Entertainer: Episode 9
It’s difficult enough trying to become a successful band when everything goes smoothly, and Ddanddara Band seems to be going about everything the hard way. Dark pasts, difficult families, and personal issues need to be handled before they can really expect to focus on music, so it’s time to start cleaning the slate. First up is one bouncy drummer’s mother, who has some very constrictive ideas of what’s best for her son, regardless of what he wants for himself.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Jinu goes back to the cabin where he supposedly assaulted Ji-young, but instead of clues, he finds Ha-neul waiting for him. Ha-neul quips that the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime, and Jinu realizes that it was Ha-neul who texted about his tattoo.
Jinu says that he thinks they’re both victims in this, which only makes Ha-neul angry, and he balls up his fists and advances. Jinu swears that he’s not here to look for evidence — he doesn’t remember what happened that night, other than what Ji-young did.
He remembers her opening the closet door, and asks Ha-neul what could have been in there. That’s what he came to find out. Ha-neul tries but he can’t hold onto his anger, not when he sees how genuinely upset Jinu is.
Jinu leaves, so Ha-neul looks in the closet, and on the floor he finds a set of keys with a robot key chain. He knows that key chain — he once saw Ji-young’s little brother Kyung-soo playing with it, saying it was a gift from the girl he likes. He remembers seeing Kyung-soo there at the cabin when he was being dragged out by the cops, but he’d always thought he’d been mistaken.
He runs into Jinu again out by the bus station, clutching his head and grimacing after running his car into a tree. As much as Ha-neul wants to ignore him, Jinu’s obvious pain gets to him. Ha-neul calls Seok-ho to tell him he’s in Busan, and so is Jinu, and he says that there was an accident and Jinu can’t drive.
He offers to help Jinu call his insurance company and avoid the cops — not that he wants to help, but so that the fallout doesn’t harm Seok-ho. He pretends to be the car owner while Jinu hides his face, and takes him home in a taxi. He takes Jinu to Mango, and leaves Seok-ho and Jinu alone to talk.
Seok-ho wants to take Jinu back to the hospital, and wants to know why Jinu want back to that cabin. He still thinks Jinu should turn himself in as this is obviously eating him up inside, not to mention the innocent person who’s paying for a mistake he didn’t make.
Jinu just smiles peacefully and says that he heard Ha-neul call him “Seok-ho-hyung,” and wonders how the two of them became so distant when they used to have that close of a relationship.
Seok-ho goes to Ha-neul’s place, and Ha-neul wakes when he tucks him in. Seok-ho asks how long Ha-neul’s known Jinu was involved, and he says he knew it was a Jackson member, but only realized it was Jinu when he saw the tattoo.
He didn’t say anything because he knew Seok-ho would feel torn between him and Jinu. Clearing his name means destroying Jinu, but Seok-ho says that even though he cares about them both, he can’t let Ha-neul take the blame for this. Ha-neul just asks that Geu-rin be kept innocent until it’s all over.
Seok-ho leans in and says, “Ha-neul. Sung-hyun’s little brother is my little brother too. You’re my singer, and my little brother.” Ha-neul nearly cries, but goes all gruff and rebuffs Seok-ho’s request for a hug. Then he holds his hand up for help out of bed, and they linger on the handshake, and Ha-neul pulls Seok-ho in for that hug after all. ~wibble~
Geu-rin spends the day passing out information on Ddanddara Band, and she goes into Annoying Fangirl mode when she sees her favorite radio show host. She at least has the presence of mind to give her a copy of the band’s album. She even offers to work for free two hours a day at a convenience store in return for their playing the album during their busy hours.
Over lunch, Kyle complains that every person in this band is a troublemaker besides him — they have an ex-convict, a single dad, and a mama’s boy. Ha-neul calls him by his real name, Lee Bang-geul (which means “to smile brightly”) just to get under his skin, making Yeon-soo giggle that it’s so opposite his real personality.
Annoyed, Kyle reminds them that he sacrificed his pride for this band, and now they have no drummer. His big idea is to kidnap Jae-hoon, but Ha-neul refuses to participate and leaves with a reminder to “smile!”
