Triple: Episode 2
As I said in the Episode 1 recap, Triple is very cute. It’s got a very similar style and sensibility to Coffee Prince, so if you’re looking for something along those lines, you’re in luck. The music is again a standout feature, both well-chosen and diverse (with a mix of Korean indie and Western tracks).
I also find most, if not all, of the characters refreshing and with their own charm. I’m sure favorites will emerge, but for now mine are in a constant flux between the three male leads. I’m sure that will surprise no one.
SONG OF THE DAY
검정치마 (The Black Skirts) – “Antifreeze” [ Download ]
EPISODE 2: “Kiss and Cry Zone”
Hwal arrives at the rink just as Haru takes to the ice for her routine. The other guys are already there, although it takes Hae-yoon a moment to recognize the newly slimmed Haru as the same chubby girl he ran into previously. Both he and Hyun-tae (who brings an overstuffed teddy bear as a gift) agree that Haru is cute and cheer for her enthusiastically.
Haru carries herself well and moves gracefully, but she falls on her first jump… and her second… and then again. The crowd feels bad for her, but she gets up after each miss and keeps going. When she reaches back for her last jump, everyone holds their breath… and she lands it! From the looks of it, it’s a rather difficult triple lutz, too.
She ends her routine with a happy flourish, which deflates when she soon finds out that she didn’t pass the test (I presume to advance to the next level). In fact, nobody did at this meet, which is a source of irritation for the other skating moms in the arena who push their little girls aggressively.
Hyun-tae looks down at the front of the rink and spies Su-in there, talking with the other coach. Their encounter at the vending machines was brief, but he already knows he’s interested in her and tries to get her attention.
However, Su-in looks up past Hyun-tae and fixates on someone just beyond him. The half-hidden face looks familiar… but Hwal spots Su-in and abruptly turns away before she can get a clear look at his face.
Hae-yoon and Hyun-tae congratulate Haru afterward, immediately taking to her with the affection of playful older brothers. They know that her (ex-step-)brother is angry with her for her sudden arrival, so they step aside when Hwal shows up with a stony expression. He grabs Haru and pulls her away, intending on delivering her immediately to the bus/train station to return home.
Hae-yoon feels particularly responsible, since he was the one who joked that she should come and assured her that Hwal wanted her to live with him. He steps in and keeps them from leaving, and urges Hwal to cut her some slack. Hyun-tae agrees, and both friends try to convince an unbudging Hwal to let Haru stay.
Hwal receives a phone call from Haru’s father, and he tells the older man curtly that he is completely unconnected to Haru legally or biologically, and therefore has no desire to house her. Haru realizes this was the result of a mix-up, but Hwal’s rejection isn’t enough to turn her away. She desperately wants this chance to pursue her dream, so she feigns a stomachache (from hunger) to stall. Hyun-tae and Hae-yoon approve of this tactic and encourage her.
When Hwal is called away to an important work meeting, the friends promise to buy her lunch, then send her off themselves. Reluctantly, Hwal leaves her in their care, while Hae-yoon assures him repeatedly that he can be trusted. And then he moves Haru into the house. LOL! He and Hyun-tae help move her things inside, then head out while Haru makes herself at home.
Haru spends all day putting her old room to rights, then turns her attention to the household laundry and cooking. When the guys come home that night, Hwal is unmoved by her helpfulness, while the other two guys are impressed and pleased. Since they can’t kick her out at night, Hae-yoon urges Hwal to let her sleep (the guys are clearly angling to draw out her visit, so as to increase Haru’s chances of staying). It’s also hilarious how Hyun-tae lies down next to Haru jokingly, but not in a skeevy way — he calls her a puppy.
Thinking to earn her keep by being useful, Haru gets up early to make the guys breakfast. Once again, Hae-yoon and Hyun-tae love this, while Hwal remains grumpy. He tells the guys that this doesn’t change anything, and that he’s going to take Haru back to the station later.
The guys wonder how to get Hwal to change his mind, and Hyun-tae — eager for an excuse to reconnect with Su-in — offers the idea that if they get Haru a skating coach, it’ll be harder for Hwal to uproot her and send her home. Hyun-tae volunteers to take care of that task.
Meanwhile, this is an extremely short bit but this guy will surely be more important later, so I’ll just point out that Haru has her first encounter with actor Song Joong-ki on her way inside the ice rink. We don’t yet know his name, but it’s Ji Poong-ho.
He is extremely popular among younger girl students, and is a short-track speed skater (which is the role vacated by Jung Il-woo when the latter left to do Return of Iljimae. It’s too bad Jung Il-woo couldn’t come back to Triple after it was pushed back, but I think his grown-up image for Iljimae matured him several years anyway, so Song Joong-ki seems to be a good fit). Poong-ho is immediately taken with Haru, but she is more concerned with retrieving her fallen glove and barely registers his presence.
