We’re reaching the point where much conflict is to be had – especially coming from the love triangle forming between Hyun Suk, Woo Chul, and Nora. Whoever thought that Woo Chul wouldn’t back down without some kind of fight has another think coming – because this bastard is sure going to try to lay claim to everything near him, even if he no longer has the right to.
Bounce Club’s performance brings Nora front and center onstage – revealing her full face to her son, soon-to-be-ex-husband, and Hyun Suk. Her performance brings back important memories – back to 1995 when Nora and her friends went to the fateful beach concert for a surprise performance…
Summer of 1995: Nora takes Yoon Young, Hyun Suk, and her fellow dance group members to her old house in the countryside, as it’s near the beach where the concert is to be held. Yoon Young is aghast – where does one pee?! Or shower?! Nora directs them to a nearby stream and has them wash up and clean the dishes. Hyun Suk is impressed that the house has remained so clean when no one’s been living in it for a while. Luckily Nora’s grandmother comes by twice a year to visit her husband’s grave and cleans up the place. Hyun Suk suggests that after the performance the two of them go grocery shopping to throw a surprise party, and Nora agrees.
They practice in the courtyard, and Hyun Suk gets frustrated that the group’s performance is lackluster than before. Yoon Young begs for a break, and so Hyun Suk offers to get the watermelon sliced up so they can have a snack. That’s when we reach the memory of Nora catching Hyun Suk at the stream, observing how leaves fall in the water. Since we already saw this memory, we fast forward to when they make a time capsule. Nora bets that Hyun Suk will become a famous producer, and if she wins the bet he’ll have to grant her wish. Hyun Suk decides to make a prediction for her too – but what it is, we’ll never know. They tease whether twenty years is too long, but figure that they’ll be friends forever and see each other all the time.
Interestingly, Nora initially signs her paper with her name but crosses it out for something else. What could it be…
It’s time for the performance, and we see that Woo Chul only went to the beach performance to see his best friend before going off to Germany. He has no interest in loud events, but goes to humor his friend. Just then Hyun Suk runs past him, knocking into his shoulder. He is distressed, because he just heard the bad news that his father has fainted. And it’s just before Nora and everyone else go up onstage! He’s missing her first performance!
Woo Chul thinks Hyun Suk is quite rude, but forgets all that when he becomes entranced at Nora’s performance. On top of that, her shoelace becomes untied and another dancer steps on it, pulling off her shoe. She falls to the ground, but recovers by removing her other shoe and proceeding to dance barefooted.
Back at the present now, and an older Woo Chul is staring at Nora with new eyes, seeing her as his twenty-year old self had once viewed her. And Hyun Suk is now looking quite conflicted – it’s as if too many what-ifs are running through his head, and it’s depressing him more now that he’s seen Nora’s performance. He had to wait twenty years to see her onstage, and when she finally catches his eye he can only turn and walk away. As for Min Soo, he now understands just where his newfound love for dancing might have come from.
The performance is met with a rousing applause, and Nora can’t believe she pulled it off in front of strangers. The team cheers in their backstage tent and Soon Nam cries victoriously, “Noona!” He’s going to take the whole team out tonight – wherever Nora wants to go! She suggests going to the food stalls prepared by fellow humanities’ students, and they snack at Seung Hye’s tent.
Woo Chul is still stunned when he follows the other professors out, not hearing that they’ve decided to also go to the food stalls for a meal instead of going to an expensive Japanese restaurant. He sees Nora celebrating with her fellow classmates and also helping serve the appetizers, and can’t keep his eyes away from her. Min Soo on the other hand doesn’t want to be near his mother, in case things get awkward, so he opts to go to the library while Hye Mi grabs some food to eat at Seung Hye’s stall. She too is happily surprised by Nora’s performance and congratulates her.
But the one person who Nora wants to see isn’t around: Hyun Suk’s returned to his studio, avoiding everyone. He receives Nora’s text instead, which thanks him for giving her the courage to perform. It reminds him of that day long ago on the beach, when he wanted to give her a card that confessed his feelings for her. He was going to give it when they went grocery shopping after the performance. If only…
Nora returns to the empty stage in the dark of the night, reliving her very first performance onstage on that beach. Suddenly the emotions overcome her, and she sobs tears of regret. While never regretting becoming a mother, she does regret a lot of the decisions she made that drove her away from dancing. She squandered her youth, marrying a man who ended up not loving her at all.