Ha-neul tells Seok-ho about Kyung-soo’s key chain that he found in the cabin, and how he saw him the night of the incident. Seok-ho asks if he thinks Ji-young was involved, and he takes the key chain to confront her with.
Ha-neul also asks after Jae-hoon, but Seok-ho says he’ll be back, not to worry. He intercepts Jae-hoon at school (ugh, his mom even walks him to class), and poor Jae-hoon is just so sad and wilted. Seok-ho asks if he’s quitting Ddanddara Band, or if he wants to do it but just can’t, and Jae-hoon says that the band showed him that there could be fun things in life, too.
Seok-ho has a plan, and he approaches Jae-hoon’s father, who seems like a nice guy. He likes hearing how much Jae-hoon loves music, and figures that Jae-hoon’s mother pushes him so hard because of how difficult their early married life was. They’re successful now but only because they struggled so hard, and Mom pushes their son academically so that he won’t have to struggle.
He agrees that Jae-hoon is a good boy, never going against his mother even though he could. But Dad worries that Jae-hoon never smiles, not even for pictures, not since preschool.
On his way back Seok-ho gets a call from CEO Lee’s pet prosecutor, and is pulled in for questioning in the ratings boosting scandal. They have proof that fake online IDs were used, though Seok-ho says that happens a lot when new song is released, and not just with Jackson.
The prosecutor also knows of Mr. Kim, the broker, who created the program that forces phones to play the song without their owners’ knowledge, but Seok-ho claims that the company would never pay for such a thing. He shows the prosecutor his own bank account info, proving he’s never had the kind of money needed to pay for such a thing himself, either.
The prosecutor isn’t swayed and says they’ll just ask Mr. Kim himself. And by the way, a new bill is even being passed right now regarding this sort of thing, and Seok-ho can feel honored that he’ll be the first to be detained under the new law.
Jae-hoon’s mom even hovers over him at home, and he says in this blank voice that he’s the only person he knows whose mother still takes fish bones out for him. Mom says it’s just her love for him, but her voice carries a clear note of warning. Jae-hoon asks how she’ll ever let him go to do his army duty, and Mom blames his burst of rebellion on those lowlife band kids.
Jae-hoon says he’s just trying to talk to her about his honest thoughts, but she interprets anything he says as talking back, and Mom just cuts him off. But he’s tired of being dismissed, and his voice grows stronger as he says, “I want to play drums.” Mom goes straight to, “Do you want to see me die?”
Jae-hoon cries that he doesn’t want that, of course not, but he’s always done everything she says and studied constantly. Drums are something fun that he wants for himself. Mom says he can do that, in a studio they’ll rent just for him. It’s just another way to keep Jae-hoon under her thumb, but Jae-hoon wants to do this with his friends.
Mom goes for the guilt trip, saying that she hasn’t had any friends ever since she had him, focusing her life entirely on her child. But Jae-hoon doesn’t want to live that way, never having any friends, and Mom says that he should make friends of his own class. Dad’s been listening from the next room, and he breaks in at this, booming that he’s had enough of her class talk.
Later Dad brings Jae-hoon a suitcase and starts packing his things. He tells Jae-hoon to keep up his studies, but that it’s time for him to go do what makes him happy. Jae-hoon is worried about his mother if he runs away, knowing that he’s been her whole life for twenty years, and tells his dad that this isn’t the answer.
Mom is listening outside the door, and Jae-hoon’s words appear to touch her. She heaves a sigh, looking triumphant.
Seok-ho gives Geu-rin credit for being willing to work for free to promote the band, but it’s not a good long-term strategy — they need to get on TV and the radio. He says he’ll have to go see Jae-hoon’s mom, even if it means barging in on her.
The boys are trying to think of ideas either, since their big debut didn’t make them instantly famous. Yeon-soo suggests busking (playing on a street corner) but they need Jae-hoon for anything like that. Geu-rin tells them they’ll be talking to his mother tomorrow, but they still won’t have an event to play.
