Thursday, September 27, 2012

To the Beautiful You: Episode 13 Recap

Lots of underhandedness and teenage angst all around in this episode, but we get most of the answers we were looking for, which is a relief since we're getting down to the wire here. The question of will they or won't they? faces more obstacles, but I'd say we're making pretty good headway toward a satisfying conclusion. No big complaints from me for today! Isn't that a first?

Watch TTBY Episode 13 on DramaFever.

Episode 13 Recap
So, we're in the kitchen with our leads and Tae-joon has just made his sounds-like-a-confession-but-really-isn't, telling Jae-hee not to concern herself with Eun-gyul so long as she's with him, and that he's not going to let her leave for America. Jae-hee stares up at him with her usual deer-in-the-headlights expression, and before anyone can say anything else that might be nice to hear, Eun-gyul throws open the kitchen door.

The air is tense, and he asks Jae-hee why she wasn't answering him. He explains about their phones, so they switch back. Tae-joon pushes his way out of the kitchen without another word. Soon after, Doc Jang is dropping our not-really-lovebirds back off at school (what, in the middle of the night?), and notices Tae-joon being chivalrous and taking Jae-hee's bag for her. He watches after them with a thoughtful expression on his face.

When they get back to the dorms, Tae-joon sends Jae-hee into the shower first, telling her he has something to talk to her about when she gets out. When she asks him what, he tells her it's a secret discussion. In the bathroom, Jae-hee worries that maybe Tae-joon has figured out that's a girl, and outside, Tae-joon vows to himself that he's no longer going to hide his feelings.

Doc heads back to the clinic, but can't seem to get the thought of Tae-joon carrying Jae-hee's bag out of his mind. He thinks to himself that it definitely looked as if Tae-joon had caught onto something. Making a split-second decision, he texts Jae-hee, telling her to be more careful around Tae-joon.

Unfortunately for him, the message gets sent to Tae-joon instead, who texts him back telling him about the mistake. For a guy who spends most of his time telling Jae-hee to be careful, he sure made a pretty big flub...

Anyway, he rushes over to the dorms to meet with Tae-joon, who straight-up admits that he knows that Doc is aware of Jae-hee being a girl. Doc asks him how long he's know, and why he's kept it a secret. Tae-joon looks away, unable to answer, so Doc assumes, incredulously, that it's because Tae-joon actually thinks of Jae-hee as a girl.

Tae-joon nods, and explains that since he knows the whole truth, he plans on telling Jae-hee as much tonight.There's no reason to hide it anymore. But being the general Debbie Downer that he is, Doc asks Tae-joon to think about how Jae-hee would feel if she knew Tae-joon knows her secret. It's likely that she'd just pack up and leave.

This is enough of an argument to convince him, and Tae-joon heads back to his dorm with a heavy heart. When Jae-hee asks him what he wanted to talk about, he blows it off as nothing, remembering Doc's words. Even so, she's not about to let it go, and asks him what he meant when he'd said for her "not to concern herself with Eun-gyul while she's with him."

Tae-joon answers nonchalantly that he meant what he said--that she shouldn't think about anyone else when she's having a conversation with him. Then what about going to America? He answer that he only said that because he figured it would be difficult to change roommates if she suddenly left. Jae-hee frowns and tries to walk around him to bed, but he grabs her arm, telling her, "So, don't think about anything else. Just stay by my side."

She answers noncommittally that she will and then tries to move past him again, but he keeps a firm grip on her arm, repeating his statement, "I said, just stay by my side." Jae-hee looks up at him and nods, replying more sincerely that she promises she will.

The next morning, as Tae-joon leaves for a run, he finds a drink on his desk with a note from Jae-hee just as she did the first day she came to school. Just to show us how far we've come, instead of being irritated like he was back then, Tae-joon smiles up at her sleeping form. Later, Jae-hee wakes up and finds a similar note on her cheek from Tae-joon, telling her to eat a proper breakfast and teasing her for drooling. Why so cute, OTP?

Tae-joon's practices continue to go smoothly, and he's praised by Coach Baek. Jae-hee swings by to give Tae-joon some encouragement, and he points to her with a big grin. Baek turns his attention to Hyun-jae to berate him again when he fails to clear yet another jump, and asks Tae-joon to jump again.

He clears the second jump as well, and Baek tells Hyun-jae that it's good to be aggressive, but if he focuses too much on that, he'll end up meeting the bar instead of clearing it every single time. He tells him follow Tae-joon's form--tease the bar, don't attack it aggressively.

