he argues that Woo-jin can’t know Seo-ri well enough to serve as her guardian.
Hyung-tae explains that he was a terrible student but he worked hard to become a doctor so that he could help Seo-ri. He’s lived for the past fifteen years for her yet Woo-jin calls himself Seo-ri’s guardian after a few months.
Woo-jin explains that in the time that Seo-ri lived at his house, she overcame her challenges like an adult. Woo-jin confides that he’s relieved that Hyung-tae came back into Seo-ri’s life and asks him to look after her as a doctor and her friend.
Woo-jin wants to be sure that Hyung-tae doesn’t rush Seo-ri because she’s uncomfortable around him. Woo-jin explains that her adjustment has been difficult and he doesn’t want Hyung-tae to confuse her.
Hyung-tae asks Woo-jin how he can be so calm and if he has any idea how he feels about Seo-ri. Woo-jin only knows how he feels about her and what it took for him to love her. Woo-jin is calm because, “When you’re certain about something, there’s no reason to be anxious.” Woo-jin then asks why Hyung-tae lied to Seo-ri because he knows that her aunt isn’t abroad.
Hyung-tae runs into Jennifer at the hospital and she explains that she’s there to visit some family members. He joins her in Seo-ri’s room and learns that Seo-ri left behind the mismatched slippers in his apartment.
Hyung-tae is called away, much to Chan’s relief, and soon Deok-soo and Hae-bum join the others to enjoy the food that Jennifer brought. When Hyun-tae returns, he witnesses what looks like a party through the window as Seo-ri laughs comfortably with her friends but when he turns away, she sees him.
Later, Woo-jin tucks Chan into bed as he drifts off to sleep, clearly worried about his ankle. Seo-ri perks up when Woo-jin walks into her room and he guesses that she can’t sleep because she’s nervous. He urges her not to worry and holds her hand until she falls asleep and thinks about the rest of his conversation with Hyung-tae.
When asked what he was hiding, Hyng-tae explained how exceptional Seo-ri was when she was young. Because of the accident, she lost everything and he didn’t want to hurt her even more. Hyung-tae told Woo-jin that he planned to hide the truth from Seo-ri for as long as possible.
Hyung-tae returns to Seo-ri’s room but he stays outside when he sees Woo-jin with her. He thinks about how happy she was with her friends earlier and we see that Seo-ri walked out of her room to talk to Hyung-tae.
Seo-ri explained that when she woke up, she was the one she was most unfamiliar with — she felt like she was still seventeen but she was actually thirty years old. Seo-ri tells Hyung-tae that it took a long time adjust to her present version and a series of flashbacks reminds us what she went through when she first woke up.
Seo-ri admits, “My brain understands that you’re my friend, Hyung-tae but the truth is, I feel uncomfortable with you.” Seo-ri cried as she apologized and back in the present, Hyung-tae stands in the hallway and gazes sadly at her with Woo-jin.
The next day, Chan waits in Seo-ri’s room for her to return from her examination. She returns with Jennifer, who cautions, “Roaming around like this must be bad for your ankle, Chan.”
A nurse wheels in a cart and scolds Chan for ignoring orders. She wants him to return to his room for his medication but when he tells her that she can give it to him there, she orders him to drop his pants. That gets him to return to his room and after he hobbles off, Jennifer goes home to prepare for Seo-ri’s return.
Hyung-tae’s colleague shows up to check on Seo-ri since Hyung-tae is in surgery. He exclaims that it’s a relief that Seo-ri woke up after everything that Hyung-tae did for her and he asks her to treat him well. When he adds that it must have been hard for him to lose two friends at a young age, Seo-ri asks, “Two friends?”
Seo-ri is waiting when Hyung-tae comes out of surgery and she demands to know what he’s hiding. Tearfully, Seo-ri asks, “Where’s Su-mi,” but a nurse calls Hyung-tae back to the OR before he can answer.
Woo-jin returns to Seo-ri’s empty room and he goes off to find her, unaware that she left her phone behind, open on a page about the Cheongan Intersection Accident in August, 2005.
Woo-jin finds Seo-ri outside on a bench, sobbing. Seo-ri tries to tell him about the friend who was with her the day of her accident but she’s can’t stop crying, so Woo-jin just holds her.
Chan is back in Seo-ri’s room when a nurse comes in with more discharge paperwork for her guardian. Chan tells her that he’s Seo-ri’s guardian but the nurse guesses, “You’re her boyfriend’s nephew, right?” Stunned by the news, Chan mumbles, “Who’s her boyfriend?”
