Episode 88 Link: http://www.joykdrama.com/drama/High-Kick-3/EP-88/
Pre-Recap Thoughts: OK, I admit that I wasn’t looking forward to today’s episode after the high I had from watching yesterday’s featuring Kye Sang and Jin Hee. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, which only reminded me again that the writers of this series haven’t really disappointed me yet. In fact, I’ve found myself enjoying each and every episode because there’s always something new or interesting that’s explored.
Today’s episode was no different. We finally get the background story of Ha Sun’s first love–Yoon Shi Yoon–which also goes to explain so much of why she has been single for so long. And just in case we miss the connection, the writers include a flashback for us, thanks to Ji Seok’s brilliant memory, that gives us a deeper understanding of how long Ha Sun’s been affected by Shi Yoon. Yeah, I’ve noted before that these writers are masters at delayed gratification, and today’s episode once again proves that in spades. Writers, I am duly impressed. Wow~
The episode opens with Nae Sang asking Yoo Sun for her Korean identification number (the equivalent of the social security number), and she huffs and puffs about how they’ve been married for so long, but he doesn’t know very much about her. One thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, the Ahns are engaged in a competition of who knows whom the best. Jong Seok and Soo Jung act as MCs to this makeshift game. The penalty for a missed question? A knuckle sandwich on the forehead. LOL. I hope Nae Sang is prepared to get knuckled repeatedly. Of course, there’s really no question as to who wins the game.
Meanwhile, extending the theme of how well couples actually know each other, Ji Seok and Ha Sun meet for another date and proceed to find out all sorts of information about each other. Ha Sun asks things like what quality attracted Ji Seok to her. Towards the end of the date, Ji Seok tells Ha Sun about his first love, which doesn’t seem to thrill Ha Sun that much–the idea of his loving another woman–but she is quickly reassured that nothing happened since it was another case of unrequited love on Ji Seok’s part. When he asks her about her first love, her expression stiffens a bit, and she quickly diverts the conversation to another topic.
At the clinic, Jin Hee enters Kye Sang’s office and offers to take out the trash. While she’s there, Kye Sang receives a phone call from the director of the clinic and asks for an extension on the contract renewal. Excited about the possibility that he might be staying another year, Jin Hee smiles broadly at Kye Sang and tells him that she loves taking out the trash when he tells her that she doesn’t have to do that. LOL…she’s so cute in her hopes of having him stay. And yes, I suppose I shall have to be content with this short little snipit of Jin Hee and Kye Sang for today.
Later that night, Nae Sang can’t seem to take his eyes off of Yoo Sun. One of the unexpected results of the game is that Nae Sang has discovered something unusual about his wife: she has a mole in her eye. This fact causes him to examine his wife more carefully, and in the process of doing so, he rediscovers how beautiful she is and how enthralled he is with her. Aww…he examines her skin and changes positions so that he can observe her right side, which Yoo Sun claims is her more beautiful side. LOL.
The next day, Ha Sun runs into an old college sunbae, whom she hasn’t seen in five years , while rock climbing and they catch up over a cup of coffee. As they talk, the sunbae mentions that he still meets with their old college rock climbing club once in a while and whenever they do, they always end up talking about Shi Yoon, a name that causes Ha Sun to tear up.
We flashback to Ha Sun as a college student on club day. Having just refused to join the rock climbing team, she bumps into Yoon Shi Yoon, and it’s attraction at first sight. She joins the club just so that she can spend more time with him. LOL.
At the library, she stalks him as he studies, all the while trying to look inconspicuous as she keeps an eye on him. (LOL…OMG! She’s such a cute stalker!)
She gets the courage to leave a can of coffee at his desk while he’s sleeping, but when he starts to stir awake, she panics and gives the can to the student seated next to him. Reading the message of encouragement, the lucky, unintended recipient smiles broadly…
…while Ha Sun runs away and hides behind a bookshelf, pounding her head with her fists for not being brave enough to give Shi Yoon the coffee.
Soon after that incident, Shi Yoon gives Ha Sun an MP3 player and asks her to listen to it as he walks out of the club room. Unfortunately, before Ha Sun can really listen to what he’s recorded, she gets called away and when she returns, she can’t find the MP3 player anywhere. Ugh…such a contrived plot device but also such a realistic one. *sigh*
When she sees him later and he asks whether she got a chance to listen to the MP3 player, she says yes, unable to tell him the truth that she lost it before she could listen to what he had recorded. At her embarrassed and uncomfortable reaction to his question, Shi Yoon assumes that she isn’t interested in him and leaves to join his friend.
As time passes, she and Shi Yoon continue to keep their distance from each other, Ha Sun because she’s so shy and embarrassed, and Shi Yoon because he thinks Ha Sun isn’t interested in him. This lack of communication continues even as Shi Yoon leaves to serve his mandatory military service. While all the rest of the rock climbing club wishes him well, Ha Sun stands a few feet away, unable to even speak to him, much less wish him a safe two years away in the military.
And so, the next two years fly by and scenes of Ha Sun opening and closing her locket are shown. Each time she opens her locker, she takes a glance at Shi Yoon’s picture that she has taped to the inside of her door.
