One Spring Night: Episodes 5-6
Now that they’re just friends, our leads wrestle with the mixed signals they’re sending out to one another. And try as they might, they just have too many friends and neighbors in common to keep their interactions a secret for very long. Jung-in has been doing a good job of compartmentalizing her feelings, but as others start to note her strange behavior and a new gentleman lingering near her, it’s only a matter of time before she will need to answer some difficult questions about her commitment to her boyfriend and her real feelings.
At the library, Eun-woo gazes up at Jung-in and asks if she’s his mother. Startled, Ji-ho grabs his son by the shoulders and demands to know why he would say that. Eun-woo shuts down as his dad’s anger shows, but Jung-in jumps in and distracts him with the dinosaur books she brought for him.
They get Eun-woo settled and then Ji-ho and Jung-in sneak away to the lockers for a quick talk. Ji-ho apologizes, and Jung-in agrees that she was taken aback–she didn’t realize that Ji-ho was a mean dad. Haha. There’s some teasing to her voice, but she also tells Ji-ho that there’s no need to get worked up about small things and that he should apologize to Eun-woo. Ji-ho thinks that’s unnecessary, since Eun-woo is no longer upset, but Jung-in warns that kids remember things like that, and Ji-ho smiles.
Ji-ho offers to take Jung-in out for coffee, but Jung-in declines and sends Ji-ho back in to the children’s area as she heads for the elevators. Young-woo meets her there, curious about her visitor and why he looks so familiar. Jung-in finally reveals him as the pharmacist, and also links him to her as Ki-seok’s university friend. But Young-joo isn’t buying her nonchalance, especially with Jung-in’s strange behavior lately.
Back in the children’s area, Ji-ho apologizes to Eun-woo for getting upset. Eun-woo says that he forgives him, and Ji-woo smiles and strokes his hair.
Over at Seo-in’s apartment, Seo-in sighs as she discovers mail addressed to Shi-hoon in the mailbox. Shi-hoon is busy playing a golfing simulator with a friend and trying to outdo his brother’s charitable donations when he gets a call from Seo-in, and he ducks out to take it.
Seo-in insists that he needs to change his mailing address, and she threatens to change it to his parent’s for him if he doesn’t do it himself. Shi-hoon tries to sneer at that, but the sneer drops when Seo-in tells him that she plans to sell the apartment, and he turns to threats.
Meanwhile, Ki-seok and basketball buddy and work colleague Hyun-soo are driving together. Hyun-soo asks when Ki-seok manages to actually date, and Ki-seok basically confirms that their schedules keep him and Jung-in apart most of the time. Hyun-soo says that the two already look like an old married couple, and Ki-seok scoffs and asks if they should have been all over one another in front of everyone. Hyun-soo asks if they’re affectionate in private, and Ki-seok doesn’t really have a response to that.
Hyun-soo further assesses the state of couples in love: no physical response means there are no feelings left, while if there are feelings, the response would be involuntary. All of this talk leaves Ki-seok with a sour expression.
As the day goes on, Jung-in can’t resist peeking in the children’s area for Ji-ho, but he’s already at his car, though he casts a look of longing back at the library. As he drives Eun-woo home, he can’t help but bring up the “Mom” incident again. He asks Eun-woo why he would say it, but Eun-woo doesn’t answer. Eun-woo is fast asleep by the time Ji-ho gets him to bed.
But Eun-woo’s question is still on his mind, and he asks his parents if Eun-woo has been asking about his mother lately, and wonders what he should tell Eun-woo if he asks. Ji-ho’s mother insists that he should be told the truth, just maybe when he’s a little older. Dad seems a little more reluctant, but Mom sees no reason to lie.
Mom also encourages Ji-ho to have his own life. She tells him that just like he loves Eun-woo, she loves her own son and wants the best for him. Ji-ho scrambles for the door, but even Dad sends him off by encouraging him to live his own life and to stop dropping by to see his son so often.
Young-joo runs into Ji-ho just as he arrives home. “You’re the pharmacist? And you live on the third floor. How interesting.” Young-joo is putting all the pieces together.
