We’re at the penultimate episode! It covers almost all ranges of genres, from romantic comedy to revenge to melodrama. It definitely felt like it was trying to do a lot in one hour, and the editing towards the end quickens to the point that it actually became more distracting than the scene itself. But the production aside, I really liked seeing Nora grow even more in this episode, and I was really proud of her.
Nora starts hiccuping the moment Hyun Suk confesses, ruining this special moment. What’s crazier is Hyun Suk spots Dong Chul spying on them and sends him off to get water. Of course, Dong Chul then shares the gossip with Yoon Young.
Nora figures that Hyun Suk is confessing his love for her because he heard about her divorce, and just watched over her all this time. She denies liking him, and reiterates that not everything is about him. She hurries off, and that’s when Yoon Young calls because she wants to hear alllll about the confession! Yoon Young thinks it’s great, especially since her friend now gets to experience real feelings of love and excitement. Nora acknowledges that it’s great to be able to feel these emotions, but her practical mind gets in the way. She thinks she’s not in the position to think about love when she has a future to worry about. This isn’t the time for her to think about love, and she already feels so indebted because he’s always there to save her.
The following morning Hyun Suk greets her outside her home. He and Nora had a fitful night’s sleep, and in his case he couldn’t accept her rejection. He can’t believe that she only views him as a friend so he wants them to spend the day together where they will do everything he wants to do, and she will have to prove that she only cares for him platonically. It’s really silly, but it’s Hyun Suk’s attempt at getting her to admit she likes him. Nora is up for the challenge, so off they go!
First stop: pick up breakfast. He gets some sandwiches from a cart made with really thick toast and then they head to the park. Nora nearly gets run over by a bike before Hyun Suk pulls her out of harm’s way. She jumps out of his arms when she realizes that she’s kind of hugging him, and yells at the biker for not being more careful. They sit at a bench to eat their sandwiches and Hyun Suk guides her on how to eat it without being messy. Nora wants to prove that she can do things on her own without a “boyfriend” so she insists on eating it the way she wants. Biting right into the middle of the sandwich gets all the sauce around her mouth though; it’s way easier to eat if she just ate it Hyun Suk’s way of biting into the corners first.
They head off to school in his car, and Hyun Suk reaches over to unbuckle her seatbelt. Nora tenses up, thinking it unnecessary for him to do this. But this is Hyun Suk’s day, so he is going to act as much like a boyfriend as he wants.
Nora applies for a student loan so that she could have some living expenses, though the requirement is that she must maintain at least a C average. That might be a little difficult for her since she’s not doing so well in her English class or preparing for the TOEIC.
Hyun Suk is waiting for her outside her class – just like a proper boyfriend would – because he needs her for work: they’re going to go scout for a theater for the play. They check out a small theater, which Nora prefers because it allows for a smaller audience and a more intimate experience. The theater owner is impressed with Nora’s views and asks who she is. Hyun Suk: “She’s the girl I like but she says she doesn’t like me too much.” How embarrassing!
The theater now chosen, Hyun Suk takes Nora to the same park where she had a date with her classmate Danny. (By the way, I miss that kid…) He’s got different plans for their “date” though. Instead of watching a movie, they’ll read manga! The best part is he took out an ‘Himouto! Umaru-chan’ manga! (If you haven’t seen the anime on Crunchyroll, check it out. It’s only 12 episodes and really cute!) They spend the afternoon reading, and Nora cracks up over the Umaru manga (because it’s really cute). Hyun Suk wants to see too, so he inches really close to her and reads it over her shoulder. Talk about personal space! And then he gets tired and decides to lie on her back as a pillow!
After that, Hyun Suk escorts Nora to the train because they’ve never ridden the subway together. When it gets less crowded, Hyun Suk moves to a seat across from Nora so that he can look at her the rest of the ride. Nora gets self-conscious and looks away, but realizes that this is exactly what Hyun Suk wants! So to prove that she sees him as a friend, she tries to stare him down right back. That only amuses him even more!
He walks her home, and they bump into Min Soo, who’s returning from school. Hyun Suk recognizes him as part of the couple who was fighting, and Nora is surprised he knows about Min Soo and Hye Mi too. She introduces Min Soo to her high school friend, and he immediately becomes respectful; this kid was really raised well in manners. Hyun Suk wonders if Min Soo is carrying beer because he didn’t resolve his issues with his girlfriend, but he claims he wanted to drink with his mom. Whether it was a hurried lie or not, it makes Nora really happy because this is a bonding experience for the both of them.
Min Soo really does have some worries though, which is why he wanted to drink. He tells his mom that he never understood why he wanted to work for a large corporation. He is just doing everything that his father told him, and he says it as though it leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. It seems his respect for his father has diminished quite a bit. Nora can only advise him not to be too impatient, implying that things will come on its own time.
