Se Joo grapples with the strains of the present, while a moment from the past ties into the present…
Chicago Typewriter Episode 3 Recap
Writer Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) drives in the rain distraught at the writer’s block he can’t shake. He swerves to avoid a deer, through the railing, his car flies and tumbles down a ravine. He remembers the words of warning from Wang Bang Wool; that his fate involves death visiting him many times. That he has difficulty discerning good and bad connections. That he’ll meet two people soon. That these people will help him live.
As Se Joo lays in the overturned car, a figure approaches and bends down to see him. Jeon Seol stares into the eyes of Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung). He recalls her promise that she would never help him again. She lifts the shovel. Se Joo yells.
Ma Bang Jin (Yang Jin Sung) comes outside and sees Bang Wool staring into the sky. She’s hoping it’s a revelation but Bang Wool tells her to bring in the laundry as it will rain soon. Bang Jin grouses as she takes down the laundry. Bang Wool hopes she won’t get caught up in something that will hurt her. It starts to rain.
Yoo Jin O (Ko Gyung Pyo) sits at Se Joo’s desk. His hands poise over the 1930’s typewriter. Then he begins to type and the words flow. He takes a break to smoke. The matches are from the 1930’s club Carpe Diem that Se Joo dreamed of earlier.
Meanwhile Jeon Seol digs near Se Joo’s car. She doesn’t notice when a gold pocket watch falls out her raingear.
Se Joo wakes tied to a bed with a plastic cone around his head. LOL! He wonders where he is and who brought him there. He sees Jeon Seol approach him with a large syringe-like tube. She tries to get him to drink the contents in the tube. He refuses. She forces him to open his mouth by holding his nose closed. That works and the nutrition flows into Se Joo’s mouth. Jeon Seol informs him she mixed a sedative in the food so he’ll sleep well and soon. He sleeps.
Publisher Gal Ji Seok (Jo Woo Jin) frets that Se Joo isn’t in his office at the agreed upon time. But when the fax dings with pages from Se Joo (though we know the ghost writer Jin O wrote the pages), Publisher Gal lights up like a Christmas tree. He orders his team to transcribe the hardcopy. He implores his publicity machine to gear up.
Jin O listens to music on the gramophone and noses around Se Joo’s desk. He stares at Jeon Seol’s business card.
Jeon Seol walks to an overlook and calls to her father that she is doing well and misses him. Flashback…her father puts her on a swing her built for her. He gives her a gold pocket watch that he found in the mountains years ago. He tells her to live every day with joy. Present day Se Joo smiles at the memory. Then she realizes the precious gold pocket watch is missing.
The ever-chatty Bang Jin tells the chef this time of year Jeon Seol heads to the mountain to commune with her father who died saving someone.
Se Joo wakes cone free. There’s no cell reception much to his chagrin. Jeon Seol returns and asks if he was trying to escape. She walks towards him telling him escape isn’t possible. He freaks believing she’s an evil stalker ala the book “Misery” by Stephen King. Jeon Seol enjoys the moment but tells him his fears are groundless. She exits and he follows demanding to know how she came upon him after the accident. Irked that suspicions are all Se Joo can muster, Jeon Seol yells this is her father’s cabin and she’s off to search for a keepsake she lost. She can’t believe that she saved his life AGAIN and he’s not grateful AGAIN. She reminds him that last they spoke he promised her that he’d never need her help again. She stalks away.
At the accident site, Jeon Seol searches for the gold pocket watch.
At the cabin, Se Joo tries to acquire a cell phone signal. He recalls Publisher Gal imploring him to get over his writer’s block. He looks around the cabin. He sees a picture of Jeon Seol and her father. He sees a well-thumbed book (Misery) and finds a picture of him writing in a subway. It hits him. Jeon Seol claimed they’d met before. Flashback…Se Joo struggles with his writing. Jeon Seol, who works at Subway, puts a fresh coffee next to him. He sips and reads the inscription “Replenish! I’m your first fan.” He smiles. She snaps a picture. Sweet! Present day Se Joo looks out the window. He knows she wasn’t lying as he suspected. Best product placement for Subway I’ve seen in a kdrama!
