Oh so exciting! Nora continues to adjust to school life, but she now has Hyun Suk secretly helping her make friends and memories. It’s a matter of time now for her son and husband to bump into her on campus, especially since her new friends and activities will force her to stray off the planned path.
Hyun Suk puts his arm around Nora and introduces her to Woo Chul as… wait for it… his ‘girlfriend’. Eee! What he means is ‘a friend who’s a girl’ but he certainly enjoys seeing Woo Chul squirm a bit. He apologizes to Nora for making it sound weird, and that if her husband were around he’d certainly misunderstand. That’s when Woo Chul and Nora acknowledge each other. For a man who doesn’t really want anyone to know he’s married, Woo Chul is quick to point out he’s Nora’s husband in front of Hyun Suk. Sounds like a case of jealousy to me.
Of course Hyun Suk apologizes profusely and pretends that he had no idea they were married. Heh. Woo Chul is extremely surprised that Hyun Suk and Nora were high school friends though (because he was never interested in his wife’s life). Hyun Suk explains that he asked for Nora’s help regarding the play project because Sang Ye was so busy today, then has Nora move to a different seat while he talks business with Woo Chul.
It’s a little awkward as they’re all hyper aware of each other’s presence, and Nora realizes that Woo Chul and Hyun Suk are working together. Hyun Suk asks for permission that Nora stay late to help finish all the readings tonight. Woo Chul makes up a lame excuse that she knows nothing but housework, to which Hyun Suk quickly points out that she used to be a dancer and therefore her keen emotional sense is very useful for their project. It totally puts Woo Chul in his place, and he inadvertently gives his permission for her to stay.
Once Woo Chul is gone, Nora assaults Hyun Suk with questions. She wasn’t ready to reveal to her husband yet about being at WCU. But Hyun Suk actually gave her the perfect excuse now: if they so happen to bump into each other on campus (which will happen eventually), she can make up the excuse that she’s on an errand for Hyun Suk. That’s thoughtful of him, but Nora doesn’t understand why he would want to help her all of a sudden when he was so mean to her before. As is his habit, Hyun Suk delays answering, so Nora refuses to help.
Hyun Suk: “Is it because you’re worried about the professor’s video?” She’s shocked that he knows about her sending it, but then realizes that she said it aloud while drunk. He advises her to keep working and reading stories for the project instead of worrying all weekend about what the professor will do.
Woo Chul meets up with Yi Jin for dinner at a very fancy restaurant, where she’s ordered a fresh seafood dish. He mocks that it might be imported rather than freshly caught at Jeju Island, but she comments that no one would dare lie to her – not a woman who has such a powerful father. Yi Jin is quite spoiled, never afraid to throw her father’s name around. It also makes it more annoying that she acts like a self-sufficient woman who completely understands men and women, and is more understanding than the usual woman.
Unfortunately Woo Chul is too distracted. He imagines that Nora is telling Hyun Suk about their impending divorce, which he still wants to keep a secret. Unable to concentrate on dinner, he cancels on their date to the movies and heads home to wait for his wife.
It gets quite late and Nora is hungry, but Hyun Suk wants to wait for Sang Ye to return before they go for dinner. Sang Ye finally does return, only to have to cancel on them because she has to go back to the hospital for her mother. She hands over the movie tickets that Hyun Suk and she were supposed to go to, and suggests Nora go in her stead. Well, Nora does have permission to be out late!
They watch the movie for “research,” getting popcorn and cola along the way. Hyun Suk watches Nora more than the movie, making sure that she’s actually enjoying the movie. It turns out that it was one of her bucket list wishes – to watch a late night movie with a friend and share a popcorn. Even Sang Ye knew this, and that’s why she purposely planned to be away all night so they could fulfill Nora’s wish without her knowledge. After the film, Hyun Suk insists upon a snack, and they go to a street vendor to get some food on a stick. Trying this snack was also on Nora’s list, as she doesn’t have much time to go out of the house when she’s supposed to be a “housewife.”
