As Pat Benatar famously said, love is a battlefield. In this episode our characters enter the fray and become the walking wounded. Will they run from the fight, endure the crossfire, or hide and tend to their scars?
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Picking up where episode 10 ended, Chul Soo interrupts the formal introduction of Dr. Bae by asking Mom for Byung Hee’s hand in marriage.
Joon-hee shows Dr. Bae out, saying he must be shocked. He was probably the only one in the room that totally saw this coming. Dr. Bae says Byung Hee seemed more surprised. Joon-hee promises they will sort things out with Chul Soo, and she will have Byung Hee call once the air is clear. Before pulling away, Dr. Bae says the ladies should go easy on Chul Soo, Joon-hee says Chul Soo is dead meat.
Inside, mom is already smacking Chul Soo around. He keeps insisting he will take care of Byung Hee. Seung-hye offers to go get a bat, which she brings back and lays in front of Mom. The ladies turn on Byung Hee, asking her what happened between them. Seung-hye thinks of how Byung Hee’s pinky promise to never ever do “it” again is suspect and Mom and Joon-hee think that Byung Hee must have done something to drive him to get drunk and come pounding on their gate the other night. Byung Hee squirms and Chul Soo stops her. “Byung Hee has done nothing wrong.” He asserts.
“If she marries someone else, I will die” Chul Soo says firmly. Seung-hye says “You are DARN RIGHT you will die!” and comes out swinging. Mom steps between Seung-hye and Chul Soo while Joon-hee barely manages to hold her back. Byung Hee pulls Chul Soo outside and suggests he run for it, he says he will only leave if she comes with, she is in danger if she stays.
Byung Hee tells him again to go hide on his own, but Seung-hye with the bat is just too scary so she jumps on the back of his motorcycle. They drive for a while and Byung Hee begins to notice something familiar . . .the red lighthouse. He has brought her back to the scene of the crime in Oido.
Byung Hee asks if that is why he brought her out to Oido, to convince her that accident wasn’t a mistake. He insists he has been thinking about it for a long time, she asks how long.
Chul Soo asks her to give him three years; he can finish his military service by commuting, and see her often. Or if she doesn’t want to wait they can get married now. Chul Soo steps up and shields her face by creating an umbrella with his hands. Byung Hee clearly thinks he is overdoing it.
Chul Soo just looks at her adoringly. It is truly sweet. Byung Hee takes him out of the rain, to try and figure this out. She apologizes for not understanding how deeply affected he was by that one night. He reminds her that he said he has thought about this for a long time. Byung Hee wants to talk it all out and get everything sorted today.
She asks him to tell her when his feelings started. He tells her it was the day of his parents funeral, and asks if she remembers that day. He talks about how exhausted he was as the chief mourner, which I think means he had to stand at the reception area for several days as friends of his family paid their respects. Byung Hee agrees that he was too young for that role.
He remembers on the bus while they were at the burial site, he fell asleep in her lap. After some time, he woke up and was just in awe of how beautiful she seemed as she looked out the window. He was angry that he was not an adult, and sat there for several seconds hoping she would look and notice him. He knew at the time it wasn’t right and that was when he decided to go on his trip. Maybe his feelings would be different when he got back. Byung Hee interjects that their “accident” changed things and Chul Soo corrects her “No, the way I feel is inevitable. It is like my fate.”
Chul Soo arranges Byung Hee so he can lie in her lap again. In a soft sleepy voice he asks her not to go while his eyes are closed. He promises if she can wait with him today, he will wait for her to come around for the rest of his life. Chul Soo falls asleep and as Byung Hee carefully deals with a leg cramp she also thinks back to that time on the bus. She had looked at him then, while he was sleeping. She gently brushed his hair aside and rested her hand on his hands. She feels sympathy for Chul Soo in the present. She knows the pain of holding a one-sided love for several years. She also thinks how she wished that someone had looked at her that way, that someone would like a part of her that she wasn’t even aware existed. And I am thinking “Look down, you got it RIGHT THERE!”
Leaving home the next morning, Byung Hee finds Dr. Bae waiting for her. Apparently he tried to call her several times yesterday (she left her phone behind when she took off with Chul Soo. Dr. Bae takes her to coffee.
