Se Joo is in the grip of writer’s block, can he break free?
Chicago Typewriter Episode 4 Recap
Writer Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) 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 finished, 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 Yoo Jin O (Ko Gyung Pyo) and smiles. Se Joo stares in disbelief. He demands to know why Jin O is writing in his house, on his typewriter. He grabs Jin O and shakes him. Jin O tells him to calm down. But Se Joo is off the rails. He grabs Jin O and yells demanding he identify who sent him.
Publisher Gal Ji Seok (Jo Woo Jin) and his team enjoy an evening of karaoke. That’s interrupted when Se Joo calls and demands that Publisher Gal come to his house ASAP. Stupidly Publisher Gal has put the call on speaker. He tells Se Joo that he’s partying with his work posse. Se Joo delivers an ultimatum, come in 20 minutes or no contract renewal.
Se Joo ties Jin O to his chair. Jin O is surprisingly clam and flippant. Publisher Gal arrives. Se Joo greets him in the main room. He’s not happy about the ghostwriter. He pushes Publisher Gal into the writer’s lair. The chair is empty and the ropes are on the floor! Publisher Gal infers that Se Joo is under the influence of drugs and hallucinated the ghostwriter. To appease Se Joo, Publisher Gal calls the ghostwriter whose voicemail states he’s in Italy. Publisher Gal says that Writer Yoo Chang Myeong isn’t even in the country. Se Joo stare at Publisher Gal. The ghostwriter said his name was Jin O. Publisher Gal doesn’t recognize the name Jin O. Se Joo stares at a painting he has of the American writer Eugene O’Neill, with the painting with that name. He realizes that Jin O choose a phonetically similar name in Korean. Se Joo gets angry. Publisher Gal runs out of the house. As he leaves, Jin O appears outside the house. He smiles and says he’ll continue to play with Se Joo for a bit more. Se Joo tears up the page that Jin O was typing. He yells demanding to know who Jin O really is.
Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang) meets with Publisher Gal and tells him that his manuscript will not be ready, he’s starting over. Publisher Gal begs Tae Min to bring him the draft book, and he’ll determine its state of readiness. But Tae Min won’t budge. He hasn’t written in 5 years and he won’t deliver something he’s not proud of. Publisher Gal can’t believe it. First Se Joo, now Tae Min. That catches Tae Min’s attention but Publisher Gal pretends he didn’t mention Se Joo.
Jin O watches Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) walk to the Vet’s office. She senses someone is there but Jin O ducks out of sight when she turns. Jeon Seol has agreed to handle the office for the afternoon. The vet asks Jeon Seol to work with her permanently. Jeon Seol smiles and ignores the request. As Jeon Seol settles in at the front desk, Jin O watches her from the sidewalk. Jeon Seol is quite knowledgeable as she examines each of the animals. Once again she senses someone watching her, but no one is there when she turns around. She even goes outside to the sidewalk, but no one is there. Tae Min arrives with his cat in a carrier. He explains he’ll be out of town for a bit so he’s going to board his cat. He’s surprised to Jeon Seol wearing a white coat. He asks if she’s a vet. She jokes that Tae Min doesn’t trust her medical skills. She explains she’s watching the office while the Vet is out for the day. Jin O watches their conversation from across the street.
Jeon Seol encourages Tae Min to ramp up his play time with his cat. She chides him to brush his cat. Tae Min comments that he feels like he is being scolded by a principal. Jeon Seol teaches Tae Min how to play with his cat. As she rings up his purchases, Tae Min asks if she’ll have a drink with him after work. He wants to thank her for helping him with his cat plus he has a favor to ask.
Gripped by writer’s block, Se Joo stares at the painting of Eugene O’Neill. Frustrated he takes two sleeping pills and goes to bed. But he can’t sleep because he hears a noise. He finds the gold pocket watch in his jacket. He remembers Jeon Seol saying her father gave it so her.
Tae Min asks for Jeon Seol’s help with veterinary terms for his latest book. She demurs that she’s quit being a Vet. Tae Min wants to know why. Jeon Seol demurs, when she knows him better, she’ll tell him. Tae Min says he wants o get to know her better…starting now. That’s clear! He’s hitting on her. After food and drink Jeon Seol confides that she stopped being a vet when during the hand & foot epidemic she had to euthanize too many cows to count. She couldn’t reconcile killing not saving these gentle animals and quit being a vet.
As Jeon Seol walks home alone, she muses that whenever she brushes with killing, she shies away. She wonders if she killed someone in a past life.