Nora finally returns home to find Woo Chul waiting for her. He mainly wants to know if she’s told Hyun Suk about their divorce agreement, which she hasn’t. He forbids her from saying it because he wants to establish his place at WCU first, and their son attends that school; telling his fellow adjunct professor will be too embarrassing for him. Nora doesn’t understand why he has to make so many excuses about “preserving face” when at the end of the day he wants her to just keep it a secret. This is what happens when Woo Chul acts too smart for his own good; Nora is able to just cut to the chase for everything.
The cool thing is that when Woo Chul asks how long Nora’s been seeing Hyun Suk, she remains vague about it, implying that she’s met up with him since he got back from Germany. He then asks (from the list of questions he’s written out) whether she’s read any stories related to Sewol ferry disaster. Nora’s ready for that question, as Hyun Suk advised her to redirect all work related questions to him. Woo Chul then asks how close they were; honestly all of his questions are so prying that it suggests jealousy and a self-righteous attitude where only he can keep secrets but his wife can’t. So ridiculous. Nora herself finds it curious that he’s so interested in her life all of a sudden. They’ve never had a conversation about her life because he was never interested, and now they’re actually communicating with one another. Woo Chul realizes that this may seem like they’re finally connecting, so he sends her off to bed.
As she gets ready for bed, Nora remembers a time in high school when Hyun Suk, Yoon Young and her planned to sneak out of school to go and perform at a beach resort’s opening ceremony. The way they connived to get out of school together shows what good friends they were.
Meanwhile Hyun Suk returns to his office to find Sang Ye sleeping at the table. She was waiting for Hyun Suk to tell her all about Nora’s experience at the movies, as she’s really invested in this project to make the last few months worth it for Nora. I’m sure she doesn’t find Nora a threat yet, since she thinks she’ll be gone in several months. But it’s nice to see how Sang Ye is eager to help out in Hyun Suk’s mission.
The following Monday, Nora braces herself for a difficult day at school. However she gets good news from Seung Hyun – Professor Cho’s quit! He’s resigned! The seniors are despondent (because they no longer get recommendation letters) but the freshmen girls are really excited. Seung Hyun is now also good friends with Nora and they walk around linking arms, as they have found someone they can trust in each other. Hyun Suk witnesses them together and is happy he’s helped resolve one obstacle for Nora. When confronted by Hye Mi about whether she caused the professor to quit, Nora wisely denies it, making it seem like Professor Cho was forced out by other factors.
Now Hyun Suk must deal with the affair between Woo Chul and Yi Jin by returning the pen (technically Woo Chul’s) to Yi Jin. He asks what “I ❤ W” stands for, and she quickly makes up the excuse that it’s ‘Woocheon’. Pff – like she’s really that devoted to the school. He makes a comment about her single status, and while she doesn’t reveal if she’s got a boyfriend she does affirm that she is not lonely. Therefore she’s not interested in telling Hyun Suk what her type is or listening to his advice about finding someone who’s more suited to her background.
Nora heads to the club room to find Soon Nam for their ‘Marriage and Family’ assignment, only to bump into the new club president on the way. He immediately recognizes her as the mysterious girl who danced at the club fair, and takes her in to audition. When Soon Nam gets to the club room though, he’s shocked to see Nora there. She quickly informs him that she didn’t come to audition but just to find him, and she got pulled into doing the audition. It’s really not her fault! Soon Nam relents as it is technically not his decision to bar her admission to the club. However she is to call everyone in the club that’s not a freshman sunbae-nim. Nora’s totally down for that; in fact she wants all the seniors to drop honorifics with her!
Soon Nam then takes Nora to the cafeteria in the library’s basement so that they can take a picture of them eating lunch together, like a couple should do. Nora fears bumping into her son, but she has no choice but to listen to her sunbae. Luckily, her son cancels on having lunch with Hye Mi at the library basement cafeteria because his study group changed their schedule – only that makes Hye Mi feel very ignored. Soon Nam and Nora complete their assignment, and Sang Ye spots them from a distance taking pictures together eating. It heartens Sang Ye to hear Nora get along with Soon Nam and thank him for coming to her defense in front of the other freshmen.
