Tomorrow’s Cantabile Lesson 13 …
We begin episode 13 with Nae Il (Shim Eun Kyung) sitting at the piano for the preliminary round of the contest. She is nervous but reassured when she sees Yoo Jin (Joo Won) in the audience. He smiles his support. He thinks the time is now for the world to discover Nae Il’s talents. Nae Il plays with precision and pep interpreting the Hayden piece beautifully. Yoon Hoo (Park Bo Gum) sits with Professor Song (mean teacher from episode 6). The judges comment that Nae Il is the best they have listened to so far.
…Cue Opening Credits…
Yoon Hoo thanks Professor Song for coming to watch Nae Il in the preliminary round. Professor Song states she only came because Yoon Hoo asked her to. She asks why he cares about Nae Il. Yoon Hoo says he is interested in her growth as a pianist. Professor Song looks thoughtful at his innocuous statement.
Professor Do and Nae Il are anxious as they wait for the preliminary round results. Nae Il texts Yoo Jin straight away when the results come out – she has made it to the next round! Love the smile of pleasure and pride on Yoo Jin’s face.
The Orchestra votes on the soloist for the next performance when the media team visits the school. Recall S and A Orchestra members both have strategies to NOT create consensus in the soloist voting. To his surpise, Yoo Jin counts the votes and declares Il Rak (Ko Gyung Pyo) the soloist for the next piece. Il Rak is stunned. He believes Shi Won should be the soloist. Yoo Jin will not switch to Shi Won. He chastises the Orchestra saying he hopes they voted for the best soloist not to reduce the power of the other side.
Yoo Jin stalks away and Il Rak catches up to him. Il Rak asks Yoo Jin if he is upset he was chosen as the soloist. Yoo Jin agrees he is upset but not for that. He is upset because the vote was meant to demoralize Il Rak, a caring dedicated Orchestra member. He is also upset because Il Rak suggested Shi Won just as the other members thought he would to achieve the soloist they really wanted. Yoo Jin tells Il Rak he must practice 3 hours a day to get better so his critics cannot find fault. His faith touches Il Rak (and me too).
When Yoo Jin returns to his apartment Nae Il is waiting for him. She pouts that he did not respond to her text about making it to the next round of the piano competition. Yoo Jin tells her she will play even better in the next round. They smile cute smiles relishing the moment.
Prepping bean sprouts, Yoo Jin tells Nae Il about the Orchestra’s vote for Il Rak knowing they were not voting for the best soloist. He admits his disappointment in the vote. Nae Il smiles and tells Yoo Jin they are a real couple as evidenced by him sharing his concerns with her. She herself worries about the music for the next round of the piano competition. She hopes she will have an affinity for the composer and piece to be performed.
Nae Il and Professor Do discuss potential pieces for the next round of the piano competition. They agree upon Chopin Etude No.11 in A minor, Op.25 ‘Winter Wind‘ a high degree of difficulty piece. Nae Il remembers the piece from her childhood where for the first time the piano teacher noticed her ability and declared Nae Il should do as she said for success.
Outside the practice room Yoo Jin listens to Nae Il tackle the music. Yoon Hoo joins him and they both listen to Nae Il play. Yoon Hoo admits he wants Nae Il to do well but he also wants to hide her away so others will not discover her talents. Yoo Jin disagrees and says whatever Nae Il wants is his desire for her. Yoon Hoo tells Yoo Jin that he is transferring to study conducting. Yoo Jin stares at him surprised at this turn of events.
Yoo Jin goes straight to the Maestro and asks why he did not tell him about Yoon Hoo switching majors and recommending Yoon Hoo for the switch. Maestro side steps a response. Masestro says he wants Yoo Jin to come to Europe with him and conduct at the National Music Acadamey. Yoo Jin tries to joke it away but Maestro pushes the opportunity. Maestro notes if Nae Il wins the piano competition she will get an opportunity to study in Europe. Does Yoo Jin want to be left behind?
Il Rak is not that excited about being soloist. Shi Won, on the other hand, congratulates him. She admits that she voted for him. That makes Il Rak happy. He admits he voted for Shi Won. That makes Shi Won happy. She admits she was disappointed that she was not selected. But now she only wants Il Rak to do well. He touches his finger to her lips and then touches his lips. He dashes off pleased with his sauve gesture. She touches her lips and smiles. These two definitely have potential as a couple. I’m enjoying their inching closer together.
Il Rak’s first solo practice with the Orchestra is not impressive. His friends look pained. His foes snicker with glee.
While Nae Il practices she flashes back to childhood memories and her teacher’s criticisms. She tells herself to focus on winning the competition so she can go to Europe with Yoo Jin. Maestro watches her struggle and enters the practice room. He asks if she has bad memories of this piece. Maestro comments the music makes people thing of a winter wind. He encourages her to let her feelings out and use them to play the piece with more feeling. Nae Il understands what he is urging her to do and resolves to use her feeling and play through the memories and defeat them. Good advice from the Maestro. I am still a little surprised I like this character after my initial feelings for him when he was being mean to Yoo Jin.
Yoo Jin encourages Il Rak to feel the music but stay within the confines of the piece. Il Rak understands and dials back his interpretation. His father listens at the door thrilled at Il Rak’s playing. Good advice from Yoo Jin. He is sensitive not to hurt Il Rak’s feelings with his advice.
Yoon Hoo comes upon Nae Il waiting for Yoo Jin. They both agree they are a bit uncomfortable with the new orchestra. Yoon Hoo tries to put his scarf around her to warm her up but she backs away. She tells him when he does things like that he is acting as if he likes her. Yoon Hoo asks if he can like her. Nae Il clearly states he cannot like her. I appreciate her candor. Like many second leads, he just is not taking the hint.
