Thirty But Seventeen: Episodes 21-22
The final push, as Chan’s team prepares for nationals and Seo-ri approaches her debut, means that everyone has to work hard to stay focused. But hard work isn’t always enough, which Woo-jin eventually discovers, and he’s not quite ready for Seo-ri to learn that lesson. Woo-jin knows that he’s changed for the better, thanks to Seo-ri, but he still shows he cares by being protective. For Seo-ri to grow into an adult, Woo-jin needs to learn how to let her stand, or fall, on her own.
EPISODE 21: “You are my resting place”
From across the street, Woo-jin can see that Seo-ri is about to get hit with water from a hose and yells out her name. It triggers his memory of the time that he yelled out Soo-mi’s name at the young Seo-ri and he experiences another flashback.
Seo-ri senses something’s wrong and races to Woo-jin’s side as he’s flooded with memories of both the young girl from his past and Seo-ri. Woo-jin manages to look up at Seo-ri when she arrives and drops his head onto her shoulder with the plea, “Let me stay like this for just a moment.” Seo-ri pats Woo-jin on the back and they hold onto each other as tears fall from their eyes.
Seo-ri settles Woo-jin onto a bench but when she sees how pale he looks she announces she’ll be back with medicine. Woo-jin stops her, “Please stay with me. That’s all I need to get better.” He looks at Seo-ri and recalls their day at the beach when he first spoke of his past and thinks, “I haven’t had the courage to tell anyone about it…But if it’s this person, perhaps…”
A now-recovered Woo-jin searches for his doctor, who’s in the middle of a music therapy session. The doctor reminds Woo-jin that his appointment isn’t until the next day, but he’s there to treat him to lunch.
Over their meal, Woo-jin explains how Seo-ri has changed his outlook, “…I no longer want to hide my emotions from others just because I feel guilty about an incident that happened in the past. Especially not to her.” Woo-jin’s doctor smiles at his patient’s significant progress.
Seo-ri’s nurses talk about the latest appearance of her mysterious visitor. The young nurse tried to learn the man’s identity but he left once he learned that Seo-ri woke up and was no longer at the hospital.
The senior nurse wonders if he’s the one who paid the hospital bills but the young nurse guesses that he’s a relative. As she speaks, the mysterious man, who’s covered with a layer of dirt, stops in front of the Haemun police station until he sees the officer posted nearby and walks away.
Back at the office, Seo-ri can’t keep her worried eyes off of Woo-jin. Hyun returns the photo that fell from Seo-ri’s notebook, curious to know which of the young girls is her. When Seo-ri points at the photo blindly, Hyun is convinced that she’s still angry about the carp feeding incident.
Woo-jin catches Seo-ri staring at him and calls her over to hand her a list with a sticky note that reads, “I’m really okay, so you can stop staring. Your eyes might fall out.” On the back side of the note is a sketch of her worried eyes.
Seo-ri is clearly not convinced because she adds the note to several others that Woo-jin wrote throughout the day, all insisting that he’s fine. It looks as if Seo-ri is about to resume her watchfulness when Hee-soo walks in and Woo-jin calls for a meeting.
Woo-jin presents several sketches to the team and explains, “The concept is to be able to see classical music.” Based on Seo-ri’s notes, Woo-jin realized that the more the audience knows about the music, the more it can be enjoyed.
Woo-jin wants to change the background of the stage with every musical piece, just like they do for other productions. Hee-soo and Hyun are excited with his idea and everyone thanks Seo-ri for her help.
Chan and his team practice side-by-side on rowing machines and when the coach ends practice, Deok-soo uncharacteristically shouts out, “Let’s do it one more time!”
After the extra-long practice, Deok-soo and Hae-bum are ready to eat but Chan still has to practice for his individual race. The boys are worried that because of them, Chan has to workout twice as much, but he assures them that he can handle it.
On the walk home, Woo-jin explains that Seo-ri’s comment about seeing her music inspired his design concept. Seo-ri’s so happy and claims that even though she’s hungry, she feels full. Woo-jin points to a fountain and jokes that she can eat there. Seo-ri points to a trash bin and teases, “I think it’s a metaphorical piece that represents a broken soul or something.”
Eager to change the subject, Woo-jin suggests that they continue home but Seo-ri lingers and remembers, “I saw a fountain like that…The music and lights would come on, and the fountain would dance with it.” Woo-jin tells her that there are many fountains with music and lights but Seo-ri calls him a liar.
