Record of Youth: Episode 7
Navigating the entertainment world requires resilience, and our young actor finds solace and support from his budding romance. While he makes small steps to establish his acting career, his fan-turned-partner also pursues her dreams, facing obstacles at work but finding a potential career boost through her side hustle. For our couple, life is tough, but having someone to put a smile on your face makes it slightly more bearable.
As Jung-ha teaches Soo-bin how to attach lashes, party pooper Jin Joo interrupts them and warns Soo-bin not to follow Jung-ha’s path. She sneers at Jung-ha’s reputation as a client thief and summons her to meet with the director.
The director shares feedback on Jung-ha’s performance and encourages her to consider client retention and management a large responsibility of a designer. She believes in Jung-ha’s skills and thinks she’s worthy of the promotion, though it may have been an unfair advancement to others. She asks Jung-ha to pay special attention to VIP Yi-young, her new client.
Turns out, Yi-young decided to go back to being Jin Joo’s client because she’s more familiar with her, so Jung-ha offers to fetch the refreshments when she arrives. On her way, she runs into Min-jae, who’s at the salon to lift her mood from disappointing Hye-joon.
After getting her hair done, Min-jae eats PPL Subway with Jung-ha and shares that she’s never lived for herself after her father passed away. She’d only worked for her mother and younger siblings until now, and she’s scared of freedom because it’s unfamiliar. She admits that she’s restless because she’s scared.
Jung-ha looks sympathetic and compliments Min-jae’s first impression, which was particularly lively and dynamic. She could sense that Min-jae was special. Min-jae feels good about the compliment and wonders if this is why Hye-joon likes her. Jung-ha tries to deny this, but Hye-joon already told Min-jae that they’re dating. Manager Min-jae knows all.
Min-jae says that Jung-ha is lucky to be dating Hye-joon because when he loves someone, he loves them to the end of the earth. Jung-ha feels jealous about Hye-joon’s past loves, but Min-jae adds that he loves them endlessly but can cleanly end things. Jung-ha feels better about this (but I don’t). Min-jae asks Jung-ha to help her cheer up Hye-joon, but Jung-ha can’t offer much help.
At home, Jung-ha writes a note for the book she bought to cheer up Hye-joon. She calls him and immediately knows that he’s been crying. As Hye-joon tries to hold in his tears, Jung-ha tries to distract him by asking him to play. From her experience, she can recognize the pain in his voice.
Flashback to young Jung-ha happily drawing with her father and receiving praise. When her mother arrived, she confronted Dad about not making enough money to make ends meet. In front of Jung-ha, she called him irresponsible and weak. Mom was unafraid to expose Jung-ha to their poor reality and considered this exposure to incompetent parents a preventative measure for Jung-ha’s future.
Jung-ha reflects on how her mother taught her nine-year-old self about reality and how her father taught her how to draw. “They loved each other. From the beginning, love to me was sadness.”
Hye-joon picks up Jung-ha, and she showers him with little gifts: a piece of chocolate, home-brewed tea, and the book she bought for him. She quotes a line from the book: “When you are completely immersed in what you are doing in the moment, then you are happy and not scattered.”
Responding to the quote, Hye-joon says that he’s immersed in driving, but he’s not yet happy. He turns the prompt on Jung-ha, and she responds that she’s immersed in talking and that she’s happy.
Since Jung-ha claims she’s happy, Hye-joon follows suit and says that he’s happy. As Jung-ha watches Hye-joon, she narrates a reflective statement to what Hye-joon shared in the last episode: “When you love a man, you want to become a better person. That man has a name: Sa Hye-joon.”
Picking up from the end of the last episode, we see Hye-joon playing the piano and softly singing “Two Hands, to You” for Jung-ha. He finishes the song and looks at Jung-ha affectionately. He leans in for a soft kiss, and he tearfully approaches her for another kiss.