Se Joo waits outside Jeon Seol’s home hoping to speak with her. Love it! He sees her walking towards the house (she does not see him waiting). A smile hovers on his face. Love it! He sees Jin O walking behind her (she does not see him walking behind her). A frown hovers on his face. Jeon Seol goes into the house; blissfully unaware two men have been watching her. Jin O stops outside the house and stares. Se Joo comes up and demands to know what he’s doing there. Jin O is surprised to see Se Joo. He turns the question around and asks why Se Joo is there. Se Joo grabs Jin O’s jacket and shirt (again) and demands to know why he’s here. Jin O pauses (thinking of a lie no doubt) and claims he fell in love at first sight. Se Joo pushes him away thinking he’s expressing affection for him. Jin O chuckles and says his feelings are for Jeon Seol.
Jeon Seol is on the outside deck, retrieving the dried clothes. Bang Wool joins her and says she’ll help. She senses something outside. She yells for her daughter and Jeon Seol’s friend Ma Bang Jin (Yang Jin Sung). She tells her to get a bowl of red bean, she senses evil. Hmm, is Jin O the evil with a sweet face? She senses two but doesn’t know which one. Hmm, she’s met Se Joo before and didn’t sense evil. Doesn’t it mean Jin O is the evil one?
Jin O tells Se Joo that when he arrived in Korea from the US, he fell in love when he saw Jeon Seol at the airport. May I say Yoo Ah In looks fabulous in the all black outfit as he rocks the baseball cap. Jin O senses someone coming and says they have to run. Jin O runs. Se Joo stands there wondering what just happened.
Jeon Seol, Bang Jin, and Bang Wool exit the house and Bang Wool flings red beans on Se Joo yelling “go away”. Jeon Seol recognizes the cowering man is Se Joo. Bang Jin is thrilled then horrified that her mother threw red beans on her favorite writer. Jeon Seol asks Se Joo why he is there. He denies he’s there to see her and takes off down the street. Jeon Seol follows.
Bang Jin admonishes her mother for her actions. Bang Wool senses evil and a handsome face. Bang Wool sends Bang Jin to the sidewalk to pick up the red beans she threw. As Bang Jin picks up the beans, Jin O is also picking up the beans. They meet. They stare. She’s struck with love. LOL at the fluttering breeze filled with blossoms and the imagined hearts around his fingers with the beans! He puts the extra beans in her bowl and turns to leave. Bang Jin asks his name. Jin O considers and says she can call him Yoo. While he walks away she smiles while hearing the song “Only You”. Ha!
Jeon Seol catches up to Se Joo and asks why he came. Resigned and miffed he turns and demands to know how she knows Jin O, what Jin O said about him, and if she and Jin O are working together. Calmly Jeon Seol asks which question he wants answered. Se Joo grits out all of them sequentially. Jeon Seol responds she doesn’t know Jin O so the rest are irrelevant. Relieved, Se Joo spins and walks away. Jeon Seol calls out and asks why he came to her home. Se Joo returns to her, opens her hand, and places the gold pocket watch in her hand. Thrilled she asks where he found it. He lies that he found it one the street. Se Joo spins and walks away. Jeon Seol smiles and strides next to him. She asks if his cold façade was meant cover his kindness. She asks if he learned his coolness from the internet. LOL!
Jeon Seol asks if he went back to the cabin to find the pocket watch for her. Se Joo sighs and says he was out for business, stopped the car in a thick fog, saw something shiny and viola. Giddy, Jeon Seol smiles and remarks he went to the cabin because he was “thinking of her”. Se Joo retorts he was near the cabin however he was not “thinking of her” (and he uses the air quotes! Love it!). Her joy is unabashed. She tells him she wants to treat him to something delicious. He looks into her smiling face and can’t say no. These two are all kinds of cute!
She takes him to Subway! LOL! She asks if he’s okay with this. He comments that he doesn’t want to return to where he was 10 years ago in his writing career, he still likes this place. Surprised, Jeon Seol asks if he remembers. Se Joo smiles and says he remembers. Se Joo says there was a part-time employee that would bring him hot chocolate who also was a crazy photo snapping fan. Se Joo says that she knew nothing about his talent and could only like him based on looks. Jeon Seol admits she read his manuscript.
Flashback…Jeon Seol cleans up near Se Joo’s stuff. She reads one of the crumbled papers and smiles. When Se Joo returns to his spot she tells him 30 minutes until close. She walks away and read more of his rejected prose.