At the accident site, Jeon Seol has no luck finding the gold pocket watch. Se Joo watches her search. When Jeon Seol trips over a stone and falls backwards, Se Joo catches her in his arms. They stare into each other’s eyes. He says he can save her too. She pulls away and realizes she injured her foot. He helps her back to the cabin. He apologizes for his earlier behavior and thanks her for saving him. He admits those are hard words to say. Jeon Seol asks why he distrusts people. Se Joo says he’s been stabbed in the back too many times. He gets a rise out of her when he comments that her heart is beating fast being near him. He smiles.
Back in the cabin, they both struggle to sleep. Their gazes lock. She zips up her sleeping bag so she can’t see him. He smiles and tells her that many fans fall under his unbreakable allure. She snores having fallen asleep. He can’t believe it.
Later she unzips her sleeping bag thankful that he’s finally asleep and she can breathe the cool night air. She hears Se Joo moan in his sleep. She feels his hot forehead. She’ll starts to go get help. He tells her to stay. He doesn’t want to go back to real life. It will be like 10 years ago, which was hell on earth for him. Jeon Seol tells him to buck up. She worries that if he doesn’t overcome his writer’s block, then his writing ability may permanently leave him. As she runs the path in the night, she thinks he saved her 10 years ago, now she’ll save him.
Lovely to see these two connect. They have chemistry. I’m pleased Se Joo admitted weakness in front of her. I’m pleased he realized that while she was a fan, she wasn’t using him.
Se Joo wakes in his own bed in his house. He wonders how he got there. He finds food on the dining room table. In his writer’s lair, he finds the first chapter of “Chicago Typewriter”. He recalls Publisher Gal pressuring him to use a ghostwriter. He hears the front door open and Publisher Gal enters.
Publisher Gal is thrilled to see him awake. He tells Se Joo that per the doctor, Jeon Seol’s care saved him. Se Joo demands to know if Publisher Gal did “this”. Not understanding, Publisher Gal counters that Se Joo took pills and drank alcohol. Angry that he’s not understood, Se Joo yells about the first chapter. Publisher Gal yells back that Se Joo faxed it to him on the day of his accident. That surprises Se Joo. Publisher Gal can’t understand why Se Joo is complaining. The reviews are good. People are talking about him again. Publisher Gal hugs him thrilled that he’s back. He can’t wait for the next chapter. Se Joo closes his eyes, truly trapped.
When Publisher Gal exits the house, Jin O is waiting there. Publisher Gal assures Jin O that Se Joo did not figure out that he was the ghostwriter for the first chapter. Jin O comments about Publisher Gal’s lack of faith in Se Joo. Publisher Gal says he had to do something. He strides away. Jin O muses that writers are said to be sinners in past lives. He stares at the house.
In his writer’s lair, Se Joo struggles to understand how he could have written the first chapter. He wonders if Publisher Gal is lying to him.
The next morning, Publisher Gal calls Se Joo thrilled that he internet is lit up with praise for his serial novel. Is Publisher Gal even capable of being subdued? Over the top yelling is his mainstay!
Se Joo goes to the internet and sees the praise. He tells himself he must have written the first chapter. It was in his head. How could anyone else know the story he intended to tell? Good question, I’m wondering that too!
And what happens after a single chapter of a serial novel goes big? Why of course, a movie and a musical are in the planning stages. At the press event about this, Reporter Song sits next to Jin O and grouses about Se Joo’s looks and perpetual success. Jin O wishes he had Se Joo’s looks. Reporter Song believes Se Joo uses a ghostwriter. Jin O asks if Reporter Song will write another article about his ghostwriter theory given that he has no proof.
