Drinking Solo: Episode 10
When your heart is broken, who else can you turn to but your friends? Lucky for Hana, she has a great one in Jin-yi, always up for a drink or a dance or whatever Hana needs. But there are worse things than unrequited love, and a friend’s devastating day gives Hana some perspective on what’s truly important in life.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
It’s Hana’s turn for a solo meal, but hers isn’t nearly as fancy as Jung-seok’s usual “healing time.” She listens to a sad song called “I Don’t Love You” while eating her humble ramyun and kimchi, sitting on the floor of her tiny basement apartment.
Jung-seok notices that Gong-myung’s nose is stuck in a workbook as they drive to school the next morning, and Gong-myung just says he has a reason he wants to pass the test. Jung-seok peevishly kicks Gong-myung out of the car so people won’t realize they’re brothers, and Gong-myung retaliates by opening both doors on his side of the car and skipping off. HA.
Hana whines to herself on her way to work, worried about seeing Jung-seok today, though she tells herself that liking him isn’t a crime. Shes so wrapped up in her thoughts that she doesn’t notice she’s walking right in front of Jung-seok’s car at an intersection. He sees her, and resolves to make Hana give up her crush on him. Hmmm, he sure does watch her walk away for a long time…
When Jung-seok arrives at work, Director Kim asks if he’s interested in going on a blind date. Hana is sitting right there and Jung-seok is very aware of her, and though his initial instinct is to turn it down, he glares over at Hana and accepts. He even curls his lip at her, all, See, I DO NOT like you!
Hana leaves the office to get away from Jung-seok, and Jin-yi follows her out and asks if she’s okay. Hana asks Jin-yi out for a drink after work, but Jin-yi says she can’t drink — she thinks she really is pregnant this time.
The two head to the restroom so Jin-yi can take a pregnancy test, but before she can even take the test she discovers that she’s not pregnant after all. Jin-yi sobs, sure now that she’ll never get married.
Jung-seok’s blind date (cameo by Ha Suk-jin’s 1% of Anything co-star Jeon So-min) is everything he said he wanted — pretty, educated, and from a good family. But somehow everything she says reminds him of Hana, and though Jung-seok keeps reminding himself that such a lofty personage as himself deserves a woman like the one in front of him, his mind continues to wander back to Hana.
Gong-myung is committed to his studying, and when his friends urge him to take a break, he points out his “Master” and says that he’s following her orders. Dong-young is surprised Chae-yeon agreed to tutor him, while Ki-bum is downright angry and glares daggers at her.
Ki-bum tries to convince Gong-myung to go play games with him, and Chae-yeon snaps that this just proves that it’s Ki-bum holding Gong-myung back from studying. She thinks Gong-myung needs to stop hanging out with Ki-bum entirely, and Gong-myung obediently follows her out when she leaves.
Ki-bum is understandably upset that Gong-myung is following Chae-yeon’s directions to drop him as a friend, though Dong-young seems to find it pretty amusing. He teases Ki-bum for being jealous that Gong-myung and Chae-yeon might grow close while studying together, but Ki-bum yells — a little too loudly — that he doesn’t like Chae-yeon anymore.
Jin-yi joins Hana for that drink after all, and she tells Hana that her boyfriend was relieved that she’s not pregnant. They agree that he’s an asshole who has no intention of marrying Jin-yi, and Jin-yi reveals that her parents died when she was young so she’s always wanted a family.
Jin-yi declares that she’s breaking up with her boyfriend, and Hana can forget about “that guy.” Oops. She has to admit that she knows about Hana’s crush on Jung-seok, and that she told Jung-seok about it. Hana does a literal spit-take, and Jin-yi says that since he went on that blind date, it’s proof he doesn’t like Hana back.
Hana is drunk and crying by the time they leave the restaurant, and Jin-yi tells her firmly that they’ll never cry over a man again. They decide to relive their younger days, and head to a ’90s club to boogie their troubles away.
Later, after a few more drinks, they sing loudly to old-school love songs, sobbing their hearts out. Then back to the dance floor, then drinking, and dancing again, and taking turns crying, until they’ve gotten all their feelings out. They end up toppling over onto the floor hugging and ugly-crying together. Best girls’ night ever.
Ki-bum can’t sleep, worrying about whether Gong-myung and Chae-yeon are studying together right now. He tells himself he doesn’t care, but he remembers the look on Chae-yeon’s face as she watched Gong-myung walking away, and flails in silence.
Hana falls out of bed in the morning, then shrieks when she realizes she’s supposed to meet with Director Kim in less than half an hour. Director Kim takes out his annoyance on Jin-woong when Hana is late, kicking him in the shin when he does today’s impression and yelling that his class attendance is dropping.
