Record of Youth: Episode 10
As our rising actor reaches new heights in his career, he can’t seem to shake off the fear of losing it all. Despite his worries, he decides to be grateful of these new feelings and enjoy the happy moments with the ones he loves. However, as our hero finds success, the same can’t be said for those around him, especially for his childhood friend who’s experiencing the bitterness of loss for the first time.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Jung-ha eats breakfast with her dad when Hye-joon calls to say good morning. Though her dad is curious about her new boyfriend, he refrains from asking questions since he came by to discuss a different matter.
Meanwhile, Hye-joon talks with Gramps since he has his first shoot today, and the call puts him in a good mood. Alas, Hye-joon’s smile quickly disappears when he sees Jia calling him. She’s surprised that he answered and chats with him like their best buds. She wonders where he is, reminiscing about their past, but Hye-joon hangs up.
At home, Jung-ha’s dad hands her an envelope of cash that he’s been saving up for her wedding. He started drawing again and wants her to know that she’s the reason he draws. Even though he blames himself for ruining her childhood, he hopes she’ll remember him as someone who worked hard and cherished life.
Yi-young picks out her husband Tae-kyung’s outfit and tells him that nothing bad comes from listening to her. He doubts her words, pointing out that Hae-hyo hasn’t become a star, and orders an interim check on their son.
Bringing along a performance report, Tae-kyung sits Hae-hyo down for a quick meeting. After analyzing the information, he orders Hae-hyo to enlist in the army, and asks if he wants to be a star or an actor. When Hae-hyo chooses the latter, Tae-kyung wonders why he picked Catch, then.
As if that verbal beatdown wasn’t enough, Yi-young calls Hae-hyo down next, and agrees with Tae-kyung’s assessment that Catch was a poor choice. She tells him to have more grit and compares his stagnant career to Hye-joon’s steady rise. He asks for her support since he’s been doing his best all by himself, but Yi-young raises an eyebrow: Does he really think he did everything alone?
Jung-ha hands her resignation letter to her director and asks if she can talk with Jin Joo before she leaves. Over a meal, Jung-ha drops honorifics and tells Jin Joo that she’s no longer her senior. Jin Joo scoffs at first, but her tune changes when Jung-ha plays the clip of their fight. She offers her a couple of options, one of which requires Jin Joo to apologize to her in front of the entire staff.
Hae-hyo exercises to relieve his stress when Do-ha calls him from London. Having no other friends, Do-ha chatters endlessly with Hae-hyo, asking if he likes Jung-ha and wishing Hye-joon’s drama to flop. Hae-hyo reminds him to not cross the line, but Do-ha firmly believes that Hae-hyo wants the same.
He hangs up when his managers arrive, and Tae-soo finds Do-ha taking photos for his Instagram account. He warns Do-ha against uploading too frequently and tells him to just buy followers if he’s that concerned.
On set, Hye-joon discusses the drama with the director when a staff member comes by with snacks curtesy of Hye-joon’s girlfriend. The girlfriend turns out to be Jia, and she introduces herself as Hye-joon’s friend and a law student.
As he walks her off the set, Hye-joon tells her to stop since he knows her tricks. His barriers only fuel her doggedness, and she tells him that she isn’t the same person from before. Hye-joon points out that he isn’t the same, either, and doesn’t think they can be friends. Jia lashes out, saying that she was the one who broke up with him twice, and Hye-joon notes her typical anger issues when her pride is scratched.
After filming ends, Hye-joon talks with Jung-ha, and they agree to meet up at her house since they can’t date outside. Thus, Min-jae drops Hye-joon off at Jung-ha’s neighborhood, but warns him to not get caught together in public. Hye-joon tells her not to worry since their relationship would hurt her, but as soon as he enters her house, someone snaps his picture from afar.
