Monday, September 17, 2012

To the Beautiful You: Episode 10 Recap

Oops. This recap was supposed to be up on Friday, but Tae-joon's face in the screencap above kind of sums up this episode for me, which made the recap a lot harder to write (plus real life got in the way)...

Gah, this show drives me nuts and gives me whiplash. If 9 was everything I was hoping for this series from Day 1, 10 encompassed all the tropes and cliches that usually make me want to immediately drop a show: near-misses and misunderstandings that go unclarified, plus heaps and heaps of Annoying Second Lead Syndrome. Why so bipolar, Show? WHY?

Watch TTBY Episode 10 on DramaFever.

Episode 10 Recap
So, Eun-gyul rushes into Jae-hee and Tae-joon's dorm room in search of a bathroom and catches them in bed together. Our leading couple wakes up at the sound of his voice and stare at each other, shocked. Realizing what this means, Jae-hee does what any sane girl in her position would do: she shoves Tae-joon off the bed. Lol.

Eun-gyul heads back to his own room, which is when Hyun-jae finally wanders out of the bathroom. One glance at Puppy's face and Hyun-jae tells him he looks like he just saw a ghost. Eun-gyul mumbles that it probably would have been better if he had. Aw.

Our OTP gets awkward around each other following this event, but Tae-joon is still worried about Jae-hee and so checks her for a fever, again putting them in close proximity to one another. He tells her that her fever has gone down, so she quickly moves away to go to the bathroom. Only... her cosmetics bag falls out of her hands and everything from tampons to nail polish spills out.

Jae-hee drops down to pick everything up before Tae-joon can see, but it's too late of course. Still, he doesn't want her to freak out, so he turns away, pretending he didn't see anything. Yeesh, she's seriously doing a crappy job at this pretending to be a boy thing.

This whole incident only serves to make things more awkward between them and they both reel from it afterward, Jae-hee in the bathroom and Tae-joon in the dorm room, but then Tae-joon gets a text from Director Jang to get ready for his interview that day.

Back in his own dorm, Eun-gyul sits down on the bed, unable to get the vision of Tae-joon and Jae-hee in the same bed out of his mind. He conjures up various scenarios that might explain how they ended up like that, and imagines everything from the pair of them bumping heads to pillow fights to Jae-hee magically falling into the lower bunk.

Tae-joon heads over to his management agency to sit down with Reporter Yang for an interview. He admits to the world that he was indeed in a slump, but he's started jumping again for someone special. Both Reporter Yang and Director Jang perk up at this, and Yang asks him who this special person is. Perhaps... Seol Han-na?

Director Jang is just as curious to know and pesters Tae-joon about it in the car afterward. He assures her it's definitely not Han-na and goes to sleep, putting an end to her questions.

That afternoon, Eun-gyul swings by Tae-joon and Jae-hee's dorm to drop off a book for Jae-hee. On the way out, he warns Tae-joon that there's going to be a dorm inspection soon. After he leaves, Tae-joon remembers Jae-hee's cosmetics bag with the tampons and such, and rushes out of the room.

He begs some guys down the hall for some porn, and they reluctantly give it up. Sure enough, a couple of hours later, Seung-ri and the bumbling principle/dean arrive at Dorm 2 for inspections. Seung-ri is assigned Jae-hee's part of the room, while the principle searches Tae-joon's half.

Jae-hee knows she's in deep shit, and tries halfheartedly to block Seung-ri's way up the stairs. It's no use, and he heads up to her bunk to begin looking through everything. Meanwhile, the bumbling principle immediately spots Tae-joon's new stash of inappropriate magazines and calls him out on it. He rushes out of the room and Seung-ri stops his search, running after the principle. Jae-hee lets out a sigh of relief.

It's not until Jae-hee speaks to Eun-gyul later that day that she finds out Tae-joon had been warned about the inspection. They both wonder why he still got caught if he knew the admins were coming by. As they think about this, Tae-joon and the other Dorm 2 boys who got in trouble run laps on the track. Aw.

News about Tae-joon's latest interview spreads through Genie and Serin both, and the Dorm 2 boys speculate about who the "special person" that Tae-joon mentioned could be. Jong-min has no doubt at all that it's Han-na, which sets off Seung-ri (who has, by now, developed a legitimate crush on her, haha). Jae-hee's discomfort is apparent and she heads outside to Sang-chu's house to clear her head.

Meanwhile, at Serin, Han-na uneasily assures her classmates that of course the article is about her. Even so, she doesn't seem very sure of it herself, and reads through it apprehensively.