The next day Yoon Hoo complains to Yoo Jin that Nae Il rejected him. Yoo Jin is not surprised. Yoo Jin is surprised that Yoon Hoo is telling him. Yoon Hoo admits he does not want to burden his friends. Yoo Jin sagely states you cannot only show your strengths to your friends. Yoon Hoo guesses this is a lesson Yoo Jin learned himself. Yoo Jin walks away. Yoon Hoo declares a cease fire until Nae Il wins the piano competition. Yoo Jin says he is not competing with him. Yoon Hoo notes that he will follow Nae Il to study in Europe so Yoo Jin better get used to seeing him around. Yoo Jin freezes. Yoon Hoo in Europe with Nae Il? He flashes back to the childhood memory of the rough flight and leaves. Sometimes I think that Yoon Hoo has the best chemistry with Yoo Jin.
Nae Il is nervous at the 2nd round of the competition. She texts Yoo Jin to come and support her. He hurries to get there. Unfortunately traffic is bad. He gets out of the cab and runs. Yoon Hoo enters the auditorium. Nae Il frets that Yoo Jin has not texted her back. She approaches the piano clearly not happy to be there. Everyone notices her face. Yoo Jin enters the auditorium while she is playing. She does not know he is there. She plays angry, at the piece, the situation, and rushes the music. She knows she blew it. The judges discuss her performance noting she did not follow the rules and interpret the music correctly. Professor Do complains to Yoo Jin and Yoon Hoo about Nae Il’s performance. Yoon Hoo aptly points out that it was a good performance but not the right venue for such a performance. Yoo Jin notes that Nae Il did make an effort for this competition and not to be to hard on her. The results are out. Yoo Jin and Yoon Hoo and Professor Do hurry to the list of finalists…Nae Il is on the list! Cute moment when Professor Do declares the judges have evolved and tries to high five, without any takers.
Yoo Jin texts Nae Il that she passed. She rushes head long into him with a vigorous hug. She is thrilled he came and declares he is the reason she is advancing to the finals. Professor Do whisks her away.
The other impressive pianist, Kim Ga Ram, looks at the results. Hey is her teacher, Nae Il’s childhood piano teacher? That should mess with Nae Il once she sees her! Yep, the piano teacher reacts to Nae Il’s name. She tells Ga Ram she need not worry about Nae Il. She does not have the mental fortitude to make it through the competition.
You have to chuckle as Nae Il claims the competition is no big deal to Professor Do with the “Hallelujah Chorus” in the background. Professor Do brings her back to earth as they select the next piece. It will be Liszt’s La Campenella. Nae Il vows to do her best. She shakes his hand and laughs a bit manically. I’d say the strain is getting to her.
Il Rak rocks his solo during the Orchestra practice and everyone notices. After practice he worries to Yoo Jin that he will not be able to perform at the same level during the concert. He suggests switching to Shi Won as soloist. Yoo Jin tells him no. He admonishes Il Rak to practice until he is totally comfortable with the music.
Nae Il practices Liszt’s La Campenella. Professor Do is floored how well she plays the piece from the start. Later Yoo Jin watches her practice. He recalls Professor Do asking for his help. Nae Il literally falls asleep on the keyboard. Yoo Jin piggybacks her home. She vows to him not to fall behind him. He tells her that her philosophy of enjoying the music and playing it as she wants has merit too. She smiles, he smiles, and I smile too. Sweet moment between them.
Next day at Yoo Jin’s mother’s coffee shop, Min Hee (who is rocking a shoulder length bob) makes a poster for Nae Il. Yoo Jin’s mother and Min Hee apply makeup on Nae Il before the contest. Glossy lips are always an improvement on any woman.
Nae Il makes her way down the hall and literally runs into her old piano teacher. Oh no, this cannot be good. Nae Il is shocked. Now the teacher delivers the mess with the mind moment as she tells Nae Il her student, Ga Ram, will win this contest.
Ga Ram plays beautifully. Her piano teacher looks proud and smug in the audience. Professor Do comments to Professor Ahn that Nae Il must be mistake free to beat her. Nae Il sits in the waiting room listening to Ga Ram play and recognizes her talent.
* This episode pushed Nae Il to face the demons of her past. Facing her memories was hard enough but seeing her old teacher face-to-face before she played for the finals in the piano competition that was too much. I see no point in in Yoon Hoo’s continued pursuit of Nae Il. As with so many second leads, you want to tell them there is no chance, just give up. Il Rak’s pursuit of improvement was good to see. Shi Woo is caring for him. In the Maestro had a positive impact with Nae Il when he told her to experience her feelings when she played.
* Joo Won as Yoo Jin supported Nae Il as she battled her demons and reached out to him for support. He literally ran to support her at her contest when she texted him late and requested he attend. The piggy back was sweet. Good chemistry with Yoon Hoo. Their bantering is excellent.
* Shim Eun Kyung as Nae Il was pushed to the limit this episode. I appreciated her candor that Yoon Hoo needed to back off. I felt Nae Il try and work through her past demons but when the dream demon (her former piano tracher) turned up in the flesh just before her final performance, that was too much. We have all a fight or flight reflex. Nae Il had fought the good fight, she was ready for flight.
* Ko Gyung Pyo as Il Rak explored his own desire for excellence. I liked seeing him strive to improve. His friendship with Yoo Jin is real. The writer could step up their interactions. His willingness to swap the solo opportunity with Shi Won was noble. She is starting to have feelings for him too.
* Our other supporting characters contributed. Min Soo did not have much to do this episode. Min Hee rocked a new hair cut. Shi Won got the “good” news that she can study in Berlin. Will she take this opportunity? Yoon Hoo has a nice smile and his interactions with Yoo Jin are terrific. I hope he snaps out of the second lead syndrom of not hearing when the leading lady clearly states there is no chance.