Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Episode 5
One of the best things about this show is the deliciously awkward secondhand embarrassment we feel for Bok-ju when Joon-hyung teases her, and there’s plenty of that to go around in this hour. He’s privy to her most embarrassing secret and takes great pleasure in tormenting her for it, and it’s adorable watching the two bicker for the upper hand. Bok-ju may be taking risks with herself for the sake of her crush, but right now the happy glow is what keeps her going.
EPISODE 5: “I’m happy to be a woman”
Bok-ju is horrified to see Joon-hyung in Jae-yi’s office, pointing at her and asking why she’s here. It gets worse when she realizes that he’s related to Jae-yi, but she thinks fast and says that she and Joon-hyung went to elementary school together. She pretends they haven’t seen each other since then, while Joon-hyung stares at her like she’s got her head on backwards.
Joon-hyung is even more surprised when Jae-yi tells him that this is the cellist he mentioned. He quickly sizes up the situation and goes along with Bok-ju’s fib for now, shaking her hand like they’re just now reconnecting. He leers at her as she tries to get her hand back, as if to say, “You’re in so much trouble now.”
Joon-hyung walks back to campus with Bok-ju, joking that at least she picked an instrument that suits her (cellos are heavy and require a lot of physical strength). He eventually realizes that she’s genuinely upset with him and asks why, when he lied for her. He wonders how long she’s been seeing Jae-yi, and guesses that if she were just there to lose weight she wouldn’t have lied about being a cellist.
It’s a short jump for Joon-hyung to conclude that Bok-ju likes Jae-yi, and she protests too loudly for him to believe otherwise. But he seems to almost admire the lengths she’s going to for the guy she likes, and asks if she’ll be in trouble if the other weightlifters find out she’s trying to lose weight.
Bok-ju asks Joon-hyung to keep her secret, and he zips his lips, agreeing that he has nothing to gain from telling anyone. Then he unzips them and says that he has no reason to keep it a secret, either. He smirks, saying that whether or not he tells depends on how she acts, and Bok-ju is forced to pretend she’s not furious with him for fear of what he’ll say.
Joon-hyung bikes off with a wide grin on his face, having gotten Bok-ju right where he wants her. Bok-ju makes it back to her dorm room and screams in frustration.
Joon-hyung plunks himself down next to Bok-ju at lunch the next day with a giant cheeky grin. He forbids her to leave when she tries to escape, then pretends that he’s much too tired to cut his own meat. He slides it over to Bok-ju, who’s forced to cut his meat while her friends wonder why she’s not cracking his head open instead (and ha, she stabs the meat like she’s imagining it’s Joon-hyung’s face on that plate).
He asks her to get him a glass of water, and even his friend Tae-kwon wonders why he’s making Bok-ju do it. But she does, knowing the consequences if she doesn’t, though the look on her face makes me think Bok-ju is devising creative ways to kill Joon-hyung with her mind.
Later her friends ask Bok-ju what’s going on with her and Joon-hyung, jumping to the obvious conclusion that they like each other. She denies it, saying that she just decided he’s not so bad after all. But her buddies know that something doesn’t add up, despite Bok-ju’s insistence.
Later, Joon-hyung spots Bok-ju on her way to another appointment with Jae-yi, and it’s so cute how his face lights up when he sees her. He follows her all the way to the clinic.
Bok-ju tells Jae-yi that losing weight is difficult, and he reminds her that it just takes time. He says that she must not have changed much since she was little for Joon-hyung to recognize her so easily, and they agree that Joon-hyung has changed a lot.
Bok-ju babbles about how Joon-hyung annoys her so much and how she wants to punch him… until she realizes that as far as Jae-yi knows, she’s only seen him that one time. Jae-yi mentions how Joon-hyung is even more handsome than he is, and he’s surprised when Bok-ju doesn’t agree. Bok-ju blurts out that Jae-yi is way more handsome, making Jae-yi blush adorably.
Joon-hyung shows up and Jae-yi’s next appointment cancels, so they decide to go to dinner and invite Bok-ju along. She tries to demur, but Joon-hyung’s veiled threat has her agreeing, for fear that he’ll tell Jae-yi that she’s really a weightlifter.
