Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Episode 13
As much as this drama can make me nostalgic for the days of my youth, at times it also makes me very glad that those times are behind me. Growing up is difficult, and things like first love aren’t always all about sweet kisses and first snows. Becoming an adult means learning what you’re willing to stand up for, even when the odds are against you.
Note: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju will be pre-empted on Thursday, so Episode 14 will air next week. I’ll be white-knuckling it along with the rest of you until then!
EPISODE 13: “Jealousy is Love Rounded Up to the Next Step”
Bok-ju heads back to her dorm room after confessing to Joon-hyung, all happy smiles and giddy giggles. Joon-hyung is in the exact same state, and texts Bok-ju the moment he gets to his room. They text back and forth, telling each other to go to sleep, kicking and grinning like lovesick fools.
The next morning, Joon-hyung can’t keep his hands off Bok-ju when the two teams run into each other on the jogging track. They hang back to canoodle a bit, hugging and grabbing at each other like they can’t bear to be apart. So cute.
Nan-hee notices that Bok-ju is in an unusually good mood, though Bok-ju keeps the reason to herself. Joon-hyung texts her to meet him at “the toad’s house,” and she tells Nan-hee the message is just spam.
She gets all dolled up, even wearing makeup and pinning on her red bow hairpin. On her way out she notices that Shi-ho is still in bed, but she shakes off the moment of concern, excited to see Joon-hyung.
Joon-hyung lands a coin in the fountain’s stone cup just as Bok-ju arrives, and he tells her to make a wish. He gives her a kiss on the cheek while her eyes are closed, and Bok-ju pretends to be annoyed. Joon-hyung argues that she was the one kissing him yesterday, describing their kisses loudly while Bok-ju flails at him.
He notices her red hair pin, and frowns as he recognizes it as the one she wore for Jae-yi. He’s so jealous that he yells at her never to wear it again, calling it ugly and demanding she remove it this instant. When Bok-ju says it’s her only hairpin, Joon-hyung snatches it off her head himself, taking a few strands of hair with it. Oops.
He’s instantly sorry, and tries to take her hand. Bok-ju yanks her hand back, shy about her calluses, but Joon-hyung firmly holds her hand and says he’ll even massage it for her. Best boyfriend ever.
Back in their room, Shi-ho sleeps in and wakes up ill. She tries to reach her phone and ends up knocking it to the floor, where she can’t reach it.
Joon-hyung takes Bok-ju to buy a new hairpin, one he doesn’t associate with her former crush. He doesn’t deny being jealous, having watched Bok-ju suffer while she liked Jae-yi. Bok-ju loftily tells him that she’s not the type who will get jealous over little things, so he shouldn’t expect it. I have a feeling she’s going to eat those words.
They look through the pins, and Bok-ju frowns at Joon-hyung when he picks up one with a little piglet on it and calls it “Bok-ju.” He nixes any shaped like bows, and they finally settle on a cute little strawberry pin.
Bok-ju arrives back at her dorm room to find Shi-ho passed out on the floor next to her bottle of sleeping pills. She screams for help, and Shi-ho is rushed to the hospital.
Joon-hyung hears the news from his roommate Tae-kwon, who repeats the rumor that Shi-ho tried to commit suicide by taking pills. Joon-hyung rushes to the hospital, and finds Shi-ho still unconscious in the emergency room.
The doctor tells him that they pumped her stomach, and that she didn’t take many pills, so it probably wasn’t a suicide attempt. He says Shi-ho is malnourished and has high glucose levels, indicating that she may have an eating disorder, so they plan to hospitalize her for a while for more tests.
Joon-hyung slides to the side when Shi-ho’s mother and sister arrive, and watches as Shi-ho finally opens her eyes. He chooses not to stay, and slips away quietly.
Bok-ju runs into him and asks after Shi-ho, and she’s relieved to hear that she’s okay and didn’t try to kill herself. She feels guilty for suspecting something wasn’t right with Shi-ho after seeing her binge-eating, but Joon-hyung assures her that she’s not at fault and gives her a comforting hug.
Back in his room later, Joon-hyung checks his phone and sees that Shi-ho tried to call him while he and Bok-ju were looking at hairpins. Knowing that she tried to reach out to him and he missed her call makes him feel guilty.
Coach Yoon goes drinking with the university’s dean, who drunkenly promises to give Coach Choi her job back. Coach Yoon even makes the dean pinky-swear, and pays for his cab home.
Joon-hyung visits Shi-ho in the hospital, and she looks as though she’s feeling much better. They go outside to talk, and Joon-hyung apologizes for not answering the phone when she needed help. Shi-ho waves him off, saying that it’s all her fault.
She says that, even though she only collapsed yesterday, it feels like it happened a long time ago. She says that all they have is their athletics, and that she felt pushed and though the world was ending.
