Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To the Beautiful You: Episode 14 Recap

Secrets are uncovered, relationships are mended, and more hearts are broken. Just another day at Genie High School. This episode was better than the last, and while predictable in almost every respect, I still found myself giggling like a schoolgirl, which is never a bad thing, in my book. Tae-joon put it best when he said, "I know she's a girl, but it's getting harder and harder to treat her like a boy." My sentiments exactly!

Watch TTBY Episode 14 on DramaFever.

Episode 14 Recap
We catch up with our leads as Tae-joon takes a hard line and starts to head back to the dorms instead of the hospital to see his dad. Jae-hee protests, trying to get him to change his mind, but he wants nothing at all to do with the man whom he believes caused his mother's death.

He tells her to leave him alone, but Jae-hee argues that she can't just leave him alone when she can clearly see how much all of this is hurting him. As our typical hard-headed Kdrama leading lady, she isn't about to let Tae-joon off the hook quite so quickly. She makes a beeline back to call a taxi, leaving him no other choice.

They arrive at the hospital soon after, and Jae-hee leaves Tae-joon to walk in alone, making up some excuse about going to buy his father a gift. He slowly walks into Dad's room and finds him wandering around, looking for something--the remote to lift the back portion of the bed.

He asks Tae-joon why he bothered to come--he's not that sick. Tae-joon walks around to the other side of the bed, where he knows the remote is, finds it, and raises up the bed for Dad. He turns on the humidifier as well, and Dad makes the tentative observation that he must be so well-versed in hospital room organization since he spent so much time taking care of his mother, and that he must have suffered doing it alone.

He goes on to add that he knows he has no excuse for his behavior then, and understands why Tae-joon is angry with him. Even so, for him...

Tae-joon cuts him off coldly, telling him that no matter the circumstances, he doesn't think he'll ever be able to forgive Dad. He adds that it's a good thing Dad's sickness isn't a big deal. When Dad agrees and says they can talk later, he cuts him off, "I won't be coming back to the hospital again."

Back at school, Tae-joon and Jae-hee slowly make their way back to the dorms. As they walk, Tae-joon takes her hand, asking her to stay like that, just for a moment: "If I don't at least hold onto someone's hand like this for a while, I feel like I'm going to lose my way forever."

The next morning, Seung-ri gets discharged from the hospital, and comes out to the roof to bid goodbye to Han-na, attempting to make her smile with a slew of bad jokes. At Genie, Jae-hee marks one of Tae-joon's bedposts with a marker that says, "2m 31cm" denoting Tae-joon's new record goal for the upcoming competition.

During track team/athletic club practice that afternoon, Seung-ri (back in tip top form) is out for blood, wanting to get back at all the guys for not visiting him at the hospital. He orders them to do insane numbers of sit-ups.

Jae-hee has some issues keeping up with all the boys, so Tae-joon offers her his hand, helping her do the sit-ups. Accidentally, he pulls too hard, and she comes flying toward him. They land on the mat, her kneeling over him taken off-guard, while the rest of the guys turn to stare. Seung-ri singles out Jae-hee for having so much overflowing energy and makes them do even more sit-ups.

Jae-hee frets over the incident back at the dorm after practice. She touches her cheeks, flushing as she thinks about landing on Tae-joon back in the gym. She wonders whether Tae-joon may like her a little, but blows that off as impossible since, in her mind, he still thinks she's a boy.

Then, a thought occurs to her--does Tae-joon like men, too? Hilariously, Tae-joon's in the room with her and overhears her mumbling to herself.

Even so, Jae-hee wants to test out her theory. She comes across a half-naked man in the magazine she's flipping through, and takes it over to Tae-joon to find out his opinion on the picture. Only, the picture slips out of the magazine and falls to floor, leaving Tae-joon staring at a picture of a pretty female model.

He tells Jae-hee the picture is pretty, and points out the model's eyes and nose, so she asks him if he were asked out on a date by the model whether he'd say yes. He replies that it's a given--he'd be totally grateful for the chance--and Jae-hee freaks out--wondering if he really does like men. Tae-joon looks at her like she's crazy, so Jae-hee turns the magazine around, realizing the flub. Even so, she's relieved that he's not gay.

