One Spring Night: Episodes 15-16
The emotional turmoil for our conflicted librarian has reached its breaking point, and she finds herself rashly following her heart, knowing full well that her actions will cause affliction and shame. Fortunately, she’s not distressing alone, as her love interest, the pharmacist, also musters up the courage to take a step towards her. He’s learning to be unapologetic about his feelings and circumstance, and that he also deserves a chance at love.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Jung-in meets with Chairman Kwon and confesses that she does not plan on marrying his son, Ki-seok. She explains that she’d asked to meet without Ki-seok because he would have blamed himself for her reluctance. She says that it’s not all his fault. “We both failed each other,” she admits.
After Chairman Kwon leaves, he regretfully tells Jung-in that he met her too late. A man of pride, he says no more and leaves.
When Jung-in returns to the library, she finds Eun-woo crying for his dad while other mothers try to comfort him. When he recognizes Jung-in, he calls out to her, “Teacher!” He hugs her tight, and Ji-ho enters the library soon after.
Eun-woo finally stops crying in his dad’s arms, and Ji-ho sheepishly explains to Jung-in that he momentarily stepped out because Eun-woo seemed fine playing with the other kids. Jung-in gives him a stern glare but lightens up at Ji-ho’s guilty look.
After Eun-woo returns to playing with the other children, Jung-in scolds Ji-ho for not watching his son. Ji-ho sulks and admits that he’s a lacking father, and Jung-in grins at Ji-ho’s moping. Ji-ho asks why she’s at the library on her day off, and Jung-in deduces that he visited the library today to avoid her. Jung-in admits that it was a nice surprise to see him at the library and says that he doesn’t need to try so hard to avoid her because she’s comfortable having him around.
When Jung-in enters the office, Young-joo looks surprised to see her on her day off. Jung-in says that she needed Young-joo to help with her troubles. Young-joo informs Jung-in that the pharmacist is at the library and commends him for spending his day off with his nephew. Jung-in silently stares at her friend and decides not to clarify the father-son relationship.
Jung-in tells Young-joo that she’s concerned about the backlash after shutting down the marriage option to Chairman Kwon. She wonders how her relationship with Ki-seok disintegrated, and Young-joo counsels that a long-term relationship has a blindspot — the moment you grow remiss, your breakup begins. Jung-in laughs at her hypocritical self after realizing that she just scolded someone for being negligent.
As Eun-woo munches on pastries, he admits to Ji-ho that he thought that his dad abandoned him, and Ji-ho looks guilty. But Eun-woo adds that he wasn’t scared because Teacher was there. Ji-ho smiles and asks why Eun-woo likes Teacher. Eun-woo responds that Teacher is kind, and Ji-ho admits that he likes her for the same reason.
Principal Lee tries to head out to check on Jung-in’s meeting with Chairman Kwon, but Mom pulls him back. She takes his phone and threatens to call Chairman Kwon to defend her daughter, but Principal Lee stops her. Mom tells her husband to prioritize their family over his superior, but this is his way of prioritizing family. He knows how tough Chairman Kwon’s resolve is and fears that one misstep will ruin Jung-in’s chances at marriage.
Chairman Kwon meets with Ki-seok and praises Jung-in for her maturity. He acknowledges that she’s a rare catch and won’t be persuaded easily, so he advises Ki-seok to play the long game to win Jung-in over. After Chairman Kwon leaves, Ki-seok looks at his recently purchased proposal ring and ponders his next steps.
Meanwhile, Jung-in stays at the library and watches Ji-ho reading to Eun-woo from afar. As she heads back to her office, she receives a call from Ki-seok, who seems happy about her meeting with his father. After she hangs up, she expresses her frustrations to Young-joo about Ki-seok’s unexpected sweetness when she expected and wanted rage. Young-joo interprets Ki-seok’s response as his way of forcing this relationship to continue.
Then, Jung-in receives a message from Ji-ho notifying her that he’s going to leave soon. She rushes out to gather more books to give to Eun-woo, but she’s interrupted by a text from Ki-seok, informing her that he’s almost at the library. She rushes to meet with Ji-ho to tell him.
After motioning Ji-ho out of the children’s room, Jung-in urgently tells him that Ki-seok is on his way to the library. Ji-ho’s smile immediately drops. She points him to another exit to avoid confrontation with Ki-seok, but Ji-ho refuses to run away in shame, especially with Eun-woo. He defensively says that he won’t allow anyone to be ashamed of or hurt Eun-woo.
