Coffee Prince: Eleventh Cup
Oh, zee angst! It keels!
(Great acting all around.)
There were fewer songs used this episode, with more empty spaces, which I actually appreciate. I have this odd belief (totally unbased in anything tangible) that really good acting requires less music. That bad or mediocre acting requires extra frills (cuts, effects, music) to elicit emotions from the scene. But in strong, emotional acting, you could have a single long take, with no cuts and no music, and still be compelling. There were a few scenes here that had that spare, raw feeling, which I thought was cool.
SONG OF THE DAY
Oldfish – “같이가자” (let’s go together) [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 11 SUMMARY
The night of their kiss, Eun Chan and Han Gyul have their first giddy new-lovers phone call. She has to forcibly calm herself down before answering, and the conversation starts slowly and awkwardly. But now that Han Gyul has accepted his feelings, he seems much more willing to admit them to her, and says, “I miss you.” Eun Chan thrills at the sound of that, but tries to sound normal as she answers, “We just saw each other, what do you mean…? …me too.”
Eun Chan asks, “Tomorrow… will we be able to laugh together? We won’t fight anymore, and we can talk… right?” He answers yes. Although Han Gyul wants to stay on the line longer, her fluttery heart can’t take too much, and she has to make up an excuse to hang up. Before going to bed, Eun Chan takes out the Lego toy Han Gyul gave her, and tells it, “Now I have to tell him. Right?”
Han Gyul receives a request to meet from the mysterious stranger, Lee Myung Jae. Han Gyul has been told that he used to really like the man when he was young, but admits he can’t really remember him. The man’s comment that Han Gyul must have inherited his stubbornness from his mother leads him to the realization: “Did you… know my biological mother?” The man gives Han Gyul a photo of her.
[Note: The following is explained much later in the episode, but I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the recap (as if that should be a concern) so I’m explaining here. Lee Myung Jae is Han Gyul’s blood father, and his (adoptive) family have kept it secret all these years. They’re worried that Mr. Lee will cause problems even as they understand a father’s natural desire to want to claim his son. The ‘why’ of the matter is not disclosed, but I presume there’s a big reason hidden somewhere.]
Eun Chan arrives for work dressed as a girl, mentally prepared to tell Han Gyul everything. Ha Rim is still angry with her, and accuses her of being cunning — now that everyone’s found out the truth, her dressing as a girl is just a ploy at damage control. He sarcastically congratulates her on such wily thinking.
He sneers at her apology, asking about Han Gyul: “Do you know how much he suffered? That was the first time I’ve ever seen him so broken-down, do you know that?” He accuses her of playing around with people, saying she’s gone too far. Frustratedly: “I can’t even hit you, seriously!” Ha Rim takes a look at her teary eyes and scorns her for using tears to manipulate.
Han Sung arrives home to find Yu Ju packing her things. He asks what she’s doing, and she says she moved up her departure date. He tells her not to go — he’s serious about getting over his feelings for Eun Chan, if she just gives him some time.
Yu Ju: “What should I do while I wait? Pray? ‘Please don’t let him waver any more. Please don’t let this man be drawn further to that girl. Since that girl is in love with his cousin, he’ll have to come back around to me, so please give me the patience to wait that long.’ Should I say that kind of prayer while I wait?”
Yu Ju acknowledges that she did the same (or worse) to Han Sung and he took her back, so he must be wondering why it’s so hard for her to accept this:
“I know I don’t have the right to say this to you. That’s why I have to leave. I don’t want to become a burden to you. Don’t force your feelings because of me. Han Sung, follow your heart, because that’s what I did.”
And I really like this scene, not merely because the acting is so in-the-present, but because you think they’re talking about one thing, but suddenly they’re talking about something else altogether:
Han Sung: “Why don’t you speak honestly and just say it’s because of your work! You don’t need to fake an excuse. Whether my feelings wavered toward that girl or not doesn’t matter to you. Don’t you have another reason? That you’re bent on doing your work, or maybe you’re going back to that guy. Why? Do you feel too guilty to just leave me again? Is that why you’ve blamed this on that girl, like a coward?”
