Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Episode 6
Bok-ju faces a conflict of interest between her personal and her professional dreams, and the consequences are as concerning as they are hilarious. She’s trying to juggle everything at once, and the longer she tries to keep all the little balls in the air, the harder it gets to keep her secrets from everyone. She’s going to need help, and support comes from the most unecpected direction you can imagine.
EPISODE 6: “Long tails either get caught or stepped on”
Jae-yi takes a call from his mom as he’s driving Bok-ju home from the concert. Bok-ju smiles at the easy banter between the two, then takes the piece of gum he offers as if it’s a priceless jewel. She gets the hiccups from all the excitement, and holding her breath to get rid of them doesn’t work. Jae-yi pulls over and gets Bok-ju a drink, which does stop the hiccups. Then he gives Bok-ju his coat, and she starts hiccuping all over again. Cute.
During his therapy session, Joon-hyung tells his therapist that he learned to swim when he was eleven years old. He says he was lonely and awkward, but water felt like a safe place, like being in his mother’s arms.
We see Joon-hyung’s mother leaving him behind when she got married and moved to Canada when he was ten. Joon-hyung says that his mother always sent presents and postcards at Christmas, so he never felt abandoned.
But one year he cut his hand on his gift’s packaging, and had gone looking for a bandage. He’d found a pile of blank postcards, and figured out that after the first three postcards, the handwriting had changed. After that, all the cards and gifts were really from his aunt. And that’s when Joon-hyung started having trouble in competition.
His therapist agrees that that must have been quite a shock, and that he probably felt like he’d lost his only connection with his mother. He has faith that they can solve his problem now that they know what caused it.
Shi-ho is having trouble in practice, dropping her ball over and over again. She gets frustrated and goes to her bag where she has bread stashed, and shoves great huge bites in her mouth.
Later Joon-hyung sits at a convenience store, and he sees Jae-yi and Bok-ju drive up right in front of him. He complains loudly to himself, upset that he gave Bok-ju a chance to hang out with Jae-yi and she wore such a frumpy dress. As Joon-hyung watches, thoroughly amused, Bok-ju deep-bows to Jae-yi and heads downstairs into the subway station.
She re-emerges a few minutes later in her comfy sweats, and Joon-hyung follows her to the street corner. He reveals himself, and she doesn’t even look surprised to see him lurking around her anymore.
Joon-hyung teases that he sure hopes she didn’t wear a dress to the concert, because Jae-yi doesn’t like women who look too feminine. She glares at him, and he admits that he’s joking. When she gets mad, he reminds her that he made that date happen, and she thanks him for the tickets. Joon-hyung asks if Bok-ju had a good time, and a giant smile breaks over her face.
He suddenly yells and grabs Bok-ju to whirl her around as a car nears their corner. The car sends up a massive wave of water, and Joon-hyung heroically… cowers behind Bok-ju. PWAHAHAHA. Bok-ju screams in rage and chases Joon-hyung through the streets.
Shi-ho wakes in the infirmary, and Dr. Go tells her that she had a sudden stomach cramp. She asks Shi-ho if she’s been stressed lately and wonders if it’s because of a guy.
That guy is currently trying to avoid being pummeled by Bok-ju, who’s soaking wet and hopping mad. He grabs her sweater and dries her hair vigorously, enjoying the mess he makes of her head. He reaches out to smooth her hair back down, and as he’s fixing her bangs, there’s this moment where Joon-hyung seems extra aware of how close Bok-ju’s face is.
Flustered, he tosses the sweater over Bok-ju’s head and turns away. They sit, and Joon-hyung asks if Jae-yi noticed that Bok-ju likes him. She says he didn’t, adding that she doesn’t want him to find out about her weightlifting.
She shows Joon-hyung her calluses, but he says that’s no big deal and that he’d be happy to be with her since she can take care of herself. Though she jokes that he’s good with words, the look on his face is dead serious.
Joon-hyung points to the pond behind them and says that a wish-granting toad lives there. She tells him to work on his creativity, hee, but he swears that if you pray hard enough, the toad will grant your wish. He suggests that Bok-ju pray to the toad to make her and Jae-yi end up as a couple.
Bok-ju sneezes, and Joon-hyung scoots away from her, saying that he can’t afford to catch a cold. He tries to leave, but she grabs his arm and yanks him back to her with a big grin. She takes his face in her hands and Joon-hyung looks alarmed, then closes his eyes in anticipation of a kiss… and Bok-ju sneezes right in his face. HA.
She crows about how strong her germs are and how he’ll get the worst cold ever, and the worst threat Joon-hyung can think of is that he’ll kiss her and give the cold right back. That’s not a threat, sweetie, that’s a reward.
Bok-ju’s dad is worried about her coaches’ suggestion that she move up a weight class. Her coaches are worried that he won’t consent to the change in her training, and he surprises them by showing up to discuss it.
