I have a sort of love/hate relationship with The Road Not Taken poem by Robert Frost. On the surface, it speaks to bucking traditional routes and paving your own way. I am all for that, because I don’t think each person defines “success” the same way, why should the path to success be the same for everyone? A deeper look at the poem (and the part that just gnaws at my mind) reveals that the paths were “worn about the same”, so how does Frost know which is less travelled? It makes his decision ambiguous, like tossing a coin. Byung Hee and Chul Soo are just beginning to deal with the after effects of their one night tryst. It’s like my Geometry teacher used to say, “If things were different, they wouldn’t be the same.”
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We open with Chul Soo and Byung Hee arguing in the park. Byung Hee wants her virginity back, and smacks Chul Soo around saying “give it back, give it back!” and he in total frustration barks “fine! Then I want mine back too!”
Byung Hee is taken aback. “What have you been doing all this time?” Chul Soo says exactly what I am thinking: pffft, me? What about you? He goes on to say “I am telling you this as a dongsaeng: don’t mess around with just any man. Get married.” And he leaves.
Meanwhile, trapped in Bulldog’s apartment, Joon-hee gets the idea to set off the fire alarm by holding a burning piece of paper to the smoke detector.
Her plan is to get the firemen to release her from Bulldog’s house. Once they show and the scene is cleared, Bulldog offers to buy her dinner and the fire chief says they need a statement. Bulldog tasks his minion with clearing the matter. Joon-hee interrupts, she has plenty to say. Bulldog reminds her that even the owner of the house can be charged with arson and leaves her begging the fireman for sympathy.
Bulldog returns to his apartment and finds the note Joon-hee taped to the portrait of his dead wife Kang Eun-mi. Joon-hee says he has a problem and he needs help, this kind of obsession is not the same as love. She finishes by telling him he should be hospitalized for the sake of the fashion industry. (I assume she uses banmal or informal speech with him, the subs translate it as weirdly slangy. “This ain’t no kind of love, you have a psychosis” sounds like two thoughts from two different people. A lot could be said about why Joon-hee would use banmal with him: is she THAT comfortable? Does she not respect him (in spite of his age)? Is she simply rude and bratty?) Bulldog just laughs, and looks at Kang Eun-mi in the portrait. “You two are not alike at all.” He chuckles to himself.
While Chul Soo is having some introspective time at the park, Byung Hee sits on the couch with Mom watching more Hepburn movies. She thinks about what her dad once told her about fate and how one moment can change everything. There is no such thing as chance. She says he never talked about mistakes, and wonders what could happen if you take one thing back. What if she didn’t throw the keys into the river? What if she had managed to get a cab back to Seoul? And how important is the first woman (not first love, mind you) to a man? Will he always remember her?
The following morning, Joon-hee is at a rehearsal for another modeling job. During the break, she talks to her model pal about Bulldog. She says he hasn’t called, so maybe threatening to burn down his house finally got through to him. Her friend says she wouldn’t mind having Bulldog in her corner to get ahead. Joon-hee reminds her that she is the one who said Bulldog killed his wife, and does Joon-hee have to risk her life for the sake of modeling? The thought is barely out of her mouth when Joon-hee gets sent home, she has been replaced. No real reason is given, something vague about her bothering the crew.
In the offices of C’est Si Bon, Byung Hee is talking to Yong-gil about men losing their virginity when he is inspired . . . THIS should be the whole theme of the next issue! Men and abstinence!
Mom and Oh Pil-Kyo have made a sale, Mom invites him out for a celebratory dinner. Mom wastes no time getting three sheets to the wind, telling Mr. Oh about how she had an arranged marriage and as a girl she was the apple of her dad’s eye. She peppers the conversation with questions about Mr. Oh and his family but haphazardly sputters over his responses to talk more about herself.
Chul Soo and Kang-tae are leaving the shop (probably headed for a boy’s night out) when they are literally stopped by Big Boobs (yes, the poor girl has a name. This is just how I think of her, and depending on the source of the subs it is what most of the other characters call her. Honestly, I would have called Bulldog “Mr. Butt” if his heiny issue had been revealed in the first episode. I think of him as Mr. Butt.) She talks Kang-tae off the back of Chul Soo’s bike and tells Chul Soo he can take her to his place. Chul Soo had turned her down earlier, saying he was not busy but playing hard to get (so I guess she tried harder to GET HIM). He’s not quite annoyed, but somewhat reluctantly tells Kang-tae to go home and look after his baby. On the road, Chul Soo asks Big Boobs if she likes him or something. She replies that she knows he likes her, and wraps her arms tightly around his torso. He grins (almost leering) and says it would be rude at this point to say he didn’t.
Byung Hee gets caught skulking around by Seung-hye again. Seung-hye confronts her and asks her what really happened in Oido. By chance, Chul Soo just then pulls up with Big Boobs on his back seat. Byung Hee points her out, and quickly covers by saying she came with Chul Soo to Oido. They left Byung Hee in the jimjilbang (sauna) and . . .well she doesn’t know what they did next. Big Boobs has said goodbye by the time Seung-hye walks out to confront Chul Soo.
