Bubblegum 풍선껌 Episode 7
It’s kimchi-making day and, for good or bad, couple-making day as well. Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan play doctor with properly anesthetized cabbage. As Haeng Ah pulls on his gloves, she notices the fine details of his face – his eyes, those glossy lips, how tall he’s grown – as if seeing it all for the first time through girlfriend eyes. Everything is new, different, and amazing. Ri Hwan flirts back, loving every minute of it. Uncle Gangster peeks around the corner and grins approvingly.
Aunt Princess prepares in the kitchen and sighs that she is worried for Mother/Aunt. Uncle Gangster puts his foot down this time in support of Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah. Uncle thinks every person has to live out his life, not how the adults want it. He defends their right for love, but Aunt defends Mother/Aunt saying she has no one on her side.
Ji Hoon jumped at the chance to see Tae Hee under the guise of making kimchi, but may be sorry at her less than open arms towards him. He wants her forgiveness and attention too easily; she is angry that he wants in her life again now that she is interested in someone else. Sure she wishes it could have been him – that would be simpler, but the baggage is too heavy and he has relegated himself to a pitiful drunkard in her eyes.
The restaurant patio tables are set up assembly line style for batches of kimchi and everyone’s sleeves are rolled up for the task at hand. Uncle Gangster fulfills his guardian role to Ri Hwan and asks who will take responsibility if Haeng Ah cries, is hungry, or gets hurt? To Uncle Gangster’s satisfaction, Ri Hwan quickly promises it is he who will take care of her. Uncle has indicated his blessing but asks about Mother/Aunt; Ri Hwan assures him that he will talk to her and not to worry.
What’s everyone else up to?
Mother/Aunt tours a care facility as if she is checking it out for an elderly relative. She asks questions and seems pensive. If she doesn’t take care of her guardianship Chief Doctor will call Ri Hwan himself. Mother/Aunt wants to avoid bringing Ri Hwan in on all that is happening to her and decides that Aunt Princess will be her guardian.
Kissin’ cousin Dong Hwa’s bubble bursts when she sees Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah playfully teasing together in a not-so-sibling way. As she storms off with a big pouty face Ri Hwan comments, “Now everyone knows.” She ends up in a local lunch spot where she runs into Ji Hoon who is having his own pity party. The two commiserate on love lost so tragically as they eagerly offer each other the worst of relationship advice.
Se Young and Joon Soo have just come from the movies. They enjoy a glass of wine and discuss films – she’s the expert minor actress; his family owned a video store. Our Joon Soo has clearly fallen for cougar Se Young. They recite the catchy love lines of movie after movie, and work up to the iconic kiss scenes until it becomes blurry and they find themselves at the point of no return in the cougar-covered back seat of her car.
Ri Hwan wants to go together with Haeng Ah to talk to Mother/Aunt. She says she’ll think about it. As they walk along, he matches her every move without missing a beat. She, on the other hand, doesn’t know that his profession is actually Oriental Neuropsychiatry. Ri Hwan acts hurt: is she even interested in him? Does she even know his name? Sure, it’s here in her phone, “Little Brother Park,” she replies. He changes his name in her phone to something he likes and that makes her smile. (No doubt we will eventually find out the meaning of the name change.) They head to his office to submit a paper as a favor for Ji Hoon who, despite his drinking and pitiful demeanor, is quite the genius according to Ri Hwan. As they leave, Ri Hwan turns out the light as a romantic gesture and leans in for a kiss, only to be slapped by a startled Haeng Ah. The opportunity for that special moment has passed, and Ri Hwan sprawls across a chair bemoaning the fact that being in this kind of relationship is no different from their former relationship if that sort of thing is going to be an issue. Haeng Ah says it’s too awkward. He says it should be natural. She wants him to wait – she needs time. He wants to get past that phase where he won’t worry that she’ll run away. That wont’ happen she assures him, because she likes him too.