Present…Se Joo comments she is like the fan in Misery. Jeon Seol retorts she’s his first fan. She tells him they did have conversations.
Flashback…Jeon Seol bring Se Joo a hot chocolate. She asks if he’s a writer. Se Joo claims to be an aspiring writer. She asks why he writes like his life depends on it. Se Joo replies “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” They simultaneously say Lord Byron (the quote is from Lord Bryon). They smile. Se Joo asks if she reads a lot. Jeon Seol says life can be hard and books are an escape. Se Joo says he feels the same about writing. Jeon Seol asks if he has a hard life. Se Joo says he has a hard life. Writing is better than holding hands with someone that would betray him. He admits he’d prefer to make a living from writing. Jeon Seol asks what kind of writer he aspires to be. Se Joo says an original writer. They simultaneously say Chateaubriand. The quote is “An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.” They both smile. Charming!
Present…Se Joo comments Jeon Seol has a wonderful imagination. Jeon Seol counters her memories are accurate. Se Joo says he never smiled 10 years ago. Jeon Seol asks what happened to him in the past. Se Joo won’t divulge his past. Jeon Seol tells him that his story, that he threw away on crumbled paper, was terrific. The says it’s better than anything he’s published so far. She admits she rooted for him, prayed for him, wanting his writing dreams to come true. She asks if he’s able to make a living writing. He scoffs that he is and his material goods – his mansion, his deer (ha!), cars – prove it. Jeon Seol chuckles and asks if he’s become a writer that no one can copy. Se Joo recalls Jin O telling him that he’s his ghostwriter. That wipes the smile off his face. Jeon Seol astutely comments that he still has that milestone to achieve. Uncomfortable Se Joo stands and leaves. Jeon Seol follows confused to why the friendly mood changed.
As they walk down the street, Jeon Seol asks why he suddenly got made. They pass a store with TVs and Jeon Seol sees the public service commercial Se Joo and Tae Min filmed. Jeon Seol comments the Tae Min is more handsome in person. That gets Se Joo’s attention. Jeon Seol says she shared a beer with Tae Min today. Angrily, Se Joo demands why she met Tae Min. Jeon Seol says that Tae Min brings his cat to the vet clinic her friend owns. Se Joo comments she’s not his first fan, she’s any writer’s fan. Jeon Seol doesn’t like that. She reminds him he told her to stop being his fan. He counters he graciously took her back. Ha! Miffed, Jeon Seol says she relinquishes her fandom of him. She turns away. Se Joo coyly asks is he better in person or on TV. Jeon Seol snaps that he is handsome in person and on TV. Embarrassed at the admission she looks down. Se Joo retorts that she doesn’t have lavish him with compliments. It’s an awkward moment. It’s broken when a camera flashes. Someone (Reporter Song?) is in a car snapping pictures. Se Joo shields his face. Se Joo grabs Jeon Seol hands and tells her to run.
As they run down the street, the gold pocket watch falls from Jeon Seol’s pocket. Good grief that thing falls to the ground at any provocation! They both notice. Jeon Seol spins, picks it up, and grabs Se Joo’s hand to continue to run. Se Joo is rocked by deja vue, when this happened in the past. Jeon Seol pulls him into an alcove. Se Joo continue his deja vue, he can’t take his eyes off Jeon Seol. He grabs her shoulders and demands to know who she is. Why does she appear to him again and again? Jeon Seol doesn’t understand and says he’s the one that visited her today. Se Joo grits out the she’s in his head, in his novels, and he can’t eradicate her. Jeon Seol is stunned. Se Joo stares into her eyes. He releases her shoulders and strides away. Jeon Seol stares after him and muses that he must like to read web novels.
Wow! These two are fabulous together. I love how prickly Se Joo softens just a bit with Jeon Seol. I feel his confusion at the past dreams and the present reality combined with his writer’s block, he must feel like he’s going crazy. And yet…he feels her pull. LOVE IT!
Se Joo returns home. He enters his writer’s lair wondering if Jin O will be there. But the room is empty. He leaves. Jin O steps out from his hiding spot. He says he must stay here as he has nowhere else to go.
Jeon Seol stares at the gold pocket watch and remembers Se Joo’s declaration that he can’t get her out of his head. She smiles.
Bang Jin recalls meeting Jin O. She smiles.
Jeon Seol can’t believe the watch is working. She gets a quick flashback. It startles her.
Jin O whistles in the writer’s lair.