Hye Mi gets a text from her class partner about completing their assignment and acting like a couple. This means taking pictures holding hands or Hye Mi leaning on her partner’s lap. (Seriously, this ‘Marriage and Family’ class sounds more for matchmaking than a serious study on gender differences.) Of course, Min Soo catches her and yells her name. They have a lovers’ quarrel in front of everyone (where fellow students actually stop, form a semi-circle, and watch what happens). Even Soon Nam and Nora pass by, and Nora hides her face with a cap while watching her son deal with his first girlfriend. Hye Mi points out that Min Soo gets to do whatever he wants (studying, attending club meetings) and she is forced to meet him at his whims. She was also just doing a project, not cheating on him. But if he won’t give her freedom then they ought to break up.
Min Soo doesn’t want to do that yet, so he quickly grabs her hand and resolutely walks around with her like a true campus couple. Aw. Kinda. I don’t like that kid, but at least Nora doesn’t interfere with his dating life.
Sang Ye bumps into Woo Chul on campus, and she comes up with the “brilliant” idea of giving him tickets to an exclusive dance show by Massa Maren. She pretends they’re extras, and tells him to go with someone special. Unfortunately Sang Ye doesn’t know about the affair yet so she assumes Woo Chul would bring Nora and they can make nice memories together.
Nora attends the Bounce Club’s first practice. Since she’s not dressed, they have her warm up and watch off to the side until she gets the hang of things. And Nora does quite quickly, much to Soon Nam’s surprise. She says her respectful goodbyes after practice – just as Min Soo is heading to another club room to find Hye Mi. He sees her, and quickly hides behind some lockers until she’s gone.
Woo Chul goes home with Yi Jin in their own private apartment for a break, and Yi Jin is perplexed because she’s not sure if Hyun Suk is interested in her or why he’s interested in her love life all of a sudden. However before Woo Chul can give any advice he gets a frantic call from his son about Nora’s attendance. He leaves Yi Jin quite suddenly again (for the second day in a row) and goes home to talk to Nora.
As soon as Nora gets home, he confronts her: “I heard you’re going to Woocheon University. Don’t try to make excuses. Min Soo saw you and I confirmed with the school.” Nora: “Yes.” Woo Chul is aghast – is that all she can say!? Nora: “Well, you said you confirmed with the school already…” Hahah – it’s true. What is she going to do when denying it is pointless? Woo Chul wants her to drop out, but he can’t give a really good reason for her to quit. No matter what the family thinks of her attending, she still wants to attend school because it was so hard for her to get in in the first place. Woo Chul says he won’t rethink the divorce, and Nora throws some of Yi Jin’s lessons back at him: “Why can’t we live like Sartre and Beauvoir? We’ve been living like a divorced couple already, why do we have to get legally divorced? I’ll give you freedom.” Woo Chul is shocked that she even knows about these philosophers, but he won’t agree to it.
Just then Min Soo comes home, and Nora goes to talk to her son in his room privately. He’s a completely sullen spoiled brat who can’t believe his mom is in a club. Nora clarifies that she didn’t set out to go to WCU with him and to embarrass him, but he still wants her to quit. She makes a deal with him: they’ll pretend to ignore one another and no one will know they’re mother and son. Somehow this is still not a good deal for Min Soo, but Nora is resolute. Besides she doesn’t think she’s doing any harm or doing anything wrong in going to school. I almost wish she’d bring up the fact that Min Soo is dating someone (breaking his own contract with his father) as revenge, but she doesn’t.
She locks herself in the bedroom that night, refusing to listen to Min Soo and Woo Chul’s complaints and demands. Good for her! And the following morning, she heads out to school without a second glance at her son and husband sitting in the living room. She owes them nothing!
As she puts her stuff away, Hyun Suk hands her tickets to a Massa Maren show to bring a friend (or her husband if she wants); it’s payment for helping him on the play project. She thanks him then heads to class, passing by Min Soo and Woo Chul on the road. She completely ignores them, just like she said she would, and Woo Chul and Min Soo are more appalled by it – even though they’re the ones embarrassed of HER.