He goes on to add that the national comp is just days away, and that Olympic trial qualifications hang on that alone. Hyun-jae mulls over this in the locker room after training, thinking back to his meeting with the corporate sponsor.

Jae-hee heads back to class after this, where Jong-min is doing tarot card readings. His first client is Eun-gyul, who picks three cards and gets outstanding results: he'll be rich, find love, and be successful in his competition. Puppy manages to convince Jong-min to read for Jae-hee too, but her results are a bit more ominous: she gets the "death" card, and Jong-min tells her to be careful.

Outside after class, Jae-hee sits on a bench, thinking about the tarot result. Eun-gyul finds her, riding some kind of new fangled bike that looks like a Stairmaster from the gym. He tells her not to fret over the tarot thing, and promises that if he makes a goal during the national comp (as a result of his own talent, he says, not because of the tarot reading), his celebratory sign afterwards will be the character "goo" (the number "9") for Goo Jae-hee. Jae-hee smiles awkwardly, lol.

On her way out of the administration building, she notices Hyun-jae looking worried at the top of the staircase. She almost turns back to ask him what's up, but then thinks better of it and keeps going. She runs into Tae-joon soon after, and he stops to talk to her just before a flowerpot comes crashing to the ground right behind him. (What, are we doing Dream High references, too, now?)

Jae-hee runs up to him to ask him if he's okay. He's fine, but she remembers Hyun-jae from before, suggesting he may harbor a grudge against Tae-joon. He blows it off as a coincidence, telling her she should lay off the sleuthing. Even so, Jae-hee recalls the tarot card thing, and tells him to be careful for now.

Yep, if you were wondering, that is indeed the flowerpot behind Tae-joon's head in the screencap below. Who knew that flower pots that pretty could be so lethal? Pfft.

At the hospital, Han-na is being interviewed by a few reporters. She assures everyone that she's planning on making  a swift recovery so that she can start training once again. When asked about Tae-joon, she comes clean, admitting that she broke up with him (much to the chagrin of Director Jang, lol) because she no longer finds him interesting (and calls him quite a few names in the process, including "petty," "stuffy," and "old-fashioned," just to name a few). After the interview, Han-na sits dejectedly in her hospital room and reads over Jae-hee's note again.

Hyun-jae seems to be on a downward spiral in this episode, because Jae-hee finds him outside the dorms trying to cut the brake wire on Tae-joon's bike. When she confronts him about it, he doesn't bother to answer, and runs off. Eun-gyul surprises him with a birthday gift when he returns to their dorm, making Hyun-jae feel even worse about what he's doing. He stays up late that night, internally debating himself.

The next morning, Tae-joon gets ready to head to class on his bike, but Jae-hee tries to stop him, telling him to walk to class with her instead. He refuses, telling her it's a part of his training. (Which... this bike! What the hell is up with this bike? We haven't seen it for 13 episodes, but you're going to try to tell me he suddenly feels like riding this bike more than walking with his crush? Gah, Show. Your senselessness never fails to surprise me, even now.)

Jae-hee knows the bike might be rigged and, INSTEAD OF TELLING TAE-JOON THE TRUTH, she grabs it out of his hands and rides off on it herself, instead (as Hyun-jae watches on, almost running forward to stop her, but being unable to). WHAT? Oh, Goo Jae-hee, you're much dumber than I originally thought. What the hell. Naturally, the bike has been tampered with, and Jae-hee goes sailing all over campus, unable to stop because the brakes aren't working.

Eventually, Eun-gyul sees her and goes chasing after her on his Stairmaster and manages to stop her before she goes crashing into a tree or into the street or worse. They land on the ground and the bike (not the bike!) sails out onto the road in pieces.

Jae-hee scrambles up, unscathed, but Eun-gyul isn't fairing so well himself. He's messed up his ankle, and it looks pretty bad. She helps him to the clinic, where Doc wraps him up, telling him to get some rest. He won't be able to compete in the national tournament. Oh no, Puppy!

They head outside, and Jae-hee apologizes to Eun-gyul for getting him hurt like this. Puppy puts up a brave front, telling her that his recovery rate is faster than normal people and he'll be healed in no time, maybe even early enough to play in the nationals match after all. Even so, after she leaves, he cringes, assuring himself that it's fine that he's hurt, as long as Jae-hee's okay. Aw.

