The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 9
It’s a rough episode for Hana, what with all the decisions she has to make regarding what her heart truly wants. The only thing that’d make things easier for her is if she didn’t have to make any of those tough choices at all, almost as if those decisions could be made for her, maybe even against her better and more informed judgement. But that’d just make things worse, wouldn’t it? Does the part of being an addict where you admit you’re an addict matter if you’re not going to do anything about the addiction?
SONG OF THE DAY
Vanilla Acoustic – “니가 궁금해 (You Were Curious)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Before Hana goes storming back into the concert hall, she finds time to send Won a text saying she won’t be able to make it tonight. Won is understandably disappointed, since he set up a grand romantic gesture that Hana won’t get to see.
Seo-hoo assumes that she finally remembered if she’s back, but Hana throws the sheet music back at him and asks what she’s supposed to remember. “The memory of us being in love? The memory of you hurting me? Or the memory of you being completely fine after hurting me?”
He doesn’t seem to register her words as he mentions the bunny keychain he gave her that she loved so much. Hana tells him there’s no use remembering those things now, even though Seo-hoo says he’s never forgotten their moments of happiness when she was with him.
“I’ve forgotten all of them,” Hana replies defiantly. “I have no happy memories of being in love with you. In my memories, you’re just a wound that’s healed over. I don’t ever want to open that wound again.”
She turns to leave, but Seo-hoo grabs her wrist and says that they can just start over—no need to bring the past to the surface again. “This time I’ll make sure I don’t hurt you,” said no well-meaning guy ever. Hana pulls her hand out of his grasp and marches home, untouched by the weather currently plaguing Won.
The next day, Hana has to convince her boss that Seo-hoo will go through with their collaboration, and promises to take full responsibility if the project fails. She can’t get ahold of Won by phone, since he’s suffering in bed with a fever from the rain last night.
Despite the threats made by his Big Bad Agency to ruin his domestic activities within Korea should he not fall in line, Seo-hoo would rather focus on what’s important to him.
And for the moment that unfortunately means Hana, since he shows up to her office to see how the project’s going. To maintain his delusional fantasies, he looks at the slogan Hana’s created and comments that whoever created it must have a lot of affection for him. Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude.
Hana finds Won still in bed sick later that day, and after giving him medicine, she feeds him handmade porridge to help his recovery. It tastes terrible, and no amount of additives seems to spice it up any—instead he demands that she make a different kind of porridge for him.
Having no idea how he got so sick, Hana continues to tend to him through the night. Won wakes up the next morning to find her asleep on the floor by his bed, along with all the evidence that she played nurse while he was ill.
He eats her cold, awful-tasting porridge with gusto now, and imagines her chopping vegetables next to him with a smile as he cleans up the mess she made from cooking. That’s literally it.
While the Three Stooges at work gossip about whether So-eun will start pursuing Won again now that she’s heard he’s sick at home, Hana wakes up to find the kitchen clean and her porridge gone. Won lies that he threw it all out, and again when she asks what he wanted to give her on the rooftop yesterday.
“Nothing important,” he says dismissively. He urges her to go to work, since he’ll need another day to fully recover at home. She does, but finds bad news waiting: for no discernible reason, Director Byun has decided to take her off the collaboration project with Seo-hoo.
The media was expecting an exclusive interview with Seo-hoo at a charity soccer event (what this has to do with their collaboration and shoes, I don’t know), but it’s up to Hana to explain to them that she has no comment on the collaboration right now.
Cue Seo-hoo, who saves the day by giving the interview anyway, even if he’s doing it just to impress Hana/save her job. It works since she wants to keep on with the collaboration, and because he tells the media that there was a time when someone cared about what shoes he wore—because if his feet were comfortable, then his piano playing would be that much more comfortable.
It’s all schtick to sell shoes and to endear himself to Hana, since she was clearly that person who cared so much about his feet. In front of all the flashing cameras, Seo-hoo goes up to Hana for a high five after he scores a soccer goal with the kiddies. When she doesn’t, he just pats her hair instead.