Yu Ju doesn’t say a word, and leaves in tears.
Han Gyul arrives at the cafe and immediately looks for Eun Chan. As she’s dressed in her work clothes, he doesn’t notice anything different, and she tries to work up her courage to tell him the truth. He tells her about meeting the man who knew his mother, and says, restlessly, “On a day like this, I really hate to work. Comfort me.” He describes feeling like a lump of ice is wedged in his chest — heavy and cold.
“Go Eun Chan. Why are we both men? What do you think, should we just run away to America?”
Sensing an opening, Eun Chan tries to speak, but can’t get the words out. Ha Rim interrupts, startling them both. Assuming Han Gyul already knows the truth, Ha Rim wonders to Han Gyul (when Eun Chan isn’t there) how they could’ve been so fooled. Han Gyul can’t believe it, but Eun Chan appears just as Ha Rim is going on about they should have known.
[Side note: I think it’s really freaking cool of Han Gyul that, when Ha Rim first says Eun Chan is a girl, he laughs, “However much I might like that guy, how can you just turn a guy into a girl like that?” This is the day after he’s decided to be happy with (a male) Eun Chan, and doesn’t have a problem saying that in front of everyone — which shows that he really was ready to go for it, and without shame.]
In disbelief, Han Gyul asks, point blank: “Ha Rim says you’re a girl. Are you really?” She can’t look him in the eye, so he asks again, “What, so you really are a girl?” At her continued inability to speak, he demands an answer, and yells at her to say something.
Holding back tears, she nods yes, and Han Gyul walks out. She runs after him, but he drives off.
Han Gyul recalls all the little details that should’ve tipped him off — his initial impression that she looked like a girl, her identification number with a female designation (which he assumed was her error), why she didn’t grow facial hair, her asking how he’d feel if she were a girl…
Worried, Eun Chan calls him, and he demands to know who else knows the truth. Mr. Hong? Sun Ki? Ha Rim? And then, his face darkens when he thinks of Han Sung — “Does he know? Does Yu Ju know too?” Eun Chan’s afraid to say yes, but he barely contains his fury as he demands, “Answer me, you bastard. Does Choi Han Sung know or not!?” Looking sickened, Eun Chan admits he knows.
He shows up at Han Sung’s house and jumps right in: “Why didn’t you tell me Eun Chan was a girl?” Interestingly, Han Gyul still refers to Eun Chan as “that guy”: “Don’t you know how much I agonized because of him? And you still didn’t tell me?” Han Sung says that Han Gyul never asked him — if Han Gyul never brought it up, how could he say anything?
At that, Han Gyul punches him in the face.
Han Gyul: “Who the hell are you? Do you like that guy [Eun Chan]? Is that why you backstabbed me?”
Han Sung: “Why are you so angry? If Go Eun Chan is a girl, isn’t that a good thing for you? If Eun Chan likes you, what’s the problem?”
Han Gyul: “So you knew all along. You knew what was going on between us. And you still didn’t tell me? Han Yu Ju said you’d found another girl. That’s Go Eun Chan, right? The girl you took to the exhibition — was that her? Is that the reason you hid it from me?”
Han Sung: “Eun Chan had her reasons…”
Han Gyul: “What reasons?! If I found out she was a girl, would the sky fall? Would the earth crumble?!”
Han Sung: “You’re right. I’m sorry. I must’ve been thinking whatever was easiest for me. But I didn’t want to make things difficult for her.”
Han Gyul tells Han Sung to give him a straight answer: “When Yu Ju said you’d strayed, who was the woman?” Han Sung declines to answer (“That’s my business. Don’t involve yourself”), so Han Gyul calls Yu Ju:
“Hyung won’t say, so you tell me. The girl he took to the exhibit was Go Eun Chan, right? The girl that made him stray was Go Eun Chan, wasn’t it?!”