Woo-jin escorts Seo-ri to a columbarium and when they get to the room with Su-mi’s remains, she goes alone to greet her friend. Woo-jin stands close by as Seo-ri sees a photo of her younger self with her friend. Tears fall as she announces herself, “I’m here. Sloppy Seo-ri.”
When Seo-ri calls out, “Su-mi,” Woo-jin suffers from another flashback but this time he also remembers that the girl who joined Seo-ri on the bus called her “Sloppy.” He thinks of Seo-ri’s similarities with the girl from his past and finally realizes that they’re the same person.
Tears well in Woo-jin’s eyes as he pulls Seo-ri into a hug. He tells a confused Seo-ri, “Your name was Woo Seo-ri. You are alive. You are alive. Thank you for being alive.” Woo-jin hugs Seo-ri tightly as the tears fall from his eyes.
Finally! He knows! Woo-jin was able to think his way through his latest flashback and all the pieces, past and present, came together. He realized that the girl that he thought died in the crash is very much alive and he was grateful beyond belief. But he’s going to have to process that, even though Seo-ri is alive, she lost thirteen years, and the guilt is sure to set him back in a huge way. It can’t help that Hyung-tae just detailed what a special person Seo-ri was and how much the accident took from her.
I’ve been waiting for Hyung-tae to enter the story since forever, but now that he’s back in Seo-ri’s life, he’s ticking me off. It’s obvious that he’s been anticipating what life would be like once she woke up and he has expectations, but they’re one-sided and unfair. Hyung-tae probably doesn’t realize it, but he treats Seo-ri like a fragile doll, not the determined woman who battled her way through rehabilitation and managed to build a life for herself, in spite of her many challenges.
The fact that Woo-jin didn’t realize who Seo-ri was all this time was actually a benefit, because he never compared her to who she was before the accident. It was just the opposite, since his doctor counseled him to separate Seo-ri from his memories of the girl in his past. On the other hand, Hyung-tae clung to the memory of the young Seo-ri and because he devoted his life to helping her, she’s bound to feel indebted to him. The problem is, he’s like a stranger and she can’t pretend to feel a connection, especially when she has friends who are like family.
It looks as if Chan’s ankle is just a bad injury and I’m relieved that he’s fine, because I need him around to sneer at Hyung-tae on my behalf. I know Hyung-tae is a decent guy, but he’s so used to Seo-ri not participating in life in any way, that he just takes over. After his much deserved win, Chan’s life fell apart quickly, first with his ill-fated date with Seo-ri, and then with his ankle. I laughed when he tried to reassure Seo-ri, even though he was all kinds of lost, by telling her, “Just trust me.” I wanted to scream, “Nooo,” because that’s that last thing anyone should do when they hear those words. I just love watching these two innocents trying to navigate their way through their increasingly difficult worlds. Once Chan resolves his feeling for Seo-ri, they are meant to be best friends.
Before Hyung-tae re-entered Seo-ri’s life, things were going better than she ever imagined. She and Woo-jin were beginning their romance, she got a full-time job plus a phone of her own and Tae-rin finally saw what makes Seo-ri so special. Tae-rin realized why she was jealous of Seo-ri and changed her direction so she too can find joy in her music. It was a mature decision and Tae-rin will be a better person and musician because of it. She left the door open for a friendship with Seo-ri and I’m sure that they will share their love of music when they reconnect. It was a great resolution to what was once a painful memory for Tae-rin.
I’ve been thinking about how everyone has some kind of connection, especially Jennifer. There were two victims in the bus crash, Su-mi and an adult. Is it possible that Jennifer is connected in some way to that second victim? That photo of her smiling contrasts so sharply with her current, controlled persona and her confession to Woo-jin suggests that, like him, she’s been living with profound guilt that weighs her down like a stone. Woo-jin’s guilt has lessened thanks to Seo-ri, but it’s not completely gone, so he and Jennifer still have trauma that they need to work through. He recognized her pain, will she do the some for Woo-jin when he has to deal with the aftermath of Seo-ri’s true identity?
Whatever ghosts Woo-jin has left to deal with, I hope that he doesn’t stray far from Seo-ri’s side because she needs him to help her with her grief over her best friend and to help her find out the truth about her aunt and uncle. Seo-ri can’t really embrace her new life until she deals with her past.