Navillera: Episode 6
It’s a delight to watch our young dancer fall in love with ballet again, but even though he’s full of fire and determination, adversity waits around the corner. New challenges put our hero’s patience to the test, and the actions he takes will determine his future.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Chae-rok tells Deok-chul with a happy smile that he passed the first round of the competition — and Ho-bum overhears the conversation. That’s how he came to be waiting for Chae-rok in the stairwell of the ballet studio’s building.
He wastes no time taking his anger out on Chae-rok, asking what right to happiness Chae-rok has; each question punctuated with punches. He rages at the unfairness of it all when Chae-rok is the reason his life was ruined. Instead of fighting back, Chae-rok challenges him and says they have no reason to fight and that Ho-bum can start over too.
In the heat of the moment, Ho-bum punches Chae-rok again — this time sending him teetering over the edge and down a flight of stairs.
Chae-rok lands in a heap at the bottom and grabs his ankle as he cries in pain. Ho-bum stands at the top of the stairs looking stunned and shocked at Chae-rok’s fall.
He tentatively approaches Chae-rok with tears in his eyes and his hand outstretched, but at the same moment Deok-chul appears at the top of the stairs and calls Chae-rok’s name. Ho-bum panics and runs away as Deok-chul goes to Chae-rok and tells him not to move while he gets help.
At Dr. Oh’s office, it’s bad news: stress fractures and a stretched ankle ligament. It means Chae-rok will need a splint and rest and Deok-chul brings up the competition as Seung-joo storms in.
He’s furious about the attack and wants to know who hurt Chae-rok, telling him to sue the person responsible. Chae-rok refuses, dismissively asking what difference would it make and Dr. Oh diffuses the situation by pointing out Chae-rok wasn’t too badly injured. Stress fractures are common in athletes and he recommends they wait a week to see what Chae-rok’s ankle is like after his split is off.
Deok-chul and Seung-joo sit together while Chae-rok gets his split put on, and Deok-chul blames himself for what happened. He thinks back to when he first met Ho-bum and said that Chae-rok would soar. Full of regret, not even Seung-joo’s attempts to console him do much.
Post-splint, Deok-chul and Seung-joo take Chae-rok home and the mood is subdued. Deok-chul worries and offers to sleep over to take care of Chae-rok, but Chae-rok wants to be by himself. Deok-chul acquiesces and he promises to be back first thing in the morning.
Lying awake, Chae-rok’s obviously thinking about the competition and lashes out in anger, throwing his pillows at the calendar marking important dates for the competition. He lets out anguished sobs, all alone.
Deok-chul isn’t done for the night, and he goes to find Ho-bum. It doesn’t take long to catch up with Ho-bum, looking shaken and sitting alone in a stairwell. He sees Deok-chul and says, “I guess he won’t soar after all.” But his words belie his troubled expression and he can’t meet Deok-chul’s eyes.
Deok-chul begins to tell Ho-bum about his past, about how he went through a tough time and when all of his friends’ were concerned it only made him angry because he was so twisted up inside. Ho-bum snaps at him and tells him dismissively to stop rambling. In response, Deok-chul asks: “Chae-rok won’t soar you said?”
A tear rolls down Ho-bum’s face and Deok-chul continues, saying that Chae-rok’s misfortune will lead to Ho-bum’s misfortune as well. Ho-bum takes that as a threat and begins to stalk away until Deok-chul calls out to him, stopping him in his tracks, “Ho-bum-ah, you can soar too. So stop this before it’s too late.”
The next day, Hae-nam and Deok-chul pack up food for Chae-rok, including homemade beef bone broth (which Hae-nam says is the best thing for strengthening bones).
At Chae-rok’s home, he listlessly has some soup as Deok-chul watches over him like a mother hen. When Hae-nam drops by, bearing fresh fruit, her presence seems to cheer Chae-rok up a bit. Deok-chul wants to stay again, but Hae-nam tells him not to be a nuisance — Chae-rok needs to rest. They go to leave, and she even gets a laugh out of Chae-rok when she asks for the culprit’s name so that she can find him and slap him upside the head.
Seung-joo’s concerned about Chae-rok too and he tells Sori his worries. The injury itself isn’t too bad, but the timing is terrible with the competition around the corner. Seung-joo’s biggest concern is that Chae-rok will get into another slump and lose his motivation just after finding it again. Sori tells him not to show Chae-rok he’s worried, and to focus on a plan for after the splint removal.
