One Spring Night: Episodes 29-30
Ah, repressed abandonment issues. They’ve arrived just in time to add some turbulence to the show’s landing, as our main couple gets a chance to really test their feelings for one another. And this dust-up gives our librarian’s darling ex-boyfriend just the confidence boost he needs to recommit to his selfish plans.
Jung-in sits next to Ji-ho on his bed, and Ji-ho’s voice drunkenly wavers as he asks, “Are you going to leave us too?” Jung-in does her best to follow along with Ji-ho’s drunk rambles, but as he continues to question her resolve, she just becomes angry.
Young-jae follows Jung-in out the apartment door to try to defend his friend. Jung-in asks if this is a normal habit of Ji-ho’s, and that’s when Young-jae brings up Yoo-mi. Young-jae tries to elaborate, but Jung-in doesn’t want to know any details about Eun-woo’s mother and turns back to the stairs. Young-joo spots her and follows after her friend, but Jung-in says only that she’ll tell her about what happened later.
As Jung-in puts distance between herself and the apartment, her phone lights up with a call from Ki-seok, of course. She ignores it and marches on. But Ji-ho isn’t the last drunk Jung-in will need to contend with tonight, as Ki-seok staggers towards her just outside her apartment door.
But now Jung-in asks different questions of Ki-seok. She asks if he could really trust her and accept her back after he watched her walk away from him once before. When she asks this man if he could trust her, Ki-seok responds confidently in the affirmative. Ki-seok leaves the apartment building with a growing smirk, happy to see a crack in Jung-in’s relationship armor.
The next morning, Ji-ho is definitely too hungover to make it to work on time. When he does finally wake up, a phone call from Young-jae alerts him to his bad behavior the night before. Ji-ho’s eyes widen as Young-jae explains that he tried to tell Jung-in about Yoo-mi, though he also reports that Jung-in didn’t let him elaborate.
At work, Ha-rin brings Jung-in’s phone over just as she misses a call. But whoever it is, Jung-in doesn’t bother to call them back. As for Ki-seok, he’s a work, gleefully watching as Hyun-soo takes desperate calls from his friends. Ki-seok’s colleagues are talking about a picky manager, and how in the end, “the first choice is always the best.” It may as well be Ki-seok’s new slogan, and he grins at them.
Jung-in retreats to the basement theater for a moment to think, and Young-joo soon joins her to help her friend sort things out. Jung-in brings up the possibility that Ji-ho could still have feelings for Eun-woo’s mom, but as they talk it’s clear that it’s the fact that Ji-ho said that he wasn’t sure that he could trust her that has Jung-in wounded.
Jung-in tells Young-joo about Ki-seok’s own confident answer regarding trust, and Young-joo asks if Jung-in is just going to run away from Ji-ho, and Jung-in quips that she’ll keep it as an option. Young-joo suggests that perhaps it’s better not knowing all of the baggage that a person comes with, but then quickly agrees that there’s no way that Jung-in would be willing to let things go.
While Jung-in continues to contemplate the situation, Ji-ho never gets a chance himself to think as the work day at the pharmacy gets busy. Meanwhile, Young-jae is waiting to pick Hyun-soo up at work, and Hyun-soo hurries him away from the building as Ki-seok exits behind him. Watching them scurry away, Ki-seok’s renewed confidence swells.
Ji-ho finally gets a chance to call Jung-in. He suggests that he meet Jung-in at her place to talk, and then quickly offers to meet her at his place if she prefers. But it seems Jung-in would prefer someplace less private, and suggests the cafe they frequent instead.
Jung-in receives a call from her mom as she waits for Ji-ho to arrive, who is ready to discuss Ji-ho. But Jung-in doesn’t give Mom a chance to relay the news about her encounter with Ji-ho’s mom and rushes to hang up.
As Ji-ho takes off his lab coat for the day, he admits to Pharmacist Wang about his mess-up. She almost seems glad to hear it, and tells Ji-ho that it’s nice to see him acting like a human for once. She tells him that he’s been withholding his real feelings from Jung-in, and that it’s better to be honest about it. She also warns him not to be surprised when Jung-in takes this harder than he does himself.
So Ji-ho is off to the cafe, where Jung-in asks if he has no excuse for his behavior, or if he doesn’t remember enough to even try to make one up. Ji-ho nods that it’s probably a little bit of both. But then he insists that he doesn’t actually think she would leave him.
