One Spring Night: Episodes 9-10
So many feelings. Our young pharmacist does his best to bury his deep inside, while our librarian starts to realize that holding them back is what has been making her miserable all along. But holding back or moving forward, everyone is consumed with the ache of distance as they try to sort everything out. Except for maybe our pharmacist’s rival Ki-seok. That guy has plenty of angst to contend with as well in this hour, but his is more about avoidance than any realizations.
Sitting in the car, Ji-ho promises Jung-in that he won’t let her see his feelings, just as long as he can still see her. Jung-in scoffs that the idea of him watching her secretly is ridiculous, but as she keeps talking, it sounds like her real issue is that she wants to know that Ji-ho is admiring her. Not just that, but Jung-in asks if she should get Ji-ho’s permission so that she can watch him in secret as well, basically admitting that she’s drawn to him just as much as he is to her.
She calls him selfish, and Ji-ho asks if he should allow himself to be truly selfish. But Jung-in squashes the rising emotions with a firm “no.” Ji-ho rolls out of the car and leans against his car, taking a breath of the night air to calm down.
Meanwhile, Ki-seok is still out with the guys and gives Jung-in a call. She’s his number one on speed dial, but she doesn’t pick up his call.
Ji-ho drives Jung-in home, and as they arrive, Ji-ho says that they should end things there. Jung-in presses him on it, how she’s not going to buy his lie that this is all his fault for falling for her fleeting feelings too fast.
At their home, Jung-in’s parents argue as they get into bed. Dad insists that putting pressure on Jung-in is the right thing to do, while Mom stands firm in her defence of her daughter and her right to make her own decisions.
The next day, Jung-in catches her Mom on the way out of her calligraphy class. While Mom defended her the night before, she still plays cold towards her daughter until Jung-in apologizes for hiding Jae-in’s return. As they sit together in an empty auditorium in the school building, Mom shares that Seo-in also got upset during a recent visit. Jung-in quickly asks what Seo-in had to say, but diverts her eyes when Mom asks if she knows something.
Jung-in asks her mother what kind of guy she should marry. Mom asks about Ki-seok, and says that it’s not easy to sever such a bond with someone you’ve known for so long. Even so, Mom’s words are that you can’t control what the heart wants.
As the week continues, Jung-in and her colleagues continue to prep for the upcoming book event and are working on a theme. Jung-in suddenly blurts, “Unexpectedly You,” and presents it as a way to encourage new participants who may have shied away from the event previously. Jung-in starts to back down on the concept, but Young-joo and Ha-rin love the idea.
While Jung-in is having creative breakthroughs at work, others are having less success. Ji-ho seems more and more consumed by his frustration while he works, and Seo-in turns down the offer for a new show. Her boss can’t understand why she wouldn’t go for it, and Seo-in manages to stay firmly silent as he badgers her with questions.
Meanwhile, Shi-hoon has found his new, larger dental office. He’s excited that all the equipment in the office will come with it, and brushes aside the real estate agent’s efforts to warn him that because this is a new building, the rent will be very costly. Shi-hoon just wants to know when he can sign the lease.
After work, Ki-seok and Jung-in go out for dinner together, and Jung-in asks if Ki-seok has seen Shi-hoon recently. When Ki-seok mentions the loan, Jung-in tells him to stay away from Shi-hoon and find an excuse to deny the loan. She won’t elaborate on why though, so of course Ki-seok mentions that Shi-hoon said that he would support their marriage.
It is definitely the wrong thing to say, and Jung-in gives him a hard stare. Ki-seok presses, and Jung-in asks what his parents think about them getting married. Ki-seok asks if she’ll accept his proposal if he gets that all straightened out, and Jung-in asks if he just doesn’t want to lose this argument. Ki-seok retorts that it’s not like Jung-in lets him win all the time anyway. Jung-in says that she dreads spending time with Ki-seok lately, because it always turns into a fight, and she blames herself for it.
Jung-in waits outside as Ki-seok pays the bill, and Ki-seok walks past her without a glance as he tells her to get in the car. Now Jung-in is angry, and she lets all of the pent-up anger out. She yells at Ki-seok about how she knows his parents don’t approve of her, and how frustrated she is that while Ki-seok knows this, he just ignores how that might make her feel.
Jung-in says she’s never pestered him to get married, and she hoped only that he would understand her and her feelings. Ki-seok tries to comfort Jung-in, but she’s too riled up and walks home by herself.