Haru ignores Poong-ho because she’s much more interested in getting inside to greet the coach she’d met previously, Coach Shin (actress Park So-hyun). Haru announces that she’s here to train for good and asks if she can train with her, and also cheerfully greets Yoon Hye-jin (the snotty skater from Episode 1). Hye-jin is the same as before (patronizing, mocking), but good-natured Haru doesn’t care and is just excited to get her skating dreams off the ground.
Eager for an excuse to get in contact with Su-in, Hyun-tae calls her to propose that Su-in coach an up-and-coming young skater. Su-in has no intention of staying in Korea for long, so she turns him down flat. She’s only here for a short stay before returning to Toronto.
Hyun-tae isn’t deterred by her swift refusal, and follows her to the skating rink, where she drops by to visit Coach Shin (the two appear to be good friends). Hyun-tae spots Haru inside, and takes the opportunity to introduce Haru and Su-in before he’s called away to work. (It is adorable how he answers the phone and tries to brush off the call, saying, “Why would I go in to work on a Saturday? Wait, it’s Friday?”)
Hae-yoon and Hwal are both at the office, but when Hae-yoon hears that Sang-hee’s having trouble at a drinking meeting with a work associate, he’s much more bothered than usual. Ever since the night they spent together, Hae-yoon has been acting more like a boyfriend and less like a mere co-worker, and this is an example of his jealousy coming to the surface. Hwal figures Sang-hee will be fine, but Hae-yoon rushes out to collect her in a fit of worry.
Once he actually picks her up, the annoyance takes over. It strikes me that Hae-yoon is attracted to Sang-hee for the same reasons he tries not to be, because she’s so free-spirited and carefree that he finds it irritating. It’s probably partly due to that tendency of a man with a traditional bent believing (in theory) that women should be free to do what they want, but not actually liking it when HIS woman is too free. In this case, it’s Sang-hee’s lack of shame and drunkenness that turns him off.
But if that’s being a little hard on Hae-yoon, there’s also another side to Hae-yoon’s exasperation, which is because he isn’t happy with Sang-hee’s dismissal of him after their night together. (She’d told him there’s no need to feel “responsible” for sleeping with her, as though freeing him of any burden to her, but that isn’t what he wants.) She’s flirty with him in an outrageous way, which upsets him. He demands, “Are you trying to seduce me?”
Sang-hee wonders, “Why would I do that?” The answer sours his mood further, and he mutters for her to forget it. As he turns to leave, Sang-hee calls him back and asks, “If I told you to take responsibility for sleeping with me, would you like it?”
Hae-yoon doesn’t respond to that, but it’s clear that yes, he would like it. Just like that, his bad mood clears.
Su-in asks to meet Hwal, her happiness mixing with fear of facing him. A flashback shows us where things went wrong with them in a scene from their married life, when they had gone out to dinner together.
Hwal had been upset with Su-in for ditching him to meet up with her ex-boyfriend, but he’d been more irritated than furious. Su-in had kept her head bowed and repeatedly apologized, and although he’d been annoyed with her, Su-in’s level of guilt was disproportionate to her wrongdoing. He’d quipped in response, “What, it’s not like you slept with him.”
She hadn’t responded, and Hwal had looked at her sharply, reading the truth on her face. That signaled the end of their marriage, although Su-in had tried to beg for forgiveness and keep him from leaving. In the end, he left their home in Canada and returned to Korea, after which he had cut off contact.
Now in the present, Su-in meets with Hwal and apologizes again, saying she regrets everything: “I’m sorry for making you angry.” Hwal answers simply, “You did it because you wanted to.” Su-in tries to convince him that the situation wasn’t like that, and asks, “Can’t you believe that I love you?”
Feeling that he’s not able to face Su-in just yet, Hwal tells her that he’ll call her later when he’s ready emotionally, indicating that this is not the right time to talk about their past. When Su-in asks him, “Didn’t you miss me?” he pauses, but walks away without responding.
Therefore, Hwal comes home in a bad mood, still determined to send Haru away. She plucks up the courage to plead her case, but his bad mood makes him act colder than he perhaps intends to, and Haru finally lets her bravado fall and gives in to tears.
Haru: “I know everything. You think of how it would be if my mom didn’t marry your dad, right? If I didn’t skate, if I didn’t ask them to take me to the rink that day. I know, they might not have died then. That’s why I’m so sorry to you, but I don’t have anywhere to go, and you’re the only person I have. Just for one year. I don’t want to go back without even trying to skate properly. I want to skate so badly. Please, oppa.”
She runs out of the room sobbing, and her speech has Hwal feeling a little regretful — I think he probably hadn’t realized Haru knew this, if he was even aware of that himself.