It seems Jae-hee's had enough of skirting around the issue, so she goes right up to Hyun-jae after this to confront him about everything he's been doing--she scolds him and tells him that because of everything he's done, Eun-gyul ended up being the one to get hurt. Hyun-jae gets pissed off and grabs her by the collar, getting ready to pound her, which is when Eun-gyul hobbles up, having heard everything.

He drags Hyun-jae outside for a word, and confronts him about what's going on and giving him an opportunity to explain himself. By this time, it's apparent Hyun-jae realizes the extent to which he's hurt people (Eun-gyul especially, an innocent bystander), but can't bring himself to admit what the problem is. He tells Eun-gyul he's sorry, but Puppy takes the hard line, explaining that he's disappointed in Hyun-jae for being so pathetic.

In class, Tae-joon runs in, asking after Jae-hee and trying to make sure she's okay. She says she's fine, but that Eun-gyul got hurt and might not be able to play at nationals. Tae-joon wonders what happens with the bike since it hadn't been that long since he'd gotten it serviced.

At the hospital, Seung-ri tries for the one-millionth time to make nice with Han-na. He approaches her while she's sitting outside, and tells he read the news article about her being injured. He recalls having been hurt a few years ago himself in a car accident--the doctors had told him he'd never be able to play sports again. But he tells her that it's all nonsense, and he's the proof of it. He'd recovered from his injury and managed to get back out on the field, even winning a track medal.

He gets up to show her the scar from the accident and starts to pull down his pants. Han-na shrieks at this, smacking him on the back, and Seung-ri stands up, saving her from the sight. Haha. She refuses his offer of friendship when  he sticks out his hand for her to shake, promising to make her laugh every time they see each other, but concedes that she'll just think of him as a cheap magazine to make use of while being bored at the hospital. It's better than nothing, and they both smile as she wheels herself away. Aw.

Pretty soon, the news about Han-na and Tae-joon's "breakup" makes its rounds at Genie, and Tae-joon's labeled a boring old man after Han-na's comments in her interview. This scene is kind of pointless other than to give us one of the numerous Psy references in Dramaland this week (see: Panda and Hedgehog Episode 12).

That day in class, Hyun-jae is conspicuously missing, and Tae-joon looks at his empty desk with a concerned expression on his face. He starts putting the pieces together about the flowerpot and the bike, coupled with the missing Hyun-jae.

Outside, Tae-joon's dad is on campus speaking to Coach Baek about the newest scandal in his son's life. Baek assures Dad that Tae-joon nearly back up to par and that he should have faith and watch him continue to improve. Jae-hee walks by as they're talking, so Baek pulls her aside to introduce her to Dad as Tae-joon's roommate. Dad hilariously looks at her from head to toe with this wtf expression on this face. Haha. Dad asks to speak to her for a moment.

Now alone, Dad complains to Jae-hee that Tae-joon doesn't ever talk to him about anything, so he has no idea what he's thinking, getting himself involved in petty scandals like this. (Wait, are we just supposed to assume that Tae-joon deciding not to go to Canada went over fine with this guy?)

Jae-hee asks Dad to have a little faith in Tae-joon, but Dad protests that it's not Tae-joon he doesn't trust--it's himself. He made a mistake, and wonders if all this is his fault. When Jae-hee looks at him blankly, he explains that Tae-joon blames him for his mother's death, and admits it's not altogether untrue.

Meanwhile, Puppy hobbles around campus, thinking back to when he'd broken the news about his ankle to his coach. It hadn't gone over very well, with Coach blaming him for getting injured at such a crucial time. Eventually, Eun-gyul makes it back to the dorms, but finds the cutest little girl waiting outside by herself.

When he approaches, she tells him that she's looking for Tae-joon oppa. So, assuming she's Tae-joon's little sister, Eun-gyul phones up Tae-joon, who doesn't answer. So, he tells the little girl to come back later, and she'll be able to see Tae-joon then. She staunchly refuses, lol.

Left with no other choice, Eun-gyul heads in to Jae-hee and Tae-joon's dorm, wheeling his training bag in on a trolley/cart. He explains to Jae-hee that Tae-joon's little sister is here to see him. When she asks him where she is, he gives out an ironic scoff and bends down to unzip his bag. The little girl pops out, explaining to Jae-hee that she's not Tae-joon's little sister--she's his girlfriend, haha. I like this little girl's moxy.