The coaches talk to Bok-ju after her father leaves, and tell her that he gave his permission. They offer to help her increase her weight as safely as possible, explaining that they think her current weight class is too competitive, while the one just above it has no real contenders.
They only want her to increase her weight by 3-4 kilos (about 6-8 pounds), but to Bok-ju, it means disappointing Jae-yi. The coaches leave the decision to Bok-ju, but they make it clear that this is what they expect of her.
Bok-ju calls her father to yell at him for giving permission without talking to her first. She whines that gaining weight is hard, and he tells her that being a weightlifter means continually challenging herself. After he hangs up, Nan-hee and Seon-ok offer their support as well, but Bok-ju moans that that’s not why she’s upset.
Joon-hyung tells his coach that he’s ready to enter another swim meet, just to practice. Even though it’s a beginner race, his coach likes the idea and agrees, but that cough Joon-hyung is nursing is concerning.
He sees Bok-ju and runs over to tell her to take responsibility for his cold, heh. He notices that she seems down, and she tells him that she has to move up a weight class. He’s the only one who knows why she doesn’t want to do it, but he doesn’t think it’s really a problem since she’s not actually seeing Jae-yi to lose weight.
He’s being pretty supportive, but Bok-ju is too upset to see it and lashes out. She tells him that it’s easy for him to say because it’s not his problem, and says that he has no idea how the world works because he’s from a good family, a natural athlete, and good-looking on top of everything else. Poor Joon-hyung, he looks genuinely hurt at her harsh words.
Bok-ju grumbles all the way to the weightlifting training room, and when she gets there, Coach Choi asks if she’s made up her mind. Bok-ju hesitantly tells her she’ll give it a try, and the coaches are thrilled.
Coach Choi takes charge of Bok-ju’s diet, making her eat tray after tray of food. It shows when she’s put on weight at her next appointment with Jae-yi, so he bumps up her in-office treatments. That makes Coach Choi’s weigh-in off by half a pound, and Bok-ju pretends not to know why her weight is bouncing up and down.
Joon-hyung’s cold hangs on tenaciously, and his friends worry about his swimming in the upcoming meet while he’s still sick. Shi-ho sits next to him at the lunch table and Joon-hyung’s friends scatter, leaving him to deal with her alone.
She asks if Joon-hyung will be okay competing with a cold, but Joon-hyung says that she’s acting like a stalker. Shi-ho responds that she’s desperate, that he’s all she has to hang onto, but Joon-hyung says that’s all in her head. Hurt, Shi-ho promises to leave him alone.
As she leaves the cafeteria, Joon-hyung’s sunbae Ki-seok says to Shi-ho that it looks like Joon-hyung rejected her again. He says that it’s demeaning to her, and asks if that’s why she keeps rejecting him. He promises to treat her better than Joon-hyung, but she just tells him to get lost.
Bok-ju’s dad and uncle Dae-ho try to bring an entire vat of chicken soup to her at her dorm, refusing to listen to her protests. Bok-ju hollers that she can’t eat this much, but her dad is desperate to help her gain weight before the next competition in a few weeks. Coach Choi solves the issue by easily picking up the barrel of soup (making Dae-ho look like a huge wimp, hee) and carrying it into the building, along with the several pizzas she brought.
Nan-hee and Seon-ok help Bok-ju eat the massive piles of food, counting themselves luckier than the gymnasts who have to pick at their food like birds. While Seon-ok is off getting drinks, Nan-hee accidentally sees a text reminding Bok-ju of her next appointment at Jae-yi’s clinic.
Bok-ju takes Nan-hee to the weight clinic to show her Jae-yi, the real reason she’s going there. Nan-hee absorbs the situation and calls Bok-ju crazy, and Bok-ju agrees but says she just wants to see him. Ever the best friend, Nan-hee tells Bok-ju that she can see why, and the two girls squeal over Bok-ju’s crush on him.
The day before Joon-hyung’s swim meet, he’s still pretty sick, and his roommate Tae-kwon fusses over him like a mother hen. Shi-ho texts Tae-kwon to come outside, and hands over some ginger tea she made for Joon-hyung’s cough. Tae-kwon gives it to Joon-hyung without telling him where it came from.
Nan-hee listens as Bok-ju chatters on about all of Jae-yi’s perfections, swooning over him right along with her friend. Seon-ok finds them, annoyed that they left without her, and accuses them of talking about her behind her back. But they assure her that’s not the case, and head out together.
In the morning, Seon-ok offers Bok-ju some of her breakfast to help her gain weight. Nan-hee pretends to choke and when Seon-ok goes to get her some water, she stuffs the extra sausage in her own mouth while Bok-ju shoots her a grateful look. Nan-hee helps Bok-ju get ready for her appointment that afternoon, doing her hair in adorable pigtails and finding her a cute outfit to wear.