Gramps is discharged from the hospital, and he refuses to reveal what caused his exhaustion. When they arrive at home, Ae-sook and Kyung-joon find Gramps’ portfolio on the floor, and Gramps looks nervous. When they marvel at his looks, he seems delighted, but Young-nam — a few soju shots in — looks irked by Gramps’ slight excitement.
Gramps rushes into his room to hide under the covers, but Young-nam confronts him about the modeling. He warns Gramps not to cause trouble, and Gramps says that he wants to be a reliable dad to Young-nam. He wants to be closer to his son as “Dad,” not “Father.” Gramps admits his past mistakes and says that he wants to be acknowledged as a hardworking father now. Young-nam remains resistant and stubbornly unforgiving.
Young-nam finds Ae-sook looking through Gramps’ portfolio in their room and asks her to call Hye-joon. He blames Hye-joon for sending Gramps to the modeling classes and admits that he got so angry that he hit Hye-joon. Ae-sook smacks him for hitting their son and calls out his cowardice for trying to drown his guilt in soju.
Ae-sook shares that Hye-joon’s drama casting fell through and expresses tearful disappointment in comparing her son with Hae-hyo. She says that Hye-joon would have already become a star if he had been born into Hae-hyo’s family, and she yells at Young-nam to go out to find Hye-joon. Kyung-joon joins his father outside and tries to comfort his father as they wait for Hye-joon. Young-nam still looks heavy with guilt and says that he’ll have a hard time forgetting that he hit Hye-joon.
Hye-joon cheerfully makes Jung-ha play staircase piano with him. When they finally finish up the song, Hye-joon says that he always sees an end to everything. Jung-ha calls him out for acting cool but quickly acknowledges that he’s pretty great. Hye-joon smiles at the compliment and says that he feels consoled. Jung-ha offers her hand and says, “Let’s go, cheetah.”
Holding hands, the couple walks back to the car, and Jung-ha trips as she gets in. Hye-joon calls her a child, and she gets in his face acknowledging that she’s a child. Hye-joon looks at her silently, and they adorably tilt their heads wondering how to fill the silence. Hye-joon says that he wants to do something but needs her permission, and Jung-ha readily grants permission.
Hye-joon leans in for a kiss, and they slowly pull apart. Jung-ha says that after some thought, she’s decided that he can kiss him whenever. She asks for his consent to do the same, and he responds, “You can do anything.” She pulls him in for another kiss, and Hye-joon obliges with less caution this time. Woah, anyone else feeling a little warm?!
At the golf course, Tae-soo recognizes Yi-young and approaches her and her husband. In a flashback, we see desperate Tae-soo questioning whether Yi-young can solve everything with money. She belittled Tae-soo for his improper grasp of money and demanded that he terminate his contract with Hae-hyo.
Back at the golf course, Tae-soo looks delighted to see Yi-young again and even more smug when he shares his business card. He proudly shares that their company is one of the top names in entertainment, and he calls Do-ha over to introduce himself. Dismissive Yi-young now seems acutely aware of the company, and Do-ha puts his arms around Tae-soo’s shoulders after reading the situation. Once Tae-soo leaves, Yi-young looks visibly annoyed and tells her husband to go on while she makes a call.
Tae-soo finds Do-ha angrily scrolling through hate comments and advises him to ignore them. Do-ha accuses Tae-soo for lacking empathy, so Tae-soo tries to talk him through his strategy to bury the news of him pushing a fan. He targeted hate commenters and blames Do-ha for not pursuing the charges further. Do-ha gets annoyed with Tae-soo talking at him and reminds him that Tae-soo is his manager, a person who serves him. Tae-soo’s curses at Do-ha in his internal monologue.
Hae-hyo receives a call from Yi-young about Tae-soo’s new role at AJune Entertainment, and he confirms that he knows. Then, she asks about the script for the new drama with Do-ha as the prospective lead, and Hae-hyo expresses interest. Though Yi-young seems disapproving of the script’s quality, she notes Hae-hyo’s interest before hanging up.
