Hmm. That’s pretty much my overall feeling towards this episode. It wasn’t bad, but I certainly felt the series slow down and dawdle a bit in this episode. After all, the truth is out so all you need is resolution, but how to stretch a swift resolution over the course of four more episodes? Why, just make the days feel a little longer. We get plenty of Woo Chul in this episode too, so if he’s the type of character that gets you exasperated or yawn… then this is going to be a difficult episode for you.
So the question is – is Hyun Suk there to see her open the presents or not!?
Aaand he is. He chuckles at how predictable it was to know that she’d be sitting in this park bench, looking at the gift. He bets that she’s probably shocked and never thought this would happen, and would want to ask him millions of questions but wouldn’t know how… so that’s why he came to her now, to answer any of her questions. Heh – and her only question is, “What is this?”
Nora is pretty clueless, not realizing that she was Hyun Suk’s first love until he spells it out to her and points out how wonderful of a person she is. She was the first person to believe that he would be a great producer, and he really appreciates that. Sadly, she doesn’t remember saying that at all, hah! He promises though that if she continues working at his office, he will remind her of when she told him that. Hyun Suk emphasizes that because of her belief in him, he was able to pursue his dreams. And to see her being so pathetic made him more concerned for her, so he wasn’t just helping her out of pity because she was divorcing.
Nora returns home to find Woo Chul waiting for her. He’s torn up the divorce papers and wants to cancel their divorce. Nora’s all, “What?!” Woo Chul doesn’t want to divorce just yet for two reasons: 1) he doesn’t want to end the relationship with her thinking that he has narcissistic personality disorder, and 2) Nora’s become someone he can communicate with and so it’s an improvement to their relationship.
What the hell – did he just treat the divorce agreement as a form of a performance improvement plan? Where she finally passed his expectations and can stay on to be his wife?
Nora points out that he’s acting exactly like a narcissist right now; narcissists, as he even defined himself, don’t consider the other party’s feelings. He thinks everything is about himself – that she went to school for him and still had feelings for him, and that she’s become someone fit to be his wife. While it is true that she did initially go to school for him, she’s learned her self-worth along the way too, and that has driven her more towards independence than before.
Woo Chul thought that he was a very considerate person, especially if they think back to when they first met. Flashback time! After the performance, Nora was sitting in the woods by herself, and Woo Chul found her to give her some cream. He scares her with the prospect of getting tetanus so that she would apply it to her scratches and wounds from falling onstage, and she was surprised he noticed. She hadn’t thought much of the pain herself. He then woos her with the idea of dancing in the woods, just like in the film ‘Bungee Jumping of Their Own,’ and that’s how they end up dancing together.
A little later, Nora’s already moved to Germany and she asks Woo Chul to help her find some Koreans who could help her get adjusted, but he claims to not know any. And then he also told her not to call him while he was in school. If she were to go in labor then she should call the school and tell them to tell him she was in labor, in German. But Nora can’t speak German, and when she was struggling during her last month of pregnancy she couldn’t go to the hospital at all.
Because she couldn’t do anything without Woo Chul’s help in Germany, she had to ask him for everything and this annoyed him. He’d snap at her, and she’d have to silence her voice. She spent four years in Germany just with her and Min Soo before finally able to come back to Korea, but as a totally different person. She acknowledges now it was a mistake for her to follow him to Germany and to think she couldn’t raise Min Soo on her own. (Notice how she stands over him while saying this, implying that she’s now speaking from a position of power and knowledge.)
Speaking of… their son just happens to be listening to their entire conversation from outside the office!
Woo Chul finally jumps up and says they need to think of Min Soo. He wants to be around for his son, but Nora says she’ll listen to see what Min Soo wants before making a decision. He’s trying to gain an equal footing in this argument that is going completely wrong for him, but she shuts him down quickly.
The following day, Yoon Young surprises Nora at school to deliver some news she just discovered: Hyun Suk likes her! Haha – it’s amusing to see her corroborate this claim with her observations on Hyun Suk’s behavior when Nora already knows this because she found out the night before. Yoon Young is quite surprised it took Hyun Suk so long to admit his love for Nora, and thinks that it’s great that her best friend is finally having a true romance. But Nora thinks it’s ridiculous – she’s 38 and a mother! No way he’d be interested in her now!