Hana is extremely late, and Director Kim isn’t one bit happy with her. He’s even angrier when he smells the alcohol on her breath, and threatens to fire her if her class registration numbers don’t improve.
Hana is saved when Jung-seok enters Kim’s office, and Kim ushers him to a seat to ask about his date. She’s stuck listening while Jung-seok says what a perfect match his date was, very high-quality, though to his credit, he looks uncomfortable discussing this with Hana there.
She finally asks to be excused, and Director Kim asks Jung-seok for more details. He asks if Jung-seok thinks he might marry the lady, and Jung-seok snaps that he’s only met her once and to mind his own business.
Hana sighs to herself that Jung-seok has found the perfect woman, then takes a call from her mother. Mom is asking for money, and Hana gets annoyed, asking how she can be broke when Hana already sends her money every month. She barely stops herself from saying something really mean, says she’ll send the money, and hangs up.
She’s so distracted that she goes to the wrong lecture hall to teach, instead finding herself in Jung-seok’s class. She slinks out, embarrassed, and runs right smack into Jung-seok. Dong-young tells Jung-seok what happened, and Jung-seok thinks to himself that of course, seeing the guy she likes dating someone else would be upsetting to Hana.
Ki-bum and Dong-young run into Gong-myung and Chae-yeon in the cafeteria, eating and studying together (Gong-myung is getting the hang of it, hee). Ki-bum plops down right next to Gong-myung, determined to eat with his friend, but Chae-yeon tells him to leave Gong-myung alone.
Ki-bum asks who she thinks she is to keep them apart, and she counters that if he’s really Gong-myung’s friend, he’ll let him study in peace. She stands to leave, instructing Gong-myung to follow, but Ki-bum grabs Gong-myung and tells him to make a choice.
Gong-myung goes with Chae-yeon, and Dong-young smirks again that Ki-bum is jealous. Ki-bum says he’s just afraid he and Gong-myung will grow distant, and Dong-young quips that he’d like some distance from Ki-bum himself, HA.
During a class break, Jin-woong gets a call from the hospital letting him know that his mother has been asking for him. She’s not doing well, but Jin-woong can’t leave in the middle of class, and promises to come as soon as he can.
During class there’s another call, but this time Jin-woong turns off his phone. He checks his messages after class, and a text from the hospital informs him that his mother has passed away. Oh no. Oh, poor Jin-woong.
Gong-myung beams when Chae-yeon grades his workbook — he’s showing obvious improvement. Ki-bum sneers at them from out in the hallway, and Dong-young sneaks up and accuses him of being jealous again. Ki-bum says he’s just making sure Chae-yeon doesn’t badmouth him to Gong-myung, but Dong-young doesn’t buy it.
Jung-seok goes on a second date with Miss Perfect, but today he’s even more distant. He keeps thinking about how upset Hana looked when he accepted the date, and when she went to the wrong class, and Miss Perfect asks if something is wrong. He says he’s fine, then compliments the wine, and she points out that he’s drinking water. PFFT.
Jin-yi tells Hana that she thinks she really will break up with her boyfriend, since he’s not calling her anymore. Director Kim comes in and tells them that the woman Jung-seok is on a date with is actually his sister-in-law, and that he hopes things work out.
If Jung-seok marries her, it would make Jung-seok family, and they could keep him at the school. Director Kim mentions that his sister-in-law seems perfect, but she has a fatal flaw that could keep her from doing better than Jung-seok…
Back at their meal, Miss Perfect sighs that Jung-seok’s drinking alone must mean he’s been lonely, and offers to drink with him from now on. Jung-seok looks annoyed, and thinks about how Hana said she likes drinking alone as well. Miss Perfect asks what he’s thinking about, and Jung-seok sighs and says he can’t see her anymore. He’s honest, and says that he keeps thinking about someone else, and sincerely apologizes.
Miss Perfect’s flaw turns out to be that she’s crazy — when she gets angry, she lashes out, and no man will put up with her. She sees red at Jung-seok’s rejection, and she grabs one of the lobsters on the table and whacks Jung-seok on the head with it. Twice.
She swings a third time and he grabs her wrist, so she snags a lobster with her other hand and hits him again. Jung-seok wrestles the lobsters from her and she lets loose on him, asking how “quality” he is to be thinking of another woman while on a date with her.
They argue loudly about who has the better qualifications and who makes more money, and Miss Perfect isn’t impressed by Jung-seok’s claim to be the best instructor in Noryangjin. She calls him a temporary freelancer, and he whips back that at least his daddy didn’t buy him his job. Ouch.
Miss Perfect makes another grab for the lobsters, and Jung-seok snatches them first and holds them up defensively. She throws her glass of water in his face and leaves him standing there, wet and clutching his lobsters. HAHAHAwheeze.