After a quick scene with Hana’s parents coming home after their Jeju Island trip, we return to Hana as she finds Seo-hoo sitting alone after the game and sits nearby. Seo-hoo’s just happy she wants to be in his orbit, and suggest they eat together outside. Hana doesn’t look too happy, but she doesn’t protest either.
In what’s becoming pathological, he latches onto any little thing she says and construes it to mean something positive about their future, i.e. when she says that it’s the “first time” she’s seen him play soccer, he starts thinking of all the other “firsts” they could do together.
He asks her to go to a recital with him tomorrow, and muses that the albums he recorded while he was with her were still his best. “You’re the one who saved me this time too,” he adds. “You always seem to help me become my best. You’re touched, aren’t you?”
Hana gives a noncommittal reply before Seo-hoo continues that what’s more touching is that everything he’s saying is true. Okay, but what about all the time you had to say it? Still nothing on that?
Meanwhile, Won eats a proper meal made by Hana’s mom, since her parents know how terrible a cook Hana is and want their practically adopted son to actually get better and not worse.
Seo-hoo’s manager seems to be the only one concerned for him right now, since Seo-hoo even admits that once he gets an idea in his head, he obsesses over it (Hana) at the expense of everything else (his career). Someone important from his Big Bad Agency will be flying in soon, but Seo-hoo’s not afraid to face him.
Mi-hyang knows something’s up with Won besides being sick, and when he admits he didn’t get to give Hana that necklace, she finally breaks her silence on the matter.
He’s been acting weird ever since Seo-hoo came back, she says, and it’s clear as day to everyone but Hana that he looks at her as more than just a friend now. She thinks Won should do something about his feelings one way or the other, but by the way Won changes the subject, I guess that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Won and Hana exercise the next morning by jogging in the park, but since she told Seo-hoo that she normally exercises in the morning, he shows up to crash their workout party. The shrug Won gives Hana when Seo-hoo’s not looking is just priceless.
While running together, Won confronts Seo-hoo over him buzzing around Hana all day every day, and whether he thinks that he’ll actually win her heart that way. “No,” Seo-hoo admits. “It’s that I’ll only survive if I see Hana all day long.”
He says he’s sincere whether Won believes him or not, and it’s because Hana trusts Won more than him right now that he’s putting in the extra effort. (He says it like he doesn’t understand why Hana wouldn’t trust him.)
When Seo-hoo says that he doesn’t want them to be enemies, Won tells him to save his breath—he won’t like him no matter what he does. The only way for them not to end up as enemies is if Seo-hoo doesn’t hurt Hana, Won adds.
Seo-hoo demands to know what Won’s relationship to Hana is, and gets frustrated when Won doesn’t answer since that’s so typical of him. Crazy McCrazerson: “I’m going to start over with Hana again, but you’re still coming between us.”
Won claims that whatever relationship they have doesn’t interest him, but Seo-hoo knows differently. “You should ask why I didn’t show up at the engagement ceremony three years ago. What you saw that day was me not showing up to the ceremony. What I saw was my fiancé crying in another man’s arms.” Yeah, because you didn’t show up.
“It seems you’re misunderstanding something,” Won replies. “The reason Hana doesn’t trust you… do you think it’s just because you didn’t show up that day? Cowardly bastard. From the beginning, you had no right to be by Hana’s side.”
Seo-hoo just warns Won that if he’s going to be Hana’s friend, he better make it clear and stay in that role, because he’s going to be more than just a friend to her. I have an idea—why don’t the two of you present these options to Hana and let her decide?
At work, So-eun invites Won to a recital, and tries steamrolling over Won before he has the opportunity to say “No” outright. But when she says that they can just go next time, Won shuts her down by saying that there won’t be a next time. So-eun invites Mi-hyang instead, and it turns out the recital is for Seo-hoo’s teacher.
Hana complains about being forced into the project with Seo-hoo only to be forced back out of it, while her friends think the frustration lies more with Seo-hoo than work. Hana still resolves to see this project through, since failure is not an option.
