Eighteen Again: Episode 11
It’s getting harder and harder for our estranged father and husband to stay away from his family, as his alter-ego is allowing him to learn so much about them that he never knew. A very public confession shows how strong one of his children can be, while another reveals a weakness he never knew.
EPISODE 11: “Lost love”
Dae-young runs to meet up with Da-jung at the JBC building, prepared to tell her who he really is. But when he arrives, he sees Ji-hoon’s interview playing on the big screen, describing his perfect woman. Da-jung sees it too and scoffs that no such woman exists, but Ji-hoon is there and he tells her that it’s her.
Da-jung laughs, thinking he’s teasing her, but to Dae-young it looks like they’re flirting so he turns and walks away. He misses Da-jung turning down Ji-hoon’s invitation to dinner because she’s waiting for him (she thinks Dae-young her husband is coming, not Woo-young the kid).
He’s still walking aimlessly when Da-jung calls to ask where he is, and he says dejectedly that something came up, and that what he wanted to talk about wasn’t important anyway. Disappointed, Da-jung lies that she forgot he was on his way, so she was calling to say that she couldn’t make it either. She hangs up, leaving them both frustrated and fighting back tears.
Back at the school festival, something has gone terribly wrong — the booths are destroyed and the police have been called to the scene. Teacher Oh and the cranky teacher interview students to find out what happened, and slowly the events of the night take shape…
After the guest singer finishes her song, the MC announces that someone wants to confess his feelings for a special lady — Hong Shi-ah. A voice starts to sing, and OMG, it’s Ja-sung, and he has the sweetest voice! He sings a song confessing his feelings to her (what song is that, does anyone know?) in front of the entire school, then offers her his heart in the form of a bouquet of flowers.
The students chant, “Accept him! Accept him!” with one exception… Ji-ho, who just watches incredulously. After a long pause, Shi-ah takes the bouquet, and the crowd cheers. Ja-sung gives her this adorably shy smile, but something about her expression doesn’t sit right.
A while later, Shi-woo overhears two boys talking about Shi-ah, basically calling her easy for accepting Ja-sung’s confession so quickly. Shi-woo bellows angrily at them, scaring one into knocking a canister of juice off a table and onto a power strip. The lightbulbs start to explode, causing students to scream and panic.
In the stampede, the switchboard controlling the fireworks starts the show too soon, and an oblivious student in the sound room starts the music, making the whole thing even weirder. Shi-ah’s friend SM is knocking over by another student, but luckily Shi-woo is there to catch her and make her swoon.
Luckily, Dae-young can say honestly that he wasn’t there when the teachers bring him in to question him. He’s more upset about Ja-sung’s confession to Shi-ah and whether she accepted him. Turns out, he was the one who told Ja-sung that Shi-ah’s dream is to be confessed to in song in front of a crowd, knowing full well that she hates that sort of thing. HAHA, sneaky dad!
At basketball practice the next day, he finally learns that Shi-ah accepted Ja-sung’s confession. The other guys joke about how far Ja-sung will go with Shi-ah on their first date (to his credit, Ja-sung tells them to knock it off), and Dae-young goes into full-on cursing dad-mode.
At work, the team meets up regarding Da-jung’s new divorce show, which will be a live broadcast. Da-jung isn’t worried, but it’s the PD’s first show ever, and he’s a nervous wreck. Aww, the team seems really nice.
Woong-ki approaches Yu-mi about a show that wants to cast her, but she’s tied up with another baseball interview. Woong-ki asks Da-jung if she’s free, and when she says she is, Yu-mi chirps at Da-jung to take the basketball interview so that Yu-mi can do the new show. Grrrr, this little weasel.
While riding the bus, Shi-ah feels like something is watching her, but she doesn’t see anyone. It’s Dae-young, who follows her to the baseball stadium, assuming she’s on a date with Ja-sung. He imagines them being broadcast kissing on the jumbotron, so he decides to make sure it doesn’t happen.
He goes in and sits beside Shi-ah like it’s totally normal, but HA, she’s just there with Ji-ho as friends. Turns out, Ji-ho saw Shi-ah return Ja-sung’s flowers later the night of the festival, saying that she only took them because she didn’t want to embarrass him. Oh no, he looks devastated, I can’t look!
The next day, Ji-ho had invited Shi-ah to the baseball game, counting on her love for “Ji-hoon oppa” to get her there. Dae-young looks disappointed to see Ji-ho with Shi-ah, and he wonders where Ja-sung is. Awww, poor Ja-sung is licking his wounds in the karaoke machine where he saw Shi-ah crying over her parents’ divorce. Suddenly, Shi-ah notices Da-jung getting ready to interview Ji-hoon, but Dae-young just sits frozen like a deer in the headlights.
