Trot Lovers: Episode 6
Chun-hee begins her ascent as a popular and beloved trot singer, while Soo-in looks into the face of what her future may be: namely, becoming as conniving as her mother in order to survive. Everyone seems to have some mommy issues, though — the memories of her mother cause Chun-hee to bring hope and healing to another, while Joon-hyun is reminded that sometimes blood relatives aren’t as reliable as the misfit adopted family he’s found himself a part of. And Geon-woo, well, we’ll just assume his mother is the part of the reason he remains so perfectly adorable and quirky.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
After Joon-hyun rushes to the hospital to check on Chun-hee, he stops short at the sight of Geon-woo tending to her. Soo-in follows him in, and is also not at all happy to see Geon-woo. She quietly (and without notice) leaves in a huff, but Joon-hyun quickly takes his place next to Byul, who reminds him that the only reason Geon-woo took Chun-hee to the hospital was because he didn’t answer his phone.
When the nurse asks for Chun-hee’s guardian, both Joon-hee and Geon-woo leap up. But it’s Geon-woo the nurse wants, and Byul pulls down the sputtering Joon-hyun (“But I’m Choi Chun-hee’s manager, I mean, producer!”), reminding him that Geon-woo’s the president of the company. The difference between the men is further highlighted when Geon-woo expresses his relief that the doctors found nothing wrong with Chun-hee, whereas Joon-hyun chides her for making them worry over nothing.
Geon-woo gives the two Choi sisters a ride home (an invitation that Joon-hyun was purposefully excluded from, ha!), but because Byul is fast asleep, Geon-woo volunteers to carry her into the house. From the cheeky little smile on Byul’s face as she looks at her sister (before she quickly pretends to be sleeping again), it looks like we’ve got a pint-sized matchmaker on our hands.
Begging him to wait a few minutes “because she needs to clean up a mess,” Chun-hee hurries past him into the house. The “mess” she needs to clean up is Joon-hyun and his things, and she ignores his protests as she shoves him into a wardrobe. From his hidden vantage point, he watches (and pouts) as Geon-woo tucks Byul into bed.
Over a glass of water (where Geon-woo uses Joon-hyun’s specially selected cup), he reassures Chun-hee that no matter what the result was in the singing competition, she did really well. The audience fell for her while she was onstage — and he did, too. Swoon.
Attempts at further conversation are halted by the constant interruption of text messages from Joon-hyun, who is spying on them from the bedroom. Geon-woo is amused at how popular she is, but Chun-hee dismisses the messages as just spam. Although she at least takes seriously Joon-hyun’s complaint that Geon-woo is using his cup, and she goes to the cupboard to get a new glass.
As she’s reaching for one, the cupboard door starts to fall, and Geon-woo leans in as her ever-present savior to keep it from falling on her (and he gets his own epic sweeping music of heroism).
Joon-hyun is ready to barge on out there and break up the moment between them, but a very-much awake Byul drags him back into the bedroom and blocks the door. She thinks Geon-woo and her sister look cute together, and if he sees Joon-hyun there, he might get the wrong idea. He’s stopped short when she tells that since he’s family now, he should want to play along with Byul’s matchmaking scheme.
After Chun-hee sees Geon-woo off (and his father quickly does a 180 back into his own house when he realizes his son is right outside), she returns to find Joon-hyun noisily trying to fix the broken cupboard (which he only seems to make worse). She thinks his petty complaints about Geon-woo are really due to him being disappointed that she didn’t win the competition.
He seems genuinely taken aback that she would think that way (although considering how he’s treated her before, you can’t really blame her). Reassuring her that he’s not disappointed in her, he adds that he’s convinced that director and PD of the program must have somehow rigged it, because by rights she should have won.
She’s not concerned about winning though — she’s just thankful that she got a chance to appear on television and send out a message to her father. Who did get a chance to watch it, as he stands enthralled in front of a small restaurant television, listening to his daughter sing and tearing up at her message to him.
As Soo-in and her mother primp for a celebratory dinner with the director and PD from Survivor Immortal Classics, Yang Joo-hee reminds her daughter to take care of her vocal cords and make sure they heal quickly. After all, that “newbie upstart” would have won if she and Director Wang hadn’t intervened.