Woo-jin takes Seo-ri to a fountain near the Han River and it springs into action just after they arrive. In time to classical music, the water dances and lights flash as Seo-ri gasps in delight. Suddenly the music changes to a waltz and both Seo-ri and Woo-jin recognize Je te veux (I want you). Seo-ri is happy to learn that Woo-jin listened to the piece after her recommendation and the two share a magical moment as they enjoy the water show.
After the show, a vendor offers to sell them a mat to sit on the ground and when he refers to Seo-ri as Woo-jin’s girlfriend, she gets flustered. Woo-jin buys a mat and walks off with a big smile on his face while Seo-ri tries to calm herself down.
Woo-jin sees a dog that looks just like Deok-gu and he motions for Seo-ri, “Come here! He looks just like our Deok-gu!” Seo-ri stares at Woo-jin and when he returns and asks, “Why are you looking at me like that,” she answers, “Because you’re pretty.” He smiles when she adds, “It seems like you only shrink objects now. Not your heart.”
Seo-ri sits on the mat while Woo-jin returns with bags of snacks. When he pauses to pour water on a potted tree, Seo-ri remembers a boy from her youth, with a tube slung over his shoulder, covered with stickers.
Seo-ri tells Woo-jin that he reminded her of someone and is about to ask him a question. When she recalls that Chan and Hee-soo mentioned that Woo-jin studied in Germany, she changes her mind. Nonetheless, she wonders, “Why was I suddenly reminded of that boy?”
Chan and his friends talk about their coach’s wedding as they enter the house with blended coffee drinks. Jennifer has them exchange their drinks for freshly squeezed juice and when they sit down to dinner, she wheels in a whiteboard with a complicated table, labelled “Diet Project”.
The boys are completely lost as Jennifer explains the ideal diet to optimize their performance and improve their chances for a medal. Deok-soo wonders about Jennifer’s background and the boys stare over at her as she enjoys a cup of tea, accompanied by a stack of books.
Woo-jin and Seo-ri get caught in a rainstorm on the walk home and they take shelter on the playground where she spent the night after she left the hospital. She admits that she never imagined that she would return there with Woo-jin, of all people.
Seo-ri puts out her hand to see if it’s still raining but Woo-jin holds it and suggests, “Let’s stay here a little longer.” Seo-ri pulls back her hand and while she looks out at the rain, Woo-jin recalls what he told his doctor, “I think I should wait for her and support her for now. Telling her how I feel as soon as possible and becoming her boyfriend aren’t important. I’m certain and ready now so I’ll have to be patient and wait for her to be ready too.”
In the morning, Hae-bum places a face mask on a sleeping Woo-jin. He wakes up, startled at the sight of Hae-bum in a face mask so the boy explains that he’s getting ready for the coach’s wedding. He thought that Woo-jin could use one too since he’s been working such long hours.
Woo-jin gets up and smiles at the sight of the mat from the night before. He recalls how desperate Seo-ri was to find her uncle when he first met her so when Hee-soo calls, Woo-jin lets her know he’ll be late.
Chan walks out of his bedroom to find Hae-bum ready for the coach’s wedding. They bow formally when Deok-soo joins them, looking very mature in his father’s suit, but he’s all teenager when he produces a bag of donuts.
Of course Jennifer appears the second they bite into the sugary treats to ask if the reception will serve steak, which fits their diet. The boys think they’re in the clear when Jennifer walks away, unaware that the sugar on their faces gave them away. Jennifer turns around and holds up a single finger as she informs the boys, “This is your first warning.”
The boys descend the stairs and overhear Seo-ri on the phone discussing details of her performance. Impressed, Deok-soo and Hae-bum comment that she sounds like a real adult which causes Chan to grumpily push past them. He’s not happy when Seo-ri points to some sugar on his mouth and teases that he looks like a baby. His friends laugh while Chan looks stricken. Poor boy!
Seo-ri’s words torment Chan as he dresses for the wedding. He blames her comment on his silly t-shirt and turns to Chan Jr. for confirmation, crushed when the young chicken ignores him.
Woo-jin visits the police station to ask about a search for Seo-ri’s uncle. The same policemen that Seo-ri spoke to are on duty and they have a sense of deja vu as they explain why her missing uncle isn’t a police matter.