Tae-joon finds Jae-hee moping at Sang-chu's house. He sits down beside her and she turns to him, asking why he decided so suddenly not to go to Canada. He replies calmly that there was no special reason--he just had a change of heart, but that only seems to make Jae-hee more upset. She protests angrily that she knows how much he wanted to go; why change his mind like this? Is it really that easy for him?

Tae-joon looks at her, surprised, and asks her if she wants him to leave and go train with Holton overseas. She tells him it's not like that, and he retorts that for her, it never mattered how he did it--she just wanted to see him jump again, right? That's all she ever really wanted from him, anyway. Ouch. She protests at that as well, and tells him it's just he wanted to go so badly--if it wasn't Han-na, then she can't think of any other reasons why he'd change his mind.

At this, Tae-joon keeps mum and Jae-hee walks away, frustrated, grumbling that it's probably not her business anyway. She wipes away a slew of tears as she makes her getaway. After a second or two, Tae-joon runs after her. He's too late though, because he rounds the corner and watches as John drives up and swoops Jae-hee into his car, telling her that he's kidnapping her for the day.

Han-na calls Tae-joon when he returns to his dorm and reminds him about a party for his cousin's photography exhibit. He absolutely can't miss it and she wheedles her way into going together with him. On the soccer field, Eun-gyul's coach tells him about the junior national trials which are coming up soon, and Eun-gyul considers the information nervously.

John takes Jae-hee to a clothing boutique and admits that he wants her to be his date to a business function. He asks her to change her clothes. Han-na and Tae-joon drive over to the party together, and Han-na musters up the courage to ask him about whether he's really decided not to go to Canada. She tells him he made the right decision.

John takes Jae-hee to a party and she wanders around the buffet, putting various foods into her plate. Realizing she's bored, John comes over and tells her they should eat. Meanwhile, Tae-joon and Han-na arrive at the same party.

Eun-gyul buys himself and Jae-hee couple shirts and works on his delivery in the bathroom, wondering what the best way to give her the shirt is. Outside, Hyun-jae stumbles upon the bag with the shirts in it. He pulls out the box with a smile on his face, and thanks Eun-gyul for the present when he comes out of the bathroom.

He's touched at the gift, and asks Eun-gyul how he knew it was his birthday. Realizing the misunderstanding, Eun-gyul dives for the box: "It's not for you!" He promises Hyun-jae he'll get him a present later, but this is definitely not for him. Haha.

At the party, Jae-hee's so bored that she's on the verge of phoning up Tae-joon. John walks up before she can, and tells her he'll show her around. Across the room, Tae-joon gets a glimpse of Jae-hee when she turns around, but blows it off as a fluke.

John takes Jae-hee to one of the back rooms, and when they walk in, Jae-hee realizes it's a private gallery of his work--all photographs of her. She's touched by the magnitude of the gesture, and asks him why he would do something like this for her. As she looks around, she finds one frame that's empty and turns to John, curious.

He tells her that he's been by her side her entire life until now, and wants to be a part of her future as well. Jae-hee's smile falls, and John tells her he's confessing his love to her, but she doesn't have to answer his feelings right away.

She heads back out to the party afterward and finally realizes that Tae-joon and Han-na are at the party as well. She tries to avoid them but doesn't do a very good job, as Han-na spots her from across the room a little while later. Jae-hee runs off and Han-na follows her out. It's not until after they're gone that Tae-joon remembers seeing Jae-hee earlier and he takes off after them.

Han-na and Jae-hee end up in the back of the gallery. Han-na tries to stop her, but Jae-hee pretends to ignore her and continues running. Tae-joon bursts into the room and attempts to stop Han-na from pursuing Jae-hee anymore by telling her he needs to talk to her. Jae-hee runs to the far end of the room, but finds the only door out is locked. Han-na tries to push past Tae-joon, which is when John finally comes in.

He tells Han-na and Tae-joon that they're not allowed to be back here and ushers them out. Once they're gone, he finds Jae-hee near the door and apologizes to her.

When Tae-joon arrives back to school later that night, John is outside on the steps waiting for him. He's straight with Tae-joon and tells him that if he can't make Jae-hee happy, then he should let her go. John goes on to add that he likes Jae-hee and has the confidence to make her happy. He walks off, leaving Tae-joon with these words.

