A Moment at Eighteen: Episode 11
A new couple has become official, and now it’s time for dates! It’s all awkward cuteness for our main couple as they get to know one another better, and thank goodness, because pretty much everyone else is unhappy. Especially our class president, who is losing allies quickly as his friends realize they may be losing more than they gain at his side.
EPISODE 11: “The Emotions I Got to Know Through You”
The buses have arrived and it’s time to head home from the school trip. Joon-woo and Soo-bin sit together eagerly, while Oh-je seems more reluctant to sit next to Da-hwin. Hwi-young stops to ask Soo-bin if she knows she’s supposed to show up to his house for a new tutor the next day. Joon-woo buckles up Soo-bin, and Da-hwin leans over to ask for the same from Oh-je, who fumbles with the belts.
Soon they’re on the road and Mr. Oh chuckles to himself proudly at the silent, exhausted class. That is, until he checks his phone and sees an urgent text from the vice-principal asking to talk. Mr. Oh isn’t the only one looking miserable, as Pil-sang continues to cry after his rejection, Ro-mi dozes at the window, Ki-tae glowers in the seat behind So-ye, and Oh-je stares ahead at Hwi-young as Da-hwin sleeps on his shoulder.
Sitting side by side, Soo-bin texts Joon-woo, taking the moment to explain why she didn’t tell him about Hwi-young’s text at first. She admits that she was afraid that she would still like him even if it turned out to be true.
Mr. Oh orders everyone to head right home once they arrive back in Seoul, and embarrasses Soo-bin by acknowledging her and Joon-woo’s new relationship. Mr. Oh also gives Chan-yeol a smile, and Chan-yeol nearly trembles as she pinkie promises to give him a tarot reading later.
Oh-je takes off with his usual excuse that he has to work, and the girls gather up Soo-bin to go to a jjimjilbang together. Before they get too far though, Joon-woo scurries over to ask that he and Soo-bin get a day alone together. Once alone, Joon-woo gives Soo-bin a ride down the sidewalk on the back of her luggage, the two of them smiling broadly.
They ride bikes together and then sit at a picnic table in the park. Joon-woo expresses how glad he is to spend time with Soo-bin alone. He jokingly asks her formally to care for him from now on, and she returns the request.
Da-hwin takes some friends from middle school to Oh-je’s restaurant, and he’s less than thrilled to see them all, and even less eager to take photos with them. Outside, Oh-je is mad but backs down when Da-hwin shoots back her own disappointment, and Oh-je tries to make excuses about being shy. Da-hwin stalks away, though she turns around after a few steps to continue the discussion. But by then, Oh-je has already disappeared back inside.
Meanwhile, Mr. Oh meets with the vice-principal and discovers that there is a petition from several parents requesting a new teacher assigned to his class. Mr. Oh notes that the petition doesn’t even have a majority of signatures, and he’s also pretty sure who is behind this. The vice-principal doesn’t even bother to deny that Hwi-young’s mom is the instigator, and instead just blames Mr. Oh for allowing this to happen. Even so, Mr. Oh refuses to back down.
Mr. Oh tries to contact Hwi-young’s mom directly afterwards, but she doesn’t even bother to answer his call. Then he sees the bar where he met Ji-min, and finds himself outside the convenience store as Ji-min wipes the windows.
Joon-woo walks Soo-bin home, but he’s reluctant to go anywhere near the front door, even though Soo-bin assures him her mom is on a business trip. He does sneak closer to scare her and wish her a final farewell for the evening though, hehe. They also agree to see each other the next day, and Joon-woo thrills at the thought of seeing Soo-bin every day from now on.
It’s a good thing Joon-woo didn’t walk Soo-bin inside, because her mom is home early. Soo-bin tries to hide her guilty eyes away, while Mom notes how vibrant her daughter looks after some fresh air.
On his way home, Joon-woo stops at a perfume shop to find a gift for Soo-bin. When the clerk asks if it’s for his girlfriend, Joon-woo smiles when he gets to say yes. He selects a scent and they even burn a personalized inscription into the case.
Hwi-young overhears his mom on the phone with Soo-bin’s mom, gloating in all the praise the woman heaps on her. Hwi-young grows more irritated as he listens to his mother rub her power in Soo-bin’s mom’s face.
Even though they’ve just spent the day together, Joon-woo and Soo-bin flirt on the phone and try to discuss what they want to do together tomorrow. They’re interrupted when Soo-bin’s mom abruptly enters her daughter’s room, and Soo-bin feigns a stomachache as she hides her phone under her bed. Mom suspects nothing, and just reminds Soo-bin to go to Hwi-young’s for the tutor, especially since she hurts from all the groveling she’s had to do.