He admits to being a little shocked by Chul Soo’s confession, and suggests they just be honest: How does SHE feel about Chul Soo? The fact that she doesn’t answer his question directly is pretty telling, Byung Hee only says that she had no idea Chul Soo’s feelings were this serious. Dr. Bae is probably interpreting her non-answer the same way I am, he clearly gets an “uh-oh” look on his face. Byung Hee comments that he seemed pretty at ease, did something like this happen with one of the 14?
Dr. Bae tells her he was actually raised by an uncle because his own parents divorced when he was young. Because of that trauma, he never seriously considered marriage with anyone.
Byung Hee slinks into C’est Si Bon, apologizing for being late and Young-gil tells her she has a friend waiting for her . . . Seung-hye. Byung Hee thought she got away clean when she passed by the closed video story this morning but it is just not her lucky day. Seung-hye wants to settle their business on the roof.
Seung-hye demands to know what is going on and Byung Hee dances around the truth, before accidentally blurting something about losing her virginity and it was Chul Soo’s first time too. Seung-Hye is livid, why Chul Soo of all men? Why would Byung Hee violate her brother?
Cut to Seung-hye grabbing Byung Hee by the hair and moments later offering a bruised and beaten Byung Hee a tissue. Seung-hye also ends up waiting around Chul Soo’s apartment to tell him not to date “old hags” because he is a young guy with a lot of potential. She also reminds him that he is not as qualified with a good salary, good job and polish that Dr. Bae brings to the table. He is confused; a moment ago he had a lot going for him. He tries to hug it out with her, but she just isn’t having it.
Chul Soo goes to the local pojangmacha to drown his sorrows only to find Byung Hee doing the same. She tries to take off once she sees him, but he calls her out. He asks why she didn’t defend herself, she turns the question on him. Chul Soo says he did it to relieve his sister’s stress but that Byung Hee did nothing wrong so she should not just accept the punishment. Byung Hee pulls medicine out of her purse and he cutely asks her to put it on for him.
She’s in no mood for is flirting, so she tells him he is too inexperienced a lover for her. She needs a man that knows his way around the bedroom. Chul Soo stares her down and says “I am a fast learner”.
Joon-hee and Bulldog go to a club. He sticks with his role as the old fuddy duddy by sitting at the bar while she swivels her hips on the dance floor with two other guys. Bulldog doesn’t approve so he steps up to get the boys to stop grinding on his lady and when she says she is Bulldog’s date they basically imply she is a gold digger/whore. Bulldog was not fond of them calling him “gramps” but he will not allow them to call her a whore so a little fight breaks out and we have our 3rd injured party in this episode.
Byung Hee’s competing suitors meet for drinks and decide to play fair in their pursuit of Byung Hee. When Dr. Bae implies that Chul Soo isn’t equipped to “take care” of Byung Hee, Chul Soo says he thinks taking care doesn’t mean picking her up when she falls and cleaning all her messes but watching her fall and seeing her stand up on her own.
When they leave the bar, Dr. Bae offers to drive Chul Soo back, he was planning on stopping to see Byung Hee anyway. Chul Soo suggests they take his ride instead and wolf whistles (left handed, because I can’t help but take note of his left-handedness). Around the corner comes a mini bus chauffeured by Kang-tae. The boys ride along in relative silence. Dr. Bae stops for pastries and not to be out done, Chul Soo stops at 31 Flavors for . . .maybe and ice cream cake? (He should lean more on thoughtfulness than mimicking Dr. Bae’s purchase).
Byung Hee answers the door and Dr. Bae hands her the pastry box saying it was for no special reason, he just misses her. Chul Soo, who was just out of sight behind the gate, plops his purchase on top and says “I’m here too!” LOL
Mom comes out to greet Dr. Bae and invite him in and glares at Chul Soo, asking why he is stopping by.
Mom insists Dr. Bae come inside and Chul Soo just gives puppy dog eyes but gets no acknowledgement from Mom. Mom pulls Dr. Bae through the doorway, and tells Chul Soo not to come around for a while. It’s almost heartbreaking, because the Go women are like family to him too.
Byung Hee hangs back and tells him “Do you understand now? Go.” and closes the gate. He stands at the door.
“You’re still there, right? Byung Hee-ya. I love you, Byung Hee-ya. (pause) I love you. Goodnight.”
Byung Hee is clearly affected by his declaration.