Tae-joon heads to his dorm and goes straight up to Jae-hee's bunk to check on her. He stares at her sleeping form for a moment, and then walks back down dejectedly. As he leaves, Jae-hee opens her eyes. She wasn't asleep after all, but the night seems to have taken a lot out of everyone.

The next day, Eun-gyul presents Jae-hee with his gift when he spots her wandering around the soccer field. He fibs that it was a present he got from someone else, but it ended up being too small for him, so he decided to give it to her, figuring it might fit.

Jae-hee asks him how practice is going, so he tells her about the national trials. She opens the present and tells him she likes it. Eun-gyul replies that he has something to tell her, but it'll have to wait until he becomes a national athlete.

After this, Jae-hee heads back to Sang-chu's house. As she talks to the dog (wondering why she feels like crying every time she sees Tae-joon), Tae-joon finds her again. This time, she doesn't want to have anything to do with him and gets up to walk away immediately, but he stops her and tells her to come somewhere with him.

They get on a bus to head into the city, sharing hard-boiled eggs and soda on the way. Tae-joon admits that he wanted her company while he takes some photos. They arrive at a park and wander around, being generally cute as usual, and then collapse in a field to take a break.

As they sit, Tae-joon explains that Han-na wasn't why he chose not to go to Canada, but that there was another reason. When Jae-hee asks him what that reason is, he tells her it's a secret. He adds that now that he's decided not to leave, she can't go anywhere either.

On the bus ride home that night, Tae-joon falls asleep on Jae-hee's shoulder. She tries to move him back upright, but ends up letting him stay near her and brushes his hair off his forehead instead, telling herself not to be so greedy. Aw.

Meanwhile, our resident brat sits moping in her room as usual. She gets a call from Director Jang reminding her about an interview on Friday. Han-na bitches at her, telling her she hates stuff like that. She wanders over to her desk and notices the yearbook she'd gotten from Jae-hee's classmate. This time when she goes through it, she runs across the picture of Jae-hee as "Jay Dawson" and everything finally clicks into place.

There's a cute interlude between Teacher Lee and Coach Baek where he's making ramyun for himself, and she comes up, looking for some other teacher. She notices what he's cooking and tells him he should try to eat better.

He argues that ramyun's a staple for him and that he makes a pretty mean bowl of it, too. She sits down to eat with him and wonders out loud why he ever quit sports. He says he got sick of it, but that after he hurt himself, he realized that all he ever knew was high jumping, and nothing else. He accidentally touches the hot pot of ramyun and burns himself, so Teacher Lee grabs his hands to see if he's okay.

Eun-gyul's soccer team heads out for their match the next day (the one national league scouts will be attending). As they're getting ready to leave, Jae-hee runs up to the bus and Eun-gyul gets off to meet her. She hands over a shirt, something for good luck, one on which she'd stitched the Korean flag. Eun-gyul wears the shirt under his jersey during the match later on.

Jae-hee heads back to her dorm, but finds Han-na waiting for her (How the hell does she keep sneaking into the school without getting caught? She pops in at least a couple times every episode...) with a lethal glare on her face.

She dumps out all the contents of Jae-hee's purse and tells her shortly that she knows about Jae-hee being a girl and she's going to get her kicked out. Jae-hee begs her to keep it a secret, but Han-na's beyond listening at this point and runs outside to talk to the administration.

Once again, luckily for Jae-hee, the first teacher she finds happens to be Dr. Jang. She spills the truth to him (he pretends to be surprised), so he drags her back to the infirmary for a talk. He texts Jae-hee, telling her he'll take care of Han-na and not to worry. Aw.

Han-na wants Jae-hee kicked out right away and throws a fit in the clinic. Doc calms her down, telling her it'll be bad for Tae-joon's athletic career (and his national reputation) if the truth were to come out at this point. If Han-na cares about Tae-joon at all, she'll keep mum. He adds that she should work out the matter privately, and Han-na vows to end things soon.

She runs into Tae-joon outside after she leaves the infirmary and immediately spills to him about Jae-hee being a girl. He doesn't look surprised at all and Han-na realizes he already knows, and subsequently that Jae-hee was the reason he decided not to go to Canada.

She starts to cry, accusing Jae-hee and Tae-joon of purposely screwing around with her, and Tae-joon apologizes: "Sorry," he says. Han-na looks up at him, bawling and protesting that sorry won't cut it. He goes on, "Sorry... but can you keep this a secret for now?"

He adds that if the news comes out, Jae-hee should be the one to tell it. Han-na understandably loses it, pounding his chest and calling him crazy. She rushes off, still crying, which is how her manager oppa finds her a little while later. He drives her to her live broadcast interview.