Soo-in, already reeling after hearing on the news that the songwriter preferred Chun-hee’s version, is stunned to discover that her win wasn’t legitimate. Angrily, she tells her mother that she could have won on her own talent, without interference. Yang Joo-hee just sighs and says it doesn’t matter because she was supposed to win anyway, so Soo-in is getting worked up over nothing.
But Soo-in decides to rebel, and doesn’t go to the celebratory dinner. Instead, she’s playing hooky at Lotte World, because she was never allowed to go to the amusement park when she was a child. She isn’t prepared for people to recognize her, though, and as she hides out on a ride to avoid all the camera phones, she calls Geon-woo for help.
Of course he comes to dramatically save her, because he is our knight in shining armor. Or in a cute headband, as Soo-in convinces him to stay and play with her. Despite how cool he acts, he’s soon having just as much as she is as the play around on all the rides and eat junk food. (And maybe about to lose some of that junk food on a particularly spiny ride. Urp.)
As they leave the amusement park, Soo-in asks if he knew that her mother rigged the win. But he says that this is the first he’s heard of it. In order to cover up her embarrassment, he reassures her that everyone said her performance was flawless — her mother and Director Wang just overreacted. She marvels at how even difficult problems seem easy when he’s around.
When he drives her home later, she offers to take him dinner to thank him for his kindness during the interview, when he said he liked her honest answers. It was the first time in her life she’d ever been praised for something that wasn’t singing. He continues to praise her for growing up so well despite her strict mother. Latching onto this, she asks how he thinks she is “as a woman,” but her delight at his answer fades when she realizes he’s talking in generalities.
They arrive at the restaurant for dinner, and surprise, surprise — Chun-hee and Joon-hyun are also there, bickering (of course) as Chun-hee hungrily stuffs her face with noodles. Geon-woo is delighted to see them. Soo-in and Joon-hyun, not so much, but neither protest when Geon-woo decides the two couples should eat together.
Geon-woo devotes most of his attention to Chun-hee, and Joon-hyun gets a well-earned kick under the table just he’s about to blurt out that he fixed the cabinet because he lives with Chun-hee. Soo-in just looks miserable.
Afterwards, Geon-woo hands over the headband Soo-in bought him at the amusement park, telling Chun-hee to give it to Byul. Soo-in looks genuinely hurt that he would give away her gift (and memory of their “date”) so easily. But Chun-hee thinks it’s pretty, and puts it on just to annoy Joon-hyun. The sassy little head-bobble as she walks away from him is just so perfect.
At home, Chun-hee and Joon-hyun continue their sibling-like squabbling as she tends to a burn from her spilled noodle broth. He points out how she went from gulping down mouthful after mouthful of noodles to suddenly discreetly slurping them as soon as Geon-woo arrived. “Do you maybe… like him?”
Chun-hee thinks he’s talking nonsense, and Joon-hyun tries to convince her that Geon-woo looks like a psychopath, with his shifty eyes. (Pfft — seems like someone must have watched You Who Came From the Stars!)
The next morning, Geon-woo overhears them discussing Chun-hee’s inaugural fan-club meeting (thanks to the efforts of our favorite loan-shark ahjussis) and wonders why they didn’t say anything to him before. To be fair, they only found out about last night themselves, but even so, Joon-hyun scoffs, because it’s not like the company would pay for it. But Geon-woo’s like, “Of course we will, oh, and can I come, too?”
The loan-shark ahjussis have decorated Coach Bang’s restaurant with balloons and are cheerfully greeting everyone who arrives. Aw, it looks like Tae-song is a fan! He talks himself out of walking in, though, afraid that Joon-hyun would be there and how he would react to seeing his “traitor” ex-manager again.
But Lee Chul-man spots him and escorts him in — and he looks uncertain about staying until Coach Bang cheerfully greets him (calling him a “young one,” ha!). He’s immediately smitten.