She goes to his training session with him that evening so that she can record his jumps on her phone. Hyun-jae goes first, and though his jumps are much improved, he continues to hit the crossbar every time because he keeps jumping prematurely.

Tae-joon walks up to help him replace the bar for the next jump, advising him to sing a song in his head rather than counting, which will help him more with his timing. Hyun-jae scoffs, asking him what song he sings, and they both have a little chuckle at the answer: A Frog Boy. It's a short, but sweet moment to show how far they've come.

Tae-joon's up next to jump. His good performances from the week before are nowhere to be found, and Tae-joon hits the crossbar every single attempt he makes. Coach Baek wonders what his deal is--is he dating someone? Tae-joon BLATANTLY looks at Jae-hee as he shakes his head no.

After practice, they sit on the steps outside to study the video footage of his jumps. Jae-hee suggests that his continued failure may be as a result of his concern for his father being in the hospital, but Tae-joon cuts her off, mentioning again that he doesn't want to talk about it.

Eun-gyul texts Jae-hee's phone while Tae-joon is watching one of the videos to ask her if she'll come watch his nationals game with him. Tae-joon reads over the text, wondering out loud if they're going together. Jae-hee denies it quickly, explaining that she felt bad for making him hurt his leg and promised to watch the game with him.

She tells Tae-joon she'll cancel if he has something else to do, but he grumpily blows it off, and tells her she's making too big a deal out of it. Doc Jang walks by behind them, and stops to watch when he notices them on the steps, grinning a little at the sight. Aw, you're such a romantic and I totally love that.

Director Jang visits Tae-joon's dad at the hospital. He's busy being his usual workaholic self, even as she visits with him, but she manages to pose a question that makes him stop: "How long are you going to keep the truth from Tae-joon about his mother?" Ooh, interesting. Dad's keeping a lie? Dad tells her to just leave things as they are.

At the dorms, Jae-hee gets ready to leave to watch the game with Eun-gyul. She asks Tae-joon one last time if he really won't go with her, and he nods stubbornly. She mumbles that it'd be so nice if he came, which makes him pause, and he starts to say, "Fine I'll co--" but she cuts him off and tells him it's okay, she'll just go alone.

Tae-joon's face adorably falls into a frown. Jae-hee starts to walk out, then doubles back after a second, and he lights up, expecting her to try and drag him out again, but she plucks her cell phone out of his hands and walks out without another word, leaving him grumbling. Haha. Why so cute?

At the soccer field, Jae-hee and Eun-gyul sit in the bleachers alone to watch the game on his phone. She teases him that when she'd agreed to watch the game with him, she'd figured they'd be attending the actual match. He bashfully tells her he wasn't able to get any tickets.

Jae-hee apologizes to him for the umpteenth time, and Eun-gyul blows it off as nothing again: "You're my best friend. I thought I wasn't being greedy about it--that as long as I can stay by your side, I'd be happy with just that. And honestly, I can't get much greedier than that anyway... But the thing is, I'm getting greedier all the time. That doesn't mean I want you to feel burdened by it, though."

Jae-hee looks at him apologetically and starts to say, "Eun-gyul..." But he cuts her off, saying he understands without her telling him out loud. He wonders why they had to both be guys... Jae-hee apologizes again, this time for everything. She tells him that, down the road, even if she ends up disappointing him, she hopes that he won't hate her too much.

The next day, Tae-joon continues to fail miserably in practice and Coach Baek finally tells him to stop. He wants Tae-joon to get some rest, and (conveniently) orders Jae-hee to accompany him and take evidential photos of him taking the day off. On the other hand, he tells Hyun-jae to keep practicing, lol.

Of course, that doesn't stop Tae-joon from taking his training to the dorm room, and he does push-ups when they get back. In an effort to stop him, Jae-hee plops down on his back. Just to show off a bit, he does a couple more push-ups with her on his back, before finally collapsing under her weight.

Later, Jae-hee looks through a notebook with Tae-joon's jumping records written in it. Correlating them with the day his father was sent to the hospital, she realizes his dip in performance was a direct result of his father's collapse.

Which... this is a great discovery, but leaves me wondering why she would write down the date of his father's hospital admittance... Then again, she is TAE-JOON'S BIGGESTFANINTHEWHOLEWORLD, so I guess it's not much of a surprise.

