Twenty Again: Episode 15
Just when you think it’s going to be smooth sailing all the way to the finish line, we’re reminded that it’s never truly over until it’s over. And here I was thinking it’d be a cakewalk to our happily-ever-after. I know that pain and suffering builds character and all that, but I’d waste a time-traveling incense stick to get to tomorrow already. Ha Nora, we’re not going to waste our youth the second time around, are we? ARE WE?
SONG OF THE DAY
YB – “스무살” (Twenty Years Old) [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Hyun-seok finally confesses that he likes Nora, and when she starts hiccupping, he smiles and calls her a dummy for not noticing: “I like you. And you like me too.” She’s so shocked that her hiccups just get worse, so Hyun-seok goes looking for water and finds Dong-chul just outside the playground spying on them, ha.
Dong-chul runs to get Nora some water back at the store, then immediately calls Yoon-young to gossip about their friends becoming lovebirds.
Nora’s hiccups seem to settle down, and she uses the moment to gather her wits as Hyun-seok’s confession echoes in her ears. She accuses him of saying ridiculous things and making her hiccup, and asks how long he knew about her divorce.
Hyun-seok says it doesn’t matter, and that he was simply giving her time, but he’s not about to let her run away. She scoffs at the idea that he likes her, and denies that she likes him back. It’s not very convincing, and Hyun-seok just tells her not to back off for some clichéd reason like being a divorcee with a child.
She insists on denying that she has any feelings for him, and says he’s full of himself to think so. She runs away before he can argue any further, and waits till she gets a safe distance before letting out the breath she was holding.
Yoon-young calls right away, chirping, “So I heard you and Cha Hyun-seok shot a melo love confession scene just now!” Hee. She declares that she’s already in the car on her way to meet her.
Yoon-young is delightfully enthused about the match, ribbing Nora with direct quotes of the confession via Dong-chul. She thinks it’s great that Nora finally became her own person and has discovered romantic feelings for the first time. Nora confesses that that’s what she likes—the racing heartbeat, the flutter, the constant thoughts, and discovering what it is to like someone.
Despite Yoon-young’s advice that she should just enjoy said feelings, Nora says that it can’t go anywhere, so she can’t let herself do that. Yoon-young argues that they’re both single, but Nora says her focus should be on what to do with her future, moving to a new place, and finding a job.
Nora says that even the children’s theater job was Hyun-seok’s doing, and that he has a protective complex when it comes to her. Yoon-young asks if Nora’s the one with an inferiority complex, but Nora counters that it’s simply acceptance of reality.
Both Hyun-seok and Nora toss and turn in bed all night, then in the morning Hyun-seok shows up outside her house wearing a distractingly pretty blue coat, and texts her to come out. He greets her as “Friend” and then notices that she didn’t sleep all night either.
He tells her that he stayed up all night thinking about it, and he can’t accept that she doesn’t like him: “Why do I get the feeling you’re lying to me?” She denies it again and says he’s just a friend to her, so then he tells her to prove it. Pfft, that’s not how it works, buddy.
He says he never forgot her for twenty years, so the least she could do as a friend is to help him get over her by proving that she doesn’t like him. I don’t know who’s dumber in this scenario—Hyun-seok for coming up with this plan thinking it makes sense, or Nora for going along with it.
He says he’s going to do all the things he wanted to do with her, and all she has to do is prove she doesn’t like him. He prods her by teasing that if she doesn’t have the confidence to do it, she could just acknowledge her feelings now. It works like a charm, and she’s in just to prove him wrong.
They pick up sandwiches for a morning walk through the park, and at first Nora stays a good three feet away from him at all times. That is, until a convenient bicyclist comes by, giving Hyun-seok an excuse to pull Nora in for a hug. I love that he’s just enjoying her startled reactions now.
They eat breakfast and drive to campus, and Hyun-seok suddenly leans in close, making Nora throw her hands up to block what she thinks is an incoming kiss. He says she’s overreacting and unbuckles her seatbelt, making sure to get all up in her personal space while he does it.
Nora goes with Seung-hyun to the financial aid office to find out about getting student loans, then she sits in her TOEIC class with a faraway look in her eye as they take a listening test.
Hyun-seok is waiting for her outside of class, and she asks if they’re going somewhere else to prove that she doesn’t like him. This time he says she’s full of herself for assuming that he does nothing but think of her all day. Really, is she wrong though?