Ji-ho goes back to fetch Eun-woo and walks past Jung-in to the main entrance. Then, Eun-woo runs back and hands Jung-in a half-used sheet of dinosaur stickers. Aw, that’s Eun-woo sharing a part of his heart. Jung-in looks conflicted and apologetic, with tears brimming her eyes.
As Ji-ho leaves the library with Eun-woo, they run into Ki-seok. With a hint of suspicion, Ki-seok notes that he saw Ji-ho in the area last time and says that his girlfriend works at this library. Ji-ho says that he knew about Jung-in and explains that he came for the good children’s room.
Ki-seok seems to swallow his suspicions and gives Eun-woo some pocket money, which Ji-ho tries to stop. Ji-ho looks extra guilty as he’s forced to politely accept the money for Eun-woo. In the car, Eun-woo asks if they can buy enough donkkaseu for the both of them with this money. Aw, so cute.
When Ki-seok enters the library, he finds teary Jung-in ready to storm out. He worries about her emotional state and tries to calm her down. She looks at Ki-seok and apologizes before running out of the library after Ji-ho.
Jung-in just misses Ji-ho as he drives away, and Ki-seok runs after her. She looks dispirited with the stickers in her hand, and when she turns around, she sees Ki-seok. His defeated face says it all, and he gets into his car without saying a word to her.
As Ji-ho drives, he smiles at Eun-woo, but he looks concerned. In the parking lot, Jung-in continues to cry through her conflicted and now unveiled emotions.
Hyun-soo meets up with Young-jae for dinner and asks about Jae-in. Young-jae says that he ended things with her, and Hyun-soo approves because he thinks that it’s best to stay away from the sisters. Hyun-soo tries to convince himself that Ji-ho is going through a phase — that he’s mistaking kindness for interest — but Young-jae laughs at Hyun-soo’s forced reasoning. They both know that Ji-ho is someone who sees things through once he puts his mind to it.
Young-jae says that Ki-seok shouldn’t cling to someone whose feelings have changed, but Hyun-soo fears that Ki-seok won’t act rationally after losing his girlfriend to someone else. Hyun-soo suggests that they invite Ji-ho to join them, but Young-jae says that Ji-ho went to the library with Eun-woo. Hyun-soo gapes at Ji-ho’s audacity to openly meet with Jung-in now and calls him crazy.
Hyun-soo wonders what’s giving Ji-ho this courage, and Young-jae answers that it’s the mutual trust between Ji-ho and Jung-in. Hyun-soo wonders what this means, and Young-jae tells his dim friend that it’s obviously love.
At the library office, Young-joo tries to comfort Jung-in as she cries. She says that Ki-seok was bound to find out about Jung-in’s change of heart soon, though he probably feels conned because he found out on the day that she met his father. Young-joo then criticizes Ji-ho for bringing his nephew to the library to make an excuse to see Jung-in, and Jung-in finally corrects her — it’s his son, not his nephew.
Young-joo gasps that the pharmacist is a married man, but Jung-in clarifies that he’s a single father. Jung-in reiterates that she wasn’t confident about pursuing this relationship, and Young-joo tries to wrap her head around this new information.
At home, Ji-ho eats dinner with his parents and drinks soju. Mom asks if something is wrong, and Ji-ho responds by offering to meet the woman that Mom was going to introduce him to. Mom presumes that something’s not going well with the woman he likes, and Dad encourages Ji-ho to follow his heart.
Discouraged, Ji-ho says that the woman he has feelings for may not like a person like him. Mom assumes that his counterpart would have similar scars and argues that Ji-ho has everything: smarts, looks, and a good job. Ji-ho interprets Mom’s assumption about scars as a requirement for him to only meet anyone in a similar circumstance, meaning Eun-woo.
Mom asserts that it would be shameful of them to expect otherwise, but then she realizes that Ji-ho may have feelings for a person who hasn’t been married nor has kids. She says that it’s unfair to ask an inexperienced counterpart to understand his circumstance, but Dad stops her. He trusts Ji-ho to use good judgment and decide what’s best.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Jae-in meets her older sister Seo-in at work, and she immediately turns around when she sees Shi-hoon walking towards them. He’s on his way to his recording, and he looks surprised to see Jae-in back in the country. Not fond of Shi-hoon, she formally greets him but nothing else.