Jin-woong enters the office and Director Kim invites him out after work, mocking him for being whipped when he declines. Jin-woong politely says that he can’t go, because his mother just died, and gives everyone the saddest little smile.
Dong-young and Ki-bum have a convenience store dinner, and Dong-young says that Gong-myung is still studying with his “Master.” He doesn’t answer Ki-bum’s call, and Dong-young says that he answered when he called, so Chae-yeon must really be trying to get him to cut ties with Ki-bum.
Ki-bum orders Dong-young to call Gong-myung and make him come eat with them, then resorts to loud whining when Dong-young refuses. Dong-young asks why he needs Gong-myung so badly, telling him to just admit that he’s jealous.
Ki-bum swears he isn’t, that he’s just worried he and Gong-myung will drift apart, and dramatically pines for his beloved Gong-myung. Nothing works until he offers to pay Dong-young to call him, and suddenly Dong-young can’t dial fast enough, heh.
Gong-myung notices that Chae-yeon’s nose is bleeding as she studies, and he’s amazed whens he just acts like it’s no big deal. He asks why she wants to be a civil servant so badly when she went to a good school and could get a good job, but she says it’s not that simple. She studied Liberal Arts, and it’s nearly impossible to get a job with a Liberal Arts degree.
Gong-myung tries to slip away when he sees Dong-young calling, but Chae-yeon says that spending time with friends only prolongs their time in Noryangjin. He’s impressed with her diligence, and says he’s glad he picked her to mentor him.
Dong-young calls again, and Gong-myung takes the call this time. He says he can’t come hang out with them, even when Ki-bum grabs the phone and begs. Ki-bum demands to know why he’s studying so hard all of a sudden, but Gong-myung skirts the question.
Jin-woong’s coworkers all come to his mother’s funeral, and it’s Director Kim who seems the most upset. He, Jin-yi, and Hana all sit to eat, and Director Kim says that Jung-seok should be here soon.
They overhear a trio of ajummas talking about Jin-woong, and they’re shocked when the ladies mention his divorce. Director Kim wonders, if he’s not leaving at ten o’clock every night to see his wife, then where was he going? He gets his answer when the ajummas sigh at what a good son Jin-woong is, visiting his mother every single day.
Hana finds Jin-woong taking a break outside, and asks him gently why he didn’t mention his mother’s illness. He says there was no point in sharing sad family issues, because even now, giving energetic and happy lectures, his student enrollment is decreasing. If he shared his sad personal story, nobody would want to take his classes.
He tells Hana that he got the call in the middle of class, and that if he’d been able to come then, his mother wouldn’t have died alone. But he says that if he could turn back time he still wouldn’t leave his class, not because he’s so dedicated to his work, but because his students trust him. He wipes away one single tear, and says that he’s just sorry for his mother that he wasn’t a more talented son.
Later Hana talks to her phone, ashamed to be whining over a guy when Jin-woong couldn’t even leave his class to be with his dying mother. Her own mother calls, and she apologizes for yelling at her earlier.
Her mother apologizes too, sorry that she’s always asking Hana for money, but Hana just asks her mom to be around for her for as long as possible. She tearfully promises to become successful and make sure her mother doesn’t have to worry about money anymore.
After the funeral is over, Director Kim sits with Jin-woong, who says he’s sure Kim has heard by now that he’s divorced. Director Kim says he’s decided to stay with Jin-woong tonight, and he pats Jin-woong’s hand then goes to help clean up. The show of support from the boss who usually yells at him finally cracks Jin-woong, and he starts to cry. Awww.
The moment Gong-myung stops studying and bids Chae-yeon goodnight, he’s hit with a flying kick from behind. It’s Ki-bum, who fights like a wildcat, screaming that his heart is breaking because they’re growing apart. It’s been, like, one day…
Dong-young manages to peel Ki-bum off Gong-myung, but he just breaks free again and climbs Gong-myung like a tree, yanking on his hair. He starts hollering for Gong-myung to admit that he likes Chae-yeon, and finally Gong-myung yells back, “I like someone else!” That finally gets Ki-bum to calm (and climb) down, and he and Dong-young stare at Gong-myung in shock.
Dong-young and Gong-myung relocate to a playground, and Dong-young asks if Hana is the reason Gong-myung is finally studying. Gong-myung says she is, and Ki-bum shrieks his happiness from where he’s playing on the swings.
Gong-myung says that he just likes everything about Hana, and Ki-bum trills that when you like someone, you just like them for no reason. Ha, now that he knows Gong-myung isn’t a threat to his crush on Chae-yeon, Ki-bum tells him to go study, because Chae-yeon is right that they need some distance. Silly boy.
Dong-young and Gong-myung watch Ki-bum swinging like a kid, and guess that he doesn’t just like Chae-yeon — he loves her.
