Trot Lovers Episode 4 Recap

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In the last episode Choon Hee (Jung Eun Ji) hit rock bottom when Jang Joon Hyun (Ji Hyun Woo) abandoned her after signing her to a record company with a sleazy president
who manufactured debt and made her sing in private party rooms. Recall Joon Hyun had mistakenly thought that Choon Hee was part of a plot to ruin his pop star status. But Joon Hyun learned that Choon Hee had NOTHING to do with his downfall and begged her forgiveness. He promised to make her a singer. Will she work with him again?

Choon Hee looks at Joon Hyun and with a bone weary voice says she cannot  do it. She cannot try to sing again. She does not have it in her. She wants to stop. She leaves him dumbfounded and still on his knees.

Joon Hyun cuts a deal with the sleazy record president that he will sing for Choon Hee to erase her debt. He makes the sleazy record president promise that Choon Hee never know he helped her. Aw, maybe Joon Hyun is starting to care about someone other than himself. Party room musician does NOT look fun folks.

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In the morning when Choon Hee and Byul leave the house they find Joon Hyun asleep on the table on the patio. Choon Hee walks away unconcerned taking a protesting Byul. Joon Hyul wakes in time to see them departing. He asks Choon Hee if she has reconsidered working with him but she has not changed her mind. She gets a phone call pressing her about the house. She begs the caller to allow her to pay month to month. Joon Hyun and Byul listen. Quick as a flash, Joon Hyun follows them to school where he cutely waves to Byul. Choon Hee interviews for a job but Joon Hyun sabotages her. Frustrated with him she begs him to leave her life!

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Her former coach
(actress Kim Yeo Jin fresh off her terrific turn as the mother in Angel Eyes) hires Choon Hee to work at her restaurant. Joon Hyun watches her diligently serve tables. When a customer recognizes her from her viral audition video she gets flustered. Joon Hyun jumps in and has her sign her first autograph. He puts her audition video on the TV (looks like he Chromecasts it, love that). The patrons enjoy the video clapping along with it. After the hubbub dies down coach comments to her it is a gift to be able to make people happy.

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When Choon Hee returns home she finds two bags of groceries with a note & cash from her father telling her that he is working to earn the money to pay off the debt so they can be a family. She dashes outside to look for him but he is gone. She runs the track, pounding out her frustrations. Joon Hyun runs the track with her until he cannot run any more. Choon Hee asks Joon Hyun if she becomes a singer, can she make enough money to pay off her father’s debt? He tells her yes, she will be able to pay off her father’s debt. The lure of having her family reunited makes Choon Hee change her mind. She agrees to work with Joon Hyun to become a singer. He is thrilled.  Choon Hee dampers his enthusiasm by telling him she does not trust him or forgive him. She is only using him to get what she wants…money to reunite her family.

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At Shine Star record company interim President Jo Geun Woo (Shin Sung Rok) is happy Choon Hee has agreed to become a singer for his company.
 She asks for a signing bonus which he will not give. He tells her to work hard and when she does well, she will get money. Seems fair to me. Director Kang (the judge that did NOT like her at the audition) is assigned to Choon Hee and does not look happy. Nonetheless he shows her around the company. Joon Hyul asks Geun Woo if she will get a manager. Geun Woo tells Joon Hyul HE is the manager AND producer for Choon Hee.

Joon Hyul calls President Jo (Geun Woo’s father) and tells him Choon Hee has signed the contract. He whines that he is manager and producer. President Jo tells him to get the job done. Joon Hyul has President Jo confirm that IF he can make Choon Hee a singer, President Jo will release his comeback album. President Jo confirms that if Choon Hee is number 1 in the rankings this year, he’ll release Joon Hyul’s comeback album. President Jo’s right hand man tells him that he has purchased Choon Hee’s apartment and it will now be a monthly rental. Our dear President Jo is acting as her fairy godmother.

Choon Hee’s father visits a free lunch line that Soo In’s mother happens to be working. She is startled when she spots him (he does not see her). What is their connection?

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At Shine Star, Joon Hyul tells Choon Hee three rules she must follow: #1 Greet people properly.  #2  Smile like you mean it and show no attitude. #3 If a senior gives you something, no matter what, she MUST accept it. When Choon Hee tries out these rules it is obvious the other trainees resent her because she is there because of her connections.

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Park Soo In
 (Lee Se Young)  runs into Joon Hyul and asks if he’ll be attending her record launch party that evening. He tells her he has something to do now, so he’ll be late to the party. He congratulates her on the milestone.

Turns out the something Joon Hyul must do is to take a turn singing in a party room to help erase Choon Hee’s debt to sleazy record producer. He texts Choon Hee to attend the party and he will join her later.

At the record company, mean girl pretends to be nice and invites Choon Hee to eat with her. She’s a senior so Choon Hee sits and eats the offered ramen. Mean girl spills the ramen on Choon Hee (on purpose though Choon Hee does not realize this) and takes her to a room to change. She gets Choon Hee to take off her clothes (except her underwear) then LOCKS HER IN the room, turns off the lights and leaves the room.

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Geun Woo passes by the room and hears Choon Hee calling.
He thinks it is funny that she is trapped in the recording room in her underwear but lends her his jacket to wear. He finds Soo In in a practice room and takes a dress from her clothes rack confusing Soo In but she allows it as he is president.

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Choon Hee, wearing Soo In’s dress, and Geun Woo meet Soo In in the hallway. Soo In cannot believe Choon Hee is wearing HER dress but says nothing. They all go to the party together. Soo In does NOT like Geun Woo catering to Choon Hee over her.