As for Jung-in, she’s at home trying on the mask she picked up at the pharmacy as an excuse to be there. It’s a children’s mask, and Jae-in makes fun of her for it. Jung-in tells Jae-in that Seo-in knows she’s back in Korea, and Jae-in says she’ll go see her older sister when Shi-hoon isn’t around. Jung-in asks why Jae-in always disliked Shi-hoon, and she shrugs that it’s just the way it goes, you can instantly dislike someone for no reason.
Jung-in checks her texts, and she’s got one from Ji-ho: “Thank you for the books. And for being a friend.” Jung-in turns when she hears Jae-in’s camera go off, and Jae-in shows her the warm smile she had on her face. “You must really love Ki-seok,” her sister tells her. That comment makes Jung-in’s smile falter for a moment, but soon she’s back to thinking about Ji-ho.
The next morning, Shi-hoon greets his office staff, and they turn over a bill for overdue rent. Uh oh. Shi-hoon calls a friend who is a divorce lawyer, and tries to weedle out of him how easy it would be for him to sell his apartment without his wife knowing about it. Oh man, this guy just gets worse and worse.
While her husband schemes, Seo-in receives an offer for a new show at work where she would be the sole host. They’ve selected Seo-in for her clean and soft image, perfect for the middle-aged women they want to target. Seo-in’s boss is surprised when she’s not elated by the news, she says she’s just surprised. Once alone though, Seo-in slumps against a wall. But to add to the stress, she receives a call from her real estate agent. It turns out that her apartment is being held as collateral against a pile of debt Shi-hoon has accrued. Seo-in says that she’ll discuss things with her husband and get back to them regarding the sale.
At the library, Young-joo seeks Jung-in out to tease her about the pharmacist. Young-joo asks why Jung-in lied about how she knew him, and Jung-in refuses to admit to any deceit. So Young-joo suggests that she’ll ask the pharmacist herself about their relationship, and Jung-in chases after her.
Though Young-joo was teasing, Jung-in is very serious as she insists that Ji-ho is just a fellow alumni from Ki-seok’s college. Young-joo recognizes that Jung-in’s fuss about the situation means that there’s more going on than just friends, and Young-joo tells her friend that she’s in big trouble.
Meanwhile, Ki-seok turns up at Ji-ho’s pharmacy to ask for some vitamins good for stress. He goes on to explain to Ji-ho how stressed out his girlfriend is, and asks for some vitamins for her family as well. Ji-ho does his best to keep his expression neutral, though it’s clear this entire exchange is killing him. Because you know, nothing like picking out the best vitamins for the girl you like on behalf of her current boyfriend.
Ji-ho walks Ki-seok outside, and Ki-seok suggests that things have gone cold between him and Jung-in because they were discussing marriage. This is unexpected news for Ji-ho, and he clearly takes it hard. Ji-ho is distracted for the remainder of work, and then heads out to the cafe where he and Jung-in sat together. He glumly drinks tea by himself, glancing out the window ever so often.
Chairman Kwon and Jung-in’s Dad gather for lunch with some friends. Those friends are eager to show off their grandchildren, and the topic of Jung-in and Ki-seok comes up. Chairman Kwon still insists that the two should end it, while Dad is very insistent that their children are very happy together and just taking their time.
Speaking of the happy couple, Ki-seok picks up Jung-in and delivers the vitamins he got from Ji-ho to her. He says that he picked them up since Jung-in has been so overly sensitive lately, and says that he, “hopes they work soon.” Ugh.
Ki-seok brings up Ji-ho and mentions that he has a son. Jung-in is surprised that Ji-ho would tell him that, and Ki-seok clarifies that he heard it from their mutual friends. He tells Jung-in the whole story, about how Ji-ho’s girlfriend disappeared after giving birth. Ki-seok sighs that Ji-ho should have done better to keep the girl around, and Jung-in is immediately cross about that. She retorts that it had nothing to do with doing better, but that feelings had just changed.
Ending on yet another bad note, Jung-in gets out of the car, Ki-seok calling after her to make sure she takes her vitamins no matter what. Guh, Ki-seok. This is not something that can be resolved with some B-vitamins, my dude.