Jung-in presses him further, noting that he asked if she would leave too, a comparison between her and Eun-woo’s mom. Ji-ho’s shoulders sag, and he repeats that he’s frustrated because he can’t remember anything from that night’s conversation, unsure what to even apologize for. Jung-in tells him that she doesn’t want an apology, and Ji-ho admits that he can’t help feeling insecure about his past.
And then Jung-in points out that she abandoned her boyfriend, just like Eun-woo’s mom did, and that Ji-ho witnessed the whole thing. She confesses that she feels insecure about her own past actions and how they line up with Ji-ho’s past. She says she’s doubting herself, and wonders aloud if she rushed into things, only thinking about her love for Ji-ho.
Meanwhile, Ki-seok takes a call from his dad. The chairman wants to set up a dinner date for Ki-seok with that assemblyman’s daughter that he keeps mentioning, and now that things seems to be in Ki-seok’s favor, he’s willing to meet the woman. Chairman Kwon is surprised to hear that Ki-seok seems to have given up on Jung-in, while Ki-seok asks his dad if he can delay the dinner just a little bit so that he can finish sorting everything out in his current situation.
Back at the cafe, Ji-ho flounders for a way to get Jung-in to forgive him. But she insists that this is about her, not him, and how she may not be as ready as she thought to accept all of Ji-ho and his past. Jung-in suggests that they take a step back so that she can think about things. Ji-ho tries again to articulate his fears, but Jung-in cuts him off to say that she understands how he feels, it just doesn’t matter. But Ji-ho takes the moment back to speak for himself, pleads with her: “Don’t leave us.”
Jung-in taxies away from the cafe, sullen and deep in thought. Ji-ho returns to his dark apartment alone, but one look at the new family photo on the nightstand, and he’s back down the stairs and getting into his car.
Ji-ho’s drive brings him to Jung-in’s door, but before he can ring the buzzer, his phone vibrates with a call from Eun-woo. Eun-woo is eager to see his dad again and asks when he’ll be by again, and Ji-ho says that he’ll come over now. He walks away from Jung-in’s door, his shoulders sagging.
At his parent’s place, Ji-ho’s dour mood doesn’t match his parents’ excitement at all. Mom can’t stop gushing about her encounter with Jung-in’s mom, and how grateful and relieved she was to see Jung-in’s mom was understanding and even willing to console her. Mom notices her son’s subdued responses, but Dad assumes that Ji-ho is just surprised.
Ji-ho retreats to bed with Eun-woo, who asks when he’ll get a chance to see Jung-in again. Ji-ho nods without really answering, and coaxes his son to sleep.
The next day, Ki-seok and Hyun-soo are back in the breakroom, but now the power dynamics seem to have shifted. Ki-seok tries to sound casual as he asks about Ji-ho, and Hyun-soo can’t hold back his surprise as he asks if Jung-in is the one who told him about it. Ki-seok just simmers in his gloating as he stirs his instant coffee and then saunters away.
Jung-in’s mom comes for a visit at the library, and she immediately notes how weary Jung-in looks. But out on the bench, Mom tells Jung-in about her encounter with Ji-ho’s mom, and how that has reassured her. She still warns Jung-in that there will be many hurdles in their future, and that things won’t be as easy as she thinks they will be. Jung-in breaks into tears and hugs her mother tightly, having gained her approval at last.
As mom gets ready to leave, she tells Jung-in that she still needs to talk things out with Dad herself. Mom warns her to be nice, and to try to understand that being a parent isn’t easy.
Ji-ho spends his day at work gazing out the glass door. Pharmacist Wang tries to release him from work early, but he says that he has nowhere to go. She tries to follow him to the backroom, but Ye-seul holds her back.
The news of Ji-ho and Jung-in’s rift reaches Jae-in as she shares a park bench with Young-jae. She can’t believe it was Jung-in who broke it off first, and Young-jae assures her that it’s just a break, not an official break up. He proceeds to diplomatically support both sides, saying that he understands Jung-in’s feelings even as he wants to protect his friend. Jae-in then breaks the news that they should break up too, since her loyalty to her sisters is more important than a guy. And since he’s friends with Ji-ho, it’ll just have to end. Young-jae seems stunned by this, stammering quietly.
Meanwhile, Seo-in has invited Shi-hoon over. He’s surprised that Jae-in isn’t there as backup (yeah, me too), and Seo-in says that she doesn’t want her sister to hear what she has to say. Seo-in lays it all out, that Shi-hoon can either accept the divorce and give up his parental rights, or she’ll charge him with assault, including sexual assault.
