Navillera: Episode 10
The future becomes a topic of contention as dreams and reality start to clash. While our elderly student wants nothing more than to continue doing ballet, his illness hinders his progress, and our young ballerino believes quitting might be the best option. Even though his love for ballet remains the same, our elderly student must accept his limits as well as acknowledge his current condition because hiding his troubles will not make them go away.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Chae-rok finds Deok-chul crying in the restroom stall, and luckily, Deok-chul recognizes the young man. It dawns on Deok-chul that Chae-rok must have known about his illness all along, and neither can say another word.
They keep Deok-chul’s illness a secret from Seung-joo and make up an excuse to skip their visit to the ballet company. Once they are alone, Chae-rok tells Deok-chul that Seong-gwan knows the truth, too, but he assures him that Seong-gwan will not say anything since he supports his dad doing ballet.
While they walk back home, Deok-chul becomes distracted and crosses the street without looking. Chae-rok pulls him out of the way before a car hits him, and he yells at Deok-chul for not paying attention to his surroundings.
Moo-young returns to the countryside, and on the ride over, he reflects on his meeting with Ho-bum. He wanted to apologize for everything, but Ho-bum accused him of only coming to see him for Chae-rok’s sake.
Back when Ho-bum was a student, Moo-young cut him from the starting lineup and told him to rest for the season and play in college. Dropping to his knees, Ho-bum begged his coach to put him in since he used his dad’s insurance money to play, and he screamed at Moo-young for suggesting that he still had second chances.
Back on the rooftop, Moo-young explained to Ho-bum that his knee was in bad shape, so he hoped that making the team win would be enough to get Ho-bum scouted. Unfortunately, none of his plans panned out since he was arrested for beating the students which got the team disbanded.
All Moo-young could do was apologize, and he blamed it all on his greed. Though he was in no position to say this, he wanted Ho-bum to know that it was not too late. He told the young man that he had talent, and Ho-bum screamed at him, asking why he was telling this to him now.
Hae-nam and Seong-gwan are surprised to see the pair return so early, and Chae-rok lies about the meeting being cancelled. He asks if he can eat with them, and Hae-nam is happy to have him.
After their meal, Chae-rok shares some tea with Hae-nam, and she remembers the homemade marmalade she made for him. As she rises from her seat to get it, she suddenly feels dizzy and falls down. She tells Chae-rok that she is fine, and he says that he will get the marmalade next time.
She thanks him for his consideration, but more than that, she is thankful for everything he has done for her husband. Chae-rok turns around to look at Deok-chul and recalls this morning’s incidences. Though conflicted, he keeps his promise and does not mention anything to Hae-nam.
While walking Chae-rok out, Deok-chul comments on the cold weather and takes off his scarf for him. He tells him to return it tomorrow, but Chae-rok hands it back. He argues that Deok-chul is not okay and asks what he will do if he continues and an accident happens. Deok-chul promises to do better, but Chae-rok yells at him to quit.
Deok-chul watches helplessly as Chae-rok runs away, and he goes back home and sits in the yard. Staring down at his scarf, he contemplates Chae-rok’s words in earnest.
The next morning, Chae-rok practices, but his mind wanders back to his argument with Deok-chul. Seung-joo wonders why they are not having a lesson, and Chae-rok tells him that Deok-chul will be resting for a couple of days. He asks if they will be ready for the audition, but Chae-rok stays silent.
Seung-joo calls Chae-rok into his office and shows him an image of the stage of his upcoming competition. He tells Chae-rok that adjusting to the slight slope will be his biggest challenge, but Chae-rok answers halfheartedly and leaves the room to practice some more.
At home, Seong-gwan asks his dad when they are leaving, and Deok-chul tells him that the studio ceiling is leaking. Though they cannot practice there, Deok-chul refuses to skip even a day with his audition coming up so soon, and he takes his son to his special hangout: the public park.
They start off with a light jog, but Seong-gwan can barely keep up with his dad and falls behind. Deok-chul scolds him for his terrible endurance and challenges him to another exercise. The loser is buying lunch, and despite Seong-gwan’s confidence, Deok-chul beats him easily.
Though Deok-chul won, he still treats Seong-gwan to a meal since his youngest is unemployed. Unable to refute him, Seong-gwan eats his soup without complaining. He notices his dad only eating a couple of bites, and Deok-chul tells him that Chae-rok said that you cannot jump on a full stomach.