At work, Jung-ha attends to Hae-hyo, and noticing his bad mood, she jokingly asks if his lunch was bad. Hae-hyo snaps at her for teasing but tells her not to freeze up because of his comment. He asks if she only thinks of him as a client, and she doesn’t know what answer would make him feel better. He likes her thoughtful response and finally cracks a smile.
Hae-hyo has an interview with Reporter Kim who asks about his best actor friend. He immediately says Hye-joon’s name and explains how they were friends since elementary school. The reporter assumes that they have similar backgrounds, but he tells her that Hye-joon isn’t from an affluent household.
He wonders if any of the questions are about him, and Reporter Kim tells him that she knows Yi-young. She promises to write a good article and orders a couple of more photos of Hae-hyo before wrapping up. In the back, Jung-ha seems unaware of Hae-hyo’s bad mood as she texts Hye-joon with a smile.
When work ends, Kyung-joon’s manager confronts him about the autograph, so in apology, he offers to buy dinner. A colleague overhears, and soon, it becomes a group affair. Before he leaves, another coworker grabs Kyung-joon and asks if he heard of Charlie Jung.
He shows him the comments claiming Hye-joon is gay, and Kyung-joon sees through his act. He immediately calls him out for his ill intentions, and though he usually sticks with verbal fights, today he’s feeling a little physical. The coworker gets the hint, and Kyung-joon walks away.
While Jung-ha can’t wait to get home to Hye-joon, Hae-hyo is feeling glum and asks her out. When she refuses, he wonders if Hye-joon is waiting at home, and she admits that he is. He asks if he can come, too, but Jung-ha doesn’t feel comfortable inviting Hae-hyo to her home. Though he’s hurt by the response, he offers to at least drop her off.
With no one else around, Hae-hyo calls Jin-woo out for drinks, unaware of the fact that his friend is hanging out with his sister. Despite Jin-woo rejecting him at first, his friend eventually shows up to keep him company.
As they drink, Hae-hyo complains about everyone comparing him with Hye-joon, but Jin-woo points out that they were always compared. He astutely notes how Hae-hyo is now being bothered because their positions have switched, which makes Hae-hyo wonder if Hye-joon felt this way, too. Jin-woo tells him that Hye-joon was too busy making money to care.
Jung-ha comes home to a prepared meal by Hye-joon and hugs him as thanks. They sit down to grill some meat, and share their vastly different eating preferences. After a while, she informs him of her decision to open her own salon as well as accepting her dad’s help.
Hye-joon approves of her decision, especially the one about her dad, and she thanks him for the encouragement. While she likes everything so far, she points out that something is wrong with this picture. One quick glance is enough for Hye-joon to catch on, and he goes out to buy drinks.
After dinner, they cuddle on the couch and watch Hye-joon’s movie. Jung-ha marvels at his acting, which embarrasses him, so he turns off the TV. As Jung-ha chases him around for the remote, Ae-sook calls him, and they both freeze—though in the end, he doesn’t pick up.
Later that night, Jung-ha walks Hye-joon out, and he mentions how his mom wants to meet her. She never met her boyfriend’s family before, and Hye-joon tells her that he doesn’t show his girlfriend to his family, either.
She asks him how he feels about his success, and Hye-joon admits to feeling anxious. He looks up his name on a daily basis, and Jung-ha comments on how nice it must feel to show up on search engines. Like him, she’s anxious, too, but points out that their worries are on different levels. He gets her meaning and says that he’ll treat everything as positive.
On the bus ride home, Hye-joon looks up his name and smiles at the positive article headings. He thinks to himself that anxiety is like an appendix to success, and for some books, the appendix is more valuable.
In the morning, Kyung-joon paces nervously as Gramps prevents him from waking up Hye-joon. Thankfully for him, Ae-sook barges in to wake up Hye-joon for breakfast, and Kyung-joon finally gets his autograph.