Seo-in eventually shoves Shi-hoon out the door, even as he continues to protest the divorce. As she tries to squeeze the door shut, Shi-hoon offers up that he’ll sign the divorce papers, but just after the baby is born. Seo-in lets him know that’s absolutely not an option and slams the door on him. Shi-hoon punches the door twice, venting his frustrations.
At Jung-in’s apartment, Jae-in packs for a stay at Seo-in’s. Jung-in asks her to tell Seo-in she’ll come over next week, and Jae-in pointedly asks if Ji-ho should be her priority instead. Jung-in tries to look like she’s immersed in her book, and Jae-in quips that her acting has gotten better. Jae-in tells Jung-in that she should know what it feels like to have her pride hurt, since she experienced it herself when Ki-seok’s father disapproved of her at first. Jae-in says that Ji-ho is in an even worse position, and yet Jung-in turns her back on him.
Ji-ho continues to sulk at work, that is until Hyun-soo calls him to report Ki-seok’s smug behavior, and also to ask if Ki-seok and Jung-in are getting back together. Ji-ho bounds up immediately, though Pharmacist Wang tells him not to leave.
Ki-seok drawls a hello into his phone when Ji-ho calls asking to meet. Ki-seok tells him that he’s busy tonight, but Ji-ho says that he’s already downstairs waiting for him right now. Before Ki-seok makes it downstairs though, Hyun-soo manages to spot Ji-ho in the building’s cafe and try to encourage him not to make a mess of things.
Ki-seok’s glare sends Hyun-soo scurrying off, and now it’s time for yet another Ji-ho Ki-seok face off. Ji-ho tells Ki-seok to leave Jung-in alone, and Ki-seok sneers that he will when Ji-ho does. Ji-ho asks if Ki-seok really thinks he could date Jung-in again all this, and Ki-seok responds with, “Who ever said I would?”
At her apartment, Jung-in works on the laundry, oblivious of the confrontation going down. But her phone buzzes and though we don’t see the message she receives, she mutters a curse about Ji-ho.
Back to the cafe, where Ki-seok reminds Ji-ho of what Ji-ho has been saying since the beginning, that it’s never been about Jung-in. Ki-seok just wants to beat Ji-ho, though he concedes that he might take Jung-in back, as a kindness to their parents. Ugh.
Then Ki-seok says that he feels pity for a lowly guy like Ji-ho, someone not in a position to compete with someone like him. And Ki-seok says that Jung-in needs more than just love, something like what Ki-seok can provide.
Now it’s Ji-ho’s turn to remind Ki-seok of something–that while Ki-seok sees Eun-woo as a weakness, Ji-ho sees his son as his greatest strength. And in this situation, Ji-ho brings up the photos that were taken of him and his son illegally. He wonders how he might use them now. Ki-seok does stop at this, and asks Ji-ho if he’s threatening his dad. Ji-ho promises that there’s nothing he’s scared to face when it comes to his son.
Ki-seok returns to his desk, where he immediately puts his next move into play. He calls Jung-in’s dad, who is certainly surprised to hear from Ki-seok, and asks to meet to discuss the wedding date.
Jung-in leaves her apartment and heads for the pharmacy, but she ducks back out when Pharmacist Wang indicates that Ji-ho isn’t in. But Pharmacist Wang just can’t let her go, and chases after Jung-in as she leaves.
Ki-seok continues to coordinate, now on the phone with his dad asking for a dinner date. And as the chairman leaves to meet his son, he runs into Jung-in’s dad in the drive. Dad indicates that he has dinner plans for the evening, though he doesn’t tell Chairman Kwon who they’re with.
Ji-ho walks with Hyun-soo after work. Hyun-soo tries to talk him into dinner, but Ji-ho is not in the mood and tells his friend he’d rather just return to the pharmacy.
Chairman Kwon arrives at the restaurant first, and Ki-seok assures him that Jung-in is done exploring other options and is returning to him. That is, of course, depending on whether Jung-in’s dad has a job in the foundation after retirement. On cue, Jung-in’s dad arrives for his own dinner date with Ki-seok.
Ki-seok makes up some lame excuse about mixing up his plans, and then deliberately leaves the two men alone, giving his dad a knowing look before closing the door on them. The chairman starts first, asking why Dad didn’t tell him he was meeting with Ki-seok. Dad sulkily says that he’s learned that not everything should be shared. Oh boy.