And now it’s time for a misery montage! The night hasn’t ended well for anyone really, and we see Jung-in curled on her couch, Ki-seok in his car still outside the restaurant, and Ji-ho in his apartment wrestling with his thoughts.
At the pharmacy the next morning, Ji-ho is thrown by a woman asking for hangover medicine. All he can think about is his first encounter with Jung-in, and his fellow pharmacist has to take over while he heads to the back room the gather himself. His older coworker Pharmacist Wang arrives with a bag of clothes for Eun-woo. She asks about the girl Ji-ho is obviously pining over, and he tells her that he ended it, because “he was too good for her.” Pharmacist Wang gives him a playful slap to the shoulder and sends him back out front.
At the school, Jung-in’s dad is busy slashing the budget for books and other “unnecessary” things when Chairman Kwon turns up. The chairman inquires after Jung-in’s library job, and then asks what Jung-in is good at. Dad vaguely boasts that Jung-in is good at a lot of things, but the chairman seems pretty unconvinced.
They take this conversation to lunch, but first Chairman Kwon fields a call from his son, telling Ki-seok to hurry up and get married. Once the chairman ends the call, Dad continues to praise Jung-in and says that she’s very loyal and would never betray anyone. The chairman warns Dad not to trust her just because she’s his daughter.
Meanwhile, Jung-in and Young-joo with coffee in the library stacks, and Jung-in quietly announces, “I’m going to break up with Ki-seok.” Young-joo is stunned that Jung-in’s feelings for the pharmacist are that strong.
Young-joo says that Jung-in won’t be able to break up with Ki-seok, because Ki-seok won’t let her. She says that maybe if there wasn’t another guy, it would just fade away. But with a third-party, it will become about winning and pride. Jung-in says that while she does like Ji-ho, she’s not sure if she has a chance with him either. Young-joo asks her to explain, and Jung-in promises to do so later, with a sigh.
Ji-ho’s parents are busy at their business, though Mom may be more preoccupied with setting Ji-ho up with their single mom neighbor than she is with laundry. The bus arrives with Eun-woo, who asks about when his dad will be around so they can go to the library again. Mom presses about what’s at the library, and Eun-woo admits that there’s a teacher there who knows his dad.
Ji-ho is out for chicken and beer with Hyun-soo, the conversation about dating and work. Hyun-soo brings up how attractive Ki-seok’s girlfriend is again, and then says that he heard they’re getting married, but he doesn’t think Ki-seok actually wants to. Ji-ho’s hackles raise as he gets defensive. “Why are they still together then? And what does that make her?” Hyun-soo doesn’t get why Ji-ho is so interested, and segues on to mention that he can’t get ahold of their friend Young-jae. Ji-ho tells Hyun-soo to leave the guy alone while he studies.
Cut to Young-jae, who is indeed busy
studying eating dinner with Jae-in. He asks Jae-in what she plans to do when she eventually has to find a job, and Jae-in lists her many capabilities, including French, English, and piano.
On the tv overhead, Seo-in’s news program comes on, and Jae-in asks Young-jae what he thinks of the newscaster. She’s immediately sulky when Young-jae says that Seo-in is his ideal type, sophisticated and elegant. Jae-in huffs over to get the bill.
Outside, Young-jae finally checks his phone and sees all the messages from Hyun-soo. Jae-in wants to join him and Ji-ho for drinks, but Young-jae is worried they’ll speculate that they’re more than just friends. Jae-in swears that she’ll profess that she’s there to see Ji-ho, but Young-jae says he’s pretty sure that the guy has fallen hard for someone else already.
So Jae-in goes home instead, and promptly reports this news of a mysterious love interest to Jung-in, who is picking at her late dinner. Jung-in slips up and asks Jae-in why she’s so interested in “Ji-ho shi,” and Jae-in notes the unexpected familiarity. Jung-in diverts the conversation by warning Jae-in to behave, and Jae-in growls over her shoulder that she misses her fearless sister.
Ki-seok meets with Shi-hoon to relay the news that his loan has been denied. Shi-hoon is all smiles, telling Ki-seok that it’s no big deal, he can just afford to do it in cash. Ha. But then Shi-hoon starts back with his intentions to support Ki-seok and Jung-in’s marriage, and it’s clear that the latest confrontation with Jung-in is on his mind as Ki-seok pulls the paperwork back and offers to take another look at it.