In a conversation with Mi-hyang later, Hana fake-complains about how Won bossed her around while he was sick. Mi-hyang finds that strange since Won doesn’t normally make a deal of being sick, and figures it’s just because he was with her.
Hana also mentions how he hides his feelings, like how he has that one grin that always means something’s really wrong. Mi-hyang takes the opportunity to ask whether Hana knows why Won decided against his overseas training, sounding a bit passive-aggressive in the process.
It’s news to Hana that Won isn’t going, and Mi-hyang lies that she doesn’t know why either. But of all the people who should know, she claims, Hana would be at the top of the list.
Hana tries to think about the reason while Won thinks about Seo-hoo and his cousin telling him that he needs to make his friendship with Hana clearer than he is now. But those were both people who wanted him to continue just being friends with her.
So when Hana calls him out to ask about why he didn’t take the overseas training opportunity, Won hearkens back to when he’d once told her he’d be able to hang out with her forever, though he’d meant it specifically as a friend then.
Now he says he won’t be able to do that, and reneges on the promise he made back then: “I’m saying I can’t be your friend forever.” He opens his hand in front of her so the necklace he got her dangles from his fingers. “I think my opportunity is right here. Sorry I can’t be on your side.” Huh?
If you’re hoping for some clarification on that vague statement from Hana, hope elsewhere—she just goes home with the necklace and broods.
Though Director Byun gave no reason for wanting Hana off the collaboration project, he’s hopping mad that she allowed Seo-hoo to give an interview… even though she explains that canceling the event the day-of would’ve looked bad for their company. (And would’ve made no sense.) Luckily for her, the public is responding positively to the article and their company.
Hana accompanies Seo-hoo to his teacher’s recital, where Mi-hyang and So-eun are also in attendance. Mi-hyang can’t shake the feeling of familiarity she gets watching him play, while So-eun spots Hana and Seo-hoo together with interest.
Afterward, Seo-hoo takes Hana to congratulate his teacher on his performance and introduces her as the girl he likes. His teacher, despite spewing vitriol at him one episode ago for not bending to the company’s will, acts friendly now and says Seo-hoo’s never introduced someone to him before… except he knew that he was engaged before and chastised him for wanting to go to his own engagement ceremony rather than play a recital.
When he asks her what she thought of the concert outside, Hana says that he hasn’t changed—especially when it comes to his habit of asking her questions he already knows the answer to. “Was I like that?” he wonders.
“You were always like that,” she answers.. “Even though it was obvious that you knew I was mad, you still asked why I was mad. After making me wait several hours, you would ask if I had waited long.” She tries to hail a cab, but Seo-hoo stops her on the basis that they still have more to do today.
He doesn’t actually need her to help pick out which photos of his will work as an advertisement, but he claims he does. Hana says she’d rather do it tomorrow until she suddenly changes her mind and agrees to help him today.
Rain starts falling, and Seo-hoo protects her with his hand until he can get her to his hotel. He places a hot cup of coffee in her hands after she says no, and sets to drying her off without asking for permission first. She just goes silent when he turns her toward him and stares at him as he keeps touching her hair, claiming that he’s taking care of her so she won’t get sick.
That’s when she finally stands and says she’ll pick the photos out later. She doesn’t even make it to the door before Seo-hoo grabs ahold of her and turns her toward him, inching one hand up to cup her face. Again she says nothing before eventually letting herself out.
Mi-hyang’s found a new idol obsession in Seo-hoo’s teacher, and while Won works out his feelings on the basketball court, Hana ends up outside her house staring into space. Seo-hoo’s words about not wanting to lose her and coming back (after three freaking years!!) just for her keep echoing through her mind.
Won finds her there, and she claims she has something important to tell him. Slowly, she explains that Seo-hoo was never a choice for her, but more like a compulsion. She thought that she’d be able to make an informed decision when he came back, but now finds she can’t exercise control when it comes to him.
“I… can’t choose again,” she admits. “I… can’t push Seo-hoo away.” In response, Won just smiles gently as he tells her that from now on, their friendship will change if she’s with someone else. He’ll need time to accept whomever she loves, and she’ll need time to manage without him as a constant presence.