Despite rebuking his colleague for spreading baseless rumors, Kyung-joon seems bothered by the comments and asks Hye-joon if he knows Designer Jung. When Hye-joon says that he does, Kyung-joon loudly asks if he goes clubbing, and Hye-joon yells at him. Kyung-joon explains that people wrote it online, but everyone scolds him for mentioning nonsensical claims—even Young-nam.
Yi-young talks with Ae-sook over the phone since the latter needs to reschedule because of Hye-joon. In contrast to Ae-sook’s busy son, Hae-hyo walks into the dining room hungover from last night. When Yi-young compares the friends again, Hae-hyo tells her to stop stealing his self-esteem, but Yi-young thinks that he should lose it to her if it’s that easily taken.
She stops her nagging when Jin-woo comes down, and Hae-hyo says that they should go out to eat. Jin-woo suggests inviting Hye-joon along, too, but Hae-hyo is against the idea since Hye-joon is probably tired.
Back at Hye-joon’s house, Ae-sook watches her youngest sleep, and tells Gramps that even though he’s tired, he still had the energy to see his girlfriend. Gramps laughs since it’s the perk of being young, and Ae-sook smiles, happy to be able to still take care of her son.
Jung-ha treats her colleagues at the salon to doughnuts, and in the breakroom, she thanks Jin Joo in front of everyone. Jin Joo plays along, apologizing for “training” her harshly, and Jung-ha explains that the rumors about her being a man-stealer were fake since Jin Joo is obviously prettier than her.
Flashing back, Jung-ha and Jin Joo sat down to write a contract about the apology, and having her actions written down in words finally makes Jin Joo embarrassed of her deeds. While it doesn’t stop Jung-ha from continuing her plan, she does agree to keep out the specifics of Jin Joo’s bullying.
At her house, Jung-ha fangirls over Hye-joon’s prince role until he turns off the TV. Facing Hye-joon, she shakes him and asks him to bring back her oppa. (Once a fangirl, always a fangirl.) He tells her to stop, but she only pauses for a moment before fangirling all over again.
Hye-joon gets a call from Min-jae, and she tells him that he’s hosting the award ceremony as well as his nomination for the top excellence award. Hye-joon can barely believe the news himself as he tells Jung-ha. She congratulates him, and Hye-joon slowly breaks into a smile, too.
Awards season arrives, and at the ceremony, cameras flash at the photo zone. Hae-hyo arrives with his costar Do-ha, and after them, Hye-joon takes his turn in the spotlight.
In the audience, Min-jae escorts Hye-joon’s family (plus Kyung-mi) to their seats. She tells him that Hye-joon is busy reading over the script, and Young-nam shows off his internet-knowledge about the happenings of show business. Heh.
To celebrate Hae-hyo’s upcoming win for the newcomer award, Yi-young prepares food, and Tae-kyung sighs at the extravagance over a small award. He accuses Yi-young of raising their son weakly, but she points out that she raised him to have good character unlike Tae-kyung’s older brother. Hae-na asks if she can leave, but Yi-young reminds her of their family motto to celebrate milestones together.
Hye-joon finds Jung-ha taking care of Hae-hyo and asks if she’s forgotten about him. Hae-hyo says that it’s the way things are since he discovered her first, and Hye-joon argues that he technically introduced the two and only lost her because of money. Jung-ha tells them to just date already, and they laugh.
Do-ha arrives with Tae-soo and tells Hae-hyo that he’s guaranteed to win since his ratings were the highest. According to that logic, Hae-hyo points out that Hye-joon should win, too, and Tae-soo calls him out for being rude.
Min-jae drops in, telling Tae-soo to butt out, and Tae-soo smugly congratulates her on Hye-joon’s success though he claims that if the first step is good, then the rest will be bad. Min-jae smiles and reminds him that Hye-joon’s beginning was actually with Tae-soo.
Dragging Hye-joon out of the room, Min-jae squeals since Min-soo is here. She hides behind Hye-joon as he greets the top star and tells him that his manager is his fan. Though she can barely meet his eye, she whips out a book to get his autograph and makes sure that he includes her name. Heh.
