The Liar and His Lover: Episode 8
After years of working in an industry where promises are meaningless unless bound in a contract, So-rim’s integrity becomes a sudden obstacle for Han-gyul’s need to hear her sing his song. So now, he has some choices to make. He’s always put music before everyone else, and despite his best intentions, lying is an easy habit to slip back into. Will Han-gyul see the trap he’s laid for himself? Or will he sacrifice another relationship at the altar of his music?
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Jin-hyuk is shocked to find out from CEO Yoo that the Crude Play boys have been uploading videos of their practice sessions on the net. The folder she throws at him even contains a testimony from the guitarist Han-gyul had fired from Sole Music. Before leaving, CEO Yoo snarls that he should have focused on the band he already had.
Han-gyul walks home listlessly after So-rim refuses to listen to the song he wrote for her. He slows down when he notices a man playing the guitar across from his front door. Finally, he greets the man as his father, and In-woo looks up and smiles at him.
They go inside, and In-woo looks around the house with open curiosity. Han-gyul is more interested in why he’s here and when he arrived in Seoul, but his father wants to check out his studio and make dinner. When In-woo tells him that he’s been in the city for two months, Han-gyul asks sarcastically if he’s been too busy playing on the streets to come visit.
Chan-young reads about Mush & Co’s debut in the car ride back home. Shi-hyun gets a call from Soo-yeon, and she tells him that they’ve been found out. Jin-hyuk calls the van driver and has the boys brought back to Sole’s studio so he can rake them over.
Shi-hyun, Yoon, and In-ho try to defend their actions by pointing out that they feel fake every time they go up on stage, but their righteousness withers before Jin-hyuk’s anger. He points out their hypocrisy in wanting to make “real” music when their stunt could have ruined the very real hard work of the people around them.
He asks them if Han-gyul knows, and Shi-hyun asks Jin-hyuk to keep the videos a secret from their friend. This makes Chan-young — who had been listening silently to everything — smile grimly to himself. Once outside, the boys stop Chan-young to apologize, but he points out that even after five years he’s still an outsider to them, the one they only think about after Han-gyul. He thanks them for teaching him to distrust them.
Jin-hyuk and CEO Yoo meet with the reporter with the scoop about Crude Play. Jin-hyuk denies that the videos were of his boys, but the reporter has him cornered. He asks for meatier gossip in exchange for staying silent about Crude Play. CEO Yoo asks if Jin-hyuk and Yoo-na’s wedding is a big enough scoop. Jin-hyuk is taken aback, but he remains silent when the reporter squeals in glee.
Han-gyul calls Shi-hyun, who looks painfully at the screen but doesn’t pick up. In turn, So-rim calls Han-gyul, who frowns at the screen and texts that he’ll call back. In-woo calls Han-gyul down for dinner, and when he tries to pretend that he’s listening to music in his room, he shouts “Han-gyulie, gyulie, gyulie, gyulie, gyulie!” till he gives up and comes down. Oh my god, that was so cute!
Han-gyul finds his dad pouring truffles into his wok and squeaks that they were really expensive. In-woo laughs and explains that he thought they were normal mushrooms that were going bad. This makes Han-gyul ask indignantly if he was planning on feeding him moldy mushrooms. Hahaha.
So-rim sits mournfully, thinking about the moment when she rejected Han-gyul’s song. Her phone rings and she snaps it up, hoping for a call from Han-gyul. But it’s Chan-young, and he’s waiting for her outside her house.
She goes out to meet him and can tell that something is off. Chan-young smiles and says that Han-gyul will want to write a song for her. His face shows clearly that he expects her to choose Han-gyul’s music, since she likes him. But So-rim surprises him by saying that she’s already turned it down, because she’d promised to work with Chan-young first.
Chan-young laughs in relief and thinks back to Han-gyul’s words to Shi-hyun: “In a battle, where the opponent doesn’t want to win… I can’t win either.” He asks So-rim if there is such a thing as winning and losing in music. “The one who wants to win is likely losing, right?” he asks her.
He takes her hand and promises to be by her side anyway. As long as she trusts him, he promises not to let her go.
Jin-hyuk meets Yoo-na on his way out of Sole. She’s furious about being replaced in the ad contract by a rookie band and hurt that Jin-hyuk has been avoiding her calls all day. He can’t really explain the machinations behind the scenes, and Yoo-na leaves after telling him that she doesn’t want to hear anything more from him.