Joon-woo waits on the line until his own mom comes home. As soon as she sees the sparkling smile on her son’s face, Mom know that it’s not just the fresh air that’s made him so happy. She giggles and demands to hear all about her son’s new romance as they head inside.
Ji-min’s shift at the convenience store ends, and she finds Mr. Oh sleeping at one of the back tables. They head out for beers and listen to one another’s concerns. Ji-min encourages Mr. Oh to stay strong and stand up to the domineering mom giving him hell. Ji-min says that she hears from Joon-woo that Mr. Oh is the best teacher in the world, and that gives Mr. Oh enough confidence to ask Ji-min out. She smiles shyly, but gives a brief “okay” sign of agreement. Next thing you know, the new couple is cheering loudly as they try to win a crane game at an arcade. And that’s when Chan-yeol happens to walk by and sees her crush obviously on a date with another woman.
Joon-woo and Soo-bin have resorted to texting as they try to make their plans for the next day. Soo-bin has to meet the new tutor, so they’ve only got until five. They go back and forth, suggesting earlier and earlier meeting times, until Joon-woo offers the final earliest time of 7:24 a.m. So cute.
Soo-bin’s mom is impressed with her daughter’s early wake up time, and assumes her daughter is getting an early start at the library. But as soon as Soo-bin is out the door, she stuffs her long shawl into her bag to reveal her date dress. It’s not even 7 a.m. yet, but Joon-woo is already there waiting for her. They resume their discussion of what to do for the day, and they agree to honor both of their top picks.
Meanwhile, Joon-woo’s mom Yeon-woo surprises Soo-bin’s mom Song-hee to offer her assistance, even though her job has officially ended. Yeon-woo also tries to return the extra money Song-hee gave her for the extras she provided like food. Yeon-woo protests that she did that because she wanted to help out, not because it was her job.
Soo-bin voted to do nothing for their date, and they achieve that as she and Joon-woo ride on a bus together. Joon-woo says that he used to ride buses like this all the time to see his mom, and he always liked these seats, because he felt like the bus was there just for him.
They arrive at the destination for what Joon-woo wanted to do: Jung-hoo’s grave. Joon-woo introduces his first girlfriend, and Soo-bin greets Jung-hoo and tells him about all of Joon-woo’s accomplishments. She promises to look after him, and when Joon-woo raises an eyebrow at that, she reminds him that she’s been looking after him since the performance assessment. He says he thought it was because she liked him, and she teases that he had the wrong idea.
The two move to the bus station, where Joon-woo talks about how he and his mother got together. Joon-woo says that it’s a sad story because it didn’t work out, but Soo-bin says that she doubts that, since she’s sure his mom was happy when she had Joon-woo in her life. They turn back to their own romance, and Joon-woo asks when she first started liking him. Soo-bin answers that it was when he came back to class after she thought he was transferring again. Joon-woo admits that he’s like Soo-bin ever since the first moment they met, and Soo-bin revises her answer to agree.
Hwi-young stays at home to study, though he’s having a difficult time concentrating. When his mom comes to check on him, he asks her to remove Soo-bin from the private lessons. Hwi-young says he just wants boys in the group, while his mom seems to think it’s because he’s gotten over his crush on Soo-bin, and she seems thrilled about it.
So thrilled, she calls Soo-bin’s mom immediately to take back her offer to let Soo-bin into the tutoring group. Song-hee asks Yeon-woo to turn the car around, and they race to Hwi-young’s house. Hwi-young’s mom is leaving just as they arrive, and Song-hee grovels as she tries to get her daughter one last chance. But Hwi-young’s mom’s attitude has changed entirely, and now she says that she doesn’t think it’s fair to give preferential treatment, and asks Song-hee to stop sucking up to her by calling her “ma’am.”
Yeon-woo hangs back until Hwi-young’s mom jostles Song-hee’s bag to the ground, and now Yeon-woo is there to defend her friend. Hwi-young’s mom is stunned to see them standing together as a force, all while Yeon-woo demands an apology for Song-hee. They don’t get one, but there’s a smile on Song-hee’s lips as Yeon-woo leads her back to the car.
Joon-woo and Soo-bin linger at a park, and Joon-woo delivers the perfume gift. Soo-bin accepts it with a smile, and wonders that Joon-woo is the type who is good at giving gifts. He admits he’s surprised to see so himself, but he’s obviously proud.