Jung-in runs into Jae-in at the elevator, but Jae-in won’t share which friends she’s off to see. A moment later, Ki-seok calls Jung-in and asks if it would have been better if they’d gotten coffee together. He asks if he should come up to her apartment now, and Jung-in lies that Jae-in is there. Though he doesn’t tell her, Ki-seok knows it’s a lie. He’s still sitting outside her apartment and watches Jae-in get into a taxi.
Ji-ho is at home and so miserable he can’t even muster the energy to drink a beer. But then his phone rings, and it’s Jung-in. She tells him that she received the vitamins, and Ji-ho responds, “So this is what you sound like on the phone.” He tries to pull back and say that he shouldn’t have said that, but Jung-in presses into the topic and asks how she sounds. He says that it sounds alright, and she responds that he doesn’t sound that great either, and they both smile.
Jung-in comments that she thought Ji-ho didn’t know how to crack jokes, and Ji-ho says that people used to tell him that he was funny all the time. She asks if he intentionally changed his personality, and Ji-ho responds that he’s not sure. Jung-in says that she’ll listen to his jokes, as a friend, and Ji-ho asks if she can handle that, since she’s apparently under a lot of stress. Jung-in’s phone buzzes with another phone call, and while she tries to ignore it, Ji-ho hears the buzz in the line as well and they end their call.
Downstairs in the lobby, Jung-in’s mom has shown up with some food. But Jae-in walks through the lobby just then, and Mom strikes her daughter when she hears that Jae-in dropped out of her program in France and didn’t tell anyone.
At the pharmacy, Ji-ho’s fellow pharmacists tease him as he packs up more freebies, this time for his friend Young-jae. Young-jae arrives just then and the pair head out for dinner. Young-jae mentions that he spotted that person that Ji-ho went to college with a group in the neighborhood. Ji-ho asks if he means Ki-seok, and Young-jae specifies that he means Ki-seok’s girlfriend.
Meanwhile, Jung-in’s mom works on her calligraphy at home, and Dad asks about calling Jae-in. Now that Mom knows the truth about her daughter, she’s quick to squash that idea, though she won’t tell her husband why. Dad brings up Jung-in’s wedding again, and again Mom stands up for her daughters. Dad accuses her of coddling them, while she responds that he should have been more affectionate with them when they were younger if he wanted to be so involved in their lives now.
Jae-in pays a visit to her sister Seo-in, who is asleep on the couch when the doorbell rings. Jae-in reports that Mom knows she’s back now, and asks Seo-in if she could help her get a job with her company. Seo-in reaches for her purse, and Jae-in readily sinks to her knees and holds out her hands for the money, haha. Jae-in asks where Shi-hoon is, and Seo-in says that he’ll be out late, avoiding the truth for now.
And Shi-hoon is out, sharing a meal with Ki-seok. Ki-seok shares the recent tension between him and Jung-in, and Shi-hoon says that all of the girls in that family are difficult. Ki-seok mentions how much busier he’s been at work, and Shi-hoon is eager to mention that he’s considering expanding his clinic and taking out a loan. He refills Ki-seok’s glass several times, all the while asking if there’s a way to make his application easier, and to skip all the “unnecessary” paperwork. Ki-seok is visibly uncomfortable, but he doesn’t say no either.
Back to Ji-ho and Young-jae, who finish up their meal. Young-jae is quick to pay the tab, since he needs to get back to studying. But Ji-ho wants to talk a little longer, and brings up that maybe he might want to date a woman. Young-jae has so many questions–is it someone they all know? And when he asks why Ji-ho isn’t dating her, Ji-ho smile ruefully that he didn’t like her voice on the phone. Sigh.
Outside, Jung-in receives a call on her way back from the restroom. It’s Ji-ho, who asks if she’s out drinking with friends. Jung-in is surprised at first, until she spots Ji-ho standing across the street looking at her. She asks why he called, and he says that he saw her and wanted to hear her voice. Jung-in protests, and Ji-ho promises that he won’t cross the line. Jung-in admits that she’s frustrated because she’s not sure what actions constitute crossing the line. “What can you do for me?” she asks, and Ji-ho starts to move across the street to her. But Jung-in immediately tells him not to, and they stand and stare at one another with mournful eyes.