Woo-jin passes by corner with all the banners and he questions the same attendant that Seo-ri spoke with about putting up a banner of his own. When Woo-jin calls a banner shop, he has to explain that he doesn’t have a photo of the missing person.
At orchestra rehearsal, Conductor Shim apologizes when he calls Seo-ri a student. He confesses that he made the same mistake with Tae-rin since he worked with both of them when they were young.
Seo-ri excitedly runs up to Tae-rin and explains that she just found out that they were in the youth orchestra together. When Tae-rin doesn’t respond, Seo-ri assumes that she must not remember her. Seo-ri asks for Tae-rin’s help but her chilly response is that it’s not the kind of thing others can help with.
The festival chairman arrives with beverages for the orchestra and offers two to Seo-ri, who’s surprised when he asks about her condition. The chairman urges Seo-ri to come to him with any problems while Tae-rin looks puzzled over his interest.
EPISODE 22: “The phone call”
Still in his suit, a discouraged Chan gets a call from Hae-bum to ask why he left the wedding. He and Deok-soo want Chan to rejoin them at the reception but he sends them ahead without him. While Chan waits to cross the street, a young boy calls him, “Ahjussi,” which reverses his mood immediately and he runs off happily.
Chan waits for Seo-ri’s bus to arrive and when she steps off, he’s positioned under a tree as if he’s there by chance. His suit gets the desired response when Seo-ri exclaims, “You look amazing.”
As they walk together, Chan can barely contain his joy and thinks, “I bet we look like a couple. Of course. I’m not wearing that immature t-shirt anymore. Who’d think we’re eleven years apart?” His bubble bursts when a woman tries to return a dropped card and refers to Chan as a student. She then calls Seo-ri his older sister and when Chan corrects her, to his horror, the woman guesses that she’s his aunt.
Seo-ri explains that she has to go to the office and leaves just as Chan gets a text from Deok-soo, who’s excited about the school’s lunch menu. He looks at Seo-ri’s retreating figure and mutters, “The office. School lunch. The office. School lunch,” and finally realizes how huge their age gap is. Chan remembers the photo that he found of Woo-jin and Seo-ri and his uncle’s explanation that someone mistook them for a couple because they’re the same age.
Back at home, Chan recalls how impressed Deok-soo and Hae-bum were with Seo-ri’s adult demeanor and he digs out the business card for the director of the professional rowing team. With renewed purpose, Chan does pushups and recalls the director’s promise that training with adults yields better results, the card now taped to his motto, “Don’t think. Feel!”
Seo-ri shows up at the office with snacks and looks around for Woo-jin, who walks in just when Hee-soo drags her away to look at the stage models. It’s late when Seo-ri finds Woo-jin and she urges him to go home. He’s more concerned about her because his research revealed that Seo-ri should get regular checkups. Woo-jin offers to be Seo-ri’s guardian so she can visit a hospital after the festival and she agrees.
Seo-ri excitedly shares that she knew Tae-rin when they were students but Woo-jin remembers how anxious she looked when Seo-ri reconnected with Conductor Shim. Seo-ri comments that her fellow student accomplished so much and turned into a cool adult.
Seo-ri vows to make the best of her opportunity and shares, “I feel like it’ll turn out well.” Woo-jin thinks of the banner shop’s warning that it would be practically impossible to find a missing person after so long without a photo. Aware that the concert is Seo-ri’s best chance to find her family, Woo-jin sincerely wishes, “I really hope everything turns out great for you.”
Seo-ri practices her violin at a park where an older woman claps appreciatively. When she notices the darkening sky, Seo-ri scoops up her violin and makes it home just as rain begins to fall. Seo-ri worries that Jennifer, who is at her part-time job, will be caught in the rain without an umbrella.
Jennifer is about to leave Hyung-tae’s apartment when he walks in and greets her warmly. Jennifer apologizes that she had to send someone else in her place when she was injured, which explains why she didn’t take her payment after her last visit. Hyung-tae compensates her with some vitamins and Jennifer only accepts them when he insists it was a buy one, get one free offer.
Hyung-tae notices Jennifer’s matching slippers and thinks of the mismatched ones that her substitute left behind. He’s about to inquire after that person but then changes his mind.
Jennifer is in front of Hyung-tae’s building when the rain begins. Seo-ri hurries to the apartment building with an extra umbrella but Hyung-tae covers Jennifer with an umbrella and urges her to take it. He’s on his way back inside by the time Seo-ri arrives, and when Jennifer explains that the doctor she works for provided the umbrella, Seo-ri says he sounds like a kind man.
