Twenty Again: Episode 4 Recap

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Hilarious episode where Hyun Suk develops a god complex and comes to the forefront of this episode. I really enjoyed seeing Lee Sang Yoon in a relatively comedic role, and how he and Choi Ji Woo are acting like high schoolers in a romantic comedy – but they’re clearly much older. It’s like both are reliving their twenties to make up for lost time.

Nora’s letter hits Hyun Suk really hard, as he now knows why she’s going to school: she’s doing it to live out her last six months to the fullest. He’s now regretting all the mean things he ever said to her, privately or in front of others. Which is great… except she’s really not going to die and the doctor’s given her a completely clean bill of health.

Yoon Young comes to pick her up from the hospital and is delighted to hear that she’s not really dying – so you have two crazy-looking ahjummas dancing on the street. Even though they worried for nothing, Nora does feel a bit grateful that she learned about living her days to the fullest, per Hyun Suk’s advice. She hurries to show Yoon Young her diary – but it’s gone!

Sang Ye returns to the studio to pick up Hyun Suk for an interview with a producer, but he wants to cancel it. She’s shocked – Hyun Suk’s never canceled before! He just needs time on his own, so he sends her off. Just then, Nora calls to ask if he’s got her diary. “Why are you so clumsy?” he says exasperatedly, then lies that he doesn’t have her diary at all. And, he doesn’t want to hear from her again.

Nora can’t believe he’s always so temperamental around her, and racks her brain for where it is. She really needs it for school! Yoon Young is surprised that she’s continuing with school even though she’s no longer dying. How is she going to hide it from her family? What about the divorce? Nora’s already plotted out her routes so she can avoid Min Soo, and as for her divorce, she’ll just rethink her promise about divorcing in six months! Nora really wants to live her life for herself, and Hyun Suk’s advice on the radio broadcast (and in his books) have made her realize that she needs to focus on the present rather than the future.

Meanwhile, Hyun Suk reads through her entire diary, including her bucket list full of simple wishes. He’s surprised to see that there’s nothing about her husband in there, and wonders if Woo Chul even knows about the cancer.

Nora returns home quite late and sees her son with his nose buried in the book outside their building. She quickly runs up and jumps on him from behind. He’s shocked to see her acting so lively, and she admits to drinking with Yoon Young to celebrate. Woo Chul returns home at the same time and witnesses his wife acting quite different. He can’t believe that she drank too!

The following day Hyun Suk watches Nora go back to school and bump into the T.A and the other seniors. The T.A. asks if she apologized to the professor yet, but she hasn’t. She still thinks that he was in the wrong, but she will apologize to all the seniors for making things more difficult for them. She acknowledges that she should have confronted him in private, and then continues her way. The T.A. tells senior Hyuk Joo to make a new chat room for freshmen, excluding her. Hyun Suk can only watch Nora get ostracized again, but he notices Seung Hyun watching the confrontation unfold. She seems like she wants to stand up for Nora, but steps back in fear.

Sang Ye now has a free day since Hyun Suk’s dismissed her, and her friend wonders if it’s because Hyun Suk is seeing someone. Sang Ye can confidently say no – she knows him too well – but then notices outside the window that Hyun Suk has a poor disguise on and is following Nora around! He’s wondering why she’s not going to class, and it turns out she’s off to find Soon Nam at the club room.

Soon Nam’s underling is also a humanities freshman and he tells him about the ahjumma who’s caused a ruckus for the seniors. Just then, Nora enters the room to try to complete their assignment. Instead of actually doing a “couple thing” together, she figured that she would just snap a picture of his lunch and call it a day. Soon Nam unfortunately finished his lunch already. He wonders why she chose his bracelet to begin with, and she reveals that she thought that person would be a dancer. She too was a dancer back in the day, which makes Soon Nam look at her differently now. She tells him to let her know when he’s eating again, and she’ll take a picture – out of sight from other students – to just pretend they ate together. So considerate of her!