At the buffet, Bok-ju watches while Jae-yi helps a tiny girl load up her plate, and smiles at how sweet he is. He brings her some healthy foods to try, and Joon-hyung teases that this is why he’s soooo popular with the ladies, shooting a loaded glance at Bok-ju.
Joon-hyung dominates the conversation, making a big deal about how strong Bok-ju is and how she’d make a great athlete, and Bok-ju snarls that she doesn’t like sports. But Jae-yi remembers that she claimed to like soccer and Messi, and Joon-hyung latches onto that.
He recalls her friend Nan-hee hitting on him with her “Do you like Messi?” pick-up line, and looks annoyed at Bok-ju for the first time. Jae-yi steps away to take a call, and Bok-ju asks how long Joon-hyung intends to torment her. She nearly throws her glass of water in his face for pretending not to know what she means, but Jae-yi comes back and she shoves it at Joon-hyung’s mouth.
Jae-yi offers them both a ride to the dorm after dinner, but Bok-ju wants to get Joon-hyung away from Jae-yi so she says she needs to talk to Joon-hyung privately. Joon-hyung tries to escape her clutches and climb in Jae-yi’s car, but she’s strong enough to hold him back, ha.
He’s a little scared now, and he follows Bok-ju obediently. She offers him a deal — he gets to punch her once, and then he’ll stop dangling her lie over her head. He refuses, admitting that he quite enjoys knowing her weakness.
He says he’ll think about what he wants in return for his silence, and Bok-ju is stuck. He’s technically taking her deal, while still keeping her on the hook, and now he gets something else out of her of his choosing. Point to Joon-hyung.
When Joon-hyung gets back to his dorm room, Tae-kwon warns him that their swimming sunbae Ki-seok is out to get him for leaving swim practice early again. There’s an athletic competition coming up between departments, and Ki-seok plans to give Joon-hyung the most-hated event, lifting bags of rice.
Joon-hyung says he just won’t show up, since it’s not like Ki-seok could possibly hate him more than he already does. He asks Tae-kwon what his assignment is, and Tae-kwon looks uncomfortable as he mumbles that he’s the cheerleader. HAHA.
At practice the next day, Ki-seok confronts Joon-hyung about skipping practice. He forbids Joon-hyung from any muscle-building exercises (so lifting the rice bags will be even harder), and orders him to clean the pool by himself.
Joon-hyung’s ex-girlfriend Shi-ho stops him after practice to ask him out for pizza. It’s so sad how his expression slams shut the moment he sees her, and he asks why she’s doing this. Shi-ho says that she wants to try everything she can to get back with him.
Joon-hyung says that relationships aren’t like sports — effort doesn’t guarantee success. But Shi-ho refuses to give up, saying that Joon-hyung is the only thing she has right now. Joon-hyung tells her to learn to stand on her own, and not to expect someone else to solve her problems.
He says that he doesn’t want to go for pizza with her, and walks away. As she watches him go, she remembers how she used to wait here for him after practice, and how Joon-hyung would steal kisses from her. She says that she’ll accept any punishment he dishes out if it means they get back together in the end.
Coach Yoon gets the weightlifting team fired up about the athletic day, reminding them that they have the best teamwork of all the departments. He tells the freshmen that the weightlifting team wins first place every year due to their strength, endurance, and perseverance.
The rumor about sunbae Woon-ki changing his weight class sweeps through the gym, which is good news as it means the other students in his weight class will no longer be competing against him. The student who was fighting with Woon-ki last week, Sang-chul, seems particularly shocked by the news.
Woon-ki sits outside after practice, grinning at pictures of his new child (the real reason he skipped practice). Sang-chul offers him a conciliatory bottle of water, and asks why he would change weight classes right before graduation. Woon-ki says he wants to test his limits, but Sang-chul warns him not to jeopardize his health and to think of himself first.