So Yoon Young heads up to Hyun Suk’s office, because she just needs to confirm her observations and suspicions. Hyun Suk is a bit taken aback when she asks if he loves her, but he asks if Yoon Young knows what Nora will do in the future. “You knew she was getting a divorce?!” Yoon Young is quickly realizing that she’s a bit delayed in spreading the news now, as both Nora and Hyun Suk know everything!
Meanwhile Min Soo texts his mom that he wants to talk to her tonight, presumably about the divorce. However he has a major immediate worry: Hye Mi isn’t reading her text messages and he has know idea where she is. A friend kindly informs him that Hye Mi went on a “lightning vacation” with two other girls to the southern sea for the day, just to get away. He can easily guess why…
As for Yi Jin, she ends up canceling her lecture. Nora (rightly) thinks it’s because of her, and that Yi Jin is awkward around her now, but she luckily gets to experience “drinking on campus” with Soon Nam and Seung Hyun. Yi Jin remains unsettled by her conversation with Nora and heads straight to Woo Chul’s office to talk. She wonders what kind of person he must be to have Nora tell her that she can “have” him, as if she were picking up someone else’s garbage. Woo Chul can’t believe she’d say that and accidentally slips that Nora is mistaken about the whole divorce. Whups.
Now they have to have “the talk.” Woo Chul says they need to take a break, especially since their plan has failed. Yi Jin sullenly points out that she helped him get the job in WCU. It’s a shock to Woo Chul because he thought he got the job with his own merits. Yi Jin: “You had all the credentials, it’s true. But so did many other candidates. You would not have made it through had I not put in a good word.” Ouch – this is such a blow to Woo Chul’s ego.
While it is fun to hang out during the day and get out of lecture, Soon Nam recognizes that it’s also a waste of tuition. Next thing we know, Nora gets a call from Hyun Suk, and Seung Hyun teases that she thinks something’s going on between the two of them. Nora tries to brush him off, but he turns up right behind them because he happens to know where she is at all times. Seung Hyun and Soon Nam get the hint and quickly pack up their picnic blanket, allowing Hyun Suk to take Nora away. Heehee.
Nora finally agrees to continue working at Hyun Suk’s office – after all, that’s why he’s bothering her right now, right? Hyun Suk’s happy about that, but that’s clearly not why he came by. She tries to shoo him away, saying she can’t work today because she has to meet her handsome son (whom he still hasn’t properly been introduced to), but he follows her to the bus station.
Hyun Suk wonders if she’s taken a good listen to the cassette tape yet, but she hasn’t because she doesn’t have a cassette player (and who does these days). Lo and behold, Hyun Suk takes out his old cassette player, puts in the mix tape he made, and the two of them listen to her old favorite songs. Nora curiously wonders when Hyun Suk started to like her, but he challenges her to think and remember for herself. After they part ways, Hyun Suk calls up a friend and asks if he’s looking for an usher in his theater. Guess who he has in mind for the job?
Before Min Soo heads home, he waits outside Hye Mi’s house for her return. She is surprised to see him there, since she left her phone at home on purpose and therefore didn’t see any of his texts. She also adds that she was kind of curious to see if he’d be thinking about her at all, so that’s why she disappeared. Gah – these games people play… In any case, Min Soo has sufficiently proven that he cares for her, and he’s finally ready to tell her what’s bothering him. Hye Mi is a little too excited to hear what he has to say about this, in my opinion, so I hope she gets a little serious once she hears of her boyfriend’s predicament.
Nora waits at home for her son, and Woo Chul blames her actions for prompting his rebellious behavior. Next thing we know, Min Soo returns home. He sits them down in the living room and then shows them a copy of the divorce agreement that he found in his father’s room and stole. He wants his parents to go through with the divorce. He wants his father to keep his promise, as he always has, and he acknowledges that as a son to young parents he was a burden. He promises to pay back the tuition once he graduates and gets a job. So Woo Chul has no choice but to go through with finalizing the divorce that weekend, as soon as the semester ends.