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At the party Soo In and Choon Hee sit next to each other with Geun Woo at the head of the table. Let the drinking begin! Mean girl and her buddies tell Choon Hee EVERYONE gets locked in the recording room, it is an initiation prank. Mean girl mixes laxatives in a drink and gives it to Choon Hee to drink. Geun Woo sees her mix something into the drink and tells her to drink it instead. When the president tells you to drink, you do, and mean girl drinks the laxative laced drink.

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Joon Hyun’s former manager is working as a waiter and Joon Hyul asks him for something. Anxious NOT to be seen by Joon Hyul he dashes into the ladies room in the stall next to mean girl. We get the “can you spare a square” moment. Mean girl exits the stall and realizes a man is in the next stall. She throws a bucket of water on him before he can escape. I still do not like her and do not care to see these two paired.

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Soo In and mean girl agree it is annoying to see Choon Hee favored by Geun Woo.
 Soo In is pleased when mean girl promises to take care of Choon Hee. Nothing like getting someone else to do the dirty work. She makes it look like Choon Hee pushes her to ground and her buddies are horrified. Joon Hyun arrives on the scene. The mean girls lodge a complaint with him as her manager and leave. Joon Hyun incorrectly assumes the mean girls are telling the truth. He admonishes Choon Hee for her bad behavior. Choon Hee asks why he believes those girls over her. Geun Woo overhears the tongue lashing. Choon Hee decides she’s had enough and proceeds to get totally drunk. She’s a cute drunk and tells everyone at the table off in a adorable way.

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As the party attendees are leaving, Soo In is disappointed when Geun Woo calls her cab but drives Choon Hee home. Call me crazy but I like Geun Woo and Choon Hee interactions. He’s a little kooky and owns it well.  Joon Hyul appears hoping to be invited in the house to sleep comfortably but Choon Hee banishes him to the deck for another night.

Soo In’s mothers remembers being the driver in a hit-and-run accident where she hits (and we assume kills) Choon Hee’s mother. Good grief!

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In the morning Choon Hee returns the freshly dry cleaned dress to Soo In. She pretends she is fine with Choon Hee having worn her clothing. But she promptly throws the dress in the trash when Choon Hee exits the room.

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Geun Woo tells all the trainees that this year he is sending Choon Hee out into the streets to sing for approval.
If she gets 500 people to drop a plastic ball in a box after she sings for them she wins the challenge. Joon Hyun boasts they can gather 1000 balls, not 500. Director Kang recommends the quantity of balls be upped to 1000 and mean girl and her cohorts urge for the increase too. Geun Woo agrees. Joon Hyul beams with confidence and Choon Hee is NOT happy. Mean girl volunteers to watch the balls so no cheating occurs.

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Turns out getting 1000 balls is difficult. After switching locations to a farmer’s market Choon Hee’s singing is a hit (along with guitar playing by Joon Hyul) and the recommendation balls keep coming much to the dismay of mean girl. Once all 1000 recommendation balls are earned mean girl decides to sabotage Choon Hee by setting off fireworks. In the melee, mean girl knocks the box of balls over and they roll everywhere in the market. Choon Hee, the debt collectors, and Joon Hyul scramble to pick up the balls. Joon Hyul ends up chasing a man with a ball in his bike’s basket and is forced to sing a trot song to earn it back. When Geun Woo appears to see if Choon Hee succeeded in earning 1000 balls, the counted balls come up 10 short. Just then a couple of farmers rush in a give Choon Hee some fresh fruit and thanks her for brightening their market with song. Oh yes, they happen to have found several balls and return them. They turn over 9 balls, so they are still 1 ball short. Choon Hee is bummed and mean girl smirks with glee. Hold on, Joon Hyul calls and runs up with the missing ball. Choon Hee passes the challenge!

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Choon Hee and Joon Hyul hug and he spins her around with joy. It is a cute moment and they REALLY hug each other for a moment then pull away flustered when something  passes between them. They shrug it off and celebrate at a job well done.

Comments:
* This episode was an improvement from episode 3 but not as good as episode 2.
* The challenge segment was too long.
* Geun Woo is helping Choon Hee and others are noticing and not happy. I’m having a hard time caring about people at the record company that are jealous of Choon Hee. I do not like mean girl and I do not like Director Kang. I understand Soo In NOT being happy that Choon Hee is getting all the attention but she comes off jealous and petty.
* Joon Hyul and Byul are officially back to cute status. I love the tall man and the little girl’s interactions.
* Right now there is no romance between Choon Hee and Joon Hyul OR Choon Hee and Geun Woo. You got a HINT of it when Choon Hee and Joon Hyul hugged and they pulled away quickly when they both felt something. Maybe they both only felt weird hugging.
* I liked when Geun Woo encouraged Soo In to be herself in an interview and not give stock answers much to her mother’s chagrin. I can see why Soo In is drawn to the different but likable Geun Woo.
* Soo In’s mother being the hit and run drive for Choon Hee’s mother seemed totally out of the blue. I just watched Angel Eyes in which a hit and run accident was integral but this seems forced. Maybe the writers will weave it better in the next episodes.
* I’m having issues with the writing. The last 2 episodes were a downturn from the terrific second episode. I hope the writers (Oh Sun Hyung, Kang Yoon Kyung) get back on track. We’ve got two likable stars but right now they are struggling through some subpar story. I want improvement in the next episode. The actors deserve a better story and we viewers do too.

Tags: Episode 4, Trot Lovers, 2014, Korean Drama, Ji Hyun Woo, Jung Eun Ji, Lovers of Music, 트로트의 연인, Shin Sung Rok, Lee Se Young

Trot Lovers
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