By the next day, however, Haru is back to her normal upbeat self, and sets about cleaning the entire house. The fire she carefully sets in the yard starts to travel when the wind blows the burning newspapers up against the shed while Haru cleans the windows with her back turned. Meanwhile, Hwal is inside the shed, meticulously working on a shipbuilding project, and is likewise unaware that his curtains have caught on fire.
It’s only when Hae-yoon drives up and sees the blaze that they realize what’s going on, and Haru runs to douse the fire with water from the garden hose.
Hae-yoon tries to calm his friend down, but Hwal is too angry and grabs Haru’s bags and drags her toward the car, ready to send her back home immediately.
It’s a good thing for her that Hwal gets an urgent work phone call at that moment, which sends him and Hae-yoon rushing into the office to deal with the catastrophe.
Another commercial has come out that copies their recently shot ad exactly, even using the same images and copy. This is a huge deal — they’ve just spent a lot of money and time making their ad — and their douchey boss, Chief Kim, castigates them for their careless mistake.
As the one in charge of this account, Hwal bows his head penitently and swallows his pride to apologize, but Hae-yoon takes issue with Kim’s unfair and ungracious rebukes, and storms out angrily. Hwal, on the other hand, remains meek and kneels for forgiveness — a gesture that is so unexpected that it renders the older man speechless.
Hwal realizes that this isn’t a mere coincidence, and confronts his former boss (the man who resigned in Episode 1). The older man is unapologetic, saying that it’s competitive in the ad world and this is what the business is like. He again offers Hwal a position at his new firm, but Hwal stares at him with new eyes, disillusioned to see this man whom he’d respected as he truly is.
Hwal wonders, “Why did you turn out this way?” All the ex-boss says is, “Why, you wanna hit me?”
It’s a long, pensive drive back. Hwal ignores a phone call from Su-in as he thinks things over, so it’s a surprise when he arrives unexpectedly outside her place.
Su-in hadn’t dared hope that he’d come see her, and sees his gesture in a hopeful light. He lifts a hand to her cheek, and she hugs him. But then he pushes her away, and her hope turns into nervousness.
In a quiet voice, he says, “Go back to Canada. I’m not okay. I’m having trouble because of you. I can’t decide anything. Let’s live a little farther apart.”
She asks him not to push her away, saying, “I was wrong. I know I was wrong. Can’t you give me one chance?”
Hwal just hands her a packet of medicine and tells her, “Don’t get sick.” (I’m not sure if she has an illness or if this is has another meaning. We haven’t had any other signs that she’s ill, so we’ll have to wait and see.) He drives off again, leaving her watching sadly.
Haru sees Hwal’s car parked outside, and knocks on his window to ask him one more time to change his mind. Her wording is similar to Su-in’s in the previous scene, as she admits she was wrong and asks for another chance. (Hwal notes the similarity, although at this point he’s tired of being angry and reacts with exasperation rather than anger.)
Getting no response from him, Haru says glumly that she wishes he’d tell her what to do, so she could do it, and goes back into the house.
In the morning, she has decided to give up on Hwal, figuring there’s no way to change his mind, and tells Hae-yoon that she’s going to move out. She’ll take a rented room instead, even if her father won’t like it. Hae-yoon doesn’t like it, either, for that matter, saying with brotherly concern that that’s not the right solution. However, Haru answers that she can’t give up skating without giving it a proper try, so she has to stay in Seoul.
Therefore, when Hwal walks in, Hae-yoon tells him disapprovingly of Haru’s plans, wanting Hwal to change his mind. (In retaliation, Hwal tells him to mind his own business and dumps his milk into Hae-yoon’s soup. Heh.)
When Hwal shows up outside school to pick Haru up, she eyes the car with suspicion, thinking he’s probably taking her to the station. Not seeing her luggage, she gets in the car, though she remains wary.
Hwal asks about her plan to rent a room, pointing out that it’s a bad idea and that she has no money to pay for it. Haru counters that she has money saved from skating lessons, and tells him not to worry because she won’t ask him for money.
Hwal replies, “You don’t have to cook or clean or do the laundry, so don’t overdo it. If you cause one more accident, then I’m really going to kick you out.”
It takes a moment for his words to sink in, then Haru realizes he’s letting her stay — just for one year, he reminds her — and thanks him ecstatically.
She practically flies out of the car when Hwal drops her off at the skating rink, and bounds up the stairs, where she greets Su-in. The latter has just done a double take to see Haru leaving Hwal’s car, and asks who dropped her off. Su-in learns that Haru is living with her brother (whom she describes as “my biological brother” rather than ex-stepbrother).
This gives Su-in an idea — and an opportunity to gain more time to smooth out her rough patch with Hwal. Making the decision quickly, Su-in enters the rink and calls Haru over to her.