Despite Teacher Oh’s rejection, stating that she dislikes anime fans, Duk-jin dresses in full makeup as Johnny Depp’s version on the Mad Hatter. He attends to an anime-themed cosplay party, where a woman dressed as Mantis notes that his smile seems sad. Duk-jin tells her it’s because of love, and she says brightly that ugly people’s love is genuine. Well… thanks, I guess?
Another woman dressed as Anne Hathaway’s White Queen taps Duk-jin on the shoulder and asks for a picture with him, and Duk-jin says they’re the only ones at the party from Wonderland. The White Queen recognizes his voice, and he finally recognizes her as Teacher Oh.
Horrified, she yelps, “You didn’t see me!” and runs off, but Duk-jin calls her name loudly and she stops in her tracks. The crowd parts as he tells her not to be embarrassed, but to have confidence because she deserves it. He steps closer and gives her a backhug… then looks up to see Teacher Oh watching. Oops, wrong White Queen, that’s a (very happy) dude.
Dae-young, Ji-ho, and Shi-ah gets to stand on the field as Da-jung interviews Ji-hoon after another winning game. Shi-ah is thrilled to get a selfie with her favorite player, which makes both Ji-ho and Dae-young jealous for different reasons, hee. Ji-hoon asks if they want selfies, too, and they both snap, “No!”
Ji-hoon invites them all to dinner, his treat, and again Ji-ho and Dae-young decline in grouchy unison. But Shi-ah bats her eyelashes at her mom, so Da-jung agrees, and OMG Dae-young’s face! He asks himself, “Why are all the women in my family in love with Ye Ji-hoon??” LOL
Ji-ho ends up tagging along to dinner and swipes the chair beside Shi-ah so that Ji-hoon can’t sit there. Da-jung gives up her seat on Shi-ah’s other side, but Dae-young swoops in to steal it. HA, Ji-hoon jokes that Shi-ah has more fans then he does.
Ji-hoon is happy to get to site beside Da-jung, but he sags a little when she says she was only filling in for Yu-mi this once. He asks what show Yu-mi is filming, but Da-jung doesn’t know, only that it gets a lot of attention. LOL, Yu-mi is in one of those rooms that simulates weather patterns, experiencing a massive typhoon and a very needed serving of humility.
At Ji-hoon’s urging, Da-jung says that her new show premieres on Monday, and that it’s only a pilot. Ji-hoon is certain it will become a regular program with her at the helm, and Dae-young stares incredulously at Ji-hoon’s obvious flirting.
When the food arrives, Dae-young insists on plating and serves Shi-ah first, then Da-jung. Ji-hoon notices that he didn’t serve DJ any clams and tells him to give her some, but Da-jung tells Ji-hoon that she doesn’t care for them. Dae-young makes the petty move of giving it to himself even as Ji-hoon is holding out his hand, hee.
Out of nowhere, Shi-ah asks “Ji-hoon oppa” if he has a crush on anyone. She explains that in his interview, he was so detailed that it sounded like he was describing someone in particular. Ji-hoon admits that there’s someone he likes but he hasn’t told her yet, though Dae-young doesn’t miss the way Ji-hoon’s eyes flicker towards Da-jung.
He follows Ji-hoon outside when he takes a call and asks if he treats all women like he treats Da-jung — taking interest in her life, cheering her on, etc. Ji-hoon observes that Dae-young seems mad, but Dae-young retorts that that depends on his answer. Ji-hoon says condescendingly that Dae-young is only having youthful fantasies about an older woman, and that the pain of her inevitable rejection will help Dae-young grow up.
When Ji-hoon steps back inside, he catches Da-jung trying to pay the bill since her daughter and friends ate most of the food. The hostess says that the bill has already been paid by Dae-young, but he says he paid with his father’s credit card.
Still at the party, Duk-jin asks Teacher Oh when she got into fandoms, and she confesses that it started as a way to relieve stress. She’s desperate to keep her secret, scared that people will think badly of her as a teacher, but Duk-jin says there’s nothing wrong with a teacher who’s into cosplay.
He says that he thinks three impossible thoughts a day — that Iron Man will become the model for a game made by his company, that a thirty-seven year old man can turn into a teenager again, and that she will finally realize how he feels about her.
Teacher Oh seems moved, but she says that Duk-jin’s words won’t change the fact that she’s abnormal. He replies cheekily that cool people are all abnormal, and that finally makes her smile a little.