Speaking of Chae-rok, Seong-gwan asks where he is practicing, and Deok-chul says that he is at the dance school. Seong-gwan thinks his dad should be there, too, but Deok-chul waves his hands frantically and stops him from calling Chae-rok.
Eun-ho texts a message to Chae-rok at work, but her smile disappears when the PD walks in with a frown on his face. Her senior writer tells her that the ratings were abysmal, and everyone is worried about the show getting cancelled.
Ho-bum sits on the sidelines as his friends play billiards, and they wonder why he has been acting weird lately. Thinking back to his meeting with Moo-young, Ho-bum tells the others that this is no longer fun to him, and he leaves the pool hall.
Seung-joo and the others discuss the upcoming three-part gala, and the only spot left is the special stage which will be open for auditions. Seung-joo asks if he can recommend someone to try out, but he keeps his pick a secret.
Hae-nam packs two lunches for Deok-chul to share with Chae-rok, and tells Seong-gwan that he does not have one since she is borrowing him for the day. While he is fine with accompanying his mom, Seong-gwan wonders if Deok-chul can make it to the park by himself, and Deok-chul tells him not to worry because the studio is fixed.
Seong-san and Ae-ran grab lunch together at work, but instead of eating, he spends most of the time worrying about his family. Ae-ran scolds him for fretting even during meals and suggests that he come in for consultations. He balks at her recommendation since he thinks everything is fine and tells her that people will think it is strange.
While they walk back to their offices, another employee rushes to Seong-san and pulls him away. He tells him that they are experiencing a huge principal loss, and the company telephones ring nonstop. Staring at the chaos all around him, Seong-san hangs his head, and Ae-ran watches him in concern.
Young-il cuts the pomegranates Hae-nam sent them, and Seong-sook’s initial response is skepticism. He tells her that he is just being nice, and she thanks her husband for the kind gesture. As Seong-sook grabs a piece, she lets out a sigh and tells Young-il that she is giving up.
Seong-sook turns away from him to hide her tears, and Young-il puts on a brave face to comfort his wife. He mentions their wedding vows and asks if she remembers how much he smiled that day. Patting her on the back, he says that he is fine without a child as long as he has her.
Hae-nam takes Seong-gwan to her doctor’s appointment, and he asks if she is sick. Despite the occasional dizziness, the doctor tells Hae-nam that she is healthy and does not need to worry. She smiles in relief after hearing the news and tells her doctor that she cannot afford to be ill. Her last comment catches Seong-gwan’s attention, and he stares at his mom with a perplexed look.
On their way home, they stop by for some tteokbokki, and Seong-gwan asks Hae-nam if he should live at home again even after finishing his documentary. Growing quiet, she tells him to live his own life and to stop trying so hard.
Seong-gwan’s eyes widen at his mom’s uncharacteristic advice, but she continues and tells him that she can take care of Deok-chul. The night Chae-rok told Seong-gwan about the illness, Hae-nam was outside and heard all of it as well.
While she might have fallen in shock that day, Hae-nam keeps her composure now and tells Seong-gwan that crying will not help his dad. She asks him to keep this a secret from the others because she will wait for Deok-chul to tell the family.
Deok-chul sits in the park again, and Ho-bum spots him while on his run. He texts Chae-rok about it, but Chae-rok tells him to ignore him if he seems well. Ho-bum curses under his breath at his detached response, but as he looks up, he reels back in alarm. With gleaming eyes, Deok-chul pops up in front of him and invites him to lunch.
While Chae-rok turns to practice to keep his mind occupied, Ho-bum takes his place as Deok-chul’s lunch buddy. Seeing Ho-bum try again brings a smile to Deok-chul’s face, and he praises him. Ho-bum disagrees, and instead, he disparages himself for ruining his body and getting old. Hearing his worries, Deok-chul says that he wished he had started ballet at Ho-bum’s age, and reminds him once more that he can soar.
Seung-joo asks Chae-rok if Deok-chul did not show up today, either, and he berates the young ballerino for asking for this opportunity and squandering it. He calls Deok-chul himself to ask about his health and tells him to come back tomorrow.
