A little stronger for a second episode, but I think it’s still finding itself. I think I can see what this drama is trying to be, but it’s not quite there yet. At least some questions are answered now. It’s still quite unfortunate to see how kids these days would treat older people who attend college for the first time. Makes you reflect just exactly how you treat people who are older than you.
Pressured to speak up in class, Nora finally stands up and introduces herself as a freshman in the humanities department. It’s a bit embarrassing for her, especially since her classmates kind of look down on her for her age, so she does her best to disappear. Hyun Suk then addresses the rest of the class with a surprise twist: he’s going to actually be giving them more group projects – two scheduled ones and two additional random group projects that they’ll have to fulfill. If anyone isn’t up for the challenge, then, well, there’s still time to add or drop classes.
We flashback to high school where Nora is practicing modern dance and Yoon Young is practicing ballet, both listening to their own music on their respective Walkmans. Walkmans! Hyun Suk approaches them with an idea: he had been observing them from afar and saw that they could combine their different musical styles for one project. He plays back the music on his Walkman, thinking that it’s something that would work for both ballet and modern dance. Yoon Young immediately dismisses him as an idiot, but Nora is willing to give him a chance and listen to his music.
And we know from the last episode’s flashback that Nora and Yoon Young use that music and Hyun Suk’s idea for their project.
After class, Nora catches up with Hyun Suk and questions why he embarrassed her in front of everyone. She’s sure that he recognizes her, so why is he so mean to her? He claims he’s just calling out the facts – was he so wrong in calling her an ahjumma when she is one? He suggests she drop his class, and walks off. His assistant Sang Ye witnesses the whole exchange, but doesn’t quite say anything of it. She just runs up to him after his little chat with Nora and reminds him that he’s got a meeting at 5pm that he can’t miss.
Nora checks in with Yoon Young to see if she knows anything about Hyun Suk and why he might be so mean to her lately. Both agree that Nora wasn’t in school long enough to have done anything really egregious against him, though. Yoon Young kindly enough gives Nora a spare phone; one of her students lost the phone and promptly bought a new one, telling Yoon Young to trash it. What a waste – but at least Nora’s got a phone and can be contacted!
Meanwhile Hyun Suk goes to the 5pm meeting, where he thanks the Woocheon University Advancement Committee for approving his play project “Times of Loss.” It turns out Kim Woo Chul had submitted a very similar proposal and thought it’d be best that the two meet. Hyun Suk is shocked to see Kim Woo Chul in front of him, and the small biography in the committee’s pamphlet confirms his suspicions: this is the same Woo Chul that impregnated Nora at 19, whisked her away to Germany so that he could study at a university there, and took away his first love from his high school. A flashback reveals that Hyun Suk was unnaturally distraught at the news that Nora left their high school, and Yoon Young didn’t really notice it since she herself was confused and distressed. Now Woo Chul has also joined the staff at Woocheon University (WCU).
Not wanting to stay a minute longer, Hyun Suk gives a curt goodbye before the dinner even arrives. As for Woo Chul, he still has no idea who Hyun Suk is but picks up his girlfriend – Professor Kim Yi Jin (Park Hyo Joo) of WCU. See! There was an affair! I bet he sent WCU a proposal similar to Hyun Suk’s because Yi Jin told him about it!
He does go home though, and catches Nora in his office. Nora had tried to access his computer to do some work, but he had locked it and she doesn’t know the password. Woo Chul suggests they finalize their divorce, but she asks to hold out for three more months. (After all, she thinks she’ll die in six.) Their agreement said “once Min Soo starts university” but didn’t specify and exact date. On top of that, she knows that he could sue her for breach of contract, but the court process would take longer than three months so it’d be best to grant her her wish. For a “simple housewife,” Woo Chul does tend to be flabbergasted by the knowledge that she does know.
The following day Nora heads to school and is dressed in a less matronly outfit. She falls asleep on the train and accidentally drops her new phone. Sheesh, how irresponsible! She rushes out of the train at her stop, giving her seat to another student who realizes she dropped her phone. Thankfully that student doesn’t steal it though.
As Nora reaches the campus she realizes she’s dropped her phone and searches through her bag. Looking up and down the street, she does not see her husband driving up to the campus as well. Nor does she see Hyun Suk across the street, observing the husband and wife looking as if they’re leading very separate lives. He’s confused as to why they don’t come to school together, and why they seem so distant.
Nora does end up seeing Hyun Suk though, and he mutters a few curious questions that come to mind. Meanwhile she gives him a hair flip and calls him an idiot. Even from across the street, Hyun Suk can read her lips and recognizes that she just called him an idiot. So he bikes towards her and knocks her cap off her head. How juvenile must these two be?!
She heads to her literature class, where the professor makes a big fuss about them getting the required books for his class. Thankfully the student on the train happens to have that class and she drops off the phone on Nora’s desk. Woo! Nora is confused as to why that girl didn’t get off at the same stop as her though, but she doesn’t reply. She probably knows of a closer station than the one that says ‘Woocheon.’ As Nora goes through the syllabus, Train Girl opens up the university library app and starts reserving the books online.