That Sunday, Nora goes to the office and finds Hyun Suk in the middle of an interview about his “You & Now” project. She sees him turn on the charm with the reporter, coyly not commenting on whether he is currently in a relationship or not and allowing the photographer to take pictures of him in his bedroom (for the female fans). One can’t help but see how handsome and charming he can be.
Meanwhile Woo Chul goes to the golf range to network with Professor Park, a psychology professor in Jahcheon University. He’s aiming to be Professor Park’s replacement and move to a more prestigious university, especially since WCU isn’t working out for him and he wants to prove that he can get a job on his own efforts.
The interview wraps, and Sang Ye heads out to attend her friend’s producing debut. That leaves Nora alone with Hyun Suk, and he starts asking about whether she’s made plans for her future. Has she decided on her major? Studied for TOEIC? Thought about being a barista? Nora is confused as to why he’s suddenly so curious about her future. Instead of telling her that it’s because he is concerned for her post-divorce, he just says that he’s her oppa in life: graduated, started out his life already, and has an earlier birthday than her.
Nora pretty much ignores him and asks if he has anything else for her to do. He doesn’t, and so she decides to head home. Hyun Suk doesn’t want her to leave him yet, so he asks her to help him with suit shopping. What an excuse! Nora really doesn’t know how to help him with the shopping, especially since she doesn’t know his style. He pushes her to pick something, so she chooses a gray woolen suit. He tries it on, and Nora admires him. He teases her: “You are looking at me because you think I look good, right?” Nora tries to deny it by saying she is admiring the suit she chose, but his fake vanity makes her laugh.
She holds up a few more suit jackets to him to see if it’d look good and the salesperson mistakes them for a couple. Hyun Suk firmly denies this, saying that she’s his sister instead. Nora is a little saddened by that comment; though she wouldn’t have wanted to be called his girlfriend, I don’t think she wanted to be called his sister either. They leave the store and Hyun Suk says he will buy her rice. Nora initially thought that he’d offer to buy her clothes, but is taken aback when he says he’ll just buy her a rice dish. Hyun Suk: “You’re not my girlfriend, so I’ll buy you rice. I would buy my girlfriend some pasta or steak instead.” Hah! So mean.
They pass by a wanted sign seeking a pre-performance helper who could work with children as they prepare for a play. Hyun Suk thinks it’s the perfect job for her, as she knows how to deal with young children, studied dance before, and would have a guaranteed job for six months. Nora doesn’t commit to the idea, as she will give it some thought after she finishes her work at Hyun Suk’s office. She thinks she’ll be done with his work once the auditions are over – that is, if Hyun Suk doesn’t find her more work to do. Nora tells him to bug off – he’s getting really naggy. But he can’t help but worry about her future!
Nora returns home to find Woo Chul waiting for her with another announcement: he’s planning to transfer to Jahcheon University so that she and Min Soo can continue WCU in peace. However, he does need her help for one last thing…
The following day, Nora arrives at Hyun Suk’s office dressed to the nines in a prim and proper outfit. Hyun Suk and Sang Ye are confused by her outfit, but she only says vaguely that she has plans. After a few hours of work, Woo Chul comes by to pick her up, and Sang Ye and Hyun Suk get really curious as to what is going on between the two of them.
It turns out Woo Chul’s mentor, Professor Lindemann, has arrived in Korea. He needs Nora beside him as they attend a small dinner party with the German professor and his wife, and a mutual friend that acts as a sort of translator between Nora and Prof. Lindemann. Woo Chul is also networking with his mentor a bit more, as Lindemann studied abroad with Professor Park back in the day. Lindemann marvels at Nora and says it’s a shame that she married Woo Chul but didn’t follow him to Germany. Whut!? Nora is confused, and Woo Chul quickly says he’ll explain later.