Returning from the park, Deok-chul feels hungry since he gave most of his food to Ho-bum, so he puts a pot on the stove to make ramyun. He walks away momentarily, but in those few seconds, his mind wanders and he goes into his room to look for his ballet shoes.
As Hae-nam and Seong-gwan enter the house, they smell something foul in the air. She finds the unattended pot burning on the stove, and grabs the handle instinctively, burning her palm as a result.
Unaware of the harm he caused, Deok-chul goes shopping for new ballet shoes. When he comes back home, he finds Seong-gwan bandaging Hae-nam’s hand and hears about the burned pot. He assumes Hae-nam must have forgotten it, and Seong-gwan nearly corrects him before she squeezes his hand.
Deok-chul notices their little exchange, and one look towards the kitchen helps him remember what really happened. He apologizes to Hae-nam, but she tells him not to worry since she burned a lot of pots as well. Deok-chul apologizes to Seong-gwan next, and he stares up at his dad, unable to respond.
Seong-san stays in his office despite the late hour and waits for a response from the head office. In the middle of his work crisis, he receives a call from Seong-gwan who needs to meet him right now. Unfortunately, another work call pulls him away, and Seong-san promises to call his brother back.
After finishing his practice, Chae-rok looks over at Deok-chul’s locker and finds his ballet shoes inside. Seung-joo drops by the changing room to tell Chae-rok that he spoke with Deok-chul and told him to come back. He ignores Chae-rok’s protests and says that enough is enough.
Seung-joo meets Sori at the bar, and she asks how Deok-chul is preparing for the audition. He wonders how she figured it out, and she points out that she knows almost everything about him. With no point in keeping it a secret, Seung-joo admits to feeling curious about Deok-chul’s performance, especially given his age.
Sori mentions ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya who graced the stage even at the age of seventy, and describes that particular performance as beautiful. She wanted to dance until she turned into an old lady, too, and Seung-joo asks why she retired. Seeing his genuine confusion, she sips her wine in exasperation.
Deok-chul sits in the dark, and memories of all the trouble he caused to those he loves play over again in his head. Recalling Chae-rok’s words, Deok-chul whispers into the night, “I’m scared, too.”
In the morning, Deok-chul dresses up and takes the bus by himself to visit a nursing home. Afterwards, he stops by his friend’s grave and asks how he is doing. He wanted to share the news of his illness, and he tells his friend that he thought he could do it.
Chae-rok gets his leg checked out at the clinic, and Dr. Oh asks about Deok-chul. He wonders if he spoke too bluntly the last time they met since he told Deok-chul to quit ballet. Sounding deflated, Chae-rok says that it is fine and shuffles back to the studio.
Seung-joo hands Chae-rok the official invitation to the international competition and tells him to prepare well this time. He asks about Deok-chul as well, but before Chae-rok can answer, Se-jong knocks on the door and interrupts their conversation.
They move to the rooftop to talk, and Se-jong tells Chae-rok that he is going to try out for the third division. He vows to make it to Barcelona one day and encourages Chae-rok to win like him. He tells him to not worry about Ho-bum since he took care of that issue and wonders where Deok-chul is. Chae-rok’s silence is enough of an answer, and they look up at the clear sky.
While cleaning, Hae-nam discovers Deok-chul’s photo, and calls Chae-rok right away. She asks if he is with her husband since he is usually home from practice at this time, and Chae-rok tells her that they cancelled lessons for a while now.
Hae-nam runs to Seong-gwan, telling him that the studio was never closed, and they split up to search the neighborhood for Deok-chul. Though they try calling him, Deok-chul wants to be alone and turns off his phone.
With no way to track him, Chae-rok helps look for Deok-chul, too, and Seong-gwan scours the park to no avail. He cries out for his dad and turns to the only person he can: his older brother. Between his sobs, he apologizes to Seong-san for not telling him sooner and reveals Deok-chul’s illness to him.
Still at the gravesite, Deok-chul turns his phone back on to look through the photos of him doing ballet, and immediately, Chae-rok gets a notification about his location. He tells Seong-gwan the information who then passes it along to Seong-san.
Reaching the site, Seong-san screams for his dad and eventually finds him sitting on top of the hill. Before approaching him, he calms himself down, and he gently asks Deok-chul what he has been doing here.