Hye-joon agrees to catch up with Min-soo after the ceremony and treat him if the two friends win in their respective categories. Min-jae offers to do her everything, too, and Hye-joon reels her back. As soon as she leaves the room, Min-jae cackles with laughter. Hahaha, I love her.
Do-ha talks with Tae-soo in private, ordering him to find out the winner for his category. He threatens to leave if he doesn’t win, and Tae-soo assures him that they won’t award a newbie, no matter how hot he is right now.
Of course, we already know the outcome, and the winner of the top excellence award goes to Hye-joon! In his acceptance speech, Hye-joon thanks Gramps, tells Ae-sook that he loves her, and mentions his fans. While Hye-joon shines on stage, Designer Jung watches him on TV, sitting alone in a dark room. He grabs his phone to call Hye-joon but hesitates.
The somber mood extends to Hae-hyo’s family, and Tae-kyung pours everyone a glass since they opened the bottle already. Uncharacteristically, Ae-sook just sits there in silence. Meanwhile, Hae-hyo composes himself in the bathroom, and Jin-woo joins him. He tells him to just win the top excellence award like Hye-joon and forget about the newcomer award.
In the now empty hall, Jin-woo tells the others to pose for a picture and wistfully comments on how he wants to join them, too. Hye-joon invites him over, and Jin-woo happily hands over his camera to Min-jae. As they pose, Min-jae mumbles under her breath that she wants to join, too, but Hye-joon just reminds her to take the photo on three. Heh.
After the ceremony, Hye-joon plans on celebrating with his family, and Hae-hyo declines the offer to join. Jin-woo agrees since Hae-na is worried about him, and Hae-hyo wonders if she called him. While Jin-woo fails miserably at covering his mistake, Hye-joon comes in for the save and says that nothing’s suspicious.
While Hye-joon meets with his family—Young-nam standing off to the side—Jung-ha watches him from afar and leaves the hall without seeing him. On her way out, she runs into Hae-hyo who asks if she’ll keep her promise today.
Hye-joon looks over his missed calls which includes one from Jung-ha as well as two calls from Jia and one from Designer Jung. He calls Jung-ha, but she misses it since she’s singing in the car with Hae-hyo. While they belt out their stress, Hae-hyo smiles, though his eyes glisten with tears.
Do-ha calls him while he’s driving, and his drunk costar invites him to join him for drinks. Hae-hyo says that he’s out, and Do-ha assumes that he’s partying with Hye-joon. He calls Hae-hyo a hypocrite and hangs up.
Hae-hyo shares his recent struggles with Jung-ha, explaining how Yi-young told him this morning that even if he won the newcomer award, it has less value than Hye-joon’s nomination in the top excellence category. Sadly, he notes how he didn’t even win.
Jung-ha says that she’s hungry, so they move to a restaurant where Hae-hyo scarfs down his food. Suddenly feeling sick, he throws up in the bathroom, and Jung-ha worries if he needs to go to the hospital. He tells her that he usually throws up when he’s stressed and only came because he couldn’t say no to her.
They drive to a scenic location, overlooking the city, and Hae-hyo admits how he wanted to win since it’s a once in a lifetime award. He then confesses to hating how everyone compares him to Hye-joon, and Jung-ha listens without a word.
At home, Kyung-joon reads the articles about Hye-joon’s win and scowls when he sees the negative comments. He decides to reply to just two and is proud of his comebacks (“I bet you were dumped by Charlie Jung!”) Pfff.
Gramps and Ae-sook are in happy moods when they come home, but the same can’t be said for Young-nam. Catching on to Young-nam’s feelings, Kyung-joon asks Hye-joon why he didn’t mention their dad in his speech, but Hye-joon avoids answering.
Young-nam retreats to his room, and Ae-sook follows him inside. She assures him that Hye-joon doesn’t hate him, and Young-nam finally lets out his frustration about the acceptance speech. Despite his rant, Ae-sook basks in the success of her son, grateful for his thanks even though she couldn’t help him.