The conversation flows, and Nora doesn’t speak much since she can’t really speak German and relies on the translator so much. She then hears a story where Lindemann really owed Woo Chul for something he did in 2000 during the Millennium Conference in Washington D.C. Lindemann had hurt his leg then and, even though it wasn’t necessary, Woo Chul offered to accompany him to D.C. and make the presentation.
Nora does a double take – wasn’t this the same time her grandmother passed away? Flashback time! Grandma suddenly suffered something like a heart attack and crawled up to her bedroom to place a call. It’s assumed that she called Yoon Young, but it’s not clear. Either way Nora hears about her grandmother’s death through Yoon Young. She asks Woo Chul to get them tickets back to Seoul, but he claims that there are no non-stop tickets, and if they go they’ll miss the funeral anyways. He also adds that he needs to go to D.C. for a presentation, which he never told Nora about because at this point he was getting sick of telling her things about his life.
So Nora says fine, she’ll go by herself. But Min Soo is also suffering from a fever, so she can’t handle him by herself on the long flight. She begs Woo Chul to go with her, but he tells her to have Yoon Young take care of the funeral. He insists on going to his conference because it could change their lives and he could get a job in Korea. He leaves her the moment she is distracted by Min Soo’s crying, and that explains why she never got a chance to go back to Seoul.
Back in the present, Nora’s eyes turn red from tearing up. She glares at Woo Chul and then storms away from the table to cry. Woo Chul follows after her, somewhat concerned that she rudely left the table, and she slaps him. TWICE! Woo! Nora: “Were there really no plane tickets that day?” Woo Chul tries to explain his actions but she won’t have it. “You thought you were more important than my Grandma.”
That’s enough to make him feel guilty, and Nora leaves the restaurant in anger. He understands he’s done wrong now, and that their relationship is irreparable. And he had just gone to the jewelry store earlier to buy her a diamond necklace, thinking that a material gift would fix things between them.
Nora runs to her grandmother’s new ddukbokki store and sobs against the shuttered door, crying for her grandmother. She cries for a while, reliving her good memories with her grandmother, until she finally has no more tears to shed.
The following morning, Nora and Woo Chul walk down the street separately, presumably having finalized their divorce. Woo Chul watches her from behind, and finally whispers the most important phrase she should have heard: “I’m sorry.”
I really didn’t enjoy this episode too much because it felt so slow, but at the same time I understand that we needed the final nail in the coffin to end Nora and Woo Chul’s relationship. The flashbacks don’t exonerate Woo Chul from his arrogant attitude this entire series, which is a relief because I don’t want to feel sympathy for him. Instead, it cements the fact that he is a selfish, horrible, and immature person. It solidifies the reasoning for their divorce.
I have to say that Choi Won Young is doing a good job with his subtle facial expressions, as we were able to see the point in which he finally gave up in trying to reconcile with Nora. I am glad he did, because his reasons for reconciliation are so shallow: he’s only doing it because he thinks he’s falling in love with her again and thinks that she’s finally worthy for him. Meanwhile, he just doesn’t want to be with Yi Jin because he’s losing control of his life to another woman and wants to prove that he can do things on his own. I find myself glad that he’s breaking up with Yi Jin not just because I think he doesn’t deserve any woman, but because I think Yi Jin is a terrible woman to be with. She claims to be an understanding and intelligent woman and yet emphasizes the need to have a man who’s of her level and acceptable for her father. She needs to create her man, not accept a man for who he is.
I didn’t really care for Hyun Suk’s feeble attempts at a date with Nora and pretending to just be her older brother. It would have been better if he were more forthcoming with it; after all, he admitted that he liked her already. While he probably doesn’t want to come off as too aggressive, it would be nice if he did because their conversations felt like it was going in circles. Very much like how this drama is trying to extend the story to the last few episodes, his conversations with Nora felt like he was just trying to fill up air time and give an excuse for Nora to listen to him. It’s a bit wearisome, and I would have rather seen her be cheered up by her friends or Min Soo and Hye Mi sorting out their issues.
Anyways – I know this recap is pretty late. Episode 14 will come soon, but I can’t say I’m super excited. BIGBANG got in the way this weekend, and so after a few sleepless nights, I should be back on schedule!
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