Seung-hye lectures her clueless brother about the company he keeps while Byung Hee is behind her winking at him. Joon-hee walks into the video store and says asks about all this girlfriend talk. All three noonas are clucking at him and he loses it. “YES!” he yells “I have a girlfriend!” and he glares directly at Byung Hee “Satisfied?”
Walking back to their home, Joon-hee asks Byung Hee if she should give up modeling. Byung Hee gives her honest advice: she is passionate about modeling so she should focus on it. Byung Hee says she halfheartedly did a bunch of different things when she was in her early twenties and it didn’t get her anywhere. Joon-hee worries that she might not be any good at it, and Byung Hee reminds her that nobody is good when they first start anything. As they walk up to the gate, Byung Hee thinks that it is much harder giving advice and acting her age the older she gets.
And then mom stumbles drunkenly out of a taxi. Byung Hee has to put her to bed, thinking about how weird and uncomfortable it is seeing her mother drunk (agreed).
Byung Hee feels a little cramp and lays down, thinking about where her model uterus went; imagining it drifting through the water and into space as she falls asleep.
Joon-hee shows up to another cancelled modeling gig. She calls Bulldog but he is ignoring her calls, explaining to Dr. Bae over lunch that he is in the process of taming her. Dr. Bae takes this as a sign that Bulldog is dating and congratulates him. Dr. Bae says he hardly notices other women now that he is focused on one. He tells Bulldog how this girl talked a big game but is clearly a novice. Neither man names his lady, so I don’t think they have any idea they are talking about sisters.
Byung Hee is hard at work creating another fantasy sequence for an article in C’est Si Bon. This time, she is a polished and sexually aggressive woman with a novice man (funny how she imagines herself precisely the opposite of how Dr. Bae sees her). Her fantasy starts with the same guy from her other fantasy sequences . . .pretty much an average Joe type (probably closer to how she pictures the average reader versus her own personal preferences) but for some reason he just isn’t working.
She starts the story over in her mind, only this time instead of the kind of guy who might live in mom’s basement it’s a young man who looks a lot like Chul Soo. In voice over, Byung Hee begins “I knew it was his first time . . .” and a twitchy Fantasy Chul Soo admits he doesn’t know what to do. “Don’t worry,” Byung Hee purrs “Noona will take care of ev . . ery . . thing”. Byung Hee stops herself there, mashing the keypad and thinking “No. No no no no no!”
She gets a call from Dr. Bae who is waiting down on the street. He came by to return her sweater (that she left in the car the night that they went out). She claims it is not hers (she had already decided to write it off as a loss anyway). She tells him to think carefully about all of the women he has driven home. Maybe someone in the past week? (He is thinking) The past month? Maybe two months? “No,” he says, still perplexed. “I haven’t had any ladies in my car since the end of last year” Byung Hee seems pleased by this information, maybe he is not the player she thought he was after all. Byung Hee can’t help but laugh and confess that it IS her sweater. As Dr. Bae takes her home, he suggests they start dating. “Does this mean you want to sleep with me?” Byung Hee asks. Dr. Bae says that’s not off the menu somewhere down the road, but he was thinking about dinner and movies and that sort of thing.
In Chul Soo’s basement apartment, he and Joon-hee are having some tea. She is being a little more honest with him than she was with Byung Hee. She tells him about Bulldog and how she feels she is being pressured to date him or give up modeling altogether. She knows people think Bulldog is weird or dirty and that if she does allow him to sponsor her, she will be seen as dirty too. Chul Soo tells her that people won’t think twice about it, because she is good at her work. Joon-hee disagrees. She knows she isn’t very good and is not sure how much further she could have gone on her own anyway. After thinking for a moment, Chul Soo tells her “at least you are putting in the effort into something you want to do.” Joon-hee says she is afraid of failure. Chul Soo confides in her “I never fail at anything because I only do the things I like doing. If it doesn’t work, you can think it was fun while it lasted and move on.”
Chul Soo is the consummate gentleman, so he walks Joon-hee back to her home. She asks if he is really dating that girl, he tells her they aren’t quite at that stage. Joon-hee rings the buzzer at the gate and Mom asks if it is Joon-hee or Byung Hee (hmmm, apparently Byung Hee isn’t home yet). Joon –hee announces herself and holds the gate long enough to tell Chul Soo he made the right decision when he turned her down in high school. “We would have seen each other for a little while but once we broke up, things would get weird and we would never be friends like we are now.” (Oddly similar to the thought nagging at Byung Hee at the beginning of the episode, when she was pondering the what ifs on the night in Oido). Chul Soo agrees and they both say goodnight.
He turns to head back down the hill to Seung-hye’s, thinking out loud about where Byung Hee is at this hour. At the bottom of the hill, Dr. Bae pulls up and asks Byung Hee what she thinks about dating. She says she would like a predating stage, so she can check his specs (family, background, any previous marriages . . . and she wants bloodwork. No weird STDs). Based on their previous conversation, he has the information ready and hands her a file on him. Chul Soo watches as she reviews the file, and says to himself that she must really be into that player. “Fine, she should tame him and get married.”