The next morning Bang Jin and Jeon Seol are distracted. Bang Wool yells at both of them to get their head into life. Jeon Seol asks Bang Wool if she recalls the things she said as a young girl that caused her mother to bring her to Bang Wool. Surprised that Jeon Seol is bringing that up, Bang Wool lies and says she doesn’t remember. The chef, Won Dae Han (Kang Hong Suk) calls upset that Jeon Seol stayed in an isolated cabin with Se Joo. He demands to know how Jeon Seol could turn into Se Joo’s lover. Bang Wool finds the internet article with a picture of Jeon Seol and Se Joo talking on the street. The article calls Jeon Seol “the mysterious woman”.
Se Joo is also reading the article which details that Jeon Seol used to be a vet but now runs an errand agency.
Publisher Gal’s head is down someone reads him the article which identifies Jeon Seol as a stalker that broke in Se Joo’s house. Publisher Gal calls Reporter Song a jerk. That’s something Publisher Gal and I agree on!
Writer Baek Do Ha (Tae Min’s father) reads that Jeon Seol isn’t Se Joo’s lover but his ghostwriter.
Tae Min’s mother talks to Reporter Song and tells him the picture could have been more impactful. Bang Jin happens to serve RS soup and overhears him tell Tae Min’s mother that better pictures could be gathered if he had a camera installed in the house, but the security prohibits that. Bang Jin stares at him. RS waves her away. Tae Min’s mother suggests putting Jeon Seol on their payroll. RS agrees to try. Tae Min’s mother promises to pay him well if this works out. She hangs up smiling. Tae Min’s father is listening in the hallway, not happy to hear his wife plotting against Se Joo.
Se Joo tells Publisher Gal (via phone) that he will ride out this latest rumor. Publisher Gal urges him to keep writing like he has been or people will speculate. Se Joo hangs up. Publisher Gal asks his assistant to get Jeon Seol’s address.
Se Joo tries to write but he erases every sentence. He recalls Jin O churning out poise on the typewriter. He gets the typewriter and wonders if that will unblock him. He puts the paper in the typewriter. He begins to type, but nothing changes. He tries again, and again, and again, but the words aren’t flowing. He yells in frustration and leaves the room. He stares at himself in the mirror. He remembers Jeon Seol asking him 10 years earlier if he likes writing. He shakes his head no. He remembers Jeon Seol asking him what kind of writer he wants to be. Se Joo says a writer with no creative blocks.
Se Joo finds Jin O in his writer’s lair typing away. Se Joo chases him around the desk. Jin O isn’t interested in Se Joo grabbing him again. Se Joo promises not to choke him. Jin O sits in the desk chair. Se Joo asks how he got there. Jin O says he snuck in the house last night as Se Joo returned home. Jin O admits he has nowhere to go. Se Joo keeps a leash on his anger admitting he’d like to hurt Jin O but is restraining himself. He asks Jin O how he got in the house the first time. Jin O admits he picked the lock. Se Joo asks who sent him. Jin O says it was Publisher Gal. Se Joo snaps that is a lie. He yells at Jin O to speak the truth. Jin O states he came because he felt Se Joo needed him. Se Joo can’t believe it. He demands to know Jin O’s goal. Jin O claims not to have one. Se Joo moves towards him. Jin O quickly amends his statement and claims he wants to be Se Joo’s friend and live with him. Se Joo tells him to leave. Jin O states he has nowhere to go. Se Joo starts to call the police. Jin O says involving the police will be troublesome for Se Joo. Jin O states he’d be forced to tell the police he is Se Joo’s ghostwriter. Se Joo doesn’t like the threat and drags Jin O from the room. The doorbell rings. Jin O says it will either be Publisher Gal or Secretary Kang. Se Joo drags Jin O back to the writer’s lair. He grabs his shirt and jacket and warns him to keep quiet or die. He shuts the door to the writing lair.
Se Joo is surprised to see his visitor is Writer Baek. Via the intercom, he asks why Writer Baek is there. Writer Baek states he need to talk to Se Joo. He suggests they talk inside or the reporter might overhear.
Se Joo opens the door to Writer Baek, with reluctance he invites him in. Writer Baek asks if Se Joo is stressed. Se Joo tells him to get to the point because he likely had to sneak out so his wife wouldn’t know where he was going. Writer Baek asks if Se Joo still resents his wife. Se Joo understands her to a degree. She raised a child from her husband’s first love. Therefore, she hates him. Writer Baek thanks Se Joo for his understanding. Se Joo says the person he resents is Writer Baek.