Hyun Suk follows her out to the mart, where she’s buying her lunch. Figuring she’ll go back to her old hiding spot, he hurries over and tosses her diary behind a bush to make it look like she dropped it there. He rounds the corner to the main roads of the campus and sees Nora heading over, reading something. Just in time! Except – her husband is coming down with another professor the opposite way!

Knowing that she needs to keep it a secret, he chooses the best option for him. He runs towards Nora, drags her under his trench coat, and tells her to quietly hide – her husband is coming! Nora presses against Hyun Suk tighter, and he covers both their faces under the coat. Woo Chul tsks about “kids these days” and a few other students start snapping pictures of Hyun Suk because it’s “scandalous” that such a famous producer is making out with someone on campus!

He directs Nora to run to the right at three, and then grabs her hand to lead her to her usual hiding spot. Relieved that no one is following them, they realize they’re holding hands. Eee! They’re like high school students all over again! Hyun Suk is immediately concerned that she might not be feeling well or out of breath from running, but she’s fine and also finds her diary in the bushes. Hyun Suk tsks over her clumsiness (heh), then grabs her backpack from her back.

He takes her to his locker and gives her full use of it, dumping all her books there so she doesn’t have to carry so much around. He wonders if it’s okay for her to eat fast food from the mart, but she says it’s good enough for her. Not wanting Nora to realize he “knows” about her illness, he lets her be and watches her leave. He contemplates calling Woo Chul but decides it’s not his place.

Little did he know, Sang Ye saw the whole interaction at the lockers, so she wonders if he turned down the WCU sponsorship for his project because of Nora. Hyun Suk informs her that Woo Chul is Nora’s husband. Sang Ye is aghast, thinking that Hyun Suk is having an affair! Hyun Suk: “Shin Sang Ye! What crazy thoughts are you having right now?!” He presents to her they hypothetical situation that if he were dying in six months and didn’t tell Sang Ye about it to not hurt her, would that be better for her in the long run? Sang Ye doesn’t think so, and Hyun Suk believes that no one should die alone. The time she has left is the most precious.

Meanwhile Woo Chul is dismayed to hear that Hyun Suk rejected the money. There’s no way Hyun Suk would seriously throw away his dream project of ten years because he didn’t want to work with him! Yi Jin apologizes for stepping in as she wanted to give Woo Chul some good news; she’s eager to have him establish himself in the school properly.

Luckily Hyun Suk ends up calling Woo Chul at that time, and wants to meet for a chat. Of course, Woo Chul is eager to meet that very day. He meets Hyun Suk at the studio, ready to discuss ideas on death and loss for the play. He wants to focus on loss of family members and huge disasters that affect the entire country. Hyun Suk asks what his thoughts are on loss of a spouse, but Woo Chul sidesteps it. He wants to focus on blood-related loss.

As Woo Chul takes out his pen and some papers, he puts it on top of the pen Hyun Suk got from Yi Jin. Not realizing that it’s Yi Jin’s, he starts using it and even puts it away in his pocket. Hyun Suk starts to say it’s not his, but Woo Chul looks at the engraving – “I <3 W” – and points out that it’s a gift.

Hyun Suk puts two and two together – Yi Jin and Woo Chul are having an affair! And Nora has no idea while hiding her terminal cancer from her husband! With that, Hyun Suk really has no intention whatsoever to ever work with Woo Chul.

Hye Mi squats at Min Soo’s desk, staring at the energy drink that sits on the table. He’s surprised to see her there, and she insists on a chat at the stairwell. Who on earth is leaving energy drinks on his desk?! Min Soo doesn’t know, but sees it couple of times a week. It doesn’t make Hy Mi feel good, and she thinks a senior female student is interested in him.

Cue a flashback on their first week of school and Hye Mi’s friend tells her about the cute boy who’s already reserved a spot at the library for the year. Of course someone’s already taken a stalker-ish picture of him, and Hye Mi and her friend gush over how he looks like Yeo Jin Goo or Song Joong Ki (alluding to Kim Min Jae’s constant comparisons to both actors). It’s love at first sight for Hye Mi, and that’s when she resolves to win him over at the meeting party for politics and economics freshmen.