It’s when he acts all fine and talks about taking a vacation that Hana’s tears start to fall, because he’s giving her that “Everything’s okay!” smile that usually means everything’s not okay. And it probably isn’t, even as Won pulls her into a hug and tells her it is.
As for the necklace, he adds, she can think of it as an award for their seventeen years of friendship. He walks away from her as she cries, and only when he’s out of her sight does he let his own tears fall.
One month later.
Seo-hoo joins Hana at the bus stop and on the bus, spending most of the ride smiling at her before he rests his head on her shoulder and tells her to wake him up when they arrive at their destination.
While walking to the office, he constantly walks backwards just to catch more of a glimpse of her before he takes her hand in his. She accepts the gesture and they walk together like that, which I guess means they’re an item again. Woohoo.
Hana attends her friend’s wedding later, and is about to text Won to see if he’s coming before he appears, fresh off whatever vacation he took. His smile broad, he walks up to Hana and just says, “I’m a bit late, aren’t I?”
Flash back to all the things Won had said and all the actions he took that should’ve clued Hana in to his true feelings as she says in voiceover, “We’ve been together for so long that I couldn’t recognize that his expressions were changing. Perhaps it’s because he thought he’d be found out that he may have never looked me in the eye.”
It’s pretty terrible when the only person in this show who isn’t being mind-numbingly vague about their feelings is Seo-hoo, especially considering that his directness actually got him everything he wanted. Does that mean the moral to this story is just that being honest will get you the girl even if you’re an undeserving douchebag? And that it’s okay as long as you’re a douchebag with feelings who can exercise an intangible hold over said girl by forcing your way back into her life?
If so, it makes me increasingly uneasy about where we might be headed, even though I recognize that we’re not even halfway through the series and conflict has been in short supply. It’s also legitimate that working through her feelings for Seo-hoo could be part of Hana’s character arc, but it’s equally legitimate to point out that her needing what will likely be a lot of time to realize something she already knew (that Seo-hoo’s no good) sounds like the exact opposite of fun. Those who might argue that being fun isn’t the point would presumably also argue against puppies, freedom, and/or good television.
It’d be a different deal altogether if Hana made her choice to be with Seo-hoo while she was of sound mind, but what makes it annoying both as a viewer and fellow human is the idea that she’s shirking responsibility for her decision by saying that she has no power over the decisions she makes regarding Seo-hoo. Just like that, she told Won that she never had a choice with Seo-hoo before—and even now, even after all this time he didn’t use to open a line of communication with her, she still can’t seem to stop herself. She recognizes this, and yet she’s powerless to change it.
I get that this is a Thing that happens, but it’s still a really, really frustrating thing to have happen for your story’s heroine. Hana hadn’t exactly been the stuff of dreams before, but this takes things to a whole new level and gives me a headache every time I try to wrap my head around it. It’s not like Seo-hoo re-entered her life riding a white horse of apology, or explanations, or even any sort of regard for her feelings. She cried at her engagement ceremony because he didn’t show up, but instead of looking inward and realizing that he was the cause of her tears, he focused on the fact that she took comfort with her best friend. And then said nothing about it to her. For three years.
And still counting, since he hasn’t actually told her that her relationship with Won was the reason why he didn’t feel the need to talk to her on the day of the ceremony or for an unexplainable crapload of time afterward. Then again, Won’s not much of an improvement when it comes to giving Hana the information she needs to have agency over her decisions (even if she’d just turn around and hand that agency to Seo-hoo), since he treated the love confession she missed as being his Only Chance in Seventeen Years to tell her how he felt. When she missed that, instead of just telling her how he felt later, he changed the entire way he thought about her. Or so he claims—if our chances of being able to read his thoughts are about as high as Hana’s chances are of carrying her own umbrella, then we’re in trouble.
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 8
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 7
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 6
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 5
- Time I’ve Loved You swaps writers (again)
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 4
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 3
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 2
- The Time I’ve Loved You: Episode 1