Shi-hoon invites Jae-in to come to their apartment when Jung-in and Ki-seok come over, and with a threatening look, he tells Seo-in that he’ll see her at home. Seo-in says that Jae-in will be staying at their apartment because Jung-in has been complaining, and Jae-in plays along. Shi-hoon feigns an open welcome to stay. After he leaves, Jae-in asks what’s up them, and Seo-in shares that they’re getting divorced.
Seo-in requests that Jae-in stay at her apartment because while processing the divorce, she and Shi-hoon are currently separated. She explains that Shi-hoon occasionally causes a drunken scene, and Jae-in accepts her role as that buffer.
Jae-in notes that Shi-hoon doesn’t seem to know about Ki-seok and Jung-in’s rocky relationship, and Seo-in presumes that Ki-seok didn’t make it known. Seo-in wonders if she should meet with Jung-in, but Jae-in advises against it because Jung-in’s life is in chaos. Hearing this, Seo-in suggests that Jae-in stay with Jung-in for the time being, and she’ll deal with Shi-hoon alone.
At work, Hyun-soo approaches a deflated Ki-seok and asks if he’s okay. Ki-seok looks at him silently and goes to the stairwell, where he anguishes over his broken relationship. At the school, Principal Lee bows to Chairman Kwon when he enters, and Chairman Kwon silently acknowledges him.
Seeing Chairman Kwon’s cryptic behavior, Principal Lee calls Jung-in, but she ignores the call from her dad. While working, she opens her desk drawer and sees the dinosaur stickers from Eun-woo. Jung-in ponders what she should do next.
Pharmacist Wang starts to leave work, but she turns back to counsel Ji-ho through his distress. She reminds him that he admitted that he would regret not pursuing his feelings, but Ji-ho explains that Eun-woo is part of his hesitation.
Pharmacist Wang says that children hate hearing that their parents sacrificed everything for them and argues that Eun-woo won’t appreciate that his father gave up his dating life for him. She calls him foolish for using Eun-woo as an excuse, but Ji-ho says that his mother told him that he shouldn’t even consider dating someone outside his circumstance.
Scoffing at Ji-ho’s obedience, Pharmacist Wang encourages him to just go for it. Even if he fails, he might as well try instead of wallowing in regret later. Ji-ho says that Jung-in is too precious to approach recklessly. Done with Ji-ho’s discouragement, Pharmacist Wang sarcastically wishes him bad luck and she walks out.
Ki-seok stops by a bar, where he meets with old music friends. They ask about his girlfriend and remind him that they’re singing at his wedding. His friends try to get him to play, but Ki-seok only strums a chord before they all get to drinking.
One of Ki-seok’s friends finds him brooding outside and knows that he stopped by because he’s upset about something. Ki-seok denies it, so his friend jokingly asks if he regrets giving up music. His friend says that their music friend group is proud of his successes, and Ki-seok smiles at the small encouragement.
At home, Mom talks with Jung-in over the phone about her marriage rejection confession to Chairman Kwon. She quickly hangs up when her husband returns, and she carefully asks him about Chairman Kwon’s response. He’s upset that Chairman Kwon would barely look at him and blames Jung-in for it.
Mom fudges the truth and says that Jung-in told Chairman Kwon that she’s not interested in marriage immediately, and Principal Lee erupts in anger. He orders his wife to stay out of Jung-in’s marriage plans and storms out. Mom sits on the bed and hangs her head in defeat.
Jae-in asks Jung-in when she plans to sort out her relationships. Jung-in admits that she’s scared that Ji-ho won’t answer her calls and that Ki-seok will. Although she’s prepared to be cursed out by Ki-seok, she didn’t expect their long-term relationship to end this way. Jae-in disagrees and says that a relationship only truly ends when both parties see each other’s unbeknownst lowest points.
Jae-in advises Jung-in to prioritize Ji-ho, since he’s probably hurt and deserves an apology. Jung-in agrees, but she’s afraid that her apology will mark the end of their relationship. Then, Jung-in receives a call from Ji-ho to meet.