A little while later, she asks Tae-joon to go out with her. Being the typical guy that he is, he refuses at first, until she mentions that she wants to take him to a place where one of her past loves went to school. He glares at her, griping, "Just how many loves have you had, exactly?" Jae-hee grins: "One hundred."

They wander around the city, doing various cute couple things like playing video games, and buying couple rings, all while Tae-joon takes pictures with his camera. In particular, when they enter a flower shop, he stops to eye a vase full of tiny red flowers.

They finally arrive at the school, and Tae-joon realizes it's his own--the one he attended for elementary. They walk around, going through the classrooms and such. When they return outside, Tae-joon stops for a second, recalling a memory of when his father had come personally to pick him up from school. Times were still good then, and he remembers hugging and laughing with Dad, who'd been happy.

They head back to school that night, and decide to take Sang-chu for a walk together. As they wander around, Jae-hee talks about her childhood and her old neighborhood. Tae-joon mentions that it'd be nice if he could see it someday.

Eventually, he broaches the subject of her having come all the way over to Korea for him--has she ever regretted it? She assures him she hasn't, because she's content seeing him jump again. Tae-joon admits that it feels weird sometimes--that his jumping has the ability to give her so much strength.

She agrees, explaining that it's weird for her to stand beside and talk to someone whom she thought was so far away. Getting a serious look on his face, Tae-joon asks her if he started jumping properly again whether she'd up and leave. Jae-hee replies with an evasive "probably," and then changes the subject by saying she's cold.

Tae-joon offers her his jacket, and wraps it around her shoulders. This puts them in close proximity to one another, and Tae-joon finds himself swooping in for a kiss. They hold it for a long moment, Jae-hee wide-eyed and frozen. Eventually, she gently pushes him away.

To be honest, when I saw the preview for this episode, I figured the kiss was going to be a fake-out, and watched the entire montage of their date thinking it was just part of someone's imagination, lol.

Tae-joon breaks out of his daze and looks around awkwardly, trying to come up with an explanation but utterly at a loss for words. Jae-hee gives him an out, asking him whether the chocolate he ate earlier had alcohol in it. He replies in the affirmative (even hiccuping like a drunk person to prove the point) and they both pretend to be none the wiser.

It's only after Jae-hee walks off, back to the dorms, that Tae-joon kneels down next to Sang-chu admitting to the dog, "I know she's a girl, and I know she'll leave me if she finds out I know the truth, but it's getting harder and harder to treat her like a boy."

Jae-hee heads over to her shrink in all boy-related matters--Dr. Jang. She explains to him what happened, him arguing that the situation is nothing crazy--he does it with women he doesn't know on the subway all the time LOL--which is when we find out they're NOT talk about what we think they are. Jae-hee has only told him she accidentally "brushed hands with" Tae-joon.

Even so, she tells him she was really shocked, and he poses an important question, "What if Tae-joon knew the truth? What would you do?" She replies that she'd probably have to leave the school, right? He wonders why she's asking him that now, when she never bothered to do so before she entered the school.

Jae-hee answers her own question, figuring she would have to leave if Tae-joon ever found out the truth. Even so, she admits, it's becoming harder and harder to pretend to be a boy around him. There are times she finds herself wanting to be a girl to him.

Doc gently explains that that's not something she can hide just because she wants to. She looks up at him: "Huh?" He changes the subject quickly, warning Jae-hee that it only takes a second of the unexpected to get caught.

He adds that when she'd first come to Genie, he'd looked the other way only because she'd seemed to have a sense of desperation about her. He'd wanted to see how she'd go about solving things. Doc promises not to intervene in any way, but tells her to think about it carefully and decide on her own what she wants to do.

Jae-hee decides she can't leave just yet. There's still something she has to do--help Tae-joon reconcile with his father. She sets about doing just that, asking Tae-joon the next morning to have dinner with her in the evening. Tae-joon asks her if she has something to talk to him about, but she keeps mum, telling him just to be ready.

Out by the soccer field, Hyun-jae and Eun-gyul watch the team toss around the ball for practice. Hyun-jae asks Puppy how his relationship woes are going, having noticed he's been dating someone lately, and Eun-gyul admits that he really doesn't know.