Geu-rin goes online to find ideas for events, but nothing seems appropriate and affordable. Ha-neul finds her asleep at the keyboard and gently tucks her into bed. He lingers, watching her sleep, which Yeon-soo notices through the open door.
Geu-rin is vigilant the next day as she and Seok-ho watch for Jae-hoon’s mother. They adorably bicker over their respective fashion choices, and Geu-rin wins the fight over who gets to wear sunglasses because she’s the driver. HA, then they don’t move when Jae-hoon’s mom finally comes out, because Geu-rin’s got the car in Neutral.
Seok-ho follows Jae-hoon’s mom into her art studio, and though she doesn’t seem angry to see him, she does mention that she’s about to take a class and he should go. He says he’ll wait, and after he’s out of the room, she tells a fellow student that he’s Jae-hoon’s music teacher that she recently fired. She decides to skip the class and goes for coffee with Seok-ho.
She peppers Seok-ho with questions about his company, and lists everything she’s done to help Jae-hoon excel in school and how much it all cost. It’s a big number, especially since she also sent him abroad to study language during every school holiday. She wants to know about Mango’s assets because, as much money as she’s invested in her son, she can’t allow him to be in a band for a small, poor company.
Seok-ho softly says that Mango can’t compete with the money she’s spent on her son, and Mom tells him not to approach her or Jae-hoon ever again. But Seok-ho wants to know… if Jae-hoon is worth that much money, how much is his dream worth? Mom doesn’t have an answer for that, but she swears vehemently that she’ll never see Seok-ho again.
Meanwhile Geu-rin books an event for the following weekend. Seok-ho comes back to the car with determination in his eyes and calls the guys to meet him at the studio. He perks up a little to hear that Geu-rin got the band a gig, but worries what they’ll do if they can’t get Jae-hoon back.
Seok-ho bundles Ha-neul, Kyle, Yeon-soo and even little Chan-hee into the van and takes them all to Jae-hoon’s school. They draw a small crowd when one student recognizes them, and they all bow respectfully when Jae-hoon’s mom comes to pick him up after class.
Jae-hoon sees the standoff, and it’s clear that he has a choice to make: Will he go with Mom, or the band? He takes a long moment, looking at his mother, then Seok-ho, then trudges to his mother’s car.
On her best behavior and feeling triumphant, Mom suggests they skip golf lessons and go do something fun. Jae-hoon tells her that he loves her, but when she takes his wrist, he pulls away. He walks to Seok-ho, who asks if they’re kidnapping him or if he’s joining them, and Jae-hoon makes his decision. “I’m joining you.” Hooray!
Mom makes one last attempt to drag him back, but Jae-hoon says that he’s spent his whole life doing what she wants, and now he wants his own dream. He promises to keep up his grades, and gets in the van with his friends. Seok-ho tells her that this is Jae-hoon’s choice, making it clear that he never pushed him, and bows respectfully.
Jae-hoon is so sweet, he’s still worried about his mom, and Ha-neul says he wishes he still had a mom. Seok-ho teases to make sure Jae-hoon’s seat belt is on since he’s worth so much money, and Kyle declares the kidnapping a success.
Jae-hoon moves in with the rest of the band, and a reshuffling of room assignments has Chan-hee sleeping in Geu-rin’s room. Chan-hee is all for it, especially if Daddy can sometimes sleep with them, which makes Yeon-soo go all weird, heh.
CEO Lee gets an update from the prosecutor, who tells him that the new law won’t be helpful for their case since it won’t go into effect for six more months. Even if they find the broker, Seok-ho could get out of this scot-free.
The charges seem to be dropped, and Seok-ho and Min-joo celebrate. Min-joo mentions that Seok-ho seems to be getting soft, but he counters that he’s got something to go fight for right now.
He meets with Joo-han and shows him a picture of Kyung-soo’s key chain, which they found at the scene of the crime. He texts the picture to Joo-han and tells him to show it to Ji-young, but doesn’t give Joo-han any more information.