The following morning, Hyun Suk is waiting for Nora again outside her apartment. Nora’s had enough, she doesn’t want to prove that she likes him only as a friend anymore. He tries to point out that her discomfort around him means that she likes him, especially since she used to be very comfortable around him. Nora appreciates that he finds her a beautiful person still, but that he needs to stop being stuck in the past. She thinks he is seeing her as if it’s still 20 years ago and that’s why he is confessing now, but she just wants a friend. Nothing more than that. On top of that, she adds that he’s not her type!
Hyun Suk can’t believe what a good liar she is but is all like, “Fine – I’ll just leave you alone now. Hmph!”
As for Min Soo, he intercepts Hye Mi on her way to school and suggests they go on a day trip. Hye Mi is confused, since this is exactly what Min Soo is usually against, but she agrees to go along. They board a ferry to a small island and ride bikes, skip stones, eat barbecue, and enjoy each other’s company. This is what Hye Mi always wanted: to have Min Soo’s uninterrupted attention for a day. But she also realizes that Min Soo is doing this because he’ll never do this again. They’re breaking up like real adults now, realizing that right now is not the right time for them to be together. They may regret breaking up in the future, but they will continue fighting if they stay together. So for now, Min Soo will just do everything Hye Mi ever wanted, what he wished he could have also done to date comfortably, before they part ways at the end of the day.
And when evening comes and they have to board the last ferry back home, they are able to do so fully satisfied with their last day together.
As for Woo Chul, his romance with Yi Jin has fallen into disrepair. Hyun Suk notices the two of them awkwardly walk past each other on campus, which indicates that they’ve definitely broken up. It’s no wonder Woo Chul suggested having a real love triangle with Nora in the middle.
Nora heads to the office and sees Sang Ye all pretty and dressed up! What’s the occasion? Why, Sang Ye is thinking of confessing to Hyun Suk! It makes Nora feel really uncomfortable but she smiles supportively, knowing that she can’t do anything about it. In reality though, a flashback reveals that when Sang Ye returned to work after a sleepover at Nora’s, she apologized to Hyun Suk for her actions and officially let go of her feelings for him. In exchange though, she is hoping that Hyun Suk would set her up on a blind date with his colleagues.
So when Hyun Suk tells Sang Ye to head out (ignoring Nora the entire time because he’s still huffy about the morning conversation), it’s because he’s driving her to her blind date location! Sang Ye tells him in the car that she lied to Nora about where they’re going, and Hyun Suk worries that it will cause additional misunderstandings. But Sang Ye reassures him that jealousy is the best way to get Nora’s true feelings to come out. Nora’s just really really good at masking it in front of them right now.
Yoon Young calls up Nora because she wants them to take a look at the Yeonam-dong store. She still doesn’t trust Woo Chul on good faith and wants to see the location herself. The current owner mistakes Nora as the new owner and asks her for permission to be able to extend his contract. That’s a suspicious comment, and Nora calls up Woo Chul to see what’s going on. He fumbles for an answer, saying he sold it in a rush because he needed a place to stay and forgot to tell her. Since he sold the store, he will allow her to keep the apartment’s deposit once it gets rented out. He adds that he’ll be moving to Jahcheon University so that she can attend school comfortably, but Nora doesn’t really care about that anymore. Heh.
Woo Chul prepares his resignation letter and is about to text Yi Jin when a student comes in to deliver an envelope. It’s addressed from the psychology magazine, but inside contains photos of him paying off the student that initially bribed him! He gets a call from Kyung Dae Nam, his friend that helped him get connected with Professor Park, and hears that his position at Jahcheon is at risk because they heard he’s got some “issues” and that Woocheon University is dismissing him soon.
That’s news to Woo Chul, but he quickly deduces that Yi Jin is involved since she is also the one who got him the job at WCU. He goes to her office, where she is already expecting him. She knows he has many questions, and that confirms his suspicion that she’s behind it all. He thought she was “pure” – HAH. Well if that is the case then she’s taking revenge on the person who stole her purity. She dares him to report it to the police, because she knows no one will believe him. Woo Chul doesn’t understand why he would even take photos of her in this situation, and she ominously tells him to wait until the following morning.
Woo Chul staggers out of her office, barely registering that Hyun Suk is in the same hallway. He is in absolute shock as he sees his career and his future disappear in the blink of an eye. Hyun Suk senses that Yi Jin has something to do with it and enters her office. Her back is facing the door so when she hears someone come in, she bitterly says, “No matter how quickly you regret it, it’s still too late.” Heh, she equally regrets saying that without checking who came in her office first.
Hyun Suk just wanted to tell her that he doesn’t plan to continue teaching the next semester. Even though she’s not his department chair, he felt he ought to tell her since she is the one who convinced him to join WCU for the semester. She feels no compulsion to stop him from leaving either, which leaves him with an unsettled feeling that something really big happened between her and Woo Chul.
