Bubblegum 풍선껌 Episode 4
[Our Today is Not Our Yesterday]
One good punch deserves another. The boys duke it out but the show is over quickly. Haeng Ah is concerned that no one sees her with Suk Joon, even now. All this time they kept their relationship a secret to avoid office romance issues and union fallout between a senior management and junior employee. When Dong Il shows up to check on the alarm, Suk Joon walks him out to defuse the situation. Dong Il is a 21st century town crier who knows everything inside the business and out; he informs Suk Joon that Ri Hwan is dating a Chaebol girl, the daughter of Taeyang Group. “He’s seeing someone?” Suk Joon is surprised to learn that. He knows the woman Dong Il is referring to, the one who was dating someone else before. Dong Il provides details on that, too, as if it is old news. Her fiancé, son of Saemyung Group, got another woman pregnant who then had an abortion. Taeyang Group’s son got angry for embarrassing his sister and kicked out the Saemyung president. The powerful Taeyang Group ruined Saemyung financially behind the scenes. “He’s seeing that woman?” Suk Joon asks again. He wonders if Haeng Ah knows.
Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah walk to his car after the anticlimactic brawl. He just wants to take her home. She’ll take a taxi, she insists. He admits he caused trouble and asks her to please get in the car. He is so angry you can practically see the steam coming from his ears. “That guy, did he do anything bad?” he asks her. He didn’t, she replies. Ri Hwan takes her to Tae Hee’s house. “I hate that guy so much,” he repeats over and over. He doesn’t even know why, a guy he barely knows, and realizes the real problem lies within his own heart. Ri Hwan struggles with what kind of feelings he has for Haeng Ah. The comfortable childhood they shared has developed into more than the kind of sibling love that doesn’t have to be explained or limited.
When Ri Hwan gets home, he finds Ji Hoon still up watching the shopping network and drinking. He grabs his beer and chugs it. Ri Hwan gives Ji Hoon a metaphorical example that he can relate to: say there is a bar that you like but I don’t like because that bar is not good for you. No free food on your birthday. If you want fruit, you have to bring it yourself. So I hit him once. As the metaphor turns into the real story, he chokes up. Ji Hoon, roommate and partner who isn’t much good in the consoling department, sees that his buddy is in pain. He tells Ri Hwan to go ahead and throw something, offers to go to the batting cages together or brush their teeth until their gums bleed – it is his way of acknowledging that Ri Hwan is hurting. “Does Haeng Ah know you are like this?” he asks.
Sure enough, Suk Joon shows up at Haeng Ah’s apartment. He buzzes and calls out her name. That’s why Ri Hwan dropped her off at Tae Hee’s instead. Ri Hwan decides to go to Haeng Ah. Mother sees him dash past (he and Ji Hoon live in an upstairs apartment of her house) and wonders where he is going since it’s late. He fails to hail a taxi and runs full speed to Tae Hee’s. When Haeng Ah answers the door he tells her he has something to say.
What doesn’t get hashed out on the rooftop gets sorted on the neighborhood playground swings. Ri Hwan apologizes for coming on so strong, saying he hated Suk Joon; after all, she might still like him. No, she wanted to break up. If she holds on to everything she wants, she tells him, then she might end up with no one by her side. Including him. That will never happen, he says. Yeah, she knows that. She promises that if she really needs him, she’ll call. Like the time in high school when she covered for him to escape an older girl he didn’t want to date. That girl retaliated and ripped up her shoes in gym, she reminds him. Haeng Ah confesses that her chest hurt when he left like that, angry and upset over Suk Joon. She tried to do the pressure points to relieve it, but couldn’t’ get it right. Ri Hwan pulls her swing to his, takes her hand, and applies pressure: here for indigestion, here and for pressure on your chest. He counts one, two, three, four, to help her relax.
I’m not exactly crazy about Se Young’s and Joon Soo’s behavior toward one another. The cougar/boy toy act, is it real, or is he kissing up to his senior? I find it meh and overdone. His attention to her and her reactions are awkward to watch. However, she did like his suggestion at the meeting to interview Kang Suk Joon, the man whose reputation is fraught with rumors. So when Suk Joon happens to step in the elevator with them, she pounces at the opportunity to invite him on their radio program. He says he’ll talk about it with her PD (Haeng Ah).
Ri Hwan meets Mother at the hospital. They have a lunch date. There are indications that Mother has spells where her thinking is unclear, she’s forgetful, and gets dizzy. She tries to hide it. Mother and Ri Hwan are on different wave lengths. She asks about Yi Seul, he talks about Haeng Ah. Mother is not pleased. She is forward about Haeng Ah’s family health history issues and instead of sounding caring, she wishes Haeng Ah would move away. She thought by now Haeng Ah would have married and been gone by 30, but her presence is like a dark and cold shadow following her son around. Ri Hwan is shocked at how his mother speaks of Haeng Ah. He demands to know if she said anything so straight forward and cold to Haeng Ah. Mother’s harshness is unacceptable. When Ri Hwan says he won’t see her anymore, she tells him that won’t happen; she’s his mother, but Haeng is nothing. I wonder if it is really only that Mother is worried that Haeng Ah is in the way of Ri Hwan pursuing Yi Seul, or if there is more.