No one is more adorable than Dong Wook as the shy but pleased boyfriend. But the moment is ruined again when Haeng Ah says it’s no big deal, she’s already seen him naked before. Remember? That time when she walked in on his bath and he was unable to hide. “You were little back then,” she recalls. Ri Hwan covers his crotch and gasps, “Little?” She meant that he was a kid then. See, it’s awkward she points out.
Then there’s Suk Joon and Dong Il at a bar. Suk Joon is uncharacteristically chatty as Dong Il is quick to point out. Suk Joon wants to make sure he is okay living in the employee quarters. Dong Il doesn’t want to go there or anywhere if it concerns him, and changes the subject to Suk Joon: does he wants to marry Haeng Ah? Suk Joon is reflective; can he hold on to her? Does he have the right to if she is happy? It’s another disastrous pseudo counseling session and Dong Il laments that the loneliest relationship is having someone but not their heart. Dong Il wants to give Suk Joon a hug for all that he has endured at that station. They both know that something big is going down tomorrow and their long-standing work relationship will end. They head out arm around shoulder, buddy style.
Tae Hee leaves Dong Il flustered beyond his ability to handle it when she drops off a bucked of homemade kimchi at his room. He doesn’t know what to make of it.
After spending the day together, Ri Hwan drops off Haeng Ah at her apartment and hands her a gift bag before she heads up. She wonders if it’s a birthday gift, but it is just something he’s prepared for her. She can’t resist opening it as she gets ready for bed. It’s an Eastern medicine boyfriend sort of gift – arm weights, exercise accessories, and a book. There’s a loose photograph in the pages.
Suk Joon is accosted by the media as he walks out of the office building to his car. The announcement has been made that he is going to give his testimony as an insider in an unfair dismissal case against CBM. He has taken the union’s side against management and will lose his position over this. It’s all over the news.
Yi Seul meets an arranged date for lunch. She has taken care to dress the part. His conversation centers around the breaking news of Suk Joon. She daydreams over past conversations with Ri Hwan. Yi Seul is having a hard time. She stands up in the middle of their date; there’s something she needs to take care of. Ri Hwan is surprised to see Yi Seul at his office. She pours out her heart and tells him how hard it is for her to deal with her feelings when she knows he is not going to return them. They have an honest conversation, but that’s why she is struggling in the first place. He understands but is in a terrible position – he’s the poison and the cure that she can’t have. I want to say it was a gutsy move on her part and I don’t think Yi Seul has an ulterior motive, but she is so hard to read that I am confused by her. I find myself not wanting to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Mother/Aunt asks to meet Aunt Princess for lunch. Mother/Aunt thanks her ahead of time for being so good to Ri Hwan. Princess Aunt thinks they are talking about the past and says that has plenty to be thankful for, too. We aren’t privy to their conversation, but it is apparent by the shock on Aunt Princess’ face that Mother/Aunt has told her about her illness and has asked her to oversee Ri Hwan’s marriage (to Yi Seul). Aunt Princess agrees. What else can she do?
Black Radio team wraps up their show. Se Young heads out for the day withe puppy Soo Joon at her heels. It is obvious to Tae Hee what is going on and when Haeng Ah catches on she can’t believe those two are dating. Se Young plays it cool, but Soo Joon can’t let it go: about what happened yesterday, he starts. She coyly says she can’t remember. He wants to take the lead and tells her he’ll come to her place later and to drive carefully and don’t put on makeup at the stop sign. As the elevator doors close he repeats, “I’ll be there later.”
Suk Joon lays his badge on his desk and walks out through a line of employees that has formed. “I’ll say good-bye from here,” he tells them. They bow deeply, respectfully. Tae Hee runs to tell Haeng Ah that Suk Joon is leaving. It is his last dignified walk through the halls and down the escalator. She watched as Suk Joon turns to the employees on last time. Their eyes meet as he leaves. He has taken a stand that has cost him his job. Once outside, he loosens his tie and confidently walks away.