He tells him that the whole family was worried about him, and Deok-chul realizes that he must know about his illness, too. As soon as Deok-chul says his name, Seong-san breaks down and hugs his dad. He says that Deok-chul will always be his mountain no matter how old he gets and tells him to never forget that fact.
After notifying the others that he found Deok-chul, Seong-san drives his dad back home. During the ride, Deok-chul asks how he found him, and Seong-san tells him that Chae-rok installed an app on his phone just in case.
Deok-chul looks out the window to watch the falling snow, and he spots Chae-rok walking in the distance. He asks his son to drop him off here and heads towards Chae-rok. Without saying a word, Deok-chul gets into position and dances on the street.
Once he strikes his last pose, Deok-chul tells Chae-rok that he is scared, too, but he kept practicing every day so his body would remember. Smiling again, Chae-rok finally speaks from the heart: “Let’s continue doing ballet.”
The show portrayed the two brothers as having a distant and antagonistic relationship, and most of the times, they would clash because of their personalities and beliefs. As the oldest, Seong-san is pragmatic and aggressive. He thinks there is only one path to success and sees all other ways as impractical and foolish. On the other hand, Seong-gwan is the youngest and quietest of the children. He is nonconfrontational and tenderhearted. He feels misunderstood by his family who does not seem to care about his struggles and views his choices in life as a rebellion instead of a legitimate response to burnout and stress. Consequentially, the brothers always argue when they meet because Seong-san does not try to talk with his brother but down to him as his elder, and given Seong-gwan’s personality, he shuts him out and runs away.
However, the two brothers are much more complex than initially shown and neither of them necessarily fit into neat labels. While Seong-san is brash and oftentimes overbearing, he does show a strong sense of responsibility as the oldest, and he resembles Deok-chul in the way that he acts tough for the rest of his family to shield them from his own pain. Though the two brothers may be fighting now, it says a lot about their relationship when Seong-gwan turns to Seong-san in his hour of need. He becomes the little brother again, and Seong-san steps up to the role and tosses everything else aside to help him. I still think Seong-san’s perspective of the world is outdated and problematic, but he is not really a “bad” son or person.
When Seong-san found his dad at the grave, his initial response is patient and kind. He minimizes the situation to keep Deok-chul calm while still pointing out that he made everyone worried. He could have been angry at him for disappearing without a word, but Seong-san is simply relieved to see that Deok-chul is safe. However, his façade quickly breaks when he hears his dad call his name, and we see that Seong-san is just as terrified about the future as everyone else. He may act like the responsible one and think that he needs to take care of his parents, but in reality, he still views Deok-chul as his everlasting and strong pillar of support.
The final scene this episode was a mirror of last week’s ending where Chae-rok danced for Deok-chul to help him remember. This time, though, Deok-chul is the one dancing for Chae-rok in order to get his feelings across to him as well as prove to his young teacher that he can still dance. Ballet has become a way of communication for these two characters, and through it, they are able to convey what they cannot always put into words. It helps them reach the other person when something intangible separates them, and in Deok-chul’s case, it was his way of breaking down Chae-rok’s barriers to get him to see him as his student once again.
I thought it was fitting in that moment to hear Deok-chul admit his fears to Chae-rok because of the contrast it provided to the earlier scene. When Chae-rok first confronts him, Deok-chul acts brave and downplays his illness. He says that he is fine and can do better, but in reality, we all know that this is wishful thinking. It takes a while, but eventually Deok-chul realizes that he needs to accept his condition in order to move forward. While his desire to do ballet is the same as before, this time Deok-chul is not pretending that everything will be okay and acknowledges his illness and emotions. The key difference is that Deok-chul still wants to continue despite his fears, and I think Chae-rok realizes in this moment that he wants to support his dreams even if the risks are high.
While Chae-rok was the one who told Deok-chul to quit, he clearly did not mean it and missed his elderly student every waking moment. After their argument, Chae-rok never once smiled, and his general aura turned gloomy. He might have seemed more dedicated to ballet on the surface, but one look at his face made it clear that he was going through the motions in order to distract himself. Deok-chul has burrowed his way into Chae-rok’s life to the point where everyone around Chae-rok now expects the two of them together. Even if Deok-chul did not dance for him that night, I believe Chae-rok would have eventually found his way back to him because the two of them have become inseparable. Their relationship has evolved from a one-sided manager’s devotion to his star to a reciprocated love and respect between two individuals with a shared passion.