She says that she felt as if she were struggling to hold onto the edge of a cliff, and couldn’t admit it. But now she seems calmer, and says that she thinks she can put all that aside and just enjoy gymnastics.
She even apologizes for clinging onto Joon-hyung when he’d made it clear he didn’t want to get back together. Joon-hyung says they’re even, and they shake hands as friends, then Shi-ho cutely grumbles at him to call her “noona” from now on.
Shi-ho tells Joon-hyung that she’ll be released in a few days, and that she’ll need therapy. He recommends his therapist, and she gratefully accepts.
Joon-hyung is honest when Bok-ju calls and says he’s at the hospital, and she asks after Shi-ho. She says she was going to visit her today, so he tells her to come over when she can.
The dean tells Coach Yoon that he doesn’t plan to reinstate Coach Choi, that his higher-ups refused his decision. Coach Yoon argues that Coach Choi knows the students better than he does, and threatens to quit himself if the dean doesn’t rehire Coach Choi.
Bok-ju arrives at the hospital to find Joon-hyung attending to Shi-ho, and Shi-ho seems genuinely happy to see Bok-ju. Bok-ju gives her a bouquet of flowers, but Joon-hyung mentions Shi-ho’s pollen allergy and takes them away. When Shi-ho says she’s tired, Bok-ju offers to adjust her bed, but Joon-hyung takes the controls and does it.
Joon-hyung and Bok-ju leave the hospital together, and he notices that she’s terribly quiet today. Bok-ju snaps that he talks just to talk, and Joon-hyung recoils jokingly. He attributes Bok-ju’s crankiness to hunger, and takes her to a street cart for fish cakes.
Almost immediately, he gets a call from Shi-ho, who asks about his therapist. Joon-hyung steps away from Bok-ju to talk for a few minutes, during which she glares at him and scarfs down fish cakes.
When his call ends, Joon-hyung compliments Bok-ju on her eating habits, and calls her “my pig.” Oh honey, no. He’s smart enough to cancel that comment, but falls back to calling Bok-ju “Chubs,” which… isn’t better under the circumstances.
Bok-ju looks like she’s trying to kill him with her mind, and he doesn’t understand why he can’t call her that nickname anymore, but promises to stop. Then he calls her Chubs again. Bok-ju storms off, leaving him to pay for her mountain of fish cakes.
Joon-hyung doesn’t really get why Bok-ju is mad, and nothing he does or says makes her feel any better. He pesters Bok-ju until she yanks her hand away from him, accidentally cutting his finger in the process. He whines at her about the blood, and says that she should at least tell him why she’s angry.
They have a childish argument over whether she’s angry at all, until Bok-ju blows up and says that now she’s angry because he won’t leave her alone about it. She leaves to go to practice, leaving Joon-hyung as confused as ever and angry with her in return.
Bok-ju gets to the gym to find the mood subdued, the students worried what they’ll do if Coach Yoon really quit. They’re upset and start to lave, but team captain Woon-ki stops them by saying that this is all his fault. He explains that Coach Choi used the team funds to pay off his settlement, and apologizes for not speaking up sooner.
Bok-ju feels vindicated, having previously defended that Coach Choi wouldn’t have used the team money for no reason. She asks what they can do to stop their coaches from leaving, and the team hatches a plan to stage a hunger strike.
They stand outside the university office with placards, though Bok-ju pretty quickly regrets the choice to do this outside in the cold. The entire team grows hungry at the same time, and Woon-ki warns them to stop talking about food. The dean sees their protest, but he figures they’ll give up when they get too hungry and cold.
Joon-hyung goes to Jae-yi and asks how his dating situation is lately, since he doesn’t visit Dr. Go at school anymore. Jae-yi is surprised that Joon-hyung picked up on their cooling friendship, and Joon-hyung teases that Jae-yi has less dating sense than his younger brother.
Jae-yi asks how things are with Bok-ju, and Joon-hyung shyly admits that he confessed. But he says that he’s confused why women won’t just tell a man what they’re mad about, and Jae-yi tells him that he’ll figure out the answer if he thinks about it.
Joon-hyung passes by Bok-ju’s protest on his way home, and stops to ask what she’s doing. She refuses to speak to him, so he pulls her to the side of the tent, and fusses at her for staying out on such a cold night. He’s worried she’ll freeze, but she tells him to mind his own business.
Joon-hyung asks if Bok-ju is really going to be like this, when he’s only worried about her. She goes back to her friends without a word, and he snaps at her angrily to do whatever she wants.
Spurred on by his talk with Joon-hyung, Jae-yi waits for Dr. Go to come home from work that night. He asks if she’s ignoring his calls on purpose, and she admits that she is. She apologizes for being too emotional and blowing up at him, and he says he’s been thinking about what she said that day.