Yi Seul purchases an expensive exclusive couples’ watch set at the jewelers. I am not sure how to read Yi Seul when she abruptly cuts off the sales clerk who suggests that she keep the men’s watch box instead of wrapping it without it, as Yi Seul requested. “Please ring it up,” she snaps. Is her demeanor a burst of confidence, jealously toward Haeng Ah, or privileged chaebol behavior? Not sure.
The station staff meets to set up their schedule. Haeng Ah would like to interview the girl on the roof as they’ve kept in touch. Joon Soo answers the phone: it’s Kang Suk Joon. He wants Haeng Ah and Tae Hee to come to his office. Haeng Ah chokes on her food. Se Young gets all excited and tells them that she invited him to be on their show. He acted like he wouldn’t come, she says, but look how fast he’s called back. Dong Il’s been summoned, too. “I heard they were inviting guests who had rumors about them,” Suk Joon verifies. It’s a short meeting; they are dismissed. But, he calls after Producer Kim Haeng Ah to stay.
The other two speculate on what’s up – Dong Il claims he doesn’t know anything when Tae Hee comments that she thought it was over between them. Dong Il says Suk Joon can’t go on the air, the unions are looking to string him alive these days, and he can’t afford to make a wrong move. He tells Tae Hee not to hate Suk Joon too much. She says she’s his fan – he’s sexy. Somewhere in there Tae Hee throws a smile his way that renders Dong Il speechless. For an instant, at least. She continues on that now she’s not Suk Joon’s fan anymore because he uses his position to show off his power. He even used Dong Il, she points out. At that, he becomes a tongue-tied mess.
The reality is that Suk Joon used the meeting as an excuse to talk to Haeng Ah who hasn’t been answering his calls. She won’t talk in his office, so up to the rooftop they go. Suk Joon has given thought to what she said last time, and responds to her accusations one by one. He knows she had a hard time because she couldn’t talk about their relationship to anyone; she said it was okay not to call when he was busy; he didn’t hang around when she was sick because she said she didn’t like to talk; on her birthday, she said she had plans with friends. To that she responds that he didn’t like to be bothered, he didn’t do birthdays, he liked her being strong even when she was sick. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. He gets a text: the president is looking for you. He tries to ignore it for her sake. “I’m not saying it’s your fault. I’m saying that I didn’t know,” he tells her and promises to change. She tells him that she has hung onto his words that he couldn’t live without her. It made her waver, she confesses. Nevertheless, she wants to stop. Nothing will change. [His phone rings and rings.] She says she will always be hungry and he won’t be able to get out of the rat race. She’ll become more lonely; he’ll become more tired. That damn phone keeps ringing. She asks if just once can she be number one to him? Can he not answer this once? Like Haeng Ah, I’m not sure why I am so disappointed when he answers; it’s as if I let myself think for a split second he might not. When he answers it, everything he just told her goes up in smoke. As she leaves, he grabs her wrist, but she loosens his grip with her other hand, whispers “thank you and be well,” and walks away.
Yi Seul visits Ri Hwan for another acupuncture treatment and a chance to see him. As he treats her ankle, he tells her that Haeng Ah says she will buy her a new bag for the one she ruined. Without realizing it, he goes on and on about Haeng Ah – how she needs to get her head on straight, the goofy things she does when she’s drunk, that he worries about her – things that tell Yi Seul how well he knows and cares about her. She is about to suggest they make plans for later when Ri Hwan gets a call from Ji Hoon. He’s at the police station, but he’s cried wolf once too often and Ri Hwan thinks it’s his usual ploy to get him come and drink. He hangs up on him. There’s been a mix up at a police checkpoint, and Ji Hoon is suspected of driving under the influence. What really happened is that the illegal cab driver sneaked away at the checkpoint so as not to get busted and left passenger Ji Hoon passed out in the cab. Although it got straightened out, the police still won’t release drunk Ji Hoon without a guardian. Ji Hoon calls down the list of friends, but so far no one is coming to his aid.
Yi Seul and Ri Hwan relax with a cup of tea. When he compliments her watch, she asks if he likes watches. He doesn’t wear one, he tells her, because he uses his wrists at work and it’s uncomfortable. Now what is she going to do with the very expensive one she bought and can’t return? Awkwardness. Ji Hoon continues to call friends to spring him from the police station. When he calls Haeng Ah, a policeman answers. She left her phone in the taxi and the driver turned it in, he explains to Ji Hoon. Instead of getting a ride, Ji Hoon ends up responsible for getting the message to Haeng Ah to pick up her phone at another police station. He calls Ri Hwan who is more than willing to retrieve Haeng Ah’s phone. Yi Seul is insistent on driving him. If I’m reading her right, she plans to not let Haeng Ah get between her and Ri Hwan if she can prevent it.