Hae-hyo calls Jung-ha, but the call goes straight to voicemail. He receives an automatic text response and notices a spelling error. He tells himself that he doesn’t like people who make spelling mistakes, but his giddy smile indicates otherwise.
Hye-joon calls Min-jae and tells her to meet him at the café near his house, so she drops everything (read: her breakfast) to meet him. She tries to tread lightly, and Hye-joon lightly scolds her for being an erratic manager. Min-jae makes up for it by sharing some good news about a new project that’s casting a handsome model-turned-actor. She’s already scheduled an interview for Hye-joon tomorrow. Aw, look at Min-jae on the upswing.
Min-jae notices that Hye-joon is looking much better than yesterday and wonders what the remedy was. (Smooches, duh, Min-jae.) Hye-joon struggles to hide his smile and heads out to help his brother move.
At the salon, Jung-ha asks Soo-bin about her reputation amongst the staff and asks for the exact wording so that she can better understand the misrepresentation. Soo-bin hesitantly shares that the staff view her specialty as stealing all of Jin Joo’s male clients. The misunderstanding stings, and Soo-bin cheers on Jung-ha to remain determined.
As Hae-hyo drives Jung-ha to set, he notices her silence and asks if something’s up. Jung-ha brushes off her struggles as routine, since life is tough. He astutely interprets her response as a confirmation that Jung-ha is having a tough day. Then, he asks about Hye-joon and notes his power to make Jung-ha smile even on a bad day.
Hye-joon helps Kyung-joon carry his suitcases to his new apartment, but when the reach the unit, Kyung-joon is unable to open the door. After multiple attempts, someone opens the door from inside. The owner of the apartment tells Kyung-joon that he’s been scammed and that he’s the fifth person to try accessing his apartment that day.
Suspicious of the owner, Hye-joon keeps the door open while Kyung-joon tries to reach the broker. When the broker doesn’t answer his calls, Hye-joon accepts the reality of the situation and apologizes to the apartment owner for the inconvenience. Kyung-joon refuses to accept the truth, and Hye-joon drags him out to figure out the rest of this scam.
At the police station, Kyung-joon presents all of his paperwork for the apartment, but the officer confirms that he’s the fifth person to be scammed by the person with the same name as the apartment owner. Hye-joon looks at his brother sympathetically and asks the police officer if they can recover any of the security deposit. The officer isn’t optimistic.
Hye-joon offers to buy dinner, and though Kyung-joon initially refuses to eat, we see them eating together at a barbeque spot. They eat silently in the loud crowd, and Hye-joon offers Kyung-joon the last piece of meat before ordering more. On the verge of tears, Kyung-joon stuffs his face and eats away his sorrows.
As Jung-ha watches Hae-hyo shoot his final scene, she receives a message from a media partner showing interest in working with her. Hae-hyo wraps the scene with his partner running after him and wrapping her arms around him to stop him from leaving, and Jung-ha decides to leave set as soon as they wrap. Hae-hyo notices Jung-ha leaving and looks disappointed to hear from his manager that Jung-ha left early without telling him.
Hae-hyo runs after Jung-ha, increasingly running faster as he thinks about her growing relationship with Hye-joon. When he reaches her, he’s out of breath and simply tells her that she didn’t say goodbye. She cheerfully says goodbye, and as she walks off, Hae-hyo looks at her wistfully and says, “Don’t leave.”
At home, Gramps continues to practice standing against the wall for his posture, and Ae-sook asks why he didn’t tell the family about his modeling endeavor. He knew that the family would disapprove and worry, but Ae-sook approves of his secret. She tries the posture practice while Young-nam pouts that Kyung-joon hasn’t called yet after his move.