He needs her for work to go scout potential theaters for their production, and happily introduces her to the theater manager as the woman he likes. That earns him a scowl, and he adds that she doesn’t like him very much.
Then he takes her to the park, and she accuses him of recycling her classmate Danny’s date ideas. Hyun-seok wants to lie around and read manhwas together, emphasis on the lying down, and at first she’s uncomfortable with the idea, but soon gets absorbed in her reading.
Hyun-seok uses any excuse to get close to her, and when she starts laughing, he decides to read her book together and sidles up to her with his face hovering right next to hers. She can’t really focus on the manhwa anymore, and who could blame her. Then once he’s made her flustered enough with that, he uses her back as a pillow.
Next, he wants to ride the subway together, and moves from the seat next to her to the one across the aisle. She can feel him staring at her the whole time, and decides that she’ll join him in the staring contest just to prove that she’s not affected by him at all. Yup, they’re basically grade-schoolers.
He takes her home at night, and Min-soo happens to arrive at the same time. Hyun-seok recognizes him from the random drive-by advice he gave to him and his girlfriend on campus, and realizes he’s Nora’s son. He smiles and offers his hand for a shake, as Nora introduces him as her high school friend.
Hyun-seok notices the beer Min-soo’s bringing home, and asks if he hasn’t made up with the girlfriend yet. Min-soo says it’s to drink with Mom, and aw, she looks so happy at that. Hyun-seok leaves them to it, and walks away with a casual request for Min-soo to look upon him favorably in the future (it’s a throwaway comment that you could say in any context when you first meet someone, but we know he means it seriously).
Min-soo and Nora crack open some beers, and she notes that it’s the first time she’s drinking with him. He says he can’t remember why it is that he wanted to become a corporate salaryman, and that he’s never once thought about what he wants to do or how he wants to live.
All he did was study according to what Dad told him to do, and now that he’s stopped to think about it, he can’t picture what his future looks like. It sounds like Mom and Son are struggling with the same things. She tells him not to try and figure it out all at once, but to start thinking about it now.
In the morning, Hyun-seok is outside to pick her up again like clockwork. Nora decides that she’s done proving that she doesn’t like him, which he interprets as her acknowledging her feelings. She gets all worked up as she insists that that’s not-not-NOT it at all.
He points out all the ways she was concerned and uncomfortable around him yesterday, asking if those are platonic friend feelings. She says that there’s bound to be some discomfort between a man and a woman, but he counters that she was never like that with him in high school.
She says that it’s because he confessed that he likes her, which he only reinforces: “I do. I like you a lot.” She tells him to stop saying that, but he asks why he should hold it in when he’s gotten his first chance to say it in twenty years. Yes, let the man say it!
Nora says that his eyes are stopped at twenty years ago, which is why he thinks she’s pretty and sees her that way. He argues that he’s not asking her to get married—he wants to eat together, argue, make up, and spend time together.
She says that friends can do that too, but Hyun-seok declares that friends aren’t enough for him now, and asks why two people who like each other should be friends. Nora counters vehemently that she doesn’t like him back, and he’s not even her style: “I like men with big faces, thick eyelid creases, and no dimples!” Lol.
She puts her foot down and swears she’s not lying, so finally Hyun-seok has no choice but to back off and agree to leave her alone. Hilariously, she looks disappointed the second he gives up, even though she’s the one who just went off on that long rant. He stomps off all hurt and pouty.
Min-soo waits for Hye-mi at school, then asks brightly if she wants to go on a trip. She’s surprised but goes along with it, and they have a fun day together riding bikes and being a couple again. But Hye-mi catches on that it feels like a goodbye trip, like he’s doing all the things she’s wanted to do because he knows he can’t when they get back to normal life.
He admits that he can’t give her what she wants, and that he’s finally come to realize that he doesn’t know who he is or what he wants in life. He needs time to figure that out, and knows that he can’t devote time to being the kind of boyfriend she wants.
Hye-mi knows that they’ll just keep having the same fight over and over if they stay together, and agrees that breaking up is for the best. They’ve both matured by leaps and bounds compared to the first breakup, that’s for sure. And they look so much happier without all the pressure they were putting on each other before.