After Ki-seok walks Shi-hoon to his car, he receives a text from Jung-in. “We need to talk,” it reads, and Ki-seok curses to himself as he walks back inside. Yeah, need-to-talk texts are never good.
Seo-in arrives at Shi-hoon’s dental office at closing time. The receptionists are on their way out, and Seo-in asks one of the girls to pick up some stomach medicine for her. Once they’re gone, Seo-in heads back to Shi-hoon’s office and throws his mail on the desk in front of him. She tells him to hurry up and take care of his loan, and demands his legal seal so that she can sell the apartment. Shi-hoon rises to strike Seo-in, and she runs for the doors. He pursues her and grabs her, but they’re interrupted by the receptionist returning with Seo-in’s medicine, thank goodness.
The workday is ending for Jung-in as well. She checks her texts and sees that Ki-seok is avoiding the conversation that she wants to have. Young-joo wishes her friend luck. But Jung-in is tired of waiting, and so she calls Ji-ho on her way out. But Ji-ho is busy with laundry at home and doesn’t pick up.
Jung-in heads to his building, seeing the lights on in his apartment. She calls again, but no answer. And so she climbs the stairs of the building, the overhead fluorescents lighting the way as she climbs to Ji-ho’s front door.
Ji-ho comes out to talk to her in the hallway. He asks if something happened, and she asks him if she’s the only one having a hard time with this. She asks if she’s annoying, and Ji-ho gruffly says, “Yes, you are.” He goes on, saying that they should just be strangers to one another, and Jung-in reaches out and silences him, her hand pressed against his mouth.
She starts to cry as she pulls her hand away, and Ji-ho shifts uncomfortably before suggesting that they go get something to eat.
They head to a nearby restaurant and are seated even though it’s closing time. Ji-ho recommends what’s good, but Jung-in notes that he’s not eating. Ji-ho admits that he’s actually already had dinner. Jung-in continues to badger him, asking if she’s a loser and a burden to him, and Ji-ho agrees, though it’s clear there’s no heart in it, only restraint.
Jung-in asks if the coffee shop they went to previously is still open, and Ji-ho asks, “Aren’t you going home?” Jung-in gives him a sideways look as she asks if she can stay at his place if the answer is no.
They sit across from one another at the coffee shop now. Jung-in persists with her line of questions and Ji-ho holds his front, asking why Jung-in can’t understand that this entire evening is torture for him. Jung-in asks why she should care. But it seems more flirty than anything else, and when Ji-ho calls her mean, she says that he’ll be seeing it a lot more now that her true troublemaker self has resurfaced. Ji-ho asks her to please help him be strong and not selfish, and when Jung-in asks why, he answers that she’s too good for him, which gives her pause.
In the end, Ji-ho drives Jung-in home. As she walks away, Ji-ho can’t help but watch her. Then he folds over on his car, bracing himself against his emotions. Just at that moment though, Jae-in and Young-jae arrive and ask what Ji-ho is doing in the neighborhood.
Jung-in is so distracted inside, she misses the elevator and has to call for it again. While she waits, Jae-in catches up and mentions that she saw Ji-ho outside and wanted to invite Young-jae in, but she knew her sister wouldn’t like it. Jung-in says that she’s not so uptight, and so Jae-in skips off to invite both men up for a drink.
This sends Jung-in racing to her apartment, desperate to clean and hide away things before everyone gets upstairs. She picks up the framed picture of her and Ki-seok, and then flips it over, ha. Jae-in leads the guys upstairs, but isn’t impressed with Jung-in’s offer of tea. It seems that Jung-in polished off all the booze in the house, so Jae-in grabs Young-jae and they head out to get more alcohol, leaving Ji-ho and Jung-in alone.
The two can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but their smiles fade slowly as Jung-in’s phone begins to buzz on the table. It’s clear that it must be Ki-seok, and Jung-in answers it, her eyes not straying from Ji-ho.
Ki-seok asks what she wanted to talk about. “Let’s break up,” she says, and Ji-ho looks at her, his eyes wide.
The buzz of a vibrating phone ringing phone has never been so ominous. I was filled simultaneously with so much hope and dread, and I was so pleased to see that rather than letting it kill the revived mood, Jung-in moved forward and stuck to her plan. We’ve been hearing so much about the fearless Jung-in who doesn’t back down from what she wants. And I think we’ve seen the first real move towards that true self right here.
