Nevertheless: Episode 8 Open Thread
Our heroine finally makes an important decision about her love life, and attempts to stick to her guns. But in the face of internal and external pressures, will she be able to stay on course? And above all, did she truly make a decision she’s happy with?
EPISODE 8 WEECAP
We left off last week with Na-bi and Jae-un’s kiss interrupted by Do-hyuk’s phone call. Thank heavens, it’s enough to pull Na-bi out of Jae-un’s spell. She flees the scene, and by the look of distress on her face, clearly needs some time alone to figure out what just happened. Does she want to get back with Jae-un? Is she willing to go out on a limb for him? Does she want to stay broken up? Does she have any romantic interest in Do-hyuk?
But Na-bi doesn’t get a moment to think — Do-hyuk returns to the house, knowing instinctively that something is up, and sure enough, it’s another awkward encounter. If this were a different drama, the love triangle would have a little more entertainment factor, maybe? But here, it just feels like Na-bi is in a pressure chamber and approaching her breaking point soon. Jae-un is completely smug around Do-hyuk, as if he knows the power he has over Na-bi, and all I can think of is our infamous butterfly metaphor.
Do-hyuk knows it’s not good timing, but he’s already prepared his confession, complete with a fancy forest setup of fairy lights, and a beautiful bouquet, so he goes along with it anyway. It’s a little sad, since Na-bi is so distressed overall that she’s in tears, and Do-hyuk is trying to confess while caught between being disappointed and wanting to comfort her (he knows she’s not crying over him). Even though he’s been rejected, and Na-bi explains she isn’t in the right place for the sort of relationship he’s asking for right now, he offers her a comfort hug. I would have jumped on that (he’s so comforting!), but Na-bi heads home alone.
It’s hard for Na-bi to find refuge, though. She left Seoul for her aunt’s place to get away from everything, and the whole party followed her there. Now, even tucked away in her aunt’s studio, Jae-un follows her there. When she wakes up the next morning he is hanging out with her aunt. This can be read one of two ways: he’s genuinely interested in getting to know her and her family, or he’s ingratiating himself, forcing his way into her life, and pressuring her to keep him around. Read it as you will.
In my reading of this story, what Na-bi wants is to feel loved and emotionally safe with the man she’s with. We’ve seen how she eventually broke things off with Jae-un when she wasn’t getting what she needed, and even now, back at her apartment, she’s waiting-not-waiting for him to contact her first. As she notes, he never does.
The person that does call her that night, though, is Do-hyuk. He makes sure she got in okay, they make plans to meet up again soon when he’s back in Seoul, and it’s funny how even after he turned up at the bus depot with homemade brownies for her (and confession part 2), things aren’t awkward between them. But they aren’t exactly fiery hot, either.
Na-bi tries to keep her distance from Jae-un, but of course they’re much thrown together. He’s her assistant for her latest project; he’s the (open-shirted) model in her drawing class. She’s struggling — and he knows it. I don’t know who I blame more here: Na-bi who can’t seem to get a grip, or Jae-un who knows the power he has over her and doesn’t mind flexing it with his moody glances and “casual” skinship. To be honest, I’m tired of both of them.
Our other couples are also in a state of upset this week as well — for one, Bit-na and Kyu-hyun are still arguing about why they broke up and/or whether they did. This relationship is filled with a lot more communication than Na-bi and Jae-un’s, and I’m interested to see how the story handles it in comparison. (However, the drama is not making this easy. While Kim Min-gwi is still present in his scenes, because of his real-life scandal we don’t get any actual shots of him. We have the other party that’s talking to him, and his voice, and sometimes a blur of him or a profile shot, but gosh drama, way to draw attention to a thing.)
Even our tertiary couple of Sol and Ji-wan are in a state of upset this week as well. They do a lot of icing out and dancing around each other, until Ji-wan works up the courage to be honest, and say she doesn’t know how she feels yet — but seals their “some” relationship with a back hug.
Just when you thought perhaps Na-bi and Jae-un’s dance was drawing to a close, it only gets more so. Na-bi is doing what she thinks she should (staying closed off to Jae-un, getting closer to Do-hyuk), but some yearning in her still pulls her towards Jae-un.
One night, she finds herself alone in the alley next to the bar where she was with Jae-un the first night they met. She’s moody and silent — and then another moody and silent individual approaches: Jae-un. Is it fate? Is it true love that pulled them to the same place at the same time? The story could take us there if it wanted to, but instead, we’re left with Jae-un’s question to Na-bi: “Do you want to go see the butterflies?”
It’s a callback to their first meeting, but is it an honest confession, or is he just asking to sleep with her again? I’m with the latter. It’s too flirtatious and too suggestive for me to believe he wants to reassure her and commit to her. I can think of a dozen things I would have rather heard him say, and maybe even believed him when he did. But this, to me, just feels like another flex.