Min Soo promises that he’s not interested in anyone else, and if he ever happens to see the secret admirer leaving him the drink, he’ll tell her that he has a girlfriend. It all sounds reassuring, but when Min Soo interviews to join a study club (where he has to speak in English during the interview too!) he denies having a girlfriend because members aren’t allowed to date. What is so important about studying, dude?! I mean, I get that students have very little time to prepare for employment (and even that is uncertain), but it’s no good to just continually study and have no fun!

And it’s only going to make things harder between him and Hye Mi.

Soon Nam bumps into some of his younger members switching classrooms, and then passes by the old classroom where Nora is sitting by herself. She clearly didn’t get the message because she’s not part of the new freshmen group chat. He quickly runs to the new classroom, and next thing we know Hye Mi’s messaged Nora of the new classroom.

The freshmen students are all complaining about how awkward it is now between Nora and the senior students. They’re afraid that the professor isn’t going to give out recommendation letters, and fear that they’ll have to be witnesses if he sues Nora for defamation. They hope that Nora would just drop out of school, and that’s when Soon Nam has had enough.

Soon Nam!! My little Jung Kyung Ho-lite!

He comes to Nora’s defense, yelling at all the students for being so cowardly and putting all the blame on Nora when she was the only one to come to their defense. Another student tells him to butt out, since he’s not a humanities student, but Soon Nam says that he’s embarrassed on behalf of everyone in their twenties. With that, he leaves – not realizing Nora’s heard everything from the hallway. Aww…

The following day, Hyun Suk is dressed in a nice suit. He waits on Nora’s bench with a bag of porridge, making the excuse that his admirers had given him gifts he didn’t need. It’s his weird way of taking care of her, knowing that she’s not really eating healthily. Heh.

Woo Chul arrives at Hyun Suk’s campus office, only to find Yi Jin there. Why on earth would he call the two of them together in a meeting?! Just then, Woo Chul gets a text that Hyun Suk’s going to be late. Wondering what on earth he would want to talk to them about, the two inch closer together, almost holding hands. And that’s when Hyun Suk returns to his office! He had meant that text for Sang Ye – ha! – but it’s quite obvious he wanted to see what they would do when left alone.

Hyun Suk then makes the startling announcement that he will swallow his pride and work with Woo Chul on “You & Now” and would like the school’s sponsorship money. What a difference!

As he leaves the meeting, he sees one of his students, Kang Na Ri, getting ready to film him. She seems to be a stalker who also wants to catch him at the most embarrassing moments (like scratching his butt) to upload on the internet. He stops her from recording, but humors her with a decent picture of himself. But that’s when he realizes he saw something that day during the welcome party. He had seen Seung Hyun surreptitiously recording Professor Cho’s harassment on her phone. It means that she knew what he was doing was wrong, but as a 20-year old would not want to be involved in the possible court proceedings that would follow.

Hyun Suk wonders if Nora just butted in then because she’s not afraid of dying. (That’s a shock to Sang Ye!) He thinks that she’s doing everything now because she thinks she’s about to die, but loves her husband so much she can’t bear to tell him she’s dying. He won’t let her risk her college experience over this though, and vows to help her. After all, she was a friend once.

Flashback to a retreat in their youth where Hyun Suk scatters some leaves into the stream, observing how they fall and float in the water while listening to music. Nora sees him there and helps him out visualize how miming in the water would look like. He’s a very creative and progressive producing student – one that exasperates his teachers but Nora acknowledges is great. She thinks that in 20 years he’ll be the most famous producer in Korea (and that’s true now, even if he didn’t believe her then). The two of them decide to make a bet to see if that will come true, and hide their bet and predictions in a time capsule.

Where’s the time capsule!?

Seung Hyun receives a call from her part time job as a messenger to deliver something to Hyun Suk’s office. She’s surprised to see her professor there, and he offers to give her a drink. Along with Sang Ye they try to ease her into a conversation about her goals in college, and then segue into a conversation about Nora and the sexual assault. Seung Hyun picks up on it quickly and wonders what exactly Hyun Suk wants from her.

