Episode #11: “Staring out of the window several times a day” …
Episode 11 begins with Han Yeo Reum (Jung Yu Mi) returning home with the memory box ex-boyfriend Kang Tae Ha (Eric) gave her after he broke up with her. Yeo Reum’s room mates Yoon Sol (Kim Seul Gi) and Do Joon Ho (Yoon Hyun Min) want to know how things went with Tae Ha but Yeo Reum says nothing and heads to her bedroom. Inside her bedroom she closes her eyes and slowly opens the memory box. Nice choice by Yu Mi to close her eyes during this moment, impactful. She recalls Tae Ha breaking up with her and opens her eyes shutting the memory box. She remembers his selfless words freeing her and a tear falls onto the memory box. The producer only showed Tae Ha in the flashback then cut to present day Yeo Reum, making the scene more impactful. Joon Ho interrupts her thoughts with an offer of ramen. At the table Yeo Reum tells Yoon Sol and Joon Ho that Tae Ha broke up with her. They are mystified why she is upset. She explains that Tae Ha did not understand why they broke up before but now is able to let her go. She cries and says she does not understand why the tears are flowing.
At a bar Jung Mok asks Tae Ha if he is sincere that he can let Yeo Reum go. Tae Ha says he no longer feels obsessive or possessive about Yeo Reum. He is sure she only feels relief that he is out of her life. He says he finally knows what it is like to truly love without expectation from the other person.
Yeo Reum contemplates burning the memory box. Tae Ha contemplates the engagement rings that he never gave her 5 years ago. Gosh that is touching that he kept those rings. Tae Ha recalls the trip 5 years prior where they broke up, he had planned to propose. Wow, another layer to this scene. Fantastic writing peeling that scene like onion, each time revealing a new truth. The proposal trip turned out to be the farewell trip. As Yeo Reum puts the memory box under her bed, Tae Ha closes the ring box, each unable to let go of their past and their love for each other. That was a beautifully produced opening 9 minutes of this show. Bravo production team!
Nam Ha Jin (Sung Joon) asks An A Rim (Yoon Jin Yi) what her dream is. She wants to volunteer abroad. Turns out Ha Jin had the same dream but his mother opposed it, so he dropped it. Ha Jin offers to pay for her schooling abroad. She is stunned. He explains someone helped him along the way and he wants to pay it forward.
The wrong wood is delivered to the workshop. Yeo Reum gets Yoon Sol to call Jung Mok who is in Tae Ha’s office. Yoon Sol puts Jung Mok on speaker and explains the wrong wood was ordered. The mix up is reversed. They hear Tae Ha ask Jung Mok to inquire how Yeo Reum is doing. Jung Mok tells him he drives by the studio every night, he should know how she is doing. Both girls eyes widen in surprise.
Ha Jin and Yeo Reum have a cute scene where they cook dinner together. Contrast that with Tae Ha being grumpy and impossible to please at work. His employees cannot do anything to his satisfaction. While Ha Jin and Yeo Reum eat dinner she notes even they could break up. Ha Jin tells her they will never break up because they always try to understand each other. Yeo Reum counters that break ups can and do happen even if two people love each other (she flashes back to breaking up with Tae Ha). He surmises she must have loved someone very much in her past. She does not confirm or deny the statement. (Not sure why she hides even that from him). He says with confidence they will never break up.
That night Ha Jin hears the notification of a text on Yeo Reum’s phone. It is a text from Tae Ha asking if she is asleep. Ha Jin is NOT happy. Cut to Tae Ha who cannot believe he caved and sent the text. We see that he has consumed quite a bit of alcohol with open beer cans and a half-full liquor bottle.
The next morning Jung Wok finds Tae Ha sleeping on the living room rug wishing he were dead. Meanwhile at breakfast Ha Jin notes that Yeo Reum got a text at 4:20am. She sees the text from Tae Ha. Ha Jin decides to call Tae Ha who is getting a tounge lashing from Jung Mok about not really being ok with the break up. Both Jung Mok and Tae Ha stare at his phone ringing with the incoming call from Ha Jin. They avoid the phone call and end up texting. Ha Jin is frustrated and gives up. The camera angle is brilliant under the glass tabletop when Jung Wok feeds Ta Hae breakfast, LOL!
As Ha Jin drops Yeo Reum at the bus stop she asks when will he tell her about A Rim. She reminds him she is patiently waiting because she trusts him. They give each other a quick kiss. Something is not right in their relationship. They both know it.
Yeo Reum erases several texts to Tae Ha.
Flip to interview mode:
Yeo Reum: He tells me to be happy. He should be happy.
Tae Ha: I know I shouldn’t have texted. But she should have called or at least texted me when she saw how Ha Jin was pursuing me.
Yeo Reum: He is a good catch. He seems to have figured out what love is (ah, she noticed). He should start dating.
Tae Ha: If she is happy, then I am happy. I am sincere about that.
Jung Wok invites Yoon Sol to a weekend work retreat and she accepts. Joon Ho drives her home and Choi Eun Gyu (Gu Won) is waiting for her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I am surprised at that! She sends Joon Ho inside but he ducks behind a plant and eavesdrops. Eun Gyu apologizes for pretending not to know she liked him, for calling the police when she broke his window, and for causing her pain. That is a fantasy to have your ex come back, flowers in hand and apologize! He asks to start over with her.
Inside the house, Yoon Sol hums to herself and arranges the flowers. Joon Ho looks at the pine tree from Jung Wok and the flowers from Eun Gyu. He asks her if she likes either one of them. She defers a response and says she needs to get to know them better. He whines that he will have no one to eat ramen with. She smacks his hand and sends him off. Poor Joon Ho, she does not think of him as a man only a brother. He is stuck in the no romance zone.