Before she can tell them who her real oppa is, there's a knock on the door. They quickly zip the little girl back up, and Coach Baek bursts into the room, also looking for Tae-joon. He tells Jae-hee and Eun-gyul to have Tae-joon call him so they can work on resolving Hyun-jae's problem.

In fact, Hyun-jae's brooding in the gym as he looks down at a letter of resignation from the competition. Coach Baek runs into Tae-joon in the locker room, and asks whether he knows anything about what's going on with Hyun-jae lately.

As an afterthought, he mentions that Dad stopped by earlier, worried about him, citing the Canada issue as one of the reasons why he's worried. Tae-joon's face takes on the usual dark expression at the mention of his father, and he quickly excuses himself.

Eun-gyul and Jae-hee take the little girl (whose name is Hyun-ji) to his dorm after they find out that she's not Tea-joon's dongsaeng. Actually, she's Hyun-jae's little sister, and a big fan of Tae-joon. Hyun-jae comes in a few minutes later, and we find out that he's lied and told her he's Tae-joon's roommate and best friend.

Eun-gyul and Jae-hee carry on the lie for him, and he looks up at them gratefully. He takes Hyun-ji home, and we find out they're not in the best of financial conditions, unlike the rest of the characters we've seen thus far. He refuses to come inside, even as Hyun-ji pouts and complains that he always does this.

He gets up to leave and Hyun-ji asks him when he'll win the gold medal. He'd told her that once he won it, their family could all live together again. Hyun-jae tells her to win just a bit longer, and Hyun-ji breaks out into a smile, "Then mom won't have to go out and work either?" Hyun-jae nods happily and asks her whether she'll be alright alone until Mom gets home. Hyun-ji assures him she will as long as she keeps the TV on. He promises to win a medal soon, and then leaves.

When he gets back to his dorm that evening, he thanks Eun-gyul for treating his little sister so well. Eun-gyul replies that his sister is cute. He asks again why Hyun-jae did what he did, and this time Hyun-jae explains himself:
"Because I only had reason to beat him. Because I only wanted to beat him. In this world, I used to think there wasn't anything that couldn't be achieved through hard work. And if I ever came across a wall I couldn't jump over, I'd feel accomplished after managing to jump it. So maybe that's how I ended up doing high jump... since the end goal is being able to jump over myself. But... as I looked at Kang Tae-joon, I realized for the first time that this wasn't going to work. My idea of 'hard work'--it's shabby when compared to his natural talent. He was a wall I couldn't jump over--that's what Kang Tae-joon became to me. Well... in the end, I managed to hit rock bottom like this."
Eun-gyul tells him there's no such thing as shabby hardwork--he doesn't know if Hyun-jae will out-jump Tae-joon or not, but hard work is always rewarded in the end. Crying a bit, Hyun-jae looks at Eun-gyul, "I committed a wrong against you that can't just be blown off. I won't try to just gloss over what I did. I'll take full responsibility for it."

Eun-gyul tells him that of course, he'll have to. His life as Puppy's slave until his leg is healed begins now! Hyun-jae, with tears in his eyes, looks at Eun-gyul a little pathetically, so Eun-gyul puts a hand on his shoulder, teasing him gruffly. Aw, the relationship between these two is pretty awesome.

Jae-hee drops by the gym while Tae-joon is practicing again. He asks her whether Hyun-jae was responsible for the bike, too, and she plays dumb, saying she doesn't know. Tae-joon marvels at the fact that, even knowing there was something wrong with the bike, she rode it anyway so that he wouldn't get hurt.

He hugs her from behind, thanking her for saving him from all the accidents, but tells her not to do it again--if she ever got hurt because of him, he wouldn't be able to stand it. She freezes, a little shocked, and he teases that he figured she'd be used to getting hugs, being from America and all.

That night, Hyun-jae calls Tae-joon out to have a talk. He explains that he was the reason for all the accidents and admits that, while he knows he should be responsible and quit the Athletic Club, he just can't bring himself to do it. Even so, he tells Tae-joon that if he wants him to drop out, he will.

Tae-joon plays dumb, pretending not to know what he's talking about, thus giving Hyun-jae a clean out. He tells Hyun-jae he doesn't know anything else, just that the competition is coming up soon and Hyun-jae is slacking in his training.

Hyun-jae was the one who'd told Tae-joon not to be petty before, but Tae-joon's been considering doing just that more and more lately--he doesn't want to hear from anyone that he lost the competition because he didn't train enough. Hyun-jae realizes what he's trying to say, and smiles ironically.