Guitar chords suddenly ring out, and Joon-hyun marches out, only to surprise everyone when Chun-hee pops out from where she was hiding behind him. She cheerfully greets her newly established fan club (comprised primarily of ahjussis and ahsjummas), and Tae-song looks like a nervous chicken as he tries to keep Joon-hyun from spotting him.
As Geon-woo’s about to head out for the fan-club meeting, he gets a call from Soo-in, saying that she thinks someone has broken into her house. He rushes over to find her huddled in a corner of her room, her belongings strewn about the room.
Relieved to see him, she throws her arms around him and tells him she doesn’t know what happened, but people have been leaving her scary messages online since they think the singing contest was rigged. She cries and tells him she’s so scared, she can’t even sing. But when he pulls out his phone to call the police, the look on her face seems to imply that wasn’t the response she wanted. She totally made it up, didn’t she?
Chun-hee cheerfully says goodbye to her new official fans, and Joon-hyun can’t help but tease her about the fact Geon-woo never showed up. He spots Tae-song (because he’s pretty much the last person in the restaurant, and pretty hard to miss), and when Tae-song begs for forgiveness, Joon-hyun knocks him down and angrily asks the “traitorous bastard” to get out of his sight.
As Geon-woo tucks the exhausted Soo-in into bed, he glances at his watch, aware of how late he is to Chun-hee’s fan-club meeting. But Soo-in grabs his wrist, weakly asking if he will stay just a little longer. Just then her mother shows up with her ever-perfect timing, shocked at the disarray and the fact that anti-fans came to the house.
Geon-woo leaves her with her mother, and hurries over to the restaurant. Chun-hee and Joon-hyun are busy taking down the fan-club banner when he shows up, apologizing for being so late. Annoyed, Joon-hyun throws down his side of the banner, which Geon-woo catches with a majestic sweep of his arm so it doesn’t land in her face. Because he’s destined to save her, no matter what, it seems.
She offers to make him a cup of coffee, but before he goes inside, Joon-hyun rants at him for arriving so late. Geon-woo asks if Joon-hyun likes Chun-hee, which only causes him to sputter that Geon-woo is crazy to even think that. Geon-woo: “If you don’t then it’s better for me.” Which is an answer that makes Joon-hyun even more sputtery.
Chun-hee’s super cute as she happily makes Geon-woo his cup of coffee, even stopping to check her reflection in the microwave glass. Coach Bang seems to approve of Geon-woo’s good looks, as she hurries over to get an introduction.
Later, Geon-woo meets with his father (who refuses to tell him where he’s living, ha!), and says that it’s time for Chun-hee to put out an album. His son points out that they’d have to hire all new staff, because Joon-hyun has no trot experience. But President Jo already has someone in mind to help out: composer Go Eun-tae.
When Geon-woo tells them the good news, Chun-hee and Joon-hyun are astonished that they’ve been given the go-ahead to make an album of remade trot songs. Joon-hyun gazes longingly at his guitar case that rests in the corner of Geon-woo’s office, and he promises Joon-hyun that it’ll be returned if the album is successful.
This is all news to Chun-hee, of course. She’s surprised to discover that Joon-hyun used his prize possession as collateral so she could sign her contract, but he just shrugs it off, confident he’ll get it back soon. They just need to convince Go Eun-tae to work with them.
When they meet with him, he asks Chun-hee why she sings trot. She admits that originally it was for just her family, but once she learned that it made other people happy, it made her happy, too. He wonders if she can make his wife happy — she hasn’t smiled since dementia started to take over.
If Chun-hee can make his wife smile in the next twenty-four hours by singing trot, then he will agree to compose the songs for her album. She immediately jumps right in, exercising her trot jukebox skills to their utmost ability — but Go Eun-tae’s wife remains expressionless.
On the bus ride back home, Chun-hee worries that she might not be able to make Go Eun-tae’s wife smile by tomorrow, because that means no songs and therefore no album. But on the radio, a DJ reads in a story sent in by a father for his two daughters, who wants to know that he’s living well, and to not worry about him, and that he loves them.
Just then “Hot Pepper” starts playing, and Chun-hee begins to cry as she realizes that this must mean her father saw her on television and is communicating with her with her mother’s song.