Meanwhile at the company outing Yoon Sol tells Hae Ta that Yeo Reum is doing well with Ha Jin. They play games and enjoy the beautiful weather.
While Hae Ta skips rocks, Yeo Reum and Ha Jin ride their bike behind him. Good grief, they are on the same island!
Ha Jin tells Yeo Reum about the boy and the girl in the orphange that were close like brother and sister. The sister almost got adopted but rejected the family. The family adopted the boy instead. He almost tells her he is the boy, but does not. He asks her why she likes him. He notes that he likes her more than she likes him because he always makes the concessions in their relationship. She tells him she understands how it feels to love more than the other.
Yoon Sol and Yeo Reum run into each other. Ha Jin and Yeo Reum are invited to join the group and get dragged to the camp fire. Jung Wok leads a game to guess the song, album, and track. The first song takes Yeo Reum and Tae Ha back 6 years when they were working nights and he dedicated a song and message of love to her. Yeo Reum stares at Tae Ha willing him to look at her. He slowly lifts his eyes to her. It is riveting the intensity of their locked gaze – wow! They both flashback to the moment after the song when he told her to meet him downstairs. When the elevator doors opened he was there with flowers and a CD. Back the present and they continue with the locked gazes. At the end of the song Yeo Reum correctly states the song details. The next question is what is the meaning of a cherry tree. They both flashback to their cherry rings which mean only one true love. Back in the present Yeo Reum correctly states the cherry tree meaning. The third question involves another flashback and in the present Yeo Reum correctly states the answer. The evening wraps up and Tae Ha sits alone looking at the camp fire embers. As Yeo Reum walks away she thinks “I want to tell him at least once that I have not forgotten the good memories.” Do not know why, but the situation gets me. I feel for Tae Ha with the emotional punches he is taking. I feel for Yeo Reum as she is pulled back to him but unable to break away from Ha Jin at this moment. It is poignant.
Min Soo tells Yeo Reum’s mother he is ok with Ha Jin’s mother not having feelings for him but he does not understand why she does not have feelings for him. He tells her he likes her and wants to date her. She tells him she hates dating. It is fun initially but ends badly. “Happiness is short but misery is long”. She leaves and he runs after her. He tells her everything changes, life is short, and he KNOWS she likes him. He tells her they should live together. Wow! That exemplifies life is short, go for it! Various people from the production team encourage them to go for it. Yeo Reum’s mother stalks off.
Tae Ha walks alone. He thinks that the person that likes other person the most is the stronger in the relationship because they have nothing to lose. Yeo Reum cannot sleep and takes a walk. She and Tae Ha meet. Ha Jin wakes and finds Yeo Reum gone.
Yeo Reum asks Tae Ha why can’t he be happy. She KNOWS he is not happy. He wants her to be happy. But she wants him to be happy too. She flashes to watching him drive away from her house after gazing at her. She asks why he keeps looking for her. More flashbacks to him sitting on the steps of her studio late at night. She sits unseen on the opposite side. Tears stream down her face as she says “If you keep looking for me, then I will start to wait for you.” WOW! What a terrific moment! The emotion is palpable between them. “How many times do I look out the window a day?” (title of the show) she utters as tears stream. Tears glisten in his eyes. He starts to reach for her. Ha Jin calls to her interrupting the moment. He stares at them. They stare at him. The musics swells. Ha Jin slowly walks to them…
* Best episode of the series. It had the emotional depth that the 10 episodes before it laid the ground work for. Finally we have some payoff.
* The writing of this episode was top notch. The writer, Jung Hyun Jung, moved things forward. This episode did not feel like the characters were in limbo. The dialog she gave Eric and Yu Mi to play, they knocked it out of the park bringing those words to life. The continued reveal of their breakup scene is clever, this time we learn that Tae Ha planned to propose that trip.
* The production of several scenes were outstanding:
1. Glass tabletop breakfast Jung Mok feeding Tae Ha.
2. The memory box scene where it alternated between present day Yeo Reum and past Tae Ha.
3. The camp fire scene between Yeo Reum and Tae Ha. The producer/director gave the actors and the viewers the luxury of long gazes at each other. The scene was NOT rushed.
4. The staging of the last scene between Tae Ha and Yeo Reum on the walkway. They were close but apart. They reached out to each other emotionally and almost physically until Ha Jin showed. The lighting and scene location were spot-on.
*Eric was amazing in his portrayal of Tae Ha this episode. His pain, desire, love, were palpable in every scene. I FELT Tae Ha’s longing and love for Yeo Reum. Swoon! His best episode.
* Jung Yu Mi’s character Yeo Reum delivered in their scenes together. Her love, desire, and pain were palpable in every scene. The music box scene was terrific. Her best episode.
* Sung Joon portrayed Ha Jin’s desire to be honest about his past but it is overshadowed by hesitation. Ha Jin and Yeo Reum know their relationship has taken a bad turn. Ha Jin does not possess the fortitude to be honest about it.
* Yoon Sol lived the dream. Her ex-boyfriend wants her back and another man, Jung Mok, is vying for her. She is still oblivious to Joon Ho’s changed feelings. I was not as thrilled with her enjoyment of rubbing Ha Jin and Yeo Reum in Tae Ha’s face.
* Do Joon Ho is completely stuck. How will he get Yoon Sol to take him out of the brother zone?
* A Rim was minimal this episode. Her contribution was making Ha Jin see that if he cannot be honest and trust the woman he loves, then does he have a good relationship?