Recap by EE
And we have reached the point of fear and angst in our drama. Fear of the future, military service, family dynamics, change, growth . . . basically things not staying in that cozy spot you have carved out. Can Byung Hee and Chul Soo face these fears head on or will they each go running for the hills?
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Byung Hee has found the enlistment papers sitting out on Chul Soo’s table and they are both confused: Wasn’t he going to do the industrial program, commuting for 3 years instead of regular service for 2? Chul Soo knows right away that Seung-hye is involved.
Chul Soo’s frustration quickly escalates to tossing things around the video store. Chul Soo tells Seung-hye that he will never treat her as a sister again. She snipes back that if he had, she would not have been forced to submit his papers. Seung-hye says that his two years of service will help clear his head and come to his senses, Chul Soo tears up the documents, telling her they are not valid since he did not complete them. The following morning Chul Soo visits the enlistment office.
More bad news: since his deferment is nearly up, the enlistment stands. He can’t even extend his deferment because the paperwork would take longer to process than he has left. Byung Hee takes the news like it is No Big Deal, of course she will wait (but her interior monologue betrays what she is saying to Chul Soo . . . 2 years IS a long time, 35 is very different from 33).
Joon-hee invites Bulldog out for a late dinner. She tells him they should get married; he tells her she may have the wrong idea because he destroyed that portrait. He insists he is only her sponsor and hands her information on make-up schools abroad. She tells him she would rather join the army, and mentions that Chul Soo got his enlistment papers.
Chul Soo and Byung Hee decide to take advantage of their few remaining days together and play hooky by going out to the ice rink and then to dinner. Chul Soo is noticeably sullen over dinner. Chul Soo asks if it is really fine for her to wait, she says of course it is and tries to change the subject by suggesting they order wine . . . or better yet drink the wine he brought back with him from his trip.
As he walks her back home, she peppers him with questions and he tells her to stop. Whatever it is she is trying to do, just stop. He knows the spaghetti was bad, why did she pretend that it wasn’t? She admits that she is worried about being separated and compares it to being hit by lightning. Chul Soo says that HE is the one who was hit. Byung Hee says she is worried he will change in the military; Chul Soo says “Aren’t you worried YOU will change?” Byung Hee agrees, people change their minds all the time and two years IS an awfully long time. She is scared.
Chul Soo tells her to continue being honest with herself and turns back down the hill towards his home.
Chul Soo finds Seung-hye waiting for him with three bottles of soju. They alternate in pouring each other a quick series of shots. Seumg-hye makes some small talk about how he was as a kid, Chul Soo tells her to get to the point. She plunks down a bank book and tells him to go to school after the service. He has always been smart, and once he starts something he goes all the way. The only challenge is getting him to start. Chul Soo insists that school is not for him. She then asks him to think about Byung Hee and what his childish behavior will do to her.
“It’s not childish,” he replies.
“Fine,” Seung-hye says. “Call it love. In my experience that only lasts 6 months. After that, everything is just habit. How will you take care of Byung Hee while you are in the army? Or raise a child? Show me your plan. I know you are not like the other kids your age, but you are only 24. Your mind should not be on marriage.”
After she leaves, Chul Soo sits in his stairwell pondering over a beer.
Bulldog wakes up to sounds in his kitchen and finds Joon-hee making breakfast. She greets him as “yobo” which is a term of endearment like honey or darling that you would only use for your spouse. She drops it in five or six times before Bulldog says “Wait, what did you call me?” She keeps using it, with emphasis. He tells her he doesn’t need her to do these things. He can hire a housekeeper for all this.
“Housekeepers don’t get to sleep with you!” she barks in return. This starts a fight where he tells her to leave; she gives him until the count of three to eat his food . . . and Joon-hee ends up getting her way.
After a few bites Bulldog asks her why she wants to marry. What makes him so great? She tells him she doesn’t like the idea of any other girls’ pictures in his house. She wants to be the last one.
Chul Soo is waiting in front of the video store for Byung Hee, he had promised to take her to and from work for each of their remaining days. After several nervous glances up the road he gives up and leaves. Making this relationship metaphor perfect, Byung Hee comes running around the corner a few minutes too late. She is upset that he is already gone (but this is what happens when you decide to get on board at the last minute).
Byung Hee and Yong-gil get pulled into the police station for selling pornographic materials to minors. Apparently the confrontational ajumma from a few episodes back is president of a parents group who registered the complaint.
Chul Soo calls Byung Hee, who quickly explains that the magazine has been called in to the police station and she can’t talk right now. He calls the C’est Si Bon office and gets the location from Sang-ran. Meanwhile, Dr. Bae shows up at the station (probably sent there by Sang-ran as well). He is able to pull the ajumma aside and explain the benefits of the magazine. For example, he is a doctor of urology and it gives him an open forum to discuss issues. He also keeps copies of the magazine in his office for his patients to use as needed during exams. This is confusing to the ajumma (like I presume he means to obtain sperm samples or diagnose erectile dysfunction). Young-gil steps in and delicately dances around the topic a little more gingerly: even though a knife is a weapon, it can also be used for cooking.