Jae-yi says that for ten years, she’s always been there when he needed a friend, and that he took her for granted. He asks her, “Let’s date,” but she says love isn’t a charity, and it doesn’t work that way. She says that she’ll just be thankful for his friendship, and goes inside.
Joon-hyung can hardly stand it, knowing that Bok-ju is out in the cold, and frustrated that she won’t say why she’s mad at him. He grows even more worried when he sees that it’s snowing.
The protesters take a break, and Bok-ju wanders over to the stairs to massage her cold feet. Suddenly Joon-hyung appears in front of her, and silently puts a pair of warming packs on her feet. He gives her his coat and scarf, wrapping her up tightly, and softly asks her to please take care of herself.
The weightlifting team members come back from their break and recognize Joon-hyung, noting that he and Bok-ju seem awfully close. Joon-hyung heads back to the dorm, and Bok-ju tells the team that he’s just a friend who was worried about her.
Uncle Dae-ho hovers over Bok-ju’s dad, worried he could collapse again. Dad picks up a fallen photo of Bok-ju winning a medal, and says that he has a strange feeling and tells Dae-ho to call her. He does, and she lies about having eaten today and says she’s at the gym.
One of the weightlifters collapses, and the team takes him off to the doctor, leaving only Bok-ju, Nan-hee, and Woon-ki at the protest. Nan-hee breaks first, then Bok-ju gets a nosebleed, and Woon-ki says that it’s over. Bok-ju doesn’t want to give up, and their spirits are lifted when Seon-ok runs over to them just in time.
She says that she ran away back to school while her mother was out shopping, and Nan-hee bursts into loud tears. The three friends hug, as the other weightlifters come running back with news.
They’ve discovered that the coach the dean hired to replace Coach Choi has no weightlifting experience, and only got the job because he’s friends with the dean. This injustice gives them fresh energy to continue the protest, and get their rightful coach back. They take the protest to the streets, marching up and down and chanting against corruption in the school.
Coach Yoon is woken by a call from the school, and he’s horrified to see the ruckus his students are causing. He stops them and demands to know what they’re doing, and they explain that they can’t stand back and watch their department disrespected this way. Coach Yoon is worried they’ll be blacklisted, and lies down in the street to protest their protest.
He gets another call, and this time it’s the dean. Coach Yoon’s whole mood changes as he listens, and he jumps up to tell the kids that Coach Choi will be reinstated with a salary cut to repay the money she took. Hooray!
Joon-hyung happens by just in time to see the entire weightlifting team celebrating in the street. He smiles to see Bok-ju’s happy face, and sighs at the entire bag of heating pads he’s bought for no reason. Oh, you sweet thing.
Coach Choi is notified, and the team break their fast with a party at Bok Chicken. Coach Yoon makes a toast to the team’s determination and willingness to do what they believe is right, then calls Coach Choi up to make a speech.
She stands and says a few humble words of thanks, and the students demand to see their coaches to do a love shot with arms linked around the neck. Coach Choi is nervous but willing, but the love shot is interrupted by Uncle Dae-ho.
Right in front of everyone, Dae-ho throws his arm around Coach Choi and announces that they’re dating. Coach Choi looks like she wants to sink into the floor, and drags Dae-ho outside to clear up some things.
He objects when she calls him “Bok-ju’s uncle,” preferring she call him by name. She tells him that she was really drunk when she said she’d date him, despite kissing him and everything. She apologizes and begs him to hit her, and Dae-ho nails the real issue — she has feelings for Coach Yoon.
Coach Choi denies it, and Dae-ho lets her have the lie. He says that if that’s the case, then he’s not giving up on her.
Joon-hyung calls Bok-ju several times, worried that she got sick from being in the cold. She’s fine, just ignoring his calls, and she rolls her eyes at Nan-hee and Seon-ok when they squeal wildly over Dae-ho’s public confession. Dad barks at the three of them not to date until later in life, and to focus on weightlifting for now.
The girls go back to the dorm, and Bok-ju calls Joon-hyung. He’s rocking nervously by the phone, waiting for her call, and fusses at her for ignoring his calls then asks if she’s okay. She asks if he wants to meet, saying she has something to give him, and he lights up like a Christmas tree.
They meet in the lobby, and Bok-ju coolly tosses Joon-hyung’s coat and scarf at him. He’s disappointed, but has her sit, and takes this chance to ask why she’s mad at him. She finally relents, and admits that she’s jealous of the way he was taking care of Shi-ho right in front of her.
I love how Joon-hyung’s face changes as he realizes that this has all been because she’s jealous. He reminds Bok-ju that she said childish jealousy wasn’t her style, and explains that he was only being so nice because he felt guilty for ignoring Shi-ho’s call for help.