All this talk about family makes Joon-hyun attempt to reach out to his mother, who lives in California. At first she doesn’t answer, just as he expected — but she calls him back and cheerfully chatters on about how much she’s enjoying living in the States and that she’s thinking about having a child with her American husband (boyfriend?). Aw, his sad little puppy face at hearing that news is made all the sadder as he watches Chun-hee happily sing “Hot Pepper” to lull Byul to sleep.
The next morning, Chun-hee has a renewed spirit as she meets with Go Eun-tae’s wife again. She tells her about hearing from her father, which made her feel happy and stronger. She begins to sing a beautiful a cappella version of Na Hoon-ah’s “Ripe Persimmon (My Mom),” which is all about how the singer misses the mother that did so much to provide for her child. But still Go Eun-tae’s wife remains expressionless.
Chun-hee apologizes to Go Eun-tae that she couldn’t make his wife smile, but she realizes that she perhaps needs to amend her statement. She thought she sang trot because it made other people happy, but she now believes she sings trot to make herself happy. People who listen to her songs will only become happy if she’s happy, too.
When Joon-hyun mentions that the album is now gone (but he says it with a smile on his face, so there’s not hard feelings there), she smiles and says there will be another chance. But there’s no need for another chance, because Go Eun-tae discovers his wife quietly singing “Ripe Persimmon” and is overcome with joy at seeing her smile again.
Joon-hyun and Chun-hee set to the hard work of recording an album, and Joon-hyun makes good on his declaration that he’s her producer as he ruthlessly corrects her vocal technique and pronunciation as they spend hour after hour working in the studio. He notices that she eventually falls asleep on the sofa, and gently covers with a blanket — and then notices all the angry comments about him she wrote on her lyrics sheet that she couldn’t say while they were recording. Hahahaha!
But finally he skips down the Shine Star steps to surprise Chun-hee with the finished album, and she freaks out in total excitement to hold her own CD in her hands.
Someone else has noticed the CD — Soo-in, where it sits on Geon-woo’s desk.
Tae-song peers awkwardly into Coach Bang’s restaurant until she finally steps outside to invite him in. She gives him some advice on how to get Joon-hyun to eventually forgive him (basically “keep apologizing”). But he’s thinks that it will be easier to have more chances to keep apologizing to Joon-hyun if Coach Bang hires him on part-time. And not just because he’s got a crush on her, I’m sure.
Yang Joo-hee has managed to acquire Choi Myung-sik’s address, but scurries into hiding when she sees Chun-hee and Byul leaving the house. She’s confused at first, until Director Wang calls her and lets her know that Chun-hee is “Myung-sik Oppa” and Oh Sung-joo’s daughter.
She returns home to find Soo-in weeping into a glass of wine, and she she takes the glass from her, scornfully telling her daughter to just ignore all the hateful netizen comments. But it’s Chun-hee that has Soo-in in tears, and her mother tells her that she’s seen scores of talented newbies in her time, but she survived alone against all of them.
Or possibly ran over them with her car, which seems highly likely as she gives a little tough love that seems more “tough” than “love,” yelling that Soo-in will never survive being a singer if she’s this weak now. Yang Joo-hee meets with a PD, and it’s clear she’s got another crafty plan up her sleeve.
Chun-hee and Joon-hyun happily go around to various businesses, handing out copies of her album to encourage the stores to play it. At one music and gift shop, Chun-hee is thrilled to discover the merchant is selling copies of her CD.
He recognizes her from the picture on the front, and soon she’s performing for a small audience, who all eagerly buy her album.
Later, Chun-hee walks into the lion’s lair as she meets with Yang Joo-hee, grateful and happy that she recommended her for a music show. As a rookie, she runs around the dressing room handing out copies of her CD for all the sunbaes who are waiting to perform.
One such sunbae is Shin Hyo-yeol, who reaffirms how much we hate him by purposefully spilling coffee all over the CD she gave him. He then commands her to clean it up. Joon-hyun takes the mop from her, telling her she needs to prepare for the stage instead.
But when Hyo-yeol smirkingly demands Joon-hyun clean the coffee off his shoe, he grabs Hyo-yeol’s collar as if to hit him. A word from Chun-hee (and the realization that it’d be career suicide if he did), Joon-hyun silently cleans off what was once his rival’s shoes.