Han-gyul leaves early the next morning, which makes In-woo ask if he’s uncomfortable in his home because of his father’s presence. Han-gyul stops at the door and retorts that his father is the one who seems uncomfortable, because why else would he try and act like a nice dad at this point? He asks In-woo to just be himself.
In-woo visits the market and stops at Grandma’s vegetable shop, where So-rim recognizes him. He tells So-rim that he’s staying nearby with someone who doesn’t like him much, but he like him a lot. So-rim admits that she has someone like that too.
They bond over coffee and self pity, and So-rim asks why she feels hurt when he doesn’t take her calls, when a few weeks back, a text from him would make her day. In-woo explains that expectations build up when you find someone you want to rely on.
Han-gyul is listening to the new band for Crude Play’s recording practice when Shi-hyun comes in to talk to him. He notices that Han-gyul is ignoring So-rim’s calls, and Han-gyul admits that he’s angry because she rejected his music twice.
Shi-hyun says that she’s only been able to reject it because she hasn’t heard his song yet. Han-gyul perks up at this and wonders aloud if he should find a way to make her listen. But Shi-hyun interrupts him and asks why he’s so eager to have someone else sing his music — is Crude Play not enough? Before Han-gyul can register the hurt in Shi-hyun’s voice, he leaves.
Mush & Co get their first photo shoot, as stylists try to figure out which look suits their image the best. So-rim walks out in a pretty dress and stuns the boys. She’s flattered by their reaction, until her eyes fall on a poster of the older, more glamorous Yoo-na. Soo-yeon offers to do her make up to get an idea of the full look.
Han-gyul sits alone in his studio trying to figure out ways to trick So-rim into hearing his song. (Pfft. What happened to not lying?) So-rim calls him from outside the room, asking if she can come in. He gets up and unlocks the door, and then stands speechless as So-rim walks in with her new look.
She asks if he’s still angry with her, but he stumbles over himself to tell her that he isn’t. He can’t look away from her, but all he manages to say is that the lipstick she’s wearing is too bold for her age. *facepalm*
So-rim notices the bass guitar asks him to play for her. When he declines, she doesn’t press the issue and instead asks him about the difference between a guitar and a bass. This prompts Han-gyul to help position her fingers correctly on the instrument until he’s standing with his arms around her, their faces inches apart. So-rim’s smile dies away as awareness heats the air, but before anything can happen, Chan-young comes into the room.
He calls their “moment” much too predictable (ha), but then pays lavish compliments to So-rim on her new look. Han-gyul watches this with disbelief, barely suppressing an eye-roll. On his way out, Chan-young asks to speak to Han-gyul in private.
Outside the studio, he asks Han-gyul if he gave So-rim a song. Han-gyul says that it wasn’t for her debut and didn’t have much meaning. Chan-young scoffs at this and says that he knows Jin-hyuk hasn’t given up on Han-gyul producing Mush & Co. With a smug smile, he tells him that he’ll repay So-rim for choosing him over Han-gyul, so he should stop trying to come between them. Jin-hyuk overhears this exchange from around the corner.
Han-gyul re-enters the room to find So-rim with her earphones in, singing to herself. He flashes back to the first time he heard Chan-young playing his part in the band. He had asked Jin-hyuk who the bassist was, and Jin-hyuk had explained that people need to believe that Han-gyul was not only an excellent songwriter but also a brilliant bassist. At his shock, Jin-hyuk had laughingly asked if he had believed himself to be a good at playing the bass. (Ugh, that was mean.)
In the present, he strides to So-rim and takes off her earphones. “Don’t sing that song,” he tells her. “It’s fine if you won’t sing my song, but don’t sing his either.” Ouch.
That night, he finds Yoo-na waiting outside his house. She asks him once again to write a song for her, and he asks her if she isn’t ashamed. Yoo-na tells him that compared to when she was in love with him, this is nothing. Back then, she was afraid that he would find her voice inadequate for his song, so asking him to write her one could have lost her his love as well as respect. But now all she has to lose is her pride. Han-gyul doesn’t have a response to that.