Ae-ran hasn’t given up on getting more employees to sign up for counseling, even putting up a poster in the building lobby. Seong-san sees and is a little exasperated. He follows her to the cafeteria and tells her it’s useless, people are too busy ignoring their problems so who would sign up? She takes his words in stride and says sometimes just having someone listen to you helps. She also mentions that he hasn’t been visiting his parents and asks if he’s still angry.
Seong-san doesn’t respond but when Ae-ran calls him petty he gets upset and leaves lol. Ae-ran gets a call right after from Hae-nam who wants her to take some beef broth. Ae-ran promises to send Seong-san over to get it, in an attempt to speed up the reconciliation.
Even though Chae-rok is on rest, Deok-chul keeps busy, cleaning the ballet studio. Chae-rok keeps busy too, by watching ballet videos but it seems to be to add on to his stress and he’s clearly disappointed about being injured and unable to practice.
He gets a visit from Se-jong who can’t understand why he isn’t angry and why he doesn’t do something about Ho-bum. Chae-rok admits that he’s angry, but his ankle just hurts more. He really wanted to be part of the competition but he’s learning that loving something and wanting it badly only brings pain.
Se-jong tells him, “Messi didn’t score any goals.” He’d spent all that time working a terrible job and flew all the way in Barcelona but his idol Messi didn’t score one goal the entire game. Chae-rok scoffs and says that not even Messi can score at every game.
That’s the point Se-jong is trying to make — Chae-rok shouldn’t be so down about his injury, because it doesn’t have to be the end; he can recover.
Deok-chul is about to leave the studio after another day’s work when Seung-joo tells him he should stop cleaning. He appreciates it, but it makes him uncomfortable. Deok-chul smiles and says he doesn’t mind and when Seung-joo realizes he’s not even going to practice since Chae-rok is injured, Seung-joo offers to fill in as teacher.
As Deok-chul is considering the offer, Chae-rok hobbles into the studio on his crutches and calls him a traitor. He’s pouty, but Se-jong’s pep talk clearly worked and Chae-rok says he needs to stay active in order to fully recover before the competition.
As they get ready for practice, Chae-rok takes advantage of his injury to boss Seung-joo around, first demanding a chair and then an iced Americano because he’s thirsty lol.
Se-jong meanwhile may have put on a bright front for Chae-rok, but he’s angry enough to seek out Ho-bum to get revenge. Ho-bum is at the pool hall again and though Se-jong gets one good punch in, he’s outmatched and it doesn’t look like Ho-bum will go easy on him.
Eun-ho is sitting in her favorite bar, trying to find what will make her happy. Seeing her friends all succeed at getting jobs is making her impatient and restless, and she muses that she can’t be jobless forever. She gets a call from her grandfather as she’s leaving.
After Deok-chul and Chae-rok wrap up practice, Chae-rok gives him a gift from Se-jong. It’s a pink ballet costume, and Chae-rok tells Deok-chul in a deadpan tone that real men wear pink. (It’s a thank you gift for the porridge Deok-chul cooked for them.)
Even on crutches Chae-rok still has Deok-chul running to keep up with him, and Deok-chul catches up as Chae-rok hails a taxi. Deok-chul shoos the taxi away and Chae-rok can’t understand why but Deok-chul says “she” should be here any minute.
Eun-ho drives up and it turns out Deok-chul had made a call to her asking to be Chae-rok’s chauffeur while he’s on crutches. Chae-rok tries to say there’s no need but Deok-chul rushes him into the car and sends them off.
In the car, Chae-rok thanks Eun-ho for driving him, and she smiles and appreciates that he’s thankful at least. When she asks about how he got hurt, he gives no details and passively says that it just happened. Chae-rok then asks if Eun-ho has found what makes her happy, referencing their earlier conversation. She admits that it’s easier said than done, but that she also came to the realization that happiness can be found in the little things. Eun-ho recounts a moment where she stared up at the sky and felt that simple happiness, and Chae-rok encourages her that she’ll find what she’s looking for very soon.
When they get to Chae-rok’s place, Se-jong sees them getting out of the car and loses his mind thinking that they’re dating. He continues to tease Chae-rok about it, even though he firmly denies it, but soon the attention turns to Se-jong. He’s wearing a face mask to cover the injuries from his fight with Ho-bum, but he fortunately looks okay otherwise. In his apartment, Chae-rok helps Se-jong treat his injuries, wondering what he was thinking going up against Ho-bum, but Se-jong jokingly says that a fighting spirit matters more than strength. Chae-rok says he’s nuts, but Se-jong’s courage and loyalty are pretty impressive.