That night, Tae-kwon wants to skip training and go play games, but Joon-hyung declines. He gets a text from Shi-ho asking if he ate and saying that she’s at practice, as if he didn’t just turn her down, and he ignores it. But the text makes him angry and he works out too strenuously, injuring his shoulder.
He visits Dr. Go, who teases that he must miss her because he’s in her office so often. Another text comes in from Shi-ho but Joon-hyung doesn’t even read it, and he tells Dr. Go to worry about herself when she starts to give him dating advice.
Joon-hyung tells her to take action if she wants to snag Jae-yi, because he’s really popular these days. She pretends they’re only friends but her curiosity gets the better of her, and she asks if Jae-yi is dating someone. Joon-hyung quips that she should get ready to turn on her signal, or she’ll lose her chance to change lanes.
Bok-ju is doing crunches on her bed when Shi-ho comes in and asks if she saw Joon-hyung today. Bok-ju asks Shi-ho not to mention him for a while because he’s giving her a hard time, but she refrains from giving any details. Shi-ho looks at her with suspicion, but doesn’t ask any more questions.
It’s athletic meet day, and Tae-kwon makes a lovely cheerleader, ha. Shi-ho asks him where Joon-hyung is, and he tells her that Joon-hyung isn’t showing because he doesn’t like his event. We see him at an internet cafe, playing games instead.
The first event is a game of dodgeball between the lady weightlifters and the rhythmic gymnasts. The gymnasts put up a good fight, and soon it’s down to just Bok-ju against Soo-bin. Bok-ju gains control of the ball and nails Soo-bin in the back of the leg, securing the first win of the day for the weightlifters.
As the rice-lifting event approaches, Ki-seok notices Joon-hyung’s absence. He orders Tae-kwon to produce Joon-hyung immediately, but his calls to Joon-hyung go ignored.
Shi-ho finds Joon-hyung at the internet cafe and wonders if he’s been too busy to read her texts. He says that he isn’t busy, but still didn’t read them.
Bok-ju runs into Tae-kwon while he’s griping about Joon-hyung not answering his phone. She overhears him telling Ki-seok that he can’t find Joon-hyung, and he tells her that Joon-hyung is avoiding his rice-lifting event. Bok-ju gets an idea, and uses Tae-kwon’s phone to call Joon-hyung.
He answers this time, and Bok-ju offers to compete in the rice-lifting contest on his behalf. In exchange, he has to stop teasing her about lying that she’s a cellist to Jae-yi. Aaand, point to Bok-ju.
The weightlifting coaches talk about the fact that the weightlifters can’t compete in the rice-bag-lifting event, because it wouldn’t be fair. But as long as the judo team beats the swimming team, the weightlifters will win the whole day, and continue their long-time winning streak.
The athletes line up in front of their stacks of rice bags, and Tae-kwon runs in to announce that the swimming team will be competing after all. Against Ki-seok’s objections he introduces their representative, and Bok-ju walks into the gym like a straight-up badass.
Her teammates aren’t pleased to see her there at all — if she wins the competition for the swimmers, the weightlifters lose the day and break their first-place winning streak. But Bok-ju is so focused on putting an end to Joon-hyung’s teasing that she turns all her efforts to the competition, lifting rice bags handily while her opponents struggle.
The swim team is thrilled, but when Joon-hyung walks in just in time to see Bok-ju win the rice-bag-lifting contest for the swimmers, he isn’t so happy. He looks ashamed and regretful, while Shi-ho watches Joon-hyung watching Bok-ju. She notes how upset he is over Bok-ju’s help.
The coaches buy the weightlifting team burgers to celebrate their second-place win. Coach Yoon does his best to cheer them up, but his pep-talk turns to a lament at the team losing for the first time ever under his leadership, and they end up feeling worse than ever.
Coach Choi doesn’t do any better, and leaves the room muttering Bok-ju’s name angrily. Her teammates gripe at Bok-ju after the coaches are gone, and Woon-ki calms them down but tells Bok-ju to clean the weight room after everyone leaves, as punishment.
Nan-hee and Seon-ok stay behind to keep Bok-ju company, and they’re convinced now that Bok-ju likes Joon-hyung. She swears that’s not why she stood in for him, but they don’t believe her since she can’t tell them the real reason.