After leaving the restaurant, Dae-young takes his father a huge plate of mandoo, remembering how much he loves them. Dad asks worriedly if Dae-young is having any problems at school like bullying, then laughs at himself, belatedly remembering that Dae-young is a full-grown man. Looking like his older self now, Dae-young says that all parents see their kids as children, no matter how old they are.
Dad remembers being hard on Dae-young, and Dae-young admits that he became even worse as a father. He says that he told himself it was for the kids, but now that he’s friends with them, he understands that it was all for himself. Dad doesn’t respond, but he looks profoundly sad, as if Dae-young struck a nerve.
It’s finally the day for Da-jung’s new show to premiere, and the twins sit with Da-jung’s mom to watch, while Dae-young and Ji-hoon watch alone at their homes. Even Woong-ki is at the station with the other three interns, curious to see how Da-jung does with a live show about divorce. Yu-mi grumbles that something may go wrong, but Woong-ki retorts that he doesn’t think it will. HA, another Da-jung fanboy is born.
The idea is that a disgruntled couple talks about their marital issues (behind a privacy screen), different experts chime in, then the audience votes on whether they should divorce or not. The wife complains that her sisters-in-law make her life miserable, and that nothing she does is right. Her husband tells her to just ignore them, but she says she can’t because she sees them all the time, and Da-jung sympathizes with her.
Director Moon comes by to see what has Woong-ki and the interns so engrossed, but he refuses to watch with them, calling the show uninteresting. Then he catches the moment when the audience votes flip from against divorce to for it, in favor of the wife, and suddenly Director Moon can’t look away, hee.
A therapist on the expert panel advises against divorce, blaming the wife for all the problems. He says she got married knowing his family situation so she should live with her decision, admitting that he also has three sisters so if she gets a divorce, he’ll be in trouble, heh.
The wife barks at the husband for not speaking up, but he says he didn’t want to go on the show, so she starts yelling that everything is her fault. The therapist agrees that it’s all her fault and she ragequits the show, ripping through the privacy screen and revealing her identity. She storms off the set with her husband on her heels, leaving Da-jung standing alone on live TV.
Everyone watching is freaking out, but Da-jung calmly looks into the camera and apologizes to the viewers. She says that a marriage is when two families become one family, but that women often sacrifice themselves when they get married. She points out that the conflict occurs because of the differing expectations of men and women, and that if daughters-in-law were respected as much as sons-in-law, these things wouldn’t happen.
She breaks for a commercial, and everyone sighs in relief at how well she saved the situation. Awww, even Director Moon admits that she’s really good. Yu-mi says breezily that she would have done the same thing Da-jung did, but everyone stares at her in disbelief, hee.
Da-jung introduces the next couple, whose issue is that they both work full-time, but the husband doesn’t help around the house so the wife ends up working and caring for the home and kids. The husband (cameo by Kim Ho-chang) claims that he’s exhausted after work but that he still does chores and childcare.
His wife (cameo by Lee Chae-eun) flat-out calls him a liar, saying that all he does is come home and immediately lie down, leaving her to do all the housework and take care of their kid. The husband says he does help, but his wife yells that he shouldn’t be helping, he should be an equal partner.
She adds that because of his laziness, she recently had surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor in her uterus, which the doctor says was caused by stress. To his credit, the husband seems to feel terrible, but says that he didn’t know. He protests that his wife never tells him anything, and she counters that she can’t talk to him because he’s always in a terrible mood after work.
Da-jung calls for a vote, but the audience opinion is split exactly 50/50. In the booth, the team doesn’t know what to do with a dead tie, but one of the expert guests prompts Da-jung to be the tiebreaker. Everyone watching holds their breaths, waiting to see what Da-jung will decide, and after giving it some thought, Da-jung says that she’s against divorce.
She explains that in her opinion, neither spouse is being honest with each other. She says this is common — people don’t tell their partner their troubles because they don’t want to worry them, but then they’re disappointed in their partner when they say something accidentally hurtful. She continues that people want to be understood, but they’re not honest so eventually there’s only silence and resentment between them.
As she speaks, she thinks about how Dae-young never told her that he turned down the offer to train with a basketball team in order to earn money for Shi-woo’s asthma treatment, but instead started drinking. Watching Da-jung speak, Dae-young realizes that she’s referring to their own relationship, which deteriorated exactly the way she describes.