Jung-in heads back to her friends inside the restaurant and clinks her mug, though her eyes are glossy with emotion. Ji-ho walks home alone, his emotions evident on his face. And once she makes it home, Jung-in sits at her table with a mug of tea, deep in thought.
The next evening, Jung-in stops by Ki-seok’s work to meet him as he gets out. His friend Hyun-soo spots her first and makes small talk until Ki-seok arrives. Hyun-soo mentions that he’s off to meet with Ji-ho, who he suspects is dating someone.
Over chicken and beer, Hyun-soo does his best to pry information out of Ji-ho. Ji-ho admits there’s a woman, but won’t provide any details. Hyun-soo says that he’s never seen Ji-ho this crazy over anyone, and Ji-ho tells him not to worry, because it’s over already. When Hyun-soo asks why already, Ji-ho retorts, “Why, should I go on?” Hyun-soo says it’s obviously not over yet, and Ji-ho says that he’s working on ending it.
Meanwhile, Ki-seok takes Jung-in out to a nice restaurant, but she seems sullen. He asks if she’s taking her vitamins, and then asks about Seo-in. He mentions Shi-hoon, and Jung-in says that all married couples have their issues. Ki-seok brings it back to their own potential marriage plans. Jung-in reminds him that they were going to take some time to think about it, and Ki-seok asks if they’re at the point where they need to work on their relationship. And then he pulls the trigger, and asks if there’s another guy. There’s a big pause before Jung-in answers, and she tells him no. Ki-seok asks again, and she says no again, but her fist is balled into the tablecloth.
Back to Ji-ho and Hyun-soo, and Ji-ho says that the woman he’s interested in says she hates lying, but keeps lying to him. And then Ji-ho looks at his friend and asks if he finally does what he wants, if he’ll be punished for it.
The next day, Ji-ho arrives at the library while Jung-in works in the stacks. Outside, Ki-seok arrives as well and heads in. In the stacks, Ji-ho follows after oblivious Jung-in, watching her through the shelves.
Young-joo spots Ki-seok near the new books, and sends him in where Jung-in is working. Jung-in glances up and finally catches Ji-ho’s eye. She steps quickly to the aisle, searching each row of books for Ji-ho. She spins around, only to be confronted by Ki-seok, not Ji-ho. Jung-in’s eyes widen in shock, and Ki-seok asks, “Why are you so surprised?”
This show is great at emotionally charged cliffhangers. I spent the last five minutes of this episode holding my breath, so completely worried about the potentially awkward confrontation that was brewing. It feels too early to get caught now, so I suspect everything is going to be fine, but still! What kind of conversation will Jung-in and Ji-ho have after this near miss? Will Ki-seok grow more suspicious?
It seems that Jung-in’s request for a break with Ki-seok has been all but discarded. I was hopeful last week that it was the first step towards her being honest about things and getting a chance to explore some innocent enough “dates” with Ji-ho, but instead she and Ki-seok just kept up their routine. Which is understandable, really. Jung-in seems like she very much doesn’t want any actual drama, and pulling away from Ki-seok completely is definitely going to stir some of that up. Staying put getting rides home from work is the path of least resistance. It’s definitely real as hell, but is very unsatisfying to the part of me that’s screaming, “Just kiss already!” at Ji-ho and Jung-in. You know, the amoral part of me.
“What, should I go on?” Ji-ho just needs a little push, someone else to validate the bad behavior just a little bit, and he’s all in. All the people around Jung-in keep pointing out her strange behavior, but I feel like Ji-ho is the one exhibiting the most turmoil about the growing feelings and confusing relationship. And when you look at it, he certainly is the one with the least to lose and the most to gain. He’s a man who has been punishing himself for a long time, and now he feels like he’s found a real opportunity to be happy with someone else without having to actually change himself. He doesn’t have to feel badly about having a kid or making any of his previous decisions. He just has to, you know, screw over a nice guy, lie to everyone he loves, and create a ton of turmoil in that woman’s life. He is appropriately torn up about it, and I love how I get to struggle along with everyone as they make bad decisions. I want all the bad things for them, even though there are obviously better, healthier ways for them to be happy together.