Bok-ju’s father calls to tell her that he contacted an old friend and bought thirty special abalone just for her. He tells her to come by the restaurant later to eat them, and not to bring her friends this time — they’re all for her.
Joon-hyung bikes past Bok-ju on his way to his swim meet. He asks her to send him some positive energy, but Bok-ju is still annoyed with him and says she hopes he screws up.
Jae-yi is confused when Bok-ju has put on weight again. She apologizes for disappointing him, but he commiserates that the diet plan is hard, and warns her that it’s difficult to lose weight because people socialize around food so much.
Jae-yi brings up Joon-hyung’s competition, seeming as nervous as Joon-hyung is about it. Bok-ju says she’s sure he’ll be fine, but Jae-yi says that Joon-hyung is actually pretty tender-hearted, and that this competition is really important to him. He tells her about how Joon-hyung has been making starting mistakes for a couple of years, and that if it weren’t for that, he’d be good enough for the national team.
Bok-ju heads home, feeling terrible about the way she spoke to Joon-hyung earlier. She stops at the wishing fountain and tosses a coin in, wishing that Joon-hyung will do well at his competition today.
Shi-ho shows up secretly to watch Joon-hyung swim, and he sits in the dressing room thinking about his therapist’s advice. He’d told Joon-hyung to try not to focus on his symptoms, but to think of something else when he gets nervous. Joon-hyung counts down from ten to one, trying his hardest not to think about his mother.
The moment Joon-hyung steps onto the starting block, the ringing in his ears begins and his vision blurs. Oh no. He tries to ignore his symptoms and focus on the water, but he’s so busy counting that he misses the starting whistle altogether.
He manages to make a good dive and swims the race, but those few precious seconds land him in fourth place. Shi-ho waits outside the venue with more ginger tea, but she misses Joon-hyung as he leaves in a different direction.
Bok-ju sees the race results online, and starts and stops several texts to Joon-hyung. Instead she takes out a piece of paper, deciding to cheer him up in a different way. She texts him as he’s taking cold medicine given to him by his aunt and uncle, and he tells her he’s heading back to school soon.
Bok-ju waits for him near the wishing fountain, and gives him the little origami toad she made for him. Awww, that’s sweet. She acts like it’s no big deal, but Joon-hyung seems really touched by her gift, even though the toad is wrinkled and a little lopsided.
He calls the toad “swag” like Bok-ju and her friends always say, and they bicker over whether or not he’s a copycat. Bok-ju apologizes for being mean to Joon-hyung earlier, and he tells her that he’ll be doing a lot better very soon.
As Shi-ho walks back to school, she runs across Bok-ju and Joon-hyung on the other side of the street, bickering again. Shi-ho calls Joon-hyung and watches as he ignores her call, and then she angrily tosses the ginger tea in the garbage.
Bok-ju takes Joon-hyung to her father’s restaurant to share those fancy abalone with him. Dad and Uncle Dae-ho glare at Joon-hyung suspiciously, and Dad recognizes him from the time he came before and paid off a nonexistent tab. Dae-ho is more interested in why Bok-ju is bringing a boy home for the first time, but she says they’re just friends.
Dad reluctantly serves the abalone to Bok-ju and Joon-hyung, then hovers over the table to growl every time Joon-hyung picks up his chopsticks, hee. Joon-hyung tries to decline the food, seeing that Dad obviously doesn’t want him to have any, and Bok-ju has to send her father to the kitchen before Joon-hyung will eat.
He finally digs in enthusiastically, until he spots Dad and Dae-ho staring at him through the tiny kitchen window. Dad clearly thinks this young upstart isn’t good enough for his baby girl, though Dae-ho thinks he’s way out of Bok-ju’s league, and she’s the one who likes Joon-hyung more.
Later Bok-ju takes Joon-hyung to an overlook with a gorgeous view, and asks him if her neighborhood isn’t very pretty. He agrees it’s pretty, though he’s not looking at the view when he says the words — he’s looking at Bok-ju.
Bok-ju asks what causes Joon-hyung’s trauma, but he avoids answering the question. He tells her that Jae-yi was the one who took him to a pool when he was a kid and got him hooked on swimming, and she asks if that was when his personality changed. He thinks it was, though he admits that swimming is much more stressful for him these days.
Bok-ju agrees that their sports would be more fun if they could just enjoy them and not worry about scores. They both holler into the night that they hate having to be ranked, though Bok-ju acknowledges that it’s part of being an athlete.
Bok-ju tells Joon-hyung that she can tell by looking at him that he’ll be successful, because there’s something strong in his eyes. He leans in and teases her, “Are you getting sucked into my eyes?” Bok-ju teases back that she is, and Joon-hyung holds her gaze just a bit longer than necessary for it to be just a joke. He watches her as she enjoys the view of the city, something new and interesting sparking in his eyes.