Woo Chul notices Hyun Suk a ways away, watching Nora, and realizes that he knew about her being a student. He confronts Hyun Suk at his office, and Hyun Suk admits to knowing Nora’s status as a student. He didn’t know about Woo Chul being the husband until that day though (yeah, right). Woo Chul is all, “Why didn’t you tell me?!” but Hyun Suk replies that he doesn’t owe him anything. His friend is Nora and if she wanted to keep it a secret from her husband then he’ll respect her wishes.
Now Woo Chul’s worst nightmare is coming true – his mistress and wife at the same location! And what’s worse, Yi Jin is waiting for him at his office for an explanation as to why he’s been ignoring her the past few days! She demands an explanation, and while Woo Chul can’t tell her about his wife, he realizes he can distract her with tickets to Massa Maren!
Nora is afraid of her impending battle with her family to fight for her right to study, but Yoon Young tells her to strengthen up. She needs to be prepared for it sooner or later. When Woo Chul tells her he’ll be home late (and therefore they won’t have an argument at home), Nora and Yoon Young make plans to go to the Massa Maren show. UH-OH. Hyun Suk has the exact same reaction when he learns that Sang Ye gave Woo Chul tickets too because he knows the cheater will take Yi Jin instead of Nora!
Hyun Suk hurries over to the theater, where Nora is already inside looking at where her seats would be. Woo Chul and Yi Jin arrive as well (with Yi Jin covered up in a scarf, hat and glasses), not seeing her at all. Hyun Suk spots them instead and tsks disgustedly before continuing his search for Nora.
And then Nora rounds the hall to enter the actual theater. She sees her husband standing in front of a restroom. What’s he doing here? And then Yi Jin comes out of the bathroom… and Nora realizes her husband’s having an affair.
Yes – let’s give more ammo to Nora shall we?! She now has knowledge of her husband and son’s relationships with other women that are technically “breaking” their contracts: Min Soo’s contract with his father, and Woo Chul’s marriage contract with her. I hope she ends up doing something with it, but I feel like she’d be too noble to use it against them.
What’s really frustrating is how alike Min Soo and Woo Chul are: like father, like son. Both are so against Nora from attending college, but neither can give a good reason why she shouldn’t. They’re both incredibly selfish because they’ve lived in a house where she is always home to take care of them. The moment she wants independence, they freak out. It’s unfair coming from Woo Chul since he wants the divorce and has plans to abandon her; he assumes she’ll take over her grandmother’s old shop but wouldn’t want a better future for herself when she becomes single. Woo Chul should also not be so protective of his son, refusing to tell him about the divorce or trying to solve Min Soo’s problems by saying he’ll take care of Nora. Weirdly enough, Woo Chul tells his son that he and Nora are having “adult issues” but then goes to tell his son that he’s now an adult and needs to take care of himself. Mixed messages here!
Min Soo is also selfish because he just wants his mom at home and is afraid she’ll embarrass him. But honestly, she bore the brunt of raising him and it’s sad to see how he’s so unappreciative of her efforts. Even though he’s an adult he expects to continue to slave after him and follow his wishes. It’s infuriating to see the two of them act like they’re the most important person in the family, that everyone will follow what they say and decide. It’s one of those times I really wish that Nora would stand up for herself more.
She did do it to an extent here – being resolute in her feelings. But one thing Choi Ji Woo fails to do is fully express that determination. She has a very stoic, almost non-expressive face that’s very hard to read. (Could it be… botox?!) It certainly doesn’t help that her line delivery is always pleading and meek when she speaks to her husband, so it’s harder to read when she’s becoming more stubborn.
I am really glad that everything is out in the open in this episode – her attending school, and Woo Chul’s affair. It’s a relief because we can now move forward with the story and Nora can really do whatever she wants. Nothing should hold her back anymore.
- Twenty Again: Episode 4 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 3 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 2 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 1 Recap