Speaking of, the brothers arrive home from the depressing day, and Kyung-joon hesitates to go inside. He gets angry again thinking about the scam, and Hye-joon says that accepting the reality earlier is better for his mental health. Kyung-joon can’t bear to face his family, and he’s indignant about his predictable future as a salaryman, who’s unable to rise above his social class.
Kyung-joon says that he wanted to live alone, free from familial obligations as the first-born. Hye-joon argues that Kyung-joon hasn’t done anything to fulfill the first-born role, but Kyung-joon claims that he always carried the burden internally. At the noise, Young-nam comes outside and asks what happened, and Hye-joon defers to his brother.
Ae-sook and Gramps are also confused to see Hye-joon and Kyung-joon return with the suitcases, but the brothers remain silent. Gramps suggests that they talk to Hye-joon first, and they learn about the scam. Hye-joon says that it wasn’t Kyung-joon’s fault, and Gramps emphatically agrees, having experienced multiple scams.
Young-nam disapproves of Gramps drawing from his embarrassing experiences with being scammed, but he sympathizes with Kyung-joon’s mortification. Hye-joon says that Dad should be more sympathetic with him and demands an apology for hitting him.
Gramps agrees and advises Dad to put down his pride to apologize to Hye-joon. Dad argues that he hit Hye-joon because of Gramps, and Mom stops him there. She doesn’t want to hear all the grievances at once and decides to focus on Kyung-joon’s urgent issue. Gramps applauds Ae-sook’s settlement.
Later that evening, Hye-joon receives a good night message from Jung-ha, and he responds with a slight smile. Jung-ha records a video about the collaboration proposal from the media partner, and she tells her audience that she’ll decide on this partnership after her meeting.
She shares the quote from the book she gifted to Hye-joon: “When you are completely immersed in what you are doing in the moment, then you are happy and not scattered.” She admits that she’s dealing with complicated thoughts and closes the video by wishing everyone well.
Over breakfast, Yi-young disapproves of her husband being distracted at the dinner table and tells him to engage in conversation. His attempt to engage turns into a complaint about their home cooking being too bland and him asking why Yi-young doesn’t cook despite her good cooking skills. Yi-young responds that she doesn’t want to, and her husband grumbles that she should ask Ae-sook to cook.
Hye-joon reads “Gift,” the book he received from Jung-ha, and he reaches a page that notes that the most important gift is to live in the present, learn from the past, and plan for the future. He sends a photo of the book to Jung-ha and quotes the page. They update each other on their meetings — Hye-joon with the director and Jung-ha with the media partner — and text that they miss each other.
At the broadcast studio, Hye-joon finds Min-jae arguing with a staff member and wonders what’s going on. Min-jae lets out her indecipherable frustrations before she clearly shares the situation: Hye-joon has been cast as the first-year resident role in a medical drama called “Gateway” headlined by top star Lee Yeon-soo. It’s a romance medical drama, so he doesn’t even need to memorize much medical jargon. All he needs to do is be a smitten puppy following Lee Yeon-soo.
Min-jae desperately wants Hye-joon to land the role, and Hye-joon also looks excited. She looks at his outfit and decides that he needs to go for a sexier look. She tries to unbutton a few buttons on his shirt, but Hye-joon refuses. Min-jae really wants this opportunity and hilariously chases him around trying to make him look sexier. Haha, I love these two.
At the meeting with the media partner, Jung-ha asks what selection criteria she fit to receive this proposal. The manager says that he liked Jung-ha’s sincere and quality content, which he contrasts with content that aims to make money and garner popularity.
Jung-ha thanks him for the compliment, but she shares that she is interested in money and popularity, since they signify accomplishments. He proposes a 60/40 split of profits, but Jung-ha has meticulously reviewed the contract and starts her negotiations.
In her law school class, Hae-na actively participates in the discussion, but her point is one upped by another classmate, Jung Jia (cameo by Seol In-ah), who we also know as Hye-joon’s ex-girlfriend. After class, Hae-na follows after her and begs that she help her mock trial group. Jia offers her help while also noting that Hae-na seems familiar.
