My Liberation Notes: Episodes 11-12
This week we get a fair share of upheaval, especially on the relationship front. There are new beginnings, endings, and hard decisions. And each of our siblings finds themselves in unexpected situations. One gets a welcome surprise, one finds peace, and one gets heartbreaking news.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
We backtrack to before Gu’s return. Chang-hee is having a ball driving Gu’s swanky car around, loving the attention from his neighbors, colleagues, and even strangers. He doesn’t pretend it’s his, though, and admits it’s a loan. Even so, just being able to drive the car has made Chang-hee feel “gentler” and more at ease; he’s no longer putting on a front and feeling so insecure.
Although it does cause friction with his father who learns that the car is Gu’s. He orders Chang-hee to stop driving someone else’s car, which leads to another dinner fight. Je-ho’s own history with going into debt after helping a friend seems to have deeply affected his relationship with money.
But Chang-hee isn’t the only one who’s happened into wealth – Hyun-ah seems to have found herself with a load of money. She drags Chang-hee to a club, ordering expensive alcohol and showing him her new account balance. It’s all quite suspicious, especially because we see a woman chase her and accuse her of stealing the money.
It turns out that Hyun-ah’s ex is terminally ill, so she’s been going to see him in the hospital. He gave her all his money, afraid she’d leave and he’d die with only his money-crazed mother by his side. Hyun-ah calls his mother out for caring more about her son’s money than him and assures her that she’ll give her the money. But Hyun-ah is determined to make sure her ex doesn’t die alone and won’t be chased off.
Hyun-ah is kind of awesome. She’s gutsy and doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she’s also loyal and kind. I can see why both Mi-jung and Chang-hee are so close to her. In fact, she and Chang-hee seem especially close. Even her ex asks to meet Chang-hee since Hyun-ah talks about him so much.
Meanwhile, Mi-jung struggles at work as her awful boss steps up his terribleness. He’s horrible in general, but he does seem to have it out for her specifically. In a particularly upsetting moment, he mocks her unfashionable pants in front of the whole office.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s trying to hold her back because she’s seemingly a better designer than he is. He’s always ripping apart her designs, but his edits aren’t exactly inspired. Mi-jung’s sweet fellow temp coworker praises Mi-jung’s work and encourages her to apply for the company’s design award, which would help her secure employee status.
Things are going much better for Mi-jung on the personal front, however, as she and Gu grow closer. He’s gotten a lot more comfortable with her, playful even. It’s nice to see him letting down his guard.
One night, they take a walk under the moonlit sky and take in the view. Gu puts his arm around Mi-jung when she shivers. Then, they kiss for the first time. I’ve really enjoyed their slow, measured progress – it makes each step closer feel even more meaningful.
Alas, Gu’s peaceful Sanpo existence is threatened again when he spots a couple of men putting a tracker on Je-ho’s truck. They turn out to be Chairman Shin’s men. Chairman Shin is willing to overlook Gu’s embezzlement because he respects his strength. He asks Gu to take over Boss Baek’s role, but Gu says he needs more time.
Gu is even more unsettled when he finds his work hyung chatting with Je-ho and Hye-sook at their house. He outs Gu as successful and rich, and although no one says anything about it, the atmosphere is tense.
Gu’s hyung is upset that he’s “living a lie” and leaving his subordinates to fend for themselves. He noticed the family photo in the house, and assumes Gu is seeing one of the sisters. Gu doesn’t outright respond, but his expression gives him away.
Meanwhile, Ki-jung continues her dramatic crush saga. She brings colleague Director Kim into her relationship sharing, telling her and Jin-woo about her anxiety over waiting for Tae-hoon to text. They both encourage her to play hard to get when Tae-hoon asks her to dinner, but Ki-jung is way too guileless for that. Why should you cause the person you like anxiety by playing games?
She ends up going to dinner with Tae-hoon and is floored when he does an about-face and tells Ki-jung he’ll be her “anyone” to love this year. Sun-kyung catches them eating together and to say she’s not pleased would be an understatement. She seriously needs to cool it a bit. I get why she’s worried about the relationship, but the man is grown and gets to live his own life.
Surprisingly, Tae-hoon’s daughter Yu-rim is much more understanding. When Tae-hoon admits he likes Ki-jung because she helps him relax and have fun, Yu-rim says she’s glad. Now that they’re officially dating, Ki-jung asks Tae-hoon outright how to date a parent. He warns her that he’ll frequently be busy and won’t be able to spend time with her on holidays, but Ki-jung emphatically says that’s all okay.
In Liberation Club news, they get a new member! The club lady liked it so much when she visited that she decided to join, and it’s so cute. She admits she wants to be liberated from always smiling, something she can’t help doing around others. She’s nervous to be so vulnerable, but she likes their tenants of no pretending to be happy or sad and being honest with yourself.
It gets Mi-jung thinking, and she muses to Gu that society only works because people pretend. And the same is true of happiness – only those who can accept the lies and put aside doubts can be happy. Mi-jung notes she can’t do that.
Meanwhile, Chang-hee’s car fun comes to a screeching halt when he finds a dent in the bumper. He can’t find who did it and is forced to come clean to Gu. He takes one look at the bumper and chases Chang-hee all the way to the station and onto a train headed into Seoul.
Gu thinks of Mi-jung telling him he’s transparent while others have told him he’s hard to understand. He ends up meeting with his work hyung and shares an interesting tidbit: one of Boss Baek’s underlings deals drugs. Soon after, the club is raided, and Boss Baek goes on the run.
Unable to put it off anymore, Gu tells Mi-jung that he’s returning to Seoul. She barely says anything but cries when she’s alone. That night, she visits Gu and says she’ll call him sometimes and suggests they meet up once every month or two.
Gu wants a clean break and to keep his two worlds separate. He encourages Mi-jung to curse him, to let out her anger, but she says she’s not angry. She’s just sad. But she won’t hold onto him. Now he’s on the verge of tears. Gu hopes she’ll move to Seoul and live an ordinary life with ordinary desires. Mi-jung insists she’s fine with her life and says she’ll call, even if he’s grumpy about it.
Gu gives his notice – Je-ho says he’s always welcome back – and leaves just like that. Poor Mi-jung is devastated, especially when she tries to call and finds he changed his number. Rather than her usual hope that her exes suffer, Mi-jung wishes Gu the best.
In Seoul, Gu attends Boss Baek’s funeral (he died while fleeing the cops) and laughs in an unhinged way as he sits with his new subordinates. We then skip ahead, this time with Mi-jung looking all suave. We then end with a shorter-haired, more stylish Mi-jung walking down the streets of Seoul.
More time has passed than I realized. The calendar in Je-ho’s workshop said 2019, so I guess the Seoul scenes of Gu and Mi-jung are a few years later. While I’m sad they had to part, I am looking forward to seeing Gu 2.0 and Mi-jung 2.0 and what will happen when they inevitably meet again.