And it’s because slow burn is so satisfying. I want them in this stage of uncertainty for as long as any of us can bear it. Because I mean, that phone flirting… There was such an undercurrent of both hesitancy, desire, and then frustration. There’s a dig in Ji-ho’s comment, when he asks if Jung-in is too stressed out to be his friend. It’s both a dig at her and a way out, if she wants it. And it makes me like Ji-ho more. He often seems so passive, so quiet, but here, he can’t help but be a little mean to the person who he so desperately wants, and it makes him so much more human.
This show builds a surprising amount of tension by not making it immediately clear who is on the phone with Jung-in. When Ji-ho looks at his phone, there’s no doubt that it’s about a message or call from Jung-in. But with Jung-in, there’s a moment where we have to wait to see whose call she’s picking up, and it becomes all about the body language and context clues until we hear the voice on the other end. I’m also wondering if it’s going to be all the texting and phone calls that are going to get Jung-in and Ji-ho caught in the end.
I appreciate that Ji-ho’s parents just want the best for him, but man are they frustrating. They’ve seen him totally shut down and close himself off from everyone else, so they want to push him out of that. But does it have to be at the cost of spending time with Eun-woo? I’m glad that Ji-ho doesn’t see it that way, and that he’s much more interested in finding someone who will want to spend time with him and Eun-woo. And I feel like that is one reason that he’s so drawn to Jung-in. She doesn’t judge him, at least not about that. She doesn’t hesitate to scold him like a child when he is unnecessarily harsh with Eun-woo, but she never once batted an eye when the idea of Ji-ho being a single dad has come up. She’s never placed blame on him, or called him pitiful, and has even said several times that there’s nothing about it that makes him not decent. This is exactly what Ji-ho has wanted and not dared to wish for, so it’s clear to me why he’s so taken with her.
I’m not sure that I can say the same for Jung-in. Jung-in can come off pretty cold. It’s hard to tell exactly what she would like out of a new relationship. Though, I can’t help but think back to Episode 2, when Ji-ho replaced her chopsticks for her without a word. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that someone is really looking at her and paying attention that draws her to him. I think it’s the fact that Jung-in is not letting Ji-ho get any closer that is stalling this development. Ji-ho hasn’t been given the opportunity to be attentive, or to really show her what a relationship with him would be like. I’m pretty sure we saw Jung-in’s first actual smile during that phone conversation outside the restaurant, so there is a spark here that is reminding her of what it’s like to be a little adventurous.
While Jung-in is the more thrilling story of the three sisters, Seo-in’s is the more compelling. I am so worried about her. She seems tired, and now she has a new project at work to do by herself, with no support? Shi-hoon is nothing but scams in every direction, and she’s going to be dealing with a lot more of his bad behavior moving forward. I just hope that even as Jung-in dives deep into her own drama, she can muster the strength to help Seo-in out, because I feel like she’s going to need it soon.
And then, there’s Ki-seok. Ki-seok, asking if they need to work on their relationship. Ki-seok, with his, “You’ve been overly sensitive towards me, so I bought some vitamins for you to fix you.” He’s both so earnest and so clueless at the same time. He wants to just stay completely oblivious, but there’s no way that he shouldn’t have seen the signs leading to this. But he remains so reactionary in their relationship. After a bad moment, he realizes that maybe he should do more. The vitamin discussion doesn’t go great, and it takes him a beat before he calls and suggests they go out for coffee.
And it’s clear that it’s not because he actually wants to have coffee and spend time with Jung-in, but because he thinks it’s what he’s supposed to do, to have a harmonious relationship. He’s supposed to get married now, and work himself to death, and he doesn’t understand why Jung-in isn’t also along for the ride. I’m glad that he’s starting to ask the hard questions, though Jung-in is too far in denial to actually be honest with him right now, when it might do the least damage. But I have to wonder, if Jung-in had admitted there was someone else, would he have fought for her? And if he did, would he only be doing it because it’s what you’re supposed to do? To save face in front of his friends? As frustrated as I am with him, I think Ki-seok is one of my favorite characters right now. While Jung-in and Ji-ho’s coming actions are going to be super questionable, I think Ki-seok’s motives are going to be the murkiest of all.
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