He points out that Bok-ju has a past, too, though she insists that a one-sided love isn’t the same as a real ex-girlfriend. Joon-hyung grabs her in a big happy hug and refuses to let go, promising to tell Bok-ju everything from now on if she’ll do the same.
She jokes that Jae-yi bought her the strawberry pin, and Joon-hyung makes a face and says he’s going to see Shi-ho, hee. He goes back for another hug, and kisses the pout right off Bok-ju’s face.
They’re snugglier than ever the next day, and Joon-hyung can’t stop himself from glomping onto Bok-ju every second he can. She throws him off when she sees Shi-ho arriving home after being released from the hospital, and Joon-hyung wisely stops himself from helping Shi-ho with her bag.
Shi-ho notes that they seem awfully close, but she seems to be truly okay with it and even makes a joke (while Joon-hyung cheekily draws a heart on Bok-ju’s back, ha). Shi-ho goes inside, and Joon-hyung immediately jumps on Bok-ju again.
He pulls her hood up to keep her warm, and she pats his head and praises him for not paying attention to another girl. She loses another round of rock-paper-scissors and gets a thump on the head, then another, but Joon-hyung cheats and lets her win the third round.
Bok-ju gives him a hard thwack, and he deadpans that he’s breaking up with her now. Ha. Their bickering turns into a tickle fight, then another hug, right there in the middle of the street. In their happiness at just being together, they don’t notice that Bok-ju’s father rides past them on a delivery, and realizes that they must be dating.
I just adore how real Bok-ju and Joon-hyung’s relationship feels, even when they aren’t getting along. The way they can’t stop smiling, and thinking about each other, and especially the way they can’t keep their hands off each other, just feels so true-to-life. I’ve always felt that dramas can be disingenuous about new couples, who barely act any different after getting together after one chaste kiss, then never touching each other again. In real life, young love is all about the skinship, and just enjoying your new-coupleness as much as possible. This show doesn’t shy away from that truth — Bok-ju and Joon-hyung are healthy young people, so of course they get giddy and handsy!
I also thought their jealous fight was realistic — not only did Joon-hyung seem to Bok-ju to be paying a lot of attention to Shi-ho all of a sudden, but she’s his ex-girlfriend, of all people. I felt that Bok-ju’s jealousy was understandable, and she didn’t go overboard expressing it either. Not only was Joon-hyung acting awfully boyfriend-y with Shi-ho, but he then actually dared to call Bok-ju a pig, getting right to her insecurities about not being a dainty feminine girl. She had every reason to be angry, especially since he didn’t even know why that was unacceptable, and let’s be honest — Joon-hyung is an adorable bouncy puppy, but sometimes his playful teasing gets a little mean. He needs to learn where the line is, so I’m proud of Bok-ju for setting that boundary quite firmly.
But I also loved that, even when Bok-ju wasn’t even speaking to him, Joon-hyung’s first concern was still to take care of her. The whole scene where he brought her foot-warmers just melted me, even though they barely said a word. They didn’t need to — Joon-hyung made it clear to Bok-ju that even if she’s not speaking to him, even if she pushes him away, he’s still going to be there for her. That whole scene was so lovely… Joon-hyung clearly shows Bok-ju his love at every opportunity, even when things aren’t going well between them.
I don’t mean to talk about Joon-hyung and Bok-ju to the exclusion of the other wonderful characters in this drama, and it would be a shame to leave them out. I particularly liked seeing the students finally get involved with Coach Choi’s dismissal, and do something about it, at least to the extent that they could. What she did was wrong, but Woon-ki let it happen by not speaking up, and it was nice to see him stand up for her in return. It was also good to see Jae-yi and Dr. Go talk about their relationship, even if it was for her to tell him that you can’t force love to happen just by willing it. She was right to point out that he can’t make himself care for her in a romantic way, though I suspect he’s going to discover that he already does, and just took that for granted, too.
I was particularly glad that Dae-ho and Coach Choi got a chance to talk about their problem, since it was getting painful to watch Dae-ho continue to think that Coach Choi shared his feelings. Now he knows the truth, and he’s declared his intention to pursue her properly, which is a good place to start. And while she may still have feelings for Coach Yoon, he’s a married man, so Coach Choi really needs to move on. She could do a lot worse than a sweet guy like Dae-ho.
And now I’m concerned about Dad’s reaction to the realization that Bok-ju is dating. Yes, she’s an adult, and he’s come a long way in allowing her to make her own decisions, but I can’t imagine he’s going to be happy about this. She just decided to come back to weightlifting, and has the potential to be sponsored and make a career out of her dream. It’s a bad time for her to be distracted, and with the way Dad sees her as his last chance at weightlifting success, I can’t help but worry at how he’s going to react.
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- Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Episode 3
- Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Episode 2
- Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Episode 1