Nora now understands the importance of how a student can only succeed if he/she gets the first pick for classes, books, and seats. The moment class ends, she dashes across campus like Flash towards the library, leaping over bushes, doing a jeté over a motorcyclist, and making a sliding split under the library’s turnstiles. Before she enters the stacks, she does a quick check that her son wouldn’t be in the library at that time. What a considerate mother, making sure she won’t run into her son and embarrass him!
Nora picks up all the books, which are all safely in the shelves still. However the library attendant can’t scan them out to her because they’ve all been reserved already! By Train Girl! Too bad… Nora complains to the teacher’s assistant, confused about all the weird rules that run the campus. The teacher’s assistant explains the app, and how there’s a private site for all the students called “Spaceman.” Any student would be able to explain to her what and how to use Spaceman.
She asks the first student she sees: Hye Mi. Eep! But Hye Mi quickly rushes off saying that she has class. Another student (who is technically Nora’s sunbae even though he’s younger) tells her to do a quick search for Woocheon and Spaceman, and she’ll figure it out. However it doesn’t get her the results she wants. Only after overhearing Hye Mi talking to her friends during break time does she learn that college life is very intricate: to reach Spaceman the site you need to go to spacehost.co.kr; yes, one must purchase their books for the course if need be; and group projects where you can participate (or not) is on a case by case basis depending on how much the professor grades on participation.
Boy does Nora have a lot of catching up to do.
Hye Mi rushes off because she got a call from Min Soo, and goes to deliver her homemade lunch to him. She seems quite the sweet gal, but she complains that she sees so little of him because he is always studying at a library or taking lessons. She guilts him into going to the movies with her – only to storm out of the movie midway later on because he fell asleep. Min Soo is confused because he thinks he’s doing what she wants, but she’s pissed that he fell asleep while she’s next to him. Basically – she’s pissed he didn’t try to make out with her in the theater if the movie was boring. Sheesh – Hye Mi is quite spoiled.
I also think Hye Mi could become a cheater – but she has the same class called ‘Marriage and Family’ with Nora, so that might keep her in line in the future. Ironically enough, Yi Jin teaches that class! She singles Nora out for her age and asks if she’s married. Nora deftly sidesteps the question by saying that she does not wish to speak of her personal life. It turns out that in that class the boys and girls have to pair up (anonymously) to do a bunch of projects together, where they will learn how to understand gender differences and be the best husband or wife he/she can be. Hye Mi cheats to make sure she gets a good looking guy, while Nora ends up with the president of a B-Boy club, and fellow classmate in Hyun Suk’s class, Na Soon Nam (No Young Hak). He’s not pleased at all with working with her and suggests she drop the class.
Hyun Suk has such great timing where he witnesses the two of them talking after class, and Soon Nam brushes Nora aside, saying that they should just agree that they did the first assignment. We don’t know what the first assignment is exactly, but I think Soon Nam just doesn’t want to do it properly because he’ll have to work with her. Nora walks off, in tears, slighted once again and not noticing Hyun Suk standing there.
Good ol’ Hyun Suk catches up with Yi Jin afterwards and finds her suffering from a headache because she has a “bomb” in her class in the form of Nora. Yi Jin complains that even if noona romances are trendy, it’s too greedy to have a 40-year-old woman dating a man half her age. “Your class is not for matchmaking though,” Hyun Suk points out. “It’s to learn about gender differences and finding happiness in a marriage. So who cares if the student is an old maid or a married woman?” Bam! He totally put Yi Jin in her place, and she embarrassingly agrees with him. That’s what you get, you mistress!
Sang Ye catches up with Hyun Suk in his office about his other “You & Now” project. (This guy has so many projects.) She also boldly questions why he doesn’t just ask Nora the burning questions. She seems to be aware that Nora and Hyun Suk have a past, and that he definitely is curious about her life now. It’s interesting that Sang Ye isn’t trying to get in the way romantically as of yet; rather, she’s just being the friend who’s wondering why Hyun Suk hasn’t done anything. (I think she has a secret crush on Hyun Suk that will eventually be revealed, but she’s too good of a person to stand in the way.)
Meanwhile Yi Jin, acting a lot less petty in front of Woo Chul, gives her blessing regarding his delayed divorce. She thinks it’s best to be understanding for now and give her the three months than to draw it out in a legal battle. This is only hoping that Nora doesn’t change her mind again after the three months.
The next day is the day of the club fair, and every club is doing some presentation to get new recruits to join. A B-Boy group (not Soon Nam’s) performs some trick moves while the Orchestra club plays Broadway and classical music. It’s a weird juxtaposition, but is definitely reminiscent of what Hyun Suk had suggested to Yoon Young and Nora in high school. Nora watches from afar, enthralled by the dancing but acknowledging that she’s a little too old for this crowd. She tries to sidestep her way around the dancers, but one of them pulls her in and encourages her to do a simple two-step with him.
Next thing we know, Nora is getting into it, and people applaud as she joins in with the club member’s dancing, and then does her bit of a solo. She proudly does a pirouette, and everyone claps because it’s quite impressive. Nora runs off though, away from the attention and from others filming on their phones, but she is exhilarated that for the first time she felt like she was accepted.