Back at Mango, Seok-ho finds something in his desk — it’s the picture he drew of himself in the rain, the one that Geu-rin rescued from the trash. She’s drawn a bright green umbrella over his head, and a note that says, “Even if there’s a rainstorm of stress, I’ll be your green umbrella. Be strong!”
He imagines watching her draw the umbrella, and asks her image what she’s doodling on. She just looks at him and smiles, and goes back to her picture. He thinks about how often lately that she’s mentioned his stress, and calls her to find out where she is, telling her to stay there and wait for him.
Ji-young tells Joo-han that she’s never seen the key chain in the picture before, though it’s written all over her face that she has. He tells her to be honest since Seok-ho could cause a lot of problems for them, and she points out that Jinu and CEO Lee would also be affected, but she still claims not to recognize the key chain.
Seok-ho finds Geu-rin still at the location after dark, waiting for him. He steels himself before approaching her, and she waves at him through the glass wall. He wonders to himself why he came all this way, and says, “Stay right there. Don’t come closer, Jung Geu-rin.”
I appreciate that the show addressed the problem that seems to be plaguing many cultures lately, that of children being pressured so hard to study and be successful that they are, in some extreme cases, being pushed to hide from the world or even suicide. I’m sure that Jae-hoon’s mother convinced herself that making him study constantly was good for him, but she almost seems to consider him an asset she’s invested in, rather than a person with his own hopes and dreams. She’s never thought about what he might want… she’s so uninterested that she’s probably never even asked him.
While it’s admirable to be academically proficient, people need to have balance in their life, and Jae-hoon was going to rebel one way or another once he found his talent and his dream. She sees Jae-hoon as a possession, something she controls rather than something she nurtures, and it’s obvious that she’s even shunted aside her own life to control his. It’s sad because it’s not just one life that’s destroyed when this happens… Mom also lost her chance at a happy life, because she was so concerned with making sure Jae-hoon did everything she wanted. Instead of investing so much time and money into him and only him, she should have used some of that to enrich her own life and marriage.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting your children to be the best they can be, and to be successful. The problem is when you completely subvert who they are, forcing them to do what you want. Dreams are important, and that’s what drums and band are to Jae-hoon — a way to have a happy life, to do something he loves, and be fulfilled. Balance is crucial in life, and I’m happy for him that he’s decided to break away and pursue his own dreams. So many kids don’t get that chance, and either shrivel away on the inside or find other, more destructive ways out. Kudos to the show for modeling that you can follow your dreams.
That’s really what this show is all about, living your dream. Seok-ho thought he was living his dream, but he was really just chasing fame and success, even if on behalf of his talented clients. All of the boys are fighting the barriers between them and their dreams — Kyle’s inferiority complex, Yeon-soo’s personal situation as a single father, Jae-hoon’s controlling mother. Ha-neul has had the worst time, between his brother dying, his parents forbidding him to play music, then his parents dying, and now having to try to be musically successful while also clearing his name. Dreams don’t come easy for Ddanddara Band, and I love their fierce determination not to give up, and to stick together, no matter what.
There are still a lot of secrets to uncover, especially surrounding Ha-neul and his family. We’re getting into the meat of the story now, regarding what really happened in that cabin a year ago. I hesitate to guess because I’ve been wrong several times now, and I still suspect there’s more to the events than what we know at this point. All I’m confident of is that there was a set-up, and when Ha-neul accidentally became involved they changed gears to blame him for the whole thing. I’m still curious why everyone went through this in the first place, since Ji-young is certainly just taking advantage of the situation and wasn’t the reason that Joo-han set things up in the first place. Was it to keep Jinu in line about something? That seems the likeliest answer, but I still feel as though there’s more to it.
And then there’s Seok-ho’s big secret — how was he involved with Ha-neul’s brother’s death? I wonder if Ha-neul himself even knows. Certainly based on Mr. Byun’s confrontation with CEO Lee, it had something to do with KTOP, but I do think Seok-ho was also tangled up in it. I don’t want anything to harm the brand-new bromance he and Ha-neul have established, especially since they both need family even if it’s acquired family. But I think all the secrets will need to come out before this is all over.