Secretary Kang informs Se Joo that he’s schedule to film a public service commercial to encourage reading. His co-star? Tae Min. Se Joo sighs unhappily.
The public service commercial features Se Joo stating that books enrich and change you. Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang) states that books give you friends. The two men meet then intone together “Let’s read book”. After the commercial, Se Joo doesn’t want to talk to Tae Min but can’t avoid him. Tae Min complements Se Joo on his new novel praising his updated writing style to match the subject. Se Joo knows that Tae Min is implying that a ghostwriter wrote the chapter. But Tae Min counters that’s not what he meant. Se Joo doesn’t believe him and leaves. Tae Min sighs.
I look forward to finding out the history between these two writers. Obviously, Tae Min has a hand in Se Joo’s distrust of others.
Writer Baek Do Ha (Tae Min’s father) edits his son’s manuscript displeased with it. Tae Min isn’t happy when his father ordered him to rewrite the work from the beginning. His father says his writing has no soul. His father comments that Tae Min is a poor imitation of Se Joo. Ouch! He pushes the manuscript to Tae Min. His son eyes’ Se Joo’s novel on his father’s desk.
Later, Tae Min throws his manuscript in the trash.
Jeon Seol comes home to find Bang Wool scolding Bang Jin for praying that a writing god would inhabit her body. Jeon Seol tells Bang Wool that her daughter is so fickle no god could stand to stay in her for long. Ha! Mother and daughter are thrilled Jeon Seol is back. Jeon Seol says the month in the mountain rejuvenated her. Slyly, Bang Wool asks if Jeon Seol spent time with a man. Bang Jin interrupts informing Jeon Seol that Se Joo got his groove back with a new serial novel. Jeon Seol smiles with pleasure.
Secretary Kang asks Se Joo if he’ll have the next chapter of the serial novel complete by 10am tomorrow. Se Joo assures her he will make the deadline.
In his writer’s lair, Se Joo stares at the blank page on his laptop. He hears someone call him. He steps outside. It’s foggy. He sees a man walk towards him. The man calls him “Seo Hwi Yeong”. The man lights a match and walks away. Se Joo follows. A rickshaw passes with the man in it.
1930…Se Joo is transported to a busy street. Jeon Seol (with the boy’s cap on) runs up to him, grabs his hand, and tells him to start running or die. They run down the street. The gold pocket watch falls to the street. Jeon Seol retrieves it. They run with the police hot on their heels.
They duck in a side alley. They hear the impending footsteps. Jeon Seol pushes Se Joo to the wall and tells him that writing dreck is a waste, and he must do this for the nation. She pulls off her hat. She kisses him. The police run by the embracing couple not sparing them a glance. A man spots them, shakes his head and walks away. Jeon Seol pulls away from the kiss. She sees his shocked expression.
Jeon Seol chides that Se Joo that he’s well known for loving women and alcohol. She hands him the gold pocket watch. She reminds him that is was his father’s keepsake watch. Se Joo asks why she’s giving it to him. Confused she says normally he’d be upset that she was even touching the watch. She thanks him and turns to leave. Se Joo grabs her wrist and sees blood. He asks what is going on. She warns him to stick with being indifferent, it’s safer. Jeon Seol tells him not to get any ideas about their kiss. She did it to further the revolution. He watches her stride away.
Present…Se Joo wakes in his writer’s lair. It’s 10 minutes away from the deadline for the next chapter. He stares at the next chapter in hardcopy on his desk. He flips through the chapter. He realizes the chapter is just what he dreamed! He can’t believe what is happening. Secretary Kang knocks and enters. She sees the hardcopy chapter. She starts to take it but Se Joo stops her. She asks if he wants to make revisions. Se Joo knows he didn’t write the chapter. He waits a beat, then releases his hold on the chapter. Secretary Kang takes the chapter to type it in electronic format.
Tae Min’s mother tells Reporter Song that she loved his article on Se Joo’s stalker. She pays him in advance for his next article to ruin Se Joo’s reputation. Reporter Song suggests an article about Se Joo using a ghostwriter. She loves it.
