Tomorrow’s Cantabile Lesson 2 …
We begin episode 2 with the daydream of Yoo Jin (Joo Won) where he finds Nae Il (Shim Eun Kyung) playing the piano in a field. We switch to reality where they complete their beautiful duet. Nae Il is overcome with emotion and rushes out of the room. Yoo Jin figures out that Professor Ahn planned the duet as a lesson for him. Professor Ahn tell Yoo Jin he can see his dream is to conduct. I love his insight in Yoo Jin. Yes I am a fan of Professor Ahn.
Yoo Jin is considering conducting when Nae Il finds him yelling orabang (oppa). Yoo Jin sighs that she did not give him enough time to agonize over his pending decision. Nae Il declares she loves Yoo Jin. Horrified, he tells her this is NOT love (the perfect music swells in the background). He holds her back then flees. She gives chase.
Il Rak (Ko Gyung Pyo) asks Nae Il to play piano with him. He bribes her with dinner at his father’s restaurant. Yoo Jin walks by the restaurant and sees them eating together. Miffed he throws away the fish he purchased to cook for their supper. Nae Il leaves Il Rak’s father’s restaurant laden with food. Il Rak’s father tells Il Rak that he cannot wait to see him perform at a concert hall.
As Yoo Jin prepares a lonely bowl of ramen for his supper, there is a knock at his door. Thinking it is Nae Il, he opens the door yelling that she is a “sloth and a tick”. Oh, it is not Nae Il but Chao Do Kyung (Kim Yoo Mi), ex-girlfriend and long time friend of Yoo Jin. He is cool towards her until Nae Il nears (the perfect music swells in the background) and then he escorts her into his apartment. He makes a face at Nae Il before closing the door. No need to be mature Yoo Jin. Loving his playful side. Do Kyung says she has news about conducting. That grabs Yoo Jin’s interest. Nae Il tries to listen to them through the walls of the apartment but to no avail. The next morning Yoo Jin and Do Kyung leave the apartment together much to the chagrin of Nae Il.
Nae Il listlessly practices with Il Rak. She explains she lost her love. Il Rak claims he will help her get her guy back. When he learns the object of her affections is Yoo Jin, he tells Nae Il that she is more ambitious that she looks (ha!). He asks if Do Kyung is her rival for Yoo Jin’s affections.
Do Kyung drops the bomb that Maestro Stresemann will be teaching at the music school. That puts a smile on Yoo Jin’s face.
Professor Do spots Yoo Jin leaving the admissions office and learns he is thinking about switching majors.
To motivate Nae Il, Il Rak offers to date her. Not enamored of the idea, she tells him he looks like a squid (ha!). She shares that Yoo Jin cooked for her. Il Rak tells her that means that Yoo Jin likes her and that was his way of flirting. He recommends skinship to get their relationship back on track. Yoo Jin enters the practice room. Nae Il asks what he did last night. Turns out he practiced with Do Kyung who sings opera. Nae Il hugs him feeling sorry that he was up all night practicing. He pushes her away. Yoo Jin gives Il Rak a constructive critique which he does not appreciate. Yoo Jin takes his violin and shows him. They are astonished Yoo Jin plays violin and well. Il Rak takes back the violin and leaves. Nae Il coos that Yoo Jin is perfect and tries to hug him again. He holds her off.
Il Rak plays alone in his room at home. He frets he may never fulfill his father’s dreams for him.
Dean Song frets that no one can locate the Maestro Stresemann. No worries, Nae Il runs into him. He flatters her and asks to eat with her. She hestitates but tells him there is a little spot she know of nearby. The spot is Yoo Jin’s kitchen! Yoo Jin is not happy having his food offered to a stranger and being called garcon. He demands to know his uninvited guest’s name. He makes a false name up based on the food in front of him. The camera angle on this scene is slightly low and angled creating a elongated effect.
Dean Song meets Yoo Jin’s mother who is opening an eatery in front of the school. They have been friends forever. Dean Song makes eyes at Professor Do earning a chiding look from Yoo Jin’s mother. Dean Song frets about Maestro Stresemann.
Meanwhile Maestro Stresemann tells Nae Il he’ll take her for lobster at the hotel restaurant and show her the view from his room after. Nae Il only hears lobster while Yoo Jin only hears room. She chides Yoo Jin he should look at life through innocent eyes. Ha! To stop her from leaving with the stranger, Yoo Jin offers Nae Il to sleep at his apartment. Maestro Stresemann counters. He then offers with his bed. Maestro Stresemann counters. Yoo Jin offers his arm for a pillow. Nae Il flings herself into Yoo Jin’s arms who gives the Maestro Stresemann at triumphant look. Maestro Stresemann leaves the apartment defeated.
Nae Il dons pink pajamas and waits on Yoo Jin’s bed. He forcibly removes her from the bed while she yells he is breaking his promise. He dumps her unceremoniously outside the apartment. She offers to drop the arm for a pillow but he shuts the door in her face. He listens to the Prague orchestra lead by the Maestro Stresemann while Nae Il futilely pounds on his door for reentry.