Inside Byung Hee’s (somewhat juvenile) pink bedroom, Dr. Bae seems a little out of place. She comes in and they talk about meeting his family. Dr. Bae leans in for a kiss, Byung Hee closes her eyes . . . and at the last minute turns away, reminding him that her mother is in the other room. Because it’s mom’s frail sensibilities she is worried about. Riiiight . . .
She wants to know if he has been focused on Byung Hee for a long time, is that why he rejected her? Chul Soo laughs that he is in a love triangle between sisters, Joon-hee just pouts. Chul Soo asks her why she liked him. She always had followers in school, and several of his friends asked him to introduce them to Joon-hee. She asks if he is seriously thinking of marriage. “I’m lonely, Joon-hee. I need your help.”
Joon-hee comes home and the sisters talk during their nightly routine, Byung Hee washing her face and Joon-hee brushing her teeth. Byung Hee won’t talk about Chul Soo, but she asks Joon-hee for the fox doll (that Chul Soo gave Byung Hee before he took off on his trip.
Byung Hee is wiggling it’s ears when something feels strange. She gets some tweezers to tug at the seam and finds a little rolled up note inside. We hear the note in Chul Soo’s voice, and as she reads it we see him working on the bus he rode over with Dr. Bae.
I don’t have to tell you who I am, right? I don’t know if you will find this or not, and it doesn’t matter if you do. I am writing this for myself. I want things to be simple and fun, but nothing is simple when it comes to you. I am leaving tomorrow and I don’t know when I will be back. I don’t want to be bound by time or place, I want to wander aimlessly. If I don’t leave now it will be harder. I hope it will help me forget you. If you ask me what I am talking about, I don’t know what I will tell you. I think calling it a first love won’t be enough. You were very special to me. I can’t even think of the right words to say. I want to be nicer by the time I get back, but who knows? I hope you get married while I am away. It will be funny if you get pregnant. Anyway, enjoy your life Go Byung Hee. Be happy. Live the way you want.”
Byung Hee finishes the note as we finish the episode, with tears forming in her eyes.
So we finally get a sense of where Chul Soo’s feelings started, that they are genuine and about more than one night of passion. We already knew he was a good guy and probably suspected he was smitten beyond sexual attraction, but this just cements it. There’s just something so deliciously angsty about being infatuated with someone who is just out of reach. Maybe they already have a girlfriend, or you are stuck in the friend-zone, or maybe he is the star of the baseball team and doesn’t even know you exist. I know those are primarily teen experiences, but angst is pretty solid teen territory. You can create these fantasies and keep in the back of your mind that they will never come to fruition. Chul Soo knew he was too deep in the fantasy world and had to make a change. When he didn’t find what he was looking for in the outside world he came back. If Byung Hee was “lost” to him (married and pregnant) then he would be forced to give up that dream. But she wasn’t. She was single, flirty even.
I also thing Byung Hee is starting to realize what Chul Soo is to her. She isn’t just put off by his boyishness and his lifelong dongsaeng relationship. She is seeing him as someone who cares about her. I think her own feelings scare her, as she takes a couple hurtful digs at him in this episode. Finding out someone loves you from afar can be frightening and flattering. Will flattering turn into a relationship? Aside from Byung Hee’s feelings, it is going to be tough on everyone in the family. Is the possibility that she feels the same worth all of the drama rippling from it?
I jumped Bae’s ship once we were on the bus with Chul-su and Byung-hee back in time. Loved the way they shot the scene and the narration from both characters’ point of view. (EE and I discussed before how nice it was to have the adult characters play their younger selves, even though Chul-su wouldn’t have been quite as bulky.)
The green door makes another star appearance – keeping our couple apart – heartbreakingly so. Mom is the gatekeeper tonight, letting Chul-su know she likes him, but not like that. Chul-su has come up against this block more than once and scaled the fortress walls twice. I like how he chooses when to breach and when to to allow them, almost, to keep him out.
What is Byung-hee thinking waiting there on the other side? Is she tempted? Is she apologetic? Confused? Does the note change anything? Sure, we ALL wrote that note once upon a time, maybe in our diaries, or in our minds on a sleepless night. Fact is, I don’t actually remember who the many many objects of my crushes were back then, but Chul-su is steadfast loving his one and only in the present still. Is it worth more because it lasted so long? Can his resolve last through the storm that will be coming?