Meanwhile, that man is up all night in his office, wondering if she performed onstage for him. If that were the case then she should have been looking for him and his reaction. Psh – he’s so self-centered thinking that everything she does is for him. His restlessness causes him to oversleep the following morning, and he finds Nora already up in the kitchen, making lunch boxes of rice balls. For Hyun Suk. Because she’s thankful. Again.
Woo Chul mutters that Nora must be coming up with a way to make him jealous, using Hyun Suk. He asks how she found out he’d be walking around the campus grounds that day and planned everything so she’d end up performing in front of him. Nora turns to him blankly, “What are you talking about?” Just then Min Soo emerges from his room, also having overslept. Nora quickly offers him a lunchbox, and Woo Chul tries to reserve one for himself. But when Min Soo says he’ll take one, she grabs Woo Chul’s and hands it over! Woo Chul picks up the extra one, but Nora takes it back – this one’s hers. Hehehe.
At school this time, Nora finds Hyun Suk standing at one of the skyways between campus buildings and calls after him. Hyun Suk freaks out – he’s not ready to talk to her yet! He pretends he’s really busy and runs off, but Nora surprises him by jumping out in front of his path. She knows the campus like the back of her hand (thanks to those handy maps!) so she knew exactly where Hyun Suk would go at that moment. He tries to hurry off, but she stops him; she wants to sincerely thank him for giving her the courage to go back on stage again. It made her really happy, and she is curious to know what he thought of it!
Hyun Suk doesn’t really have an answer for her. All he can say is he now understands how she must have danced 20 years ago, and there’s a lot of regret in his voice saying that. Nora gives him the lunch boxes and encourages him to share it with Sang Ye. Hah – share it my butt. Hyun Suk ends up eating both boxes of rice balls because she’s just that good of a cook.
Yoon Young happens to visit the school to help supervise a ballet performance put on by the dance department and meets up with Nora for lunch. Of course Nora tells her about her performance at the festival, and Yoon Young is all, “See I told you so! I told you to come back to dancing!” Min Soo happens to see the two of them on the campus bench and remembers when Yoon Young told him once, some time ago, that his mother was a great dancer. He now understands where that comes from.
Min Soo takes Hye Mi to an empty classroom to share his lunch with her, not wanting to be near such open grounds. Hye Mi tells him about how she is now really impressed with Nora, and how Nora saved the entire class from being harassed for the rest of their college years by getting the sleazy professor to quit. She admits that Nora was outcast during that time because of her actions, but it couldn’t have been easy because she was already a lot older than everyone. It makes Min Soo feel worse for being such a horrid son, as he didn’t know his mother was going through all this.
At the ‘Marriage and Family’ class, it’s partner switch day! That means Soon Nam and Nora will no longer be partners! 😦 Yi Jin has everyone write five positive traits and one negative trait of their partner to help them remember to look for the good things in people in a relationship. The more one looks at the negative, the more resentment grows. Nora says that Soon Nam is a deep person, brave, a good leader, humorous, and passionate – but his flaw is that he has a terrible first impression. Soon Nam says that Nora is spirited, pure, a strong sense of justice, a hidden charisma, and very pretty – but her flaw is that she doesn’t divulge personal details. Not bad qualities overall! It makes the class even chant, “Date each other! Date each other!” Even Yi Jin finds it really amusing and is delighted to see Nora working well with everyone else.
But alas, partners must be swapped, and Yi Jin’s already randomly picked for everyone. Soon Nam is sad he won’t be with Nora anymore in this class, and it’s worse that Nora’s new partner – Dan, who was with Hye Mi before – is quite eager to do things the right way. He even gets Nora’s number right after class so they can talk! Nora’s quite relieved he’s so easy to work with!
Meanwhile Woo Chul’s gone to Seongsam Group to present his project proposal of having bereaved family members act in a play about a tragedy. It’s an interesting proposition to Manager Jung Soon Kyu, but he’ll need to talk to his superiors before they make a decision on doing it. This move is probably going to bite him in the future, especially since it’s rooted in his petty war with Hyun Suk.