Jin O finds a first draft of “Fate” behind some books on the bookshelf. Aha! As we suspected. Tae Min plagiarized Se Joo’s work. Jin O finds Tae Min’s book titled “Fate”.
Se Joo tells Writer Baek that he trusted him implicitly but he betrayed him. Writer Baek dodges that bullet by asking for a cup of tea.
Jin O reads Se Joo’s draft of “Fate”. He falls over a makes a noise that Writer Baek hears. He enters the writing lair and sees the paper strewn about. He sees Jin O hiding under a table. He approaches Jin O.
Se Joo enters the room and asks what Writer Baek is doing there. Writer Baek says he’s got a problem and need to get rid of it. Writer Baek says he’ll leave and pretend he didn’t see this. He was worried that Se Joo was upset about the article from Reporter Song. Writer Baek says this visit was a mistake. He leaves. Se Joo walks to the table and sees Jin O hiding underneath. He groans.
Se Joo grabs Jin O’s shirt and jacket and demands to know why he is plaguing him. Se Joo yells that Jin O won’t break him. He has endured too much. He throws Jin O to the ground. Jin O asks if Se Joo wrote Tae Min’s “Fate” for him. Jin O asks if Se Joo was Tae Min’s ghostwriter. Se Joo strides to the desk, turns and tells Jin O that he’d rather let someone steal his work, than take credit for someone else’s work. He burns Jin O’s writing. He stares at Jin O whose stares at him. When the papers are burning well, Se Joo flings them up into the air. The embers and ashes rain down.
Se Joo has writer’s block, that has been well established. He’s resisting Jin O. I admire him for it. But something must give and I’m ready for it to happen. When will we dive into the story set in 1930? We only dipped our toes into the past’s pool. I want to jump in.
Bang Wool said one of two entities was evil. It’s not Se Joo. It must be Jin O. He has charm. The devil is reported to be handsome and charming. Check. The devil proports to lure you to go against your better judgement. Check. What do we know about Jin O? He longs for Jeon Seol. He can write Chicago Typewriter because he lived it too. I’m about done with Se Joo constantly grabbing Jin O. I’m about done with Jin O answering questions with vapor (no content). Let’s move this along.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) was thrilled when Se Joo declared he couldn’t get her out of his head. I’m not sure I’d be as thrilled considering the utter agony Se Joo was in when he said those words. What completely worked for me was their exchange after she, Bang Wool, and Bang Jin found Se Joo outside the house. Jeon Seol was giddy with joy that Se Joo brought back the pocket watch. Later she was stunned when the watch was working. Se Joo is truly the owner. His touch rejuvenated the watch. The flashback was charming and proved Jeon Seol was a fan when Se Joo was an aspiring writer. Jeon Seol and Se Joo quote the same quotes. They have chemistry. Se Joo has glimmers of smiles when he’s with Jeon Seol. I want more of their time together. But I think Writer Jin needs to take us to the past which has impacted the present in ways we don’t understand…yet.
Writer Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) is angry, very angry, that he has writer’s block. Se Joo hates the idea of turning to Jin O. He clearly stated it would betray his personal ethics to let Jin O become his ghostwriter. Bravo Se Joo. But, Jin O is here. What does this character do if Se Joo rejects him? This impasse needs to be broken.
Tae Min stole Se Joo’s draft of “Fate” and published it under his name. From the tense conversation with Writer Baek, it appears the Se Joo believes Writer Baek stole the draft for his son. Is Se Joo correct or did Tae Min steal the draft without his father’s knowledge? Writer Baek’s wife’s actions are centered on destroying Se Joo. Why did she agree to take him in if she hates that Se Joo represent the tangible proof that her husband loved another woman?
Se Joo is wound up tighter than a drum. Anger, anger, anger. Yelling, yelling, yelling. Grabbing, grabbing, grabbing. And all for a good reason. I get it. Se Joo is well and truly stuck. I feel stuck too. Writer Jin has proven that writer’s block is paralysis and destructive. I feel empathy for Se Joo. But I’m ready to get traction into the past or the present day to yield forward progress on this.
In the first recap I stated wasn’t as fond of short hair on Yoo Ah In. You’ll be glad to know I’m over this now. He looks marvelous. I’m also loving the stylist’s choices in fashion for Se Joo. Sometimes it is modern and sometimes it has a classic vibe. We certainly know the stylist has to select wrinkle free clothes for Jin O as Se Joo grabs him again and again!