Pre-Recap Thoughts: The race to survive and thrive is the theme of today’s episode. We see this desperate fight to live and be an active part of the adult society in the lives of Nae Sang, Jin Hee, and Jong Seok. These three broke my heart today but also gave me hope, smiles, and a bittersweet ache of sympathy as they struggle to overcome their fears of failure–fears that threaten to engulf them and leave them mere shadows of their former selves–and instead figuratively claw their way out of their almost crippling ditch of self-doubt and self-pity.
I know the series is ending soon, but today’s episode was a gem! The show made a clear statement today that just because the end is in sight does NOT mean that they will get lazy in their writing. The show continues to grapple with the life issues that affect so many people and provides inspiration to keep on chugging along, especially in the lives of Nae Sang and Jin Hee, who both have issues with failure/success.
This episode reminds us that dreams can only come true if one tries! Or in the immortal words of my parents, “A diamond is only forged when under intense pressure…for a long time.” Nae Sang, Jin Hee, and Jong Seok…your time to shine like diamonds will come…just withstand the pressure for a bit longer!
The episode starts with Jin Hee in front of the computer, afraid to click on her status on a recent job application. Ha Sun playfully helps her out by clicking it for her, which elicits a squeal of horror from Jin Hee. LOL. However, Jin Hee is thrilled to read that she passed and the company wants her for a second interview. She explains to Ha Sun that although she’s applying for a job outside of her field of interest, she’s thrilled that she has a good chance to finally get a permanent job. And then a minute later, another company calls Jin Hee…with an interview request for almost the same time as the first one. The conflict? Company 1 is likely to hire her, but she’s not really interested in that field (Interview on March 19th at 10AM). Company 2 is in a field of her choice, but the chances of her getting hired is almost zero; she feels lucky to have even made it this far in the application process (Interview on March 19th at 10:30AM). And with the appointments so close together, she’ll have to select one and miss out on the other.
Meanwhile, Nae Sang laments the lack of jobs–due to his and Seung Yoon’s recent mistakes at the studios–when he discovers that a company owing them money just declared bankruptcy. Not only is Ahn Art not bringing in much income, it’s now facing bankruptcy due to another company’s bankruptcy! The problem? Nae Sang has to pay a bill to the tune of $2000 in a few days. Where to get the money is the question that dominates his thoughts for most of the episode.
Jin Hee goes to the library to study for her upcoming interview when she receives a “love” gift from a mystery man with a note stuck on the bottle: “I fell for you at first sight. L.O.V.E.” She looks to see who left her the gift.
And in her view stands Jong Seok. JONG SEOK! Really? Are you going to take us down this road, writers? Hmmm…I’ll have to save my musings on this for the post-recap.
The two go outside to take a break from their studies and encourage each other; Jong Seok learns a new catch phrase from Jin Hee that sounds awfully like a cat’s “meow.” LOL…so adorable! When Jin Hee tells Jong Seok of her dilemma–which job interview to accept–Jong Seok tells her the answer is easy: she interviews at Company 2, which can offer her that long-coveted dream job. When Jin Hee expresses her doubts and her fears of chasing empty dreams, Jong Seok reminds her that if he adopted her current attitude, he shouldn’t even bother trying to make it to Myung Moon University, the top-notch university that Ji Won will probably attend. Buoyed by Jong Seok’s encouragement, Jin Hee resolves to pursue Company 2.
At the end of their studying, Jong Seok offers her a ride back home, and Jin Hee lets out a loud yell of freedom as she enjoys the scooter ride, her stress flying away from her as they speed back home. Seeing how much she enjoys the sense of freedom on the scooter, Jong Seok offers to teach her how to drive the scooter.
However, when he sees how scared and helpless her first attempts to ride are, he offers to get behind her and help her drive. Aw…seriously, are the writers really going to go in this direction? They look like they’re on a date!
Spurred into energy once again, Jin Hee shouts a rally cry and braces herself for another try.
Unfortunately, she takes Jong Seok’s comment about “closing your eyes and enjoying the ride” literally and actually closes her eyes, an action that freaks out Jong Seok when he catches a glimpse of her face in the scooter’s mirror. LOL. His expression is priceless!
He stops the scooter and berates her. When she tries to explain that she closed her eyes because she was too afraid of falling, Jong Seok loses his patience and tells her that is her problem: She’s always thinking of falling first instead of succeeding. She’s all talk but no action. True, he’s got you there, Jin Hee. He adds that he’s never seen a person stupid enough to close her eyes while driving.
Incensed, Jin Hee bites out in rapid-fire succession, “That’s right! I’m an idiot! Because I’m an idiot, I can’t get a job. Because I’m an idiot, I’m a failure in love. I can’t do anything! Are you satisfied?!” As she stomps away, Jong Seok tries to soothe her ruffled emotions by invoking their L.O.V.E chant…
…but Jin Hee merely glares at him and chants, “H.A.T.E.” It takes Jong Seok a few seconds to realize what she’s spelled. Heh….
When she returns home, she happily answers a phone call from her mother–perhaps thrilled to hear from her mother after such an emotionally bruising day–and is quickly saddened and stressed to hear that her mother needs more money. *sigh* With her mother’s pressing need for more money, Jin Hee decides to interview with Company 1, which has the higher percentage of employing her. She then drinks her dreams away and sadly tells Ha Sun that she’s facing the reality of securing a job, not chasing after a dream that may never happen. She then adds that when she was younger, she had such high hopes and dreams of making something of herself, but these days, she admits that she thinks more of failing and not amounting to anything, a prospect that frightens her.