Yeon-woo drives Song-hee home and apologizes for butting in to the confrontation with Hwi-young’s mom. But Song-hee says that she appreciates it, even though Yeon-woo’s efforts didn’t change the situation.
Hwi-young’s mom meets with Mr. Oh in a cafe, and Mr. Oh holds his ground against her and the petition. Hwi-young’s mom slips up and asks if he’s accusing her of fabricating grades, and Mr. says that’s not what he was saying (though he should definitely be suspicious now). Mr. Oh says that he hopes that for Hwi-young’s sake, any interference stops now, and Hwi-young’s mom goes on the defensive and tells him that he doesn’t want to go up against them.
Hwi-young’s mom reports it all to her husband afterwards, and he assumes that Mr. Oh now knows that there’s been grade fabrication. Dad promises to do “what we always do,” and orders his wife to make sure that Hwi-young doesn’t find out, since he’s already unstable.
Soo-bin learns about her canceled tutor from her mom, who, though she asks if Soo-bin offended Hwi-young somehow, doesn’t yell about the loss. In fact, when Soo-bin promises to work on her studies on her own, Mom doesn’t badger her, and even smiles at her fists lifted for a cheer of “fighting!”
So the study group arrives at Hwi-young’s without Soo-bin, and Ki-tae is missing as well. The others report that Ki-tae is sick. There’s a surprise guest to fill his absence though–Sang-hoon is here, and Hwi-young’s dad welcomes him into his home as if this is all his own idea.
And indeed, Mom, Dad, and Hwi-young retreat to talk the situation over alone. Dad has included Sang-hoon in the group because he believes that Hwi-young needs a challenge to make him work harder. Mom really doesn’t like the whole idea, and Hwi-young points out that he might turn out like his brother, though Mom insists that he’s so successful now and wishes Hwi-young were like him. With that, Hwi-young grits his teeth as he promises that he will win and stay at the top of the class.
Hwi-young finds Sang-hoon on the stairs, and tells him to just act normal. Sang-hoon gushes falsely at him, but as he turns back to him, he tells Hwi-young not to mess with him. After the session, Hwi-young texts Ki-tae with the promise that he’ll send him copies of all his notes.
Joon-woo, meanwhile, packs up his father’s clothes, and thinks about what Soo-bin said to him about how much his mom loved having him in her life.
Joon-woo manages to sneak up on Soo-bin again the next morning for their walk to school. He’s even left Bumbi at home, and jokes that Bumbi is the third branch of their love triangle. The two hold hands until they get closer to school and Chan-yeol spots them. She runs in to walk beside them, when Ro-mi appears to ask Soo-bin if she was really kicked out of Hwi-young’s study group.
Ro-mi reports that the rumor is that Hwi-young asked his mom to kick her out, and she presumes that it’s because he thinks she’s beneath him now that she’s dating Joon-woo. Joon-woo watches it all, but doesn’t get a chance to ask Soo-bin about it until they’re alone at the lockers.
He asks why she didn’t tell him about it, and she responds that she wasn’t upset about it, since she never wanted a tutor in the first place. Joon-woo is still sullen, and Soo-bin follows him around to chase the look off his face. He’s smiling again by the time they walk to class, though the mood sours again when Hwi-young meets them in the hallway.
Joon-woo leaves them alone to talk, and Hwi-young tells Soo-bin that he’s uncomfortable being around her, and admits that he was the one who asked her to be removed from the team.
Outside, Mr. Oh talks with Ji-min on the phone, as Chan-yeol spies from overhead. He spots her as he hangs up, and realizes that Chan-yeol must have seen him together with Ji-min. He asks what she thought of his new girlfriend, and Chan-yeol tells him that she seemed beautiful and kind. She manages to hide her hurt from Mr. Oh and returns to class.
Chan-yeol isn’t the only student feeling low in class. Da-hwin completely ignores Oh-je’s attempts to mollify her this time, and after class, Ki-tae tells Hwi-young that he can’t accept the spot in the study group because he can’t afford it. Ki-tae promises that he’s still Hwi-young’s friend, but Hwi-young lashes out and tells Ki-tae that he is no longer welcome to his class notes or study cafe.
Da-hwin and Oh-je try to sort out their feelings as well, but in the end, Oh-je asks if they can go back to being just friends. Oh-je promises that it’s because he isn’t good at being a boyfriend, not any fault of Da-hwin’s, but she still takes it hard as she walks away from him.