Back in the dorm, Tae-joon gets a call from Dad (whose photo in his phone is of Darth Vader, natch), but he ignores it, refusing to answer. Jae-hee tentatively asks him why he doesn't go home more often, and Tae-joon responds by asking her whether she met with his father. She replies in the affirmative, and then expresses her wish that he reconcile with Dad.

Tae-joon tells her to stop, explaining that it's not something he wants to talk about. Jae-hee keeps at it, arguing that after hearing his dad's side of the story, she thinks there might be some kind of misunderstanding between them...

By now, Tae-joon's angry, and he threatens to leave if she doesn't stop. He storms out, ending up at Sang-chu's house. He admits to Sang-chu that he knows it's not Jae-hee's fault. As he sits there, he thinks back to his mother's death and the events preceding it.

When he was younger, Dad had always been more of an absentee husband and father to him and his mom. Even after Mom had gotten sick, Dad had pretended nothing was wrong, coming home drunk from a business party while Mom was rushed to the ER for the first time.

Mom had continued to get sicker and sicker, so Tae-joon had asked Dad to have her admitted to the hospital. Dad had brushed it off as a minor cold and had agreed to a check-up, but had been so caught up in his work, that nothing ever came of his promises.

Mom had passed away, and Tae-joon had been left alone with his father. On the day of his mother's funeral, Tae-joon had confronted Dad about the whole thinking, asking him why he'd lied, saying that Mom's disease wasn't serious and that she'd be alright.

Dad had simply apologized, not being able to come up with any explanations for himself, but Tae-joon had lashed out, scolding Dad and saying that if Dad had simply found some time to care and pay a little attention, Mom wouldn't have died. He'd accused Dad for being the one to kill Mom.

Back in the present, Tae-joon's phone continues to ring back in the dorm. Eventually, Jae-hee answers it. She rushes outside to find Tae-joon, and runs into him coming back to the dorm. She tells him he needs to go quickly--his father's collapsed.

I think it's safe to say that that stupid bike wins for worst plot device ever. Am I wrong? What the hell was up with that? Really, writer-nim, you couldn't come up with anything more clever? No? There were so many things wrong with that scene--first, why didn't Jae-hee just come clean and save everyone some trouble?

Second, it's a bike! If the breaks aren't working, you plant your feet and STOP. It's not that hard. Believe me, I've tried it. Or even, ride it into the grass. ANYTHING! Third, really? Puppy sprained his ankle from that? Not from jumping out of a moving car, not from tripping on the soccer field, but from saving Jae-hee from a bicycle accident? Oye vey.

Nonetheless, this was a great episode for Hyun-jae (even if some of the things that happened made no sense at all... but I think we've long decided that logic is not this show's strong suit), whom we've been waiting forever to get some back story on.

He so reminded me of Malfoy from Harry Potter 6, when he was being all emo the whole movie--his good guy complex warring with his evil streak. Right? RIGHT? Either way, we got the answers we wanted, plus who didn't love his adorable baby sister, right? Plus, we also finally got the truth of Tae-joon's background, and found that it's a lot murkier than we originally might have thought it to be. Either way, I was very happy with today.

One thing I did have a problem with was Jae-hee talking to Tae-joon's dad. It was the one thing I hated in the J-remake of Hana Kimi when I watched it, and while it's executed a bit better here, I still don't like it. There's no reason why Dad would admit any of that to Jae-hee, roommate or not. The scene always felt out of place to me, and still does here. There were other ways of getting Tae-joon/Sano to reconcile with his father that didn't require Jae-hee/Mizuki being the instigator.

Overall, I'm not too irritated by the beginning of the episode and TJ changing his mind about confessing to Jae-hee. At this point, we're just a few episodes from the finale, so it's only a matter of time before it comes out. Narratively, today was a great episode, so I'm content for now.

Plus, how cute are these guys, huh?!



  1. I just knew you'd be commenting about that bicycle accident, lol... Oye vey is right..

    I was almost annoyed about his delaying telling her he knew, but then I also remembered, we're almost there! And, I also know that Puppy is supposed to find out first so.. couldn't come clean too soon!

    1. Btw, when this series is done with, I'm probably never going to remember Puppy's real name.. :P

    2. Yeah, Eun-gyul's story line was getting a bit stale, so the natural trajectory for his character was this.

      Bahaha, I just can't stop calling him Puppy! It's an apt nickname, though. Poor kid. Lee Hyun-woo's puppy faces are unbelievably heart-tugging.