Ji-ho meets Jung-in outside her apartment building and suggests that they walk to the park from last time. She silently walks with him, and they take a seat on the bench with some space between them. Jung-in cautiously asks why he came to see her, and Ji-ho says that he didn’t have a particular reason. He confesses, “I missed you.”
Jung-in doesn’t believe him and tells him to say what he really means. She knows that he’s mad at him, and Ji-ho acknowledges that he was. But he was afraid that Jung-in would use that excuse to run away from him. She tells him to stop teasing him, but Ji-ho insists that he’s being sincere.
Then, he jokes that he should just meet another woman, and Jung-in looks a bit hurt. He’s amused that she believes his jokes as sincere, and she calls him mean. Ji-ho says that he’s decided not to torment himself about whether he deserves to pursue Jung-in. Whether she comes to him or not, he’s determined to just love. He confesses, “It turns out that Yoo Ji-ho loves Lee Jung-in.”
Jung-in gets teary-eyed, and Ji-ho teases her for crying again. Looking more relaxed, Jung-in takes a step toward him and shows him the dinosaur sticker on her phone. Ji-ho looks touched and sits down — now his turn to be teary-eyed. Jung-in crouches down and looks at him affectionately. She smiles at him, and he gratefully smiles back.
After confessing their honest feelings to each other, the two spend the evening together, walking through the neighborhood side by side.
At work, Ki-seok receives a call from Shi-hoon, but he ignores it. Shi-hoon meets with Seo-in and asks to borrow money for his dental office expansion. Seo-in glares at him and says that it’s not her business, since they’re getting divorced.
Shi-hoon asserts that he’ll never divorce her and tells her to stop trying. He assures her that he’ll pay her back with the loan that Ki-seok is helping him get, to which Seo-in calls him crazy. She holds her head in slight dizziness, and Shi-hoon worriedly asks what’s wrong. She simply warns him not to engage with her family and walks off.
Jae-in urgently meets with Jung-in in the middle of her workday because she’s scared that Seo-in is pregnant. Seo-in asked Jae-in to get a pregnancy test for her, but Jae-in is too scared to go alone. Jung-in looks anxious and asks her coworker to grab her things from the office so that she can sneak out early.
Seo-in arrives in her car to pick up her sisters, and she asks Jung-in to drive because she’s too dizzy. In the car, the sisters worry about Seo-in’s health, and Seo-in assures them that she’ll go to the doctor to check for other issues, if it’s not pregnancy. Jung-in tells Seo-in to take Jae-in with her for the checkup, and Jae-in quips that she shouldn’t have returned from Paris.
Seo-in warns Jung-in that Shi-hoon is attempting to get a loan through Ki-seok, and Jae-in reveals that Jung-in is breaking up with Ki-seok. This is news to Seo-in, and she emphasizes caution about Shi-hoon further complicating Jung-in’s relationship. Jung-in understands her sister’s words of caution. Then, Seo-in suggests that they all eat some good food, and the sisters excitedly agree.
While eating PPL Quiznos, Hyun-soo asks Ji-ho if he’s been caught by Ki-seok. Ji-ho shakes his head and confirms that Jung-in hasn’t told him anything. Hyun-soo can’t figure out why Ki-seok has been so cold to him lately, and he wonders if it’s because of Nam Shi-hoon. He pieces together that Shi-hoon is Ki-seok’s future brother-in-law, who’s married to the famous announcer Lee Seo-in.
Young-jae buries his head into his face when he realizes that Seo-in is Jae-in’s older sister because he had previously dismissed Seo-in as not his type. Hyun-soo explains to Ji-ho that Shi-hoon had been pestering Ki-seok about granting his loan application, even though he doesn’t qualify. Hyun-soo doesn’t understand why Ki-seok wouldn’t just explain the situation to Shi-hoon.
Young-jae thinks that Ki-seok may have picked up on Ji-ho and Jung-in’s relationship. He infers that something must have caused a shift in Ki-seok’s relationship with his future brother-in-law. Ji-ho takes in this information with concern.
Attempting to confirm his suspicions, Ki-seok camps out in front of Ji-ho’s pharmacy. As Ji-ho and his friends head out, Hyun-soo receives a text from Ki-seok asking for Ji-ho’s address. He shows the message to Ji-ho, who looks convinced that he’s being sniffed out.