Hyun-seok spots Yi-jin and Woo-chul on campus, and watches curiously as they walk past each other with barely a nod of recognition. He wonders if they broke up, and rethinks Woo-chul’s challenge for them to start a real love triangle with Nora now.
Nora arrives at work and is wowed by Sang-ye all dolled up in a dress, though she’s taken aback to hear that Sang-ye is dressed up because she’s decided to confess her feelings to Hyun-seok. Eeek. Sang-ye asks if Hyun-seok will see her as a woman this way, and Nora says of course he will when she’s so pretty… then looks downcast as he arrives and shows his appreciation for the dress.
To make matters worse, he’s not speaking to Nora per her request to leave her alone, and keeps giving instructions through Sang-ye even though Nora is standing right there. You are so infuriating sometimes.
Sang-ye watches the petty exchange and flashes back to the morning after she’d gotten drunk and spent the night at Nora’s. She confessed to Hyun-seok that day, actually, though it was more like a confession that she was going to put her feelings behind her. He felt bad, and she asked him to set her up with someone to make it up to her. Aw, you’re a good person.
Back in the present, Hyun-seok is lost in thought over whether Woo-chul will continue on at their school. Yi-jin is contemplating that very thing right now, as she holds the incriminating bribery photos of Woo-chul in her hands.
Hyun-seok is so distracted that he doesn’t even notice Nora coming upstairs, and she gets pissy thinking he’s ignoring her. He gives more instructions through Sang-ye before heading out with her, and Sang-ye notes that the two of them always seem like they travel back in time to eighteen when they’re together. I’d argue twelve, but that’s me.
It turns out that Sang-ye is dressed up so that Hyun-seok can introduce her to a friend, and she admits in the car that she’s also using the opportunity to incite some jealousy in Nora. Hyun-seok is aghast to hear that Sang-ye lied to Nora about wanting to confess to him today, thinking it’ll have the opposite effect on her.
Sang-ye says he doesn’t know women very well, and that Nora didn’t seem unconcerned. He perks up immediately.
Nora paces back and forth in the office, Sang-ye’s words just playing over and over again in her head. She pounds her head and tells herself to get it together, but soon she’s pounding her heart in frustration too.
Yoon-young calls wanting to go see Nora’s store so they can get some advice from a consultant friend, but when they get there, the ajusshi asks if they’re the new owners. Nora calls Woo-chul, who confirms that he sold it. He asks her not to misunderstand and that she can have the apartment instead, which will be a bigger sum when it sells.
He tells her that he’ll likely be transferring schools soon, so she can continue going to Woocheon comfortably. Yoon-young wonders what he’s up to, though Nora isn’t suspicious at all.
Min-soo and Hye-mi stand at the dock, reluctant to get on the boat headed back home and back to real life. But they know it’s the last boat of the day, and go hand-in-hand as they take a step forward and get ready to say goodbye.
Nora runs into Sang-ye at school and asks how things went yesterday, and Sang-ye says it was great and better than she expected. Nora holds it all in and acts happy for her, and Sang-ye worries that she’s not supposed to be THAT good at hiding her feelings.
Woo-chul is terrified when a messenger drops off an envelope with pictures of him paying off the blackmailer. Then he gets a worried call from his friend that there’s a problem with him getting hired at the other school because there’s a rumor that he’s about to be fired.
He sits there for a long while trying to figure out who could’ve plotted this from the start, which makes me think he’s not very smart at all. Finally he realizes it could be Yi-jin, and storms into her office. She doesn’t even bother denying it, and he’s appalled to realize that she did the very same thing to the professor who got fired from Woocheon before him.
He can’t believe she orchestrated the blackmail scheme from the start, though she points out that now he’s the culprit, or so it appears. He argues that he has a contract that incriminates the student, which in turn will incriminate Yi-jin, but she just dares him to find her and go to the police.
He asks what she intends to do with the picture of him, and she says he’ll find out tomorrow. Woo-chul is so distracted as he leaves her office that he barely notices Hyun-seok walking past him and asking if he’s okay.
Hyun-seok walks into Yi-jin’s office, and at first she assumes that Woo-chul has come back and says it’s too late for regret, then drops her teacup when she sees that it’s Hyun-seok instead. He’s here to tell her that he won’t be returning next semester to teach, and is a little surprised when she doesn’t try to talk him out of it.