He turns around to take a different route home, only to look back as Dr. Bae is going in for the goodnight kiss. Chul Soo taps his foot for a moment . . . and runs down and leaps onto the hood. For the first time we get Chul Soo’s thoughts in voice over. “This is not right. This is a mistake. Oh well, I guess I must go all the way now” and he grins at the surprised couple.
He knocks at the windshield and tells Dr. Bae that this is not a parking area. Dr. Bae asks Byung Hee if she knows him, she mutters that he is just the neighborhood nutcase. Dr. Bae gets out of the car and Byung Hee steps between them. She admits to kinda knowing Chul Soo, he is the younger brother of a friend.
Chul Soo says he will pay for the damage, he goes on to say that he knows Dr. Bae is a player and that Byung Hee is like a sister to him. “If you plan on messing around with her . . .” and Byung Hee stops him with a slap to the face.
He looks SO shocked and hurt. Since they share this “secret” of Oido, there always seems to be little knowing looks between them. Like “stop saying that” or “back up what I am saying here”. The look he gives her says to me “you KNOW why I am mad, why are you slapping ME?” Byung Hee just says “I am not one of your friends. I am OLDER than you. Who are you to step in on my behalf? Go. Just go home.”
He tosses his phone at Dr. Bae saying he will call it tomorrow when he is at the shop to give him a time to drop it off for repairs. He turns down the hill and walks away.
Dr. Bae tells Byung Hee she should have explained it was her friend’s brother; his actions are actually kind of sweet. Dr. Bae catches up to Chul Soo as he is driving back down the road. He hands the phone back, since he now realizes Chul Soo works at the shop where he picked up Byung Hee before. He says he will bring the car around tomorrow. After he departs, Chul Soo groans to himself that it was so embarrassing. Behind him, Byung Hee says “you were aware it is embarrassing?”
They are back at the playground from the opening of the episode. Fitting, considering how childish each of them is acting. Byung Hee asks if he is jealous, that is the only thing to explain his behavior. Chul Soo says he is, like all men who meet a girl and see a slime ball approach her. He then attacks her for lying and shackling him with a girlfriend. Seung-hye won’t leave him alone about it. Byung Hee insists without the girl as their cover story, Seung-hye would have figured out what happened. She also says that Dr. Bae isn’t as bad as she thought; she is actually starting to like him. So Chul Soo should stay out of her business. He says she should stay out of his as well.
“Fine!” retorts Byung Hee. “Go play with Big Boobs!”
“Is that all you can see?” asks Chul Soo “Do you have a complex or something, because they are nicer than yours?”
Byung Hee is dumbfounded. “How would you know, it’s not like you have SEEN them!”
“Sure I did, you took all of your clothes off!” and he mimics her flinging open her bathrobe, just like in her virgin fantasy (OMG, this means she ACTUALLY DID THAT MOVE. And Chul Soo slept with her anyway.)
Before he even knows what happened, Chul Soo is the recipient of another classic Byung Hee head butt.
And before I know it, this episode is over and we have to see what happens next week.
Oh the raging jealousy monster. It really brings even the most guarded emotions to the forefront. And it can make you into a petty child, marking your territory. The part where Chul Soo stands at the top of the road and then jumps on the car is one of my favorite moments in any drama. It’s that kind of move maybe we thought about but decided against for fear of looking foolish. And his impish grin . . . ak;lcofwoiBFw. Kills. Me. Every. Time. It’s stupid, and it is wrong, and it is childish, but as the GRAND GESTURE it is such a flashing sign of “I like you, I like you, I like you!” Of course, Byung Hee is about as good at reading it as I am reading Mayan hieroglyphics (seriously, I got “angry earring dude, furry flower, tongue out dude”. I don’t think they were saying don’t eat flowers). Chul Soo is going to have to stop acting childish if he is looking to get her attention (and not get slapped).
I think I like the hood stomp better than any other declaration of “She’s MINE – hands off!” because of how BIG and surprising it is. To to Bae, to Byung-hee, but mostly to Chul-su. He saw something he needed to stop, and before actually thinking, he acted. But how DO you get someone’s attention in a car about to kiss? How do you breach that windshield barrier? I also love how he accepts immediately how stupid it is, but doesn’t back down. Byung-hee watches in shock and awe. WTF doesn’t cover how she felt; that slap (OUCH!) was the best she could do in revenge at that moment. How dare he interrupt the beginning of what could be a beautiful relationship? How dare he refuse to let her be? How dare he try to act as if his opinion matters to her? How dare he even try to interact with her on any level other than little brother? How dare he put her in a position to defend him to this man she just met? It’s all that much worse since she knows that Oido is part of the problem, and Chul-su keeps bringing it up? How dare he?
GHJ is so perfect in all her reaction shots, and PIE is right there with her. What passes between them in the silences could fill an entire book. I love them.