Our Beloved Summer: Episodes 11-12 Open Thread
Ready your hearts and your tissue boxes — we’ve reached quite a moving portion of our story. As our not-a-couple couple start breaking down their walls and communicating, it leads to some unexpected insight into our hero.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
Well-crafted is the word of the week for Our Beloved Summer, and perhaps the best one to describe the drama as a whole, too. This week we saw some important turning points, and just like life, sometimes those moments are as happy and poignant as they are painful.
For Woong, that turning point begins with a fun vignette about a neighborhood ajusshi and the abandoned puppy that he took in and now babies. In the flashbacks, Woong seems tickled by the puppy’s easy and lazy life — his owner carries him around, pushes him in a stroller, and plops him on a tufted pillow to rest. Woong says it’s his dream life… and yet later, our drama pushes this metaphor even farther, and into some new territory.
It’s not hard to find the symbolism of the abandoned puppy when we look at Ji-woong’s storyline, and we do look at that quite a bit in this week’s episodes. Despite how understated this character is, gosh, it’s with a heavy heart that I watch Ji-woong struggling to come to terms with his feelings.
He literally makes himself sick slaving over the docu editing — but really, it seems clear that more than the workload, it’s the emotional weight that’s bearing down on him. Poor Ji-woong not only has to muster the courage to transform the docu into what it truly is, and must be — Woong and Yeon-su’s love story — but he has to come to terms with his feelings for Yeon-su, too. It’s getting harder to hide it from the other keen observers around him (what an industry he works in!). And from the two people whom it concerns the most.
But as it turns out, Ji-woong is not our only abandoned puppy. Our next abandoned puppy is first foreshadowed for us, and then revealed. The pieces of this puzzle have been so very subtle — and I think that’s what makes Woong’s big reveal so moving. Through gentle whispers, we learn about Woong’s true past, and suddenly it’s as if everything perplexing about his character falls into place.
Making this reveal even more moving, we learn it with Yeon-su. Though she and Woong are pretending to be friends, it’s clear that this fake phase won’t last long. Yeon-su can’t hide her care for Woong, and that trail of jujubes that leads him to his house tells him everything he needs to know.
Finally, though, it’s Yeon-su that takes the lead as the two talk honestly over dinner, and this becomes such a beautiful confession scene between the two. Woong says he’s always missed her, and wants her to love only him, and Yeon-su’s eyes are brimming with tears of reciprocation. It’s clear to everyone around them that these two are made for each other, from Yeon-su’s grandmother, to Woong’s lovely parents, who have so much wisdom and insight.
I have always loved Woong’s parents — the actors, the characters, their delightful scenes, the grounding and love they provide to the story — but the big reveal this week only hammers that in even more.
After Woong and Yeon-su’s confession, he slowly tells her that his parents are not his real parents, and that as a small boy he was abandoned on the street by his father. As mentioned, sooooo many things are colored in by this reveal: the vignette of the abandoned puppy we learned about earlier, the trauma that has shaped Woong into the adult he’s become, his willingness to share his adoptive parents with another abandoned puppy (Ji-woong), and finally, just how lovely Woong’s parents are, opening their hearts to all these sad little boys. *Weep*!
At this point, it’s hard to imagine how the drama can get any better. This week was definitely peak for me. The pieces of each storyline have been beautifully illuminated, and I’m ready to sit back and bask in it. Luckily, this is what the drama lets us do for a bit.
Woong and Yeon-su awkwardly and happily settle back into dating, with all the hiccups and sweetness we might expect. I love these two together so much it actually hurts. Whether it’s their “accidental” meetups, silly and swoony missteps, or that gorgeous black-and-white sequence at the gallery — well done, Show. And perhaps Yeon-su’s line about loving Woong for who he is encapsulates this drama’s loveliness best.
Our Beloved Summer isn’t afraid to strike a balance between sweet and bittersweet, though, and maybe that’s why the emotions feel so deep. Whether it’s the journey the leads have been on all this time, or the heartache in their pasts, or even the heartache of our second leads, the story has a wistfulness to it that I’m truly going to miss.
Of course, there’s two more weeks to go in the drama’s run, and plenty more to unpack on our way there. Particularly, the relationship between Woong and Ji-woong continues to be as subtle as it is moving. Ji-woong’s bitterness stings, but we also feel it with him; Woong’s instinct to always go to this brother-figure first also stings, but in another way entirely. Their friendship continues to impress me with how little is said, but how much is communicated. And as much as I love our couple, my heart is most with Ji-woong, drowning in all the bitterness and hurt he needs to let go of.