Byung Hee tries to smooth over the situation by telling the ajumma she shouldn’t really be upset, after all she should have left her credit card in a more secure place. Her son is the one who SHOULD be embarrassed. Needless to say, the ajumma does NOT follow this logic and dives at Byung Hee.
This is, of course, the moment Chul Soo gets to the station. He is able to pry the ajumma’s fingers from Byung Hee’s hair and ends up shoving her (and probably 5 other men) away and onto the floor.
Byung Hee drags Chul Soo outside and barks at him for getting involved. He wants to know how he is supposed to sit back and watch her take the abuse. Their fight escalates to him saying he knows she is burdened by his pending service, he can’t be happy knowing how upset she is and he is mad that she won’t talk about it honestly.
Byung Hee accuses him of acting like a child, that he should hurry up and enlist and com out a man. Chul Soo counters by that being her reason for contacting Dr. Bae to come save her. She doesn’t bother to correct him and explain that she did not call Dr. Bae. He tells her to call Dr. Bae all she wants while he is away, why did she ever say she would wait for him? Does she want to take it back?
“Fine!” Byung Hee shouts. “I take it back, I won’t wait! I can’t!”. . . and once the words are out they both look shocked and hurt.
Fighting with Chul Soo leads to drinks back at the C’est Si Bon office with Dr. Bae. As she gets tipsy, she confesses: she wishes Chul Soo were a little bit older. And that everybody loved him, and approved of them dating. She is afraid of making HIM wait for her. He will come out of the service in his prime, what if he doesn’t want to be stuck with her?
Dr. Bae brings a very disoriented Byung Hee home, just in time for Chul Soo to come around the corner. Chul Soo wants to know why Dr. Bae let her drink so much. The boys convene in Chul Soo’s apartment and Dr. Bae suggests that Chul Soo let go of Byung Hee during his enlistment. What if she gets sick again? Or into another battle like today? He won’t be able to be there for her. It’s selfish to make her suffer alone. And once he is done with the service, they are young enough to pick back up, provided they are both still interested (is Dr. Bae trying to buy himself some time?).
This gives Chul Soo a lot to think about. While Chul Soo is brooding, two things happen: Joon-hee discovers that Bulldog has left the country, changed the passcode on his house and his cell #. His assistant says it is 30 days for business, but Joon-hee suspects he is hiding from her. Second, Young-gil has decided to quit and close up shop at C’est Si Bon. He is tired of dealing with people like the righteous ajumma. Even when news comes in that the police dropped the case, he is still form on his plan to shut down the magazine.
Byung Hee meets up with Chul Soo, who has made reservations at a nice restaurant. A string quartet plays Elvis Costello’s “She” in the background (why is this song so popular in dramas?) He gives her a gift box (a ring, perhaps?) and tells her not to open it until her birthday next month.
He takes her home and she opens her arms for a hug. As he holds her, he tells her to go out and meet up with people. To not be alone on the first snow or during Christmas. To call someone when she feels sick. And to get Dr. Bae to take her out for drinks. She tries to pull away once he says this, but he just pulls her tighter.
“Byung Hee,” he says. “let’s break up.”
So I have never dated someone about to enter the service but I did go away to school when I had a boyfriend back home. We weren’t lifelong friends like Byung Hee and Chul Soo, we had only been official boyfriend/girlfriend for a month. It started with regular phone calls but by Thanksgiving weekend it had petered out to a lot of phone tag on both ends. So I brought back all of his stuff (his down jacket he leant me, a poster, a necklace he bought for me) and was just honest: I didn’t know what having a boyfriend 300 miles away was supposed to mean and I was tired of waiting for him to call. He didn’t take it well. Point being, I get why breaking up makes sense. Problem is, Chul Soo isn’t telling her why . . . or at least not directly telling her why. So instead of it being “I am worried about you and I don’t want you moping around over me” it comes off as “you know how you are afraid of me rejecting you for a younger woman? Now I am just leaving you for the *possibility* of a younger woman”. And we have to find out WHAT’S IN THE BOX? Is it pretty? Will she finally “get” Chul Soo when she sees whatever it is? And there’s whatever is going on with Bulldog too. Will he come to his senses and accept Joon-hee? Or will I find a way in the final ep to get invested in that couple?
I did NOT expect that sucker punch to come out of Chul-su. If any one would suggest that, it should have been Byung-hee based on her doubts. For poor Chul-su to bring it up makes my heart hurt. It is one of the preemptive strike break-ups. She can’t break up with him if he has already done it.
But, then, why the gift? An engagement ring that has a later start date?
Not only does my heart hurt, but so does my head. His two year enlistment is everyone’s worst case scenario. They won’t be an further apart in age when he returns, but she will be on the 40 side of her thirties. It is a tough situation for the lovebirds.
Is Chul-su worth the wait? I say YES! Don’t accept the break-up, Byung-hee-ah!