Jennifer comments that the large raindrops are an indication that the rain will soon stop and Seo-ri thinks there’s nothing that Jennifer’s doesn’t know. Jennifer admits that she just reads books, but not necessarily for enjoyment.
Jennifer remembers the day when she was pregnant and found herself outside of the local library. She went inside and watched the rain from a window while in the present she explains, “It’s not that I read books. I just read the letters.”
Jennifer returned to that library, no longer pregnant, time and again to read book after book. She explains to Seo-ri, “When you read something you can endure everything without having any other thoughts.”
Before Seo-ri can question her, Jennifer gets a text with the dress code for the music festival and zeroes in on the need for neatness. Seo-ri confesses that she listed Jennifer as her emergency contact but the housekeeper is more concerned with Seo-ri’s disheveled appearance and instructs the girl to follow her.
Back at home, as the two woman say goodnight, Jennifer observes, “The word ‘neat’ finally suits you a little better.” After Jennifer goes to her room, an exhausted Chan finally gets home, but he’s not too tired to notice Seo-ri’s hair. She admits that Jennifer treated her to a salon visit to prepare for her concert.
Seo-ri sees how tired Chan looks and complains that he’s overworking himself but he simply answers, “I wanted to go a bit faster.” She thinks he’s talking about rowing and Chan doesn’t correct her.
Hee-soo and Woo-jin meet with the festival chairman at a restaurant to present their design. He’s away with a call when it’s announced that his car needs to be moved, so Woo-jin offers to find him. CHAIRMAN BYUNG is busy with the call and doesn’t see Woo-jin, who steps out of sight when he overhears the conversation. Whatever is said causes Woo-jin alarm and he clenches his hand in anger.
Chairman Byung and Woo-jin rejoin Hee-soo at the same time. When the chairman apologizes for taking so long, Woo-jin warns, “You should stay away from doing something you’ll be sorry about.”
Chairman Byung ignores Woo-jin and gives the stage designs another look and calls them “classy”. To Hee-soo’s horror, Woo-jin responds, “You don’t seem to be the type to value class.” Chairman Byung decides to end the meeting and promises to call Hee-soo later.
Tae-rin is interviewed by a reporter who asks how the new star of the concert has affected the atmosphere at rehearsals. When the reporter mentions that the new star will sell lots of tickets, Tae-rin remembers how confident Chairman Byung was about sales and his keen interest in Seo-ri. Tae-rin realizes that there’s more to the story and asks the reporter to join her for lunch.
When he gets back to the office, Woo-jin orders Seo-ri to withdraw from the festival and pretends that it’s affected their work. Everyone is confused by Woo-jin’s attitude but when he tells Seo-ri, “Quit immediately,” she grabs his hand and protests that she doesn’t understand him. Woo-jin throws off her hand and insists, “I don’t care if you don’t understand. Quit immediately.” Seo-ri refuses and grabs her violin for rehearsal.
Woo-jin escapes to the roof where he can see Seo-ri drop to the ground in anguish on the sidewalk. She recovers and leaves for rehearsal while Woo-jin looks on helplessly.
Hee-soo finds Woo-jin and tells him that he must have a good reason for his behavior. When he confirms that she would agree with him if she knew the details, Hee-soo promises that if he’s wrong, she’ll kill him for sure.
Chan’s rowing team’s extra practice pays off because they’re in sync, no matter what they do. When the coach sees them in the water, he’s surprised with their improvement. Deok-soo and Hae-bum talk excitedly about their results on their way to the bus until Chan suddenly stops, just as he’s about to board. There’s something wrong with his left foot, but Chan ignores it and gets on the bus.
At rehearsal, Seo-ri’s violin is out of sync with everyone else so Tae-rin suggests a break and uses the opportunity for a private talk. Tae-rin notes that Seo-ri looks troubled and reminds her that she can’t disappoint the people who want to see her overcome her hardship.
Of course Seo-ri has no idea what Tae-rin is talking about so she asks for an explanation. Seo-ri looks devastated when we next see her, as she walks away angrily from rehearsal, and we hear Tae-rin’s explanation, “Seo-ri, your story is quite special. Even if you weren’t chosen for your violin skills, this will be a good chance for you. Don’t you think so?”