When Ki-seok arrives at Ji-ho’s apartment building, Young-joo notices him there and quickly calls Jung-in to notify her. Jung-in thinks that Ki-seok is there to meet with Ji-ho, so she immediately calls Ji-ho to warn him. But Ji-ho already knows and has braced himself for the confrontation. Jung-in offers to head over to face Ki-seok, but Ji-ho wants to confront Ki-seok on his own.
Ji-ho asks Jung-in’s permission to tell Ki-seok the full truth, and Jung-in agrees with his plan. He tells her not to worry, and Jung-in says that it’s impossible not to worry. He jokingly tells her to worry then, and he assures her that he’s fine. Jung-in apologizes, and Ji-ho lightheartedly asks if she’s apologizing for liking him. He promises to call her afterward, and after she hangs up, he nervously lets out a deep breath.
When Jung-in returns to her sisters, she tells Jae-in that Ki-seok is waiting to meet with Ji-ho. Jae-in seems amused at this fast development and wonders if they’ll get into a fight. Jae-in fills in Seo-in about Jung-in’s latest crush and asks Jung-in if she plans on getting involved. Seo-in advises against this, since Jung-in’s presence wouldn’t help resolve anything.
Jung-in blames herself for being too rash and getting caught by Ki-seok. She knew the truth would come out eventually, but now wasn’t the right time. After loitering in front of Ji-ho’s apartment building, Ki-seok heads back into his car. But then, Ji-ho arrives and approaches Ki-seok, ready to own the truth.
I’m ready for this confrontation to happen, and while it does seem ill-timed, there’s no good time to tell someone that you’re in love with their girlfriend. Ki-seok hasn’t proven himself a bad partner, but he’s becoming desperate to keep Jung-in in his life, which will likely result in some pathetic attempts to earn her affection. It’s far too late for him to win back her heart, though his father seems to think otherwise. She’s already abandoned their relationship emotionally, and if Jae-in’s words about seeing each other’s rock bottom rings true, I don’t think he’ll be able to keep his dignity intact through this breakup.
I hate how Chairman Kwon and Ki-seok are both forcing this relationship on Jung-in, even though she’s made it clear that she wants out. Their sense of entitlement and total dismissal of Jung-in’s assertion enrages me. They live within a traditional patriarchal mindset — as does Jung-in’s father –and Jung-in does not thrive in this environment. It’s infuriating to watch how the females need to navigate these insecure male voices, but it’s also empowering to see that they refuse to demurely obey. Within tradition and the suffocating patriarchy, they’re finding their way out.
I’m terrified of Shi-hoon, and I want Seo-in to get complete revenge against this perpetrator. The sisters know that something is wrong with Seo-in and Shi-hoon’s relationship, that he’s a dangerous man, but I don’t know to what extent they know about her abuse. I want Shi-hoon to experience a living hell, with the sisters damning him to the justice he deserves. The Lee sisters are strong and fiercely protective of each other, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they annihilate Shi-hoon.
Of the sisters, I’m a fan of Jae-in and her wit about life. She frequently reminds Jung-in that she’s in deep shit, but she also provides a levity and rationality that allows Jung-in to deal with her evolving emotions in stride. Jae-in is to Jung-in as Pharmacist Wang is to Ji-ho, and I appreciate that both of our hesitant lovers have a support system that encourages them to follow their hearts. Pharmacist Wang is the enabler we all need in our lives, and I admire her tough love approach. She encourages Ji-ho to know his worth, value his feelings, and just take a shot at love. She’s a true friend that pushes Ji-ho to be his best self, and I’m enjoying how he’s coming out of the shell that he forced himself to hide in.
One thing I particularly enjoy about this show is the intentional slow pacing. There’s the obvious slow motion that explicitly slows down the pace of the show, but I notice that the pace is also set by subtle storytelling. Certain moments intentionally lack dialogue because they’re showing us — not telling us — the story. I think the slower pacing also allows the show to milk the emotional capacity of our actors, especially Han Ji-min, who does a great job with expressing the difficult restraint with overwhelming emotions. While certain moments are skipped over and others are lengthened, the show also does a good job of smoothing out that imbalance and knowing which moments deserve more fleshed out emotions, like the evening park scene. While this was only a pinch-hit recap for me, I’ll surely be tuning in until the end, hoping for a happy ending for our single father/pharmacist and dinosaur-loving librarian.
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