After work later that night, Ae-ran and Seong-san are waiting for the elevator in their building when Ae-ran asks why he didn’t go to his parents’ house to pick up the soup. He tries to argue that if he needs food he can go to a restaurant, but Ae-ran says that his parents will not be around forever, and that he’ll miss his mother’s cooking when she’s gone. Apparently Ae-ran herself has been storing her own mother’s food in the freezer for that same reason. Seong-san turns to go when Eun-ho comes in, but she passes by and completely ignores him. He wonders to himself why she took after him.
Seong-san seems to know his wife is right, and he goes to meets his mother. They sit on the outdoor couch where the family always has their heart-to-hearts, and she chews him out again for what he said to his father. However, Seong-san apologizes and then offers her the gym membership he got previously for them in addition to some money for his parents to go out to eat for their anniversary. She refuses it at first, because she says that Deok-chul always has something planned for their anniversary and never forgets it, but in the end she takes it and storms inside.
On his drive home, Seong-san sees his father walking home and stops to give him a ride. Deok-chul thanks him for coming because Hae-nam will sleep well, but tells him to go on home, and that he’ll keep walking since he’s almost there. It’s almost as if he’s still sorry and doesn’t want to bother his son. Seong-san watches his father leave and then sits in the car for a while with a forlorn look on his face.
The next morning, Chae-rok finds Deok-chul on his doorstep with a wheelchair in tow. Poor Dr. Oh was sweet-talked (or guilted) into giving it up from his clinic. Chae-rok looks a little exasperated as he says he doesn’t need it, but he sits anyway (mostly just to please Deok-chul, aww) and Eun-ho drives them to the studio. Eun-ho gets to see the studio and her grandfather in his ballet outfit, and it’s heart-warming to see their worlds come together a little more. Deok-chul grins widely when his granddaughter tells him that he looks cool.
The next thing we know, a week is up, and Dr. Oh removes Chae-rok’s splint. He’s able to walk on his own, and after an X-ray, Dr. Oh announces he will be okay with some therapy. Chae-rok is excited to have it off and immediately goes to practice. Eun-ho gets a message from him thanking her for driving him around, and she smiles to herself and asks him to treat her if he’s really thankful. Before she sends the message, a call comes in about a part-time job.
While Chae-rok is warming up at the bar, his ankle seems to bother him; even though he plays it down, Deok-chul and Seung-joo both notice. Chae-rok and Deok-chul have a meal together after practice, and they’re so comfortable with each other at this point that Deok-chul eats the carrots that Chae-rok discards from his plate. Deok-chul expresses concern for Chae-rok, but Chae-rok tells him that he’s an amateur dancer and his body is just as important, so he should worry about himself, too. Chae-rok gives him the weekend off.
The next day, Chae-rok continues to practice for the competition under Seung-joo’s watchful eye. Sori comes to the studio to check up on him (or “pry,” as Seung-joo says). Sori points out that he seems to be okay as she watches Chae-rok dance, but Seung-joo is stone-faced because he knows that Chae-rok is not okay. Sori asks him what’s wrong, and Seung-joo says bluntly that Chae-rok took painkillers.
Seung-joo confronts Chae-rok and asks how many painkillers he had to take. Chae-rok gets defensive, but Seung-joo knows how serious the situation is and asks Chae-rok angrily if he wants to end his career when he’s only just begun. Chae-rok insists that he can do it and they argue as Seung-joo tells him to go home to rest.
After Chae-rok leaves, Sori points out that he’s just like Seung-joo — he also had injuries that he ignored in order to perform, and we see flashbacks of the toll it took on his career.
Chae-rok leaves the studio as commanded, but gets into a taxi to go to the university to keep practicing. Meanwhile, Deok-chul is at home and is about to leave to check on Chae-rok when Hae-nam tells him that it’s their wedding anniversary: he forgot. She casually brushes it off as him being too busy to have remembered, and tells him to go get ready, but Deok-chul looks a little stunned. He’s forgotten something he’s always remembered in the past, and he looks like he can’t believe it.
Chae-rok arrives at the university and is greeted by Sang-soo, who’s surprised to see him after the injury. Their verbal (and physical) competition continues, and Sang-soo looks pretty annoyed to have the hot-headed Chae-rok back in his hair.
At a restaurant, Deok-chul and Hae-nam are enjoying a fancy anniversary dinner despite the fact that Deok-chul had forgotten. It’s so precious to see this old married couple eating and chatting.
Meanwhile, Sang-soo is watching Chae-rok’s ankle like a hawk and winds up calling Sori to let her know the Chae-rok is there practicing like a madman. Sori is still at the studio, so she quickly tells her ex-husband. Seung-joo is rightfully dumbfounded.