"It's a guy, isn't it?" Eun-gyul replies that it is, and Hyun-jae pauses thoughtfully for a long moment: "Is it me?" Eun-gyul smacks him over the head (Hyun-jae: "Dude! It's only because I'm worried about you!"), and then refuses to come clean about the person it really is. He does admit, however, "I think I like him a lot."

Meanwhile, Jae-hee heads over to the hospital to ask Tae-joon's father for a favor. Uh-oh... I don't like where this is going. Back at the dorm, Tae-joon prepares for dinner (dressed up all nice, haha). As he waits for her, he looks at the mark on his bedpost for his new record, telling himself that it's just one centimeter--he can do that much. Then, wondering what this dinner date is all about, he muses that it might be that she finally wants to come clean to him about her being a girl. Oh, you only wish.

Jae-hee runs into Eun-gyul on her way back into school. He asks her what's up when he sees her glum expression, and she admits that she's done something Tae-joon's going to yell at her about. Eun-gyul assures her that as long as whatever it is helps Tae-joon in the end, all will be forgiven. Jae-hee thanks him for the pep talk.

After she leaves, Puppy, our resident social media whore, pulls out his cell phone to take a selca with the caption: "Rather than me smiling, I'd rather see you smile." He does the Puppy face so well it just kills me every time I see it!

Jae-hee and Tae-joon head out for dinner, and it's not until they're at the restaurant that she drops the bomb. She expresses again her wish that he reconcile with his father. Tae-joon stands up to leave... just as Dad walks in. He tells Dad that he'll be going, but Dad orders him to sit, explaining that he has something to say.

Jae-hee tries to excuse herself, but Tae-joon stops her, telling her to stay. Dad lets her off the hook, telling her to leave, and she walks out, much to Mr. Grumpypants's chagrin. Even after she's gone, Tae-joon refuses to hear Dad out, and stands up to leave again. "About your mother's death--you don't know everything." This makes him stop in his tracks.

We catch up with Tae-joon after dinner as he walks along a bridge, thinking about what Dad had revealed. Apparently, Mom had known that she was very ill, but had kept it a secret from Dad and Tae-joon. She was in the last stage of liver cancer and had refused a transplant because she hadn't wanted to become a burden to Tae-joon, who'd had the Junior World Championships right around the corner at the time.

To Tae-joon, Dad admitted that he'd thought it better for Tae-joon to blame him, instead of his mother. Dad had apologized and explained that he'd kept that information from Tae-joon in an attempt to help him come to terms with Mom's death.

Tae-joon stops beside the banks of the river and cries as he thinks about the conversation he's just had. Meanwhile, back at Genie, Jae-hee remembers back to the conversation she'd had with Dad at the hospital. She implored him to tell Tae-joon the truth:
"He still need someone to lean on. Even though he pretends to be strong... and pretends not to be hurting, he's still just a regular kid. If it was me, my heart would probably be bruised black and blue. He suffered the death of his mother, and now if he hates his father too, because of it... it'll be too heartbreaking for him. If you truly care for Tae-joon... it's my hope that you won't hide anything from him." 

Tae-joon wanders back into the dorm a little while later. Jae-hee comes to meet him at the door. He's still crying, so she pulls him into a hug and they cry together.

Fully healed (that was fast!), Eun-gyul is back out on the field, where his coach tells him a national scout is coming back to take a look at him. Meanwhile, Tae-joon and Hyun-jae ramp up their own practices in preparation for the upcoming comp.

Tae-joon sends his father the pictures he'd taken at his elementary school, with an email that reads, "For the first time in a long while, I visited the school I went to when I was little. Back then, your shoulders looked bigger to me than the school gym. But I now know that it's not like that. So... don't try to carry the weight of the world by yourself, Dad."

Dad smiles while reading the email. At last, Tae-joon manages to jump his record without hitting the crossbar, and Jae-hee smiles to see it. She asks him how things are going with Dad as they sit in the cafe for a bite to eat, and he tells her they're starting to work through things. He thanks her for her help.

Eun-gyul happens upon them acting all chummy, and frowns, wondering why he can't be that natural around Jae-hee. He figures he should think of her as a person as opposed to as a guy, per se, and tries to convince himself of that idea.

Back in the dorms, Tae-joon finds a vase of the flowers he'd seen at the flower shop the other day sitting on his desk. Jae-hee admits she was the one to buy them for him, and he corners her on that: "Can I interpret this any way I like?"