The next morning, Han-gyul talks to Jin-hyuk about Yoo-na’s lapsed ad contract. He’s angry on her behalf, since Jin-hyuk seems to be putting his business before her. Jin-hyuk seems unflappable, but he proposes that Han-gyul write a song for Yoo-na in exchange for So-rim. This trips Han-gyul up, especially when Jin-hyuk points out that he might lose So-rim to Chan-young permanently.
While In-woo practices with a band, Yoo-seok saunters in late. He bullies the other musicians and throws his weight around until In-woo gets up and leaves. CEO Yoo catches him on his way out and asks why he’s leaving early. He explains that Yoo-seok isn’t ready for practice, and he’ll come back when he is. CEO Yoo says with frustration that Yoo-seok is a businessman now, not a man who performs for the love of music. In-woo simply says that he won’t be coming back then.
Han-gyul notices them in the lobby and asks his father what he’s doing there. They move to CEO Yoo’s office, where Han-gyul has a meltdown when he hears that In-woo is acting as session musician for the man who stole all his songs.
CEO Yoo is upset at his tone and reminds him that she’s the one who rescued Crude Play from their recent scandal. Han-gyul asks what scandal she’s talking about, and CEO Yoo has the grace to look uncomfortable at her gaffe.
In-woo takes Han-gyul aside and tells him about the whole thing. (How does he know?) Han-gyul wants to race off to confront his friends, but In-woo asks what he wants to hear from them. He points out that Sole and Han-gyul have the same goal — producing his music with the most efficient musicians and making the most money. He adds that his friends have had to live as dolls concerned only with their own stardom to preserve this perfect production line of Han-gyul’s musical creations.
Stung by his father’s words, he turns the knife back at his father: “You aren’t free, you just don’t have the confidence to be responsible for your music. Just like you couldn’t be responsible for Mother and me.” Before walking away, Han-gyul adds that even if he becomes the bad guy, he’ll always be responsible for what belongs to him.
Han-gyul gathers his friends at Shi-hyun’s bar and confronts them about the videos. He makes it clear that he doesn’t want to know their reasons and just wants to make sure this never happens again. Shi-hyun asks if Han-gyul had even listened to their videos. Han-gyul says that he’s heard their subpar playing for ten years and that anyone with good ear will know the difference between their music and the music recorded for Crude Play.
This makes Shi-hyun yell that he can’t tell the difference. No matter how faithfully they stick to the music sheets they can never satisfy Han-gyul. He asks his friend if he knows how inadequate he makes them feel. Concluding that the band is just business for Han-gyul, Shi-hyun tells him that he doesn’t want to sing his songs anymore.
The three boys walk out, leaving Han-gyul standing alone in the bar. He looks towards the stage, thinking back to the time when they practiced for a small gig in that bar. Han-gyul had been frustrated at their mistakes, while Yoon, In-ho, and Shi-hyun had claimed that their appearances would make up for any deficiency. In the present, Han-gyul blinks away tears.
Jin-hyuk drives Yoo-na to dinner and tells her that Han-gyul agreed to write her a song. She asks how he agreed, and Jin-hyuk jokes that he just had to hold someone hostage. Yoo-na’s face falls then, and she asks if it’s So-rim. She wonders what kind of person she is to inspire this kind of attention from so many people.
Han-gyul gets home to find that In-woo’s things have disappeared from the spare room. He curls up on his sofa and tells himself in a sad whisper: “I knew it.” His father has left him again.
Gyu-sun and Se-jung sit at a cafe where she asks him about their debut song. He promises to tell her once it’s decided, then gets up to pay for their food. Se-jung swipes his phone and hands him his bag as he leaves for practice.
In the studio, Gyu-sun realizes that his phone is missing but it’s too late to go find it. Soo-yeon arrives with a flash drive of five songs for them to listen to — one of these will be their debut songs.
As Chan-young nears Jin-hyuk’s office, he hears his song playing. He smiles and opens the door, when suddenly, Jin-hyuk switches the track to another. In the studio room, So-rim listens to the track too, and it has the same beginning as K’s. Her mouth tightens as she listens to it.
Chan-young asks who wrote the second song, but Jin-hyuk guesses that he knows K’s songs well enough to recognize one. Those two songs are among the five to be discussed by the executives in a meeting soon. Chan-young turns and leaves, and after staring at the screen for a moment, Jin-hyuk deletes one of the songs. He hands this shortened list to Soo-yeon for the meeting.