They both recognize Jin-woo in the hallway, and Hae-na is surprised at Jia’s recognition. Jin-woo approaches Hae-na and expresses his regret to her. Jia can tell they’re dating, but Hae-na denies it and says that Jin-woo is merely her older brother’s friend. Jia pieces together that Hae-na is Hae-hyo’s younger sister, and she teases Jin-woo for being a stalker. Hae-na comes to his defense and says that he messaged her, so Jia teases him for obsession.
Jin-woo generally ignores Jia and turns to Hae-na. He tells her to call him when she wants to talk, and he walks away. Jia looks amused and says that it was nice to see him, and Jin-woo responds by yelling back, “You suck.”
As Young-nam and Jang-man scope out their construction site, the apartment owner drops by to check in on behalf of her son and daughter-in-law. At the mention of the couple, Young-nam notes that the son must be Kyung-joon’s age, and the two friends share routine concerns about their children. Young-nam regrets that Kyung-joon may have avoided being scammed if he provided better financial support, and Jang-man tries to lift the mood by suggesting that they go out for dinner.
At work, Ae-sook receives a request from Yi-young for someone who could cook banchan for house regularly, and she offers to ask her contact. Kyung-mi messages Ae-sook about dinner, and as they wait, Young-nam observes how loving Jang-nam and Kyung-mi seem compared to him and his wife. When Ae-sook arrives, Kyung-mi asks about Kyung-joon’s scam, and the disappointed parents remain silent. Ae-sook lifts her beer and brushes it off, and Young-nam tries to appeal to her by apologizing for his shortcomings.
As they walk home, Kyung-mi comments that she always has fun hanging out with Ae-sook because she’s so lively. She wonders if it’s because Ae-sook works and considers finding a similar job. Ae-sook isn’t sure that her job would fit Kyung-mi, since it requires one to adjust yourself to someone else, but she shares the opening at Yi-young’s home. Ae-sook encourages her to think it through before jumping at the opportunity. The two couples split to walk home, both of them arms linked.
Jin-woo waits for Hye-joon at the rendezvous playground, and he stays silent at Hae-hyo’s questions. He grumbles that Hye-joon is late, and Hae-hyo looks slightly hurt at his friend’s preference for Hye-joon. When Hye-joon arrives, Jin-woo runs into his arms and tries to whisper something, but Hye-joon pushes him away. Hae-hyo shares that Jin-woo broke up with his girlfriend and offers to scold his ex.
Trying to shift the attention away from him, Jin-woo tells Hye-joon that he saw Jia. Hae-hyo wonders how he ran into her and notes that she goes to law school with Hae-na. Noticing Hye-joon’s discomfort, Jin-woo shifts the conversation again and asks about his audition for “Gateway.” They all fantasize about working with top star Lee Yeon-soo, and pouty Jin-woo decides that he wants to go home.
As Min-jae eats her cup ramen, she receives a call from the “Gateway” casting director to schedule another meeting tomorrow. She tells the casting director that she doesn’t want to waste Hye-joon’s time if they don’t want to cast him, and the casting director jokingly asks if he should rescind the offer. Min-jae nearly chokes on her ramen and thanks the casting director for the opportunity. She jumps with joy before notifying Hye-joon of the good news.
Hye-joon receives the message while walking home with Hae-hyo, who assumes the message is from Jung-ha. As Hye-joon reads the message, he lights up and shares the exciting news with his friend. Hae-hyo looks genuinely happy for Hye-joon and congratulates him, but as they part, he looks back at his friend with a hint of envy.
Hye-joon walks home with a pep in his step, and then he stops and turns around. He starts running the opposite direction and heads to Jung-ha’s place. He finds her waiting and says that he couldn’t wait to tell her his good news about getting casted for “Gateway.” He says that he was casted for his looks, and Jung-ha responds that they would have completely fallen for him if he’d showed his acting.