She avoids the question and moves past him to start cleaning up. She muses that they need to straighten up the room, but Tae-joon softly berates her, telling her to stop pretending there's nothing between them. He pulls her to her feet and takes her by shoulders. Looking her in the eyes, he says: "Don't you know? I'm trying to tell you I like you right now."

He rushes out after this, telling her he's got practice, but stops outside to catch his breath, leaning heavily against the dorm door with a smile on his face. Inside, Jae-hee vows to tell him the truth about her being a girl as soon as possible.

As usual, Hyun-jae's taken over the bathroom just when Eun-gyul needs it most. He runs over to Jae-hee and Tae-joon's room to use theirs. He doesn't think anything of it when he doesn't find her in the room, and opens the door into the bathroom without warning.

Inside, he sees Jae-hee taking off her shirt and spots her chest bindings. She quickly pulls up her shirt, but he knows already: "Don't tell me... Goo Jae-hee, are you a girl?"

I liked this episode a lot. Not just because of the obvious reasons, but because the tone felt perfect. Jae-hee's meddling in the affairs of Tae-joon and his father still annoyed me, but their reconciliation was worth dealing with the transparent plot maneuverings.

I've said this before, but my biggest gripe with Hana Kimi was, and continues to be in this incarnation, the lack of development of the Mizuki character. In BY especially, Jae-hee has never seemed like an independent person to me. She's only what she is--in relation to Tae-joon. She said it best in the last episode: "Everyone's doing their best in training... I feel so useless." That's because you are, darling.

You have no purpose other than fixing Broken Tae-joon--whether that means getting him to jump again, or facilitating a reconciliation between him and his father. She literally has no personal motivations at all. Daniel was literally the only character in the show who ever mentioned this aspect--when he was berating her for giving up her dreams of going to an Ivy League school just so she could help Tae-joon.

In that respect, she vaguely reminds me of Oh Ha-ni from Playful Kiss. Ha-ni was never her own entity--she always just seemed to be an extension of Seung-jo, even after they got married. She did things based on Seung-jo's decisions, and Jae-hee's the same way. There's nothing more frustrating than a (supposedly) competent female lead who has no goals of her own. That begs the question--just what the hell was Jae-hee doing for the 18 years before she met Tae-joon (you know, other than being a shut-in)?

It's hard, I know, but let's forget Jae-hee for a second. If the last episode was about deciphering Hyun-jae, then this one was definitely about deciphering Tae-joon. He got the easy end of things--he already knows that Jae-hee's a girl, so the agony that Puppy's had to suffer is something he doesn't understand. And because he got the Easy Pass, so to speak, Tae-joon's been more able to concentrate on his feelings for her, rather than trying to sort them out and wonder about his own sanity.

That's why it was so much fun to watch him unraveling for the last few episodes as Eun-gyul finally stepped up to the plate. It was never that Tae-joon needed someone to convince him he liked Jae-hee, because I think he pretty much figured that out a while back. It was more that he needed someone to motivate him to act. John was that person at first, but he conceded quickly and dropped out of the picture.

Eun-gyul proved a more permanent threat, and someone who might very well be able to sway Jae-hee's heart. Because of this, Tae-joon realized that complacency wasn't going to work anymore--he needed to do something. And props to the boy for trying--because he really did... it was just that stupid stuff kept coming up and preventing him from being honest with her. Dad was the final "nail in the coffin" for him--it sealed the deal on his feelings for Jae-hee until he couldn't hide them anymore, and we finally got that sweet little confession at the end--matter-of-fact, succinct, and completely surprising--just the way I like them.

Heading into the final week, I've realized a few things--first, that this incarnation of the Hana Kimi story line is, without a doubt, the best written and the best-developed. It's the grown-up cousin of the Japanese versions, of which I've now watched both. I know. That's really saying something, isn't it? But it really is. The writer took a cast of characters that were only written as comic relief, and turned them into real people.

I griped a lot about character development and story development (especially when Han-na became the focus a couple episodes back), but the writer took a story that lacked in... well, story and gave it depth. It's not the cleanest or most efficient execution, but I'd say he's done pretty well with the material he was given. Here's to hoping he doesn't drop the ball in the final week!


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