Still on their anniversary date, Deok-chul and Hae-nam get a professional picture taken, and then go to the aquarium, and even take a selfie. Hae-nam sends it to Seong-sook, who only sends a heart in response because she’s distracted while shopping with Young-il. We learn he’s decided to go to college.
Hae-nam wants a better response than that, so she sends the picture to Seong-gwan. He doesn’t see the message, though, because he’s researching for his documentary. He’s at the hospital getting information on his first patient, who we learn didn’t make it, so he can visit the family.
Hae-nam grumps that it only takes 30 seconds to reply to a text message (I feel you, halmae!) and then messages Seong-san. He’s at work and continuing to mock his wife’s attempts to have a meaningful role there.
Hae-nam’s phone dies, and she asks Deok-chul for his to continue her selfie-sending spree. Next up is Eun-ho, who’s in the middle of a job interview to be a scriptwriter at a radio station. She accidentally insults them by not knowing them or their show, but manages to keep them from leaving in the middle of the conversation.
Hae-nam and Deok-chul are hungry again after all that walking and photo-talking, so Deok-chul goes off to buy some drinks and candy.
At the university, Seung-joo walks into find Chae-rok about to take more painkillers. Seung-joo is silent and worried as he snatches the painkillers out of Chae-rok’s hand.
Together, they sit in the auditorium and Seung-joo tries to talk Chae-rok into give up on this competition to protect his future in the long-term. Chae-rok insists that he can do it, and he’s worked so hard for it, but Seung-joo is persistent. He lost his career because of his own stubbornness and does not want the same for Chae-rok.
Back at the aquarium, Deok-chul is on his snack mission, but gets distracted by a lost little girl. He follows her to try to help, but loses her shortly after and then gets lost himself in the maze-like halls of the aquarium.
Hae-nam gets worried when the museum is about to close, and Deok-chul hasn’t returned. In a slight panic, and knowing he doesn’t have his phone, she gets up and starts looking for him. When she doesn’t find him, Hae-nam calls their children, who don’t pick up.
Chae-rok is sitting alone on the stage of the auditorium after his conversation, deep in thought, his eyes welled with tears. When his phone rings he thinks it’s Deok-chul, but soon learns that it’s Hae-nam. She asks for his help, explaining that Deok-chul has disappeared.
While a sad, haunting soundtrack plays, we see Deok-chul wandering around the aquarium with a very dazed and detached look in his eyes.
I’ve never been an athlete, so I can only imagine the disappointment and depression Chae-rok is facing with his injury. It must be crushing to see what he’d been working for slip through his fingers, especially when he’d just found the motivation he had been missing. I’m glad that he recovered his fighting spirit and was willing to try again, and it was touching to seem him get encouragement and support from the people around him. Hae-nam, Deok-chul, Se-jong, and even Eun-ho all played a part in getting him back on his feet and working towards his goal. I’m not sure what’s in store for Ho-bum, but I was relieved to see that he was at least Ho-bum was remorseful in the aftermath of Chae-rok’s fall. It gives welcome nuance to a character that could have been a one-dimensional villain, and I hope this will be the start of a change in his life.
Deok-chul handled Ho-bum in such a human and gracious way, and I love how kind he is to everyone he meets. He’s so kind and hardworking and now I’m really worried about what’s been hinted at. He has always seemed a bit impatient, and I thought it was because he feared death, but now he has another sort of decline to deal with. We’ve been given short glimpses hinting at memory loss with Deok-chul, and the end of this episode was a more solid indication that it is happening. This doesn’t necessarily have to stop his training as a dancer, but it is bound to have a huge impact on his life.
In happier developments, the continued growth of his relationship with Chae-rok is so sweet and fun. I always smile whenever he puts on his metaphorical manager cap and tackles his duties. He has truly become a support that Chae-rok needs, and in turn Chae-rok has become someone who encourages Deok-chul to fulfill his dreams.
I am glad that Eun-ho has come to the realization that there’s no one route to happiness. It’s perfectly okay to try finding yourself and what you really want to do, and then to pursue that happiness no matter what. Her father has more traditional ideas on what success is, and that’s understandable considering how he feels about his childhood poverty, and I would even argue that his way is not necessarily wrong. Eun-ho herself admits that a job (or an income) is necessary in life. Seong-san just needs to be open to different ways of doing things, and I see that happening already since he showed signs of softening this episode. Ae-ran’s reminder that his parents will not always be around may have gotten through to him somewhat. Hopefully he opens his mind to what Eun-ho (and Deok-chul) is doing and accepts his family for who they are and not what he wants them to be.