All this while, Su-in has intended to return to Canada immediately, especially after her failed reconciliation. Therefore, she has turned down requests to coach young skaters, including a request from Hye-jin’s mother. Now she asks Haru, “Do you really want to train with me?” Haru nods excitedly, “Yes!”
Su-in turns to Hye-jin’s pushy mother and offers to take Hye-jin on, too — on the condition that she teaches the two girls together. Hye-jin balks while Haru happily accepts the condition, but this is too great of an opportunity to pass up, so Hye-jin’s mother hurriedly accepts.
Watching Haru skate, Su-in muses to herself, “You’ll be the one to save me.”
A couple things happen at the ad office, the first of which is a senior director taking Sang-hee to task for her ungainly behavior. She scolds Sang-hee for acting too wildly and giving women a bad name, and tells her to look elsewhere for a job. The criticism is partly understandable (it’s true Sang-hee doesn’t do much work) but mostly out of line, so Sang-hee complies and prepares her resignation letter — written a bit sarcastically in handwriting with hearts drawn on the paper.
Second, the pushy Chief Kim accepts Hwal’s apology for the ad mishap, but also takes advantage of this situation to demand that Hwal arrange for a particular model to come out drinking with them. Hwal does his best to contact the model’s people, but can’t get through in time to arrange the drinking engagement, so he shows up to the bar that night alone. Chief Kim is miffed, having expected grand treatment.
Hwal has had enough of office politics and chastises his boss, saying he’s not going to just sit back and take this anymore. He points out that Chief Kim has a wife, and tells him to get his act together. Hwal stalks out of the bar knowing he’s probably lost his job (or suffered a grave career setback), but at least he’s feeling freed from one burden.
Hwal calls Hae-yoon to announce: “Let’s leave the company and start one ourselves. Let’s go independent.”
Meanwhile, Hae-yoon and Sang-hee take another step toward coupledom… and while the episode wraps up, we have a montage of our characters as Haru’s voiceover ties the events into the episode’s theme of “kiss and cry,” which is the nickname given to the area where skaters await their scores:
Haru (voiceover): “From here, we head toward the kiss and cry zone. How far away is that? Do we just begin the journey like this? What’s it like inside that area? You’ll probably either let loose with kisses because you’re thrilled to death, or burst into tears with sadness.”
The girls train with Su-in, Hwal drives on. His expression takes on relief and excitement (and a little bit of that trembling fear he so eloquently described in his Episode 1 presentation)…
Haru (voiceover): “But you keep going. The kiss or cry zone may be scary, but first you have to step inside. Kiss or cry, aja!”
I’m a little surprised that they actually made Su-in into a cheater. Whatever you feel about cheaters in real life, I kind of think from a television standpoint that once a character crosses that line, it’s really difficult to get the audience on his/her side. Even if Su-in had a really good explanation, she slept with a man while married to another, so it’s rather difficult to forgive her as a character (not to mention for Hwal to forgive her).
Then again, I think it helps to know that she doesn’t appear to be heading for a Hwal reunion, which may mitigate the blow. If Hwal has such a hard time forgiving her, it would be difficult to bring them back together, but if her new love interest accepts her as is, perhaps it doesn’t quite meet with the same narrative difficulties.
Also, correction regarding the friends’ jobs: The three are the same age, but it’s Hae-yoon (Lee Seon-kyun) who is the most senior position at the ad firm, although they all talk to each other as though they’re on the same level. They’re old friends, and Hwal explains that they don’t treat Hae-yoon like the senior because the only reason he got ahead of them career-wise is because he was exempt from army duty. Presumably they’d be at similar levels if Hwal and Hyun-tae hadn’t served. (I’d initially thought Hwal was the leader because he’s put in charge of the particular project; he’s an account exec, while Hae-yoon is creative director.) But this is probably a moot point since they’ll be striking out on their own.
Which, by the way, is a plot point I really enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised by. I had assumed we’d be seeing them navigating their jobs at their current firm, but if they all split off into an independent firm, this opens things up to a lot more possibility, and turns our successful ad execs into struggling underdogs.
(Yes, I realize this puts our setup firmly into Coffee Prince territory. I DON’T CARE! That’s cool with me because the nature of the business is a pretty far cry from a coffee house, and while this allows some of the same themes to emerge — getting a business off the ground, marketing themselves, teamwork — the specifics are pretty different. Also, no pseudohomoerotic tensions. Also, figure skating. I’m enjoying this drama enough that I just want more of our guys, more story, more music, moar moar moar.)
- Triple: Episode 1
- Triple press conference
- Forget Partner, let’s look at Triple
- Half of Triple’s ad team
- Newest addition to Triple completes main cast
- First stills from Triple
- Lee Hana added to Triple
- Kang Ji-hwan drops Triple, Lee Jung-jae steps in
- Triple to follow Cinderella Man
- Min Hyo-rin takes to the ice