Jung-ha reaches her hand out and says once again, “Let’s go, cheetah.” Hye-joon takes her hand, and they decide to take a walk around the block. They look at each other adorably as they walk.
On set, Hye-joon acts alongside Lee Yeon-soo (cameo by Seo Hyun-jin) as the first-year resident, and he messes up a line with medical jargon. Hye-joon apologizes to Yeon-soo and the staff, and Yeon-soo assures him that he’ll learn through his mistakes. She says that she pays special attention to scenes with her juniors because she finds it more embarrassing to mess up in front of them.
As Yeon-soo leaves the set, she spots Hye-joon sitting on set and practicing his lyrics. She asks how long he plans to practice, and Hye-joon says that he plans to stay until the shoot next week. Yeon-soo’s mouth drops in alarm and advises him to go home. She tells him to rest and practice with simulations in his mind, and she adds that torturing yourself is a bad form of effort. Hye-joon thanks the sunbaenim for the advice, and she tells him to call her noona next time.
The next time we see them, they’re back on set, and Hye-joon’s character approaches Yeon-soo with determination. He asks her out, and we pan out to the drama viewers. Ae-sook and Gramps watch with delight; Yi-young watches with scrutiny; and Tae-soo watches with disbelief. Hye-joon smiles knowingly on the screen, seemingly to all the drama viewers, including us.
I enjoyed that ending — slightly playful and subtly breaking the fourth wall. I felt like Hye-joon was smiling at his audience as much as Park Bo-gum was smiling at us. The meta-ness in these scenes are fun, not just with Hye-joon/Bogummie, but also with all the cameos. I think that most people have the same reaction to Seo Hyun-jin as they have to her character here — everyone wants to work with her. I hope we get an extended cameo with her because she’s too good for a brief appearance. I find it amusing that Park Bo-gum gets to flex all of his acting muscles with all the drama genres that Hye-joon will act in. We got badass Bo-gum and swoony doctor puppy Bo-gum on top of Hye-joon, and I’m looking forward to which cameos and versions of Bogummie we see next.
While I did enjoy the content of this ending, I find the format of the endings a bit odd. Most episodes end with a slight time jump to hint at what’s ahead, almost like taking two steps forward in the last five minutes of an episode and then one step back in the beginning of the next episode. Now that I’m used to it, I can understand the timeline and format, but I found it a bit strange that they would slightly spoil the next episode with the previous episode. That’s what previews are for, and that’s why I don’t watch previews. Do I just have to stop watching the end of each episode? (Obviously a rhetorical question since I’m recapping, but still…)
Our leads made some great romantic strides with their cute relationship and consensual kisses, but I’m convinced that this show is actually more of a family drama. Though the youth romance part of the show is sweet and charming, I find those moments to be secondary to the family interactions that inform much of Hye-joon and Jung-ha’s perspectives and approaches to navigating the world. The romance is what happens when these two find solace in each other, but I find it more interesting to explore how they’ve reached their current state.
We finally get a glimpse into Jung-ha’s past, and I’m starting to make more sense of her prudence. Though she treasures her father more and dislikes her mother, Jung-ha’s internalized lessons from her mother have taught her the survival instincts to make a living on her own. She takes pride in her independence and thrifty lifestyle, and she’s mentioned the effort and time she needed to feel at ease with her sorrow. I think her experience and maturity is what allows her to empathize genuinely with sadness, but I’m curious to see how her understanding of love as sadness will impact her relationship with Hye-joon. The sadness is coming… I can feel it. But Jung-ha remains upbeat and focused on happiness in this episode, so I’m taking her advice and immersing myself in happiness before the inevitable sadness hits.
- Premiere Watch: Record of Youth
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- Park Bo-gum faces reality in new teaser for Record of Youth
- Park Bo-gum, Park So-dam in first Youth Records teaser
- Park Bo-gum, Park So-dam courted for new tvN drama Youth Records