Doc takes Jae-hee back to her dorm and tells her she should end her disguise soon. Knowing he's right, Jae-hee thanks him for his help and then thinks about her time with Tae-joon. Han-na and Tae-joon spend some time sulking as well, until Han-na texts Tae-joon some time later: "Fine. I'll keep it a secret. But in return, I want you to grant me one wish. As for what that is... you'll find out soon enough." Uh-oh.

The soccer boys arrive back at school that evening. Coach gets a call from the judges as they all get off the bus, and breaks the bad news to Eun-gyul: he didn't make the cut this time. He tells Eun-gyul to keep working at it so that he'll be successful the next time around.

Upset, Puppy heads out to the soccer field. He sits in the stands, staring down at the shirt Jae-hee gave him. A couple of tears slip out after a moment, and he leans down, sobbing, utterly bummed at his own failure. Aw, sad day. You're totally breaking my heart, Puppy. It's sad because he didn't make it, but also because this literally symbolizes that he and Jae-hee aren't meant to be, since he'd told her he'd only confess after he made the Youth International team.

Jae-hee walks Doc out and runs into Tae-joon in the lounge. She tells him she needs to talk to him about something, but they get interrupted when someone in the lounge points out Han-na on the television. Jae-hee and Tae-joon turn to look up at the screen, and watch as Han-na talks to an interviewer.

She starts to break away from the script and turns to the camera to speak directly to the audience: "There's something I want to be congratulated for. I've started to like someone. Kang Tae-joon and I... the two of us are dating. Tae-joon oppa, I've spilled the beans. Let's just go public about our love now! Love you."

I know that these characters have known each other their whole lives and have familial obligations to one another, but honestly... it's a really simple thing to JUST. SAY. NO. Tae-joon was so awesome about shutting down Han-na every chance he got in the beginning episodes, so where's all that snark now? He had the perfect opportunity to stop all the rumor mongering in its tracks at the beginning of the episode when Reporter Yang asked him if the person he was jumping for was Seol Han-na, but he just sat there. He did nothing to stop things getting out of control, Mr. "I didn't want to lie." Lying by omission is still lying.

Han-na (who was already in danger of this from the beginning) has, as a character, devolved into the standard annoying second lead who becomes the only thing standing in the way of the couple being together. Without Han-na, there'd be no show because BY lacks in creating multi-layered conflicts, so she becomes the plot's driving force... which is something I HATE. I wouldn't be too terribly surprised if Han-na blackmails Tae-joon into publicly dating her (a la You're Beautiful) since she now knows the Big Secret. She's literally a Tae-joon fanbot--so narrowly constructed that there's literally nothing else to her. She serves only one purpose, and that is to come between the OTP at the most crucial moments.

What this show doesn't do, and which I wish it did do, is focus on the things we really care about: Jae-hee's background, Tae-joon's background, Hyun-jae's mysterious dislike of Tae-joon, Eun-gyul, etc. There is so much room for expanding the story, but since the writer isn't addressing any of those problems yet, I'm worried they'll never be addressed, leaving us to square our shoulders and get through all the angst in the home stretch.

Even so, one of the things it is managing to pull off is Jae-hee slowly unraveling at the seams as her true identity is found out by more and more people. She gives off a Shin Chae-kyung (Goong) vibe. Let me explain. In Goong, the character of Shin Chae-kyung was a little ditzy and a little dense. However, there was one thing that was ever-present about her: that she felt trapped in her marriage to Lee Shin, which was made worse by his (initial) lack of support. This came to a head at the end of the series and various things happened as a result.

In the same way, Jae-hee's dense and accident-prone, but you could literally see the wear and tear in her eyes in this episode as she was torn away from Tae-joon time after time because of Han-na. Her secret has started to stifle her and I can almost feel that frustration and weariness bubbling up. It's only a matter of time before it boils over and something gives way. Til then, the frustration and hopelessness she's feeling manifests in sloppier cover-ups regarding her identity and more incidents where Tae-joon has to come to her rescue.

This is one of the few conflicts in this show that I can get behind and root for. It's relatable and makes Jae-hee more fleshed out. She's a girl, but she can't tell the boy she likes that she likes him because she believes he thinks she's a boy. That should elicit some angst and conflict, and it has, which makes me happy.

If next week doesn't clear up this misunderstanding between Jae-hee and Tae-joon... If you drag it out more than it's been dragged already, BY... I swear, we will need to have a talk.