And when he returns to his office, Sang Ye updates him about a new post on the school’s forum about a list of professors who might have gotten into the faculty via corrupt means, thanks to the bribery scandal before the start of the semester. Hyun Suk has Sang Ye look up who the girls who took the pictures are, and then summons Seung Hyun and Soon Nam to his office for a special “job.”
Hyun Suk returns to Yi Jin’s office just as she’s about to leave and tells her that he knows. He shows her the picture of her girls; he knows their identity and where they are because he’s traveled around the world. (I don’t get how traveling around the world connects to being able to track people down, but okay.) But he won’t try to force them to tell the truth. Instead, he’ll put up a post on the forum about how Yi Jin had an affair with Woo Chul, and just let the gossip ruin her as well. His evidence? The CCTV footage at the Massa Maren show.
Yi Jin can’t believe he’s actually trying to save Woo Chul because of his love for Nora, but it’s not just her. Hyun Suk is also trying to protect Min Soo, who also attends WCU and would face the backlash of having a scandalous father. And didn’t Yi Jin once love Woo Chul? What’s the point of hurting Woo Chul now when she will only feel better for a day? Hyun Suk wants her to only take down the post and make it all go away before tomorrow morning; if she doesn’t he will write up the post.
Yi Jin knows that Hyun Suk is right, but all she ever wanted was to be a campus couple with Woo Chul. Give me a second to roll my eyes. She messages Woo Chul to meet her at their apartment and proceeds to smack him with an envelope when he arrives. Good! Let out your anger!
She’s mostly angry why he didn’t tell her earlier that he no longer had feelings for her. To his credit, he was going to tell her but she came and met up with him before he had a chance to say it in a proper setting. She drops the envelope in front of him, and then sees a contract for the store of Yeonam-dong. She is the buyer!
Next thing we know, Woo Chul goes to Hyun Suk’s office looking quite defeated. He doesn’t understand why his rival in love would help him out with this scandal. Hyun Suk only wants Woo Chul to live well; if he lives well, then Nora and Min Soo will be okay. That’s a blow to Woo Chul, who’s always been so selfish. He walks home, and next thing we know he’s returning to Nora’s apartment looking quite disheveled and not in a suit. Nora is packing up, as the apartment has finally been rented out, and she’s surprised to see him around. Woo Chul just wanted to surrender and say formally that he lost to Hyun Suk. Not that she knows what he is talking about though.
Early next morning, Nora arrives at Hyun Suk’s office to thank him for what he did for Woo Chul. But she’s had enough. She’s finding it harder and harder to face him because of all the things he’s done for her, from when they were in high school all the way to now. It’s hard for her to face him properly because she owes him so much, so she would much prefer it if he would no longer be by her side anymore. She’s even quit her new position at Bluebird Theater before she even started to cut off one more tie from him.
Cue a few seconds of moping and then Hyun Suk calls up Nora to meet in a cafe. He wants to know if she just needs time, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t want him at all. Hyun Suk bares all his feelings on the table: he loves her for who she is now, not because he loved her 20 years ago and she’s his first love. He just wanted her to know that, but he won’t push further in pursuing this relationship because it’s a two-way street. She needs to come to him too, and right now she’s obviously not ready.
Nora adds that she wants to be by herself for a bit, which is fair. It’s a painful breakup for the both of them, even though nothing really started. But kudos to Nora for sticking to her guns.
Aaand then she hands in her withdrawal form for Woocheon University.
With that ending I felt we took two steps forward and one step back. I thought it was admirable for Nora to want to stand on her own two feet without relying on another man. She has spent 20 years relying on Woo Chul, only to have to divorce and find her own way again. And now Hyun Suk is here, ready and willing to take care of her 24/7, and she can see herself falling into the same “trap” of relying on a man. I get that a lot of people would rather she accept Hyun Suk as her man, but I really admire her for wanting to be independent, even if for a little bit. And college really let her be like that – which is why I felt the show took a step backwards by having her withdraw. There was no reason for her to withdraw, unless the issue was money. But I feel that it would have been kind of nice to see her go through with graduating, working, and finding her path through college – even with the loans.
The last ten minutes of the show felt very quickly edited, moving from one sequence to another that it felt like a dream. Usually when we got quick reactions from the characters, it was a sequence from imagination, which is why I thought the whole thing from Woo Chul confronting Hyun Suk to his return to Nora’s house was his imagination. In fact, I don’t even get how he could have changed and gotten so scruffy in the span of a day. Or! Perhaps it was his imagination and his way of apologizing to Nora without being in front of her. Either way, the editing felt a bit jarring.
I feel that we’re approaching a slow end to this series that had a nice rise to the climax. Let’s see how the ending – which I feel will include a time jump – goes…
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