Overbearing Mother is ragging on Yi Seul again. (What else is new?) She wants to know how the date went but Yi Seul has nothing to say. Overbearing Mother is impossible with the staff and throws a fit that her daughter will continue to lose face. She blames her attendee for not making sure the date went the way she wanted it to and shouts threatening rants about what she can do with her power, position, and money.
Mother/Aunt loses her bearings on the busy street. Ri Hwan gets a call from Aunt Princess that his mother isn’t picking up. Alarmed that something is wrong he tries to call her, too, but she doesn’t answer. Mother/Aunt is in a fog. A stranger stops to help her. Mother/Aunt gets her bearings enough to call Haeng Ah, but hands the phone to the stranger who tells Haeng Ah where to come and meet her. Haeng Ah dashes out of the studio, meets her, and brings her home. Mother/Aunt has no choice to tell Haeng Ah what is going on with her. She is prideful and thanks Haeng Ah for her help but wants her to leave now. She is thankful to Haeng Ah but angry at the same time to be beholden to her. At that moment Ri Hwan arrives. Haeng Ah hides. He is worried for his mother. He interprets her behavior as her way of forcing her wishes on him to marry Yi Seul. He decides it is the time to tell her his true feeling for Haeng Ah and doesn’t want her to oppose him.
Mother/Aunt resists. Ri Hwan tells her she can’t blame what happened to Uncle on Haeng Ah. None of what happened is her fault, he tells her. Ri Hwan wants his mother to know that he is happy when he’s with Haeng Ah. Can’t she be on his side for once? Mother says she doesn’t like it. Ri Hwan can’t hold back anymore and lays it all on the line. “Mom, you were going to throw Haeng Ah away. She overhead everything. ‘I’ll throw her out if I have to.’ She has never once resented you. She wants to be good to you.” Ri Hwan recalls the entire conversation from back then. Not only does Mother/Aunt realize that Ri Hwan knows what happened, Haeng Ah (who overhears everything just like she did before) understands that Ri Hwan knew her burden and worries all along.
Mother/Aunt still doesn’t like it. Ri Hwan apologizes for the disappointment he has been to her: not going to medical school, not marrying Yi Seul. But doesn’t it matter to her that he is happy? For once, can’t it be about him?
- Mom is stubborn and insistent. Add to that the fact that she scared Ri Hwan to death when she attempted an overdose on sleeping pills, so how in the world is he going to take the news that she has Alzheimer’s? I don’t think he is going to be able to stand up to her not liking him being with Haeng Ah once he finds out. Also, Haeng Ah isn’t going to stay still if Mother/Aunt continues to oppose their relationship – she will voluntarily remove herself from the scene rather than be thrown out or go against Mother/Aunt. Ri Hwan knows this and, although he hoped he could avoid it, finds the situation to be exactly that.
- My biggest fear is that Haeng Ah is going to feel that she wasn’t good to Suk Joon when he was having a hard time and now that he has made a career damaging decision to stand on the side of the union against management and testify, she will feel bad that she wasn’t understanding enough to even know what he was going through. Now that he is unemployed and Haeng Ah knows that Mother/Aunt will not accept her, will she run off with Suk Joon?
- I don’t get Yi Seul. I just don’t get her at all.
- I think the show is doing a decent job with the couples and their story lines. I am still invested in all the characters and their relationships. Dong Il or Ji Hoon and Tae Hee? Or maybe Dong Il and Ji Hoon? 🙂
- I like Aunt Princess and Uncle Gangster; even though they are on opposite sides of Ri Hwan versus Mother/Aunt, they are true to their support and reasons. Aunt Princess is protecting Mother/Aunt for being fragile in the past and now finds out that she is fragile once again. I love that Uncle Gangster stepped up as a father figure for Ri Hwan.
- Poor Ri Hwan just wants to be happy with his childhood friend who he has fallen in love with. Why does everything have to be so complicated all the time?
- Thoughts? Comments? Yay or nay for Bubblegum?