Do You Like Brahms: Episode 2 Open Thread
With all of our main characters on the stage by the end of Episode 1, we’re ready for a rich second episode that’s all about deepening those first impressions — a deeper look at the emotions that drive our characters, at the history that binds them, and the longing that fills them.
EPISODE 2 WEECAP
It took me two episodes to fall in love with this show, but by the end of Episode 2, I’m up to my neck in all the emotion, subtle tension, and little complexities that fill this drama, and loving every minute of it. Our plot might still be falling into place, but we have some strong dynamics set up; watching how our characters interact and interface with each other is already more than enough to have me invested.
Deepening the story means going back into the past, so Episode 2 opens in 2013, when Song-ah announces her intention to change her course, and study violin. Min-sung is aghast, but Dong-yoon immediately announces his support: he knows how much she agonizes over making a decision, and playing the violin must really be her dream.
How much of a part did Dong-yoon play in that dream? He seems to be a part of the world that Song-ah adores and wants to be a part of — and his sudden return to Korea from abroad cements that fact for us.
The Dong-yoon we meet is sweet, smart, and seems to be interested in Song-ah more than his ex-girlfriend Min-sung. After all, it’s Song-ah who he asks to meet him at the airport, and it’s her that he’s with before their reunion party. The scene in his workshop is an especially lovely one; we see Dong-yoon’s sensitivity as a craftsman — and if you listen closely, you can hear Song-ah’s declaration of love (for her violin, into its sound hole) actually travel through the air towards him instead.
Ah, the longing. This drama is doing such a fabulous job of capturing emotions in the smallest of moments. Without telling us very much at all, we’re left to see and feel the emotions of our characters. Sometimes all we need is a fleeting glance, or a downcast eye — it’s enough to add just what we need to know.
Dong-yoon is not the only character recently returned to Korea, and at the end of Episode 1, Joon-young also meets the specters from his past in the shape of Jung-kyung and Hyun-ho. Our plot is very much built around the convergence of all these returning characters, and I can’t gush enough about the layer that it adds to the story. The attempt to re-adjust after being away, the pressure of returning to the past when one returns home, and for this story especially, the conflicts that are stirred when a group of people is reunited.
If seeing Dong-yoon again has an impact on Song-ah, it’s nothing compared to the inner turmoil that Jung-kyung’s surprise return causes for Joon-young. A beautiful narration from him confirms what we suspected — that over the years he realized that he loved her, but by the time he did, she was already paired with Hyun-ho.
To the story’s credit, everything comes off as quite a bit more layered than the token unrequited love, with a lot of emotional complexity added to the relationships. And in the case of Joon-young, that’s a little strand of guilt and/or indebtedness that haunts him, since he benefitted from the scholarship that was founded in memory of Jung-kyung’s deceased mother.
Our characters have a complicated past, and are pretty emotionally complex individuals — and if I may digress for a moment, I think this is a real strong point of the story. The musicians that we meet are at varying stages of their careers, but seeing how sensitive they are to the details and nuances around them only makes me feel more and more like we are actually watching a story about artists.
The teasing of Joon-young over how he can’t handle caffeine wasn’t just to show us a (wonderful!) moment where we again see how genuine and kind he is — it was also an important bit of characterization. Sensitivity to stimuli, lack of appetite when his nerves are pumped, difficulty sleeping — these little details all add up to Joon-young being this highly sensitive and artistic being. It’s no wonder he’s been agonizing over Jung-kyung’s tearful kiss for months on end.
Episode 2 was still very much about acquainting us with our characters and setting up their place in the story, but by the end of the premiere week episodes, the groundwork feels quite set. Our characters have come together, and are all now linked by their connections to the foundation, and the roles they’ll play there.
While I quite like our perceptive heroine, and the way she’s able to pick up on nuances that less perceptive people are not (ahem, Hyun-ho, the dullest among them), I think it’s Joon-young that interests me the most right now. There’s such a weight on him, you can practically feel its pressure on him in each scene, even when he’s smiling. One line from his narration was particularly telling: “The things that I was trying to ignore are starting to show one by one.”
Joon-young sorely needs a perceptive and understanding confidant, and that that role should be filled by Song-ah goes without saying. The sameness between these two has been lovely from the start, and even with some social awkwardness between them, it’s also clear that there’s a comfort and familiarity between them, too. We close our episode with them eating together one night after Joon-young’s performance, and we don’t even need to listen in on the conversation. Watching them through the window is more than enough for us to see the understanding that’s forming between them. They both need each other, and I can’t wait to see the ripple effect that their budding friendship will have on the story.
- Premiere Watch: Do You Like Brahms, Lies of Lies
- Bittersweet love triangles and heartbreaking first love in Do You Like Brahms?
- Script reading for classical music youth drama Do You Like Brahms?
- Kim Sung-chul joins Park Eun-bin, Kim Min-jae in SBS’s Do You Like Brahms?
- Park Eun-bin, Kim Min-jae up for new SBS drama, Do You Like Brahms?