Joon-hyung yells at Tae-kwon for letting Bok-ju take his place, and Tae-kwon is all As if I could stop her! It’s sweet how upset Joon-hyung is that the weightlifting team lost because of him, and when they see Bok-ju exiting the weightlifting practice room, he grabs her and drags her off to talk.
He asks her why she did it, and Bok-ju says that she’s just tired of being teased. She warns him that he has to keep his mouth shut about her secret, and he yells that he might be thoughtless but he’d never blab to her team members.
Bok-ju says that she’s more worried he’ll tell Jae-yi, and that stops Joon-hyung cold. She switches to begging him not to tell Jae-yi that she’s a liar, and Joon-hyung asks incredulously, “Do you like him that much?” He gets upset and asks what she likes about him, but Bok-ju doesn’t know why he cares. She apologizes for falling for Jae-yi, and storms off leaving Joon-hyung flustered and fuming.
Tae-kwon waits awkwardly with Nan-hee and Seon-ok for their friends to come back, and Nan-hee asks if he thinks Bok-ju likes Joon-hyung. He nervously changes the subject and formally introduces himself, and apologizes for the awkward situation Joon-hyung caused.
Seon-ok says that she thinks Joon-hyung is leading Bok-ju on, and Tae-kwon agrees that his friend likes to toy with people. He promises to keep his friend in line from now on, which pleases the girls so much that Seon-ok suggests they all lower their speech. Bok-ju storms past and the girls follow her, and Tae-kwon clutches Joon-hyung like he’s just rescued him from a pack of snarling wolves.
The three girls go to the dorm roof for a drink, where Bok-ju keeps insisting that she doesn’t like Joon-hyung. She finally gives up, saying that it doesn’t matter anyway, and Nan-hee offers to fix Bok-ju up with another guy. She even suggests that Tae-kwon seems an easier target, and Seon-ok is all, Hey now, Bok-ju has standards ya know, hee.
Bok-ju stares into the sky, repeating, “I miss him so much… I miss him so much… ” Her friends still assume she’s talking about Joon-hyung, but she imagines a shining Jae-yi in the sky, smiling down at her.
In the morning, Shi-ho asks Bok-ju why she stepped in for Joon-hyung yesterday. Bok-ju skirts the question, saying that she just had a personal reason. Bok-ju gets a text from Joon-hyung with a ticket to a classical music concert, and he says that he gave another ticket to Jae-yi, for the adjacent seat. Bok-ju goggles at her phone, shocked at Joon-hyung’s gesture.
Soo-bin and her cronies make fun of Bok-ju and her friends as they eat breakfast in the student lounge, criticizing their postures and tittering about the fact that they never date. Nan-hee scares them off, but Bok-ju barely registers any of it, as she tries to decide whether to go to the concert or not.
Ki-seok is still punishing Joon-hyung and Tae-kwon by making them scrub the poolside, and they leave exhausted. Tae-kwon asks if Bok-ju really likes Joon-hyung, but Joon-hyung says (perhaps regretfully) that she likes someone else. When they spot Nan-hee and Seon-ok together, Joon-hyung figures that Bok-ju is busy elsewhere right now.
She’s decided to go to the concert, and shows up in an adorably frumpy dress with her red bow in her hair. She pretends to be shocked to see Jae-yi there, and lucky for her, Jae-yi seems genuinely happy to see her. They both sneak peeks at each other during the concert, and Bok-ju looks like she could explode from happiness.
Jae-yi offers Bok-ju a ride home after the concert, and she accepts. She ignores a call from Coach Choi, which seems like a bad idea. It rains as they’re driving home, and Jae-yi notes that it always seems to rain when they’re together. Bok-ju says that clouds just follow her around, but Jae-yi says it’s the opposite — the sunlight follows her.
Bok-ju nervously asks Jae-yi to speak casually with her, but he says he speaks formally because she’s his patient. She giggles that he’s cute, then worried that that was rude, but Jae-yi laughs and says nobody has ever called him cute before.