To make matters worse, Yi Jin suggests to Hyun Suk that he participate in this 2-day seminar / rally with the other committee directors… and Woo Chul. Hyun Suk balks, but realizes that he had suggested going to this conference with Woo Chul while she was trying to egg her on in the past. He now has no choice but to go since the rest of the committee is going. At least Sang Ye will be coming with him – after she deals with all the meetings with a radio writer and PR people. Nora won’t get to go, as she’ll stay behind and finish some paperwork.
Woo Chul initially is uncomfortable with going to a seminar with Hyun Suk for two days, but he shuts up when he realizes that Yi Jin had suggested it – and everyone else agreed – on the day of the festival, when he was not paying attention to her. Never admit you’re inattentive! It’s also Yi Jin’s way of ensuring that Hyun Suk doesn’t once again back out from his contract and not use Woo Chul as a consultant. Plus, this is like their getaway, even though they have to pretend they don’t know each other.
Nora receives her first paycheck from her manager at the convenience store, and is disappointed to learn that she is earning below minimum wage because of a probationary period. The manager says that all college students accept it, so Nora has no choice but to accept her lower pay. Nevertheless it makes her happy – she’s finally earning money! Hyun Suk comes by with the empty lunch boxes in hand, but realizes that he shouldn’t go up to her. What was he expecting anyways? For her to be happy to see him? He remembers that for Nora, her family is her world so it wouldn’t be right for him to intrude.
Uh-oh – the angst!
Nora wanted to buy her grandmother pajamas when she first got her paycheck, but since she can’t do that she decides on the next best thing: a new blanket for Min Soo! She asks for Hye Mi’s help in choosing a style, pretending that it’s for herself. Meanwhile Min Soo is disappointed to learn that his mid-term exam results were not very good and his TOIEC score is too low. He gets an angry text from his TOIEC club, where they show him a picture of him and Hye Mi doing the couples’ churro challenge. The rules of the club say ‘no dating’! So he’s immediately ousted from the club!
When he meets Hye Mi afterwards, she excitedly shows him a couples’ dancing competition at another university. She wants to try to win the first prize, which is a trip to Jeju Island! Unfortunately Min Soo can’t – he needs to stop playing around and buckle down with studying. Otherwise… he’ll get sent to the army. Bad grades in school is also in the contract that he signed with his father. Hye Mi is amazed at how his father can be so strict and wonders what would happen if he refused to go. Min Soo’s never even thought about what would happen when he refuses his father’s orders. Well – he sure has an example to follow set by his mother!
At the studio, Nora continues her part time job of screening applicants’ stories to the “You & Now” project. She notices that one applicant’s story seems fake, and Sang Ye commends her for finding it. Just then Hyun Suk returns to the office, and Nora offers to whip up some kimchi fried rice for everyone. Hyun Suk tells her to stop acting like a housewife – and I’m relieved that I don’t have to watch them eat kimchi fried rice because that’d just be torturous to my belly.
Nora is a housewife though, and she knows he ate her rice balls too. “Weren’t they good?” she asks Sang Ye, but Sang Ye has no idea what she’s talking about. Hyun Suk quickly jumps in to say that they were terrible, and so he threw them out. Nora throws a fit – how could he just throw away her food?! She follows him out of the studio when he tries to run off, and Sang Ye remembers that she saw Hyun Suk cleaning up some empty lunch containers the day before. Nora can’t believe that Hyun Suk is acting like his old high school student self: acting weird and won’t look at her in the eyes. Hyun Suk blames it on stress from work, and admits he forced himself to eat all of it and got indigestion. Pffft.
She returns home to find Woo Chul packing for the seminar, wearing a sweater that would make Kim Tan from Heirs proud. Nora doesn’t care that his clothes are in her closet or needs to pack – she kicks him out because she is tired and needs to change. Woo Chul mutters, “You flirt,” while walking out, except he sounds more flirtatious than she does. Hehehe this is weird.
The following day Nora, Soon Nam, and Seung Hye meet at a chicken restaurant, where Seung Hye now works. They decide to re-enact Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ scene for Hyun Suk’s class, except they’ll rewrite it for their own perspective. For Soon Nam, he’d ask, ‘To be a choreographer or not to be?” Nora doesn’t say what her dilemma would be, as it would reveal too much of her personal life. She rushes to her next part-time job though, and it only intensifies Soon Nam’s curiosity about her life outside of school. I hope he follows her and finds out!