Meanwhile, Nae Sang goes to see a friend to ask for a loan. Unfortunately, the friend cannot help him much since the wife holds the purse strings. Instead, the friend gives Nae Sang a few ten-dollar bills for taxi. Walking back home in the cold in order to save money, Nae Sang fields a phone call from Yoo Sun who asks him if he was able to procure the $2000. Not wanting his wife to worry or question his abilities to provide for the family, Nae Sang reassures her that he has everything under control. With a lie that he’s meeting someone, he quickly hangs up. He then buys a row of yogurutu (Korean “Yogurt” drink) and drinks Yogurt #1: He sees a pawn shop and sells his watch.
He then gives the remaining bottles of yogurutu to the following people and present his case before them:
Yogurutu #2: He goes into his office and asks his employee, Seung Yoon, for a loan.
Yogurutu #3: He heads over to Ha Sun’s house and asks his “best friend” Julian for a loan.
Yogurutu #4: Returning home from his talk with Julian, he runs into Ha Sun who was just leaving his house after spending time with Ji Seok and asks her for a loan.
Yogurutu #5: Leaving his house, he contemplates asking Jin Hee for a loan but dismisses that option since she neither has the money nor would lend it to him given their recent spat. However, he sees Ji Won and asks her for a loan. (The small touch with the yogurutu bottles was nice.)
With the money barely scraped together, he gives Yoo Sun the $2000 and tells her that she can rely on her husband, displaying a false bravado that he doesn’t feel.
The next morning, he and Seung Yoon leave for work–a small job finally came into their office–when their van stops in the middle of the road…because it was out of gas. Seung Yoon is amazed that Nae Sang had given his last bit of cash to Soo Jung as an allowance that morning, knowing that those few ten-dollar bills were his very last. Just to save face as a father who can still provide his daughter with a bit of allowance money!
Seeing imminent defeat approaching, Nae Sang resolves to still fight on and tells Seung Yoon that they should be able to make it to the filming location if they start running; it’s only about 2 km away.
And so the fight and race to survive begins…
Meanwhile, Jin Hee’s race to fight and survive also begins. She goes to interview with Company 1, even entering the interview room, but can’t go through with it. With the two text messages from Company 2 reminding their applicants not to be late and Jong Seok’s comment about working hard for her dreams and not buckling under the fear of first failing swirling in her head, she realizes that she can’t settle for Company 1…not when she might obtain her dream if she would only try and not be crippled by her fear of failing. And with that decision made, she races out of the building, asks a complete stranger for the use of his scooter, leaves her wallet with him as collateral, and drives like a pro to Company #2. She even brakes to a halt, half-lifting her scooter in the air. Woohoo! However, she’s not fazed. Why? Because she has a dream to catch! 🙂
Nae Sang arrives just in time to film the scene, and when the director gives the extras the cue to cry in mourning because the king has died, Nae Sang takes the opportunity to cry sorrowfully over the past two days’ events when he had to go around to everyone he knows and plead for money.
Surprisingly, the director is so impressed by the “realness” of Nae Sang’s acting that he halts the filming and repositions Nae Sang closer to the camera. 🙂 Once settled in his new position, Nae Sang continues to cry, letting out all of his frustrations, sorrows, fears loudly under the guise of “acting.” Seung Yoon sees this “acting” and is at first impressed by Nae Sang’s crying until he realizes that those are real tears.
The episode ends with Jin Hee barely making it to her interview, a scene reminiscent of the beginning of the series when she didn’t make it inside. This time, however, she barrels into the room and flashes her panel of interviewers a confidant and determined smile. Go, Jin Hee!
Post-Recap Thoughts: Our resident two “losers,” Jin Hee and Nae Sang, race in the final scenes to still stay in the fight. *Deep sigh* This race, tinged with desperation and fragile determination to go “all in or all bust,” resonates loudly and clearly. It’s a fear that I think everyone has. Should I risk it? Should I play it safe and be miserable? Who else can I ask for help? My pride doesn’t matter as long as my family benefits. And the questions and comments could go on and on when it comes to these two.
I love that the writers have brought these two characters almost full-circle to the beginning of the show when Nae Sang just discovered that his company was bankrupt and Jin Hee had failed yet another interview. Only this time, there are some subtle differences. Rather than hide or cower in self-pity and fear, these two are facing their fears and fighting to stay in the game we call life.
But more than anything or anyone else, they are fighting against themselves, silencing those incessant whispers of doubts, failures, fears, etc.
With this new development for Jin Hee and Nae Sang, I’m oddly excited for the series to end. As much as I would love for this series to continue, I’m now more interested to see how the writers finish Jin Hee’s and Nae Sang’s story. I’m hoping for that “diamond” finish, not just for Nae Sang and Jin Hee, but also for Jong Seok, who has grown so much from his first episode as a “dumb” athlete. He’s not only learned to move on from his unrequited love with Ji Won, but is also now working hard–all by himself–to make something of himself and pursue his dream. He’s already faced his fears and is racing to accomplish the impossible: gain admission into Myung Moon University.
As for the inkling of romantic spark I see between Jong Seok and Jin Hee…this pairing is a possibility, especially if the writers decide to link Lee Juck with Soo Jung. Hmmm…that particular pairing may take me a while to accept. LOL. Anyhow, I’m really excited for the ending now and hoping that the next two weeks will provide us with a heart-pumping sprint to the finish (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.)
High Kick 3, fighting! (or as the Koreans say it, “hwaiting!”) May you finish the race strong! No wimping out as you round the final lap of the race!