Da-jung says that it’s easy to misunderstand each other, and that if you divorce for that reason, you’ll end up regretting it. The “expert” points out callously that Da-jung is divorced, and in the office, even Director Moon leaps to his feet in defense of Da-jung.
She’s put on the spot, but she says honestly that she regrets getting divorced. She explains that if she and her ex-husband had just talked, and if she’d known that he was struggling as much as she was, “I would have thanked him and been able to comfort him.”
The “expert” scoffs at the idea that everyone would stay married if they just talked. Da-jung clarifies that it’s not an ultimate solution, but that people would feel fewer regrets if they talked honestly before making a permanent decision. She says that it’s a chance to finally hear what you want to hear, and watching from home, Dae-young hangs his head, knowing that she’s right.
The audience votes again, and this time, they are unanimously against divorce for the couple that are now crying behind the screen. Damn, her show is going to be a huge hit.
At home, the twins grin that their mom is so cool. But their grandmother looks equally proud of her daughter and sad for her. Ji-hoon has also been closely watching the show, and he wonders if Da-jung was waiting for her ex-husband on the night she turned down his dinner invitation.
At the station, Director Moon catches Woong-ki wiping tears from his eyes, and Ki-tae checks online to see that Da-jung is already going viral. Director Moon admits with admiration that she’s a sure bet, but unfortunately his statement makes Yu-mi look even more unsure of her chances.
Later, Da-jung and the show’s team go out for a celebratory dinner. The jerky “expert” tells Da-jung that he only said those things to be entertaining, then dishes her a plate of clams as an apology. But she loses her appetite, recalling how Da-jung always carefully removed the clams from her food because she doesn’t like them.
She ends up drinking a lot on an empty stomach, and she makes her way home alone when it’s over, thinking the whole way about all the times when Dae-young was thoughtful and loving to her. As she stumbles homeward from the bus stop, she doesn’t see Dae-young trailing her worriedly from across the street.
He joins her on their building’s stairwell and gently lifts her face to see if she’s okay, but she looks at him with a stricken expression. She asks plaintively, “Hong Dae-young, what took you so long? I’ve been waiting for you.”
Dae-young looks equally terrified and hopeful as he slowly leans in, but Da-jung doesn’t push him away, so he kisses her.
Once again, I have to commend Lee Do-hyun on his amazing portrayal of Dae-young, especially in that last scene. You could so clearly see the hope and fear warring in his eyes, then the moment he decided to just go for it. His acting is so clear yet so subtle, he never over-acts or under-emotes, he’s just note-perfect every time. He and Yoon Sang-hyun are doing such an amazing job portraying the same character that I often don’t even realize when they’ve switched places in a scene until after the fact, and I have to go back and check when it happened. I believe that Lee Do-hyun is the real deal and is here for the long haul, and will end up being one of the great actors of his generation.
Unfortunately for Dae-young, my suspicion is that Da-jung didn’t really know who he was in that moment, but was just expressing a drunken wish. She’s going to be horrified when she sobers up and remembers kissing a teenager, and Dae-young will get hurt again, poor sweetheart. I hope for his sake that he holds onto what she said, that she’s been missing him and waiting for him to return to her. He’ sbeen pretty committed to staying as he is and helping his family by being there for them in a different way, but hopefully knowing Da-jung’s true feelings will motivate him to try and get his old life back.
The baby love triangle is getting so painful to watch! I honestly can’t decide between Ji-ho and Ja-sung, though I know Shi-ah’s pick will be Ji-ho because of their history and because we’ve seen that she has some budding feelings for him. I don’t even care about Shi-ah all that much (I relate to her more through others’ relationships with her than for her as a character — for some reason, I can’t connect with her), I just like Ja-sung’s redemption arc so much, and I want good and happy things for him. If he wants Shi-ah, then it breaks my heart that she doesn’t like him back. I like Ji-ho too, and I like the idea of Shi-ah and Ji-ho’s friendship turning into more, but something about Ja-sung just makes me hurt for him.
Speaking of painful, my heart ached when Da-jung spoke about her regrets from her marriage. Much of what she said really resonated with me — I’m divorced myself — and while my situation was different from Da-jung and Dae-young’s, there was so much truth in her statement that so many marital problems spring from lack of honest communication. For Da-jung to be brave enough to say, on live television in a situation that could determine her future career, that she wishes she hadn’t gotten divorced without trying harder to understand Dae-young first, was so inspiring. It’s not easy to admit such a personal fault, but Da-jung has never been afraid to be herself. I just hope she gets a chance soon to truly talk to Dae-young, knowing who he is, and openly and honestly heal some of their wounds.
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