Apparently Ji Hoon was finally successful in contacting someone to pick him up. Tae Hee knees him on the bench and shoots daggers from her eyes at him. When she signs for him, it is revealed that they dated in the past. He sheepishly follows her down the sidewalk. She tells him that he’s free, go play at the bars and find women. He says he doesn’t do that anymore. She tells him to keep away, he reeks of alcohol. Will she join him for a drink he wonders? She tells him that she has someone she likes and that’s why she can sign for his sorry drunk self and not be hurt any longer. When he asks who he is and if she slept with him, he gets a double slap for the jerk that he is. She tells him not to contact her ever again in her life or she’ll kill him.
When Yi Seul drops Ri Hwan off at the other police station, he jumps out in a flash and thanks her over his shoulder. She looks put out that he is in such a hurry to pick up Haeng Ah’s phone. Not only that, the watch she was going to give him is in a bag in the back seat. Things are not working out.
Ri Hwan asks for the phone, but it is registered in Kim Haeng Ah’s name. Is he family? Yes, he replies. But his ID shows their last names are different. Well, they grew up together in the same house when her parents passed away. The policeman isn’t convinced. He calls her phone from his, but his name shows up as “Little Brother Park.” His rambling explanation only gets more suspicious. In walks Suk Joon who also got the story about Haeng Ah’s turned-in phone. His name shows up as “Senior Kang Suk Joon” and the extremely attentive policeman gives him the phone. Overlooked Ri Hwan childishly shouts, “I came here first.” The policeman explains that he has to identify himself and his relationship properly, and his story kept changing. Ri Hwan is like a pouty kid stomping his feet for attention and says that his mother is Haeng Ah’s legal proxy and can make decisions for her is she loses consciousness. He looks so bad in front of Suk Joon, even worse than usual.
Ri Hwan follows Suk Joon demanding the phone and going on that he should rightfully have it. Suk Joon lays it on the line: he’s not her brother; he hears that he’s seeing someone. Ri Hwan says that’s right, it’s Haeng Ah. At that moment she runs up. She sees they’re at it again. She tells Suk Joon that she said everything she had to say before. When he doesn’t give her the phone she walks away and tells Ri Hwan to leave, too. Suk Joon says loud enough for her to hear, “You say you’re not her brother but her man? You?” It’s time for Haeng Ah to call up that favor. She stands next to Ri Hwan and says that yes, she sees him as a man and they’re dating now. Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan walk away together. She tells him not to look back, pick a fight, or harass her about losing her phone. “I won’t,” he answers. Ri Hwan is a little too obtuse when she tells him to grab her hand, put his arm around her shoulder; it has to look real or Suk Joon won’t believe it. Just take charge here, she says, frustrated. Suk Joon isn’t falling for it. Ri Hwan looks intently at Haeng Ah and asks if she’s sure she’s over him. “Haven’t you been listening to me?” she says. He leans in for a kiss right there in the middle of the street. It is a loud and clear signal to Suk Joon that he is not her brother. He’s not the only one who gets the message; Yi Seul has turned the car around and drives up at that very kiss moment.
- But it’s not a wonderful, swoon-y kiss Ri Hwan! It’s awkward for starters. And the big question is, “Who’s the kiss for, anyhoot?” Ri Hwan? Or to get back at Suk Joon? While there’s nothing more I’d like to see than a romantic, swoon-y Dong Wook kiss, this isn’t it. Both Ri Hwan and Suk Joon are disrespectful to Haeng Ah and I am not happy. The kiss doesn’t solve anything and complicates a lot of things. It is a misplaced kiss all around, and it’s all on Ri Hwan. Ewww. I don’t like the hand over her eyes, either.
- So, did anything really get sorted out this episode?
- I like no-nonsense Tae Hee. The men are scared of her and should be, the jerks. Ji Hoon is darn lucky she bothered to bail his sorry butt when he didn’t deserve it. The slaps, he did deserve. Big time.
- Am I the only one who finds Yi Seul hard to read in this episode? It seems like her motives are getting mixed up, too. That aside, Ri Hwan is treating her terribly. I think the discussion that went bad with his mother was supposed to portray that he had seen Yi Seul as a patient several times, no more, no less. But that doesn’t negate that their one or two dates were open and up front.
- Ri Hwan is naive when he wants to be, but sometimes it seems like there are a few screws loose. Wait, is he sick? Mother is sick; Haeng Ah’s health is becoming an issue – even the taxi driver thought she looked sick. Are they hiding illnesses?
- I don’t like any of the romance aspects of this kdrama, especially after this episode. I don’t like the pictures in my head of any of the couples right now. Not a single one.
- We’re left wondering where in the world this kdrama is headed now. Any ideas?