Meanwhile Woo Chul and Yi Jin have dinner together and she takes out this wine that they were supposed to drink when he was a free man. Him joining Hyun Suk’s project is a good enough cause for celebration though. She is quite sad that his divorce won’t be finalized till much later, as she had already planned out getting married next May, already with his baby. Woo Chul suggests they come out earlier as a couple to keep to her timeline, but Yi Jin won’t have it as her father would never accept her if rumors come out that she’s a home-wrecker.

Nora receives a call from Seung Hyun to meet her at her other part time job at a bar. This girl is so resourceful… Seung Hyun gives her some beer to start off with and promises to chat after she cleans the dishes. The wait becomes really long though, as Seung Hyun is really busy. Nora’s already tried a new fruity cocktail when Seung Hyun finally sits down with her and hands over a USB. It’s got the footage of the harassment, and she’s going to leave it to Nora to decide what to do.

It gives Nora more stress, as she’s afraid that revealing the information would lead to her own arrest because she’d be accused of fraud. She drinks glass after glass of cocktails, and eventually Seung Hyun is so worried about her she calls up Hyun Suk for help.

He comes to the bar to pick her up and sees her struggling over her decision to reveal the truth or not. Hyun Suk thought it’d be easy for her, since she is already dying, but in reality Nora just wants to fit in and be a normal student. She may be 20 years late, but that’s all she wants to do. Hyun Suk reminds her to be brave – just like the time when she fought with Yoon Young and they grabbed each other’s hair.

Next morning, Nora doesn’t remember a thing but she is at home. Woo Chul heads to work, tsking over her drinking. She doesn’t remember much of the night before, though she vaguely recalls telling Hyun Suk her address and also him telling her to be brave. So with that, she emails the professor some video clips of that night. If Professor Cho doesn’t resign by the end of the day she will send the video to the gender equality center.

Professor Cho’s first instinct is to call up his lawyer, but Hyun Suk appears behind him: “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” If Professor Cho doesn’t resign, Hyun Suk will step in as a witness. After all, he was there at the same bar and saw everything. And so did Kim Yi Jin. (She probably didn’t, but her name does make Professor Cho quake.)

Once that’s done, Hyun Suk calls up Nora, who’s worried about being able to fit in and what consequences will result from her actions. He has something he needs her to do quite urgently at his office.

Nora is tasked with reading a bunch of rejected submissions from the public for “You & Now” project. It looks like Hyun Suk wants her to give those stories another pass and see what she thinks is a good story about loss.

The doorbell rings, and Hyun Suk tells her to not mind it, but to just finish her task. So Nora doesn’t see that her husband has just walked through the door, nor he see her behind the pile of papers.

Hyun Suk greets Woo Chul, and then introduces him to somebody. He tells Nora to get up. Yikes!

And the clincher is, Hyun Suk puts his arm around Nora!

Some Thoughts

If this show is depicting what goes on in a Korean university, then it’s ridiculously frustrating. Twenty-year olds will be twenty-year olds, no matter where they are. Some will have a sense of justice but too scared to do anything, some will say something, and some will just be too eager to please. Some will be rude to older people trying to get an education later in life, and some will be more tolerant. It’s not surprising to see how some of the students act, but at the same time it’s so frustrating to see them bend over backwards to please a sleazeball professor. It’s selfish of them to not want to protect their peers or stand up for what is right just so they can get a job. It’s infuriating to see them choose to keep one’s head down, thus letting corrupt people get away with things. And what’s worse is when they kick out people who don’t uphold the status quo.

I really appreciated Soon Nam in this episode, because he too was just as bad as the humanities freshmen and would have isolated Nora. And yet he realized that she was a person too. She is getting her education later, but she is still no different from them. And I was grateful that he stood up to the students and said, “I’m embarrassed for us twenty year olds now,” because it’s true – their behavior is embarrassing. They should be adults, and yet they clearly aren’t. And I hope that comment hits them harder than the argument, “You don’t know what we have to go through after college!”

Really looking forward to episode five now, and see what Hyun Suk has in store for Nora and Woo Chul.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

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