Han Sung grabs the phone, and levels with him (with Yu Ju still listening): “Fine. I liked Go Eun Chan. But she wasn’t interested in me. I’ve already gotten over my feelings, all right?”
Han Gyul arrives home to see Eun Chan waiting outside his door. He tries to ignore her, but she has something to say.
“I didn’t mean to deceive you from the start. At first, it was because of money. The Taekwondo school closed, and I had nowhere to work. Then I liked working at Coffee Prince so much, I wanted to keep working there — but if I revealed I was a girl, I thought I’d have to leave. So I couldn’t say anything. I’m really sorry. I tried… I wanted to tell you… but I wanted to spend your remaining time here [before leaving for the US] on good terms. If I told you the truth, I was afraid I wouldn’t ever see you again.”
Han Gyul grabs her suddenly and pushes her against the door. He says, in a pleading tone:
“Say it’s not true. Please, say it’s not true. Eun Chan. I won’t get angry, so tell me the truth, okay? You didn’t lie, right? No matter what, you couldn’t deceive me, isn’t that right? Not just for a day, or two, but for several months… that’s not what happened, is it? Say you’re not a girl… say that you’ve never deceived me… that this can’t happen between two people who love each other… Tell me everything’s a misunderstanding, quickly, SAY IT!”
All she can do is weep and say sorry. Hearing those words, Han Gyul deflates in disbelief, barely whispering:
“You… lied to me? You did? You deceived me?”
He goes inside in a pained daze. Overwhelmed, Eun Chan cries outside his door.
She tells Eun Sae, “Even if I can’t see him anymore… even if he refuses to see me… I want to tell him. That I really, really love him.”
Eun Chan still comes to work every day, to Ha Rim’s ire, and he takes every chance to sarcastically make her feel bad, calling her shameless. It’s kinda mean, but kinda understandable. Ha Rim: “I don’t understand you at all.” Sun Ki steps in to defend Eun Chan: “Then don’t understand. What’s the problem?” Sun Ki’s perspective is that the two like each other so there’s no problem. Ha Rim sees things differently: “Liking each other isn’t everything. She deceived him and destroyed his trust.”
Min Yub apologizes to Han Gyul for his part in keeping the truth secret, offering a rather weak excuse that it was because of Eun Sae. Han Gyul calls him out on his selfishness, asking, “Is your love the only thing that’s important? You act all innocent, but you sure know how to lie and stab someone in the back.”
Mr. Hong casually-but-on-purpose tells Han Gyul how rough Eun Chan’s had it, providing for her family since she was sixteen, after her father died. It was easier not to worry about acting feminine, with so much else to worry about. Han Gyul tells Mr. Hong to fire her; Mr. Hong counters that since Han Gyul hired her, he should do the firing.
Han Sung visits Yu Ju, once more asking if work is truly the only thing that matters to her — can she live happily without him as long as she has her work? What does she really want? He says earnestly that he’s settled his feelings for Eun Chan.
Yu Ju isn’t buying it, though:
“Are you really over her? When I said I was leaving, you asked for time. I thought you’d tell me not to leave because you’d already settled your feelings. But you asked for time to get over her. I know you’re not one for saying empty words, but in that moment, you should have said them. I hoped you’d tell me, ‘I’m over her, she’s nothing to me. Han Yu Ju, I only want you.’ This means you’re not really over her.”
Han Sung asks why she can’t trust him, and Yu Ju tells him to look straight into her eyes and tell her Eun Chan means nothing to him. He can’t.
Yu Ju: “I can change quickly and end things quickly, but you can’t. Your feelings can’t change direction quickly, and once they have, it’s difficult for you to change them back. You’re different from me. That’s why it makes me more frightened and more angry. From the time I met you, until you met Eun Chan, there was nobody but me in your eyes. There were plenty of suitable women around you, but they were nothing to you. You wouldn’t even have a cup of coffee with another woman! When I needed you, you were always by my side, and whatever I did, you’d forgive me and accept me. I was always number one. But now, you’ve given me too many expectations.”