Woo Chul invites Hyun Suk to lunch at the cafeteria because he wants to discuss their projects, but the latter’s got no interest in talking. He doesn’t want Woo Chul involved in his project, and it’s partly due to the fact that the man is Nora’s husband, and the fact that he doesn’t want Woo Chul using his plays for research. And yet, “Times of Loss” is a play that’s about mental illness, and will cast actors who’ve experienced social traumas at one point or another. So no wonder Woo Chul would be very interested in acting as a consultant on this project.
Hyun Suk excuses himself from lunch and exits the cafeteria, only to find Nora sitting cross-legged on a bunch with her humble meal. He makes a passing comment that that’s where drunk students always piss, and she replies, “Oh, so that’s the smell.” He’s confused as to why she’s eating here when her husband is in the cafeteria, and she’s more confused as to why her husband would be here in the first place.
Woo Chul suddenly emerges from the cafeteria and Nora immediately hides herself on the bench, telling Hyun Suk to go away and not make it so obvious that she’s hiding. “Didn’t you come to this school to follow your husband?” Hyun Suk asks. Nora is perplexed, but a quick call to Youngjoo University’s psychology department quickly clears up the matter for her. Woo Chul’s quit, and moved to WCU.
Now Nora needs to change classes, because she’s got an Intro to Psych course with him! She puts a message up on the Spaceman board, and immediately another student offers to give her his spot. He’s heard that Woo Chul gives everyone A+’s and wants the easy grade. He also pretends that he has a spot to Professor Lee Chang Ho’s class and tells her to drop Woo Chul’s course in five minutes. Nora implicitly believes him just because he gave a phone number and name on the message board, and drops Woo Chul’s course. She drops Hyun Suk’s too while she’s at it.
The other student snaps up the spot and drops his other course, but since it’s not Lee Chang Ho’s class Nora is now stuck with nothing. And she really needs a psych course! Sang Ye happens to pass by at that moment and overhears Nora complaining, and she manages to explain the situation. Later on, Sang Ye tells Hyun Suk that Nora’s been hoodwinked by some scary freshmen. She is seriously a facilitator for the both of them!
That evening Nora goes home and confronts her husband about leaving his job. Woo Chul’s surprised she found out but claims that since they’re divorced he doesn’t have to tell her anything. Nora: “That’s true. But you sure are petty.” Woo Chul’s shocked she’d call him petty; how is he petty?!
Nora: “You once said ‘Humans can have thoughts and values different from one another.’ So, I think you are petty.” HAH! I love how she leaves Woo Chul flabbergasted by throwing his own words back at him. It’s true. He’s petty for not telling her anything when usually people would announce to the world that they just changed jobs.
The next day Hyun Suk finds Nora hiding at the same smelly bench, course-less. He offers to help her get into Professor Lee Chang Ho’s class, provided she answer one question: “Why are you attending university behind your husband’s back?” Nora doesn’t see what that has to do with anything and refuses to answer. Why does she have to explain everything to him, especially since he seems to continually pick on her and meddle in her business!
Hyun Suk doesn’t know why he gives her so much trouble either. (He liiiiiiiiiiikes her!) But he wants an answer to his question. Should he go to Woo Chul for it then? Dun dun dun!
It’s a bit painful to watch Nora naively go through college without any proper guidance, and it doesn’t help that Choi Ji Woo acts so pathetically. She gets a few winning acting moments, like when she snaps back at Hyun Suk or when she outsmarts Woo Chul into getting her way and being able to state her opinion without coming off as too aggressive. But it really sucks that she has no friend, and we know that Hyun Suk is really just going to be her guardian angel from afar. It’d be nice if Sang Ye could be her friend though.
I really am confused with how Min Soo is at school. He’s really a straight-up nerdy kid who just studies all day. No wonder Hye Mi is frustrated that he won’t goof off with her or make out with her in the theater. I thought Min Soo was going to be a more wild child who finds himself in awkward situations with his mother, but so far his strict schedule has allowed Nora to avoid him completely. It makes his character so boring! I hope Min Soo breaks out of his introverted shell and is more confronted with Nora’s presence in the school soon.
The sound editing in this episode was a little weird, especially during the club fair scene. There is orchestral pop music playing the background as the dance group performs, and when Nora dances alone it switches to some electronic music, and then when she’s about to do her pirouette the music is like classical music. What!? It confuses me that that classical song is chosen to be the “climax” of her performance and what makes Nora feel good about herself. It’s too slow of a song for that scene! I understand that if the emphasis is to show you can do modern dance with classical music, or hip-hop to an orchestra, that you can be a little different and still find your rhythm, then this scene has definitely nailed it on the head quite obviously. In case you didn’t get the message before, you should now! I am curious whether dance will play a huge part in Nora’s college life, since it’s the one thing that she loves and had to cut short prematurely for her family. I hope she does end up joining Soon Nam’s club and work with him.
I need this show to make me happy! It looks like it’s got all the ingredients for an awesomely fun comedy – but the author hasn’t mixed it together with a proper emulsifier. Get on it!