Bok-ju thinks to herself that she’s glad she took that particular street the day she carried the dressing table. She’s happy it was raining and that she didn’t have an umbrella, and she’s glad she didn’t give up running towards him. She breathes on the window and draws a heart in the fog, and thinks how happy she is to have been born a woman.
Bok-ju and Jae-yi are so adorable together, I sometimes wish they were the endgame here. Her crush on him is so real and awkward that it makes me remember my first crushes, back when just being near the object of my affections was enough to make me float on Cloud Nine for the rest of the day. I’m still not sure how Jae-yi feels about Bok-ju, though there’s no doubt he likes her a lot and is flattered by her attention. I do think that the age gap will be an issue though, and that the truth is that Bok-ju likes Jae-yi much more than he likes her in return.
Plus, there’s Joon-hyung, who very definitely does like Bok-ju a lot even if he doesn’t know it yet. It can’t be said enough — Joon-hyung’s teasing of Bok-ju is just the cutest thing ever. He did go too far during that mountain race, but he hasn’t crossed that line again, and I find his relentless needling just to get a rise out of her pretty adorable. It would be different if Joon-hyung had anything to gain from keeping or telling Bok-ju’s secret, that would give his teasing an ugly undertone. But as he said, he doesn’t stand to gain anything either way, he’s genuinely just enjoying her company and having a little fun at her expense. He never crosses the line into meanness, and I don’t think he has any real intention of telling Jae-yi or anyone else Bok-ju’s secret.
I think Joon-hyung just finds Bok-ju endlessly entertaining and cute, and that it’s fun for him to play with her. I also appreciate that he’s not just a dumb jock — he’s intelligent, as evidenced by the way he out-maneuvered Bok-ju when she offered him a deal to stop teasing her, and ended up with an even better deal for himself. At least I have hope for him to start treating her better soon, because he looked genuinely regretful when he pushed her so hard that she betrayed her friends just to get him to stop. He seemed pretty floored to realize just how much Bok-ju likes Jae-yi, and I think it will dawn on him soon that there’s more to his own feelings for Bok-ju than just friendship. When that happens, he’s going to change his tune, and Bok-ju is going to get her revenge by making him really work to make up for the way he’s treating her now. I think that’s going to be just as fun to watch as seeing Joon-hyung tease Bok-ju, if not more so.
I’m definitely feeling bad for Shi-ho, the way she seems so lost and lonely. She’s at what’s probably the lowest point in her life both personally and professionally, and I do think that she’s simply clinging to Joon-hyung as something familiar. It seems clear that she hopes getting back together with him will bring back the happiness she felt before she broke up with him and failed to make the national rhythmic gymnastics team. For that reason I’m glad that Joon-hyung is being extremely clear and consistent with her — he’s not interested in getting back together, and he’s not the solution to her problems. I don’t think Shi-ho is hearing it yet, because she thinks Joon-hyung is just punishing her and that he’ll change his mind, but I do think that Joon-hyung is right in this case. Shi-ho needs to move forward, through her problems and out to the other side. Going backwards won’t help her.
But it’s Bok-ju I’m mostly worried about right now — her lie to Jae-yi may not seem like a big deal, but she’s actually playing a pretty dangerous game. First of all, she’s lying to her doctor, and not even for a good reason, but because she wants to date him. She’s an elite athlete but she’s trying to lose weight without her coaches’ knowledge or approval, and I have a feeling that when the coaches and Jae-yi find out what’s been going on, things are really going to hit the fan. Bok-ju can’t just take her health into her own hands when her future rides on weightlifting, which necessitates staying in a certain weight class for competition’s sake. Not to mention, if she did want to change her weight in either direction, there are probably very specific ways it should be done in order to maintain her competitive eligibility.
It’s the one thing I question in the show’s writing… any athlete at Bok-ju’s level would know better than to play fast and loose with her health, yet it doesn’t even seem to have occurred to Bok-ju that she could be doing something very dangerous for her body and her career. I’m just hoping that someone finds out what she’s doing soon, because she cant have it both ways. She’s going to have to make a choice, and decide where her priorities lie.
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