At the end of the two years, Shi Yoon returns and the club meets over dinner to welcome him back. And afterwards, some of them return to the club room to do some major cleaning, and that is when Ha Sun discovers her lost MP3 player behind a file cabinet. It had somehow falled from off the couch and onto the floor behind the file cabinet. OK, I know…suspension of disbelief, right? Especially considering that the MP3 player still has enough battery juice after 2 years. LOL. As she listens to what Shi Yoon had recorded over two years ago, she realizes in horror that he had shared the same feelings but that she never knew because she had never gotten around to listening to what he recorded. And what did he record? Himself playing a love song for her because he was too embarrassed to actually tell her that he likes her…so he sang his love for her. Aw….
Realizing the import of this new development, she races outside to find Shi Yoon, only to hear from a fellow club member that Shi Yoon and some of the other guys in the group are at the bus terminal to go rock climbing in celebration of Shi Yoon’s return from military service. Not wanting to lose another second, Ha Sun races to the bus terminal and confesses everything to a very surprised but pleased Shi Yoon. She tells him about the lost MP3 player and how she never knew about his feelings for her. She admits that she only joined the rock climbing club so that she could be closer to him. (Yes! I love it when there’s clarification of misunderstanding!) Because the bus is about to leave, Shi Yoon tells Ha Sun that he’ll talk to her in a few days when he gets back and boards the bus.
And as he leaves, he texts her a message: “I’ll see you in two days. It’s taken us a while but…thank you.”
Unfortunately, the happy conversation that was supposed to take place two days later never happens. Ha Sun walks into the club room to find grieving club members. Shi Yoon had fallen to his death while rock climbing. Stunned, she numbly stumbles out onto the streets and unsteadily collapses onto the pavement, unable to walk any further and cries out her grief for Shi Yoon and for what could have been.
A few days later while checking her mailbox, she receives a letter that Shi Yoon had apparently sent while he was on that fateful rock climbing trip. Inside the envelope is a polaroid picture of himself at the mountain and a letter expressing how much he thought of her while he was in the military. “Have you ever stood before a small flower garden in the dead of winter? Each time I did, I thought of you and your bright smile. And I endured the past two years of military service with just those few memories I had of you. My heart felt like it was going to burst at the bus terminal. Ah, those two years of waiting were not in vain! When I return to Seoul, let’s go watch the sunset together…for sure. – Shi Yoon from Mt. Ji Ri.”
Ha Sun is wracked with tears as she reads his first and last letter to her…and the only real tangible reminder she now has of his feelings for her.
Back in the present, Ha Sun tells her sunbae that little bit by little bit, she got better and was able to move one. And now, she is all better…but she doesn’t know why she’s tearing up again. As she tries to stem her tears, Ji Seok arrives at the coffee shop to meet Ha Sun and her sunbae. Ha Sun had called him earlier and invited him. However, noting Ha Sun’s tears, Ji Seok holds back from view to give them privacy.
On the drive back, Ji Seok comments that she must have enjoyed meeting up with an old college sunbae. Ha Sun broaches the topic of first love and says that Ji Seok asked her about her first love a while back; she’s ready to tell him the story now. As she searches for the words to begin her narrative, Ji Seok thinks back to an earlier time when he gave Ha Sun a ride (after he had confessed his feelings for her, I think), and she had said that the Han River in the winter reminds her of a friend. She had then asked him if he had ever stood before a flower garden/meadow and that life is so fleeting and nothing is constant.
Realizing that her first love somehow ended tragically, Ji Seok reassures her that he doesn’t need to know if it is difficult for her to tell him. “It’s all right. If it is difficult for you, you don’t need to tell me. Just because we know a lot about each other doesn’t mean that we love each other more. I may not know everything about you perfectly, but I have the confidence to love you perfectly.” And with that, he clasps her hand warmly in his as they continue onward home.
Today’s exploration of how well one knows another human being was delicately examined with the Ahns, Ha Sun – Shi Yoon, and Ha Sun – Ji Seok couples. As Ji Seok so sagely points out at the end of the episode, one’s knowledge of another person does not indicate the depth or extent of that person’s ability to love. With his pithy words, Ha Sun is reassured of two things: the limited time she had with Shi Yoon does not diminish the love they shared for each other and the limited knowledge she has of Ji Seok right now does not diminish the capacity of their potential love.
I truly appreciated the writers’ careful planning. I still can’t believe they included in today’s episode a comment that Ha Sun had made quite a while back and gave it such depth and resonance. The fact that her comment then was in reference to her first love Shi Yoon speaks volumes. After that time, she has probably never dated another person, which goes to explaining a great number of things about her, most importantly why such a “great catch” like Ha Sun didn’t have a boyfriend until one was literally forced upon her by her school and then now Ji Seok.
Viewed in one way, Ji Seok is, in essence, Ha Sun’s first love since she never got a chance to be in a relationship with Shi Yoon. *sigh* This brings a whole new light to their relationship and how much fear Ha Sun had to overcome in order to accept Ji Seok’s love for her.
Writers, you continue to amaze me with your careful plot development. The episodes just keep getting better and better….