Chan-young arrives to find Han-gyul working on Yoo-na’s song in his house. He asks why Han-gyul submitted his song to Jin-hyuk after he repeatedly asked him to stay away. Han-gyul tells him that he met and discovered So-rim’s voice first, so he has a right to be involved in her debut.
This is clearly news to Chan-young, but he doesn’t back down. He accuses Han-gyul of using So-rim’s infatuation to make her sing his music. He tells him not to fool around at such an important junction in So-rim’s life.
But Han-gyul asks what Chan-young plans to do if he’s serious about So-rim. “What if I want to be with her and do everything with her, including music?” he asks. Chan-young stares at him, nonplussed, then says: “You should still give up.”
He tells Han-gyul that he makes everyone around him miserable, and Han-gyul doesn’t deny it, but he says that it’s up to So-rim to decide. He advises Chan-young to keep out of their relationship, just like he isn’t talking to Jin-hyuk about fixing Chan-young’s song.
Through his anger, Chan-young tells him that it was because of Jin-hyuk’s greed to release his music quickly that Crude Play didn’t get the practice they needed to play their own songs. So, it’s Han-gyul’s fault that his friends have become fakes.
After Chan-young storms out of Han-gyul’s home, he gets a text from Soo-yeon that the decision has been made. Jin-hyuk calls Han-gyul to tell him that they chose Chan-young’s song. Han-gyul is disappointed, but he praises Chan-young’s song as one that will show So-rim’s voice to advantage.
Jin-hyuk is pleased with his attitude, then he asks how Yoo-na’s song is coming along. Han-gyul figures out that he’s been manipulated and asks if Jin-hyuk thinks he’s a machine that can unceasingly crank out music. Jin-hyuk replies by calling him a very efficient machine.
Han-gyul finally breaks and tells him that he’s bound up with Jin-hyuk in every aspect of his life, and he can’t take it anymore. Jin-hyuk tells him that even if he breaks his contract with him, he knows Han-gyul will be back… because of music. “What you value the most is music. You’ll only meet people through music. You’ll love and hurt people only through music.”
Tears slide down his face as Han-gyul puts down the phone. He collapses in his chair as his life and relationships lie in shambles around him. On the other end, Jin-hyuk sends Han-gyul’s song to Yoo-na.
So-rim, Gyu-sun, and Jin-woo put their headphones on to listen to the song selected for their debut. As Chan-young’s song starts playing, the boys exclaim in excitement, but So-rim’s face falls. Ah, she’s already heard Han-gyul’s song. Jin-hyuk notices her reaction and smiles.
Soo-yeon asks him why he excluded K’s song, and Jin-hyuk says that singing Chan-young’s song will benefit the band in the long run. He explains that So-rim will eventually become a songwriter, and right now she needs a song she can trample on. He expects her to want to rework the song to improve it, whereas with Han-gyul’s song, she’ll just want to protect it. Wow. That’s cold, but brilliant.
So-rim calls Han-gyul to ask if his song had been taken out of the selection process. Han-gyul goes along with it (even though he doesn’t know if that is true). He asks to meet her and prepares a flash drive. About to copy the final version of “Waiting for you,” he copies the first draft into the drive with a sad smile.
Se-jung calls Jin-woo’s number to tell Gyu-sun that she carried off his phone by mistake. She promises to return it the next day. In the meantime, she sits in a cyber cafe looking through Gyu-sun’s chats with So-rim and Jin-woo.
On her way out of Sole Music, So-rim meets Yoo-na in the hallway. She greets So-rim and draws her into a conversation about her debut. She smoothly mentions that Han-gyul will be producing her comeback album and asks if she wants to hear the song she’ll be singing. From the very first riffs, So-rim knows it’s the one he wrote for her.
She excuses herself and goes to the washroom. With the song playing in her head, she washes her face repeatedly and asks why it had to be that song.
She clears away the traces of her tears before meeting Han-gyul by the river. He still sees that she had been upset and guesses that he’s the reason. So-rim asks why he had to give Yoo-na the song he wrote for her. Han-gyul clearly doesn’t know about this, but instead of being honest, he asks her if she dislikes the idea of Yoo-na singing her song.