Dean Song is forced to admit to the faculty that Maestro Stresemann has arrived in Korea but she does not know where he is. But we know where he is. He’s back at school taking pictures of students. Professor Do and security apprehend him. Dean Song breaks this up saying the man is Maestro Stresemann.
Yoo Jin piggy backs Nae Il to Il Rak. She refuses to go a doctor so Il Rak has a partner for his test. Yoo Jin realizes that she cannot perform and offers to play with Rak Il instead. Nae Il tells Rak Il that he just won the lottery.
The performance has a rough spot but they pull it together. A scene with Il Rak performing and Yoo Jin conducting in the field shows their unity. After the performance Il Rak tells Yoo Jin he will be his best friend from now on. Professor Do admits it was a good performance to Professor Ahn. Il Rak is thrilled telling his father it was the best performance of his life.
Maestro Stresemann suggests creating a special orchestra. All the photos of students he has taken as spread out like a deck of cards in front of Dean Song. Nae Il is included in the students that will form the orchestra. Dean Song is intrigued with the idea and backs it. Students in the orchestra are notified by text. Not everyone that expects an invitation receives one. Nae Il receives a text while Yoo Jin does not. Later he receives a text.
Maestro Stresemann hands Professor Do a change of major form for Yoo Jin. Professor Do tells him he will take care switching majors for Cha Dong Woo’s son. That name gets Maestro Stresemann’s attention. He realizes Yoo Jin could be… Hmm, could Yoo Jin be his son?
Dean Song introduces Maestro Stresemann to the chosen students and faculty. Yoo Jin and Nae Il are shocked. Maestro Stresemann explains that he will be teaching this special orchestra and those majoring in conducting.
Maestro Stresemann announces that he has received a change of major form for Yoo Jin to switch to conducting. He tears up the form in front of everyone. He tells everyone that while he is at the school, Yoo Jin will never be a conducting major. He and Yoo Jin lock eyes. Let the battle begin!
* The second episode did not disappoint. Maestro Stresemann is an eccentric man in a sea of eccentric characters. Interesting that he had a reaction to Yoo Jin’s mother’s name. Yoo Jin did not make a favorable impression with his less than friendly interactions with Maestro Stresemann before knowing who the man was. I like the setup of Yoo Jin being pushed by him. If he turns out to be more to Yoo Jin than a teacher, that only ups the anty.
* This show has the challenge of weaving in a cast of characters without is seeming like a firehose of characters is coming at you. So far so good. We see glimpses of characters and then they are fleshed out later. That works for me. I do not like needing a scorecard of characters when I watch a show.
* The camera work enhances the scenes. Interesting angles, reflections in reflections, the penchant to back light Yoo Jin, all add to the richness of a scene.
* The musical selections heighten every scene. Classical music offers a rich selection and the show is selecting the perfect snippets to underscore and evoke emotion in key scenes.
* Joo Won as Yoo Jin can be misunderstood as arrogant. His talent is so great that he makes others around him insecure. Il Rak certainly felt insecure with Yoo Jin. Yoo Jin was suprisingly caring about Nae Il protecting her from a leacherous man (Maestro Stresemann before he knew who he was) and taking her to Il Rak’s test even though a doctor was what she needed. Yoo Jin fended off many physical attack hugs from Nae Il with patient irritation. Is Maestro Stresemann his father?
* Shim Eun Kyung as Nae Il ramped up the quirky this episode but not in a bad way. She is obvlivous that Il Rak and the drummer dude like her but she only has eyes for Yoo Jin. Hats off to Eun Kyung for throwing herself with gusto into the physical comedy of this character. She and Joo Won hit the mark with those interactions. Her complete devotion to Yoo Jin works. While obessive it does not seem excessive. It is fascinating that balance is achieved.
* Ko Gyung Pyo as Il Rak was made more human this episode with the necessity of passing the test. He was understandably nervous when Nae Il turned up sick and Yoo Jin swapped in to play the piano. The scene in the field where Yoo Jin conducts his performance was strong allowing the viewer to understand that the performance kicked it up a notch once they engaged at that level. Loving the idea that Il Rak now considers himself Yoo Jin’s friend even if Yoo Jin wants to decline the honor.
* The music school staff were fleshed out more. Dean Song being friends with Yoo Jin’s mother was interesting. Her past with Maestro Stresemann adds to the story. That black dress she wore with the ruffled bottom was killer. I continue to love the rapport between Professor Do and Professor Ahn. Again we see that Professor Do is not a villain but can be jealous and petty. Professor Ahn is wise and kind. Finally the star of the staff this episode was Maestro Stresemann, played as an eccentric genius conductor. His rejection of Yoo Jin’s major switch was an excellent surprise. Who wouldn’t love Nae Il and want her as their mascot?
* As the show expands the character base it will be interesting to watch them woven in so we can relate to each one. The relationship between Yoo Jin and Nae Il is strong and quirky. Il Rak is a perfect addition to them. This show delivered two strong episodes out of the box. Bravo!