Se Joo bursts into Publisher Gal’s office and accuses him of hiring a ghostwriter. Publisher Gal admits it which further enrages Se Joo. Publisher Gal tells him he called Writer Yoo once, but has since fired him.
Fog engulfs Se Joo’s car. He pulls over. He realizes he’s at the site of his accident. He stares in the ravine and sees something glint. Love it!
At the bookstore, Jeon Seol tells Bang Jin that she lost the gold pocket watch her father gave her. Bang Jin says her mother says the spirit of purpose resides in an antique. Bang Jin guesses the watch returned itself to the spot where Jeon Seol’s father found it years ago. Bang Jin further hypothesizes that the watch is being reunited with its original owner. Jeon Seol scoffs that man would be 90 years old. Bang Jin says the watch doesn’t working proving that Jeon Seol isn’t the owner.
Se Joo picks up the watch and stares at it. He thinks of the dream of the past where Jeon Seol picked up the watch from the street. He thinks of Jeon Seol saying she lost the watch. The watch starts ticking!!! He hears Jeon Seol’s words that he needed to return and face his life.
As he drives back home, he recalls Jeon Seol’s words that if he didn’t overcome his writer’s block, then his writing ability could permanently leave him.
Se Joo enters his home. He hears the sound of the typewriter. He looks in his writer’s lair. He sees a man writing on his typewriter.
As the man finishes, Se Joo enters and demands to know who the man is. The man says, it’s obvious, he’s the ghostwriter behind Se Joo’s name. He introduces himself as Jin O and smiles. Se Joo stares in disbelief.
This episode seemed to flow. This episode felt effortless. Watching it I realized everyone behind the production was an artist. From Writer Jin, to PD Kim, to the actors, lighting, costumes, I saw their talent resonate in this episode. That’s unusual, but it happened.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) finally earned Se Joo’s trust. I loved the way she messed with his head in the cabin, letting him think she was the obsessive fan from Misery. The cone around his head (just like a vet puts on a dog or cat) was brilliant. Jeon Seol finally got an apology from Se Joo about his distrust first mindset. I loved the flashback to her father giving her the gold pocket watch, how she lost it helping Se Joo, and how he found it at the end of the episode. Finally, we got a substantial scene in the past and Jeon Seol kissed Se Joo “for the good of the revolution”. What does that mean? I’m looking forward to finding out.
Writer Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) realized his writing mojo wasn’t back. Se Joo saw Jin O writing in his lair. He couldn’t believe the calm almost cocky way Jin O introduced himself as his ghostwriter. Se Joo tied himself to Jin O when he pushed the second chapter to Secretary Kang. He’s stuck. Se Joo is purporting to write the chapters. It must have galled him to realize his hope that he was writing the chapters while in a dream-like state, was untrue.
Ego and its fragility is a theme Writer Jin is exploring. We saw Tae Min’s ego crushed when his father stated his mimicry of Se Joo belonged in the trash. Harsh words! We Se Joo’s ego prickle when he assumed Tae Min was inferring that he had a ghostwriter. The horror that Publisher Gal had hired a ghostwriter was confirmed. This guy seems like a leech on Se Joo’s life. The horror of Jin O’s confirmation that he was a ghostwriter rocked Se Joo.
But in the midst of all the present-day angst for Se Joo, he had a respite. A moment in the past, with Jeon Seol and a shared kiss. A moment where she returned the gold pocket watch that he later found in the present. I love full circle moments. I look forward to more visits in the past. I love that the past is the current story being written as a serial novel called “Chicago Typewriter”. Writer Jin is only giving us a taste of what is yet to come.
Se Joo realized his past connection to Jeon Seol. That was a sweet moment. He cannot deny their present connection either. Their chemistry is evident.
The second song of the OST has been released. Check out “Blooming Memories” by Yerin Baek.