She admits that she does, and Han-gyul presses her to sing it herself. He says that it doesn’t have to be her debut song, but she just has to promise to sing it. Miserable, So-rim explains again that she’s bound by her promise to Chan-young, but Han-young’s face hardens.
He asks her if she had to choose between never seeing him again and keeping her promise to Chan-young, would she forget about the promise and choose him? (Oh, you jackass!)
So-rim tears up, unable to answer. Han-gyul takes a deep breath and says that this is why he doesn’t like dating girls who sing. He hands her the flash drive, saying that he’d meant to turn over a new leaf with this, but he ended up hurting her anyway. Then he walks away, leaving So-rim standing alone.
But a little distance away, Han-gyul slows to a stop. He wrestles with his conflicting feelings, then turns and runs back to So-rim.
In a haze of pain, So-rim walks down the road, where Chan-young finds her. He observes that she looks sad, but she denies it. Then, looking into his sympathetic face, she slowly starts to crumple. Gently, Chan-young pulls her into his arms as she sobs her heart out.
Han-gyul comes running down the path and stops at the sight of them. Jin-hyuk’s words rings in his ears: “You’ll always love and hurt people through music… all your life.”
That was brutal. With the sweetness of Han-gyul and So-rim’s courtship these past weeks, I’d begun to think that their world was less ruthless than I’d suspected. Han-gyul’s demeanor is usually so passive and guileless that I had forgotten how easily he’d torn his friends down when they’d questioned his decision about their music.
As Chan-young pointed out, much of Crude Play’s current misery can be traced back to Jin-hyuk’s initial decision to use professional musicians to record their songs instead of letting the band grow into their strengths. While he blamed it on Han-gyul’s need to get his music out in its most perfect form, I think most of the responsibility lies with Jin-hyuk, who was older and nurtured Han-gyul’s habit of putting his music before his friends. He could have fostered Crude Play’s bonds and ensured that they came out stronger together, but instead, he chose the path of quick success. I’m sure, as the owner of a brand new label, Jin-hyuk had been in a hurry to establish his company’s credentials in the industry — but as a mentor to five teenaged boys, he failed them spectacularly.
That flashback into Crude Play’s early days showed Han-gyul’s frustration with his friends’ playfulness during their practice session. It was telling that even as a young boy, he wanted his music played perfectly, while his friends dreamed of fame and stardom. Ironically, they got exactly what they wanted; however, none of the boys had imagined that they would have to sell their integrity to achieve their dreams. And maybe, Han-gyul had comfortably believed that his friends were happy with the renown they had claimed they wanted, freed from the pressures of playing at the level Han-gyul demanded from them. But they were ultimately living a lie, and not everyone is as comfortable with that as Han-gyul.
Jin-hyuk’s reasons for choosing Chan-young’s song for Mush & Co. is ruthless, but understandable. With her penchant for writing lyrics and ear for music, it’s unsurprising that he sees a budding songwriter in So-rim. So it makes sense that he would want her to start developing her composing skills. And it’ll be interesting to see how Chan-young reacts to So-rim suggesting changes to his song. She has shown backbone whenever her beliefs were tested, but will she be able to hurt his pride by criticizing his music? Contrary to what Chan-young believes, So-rim didn’t choose him over Han-gyul, she simply chose to keep her promise, even at the cost of losing a song that could start her career with a bang. It’s sad that neither of the boys can see the simple truth of this.
I don’t know how I feel about Han-gyul’s dad. They are adorable together, but In-woo has clearly left deep scars in his son’s psyche. Even I thought it was rich of him to preach about Han-gyul using his friends for his music when he had left his son to be brought up by his grandmother as a boy. No matter how crinkly his smile is, I’m not feeling too generous towards a man who up and leaves the moment his son lets his hurt and resentment show.
Then again, abandonment issues don’t excuse Han-gyul’s treatment of So-rim here. He behaved like a spoiled child who was unused to being denied what he wanted. It was infuriating to see him take So-rim’s honest jealousy over his song and use it to manipulate her that way. Somehow, he has internalized So-rim’s rejection of his song as a rejection of him. Music is so much a part of his identity that he can’t think clearly outside its framework. Ultimately, this is what makes him the eponymous “Liar” of the show. When it comes to his music, he will say anything, hurt anyone, to get what he wants.
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