Chairman Byung talks with a reporter over the phone and asks for the article about Seo-ri to get published right away to generate interest in a televised appearance. Woo-jin confronts the chairman and in a flashback, we hear the phone conversation that upset him.
Woo-jin overheard Chairman Byung instruct the reporter to spice up the story about Seo-ri, so people would want to see the pitiful girl. When asked if she was any good, the chairman bluntly answered, “She’s been asleep for over ten years. How good could she be?” The chairman was clear that Seo-ri’s only purpose was to sell tickets and if the public turned against her, they would too.
Woo-jin insists that Chairman Byung shouldn’t splash Seo-ri’s story across the media. The chairman retorts that she’s just a part-timer who can’t do anything and then nods knowingly. Woo-jin can’t contain his anger any longer and grabs the chairman’s shirt as he asks, “Do you call yourself human?” Woo-jin angrily admits, “If I knew you were such a scumbag, I wouldn’t have worked with you.” He threatens to stop production on the festival’s stages if Chairman Byung proceeds with the article.
As Woo-jin walks away from Chairman Byung, he remembers Seo-ri’s tears of grief when she saw Tae-rin perform on stage. She later told him in earnest, “If nothing had happened, I would have been able to do that. I want to stand on that stage. I want to work really hard and earn the right on my own.”
Alone at the office, Woo-jin wrestles with the demand he made of Seo-ri, to quit the festival. She walks in and confronts him, “You knew, didn’t you?” Seo-ri wants to know what’s wrong with being used to sell tickets if she’s all right with it. Woo-jin doesn’t understand how she can agree to such a thing, but Seo-ri insists it’s her chance to do something that she loves and if her uncle sees her, he might come back.
Seo-ri insists, “So what if I’m being used? I’m okay with it. I’m willing to be used, so who are you to butt in?” She’s surprised when Woo-jin admits, “The woman I like getting hurt is the last thing I want.”
Hmmm, that wasn’t quite the confession that I imagined for Woo-jin, but his heart is mush where Seo-ri is concerned and he couldn’t hold in his feelings any longer. Even more of a surprise was Seo-ri’s partially misplaced anger. True, she had reason to be angry because Woo-jin demanded that Seo-ri quit the festival rather than hurt her with the truth, but he’s always been the protective sort. I think Seo-ri’s mostly angry with herself though, because in her excitement, she ignored the truth. The fact is that she was in a coma for thirteen years and her talent has suffered as a result. Seo-ri is anxious to make up for her lost time and the short cut that the festival offered was too tempting for her to pass up. That’s why she won’t allow the truth that she’s merely a marketing tool to stop her, she’s desperate, and that’s never a good position to be in.
For his part, Woo-jin has spent years trying to avoid pain, so he automatically tries to protect Seo-ri. Unfortunately, they’ve both been stunted because of their pasts and in order to be free, both Woo-jin and Seo-ri have to suffer through some hard knocks. Seo-ri needs to look at her situation realistically, something she was exceptional at when she was young. It’s why she attended a regular high school instead of the arts school, she was able to discern what was best for her. Seo-ri needs that kind of clarity again so that she can make good decisions, not desperate ones. Woo-jin has to take a step back and allow Seo-ri to grow up, and that means allowing her to make decisions even if some of them don’t turn out well. That’s how kids gain experience and grow up. There are no shortcuts in life when it comes to experience.
abirdword commented that Jennifer is the group’s rock, and I couldn’t agree more. If Jennifer is the rock, that makes Chan the heart, and I fear that both are in for some tough times. We’ve already seen that Jennifer suffered some kind of a loss, but in this hour she admits that she’s used books to hide from her pain. All those facts bouncing around in her head are her way of keeping her mind occupied so that she doesn’t have to deal with reality. Like Seo-ri, Jennifer has to face her truths so that she can move on.
Which brings me to Chan. I fear there’s more to that fainting spell than exhaustion or indigestion and now there’s something not quite right with his foot. I don’t think it’s an injury because as an athlete, Chan would be familiar with those. No, it’s something else, but he’s so busy with training and distracted by his feelings for Seo-ri that he’s not paying attention to his symptoms. I can imagine all kinds of terrible things, especially with a neurosurgeon in the mix, so I’m hoping it’s nothing major but this is a drama. I’m hoping that Chan won’t be seriously ill but maybe a crisis will teach the lesson that everyone needs to learn. No matter what curve balls life sends your way, as long as you have the people who matter next to you, you have all that you really need.