Love All Play: Episodes 11-12
With the truth finally out in the open, everything starts to change, and it’s a painful road for, well, everyone. But despite this being another depressing week in our drama, I’m hopeful that as some time passes and hearts heal, we can find our characters in a happier place. And by that I mean with our OTP eloping and living their best life. Hey, a girl can dream, right?
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
If we thought last week was rough, we were wrong, because this week it’s time for the reveal that we’ve been dreading. And no one’s been dreading it like the guy that has to do the revealing.
As our episode opens, we meet everyone navigating the chaos of the truth behind Joon-young’s accident. Tae-joon narrates that, “What was bound to get out finally gets out,” and we see the chain of events that led to the video being released online: Yi-deun took the video, then lost his phone at a PC bang, and the person who found it also found the video and uploaded it.
As Joon-young has always feared, she gets mocked for covering up the truth and loses public sympathy. She’s upset her reputation is lost, and continues to mope and treat everyone around her poorly. Jung-hwan’s love for her continues to baffle me, and he tells her she can use him anytime. It’s such a romantic gesture — but it’s clear Joon-young doesn’t care about him anymore, and over the course of the episode, poor Jung-hwan himself finally accepts it. But first he beats Yi-deun to a pulp and gets himself kicked off the national team.
Meanwhile, Tae-yang is still AWOL after the incident with Coach Joo. Our team captain (who really shines this week) approaches Tae-joon and tells him to talk Tae-yang into coming back since he knows they “have a thing going on” (which he then takes back as a joke, suuuuure).
Tae-yang might return, but the breaking news and its ramifications are of course leading to the moment she has been aching for and dreading at the same time: she can finally come clean. One night on a walk with Tae-joon, she tells him he has no idea what it’s like to walk around carrying a bomb in your pocket. Uhh.
He does know, of course, and he tells her this, but also doesn’t want to reveal his secret yet (he’s putting off the inevitable result, and who can blame him). Instead, he goes into swoon mode, and when Tae-yang jokes if his secret is a baby, he says, “No, I’m going to have a baby with you!” and then proceeds to propose to her, half joking and half serious. (They really should just elope together and escape this entire mess!)
Despite the warnings from the national team coach (who doesn’t want to be further humiliated), Tae-yang finally posts the truth of what happened on her SNS. And just like that, everything changes. And yet does it? The burden has come to light, but she’s still guilty, miserable, and unforgiven.
Despite having to cry in basically every other scene these days, I am really loving Park Joo-hyun’s performance here. None of the tears or angst feel melo — it’s all quite raw and believable, and that’s why it’s so damn sad.
It’s rather telling that at her lowest moment, Tae-yang finds her way back to the mother that abandoned her, and it’s another rough scene. I’m not going to lie — when Tae-joon burst in and dragged Tae-yang away, I was relieved.
Tae-yang is so used to self-flagellating that it’s getting painful to watch — and Tae-joon is the only character that seems to know and intuit what she’s going to do, what she needs, and how she will punish herself next. He brings so much support and light and warmth to her, and she needs every bit of it, despite her protestations. While Tae-joon says he loves her and will be around as long as she wants him, she says: “I know you love me because I’m overwhelmed by your affection.”
Finally, during another evening meetup, Tae-joon blurts out to Tae-yang that he’s Joon-young’s little brother, and she takes it just like we might expect (i.e., like another bit of happiness she must give up because of her crimes).
They’re still together technically, but Tae-joon knows it’s all going to come to an end soon. Still, he just floods her with love and support. He buys treats and then asks Young-shim and the other girls on the team to hang out with Tae-yang to cheer her up. He begs the coach to keep Tae-yang on, since she has nowhere else to go. And when Jung-hwan calls Tae-yang outside for a private chat, he’s not even a minute behind, lingering in the background to watch out for her. (Can he get more wonderful?)
As I watched the episodes this week I felt like I was waiting for them to break up in every scene, and each time we got through a scene without it, I felt like rejoicing. When we finally get there, though, it’s saaaad. Tae-yang — despite Tae-joon’s request — can’t even look him in the eyes to break up and does the whole thing with her eyes shut and tears running down her face.
If ever there was a couple that needed each other, it’s this one. And after seeing the iciness of Joon-young, the awfulness of her parents, and even being so disappointed by Tae-yang’s adoptive father — gosh, eloping never sounded like such a logical escape from this nonsense. As Tae-joon keeps saying, it was an accident. They all need to move on. And also, the plot needs to move on, because I want my smiley Tae-joon back, and I want him to be with Tae-yang forever so they can have their babies together.
The final reveal that needs to be made is Tae-joon telling Joon-young that he loves Tae-yang. When he does so, she receives it with her usual smirk, and says she already knew. As it turns out, the last time she met with Tae-yang after her social post hit the press, Tae-yang told Joon-young herself.
Joon-young doesn’t offer forgiveness, but she says she doesn’t want to think about it — or Tae-yang — anymore and that they should cut ties. This leads to Tae-yang saying how hard it will be… and we all know why. She’s loved Joon-young, she loves Tae-joon, and that affection in itself creates a huge conflict for her. She tells Joon-young she’ll break up with Tae-joon, and that’s how Joon-young meets her little brother’s confession: “Did she break up with you yet?” Gosh, she’s just so cruel.
Speaking of Joon-young’s cruelty, Jung-hwan finally realizes it himself, and seems to have his final conversation with her. Although he’s also hit rock bottom like everyone else at this point, he tells Yoo-min to wait for him until the spring. Their exchange, and Yoo-min’s protectiveness of him, is absolutely adorable.
Is this foreshadowing of what we’ll get from our other couple, also featuring an athlete at rock bottom and a person who cherishes them? Pretty please? This might be one drama where I’m okay with a time jump, since it’s clear Tae-yang needs time to heal, and she and Tae-joon need to find a way to be together forever despite their crappy I-love-you-but breakup. Everyone deserves better, including us.