Meanwhile, Yi-young continues drinking alone in her home—experiencing the complete opposite emotions from Ae-sook. Though try as she might, Hae-hyo hasn’t become a star, and his failure weighs heavily on her.
That night, as Hye-joon sleeps, a message from Designer Jung arrives.
The effects of Hye-joon’s win are felt immediately as boxes of gift flood into Min-jae’s office the next day. She celebrates with Chi-young and calls Hye-joon who’s already thinking about his next project. Since he wasn’t able to work before, he wants to make up for all his lost time.
As he walks to the office, an unknown number calls him: it’s the police. They ask if he can come in for an investigation about Designer Jung’s death. As the words sink in, Hye-joon stares at his phone in disbelief. The scene changes to Hae-hyo’s latest Instagram post of the award ceremony, and Hye-joon narrates, “2020, the new year was bright.”
While I enjoy the lighthearted scenes, especially the ones with Hye-joon and Jung-ha, it’s the moody and sad moments that actually catch my attention the most. The scene with Hae-hyo in the car with Jung-ha was a good example of the show’s strength, capturing the complex and conflicting emotions people feel because of their relationships with one another. Hae-hyo is happy for Hye-joon’s win, but he’s also jealous, bitter, and disappointed. On one hand, he understands how his privilege and social position has shielded him from these feelings before, but even if he comprehends it with his head, his heart is another matter. I want to believe Hae-hyo invited Jung-ha out not because he was trying to make a move on her but because she was the only friend he could turn to in that moment. He couldn’t share his pain with Jin-woo or Hye-joon, but what made me feel bad for Hae-hyo was the fact that he couldn’t even turn to his family for support. Despite all of Yi-young’s encouragement and care, she only praises him when he succeeds. Though I don’t doubt Yi-young’s love, her affections for her children are fickle. She sees them as objects that need to be controlled rather than individuals with struggles and demons of their own. Instead of making them believe her love is unconditional, she shows them again and again that she’s on their side for a price: their compliance.
Surprisingly, I’m starting to like Kyung-joon more as a character than I thought I would in the beginning. He’s relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things, and because of that, I find his antics funny. It also helps that Kyung-joon’s relationship with Hye-joon mended a bit before Hye-joon’s big break, so unlike Young-nam, it doesn’t feel like he is trying to profit off his younger brother’s success. In fact, I like how Kyung-joon still acts like the hyung, and in his own way, he’s defending and protecting Hye-joon (even if that only amounts to addressing a nasty coworker and writing a few comments online). On the other hand, Young-nam continues to grate on me, and the show really portrays him as a flat character. He never reflects on his actions, and I balked when he asked Ae-sook if he wronged Hye-joon that much. (The short answer: yes, you did.) As stated above, I do think the show does a good job portraying nuanced relationships, but it’s uneven. Part of the issue is that the show is tackling too many things at once, so while certain parts of the plot and its characters are interesting, there are other areas that feel underdeveloped. On this spectrum, Young-nam falls into the latter category, but on the bright side, I don’t think the show will try to reframe his past actions as “misguided love.”
The comments attacking Hye-joon are disgusting, not only because they’re malicious but because of the blatant homophobia inherent in these negative comments. They aren’t just lambasting him for having a sponsor or clubbing, but the fact that his sponsor is a man and he goes to gay clubs. For the most part, I’m hesitant about the direction the show is hinting at with its latest development, especially since Designer Jung is now dead. While the show could prove me wrong, it seems like it’ll continue upholding negative stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community as deviant and “depraved.” While South Korea has become more accepting of LGBTQ+ rights, there are still a lot of changes needed on a societal and legislative level. Unfortunately, the show hasn’t done a good job depicting this minority group with nuance, and now their only gay character has become a hinderance for Hye-joon’s career.
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