Our Blues: Episodes 7-8
Things get heated this week on Jeju as news of the young couple’s pregnancy spreads across town. The two feuding dads have even more reason to hate each other now, and their disdain reaches new heights. As the dads grapple with their children’s situation, they reflect on their past, and we learn why the once best friends turned into bitter enemies.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP: IN-KWON & HO-SHIK
Now that Young-joo and Hyun have decided to keep the baby, they lay out their plans for the future. She will continue her schooling and get into medical school while Hyun will pause his education and take up part-time jobs to support them. Both are optimistic about their chances — naively unaware of the realities of parenthood — but in their situation, maybe hope is all they have.
The two teenagers notify their dads about their predicament since they need financial assistance, but neither In-kwon nor Ho-shik are willing to become grandparents. Both dads push for an abortion, but Young-joo and Hyun refuse to apologize and call their baby a mistake.
Hearing Hyun’s announcement to drop out of school, In-kwon loses his temper and slaps him across the head. Upstairs, Ho-shik begs Young-joo to reconsider and tells her that they would have been free if she waited one more year. Despite their dads’ pleas and threats, the young couple stays firm on their decision.
News of their pregnancy spreads throughout the school, and the reception is mixed. Most of the students support the couple, but the teachers shame them and try to push for a transfer. Apparently, it is more embarrassing to have sex before marriage than it is to be a close-minded, rule-breaking educator according to most of the adults at their school.
While the teenagers figure out their lives, their dads cross paths at work and barely contain their anger. In-kwon hands Ho-shik a stack of bills to pay for Young-joo’s abortion, but the gesture triggers a traumatic memory for Ho-shik.
After losing money from gambling, Ho-shik returned home to find his young daughter neglected and hungry. His wife had fled, and with no other options, he sought out In-kwon for help. Tired of his friend’s constant gambling, In-kwon gave Young-joo everything in his wallet and asked Ho-shik if he wasn’t ashamed of using his daughter to beg. His words cut because of the truth behind them, and Ho-shik walked away without taking the money.
In the middle of the market, Ho-shik throws the first punch and fights with In-kwon who quickly overpowers him. Jung-joon and Eun-hee rush to the scene to separate them, but by then, the two dads have blabbed about their children’s pregnancy for the whole town to hear.
When Young-joo returns home from school, Ho-shik hands over his entire savings and tells his daughter to get rid of that baggage. She asks him if she was a baggage to him, and he angrily admits that she was. He orders her to choose between the baby or him, so Young-joo packs up her things and leaves.
Seeing Young-joo holed up in a motel, Hyun finds Ho-shik to convince him to let his daughter back home. However, Ho-shik sees red at the sight of Hyun and tells him that he will not yield no matter what.
Despite his assertion, Ho-shik rushes to his daughter the next day when Hyun tells him that she is sick. Before either of them can reach her, In-kwon arrives at the motel first after hearing about her stay from the owner and drags her out. Hyun arrives in time to stop his dad and pushes him to the ground. He tells his dad that he has always been embarrassed of him and walks away with Young-joo.
Across the street, Ho-shik witnesses the entire encounter and runs at In-kwon in a rage. They fight in broad daylight and end up at the police station together. While stuck in a holding cell, In-kwon wonders why their relationship soured when they used to be best friends and even promised to be in-laws one day.
Though In-kwon may have forgotten, Ho-shik remembers the exact words In-kwon said to him when his wife ran away and will never forget them. He tells In-kwon that the humiliation he felt after Hyun hit him is the same thing he experienced that day.
Alone with his thoughts that evening, In-kwon drowns his sorrows in alcohol and thinks back on his past. When he was a gangster, In-kwon bumped into his mom who tried to chase after him and was hit by a car. She died from that accident, and on that very same day, his wife called it quits on their marriage. Before his wife left, though, she told In-kwon that his mom’s last wish was for him to not be an embarrassment to his son.
Reflecting on his recent actions, In-kwon realizes that everyone has left him, and despite his efforts to turn his life around, he still ended up failing to honor his mom’s dying words. As he stumbles out of his apartment, he trips and falls down the stairs. Fortunately for him, Ho-shik was outside and heard the crash.
In-kwon wakes up at the hospital with Eun-hee by his side, and she tells him that Ho-shik carried him all the way here. In-kwon calls her a liar, and Eun-hee agrees that it sounds unbelievable. She tells In-kwon to take care of himself since he is diabetic, but In-kwon refuses treatment and heads off to work.
Ho-shik stops by the school to talk about Young-joo’s continued attendance but leaves afterwards without saying a word to his daughter. She confronts her dad, asking why he cannot understand her like everyone else. Young-joo pleads with him to lose to her like usual, but he tells her that life does not always go as planned.
As Young-joo watches her dad walk away, she apologizes for making him lonely. Even though she has the baby and Hyun by her side, she tells him that she is lonely, too, without him, but Ho-shik goes without turning around.
While Young-joo’s goals sound idealistic and nigh impossible, I think she is able to hold onto this hope because of her upbringing. No matter how much she denounces love because of her parents’ failed marriage, it’s evident that Ho-shik raised his daughter with plenty of it. Even when they fight, Young-joo never once doubts her dad’s love for her because that is all she has known while growing up. To Young-joo, Ho-shik might not be a perfect dad but he is a loving and sacrificial one, which is why his rejection hurts her so much. Hopefully, this will be a lesson for both father and daughter that life may not go as planned but we can still choose to act with love and empathy.
Hyun hears from Eun-hee about his dad’s condition and finds him at the store to talk. Still resentful from their last exchange, In-kwon asks his son why he is embarrassed of him when he spent his life working to provide for him. He says that he was a thug in the past which is why he cannot face his mom or stop his wife from leaving, but at least to Hyun, he always thought he did well. In-kwon tells his son that he was his only pride, and Hyun realizes how much his words had hurt his dad. He grabs his dad in a hug before he can walk out and apologizes.
In the end, the two teenagers asked for forgiveness and the show hints at the possibility of reconciliation between parent and child. While the dads exhibit some problematic behaviors (which all the characters do), the show does a good job of fleshing them out as people. Their past informs their present, and the characters feel multidimensional with their own flaws and motivations. This impression is only strengthened by the stellar performances from Park Ji-hwan and Choi Young-joon who simply lift the characters off the page and breathe life into them.
While I would never condone In-kwon’s violence, I understand why he thinks he has done his best for Hyun when, from an outsider’s perspective, he looks like an abusive and unloving father. In In-kwon’s mind, he made the ultimate sacrifice to be a better dad and made conscious choices to become someone Hyun could be proud of. Up to this point, In-kwon has wronged everyone important in his life, so to hear that he failed his son despite all his efforts devasted him. He has never considered that his behavior might be the reason why his son distances himself and is embarrassed of him, but through this experience, maybe father and son can be open with each other for once and finally listen.