Nora works at an empty studio, wondering where Sang Ye and Hyun Suk went. It’s only when Sang Ye rushes in to pick up a file that she realizes he went to a seminar too. Nora is amazed at how hard-working Sang Ye is, and doesn’t seem to pay much attention to dating. Just then Sang Ye pretends to take a call, and then asks Nora to bring the files over to Hyun Suk instead as her mother had to go to the ER. It’s a little shifty, but I guess Sang Ye is trying to bring Nora to the same place as where her husband is.
Min Soo sneaks home to find an empty nest, and rifles through his father’s drawers to locate his contract. He had written it himself and signed it before he started university. Surprisingly, he doesn’t try to destroy it but is simply reminded of the work ahead of him. As he puts it away, he sees another notarized contract peeking out of its envelope and pulls it out. His parents are divorcing!
Yi Jin, Woo Chul, Hyun Suk, and Professors Choi and Jung all gather at the garden for al fresco dining. This seminar is starting to look more like a retreat. The tension is especially high between Woo Chul and Hyun Suk, who would rather not be in the same place together. Just then, Nora arrives. Imagine her shock when she sees her husband there too! Hyun Suk accepts the files but tries to send her away so it wouldn’t be awkward, but Yi Jin graciously offers Nora a meal before she leaves. After all, Nora is one of her favorite students now.
Nora tries to eat as quickly as possible so she can early. Yi Jin asks her a few questions about her dancing past, and marvels how a single woman like her didn’t get a chance to nurture her dancing talent. Awwwwkward… Hyun Suk tries to help her by redirecting the attention of the conversation to someone else. When dinner ends, Nora excuses herself but ends up coughing and ready to vomit due to indigestion. Hyun Suk assists her, especially since Woo Chul can’t do it in front of everyone, and has Woo Chul escort everyone back to the villa.
Woo Chul is concerned about his wife though, especially since Hyun Suk’s attentive presence is making him more jealous than he should be. He goes out to buy indigestion medicine while Hyun Suk massages her arm until she burps. Yay! However Woo Chul catches them together and assumes that Hyun Suk is flirting with his wife.
Hyun Suk gives Nora some hot tea and encourages her to stay the night using Sang Ye’s room if she doesn’t feel well enough to go home. He returns to the house and bumps into Woo Chul, who confronts him: “What are you doing with my wife? How dare you touch her!” Hyun Suk scoffs – is he seriously caring about his wife now?! Woo Chul: “Professor Cha, do you like my wife?”
Hyun Suk: : “What are you going to do if I do like her?”
The gauntlet is thrown!
This episode definitely is setting up for some conflict! Woo Chul is starting to fall in love with his wife all over again, realizing the reason why he loved her in the first place. She was artistic and very different from him – not a learned intellectual like he was – and that probably was the reason for attraction. It’s amusing to see Woo Chul grapple with the fact that he’s no longer the center of Nora’s life, and that she really doesn’t give a crap about where he’s going or what he’s doing. But after knowing all that we know about Woo Chul, it’s equally disgusting to see him start to care about his wife. Had this happened three episodes ago, he’d be throwing a fit and not even caring about Nora’s indigestion.
I’m glad this wasn’t a “hate” episode in the ongoing love-hate cycle in Nora and Hyun Suk’s relationship. I would have been annoyed if he flipped back to hating and torturing her just because of his unresolved feelings for her. Rather, we’ve moved on to awkwardness because he can’t bring himself to do something about his feelings. It’s something that I hope Sang Ye picks up on. I found it odd that she would send Nora to do an errand that could possibly mean she and Hyun Suk would get closer, so either Sang Ye is okay with someone else potentially stealing her man or she still believes that Nora and Woo Chul are the OTP. Had Sang Ye miraculously arrived at the house very late at night, it would have added more conflict to the existing love square because she might realize that she’s losing out on her man, and might fight harder to keep him. Once again, Choi Yoon So is taking on a character that is fading into the background and not fighting for more of a presence in the male lead’s life.
And finally – I’m so glad Min Soo found out about the divorce. Perhaps it will give him more courage to fight back against his father.
- Twenty Again: Episode 8 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 7 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 6 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 5 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 4 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 3 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 2 Recap
- Twenty Again: Episode 1 Recap