Sang-ye tells him about the Professor K rumor that’s spreading across campus among the students, and the possibility that Woo-chul is K. Hyun-seok seems to catch on and asks her to look up that bribery case from before the semester started.
Then Yoon-young calls, asking Hyun-seok to look into the store that Woo-chul suddenly sold without warning. Nora doesn’t think much of it, but Yoon-young can’t trust Woo-chul and wants to know what’s going on. So Hyun-seok makes an emergency call to Soon-nam and Seung-hyun, and says he has a job for them.
Woo-chul grows increasingly terrified while waiting to find out what will happen tomorrow, and seems completely at a loss for the first time. Meanwhile, Hyun-seok goes to see Yi-jin again, and shares his theory that she’s the one behind the first professor’s firing.
She seems confident that he can’t prove it, while Hyun-seok figures that he doesn’t really have to prove it—he’ll just go to the student website and share what he knows about her affair with Woo-chul.
He asks her not to let Nora and Min-soo get hurt in her attempt to get revenge, and reminds her that the son of the man she once loved goes to school here. He asks what she gains from it anyway, and says that this isn’t anger over an innocent love betrayed. He says she’s the least innocent of them all, and the one who lost the least.
He warns her to remove all the rumors before Nora or Min-soo see, or else he’ll start blabbing about her affair. He reminds her that she loved Woo-chul once, and asks how much satisfaction she thinks she’ll have by getting revenge—a day’s worth?
Nora calls the children’s theater to quit her new job before she even starts it. She thinks about what Sang-ye said, about things going well with Hyun-seok, and lets out a long sigh. Then her realtor calls to say that the house has sold.
Yi-jin imagines meeting Woo-chul for a lunch date, and happily holding hands as they walk across campus together. She cries as she admits that that’s all she really wanted. Woo-chul is tearing his hair out waiting for the other shoe to drop, when finally Yi-jin calls to meet.
She hits him with an envelope over and over, crying that he should’ve just said he was sorry from the start instead of driving her to this. She plops the envelope down in defeat, and he’s shocked to find the contract for his store inside. She’s the one who bought it, of course.
Woo-chul goes to Hyun-seok to ask what his motives are for meddling in his affairs, and why on earth he’d save Woo-chul when they’re enemies. Hyun-seok says it wasn’t about Woo-chul—he did it because Min-soo would be hurt if something happened to him, and then Nora would be hurt in turn.
He did it for Nora, and asks Woo-chul to live well so that Nora can live comfortably from now on. Having Hyun-seok put his own wife and son before everything seems to break Woo-chul a little, and he walks for a long while.
When Woo-chul lets himself into their old home, he’s unshaven and unkempt, maybe for the first time ever. Nora asks what he’s doing here and then notices his appearance, and Woo-chul sighs that it’s because he lost to Hyun-seok, who saved him like the awesome bastard that he is.
Hyun-seok smiles to see the posts about Woo-chul deleted from the student forums, and is surprised when Nora drops by first thing in the morning. She says she heard that he saved Woo-chul, and asks why he didn’t tell her when it concerned her ex-husband.
He says that he just did what he could for her and Min-soo and didn’t want her getting hurt, and she knows, but she says that she’s having a hard time. Nora: “Thank you. Thank you. Since seeing you again, I’ve said ‘Thank you’ many times. Because I have nothing else to say but ‘Thank you’… and that’s really hard on me.”
He asks why and swears that’s not why he did those things—he didn’t want her feeling indebted to him and didn’t do those things wanting to show her. Nora says in a shaky voice that he feels like the person Grandma left in her life to take the place of her father who died and her mother who left her.
He wonders what she’s trying to say, and Nora finally says, “Let me go.” She tells him that it’s too hard for her when he’s next to her and looking at her, and he asks if it’s really that hard for her to be brave. She struggles to hold back tears as she says that she’d like it if he weren’t by her side. Aw, nooooo.
He looks heartbroken as she walks away, and after a long time spent brooding, he calls as Nora is finishing the last of her cleanup before moving out. They meet for coffee and he asks if it’s time that she needs, and if she doesn’t need him. She says no to both.
He tells her that he doesn’t want to stay beside her because of first love feelings: “I love the twenty-years-later you, right now.” He says there’s no reason—he just watched her change and ended up feeling this way.