Jung-seok misses the funeral entirely and sits alone at a bar, drinking and thinking about Hana. He wonders if his recent behavior means he likes her, then decides that no, he just keeps thinking of her because he feels bad about upsetting her.
He tries to focus on his solo drinking time, but thoughts of Hana keep intruding into his mind. He remembers her saying she likes to drink with others as well as alone, and helping her with her online class, and taking pictures with her at the fireworks show. He thinks about buttoning her into his coat at the wine cave, and how she’d smiled when he leaned in close.
Jung-seok gulps his drink, determined to stop this line of thinking. He tests his blood alcohol content, and gapes to see that he’s let himself get well over his personal limit. He doesn’t remember drinking this much, and wonders, “No way… could I really like No Geu-rae?” He shakes his head, and pours another drink.
He’s well and truly toasted by the time he’s being driven home, and he imagines Hana in the car with him again, asking if he likes her. He holds up his arms in a defensive X, denying the truth, and tells her image to shush.
Hana heads home, exhausted after her long emotional day. Just as she reaches her door a hand grabs her wrist and yanks her around, to reveal a very drunk Jung-seok. He looks almost as confused to be there as Hana is to see him, and he blurts out, “Apologize. Apologize now!”
Hana asks why, and Jung-seok slurs that he’s Jin Jung-seok, and she made him think about her even though she’s so tacky. He yells that she’s all he can think about, so he wants an apology.
Hana says she has no idea what he’s talking about, and turns to go inside. Jung-seok turns her around to face him again, then grabs her in a hug. Whoa, I was not expecting that.
Shocked, Hana just stands there, while Jung-seok says into her neck, “You really don’t know? I like you, No Geu-rae. I’ve started to like you.” He looks confused and a little lost, but he hugs Hana even tighter.
Hoo-boy, if ever anyone ever needed a lobster upside the head, it’s Jung-seok. It’s not nearly enough payback for the way he’s been treating Hana, and I want a large portion of that payback to come from Hana herself, but a good solid lobster-slappin’ is a hell of a start. Miss Perfect may be whackadoodle, but she was absolutely correct in breaking down Jung-seok, saying that he’s just a teacher with an overblown ego. Jung-seok needs to be taken down a peg or ten, and realize that he’s no better than anyone else just because he has nice clothes and a big fancy house.
I can’t wait for Hana to flat-out reject Jung-seok based on his own claim that she’s not good enough for him, and for him to have to prove that he’s not the fancypants rockstar he thinks he is. And the worst part for Jung-seok is that Hana won’t be avoiding him out of pique or revenge, but because she’s truly internalized his statements that she’s not good enough for him. He’s going to have to work pretty hard to reverse the effects of his own hurtful words. Rather than Hana not deserving him, it’s the other way around, and he needs to do some serious humble groveling to prove to her that he can be a better man.
Ki-bum really needs to get his act together — I thought he’d already resigned himself to study harder when he realized his family thought of him as an embarrassment, but he seems to have backslid into his old ways. Instead of playing all day and obsessing about Chae-yeon, he needs to be buckling down and working to secure his future. If he really does like Chae-yeon, she’ll be more impressed by seeing him working hard than anything else he does. I almost felt bad for him, the way his friends see him as an impediment to their studying, but then I realized — they’re right. He’s the one who always wants to hang out and do anything but study, and if he doesn’t get himself straight soon, he’s going to be left behind for real as they all graduate and he’s still in Noryangjin, making terrible grades.
I felt so bad for Jin-woong in this episode, not even able to go to his mother’s side when she was dying because he had to teach. It said so much about him when he told Hana that he had to maintain his cheerful demeanor because it’s the only thing keeps students in his class, and thus keeps him from losing his job. He’s not happy and cheerful because he wants to be, but because he has to be. It just breaks my heart for him. But I think he has an unexpected friend in Director Kim, who truly seems to care about Jin-woong, and I was glad that Jin-woong was able to let himself cry after the funeral when Kim decided to stay with him. Now if we can just get Jin-woong and Jin-yi together, I’ll be content.
On the other hand, I’m glad that Hana got a wake-up call as to what’s important in life. Whether or not a man likes you is insignificant in the grand scheme of things — what’s really matters is making sure that those you love know how you feel about them. Jin-woong didn’t get a last chance to tell his mother how he felt and to say he loved her, but Hana does have that chance, and I’m happy for her that she got this opportunity to readjust her priorities. She needs to work on herself before she worries about a man. And right now, Jung-seok doesn’t deserve one second of Hana’s regard, and spending so much time and energy weeping and worrying over him isn’t doing her any good. It’s a great first step for Hana, and now I want to see her go even further and focus on her career, becoming a better teacher and person. Jung-seok can flail in his misery for a while, as far as I’m concerned.