Han Sung: “Nothing’s changed.”
Yu Ju: “No, so much has changed, because I can’t trust you anymore.”
Han Sung says that if she wants to break up, this is the last time. Yu Ju bursts out that she can’t even stand to see him, and Han Sung replies:
“So you really want to break up again? You don’t give me any chances, and decide everything by yourself. What did I do that was so wrong? Both then and now… you sure do break up easily.”
Han Gyul’s mother drops by to make him dinner, and although Han Gyul accepts her presence without suspicion, it seems her real reason for being there is to find out about his meeting with Lee Myung Jae. (I’m not sure whether she’s a nice woman or someone to distrust.)
Han Gyul sinks into quiet thought, then tells her: “I think you’re the only one in the world who has faith in me.”
Mr. Hong drops by to give Han Gyul some roundabout advice. He relates the story of a woman he once loved, a long time ago. She always lied to him about everything — she’d say she was meeting friends but go drinking; or that she was going home but then go dancing. Han Gyul: “You really loved someone like that?”
He asks why Mr. Hong laughs when it should make him angry, and gets the answer: ”Whenever I think of her, I laugh.” He figures the girl must’ve really liked him, though, and lied about those things for fear that he’d think less of her. “How much must she have liked me to have lied for so long?” He explains that he never once fought with her, because whenever he got angry, he would ask himself: “So you’re angry, but can you really live without her?”
Han Gyul gets the point (“So you’re saying if I’m not going to break up with Go Eun Chan, I should let this go?”) but doesn’t seem to be buying it.
Eun Chan looks at her Lego toy while repeating Han Gyul’s words to herself: “Whether you’re a man, or an alien…” Eun Chan tries to tell herself she hates him, but ends up saying, “I miss him… I miss him.”
At work the next day, Han Gyul briefly argues with Sun Ki and notes that everyone seems to be on Eun Chan’s side. She hangs her head and once again apologizes: “I should have told you from the beginning. I didn’t know things would come to this.”
Without sparing her a look, he tells her to pack her things and leave. She grabs his arm, and he flings it off harshly. He tells her it must’ve been fun for her — she got him to hire her, and admit he liked her thinking she was a man.
Han Gyul: “Miss Go Eun Chan, when were you planning on telling me? You must’ve had plenty of opportunities. When I said we should be sworn brothers, didn’t you understand my feelings driving me to say that? Couldn’t you figure out how I felt toward you? Do you know how hard it was for me when we were at the beach, and why I didn’t come to work for days? Did you really not know, you bastard?! Tell me. Did you really not know?”
Eun Chan: “I couldn’t say the words. I didn’t know how I’d act if you got this angry, and I thought I might not be able to see you ever again. I was wrong, truly wrong.”
Han Gyul: “You were only thinking of yourself. You didn’t care about how much you were putting me through. When I said I liked you as a man, when I said let’s go as far as we can go, you knew and still didn’t say anything? Was it fun?”
Eun Chan: “It wasn’t fun at all! I liked you too much, so I couldn’t say it. You said you were going to America in a month… we’d have to separate in the end anyway… So I tried to pretend not to know.”
Han Gyul: “Here I was, even thinking of taking you with me to America, but you were already thinking of sending me away. What was I to you?”
He turns to leave, and Eun Chan says to his turned back: “You said you wouldn’t like me as a girl. You said it was a good thing I was a guy. So what could I do, when I wanted to see you—”
He grabs her and shoves her against the wall, and assaults her in a kiss.
It’s harsh and unsexy — angry, and kinda almost ugly.
Eun Chan shoves him off — and he grabs her forcefully for a second kiss — and she forces him away again —
“The kiss was better when you were a guy. What’s left between us? Was there ever any trust there? I’d abandoned so much in my life just to have you. But you, you calculated everything to make sure you wouldn’t get hurt. Without a care for me.”
He stalks out, leaving Eun Chan in shock.
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