He knows what she’s afraid of, and says that he can’t close that gap between them himself—she has to be the one to do that, and she’s not willing to. Nora says that she wants to live alone, without anyone else.
Hyun-seok reminds her that nothing’s forever, and says it’s time he cleaned up his feelings and moved on. He decides he can’t be hung up on his first love forever, and finally says it’s over. He notes that they lived their first love on a twenty-year time lag, and tries to make light of the fact that everyone says first loves aren’t meant to be.
She thanks him one last time, and he tells her to live well before getting up and walking away. Nooooo, don’t gooooooo! Nora holds back her tears as he leaves. Then later, she goes to the university’s administration office to hand in her paperwork to drop out of school. What, double noooooooo!
Augh, I’m annoyed at Nora today. I mean, I love her and want her to get what she wants, but I’m frustrated because today we’re left out of the loop and not privy to her thought process as she pushes Hyun-seok away. Is she being a Noble Idiot? Is she being a plain coward? Is she suffering from an inferiority complex? Or does she actually want Hyun-seok to forget her and move on? I’m with Hyun-seok on this—I think she’s lying—but at a certain point he has to accept her words at face value and leave her if that’s what she’s asking for. I just want to know what she’s thinking, because clearly her feelings are real but her decision is the opposite.
My understanding is that she feels overwhelmingly grateful towards Hyun-seok, to the point that it leaves her feeling burdened and indebted to him, and dependent in a way that she doesn’t know how to process. It’s the kind of love and care that she might accept from Grandma because she’s family—unconditional, selfless—but from him, it makes her feel even more inadequate and guilty, like she’s leeching off of him to live her life. If what she really truly wants is to stand on her own two feet, then I don’t blame her for needing some space from Hyun-seok. An independent, self-sufficient life is what I want for her too, and frankly he is a bit overbearing with his thoughtfulness. It’s all well-intentioned, sweet, helpful acts of love, but he also does act like he knows what’s best for her without ever consulting her on the matter, which has always bugged me.
But I find her solution to be really extreme if that’s the case, because there’s such a thing as a happy medium where you ask for space or tell him to stop thinking he knows best and making decisions without her. I’d just bonk him on the head and say, “Stop with the fairy godmother crap!” Because in life, she wants a partner, not a fixer. Right now I just think she’s acting out of fear, and assuming that she doesn’t get to have a second chance at love or a real future with him. And to top it all off, I’m pretty sure she’s being the Noble Idiot by letting him be happy with Sang-ye, not knowing just how heartbroken he’ll be without her. I’m just frustrated because I pretty much agree with her needing to take some time on her own to figure things out without Hyun-seok fixing her life all the time, but I don’t like the method because she’s choosing to swallow her feelings and endure silently. Boo to enduring silently!
I hate where we leave things by the end of the episode, with Nora dropping out of school too. It seems like she spends the whole episode embracing what she calls reality, because in her mind, college and Hyun-seok are lumped into one giant Dream Big Dreams category. They seem to represent a chance to relive her forgotten youth, but to Nora that’s as far as she can see it going. They have no place in the real world for her. It’s sad, because I’m sure we’re all screaming at her, Dreams can come truuuuuuue sometimes! But if she doesn’t believe it, then she’ll never take that leap.
Hyun-seok is right in that she has to be the one to take that step because he can’t do it for her. No matter how ludicrous his prove-that-you-don’t-like-me attempt at courtship was, even he knows at the end of the day that she has to meet him halfway. I just hope he doesn’t actually succeed at moving on, because once Nora stands on her own and figures out the life she wants to live, she’ll surely regret letting him go. But hey, I guess by then she could be the one to chase after him and declare her love from the rooftops until he caves. I mean, he loved her for twenty years. What’s twenty more?
…Right? Someone tell me I’m right before I have a nervous breakdown! Today is going to be the longest day ever.
- Twenty Again: Episode 14
- Twenty Again: Episode 13
- Twenty Again: Episode 12
- Twenty Again: Episode 11
- Thing vs. Thing: Higher learning
- Twenty Again: Episode 10
- Twenty Again: Episode 9
- Twenty Again: Episode 8
- Twenty Again: Episode 7
- Twenty Again: Episode 6
- Twenty Again: Episode 5
- Twenty Again: Episode 4
- Twenty Again: Episode 3
- Twenty Again: Episode 2
- Twenty Again: Episode 1