The next act is Chun-hee and Joon-hyun tries to help calm her nerves with encouragement:
You’re a singer. You stand here as a singer. Your song — nobody can sing it as well as you do. Let’s go out and knock ’em dead.
One of the PDs calls him over, and as soon as he leaves, Chun-hee gets a message on her phone: It’s a photo of her father, with the the threat that if she doesn’t come right now, she might never see him again.
She looks anxiously at the exit sign, and then the “On Air” sign.
Oh nooooooooooo! What will she choose?!?! Stupid cliffhanger.
I’m sure this “your father or the stage!” decision is part of Yang Joo-hee’s cunning plan to use Chun-hee’s family against her in order to… sneakily kick her out of the company? Make her a disappointment to everyone? Run her over with a car?
I don’t fully understand why we’ve pitted these ladies against each other, except for the fact they’re signed under the same company and they’ve “debuted” at the same time. It’s not like they’re fighting for the same market share: Chun-hee’s trot probably introduces a larger market with the ahjussi’s and ahjumma’s that are more likely to buy her CD and attend her concerts, versus Soo-in’s pop-ballad style that would cater to a younger audience.
But it’s not so much about the music as it is the attention, really. Soo-in has been groomed from a young age to expect that she will succeed as a singer no matter what, and so to see the upstart with no training or even strong desire to become a pop star suddenly become a hit has got to rankle. Especially when this rookie also has the full attention of the handsome president of the company. I get the feeling that Soo-in has always just gone along with whatever her mother wanted her to do, but Geon-woo is one of the few things she’s ever wanted just for herself, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t have him. He’s polite and caring and totally supportive of her, but she’s been “friendzoned” by him and can’t seem to escape it.
So I can understand her jealousy there, because, seriously: how adorable is Geon-woo? I love the fact he just rolls with whatever weirdness Chun-hee throws his way (like the “cracked” cup). For the first time, too, I’m finally getting a sense that he’s interested in her as a person, and not just as a project that his father assigned to him. Not to mention I like the fact she gets a little giggly about him (despite her protests that she doesn’t “like” him), and that her attraction to him is actually warranted. Because he seems like a genuinely good guy, and I’m all about the leads falling in love with those oft-abused perfect-but-ignored second leads.
Yet, oddly enough, I still don’t have an inkling of Second Lead Syndrome. Nor, for that matter, am I all that convinced about a love-line with Joon-hyun (as much as I love him). Honestly, I think I’m mostly on Team Chun-hee.
This drama is beginning to feel less like a rom-com to me and more like a workplace drama, because I care more about her reuniting her family as she works her way up to becoming a trot star. The drama has made clear that what is important in Chun-hee’s life is her family, and then her music (hello, cliffhanger of important signage decision) — anything else is a distant third. That includes romance.
That said, I adore the leads, and don’t regret a second we spend with them. In fact, I think I wish could have even more of that bickering sibling-like interaction between Chun-hee and Joon-hyun. It was difficult to accurately portray in the recap because there were just so many little moments between them, like elbowing each other in the ribs, or kicking each other under the table, or “tattling” on each other, or just the little faces they would make at each other. I also loved when he put on his producer (or manager?) hat and was serious about working hard to create her album and promote it. Not to mention those words of encouragement at the end, and letting go a little of his pride to make sure she could walk away from that asshat Hyo-yeol and focus on preparing on her performance.
Maybe it sounds a little crazy, but I keep picturing Joon-hyun as the Stitch to the Choi sisters Lilo (Byul) and Nana (Chun-hee). He’s this destructive force nobody wants, who’s been exiled to the planet Trot, and only uses the sisters at first for his own gain, until he begins to become their fiercest defender and protector as he makes sure this little family can be reunited and stay together.
This little family that becomes his family, too.
- Trot Lovers: Episode 5
- Kolorful Palette: Loving Trot Lovers
- Trot Lovers: Episode 4
- Trot Lovers: Episode 3
- Trot Lovers: Episode 2
- Trot Lovers: Episode 1
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