The vibes are still good for Joon-woo and Soo-bin though, who meet up at a cafe after school. Soo-bin asks how Joon-woo has changed since they started dating, and then demands no cliches just as Joon-woo tries to profess that his whole world has changed, haha. Instead, Joon-woo says that he looks in the mirror more now. Soo-bin teases it’s because he’s admiring how handsome is, and he jokingly agrees, and then says that it’s because his face seems so much more excited than it used to before they were dating.
Then he shyly says that he’s sure that Soo-bin knows that she’s pretty, and she teases him for it until he manages to say it clearly. They also trade the little things they’d like to know about each other, like what Soo-bin looks like when she sneezes, or whether Joon-woo knows that one eye crinkles up when he smiles. Ah, young love.
Joon-woo’s required at work soon and Soo-bin offers to walk him there, with a brief stop at her house beforehand. While Joon-woo is waiting, he gets a case of the hiccups, and Soo-bin offers him water inside. Joon-woo remains reluctant to enter her house, but she swears that she just spoke to her mom and confirmed that she’s at work. Joon-woo follows her, but refuses to go any further than the entryway. He drinks down his water, but finally lunges for the kitchen when the door chimes that someone else is entering.
Joon-woo and Soo-bin duck behind the kitchen island, and Soo-bin wonders if it’s the housekeeper (oh no). They sigh in relief when they assume that she’s left, and right then the housekeeper jumps out to scare them. It’s Joon-woo’s mom, and he stares up into her eyes in shock.
And they’re caught. Although, they’ve been caught by the more understanding mother, so what will come next? I can’t imagine Joon-woo’s mom being at all upset by this union, so instead, I wonder if Joon-woo and Soo-bin will struggle more to learn that their moms have a working relationship with one another. Soo-bin has never seemed caught up in issues of class at school, but it might still feel awkward to know your boyfriend’s mom is working for your mother, especially when you want to keep your relationship a secret. It will be interesting to see how everyone handles this.
I think we’re starting to see Soo-bin’s mom finally coming around, so perhaps this is the perfect timing for the truth to come forward. No longer beholden to Hwi-young’s mom, with a loyal and caring friend in Joon-woo’s mom, Song-hee seems to be experiencing a sense of freedom that may have been lacking in her life for a while. Now that groveling with Hwi-young’s mom isn’t an option, it’s like the skies cleared and she can see that her daughter needs her support more than she needs to be pushed.
And geez Hwi-young’s mom, way to give away all your dark secrets to the first teacher to tell you no. Mr. Oh isn’t exactly brilliant, but he manages to be smarter than Hwi-young’s mom, and that seems to be all he needs to stay ahead of things. So far it’s seemed like we were just dealing with unyielding parental pressures, but now it sounds like we have a full-on scandal. Ki-tae, if all this is true, getting far away from Hwi-young is the best thing you ever did for yourself. So-ye probably just saved your academic career.
Just as things are getting really intense, Hwi-young isolates himself as a final push to be truly ruthless. He understands that his “weakness” is wanting friends and real relationships, and so when everyone starts pulling way, it’s easy for him to retreat and take his “gifts” with him. We already know that he’s been suffering with severe anxiety for a while, but his mother hinted at a past incident that might be even more heartbreaking. And it sounds like it’s not only Hwi-young who suffered, but that perhaps his brother was somehow permanently affected by their parents and the stress of achievement. I would love it if somehow, Sang-hoon ends up being the one to help Hwi-young see what’s going on and stop doing his parents’ bidding.
I couldn’t help but notice that while Joon-woo’s whole world has widened with this new relationship, Soo-bin’s in some ways has narrowed. Her best childhood friend is pulling away from her, Ro-mi takes every opportunity to try to weaken Soo-bin so that she can rise above her, and Soo-bin doesn’t even feel comfortable telling her mom yet about Joon-woo. Soo-bin has a much more complicated entry to this new relationship. I think that she shares Joon-woo’s enthusiasm, but the world seems more set against her than it does him now, a bit of a role reversal from when we first started.
- Premiere Watch: A Moment at Eighteen
- Shin Seung-ho plays the piano for A Moment at Eighteen
- Throwing away the old and bringing in the new in A Moment at Eighteen
- A warm encounter begins a first love story in A Moment at Eighteen
- New posters from youth drama A Moment at Eighteen
- Kim Hyang-gi, Ong Sung-woo, and more attend A Moment at Eighteen script read
- Kang Ki-young, Moon Bin join Kim Hyang-gi, Ong Sung-woo in JTBC youth drama