Or perhaps her fight with Ki-seok outside the restaurant was the first hint that a big change was brewing for Jung-in. Her go-to so far has been the meaningful stare, so I was startled to see her yelling so emotionally in the street. I think Ki-seok was too, because he moved immediately to comfort rather than to fight back. But was Jung-in’s explosion at Ki-seok rooted in real feelings, or is this an excuse, a front to cover up the other things? I’ve kind of believed that Jung-in didn’t really care about what Ki-seok’s parents thought of her, but perhaps that is part of the mask she’s been wearing all this time, and we’re seeing feelings that have been festering for years. It’s interesting because honestly, I’m not sure that I see Chairman Kwon as opposed to Jung-in as a daughter-in-law. He doesn’t necessarily see it as advantageous and would probably be a terribly condescending in-law, but really I just get the impression that the guy just wants his son married.
It makes you wonder what Jung-in found appealing in a boring life for so long. Her sister calls her fearless, her mother tells stories of hunger strikes. It’s seeming more and more like Jung-in’s “I don’t like adventure” line is a lie. So how did she get here? Did it happen naturally, some sort of life entrophy that got her here? Did something happen when she and Ki-seok met, that made her want to settle into dullness?
I can’t help but think about Ki-seok’s dad’s comment, about how Ki-seok quit music when he met Jung-in. It feels like this relationship has sucked the creativity right out of the pair, possibly from the very start. Because Jung-in isn’t just experiencing changes in her romantic feelings. She’s also experiencing a creative revival at work, and her friends are noticing the positive changes in her as well. It’s seeming more and more like these two, individually, are not bland or boring at all. But their union has somehow fostered this dull, sepia existence for them.
And oh Ki-seok, actively avoiding what he knows is coming. I think he was hoping that Jung-in would just be too tired to break up with him if he called late enough in the evening. I appreciate though that while Ki-seok won’t admit himself that he doesn’t want to get married, at least his friends recognize it. They only see the surface of things, but Ki-seok can’t even get himself to that point quite yet.
On to other disintegrating relationships, I’m so proud of Seo-in in this episode. Seo-in wore battle armor to her confrontation with Shi-hoon, and I loved it. She’s ususally dressed in soft whites and pastels for work, so I screamed in joy when I saw her in that dark power suit at the dental office. And while it didn’t stop Shi-hoon’s bad behavior, because honestly nothing short of prison is going to stop this jerk, it still gave Seo-in the courage to face him anyway.
I’m also glad that Seo-in stood up for herself and didn’t take the new job assignment. Society may see this as weakness, as letting things get in her way. But I see it as her standing up to the world’s expectations, and recognizing that success and happiness aren’t just measured in workplace ascension. It’s not that Seo-in doesn’t want this show. It’s that she knows that she has too much on her plate already, and she knows that she needs to put her safety first.
And then there’s Jae-in. I’ve been thinking about Jae-in for a while, probably because I know so many Jae-in’s. They’re talented and friendly with so many people, and that puts people at ease. But I’m worried that Jae-in might have a hard time recognizing the value she has if she isn’t in a relationship. She had a long list of talents to tell Young-jae about, but then she immediately focused the conversation on her desirability, and felt like she was seen as less than her upstanding sister. It feels like as much as she is a free spirit, she might need the attention from Young-jae too much. We’ll have to wait and see how far we take Jae-in’s story, but I think the happiest ending might be for Jae-in to find a fulfilling job and not be so concerned with the men in her life and their validation.
The beginning of the episode starts with Ji-ho’s promise that he won’t let Jung-in see him watching her, and he ultimately holds that promise up. He stays strong against all of her efforts… right up until she turns her back on him to go inside her building. And then it’s here, where Ji-ho’s face softens as he watches her, letting out just a little bit of his emotions. He can’t help indulge in them, but he’s determined not to interfere with Jung-in’s life.
Thankfully, it’s officially too late for that. Jung-in has made her first bold move, and I can only assume that Ki-seok’s response will be to drive over to Jung-in’s apartment as quickly as he can so that they can talk in person. Jae-in and Young-jae will be totally oblivious and eagerly welcome Ki-seok in and then… I can only imagine. I really have no clue whether we’ll introduce Ji-ho as a known rival so soon, or if we’ll let it build slowly. But eventually we’re going to get a really intense game of basketball, right?
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