Why is it that the even-numbered episodes always seem to leave a bad taste in my mouth? At least if it was the odd-numbered ones, I'd have the next day to look forward to. But no. I have to wait five days for Show to fix its mistakes. And you'd better fix those mistakes, Show, or I'm sending you into timeout. Especially since you made Puppy cry. That is a total no-no.



  1. To well of your "thoughts" - yes yes and yes! Please show, fix yourself soon!
    My thoughts: Tae Joon is looking super cute these days... Though it's only making me remember how young MinHo is.. Secondly: if you're going to put Jae Hee in a dress... Ever again... Can we give her a prettier wig, and, I don't know..
    Maybe a dress that doesn't look like a pink throw blanket that was somehow stapled around her body?

    1. That dress was intense. If they were going to dress her up as a girl, the least they could done was pick something more flattering, right? Yeesh.

      Tae-joon IS looking super cute, and I keep being swept up by his grins and overall adorableness, and then remember that he's younger than me, which brings the squick factor back up by about a hundred.

    2. OMG. That dress looked like it was tailor-made for Bea Arthur to wear on the Golden Girls in 1991. Couldn't they have at least hemmed it for the poor girl?

      I guess whatshisface loves Jae-hee so much he chose her outfit to actively repel other men...

    3. I knew I'd seen that dress before! Hahaha.. And I was even watching some Golden Girls the other night..

      I am getting a little freaked out by the squick factor.. he's 21? I know Asian actors always look so young, so I don't really notice it much with the 21-25 age group. But something about this cast, or maybe because it's my first high school drama that I'm watching As It Airs, but man they look like babies! I just want to pinch their cheeks. And I'm not even that.. old :/

    4. LOL...the Golden Girls! You are so right. I was wondering where I'd seen it before.

    5. Hahaha @ the Golden Girls comment. That's exactly what I was thinking when I saw that.

      I'm not even that much older than Minho, but he's got such a baby face that I keep forgetting he's 21. That, and I get weirded out thinking any guy younger than me is hot/cute/attractive, even if it's only by a few months or a couple years.

  2. I love that you call Eun-gyul “puppy” ;)

    Although I'm still able to enjoy watching on a superficial level, I also see that problems you pointed out are definitely in evidence. The writers have gotten caught up in the back-and-forth romance and lost sight of the value of characterization. I would also love more exploration of everybody's back story, and even the peripheral aspects of the love story itself. Like Tae-joon's overbearing dad—are we really supposed to believe that he just smiled and nodded when told that his son was throwing away the opportunity to train with the best coach in the world? It's like a one-off cliff-hanger was all the milage the writers wanted to get from that plot point, which is a stupid waste of potential.

    1. Haha, he's totally a puppy, though, right? The adorable kind that follows you home.

      You're absolutely right... I was wondering when the backlash from Tae-joon's dad was going to be brought up... but it never was. The writer focused on the repercussions TJ's decision would have on the love triangle, but neglected how it would affect, you know... the rest of his life and his career.

      I can totally understand why you're still on-board on a superficial level. The show is holding up with the cuteness and teen angst, which is what their primary goal seems to have been from the beginning. I'm just having a hard time getting behind the less-cute aspects, which they're not doing a very good job of executing.

    2. I'm blinded by the cute, for sure. Probably the Association of Korean Dentists is behind the whole thing...this much sweetness can't be good for our teeth.

  3. I want more Hyun Jae. Not only do I want to know the story behind his dislike of Tae Joon, I just want him to have more screen time overall. Why do I find him so attractive?

    1. I'm totally on the Hyun-jae boat too! I really wish they'd get back to that aspect of the story. I want to know what his deal is... although, his moments with Eun-gyul are super adorable, so if there's more of that, I won't mind at all.

  4. So far, I will admit I've been disappointed with this show. I read the manga way back when and watched both the Taiwanese and Japanese drama versions. I was hoping that the Korean version would have the production value that the Taiwanese version didn't have, but would be more true to the manga than the Japanese version. I don't know why they felt the need to create this Han Na character. She did not exist in the series and believe me, it was far better without her in it. Every time she comes on, I wish I could reach through the screen and punch her in the head.

    Han Na issues aside, I wish there was more depth to the show and the characters. Everything is too flat and one-dimensional and there was so much more to the other side characters that isn't being shown here. Like the doctor. In the manga, and in both drama versions, he was a very big part of the story and Jae Hee/Mizuki/whatever else she's been named depended on him a lot. Don't like what they did with the series.

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