Meanwhile, Ji-ho returns to the pharmacy, where Ye-seul lets him know that he ducked out during a very busy shift. Ji-ho heads inside to apologize to Pharmacist Wang, but she coldly scolds him and tells him to lock up. The chill slips away though, as she and Ye-seul giggle around the corner of the building. Ji-ho heads into the backroom, where Jung-in sits in the dark, waiting. Ha ha.
He jumps when he sees her in the mirror as he turns on the lights. He approaches slowly, and suggests that they go somewhere to talk. Jung-in says that she’s not here to talk though. She’s here for medicine, the kind that will stop her from wanting to smack someone, and to treat her worried heart.
Ji-ho smiles, recognizing her teasing tone. He approaches her slowly, and slips in for a kiss of reconciliation. Jung-in’s arms hang at her sides at first, and then she reaches up to cling to Ji-ho’s hips as they kiss.
I never once thought Jung-in was at actual risk of returning to Ki-seok. From the beginning, Jung-in said that the break-up wasn’t just about Ji-ho, and I believed her. I still do, and I think her actions demonstrate that she has been true to herself all along. She’s been afraid since the start that a relationship with Ji-ho wouldn’t work out, but she was still willing to confront Ki-seok and pull away from him. Even if Ki-seok could say the right words at the right moment, she’s still witnessed all of his bad behavior leading up to that moment. Just as Ki-seok has seen that she will walk away when a relationship isn’t serving her, she has seen that Ki-seok will hurt her if it means taking care of himself and what he wants.
This all could be considered unnecessary drama in the final week, but I think this was necessary and good for their relationship. They’ve been so sure of themselves for a while now, standing up to roadblocks from family and friends alike. But the show also isn’t afraid to admit that often our worst saboteurs are ourselves. No matter how mature Ji-ho has been through all of this, it’s silly to think that he’s never going to have a hang-up or that his past will never churn up once in a while. The man lives with a literal reminder of the woman who left him behind, and tucks that reminder in at night. This was a great test of their relationship, and I’m glad they both passed. Feeling the doubt and then moving past it feels much more solid than just blindly investing in the momentum of their passion.
And this conflict has put us in a better position to watch them defeat Ki-seok. He’s been pretty much at his ultimate low for a while now, so this burst of renewed confidence is what we need for some sort of epic fight in the end. I love this final drop of pretenses as Ki-seok feels comfortable showing the truth that’s he’s been trying to hide behind a mask of concern. He really doesn’t care about Jung-in in all of this. It really has always been about beating Ji-ho, and Ki-seok is prepared to move on, or at least boast that he has the option to. To be honest, I don’t actually think that he’s interested in meeting someone new. I’m sure he would consider it too much work. It felt much more like a power move, a little bit of swagger to flash how much of a desirable, powerful dude he is. The question now though is whether anyone else is left on his side, because while he’s been enjoying this moment, everyone else has been working on their own hangups. I’m beginning to suspect that the answer to the question is no, not even the dads.
Which leaves him with the ultimate evil: Shi-hoon. Shi-hoon’s grown desperate, and I’m sure Ki-seok will arrive there as well when he discovers that he is not the winner of this competition he’s invented. But Shi-hoon always wants something from others. Will he encourage Ki-seok to do something really nasty? Or will he somehow manage to enlist Ki-seok in some truly terrible misdeed against Seo-in in return for later help? I have no clue what the final move is going to be, but I feel like it has to be these two in the end, trying to rise up and claim their lost power, and ultimately failing.
I am starting to get frustrated with the scenes between Shi-hoon and Seo-in though, mostly because they feel like they are included expressly to make my blood pressure rise and not really to move their story forward any. Not that I want things to escalate, but it feels like these scenes are thrown in just to torture.
As we wind towards the end, I can’t help but be grateful for all of the women in this show. As long as they all kept listening and supporting one another, they gave me hope that everything was going to turn out alright by the end.
Both Jung-in and Ji-ho have surrounded themselves with good women who will call them on their bullshit, but are also listening to them. Jung-in has her powerhouse of a family, but she also has Young-joo in her corner. Ji-ho has had Pharmacist Wang as a mentor for a long time now, and I can’t help but feel that these types of relationships in his life helped Ji-ho be the understanding, gentle guy who he is.
These women have been able to exert their power through their commitment to one another. They’ve protected one another, they’ve comforted one another, all while letting one another have agency to make their own decisions.
We’ve got a lot of things to cover with just one hour left to go, but I’m hoping that this pace will help avoid an epilogue or time jump of any kind. I want to see these two happy in the moment at the end of all of this, and though Mom insists that there are many more hurdles, I feel like we are clearing them easily at last.
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