Back at the dorm, Shi-ho overhears Nan-hee and Seon-ok talking about Bok-ju’s needing to gain weight. She goes back to their room and starts rifling through Bok-ju’s things, and finds her weight loss diary.
Joon-hyung feels much better by the time he and Bok-ju walk back to the dorms. He asks Bok-ju how long she intends to keep lying about losing weight, then looks immediately sorry he mentioned it.
She says sadly that she should end it soon, and to avoid the awkward moment, Joon-hyung yells that there’s a toad in the fountain. Bok-ju thinks he’s teasing her again, but he swears there really is a big toad there. Bok-ju walks away, and Joon-hyung looks over at the very real toad sitting in the wishing fountain.
Tae-kwon checks in with Joon-hyung when he gets back to their room, but this time when Joon-hyung says he’s okay, he really means it. The way he sees it, he wasn’t disqualified today, which is a definite improvement. He takes out his origami toad and says how cute it is, obviously referring to Bok-ju.
He jogs by the weightlifting gym the next morning, and happens to see Shi-ho heading inside looking angry. He thinks it’s strange for her to be there, but goes on his way.
Soon after, Bok-ju is called home by her dad. She enters the restaurant to find both of her coaches sitting there with Dad, all three of them looking upset. Dad takes out Bok-ju’s weight loss diary and throws it on the table, demanding to know what it is.
Well, it’s going to hit the fan now. Bok-ju’s father and coaches are going to be incredibly upset with her for lying to them and for losing weight behind their backs, and I already hurt for Bok-ju, for the damage control she’s going to have to do. She’s never really been that interested in losing weight beyond the fact that it gained her some approval from Jae-yi, which I really like about her. I actually love that the show isn’t making Bok-ju’s weight loss or gain about anything more than that. I like that, while the show touches on the fact that the female weightlifters aren’t considered “feminine” by outsiders, Bok-ju herself has never internalized that or felt she needed to change herself to fit into society’s standards. It has nothing to do with how attractive she feels — she only ever bought into Jae-yi’s program to have a reason to see him regularly.
The only thing I do find as a weakness in the plot is Bok-ju’s dad — why is he so invested in Bok-ju’s becoming a successful weightlifter? I’m not saying there aren’t good reasons for him to be, it’s just that we haven’t been told what they are. Does he want her to follow her dreams? Is weightlifting a way for Bok-ju to accomplish something that she couldn’t otherwise accomplish? I think there are probably many reasons why her father might be worried about whether she succeeds at this or not, I just wish the show would let us in on them. Maybe we’ll find out in the fallout of the discovery of her seeing a weight loss doctor.
Speaking of which, I was hoping that Shi-ho wouldn’t go down the dark path, but it looks like she’s heading that way. What I like about her character is that she’s not just a cookie-cutter second lead, out to destroy the lead girl because she thinks she’s stealing her man as if there’s nothing else happening in her life than that. Shi-ho has a lot going on other than her determination to get Joon-hyung back, and she seems like a pretty nice girl when things are going well for her. But I strongly suspect that the pressure of her failure to make the national team, combined with a growing eating disorder and what’s becoming an unhealthy obsession with Joon-hyung, are driving her off the deep end. It makes her a more complex and compelling character with problems and challenges of her own, instead of just a story device to get between the leading couple to keep them apart.
I can’t help it, I just find Joon-hyung to be the sweetest thing on the planet. Yeah he’s a pest, but he’s a super-sweet pest, and he really does seem to like Bok-ju for who she is. He’s starting to finally realize it, noticing things like her pretty face and having some fairly intense feeeelings when they get close to each other. I nearly died when Bok-ju pulled him close to sneeze on him and Joon-hyung closed his eyes, anticipating a kiss. The boy was ready and willing to go to the next level in that moment — if only Bok-ju knew it! She’s going to be so surprised when she finds out that Joon-hyung has been pestering her because he likes her.
It’s great how Bok-ju’s secret of losing weight at Jae-yi’s clinic has gone from being the biggest irritant between Bok-ju and Joon-hyung, to the thing that’s drawing them together. Their growing friendship is as cute and sweet as I hoped it would be, and I’m glad they’re still griping at each other every chance they get, because it’s so much fun to watch. Once Bok-ju learned that her coaches want her to move up a weight class, Joon-hyung became the only person she could talk to about the reason she doesn’t want to do it, and surprisingly, he’s being pretty dang supportive of her. I love that he doesn’t think her weight is a problem (or her calluses for that matter), and just obviously likes her the way she is. But more than that, I love that he’s being a good friend to Bok-ju, right when she really needs it. I don’t want to see Bok-ju’s heart broken by Jae-yi, but if it has to happen, I’m glad she’s got Joon-hyung there telling her that she’s just fine the way she is.
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